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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.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gallipoli - the musical reviewed

Some might say that if your aim is to portray the brutal reality of war, a musical is a very stupid idea - but not our very special guest theatre reviewer, Mr David Hicks. Rambunctuous adventurer, Mr Hicks was the subject of a sparsely attended musical, Honour Bound, directed by Nigel Jamieson. Mr Jamieson's latest production is the Sydney Theatre Company's Gallipoli. Take it away, David...

First of all, thanks to the ShadowLands for inviting me to the world premiere of Nigel Jamieson's debut with the Sydney Theatre Company. Just one question though - since he is using diary material in this play, why didn't he use my written records in Honour Bound? If he did, maybe he would have got some arses on seats. I guess it's because Jews have complete financial and media control in Australia.

Real jihad is possible just like before in the Prophet's day where martyrs die with a smile on their faces and their bodies stay smelling of beautiful perfume for weeks after death. Allah will use his servants to punish non-believers in this world. Islam will rule again but for now we must have patience we are asked to sacrifice our lives for Allahs cause why not? The only true Muslims are those fighting. I am now very well trained for jihad in weapons like anti-aircraft missiles.

But about the play: it was shit - I might as well have stayed at home killing Jews. But I must say, some of those NIDA chicks have nice tits.


August 1 is the national day of Switzerland.

While capitalism in this nation has presumably sown the seeds of its own destruction, Switzerland is consistently one of the richest nations in the world. Taxes are low, free trade agreements are many, referendums are held regularly, and the nation is powered by both hydro-electricity and nuclear power, meaning carbon emissions from electricity production are close to zero.

Switzerland's anti-immigration political party, the Swiss People's Party has grown to about 30 per cent of the popular vote, which means they are supposed to be ashamed of themselves, I guess.

Switzerland is also home to a range of cool sports like hornussen.

Goal not achieved

Leading news service Reuters is reporting that a one-armed man has failed in his attempt to swim the English channel. My guess is that the boat driver didn't have the heart to tell him they were just going around in circles.

Another great joke at the expense of disabled people here.

Here's what Kevin...

says about coral bleaching. Here's what Kevin doesn't want you to know about coral bleaching.

UPDATE: More on this subject here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

...and I ask myself the same question

Honour Bound was the singularly unsuccessful musical about David Hicks, the anti-semite and convicted terrorist who took up arms with people who believe that, amongst other things, dancing should be outlawed.

However, it turned out to be a bonanza for director, Nigel Jamieson, who won $35,000 worth of Jew money from the Sidney Myer Foundation. Having escaped the Russian pogroms, Sidney Myer was the founder of a retail dynasty in Australia. Now he divides most of his days between giving money to fuckwits and spinning in his grave.

Jamieson is focusing his inconsiderable talents to the subject of Gallipoli, with the major take home message appearing to be that Australian soldiers were stupid.

Lies, lies, lies

Evil capitalist lackey, the United Nations is publishing falsehoods about workers' paradise, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Have they not read the news? Do they deny the evidence before their very eyes?

Happy 18th

birthday Olga Galchenko, ace juggler.

July 31

is the anniversary of the 2005 death of the first President of the European Central Bank, Wim Duisenberg. He was known as "Mr 15 minutes" reputedly because of his willingness to follow interest rate changes of the Germans.

He was a chain smoker who died after suffering a heart attack in his swimming pool, which makes his (pictured) commemorative statue all the more interesting.

Sad as his death might have been, it was probably a better option than facing retirement with his revolting wife.

Greens here to help

The top environmentalist Al Gore has pointed out that 30 per cent of global carbon emissions come from woodfires in southern Asia and Africa, where people have no electricity.

Woodfires are a huge health problem, with smoke killing 2.2 million people per year.

All of which, naturally enough, leads to this.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Birthday roundup

July 30 will be the 50th birthday of physician's daughter and songstress, Kate Bush. Ms Bush has the distinction of being one of the few people ever to perform interpretive dance without looking stupid. An extraordinarily dull explanation of that previous song here.

Also, happy birthday to this dickhead.

Offset your emissions and fly

MM will not usually endorse products other than those produced by tobacco companies, but this one is too good to pass up.

Offset as little as 200 km from your next car trip and you could be flying to far north Queensland staying at the Daintree eco resort and spa! Swim in the eco-pool and enjoy the eco-buffet! Tell 'em MM sent you!

Skiiers asked to shoosh

Over at leading newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, some are mourning the demise of Australia's snow fields:

"I feel sorry for our snowfields for they will be the ones out of business" - and some are not: "Best snow I've ever skiied at Mt Buller and I've been going there for 30 years."

One reader sighs: "The Australian snow industry is totally stuffed... Just look at the snow depth charts of the last 50 years." Okay then.

Monday, July 28, 2008

David Niven

Passing away on 29 July 1983 was English actor David Niven.

Niven was also a WWII veteran and an entertaining writer. If memory serves correctly, his autobiography described an early screen test where, unsure of what to say, he recited a verse:

There was a young man from Leeds
Who swallowed a packet of seeds
Great shoots of grass
Grew out of his arse
And his cock was covered in weeds.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Best of fun and games

Posting is expected to be light over the next few days as the Maid goes a travellin'. In the meantime, check out some of The ShadowLands' favourite games and activities.

Dangerous Dave and Brutal Bob

Maccas sign (makes a good background image on a shared computer)

bubble wrap

paper planes

and sands through the hourglass

oh, and don't forget peasant management.

What have you done for me philately?

Check out this impressive catalogue of rejected stamp series.

Lucky Grills

Australian readers of a certain age will remember Leo "Lucky" Grills, the actor who passed away this time last year. Lucky Grills played the lead role in the 1970s detective drama, "Bluey" later redubbed into the even better remembered, Bargearse.

Dear Kevin

It is now two weeks since I wrote to Kevin Rudd and in the meantime he has repeated his claim that Australia is the hottest and driest continent, so today I am sending a friendly reminder.

Dear Sir

I appreciate you are a very busy man, but apart from acknowledgement of receipt, I have not yet had a response to my letter that was sent to you two weeks ago. The question I am seeking to be answered is: what is the source of your information that Australia is the hottest and driest continent in the world?

Yours sincerely...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Greenwash Day

27 July will be National Tree Day in Australia.

Australia already has about 1.5 million square kilometres of forest and woodland, equal to an area about the size of Mongolia, or larger than the entire Northern Territory

National Tree Day is a ruse by the Toyota Corporation to seek to gain enough greenie points to get large government grants to make resource guzzling Priuses and to continue churning out SUVs. It's pretty similar to this initiative involving GM Holden planting trees in the Murray Darling Basin.

All of which makes this study kind of interesting reading.

Sleepyhead Day

is celebrated in Naantali, Finland on July 27 every year.

Traditionally on this day, the last person in the house to wake up is woken up using water. Why not be the first person in your household to participate in this worthy international cultural experience?

Or alternatively, try your hand at this (admittedly, not very interesting) game.

Lassie come home

It is a great day for headline writers everywhere following news from Brazil where a boy has reportedly bitten a pit bull terrier. However there is nothing unique about chowing down into man's best friend.

Dog eating is still permitted in China, which exported 31 tons of doggy filled goodness to Japan in 2006. In Japan, dog meat is enjoyed by expat Koreans who are not allowed to eat it in their home country, but in Japan, can go to dog meat restaurants.

Dog meat is popular in other Asian nations such as Vietnam, but surprisingly, is a traditional dish in remote parts of Switzerland. One health conscious Swiss is quoted as saying, "meat from dogs is the healthiest of all. It has shorter fibres than cow meat, has no hormones like veal, no antibiotics like pork".

In 2003, health inspectors discovered four frozen coyotes in the freezer of a Chinese restaurant in Edmonton, Canada. This breached guidelines only because the meat had not been inspected.
Need to know more? Want recipes? Which breed is best? Make this your one-stop dog cuisine reference centre.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Answer still sought

A leading international journal is reporting that Venezuelan uber-plonker, Hugo Chavez is meeting with the King of Spain to smoothe over a diplomatic incident last year where the King asked Chavez to shut up. The remark turned out to be a huge hit on telephone ringtones.

UPDATE: The ShadowLands notes we had a recent visitor from a government site in Venezuela. In case you were wondering, "plonker" in Australia means "top bloke" so feel free to put this in Hugo's press clippings.

Got to run

So you are afraid that if you say "ease the squeeze" or "close the gap" one more time someone will assault you, and you don't want to be asked difficult questions. How do you terminate a press conference without seeming evasive or rude? Take it away Kevster:

"Having said that, we need to get to Cairns because we are going to be late for a civic reception. Got to run folks."

"We have got to board a plane. Last one."

"We’ve got to run. Thanks very much."

"I think I’d better zip. That was about it, got to run."

"Just to conclude on that, because Cabinet is still going and we should actually be there, it would be a good idea, and I’d just like to conclude and I’m very concerned about the little girl out here in the sun without a hat."

Julia Gillard: "OK, in the words of Kevin Rudd: I’ve got to zip."


Some people are born unlucky. Amongst their number would be the people taken from Africa to the New World as slaves - and then returned to their freedom in the fetid swamp that is Liberia.

Liberia was established by well-meaning Americans so freed slaves could resettle in Africa, and the capital named after President James Monroe.

Since 1980, Liberia has experienced a succession of coups and civil wars. Once rubber, timber and diamonds were its biggest exports - now it's refugees. The unemployment rate of 85 per cent is the second highest in the world.

On Liberian Independence Day, 26 July, please stand for the Liberian national anthem.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's all about latex

The US Democrats are determined that their next Convention in Colorado will be the greenest ever - including "biodegradable balloons and organic snacks."

However, according to thissy here, staff members of the Democratic National Convention Committee have been "putting balloons into compost heaps and waiting for something to happen. Nothing has."

It was the great DK Burchette whose seminal study first informed us that all regular balloons "are essentially the coagulated and dried sap from the Hevea tree with the addition of a tiny amount of non-toxic coloring. These balloons degrade in exactly the same natural manner as the Hevea tree when it falls in the forest."

But wait - some people are pointing out that the 1989 study may have been funded by shadowy industry bodies such as the evil National Association of Balloon Artists! Are the Democrats about to uncover the truth that leads to a change in our perceptions we can scarcely believe in? More news as it comes to hand at the ShadowLands...

UDPDATE: Wondering why the Democrats are so worried about balloons? Answer here.

Pope Innocent VIII

Back in the day when Popes were made of sterner stuff, Pope Innocent VIII made a name for himself for his hard-line support for the Spanish Inquisition and for witch hunting.

Pope Innocent VIII and his contemporaries believed that witches would have sex with demons, kill babies, and steal penises - and that they needed to be hunted down.

One contemporary historian claimed that when Pope Innocent VIII died on 25 July 1492, three 10-year-old boys also died while attempts were made to transfuse him with their blood.

What's in a name?

That which we call a Number 16 Bus Shelter by any other name would smell as sweet.

Gap closes between Kev-speak and cliches

Will GetUp influence political debate? asks this item from 2005.

Turns out the answer is no, but Kevin is just loving their catchphrases.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good news, bad news

In news that will gladden the hearts of libertarian/free speech types, Chinese authorities have announced that protests will be allowed at the Beijing Olympics - but only in designated areas.

Simon Bolivar

24 July is Simon Bolivar Day in Ecuador. Bolivar is revered in South America as an independence fighter who helped make many nations the poverty-trapped sinkholes that they are today.

Bolivar only has a few living descendants, including his great-great-great-nephew Eduardo Mendoza. He was an agricultural scientist and politician in Venezuela who resigned over a decision to import frozen beef from Argentina. Shortly after he resigned, in 1950, the country was infected with foot and mouth disease, a problem that continues to cost them many millions of dollars every year.

Simon Bolivar is attributed with the quote "If Nature is against us, we shall fight Nature, and make it obey."

Whatever they pay

...the guy who writes the headlines at Pravda, it's not enough.

Inside Kevin

Today Kevin indulges in some reminiscences of his successful Kevin '07 campaign, including a story about a blackout in a school powered by solar panels.

Apparently none of the stories Kevin thought were good anecdotes made it into the book. There are also some fond references to his press secretary, former GetUp spokesman, Lachlan Harris (pictured) - not that there's anything wrong with that.

While yesterday, Kevin was struggling with his geography, today it's his apostrophes:

"Australia was ignoring the damage to it’s own economy, it’s natural environment and it’s water resources by the clear cut, absolutely clear cut, evidence of climate change."

UPDATE: More information on Lachlan Harris at the bottom, here including:

"He is also a dedicated fan of Los Angeles-based gossip character Richard Reed (sic) on the Today Show...He has a girlfriend."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Gimli Glider

23 July will be the 25th anniversary of the day that a brand new Air Canada 767 ran out of fuel in mid-air half way between Montreal and Edmonton. The error occurred because it had been loaded using pounds rather than kilograms of fuel.

The aeroplane became known as the Gimli Glider, and the full story is a classic.

Harrelson and Slash

I thought that if I did some research into actor Woody Harrelson, and guitarist Slash who were both born on July 23, that I would discover something interesting - but I was wrong. Sorry.

Barrier reef faces new threat: Greenpeace

The Great Barrier Reef is facing an imminent threat from a 72 metre vessel which is currently threading its way through the treacherous shoals of this highly endangered environment, flanked by flotillas of carbon-spewing boats.

Alarmingly, the multinational organisation in charge of the vessel has a history of causing environmental damage to sensitive reefs. The boat which is larger than Greg Norman's yacht, powered by a BHP Sulzer V12 diesel motor and features a hull strong enough to smash through ice, is unlikely to be stopped by any of the fragile old-growth coral polyps that it may encounter.

Young people return to Earth corners

As previously noted, geography is not one of Australian PM Kevin Rudd's strong points. Now this from Kevin Rudd's farewell to the Pope:

"We think of the sea of flags from practically all the nations of the earth. We think of the ocean of young people who have come literally from every corner of God’s earth...."

North Korea gets to thinking

Citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea are currently being urged to unleash their inexhaustible mental powers in a think-fest.

Whether anyone will ponder why North Korea's Gross National Income per capita is 5.7 per cent of their southern neighbour remains to be seen.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Can't be many sleeps now...

until Kevin Rudd replies to my letter. It's been more than a week.

Speaking of climate change, new television advertisements point to a website with the promise that you can "have your say". This seems to imply there is some kind of chat room, but nothing appears to be available at the moment.

Pi Approximation Day

Because 22/7 is an approximation of Pi, the 22nd of July is Pi Approximation Day. Celebrators of Pi Day march around circular spaces and eat pie.

For participants in Pi Approximation Day, it is the one day of the year when it is unnecessary to wear one of these. Here's another great Pi Approximation Day activity.

Sobhuza II

22 July is the birthday of the late King of Swaziland, Sobhuza II and a national day of observance.

Since unemployment exceeds 40 per cent in Swaziland, it is difficult to tell whether or not it is a national holiday. Swaziland is a young country on account of a life expectancy of 32 - the world's lowest, but not so vibrant, on account of its rate of HIV infection - the world's highest.

King Sobhuza II married 70 wives, and had 210 children between 1920 and 1970. About 180 children survived infancy. When he died he had over 1000 grandchildren.

Much like the Australian Labor Party, Swaziland is a kleptocracy - a small entity that benefits a minority whose participation in it is safeguarded by relations with power.

Who wants to be a billionaire?

A quick quiz, ShadowLanders: Which country now has more billionaires than any other?

Answer here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Man o' Peace

21 July will be the 60th birthday for Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, who was formerly known as Steven Georgiou.

Visiting a university in London in 1989, he was asked about the fatwa against author Salman Rushdie, to which he is reported to have replied, "He must be killed. The Qur'an makes it clear - if someone defames the prophet, then he must die."

Asked to clarify this statement by the Christian Science Monitor, he is reported to have said, "In Islam there is a line between let's say freedom and the line which is then transgressed into immorality and irresponsibility and I think as far as this writer is concerned, unfortunately, he has been irresponsible with his freedom of speech. Salman Rushdie or indeed any writer who abuses the prophet, or indeed any prophet, under Islamic law, the sentence for that is actually death. It's got to be seen as a deterrent, so that other people should not commit the same mistake again."

He also doesn't want to answer questions about Hamas.

Mr Islam has retired from recording, but much of his time is taken up receiving prizes.

Fame denied

Herostratus was a young man who set fire to the Temple of Artemis - one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - in what is now western Turkey on July 21, 356 BC.

Herostratus claimed credit in order to immortalise his name. In order to discourage other fame-whores, the authorities executed him, and forbade mention of his name under the penalty of death. However, the ancient historian Theopompus who didn't let no control freaks tell him what to do, recorded the event.

In line with the German penchant for having cool words with no English equivalents, "herostrat" is their word for a criminal motivated by fame.

Neighbours showin' some love

The abysmal Australian television soap opera, Neighbours has been branded "too white" according to this news story.

This is where gizoogle - the website that translates English into jive can help.

Sunday real estate

Readers are advised in the strongest possible terms to draw yourself a house at ShadowLands Avenue before you are priced out of the market - then come check out your high class neighbours.
UPDATE: There may be a technical difficulty over at the ShadowLands Ave, as 14 homes are listed, but only 10 are showing up...Jeez, the perils of home ownership.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

You still don't believe in AGW?

Pictured - a small part of the delegation from the International Panel on Climate Change accepting their award in Oslo for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

The delegation pictured here includes Mr Daniel L. Albritton, Mrs Rudie Bourgeois, Mr Jim Bruce, Ms Renate Christ, Mr Ogunlade Davidson, Mr. Christopher Field, Mr Sergio Gonzales, Mr John Houghton, Mr Izrael Yury Antonievich, Mr Michel Jarraud, Mr Jarraud, Mr Omar Masera, Mr Bert Metz, Mr Richard Moss, Mr Mohan Munasinghe, Mr Richard Odingo, Mrs Bagis Osman-Elasha, Ms Jean Palutikof, Mr Martin Parry, Mrs Riitta Pipatti, Mr Qin Dahe, Mrs Susan Solomon, Mr Mustafa Tolba Ms Carola Traverso Saibante, Mr Robert Watson, Mr Richard Wood.

The laureates all enjoyed a banquet of lobster aspic with dill-baked halibut and Kalix bleak roe; young cockerel with cockerel sausage, accompanied by almond potato and celery root terrine; raspberry and blackcurrant parfait on beds of pistachio, with vanilla ice cream. This was all washed down by lashings of Eau minérale Ramlösa and Remy Martin VSOP Cointreau.

They also enjoyed a torchlight parade and a concert with a modest line-up of minstrels and wandering troubadors.

Man beats nature

The late, great Edmund Hillary was born on 20 July 1919. Here's what Ed did when he reached the summit of Everest:

"...Then Tenzing stepped up and Hillary took a photograph of him. Hillary and Tenzing Norgay stood literally on top of the world. It didn't enter Hillary's head to have his photograph taken.

"As far as I knew, he [Tenzing] had never taken a photograph before, and the summit of Everest was hardly the place to show him how".

He looked around for signs of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine, who had gone to the mountain 30 years before and who, some people believe, had reached the summit. He found no sign of them. Tenzing dug holes for food, small gifts to the gods.

Having paid their respects to the highest mountain in the world, they then urinated on it. Hillary heralded the ascent with the laconic style that made him a New Zealand archetype. Returning from the summit, he greeted a fellow New Zealand member of the expedition George Lowe, with the iconic words: "Well George, we’ve knocked the bastard off."

Planet still in denial

Kevin Rudd ABC 666:

My job as Prime Minister is to look at these scientific facts, look at the economic facts, and then make a balanced judgment for the country’s long term future. And then when you look at the science facts and the economic facts on climate change, the fact that temperatures are going up and we’re already the world’s hottest and driest continent, and we’ll become, therefore, likely candidates to be the hardest and earliest hit by climate change...

Exclusive: Condi wrecks Whitehouse

Reliable sources have revealed exclusively to the ShadowLands that leading international journal, Pravda is reporting that an Italian newspaper is reporting that US tabloid magazines are saying that George and Laura Bush are headed for divorce.

The rumoured reason for the break-up is that Mr Bush is having an affair with Condoleezza Rice - with numerous Internet sites corroborating the story. More details will be made available just as soon as reports of reports of reports of reports come to hand.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lastminute -

Born on July 19, 1860, Lizzie Borden was a 19th century version of OJ Simpson.

Although it's not quite numerically accurate, her notoriety can be well summed up by a charming jump rope song of the time:

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
And when she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.

On the anniversary of the murders, one lucky e-bay bidder will be staying in the room where her stepmother was found lying face down in a pool of blood.

That's progress for you

The English Navy was so proud of the majestic tudor warship, the Mary Rose that they added another deck so she could carry more cannons.

On July 19, 1545 the top-heavy vessel sank while in full view of King Henry VIII. The ship was raised in 1982 and is now on display in Portsmouth.

Margo unmoved

It is (arguably) worth checking out this image of Margo Kingston (three down on the right) just to read the caption.

Wet enough for you?

Kevin Rudd says that he must be first to act on climate change because Australia is the hottest continent (we're actually third out of seven) and the driest (we're actually second, after Antarctica).

But what happened to our old friend - per capita?

The heat of a continent per capita is nonsensical - but water resources per capita is much less so. So looky here.

UPDATE: It's official: Australia/Oceania has the most actual renewable water resources per capita of any region on Earth - however, Australia by itself comes a respectable second after South America.

Australia still hottest, driest

While I await a response to my letter, Kevin Rudd is not backing away from his claim that Australia is the hottest and driest continent as outlined in this, his latest interview.

Kevin sets it up beautifully with the statement:

"I think the challenge here, Mike, is to, as Prime Minister, is to face the scientific facts, face the economic facts, which confront us,"

and then

"This is already the world’s hottest and driest continent. We are therefore likely to be hit hardest and earliest by climate change. "

UPDATE: Claim repeated on the ABC, about two thirds of the way down here.

UPDATE II: Climate Minister Penny Wong is not so sure:

"As one of the hottest and driest continents on earth, Australia's economy and environment will be one of the hardest and fastest hit by climate change if we don't act now."

Fewer than a billion likely to see event report on the ABC is wrong, as explained here and here which also explains why this is wrong. Of course this is also wrong as explained by this.

UPDATE: Now it's billions.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Socialism explained

Out and out dickhead, Adolf Hitler published his personal manifesto, Mein Kampf on July 18, 1925. The book combining autobiographical details and his national socialist ideology was dictated (yes, really) while he was in jail, with the snappy working title of "Viereinhalb Jahre [des Kampfes] gegen Lüge, Dummheit und Feigheit" (Four and a Half Years [of Fighting] Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice).

The book was a best-seller, allowing him to buy a Mercedes when he left prison and (along with a sequel) has since sold millions of copies. He sold 240,000 copies by the time he became Chancellor in 1933 and had incurred a tax debt equivalent to a small fortune - at which time his debt was waived. The son of Hitler's nephew is said to have a strong legal case to win the copyright of the book from Bavaria should he decide to pursue it.

AFL trips, fumbles, out of bounds

Former (ughh!) out-of-stater and So-Called Tim Blair is currently Cheerleader in Chief for the establishment of an Australian Football League team in western Sydney.

In the absence of other footage, international readers will get the general spirit of this sport here and a general primer on western Sydney here and its currently favoured sport here.

Some years ago, I had a conversation with a person who was about to invest a lot of money in an ostrich farm. The conversation reached an abrupt silence when I asked them whether they currently buy any ostrich products. So, Timbonator, are you planning to travel to Blacktown and pay to watch the Leprechauns any time soon?

Here are a few other reasons this team is destined to fail:

* Much of Tim's argument is that AFL is a much better game to play. He may be right, but every school boy in Sydney refers to the game as "gay fl". This explains why despite a multi-million dollar advertising campaign, "the eight listed junior AFL clubs in Sydney's west need to amalgamate age groups to field teams". What's more important, player participation will not really help this new club.

* The idea to recruit Irish players and have a celtic theme is bizarre. Irish backpackers will not travel to western Sydney to see them play - at least, not more than once. In contrast, the Melbourne Storm rugby league team has found a decent base from its fans with a Pacific Islander background. The introduction of a celtic AFL team in western Sydney will go down like the introduction of an Icelandic ballet company in Collingwood.

* Sydney people don't watch AFL on television, with previous live broadcasts of the home side soundly beaten by Antiques Roadshow. What makes you think they will pay to go and watch fumbleball in the cold out in Sydney's west?

The introduction of the Leprechauns to western Sydney is set to be an epic car crash in slow motion, and if you listen carefully, you can hear the chaps at NRL headquarters making the popcorn.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Capitalism and Freedom, Part V

The ShadowLands is proud to present Part V of John Butler of the John Butler Trio's meditation on capitalism and freedom.

Historical evidence speaks with a single voice on the relation between political freedom and a free market. I know of no example in time or place of a society that has been marked by a large measure of political freedom that has not also used something comparable to a free market to organize the bulk of economic activity. Capitalism is not a sufficient condition for human or political freedom, though it is a necessary condition.

Hong Kong has had an extraordinary degree of economic freedom: no tariffs and no import or export quotas, except as we in our wisdom have forced such quotas on Hong Kong in order to protect our industries from its efficiency. There are few regulations on business, no price controls, no wage controls.

Hong Kong's completely free economy has achieved marvels. Here is a place with no resources except a magnificent harbour, a small piece of land that has grown to a population close to six million and at the same time, the standard of living has multiplied many times. It has been one of the most rapidly growing countries in the world, a remarkable example of what free markets can do if left unrestricted.

However, in one respect Hong Kong has no freedom whatsoever. It has no political freedom. At the very time officials of the British Colonial Office were imposing economic freedom on Hong Kong, at home in Britain a socialist government was imposing socialism on Britain. Perhaps they sent the backward people out to Hong Kong to get rid of them. It suggests that while economic freedom facilitates political freedom, political freedom, once established, has a tendency to destroy economic freedom.

The situation is even more extreme if you consider that Hong Kong got zero foreign aid during its growth. Foreign aid has done far more harm to the countries we have given it to than it has done good. Why? Because in every case, foreign aid has strengthened governments that were already too powerful. Mozambique, Tanzania, and many other African countries...

South Korea

July 17 is Constitution Day in South Korea. Here are some things you might not know about South Korea:

* South Korea has a plan to have a robot in every home by 2020.

* South Korea is a manufacturing powerhouse and the 13th largest economy in the world by GDP, just ahead of Australia.

* Despite this, and being a nation of people addicted to video gaming and a diet of fermenting vegetables, it has per capita greenhouse emissions equivalent to less than half that of Australia. Mmmh, how do they do it?

* For $150,000, if you send body tissues from a pet to a firm in South Korea called RNL Bio, they can make you another one, just the same.

* If it's a dog, you will be relieved to know that preparing dogs for food is now illegal in South Korea.

* But you would be concerned to discover that it still happens.

* Part of a 2007 peace plan between North and South Korea included an agreement to have a joint Olympic cheer squad.

Please stand for the South Korean national anthem.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

David Farragut

David Farragut captured the city of New Orleans during the American Civil War and was made the first Rear Admiral of the US Navy (on July 16, 1862). But all of these achievements pale in the memory compared to the one exchange he is remembered for.

At the battle of Mobile Bay, from his high perch, Farragut could see ships pulling back after one had been sunk by a tethered mine (then known as a torpedo). "What's the trouble?" was shouted through a trumpet from the flagship to a flanking vessel.

"Torpedoes!" was shouted back in reply. "Damn the torpedoes!" said Farragut, "Four bells. Captain Drayton, go ahead! Jouett, full speed!"

...and all I got was this lousy t-shirt

This is the first ever detonation of a nuclear weapon, which occurred at Trinity, New Mexico on 16 July, 1945.

While having tragic consequences for their victims, nuclear weapons also ended the war, saved many lives, civilised the Japanese, and led to the longest period of peace in the western world since 180 AD.

You can still visit ground zero in New Mexico twice a year, where you can buy a hamburger or a mushroom cloud t-shirt. Radiation at the site is above average, but no worse than an aeroplane flight or a visit to the Capitol building in Washington


Some kid over at Yahoo answers just wanted some help with his homework, and I spoilt it. Sorry.

It might not be...

too late to become Australia's Official Delegate to the Korean Friendship Association and join these esteemed personages.

The forums of the KFA include all the breaking news from the DPRK like this.

There is evidence here that these folk are for real.

DPRK strikes back

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea will refuse to take any more tourists from ungrateful South Korea - who have much to learn about tourism - until they apologise for the unfortunate incident at Mt Kumgang.

Read all about it here.

(Also, scroll down at the last link for details on floral basket deliveries on the occasion of the 14th anniversary of the demise of Kim Il Sung.)

The face of climate change

Quote of the day from Kevin Rudd on climate change:

"I don’t think anyone is being responsible if they look at the science and say, ‘sorry, not for me buddy’ – it’s just there, it stares you in the face."
Behold, the science! Now let's see how Kevin goes on the geography.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ian Curtis

Born on July 15 1956, Ian Curtis was the most miserable sod from the world's most miserable city, Manchester, and lead vocalist in the world's most miserable rock band, Joy Division.

The best known song by Joy Division was Love Will Tear Us Apart which was an ironic response to the ShadowLands' theme song. Ian Curtis was so big on irony that he killed himself in 1980, ensuring he would go down in history as the miserable sod's miserable sod.

He was such a miserable sod that he even failed to make the 27 club.


ShadowLands is proud to present an extract of reminiscences from someone who recently took over the mantle as the world's oldest blogger.

Being now a relic of the past Century, having been born in 1799; and in the course of my wanderings over the world, seem some of the early days of what is now Melbourne & Victoria; I take the present opportunity of jotting down one or two of the old time pencillings.

In the month of June 1836, I came by land from Hobart town to Launceston; thence descending the Tamar river in a small boat with two ticket of leave men as rowers. When about half way down the stream we were overtaken just as night was about coming on by a dense fog, which caused us to lose or rather miss our way. Hearing another boat on the river we hailed it, and it came to us, having but one man in it. Of him we asked whereabouts the sawyers huts were, of the which we were aware as a place of shelter.

He directed us how to boat for them, & we pulled there, finding a poor little shanty where we passed the night. The next morning we got down to George's town, and there I remained 3 or 4 days. During my stay there I learnt that a notable bushranger was captured on the river; one on whose head a very large sum of money had been set. This, strangely enough, turned out to be the very man to whom I have before referred as telling us our way in the fog on the river. He was I believe afterwards hung, but I do not at the moment remember his name...

More great stuff from the world's oldest blogger over here.

Just in case...

you haven't noticed, 1.6's photo blog rocks.

What do we want? Blankets

Dangerous climate change nearly claimed some more victims on the weekend - the latest in a long line of heroic protesters who have gone before them.

By the by - here is one good reason why Greenpeace types might want to think twice about hanging out near coal-fired power stations.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Funghi town

As previously noted, the articles about health and lifestyle in Pravda are different. This week, magic mushrooms.

Robin Olds

Born on July 14, 1922, Robin Olds was a distinguished American fighter pilot. A veteran of World war II and Vietnam, he was credited with 16 kills, making him a triple air ace. He is the only air ace who is also in the American college football hall of fame.

On returning from Vietnam, he was forced to shave his distinctive moustache, leading to a tradition in international air forces known as "moustache March", and indirectly leading to the development of this human rights organisation.

Breath bated

MM has written to Kevin Rudd with the following:

Dear Sir

In recent media interviews, you repeated the claim that Australia is the hottest and driest continent. From which source did you get this information?

Yours sincerely


Readers are instructed to stay tuned to the ShadowLands, because I will be sharing the answer, which could shatter many of the cosy assumptions some of us hold about the tropics.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It's a sign

The Hollywood sign was officially dedicated in the hills above Los Angeles on July 13, 1923.

Originally reading "Hollywoodland", it was covered in 4000 light bulbs and intended as a short term advertisement for real estate. From the ground, the contours of the hills give the sign its wavy appearance, but from a comparable altitude, the letters appear to be level.

You can custom make your own Hollywood sign here. Handy tip for those sharing a home computer - why not make an obscene or offensive message for a family member, and leave it for them as a background image?

Salad days...

Julius Caesar is thought to have been born on either July 12 or 13, 100 BC. Caesar trivia:

* Historians are arguing whether he was an epileptic or hypoglycemic.

* A political opponent once forced him to read out a note in the Senate - but it turned out to be a love letter from the opponents' sister in law.

* Senators began to plot against him when he failed to stand for them when a senatorial delegation visited him, though his supporters argued this was because of a bout of diarrhoea.

* Caesar was stabbed 23 times. Plutarch reported that he said nothing, simply drawing his toga above his head.

* Various likenesses of Caesar bear an uncanny resemblance to the shithouse ABC science presenter, Robyn Williams.

Tourist resort re-militarized

Ungrateful officials from so-called "South" Korea have suspended tourism to the paradise of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea following a realistic military display at a tourist resort.

A spokesman for DPRK said that the only people to suffer would be people from so-called "South" Korea.

"Over the years we have had complaints that de-militarized zone too boring for tourists. Now we make interesting once again, and all we hear is complaining!"

Friday, July 11, 2008

A retraction

The ShadowLands had been struggling under the belief that Canadians were little more than cross-dressing lumberjack, Human Rights Commission panty-wetting, aboot saying, puck chasing, Commonwealth Games-fourth-place-getting, wussy distant cousins.

But that has all changed thanks to the awesome television series that has found its way to Australian television - ICE ROAD TRUCKERS!!!!

The ShadowLands hereby accepts, and would like to take this opportunity to freely admit, that at least some of you people rock.


the Dutch humanist and bookworm died on July 12 1536.

Erasmus is attributed with some quotes that have since become cliches, such as "Prevention is better than cure", "Fortune favours the audacious" and amazingly (no, I'm not kidding) "Women, can't live with them, can't live without them."

Erasmus receives a long overdue razzing regarding this quote - if not exactly a convincing rebuttal - over here.

Want answers? We got 'em...

So what's the deal with Iran and Israel? Some great answers here - and a short window of opportunity to add your own.

UPDATE: More good stuff.

Rudd stops buck at G8

Kevin Rudd has told members at a G8 meeting that the "buck stops here", however the meeting was but "one step down the road".

"At the end of the day, we need to put our money where our mouth is," Mr Rudd continued. "If we fail to act, our goose is cooked - but we need to make our own luck and never look a gift horse in the mouth."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

July 11

The ShadowLands recently had a visitor from Mongolia, who I can only assume must be attending Naadam.

Youtube reveals that Naadam is a mixture of way cool horse racing across open fields and big blokes wearing blue budgie smugglers. There should be more of it - Happy Naadam Day.

Planet in denial

Kevin Rudd's latest favourite catch-phrase is that Australia is the hottest and driest continent on the planet, but there is one small problem - it's not.

Of course, the driest continent on the planet is Antarctica. Technically speaking, Australia is the driest inhabited continent. Too pedantic for you?

What about the hottest continent in the world? There is no agreed way to measure what constitutes the hottest continent, but the simplest way is to look at a map.

Has anybody heard of Africa, a continent that encompasses the equator and all of the tropics? African countries that are furthest away from the tropics are Mediterranean in the north and comparable to mild areas of Australia in the south.

There is also an argument that likewise, South America is hotter than Australia because a greater percentage of the land is within the tropics. Australia is in fact, probably the third hottest continent - at best. Another method is to look at international extremes where Australia does not even make it into the top ten...

Of course it is winter in Australia, but bearing in mind that the tropics generally do not have anything resembling winter temperatures and it's also winter in South America and southern Africa, check out:

South America

UPDATE: Climate information for Kevin here.

Oberon "worst hit" by global warming

The central western NSW town of Oberon has been hit by global warming overnight, according to leading newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald.

While some argue that more carbon in the atmosphere will benefit the town by increasing forestry growth, and having flow on effects to the town's important truck driver-servicing prostitution industry, others are concerned that warming will kill fishes, as displayed in this sculpture.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

July 10

is Silence Day amongst followers of passive aggressive mystic, Meher Baba. Mr Baba maintained verbal silence from July 10 1925 until his death in 1969. For anyone who knows a follower of Meher Baba, July 10 is known as Let's See How Much We Can Piss Them Off Day.

is the anniversary of the 1989 death of voice acting's equivalent to Shakespeare, Mel Blanc. Little more needs to be said about Mr Blanc than the fact that he voiced Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Wile Coyote, Barney Rubble, and Pepe Le Pew.

Rudd upsets apple-cart

REUTERS: Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd has hit back at critics, such as former Treasurer, Peter Costello, who have said that he will not be able to get by for long on political cliches.

"On this issue, I will be putting my shoulder to the wheel," Mr Rudd said. "If we all get cracking on this we can turn the corner. We must seize the day and get our house in order."

Full transcripts of Mr Rudd's reply available here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Lee Hazlewood

Born on July 9, 1928 was the late, Lee Hazlewood, he of the unmistakable baritone and classic moustache. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2005, yet continued promoting his final album, "Cake or Death" before succumbing to the latter in 2007.

A Korean war veteran, he is perhaps best remembered for his work with Nancy Sinatra. Say, tell me this ain't a classic...or this.

MM's editorial: celebrity names

Since they have a lot of time on their hands, many celebrities like to give their children unusual names. Sometimes, because they are junkies who have no intention of caring for them for a long period of time, they give them pet names like Peaches or Tiger. Similarly, you can bet that many boys called Harley have fathers who would have preferred a motor bike.

Not so Nicole Kidman who has given her child a name reminiscent of domesticity and normality - Sunday Rose Kidman Urban.

Those of you of a certain age may remember that in 1990, Kidman's best friend appeared in an advertisement in which she gave up a date with Tom Cruise for a roast lamb. Mmmmh - Sunday Rose = Sunday Roast.

Is Nicole sub-consciously saying she would rather have a Sunday roast than Tom Cruise? My guess is that she has also slotted in her family name because she is not really expecting the last name to be of much use over the long haul...

For keen amateur psycho-analysts, more celebrity baby names here.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Raise a glass to Soapy...

July 8 is Soapy Smith Wake Day in Skagway Alaska.

Jefferson Randolph ("Soapy") Smith II was a great American con artist long before carbon credits were even invented. He gained his nickname - and a great deal of money - from a soap-selling scam.

Smith would open his display case on a busy street corner and begin expounding on the wonders of the soap. As he spoke to the growing crowd of onlookers, he would pull out his wallet and begin wrapping paper money ranging from one dollar up to one hundred dollars, around a few of the bars. He then finished each bar by wrapping plain paper around it to hide the money before selling the soap to the crowd for one dollar a cake. Someone planted in the crowd would buy a bar, tear it open, and loudly proclaim that he had won some get the drift...

Fittingly enough, Soapy was killed in a gun-fight with the Skagway city surveyor, and his last words were "My god, don't shoot!"

More on the extraordinary life and times of Soapy here.

PS Does anyone else think there is a physical resemblance here? Just sayin' is all.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

One year on...

Live Earth was held on July 7, 2007. It was an event built on hope and idealism. So one year on, what have we learnt?

Well for starters, about five posts down over here, you will find Australia's television ratings for the event (at number 39).

Secondly, what has been done with the money raised from concert tickets and other income?

Let's hope it has not all been spent on private air travel and bitches.

Joan acquitted

Joan of Arc was acquitted of heresy on July 7, 1456, 25 years after she was burnt alive. The verdict was understood to be a considerable relief to her parents, Barry and Cheryl, also of Arc.

Murray visitor warns of climate change

REUTERS: A delegation of dignitaries to the lower Murray Darling region say there is an urgent need to do something to combat climate change.

A spokesman for the delegation said that some parts of the Darling River that they visited were so salty, the water was undrinkable for horses, and parts of the lower Murray were blocked.

"The rivers fall rapidly from the mountains in which they originate into a level and extremely depressed country," spokesman, Mr Charles Sturt said.

"Having weak and inconsiderable sources, and being almost wholly unaided by tributories of any kind, they naturally fail before they reach the coast and exhaust themselves in marshes or lakes; or reach it so weakened as to be unable to preserve clear or navigable mouths, or to remove the sand banks that the tides throw up before them."

Russians alerted to new conspiracy

Ever vigilant MM has alerted Pravda colleagues to the latest scandal involving media controllers here.

A rouble for your thoughts...

Why do Americans have such trouble acknowledging that Bush and his minions are evil? A thoughtful essay from Pravda online legal editor, David R. Hoffman

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dangerous Dave and Brutal Bob

This game requires only two clicks of the mouse - one to send Dangerous Dave towards the cliff and another to get Brutal Bob to propel him as far as possible off it.

It is likely to take you a few goes to get the hang of it, and even when you do, I expect you will only be able to dream of matching MM's magnificent effort of 823.8 metres.

Update: MM makes 1080.0 metres! You people might as well give up already.

Malawi and Lithuania

July 6 is the national days of both Malawi and Lithuania.

Although on the surface they may appear to have little in common, Malawians and Lithuanians both share a penchant for having their lives cut short, though Lithuanians enjoy having more choice in the matter.

You might as well remain standing while you listen to both anthems.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Spam turns 71 years old

Few canned meats can boast the cultural impact of Spam, introduced to the world on July 5, 1937. In fact, no canned meats have the necessary cognitive functions necessary for that kind of boasting.

My guess is most people will be familiar with the Monty Python song, but not so many with Weird Al Yankovic's tribute.

Today's brunch idea - Spam Musubi.

Venezuela and Algeria

July 5 is Independence Day in the great nation of Venezuela. Child malnutrition in Venezuela (defined as stunting or wasting in children under age five) stands at 17 per cent. According to the United Nations, 32 per cent of Venezuelans lack adequate sanitation, and 17 per cent of Venezuelans lack access to potable water, which helps explain the presence of typhoid, yellow fever, cholera and hepatitis.

Please stand for the Venezuelan national anthem.

It is also Independence Day for Algeria. According to the UN, Algeria has one of the world's highest per housing unit occupancy rates. This, combined with a lack of inexpensive deodorant, may explain why more than 160,000 people were killed between 1992 and June 2002 in the Algerian Civil War.

During the conflict, the Armed Islamist Group conducted a violent campaign of civilian massacres, sometimes wiping out entire villages in its area of operation. Please rise for the Algerian national anthem.

Weightlifting shame exposed...

"Americans are fat and lazy," writes Virginia-based America-basher John Stanton. At least they're not as gullible as the newspaper that pays for this crap.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Here 'tis...

As promised, a special 4 July thread at Pravda online.

Happy Independence Day...

to our American friends.

Here are three things to like about Americans.

* politeness. Americans not only say please and thank you, they say "you're welcome" if you say thank you. They give you water with your meal, even if you didn't ask for it. It was an American who invented the automatic hat tipper.

* Winning the Pacific War. The Japanese were once impolite - lest we forget. Hands up who thinks they wanted to stop at Papua New Guinea?

* The enormous contribution Americans have made to popular culture. Yip, yip, yip - ahaw.

Democracy comes to Iran

The Colonel presents a rare chance to vote on a matter related to the leadership of Iran...

You are invited...

to sign up with Pravda Online to join MM in a proposed July 4 discussion - What has Amerikkka ever done for us?

Get in early - it usually takes a while for them to process your membership details and pass them onto the Russian secret service.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Today is Independence Day in Belarus. All you need to know about this great nation can be found here.

Please stand for the Belarus national anthem.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Karl and Bertha

Widely considered the first automobile, the Karl Benz Patent Motorwagen was unveiled to the public on July 3, 1885.

Bertha Benz, the wife of the inventor, chose to publicise the car by personally demonstrating its feasibility as a means to travel long distances.

Bertha Benz drove her sons Eugen and Richard (fifteen and fourteen years old) from Mannheim to her hometown of Pforzheim. As well as being the driver, she acted as mechanic on the drive, cleaning the carburettor with her hat pin, using a garter to insulate a wire, and obtaining fuel from chemists along the way. We may never have known about the great inventor, Karl, without the involvement of the great publicist, Bertha.

July 3

was The End for charismatic pop singer, Jim Morrison of The Doors in 1971.

Morrison trivia - Jim was born in Melbourne, Florida and his girlfriend (who died of a heroin overdose in 1974) was born in Weed, California. His father was a US Navy Admiral who still resides in California, although Morrison's fortune was eventually inherited by his girlfriend's parents.

is the anniversary of the 1989 death of actor, Jim Backus, best remembered as Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island and the voice of Mr Magoo. In 1952 Backus had a brief scene in a movie with Marilyn Monroe. Years later, he recalled the time Monroe urgently beckoned him into her dressing room. Once there, she exclaimed in her breathless voice, "Do Mr. Magoo!"

On July 2

1566, Nostradamus died due to unforeseen circumstances.

1961, Ernest Hemingway blew his brains out. Before that he was fine. Then he was dead.

1962, Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart in his home state of Arkansas to try out his theory that he could make more money by selling produce with lower mark-ups. By 2006, Wal-Mart had a net income of $12 billion, equivalent to the GDP of a mid-ranking nation, and five of his children were ranked in the top 10 richest Americans.

Thought of the Day with Mahmoud

"Don't cry for a man who's left you - the next one may fall for your smile.”

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran

Pictured: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meeting with dignitaries on a recent visit to Italy.

Mahmoud survives

ShadowLands correspondent on finding internal peace, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been the subject of a cowardly x-ray attack by western types - and I think you know exactly who I mean - on a recent visit to Italy.

This is understood not to be the first time that cowardly westerners have used this weapon against brave revolutionaries. Remain ever-vigilant.

Amerikkka's latest evil plan

MM has alerted the denizens of Pravda online to Amerikkka's latest trick.

Speaking of food, check out Pravda's excellent guide to vegetarianism in their health and lifestyles section.