Mad Magazines

I have had a curious relationship with  Mad Magazines all my life.  I always have to pick them up and dip into them to see if they are funny.  They never are.  Not once in my 59 years have I ever found anything in the least bit funny in Mad Magazine.  Yet I still pick up everyone I come across and obsessively trole through it trying to find something that might amuse.

Possibly it’s because reported ‘real life’ in the US of A seems much more absurd and fantastical than anything to be found between the limp pages of a magazine.

10 points about Transition *

  1. It offers a positive vision. Instead of telling us that our future will be an apocalyptic nightmare of floods, famine and economic collapse, it acknowledges that there are uncertain times ahead and offers ways to build community resilience.
  2. It shows that climate change and peak oil 1 can be an opportunity to make a happier society which has less ‘stuff’ and more time for friends, family and community.
  3. It offers a practical step-by-step guide which is not set in stone and can be modified by different communities to help them work through complex issues such as energy, transport, food supply and waste management.
  4. It doesn’t blame anyone. There’s no finger pointing at 4x4s or supermarket shoppers. It knows that the changes ahead will affect everyone and we will only weather the storm if we work together.
  5. It doesn’t wait for someone else – government, big business, the UN – to sort it out for us. Local people are making local changes, taking power into their own hands.
  6. It welcomes local politicians and knows that the political parties will have to get on board. As the word spreads about this movement currently unelectable policies will become electable.
  7. It acts as an umbrella group which acknowledges and supports the work of many others, from green groups and allotment holders to churches and WIs, to local councils and charities who have been working hard in their communities for years.
  8. It wants to support local businesses and local farmers developing services such as Oil Vulnerability Audits to help them assess how rising oil prices might affect them.
  1. It values everyone, the young people who will inherit our world and the older people who have so much to teach us from their memories of a world that was not driven by fast cars and consumerism.
  2. It makes the whole thing fun, encouraging music, art, storytelling and craft as well as hard-headed thinking about the problems we face.

1 Peak Oil is the circumstance where the world demand for oil begins to exceed the amount of oil in the ground and the cost of extraction increases as the oil becomes increasingly hard to mine.

Mallacoota – Most Popular Tourist Town In Victoria – A SECRET MESSAGE FROM DEEP TIME.

Mallacoota was voted the top tourist town in Victoria out of a hundred Australia wide by an expert panel for the travel magazine Australian Traveller.  The criteria was – ‘What town would you advise a tourist that was worth visiting an hour or so out of there way?’

This is not too surprising to those of us who know that we live in paradise. What perhaps was surprising, on the surface, was that the only other town in Gippsland to get into the list of a hundred was Wallhala!  It is in that result where in lies the secret message from deep time.

Remember this is vote about the past. This is about people making decisions based on what Mallacoota was like the last time they were here.  A Mallacoota less developed than it is now.  It is salutary to note that it was the only town on the Sapphire/Wilderness Coast to get on the list at all.  This is also true with The Lonely Planet guide books who sing Mallacoota’s praise and who are frankly disparaging about Lakes Entrance, and other ‘developed’ holiday destinations.

While it takes all kinds to make a tourist industry there is a definite risk that the simple-minded develop-develop-develop approach is rapidly eliminating choice from the tourism equation.  This is why increasingly large numbers of discerning Australian tourists are going to New Zealand.  It is instructive to note that the two most popular towns in Australia where Yamba  and Esperence.

Mallacoota enjoys a huge natural advantage over many other coastal destinations with its encircling National Park, enormous lake and river system and pristine surfing and fishing beaches.  Lakes Entrance started out with similar advantages and now has an environment where the lake ecology is slowly dieing from salt water incursions, riverine inflows are severely curtailed by domestic supply, irrigation and deforestation upstream in catchments and polluted by effluent and nutrients from surrounding domestic, agricultural and commercial developments.  The whole ecological catastrophe is a result of ill planned and unrestrained development.

That is not to say, of course, that development is bad.  We humans cannot help but impact on our environment.  We don’t really belong so it is just prudent to step carefully.  Especially if we want tourists to keep coming to Mallacoota and spend there money, so we and our children can live in the manner in which we have become accustomed, we must preserve the features that have made us number 1. We must provide services and facilities that mesh with the peace; beauty and natural wonder people come here to experience.

There is no doubt that Mallacoota could be developed along the lines of Lakes Entrance or Merimbulla and make quite a lot of money in the short term for people on the ground floor (us) but if we want to preserve a beautiful, safe and healthy environment for us, our children and future visitors then considered and careful development is, I believe, imperative.

We need developments that are going to enhance the quality of a stay here for the type of tourist attracted to a spot like this is and used to beRemember that survey was about the past. Here are some examples that have occurred to me:

  • Extensive bike and walking paths around the lake and elsewhere.
  • A spectacular suspension footbridge across The Narrows.
  • Power to weight ratio boating restrictions on the waterways.
  • Incentive funding for ecotourism ventures and arts related businesses.
  • Deployment of more fishing pontoons around the lake system in suitable spots with a regular water taxi servicing them.
  • Incentive funding for I.T. related business and other operations with a small ecological footprint.

We Mallacootians always knew we were number one and now we have a survey that agrees with us.  So let’s be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water if we want to stay there.

The Philippines and The Bushbaby

A memorable weekend.  James and James visited Robyn fresh from the Philippines where they have been working with kids from the rubbish dumps there.  Millilions of families throughout the Philippines live on the rubbish dumps recycling what they can to a make a subsistence living.  Constantly surrounded by rotting smoldering rubbish children grow up, live and die tragically young.  There are people trying to help these families and the Owen’s are amongst them… they worked with them over a ten day period teaching them performance skills and documenting the process.  The result will be a feature film they hope to release and raise money to help these families break the cycle of dependance on working in these toxic environments. They also plan to bring some of the children to Australia to tell there stories around schools to raise awareness.  The Owens report that because of the religious nature of the country (Catholic) some families have up to twenty children and are forced to abandon them on the dumps to fend for themselves.  They were also amazed by the resilience and positive attitude of these people despite there terrible conditions.

Watch this space for more updates on the film release and complimentary projects in Mallacoota.

On a more hopeful note Victoria and her dad turned up with our canoe after a month.

Victoria is a year 9 student who opted to spend a month alone on the otherside of the lake as part of her school assessment.  They are friends of  friends of our and they were put onto us becasue she needed a canoe to escape if it all got to much or something bad happened.  She was totally alone with half a days walk out to Dead Finish or a canoe trip across the lake.  She was only a slight kid and looked amazingly young.  People like her and the Owen boys do amazing things to my often flagging hope in the future.

Maddening,

In the light of the panel’s unanimous opposition to the Boat Ramp I call upon East Gippsland Shire and MADBATA to abandon their sponsorship and support for the proposed Boat Ramp at Bastion Point.

This is the only socially and ethically responsible action to take if local leaders are to provide a positive example to offset the corrupt and highhanded behavior of our political leaders in ignoring the panel’s recommendations.  A failure to do so would reveal a disturbing level of ethical and moral bankruptcy, in these organizations, difficult to reconcile with the stated aims of two such important local bodies.

The Australian political system is based on following of due process.  Administrative structures are put in place to protect communities from exploitation and abuse by rich and powerful interest groups.  A failure by these two local organizations to support the panel’s decision will demonstrate to the young people of this community that individuals and indeed whole communities are at the mercy of vested interests.  They will guilty of a betrayal that will greatly strengthen the already incipient disillusionment of our children with the democratic process, which members of their families have fought and died for in two world wars.

Catbox

The cat that is alive and dead in a cloud
cries in it’s box and is not heard.

When the box is opened –
We count it’s deaths – one and one and one
and never find the cat: just the numbers of its deaths.

LOST IN A SCIENCE FICTION BOOK COVER.

Taking the dog down to Bastion Point Beach for our early morning constitutional I was startled to discover I had a double shadow.  A very bright almost full moon on my left and a barely risen sun on my right I walked north with double company.  I have never experienced the phenomenon before.  The tide was a long way out due to the lunar tides and the shadows were long on the huge expanse of very smooth sand.

Mallacoota is endlessly suprising in its curious flashes of beauty.  Terry Pratchett says, in some of his Discworld books,  that the universe is comprised of five elements -earth, air, fire, water and SUPRISE!.  I don’t know about the first four – but I can personally vouch for the fifth.

SO WHO WANTS TO MAKE MONEY?

It’s a curious thing that just about the hardest thing to do is to get businesses to do anything that resembles there line of business.

I have been trying to get some things done around the house and have been blocked at every attempt by inefficient incompetence. It’s weird. A sheet metal and roofing fabricator i am trying to get to manufacture some flashing repeatedly fails to get the right feed stock delivered, The timber yard has not delivered the timber three time now for a shed i am building, i have been told i have four weeks to wait for a bathroom vanity i want to fit and the electrician after just not turning up for weeks has now told me his supplier has sent the wrong switch.

So what is going on?

There has been a huge shift in culture on the nature of doing business. Once a person was in some part described by there occupation – they were a baker or a blacksmith and they did these jobs and in the achievement of their skills made a living. There ‘job’ and there life were integrated.

These days the aim of the game is to scrabble like hell to make as much money as possible to purchase goods and services to give you enough time to scrabble like hell to purchase goods and services. You can’t define your life (except negatively) by describing yourself as a middle management ‘Life Services Manager’ or ‘A Telephone Sanitizer 3rd Class’.
The businesss of business is to make money and how it is done does not matter. A large part of the manufacturing industry is engaged in the production of landfill and pollution. The cheaper products always have some small part that fails almost immediately while the more expensive ones are not supported with affordable spare parts or are made unserviceable as the parts snap together.
Meanwqhile I am still waiting for deliveries so i can get on with my life.