Tuesday 30 August 2011

Pregnant Magpie.


Chocolates at this hour?
It must be the baby.
Babies don’t eat chocolates.
This one does… please!
But it’s raining!
Take my red umbrella.

See more red umbrellas at Magpie Tales.

Under the Gooseberry Bush.

The Kiss.

Softest brush,
barely felt.
warm, dry,

Then again,
open, wet.
Hot, sweet,
a promise.

In response to Gooseberry Bush Poetry.

Monday 29 August 2011

What are we eating?

First a little biology.
Plants take up CO2 through pores on the underside of leaves called stomates or stomata. Pic: Tomato leaf stomate.

When we spray systemic herbicides onto plants, that is where the poison enters and from there it flows throughout the plant, blocking a vital process and the plant dies.

Roundup remains in the plant until the plant dies when it is incorporated into soil. There, I am assured ‘it degrades and becomes harmless’. However, if the plant is not actively growing, Roundup lurks for months until there is a growth spurt and then it works. Roundup does not degrade while in the plant.

The next fact about Roundup is that it enters stomates of all plants so even in so called Roundup Ready plants, the poison permeates every cell in the plant and there the Roundup stays. Now this is the question I have asked and asked and have never received an answer.

‘Considering the above, is it true that plants like GM Canola that were bred to be immune to Roundup, hold Roundup in their cells where it remains right through to the dinner table?’

Roundup has revolutionised agriculture and is a must-have tool for non-till or low-till sustainable broadacre farming. But considering that we already ingest so many toxins from our polluted environment, is engineering edible plants to be ‘Roundup Ready’ taking GM one step too far?

Saturday 27 August 2011

Bluebell Books Short Story 8

Love in a wheat field.

My heart, my mind, my soul infuse
With sweetest love, my body use.
But ‘ere we lay
Here in the hay
Please help me find my effing shoes!

Prompt by Bluebell Books Short Story Slam.
(No time today to write a real story, maybe next time).

Friday 26 August 2011

What next for Libya?


No Ghadaffi

People free?


.... We shall see.

First published in Poetry 24.

Picture from Reuters.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Adam's limited options.

or 'Eve gives Adam a ribbing' in der Deutsche sprachen.

Ven Eef und der Adam vas yung,
Ven all of der trupples haf come,
He say....
"On leafe I am goink!”
But Eef say; I’m knowink
You'll come back ven your leaf iss up!”

Haf a look at der Gooseberry Garden for more hiths and myths.

Auntie Ella's Magpie

Auntie Ella.
I can hardly remember not having a car,
but I do remember Auntie Ella.
Looking back, I now wonder
what some of my dates must have thought.

Before leaving on a date
she always made me stand still and listen.
Then she would say:

“Be careful young man, and remember;
‘People in cars cause accidents.
Accidents in cars cause people’.”

It worked.
No accidents.
But there were some lovely close shaves!

Memories prompted by Magpie Tales.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Scientific experiment anyone can do at home.

Mr ten percent explores his human foibles.

It has been said we Humans use only ten percent of our brains. So what do we do we do with the rest? Being a Darwinist, I look for advantage in everything, so I had a good look at IXL and realised my lovely lady would never have attracted my ardour had she had a head the size of a Pomeranian.

So it is 90% padding. But in most of us, even that ten percent seems to work less well than almost every animal when it comes to interpreting natural evidence. I refer to the fact that some very powerful people mentioned in my last few posts lack the ability to critically analyse their own ideas before declaring them facts.

Tony Abbott asked recently why Carbon Dioxide, which is an odourless, colourless gas that mixes totally with the atmosphere and is therefore weightless could possibly be measured in tons! If you reacted by asking; “So?” maybe it is time to close this screen. To those still wondering, I pose this question:

Why would anyone exposed to the evidence all around us that Science is keeping planes in the air, holding up skyscrapers, replacing heart arteries, splicing genes from fish to wheat, you name it, but still assume their own random assumptions are the absolute truth based on no evidence except that they thought it up or maybe it is what some bloke said at the pub?

In the same basket, let’s place that deadly elation that occasionally floods a soldier’s brain that causes him/her to rush a machine gun emplacement armed with nothing but bare fists and temporary insanity. Why the same basket? Stay with me and keep that ten percent open.

What if both examples enhanced the survival of the tribe?
What if we evolved to mindlessly accept the belief system of our tribe so we would follow the direction of our leaders in times of crisis and so not hesitate to sacrifice ourselves to enhance the survival of many? Making sense?
Any general will tell you that the purpose of boot camp is to render a soldier mindless so he/she will obey any order without question. Imagine what would happen if the order “Charge! “ was met by an incredulous “You've got to be kidding!"

Scientific training changes that for most of us. I say most because there are scientists who fail to critically examine assumptions they hold on issues outside their area of expertise, which they should know is very naughty indeed. Unfortunately, such pronouncements give succour to the Bachmanns and Abbotts of the world who declare Climate Change is a conspiracy or Intelligent Design is science and quote as their source, ‘hundreds of scientists’.

So, why do apologists get away with basically misrepresenting the evidence? We can all think, we all have access to the information but, my friends, we lack one simple process. We can’t seem to ask the one simple question that would boost us to the next level of intellectual honesty. We can’t say ‘WHAT IF I AM WRONG!?”

So my challenge is to try it.
Put the ego aside, take any firmly held belief, ask yourself the question, look for contrary evidence and see where it takes you.
It never fails to surprise me.

Cute dog pic borrowed from the net.

Surprise Magpie.


Oh darling! My lover, so clever, so sweet!
You’ve painted the room! My joy is complete!
But wait! Silly man,
My lovely divan…
It’s ruined! You left off the paint splatter sheet!

Explanation of the picture provided by Tess of the Willowvilles.

Monday 15 August 2011

The Huns are coming!

“Climate Change is here!” does not compare to your classic “The Huns are coming!” as a generator of adrenalin.  So although it presents a more dire threat than whatever wiped out the dinosaurs, It is all happening too slowly for that. But once here, and it is here, unlike the Huns, it will never go away.

Now consider this. Both Snowbrush and Helen in comments on my post on political vitriol, mentioned Michelle Bachmann. I looked her up and discovered a right wing Republican, who among other things has more faith in her intuition than science while at the same time admitting she is not a ‘deep thinker’. She believes Intelligent Design is science, we should scrap the minimum wage and universal healthcare (those two go so well together, don’t you think?), feels threatened by taxes, abortion, gays and Muslims. She wants to control what happens in the bedroom but not what happens in the workplace or contribute to national health. If we could see into her mind, we would probably see the elephant in the room that Obama represents but I will not speculate. The public record is radical enough.

Then, did you hear (British PM) David Cameron, in his best Churchillian, threatening; ‘We will track you down… we will punish you”? Of course rioting and looting are mindless, frightening and criminal. Perpetrators should be arrested and tried but Cameron has exacerbated the problem by further dividing the US and THEM of British society, making the task of addressing the reasons unnecessarily difficult.

Here, Tony Abbott is determined to destroy Climate Change initiatives, and like Michelle Bachmann, is against any initiative that will cost the very wealthy anything. Their rhetoric is creating a division between the political left and right not seen since the Great Depression. Then consider where that led… Radical communism on one side and Radical Capitalism on the other, with Nazism in between. Radicalism happens when we feel stressed.

I did say feel stressed, because I believe Climate Change and the Global Economy can be fixed.  Hope energises people to make sacrifices and feel good about their contribution. But we are allowing political opportunists to scare us into radicalism again.

What happens next is classic tribalism. Both those problems are global, complex and require intelligent solutions. But that ain’t what’s happening folks. We are doing what we have always done. We are turning to ‘strong’ leaders who promise they will wipe out the Huns if we make them Chief.

But where are the Huns? Don’t worry, our Leaders will identify them for us. Hitler identified them as Jews. Milosevic identified them as Muslims. Marx identified them as Capitalists, Hoover identified them as Communists. Ayotollah Khomeini identified them as anything Western. But none will say “Climate Change” because they instinctively know it is not on our evolved list of adrenal triggers for many.

With Europe threatening to collapse, our energies and wealth being dissipated by ‘wars on terror’ and so many shrill voices with finger pointing, it seems we have evolved little since Chimps started raiding neighbouring colonies to kill and eat their babies.

Whatever happened to politicians who debated using facts, listened with respect, negotiated and voted from a shared wish to benefit all the people? I feel they are there but moderate voices rarely create headlines so we rarely hear them. 

Sunday 14 August 2011

Shoot the Prime Minister??

As if the rhetoric was not dangerous enough already, now we have a Conservative candidate saying 'Julia Gillard is evil' and should meet the same fate as John F Kennedy!

Of course his statement was disowned by the party but Tony Abbott must take responsibility for setting the stage. The Prime Minister has shown she is inexperienced in the job, making premature announcements and underestimating the ignorance of her constituents and so failing to fully sell her policies. But she is not evil. What is evil the wave of outrageous personal vilification Abbott and his Conservative Storm Troopers have generated against the Prime Minister.

It seems I was closer to the truth than I realised when I posted this piece of satire! (edited). Since then Abbott has said he will gain government at the next election then call a double dissolution as soon as his bills to dump the Carbon and Mining Taxes are blocked.


 Scene: Digger Pitt, mining magnate talking to Tony Abbott after he failed to attract enough support to form government. ('Rupert' is of course Murdock whose newspapers have been outrageously biased towards the big end of town).

Tony is on the phone to Digger.

“What the hell can I do now, Digger?”
“What? You’re asking me? Just get that bitch out! We need a new election before July or we’re stuffed!”
“With respect, Digger, it’s a bad look for me to go back on a promise, I…”
“Ha, ha, ha! Don’t shit me Tony. When did you not… paid maternity leave over your dead body, climate change is bunkum? Those two little doozies would have cost me a mint. But this is serious mate. We can’t pay a mining tax AND buy BHP Billiton!”
“But if I go back on that I’ll upset the independents more…”
“So? Just get me a new election and I’ll take care of them. With an Atheist in the lodge and a poofter running the Greens mate, we've got God on our side. I'll hit the media and you’ll win at a gallop!”
“But you’ll still have Greens in the Senate!”
“So they block and you get a double dissolution. Just get me an election and we’ll do the rest.”
“OK, Digger, leave it to me. I reckon I can bring her down.”
“Good boy Tony! Can I tell Rupert you’re on side?”
“Of course, always.”
“Thanks mate, we’ll be watching.”

Thursday 11 August 2011

Meating at Funny Bunny Friday

The Wooly Red Steer.
(a true story retold for Funny Bunny Friday at the Purple Treehouse.)

Dan Langan was the oldest man in town, nearing ninety, wiry and strong, he still rode his big white mare around the hilly property. We had a common fence that was an exercise in desperation. What was still standing was held together by baling twine and rust, but with a little repair by me, it seemed to keep my stock in and his out.

That was until the appearance of the wooly red steer. I arrived home to see him, not yet accepted by my four, grazing alone on my side of the fence.
I drove him out my front gate and pushed him into Dan’s place. Then I searched until I found what I thought had been his point of entry and closed the gap.
Next visit he was back.

Bugger. This time he had integrated with mine. They were now mates and would test the fence if they were separated.
It was time to see Dan.

Dan loved a chat and that’s what we had for maybe an hour. A pot of tea and several scones later as Mrs. Langan fussed over us and it was time for business.
‘Well, young feller,’ he said. ‘You didn’t come over here for a chat. What’s on your mind?’

I told him his red steer was back on my side of the fence and maybe we needed to put him in a more secure paddock.
His smile broadened as I spoke until he was laughing.
‘I thought the pest of a thing was yours!’
‘No, he’s not mine.’
‘OK,’ he laughed again. ‘Let’s eat him!’

Photo borrowed from here.

Wednesday 10 August 2011

This Magpie apologises.

I apologise for the apparent wallow in self pity of the last post. It was just a memory and in a way a celebration of escape from my father's genocidal, paternalistic, vengeful, cruel and unjust god.

Back then we were all forced to fear Him through OT readings and preacher rantings reinforced by liberal applications of The Rod.

But right now, with plenty to do and the love of a good woman, I have never been happier.

Caged Emotions 1947.

Barn dance, fox trot
quickstep, waltz.
Teenage kids
in tops and shorts.

Jitterbug and
rock and roll.
Laughing, squealing
guy and doll.

Long walk home with
 hand in hand.
Waking, stirring
Earth’s command.

Home and lit by
light globe bright.
Lust denied this
time. Good night!

Teenagers: I would rather watch and sympathise than be one.
More post war wisdom and confessions can be found at Magpie Tales.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Magpie Memory 77.

Voice of an Angel.

My sin was his sin.
drove my father.

While God watched,
he thrashed Satan
from his children.

But God was not appeased.
Like all sadists,
He rarely is.

But it stopped the year
I won the eisteddfod;

I never sang again.
But looking back,
It was a fair trade.

Look for more cheerful pieces at Magpie Tales.

Tuesday 2 August 2011

In the eye of the Beholder Magpie.

Point of View.

“What a kind and thoughtful plan,
Thinking, thinking, clever man!”
He said, while watching cows a-grazing.
“He really is. He's quite amazing!”

My furrowed brow and eyebrows raised 
Should have said; 'I'm clearly fazed'.
But then I said; 'I've no idea
What is your meaning, please be clear!'

Then confounding revelation,
Added more to my confusion.
“I’ll be damned!” He said. “I’ve never
Seen devices quite so clever!”

None the wiser, needing more
To understand and still unsure
To what this city man alluded,
Thinking, ‘obviously, deluded!’

But soon enlightened I became
As Cedric went on to exclaim;
“Poor cows and calves, in summer heat
Suffer so, with no retreat.”

Then his eyes led mine to gaze
Further on through shimm’ring haze
To where the farmer, we discerned
Was sitting. “That’s a rest well earned,”

He said. “His kindliness rewarded
Should be talked about, applauded.
He clearly did the best he can
By putting up that cattle fan!”

More kindness can be found at Magpie Tales.
Picture borrowed from NebraskaTravels.com