Monthly Archives: February 2014

Scoutrageous!

boy-scout-badge-fall-cartoon-598x363Last Saturday was the 157th birthday of Scouting’s’ founding father, Lord Baden Powell.  To honour his memory, I sheep-shanked the dogs to the clothesline then lit the BBQ using a magnifying glass and an old bird nest.

As boys, my brother joined the Gladstone Dolphin Sea Scouts and had great time, while I was kept away from the place, which was a bit unfair because I just loved tying things up and starting fires.

To avoid emotional scarring I used to sneak glances at my brothers’ copy of ‘Scouting for Boys’ which taught me: how to identify enemy aircraft (MiG’s were a bit scarce in Gladstone’s skies), build a raft (it sank), send an emergency message using Morse code (completely useless on a sinking raft) and how to track animals (proficient in dog, cat and Guinea pig).

I eventually learned the correct way to build and start proper fires that didn’t end with frantic calls to emergency services, and even picked up a little first aid; particularly the treatment of minor burns.

Todays’ Scouts can also earn proficiency badges for IT, Electronics and Plumbing; skills I fully intend to exploit if a Scout troop ever knock on my front door during Bob-a-Job week.

Time and technology may have marched steadily onward since BP twiddled his toggle, but the fundamentals’ of Resourcefulness, Leadership, Teamwork, Community Service and Respect for self and others remain the hallmarks of the Scouting movement.

Plus they’re allowing girls to join and they’re signing up in droves; although I’m not too sure if any if any boys are clamouring at the doors of Girl Guides Huts demanding to be taught quilting and baking?

Still, I’m certain Lord BP would be well chuffed with Gladstone’s numerous, and thriving, Scouting groups, all keen to DYB, DYB, DYB, DOB, DOB, DOB.

Happy Birthday Old Silver Wolf.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Gladstone Observer Columns

Don’t Delay, Start Again Today!

Like sand through the hourglass...

Like sand through the hourglass…

Well, several weeks have passed since New Years’ Day and I’m sure we’re all continuing to power along with this years’ life-changing resolutions…  Pfft!  Hahahahahahaaa!!

Sadly, now that the initial rush of excitement is over, the new exercise machine, blender, sports shoes, gym membership, nicotine patches, diet books etc. are either being used sporadically, or have been kicked under the bed where they’ll gather dust until this years’ pre-Xmas cleanout.

To be honest, I quite like the idea of a fresh start.  In fact, I like it so much, that I generally make a fresh start at least once a week; until I can stick to my resolve to stop giving up so easily.

Among my numerous resolutions this year, I vaguely recall vowing to swear less, and be a much more tolerant driver.  But dammit, it’s not flamin’ easy when our roads are filled with impatient, stupid, selfish, half-blind, non-indicator using idiot swine!

Fortunately, the one goal I did manage to achieve last year was to survive 2013, which I accomplished without really even thinking about it.  Unfortunately, some of my friends didn’t, and had any of them known that last year was going to be their final year on Planet Earth, I reckon they would have done things a little differently.  They probably wouldn’t have pre-ordered a Xmas hamper for starters.

So any attempt to improve yourself, your situation, your job, or your ‘anything’ shouldn’t be delayed until some future date.  Start now!  Actually, wait til you’ve finished reading the paper, then go nuts.

Whatever it is you decide to do, or stop doing, you go for it!  And if it doesn’t work out, well, try again as soon as possible.  Don’t wait til January next year, because by then it may be too late to change.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gladstone Observer Columns

I Swear It Wasn’t Me!

potty mouthLet the record show that I am no prude, and have occasionally allowed the odd curse word to pass through my lips, usually preceded by the words, “Who took my….”, “Seriously?!  Are you….”, and the classic, “What the…!”

We’re rarely startled these days when we hear swearing in films, on tele, or when Rob Kidd slips one through to the keeper during his morning show.

But if you’re planning to travel to NSW the only thing your lips should be doing is smiling politely, and staying firmly closed, because their State Govt. have increased on the spot fines for swearing in public from $100 to $500.  Are they %&$# joking?!

Apparently not.

So folk in NSW had better watch their P’s & Q’s, especially since the Govt. has point blank refused to issue a list of rude words to avoid.  It appears they’re leaving it to the Police to determine what is naughty and nice; won’t that be fun?

So sporting fans thinking of giving the ref a gobfull this weekend had better think twice, as should comedians who rely on four letter words to get cheap laughs, and schoolkids singing a popular song featuring a certain farmyard animal may be given a real education, ‘E-I-E-I-Ouch!’

Here in QLD, swearing in public attracts a $100 fine.  Which means just last night I could have potentially been fined $3600 during the first ten minutes of the news.  This may also explain the proliferation of ‘For Sale’ signs at our end of the street?

Regardless, I’m actually in favour of public places being swear free zones, particularly at checkouts, service stations and school pick up zones.  Perhaps society would become a much nicer place if we all tried to curb the excess of expletives?  Besides, it’s not a crime to simply think of your swear words… yet.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gladstone Observer Columns

Shark Cull

"Who's next off the diving board?!"

“Who’s next off the diving board?!”

While the fierce debate rages about shark baiting, here in Gladstone we’ve been conspicuously silent on the topic.  That’s because we’ve been cheerfully killing big sharks near our beaches for many years with our usual efficiency, and without attracting any unwanted media attention.

Now I’m not sure if the baits are catching locally grown killers, or attracting rogue man-eaters to our swimming areas, but my first experience with baited shark lines occurred as lad, when my mate and I swam out to one of newly placed red floats off Tannum Sands Beach.  We thought they were something to do with an upcoming surf carnival, which, in a sick sort of way, they were.

Eventually we splashed our way back to the beach where some thoughtful soul told us the sordid truth, instantly ending my long distance dog paddling career.

Fortunately, my natural Australian gambling instinct overcame my fear of re-entering the water.  Basically, each time I go for a swim, I bet on the fact that any passing sharks will take someone else first; those odds have also favoured the other 99.99998% of swimmers surrounding me.

I’ve always viewed sharks as hateful, evil, cruel and terrifying monsters; sort of like Rupert Murdoch.  But shark cull protestors insist that they’re much maligned, misunderstood and unappreciated creatures; sort of like Clive Palmer.

It’s a big ask to get Oz swimmers to rethink their stance on shark baiting, particularly when statistics show we are the preferred dining choice of the worlds’ shark population.  And the movie JAWS hasn’t helped their cause either.

But before we start arguing about whether or not to pull the hooks from the water, we have to think very carefully about where it all might end: Equal rights for Crocs?  Justice for Jellyfish?

We’re at the pointy end here folks.

2 Comments

Filed under Gladstone Observer Columns