The New Australian

Proudly nearly Australian since 2010. "I'm not grumpy, the rest of the world is just unrealistically upbeat"

The New Australian - Proudly nearly Australian since 2010. "I'm not grumpy, the rest of the world is just unrealistically upbeat"

Vale the Whitlam

After bursting on the scene with undoubted talent and energy, he cut a dashing figure amongst peers.

After an apprenticeship at the grass roots level, delighting small audiences at local venues he moved on to wowing the discerning cities.

Success and influence was inevitable and, with a small cabal of trusted talent, he easily won over the public with his integrity, vision and righteous support for social causes.

His fame was to be shortlived and purely domestic however. Times and public sentiment moved on while he remained rooted in a fantasy not based in reality.

This became a factor in his later self-enforced public exile, appearing rarely at events for boutique causes or to simply bask in the dwindling numbers of hard core supporters.

He leaves a wife, daughter and about two and a half partly-reasonable albums.

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Optimism, thy name is Australia

Sincerely-speaking*, of all the things one can admire about the Australian psyche, the unblinking optimism has to be top of the list.

 

The current public train wreck that is the national rugby union team is an excellent example of Australians looking on the bright side. Well, the Australian media, at least.

 

If you stick the words “Wallabies” into Google today, the top four or five articles are focused on who the new coach will be rather than dwelling on how the current steaming pile of faecal matter came about. The pundits in the know are touting the next “dream team” of coaching staff for the Wallabies as Michael Cheika and Stephen Larkham, apparently.

 

The Dream Team.

 

You can almost bank on the Rugby Championship, Bledisloe Cup and an unprecedented third World Cup win next year, based on the Dream Team moniker.

 

Let’s just take stock of where we are before ordering that case of Grange to celebrate “Bill” coming back to Australia next year, shall we;

 

  1. The ARU are looking for their 3rd national coach in 2 years.
  2. Half a dozen world class players have left the country, resigned to probably never pulling on a national shirt again. Kurtley Beale is likely to be among that number shortly.
  3. They scraped into 3rd place in this year’s Rugby Championship, providing Argentina with their first win of the competition.
  4. The captain was 10 years old last time Australia won the Bledisloe Cup.
  5. A series loss to the British and Irish Lions, including a humiliating 3rd test defeat where the result was assured 20 minutes from full time.
  6. The Wallabies are off to the Northern Hemisphere in 2 weeks’ time, currently sans coach, for a 5 test tour of the strongest 4 European sides plus a Barbarians team.
  7. The Rugby World Cup is in 11 months’ time…. Or 9 matches away.
  8. Nobody in Australia is interested anyway.

 

Re. point (8); Don’t believe me? See if you can spot the problem with this picture, taken from a home test match (against Argentina on the Gold Coast). Here’s the clue; don’t look at the players in the picture, look at the background:

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It’s a dying sport.

 

Here’s a graphic I’ve posted previously, but it still illustrates the point.
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Rugby union is dying on its arse in Australia. There is no young talent coming through and the ARU are going to have to increasingly rely on poaching rugby league players to keep the elite level teams viable. In the meantime, AFL and wendyball are both thriving. The problem isn’t that kids don’t want to play sport, they just don’t want to play this one.

 

Yet, in the context of this moribund environment, the CEO of the ARU whacked a $200 levy on every junior rugby team last year to give the balance sheet a boost. Or $20 per kid in the U9s and below.

 

It’s easy to see why many Australians are turning off from the rugby union “product”.

 

Things are going to have to get much worse before they have any chance of getting better. First of all, Bill Pulver needs to fall on his sword; he brought McKenzie in, didn’t support/manage him appropriately and has now left the squad in disarray just prior to a major tour and less than a year from the world cup.

 

If the board can fire him quickly enough, I may be persuaded to take the job on in an interim capacity. At which point I will execute my 8 point plan;

 

  1. No home test match ticket to be more expensive than the equivalent seat in a Super XV or NRL match.
  2. All future venues to be decided on the criteria that the ground can be filled or not. Give away tickets to schools and junior rugby clubs if need be.
  3. Sound out all the exiled players with a view to joining the squad for a fixed term to cover the world cup. Flexibility will be offered to accommodate the logistics of the squad training together.
  4. Every board member to take a 25% pay cut. Consider it a performance bonus that can be earned back next year.
  5. Invest in junior rugby; hire coaches and rugby ambassadors to visit the public schools to re-introduce the game to the non-GPS students. Especially the western suburbs.
  6. Investigate the terms of the Sky deal to see whether highlights packages can be sold/given to the terrestrial networks for the Super XV and Wallabies fixtures.
  7. Review the team charter; get the squad to re-write it with agreed punishments for breaking it.
  8. Hire a forwards coach with a more than a passing knowledge of how the scrum works.

 

The emergency treatment will be delayed though. Procrastination of the hard decisions is the one thing that the ARU can be relied upon achieving.

 

So, whither Australian rugby union? Here’s my prediction;

 

Next year; the Wallabies will do a “Barrymore” in the world cup (i.e. struggling to get out the pool).

Within 18 months; an Australian Super XV team will collapse. Probably the Force or the Rebels.

Within 24 months; the ARU will go into financial administration to be bailed out by the efforts of the GPS alumni in the Federal Cabinet “for the people”.

 

 

 

 

*Sincerity. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

Typical

The blog category, “Sydney CDB Dress Code Bingo” is dedicated to exposing some of the more horrifying office attire that most Australian men deem to be acceptable.

 

Generally, the extreme examples are posted up here, mainly because photos of badly-wardrobed blokes spotted on George Street or up in North Sydney could consume an entire blogger’s life and many gigabytes of online storage. Browse back through the category to view some absolute howlers.

 

Today’s photo is meant to demonstrate the “background noise” environment within which these extreme examples exist and to break up the festival of schadenfeude that is so tempting for a non-Australian rugby fan to engage in.

 

This bloke is typical of the vast majority of Australian white collar males;

 

 

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If you’re Australian, let me explain the main problems……

 

  1. Black trousers, blue jacket. Let me be clear on this; Never. Wear. Black. With. Blue.
  2. Plastic shoes. Are you still at school? Are you worried about wear and tear in the playground?
  3. Button missing on the shirt cuff.
  4. Sports jacket. Seriously, the 80s were fun but…..
  5. Turtle neck. Ok, maybe he’s not wearing it but I bet he owns one for when the weather falls to 15 degrees gets cold.

 

So you can understand now why blokes buy suits that don’t fit or think that snakeskin shoes are an appropriate footwear choice when working in the Risk Dept. of a bank, for example.

You see, it’s all relative (as they say in Tasmania). This bloke is actually well-dressed for Australia and this organ has clearly set its expectations too high.

 

Just can’t get good help – Manli ™ MILFs

Oh hello! Fancy a soy decaf?

How are Tresemmé and Chlamydia? Doing well at school?

How are they getting on with the new nanny?

Not so good, eh? We’ve been having problems too, in fact, we’ve just let ours go. The kids weren’t showing any respect for her.

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At least we quickly realised things weren’t working out this time. Remember how long it took for us to fire the previous one?

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We’re looking for other staff too as we’ve had some of our domestic help resign recently.

We’ve gone through a few cleaners and gardeners who didn’t seem to like the job or money;

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I know, I know, it’s just so annoying that we can’t seem to find and keep good help these days. I wonder what the common factor is?

I asked Bill whether he thought it was something we were doing that causes all these domestics to leave us so regularly, but he reckons it’s a problem with “Generation Me“, not us.

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He reckons we’ll just poach the neighbour’s nanny for our big family holiday in Europe next month.

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Anyway, good to chat as always. See you at Bikram Yoga tonight?

Right, I’d better hurry along, it’s a 10km barefoot walk to the well to get the day’s water.

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Sid Choraria, Australia’s top troll

Frankly, I’m jealous that I didn’t come up with the idea.

 

What a bloody genius Sid is, he only managed to troll Gerry Harvey to absolute perfection, the little clever clogs.

 

If you had to think of the best way to get the vein in Gerry’s forehead standing out and throbbing like John Holmes in Spearmint Rhino, I reckon you couldn’t have thought of a better subject to pick than the share price of his beloved Harvey Norman retail operation.

 

Sure, picking on his family or background might have got a response and we’ve seen how discussing taxing internet shopping gets him warmed up, but stating that HVN.AX is the world’s most over-priced stock is exquisitely-targeted at the open nerve in his aching tooth.

 

Now, I’ve not really researched Harvey Norman as an investment opportunity; it never crossed my mind because,

(a) I never shop there as I discovered the internet some time ago, and

(b) Even if I knew something which suggested the company was worth a punt, I’d struggle to put money into a company with such a hypocritical and crony-capitalist/corporatist as Gerry “pull up the ladder now that I’ve made it” Norman.

 

So, Sid Choraria…..

*slow hand clap*

 

Well played sir, well played

 

 

Starburst neé Opal Fruits

Transport for NSW Internal Memo

    Lessons Learned from the Opal Card Roll-Out Project
  1. Perhaps make the card available for purchase at railway stations?
  2. Rather than using only the “stored value” function of the system, maybe also implement the multi-ticket function in use on similar schemes such as London’s Oyster, where a season ticket can be stored alongside additional value for trips outside the user’s regular commute.
  3. Before enabling the Opal card on bus routes, have a project “gate review” to check whether the installation of the card readers has been completed on all the buses that drive those routes.
  4. Invest in “change management” for key or sensitive stakeholders such as pensioners who may be confused by the change and are unlikely to want to log on to a website to order their card.
  5. A bit of capacity and performance planning and testing might not go a miss. London’s Oyster card has a performance target of 40 customers through a tube gate in a minute. Our planning fell somewhat short of that.

 

In summary though, given that the project has only had two decades of successful and unsuccessful implementations around the world to learn from, this has been a remarkably well-run project with exceptional management of milestones, expectations, budget and communications…… for a public sector project.
 

The ARU board is a GPS alumni sheltered workshop

Discuss…..

Seriously, is anyone surprised to learn that Bill Pulver went to Cunt College?

A quick glance at the other board members will find nary a one who hasn’t been through the Australian private school system.

Nothing wrong with private education, per se, by the way. We might question why it is deserving of government subsidies and tax breaks, but in principle, if you choose to send your kids to a private school that’s absolutely fine by this organ.

Perhaps there’s a problem of diversity, skill and experience that’s a consequence of only the alumni of a fairly tight club making it to board level though?

Maybe this results in an inability to deal with members of society from alternate backgrounds. 90% of the Australian elite players, for example.

Which might go to explain how a generation of Wallabies have been mismanaged at a personal level and fucked off abroad.

This might also explain how they didn’t spot the extra-marital relationship going on under their noses but which the players knew about and were gossiping about.

This has directly resulted in Ewen McKenzie’s resignation, which you will hear about offically next week. Probably Monday.

Heard it hear first.

UPDATE.

They are softening us up for the announcement.

Is the ARU is the Calcutta Rugby Club in disguise?

As much as I have enjoyed, on many occasions, witnessing the Australian rugby team capitulate at the hands of some of the best teams in the world and, better still, lose to some unlikely opponents, I suppose I must grudgingly agree that it isn’t in the best interest of the game.

 

The joy I experience watching an incompetent and ill-disciplined Wallabies pack being pushed backwards like a bunch of drunken students in stolen shopping trolleys is obviously very selfish and not at all constructive to the future of the game they play in heaven.

 

After losing to Argentina for the first time in the history of a competition with about 3 fixtures too many The Rugby Championship last week, things could surely only get better?

 

Oops, spoke to soon; Kurtley Beale’s fucked up again.

 

The tone of the Bill Pulver press conference was instructive by the way. The backstory was that there was an argument on the plane, but the players pulled together and recommended that Kurtley wasn’t dropped from the squad. A week later and some “deeply offensive” SMS communications were found from June and this is the reason he’s been dropped.

 

I reckon my boss could probably find some deeply offensive SMS and emails if he checked far enough back too. This seems like a hunt to find a reason to lose another talented player.

 

Don’t believe me?

 

Ok, here’s an hypothesis to test;

 

The Australian Rugby Union exists for the purpose of serving the elite members and employees and, as such, the development of the sport in general and the management of high-potential players specifically are considered secondary issues.

 

Or, as Will Carling once expressed it, the 57 old farts problem.

 

No, surely this can’t be true? Say it isn’t so, TNA”, I hear both of you all of the Australian rugby union supporters cry.

 

No?

 

Ok, if the ARU were so great at developing and maintaining talented players, with all of their concomitant personality challenges, would Matt Giteau’s international career have ended three years ago while, in the meantime, he’s gone on to play some of the best rugby of his career (European Cup last year AND France’s Player of the Season)?

 

Or would James O’Connor be sitting in South West London scoring all of the points in a recent match for London Irish?

 

Would Berwick Barnes be earning Japanese Yen rather than pulling on a Waratahs jersey?

 

Not forgetting Drew Mitchell, too…..

 

In fact, as this article jokingly suggests, the next Wallabies side to play against the Barbarians could potentially play against a team stacked with exiled Wallabies.

 

Here’s the thing, Bill Pulver, if you’re reading this…. most companies’ HR departments would be raising a flag up to the board about talent retention if they saw the attrition rate the Wallabies squad has been experiencing for the last half a decade.

 

In a domestic scenario, this is the equivalent of having a cleaner or nanny walk out on you every couple of months.

 

In a matrimonial analogy, the ARU are rapidly becoming my buddy from Hong Kong who is currently on his 6th marriage (and that’s looking somewhat shaky, based on the “plus one” he brought to dinner last time we caught up).

 

Viewing this as an outsider, it reminds me of the story of the Calcutta Rugby Club.

Now, I don’t know what the current balance is in the ARU’s bank accounts but if they do come to the same crunch point as the boys in India, perhaps they might have enough to put on a really good bash for all their supporters instead of being noble and having a new cup commissioned?

I vote the Four Pines microbrewery in Manli ™ as the venue, although we might have to rope in a few non-rugby mates to fill the place up a little.

Give me Brisbane Any Day

Our old correspondent, Magic, is on an enforced exile in Brisbogan this week and has spotted the marketing campaign currently underway in the large country town city;

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He asks, “how fucking bad must it be to have to choose Brisbane ‘Any Day’? And what’s the story with the weird capitalisation?

Magic’s opening gambit is “Give me Brisbane Any Day over a cock rash“.

Not bad, not bad.

I’m going with, “Give me Brisbane Any Day, half a kilo of crack, an AK47 and a thousand rounds and see how many fucking bogans I can take out in a timed ten minute rampage“.

Can you do any better? Don’t forget to capitalise the Any and Day in your reply.

Please donate to Justin Marshall’s eye charity

In a recent survey of rugby fans, Justin Marshall’s commentary skills were voted as being almost as objective and non-partisan as Phil “geee” Kearns.

This, of course, places him slightly behind North Korean TV newsreaders in terms of sources of unbiased information.

Following a “successful” rugby career with the All Blacks, having played in the legendary group of players who achieved the lofty and much-coveted 3rd place position in the Rugby World Cup (there’s no shame in being a bronze medalist in New Zealand), Justin has made quality commentary an idiom all of his own.

For example this masterclass from last week’s fixture against the Argies.

This is the start of the pass;

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And this is where the pass was caught;

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The referee and linesmen should have spotted the fact that the pass went forward by 2 metres but, hey mistakes happen in real time.

However, we must feel nothing but sympathy for that legendary (“lidg-in-durry“?) Kiwi blues guitarist Blind Justin Marshall, with his unfortunate cocktail of conditions including cataracts, astigmatism, myopia and cyclopic impairment.

Because, after 3 action replays, he still gushed like a female 14 year old One Direction fan about the pace, the power, the strength, the vision which enabled the try scorer to somehow beat a load of defenders…… after taking the ball 2 metres in front of where they legitimately thought he should have been.

Take it away, Blind Justin Marshall…. “boomfaah! Uncrudabel power there frum the wunger.

Yeah, what’s the hurry, maaan?

Hardly a working day goes by where I don’t think to myself, “the next Australian recession can’t come soon enough or hard enough“.

Yesterday was one such day.

Because of the lack of a severe dip in the Aussie economy for so long (over two decades), there is now an entire generation of domestic middle managers and executives who are living under the misconception that they are wonderfully-efficient creators of shareholder value.

The more serious flip side to that coin is that they have not a single fucking clue on where and how to truly take cost out of the business. For the avoidance of doubt, I don’t mean just picking up the phone to your biggest suppliers and saying, “maaaate, we’ve had an awful quarter, the boss needs me to show that we’ve made an effort. Do me a favour, drop your unit costs by 5% for a while, eh?“.

A couple of weeks ago, we spotted that there was an opportunity, through some contract consolidation, to rip an easy $3m per annum out of our cost base. The data was a bit rubbery but the conservative case showed $3m and the mid to best cases doubled that. For little effort, it made sense to just do it.

Actually, it made sense to JFDI; Just Fucking Do It. And do it quickly.

So off I dutifully trot, scope up the work, line up all the key stakeholders, get a project manager on board and briefed, business case approved and go hard and fast to the point of execution.

The last piece in the puzzle is getting a contract negotiated with a supplier and then signed. I can do the negotiations but, in the interests of being “collaborative” I need a Twinkie from the Procurement team to sit with me for probity and “support”.

One is allocated. He fails to attend the first steering meeting where our authorised negotiation parameters are delegated to us. Not a great start.

This doesn’t slow me down though, I’m booking conference calls with overseas lawyers and commercial representatives to occur in rapid succession and making plans for the execution phase with the project manager in the meantime.

However, the Procurement Twinkie keeps trying to get these meetings pushed back to suit his diary and even when he does turn up, it’s clear that that the first time he’d read the latest contract drafts was on the walk from the printer to the meeting room.

Christ on a fucking bike.

Yesterday though, was the icing on the cake. The phone rings;

Twinkie:TNA, I can’t believe you’ve just sent another short notice meeting invite out for tomorrow. You KNOW my diary is full all day“.
TNA:Yes, but on the last call two days ago, we agreed as soon as the latest contract drafts arrived we’d hold what is likely to be the last meeting with the supplier to confirm we have an agreement. This is that meeting
Twinkie:But, but, the speed you’re going at just doesn’t make sense. It’s too hard to keep up with you. What’s the urgency, for God’s sake?
TNA:Three million a year. That’s what, about sixty grand a week? Look, I know it’s not going to be a share price-altering improvement but it’s not a gob full of spit in the ocean either. Maybe I should just work on the assumption that if can’t get in your diary for a week, I’ll just take the sixty grand off your salary this year, ok?
Twinkie: *Phone click. BRRRRRR*

The Richmond Game explained

As much as it pains me to link to an article on the Grauniad, there were a couple of charts here that did make me chuckle.

The following two pictures go some way to explaining why every entry to date in The Richmond Game has involved fat old blokes and young slim women.

We’ve not posted a Richmond up here for a while so, for the newer readers, here’s the origins and the rules.

The first chart is this one;

Laaaadies

This is an analysis from a dating website of what single women think is the ideal age of a man. In general, a couple of years younger than she is, hopefully with a full head of hair, good personal hygiene and as little baggage as possible, is the consensus.

The female of the species is definitely more realistic than the male. Here’s the same analysis for us blokes;

Gennlemen

It’s unconscious knowledge, isn’t it really? Any bloke over 30 is a lecherous twat.

Want to see this chart in action? Be in a bar in the city at around 7pm on a Friday night where there’s an office drinks party happening. The young leggy blonde from HR/recruitment is stuck in a corner having to laugh at the lame jokes and innuendo from the fat 40 year old married accountant while she desperately wonders how she’s going to make her excuses and get away without jeopardising her career.

Being a contrarian, I look at that 2nd chart and think to myself, “what a bunch of idiots“.

Why? How about the 65 years young Isabelle Adjani, for starters?

Isabelle-Adjani

Bonjour Madame Adjani…..

But we could also have mentioned Helen Mirren (69) or perhaps Zeninab Badawi (54), both of whom float my boat.

Just my personal view but frankly, when I was of an age where 20 year old girls would give me a second look, I generally found them to be more than a bit vacuous. Of course, that was fine for a fairly vacuous spotty TNA, but now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things….

This is not a view shared by much of the male population, clearly. Otherwise, this would not be currently our second-placed Richmond Game entry;

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The summer is rapidly upon us, friends of this organ. This is the season of The Richmond. We need some quality submissions for this year’s coveted prize of the best Richmond.

Remember, you’ve got to take the photo clearly showing that the pair are an item and get it emailed through to thenewaustralian at gmail dot com with a little supporting information and your preferred screen name (let’s stay cowards use the antiseptic of anonymity).

Happy hunting!

Targets can be hard or soft. Australia is probably nursing a semi

One of the clients I do work for has a range of semi-industrial sites. As is good practice, they encourage a high safety culture and, for consistency, this extends to the office environment, looking to reduce the trips, slips and falls, etc.

Meetings open with a “safety moment”, where staff are asked to bring a suggestion or observation which will reduce risk of injuries.

All good stuff and very similar to good practice I’ve witnessed elsewhere.

Last week I attended a series of meetings and I made a contribution to the “safety moment” in one of them.

My point was this; the national security rating has just been lifted from medium to high. Australia has a four level system, the UK uses five.

Both the UK and Australia have moved to the level where terrorist attacks are deemed to be imminent. In these situations, public vigilance is key; we all need to be aware of situations which seem suspicious, look out for unattended luggage, etc.

If you see something, say something.

The reaction from my colleagues was interesting to say the least; none of the usual discussion around the safety topic occurred and, in fact, the subject was quickly changed to a recent incident with an overheating toaster in the staff kitchen.

This confused me for a while, irked me somewhat, in fact.

After a some contemplation, I realised the reason of my irritation.

My career has included time in London during the height of the IRA mainland campaign; I had near misses with both of the two big city of London bombs and the Canary Wharf bomb. For example, I’d been drunkenly staggering along St. Mary’s Axe just before 9pm on April 10th 1992. If I’d had stayed for one more pint you wouldn’t now be reading this blog. As it was, I heard the boom from the District Line.

Back in those days before mobile phones, on several occasions I arrived at my desk in the morning to a ringing phone; my mother would be on the other end asking if I was OK because she’d heard of another London incident on the national radio. I’d laugh it off; “Mum, there’s 6 million of us working in Central London right now, I’ve got more chance of winning the Ladbrokes Pools than being blown up by a bunch of left-footed bogtrotters“.

Later, when the IRA threat had declined, if I hadn’t chosen to cycle to work on 7/7/05, I would have been travelling through Aldgate Station sometime close to that of the suicide bomb attack. A few months previously, the number 30 bus had formed part of my commute to another office.

What am I trying to say here, that I have a charmed life, someone is looking over me? Nah, thousands of people “nearly” got hit by these events, many of my friends have similar near miss stories.

The message I’m trying to get across, and was trying to in the office last week, was that we live in a safe environment….. until we don’t.

There’s a level of diligence and awareness that Londoners have that’s shared by the locals of very few other global metropolitan areas. Tel Aviv, Belfast, Colombo, etc.

But not a single Australian city.

Take the tube for a couple stops in London and leave your back pack unattended for a moment and observe what happens. There will be nervous looks and glances, some people might get off at the next stop despite it not being the one at which they planned to depart. Almost certainly though, someone will eventually point to the backpack and say loudly “whose bag is that?“.

Now do the same thing on the Sydney train network. You’re more at risk of having the bag stolen.

In fact, it would be a fascinating statistical study to run on the transport systems of different global cities to answer the question; what’s the average journey time that an unattended bag will travel before being stolen or challenged?

Until recently, one could board a domestic flight in Australia without showing any form of identification. A home-printed boarding card is all you’d be asked to show. This might have changed now, but I’ve not flown domestically recently so can’t confirm.

So, here’s the The New Australian “safety moment”, for those willing to listen;

1. Be aware of your surroundings.
2. Challenge and report suspicious circumstances.
3. Give your office landline number to your loved ones. Why? Because in the event of a terrorist attack the security forces will cut the mobile network (mobile phones can be used as remote bomb triggers) and, even if they don’t, the networks will not cope with the capacity demand.
4. Treat the political ramblings of left-wing media trying to conflate the alert status with obfuscation around budget deficits with the contempt they deserve.
5. Don’t be concerned; if your number’s up, it’s up. Hedge your bets and buy a Lotto ticket.

Golf: If you can’t say something positive, don’t say anything at all

(With apologies to the several good friends who subscribe to this organ and enjoy golf. It’s our differences that make us interesting…)

All right, I CAN think of one positive thing to say on the subject of golf; it keeps a significant number of wankers occupied for long periods of time in locations other than the places I spend my weekends.

Imagine if all those chubby, all-the-gear-no-idea idiots had spent all that cash on a boat instead and were clogging up the harbour while I was out sailing?

Similarly, what if all the lycra-clad twats on their fancy carbon fibre, Sturmey-Archer geared bikes were out surfing on a Sunday morning instead of riding 6 deep on the roads in their pathetic peletons? It’s bad enough dropping in on bloody boogie board dickheads.

Back to golf though; it’s completely passed me by how any pleasure can be derived from it. Not intensive enough exercise to have any tangible health benefits, huge time gaps between actually “doing” the golf rather than walking to “do” the golf and let’s not forget the people one meets are the sort of people who join golf clubs. Shudder.

Suppliers often call me up at the office and proudly announce that I’m invited to their corporate golf day. Whoopee fucking do. Spend a day walking around an artificial landscape with a bunch of people I usually struggle to build up the enthusiasm to spend more than an hour with in meetings where I’ve set the agenda to suit my purposes?

But what about the free grog, TNA, you old soak? Surely that will grab your attention?“. It was a bloody long time ago when not having to pay for my drinks was a significant factor in my decision to attend or not attend a function. Difficult to put an exact date on when that was but it was likely to be at the confluence of attaining a reasonable disposable income and having the realisation that most other people are boring arseholes.

To put it more brutally, golf is the thing people do when they failed at sport as children. Didn’t get picked for the First XV in year 8? Don’t worry, you’ll be able to take some golf lessons when you’re 35 and spend the next couple of decades pretending you’re an athlete.

It’s also often something you do if you dislike your family. When I wasn’t single and still playing rugby, my Saturdays consisted of arriving at the rugby club with about 30 minutes to spare, playing the match, showering and skulling a couple of cheeky pints before heading out to whatever entertainment, gig, restaurant, etc. I had planned with my significant other. Total weekend time commitment; about 3 hours for a home match, maybe 4 hours for an away fixture. Golfers get very little change from an entire morning or afternoon away from their spouses. Isn’t it simpler to face facts and just get a divorce? Think of the money you’d save on green fees.

Anyway, all that being said, I do enjoy this video…..

Jai Hind!

Search this organ and you will discover plenty of evidence that I am very much an Indophile. I’ve spent many months of my life visiting the place for business and pleasure, I’ve studied one of their national languages at SOAS and I can hold my own in conversations on their history and culture.

Perhaps this love of the country clouds my judgment somewhat but I always respond with a wry smile when people talk about this being China’s century.

Sure, China is hugely important and has made rapid progress to lift itself out of being simply an agrarian economy.

But China is hamstrung in ways India will never be. Firstly, China is still a command and control economy with little or no concern for the rights of the individual. Just ask Ilham Tohti.

India, on the other hand, has Common Law and many of the individual freedoms and rights that have been won in that system since the signing of the Magna Carta.

India is also part of what Dan Hannan calls the Anglosphere. With that membership comes significant benefits that are “the envy of less happier lands”. The principle of government being the servant of the population, rule of law, property rights, free trade.

And most importantly of all, we get to fire our leaders every few years. India just picked a very promising one recently, for example.

So it shouldn’t come as surprise to anyone that India just managed to successfully hit Mars orbit with a satellite that cost less than the previous Australian government spent on failing to install the internet to half a dozen houses in the western suburbs.

But fear not, my fellow Australian taxpayers, because we can all pat ourselves on the back and share in this Bharatian success. Why?

Well, back in 2012 when the Mars programme was initiated, Australia kindly donated $22m in humanitarian aid to India. Or just under a third of the total mission cost.

Sadly though, we will be unable to claim credit for any future space exploration successes by the people who often take Australian jobs and perform them cheaper and better than the redundant Bogans.

You see, one of the first things that nasty Tony Abbott did upon entering office last year was to say, “Bus hogia! Joylti! Joylti!” and stopped the donations.

If, like me you are outraged at this backward policy and disregard for scientific endeavour, you could always get onboard the outrage bus with Senator Sarah Hyphen-Young and sign her petition here. The petition has been up for a couple of years now and she’s still about 60 or so signatures shy of her target of 1,300 fellow outragees.

Aw, bless रफ़्तार

What’s Californian for Bogan?

Ok, I had stopped accepting entries in this game because it was becoming like shooting fish in a barrel.

However, because I miss him terribly since he emigrated to San Francisco last month (to be a househusband, the lucky bastard) and because I had a vague memory of an emotion I think other poeple call “guilt” when someone told him about this blog at his leaving drinks…. here’s a bogan car plate entry.

image

Thank you Brad (as in “what’s on Brad’s iTunes today?”).

Keep working that accent to your advantage like the skinny gimp in “Love, actually“.

The category isn’t being resurrected though, I’m just being lazy as I recover the time I lost in my life this weekend while writing my thesis on the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” and its role in the Manson Family crimes from my hospital bed.

See psoas, Oscar Pristorious

File under; fuck me, we’ll laugh like drains about this in years to come.

Monday; run to work. It’s a tidy little 10 or so kilometers which has never bothered me before. Take the Opal-ready bus (and not all of them are; because public sector project managers are incompetent) home.
Tuesday; wake up in the early hours of the morning in complete agony, unable to find a way to lie, sit or stand that doesn’t hurt. Dose myself up enough to struggle through a day at work.

Wednesday; ditto. Important planning workshops are on and I had a large contributing part to play.

Thursday; ditto. Workshops complete, self medicate with a few bottles of fine Malbec with colleagues.

Friday; Charlie drives me to the GP who prescribes the good stuff; a cocktail of valium, anti-inflamatories and painkillers.

Saturday; the cocktail isn’t touching the pain in the slightest. To misquote Lou Reed, “valium didn’t help that pass“.

Saturday night; fall into the back of a taxi, with Charlie waving a tearful goodbye as I head to the hospital.

The diagnosis was that I had an injury to a disc following the run on Monday and that an MRI scan would confirm this. Great, except to fit into the scanner one needs to be;
1. Not moving every 30 seconds due to spasms, and
2. Not bent double writhing in agony.

At this point the medical staff seemed to take it as a personal challenge to find the drug which would stop the pain and deliver me to the welcoming arms of the radiologist.

In rough order of play (but things became blurred towards the middle and end of the innings) they gave me paracetamol, nurofen, codeine, valium (in ever-increasing doses), morphine, some other opiate-derived pills and then, on Sunday afternoon some bright spark decided ketamine was the way to go.

Horse tranquillisers.

Of course, I’m pretty fucking insensible to all of this after about the 2nd or 3rd hour. All I know is that I keep being asked for my name and date of birth prior to more pills being offered for consumption or syringes of liquids being fed into the line in my hand. And the more spaced out I get, the more frustrated they seem to be that I keep shouting out in pain when they try to move me into a prone or supine position.

Eventually, I can only assume my presence became an irritating reminder of their failure so they shoved me in a side room and closed the door. As a final gesture of goodwill, the ketamine drip flow was doubled. At which point I relived the graveyard scene from Easy Rider, the kidnapping of Popeye Doyle in The French Connection and the ballet dancing elephants from Fantasia. I tripped my fucking nuts off. Alone, with soul-destroying levels of pain while lying in a grey room with a single light bulb.

Thankfully, they forgot to come and refill the drip bag and the ketamine ran out. I don’t know how long it took for me to realise I wasn’t a smurf on a Harley Fat Boy riding the wall of death around a child’s kaleidoscope but when I did, I managed to hit the “call nurse” button.

Would you like me to top up the ketamine and give you another shot of morphine?
No, I want you to pass me my phone, dial the first number in the directory and ask her what I should do“.

Thankfully, that number was Charlie’s and she said stop taking any more drugs until she could arrive. Which she did, just as soon as she could persuade a friend to come over to sit for the kids.

In the meantime, she’d been doing some research (it’s not giving too much away to mention she’s medically-qualified) and had a theory as to why I was looking like an extra in Trainspotting but not being fixed in the other sense of the word.

Turns out there’s an extremely powerful muscle nobody has ever heard of called the psoas which connects the lower spine to the hip and upper thigh. Which happened to be exactly where all my pain was originating from. If this muscle goes into spasm it can resemble a disc issue and is very difficult to treat. Especially if one is reasonably immune to valium, which I’m beginning to suspect I am.

An hour of assisted leg stretches to isolate the psoas on the relevant side of the body and, guess fucking what? I could stand straight again.

So in summary, there are several lessons to be learned here;

1. If at all possible, never check in to hospital without a loved one to be there fighting your corner for you all the time, asking difficult questions, challenging the “professionals” and ensuring the shift change-over isn’t the point where you go back to square one.
2. Charlie is a fucking genius and the best thing that ever happened to me.
3. The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

Judge me

In what must be the biggest shock to the readership of this organ, I must admit to being somewhat judgemental.

Yes, I know; hard to comprehend eh?

In fact, the multiple times I’ve completed the Myers/Briggs survey have confirmed this fact for all to see; I’m an ENTJ personality type, where the J stands for Judgemental.

If you’re an employer, what that means is that you’ll get the outcome that you’ve employed me to drive and you’ll get it fast, efficiently and with an excessive number of visits to Human Resources to explain that you can’t fire me just yet but you’ll ask me to tone down the Malcolm Tucker-isms in the meantime.

Judgmental is useful to me and people who employ me, in other words.

Being quick to draw conclusions has lots of benefits, especially if those first impressions turn out to be correct more often than not.

A more negative synonym of judgmental is discriminatory. It’s almost the worst possible crime one can commit in the modern liberal (in the non-Aussie meaning of the word) world. There will be a candlelight vigil and “we shall overcome” choruses outside your house within minutes if the righteous left got wind of any discriminatory behaviour.

But“, I wondered last weekend at the beach when my kids asked if they could play with the young boy with the backwards baseball cap and asymmetrical haircut throwing handfuls of sand around, “are there occasions where discriminating is just sensible self-preservation?“.

Is it perhaps an unspoken fact that in many situations we would be stupid if we didn’t discriminate?

I’d read some of the comments on last Friday’s blog post and realised that we are under great pressure to appear moderate and inclusive when this might be at odds with our collective best interests.

For example, say I was recruiting for bus drivers and a chap turns up to the morning interview smelling of booze. Do I continue the process only for him to fail the medical due to alcoholism or do I discriminate against his disease and show him the door?

Common sense but discrimination, right?

Or perhaps if I ran an opticians and decided not to hire an optometrist because they had very garlicky breath?

It’s in my best interests to discriminate in these cases. Yeah, sure I could hire them and counsel them but life is too short to solve everyone’s problems for them and I’ve got plenty of kids already.

We have legislation, and plenty of it, in Australia to limit what we can and can’t discriminate over.

Indeed, there should be some boundaries to what is legally-acceptable in this regard. I shouldn’t be able get away with hiring only big-titted pretty blondes under the age of 25 to serve in my bar just because my clientele are lecherous men, for example. Although the actual policing this situation is clearly another challenge if my unscientific research is to be trusted.

What about a situation where someone’s religious beliefs are at odds with my interests though?

While, in principle, I like the ideal of religious tolerance, it feels somewhat naive to be tolerant towards a belief system which is counter to my interests. If your religion judges me and my family negatively for our actions, beliefs, clothing choice, consumption of food and drink, etc. I’m not sure the sensible thing to do is for me to tolerate this. And making allowances and being overly-sensitive to people with these attitudes would seem like borderline insanity.

Tricky though, isn’t it?

Firstly, there are laws preventing me from discriminating. But, as we’ve seen above, some discrimination is common sense and not doing so might be counter to my best interests.

Australia goes even further though and even has legislation preventing “vilification”.

That puts us in a tight spot, doesn’t it? We might want to call out our distaste that certain religious beliefs judge me and my family negatively and actively calls for our conversion to the faith and associated rules. But that would risk being charged for offending someone.

It feels like the pendulum has swung a little too far sometimes. Before you shout waaaycist religionist at me, here’s a an example; “profiling potential terrorists going or returning from a religious pilgrimage is ‘racist” ($ content).

Hmm, religion isn’t race and race isn’t religion, last time I checked.

And here’s a second; “it’s ‘unjust’ to arrest people on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack“.

Even in my valium-induced torpor, I still can recall the old adage;

When you are sitting at the card table and can’t work out which player is the sucker, it’s probably you.

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