Monthly Archives: July 2013

Bored in Gladstone?!

Recently I was shocked to hear someone whine, “There’s nothing to do in Gladstone!  It’s so boring here!”  I would have said something, but I had far too much going on to waste time listening to somebody moaning.

In the past few months the Bray Family has attended, joined in, and in some cases missed out on, stage spectaculars, the Hookup, hot rod shows, the drags, fetes’, fairs, balls, race days, the Mt. Larcom show, expo’s, plays, bands, art shows, and any events offering free food or drinks.

Honestly, unless you’re bedridden or in solitary confinement, how on earth could you be bored?!  Why, just last weekend you could have risked blisters and sleep deprivation in the Relay for Life, before limping over to the Multicultural Festival for some yummy ethnic treats.

If public occasions aren’t your thing there’s always, fishing, crabbing, exploring walking & cycling trails, visiting parks & beaches, museums, camping, art galleries, and numerous clubs clamouring for your attention, eg: bushwalking, canoeing, sporting, war gaming, art & craft, writing, music, speech, drama, genealogy, dancing, stamp collecting, chess, sky diving etc.

To really break up the monotony, why not select any two of the above hobbies and try doing them at the same time?  Be creative!

Or, perhaps you could join one of Gladstone’s many community charity groups?  All of them will gratefully welcome your cheerful and enthusiastic assistance, and I can personally guarantee the last thing you’ll be is bored; exhausted perhaps, but definitely not bored.

If these fail to cure your chronic case of the ‘Blahs’, then un-Velcro yourself from your lounge chair, and pop round to Bray Manor where Long Suffering Wife will happily give you ‘something to do in Gladstone’; a long list of jobs to knock over while we’re out and about enjoying ourselves.

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Stop the Boats! (Come by Plane)

Boat PeopleGladstone is quite used to welcoming economic refugees fleeing joblessness and poverty; why, even those of us from a sub-branch of the von Bray family tree were accepted.

And this papers’ esteemed Editor has temporarily left the Land of the Long White Cloud for a better life here in Happyrock.  Although, I have a theory he was accidently rounded up while they were netting the streets of NZ for heavily tattooed construction scaffolders, aka: ‘Sciffies, Bro!’

It seems that economic refugees who arrive here in planes or cars are OK, but folk turning up in leaky boats are about as popular as a streaker at an Origin game.

I’ve been hoping the UN would come up with a humane solution to the people smuggling problem, but it’s like waiting for the ACCC to conduct a serious probe into petrol price gouging; futile.

Then K. Rudd returned from a stint as a political refugee in the backbench wilderness.  With his career ambitions sinking faster than a rotting Indonesian fishing boat, he was suddenly slung a life-line.  After being handed the top job, a hefty pay rise, free accommodation, free food, and free first class air travel, Kev chose to say ‘Thanks’ by slamming the door firmly shut in the faces of genuine refugees.

Not a real fair shake of the sauce bottle mate, but he lifted Labors’ polling figures from ‘Totally Doomed’ to ‘Slightly Disastrous’.   Meanwhile, a stunned Tony Abbot is possibly regretting tossing out the docket for the new drapes he pre-ordered for the Lodge.

The only certainty is that the political point scoring over refugees will continue for many years.  In fact, it’s been going on since 1788, when the traditional owners got tied up in knots arguing about whether to allow the First Fleet into Sydney Harbour, or spear them out of the water.  And look how well that worked out…

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Tribute to ‘The Emperor’

Seriously, this took some guts.

Seriously, this took some guts.

Queensland’s greatest ever footballer is one Walter J. Lewis (aka: The Emperor of Lang Park).

Note: please address your complaints to the Editor, because I’m not budging on this.

My favourite memory of Wally is not of any of his amazing plays or tries, nor the night he bravely (or insanely) confronted Mark Geyer in Origin 2, 1991.

It wasn’t even in game three of the same series, when he inspired Queensland to superhuman efforts to win the game and the series.  Afterwards Wally announced his Origin retirement, then picked up his kids and took them for a stroll around Lang Park.

It was a bittersweet moment; earlier in the day, he’d learned that his youngest daughter was deaf, and, as he smiled and waved, he fought back tears because he knew his little girl couldn’t hear the crowds’ applause.

It was a moving moment, but not my favourite Wally memory.

That came in 1995, when I was working as a handyman in a Brisbane hospital.  I bumped into Wally while strolling through a ward and was so overawed by the occasion that I blurted out, “G’day Wally!  Struth, how big is Mark Geyer?!”  Six foot five inches apparently.

Wal was visiting a dying patient who wanted to meet The Emperor before meeting St. Peter.  Wally made these visits so often that he knew all the nurses names.  Afterwards, he slipped off unseen, except by a lone handyman who was actually fixing the fence in the car park, and NOT pawing the Emperor’s car.

I saw the pain on Wal’s face and how he quickly masked it with his trademark grin when he caught me gawping at him.  Right then I learned that a real hero puts his hand up to do the hard yards long after the final whistle has blown, without complaint, no matter how much it hurts.

That, is my favourite Wally Lewis memory.

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You Wouldn’t Do it to a Dog!

Seriously, the dog isn't joking!

Seriously, the dog isn’t joking!

Fourteen thousand years ago, just after breakfast, some pre-historic genius managed to convince a wolf not to eat him, and be his companion instead.  Since then, mankind and dogs have been inseparable; wherever we have gone, so have our faithful hounds.  The loyal, stupid mutts.

Dogs are hardwired to like us, no matter how badly some humans treat them.  Not only will they fetch our slippers, they don’t even complain when we sink those slippers into their backsides.  They’re so eager to please us that it makes every cat sick in the stomach just thinking about it.

Now over the years I’ve had my share of run-ins with dogs.  I’ve been attacked, chased, and had roaming mongrels the size of a Shetland ponies eye my crotch and snarl.  As a result, our relationship is only slightly less strained than that of Kevin and Julia.

But it’s not the dogs’ fault; it’s their idiot owners.  Especially the morons who lock them up in yards the size of postage stamps, allow them to bark day and night, and forget to wash, pat, groom, or feed them.  Plus far too many owners prefer to exercise their hounds by unlocking their front gates after dark, and letting Fido take a self-guided tour of our city.

Meanwhile at the Gladstone pound, approximately ten dogs a week are sent to Doggy Heaven, because they’re no longer ‘cute widdle puppies’.  Honestly, dogs deserve to be treated better than this, but until some alien species arrives to stop the rot, the poor mutts are stuck with us.

But there is hope.  You see, I firmly believe that if a caveman can domesticate a wolf, then with the proper instruction, firm guidance, and lots of thwackings with a thick, rolled up newspaper, any human can be trained to become dogs’ best friend.  And it’s never too late to start.

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Call Yourself an ‘Expert’? Might as well, everyone else is these days…

Let's ask Mr. Knowitall...

Let’s ask Mr. Knowitall…

I rarely raise my eyebrows when eating breakfast (because it’s usually far too early for that sort of strenuous exercise), but last week when I read a letter to the Editor claiming the Nazis’ used fluoride to control populations, my eyebrows went flying over my receding hair line.

Intrigued, I immediately consulted Professor Google (Bach. History) and found pages of links, but didn’t have time to read them because I had to go to work.

And therein lies the trouble;  too many of us rely on ‘experts’ to do all our critical thinking for us, ie: doctors, lawyers, politicians, advisors, scientists, researchers, journalists, or folk with nothing else to do all day but look up conspiracy websites then write Letters to the Editor.

So each day in the paper, a seemingly indifferent public watches from the sidelines as highly trained experts argue their case against self-taught amateurs, who often demonstrate an incredible ability to find and publish controversial claims, while displaying an even more incredible ability to ignore major established facts.

Look, I understand that if you’re convinced ‘They’ are killing our harbour, or adding poisonous toxins to our drinking water, you may be a tad upset and feel quite justified in squawking like Chicken Little on social media sites until our elected officials take notice.

But judging from the lack of rioting outside our Council Chambers, it appears many Gladstonians don’t particularly care about being slowly poisoned by fluoride, GM crops, phone radiation, self-serve supermarket checkouts, dredging, flu vaccinations or whatever else it is ‘They’ are trying to foist upon us ‘sheeple’.

Personally, I’m far more anxious about surviving my daily commute to and from work, but I reckon Gladstone has much bigger things to worry about; particularly when most of us can’t tell the difference between the truth, and a prank letter written by some local practical joker.

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