Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Even Sisyphean Tasks Still Need Doing

The Starfish Story…

A young man is walking along the beach after a storm, and sees thousands and thousands of starfish have been washed ashore.

Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean. 

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks. 

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.” 

“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it!
You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one."

h/t Matt G via OldNFO

Sunday, 4 October 2015

What would happen if ...

I drove to the range this morning at a sedate pace, obeying all the road rules, and intently monitoring my surroundings.

It wasn't due to a hangover after drowning my sorrows at the big game results.
It wasn't a response to the shooting by the Iranian teenager in Melbourne.
It wasn't because of a significant traffic police presence.
It was due to a "what if ..."

You see, I had committed to shooting both revolver AND semi-auto in the weekly competition, and intended to test some new ammunition in a couple of rifles. This meant I was carrying enough firearms and ammunition to start a small war. Well, would you believe a nasty tribal conflict? How about a street gang turf war?

In addition to this, I had plans to start a homebrew of ginger beer after the shooting, so I had a couple of plastic containers of a crystalline, whitish powder (raw sugar), and some chemicals (steriliser, de-chlorinator) on the back seat.

I was wondering, "What if I were to be stopped for a traffic infringement? How long would it be before I got out?"

Friday, 2 October 2015


I don't go out of my way to identify myself in cyberspace. Even with the limited information available, it would not be all that hard to find out who I am in meatspace, but I don't make it trivially easy.

That makes it somewhat difficult to brag about my children - if I identify them, and admit the paternity, then identifying me is absurdly easy. Do I care all that much? Not really, but why make life simple for the thought police? These days, just having an opposing opinion can be viewed askance, and make problems that I don't need.

So, I wrote all that to explain why what follows is mostly obscure reference, rather than direct links and quotes.

My daughter is a dancer. I think that she is a very GOOD dancer, but she is not ONLY a dancer. She is also blonde, but she is most definitely NOT the archetypal "dumb blonde" - being among the best high school students in the state doesn't happen by lottery (yet).

Having performed with a number of dance companies in the state, she has finally hit the big screen! The big screen at the Cultural Centre, that is, with a solo dance piece that she helped create being screened multiple times over several weeks.

They say that pride is a sin, but I don't care - daughter of mine, I am proud of you and your achievements. Forgive me for not making it possible to easily identify you.

You can't choose your family ...

I had an ... interesting ... conversation with my cousin (female, mid-thirties - the French have gendered nouns, why can't we?) yesterday.

She was raving about the Australian government now forcing people to work until they are 70, and bemoaning how unfair that was.

Sadly, I am all out of fucks to give, and it was annoying as shit, so I just HAD to correct her, somewhat forcefully.

1. The government is not forcing anybody to work until age 70 - they are removing the financial support that sees people receive OPM (Other People's Money aka "the age pension") once they turn 65.

2. There is NO LAW that mandates ANY retirement age - if you have enough resources to live on, then don't work. It's your choice. The statutes only talk about how old you must be to qualify for certain benefits (paid for with OPM).

Sure there are clauses in various superannuation policies that say you can't take out your money until you reach a certain age (barring certain extenuating circumstances), and these are there to comply with Australian law, but if you have other ways of supporting yourself, there is no compulsion to work.

3. If it comes to either working until 70 or starving, then whose fault is that? Nobody else but you made those choices (overseas holidays, new cars, having children, drinking, smoking - all when you couldn't afford it) and fuck it, you can live with the consequences. Or not, I don't care.

4. Just because you are a fool when it comes to money is no reason to transfer OPM to you, EVER. Maybe the next generation will see your stupidity and learn something. Or not, I don't care.

Of course, this attitude makes me heartless in her eyes; it's FOR THE CHILDREN!!!!

5. What is more heartless, seeing fools (and their children) face the consequences of their own willful stupidity, or taking money from ME (who made mostly smart choices), that would otherwise have gone to making things better for MY children?

I swear, the more I see of the effects of the welfare state, the more I want to see it burn to the ground so the survivors can start over.

Now piss off, I need to reload.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Just say NO!

It appears that the whole of Australia has now heard that two convicted drug smugglers were executed in Indonesia overnight - and everyone has an opinion about it.

The thing is, opinions are like assholes - every one has one - so here is my take on the issue.

A number of people decided to smuggle drugs out of Indonesia into Australia. (BTW, this makes a LOT more sense than Ms Corby's efforts to smuggle drugs out of Australia into Indonesia. It's buy low, sell high, people - no pun intended.)

They were caught. There is no doubt that they were guilty. The Indonesian police caught them in the airport, tickets/boarding passes in hand, with the contraband strapped to their bodies. The fact that this was in response to a tip-off delivered to the Australian Federal Police, and passed on to Indonesia, is irrelevant.

These bright sparks walked past multiple signs that proclaim the folly of their actions that day - below is an example, but they are everywhere in the airport at Denpasar.

For some reason they decided that either;
a) The message on that sign didn't apply to them
b) They would not get caught

A number have freely admitted that they did it for the money.

So we have; smuggling illegal drugs, knowingly breaking the law, for money. That's drug trafficking, which they knew attracted the death penalty under the laws of the country where they committed the act.

Did they commit the crime? Yes.
Did they know it was a crime? Yes.
Did they know that the crime attracted the death penalty? Yes.
Were they young and stupid? Yes.
Were there extenuating circumstances? No.

The only issue I have with Indonesians enforcing their laws in this case, is that it took them ten years to do so.

Oh, and will I be boycotting Bali? No.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

You never stop learning

I learned a new word today - no, not one of those frowned upon in polite society; if there is such a thing any more.

It's alethephobia.

Derived from Greek ( aletheia is ancient Greek for truth; and 
phobia is ancient Greek for (irrational) fear) it means "a fear of truth".

According to Urban Dictionary:

Alethephobia is Fear of Truth. It can fall into several categories. As a condition it is treated as irrational fear putting the person in an incapacitated state of mobility to a racing anticipation at the mildest. It can be fear of discovery. Fear of hearing anticipated bad news. It is knowledge of the truth being potentially disclosed and disseminated. It transverses other well known and otherwise described phobias but always is rooted in fear of the truth subjectively, objectively, relatively, or as a primary motivator of basis in individual condition.

The appalling grammar of that fragment aside, the word itself is just so attractive, and describes so many people in so many situations.

I think I will have to use it on my son's teachers. It would make a great lead-in to the "discussion" I need to have with them about the latest inanity (insanity?) that they are teaching - truth is not absolute, but personal; and everybody has their own.

Thinking about it more, maybe that's not something to raise in a teacher/parent conference.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Lindt Café - Redux

The Lindt Café "incident" is well behind us. The place has re-opened, and only three people died - the manager, a customer, and the fanatical muslim wack-job that started it all.

The trouble is, two of those deaths were completely unnecessary, and all three can probably be laid directly at the feet of the police.

The muslim wack-job deserved to die, and apparently the police team did the appropriate thing there; but the manager was killed when he tried to do the job that the police somehow hadn't got around to yet, and there is not much doubt that the customer was killed by police gun-fire during the farcical comedy of incompetence that they called a "dynamic entry". You'd guess that somebody that "died of a heart attack on the way to hospital" had to have first had some problem needing treatment in a hospital, wouldn't you?

Funny thing is, if there had been a fire in the kitchen, it would have been handled with the fire extinguisher in the corner; if a barista had been scalded, the first-aid kit in the office would have been raided for burn dressings; if a customer had spilled a coffee, the mop from the cleaner's cupboard would have been pressed into service; but some devout religious fanatic starts yelling "Aloha Snackbar" and waving a shotgun, and there is neither an appropriate tool available, nor the will, to solve the problem.

Why is that?

Well, mostly it is due to actions of the police over years, and former Prime Minister John "Jackboot" Howard most recently.

You see, if there had been something available to snuff out the problem before it got really started - say a baseball bat under the counter, or (quelle horreur!!!) a firearm, then the muslim wack-job would have been down and out (or preferably, cooling to room temperature) before he got to his second sentence.

Only problem is, the police would then have charged the life-saver with assault or even murder, and if they had found the tool BEFORE the incident, then the charge would likely have been something like "lying in wait while armed" or "unlawful possession of a weapon". This has been going on for decades - the police have an ingrained antipathy to self-defence, and the possession of ANYTHING that could be used for self-defence.

Little Johnny Jackboot only made it worse with his hysterical response to the Port Arthur incident - pressing for heavy restrictions on firearms ownership by everybody that didn't do it, demonising law-abiding Australians, and blackmailing the states into implementing the laws that he wanted (or, if the stories are true, that his wife wanted).

So now we have a population that is conditioned not to fight back against the bad guys, and that doesn't have access to the most appropriate tools for the task.

I have heard all the bleating that the muslim wack-job shouldn't have had access to a gun, and how tighter restrictions would have prevented the tragedy, but that is simply untrue, and to me it seems that there should have been at least one more gun at that café - in the hands of a good guy.

Monday, 13 April 2015

I'm Back ... again.

Well, the world obviously does not revolve around my blog - 'cause if it did, then it stopped some time ago.

I don't imagine that there is a whole lot of readers out there to whom I need apologise, but I AM sorry that I haven't kept up with things. You see, health is a fleeting thing, that you don't really value until it's not there, and my health went away for a long sabbatical some time ago. Even the power switch on my laptop was beyond me for a while there.

I had some abdominal pain, so eventually (hey, it's a man thing!) I went to the doctor. He poked, and prodded, and questioned, and concluded that I had diverticulitis. He wrote a script for some antibiotics, and made a suggestion (no more than that) that I get an MRI to confirm his diagnosis, just in case. Surprisingly, I actually listened, and rang about an MRI. In a stunning tribute to the fact that Australian medicine is not completely over-run by the State, I got an appointment for the next morning, and dutifully turned up in the starving, un-breakfasted condition required. "Drink this over the next twenty minutes. Lay here. Don't move. Expect a whole-of-body warm feeling, you might feel like you have wet yourself. OK, you can get up now." Radiologists are SO cold.

Two hours later, I got a phone call: "Get yourself to hospital NOW. Not lovely, nearby private hospital - they don't have a surgeon available. Go to the ER at large, distant public hospital - they are expecting you."

I don't remember much of the next week. After spending less than 30 seconds in the ER, I was bound for the surgical ward. Apparently, I had multiple blocked blood vessels in my gut, and missed my appointment with the guy with the black robe and scythe by about two hours.

Recovery from surgery takes a while, but having to stick myself in the gut with rat poison injections twice a day for eight months is not something to be remembered with relish either. Blood tests every week; visits to the hospital every fortnight; colonoscopy; endoscopy; MRI; ultrasound; X-ray; CAT scan - none of it is to be recommended.

But now that is all over. The two latest blood tests have reported that all is as it should be, and the clots are now believed to be all gone since the levels of anti-thrombin 3 are within normal levels. I am still struggling with a lack of energy, but even that is improving.

So, TL;DR ... I'm back - just don't expect too much. :)