If you can’t beat them, join them.

With the recent blocking of gun reform legislation in the US Senate, the debate brings tempers to a boil on both sides of the aisle and shows once again just how strong the NRA stranglehold is on the American political system. Apparently it’s ‘political suicide’ to go against the NRA in certain states and yet I keep coming around the the same old question:

If the NRA has approximately 4.5 million card carrying members.  That’s 4.5 million out of some 311 million Americans – 90% of whom allegedly support compulsory background checks and restrictions on semi-automatic weapons or some form of tighter gun regulation of some description… So why doesn’t a huge chunk of that 90% just go and join the damn NRA and take it over from within?


Yes. Join them.  If say 20+ million Americans, with slightly less ‘out of my cold dead hands’ views towards gun ownership, went ahead and joined the NRA – at a measly $35 per annum – they could take over the place in about three years by voting in a preferred board of directors and totally change the dialogue and the NRA’s organisational agenda.  They’d out number the monster raving looney right element by as much as five to one… So why don’t they do it?  Why try and fight against the NRA when you could just join it, and bring the common sense and moderation that 90% of Americans supposedly want?

You see, according to the all knowing Wikipedia, the NRA is governed by a seventy-six member board of directors. There are seventy-five elected Directors that each serve a three year term – this means that overwhelmingly stacking the membership deck could result in a commonsense gun legislation friendly, seventy-five member board.

These seventy-six directors then choose the President, one or more Vice Presidents, and the Executive Vice President (who is the leading spokesperson for the NRA), along with a Secretary, and Treasurer from among the elected Directors – any and/or all of these directors could be pro-gun but also moderate pro-reform and pro-legislation… and even (gasp! god help us), Democrats! if more regular Joes decided to join the NRA.  So why fight ’em?

In the meantime all we see over there is lots of money being thrown around, lots of misinformation about President Obama’s agenda, lots of ranting about loss of civil liberties and 2nd Amendment rights, lots of politicians being threatened or bought off and lots and lots of mass shootings, gun related homicides, gun related suicides and accidental gun deaths.

Australia went through the painful gun buy back thing and as much as we bitch about the various weapons licensing boards and authorities who do the background checks and execute the legislation that we have to abide by – it’s not what they’re doing that gives us the shits… it’s the lack of speed with which they do it!  There is a big lesson for the US to learn from Australia as far as gun control is concerned and it really is something that should be taken seriously… not just turned into fodder for comedians.

The Daily Show: John Oliver Investigates Gun Control in Australia – Part 1

The Daily Show: John Oliver Investigates Gun Control in Australia – Part 2

The Daily Show: John Oliver’s Australia & Gun Control’s Aftermath – Part 3

Update:  I just found this article which discusses the backlash in the polls that Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire is experiencing since NOT backing the gun reform bill.  Senator Ayotte has seen her approval ratings drop by 15% to 44% since voting against the bill aimed at reducing gun violence making it really obvious that her constituents are seriously displeased at her bowing to pressure from the NRA and other gun lobbyists.  Maybe there’s some hope at the end of tunnel?  Maybe they don’t have to join the NRA en masse after all?  Maybe Americans just need to become less apathetic about their political processes and actually turn up and you know…  vote the ‘cold dead handers’ out of office!

Woolworths the Fresh Rude People.

So, it’s no secret that I have a bad back and with that comes lots of shitty limitations.  Not the least of which is a complete inability to deal with recalcitrant shopping trolleys, which inevitably and invariably have busted arse wheels that have a mind of their own.  Over the years, this has led to a deeply ingrained hatred of that most despised of pastimes… grocery shopping.

Many years were spent waiting for Qld to catch up to our southern counterparts and offer the convenience of online grocery shopping; now it’s here if I need to do a large shop I considering jumping on the laptop, avoiding the screaming children at the supermarket and the whole queueing at the checkout thing and do my big shops from home.  Having said that, I’ve only used the service a few times as it’s preferable to con someone into coming and pushing a trolley for me rather than wasting the $10 on a delivery fee.  And, to be honest, it kinda creeps me out a bit that when I log in with my Everyday Rewards card their system brings up a list of all my ‘favourite things’ because I might have purchased them even once over the past few months… big brother is watching and for some reason he gives a shit about what I put in my grocery shop?!?  But this week the email carrying a code for 5 free deliveries ‘’5FREEDELIV’ (feel free to hammer their discount code!) was enough to encourage me to do this fortnight’s shop online.

Oh that and the cheap bacon that was this weeks special:
bacon on special by kilo

Ticking boxes here, checking out specials there, adding as much heavy stuff as I could… and lodged the order complete with free delivery and some 300+ frequent flyer points for my trouble.  Only problem is the little man in the short shorts who just delivered the groceries unceremoniously into my kitchen dropped off a few crates worth and said ‘You seem to be missing a crate, it’s not all here’.  To which I replied ‘Don’t you mean you’re missing a crate?’

delivery screw up

Yes, it seems Woolworths Online know how to take the order, are pretty good at charging you immediately for the order, but take no responsibility for the delivery of the entire order.  So he buggers off leaving me to figure out what is missing!

Bye, bye convenience of shopping online!

End up having to call the Woolworths Online Customer Services Helpdesk, get put on hold before ending up talking to an intellectual Lilliputian named Tania trying to explain that many of my items were missing and that the driver knew it before he even left!  A twenty minute phone call before I manage to communicate to the slightly challenged Tania, all the 6-8 digit codes that belong to the missing items (and I’m pretty certain that I’m going to end up with some unwanted cat food and hair nets judging by her manner and apparently competence) only to be told that they can deliver these items tomorrow morning – right at the time I need to take the Small Child to school – or it’s wait for tomorrow evening!

The long and the short of it… there will be no guacamole or tacos for that matter for dinner tonight!

Gelibolu Zoo

Nearly every year I find myself writing about ANZAC Day.  It’s such a sad and important day for me personally, as well as being a very solemn day for all Australians, New Zealanders and, as I discovered in 2007, equally evocative for the people of Turkey.  We don’t tend to think about it much, but the Turkish feel the futility and the senselessness of the military action that occurred on the 25th April 1915 at the Gelibolu Peninsula just as much as we do.

anzac cove gallipoli

Gallipoli has become a must see/bucket list destination for many Australian’s venturing aboard these days – especially for dawn services on ANZAC Day every year.  But from four separate friends, who have made the pilgrimage to the dawn services at Anzac Cove on the peninsula on various different years, they’ve all universally reported that on ANZAC Day each year, this place that is so sacred in the hearts, minds and memories all Australians, New Zealanders and Turks, becomes an absolute zoo.

crowds bleachers mess dawn service overcrowded

Many people camp out for the entire night before to secure a good view, to enjoy the company of friends, an to experience the night so they can see in the dawn.  Many bring blankets, sleeping bags, tarps and raincoats if the weather is inclement, food and drinks and with all that comes lots and lots of rubbish!  And many of these people who’ve come to visit this culturally important site of multinational heritage leave all their crap behind when they leave.  These people who have travelled 15,000kms around the world, congregated together to remember the fallen, to experience the collective outpouring of emotions from family and descendants of those who served and continue to serve… turn up, act like they’re at a picnic all night, become grave and solemn during the dawn services only to turn into complete pigs and leave a huge mess behind them when they leave.

anzac cove mess overcrowdingHaving been to Gallipoli twice, my advice is skip the ANZAC Day zoo.  Go on any regular old day when there are no services, no memorials, no crowds, no officials, no speeches, no services.  Go on an ordinary old day with a small group of friends or fellow travellers, minimal big tourist buses, and find some quiet and solitude to contemplate the gravitas of this special place, and allow the enormous emotional weight of Gallipoli wash over you without the hoards.

If possible, go with a Turkish guide to get an entirely different perspective of the history that you think you’ve always known about ANZAC Day.   If possible, get away from your group for a while and find somewhere quiet to spend ten minutes sitting near one of the memorials, or under an oak tree, or in the actual trenches where young men from both sides fought and died… and think on their sacrifices, and the hardships they endured, and they pain they both suffered, and caused, in the name of their countries.

gallipoli anzac north australian memorials


It’s only a problem if you know about it.

Ever forget where you left your keys?  Ever forget an appointment with your accountant? Doctor? Manicurist?  Ever forget to send permission forms up to school?  Ever forget to turn the iron off?  How about forgetting your passwords or forgetting about the Tooth Fairy?  Shit happens, right?

What about these then… ever forget that you have ordered a book and went and ordered a second copy?  Ever forget that you bought someone’s birthday present and then spent a week trying to come up with an idea for it?  Ever forget a conversation you had in the morning about the Goat Pie Guy and then wonder why you’re unexpectedly presented with goat pies for lunch three hours later?  Ever forget that you’re out shopping for a toaster and come home with a new kettle instead?   Ever tell the same person the same thing three or four times and watch their face glaze over as you realize you’ve already imparted that information?  Ever forget what the family said they wanted for dinner even though you asked them every half hour from 3-6pm?  Ever forget to turn off the TV or lock the door or set the alarm or close the garage and just leave the house and come home to find the place wide open?  Ever forget about a ‘to do’ list in your own handwriting and have no recollection of writing it?  Ever forget driving your child to school and spend the day believing someone else took him?  Ever completely forget something you only just learned the day before?  Ever scarily forget you’ve taken your nightly medication and promptly turned around five minutes later and taken it again?

We have been laughing about my goldfish memory for about five years now.  So what if you accidentally order the same book twice?  It was on medieval gold smithing and the extra copy made a great present for Surly’s next birthday anyway.  So what if pink Tupperware turns up in the mail and you have no recollection of ever having ordered it?  So what if you arrive a day early for your doctor’s appointment?  So what if you boil the kettle three or four times before remembering to actually make the cup of tea?   So what if you get frustrated trying to logon to your PC using a password you changed two years ago?  So what if you forget the Small Child’s basketball training…again?  So what if you have to keep the world’s most complex calendar because you can’t trust your memory to remind you of ANYTHING.

prescription drug addiction dependence memory loss concentration

Well, this is where I’ve been at for the last five years.  Too many drugs with too many side effects.  Not the least of which it turns out over long term use include diminished cognitive abilities, loss of concentration and drumroll please … memory loss.  Woulnd’t be so bad, in fact I doubt I would have come to call it a serious problem at all, if I weren’t trying to learn Classical Latin at the moment.  You see, I’ve managed to get through two semesters of Latin (I still have no idea how I did that) and am in the middle of my third (and fucking final) semester of Latin Language and Literature… and I CAN”T REMEMBER ANY OF IT.

Now, this isn’t the usual, ‘I hate Latin and brain is resisting learning Latin’ thing that often comes if someone is forced to deal with something they think is unpleasant (like me and income tax returns).  I like Latin and was finding it challenging and enjoyable, even though it comes with more than it’s fair share of monumental mind fucks.  No, the problem here is I am being taught grammatical concepts one day and the next day being unable to recall what the concepts were, what they were called, how they are applied or how they are translated, which is seriously hindering my ability to complete the course.  Homework assignments that should take only a matter of hours are taking me two days to complete as I look up words and then look them up again three lines later having already forgotten the English translation over the duration of about ten minutes and facepalming the minute I see the English again.  Seriously frustrating.  At the moment, with some changes in medication, I can’t seem to recall anything we learned last year – not even simple noun declensions, verb conjugations and tenses or principle parts.  Asking me to explain the mood or case of something, when parsing, is like asking me to teleport to Ancient Rome to run Cicero to ask him why he’s inflicted all this shit on us in the first place!  Impossible!

So struggling with Latin has gone from being challenging and enjoyable to being frustrating and riddled with anxiety, as I just can’t seem to remember what I need to know.  And it has bought home hard, like a slap upside the head with a wet haddock, just how bad my memory has become.  I can’t remember the Latin I learned yesterday, but to test a theory, I started working through an online self taught French tutorial program and have been sailing through it on high school French that I learned over 20 years ago!  I’m paying more attention to the memory problems now and I’m noticing more and more that I can’t remember shit.  I can’t remember important stuff, I’m losing track of menial stuff and I’m now officially getting worried about it because after a tiny bit of research and a meeting with my dealer… err I mean doctor, it turns out I have developed some serious prescription medication dependencies.  Or flat out drug addictions if we want to do away with the niceties.

Problem is, I can’t give them up.  I don’t want to give them up.  Go ahead, make my day… just try and take them off me and see what happens!  For without the drugs, there is no sleep.  Without the sleep, there is no coping with being in pain ALL day.  Without the coping there is a bottle of the most ludicrously expensive champagne and ALL the pills at once in my foreseeable future.

So… my name is Borys and I have a prescription drug addiction.  But somehow I doubt there are meetings for people with no desire or motivation whatsoever to kick their habits.  🙁

More Punctuation for the People!

Because in general people have such a fantastic grip and demonstrate excellent deployment of the punctuation we do have… even more options can only be better of course!  No seriously, some of this could really come in handy.  I mean, the Andorpersand?  Who doesn’t need one of those every time they sit down to do some recreational academic writing?  And the Sarcastices?  Wouldn’t they make communicating via text, email and online chat sooo much easier!

Bring it on!  More punctuation marks to meet the every changing needs of an ever evolving language in an ever changing and increasingly complex environment.  😛

andorampersand sacrastices sinceriod  mockwotations