Monthly Archives: May 2014

A Foot In Both Camps

Don't worry about the accommodation, check out the lunch room!

Don’t worry about the accommodation, check out the lunch room!

The quality of your life depends on what camp you’re in, eg: I’m sure Pug Gallens’ supporters will feel very uncomfortable sitting in the ‘Two Heads’ base camp tonight.

And the dwindling number of folk residing in the Blue Tie Leaders’ camp, remain happy with his performance, in spite of his fondness for stuffing his own foot into his gob each week; if you follow me, (wink WINK) then have a cigar!

Over in the Red Camp, Shorty the Invisible Man, has been happily welcoming the hordes of elderly, sick, unemployed, students, workers, single parents, disabled and poor flocking back to his campground after discovering that life in the Blue Blood Park was far too rich for them.

So last week, when the State Opposition Camp compared mining camps to concentration camps, it almost didn’t make the news. But Caretaker Campbell seized upon the comment to deflect the barrage of burning toilet rolls being flung at his tent; mostly from his own followers.

Now, like most local tradesmen, I’ve done hard time in CQ’s mining camps. Typically, they were poorly furnished dongas, filled with men on the run (from the law or wives), alcoholics, the lost, lonely and violent, gamblers and boilermakers.

We endured regular food poisoning, lack of clean and hot water, filth encrusted amenities, frequent brawls, vermin nesting in our mattresses, and the horrors of ‘hot bed handovers’. On the bright side, it was a small step up from sleeping in my car.

The new workers’ villages have more mod-cons and better food, security and cleanliness than many hotels I’ve stayed in. They’re far from concentration camps; more like luxury, day release, prisons.

Still, I don’t care how good they are, I’ve done my time and will quite happily camp on this side of the razor wire; regardless of what my family wants.

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We Want YOU!

Actually, DON'T Click this Button!

Actually, DON’T Click this Button!

Recently I was reminded that Community Service is not just for criminals anymore, and that anyone can, and should, do some sort of volunteering. I would, but I’m far too busy; apparently.

Now, politicians are very fond of telling us that ‘If you pay peanuts you get monkeys’, which is why they insist on hefty pay increases and bonuses to run (or possibly, ruin) our country. But it is unpaid volunteers who keep our communities glued together. You know, perhaps we could turn the position of Politician into a strictly volunteer role, which might actually sort the ‘do-ers’ from the ‘users’? Not to mention the savings!

Anyway, a quick look through the phone book (yes kids, that’s how old I am, I checked in an actual book first before looking online) revealed that there were fourteen pages of worthwhile groups all looking for a helping hand, and I’m certain some of them will even give you free cups of tea out of sheer gratitude for just turning up.

Plus, not only will volunteering make your resume’ stretch a little bit further than a single page of dubious skills and interests, but statistical evidence proves that volunteers live longer, have happier lives, lower divorce rates, are much more interesting, honest, forgiving, patient, energetic, and tend not to complain very much.

When I happened to mention my findings to Long Suffering Wife, she demanded that I sign up for something, anything; immediately.

So if you have some spare time on your hands, then find a local group needing your invaluable assistance, skills and enthusiasm, and have a go. Please mention my name when you get there, as that will sort of count towards my contribution to our wonderful city.

Well, I like to help wherever I can.

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Photographic Memories

This wasn't 'the' shot...

This wasn’t ‘the’ shot…

The funny thing about going on the trip of a lifetime is that it’s taken me longer to sort all the photos than we spent on the actual trip.

Also, it has finally dawned on me that we’re not being pestered by throngs of people demanding to see our holiday snaps.

I don’t think I’ve taken so many photos in such a short time, but the odd thing is, my favourite memories weren’t photographed, eg: watching clouds roll down a mountain in the Scottish highlands, the smell of the forest bordering a Swiss lake, the meal we had in a café in Munich, and the magical moment I was wrestling our hire car around some Godforsaken English village roundabout when Long Suffering Wife threw the GPS at me and yelled, “Well, you work out where we are then!”

For the record, I knew where we were; I just didn’t know which way to go.

Nor do I have photos of three Australians striking a blow for freedom in a Florence pay toilet, me getting ripped off in a museum, and how finding a single leather glove outside the Vatican nearly caused our tour group to wet their pants with laughter (well, you sort of had to be there…)

But my favourite memory was of a gondola ride in Venice, when I finally put down both my cameras, leaned back on Long Suffering Wife and simply soaked up the atmosphere. As the buildings floated by, one of the gondoliers started singing and the air was suddenly tinged with gold. It really was a beautiful and memorable moment that we’ll treasure forever.

Fortunately someone in a nearby boat took a photo of us; want to see it?

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Happy Birthday Billy the Bard!

Typing MonkeysIt has been said that a million monkeys typing away at a million keyboards would eventually produce the works of Shakespeare.  Well, I’ve been on Facebook long enough to know that this simply isn’t true.

I’ve tried to batter my way through most of Willy’s works, but usually by the second chapter I’m completely bewildered and totally bored by the overlong rants about nothing much in particular; which incidentally, also describes how I feel watching a Clive Palmer interview.

Heaven knows I’ve given Billy enough chances, but the language barrier has defeated me every time.  It’s English; it’s got lots of English words in it, in much the same way as my new clock radio manual is written in English, and is just about as easy to understand.

Each individual word is fine; it’s simply the way they’re put together.  Or as the nice Korean chap who wrote my clock radio manual would say:  ‘Put way fine each together it’s individual happy dragon!’

But some clever folk, recognising that Bill had a bit of genius when it came to spinning yarns, took the time to translate his works into modern English, then made a motza by turning them into movies.

For example, The Lion King leans heavily on Hamlet for script direction.  Westside Story is a modern re-telling of Romeo and Juliet.  And, 10 Things I Hate About You is a direct rip off of Taming of the Shrew; although I’m not too sure if the Ford Mustang was around in Shakespeare’s day.

Still, I haven’t given up on the Bard just yet.  Like the million typing monkeys, if I persist long enough I’m sure I’ll learn to enjoy Shakespeare’s unique scribbling style.  Well, if one ape tapping away on a keyboard managed to produce this column then anything’s possible.

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