Sunday, November 13, 2011

Found this crap the other day by sheer accident -
The bit about re-inventing - about postal clerks becoming retired brigadiers is so completely 'just so' as to be almost unbelievable.
Oh yes. Absolutely right.
The  scum being sent up here from the southern states must have provided immense space in the streets for all those wackos left behind - to get up to whatever mischief enters their tiny minds.
Then I heard that some flogger having something to do with these pages is approved by the Gay Bee Cee to the extent of being 'interviewed' on Sunday night by one of their power women?
Best we link with 'the monthly' before they are proscribed and censored by our 'masters'.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

“What are you bellyaching about this time?”

Calligula’s Horse –
So what are you bellyaching about this time?

Benjie Capuzzo -
“Put it this way. The great OzGovernment has hit on a way to save doing anything at all on behalf of its citizens.
As well as sacking every employee at the first sign of honesty or display of conscience they’ve put in these call centres allegedly for a one stop shopping approach to agencies and services.
Actually it’s a great way of creating ‘complaint fatigue’™ while also completely destroying the last vestige of motivation amongst all those underemployed and life experience disadvantaged young adults those call centres exploit then dispose of without any qualms whatsoever.”

CH – Now you mention it the ‘Great Land of the Two Speed Economy’ does seem a little short of helpful contacts and information these days.

BC – “A little short – is that what you call it?
Take a look at this pikkie. Now, according to a certain nazi type fresh out of the land of the Long White Cloud – this animal is a rat.
While everyone knows that queensland has become a joke surely the manual of corporate governance could be sourced elsewhere than from a ‘Dilbert’ comic book?”

Image – The rat. Despite the fact that the animal has been identified as a possum, a protected species here in Qld, this animal has been deemed ‘a rat’ and the house it has adopted has been declared ‘a vermin infested hovel fit only for demolition’ by an insurance assessor of dubious ability but of evident overseas extraction.

BC cont. - “Everyone knows that New Zealanders are crazy and can’t tell the difference between a possum and a rat even on a good day - but that’s no reason to let ‘em emigrate to Oz and take up work as insurance assessors here in God’s Own Country.

Maybe that stupid television fiasco many years ago set in New Zealand and all about a timber town had every Kiwi and his dog (or should that be sheep?) represented as the ne plus ultra chippie.
Stands to reason don’t it – in the same way that we still have Poms and the bloody Scotch as foremen and union organizers – after all their sort are better than us, aren’t they?

Maybe that combined with the fact that being a chippie, a carpenter – though probably a failed carpenter in his homeland – somehow lends him the status of another carpenter, that pesky Joshua bar Joseph.”

CH – Hoo boy – bellyache. What the hell has carpentry  and JC himself got to do with call centres and governance?

BC -  “Simplissimo, Charlie Horse, if you shut up and listen for a few secs.
You really are as bad as those brats in the call centres – no lateral thinking and no ability to accept that life ain’t a straight line.

Now consider – if some insurance company is bought out by German interests a while ago they probably expected projected climate change trends to improve their profitability in Australia.
But of course the drought broke as we Aussies knew it would so these Krauts, these absentee investors in insurance decided to utilise standover tactics when the flooding began.
Unprecedented claims arising from the Christmas/new year flooding have been met with bastardry and the sort of frustrating obfuscation that has been refined to an art form by those who pretend to serve our society.
So if anyone is wondering what Christmas, carpenters in new jobs, possums, rats and brain-dead bloody incompetent public servants have in common they’ll have to think about it for a while.”

CH – Oh I get it Benjie.
You mean Christmas and the carpenter. What is ordinarily supposed to be a time of good will between men – emotionally juxtaposed with the concept of our good Lord Gentle Jesus who apparently was a carpenter himself before that famous career change in his life.
You infer that not only was the season ruined for so many by the forces of nature but that such misfortune was compounded by some other ex-carpenter or other; one so debased as to be acting almost in the manner of an anti-christ  - In fact acting callously and dishonestly toward vulnerable people in the worst sort of distress.

And more to the point this dropkick was treating dishonestly with people who had shelled out good money in the fair expectation of decency and fair dealing when the times are bad – stuffing about with those who had paid their dues.

Yeah Benjie, I’m with you now. Indeed you are spot on.
The accents change over the years but the same game of exploitation and divide and conquer keeps being played at every level.

But back to call centres. Open up about that please.

BC – “Okay then. What do you do if protected animals have invaded your ceilings and are chewing holes everywhere?
Firstly it began happening after a state government project nearby located a complex electrical installation under flood level.
Meanwhile improperly carried out ancillary work to do with that project displaced wildlife and caused rainwater retention on certain nearby properties.

Image – High tech rat switches on cloaking device before ripping through ceiling

A reasonable response to that would be to call on the State to repair the damage and demand they pay compensation for the detriment caused.”

CH - And how does a person progress with that task?

BC – “By contacting those numerous agencies indicated as of jurisdiction through the officially nominated appropriate contact points – then screaming blue murder.”

CH - And what outcomes result?

BC – “Don’t be bloody patronizing CH. In the famous words of another carpenter, Grant Harrison – ‘We Aussies are a funny lot. In other parts of the world when injustice and unreasonableness become intolerable the people march and call up bloody revolution. While that’s happening everywhere else we Aussies phone up a friend and have a good bellyache.’
For all the good ‘progressing complaint and feedback through appropriate channels’ does we Aussies we might as well give up and just give our pals the shits by constantly whingeing.
But change is happening – population, demographics and attitudinal change is happening at an accelerating pace and the eternal fob-off will cease working very soon.

Naturally the only response we’ll see from our masters is more paranoia and coppers that look and act more like Judge Dredd every day.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

“Moynihania used to be called queensland”


Okay – This Moynihan fella had a contract with queensland government to run an outfit called the CMC.

Queenslanders (bless their braindead little souls) actually believe that a bloke being paid a bucketful of South Pacific Pesos every week would exercise the rule of law and bust dishonest politicians.

What a bloody joke. Imagine booking the paymaster!

But somehow this Moynihan has decided to quit his job prematurely. Appears he had a bit of an accident a few months ago and in result can’t think straight anymore.
The press releases don’t go into much detail about what sort of ‘accident’ caused these lapses of job performance.

Wouldn’t take much of a leap of the imagination to work out a scenario, though.
Most people in God’s own state who criticize the bold gendarmerie once too often get to be confronted sooner or later with some event or set of circumstances that seems to be some sort of ‘accident’ or other.

Aboriginal people and white trash have customarily just ended up dead while the likes of our Moynihan are either locked away on trumped up charges or kept under ‘close management’ for the rest of their lives.

An accident – do people soil themselves when given a dose of the tazer?
Or would the threat be enough if made by a ‘professional’?

Other Moynihans (there seem to be a tribe of Moynihans in the legal, quasi-legal and administrive rackets here in queensland.

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that if one Moynihan (who once had the cojones to put on paper a wish list of performance and honesty improvements for police) had to retire due to an ‘accident’ he suffered round about the same time he last criticized corrupt police then another Moynihan just might be brought under pressure to conduct proceedings in the qld floods inquiry along certain ways.

If those ways happened to prove unhelpful to those suffering in the floods then so what – they’ll get over it.

Queensland – underwater and inoperative one day – corrupted past recovery the next.

Thursday, June 16, 2011




It goes too far.
There is something terminally wrong with our government.
They have lost all power of reason.

The ruling laborites intend to send a class of refugees to Malaysia.

It seems that several human rights organizations have a problem with that proposal.
The posture seems unpopular for a host of the tiniest little nitpicking reasons.

Apparently world opinion is that these refugees may risk being maltreated after arriving in Malaysia, abominably maltreated.

Here you go, Wiki again, but you never read it anyway -

Meanwhile our ruling laborites have decided that Australian cattle cannot be exported to Indonesia for the tiniest little nitpicking reason.
It seems that some few of our cattle exported to Indonesia have been slaughtered badly.

This is an important consideration.

The government knows that cattle exported to Indonesia soon die there, get chopped up into little slices and are eaten by Indonesians.

But our laborites have stepped in and banned the export of our cattle on the high principle that they will not countenance their small chance of maltreatment by inexpert slaughtermen – not even the occasional maltreatment.

Nonetheless they fully intend to send human beings off from Australia to maltreatment and possible torture in Malaysia.

Our government knows all about the incredibly bad human rights record in SE Asia but intends to ignore that.

In short our laborite government denies human rights but enforces cattle rights.
They ignore human rights but fall over themselves to enforce animal rights.

Conclusion –
Shit yeah – I agree wholeheartedly. Our cattle should not be being treated so badly.
If we must eat beef I’d like it old, tasty, stringy and tough.

If they have to sacrifice themselves for our bulging guts I’d much prefer to see them dispatched by our all so considerate slaughtermen  - preferably one day before they drop off their perch due to natural causes and old age.

If I put that down on paper and sent it along to that Ludwig idiot – the very next day he’d clear beef exports to Indonesia again.

He’d do that just to give me the shits.
He’d do that - ‘cos that’s his small mentality.
He’d do that If I was the only Australian who wrote to him demanding that our cattle stayed here.
He’d do that to hurt me.
He’d do that because he believed and wanted it to be within his power to do that.
He’d do that because he believed he could and because it would give him joy to do what he could within his power to hurt another Australian.
That is the sort of base creature he is.

Now what I want to do is turn that logic around in the minds of the idiots who pretend to be the decisionmakers here.

About the refugee situation, I mean.

Surely it can’t be as simple as that?
What if I write to Gillard and insist that the Pol Pot Regime be reinvigorated and that we send all the refugees there?

If I apply the reverse logic and demand that those innocent refugees arriving on our shores be sent away to somewhere like that where they will be dealt with brutally – so they would be dealt with brutally, like our cattle.

By applying that reverse argument, I mean -
If I wrote to them and demanded they be sent away off our shores and be dealt with abominably by someone contracted to do that job out of sight and beyond surveillance – then Madame Gillard and her laborites would scotch that out of hand.
If I wrote to them and demanded that it might be, to deny an Australian citizen his request, that they would fold their stupidity, do the proverbial ‘backflip’, wake up to themselves and begin treating human beings a little better than cattle.

As it happens, this is an open letter to the prime minister of this sad turnout.

Ms Julia Gillard, PM –
Please stop treating human beings worse than cattle.
Please take a leaf from your august minister, Ludwig.
Please ban the export of humans to locations where they may be treated badly.
If cattle need to be handled ethically, then what is the problem with offering humans the same consideration?

Consider that if you send them off to such locations ‘Four Corners™ might catch up and film them being maltreated there on location.
If that happens you could end up in court in the Hague.
Please give this submission fair consideration.

Signed –
A Mob of Australians who would like to see some justice.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011



People can be so bloody unreasonable these days -
This lovely bloke on another blog told me I write crap – “ferment manure online”, he opined.
An interesting but rather undeserved verdict, that.
And one which I opine is the product of a closed mind scooting through cyberspace like a demented ferret.
Thinks I, this is the sort that has ‘no use’ neither for history nor science fiction, nor anything that enriches curiosity or the intellect of man.

Yep. ‘Blake’s Seven’, it hit me, or even a ‘Conan Comic’, would definitely have him ‘all at sea’.

Everyone else had buggered off, God knows why, to the ‘Regional Show’. No help, no consolation, no advice. Millie had left ‘on her Jetplane’.
I was on my own.

I had a good cry; then once I had calmed down with a good cup of Bovril™, had a damned hard think about this confronting situation.

After all I’m not the bloody Pope. At the end of the day, I’m not entirely infallible.

My flawed reasoning progressed thus -
After a fair amount of consideration I realised that he really meant he didn’t agree with what he had decided that I’d written. Repeat – “what he had decided that I’d written” – which is saliently different from his misunderstanding what I HAD written, the confused little twit.
Or is it?

Stap me. Now he’s got me confused!

This, as follows, is by way of being circumspect and intended as an overpolite way of saying that evidently the poor doofus cannot either read or reason.

He went on to prove that by more or less ripping strips off me for, as he claims, having the temerity to put shit on someone I had merely mentioned, one Larry McMurtry.

Which is strange since I am fond of the literary work of Mr. Larry McMurtry -
My library record attests to the fact that I am inordinately fond of that author’s work.
So whenever I mention Mr. Mc Murtry it is invariably in positive terms.

What could I possibly gain by doing otherwise?

Could I maybe con people into believing that Larry is a hopeless author and thereby diminish that long waiting list for his books down at the library?
I hardly think so.

But none of that is really the point; not at all the proverbial bone of contention -

What he really means is that he has sneaked over here to Calligula’s Horse, the Blog and taken a bit of a peek and rummage amongst our pages.
And what he found there was too confronting.
What we are saying here and there on these pages risks pricking his little bubble of false security.
I could almost hear his share portfolio spontaneously self-combusting.

One thing for sure is that he was not ever going to open up any of those URLs we provided allowing him to corroborate what we are saying about the dubious and perverse direction this country is taking.
Nor did he even leave a G’day, well done, comment. The little churl.

Leaving a mark -
Some ‘Kilroy was here’ comment or, since all we ever write is crap, even some reciprocal annoying digital excretion reminiscent of the local feral tomcat mightn’t be welcome – but at least it’d let us know that the net was still working. (Stuff ‘em. I delete ‘em before you ever get to see ‘em anyway. DR, Editor)

How would we know if he was ‘there’ if he didn’t leave his ‘mark’ -
Oh, come on fellows. You know better than that.
Comes in the statistics package, doesn’t it.
It keeps all your, the reader’s, contact details confidential – leastways we never get a look at them.
Nonetheless, checking the stats, the devious mind does gain an inkling or five about where and when this or that ‘hit’ came from and, by inference, why.
It isn’t exactly rocket science but usually more reliable than predicting the stock market.

A completely specious statement  from outer field-
All of which ably demonstrates that reading and comprehension aren’t particularly high on the list of priorities of the genetically modified and well programmed herd animals inhabiting Oz. these days.

Recognition, herd animals, vocal characteristics, a selection –
  • That doesn’t worry me (re - new laws)
  • ‘They’ make the rules (new laws again)
  • ‘They’ can do what they like (new laws introduced overnight without consultation)
  • I can afford that (new taxes, levies and increased prices)
  • That still doesn’t worry me (yet – or – but I know it gives you the shits)
  • Should have brought that law in years ago (they don’t own a gun or motorcycle)
  • Oh well, I can afford it (I know you can’t)
  • If I can afford it, so can you, if you work hard for it (usually directed at unemployed, disabled and farmers)
  • If you can’t afford it – quit doing it (they don’t like ginger beer, or -)
  • If you can’t afford it you mustn’t be meant to have it (anything else they don’t like)
  • They say it’s bad for you (just about everything they heard about on the news)
  • It’s bad for you – that’s why it’s so expensive now (just about everything in creation they’ve noticed other people enjoying)
  • We’ve all have to pay our dues (actually they were coke dealers but had ‘certain contacts and obligations’ then)
  • We never do anything in our back yard that we’re ashamed of (ugly, inhibited, no imagination)
  • You’re not allowed to do that (anything and everything, especially if it looks like fun)
  • We can do whatever we want to on our side of the fence (they are still coke dealers)
  • Someone should do something about that (Peter Beattie)
  • Oh well, it had to happen sometime (Queenslanders, speaking about Beattie rooting the Qld credit rating)
  • This sort of thing never happened in our day (back when they dealt in coke and had ‘protection’)

Off on more of a tangent -
That’s why we refer to the ‘Dunning/Kruger Effect™’ frequently.
We don’t do that to insult the reader but to give those DK guys a plug in the hope that the less self-confident out there have a look at the concept, roll it about for a while in their consciousness and hopefully they profit by it.

If you are a bit that way it may give you some encouragement to realise that Messrs Dunning and Kruger might just be a bit dim themselves.

After all it took two of them in modern times to cook up and commercialise an idea that Socrates invented all on his lonesome (and offered for free) the best part of two and a half thousand years ago. (See further below. Dr, Editor)

Bottom line is that we just haven’t progressed much
Just still just so easy to get into trouble in the blink of an eye.

Ask this bloke -

Image – “One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest”. No. It isn’t Jack Nicholson.
This is a pikkie of an Aussie kid posing with a couple of his mates ‘somewhere over in Europe’.
Looks warry doesn’t he? Except that the lump of pipe he is pointing well away from the camera is what the military call ‘inert’, ‘deactivated’ or ‘expended’. It contains no ammunition or charge.If it had been ‘loaded,’ the projectile would be clearly visible projecting from the front of the tube. It is therefore harmless.
Yet the press let this picture represent to millions of gullible fools that it was prime evidence of his intention to cause harm. Not one single ‘expert’ ever stood up and said – ‘this is bullshit’. The poor kid is such an expert that he’s got the optical sight of this piece of expended ordnance in perfect alignment with his MOUTH. Everyone knows that we can aim infinitely better with our GOBS than we ever possibly could with our eyes.
See, even pikkies, out of context, fool the gullible.

Too harsh on my critic?
Probably. But maybe he does need to carefully study the contents of some of the following URLs if he wants to win friends and influence people with his profound comprehension.

- or this, if he is merely a doofus who needs a hint about how to manage that infirmity.  - since as they humbly suggest and Socrates would attest – things can get pretty poisonous when low wattage intellects fail to realise that their lack of metacognitive ability denies them the ability to comprehend their mistakes.

Ah, Socrates.

But having said all that – never, ever forget this sucker –

Which goes back all the way to our ‘Maiden Speech’

Don’t worry though, it’s not the end of the world – just a spot of ‘cognitive bias’.  - maybe these guys can help?

(But hold. They’re having a brief mention of this sort of thing broadcast on the ABC this minute The masters reckon that people are getting really snarky on the internet – that old fashioned manners and decency are just going down the gurgler. I believe they are suggesting that henceforth the internet fora and weblogs are beneath contempt)

Which intrusion leads to another train of thought -
When politicians want to fob people off they say things like – ‘But that is a very COMPLEX situation’.
What they actually mean is if some emerging situation suits the populace – then they’ll pass a law against whatever it is. That keeps life simple for them in terms of keeping paper off their desks and their avoiding anything as challenging as attempting to comprehend and assimilate the contents of those documents.
Meanwhile they pretend they are slow readers.
On the other hand some COMPLEX situations (like the massively overcomplicated tax laws) they cherish and hold as inviolate as the original copy of the Ten Commandments.

Wrong. Read again -
I didn’t say they OBEY the Ten Commandments or the tax laws themselves.
Rather they EXPLOIT them to their advantage and to the detriment of the disenfranchised masses.
The big question remains. How long are you patiently suffering, uncomplaining dills going to keep putting up with the outrageous games of these manipulators of self ordained privilege?

Don’t you ever read the NEWS?

The political masters turned a blind eye to climate change skeptics in 2006/7 –
 - but when the shoe is on the other foot in 2011 we grab out ‘good’ scientists and wrap them up in cotton wool.

While that is happening Mr. Bob Katter establishes a new political party -
- and when doing so has expressed the opinion that he’s worried about himself getting ‘put in jail’ in result of doing no more than exercising his democratic right.

What could possibly cover the interest and concerns of such diverse groups?
Obviously a whole bunch of aggressive ratbags behaving themselves might help.
They really should not fly off the handle at such special interest groups as sampled and mentioned immediately above.
- but evidently, and to their infinite shame, they do.

But we at ‘Calligula’s Horse’ talk nothing but ‘crap’ -
An Australian charter of rights is rubbish – has to be crap. If we talk about it, it has to be.
Never forget that for a second.
Always remember that no hyena is ever going to bite an ostrich on the arse when it has its head firmly jammed in the sand.
Not when there’s all that free, hyena distracting, KFC put out there fresh every day by, bless ‘em, the ‘Ostrich Rescue’ guys and gals.

The ostrich rescue guys and gals will aggressively defend their right to put out KFC every day and run campaigns demanding contributions and funding.
And because they’re zealous idealists they’ll gang up on the people politely pointing to the Ostrich overpopulation and all the hyenas dropping dead of coronaries.
They will vigorously deny that they are causing an ecological disaster because they religiously bellieeeeve they are right (besides all those other perks).
About the only thing that will ever bring them into line is a press release avowing to the fact that it was a Colonel Sanders who set up ‘Ostrich Rescue International™’.
But before idealism is so precipitately torn asunder heads will be cracked and the ‘claret’ will flow.

Don’t know what I mean?
Well, for one thing if you are an ostrich with your head firmly, permanently, jammed in the sand you might be grateful that a mob of activists rush about all day saving your butt.

Ha, with any luck they might even wipe it for you.
That’s what governments and an ever expanding, allegedly altruistic ‘NGO industry’ pretend they do – but at what cost, wasted effort and to whose ultimate benefit?

Special interest groups whether defending an Ostrich, a duck, a climate change skeptic, a true believer, or some politician cannot adequately defend the object of their interest or promote some special cause unless they have a right to do so.
To deny that right leads to an escalation of confrontation, intimidation, threats, then ultimately violence. (the lawyers love it)

That sort of thing has been happening for several thousand years now.
Many people don’t know that; others don’t want to know that; while others just don’t care or see it as the natural order of things.
There are a whole other set who like things that way. They call it maintaining the status quo.

They exploit the idealistic zealots often placing one set in conflict with another thus providing street theatre for the masses, a good chance for the masters to ‘regretfully resort to the exercise of authority’ and a damned good opportunity to bring in new ‘law and order’ legislation.

It is a package of deceit all bound up in a wrapping of being an unfortunate aspect of democracy in our increasingly complex, ungrateful, disobedient society.

And all the acrimony bunfighting and nausea could mostly be brought to a stand by drafting and implementing a document which defines our rights and guarantees each and every of us our right to natural justice and a forum for our voices to be heard and acted upon.
Just imagine that. Instead of wasting time like me here writing this drivel or having some toolhead on talkback radio hit the red button on you – you’d have a venue to lodge your concern or dissent and have it acted upon.
Wow !

But the masters won’t ever do that, will they. It’d all end up too much like work.

PS - What is the difference between the new Australian Party and the LNP?
Unlike the LNP, Mr. Katter’s new party has an elected leader.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Author – Millicent Ffulke-Hope, Arthur’s new found friend.

It began with a putt* -
My first encounter with the ambience of this ‘regional centre’ in Queensland. Australia was described in that last article of Arthur’s.
I have been asked to provide an account of my observations which hopefully shall be published, with Mr. Reinhardt’s approval, as an ‘interest piece’; a ‘visiting fireman’s’ impression of the district and its local history.

Apparently Mr. Reinhardt had a classic fit of the sulks yesterday evening when he read Arthur’s comments about him in draft – especially the part about ‘his rubber band being so easily wound up to snapping point’. (NB – this wasn’t deleted, was it? – D.R., Editor)
At the time I had been invited to join in an ‘evening editorial soviet’ combined with some refreshment – or as Arthur put it so succinctly, “a bit of a well deserved piss-up after roaring everywhere around the boondocks on that old rattletrap.”

It may well be that Django’s (Mr. Reinhardt’s) concerns about the present day, allegedly tourism focused, dysfunctional regional economy hold weight.
*(Putt – casual, easygoing, hopefully enjoyable, outing on a motorcycle.)

Followed by an argument -
How could a complete stranger, a foreign national, (and a Seppo at that – D.R., Editor) assess the merits of any place after visiting for the first time and, at that, for only a few days?
But once dear Django climbed down out of the chandelier he reluctantly agreed that such is exactly what tourists and visiting business people do by the million in countless locations every year.
Therefore Mr. Reinhardt has promised, at least in this instance, that there shall need be neither self-censorship nor other ‘constraints on the media’.

We shall see if he keeps his promise (and hopefully works out that calling a Southern Belle a ‘Seppo’ is like waving a red flag before a bull).

First impressions -
Are based on value judgments – or so any person concerned with projecting a positive first impression must assume.
My first impressions may well have become biased, firstly, by what I had come to understand from discussing the district’s history with Inge, then shortly after arrival totally skewed awry by what I can only describe as the remarkably culpable behavior of a certain trawler coxswain.

His act of gratuitous aggression seemed to span the years.

All I could think was, my God, if there were a couple of hundred colored people swimming the river to escape madmen with guns out there on that island - he’d have just plowed on right through them.

The reader may rest assured that were I some ‘Ms. Moneybags’ visiting this city in order to establish something, for instance, in the seafood industry, that visit would have been short, sharp, and with a decidedly negative outcome.

See what I mean – first impressions stick like ‘Elmer’s Glue-All’™.

Second impressions then -
Shoot me down in flames but I cannot accept that a town can set itself up as a tourist trap without having something entertaining to offer transients like myself.
I am reliably informed that this city has indeed absorbed its fair share of tourism development funding over the recent decades.

Many cities around my part of the world (Birmingham, Alabama) just up and invent something if that is what it takes. (for instance, some good ol’ boys there invented my scooter)

In the circumstance that other, more acceptable, sources of income are lacking for cultural centers and sporting venues then people of an entrepreneurial bent will set up with a dude ranch, a garage museum, or a humble clapboard home with a hand painted sign on the fence offering, say, the last chance for the lucky tourist to buy (Yes Ma’am, genuine) Jesse James’ very own six-shooter. (I have three myself. One even shoots well.)

While it is true that eminent travelers like Bill Bryson often comment that what is on offer at tourist traps in the USA can best be described as tacky; it must be declared in the same breath that at least they are there in abundance.

Here in this burg these parameters appear to have been somewhat tweaked.

As if unable to reject the bipolar approach to tourist traps and in the circumstance of lacking abundance, it is if the of what is offered here must be transcendently tacky and be stretched to unprecedented heights of utterly disarming disinterest.

I apologize if I seem to be saying that it is a boring town. I am struggling to describe why it is a boring town without being too insulting to the inhabitants, all of whom, no doubt, are honest and God fearing people.

Image –  If a certain European power, confronted with a fraught economic and political situation, can set up a decent combination waterslide and go-kart track, then why the hell can’t we?

Leading to an insult -
I have spent my money here and there over the years, even at some tourist traps flying that all too often suspect ecotourism banner.

It brings joy to spend time close to nature and with luck witness new life come into this world.
I am not a particularly early riser however do recall a cold, frosty dawn at a Texas ranch.
I was privileged to witness a colt being born in a flurry of sanguinary mucus and steam.
My excitement at his first trembling steps, his elation at being born alive on the face of this earth, the recognition in his eyes of the mare, his mother.
That experience was overpoweringly enriching and rejuvenating for this old farm girl.

In comparison, watching turtles lay eggs, though the act itself is of undoubted merit, is too much like watching paint dry, and as Arthur succinctly put it “As intrusive as watching a cat take a crap.”.
A person might have more fun visiting a hen coop at dawn.

Something evidently less than an inspiring occasion for the observer or for that turtle.
And that is the way it should be what with the poor turtle being a solitary animal.
What immeasurable harm is being caused their kind with people gawping, stomping about and shining lights in their eyes at birthing – distracting that most necessarily secretive time of that noble species existence?

Something less acceptable –
Why not speak forthrightly and in the regional vernacular – ‘just spit out my dummy’.

I have been informed that this city I am visiting now has sold off, permitted to have sold off, or maybe mislaid – its heritage along with its industry - the essential reasons for its being.
For instance, no one told the locals that their locally owned cane harvesting firm had been sold to drug dealers.

Oh, fair enough; you want me to explain such an outrageous statement -
‘Jardine Matheson’ were Imperial drug dealing ‘factors’ back in the good ol’ days destroying the resolve of millions of decent Chinese – that’s how they first made their moolah.
Then they came here.
And no one noticed that once bought by foreign interests an Australian entity could end by being sold on to a hostile interest.

I wonder what reception I’d get from a government if I placed a bid to buy out one of their most important home grown technology and manufacturing assets.

I can see it now. The Aussie trades commissioner or whatever casually asks me something like –“So what did you do to set up in business and put enough capital together to make us this offer?”

If then I casually replied – “Oh nothing much, flogged off a couple of thousand tons of opium to the Chinks, helped cause a couple of wars and amongst other things even kept operating in Honkers by selling beer (and the odd ton of opium) to the Japs in World War Two  – Got a problem with that?”

Let’s just say I could reasonably predict the outcome if I had to admit to that.

Other visiting profiteers, (including the British Royal Family, leastways their sharebrokers) have stripped assets, made their packet and now moved on.
They tell me it does wonders for the local economy when the biggest cane harvester manufacturing plant in the southern hemisphere gets picked up holus-bolus and shipped off to Brazil.
No, That wasn’t Jardine Matheson. They just sold on to the outfit that did that later.

They tell me it has a ‘domino effect’ -
Absentee rentiers and foreign interests more concerned with neutering global competition than fostering regional prosperity began a process of asset stripping while simultaneously lobbying and maneuvering the political masters toward deregulating those industries vital to the region’s prosperity.
The agenda appeared to be to strip assets, then dissolve or dissipate secondary industry preparatory to the fait accompli of denying the agrarian industry of its markets, its reason for existence.

Domino, knock on effect or whatever you may choose to call it, the outcomes for the region have to be disastrous – bankruptcy, unemployment, familial disruption, suicide, crime and outright misery.

As Arthur keeps reminding me – there is one of those key players, of that time, still holding a parliamentary seat here.

(Hey Arthur, what’s his name again – Benedict Arnold, or was it ‘Bully’ Hayes?)

So what remains?
Other than those few outstandingly persistent examples of secondary industry kept operating, maybe as exceptions that prove the rule, there are dwellings, underutilized shopping barns, a partly depopulated ‘central business district’ and precious little else that may remotely attract entrepreneurs, ‘team leaders’ or the upwardly mobile to this corner of the world.

It is almost (or so I was informed) as if all the local potentates had a meeting one day and said – “Let’s see, now that we’ve folded like squashed spiders for the big boys, what can we do with the least amount of effort to stuff the remaining profitability of the district up as much as we can, as quickly as we can.”

The impact, visual and virtual -
Believe me when I say the evidence is there to see.
As I say to my students – don’t look at the forest; go and check out the trees, their species, their diversity and consider what life they should sustain.

My immediate gut assessment after the tour of the town with Arthur the other day was to believe this to be some sort of administrative center – by far out of sight too many dwellings for what I could see of industry, commerce or services.
This is incredible, thinks I – corn and circuses but without the circuses.
What the hell do these people do when they become bored?
Maybe they come down town to watch tourists fall asleep?

Then I began to take more notice of people about in the street.
Far too many were obviously not employed and (back to prejudicial value judgments again) far too many of them by any acceptable standard appeared to be unemployable.

In the scheme of things it is not unreasonable to ask how this could come about.
How, precisely, could a well established regional city strongly involved with regional agriculture be divested of its extensive, locally owned, self-funded support industry in a few short years?

What factors are at play here other than the obvious shortsightedness and greed?
The obvious questions to ask are what influences and personalities converted or diverted the community from ‘what it was then’ to ‘what it is now’ and who was running the show during the conversion from ‘past relative prosperity’ to ‘present marginality’?

The present marginality -
A previous Federal administration had deemed the region as ‘unsustainable’.
Surely that says it all?
Federal funding amounting to millions of dollars was expended in the region with little actual effect.
What of that became visible out there on the street?
From this visiting fireman’s perspective, precious little

Were the seriously large numbers of southern immigrants suddenly gifted with meaningful regular employment once they had arrived in this burg?
Evidently not.
Was there an increase in the number of ‘stayers’ – those who had bought into the region intending to reside here?
The record indicates that the regional population has increased dramatically out of proportion to meaningful employment opportunities.

Or were they merely being exploited and drained of their last resources by the closest thing the regional magnates could put together as an ‘industry replacement program’?
I have been told about this and am not impressed.
I’m told that people are being’ sucked in, chewed up, then spat out. This is a phenomenon well evidenced by the extensive number of for ‘sale signs’ appearing in front of the same dwellings on as often as a twice yearly basis.
I have seen this for myself and to my eyes it is a symptom, not of mobility resulting from prosperity, but of unethical exploitation amidst large scale economic failure.

The last big question – If locals or those hoping to be locals are being denied employment – then who is getting all the available, mostly marginal, underpaid, rural, work?
That one is easy peasy.
Which means more callous exploitation; this time of another itinerant ‘human resource’ more ill resourced to deal with dishonesty and manipulative employment practices than those southern emigrants.

“In a nutshell”, as we’d all like to know – “What the friggin’ bejeesus is going on here?”

What is going on –
It might surprise you all to know that the story of your city  is not at all different to what has been happening elsewhere. Ask them in Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee.
Imagine, will you, what happens when the reivers move in for a kill.
If you don’t know what reivers are, then now is your chance to learn.
That might be useful for you later in life.

Apparently there is at least one reiver left here in elected office.
I’m told he used to be with the tourism and development board so most likely he played a part and is still playing his part in the region’s demise.
But a reiver is an officially condoned and sanctioned outlaw who combines with others of his kind in order to exploit districts deemed to be marginal, ungovernable, and therefore unprofitable. In the past reivers were typically involved with roving in bands over marginal territory usually involving themselves with such pastimes as theft, murder, rapine, slavery, manipulation, victimization and harassment – but only of those who could not defend themselves or lacked the societal status to seek justice before the courts.

While such immoderate methodology is now almost universally frowned upon there are other, less strenuous, forms of intimidation and knavery equally as successful in the modern context.

Conclusion –
This Burg has a climate almost as benign as California. They have their earthquakes and you have your cyclones – so in some way that levels out on a par.
It could be that citizens here may not appreciate the unwieldy conurbation that California appears to have become.
Some might justifiably opine that California right now is ‘broke’ too.
There is however a Golden Mean in all that we strive to achieve and there are lessons to be learned.
I make the point that if this region is ever to succeed as a tourist trap (and that has been the public posture of your elected chief reiver all his career) then you must cease being an overgrown retirement village and haven for the unemployable.
If it is tourists you want then it is tourists you must get and to get them you must hitch your skirts up high and flash in their jaded eyes something more interesting than ankle.
But stop there. Prostituting the region will reclaim little social capital. Nor will it provide satisfying career paths for the more accomplished inmates of your zoo.

I understand that some locals have slaved away for years developing a putative aviation industry.
It is such a shame that they’ve been more successful at sucking up government funding credits by the bucketload than they have at producing an elegant and sprightly performing airplane.

That’s the way it has to be in order to compete these days.
No boring high wing spam can with a fixed pitch prop will ever compete in the near future – even if it is made of plastic.

My final words are that this dump needs industry replacement, like yesterday, and that the new industries have to accept that part of their tasking schedule is to be meretricious - as attractive in their presentation and promoting their charms as they are cut-throat in clinching a deal.