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How else can it be explained that Howard does not want a national apology to Aborigines for policies that stole their children until 25 years ago, when he is still demanding a national apology from Japan for its brutal behaviour towards Australians 50 years ago?

Tony Wright asks this question in the Sydney Morning Herald of May 29, 1997. Wright's answer is that Howard is so driven by polling and his own unshakeable conservative beliefs that he lacks the overriding vision required of a national leader. Of course, he could just be ludicrously stupid.

Do you know 'Dream of Olwen'? Lovely that. That were on in Women's Surgical the night I had my cervix cauterised.

Believe it or not, these words were actually broadcast on television, and in 1985 to boot. Shocking, isn't it? Well, no actually; if you can't throw the word "cervix" into casual conversation now and then, there's not much hope for any of us. This observation comes from a skit from the long-since departed and deeply lamented Victoria Wood As Seen On TV. Repeats would be great, if unlikely.

It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on Earth has ever produced the expression "as pretty as an airport".

With these words, Douglas Adams opens his second Dirk Gently novel, The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul, first published in 1988. I remember walking into a bookstore in England, reading these words in a newly-printed hardback copy, and being amused. From that day to this, I have never bothered to read the rest of the book, or indeed the first in the series. You get that.

On the whole, the disappearance of Hell was a great relief, though it brought new problems.

I'm going through David Lodge mania at the moment. In the past week, I've read The British Museum Is Falling Down, Out Of The Shelter and How Far Can You Go? and re-read Therapy. Over the weekend, I plan to demolish all three of the Rummidge Trilogy, Changing Places, Small World and Nice Work.

Anyhoooow, this quote comes from How Far Can You Go?, a very fun examination of how the Catholic faith influences the life of ten or so students in the 1950s and beyond. Read it. Read them all.

When I watch TV and see all those starving children all over the world, it makes me want to cry. I mean, I'd like to be as thin as that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff.

My thanks to a colleague who reminded me of this infinitely dumb statement by Mariah Carey, a woman I once described as "Mrs Sony Songbird wine glass cracker" (and I was being generous). This remark, made on Britain's Radio 1, is tasteless, insensitive, and just downright pointless. But then, this is the woman who recorded 'One Sweet Day' with Boyz II Men, so she clearly has no shame.

I'm a real bad girl who loves to party.

This barefaced promotional statement is the work of Melissa George, the ex-Home And Away actress who is finding fame a little difficult to manage since she hasn't got anything to promote these days except herself and her fitness video. Doesn't seem to keep her out of TV Week, but to be sure she pranced around in a photo studio in her knickers and sold the results to men's mag FHM. Had she said she was a real bad actress who only got photographed at parties, we might have believed her.

If other people, because of their religious views, want to die in pain, that is their choice.

A neat summary of a tricky point needing no further comment, this comes from the Sydney Morning Herald's letters page of January 10, and is penned by Paul Wright of Mawson. It's interesting how Herald readers generally manage to hit the mark more often than Herald journalists.

Here I am, your mother, waiting poised for your first sexual experience but night after night dry sheets.

No prizes for recognising this one. It comes from the first series of Absolutely Fabulous, and provides a kind of universal calling card for parents everywhere. I bring it up now because any minute now in Australia we'll be getting 'The Last Shout', the final two-parter as screened recently in the UK. Annoyingly, Channel Seven has bought the rights out from under the ABC, so we'll have to endure Pats and Ed with advertisements, God help us. Fortunately the video is already out.

New York City has no power/And the milk is getting sour/But to me it is not scary/'cause I stay away from dairy.

If you don't recognise the song, you need Friends. This quote comes from the first series episode 'The One With The Blackout' (written by Jeffrey Astrof and Mike Sikowitz), which is, unsurprisingly, the one with the blackout. Series II is kicking off on Channel 9 right about now, so you know where you should be come 7:30pm Mondays.

There are a lot worse things in life than playing a nude lesbian.

Indeed there are, and only some of them begin with H (Hanson, Howard . . .) This searing observation on modern life comes from Dana Plato, the former Diff'rent Strokes star, who has taken on this challenging role in a film entitled, surprisingly, Different Strokes. The New Weekly describes it as a "sizzling, low-budget flick", which probably means it's a how-to video on stuffing mushrooms.

Prince has gone too far this time. What kind of sicko would mess with a monkey? This is the final straw.

This hilarious line was attributed to Michael Jackson in the National Enquirer some years ago, in a story which claimed that Prince was using ESP in order to drive Bubbles (Michael's infamous chimp) bananas. According to J. Randy Taraborrelli, author of Michael Jackson: The Magic And The Madness, it isn't true, but don't you wish it was?

And while I agree that washing his hands twenty to thirty times a day would be considered obsessive-compulsive behaviour, bear in mind that your husband is a coroner.

This eminently sensible phrase comes from Frasier, the Cheers spin-off that no-one in Australia watches, apparently. Having recently seen the first episode of Season Four in the States, I can but hope that Channel 9 will pick up from the middle of Season Two (where it cut off earlier this year) when the ratings period ends.

Now that the Prime Minister is an advocate of "freedom of speech" he won't mind if I call him a little, insipid, narrow-minded, racist, uncaring blankety-blank, worse than any other type of leader we have ever had in Australia.

I am indebted to Barbara Fuller-Quinn of Bondi for these words, published as a letter in the Sydney Morning Herald of September 27. They don't really call for much in the way of extra comment, I feel.

The media is a minefield of no-talent, sad-act companies whose address is a portable fax machine

This painfully truthful observation springs whole from the ultra-fertile pen of Ben Elton, in this instance from his inspired play Gasping (although it wasn't quite so inspiring in the Sydney production earlier this year). Elton has a new novel about serial killers, Popcorn, out now, but I haven't bought it yet so this will just have to do, OK?

Tomorrow, we'll curry the poodle

Well, what other line would you expect in a song entitled 'Mommy, I Don't Like My Meat'? The song in question featured in the 1974 Goodies episode 'Superstar', which you're unlikely to recognise even if you are one of the many Australians who've watched six o'clock repeats since time immemorial, as the ABC hasn't shown it since 1976 or thereabouts. If you should happen to run across it -- it could well show up on Foxtel's UK-TV channel -- drop everything and stare.

Incindentally, if you've observed that most Quotes Of The Moment end with a recommendation to watch, buy, or listen to something, congratulations, you're very observant.

Many people think money is something to be set aside for a rainy day. But honestly, how much money do you really need for a dozen or so hours of inclement weather?

At last, a financial policy I can live with - who cares if it's the work of a foam rubber pig? This classic observation comes from Miss Piggy's Guide To Life, a now sadly out of print 1981 volume (ISBN 0 7181 2062 0) in which Piggy advises on matters fiscal and facial. Worth scrounging in second-hand bookshops for (not that you should need an excuse).

My heart beats blood that is not my blood, but the blood of anonymous blood donors.

Ah, the sixties. This is a quote from the 1968 mega-turkey Boom!, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (the line is his), adapted from Tennessee Williams' Broadway disaster The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore. Confession: I haven't actually seen the film (is it any wonder with that dialogue?), but I have read about it in the Medved brothers' magnificent work The Hollywood Hall Of Shame: The Most Expensive Flops In Movie History. It's a shame they don't do that stuff anymore.

And still you didn't notice my new leather catsuit, didja?

The release of a new single has put me in a distinctively Shakespears Sister mood. This line comes from the track 'You Made Me Come To This', available only on the CD version of their first album 'Sacred Heart'. It's a touching little ditty of revenge, idolatry, chunky synthesisers and, frankly, leather catsuits. I recommend it.

Making it big in showbiz is pretty hard, but it's even harder when you're a girl.

This particular piece of retro-sexism comes from The Funky Squad Annual, the companion volume to the funnier-than-everyone-says-it-was series which the Frontline team did last year. It's part of the fake biography for foxy Verity-Svenson Hart, the series' token female cop. The book is actually even funnier than the show, and is being offered at a special $9.95 discount price at ABC Shops right now. So why are you still here reading this page?

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Kaz Cooke wrote Real Gorgeous, a book which everyone should be forced to read at least once. She created Hermoine The Modern Girl, the only 80s cartoon character I'm still reading. And she wrote the above sentence in the June 21 edition of The Sydney Morning Herald. So there.

Shake my boogie rhythm/Strut my funky thing/Ride my shaky boogie/Wait a sec . . . this don't mean a thing!

This quote comes from the little known Jack Michaelson track, 'Dancing (Up The Wall)' (and if you can't work out who's being parodied from that, you probably wouldn't get the joke). It's a featured number on the little-known 1981 album HeeBeeGeeBees 439 Golden Greats, which also includes some great satires on ABBA, the Eagles (yuck) and, naturally, the Bee Gees. The chief parties responsible are Philip Pope, Mike Stevens, Angus Deayton and Richard Curtis, all of whom have gone on to bigger things (Blackadder, Have I Got News For You, Spitting Image and others). Anyone who can find me a CD copy of this (the album # is POW 6022) could potentially be made very happy indeed.

In America it is not considered to be mentally ill when a woman advances on her prey in a disco setting with hardy cocktails present.

It starts out as a fabulous mistranslation and ends up as a patent demonstration of the dangers of wire services. This quote, allegedly an extract from a translation of an interview Madonna gave while in Hungary and later published in USA Today, is in fact a fabrication by an American humourist. We would probably all be blissfully unaware of this (I certainly would be) were it not for Stuart Littlemore and the tireless Media Watch team. Long may they reign.

There's a $5 billion adult market for lettuce, tomato and bacon hamburgers and we're going after it in a big way.

These immortal words come from a press release by McDonald's chairman Michael Quinlan announcing the launch of the Arch Deluxe, McDonald's first foray into the 'adult' burger market. No details of the wrappers of the new burger, which will feature a quarter-pound beef patty on a roll with lettuce, tomato, cheese, sauce and optional bacon, were available. Who knows if Australia will get the burger? I don't think we need it. Every time I go into McDonald's it's full of adults (read: sleazy junks, obese people who can't cook and journalists) anyway.

Bonvolu alsendi la pordiston - lausajne estas rano en mia bideo.

The first quote of the moment came from the well-known British sci-fi comedy television series Red Dwarf, written by the gestalt entity Grant Naylor. It is in fact quoted in Esperanto from page 172 of the Red Dwarf Omnibus (London, Penguin, 1992, ISBN 0-14-017466-4), and translates as <