Monthly Archives: June 2011

It’s MY Labor Party

When ex-PM Kevin planned to have a few friends round this week for some nibblies, drinks, and some polite conversation about todays’ political climate, current PM Julia immediately made him cancel his little party.  Perhaps he should have invited her?

Kev, the man who ousted John ‘No Work Choices’ Howard, got booted from the top job by his own party, (leaving them ‘rudd’erless), and now struggles on just out of the limelight under Julia’s ‘No Life Choices’ regime.

Not only can he get sacked for things he says or does at work, but he also has to be careful about who he associates with after work.  It’s a low blow for the bloke who used to run the party, not being allowed to party with his own party.

We look to our political chiefs for guidance and leadership, so it’s a bit worrying to see that even those in the top ranks of the political food chain have to wear a choke chain, muzzle and zap collar, 24/7.

I reckon Kevvy and Jules should start going out for after-work drinks on Friday nights.  They could blow off a bit of steam, exchange a few brutal truths with each other in the car park afterwards, then patch up their differences over a kebab on the way home in the taxi.

But it won’t happen, because Julia’s bosses have stopped her from socialising too; which was why she wasn’t allowed to play tea parties with the Dalai Lama.

Kev’s cocktail entitlements could easily be restored by a good union delo, but most of them got scratched off his BBQ invites list this time last year.  And Julia’s not letting the union boys whoop it up either, because she knows exactly what can happen when they get together for a few drinks.

Kev, like all of us, is free to say and do what he likes, but he won’t, because he knows that exercising that freedom comes with dire consequences; like losing a job which allows him to spend more paid time in the air than Michael Jordan’s sandshoes.

To keep Julia happy, Kev canned his Assassination Celebration and avoided another sacking.  Mind you, unemployment for Ruddy means having to survive on a measly ex-Prime Ministerial pension, plus the few million dollars his wife scrapes together each week, so why he’s not breaking out the party hats and streamers is completely beyond me?

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Hooked Up

Pointy end goes in fish, not finger...

Whoever said, “A bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work,” has obviously never been fishing with me.

I’ve never participated in the Hookup, because years ago I spent two consecutive Queens’ Birthday weekends, huddled shivering over a rain soaked fishing line, while around me hundreds of others did the same thing.  Apparently we were having fun.

The only person enjoying himself was some henpecked husband who had arrived at the boat ramp drunk, and stayed that way until we propped him up against his letterbox two days later.

We were fishing near the Jumpinpin Bar in Brisbane, and it was so crowded, that at midnight when a boat left the ‘Whiting Run’, three boats actually rammed into each other trying to claim the spot, starting a fight which momentarily took our minds off our numb fingers.

Before dawn, our captain shipped us back to camp where The Henpecked Drunk carried on like a dog off its’ leash.  He got stuck into my rum and made a total nuisance of himself.  As I lay shivering in my wet sleeping bag, listening to him rampage round the camp, I vowed ‘Never Again!’  A year later, the horror a distant memory, I did return; and it was actually worse.

Bigger crowds, heavier rain and freezing gales met us at the boat ramp, as did The Henpecked Drunk, who we’d deliberately not invited.  He’d cadged a lift with a mate in order to hook up with our mob again; in spite of our threats to keelhaul him.

To sit, soaked to the skin in a freezing boat not catching fish is a truly miserable experience.  But to return to camp to find that The Henpecked Drunk has once again gargled all your booze, stomped down your tent, and is now lying naked next to the fire, wearing your only dry beanie over his privates, is enough to make the most tolerant man want to bring back the lash.

So, while I heartily sympathise with last weekends’ Hookup competitors, I’d like to congratulate all of you for being very sensible with the booze during the comp, because nothing can ruin a fishing weekend faster than some idiot on the turps. 

And I genuinely hope the weather is better for you next year, either way it won’t worry me, because with a bit of luck I’ll be at work; having fun.

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Fun With Math

There is currently a push on to get more children interested in mathematics.  Personally, I reckon it would be easier to get them to drink liver flavoured milkshakes, but I wish them luck anyway.

You see, my generation was caught between two math systems, Metric and Imperial, and as a result, I’m hopeless at both.  Eventually I morphed into someone who measures height in feet, distance in metres, and body parts in inches, eg: I’m six feet tall, my finger joints are an inch long, and each foot is nearly one foot.  I don’t know the lengths of any other bits…

Every now and then I’ll have another crack at my arithmetical nemesis, but as soon as I open one of my daughters’ math books and see the words, “Train A is approaching the station at an unknown speed, while Train B…”  I feel my skin crawl as the old terror comes creeping back.

Suddenly, I’m back in school gazing at test questions that made as much sense to me as a cars’ wiring diagram.  Are the trains’ diesel, electric or steam?  What colour is train B?  How fast was the station moving again?  And should we be worrying about a hypothetical train smash when President Reagan was about to nuke the Russians and plunge us into WW3?

I recall late nights hunched over exercise books filled with crossed out equations, rubber shavings, and dried tear stains.  Eventually I’ll close the math book and pick up a novel, preferring the fun of fantasy to a book full of frustrating formulas.  My mathematical illiteracy remains a dark cloud in an otherwise sunny existence.

Words and wordplay thrill me; I can ‘see’ words, or what they represent, eg: mountain, green, numbskull, etc.  But for the life of me, I just can’t put a picture to the number 647, or any of its’ numerous associates.  Fractions continue to remain a complete mystery to me, and Roman numerals have only come in handy for working out what year movies were made.

So while I heartily cheer the efforts of those passionate mathematicians who are hoping to improve our children’s calculating confidence, I think I’ll stick to wrangling with words.  The only time I’m ever going to get slightly enthusiastic about numbers is when I see my Lotto numbers come up; and then I’ll pay one of those whiz kids to do my sums for me.

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Washday Blues

Our old washing machine died. It was a lingering death, possibly not helped by my tinkering, so we replaced it with an energy efficient front loader to satisfy our high environmental standards, eg: like using two energy saving light bulbs in a house filled with large screen plasma TV’s.

I got my first surprise when the machine arrived. Apparently there is a huge lump of concrete in the base of each front loader, information that would have been quite handy to know before I jauntily called out, “Toss it down to me, I’ve got it!”

After carefully checking myself for hernia and collapsed discs, I dragged it inside, connected the pipes, loaded it with clothes, and turned it on. A sparrow’s spit of water dribbled into the machine, the tumbler turned twice, then stopped. Now, I don’t know about you, but I like my white goods to work a little harder than this.

Eventually things sped up, and it occurred to me that I might not have checked all the pockets thoroughly enough when my old tape-measure appeared in the washers’ little window. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the door open. Even turning the machine off and on at the wall didn’t work. I was toying with fetching my crowbar when I remembered Big Mates’ sage advice: “When all else fails, read the instructions.”

That was an education. Apparently the door can only be opened when the machine has finished its’ full cycle, and not a second sooner. By this stage the washer was really churning, and every now and then, my tape-measure would swim into view before being sucked back into the suds again. When the machine finally stopped, I wrenched the door open and was relieved to find that no damage had been done, and that my tape measure was sparkly clean.

I shovelled in another load, selected a cycle, and as the door shut tighter than a Fort Knox vault, I stepped on a sock that I would now have to hand wash. At which point Long Suffering Wife appeared with a basket of dirty clothes, looked at the settings and cried, “Tell me you haven’t selected Deep Wash?!”

I had.

“It’ll take two hours to get through that cycle!” Slinking off to fetch my crowbar, I vowed that our next washing machine was going to be a bit less Environmentally Friendly, and a lot more User Friendly.

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