Brain graze


Our virtuous appraiser

Nostradermus of the neddies Mick Manley is a patient man. At Flemington today he is sticking with
Thong Classic (Race 3, No.2) as an each-way consideration. "This does look his chance and it is his last one,'' declares the Magic one. He also expects Berezny (Race 4, No.13) to run a big race for a generous each-way return at 14-1.
I've got out the slide rule, crystal ball and the back section of The Oz to calculate a result that will pay for dinner and drinks tonight at the Bush Inn, West Toorak. Box this trifecta on the Turnbull Stakes (Race 6): Northerly (1), Magical Miss (12) and to put dollars in the collect Rain Gauge (5).



PAUL JOHNSON asks in the National Review whether America is the world's policeman.

The answer must be: Yes, and thank God for it. Progress has contracted all distances and made destructive forces almost limitless. So the world is now too small, and the weapons of the malefactors too devastating, for us to do without a constabulary enjoying full powers and global reach.

In a learned, measured and readable piece Johnson puts the case for the US squelching Saddam.


Paul Wright at TANSTAA Football League is redgum-burning stove top HOT today.

First he draws from Teddy Roosevelt to explain why moral societies have an obligation to belt the living suitcase out of tyrants despite the whines of milk-sops.

Then he delights in the delicious irony of Australia's Methodist-Presbyterian-Congregational coalition -- the Uniting Church -- deciding whether their members should withhold taxes should Australia go into bat against Iraq. Churches don't pay taxes in Australia.

Finally he ferociously Fisks a pathetic anti-US and ''truly sick-making apology for the murderous Ba’thist regime of Saddam Hussein'' bleat by Indian journalist Kalpana Sharma which appears in the Sydney Morning Herald.


Under the Ba'thist Party, Iraq reformed its laws so that sex discrimination in the workplace and sexual harassment were prohibited. It had laws that worked towards creating gender parity in voting, divorce, taxes and land ownership.

Voting for one party (and not too often thank you), gender parity in the torture chambers (tell us what we want or we’ll kill your children), taxes (everyone wants the Rais to have another palace!) and land ownership (somewhere to hide when the press gangs show up).

Annnnd Noowww: The Children ™!

But women have suffered because of the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq after 1991. The worsening economic conditions have forced many to abandon their education and to take up whatever jobs are available to feed their families. And that is not easy.

Feeding what was left of their families who had not been used as human mine detectors against Iran, or gassed by Saddam, or rounded up in a security sweep, or locked in the special Children’s Jail, or drafted to fight in Kuwait.

An estimated 5000 children die every month because they are hungry. They die of ordinary illnesses because there are no medicines.

There that number again. It can’t be easy to maintain this level of ignorance. The Children ™ don’t die from sanctions. The Kurds are not dying from sanctions in the North. Like all people under Saddam, they are dying because the regime refuses to submit to UN Resolutions, and because the humanitarian aid that gets through is stolen by the enlightened Ba’thist system to build resort cities for the Party elite, Presidential palaces by the score, and prefers new weapons systems to normal trade relations.

Read it and be quietly relieved to be on the side of the rationalists.



Collingwood tragic Michael Schack was so rocked by our earlier disclosure of alleged post-Grand Final fisticuffs between Magpie players he contacted the club as a keen supporter to get verification.
The club's response:

Complete and utter garbage. Repeat... Complete and utter garbage.

We shall see.


PROFESSOR BUNYIP'S caught the multicultural bug. Thanks to the SMH, the Prof has found a way to shrug the 9-5 ordeal, collect additional wives, spawn children and get the racist taxpayers of his adopted homeland to pay for it all.

Of all the psycho-babble spouted to justify criminal stupidity none irks more than the low self-esteem defence. You only have to visit a magistrate's court to see that regular attendees might be short of smokes but are not lacking abundant self-importance. The lawyers are even worse.
Of all places, the NEW YORK TIMES (registration required) has come up with a piece by Erica Goode that debunks the notion that a poor self-image is the malady behind most of society's complaints — and bolstering self-esteem its cure.
Studies have found no clear link between low self-esteem and delinquency, violence against others, teenage smoking, drug use or racism. High self-esteem, on the other hand, was positively correlated with racist attitudes, drunken driving and other risky behaviors.
The message to teens then is surely: Feel good about yourself, but more importantly behave yourself or you'll be in trouble and pissweak excuses will not help.


Bad blood spilt in Magpie land in the aftermath of Saturday's Grand Final loss. And it wasn't all from my maggie-attacked right ear. Ear-to-the-ground ex-Truth scribbler David Dawson passes on this disturbing tidbit:

This comes from a reliable source from inside the Collingwood
administration. Apparently at a private gathering late on Saturday night
(after much drinking), Nathan Buckley had an altercation with Chris Tarrant
and called him "weak as piss" for missing those goals in the 3rd Quarter.
Tarrant took a swing at Buckley before the scuffle was broken up by players
and officials.

The next morning, Neil Balme and Eddie McGuire were called in early by
Tarrant and his manager. Balme and McGuire were told that Tarrant will no
longer play in the same side as Buckley and because Buckley is an
"untouchable" at Collingwood, Tarrrant wants to be traded to Essendon to play with his best mate Dean

Collingwood reckon they can do a deal - Chris Tarrant for Blake Caracella!!



Quote of the day comes from veteran boardster Tony Curtis who, during a break in performances of a stage version of Some Like It Hot was asked about his marriage.
"Since I married Jillie, some friends still ask me, Tony, you're 77, isn't it dangerous to make love to a 32-year-old woman?' You know what I tell them? If she dies, she dies."


After their team's sterling but unlucky performance in the Grand Final, Collingwood supporters can afford to be gracious. So instead of being stung by the slings and arrows of envious followers of lesser clubs, we'll rejoice in them, knowing the Pies are favourites for next season. Besides you can always change the names to protect the innocent.
These from esteemed Age sub-editor Ollie Warren:

The seven dwarfs are down in the mines when there is a cave-in. Snow White runs to the entrance and yells down to them.
In this distance a voice shouts out "Collingwood are good enough to win the Premiership."
Snow White says "Well at least Dopey's alive!"

A little boy from Melbourne had gone to Rome on holiday with his
family hoping to see the Pope. Anyway, a couple of days after they'd arrived,
the Pope was doing a tour of the city in his Popemobile. The little
lad was a bit worried that the Pope wouldn't be able to pick him out in
the crowd, so his Mum said "Don't worry, the Pope is a footy dan, so wear
your Carlton jumper and he's bound to pick you out and talk to you."
So, they're in the crowd, but the Popemobile drives past them, and
stops a bit further down the street where John Paul gets out and speaks to a
little boy in a Collingwood jumper. The lad is distraught and starts
crying. His Mum says "Don't worry, the Pope's driving around tomorrow
as well, so we'll get you a Collingwood jumper and then he's bound to see
The next day arrives, and the boy's got on his new Collingwood jumper.
The Popemobile stops right by him, John Paul gets out, bends down and
says to the lad "I thought I told you to fuck off yesterday!"

These three friends all die at the same time and end up at the pearly
gates where Albert Einstein is waiting for them. The first chap
approached and Alby asks him,
"What is your IQ, my good man?"
"250" the chap replies.
"Ah excellent. We can participate in meaningful and articulate
discussions with my mates Plato and Newton about the Theory of Relativity, Chaos
Theory, Astrophysics and the Theory of Everything. We will have much to
discuss. You may enter."
The second fellow approached the gate and Albert asks him the same
"150" was the reply.
"Ah good. We can discuss the fascinating subjects of History,
Philosophy, Economics and Sociology. We will have much to discuss. You may enter."
The third chap approaches the gate nervously.
"Now my good man, what is your IQ?"
"50" the third man replies sheepishly. To which Alby's response was ....
"How about those Pies, hey?"

Eddie McGuire goes to Carlton for a meeting with John Elliott. After the
meeting, John says to Eddie, "Well Eddie, I don't know what you think of
your players at Victoria Park, but mine are all bright and brilliant."
"How do you know?" asks Eddie.
"Oh well, it's simple", says John. "They all have to take special tests
before they can play here. Just watch this." He calls SOS over and asks
him, "Tell me SOS, who is the child of your father and of your mother
who is not your brother and is not your sister?"
"Ah, that's simple John", says SOS, "it's me!"
"Well done SOS", says John, and Eddie is very impressed.
Eddie returns to Collingwood and wonders about the intelligence of the
his team. He calls in Nathan Buckley and asks, "Nathan, tell me, who is the
child of your father and of your mother who is not your brother and is
not your sister?"
Nathan thinks and thinks and doesn't know the answer. "Can I think about
it a bit more Eddie, and I'll give you the answer tomorrow?"
"Of course," says Eddie, "you've got 24 hours."
Nathan goes away, thinks as hard as he can, calls in his team-mates but
no-one knows the answer. 20 hours later, Nathan is very worried - still
no answer and only 4 hours to go. Eventually Nathan says "I know, I'll ring
Leigh Matthews, he's clever, he'll know the answer."
He calls Leigh. "Leigh," he says, "tell me who is the child of your
father and of your mother who is not your brother and is not your sister?"
"Very simple", says Leigh, "it's me!"
"Of course", says Nathan and rings Eddie.
"Eddie", says Nathan, "I've got the answer: it's Leigh Matthews". "No,
you idiot", says Eddie, "it's Stephen Silvagni".

A St Kilda fan and his two Magpie supporting friends drank at the same
bar every night after work. One evening, the St Kilda fan keels over and
The police come and are filling out the report, when one them asks the
Collingwood fans, "Did your friend have any distinguishing marks?"
One of the Collingwood fans says, "I'll say he did! He had two
The policeman says, "Oh really, and how would you know a thing like
The Collingwood fan replies, "Because every night when we come in, the
bartender would say, "Here comes the St Kilda fan with the two



He may be El Presidento but he makes me puke. If you are fortunate enough to have the smarts and breaks to get well out of the Broadie ghetto, why the hell would you want to live in freaking Toorak? Rubbing shoulders at the newsagents with tiny-peenied chartered accountants who scored $5 million for laying an insurance company to waste? Picking up the latest totally erroneous gossip of Lillian Frankenstein? Having your kids go to a good school where in year 10 they learn amputation by samurai sword? If the guy had any class he'd spend his squillions in a neighborhood with real, contented people. People who aren't impressed by materialistic bullshit. Oh, you've only heard about people like that, Ed.
Anyway, enough of my rant. This is what they had to say about the lousy-losing greedhead in Crikey's sealed section today:


"Eddie Who" (as one subscriber suggested we rename him recently), was gracious in defeat at the Collingwood wake on Sunday, rightly pointing out the gross miscarriage of justice that saw the AFL hand the premiership to Brisbane by virtue of its outrageous salary cap concessions.

Said Ed:

"While we've got the (Collingwood) army in front of us, I will declare war on the AFL today in regards to the salary cap... It's hard enough trying to win a grand final with one hand tied behind your back and we won't be doing that going forward, I can tell you that right now, so we'll get stuck into the AFL right now."

"We'll get stuck into the AFL in the next few months and work those things out, but ladies and gentlemen that's all for the future and that's what we've got to do as administrators, and as your elected board, we'll make sure Collingwood has an even chance - that's all we want - because when we get an even chance, we're better than everyone else."

In that same spirit of a level playing field, we eagerly await Eddie Who's announcement that there will be no further gratuitous plugs for Collingwood sponsors on various Channel 9 productions which make the Magpies' jumper "70% more valuable than any other jumper in the AFL".

And a UK life member (get in while you can as the monthly life member's report goes out early next week and there are only 20 of the 100 left) reports that the feeling towards Eddie in the Old Dart is just as positive as it is here:

"Hi Stephen,

Not sure if you are compiling a story on the grand final but if so, thought you might like this to add a little overseas flavour (especially given your 'admiration' of Eddie Everywhere).

I was watching the Grand Final at the Walkabout in Covent Garden Saturday morning our time with a few hundred compatriots. As the Bears kicked themselves 9 points clear a few minutes from the end, the cameras panned over to Eddie as they had been doing all game. He was seen to mutter a contrite 'for f$%'s sake' at which point a sympathetic 'awh' went up from the crowd.

This however was swiftly replaced by the time-honoured 'Hadlee's a w*nker' chant with Eddie's name replacing Sir Richard's - and kept this up until the final whistle. Seems Aussies away from home like sinking the boot in as well!


Life Member No.16"



There's one weapon of mass destruction the UN will not tolerate -- dwarfs.
CNN reports that a French ban on the controversial practice of "dwarf-tossing" has been upheld by the U.N. Human Rights Committee.


Jeffrey Scott Shapiro has been in touch to elaborate on his speculation that the kid who forecast the 9/11 attack also predicted the crash of Flight 587 in suburban NY that killed on all board.
Shapiro's explanation:

My school sources told me on Nov. 9 the boy had made another prediction about Nov.12 based on a code he thought he thought he had discovered in the Koran. The boy also told sources at the school that the same "code" easily explained the 9/11 attacks. The code did in fact translate into dates although I found it quite ridiculous. Nonetheless, it provided the boy with a perfect explanation as to how he was able to predict the attack on the Twin Towers. I have not yet written about this element of the story because there is more work to be done on it. I did however relay my information to the FBI on Nov. 9. Unfortunately, without more specific information, there was nothing they could do. I also saved an e-mail I sent my editor on Nov. 9 warning him that another event would occurs on Nov. 12. I was very surprised when I learned that a plane had in fact crashed in New York City that morning.

Ahem, no further comment needed. This from Chuck Shepherd's terrific NEWS OF THE WEIRD.

September reports in the New York Post and the Toronto Star, quoting parents' Web site "reviews" of the Mattel $19.99 Nimbus 2000 plastic-replica broomstick from the latest Harry Potter movie, highlighted its battery-powered special effect: vibration. Wrote a Texas mother: "I was surprised at how long (my daughter and her friends) can just sit in her room and play with this magic broomstick." Another said her daughter fights her son for it but complains that "the batteries drain too fast." A New Jersey mother, sensing a problem, said her daughter could keep playing with it, "but with the batteries removed." Still another mother, age 32, said she enjoyed it as much as her daughter. [New York Post, 9-7-02; Toronto Star, 9-7-02]


This is awful. Two days have passed since the Grand Final and Magpie pain has kept me awake for half the night.
Sunday dawned and the ache was ebbing. This was no Colliwobbles effort and I'm confident the cup will be in Buckley's grasp within 12 months.
I decided after lunch to take a bike ride. It was a perfect spring day for a pedal. Cool but sunny, just a breath of wind and plenty of people out and about.
I rode through the suburbs to the new Geelong Botanic Gardens extension. A fine piece of public expenditure, the annexe is dedicated to dryland horticulture. It features indigenous plantings as well as varieties from Africa, Asia and the Americas, all requiring minimum irrigation. The layout could have been designed by Salvadore Dali. Its centrepiece is a landscaped bowl carpeted with yellow river gravel and punctuated with hefty rectangular sandstone rocks. A large pond spills over the lowest point of the bowl, its terraced slopes featuring cacti on one side, Australian natives on the other with odd-shaped water-storing trees filling the gaps. A surreal human touch is provided by stainless steel "trees'' circling the bowl and encouraging the eye north-east to the bay 500 metres away.
Coasting down to the foreshore bike path I marvelled at the foreshore changes to Geelong in the past decade from dank old industrial waterfront strip to a clean, green welcoming boulevard of eateries, public art and attractions like a steel and glass enclosed Edwardian carousel.
Riding along the Western Beach section I was thinking this could be the perfect end to a fine weekend, if only . . . thoughts arose of what could have been the previous day at the MCG . . .
Then "WHAAACK!'' what felt like a bag of wet sand belted the right side of my head. As I struggled to stay on two wheels, "WHAACK!'', I was hit from the other side. Then I noticed blood dripping onto my jacket.
Realisation hit with a flapping sound and a blur of black and white as the attacker wheeled for another swoop.
With the accuracy of a Rocca and the force of a Licuria, a cranky, testosterone loaded magpie had managed to plunge beak or claw into the few centimetres of ear exposed below my helmet.
I pedalled off furiously and by the time home was reached the bleeding had stopped. But I'm here to declare that the lower rim of the human lug is very much a pain-sensitive zone. It throbbed through the Sunday night shift at the saltmine and when I finally got to bed, every time I rolled on to my right, the agony alarm screeched.
I cried after Gabbo's magnificent gallop in 64 was nullified by a tinny goal from a wandering back pocket Neil Crompton; threw a teenage fit in 65; knew delight and despair in 77; and swore Harmes was in the Jolimont carpark when he goaled in 79.
But has there ever been injustice such as this? Over Saturday night and Sunday morning I agonised over those little errors of the previous afternoon that led to such galling defeat. Cursed the umpires, particularly that myopic fool who ruled against the fifth Rocca major. But in the end drew consolation that the Pies were back as a long-term force.
So what's the dividend? A vicious attack by a Magpie!
Irony can be so savage.



Tonight's top story from the wires:

EU: Full nappy saves life of child who falls from high window Germany Nappy
NEUSS, Germany, Sept 29 DPA - A small boy who fell from a first-storey window was saved from injury by his fully laden nappy, which burst on impact, German police said today.
The child, 20 months, hit the ground on his rump. Experts said the splattered diaper had acted like a car airbag, absorbing the shock.
While alone in a room Saturday, the boy had crawled onto a window sill of his apartment in Korschenbroich, near the western city of Neuss, and leaned against a window where the catch was open. He was unhurt.
DPA jnb


Russia House came in motherless, so we dropped $10; But $10 each way on Koala, which won, returned $39, putting us up $9 for the day. But then we plonked $10 the win on Let's Went who could only scramble in for second. Down a dollar on the day. It's been worse.
In the long term, put aside $10 a week for the next few months until the sports books open for 2003 Grand Final betting. And plonk whatever you can find on the Magpies.