Monthly Archives: October 2013

Halloween Horrors

Halloween T-ShirtWe at Bray Manor are not big on celebrating Halloween.  Having spent all year shooing children out of our yard, we’re not about to suddenly reward them with lollies for interrupting our evening TV viewing, just because they’re dressed as monsters.

Plus, any kids thinking of plastering our Plasterboard Palace with eggs, or similar projectiles, had best do so from the safety of fast moving, heavily armoured vehicle, because my counter-strike will be swift and devastating.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think it’s strange that our children are being encouraged to take unregulated foodstuffs from complete strangers (aka: our neighbours) on this one night of the year?

Like most adults, I’ve learned to control certain impulses in order to remain in polite society, but each Halloween, the practical joker in me is sorely tempted to stand at the front door cheerfully doling out chocolate laxatives to unsuspecting kids.

Anyway, for those of you still interested in participating in yet another American money spinning racket, the big selling costumes this year are the ever popular Batman outfit for boys, and the skimpy Miley Cyrus Halloween costume for girls.

Knowing that there are parents out there happy to let their daughters roam our streets dressed like a Pop Star / Hooker certainly sends cold shivers down my spine.

But this Halloween, if you want to create maximum terror with minimum effort, get a few of your friends together, dress up as Outlaw Bikies then knock on the Premiers’ door.  I personally guarantee you’ll hear hysterical screaming; just before the Bikie Swat Squad drops you like a schoolbag on a Friday afternoon.

At that point you’ll learn two things: people who live in constant fear have no sense of humour, and not all monsters are imaginary.

Have fun Kiddies!

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Bird Watching

BoobiesRecently I’ve become a bit of a Twitcher.  Twitchers, just in case you were wondering, make lists of rare birds, then travel long distances around the countryside trying to spy one then tick it off their list.  They’re the trainspotters of the bird world.

My fascination with our feathered friends began when I noticed a pair of birds gawping through our bedroom window one morning.  Intrigued, I took a photo of them with the camera I keep by the bed for just such occasions… as you do.

Now, my knowledge of local birds could be described as ‘Fairly Basic’, but if you need someone to point out a seagull, crow, duck, magpie, chook, budgie, emu or pelican, then I’m your man.  So I showed the photo to a bird loving friend who identified them as Rainbow Bee-eaters, then she handed me a book on birds, and my life hasn’t been the same since.

I’ve learned things!  For example, Black Kites are actually brown and tend to flock at dumps, while Brahminy Kites look like small sea eagles and wouldn’t be seen dead scrounging at landfills.

My workmate, who has almost grown used to watching me dash off across rock and log strewn paddocks waving my phone about trying to capture shots of passing birds, recently asked if I’d ever spotted any elusive Pink Breasted Boobies at Tannum Sands Beach.

Unfortunately, it was only after I’d entered the shrubbery at Canoe Point, armed with my binoculars and camera, did it dawn on me that he may have been pulling my leg.  I did find a pair of boobies, but there was some ‘unpleasantness’.

We Twitchers don’t joke about bird watching, or so I assume, because I haven’t actually come across a genuine Twitcher in the wild; yet.  But they’re definitely on my list.

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Spring has Sprung

Hot CornThey say when you’re reduced to discussing the weather you’ve pretty well run out of things to talk about… been hot lately hasn’t it?

Anyway, instead of moaning about the lack of rain, I make the most of the hot, dry Gladstone Spring weather to clamber onto the roof and clean the gutters, check the roofing screws, remove all the tennis balls, Frisbees and footballs, spray the hornets’ nests on the aerial, and check out what changes the neighbours have made to their yards.

I also like to flush the downpipes with a garden hose to evict any cane toads, green frogs, spiders, rats, lizards and snakes.  Of course, this makes walking barefoot through our backyard an exercise in death defiance for a few days.

The final job on my list is the annual cleansing of the rain gauge.  A quick blast with the hose to remove several baked on layers of dirt, coal dust and dead insects, and she’s ready for another wet season; which hopefully won’t be as damp as the last one.

And each morning, I stagger outside to check the multi-million dollar weather station at the end of our street (aka: QAL).  If the steam is blowing toward town, then it’s cool south-easterlies and possible rain.  Towards Tannum, then it’s stinking hot northerlies, swarms of flies and jellyfish, and no rain.  If it’s blowing towards me, then I immediately cover my aluminium boat.

Occasionally Gladstone’s horizon will fill with rain laden storm clouds, but all too often they float away leaving us parched and despairing.  To lure any passing showers, I carefully polish my car then leave it parked outside.  Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t; still it gives me something to do other than talk about the weather… yep, it sure has been hot lately.

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America Is Out of Order – Please Come Back Later

The same thing happened when the Griswolds visited Wally World...

The same thing happened when the Griswolds visited Wally World…

In case you missed it during footy finals week, America was shutdown.  Apparently President Barry was trying to run a new programme called Obamacare through a corrupted system and it wouldn’t load.  So he’s simply turned the Government off, then on again, and is waiting for it to reboot.

Frankly, we’re all very familiar with American programme’s shutting down unexpectedly, so it’s no big deal.  And until the system restarts, Prez Baz has done what Tony Abbot can only dream about; sent a few million public servants home without pay.  Which means certain government jobs won’t be getting done anymore, but all the people employed to spy on citizens, invade oil rich countries and show contempt for American voters are still being paid.

In the meantime, the President is sitting in a darkened Oval Office, eating cold baked beans and hoping that the American public won’t hit the ‘Ctrl – Alt – Delete – Government’ keys on their constitution.

But that’s the least of his worries, because the last time the American government shutdown was under the reign of Chief Willy Clinton.  And the real trouble started when Slick Willy was pottering about the White House looking for something to do, and that something arrived in the shape of a keen young intern named Monica, who used her pretty little head to come up with some stimulating activities to entertain a bored stiff Willy.

Speaking of which, I wonder if Prez Baz sent the White House dry cleaners home?

Anyway, like a steam powered computer, the US system will sputter back to life eventually, and hopefully it will restart in Safe Mode.  Now, Safe Mode is far from perfect but it does come with free health care, far less gun nuts, and won’t play any Miley Cyrus video clips.  So it’s not all bad.

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Bikie’s Copping It

Our once mighty gang is doing it a bit hard these days

Our once mighty gang is doing it a bit hard these days

Premier Newman is cracking down on outlaw motorcycle gangs.  Apparently if anyone’s going to threaten the driving public, harass small businesses, and run gambling, prostitution and protection rackets, then it’s going to be the State Government and not bikies.

Personally I reckon being a member of an outlaw  bikie gang wouldn’t be a lot of fun.  Being told when and where to ride, what outfit to wear, and which little old ladies to bully isn’t a hobby, it’s a job.

I preferred riding alone, or occasionally with a motley collection of characters (aka: my neighbours).  Sadly, most of our tours ended in long waits in mechanics workshops, or Emergency Wards.  Eventually our little posse was reduced to sitting in a shed drinking dodgy home brew and taking turns to rev our last working scooter.

Real bikies ignored us, but I’ve been watching the stoush between them and cops with interest, and am keen to know where all the extra bikie squad officers are coming from?

Perhaps the Government should think about hiring bikie gangs as law enforcement sub-contractors?  Now before you start wondering if I’ve taken one too many falls off my bike without a helmet, think about this:

There are more gang members than cops, and many of them have had an ‘inside’ education of our legal system.  They’ve got their own vehicles, uniforms, headquarters and more weapons than an American duck hunting party.

Plus, the newly recruited ‘In-Law’ bikies would quickly restore some much needed respect, and quite a lot of fear, to our constabulary.  Especially when word gets out that speeding motorists will not only be fined, but have their vehicle’s panels reshaped on the spot.

And if that fails, the Premier could let them ride shotgun with the mobsters running the biggest racket in our State; House Insurance Providers.  They’d be right at home there.

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