Friday, September 29, 2006


Damn, I've been flat out like a lizard drinkin'.

Coming up is a long weekend - Labour Day. But my planned three days of writing has gone into the crapper. Family is coming, and it's the beginning of the school holidays.

For me, that's meant extra housework when I get home from the day job (my idea of cleaning is to give a room a sweeping glance). Usually, I do it on Saturday, but we are being descended upon tonight.

I haven't had time to even look at my PBW challenge stuff at work because one of my colleagues decided to have a couple of days off, leaving two of us to deal with the public and their demands. Sigh. I'm sneaking this in while the other worker has gone to lunch.

I'm going to try to escape the children on Sunday, though; it's going to be a gorgeous day, so maybe they'll head to the beach for a few hours.

I'm going to set aside the shorter novella I've started in favour of enlarging a short story. I've got some ideas to hide the perpetrator better now that I'll have extra words. I can throw in a couple more characters, too, more world building and a an extra twist or two.

Exciting stuff for me, but of course I can't do anything until I'm left in peace. It's tough being a popular aunt, but what the hell. I'll take 'em shopping tomorrow, tire them out and have the evening for writing. Hah! Now there's a plan.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Worst Practice

As I said, my modem fell of the twig, or, more precisely, the dsl's light went out. I thought - in my naivete - that once I'd reported the said deceased, that they would either send me a new one, or send a technician.

Okay, the nice sounding young man tells me a second tier (que?) technician will contact me in the next three days to confirm a time to come around and look at the damn thing. (Oh, here's a direct quote: "Ma'am, I have to warn you that if the device has been tampered with, or unauthorised action taken to compromise it's usage you will have to pay for the technician's call out.") o_O

There was no call on Sunday, expected that; nothing on Monday, either, probably busy; my mother took the call on Tuesday:

Tech: "A technician will be there next Thursday."
Mum: "Oh, Thursday will be wonderful."
Tech: "Okay, a technician will be there between 8am and 5pm."
Mum: "Er, can he be here in the afternoon?"
Tech: "Yep, I've made a note."
Mum: "Thank you."
Tech: "Okay, I've booked you in for Thursday the 5th of October, in the afternoon."
Mum: "Excuse me? Did you say the 5th? I thought you meant..."
Tech: "Yep, someone will be there in the afternoon. Thanks, see you then, bye." Tech hangs up.
Mum: "B..."

I know what today's date is: it's the 27th of September, and TELSTRA can't fix the modem until the 5th of October?

Yes, I live in the country, but there is a main TELSTRA workshop and exchange twenty miles away, with a spruiking shop in case you need a mobile phone, and they can't possibly come out for another week?

Not. Happy.

I'll have no internet access from home, but I do have it at work. Of course, that makes life that much more difficult. I'll have to have my research done before I leave for the long weekend on Friday.

I've been without the internet; it's inconvenient, that's all. The problem is the lack of respect from TELSTRA.

If I lived in the city, a tech would have been dispatched on Monday. But I don't. I'm in the country, in the bush, and we are disregarded as not having a lot of income worth versus output expense - unless you're a corporation; individual people cost them money.

Of course, I could be wrong; it could be that with all the job cuts TELSTRA CEO Sol Trujillo initiated, there might be simply be a lack of technicians available. And this on the eve of the public float of another $8 billion worth of government shares.

If it wasn't for the contract, I'd have left TELSTRA BIGPOND six months ago. But I do have a contract, and I will honour it, even if this telecommunications giant couldn't be bothered.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Down Time

The modem died. It curled up it's electronic toes on Friday and I spent the weekend sans Internet. So, no researching for the novella. Eep!

I figured it was a sign to stop mucking about and get some work done on PBW's Challenge ; which I duly did, pecking away at the keyboard, editing what I'd already written.

The weather decided to turn ugly. Hot northerly, gale-force winds that dropped trees and branches... across the power lines. Blip. No more computer, either; mid-word, too.

Definitely a sigh moment.

I didn't want to tempt fate a third time by picking up a pen, so I went upstairs to finish the book I was reading... Rachel Caine's Ill Wind; the irony is in your face, ain't it.

Sometimes you've just got to go with the flow.

Today, Monday, the weather is magnificent, cool with a light breeze, blue Spring skies and sunshine. The kind of day where I wish I had a laptop and didn't have to go and work for someone else.

I haven't yet heard from the technician who's supposed to come around and fix the modem, but that's okay, because, hey, I can do my research while I'm here at work.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Reving up

I've finally been struck down by an idea for PBW's E-book Challenge.

Of course, this means that I'm being bombarded by dialogue, scenes, plots and characters, while at work. Distracted much?

To get around this and to be able to do the financial stuff without stuffing it up because I'm working out how many words or counting scenes in my head, I've been jotting down the important points.

This weekend, I'll be glued to my seat in front of the computer and waiting to see what else I can come up with. Once the first draft is done, I can let it sit until next weekend.

Saturday can't come soon enough!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Ain't got nutin'. Been beavering away at re-writing and when I'm not doing that, I'm trying not to get pissed off at various news items (not good for my stress levels, you know).

So, I'm staying away from contentious issues - at least until it gets too unbearable and I have to comment.

School holidays are coming up, so the place will be overrun by screaming hordes of tourists - the weather is beautiful, so they will be lots of them interrupting the peace. It's a shame really, I wasn't ready to let winter go yet.

Friday, September 15, 2006

After the deed is done

Like all authors, I sometimes wish I could write a book that only needed minor corrections, but it doesn't work that way. Or, if it does for those famed authors, it's only through sheer hard work and practice on the books that have gone before.

While I'm doing the re-writing and editing, I'm also post-plotting.

Post plotting is as it sounds, plotting after the book is written. Yeah, it's just askin' for trouble, but it works for me. Here's how I do it:

At the words 'The End', after the happy dancing is done, celebratory drinks downed, and hangover cure swallowed down with curses of 'why do I do it?', I get down to the hard work.

In a new document, I write Post-plotting and continue.

First is the central conflict, or theme, in one line. This is the post on which everything else hangs: Good versus Evil, the Quest, Vengeance, whatever works for you.

Second is the 'Reader's Promise'. What will keep your reader going? What promise have you made to them? That good will truimph, but only after some angst? That the quest will succeed, that vengeance will be had?

Third is the hard slog. Each scene must be summarized into a paragraph. Below that, I have Beginning, Middle, End (BME), Conflict and Crisis. I fill those in. Every scene must have it's own BME or it's not complete. Every page must have conflict - it's what propels the story, but each scene must have a major conflict. It doesn't have to be solved right there and then, but it has to be there. Finally, the crisis. One crisis follows another. It's what leads from one chapter to the next, what keeps your readers going.

Think of it as links in a chain. Each link is held together by the next, but the whole chain is only as strong as the weakest link. It's your job to make sure that the chain is as strong as it can be.

At the end of all this plotting, I can see where the story fails and correct it. From there, I go to the Check Points. This is a list of doubts, problems or questions that have arisen while red-pen editing. They are things like: Is this character necessary? Check world-building, would so-and-so really do/say/act this? Check character's eye colour, look at motivation, why would they care? Not enough description... etc. This is usually accompanied by coloured arrows stuck to the manuscript, from minor correction blue, to major re-write red.

Sometimes, it takes massive re-writing, but that's the price I pay for being an organic writer, and I doubt I could be any other kind.

There are no hard and fast rules of how you write something, it's an ongoing learning process to find what is right for you. Some are complex, some are straight forward, all are individual.

Every time I write, I learn something new and I hope, I put that new knowledge into practice. It's time consuming, but interesting. It appeals to my need to be constantly challenged and there is no more challenge than writing a book.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Squeamishness or Hypocrasy

There is one thing that can be guarranteed when fighting against terrorism, and that is that the enemy will not operate under the same rules you do. In fact, for the terrorist, anything goes.

To wit: The Governor of Paktia province in Afghanistan - Mr Hakim Taniwal, an Australian citizen - was killed by a suicide bomber on Sunday. At his funeral on Monday, an explosion killed five and wounded another thirty.

Now comes a story from Associated Press via the Fox Network on this picture of 190 Taliban fighters nicely lined up at a funeral of one of their colleagues.

According to the story, the Predator drone snapped this photo and the US Army requested they be allowed to take out the target. The request was refused under the 'rules of engagement' because of an agreement between Hamid Khazi and 'someone high in the US Government' not to bomb cemetaries.

HELL-LLOO is the West at war with the Taliban or not? Is the plan to kill enemy combatants or not?

When this war is over, are America and NATO planning on soaking in self-satisfaction and smugness by saying 'we prosecuted a more culturally-sensitive and socially-aware war than the enemy'?

That is not the way to win a war. Cemetaries are only sacred ground if you're running from a Vampire, okay? Cemetaries are full of dead people, a few more won't bother them. In combat, battles have been fought before in cemetaries, the current conflicts are no exception.

Whoever that fucknuckle was who made the agreement, can now bear full responsibility for the deaths of any allied troops should a single one of those 190 Taliban fighters attack. The argument that the fighter who pulls the trigger is responsible is no longer on the table because the Army had the opportunity to stop that killer and were denied that opportunity.

I suspect because of political concerns - gotta be friendly and accommodating, because later Afghanistan may have something this idiot needs.

190 trained killers, already pissed off at the loss of one of their own. What did they do after the photo was taken, I wonder?

And now, of course, they also know that the US won't touch them at a funeral. Gosh, maybe that 'high-ranking US Government official' could make the same agreement with Osama Bin Laden or Muhommad Omar? Just so people can be buried in peace, you understand, not because there a lots of potential victims.

It's time the allies fought fire with fire, got down in the moral gutter and gave back equal measure of horror.

"It's not the way to do things!", "We can't sink to their level, it makes us just as bad as they!" I can hear people protest, "We're better than that, we have rules!" Yep, sure do, and all it's doing is giving the enemy a bigger, more docile target.

Wars cannot be won by tying your militaries hands. It cannot be won by pretending to be better than the opposition, it cannot be won by raising your principles high and demanding a fair and level combat zone. It is not about talking reasonable people into peace just because you think you're a reasonable person.

They. Do. Not. Think. That. Way.

These people want the earth to be wholly and soully Islamic under Shariah Law. They want to kill anyone who doesn't agree with them in any way the can. It's time the West stopped pussyfooting around and let the military do their job, especially Special Forces. It's time to wipe out the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

It's time, like the terrorist organisations themselves, to make the most of targets of opportunities, be they at a funeral or not, because those are the tactics the enemy is using.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The New World

Islamofascism. A new word to fear and a new word to be depressed about.

I can't remember who said it, but: extremists only become more so. And it's true.

When you look at the world today, it is populated by extremists who are determined to impose their will on others. Muslim extremists are the worst because their attitude is that if you are not one of them, you are either an infidel who doesn't deserve to live, or a martyr for the cause.

There is no winning with these people. Even if you gave them everything they demanded, they would find something else to bitch about.

The western world, of course, cannot give into to radicals who's only desire is to martyr themselves for an amorphous cause.

Let's get some understanding here: Al Qaeda's demands are that all foreign armies leave Arabic countries, that so called 'democratized' Arabic nations fall into line and become fundamentalist governments, or Caliphates under Sharia Law, that Islam be spread throughout the world so the world becomes an Islamic paradise, that all Infidels be branded or destroyed, that Israel be destroyed, and so on. They are willing to achieve this goal through terrorism.

These fundamentalists call it a Holy Jihad. It's not. Muhummad actually stipulated that Jihads only be called if the Holy Land was imperiled, and only by a Council of Clerics. The accusations that Muslims are now engaged in a Crusader-type Jihad is a lie of epic proportions, as is the lie that the Western World hates all Muslims. And the great man is probably as pissy as hell at what his children have done to his religion and in his name.

What these fundamentalists have learned is that public relations and the media are one of the most important tools in their arsenal. Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and the others can all point to 'aggression' by America, Israel, Britain, any Western Nation and say "See? We told you they hate us and we must fight back before they destroy us." Anything Israel does is blamed on Americans.

However, in the latest conflict, no one - and I include Arab nations - came out and demanded Israel stop immediately. There was umming and ahhing and when Hezbollah were pushed back far enough, then nations decided enough was enough. Hezbollah, on the other hand, were waging a successful PR campaign in their own enclaves and recruiting.

The West, although valiantly engaging the enemy in their War on Terror, cannot win a guerilla war; nor can it win a war by wiping out a religion or a people. It makes no difference how many troops are sent, there will always be suicide bombers or snipers
or ieds.

What can you do against a person who see it as their ticket to paradise to kill as many non-believers as possible and be 'rewarded' for mass murder?

How, then, can peace be restored? Appeasement? Has never worked before and won't now. An escalation in attacks? One escalate deserves another and Islam won't lack for soldiers to the cause. Assassination of key commanders? Sure, it works but only for a limited time and only until a successor is chosen.

How about education? How about Islamic nations taking responsibility for their own people again and teaching the kids what the Qu'ran, the proper one, not the one hijacked by radicals, is all about? How about getting out there and killing that fucker Bin Laden and his entire cadre of tosspots?

Because you can bet your bottom dollar he's out there, in the caves of Pakistan, up the Khyber Pass, planning more mass murder against people he sees as non-human.

It's going to be a long and bloody global war with atrocities on both sides. The enemy is going to do despicable things and because of our retaliation, civilians will die. Let's face it, you cannot prosecute a war, any war, without civilian deaths. It's okay to be careful, but in the end civilians will die and we'd better get used to it because the enemy is going after unarmed people - soft targets, or in their language, infidels.

Time is running out because Muslims are about to have nuclear weaponry. Then it's really going to get ugly.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Writer's Curse

I'm sitting here looking at the manuscript of Demonesque and wondering why I thought I could do this.

I've said on a previous occasion that writing is the easy part, and that remains true. But how many edits does it take for a book to be ready for someone else to read? For an editor to say 'hey, this is terrific, I'll buy it'? For the writer to be satisfied with the work?

How long is a piece of string? A writer will never wholly be satisfied with the work. There is always something more that could have done, something that could have been tweaked, a word changed, a sentence re-written. An editor will also have their say, changing your hard work into something... different. Hopefully, better, but it's still different from your vision.

As writers, we work so damn hard on bringing our imaginations to life for others; months, years of work to be consumed in a few hours.

I wrote Demonesque eighteen months ago and every six months or so, edit it with varying degrees of determination. I'd thought it nearly finished and I couldd be proud of it. Like a child, it's changed, grown. I'd like to think it's matured.

It's got tags sticking out everywhere with coloured posts hidden within the pages waiting for me to notice, to correct, to think about, to re-write, to cut and to re-create, to bind, to teach it how to become whole.

Some time ago, one of my sisters said to me: "How can you expect others to take your writing seriously if you don't?" At the time I was resentful. What the hell did she know about it? How hard it is just to have the ideas, the characters, the world-building, to finish a first draft? How difficult it was to wrestle with concepts, themes, dialogue, conflict and resolutions? Jeez... You labour for months on one single aspect and then get accused of not being serious about it?

Today, though, is when that one question rings true and holds me to the path. I'm still wondering why I thought I could do this. I imagine most writers think the same thing. It's that one barrier that pops up constantly and no amount of ammunition can quell that bloody wall.

Luckily, writers are ingenious. We climb over that wall, dig under it, go around it, close our eyes, stick our fingers in our ears and yell 'I'm not listening! I can't hear you!' and walk through the barrier.

You can't be a coward in this business; you have to put yourself out there and keep doing it no matter what others might say. No matter what the infernal... internal critic might say.

This book is 130k and I wrote it. It may not be great, it's certainly not literature, but it's mine. The fact that I keep coming back to it means it has a lot in it that's compelling.

My job is to make it just as compelling to an editor, to prospective readers out there; not for money, not for fame, not for accolades (though my ego would love that, but because I want to share my imagination.

I look at all those tags now and think "I am a step closer." To what, well that's for the future.

Now I have to go and kill that stiff-necked, domineering and unreasonable perfectionist that lives next door to the inner critic... Anyone got big stick I can beat them both to death with?

Saturday, September 09, 2006


More edits. I've just finished going through Demonesque. I split the book in two so it would fit on my editor's board. Now I have both halves sitting on it.

One half is full of tags and sticky notes and sticky arrows; the other half has one arrow. That's it. Just the one. A small red one. But it speaks volumes.

The first half has stuff that will need minor re-writing. The tags are small inserts, the sticky notes are larger inserts and the arrows, in different colours, are for me to look at and decide what to do with the scene.

The second half arrow? The red arrow of doooommmm. It signifies two empty chapters. That's right two; they're just chapter numbers followed by blank space. At sometime during a previous edit, I decided those two chapters needed rewriting because of some reason I can't remember. I think it had something to do with making the book too complex or too long.

So. I'll have to put in the edits I have, then go back scene-by-scene, line-by-line and test the whole manuscript to see if what those chapters can contain. My notes there don't make a lot of sense. Who knows what I was thinking, but it's going to take me longer than expected to finish it all.

Ah, well. I like the book anyway, so I'll have at it. Not now, though. It's late and I need to retire for the night. Tomorrow, I'll get back to it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Tragedy of Three

Last week, the country lost one of it's political icons. Don Chipp was a rabble-rouser, a blunt, straight talking politician who was so fed up with the sly, agenda driven political parties, that he created his own. One that held the balance of power in this country for more than ten years. The Democrats, following his retirement, were never the same, but still held political clout. His death from Parkinson's Disease grieved a lot of Australians who respected his motto of 'let's keep the bastards honest'.

Earlier on this week, the country lost one of it's conservation icons. Steve Irwin was a force to be reckoned with in the field of conservation and raised the profile of endangered species like no other. He was a larrikin, a fathr, a husband, a friend and a generous spirit. It won't be just Australia who will miss him, but the whole world. Australia Zoo will continue to follow Steve's work and keep his legacy alive. He was and will remain our greatest conservationist.

Now this:

Peter Brock killed in car crash

Peter Brock is... was a legend, an icon, in the motor racing industry here; a hero to many as he powered his way to nine Bathurst 1000 victories and the 24 hour race. Known as Peter Perfect and the King of the Mountain, his death will and has sent shock waves through the racing community. The police are investigating the accident which happened during the Targa Rally this morning.

It's been an absolute shocker of a week.

Thursday, September 07, 2006



Again. Today. In a couple of hours. meh.

Tooth's fine. Really. No, trust me, it's fine. I don't really need to go...

I've got some red wine to guzzle once I'm home; hangover? Don't care.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Murphy's Maxims

The Irish have a lot of common sense about them. Here's something my sister sent me:

1. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

2. He, who laughs last, thinks slowest.

3. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

4. Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

5. Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

5. The 50-50-90 rule: Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong.

6. If you lined up all the cars in the world end to end, someone would be stupid enough to try to pass them, five or six at a time, on a hill, in
the fog.

7. If the shoe fits, get another one just like it.

8. The things that come to those who wait will be the things left by those who got there first.

9. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat all day.

10. Torch (flashlight): A case for holding dead batteries.

11. The shin bone is a device for finding furniture in a dark room.

12. A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The best

It's tragic, the death of Steve Irwin. He was such a larrikin, an icon of Australia, a man for whom nature and family was paramount.

So much has been said in the last twenty-four hours and I'm grateful that it is for his conservation work that he is being remembered, not his style and over-the-top exuberance, although all three were what made the Crocodile Hunter unique.

It wasn't just the Australian news that covered the story, but international news services as well; from CNN to the BBC, his death was the lead. That told Australians just how well thought of he was overseas.

He was our own, he will be missed, but his legacy will go on.

The worst

Further to yesterday's diatribe, a member of Mr Howard's Muslim Advisory Council had this to say in support of the Prime Minister.

Of particular note is this comment made by Mr Mustapha Kara-Ali: "I am absolutely supportive of the Prime Minister on that issue," he said. "Certain sections of the community want to play the victim card so we need to be careful."

And so it goes. A lot of minorities love to play the victim card, accusing various areas of society and/or goverment of being 'uncaring', of not 'understanding', or that comments are 'racist'. Disagreeing with policy or an attitude is not racist, and it's about time minorities stopped being such sensitive little flowers and got on with it.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Minorities suck

How is it that a minority can attract such media attention to a simple suggestion?

Australia is for Australians; anyone who immigrates here is welcome, of course. Those who take out citizen have our thanks and our hellos, for it is no easy thing to give up home and country to take on a new nation and create a new family and memories...

You know what? To hell with trying to write something that tiptoes around other peoples sensibilities, or isn't necessarily politically correct.

The subject is minorities, and the adjunct to that is their bitter complaint about Prime Minister Howard's comments on a small section of the Islamic community that is resistant to integration into Australian society; that they should make an effort to learn English and have more respect for women.

The Australian is just one of the media sources where by this quote, in response, was made: "There's no value in pointing out the minority of the Muslim group," Islamic leader Iktimal Hage-Ali, a member of the Prime Minister's advisory group said. She accused Mr Howard of threatening to further marginalise Muslims.

Marginalise? Marginalize? Respecting women, speaking the language is marginalising?

A decade ago, it was a requirement to immigration that migrants have a working knowledge of English. There was even a test for it. I doubt there is that requirement now, or it is simply overlooked or disregarded as being 'discriminatory'.

It is an increasing complaint amongst the citizenry that there are too many enclaves; too many of our new migrants who prefer to stay in those enclaves and make no effort whatsoever to integrate. They expect the free health care, the unemployment benefits or pensions, the public housing, the free training and prefered status for job seekers; they expect everything this country has to offer without earning it, without giving the rest of the society a chance. These people prefer to bring their own nations' prejudices and despicable attitudes here where they can practice them in safety.

And yes, it is a very, very small minority that does this and it is across the board of nationalities, so why the fuck does the PMs comment piss them off so royally and why has the media even paid these tossers any attention?

Because it's controversial, it smacks of the new definition of rascism (that is: anything criticizing a race - be it attitude, lifestyle, education, haircuts,anything is considered rascist by that particular race) and it pitches a beleagued ethnic group against the uppermost levels of government.

To those pain-in-the-arse minorities: get off your lazy butts and make something of yourselves. You came to this country to make a new start, get to it! And stop bitching at the rest of us because 'it's all too hard', or 'I can't get a job because I'm [insert ethnic or religious group here].

This country was built by migrants. Hell, my mother is a migrant and she is fiercely Australian and English. I'm sick to death of the whinging and accusations. Get over yourselves and move on.

There. A rant fest. I feel so much better now. Although I can see how reading too many of the stories and create a festering of resentment. Have to stop that... but there are so many examples of this shit (see Grasshoppers and Squirrels) below.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


I went off into town (twenty kilometers away) for my once a week shop.

I'm one of those people who simply cannot walk past a bookstore. I have to go in and have a look, even if I know I need climbing gear to get to the top of my tbr pile.

Bookstores have that unique smell. It's the scent of dark mystery mixed with the sweetness of romance, the spiciness of crime, the vague rot of horror, the freshness of sci-fi and fantasy. It's all blended with the eye-opening perfume of biographies, histories, computer books, all manner of non-fiction. It is, undoubtedly, intriguing, compelling and wonderous; altogether irresistable. At least, to me.

Gleefully - and with no small amount of guilt - I exited the store with my wallet a little lighter. Okay. A lot lighter.

In my hot little hands I have Tess Gerritsen's The Mephisto Club, Laurel K. Hamilton's A Stroke of Midnight, and Nora Robert's Angels Fall. MWAHAHA!

Sorry... can't help myself.

Now, I just have to find time to read them... sigh.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Grasshoppers and Squirrels

My sister sent me this and I just had to share; as a social comment, it's spot on.

The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building and improving his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the squirrel is warm and well fed.

The shivering grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.


The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the squirrel is warm and well fed.

A social worker finds the shivering grasshopper, calls a press conference and demands to know why the squirrel should be allowed to be warm and well-fed while others less fortunate, like the grasshopper, are cold and starving.

The ABC shows up to provide live coverage of the shivering grasshopper; with cuts to a video of the squirrel in his comfortable warm home with a table laden with food.

The Australian press informs people that they should be ashamed that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so while others have plenty.

The Labour Party, Greenpeace, Animal Rights and The Grasshopper Housing Commission of Australia demonstrate in front of the squirrel's house. The ABC, interrupting a cultural festival special from St Kilda with breaking news, broadcasts a multi cultural choir singing "We Shall Overcome".

Bill Shorten rants in an interview with Laurie Oakes that the squirrel got rich off the backs of grasshoppers, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the squirrel to make him pay his "fair share" and increases the charge for squirrels to enter Melbourne city centre.

In response to pressure from the media, the Government drafts the Economic Equity and Grasshopper Anti Discrimination Act, retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The squirrel's taxes are reassessed. He is taken to court and fined for failing to hire grasshoppers as builders, for the work he was doing on his home and an additional fine for contempt when he told the court the grasshopper did not want to work.

The grasshopper is provided with a Housing Commission house, financial aid to furnish it and an account with a local taxi firm to ensure he can be socially mobile. The squirrel's food is seized and re-distributed to the more needy members of society - in this case the grasshopper.

Without enough money to buy more food, to pay the fine and his newly imposed retroactive taxes, the squirrel has to downsize and start building a new home. The local authority takes over his old home and utilises it as a temporary home for asylum seeking cats who had hijacked a plane to get to Australia as they had to share their country of origin with mice. On arrival they tried to blow up the airport because of Australians' apparent love of dogs.

The cats had been arrested for the international offence of hijacking and attempted bombing but were immediately released because the police fed them pilchards instead of salmon whilst in custody. Initial moves to make then return them to their own country were abandoned because it was feared they would face death by the mice. The cats devise and start a scam to obtain money from people's credit cards.

A 60 Minutes special shows the grasshopper finishing up the last of the squirrel's food, though spring is still months away, while the Housing Commission house he is in, crumbles around him because he hasn't bothered to maintain it. He is shown to be taking drugs. Inadequate government funding is blamed for the grasshopper's drug "Illness".

The cats seek recompense in the Australian courts for their treatment since arrival in Australia.

The grasshopper gets arrested for stabbing an old dog during a burglary to get money for his drugs habit. He is imprisoned but released immediately because he has been in custody for a few weeks. He is placed in the care of the probation service to monitor and supervise him.

Within a few weeks he has killed a guinea pig in a botched robbery.

A commission of enquiry, that will eventually cost $10 million and state the obvious, is set up. Additional money is put into funding a drug rehabilitation scheme for grasshoppers. Legal aid for lawyers representing asylum seekers is increased. The asylum seeking cats are praised by the government for enriching Australia's multicultural diversity and dogs are criticised by the government for failing to befriend the cats.

The grasshopper dies of a drug overdose. The usual sections of the press blame it on the obvious failure of government to address the root causes of despair arising from social inequity and his traumatic experience of prison. They call for the resignation of a minister.

The cats are paid $1 million each because their rights were infringed when the government failed to inform them there were mice in Australia.

The squirrel, the dogs and the victims of the hijacking, the bombing, the burglaries and robberies have to pay an additional percentage on their credit cards to cover losses, their taxes are increased to pay for law and order, and they are told that they will have to work beyond 65 because of a shortfall in government funds.


I wonder how many other nations suffer from the same social maladies?