I went somewhere. I am back. Next time I’m walking so I can avoid the never-ending procession of f$%kwits who hold up national airline schedules because of their own f$%king stupidity, selfishness and having no f$%king idea of fitting into society’s simple f$%king rules.
Yesterday’s flight home was a doozy. By the time we hit turbulence on the downward spiral to home, I was hoping we’d get whacked by the best of Thor and nosedive to a quick and fiery death because the fight against airport f$%kwits is getting too goddamn difficult.
How hard is it? Get to the airport before check-in time. Check in. Go through the scanning apparatus and to the lounge. Urinate in the public loo if you’re scared of plane dunnies like me, or grab a snack if you have time. Wait in the designated lounge. Hey, a standard operating procedure in 50 words or less, woo f$%king hoo, I’m a travelling genius.
Back to yesterday. Ninety-nine per cent of the people on the flight preceding mine got their shit together and boarded the plane. Except Mr Jack F$%kwit, who was called and called and called over the public address system. For f$%k’s sake, the f$%king airport is the size of my carport, where the f$%k can you go once you’ve checked in? Off to drop some monster turd because you didn’t have time to go to the toilet at home, hey, is that it, overpaid fly in/fly out mining f$%kwit? How about go to the f$%king toilet and THEN check your baggage in so airline employees don’t have to find your f$%king backpack and turf it off the plane because you’re a selfish moron. You should have a simple f$%king process by now to manage your Monday mornings and not hold up the next planeload of people who also have lives and jobs and better f$%king things to do than listen to your stupid boring name being called like a f$%king religious mantra. Thank christ for the children in the airport that I didn’t get on the PA system and call you myself because my politeness level at sparrow fart o’clock is much less civil.
Then, 10 minutes before my flight was boarding, I saw two police officers in front of me. My surreptitious little bleary-eyed perve on the men in uniform was interrupted when I saw them apprehending a shoplifter. The shopkeeper also got involved and they had a round-table discussion in front of me on why this f$%king leech of society paid for one chocolate bar yet had two in her pocket. Interesting stuff, until the cops got her to pull out her boarding pass because she was being arrested and would not be getting on the plane. Oh, f$%k off, she was booked on MY plane and f$%king well delayed it further because the staff had to cancel her booking and some poor baggage thrower on the tarmac had to fish around in the bowels of the plane for her f$%king bags because she was going to the nearest police station instead of Melbourne. Bugger me dead. The stupid f$%king oxygen thief held up our plane because she didn’t want to pay for the second Mars Bar.
I got up at four-thirty in the morning for this shit. I do not believe it.
Hey, and Virgin Blue, on the little screen that tells us where the plane is on the map, the big blob of water at the south of our country is Great Australian Bight, not Great Australian Bite, you f$%kwits.
Crank-o-meter: really f$%king happy
PS: is there a reason we have to dim the lights and draw the shades when taking off or landing in the dark? And open the shades when doing the same in daylight? I do not understand.
The lead-up to 25 April always has my emotions pulling in different directions.
ANZAC Day has evolved into a time to remember those who died during conflict and to reflect on the meaning of war. For me, the day is a reminder of the worst and best of human behaviour. Aggression is an immature substitute for negotiation, but history proves that people will fight and kill for what they think is theirs. To try to level the scales, we need the service personnel who help with peacekeeping and disaster relief — knowing one day they may be required to take life or risk their own while performing their jobs.
Some people and events stand out in my mind that capture the spirit of the day.
Australian Army Sergeant Michael Lyddiard sums up the ‘can do’ attitude that still prevails across much of our defence force. Late last year he was serving in Afghanistan and rendering safe an improvised explosive device, a task that still requires human intervention. The device exploded and would have killed him had he not been stabilised and treated by quick-thinking personnel. After spending time in Germany being put back together, he has returned home and started a training and operations role with the Army. He came back without his right eye and right arm but have a look at the joy on his wife’s face at having her husband home and alive.
William Allan was the last remaining Royal Australian Navy sailor to serve in World Wars I and II. I’ve heard local tales that Mr Allan had an active hand in planning his state funeral, including watching rehearsals of a hundred sailors leading the gun carriage that would one day carry his coffin. It’s always messed with my head that someone can be so pragmatic about death and finicky about the finer details of a celebration he wouldn’t be actively participating in. He passed away in 2005 at the age of 106 and got his ride atop the gun carriage.
Many family secrets borne from war go to the grave, leaving ancestors with unexplained gaps in their family trees. Mine is no different. I know that my grandfather was tortured at Changi: the only sign he gave was that he couldn’t wear socks or enclosed shoes because any form of warmth near his feet was excruciating. I didn’t know until after his death that he wasn’t my mother’s biological father (since revealed that man was an RAAF and stunt pilot who died performing tricks in a domestic plane). Mum was born after the war ended — and after I assume Pop had been freed as a POW — so it’s another mystery that will probably never be solved as my grandmother has since died.
My father’s family tree is more gnarled and knotted: his mother spent a large part of the war escaping Holland with a family of five children in tow while her resistance-member husband was a prisoner of war courtesy of the Germans. That part of the family history is fairly cut and dry her life but the fathers of at least two of her eldest children are a quiet mystery. Oma is still alive and in her 90s but has made it clear she’s taking everything to her grave. There’s an internal struggle between respect for her wishes and curiosity from family members who want to understand their heritage.
I don’t have a strong opinion on how much the public should see of what happens in conflict zones and the impact. I stopped watching SBS news because graphic images of bodies and destruction every night were becoming too disturbing, but we have the right (and possibly the responsibility) to see what’s happening in less peaceful regions of the world, as well as understand our own country’s role in helping or exacerbating these conflicts. On commercial television stations, news coverage glosses over the reality for twee stunts like Condoleezza Rice’s recent surprise visit to American troops.
Having said that, I was appalled when footage of the 2006 Blackhawk crash on HMAS Kanimbla was televised when it became available. Video of the helicopter tipping off the ship’s flight deck was replayed until something with a newer ‘ooh’ factor — such as a car crash — hit the news. Two personnel died doing their jobs in case Australians needed to be evacuated from Fiji and their last moments were treated with disrespect and lack of consideration for their loved ones.
One existential experience makes me wonder about life. I crashed my car just over a year ago. After some light rain, the rear tyres slipped on an oily patch and I think the car span, hit a pole, span again and somehow managed to miss oncoming traffic as it stopped in the middle of a traffic island. Some friends who drove by later couldn’t believe I got out without a scratch. A young trainee sailor died in the same place only a few months earlier as the passenger in a car accident. I don’t believe in God or reincarnation, but sometimes I think about him and wonder if he had something to do with keeping me safe. I’ll never know until my own time comes to leave this earth. His family lives overseas but someone still places flowers at his roadside memorial every couple of weeks.
Some of my favourite reading moments involve sticking my nose in the weekend papers and getting lost in a well-researched and written feature story.
Modern-day journalism’s shift to delivering news online with immediacy and brevity has put pressure on feature writing as a craft. However, at the Melbourne Press Club awards last week, long-story writer John Silvester was named the Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year and awarded the Grant Hattam Quill award for investigative journalism.
Silvester is senior crime writer for The Age and has been reporting about life outside the law for almost three decades. His articles stand the test of time because he takes care with each sentence to turn facts, lies and theories into compelling essays about humanity’s uglier side. He treats his role as a narrator with humility and allows subjects to speak for themselves, only adding dabs of opinion when needed to shape a story.
I scratched around the web for a couple of features that have stuck in my mind. This piece from 2003 is one in a series compiled about Melbourne’s gangland killings. A lesser writer would need twice as many words to character sketch the players, unfold the story and make the reader feel the anticipation of police who managed the operation. There’s no superfluous detail or drama and events play out as though the reader is watching from the window of a nearby apartment.
This front-page story linked Peter Dupas to the 1997 murder of Mersina Halvagis at Fawkner Cemetery, and gave me goosebumps reading it again after three years. The eventual conviction of Dupas is a reminder that investigative journalism can go beyond reporting facts and have the ability to make news. Silvester deftly builds a case against the suspect while he lets a supporting cast of survivors reveal a murderer’s ritual of preparing to kill.
I don’t have the clout to hand out awards but I have a tonne of respect.
I am too busy to write and edit an entry today. I have sticky-taped a photo of Henry Rollins’s face to the cats’ scratching post and made a lasso out of some rock climbing rope. I’m in training to catch me a Henry tonight.
Practising the rope swirling movements above my head like in western films is difficult inside the lounge room. The bloody rope keeps hooking on the light fitting and interfering with my kidnap plans. That never happened in the movies, stupid Hollywood spaghetti western editing processes.
I’m a bit short sighted and won’t be able to tell if I get the loop around his lovely torso or the microphone stand. Must remember to pack binoculars with the handcuffs, just in case. If you see a village idiot dragging a microphone stand through the streets of Melbourne late tonight, smile and step away slowly.
It’s my birthday on Sunday and I haven’t organised anything special (except having Henry in a cage next to my bed) because I’m unmotivated and want to forget it’s a step closer to having eye bags that swing under my nostrils and tits I can carry around in my pant pockets. Can Fat Couriers send me a warm chocolate cake please, with an inch-thick slurry of chocolate frosting on top, and maybe a side dish of cherries marinated in alcohol. And a small bowl of good vanilla ice cream, pretty pretty please?
I used to think I was tough but I am proud to be a powderpuff. Look out when I karate chop bags of marshmallows with a single HIY YAA!
Once or twice a year I twist the wrong way and inflame a back injury caused by being a failed superhero at the gym. It feels something like attaching a set of live jumper leads to my spinal cord near my posterior. A sadist I know recommended ice massage as an effective treatment for hurty backs and problems like overuse injuries in wrists and elbows.
Applying treatment with ice massage is as simple as filling (recyclable) polystyrene cups with water and storing in the freezer. When required, cut the top inch of a cup away to expose ice and rub it in small circles on and around the area until you can’t tell the difference between hot and cold because your nerves are fritzed. Repeat several times a day and it’ll de-swell almost anything, as long as you can tolerate the ouch factor. I think I’m cleverer than the average bear when icing my lower spine because it hurts, freezes, shocks and causes uncontrollable shrieking like the day a spider fell in my lap but I keep going back for more because I’m tough.
Then I heard a radio story about the Australian women’s netball team having ice BATHS.
I am a wailing wreck from a minute’s worth of ice on my back three times a day but these women bathe in bags of ice. That’s tough. I nearly cried sympathy tears when a news story said the national competition was getting rougher and captain Sharelle McMahon would need to have “more” ice baths to help post-match recovery.
I haven’t played netball since having my emerging brests jabbed with teenage elbows during school sport and have been turned off the sport since. Now I have a real reason for shying away from netballers: they are high priestesses of pain.
Former super ice woman Liz Ellis described the process as:
“Following the obligatory warm-down jog and stretch we had to endure ice baths. Think of the coldest you have ever been and multiply it by a million. Sit for 30 seconds in a bath full of ice and cold water three times, having a warm shower in between.”
Next time you’re at a barbecue and the drinks are in a bathtub full of ice, ditch your clothes, jump in and get an idea of how freaking cold that is. I’ll give you a hundred bucks if you can do it without screaming like a kid who’s lost a lollypop.
Not only do these women literally try to freeze their tits off every week in the name of throwing a ball in a ring, they are prudent with bare-bones funding so the ice budget lasts. Player Lisa Alexander once said that a team manager warned that players might have to cut back from eight to six bags of ice per bath so they could afford to ‘recover’ with ice for the whole season.
There’s a saying about genius and insanity being close neighbours.
Crank-o-meter: teeth chattering
Not exactly a dialogue, but most signs are written and posted for a reason. This is a courtesy notice to the dorkus malorkuses on my local train line.
Something must’ve happened to prompt it … I might see if I can fit my parents’ tractor on the train. It’s not *not* allowed.
Apologies if the text is hard to read. The train was rocking and I was rolling and the camera phone was trying to do both.
Crank-o-meter: shaking head
I detest the Macquarie dictionary.
Typing that heading felt good. I might do it again.
I detest the Macquarie dictionary.
Hoo ahh, that was better than eating pancakes with lemon and sugar on a Sunday morning.
I do not like the blue-based green cover that reminds me of oily sludge. I do not like the childish interpretation of eucalyptus leaves on the oily sludge cover. And I really do not like the title of ‘Australia’s national dictionary’ because it does not contain the words that I — an Australian — want to look up. I needed the meanings of three words today and, nope, no can do. Get off my bookshelf.
Come to mamma, cherished Oxford Australian dictionary. Come and cradle yourself in my loving arms and I’ll protect you forever from dust and silly words like jiggery-pokery. Open your precious swishing pages and tell me the meanings of ludic, phatic and apotheosis because the other slab of pulp refuses to contain them.
I stumbled over these words today in Michel Houellebecq’s book, Platform. If a native French-writing poet and his interpreter can use ludic and phatic and throw in some apotheosis in a lunchtime read, so can Macquarie’s word wranglers.
Crank-o-meter: feeling a bit dumb
PS: Whoops, jiggery-pokery is also in the Oxford *blush*, but that’s almost okay because it has lots of useful words as well.
I know the darkness of winter can send people a bit batty, but a small group of doomsdayists has lost the plot entirely.
Thirty-five people of dubious intelligence and sanity somehow joined forces and moved into a cave far south-east of Moscow. They are convinced the end of the world is scheduled sometime this May.
The group has spent the last five months holed up, reducing slowly in numbers as the cave’s roof collapses and civilisation beckons. The cult’s leader, Pyotr Kuznetsov, hasn’t even joined his group’s vigil but was admitted into a psychiatric hospital, only to be released and attempt to bludgeon himself with over the head with a log in a cult-leader-commits-suicide kind of way. He failed and is back under state care.
The leaderless nutbars are fighting on, moving into two run-down houses and refusing to grow food because they won’t be around to harvest the crops.
In addition to waiting out the end of the world, the sect’s other gripe is with modern life. The 11 remaining members have refused government offers of packaged food because “bar codes are the work of the Devil.” One cultist said that gas, electricity and tax numbers were evil and urged everyone to seek salvation in the Bible.
Most cults specialise in fringe looniness but this crowd seems more stupid than most. If I believed the apocalypse was next month, I wouldn’t be holed up in a frozen cave. I would be in a cult that sucked money from the gullible so I could live in a castle in southern France, bathe in champagne and have leather harness-clad himbos feed me grapes by the bunch. And I’d want a cult leader who could make that happen, instead of a fool who can’t even whack his head with a log.
My cult would not be as hypocritical as this bunch of numpties. They eschewed modern life but thought it appropriate to move into houses when the cave was getting a bit unsafe, and the leader was twice given modern medical treatment. Even their bibles have been produced as a result of modern-day printing processes. Shame, nutty hypocrites, shame.
Crank-o-meter: happy the world isn’t ending next month
Boxes of charity chocolates are not as sweet and light and feel-goodish as they make out by the cheery images on the box and accompanying glow from helping a needy cause.
Work’s swimming club has taken to spreading them around buildings like a big fat fungal infection of compound chocolate. There’s nowhere to hide when the mid-afternoon munchies hit. As much as I outgrew over-sweet and over-bland Summer Rolls in my teens, and Freddo Frogs seem to contain more wood than cocoa solids, they lure me in when I’m feeling weak and vulnerable.
14:45 Hunger pangs strike.
14:46 Look at apple on desk.
14:50 Acknowledge cheap and nasty chocolate that I wouldn’t touch after six weeks on Survivor.
14:52 Look at apple on desk.
14:55 The charity chocolate will only make me hungrier in an hour.
14:56 Look at apple on desk.
14:48 Hmmmm, there’s chocolate in the kitchen.
15:00 Look at apple on desk.
15:02 The wood shavings and dirt used to make Freddo Frogs can’t be that bad.
15:03 Glance at apple on desk.
15:05 Gosh, I’d kill for a piece of chocolate right now.
15:06 Ignore apple on my desk.
15:08 Riffle through desk for a dollar.
15:08 Find dollar.
15:10 Select least worst of chocolate selection because procrastination has ensured the quicker sugar addicts have taken the Caramello Koalas.
15:14 Spend too much time looking at chocolate that I would appear to the cheapest kind of criminal: the person who steals from the charity chocolate money.
15:15 Select Summer Roll and congratulate self on wise choice from the alternatives. Forget earlier comments about sweetness and blandness.
15:20 A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips. Burp.
15:40 Sugar crash hits, sucking lifeforce from arteries.
16:10 Fat crash hits, sucking ability to remember why it was so important to eat the stuff.
16:12 Regret temporary weakness of will in buying sugary crap in a packet.
16:23 Throw wrapper in co-worker’s bin so it doesn’t look like I fell to temptation.
16:25 Look at apple on desk and admire its merits as a sensible snack.
16:30 Promise to eat apple tomorrow.
Short Sweet & Sour’s blog post about humour mentioned Spike Milligan’s mental illness not always being an excuse for shoddy behaviour towards others. Truer words have not been spoken. Generally speaking, an arsehole that puckers into a smile is still an arsehole, no matter how widely it’s grinning at you.
This principle also applies to people who use social devices to spread their brands of bigotry and nastiness.
“I’m not homophobic, but … “
“It’s not my place to say anything, but … “
“I was drunk and the glass slipped out of my hand and hit her in the face, so I didn’t really hit her.” (Why does that remind me of a former AFL footballer who’s getting too much airtime at the moment?)
Even worse are those who listen conspiratorially and validate the bigot’s narrow-minded opinion and method of communication ["Oh, I'm not racist either, but I know what you mean" wink, wink].
People who grant themselves permission to demean others in this way are gutter-dwelling lifeforms. Their insults still stink, even when the shit they spruik is wrapped in a layer of fake charm. We know you’re spouting verbal diarrhoea and you can’t hide it, much like trying to conceal body odour with a squirt of deodorant. It just makes more layers of pong.
I’m not sure what prompted this rant. Perhaps it was someone behaving like a fool who got some of my special backlash and asked ‘kindly’ if I had PMT. Um, no, I’m the second week of my cycle, thanks, and regardless of the phase, you’re still a deadshit.
Crank-o-meter: bah humbug
A war of the mammals is about to break out in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula region because of a juvenile fur seal with a bung eye and dented head. “Sammy”, as some creative anthropomorphologists have named him, has taken up residence at the Stony Point boatramp alongside the pelicans and seagulls.
There’s plenty of room for one more but people are feeding him and he’s lost the urge to hunt and fend for himself. Recently he was relocated around the bay to a colony to learn how to be a seal again, but life was so good at Stony Point that he swam (flippered?) the 70 kilometres ‘home’ in two days, where he’s back spending his time charming the locals and tourists into throwing him some dinner.
Despite warnings that seals are wild animals that should not be turned into lard-arsed lapdogs, well-meaning people are inadvertently fattening up “Sammy” for Christmas dinner. The state government has warned if his dependence on humans increases, so does the likelihood he’ll be euthanised when he becomes a 300-kilogram pest at maturity. He is already reported to have thrown his 15-kilogram weight around and bitten people while busking for food.
I imagine the current cute factor will erode quickly when he’s 20 times his current mass and looking a bit like this.
People who insist on indulging their nurturing instinct are killing “Sammy” with kindness. Despite State Government threats and numerous cover stories in the local press, morons are still visiting the pier, feeding the seal and driving home with no thought to the consequences of their selfishness. The animal will not die without their form of charity, but he may well face an early end if they keep doing it.
In a bizarre twist, last week’s local paper ran a children’s competition to name the seal. I’m decades too old to enter, but Filet’O'Fur Seal would have been my entry based on how this story will probably end because people can’t leave wildlife the hell alone.
Crank-o-meter: livid at the selfishness
This is not an April Fool’s Day joke.
I am my own Neighbourhood Watch.