The 9pm Edict #18

Danger on the streets! Lock up your children! There’s not a moment to spare. Australians demonstrate their stupidity and complete lack of class by proposing fucked up names for satellites. And in an effort to become relevant to important media issues, a food review.

This episode’s lead topic is the report that NSW Police are lecturing parents who let their children walk to the shops or catch a bus on their own.

I counter this idiocy with the map showing how in just four generations children’s range of action has been cut from six miles to 300 metres, my own experiences as a child, and the Free Range Kids project.

We also hear the misery of entries into NBN Co’s “Name the Satellites” community involvement outreach PR project thingy, and review the wonder that is SunRice Thai Satay Chicken Sauce with Rice.

You can listen to the podcast below. But if you want all of the episodes, now and in the future, subscribe to the podcast feed, or even subscribe automatically in iTunes.

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If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733. Not that anyone ever does.

[Credits: Audio grabs from The Police’s Roxanne, SunRice Flavoured Quick Cups television commercial and the survival kit checklist Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr Strangelove. The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, Edict fanfare by neonaeon, all from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission. Special thanks to Neil Gardiner.]

50 to 50 #8: Chores and responsibility

[This post is part of the series 50 to 50, started last year to mark my 50th birthday. One post per year, y’see. The series ground to a halt due to a combination of work and personal pressures, as well as finding that such intense reminiscences of my own past were emotionally draining. Last night there was a conversation that triggered this attempt to resurrect the series.]

I’ve already written how we lived on the Mount Compass dairy farm for a decade, essentially through the 1960s. I’ve already written about its continual financial struggles and the joys of growing up as a free range kid. Today, to get this series back on track, some childhood memories that I’m sure have shaped my adult personality.

A dairy farm is a seven-day business, and a family farm is a family business. Everyone is expected to contribute. From the age of eight or nine I had my share of chores, and was given plenty of lessons in taking responsibility. I can remember simple tasks like feeding the dogs, helping clean the milking shed and lots of fetch-and-carry. But there were other chores that to a 21st century urban ear sound like a lot for an unsupervised young kid.

At the easier end of things was taking the two cattle dogs out to round up the cows for milking. Actually, the dogs did all the work. They’d see dad heading to the milking shed to start setting up and they’d kick off the round-up themselves, circling back to herd me and my brother if we fell behind. I’d also cycle the four or five kilometres into Mount Compass village to buy milk or bread or whatever. Easy stuff.

But there was more.

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50 to 50 #5: Dangerous play

[This post is part of the series 50 to 50, fifty posts in the lead-up to my 50th birthday in May. Originally intended to be one per day, with the final one on the birthday itself, it’s been disrupted by my work schedule. There will still be fifty posts, just not one per day.]

The great thing about growing up on a farm is that there’s about eleventy hundred ways of killing yourself and you get to try them all.

In the photo, there’s a pine tree on the right behind me and my brother. Yes, a brother. He was born in 1963, so there’s a three year gap. I’ll get to the pine tree in a moment.

On the left is the cement-brick milking shed. Immediately to its right, off in the distance so you might want to look on the embiggened photo, is the pumphouse. And then the truck, well, that’s just a truck — although my father built it like Dr Frankenstein from bits of other, dead, trucks.

Just behind the truck’s engine compartment is dad’s shed, a crumpled heap of corrugated iron that’s no longer there. It was poorly lit and full of tools and wood scraps and junk and half a dozen unfinished projects. I didn’t like going in there, it was creepy. Strange creatures lived in the dark corners and would kill small children, I know that for sure.

Even if they were good children.

Mum and dad were pretty busy most of the time. My brother and I were left to our own devices. The huge open spaces of the farm, the sheds, the random bits of equipment all meant I could invent my own imaginary world.

Every trip out with the dogs — and the dogs went everywhere with us and took care of us, so we couldn’t possibly get into any trouble — became some sort of combat patrol.

But watch out for the snakes!

Continue reading “50 to 50 #5: Dangerous play”

The 9pm Edict #6

The 9pm Edict

School anti-bullying programs make life difficult for the US Army. Senator Conroy illustrates the Rudd government’s non-commitment to transparent by not releasing the NBN report. And some weird-arsed stoush erupts between Australia and Encyclopaedia Dramatica.

So, it’s Friday night and The 9pm Edict is late. Do you care? Really? Here it is anyway.

You can listen to this episode below. But if you want them all, subscribe to the podcast feed, or even subscribe automatically in iTunes.

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For more information on what I discussed tonight, check out the Encyclopedia Dramatica article on “Aboriginal” and the story of the Australian Human Rights Commission action and ED‘s owner’s response; the Zen Pundit post on the US Army and Free Range Kids; and Senator Stephen Conroy on Lateline.

If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

[Credits: The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, Edict fanfare by neonaeon, all from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission.]