Monthly Archives: March 2012

Driving in Gladstone – let’s all just calm down a bit!

There’s been a huge increase in vehicle numbers on our roads lately, and each morning and evening our roads are packed fuller than a glutton’s colon.  Tourists entering Gladstone at these times must gaze at the lines of traffic stretching back to the horizon and wonder if some sort of state of emergency has been called in our fair city.

People used to complain about the lack of parking spaces around town, and now, thanks to Government inaction, our entire city has become a car park.  But when the traffic does get going, it really gets going!  Careless pedallers, pedestrians and pets are converted into speed bumps as our streets become a speedway circuit filled with wild-eyed, texting, inconsiderate and abusive motorists.

So, I’d like to offer the following tips to bring a little sanity back to our roads:

  1. Being late for work is much better than having the word ‘Late’ placed next to your name in the paper.
  2. Aggressive tailgaters, I don’t care how close you sit behind me flashing your lights and beeping your horn, if I’m already doing 100 kph, then I’m not going to go any faster.  Besides, I’m pretty sure the speed limit along Philip Street is only 60 kph?
  3. It’s considered polite to hold up a few more fingers when waving out of your window.
  4. Roundabouts are not race-abouts.
  5. Before punching your right thong into floormat, think about this; there are far more beds in our hospitals’ emergency ward than there are doctors.


6. For the love of God, please stop pulling out in front of a fully laden cement trucks and B-doubles!  As the old African proverb says, “The elephant ALWAYS has right of way in the jungle.”

Look, our traffic situation is not going to improve any time soon, but I’ve been using all the hours I’ve spent waiting for the lollipop folk to spin their signs, to think of a brilliant solution to Gladstone’s traffic problems.  Further details will be revealed in a later column.

Now, on a totally unrelated topic, does anyone have detailed plans for a personal hovercraft?

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Come in Spinner! Qld Votes 2012

Today Queenslanders decide which politicians will be booting us up the backside for the next four years, and their advertising executives have been working a lot of overtime lately conjuring up more negativity and spin than a category five cyclone.

Now, there are roughly four groups of voters, but only one is the focus of all these cynical commercials.  It’s certainly not Group One, The Idealists, who carefully study the policies of each party, then vote for the candidate they think will best represent their electorate.  At last count, there were about seventeen of these people left in the state, so this faction doesn’t even register on the ad agencies’ radars.

Nor is it Group Two: The Clapping Seals.  All political parties have these hardcore followers who will only ever vote for ‘Their’ party.  Advertisers also ignore this group, because even if the party put up a toilet brush as a candidate, The Clapping Seals would still vote for it.

Group Three voters are the Fringe Dwellers; the conspiracy theorists, crystal worshippers, and other minority groups like the Guns and Dope Party, which no sane politician wants to appeal to.  Ad agencies like to use this lot to frighten swinging voters back to the Big Parties.

Swingers make up Group Four, the folk who usually flip a coin in the voting booth to decide who they’ll vote for.  This is the mob ad companies want!  To reach them, politicians need to find increasingly outrageous things to say about their opponents, and you may not believe this, but sometimes they have to make stuff up!

They’re desperate to keep Swingers licking their chops for more juicy political gossip, otherwise these fickle voters will quickly return to following the superficial antics of the New Royals; the Kardashians.

Sometime tonight we’ll know which ad company came up with the best campaign.  And in spite of all the negativity, I still have faith in my fellow Queenslanders.  Well, not the voting public, but the ordinary people doing extraordinary things every day to make our State a better place to live in; regardless of who is in power.

But to be honest, I’m actually going to miss the political commercials, because they’ve been the best laxatives I’ve had shoved down my throat for some time.

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Monk Magic

Buddhist Monk walking along the Bruce Highway. Photo from Gladstone Observer.

Each day a shabbily dressed bloke, carrying a few possessions in a small shoulder bag, is walking our footpaths, and passing motorists gawp at him in amusement, pity or disgust.  Is it too much to ask to be left alone when I’m walking to the shops to buy the paper?

Meanwhile, some blow-in monk is walking the same streets and people are cheerfully giving him money and food!  What he really needs are some reflective strips on his dark robes.

Apparently this barefooted Buddhist has forsaken riches, meat, alcohol and work, and survives on whatever handouts he receives from passing strangers.  And when I merely hinted that he may be a professional moocher who contributes little to society, people yelled at me!

He’s certainly one popular monk.

His PR mob must be working overtime, because according to the last Census, Buddhism has seen a seventy percent jump in membership around Oz.  Meanwhile the Jedi Knight movement is still waiting to be recognised in the official statistics; which is an outrageous case of brazen religious persecution!

As a lad, I was exposed weekly to a faith that contained numerous stories of amazing miracles, treks through the wilderness, talking animals, giants, persecution, vengeance, mateship, sacrifice and adventure, and it even had its’ own TV show:  Monkey Magic!

This whacky Japanese programme transfixed Australia’s youth for many years, but we weren’t interested in its’ Buddhist message of seeking enlightenment to overcome the suffering of existence; we just wanted to be Monkey Warriors.

(Edited) Chattering gibberish as we swung our painted broomsticks about with the accuracy of a drunken machine gunner, there wasn’t a light bulb, ceiling fan, lampshade, or glass ornament, safe in the entire house.

Later, I was disillusioned to learn that the story of Monkey is based on Buddhism in much the same way politics is based on integrity, i.e.: very, very loosely.

But I still retain some of its lessons, like living a life of poverty, which was sort of thrust upon me by various banking institutions.

Ending edited… (but I’ll re-use it later)  🙂

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Gladstone Observer Column: Blood Worth Bottling

After seeing several blood donation ads my conscience got the better of me, so I fronted up at the hospital, rolled up my sleeve and cried, “Do it!  Do it NOW!”

But the nice lady informed me that I will have to wait for a little bit first.  Now call me crazy, but when I finally build up the courage to allow someone to puncture my veins with a sharpened metallic object, I don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about it.

Just like the first time I gave blood years ago.  I was working in a hospital maintenance workshop when a pretty little nurse appeared in our doorway like a perfumed angel.  “Would any of you big strong men like to help me?” she asked, and was nearly trampled in the resulting stampede.

When the dust settled, she turned around, smiled over her shoulder and purred, “Follow me boys.”  As she led the way up to the hospital we trailed behind her like a herd of drooling poddy calves.  For some reason, I was reminded of her recently while watching Pippa walk down the aisle at the last Royal wedding…

Now we didn’t know, or care, where we were headed, but were a little surprised when we found ourselves in the hospital blood bank where several heavily built orderlies gripped our shoulders and ‘assisted’ us to some nearby chairs.  The pretty nurse disappeared, and a much older nurse, possibly female, with a moustache and chronic bad breath, proceeded to remove gallons of blood from our arms.

When I finally lurched from the room, sporting a little ‘Bloody Hero’ sticker on my chest, I saw the pretty nurse return with the next batch of goggled eyed victims; a gang of laundry workers she had found smoking in the car park.  The suckers!

But the funny thing was, now that the ice had been broken, I kept going back, and even became good friends with the old nurse, who I fondly nicknamed Sister Stabby.  Then one day I stopped going, and it became one of those things I meant to do again real soon, but just kept putting off; like sit-ups.

Until now; and fortunately the only thing that has been pricked so far has been my conscience.

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Introducing KGirl

This post is The Littlest Princesses first attempt at blogging.  Enjoy!


Meet my new bear, KBear, he will join McKenzie and Puppybunny.

This is his photo:

Puppybunny, KBear & McKenzie


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Cubbyhouse 101 – Political Leadership Course

The political campaigning is heating up, and my TV has given us more spin cycles lately than our overworked washing machine.  So during the evening news hour, I’ve taken to strolling through the bush, and that was how I recently made a momentous discovery:  I found a cubby house!

In a secret spot known only to me, and obviously a handful of industrious kids, was a genuine cubby house, built from scraps of timber, tarps and buckled roofing iron, all held together with an interesting variety of nails, screws, rope, duct tape, and hope.

They’d even left some of their tools behind, (a fine cubby house tradition), so somewhere nearby a father was probably tearing his shed apart looking for those rapidly rusting tools, while his children mumbled with angelic innocence, ‘We didn’t take them Dad.’

Then it occurred to me that what I had stumbled across was not just the construction of some ramshackle cubby house, but the training ground of our future leaders.  Those kids have had the idea, then the drive, to gather the materials, source the tools, organise a team of helpers, and kept them motivated during the planning, construction and remodelling stages.

They’ve learned to work as a team to overcome obstacles and fix mistakes.  And in spite of one spectacular disaster, caused by some middle-aged fiddler who thought he was helping, they had the patience to rebuild the whole thing…  um, sorry kids.

They are slowly learning good leadership skills; to have the courage to act on a vision, then persist until the job is done.  In fact, I reckon it’s a great way to sort the Real Leaders from the Mere Managers, which is why from now on, I’m only going to vote for politicians who can build a cubby house from scratch.

So, any political hopefuls wanting my vote can arrange to meet me in the bush at the back of my place, and I’ll take you to where some thoughtless folk have dumped some potentially handy scrap materials, then leave you to build a working cubby house; on time, and with no budget.  I may even lend you some of my cheaper tools, but only if you promise to return them.

And each night when the news comes on, I’ll pop out and check your progress, which will give all of us something constructive to do until the elections are over.

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