Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tomorrow it Begins.....

As the first move in an act of economic hari-kiri, tomorrow Australia unsheathes the big knife, ready to disembowel itself (economically).

Yep! The Carbon Tax.

Mine Host, like many, had little clue about how much damage this tax was going to do.

Then yesterday one of his suppliers drops by the office for an informal chat. This man is very worried, & with good reason.

The product supplied by this man, a non-saleable item for which there is no alternative, currently costs the Wayside Tavern $20,000 per year.

Tomorrow that price rises to One Hundred and Seventy Thousand Dollars per year.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Gillard Stops the Boats!

....Australian fishing boats that is.

The Mother-of-all-Marine-Parks is to be created, by turning what seems like just about every square mile of Australian owned ocean from..... er... open ocean into "Marine Park".

Thus for no reason other than an impractical thought bubble that got turned into statute, life has been ruined for people (commercial fishermen) whose contribution has been to work hard all their life, pay tax, and provide food.

On a morning news programme a morbidly overweight middle aged woman, unknown to Mine Host, but likely a minister or lackey thereof (state or federal) announced, through beady piggy eyes, jiggling jowls, & a baleful glare, that this guillotining of their productive life actually presented an "opportunity" to commercial fishermen.

There are many words for the effect on people when their livelihood is being eliminated by statute, but "opportunity" is not among them.

She used the word "opportunity" at least six times.

It is fortunate indeed for Mine Host's TV set that there wasn't a boot or brick handy. This slug of a female was calmly & callously announcing the end of productive people's livelihood (done for no valid reason) as if it were a positive.

(It is not as if the laws were changed to reduce the need for lawyers, accountants, humanities lecturers, or cultural outreach officers, all of whom are a net drain on society - this is the spiking of people who are net contributors to society)

Any criminal defence lawyer worth their salt knows that extremely overweight women are at all costs to be kept off a jury, as they are a particularly harsh & unsympathetic lot. Being on a jury is one thing, one can imagine how much worse it can get by letting people of such unsympathetic character input into nation decision making.

It is disgusting that the members of the government will go on to receive pensions & other comforts, whilst the (former) fishermen go on to penury.

As a noted economist said last week: The only reason Australia has a two-speed economy is that despite its best efforts to do so, the federal government has not yet managed to wreck the mining industry.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

He's Working on Your Case Right Now....

Scene: Telephone conversation.

Mine Host
Junior who works for Mine Host's Lawyer.


Mine Host: [answers the phone] Hello.

Law firm junior: This is Junior Lawyer, on the team of Mr. Bigtime Partner, whom you've been repeatedly attempting to contact by telephone. Regretably he's not available today, is it okay if he telephones you on Monday, or is there something I can help you with today?

Mine Host: There is little you can do today, thank you, just so long as Mr. Bigtime Partner took the required action to handle the opposing lawyers before yesterday's 5pm deadline.

Law firm junior: ......[...extended silence...].........[...very extended...]......

Law firm junior: .....I've written into Mr. Bigtime Partner's diary that he should phone you on Monday..

So continues life as a client of one of the nation's leading law firms.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What's for Lunch?

Newshound Mine Host, refers in this post, to the following newspapers:

Melbourne Argus
Queensland Country Life
Daily Telegraph
Sydney Morning Herald
Melbourne Age

Beat that! (for diversity)

Mine Host, an occassional visitor to the (very) big smokes of Sydney & Melbourne, has long & deeply loathed Fairfax newspapers The (Melbourne) Age & the Sydney Morning Herald.....

....because...... you can't read 'em on the train!

Printed on very large sized pages, reading them in the confines of a crowded commuter carriage is no easier than would be folding bed linen.

Good news arrives: These two newspapers shall, early next year, be turned from broadsheet into tabloid. The "able to read aboard trains" market, long the sole domain of the Telegraph or the Sun-Herald, shall finally have some diversity.

This change of page size brings to Mine Host's mind a previous occasion when a broadsheet switched to tabloid:

The major newspaper in Qld is the "Queensland Country Life" (excepting a narrow strip down the coast, this newspaper reigns supreme in Qld) These days a part of the Fairfax empire, QCL was at the time printed on second-hand presses purchased from a newspaper in the far south, the "Melbourne Argus".

For a generation or more, the rural folk of Queensland read about their engagements, obituaries, cattle prices, average yield of the mango crop, etc. on pretty much the same pages as those upon which the Argus had brought the news to generations of Melbourne residents. For reasons that shall become apparent below, those broadsheet pages are fondly recalled by rural Queenslanders who handled them.

Occasional reader, fair dinkum newspaperman, and Melbourne local Bernie Slattery may chime in, on comments below, to give a brief report about the Argus - with focus on the printing press of course.

When the Argus presses reached the end of their economic life, the QCL switched to what is now known as "tabloid" size.

Oh Boy! This change of press size brought plenty of negative reader feedback.

The new smaller sized "Country Life" irritated readers, complaints were many in number, vehement in emphasis!

..... for it transpired that in rural Queensland, where they know what they really want in a newspaper, the new tabloid sized pages were "too small" to wrap a cut lunch properly.

Update: Definition of a "Cut Lunch" (prompted by Dave from Tacoma, in comments)

A "Cut Lunch" is a fulfilling & adequate lunch
For which the consumption of requires no cutlery or crockery
Is prepared at the same time as breakfast
Is carried with one to work, school, the factory, office, wherever
Is of a sufficient robustness to withstand knockabout treatment.
Is cut to size so as to fit into one's saddlebag, lunchbox, or other container.

Usually this is sandwiches (& perhaps some fruit and/or cake).

I'm certain the concept, if not the name, is well known to Dave & other Americans.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One Law for Her, Another for the Rest

Cause of much mirth to Mine Host over the past week or so has been the misguided panic of a coterie of journalists, in regard to the ownership of a pair of newspapers in the deep south.

Yep. The buying of shares in Fairfax by one of Australia's smaller scale mining bosses: Western Australian Gina Rinehart.

Newspapers, as in those printed things you read, are going the same way as the horse & carriage.
The Fairfax newspaper company in particular is so ineptly run, that the only thing people are prepared to bet upon is the actual date it will go bust.

Then along comes someone who actually buys shares in the failing company, and who actually believes in newspapers. (Gina Rinehart)

How do journalists at Fairfax greet their saviour?

With screeching panic, that is how. They bray like donkeys about how terrible it is that she is buying shares.

.....this does not assist one to believe that Fairfax journalists are a particularly bright bunch.

But then, anyone who follows circulation & readership figures (& wickedly compares those to copies sold) will have long known that the numbers of readers being shed by the two main Fairfax newspapers is quite an achievement in its own right.

The journalists at Fairfax are objecting to the very person who is likely to save their jobs.

Except of course, they'll be expected to (ugh) work for their money. Gina Rinehart has the look and manner of one who will not be indulgent of staff indolence.

Mine Host's favourite parts (in a mini-saga that downright bristles with instances of dickheadsmanship)?

1/. The insistence by the Fairfax Board of Directors, of whom none have signed a charter of editorial independence that Gina Rinehart must sign such a document as a condition of getting a seat on the board.

This pre-requisite of quill-must-meet-parchment or you don't sit on the board, has never been required of any other board member.
The only directors to ever so sign their name, were already members of the board when they just up & decided to sign.

2/. The insistence by a coterie of journalists that Gina Rinehard sign "the charter". Or else what....?

For there isn't one such document. There are two. One for the Sydney Morning Herald, and a different one for the Melbourne Age.

These really skilled investigative journalist types, could perhaps brush up on their facts before publicly engaging their mouth. Which of the multiple charters are they insisting she sign?

The same (cough) journalists who can't get it right about the number of charters-of-editorial-independence, simultaneously, & without any sense of irony, are screeching about quality journalism.

Fairfax is known as "fewfacts" for a very good reason. These same (cough) journalists who declare they are producing "quality" journalism, more than anything else are cut-&-paste clerks. They get most of their actual, you know, news from an AAP feed. Occasionally they'll camouflage the AAP feed with a bit of a re-write.

One thing is certain: The sooner the sheltered workshop calling itself Fairfax gets a real boss, the more chance that it may be saved, along with the jobs of some (undeserving) journalists.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

More Olympic Glory Thwarted!!

Dad in Cleveland Street, Sydney, 3rd of February 1954. This is the first day of Queen Elizabeth II's visit. It is the first time a reigning monarch has set foot in Australia.

By taking this photograph of Dad holding a .303 with fixed bayonet, the unknown friend/relative unwittingly destroyed dad's chances of representing Australia in olympic swimming.

Note: That Lee Enfield is loaded. (Put that in your pipe & smoke it, Olympic Committee pansies!!)

In the nearly 60 years since, dad has never made olympic selection in anything. He now realises that it was due to being photographed with a rifle.

The "Nuremburg defence" seems to have cut no ice with Olympic selectors: "The Sgt. ordered me to do it!" "That's no excuse son, your Olympic swimming career is over!"

Dad wasn't a bad shot. When on the range they were given a magazine each to fire, just to familiarise themselves with the Owen gun. He fired the entire magazine at the steel post beside the 100yd target, hitting it with about half his rounds.

The range officer was speechless.

Dad did even better with the .303, which just happened to be his favourite shooting rifle. The army tested them on the rifle range at 300 yds. Dad, who'd been "Cock of the Walk" the entire year before in his hometown, was accustomed to shooting at 600 yds, thus put in a... .. rather impressive performance, on his ear.

He was a "master marksman" for the rest of his time in the Army.

This is not the first time this event has been written up on this blog.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Another Olympic Career Ruined!

Not the first young woman to unwittingly make a poor decision that would affect the rest of her life;

With "one shot - at 150 yds", my Aunt, by posing thus in 1950, stopped both this rabbit and her chances of making the olympic swimming team.

The careful observer will have noticed two things:

1/. Aunty is using the same Brno that I am holding in the previous post. Somewhere in the intervening 40 years dad has fitted a telescopic sight, and I'm using a 10-round magazine, whereas Aunty is using a 5-round flush fitting magazine. (She's a far better shot than I)

2/. Lady rabbit shooters wore far more fashionable shoes in 1950 than they do today!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dog Food

  • One of Mine Host's chores as a kid was to gather dog food.
  • Here he is posing with some freshly obtained dog food
  • It has just been unloaded from the wagon it was collected in.
  • This photo is principally of the wallabies.
  • The brno is there simply because that was easier than leaning it against something.
  • This photo was taken by my Grandmother.
  • Mum helped arrange the pose of the wallabies.
  • ... thus they both unwittingly conspired to destroy my chances of Olympic selection.
  • The angle is quite low, to make me appear taller, as I wanted to seem like a "big kid".
  • Should any moisturiser-using pansy from the Australian Olympic Swimming Committee make so much as one crack about this photo being inappropriate for showing to Mine Host's "grandmother or mother"; then....
  • .....they'll wish to god they'd stayed at home to select dogs & cats for the annual pet show.
  • That is guaranteed!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Nappy Change Time!

Recently two members of Australia's olympic swimming team, in the USA for training (Australia has no swimming pools?) posted to facebook, photographs of themselves holding crossed shotguns or pistols (in a local USA gunshop.)

These off-duty photographs sent members of the following groups bonkers:

  • Journalists
  • the swimming team hierarchy
  • The Australian Olympic Committee
Journalism, an occupation in which the cohort of clueless & chattering types is a considerably larger percentage than for most occupations, declared in print & on air, that the "weapons" the swimmers had posed with were the same as "those used in the Port Arthur massacre".

Well, the scary ballistic stuff does come out the end with the round hole in it, but that is about where the comparison to the port arthur weaponry ends.

... But, gee.... why bother to research actual facts, when you can just make it up? After all.... "guns is guns, right?"

Then some feminised bedwetter in the olympic hierarchy (seemingly a masculinity-free zone) declared that the swimmers should only post photos on facebook that you'd want to "share with your mother or grandmother"

...... which is exactly the sort of photograph the swimmers did post on facebook!

The nadir of this farce occurred a few days later when the swimmers returned to Australia. Confronted at the airport by a phalanx of journalists, one of the swimmers stated that it had just been a "bit of fun" & he said he was sorry if anybody had been offended by the photos.

Actually the swimmer's apology was rather a grovelling one. He didn't apologise for the photos, but only for inadvertantly offending anyone who'd seen the photos.

This got the morning TV wankocracy babbling about the "lack of sincerity" in the "clayton's apology" etc etc etc.

What the "journalists" overlooked was that this apology was a sign of the swimmer's lack of character...
.... for in this instance he had nothing to apologise for, and he should not have apologised at all.

Were Mine Host (who has never represented Australia in swimming) to be confronted in similar circumstances about posting on facebook a photo of himself nursing a firearm, he'd advise the journalists, and especially the Australian Olympic Committee, to go & have their nappy changed.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Life's too Short!

Mine Host asks an opinion of his litigation lawyer:

The result, for which Mine Host was billed circa $900, completely ignored one of the two connected circumstances for which advice was required.

Legal advice is like a 100 metre sprint. Stop halfway & you've got nothing.
Legal advice must be complete.

Mine Host is no ingenue around lawyers (their arrogant belief to the contrary notwithstanding.)
Due to hard & expensive experience, instructions by Mine Host to lawyers are:
  • In writing.
  • Concise.
  • Bullet pointed.
Consequently, lawyers who crank up a dispute with Mine Host over the exact nature of their instructions, discover the dispute is quite brief indeed! (These fellers know all about the power of the written word! Nyeh nyeh nyeh!)

How did this particular lawyer handle Mine Host's ire at being billed for an advice that was not only incomplete, but had gone off on a tangent?

The junior who wrote it was a very young female who had been admitted as a solicitor for only a few months. She bristled up properly. (Most unwise, when one is a greenhorn)
The firm was a national firm. Heavy hitters. One of the nation's leading law firms.

Her written response, when asked why she had ignored half the client instructions:

"I decided that I did not have to adhere to your instructions"

Friday, June 01, 2012

Giving away the Farm

A not insignificant area of high quality rangeland in Australia's north is being made available, or "produced", for intensive agricultural use.

There are many problems facing the developer/s of this land: Distance to markets, fauna pests, remote area logistics & consequent high costs, etc.

Mine Host has a familiarity with this patch of land. In total it is not a big area, as far as releases of agricultural land go. About a hundred thousand acres. But in high rainfall & tropical climate. Irrigated, it will be a food bowl.

There is nothing new in this release, except for journalists, who have come down with a case of "gee whiz" & are writing about it as if they have only just discovered Australia has an undeveloped north. (This will be because those journalists have only just discovered that Australia has a vast undeveloped north)

This patch of land has been earmarked for this release, more than 30 years ago, possibly longer. There are no surprises. The people who owned it, & everybody for at least a thousand mile radius has known of the impending land release, just not when it would happen.

Except journalists in the deep south. You know, the "informed & investigative" class.

The (current) federal government has been in negotiations with the government of Communist China, for "the chinese" to be allocated every last acre of this land release, for "the chinese" to farm as they see fit, and for "the chinese" to do as they wish with the resultant farm produce.

This is an outrage!

Mine Host has, for the past several weeks (long before [cough] journalists) "discovered" the event, been lobbying everybody he can pin down.

Mine Host is not without ears to bend, knowing lots of political heavy hitters from both major parties & also industry representative bodies.

This land must not, under any circumstances or conditions, be farmed by anybody but Australians, using practices approved by the relevant state Department of Primary Industries.

In the manner of all previous agricultural land releases, this land should be balloted to Australian farmers, conditional upon them (a) living on their allocated land, and (b) developing it as productive farmland.

Anything else will be as good as treason.