Thursday, 26 July 2012

Woolly Jumpers

Returning home along the Balonne Highway today, about 60km West of Moonie, I came across this ute.

The damage is a consequence of an encounter (probably at or close to the 100km/hr limit) with this -

The roo, a big one, was about 200 metres up the road from where the ute finished up. I passed the tilt-tray, obviously on its way to complete the recovery, about 5 kms East.

They're bad at the moment, not numerous, but the ones you do see are very big. It's probably a consequence of a series of top seasons.

I've hit four in the last six years, but was lucky enough to be driving a Commodore with a bull bar the only time I hit one square on. Mostly, they've been glancing blows, smaller animals, or I've managed to come almost to a halt before the impact.

This was not the case above.

Modern vehicles, with east-west engines driving the front wheels will frequently not be immobilised because the cooling fan isn't attached to the front of the block, and doesn't chew its way through the radiator. Having said that, if you hit something this big at 100km/hr, you'd be lucky to be able to drive away.

I keep my eyes peeled, use the old infantry trick of scanning the whole time, and never swerve and brake simultaneously if I encounter one on the road.

Roos often jump towards, rather than away from the vehicle. I have no idea why. I have got to know where they are likely to appear - usually near water courses. Having said that, they can be anywhere.

You'll never hit a goat or a wild pig (in daylight), and I never drive at night.

Emus and sheep are stupid, but goats are smart. I've never seen a goat hit, but dead emus are spread all over the road.

Maybe some day, some bright spark will develop a roo-chasing device that actually works. I've seen Shu-Roos on the front of roo-damaged vehicles.

My Sister's Letter

My brother-in-law, a senior public servant who has worked for Treasury for 35 years, has been given the boot.

It was obviously a mistake to believe the premier when he said before the election -

"An LNP Government will also commit to no forced redundancies."

That particular lie was very significant for one family.

My sister wrote to the Courier Mail, but her letter wasn't published. It will be published here.

Dear Mr Newman,

I live a very ordinary life in suburbia. In an ordinary house that needs more and more maintenance and a garden that has never really been finished. Been blessed with 4 beautiful children, one born 10 years after the others. And married to a quiet, generous to a fault, bright, hard working man. Who has always been a great Dad and still is. Who loves reading, bushwalking, Phantom comics, watching his daughter play hockey and generally being an easy going, kind hearted and stoic individual who was taught these qualities growing up in a large family very similar to my own.

For the last 35 years, my husband has been a public servant. He has worked hard bringing his personal integrity to his job and the kids and I have learnt to adapt to him always returning home in the dark. The family plan was for Mum and Dad to work until the youngest child finished high school and the mortgage was paid off. But that all changed this week. We found out that my husband is facing retrenchment. As are the rest of the people in his unit.

Now as many people have told me- retrenchments are happening everywhere, the state is in debt, etc. But that doesn't help while I lie next to my husband tossing and turning at night trying to consider his future (and the rest of the family's future as well). My husband doesn't deserve to be treated like this. He is not "dead wood", he is not a lazy "pen pusher" but a good man who deserves some loyalty from his employer. Just as he has shown for the last 35 years. 


This is one family for whom Newman's promises have a very hollow ring. The cost of living becomes a major issue when you don't have a job.

As my nephew said the other day - now it's personal.....

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Clear and Cold

Dawn was clear and cold at Quilpie today.

Out this way, you need layers at this time of the year, but the clarity of the light and the crispness of the air make up for it.

There's no doubt about it, this is God's own country.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Big Sky Country

 For a long time now, I've been trying to capture the spirit of the country I routinely travel using imagery.

I've been entirely unsuccessful because the camera I use lacks any wide angle capacity, and I have no intention of buying one that does.

Another way of looking at the vastness of this area is to pan with a movie camera, so I used the humble iPhone to do this a few trips ago.

This was the result, spoilt somewhat by the edge of my finger across the lens in the first few seconds.

It was shot between Mitchell and Augathella on the Matilda Highway. It's beautiful country - it even smells good - you can't get that from the video.

Hostage to the Lunatics

Nothing reveals the fault lines in American society so much as their regular, almost routine, firearm massacres. These tragedies occur over and over again, and the responses are entirely predictable.

The president (and before an election) the opposing presidential candidate, make statements condemning the brutality and express sympathy for the victims.

The NRA usually issues a statement, but reaffirm their stance that everyone (including the 5% of the population certifiable or close to it) has the right to bear arms.

Then everyone carries on as if nothing has happened, and we wait for the inevitability of the next tragedy.

It's a strange blend of collective denial and pure lunacy that is central to what is fondly called the American dream. There are scores of families in Colorado at the moment living something else. They would probably call it the American nightmare.

The sad fact that a significant proportion of Americans live in a fantasy land in which they pine nostalgically for the violence of the frontier wars is quite remarkable. The fact that US legislators (with a few exceptions like Bloomberg) lack the courage to change this deplorable state of affairs is beyond sad.

This piece in the Daily News sums it up pretty well. The most disturbing element of this article is reading the comments from the gun crazies.

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...