Saturday, February 22, 2014

It's time you knew

What a character....

What a funny bloke....

Jeez he's lucky....

Doesn't he just make you feel good to be around....

What an inconsiderate prick....

What an arrogant ass....

All of the above AND THEN SOME have been used to describe the old Bill from Bendigo.  I like to make people laugh, I don't suffer fools and I don't care about saying exactly what I believe.  Not what I think, but what I believe.

But there's another part of the crusty old bastard with the big heart, a part that none of you know about or would even have considered.

Here's another part of my story.........



My own depression struck at the time of my highest achievements and when I had begun to enjoy the fruits of my labours.  Having dedicated my life to business, I did not marry until my late 30's and just over a year later our first and only child was born.
 

Suddenly, and with no explanation, I felt "crook" like a heavy flu with all of the physical symptoms but without the cough, running nose and rasping throat.  I became so lethargic that I physically could not rise from bed.  The pain was excruciating.  By this time, in my mid 40's, so healthy had I been that I didn't have a regular Doctor.
 

Fortunately, one of my friends is a G.P. and off I trotted to see him.  I was wired, poked, prodded, punctured drained.  Ross-River (or similar) fever(s) or virus were suspected, thyroid and so on and so forth.  Turns out I had Ross River Virus/fever.  Otherwise a perfect physical specimen but extremely debilitated by the illness.  My very good fortune was that my friend has also trained and was a qualified psychiatrist in his homeland but chose not to practice here in Australia.
 

As much as I was in denial, he accurately nailed ANOTHER illness.  The "D" word, depression.
 

I was unable to argue with the irrefutable evidence that was placed before me and thus started the road to recovery.  A treatment of medication was started but I point-blank refused psychotropic drugs such as prozac etc. and instead was prescribed more specifically targeted meds.  I saw a psychologist weekly and although I respected, liked and trusted the practitioner, and enjoyed our hour-long chats, I did not (or at least I thought) that I was gaining no benefit or improvement.  Different medications and finally one that stabilized my wellbeing to the extent that the peaks and troughs of mood were closer together but still intolerable.
 

Mrs. Black Dog was supportive, or at least as supportive as she could be in the circumstances, since I was no longer the man that she married.  I was deeply concerned for our child and felt that it was not good for a child to witness what was happening to me and so a lifestyle change was necessary.  After two years of frustration and embarrassment I decided to travel – alone.  I literally “went bush” living in a hut in the mountains for 6 week terms and returning home for a week at a time.  I had no means of communication with no mobile coverage.  Aside from a small 0.9Kw generator, I had no power.  A gas fridge and small stove were luxuries.  I carried an emergency beacon with me everywhere and learned to live on my wits.  I did have experience in this area from my youth when I was involved heavily on the great outdoors.  Whilst I was alone, I was never lonely or bored.  I spent a full winter and summer in these modest circumstances proving to myself that which I had always known.  Material possessions do not make you happy, the just make being miserable more tolerable.
 

The time spent during that “Grizzly Adams” period (D.Hynch, How I Hit the Wall and Didn’t Bleed), I grew mentally stronger but the depths were never far from the surface.  The worst time I recall was weeping and wailing inconsolably when thoughts of my child struck me hard, the love I had for this child and the love and adoration that was given in return.  I decided then that my solitary lifestyle must alter if I were to join civilization once more.

 
I continued with my travels and adventures and concealing my background I took to manual itinerant labour working with crews of young and enthusiastic backpackers from all around the globe.  To some I must have been a “big brother” or “father-figure” but to all of them I was a friend.  To be around such young, vibrant people lifts the mood greatly but the downside on the dark days are the thoughts of a youth lost, or time wasted.  Had I not been so driven towards the great goal of achievement and had taken more time to “smell the roses” but one cannot dwell upon those thoughts.
 

It was during that time that the phone-call came.  My beautiful child had been viciously attacked by two marauding Mastiff pig-dogs unknowingly kept by a neighbour in a quiet residential Court.  Appalling injuries to the face and close to the eye, and where was I, when I should have been the protector.  My heartbreak became crushing when I was told that not one tear was shed as “Daddy would want me to be brave”.  Perhaps the worst moment of my life, and the most helpless.
 

The guilt and self-loathing became a load almost too burdensome to carry and my mood plummeted.  What kind of man would not be present to protect a child?  It took a long time to reconcile in my mind that my absence was for the greater good and that had I been home, the attack may still have happened.  Suffice it to say that today, after having undergone facial plastic surgery under the hand of another friend of mine, the facial scars are fading and such is the strength of character of the child, there are no ongoing psychological effects.  This gave me further strength over time, but the black-dog was never far from my heel.  By then, more than 4 years had passed since my diagnosis and although stable, I was never fully recovered.  I also realised long before that I could no longer carry any weight of responsibility and that my former career was over as was my life as I had previously known it.
 

I also knew and still believe that I have tried to run away from the problem, an act of cowardice? perhaps, but have I in so doing avoided the suffering of others.  A fine balancing act for the mind, which describes quite well one of the symptoms.
 

I’m now not so certain that writing this was such a good idea.  It is taking me over ground long ago covered, however, one thing that I am not is a quitter.  Questions were asked of me along the journey about self-harm or suicidal thoughts or tendencies.  Thankfully, any such thoughts were and are dismissed immediately.  There are questions of self-worth but never thoughts of pity or “why me”?
 

Responsibility I mentioned before was something that I either couldn’t handle or more honestly had a fear of accepting but one most important aspect of the whole nightmare is that I was able to fully provide for my former wife and child.  There were no messy settlements or the like.  I handed over everything and determined to continue with my new lifestyle.  I found my own Shangri-La and live daily with my demons.  Some days are good and others not so.  I have come to accept that the person who once was is no longer and I try to find happiness in all that I do.
 

For those with a lesser understanding of depression.  It is not the state of being depressed, I still get “depressed” or more accurately described as being fed-up or moribund, everybody does, but when DEPRESSION strikes, it is an entirely different matter.
 

It is as life changing as an amputation except that one loses part of ones-self, ones being, ones psyche rather than a body part (and there is no intention to demean amputees).  Imagine if you will having a prosthesis, it is a substitute for the lost limb but never a replacement and at some time during every day, the amputee is reminded of the loss, be it putting it on or replacing it.  When the black dog bites at you heel, it steals the prosthesis and try as you may to catch the dog, you cannot, without the aid of the prosthesis.  There starts the vortex which is depression.  One can grasp the edge of the vortex with blades as sharp as a razor and no matter what your strength, the more you try to escape, the worse the damage to your grip.
 

It is true that the more one suffers the more one learns of the signs of an impending episode.  That also presents its own demons, akin to being told that you will be shot at noon in 30 days time.  Would it be better that you were taken without notice?
 

DEPRESSION and being depressed are poles apart (pardon the unintended pun).  One is not the same as the other.  It cannot be caught but it can be caused, it cannot be cured but it can be treated.  It altered my life totally and profoundly.  I am neither grateful and nor am I bitter.  Every day is a new and different day.  I continue with medication which has been of benefit in settling the equilibrium in the “chemical imbalance” but I continue to hide the illness from all but those nearest and dearest to me.  The difference between being depressed and suffering from depression can be described thus.  When one is depressed it is difficult to appear cheerful – when suffering from depression, one can appear to be cheerful and “normal” in many respects, but inside, in the mind and in the body, there is great turmoil.
 

Thank you for reading.  If you only knew the author, personally, then the proof of what I say would be laid bare before you.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Journalists - My Arse.

JOURNALISTS - My Arse.

 
Tonight I listened to the radio equivalent of Looney Tunes cartoon pair Spike and Chester, a.k.a. Bolt and Price and as usual was left with a smouldering fuse.
 
Where do these two and the other lazy arsed media get off?  Their sanctimonious piffle insisting that the Prime Minister ought to make himself available to outline his daily activities and answer questions from various parts of the 'meeja'.
 
Bolt recognised that the Prime Minister rises at 4:30am and retires to bed at 11:00pm (or thereabouts), acknowledging that it was a long day and a crushing schedule.

Of course there was no consideration that wasting valuable time with talking heads answering inane questions that benefit no-one may well contribute to that load.

The place for answering questions is in the Parliament, hell, they even have time allocated for it and golly-gosh, they even have a name for it.  QUESTION TIME.  Well who woulda thunk it?

What we have here is something that has developed over many years. LAZY 'journalism' and 'cheap production values', i.e. the cost of making content for television, radio and newsprint.

Since when did we elect members of Actors Equity to show up and perform their party-piece?  Frankly, I only want to hear from our politicians when they have something IMPORTANT to announce.  The day-to-day proceedings of parliament are widely available to those who are interested and as for the others, let them have their 'tea' on their laps in front of soaps, game or reality shows!  Gawd spare me.

I don't give a fig for the 'opinions' of the ABC or SKY or any other unqualified talking hairpiece.  Nor am I interested in the opinions of opposition retards gobbing off meaningless mumbo-jumbo for the sake of a cheap show.

Our elected representatives have a huge task in front of them and I would prefer to let them go about their meaningful business rather than having interruptions caused by a bunch of no-hopers!

There are still some excellent journalists out there who actually REPORT on stories, e.g. Kate McClymont who spent endless hours at the hearings into Macdonald, Obeid, et al.  She noted, dissected and analysed the information, assembled the relevant facts, constructed the article and presented it for our consumption if we chose to read it.

These other crowds are simply lazy slobs who rely upon the sound-grab and their 15 seconds of fame on the doors in the morning.  Ask yourself, in the last 15 years, what devastating piece of information has been dropped by any politician at the doors in the morning?  Let me help you - NONE is the answer and yet day after day they roll up like Joh's chooks to be teased like a bunch of kids waiting for the Mr Whippy Van.

As I said - Journalists, My Arse.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Who you callin duBM

UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE (BBC2)

Jeremy Paxman:
 What is another name for 'cherrypickers' and 'cheesemongers'?

Contestant:
 Homosexuals.

Jeremy Paxman:
 No. They're regiments in the British Army who will be very upset with you




BEG, BORROW OR STEAL (BBC2)

Jamie Theakston:
 Where do you think Cambridge University is?

Contestant:
 Geography isn't my strong point.

Jamie Theakston:
 There's a clue in the title.

Contestant:
 Leicester




BBC NORFOLK

Stewart White:
 Who had a worldwide hit with What A Wonderful World?

Contestant:
 I don't know.

Stewart White:
 I'll give you some clues: what do you call the part between your hand and your elbow?

Contestant:
 Arm

Stewart White:
 Correct And if you're not weak, you're...?

Contestant:
 Strong.

Stewart White:
 Correct - and what was Lord Mountbatten's first name?

Contestant:
 Louis

Stewart White:
 Well, there we are then. So who had a worldwide hit with the song What A Wonderful World?

Contestant:
 Frank Sinatra?



LATE SHOW (BBC MIDLANDS )

Alex Trelinski:
 What is the capital of Italy ?

Contestant:
 France

Trelinski:
 France is another country. Try again.

Contestant:
 Oh, um, Benidorm.

Trelinski:
 Wrong, sorry, let's try another question. In which country is the Parthenon?

Contestant:
 Sorry, I don't know.

Trelinski:
 Just guess a country then.

Contestant:
 Paris



                                     THE WEAKEST LINK (BBC2)

Anne Robinson:
 Oscar Wilde, Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Archer have all written books about their experiences in what: - Prison, or the Conservative Party?

Contestant:
 The Conservative Party.




BEACON RADIO ( WOLVERHAMPTON )

DJ Mark:
 For 10, what is the nationality of the Pope?

Ruth from Rowley Regis:
 I think I know that one. Is it Jewish?



UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE

Bamber Gascoyne:
 What was Gandhi's first name?

Contestant:
 Goosey?



GWR FM ( Bristol )

Presenter:
 What happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963 ?

Contestant:
 I don't know, I wasn't watching it then.



PHIL WOOD SHOW (BBC RADIO -   MANCHESTER )

Phil:
 What's 11 squared?

Contestant:
 I don't know.

Phil:
 I'll give you a clue. It's two ones with a two in the middle.

Contestant:
 Is it five?



RICHARD AND JUDY

Richard:
 Which American actor is married to Nicole Kidman?

Contestant:
 Forrest Gump.



RICHARD AND JUDY

Richard:
 On which street did Sherlock Holmes live?

Contestant:
 Er. .. ...

Richard:
 He makes bread . . ..

Contestant:
 Er . .....

Richard:
 He makes cakes . . ..

Contestant:
 Kipling Street ?



LINCS FM PHONE-IN

Presenter:
 Which is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world?

Contestant:
 Barcelona

Presenter:
 I was really after the name of a country.

Contestant:
 I'm sorry, I don't know the names of any countries in Spain



NATIONAL LOTTERY (BBC1)

Question:
 What is the world's largest continent?

Contestant:
 The Pacific.



ROCK FM ( PRESTON )

Presenter:
 Name a film starring Bob Hoskins that is also the name of a famous painting by Leonardo DA Vinci.

Contestant:
 Who Framed Roger Rabbit?



THE BIGGEST GAME IN TOWN (ITV)

Steve Le Fevre:
 What was signed, to bring World War I to an end in 1918?

Contestant:
 Magna Carta?



JAMES O'BRIEN SHOW (LBC)

James O'Brien:
 How many kings of England have been called Henry?

Contestant:
 Er, well, I know there was a Henry the Eighth ... ER. ER ... Three?




CHRIS SEARLE SHOW (BBC RADIO BRISTOL )

Chris Searle:
 In which European country is Mount Etna?

Caller:
 Japan

Chris Searle:
 I did say which European country, so in case you didn't hear that, I can let you try again.

Caller:
 Er ..... Mexico ?



PAUL WAPPAT (BBC RADIO NEWCASTLE )

Paul Wappat:
 How long did the Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel last?

Contestant (long pause):
 Fourteen days.



DARYL DENHAM'S DRIVETIME (VIRGIN RADIO)

Daryl Denham:
 In which country would you spend shekels?

Contestant:
 Holland ?

Daryl Denham:
 Try the next letter of the alphabet.

Contestant:
 Iceland ? Ireland ?

Daryl Denham: (helpfully)
 It's a bad line. Did you say Israel ?

Contestant:
 No.



PHIL WOOD SHOW (BBC GMR)

Phil Wood:
 What 'K' could be described as the Islamic Bible?

Contestant:
 Er. ... ...

Phil Wood:
 It's got two syllables . . .. Kor . .

Contestant:
 Blimey?

Phil Wood:
 Ha ha ha ha, no. The past participle of run . . ....

Contestant:
 (Silence)

Phil Wood:
 OK, try it another way. Today I run, yesterday I . . ..

Contestant:
 Walked?



THE VAULT

Melanie Sykes:
 What is the name given to the condition where the sufferer can fall asleep at any time?

Contestant:
 Nostalgia.



LUNCHTIME SHOW (BRMB)

Presenter:
 What religion was Guy Fawkes?

Contestant:
 Jewish.

Presenter:
 That's close enough.



STEVE WRIGHT IN THE AFTERNOON (BBC RADIO 2)

Wright:
 Johnny Weissmuller died on this day. Which jungle-swinging character clad only in a loin cloth did he play?

Contestant:
 Jesus.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lessons Ignored


As some readers will know, I am a thoroughly true blue Australian.  I am a migrant from Scotland and every single day of my life I count my blessings for the opportunities that this Great Country has given me.  It should therefore come as no surprise when I say that I am sickened but moreso saddened when I see what is going on around the Country.

You see, dear reader, I have seen it all before.  Industry, manufacturing, engineering, stevedoring, transport, mining, construction all depleted and finally wiped out.  Wiped out by union greed and government incompetence on both sides of politics I might add.

Let me give you some insight into the future that awaits by visiting the past and telling you what I know to be true.

I grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, a City with a fierce reputation for hard working, hard drinking and hard fighting men.  A reputation well earned and well deserved but in many ways it overshadowed the great achievements that were achieved by Scots in general.

Initially a massive port City the envy of any in the world and based on the River Clyde.  The city was built by the tobacco lords, the spice lords and shipping magnates.  It became one of the richest cities in the world and great development followed.

It became the world hub for shipbuilding with shipyards crammed onto the Clydeside like sardines in a can with massive ships being built for a worldwide market. They built huge cargo ships, massive warships and luxury liners.  As a boy, I watched the QE2 funnel rising into the air as she reached completion.  With the wind coming from the right direction I could hear the constant hammering of rivet and caulking guns working through the night.

What was at the time the largest standing crane in the world, the Finnieston crane, was used to load massive steam locomotives onto ships destined for the USA, India and all parts of the world including Australia. Locally produced in Glasgow, these mighty machines continue to run to this very day.

Albion trucks were manufactured alongside the shipyards and were also exported worldwide. They also supplied the local market with trucks and buses.  There was a large car manufacturing industry in the Rootes Group.

Huge underground coalmines provided the black gold that kept industries powered and homes heated.  Large cotton mills produced fine fibres and then there was Britains largest export earner immediately before the discovery of North Sea oil, liquid gold called whisky.  Fine Scotch whisky exported to every corner of the globe providing rivers of income to the government in Whitehall.

Rolls Royce had a large engineering factory manufacturing engines for a variety of uses from shipping to aircraft.

All of these industries provided employment for thousands indeed hundreds of thousands of highly skilled tradesmen, apprentices and manual labourers.

What ensued was more than a tragedy, it was criminally negligent.

So what happened?  Unions happened.  There was an uprising by union leaders and organisers. Compulsory unionism.  No ticket, no start. Demarkation disputes. Wage claims, go-slow, overtime bans, strikes, walkouts. The whole box and dice.

Picture this.  You all know the unintelligible Scot, Doug Cameron, former union thug, bully and bovva boy and now an Australian Senator. You see how he behaves but imagine hundreds like him. Raving left-wing ratbags.

They infiltrated every industry in the country and made so many demands upon decent employers, that they simply surrendered and closed causing massive unemployment and social disaster.  Governments of the day interfered but could not stop the massive decline.  They tried to nationalise shipbuilding, mining and transport, but to no avail.

Closure after closure after closure thanks to the union mugs.  Scotland is now an industrial wasteland.  It’s a call centre.  A basket case with no hope of a return to its former glory.  So very very sad.

My desription is compressed into a few paragraphs but is an accurate precis of history as I saw it.  Any of it look familiar to you, dear reader?  Look around.  Look at closures and industries in trouble. Why?  Unions have priced indusries out of the market.

Of course there are other factors at work causing the decline in Australia.  The attitude that “I want it and I want it now” is killing us. Worse the attitude of some that “I deserve to have what they have” even though not qualified to earn the same.

As an aside.  The debate about Scotland’s independence. Now that the oil is drying up, there is no industry, there are no jobs and no prospects, Whitehall is now happy to divest itself of a dead weight.  Anytime Whitehall makes anyone an offer, it only benefits Whitehall.

Welcome to your future, Dear reader.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I NEED YOUR ADVICE!

Well.  I had a call from Miss 17 today about a car and I was left stunned!

When I buy a new car, I don't trade or sell the old one. Yes I  have to pay 5 registrations but the cars are mine. Not work utes or the like, personal vehicles paid for out of my own pocket. One of those cars is a BMW 318i that I bought new and has all the bells and whistles, full service history and has only done around 120,000 klms.

I thought it would be a nice pressie for Miss 17 when she obtained her drivers license.  It is a beautiful motor car, always garaged and in top nick.

Miss 17 calls me today and says she wants to buy a car and wait for it, could she trade-in my BMW?

Now she is still at school, has no funds to buy a car and is unlikely to be able to afford one for some time.  I asked WHY she didn't want the Beemer to which she replied, it was too big and she wanted something smaller.

  • a) I will not pay for another car for her.
  • b) I will NOT be a guarantor for ANY loan
  • c) I am stunned that ANYONE would turn down such a gift!
I'm just gobsmacked to the extent that I am prepared to bring the car here and sell it to the highest bidder.

I don't think she's ungrateful - but to be honest, I think she bloody well is!

My answer to her was "UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES CAN SHE TRADE MY CAR"

Help please by leaving a reply, anonymous or otherwise.  When I was a kid a fifty quid bomb was as good as it gets!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wailing on Whaling

Let me make it clear from the outset.  In an old-fashioned and myopic way, I have NO time for the Japanese as a nation or as a people.  They could slip into the ocean and I would care not one jot.  Yes, Like many, I lost members of my family in WW2 and of those who returned, their lives were ruined by the trauma of cruelty and starvation at the hands of their captors.  Unreasonable and some may say hysterical.  I cannot disagree, but I am what I am. And so to the point.

Whaling is not a nice business, nor is the slaughter of any animal.  As I recall, my last blog concerned the inhumane slaughter of cattle in Indonesia.

We here in Australia enjoy the bounties of the land and our oceans in accordance with out national traditions and diet.  We slaughter cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens in the millions.  In India, the cow is sacred but I don't hear them demanding that we cease the slaughter and cosumption of beef.  Likewise, other countries don't eat pigmeat as it is considered unclean, but I don't hear then telling us to cease the slaughter and consumption of pigs.

Millions of other species are eaten all around the world.  Dogs, cruelly beaten to death in Korea, cooked and eaten.  Some asian dishes require fish to be plunged into boiling oil while still alive.  Other creatures of the sea are cooked alive.  Lobster, Crayfish, Crabs and even our own humble yabby.

But Japan aren't the only ones whaling.  Norway and Iceland are enthusiastic whalers and openly admit they do so for food, unlike Japan who hide behind the skirts of scientific research.  We all know that's bullshit anyway.

A terrific article can be read thanks to National Geographic here:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/06/080627-japan-whaling.html

The closing paragraph quotes Claire Bass, of the WSPA, who conceded that cultural differences do colour the debate.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Economics in the Euro Zone.

Thought you might appreciate a quick overview of economics in the Euro Zone.

Some years ago a small rural town in Spain twinned with a similar town in Greece. The Mayor of the Greek town visited the Spanish town. When he saw the palatial mansion belonging to the Spanish mayor he wondered how he could afford such a house. The Spaniard said; "You see that bridge over there? The EU gave us a grant to build a two-lane bridge, but by building a single lane bridge with traffic lights at either end this house could be built".

The following year the Spaniard visited the Greek town. He was simply amazed at the Greek Mayor's house, gold taps, marble floors, it was marvellous. When he asked how this could be afforded the Greek said; "You see that bridge over there?" The Spaniard replied; "No."