January 2005

Trust the press?


Or maybe not.

Today, The Age featured an article claiming:

German job centres are offering unemployed women work as prostitutes and are obliged to cut welfare benefits of those who refuse to work in the world's oldest profession under new welfare laws.

Do I believe it? I searched Google News for similar articles. Only one source gave enough detail of the situation that triggered the news: *cough* World Net Daily. *cough*

I read the article in World Net Daily. I remembered that newspaper's name from somewhere. Ah yes. They were the ones who published a penetrating piece on the Harry Potter phenomenon and how the books encourage witchcraft and Satanism. In fact they even went so far as to quote from an article in The Onion as support! Snopes records their error for our entertainment.

Let's get back to the German brothel question. The one example quoted in WND is of a 25 year old woman who was threatened with unemployment benefit cuts when she turned down a job working in a bar in a brothel. Of course, the fundamentalist rag tarts up the story by giving it the sub-heading, "German law forces out-of-work females to take sex jobs or lose unemployment," to inflame the issue. Since when did working as a bartender count as being a sex job?

By the time the story is repeated in The Telegraph - Calcutta, the woman is supposed to have turned down a job providing "sexual services." Strangely enough, The Telegraph doesn't quote a source for its story. The Age does at least include the name of their reporter and his supposed location, Berlin. Did any reporters really do any journalism for their articles today, or did they rely on WND's impeccable journalistic record and recycle the WND report published on the 29th?

Tell me about it when the first German actually loses unemployment benefits for refusing a sex job. Even then I'll treat what I read with skepticism.

Here be groans

Here's a smattering of limericks I've submitted to the OEDILF over the past couple of weeks. They're not all groaners.

Acrid (a prediction for C. J. Strolin's future)

As the Limerick Enlightenment grew
Dostoevsky was versified too.
There was venting of spleen.
Strolin should have foreseen
Rhyme and Pun-ishment's acrid review.


"I got angry last night and we fought
'Cause she told me my frenum's too short.
I tried and I tried,
But I'm always tongue-tied."
"You've got ankyloglossia, sport."

Australian shepherd

As a sheep dog, I'll give 'im 'is due;
This Orstraylian shepherd's me crew.
But inside, when 'e's smellin',
You'll still 'ear me yellin',
"Just get the flock outta 'ere, Blue!"

Access (a fit of intense feeling)

The quack said, "This back-session's aim—"
As his wild, whacking tactics became
An access climactic
Of rage chiropractic,
"—Is either to cure or to maim."


He was rapt in his ice-painting art;
She in starting an arctic ice-mart.
You can guess how it goes,
What with life's ebbs and floes,
How they gradually drifted apart.


I updated my blog software to the latest version. It all looked good in Firefox. Then I tried it in IE6. Bleagh!

I've changed the style sheet to screw both of them now. They're still different, but at least the text is visible in both.

[Edit: I've just tried a pre-made template. It could be a while before I have this looking the way I want it.]

[Edit again: This takes too long. It will have to do for a while. I'm getting sick of it.]

Limericks (not) for a mother's birthday

I wrote some birthday limericks last year--one that would suit a father, one that could easily be used for either a mother or a father, and one for a belated greeting. To this entry, a blog reader posted, "need a limerick for my mother on her birthday." Knowing nothing of the personal circumstances of the reader I threw together a couple of limericks.

For a true-blue Aussie mum:

May yer birthday be bonzer, ol' mum,
Fer today an' fer years yet t' come.
An' I'm reasonably sure
That you'll see plenty more
(Long as dad keeps on hidin' the rum).

For an all-American mom:

I sent you a birthday gift, mom,
But the US mail thought it a bomb.
Now I'm locked up for good;
It would help if you could
Contact get-me-a-lawyer dot com.

The humour of the next one is blacker.