Monday, December 22, 2008

Gnash my Teeth!!

Many frustrations exist in this life.

One of the more prevalent frustrations of modern life has come with the expansion of computer/internet/email usage among the general population.

Penetration into the general community of computer/internet useage must be approaching (or even exceeding) the penetration of telephones (pre pocketsized mobiles).

Just as Dorothy's house arrived into the life of the Wicked Witch of the East, so have computers/internet just appeared in the otherwise orderly life of the adult generation.

The bulk of computer/internet users are self-taught. Most people have become proficient in mundane tasks, thus masking their underlying incomprehension of even the simplest technical matters.

Mine Host is constantly amazed when somebody possessing above average intelligence, engineering skill, and problem-sovling abilities, will use interchageably any/all of the following terms:

Wireless (Network)
Application Software (any)

.... quite difficult when someone has become het up over the (choose any term above) and you're trying to solve it for them over the phone .

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What the *bleep*bleep* did you expect me to do?

A council staffer & a contractor entered the Wayside Tavern (during a busy meal trade and without notice) demanding that Mine Host make time to meet with them then & there.

The driveway of the Wayside Tavern was to be dug up & reconcreted (for secret local authority reasons), and that this would have "a temporary impact upon your drive-through trade".

They snorted contemptuously at Mine Host's serious answer to their question of "when would be the most convenient time to do this work?" (Answer: Midnight the day before Good Friday, alternatively Midnight Christmas Eve)

These fellows have reached middle age, yet have had insufficient interaction with the working economy to be able to comprehend that there are people whose business is at work almost every hour of the day, every day of the year.

So removed from reality are these fellows that they assumed Mine Host was jesting.

The contractor (at what he believed was a smart alec remark by Mine Host) became short, and announced that he had "tried to cooperate", he noted Mine Host's statement that Sunday, Monday, Tuesday were the slowest part of the week, that he "would endeavour" to carry out the works during the nominated slow period, and that Wayside Tavern would recieve "one day's notice" of the excavation works.

"After all" explained the council staffer "we all have to share the financial pain of CBD improvements" (He doesn't)

Mine Host agreed that 24 hours notice of a 3 day closure would be plenty of time for him to lay off the staff of the drive-through shop.

The mood changed with whipcrack speed.

For some reason it always happens to this exact same script: Some regulation/bylaw which will hurt a business elicits a smug "oh well, can't be helped" attitude from the public servant who makes the decision, but when this is translated into job losses the smugness is replaced by distinct unease & discomfort.

"You.. er.. can't just DO that you know". (I can) (THIS always happens too, right on script, they go from "impartial" local authority regulator to informal Industrial Relations advocate - which is waaaay outside their letters of marque)

Someone who three seconds before couldn't give a hoot about Mine Host losing money thanks to some directive suddenly becomes almost hotheaded when smacked by the reality that their "impartial" application of this directive has just cost the job of an ordinary worker, and becomes most anxiously concerned that nobody lose their job.

The about face is quite comical. I really should capture it on film one day.

"You force a 3-day closure of their workplace, you force a 3-day closure of their job! It is that simple"

Mine Host then did make a smart alec comment: "We all have to share the financial pain of the improvements to the CBD you know"

Mine Host expects when the excations happen there will now be the utmost consideration given to minimising the impact upon the Wayside Tavern.

Think of it how you may, but Mine Host has saved the pay-packet of staff. As a bonus a pair of stuck-up tin gods have had one put over them.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Man of Fairy Floss.

Mine Host has:
Held an actual job for 4 years (and longer).
Spoken coherently in public without a teleprompter.
Run something, run it successfully.

Mine Host recognises an inferior being in the president-elect of the USA. (who has yet to achieve ANY of the above)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Retirement Village?

The road up the east coast....
Mine Host recently had occassion to visit Kuala Terengganu, a city with a population of almost 300,000.
Though the place had nothing like the metropolitan feel or hustle & bustle of Queensland coastal cities with populations less than one third the size.
The place had a sleepy feel and a bustle which would have matched a population of 20,000 or less.

These houses could do with a coat of paint, but note the impeccable condition of the rooftops, in particular the superior valley guttering. These houses are well maintained. This is a place which gets rain.
A couple from Mine Host's town have retired here. (er.. not to one of the houses above, those are not typical of Kuala Terengganu) Happy as larry with their choice, they feel at home here.

An uncommon choice of location for retirement, especially for people whose umpteen generations in Queensland had been spent in the same town.

Perhaps they felt like a fish out of water in Qld. Even the largest established muslim population in Qld isn't all that large. (Newer, immigrant, 2nd generation or convert populations in the big smoke are a different kettle of fish)

In an event remniscent of the catholic/protestant divide of years gone by, the wife of the couple had been prevented from marrying "outside the faith".

In a smallish town there was no escaping what her parents forbade to her. Her beloved from the years of her youth operated a shop directly across the road from the business where she was employed. For the 40+ years of her working life she could see accross, and he back. Her employer of later years would occassionally send her accross to the shop on an errand....

....Without any hint of a late deviation from the path and ultimate destination forced upon them in their youth, one could still see the spark, alive in two people now each a grandparent, the spark of what both their parents had forbidden. He forbidden to marry outside his race, she from marrying outside her faith.

If only their parents could have seen that by the time their children were grandparents the religion/race mixing taboo, unthinkable in the 1950's, would be an irrelevance, that their great-grandchildren intermarry between chinese, malay, ceylonese, japanese and arab without any concept of the frantic social taboo which would have once overshadowed even the suggestion of kids "walking out" together.

The husband of the retired couple, surprisingly for an umpteenth generation Australian, suffered no discrimination or anything for an act which would in another time have had him killed by firing squad. Even in other parts of Australia it would have seen him if not jailed, at the very least shunned by many, sent to Coventry for life.

For in his youth he had journeyed from Australia to Indonesia and joined a "foreign legion" of fighters to oppose Australian and Commonwealth troops during the Konfrontasi.

The "Claret" incursions of the Konfrontasi were grim enough. One can only imagine the outcome if Australian troops, fighting to keep Sabah and Sarawak as Malay territory, had in the aftermath of a contact, made the discovery that one of their opponents, instead of a javanese conscript, was a turncoat white Australian (complete with a Scots name) who had paid his own passage and voluteered to take them on.

Immigration to a new land, with no family ties or reception at the destination, a new way of life, and new language, never to return to where your family has lived for generations, is a step not usually taken in the twilight of one's life.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

To side with Angels, or the Devil?

Mine Host, with limited knowledge of foreign stuff has, as always, been bamboozled by coverage of the yank presidential election campaign.

Not that you need to know much. Just find out which candidate Jane Fonda supports;

...then vote for the other feller.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Eenie Meenie Miney Mo

With the upcoming return to unfair dismissal laws spurring the dismissal of roughly 10 staff, Mine Host has to decide who will go.

Will it be decided by coin toss?
Last on first off?
Who has had the most sick days?
Those of ill-temper?

To decide who finishes up, the method used will be: Who is the most useless?

One put his head on the chopping block this very week.

It is not often staff perform abominably in the presence of the boss. However such stupid creatures do exist.

Mine Host is lurking in the boutique bottle shop, in discussion with the retail manager, the counter manned by an able bodied 55-yo male staff.

A frail woman of more than 70 years of age enters the shop. A regular customer. One bottle of spirits and one of fortified wine. She gives her order to the attendant, who is leaning on the counter as would a 17 year old.

Without lifting his elbows from the counter, he jerks his thumb & grunts to her "They're on the shelf over there".

Mine Host stops his conversation long enough to indicate with his hands to the old dear to not move, fetches the bottles, conducts the sale and pushes her trolley to her car. Once she is gone the attendant is summarily dismissed, an employee of about one year's standing.

An able bodied mature aged male who would force a frail elderly woman to fetch & carry, ...well... such a twerp would have to be berefit of any character or moral fibre.

Especially as fetching bottles & carrying to the car is a service we provide.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bar Trade

"Traditional" public bar trade is less than 3% of the gross income of the Wayside Tavern.

By quoting this one statistic Mine Host puts into perspective the common misconception that over-the-bar sales of liquor are of any importance to a pub.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What a Cute Little Doggy Woggy!

The Wayside Tavern has seen many & varied workplace injuries.
Most (ie the genuine ones) are related to broken glass.

There is an exception to every rule:

One of the lads is quite ill. He is pale & lacks energy, and in a sure-fire test that he really is ill, declines to partake of alcohol.

He and another guard were escorting an evictee from the premises. The eviction was quite straighforward, the evictee being a lightweight in capacity for both liquor and violence. Thus no trouble was anticipated, they just grabbed an elbow each & marched him out.

At the Wayside Tavern placid evictees are released at the door & advised where to find a taxi.

This event occurred at 1.30am, at this time the street in front of the Wayside Tavern is empty.

Correction, is usually empty. For as he changed balance & released the evictee, this lad tripped on a passing Scotty Dog, fell to the concrete breaking this skin on his arm and collecting the serious infection.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

10 Years

October 1998.

Mine Host is wrapping up the loose ends of several years in the coffee & halal kebab business in western Sydney.

Options for the future are pondered:
1/. Go back to being a Ringer. Not on your nelly!
2/. Find a pizza/kebab/coffee shop somewhere available on vendor finace. Rather not.

Then a conversation with someone from his hometown reveals that the boss of one of the pubs has just abandoned the place.
Next thing the owner of the pub is wanting a meeting with Mine Host.
Mine Host is short (very short) on capital, but longer on expertise, and in the past has been particularly non-traditional in his approach to handling a pub. (This is why the owner has contacted him, he wants someone who can make the place pay)

Mine Host offers to share in the debt, and all the work. An interim operator (who had no interest in staying) has picked the pub up somewhat.

Negotiations completed Mine Host journeys north to the Wayside Tavern.
For several years it didn't look like working, the bank was too unforgiving of the way the previous owner had operated.

10 years later. Mine Host is established in the pub trade.

Some now almost nostaligic memories:
Watching the door (especially in the hours prior to opening time) in case of arrival of the official Recievers.
Keeping yesterday's takings packed inside a bag of clothing, "personal possessions" in the hope Receivers would unwittingly allow Mine Host to carry it off the premises.
Ordering wine by the half-box, as there wasn't the money to pay for a full box.
Working public holidays himself, from 5am until midnight, to save the cost of public holiday rates.
Staying up Saturday night (Sunday morning really) to scrub the pub, to save paying Sunday cleaning rates.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Witness for the Prosecution

If one is a party to a civil case in Qld, you just turn up on the day & lurk anywhere in the environs of the courthouse, you will be called when the case is to be heard.

One of the quirks of the NSW court system is that all parties in any cases set down for that day, MUST wait inside the courtroom, all day, until called.

This is a royal pain.

One has nothing to do but witness proceedings in any cases heard before yours.

In this case, Mine Host had a grandstand view of the tail end of a criminal matter.

From what Mine Host could piece together (coming into the case part way through) The owner of a kebab shop was answering a charge of receiving stolen goods. Specifically, an (expensive) commerical espresso machine.

The police prosecutor took us through where the machine was found (in storage at the shop) & listed lots of other stuff which had been found at the home of the accused (hot DVD's & various other similar stuff, all inside cupboards & cabinets near the TV).

It didn't look good for the accused, it was the instinct of Mine Host that the kebab shop owner, a young fellow from Turkey, was guilty.

Thus far Mine Host & the police (and the magistrate, as could plainly be seen) were on the same page. All believed the Turk was guilty.

However this differed dramatically when the accused appeared as a witness and the police prosecutor began to examine him.

The Turk was operating a kebab shop in a shopping centre.
The Turk lived somewhere away from the shopping centre.
The Turk was the single parent of a 12-14yo lad.

The stolen goods were (a) a $10,000 or so espresso machine (requiring significant repair) useful in the shop, but not able to be used, and (b) a pile of consumer electronic leisure software (DVD's) the titles indicating they were unsuitable for young children. (note: not XXX stuff, just stuff unsuitable for children)

There was no indication that the espresso machine was stolen, except the police said it "must have been". There was no complainant, nobody identifying the machine as their stolen property, no match with a serial number of a stolen machine etc etc etc. Incredibly, the Police Prosecutor went on to list many other items of equipment found in the storage locker with the espresso machine, all of which "must" be stolen, but that no charges would be brought for these other items (hammers, saws, various small tools).

This standard evidence.. must be allowed in NSW courts.

The DVD's were branded with the name of a local video rental shop, which had reported a break-in several months previosly, and the loss of an unspecified number of DVD's.

Under cross examination, the Turk's story was:
1/. The coffee machine was offered to him cheap by an unidentified stranger who came into his shop.
(Implausible, Mine Host does NOT believe, Magistrate & Police Prosecutor actually swallowed this part of the story whole)

2/. The coffee machine was deposited at the shopping centre loading dock by unknown persons and a shopping centre janitor alerted the Turk that a delivery had been made for him.
(Highly likely, stolen or not, Mine Host believes this part, Magistrate & Police Prosecutor clearly did NOT believe this. They seemed amazed that anybody would be asked to believe that ANYTHING is left anywhere, even at a business loading dock, to be collected later by the person whose name is attached to the parcel)
(- Until confronted with events like this, one forgets how clueless about real life experiences of the population are the police & magistrates. )

3/. He had not seen much of his house, or son, as he was working a zillion hours per week in the shop, and slept on the sofa in the first room. And for weeks on end not entering any part of the house except the sofa and the shower (outside).
(Having done the same himself, Mine Host believes this, it is consistent with about 120% of small food businesses operators, especially in the early stages.) (Cluelessly the Magistrate and Police Prosecutor clearly thought this was made up, that nobody would work so hard, or fall asleep for weeks on end just inside the door of their house)

4/. He knew that lots of DVD's were in his house, had no idea that any of them were "hot", or that any of them were inappropriate for children the age of his son.
(Mine Host, can imagine what he would have got up to at that age, if dad was at work 25 hours each day.)
The Magistrate was having none of this, declaring that all parents keep a watchful eye on the type of DVD's their kids are viewing, and found the Turk guilty.

Just like that.

Almost weak kneed at the total and complete cluelessness of the magistrate, Mine Host was about to say something, but was silenced by a glare from the bench.

For Mine Host had spoken out earlier in the cross-examination, when the Police Prosecutor and Magistrate had both latched cunningly onto what was (in their mind) a fatal flaw in the Turk's story: that no paperwork (invoice etc) had been given at the supposed time of sale of the espresso machine.

Compounding their (seemingly non-stop) public display of cluelessness, both Mag & PP patently disbelieved the accused when he stated that he did all his deals "in cash, without paperwork".
(Gee, how do these dickheads think half the NESB fast-food economy operates?)

So deep ingrained in Mag & PP was cowardice in the face of the citadel of bureaucracy, that they were unable to conceptualise middle class citizens having the drive and enterprise to ignore government bulldust.

Indeed, for the Turk, streamlining his business by ignoring as much paperwork as possible was likely the only reason his head had been above water.

Mine Host's outburst? He had stood up and wearily stated to the court, mainly at the Police Prosecutor "Crikey, don't you fellers have any idea what you are talking about?" At the time the questioning had been deep into the intricacies of machinery depreciation and the applicability of GST. The PP hadn't the fainest clue what he was talking about, and had taken to turning to the public gallery with a confused & desperate face, hoping someone would come to his rescue.

As had indeed happened, the party who had brought Mine Host to court, the financial controller in a big corporation, scurried forward to confer with the police prosecutor and help the prosecution rescue their case.

There was no evidence presented in court that the espresso machine was stolen, and a strong liklihood that the son or some inappropriate companions of his were responsible for the DVD's, the prosecution should NOT have had a case.

Mine Host bristled with sympathy for a fellow traveller (ie, small business operator being squashed by the system - in this case being found guilty of being being someone whose makeup sufficiently confused a Magistrate, such that the Magistrate was completely unable to identify with the Turk.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Government Mandates Job Cuts

Unfair dismissal laws apply again to Mine Host as of next year.

Thus, between now and then ten staff will be sacked. The provision of cheap meals to the multitude shall cease.

Pensionsers, low paid workers, children and the frugal, will all have to go hungry or learn to eat dog food.

Thus Mine Host's exposure to these laws will be reduced. The corresponding slight reduction in profits more than compensated for by the removal of a major headache. (Running the cheap bistro)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Three Things you will NEVER see!

Because the answers won't be palatable to the political class, Australia will never have a referendum on the these questions:
1/. Capital Punishment
2/. Continued Muslim Migration (supplementary question on continued mosque construction)
3/. Mandatory Jail Terms (three strikes & you're in)

Thursday, September 11, 2008


As the years advance, Mine Host become more feeble of mind.

For as he recalls it, nothing signifcant occurred on the

9th of November 2001

There has been a significant event on the 9th of November (1989).
(Brought to the attention of Mine Host by Sackerson in comments)


Sunday, August 31, 2008

I Hereby Resign

As anybody who has worked in a corporation will attest, employing executives is no (if any) guarantee of probity, a fair go, competence, decency nor with executives is there any likelihood of freedom from racism, laziness, bigotry, nor any more likelihood of culprits owning up to simple mistakes. This all in spite of executive level job perquisites and salaries.

This is something Mine Host keeps uppermost in his mind on those occassions when the armchair-bound (or computer desk-bound) advise him that if he "paid more" a satisfactory staff performance would be achieved.

Mine Host always notes very carefully that those expounding forth to him with their expertise on this topic actually don't have any, (expertise). That is: they are yet to use their own money and hire someone to help them provide a good or service to someone else, in return for payment.
But oh boy, they shore done got all the answers!

Mine Host has just had yet another reminder that executive level placements are as ordinary as anybody else.

A subordinate who was well paid (say $90,000 + fully found) and who at his best put in no more than a 40 hour week, was announcing to all & sundry that he would be moving on (to browner pastures), as he had resigned his position.

Not one to take notice of rumours, but hearing this from several sources Mine Host raised the topic with the purported departee.

.... who confirmed that he has indeed resigned, "three weeks ago".

Pausing to reflect, Mine Host, as yet uninformed of the resignation, pointed out that a resignation ain't a resignation unless the boss actually knows about it.

A shade assertively, the departee retorted that he "gave written notice three weeks ago".... (to one of the barmaids, would you believe?), and that "in accordance with the terms of his employment contract" he would be receiving a bonus, (meaningful glare directed at Mine Host)

It turned into rather an ugly scene, right there in the office, with all the office staff witnessing.
The scenario came to a conclusion when the resignee got so wound up he quit on the spot.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Cheap Foreign Labour

Mine Host calculates the minimum cost to the employer of hiring a 457 visa holder to be (roughly) $75,000 per annum.

If anybody thinks the cost is less, Mine Host defies them to prove it. (in practice, not in theory).

If anybody states the cost of a 457 visa holder is significantly less than $75,000 per annum, Mine Host has two very accurate things to say about such a person:
1/. The person saying this has never employed a 457 visa holder.
2/. The person saying this has never employed a 457 visa holder.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Policing is only by Consent of the People

Scene: Small wheat belt town, population 90. Shortest distance to next town 70km.

Time: 10.30pm.

The pub is well and truly closed, the streets are empty, there will be no traffic before daylight, the silence of the bush (as much as there can be silence where 90 people dwell) has descended upon the hamlet.

A dozen or so assorted drillers, contractors and farmhands (one of which is Mine Host) sit on benches or lean on the wall outside the cafe opposite the pub. The cafe (which closes at sundown) has a large forecourt around the fuel bowsers, and is where these men have gathered to ponder their next move.

Their assorted vehicles remain centre parked facing the pub.

For the local cop is away, the town is under the reign of a relieving cop. For those not from a one-man police district, a "relieving cop" is exactly what it sounds like. A cop sent from elsewhere in the state to man the station whilst the regular copper is on leave.

A relieving cop is generally somewhat tougher than the regular cop, however this one is a nutter. Clearly sent by his current city station just to get him out of their hair, he swings between incredible ineptness (can't go anywhere without getting stuck/bogged/hitting gateposts or somethinng) and insane excess in policing petty bylaws (eg, bawling out kids for roller skating along the footpath).

Tonight he is exhibiting his naivety by believing he is going to book for drink-driving everybody who was in the pub.

Which is why everybody is sitting outside the cafe drinking stubbies instead of driving home.

The cop hasn't announced this is his plan. Just that at five minutes to closing time he drove to the school of arts hall on the edge of town and parked, waiting for the pub crowd to drive past him. (Yeah right, they are farmers, not fools)

Observing this, the pub clientele resignedly ordered a dozen or so stubbies each from the pub, and trudged accross to the cafe forecourt (where they can't be seen from the school of arts). Their patience will outlast his.

A little time passes, the cop begins to tire of waiting in vain. He suspects that his cover is blown, so he drives back to the police station and parks.

The crowd (well, dozen) at the cafe keep on drinking, their stubbies aren't finished, and nobody believes this cop has gone to bed.

Sure enough, shortly the cop slowly drives by the back street (the town has 2 streets) back up to the school of arts (he must think he is cunning).

The dozen at the cafe open another stubby, not sure which is the most ominous sign, that the cop drove back up thinking nobody saw him, or that he did it with his headlights extinguished, thinking that meant nobody could see him. What it means is trouble ahead.

Time passes. Still plenty of stubbies in reserve outside the cafe.

Irate that nobody is making a sitting duck of themself by driving drunk past the waiting police car, the cop blows a fuse. Inevitable.

It transpires the town isn't entirely asleep. A religious group (one of those hand clapping mobs) had been using the school of arts hall for bible study (or something like that) on this night. The class had gone late, and broke up as the cop sat outside waiting vainly for the pub clientele to drive past him while drunk.

One young man in the bible study group, aged about 20, lived right accross town from the school of arts. Probably the cop picked him out as the rest were old ducks or obvious "preacher" types. Also this young man was half-caste.

As the lad drove the 500 metres accross town from bible study, a route which took him straight past the cafe, the police car followed him closely, so closely it looked like they had locked bumpers.

As the young lad drew up to his family home, the cop pulled him over and proceeded to conduct a full drug check on driver and car.

He had the young man adopt a star pattern against the car, frisked him. Then had the hood & boot lifted, and proceeded with a full check of the engine block, battery holder housing, etc, all the places where drugs are stored in cars.

Watching with mounting interest, the dozen at the cafe are most unimpressed at this. While they view the religious clan with suspicion (due to clan rules like no drinking, no socialising with drinkers etc) they knew the religious to be of impeccable probity. On top of this the young man being frisked was well respected as a hard worker, an honest man, a thorough gentleman, and of upstanding character.

Their sense of fair play was outraged. This cop had gone too far.

With a nod to each other, three of the more well built & agile type, stepped into the street and yelled toward where the policeman was searching the young man.

The language Mine Host will not repeat here, for it was fouler than even his practised ears care to stand, but it was aimed at the police officer, and more or less translated to "pick on your own size".

With a "bite" at last the policeman terminated his drug search of the bible study lad, executed a u-turn and charged at the kerb of the cafe. Hitting it diagonally he bounced over it & came to a halt diagonally in front of the cafe.

Leaping out of the car he triumpantly demanded to know who had spoken like that to him.

Slight pause.

In a very matter of fact voice, one of the dozen spoke: "Get back in your car and get out of here so we can all go home, otherwise we'll drop you, throw you in the cage on the back, lock it, then we'll all go home and you can wait there all night in the main street locked in your own paddy wagon, waiting for the cafe to find you & let you out when he gets up in the morning"

For about half a second it seemed this cop was going to fall victim to his own hubris and try to arrest someone.

Something in the eyes of the dozen told him that they wanted him to make a move. The air was thick with threat.

The cop made a tough statement, but being as it was made as he stepped backward, got into the car & locked the door, his tough statement lacked any ring of authenticity to it.

He drove back to the station, parked, went inside the house, and the lights went out.

The dozen drinkers continued the party, finished the stubbies off, and drove home.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

$1 a pop, extra for snarkiness!

As an upright member of society, Mine Host takes quiet umbrage at slants on his honesty and responsibility.

An example: the "roadside breath test".
An offence without a victim.
An offence with an arbitrary demarcation between virgin innocent and guilty as sin;
that demarcation is a blood alcohol content of .05%
and previously was .08%
and in parts of the developed world is .01%

An offence of which one is guilty of being impaired, but it not being possible to drink oneself into a state where your reflexes would deteriorate to the point that they would match those of elderly & inept drivers who freely tootle past during your arrest.

An offence where one must prove one is innocent, rather than the state having to prove one is guilty.
An offence where declining to prove your innocence automatically results in being guilty, and being publicly besmirched as guilty.

Notwithstanding that, Mine Host complies readily with the procedure.

Mine Host carries silently his umbrage at the indignity of the procedure and the automatic slight on his probity. This is a feeling shared by many/most of the population.

Mine Host is however, in a postion to assauge his umbrage.

Every time he is asked to provide a breath specimen, he will at his place of business, subsequently add a random extra $1 to the bill when a police officer buys a round.

Wickedly, when being breath tested, Mine Host often asks if the testing officer would like to "get a second sample".

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Border Control

Mine Host, at one stage in his pre-pub days, lived in a country which had a land border. Canada was this country, the land border was shared with just one other country, the USA, and some 6,000km in length.

As far as security went, this border was very lightly serviced. This was in contrast to Mine Host's experience of many other land borders.

Persons who crossed this border did not go through any exit formalities, nor even an exit border post. The first one saw of the border was the entry post of the country being entered.

However, Mine Host had a crossing experience which possibly is not being replicated in this age of terrorists and other nasties.

The crossing from Detroit to Windsor is a big high bridge, umpteen lanes wide. The border post is on the bridge (about where one would expect to find a tollgate).

3:30 a.m. and the bridge is deserted. Mine Host, crossing by car from Detroit to Windsor, coasts in neutral up to the immigration booth. The Canadian immigration officer is inside the booth and reading an unseen newspaper/book.

"How long in the states?" grunts the officer, without looking up.

"Three weeks" Driver and passenger confirm this to each other with a nod.

Still not having looked up from his reading material, the immigration officer jerks his head in the direction of Canada.

.... After a short awkward pause, Mine Host ventures " don't you want to see .. er.. paperwork & stuff?"

"You're Canadians aren't you?" (Still hasn't looked up)
"...Umm, no we're Australians"
"Your papers are in order aren't they?" (He does briefly look up, enough for a fleeting glimpse to ascertain if Mine Host has one head or two)
"....Er.... yes ..." (in the circumstances what other answer would anybody give?)

An indistinct grunt, possibly something like "well what are you waiting here for", or "well get going then" may have emanated from the booth.

The officer's head once again buried in the reading matter, jerks in the direction of Canada, this time accompanied by an impatient shrug.

Thus Mine Host, companion, and automobile, were all cleared for entry into Canada.

Without even being asked to state our names.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Common Myths

Mine Host has often encountered in others some firmly held (but completely erronous) beliefs about running a business.

Mine Host is not sure which is the most ridiculous assumption.

1/. Myth: Pubs have very little, virutally zero, paperwork.
Fact: Hahahaha ha ha haaaaa!!! Amazing how widespread this belief is. Actually pubs have always been noted for the tremendous amount of daily paperwork.

2/. Myth: Being the boss (especially one's own boss) enables one to take time off whenever one wishes, to take it easy, & to not even turn up at all if one doesn't feel like it.
Fact: A business is a treadmill which is almost impossible to get off. One does not decide for oneself how many hours one works, or even how hard one has to work. Simple stuff such as a few days off in a row (eg, a weekend) can take more than a year to come to fruition.

3/. Myth: Pubs are a licence to print money
Fact: There is no business so lucrative that it isn't possible to stuff it up. When Mine Host entered the industry the average time of a licencee in Qld was 22 months, most licencees left by the back door, usually one step ahead of receivership, but often not. A large proportion of small businesses regularly pay bills by putting a cheque in the mail without having funds in the bank, depending for the funds upon sufficient custom whilst the cheque is in transit.

4/. Myth: You gotta be making it to pay it (tax).
Fact: Mine Host is able to categorically state that it is VERY possible to have a huge tax bill, without having ANY cash surplus for the year. Many businesses have to make installment arrangements with the tax office. You can forget about anything left over for owner's drawings!
Mine Host is often bailed up by people who have "read about" taxation, who declare the aforementioned is not possible.
Mine Host's accounant informs him that it a very regular occurrence.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Rastis Toughman was feeling frisky.
He strutted everywhere.
All "respected" him.
None were bold enough to challenge him, he could do as he wished.

The Pugilist's Arms was home of what at the time was the premier nightspot in town, the Fisticuff Room.

A couple of nights previously Rastis had been to the Fisticuff Room and switched out the lights of one of the bouncers, putting him in hospital.

The owners of the Pugilist's Arms, Mahmood Al-Revenge and his son, were not the sort of people Mine Host would cross. Rastis clearly did not share this apprehension.

"This blighter needs taking down a peg or two" mused Mine Host to the Coca-Cola delivery lad.
"It won't happen!" corrected the delivery boy, himself no stranger to street-level methods of settling a score. "He's too tough, flogged six shades of manure out of a bouncer, nobody'll be game to touch him. Especially as he has lots of cousins in this town, haha, who'd be silly enough to cross him?"

Indeed, Rastis himself was of this belief, strutting tall, showing deference to none and consideration to nobody.

Mannerless at the best of times, Rastis was now exhibiting human nature at its very worst. Cravenly, many of his ilk sought to ingratiate themselves with him, hoping by demonstrating servility they would escape the random thrashings Rastis was dishing out, much as lesser men scratched an itch.

He was an exemplary physical specimen, a showpiece of hybrid vigour . The specifics of his paternal genes were unknown, but originated somewhere in the forward pack of the Rugby League premiers of the year prior to his birth.

Being sired by competitive genes meant Rastis sought to establish physical supremacy over all (Rastis was bred from the best of a large natural selection pool, seed from every team member was given equal opportunity to fertilise the egg which 9 months after end-of-season became Rastis)

Rastis and several Rugby League players were cavorting in the public bar of the Wayside Tavern.

Further down the bar, facing away from Rastis & crew, stood a quiet and inoffensive patron, Mr. Polite Son, a worker at the timber company. Never one to draw attention to himself, Mr. Son was a good 20 years older than Rastis (aged 19 and at his peak)

In the mood for sport, Rastis advanced toward Mr. Polite Son, eyeing him in a predatory manner, he drew back his fist to strike.

Mr. Son was leaning on the bar with his left elbow, his right hand holding a glass of beer, about to be caught unawares on a quiet Monday night.

Rastis coiled like a cobra, then struck swiftly and savagely with his best King Hit.

The half dozen or so football players accompanying Rastis, big boys all of them, advanced behind Rastis, to prevent him from doing too much damage to the unsuspecting Mr. Son. Their faces a smirk, they anticipated a front row seat to what was to them humorous sport, the unprovoked beating of an "old codger".

Before Rastis could land the second punch of his planned lightning combination, Mr. Polite Son pivoted anti-clockwise, smoothly putting down his glass and, as he came to facing Rastis, made a short jab with his left.

As if his legs had been swept from under him, Rastis dropped bodily to the floor. The landing on the tiles was hard and not one Mine Host would care to emulate.

Mr. Polite Son stood over Rastis. Callouses, wrinkles and smattering of grey hair contrasting with the smooth complexion and youthful full mane.

Rastis was out like a light.

His friends took a step backward, followed by another. Nobody wanted to be the next man down.
Mr. Polite Son eyed Rastis' group malevolently. None met his gaze.

Mr. Polite Son then turned to the bar, quaffed his glass and apologised profusely to Mine Host. Sponsored by the XXXX brewery to compete nationally and overseas in woodchopping, Mr Son explained that it was a condition of his sponsorship that he not be involved in "trouble in a pub", thus much as he would have liked to "teach the bugger a lesson" by "making it last and cutting him up a bit", he unfortunately had been obliged to "end it straightaway".

Putting down his empty glass Mr. Polite Son quickly exited the pub and went home, as his mother would have dinner cooked by now anyway.

Rastis lay unmoving, only the whites of his eyes showing, the pupils rolled back into the socket.

Rastis' friends still had not moved. Eventually they took him by the ankles and shoulders, carried him out into the street. They got him awake enough to groggily stand between two of them, and slowly tottered out of sight.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sooks and Sissys

Two separate videos of an event show no reaction from people in the room, prompting Rachel Lucas to ask was the incident real, or faked for the cameras?

A workplace incident, inside a room (presumably a large corporate office) a person exhibits excessive aggression, smashing equipment and striking co-workers.

Recounting an anecdote of a similar incident at her own workplace, Rachel recalls a more vigorous response from onlookers, in contrast to the events in the videos.

From his all too much experience of being present when a public display of violence is bunged on, Mine Host will state Two things:-

1/. Video evidence and personal recollections are often in disagreement.

2/. Not only the general public, but people well known to you (eg co-workers) will stand like statues and watch a unprovoked frenzied physical attack upon you.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bills great & small

When a booking is made via a travel agent, the Travel Agent collects a 10% fee from the supplier.

With accommodation the Travel Agent will make the booking, the guest will pay at checkout, and the agent sends the hotel a bill for 10%.

Mine Host recieved one such bill from a Travel Agent, carefully listing;
the name of the guest,
date of the guest's stay,
cost of the room,
and a request for 10%.

Hmmm,.. Mine Host privately grumbled, unsure if he is obliged to pay this 10%.
Never before in his life had he received such a bill.
Never had he entered into agreement with a travel agent.

According to the guest register, for the night in question and several days surrounding it, the only guests were regulars and long termers, and well known to Mine Host.

The bill was bogus.

So Mine Host ignored the bill. Every month the travel agent invested in a 45c stamp and an envelope, printed an itemised bill, and posted it to Mine Host. This continued for almost a year.

Every month Mine Host ignored the bill. (bogus bills are not a rarity in the pub trade)

$25 per night for a room was what Mine Host charged at the time.

The bill was for $2.50

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Golden Rule

The core business of the Wayside Tavern is Victuals, Accommodation and Gambling.

The delivery of this core business is carried out by Barmaids, Chefs, Bottleshop Attendants etc.

Administration is always kept just below that point at which it begins to cost more money than it saves.

Thus Mine Host gazes with bewilderment upon the government department known as "Queensland Health"

The core business of Qld Health is to make well the sick people of the state.

Mine Host assumes this would be carried out by Doctors and Nurses.

Fat chance!

Currently Qld Health employs more office staff than doctors or nurses.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Not as easy as it looks.

Some years ago Mine Host had the dubious pleasure of being at the epicentre of an international incident/event of international importance. Some readers may recall the outbreak of SARS in Canton in 2003, which became news when Hong Kong residents who had been in Guangzhou (Canton) for CNY returned ill to their home city.

At the time Mine Host just happened to be in the city of Guangzhou (as you do) to celebrate Chinese New Year. Some days prior to the lunar new year he came down with a severe case of the chills. After several days of not really wanting to get out of bed, Mine Host, when eventually vertical, was for more than Two weeks, not able to move the heel of one foot past the toes of the other.

Try this, difficult to do, never mind being so crook as being not able to do any better for more than a fortnight.

Upon return to Oz Mine Host consulted his GP, who ho-hummed his way through Mine Host's account of the outbreak.

Both GP & Mine Host alike were at this stage equally unaware of the degree of seriousness of the situation. However a couple of weeks later only the most determined recluse could have claimed lack of awareness of the outbreak of SARS.

This brought about an adjustment in the attitude of the GP toward Mine Host's illness (still of an acuteness which prevented the heel passing the toe when walking)

"Where did you say you were visiting to?"... "Oh my God... wait, I have a phone call to make"

Well not quite, GP is a Hindu, & does not use the phrase "Oh my God".

In the presence of Mine Host the GP made a phone call to "public health" describing the symptoms exhibited by Mine Host & the geographic location where these symptoms had been collected.

Four Months later (Yeap, you read correctly, FOUR MONTHS) the GP recieved a panicky return phone call, asking just where it was his patient had been? & .. er.. just exactly which symptoms was the patient exhibiting?

Had Mine Host been a "carrier" it is likely that in the interim he would have killed half the nation.

This event went a long way to formenting/cementing Mine Host's belief that no matter the gravity of the situation at hand, government staff are so mired in the treacle of bureacracy as to render ineffective even the most outrageous overpayment of tax dollars to any particular needy department.

All of which is peripheral to the issue at hand. Prior to becoming horrendously ill, Mine Host, in a whirlwind of appreciation of assorted regional mainland cuisines, was fortunate enough to have a waiter repeat the tea pouring so it could be photographed.

This post triggered by reference to a similar event by Lynette.

As the tea pourer in Mine Host's photo is in mainland China, he is not needing to adopt the fancy fu man chu type pose used by the pourers in Lynette's pix. Those who cross to Lynette's will also notice the difference in clobber.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Constable Clouseau Deduces.....

In the police station on business, Mine Host was encountering a hostile attitude from the Senior Constable on desk duty.
"Wayside Tavern, I know all about the drug dealing going on out the back of that place!" she snorted contemptously.
It was clear she held Mine Host to be accountable.

Knowing his own premises quite well, Mine Host was mystified at any suggestion of drug dealing.
For in those pre smoking-law times, people lurking outdoors of a pub was a rarity. Mine Host knew her accusation was rubbish. To have said such a thing made her seem stupid.

Mine Host politely gave forth his retort to the Senior Constable, verbalising his scorn for her statement, stating that any suggestion of drug dealing at his place was a laugh, and perhaps she had the wrong pub? (er...Her serious proposal of such a preposterous hypothesis may have driven Mine Host to answer more forcefully than this, perhaps accompanied by his head tilting to one side, bulging eyes and an ejaculation of total disbelief).

In anticipacion of a fact-based denial, she was ready with a most hostile riposte;
"I've heard stories!"

Mine Host politely enquired if "I've heard stories" was an investigative technique taught at the academy, or had she developed it herself?

Mine Host went on to speculate that quoting this technique would be a "real killer" when applying to a JP for a search warrant, and as a prosecution courtroom technique would likewise be of invaluable assitance to defence attorneys.

She conducted the remainder of Mine Host's business in the station in a perfunctory manner, with only the most essential use of speech.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

How many Bullocks could this country run?

Always a lover of the thematics of getting in amongst lots of tall softwood scrub, in the hope of getting this exact shot, Mine Host shadowed this truck for miles on the Kuantan-KL road.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

No Wheels on Justice, she's up on Blocks.

Having spent Two days travelling more than 3,000km for a court appearance in a civil matter, Mine Host and a key witness, the Manager of the Diver's Arms, were standing outside the courthouse, Three minutes early for the hearing, set down for that day's date at 1:00pm.

The courthouse was locked and in darkness.

Heavy clouds loomed low, lending a gloomy atmosphere. Teeming tropical rain (the umpteenth day of it) washed accross a street deviod of both foot and vehicular traffic. Not a car was in view, either parked or moving.

At precisely 1:00pm a hand, then arm, then torso, appeared inside the courthouse door and unlocked it. Lunch hour was over!

Observing Mine Host & companion standing under the awning, the court staffer came out, puzzled as to why anybody would be standing there.

The explanation that we were there for a hearing which was set down for "right now, actually" brought an even more puzzled look onto her face.

Struggling to process this nugget of information she finally came up with: "Come back tomorrow" & went back inside, then through a door into the mysterious labrynth which occupies the "authorised personnel only" section.

She exhibited a manner that indicated the matter was at an end.

After a pause of disbelief it was now Mine Host's turn to struggle with processing unexpected developments.

Entering the courthouse and rapping on a bash-proof perspex shield produced the same staffer, who did no more than put her ear near to an apeture in the perspex.

Mine Host explained that he and his witness had travelled a long distance to comply with a hearing date which had been set down by the Magistrate, and quite reasonably expected the hearing to proceed, now. Tomorrow was for other places to be and other things to do.

With a resigned look on her face she said no Magistrate was in town today, and that in that case she would hear the case, however she was the only person at work today and the hearing would not be able to proceed until she could find somebody prepared to come in to work and mind the reception window.

Meantime would Mine Host & companion be kind enough to sit and wait?

A local staff, barely in her mid-20's, with a very pronounced regional accent indicating she had probably rarely been more than 20km from the courthouse in her life, and she was going to sit on and rule on, a court case.

Mine Host & companion sat for close to an hour, feeling as if they were in a "the day after" movie, as not a soul went by on the street, either by vehicle or foot, nor did anybody enter the courthouse, nor did any court staff appear (even behind the bash-proof reception window).

Then the same girl appeared, to state that the matter could now be heard.

The girl said that she and another staff would hear it together.

Mine Host stated most emphatically that he didn't mind who ruled on the matter, provided it was someone who had the authority to hear a matter of this nature, as past experience had taught him that only a Magistrate could hear such a matter as this, and if the matter was heard & ruled on by someone without the authority to do so, it would when the judgement was being processed, be annulled and have to be heard again, in which case Mine Host would ".. have something to say"

This brought a most uncertain look to her face, and she said that she would have to telephone a Magistrate for instructions.

A while later Mine Host & witness were invited into the courtroom. It was empty and felt deserted, especially as the lights weren't switched on. Shortly after the girl and another just like her entered from a side door and sat on the bench.

They made a big production out of quoting case numbers and suchforth, as if hearing of a matter of great importance was about to proceed, then promptly stated that the matter would be postponed and nominated a date Five months in the future. Almost before they had finished stating this, they got up and began to exit the courtroom.

Pinching himself to make sure this was not taking place in a dream, or in a parallel universe, Mine Host asked could he be given a Notice of Hearing which indicated the new date.

The two girls conferred together for a moment, consulted some papers they were carrying, then announced accross the room that the Registrar would issue a Notice of Hearing and post it to Mine Host, that is, just as soon as the Registrar returned from holidays.

Somewhere in reading the notes which informed them of the procedure for issuing a Notice of Hearing, the two girls made the discovery that there was another party to the matter. They pondered aloud how to handle this new piece of information.

(Most laymen are aware that in any court hearing there are Two opposing parties, either Claimant vs Respondent, or Crown vs Defendant.) These two girls were court staff.

It transpired that there were Two other parties. The two girls finally decided that the postponement of the matter applied to the other parties also. (Gee, you don't reckon?)

They drew themselves up as tall as they could and gravely informed Mine Host that postponement of the matter as it stood applied to the other parties also. (as if the hearing of a matter didn't affect ALL parties simultaneously?)

The impression gleaned by Mine Host was that in their minds, by telling Mine Host this, it was as if they had informed the other parties.

The look on the face of both Mine Host and witness must by now have been priceless. The girls hesitated, pondered for several moments, conferred together again, then announced that they would telephone to the indicated telephone numbers of the other parties and inform them of the postponement "that way".

This happened in 2008, in Queensland.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Racialism? or Economic Common Sense?

The entry of Sudanese persons to the bottleshop at the Wayside Tavern has been restricted to "one at a time".

The entry of second & subsequent Sudanese is denied until "One out, okay, one in".

Anybody who cannot think why this policy has been implemented has led a VERY sheltered life indeed.