Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pass me the binoculars ... Can anyone see the silver lining yet?

Copyright 2008 Swamp Productions Pty Ltd

I am told that patience is a virtue ... I am not feeling all that virtuous at the moment.

“I like to be on the edge of the possible.” Jørn Utzon

Jørn Utzon, the Danish architect, who designed the Sydney Opera House, died yesterday, in Denmark, aged 90.

(Photo - AFP/Getty)

The Australian icon - the Opera House, with a roof evocative of a ship at full sail - was designed by the renowned Danish architect, who abandoned the project before its completion, and never returned to Australia to see the completed building.

On 20 October of this year, the Opera House celebrated it’s 35th anniversary.

The following link will take you to a comprehensive obituary on the man.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Get over it ...Walk on and over...

...the bodies underneath will make something soft to land on.

That was enough morbid, scrofulous, melancholy, unhealthy, unwholesome, saturnine (enough, enough!) thoughts.

One should only be down so long.

The future is a place you arrive at, whether you like it or not. All you really have control over is how prepared you are to engage with it.
(Thanks to the Daily Reckoning 20 November)

Preparation? What do we need? Friends, support to drag you up from the mat, hug you and then kick you in the pants and tell you to get on with it.

At the same time, distracting the enemy wouldn’t go astray too.

Thanks guys … all of you … this is dedicated to you.

Copyright 2008 Swamp Productions Pty Ltd

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One might well ask ... why bother?

Still down and flat

Copyright 2008 Swamp Productions Pty Ltd

Monday, November 17, 2008

This guy is reading over my shoulder!

Copyright 2008 Swamp Productions Pty Ltd
It has been an interesting week or so at work.
Now, why didn't I think of that?

Saturday, November 15, 2008




the quality or condition of being insignificant; lack of importance or consequence

in-sig-nif-i-kuh ns

We are all just a number, one in a crowd ...

oops, I forgot to hold on!
Copyright 2008 Swamp Productions Pty Ltd

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Resplendent \rih-SPLEN-duhnt\, adjective:
very bright or shining; splendid

Every day I get an email with a new word.

Most days I go “ho hum” and move right on. Sometimes I spend a while studying its uses and checking pronunciation, planning to use it one day. But when this word popped up; another memory popped up right behind it.

One word. That was all it took to trigger a memory from my youth. Long distances travelled by car, with “I Spy” and learning poetry to pass the time – those were the days!

I was so proud when I could recite this one, without a hitch.

© J D Shearer

Mulga Bill’s Bicycle

'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze;

He turned away the good old horse that served him many days;
He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen;
He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine;

And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride,
The grinning shop assistant said, "Excuse me, can you ride?"
"See here, young man," said Mulga Bill, "from Walgett to the sea,
From Conroy's Gap to Castlereagh, there's none can ride like me.

I'm good all round at everything, as everybody knows,
Although I'm not the one to talk - I hate a man that blows.
But riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight;
Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a wildcat can it fight.

There's nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel,
There's nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel,
But what I'll sit, while hide will hold and girths and straps are tight:
I'll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight."

'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode,
That perched above the Dead Man's Creek, beside the mountain road.
He turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray,
But ere he'd gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away.

It left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver streak,
It whistled down the awful slope towards the Dead Man's Creek.
It shaved a stump by half an inch, it dodged a big white-box:
The very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks,
The wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground,
As Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound.

It struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree,
It raced beside a precipice as close as close could be;
And then as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek
It made a leap of twenty feet into the Dead Man's Creek.

'Twas Mulga Bill from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore:
He said, "I've had some narrer shaves and lively rides before;
I've rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five-pound bet,
But this was the most awful ride that I've encountered yet.

I'll give that two-wheeled outlaw best;
It's shaken all my nerve
To feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve.
It's safe at rest in Dead Man's Creek, we'll leave it lying still;
A horse's back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill."

(from Dave’s Place - Australian Poetry Page)


Monday, November 10, 2008

A long, long time ago … behind the rusty gate – kissing gouramis and other stories

Once upon a long time ago, in a past life, in a past job, during which I threatened to have a syndicated column called “behind the rusty gate” …

The door bell rang. I walked out to see what adventure was about to unfold (it was usually an adventure of some kind), and was confronted by a older guy, looking a bit the worse for wear. Immediately he cut to the chase, asking if I could take the grille off the top of the ornamental pond, because he had lost something in there last night.

I was curious enough to ask what he had lost; that was where I made my first mistake that day. He informed me that he had lost his teeth! Now, over the years, I had heard some good stories told me at that gate; but this one was the one that made me totally lose the usually calm exterior. I couldn’t say anything, nothing at all, and dashed for cover around the corner and out of sight of the gate. There, leaning against the wall, laughing noiselessly but grasping for the door handle to escape into the office and not be heard, was a holy man who lived behind that rusty gate. One, it would appear whose funny bone was somewhat similar to my own.

I don’t think I even found out what caused his immediate jocularity, well almost hysterics, but I know what caused mine. The pond was quite beautiful, calming water, small water lilies and some fish, happily going about their lives in devotional surroundings. The vision (well it was a holy place, so one could be excused for having visions) that immediately came before my eyes was a kissing gourami swimming along happily in the water and every time he puckered up, he displayed the most beautiful set of white pearlies, which he had discovered the previous night, floating down into the pond, almost like manna from heaven.

Luckily there was a workman on the premises, who didn’t share our (perhaps weird) funny bones, who was able to go back to the gate and discuss the situation with the toothless gentleman.

It was a while before I could re-tell the story without going into peals of laughter; and when I saw this cartoon today the memories came swimming back …
Oh yes, they did get the cover off and search the pond, but no teeth came to light. Memories of exact locations aren’t always that accurate in the light of day, following a heavy night.

ps This one’s for you Frank.

Copyright 2008 Swamp Productions Pty Ltd -

Saturday, November 8, 2008

McCain, you've done it again ... NOT!

That line is an old familiar one to Australians, referring not to the guy who didn’t make it in the USA this week, but a company name that we see in the freezer department at the supermarket.

Young and tender? Hmm, that could have been part of the problem. I actually wondered if he would make it through the campaign.

The logos are similar though, aren’t they?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bart’s advice to the crowd after Viewed won the Cup? Look ahead to the Baker’s Dozen boys … always look ahead.

Good advice to anyone out there, in any field.

On 14 November, James Bartholomew Cummings will be 81, and today he proved that age and cunning can beat youth and inexperience every time, well, fairly often anyway. Even the greatest trainer in the world today couldn’t get his horse across the line first, but the astute English trainer came within a nose of succeeding. It may have been war in the straight, but even the hawkishly named Kiwi horse had to settle for third on the line. It was photos all round and that was before the decision was made who had won.

The result – Viewed, by a nose.

photo from AAP, Channel 7

Other grinners were the owner, Dato Tan Chin Nam (collecting his fourth Cup) and the emotional young jockey, Blake Shinn.

Bart Cummings is an Aussie hero and in 2007, Australia Post included him in their Australian Legend series of stamps.

With 100 000 people at the track at Flemington and $87 million wagered on the Melbourne Cup, I guess there were a few consoling glasses of bubbly and Irish Whiskey as well as a few Guinnesses consumed; and there will be a few sore heads in the morning.

Ah well! That’s the Melbourne Cup over for the media, and it’s on to New Hampshire, or wherever, for the next race! What price McCain with the bookies?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Will Irish Eyes be Smiling at Melbourne Cup 2008?

By this time tomorrow, will Irish eyes be smiling, or will there just be bloodshot eyes, red faces and lots of empty Irish Whiskey bottles?

I guess, in these austere financial times, the plebs in the carpark may have to settle for a Guinness or three to wash down their prawns, while they watch the race on the big screen.

The weather will probably have more effect on the parties in the carpark than the condition of the track, even though there has been discussion about that during the last week. Melbourne weather is renowned for it’s changeability, with the weather boys and girls predicting shattered scours, oops sorry, scattered showers, for the morning. I don’t think they would dare predict rain for the afternoon unless water was already a metre deep on the ground and the Yarra was overflowing its banks, ‘cause the punters might not come. It is mostly about money, you know.

The financial crisis may have caused Kerry Packer’s boy Jimmy to pull out of Millionaire’s Row this year, but frankly, I don’t think he will be missed. There will be plenty of other “tents” in there, with ladies tottering in their fashionable five inch heels, sipping bubbly and justifying the million dollar price tag for the sponsor.

One lady who will leave her heels in the kit bag for the race is Clare Lindop, who is riding a Bart Cummings pony, Moatize, in the big race. I guess that there won’t be any gentlemanly manners extended to her as they all approach the argy bargy of the home turn. It will be everyone for themselves.

With eight European horses expected in the line-up, those ponies from across the ditch * are almost to be considered locals, even if one has gone “all European” with a French name. I guess, however, it’s all in the game.

Ah well, maybe next year I’ll make it to the Birdcage, but tomorrow it will be a couple of horses in the office sweep, chicken and salad off a disposable plate and a short break while we gather around the TV to watch the race that stops a nation on the first Tuesday in November.

ps I like that Kiwi horse with the French name, but I don’t like the colour of his outfit.

*reference to the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand

For a few more salient details about the history of the event, click below.