Thursday, May 31, 2007

Human Camels.

My Octogenarian American friend has again given me another insight into the connection between Humans and the animal kingdom. Again I enclose it, but this time with a comment at the end: Walter.

“Well, you sure do know how to make me do research. I just went through a bunch of stuff on the web and the most interesting thing I found, I think, was that in prehistoric times, camels were on every continent in the world EXCEPT Australia. They were imported to you between 1860 and 1907. And by the 1920's motorized vehicles took their place for transportation, so they were released. That's why you have so many wild ones. Then I read on to find out more. As usual, with my interest in people, I began to liken the camel to people.

1. They work hard unless they take a notion to balk and ignore the commands

2. Their hump is a lump of fat (I have those below my waist)

3. They need people

4. After a baby is born, it likes to be with the mother for a period of time

5. They have calluses

6. They have curly eyelashes (I failed on this one, mine are straight)

7. They have trouble when the sun is too bright, they squint their eyes

8. They groan when they get up off the ground on to their feet (I understand this one)

9. They kick

10. They hear well, but pay no attention sometimes

11. They spit

12. They have a big mouth

13. When food is scarce, they eat anything

14. Strong legs

Well, that's my research. Camels are interesting. I would love to ride one sometime. My friend rode one in Egypt, but I'll never get that far I don't think. I agree about making judgments of people who have different opinions, etc. Reminds me of the story about the blind men who discussed their opinion of the elephant they touched.”

I (Walter) have briefly ridden a Camel, for about 5 minutes, doubled up with my brother, in a ride in the Outback, sometime back in the 1960’s. Not the most comfortable ride I have ever had, but fun none the less. But like a lot of things, fun when it is done for fun, but not fun when you have to do it all the time I would imagine!

Back to the description of camels above, which, if any can you relate too? I kind of relate to Numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, and have been accused every now and then of number 12.

How do you rate yourself and are you happy with that realization? Or like me do you realize that there are still a few areas of your life you still need to work on? Over to you:

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Jobs that pay the Bills

Age News paper had an article about bad jobs that paid the Bills. The article was called “When a dog of a job keeps the wolf from the door”. It then went on to list a few totally mind numbing jobs that various people all over the world do, just to pay the rent.

I won’t mention any here but the main pointy of all of them was that they were seen by the worker as pointless and mind numbing and totally unfulfilling, with the only positive being that ”But at least it pays the mortgage”

Is that how you feel about your job? Pointless, Mind-numbing and boring? Yet despite that, because it pays the bills you are reluctant to change jobs?

I can’t say that all of my job is pointless as a couple of hundred people would miss me each day if I didn’t turn up to sell them their paper and drinks etc. But there are other parts of the job that are boring if not quite mind numbing.

However it is no longer satisfying and currently all I am doing is “ Paying the Rent” while marking time.

Well that is the way I feel at the moment so today I gave my Boss one month’s notice, after which I intend to take a month’s holiday and get back into Christian Ministry. Well you now know how I feel about my job, how do you feel about yours?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Good Jobs That Pay the Bills

Despite the fact that a lot of people end up doing jobs they hate just to pay the bills, there are some good jobs out there. The thing is to find them. One way is to find what it is that you are good at and then work at it.

Australia’s most famous cook and now one of Australia’s Living National Treasures, Margaret Fulton who published her first cook book in 1968, and now at 82 recently said, “And now I have had 26 books. The marvelous thing is, I’ve had such a good life doing it. It’s lovely to find you’re good at doing something and to be paid for doing it - it’s a dream”.

She has obviously found something that she was good at, and turned it into something more than a job or a way simply to pay the bills. We may never be like her, nor perhaps as successful as her, but we should all try to find what we are good at and see if we can turn that into a way of life as well as a bill paying occupation.

For the past few years I have been happy to just have a bill-paying job, but now I am in the process of leaving that and going back to something that I am happy to do out of love for the job and not for the money.

Yes it will pay my bills, and yes it will bring me more pressure and stresses, but it is something that I want to do, rather than have to do.

How are you going? Is your job just a bill payer, or is it something you are good at and love? What is your dream job? And what are you doing to achieve it? Over to you: Walter

Monday, May 28, 2007

More On Camels.

I received a letter from America saying, “We see very few camels here. Once in a while out in the country, there will be one or two, but they belong to the people who live there and have bought them. They are not wild. We never see one just loose out in the field with no owner.” Obviously they just don’t have wild Camels over there, like we do here in Oz. A fact that I found interesting, as I know that in America’s early history, they too used Camels for transport and exploration in the desert areas and that they too were released into the wild when no longer needed. So at first you would think that they would have spread there too, but they didn’t. Why?

Different conditions that’s why! It is surprising to many, but if you overlay a scale model of the map of Australia over the map of America (without Alaska) and turn it sideways, you will be surprised to find that there is not that much difference in size really. Yet America has something near 300 million people and we have just a little over 20 million. (22 or 23, I think?)

Also although of similar size on paper, much of Australia is arid or semi arid (read desert) country. So if you take a larger desert area, you have a larger need for camels initially. I don’t know how many were let into the wild in America but I feel pretty safe in saying it was nothing near the 20,000 released here in the 1930’s. Also with the lack of people encroaching on their new domain, the Camels had very little competition from humans and with no meat eating predators larger than our Dingo (Wild dog) they had few problems or competition, hence unrestricted multiplication took place, till there is now over half a million running around the Top End of Australia. (Apparently, although I got this figure from this month’s Newspaper that info is 8 years old. According to June 20007 Reader’s Digest, the number is now one million and the camel population is doubling every 8 years!)

I don’t know how it appears to you, but the above illustration helps me to see how it seems that some people seem to handle things better than me although on the surface everything seems similar to what I am experiencing. It is not that they are per se’ better (or worse) than me! More that their circumstances are different although similar looking or sounding.

That is why we should always be careful of making judgements on how others seem to be handling things without close inspection of all the facts, from all angels. How see it you? Walter

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Job That Could Lead Somewhere.

All this talk about Jobs paying the bills, reminds me of our last-born. Although she has her basic university degree in Psychology, she is a long way from the requirements she needs to work in her desired field and thus needs more courses & training. All of which cost money, which she/we no longer have. To help pay her bills and get some money for these extra courses, she was working as a Shop assistant and junior manager at basic wages for a long time. Recently she changed jobs and now has a better paying job more closely aligned to the field she wants to eventually work in. It is not the same field, but it is a foot in the door to perhaps leading to her desired field, and paying a lot better.

Instead of being the un-official manager of a $2 Variety Store, she now works at an outer Melbourne campus of one of Melbourne’s Universities. She is now, a research and teaching assistant for the Senior Lecturer of one of their Departments. Which one? I was afraid you would ask that!

I will tell you the Title, just as soon as I find where I have written it! Here it is: She now works for the head of the “Proposed Centre for Organisational Research and Psychology (CORP) in the School of Psychology, Psychiatry & Psychological Medicine”. (Try pronouncing or spelling all those words quickly!)

So you may now be wondering what we call her? Well we call her by her long-standing family title. She may have a new fancy handle, but she is still our last-born. Our Baby! So we will continue to call her by her Birth name, even though most others have long shortened that a bit.

What about you? Do you sometimes get confused when friends (or family) of long standing suddenly get new titles or jobs, and you wonder as to how you should now treat them?

At work and out in public, you probably will have to treat them with the respect and dignity their title and position requires, not to please them, but so as not to embarrass them in front of their work mates. This is what we will do, but at home, she will always be our Baby and treated accordingly. Now I will see if I can get my baby to shout her dear old Dad a cup of coffee. Bye: Walter

Saturday, May 26, 2007

More on Moles.

One of the reasons I write my blogs is to share what challenges or encourages me, with others. The spin off from that, is the encouragement and further challenges I get in return from the replies (when there are some). Some of these replies end up in further blogs and so on. Such is today, when I share the response to my blog on Moles and molehills. Only this time I am going to include it with no added comment or sweetener. Can any one else add to these descriptions of moles? Walter

“Walter: Yes, we do have moles. Question...are they like people?

1. Moles have no external ears.

I know people who have external ears, but don't listen.

2. Moles have a snout that is constantly rooting around.

I know people who put their snout into other's business a lot.

3. Moles tunnel around just below the soil surface.

I know people who stay in the shallow mode a lot.

 4. Moles eat half their weight in food each day.

I know people who look like they do the same.”

Friday, May 25, 2007


Recently I wrote briefly about Tintin, who was the sole creation of Herge. (Georges Remi) Today I would like to refer to that other famous Cartoon character Asterisk. Unlike Tintin who was the sole effort of Herge, Asterisk’s stories were written by one man and illustrated by another and then finally the English versions were translated by another Couple.

The writer had the story but needed the illustrator. He also needed the translators to get the right effect although his English wasn’t that bad.

Whereas Tintin was a sole creation and work of one, Asterisk was a team effort and relied on all four working together, even if they rarely did actually work together in practise.

What about you? Are you talented and/or lucky enough to be a Lone Ranger like Herge, or are you a Team player like the Asterisk Team?

If you are part of a team like the Asterisk mob, are you happy with your position, or are you jealous of the others? Are you happy with your lot and work as a team, or are you trying to pull the others down, so that you can be elevated?

When the storey writer of Asterisk died, his collaborator did write a new story and illustrated it himself, but it wasn’t the same; and although it sold, out of novelty value, it never achieved the success of any of the originals. Neither will you. You might have some initial success but it will only be fleeting and of novelty value. Better to share the glory with others, than not to have any at all through lack of adequate talent and /or support from those that have what you lack! What say you? Walter

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Moles and Molehills.

I don’t know if they have moles where you are but we don’t here in Australia. Although we have all heard of Moles and molehills, we had to go to South Africa to experience them first hand.

They are very shy critters and it is almost impossible to see them at all. The first time I saw one was in one place where we were staying and when I saw the earth move at the mouth of a molehill. So I started to dig after him. After about a yard (Metre) I came to a confluence of tunnels running off the one I was following. At this point I gave up but a local Xhosa guy who was doing some gardening work for us took up the chase. After a little pondering and listening he selected a tunnel and started digging and shortly after he caught the little fellow and we put it in a plastic washbasin to inspect. A little like a rat in appearance but shorter.

At that point not quite knowing what to do with it a neighbour’s boy came along and wanted to take it home. We were quite happy for him to do so, but I never did hear what his mum had to say about it!

The only other mole we saw was a dead one that the dogs caught. Even there they were always digging at the holes but that was the only one that we ever knew they caught.

Although we basically never saw a mole, we were always filling in and levelling off their handiwork.

One day I went out to my carrot patch and what was a healthy carrot top the day before was dried and shrivelled. When I touched it to examine it more closely it came up in my hand. The/a mole had eaten the root from below and just left the top in the hole!

We tried all the local methods of trying to chase them away. Filling the holes up with dirt, filling the holes up with water, Poking sharp steel rods in the ground, planting specific bulbs/tubers that they are not supposed to like (It was after I shoved one of these down a molehill that the dogs caught one and I always gave the tuber the credit rather than the dogs.) We also tried poison tablets down the holes too, but basically it was a losing battle. The best we could achieve was keeping them to the edges of the yard, as if no one else controlled theirs, than you always had a fresh batch ready to move it.

Again this is a bit like the problems and bad habits in our lives isn’t it. We can try all kinds of methods, but once they have a hold it is hard to get rid of them. Like a lot of our bad habits others might never actually see them but they will see and be troubled by the results, just like the problems of molehills all over the place. Likewise if you hang out with people who do not control theirs, it won’t be long before you will have them too.

So how do you live with molehills? You do your best to clean them all up, so that you only have to deal with the new holes. Then you do what you can to either eradicate or drive away the moles. This might involve a whole series of different methods from Dogs and cats, to poisonous tubers, to filling their holes with water or whatever. Then you just need to keep an eye on the follow up and re-act to every new hole and don’t let them get a foothold again.

What I said about moles I also think is appropriate to our bad habits. We have to have a major clean up effort, so that we can concentrate on the new outbreaks and not waste our time on empty holes. This clean up may involve many methods and even some outside help and/or advice. Then when we have achieved an acceptable result, we then have to maintain adequate follow up and not allow a fresh invasion or outbreak to take hold. What say you other Mole hunters out there? Walter

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Although I only came across Tintin late in life through my kids, I quickly became a fan. (Also of Asterisk, but that’s another author and another story.) May 22 would have been the 100th Birthday of one Georges Remi of Brussels. Georges is better known as Herge (pronounced air- zhay), the creator of the cartoon character Tintin, which has been translated into over 50 languages.

He first started producing Tintin in 1929 in a weekly paper, and eventually these Comic stories were collected and turned into hard bound Books, which continue to sell all around the world in over 50 languages.

Initially Tintin was Georges Remi and the character reflected Georges life, loves and experiences as he had lived it or wished he could live it, but eventually the character Tintin took on a life and a persona of its own in the public domain. One that Herge struggled with. He is recorded as writing to his first wife of his feelings of being hemmed in by his creation.

He wrote,” I have just discovered that I know that Tintin is no longer me, that if he is to go on living, it will be by an artificial respiration that I will have to practice constantly and which exhausts me more and more.”

What about you? Have you created something or started on something, that has now completely taken over your life and created one of its own? One that you now have to live up to, but like Herge, resent!

Will you like Herge, go with the money and fame and put up with it or will you say enough is enough and it is now time to move on, (or even to go back) to something that again fulfils you? I have come to the conclusion that my current job is no longer fulfilling and it is time to go back to something that is. What about You? Walter

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dabbs Greer Has Passed Away.

I read in the paper that 90-year-old Dabbs Greer died on April two. Now I think most of you would say, “ Never heard of Him. ”
Be that as it may, but if you have watched TV or the Movies over the past 60 years I’m sure that his face would be as familiar to you as it was to me.
Since starting as an extra in a 1938 Movie called “Jessie James’, Dabbs has been in over 100 movies including “The Green Mile”, and hundreds of TV episodes such as Gunsmoke, and Little House On The Prairie”.
Dabbs was never the star but he did the supporting role very well and usually played the “Everyman” roles such as bus drivers, shopkeepers and preachers, which is what he was in LHOTP.
As I reflected upon Dabbs life, I wondered how many of us will end up as widely recognised for our achievements, (even if not so widely known by name)? Dabbs may never have been the leading man, but he played a leading role in everything he did. Can the same be said of us? Are we too busy chasing the starring role, to be able to play a leading role in the background? Are you playing your designated role in life to your fullest, or are you being deflected by your desire for the starring role?
Dabbs life reminds me of an old poster I once had. It read, “ I may never be able to do great things but I can do small things in a great way.” Dabbs did, but can the same thing be said about you and me? Walter

Monday, May 21, 2007

Do they Really mean that?

The Age News Paper is the oldest Newspaper in Melbourne. It is also the biggest sized paper and the least popular of the Daily’s. I regularly sell about 8 Herald Suns to every Age, except on Thursdays which has a TV guide with it. Yet even then the Herald Sun still outsells it on a ratio of over 4 to one.

This lack of competitiveness has always been a talking point and many people blame this disparity of size of the paper itself over the much smaller Herald Sun as a reason for not buying the Age, even when I have run out of Herald Suns, which truly are more convenient to read on a train or Bus.

Now the rumour is that powers that be at the Age, are talking about reducing its size but will it really make any difference to the buyer’s attitude?

People now say they would buy it if it was smaller but will they?

Or is that just an excuse they use to avoid telling the real reason, whatever that may be.

In truth the Age has a reputation of being a highbrow paper and people often accuse others of being pretentious if they are seen holding a copy of the Age. Whether this is true or not I don’t know, but what about us?

Do we look for acceptable excuses to do or not do something rather than be honest about our actions and beliefs? Are we so intimidated and controlled by what other people think that we will allow their likes and prejudices to control our lives and actions?

When you give a reason for doing, or not doing, something, do you give the true reason, or do you say what you think others want you to say or do?

Who is living your life? You or someone else?

Most people who try to direct how other people should respond, usually don’t have a great sense of personal worth and try to make up for it by trying to control others, so that it looks like they fulfill an important role, when in fact they don’t.

We all make mistakes but it is best to make your own mistakes and learn from them, than pay for the mistakes of others. What say you? Walter

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Who really cares?

In the Age (5/5/07) there was an article about attempts to celebrate the 50th Anniversary Of rock ‘n’ roll in Australia. The only problem was that no one could decide when it should be or who the Founder of Australian rock really was.

Apparently the majority have gone for Johnny O’Keefe, and some wanted to commemorate the date that JO’K released a cover version of an American song “You hit the wrong note Billy Goat”, in July of this year. But finally settled for early next year when he released “The Wild One”. Which was an Australian composition also. Which in one sense is fair enough but not everyone thinks that Johnny was even the first Australian Rocker with many other famous Australian singers of that era having released successful Rock songs, albeit covers of overseas songs, long before J O” K released even his first hit (Billy Goat) in 1957.

As I read the article a few things took my attention.

  1. I was surprised by the heat and emotion that something as inconsequential as this, was creating. How come it has taken so long to decide who was the founder of Australian rock ‘n’ roll, if it was really that important?
  2. How parochial are they, to want to decide between a song written overseas or here? If it was successful, it was successful, and that should be that.
  3. How arbitrary was there choice of Johnny O’Keefe? Don’t get me wrong I love his music, but if others, (some still relatively well known, although few ever reached the heights that JO’K reached,) had hits before Johnny, then the first one, should be regarded as the father of Australian rock ‘n’ roll, even if his song was a cover and even if it was his only hit. After all, this is supposedly about who was the father and not who was the most successful father.
  4. How desperate some people are to make a buck out of an otherwise insignificant event. An event, as I said that no one thought important enough to commemorate before.

All this led me too ponder if:

  1. I too make Mountains out of Mole hills, and focus on the unimportant trivialities instead of more important things?
  2. If I too am in danger of becoming obsessed about where a thing is made, rather than how it is made? Quality and value, should always triumph over price, irregardless of where it comes from.
  3. How arbitrary am I in my choices? Do I choose the more famous over the not so famous, rather than choosing the truth?
  4. How desperate am I also to make a buck? Will I too pick on something inconsequential, over quality, just to make a buck?

A good question considering I am even wasting my time writing about it, even though I am not making anything out it. What about you? Are you too being sided tracked by the interesting but otherwise worthless, over more important things. Over to you: Walter

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Physician Heal Thyself

Recently, when I went for my second Physiotherapy session, I went there knowing that I would have a different person from the one I had the week before and that this new person would become my regular physiotherapist.

When I first saw the lady I was a little perturbed. Why? Well you see, my new Physiotherapist’s back as much noticeably worse than mine.

Mine, at this stage at least, whilst giving me a pain in the leg and some other discomfit is not all that noticeable, but this lady's was.

As part of the original assessment of my back, after the initial tests by my Doctor, I was sent to a Neurologist for professional advice. His view was that they would treat my back with physio for two months before reviewing the situation, before considering any other treatment, which would ultimately, if not cured before hand, lead to an operation. But this was considered as a worst case, last choice proposition.

So you can see why I was even less impressed when after finding what my symptoms were, she then said that that was what her husband had, before the operation where they fused his spine. She then asked if I had considered that operation.

A completely different approach from her superior the week before! Now it may turn out that she is the best Physiotherapist ever and I may end up singing her praises for the rest of my life but there and then, it did nothing for my confidence or for positive reinforcement of physiotherapy!

So you can see why I was not encouraged by this whole experience and why I was not particularly perturbed when during the next week, the next weekly session was postponed to the following week, which was already booked as my next session.

As I thought over all the above events I couldn’t help but wonder if I too in my normal social intercourse, am not similarly communicating a similar negative message, without saying a thing.

Actually that thought did not last very long because recently I have had so many people come up to me and thank me for my positive attitude, that I am actually embarrassed by it all. But, what about you?

In all modesty and humility, can you say or even think the same? In our lives, both private and public, are we a good presentation of what we represent? Are we a good advertisement for our parents, our club, our Church, our School or work organization? Or do we and even worse, others constantly have to make apologies for our behaviour or presentation?

Do you really present as a fairly good positive affirmation of all that you claim to represent, or do you still need to work on it?

A word of warning to those, who like me who think that we are currently doing all right. And that is, we still need to work on improving, because we can still go backwards if we become too proud and arrogant. This is not a one off, one step practise. It is a daily, one step at a time, forward moving procession, where a slip or too can be expected, but even then should not stop our progress. Well that’s my say! What say you? Walter

Friday, May 18, 2007

Are You Weary Too?

I received the following response to my “Noisy fridge” Blog from one of my American contacts.

“To take a quote from a song, "I am weary, let me rest." I could use one day to not have to do anything, just to sit back and enjoy the quiet without worrying if the dishes are going to get done, the trash is going to get taken out, the cats' litter box is going to get cleaned, or the mail be checked. I just want one day to do NOTHING for anyone. I want to have everyone at MY beck and call for one day. But that can't happen. The dishes won't be clean, even if they're "washed", no matter how clean the box is, no one will scoop the box, and getting someone to take out the trash is next to impossible, especially on their way out in the morning! If I let them polish the wood dining room table, it'll look like crap. So I keep on, not like I can gripe too much. I just want a break. Oh well.”

I can sympathize with my friend very well, as I think most of us can too.

Not being an expert on the subjects of Psychology or Counselling, I can offer no professional advice, but I can share what we did when we first arrived in the then Republic of Transkei. Not only were there no Australians there but also there were only about one thousand European people there among about Four million Africans in an area about the size of Belgium. Sure we nearly all spoke English but had totally different vocabs and it got quite wearisome at times at always having to search for a word that others would understand. (Any one know what a Jumper is? A Chook?)

As one of the few non-native population there, we were subjected to a lot of attention and pressures in adjusting to this new cultural experience. We often had many, many people at our door or gate seeking this and that and the other thing. Not always nicely either! Sometimes the pressure was just so great that we would get in the car and drive over 200 kilometres to the next big town, with more Europeans, just to get away and be anonymous again. This included crossing the border into South Africa and thus it was roughly a three-hour trip each way, just to get a break. Not exactly ideal but very, very necessary.

I would suggest nothing as serious as that to my friend but perhaps a day out in the city with a few friends, just to get away from all the hassles at home. Yes, the problems will still be there when you get back, but you will feel the better for the break and able to face the hassles again till the next time you need a break.

All of us get tired at times and overcome by the busyness of things, whether they be simple mundane things or things a little more complicated. The thing is that when we are weary, we need to recognise this and take a break. Get away somewhere, even for a day or even half a day and just do something different, just to recharge the batteries so we can face life again full on.

The thing is that you do have to distance yourselves from your situation, albeit ever so briefly, otherwise you will never get the chance to relax. And believe me you will never get the chance to fully relax at home. There will always be some interruption or some other problem that you can’t avoid if you are there.

Sure the dirty dishes and the garbage will still be there when you get back, so will the Mail, but will that really kill you, just once in a while? As to the wooden dining table, if others do such a bad job, throw a nice table cloth over it when it is not in use or on show and therefore save some time by not having to polish it all the time.

The one area where she really has my sympathy is with the kitty litter box. Having had three fully-grown cats there at the one time, I really do understand her problem. I have no real solution other than to say that for times when we would be away for any length of time, we would put out an extra tray for that period. That shared the problem around a little and saved the cats from emptying it themselves to find an empty place. (But it was still there when we returned and needing urgent attention!)

So if you too are weary, take a break for a while. You will feel all the better for it I believe! Well that’s my thoughts on the matter. Anyone got something better to offer? Walter

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Easy When You Know How.

A little while back, the cool drink fridge at the kiosk started to make weird noises and eventually packed it in. The repairman came and assessed it as needing to be either repaired off-sight or replaced with another one. He left saying he would be in touch with the result. Eventually he got back to me that it was being replaced but didn’t know when, as that was someone else’s responsibility.

I was concerned how they were going to get it out of my “Small Hole in the Wall” for as well as its smallness it also has an immovable metre high (and almost as wide) counter. I was not looking forward to being involved in the removal of the old fridge let alone getting the new one in undamaged.

Eventually the new (reconditioned) fridge arrived with two huge guys who looked like they could play “: Prop” in a Rugby team.

Anyway they threw a heavy blanket over the counter, while I exited my “Hole”. One of them entered and moved the fridge out of its space and got on one side of it and his mate then entered on the other. They then lifted it up and placed it on the counter and spun it around so that exiting the kiosk, they then lowered it to the floor and wheeled it away and brought the new one up and replicated the previous procedure in reverse. Despite the small and confined place and the counter, what I thought would be a difficult job was easily done and done within 5 minutes. Just shows what can be done when you know how and have the right equipment. In this case a heavy blanket and two strong men who knew what they were doing.

What about us? Do we often struggle because we don’t have the proper equipment or know how, but still proceed anyhow? Sometimes we even eventually succeed but with difficulty, only to find that it would have been so much easier if we had done it properly in the first place, or sort help and/or advice beforehand. What say you? Is there something you are about to do for which you should seek expert help for? Even if it is something mundane like shifting a fridge successfully? Walter

Who Will You Influence?

I am still fascinated by the responses my “ Fast. Slow. Or stopped?” Blog and its successors have inspired.

This is the latest response to the follow up, “Why are you late? Trying to fit everything in and have a social life and have a house that doesn’t look like a pigsty can all be reasons for being late, but I will leave a mess if I need to be on time. The good/ bad influence of others plays a bigger part than I first thought, take work for instance. We had a boss who thought being 10 / 15 mines early was important so that you were on the floor so to speak at starting time, so the others could then have their break on time. Only one person was ever late. Bosses changed and so did the punctuality, and the moral fell, interesting point I think.”

In fact I think a few good points are made.

1. At times we all have valid excuses for being held up. But if the event is important enough, we can make the effort.

2. We are influenced greatly by the actions of others, even if subconsciously. And the more so if they are in positions of influence.

3. These influences can change with out our realizing it. Therefore we have to consciously work at some things more than we do others.

With those thoughts in mind I wonder if we really realize, that as we are influenced by others, (either to the good or bad,) we too influence others. Thus rather than asking why am I late, the real question I must ask myself, (allowing for the odd mistake here and there which we all make,) am I a better influence to the good than the other way? And you? Who are you influencing and which way? Walter

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Noisy Drink Fridge.

A little while back the cool drink fridge at the kiosk started to make a weird noise. I tried moving it and shaking it. I even gave it a couple of kicks. Yeah! I know. Real scientific mechanics hey? Anyway when all my scientific know-how failed, I did what I should have done in the first place. I rang up the owners of the fridge and a few days later their repairman came and cleaned, adjusted and whatever, to it and the noise evaporated. That was a Friday morning, but when I returned the following Monday the noise was back but not as bad. Anyway I, as soon as I got back to the main shop, reported it again.

That following Friday I opened the kiosk and the noise was not there but the motor was running loudly. Before I could ponder this, I had a customer who wanted a cold drink and so I put my hand in the fridge and grabbed what he asked for. I soon let it go again. It was not boiling but it was extremely hot. Instead of cooling, it was heating!

I did not have to report this, because shortly afterwards the repairman arrived to fix the earlier problem. He had a quick look and decided that it had to be taken away; to either be repaired off-sight or replaced with another one. He left saying he would be in touch with the result.

Later I started to wonder how many of us are like that fridge? We start to make noises that all is not well, but people don’t really listen or know how to apply the right treatment until things really get noisy and by then it is often too late. Sure like the fridge, things might go on for a little while more but things are often so bad that it all goes horribly wrong and we end up producing the opposite results to what is required of us. To those outside we may appear to be working okay but we are not.

And of course like my fridge, by then it is to late to be fixed and has to be replaced.

And like my fridge that took two weeks to replace, this can be time consuming costly and non- productive.

How’s your motor running? Does it need a check up and some on-going running repairs and maintenance? Or are you really A-okay? What say you? Walter

Monday, May 14, 2007

Camels. Past their use by Date?

Another “Pop Quiz” for you. Which country in the world has the largest population of wild camels? I will give you a little clue. The answer starts with an “ A”.

Camels and in many cases their Afghan Handlers, were imported into Australia in the early years of “ White Settlement”. These camels were used by early explorers and settlers as “ships of the desert”, particularly in central Australia before rail and modern motor transport made them inefficient, too slow, and therefore redundant, by the early 1930’s.

That they played an important role in Australia’s early history is revealed in that when they were seen to be no longer wanted in the 1930’s, some 20,000 of them were abandoned in central Australia and allowed to run free. Quite a large number hey, for an originally imported animal?

When no longer needed, they were released into the wild. Now this may sound like a noble act of animal liberation, but in hindsight it just released another pest animal into the wild.

When controlled, these animals had a valid use and were kept under control but when they were no longer needed or valued, they were released into the wild to fend for themselves. Which they did very, very well and now some 70’s years later they are a pest and have multiplied to be over half a million strong and literally roaming anywhere they please in central Australia. Apparently ordinary fences mean nothing to them and they easily push their way through them, destroying the fences, and often in more than one place, along the way.

Now the camel has long been regarded as a pest and various methods have been used in attempts to control their numbers, including shooting them. More recently attempts to use their meat for pet food and even export to Asian and Middle Eastern countries have been contemplated. Also for some time now, some camels have been exported to the Middle East, particularly to be used for Camel racing. Of course some have been used in Circuses, Zoos, and for Camel treks, etc, but largely, they continue to be undesired and unvalued, and unwanted.

Now although some methods are being used to control their numbers and also to make it profitable at the same time, little has so far been achieved in reducing their huge numbers. Thus because of previous indifference, the number is now so large that all attempts thus far, have done little to reduce the overall number and the environmental impact that these animals, once desired but now pests, cause across most of the middle and Top End of Australia.

Enough about Camels, what about us? Are we now no longer needed for what we were originally intended for, and have largely been left to fend for ourselves? If so what have we done about it? Have we allowed ourselves to go truly wild and now are regarded as both destructive and undesirable, and now all people want, is to see the end of us?

Is that truly our end or can we find a niche place in the market, whether as Racing or Trek camels or as ordinary “ working stiffs” in a circus or such.

In other words are we earning our place in society and worthy of our places? Or are we just nuisances? Over to you: Walter

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Do You Think You Are Rude?

In my “Why are you Late” blog” I was looking for the reasons why people are usually regularly late for most events, but most replies I have had so far, have been from people who have expressed their opinion of people who are consistently late with out good reason.
Here is a typical response: “Hi Walter, I think there are many reasons for people being late but the one I think is most common is that they just plain don't care. Certainly it is a sign of bad manners, but it is equally true that it is a sign of not being brought up properly. I was always taught that to be late was to insult the person you were to meet and it has always stuck with me over my life. 
There will always be extenuating circumstances for some people to be late, but generally my opinion is that it is lack of manners most of the time.”
How do you feel about that? Do you realize that many people think you rude for persistently turning up late with no good reason or acceptable excuse? Is that really your intention? Or have you simply not thought of the other person’s feelings? Or is it true as stated above and you “just plain don’t care”? Again, what say you? Walter

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Why Are You Late?

I received this reply to my “Fast. Slow. Or Stopped? “ Blog, and found it an interesting observation. What think thee?

“Your clock blog is interesting. It makes me remember what I learned in psychology.

The people who are always late to everything, it is a sign of rebellion against their mother.

Sometimes I think it is just a habit. Some say they are trying to get attention. They sure do from me because I think everyone should be punctual except in emergencies.

PS: I sound like a school teacher, don't I?”

As one who is habitually early, unless due to extra ordinary circumstances, it is a theory that I have never heard or considered before, but now that has been raised I am interested to know more. What say you?

In discussing this with my daughters, I got the two different viewpoints. As a budding Psychologist, our last-born said that there are in fact many social-logical factors involved, including simply trying to do more than you can properly, and one would have to exam each and every situation, to find the real reason for each person. (Sound real professional doesn’t it?)

Our first –born said it was an acquired habit. She then went onto say that she is always a few minutes early to every event, because she learnt it from her father, who in turn learnt it from his father, who said it was a sign of rudeness to the organisers (& others) to be late, with out due just cause.

Again. What say you? Why are you late: Because of: Rebellion; Habit; Attention seeking; laziness; inefficient planning, trying to do more than practical; some other reason? I know it is none of my business, but now the subject has been raised I am curious. What’s your thinking on the subject? Walter

P..S. Just thought of another reason: maybe they just don’t have a working clock!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Stupid Dog.

Took the “Boys” up to my mum’s and let them go for an unrestrained walk around the edge of the 40 Acres there. As we went around the property, we passed within a hundred metres or so from neighbours barking dogs, some sheep, some goats, all outside Mum’s property, and a horse on the property. On each occasion the two dogs showed a little interest in running after them but a word or two from me and they quickly lost inters in these diversions and stayed by me, although when we went near the horse, George just about jumped into my arms out of fear of this “big white horse”. Thus while Charlie was ranging far and wide, George was hanging real close to me when a little further on, we came across a mob of about 40 kangaroos in the same paddock.

Well, half went one way and the other half, the other, which bought them close to Charlie, who immediately set off after them and chased them for over 300 metres up and over the hill, before I lost sight of him. With me running after him and calling, well trying to call him back, which he finally did so! Much to my relief!

He probably will never know this, but it was (and is) a stupid thing for him to do. Not that he would ever catch one in the open, but if he cornered one and it turned on him, like some have done with much bigger dogs, it would make Mincemeat (almost literally) of him. Kangaroos might look harmless but when cornered or stirred up, can be quite aggressive and their claws have been known to rip man and beast, and especially dogs, to pieces very quickly indeed.

What about us? Are we not at times, equally stupid? Do we not sometimes, do something similar, and let ourselves get drawn away from our points of safety and start chasing after dangerous things? Things, that if we are not careful, and if someone more responsible doesn’t stop us, will cause us great harm.

So, sometimes at least, it does pay to listen to those who do know better than us. It is far better to learn some things from the experiences of others, rather than from our own experiences, especially if we have to literally pay with our own blood. What say you? Walter

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Slow? Fast? Or Stopped?

A little teaser for you: Which is the most accurate: A clock 5 minutes slow; a clock 4 minutes fast; or one that is stopped?

While it might be an amusing, even interesting question, it is ultimately an unhelpful one, for you see, the most accurate, is the stopped clock. The other two, will never be accurate but the stopped clock will always be accurate at least twice a day.

The trouble is, that while it might be accurate twice a day it is of absolutely no help to you or me in knowing what time it is, is it?

I have met some people who deliberately run their clock’s a few minutes slow, as they know that if they think they are running late they will hurry up, where as if they think they have plenty of time to spare waste it and end up late.

I have met some other people who deliberately run their clock’s a few minutes fast, so that they will always be early or on time if they leave themselves a few minutes up their sleeves for unexpected drains on their time.

Now the above two actions may help and assist those who know their system, but it can throw others out completely if they take the clock’s time at face value.

What about you and me? Are we always dependable and on time? Or do people have to waste their time waiting for us because we operate on a different clock, either fast or slow?

Do we make people hurry up to catch up with us as we are always leaving early? Or do we make them twiddle their thumbs and waste precious time because we are always late? Or worse, are we a stopped clock that no one can depend on and in danger of being thrown out, or pushed aside for something more reliable?

Should we not, metaphorically speaking, be people that others can set their watches by, as we are always on time, and always reliable? The answer of course is, “Yes”, but the real question is, “Are we?” Well? Are You? I will now leave you to ponder that! Walter

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Arakan Forest Turtles.

Recently I wrote about red eared slider Turtles and how they were in the process of becoming as major a pest in Victoria, as they are already in other parts of Australia. There, the emphasis was on how easily they and bad habits multiply without any effort on our part.

Today I wish to talk about Arakan Forest Turtles. Another species that I also have to admit that I had never heard of until I read about them in the paper. It appears that not only has the Atlanta Zoo (USA) not only hatched another lot, but that they are the only place in the world to successfully breed this species which is on list of the world’s most critically endangered species.

Ironic isn’t it, that even within the one family there will be one sub-species in danger of taking over the world, while at the same time there will be one, or more sub-species, on the verge of extinction?

A bit like our lives really, isn’t it? It always seem that the good things are always on the edge of extinction and need working on to keep them alive and surviving, while the not so good, run rampant, doesn’t it?

It seems that there are always things that we either desire or need, but that take a lot of extra effort to obtain and/or keep, doesn’t it? And we need to be constantly on the alert to maintaining these things in a healthy breeding condition. Of course often trying to do it by ourselves is not enough and like in the case of the Arakan Forest Turtle, outside and specific specialist help is needed.

What about you today? Are you more like the red –eared slider turtle or the Arakan Forest Turtle?

If you feel that you are a bit like the Arakan Turtle and in danger of going under, then you too, might need some outside, specialist help. However, are you prepared to seek and then accept this help, or will you continue on unassisted into oblivion? Over to you: Walter

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Paying the Rent

Paying the Rent 5/5/2007

Recently I read of the Passing of Robert George Picket, better known to some as ‘Bobby “Boris” Picket’. The first thing that surprised me was that, until recently he was still living. I had just assumed that he had died years before.

The other thing that surprised me was that he was only 69. I had always supposed that he was much older. Which just goes to show that you can’t rely on one’s own assumptions, can you?

As I read the article I was also surprised to find that not only had he sung his one and only hit (3 times it hit the high reaches of the charts) but that he had co-written it too.

Although the “ Monster Mash” was his only hit, it was a song of which he was able to say in 1998, “I haven’t made millions, but I have been paying the rent for 36 years with this one song”.

Apart from making a warning of the dangers of making false assumptions based on personal beliefs, I was taken by the fact that, although in many people’s eyes, he was a one hit wonder, he was able to make a living for his family and himself and pay the rent, while at the same time doing something that he loved and was good at.

What about you? Are you enjoying what you are doing, whilst paying the rent?

Or are you just doing it to pay the rent, with no enjoyment or personal satisfaction in it? If so, what are you going to do about it? Continue on? Or take the risk of a career and or life change, with all its resulting risks?

It is a question that I have recently struggled with, as although I love parts of my job and will be reluctant to part from it, there are parts that I no longer can stand and have decided to make the change, but am now waiting for the right time to move. When will it come? Who Knows? But I do know it is time to stop talking about it and start looking around.

What about you? Is what you are doing to pay the rent still bringing you satisfaction, or are you like me, ready for a change, but not sure what that will be? I will let you know in due course how I go, just not sure when. Walter

Monday, May 7, 2007

Red-Eared Slider Turtles.

Red-Eared Slider Turtles. 5/5/2007
Until recently I had never heard of Red-Eared Slider Turtles, but apparently they are a major problem up in Queensland although they are a prohibited import. Despite that, they have been illegally imported and since first being discovered in Queensland 8 years ago have now been found in 5 of our 6 states plus the Australian Capital territory.
Despite that, it has just made the Melbourne papers. Why? Because someone has released some into at least one small recreational lake in outer Melbourne. These apparently have already started breeding and they are afraid that they will escape into other waterways and cause extensive damage to native species of water life.
That these turtles are a major environmental disaster was highlighted in a follow up item that said special dogs have been trained up in Queensland to locate these turtles and they are trying to bring one down here until they can train some of our own.
These Slider Turtles sound like some of the bad habits in our lives don’t they? A bit like smoking or drinking to excess! They all seem fun and harmless and certainly very attractive at first, but like the Slider Turtles, they soon take over and dominate our lives don’t they?
I may seem like I am talking about smoking and drinking only, but I am sure there are many other habits in our lives, that although not as obvious as them, are dominating and taking over our lives, aren’t there? I guess the real question is not so much what it is, as you already know that, but the real question is, what are you going to do about it?
So far the authorities have tried traps for the turtles and have even flown down an expert from Queensland to help guide and direct their efforts. They are even now, as stated above talking about bringing in specialist help in the form of trained dogs to help.
What are you doing to help eradicate your problem habits? Are you still trying to do it by yourself, but are starting to realize that you may need outside, specialist help? If so, don’t be embarrassed to seek and even demand the needed help, because delaying the inevitable is not a good choice. It will only get worse unless you do something about it and get help now. What say you? Walter

Sunday, May 6, 2007

100 Wet people & not one complaint.

100 Wet people & not one complaint. 5/4/2007

One morning, while I was at Work in “ my little hole in the wall” (Kiosk) at the Railway Station at around 7AM, after a lot of noise and Lightening, it finally did what it has been promising to do for some time now and rained in bucket loads.

Practically every passenger arriving for the next train got soaked to the skin, as none had brought umbrellas or coats with them, like those catching the later trains did.

Yet not a single one of the hundred or so that passed me, by had a negative comment against the rain.

To a person, everyone who commented welcomed the rain and getting wet, this once at least, was not a problem. Mind you it was also a fairly warm morning too, and most would have largely dried out by the time they got to work.

Yet I still couldn’t help but marvel at how our circumstances change our views on something as simple as this.

Normally getting wet on the way to work would have upset almost all of them, but now in the middle of an 8 year drought and with our water storage down below 30%, every one was praising the rain. Instead of cursing it they were thankful for it.

Yet I couldn’t help but wonder how grateful they would be if this happened every morning for a week or more. Which brings me to my question for the day.

How do you, and I, for that matter react to things normally? Are we consistent with our reactions? I know that I would have been unhappy yesterday & any day, if I had been out in the rain, as I hate getting wet, unless I go all the way under and stay in the water.

But apart from pet hates and loves, how consistent are we with our reactions and treatment of irregular yet routine things like the weather and how people treat us? Or is all this conditional upon our moods?

Do we react the same under most conditions or are we as variable as the changing conditions?

And if we are adjustable to varying conditions, do we clearly enunciate our reasons for our varying responses to others or do leave them unclear as to our motives and changes of attitude/reaction?

In other words I guess I am asking, can people read us correctly most of the time or do they have to assess our moods every time they speak to us, or even worse, do this even before they speak to us. Over to you: Walter

Saturday, May 5, 2007

What Has Taken Them So Long?

The Age News Paper is the oldest Newspaper in Melbourne. It is also the biggest sized paper and the least popular of the Daily’s. I regularly sell about 8 Herald Suns to every Age, except on Thursdays when it has a TV guide in it. Even then the Herald Sun still out sells it on a ratio of nearly five to one.

This lack of competitiveness has always been a talking point and many people blame this disparity of sales on the size of the paper itself. Especially when compared to the much smaller and more convenient to read on the train or Bus, Herald Sun.

Now the powers that be at the Age are talking about reducing its size, but then again they have been talking about doing that for years.

Recently I have heard rumours that they are now actually going to do that, leaving one to ask, “What has taken them so long to make this obvious decision?”

People have been complaining about its size for many, many years now. So what has taken the power’s that be at the Age so long to react?

One reason has been that their current presses can’t handle the smaller paper and would have to be replaced costing too much to make it cost effective.

Their attitude seems to be, “ And any way it is not really merited or really needed thus we will continue on as always.”

Another thought seems to have been, “This has always been its size and thus should ever be so, no matter what the many want.”

Also The Age has a reputation of being a highbrow Newspaper and they may feel reducing the size will effect how present readers might react. After all there is no point in appealing to others if you don’t succeed at that and lose even your present readers in the attempt, is there?

Well those seem to be their excuses for being reluctant to change, but what are your excuses?

Do you too know that you should change something in your life but for a variety of reasons keep putting it off?

Remember, it will probably never really get any easier to do, just like there probably will never really be a better time to do it, and if you think it will be expensive to do now, again there will probably never be a time when it will be cheaper but rather the cost will rise more and more with every delay.

At the same time you do need to take cognizance of the danger of alienating some people no matter what you do.

However, taking all that into consideration, if you feel you need to change something in your life or actions, then you should do it as soon as it is feasible and possible. Again it is an old saying but truly the old saying of, “The first step is the biggest” still stands true, but once you have made it things usually do go easier. What say you?

Thursday, May 3, 2007


In South Africa Uniforms were a status symbol of sorts, no matter how low the job, or how simple the uniform.

Unskilled labour was plentiful and cheap there, and so many people employed these people to work as maids, Gardeners or even Nigh Watchmen, as well as labourers.

A uniform for these people was simple and almost to the point of being non-existent by our standards.

For a Maid they were happy just to be given a Pinafore to put over their clothes to signify their job. The Gardeners were delighted to have an old pair of overalls or a Dustcoat as their symbol of status. The night Watchman was happy with a heavy coat (the more Military type the better), a Cap (the more like the Police’s the better), and a big stick (to make him look the part) and he was set.

To the majority of people these “Uniforms” were a status symbol and a sign that they had a job at a time when the official unemployment rate was over 60% or more depending where you were.

Enough of South Africa, what about Here? What about you? Do you need to wear a uniform to feel that you belong? What is it that gives you that feeling of belonging? The Uniform or Job satisfaction? What say you? Walter.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Reminiscing Of Home.

Recently I was up at my childhood home on a Thursday. Which is my habit and took our two dogs for a walk, which they like to make a habit too.

We headed off down the creek and crossed into next-door’ s property, which used to be ours and went on a bit as I have done a time or two before, but this time I decided to go even further and crossed into his next-door’s neighbour’s property, which too once belonged to Dad.

It has been a few years since I have wandered around this part of the old property, and in fact it has changed ownership at least once more since Dad sold it.

It was rather strange, as although much has changed since Dad owned it, much remains the same, and despite the differences many old memories came flooding back.

It was good just to wander around and remember various things over a number of years and note the changes that Dad had made over the years, many of which still remain.

I came away invigorated by the experience and happy to be moving on despite the fact that “it is no longer “ours” to do as we pleased.

Looking back is good and I think we should all do it occasionally, if we can get the chance, but we also need to look forward, whilst still living in the here and now. We can’t live in the past or on old dreams. We need to live in the here and now, as we head for the future. We should draw on all our past experience for inspiration as we move forward.

For just as we can’t live in the past, we too can’t live just in the present. We have to draw on all these experiences as we live for the future. What say you? Walter

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Just As Much Effort …

In an earlier article I mentioned that my back lawn was more grass than lawn and that because of the ongoing drought and continuing Water Restrictions forbidding watering lawns, I decided that even when the drought is over, with the future prospects of more of the same coming up, I would not go to the effort of a proper lawn out the back, and just put up with the green that comes naturally.

Well lately, we have had some very light showers and some heavy dew. (Oh how I wish it had of been the other way around!) Anyway, whatever form the moisture came in, it was enough to make what grass (& Weeds) there grow. So much so, that yesterday, I had to mow the lawn, even if it was very patchy.

At the end of my efforts I came to the conclusion that it didn’t really matter if it was a good Lawn or a bad one, it still took just as much effort to trim and keep it tidy.

So that’s my thought for today. As it takes as much time, effort and money to do a poor job as a good one, shouldn’t we do the best we can to start with, where practical?

As stated in the earlier article and implied above, it is not really feasibly viable to re sow my lawn from scratch, but what about you?

Are you about to start something new and are being tempted to take a short cut or two? If so remember my latest observation that it takes just as much time and effort and sometimes more money, to maintain a bad job as a good one, therefore it makes more sense to start off properly right from the beginning and get the full returns for your time and efforts.

As stated above it may not always be practical but where it is, make the most of it. After all as my Mother would say, "If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well.”

What say you? Walter