Our mission

Are you that special person who - weary from trudging the endless superhighways - just longs to camp next to a glorious oasis of the mind? Do you desire to explore new frontiers, splash in shared ideas, fill your belly with the refreshing fruits of inspiration, and bask in the gentle rays of fond reflection?

Well, you can fuck right off. This, my friends, is not that place. This place is... The ShadowLands.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Getting to the bottom of Mahmoud

Inspired by this post at the blog site of a respected international newspaper, MM has run another one up the flagpole. Let's see if anyone salutes.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Australia's Jacko

One of Australia's cultural luminaries turns 49 on August 30. Mark "Jacko" Jackson is a former Aussie Rules player who went on to become one of our most revered popular singers, later going to the heights of saying "Oi!" in Energizer battery commercials screened in the US. He later made the mistake of stepping into the boxing ring with rugby league player, Mal Meninga.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Celebrate good times

To balloon drop or not? That is the question currently hanging over the Kenyan Democratic Convention, where jubilant crowds have been celebrating the nomination of Barack Obama. His success is being celebrated with a special fervour by his closest relatives.

A fight ruck-up

The Rev William Spooner is the Oxford Don who is remembered for his supposed tendency to accidentally switch consonants or vowels, thus, "Let us glaze our asses to the queer old dean."

Dying on August 29, 1930, he once admonished a crowd, "You haven't come for my lecture, you just want to hear one of those...things.".

Jimmy Reed

Dying August 29, 1976 was Mississippi bluesman Jimmy Reed. Amongst others, Reed was a key influence on the Rolling Stones.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Walkers may use feet: Rudd

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to the National Press Club today: "If some walk with their feet, that’s exactly what the system is designed to do."

DPRK sweeps international competition

The so-called west stands broken and defeated at the hands of North Korea once again.

When will the west learn that it is no match for the ingenuity and resolve of the great Democratic People's Republic of Korea? Good job, comrades.

Victorious participants welcomed home to a rapturous reception here.

What I've been thinking: with Cate Blanchett

The ShadowLands hasn't heard much lately from our environment correspondent and leading celebrity, Cate Blanchett, but this is about to be rectified. Take it away Cate.

It is a great honour, once again in my capacity as leading celebrity, Cate Blanchett to tell you how to think. Some of you may recall my last column at the ShadowLands, where I gave you some practical tips about how to behave on World Biodiversity Day.

Well, since that great day, I have been keeping a close eye on the environment by reading a lot of newspapers - and guess what - things are very, very bad. As we all know, warming will kill us all. But the environment is a place full of surprises, so the question is, how will it kill us?

All of the evidence seems to be that as our knowledge expands, if anything, nature is becoming more diverse, not less. New weird animals are being found all over the place. A new dolphin species here. A worm snake there.

Now we hear that gorillas are forming in large groups in Africa. Now rubber suits of Big Foots are showing up as some kind of diversionary tactic.

What I'm saying here folks is that mother Gaia is being warmed. Mother Gaia is not happy. In fact, mother Gaia is getting very, very pissed off about the warmness, and soon she shall have her revenge. We are about to be attacked and eaten by weird animals. See if I am wrong. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Convention kicks off in Kenya

Denver Schmenver. What about the Obama Convention currently going on in Kenya? Crowds of relatives and friends of Barack are swelling with anticipation. Will the balloon drop happen? Will there be at least three colours in each meal?

Journalism funding wasted: Tonkin

REUTERS: Australian Olympic captain James Tonkin has told cheering crowds in Sydney this morning that the millions of dollars in public money spent training Australian journalists would be better spent in elite sports programs.

"As demonstrated by the likes of Adele Horin, Australian media training is clearly not very good," Tonkin told the crowd. "Whereas we came 6th in international competition, if they were pitched into international competition, Australia's journalists would be lucky to make the final in the 'accurate reporting of tides' event.

"Clearly, instead of wasting millions on politically biased journalism courses, we would be better off taking a leaf from the UAE and buying some long distance runners from east Africa."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Chappaquiddick - the real story

Many of the ShadowLands' discriminating readers would be familiar with the work of Ken Burns (pictured) - director of some outstanding documentaries on American history, such as The Civil War.

Somewhat fewer readers might recall that in 2004, he criticised George W Bush for his "culture of censorship".

However, with this ringing our ears, there is some very exciting news. Mr Burns is about to release an unflinching documentary about Senator Ted Kennedy, that will no doubt get to the bottom of what really happened at Chappaquiddick.
UPDATE: Got 8 minutes you don't need back? Here 'tis. "The sea for me has always been a metaphor for life..." You mean, sometimes you can drown and sometimes you swim. Mmmh an ominous start. Hang on - it's not a documentary, it's a hagiography. There's your answer then. Could it be that George W Bush has censored it?

Lifestyles of the poor and homeless

The Democratic Convention is commencing in Colorado, meaning that there is only a short time left for homeless people to get their free hair-cuts.

Any homeless people reading the ShadowLands are encouraged to hurry on down and get your free 'do. Once you are all spruced up, don't forget to check out some of the great attractions at the homeless home show.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Gene Simmons

The bass player of Kiss, Gene Simmons is way more interesting than most rock stars. Born Chaim Witz in Israel on 25 August 1949, he claims never to have smoked, been drunk, or high in his life.

Simmons was a supporter of the war in Iraq and was quoted as saying, "I'm ashamed to be surrounded by people calling themselves liberal who are, in my opinion, spitting on the graves of brave American soldiers who gave their life to fight a war that wasn't theirs...in a country they've never been to...simply to liberate the people therein".

By way of explanation he said: "I will forever be grateful to America for going into World War II , when it had nothing to gain, in a country that was far away...and rescued my Mother from the Nazi German concentration camps. She is alive and I am alive because of America. And, if you have a problem with America, you have a problem with me." More on Simmons' support for Canadian soldiers here.

Higher, faster, lamer

This game has the word Olympics in it, so I thought I would link to it before the window closed. Pretty lame, I know. Requires just two clicks of the left mouse - one to point your trajectory and the second to set your power level.

Green riddle

A quick quiz ShadowLanders...

Which event requires 120 tons of lights and speakers, and a re-inforced roof to hold them up, specially made suites, 160 miles of copper cable, 3000 data lines, the reliability of coal fired power plus extra transformers to handle the massive power draw?

I bet you guessed already. It's the greenest political convention ever. But still no word on the bio-degradable balloons.

McCain does it again

Everything seems to be running against Barack at the moment....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was the psychiatrist who is famous for identifying the five stages of death and dying - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Sadly, before she died, Kübler Ross got into some weird stuff that has tarnished her reputation.

Nevertheless, it is alleged that she died on August 24, 2004 - though somehow I doubt it. And if she did - why her of all people, dammit? Why poor sweet Elisabeth? Perhaps if they let her live a little longer, someone less worthy could die first? But then - why bother and what's the point. I guess it was always going to happen anyway. It'll be okay - it happens to everyone eventually. Let it be.

Let's be like Canada: Horin

Dingbat opinion writer Adele Horin says that if Australia was bad at the Olympics, like Canada, Australians would be better for it.

Now let's look at some of Horin's claims.

"But little outcry is heard over our failure to be a world-beater in, say, solar technology..." Oh yeah, never heard that one before.

"Years ago the Canadian Government decided to spend more money on community sport to encourage mass participation, and less on its elite athletes." Now that's just vague.

"In Beijing, each gold medal has cost Australia at least $50 million..." Difficult to refute, but this one just sets off the bullshit detectors.

Canadians "have not gone to fat as fast as we have" - Hmmm - dubious.

"Canadians have a higher life expectancy than Australians." Probably not true.

"Of 34 countries surveyed in 2004 by the International Social Survey Program, we ranked third - behind Venezuela and New Zealand - for our sense of pride in sporting achievements. In the US, democratic credentials, political influence, military power and scientific achievements were more important sources of pride than sport."

Hang on Adele - just a minute ago you were criticising Americans for their obesity problems...

Here is the study, with the relevant table on page 13. Horin fails to mention that in terms of world rankings, Australians are equally proud of scientific achievements, and more proud of our democracy. I guess it just doesn't fit with the story.

Whale disposal - a guide

The ShadowLands has linked to this before, but we're giving it another run in light of recent events. RIP Colin.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Funds transfer success

If this report about the success of Nigerian email scams is anything to go by, there is no pending shortage of gullible people in Australia.

Perhaps even more alarming though is to learn (from the link) that "Professor Olu Agbi said there were almost 140 million people in Nigeria and fewer than 0.1 per cent were involved." By my calculations, that means up to 140,000 Nigerians are having difficulties with transferring their millions overseas - surely this makes it a significant industry in this poverty stricken nation.

By the way, if you are unfamiliar with the entertainment to be had in baiting the scammers, I recommend this site - it's a hoot.

William Wallace

On August 23, 1305, William Wallace was stripped naked and dragged through London at the heels of a horse to Smithfield. He was strangled by hanging but released while still alive, emasculated, eviscerated, and his bowels burnt before him, beheaded then cut into four parts. His preserved head was placed on a pike atop London Bridge. It was later joined by the heads of his brothers, John, and Simon Fraser. His limbs were displayed, separately, in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Berwick upon Tweed, Stirling and Aberdeen.

These injuries were so severe, he is thought to have died from his wounds.

Wallace quotes: "Every man dies. Not every man really lives."

"I'm William Wallace, and the rest of you will be spared. Go back to England and tell them... Scotland is free!"

Failed play replicates campaign

Nigel Jamieson's play Gallipoli finishes up this weekend. Despite running at Sydney's highest profile theatre company, it has lasted less than one month, much like his previous play about David Hicks. Never mind, there's a good living to be made from awards.

Science 1, Colin 0

It didn't turn out so well for Colin the baby whale, but science had a win.

"An examination will now be carried out to try and determine why the calf was abandoned by its mother" - but not apparently, why he was abandoned by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Pictured: National Parks and Wildlife Staff conducting research on Colin the baby whale.

Commentators say the darndest things Part V

At the basketball: "Since they won this match, they will look back on it as a positive."

After the race, about the winner of the women's 200 metres: "Her best distance is between 100 metres and 400 metres."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Reduce, re-use, recycle

A number of media organisations appear to be recycling an older story about the Chinese having a few paperwork issues at the gymnastics, which is nice - but probably reflects more on the fact they didn't give it the prominence it deserved in the first place.

Jim's island

August 22 1770 will be remembered as the day that Lieutenant James Cook stood on the newly named Possession Island and claimed the entire eastern Australian coastline as British territory.

All students of Australian history will know that Cook used the racist legal principle of terra nullius - a Latin expression meaning land belonging to no-one - as the basis to make this audacious claim.
Unfortunately, historian Michael Connor has discovered that this is bunk. The legal profession, including perpetual sad guy and Mabo Judge, Sir William Deane were misled into believing terra nullius was "the basis of all land law in this country.”

As Connor revealed, in fact virtually nobody would have heard of the term before the swinging 1970s. Read what Cook actually wrote in his journal on that fateful day, here.

Cook quote: "Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again."

Will Russia keep its promise?

Okay - Pravda blog is not the most reliable source of information, but something about this post rings true. The poster claims Russian troops will remain in Tskhinvali for a long time to come.

Well, well, well, well, well

Did you hear the story of the nine wells?

Further training required

Australian middle distance runner Craig Mottram has missed out on the final of his 5000 metre event. Okay - it's the kind of thing that can happen. But most distressingly he refuses to come up with an excuse:

"I couldn't go anymore. I don't know why I just wasn't good enough...I got no excuses. I backed myself to make it in the top four and it bit me on the arse - that's sport."

But surely Craig - the heat, the pollution, an American judge, intense media scrutiny, drug cheats, an American conspiracy, an achilles strain, a mystery chest infection, AMERICA...For God's sake, somebody step in and get this guy some media training!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Usain

After cruising to victory in the 100 metres final and 200 metres semi-final in Beijing, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was quoted as saying he just wanted to show the world how hard he is working. Ironically, this is perhaps the one thing at Beijing that he has not yet achieved. Bolt is 22 years of age on 21 August.

Super Wednesday

It's the day we've all been waiting for in Beijing - the BMX event. Let's hope Australia's unusual training methods pay off.

Saving Colin

An abandoned baby whale - dubbed Colin - is tragically trying to bond with yachts in the waters north of Sydney before it starves to death. So can anything be done to save the animal? Quite possibly.

Here are some tried and true cetacean calf formulas.

UPDATE: Things are looking grim for Col.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Capitalism and Freedom Part VI

The ShadowLands' correspondent on capitalism and freedom, John Butler from the John Butler Trio continues his popular, though controversial, series on capitalism and freedom.

I have had some great feedback from readers about this series on capitalism and freedom - and some have picked up on a very strong hint of Milton Friedman in some of my views - and lets face it, many of the actual sentences. Well sure, I'm not embarrassed to say I am a fan of Friedman - and here's an example of why:

August 20 1991 will be remembered as the day when Estonians achieved independence from the Soviet Union. Soon after independence, Estonian Prime Minister, Mart Laar inherited leadership of a country with 1,000 percent inflation, 30 percent unemployment, and disastrously inefficient government-owned businesses. Laar's government removed price controls, cut regulations and welfare programs, sold state-owned businesses, introduced a new currency, and instituted a flat-rate income tax.

Inflation in Estonia has fallen below 3 percent, unemployment has plunged below 6 percent. Estonia has enjoyed the greatest growth in real per-capita income of any of the former Soviet states. Today the country is a member of NATO, the European Union, and the World Trade Organisation and rated 12th in the world for economic freedom.

On taking the Prime Ministership, the first book that Laar read was Milton Friedman's Free to Choose. Says Laar: "The first time I heard the name Milton Friedman, it was in propaganda newsletters that said there is one very bad and very dangerous economist, and his name is Milton Friedman. I was quite sure, when he is so dangerous for the Communists to be telling me this, he must be a good man."
Happy Estonian Independence Day to all readers of the ShadowLands.

DPRK robbed again

A North Korean double medallist in shooting, 31-year-old Kim Jong Su has been disqualified for alleged doping irregularities. However, as noted by the Korean Friendship Association, this is most likely a trumped up charge, or something relating to blood pressure medication.

Although technically these games are known as the Beijing Olympics, a Canadian KFA contributor nails it when she says:

"Seems to me like the USA is working harder then ever to strip medals from Socialist Nations just to put themselves into the lead. It sure as heck is not because their athletes are worth the dirt on my shoe."

Kim Jong's medal winning exploits have been reported in North Korea, but not his disqualification - which must lead to some tricky questions about how he will be treated when he returns to the glorious DPRK.


Sexism not really minded

"Are you hysterical or what? Having a difficult menopause?..."

If this were to appear as the opening sentence on the opinion page of a major newspaper, it would surely cause outrage amongst feminists, wouldn't it?

But not if the newspaper is Pravda, and this woman is the subject of the diatribe.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Blind Willie McTell

The influential twelve string finger-picking Piedmont guitarist, Blind Willie McTell died on August 19, 1959. His unique country/blues style inspired many musicians, including Bob Dylan.

World first: ABC story not researched

A one minute google search demonstrated that this story on the ABC is not even remotely close to true. Phew...somebody mop my brow.

UPDATE: Looks like the ABC and Sydney Morning Herald have pooled their researching resources.

Commentators say the darndest things Part IV

At the swimming: "He just has to swim to the wall."

At the field hockey: "It was a good pass, he just couldn't control it."

At the women's marathon with 10 kilometres to go: "I'm willing to call it early and say they will catch up with her." (They didn't.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The warming that came too late

Climate heretic Bjorn Lomborg argues that if global warming occurs, it will lead to fewer deaths - an argument that sadly received a boost in Australia this past weekend.

Denis Leary

Many of you may know comedian Denis Leary, who was born on August 18 1957, from his amusing ditty, Asshole.

Less amusing are continuing allegations that Leary really is an asshole. (Careful - rude language alert.)

Helium

Helium was first discovered - though not quite identified yet - on August 18, 1868 by French astronomer, Pierre Janssen looking at the sun during an eclipse. This was the first element identified in space before it was identified on Earth.

As many people know, helium is a hoot because it can make your voice go funny, but it is not a good idea to inhale it at the expense of oxygen. It is less well known that you can lower your voice by inhaling a dense gas such as sulfur hexafluoride. Sulfur hexafluoride is extra cool, because it is considered the world's most potent greenhouse gas.

Dear Kevin - week 5

Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd repeated his claim that Australia is the hottest and driest continent on the planet on a surprisingly balanced report aired on Sixty Minutes tonight. All of which reminds me -it is five weeks today since I first wrote to him seeking evidence to back up this claim. Looks like being another long week by the letterbox.

Phelps unstoppable

You can still vote in a poll asking whether the Australian men's medley swimming relay can stop Michael Phelps claiming his eighth gold medal, despite the fact he has already won it. With all things taken into consideration, my vote is for no.

UPDATE: Bah - spoilsports changed it.

World embraces Clinton

I guess it will come as no surprise to Hillary Clinton to learn that the world has embraced her husband.

According to this report in leading newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Clinton has used his rotor blades to drive a gritty storm of dust into the faces of Ethiopian villagers. Can a Nobel Prize be far away?

Make your own

motivational poster like this one over here....

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's a medal-lanche

The ShadowLands has temporarily gone red to honour Canada which has won gold, silver and bronze all in quick succession. Ironically enough, two of the medals were in wrestling.

Proving that just about anyone can do it if they really set their minds to it, even New Zealanders won medals today. Hearty congratulations all round.

David Crockett

The real life Davy Crockett's birthday was the day after Fess Parker's, though Crockett was born in 1786. Crockett represented Tennessee in the US House of Representatives, took part in the Texas revolution and died at the Alamo.

The last entry in Crockett's diary: "Pop, pop, pop! Bom, bom, bom! throughout the day. No time for memorandums now. Go ahead! Liberty and Independence forever. "

Commentators say the darndest things Part III

At the rowing: "The Australian men just need to go with the speed of the boat."

At the walking event: "Targett [the walker] was physically ill as he went over the finish line, so congratulations to him."

Canada name change shock

REUTERS: The Canadian Olympic Committee, has called on Canada to change its name as part of a plan to improve its standing on medal tallies. President of the Committee, Michael Chambers says that having the name "Canada" means that other nations who don't win medals appear before it on charts tallying up the winners.

"It's unfair that nations such as Albania and Azerbaijhan can win no medals and appear above us on the medal chart. That is why we are proposing that Canada change it's name to 'Aaaaaaa'.

"It may take a bit of getting used to, but instead of appearing to come 83rd, we can instantly climb to the top of the leader board of nations with no medals - a difference of 30 placings or so. I will be meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss the new proposal as a matter of urgency."

Mr Chambers explains the name 'Aaaaaah' was also considered.

"The committee decided it was not worth the risk of using a letter from lower in the alphabet and being gazumped by some try-hard like New Zealand," he concluded.

Australia's Olympic shame

Australians are currently in shock after a day in which nobody won a gold medal, and journalists are searching deep inside the nation's soul for answers.

Meanwhile, at posting time, Canada had slipped to 81st, based on medals won and alphabetical order.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Gap-toothed

hag Madonna is 50 on August 16. She is admired internationally for dressing differently in various videos whilst writhing on the floor. She was once a back-up dancer for the great philosopher Patrick Hernandez.

Happy birthday Fess

Actor Fess Parker is 84 on August 16. Amongst celebrities, he holds the distinction of being married to the same woman for nearly 50 years. Altogether now...

Xicolatada

If you can't get to Palau de Cedagne in south western France on August 16, make sure you enjoy a hot chocolate at precisely 11 am.

This is to celebrate Xicolatada, a festival that has grown out of the tradition of serving hot chocolate from a secret recipe designed as a hangover cure.

Excessive consumption of the beverage is not recommended, however, as it is believed to cause a large red condom to grow out of your head.

Canada's big chance

REUTERS: Today Canada experienced its best chance to get a medal at the Beijing Olympics so far when a Swedish wrestler threw his away. Unfortunately, the Canadian wrestling team was brushed aside by a spectator from Kyrgyzstan.

The ways of winners

1. Good eyesight

2. Outstanding concentration

3. Up to date documentation.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Decision made

Seemingly oblivious to the evils of capitalism, a 19-year-old East German guard, Conrad Schumann made a successful escape from East Germany on August 15, 1961.

Olympic update

There were great expectations that Canada would leap ahead of Togo - or at least go level pegging - in the medal count today with their best hope in the pool competing. Let's check in on how he went.

UPDATE: Close but no cigar in the fencing.

Commentators say the darndest things Part II

At the canoeing: "It's all in the arms and shoulders."

At the rowing: "The cox will be telling them to breathe...You can see them breathing, as you would expect..."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

John Logie Baird

Born on August 13, 1888, John Logie Baird was a truly great inventor.

In his twenties he tried to create diamonds by heating graphite and shorted out Glasgow's electricity supply. Later, he created the first television set using a hatbox, a pair of scissors, some darning needles, a few bicycle light lenses, a used tea chest, and sealing wax and glue.

Sadly, in Australia today, many associate him with the television awards known as the Logies, and the self-obsessed retards who win them.

O Canada

Okay, this is not the best laid out website ever, but if you can see around the advertisements you will find a handy table to keep you informed of Canada's progress at the Olympics.

UPDATE: At posting time at least, Canada is ranked here as 75th.

Beijing got it right: ShadowLands

A storm of media bumpf has erupted over the decision to prevent some snaggle-toothed chick from miming her own voice at the Beijing Olympics. The ShadowLands says: get over it people.

If we wanted to see people with bad teeth on the tele during the Olympics, we would hold the event in England - and nobody wants to see that. What's more, when the great Milli Vanilli finally makes a comeback, you can be sure that the ShadowLands will be there in the front row.

(Pictured above from left to right: the ugly one nobody likes, and the pretty, popular one.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sports triumph for Sierra Leone

"It goes to show what Sierra Leone can do when it puts its mind to it. We have managed to stick a feather in the cap for the country."

Okay ShadowLanders, what is it that has made Sierra Leonians so proud? Find out here.

Incidentally, a controversial book once posited the unspeakable theory that the wealth of nations is related to the intelligence of its people - and ranked Sierra Leone third last.

Naomi Wolf is a plonker

Like many a feminist before her, Naomi Wolf is finding she needs to get more shrill to try and maintain interest and book sales - which explains why she started with The Beauty Myth and has wound up with The End of America.

She has also discovered that the shriller she gets, the less interested are her compatriots - but she can still make a living by dumping on her homeland in journals like the China Daily.

In this article she seems to be oblivious to the fact that 16 people have been convicted or disciplined over Abu Ghraib, and ignorant or not interested in some of the issues that should concern her in the country of publication.

Olympic effort

The ShadowLands' great friend, 1.618 has sent us an exclusive photograph from her Olympic series. Unfortunately, our crack IT department may take a little while to figure out how to turn the image the right way up, but in the meantime, be sure to check out 1.6's always surprising photo blog. Thanks 1.6.

Rudd error on website shock

Regular readers of the ShadowLands would be aware of an incident at a North Korean tourist resort last month where a female South Korean was shot dead while going for a morning stroll on the beach.

ShadowLands readers are therefore better briefed than Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd (about two thirds of the way down here):
If you look for example at this terrible tragedy which occurred only a few weeks ago at a beach resort in North Korea involving a South Korean tourist. He was shot dead while walking along the beach by a North Korean security personnel...

Monday, August 11, 2008

The great Barack and roll swindle

AC/DC have a hard won reputation for being a straight-ahead classic rock and roll band - and their imagery is now a cultural icon.

So looky who's gone and ripped them off.

UPDATE: From an old interview with Angus Young:

Interviewer: Isn't it ironic that political bands can cause real damage, yet you're the ones that parents and teachers are objecting to?

AY: It's easier to take a swing at someone that's singing about sex and rock 'n' roll, but that's all part of life, and it's all in fun. We're not the ones telling people what to do. I don't like it when people tell me what to do--even teachers. When I was a kid in school, as soon as a teacher starting spouting at me, I'd go off to the toilet to have a smoke. I didn't want to be sitting here having to listen to this guy telling me stuff that was no use to me.

UPDATE II: More.

Celebrating youths

August 12 is a very special day for the United Nations - International Youth Day. Sadly, the UN's enthusiasm for international youths is already well established.

Night of the murdered poets

The Communist Party of Australia experienced some popularity with Australian artistic and media types during the 1950s, with members including Phillip Adams, that painful ABC gardening presenter who retired recently, and artists, novelists, painters and poets including Katherine Susannah Prichard, Judah Waten, Frank Hardy, Eric Lambert, Allan Marshall, Noel Counihan and poet David Martin.

All of which reminds us that August 12 and 13 is the anniversary of Joseph Stalin's night of the murdered poets.

Ass occurs

Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd cannot keep confidences about sensitive international relations. But in the latest transcript of an interview on his website that is likely to be scrutinised around the world (about half way down here), he clarifies his comments:
"They were sitting a couple of seats in front of me and as I said quite clearly yesterday, I didn’t hear what they were saying. It was just an animated conversation which I observed to be quite friendly, ass was occurring between President Bush and a number of other world leaders."
Fittingly, at the above link, Rudd also adds to his impressive pantheon of reasons to terminate the interview.

Climate change: more proof

The ShadowLands previously noted a report in leading newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald about climate change in Oberon in central western NSW - an area outside our ski resorts, but subject to the odd flurry.

Oberon has been hit by climate change again, with a range of road closures. Let's hope they are stocked up with provisions.

UPDATE: Bah, roads are open again, but trust me, it was snowing.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

That's s'more

The ShadowLands' lucky US readers will be waking up to National S'more Day, August 10. Popular in North America, a s'more (short for some more) is a traditional campfire treat consisting of a roasted marshmallow and a slab of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers.

The closest Australian equivalent might be a twisty, which consists of mixture of damper (unleavened bread), wrapped around a green stick and cooked on hot coals. A delight served with butter and golden syrup (placed in the hole where the stick was), and a few crunchy bits of bark, ash and insects to taste.

Dumb things said at Olympics, Part One

In what is expected to be the first of a series at the Shadowlands, here are two dumb things MM has heard Australian commentators say at the Olympics:
"This is a top, Olympic-class field..." (by a swimming commentator).

"She doesn't have many opportunities left. She only has one snatch." (At the weightlifting).

Dear Kevin - week 4

MM's latest correspondence with the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd:

Dear Sir

I wrote to you on July 13, and sent a reminder on July 27 seeking a response to a question - and am yet to receive a response.

The question is: what is the source to validate your repeated claims in the media that Australia is the hottest and driest continent in the world?

Yours sincerely...
It looks like another long, cold week waiting by the letterbox. For those who have not kept up with the story so far, details here.

Peace-keeping stepped up

Quote of the Day: "Our peacekeepers and units subordinate to them are now carrying out an operation to force the Georgian side to peace."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Pictured: Russian peacekeepers in action.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Blame apportioned Part XXXVIII

Okay, so who do you think is to blame in the war between Russia and Georgia? Any takers?

I bet you've guessed already - haven't you?

1984 - the nightmare

It was George Orwell who dreamt up the futuristic nightmare that was 1984. But even old George would never have imagined the horror that was the Australian 1984 Olympic team uniform.

Great news however - memories of Australia's 1984 team uniform can be un-seared from your memory thanks to Canada's 2008 uniform.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Higher, faster, steroidier, stickerier

The Olympics has gotten Margo's Maid all reminiscent-like and wishing to share with you this true story about the first time she was exposed to the Olympic spirit. Take it away, MM:

While it might not be entirely lady-like to reveal my age to readers, I can divulge that in the year 1976, MM was but an 8-year-old child attending primary school in a small Australian country town.

Our teacher decided that we would learn about the Olympics commencing in Montreal. To complete this task, a large piece of cardboard was assembled, with a range of nations listed down one side. Each child would be able to nominate a nation that they would follow, and be able to place a gold, silver, or bronze star next to the name of the country every time they won the corresponding medal.

When the teacher asked, who would like to follow Australia? - every hand in the class shot up to the sky including mine. Much to my chagrine, the teacher chose three or four of her favoured students to share this task, as it would no doubt require some serious attention.

Those who missed out on Australia, begged the teacher to be given the United States, as even we 8-year-olds recognised the potential for some serious sticker action. Once again, I missed out - dammit, and the task was given to a group of favoured kids to share. Next came Russia, and I missed out again.

With these choices gone, I was not sure what nation to choose, and as the bell sounded, it was a weighing heavily on my mind. That night, I asked my father what nation would be a good choice. It turns out, he had been reading the sports pages of the newspaper, and suggested I choose East Germany. The next day, when I made this choice, my teacher and fellow students were surprised to learn there was such a thing as a German Democratic Republic, and were happy to leave me on my own with my eccentric choice.

And then... Thank you, thank you, thank you Kornelia Ender.
UPDATE: Steroid abuse? Who knew?

Trouncing announced

In your face, Nigeria!

Infrastructure unsatisfactory

Boy on a Bike details his attempt to attend an open forum with Australia's Minister for Climate Change, Penny Wong over here only to be stymied by poor planning by Australia's Minister for Infrastructure.

Maybe our infrastructure Minister should start by organising piss-ups in breweries and work his way up to some of these more difficult events.

By the by, shouldn't Penny be against climate change rather than for it?

Kevins apostrophe's fail's test

While climatology continues to be a hurdle for the Australian Prime Minister, once again apostrophe management problems have appeared at his website. This time, his second last response, here:

"Really tough, but all Australian’s, all Australian’s, are out there basically giving of their best..."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Al and the houseboat

The blogosphere is alive with talk about Al Gore's new 100 foot house boat the BS1. The environmental credentials of the craft include the fact that it runs on bio-fuels.

This is bad news for our friends in developing countries who would prefer that the plants used in the production of fuel were used to produce food. So by using bio-fuel, Al is helping to increase poverty in places like India. Frankly, the poorest people in the world would be better off if he let off some steam in a fuel injected Hummer all weekend. This is not to mention the range of other operational problems that bio-diesel brings to the party.

But for those of you who care about people, there's good news. The fuel in bio-fuel doesn't actually contain much bio-fuel - in fact, as little as 10 per cent - meaning that even when his boat is supposedly running on eco-friendly Indian-starving bio-fuel, as much as 90 per cent will be regular Gaia-raping diesel.

What Bob thinks

Leading thinker, Bob Ellis (pictured left) is urging all safety conscious air travellers to fly government owned airlines like Garuda, following an incident where Qantas passengers came close to being injured. Although no-one has ever died as a result of an accident involving Qantas since, or before, it was privatised in 1993, Mr Ellis points out that it might well happen - proving once and for all that capitalism is a failure.

Mr Ellis also rightly points out that an Australian miner died in an accident two and a half years ago at a privately run mine in Tasmania - and this kind of thing would not happen at a government run mine because governments take mine safety seriously. More on what Bob Ellis thinks as it comes to hand.

Uh oh...

Here comes another oil crisis - it's valley oil.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Menu finalised

As excitement builds for the upcoming Democrat Convention in Denver, some of the greatest culinary minds are working on how to fulfil the suggested Lean 'n Green guidelines.

We still have to boil up some Colorado roadside greens, but we think this menu here ticks all the boxes.

Two fat bastards

The world's most annoying comedian, Alexei Sayle was born August 7, 1952. Five years later, the great Oliver Hardy passed away.

Gorillas in our midst

In a shock development, it appears a climate change predictor may have got it wrong!

In fact, unperturbed by climate change, more than 100,000 gorillas are understood to be assembling in equatorial swamps.

Gaaaah!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Here's what I call...

a scary roller coaster ride.

(Hold on tight - there's a kicker at the end.)

Mrs Shakespeare

Not to be confused with some modern day actress chick, Shakespeare's wife, Anne Hathaway died on August 6, 1623.

As outlined in an excellent book by Bill Bryson, there is a tiny amount of evidence available about the life of William Shakespeare and a mountain of conjecture. One of the few things that is known, is that when he died, he bequeathed Anne his "second best bed".

Professional harpie, Germaine Greer has gone to great lengths to add to the mountain and suggest there is nothing to be inferred about their relationship in this. Riiiiight.

Behold the stump of Prometheus

Behold, the wonder that is the tree stump of Prometheus, the oldest known tree on Earth, cut down by a graduate student and the US Forest Service in the name of science on August 6, 1964. Thanks to the research, they were able to confirm the Bristlecone Pine was around 5,000 years of age.

The current oldest living tree, Methusaleh, exists at a secret location nearby in eastern Nevada.

Of course, old trees tend not to do much anymore by way of collecting carbon, so no loss there.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Try this quick quiz...

As you might expect, the death of Solzhenitsyn has led to some sombre reflection from our Russian comrades.

So who do you think they might hold most responsible for some of the trials that Solzhenitsyn and millions of his countrymen suffered during the 20th century?

a) Karl Marx
b) Leon Trotsky
c) Joseph Stalin
d) Vladimir Lenin
e) All of the above or
f) None of the above

Give yourself a pat on the back if you selected f)

World Exclusive: Lighting the Beijing flame

SPOILER ALERT: The ShadowLands is excited to have been given world exclusive footage of the Chinese practicing the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

No, not just the fireworks, but how will they light the flame!

Burkina Faso

August 5 is Independence Day for Burkina Faso, formerly Upper Volta, the land-locked west African nation.

Blaise Campaore has been President of BF since 1987. He owes much of his long and magnificent reign to the uninvestigated death of his predecessor Thomas Sankara and other potential revolutionary rivals.

A rough translation of "Burkina Faso" is "Men of integrity in the father's house".

Please take a moment to honour Independence Day of this nation by standing for the national anthem.

Mmmmh, thinking, thinking...

For some time the Australian Government has been running television advertisements pointing to their Department of Climate Change website and promising a place to "have your say". It has taken them a while to live up to the promise, but finally they actually have provided a mechanism for feedback.

We have until September 10 to make a submission to the Green Paper on carbon emissions. Rest assured, the ShadowLands is working on it.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dear Penny

Just in case the ShadowLands has been too unkind to Senator Penny Wong, MM has written to her via her website:

Dear Senator Wong

On the television programme, Q&A you said that depending on which table you were reading, Australia or the United States has the first or second highest carbon emissions per capita in the world.

Could you tell me your source for this claim?

Yours sincerely...

I'll let you know how this one pans out.


Satchmo

August 4 is the real birthday of the great musician, Louis Armstrong - although the date was not known until his birth certificate was discovered after his death.

Armstrong quote: "All music is folk music, I ain't never heard no horse sing a song.”

Yes, God has a sense of humour

August 4 is the feast day of St Sithney, patron saint of mad dogs.

When God told him that he had been chosen to be the patron saint of girls seeking husbands, Saint Sithney said he would rather take care of mad dogs. Saint Sithney received his requested patronage and, ever since, mad dogs have been given water from Saint Sithney’s well in Cornwall as a cure.

Water in Cornwall (and Devon), incidentally really does have a little something extra in it - and people in Cornwall live longer.

Celebrities sing

Do you have any shameful gaps in your record collection? Well, the ShadowLands is here to help. Just a taste of the quality on offer, with a musical interlude from Mr T.

Also, Leonard Nimoy, and after a two minute introduction, Danny Bonaduce.

US under threat: Part XXVII

REUTERS: In what could be the first sign of a change in the balance of world power, an Australian submarine has sunk a US warship.

A spokesman for the Royal Australian Navy said that at this rate, the US will face a serious shortage of decommissioned warships.

"With the demonstrated superiority of our submarines over their decommissioned warships, and the possibility of forming an alliance with the New Zealand airforce, we cannot rule out some kind of invasion of the US in the near future," the spokesman said.

One Wong doesn't get it right

It is tradional in many nations for government ministers not to talk down the economies or other attributes of their nation.

Not so, Penny Wong, Australia's Minister for Climate Change and Water. On the television program, Q & A this week she said, (no link available): "Depending on which chart you read, Australia is either first or second with the United States for carbon emissions per capita."

Oh really. Which chart would that be then?

It turns out Ms Wong is not being entirely untruthful, just tricky.

Most charts of carbon emissions per capita look something like this or this with a number of nations ahead of Australia and the United States.

It turns out the chart she is referring to is most likely to be one of these kinds, that excludes developing nations, and assumes we can ignore Luxembourg.

That is, it would have been more accurate for Senator Wong to say that Australia and the United States have the highest carbon emissions per capita in the world apart from Luxembourg if you read a table where other nations that have higher emissions have been left out.

The myth that Australia and the United States have the highest per capita carbon emissions was very successfully propagated late last year in a media release by the Centre for Global Development. It turns out that the CGD is a "think tank that works to reduce global poverty and inequality by encouraging policy change in the U.S. and other rich countries" and that their study was only about power plants, and that anyone who can find comparative data on any table is doing much better than me.

Excitement mounts

Phew - back on track.

It is now three weeks since I first wrote to Australian PM, Kevin Rudd seeking any facts to back up his claim that Australia is the hottest and driest continent. I guess he is just gathering his copious documentation on the subject, but it can't be long now before I get a reply.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bah

The ShadowLands is experiencing some technical difficulties, possibly due to those people who control the media...Posting will be light until we work it out.

My dog has no nose...

Hang onto your sides, folks, here are the world's ten oldest recorded jokes.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Make up your mind

evil Americans... Are you genocidal or just naive ?

Oh no, not again...

It was Thomas Jefferson - or at least, some other guy from the olden days - who first said that those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it.

Sadly, history is repeating itself, with Germans invading Poland, while the Poles are little more than spectators...

Replacement found

REUTERS: One of Australia's top two government-funded broadcasters, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has found a replacement for its South Asia correspondent Peter Lloyd, who is facing multiple drug charges in Singapore.

A spokesperson for the ABC said the replacement has considerable first hand experience of Asia. "We have every confidence that our new correspondent will attempt to deliver the goods," the spokesman concluded.

Songun dreaming

You know that a parody is very fine when it convinces some people it is not a parody. The magnificent songun blog has been inactive for a long time - no doubt its creator has been kidnapped by American imperialists - but still gathers admirers from the Korean Friendship Association.

Speaking of the KFA, discussion has begun about those nefarious starvation rumours being spread by the United Nations.