Monthly Archives: April 2013

ANZAC Day Column 2013

“Broad A_flower_field_on_the_sea_Franceshoulders, first to die!” barked the old man, and ignoring my outstretched hand, he went back to watching TV.

You know, I’ve definitely had warmer welcomes.

My mate whispered, “Sorry about that, it’s something he learned as a prisoner of war in the Japanese labour camps.”

I glared at his father, “How do you know I wouldn’t make it?!”  The old bloke sized me up again, “You’re too big!  You need too many calories.  On a handful of rice a day, you wouldn’t survive a month.  None of them did!”

“You do realise the war’s over don’t you?” I asked.

“Not for him it isn’t,” muttered my friend as he bustled me from the room.

He wasn’t alone.

My Uncle survived the horrors of New Guinea during WW2, and returned home with an absolute hatred of anyone, or anything, from Japan.  So he wasn’t exactly delighted when I parked my Mitsubishi in his driveway.  “I got bombed by that mobs’ planes!” he yelled.

“Yes dear,” replied my Aunt, “but you were bombed by American planes too.”  Apparently that was OK.

But a couple of years ago while they were out shopping, my Aunt left him sitting at a bus stop while she popped across the road.  Through the shop window she was horrified to see a young Japanese tourist, who appeared lost, approach her husband.

In spite of leaping over the checkout, running through four lanes of traffic and pushing a couple of nuns over, she didn’t quite make it to the bus stop in time.   To her surprise, my Uncle had carefully shown the young Japanese chap where to go, without once telling him where he could go (if you know what I mean).

Seeing the look of shock on my Aunt’s face he shrugged and said, “Well, look at the poor little beggar, he was just a kid… we all were.”  He’d finally made his peace.

The old bloke couldn’t forget, but he had forgiven.  He had broad shoulders.

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Remembering Cliffy Young

It’s nearly thirty years since Cliffy Young, a potato farmer from Colac, Victoria, strapped on a pair of cheap sandshoes and shuffled his way to glory in the Westfield, Sydney to Melbourne, Marathon.

Run Cliffy!  Run!

Run Cliffy! Run!

Cliffy was 61 years old and obviously a bit of an outsider, but he had a secret weapon; complete ignorance.You see, no one told old Cliffy that he was supposed to sleep at night, so while the other runners snoozed, Cliffy plodded on.  He had trained by herding sheep while wearing gumboots, and he ate a vegetarian diet of spuds, beans, honey, fruit and ice-cream to sustain him during the long ordeal, and to everyone’s utter amazement, the vegetarian veteran was soon leading the race.

As Cliffy disappeared over the horizon, a fellow competitor gasped, “He reckons he’s a tortoise, but I reckon the old b*st*rd is a hare in disguise!”

Cliffy jogged the 875 kilometres in five and a half days, and was genuinely surprised to find crowds lining the streets of Melbourne cheering him on.  It was way past the old fella’s bedtime when he crossed the line at midnight, having smashed 2 days off the record.

He also seemed a little embarrassed at winning the first prize of $10,000.  Afterwards, he split the money up with his support team, and surprisingly, with his fellow competitors, leaving Cliffy with roughly $5.00; which didn’t quite cover his train fare home.

Although he didn’t run for the money (he just wanted to see if he could do it), Cliffy did score a plum sponsorship deal; a lifetime supply of his favourite gumboots!  They gave him ten pair, which easily saw him out.

The little Shuffler from Colac never won another marathon, as his fellow competitors soon learned to run in their sleep.  Eventually he married, divorced, then retired, leaving marathon running to the ‘old fellas’.

Thirty years after his inspirational win he is still fondly remembered here at Bray Manor, especially since I tore down all my Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods posters.

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Get Kim Jong Un to the Hairdresser! NOW!!

kim-jong-un-respect-my-authoritahHopefully today you will be reading this column, and having a bit of a chuckle, instead of crawling through the radioactive rubble that was once your house after lil’ Kim Jong Un has finished chucking his tanty.

Now, I may have about the same understanding of North Korean diplomacy as our dog does of the inner workings of an automatic transmission, but even I can see the real root cause of all Kim’s problems; it’s his haircut.

I don’t know who prunes Kimmy’s mop, but obviously they’re having a bit of a snigger at the Exalted Leaders’ expense, and as a result, the rest of us are facing a nuclear showdown. So instead of whipping the dust covers off the missiles, and kick-starting the engines on the long range bombers, why not send in a crack team of Hollywood shearers and see if they can salvage Kim’s scone?

Even our own PM makes sure her own hair stylist is never too far away, just in case her braids need a touch up, or her ears start showing. Of course, making him live with her is a bit extreme, but it shows just how serious she is about having well-maintained hair.

It was the secret of Bob Hawke’s long standing success. And John Howards’ popularity soared after some brave clipper hacked into the shrubbery sprouting from his ears and nostrils, before tackling his overgrown eyebrows with a weed eater.

Look, unlike most other things in my life, I reckon I’m actually right about this. Who hasn’t felt a bit peeved after a bad haircut? After seeing what my head looks like when a trim goes wrong, the world should be extremely grateful that I don’t have access to a slingshot, let alone a million heavily armed men and a glittering array of nuclear weapons.

So when I see Kim Jong stomping around wearing a stupid hat, straight away I know he’s trying to cover up a bad haircut, and that he’s definitely feeling very snippy indeed.

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It’s Time for My Annual PEE!

Clearly, the signs are all around us; jet trails criss-crossing the sky, dead patches of grass at the Marina parklands, yachts laying idle in Auckland Creek, and a sluggish feeling in the air as the good folk of Gladstone recover from a week of partying. Yes, it’s time to start PEE’ing! Ie: Post-Easter Exercising.

There are several reasons for starting our New Years’ exercise regimes immediately after Easter:

1) It’s cooler. Seriously, in January you can get heat stroke just from falling out of your hammock and crawling to the beer fridge.
2) You can stuff yourself with Dagwood Dogs, chocolate, hot chips, and soft drink at the Harbour Festival and not feel the slightest bit guilty, because you know you’ll soon be PEE’ing it all off.
3) By Easter most of the New Year hopefuls have long since given up, or died of heat stroke, which means fewer people clogging up Gladstone’s footpaths, parks and gyms.

So, starting this week, I’m going to spend quite a lot of time PEE’ing all over Gladstone on my trusty pushbike, Pubtruck.  Should I survive the first month, I’m toying with buying a whizbang, head down, bum up, racing bike. And while it would be nice to ride a bicycle capable of passing little old ladies walking their poodles, it will also mean wearing the uniform of the boy racer; a snug fitting, lycra body suit.

The sight of a slightly porky, middle aged man strutting about in skin tight, brightly coloured lycra apparel is something no one should have to see; except for Long Suffering Wife… because it’s part of her job.

But when I mentioned my plan to her, she PEE’d herself. “Listen!” she cried, rising off the couch like a missile, “We have to live and work in this town, so can you just think of your family for once before doing certain things?!”

Well clearly, if I do don the lycra, I’ll have to PEE off somewhere else; unless I cover them with POO, ie: a Pair Of Overalls.

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April 7, 2013 · 10:32 am

Trying a Little Kindness on Gladstone’s Busy Roads

In recent times I’ve experienced so many NDE’s (Near Death Experiences) on my daily commute along the Toolooa Bends, that I’ve grown fairly used to them. In fact I rarely squeal like a little girl anymore, and my twitch and nervous rash have just about cleared up.

But last weeks NDE was so terrifying that I’m seriously considering swimming the Boyne River to get to and from work these days.

This particular NDE came courtesy of some bozo in a speeding work ute trying to negotiate a tricky corner in the rain, while drinking coffee and texting at the same time. I can only assume that he was using his knees, or some other body part, to steer his vehicle.

Somehow he missed me, and the semi-trailer stapled to my rear bumper, and as he sped on his merry way, I told Jesus all about it; rather loudly.

For the next few kilometres I updated Jesus on several more faults with the world, then in mid rant, I found myself thinking about the real meaning of Easter. Now Easter in Gladstone usually means having fun like (and with), drunken sailors. But it dawned on me that if Christmas is all about Giving, then Easter is all about Forgiving, so I decided to give it a go.

“Mate,” I muttered, “even though you are a complete bun brain, I forgive you. I forgive your parents for feeding you when you were young, and I forgive the dribbling drongo who gave you your licence. I also forgive your stupidity, selfishness, ignorance and total lack of remorse. Yes mate, from the bottom of my now very wet undies, I forgive you.”

Ok, I’ll admit I have a lot to learn as far as forgiveness goes, but funnily enough, from that point on, I actually felt pretty good!

So folks, please stay safe on the roads this Easter, because even though I’m fairly sure Jesus forgives my sorry excuses for apologies after each NDE, I’m just not that keen to meet with Him in person to find out.

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Big News Week

Well, what a week it’s been! It had it all: tears, laughter, silliness, seriousness, comings, goings, disasters and parties. And quite a lot of other stuff happened outside of my lounge room and Facebook community as well… apparently.

First up, the voters of Yeppoon chose to de-amalgamate from the Rocky Council. Hopefully my campaign for Gladstone to separate from Queensland will be just as successful.
Then the nations’ news barons were distracted from Tony Abbot picking at Julia like she was a burr in his Speedo’s, when Stephen Conroy introduced some media reforms. Steve was immediately labelled a dictator by a genuine dictator; Rupert Murdoch.

Meanwhile one of Rupert’s employees was attacked by Justin ‘the Peeved’ Bieber. Unfortunately Bieb’s bodyguards prevented the photographer from punching nine colours of custard out of the little twit.

Now there’s no group on earth who likes a stoush more than the Irish, and this week they were out in droves drinking, singing, dancing, and head-butting their way to and from the bar. I’m sure St. Patrick must be delighted to have his name attached to this annual riot.

And speaking of saints, Pope Frank was introduced to a waiting world this week. Upon hearing the news, Long Suffering Wife made her own announcement, “Hey! The new Pope is the same age as my dad!” After a moments silence I asked, “I wonder if the Pope will potter out to his car, start it, then ask, “Where are we supposed to be going again?””

But even news of the new Pope’s first tweet to the world, “Pray for me”, came in waaaaay behind the biggest tweet of the week to the People of Oz from Ellen Degeneres; she has had to delay her trip Down Under because she is down under the weather.

Well, Ellie would be in good company down here, because quite a lot of hung-over Irish folk, sleep deprived Catholics, and despondent Labor voters know exactly how she feels at the moment.
And they say no one takes an interest in the big news stories anymore….

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