If they don't need a helmet, why do I on my bicycle????
...oh we all know why - because 'bicycle helmet law' power is a bigger power than 'jet-boat' power, and as such illustrates global corporatocracy usurping democracy!!!
Completely unassailable, Big Helma is a mega-bucks lobby-group with much of its funding coming from helmet promoters and merchandising.
Primarily Big Helma is just a marketing orgnaisation pushing their 'money-spinning' product 'fear' despite public health experts declaring 'fear' to be a rubbish protection strategy.
Even more ridiculously, Australians fatuously lap up these absurd wares of illsionary safety 'hook, line & sinker'!!!
"C'mon, Bazza! - such fatuous devotion to regulation 256 is nothing more than political expediency trumping judgment and good sense - time to get your pen out and put a line through it... ...preferably today, but tomorrow will do!"
Once upon a time Australian trains were considered an essential service, and in that land of trains, and post offices, and country hospitals and even the odd tourist or two, maintenance was performed at the same time as maintaining services...
...yes, possums, I know it's hard to believe but that is how it was back then...
...aaaahhh the good old days...*nostalgia*
Dream on!!! - here's a big reality check!!!
For the next 2 months there are to be no Countrylink trains on the north west main line from Muswellbrook onwards to Moree and Armidale due to the worst of Australian malaises...'track work'!
Are you're thinking 'management cannot be serious?'
...sadly, they are!
...and consequently buses are to be the 'order of the day' on this line until the middle of September.
Now here's the thing:
1) Why are Tourism Australia puzzled that twice the number of people leave Australia as visit?
Anyhoo, luckily for me & BN2 when we 'countrylinked' it from Central last Friday, even though we didn't have as far to go on a bus as the beleagured Moree and Armidale passengers, our resident Tour de Francophile* had driven the 'Team' truck down from Scone to the station in the early hours of the morning, parked it, hoiked his bike out of the tray, and then cycled like mad the '30km Muswellbrook/Scone Stage' to be just 'across the line' for morning surgery!!!
Aaahh!! - quelle bonne chance pour nous!!!
The actions of our dependable knight on a 'frosty' dependable bicycle meant we were able to avoid the 'always' unnecessarily lengthy train/bus interchange!!!
(& needless to mention, BN2 took the wheel for our Muswellbrook/Scone Stage given that yours truly continues 'sans' permis de conduire!!)
Oh, and there's another thing:
2) Hands up who's surpirsed to hear that coal and gas trains are still to run on the northwest main line as per normal!
I've long been intrigued by SAIC, one of the largest US military contractors, and their relationship with our own (well maybe not our own) SAI Global. Both companies have big wide tentacles that seem to spread everywhere in an under-the-radar' sort of a way, and in my quest for understanding Australian bicycle helmet law madness, I have for some time been convinced that SAIC and SAI Global are connected - and it would seem that they are here, here and here.
Reading Crikey's recent piece on SAIC re-kindled that interest and also stoked complete disbelief that Australian governments could be so taken in by them (SAIC).
SAIC, not content with incurring a couple of debts (aka New York City's City time) whilst running the communications show in America, has now put their hand up to run our communications show as well. Somewhat lamely the Victorian government has swooned right into their arms happily gurgling, 'yay you picked us, you picked us!!'
WHY IS THIS SO?
Why would anyone pick a company to handle 'matters serious' with such a poor track record?
Whilst SAIC's shadowy web reached Australia some time ago, inter alia it isn't only the Victorian Government who have been wooed by their dark promises of 'cyber-intelligence & cyber-dominance' - the Federal government is equally enchanted.
But do we really want to be involved with a 'body shop in the brain business' as depicted by Vanity Fair, that...
'...sells human beings who have a particular expertise—expertise about weapons, about homeland security, about surveillance, about computer systems, about "information dominance" and "information warfare." If the C.I.A. needs an outside expert to quietly check whether its employees are using their computers for personal business, it calls on SAIC. If the Immigration and Naturalization Service needs new record-keeping software, it calls on SAIC. Indeed, SAIC is willing to provide expertise about almost anything at all, if there happens to be a government contract out there to pay for it—as there almost always is. Whether SAIC actually possesses all the expertise that it sells is another story.'
So here's the thing; what with SAI Global's reach into...
- our legislation
- our food standards & other standards
- our design competitions
- our quality assurance
- our risk management
- our property management
- our bicycle helmets
...is there any domain in our Australian way of life that won't be or isn't being overseen or overheard by SAIC and SAI Global?
On a slightly lighter note (aaah, but is it a lighter note?) I couldn't help notice earlier how improved the new look SAIC homepage is and how like the current facebook homepage it is, and then I couldn't help but recall The Onion's funny take on facebook being an extremely effective CIA tool (or is the CIA an effective facebook tool???)
So, yes, after all that, arguably, it is possible that it might appear, that the largest US military contractor is connected to Australia's bicycle helmet laws, and therefore to me and therefore to my conscientious objection of unfair practice!!!!
In the meantime while regulation 256 stands, we remain at risk from the laws of marauding bicycle helmets!
(with thanks to BN1's buddy, un artiste avec humeur, who ably adapted my product-safety-commission-warning label)
I'm a sucker for apologies, and I just got one from United!!! - nice!
It was kind of weird listening to myself being quoted as the rep used parts of my email to illustrate my 'angst' and their resulting sorrow - in fact I particularly liked the way the rep said 'flurry' - what a lovely sounding word!! - but mostly it was good to realise that I'd been heard.
Notwithstanding my vehement email position that there was nothing else United could do for me apart from issuing me with an apology, they still enquired whether there was something else they could do. 'Nope!' I replied - I truly meant what I wrote, and no doubt there would be someone else on their 'aggrieved manifesto' more inclined to continue the relationship and take them up on further recompense.
Good stuff though - always nice to be listened to, and brave of United to call me!!!!
OPEN EMAIL TO MR JEFF SMISEK
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (UNITED AIRLINES)
Copied to: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Dear Mr Smisek,
Before this trip, I had not actually availed myself of your services, and now that I have, I can emphatically inform you that I certainly never will again.
After a flurry of United Airlines delays, cancellations, & missed connections, I became part of your growing community of dissatisfied customers wasting hours of our lives in your unhelpful Customer Service queues.
With your San Francisco supervisor spinning 'weather' as your 'nemesis' in a bid to abnegate your responsibilities to your abandoned passengers, the issue of vouchers for hotel rooms and meals became at best an arbitrary exercise and at worst a non-event. Meawhile the issue of condescension, dished up abundantly, negated any former notion of US Customer Service 'best-practice' that I had previously and somewhat foolishly entertained.
Inter alia your airport kiosks could have been handy as many of your passengers were only too keen to assist you alleviate the burden on your customer service queues. But nigh on 3am, exasperation was to remain the order of the day as your machines bleakly informed any-takers at large that they were "...currently outside of service hours," simultaneously mirroring the sentiments of your human Customer Service personnel too!!!
So when it came to me finally embarking upon my flight 24 hours after original scheduled time, it was without surprise that I discovered my allocated window seat turned out to be missing the 'window,' which I suppose is the preferable bit of the 'window-seat-combo' to be missing if something had to be missing.
You may or may not be interested to know that notwithstanding United Airlines' 'best efforts', I made it back to Australia just in time to celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary, and for me that was all that mattered.
Despite my displeasure in yours and my relationship, I seek only an acknowlegement from United Airlines of the appalling circumstances that you put your passengers in and left us in over the weekend of Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July. I am not seeking any other damages because I am too exhausted and do not wish to prolong the agony of being involved with you any longer than is necessary. The sooner my life is cleansed of United Airlines, the better.
I look forward to hearing from you, though remind you not expect or tempt me to ever book another flight with you again.
Disappointingly the 'H' word in Vanvouver turned out to be the dirty word that it is in Australia!!!! - sigh!! - and the last thing keynote & plenary boffins wanted to do was to get into any form of helmety chit-chat - apparently Velo City wasn't & isn't the forum - ????
...geez, where is then?
So just like Sydney Cyclist where 'helmeteer-elephant-in-the-room' spotters have been banished to another kingdom, so it was with Velo City that its 'helmeteer-elephant-in-the-room' spotters were corralled into back rooms & concurrent sessions designed to muffle and avoid interrupting delegates who actually ought to be interrupted with this subject (aka mayors, councillors politicians et al).
...but wait, there's more!! - I met a couple of impossibly tall athletic-looking Belgium lads who went to great lengths justifying the merits of helmet law, proclaiming somewhat outrageously that eggs and human heads shared similar properties in terms of fragility! Consequently, their corollary concluded, heads smash in situations where eggs smash, so therefore it is necessary that our egg-heads are cloaked in mandatory polystyrene...
"Long live helmet laws," they declared, loudly refuting my claim that my head was nothing like an egg, "cycling is extremely dangerous and we need all the protection we can get: you should be glad of helmet laws for your egg-head!!!!"
"Don't be ridiculous!" I protested (frizzy hairy eggs, anyone?!)
"Yes" declared one of them, a self-proclaimed doctor, "if I threw you against that wall, your head would smash just like an egg!!!"
WTF - why does using a bicycle attract so many timid men who are full of cycling bravado and livers made of lilies?!!!