Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Apollo Eleven - a Baggy Arse's Perspective.

I photographed this particular Caribou at Luscombe Field, Nui Dat in 1970.

20th July was the 47th anniversary of the first moon landing.

On that day, Neil Armstrong stepped out of Apollo 11’s lunar module on to the surface of the moon in the Sea of Tranquillity and uttered those famous words.

Most of us, on the day, think back to where we were and what we were doing at that moment.
I was in the Putty mountains on exercise with 7 RAR, preparing for tropical warfare in freezing sleet.
The exercise finished on the evening before the day of the landing, and we were allowed to put our hootchies (2 man tents) up to provide shelter overnight.

This was not allowed when we on a tactical exercise, and we had been sleeping in the open on groundsheets. It was bloody cold.

It was so cold in fact, that the digger sharing my hootchie and I had the bright idea of hanging a blanket up across the front of our tent in an attempt to keep the howling westerlies out. They’re experiencing much the same weather down South as I write this. 

It did help in providing a little cover from the lazy wind, but when we struck the tent next morning, the blanket eerily stayed in place. It had frozen solid, as it had sleeted during the night.

A RAAF Caribou was to take us out that morning, but the crosswind was approaching a strength which would render the take-off from the small dirt strip unsafe. It was whilst we were waiting for the aircraft that we were told of the moon landing, when the news was broadcast on the battalion net.

From memory, it did not raise much excitement with us. When you’re frozen to the bone, it’s difficult to get excited about news events, no matter how significant.

The aircraft landed, we got on board, and we lined up for take-off. From where I sat, with my back to the fuselage, I could see the pilots struggling to keep the aircraft on the strip as the wind caught the Caribou’s enormous tail.

We were the last flight out that day, as the wind freshened, and all aircraft were grounded until it abated.

The fact that we were last flight out was in hindsight at the time much more significant to us than the moon landing.

It meant that the platoon sergeant, who was scheduled on the next flight, didn’t arrive at Holsworthy barracks until the next day.

We had 24 hours of bliss as there was no one there to harangue us to perform useless tasks in the interests of being seen to be busy.

That’s what I remember most about the moon landing.  

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Buyer's Remorse (Almost)

Cowface in his element (pic courtesy Brisbane Times)

We’ve just had a state by-election in the seat of Toowoomba South.

Like all the other constituents of this very conservative neck of the woods, I trotted off to the ballot box and cast my vote yesterday for one of the five candidates.

Suffice it to say, I didn’t vote for the successful candidate, one David Janetsky. 

His face has been plastered on election signs all over the place for the past weeks, wearing an expression resembling that of an artificially inseminated cow – the kind of expression that indicates that something wonderful has happened to him, but he’s not exactly sure what it is.

The "something wonderful" was his endorsement by the LNP for the previously very safe LNP seat
The candidate that gave him a real run for his considerable money was Di Thorley, previously mayor of Toowoomba.

She was a very successful mayor, but in recent years has moved south. She’s returned to Toowoomba to care for her aging parents.

About the only unsuccessful aspect of Thorley's stint as mayor was the end of a scheme designed to drought-proof Toowoomba by using latest technology to purify recycled water to return it to the supply.

Toowoomba has always had a problem with water supply in times of drought, and back in 2006, Thorley floated a proposal to use recycling as a safe and inexpensive solution. The $68 million scheme would have seen recycled waste water flowing into Toowoomba homes from 2012.

There was a major hue and cry, led by a group who called themselves “CADS” – (Citizens Against Drinking Sewerage) and they garnered funds from all the usual suspects to run a scare campaign.

It was rejected by voters at a 2006 referendum. 

Instead, a pipeline was built from Wivenhoe Dam to Toowoomba at a cost of $187 million. We have been paying for that scare ever since. It costs most taxpayers about $150 on every rates bill. And, by the way, the pipeline is a white elephant, and has never been used for its intended purpose.

A recent poll indicated that with the benefit of hindsight, Toowoomba voters would have produced a different result
Anyway, cowface got in, with a swing against the LNP of 10%
So what does that show? 

Well, a couple of things.

One is that there is such a thing as buyer’s remorse when it comes to voting, but there wasn’t quite enough this time to change the result.

The other is that hindsight is a wonderful thing, but there are some who fail to learn from history, be it local or national.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

When the Story’s not the Story

The events in Dallas yesterday are shocking enough without the national broadsheet attempting to sensationalise them further.

The Australian (the fart of the nation) published initial reports that pushed the line that a race war was imminent across the Pacific.

It’s too early to predict where the events in this tragedy will lead, but with this fiction being promoted, anything is possible –

Heavily armed snipers killed five police and transit officers in downtown Dallas and wounded six more, in a premeditated and triangulated “ambush-style” assault during a rally protesting against the killing of black men after two shootings this week.

That was the lead paragraph of the story on the front page of The Australian this morning.
The problem with this piece of “reporting” is that the references to “heavily armed snipers” and “triangulated” attacks is pure fiction.

By mid-morning the story from the same agency (News corp) had morphed into – 

The sniper who killed five police and transit officers in downtown Dallas during a peaceful protest yesterday has been named as Micah Johnson, a 25-year-old army veteran.

In the space of a few hours, “heavily armed snipers” (plural) have become one Afghanistan veteran who was posted as a carpentry and masonry specialist.

He was sent home from Afghanistan as a consequence of a sexual harassment complaint from a female soldier.

The notion of an organised group of militia (as initially posted on the front page of the Australian), is more in keeping with the race war narrative, but it was simply bunkum.

I don’t believe that this was a deliberate beat-up. Rather, it was sheer media incompetence, behaviour that Rupert’s broadsheet is becoming increasingly prone to.

The difference this time is that the perpetrator wasn’t an Islamic extremist, so Muslims, for a change, aren’t being smeared.

Will African-Americans cop the blow-back? Remains to be seen, but if the behaviour of News Limited is any indication, the signs aren’t good.

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