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Sticks and stones break bones but names will never harm me

Sticks, Stones Break Bones, But Odd Names May Jail You

‘Martyr’, with its connotations of death, is not really the word I want but I’m hoping the reader will understand me when I write that Brendon O’Connell has certainly achieved martyrdom. I have posted elsewhere that I believe a court-of-law has more in common with the Shakespearian stage than with any concept of justice that we might hold; that a court-of-law is a place where the dramatist can feel more at-home than the legal practitioner. The task always is to mix law and theatre in just the right proportions.

Much as I detest the television program – turning the sacred act of eating into a blood sport – Brendon would have been a huge success on Master Chef. His recipe would quickly be out-of-print, such would be the demand. In the language of Games Theory the ‘penalty was the payoff'; a lesser sentence might be interpreted as failure. The strategist within Brendon would not have suppressed a smile when the judge and the jury turned in Oscar-winning performances.

I hope that Brendon sees the term of incarceration as nothing more than a temporary interruption of his career. Brendon may even agree with me that we need our schools to instruct in ‘How to Survive and Thrive in Jail’. With so many spectacular instances of wrongful conviction and imprisonment such tuition would hardly be inappropriate.

If the reader thinks I am being far too conspiratorial in my portrayal of the judicial system I invite the reader to contemplate the surprising number of terrorist plots that were either detected very early in their gestation or were stillborn (explosive devices that ‘malfunctioned’). With so much ‘good’ police-work reliant on informants and confessions I have difficulty believing that our detection agencies are that astute. The simple explanation might be that the world is breeding incompetent terrorists. I note that a lot of terror-wrists would benefit from more work-experience in the game of cricket.

Enough of the subversive preamble. I’ll turn now to the vexing question of comparative sentences, dealing first with the topic of physical injuries sustained as the result of assault.

When it comes to the plight of the person two things are operative: the ability of humans to empathise, and what is termed ‘The Illusion of Central Tendency’. As far as we know only humans have the ability to empathise – that is, to imagine ourself occupying the body of another animal, usually another human. Their experience becomes our experience. They break an arm and instantly we can imagine our life as one-armed. Empathy is what makes torture work, and why some of us can become torturers. It is claimed that the Inquisitors had only to show Galileo Galilei the instruments of torture in order for him to recant his views. So when we hear or read of a hotel “glassing” incident we can almost feel the blood gushing from our own slashed face. We can hardly feel otherwise. That ability to empathise is in our genes, part of our social anthropology. Part of being truly human.

But it’s The Illusion of Central Tendency that interacts with empathy to produce such a potent combination. From the moment of birth each of us views the world looking outward from our central vantage point. Each of us is the centre of the universe, and the world revolves about each of us. My imaginary broken arm becomes the reason I will not be able to drive, I will not be able to shake hands comfortably, and I will not be able to masturbate effectively. Notice how the focus is on what *I* will not be able to do, on how a calamity might affect *my* lifestyle. Paradoxically, with the possible exception of friends and relatives, the rest of the world couldn’t care less. They may even censor me for being careless! But the overwhelming sense of dread is that I, the Centre of the Universe, could be facing annihilation. Who will care for my spouse, my computer, and my chooks? It really is ‘Woe is Me!’ Little wonder, then, that this extreme personalisation should prompt calls for severe penalties for the perpetrator.

It is this ‘me-ism’ that I believe Mister Murray seeks to exploit; the plight of the personal. I don’t have any serious quarrel with that. That’s his job, as part of the commercial media. Just as it’s the job of news teams to hover their helicopter over burning houses and, inadvertently I hope, display a bit of schadenfreude.

Where we go wrong, I believe, is in placing our personal plight at one end of a continuum of severity. Nothing can be worse than what happens to each of us personally. In today’s world of individualism that outlook is perfectly understandable. Anything that does not physically impair us must therefore be of lesser severity and can be mapped toward the more tolerant end of our continuum, demonstrating that “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me”. But that is NOT what judge and jury did in Brendon’s case. So what happened?

The first thing to strike me about the sentence imposed on Brendon was the lack of comparative cases. That bothered me a lot, as I’m a keen advocate of comparative studies – comparative religion, comparative habitats, etc. What might have been the sentence had the alleged target of vilification been an Australian Aborigine, a devout Muslim, an un-wed mother, or a lesbian? When I was employed as a public servant any attempt to achieve a higher salary inevitably degenerated into a dogfight to justify anybody’s salary in relation to all other salaries. But what happens when there is no object against which to make a rational comparison? The further I went into Brendon’s case the more I felt like the pilot who loses all visual reference and must rely on his instruments. But who calibrated those instruments, and what standards did they use?

One thing in aviation that will do you no good whatever is the altitude you put *above* the aircraft. Easing the Mooney’s nose upward I put ten thousand feet beneath me. It was like re-visiting 1986, when four from the Royal Aero Club flew a light aircraft across the Nullarbor to beat the great pilot strike of that year. Unbroken blackness below, clear mountain-free air ahead. There was time in which to think.

It did occur to me that my decision to climb was mimicking the trial judge opting for the “severe” – meaning higher – sentence. I have yet to decide on the significance of that parallel.

Had the trial judge been reaffirming a belief that the pen is mightier than the sword? Or, to put it in the context of the current discussion, a belief that the mouth is mightier than the mace? Possibly, but were Brendon’s utterances sufficiently widely known as to do the equivalent of bringing the crowds into Tahrir Square?

Or was it the bogeyman of all political parties, that ‘disunity is death’? I recalled the hypothetical example of my long-ago psychology lecturer, in which a misguided malcontent stood at the back of a Nuremberg rally and shouted (in German) ‘Hitler is a bum!’ He could equally well have embarrassed the fuhrer by seducing his mistress. He chose instead to balloon his discontent into the highly risky and less pleasurable tactic of fomenting disunity amongst the idolising masses. As my lecturer declared, he probably deserved to be shot with a ball of his own excreta. Was Brendon trying to disunite anybody? I couldn’t see it.

I thought of Ray Montgomery. Ray and I had been classmates in a higher education course at the then Western Australian Institute of Technology. Ray was also a successful – and highly controversial – umpire for the Western Australian Football League. Through many a long coffee break we had been enthralled by Ray’s stories of vilification he’d faced, both on and off the football field. And that was in the days when considerate patrons would throw empty, rather than full, bottles, and before cunning players realised they each had a blindspot which accounted for colliding with an umpire they ‘had not seen’. By today’s standards of sensitivity Ray could have made Perth the litigation capital of the world. But as far as I’m aware the taunts he suffered never motivated him to file a lawsuit.

Then it burst in on me, like the strobelight of a distant aircraft. It explained why Ray was never daunted by disparaging remarks. For Ray had managed to avoid what might be called ‘congenital victimitis’. A symptom of that disease appears to be a greatly enhanced sensitivity to criticism. Your senses become tuned to the slightest hint that somebody may be challenging the authenticity of your victimitis. The single voice must be attacked, lest it become a crescendo. Brendon was that lone voice.

It has occurred to me while I’ve been writing this that I have never heard the expression ‘pro-Semitic’. Semitism – or less-ambiguously Jewishness – seems to be synonymous with being the victim. I can appreciate the good historical reasons for that. But the scene turned sinister when the world decided – or was persuaded – to legitimise that victimhood. Israel could claim the right to exist but Palestine had no right to resist. Israel holds the world record for defying United Nations resolutions, with the United States of America always ready to improve that record. Countries make laws against denying the (Jewish) Holocaust, yet every four years scramble to participate in that most potent symbol of Nazism, the Olympic Torch Relay. The relay did not exist in the ancient Olympics but was introduced by Carl Diem in 1936 to promote Nazi ideology.

Getting the world to accept the legitimacy of Jewish victimhood was a huge triumph, albeit most likely a completely accidental victory. The world woke up one day and discovered that “victim rights” had no counterpart in “victim wrongs”. It was that discovery that enabled the trial judge’s Pavlovian response to “anti-Semitism” and that enabled Mister Paul Murray to transform an attempted expose of Israel into a battle for freedom of speech. As I have stated, I have no serious quarrel with Mister Murray’s article. He must produce what his employers can sell – or else seek employment elsewhere. We can hardly expect Mister Murray to educate us when doing so would be contrary to his financial interests. Only we can decide who to follow. But when a man is put away on the basis of a whim that has no foundation in comparative justice then we must suspect that the decision will not be an easy one.

It’s taken a lot of words for me to arrive at what must be blindingly obvious to any pro-Brendon reader. Where I’ve used dramatic metaphor it is because I believe that nothing great is achieved without enthusiasm. And there is no truer hallmark of enthusiasm than imagination. I have explored the readiness with which we identify with victims of physical assault and how our reactions to such assaults are both unambiguous and deeply rooted in our culture. I hope I have shown how Brendon’s “crime” does not belong on the same continuum as physical assault. What Brendon did was to tweak those most intangible things we call “attitudes” and “beliefs” and anybody who does that is risking an unpredictable outcome. But despite all the uncertainties and all the paradoxes I remain convinced that Brendon O’Connell engineered events to ensure that he got the last laugh. Goodonya, mate!

Madame Conasse de la Merde
Irma La Douce was more honourable …

I always enjoy the satire of Raja Chemayel. He has a blog at http://frustratedarabdiary.blogspot.com/ but he posted the following article to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/anti-allawi-group/ I reproduce it here in its entirety:

The French Foreign Minister visiting Gaza declared :
The road to Peace passes by the security of the State of Israel……
(unquote)

if this is supposed to be the case , I do not want this Peace at all !!

The same French Foreign Minister
one day before visiting Gaza , did also declare :
withholding Gilad Shalit as a prisoner is a war crime…….(unquote)

if this is supposed to be the case ,
then Israel does not need anymore a Foreign Minister
because France’s Minister is doing a good-job , for both .

By the way ,
Gilad Shalit has dual nationality (French+Israeli)
which makes him as an occupier and a mercenary,
in a Palestinian prison !!

Sherlock Hommos
22.01.2011

PS :
Please , do not , excuse my French

Taliban submarine: not one has ever been detected.

Taliban submarine (with desert-sand camouflage) and lifeboat.

This afternoon I went out onto my front verandah to sit and enjoy the unseasonal cool afternoon breeze. That’s an unusual thing to do at this time of the year in Perth, Western Australia. Usually we’re closeted indoors sheltering from the searing heat. Before I ventured outside I checked the television news; not a word of any Taliban submarine activity off our coast.

Seated outside, and watching a cloud-filled sky that would have excited the English artist John Constable, I listened for the wail of air-raid sirens. There was no wail, only the muted sound of birds in search of food that is scarce in a Perth summer. How strange, then, that this very day we bestowed Australia’s highest military honour for an event that happened on another continent and could never affect my ability to sit on my verandah and enjoy the breeze.

I thought of my father, and how I helped him build the verandah on which I was sitting. Helped him all those years ago, when I was still too young to enter high-school. Still too young to earn my own living, but depended on my father getting up each morning and going off to a job he didn’t much enjoy so the family could keep a roof over its head and my mother could put something on the dinner table each night. I thought of my father, who did all that for years, without being an adrenalin-junkie.

My father would never have made another man’s wife a widow just because my father’s mates were in a place they ought not to be, doing things that in normal circumstances would have had them facing criminal charges. Perhaps that is why we insist upon anonymity for some of our troops, a form of enhanced Nuremberg Defence. Sir John Monash, our most respected soldier, would have torn his way out of his grave in outrage.

Of course we are overseas ‘containing terrorism’. Of course. But have you noticed the number of ‘attempted’ terrorist acts that have been ‘thwarted’ lately, both in Australia and overseas? ‘Attempts’ that produce extensive and expensive show trials, where the accused are given every chance for voicing their opinions, and are then often-as-not safely incarcerated in prison where they no doubt act as hostages for their companions. Have you noticed? Could it be that our foes long ago realised that a living ‘failure’ was of far more value than a dead ‘success’ whose only future is as fertiliser?

In an Australian Rules Football Grand Final we award medals to the winning side only – although there have been attempts to give the losers a medal as well. But the vanquished are not nameless, or invisible, despite probably wishing they were. They are very much a part of a Grand Final ceremony; they played, they lost, but they weren’t denied some form of recognition. So it always disappoints me that we don’t bestow some award – even posthumously – on the opponents who made it possible for the victor to be decorated. It takes two to win a medal.

I move indoors to put all this into an email, and I notice the ‘au’ at the end of my email address. I wonder if all the effort, culminating in a medal being awarded, has done no more than make that ‘au’ a distinct liability.

A week for sneering

Enough to make you sneer.

It’s apparently okay in Perth, Western Australia, to throw rocks if you show promise as a footbrawler, even if you don’t live in a glass house. It doesn’t matter what the rocks might hit the football brotherhood will make sure the media treats you kindly. Zhit!

Yes, it’s certainly been a week for sneering in this most-isolated-capitol-in-the-world. We began with announcing how we planned to pin a medal on yet another adrenalin-junkie. But we couldn’t name him. Better change your email provider to one of the anonymous services (gmail is good) ‘cos I have this uneasy feeling that we just made anything with ‘au’ in its designation an even bigger liability than the Australian cricket team.

And we finished the week with the Labor Party in Western Australia declaring that if any foreigner’s arse was worth licking then us proles could be randomly stopped and searched without any reason, during the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth. A direct reversal of Labor policy of as recently as a week ago. Zhit!

And I finished the week by discovering what a timid mob they’ve got moderating the Bigpondnews forum. I tried alerting them to the legal hazards of moderating within Australia but the thread closed apparently just before I pressed send.

Ah well, at least my adopted ‘sister’ looked good enough to eat!

The Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross

It always disappointments me that we can’t honour the “other bloke” whenever we decide to pin a medal on one of “ours”. It takes two (sides, blokes) to win a medal. No hermit ever won a Victoria Cross. “Corporal Ben” (we can’t use his real name) could not have been nominated for his award without the other side playing their part – even if they did lose their life in playing it.

But where is the “other side” commemmorated? On what citation will their names appear? And I presume they or their survivors would have no objection to their real names being used, rather than some Sesame Street caricature. Why couldn’t we declare them – the “other side” – as Victoria Cross Associates? Even in an Australian Rules Football Grand Final the losing side, while they may not get a medal (there have been moves to change that) they are certainly not nameless and invisible, despite being pretty miserable. It’s part of the Australian tradition of “fair go” to give recognition, albeit different in form, to all involved, to both sides.

When it comes to sheer courage and bravery it’s hard to overlook the bloke who gets a job, a job he may not particularly enjoy, and holds it for forty or more years, getting reluctantly out of bed each morning and going off to work just so he and his family can keep a roof over their heads and put something on the dinner table. That is total courage. But he’ll never be awarded a medal. He’s not part of the set where being an adrenalin-junkie is socially legitimate.

Reference: Kathryn Bigelow’s film on the Iraq War; ” … Adrenalin is a Way of Life in The Hurt Locker … “

G’day, folks;

Is a two-week suspension really censorship – or even an admonition? Sounds more like a triumphal “We’ll be back!” – after a brief interlude to emphasise their return.

The Chaser skit raises some fascinating questions. First to my mind was, have the Chaser creators read “The Country of Lost Children“, by Peter Pierce. See, for instance, http://www.jcu.edu.au/aff/history/reviews/pierce.htm A darkly confronting study into Australians attitudes toward their children.

And I was immediately reminded of the “children overboard” incident. Out of all possible explanations why were we so eager to accept/believe that children had in fact been thrown? Was there a lurking jealousy here? “Oh, they’re lucky. They can throw their kids away when it suits them.

The Chaser skit simply burst the dam of a huge boil of pus that was already there, aching for an outlet.

The Chaser skit lifted the lid on a festering cauldron of shame, resentment, and anger that must accompany the parenting of a defective child, no matter how strenuously we may try to camouflage those “unacceptable attitudes“.

The Chaser team deserve an award for conspicuous bravery. It’s a shame we can’t bring ourselves to making such a citation.

Eric Carwardine, in Perth, Western Australia

woundwortI’d seen the 1960 film “Exodus” long before I’d heard of The Holocaust. Although I cannot recall any of the details of Exodus I do remember it favourably as a classic struggle between good and bad in which good won. I probably emerged from the theatre convinced that the embryo Israelis were the “good“.

Before I proceed I must emphasise that I’m writing a very personal account of the times and the events that still shape my outlook on life. I was born in 1943, into a world that was still unashamedly martial in outlook, despite the horrors of two world wars. Vicious-but-brief fist-fights were not unusual amongst spectators at Saturday afternoon football (Australian Rules) matches, and it was unremarkable to see a schoolboy in army cadet uniform cycling through the streets with .303 rifle (un-bolted) slung across his back. By age twelve I had passed Street Fighting 101. I knew well the power and the heady drug-free euphoria of successfully applying violence, although this was tempered somewhat by the Duke of Wellington’s declaration that “Next to a battle lost, the saddest thing is a battle won.

I remember the nineteen forties, fifties, and sixties in Australia as a period when it mattered little how a man died. It was how he lived that was all-important. I remember reading the novel “Beau Geste” in highschool, and being impressed by its chivalry and sense of duty. I was the villainous old buck-rabbit General Woundwort in the film “Watership Down“, leaping without a moment’s hesitation into battle and certain death against the farmer’s dog. For me, those years were truly an age of death before dishonour.

But I couldn’t get my head around The Holocaust. Six million human individuals annihilated. Six million! How on Earth had that been permitted to happen? What had all the able-bodied men been doing? And – admittedly a lesser number of – women? By that age I was aware that Russian women had flown as combat pilots in World War II, and although the genocide in Ukraine from 1932 to 1933 ( http://www.faminegenocide.com/resources/unknown.html ) far eclipsed in numbers dead the Jewish Holocaust it was also true that Stalin had used starvation as his main weapon. As every army cook knows, it’s hard to fight when your stomach is empty.

Strangely, I felt no animosity toward the German perpetrators. Perhaps getting away with doing something six million times without effective intervention had somehow legitimised the procedure in my gung-ho mind. I’m sure there was some intervention attempted, but any stories of armed Jews standing behind locked doors prepared to defend-to-the-death their family have not withstood the test of time. Victimhood appears much better than valour to have served the needs of an emerging Israel.

Warfare is nearly always inhumane, but it would take the writings of anthropologist/playwright Robert Ardrey ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Ardrey ) to cause me to think that warfare and its one-sided companion – extermination – were not un-human. In “African Genesis” and “The Social Contract” Ardrey connects the ability to walk on our hind legs with the experiment of an enlarged brain. Able to see further, a larger brain was now a worthwhile investment. We were so impressed by the potential for our enlarged brain that we left on the evolutionary shelf the lethal weapons – the claws and the fangs – of smaller-brained animals. We reckoned we’d be able to think our way out of awkward situations.

Trouble is, we also left on the shelf the powerful inhibitions that hindered us from using those same weapons against those close to us, such as relatives and other members of our clan or tribe. With plenty of spare time at its disposal the human brain quickly adapted to thinking up diabolical things to do to our fellow human beings. Unfortunately for us, we obscured that penchant when we mis-translated a commandment: it should have been “Thou shalt not commit murder“. Killing, it would seem, is very much a human attribute, although its commission is all too often inhumane. Just how “clinical” this capability can become is chillingly portrayed in the 1971 film “Straw Dogs” ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPS-YFhhgx8 )

Outlawing denial is a dangerously ambiguous practice. To be sure, outlawing does help prevent an “evil” act from fading into obscurity and possible legitimisation with the passage of time. But in my opinion it’s equally valid to argue that the outlawing is motivated by a lack of remorse on the part of the perpetrators. I hesitate at labelling it “perpetrator pride“, but neither do I see much evidence of public wringing-of-hands-in-anguish over what the perpetrators did. The Germans did what they did largely because they encountered little or no resistance. To people of my generation there is no crime more despicable than passively hoping and believing that an opponent will act benignly. Until more men get out of bed each morning, spit on their hands, and say “Who shall I kill today?” then holocausts will always be ready to happen.

Shame can all too easily spawn a lust for violent and cruel revenge. It’s the reason I vehemently oppose any use of “naming and shaming” in our judicial system. Shame mobilised is the explanation for Israel’s astounding abandonment in Lebanon and Gaza of the moral high-ground that holocaust victimhood afforded. Soldiers need to be distinguished from warriors. Warriorhood carries an overlay of morals and ethics and conscience that exert a powerful influence on individual behaviour. A soldier need not consider such encumbrances. A soldier enjoys wearing a uniform, carrying weapons, and obeying orders. The fact that such subservience can produce a My Lai seems to offer negligible impediment to soldiering.

I’ll finish with an anecdote. I was one day sitting with a friend opposite a runway at Jandakot Airport, in Western Australia. We were the ground judges for the spot-landing component of a light aircraft competition. My friend was an Australian veteran of the Vietnam conflict. My friend’s father was a veteran of World War II. During a lull in activities my friend said quietly, while staring into the distance, “You know those freighters, Eric , that call into Fremantle? My old man says that if instead of unloading Japanese cars they poured out hundreds of armed and uniformed policemen and those policemen went to every light-controlled intersection in Perth and started handing out ID cards we’d just say “Thankyou, Sir, three bags full, Sir” and go happily on our way. We wouldn’t raise a murmur.” It may have been an exaggerated scenario, but I clearly remember I couldn’t find a thing to say in response.

Eric Carwardine

Play the Tom T. Hall song ~

Old Dogs and Children and Watermelon Wine

(Takes a minute or two to download …)

nunus_notes_smlWoof-woof, folks;

Please pardon me doing the Notes from bed, but it was a big weekend at “The Rese”, and of course everybody knows that weeks were invented for getting-over weekends. Eric sends his ‘pologies for not opening the blog sooner; he got the news an old friend is dying of bone cancer. Prob’ly got less than 12 months to go. Friend even sent pictures of bone scan. Black dots are where cancer has spread. bone_scan_rpoSo I said I’d do the Notes today, so Eric can think what to say to his friend. Just what do ya say, in a case like that?

Like I was saying, we had a beaut weekend at “The Rese”. I think it was the anna-versary – anna something, anyway – of my keeper starting to collect job advertisements. I reckon her collection of job ads got bigger than her leaf collection. Anyway, one day it must’ve been “Bingo!” or somethin’, ‘cos Hinerangi stopped collecting ads. Now she makes herself some little rolls for lunch and goes off early in the mornings to some lake. And it used to be nearly night-time when she got back. It’s much better now, though, ‘cos she got some wheels with a engine attached. Now I can monster her much earlier.

It’s not too bad when she’s away, actually. I watch the tele, and Eric is amazed at how good I’ve got at using the open-plan dunney my keeper made for me. It’s just newspapers on the floor. No privacy but, hey, who’s watching? And I get to think about what to put in the Notes.

Now, this anna thing – anna-versary that the Two Legs put on last weekend. It reminded me of my friend G. O. Anna, who Eric says might be a bonzai’d crocodile. Here’s a photo of G. goanna02As you can see, G. is also a Four Legs. But you know what? I don’t know if G. is Gerald or Geraldine. And I’m too polite to ask. I reckoned I had to find out somehow, so I hid behind a pot-plant when G. was out and about. Sooner or later G. had to either lift a hind leg (like I do) or squat down. Then I’d know – Gerald or Geraldine. But you know what? I never saw G. do either. Never did a piss. That bonzai’d crocodile must have a bladder that’s tighter than a fish’s arse. Either that or it’s got a whole new way of relieving itself. So I’m no wiser, it’s still G. But I’m still gunna peek. It might just be like Eric said, that G.’s inter-piss interval is much longer than my observation period. That’s mathematics for ya!

Yep, it was a beaut weekend. Two Legs and Four Legs all in together. Of course, we all ate a lot o’ chook. Lucky for us that Hinerangi had some wheels, so she could bring all that chook from Eric’s farm, or wherever. And we all had a good sleep after. And Eric and Heather were real kind next morning when they didn’t disturb the young Two Legs, ‘cos as Eric said the young ones need more time to digest their chook. Me, I think it’s just that bourbon makes better sleep than ginger wine.

Yes, folks, we’re a family now. G., and me, and the Two Legs. Say, almost forgot the other Two Legs – the one with feathers on. Together last weekend. Together in the future. For as some Two Legs once said, things with legs don’t live by bread alone. Nor do they live alone.

Until next time.

Nunu.

eric_and_nunuG’day, folks. I’m Nunu, pronounced “Noo-noo”. Real name is Nicholas, but some smarties mucked around with that and made it nickel-arse, which is not very nice, so I now get called Nunu. That’s me in the photo, on the right. Other bloke is Eric, he asked me to write something for his blog. I’ll tell more ’bout Eric later.

I’ve got a registered keeper name of Hinerangi, and we live in a unit down southways. My keeper has another name, but I like Hinerangi. Sounds more exotic and mysterious. And she’s made our unit real nice, with garden front and back, and latest thing is a huge red lounge – I mean, like huge. Could sleep four people, easy. Maybe more. We tried it out over the weekend. Was like camping-out. You can watch the TV from it, if you can stay awake. I think my keeper might be doing that – sit down to watch the news and fall fast asleep.

My keeper’s got a fulltime job now, and all the travelling really drains her, although I think things get better at the end of the week. It’s a pretty good life here in the unit. Eric comes down sometimes, and I always monster him. I think he must have lots of chooks, ‘cos he always brings some for me. It’s dead chook, of course, which is okay as I eat it anyway. I just wish I could do something like that for my keeper, something like have a nice meal ready for her when she gets home.

I’ll think of more to write by tomorrow, and you can always write me back a comment if you like. Yip-yip! :)

Cya.

Nunu

It’s Just Not Cricket

by Colin O’Scopy

ecard4A reader of “You’ve Heard It Now” sent us this old advertisement that could explain the less-than-sparkling performance of the Australian Cricket team.

The root of the decline seems to have been new laws brought in to assist the Australian Somewhat Intelligent Organisation. Under one of those laws you could be disappeared just for being in the same bus, train, or restaurant as a suspected or known terrorist.

Popular advice held that if you found yourself in any of the above situations you should immediately ask every person around you if they were a terrorist. Any answer in the affirmative was a strong indication that your exit from vehicle or restaurant should be extremely rapid.

Neither should you delay in asking the question, went the advice. As soon as you were close enough to make yourself heard, ask “Are you a terrorist?

Problems arose when the question was unwittingly directed at a cricketer. A cricketer would hear the question as “Are you a terror-wrist?” Ego demanded the response be an eager “Yes, yes! Have you heard of me?“, even if their only involvement with the game had been as an armchair critic.

The predicament for the cricketer was predictable. Travelling alone and eating alone were bad enough, but he also found himself isolated on the cricket field. And all the while expecting a tap on the kneecap from ASIO (Australian Somewhat Intelligent Organisation). Mental deterioration wasn’t slow in setting-in.

Soon the Australian Prime Monster came to hear of the plight of cricketers, although it now appears that the manner and timing of his hearing was deliberately connived so as to cause minimal national alarm. Low morale amongst Australia’s cricketers would be worse than losing to New Zealand.

To avoid the asking of awkward questions and the receiving of equally awkward answers, the Prime Monster hit upon the idea of a central terrorist register. It would be responsible for certifying all terrorists and non-terrorists around the entire world. And they would issue lapel badges, to be known as the “eCard”, to authenticate this. Every citizen venturing into public places would be required to prominently display their badge. Verbal interchange would be unnecessary.

Focus groups and field trials had all indicated a ready acceptance of the scheme. Billions to finance the scheme had been set-aside in the next budget. Commercial lobbyists were hard at work, on behalf of industry capable of producing the cards. President Shrub had given his warm approval of the scheme. Our (Australia’s) Man-of-Steel was about to become a legend in his own lunchbox.

Then November 2007 intervened, and all those eCards joined the millions of fridge magnets telling us to be alert, not alarmed. The storm clouds were towering above cricket fields everywhere. There weren’t going to be many more happy hours in the pavillion. The Australian Cricket Bored were conspicuous by their silence.

But the game of cricket deserves our support. Do consider our urgent plea, at http://www.kurrattan.net/articles/No_both-ends.html

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