Thursday, June 30, 2005


Flushing for Freedom

After only a few centuries of experience with the benefits of personal hygene, Londoners are being told by their Mayor Ken Livingston to revert to their old ways in order to save water in that dry and parched land.

He is advising Londoners not to flush the dunny. Well at least not for number ones.

"Don't flush the loo if you have only had a pee", says Ken.

And what about number twos you may ask. Well for the time being "Red Ken" Livingston is holding off passing an edict to ban dunny flushing altogether.

What other restrictions on personal freedom does THE LEFT have in mind for the traumatized victims of the NAZI BLITZ? Will the horror never end?

Meanwhile egotistical self-aggrandising superstars like Bob Geldoff and Bono, organise monumental gatherings to celebrate their own rampant egos, ostentibly on behalf of Africans, who it is well known have learned to live without water, while their own countryfolk must succumb to the brutal state-control of Red Ken, and his hatred of freedom.

Let's hope the silent majority have the courage to openly defy Red Ken. Let's hope that Londoners will flush for freedom.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005


The Bum Cheek?

Some wag has gone and set up a site in direct competition to Andew Landeryou's blog The Other Cheek.

We suspect Mr. Landeryou isn't impressed because we noticed that attempts by the wag to post the URL in comments were quickly deleted by Mr. Landeryou.

The City in no way endorses the wag's actions, but in the interests of the public's right to know we feel that the link should be made available to the public so that they can inform themselves of all points of view.

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Miss Clink - Nude

While we have our Schapelle, Germany has their Melanie. "Miss-Clink" as German tabloid Bild-Zeiting refers to her, has spend the last two years in the slammer in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for drug smuggling.

Bild reports Melanie's complaints about prison life. She's losing her hair because the water is over-chlorinated she complains. There's weevils in the food, and she must stand naked, legs apart over a mirror so that the wardens can check for hidden things.

Melanie claims she is innocent, and that the cocaine found in her possesion was planted on her by a colleague.

Bild also provides hot sexy pictures of Melanie so that its readers may relate to the poor girl.

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The Awful Truth

Mark Bahnisch sums it up really:

But who really knows what this pack of time-servers really cares about besides a cushy seat for their backsides and a stacked branch for their mates.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Chaos & Catastrophe : Collision with Comet in 6 days

Fear gripped the people of Planet Earth, as NASA announced that there would be a spectacular collision with comet Tempel 1 in just six days time.

The stock market shuddered and the supermarkets could not keep up with the demand for baked beans, until it became clear that the collision was not with Planet Earth but with a space probe called Deep Impact.

Comet on collision course Posted by Hello

In America, panic turned to relief, and then delight as the realisation dawned that the forthcoming lightshow would occur on American Independence Day.

Can anything, ever be too perfect?

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Monday, June 27, 2005


Goin' up the country

I’ve been away, been up the country , and you’ll be pleased to know, I’m back.

It’s important to get out into the country. To leave these smoggy environs and get out amongst the rural folk. To get a sense of what’s happening at the grass roots. And I figure a visit every ten years or so will keep me up to date with the glacial like progress.

I’d been preparing for this trip to the country for some time. My mullet, had now reached the necessary length, as I recalled from my last visit, and I’d dusted off the Amco jeans, The Miller shirt with the gold thread though the weave, and naturally, given that it’s winter, my tartan lumber jacket.

Saturday morning, and I was preparing to go. I was admiring myself in the mirror, noticing that although this gear still fitted me. It had somehow gone out of shape. The last wash seemed to have shrunk the Miller shirt around the midriff, and the button of the Amcos was strangely incapable of mating with its buttonhole. Then while trying to figure out how they used to stay up, I remembered the utility belt.

I turned the house upside down looking for that belt. Time was ticking away, precious country moments were being lost as I rifled though the attic, clothes drawers, the dog kennel, but then ‘thar she blow’s’ hanging from its own hook in the toolshed, next to the spirit level, with its own silhouetted shape traced out on the backboard. Sometimes even I forget how organized I can be.

The utility belt, in addition to being eminently practical, completed the image. It’s got a water bottle, for desert survival. A bowie knife with quick release scabbard located on the right hip, next to my throwing hand. A secret inner pocket with a miniature swiss army knife in case I’m ever held hostage, and a pouch for holding a calculator so I may calculate sun and star azimuth and angles if celestial navigation ever becomes necessary.

The picture now complete, I hitched my swag into the back of the jalopy, and took off. Through the city, over the Westgate and headed in a general westerly direction into the vast interior.

After many hours of travel, I was parched. My water supply was close to exhaustion, and I needed to stop. I was busting for a leak. As I motored into a town I knew it was likely to have at least some basic level of civilization because of the signs announcing its presence. Daylesford : Lattés next 500m.

It was into this little cultural backwater that the jalopy came to rest. Though the day was clear, it was cold, and not for the first time did I congratulate myself for donning the lumber jacket, as I prepared to enter the world of these simple rural residents of Daylesford. I stepped from the car and sauntered casual-like across the road. Well halfway across the road actually, because the bladder was now insistent. I picked up the pace significantly, and burst through the doors of the closest saloon, and made a beeline for the Gents. The relief was blissful, and the weekend took on a distinctly more positive feel.

I exited the Gents and found myself in a time-warp, or more accurately a space-time warp. Surrounding me were tables of slick, sophisticated people all dressed in black, all conducting conversations about tiles and interior decorating, all drinking lattés. This was not what I was expecting. Ten years and the country had changed.

I wandered up to the bar. I needed coffee, and I sat down on the bar stool next to two gentlemen, whom I noticed were sitting rather oddly. As they ordered their lattés, I was aware of something peculiar about their body language, and then the giveaway snatch of conversation…”Well you know I’m the only gay in the village”, and sudden laughter.

I was shocked. This was not the countryside I was expecting, and when the waitress came for my order I was lost for words.

“What would you like Sir?”

“Er… coffee”.

How could I order a latté under these circumstances? People might get the wrong idea.

“Yes and what type?” she said. “Cappuchino? Café Latte? Machiato Espresso? Espresso con Panna? Ristretto?”.

I was mortified. Any one of these choices and the two gentlemen on the adjacent stools would turn their attention to me. But then I remembered I was traveling incognito. I reached deep into my character, and ordered. “Pablo!”

“I beg your pardon Sir”, said the waitress. I’m not familiar with that style.

“You don’t have Pablo?” I said. Now on the front foot. “What sort of coffee shop are you?” “How about International Roast?”

“No Sorry Sir”

“Maxwell House?”

“Er no. Don’t have that either”

“What about Caterers Blend? Surely you’ve got some Caterers Blend out the back for the staff?”
“No Sir I’m sorry. We’ve only got the ones I mentioned”

Now very much in control of the situation, I lowered my voice and said. “Look. I don’t want to make a scene here, so just don’t ask any questions. Just point me in the direction of Melbourne and I’ll be on my way. And here.” I thrust my empty water bottle at her. “Fill this up”.

As I stepped outside, I could sense that she was already on the phone to the authorities. That’s why I gave her the misinformation about heading to Melbourne. I could not afford to be tailed. I was going to go deeper. Deeper into the countryside, where the insidious influence of city culture had not permeated. I was going to go in search of the lost Australia.

I was going in search of Uncle Jack’s farm

…… To be continued

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Friday, June 24, 2005


Labor First Stumbles

Barely out of the starting gate, Labor First stumbles big time by divulging information that shouldn't be divulged. Andrew Landeryou has more.

Has the nascent attempt to create some sort of reason for people to be a member of the ALP been stillborn?

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Crime Time Drama

We here at the City love crime. We love crime because crime pays. Crime pays big time. Crime is great for readership, because our readers love crime too, and that means that our advertisers love crime as well. Crime makes everyone happy.

At the City we love crime almost as much as the Herald Sun. So you can imagine our surprise and disappointment today when we read in that prudishly principled party pooper of a paper, the Age, that Victoria has the second lowest crime rate in the nation next to Tasmania.

As we’ve explained in the past crime is good for the economy, and this information is conclusive proof that the economy going backwards. The rate things are going, soon we won’t be able to look down our noses at Tasmania.

There is a deadly serious side to this though. The article also points out “that Victoria had the highest rate of people charged with causing death by driving” and “that Victorians were more likely to be killed on the roads than people in other states”.

So despite crime being down, and murder being down, the road deaths are up, and in addition to the tragedy that that is, there is also that sad fact that that just doesn’t sell papers.

Now we all know what a band of thieves the state government is for trampling on the civil liberties of the Victorian motorist, and that the crusade against the Victorian motorist has already been brought as close to total victory as it is likely to get. And so we call on the Victorian government to redeploy their “band of thieves” to “the beat”.

We need a visible police presence here on the streets, and the only way to do this without actually increasing the budget is to take them off the highways. A visible police presence will do two things. It’ll fix up our problem with the perception of crime, which is way out of control at present, and it’ll give us something to write about when there’s no more terror.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005


Selling Sillibilli

Andrew Landeryou has an interesting take on this article in the Australian, that outlines a plan by Melbourne's richest businessmen to set up a Prime Minsterial home in Melbourne.

The Businessmen including Linday Fox, Solly Lew, Michael Kroger and Jeff Kennet reckon that Melbourne town's going backwards because John Howard's too Sydney centric, spending all his time in Sillibilli.

Mr. Landeryou's take is that it's corruption. But is it? If it becomes a Commonwealth property, managed by the Commonwealth then it will be available to all future PMs also. So really its just trying to ensure a level of even handedness.

The fact of the matter is that having Sillibilli as PM Central does give Sydney an advantage over all other state capitals, and that'd be OK if all the other capitals were happy with it. But they're not.

So really. Its either buy a Prime Ministerial residence in each state capital, or sell Sillibilli.

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So, John Anserson is quitting his job as deputy leader. Hey? You’ve got to ask yourself, why didn’t he have the courage to go into hiding, to try just once, and fail, and say “bugger that, and bugger everybody”, to chuck a wobbly and refuse to speak with his colleagues, to throw a good old public tanty?

Some people just aren’t cut out for politics.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Harrumphing with the Stars

There’s been much harrumphing in media circles about the deal struck between Douglas Wood and the Ten Network for his exclusive story.

Bob Brown and David Marr on Radio National this morning were harrumphing at Wood’s decision to take the money and run. Senator Brown complaining that taxpayers had spent $10 million bailing Mr Wood out and he should be speaking to the Australian public for free. Brown also complaining that Mr. Woods Iraqi colleagues were executed, so he has an obligation to give the money to their families.

Mr. Marr complaining that by paying for the story, Ten would be asking only ‘soft’ questions, trying to make out their new boy in the best possible light, thus not giving the Australian public the true story, which they deserve.

In the end they settled on the conclusion that although Mr. Wood was doing nothing illegal, it’s unethical. “A bit off”.

The Age’s Tracee Hutchinson, takes a different tack, and simply shitcans Mr. Wood as a “blustering buffoon” with “none of the grace and dignity of his brothers”, and Channel Ten as fools and amateurs for not realizing, unlike Seven and Nine, that the Douglas Wood story has been tainted by the “cringe-worthiness” of Douglas Wood himself.

What a crock hey? Let’s take Senator Brown.

Taxpayers money was spent is his first argument. Well yeah? So what? I’d bloody well expect the taxpayer to kick in if I was in the same situation. We all would. Not only that, as PR guru Max Marxson said on the same program. Wood is going to pay roughly half his fee in tax anyway. He’s making his contribution.

That he should donate to the fatherless Iraqi families is his next line: Right so it was Woods fault that they were murdered was it Senator? He should pay compensation should he? If Mr. Wood chooses to make a voluntary donation to those families then that’s his business. He doesn’t need lecturing. He is a private citizen. Not a public citizen like Mr. Brown, and to lecture Mr. Wood on his moral obligations before he’s even had a chance to come to grips with his ordeal is disgraceful.

Mr. Marr criticizes Ten. He criticizes the whole shabbiness of chequebook journalism. With this I agree. But it exists, what do you do? We can whinge and moan but they’re all the same the commercial media, and frankly I’d rather Ten get the gig, amateurish Ten, youth oriented, slap happy Ten, that that big fat stinker of malevolence and manipulation, Nine.

Marr’s other criticism is that “the whole” truth won’t come out. He argues that because Ten have to handle their man with kid gloves, they won’t be able to dig in to get the whole story, the whole sordid money grubbing reason why Douglas Wood was in Iraq in the first place.

Well my attitude again is. So what? Why do any of us feel we need to be told the whole truth by Douglas Wood? What right do we have to demand it of this man, a private citizen? He’s not running for office – he doesn’t have to prove his integrity to anyone! He was a prisoner. He was very likely almost killed, and he probably witnessed several executions himself. What right do we have to question any of his motives surrounding this matter?

Finally there’s Tracee Hutchinson, formally of both Seven and Nine you’ll note, still probably with friends there, and not inclined to upset them. She makes out Ten to be foolish. Suckered in. Where Seven and Nine have realized that Wood is tainted goods, Ten have blindly stumbled in she implies. Well that’s just got to be rubbish. Nine wrote the sleazy cheque book journalism play book. They’ve been at it for years. No crook is too slimy for Channel Nine not to cough up for an expose. No everyman hero too naïve for Nine to exploit chew up and spit out when their use-buy date is passed. Nine might have been outbid by newby Ten, but they were slavering like the hungry dogs they are to get the deal.

And Seven, well they’re just made up of disgruntled former Nine slimers who are looking for payback. Crap I say Ms Hutchinson. Crap. No, as far as I’m concerned. If we’re going to have shoddy cheque book journalism, and lets face it, it's here to stay, then give me Ten every time. Bookend it with the pink-bits from Big Brother, and lets stop pretending that there is any dignity left in commercial television.

Will I be watching Douglas Wood on Channel Ten on Sunday night? Hell no. I’ve got a back-log of recordings of the new Doctor Who and the new Black Books series to get through before I even need to contemplate switching over to commercial TV.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005


For Sale: Australia - Crazy knock down prices

Tiring now of the internecine squabbling that’s occurring in the Victorian ALP, The City scans the horizon to see what other muck we can uncover. What other skankiness we can sniff out. And it doesn’t take long. There’s an outrage lurking in every newspaper every day that needs to be exposed to the air and sunlight.

Today’s story though is one of sad and bitter regret, as the breathing gets fainter and the pulse weaker in Australia’s Information Technology Industry. There was once a time when we thought we could, cowboy style, leap at full gallop from the sheep’s back, onto the IT gravy train and ride prosperously into the sunset.

Sadly no more, for as The Age reports, we’re buggered.

The news gets worse each year. Again the Australian Computer Society has released its annual report on the national information and communications technology trade deficit and again we have gone backwards.

Last year Australia imported $19 billion more in ICT goods and services than it exported. Over the past three years, imports have gone up by nearly 20 per cent and exports have gone down by 10 per cent. Over the past five years, we have imported about $90 million more in ICT equipment and services than we have exported.

To put this in perspective, our ICT trade deficit is higher than our total exports of iron ore, beef and wheat combined. Australia's overall trade deficit is at record levels, exceeding $25 billion last year. ICT makes up just about all of that and the proportion is increasing.

Did you get that last para? The hard work of all of our wheat farmers, our beef farmers, and those millions of tons of Iron ore that we dig up each year, still doesn’t pay for all that electronic gadgetry that we buy from overseas.

Contrast that with Malaysia, a country of similar population, (and yes admittedly shocking and rude manners when it comes to diplomacy), who earned something in the order of $55 Billion in export in this industry.

As The Age says:

You would think this would be front-page news. But our political masters are not concerned. Their attitude is that we gain more from our use of ICT than we lose from paying so much to import it.

This is not just a problem in IT though. Back in February the Age noted
Local manufacturing output has risen by an underwhelming 6 per cent in three years, while manufactured imports have risen 48 per cent. Even countries such as Japan and Germany have had export volumes grow by 21 and 28 per cent respectively in the past three years, while Australia's has grown by just 1 per

Yet all Mr. Costello seemed to be able to do when Australia’s trade deficit hit
its highest ever back in March, is to whinge about the states, and that because of their poor planning and lack of investment in infrastructure, we couldn’t ship coal to China fast enough. As though that was the solution!

Yeah right on Mr. Costello, and now that you’ve managed to swing your deal with the States, and they’ve given you want you wanted on GST tax reform – where are you? No more whinging about infrastructure we notice, and why? ‘Cause the pressure’s off. We’ve all moved on to something else.

Meanwhile, more and more jobs get exported overseas, and you have no plan to nuture our industries of the future. That’s the real problem, and what are you doing about it? Nothing!

Use your noodle Mr. Costello. Bring back Noodle Nation. It’s available in a remainders bin near you.

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Monday, June 20, 2005


Hot at the top

In perhaps its most important piece of journalism this year, Australia’s most popular newspaper The Herald Sun, has been attempting to find out how attractive Victorian Premier Bracks, and Deputy Premier Thwaites are to women.

Now even we, red-hot, ridgy-didge, straight as an arrow Melbourne blokes, know that these two fellows are hot. Damn hot. But we had no idea that they were that hot!

The Herald Sun, does though, and so do countless happily hormone high American women who saw the handsome visages of Australia’s spunkiest (or hunkiest if that word means different things to you) politicians on the website Am-I-Hot-Or-Not

The Herald Sun has revealed that “The Batman and Robin of State politics”, are hot-hot-hotter on the chick-magnetism scale than 78% of the male population, and The City can confirm this is the case too. Once while standing within shouting distance of the Deputy Premier, I too could sense the aura, the animal magnetism, as thousands of ladies crowded in. Crying, screaming, trying to touch him, tearing at his Bourke St. bought Del-Monti.

Its like Beatlemania, and I seriously contemplated giving up my work here at The City and becoming a roadie with their outfit, just to experience THE LIFE, and to assist those attractive young ladies, who don’t quite make it to the inner circle, in understanding the thoughts and ideals that motivate their idols.

A chunk of hunk Posted by Hello

Good on The Herald Sun. It knows what the people need in these tough times of refugee revisionism and global warming worries. It needs a story to warm the loins of the women of Melbourne, and bring out the gladiator in their men-folk, and it has delivered today in spades.

We look forward to more of The Herald Sun’s special brand of relevance, and wonder why aren’t the ABC doing this sort of thing? Is Andrew Bolt the best they’ve got? Surely our 8 cents a day can be spent on better talent than him. They should at least ask him to get his teeth fixed.

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Labor First Fires Up

It looks like the quiet rumours in the background are true. The Australian (sorry no online link) today has an article on page two about the group called Labor First. Evan Thornley it seems has a role in its creation, and Race Matthews is interviewed about the intent of the group.

In short they're about regenerating this tired old political work horse, and taking the Party away from its factional madness. (Sorry going by memory here, I read the article in a coffee shop during recess, and you know how lattes can fuddle the brain)

Anyway, they've got themsleves a website, or at least a teaser. Three cheers for these people, and best 'o' luck. Anyone who's prepared to get off their bums and give the creaking ALP machinery a swift kick in the tush gets my support.

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Saturday, June 18, 2005


The Happy Hookers

Good news my friends. Hot on the heals of Melbourne’s most successful export industry; the wholesale shipping of the corporate headquarters of our largest companies up the Hume Highway to Sydney, another mighty Melbourne institution has left the Laboratory of the CBD and is now being trialled ready for export.

I am speaking of course of the much loved hook turn.

Clarendon St. in South Melbourne was the very first street outside the CBD to be granted the opportunity to have the hook turn as part of a trial to see if the tram times could be sped up. The hook turn wasn’t the only thing in the trial. There were several other aspects of the trial including making it harder to find a park, causing a downturn in trading along the shopping strip, and creating confusion amongst public transport users by relocating the tram stops. All to no avail however, the trams still could not be sped up.

Personally I’m not disappointed. Have you ever been on a tram where the driver moonlights as the brakeman on the scenic railway? It is most undignified to find oneself cannonading down the aisle. Flying briefcase nearly decapitating some poor punter, only to find yourself on your knees in front of the ticket inspector. Did you validate the ticket this morning? Of course you did. But where is the bastard? And then you find it, in your wallet after double checking all of your seven available pockets. The inspector duly inspects, and sniffs dismissively, and you clamber to your feet. “You’re lucky I validated it this time”, you say, in an attempt to assert control over the situation. But there really is no recovering from that.

Trams most certainly do not need to be faster, and the trial is now over. But the hook turn remains in Clarendon St, and it is for the better, for the whole city one day should have hook turns. Hook turns on every corner, and then when we’re ready, we ship the hook turns up the Hume to Sydney, so that the corporate headquarters that were nurtured and cultivated in this fine city and which are now relocated overlooking the glistening waters of Harbour can once again feel at home.


And to celebrate the dignified and understated spirit and beauty that is Melbourne, I invoke the fine work of Russell Degnan and am proud to say:

Been there
Been there
Been there
Been there
and its so good I’m going back.
Update: For those out of towners wishing to practice the hook turn in their dreams before arriving, Russell has provided a link to a neat little animation

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Friday, June 17, 2005


The Good and Bad News from Iraq

The BBC presents several lives in a day of Iraq.

Curse that left-dominated media. Why can't they stick with the script?

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Mickey misses mark. Makes mess of mauling

You’ve got to feel sorry for poor Peter Mickelburough over at Australia’s favourite newspaper The Herald Sun. Mr. Mickelburough, we’ll call him Mr. Mick to save you wasting your precious day with all those extra syllables, was all fired up yesterday, rubbing his hands together with glee because he’d got the whiff of another story of Bracks government nepotism.

Mr. Mick’s specialty over at The Herald Sun is the Bracks “jobs for the boys” story. It’s his favourite, and The Herald Sun bosses know that when they let Mr. Mick off the leash he’s going to turn up dirt on Premier Bracks.

Today though Mr. Mick, lets call him Mickey because we’re coming to know him quite well now, had already started with the big Bracks Bash headline and the killer introductory sentence:

Wife of union boss on board

THE wife of a prominent union boss has landed a $20,000-a-year job with the Bracks Government.

It was lucky I wasn’t driving when I read this, because I might have just stopped reading right there, and been left with the impression of another scoop by Mickey exposing another Labor mates racket. But unfortunately I read on.

We find out next that it’s some job on a Board, and that the wife in question is Deborah Beale, spouse of none other than Australia’s future Prime Minister Bill Shorten.

Strange, I thought. What’s the Herald Sun doing attacking Mr. Shorten. Just as Andrew Landeryou will tell you that The Age is aligned with the Left factions of the ALP, it is well known that The Herald Sun, is aligned with the Right factions of the ALP, and that Herald Sun big nob Andrew Bolt, and Mr. Shorten are mates, via mutual mate Senator Stephen Conroy.

And then, Mickey’s lovingly crafted savaging falls completely in a heap as he is forced to reveal that Ms. Beale is the daughter of former Liberal MP, Julian Beale, and further, that Opposition Leader Robert Doyle had no problems with the appointment because Ms Beale is eminently qualified for the job.

So everyone’s happy. Ms. Beale, Future PM Shorten, Doyle, Bracks. Everyone that is except Mickey who was simply unable to finish his article the way he wanted.

Our advice to Mickey, is to obtain enough information to get the headline, and leave it there. Start digging too deep and you reveal too many cross currents, too much complexity, too many things that undermine the power of those first few sentences.

We suggest in future Mickey that you go with your instincts. Instincts are cleaner and more satisfying than those pesky facts, and they pay more too. Go-on Mickey, take the plunge, we know your gagging for it - Become Andrew Bolt.

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Thursday, June 16, 2005


Wood free

It is good to see that quiet patience can be rewarded and prayers answered.

As Tim Dunlop states. It is Good news from Iraq.

The quiet stoic dignity of the Wood family sits in stark contrast to the shrill indignation of the Corby clique, just as the heartfelt statements of the Prime Minister and Mr. Beazley sit in start contrast to the mealy mouthed pettiness of Tim Blair.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Offshoring : Where the buck stops there.

Alan Kohler, the Age’s preeminent business columnist reveals a dirty little secret that is not mentioned in polite society. It concerns the Banks, and the fact that their decades long dream run of profits is now coming to an end. The Banks you see are being squeezed. They are facing big competition from brokers and mortgage companies as they fall over themselves to throw money at you. And the cost of borrowing all that money that throw at you has gone up because no-one in Australia saves money anymore (we’re all in debt you see), so they have to borrow this money overseas at higher interest rates.

The end result is that the Bank’s profit margins are being squeezed. Shareholders being shareholders don’t like this, so they demand action. End result? Cost cutting. The Razor Gang. Slash and Burn.

As Kohler points out the dirty little secret, not mentioned in polite society, is offshore outsourcing (offshoring), which fundamentally means sacking call-centre staff, operational staff, IT staff here in Australia, and setting up a center in India or the Phillipines or some low wage country.

Australian banks are well behind their American and European counterparts in outsourcing call centres and processing functions to low-cost countries. Hundreds of thousands of Indians are now employed answering bank customers' inquiries and processing data.

In fact the Indian outsourcing market is becoming saturated; the next outsourcing boom is happening in the Philippines, and that is where the Australian bank customers will soon be ringing for their inquiries (without knowing it).

The challenge for all of the banks will be to bring this off without causing a riot back home. The community is still getting over the wave of branch closures and lay-offs during the '90s; there will soon be another wave of redundancies as call centres and processing centres are closed and the work outsourced to the Philippines.

So brace yourselves folks for the big stoush as Aussie battlers and aspirationals fall victim to the more competitive Phillipino battler. Brace yourselves also for the sleek pared back arguments from the economic rationalists, that this is in fact a good thing. That it creates opportunity back here at home because it creates profit, and so the lucky recipients of that profit can invest it back into creating new jobs.

Or maybe not. Since we bricks and mortar obsessed Aussies are just as likely to invest it back into houses, thus restarting the debt boom that triggered all this in the first place.

Call me old fashioned, but it strikes me that if you want to have an economy that functions, where people pay taxes, and have a little bit left over at the end of the week to take the kids to the cinema, or buy them toys, then you need to make sure that there are jobs for them in Australia, and that they’re not on the dole. There must come a time where so many jobs are offshored, that it starts hurting the economy. Tell me that the current massive US trade deficit is not partly a result of its Manufacturing being outsourced to China.

It is the American multinationals like Wal-Mart doing the outsourcing of course. Their shareholders are mighty happy. It’s just the American workers who’re left scratching their head.

As we prepare to take sides in this one, it might be wise to bone up on the pros and cons handily prepared by the Government at taxpayer expense so we can amuse ourselves with debate while it all happens anyway behind the scenes.

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Counterintuitive Claptrap

In the wake of the success of Everything bad is good for you, (or why dumb pop culture makes you smarter) by Stephen Johnson, and Are you dumb enough to be rich?, and The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the many are smarter than the few , City Publishers is releasing a series of new books in our Counterintuitive Series:

How to eat like a pig, and still fit into your wedding dress.

Fight fat by giving into your cravings.

Why outsourcing created unemployment is good for the economy

How to still achieve your goals after you die.

The rich mans burden – and why they’re doing you a favour keeping you poor.

The British gourmet cookbook

Compassionate Conservatism Vol. 2

City Publishers is looking for media savvy, TV friendly authors and academics willing to place their reputations on the line for a quick buck. Call now. Interviews commence next Monday.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Telco Sol - A Potted History

Here's a little backgrounder on Sol Trujillo. New CEO of Telstra, and the man responsible for making it as attractive as possible to foreign investors as the Government prepares to do the Ta-ta Telstra Twostep.

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Berlin - Beard City

Meet Willi Chevalier from Singmaringen, Germany.

Willi Chevalier Posted by Hello

Willi is the current holder of the world beard and moustache champions trophy. He competed in the “freestyle” category. This years contest will be held in Berlin.

The City will be keeping a close eye on this important event and keeping you up to date with the latest. Last year as I’m sure you know, there was the shocking doping scandal when one of the Eastern-bloc contestants tested positive for Rogaine, and of course who can forget the scandalous story of the Bavarian team at a post tournament shindig when a tipsy waitress was tickled unconscious during a kissathon with her hirsuite heroes.

We'll do our best to keep you informed of the beard antics from Berlin, and wish you strength as you fight to maintain your air of total indifference to football this Winter.

(Via J-walk)

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Monday, June 13, 2005


Will Abbouche Vamoos?

The City once again doffs its hat to the fine journalistic standards being practiced by our cross town rival The OC. The quality of dirt and gold plated gossip receiving an airing over at Southbank Central is thrilling the good burghers of Melbourne, as it is thrilling we here at The City.

Led by the irrepressible Andrew Landeryou, The OC today gives us, not just ‘the good oil’, but the rancid fat from the back of the deep fryer in the ALP kitchen.

Mo Abbouche is a central player in today’s saga as reported in an article in today’s Age by their best political reporter, as acknowledged by Mr. Landeryou. It reveals the branch stacking charges being made against Mr. Abbouche, and highlights that Mr. Abbouche virtually admitted to branch stacking:

On February 27 The Sunday Age reported that Cr Abbouche "said he would support a preselection challenge to Ms Vamvakinou and that he had been recruiting members to the Labor Party 'and those members are most likely to vote against her at the next preselection

What a character this Mr. Abbouche is. He pops up in several places. He is mentioned in a Crikey article, penned by an anonymous ALP “insider”, who paints him as a dill, a dim-witted factional stooge.

He also crops up in the May 2003 Victorian Hansard (warning large PDF), where Liberal MP Smith describes an ALP state conference at the time.
Then came the announcement of some rule changes, and the crowd tried to lock the doors to keep out some of the participants. Mo ‘The Rat’ Abbouche just could not decide what corner he was in. Was he in the tomato red corner with the overweight, beer-swilling wharfies and building workers led by federal Senator Kim Carr, or was he in the pink corner led by the latte-drinking Bill Shorten, who was supported by the Williamstown wankers? Referee Jim Claven had no control over the fight — but then again most puppets do not.
Seems that Mr. Abbouche is a little confused again poor feller.

It’s comforting to know that people like Mr. Abbouche, slow, dim-witted, perhaps even handicapped, have potential within the ALP. It shows that it’s a caring organisation, prepared to look after even the dumbest clods, give them a good job as mayor, help them make their way in this harsh world. We tip our hat not only to The OC, but to Messers Shorten and Conroy as well, for their compassion and sense of responsibility, and for looking after the more unfortunate in our community.

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Sunday, June 12, 2005


Taxing Times Traumatise Terror Tainted Town

Melbournians were shocked this morning, when flicking through their diaries, to discover that there were only 18 sleeps before the 30th June - The end of the financial year.

Normally a stolid and stoic peoples, hardened by bleak winters and unnatural attitudes to sport, we Melbournians suddenly found ourselves in a tizz, a mad panic as we realised that there were only 13 working days left before the lord-high executioner’s axe falls on the cut off date.

Tax Accountants around the City are bracing themselves for the deluge of calls they can expect from the panicked populace, as the good burghers of Melbourne thumb through the yellow pages, and ring around, trying to find a Tax Accountant who has not failed them in the past. (For this is the problem with Tax Accountants you see - Despite their reputation as experts in the field – you still end up paying tax)

Shoe boxes around the city are being withdrawn from cupboards, and being stuffed even fuller with receipts from fat wallets, and pregnant purses. Bank statements are being retrieved from the paper recycling bin, and the bottom of the budgie cage. Businessmen, Tradesman and Contractors are beginning to wonder if the thousands of dollars spent on “Secretarial Services”, and appearing on their corporate credit card statement, really are tax deductible, and if perhaps it might not have been better to pay in cash.

Unemployed Italian men gather in Lygon street, and sit around sipping Machiatos in their Zegna suits, admiring each others shiny Ferraris parked on the street and furtively and desperately discussing the implications of the work for the dole scheme, and various banking techniques, but still, importantly, keeping one eye out for the ladies.

Pregnant Teenagers cross their fingers and hope for twins, already picturing in their mind the placement of the longed for Plasma TV, that could be afforded with a double dose of the baby bonus bonanza, and hoping that the births straddle the midnight bell on June 30th so that benefits due to each child fall in different financial periods.

Tax Terror is what it is my friends. It’s a fear of the unknown. Fear of an unbalanced ledger. Fear that the authorities will demand proof that you really do have a subscription to that boring professional literature that you claim on every year. Fear that the thousands lost in Las Vegas at the Statisticians Conference, might not pass muster as Research and Development expenditure.

They know this, the authorities. They know about this fear, and they exploit it. They use it to control, and manipulate my friends. It is the most insidious kind of terrorism, and it happens under our very noses every year.

I call on you all this year to boycott tax completely. Simply refuse to close off your books, fail to make your superannuation commitments, put your group certificates through the shredder. If not that, then just delay things. Delay things till say 30th July. Let’s arbitrarily decide to end the financial year one month later. That’ll show them whose boss. One month my friends. It’s not much to ask when fighting terror of this nature. Look I’ll settle for one week. Let’s delay things one week. One week please. That’s all I need.

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Friday, June 10, 2005


Blair sheds a sneer for Sheik

Today Tim Blair sniffed and wiped the sneer from his eye, as he heard the news that Sheikh Taj El-Din Al-Hilaly had left Iraq, and was not successful in obtaining the freedom of Douglas Wood.

Here’s how Mr. Blair announced the news to his fans:


Sheikh al-Hilali’s rescue mission—during which the Sheikh’s spokesmen and supporters announced several “breakthroughs” and even the anticipated release of Douglas Wood—is over

So. What’s with the “scare quotes” do you think? Well, I’ll let you into a little secret. They’re not scare quotes. They’re sneer quotes. Mr. Blair it appears is not entirely unhappy that the Sheik has failed in his objective. That the Sheik has failed to release Mr. Wood.

Don’t get me wrong. Blair would like to see Douglas Wood free. Of course he would. But he would prefer that Wood fought his way out alone.

Wood is 63 years old. These “insurgents” are real tough guys, aren’t they? I bet Wood could take all of them if he wasn’t tied up.

The Sheik though - that’s another matter. Blair has had it in for the Sheik all along.

Less worthy are comments from Sheik Taj el-Din al Hilaly, described as the “spiritual leader of Australian Muslims”, who is on his way to Iraq to rescue Douglas Wood—and to score vile and opportunistic political points in the process
And mocked his attempts at every turn

Thanks to Sheikh Al Hilaly’s mad negotiating skillz, conditions for Wood’s release have blown out from an original 1,400 Australians to the entire 177,000-strong coalition force—plus release of all female prisoners. Well done, Sheikh! You are helping!

So Tim. I hope you’re satisfied. He's unable to demonstrate that he has influence. His attempt at propaganda - convincing Australians that Muslims might be okay - is no more. Happy now?

Now what was your plan again?

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Thursday, June 09, 2005


Our Nic - Redux

Is our Nic a fan of Michael Jackson?

Our Nic - before and after Posted by Hello

According to Awful Plastic Surgery she is.

The funniest thing about this site is not the pics, which are actually gruesome, but the fact that all the google ads on the side are for cheap plastic surgery in places like Costa Rica and Argentina.

But like I always say. If you're not going to compromise your principles for money, when are you going to compromise them?

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Mythbusters : Brain Snapping, Is it possible?

Sometimes you read things in the Newspaper and think. Can it be true? Is it possible? This happened today as thousands of Sydneysiders spread their copy of the Daily Telegraph out on the breakfast table, and over the top of their Weet-Bix observed the headline Crowe : How my Brain Snapped.

People of course were drawn to the article, only to be disappointed, because nowhere else does the article mention this remarkable phenomenon. We don’t find out if it hurts (the brain has no nerve endings apparently), we read no doctors testimony, no medical evidence. All we get is what we assume are the symptoms - The compulsion to throw things.

Inspired by the scientific approach taken by Mr Tim Blair and his team of lab assistants, who determined that a Koran won’t go around the S-bend, The City has undertaken to investigate the question: Can Brains Snap?

Step One : First we needed a Brain. We invited Mr. Blair to provide his for this experiment, but he claimed he was using it for something else at the time. So we were forced to seek an alternative. We window shopped at the local butcher but found the sight of so much organic matter decidedly off-putting. Instead we visited the toy shop and invested in a giant bucket of Play-Doh.

Step Two : We fashioned the Play-Doh into a brain-like shape, guided by the old visible man model gathering dust on top of the book case.

Step Three – Snapping

Snap Attempt One – Taking the ‘stand in’ brain, we held it in both hands and then applied a large and instantaneous shear force. This resulted in a substantial distortion of the brain, but it did not actually snap.

Snap Attempt Two - We placed a large ladder against the side of the house, and climbed to a point where it was very wobbly indeed. We then released the stand-in brain. On impact the brain distorted and flattened. It did not bounce, and there was no evidence of snapping.

Snap Attempt Three – We felt that the stand-in brain may have been exhibiting overly elastic behaviour. To control for this we placed it in the freezer for six hours. On removal of the brain from the freezer we wrapped it in insulating material and ascended the ladder once again to the wobbliest section. We released the brain. The sound on impact this time was distinctly different, and the brain split in two down the hemispherical axis. The Brain had snapped.

Mythbusted? – We did have to apply unusual measures (the freezing) to achieve the snapping we were looking for. At room temperature the stand in brain exhibited marked plasticity, but at –3 degrees we found that brain snapping is possible.

Conclusion – Plausible : If we assume that Mr. Crowe had placed his head inside the hotel refrigerator for at least six hours before the incident, it is certainly possible that his brain did snap.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Welcome to Fear Central

We’re quaking in our boots down here in Victoria. Our knees are knocking, our teeth chattering : We’re wetting our pants as a chilling climate of fear and dread takes hold in these trepidacious times.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself “ said President Roosevelt, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. We are fearful of fear, and the Government have been trying to keep from the public a secret report that proves just how fearful of fear we are.

Australia’s most popular newspaper, The Herald Sun, has been on the case, keen to tell us the truth : that we’re more scared shitless than we could possibly imagine.

Last Sunday the Herald Sun broke the big story about the secret State Government document. This incredibly expensive report called the Perception of Justice Survey, that the Government didn’t want us to have, was eventually obtained by the tireless reporters of the Herald Sun through Freedom of Information requests.

It blows the lid on the whole “Fear Frustration Strategy”, that the Government has been trying to secretly promote, and now we can freely fan the frantic flames of fear, as we have a right to do in a democracy.

Neil Mitchell has not be slow to act either, yesterday Mr. Mitchell launched into fear overdrive:

THERE'S an epidemic of fear in Victoria and this time the people deserve better than a pat on the head, some reassuring platitudes, and a series of feel-good TV commercials.

Usually, the politicians treat us like dills. They tell us we're ignorant and claim there is no need to be worried about becoming a victim of crime because statistics prove it is unlikely. But pumping out a statistical fog dodges the issue. Perceptions of crime do matter because they affect directly how we live.

Too right Neil, and perceptions of fear matter too. How does the average battler know how fearful to be unless he’s got some idea of how fearful everyone else is? This stuff needs to be out in the open. If we don’t feel scared enough then we get complacent. We start thinking about justice instead of punishment, rehabilitation instead of retribution.

Its high time that the State Government and the Justice System, started listening to the views of the people as expressed by the Herald Sun and started getting tough on the cause of our fear, Our Judges.

If we don’t act now, then the fear will become a self fulfilling prophecy, and goodness knows where that might lead, maybe Mass Hysteria.

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Beer Blowout Blamed on Bully IRC Bombshell

It was the last hurrah for the Australian Industrial Relations Commission yesterday as the big government bandwagon spluttered to a stop on the highway to Battlerville.

And none too soon according to Brian Kearney president of the Australian Hotels Association who blamed this week’s ten cents price rise for a pot of beer on the decision to grant an extra $17 per week to the nations lowest paid workers.

“We figured we’d better get in for our chop first”, said Mr. Kearney, “After all they’re either going to piss it up against the wall, feed it into a pokie, or spend it on cigs, so better it goes into the pocket of my members, eh?”

When The City queried this explanation, pointing out that he used a different argument in the Herald Sun : That the price rise was inevitable because of the now increased operating costs due to higher wages, Mr Kearney agreed that it was also a good line, but he’d forgotten it just now.

We asked Mr. Kearney how we would know the right time to raise prices in the future without the big, well publicised signals coming from the IRC.

“Its going to be difficult, I’d be the first to admit that, but we’ve got our marketing boys on the job. All we need is some plausible excuse, and I’m sure, with the high salaries we’re paying our boffins, they’ll be able to figure something out”

The City visited a local bar to gauge the reaction of drinkers to the shocking news. “What of it”, said Aaron Clauzwitz, a corporate lawyer for a large multinational, who was celebrating a recent supreme court victory. “Ten cents hey?, well I guess I’ll just have to dig deep to find the necessary finances. Maybe the wife’ll have to skip a Pilates class or two”

So there we have it. People are suffering out there, and its because of all of those Nanny State institutions that still linger on, strangling this country, and squeezing the poor battler dry.

The sooner we get trickle down economics going, and then concentrate on fixing the leaks, the better we’ll all be.

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Saturday, June 04, 2005


Transmission Interruption

Management regrets to advise that transmission will be temporarily interrupted as a result of an industrial dispute.

We ask for your patience and kind indulgence, and can assure you that propaganda will resume shortly.

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Friday, June 03, 2005


Etch-a-Sketch : Problem Solved

Do you remeber how difficult it was trying to draw diagonal lines, or even worse, circles with your old Etch-a-sketch? One knob controlled verticle movement, and one knob controlled horizontal movement, but working them together to draw a curve was next to impossible.

Well, some bright spark has come up with the answer.

See. Like I say, science can solve everything!

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Thursday, June 02, 2005


Skanky Hoedown Showdown

The ABC reports that Australian researchers have identified 25 different categories for the World's Oldest Profession. It includes categories such as street-worker and bondage and discipline worker.

We know what you're thinking : Does it include Conservative Columnist? Well we're still investigating, but one thing for sure, we'll soon be able to read all about how your taxpayer dollars have been spent analysing something that conservative columnists are happy to do for free.

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Is Google Evil?

We all use Google, and we all love it right? The dorky name, the cheeky logo, that simple clean interface. Google has had remarkable press over the years and has somehow developed an image as being a sort of undergraduate comp-sci project that just kept growing and has at its core an idealistic vision and wishes us to all share in it.

According to Google Watch however, there’s a whole lot going on behind the scenes in Google that you should at least be aware of: Here’s a few things for starters.

  1. The Google search results are now being corrupted and manipulated by a whole tribe of web-spammers, and bloggers who’ve figured out how to scam the game.
  2. Google records all of your web searches, your IP address, and links it back to you with a cookie that doesn’t expire for a long time.
  3. The Google toolbar’s Autolink feature has the capability to modify web pages as you view them, and insert links that the writer of the web page didn’t insert. It can direct a reader away from your website (if you’re a business) and to another website who has preferential deals with Google.
  4. Google new Gmail is being offered up as the solution to your email management problem. 1Gig of space just for you. The downside according to Google watch is that Google will trawl and index all your mail (they never really delete anything, even if you think you have), and the potential for abuse is staggering if you consider that they can cross-index all this old email and the email addresses and the email content.

A nice summary can be found here.

It could be paranoia, and maybe it is at this point in time, but will it always be so?

Anyway I hope that’s made your day. Happy googling.

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Brutal Murder Shock

According to an informed source, a scandal plagued, flamboyant self styled guru, who is allegedly dogged by a character issue, was savagely murdered by a beloved intensely private hero firefighter who is a known to be a confirmed bachelor.

This shocking revelation was revealed by a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, but uncertainty still exists as the police task force explore the exclusive neighbourhood for more vital evidence.

With News Wire Services (and Crikey)

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Aussie David v's 6 Goliaths

The CSIRO is a great Australian institution. Founded according to a simple, and traditionally Australian concept, that if we all pool our resources and set ourselves ambitious goals, and work hard, we can achieve more than if we just waste our energies dog-eat-dog fashion.

The CSIRO with origins in the early days of World War 1 is a standout legacy of those fine Australian traditions and institution that our forefathers dreamed up for the benefit of all. It has over the years had to defend itself from attacks by those right-wing ideologues who believe that pooling resources is evil, and who believe that the only success that counts is that achieved at the expense of others.

The CSIRO has fought off these challenges, and proven time and time again that publicly funded institutions deliver high value to Australian society.

So it is fascinating to see this traditional Aussie battler institution setting itself up for a huge stoush with half a dozen monoliths of the American computer industry including Microsoft, Dell, Intel, HP and Apple.

The CSIRO you see has got a patent on some technology that allows computers to communicate with Wireless technology.

The big monsters don’t like it naturally because they see the market for WIFI getting really big, and they don’t want to share any of the pie with our little Aussie battler institution. So they’ve launched a legal case to overturn the patent. The legal resources that these companies have at their disposal is enormous, and our little Aussie battler is going to have to finance this case and fight tooth and nail, paying big US lawyers, big US dollars to beat the bastards back.

For the Americans the US-Australia FTA is mostly about intellectual property. Its about forking over royalties to American firms, and they’re very aggressive about making sure they get it too.

Now the boot is on the other foot, and a little Aussie battler owns the IP and the Computer titans don’t like it and they’re fighting. But the CSIRO has to fight this case in the US and pay big US bucks to do it to. So where’s the balance? What if it wasn’t the CSIRO? What if it was a small company? How could it afford to take on these monsters? Why should the CSIRO have to fight the case in the US? - So much for a Free Trade Agreement.

We are lucky that the little Aussie battler in question is an Australian public institution, and we should demand that the Government support this fight to the bitter end – with public funds if necessary. It’s more than just a little IP at stake. It’s Australian sovereignty.

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