Saturday, March 14, 2009

Things that fill Saturday morning with JOY!

Sunshowers as we drive.

On the footpath in Windsor: seeing the skinny old man who walks his skinny old labrador, which carries a large yellow ball in its mouth. Feeling like I know everyone in a city of over a million people.

Driving past a cricket match just as a wicket is taken.

Spotting a white shoe in the centre lane of Lutwyche Road at Windsor.... and its pair in the centre lane of Gympie Road at Chermside.

Walking down 5th Avenue at Sandgate to the foreshore of Bramble Bay and finding the oil slick has missed our muddy beach.

Two cups of coffee, the first in the car and every time I pick it up the lights turn green! The second as I read the paper.
"Be Thou My Vision" playing over in my head. God bless.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Respect: Flying the flag

Is it just me, or is there a strange new phenomenon on the streets this Australia Day? There are mini Australian flags flying out of car windows. There are flags draped ingloriously on the front of people's house, often upside down and/or sideways. What are these people trying to tell me?

I often get annoyed in morning traffic as we pass a prominent car dealership, which flies the Australian flag on a large flagpole. Trouble is, the flag is so weather-beaten that only two stars remain in the Southern Cross. Hardly respectful.

I don't have to have served in the millitary to know that most of the flags I see flying today are not being flown correctly. What's more, I suspect that most of the flags flying out of car windows are made in China. If you fly a flag out of your Kia Carnival or Toyota Hi-lux, are you more patriotic than me not flying a flag out of my Ford Falcon? None of us are looking after Australian jobs here.

Yes, brave people fought and died for Australia, under that flag, but ill use does not equal respect or pride. Besides which, is the flag, or the lamb-chop, really what Australia Day is all about?

I started my Australia Day with a walk and a prayer, thankful for what truly is the lucky country, and the people who led us thus far, and praying for leadership to take us forward through difficult times ahead. After that, barbeque breakfast, OF COURSE! And later, another barbeque for dinner, but since the butcher was out of lamb chops by the time I got there, pork chops will have to do. I'm sure the pig was true-blue Aussie as well.

Clue to marketing gurus: next year develop a 'branding' iron that will sear an image of the flag onto the meat. You can have that one for free.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Please clean up after your offspring

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for that very warm reception. We in the council want to thank you for your support, and assure you that we are working tirelessly to improve our city and your lifestyle.

A few years ago, we introduced the clean up after your pet program. And what a tremendous success that was when we first asked pet owners to pick up their dog's excrement when out walking and enjoying our beautiful city. This program has stopped around 4 Olympic swimming pools of dog poo entering our bay each year.

Of course, our follow up program, clean up after your cat, was not so much of a success. Following numerous complaints of cat owners trespassing in their neighbour's gardens to clean up after their cat, we had to acknowledge that the way of the cat is too inscrutable, even for council regulation.

Clean up after your horse or pony also resulted in some unintended consequences and had to be shelved after only two weeks after some unfortunate incidents involving young riders and their helmets.

But tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce the next stage in our clean up program, which will see a new era in grass roots level mutual obligation, in partnership with state and federal government. Clean up after your offspring will unite parents and government in their commitment to keeping our city litter free.

You see, after some extensive research, we've discovered that 4 Olympic pools of dog poo in our bay was no worse an environmental impact than the excrement of native animals that naturally flowed from our waterways into the bay before human settlement. That doesn't mean you should stop cleaning up after your dog, though, because it has saved immensely on the cleaning bill for council carpets.

It turns out that there's a much greater environmental impact from the litter that gets washed into our storm water and into the bay each year. So, in an effort to address this problem, council will introduce a program which obligates parents of all ages to ensure that the litter dropped by their offspring is deposited into dedicated litter clean up receptacles at convenient locations around the city. In return for a lifetime of cleaning up after your offspring, you'll be rewarded with preferential placement in the aged care facility of your choice!

Of course, there are some administrative limitations on ensuring that parents clean up after their offspring, so we'll be monitoring compliance by measuring the weight of trash deposited by each parent into the council's dedicated receptacles. Any trash will do; it doesn't have to be your own child's trash.

Once a parent has deposited 4 Olympic swimming pools of trash into the certified council litter clean up receptacles over their lifetime, they will be certified for entry into a nice retirement village or nursing home, thanks to the state and federal authorities.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sure you'll agree that this program is a winner for everyone. Kids still get to be irresponsible and totally reliant on their parents until well into adulthood; plus their parents' retirement accommodation is all organised. Parents get to be indulgent and spoil their children, whilst still getting plenty of reason to complain bitterly about their children well into old age. And the government gets the satisfaction of having once again taught you what personal responsibility used to be.

Thank you, good night, and happy pickings.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Just a mo...

Movember - Sponsor Me

This is a quick post about Movember. No, that's not a typo. Movember is the month for blokes to grow mo's (moustaches). I have sponsored two mo's so far for this growing season - for Jeff and Ashley at work (interstate). Funds raised go to charities supporting prostate cancer support and depression support for men. Good stuff, and the mo is very trendy!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another Shoe Story

This is an oldy but a goody; dates back to the eighties. I lived in Toowoomba and could walk to work in about 30 minutes. I would of course wear joggers (trainers, gym shoes for any overseas readers) and then change into more formal shoes when I arrived at work.

On this particular day I had my formal shoes in my back pack. There was an intersection close to work which was notorious for drivers running the red light. Because of this, I was not able to step off the curb until after the walk light had changed to flashing red. An impatient driver waiting to turn the corner blew his horn at me as I scurried across the road. I was moving so quickly that one of my shoes wriggled out of the backpack and onto the road. The next car ran over my shoe!

Quickly running back, I managed to retrieve my shoe without injury to my own person. I was pretty annoyed by the bad driving and impatience, though.

However, I was rewarded to find that my shoe was not only still in one piece, but, having previously squeaked when I walked, it now had the squeak squashed out of it!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Case of the Missing Sports Shoes

On Tuesdays, my son Dylan has physical education at school. He must wear his formal uniform to and from schoold and change into his sports uniform at school, so he takes this in a small separate carry bag. Last Tuesday, Dylan was on the bus on the way to school when he realised the sports bag was missing. A quick call to his dad, who was out of the house, but still in the neighbourhood: please check if I have left it in the lounge room or the bedroom, or at the bus stop.

No luck. Dylan checked for himself when he came home that afternoon. No sign.

Well, surely it was left at the bus stop and someone has picked it up. Who would want Dylan's sports uniform? The sports shoes were good quality, but far from new. Damn - have to buy new shoes, new uniform. Luckily there is another older uniform at home and some old shoes belonging to his older brother Tristan. These will do for now.

As I'm driving later in the evening after picking Tristan up for his game, I tell him that in the morning I will have a talk to the children who catch the bus after Dylan. Surely they saw the bag. If I give them the evil eye they will confess all!

In the morning, Dylan calls me into his room to show me the miracle. The bag is on the floor, with uniform and shoes in tact! How can this be, we all checked for it. It really is a miracle.

Then Tristan emerges from the bathroom. When I had brought Tristan home, after Dylan was asleep, he found the shoes in his own room. Dylan had been sitting in Tristan's room, while Tristan put his shoes on, before they left the house on Tuesday morning. And so on finding the bag after everyone else was in bed, Tristan kindly returned it to Dylan's bedroom and left it on the floor for him.