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The Magpie

Saturday, July 19th, 2014   |   19 comments

In a ‘what were they thinking’ week, it’s been a race to the bottom in terms of taste and judgement all over the place.

The worst column of the week goes to … well, you’ll never guess who’s giving the Astonisher stable a run for its money.

And the paper offers front-page proof that they will, as the old saying goes, ‘never f-ck up a story with facts’, with what is claimed to be a blatant front page lie …

And did Rolf Harris take a leaf out of the book of another painter from centuries back … The ‘Pie exclusively reveals the hidden Harris masterpiece that the palace doesn’t want you to see (and you probably will wish you hadn’t).

But first to Canberra, and a little-noted coincidence.

Jacqui Lambe - obedient Puppy.

Jacqui Lambe – obedient Puppy.

Perhaps newly minted senator and welfare bludger Jacqui Lambe isn’t aware of it, but she may have attracted the attention of her Dear Leader Clive Il Palmer for reasons of personal affection. No no, not like that – but what a comical image, though.

We all know of Clive’s fondness for dinosaurs, and is proud to be known as Palmersuarus. So The Magpie was surprised to find that tucked away in the arcane annals of  paleontology is mention of a – believe it, it’s true – Lambeosaurus, which Wikipedia tells us that it mean Lambe’s lizard, after its discoverer.



It lived 76 to 75 million years ago. But the link to the Tasmanian senator is unmistakable when the entry goes on that the lambesaurus ‘is known for its distinctive hollow cranial crest which … resembled a hatchet’. The giant lizard most likely also had a voice straight out of Kath and Kim.

But perhaps those oversize scarfs that have become Lambe’s wardrobe signature are there to hide the bolts in her neck. In case you think The ‘Pie’s judgment is a bit harsh on Senator Lambe, the old bird has delved a little more in some damning claims that have been circulating on the internet, and found them to be substantially true. This little charmer who is Bogansville personified has an interesting background to say the least. The ‘Pie usually ignores the character assassination stuff that crowds cyberspace, but the following turns out to be correct.


And so far, Lambe’s sharp yapping has all been in line with her master’s voice, along with all the other PUP senators. With this week’s orchestrated performance, you’d reckon Clive was going all retro to form a revival rock’n’roll group. Bentley is leaning towards that view.

Guess we’ll all keep laughing until the crying starts.

PUP final

Rambling on.


Local ad man and design specialist Scott Morrison is the brains behind the classy and clever DUO magazine, the free glossy Townsville monthly. Free maybe, but its high production values, pages of social pics and wide variety of contributors make it look right at home on the newsstands with all the national glossies. Most of the articles are lightweight lifestyle stuff, penned for nix one assumes, for the free plug they give themselves.

All round, DUO is about is lifestyle, is not controversial and aims not to rock any boats,. Although Scotty gets a bit Magpie-esque in the occasional editorial, DUO gives no offence to anyone so as to be a raft for slickly designed ads that make local businesses look like national campaigns. It’s a formula that obviously works, there’ve been 98 issues so far. (Congrats on that.)

So it was with deep contemplation that The Magpie checked one particular contributor he keeps an eye on, one Ewen Thomas Jones, Canberra’s representative in Townsville, the MP for Herbert.

Not known for his social judgement (telling off-colour jokes to the wrong audience is a serial offence), Ewen this time has managed raise the ire of at least two former senior politicians who harrumphed down the MagpieFone about it.

Dumbo Jumbo’s usual efforts in Duo are lame navel gazing attempts at humour, but his latest effort in the July issue focuses the gaze a little further south than his navel and around the corner – an area he would need a mirror and two hands to personally view.

And that appears to exactly be his beef.

Ewen Jones

Ewen Jones

Basically (and it doesn’t get much more basic) Ewen has decided to – shall we say – unburden himself about going to the toilet for – as he coyly puts it – number 2s. He starts out railing against bathroom designers who install full-length mirrors where he can see himself ‘with a ringside seat’.  In a few sentences, he manages to etch indelibly on the reader’s mind an image one would not want to carry to the dinner table. OK, that could maybe slide by unremarked, but inexplicably, our federal member then barges recklessly into Kevin Bloody Wilson territory, choosing spotty high school humour about poos he has smelt which have cleared rooms, buses and communal showers. The yuk yukery is plodding and juvenile, adding to the general distasteful nature of the discourse. It doesn’t even have the redeeming feature of being remotely funny.

Indeed, it is startling that our federal member uses a popular public platform to catalogue his olfactory adventures in what some have found in this instance to be offensive and inappropriate drivel. Well, it’s always drivel, but until now, it hasn’t been offensive or inappropriate. Dumbo, if you fancy this makes you a man of the mob, an everyman down amongst the hoi polloi, The ’Pie would suggest you’re sadly mistaken. Perhaps it would be best if you yourself heeded your closing line addressed to bathroom designers – ‘Come on, think about the consequences of your actions’. Quite.

Dumbo is known to boast of his multiple ejections from the House of Reps, which betrays a deep misunderstanding of why he was elected. But there’s more to come, with speaker Bronwyn Bishop already fine tuning her punting technique over the winter break.

Bronwyn Bishop in fine form.

Dumbo is getting perilously close to being on the nose himself, and is in real danger of getting punted by the voters the way he’s going.

But for all that, the questions marks over that column are raised more because of the author, whereas the most seriously distasteful and insulting column of the week/year/decade would have to go to Matthew ‘Dunno’ Dunn. His only redeeming feature would appear to be his bravery in admitting he is the Townsville Bulletin’s ‘Digital Editor’ and responsible for the Astonisher’s error-riddled and sloppily maintained electronic edition.

Matt 'Dunno' Dunn - digital manipulator

This week, Dunno played columnist, and plopped his own ‘dump’ onto the pages of the Astonisher, offering us a painfully juvenile piece about his (no doubt imaginary) sexual exploits. Wet dreams as wisdom seldom entertain, but this effort brought the MagpieFone close to meltdown.

This from the blog comments during the week.

The Magpie July 17, 2014 at 10:03 am  (Edit)

Matthew ‘Dunno’ Dunn appears to have taken over from Kate Higgins in the navel gazing area of columns – although the grubby on-line editor of the Astonisher seems to be gazing somewhat lower than his navel.
 At one stage (in his column today), he writes
‘At first the idea seemed like a long shot but, to my surprise, the stars began to align and I was lucky enough to kick goals with a trifecta. With Ms Tuesday, Ms Wednesday and Ms Thursday notched firmly in my belt, I headed out on the town to keep the dream alive. Confidence was oozing – however, due to variables beyond my control, this swagger was to be short lived.’

The ‘Pie would suggest given what Mr Dunn sees as his louche and probably careless lifestyle, his confidence may not be the only thing ‘oozing’ shortly.


Grumpy July 17, 2014 at 11:06 am  (Edit) Golly. A new depth has been plumbed.
What a vile, vulgar little cockalorum is this little jerk.
 I am willing to bet London to a brick that he is so totally bullshitting and the only woman he actually got it off with is Ms June – solo.
Even if his distasteful bragging is true (fat chance) – does he care a fig about the young ladies in question? Or how they feel reading his vomitus in the paper?

Sandgroper July 17, 2014 at 1:30 pm  (Edit) Have just read Dunn’s drivel and heartily agree with Grumpy’s assessment. Dunn is definitely in love with himself, Mrs Palm and her five lovely daughters.
What was the editor thinking when he allowed this piece to run?

lou July 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm  (Edit) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=262508220600273&set=pb.100005232906992.-2207520000.1405657849.&type=3&theater
Bulletin’s on-line iditor getting ready for next conquest … note pillows fluffed up in the back seat. Wonder what the plastic’s for?

It seems the paper no longer recognizes any boundaries whatsoever. The Magpie remembers how, just a few short years ago, he would have robust discussions about a quip or a single word in his column with sections editors like Mary Vernon, Di Kennedy or Janine Lucas, who all jealously guarded both the paper’s reputation and the perceived boundaries of readers. And the column was the better for it. Seems that’s all in the past now.

But if there is any lingering doubt about the truth of Mr Dunn’s warm and moist mutterings, there is no doubt about the fact that this front page was an outright lie.


The headline was the usual sensationalist claptrap, but reporter Josh Alston was either confused or more than a tad ethically challenged when he opened the story with this:

‘Terrorist cells like al-Qa’ida could target Townsville for uranium to power their nuclear weapons if the controversial Ben Lomond mine is re-opened 40kms from the city, according to deputy Mayor Vern Veitch’. What, a few blokes with AK-47s are going to turn up to purloin a few kilos of yellowcake to smuggle out of the country to make ‘dirty bombs’? A clearly absurd claim that made our green-leaning deputy mayor look like an alarmist idiot.

Vern Veitch

Vern Veitch

Which would be a fair judgement except for one thing – CLR VEITCH SAYS HE NEVER SAID ANY SUCH THING. And tough titty it went on the front page.

Like all councillors – everybody actually – Clr Veitch was skittish and cautious when The Magpie called asking for confirmation and expansion on the comment. The old bird was feverishly hoping a rich mother-lode of comedic riches were in the offing.

But Uncle Fester was unequivocal.

‘I never said that at all’, he insisted. Whay he said – and Alston selectively and confusingly quoted him, was ‘There is a risk nuclear products could fall into the wrong hands in the Middle East or Eastern Asia’.

‘I did say that some of those ‘nuclear products’ may have originated from Australian uranium, and also that Townsville could be a terrorist target but mainly because we host Australia’s largest military base.’

Conflating those two matters is just simply dishonest journalism, both misleading and damaging. So someone is telling porkies, which means a little clarification from the paper would be in order. Fat chance.

Wading on.

As you know, matters of great consequence mingle here in this blog with matters of absolutely no consequence, so The ‘Pie offers this from the latter category.

For those who dress up in animal suits, RULE 1: Never ever put your pants on back-to-front.

All things being equal, The Magpie would be smiling, too.

All things being equal, The Magpie would be smiling, too.

And for sports fans, this flimsy attempt at humour is for you. (Sorry about the pic quality, but beggars can’t be etc etc)

Carney statue

Finally a little history.

Back around 1797, Spanish painter Goya did a painting of Maja, a leading noblewoman and hottie of the day, reclining prettily in her frock on a chaise lounge.

Now you don't see her ....

Now you don’t see her ….

But Goya – apparently a bit of a player himself with said hottie – did a second painting unbeknownst  to her nearest and dearest, in which she had dispensed with the formalities of a frock.

... and now you do.

… and now you do.

Argument raged over this when it was discovered, mainly amongst those who liked an excuse to have a drool over a bit of latter day porn.

But has it come to light that Rolf Harris took Goya as his role model, and did the same thing with his era’s own hottie. Could we believe that?


Sure can.

Enough now, it is away to Poseurs’ Bar, where the old bird will seek a suitable companion with the offer of a whiskey and sofa. He suspects however, all he will get will be the usual gin and platonic.

The Magpie's Nest is now more than five years old, and remains an independent alternative voice for Townsville. The weekly warble is a labour of love and takes a lot of time to put together. So if you like your weekly load of old cobblers, you can help keep it aloft with a donation, or even a regular voluntary subscription. Paypal is at the ready, it's as easy as ... well, easy as pie. Limited advertising space is also available.

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