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Monday, April 29, 2013

Old accountants never die; they just lose their balance

 

Well, this old accountant won't! He just discovered this blue-and-white suction grab bar which he promptly installed in the shower. He didn’t come down in the last shower, you know! Nor will he in this one! ☺

P.S. Of course, accountants see the world differently. To find out just how differently, click here.

 

On the subject of the most important subjective pronoun

 

Have you ever wondered why we write the word 'I' with a capital letter, but not 'he' or 'she' or 'we' or 'you'? (or 'me'?)

Historians think the reason is that the word 'I' in Old English was 'Ich' (as it still is in German today; one more proof that English is a Germanic language; so 'Welcome! You're one of us!')

Anyway, over time the English dropped off the 'ch' and were left with 'I'. This was such a short word, printers wanted to make sure that people saw it properly in books, so they made it into a capital.

Another secret of your native language brought to you by your you-know-who.

 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

OSACOMP

 

A noun all by itself is a lonely thing. It doesn't really tell us much. To really enjoy a noun, you need an adjective. An adjective is a word that describes a noun. When several adjectives describe a noun, they need to be in a certain order. If you didn't know this, then you are a native English speaker who instinctively speaks of “the big, red house”.

"The red, big house" sounds wrong, doesn't it? Just as “I bought a new, beautiful, leather, big black work bag” sounds terrible. And that's where OSACOMP comes in: adjectives must be arranged in the order of Opinion, then Size, followed by Age, Colour, and Origin. Finally, Material and Purpose. So, instinctively, you bought yourself a beautiful, big, new, black leather work bag. And that made all the difference.

Another secret of your native language brought to you by your resident bloody wog - or should that be 'bloody resident wog'?

 

A true story


For those of you who have never travelled to the country, cattle guards are horizontal steel rails placed at fence openings adjacent
to the road (and sometimes across the road) to prevent cattle from crossing. The cattle will not step on the guards for fear of getting their feet caught between the rails.

 

In 2008, Kevin Rudd received a report that there were over 10,000 cattle guards in New South Wales and Queensland. Graziers had protested his proposed changes in grazing policies, so he ordered the Minister to fire half of the cattle guards immediately.

Before the Minister could respond and presumably straighten him out, Minister for Employment Julia Gillard intervened with a request that, before any cattle guards were fired, they be given six months of retraining.

And now she is running the country!

 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ben Fogle's NEW LIVES IN THE WILD

Ben and Dave

 

I first heard of David Glasheen when I sailed past his Restoration Island on my way back from Thursday Island in 2005. I have been keeping an eye on him ever since and also wrote several blogs which received quite a number of 'hits' in recent days.

Tracing their origin, I found that British adventurer Ben Fogle had visited Dave on his island for Episode 1 of his TV series LIVES IN THE WILD. (For some strange reason, this video clip and a similar clip on YouTube are VERBOTEN to viewers in Australia, stating, "The uploader has not made this video available in your country." Barred from viewing? I smell an infringement of my rights and the sounds of marching and barked orders like "FIRE" and "HALT" and "Who goes there?" and stuff like that.)

Anyway, I would hardly call Dave's existence on Restoration Island a "Life in the Wild": his former girlfriend, Ericka, works just a few kilometres away on the mainland, while Dave enjoys all the benefits of Australia's burgeoning social security system, including free Medicare and evacuation by helicopter to Cairns base hospital should anything serious happen to him, plus a plentiful supply of home-made beer.

Instead of medical evacuation, he may be facing legal eviction after he lost his case in the Supreme Court last August. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald, headlined "The Last Days of Eden", is a good potted history of Dave and his current plight.

According to his Restoration Island blog, Dave now wants to use 'crowd funding' to raise $500,000 to no longer have to brew his own beer and keep his island dream alive. I don't know, Ben, but methinks the only things wild about David Gilronan Glasheen are his methods.

 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Horst Berger's 18th Anniversary

Horst's native hut on the beach of Uiha Island

My friend Horst Berger was 39 years old - a good time to have one's midlife crisis - when he read somewhere, "Träume nicht dein Leben, sondern lebe deinen Traum" (to the few of you who are not fluent in German, it means 'Don't dream your life, live your dream')

He left his native Austria for the Kingdom of Tonga where he arrived on the 25th of April 1995 and where he has lived ever since. I was reminded of this when I read this prologue to the book Rascals in Paradise:

"In an age of anxiety men seek a refuge. Because of some deep urge, constant throughout history, troubled men traditionally dream of islands, possibly because the smallness of an island invites the illusion that here the complexities of continental societies can be avoided, or at least controlled. This is a permanent, world-wide dream.

When the island chosen for refuge happens to lie in the South Pacific, a colourful body of romance often helps to make the idea of escape an absolute obsession. Then, if the chosen island is reputed to contain lovely and uninhibited girls, the obsession is apt to degenerate into a monomania. And if the girls are Polynesians, the dreamer is truly lost.

... Citizens of many nations who have grown weary of atomic bombs, dictators, taxes and neurasthenia ... are united in their conviction that only in the fabled islands of the South Seas can they find the fulfillment that their own society denies them. Were each of the islands a continent, there would still be insufficient room for the defeated people of the world who require refuge.

In the 1930s there was in Australia a learned gentleman who clearly foresaw that a great war was about to break over the world. He had no desire to participate in this foolish war, but he had to conclude from his studies that Europe was going to explode and that the resulting fires would involve Africa and much of Asia. With extraordinary clairvoyance he deduced that Australia, left unprotected because the military men were preoccupied with Europe, would surely become a temptation to Asia and would probably be overrun.

Wishing to avoid such a debacle, he spent considerable time in determining what course a sensible man should follow if he wanted to escape the onrushing cataclysm. He considered flight into the dead heart of Australia, but concluded that although he could probably hide out in that forbidden region, life without adequate water would be intolerable. Next he contemplated removal to America, but dismissed this as impractical in view of the certainty that America would also be involved in the war.

Finally, by a process of the most careful logic, he decided that his only secure refuge from the world's insanity lay on some tropical island. He reasoned, "There I will find adequate water from the rains, food from the breadfruit and coconut trees, and fish from the lagoons. There will be safety from the airplanes which will be bombing important cities. And thanks to the missionaries, the natives will probably not eat me."

Fortified with such conclusions, he studied the Pacific and narrowed his choice of islands to the one that offered every advantage: remoteness, security, a good life, and a storm cellar until the universal hurricane had subsided.

Thereupon, in the late summer of 1939, one week before Germany invaded Poland, this wise Australian fled to his particular South Pacific refuge. He went to the almost unknown island of Guadalcanal."

Like other people who in their days of hope or torment fled to their obscure Guadalcanals, where, they were convinced, perpetual ease and fulfillment awaited them, so Horst has lived his dream for the past eighteen years on the tiny island of Uiha. May he continue to do so for many years to come!


ANZAC Day morning

 

The mist, still thick on the river, promises a hot and sunny day.

 

 

Another day in Paradise in God's Own Country.

We're so lucky! Lest we forget!

In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia fair.


First the march ...

... then the Service

... then the feed.

In downtown "New York", just 8 kilometres away, the turnout was a lot bigger as shown in this video clip.

For more photos of our low-key local celebrations - and to meet at least half the population of Nelligen - click through this gallery of pictures (the best are towards the end, especially # 51 of 68 ☺ )

She-who-must-be-obeyed and a battle-weary (and wary) veteran

The wife was counting all the 5 cents and 10 cents out on the kitchen table when she suddenly got very angry and started shouting and crying for no reason.

I thought to myself, "She's going through the change."

Monday, April 22, 2013

The men who crashed the world

Come on, September 14th!

 

As one YouTube comment puts it, "Gillard must have been part of a Liberal Party sleeper cell...planted inside the Labor Party to destroy it...Roll on September...election night will be the biggest piss up in Australian history."

Or, as a personal friend, possessed of infinite wisdom, explained to me, "You're just a shit disturber! The woman is a saint and has brought Australia out of the dark ages and into the new age of bottomless debt and hopeless financial ruin."

Take your pick!

 

When I was in the pub I heard a couple of plonkas saying that they wouldn't feel safe on an aircraft if they knew the pilot was a woman.

What a pair of sexists. I mean, it's not as if she'd have to reverse the bloody thing!

There's always another job waiting to get done

 

I used to make lists of things to do; now I make lists of lists of things to do! There's always something else to be done, and if there's no something else, it's probably time to clean up the workshop again.

There used to be a shadow-board on the wall with the right place for every tool and every tool in its right place. Trying to keep up with it reduced me to a mere shadow of myself. Now it's 'somewhere' on the wall or 'somewhere' on the shelf - or in the horseshed, or out on the boat, or lent to a neighbour who forgot he borrowed it from me and I forget I lent it to him.

 

I no longer feel so alone

 

My Canadian friend has sent me his 'Wishlist'. Substitute 'Australian' for 'Canadian' and it would be a perfect wishlist for Australia.

 

Borders: Closed to illegal immigrants!

Illegal boats: Stopped.

Parliament: Obey its own laws. Make politicians keep their promises or have them disqualified from further election. No programs scheduled to start past the next election.

Dual Citizenship: Abolished (you're either Canadian or something else. If you're something else, be a visitor then leave)

Language: English

Culture: Respect the Canadian culture and stop trying to change it to the mess that you left back home. Stop trying to change us!

Drug Free: Mandatory Drug Screening before Welfare!

NO Freebies to Non-Citizens! : Look after Canadians BEFORE donating to other countries. No Canadian welfare for any country that is developing nukes or spending more than a reasonable amount on arms.

 

Our leaders could learn something from Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, who gave this speech to the Duma (Russian Parliament) on February 4th, 2013:

"In Russia live Russians. Any minority, from anywhere, if it wants to live in Russia, to work and eat in Russia, should speak Russian, and should respect the Russian laws. If they prefer Sharia Law, then we advise them to go to those places where that's the state law. Russia does not need minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell 'discrimination'. We better learn from the suicides of America, England, Holland and France, if we are to survive as a nation. The Russian customs and traditions are not compatible with the lack of culture or the primitive ways of most minorities. When this honorable legislative body thinks of creating new laws, it should have in mind the national interest first, observing that the minorities are not Russians."

The politicians in the Duma gave Putin a standing ovation for five minutes.

 

 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

We Are all Cypriots Now

"George MacLeod had a bankroll, a good-looking brunette wife, and a weakness for blondes. He was reputed to be one of the best tax men in San Francisco, and people of means paid him substantial fees to pare their income down as far as they would go without giving the G-men an opportunity to talk about fraud. George was smart enough to keep business and pleasure apart; he did pretty well in both fields until he got involved with a girl who had yellow hair and tax troubles. The combination was fatal to him."

So begins David Dodge's book "Death and Taxes". Australia also did pretty well until we got involved with a woman who has red hair and a whole lot of problems. That combination could also be fatal to us unless we vote her out on September 14.

 


 

On Friday, April 5th 2013 the Labor government declared war on your retirement savings when it announced a series of reforms that include a 15% tax on superannuation earnings over $100,000.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said after the announcement that 'every time a government raids people's funds there are shades of Cyprus about it'. Sure, he's political point-scoring. Our unelected prime minister Julia Gillard called his statement that of an 'economic simpleton'. But, like Abbott or loathe him, there's a whiff of truth about his claim.

And don't feel too smug if you think it'll only affect the so-called 'rich'. In the not too distant future, after eroding money values have made $100,000 look like a pretty paltry sum, you may find yourself inside the Labor Government dragnet, too. Or when they reduce the earnings threshold to (say) $50,000. Why shouldn't they? They've started to fiddle with your retirement money so why should they stop at $100,000? Labor's record of outright lies and broken promises is unparalleled in Australian political history:

Trish Power in her excellent Super Guide explains all the ins and outs of Labor's new insidious superannuation tax in this article.

P.S. By the way, a South American scientist from Argentina, after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient brain and sexual activity read their websites with their hand on the mouse. DON'T BOTHER TAKING IT OFF NOW; IT'S TOO LATE!!!

 

BEWARE! Another Labor Government money grab

 

Do you have an inactive bank account? If so you will risk having it confiscated by the Labor Government. 31 May is your deadline!

You are urged to transact on your account before 31 May 2013.

Increased government powers to seize money from inactive banks accounts will soon come into effect, after legislation was rushed through parliament last year.

From May 31, the federal government will have the power to transfer to its own coffers, all money from accounts that have not been used for the past three years.

Any bank account that holds more than $1 and has not had any deposits or withdrawals during this timeframe will be transferred to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

It should also be noted that interest payments are not considered to be deposits. Similarly, bank fees and charges are not considered withdrawals for the purpose of defining if an account is inactive.

Based on current data, the government will net around $109 million this year alone. Every year from now on, accounts that are deemed to be inactive will be released to ASIC.

Why did the legislation change?

It may not have been widely know before, but the government has always had the power to seize the money from inactive bank accounts.

The legislative change has redefined the time frames for what is deemed to be an inactive account. Prior to the new laws set last year, a bank account had to be inactive for seven years before the funds were transferred to ASIC.

Who will be affected?

Any bank accounts you have lost track of may be affected – for example, old accounts relating to specific jobs you have moved on from that have been sitting dormant with only a few dollars in them.

Many people lose track of their accounts when they move address or, move overseas. Other inactive accounts from share trading, trusts or long-term savings accounts may also be caught in the sweep. Bank accounts set up for personal savings, children’s education or inheritance may also make the new hit list, if they have not had regular deposits or withdrawals in recent years.

If you do have an account of this nature, the best thing to do is to make a small deposit or withdrawal now, so that the account is no longer deemed to be inactive come May 31.

How do I know if I have an inactive bank account?

Check all of your current bank accounts and ensure they have had recent transactions. If you think you have a missing bank account from a previous job or share trading that you no longer operate, look back through your financial records. At some stage you will have received paper copies of statements and other information.

The MoneySmart service from ASIC has a tool that can help you find your unclaimed money. You can search via your name or via a transaction number, if you have it.

Failing that, if you remember which bank, credit union, building society or other deposit-taking organisation you held an account with, contact them directly.

What can I do if my money is taken by mistake?

If, for some reason, your money is taken under this new law, you can apply to ASIC to have it returned.

However, it is likely that the process to reclaim funds will be a lengthy one. The best thing to do is to avoid being part of this process in the first place.

What to do now?

* Check all of your current accounts, with every institution and ensure that a recent deposit or withdrawal has occurred.

* If you suspect you have a lost account, contact the institution and reclaim it, then ensure it is active by making a deposit or withdrawal.

* If you cannot remember where a lost account may reside, use the ASIC tool to determine if it can be located.

* Search any previous financial print statements to ensure that you have located every account that has been held in your name.

See the article in the AFR here: Budget grab for inactive bank accounts.

 

Friday, April 19, 2013

She's sprung a leak

 

Metal and seawater don't like each other and the direct seawater cooling system on my motor-sailer's YANMAR diesel engine has sprung a leak.

It turns out that the cast-iron 'mixing elbow' which returns the heated seawater to the sea after it has cooled the engine, has sprung a big leak. So big in fact that, when I tried to pry it loose from its joint (#13) with the cylinder head, it literally split in half. I had to unscrew the whole assembly, right up to the cylinder head, and put it into a diesel/petrol bath for the rusted-up joints to come loose.

Expecting trouble, I had already ordered in a new mixing elbow and a joint for the princely sum of $420 (anything prefaced with 'marine' usually costs twice the price) but unless the diesel/petrol bath works its magic, I may have to order the rest of the assembly as well.

In the meantime, the good old motor-sailer is purely a sailer.

 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hanging out the WELCOME-sign for the Mofarrij family

Click on image to view WELCOME sign

 

Well, Thamer, if and when you and your family get to "Riverbend", this sign should make you feel welcome.

 

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