Monthly Archives: June 2012

Don’t Bet on Tax Returns

Black Caviars’ owners must be beside themselves with worry.  Because while their little pony has an almost freakish ability to win races, she has absolutely failed to come to grips with the concept of Income Tax Write-offs.

So with the end of the financial year rapidly approaching, they whipped the mighty mare halfway around the world hoping that she would lose the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.  That way they could offset the expenses of her loss from her winnings, and get a nice refund, instead of copping a tax bill that would even make Gina Rinehart soil her silks.

Sadly no one explained this to Black Cav, who decided to win the race; even though her jockey was standing up in the saddle and hauling on the reins so hard that her chin was slapping into her knees.  Now they’ve got another wheelbarrow load of prize money to deal with.  The poor sods.

I daresay they’ll hire some imaginative accountants to sort out the mess, like the ones who worked for another famous Aussie punter, Kerry Packer.  When the ATO quizzed Kezza about some discrepancies in his tax returns he responded with a devastating uppercut, “… if anybody in this country doesn’t minimise their tax, they want their heads read, because as a government, I can tell you you’re not spending it that well that we should be donating extra!”

Which is probably why most Australians view Income Tax Returns as a legitimate form of gambling, like horseracing, but using accountants instead of bookies to improve the odds of beating the Taxman.

Except using an accountant with a flair for creative writing is like backing another horse to beat Black Caviar.  You may get off to a great start, but sooner or later you’re going to get reeled in.  At which point you’ll learn that the First Rule of accounting is: If someone has to go to jail, make sure it’s the client.  The Second Rule is: Make sure the client pays first.

So if you must gamble, then I’d suggest forgetting about fiddling your tax return, or punting on the ponies, why not try dabbling in Investment Banking?  You get to gamble with other people’s money, and if you lose, the Government bails you out.  It’s the ultimate one horse race, and it’s tax free!

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State of Origin in Enemy Territory

Last week I was in NSW for the second State of Origin match, and being a loyal supporter, I put on my old Origin jersey and walked into a crowded pub where I stood out as a proud Queenslander, and prize winning idiot.

Certain people will tell you that NSW supporters are nowhere near as passionate about State of Origin as us Queenslanders.  Well, those people are idiots, because I’ve seen firsthand just how fiery those drunken Smurfs can get.  They’re every bit as fanatical, one eyed, and opinionated as Billy Slaters’ mother.

Fortunately I wasn’t alone.  My mate appeared in his Maroon shirt, and after plonking ourselves down in front of the big screen we were soon joined by several other Queensland refugees who clung to our little table like shipwrecked swimmers hanging off a life raft in shark infested waters.

Of course, we didn’t rub it in the NSW fans faces about how many series wins we’d chalked up; too much.  Plus we had the good grace not to spit on the floor when the Blues ran onto the field, and none of us threw a stubby at the tele when Paul Gallens’ blockhead appeared on the screen.  For we Queenslanders are a noble and mild-mannered sort of folk; particularly when we’re stuck a thousand kilometres behind enemy lines.

We even hid our amazement when the ref went to award Qld a try without consulting the video ref first!  But then he must have glanced over at the sideline and seen Ricky Stewart holding up photos of his wife with a gun pressed to her head, before quickly changing his mind and doing the ‘Big Screen’ wave, again.  Apparently not one Blues supporter in that pub could see this outrageous and blatant case of cheating?!  Whingers they called us!  Whingers?!

So while I was devastated that our team didn’t win, I was grateful to get out of that pub with all of the teeth in my head after the game.  And like the Queensland Team, I’m back on home turf looking to teach the Blues a lesson.  Which is why I’ll be carefully explaining to any lunatic wearing a NSW jersey at my pub during game three how we Queenslanders spell whingers; it’s W.I.N.N.E.R.S.

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Here, in Gladstone!

Like a lot of people living in Gladstone, I’m from somewhere else. In fact, I was from somewhere else, stayed a while, went someplace else, and then came back. I don’t know why, none of us do, it’s that kind of town.

And for the many new arrivals to our part of the world, I’d like to explain what life is like for your average Gladstone resident.

Here in Gladstone, it wasn’t so long ago that you needed to have at least three generations behind you just to qualify as an outsider, but thanks to the high number of folk arriving in recent times, it only takes a mere seven years to become a fully-fledged local now.

Here in Gladstone, drinking is not considered a past-time, it’s a way of life.

Here in Gladstone, even our few cultured citizens know the unofficial chorus of The Angels song “Am I Ever Going to See Your Face Again?” Mum, if you don’t know what it is, don’t ask… seriously!

Here in Gladstone, if the top of Mt. Larcom is covered in cloud it’s a sure sign that it will rain soon. It’s also a sure sign that someone will trot out the tired old Gladstone joke: “The Sleeping Giant is smoking in bed again!”

Here in Gladstone, if you’re popping into the shops for a few minutes then it’s ok to go barefooted, because our shop floors are very clean.

Here in Gladstone, we like nicknaming things and making it official, eg: Tannum Sands originated from, “We took the kids to the beach to tan ‘em.” It will only be a matter of time before workers on Facing Island officially rebrand the place ‘Alcatraz’.

Here in Gladstone, schoolkids play an extreme game of Duck. Duck. Goose! Lining up on Philip Street near the Kin Kora roundabout, they yell, “Truck. Truck. Ute!” then dive between the speeding vehicles. Losers get quite a lot of time off school.

Here in Gladstone you’ll never have to own a tuxedo, thermal undies or earmuffs.

There’s lots of other stuff I could mention, but if you hang round long enough you’ll soon pick it up. And should you decide to pack up and leave us, well, ‘Ciao for Now’, but we’ll be here to poke fun at you when you come back!

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Something Fishy

“I love the smell of 2-stroke in the morning.”

To be a good fisherman you need patience, good local knowledge, and some luck.  I possess none of those qualities, so it’s a bit of a mystery why I enjoy fishing so much; or used to.

Last year, when the stories emerged about lesions appearing on our local Barramundi, rumours spread faster and further than a jellyfish going through a propeller, and being a cautious sort of bloke, I decided to rest ‘Collapso’ my faithful tinnie, until the foam settled.  I lasted two weeks.

Dad and I hit our favourite fishing spot and, apart from the sound of low flying aircraft, several passing coal trains, the rumble of distant trucks, and continuous hum from the overhead power lines, it was fairly peaceful.  You could just feel the serenity.

For once I caught the first fish; a good sized rock cod, and while it looked quite normal and healthy, a niggling doubt started needling me.  Finally, as casually as I could, I said, “You know Dad, I don’t really feel like fish tonight, so I’ll let you take it home.”

He shook his head, “You caught it, you eat it.”  At that point things degenerated fairly quickly until we were tossing a now very distressed rock cod between each other like it was a live hand grenade.

In the end I flung it overboard and yelled, “Well what’s the flamin’ point of fishing if we’re not going to eat the fish?!”  We haven’t wet a line since.  Much later I took Collapso for a run to blow the dust and cobwebs off her, and discovered what happens when old fuel gums up your carburettor.  Fortunately, the owner of Gladstone’s smallest, and slowest, dinghy towed me back to the ramp; eventually.

Now for some strange reason, my family are extremely reluctant to board a boat that has been overhauled by me, and the wait for a real outboard mechanic has entered week fourteen, which is why we won’t be at the Hook Up this weekend.

So while the fish population of Gladstone cops its’ annual hammering, I’ll probably be towing my boat down to Bundaberg where it has a slightly better chance of being serviced before next years’ Hook Up arrives.  And I sincerely hope that this is the last time Collapso, and our local Barramundi, end up dead in the water.

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Wild Women

Last Friday in Meredith’s column, I read about women taking out their frustrations on other women, and unfortunately, not in an entertaining way involving jelly, roller skates, or fluffy pillows that burst open when they contact flimsy lingerie.

It appears incidents of female bullying are on the rise, and are increasingly escalating into public screaming matches, or acts of violence.  And some girls don’t think twice about giving us blokes a gob full either; particularly on the road.  Who do they think they are?  Men?!

But it’s at work, where we have to maintain a veneer of civility, that things can get really intense.  My initiation to Girly Guerrilla Warfare occurred years ago, when after a fairly mundane meeting a female co-worker took me aside and hissed, “Did you hear what that spiteful cow said to me?!”

Replaying the meeting in my head, and deleting all the bits where I’d been thinking about fishing and golf, I couldn’t detect anything offensive in the few minutes I’d actually been paying attention.

Noting my look of confusion she snapped, “When she said I’m more than capable of taking on the big boys?!  She practically called me a whore!”  I was shocked.  She had just been given an award by our female boss, and I thought the statement was referring to her readiness for promotion.  When I suggested she was reading too much into it, I thought she was going to hit me!

From then on, I watched carefully whenever the pair of them were together, tuning in for icy looks, snide remarks, or smiling comments that sounded innocent, but in reality weren’t.  Well, to be honest, most of it had to be pointed out to me by another female co-worker who could see I was struggling to keep up.  I was working in the middle of a war zone; apparently.

Ladies, I don’t know why you do it to each other, in fact, I don’t even know when you do it to each other, but carrying on like Paul Gallen after a Queensland try isn’t the way forward either.  What you need is a more humane way of handling the frustrations caused by your fellow females.

May I suggest an activity involving fluffy pillows?

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