3 Court Martials, 1 Senate Inquiry, an Aussie lad goes to War

Michael O'Donnell 20th Rein 14th Batt, 1916

Michael O’Donnell
20th Rein 14th Batt, 1916

It is 100 years since the end of WW1. That seems like a long time ago. When I explain that my grandfather’s elder brother  Michael O’Donnell was killed in that war at Bullecourt, France in 1917, the story loses the dust of history and sounds closer to us.

This is the story about a young man who was Court Martialed 3 times, held with enemy prisoners and  finally allowed to go to war following a Senate Inquiry.

It is also a story about duty, loyalty and honour and how much we Aussies have changed today.

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Michael O'Donnell Postcard 1911 Remembering 1910 March Melbourne to Bendigo

Michael O’Donnell
Postcard 1911
Remembering 1910 March Melbourne to Bendigo

The sound that distinguishes Anzac Day from others is the bugle call. The solitary call of the Last Post reverberates down the generations as a mournful cry for the loss of war.

In the First World War it was the loss of so many young lives and for what? A toehold on some peninsula, a futile charge into no man’s land? The loss swept into every Australian household. Mothers lost their sons.

Young women lost brothers, boyfriends, lovers, husbands. And for fathers, adding to the pain of loss, was the bitter aftertaste of guilt summarised so succinctly by Rudyard Kipling, who lost his own son in that war:

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“If any question why we died/Tell them, because our fathers lied.”

Yet the generation of Australians who served in the First World War had qualities we no longer possess and this is our loss.

Read Full Article here: Echo of the Bugle

Read Edited article published in the herald Sun Anzac Day, 25th April, 2007: Echo of the Bugle

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The Rules of BACKYARD CRICKET? Make Them Up as You Go

Shock! Horror! Outrage!
The NSW Australia Day Council is threatening to publish the Rules of BACKYARD CRICKET on Australia Day, 2018. (Go to: Backyard cricket battle over call for same rules for all, Emily Ritchie, The Australian, 13 JAN, 2018.)

There are no rules. That’s the point.

I wrote a LETTER TO ALLAN BORDER in 1988. This comic story about the crazy make-them-up-as-you-go rules of Backyard Cricket was published in The Age, SMH etc.

Ian (Macca) McNamara read out the letter on Australia All Over, ABC.

LISTEN to Macca read: A LETTER TO ALLAN BORDER (above)

Cricket Explained

Cricket tends to cause great confusion among novice spectators, recovering alcoholics and Americans. It is, after all, a game where grown men stand around for days looking bored with no balls or madly hug and kiss each other following a duck. As a consequence, I have taken it upon myself to explain cricket to those who wouldn’t know a gibbon from a googly.

I wrote this article in 2010. More on FACEBOOK.

The Language of Porn Lite? It’s turgid like nipples!

I wrote the following article for The Canberra Times  (30th May 2012) when Fifty Shades of Grey had reached its zenith. Reading it now, the language seems even more hilarious. 

Gird your loins, maybe not your loins, but gird something. Do I have news for you? Porn is the new black. I’m not talking about nasty, tacky or buffoonishly hammy porn but, rather, porn lite or clit lit. Porn Lite falls somewhere between ‘he thrust his (crude bit) into her (crude bit) like a battering ram’ and the lovers-embrace-cut-to-fireworks climax metaphor of the 1950s romance films.

Porn Lite currently dominates the best sellers lists in Australia or, to be accurate, one book dominates but in different editions. It’s called Fifty Shades of Grey. In this Porn Lite novel a young virgin falls under the dastardly spell of a manipulative, young, handsome, sado-masochistic billionaire, as you do. His name is Mr Grey. Meanwhile, pop philosopher, Alain De Botton, has written a book published last week titled How to think more about Sex. His aim is to look at sex from a more ethical perspective. De Botton has also declared his intention to partner in a business venture with skin flick producers to run an ethical porn website to challenge the exploitation and abuse of the porn industry. It is difficult to know what to call ethical porn especially as it will be conflicted from birth. A major undercurrent of erotica swirls around that which is taboo and taboos define a culture’s ethics. While I hope De Botton succeeds in his quest to titillate our moral fibre and debrutalise the porn industry, I suspect ethical pornography might be called Pop Porn.

In the meantime, there is money to be made cranking out, ethical or unethical, Porn Lite. Perhaps, you could have a go at writing the Great Australian Shagathon Novel yourself. There would be a ready market and I’m happy to assist you in your fleshfest quest. The first thing you must do before you venture into writing porn lite is study the genre. I read the first two chapters of Fifty Shades of Grey free online and, frankly, that was all I could take before screaming for Cleo mag’s sealed sex-supplement, which I now realise was of high literary merit.

Here are some pointers I picked up from reading Fifty Shades. Our hero must ‘cock his head’ frequently. Apparently, innuendo or dodgy word usage cannot be avoided when writing Porn Lite. Mr Grey ‘cocked his head’ three times in the first two chapters but remember the purpose of Porn Lite is not, I guess, to deliver good writing, but to service other needs. Mr Grey also dedicates his life to arching his eyebrows, quirking his lips and stroking random objects with his long fingered hand. Let it be said; there is a lot to recommend a long-fingered hand. This is the world where our hero’s eyes blaze, lips curl and brow furrows. You get the picture. Your porn lite stud must be a one-man theatre of exaggerated facial mime. When Mr Grey is unoccupied by mime school antics, he glowers. In fact, I’d say glowering is his specialty as his gaze is penetrating, steady or steely, which coincidently is the name of our heroine.

Our poor heroine, Ms Steele (OMG! If she married him she’d become Steele-Grey. Anastasia, so much like anesthesia, Steele-Grey.) is just a bundle of unwanted twitches, ticks and quaking nerves. She quivers. She trembles. She flushes; she blushes then, one minute later, the blood drains from her face reconvening, I suspect, to mount a renewed surge with next flush. The poor girl is so overwhelmed by Christian’s (I think we can call him by his first name now) tousled hair, wry smile and breath-taking and athletic good looks – he is the epitome of male beauty – her heart fails on several occasions, metaphorically speaking, of course. One factor in her favour is she’s lithe. If she was lumpen, bloated or boney there might be some question marks over her porn contortionist potential.

The popular theme of Porn Lite is, you must have guessed, domination-submission. Now all you need to write you sizzling sex epic is some basic structural details. Pick an era. In a contemporary shagathon sex can take place in an airplane toilet, in a taxi or elevator, on a beach or up against a wall. In an historical bonkorama sex can be staged in a jungle, in a castle, in ruins, in the Captain’s quarters on a galleon, in the cockpit of a biplane, on a tomb or in M’Lords carriage. In a historical context, our heroic bonkers need to be very athletic indeed.

You must choose some appropriately cheesy character names. You cannot go past Fabbio for him although Buck and Ace work too. Our heroine, sweet girl, will be a Hope, Honour, Faith or Charity. A few other pointers: lips must be silky, moist and warm (anything else would be plain macabre), her skin ivory, alabaster or creamy, breasts ample, swollen or (my favourite) magnificent, nipples turgid, tight or tingling, or plain erect, and sex must unite her portal of womanhood with his iron-hard tumescence until they both explode. Now you are fully equipped to write your ground/back breaking Porn Lite novel.

And if you want to spice up your own sex life make sure your brow furrows, eyes blaze and lips curl and don’t forget to, frequently and enthusiastically, cock your head.

Captain Hook and the History of Oz

From Charming and Colliding Blog

From Charming and Colliding Blog

Ministers of Education have been alarmed in the past to discover Australian High School Students know very little about the history of this country. The following essay by Ashlee M, Year 8, Coolathanu High is believed to be included in some bureaucratic report somewhere.

Australia is a large incontinent which lies in the Specific Ocean except for Tasmania which doesn’t know where it is. Australia is very hot because the Topic of Popracorn is in Queensland somewhere, which means Queenslanders are sweaty and can grow topical plants in their ears. But the most important topic is the topic of Cancer because if youse get sunburnt, Omigod, ya gonna die.

Full Article: Captain Hook and the History of Oz

Why We Honour the ANZACS

A friend once commented to me that being a soldier is just a job. Moreoever, they know the risks involved when they enlist, so why do we make such a fuss on ANZAC DAY?

Being an accountant is a job, a perfectly resonable job, but accountants do not risk their lives, they do not get shot at for simply turning up for work. Being a member of the Armed Services is NOT JUST A JOB. And here is the reason why:

A TRIBUTE FOR ANZAC DAY

Kerry Cue

Herald Sun, 23rd April, 2002.

I am an Australian soldier. I fought in the First World War. We called this war the Great War. We couldn’t believe there’d be another. Britain was at war. So we were too. That’s how it was, then, in Australia.

Thousands of us lads put down farm and other tools and joined up for the adventure, for a lark. But it was no lark. Gallipoli was our baptism into the bloodletting insanity of this war. We lost mates. Those lads of just 19 and 20 were buried where they fell on the sands of Damascus and in the fields of Villers-Bretonneux. But the insanity persisted. We lived misery in the trenches. When the insane call came to go over the top into No-man’s land, we went.

But don’t call me a hero. I am just an ordinary lad. I put on a uniform. I went to war. And I stuck by my mates. That’s all I did. I stuck by my mates.

Later, on the first ANZAC Day 4,000 of us marched through the Domain in Sydney. But the crowd did not treat us like conquering heroes. There were no cheers, just a few handclaps. They stood in silent awe of the spirit of the ANZACS.

Screen shot 2016-04-18 at 12.02.17 PMI am an Australian soldier. I fought in the Second World War. I went to the Middle East. At Damascus and El Alamein we fought in the merciless glare of the desert sun. We were cut off at Tobruk, undermanned and under supplied, we dug in and held on. The Germans called us the ‘Rats of Tobruk’.

Then Japan attacked Pearl Harbour. And suddenly the war front was heading for Australia. Singapore fell. We became prisoners of war and saw some of our mates, young boys, tortured, beaten, starved and beheaded. We survived. Just.

But the fight for Australia had begun. Weary and diseased, we fought the Japs step by slippery step back along the treacherous paths of the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea. And we stopped them getting to Port Morseby. We stopped them getting a foothold in New Guinea and clear access to Australia. Then as the tides of war turned we fought them inch by bloody inch back through the Pacific island jungles to Japan.

But don’t call us heroes, we’re just ordinary blokes who put on a uniform. We fought and some of us died for Australia.

I am an Australia soldier. I fought in Vietnam. A conscript, I was plucked off the street at 18, put in a uniform and sent to the jungle to fight a cause that I didn’t understand in a war that had no front. This war was not like others. We couldn’t see the enemy. Mates died at Long Tan for what? Back home I was spat on in the street. I was angry and frustrated. But I understand now.

I may not always respect what the government does, but I respect their right to do it. That’s democracy. In 1966, Australians voted overwhelmingly in favour of the war. It was all the way with LBJ.

Then Australians changed. We saw the war on TV each night. We saw the butchery in black and white. People began to protest in great numbers against the war. Eventually, the government bowed to the will of the people and brought us home. But it was the people who sent us in the first place. Even in Vietnam we represented the people of Australia. At home we represented their guilt.

I am an Australian soldier. I have represented Australia in peacekeeping forces in Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Somalia, Iraq, Rwanda, Bougainville and East Timor. I have fought in Afghanistan. I’ve seen countries where governments are changed by machete or Kalashnikov. And it makes me thankful to be Australian. We can change government without the loss of blood. For all its flaws, our democracy works.

I am an Australian soldier. It is the people of Australia I represent. Always. It is the people I serve.

Photo Source: Road to the Great War Blog