This morning, at approx 9:15am, the floor in my study went wild, as did the possums who live in my roof. I galloped outside to meet OH, who had exited his workshop, and agreed, yes, it’s an earthquake.
It was somewhat concerning across lots of SE Australia, even as far north as Newcastle, the last recipient of a much nastier episode.
More importantly, in my opinion, is that it’s about time Australians grow up and understand that we aren’t immune from catastrophe.
Catastrophes take all sorts of shapes. Weather? Yep! Seismic events? Yep! Meteor impact? Yep! Climate change and the world heating beyond where we can live it it? Yep!
One of these catastrophes is avoidable: get rid of all the politicians and plutocrats who don’t give a flying fiddle about climate change.
Thank you to Pubster CKWatt who put this excellent comedy sketch from England in the comments.
Pubsters, please indulge me.
British comedian Tom Walker created the satirical character, Jonathon Pie. Jonathon Pie is a television news presenter who broadcasts live from outside locations. The sketches show Mr Pie between takes, saying what he really thinks about his subject.
I really like Mr Walker’s work, as the frustrated and angry Jonathon Pie. I particularly like his political satire. Jonathon Pie says it in a way I can never equal.
The Jonathon Pie advertised tour of Australian theatres has some changes, due to this Plague.
I would love to see his live show.
This comedy sketch is about Mr Pie’s’ opinion of the priorities of the UK government, led by The Esteemed PM Boris Johnson, in the area of Social Care.
In this sketch Mr Pie swears. A lot. A very lot. It’s kind of swearing I am sure most of us felt like shouting at the TV screen at times when listening to politicians and various commentators.
Let Jonathon Pie do it for you. Just keep the kiddies out of the room.
Now, this is a satire about British politics. There is no resemblance to any Australian politician, or persons or groups or any other entity. Any appearances of such are purely coincidental, misinterpretation or karma, and does not reflect, imply or otherwise anything about anyone by anyone for anyone, against anyone, to anyone or anyone’s anyone or their pet, or garden gnome.
You are free to draw your own conclusions, of course.
This is a bit of laughter to ease the minds of locked-down Aussies.
No animals, plants, or microphones were hurt in this production . . . as far as we can tell.
In what ways our once-strong culture of political satire will be impacted by recent developments here in Australia remains to be seen.
Can you name others? Elephant Stamps are up for grabs!
So enjoy what can still be produced and broadcast on social media, in the Now Brexited Olde Blighty.
‘The News Is Mad’ (T. Walker, 2020.)
Tom Walker is very interesting in this CNN interview from June 2020 which is posted on YouTube. Tom discusses the creation of Jonathon Pie, and the differences between the himself and his creation, along with his observations of our current poltical and social ⁷scene.
The interviewer, Bianca Noble, is excellent.
Tom Walker has a sharp political sense, and using humour, exposes the contradictions, the hypocrisy, and the mendacious stupidity of our modern democratic leaders.
Jonathan Pie has us laughing through the dawning realisation that our only other choices are to howl at the darkness, or cry. Or both.
Australia on Fire.
Our Prime Minister Scott Morrison does not escape his dose of Mr Pie’s satirical medicine.
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The inimitable John Birmingham gave free permission to share this:
The graveyard of empires is not all razor-backed mountains and howling wasteland. There are hidden gardens and lush valleys between the arid Afghan heights, paddy fields and fertile tillage overlooked by ancient castles. Australian soldiers who fought in Khas Uruzgan recall the eerie dissonance of moving through tropical landscapes that needed just a scattering of peasants in black pyjamas and conical straw hats to complete a weird and contrary connection to another war lost and another time passed.
The Australians were there in September 2008, in the valley of Ana Kalay, and on the second day of that month, the first day of Ramadan, they fought a long battle with a much larger larger force of Taliban fighters. They’d been looking for the fight. Both sides were always looking for the fight.
The day started early, at 4AM, when five Humvees carrying US and Australian special operators and half a dozen Afghan soldiers drove out of an isolated, forward operating base called Anaconda. They headed east into the Ana Kalay, a narrow, green strip of arable soil in the lowland between the gnarlier, desolate heights of the surrounding hill country. A dozen or so Australians dismounted inside the valley, quietly filtering up into the southern foothills to lay their ambush.
Another two SAS patrol groups had ghosted their way into the northern hills hours before. They waited on the vehicle convoy and on the insurgents who would be drawn to it. The Americans and their local allies moved around quite openly, offering themselves as bait, and soon enough somebody took it. The SAS patrols to the north engaged a number of Taliban fighters, killing them. The southern patrols spotted more on the move, but the patrol commander Sergeant Troy Simmonds declined to open fire. There were too many children nearby. When it became obvious there was no more fighting to be done, they withdrew. The two SAS patrols to the north left on foot through the mountains, a long haul back to Anaconda. Their comrades to the south rejoined the American convoy.
That’s when everything turned to shit.
There is a whole book to be written about the Battle of Khas Uruzgan, but in essence the details were simple. A small allied force, deep in hostile territory fought for three and a half hours to move three and half kilometres through a narrow, contested battlespace. The enemy, somewhere between a hundred and two hundred Pashtun tribesmen loyal to the Taliban, controlled the high ground and moved with ease along the streams and river channels. Heavily armed with mortars, RPGs and automatic weapons they prosecuted a rolling ambush which killed one American and wounded nine Australians and one Afghan soldier.
They all fought bravely. All of them. The tribesmen had the advantage of numbers and terrain, but to press that advantage meant standing into a firestorm, including aerial support from US F-18s.
One of the Australians, Trooper Mark Donaldson, was awarded a Victoria Cross for his individual bravery when he raced into the open under murderous fire, to rescue an Afghan interpreter who had been blown out the back of a Humvee by a rocket-propelled grenade. The Afghan was lying face down in a spreading pool of blood and was in danger of being left behind.
Donaldson sprinted eighty metres to grab him and drag him back to the relative safety of the slow-rolling convoy.
He later told the Australian War Memorial.
“I’m getting chased by bullets, and I got to him, and there were bullets kicking around us … I started to drag him at first – and I’m not a massive guy – so it wasn’t really working out. I got him to his feet, with my arms sort of underneath him, half carrying, half dragging, and I just thought: what now? Do I leave him here? Do I use him as a shield? Do I just save my own skin? Or do I get him to that car that’s driving away from us? And that’s the only thing I could really focus on – that vehicle.
“His face was really bloodied and messed up and he was trying to talk to me. He was trying to tell me his eyes were hurting – ‘I know your eyes are hurting, mate, you’ve been wounded, it’s all right, let me get you to the vehicle’ – but I finally got him there, managed to wrap a bandage around him, and mucked around trying to get him into the car.
“I was really, really dry, and my lungs were burning, massively. And I distinctly remember this because it took me about five or six goes of just swapping from side to side to side of the vehicle. I was that tired – and I don’t tell anyone this – but I was that tired, I was leaning against the vehicle as it was moving, and just moving my legs, and my 2IC came around and said, ‘Man, just keep running.’ He was worried I was going to fall over and get caught up underneath the car.”
They finally broke out of the valley and returned to Anaconda. Three choppers full of wounded lifted off hours later. Donaldson helped the interpreter onto one of the helicopters. He never saw the man again but he told the War Memorial interviewer, “We don’t leave anyone behind. It doesn’t matter that we only knew him for five days…He was an Afghan guy that was one of us. He was with us, and he was out there fighting with us, and I respect that.”