Thursday, 16 February 2017


The bogan in its natural habitat

I've been pondering anew and thinking a little about class and its implications in Anglo-Saxon societies. Although Australian and New Zealand societies are supposedly classless, this is not true. Arguably the Antipodes are less class conscious and less defined by class than their British brethren, but class structures/strictures and hierarchy do exist. Societies throughout the world segregate to some degree. In some societies, it is extreme as observed in the caste system of India. In America, class awareness is based mainly on money, although there are still a number of patrician blue bloods lurking in New England, but again the upper echelons residing on the east coast are invariably wealthy. Contrast this with the typical English aristocrat who, like their ramshackle stately homes, have seen better days. Death duties and upkeep on dilapidated castles have robbed these former robber Barons of their ill-gotten gains garnished from hundreds of years of fruitful exploitation and wars with the French. In England, the aristocracy is not synonymous with great wealth.

I would like to consider a sub-type of class or 'classless' denizen of Australian and New Zealand societies known as the bogan. Bogans are a peculiar sub-culture instantly recognisable by their dress, speech, coiffure and mode of transport.

The bogan in its natural habitat.........

The bogan is a most interesting and universally loathed creature. The majority of the species are hideously repugnant, devoid of full denture and remarkably unintelligent, and yet they manage to breed in ever-increasing numbers and populate an area known as the outer west. It is quite common to find five or six offspring in each family group, often with a different father for each new baby. 

Their habitat consists of a weatherboard or brick veneer dwelling and is characterised by an early model Holden or Ford in the driveway surrounded by a group of males discussing why the carby is stuffed and the results of last night's footy (a primitive gladiator-like spectator sport enjoyed by most bogans).

The female of the species, while smaller in stature, is far more loud and aggressive than the male. While the males tend to be very friendly and congregate with other males, the females spend most of their time in supermarkets and shopping malls, using a shrill high-pitched call to discipline their children and contact other females. 

Males and females rarely interact socially except during breeding season, which is otherwise known as Friday night. During this time, females are allowed to enter the male-dominated area known as "the pub" and display their impressive coloured plumage to a prospective mate. Male plumage is universally displayed as a crest or mullet sportingly enhanced in multi-coloured hues

Herein lies an interesting phenomenon. Males will often fight over a particularly attractive female and she will mate with only one male, while some less attractive females have been known to have several partners simultaneously. 

Of course, the bogan has its equivalent throughout the western hemisphere. In the US they are affectionately known as, 'trailer trash' and in Britain as 'chavs'. Lack of taste, lack of culture and ill fortune foisted upon by nature truly knows no geographical bounds.

Trailer trash in its natural habitat

Ahhhh. The wonders of nature and the power of convergent evolution.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Wall of Contention

Not a likely scenario, methinks

Trump has managed to piss off the whole Mexican nation. It seems his talk of building a wall between the US and Latin America was not just idle rhetoric. And to be fair he did garner much of the US vote because of his stated intention to go ahead with the project. Not following through on election promises is not unknown to politicians. But Trump is no politician, he's a businessman and it looks like he really is going to run the country as if it was one mega-business-corporation. Should be an interesting ride.

The wall is not impossible to build, just difficult and expensive. As I recall from third grade geography at Tipton Secondary Modern, the border between the US and Mexico runs for about 1,900 miles. It traverses diverse landscapes: rivers (Colorado and Rio Grande), flood plains, mountains and inhospitable desert. For the wall proper, concrete will be the ideal choice for construction. Initially, Trump was thinking of building a solid concrete barrier throughout, although he has now come to contemplate the practicalities and is considering interspersing the concrete wall with traditional fencing. The wall does not have to extend the whole length of the border as nature closes down great swathes of the marchland. The cheapest 'wall' and best impediment to human movement, especially of the unwanted variety, is large expanses of water. Mother Nature always knows best in this regard. I should know as I live in New Zealand which nestles in the south pacific, 1,000 leagues from the nearest land. But the Americans don't have this luxury.

Experts reckon that only a third of the border requires a wall barrier. Several parts of the border constitute a challenge from both engineering and logistic perspectives- building walls in flood plains can be bothersome. Sectors of the border region are remote and difficult to access by man and material. Cement and men will need to move from areas of manufacture to areas of remote wall building. The answer of course is temporary settlements which rove as the wall progresses. The wall at one point will encroach on a Native American Reservation. The tribal elders have already expressed resistance to allowing a wall to cross land under their jurisdiction and Trump will need a Congressional bill to force the issue. Unfortunately he doesn’t have recourse to shooting the natives or infecting them with smallpox as in times of yore. In New Zealand we have a similar problem regarding the Maoris, however we are allowed to shoot them on one day of the year as long as it is before noon (Waitangi Day- hooray). Eat lead pesky Maoris! Stop digressing Flaxen.

As for cost: now there is an imponderable conundrum. No one really knows how much it will cost but estimates range from 10 to 20 billion dollars. This does not include annual maintenance and upkeep which adds on 750 million dollars per annum. Trump will also need to budget for 21,000 agents to patrol the barrier ($1.4 billion a year). Actually the wall could act as an economic stimulus as numerous industries are required. Transport is a must as are large amounts of construction manpower. And this is definitely a long term project. The irony of course is that a fair chunk of the manpower building and patrolling the wall will be of Mexican descent, all labouring away to keep their stealing, raping, brethren out.

Trump reckons the Mexicans will pay for the wall. The Mexicans say nay. Looks like a classical Mexican standoff to me. Hola! Of course Trump does not expect the Mexican government to pay the US administration directly. It has been suggested that a 20% import tax could be levied on Mexican goods entering the US. This could gather about 13 billion dollars a year. It is estimated that around 25 billion dollars is sent to Mexico every year by Mexicans residing in the US. This represents 2% of the Mexican GDP. By threatening to stem this flow of gelt the US could conceivably exert a powerful lever on the Mexican government to cough up funds or risk economic recession. However, this plan if implemented would severely damage Mexican-US diplomatic relations. Even hard core Republicans are not keen on this plan as it has the obvious taint of extortion. As a hard nosed businessman this argument is unlikely to bother Trump. Less provocative measures involve increasing fees on visas applications and border crossing cards.

Though I wouldn't go as far as saying that I’m starting to like Trump, he is certainly earning my respect. The fact that he is stirring the international political pot and causing concern and consternation amongst career politicians, even within his own party, is no bad thing

Just a final word on the effectiveness of the wall stemming illegal immigration: Although I have no doubt that the wall will have a major impact on unwanted human traffic, especially in areas of high population density, it will also encourage economic migrants to force passage through difficult and relatively inaccessible border regions. And I wonder how long it will take the 'human traffickers' to organise and facilitate these crossing attempts? Where human desperation and misery are conjoined with human ingenuity and the potential to make squidoodles (not a real word) of cash, anything is possible.

Friday, 3 February 2017

A change of pace: UPDATE

An earlier project


I've been busy of late with other projects so I've not had time to write; hence the scarcity of posts. I've been devoting time to developing new skills and investigating potential hobbies in preparation for my impending retirement. I have always been a busy person and my wife worries about how I will fill in time once I give up my hectic work schedule. To be fair she thinks I'll spend most of my spare time sequestered in my study, alone, writing. And to be honest I think she is right. With the world slowly going 'tits up' it has become increasingly enticing for me to withdraw into my inner phantasmal world.....

My new preoccupation is of an outside physical nature. As with all my interests I have thrown myself wholeheartedly into the activity as if a maniacal frenzied loon had taken possession of my very soul. At least it keeps the neighbours at bay. Although we did receive a complaint the other day when I wandered about the deck stark bollock naked. This is particularly interesting as I have a large garden retreating into native woodland and you would need a powerful pair of binoculars to obtain the full benefit of my disrobed gyrations. I'm sure the complaint wasn't for ascetic reasons as I'm a fine, well endowed figure of a man. I've digressed.

I think my wife was pleased at first as I wasn't spending hours on my own, writing, until she came to realise that I'm spending hours, on my own, in the garage, making stuff. Different hobby, same dedication and same time spent alone.

I'll not divulge, my new preoccupation, as yet. Let's just say, it isn't golf or country dancing.

Friday, 27 January 2017

We are all toast

Nutritionists and food scientists are keen for us ordinary folk to eat healthy. Yep, they regale us with tales of doom, despond and woe unless we do as they preach; less animal fat, less red meat, less salt and more fruit and veg. Sensible advice I'm sure. Apart from the nutritional benefits we are also haunted by the spectre of cancer causing chemicals lurking within our comestibles. A few years ago we were bombarded by the latest research which suggested that processed meats such as sausage, bacon and spam (NO, NOT SPAM!) were laden/ladled/larded with carcinogens akimbo. The simple BBQ also came under censure. Apparently, cooking meat over a flame causes charring and the black, crunchy, tasty bits are decidedly cancery (not a word in my lexicon).

Why is it that the tastiest of foods are unhealthy or harmful? Broccoli and sprouts are never on the list of proscribed foods. Bacon tastes good, red meat marbled with fat tastes good, spinach tastes like shit. The latest culprit to suffer condemnation is the humble stalwart of every nutritious breakfast: toast. Apparently diligent researchers have discovered that the darker the hue of the toasted bread, the greater the accumulation of the chemical acrylamide. And horror of horrors, acrylamide causes cancer. Ask any small rodent force fed unfeasibly large amounts of the pure chemical. And it is true that if you feed mice on huge amounts of the stuff, some but not all, will develop cancer. These are not just any mice, but special mice which have been specifically bred to be susceptible to cancer- an artificial breed of mice which eschews cheese and porks with unrestrained relish and gusto on the finest grade acrylamide powder. As one sensible Professor (not Mugumbo) put it: "Even adults with the highest consumption of acrylamide would need to consume 160 times as much to reach a level that might cause increased tumours in mice". Well said Prof David Spiegelhalter from Cambridge University. Or in non-scientific speak: You would have to be spreading the stuff thickly on your morning, afternoon and evening toast to experience the same dose.

So what are we to make of this latest research? I would counsel that the wise consumer should take heed of this undoubtedly sound advice, not a jot; not an iota. After all we are men, not mice. Isn't life more sweet and vibrant because we are doomed? Do we not experience excitement and expectation every time we masticate a morsel of grilled bread? Saviour and grasp life's fancy and feast on toast of shades various. Personally, I'm going to carry on eating my toast as nature intended- brown in the middle and black on the outside. I remember reading somewhere that the burnt charcoal bits aids digestion. I rest my case.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Sunday Rambling Bollocks, Once Again

Yesterday, Trump was inaugurated as the 45th American President and the protesters were out in force, not just in the US.  

A few thoughts from the Flaxen haired one: The liberal left think that Trump's election is the herald for Armageddon. Even sober journalists (sic/hic) are waxing greatly concerning the calamity about to descend upon the known world - the vocal left are a minority but they do make a lot of noise per capita. Talk about drama. Most folk, I'm sure, will note the change in administration and quietly get on with their lives. 

Just a word to those who think that the world is about to end, at least as we know it:
Trump is not as free to implement policy as some would like you to believe. Modern democracies, the US included, have inherent constitutional checks and safeguards to prevent megalomania and despotism- this isn't sub-Saharan Africa after all. Trump may well be a tyrant with regard to his business life but things are a little different when you are the supposed leader of the free world. 

To his credit, Trump seems to genuinely want a dialogue and rapport with Putin and Russia. This can be no bad thing in the world of 'Real Politik'. Certainly international fences need rebuilding after the Obama administration. Talking of fences. The Mexico wall interests me. While it is not impossible it will be expensive. Seeing that he garnered a lot of votes on the basis of stemming illegal immigration from the south I suspect Trump will have to make good on his promise, even if he comes to eventually regret it. Personally I approve. The American border to the south is way too porous allowing unfettered entry to the States. For every one 'illegal' caught on the border ten will get through. People trafficking is a well organised and a very lucrative proposition for the criminal Mexican gangs who run the trade. The human misery should not be understated. Once entry has been gained into the 'Land of the Free', migrants are often in the thrall of these violent gangs who mercilessly exploit and degrade these poor folk. What they going to do, complain to the police? 

One suggested way to keep costs down is to employ incarcerated felons. Not a bad idea, but you can bet there will be a liberal lobby protesting against violation of civil/human rights. Should people who have violated laws and committed heinous crimes be denied human rights? I would argue, yes, at least for those, who by their actions, have shown that they are unfit to live in a so-called civilised society. We have to accept that some folk are irredeemable and for the greater good of society they deserve to be held in a facility where they can do no further harm for the rest of their corporeal existence. After that, it's god's problem.  

I understand that there are a 1,000,000 people languishing in American gaols as I write. Not all will be bad folk, I'm sure. From the American prison documentaries I've seen, most of the violent inmates look extremely fit. Get them digging, I say. The wall doesn't have to be sophisticated, a simple physical barrier with electronic censors on top will do. Remember Offa's dyke? 

Why not get the Mexicans in on the act. The wall would act as an economic stimulus for the Mexican economy. Just have to make sure that the Mexicans work on the southern side of the wall only.  

Finally, just a view whimsical words about the protesters. In the States we saw images of irate protesters waving quite aggressive slogans. A few were even spelticated correctly. For instance, I've seen: 'Stop Nazi Trump', 'Fuck Trump and 'Without Immigrants Trump Would Have No Wives' (quite funny). While back in England, one seemingly reluctant protester held up a banner saying: 'I'm quite upset'. Says it all, really.  

Toodle pip!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Black Salve

Regular readers of my eclectic mix will have noticed that I'm not a fan of so called 'alternative medicine'. Some may argue what harm does it do? I admit most alternative therapies are not only useless but harmless as well. I would consider the likes of aromatherapy and homeopathy within this category. Although not harmful in themselves they can cause harm indirectly especially if the patient delays seeking conventional therapies due to a misguided therapeutic trust in the alternative therapy. Steve Jobs is a sad example of the indirect harm caused by seeking non-standard therapies. Job's pancreatic cancer was a rare type with a high cure rate given conventional medical treatments. However, in his wisdom, Steve Jobs initially underwent alternative forms of therapy which were totally ineffectual. When he eventually decided to pursue a more conventional medical course it was too late as the cancer had already spread. The penalty for hubris is death. 

Black salve is derived from a plant innocuously called ‘black root’. The extract of the root is often mixed with zinc chloride to form a black paste reminiscent of black olive tapenade (ya poncy git, Flaxen). If you Google ‘black salve’ you will come across a number of ‘alternative therapy' websites willing to sell you the compound. Alarmingly, folk are urged to use the salve to treat a variety of skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma. Tis bad enough that it is being peddled to treat this rather indolent skin cancer but some advocates are suggesting that it is efficacious in treating the aggressive and early metastasising cancer, melanoma. Even more alarming, is that the salve is often advertised as a cancer cell specific treatment which actively seeks out cancer cells sparing normal tissue. This is certainly not the case. Black salve is a corrosive compound which kills any tissue it comes into contact. It is not selective in the type of cell it destroys and neither does it ‘seek’ out malignant cells. Unlike conventional chemotherapy it is totally ineffective against cancer which has spread and established in other tissue and organ sites.

Desperate folk are not only encouraged to self diagnose skin lesions but they are also exhorted to self treat. The salve is spread as a thick paste upon the skin, covered and left for 24 hours. It is then washed off. Over a course of a few days the affected region delineates into an eschar- a solid plug of necrotic black tissue. Eventually the plug separates leaving an open wound. Depending upon the strength of the salve and the time it is left in contact with the skin, the depth of destruction will vary. No doubt there are some who are happy with the result and believe their skin cancer has been cured. The problem here is that many haven’t had a diagnosis of skin cancer from a medically qualified practitioner in the first instance and therefore risk treating a benign lesion which is totally innocuous. Consequently they risk horrendous scaring and disfigurement for no medical gain. 

I visited a pro black salve website the other day. This site actively promotes the use of the compound and also sells the product. I reviewed the testimonials and comments. Every comment stated how wonderful the salve was and how it cured their skin lesions and cancers etc. I placed a negative comment which drifted into moderation; predictably the comment never appeared on the site. 

Alternative medicine practitioners are promoting black salve as the latest wonder treatment and emphasise that it is a natural 'herb' product. The implication of course is that anything natural has got to be good and more effective than synthetic conventional medicines. They forget to mention that the most poisonous chemical known to man, ricin, is plant derived.

I've decided not to attach any pictures of the havoc caused by black salve. A simple Google search will provide numerous images of poor wretches with devastating skin damage caused by this toxic compound. This is something you won’t find on the sites actively promoting the salve. Sadly, the selling of black salve is perfectly legal and anyone can offer medical advice concerning its use. Anyone contemplating using black salve to self treat is advised to think again and urged to consult a suitably qualified medical professional. I can't emphasise enough how deceptively dangerous this compound is. 

Below is a video explaining all you need to know. Watch and weep