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The Magpie

Saturday, March 14th, 2015   |   2 comments

Why the Townsville greyhound racing community is cracking open the champagne … and it’s PEE-BACK time … walls that pee back at you if you take an unauthorized whizz in public.

Labor comes up with a revolutionary political policy – it says it’s going to keep an election promise, but they’ve copped flak from an entirely predictable self-interest group here in the ‘Ville.

Bentley’s back to have a look at the Lifestyle Choices of the rich and fatuous, following PM Wingnut’s lofty pronouncement about aborigines living in remote communities do so as a ‘lifestyle choice’ which should not be propped up by government money.

And a video that is genuinely terrifying – nature provides a glimpse of what the apocalypse might look like, on a scale that is hard to comprehend.

First a couple of brief items, both from the west. Apparently the age of the average Perth commuter is around eight or nine, if this platform sign is any yardstick.

Train sign

And from the It Isn’t Just The Townsville Bulletin file, this from the West Australian.


So do we ask ‘Where is the subs?’

But never mind the subs, where are all the brains in Labor’s campaign HQ in NSW? In a classic ‘what were they thinking’ moment, one of the country’s greatest predators of natural fauna has been used to defend national parks against gas miners.


What next, Gina Rinehart joining the Greens?

Will Rogers

Will Rogers

American comic and fireside philosopher Will Rogers included among his hundreds of wise/funny aphorisms ‘Never kick a cow pat on a hot day’. This has obviously never come to the attention of our prime minister, who seems to make an art form of kicking policy cowpats on heat-wave days. Put another way, if a politician’s job is to sell his policies to the electorate, we fall back on another Americanism that would suggest Tony Abbott ‘couldn’t sell pussy on a troop train’.

So not surprisingly, it’s really hit the fan again, when he described aboriginal communities which chose to live in remote areas do so as a ‘lifestyle choice’, and he used this reasoning for cutting funding to remote aboriginal townships.

Abbott wel.come to country

This could rank as one of this man’s most monstrous deceits, notwithstanding the wrong-headed populist idea behind the move, because Abbott has long-touted himself as a champion of indigenous Australians.

Apart from anything else, this particular thought bubble is ripe for a dose of the Theory of Unintended Consequences, with the displaced people forced to move to urban areas, their unwilling presence in foreign surroundings bringing all the well documented social problems, dangers and subsequent costs with them.

Bentley isn’t amused.

choices flat If carried through, you won’t have to wait long for the chickens to come flapping down to roost in their new coops.

And as though we haven’t been made to look silly enough on the world stage, now we’re in the bloody Eurovision Song Contest, which says volumes about how the contest organisers went in geography at skool. The following hilarious commentary from the Guardian’s cartoonist First Dog On The Moon is just too good not to pass on.

First Dog

Local matters.

We’re used to the serried ranks of the White Shoe Brigade marching into town and trying to take we yokels for a ride, so there was some grim satisfaction for a small group of locals during the week.

Tom Noble, 'live bait' greyhound trainer

Tom Noble, ‘live bait’ greyhound trainer

Grubby greyhound trainer Tom Noble (how’s that for an ironic name?) has been given the heave-ho from the sport, and is due to face court on animal cruelty charges for using trussed-up live possums, pigs and rabbits as lures to ‘blood’ his greyhounds.

Greyhouind and possum

It is an undeniable fact that ‘blooded’ dogs will generally perform better than your average dish-licker, nature being what it is, so anyone – Noble included – training dogs in this illegal manner is, apart from all other descriptions, a cheat.

And nothing attracted this twicer more than plum pickings in the regions. Southern-based Noble was also a regular White Shoe Brigader, whose blood-spattered shoes regularly made there way to Townsville over the years whenever there was a tasty purse up for grabs, especially the Townsville Greyhound Cup – worth a reputed $25,000. Twice in the last decade he has won three major events …

Screen shot 2015-03-14 at 9.30.20 AM Screen shot 2015-03-14 at 9.31.00 AM

… and several minor ones with his ‘blooded’ dogs.

The local trainers and breeders, none of whom to The ‘Pie’s knowledge hse been fingered in the dirty doings on the training track, were always at a disadvantage on these occasions, effectively being nobbled by Noble. One regular at the track said when Noble’s dogs raced, they won by incredible margins, and he hinted that this was the case with other southern entrants.

So out of all this appallingly cruel expose done by the ABC’s Four Corners program – done because the sport’s criminally negligent controlling body had turned a blind eye – at least the small Townsville coterie of responsible owner/trainers will have a fairer chance of sharing in the sport’s local prize pool.

(At the time of writing, The ‘Pie’s inquiries indicate that no one in the local greyhound fraternity has been, or is likely to be, pinged for live bait training during the on-going investigations into animal cruelty.)

Other matters.

There’s been much renting of garments and anguished eating of dust by boozarium owners down of Via Vomitorium aka Flinders Street East when the new Labor government came up with a novel political idea. Believe it or not, they’ve boldly announced they intend to keep an election promise – the pledge was to cut back on alcohol trading hours.

Yvette D'ath, Qld Attorney General

Yvette D’ath, Qld Attorney General

AG Yvette D’ath (one of the Vader family?) has reaffirmed cuts to alcohol trading hours, with 3am the new closing instead of 5am, and the idiotic lockout system would start at 1am

The howls of anguish issuing from the wallets of the club operators has reached its usual fever pitch of daft attempts at rationalization. One lamented that jobs would have to go. That’s not necessarily true, but if it is, so what, when you stack that up against the cost of police, clogged courts, damage to public property and drunken anti-social behavior. Lost productivity, anyone? Even old Magpie chum Shawn Andersen, owner of The Bank, was trying a little smoke and mirrors twaddle, claiming the current hours (which allow some operators to fleece pie-eyed drunks) were not the problem.

He told the Astonisher ‘We have more problems with people preloading at home. Then they try to come into the nightclub strips where we have to address the problem, where is the responsibility there?”

Well, yes, YOU have problems with preloading parties, but YOU also have the responsibility, hey, it’s a democratic society, sort of. Responsibility? Whose? Any suggestion how you police and prevent people getting on the turps at home to avoid the swingeing club prices and then lobbing in town to top up? And if potential patrons are pissed, you have the power of the law on your side to refuse them entry. Or are you saying people have the responsibility to turn up sober?

This is all so much claptrap, and everyone knows it, but no one will admit there is only one obvious workable answer.

And that is a return to midnight closing, maybe 1am on weekends. And forget the cumbersome and inane lock-out system.

Staff losses? No not really, since many who start work late in the evening would be simply required to start earlier. And it wouldn’t be long before the punters realized there’d be no time for pre-loading parties, FSE was where the action was already starting. Business would boom to the close, rather than taper off into a nether world of drunks being illegally fed more alcohol into the predawn.

This isn’t a cri to coeur from some crusty old codger yearning for the mythical ‘good old days’. No, this is the indignant call of a taxpayer who is called upon to fund the legal excesses of laws that a juvenile-minded population clearly are not responsible enough to access. It is an indignant rebuke to greedy operators who continue to argue against any wind-back despite seeing the social damage being done right before their eyes. And it is a calling out of the lie that we need special hours because of tourism. That is simply demonstrable nonsense, with any tourists probably outnumbered 10 to 1 by uni students, soldiers, the younger members of the legal fraternity and other regular locals.

Sure it’s a time for responsibility to be taken, but not by those easily tempted by business predators, but by politicians whose job it is to protect communities and weak willed from the greedy. At least that’s the theory.

But in the interim, here’s a serious albeit hilarious idea for our odious party precinct … walls that piss back when pissed upon.

Dubbed  Pee-Back Time in Germany, the fight against noisome drunks spraying it around in the street features walls that pee back at you if you take an unauthorised whizz in public. Could work here a treat, too.

The clever idea uses a special ‘superhydrophobic’ paint. Here’s the story and a tasteful little video, explaining the initiative. One imagines it’d probably work for the … err, squatters, too.

When legendary US funnyman Dave Barry ran the piece in his blog, it attractedthe following killer comment.

Superhydrophobic coating expialidocious,

Even when they clean it up, 
It always smells atrocious.

You know, after several beers,
You stink like halitosis?

Superhydrophobic coating expialidocious.

You know that I was liked to drink,

When I was just a lad.

But after several pints one night,

I had to go real bad.

So as I whizzed against the wall,

I got a real shock.

That stupid Superhydrophobic coating,

Made me wet my socks!

Tres droll.

Now a slight departure from the norm, but this video shows one of the few events that can truly be described as awe-inspiring – as in scaring the living daylights out of you. If you were in the proximity, there’d be what is now termed ‘self-evacuation’ in more ways than one.. And keep an eye out, somewhere in there, there appears to be a massive whale, of all things. The Magpie’s mind remains boggled.

And to end on a cheery note, here’s a vid posted on the blog comments during the week on the realities of growing old. But caution, if you are of a certain age, you may do yourself a mischief through helpless laughter.

The ‘Pie is popping down to Sydney for his grandson’s ninth birthday this week, for what will no doubt be a pleasant break … as so long as he doesn’t see this while winging his way south.


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.


  1. Betfair Sportsbook says:

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