Thursday, February 16, 2006

Reasons to be Cheerful

Isn't it good to know that the Australian Government won't be having any truck with illegal phone taps of innocent citizens? Thanks to the Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Bill, introduced into Federal Parliament today, we can rest assured that Wise King Otto will never have to stand up in Parliament and explain how tapping the phone calls of completely innocent citizens was all done in the interests of national security and the Attorney-General told him it was all OK really. That's strictly an only in America thing.

The Explanatory Memorandum to the bill is pretty clear on the future here in Happy Valley:

4. In implementing recommendations of the Blunn Report, this Bill will amend the Act to:

(a) insert a warrant regime for access to stored communications held by a telecommunications carrier;

(b) enable interception of communications of a person known to communicate with the person of interest;

That's right - subject to a judicial warrant, once this bill has been passed the police ans other security agencies will have the power to tap your phone, just because you're known to communicate with "a person of interest". Rather takes the gloss of on-line dating doesn't it?

Right now, all the opposition to this intrusive expansion of police powers seems to be coming from within the Coalition and the usual legal big-wigs. Well, Big Kim has too many other things on his plate right now - such as staying on-side with his backers without coming out publicly against Simon Crean's pre-selection.

Happy VD

Two days late, this turned up in my E-Mail:


From Mrs Patricia Azia

Good Morning ,
How are you today? and Compliments of the Valentine's period I hope all is well and there is no problem with business ? Besides i will send my picture for you to know me well as you reply now. However my name is Mrs Patricia Azia from london- United Kingdom. I am the personal account officer to Late Mr _______, 55, who is a british citizen living here in London with his family before his sudden death. This mail is written to solicit your assistance to be presented as a business foreign associate to my Late Client Mr _______ . He made a fixed Deposit valued at USD8.8million (Eight Million ,Eight hundred United States Dollars Only) with a finance institution here in London. Unfortunately he lost his life on July 7 london bus bomb which took place at Tavistock Square-London. To see the details of this bomb blast and my late client Mr _______ , Please click on the <>

He left no clear beneficiary as to his business foreign associate but all documents relating to the claim of this fund will be processed in your name as his business foreign associate as soon as we agreed together ...

Obviously, Pat (who I'm pretty sure I don't know from Eve), doesn't live in London - she's one of those Nigerian financial wizards who are always coming across neglected bank accounts holding millions of dollars they'll happily share with some mug who'll just give them a bank account number. The unfortunate Mr _______ is real too, but I figured it might be tactful to suppress his name .

Anyway, I know it's now three days late and all, but a happy VD to you too, Patricia. And may you have lots of happy VDs to come.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Serengeti Slash

A couple of weeks ago I made a mental note to keep an eye out for the last episode of Walking With Beasts on our ABC. As usually happens with mental notes, I lost it so, while the last episode of the series screened on Saturday afternoon, I was sitting at my PC writing stuff. So I missed the chance to watch that homo erectus couple having decorously English missionary position sex out on the Serengeti Plain.

By the way, have you heard the one about the Frenchman making love to an English girl? Afterwards, when he's lying back smoking his Gauloise, or a Gitane, or whatever brand Frenchmen prefer as a post-coital smoke, he remarks "Ma Cherie, I am so sorry that I hurt you?"

"No that was lovely," she answers, 'Whatever makes you think that you hurt me?"

"You moved."

OK, enough with the ethnic stereotype jokes, even if that one did come from a very respectable London broadsheet. Time to get to the point. Over at Club Troppo, in answer to a question from Anna Winter, Dr Troppo writes:

Perhaps other readers would like to assist Ms Winter in her campaign to ban ‘creepy’ fanfic by providing other examples of things that should never have been allowed. Ms Winter has expressed a special interest in fanfic based on bloggers.

I hope you'll excuse me if I pass on the opportunity to write a piece of fanfic about myself and, say, Andrea Harris of Spleenville fame. On the other hand, some might find this alternative narrative track for Walking With Beasts creepy enough to warrant banning:

One of the young females in the erectus group has commenced oestrus1. She signals her willingness to mate to a nearby male by bending forward and oscillating her rump.

The male approaches the female and tentatively sniffs at her vulva. Stimulated by the scent of the pheremones it is secreting, he tastes it. he quickly becomes sexually aroused and positions himself for coitus.

The alpha male of the group sees the couple about to mate; enraged by this challenge to his dominanace from the younger male, he pushes him away from the female. The two males fight - as they do the older male also becomes sexually aroused2.

The loser is quickly driven off and retreats, turning his back on the winner and the rest of the group. The winner mounts the female and they mate. The mating is quickly over3.

1 - Yes, I know, modern women don't have oestrus cycles they have that time of the month. As far as I know, nobody has any idea when this evolved.

2 - This behaviour has been observed in other species (deer as I recall). Did it happen in early hominids? Who cares - it makes a good story.

3 - Or maybe they went at it for hours, who knows? It all depends on whether you think all that Kama Sutra stuff is instinctive human behaviour, or a cultural development.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Bird Blogging

John Quiggin has taken his first, hesitant step, into the exciting world of bird-blogging. If this catches on, it's pretty much inevitable that someone will raise the question: "Why are the Left so obsessed with birds all of a sudden?"