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.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Farewell Margo's Maid, hello Asian Correspondent


The ShadowLands is about to go semi-pro after being swallowed by an exciting new website called Asian Correspondent. The beta site is scheduled to go public on Monday, and in the meantime, there may be some changes at this site that may make you feel a bit woozy.

The ShadowLands, in its current format, has been a blast, but the possibility of being part of the start-up of something bigger made us decide to make the jump, not to mention the allure of cold, hard greenbacks. Hang on, what's that about American money? Oh bugger.

Since I will be attempting something a little closer to regular journalism, I have decided to lose the anony-blogging and stand behind my real name which - okay - I am ashamed to admit, was never really Margo's Maid. Also, about those feature columns from John Butler of the John Butler Trio and Cate Blanchett? Oh never mind.

I hope that readers will continue to join me in the new format - it should be a blast. Your patronage here has been more than appreciated, and old readers will be showered with extra fine karma.

Many thanks also to fellow Blairite asylum seekers, BOAB, kae and paco, not to mention some of the old ones like the mob at tizonas, all of whom I will continue to support.

Tuvan throat singing Friday


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Question They Won't Ask


Each week, The ShadowLands seeks to test how much the ABC believes in free speech by sending a question to their interactive Q and A television show. This week:
Tony

Alicia from Ovations again re the big pay day at Carbon Expo. Look, Jupiters wants to know if you are serious about your demand for the bowl of m and ms with the black ones removed. They say there are no black ones, only brown.

Also, they say they have checked every florist on the Gold Coast and cannot get the blue gardenia petals you wanted sprinkled over your bedspread. How do you want me to respond?

UPDATE: Huzzah - question rejected.

ShadowLands joins Blog Action Day



The ShadowLands is delighted to be taking part in climate change Blog Action Day, a day where we help to raise awareness about climate change, which apparently is some kind of issue or other about something.

Let's hope those enviro ass-hats will leave us alone after this.

A quick quiz: what are the above people doing?

a) These are the last remnants of the crowd at the Bathurst car races, performing a solemn ceremony of burning the last tyre.

b) Some kind of new age druids marking the change of seasons at Stonehenge.

c) Insensitive people releasing carbon into the environment because they don't care.

d) Envirotards doing whatever it is that envirotards do.

The answer of course is d) - participants at a climate camp at Helensburgh, south of Sydney last weekend releasing carbon into the atmosphere.

All of it kicked off after this event, attended by no media but saved for perpetuity for us on youtube. Can anyone figure out why they needed an abseiler?

At least this year's protest wasn't called off because of the cold.

But judging from the pics, temperatures were well below average, and our enviro-friends must be given credit for the late snowfall to hit southern Australia.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Changes


The ShadowLands is about to undergo a major change, and you can expect an announcement within about a week. To prepare for the change, and to practice speaking posh, we are taking a few days off...

In the meantime:

* Park this boat (use your arrow keys and follow the directions to safe harbour).

* How to win a peace prize and accept the award graciously.

* Run along the rooftops, and use the space bar to jump when you need to.

* Cool - it's the piano stairs.

* Still here? Try some lightning pool.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sound advice

Bathurst, how it should be




From a time when competing cars looked different, there were no draconian alcohol restrictions, and the only ethanol being consumed was being drunk by spectators...and most of all, there was Peter Brock...

Is it just me, or was the Bathurst car race - which is on today - much more interesting in the 1970s?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Rugby league's worst XIII announced


1. Brett Stewart, Manly Sea Eagles, 186 cm, 86 kilograms. Try scoring whiz and NRL pin-up boy, his team had trouble winning while he was out awaiting trial for sexual assault.

2. Darius Boyd, St George Dragons, 185 cm, 96 kg. Normally plays fullback, but pushed to the wing because of the outstanding array of fullbacks in this side. He made this side on the back of an alleged incident at a Brisbane nightclub, not his famous interview skills.

3. Greg Inglis (c), Melbourne Storm, 195 cm, 99 kg. Extremely talented centre and grand final hero, understood to have given his girlfriend an accidental black eye with his famous fend, considered to be the best in rugby league.

4. Justin Hodges, Brisbane Broncos, 190 cm, 97 kg. Feisty centre alleged to have been involved in a nightclub incident with team-mate...

5. Karmichael Hunt, Brisbane Broncos, 186 cm, 90 kg. Another talented fullback relegated to the wing. Moving to the AFL next year with the mistaken belief that it will give him a lower profile after his alleged involvement in a nightclub incident.

6. Todd Carney, 186 cm, 90 kg. Five eighth currently without a club after allegedly urinating on a man in a nightclub, but linking up with the Roosters in 2010. Should make a devastating combination with team reserve, Nate Myles, who defecated in a hotel corridor earlier this year.

7. Brett Seymour, 178 cm, 90 kg. Journeyman halfback on the way back after several nightclub incidents.

13. Greg Bird, Catalan Dragons, 183 cm, 102 kg. Mobile lock forward or five eighth, convicted of assaulting his girlfriend. Might have gotten away with claims it was an accident had he not tried to frame a friend. Currently not allowed to play in England, but playing home games for the French superleague team. Can be as devastating to opposition defences as he was to his girlfriend's cheek.

12. Anthony Watmough, Manly Sea Eagles, 181 cm, 95 kg. Considered one of the best rugby league forwards in the world, Watmough allegedly lashed out at a sponsor at the club's season launch - the same day that Brett Stewart allegedly assaulted a female. Tough forward who can carve up opposition defences and his sponsors.

11. Sam Thaiday, Brisbane Broncos, 181 cm, 108 kg. Hard working second rower allegedly involved in the same incident as Darius Boyd and Karmichael Hunt.

8. Anthony Cherrington, Sydney Roosters, 193 cm, 119 kg. Youngster on the way up sentenced to community service after allegedly approaching his girlfriend with a knife. Very mobile for a big man.

9. Jake Friend, 172 cm, 82 kg, Sydney Roosters. Enterprising rake, convicted drink driver, and alleged to have hit a girl at a nightclub. Need to be equally wary of him when he gets near the try-line.

10. Stan Waqa, 190 cm, 118 kg, Sydney Roosters. Promising forward alleged to have accidentally slashed his girlfriend with a knife when she got too close.

Substitutes: Dane Laurie, Arana Taumata, Ben Roberts, Nate Myles. Coach Brad Fittler, CEO Tony Zappia.

Comments: The NRL's worst XIII features no fewer than 8 internationals, as well as a range of promising up and comers. If they could stay away from the court appearances, the outside backs alone would probably beat any team in the competition. The bench also has plenty of impact - just ask the people some of them allegedly hit.

UPDATE: Nearly forgot other reserves, talented Souths halfback, Chris Sandow, forward, David Fa'alogo and owner, Russell Crowe.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Passing shadows


* If you wanted to keep your nation's lesbian kingdom a secret, what would you do? Deny its very existence, of course - just like those secretive Swedes.

* Now this is what we call a real prankster.

* Measured reactions from the Obama Grass Roots forum supporters to winning and losing.

* So, Barack Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize and the inventor of the doughnut burger gets nothing?

* If you were transported 2000 years back in time, how useful would you be in explaining technological advancements? The truth is, we would not be very useful at all, however we did manage 7 out of 10 in the technology quiz.

Moon mofos finally get what's coming


If you have nothing better to do tonight, you could catch NASA bombing the moon here at 10.30 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time. If you absolutely insist on living somewhere else, you will probably need to catch it at some other time. On the other hand, you could just wait and catch it on the news highlights the next day.

NRL tackles partner proximity problem


REUTERS: Australia's National Rugby League is to commence a world-first education campaign for players' partners following yet another tragic accident.

This time, an unlucky woman has allegedly made the mistake of standing too close to Stanley Waqa who was flailing his arms around whilst holding a knife.

Unfortunately, she appears to have learned nothing from the partner of 112 kg West Tigers player Daine Laurie who was alleged to have been hit in the face by an accidental reflex action whilst he was in the act of protecting himself.

This accident occurs only a few short months since premiership winning star and former NRL Good Guy of the Month, Greg Inglis allegedly gave his girlfriend an accidental black eye whilst in the act of trying to protect her.

Unfortunately, this accident happened shortly after the CEO of the Cronulla Sharks accidentally punched a staff member in the face.

This accident, in turn, came after one of his players told police how his girlfriend had accidentally come into contact with a shard of broken glass.

Following a spate of accidents, eight NRL players have been charged with assaulting close-standing women in the past 12 months.

NRL CEO David Gallop has announced that in 2010, the NRL will hold a world first "Stand Back - Haven't You Ever Heard of Personal Space?" education camp for player partners. Then he knocked over a vase.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Question They Won't Ask


Each week, The ShadowLands tests out ABC television's interactive Q and A program with a question they won't ask. This week:
For Belinda

Are you at all concerned that Sophie Mirabella's baby may throw you over a balcony at some time in the near future?
(Thanks for the reminder, kae!)

UPDATE: Bah - published.

UPDATE: Hang on, all of the questions have mysteriously disappeared, and this does not usually happen. As one of the last questions submitted, ours was very prominently displayed.

Reverse Retard Index™ right again


Once again, The ShadowLands' Reverse Retard Index (RRI)™ has accurately forecast Australia's economic future.

In July, our economics correspondent John Butler, confidently asserted that Australia's economic recovery would be a piece of cake. Mr Butler simply looked at assertions by the Prime Minister that Australia's economy was in for a bumpy ride and applied the RRI™.

Now the latest unemployment figures are in and the RRI™ is right again.

In fact, all of Butler's predictions from October 2008, including his radical prediction that unemployment would not exceed 7 per cent, are holding up. Compare and contrast the success of the RRI™ with Goldman Sachs JBWere, Merrill Lynch and Access Economics.

Mr Butler says that RRI™ predictions for 2010 will become available before the end of the year, but for the time being, just wants people to stop hassling him.

Your guide to radioactive household products


The recent apocalyptic looking Sydney sandstorms caused a few cosseted urban types to wonder aloud if the dust blanketing the city was radioactive. The answer, we can reveal, is almost certainly, yes - because just about everything is radioactive.

On this theme, here's an interesting guide to some of the more radioactive things that you can buy and keep in your home.

Global warming round-up


* California wildfire stalled by record low temperatures.

* Early snow in Idaho.

* Cold snap stops Samoan workers sending money home.

* Surprise snap puts spring in step.

* Antarctic ice melt the lowest ever recorded.

* Open passage remains open.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Putin-mania


* The Prime Minister of Russia, Vlad Putin is 57 today. This is only five years short of the average life expectancy of Russian men.

* He has two daughters, at least one of whom is hot.

* A former KGB employee, he is a judo expert and has co-authored a book on the sport.

* His other favourite activities are shirt-optional.

* He is an awesome singer.

* It is both claimed and disputed that he once met President Reagan and many years later, attended a concert by an ABBA tribute band.

* Pissed off about the South Ossetia war, Georgia entered a brilliant song about him in this year's Eurovision Song Contest. But having made the finals, which were to be held in Moscow, the Georgians withdrew at the last minute.

* Sales of Putin merchandise are frankly, disappointing but if you insist...

* Because he's not American, Vladimir can pretty much get away with mysterious deaths and selling arms to totalitarian states without condemnation.

* This is what he looks like in make-up.

Passing shadows


* Looks like a weekend of harsh rationing for visitors to the Bathurst car races - only 24 cans of beer per person allowed each day. Where are the human rights activists when you need them?

* Internet people working stuff out (you'll need to sidestep the advertisement).

* Definitive proof, if it were needed, that 911ers are whackjobs - thanks minicapt.

* Creepy stories from motel workers.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Non-fasting youths from good families




Many thanks to minicapt for this link via celestial junk.

Life's good


As we always say, even a bad day baiting hippies is better than a good day at work. (See comments over here. NB, You will probably need to click on "Show more comments".)

Readers of the ShadowLands are more than welcome to join in, though you need to have a login.

UPDATE: Just when we were beginning to get somewhere, comments closed - bastards!

How to impoverish people without really noticing


Lefty economist, Professor John Quiggin has a long and distinguished career when it comes to being wrong. For years he spent column metres arguing that the policies of John Howard would fail to bring down unemployment, and that the Government pretty much needed to give everyone a job.

When unemployment did decrease very significantly he just stopped talking about it.

Quiggin is one of the men who inspired the ShadowLands' Reverse Retard Index™ - the famously reliable means of forecasting the future by listening to people who are usually wrong, and predicting the opposite.

But now Australia has elected dickheads to office, and John Quiggin finds himself as a man for the times.

Quiggin here, discusses his strenuous efforts to avoid air travel, although the efforts are never quite so strenuous as to prevent him flying somewhere, seemingly, just about every week.

For us, the most alarming part of his post came here:

I also had meetings on water allocation in the Murray Darling Basin.
A former economic adviser to the Greens, you can bet that whatever Quiggin has to say about the Murray Darling basin, growing food is not high on his list of priorities.

Which brings us to this:

The great water buyback that is saving our most majestic river system is killing hundreds of Outback towns.
But apart from farmers, the towns that service them, and Australians who don't want to pay too much or import food and clothes, are there any real victims when it comes to shutting down agricultural water allocations in the Murray Darling basin?

Well, as a matter of fact, yes there are.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The end of Malcolm


Boy on a Bike has done a sterling job to dramatise the end of Malcolm Turnbull. The results are posted on youtube here.

Passing shadows


* Full marks to the Thais for honesty in tertiary education.

* At last, your sandwich price calculator.

* A Maccas too far away.

* Back to a simpler, more sexist time in advertising... and movies.

* Got the tissues? It's the world's saddest story.

UPDATE: We were a little suspicious of the story, but there really is a La Porte Sunflower Fair, although the contest is not named after Wyatt Wilke, at least here. However, there is a memorial page for Wyatt and the dates check out - looks plausible.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Everybody hates Chicago


So Rio has won the 2016 Olympics. Whether or not it is remotely justified, The ShadowLands is always keen to be seen at the forefront of any internet trend or, at the very least, to sink a sly kick into the ribs of a victim who is clearly already unconscious. So here are our hatin' Chicago links:

* No we can't - all the sad people.

* Pixie on why Chicago fell short.

* Others say it lost because of the airport.

* Still not sure why to be hatin' Chicago? Then read all about egg-shell in the McMuffin and other horror stories.

Time to kiss and make-up


World leaders and their passion for make-up.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Passing shadows


* Reputedly, the only known footage of Anne Frank.

* Never mess with the farmer's daughter.

* Miss Red knows stuff.

* This is how predictions should work.

* First it was the Canadians, now it's the French who are talking sense. What's happening to the world?

* Surefire redneck pick-up lines.

Keep the change


Followers of the ShadowLands may recall that we linked earlier to a youtube video of the participants in eco-hysteria movie, The Age of Stupid being asked about how they got to the premiere.

The Director of the movie claims that production of the movie caused 94 tonnes of carbon emissions. Now to give you an idea of how badly the carbon market has collapsed, Watts Up With That reports that carbon offsets are now trading for 10 cents per metric tonne on the Chicage exchange.

This means that the cost to the producers to The Age of Stupid to offset their emissions is $9.40.

Most carbon offset companies claim that they need to plant six trees to offset one tonne of carbon emissions. All of which begs the question - who can afford to plant more than 500 trees for $9.40? Something doesn't quite add up.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Question They Won't Ask


Each week, The ShadowLands seeks to test the limits of the ABC's commitment to free speech by sending a question to their interactive television show, Q and A. This week:

Tone,

Ange from Ovations again. Just letting you know that Penny and Tim are both offering you a ride in their helicopters up to Carbon Expo. Might need to be a bit diplomatic about that one, but should be an awesome ride up to the Gold Coast whatever you choose.

Jupiters say they don't have the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough flavoured edible underwear, only chocolate or strawberry. You were joking about that, right?

Huzzah! Not published!

Issues with Germaine


In Malaysia, a woman has been sentenced to be caned for drinking beer, and meanwhile, the whole Polanski controversy continues.

Time to check in on what Germaine is thinking.

ShadowLands supports conference


Chavez and Qaddafi have signed a declaration urging a global conference be held to sketch out new terms defining terrorism.

This all makes perfect sense to us - Qaddafi, Chavez, Imadinnerjacket, Mugabe all in one room together.

One large explosion, many, many problems solved - and all part of the legitimate struggle of the people for liberty and self-determination.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How much for a jousting stick?




The AB frigging C reports that Australia's most trusted newspaper is now going online. For non-Aussies, this scene from the classic movie The Castle will give you some idea of the cultural significance of this announcement. There are audio problems, but you'll get the drift...

Passing shadows


* If lottery tickets were to be completely honest with us...

* Jennifer Marohasy is forced to point out the bleeding obvious - melting glaciers provide more water, not less.

* Arguably one of the web's foremost journals of record concerning stuck tic-tacs.

* A new book argues that modern parents are creating a generation of brats and praise junkies.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Judgment reserved


from Don't Judge My Hair

Does Australia have poverty?


Former Australian PM Bob Hawke is famed for promising to rid Australia of poverty. It was a claim that was ridiculed, because it simply must be true that Australia has poor people. Though few people in the chattering classes were in any position to have an informed opinion, the idea that the struggle against the rich could end was clearly unacceptable to them.

Many years on, Frollickingmole says poverty in Australia really does not exist, and what's more, he has the figures to support his argument. The bigger problem, he argues, is a lack of education.

This movie, by the way, explored similar themes and came up with similar conclusions.

Government blinded


Like so many issues concerning indigenous health, Government attempts over many years to prevent trachoma in remote Aboriginal communities have failed miserably. This cannot be helped at all by Australia's Minister for Aboriginal Affairs tippie-toeing around the facts.
"Mr Snowdon says something happens between childhood and adulthood to heighten the risk of blindness.

"There clearly is a crossover point where eye health starts to deteriorate and it deteriorates for a range of reasons, mostly environmental and preventable to do with diet etcetera," he said.
The something that happens is that some people within these communities have failed to take responsibility for ensuring kids' faces are cleaned. If the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs cannot bring himself to talk about it honestly, what hope are we of not repeating the many failed attempts to eliminate trachoma?

At what point will the government realise that if it's not working, you need to try something different?

It's a complex problem, but the presence of eye disease should be one of the key indicators that some remote communities need to be closed down.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cold fronts


* Who says global warming never killed anybody?

* Water - from the sky! (Careful, mild language.)

* A dude makes celebrities very uncomfortable by asking them how they got to their brilliantly named eco-alarmist movie premiere.

* Sadly, a program to fight drought in the Philippines has proved way too effective.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kevin: The report card


In New York recently, Bill Clinton said of the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd:

"In my opinion, he is one of the most well-informed, well-read, intelligent leaders in the world today."
Unfortunately for Bill, with this statement - and also by calling him Kevin Rude - Clinton showed that he doesn't know him very well at all.

To set the record straight, here is The ShadowLands' report card on Kevin Rudd:

English:

In March, in the hallowed surroundings of St Paul's Cathedral, London and with British PM, Gordon Brown by his side, Kevin Rudd delivered a defining speech. It is clear from the text that he spurned the use of a speech writer.

Unfortunately for Kevin, his defining speech defined him as someone way out of his depth, and as a spouter of near illiterate gibberish and platitudes, like this:

"I think we are at an unprecedented turning point enable to harness this great potential. So how is this done in the schools and how is it taken better?"...
and this...

"There will be a discovery afresh on the part of those affected by that, that those who are their neighbours or their friends of this extra call-back to family and to community, and in that, the discovery afresh of old truths."
Kevin desperately wants to be remembered to history. Hilariously, the St Paul's speech reveals that his desire to be remembered is not matched by his ability to say anything profound, memorable or even vaguely interesting.

Kevin also seems to rely on a handful of infuriatingly meaningless catchphrases, such as "The choice is either to do nothing or to do something..." not to mention the cliches. When he tries to avoid the cliches, it only gets worse:

"This is where the current global order is in danger of falling between two stools... "
Grade: FAIL

Mathematics

The direct link to the transcript has mysteriously disappeared, but in November 2008, Kevin Rudd had this to say about China - the country for which he is lauded for his expertise:

"Now if you have 1.3 trillion people - 400 million of them still lie south of the poverty line, I stand to be corrected on the exact number, but something like that - then it is a huge challenge."
Kevin has also claimed that a reason for a huge influx of queue jumpers on boats has not been his relaxation of laws, it has been a 12 per cent increase in asylum seekers internationally. However, the increase of boat arrivals since Rudd changed the law is hundreds of per cent.

Grade: FAIL

Geography

Kevin has repeated the falsehood on many occasions that Australia is the world's hottest and driest continent. He also combined his ignorance of both geography and English in front of the Pope.

Grade: FAIL

Economics

As the global financial crisis hit, Kevin predicted that China would drag Australia into recession - this despite the fact that China was experiencing growth of 8 per cent. As it turned out, China was one of the major factors that kept Australia out of recession.

Rudd has blamed the economic crisis on a failure of capitalism and markets, when it was actually a failure of regulation.

Clearly confused, he has then turned to the markets as the mechanism for his Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

Grade: FAIL

History

Rudd once referred, on his own website, to that great Labor hero, John Curtain. However his greatest problem with history is a tendency to re-write it to suit his own ends, and especially a tendency for him to view his every action as a step of unprecedented historical importance.

Grade: FAIL

Personal Development

One of the reasons that Kevin has to visit former Presidents rather than current ones is that he has developed a well earned reputation for being unable to maintain confidences or demonstrate any discretion whatsoever.

During his St Paul's speech, Kevin suggested that he and Gordon Brown had made a commitment to visit Bhutan - a commitment that Brown clearly couldn't back out of quickly enough.

If you need a true indication of Kevin's effectiveness in international relations, just ask Stern Hu.

Grade: FAIL, FAIL, FAIL

Comments

Kevin Rudd is a total dweeb who will not miss an opportunity to become a lying dweeb if he thinks it will make him more popular. Kevin is only thought of as intelligent by people who have seen Revenge of the Nerds, and have taken away the key message that if you look like a dork, you must be intelligent. In fact, Kevin displays all of the characteristics of a dork except for intelligence.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Passing shadows


* We don't know much about Guy Rundle, but we do love an internet stoush.

* Hot dang, it's a 12 foot chocolate Eiffel Tower.

* Was Cortez good for Mexico?

* How warmenists spurn non-believers - (via Watts).

* Always, always, make sure you are at the right meeting.

Friday, September 25, 2009

ABC report an unqualified success


Jennifer Marohasy has previously observed that some fairly well qualified scientists who are climate sceptics are often referred to in the media as unqualified, whereas completely unqualified alarmists get a free run.

With this said, see if you can fill in the blank as to who the latest ABC report uses as their expert:
... is sounding alarm bells about the risks from radioactive dust from the planned expansion [of a uranium mine].
a) A Nobel Prize winning nuclear scientist
b) An internationally respected mining expert
c) A fully qualified TAFE science teacher or,
d) An Academy Award nominated documentary maker.

The answer, naturally is here.

The contentions made by this expert are all, unsurprisingly, pretty much a crock. An obvious one is his "grave concerns about BHP Billiton's ability to contain the 70 million tonnes of radioactive tailings he says will be dumped at the mine site each year."

Tailings, let's not forget, is the material left over after the uranium has been removed. The tailings from the mine will probably contain less uranium than the soil it covers.

Another of his many bloopers: "It will have a much bigger impact than the Maralinga atomic tests that the British chief scientist assured us would not have an impact on our population and women in their 50s are now paying for it with breast cancers."

In fact, Maralinga - like Hiroshima and Nagasaki - is perfectly safe to visit in calm weather or during a sandstorm and no link between Maralinga and increased mortality has been established.

It's not a good idea to inhale it, and dust can be radioactive, but so can beach sand, granite kitchens, caves, air travel, bananas, brazil nuts, and human beings - to name just a few things.

Dust to dust...




Jennifer Marohasy gives the recent Sydney dust storm some historical context here. One of the theories going around for this dust storm is that it has originated from Lake Eyre, which filled with water earlier this year, but the mud has since dried to dust. The dust storms then, ironically, may owe their existence to unusual rainfall events as much as any subsequent drought.

By the way, a useful link here - the Kanye West apology generator.

Doing their bit for the environment


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Question They Won't Ask


ABC television's program, Q and A is a testament to the ABC's commitment to being open to free speech. However, the ShadowLands' Question They Won't Ask is a testament to our commitment to pissing them off. This week:

Not so much a question as a message for Tony:

Conrad Jupiters say they apologise but will not be able to put the 20 grand in cash you are earning at Carbon Expo in your Executive Suite bathtub. They say there are too many security issues. You can, however, pick the money up in a brown paper bag from reception and after that what you do with it is your own business.

Janine from Ovations


UPDATE: Published, dammit.

The dog that ate the global warming data


The following story, from Watts Up With That, ought to be one of the biggest scandals of the year:
Imagine if there were no reliable records of global surface temperature. Raucous policy debates such as cap-and-trade would have no scientific basis, Al Gore would at this point be little more than a historical footnote, and President Obama would not be spending this U.N. session talking up a (likely unattainable) international climate deal in Copenhagen in December.

Steel yourself for the new reality, because the data needed to verify the gloom-and-doom warming forecasts have disappeared.
Read all about it here and the fascinating conclusion:
All of this is much more than an academic spat. It now appears likely that the U.S. Senate will drop cap-and-trade climate legislation from its docket this fall — whereupon the Obama Environmental Protection Agency is going to step in and issue regulations on carbon-dioxide emissions. Unlike a law, which can’t be challenged on a scientific basis, a regulation can. If there are no data, there’s no science. U.S. taxpayers deserve to know the answer to the question posed above.

A Rudd awakening


Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd is famously awkward in social situations, but he did manage to get an audience with Bill Clinton yesterday. It's a shame Bill didn't know his name, though interestingly, it's not the first time he has been called Prime Minister Rude. (Thanks to Seza in comments for the tip-off.)

Clinton's stuff-up was probably divine karma for Rudd's ludicrous twitter site, where he does his best to pretend to be a knockabout bloke bantering about sport. One comment in particular gives the game away:
Dally M’s last night in Syd. Congrats to Jarryd Haynes.
Anyone who has a passing acquaintance with rugby league in recent years would know that the 2009 best and fairest player's surname is actually Hayne.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kev's Big Lie just got bigger


It is now more than a year since Kevin Rudd first spouted his lie that Australia is the hottest and driest continent.

Yesterday, he has demonstrated that you can lie about climate change as often as you like, and as prominently as you like, and so long as it is on the side of alarmism, nobody will ever challenge you on it.

On the steps of the UN in New York yesterday, Kevin said in his very first paragraph:
Let's never forget the basic fact on climate change. Australia is the hottest and the driest inhabited continent on the planet. Climate change will hit Australia hardest, and will hit Australia earliest.
On this rare occasion, Rudd has slipped in the qualifier "inhabited" - clearly he thinks the only thing wrong with the sentence is that Antarctica has less precipitation than Australia. However, he still hasn't figured out that Australia is not the hottest continent. Africa is certainly hotter and South America - thanks to the very large section in the tropics - is probably hotter on average than Australia.

This simple fact was confirmed to me by some poor sod in the Department of Environment late last year.

Tonight, the plankton feast


Dust-storms are not unknown in some Australian hick-towns like Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne, but were pretty much unheard of in Sydney in recent years - until today.

Conditions have eased, but it did look pretty freaky outside this morning. The redness of the dust suggests that it is high in iron, which is great news for the phytoplankton and the many organisms that feed on them.

Passing shadows


* Soon to take a break from blogging, Daddy Dave notes that the swine flu epidemic in Australia has not been all hype. Effects of the disease seem to vary widely, but the dose I had earlier this winter was pretty nasty.

* Speaking of swines, the Egyptians removed theirs and are now swamped with rubbish. Maybe they will need to reconsider this whole throwing-garbage-on-the-street thing.

* The uncanny likeness between a terrorist and a bonsai tree duly noted.

* "Buckle your seatbelts," writes Doug Ross, "It would appear that a major deflationary spiral is yet to unwind."

* Ten things I didn't know about The Beatles.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

ShadowLands to Jackman: You lie


The ShadowLands caught a news grab of Hugh Jackman in New York telling the media this:
"I don't do private jets," he assured the media. "I try and do my best and I teach [sustainability] to my kids."
However, we couldn't help but notice the sheepish way in which he said it. This is why:
After attending a press conference in Rome, Italy early this morning (April 14), X-Men: Wolverine star Hugh Jackman hopped on a private jet and managed to make it in time for his scheduled appearance on El Hormi- guero later that afternoon .
Just a one-off occurrence forced by his promotional commitments, perhaps? Actually, no:
Stuttgart, GERMANY, Sun 14 Dec 2008,

Our images:
- arrival of the private jet at Stuttgart airport
- the Jackman family gets off the plane
- Hugh Jackman signs autographs
- Oscar throws snow at his nanny
- Deborra-Lee Furness and daughter Ava
- The family gets into the waiting cars
- departure

Ackman large


It's about time that celebrities stood up to raise awareness about climate change, so a big shout out to Hugh Jackman.

Celebrities, after all, have more at stake than anyone else.

Environmentalists say no


Last month, The ShadowLands noted how, since climate alarmists claim that there will be more flooding in north-eastern New South Wales in the future, you would think it makes sense to put in place measures to harvest the floodwaters. But the environmentalists say no...

Similarly, climate alarmists have long claimed that one of the effects of climate change will be more rain in northern Australia, including desert areas.

You might think, therefore, it would make sense to shift agricultural activities to these higher rainfall areas, and mitigate damage to the Murray Darling basin. But the environmentalists say no...

According to the spokesman for the Environment Centre (whatever that is), one of the reasons is insufficient land for irrigation, which must leave little hope for food production anywhere in the world. However, while it would not be possible to grow food, apparently there is enough land for growing forests.

Most bizarrely, the spokesman claims that refusing to grow food will: "allow Australia to show developing countries around the world how to sustainably develop their tropical areas."

Clearly, this particular sustainable model involves either starvation or flying your food in from somewhere else.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Signs of evolution


Australia's elite rugby league players, including former NRL Good Guy of the Month, Greg Inglis, have had an unfortunate (alleged) run of beating up their girlfriends. The latest to join the long list is quiet achiever, Daine Laurie of the Wests Tigers.

The ShadowLands is always ready to give credit where it's due, however - so a big pat on the back to David Fa'alogo for thinking outside the square and allegedly beating up his coach instead.

Passing shadows


* Australia's fabulous Golden Gaytime icecream - it's worth the embarrassment of asking for one - makes it onto the list of badly named snack foods.

* After enjoying your Golden Gaytime, a green coffee will supposedly help you purge.

* Israellycool's Muslim protest awards.

* The ten worst Las Vegas conventions.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The unrecognised freedom fighters of Timor


Ten years ago today, an Australian-led international force (INTERFET) landed in East Timor, ended the killing of the Timorese, allowed tens of thousands of refugees to return home, and paved the way for East Timorese independence.

For years, freeing East Timor was a shibboleth of the Australian left as well as a mandatory bumper sticker on their smoke-belching kombi vans.

However, the actual freeing of East Timor has caused them no end of grief. Why? Simply because it was former Australian Prime Minister, John Howard and Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer who ultimately did it. To make things worse, it was that hero of the Left, Gough Whitlam who abandoned Timor to Indonesia in the first place.

The resulting attempts by the Left to re-write history are hilarious.

This bizarre article - suggesting that Bill Clinton should receive the Nobel Peace Prize because of it - is typical, as is this logic bender.

Here are the facts:

* Downer's Foreign Affairs Department was chiefly responsible for convincing Indonesia to hold a referendum on independence in East Timor.

* John Howard approached Clinton to support Australia's efforts to send in the troops. (If you need to check this, you can find it on ABC television's Howard Years. Click on East Timor in the left column.)

* Clinton's back-up support was crucial, but all of the running on the things that ultimately made a difference, was made by John Howard and Alexander Downer.

* Significant casualties or the creation of a major conflict in Timor really could have been disastrous for the future of the Howard Government. For Clinton, it was just one of many foreign policy issues he was dealing with around the world at the time.

First of all, credit for East Timorese independence should go to the soldiers who put their lives on the line. Secondly, someone needs to tip their hat to the Australian taxpayer - each and every one fo them contributed thousands of dollars to the cause.

But on the tenth anniversary of the action that made it all happen, there appears to be no recognition at all, not even a pat on the back in a newspaper article, for the two most effective freedom fighters the Timorese ever had - John Howard and Alexander Downer.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Scepticism ends, panic ensues


Dang, looks like this global warming thing is much more serious than we thought.

Those Chinese say the darndest things




The Chinese are reputed to be moving into the age of the internet at a rapid pace. The only problem is that it's hard to know what they're saying since they seem to talking in some kind of foreign language - possibly Chinese.

A website that translates Chinese internet stories, China Smack is here to help.

Tales of racism and domestic abuse that would make most westerners' toes curl feature prominently. Wives complain about their husbands in absolute torrents - "His mother is always right, I cannot express an opinion, even more government than the government!" and dirty secrets are revealed ("I once very seriously put a fart in a bubblegum container")...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Passing shadows


* The How Happy is Your Dog to See You Graph

* This is not the most scientific video purporting to show which way the water spins in and around the equator, but what the hey...

* Australia's sign-led recovery.

* A disgraceful joke from Theo concerning gender relations.

Absent thing not removed


A great deal has been made in the Australian media about the former PM John Howard's introduction of a citizenship test which included a question about the late, great cricketer, Don Bradman.

The media loved the story because it implied that Australia's downtrodden new immigrants were being forced to learn stuff that only old white cultural imperialists would know or care about. The Labor Party even claimed that John Howard wrote the question himself. It aligned with everything the Left wanted to believe about John Howard. It was the White Australia Policy writ small.

However, leading up to the election campaign, keen not to lose the old, white imperialist fuddy-duddy vote, Kevin Rudd promised to keep the question.

Naturally Kevin faced an uphill battle with this promise, because there never was a question about Don Bradman in the test. Bradman, it's true, was mentioned in sample material. But, as The Oz reports:

Sir Don was never in the original test, and Senator Evans said he didn't have a problem with him not being in the new version.

"I understand there are more words about Don in this one than there were in the old one but he's not in the test,'' Senator Evans said.
So let's get this straight:

* There was never a question in the citizenship test about Don Bradman, but there was some mention of him in background notes.

* When the media reported that Labor would dump the non-existent question, Kevin Rudd promised to retain it.

* A new citizenship test has now been written. More information about Don Bradman is included in the background information, however, the question about Bradman that was never included has not been included, nor removed - presumably because that would be impossible.

* Bear with us here - if it was at all possible that a non-existent question really could be removed, removing it, would then amount to a broken election promise - something that the media should have pounced upon.

* Completely unfazed by the available facts, the media are still reporting that the Don Bradman question has been dumped from the new citizenship test.

Why is this so? The ShadowLands ventures that, like most of Australia's poorly written history, the media refuse to disbelieve the existence of the Don Bradman question because it forms part of a narrative they wish to be true.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

All the news that's fit to discard


When it comes to lousy journalism, reporting on Israel really does take the biscuit, as demonstrated by the Dishonest Reporting Awards. (Thanks for the link, Blogstrop in comments.)

Question They Won't Ask


Each week The ShadowLands tests the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's commitment to free speech by sending in a Question They Won't Ask to their interactive television program, Q and A. This week:
Question for Tony

There seems to be a permanent position available on your panel for people who have previously gone public saying things that any anti-semite would be proud of - a big cheerio, this week to Tanya Plibersek. Do you suppose it will ever happen that you invite a Jewish person on your panel who is an advocate for Israel?

UPDATE: Published - must try harder next week.

Your guide to persecuting people without the hassle


Normally, if your Government was alleged to be behind abducting and torturing Muslims who are seeking to establish a homeland, it would lead to a whole bunch of annoying international condemnation, newspaper stories, inquiries and the like.

But you too can avoid all of this hassle through the simple device of not being American or Israeli.

Should the Skippy set be preserved?



The little video, above, takes a look at the slowly deteriorating film location of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo - showing a potential tourist site going to waste.

Tonight the ABC is airing a documentary on the series, including the revelation that the actor who played Sonny, Garry Pankhurst, went on to become a kangaroo meat exporter.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Alarmist predictions on the rocks - again


There is still time for melting, but as Watts Up With That reports, it appears that the Arctic has reached its minimum ice extent for 2009 and is gaining in ice coverage once again. Assuming that this holds true, here are a few facts about Arctic ice in 2009:

* The lowest ice extent at the North Pole for 2009 looks to have been 5,270,000 square kilometres - an area greater than the size of Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Victoria combined.

* At the height of Summer, there was an extra 500,000 square kilometres of ice coverage in the Arctic in 2009 compared to 2008 - an area equivalent to the size of Spain.

* More than two thirds of those surveyed at Watts Up With That - consisting of laypeople sceptics - correctly guessed that the 2009 ice minimum would be more than the 2008 ice minimum.

* Fourteen computer modellers and experts in their fields from various professional organisations who spend their time, each and every working day investigating such things, all underestimated the ice minimum by between 200,000 to 1 million square kilometres. More on this here.

* You will not discover any of these facts from reporting in any mainstream media outlet in the world any time soon.

Feminist struggle update


A Sudanese woman has reportedly been jailed for wearing pants. Do the Sudanese authorities fully appreciate the wrath about to descend upon them from Western feminists? Time to check in on how Germaine Greer is leading the struggle.

UPDATE: Mehaul in comments nails it: "Germaine only hates her own culture."

Passing shadows


* We're lost OMG LOL

* Proof of the slow but unmistakeably sinister progress of trees attempting to take over the world.

* Allegedly caught plotting to destroy a skyscraper in Dubai, Iran really needs to work on its international diplomacy.

* Your guide to inventors killed by their own machines.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

He can't handle the truth


Of all the mysteries in the world, there can be few quite as mysterious as the appeal of Charlie Sheen.

Reputedly the highest paid actor in television, Sheen seems to get through each episode of the God-awful sitcom, Two and a Half Men, without ever changing the same stupid, perplexed expression on his face.

In a strange way, it's almost gratifying to discover that an actor whose work we really dislike turns out to be a Truther.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lies, damned lies and union membership figures


Now that the Howard Government has been banished, it must be true that the workers have seen the light and are returning to union membership in droves - at least, so thinks Christian Kerr in The Australian.
A more favourable political climate under the Rudd government and less hostile workplace laws have helped unions defy historical trends and record membership increases across a range of industries.
Christian doesn't seem to mind that none of the union types quoted give him any definitive figures about their membership - how much they have increased compared to last year - instead, they give highly selective examples, like this:
Linda White, assistant national secretary of the 120,000 member Australian Services Union, said branches in South Australia and the Northern Territory had grown by 6 per cent in the past 12 months.
Hmmm, up all of 6 per cent in our least populous territory and second least populous state. In other words, last year they may have had 100 members in NT and SA, and this year they have 106.

All of this piqued the suspicion of The ShadowLands, so we decided to check out Kerr's claim that:
The most recent ABS data in April showed there were 1.75 million union members, a 3 per cent rise in membership, after many years of decline.
So where did he get these figures from? Here it is:
In August 2008, there were 1.8 million employees who were trade union members in conjunction with their main job. This was a 3% increase on the 1.7 million trade union members in August 2007, however in both years, trade union members represented 19% of people who were employees in their main job.
In fact, the latest available reliable figures (which were released in April 2009, but actually collected in August 2008) show that union membership is steady. None of the information provided to Kerr by other union types supports his assertion that union membership is making a comeback - and we would be willing to bet that the next Australian Bureau of Statistics figures bear this out.

Kevin's pudding inspection proves fruitless


Having bought lots of new friends with the money they left him, Australia's Doofus in Chief, Kevin Rudd is currently trying to take credit for Australia's strong economic performance by trashing the reputation of his benefactors.

The ShadowLands can't be arsed to check all of his facts, but we only need to look at the first one to discover that Kevin is - how can we put this nicely - a big fat, creepy wax-nibbling hostie-harrassing liar. Naturally, all of this comes under the headline "Arguments in fact always win the day":
In the end, the proof is in the pudding. And the proof of the Howard Government's neglect is in the outcomes they produced.

When the Howard Government left office inflation was running at a 16 year high.
Sorry, Kev, if you want proof, avoid looking in puddings and look at the data - (just insert an earlier starting date at this website, say January 1 2000, to bring up the data you need.)

When the Howard Government was deposed in December 2007, Australia's inflation rate - a figure that was apparently of so much concern to Kevin - was at 3 per cent. This was a six month high, not a 16 year high, and in fact, inflation bumped around at higher levels on a number of occasions during that period.

Now - just for the giggles - a reminder of Kevin's Ministerial Code of Conduct:

5. Responsibility

5.1 Ministers are expected to be honest in the conduct of public office and take all reasonable steps to ensure that they do not mislead the public or the Parliament. It is a Minister's personal responsibility to ensure that any error or misconception in relation to such a matter is corrected or clarified, as soon as practicable and in a manner appropriate to the issues and interests involved.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

2001: a school band odyssey




(via List of the Day)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Howard's (nearly) forgotten 9/11 quote


Because most of Australia's historians suck balls, we seldom see one of former Prime Minister John Howard's best quotes repeated by anyone other than Mark Steyn.

Here, for the record, it is, dating from 19 September, 2001:

MARK WILLACY: Mr Howard we've just heard the latest from Washington, but some commentators back here are saying, we're the only country to give the US a blank cheque when it comes to support. What are the limits on our commitment to the US?

JOHN HOWARD: Well we've said that we will support the Americans to the limit of our capability. Obviously if we're asked to contribute in a particular way, it will be for us to decide, whether we can or will do that. But, there's no point in a situation like this, being an 80 per cent ally.

You are either a 100 per cent ally of a country that was a 100 per cent ally of Australia's in World War II and it made the difference between Australia's surviving or going under to the Japanese assault. We have to remember it - we have to remember the history - that America came to our aid, we have been close allies ever since.

This is an assault, as much on the freedom and the values of Australian society as it is on the freedom and the values of American society. I'm sure the Americans will behave in a targeted, yet lethal fashion. That is what we have encouraged them to do and we've indicated that we'll be part of that response, if that is what they want.

Passing shadows


* As this article clearly demonstrates, it is wrong to stereotype Russians as drunkards.

* Meanwhile, the Brits face their own challenges.

* You know you're a bit younger than me if...

* For the person who has everything, or just your regular voodoo practitioner - a personalised doll figurine.

* Graffiti goes mainstream.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Pieces fall into place, then you die


A sage historian looks back and discerns two epoch-defining events. (NB Careful, the link he uses is NSFW.)

ABBA Friday




Proof here that the world would be a better place if we all conformed to our national stereotypes. Don't miss, at the start, a demonstration of fingerkrok, or Swedish finger wrestling.

The real story of ABBA is fascinating. All of them were famous in Sweden to varying degrees before the formation of the band.

Frida was born in Norway, the product of a liaison between her mother and an occupying German soldier. She moved to Sweden, in part, to avoid the stigma of her origins and was a struggling artist and single mother before the formation of the band. She is now married to a European Prince.

Agnetha was a Swedish teen pop star who wrote her own songs. In her later years, she formed a relationship with an obsessed fan.

Benny and Bjorn were both famous musicians in Sweden well before ABBA. Benny has since also become revered in Sweden for his revival of traditional Swedish music.

Caster's kick in the goolies


The latest reports that South African runner, Caster Semenya is an hermaphrodite, with internal testicles and no ovaries raises a simple question: what is an hermaphrodite?

This definition ( "an animal or plant that normally possesses both male and female reproductive systems, producing both eggs and sperm") suggests that Caster doesn't quite make the grade. Similarly, this definition of a male ("designating the sex producing gametes [spermatozoa] that can fertilize female gametes [ova]) - suggests that she may not make the grade, technically, as a female either.

Not that there is anything wrong with identifying as a woman - unless, perhaps, you use your biological advantage unfairly in athletic competition.

Here, by the way, are some of the quotes from Caster supporters in South Africa prior to the latest reports:

"This smacks of racism of the highest order. It represents a mentality of conforming feminine outlook within the white race,": the Young Communist League.

"We condemn the inconsistency of the IAAF for conducting physical tests and genital screening on Semenya a few hours before the final," it said."It shows that these imperialist countries can't afford to accept the talent that Africa as a continent has.": SA football association.

"Cosatu rejects the attempts by those who tried to undermine her success by raising groundless queries." - Cosatu Trade Union Federation.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Question They Won't Ask


Over the last three weeks, The ShadowLands has successfully submitted questions to ABC television's interactive Q and A show that were either too rude or too revealing for them to publish on their website. This week:

Question for Tony

Congratulations for being selected to host Carbon Expo 2009 once again. Our client says they are very happy with your work on Lateline and Q and A.

As to your query, unfortunately there are no executive rooms with adjoining doors at Conrad Jupiters. But Penny says she is happy to lend you one of her room keys again, so long as you promise not to go crazy in the mini-bar for a change.

Will this be okay with you?

UPDATE: Published dammit.