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Malcolm 0-6-0

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Everything posted by Malcolm 0-6-0

  1. In legal terms could that be a case of "badgering the witness". Regardless of the nature of badgers in the follicle department we do have our own Hairy Nosed Wombat. Which are kind of cute.
  2. This talk of Whigs and Tories reminds why I like the novels of Anthony Trollope - his land owning traditional Whigs are so sympathetically drawn. I suppose that means at heart I'm a Whig. Which when you think about it is odd for an Australian, but totally appropriate because (pardon the pun) I'm as bald as a badger*. *I do know the etymology of Whig, just in case someone wants to correct me.
  3. Down here in the large antipodean counterweight to the northern hemisphere our politics is rapidly evolving a new two party system. On one side we have people in the "Queuing up to get the COVID Jab Party", while on the other we have the "Strident anti-vaxxer it's all a NWO plot to take away our basic freedom to have our breathing fatally compromised Party". The amount of misinformation about miracle deworming paste cures being spouted by the latter is in direct proportion to the amount of personal research each spouter has published, i.e. "I googled this obscure doctor in Botswana who says "blah blah blah" so the injections are all a blatant attempt to "blah blah blah" by Big Government, Big Pharma and Satan to sabotage our precious bodily fluids etc. etc." So far we are still in lockdown because of a surge in Delta cases in our northern suburbs because the people in these suburbs are refusing to get vaccinated. The rest of us who don't actually buy the stuff about our essential bodily fluids being irreparably damaged seem not to be getting it. So what does this tell us. Well if you believe the antivaxxers it's because we're nothing but mindless sheep. It's enough to drive one to drink, but it's a little early. So instead I'll just say "BAA BAA"
  4. Yes but that was when "Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves ..... " And if you didn't like it they'd send a gumboot to sort you out. Now things have changed a little ......
  5. Mrs Farmer: "But Bert I've just vacuumed the shed and dusted the shelves" Mr Farmer: "But dear it's the tractor shed!!!" Mrs Farmer: "Yes dear but it was so dirty, and why did you have to get the tractor so muddy and dirty after you promised to take more care?" Mr Farmer: "Ummmm.....Dear that's what 'appens to tractors, they get dirty" Mrs Farmer: "If you say so Bert, but the WI was talking about it ..... and they're such gossips"
  6. Now that's an interesting wagon. Of the door less type I see. Were they for transporting the vacuums used in vacuum braking systems?
  7. First Sheep: "Baaaah!!!" Second Sheep: "Baaahh!!!" Third Sheep: "What are you two old miseries complaining about now?"
  8. BBC Farm Report Here is an item just in from our reporter in Little Muddle. "A local farmer has installed Klieg lights over his small piggery. When asked the farmer said that he is experimenting to find out if sleepless pigs eat more and grow fatter quicker. His wife said in a separate interview that if he doesn't stop his insane mad scientist lark she will feed him to the pigs. We will keep listeners apprised of further developments"
  9. I can't find the video, but there was one posted on YouTube of a chap who was at the range target shooting. A round misfired and instead of pointing the rifle in a safe direction for a minute and then opening the bolt and ejecting the round he did something else. He muttered a few brief expletives slammed the butt on the ground and looked down the barrel. There was a bang and the chap fell over backwards swearing, moaning, screaming and holding his face. Once his friends had pried loose his hands they discovered he'd been extremely lucky. The only damage was in the bill of his cap where the bullet and gone through which, in the process, just missed his nose. Physical damage was limited to some face blackening and light burns from powder residue and presumably an urgent need for an underwear change. Darwin developed the scientific understanding of why such people rarely go on to reproduce. The anti-vaxxers put me in mind of such people.
  10. On my Twitter feed I received a Tweet regarding an incident where the leader of the Proud Boys in Portland, Oregon apparently shot himself in the foot while walking somewhere. His name is (I kid you not) "Tiny" Toese. He is Samoan and is fairly large. Tiny apparently is his nickname, although it may well be a description by now as well. In the depths of lockdown we need all the humour we can get.
  11. Foreman: "Oi Alf, what yer readin'? Alf: "That bloke 'uxley's latest book" Foreman: "What's it called then?" Alf: "The Doors of Perception". Foreman: "That the one where he talks about smokin' strange things?" Alf: "Yeah, I've just found out why this bleedin' door is unhinged"
  12. And just to think in 60 years time one of those will fit in your hand ....... Geez building and running a model railway back then was a mammoth undertaking.
  13. Indeed, but long recognised. It's called cognitive dissonance. We are capable of holding two mutually exclusive views at the same time and we seem to do it with apparent ease. It's probably what stops us from succumbing to the age old phenomenon of "paralysis though analysis" i.e. overthinking outcomes at the real risk of preventing any possible necessary remedial action from being carried out. We like to pretend that we act for the best carefully weighing options - what we actually do is follow the natural imperative which is act to preserve ourselves first. The video of a future world with pre-programmed drones carrying out search and destroy missions is little different to the world we have now where for reasons either political or religious people kill without compunction. Essentially there is no difference between a Nazi concentration camp official sorting newly arrived inmates into those of work value and those for immediate death because of age or infirmity, and a modern jihadist suicide bomber walking into a crowd and detonating an explosive vest. The one small thing in the favour of the AI drone is that it can be more precisely targeted. But then all three, the concentration camp official, the jihadist and the drone are through either training, indoctrination or programming responding to outside decisions based on the ethical ideas of their employers. Their employers are us humans and that's where cognitive dissonance comes in. How we handle that is down to how much we are prepared to honestly assess what it is to be human, and I'm not terribly convinced that we can overcome the strength of our innate genetic imperative to achieve that wisdom.
  14. One of things which is often raised by critics of China is this bogus claim of their dominance of lithium deposits. Well just a heads up - Australia has a lot of the stuff as well. It's just that it has taken second place to our iron ore deposits. As for the manner of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, it was something that everyone wanted. It's a done deal. I am reminded of the British withdrawal from India - in the end it was exactly the same in what happened, however the human casualties were higher, much higher. The accounts of that period are harrowing. The end of military campaigns and colonial occupations are always such - I suggest people read up on the the number of casualties incurred as Europe sorted itself out after May 8, 1945. There wasn't a sudden outbreak of peace and magical days with no violence - it was the opposite, the killing and dying went on for several years, the difference was that there was no declared war. So to moralise is easy, but we must recognise the brutal truth that moralising like thoughts and prayers offer no solutions - they just relief our personal feelings.
  15. I read an item in the latest Washington Post which reports that the new Afghan gov't has formally asked the US to retain it's diplomatic presence in Kabul. I also note that the US has announced that they took out a IS-K commander with a drone strike. That seems to back up President Biden's remarks at the press conference.
  16. Instead of the past in Afghanistan sometimes we need to look to the future. The interesting thing from both the Taliban's and our point of view is that the airport bombing revealed that the group that carried it out IS-K IIRC is by all accounts opposed both to the Taliban and to westerners. That does not bode well for the Taliban Government. We tend to ignore that the vast majority of terror attacks launched by terrorists in the Islamic world are by extremists against moderates, and also by Sunnis against Shiites. Pakistan has incurred an enormous death toll amongst its citizens because of this, as did Iraq, during the rise of ISIS. Al Qaeda was a Sunni fundamentalist groups with roots in Egyptian Sunni extremism (IM) and also Saudi Sunni extremism (Wahhabists). Al Qaeda is by no means extinct and they will cleave to IS-K given their similar ideological basis. Whatever our feelings about the Kabul airport bombing we have had no choice but to leave - no one wants this idiotic war to continue any longer than it has. However, if the bombing is an indicator the Taliban are going to be facing an increasing internal insurgency from both the IS-K on the one hand and also some remnant non-Taliban forces in the northern provincial areas. It may well be that the Taliban will be forced to reach out diplomatically for western aid, so I'd suggest that despite the ease by which they walked into Kabul and the other provincial cities their current future does not look optimistic.
  17. The strange thing, or not so strange, is that every social indicator from poverty to lack of education puts Alabama at the top of the list in the US as a leader in everything that is considered detrimental to civilized society. Or to put it another way - if it isn't in the Book of Genesis then Alabamans don't believe it's true. You can't beat endemic stupidity of that kind.
  18. The problem with it is that you have to take so much that it would probably kill you, and if by chance you survive you have an irresistible urge to eat only hay and oats for the rest of your life .....
  19. Charlie's death keeps reminding me of how old I'm getting. Sad to see him gone.
  20. I don't know if I've told this story before. A little background first. Melbourne is situated on the far south eastern corner of Australia. As a result while it doesn't snow we get really penetrating cold winds coming up from the Southern Ocean and Antarctica in winter. These are accompanied by very cold rain. Anyway this would have been back in the early 90s IIRC. One of the English soccer teams came to Melbourne to play an exhibition game and they brought a lot of their mad supporters with them. It was late July which is a really cold part of the winter and it was blowing a freezing gale, it was raining and the wind chill couldn't have been much over 2 degrees C. These supporters who had clearly had confused Melbourne with our warmer north like Cairns in tropical Queensland were all over the city dressed for warm tropical weather - T shirts, shorts, sandals etc. while we native Melbournians had heavy winter gear on. If these mad soccer supporters hadn't looked so silly I think we would have felt sympathy. They were clustered together in groups - the reason I guessed was the same reason that penguins cluster together on the ice trying to keep warm.
  21. Well down here in overcast Melbourne it's bloody cold and trying to rain and we're still locked down. And the daily COVID press conference from the State Government just had to relocate from the Parliamentary gardens inside to a dry spot. There that's your daily dose of misery -
  22. As Kabul is generally recognised by the Afghans of whatever tribal affiliation as the capitol then establish an embassy and just deal with whoever is in charge. That's the general way most things in the diplomatic arena work. The Mujahedeen regime that the Taliban defeated was quite corrupt at all levels, but in most parts of the world corruption is just part of the game. The secret is to allow just enough to dribble down to the people so they don't get too jealous. Overall though we tend to forget that the Taliban were welcomed by many Afghans when they took power back in the 1990s. Islamic values are very strong in these tribal societies and I think that we in the West tend to model our perceptions on the behaviour of governments in Turkey, Indonesia or Egypt for instance which are very secular and ignore the fact that many Islamic countries are far less secular. We have managed to deal without recourse to invasion with Saudi Arabia which makes the Taliban look almost dissolute by comparison. The difference being the Saudis have oil so we're happy to forgive their little judicial quirks and treatment of women. The Afghans however, as we are becoming increasingly aware, are sitting on a lot of very valuable minerals, which is why China is interested, apart from deterring the Afghans from stirring up their Uighur problem. Only the monumental disarray of Afghan governments for the last 60 odd years has prevented the western mining companies trying to work there. So instead of behaving like headless chooks over this less than unexpected turn of events I'd suggest, if I had the say so, that we forget our wounded pride and think like the avaricious western capitalists we are - that's what we have always done. Re-establish diplomatic relations and do a bit of diplomatic grovelling - after all we all know that it's just for show and we might start making a return on the effort.
  23. I anticipate what will happen is the same as happened before. For the moment the Taliban will be in charge, but as time passes the non-Pashtun tribal areas will begin to assert themselves and we will see a fall back to the old tribalism that existed during the Mujahedeen period and continued into the previous Taliban period. Then we'll be back to square one as usual in Afghanistan. Next time we might like to try simple diplomacy and not an invasion.
  24. Something really funny happened on Twitter tonight. Some American anti-mask anti-vax employee of a American Republican congressman created the hash tag #AustraliaHasFallen to use the current lockdowns here to show what happens when people surrender their freedoms in the name of staying healthy. There's some planned demos apparently tomorrow in Sydney and Melbourne by the anti-mask dimwits. However, instead of stirring up the crazies, what happened was there was massive response from people posting the hashtag followed by a pic of their cat, dog or whatever animal looking cute. The end result derailed the attempt because there's now dozens of tweets along the line of #AustraliaHasFallen for my cat fluffy etc. etc. This has made whoever the stirrer was very upset and I think they've taken their nasty little plot to cause trouble and gone away.
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