The national political system of Italy may be in a state of paralysis but at least the Catholic Church managed to have a reasonably quick and decisive election, allowing the country to have some form of temporary governance beyond organised crime. But now that security is being threatened by perennial megalomaniac Silvio Berlusconi. Mr Berlusconi has been under some form of criminal investigation for most of his adult life but this has never thwarted his political ambitions. Though recently, in a move no one saw coming, Mr Berlusconi was actually convicted of an offence, meaning he is now only allowed to have private citizen bunga bunga parties, not Prime Ministerial bunga bunga parties. Sources close to the demigod claim he is devastated by this turn of events but is buoyed by the prospect of reasserting himself as an infallible leader.
Mr Berlusconi has now decided that the next job he wants is the job of Pope. ‘I understand the position has recently been filled and seeing as how it wasn’t filled by me there must have been some irregularities in the process.’ Mr Berlusconi was quoted as saying after plumes of white smoke were seeing wafting from the Vatican. He seemed only further encouraged when advised that the entire electoral process was completely irregular, ‘That suits me just fine. And at least I’m one of the youngest people going for the job, I’m only 74.’ Lawyers for Mr Berlusconi have called on the Vatican to suspend all current papal duties until a runoff election can be held between Mr Berlusconi and Pope Francis.
Mr Berlusconi is understood to be excited by the prospect of running in a papal election where all candidates have explicit endorsement from god, contradictory thought that may be when they run against each other. When asked to compare the different elections a spokesperson for Mr Berlusconi said, ‘The Prime Ministerial contest is being fought between a smart-arse with a blog, a narcissist who owns the entire nation’s media and an economic rationalist whose competence has cost him dearly in the popularity stakes. And worse than that everyone gets to vote, do you know how hard it is to bribe that many people?’ Further comparisons of the two electoral races suggest that Mr Berlusconi would be a better than even chance to wrest the title of Pontiff away from Francis. Internal Vatican polling suggests that every voting cardinal owns a television while only 60% of them have any bona fide connection to god, and even then they have to contact him. With Berlusconi owning all television in the country he would have a distinct advantage in getting his message across to the cardinals.
Pundits in the Vatican have cited that Mr Berlusconi meets all the job description requirements for ascension to the top job. His scandal-plagued existence proves he is capable of repeated, blatant criminal behaviour while simultaneously receiving no formal sanctions whatsoever for his actions. In fact he may even be able to teach the Catholic Church a few things when it comes to dealing with scandals. As a seasoned politician Mr Berlusconi has become adept at using charisma as a substitute for anything of substance. Further to that while the church has expended huge amounts of energy on cover-ups and attempts to sweep serious issues under the rug Mr Berlusconi could teach them the art of scapegoating. A Berlusconi flunky has been quoted as saying, ‘Imagine how quickly this whole child sexual abuse scandal would have gone away if the church had the common sense to say when it first became an issue, “It wasn’t us, we were secretly infiltrated by a Muslim.” Problem solved. That’s the sort of fresh thinking that Silvio can bring to the party. And anyway he likes his sexual partners quite old, 16 or 17 years old is not uncommon.’
On a personal note Mr Berlusconi is said to be excited by the prospect of the stability that the position of Pope would bring. In the last 60 years Italy has had a total of 847 different governments and many of them have been elected by a laborious democratic process. Mr Berlusconi is quietly excited about the idea of winning one election and maintaining power until his death. The other major benefit for Mr Berlusconi in this new line of work will be immunity from criminal prosecution. By having official divine sanction, rather than just self-appointed divinity, Mr Berlusconi would be saved from the trouble of having to attend pre-determined court hearings and make up new laws to retrospectively justify his actions.
Although I am the manager, editor, journalist, muck-raker and sole contributor to this news site, I should stress that the following article is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of the management here at Satiristofoz.
Traditionally we tend to accept and occasionally even embrace our local driving habits, while we rail against the habits of those from far away, well not me. The people who get my automotive goat live in the same street, suburb and city as me, they’re everywhere around me and they all irritate me. Yes all of them, personally and individually. I consider myself a fair and reasonable judge of these matters because even the drivers in my native city (Perth) have broad trends that infuriate me in an instant. Though now I live elsewhere (Melbourne) I still remember those Perth habits as being the behaviour of fools. Though now I have discovered (after living in Melbourne for over 15 years) that a fool is preferable to a sociopath.
Around the world there are idiosyncratic patterns to be found in drivers’ habits, most people regard it as a necessary evil and part of the local community, some find it quaint or endearing and some few actually revel in the localised idiocy believing it to be part of the ‘charm’ of a locale. Many people have told me in Melbourne, ‘You must drive like an idiot because if you don’t drive like an idiot YOU will be the one who causes an accident.’ Nonsense! That’s just self-serving claptrap that allows people to feel good about continuing to drive like an idiot. Regardless of whether individual locals like or loathe the habit(s) in question sooner or later they will fall into the trap and begin to drive in the offending manner demonstrated by those around them. A wise man once said that we are all guilty of the good we did not do and by joining in the carnival of stupidity and selfishness they only make the problems worse. Again I say, not me! I’m happy to call a spade a spade and there is a localised habit in my city that needs to be exposed and its perpetrators shamed at a national level.
Let me state early on that this is no trivial argument. I have seen grown men destroyed by traffic conditions and other drivers’ actions. I have seen ‘the fairer sex’ pursuing other drivers in a rage while simultaneously applying mascara and reaching around the back seat looking for the tyre iron. My father is a usually mild-mannered man who was raised in Perth but spent 2 years living in Melbourne during his late 30s. When we were back in Perth he was stopped at a rail crossing with boom gates. Eventually the train passed and the boom gates began to rise. The lights were still flashing and the bells ringing but the gates were just high enough to squeeze a car underneath them and my father immediately blasted the horn and screamed, ‘Come on you dickheads 3 people would’ve been through by now in Melbourne!’ But, worst of all, I have seen a sense of entitlement to clear roads in every single person that I have seen using the driving techniques that cause the problems in the first place. Yet when I point this out I become the bad guy. No more will this be the case. If you did it stop pretending there are no consequences to your actions and stop telling me your problems when you caused the problem in the first place. I can appreciate the irony but when I point it out to you I get kicked out of the car. Usually without the driver even slowing down, let alone stopping the car!
Firstly we should explore driving habits from around the world to give some context to my localised dilemma. Italy is full of screaming scooter drivers but the trauma they cause can be easily minimised. You know that they scream at you one moment but will have moved on to someone else in a few seconds. Predictable and understandable. China has yet to realise that a bicycle and a car take up different amounts of space and the traffic reflects this reality. When 200 million people get cars within a generation then the congestion is frustrating but predictable and understandable. All of south-east Asia is based on the premise that 5 people on a scooter is perfectly safe and your vehicle should be in constant motion regardless of traffic conditions or immovable objects in your path. The results are often painful but predictable and understandable. A special place is reserved in the crazy driver’s pantheon for Egyptian taxi drivers. They are famed for using both sides of the road at will and hoping their personal pungency will be enough to move obstacles from their path. Powerful though that stench usually is it is not enough to alter the laws of physics and oncoming vehicles still continue to come on and the result is, once again, predictable and understandable.
The habit I want to discuss may seem minor at first when compared to traffic around the world but if the physics behind it can be worked out it may destroy the universe as we know it. To understand why, allow me to offer a short lesson in theoretical physics, specifically quantum physics. The central idea of quantum physics is that matter can exist in more than one time and place simultaneously. I can’t explain it fully because I’m not a genius, I’m just angry. Physicists are in agreement that most of the universe we have not found yet, anywhere from 80-95% of the matter in the universe we can’t find and don’t know what is or where it is. Quantum mechanics begins to explain where things are by telling us that you simply can’t know where it is because it is everywhere and nowhere at once. If you know where something is you can’t know where it’s going, if you have any clue about where it’s going you can’t know where it is. This is powerful stuff and Melbourne drivers are messing with things they don’t understand and mostly don’t even know exist! This is a dangerous tool in the hands of the ignorant, like a monkey with a time machine or Russel Crowe with a phone.
Melbourne drivers have unwittingly stumbled across a way of disrupting time and space with the use of flashing lights. To the untrained eye the indicators on a car are merely orange lights that provide other road users with some idea of what your driving intentions are in the next few seconds but I have discovered that they are much, much more. As a trained scientist I know I can’t formulate a theory based on one observation so I promise I have observed this phenomenon time and time again, especially within the confines of the central business district and any strip shopping malls where the available parking is already taken. Within Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs turning on one or more indicator causes your car to literally stop existing in the time and space that it previously occupied. This enables Melbourne drivers to stop their vehicles anywhere they want and by activating the ‘indicators’ their car cease to be an obstacle for other road users. The driver in question will stop their car, activate the indicators, get out of the car and look at you with a look of disbelief on their face because have stopped your car as though theirs is somehow blocking you. They will try to help by waving you through the space that their car used to occupy but to the untrained it still appears that their car exists in a very real and physical way and would cause damage to your car if you tried to pass through that space at that time.
So far I have only seen this remarkable talent used for small time personal gain (‘just getting some milk’ or ‘just getting my dry cleaning’ or ‘just picking up my child from school in my alarmingly over sized and completely unnecessary four-wheel drive’). However I am very worried that if Melbourne drivers were to stumble on the potential powers of this ability then the universe as we know is at risk. What if one day a wealthy local stops their ‘Toorak Tractor’ in the middle of the road (right in front of a tram no doubt) and activates what they now understand to be a time travel device? They travel back in time to a point when there was a real parking space available and they park in it. However this means that the 4WD that would have otherwise taken that space now arrives to find no spaces available, so naturally they activate their own time travel device and travel back to get an available space. But soon after our original driver comes along to find that there are no legitimate spaces available and begins the cycle again. As you can see the world will be forever caught in a temporal loop and nobody is able to pick up their dry cleaning. This is just one potential scenario and not the worst one by any stretch of the imagination.
Clearly more research needs to be done to understand precisely how this phenomenon works. If anyone has Stephen Hawking’s home phone number please forward it to me because I’m not mentally equipped to tackle this alone. In the meantime just don’t tell the Melbournians or we’re all in trouble.
Disclaimer for Catholics: This article may contain traces of truth.
As Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation the world is forced to ask, ‘Who will now lead the cover-ups and regressive policies that we need so badly?’ Benedict will be the first pope in nearly 600 years to leave the job while still alive (albeit just barely) which raises the question of why he is breaking with tradition and leaving while he could still obstruct justice all over the world. Clues can be found by looking at the demanding nature of the positions he has held within the Vatican and his now frail health.
Cardinal Ratzinger was appointed by Pope John Paul II in 2001 to head the ‘Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.’ Already a ripe, old 73 year old then Ratzinger began one of the most demanding jobs the Catholic Church could offer anyone. He immediately set about writing letters to all bishops around the world detailing the Church’s policy on covering up child sexual abuse. Machiavellian in its audacity, he told them of the gravest of crimes they could commit, namely reporting rape or torture. Raping and torturing was less of a problem but reporting it was a definite no-no. At the time Ratzinger himself said, ‘Can you imagine trying to communicate this policy to every bishop and 1.2 billion followers? Don’t tell me I don’t work hard!’ Some commentators have labelled him a ‘The Banal Bavarian’ but there is no doubt this uninspired bureaucrat sure got the job done.
The Church itself has many issues on its agenda at the moment and to continue its steady march back to medieval times will take a reinvigorated Pontiff. Pope Benedict recently said in a speech to his followers, ‘Although I am tremendously proud of the work we have done as a church it is now time for someone new to take you forward to the past. In pushing this regressive agenda that has taken you back 200 years, I have unfortunately aged myself.’ He lists some of his proudest achievements as blocking AIDS prevention measures in Africa and limiting basic health care in South America. ‘Those were a couple of tough ones,’ Benedict mused while smiling quietly to himself, ‘there are so many people in those places, I never thought we’d get away with it. But if you have to put the fear of god into someone, I’m the man to do it.’
The Pontiff was asked how he would like to be remembered now that his time in the top job is drawing to a close, ‘Well obviously covering up and blocking investigation of the kiddy-fiddling is the one that took so much of my energy but we’ve taken so many historic steps backwards and I’m just so proud of all of them. Thanks to me you can be sure the Church will not consider relaxing the rules on celibacy, contraception or ordaining women for generations to come, I’ve loaded this place up with Cardinals that are so conservative they make me look like a reformer. And in a world where Christianity is increasingly at war with Islam I’m proud that I’ve deepened the divisions not just between us and the Muslims but also us and the Anglicans. Sure I’ve pissed the Jews off as well but they get pissed off at anything so I can’t take too much credit for that, as much as I did enjoy it. Personally though I rate one of my greatest successes as the stymieing of medical and other scientific work. For so long now science has progressed forward at such a rapid rate and the debate has been around how does society adapt to these new understandings. Well, I wanted people to know that we could not only ignore new information but also prevent it from happening, so my work in denying scientific advancement and blocking stem cell research are a real achievement for me.’
But the writing has been on the metaphorical wall for some time now. In recent years many countries, including some in the developing world, have been embracing new medical knowledge and ceasing to persecute same-sex couples. An unnamed senior Cardinal has been quoted as saying, ‘Benny (sic, Pope Benedict) would have been all over that in the old days, he’s definitely past his use by date.’ But the Pontiff leaves his followers with a message of hope, ‘I can assure you that although I will not be here to guide you backwards, I leave you in capable hands and can assure you that the Church’s best days of regressive and ignorant policies are still to come.’
In a move that has surprised everyone but should have surprised no one Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that Australia will continue a brave tradition of sending asylum seekers overseas. The surprise this time is that Australia has opted to send them to New Zealand, a country which actually has a choice in the matter. Potentially suffering a severe case of Relevance Deprivation Syndrome the New Zealand PM, John Key (yeah I had to use to Google to find out who he is too), saw an unattended lectern while visiting Canberra and immediately stood there to make an announcement. When Julia Gillard heard that the announcement concerned taking some asylum seekers off the Australian mainland she immediately rushed to join in and claimed to have been in on the agreement from the start.
The government has recently been criticised for its ‘No Advantage’ policies and embarrassing commercials. Australia’s immigration minister Chris Bowen was asked if this new deal with New Zealand would undermine the No Advantage policy, ‘No, quite the contrary in fact. With this arrangement we are still happy to let people drown at sea but now we’re providing a lot more sea for them to do it in.’
Boat arrivals have been increasing steadily increasing since 2007 when John Howard stopped personally shooting every new arrival and this has presented a humanitarian and electoral problem for governments since. Initially the incoming Labour government attempted to grow a heart and came dangerously close to complying with international law but a voter backlash soon put paid to that. Policies since then have included excising the entire nation from the face of the earth as far as immigration is concerned, sending queue-jumping-illegal-boat-people to Saturn or Papua New Guinea (whichever is further) and swapping 800 of our refugees for 4,000 of someone else’s. Not to be outdone in the race to the bottom the coalition has countered with its own policies which include, burning all boats within 4,000km of Australia, banning swimming towards Australia and citizenship tests for all migratory birds and sea life.
Back at the press conference Chris Bowen was asked for the government’s broader plan to deal with the rest of the asylum seekers. ‘There are more?’ was the startled reply, ‘Well I understand most people like to eat fish so we could dress them up as penguins and drop them off in Antarctica.’ Luckily for him this wasn’t widely reported as the press pack had gone off with John Key on the promise of free ‘fush and chups’.
Refugee advocacy groups have called on both nations to increase their refugee intake and take people directly from the overcrowded detention centres which already exist in Malaysia and Indonesia. The 150 refugees to be taken by New Zealand is not an extra allowance and will come out of its existing refugee intake quota. Tammy Fluge, spokesperson from Support Human Immigration to Australia (SHItA), commented ‘ We’ve let that idiot from Good Charlotte come and live in Australia and he contributes nothing, what’s the difference between him and, say, 10,000 Somalis?’
Bob Katter wasn’t invited to the press conference but banged on the window and shouted, ‘We take more than 50,000 of the Kiwi bastards every year, why are we only sending 150 back?’ After it was explained to him that this policy wasn’t sending New Zealanders back home but rather asylum seekers from other countries, he inquired, ‘What, like Tasmania?’ He was duly euthanased.
Embattled independent MP Craig Thomson’s life continues to provide fodder for those among us who thrive on salacious tittle-tattle, or as we call it these days, ‘news’. Some time ago police raided his home as part of the investigation into alleged rorting of union funds when he was secretary of the Eastern branch of the Health Services Union (HSU). Next, charges were laid against former HSU boss Michael Williamson for misappropriation of funds and hindering police, but the investigation continued into exactly how many people had their hand in the cookie jar at the HSU. At a press conference at the time of Mr Williamson’s arrest, Mr Thomson described how the events had unfolded, ‘We held an executive meeting of the Eastern Branch of the HSU where we had 6 delegates in a room with only 5 chairs. When the music stopped playing we all had to get into a chair as soon as possible. In the end it was Michael Williamson who ended up without a chair so we blamed everything on him.’ It seems now that everyone else kept playing after Mr Thomson himself had left the room.
After 18 months of investigation the police have now laid over 150 charges against Mr Thomson prompting one former HSU official to say, ‘He’s really in hot water now and the not the hot water you use to shower yourself before a session at Tiffany’s Girls or Young Blondes.’ In a packed courtroom at the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court Mr Thomson strenuously denied the allegations that he misused more than $40,000 of union money claiming that not only did he not do any of the things the police said he did, he also didn’t do them with his own money.
In an ill-advised move Mr Thomson was instructed by his lawyer to claim he was a victim of a conspiracy and use the ‘Anthony Mundine’ defence. Mr Thomson won no friends when half way through the hearing he jumped to his feet and began to question the legitimacy of the court and saying that he was proud of his ‘Abromigidal (sic) heritage’ and that the case should be thrown out because it was just ‘Whitey trying to step on another indigoness (sic) brother’. Out of respect for proceedings the magistrate stifled his laughter but did throw a stapler at Mr Thomson, hitting him in the left shoulder and earning a rousing round of applause from everyone in the courtroom.
The ramifications of Mr Thomson’s arrest vary from bad to worse for the government. Having already pissed him off some time ago but still needing his vote in parliament the government has been happy to keep this matter on the down-low and hope it goes away. Labour now faces the prospect of losing his support if he is unable to maintain his position as an MP, though a by-election would be very unlikely in the event of the government already having called an election. In a freakish coincidence the Prime Minister fortuitously called an election 4.7 seconds before the arrest of Mr Thomson. When asked to comment on Mr Thomson’s arrest the PM replied ‘That has nothing to do with why I called the election.’ She was then asked what she thought about union officials misusing union funds and replied, ‘That has nothing to do with why I called the election.’ She was finally asked where she had purchased a rather striking brooch she was wearing that day, to which she replied, ‘That has nothing to do with why I called the election.’ In a separate statement issued by a faceless man it was stated that the ALP will no longer be paying for Mr Thomson’s legal bills. Or his hookers, ciggies, porno movies or firewood.
The leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott, was invited to comment on the matter and declined stating, ‘This is perfect as it is; I couldn’t set it up any better myself,’ before laughing maniacally and stroking a fluffy, white cat that he had in his lap. The cat declared itself unavailable for comment but reckoned that Christopher Pyne would say something if you could find him.
Recent statistical analyses have indicated that Australians are living longer than ever. The Australian Regional Statistics Enterprise (ARSE) has analysed current life expectancy trends for Australian men and women and has arrived at some startling conclusions. Australian men who are currently aged 50 can expect to live for another 32 years. A decade ago an Australian man aged 50 could have expected to live only another 29.9 years. Researchers also concluded that an Australian woman aged 50 a decade would now be 60 years old. Lead ARSE researcher Dr Hugh Janus has added that ‘With improvements in medicine and extrapolations of current data a girl born today would have about a 50% chance of living to be 100.’
Dr Janus has warned that this increase in life expectancy has some unfortunate consequences for the future of the Australian population, ‘Australians typically retire around the age of 60 and have enough superannuation to live comfortably for another 15-20 years.’ While the government comes up with new ways to fund an ever increasing pension or force financial advisers to change how much post-retirement time they help people plan for, the team here at Satiristofoz is taking steps to help Australians who want to ensure their own financial security. Our life consultant has compiled a list of ways that you can make sure that the number of years you get more closely matches the amount of money you’ll have.
Become Aboriginal – This has been proven to have a massive negative influence on life expectancy regardless of gender. This option does usually come with decreased income as well but this is far outweighed by the lessened life expectancy.
Wearing white paint does not increase life expectancy. This man is 11 years old.
Move to a regional/remote area – Improvements in medicine are meaningless if there’s no medical practitioner within 300km of you. Combining being aboriginal and living in a remote area guarantees you will never outlive your money, even if you have no money.
New government funded housing has added nothing to life expectancy or equity for home owners.
Take up smoking – Although smoking is an ever-increasing drain on the hip pocket, its ability to impact the lungs and circulatory system is a much greater bonus to those people seeking money/life balance.
Support manufacturing jobs by taking up smoking immediately.
Insult Barry Hall – Barry is always keen to deliver a few unexpected blows to the head and now that he’s decided not to pursue a professional boxing career he’ll hit you for free.
It has been clinically proven that repeated blows to the head are an effective antidote to an excessively long life. Call Barry now.
Eat at McDonalds – This is becoming a better option by the day. As McDonalds seeks to maintain increasing profits in a tighter financial environment they are offering more high calorie and saturated fat filled foods for less money. At this rate you may even have some money left by the time of your premature death. You could leave it to your kids if you were still physically capable of breeding before your demise.
More bulk for your buck. Don’t let clear arteries extend your life beyond reason.
Smuggle drugs into countries with the death penalty – This option has an upside regardless of whether you get caught or not. By strapping some Columbian Marching Powder to your body and heading through an Indonesian or Thai customs inspection point you have guaranteed one of two options. Get caught and have someone relieve you of the burden of the rest of your life, FOR FREE! Or don’t get caught and although your life expectance remains undiminished you now have $100 000 worth of gear and you’re already in a place that has cheap food and beer and thousands of Australians on holiday.
Get caught or don’t get caught, smuggling drugs is a win-win strategy.
Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard has labelled the next 100 years ‘The Asian Century’. Rehashing other people’s ideas is nothing new though this time it must be important because there is a ‘white paper’. It has been clinically proven that describing any issue or subject on white paper makes it at least 35% more important than the same description printed on any coloured piece of paper. I’m sure we all remember John Howard’s infamous ‘black paper’ promising to hand power over to Peter Costello. Peter wasn’t savvy enough to ask for an extra copy printed on lighter coloured paper and in the end no-one could see the black print on the black paper and Howard never honoured what Costello claimed was written on the black paper. But I digress, what we have now is a white paper and a claim from Pauline Hanson that if it’s about Asia it should have been printed on yellow paper.
As with all major policy announcements the devil is very much in the detail of the ALP’s new plan for ‘the Asian century’. What hasn’t been widely publicised in Australia (or Asia) is exactly how the century will divided up amongst Asian nations. The federal government has devised a formula to allocate a certain number of years to each Asian country based on a variety of criteria. Although not publicly acknowledged by the government, Satiristofoz has heard from a senior government minister (who chose to remain anonymous) that those criteria include; the nation’s population relative to the total population of Asia, current democratic process of the nation, average shoe size and the amount of people in the country that play cricket. The minister described the process as ‘more complex than the Duckworth/Lewis system,’ accordingly Satiristofoz has assigned sports reporter Stephen Stevens to interpret the process and see just how of the 100 years available will be allocated to each Asian nation.
India 19 years – There is a lot to like about India in this scoring system and not just the fact that they might nuke us if we piss them off. They have a population that is predicted to pass China’s in 2036 and a deep and abiding love for cricket. They could have scored even more but let themselves down on shoe size because many of them can’t afford shoes.
China 18 years – China scored well due to its population and the fact that shoe size has increased dramatically since the custom of binding women’s feet was outlawed. Relative levels of democratic openness and an indifference to cricket really put the brakes on what could have been a match winning score.
Japan 10 years – A strong performer in the previous century Japan’s influence was always expected to wane this century after recent attacks by financial crises and giant jellyfish (Nomura jellyfish, they’re real, check ‘em out). Their attempts to play cricket were undermined mostly by an inability to pronounce the word ‘cricket’ to the judge’s satisfaction.
Indonesia 8 years – Polled well in the early rounds but is suspected of embellishing its shoe size and is under official investigation for this. Was given a special 10% base score loading for allowing Australians to trash Bali on end of season footy trips.
Malaysia 6 years – Malaysia did better than a lot of pundits had earlier predicted. Apparently the Australian judges believed them when they described their judicial and democratic processes. And we’re still a bit sorry about Paul Keating calling Dr Mahathir recalcitrant in 1993.
Thailand and Vietnam 5 years each – Both these nations are known as solid Asian citizens and popular places for Australians to holiday. Thailand could have earned more but when asked to demonstrate cricket showed the judging team a bizarre sport involving ping pong balls and no bat. Vietnam was asked about cricket and presented the judges with some barbecued grasshoppers. The judges actually quite enjoyed them.
Singapore, Philippines, Mongolia, Cambodia 4 years each – These nations attempted initially to submit a combined bid but this was undermined when it was revealed that Mongolia was pretending to be Malaysia. This subterfuge nearly fooled everyone and was only noticed when they signed the wrong name at the end of the process. To save embarrassment Mongolia was allowed to keep the 4 years it had been allocated as part of the joint bid.
Hong Kong 3 years – Was initially considered part of the Chinese application but chose to be judged separately after significant association with Western countries over the previous century had seen a marked increase in average shoe size.
South Korea 3 years – The South Koreans were allocated an arbitrary amount after they failed to appear at their scheduled judging session. Later investigations revealed that the North Koreans had stolen their alarm clocks.
North Korea 2 years – North Korea was initially given an amount based on the assumption that they were South Korea after they had stolen the South Korean uniforms as well as their alarm clocks. They were given compensation of 2 years but immediately swapped it for 4 tonnes of rice. Most analysts considered this the shrewdest move during the entire process.
Papua New Guinea and Burma 1 year each – Papua New Guinea was awarded with a year of the century up for grabs due to the persistence of the delegation leader and his retinue of armed supporters. Burma came late into consideration for recognition after opening up to foreign investment and political reforms.
East Timor 8 months – East Timor was proud just to have been invited to an important meeting. Unfortunately for the East Timorese the contract they though they signed for 8 months was actually a waiver of all rights to the Greater Sunrise oil and gas field off their coast which is valued at $50 billion. A masterstroke by the Australians to be sure.
Bangladesh 4 months – A massive population and moderate cricket skills enabled Bangladesh to snare 4 months of its own in ‘The Asian Century’. They would have been given more but sadly when it rains half the country disappears under water.
2 year time share arrangement – This deal was put forward when the judging panel realised they had 2 years left and had completely forgotten about some countries but as luck would have it they had incorrectly counted the century as only 98 years. As penance for the deal the countries delegations had to sit through a 90 minute presentation. They’re still in the presentation room right now. The countries to share the time are Bhutan, Nepal, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Laos and Brunei.
Editor’s note – The geographical areas to be considered as Asia were determined by an Australian panel of experts and as such Asia was defined as the East and South-East Asian countries that Australians either holiday in or have heard of. In line with this policy North Asia was forgotten and anything with a ‘stan’ at the end of its name was immediately discounted. It completely never occurred to the panel that Arabs may live in Asia and their countries were accordingly dismissed with prejudice.
Drastic times call for drastic measures and never has the adage been truer. In a bid to retain the government’s forecast budget surplus Wayne Swan has enlisted the help of The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and The Sandman. The logistics of the situation would have proven too complex for most mere mortals but for someone with Swan’s track record of flexibility the Machiavellian scheme should hardly come as a surprise. Over the previous four years Swan has been an ardent Rudd supporter as well as a Gillard backer he has managed Craig Thomson as well as the legitimate crossbenches and has even been known to play friendly with Peter Slipper when required.
In his spare time Mr Swan moonlights as the federal treasurer which brings us full circle to the latest, and perhaps grandest, plan. Unfortunately Swan and the ALP have said there will be a surplus for 2102/2013 and it seems that if the surplus is not delivered then the entire party will have to gather round the punchbowl and drink the special Kool-Aid then wait for the intergalactic transporter to arrive and take them away from Tony Abbott. But enough about my weekend plans; let’s get back to exploring the treasurer’s woes.
The forecast surplus has been based on increased taxes from mining revenues in the form of the Super Profits Tax. Commodities prices have since crashed slashing the forecast tax take from $4 billion to 35 cents for the current financial year. That is further based on the assumption that the mining companies will actually pay simply because they’re legally obliged to do so. They haven’t and this has reduced the predicted 35 cents to zero, though this has been offset by a personal donation of 10 cents from Bill Shorten after he was given too much change at the parliament cafeteria but declined to tell the cashier.
So now we come to the latest plan for Australia’s budget surplus and its cast of fantastic characters. In a stroke of genius the treasurer realised that children all over the country are having birthdays all the time and frequently receive cash presents from family and friends which are then stored in non-bank depositories commonly referred to as ‘piggy-banks’. Under Australian Law it’s illegal to gain access to residences in Australia without prior permission from the owners or occupants of said dwelling. In a revelation bordering on an epiphany Mr Swan has realised that there are some creatures who are not subject to these laws, namely; the Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.
In building this coalition (which makes the current minority government arrangement looks simple and workable) Mr Swan has persuaded these special characters to work with him in the interest of the nation by raiding children’s piggy-banks under the pretence of delivering cash, chocolate or various presents. The three ‘Special Budgetary Emissaries’ have been scheduled to arrive at people’s houses at different times of year to ensure that children are not given time to spend their money on frivolities before it can be procured for the nation’s good. Adding some icing to this cake of budgetary goodness Mr Swan has further recruited the help of The Sandman to run interference. Knowing that Australian children are a greedy lot and usually expect to have more money, chocolate or presents when they wake up than they had when they went to sleep, Mr Swan has developed a contingency to deal with this. In the event that children get suspicious and try to stay awake to thwart the efforts of Mr Swan and his emissaries The Sandman will be deployed first to ensure the children’s compliance and sleepiness.
Good night and sleep tight Australia.
The International Union of Cyclists (IUC) has begun the painstaking process of eliminating all doped up riders from Tour de France races from 1998 – 2006 in an attempt to determine the highest placed clean rider. The move comes in response to revelations about systematic doping within the world of professional cycling for many years. As part of a move to clean up the sport the IUC has decided to determine the highest placed clean riders over the specified time period and retrospectively award first, second and third places.
In a startling move the IUC has taken the unprecedented step of publishing the details of the people they think may have won the Tour for each of the affected years and has invited applications from the general public to assist them. People who happened to be on a bike anywhere in France during the period 1998 to 2006 are invited to submit their riding itinerary to the IUC to see if they may have inadvertently won the Tour de France.
In a press conference yesterday the head of the IUC, Anna Bolic, described the situation as highly unusual, ‘We are taking these highly unusual steps because this is a highly unusual situation. Once we started eliminating riders on the grounds that they were doped up to the eyeballs we suddenly ran out of registered riders and had to cast our net wider and wider to determine who may have won the Tour.’
The potential winners so far identified are;
1998 – Raymond Ortega, from Venezuela, who was on a bike holiday in the Bordeaux region seven weeks before the 1998 Tour.
1999 – Sandra O’Toole. Sandra cycled to a bakery to buy a baguette, 300 metres of the route she cycled coincided with the route that year for the Tour.
2000 – Francois Mitterrand, the former French president cycled along the Champs Elysees as a publicity stunt.
2001 – Jean-Pierre Gaston. This small time petty criminal from Paris stole a bicycle from one of the one of the official Tour team’s support vans and rode it 800 metres before he was apprehended. Second place for 2001 is being awarded to the police officer who caught him and subsequently rode the bike some of the way back to the support van.
2002 – Martin Cliff who rode his exercise bike for 42 minutes while watching the Tour on television.
2003 – Wendy Hurtfield. Wendy attended the Tour as a spectator and doesn’t actually own a bike of her own. She has been awarded the prize after wheeling an official tour rider’s bike a distance of 13 metres after the rider had crashed.
2004 – Didi Senft. Didi is the guy in the devil costume who watches the tour every year. Though he wasn’t actually on a bike at any stage everyone agreed he deserves a prize. Even if he is German.
2005 – Gertrude Bolic. Gertrude is the sister of IUC president Anna Bolic. Anna is hoping no-one notices.
2006 – Dmitri Vadislov. Dmitri was on a school trip with classmates from St Petersburg Technical College when his class all hired bikes for a ride along the banks of the Seine River. Dmitri was awarded first place for arriving at the ice cream shop before any of his classmates.
A peppercorn deal in legal terms refers to the legally binding nature of a contract. By law a contract must offer something of value to both parties involved otherwise the contract is not enforceable by law. A peppercorn deal is a contract where something of a nominal value (e.g. a peppercorn) is offered as payment by one party to make the contract legal. While some of the fancier pink and green peppercorns may well be worth more than rent paid by seven Melbourne rowing clubs for land on the banks of the Yarra the rent paid is still alarmingly small for land whose value may exceed $30 million. The land is on the opposite side of the Yarra from Federation Square and the lease is offered by Melbourne City Council.
The Council has extended the leases for the rowing clubs for another 21 years at the price of $21. Some of the tenants of these rowing clubs are Melbourne Grammar, Bank of Melbourne and Mercantile Bank. A Melbourne City Council spokesperson has defended the decision by saying, ‘These facilities provide a fairly unessential service for a tiny proportion of the community that is already wealthy and privileged. They need our support in the form of cheap rent for these facilities. And may I add you forgot to mention in your article that the deal is $21 for 21 years plus GST.’ The official declined to be named or photographed and our reporter was specifically told not to follow him and that ‘…you couldn’t follow me even if you wanted to because I don’t exist.’
The current deal reflects the rents paid by the institutions using the boathouses since the leases were first arranged more than a hundred years ago when peppercorns were still pretty cheap to be honest. A representative of the boatshed owners, Sir Arthur Sniffinbottom, has called for balance in the public debate saying that the institutions granted the leases have been misrepresented by independent media, claiming, ‘We’ve been misrepresented by you.’ When asked about the justification of calling the leases peppercorn deals he said, ‘That’s not a fair representation, some of those pink and green peppercorns are damn pricey, maybe they could cost more than one dollar, been a long time since I shopped for myself to be honest. However this lease arrangement represents a payment level of at least 5 or 6 black peppercorns per year. Everyone knows blacks are worth much less than whites… I mean pink or green. Peppercorns that is, I’m talking about peppercorns.’
The lease holders are allowed to sub-lease the facilities and hire them out for profit. When asked about the ethics of such a deal Sir Sniffinbottom explained, ‘We lease out the facilities at a profit to ourselves so we can continue to function as institutions. Everyone knows banks and top private schools have had a hard time of it lately and we need every dollar you can give us to keep recording record profits.’
Satiristofoz did contact real people for comments but they were all busy as they couldn’t afford 4 nannies to take care of their 2 children and had to do it themselves.