Gift Giving for the Bewildered

The Pub is proud to present another cautionary festive season tale by Currer Bell our strictly anonymous Guest Author. The final excerpt from Bah Humbug! A Survivor’s Guide to End of Year Festivities will be published next week …

(Photo: Courtney House)

Here are some helpful hints which I have called Gift Giving for the Bewildered. That applies to most of us, as inspiration is in short supply at this time of year.

Men generally want to please the women in their life, which makes them the perfect target for hard-selling sales people. Those who assure them’ she’ll love this,’ about everything imaginable, from a wok to a camper van and accessories. So, do the guys a favour. Leave out catalogues or magazines with items you would like circled in bold marker pen and tell them that you have done so. With a bit of luck, you might get something you want and can use. Then your cries of pleasure will be genuinely meant, while the man in your life will have bought something that you actually wanted.

(Photo: Organic Natural Gift Guide)

Please don’t give the men in your life the usual socks and jocks which they have come to expect. Think more imaginatively. Of course you should have been listening for clues all year for those items they moan they need and have not got, but it’s not too late. Think experience – a plane flight, a brewery tour, a home brewing class, a paint balling session. Think fun, whatever their kind of fun is – concert tickets, footy tickets, Harley ride, hot air ballooning. Even think practical if you must, and buy the screwdriver set they wanted, or the more expensive version of a faithful old saw, or drill. Mr Practical will be delighted.

(Photo: Wikipedia)

Finally, this may be the year to deal with Old Uncle Killjoy. You know whom I mean – the relative who always moans about the commercialisation of the festive season and vows he doesn’t want any presents. Alright then, this year OUK gets nothing – not even a carefully-wrapped toothpick. Almost certainly OUK will spend most of the day weeping quietly in some secluded spot, but he will learn his lesson and will never EVER misbehave again.

(Photo: Washington University Political Review)

With confidence and some forward planning, the festive season can be fun for everybody and that includes the harassed woman who is usually at the centre of it. Absorb your seasonal lessons, what went wrong this year, and what went right. Plan to have an even better time next year. Oh, and a quick reminder – and never decorate your Christmas tree twice.

(Photo: HunterxColleen)

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495 thoughts on “Gift Giving for the Bewildered

  1. The Rabbitohs get the Abbott Axe.

    SOUTH Sydney’s dream to relocate to new high performance centre in Maroubra has been shattered after the Federal Government withdrew support for a $16 million package that was promised to fund the project.

    In awful Christmas news for the Rabbitohs, Treasurer Joe Hockey this week announced the money would be no longer forthcoming to pay for a state-of-the-art complex containing a gymnasium, pool, high altitude chamber, theatrette and indoors sports arena.

    Souths officials were further infuriated to learn that a $10 million funding promise for Brookvale Oval – located in the heart of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Warringah electorate – has been retained.

    http://m.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/south-sydney-lose-dream-high-performance-centre-after-federal-government-pulls-pin/story-fni3fbgz-1226786912110

  2. A South coast council that had on their ground some retired cows rang me this morning: Cow’s 13 – a big Frisian girl – didn’t make it back from her swim this morning.

    Won’t mean much to any one here here but ‘Vale. Difficult Girl’. I’ve counted and watched them many times.

  3. Friesians must be the friendliest and most curious animals in the world. A few years ago my brother in law bought about 30 very young steer calves from a dairy to run on his farm. Whenever he or another person entered their paddock on any task there would be a long file of cattle following at their heels or looking over their shoulders as they went about their work. It looked quite humorous, until they grew up into big animals who were likely to be so friendly and unafraid that they would walk over you! Eventually it became a relief to see them go.

  4. Evening all.
    A prize for the first to post a video of Tone the Bot skiing.
    Can’t imagine him being that graceful.

  5. puffytmd,

    Funny how you brought up memories about the wonderful Vera. Last night I read this piece which contains quite a list of unsavoury characters from Adelaide some time ago.

    I was startled to see Judith Barnes son mentioned in it. When it caught my eye, I really sat up sharply, remembering the horrifying time she went through trying to get justice for Alan.

    I often think of Judith.

    Thirteen days after Stevenson’s murder, Alan Barnes, 17, disappeared. Barnes had also been introduced to Stevenson by Gambardella. But any murky connections that might have existed between the murders weren’t pursued by police because they already had Szach in the frame.

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/i-didnt-do-it-i-wasnt-there-20131216-2zfwf.html

  6. Improving. Obviously a long way to go, but she is getting there.
    Wife also had a wisdom tooth pulled this week. So it hasn’t been an easy time, but we have survived worse.
    Been cleaning today, while my father and stepmother looked after the kids. So glad the cleaning is finished.

  7. AJ,
    Good to hear – and cleaning has a cathartic edge to it (so I’m told).

    Best wishes to you and yours for the festive season.

  8. RE the Post Xmas Mash-up in Adelaide:
    I am using this online event organiser to help keep track of numbers. I will send you an email through this site and you can then register the number of ‘tickets’ (seats) you want.
    http://www.eventbrite.com.au/home/
    Please no surnames, just put your screen name in the First Name box and your first-name in the Surname box.
    http://www.eventbrite.com.au/home/
    Check your junk mail folder in case it is filtered out. Contact me via the moderator if you want to come and I don’t have your email addy yet.

  9. Here’s better news for you Fiona.

    I’m hopefully going to be a grandad again. Missy, our Rainbow Lorikeet has laid two eggs. Mrs Scorpio is over the moon as she had laid one egg in early spring but somehow it got broken.

    The male one is called Harry. I call him Dirty Harry as he is always trying to have a piggy-back with Missy.
    Anyone who told you that animals only mate to have babies is dead wrong. Harry is at it all the time but luckily for Missy, she seems to be able to switch her fertility on and off at will.

    Lucky for her or she would be laying eggs every day! 😉

  10. Puffy,
    If you have any problems email me and I will do my best to help you contact the missing ones.

    Have a lovely time.

  11. I sent a picture of the expectant couple to you. 😉

    Good night all. Got a long trip tomorrow to catch up with the SA Chapter.

  12. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    This has been a long time brewing.
    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/big-retailers-warned-in-nsw-truck-clampdown-20131221-2zrwu.html
    Shorten is on the money here. Abbott’s arrogance has shone through on this issue.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bill-shorten-puts-jobs-on-the-agenda-after-holden-announcement-20131221-2zrxu.html
    A thoroughly juvenile contribution from Annabel Crabb.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/its-a-madhouse-but-the-kids-are-doing-so-well-20131221-2zrq5.html
    These proposed changes go too far. There is need for some minor changes to Labor’s legislation but not to force people out of well performing industry funds into retail funds.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/coalitions-financial-planning-changes-have-been-put-on-hold-20131220-2zqvs.html

  13. Section 2 . . .

    They shouldn’t worry – Morriscum’s happy clapping church will speak some prayers for them in tongues.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/21/christmas-island-delays-in-medical-transfers-life-threatening-say-doctors
    Is government dysfunction the new norm? This is an interesting article from a Victorian academic.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/coalitions-financial-planning-changes-have-been-put-on-hold-20131220-2zqvs.html
    Cathy Wilcox explains Abbott’s AS policy.
    http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/federal-politics/cartoons/cathy-wilcox-20090909-fhd6.html

  14. This is from the Daily Smelly so it’s designed to whip up more hatred of people with disabilites. We have lovely lines like this –
    “The DSP payments offer significantly more cash than the $500-a-fortnight unemployment benefit, another incentive for people to convince doctors they are too sick to work.”
    See, all bludgers who don’t want to get a job. And just look at how much money ‘they get’!
    When you read the piece allow for the bias and the agenda.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/major-overhaul-for-our-disability-support-pension-scheme-to-crack-down-on-cheats/story-e6frg6n6-1226788092542

    What this piece does do is show how little this government and in particular that sanctimonious faux Christian Andrews knows about what disabilities are and how they affect your ability to work. It’s so easy for Andrews to make flippant remarks about psychological probems and muscular-skeketal issues as if they were the only reasons people are on DSP – easily faked things, stuff doctors can’t actually disprove.

    It also show that as far as welfare and particuarly disability is concerned Andrews and Abbott are racing back to the Howard era at top speed. We’ve heard all this before, when Howard had his then minister Amanda Vanstone say pretty much the same thing as Andrews is now implying – too many people on DSP are faking bad backs.

    Here’s a quote.

    AMANDA VANSTONE: Well, look, on all benefits there will always be some people who are improperly claiming.
    Disability support pension is one where a lot of people believe the bad backs aren’t as bad as they should be.
    Well, I simply say the existing population will be reviewed in the normal process over the next five years and if they’re assessed as being able to work 15 or more hours at award rates, then we’d like to say to them, “Look, you have to be treated like a more able-bodied person,” and keep the disability pension – which is generous with a lot of benefits and I’m pleased with that – keep them and the extra spending for people with high-support needs, not for the least disabled.
    BARRIE CASSIDY: So they are the biggest abusers are they, those who say they have a bad back when they have haven’t?
    AMANDA VANSTONE: Oh, look, I thing that some people think that’s the case.
    That’s not for me to decide, that’s for medical specialists to make that assessment, not for politicians.
    The simple way to describe it is – of the existing DSP population, the existing disability population, we think about 3 per cent a year, 3 per cent of the least disabled, could be out there looking for and getting work at award rates, just the 3 per cent least disabled.

    http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/content/2002/s582825.htm

    It is absolutely pointless and a complete waste of money and resources to review every single person under 40 on DSP every couple of years. Those with intellectual disabilities so severe they will never be able to work are not going to have improved. People missing limbs won’t have miraculously grown them back. Quadriplegics won’t have woken up one morning to find they could walk. Why make the majority of DSP recipients, those who need and deserve their payments, feel like criminals once again? That money could be spent in better ways, but it’s not the way Coaliton governments operate. For them it’s all about punishment and once again we are about to start punishing people for having a disability.

    Here’s a bit of nostaligic reading about the things Howard and Vanstone did to those on welfare, not only those on DSP. It looks like Andrews has dug up the old files already..
    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/08/16/1060936101890.html

  15. A. Crabb should stick to flighty! She has trashed her reputation trying serious sometimes (mixed with fluff) and then resorting to light weight. She hasn’t managed the mix well – just comes across as a flake and then wonders why she is not taken seriously.

  16. Thanks Ian for that ABC Kimberleys link, Ian, and the reminder that there are still fine people in that institution.

    And on the coming season, I must pass on my greetings. I will be ‘coming home’ to my siblings and daughters in a gathering at Portland-Heywood and Nelson. It will take me offline, hence my greetings now.

    Many thanks to the wonderful hosting of Fiona, Joe and Bushfire Bill. And of course the regular morning links from BK. My best to him in his now moderated duties in emergencies and thanks for what he has done for us. And to all our posters, my thanks and compliments.

    You have enriched my life, and kept the flame of hope alive.

  17. “Have a great time with the family dunny! All the best.”

    Marvellous what a difference a comma makes.

  18. Thanks for that link, Leone. Ah the good old DSP bash has surfaced already – perhaps understandable with the sanctimonious Andrews in the ministry. How he reminds me of Deacon Muskrat in the classical Pogo comic strip.

    There’s something sad about human nature that we can get so much commercial response from Downward Envy. Radio 2GB and its imitators thrive on it, as do the Murdoch newspapers and tabloid TV like A Current Affair Today Tonight. Perhaps there is something reassuring that some are doing it tougher and some anger that some are actually able to get some ‘undeserved’ help in their plight.

    The number of people on DSP is not so much loose checking or rorting, though if you look hard enough you might find some examples of both. It is labor market failure.

    Well, I suppose it is marginally less repulsive than the US response of increasingly longer jail sentences.

  19. Gorgeousdunny,
    Have yourself a wonderful break with your family. Thank YOU for your contributions to The Pub which have gone a long way to brighten the lives of us all. Just don’t forget to come back all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the New Year.

  20. Yet another scorcher for me and Paddy today – we nearly expired yesterday ! However, the forecast for Xmas Day looks good with a 90% chance of some precipitation.

  21. That is all my son on DSP with a mental health disability needs, to be vilified and made to feel worse by these evil cretins in government.
    Bastards!

  22. The endless search for the dole bludgers by Lib governments! I once owned a big villa in Pt Elliot with my then business partner—just about all the tenants were on the dole! One was proud (proud!) he hadn’t worked in 17 years, others were potters, some very good potters but they made sure not to sell too much or they would start losing benefits.

    They chose Pt Elliott deliberately—far enough from Adelaide there weren’t many local jobs, close enough to be in Adelaide in an hour via bus or car.

    I lost touch with the potters—my business partner’s personality drove them away—but am in occasional touch with the other guy. He was doing two 2 or 3 hour stints at the Goolwa library—I guess that was work for the dole?

    When my arthritis meant I could no longer work in my home brew shop—walking on concrete floors six days a week just got too much—and I could not access my super (under 65) I ended up on disability support pension and I was told I had to work 8 hours a week. Ended up working two hours a week at my local library, work I still do today when I live off my super, just to get out the house and use the grey cells.

    There was someone there who had to work rather a lot more hours—spent most of her time talking! Conscript mentality I guess. She doesn’t work there anymore.

    I just wonder how much is spent enforcing these rules—would it be easier just to let the bludgers bludge?

  23. What he went through to get DSP was dreadful, with all the documentation, medical reports and his obvious distress, he was refused by a box-ticker of a psych assessor in Centrelink. We went right through to the Administrative Appeal Tribunal. Luckily he had an advocate and help from the Welfare Rights organisation. There must be many people with mental health disabilities who just cannot cope with the system, give up and stay on the dole. This means they cannot afford treatment, are continually re-traumatised by the job search process and get nowhere.

    The outrageous idea that a letter from a GP will get you the DSP shows complete ignorance and stupidity.

  24. Abbott really is a love child of the rodent. A year or so in to Howard’s reign I read many people saying how “tough” Howard was. It really hit me as an odd thing to say. All I had seen was him taking on and bashing the powerless, single mothers, the unemployed, Uni students, Aborigines and yes DSP recipients.

  25. I went through the DSP application process. Despite what the media say, it is difficult and strict and for me, dragging up my past medical history was distressing. I do not accept the stories about ‘anyone’ being able to con Centrelink into handing over that payment.

    Here’s some more reading – an interview with Amanda Vanstone. It discusses her plans for a caste-system DSP, with more ‘worthy’ recipients getting a higher rate than those who are less ‘worthy’. I expect Kevin Bloody Andrews will be coming up with exactly the same proposal any day now.
    http://sgp1.paddington.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/political_transcripts/article_1088.asp?s=1

  26. There’s something sad about human nature that we can get so much commercial response from Downward Envy.

    The entire schtick of the Right is to make themselves look and feel good by making others look bad.

    So you get Dole and Disability Bludger campaigns, and judicial inquiries into Julia Gillard’s actions of 20 years ago.

    Abbott and his cronies think that if they can denigrate their enemies – or not even their enemies, just someone they don’t particularly like – then that will leave them on top of the moral heap.

    I had an interesting conversation with someone last night about the recent Hadley defamationy case. She hates Ray Hadley, and wonders why I listen to him, even for the negative reasons I do.

    I spoke to her about the case and let her know that I knew a close relation to the woman who successfully sued Hadley.

    Instead of her being pleased at Hadley’s misfortune, she came back at me with the “Well, she WAS a bit of a grub, herself,” line, meaning that the woman who sued Hadley was not herself of unblemished character. she said this with such certainty, that I was intrigued. Not even Hadley had alleged Mrs Ahmed had condoned the sexual assault, or that it had been condoned on more than the one occasion over which the husband had been found guilty.

    I asked her how she could say this, when the judge’s comments had been so explicitly disparaging of Hadley and his entire case.

    Her reply was that the woman, Mrs Ahmed, MUST have known her husband was a pervert, and had condoned it, and so in effect she was as bad as Hadley had said she was: a grub and a lowlife. She was just lucky she found the right judge, jury and barrister. But “everyone” knew she was no good. How could she not be? With a husband like that?

    (The husband had been found guilty of a single incident of sexual assault against a 17 year old female part-time worker – 7 years ago – but was not given a custodial sentence, only placed on a bond. Hadley then ran a radio campaign against his business – where Mrs Ahmed worked – and urged listeners to boycott it. They more than boycotted it. They harassed the people working there, spat in the food and loitered around the precinct menacingly… and this was only the Eastwood police! The father of the young girl was so threatening that Mrs Ahmed took out an AVO against him, which is what got Hadley going on his vendetta).

    I told the woman last night that the actions of the husband are not the wife’s fault, and that the wife shouldn’t be persecuted for simply trying to defend her business against the vastly powerful Hadley and his lynch mob.

    In any case, how did this woman know these facts? Where had it been reported that Mrs Ahmed KNEW of her husband’s actions?

    Her reply was telling… she MUST HAVE known, and by implication, must have condoned it. So it was an imputation at best. Asked if she read this in, or drew her conclusions from reading The Daily Telegraph she claimed she never read the DT.

    Had she seen it on the TV news? No.

    So where had she seen it? Where had she seen how awful this woman was. Where had she seen it reported that she stood by, condoning her husband molesting a young girl?

    “Oh, just from talking to people. It’s not hard to work out is it?”

    I asked her if her friends – the ones she “talked to” – read the DT. She denied it.

    So, somewhere, perhaps a few times removed from this woman, was someone who had read the story in the Daily Telegraph, passed it on with a comment to someone who in turn passed it on with a comment, and by the time it got to the woman I was talking to last night, it was established fact that Mrs Ahmed had virtually procured young girls for her husband to sexually molest, and had stood by in the full knowledge of what he was doing, condoning it. Ray Hadley wouldn’t have said what he said without a foundation in fact.

    I pointed out that, in fact, Hadley had been found to have seriously defamed this woman by the Supreme Court of NSW, and had had punitive damages awarded against him, plus costs, with interest and a few well-chosen and stinging words from the judge thrown in as to the state of his moral character, then and now. I also pointed out that Hadley had never alleged that Mrs Ahmed had anything to do with the sexual assault matter.

    It didn’t make any difference. She MUST have done something wrong, I was told at the dinner table last night, or all this trouble wouldn’t have happened.

    This is why Hadley was so seriously punished, and it is how creatures like him make their way in the world: they make others look bad to make themselves look good (if “good” is the word for it).

    Someone who claimed to have never read anything about the case, made an allegation that even Hadley didn’t make (that’s right!), and was so certain of it that she was prepared to deny the legal process, the damages award, the judges remarks, the emphatic result of the jury’s deliberations and evidence to the contrary, in order to maintain it.

    I’d call that “Mission Accomplished” for the Hadleys of this world, including the Abbotts of this world, too, and it is why they are so dangerous.

    The only consolation I get from any of this is that hatred is a monster that once let loose often comes back to devour its creator. We’re seeing signs of it now in the polls, and I can’t see how Abbott and Hadley – both pedlars of hatred, their own, usually – are going to disentangle themselves from it before it devours them.

  27. Also on the DSP application process –
    My niece was diagmnosed as bi-polar about 18 months ago, not long after she was politely asked by her employer to leave. She has been having a tough time getting medication adjusted, has spent time in a clinic getting herself sorted out and is still struggling. There is no way on earth she is able to work yet. She has just been refused DSP – as she said, one person, someone who doesn’t know her and doesn’t understand her problems made that decision. She is going through the appeal process now. I hope she gets it sorted before Andrews starts slashing.

  28. Believe it or not, Piers Akerman wants us to spread the Christmas message of Hope and Joy…

    The message Christians share is one of hope, whether they are being persecuted in another country or brutalised by someone professing to be a Christian here.

    That is the message in those shopping-mall Christmas carols, if they can be heard above the ringing of the cash registers.

    It is not a call to arms, a call to hate, a call to slaughter, but a call to love. It is hopeful.

    So, a Merry Christmas to all, and let the message of peace and joy spread throughout the world.

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/christians-spread-a-message-of-hope-and-joy-but-are-harassed-around-the-world/story-fni0cwl5-1226787675754

    Now I’ve seen everything.

    He didn’t mention The Heiner Affair, Julia Gillard and the AWU, or Kevin Rudd and Pink Batts once.

    Just, you know, the way Christians are being slaughtered by Muslims.

    I wonder if those heathens use drones or cluster bombs to make their mass murder more efficient? They should take a leaf out of the Christian book and get to it.

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