Monday, November 1, 2010

The First Farking Post.

Language is much to the fore in The Magpie’s mind this week - which is kinda handy for a writer.

The Magpie has tried coining a new word `pubter’, which he will allow is more than a bit clumsy to say but is a handy noun to describe punters who do their hard-earned in pub gaming rooms.

This idle line of inquiry was prompted by the latest linguistic confection to pervade Canberra, the self-important, fatuous ‘pre-commitment’.

Is the old bird stretching things a bit too much in awarding this bit of flummery the tautology of the week award? The good old Mac Dic tells us that commitment is another word for pledge, which in turn, we learn is `a solemn promise of something, or to do, or refrain from doing, something’.

This puffed-up `pre’ expression aimed at phony political significance was trotted out most recently by that short ‘un Bill Shorten, (he’s even more… err… vertically challenged than that old bedroom bandicoot and teary-eyed shortarse Bob Hawke). Labor’s latest fighting bantam was fudging rather than committing to a pledge made to Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie to introduce anti-poker machine measures in return for his support for the government.

So pre-commitment? It is intended to mean before spinning their money away, that gamblers would be required to state, in some manner or other, how much they intended to spend (read: to lose) on the pokies. But, while it would seem to be a reasonable distortion of language to which English is so often prey, `pre-commitment’ must surely mean `I will, at some time in the future, make a commitment’.

The Australian Hotels Association would put the kybosh on the sensible alternative `taking the pledge’, because of its long-standing meaning of swearing off the booze and leaving kindly, charitable publicans, and their wives and young kiddies, standing out in the rain with begging bowls. – sob - choke - The Magpie pauses here to wipe away a tear.

All this is of course so much horse feathers - it occurs to The Magpie that in order to be left in peace to do their dough, pubters simply have to `pre-commit’ to spending, or state they are willing to lose, $100,000. That should keep the nappy-changers at bay until there is a dramatic change to the Old Age Pension.

Idle thought - I wonder if Bill Shorten had a pre-commitment in mind when he knocked up the Governor-General’s daughter, left his missus and re-married in a gallop, with the mother-of-the-bride’s outfit nicely accessorised with a 12-gauge under-and-over pump action persuader. Musta bin lerve, if you’re willing to have Quennie Bryce as your mum-in-law. This Nancy Reagan clone is known among Canberra bureaucrat’s as The Dragon of Yarralumla.

On other matters closer to home, The Magpie noted the continued bloody-mindedness of the Blight regime on the infestation of the fruit bats in Charters Towers.

Despite the fact that more than 2000 residents dipped their thumbnails in tar and a signed a petition, the Brisbane shinyarses  - Climate Change Minister Kate Jones to be precise - refused a request to let a helicopter `muster’ the bats to a reserve outside town especially set aside for the flying rats… err, sorry, bats.

Oh, no siree Bob, the critters have to decide themselves to head out there, with no human intervention. And the Brisbane dingbats who authored this little gem neglected to say how this self-motivation was to be conveyed to the pooping little critters. This is fruitloop stuff of the first order and The Magpie hears that this daft directive has caused some perplexity in the flying fox fraternity itself.

Basil and Betty Fruitbat were in a shopping mood. Top of their list was a new split-level tree with three private sleeping branches, each screened off by rainforest overhang. They had this in mind because as a shy Betty giggled from behind a raised wing `well, we …giggle … want to start a bit of a family … giggle … although I must admit it’s been a bit hard to get any privacy here in Lissner Park, what with all those folks wandering around, admiring us and taking piccies ’.
``Well, Bets, old girl,’’ said Basil,`` I see they’ve opened up a special new fruit bat subdivision just outside town. Wanna have a look? Mind you, the premier says it’d be up to us to make the move, no help in re-location. It’s all bloody right for her, her bats have plenty of privacy in her private belfry. Just another example of this George Street mob not caring for the average battling bat in the street.’’
``Aww, maybe, Bazza. But it’s a big move, and y’know, I’ve got used to the inner-city lifestyle here at Chez Lissner. All those light shows that the locals keep putting on for us are really quite entertaining, and some of the sound shows are good, too. Reckon we’d miss them.’’
``Hmm, yes, there’s that, and out there, we wouldn’t have the fun of trying to escort that helicopter that keeps trying to land at the hospital. Just trying to do our bit for the community, dunno why that the pilot waved his fist at you’’
``And what was that funny stain on the front of his pants when he finally landed and got out, yelling at us? ’’
``Yeah, reckon you’re right, it’s more fun here, reckon we might stay put. And bugger the privacy, Bets, get over here, girl, and let’s give those nosey parkers with the video cameras a real show. I’m in a mood to try for a UTube post on how to make baby bats, c’mon darls.’’
``Oooh, Basil, you bin on the mango juice again … stop it …giggle  .. it’s broad daylight  … ohh, Bazza …. Remember the last time we did this, all those people underneath the tree certainly seemed to be getting a bit excited themselves. Some of ‘em went into an almost a religous fevour, pointing to the heavens and yelling ` Jesus Christ, look at those f….g bats’ .'’

We will now fade out that scene of perfect connubial bat bliss, and trust the image doesn’t linger too long.

A digression: the answer to the Lissner Park bats, apart from Premier Blight being willing to show some decency to the people of the Towers and to show the metropolitan Greeny dingbats the door, was clearly demonstrated earlier this year.

When it was announced that the annual country music hootenanny would headline Chad `The Sheik from Scrubby Creek’ Morgan, the bats, as one, hastily took off south, returning when the annual festival ended. For those not in the country know, Mr Morgan is that booze-bloomed goof who has done for dentistry (and music) what Ivan Milat did for Aussie tourism. Fair dinkum, Chad could eat spaghetti through a screen door, and his singing sounds as though that’s just what he’s doing.

So perhaps the local council could do a deal with The Sheik to move to Charlies Trousers to live, and do a Lissner Park concert, say once a week. They could make extra sure that it worked by asking Bob Katter to MC proceedings, and give a little political chat as well.

Admittedly, there would be a sharp drop in house prices within hearing distance, but that would be the price to pay to get the bats to bugger off. As Anna Blight keeps telling the locals, someone got to take the pain … just so long as it’s not her.

Well, here’s a newsflash, Anna Bannana – it won’t just be the voters of Charters Towers who will be waiting with baseball bats at the polling booths for the next state election.

Enough drivel for this opening stanza, it is away now to Poseurs Bar, where the old bird is due to meet a female friend, with whom he hopes to steer the conversation towards a pre-commitment concerning pokies. Or 'pokey-pokey?' as she so endearingly enquires.


  1. Good to have you back Magpie! We've been going through withdrawal symptons - the Bullys just not the same! Sue Harrison

  2. Great to see you in fine form. Keep up the squawking!!

  3. welcome magpie - your third reader here. so good to know that we will be able to keep up with your latest squakings regularly. all the best.