6.22.2002

I'VE BEEN searching for something creative to invest in with the money all the nice people have donated. You know, instead of just squandering it on groceries and rent and overdue bills. And, thanks to Matthew Stinson, I think I've found the perfect project:

Noam Chomsky Voodoo Dolls! Soon to be for sale here at $10 per item, or less if I can find a really cheap third-world sweatshop to make 'em.

STARBUCKS CONQUERS SPACE! The anti-globalists won't be happy to learn that areas far beyond the globe have obviously fallen to the rampaging Starbucks empire:


BALTIMORE -- Good news for coffee lovers: Space, the final frontier, is the color of a latte. So say astronomers Karl Glazebrook and Ivan Baldry at Johns Hopkins University.

In January, the two determined that the universe was a sprightly pale turquoise, then after discovering a glitch in their software in March, they realized that the average color was actually a milky brown.

Not knowing what to call it, besides beige, they solicited suggestions, prompting nearly 300 e-mails with ideas including Big Bang Beige, Cappuccino Cosmico, Galactic Gold and Infinite Sand.

The winner? Cosmic Latte.


MARK STEYN asks: If the US had defeated Germany, would it have altered American perceptions of soccer?


I like to think not. In defeat, magnanimity. In victory, complete and utter indifference. One fondly imagined the news bulletins: "At the White House, aides were alarmed when the President slumped to the floor and passed out during the early minutes of the match. Surgeons operated immediately to remove the pretzel only to find there wasn't one. 'I guess I just find it hard to stay awake during soccer,' Mr Bush later reassured the American people. 'I was fine once we switched over to the Antiques Roadshow.' However, the President added that he wanted 'to take this opportunity to congratulate our team on their incredible victory over the ... er, evildoers.'



Go read the whole piece. Be alert for the Richard Gere joke.

JOLONG GRAMMAR SCHOOL. According to The Guardian, that's where Rupert Murdoch was educated.

How does The Guardian make errors like this? The school isn't unknown to the British - Prince Charles went there.

CUBA'S ECONOMY, ruined by the fairytale promises of communism, is now dependent on a magical cow.

HI. I'm Tim Blair. And I'm here today to talk about a disease that harms millions of people all over the world.

I'm talking about Adult Context Disability.

You and I know the difference between a crowd of 5,000 showing up at a $125 per ticket nude elderly Alaskan leper pottery workshop and 5,000 showing up at a free week-long Have Sex With Britney carnival in Central Park.

The former is a large crowd. The latter is a small crowd. We know that.

But for people with Adult Context Disability, there's no difference at all. Both crowds are large. Or both are small.

Tragically, the Context Disabled are also unable to see that insults directed at people who commit wicked acts aren't directed at people who share the ethnicity of their wicked countrymen.

You know – well, it's kind of funny, and we can laugh – but if a group of Australians raised funds for insane suicide killers, and someone else called those Australians a gang of "kangaroo-felching eucalypt swine", Australians in general wouldn't be offended.

Because they'd understand the context of those remarks.

Our Context Deficient friends, however … they don't understand.

It's not their fault.

There is something you can do to help. Donate to the International Fund for the Advancement of Context. It's tax deductible, and you'll be helping those in need.

Even if they don't know what the hell you're doing, or why, or anything much at all.

Thank you.

HERE'S A simple way to understand the evil of Palestinian suicide bombers even if you live in as peaceful a nation as Australia or Canada or the US or just about anywhere that doesn't have a bunch of Islamociders wandering around with Semtex blastbelts strapped around themselves:

Look around you at all the people on the bus. Imagine them suddenly torn to bits.

Do the same for all your friends sharing your table at the restaurant.

Or just read this, by Laurence Simon.

PAUL WRIGHT imagines a Palestine under the control of the Palestinian Authority – the Republic of Gangstaland – and it ain't no oil painting. Unless the painting is by epileptic gorillas using motor oil.

Wright's only been at this Blog caper for a short while, but check out the writing. Lines like this absolutely sing:


Another day, another baby killer. When this happens in South East Asia, returning soldiers get spat on. When it happens in Jerusalem, it's Wheel of Fortune time for the families of the killers.



Another Aussie blogger, Scott Wickstein, has lately relocated his site, so adjust your blogging coordinates. In recent posts the alert Wickstein identifies an anti-worker bias in the writing of Perth leftoid Rob Corr. Hijinks ensue.

6.21.2002

WRITING FUNNY is one thing; writing funny and moral and analytical and just damn beautiful is quite another.

James Lileks has spun a Screed of gold from the thin, greasy threads of a US college student survey that found, among other things, that a majority of college students (57%) believe the policies of the United States are "at least somewhat responsible" for the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The kids, they don't like the materialistic Western values, see. So Lileks asks them some questions, including this, about five-year-old Gal Aizenman:


She was ripped to shreds by poison-soaked nails at a Jerusalem bus stop this week. Your task: find the Western value that says she deserved to die. Find the Western value that says God wants this child to be blown up in front of her mother. Find the Western value that insists God not only smiled upon her death, but welcomed her killer to a whorehouse heaven. Find a big-league Bishop who commended her killer to paradise, and a murderer's mother who exhulted in this child's extermination.



Lileks, only a few lines before this, is devastatingly funny. The shift from that to plain devastating – without losing any of the laughs, or eroding any of the seriousness – is one king-hell writing manoeuvre. The young Sydney journalists who'll be meeting John Pilger next month (see post below) would learn more about their craft from this one piece than they could from reading every single stupid book Pilger has ever written.

PLAY THE England v Brazil World Cup international drinking game!


If Beckham scores we drink BECKS.

If Mills scores we drink MILLER.

If Scholes scores we drink SKOL.

… and thank God Seaman is a goal keeper.



Via e-mail. Hurry up and place your orders, because the game begins in 40 minutes.

UPDATE: Owens scores! England 1-0 up after 23 minutes.

UPDATE UPDATE: Brazilian magic! England down 2-1 with ten minutes to play.

KEN LAYNE has been wondering about the ideal domestic beast. For a time he was convinced of the virtues of the Serval, a kind of clever wildcat, but California law bans him from owning one.

Someone suggested a Margay, but that was rejected on the grounds of size (Ken likes the big animals). Now he thinks a newly-designed Savannah kitty could be the answer.

Those Savannahs do sound fine, what with the swimming ability and the huge ears and all, but I recommend the majestic Maremma hound.

It's long been my ambition to own a Maremma, a big, woolly dog with a polar bear head and wide feet so it doesn't sink in the snow. They were bred thousands of years ago to guard sheep and goats and such. Italian shepherds still use them. They introduce a baby Maremma to their flock, and the noble dog quickly bonds with the animals, thereafter devoting its life to their protection.

Here's the really cool part: the same Maremma-bonding-protection deal works with humans, too. Someone messes with your kid, and suddenly Bobo the cuddly, cheerful Maremma turns into a throat-slashing death monster. As this site proclaims, they are "destructive to intruders".

Well, of course. These friendly dogs were bred to eat wolves, for Christ's sake. A scag addict trying to boost your VCR wouldn't stand a chance. Door-to-door Greenpeace campaigners would be reduced to component form before you could say "Exxon Valdez".

Hey – that could be the name for my Maremma. "Here, Exxon! Someone at the door wants to meet you! Here, boy!"

UPDATE: David Morgan reports that a former London flatmate has a Maremma called Namba. It outlasted her marriage: "She knows who she really loves." I've got to get me one of these dogs.

IS AUSTRALIA becoming the 51st state of the USA? No way, writes American-turned-Australian Carl Robinson in today's Australian.

READ THIS paragraph, from an opinion piece published in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, then take the quiz below:


Radical Palestinian groups have defied Israeli pressure by letting out their anger through suicide bombings in response to Israel's actions, killing and injuring dozens of Israeli civilians in the past few days.



The author of this convoluted nonsense is:

A An Indymedia wanksock who doesn't understand the notion of "response"

B An Arab News correspondent whose copy was accidentally sent to the SMH's newsdesk

C Guardian writer/brawler Robert Fisk, currently in training for his upcoming girlyweight bout with a 12-year-old Afghan refugee

D A professor at one of Australia's most respected universities, who earns tons of taxpayer dollars for educating our finest young minds

Click here and scroll to the end of the text to see the answer.

A LIE ON EVERY PAGE™ moves relentlessly onward, now addressing page 11 of John Pilger's feel-good book of the year, New Rulers of the World:


The imperialist imperatives of the American Century have undermined the greatest Western achievement, that of secular, redistributive politics, and allowed the maelstrom stemming from American violence, along with introspective, revengeful religion, to fill the gaps.



Islamic terrorism is America's fault. Sure thing, JP.

And what is this "secular, redistributive politics" of which Pilger speaks? Sounds like durn old commie-ism to me. Thanks, America, for undermining it.

And now, a special announcement: the Sydney Morning Herald staff newsletter invites all employees to attend a literary lunch on August 12 featuring none other than John Pilger himself. Perhaps I'll disguise myself as a SMH political correspondent and join the fun.

AMONG THE signatories for this petition calling for a review of Australia's laws on asylum seekers are M. Kingston ("If we let in more asylum speakers who speak English as a second language, there will be fewer people to notice that I can't write it as a first!") and Mohammed Jew-Slayer Massouri, who writes:


"As I explode myself into tiny bits in your local shopping mall, I remind you all, Islam is a religion of pieces."


6.20.2002

"WHAT A pity that Cherie isn't PM," writes The Guardian. "She is only saying what most of us think about the Middle East."

"Most of us", of course, refers to the people at The Guardian, circulation fuck-all. The idea that the British think suicide attacks on families and schoolchildren are just and excusable is wrong, which is why Cherie quickly apologised for her obscene comments.

If most of Britain agreed with her, she wouldn't have bothered. The Blairs know how to read opinion polls. The Guardian knows less than nothing.

THAT POST a few items below, about Arafat calling for an end to suicide attacks, mentioned a few reasons why it is difficult to believe him.

Here's another reason:


Citing technical reasons, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat on Thursday cancelled a planned public call to his people to end suicide bomb attacks, Israel Radio reported.

Earlier, Arafat's aides had said that he planned to speak on Thursday, probably on television, to warn that the unrelenting suicide bomb attacks "have given the Israeli government the excuse to reoccupy our land," according to an advance copy of the text obtained by The Associated Press.


DAVID BECKHAM tackles Osama bin Laden!

OLIVER STONE, the guy whose movies are based on fiction, says "Israelis have no business in the West Bank". And Stone, now making films for TV, increasingly has no business in Hollywood.

FAN NEALE TALBOT has helpfully collected all my mentions of Margo Kingston in one Monster Mega Margo Resource. This will save fellow Margophiles the trouble of searching my archives when next they crave information on the SMH's Duchess of Dorkistan.

DIANA HSIEH provides an update on the US fires closest to her. Check the map she provides to see just how close.

YASSER wants his combustible supporters to stop the killing, reports AP:


Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is appealing to his people to stop attacking Israeli civilians, after the second suicide bombing attack in Jerusalem in two days took the lives of seven Israelis.



But can we trust anything the bug-eyed terror-monger says? According to David Brooks, no, we can't:


Arafat claims that he was born in Jerusalem, but he was actually born in Cairo. He claims to belong to the prominent Jerusalem family of Husseini, but he is at best only distantly related to it. He claims that he turned down a chance to go to the University of Texas, but according to one biographer, the Palestinian-born writer Saïd K. Aburish, it is highly unlikely that he was ever accepted. He claims to have disabled ten Israeli armored personnel carriers in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, but Israel didn't even have ten APCs in the sector he was in. He claims to have made millions as a businessman in Kuwait, but this, too, is almost certainly untrue.

Obviously, Arafat is a congenital liar.


JAMES MORROW, whose son is only months old, is already concerned about the kid's wellbeing in a world gone vice-crazy. He's discovered a company selling condoms for the pre-sexually mature.

JUDGING BY this review in the Sydney Morning Herald, Scooby-Doo sounds like a film that a Catholic priest might enjoy:


Matthew Lillard steals the show as the endearingly cowardly Shaggy, with a voice that cracks like a pubescent boy.


ITALIAN SOCCER CLUB Perugia have fired their South Korean player Ahn Jung-hwan for the crime of scoring a goal against the Italian national team in the World Cup. Perugia president Luciano Gaucci explains:


"I have given orders for him not to return to the club.

"I am angry. He has only stood out in the World Cup when he has faced Italy.

"This behaviour is an offence for a country that two years ago opened the doors to him.

"I will not renew him (his contract), he does not deserve it."



Meanwhile, hatred and anger over the result of the South Korea v Italy game makes for lively reading in this SMH forum. Italy were robbed, may I add.

THE OMBUDSGOD has more Ombudnews from Ombudworld. Among the deity's latest targets: NPR's Jeffrey Dvorkin, who also faces the wrath of a Blog collective; Florida Times-Union Ombudder Mike Clark; Libertarian Party potheads; and Richmond Times-Dispatch Ombudoid Jerry Finch.

FROM THE Wall Street Journal:


A recent poll of Palestinians indicated that a majority saw the destruction of Israel as their goal.



So what's the point of negotiating with these people?

PETITION CRAZINESS erupts over Australia's treatment of asylum seekers.

THE FEDERAL RESERVE has been cleared out for security reasons and some guy is making Ricin in Spokane. Just another day in post-9/11 USA.

THIS WEEK'S column in The Australian is all about David Marr's little TV show.

6.19.2002

TED? CHERIE? Why'd you say it if you didn't mean it?

SO, ILL-TEMPERED tennis star Pat Cash was a coke freak. That explains a lot. But it doesn't explain Pat's dad, Pat Senior, who was almost as surly and graceless as his son.

SOMEONE ARRIVED at this site today via a Google search for "Margo Kingston + fool".

MANY AMERICAN readers turned to Australian blogs for news of the Sydney bushfires that raged in the weeks following Christmas. Now Colorado blogger Diana Hsieh is updating readers worldwide on the enormous fires currently out of control in the US. Diana is extremely close to the action. Good luck, firegal!

A WEIRD TALE of Israeli brutality – involving a whisky-drinking bulldozer driver who can remain awake for days on end – has been kicking around different publications in various forms, writes Nelson Ascher. Now the story has made it to the Village Voice. Accurate or not? You be the judge.

SHOCK! JEW HATER ADMITS HATING JEWS! From the Sydney Morning Herald:


Zacarias Moussaoui, charged as a co-conspirator in the September 11 attacks, has acknowledged that he is "indeed a Muslim fundamentalist openly hostile to the Jews and the United States of America".

In court papers filled with passages from the Koran and barbed insults aimed at Jews and Christians, Moussaoui attacked the trial judge in the case, as well as the court-appointed defence team that he has since been allowed to fire.

Describing himself repeatedly as a "slave of Allah", Moussaoui referred to three lawyers involved in the defence team as "Jewish zealots" and said he would not undergo a psychiatric examination because he would "not participate in an obscene Jewish 'science'".

He said he had stopped shaking the hands of defence lawyers on his "blood-sucking death team" because "I find them so repulsive as unbelievers".



And you're, like, so cool, Moussi.

A LIE ON EVERY PAGE™ makes it to double figures! Today, page ten of John Pilger's bittersweet New Rulers of the World:


The pursuit of the criminals of September 11 is not enough. 'Terrorism' demands endless war … This is expressed more openly and crudely than ever before, notably by a select group of literate oafs in the American press. In an article entitled 'Unilateralism is the key to our success, Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post described the world of the next fifty years as one without protection against nuclear attack or environmental damage for the citizens of any country except the United States; a world where 'democracy' means nothing if its benefits are at odds with American 'interests'; a world in which to express dissent against these 'interests' brands one a terrorist and justifies surveillance, repression and death.



Clearly, as one who has expressed dissent against American 'interests', Pilger is writing 'this' from 'beyond' the 'grave'.

Incidentally, Krauthammer must be the planet's only wheelchair-bound, medically-qualified 'oaf'. Certain stupid people remain ignorant of this.

6.18.2002

ARE YOU perchance anywhere near a television set? Then turn the damn thing the hell on and watch Italy v South Korea! We're into the second period of extra time in a mind-breaking game.

THE EVER-RELIABLE Arab News – "all the news that fits our crazy, Jew-hating agenda" – reports that an Australian expat has been fired upon:


JEDDAH, 18 June — An Australian employee of British Aerospace (BAE) in Tabuk was shot at by a sniper in camouflage as he drove out of the Najrani Compound on June 5.

The incident was confirmed to Arab News by both BAE and officials at the British and Australian embassies last night.

The man, reportedly dressed in military camouflage, was lying in wait when the Australian drove out of the BAE-owned compound in the early afternoon. The sniper then opened fire on the vehicle five times but the Australian escaped unhurt, and his assailant fled.



The Arab News is quick to reassure readers of the essential niceness of the region, quoting two cheerful infidels:


Frank Harrigan, a British national who works as an advertising consultant in Jeddah, said: "I've been here six years and have heard reports of such incidents before. I still feel entirely comfortable and safe because I've never met with anything but hospitality and open friendliness."

Ben Dyal, an American expatriate teacher who has lived in the Kingdom for many years, commented: "When I begin to feel unsafe, I will leave. But since Sept. 11 I haven't met with any hostility or unpleasantness. I feel as safe here as I would in most parts of the United States."


CHECK OUT David Farrer's Scotsblog, named after two things that make Scotland great: freedom and whisky.

WE KNEW he was an idiot, but exactly what kind of idiot has always been in dispute. Now we have confirmation. Ted Turner is a complete idiot:


Ted Turner, the billionaire founder of CNN, accuses Israel today of engaging in "terrorism" against the Palestinians.

"Aren't the Israelis and the Palestinians both terrorising each other?" says Turner, who is vice-chairman of AOL Time Warner, which owns CNN, in an exclusive interview with the Guardian.

"The Palestinians are fighting with human suicide bombers, that's all they have. The Israelis ... they've got one of the most powerful military machines in the world. The Palestinians have nothing. So who are the terrorists? I would make a case that both sides are involved in terrorism."



Whatever tablets you're on these days, Ted, halve the dose, OK?

LOOKS LIKE we done got ourselves an old-fashioned media feud a'happening! Peter McEvoy, Executive Producer of Media Watch, has sent a snippy e-mail to Gareth Parker, prompted by Gareth forwarding my grouchy list of Fairfax/ABC flaws unexamined by his program:


A good tip is an accurate report of what was published. It contains enough detail to make it possible to locate the story, segment or broadcast … Unfortunately most of Tim's tips don't fall into this category.

Some of his tips are simply speculations: it may be "apparent" to Tim that Christopher Hitchens has been dropped by Late Nite Live for taking a hawkish position on September 11, but according to the program producers Hitchens has been too busy promoting his new book to appear.



Trusting soul, isn't he? Generally people promoting books spend more, rather than less, time on radio and other media. It probably didn't occur to McEvoy to contact Hitchens for an explanation; why bother when the nice Late "Nite" Live people have already cleared everything up?


Other tips are too dull or too late, and most are just too vague to check.



A short explanation here: Gareth sent McEvoy the list, not me. It was a post – part of last week's Media Watch blog debate – not a detailed, linked, dated collection of tips. I'd planned on sending Media Watch a more comprehensive list before being beaten to the punch (which was entirely my fault). That said, if McEvoy wanted more information on anything he received – which tips were too vague, by the way? – he could've e-mailed me. Or, to be fair, I could've sent the details as a follow-up e-mail.

In any case, most weren't too vague to check. Has Media Watch heard of Google?


Media Watch rarely criticises "bias" because this elusive quality is usually in the eyes of the viewer: Tim for example seems to think people who disagree with him are "biased".



What is McEvoy talking about? Media Watch criticises bias all the time. It criticises the Nine Network for biased coverage of Packer family court cases. It criticises News Ltd for biased coverage of News Ltd business deals.


I notice you've withdrawn your accusation that Tim is obsessed with Media Watch: you shouldn't. Believe it or not he included us in his little newspaper column last week.



Believe it or not, an ABC lifer producing a 15-minute once-a-week TV show calls my column "little".


The column was actually about the UN but he managed to fit Media Watch in. That's obsession.



Sorry, L'il Pete. I was unaware of the rule change. All my columns from here on will be about one subject only.

Starting with you.

THEY DON'T DESERVE A DAMN STATE. The BBC reports another horrific suicide bombing, this time aimed at schoolchildren:


Seventeen people have been killed and around 40 injured in a suicide bomb attack on a bus in Jerusalem.

The blast took place at 0800 local time (0500 GMT) during morning rush hour at a crowded intersection in the southern Pat district.

The bus was full of schoolchildren and office workers.



Of course, the Palestinians were on-message immediately:


"The Palestinian Authority condemns this attack," Palestinian Information Minister Abed Rabbo told the AFP news agency.

"The only beneficiary of this operation is Sharon and the occupation. Israel will use this operation to escalate its aggression against the Palestinian Authority."



Crawl away, Rabbo.

YOU THINK we had it bad in Sydney, with the frightening fibreglass cows everywhere? People were so scared of them they tried to kill the plastic monsters, but they just wouldn't die.

Imagine, then, how the citizens of St. Paul, Minnesota, feel. Their city is infested with fibreglass Lucys.

UPDATE: Captain Mojo writes:


"Yeah, Sydney may have cows, but last summer, we here in Seattle had to deal with damn dirty pigs.

"They were all over the fucking city. One downtown theater had like 20 of the bastards. Cows are sacred to Hindus, and I'm sure Lucy has legions of adherents, but pigs just plain suck ass."

ENVIRONMENT UPDATE. Newsweek reports:


There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production - with serious political consequences for just about every nation on earth.

The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now.



Read Michael Jenkinson's analysis of Newsweek's cover story for the full details.

"WE ARE some way behind countries such as Canada," worries Victorian Women's Affairs Minister Mary Delahunty.

In what areas? Our production of commie weasels, bad journalists and semi-intellectual blowhards is at least on a par with Canada's, and we have more than enough tariff supporters and culture protectors to equal our icy Northern pals.

Turns out, though, we are lagging badly in censorship and bans. Queen Mary wants new restrictions on what she defines as "sexist" advertising.

I wonder if the same people who whined about the banning of the film Baise-Moi will complain about Mary's billboard censorship.

UPDATE. Reader Chris T writes:

"I don't want either the born-again jesus-creeps *or* self-righteous big-government lefties telling me what I can view, thanks very much.They can all bloody well piss off and mind their own damned business.

"Admittedly, David Marr probably won't be complaining too loudly about Mary, or any other preening leftie, and I guess this is what you're talking about. But anyone who isn't pissed off by both of these examples is a twat."

FROM THE SMH: FIFA's World Cup website has shattered all records for a sports internet site as it clocked up over one billion page impressions in only two weeks.

CHECK THE SPECS! The mysterious a. beam detects a fashion trend amongst LA's blog elite.

SPOT THE MISTAKE in this letter to The Australian, published on June 12:


So, the United Nations is criticising Australia for its treatment of refugees. At least we do not send the army into the refugee camps, bulldoze the building, massacre 500 and then not let in the UN.

El Mahdi

Pymble



That's right. Weeks after Palestinian claims that 500 had died in Jenin were completely discredited, the author of this letter repeats the lie. Incredibly, the dishonest letter was published.

Quite rightly, Media Watch presenter David Marr tonight drew attention to the letter. But he didn't care about the bogus death count. Not at all. No, David was concerned with a far greater mistake. Apparently the letter was written by someone who used a false name:


El Mahdi is the name of the ruthless 19th century warrior who captured Khartoum and slew General Gordon. There's no sign of any El Mahdi in the phone book or the electoral roll living in that leafy Sydney suburb.



Good to see that Marr and the ABC are looking at the big picture. Fake names are much more important than deceitful anti-Israel propaganda. Bias, thy name is Dave.

6.17.2002

MARGO KINGSTON'S vanity experiment in online journalism has been busted down to mere amateur blogger level. It costs publisher Fairfax a six-figure sum each year to run Margo's atrocity, but a report in today's Melbourne Age (a Fairfax paper) says her Webdiary is a "grassroots venture" just like any old common blog:


Blogs do not require venture capital. They are grassroots ventures, fuelled simply by a desire to communicate, to share, to engage. Unlike the Drudge Report, blogs tend not to dwell on gossip or speculation; sources are hyperlinked and there's a spirit of fairness and full disclosure … successful journalists who maintain blogs include Margo Kingston and Tim Blair in Australia, and Mickey Kaus, Virginia Postrel, and Eric Alterman in the United States.



Kaus and Alterman might be surprised to learn that they're working for "grassroots ventures". As Margo herself might say: "Some have asked what I'm think really happened." What I'm think really happened is that the author of the piece, Joanna Mareth, didn't research her subject very carefully. How could anyone describe Webdiary as a blog, except in mockery? Here are ten points of difference between a typical blog and Margo's Electrically Transmitted Ponderings of a Semi-Daily Nature:

1 Blogs are funny.

2 Blogs have links. Margo prints web addresses – on the Internet.

3 Bloggers post several times a day.

4 Bloggers correct errors.

5 Blogs are updated through weekends and holidays.

6 Blogs have an audience.

7 Blogs cover more than one subject.

8 Bloggers read and cite many varied sources.

9 Bloggers update ugly designs.

10 Blogs don't have embarrassing, self-important charters.

One good thing about Mareth's piece: it's driven loads of traffic to Gareth Parker's blog. Gareth is 19, and despite a lack of Fairfax mega-funding somehow runs a site that looks and reads better (apart from possessive apostrophe errors) than Margo's. That's an angle Mareth could've taken: how cheap blog-tech is shaming hidebound Old Media.

Instead, she's confused the two. Journalist + Internet does not necessarily = blog.

FRENCH ANTI-McDONALD'S activist Jose Bove is off to prison. Don't drop the genetically-modified soap in the globalised shower, Jose!

AUSTRALIA HAS conquered time and space. The BBC reports:


Scientists in Australia say they have achieved a breakthrough once considered possible only in the fantasies of science fiction.

They have been able to teleport a laser beam from one part of a laboratory to another - an achievement, they say, that promises to revolutionise computing and communications.

Teleporting involves disintegrating an object in one place, then reassembling or recreating it almost instantaneously somewhere else.



Future Australian scientific breakthroughs: the Beer Steak, the Stealth Wallaby, and the Woman Who Doesn't Talk Much.

A LIE ON EVERY PAGE™ continues. In today's thrilling episode, we look at page nine of John Pilger's heartwrenching New Rulers of the World


Using sections of the American and British press as 'conduits', American intelligence has created what the CIA in Indochina used to call a 'master illusion'. This is the threat of Iraq's 'weapons of mass destruction'. There is no proof or credible evidence of any such threat.



This is how Pilger creates a 'master illusion': first he claims that the press wilfully lies on behalf of the government. Then he simply ignores anything the press reports about Iraq's 'weapons of mass destruction', because, hey, the press lies, you know, and so they're not, like, credible and stuff.

Masterful.


Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's instructions to the Pentagon to 'think the unthinkable' may well cause non-Americans, at least, to worry that the world's only superpower has been taken over by fundamentalists whose fanaticism promises human carnage on a scale that makes amateurs of the Taliban.



We're only nine pages in, and Pilger has totally lost his mind. Tomorrow: page 10.

REMEMBER THE ALAMO! Today's World Cup Battle of the Rio Grande between Mexico and the US has all the elements that make sport worth watching: vicious loathing, hostility, and resentment. The SMH reports:


To say these teams don't like each other is putting it mildly.

The Mexicans view the Americans as Yankees-come-lately, big and clumsy churls, futbol naifs without proper pedigree or passion.

The Yanks see the Mexicans as divers and floppers, more than a little dirty, who live in terror that the gringos are about to supplant them as the continent's soccer superpower.

Usually, they settle their differences in front of 100,000 or so Mexican fans in Azteca Stadium. But in Jeonju, South Korea, today, for the first time they will do it in full view of the soccer world, and the prospect of ousting each other as the planet looks on is truly delicious.

"We always want to beat those guys," US midfielder Landon Donovan said of the Mexicans. "They've also shown a strong disliking, always, against us."

Ask the Yanks what it is about Mexican soccer that rankles and it's like "where do we begin?"

Reserve midfielder Eddie Lewis said: "I don't think American players love players who are diving all the time or are dirty and if you had to stereotype them, those are popular words to describe them."



I'm tipping Mexico to win 2-1. Plus at least two red cards for gouging, biting, slashing, and, if we get lucky, homicide.

UPDATE: This e-mail arrived earlier today:


"Thanks, pal, you antipodal son of a bitch. I taped the Ireland v. Spain soccer match. Then I logged in to your site, and was tipped to the outcome. I missed a great game, thanks to you."



So you won't find the final score of the US-Mexico game here. It's safely hidden away here, instead.

THE SPIRIT OF 69. The Sydney Morning Herald has published the Loser List signed by 69 American anti-war chuckleheads. As if anyone had any doubts about where Edward Said and Noam Chomsky stood on the issue.

MARK STEYN MAKES THE CALL:


You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see certain patterns at work. Whoever's behind al-Qaeda seems to be very adroit at scheduling distractions - first, this spring's flare-up on the West Bank; then, Kashmir - and, after all, most terrorist networks boil down to a handful of masterminds manipulating whatever gullible losers are to hand. Even poor deceased Osama bin Laden seems likely to prove to have been merely the front-man moron for slyer, more official forces. Abu Zubaydah, the bin Laden sidekick now in US custody, is the man who fingered Padilla, but his previous insider tip-offs have consisted mostly of diabolical plots lifted from the remake of Godzilla. Does al-Qaeda get most of its ideas from Hollywood or is Zubaydah playing the Feds for a bunch of infidel saps?


GO BUNNIES! Joanne Jacobs celebrates Best of the Web's collection of way-wimpy sports team names. The Benson Mighty Bunnies might be the single worst team name in history.

My favourite Australian sports name? A few years ago I heard of a rural football team called The Road. Almost existential, isn't it?

UPDATE: Reader Phil submits the Beloit Fairies and the Scottsdale Artichokes, which he says make the Mighty Bunnies sound "menacing by comparison". I'd add one other comical sports name: apparently there's a outfit called the "French National Soccer Team".

6.16.2002

FROM READER Tom F., a student in Queensland, Australia:


"Political correctness has pervaded every aspect of schools. The Left's 'long march through the institutions' has been far more successful than any revolution. For example, we have an entire subject devoted for brainwashing the students, to prevent them from (god forbid) becoming sensible, rational, democracy-loving conservatives. It's called Social Education.

"The Year 9-10 SocEd course outline:

"Unit 1 - Racism and Prejudice (plenty of prejudice in this one!!)

Unit 2 - Current Issues (save the planet, chain yourself to a tree)

Unit 3 - Politics and Government (now students, don't forget to vote Labor)

Unit 4 - Threatened Cultures (gee, aren't those ethnic Kazakhs and Ainu hard done by?)

"For Unit 4, I chose to do my presentation on the Jews (with so much anti-Semitism around, I think they classify as a threatened culture.) It was plain sailing when I spoke about the Jewish commitment to social justice, with Karl Marx, Trotsky et al. But I received a stern rebuke for my concluding plea to support Israel and the US in the war on terror.

"Apparently, denouncing Arab extremism is 'provocative' and 'culturally insensitive'. After all, 'American imperialism' has driven them to such measures. Gosh, with my views it's a wonder I haven't disappeared on my way home from school."



The future is in good hands. Tom F. is only 14 years old.

SPUDMANIA! The Oirish have scored an equalising goal with only seconds to go in their World Cup match against Spain. We're now into extra time. Naturally, one of Ireland's players is named Duff.

A FATHER'S DAY essay by Ben Kepple, straight from the heart.

YOU SAY MUJAHIR, I say Muhajir: Islamoblogger Amir Butler says Letter From Gotham's treatment of Padilla the Abdullah's adopted name reveals her to be stupid and ignorant. Her evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.

AS A typical Collingwood supporter, I speak with some authority when I say it is poor form to blame the umpires. Shame on you, Carlton fans. Spooooooooooon!