Archive for November, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 – Pass the Peanuts

Posted: November 28, 2013 in Events

My American friends – Barack and Hilary – are celebrating the tradition of Thanksgiving. One of the traditions – because I watch Brooklyn Nine Nine I know these things – is to tell the assembled masses what you are grateful for. So lets kick off my Thanky list because next week have to start on my Santy list

1. I dont live in America. But I can visit and do love it over there

2. Our turkeys that run the country and state – into the ground some may say – can only serve 3 year terms

3. I have 3 great kids and 4 healthy grandchildren. And no pets.

4. I have a loving and thoughtful partner although she gets a bit cocky if I refer to her as anything other than CLP:)

5. We are finally starting to win some sporting events again!

6. Anthony Mundine is one fight closer to never fighting again and hopefully never appearing on TV again

7. You can watch Breaking Bad again and again on Blu Ray

8. I dont have to work. But kinda wish I was at times. 35 degrees in Maryhole at 10 am is one of those times I miss the AC and the forty five minute tea breaks.

9. It should rain before the end of the year.

10. I can eat whatever I want and not put on weight

Oops, think I crossed over my lists with that last one……

Monday Moan 25.11.13

Posted: November 24, 2013 in Midlife Crisis in Maryhole

Its hard to moan when you wake up on a Monday and Aussies lead the Ashes 1 zip. But not impossible. After all my whole plan for the day of watching the cricket is gone! Us reduntirees plan our days around major Televisual Events. So lets scratch a little beneath the surface before we pop the champagne corks.

Fans would know I called this series early after first session on Day 1. Who would have thought the Poms could be even more pathetic? Ok its easy to be painted as the eternal pessimist but in reality this win, as great as it was, covered over a few cracks in our team. Its just that Poms have Bigger Cracks. Something we have always suspected. So the good news? Our bowling attack looks good and balanced. However lets wait until after Adelaide before starting the Moustache Mitch for PM campaign. To win the Ashes we need to win the series – yes that is a simple statement maybe but just highlighting a drawn series wont cut it. Brisbane and Perth were the two matches we had pencilled in and the Poms Powdering against some quality lively bowling tends to support that. The 3-0 result in England was never a true indication of the difference in the teams – but it did give the Poms momentum. Its a pity Perth does not follow next while the foot is on the throat – may as well hit them there with a couple of bouncers as well. Warner and Pup look good in front of the pegs. Rogers and Watto not so much and jury still out on Bailey. Haddin seemed relaxed and that bodes well. Hard to see the Poms batting as poorly again. Everything went our way from the toss to the weather. The true test will come when some adversity kicks in – MM saved us on day 1 but we all know at some stage in this series Mitch will likely be in the fetal position in the corner of the dressing room tugging at his moustache. The best thing of course about being a fearless soothsayer is worst that can happen is you end up with egg on your face – but we win the Ashes. Any true cricket tragic would have a carton a day cracked on his head if it meant we beat the Poms!

Speaking of winning could Aussieland enter 2014 as holders of Ashes, World Cup of Golf and Rugby League – and of course the Green Jacket. Halcyon days my friends taking us back to the eighties and that 12 m boatie thing in the wet stuff. And a PM that wears Budgie Smugglers.

When exactly did news reporting become so pathetic in this country? It is like the Today show now runs at 6 pm on weeknights. Every news bulletin last few days lead with the cricket. The only one that didnt started with the bad storm damage – but of course had to mention how it impacted on the cricket at the Gabba! Then we had the fascinating exposes on drinking at Schoolies or Drugs in our Schools. Where is Mike Moore when you need him. Lordy Lordy it is bad.

Weather forecasting? Remember how the Red Sea had relocated to Maryhole and all storms split and passed ? I am starting to think it is my magnetic personality. The same thing happened on weekend at Flashman Inc, Maplehead HQ. Storms approached and then parted , moved around, and rejoined out to sea. Currently in talks with software developers Come In Suckers to develop a weather app that overlays my exact position in Universe via GPS over the radar image. At last we may have the perfect storm chaser app. If successful I can then be hired to turn up to major sporting events where clear weather is required. But no, I refuse to travel to Adelaide.

Gympie Maccas? 7/10. Everything went smoothly but at the end of the day it is still only Macca’s coffee folks:) Worse still I may be becoming immune to the wonders of the Sausage Egg Macmuffin. Could my body be developing antibodies? Or is it just 8 a month is my limit?

Ashes Day 1 – Flanelled Fools Flounder

Posted: November 21, 2013 in Sport

Time of death 11:50 am. Watson edges to Swann in the slips.

Big early call? Yep. To me the first session of the first test in the series is critical. In the good old day Aussies would be 1-100. Somewhere in between 1 or 2 down for 80-100 is par for an even session. 2 down or more and less than 80 on the board – the bowling side won the session. But why is this session so important?

In most professional sports there are 3 common factors. The first two are the importance of MOMENTUM AND PERCEPTION. If you hold momentum naturally you wont lose. England had it most of the day after 11:50 am until about 4 pm. Good fightback certainly and that is where perception comes in – so important for Australia to get 300 on board and not 299 for example. And this ties into the third intangible factor – professional sportsmen are not the sharpest tools in the box. Yes there are some exceptions. By that I mean some are really really dumb! . So if Poms roll us for under 300 they will forget they let us off the hook. If we make 300 we will forget our middle order is as threatening as the QLD labor opposition. But the batsmen wont. They will know they blew a golden chance on an obvious belter and the seeds of doubt for rest of series planted. The Pommy bowlers will also know that in any session in future series an Aussie batting collapse may just be around the corner. And they hold the Ashes and have won last couple of series. Australia won the toss and needed to assert authority straight away. They couldnt and now the whole series is at risk. So lets run the slide rule over the players.

Rogers – looked nervous, never settled
Warner – in touch, left balls well. Meek ending sadly
Watson – middled about 30% of shots, never looked in form, more intent on defense
Pup – like Punter, very susceptible early in innings. Expect more short stuff
Smith – useful allrounder but not a number 5. Good for 30-40 runs most times
Bailey – too early to say but dont think we have found Mr Cricket Mark 2 yet
Haddin – seems best when under pressure. Good shot selection
Johnson – naturally gifted player and stroke maker. His bowling usually benefits from good batting
Rest – who cares

Bowlers – Broad and Anderson are a good double act. Think JA is better bowler but Broad got the bikkies today. That happens. Pity though that Broad did succeed from an Aussie point of view because suspect he could be psychologically vulnerable. At present he has the last laugh. Tremlett looks like Captain America. Root provides Warnie with his “charming larrikin” material in the commentary box

So another important first session today but mainly to see if Moustache Mitch can bring the goods with ball in hand. The bowling looks good but you need a big score to defend. And of course there is always the Brisbane November weather to consider later in the match. Australia may yet salvage something out of this game but they really wanted and needed a decisive win which looks very remote at present

One thing the Poms certainly do better than us is the commentary team. Thank Me they bought Bumble out. Warnie is a prize tool but is good in the commentary box. Laconic Chapelli rounds out a useful trio. The rest should just go make a cuppa. Strangely Mr Crickets dynamic personality does not translate well to TV – who would have thunk

Monday Moan 18.11.13

Posted: November 17, 2013 in Midlife Crisis in Maryhole

Pretty quiet week all round mainly because had a bad case of man flu. Mind you there are never good cases are there? Living my mostly solitary life has several advantages but certainly one of them is not being exposed on a regular basis to hordes of diseased folk. Escaped the cattle herding experience that long haul flights are completely unscathed. Almost champing at the bit one could say. Then I hit the mother lode – grandkids hanging off you for 36 hrs. What appeared cute at the time – eg licking my face like a puppy – is not listed in the Top 100 ways to avoid disease. Not the kids fault of course but it just reminds you what an incubator a young family can be and in those first five years of life there is rarely a completely healthy household. Of course as you get older the man flu gets worse – or maybe your tolerance levels drop? It has been a rough four days but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or, maybe I have passed over. Either way the flu is going going gone.

Its been a rough week of weather for some so lets not make light of it. These storms can be bad. I do believe though that the second series of The Dome could be set in Maryhole. Quite fascinating to watch the blue become orange become red as it approaches Maryhole – and then part like the Red Sea and pass around. I have no issue with a next day forecast saying “chance of storm” and it not occurring. Storms are female with a mind of their own – I get it. Late changes are the norm. What does piss me off of course is when that cockhead on the News will start giving Xmas day forecasts next week – down to the hour! It also appears I have reached saturation point – weather lingo – with apps and pages for storm warnings. My Facebook feed is full of them – so if I have not sent you that life in Candy Crush or ridiculed you in a Bitstrip lately please understand

Tony Abbott on the international stage this week was embarrassing. I am no fan of his naturally – or any current politician at present to be honest. (In Paul We Trust). I have always considered any politician who rises to this level to be a rather intelligent person though regardless of political persuasion. Its a tough job and you have to have widespread knowledge on many issues. (Damn I miss Paul). Even Sookie Boy Kruddy – who could not resist one last moment in the sun – sounded coherent abroad. I fear that now that Tony is away from the set script there are going to be some clangers to come. Never has the political landscape looked so barren

The Wanderlust continues to …. well lust I guess. Thoughts that the 2 week “Hands Across Half America” would dull the ache have not really materialised. Only served to feed the beast really. And its a damn hungry beast. And costly. Trying to divert all energies – when not flattened by aforementioned Man Flu – into next years European Jaunt with CLP but the spectre of the next solo adventure looms large.

As does Xmas. For the previous 35 years around this time of year would be starting to plan the Office Xmas party. Which lucky Maryhole Pub would it be this year? That is no more. But somehow I imagine we will still get together over the festive season. We were that sort of gang. And you miss that camaraderie around this time of year. And Ree’s Fruitcake. But this year do have what I hope will be the first of the Fergella ( bit of a Nigella vibe??) gatherings to look forward to where several Fergusons suddenly invade the traditional Della gathering for Xmas at Maplehead. Supplying the oldest attendee – Valda Merle weighing in at a spritely 87 yrs old and the youngest- Handsome Harry tipping the scales at 18 months. But first there is the weekend Xmas shopping trip to get through with CLP this weekend. Whoever invented Secret Santa deserves a medal. But you cant resist buying too many presents for the grandkids can you?

Now if only I had bought back 4 more Snowglobes from USA…..

The Flawed need Love too.

Posted: November 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

Just dont try and tell them. The most interesting characters always have some flaws even if minor. Its the easy going “bloke” who says he isnt perfect but deep down really believes he is that you should avoid. But he has left politics now hasnt he? What started this train of thought? A synapse most likely. Or maybe Part 1 of Keating on Monday night. Now I have always been a Keating fan and that has nothing to do with political bent which oddly enough bends quite regularly. He is simply an interesting character with an amazing intellect given his modest schooling and upbringing. Mention his name in a gathering though and you will get very strong opinions , and some surprisngly vile given their pet hate about the man was his own vile nature:) . They remember the none too subtle slurs in parliament or maybe were affected by the “recession we had to have” . He certainly wasnt perfect and indeed was arrogant but at least had something to be arrogant about. Labour produced three legendary figures during the 70s and 80s and each has a different legacy. Gough is the esteemed elder statesman, Hawkie was the good cobber mate saviour and Keating was the tough as nails Treasurer who went on to win the Sweetest Victory of all. Gough was larger than life while Hawkie thought he was God even if he himself was agnostic. Keating remained largely misunderstood and this never seemed to faze him. He certainly wants his role in the development of Australia in those years duly noted and will never pass up an opportunity to outline them but he still remains a largely one dimensional character in a lot of people’s eyes. Do yourself a favour and watch the show over the 4 weeks it is on. And while waiting for next installment chase down the always excellent Labour in Power series.

My sporting idol was always Muhammad Ali – another flawed character. Ali was a boxer first and foremost – and a rather exceptional one. But he wasnt one dimensional either. He had blinding speed in his hands and an equally quick wit. Given his world wide popularity he had the opportunity to speak on many issues outside of boxing and naturally did so with at times amazing eloquence and thought. But he could be cruel too – just ask Joe Frazier. Like Keating he was a fan of mental disintegration. Now there are many clever people out there who can throw out some very clever barbs and insults but the trick is you have to back them up with deed and thought for full effect. Ali is likely elevated beyond his true position in many people’s eyes because he literally was larger than life. He is no Nelson Mandela after all. But then he is no Mike Tyson either

The talent pool in Australian politics is very shallow at present. Lets not even discuss the shape of Heavyweight Boxing. Instead be thankful that at times Giants do indeed walk amongst us and even trample a few along the way perhaps. That is the price you pay to rise out of the mediocrity of everyday life.

Or you cant sit around and wait for the next series of Australias Got Talent hosted by todays verison of talented celebrity

Monday Moan 11.11.13

Posted: November 10, 2013 in Midlife Crisis in Maryhole

Could be a short post as not a lot to moan about this week – as the actress said to the Bishop. Easing Back into the Maryhole pace of life which is akin to a Buddhist snail on valium. The gym and coffee start is all sorted but then the day in front stretches long – like a group of adolescent boys in their jocks watching a Miley Cyrus music clip.

The walking 18 holes of golf experiment? Give it a pass mark – shot 83 but lost 3 balls :(. I prefer to say 83 rather than “1 under handicap” because the latter simply draws focus on my embarrassing handicap these days of 14! . I have a second theory – the first one naturally involves dinosaurs. Playing in a cart in a group of walkers is detrimental to my game. It is like sex – a lot of rapid movement followed by a lot of hanging around waiting for the other player to finish. Also it can be difficult to get to where my ball sometimes is by cart – much easier on foot. Of course the next day my spine felt like a Jenga tower with a few pieces missing so it may be a week to week proposition

Then it was out to Toowoomba to spend QT with Wilbert, Pat the Lad, and Ka Ka. Simply wonderful grandchildren but was on life support after 36 hrs. Its a different world and just as my body clock was back on track it gets thrown a curve ball. Lunch at 11 am, Dinner at 5 pm……. I now realise my bedtime is determined by my dinner time. Just add 2.5 hrs after dinner – ready for bed at 730 pm! And what exactly are they doing with the Toowoomba range?? Apart from causing traffic chaos and spending millions of dollars?? Dont see any extra lanes being put in which would appear to be a no brainer if going to this much trouble and expense

Back to Maplehead Inc to finalise flights for next years holiday Europe or Bust 2 – A Second Crack. Now having sampled some luxury I was keen to at least try Qantas Premium Economy one flight. Not sure about this Qantas – Emirates alliance. Looks to me like Emirates still has the Dubai gateway stitched up. If you want to fly Qantas to Europe you have to go via Honolulu and Vladivostok apparently! So we ended up with a “mixed class” fare which I think means on one leg we sit on the wing. We do kick off in Business Class though – darool darool – where we get to throw peanuts at the economy class passengers as an added bonus to make up for unavailability of pork. On the second leg though we may be eating these same peanuts as it is cattle class on Fokker Friendship I think. All in all 4 different flights to add to the whole travel experience.

Then it was time to head home and devoted followers know the routine. Gimpland Maccas mark today – 3/10. They lose 2 for arrogance. One tends to ask for coffee at this drive through more as a question rather than an order. Capuccino? “Sorry Sir, our Frother is not working – only latte or Flat White” “This has to be the worst coffee machine on the planet”. “Well it gets so much use Sir we are very Busy!” WTF – Was I suddenly transported to NYC?? If only. No this was Gimpland , with a population of 25,000 – or 50,000 if doing a head count. Ok mate, you want to play that game. “Brown swill and a Sausage Egg McMuffin and make it quick I am a busy man!”. He smiled . Then he laughed. We High-Fived. “Never Bullshit a Bullshitter Son” . He gave me an extra plastic spoon. How nice. Then I saw his phone number written on the back. That is one quarter pounder I have zero appetite for. Then this Flat White headed home to the certainty of Maryhole.

So not a lot to moan about and the next week looms as largely uninteresting and not a lot of blog fodder on the horizon. Then again the Weather Clowns are predicting a week of showers and storms. Next weeks blog virtually writes it self doesnt it? So the current hit list stands at

1. C**tbell Newman
2. TV Weather Presenters
3. Gimpland Maccas Drive through

But these are not serious issues today folks


Lest We Forget

jess and me


3 kids

The Monday Moan

Posted: November 4, 2013 in Midlife Crisis in Maryhole

People who know me well would be surprised to know I am not always the carefree , easygoing glass half-full optimist. Some things bother me, some intrigue and a lot disappoint. But lets give the meteorologists a break today

Has Joh come back to life? Now I am happy to admit that at first this bikie crackdown seemed sensible to moi. I was agreeing with C***bell Newman. That should have been the first clue. WTF is going on and when did it suddenly fill the first 5 minutes of the nightly news bulletin. Outlaw bikies leave me alone and I dont annoy them. I wouldnt want them living next door to me – I have seen SOA after all – but our paths dont cross so let sleeping dogs lie. I do of course ride a motorbike and when out and about on the highway you will usually find that other motorcyclists acknowledge you with a tilt of the head or whatever. Your badged variety dont do this and that is fine with me – it is their way of life not a joy ride. But there is some scary legislative power hidden under all this leather hysteria folks. And that appears to just be the thin edge of the wedge. Segregating bikies into their own jail sections. No smoking in Jails. Gee, cant see that blowing up in anyone’s face. Recently in USA and saw the difference in the political landscape there in just a couple of years. There are some scary Republicans that simply cannot be voted out of office anytime soon – sound familiar? Patriotism always stood out in USA when visiting – it is now a very divided country. Never thought I would see the day when their own President was so attacked by his own people. We do that in Aussie land sure but we are masters at the Tall Poppy decapitation – hell we invented it. Dangerous times ahead folks especially now that we have these conservatives in power both state and Federal.

How did the Wankabies become favorites to win a Grand Slam suddenly? Last thing they won of any value was a chook raffle 3 Saturdays ago. And they still had to buy every ticket. Oh I get it – they must have drafted another 6 league players while I was OS to help Izzy out. Nope, same clowns ran out, same result. Now we were dudded of course but not expecting to get dudded in England playing Rugby would be like expecting Watto to make it through a full tour. Yes thats right we have the Ashes just around the corner and we can get our revenge on England in something – apart from the lay down misere league wins of course. The first session of the first test will be critical especially if we bowl first and Spearhead Johnson is let loose. If he ends up in the foetal position in the dressing room at lunchtime its all over boys and girls

Maryhole weather. Newsflash. Its hot and dry. And another 5 months to follow. Just when my golf game was starting to take shape – and not the usual gay fade, but rather a controlled draw. Soon it will be compulsory tee up on the fairways. They tell me the fairways are bad. Cant confirm, rarely see them. Its just hard to get motivated to do anything, apart from sweat, from about 09:00 – 17:00. Luckily I am a morning person and bounce out of bed at 0500. Well I use to bounce out. Then I got an iPad and realised there were all manner of things you could do and see in relative comfort while the sun rises. So have the routine down pat now. On about the 2nd toilet visit for the night around 0300 I turn wifi back on and grab iPad. Try to go back to sleep, sometimes harder than it should be. Especially during war times on Lord and Knights. Damn these alerts that display on lock screen – yes I know you can turn them off, but then would have one less thing to moan about DUH. Then its up and off to the gym and morning coffee. The day is looking good

Then 09:00 comes around

The Lone Ranger needs more Silver

Posted: November 3, 2013 in Travel

So, how did the big experiment of 2013 pan out? Well Tony Abcess has only been in the job 2 months but things are looking grim

However the real experiment that has the public gagging for info is of course the Han Solo adventure also known in some circles as Hands Across Half of America . The plan, as devoted followers would recall, was reopen the US Government, give the Red Sox a few tips and then spend a week in Chicago and a week in San Francisco. It was a busy but productive fortnight. The Lone Ranger was venturing forth without Tonto by his side. Tonto suspected Kemosabe could struggle . As Kemosabe sat in Brisvegas airport amongst the great unwashed Tonto was not Robinson Crusoe.

The initial long flights are not a big issue as you are going to a place that is likely better, or at least more interesting, than the one you are leaving. Land in LaLa land and then the first concerns arise – getting through LA immigration and customs. But as was going to occur throughout this adventure the Travel Gods were on my side and my charm and wit convinced the hired help to suddenly open a new line and was through in about 20 minutes. A good flight to Chicago and then the adventure truly begins. My bag wasnt lost, still had my passport and taxis were plentiful. I found my B&B and carried bags up the 4 flights of stairs. Tonto would have been handy about now. Anyhoo the fans know that Chicago was a blast but then came the “internal USA flight” . In usual Flash mode got to the airport in plenty of time and then sat around people watching. Once again in San Fran all went smoothly at airport and was deposited at my digs late on a Sunday afternoon. Another 3 flights of steps – what was I thinking? Then the travel blues hit. Suddenly it all seemed a bit lonely. This was no B&B so had to traverse a few hills and dales to be ripped off at a corner store for some bread, milk and cereal. By now the gloom had descended in more ways than one. This would be the litmus test now. Would the next week drag or would I get my act together and enjoy my week? Blue turned red folks – I passed the acid test ( you probably need to have some scientific knowledge to fully appreciate how clever this analogy is:) ). From the moment I caught my first cable car and saw Alcatraz hazed in fog in the distance all was FAD. There were lonely times at night certainly and dining options are limited but it was another great week pounding the pavement. Of interest to some close to me it was only after 2 weeks of walking and at my debrief with Tonto that followed that I realised my normal troublesome ankle had not been restrictive. I may yet walk 18 holes of golf again and I have San Francisco to thank. I bought my heart home but maybe left my arthritic ankle behind? The long flight home was a pain – but always is.

So the two week adventure was a treat and went better than expected really. Who would have thought I could make friends with strangers relatively easily. Ok who would have thought I would even speak to them really? So now the dilemma. Tonto tells me that the Reservation is full for the next few years. Looks like Maryhole maintains its record of the exact population of 22,365 it has been for the last 35 years! Wanderlust temporarily sated and there is a trip to Europe next year with Tonto. But after that? If my plans to become Clive Palmers next senator dont come to fruition then I see another solo trip in my future – maybe to the UK. Travel costs money. Tonto has said that while she will struggle she would survive if I went away again. Sarcasm is usually not associated with your native American. So, does one look for some work to fund another OS trip or does one accept you cant live forever and its ok to blow 10 grand a year on travel ?

In the meantime how about some Flashies?

Best Flight – LA – Chicago: on time, smooth, arrived 30 minutes early

Best Airline Food – last breakfast on QANTAS flight – because there was only another 90 minutes until I could get off the plane!

Best Tour – really all were great but you cant beat a Segway for fun and freedom

Best Food – Gibsons Steakhouse Chicago – to be fair I didnt try many restaurants

Best Beer – Goose Island 312 (Chicago)

Best Insider Tip – Dont pay for observation towers in Chicago just the Signature Room 95 th floor John Hancock

Best Service – AT&T store Chicago

Best Movie Geek Moment – Walking the Streets of San Francisco pretending you are Frank Bullit

Best Coffee – sadly no nominations