The National Day – Part Three – The Plural Of Day Is Not Daze

Okay. Here you go – the calendar of national days for Australia. This schedule contains all the fun, celebration, liquor, politics, and ill-humour that you want or need for national happiness. Anyone who is not happy with it is entitled under the constitution to be sad. The only thing that the Committee asks is that they be sad quietly.

January 1 – Australian National Day. Commemorating the establishment of the 6 colonies as an independent nation free of rule from Westminster.

January 26th – First Fleet Day – celebrating a successful amphibious assault upon Botany Bay.

April 25th – ANZAC Day – celebrating a failed amphibious assault upon Gallipoli.

First Sunday in July – National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Day – leading into a themed week called NAIDOC week. Invite the immigrants to the party.

September 1st – National Immigrant Day – Everybody dig out the clothes and food from their various Old Countries and take a day off work. Invite the indigenes to thee party.

November 11th – National Armistice day. When Europe paused for 21 years to reload.

Now you can stack whatever religious feasts and sporting events you like in between the national days and mix and match them to your liking. If you select the right religion, the right community, and the right mate, you can be overfed and queasy for 6 months out of the year. And none of this interferes with tax time, EOFY sales, or the school year.

But it does remove the platform and propaganda that the lobbyists and professors use to keep themselves – like flies –  in the public eye.

 

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A Little Time In The Garden

Those of you who know my habits know that what little time I spend in the garden is generally confined to replacing sprinkler fittings or burying dead pets. For the most part I leave the vegetation alone and try to ensure that it does not attack me.

Yet, with the coming of spring and the hardy recurrence of the vegetable pirates I can take some advantage of them by testing out camera lenses on them. There is no subtlety in this – colourful flowers are a sure-fire drawcard for any website. All you really need to do is get them mostly in focus in clear sunshine. And try not to kneel in an ant nest as you are doing it.

If you are quiet and observant you get to see the workings of the suburban zoo – the tiny insects attacking and devouring each other, and the silent passage of the standard skink. I have yet to see the gecko that hatched inside the house but am still hopeful. And I do have a spot of affection for a wooly bear caterpillar I saw at work on the weeds that grow between the patio bricks. I left him eating one and discovered at the end of the afternoon that he had ingested his way down the whole walkway.

If we were real gardeners we would probably have enough wildlife in the back yard to attract David Attenborough. Perhaps we should plant bananas and hope for gorillas.

” Are You The Owner Of The Computer? “

Are any of us really owners of the computer? Or are just lessees? Worse, are we servants of it, rather than owners?

I am drawn to this reflection by a pleasant young lady with a sub-continental accent who seems to ring every few days from a windows technical department. I’m not sure which window company she represents – we had ours done some 35 years ago by Westral and they’ve held up very well. Only had one pane has broken and that was fixed promptly.

I suppose she wants to make sure that I can receive advertisements for their blinds and curtains. I was polite and told her that the owner of the computer was unavailable – she was equally polite and wished me a good night. I look forward to her next call, which I’m sure will be at dinner time again…

Going Thump In The Night

I often wonder about the societies that still believe in ghosts, spirits, demons, angels, and local council politicians. Do they sit in fear in the dark whenever the trees rustle or the roof timbers contract? Are they scattering talismans around their beds to keep the monsters at bay? If that’s the case, what sort of talismans would sell best, and can we get them wholesale from China?

For that matter, are the Chinese sitting up in bed clutching the covers, and staring into the darkness?

I have my moments, but most of them are related to where the darned cat is at any one time – ready to jump on my middle parts or already on the bed with its bum an inch from my face? I have taken to keeping a small torch by the bedside. If I see the bum one more time I am going poke it with the torch…

For the most part the house is quiet after midnight, except on late soccer nights. Then I trust in the football fans to keep the demons away from the door. If they could do it at a lower volume I would appreciate it, but one of them is Italian and there is no lower volume  on an Italian football fan. I have come to accept this and will hope for increased deafness in old age.

There are few external disturbances in the neighbourhood – we’re a middle-class suburb and have learned not to leave loose change visible in the consoles of our cars. I leave overdue bills there, hoping that if someone breaks in they’ll rush away with them and pay them for me.

T’was not always thus, as we had several years of mad motorcar chases in our suburb when we first moved here in the 1980’s. These seem to have died down – the miscreants growing up to be about 50 now and younger ones not replacing them. It may have been the hoon laws that stopped this – laws that confiscate and crush cars used by dangerous drivers. Or maybe it has moved out to wilder outer suburbs. We still get overflights to our local light plane airport at all hours, but these are mercy flights by the Royal Flying Doctor aircraft and are really a matter of civic pride.

We’re in the middle of time as far as our houses go – too early to have holes in the eaves that would let possums or rats in and too late to have much native fauna about. The cat doesn’t count as native or fauna.

At least we don’t have the same lives as Mr Lucien – the Moldavian cray fisherman I met some 30 years ago. He was working in Australia to get money for his family back home and before he returned he got me to make up dentistry kits so that they could get their teeth repaired. He also took back drums of Arlec electrical cable, weatherproof work lights, and motion-detecting sensors that turned them on at night.

When I asked about them he said it was to protect the family’s fish farm ponds. When thieves were trying to break in, the lights would illuminate them. I asked what happened then…

” We shoot them with Kalashnikov. Is good and work every time…”

He was completely serious…

 

 

Slugga Rye

The old movies were right. A slug of rye whiskey is the best way to solve the world’s problems. Or cause a bar fight.

The fact that a bar fight is the best solution to international tensions and the post-existential angst of shifting paradigms™ says a lot about the state of human relations. I find it a comfort in a changing world. The slugging and crashing of wooden chairs – the bartender ducking down below the line of fire – and the drunk being hurled through the window into the street gives me a warm glow. It’s been that way since kindergarten.

For a time there it was hard to find a bar in Perth that would serve straight rye. I tried the Victoria Hotel in Subiaco in about 2012 and got refused service at 1:30 in the afternoon based upon asking for a simple shot glass of whiskey with no water or ice . Apparently it contravened the state government regulations of Liquor, Gaming, and Making People Feel Uncomfortable. Times have changed, and I might have better luck in Perth today…though probably not at the Victoria Hotel. I’m not fashed – it’s hard to get parking in Subiaco anyway.

Most local Dan Murphys and Liquor Barons can now sell quite decent rye. There is still not the selection than a North American customer might find, but the situation has improved vastly. A home consumer* can feel comfortable.

The link between rye and prohibition is undeniable – just as it is with rough gin. That’s one of the attractions to it. It can be made into sophisticated and seductive solutions like the Manhattan or bashed down in shots like a cowboy or a gangster. It can be a highball anywhere on the North American continent. The Europeans probably look upon it with disdain, but what have they not? They would probably sneer at God and good health if they thought they came from the New World…

As an Australian who migrated from North America – a person who has not only one but two new worlds between him and the continental pig pen – I can celebrate the joy of rye whiskey. Smoother than scotch, devoid of the flavour of burnt moss. More masculine than gin, and more feminine as well. Possessed of a colour and an opinion that vodka never has. And free of the class snobbery of brandy. The only brother spirit is rum, and I say no bad thing about that. Rum and rye can sing together and damn the Governors!

*  ie a person not out on the roads. A person who can have another of the same and do it legally and safely. That second drink is the dangerous one – it either makes or breaks. Truth, sorrow, and appearances before the magistrate occur when the cork comes out for the second time. I only pull the cork twice when I am at home on front of my own hearth.

Home Six – Bed

I live at home.

And for eight hours a day I live horizontal next to a wife and a cat. We have a big bed, and if we are decent about it we need not impinge upon each other’s territory. The cat developed the habit of getting into bed by coming to my side of it and jumping up onto my bits, but I countered this by doing the hockey protector pose when I heard him enter the room and the worst that happens now is a bounce and a thud. On occasion he has tried to lie starfished onto my entire side of the bed but I pick up the blanket and sheet and roll him off.

We have also discovered that you can get a marvelous pad for the top of the mattress that means Mrs. I want to roll around like a pig in a fit can do so without disturbing Mr. for God’s sake lie still until I go to sleep. It has prevented divorce, suicide, homicide, and worse.

The only down side to a very large bed is very large fitted sheets. They cost a lot, and sometimes do not fit as well as the makers would have you think. Oh, the top bit always covers something but putting on the bottom stretchy bit is like fighting a giant squid in a diving suit. And you’re not allowed to use a knife.

Bed is often taken as euphemism for sex. Fine. That’s always a good thing, provided everyone agrees. But also consider that a bed is also a bed. It can be a great comfort even if there is no-one jumping on your bits other than the cat.

Today’s Victories

One: I read a dozen foolish and arrogant posts on Facebook from a dozen foolish and arrogant people and then elected not to make it a Baker’s Dozen…

Two: I coped with the needs of other people at the expense of my own. If I keep my blessed mouth shut about it, and then dismiss it from my mind, it will be a victory.

Three: I did not spend money for unnecessary things.

Four: I did my duty and kept my promises.

Five: I took the moral decision to avoid a bad idea that has been suggested to me. My initial reaction was to reject it – then I researched the morality – and I was delighted to see that authority agreed with me.

Six: I was a good host. So was my wife, and our house welcomed our visitors.

That seems pretty small stuff, until I consider it in terms of the way the world sometimes works. And also when I consider the times that I did not do so well. I hope I have other good days.