The Early Christmas Dinner

Sometimes people in Australia have a ” Christmas In July ” dinner. These are mostly migrants from the northern hemisphere who wax nostalgic about the cold weather and sitting around a fire with their hot toddy and plum pudding. That’s all very well, but they never seem to get equally maudlin about blizzards on the prairies or snow freezing on the points at Didcot.

I wonder if there is a tendency amongst Australians overseas to do a similar celebration –  except do it on the hottest day of a northern summer? They could all sit round sweltering with beer and prawns. And do beach cricket…amongst the gravel and pebbles of the average English beach that should be quite an experience…

We’ve just done the rellie run to pack in a Chrissie lunch before the in-laws fly off to Broome to celebrate the 25th with other children and grandchildren. The 16th of December will now be my vote for official Christmas lunch – because spacing it out a week and a bit before the 25th means that nearly all the extraneous pressure is off.

The previous years’ trips to a coastal city 60 kilometres away was done on the freeway, but there was nothing free about it. Every vehicle in the metro area was fighting their way down south at the same time. Hour and a half, sometimes…

Today? Clear road all the way there and back. 40 minutes either way.

No last-minute fight in the grog shops or supermarket either – food was easy to get. No queues at the petrol pumps.

The family was still the family and the decorations, food, drink, and fun were still the same. Now we’ll have an easier run on the 25th and dine at a hotel buffet – again no massive cooking chore. Why did we not think of this years ago?

 

 

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Happy Holidays

I intend to wish people Happy Holidays this year during December…in spite of Facebook memes and pressure posts that insist I must only think of Merry Christmas.

Oh, I intend to have one of those too…a pre-Christmas gathering with relatives and then a catered lunch at a hotel on the actual day. Merry will be practiced, I assure you.

But I also hope to have an equally cheerful Hanukkah and even a midsummers dinner. Here in Australia we do that instead of midwinters. If I were a Buddhist I could have a holiday during the month as well, and if I were a black American or a Hispanic American I would have even more celebrations to cook, decorate, and buy presents for. A veritable month of jollity.

And if I were an atheist I could celebrate the 25th of December as Newtonmas and send cards with ” Reasons Greetings “. I would be careful who I sent them to, however, because I think they would severely affect the people on Facebook who post those scolding memes about the term ” Merry Christmas “.

After all, I would not wish to affect their happy holidays…

The National Day – Part Two – Independence Day Or Dependence Day?

Remember I mentioned that most national days commemorate someone declaring themselves to be independent from someone else? And determined to govern their lives on their own terms?

Unfortunately for Australia, the events of 26 January, 1778 were rather in reverse. The local people were free before the fleet rocked up but not after. Think of it in terms of a D-Day landing but instead of the British, Americans, and Canadians storming ashore it would be the Wehrmacht. Possibly with better air cover…

Well, 230+ years have rolled away since then and there have been other amphibious assaults to thrill and entertain the citizens. Not all of them successful, but that doesn’t stop the national desire to march and cheer. But that idea of thinking that nationhood came in boats full of convicts under musket guard is starting to be a bit suss. And it begs the question that is answered everywhere else by a definite set of criteria; when exactly did Australia become independent from the guards with muskets?

You’ll be pleased and horrified to learn that it was on the 1st of January 1900. Pleased because it happened without bloodshed, and horrified that no-one now wants to have it as the national day. Why?

Because it is on one of the New Year’s days. The one that is recognised by most of he population, but is already surrounded with boozy celebration and hangovers. Hardly anyone has the energy to be patriotic after a night on the tiles. So the day is shifted to 26 January, by which time livers have uncurled.  No-one wants to have to be sober and proud next morning when there is avocado dip in their hair. ( Presuming that it is avocado dip…)

And now the indigenes are unhappy and the immigrants are unhappy and the cheap journalists and cheaper council politicians make a fortune of money and publicity out of stoking that emotion.

What to do? Well, first of all recognise exactly what the truth is about the current day. And decide what a national day really should be. And then unravel the story so that everyone can read it. In the phrase beloved of all bureaucrats: ” Bring us into line with other nations “.

Tomorrow? The new days planned for Australia.

 

Checklist For Anzac Day March

With the recent theatrics of the ” Anti-Australia Day ” march in Melbourne in mind, the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia has prepared a useful checklist for protestors who wish to stage an ” Anti-Anzac Day ” march later in the year. Feel free to download it and add anything that you feel may improve the affair.

a. Remember that it may be a march but it is not in March. Try as you might, you can’t re-write the fact that the assault at Gallipoli really was on April 25. If you come down the main street in town a month early with protest banners and scarves wrapped around your face in anticipation of tear gas, no-one will take any notice of you.

b. When you howl in outrage and curse the 1915 soldiers of the ANZAC you will be safe from retaliation by the original people. They are no more. Their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great etc., are, however, inconveniently alive…in large measure because of the original people’s war service.

That means you are not quite as safe to insult and degrade the memory of old service people as you may think…

c. If you plan to make your protest a step in your political career, be aware that steps can go down as well as up.

d. Likewise, if you plan to make your ” anti ” march a theatre of sexual protest and anti-male propaganda, keep a wary eye out for the ex – servicewomen who are there. If you are too offensive, that eye may collect a fist from one of them…not all aunties are anti.

e. If you plan to complain about the Anzac Day march from the point of view that the Australian forces were harsh to the enemy…well that’s fine. They were, on many occasions, and on a professional basis. That’s why the big chap up the front of the parade is still carrying the Australian flag down the main street of an Australian town a century later…

f. If you plan to protest current wars instead of past ones, remember that you may be seen as espousing the cause of current enemies. If you try to make this clear to all around you with foreign flags and banners, expect unofficial as well as official attention.

g. Don’t wear bogus service medals anywhere on your person during your protest. Not even if you wear them in the correct position. Nothing will earn you more lasting contempt and damaging notoriety.

 

The Eco-Friendly Claymore Mine

Every time I turn to the social media pages, there seems to be something that is eco-friendly – whether it is eye makeup or a motor car. And oddly enough, each mention of this wonderful property seems to be connected with an offer to sell me that product. I am starting to see a pattern.

I wonder if it would be a good thing to extend this to items – like the standard claymore mine or phosgene artillery shells – that are normally looked upon with horror. They need a better press and perhaps the idea of making them green is a good one.

Of course pedants will point out that claymores and gas shells are already green in colour, but this is merely playing with words. We want to make them desirable on an environmental basis. Given the fact that they are designed to kill, this may be a hard thing to do, but spin doctoring is a skilled profession – just ask the practitioners who attend the American president.

Let’s start with the phosgene gas shells. Okay, they have been estimated to have caused 65,000 casualties in WWI, but that was 100 years ago and surely no-one would remember that now…In any case, it was used by the French and we could always show pictures of a girl in a french maid’s uniform to make it seem a lot nicer. And remember that it is a valued industrial compound for other chemical manufacture. The fact that it is sitting in artillery shell…in some cases very old artillery shells…is just incidental. If we paint them pink we can probably sell them as sex toys.

The claymore mines are another thing entirely. They’re pretty new and much more likely to find their way into the hands of school children and people at senior citizen centers. Indeed, there are few better ways of clearing pesky teenagers off your lawn if yelling at them from the porch doesn’t work. They also keep your walkway free of religious callers and pizza delivery people.

What the manufacturers want to do is develop a claymore that does not spit out steel balls when fired – just a humongous blast of flame. These could be supplied in packs of ten at the local Home Depot store for use as snow clearing devices in northern cities. You open the front door on a snow day when a drift has buried your walkway, place the mine on the doormat, and squeeze the clicker. WHOOMP! Clean sidewalk. Think of the number of heart attacks this would prevent in middle-aged people.

Also on the cards would be a festive claymore for the Latin countries. Brightly decorated  and filled with Jaffas and Skittles instead of the steel balls, they could be hung in the trees and detonated during the fiesta instead of a pinata, No more danger of blindfolded little children swinging bats. Might be a good idea to reduce the charge in the candy ones to prevent melting the chocolate…Olé!

 

 

The Virtue Signal Has Two Settings

Australia’s national civil holiday is called Australia Day. It is celebrated on January 26…recorded as the day that the First Fleet…of convict and settler ships… landed in what is now New South Wales. Like the 4th of July in the United States, the 1st of July in Canada, and the 14th of Juillet in France, it is generally a day of national pride and joy.

Some claim not so. There are some indigenous groups and political activists who refer to it as Invasion Day, and like similar minded activists in some cities in the USA who want to rename Columbus Day, they seek to press their sense of outrage upon modern citizens. Some local councils who have a high proportion of activists in their area have gone along with this in the past couple of years and refused a civic celebration of the day.

In most cases the residents of their communities have ignored the political opportunists and gone ahead and had a good time on the day, but it is interesting to see the occasional person try to join in on an individual basis…for whatever purpose they imagine will be served.

The federal government is having none of this nay-saying on a local council level. If local councils refuse to perform citizenship ceremonies on the day, they face the prospect of being dismissed and replaced. So far no state government controversy seems to have arisen.

Silly? Petty? Opportunistic? Well, the readers have to decide for themselves…but I must say I have taken a little amusement on my own social media page to see a chance acquaintance try for her moment of virtue with a posting. I’m sure she’ll get it. And it would be churlish to deny her…people in the entertainment business need all the publicity available.

As for me, I’m going to watch the Australia Day parade and cheer the dancing Japanese ladies and the Indian Seniors as they go by. They are happy to be part of the nation and so am I.

Use Before January, 2018

Or freeze and use before the turn of the 21st century.

Nearly everything can be frozen. Milk, bread, bank accounts. You can freeze lots of stuff that would otherwise go rotten and extend the period of time in which it can go rotten. Time shift your smelly garbage bin, if you will. This is not as sad as it seems.

Before Christmas, we bought two cooked chickens from Woolies for use in a party dish – the meat was picked off the bones and the carcasses put back into the heavy plastic bags in which they had been supplied by the store. That went into the freezer – which might seem a little odd. Freezing garbage?

No, freezing carcasses that will be rendered for soup a little while down the track. It’s all a matter of timing. Garbage collection is Thursday morning, no good tossing chicken bodies out on Monday in a hot climate – by Thursday morning the place would smell like State Parliament. So they will be defrosted and boiled one Wednesday afternoon, then the stock frozen in turn for use in winter soups. Then they go into the organic bin.

It becomes a case of frozen Tetris sometimes as one cycles the various components through the freezer in time for disposal or storage, but the actual effect is pretty good – the amount of waste that the family produces is slightly less, and we get home-made soup for our troubles. And soup is a variable equation – nearly anything can be factored in. The only no-no is poultry and split peas – there is a chemical reaction in there that makes the entire house smell like cat pee.

Do we deserve the contempt of gastronomic nations for our freezer habits? Well, if you want to go down to the open air when it is 42º in the water bag and buy a half cup of organic kale for your masterpiece, don’t let me stop you. We’ll take bets amongst us here on whether you’ll make it to the end of the street before slumping over…while we sit in the A/C and wait for dinner to defrost. Off you toddle.