You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Monday, May 31, 2004


From The Onion

Catholic Church Condemns Metrosexuality
VATICAN CITY—Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Monday that metrosexuality, the trend of heterosexual men co-opting the aesthetics of homosexual men, is strictly prohibited under Catholic doctrine. "The truly faithful will avoid the temptation to adopt this hip urban lifestyle," Navarro-Valls said. "The devout Catholic must remain on the path toward salvation, no matter how good he'd look in an Armani pullover, and no matter how much he might covet his neighbor's set of Williams-Sonoma lobster forks." Karl Weis, director of the New York-based activist group Freedom From Religion, responded to the ban by stating that "metrosexuality is so 2003."

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Test your geekiness

I rate a comfortable 40.43393% - Major Geek

Test yourself and report back "at once".

Make it so at

(Thanks to Wheelie Bin Syndrome for this link)

Monday, May 24, 2004


Yes, Hitler did not commit suicide in the Fuhrerbunker in the closing days of World War 2, but instead lives online!

Ask any question of the Fuhrer and he will reply.


He's still a quirky fellow, though. No plans to clone him yet either, except through software.

Thursday, May 20, 2004


Yes, Tom, i would have to agree there - Salaam Pax does bear more than a passing resemblance to your grimacing visage. Gentle readers, ecce homo!

I would also refer you the reader to pictures of
Bill Murray,
Phil Collins and Kemal Ataturk.

(And don't listen to Tom about me, either. Last resemblance he held me to was Jack Straw!)

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

IF OTHER AUTHORS HAD WRITTEN THE LORD OF THE RINGS ... This has gotten me inspired enough so I added one of my own. Here are some excerpts. See if you can guess which one of these it is -- without looking up the original page.

Ian Fleming:

Aragorn placed his hand on the cool, ivory hilt of his 6.38 Andúril sword, half-holding it in as casual manner as possible. His eyes swept the room of the Prancing Pony, eyeing up the potential threats. He took out his pipe, made from the warmed heartwood of a mature oak. In the palm of his left hand, he unwrapped his leather tobacco pouch filled, as he preferred, with Gondorian Silk Cut. Aragorn preferred it to the harsher, stronger Númenorean blend...

PG Wodehouse:

"Sam, I've decided to go and overthrow the Dark Lord by tossing his jewelry into a volcano".

"Very good, sir. Should I lay out your crazy adventure garb? I presume that this will pose a delay to tea-time. I would remind your Hobbitship that your Great Aunt Lobelia Sackville-Baggins is expected for tea".

"Blast! I say, bother! How can a chap overthrow the Dark Lord? I suppose I will have to delay my campaign".

"Very good, sir. I believe you will be free in about a decade".

"I'll do it then. Make a note, Sam"...

Oscar Wilde:

"He bested me in a riddle contest".

"A riddle contest?"

"It was so. And he cheated".

"To cheat in a riddle contest is a riddle in itself, and is therefore not cheating, but just another riddle"...

CS Lewis:

... By this time, Bilbo was in a frightful state, for by now he was quite upset with himself that he had given over the Ring to Frodo, and with Gandalf as well for "making me do it". I expect that a good many of you may often have felt like this, after you've done something you were told was the proper thing to do. You don't like it half so much the next day, and by end of term you're absolutely certain you've been cheated out of something dear to you. As a result of all of this, by the time Bilbo saw the Ring on Frodo's chest, he felt dreadfully jealous all of a sudden.

"I say, Baggins, I do think you're being perfectly beastly about this whole letting me hold the Ring again thing", said Bilbo crossly.

"Oh, do shut up, Baggins", retorted Frodo. "Don't you understand? The Ring is my burden. Not anyone else's. That's what He told us. You-Know-Who. The Wizard"...

Gene Roddenberry:

"The Halflings, cap'n, they will na take the strain"

"Strider, we've got to get out of this snow. Legolas, did you get a reading on that creature?"

"Fascinating, Captain. It appears to be an unknown creature that lurks in the pool waiting for passing strangers. Ecologically implausible, captain".

"Do you know what it is?"

"I believe I said it was unknown, Dr Gimli. Logically, if I knew what it was, then it wouldn't be unknown".

"Cap'n, we're in some sort of temporal warp, stretching and deforming the plot. The snow should take place a day before our encounter with this beastie".

"Captain, what are we going to do?"

"Boromir, put on that red armour"....

Ernest Hemingway:

Frodo Baggins looked at the ring. The ring was round. It was a good ring. The hole at the heart of the ring was also round. The hole was clean and pure. The hole at the heart of the ring had an emptiness in it that made Frodo Baggins remember the big skies of the Shire when his father had taken him out and taught him to tear the heads off the small, furred things that walked there, even though he hated blood in those days and the stink of the blood was always part of the emptiness for him then and ever after. Frodo Baggins could put the ring on his finger now. The stink of the blood and the hole and the emptiness could never leave him now. Frodo Baggins looked at the ash-heap slopes of Mordor and remembered the Cuban Orc who had kept the ash on his cigar all the way to the end. The Orc just drew on the cigar and smoked the cigar calmly and kept the ash in a long grey finger, a hard finger, right to the moment that the Rangers beat hit to death with clubs. He was mucho Orco, the Cuban...

There's more. Go on, go check out the page. Thanks to one of Mark Shea's lurkers for that tip.

AT LEAST HE DIDN'T ACCUSE THEM OF DRINKING BLOOD AND SERVING SATAN... You know the Eighties are truly over when...

(#1) KISS bass player Gene Simmons has caused an uproar among Australia's Muslim community by launching an attack on Islamic culture while in Melbourne. The lizard-tongued rock god who is touring Australia with the world's most enduring glam rock band launched an attack on Muslim extremists during an interview on Melbourne's 3AW radio. "Extremism believes that it's okay to strap bombs on to your children and send them to paradise and whatever else and to behead people," he said yesterday. The Israeli-born US musician went on to say Islam was a "vile culture" that treated women worse than dogs. Muslim women had to walk behind their men and were not allowed to be educated or own houses, he said...

-- KISS bassist offends Muslims”, by Alex Wilson, Weekend Australian (15-16 May 2004), p 18.

Yes. Treating women badly. Something that would not have been tolerated for a second in the late-Seventies rock & roll world. And to continue the trend...

(#2) 'Who Made This Statement?

"This culture is in big trouble. All you see on television are debased images. You saw the Super Bowl. I don't even need to say anything more about it".

Take your guesses. Jerry Falwell? George Bush, Sr.? Nancy Reagan? Nah. Think purple.'

To find out the answer, you'll need to go to Clayton Cramer's weblog.

DON'T TASMANIAN SCHOOLKIDS STUDY HAMLET AS A SET TEXT? Well, there is now at least one country in the world whose monarch will be an Australian. Admittedly she couldn't become Queen of Denmark while remaining an Australian citizen, but here down under we can understand that. After all, you can't be Queen of Australia either if you're an Australian citizen. The strangest thing about this situation is that the side who think that's a good arrangement are also the most vehement in claiming that our laws should be based on the Bible. (The second-strangest thing about it is that I heard this argument repeated, during the 1999 Republic referendum campaign, by Margaret Court -- yes, the tennis player, now a Pentecostal pastor. Yea, not the least jot or tittle shall pass away, etc etc.)

Interesting item in The Australian on Monday 17 May (p 9): "The Copenhagen Post surveys Danish children’s views on Princess Mary": One tyke said: "When Mary and Frederik get married, Mary will turn into a pregnant lady". Marriage first, then pregnancy? Maybe there's hope for the Scandinavians yet.

It's a neat reversal. 2003 was the year when we saw a man from Denmark travel to a small island in the southern hemisphere to be crowned. Now 2004 is the year when we see a woman from a small island in the southern hemisphere travel to Denmark to be crowned. Karmic balance maintained.

UPDATE: Josh the Fearsome Pirate will be pleased: Mary has converted from Presbyterianism to the Evangelical Lutheran state church of Denmark. (Although this report here from the Copenhagen Post says she wasn't legally required to.) One imagines many sleepless nights of soul-wrestling: "Hmmmm... marrying a prince and having a royal wedding... But then, Jesus did say 'This is my body!'.... Choices, choices..."

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


For a sobering statistical view of the conflict in Iraq, consult
Iraq Coalition Casualties

Unfortunately, Iraqi casualties are not indicated.

"Hold the line... You know you can't quit until it's won... 'Cos Oliver’s army is here to sta-a-aaay..."

Life, once again, continues its annoying habit of imitating The Onion:

(#1) […] 80s retro fever is sweeping the executive branch, with President Bush and his nostalgia-crazed colleagues going wild for the people and policies of that “totally tubular” decade.

“The 80s were so awesome”, said Bush, grabbing a handful of Jelly Bellys from a jar on his Oval Office desk.

[…] Nearby, vice-president and fellow 80s-lover Dick Cheney reclined on a couch. “You know who else we should nominate?” Cheney asked. “Robert Bork for Supreme Court!” “Bork? Who’s that?” Bush responded. “Oh, wait – that’s the arch-conservative judge with the funny little chin beard, right? God, I totally forgot about that guy! Yeah, we should definitely nominate him!”

Bush also tapped Donna Rice for White House press secretary but retracted the offer when he realised he was thinking of Fawn Hall. “I always get those two confused”, Bush told Cheney. “I know one was with Oliver North and the shredder, and the other was with Gary Hart and the Monkey Business, but I forget which was which. Then there’s Jessica Hahn. She was the one with Jim Bakker, right? Or was it Jimmy Swaggart? Anyway, I want the Ollie North gal”. Bush praised Hall, calling her “a major-league babe”. Cheney affirmed the appraisal, saying, “Yeah, big-time”.

[…] “Even the enemies were cooler in the 80s”, Bush continued. “Back then, there was Russia, Libya, and Iran. Now, those were some bad guys. What do we have today? North Korea? How lame is that?”

[…] “As a uniter, not a divider, I recognise the importance of feel-good gestures like Hands Across America, USA For Africa, and that 'That’s What Friends Are For' song”, Bush said. “Back in the 80s, people used to come together and lend a hand to those in need. It’s important to make the occasional token effort toward helping others”.

Added Bush: “We also need more Americans like New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen, in whose songs live the hopes and dreams of every one of us”.

[…] Though committed to leading America into the future, Bush said he can’t help but wish he could have been president back in the decade of Pac-Man, skinny ties, and illegal arms deals with Nicaragua.

“Man, that would’ve been so cool to be the leader of the free world back then”, Bush said. “I was born 15 years too late”.

-“80s Retro Craze Sweeps Executive Branch”, The Onion (24 January 2001)

(#2) [This columnist] is delighted that US troops have captured Saddam Hussein, the murderous former dictator of Iraq. But couldn’t they have given this military operation a better code name than "Operation Red Dawn"? Red Dawn is a campy Cold War-era movie depicting the invasion of the United States by Soviet and Cuban troops. A band of youths from a small town in Colorado (including, pre-Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey) name themselves the “Wolverines” and mount a guerrilla resistance against the totalitarians who murdered their families[...]. The tip-off that Operation Red Dawn was named deliberately after the movie is that the two hiding places scouted out by the combat team were code-named “Wolverine I” and “Wolverine II”. (Saddam was found near Wolverine II). [...]

- “Good Mission, Bad Name: Why bring the movie Red Dawn into it?”, by Timothy Noah, (Monday, 15 December 2003)

(#3) […] Many of Operation Iraqi Freedom’s premises have proved false, and its costs and sorrows are undeniable. Yet progress continues to be made, and the potential of a democratic Iraq is unmistakable. With a little perseverance it may still fulfill some of that promise. The quagmire conservatives should be aware of some of the legitimate good news coming from Iraq, or at least listen to the advice of singer Corey Hart in his 80s hit, “Never Surrender”, “Just a little more time is all we’re asking for/Cause just a little more time could open closing doors/… /And when the night is cold and dark you can see you can see light/Cause no one can take away your right/To fight and to never surrender”.

- "Cheer Up, Hawks", by Charles Rousseaux, Tech Central Station(13 May 2004)

Be very afraid, in case Donald Rumsfeld unveils his plans to turn the moon into what he likes to call a [waggles fingers] "Death Star"[waggles fingers]. -- Guarded by "Ewoks".

UPDATE: And of course Andrew McCarthy is involved too. Can Scott Baio and Molly Ringwald be far behind?

Saturday, May 15, 2004


What is this stuff?

Grey Interactive

I checked my disk cache of temporary internet files and discovered that I had downloaded a WMV advertising a certain product ("Cheap Tickets") which I had no recollection of doing. No problem you say, ads are part of the internet and part of life. Wait a minute, I say. This ad was 1.82MB big!!! A BIG problem for people on dial-up (like me).

DEATH to viral marketing (A quote from the site: "Web visitors become brand advocates when we lever their interest with pass-along capabilities". How stupid are we people. STOP being a victim of marketing sharps in pinstripe suits or trendy sunglasses or whatever).

If you get sent any of this rubbish, DELETE IT, and DO NOT BUY OR ENDORSE THEIR PRODUCT.




By Anthony Harwood

TOP US sitcom Friends was blasted as 'not very entertaining, clever or original' by test audiences 10 years ago.

The hugely successful TV series, which has just ended in the US, might never have got off the ground if NBC studio bosses had listened to viewers who branded the show 'weak'.
Courtney Cox's Monica fared best but audiences said her appeal was below desirable levels for a lead.
Lisa Kudrow's Phoebe and Matthew Perry's Chandler had 'marginal appeal', while Rachel, Ross and Joey - played by Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer and Matt Le Blanc - scored even lower.
One group of adults aged 35 and over felt the group 'did not really care about each other the way real friends would'.
They found the characters smug, superficial and self-absorbed.
The 1994 test audiences gave Friends a rating of 41 out of 100 which was termed 'weak' - the same given to another huge hit US series, Seinfeld."

Friends is a formulaic sitcom. Its characters, settings, plots, themes and styles have all remained essentially the same. The staus quo is returned to at the end of each episode. Why has it remained so popular for so long? Were the test audiences WRONG? Hardly. Life has imitated art. We have become as facile superficial and shallow as our TV idols, and greedily soak up our own reflected images each week as we imagine seeing our own lives extend before us. Then let us briefly pause to remember the demise of the $6million troubadors. Friends is dead. Cheers, applause and whistles please. May it never return

Friday, May 14, 2004


Article from London's The Times revealing that the Anglican Church has just started a Cyber Church. I wonder when the Sydney Anglicans will start one, denouncing avatars as New Age out-of-body-experiences, icons as graven images, and buttons as a sign of vanity.


VISIT the cyber Church at NOTE: Long (for dialuppers) Macromedia Shockwave Player 10 download required.


I'll let the Crowl speak for himself, but I share the sentiments exactly

Hi All

This one was so cute I had to pass it on. Got it through a SiliconValley newsmail...

...brings back memories. I feel old as only 33 can seem from when you're 13.

Now of all organisations he is prosecuting Greenpeace for being peaceful about, well, things that are green.

At least he's realising that NGO's are a threat to the security of the United States..whoops that should read WMD's.

See more at:

Tuesday, May 11, 2004


Note the folowing editorial comment from those crazy funsters at the Australian Record Industry Association:

ARIA - The Arianet Chart: "*Please note, ARIA is no longer producing a Heavy Rock & Metal Chart. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. "

Apologise? Inconvenience? Words cannot convey the strangled emotions that I fight through to even bring you this message.

By Grapthar's hammer ... we shall be avenged!


So...heard the one about the Red Cross report into allegations of prisoner abouse in US run prisons in Iraq? Well, so have the Wall Street Journal, who had the document leaked to them recently. But if you would like to see it. you will have to PAY FOR THE PRIVILEGE.

Of course they are running a trial which gives you two weeks free online access, but this conveniently "rolls over" into a twelve month online subscription at just US$79!

I know, I know, the Red Cross are given access to heinous conditions because they assure confidentiality like any nice lackey NGO, but, hey, their report has been LEAKED. It's OUT IN THE OPEN! In the PUBLIC DOMAIN.

I'm not saying it should be treated like a Linux distro, but hey, aren't I entitled to know? In their defence, the WSJ might say they their sources are confidential, that they have a business to run, and random interlopers like myself shouldn't be sticking our noses in where we don't belong.

I agree, and I'm sure that's just what the MPs at Abu Ghraib prison think too.

THEM FIGHTIN' HITCHENS BROTHERS AGAIN... One's an anti-Iraq War conservative, the other a pro-Iraq War leftist, but both share a genetic trait for making themselves unpopular by taking on revered targets. Seven years ago, Christopher Hitchens published The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. With the fifth-form cleverness of its title, this book was every bit as successful as you would expect in persuading conservative Roman Catholics to give serious attention to Hitchens' criticisms of Mo-T (eg, that she was cosy with dictators like Duvalier, that she kept stolen money give to her by fraudster Charles Keating, etc). Now his right-wing brother Peter Hitchens has gone gun-slinging against Nelson Mandela:

London - A British journalist sharply criticised former South African president Nelson Mandela on Monday, saying that he was a "fig leaf" for an authoritarian government and people should view him as a fallible human being, not a saint.

Peter Hitchens, a columnist for the
Mail On Sunday, told BBC radio that many critics of the country's former apartheid regime had "elevated Nelson Mandela to the status of superhero and a sort of political secular saint". [...]

"I don't think anyone can take away from Nelson Mandela the fact that he endured what he did and that he called for reconciliation, but I think you shouldn't assume that at the end it was like a fairytale where everybody lived happily ever after", Hitchens said.

"I do think people should examine him as a normal human being and as a politician rather than as some kind of secular saint", the journalist said.

Next: Zeppo Hitchens uncovers the unsavoury secrets of the Dalai Lama, while Chico Hitchens exposes the REAL Aung San Suu Kyi. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 10, 2004

WERE THERE NO CROWL AVAILABLE TO HIRE AS FACT-CHECKERS? Interesting book review (link requires paid subscription) by David A Bell in The New Republic (17 May 2004) which opens with the following observation:

"In his Foundation trilogy, Isaac Asimov imagined a future civilisation in which the social sciences attain such sophistication that it becomes possible accurately to predict the future. A group called the “psycho-historians” apply the techniques to the Galactic Empire in which they live, and find, to their horror, that it will soon collapse. So they create a secret organisation to carry out strategic interventions in the course of events – not to halt the collapse (it is too late for that), but to accelerate the rebirth of order and civilisation out of a new Dark Ages. For a time, the organisation carries out its plan with complete success. But then disaster strikes, in the form of a human mutant called the Mule, who uses sinister telepathic powers to carve out a new empire of his own. The psycho-historians initially react with consternation to this creature, whom they have failed so completely to foresee or to explain. It takes several hundred closely plotted pages for them to regroup, and to set the course of history back on its predetermined path.

I often think that modern historians react to Napoleon Bonaparte in much the way that Asimov’s psycho-historians do to the Mule: as a freak of nature, endowed with sinister and superhuman powers, who fits into few accepted categories or theories..."

The interesting thing, however, is that Napoleon's rise was predicted -- by Edmund Burke, who wrote the following in 1790 and who died in 1797, years before Napoleon rose to power in 1799:

"In the weakness of one kind of authority, and in the fluctuation of all, the officers of an army will remain for some time mutinous and full of faction until some popular general, who understands the art of conciliating the soldiery, and who possesses the true spirit of command, shall draw the eyes of all men upon himself. Armies will obey him on his personal account. There is no other way of securing military obedience in this state of things. But the moment in which that event shall happen, the person who really commands the army is your master – the master (that is little) of your king, the master of your Assembly, the master of your whole republic".

[From Reflections on the Revolution in France]

So Burke did one better than Hari Seldon and his psychohistorians. Score one for truth over fiction in the strangeness stakes.

Friday, May 07, 2004

For an interesting take on the whole Iraqi Prisoner abuse thing, see

Interesting insight from a person associated with Military Policemen in Iraq (obviously, reviews the whole torture / humilation / human rights thing with a jaded eye).

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


Yes, that's right, folks, back to the Victory again last Saturday night. Two Saturday nights out in a row at the same venue - this must be a record for me. Now, I'm not usually one to kiss and tell but this time I took my job of reviewing Brisbane's pub scene seriously and had a really good scope of the premises. As it was reasonably early on the night (around 9:00ish) the various bars, beergardens and sprawl lounges weren't exactly overflowing, but this did give me a decent chance to really eyeball the features of said pub. Now, an unintended consequence of all this roving was that whenever I poked my head into the next room, antechamber or open-air vomitorium, all conversation stopped and dozens of pairs of bleary beery blood-shot eyes tried to lock onto mine. This is not just paranoia! Most people find their little niche and stick to it. "Floaters" winging their way from place to place sans beer glass / jug look out of place. Next time I shall have an alcoholic receptacle in hand at least to look the part.

The intention of the evening was to sample the karaoke but first I had to wait through the last two quarters of the St Kilda-Brisbane Lions match. A thrilling contest I can assure you but not really one which had my heart racing or my feet pacing. Indeed, whenever and exultant cry went up from the assembled punters I would join in, irrespective of whether it was the Lions or the Saints scoring. I though this would make me look non-partisan but by the end this made me resemble the United nations in commitment. Final score Saints: win, Lions: lose.

At this stage the karaoke was set up and karaoke guy got up and gave his all in a fantastic rendition of the perennial crowd-pleaser "Piano man". There was not a dry eye left in the house after this and I nearly cried into my glass of lemonade too. This initiative was just a warm-up for what was to follow. An awesomely awful performance of Pink's "Let's get this party started", which was a sentiment we all shared by the end of the song, having decided better lyrics were "Let's get this singer finished". Now for my turn, a superb performance of Don McLeans' American Pie which I am sure brought down the house.

I stayed for a truly awful pairing of two drunken parakeets squawking their way tunelessly (and verse-lessly) through "Mr Jones" before I had to exit, stage left. I would have loved to have stayed but it's important to finish on a high, no? Some things are better left unsaid (and unsung!). Final Score: Me: win, Karaoke competition: lose. I rest my case.