September 24, 2003


• An insect-eating mammal formerly believed extinct has turned up in Cuba. Incredibly, the creature is 96% literate.

• Scientists using scientific machines have captured an image of the seismic internet phenomenon known as the InstaLanche.

• Much beer has been stolen. Local Hamas operatives are not suspected.

• George W. Bush is a man of considerable taste: "After work, if I'm reviewing a speech or just want a little downtime, I'll have a ballgame in the background. Some people like to listen to opera - I like to have the ballgame.”

• The 5,000-year-old Warka Mask has been found by US investigators after having been looted in April. The mask, Iraq’s most cherished antiquity, celebrates the eight wickets taken by Australian medium pace bowler Max Warka in the final Test of the 1974/5 Ashes series. Still missing is the priceless Warka Book.

• Perverted and stoatlike French people annoy John Howard: "The French have been utterly opportunistic from the very beginning on this issue."

• They can’t defeat corn, so now protesters are trying to beat sheep.

• Deadly trouser snakes were apprehended Monday by Australian customs officials.

• And actress Toni Collette believes that the attractive and useful Mt. Whaleback iron-ore mine is disgusting.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 24, 2003 06:06 PM

Man!! that iron-ore mine is AWESOME!!

Posted by: roscoe p coltrane at September 24, 2003 at 07:45 PM

Vive la John!

Posted by: gaz at September 24, 2003 at 08:26 PM

Here’s a Whaleback SUV, with a puny earthling is included at right of shot for scale. Clicky for more.

Posted by: tim at September 24, 2003 at 08:54 PM

Are they King Cobras down there or are you just glad to be in Australia?

Posted by: slatts at September 24, 2003 at 11:11 PM

The mine is quite beautiful.

Posted by: marko at September 24, 2003 at 11:47 PM

Toni Collette, oh my..

Is it a prerequisite to be leftwing radical to be in the movie business?

I'm going to try get the number of her manager. I'm outraged, someone needs to tell her to shut the fuck up.

Posted by: Murdoch Software Engineer Std at September 24, 2003 at 11:54 PM

I've been InstaLanched twice over the past week. You can kind of tell when you check out your blog and find 33 comments to something you posted instead of the usual zero.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at September 25, 2003 at 12:10 AM

(From article on Cuban literacy)

In 2000, almost 96 percent of Cubans older than 15 were considered to be literate, according to the CIA World Factbook

It's a bit embarassing that one of America's intelligence agencies repeats bogus statistics from Cuba. Unlike the UN, the CIA is not obliged to avoid upsetting Cuba, though in the CIA's defense, the literacy of Cubans is not the CIA's primary responsibility.

Posted by: Andjam at September 25, 2003 at 12:23 AM

What a brave stand -- she's against strip mining! And they actually used explosives rather than, say, slave labor, to break apart the ore. Hideous!

Posted by: Andrew at September 25, 2003 at 12:30 AM

What a brave stand -- she's against strip mining!

Gee, I wonder how the protest crowd will protest against it. Could it involve nudity?

Posted by: Andjam at September 25, 2003 at 12:41 AM

"perverted and stoatlike"

good one I'll have to remember that

If only I knew what it meant!

Posted by: Bill at September 25, 2003 at 01:14 AM

Needless to say, Toni never uses or benefits from anything made of iron or steel. Unless it is the result of 100% organic steel production methods of course - just as Mother Nature intended.

Posted by: Bob Bunnett at September 25, 2003 at 01:19 AM

From the Cuban Literacy article:

Cuba's free schooling does have one noteworthy feature that rankles the U.S. government: It comes with classroom instruction in communist theory and anti-capitalist viewpoints. There also is intense pressure for teacher and student involvement in non-educational political activities organized by the state.

You don't have to go to Cuba to find that.

Posted by: Ernie G at September 25, 2003 at 01:48 AM

Hey. We've got real public education problems here in the Detroit area. It appears that only about 1/3 of Detroiters are functionally literate. I've got an idea for some synergism.

We want Castro out of Cuba and better education in Detroit. How about we *give* Detroit to Castro (pay him well enough to leave Cuba), build a fence bigger than the Israeli's around it, give them *twice* as much money for education as in Cuba, force the current education establishment in Detroit to stay, and let Castro run the whole thing until the literacy rate hits, say, 90%, then pension the old, bearded bastard off (shouldn't take more than a couple of decades and he should be really tired by then).

We save money (Detroit currently gets about $7000 per student, not counting special ed, which I don't find in Cuba -- evidently they don't need it, I figure twice Cuba's rate would amount to about $100 per student, not counting monthly allotments of sugar, coffee, meat, oil, etc, plus we don't need to buy any new books or hardly any supplies at all). We could easily save billions over the next two decades, which could be used in other areas.

Castro gets to prove his methods work even in a capitalist country (well, provided we work out some sort of "wet-foot/dry-foot policy for potential escapees). He gets total control (plenty of jails in Detroit). The rest of Wayne County and Michigan get to prove whether or not they really can manage without Detroit. Several very annoying US Reps are now in the Castro Detroit rubberstamp parliament. They can build a vacation spot for Canadians along the St.Clair River and Belle Isle so the Canucks can drive to enjoy the fruits of Soviet-style Communism.

What's not to like? This answers so many problems.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at September 25, 2003 at 01:53 AM

Enjoyed the story of man with snakes.

I want to know what sort of containers you could put those snakes in and strap to your legs? Must have been very awkward walking.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at September 25, 2003 at 03:13 AM

Nifty headline, "Creature Thought Extinct Found in Cuba" but a niftier first sentence, "A living example of an insectivore native to Cuba — but believed for years to extinct..." Turns out when they say "believed for years to [be] extinct they only meant four years, since the last sighting was in 1999.

A living example of an insectivore native to Cuba -- but believed, for a couple of years, to be extinct....
There, that's better.


Posted by: kalroy at September 25, 2003 at 03:23 AM

"Creature Thought Extinct Found in Cuba" - I thought this was going to be a story about unreconstructed Stalinists.

Posted by: R.C. Dean at September 25, 2003 at 03:58 AM

Hamas, the beer refreshing!

Hamas, the beer refreshing!


Posted by: Sigivald at September 25, 2003 at 06:59 AM

"But isn't it fabulous that we are all so different and strong in our convictions - it helps makes the world go round."

I've always wondered why the earth spins. It takes an actress I've never heard of to tell me. Boy, I must be dumb.

Posted by: Edmund Burke at September 25, 2003 at 07:05 AM

Right now I love John Howard, I want more high-level french-bashing. I wonder if we can get Downer to say the french "are a bunch of cheese eating surrender monkies"?

Posted by: Jake D at September 25, 2003 at 11:12 AM

That a pretty lame beer heist. Check out how the real professionals do it:
Korean Tunnel

(Scroll to the bottom of page)

Posted by: KenG at September 25, 2003 at 11:21 AM

Toni Colette an actress?

All the personality and presence of a slater.

And I don't mean the no-win no-fee ambulance-chasing Labor lawyer.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 25, 2003 at 06:05 PM