Weekend in Burnie with The Three Wise Men

In the year of our Lord 2014, there were Three Wise Men, Tonyavalot (who governed for the small but dominant Havealot tribe), his accomplice Shirazcigar Jo and El Clive from the strange northern lands. These wise and powerful men had much influence and favour with the gods, but were sadly misunderstood in their own lands. One night after a customary banana split and cigar they looked to the sky and pointed.

“Hark!” said El Clive, the largest of the three. He held a monogrammed, gold-plated telescope to his eye. “I think I see something bigger than me!”

Shirazcigar Jo, who used to be a fat kid himself, gave an inward sigh. El Clive always got the best lines.

Tonyavalot was intrigued, how could he use this next big thing to his best advantage, considering he had failed to use the other big thing, El Clive.

“I’m not a tech head but what do you see in your giant abacus there, Big C?”

“It’s a telescope, dumdum”, said Shirazcigar Jo in a peevish voice, but no-one was listening.

“Hark!” exclaimed El Clive for the second time that night. “It’s a giant comet come to guide us. From this day forth it shall be known as Clive’s Comet”.

“So, what is this comet doing?” asked Tonyavalot, sniffing an opportunity to press reset on his ragged week.

“It’s called Clive’s Comet and its moving south”, replied El Clive.

“By south you mean ….”

“Tasmania”, said Clive with a look that approximated fear but was very hard to tell. It might have just been wind.

“Well, maybe we should follow the star and it might teach us about economic policy,” said Shirazcigar Jo.

“I have long studied the bright star”, said Tonyavalot. “It is prophesied that it will guide us to The Chosen One, he who is sent to earth to give me untold power and influence and marry my chaste daughter, the artist.”

“Whatever. I’m up for an adventure”, said El Clive. “All I know is we have to follow Clive’s Comet. Besides Tasmania is flowing with King Island milk and Huon Valley honey. Plus there’s ice-cream.”

“And while we are there we might even be able to take out the Lamb named Jackie, the Terror of the South”, said Tonyavalot.

“How will we get there? asked Shirazcigar Jo. “It’s too far to drive, and I don’t want to catch a boat with all the poor people”,  he whimpered.

“Stop whinging Jo, we are wealthy and wise remember. We will take our private flying chariot.”

And with much ado about nothing, the Three Wise Men were thence whisked to Tasmania in their flying chariot.

When they arrived in the port town of Launceston they looked again expectantly at the night sky. Clive’s Comet shone brighter still. It was leading them west and they felt sure they were being taken to Cradle Mountain, a golden temple where every whim would be attended to. Alas, twas not to be and they veered further west to a distant place called Dismal Swamp.

When they got down to the swamp they came across a makeshift manger, surrounded by the Lamb named Jackie, Xenophon of Adelaide and Annabel Crabb, a scribe with a basket, who hailed from the left bank of the disputed ABC territories.

“Greetings, O Wise Men” said Xenophon of Adelaide. “I came here by mule, as befits my humble yet enigmatic persona. Whereas you Wise Men three, took the gravy train in order to follow the night star.”

“Clive’s Comet” interjected El Clive.

“Ha, Clive’s Comet up your ass!” scoffed the Lamb named Jackie shaken from her lambielike innocence. “You are the devil himself, and I’ll not kowtow to you.”

She fixed her black gaze on Tonyavalot. “As for you, dark lord, the night star has brought you to Burnie to meet me, since you won’t reply to any of my messages I sent by carrier pigeon.”

“Um, ahh I am a very powerful and busy man”, said Tonyavalot in his most important voice. “And, I am searching for the chosen one, who most certainly is not you.”

“Evening Wise Men all”, chirped Annabel, who was revered for her knife skills and hair curlier than the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Tonyavalot turned to her. “What hast you, fair lady in the basket? Is it a gift for the risen son? For we too have brought gifts for the wonder child who will help me inherit the earth and marry my virtuous daughter.”

“And fix the budget deficit wrought by Labor’s Debt and Deficit Disaster”, added Shirazcigar Jo.

“Did you remember dessert, fair Annabel with your rosy cheeks and fair jowls?” asked El Clive.

“Cheeks and jowls are the same thing”, said Xenophon of Adelaide. “Let the lady speak, El Clive and then you can have your cake and eat it too.”

“Well, it’s not an episode of Kitchen Cabinet, you know. You might have noticed there’s no film crew here” said fair Annabel.

“Oh, I just thought that was due to budget cuts”, winked Tonyavalot.

“That’s not funny, you psychopath”, snapped the Lamb named Jackie. “Do you want me to bite your tiny package right off?”

“We need to put that to a referendum” said Xenophon of Adelaide.

“Do not speak of the holy package in front of the child”, said Shirazcigar Jo.

“Speaking of which”, said Tonyavalot, “I want to see the chosen one.”

“Well, since you insist,” chirped Annabel sensing a column coming on. “I shall do the grand reveal.”

“Please, no Annabel”, said Shirazcigar Jo. “I’m married”.

“Oh, come off it. You sleep with a Bart Simpson doona for Chrissakes”, she said. “I’m revealing now so pay attention.”

She delicately moved the red and white checked blankie to reveal layers of ragged newspaper copy detailing Tonyavalot’s last ragged weeks.

When the last newspaper was lifted, hark! There flew out a hundred barnacles with wings, like Harry Potter quidditch balls. They circled menacingly around Tonyavalot’s head.

“Look, they’ve got little red speedos on”, cooed Xenophon of Adelaide.

“Poo, they stink” announced El Clive.

Like a man possessed, Tonyavalot brushed them off but the barnacles wouldn’t come off him, instead they started attacking and biting him in many Old Testament areas of his body, front and back.

“Oi, go for his package” called the Lamb named Jackie. “Even though it’s small, bite hard.”

“Get these barnacles away from me!”, Tonyavalot squealed uncontrollably in the manner of Christopher Pyne.

“They seem to like you”, Annabel quite reasonably pointed out. “In fact I think they have little names on them. It’s the names of failed policies, here’s one that says Paid Parental Leave. Oh, look, ABC funding cuts”

“Shuttup you meringue-munching leftie. Let me see the child, I must see my own male protégé, made in my image”. Through a haze of brown barnacles, he laid eyes on the child then gasped. In a makeshift manger with straw there was a hideous venomous monster. He went pale and started shaking uncontrollably.

“What is it m’lord?, asked Shirazcigar Jo. “Have you seen the devil himself?”

“No, much worse. A swinging voter in a marginal seat with fire and torment in his eyes. I feel sick, I’m going to vomit, I haven’t done that since Alan Jones was mean to me. Oh woe! Oh lamentation!”

With that, he ran away. He ran up a hill tormented all the way by barnacles. It was a big hill but as a very athletic man he could certainly sheik it.

“What’s he doing?” cried Shirazcigar Jo.

“Seeking asylum no doubt” said Xenophon of Adelaide.

“Remember Tassie is girt by sea” cried the Lamb named Jackie. “You’ll have to be smuggled in a boat to New Zealand to get away from them barnacles. Let’s hope it sinks!”, she added.

“Look the show must go on” said El Clive. “The Dalai Lama told me that. Or was it Kamahl?”

He moved towards the manger.

“We’ve brought gifts, little voter. From me is a replica of my head, fashioned from opals and rubies, from Uncle Jo is a $100,000 debt paydown for a perfect education and from Tonyavalot is his grandmother, who he’s just sold.”

The little swinging voter made a noise like BARF, and threw a massive tantie, which everyone ignored because it was dinnertime.

“Well, comrades, where are we going to eat? It’s like Bethlehem at Christmas time here, everything is closed” said El Clive.

“Don’t look at me”, said Annabel, “I can’t do the loaves and fishes trick from just one basket.”

“Tell you what”, said the Lamb named Jackie, “Club Burnie is open, it’s only half an hour up the road. All we have to do is follow the light on the hill.”

“Oh, please,” said Xenophon of Adelaide, “Why does everyone wax lyrical at Christmas time?”

“You can all pile into my Tarago” said the Lamb named Jackie.

“Senators, half an hour is a long time in a Tarago” said Xenophon of Adelaide. “Is there a game we can play to pass the time, you know, like Spot the Sane Senator. We haven’t played that in a while.”

“I’ll read some sacred poetry I wrote in 45 minutes in the year 1984” said El Clive.

And lo, they piled into the people-moving driving coach and the Lamb named Jackie conducted it. Even though they had enough room inside, they decided to strap Shirazcigar Jo to the roof. On the way they thought they heard Tonyavalot’s screams as he was bitten by barnacles. At the sound of his screams the Lamb named Jackie felt her spirit stir in the golden girdle department.

And lo, a chicken parmigiana and banana split later, that is what happened to the Three Wise Men at Christmas and how it came to pass there was peace on earth across the Great Southern Land.

 

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Eat Pray Love – what a dog

I haven’t seen the movie Eat Pray Love but I’ve read the book and it felt like I was eating a roll-your-own polished turd.

Elizabeth Gilbert went on a year long journey overseas to get over her divorce while finding herself and forgetting all her woes. Woes? What woes? She already had a book advance for heaven’s sake. She also had a movie deal from a previous book. Most people who get divorced (the only problem she could actually come up with) are headed for a life of reading books by Stephen Covey and experimenting with Dan Murphy wine. A book-deal funded trip to Italy with the sole purpose of eating and drinking does not come into it. At one point she even complains because she is not on holiday. I mean – seriously.

Then the ashram, which in terms of reading interest was approximately the same as watching Steel Magnolias backwards, but I kept reading because well – something had to happen, right? Wrong. So wong.

In Indonesia she has cups of tea with a medicine man, but dumps all her spiritual practice the moment a Brazilian expat gives her a compliment and then hops into bed with him. So much for the year of celibacy or enlightenment too, for that matter.

I think the government should grant every divorcee a year of travel to find themselves and eat a few nice meals. It should be a right of passage, like acne or getting your car radio stolen. But unlike, Madam Gilbert, most of us live in the real world where book and movie deals don’t feature a lot, so we have to make do with Dan Murphy.

But apparently her ex husband spent a year travelling too after their divorce. He didn’t go to find himself or bonk Brazilian expats, but helped out in the third world. No book deal. No publicity. Just quietly lending a hand. Now there is a movie that will never get made.

Real World Ethics

When you are young, you’re brought up to believe certain truisms. whether at school, sunday school or around the dinner party people bigger than you seem determined to instill certain facts on your subconscious. the trouble is they are all lies. From money doesn’t make you happy to that old chestnut it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game, it’s all a lot of crock. Enter adulthood and armed with advice that is wrong, makes no sense and gives you a false sense of how to make it in this world. Let’s take them one by one:

It doesn’t matter if you win or lose it’s how you play the game – oh yeah,  tell that to the Dutch team. winning is everything. it means endorsements, national pride, fame, girls, guys, take your pick and kudos beyond anything that a silver medal can provide. Good sport silver with that inner glow of being a good sport and playing fair? I don’t think so.

Money doesn’t make you happy – not strictly true, but it certainly helps. A lot. Take a look at people dripping with wealth – there’s a self-confidence not seen in Macdonald’s of Wetherill Park. OK, so money may not make you absolutely happy but it makes you less desperate and means you can afford better pizza toppings.

Do what you love and the money will follow. Mmmm try telling that to all the artists, writers, dancers and ahem, bloggers out there. Come on lets bust this myth. If that really was right insurance companies wouldn’t be spilling over with BArts graduates. It’s the other way around – get the money and you will get to do what you love.

If women ran the world think how peaceful it would be – ok, I’m not going to go against the sisterhood here, and women are by no means running the world … yet. the G20 still buttoned down old fogies with bald spots. but they nearly are, and if Julia, Angela, Hillary and an extravagant swathe of estrogen gathering strength but planet earth’s still pretty much in the shit. Because here’s the thing – women are just people, and people in power are just politicians. Enough said.

On the seventh day God created Parramatta Road

The other day I was driving through the Sydney traffic carpark, when I was sandwiched behind a car with the sticker: “Slow Down. Take in God’s Creation”. With the exception of “I’m a locovore and I vote”, this is quite possibly the most moronic sticker on the planet today. 

It got me thinking – WTF? God didn’t create the roads – this is our little creation. You name it, we built it – the M’s, the F’s, Parramatta, Sunnyholt, James Ruse, Silverwater and all the others Vic Laruso rattles off in his sleep every morning as giant parking lots, best avoided.

Ok, so I know what this self-annointed slow laner was trying to say – check out your surroundings. But here’s the thing, God doesn’t particularly care one way or another. The proof? Look at a forest of trees – not one of them has a sign saying, “Actually the rosewood’s not bad – I made this.” Not one set of initials, no I woz here, no pawprint, nada.

Don’t slow down, it’s bad for traffic flow and causes accidents. Let’s keep creationism off the roads instead.