Saturday, December 15, 2012

The silly season it is, with a first-round winner in the Grapple of the Grubs between Ashby and Slipper - two cabbies, one real the other possibly not - strike it lucky - and The Magpie in love.

Yes, the old bird has fallen under the spell of a raven-haired beauty ... the old bird doesn't often talk about himself, he likes to keep the blog interesting, but since both you readers are like family by now, he will share a pic of her with you in this week's post.

Bentley has his pithy say about the somewhat overlooked aspect of Peter Slipper's alleged shady lifestyle, Typo Gleeson gives us another clear measure of the man with an astounding internal episode down on the Coast -  and will we make it to next Saturday, or will the world come to its predicted end on Friday? You'll be surprised at just who is saying it's all a load of mischievous bollocks, and how they've put their money where their Mayans are.

But if the world is to end next Friday, there is a brief 'must watch' David Attenborough clip, with astounding images that will make it damn bloody shame if we all go down the galactic gurgler - it's a real eyepopper.  All this and other imaginings from the fevered Magpie brow here in this week's nest at     
Ahem, The 'Pie lowers his eyes modestly to examine a carefully manicured claw as he softly points out that on April 26 this year, he wrote:

"The Magpie’s sticky-beaking has alerted him to a distinct piscine odour about little Jimmy’s claims of clammy hands and texted sweet nothings from his boss, who himself is a grasping King of the Claim Form. 

(For Slipper’s millionaire lifestyle on the rorting front – for that is all it can be from the ordinary taxpayer’s point of view – read this excellent but appalling background report from The Power Index. Those with high blood pressure or a tendency towards depression are strongly advised not to read it).

But returning to Mr Ashby, the unasked questions are: why would a man in Slipper’s position hire a political novice with a somewhat erratic background as an adviser? And did Ashby sense or in fact clearly know of Slipper’s apparent inclination to kick with both feet, and see this as the main chance ? Did he carefully plan to turn on his friend and mentor with evidence he quietly went about gathering until he had enough to try for a payday at the taxpayer’s expense? Did he have access to Slipper’s mobile when his (tor)mentor was poncing around in frilly-necked gowns in the Speakers Chair?

And why did Ashby adamantly refuse to get the police involved in the alleged sexual harassment side of things?

Keeping in mind that Ashby was a member of the LNP, (he resigned when Slipper also bailed out) here is the biggest question of all.

Could it have been foreseen that if Slipper falls and is forced to leave parliament in disgrace over his expenses rorts, this could possibly lead to a successful vote of no confidence in the government? And that, by logical extension, would mean an election, and the almost certain installation of Prime Minister Tony Abbott in The Lodge? (Shudder)

None of this speculation is likely to affect Mr Ashby’s private venture for a little personal taxpayer loot under Workplace Health (and so on, blah blah) provisions. But he is hardly some dewy-eyed ingenue with downy-haired cheeks, a bashful smile with lowered eyes,  and an innocent blushing way about him/her. Anything but, The ‘Pie opines."  
From the Townsville Magpie, April 26, 2012.

Seems the old bird was bang on.

There are two clear winners in the Grapple of the Grubs aka James Ashby's failed sexual harrassment case against Slippery Pete Slipper, the King of the Cabcharge.

There's possibly a third winner if this unconfirmed story is true - the Sunshine Coast cabbie Slippery Pete called after hearing the case against him had been thrown out. He told the driver to take him to a celebratory lunch at his favourite restaurant - in Melbourne.

Bentley is singuarly unimpressed.

But in the immediate matter, Slipper is one winner of sorts, but the biggest winner is yet again the legal industry.  And under the circumstances, nothing wrong with that, if you ignore their legalised 'over a barrel' thievery in swingeing fees. For once in his unsavoury life, 'over a barrel' is a position the noisome Ashby won't enjoy.

But the interesting thing is that Ashby will have to pay not just his own team but any costs incurred by the mainly self-represented Slipper (a former barrister). Ashby could be in real financial trouble in this last aspect, if Slippery Pete claims all his cab fares to and from court over the months.

So the biggest loser will probably be the Australian taxpapyer because of Attorney General Nicola Roxon's disgraceful bribe of $50,000 to get Ashby to drop claims of government workplace naughtiness in not looking after little ickims from the big nasty Slippery Pete. You'll remember this little farce was topped with this verbal Roxon cherry, vis: 'We would have won in court, but this was cheaper.' This from the first legal officer of the land. Cheap is the word.

In a sad mini Year In Revue, this nonsense ranks with Craig Emerson's cringe-worthy singing performance in support of the carbon tax, (creepy, raising serious questions about mental stability) and Bill Shorten's hilarious ode of love to his leader when he said of a policy statement by Joolya when she was overseas 'I don't know what she said, but I agree with it'. He said it several times, and had plenty of time to backtrack, but he just didn't seem to realise what a goose he was making of himself.

Speaking of cabbies who have lucked out, recall this Townsville yarn that went global.

It was about the Townsville cabbie who took a bloke from Townsville to Tennant Creek - a 1500km, $4900 fare, but the yuk-yuk-goodness-fancy-that aspect of the story seems to mask some unasked questions, which The 'Pie will now ask.

1. When you have a passenger decked out in  just in 'silken boxer shorts and thongs' emerging from a pub carrying a slab of beer and a small bag, and who asks to be taken to Tennant Creek, is there not the slightest tinkle of an alarm bell that all is not right with this bloke?
2. Why wasn't a call made to the police to check out the bloke when he produced the fare in cash from a bag he was carrying?  No questions occurred to you, mate, about who the bloke was and where did he get that sort of money, or was the lure of the lolly too much for you?  
3. And having been offered all that lovely lolly, you, the driver then learns that the bloke is probably brain damaged and/or mentally retarded (possibly from a motorcycle accident) So isn't there a question for you about taking advantage of a mentally impaired person by not discussing alternatives or seeking professional help? Was it just take the money and run, making an extremely dangerous 17 hour drive which would've towards the end endangered the lives of everyone sharing the road with them?
4. Just how bright are you driving off into outback with a bloke you believe is loopy and could well have been dangerous and possibly armed? You could well be out there with only Peter Falconio for company - bet that would've pleased your family.  

Interestingly, the driver, who actually sounds a decent bloke if not too much of a deep thinker, told the ABC and just about every other newspaper, radio and television station in Australia that he believed the passenger possibly suffered from 'a long term mental illness', The Townsville Bulletin subbed this out of Daniel Bateman's story, but was printed everywhere else. In this instance, The Daily Astonisher was no doubt wanting a yuk-yuk-yuk story rather than a tut-tut-tut story, so didn't want the above questions being raised. Even the usual suspects among the letter writers were more on about the road safety aspect of such a long drive. 

Irresponsible all round.

But down on the Gold Coast, 'callous' was more the word of the day, when Peter Typo Gleeson found a new way to be nominated for the prestigous and hotly contested News Ltd Bastard of the Year Award (a crowded field for a much-sought after award - it's considered a compliment). So often in business these days, it is not WHAT you do, but HOW you do it - there have been literally hundreds of books written on this very subject, but it appears a single one is yet pass the eyes of the ertwhile Daily Astonisher editor.

The excellent information website, received this from a 'mole' present at an incredible Gold Coast meeting where a whole bunch of people got the heave-ho - but only as an afterthought. The last line is a corker.

The person told Crikey:

"NewsCentral Gold Coast sub hub staff were asked to join a meeting of Gold Coast Bulletin staff on Thursday. GCB editor Peter Gleeson and NewsCentral production editor Damien Tomlinson explained that GCB subbing was being outsourced to Pagemasters. It was mentioned -- AS AN ASIDE -- that NewsCentral Gold Coast was no more, and NewsCentral staff sat stunned that news of their job losses was considered secondary to a mere change in subbing arrangements for GCB. A meeting followed for NewsCentralstaff. It was a display of unprofessional and insensitive behaviour by management. A "People and Culture adviser" was present. On top of this, NewsCentral Gold Coast staff had been assured repeatedly by managing editor Gareth Hose that their sub hub was safe. GCB staff visited NewsCentral staff afterwards to say how disgusted they were with how the news was handled."
"As an old journo of around 70 years, I've never forgotten the whispered comment of a gnarled old cable sub on a New Zealand newspaper, who muttered to me during the editor's fulsome Christmas speech to the editorial staff: 'You know the three most useless things in the world? A man's nipples, the Pope's balls, and a vote of thanks to the staff.''

That appears to mean that the few people sacked from the Bulletin who managed to get a job when they reluctantly decided to head south for employment, are now out of a job - again. And that can mean only one of two things - News Ltd's planning is haywire, disjointed and is 'policy made on the run' (that makes them dills) or they knew this was coming up, but didn't care what effect it had on people (and that makes them nothing short of vicious bastards). Where's Dexter when you need him?

The mention of the risible position of 'People and Culture advisor' - read Human Resource hack and hachet specialists prissied up with a huggable title - put The 'Pie in mind of certain events over the years at The Astonisher, where management was able to use hoked-up sexual harrassment charges as a tool of punishment when all other means had failed to cow staff.

It seems it is a universal problem not confined to The Astonisher: occasional contributor Johan Flockwallpaper has this on the subject.

Other matters. 

The Optimism Award for the 2012 has to go to the folks who are flogging a very special calendar - The Mayan Calendar - wait for it - for 2013!! This is the  handsome, unambiguous this cover, all yours if you cough up $15.99, ta muchly.

Reader Martin Kellaway, who alerted The 'Pie to this, says it confused him, but then, he does read this stuff every week, so .....

But this website where all this is detailed appears to have two bob each way by having its own risk-free stab at predicting the future. This offer has been around for a while but it clearly states 'December 21, 2012, has officially passed and with it another apocalyptic myth has been dispelled.' Obviously, this is a risk-free statement because if they're wrong and we're all toast next Friday, no one will be around to go nah-nah-na-nah-nah. 

Despite The 'Pie's fearless (see foregoing) prediction that all the misguided ballyhoo about the world ending on December 21st is all horsefeathers, those who know all things Mayan insist that no such prediction was ever made - indeed, what was predicted was a calendar marketer's dream ie the prediction was that one calendar would end and a new one would start. The new calendar cycle will end in 394 years, when the whole bulldust industry will no doubt crank up again.

But those who love the mischief of doomsaying are already backtracking, claming those muddled old Mayans' didn't take into account leap years, and now we can all prepare to kiss our arses goodbye - on October 2nd next year! Well, there could be something in that, it is around federal election time. 

But just to be on the safe side, The 'Pie was going to save this next link - a magic bit of television - for next week, but you never know, we may not make it. If it all goes kaplooey, this stunning BBC promo shows just what we will be losing, including the redoubtable David Attenborough. Don't miss this one.

Enough now, it is away to Poseurs' Bar, where The Magpie will try some cross-species canoodling - he recently met and was quite taken with the demur lass below, despite her lower eyelash problems. He will subtley broach the possibility of her having a long but inexpensive ride with the old bird. You'll quickly see why - here's the pic The 'Pie has on his bedside table in the nest - he has trouble going to sleep as he gazes at it.

Betty - bird's bird.



1. Click into the comment box at the bottom of the blog (and below existing comments if any) and write your comment.

2. Click on the menu button next to The Daily Astonisher field below the comment box.

3. Scroll down that menu until you reach 'name' and 'URL'.

4. In the 'name' section type your name or whatever monicker you want to go by (IGNORE the URL box).

5. Click continue.

6. Click publish.

The 'Pie will then do the rest - checking for legals, taste, language, idiocy - and then publish your gem.



  1. Pie, Merry Christmas. Thanks for all your commentary on the wacky and weird.

  2. As for Typo's Oscar performance on the Today Show.

    Re: Ciggy sticker packaging. "Smoke Screen"

    Typo frequently smoked in the Carpark. I wonder if the snow fell on him?

  3. Slippery Slipper and Typo's errors. What a bum and sack them around Christmas.

  4. The mention of the risible position of 'People and Culture advisor' - read Human Resource hack and hachet specialists prissied up with a huggable title.

    Says it all. Atil played two sides. One when she wanted to be on that side and the other to get rid of them.

  5. In relation to the passenger taken to Tenant Creek, I won’t tell you his name (it’s not important) but I can confirm he is a vagrant who frequently commutes by foot from the Townsville Psych Ward to Bowen.  He has a diagnosed mental illness and definitely has a brain injury.  The money I think he has plenty of (maybe from the payout).  He is a harmless bloke most of the time and spends a fair bit of time in the cops blue and white taxi getting commuted to TTH.  But when he having an episode he can go off.  His standard attire is boxer shorts and thongs.  He lives most of the time under the bridge near the university and at trucks stops around the place.  He lives off food bins etc. 
    There is a story that is going around that he has donated a sum of money possibly $10000 to police legacy as he loves police.  They have kept it in a bank account just in case he needs it later in life.  This story has been going around for a while by among those that have dealt with him. 

    1. "in case he needs it later in life" ??

      He currently lives off food bins and squats under a bridge.

      When, exactly, will the Plods think that his circumstances are such that "he needs it"?

      Methinks that cabby is somewhat less of the genial lucky bugger that the Bull-Tin would have us believe and more of an callous opportunist who took advantage of a mentally ill chap. To top it off, he thought he was so clever that he bragged to the press.

      Give the money back, you thieving bastard. Legally, the fellow would not have had the capapcity to bargain with you - as you would well know. You would have thrown him out of your cab if he did not produce the readies to take him two blocks.

  6. Sorry to mention it 'Pie, but your current feathered squeeze bears un uncanny resemblance to Joolya in all but colour.

    Regard the beady eyes brimming with malevolence, the majestic pointy beak and the intense "you looking at me, you misogynist nut-job?" stare. I'd wager that there is also an over-developed parson's nose back there.

    1. Grumpy,

      You're so cool. Can't wait to read your comments next year.

      Pie, Merry Xmas.

  7. Pie, Merry Christmas. Great Year and wish you a Happy New Year.

  8. Is this the last missive from the Pie before Xmas? I shall check my email with bated breath in case you can crank another episode out before the 25th... If not, thanks for giving me a few good laughs over the last few months. As Xmas approaches I always say 'thank God I'm an atheist' so its just Happy Holidays from me and look forward to the Pie in 2013... (That's if the world does not end on Friday...) L.B.

  9. HR at Aston were horrible. Atil and Dobber are perfect examples.

  10. Did you hear Kathleen Skene has quit the Bully? Also, apparently Tempo threw a big tantrum in the newsroom on Friday when he found out he wasn't given the role of chief reporter. If he had any shame he would die of embarrassment.

    1. Well that is good news on all counts!

  11. Re: That appears to mean that the few people sacked from the Bulletin who managed to get a job when they reluctantly decided to head south for employment, are now out of a job - again. --- what job?