Monday, October 24, 2005

Festival of Alans

What can I possibly say? This cartoon in the weekend paper foreshadowed a text message from one of the Alans in my life. Have you had any Alan experiences lately?


PostSecret is fun for all. Check it out. But I gotta say, this one is one of the most unique and impressive of the 'secrets' I've seen.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Detainee free as a bird

AUSTRALIA's longest serving detainee, Peter Qasim, was yesterday treated to his first helicopter ride, courtesy of Dick Smith. The adventurer and businessman - who actively campaigned for Mr Qasim's release - flew over Sydney in the helicopter. "A couple of months before he'd been locked up for seven years and here he was, free at last," Mr Smith said. Mr Qasim spent six years and 10 months in the Woomera and Baxter detention centres in South Australia before being released in July. He is now living in Perth and working as a poultry butcher. The Federal Government issued Mr Qasim with a Removal Pending Visa when he was released. The visa means he must leave Australia and return to Kashmir when it is safe.


I was retelling the story of getting lost with Alanas in Tallinn to someone the other day... Was it JC? Can't remember. Anyways, what a day. I must post photos. We were in Tallinn for maybe 2 days and visited some kind of ethnographic museum. Alanas saw a huge old map of Tallinn that showed a large lake just outside the centre. "Wow, a lake, let's check it out!" he enthused. We three joined him and started walking. And kept walking. For hours. Through the back blocks, the boondocks, the shitty outer reaches of Tallinn. We stopped on a corner, consulted the map........ Turns out the map scale was all outta whack. It was FOUR TIMES further than the scale indicated. We kept walking. Eventually, we got to massive freeway with 10 or so lanes, had to sprint across to a wooded area that looked promising. Got across and stared balefully at the sinister 'Keep Out' signs in Russian - obviously still hanging there from the USSR daze. Goddamn it was a disappointing day. We experimented with a different route on the way back - along a train track then cutting through a series of vacant lots featuring smouldering rubbish, partially demolished houses, small piles of fetid meat and bus drivers beating their carpets. Eventually we found ourselves in the back of an old Jewish cemetery. Walked through thousands of graves, getting newer and more tidy as we walked. Tallinn proper was a sight for sore eyes when we made it back. Anyways, I thought of this because of the treks I've been going on lately around my area, and also because I found a site with some urban wasteland shots from Estonia.

$500 CASH!

HEALTH Minister Tony Abbott's plan to bring in a pre-emptive maternity allowance as a means to reduce the number of abortions has been labelled "patronising and offensive".The "baby bonus" is currently paid after birth, but in a range of measures to be put before Cabinet, Mr Abbott wants to offer early-pregnancy instalments. A $500 payment would be made to pregnant women at 14 weeks and another $500 at 32 weeks with the balance of the $3000 "baby bonus" paid after birth.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Anglo-American Force

I read that Lithuania’s President secretly went to visit the Lithuanian troops who are serving in the war in Iraq. I wondered how many were serving. Looks like my next favourite destination country, GEORGIA has more troops serving than Australia.
Herewith a table showing the (estimated) number of troops committed to Iraq as of March 2005:

USA 130,000 troops.
United Kingdom 8,761
South Korea 3,300
Italy 3,030
Poland 1,500
Ukraine 950
Georgia 889
Romania 860
Australia 850
Japan 550
Denmark 540
Bulgaria 450
El Salvador 380
Mongolia 180
Azerbaijan 151
Latvia 136
Albania 120
Lithuania 118
Slovakia 105
Czech Republic 80
Bosnia and Herzegovina 36
Estonia 35
Macedonia 33
Kazakhstan 27
Norway 10

Friday, October 14, 2005

The revolution is just a teeshirt away

It may have been Camelot for Jack and Jacqueline
But on the Che Guevara highway filling up with gasoline
Fidel Castro's brother spies a rich lady who's crying
Over luxury's disappointment
So he walks over and he's trying
To sympathise with her but he thinks that he should warn her
That the Third World is just around the corner

In the Soviet Union a scientist is blinded
By the resumption of nuclear testing and he is reminded
That Dr. Robert Oppenheimer's optimism fell
At the first hurdle

In the Cheese Pavilion and the only noise I hear
Is the sound of someone stacking chairs
And mopping up spilt beer
And someone asking questions and basking in the light
Of the fifteen fame filled minutes of the fanzine writer
Mixing pop and politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the great leap forwards

Jumble sales are organised
And pamphlets have been posted
Even after closing time there's still parties to be hosted
You can be active with the activists
Or sleep in with the sleepers
While you're waiting for the great leap forwards

One leap forward, two leaps back
Will politics get me the sack?
Here comes the future and you can't run from it
If you've got a blacklist I want to be on it
It's a mighty long way down rock 'n roll
From Top of the Pops to drawing the dole
If no one seems to understand
Start your own revolution and cut out the middleman
In a perfect world we'd all sing in tune
But this is reality so give me some room
So join the struggle while you may
The revolution is just a tee shirt away
Waiting for the great leap forwards

Friday, October 07, 2005


JUST when you think Amanda Vanstone can't get more outrageous, she does.
Yesterday, she should have been contrite. You'd think, having presided over the Immigration Department since October 2003, she might feel she ought to have noticed how appalling it was.
Instead she joked provocatively at suggestions she should take some responsibility for the shocking culture, documented in the Comrie report, that existed until the lid was recently blown off it. "Look, there've been calls for me to step aside from, actually, March 1996," she quipped. "I'm thinking of trying to buy the copyright on Elton John's song I'm Still Standing, but I don't want to tempt fate. So I'll just play it to myself quietly at night."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Jon Ronson

Should have posted yesterday regarding this possible genius. And this post will be a bit lame cos I'm feeling lacklustre today. But just need to get it up - I'll edit it later. I saw this guy, Jon Ronson in conversation about his books on Monday night. It was part of a Salon series organised by Sleepers Publishing. Come to the next one if you can - it's on the 24th of November and the guy they'll have on then (David Corlett) has a lot of interesting stuff to say too. Anyways. Jon Ronson was hilarious, insightful and thought-provoking. Check out his work.

Jon Ronson is the Pommy version of John Safran. He's a writer and documentary film maker. His books, Them: Adventures With Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats are international bestsellers. He grew up in Cardiff and began his journalistic career as an award-winning columnist for Time Out, and also wrote for the The Guardian and produced BBC Radio 4 documentaries.
His goat book is about his investigation into the US military's strange experiments with the paranormal. At the "Goat Lab," tests were made to see if people could kill animals by simply staring at them. One man, Guy Savelli, who Ronson interviewed, told him that he was able to knock down one of the goats through remote influencing. Other experiments such as walking through walls and becoming invisible were less successful, Ronson reported. The unit that conducted the tests, known as The First Earth Battalion, was spearheaded by Jim Channon who incorporated a number of "new age" teachings into the program. Ronson believes that the use of sound on prisoners at such places at Guantanamo Bay developed out of the Battalion's tests. He also discussed his infiltration of the Bilderberg Group and Bohemian Grove. One of the "Bilderbergers" told him that they do have an agenda towards a one-world government. He characterized the rituals he witnessed at the Bohemian Grove as a "weird mix of paganism and Broadway," but not necessarily of evil intent.

Um, Teach, apparently the director of Napoleon Dynamite is going to direct the film version of Them: Adventures with Extremists!!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Australia shuns Middle East migrants

MORE than half of Australians would like fewer migrants from the Middle East, despite a decade-long softening in opposition to immigration. New research also found British migrants want their countrymen to make the same journey. Despite the divisive debate about boat people, refugees and the Federal Government's mandatory detention policy, Australians appear to be becoming more tolerant, with overall opposition to immigration falling markedly in recent years. But 53 per cent would like to see fewer migrants from the Middle East, according to the research, to be published in Monash University's People and Place this month. There is opposition, too, to more Asian migrants, with 36.7 per cent of Australian-born people wanting fewer Asian arrivals. Opposition to further migration was moderate in relation to migrants from southern Europe or Britain. There has been a fall in opposition to boat people since the boats stopped, particularly among those from a non-English-speaking background. In 2001, 63.1 per cent of Australian-born people said they thought "all boats carrying asylum seekers should be turned back", but last year only 53.3 per cent thought that. The author of the paper, Katharine Betts, of Swinburne University, said Australia was unusual in having had a large immigration program over a number of years. "It's part of the deal that if governments are going to do that, they have got to convince people it's in the interests of Australians, not simply in the interests of the immigrants themselves," Dr Betts said.

Ukraine : Perestroika to independence

If you see a copy of the book Ukraine : Perestroika to independence by Taras Kuzio, please drop it in to the library at Melbourne Uni. I lost this goddamn book four months ago and have been renewing it ever since, in the vain hope that it would turn up... Now it's crunch time and the Shirley from the library has informed me that: "There is a handling administrative charge of $15.00 plus the cost of the book. If the book is found within two months after payment is received from you the $15.00 is not refundable only the amount of the book is. If you wish to go ahead you will need to complete and sign a lost book report. A hard copy of the form can be collected from the loans desk of the library. "

Monday, October 03, 2005


I didn't know this was a word.
Then I read an article about Paris calling of her engagement to Paris.
She was described as a celebutante!

Defined by urban dictionary as: "A female of high society and wealth whose debut becomes publicly visible and famed; a debutante who achieves celebrity status."

Wikipedia defines it as: "A portmanteau of the terms celebrity and debutante. The term denotes a socialite who is 'famous for being famous'"