Half Birthday (illustrations to follow)

(Image Credit: Getting There)

In a few moments I will be 58.5 years old.

My half-birthday was an important feature of my life when a child: my father’s family was small, and for various reasons we didn’t have much to do with them, My mother came from a large Scots family, in whose company I endured many large Christmas / New Year celebrations, but mostly it was just the four of us: mum, dad, the dog, and me. More particularly because we lived in Canberra (I’m talking mid-late 50s and 1960s).

So I felt a bit cheated about birthday celebrations – there weren’t enough of them. Especially because my father and I were born on the same day.

Now, back then my mother wasn’t the greatest of cooks, but she adopted very early the concept of the Clock Cake (illustration to follow). When I was about 5 years old I had this wonderful idea: what about a half birthday celebration with the big hand pointing to the 6 instead of to the 12?

My darling mother duly obliged, so we had another small family celebration (and I have no doubt that she was mightily relieved when I became a teenager).

So far all this has been a personal indulgence.

What I would like Pubsters to do now (other than the usual Pubster thing, which is to comment upon whatever takes our fancy) is to suggest appropriate birthday presents for public (including Pubster) figures.

Yes, I know, totally frivolous – but It’s Too Darn Hot

429 thoughts on “Half Birthday (illustrations to follow)

  1. Scott Morrison in it up to his ears.

    We violated Indonesian national borders. A Big No-No.

  2. Jaycee,
    Honestly $18! Of course, any sort of hay is scarce as hen’s teeth just now since there’s been little or no rain for months. There are a couple of hay farms nearby but production is low because the lucerne isn’t growing and what they do produce is sold long before it’s ready to be cut and baled.

    No.1 son has a friend who is a hay farmer who would be happy to supply me with an odd bale or two. However, because I am his friend’s mother, he won’t accept any payment so unless I am absolutely broke and desperate, I am reluctant to ask him. I take the view that the man works hard and long on his farm and therefore it doesn’t feel right for him to give me some of the fruits of his labour for nix – if only he would simply sell it to me at cost I would be more than grateful.

  3. So much for growing a good relationship with Indonesia. When will Morriscum and the abbott get it into their pea brains that all this secrecy and clandestine boat shuffling will not work like it did when the bald-headed old swell got away with such tactics.

    Indonesia have been very patient so far but it won’t be long before they haul the bishop in and read her the riot act – no more live cattle trade etc. The shit will hit the fan in a big way sooner rather than later.

  4. One of the most overused statements is that “XYZ” (usually Howard or Downer) will end up at The Hague. This time it might be right with Morrison. It might not be Den Haag but the way he is going, he is going to end up in a world of hurt. The first time real international problems crop up, Abbott is going to drop him cold. Morrison knows it. Abbott knows it. Probably why his behaviour is becoming more rabid by the day. Either way, the Navy is going to cop the brunt of this. However, given that almost every Armed Service member that I have come into contact with is a rootin’, tootin’ all guns blazing conservative who loves to talk the talk, it looks like they are going to get that chance. Unfortunately for some of them, it will be when those much bigger and closer to home port Indonesian vessels appear on the horizon. Lots of loose sphincters on those tough guys then and a lot of calling for mama.

    All to lock in the bogan vote. Sad. Very sad.

  5. The Idiot will be getting boos, not applause next week at Davos if he keeps on with this sort of thing.

    Foreign aid funding cut by $95 million

    The federal government quietly chopped another $95 million out of Australia’s foreign aid effort last month.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that Australia’s share of the latest round of funding to the International Development Association, the World Bank’s lending arm, will be cut from $830 million to $735 million.
    Stephen Howes, Director of the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University says the cut makes little sense.

    “It is not clear why the World Bank was singled out for a cut, especially given its focus on economic development, a key priority for the Coalition,” Professor Howes said on Thursday


  6. Morriscum currently on ABC24. Blaming the Navy for ‘inadvertently” carrying out operations in Indonesian waters and has profusely apologised to Indonesia. Lying mongrels the lot of them – it’s an abbott ploy to take the action you require and then seek forgiveness – true catholics go to confession and confess, get absolution and then go out and commit the same sins over again.

  7. So the jolly chaps and ghapeetes in our navy are so freaking useless that they can’t read their own charts and can’t use their own navigation instruments to work out where they are. I thought our ships all had whiz-bang computer systems that tell they exactly where they are.

    Has Morrison’s secrecy policy really come unstuck? Did someone ‘accidentally’ turn off all the gear when they were following Morrison’s orders to turn off all AIS gear so no-one would know where they were?

    Here’s an idea for the admirals – fit a siren to every navy ship,rigged to go off as soon as the ship strays into Indonesian waters and only able to be turned off with a secret code and the paw-prints of certain officers.

  8. What a bunch of lying cretins!


    I guess Marty wasn’t taking Mesma’s call:

    Mr Morrison said Foreign Minister Julie Bishop also “sought to speak to her Indonesian counterpart, foreign minister (Marty) Natalegawa last night, to advise him of this conversation and to offer an unqualified apology on behalf of the Australian Government”.

  9. http://www.smh.com.au/comment/christopher-pynes-review-is-just-a-diversion-from-gonski-reforms-20140116-30xs0.html

    Christopher Pyne’s review is just a diversion from Gonski reforms
    January 17, 2014
    Ken Boston

    If there had been no Gonski report, there would be no review of the national curriculum. The purpose of the review is to allow Education Minister Christopher Pyne to divert attention away from the inequality of opportunity which is the real cause of decline in educational achievement in Australia, and which it suits his purpose to maintain.

    The game plan is to convince the Australian community that our poor educational performance is due to a low-grade politically-correct national curriculum, lacking both challenge and aspiration, having been foisted upon an unsuspecting nation by a supposed clique from the ”cultural left”. Together with poor-quality teaching (in government schools only), this is the reason our national educational performance is below countries such as Japan, Korea, China and Finland. Fix the curriculum and the teachers, and we’ll be up there at the top of the international league table.

    This is a preposterous misrepresentation, but Pyne is banking on it having sufficient traction to diminish the strength of the argument to address inequality of opportunity by targeting funds strategically at areas of need. This he does not want to do.

    It is because he understands that Gonski is more than a new approach to allocating recurrent funds to schools. It is a fundamental re-imagining of Australian education. It asks: ”What kind of country do we want Australia to be?” And he does not like the answer to that question.


    Ken Boston is a former director-general of the NSW Department of Education and was a member of the Gonski review panel. He was also the chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in Britain.

  10. On another topic – Ken Boston on Pyne’s tactics and that curriculum review. Boston is a formidable and impressive expert on education and one of the chief architects of the Gonski reforms. Look him up if you aren’t familiar with his work.

    Christopher Pyne’s review is just a diversion from Gonski reforms

    The Gonski vision of a fair go for all young Australians means that, in due course and over time, a hard-working talented young girl will come to have the same real prospect of winning a place in the university and course of her choice regardless of family circumstances and background, or whether she attends Tara Anglican College, Rooty Hill High School, Brigidine College Randwick, Auburn Girls High School, Queenwood, Abbotsleigh, Mary MacKillop College or Cabramatta High School. And our national performance will improve accordingly, regardless of any tinkering with the curriculum.

    Is Pyne up for that? A meritocracy? Devalue private schooling? Of course not. Hence his need for a diversion. What better than a provocative review of the national curriculum?


  11. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/abbottbishop-split-looming-over-showdown-for-liberal-party-presidency/story-fn59niix-1226803668111#

    Abbott-Bishop split looming over showdown for Liberal Party presidency
    CHRISTIAN KERR The Australian January 17, 2014 12:00AM

    FEARS are mounting in the government over a clash for the federal Liberal Party presidency that could pit Tony Abbott against his deputy, Julie Bishop.

    Danielle Blain – one of the Liberals’ four vice-presidents, a former president of the Western Australian division of the party and a close ally of Ms Bishop – confirmed yesterday she intended to nominate for the position, to be decided at the mid-year federal council.

    There is mounting speculation of a showdown against former deputy Senate leader and Howard government minister Richard Alston, who filled a vacant vice-president’s position on the Liberal federal executive late last year.

    (Just Google the title or URL to read it all, worth it in this case. Plenty of juicy info.)

  12. Mr Morrison said Foreign Minister Julie Bishop also “sought to speak to her Indonesian counterpart, foreign minister (Marty) Natalegawa last night, to advise him of this conversation and to offer an unqualified apology on behalf of the Australian Government”.

    “we’re the fuckarwee!!”…………half a billion dollars for top of the range satelite positioning equipt’…and they get lost??…..hello?

  13. Blimey, they’re a lying mob of bastards. Ist lie by Morrison.

    Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says the government has apologised to Indonesia after Australian authorities ‘inadvertently’ breached Indonesian territorial waters while conducting border protection operations.

    Mr Morrison said on Friday that the government received information on Wednesday afternoon that Australian authorities had entered Indonesian waters on several occasions, in breach of Australian government policy.

    ‘This was done unintentionally and without knowledge or sanction by the Australian government,’ he told reporters in Canberra.

    2nd lie, lying about the first one by the toy General, Campbell. Blimey, they’re a brazen lot these beggars.

    Operation Sovereign Borders commander Lieutenant General Angus Campbell said he was advised of the breach on Wednesday afternoon after a routine report was examined by a border command official.

    He said Navy personnel did not know they had breached Indonesian waters at the time.

    ‘I and I am sure all those involved in the conduct of Operation Sovereign Borders regret any affront to Indonesia these events may have occurred,’ he said.


  14. You know where the blame gets shifted to……right down the line till some poor effing stoker gets the short shrift!

  15. Leone,
    True that cats are much more discerning. However, you can bet they’ll suss out a non-tory sailor to put up as the scapegoat. Morriscum is so bloody confident that he doesn’t even bother to come up with plausible lies for the media to swallow.

  16. I believe the total borrowing since 9 September 2013 is $41.45 billion. Some has been used to pay off old borrowings – pay off the older stuff borrowed at higher interest rates with stuff borrowed at lower rates – and that’s OK. But the rest? Joe? Andrew?

  17. Another lie. There have been no boats for nearly a month. One can only assume, they do not count the boats they tow back, into Indonesian waters, we now know.

    No wonder Indonesia is taking their time, to react to this governments actions. Giving them enough rope to hang themselves.

    Then one could accept the government’s line, that Indonesia talk is different behind the scenes than they do publicity.

    Is the cost of stopping boats worth the price we will pay. Are there better options available. Such as working with all in the region, to bring about a regional solution. Howard had such luck.

    Could there just be a normal pause in the cycle, of people seeking asylum, that head for Australia.

    It seems to be true, many fewer are entering Indonesia. Do not know about Malaysia, but there does not seem to be many coming from there now.

  18. Could this be what the Indonesians meant, when they warned this government, they were on a slippery slope.

    a slippery slope
    a situation or habit that is likely to lead to a worse situation or habit If you let kids stay up late a few nights you’re on a slippery slope. My advice is to keep away from all drugs. It’s a slippery slope.
    See also: slippery, slope
    Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006. Reproduced with permission.


    I wonder who will have the last laugh in this one.

  19. What is more important, I wonder what the next government is thinking. Elections soon, in the country.

  20. They may try to run what they’ve done before, a line for Us & a line for Them, still thinking that Marty Natalagawa et al are unaware of all this. The domestic line could be allowed to die off, & die off quickly, through lack of decent follow up reportage. Falling apart in the public mind- only a km or two inside their waters, mistakes happen, fukkemanyway sort of thing. Suitable (they think) “apologies” to our neighbours. Invoking secrecy again as these matters beyond our real ken are attended to by our all knowing betters.
    But if this doesn’t work I too fear for the cat & I’m glad someone’s brought this up. My own cats tell me press ganging’s still in vogue & a moggie on board against its will would be a logical target for any blame. It’s not generally known that the Royal Marines were originally formed to keep ships cats in line in the old sailing R.N.

  21. you can bet this fool govt’ is going to pick a fight and when someone gets hurt, they’ll be quick to point the finger of blame to some minority group!

  22. Not just one violation of Indonesian sovereignty – read the toy general’s words carefully. “I am sure all those involved in the conduct of Operation Sovereign Borders regret any affront to Indonesia these events may have occurred,’ He said “THESE EVENTS”.

    One might, if in a generous mood, accept the ‘we didn’t know where we wuz’ excuse once, but who is going to believe that our navy, equipped as it is with state-of-the-art navigation equipment, got lost several/many times?

    The whole ludicrous mess has gone international –
    Australia apologises for repeated breach of Indonesian waters

  23. BSA Bob

    [ It’s not generally known that the Royal Marines were originally formed to keep ships cats in line in the old sailing R.N.]

    Did you catch the News on the RM’s using their LC on the Tamar a couple of days ago.

    A mudslide left 40 cars trapped in a car park.

    While the local council was procrastinating about what to do a ten year boy rang the Plymouth Navy Yard and said ‘Help’ .

    They turned out.

  24. Janice,
    My advice, FWIW.
    Take the hay, you are creating a sense of obligation that is uncomfortable if you take it, but if you don’t you are denying the farmer the feeling of ultruism and his sense of being a good neighbour.

    Some bottles of wine, or carton of beer, or basket of goodies is the usual way of handling these situations. 🙂

  25. Joe6pack and Fiona

    I have a doc’s appt at 4:10 Qtime so I’ll be late for the raffle. It’s just routine stuff so I should be back about 4:45 and will have no problems catching up with number requests, peeps will just need to be patient is all.

  26. Would you trust these men with changing the kitty litter. let alone protecting our borders (if they can find them )? Dumb and Dumber.

  27. “Would you trust these men”

    For once, the journos didn’t seem to trust them either.

    The general looked quite uncomfortable and probably wished he had never ever met Morrison. You couldn’t exactly say that Morrison himself was happy.

    Wonder what Shorten’s reaction will be.

  28. Lying comes so easy to these bastards that it is probably as easy as breathing for most of them. The thing that I find so hard to accept, is that the MSM “never” pull them up on it or question it whatsoever!

    To say we are poorly served by the media in this country is quite an understatement!

    He (Morrison) also denied the towback policy broke the government’s promise before the election that it would not tow boats back. He said it had meant the government would not tow boats back to Indonesian ports, not that they wouldn’t be towed at all.

    On October 1, at a media conference in Indonesia, Abbott said “can I just scotch this idea that the Coalition’s policy is or ever has been towbacks. Our policy … is that we reserve the right to turn boats around where it is safe to do so. There is a world of difference between turning boats around in Australian waters and the Australian navy towing them back to Indonesia.”

    But Morrison explained on Wednesday that “previously before the election … the towback as a policy was explained and … was characterised as boats being towed back into Indonesian waters, or into Indonesian ports … we’ve said very plainly it has never been our policy to violate Indonesia’s territorial sovereignty. I think there has been confusion on the semantics of this.”


  29. If I don’t get back in time for the raffle, as we are going to move a fridge, can I have my usual rafflemiester’s pick, after everyone else has put their numbers in.

  30. If they weren’t going to tow back the boats to Indonesian waters just where were they going to tow them “back” to?

  31. Who will be held responsible for the incursion into Indonesian waters and what will be the consequences to that person?
    Just asking.

  32. CTar1
    No I hadn’t seen the Marines on the news. A bit like watching the Edinburgh Tattoo it’s good to see the old institutions still around. Names from the past still there in the present sort of thing.
    I don’t know much about this at all, but the history of the Royal Marines seems to’ve run on different lines to those other well known nautical soldiers, the U.S. Marines. Did the U.S. lot have a similar original purpose, the keeping of their Navy’s ships cats & sailors under control?
    Other naval nations have their own Marines, of course. Wasn’t it a French Marine who shot Nelson?

  33. Shorten’s reaction? Whatever looks best for Bill Shorten. He’s been in control for months now and I don’t see any fire, just caution. I know it’s early days and people will say jumping up and down this early is pointless. It did work for Abbott but then anything will when the media are acting as trainer,masseur, second and cut man in your corner every single day, as they have for years.

  34. “Who will be held responsible for the incursion into Indonesian waters and what will be the consequences to that person?
    Just asking.”

    Who from the media will actually ask these questions? No one who wants to keep their jobs, that’s for sure.
    Just sayin’.

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