Brain graze



Esteemed equine estimator Magic Mick Manley is back in the saddle and confident of continuing his excellent record of late in predicting winners. His prognostications for today at Flemington are:
Back IRISH KNIGHT (Race 3, No.6) and CIVICS (Race 5, No.17) each-way. If you get a collect back GLEFTI (Race 9, No.1) each-way.
My special for the day is from the owner's mouth (He's a workmate). BOLD BARD (Race 8, No. 1). He should be at each-way odds. If he collects keep him sweet for the Melbourne Cup. How's that for a long-range forecast?



Righto, who's got some sporting equipment, old computers, agricultural equipment, desks, filing cabinets or just some surplus folding stuff?
You, you and you? Okay then, send them off to: Salesian Missions Office, PO Box 80, OAKLEIGH Vic 3166.
All this and more is desperately needed by the school kids of East Timor.
Dr Marcel Lopes of the Don Bosco technical schools has written to blogger MICHAEL DARBY seeking assistance.
Dr Lopes writes:

Dear Friends,
East Timor, now officially known as Timor-Leste became a nation in May 2002. We are not even a one year old ! We are a very poor country. It has been a very tough year.
I have received letters from people abroad asking me to nominate Timor-Leste’s greatest need and areas in which they can help. What can I say ? We need everything ! There are so many demands on all fronts.
There is no doubt that our country has many problems. However, we Timorese must face these problems and try to solve them themselves… hopefully with the help of our friends from overseas.
Many Timorese expect the Government to provide employment, medical and health services, resources for schools, maintain law and order, etc.
In reality, the Government has very little income; they don’t have money for everything.
The Church has a role and I feel it is making a significant contribution to the country. There is no doubt that the schools and clinics, run by Religious Congregations, are mostly running well though on very meagre budget.
The Salesians are heavily involved in education. We have elementary and high schools, two technical schools and agricultural school. These are at Comoro [Dili], Baucau, Fatumaca, Fuiloro, Laga, Lospalos and Venilale.



Howard: Speaking now. Reasoned, convincing and determined.
"I don't believe sitting on the sidelines has ever been the Australian way. And I don't think in the long run it does any good.''
He'd be a handy little bastard in the trenches.
Howard-hater in The Age: Some basic arithmetic will explain the eagerness of some to attack the Iraqi people. Using a calculator, deduct the population of Iraq from that of the US: 280,000,000 - 24,000,000 = 256,000,000; then deduct the population of Australia: 256,000,000 - 19,000,000 = 237,000,000. Deduct the 96,430 times we have been lied to on this matter by the leaders of the Free World = 236,903,570. Multiply by 3 (for the superpowers US, UK and Australia) = 710,710,710.
Turn your calculator upside down for the answer.
John Ogge, East Brighton

Smart-arsed, wrong and cliche-ridden. Not worth feeding.



It would be pleasing to think that media watchdog Crikey had changed its ways because it had been so stung by accusations from this and other blogs that personal benefit had prompted it to go soft on the ABC. That was my first reflection on reading CRIKEY'S illuminating critique of Four Corners by someone whose awareness had advanced beyond 1970 moratoria. But than I realised Crikey publisher Stephen Mayne is a journalist who, for all his ABC toadying, can't resist a fine piece of writing when it's offered gratis.



Jeez, I thought it was tough when I got sore wrists from typing.
MIAMI - A Florida phone sex operator has won a workers' compensation settlement claiming she was injured after regularly masturbating at work, her lawyer said.
During the course of her claim for workers' compensation benefits, the now 40-year-old employee of Fort Lauderdale's CFP Enterprises Inc, said she developed carpal tunnel syndrome - also known as repetitive motion injury - in both hands from masturbating as many as seven times a day while speaking with callers, said attorney Stephen Slootsky, who spoke about the case this week on the condition that his client's name not be revealed.


Geoff Niland refers to THE ONION for an overview on the punishment that should be meted out to bin Laden and his motley band of maniacs. It's a hoot:

"I was promised I would spend eternity in Paradise, being fed honeyed
cakes by 67 virgins in a tree-lined garden, if only I would fly the
airplane into one of the Twin Towers," said Mohammed Atta, one of the
hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11, between attempts to vomit up
the wasps, hornets, and live coals infesting his stomach. "But instead,
I am fed the boiling feces of traitors by malicious, laughing Ifrit. Is
this to be my reward for destroying the enemies of my faith?"
The rest of Atta's words turned to raw-throated shrieks, as a tusked,
asp-tongued demon burst his eyeballs and drank the fluid that ran down
his face.


JAMES TARANTO in his BEST OF THE WEB column today puts a convincing case for a bloody big shake-up at the United Nations:
There's certainly an argument to be made that the U.N., as presently constituted, is worse than useless. For one thing, despite the U.N.'s professed aversion to war, what it really seems to object to is victory. In the U.N.'s 58-year history, two wars have been waged under Security Council auspices: Korea and the Gulf War. Both ended with less than total victories, leaving in power two of the worst tyrannies on earth, which are now two of the world's most dangerous rogue states. (If the U.N. instead of the Allies had fought World War II, Germany might still be ruled by Nazis instead of weasels.) U.N. peacekeeping operations, too, are at best a mixed bag, with a record of failing to prevent such horrors as the Srebrenica massacre and the Rwanda genocide.


For once, the Slatts' household is in partial agreement with the Howard-hating bleeding heart letter writers to THE AGE. viz:

Let's not become monsters ourselves
It would seem that the Prime Minister has undermined Australia's strong and principled stance on the death penalty in recent comments to the media.
For many years - with near unanimity of parliamentary voices - Australia has opposed the death penalty in principle and in practice. Australia has forcefully opposed the death penalty for Australians convicted overseas, has refused to extradite suspects to face the death penalty and has pushed for the abolition of the death penalty in its human rights dialogue with a number of countries.
Premeditated, cold-blooded executions do not lend themselves to pragmatism. Justice is not served by killing people. The death penalty dehumanises all those involved. Australians, including a number of members of the Prime Minister's cabinet, recognise this.
The horrors of Bali and the World Trade Centre will not be undone by a weak position on the death penalty. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes need to be found, tried and punished according to law.
In Australia the law says we don't kill criminals. When dealing with monsters we should not become monsters ourselves. Let's not let the terrorists win.
Russell Thirgood, president,
Amnesty International Australia

Nah, execution is just part of their game plan. I suggest regularly cutting off a piece of Ali M'kamelrooder -- with a rusty blade -- and dressing the wound with caustic soda before stitching the body part back on. All without anesthetic, of course. About once a week for 25 years should be sufficient.
Not punitive enough? Grimmer punishments from the Blogiverse welcomed.



NEWS OF THE WEIRD this week is an absolute treasure trove of, well, weirdness.
You can learn about some of the 2,630 denominations listed in J. Gordon Melton's new edition of the Encyclopedia of American Religion including the (John F.) Kennedy Worshippers, the Nudist Christian Church of the Blessed Virgin Jesus, the Church of God Anonymous, the Church of the New Song (once offered porterhouse steaks for communion), and 22 that believe in UFOs (including the clone-happy Raelians).
Then there's the world's greatest lawyer Mr. Chocwe Lumumba, Esq., of In Holmes County, Miss., who earned an acquittal for his client, former policeman Eddie Myers, having convinced the jury that it was self-defence when Myers killed his sister-in-law (who was the assistant police chief). Myers told the jury that, yes, he grabbed two .40-caliber handguns and fired 36 shots, hitting the woman 14 times, and yes, the victim's own handgun was found by emergency workers still strapped inside its holster, but it was still self-defence. [Clarion-Ledger, 10-23-02].
And there's weak-willed peace protester, Boston City Councilman Felix Arroyo, who opposes war in Iraq, and who announced in January that he was going on a hunger strike to protest U.S. policy. Arroyo said he would begin a liquid-only regimen, but then limited that to daylight hours (thus allowing himself dinner and, theoretically, breakfast), and later qualified that to mean that he would only adhere to this hardship diet on the second and fourth Fridays of each month. [Boston Globe, 1-30-03]
But the saddest sack around has to be Filipino George Mamaril, who perhaps overreacting to his wife, Evelyn's, suspicion of infidelity, severed his penis on Feb. 22, wrapped it in newspaper, and tossed it through the window of her parents' house, where she was staying, with a note reading (in Filipino), "So you will not suspect I am courting another girl." [Philippine Star, 2-27-03]