Jul 05

Moses Storer was the first of my direct family branch to arrive here in Australia. He came from England and arrived in Adelaide in 1848. He was married to Mary Ann and came with their first child Moses.

Moses was born in 1827 in England. He was baptised in September that year.

Moses is a bit of a mystery really. He was one of 10 children, as far as I can work out, he had 6 of his own children, and lived for a while in Branxholme in Western Victoria, just south of Hamilton. However, he is buried in Western Australia, well, that’s as far as I know.

Moses sounds like such a respectable name, alas, that’s not what he was! In 1859 he appeared in an article in the Adelaide Observer:

GAWLER: WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12.

HORSESTEALING. – James Fletcher and Moses Storer were charged with horsestealing under the following circumstances: – William Edson, farmer, of Bald Hill, near Lyndoch Valley, deposed that on the evening of Wednesday, the 5th inst., after ploughing with a horse and mare (which he minutely described) till 7 o’clock, the animals were put into a paddock by his daughter. They were his property, as shown by receipts containing marks and brands which with as produced. On fetching the working cattle up at 6 o’clock the next morning, the horse and mare were missing. Witness did not see his horses again till he met them on Tuesday, in possession of the police, on their way to Gawler, the two prisoners being mounted on them, near Butler & Grant’s Station. Moses Storer, who had formerly been his neighbour, said to him jocosely, as he came up. “Well, Mr. Edson, you see we’re bringing your horses back again.” The other prisoner, whom he did no know, shook his head, and said, “It’s a bad job”.

The brands had been very cleverly altered by additions, but the old marks could be readily distinguished.

Storer claimed the mare, saddle, and swag as his property. Fletcher claimed the horse. They said they had the receipts for the horses. Afterwards they said they not had got them, and they charged witness with having taken the receipts from them. Witness on searching them had found no receipts upon them.

They were both committed to take their trial at the Supreme Court

Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 – 1904), Saturday 15 January 1859, page 4
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158125528

Because rebranding a horse always works… It would appear Moses and Fletcher were thrown into gaol to await their trial.

And then, tucked away towards the bottom of the Sheriff’s office notice is this:

South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1858 – 1867),
Saturday 5 February 1859, page 4 –
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96493384

Moses Storer, James Fletcher, Thomas Brasher, George Brasher, and Robert Cooper attempt to break prison! Now that must be a story. Come to Australia as a free-settler, steal a horse, then try to break out before you even get to trial!

The South Australian Advertiser has the full story:

DARING ATTEMPT TO BREAK OUT OF THE ADELAIDE GAOL.

A most determined endeavour to escape from prison was on Thursday discovered to have been made by the prisoners confined in the ward allotted to the prisoners committed for trial in the Adelaide Gaol. The facts of the case are simply these. Mr. Lawrence, the head turnkey, had for some days past observed a number of prisoners constantly hanging about the water-closet. This circumstance awakened his suspicions, and he took an opportunity of listening to their conversation, which he had an opportunity of doing from outside through a crevice in the wall. From expressions which he overheard he was convinced that some secret operations were being carried on. He therefore took an observation from the tower which overlooks the yard. He then perceived that a number of the prisoners were constantly about the closet, apparently relieving one another from time to time, at some secret work, while one was posted at the gate of the yard, obviously with a view of giving intimation of the approach of the guard. At 11 o-clock on Thursday morning Mr. Lawrence entered the ward, and surprised three of the prisoners at work excavating a passage under the closet. These were – Thomas Brasher, committed for trial on several charges; Cooper, committed for the attempt to murder Sergeant Badman; and another named Fletcher, committed for horse-stealing. The superfluous clothing of these persons was found lying on the floor of the closet. Mr. Lawrence with great promptitude ordered all the prisoners into their cells and locked them up, having previously placed a guard in the space between the outer and inner walls of the prison. The guard, while on duty there, happening to tread on the place under which the tunnelling had been made, broke through the crust of earth, and fell into an excavation nearly breast deep. This disturbance of the soil exposed a tunnel of about two and a half feet in diameter, leading under the outer wall. On inspection of the ground outside the wall, the earth was discovered to have been undermined, and Mr. Egan, the keeper of the gaol, while walking round, fell through into an excavation of the same kind. The surface soil had been approached within a few inches, and it was evident that the prisoners had been just on the eve of their escape. The plan of operations appeared to have been well matured, and skilfully executed. In order to understand the attempted scheme, it will be necessary to describe the obstacles overcome. From each ward in the prison there are culverts leading from the water-closets into the river Torrens. The culvert in No. 4 ward, where the committed prisoners were confined, had recently been cleaned out, thus removing one difficulty. The prisoners had evidently taken into account the circumstance that the construction of the culverts would necessarily loosen the surrounding soil, which would consequently be easily removed. They had descended through the seat of the closet, and transmitted the earth by means of such instruments as they had at command, and disposal of the clay removed by depositing it in an intervening cesspool, so that no traces of their work were visible above ground. There is no doubt that each prisoner relieved the other at stated intervals, and that everything was ready for an escape at noon on that day, when the guard in charge of the prisoners working outside would be off the beat. The vigilance of the head turnkey, however, frustrated their well-laid plans, and the attempt will only remain on record as one of the most skilful and determined ever recorded in the criminal annals of South Australia. There are 17 prisoners in the ward, committed for trial, all of whom would have been at liberty within a few minutes after the discovery was made. It would not be out of place here to notice the very small guard in the gaol. Four guards only watch over about 110 prisoners. One of these is constantly employed superintending the prisoners engaged in quarrying outside; one of the other three is frequently engaged in taking prisoners to the courts, and in additional, has to be on guard at night. It will thus be seen that very frequently there are only two available guards to watch over the safety of 110 prisoners. It can matter of no surprise that an escape has been attempted, but it is almost surprising that the recent attempt has not proved successful.

South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 – 1889), Friday 28 January 1859, page 3
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article788333

I guess that’s one way to pass the time.

The ledger at the Supreme Court shows us the Prisoners for Trial on 14th February, Moses is listed as number 25 on February 18th, along his fellow horse-thief, James Fletcher who also has an alias – H. Roberts. Their ages are recorded, Moses was 31, Fletcher 30. Moses’ age has allowed me to trace it back to his birth year of 1827. The charge says:

Feloniously stealing a bald-faced brown horse and a bay mare, the property of William Edson, 6th January.

Further down the same printed sheet at 42 to 47, we find the names of the prisoners who tried to escape by digging a tunnel through the dunny. That charge reads:

Feloniously and unlawfully attempting to break prison and escape from H. M. Gaol, while in custody awaiting trial for certain felonies, at Adelaide, 27 January.

That case is listed for February 23rd.

In the court ledger, the outcome of the trial is written:

11. James Fletcher als. Henry Roberts

12. Moses Storer

Stealing one gelding and one mare the property of William Edson. Plea by both prisoners – Guilty.

Sentence James Fletcher and Moses Storer to be severally kept in penal servitude for three years.

The South Australian Register published the outcome of the day’s work of the court under a column called Criminal Side and here we find the report of Moses:

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), Tuesday 1 March 1859, page 3
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49898267

James Fletcher, alias H. Roberts, and Moses Storer, convicted on their own confession of horse-stealing.
The Chief Justice sentenced the prisoners to three years imprisonment with hard labour.
Moses Storer handed in a paper.
The Chief Justice – You should have given this in before. You state that you had not the intention to steal the animal; then you should have pleaded not guilty and went to trial. I should wish every prisoner to plead not guilty if there is any doubt in his case.

Moses seems to have got that bit wrong! I wondered what the note said. Maybe it was the receipts for the horses that couldn’t be found at the time of his arrest. Still, too little too late for Moses.

We next find him in the Register of all Persons Brought to the Common Gaol of the Province of South Australia. He had been a guest there since his arrest in January.

Moses is recorded in that on page 72. It records he was gaoled on Jan 12 1859 and notes that he could read and write, was married, his religion was Church of England, he was a labourer and arrived in the colony from London in 1848. The Date of Discharge column notes March 8/59 and in the remarks column it seems to say To Dry Creek

And sure enough in the Prisoners’ Register of the Dry Creek Labour Prison we find Moses Storer, number 323. The entry confirms that he arrived from London on the Bezolar, which may be a misspelling or mispronunciation of Bussorah, it lists 2 brothers and 3 sisters as friends in the colony. It goes on to list his physical attributes, height, weight and forehead which is defined as “Good”. His expression is also marked as “Stern”

The only other remark is that he was discharged on 9th April 1860.

Here we leave the tale of Moses, First of Our Kind, Stealer of Horses and Crawler of Cesspools.

Sep 26

Put me on the top of a mountain and happiness happens by default.

Setting: Happiness (Default)
It looms!

The old days of leaping a mountain in a single day seems like such a distant memory. As does climbing Mt. Imlay, the first time was in 2011. I remember the dirt road, the logged forest and this huge mountain in front of me. Mountains like this are said to loom. And here it is, a looming mountain. Begging to be climbed. As looming mountains are want to do.

Any notion that you simply lob up to a looming mountain to loom it is foolhardy, to say the least. However, that didn’t stop Michael and me, for lobbed we did. We quickly stopped the car, got out, applied our sunscreen, went to the toilet, read the information board, prepared our backpacks, changed our socks, put on our hiking boots, adjusted our hats and left. This sort of lobbing takes proper preparation.

The day was glorious. The sun was out and bright, which isn’t surprising as it was daytime, just before lunch, so therefore morning. There was a distinct lack of clouds, and this helps for a bright day and the sun being out. It was coolish, but not cold.

Legs not quite fallen off yet

The first part of the walk is steep, as it the second part and the third part. In between the steep bits, it’s steep, but a little less steep. Still, when it’s steep your legs scream at you. When it’s a little less steep, your legs make you stop.

So, with my screaming legs, we made our way upwards, go down for a little bit, and then the final stretch to the top. My heart beats to match the upwards and down movement of my legs. In those days of yore, I knew when my heartbeat was at maximum because my teeth would start to rattle in my head. These days I have an app.

Last time we hiked this at the start of September, this time, we’re at the other end of the month. We have wanted to return over all these years to see more flowers! In particular, we wanted to see the Mount Imlay Boronia (Boronia imlayensis). First however, to the top!

It took us 1 hour and 57 minutes and 14 seconds to get there, I have an app. Luckily the last bit of the upward is pretty flat, but steep. We sat on the ground in a sort of collapsed fashion, like a drying bean bag that has been unpegged from the clothesline.

After we recovered enough we chewed on some food and then looked around the site, admired the view, took a selfie, posted to social media, made a phone call, transferred money from my account to someone else’s and drank some water.

Then, the easy bit, we started down. It is also steep but in the other direction. Luckily we are more interested in taking photos of wonderful things. This means that the down trip takes 2 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds. If you’re astute, and I’m sure you are, then you will notice that it takes us 43 minutes longer to descend. That’s pretty amazing, as the declination is enough that you could probably slide all the way down in half the time.

And this is why we are here. The amazing and wonderfully delightful Mount Imlay Boronia. This rare plant only grows on this mountain in an area of about 500 meters x 50 meters. It’s clear that it wants to make the most of the space, everywhere we turn is another blossom.

Once we drop off the top, that would be about 50 meters, the boronias disappear and we are back into the rough rocky ground. Everywhere around me life abounds. The silver ashes gracefully reach upwards, the grass trees sway in the gentle breeze and the flowers just look gorgeous.

Leaves turning

The balance to the lovely whites, yellows and pink of the flowers, the balance to the thousands of shades of green, are the shades of decay. The newly fallen leaves that turn from dark green to a pastel shade before going brown. The bright silver trunks of the gum trees that shed and turns grey and breaks down into a non-descript colour that sits on the forest floor. The bright red leaves that darken and turn to black. All breaks down into a rich black soil that helps the colours grow all over again.

Even though the mountain will be here long here after all of us, it’s not immune to change. The very rocks themselves have to contend with lichen that will leech them to soil. Bit by bit the rocks break down into stones, I know this because I put my feet on them and they slip, causing me to throw my arms out like Jesus on a Friday. The leaves and the bark work with the stones to create a path that is laden with trip hazards and a quick way down, if not to the bottom of the mountain, at least to the bottom of your spine.

That said, you can’t stand or sit, on this looming mountain and not be taken by the whole package. The wind, the sounds, the colours. The smells, the taste on the air, from the smallest noise to the largest rock, every single part of the mountain comes together to deliver an experience that makes me want to come back for more.

Mt Imlay has every reason to loom.

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Jul 24

On a bright sunny cloudless day you expect to see your shadow. Just the one. It’s attached to you. We used to play shadow tiggy. If you’re it then you had to tag someone else by jumping on their shadow. It’s easy to twist and bend your shadow to avoid being it.

At night you don’t have a shadow. Sometimes you may see one on a full moon if you happen to be late on a hike and you really want to get to the camping ground. You and your hiking buddy find yourselves strutting down a white sandy bush track with the moon behind you and a long shadow in front of you.

I live in the city, and when I walk home at night, I have lots of shadows. Tonight I noticed my shadows for the first time in years. Street lights line our streets, on main roads there’s lights on both sides. I have a shadow in front, one behind. As I walk the light behind me throws my shadow in front of me, as I walk further away from that light I get taller, well, the shadow does. It’s not long before I’m passing under the next street light and my shadow begins to grow again, the first one so long it stretches out of existence as it fades away.

The lights on the other side of the street cast a shadow to my right. These shadows also grow and shrink, and as I walk past fences and driveways they leap up or fall away.

As the traffic passes me multiple faint shadows quickly appear and disappear, so fleeting they’re barely noticed.

When I was a young lad, 45 years ago, I delivered newspapers in the morning. The Age and The Sun. I’d ride my bike around in the cold dark hours pulling a paper out of the banana box strapped to the carrier on the back of my bike. One handed I would fold the paper on my thigh, holding the handlebar with the other hand. I’d grab the paper in the middle, thump it on my leg to fold, then do the same to fold it once more. I was then able to insert the paper into the letter box and keep riding, so never really stopping. Of course there was no real care and often the front page would be torn when I scraped it on the top of the letter box.

There would be a little distance sometimes between the deliveries, and a game I would play was to get to the next letter box before my shadow disappeared. As the morning was dawning, and it was getting lighter, the street lights would switch off and the shadow would disappear.

It was that strange time pre-dawn when the lights have gone off that I would have no shadow.

That’s a magical time.

Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay

Jul 23

The alarm goes off at 5.10a.m. In my early days, it was an alarm clock with bells. Then a clock radio with a buzzer or the radio. Now my alarm is a watch, strapped to my wrist that vibrates. I hit the off button. There’s no snooze. I lay there for a couple of minutes trying to go back to sleep. I can’t. I have to do this.

I throw my legs out from under the doona. I say throw, not glide effortlessly out of bed. My legs are stiff and not so cooperative. The hit the floor and I feel around in the dark for my grandpa slippers.

I have to run, I want to do a 5km run in a couple of weeks for a charity event. I’m out of shape as I tore my calf muscle a few weeks ago and have been getting treatment to help it recover.

David Thwaites from Complete Sports Care has been taking care of me. My time with him normally starts by me standing one-legged on my toes raising myself up and down, he muses and then asks me to lie on the table. He then does this extraordinary process of taking his thumb and sticking them deeply into my calf. I grimace. A lot.

It does the trick, the exercises that he sends me off with and the little jogging that I’ve been doing has prepared me for this mornings effort.

Today, for the first time in weeks, I’m going to run 30 minutes. I’ll jog 10 minutes, rest a minute and then repeat twice more.

It’s 9° outside. I step into the cool darkness and make my way to the running track.

Unlike this time at the other end of the day, when I’m consumed with the noise of a city winding down, it’s quiet.

I can hear my footfalls as I step onto the driveway, and as I walk towards the little track that runs along the creek, I can hear the magpies stirring in the trees, giving a little warble as they begin their day.

A quick-paced walk and the watch vibrates and I start the run.

The wind whistles past my ears, in the old days it’d ruffle my mullet. The next family of magpies begin to stir and I’m surrounded by the delightful sounds of warbles.

As I pass the little pond a thousand frogs ribbit at me and the first traffic noise I hear happens as I pass under the Warrigal Road bridge.

I do a self-diagnosis. The calf muscle is holding up. Heart isn’t jumping out of my chest, breathing within tolerance. A few more minutes and the first 10 are done. The watch vibrates and I walk for a minute.

As I’m walking along the path, a couple of cars pass along the back streets. The headlights glare at me and for all I know they’re driven by ghosts, it’s impossible to see inside to ascertain whether or not a real person is behind the wheel.

Then off again. Up the hill to the Alamein line, then at the top, I turn around and head back the way I came. I’ve made it halfway.

More vibrations, another check of my sore bits – all good – last jog.

Another light comes towards me. It’s dark out here, so joggers wear a head torch. We greet each other in the traditional way of pre-dawn joggers, a nod of the head and a ‘morn’ to each other.

I find myself tiring, looking at my watch, hoping it’s counting down. It is, but it persists on precision and won’t go faster than a second at a time.

One last look I think, 26 seconds. I start to count down in my head.

Finally, the last vibration. I stop and stroll home.

The sky is brightening, or it could be the city lights reflected on the clouds. I don’t know. It’s another hour until the sun actually appears.

Michael and I are running in support of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in a couple of weeks. That’s where I work. We’re raising money for the important work of helping people seeking asylum. Head over to our page and sling us a few dollars.

I make my way up the driveway, thinking that I’ll be ready for Run Melbourne in a couple of weeks.

All the way this morning, I’ve been accompanied by my own footfalls. A wonderful time of the day, the still and quiet. Nothing but my own steps fill my ears.

Jul 15

I used to be able to hear my footsteps when I walked. Now, as I step off the train I can hear the churnning of its motors and the beep-beep of the doors closing. Lots of whooshing as it pulls out of the station to the next stop.

I whip out my phone to check when the next bus is. Sixteen minutes. It’s only a twenty minute walk home, so I’ll do that.

As I start up High Street I become aware of the noise around me. It’s busy peak hour and I spend my walk listening to the sounds around me. The noise of the traffic is overwhelming. Squeaky brakes, noisy engines, motorbikes, truck, buses. All in a hurry to get home.

What a noisy environment we now live in.

I can’t hear the birds settling down for the night, or the kids talking across the road. No low hum of music coming from the houses or even the dribbling of a basketball. Just traffic.

I turn off the High Street and into the quiet little avenue that will take me home. The traffic noise fades into the background. A couple of cars drive past, a lot quieter now on the suburban street.

I hear the faint sound of shouting and the clack of hockey sticks as it hits the ball. As I walk closer to the hockey field and away from the main road the noise becomes more background. I hear the scuffing of shoes as a woman walks past with her dog, I notice that the sound of my own footfall is still inaudible, but the noise from the hockey fields now includes the blowing of whistles, the shuffling of feet and the sound of clapping.

Only a short walk up the driveway now. I hear my keys clink as I take them out of my pocket and a few metres from the door I hear my footsteps.

Aug 30

My first bank account was with the State Bank of Victoria. I opened it when I was in Prep in 1969.  Here it is, in Gray Street, Hamilton.  On the right of the photo.

The SBV was bought by the Commonwealth Bank in 1990.

Today I walked into the Commonwealth Bank in Cheltenham and closed 2 accounts, thereby ending my long association with the bank.

The branch is your modern looking bank.  All gleaming and welcoming.  There’s a little foyer where the ATMs are and a concierge desk with two computer screens and a smiling face of a very nice man asking if he could help me.  Above him is the current bank promotion, the Dollarmites Club.  I signed my kids up for Dollarmites when they were in school.  It was how I was introduced to banking, taking my passbook along to school on banking day and depositing 20 cents.  Some at the Commonwealth Bank used the Dollarmites system to gain personal financial advantage.

The staff were very helpful, the process took longer than necessary I thought. The nice man asked me what I was going to do with my mortgage, I snorted and said I didn’t have one!

Anyway, he asked where I was moving my banking. Bank Australia I said. He then told me that he has only ever seen one branch for them, and he’s lucky to have seen one. Bank Australia has few branches, they use online and Australia Post. In fact, this was the first time in some years that I’d actually walked into a branch to conduct business.

At the end of the process, he looked at his screen and looked at me and remarked that I’d been with the bank for 33 years. Longer, I replied, I was also with the State Bank. He then asked the burning question, “Why are you leaving after all this time?”

The reasons are complex, and for some strange brain functioning on my part, it really is something that should have happened years ago.

Australians rarely change banks. Probably because it’s just too hard. It is quite the process. I needed to firstly open a new account at a new bank and then move each of my direct debits, automatic payments and various payment methods to the new bank.

My children and I all had Commonwealth Bank accounts, this was to allow the quick transfer of money. I’ve often said that the only time I hear from my children is when they want money.

These days with the introduction of PayID transferring money between banks happens within minutes. The old days, you know, a couple of months ago, saw your money disappear from your account and be caught up in some holding pattern before landing in another banks account.

The real clincher for me, however, was the banking royal commission.

This is what I told my new teller friend. I wanted a bank that had some ethical standards, who saw me as a member and not simply an account holder.

The Commonwealth Bank has been embroiled in scandal after scandal.  Each of the big banks has been.  They continue to reap the rewards of huge profits despite their proven fraudulent behaviour.

Bank Australia is the place to be for now.

In all my years at the Commonwealth, they have never given regard to my loyalty.  Without question, I fronted up to them for personal loans, a housing loan, credit cards, savings accounts and so on.  The most I ever got out of them was an unattractive interest rate and a computer mouse.

Yes, they once sent me a mouse for being a loyal customer.  Back in the 2000s.  I wrote to them and said I’d prefer money in the bank next time they wanted to reward my loyalty.  I never got a response.

So, the loyalty has been one way.  Action needed!  So, off I went.

What’s holding you back?

Mar 02

I’m sitting high up above the earth, flying towards Sydney. Michael is beside me, and a woman on the other side by the window. She has proper travel etiquette, not engaging with me at all for the duration. I really struggle with small talk.

I’m relaxed, have my tablet open, connected to the WiFi watching a program about comedy. I had never given any thought to women in comedy, and I’m somewhat taken aback by the notion that women have fought hard to overcome misogyny and discrimination in the comedy field. This is a revelation to me. Upon reflection, of course, I can see my error. Women have been the subject of jokes, making fun of them, suggesting that they are stupid, all for a couple of laughs. It’s been a long hard road for acceptance.

Planes are strange things, they hurl through the air at high speed and then somehow land, and generally speaking nobody dies.

The worst part of flying, I think, is just before landing. As the ‘Fasten Seatbelts’ sign comes on the aircraft starts its descent. You already know that you have no right to be up here where only clouds and birds belong, you also know that coming in contact with the ground in an uncontrolled fashion will be detrimental to your health. Even though you may understand that aeroplanes land without incident on a regular basis, there is nothing that prepares you for the insane reaction that your body has as you start going down.

It’s a combination of the drop in altitude and deceleration that is really scary. As the plane slows down you instinctively know that this is dangerous, it’s only speed that keeps you up here. Throw in a bit of turbulence, and even the most rational and sane amongst us will shit their pants.

The final insult is when the wheels do finally hit the ground. The engines scream in protest as they are thrown into reverse. You tense up, those fucking wheels are round, they roll, the struts they sit on the end of have suspension, and yet it feels like you are about to hit a brick wall.

At last a lovely voice says ‘Please remain seated until the aircraft comes to a complete stop’ and you give thanks to the science that means you are stopping in a controlled manner and not by having your feet shoved through your mouth. Now to get ready for the flight home.

Aug 09

Abbey’s letter writing campaign arrives at day 4.  She reminds the PM that while she understands he may be busy running the country, it’s polite to respond to your correspondence in a timely fashion.

Her question is unchanged.  Will he allow Michael and me, and all others who chose to, to get married in Australia?

 

To Tony Abbott

this is the 4th letter I am

writing to you about gay

marriage.

I haven’t had a reply from

you yet so when you have time

Please write back.

I know it’s hard running a

county.

Will you change your mind

about gay marriage?

from

Abbey
Letter4

Letter 1 Letter 2 Letter 3 Letter 5 Letter 6 Letter 7

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May 17

kissing

Click the photo to see the kiss

Some guy kissed another guy and it made it to the telly.

Some guys don’t get the whole kissing thing and when two men do it they get all nervous.

The guy doing the kissing is an American football player, Michael Sam.  He’s gay and the first one of us to be drafted into the footy. One of us being a gay man, not just a man.  That’s significant as there are very few gay people who are out and in professional sports anywhere in the world.

The guys doing the nervous things are mostly christians.

The particular guy I want to highlight is Bernard Gaynor.  He’s a fundamentalist christian who thinks that gay people are sinners and we don’t have to be gay.  He blogs here.

He wrote about the President of the USA saying this:

The President congratulates Michael Sam, the St. Louis Rams, and the NFL for taking an important step forward in our nation’s journey.  From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove every day that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are, and certainly the fact that Michael Sam was drafted represents and reflects what he did on the field in his college career.

Gaynor says this:

On Sunday, the most important man in the world stopped whatever he was doing to #bringbackourgirls to talk about a gay man because he was gay and famous for promoting his proclivities for homosexuality across the length and breadth of the entire known universe.

Gaynor then goes on to ask why the President is congratulating Sam at all, as Sam wasn’t the 1st or 2nd pick in the draft, but the 249th pick.  He wants to know why the President didn’t congratulate all the other players who are clearly much more deserving.  The answer is of course, that the President loves gay people and Gaynor hates them.  Well, he hates the sin, he probably loves the sinner.

Then he gives us this little line:

Finally, let’s examine the context of Obama’s oft-commented statement.

Yes, let’s!!

Christians so love to have context, they always ensure that when they quote something from the bible it’s in context.  We’re told to read the line before and the line after to make sure that we have the correct context.

Here’s the line before the oft-commented statement:

Dave

Q Thanks, Jay. I don’t think this came up yesterday. Did the President express any thoughts about Michael Sam being the first gay player to be drafted by the NFL?

MR. CARNEY: What I can tell you is that

The Q at the start is short for Question.  Dave is the person asking the question, then a Mr. Carney says, “What I can tell you is that the President congratulates…. ” Now just for extra clarity, let me quote the line after the oft-commented statement:

Carol

Q Did the President think it was appropriate that the Miami Dolphins punished, fined, disciplined that player who tweeted —

MR. CARNEY: I haven’t spoken to him about that.

After that answer from Mr Carney the next question is about a US district court appointment, and just for context, the question before Dave asked his was about immigration reform.

You see, what the President said, he didn’t really say out loud to anyone but his Press Secretary, I know this because I’ve watched West Wing.  Therefore I’m an expert on US politics.

The question was ask at the Whitehouse in a press briefing, the briefing ran from 12.45 p.m to 1.36 p.m. on the 13 May 2014.  That’s 51 minutes, just after lunch time on a Tuesday afternoon.  The draft happened at around 10.00 a.m on 11 May, a few days earlier.

The way I see this happening is that the Press Secretary, Jay Carney, meets with the President early Tuesday morning and they have a talk about topics that the press is likely to ask.  Jay thinks that the press will probably ask about Michael Sam, and asks the President what he wants to say.  Barrack responds with something along the lines of:  “Oh just congratulate him and say something about how great it is that gay people are getting recognised.  He’s a sweet guy.”  Then they move on to the next topic.

So, all up about a minute long discussion.  The world didn’t stop, and the most important man in the world, according to Gaynor, didn’t devote too much time to it.  He didn’t call a press conference, or break into the regular Sunday night viewing.  No, what he did was leave it to his Press Secretary, and the only reason the President’s quote even got out there is that a journalist asked the question, between many other non-related questions, of what the President thought about the gay footballer making the draft.  If that question hadn’t been asked, the response would never have been forth-coming.

Whether it’s on the playing field or in the corporate boardroom, the LGBT bedroom has been thrust upon Americans by the man in charge of its state apparatus. This bedroom is now the US government’s business and it will make sure everyone gives adulation to those who lie therein.

Nothing was thrust upon us apart from Gaynor’s rabid imagination.  The media only gives us the quote that is relevant to a story.  The President has no concern for what’s happening in anyone’s bedroom but his own, and maybe his daughter’s.  He didn’t offer any adulation, he simply answered a question via his Press Secretary.

Gaynor has gone off half-cocked.  You’d reckon someone who is so clear about understanding moral issues in the world would take the time to find out what was really said and in what context.  The President at the time of the press briefing was meeting with law enforcement leaders to discuss immigration reform.  It took a few minutes for me to find the source of the quote, and then to discover what the President was actually doing.  It’s really pretty straight forward research.  Gaynor and those of his ilk will stop at nothing to demonise anyone who is at odds with their world view.

I’m sure there’s a line in the bible about not bearing false witness.  I’d have to go and check the context.

Jun 20

2012_web_logoI work for a non-profit organisation.  Family Life.  I’ve been with them for well over ten years now.

When I started blogging and getting involved in social media I made a decision to keep my online world very separate from my working life.  Today however, it’s time to bring the two things together.

I work for Family Life because I believe in what it does.  We are about transforming lives for stronger communities.

There’s a good reason why I work here, as you read this information from the “About Us” on our website, if you know me well, think about my social activism, my core values and the sort of person I am.  It’s a bit of a surprise at just how closely the values of my work place align with my own personal values.

Family Life assists families, children and young people as well as making our society a better place for everyone including the most disadvantaged and vulnerable.

At the heart of our enterprise is the authentic grass-root relationships with our people, the people we help and the people of the community.

Family Life is a centre of research, knowledge and innovation delivering measurable social change and impact.

We contribute to national and international knowledge through our reputation for changing lives by effective connection, care and transformation.

Family Life offers counselling, mediation, mental health services, support and community educational services, outreach to homes, case coordination and advocacy.

I am the first to admit that I’d suck at counselling.  However, I can see the value of it.  I’ve been the recipient of it (not at work!). I have heard the stories from the people I work with that turn people’s lives around.

The story of how we helped reduce the number of police visits to a housing estate by engaging with the community and helping them become leaders, now the police attend not to deal with a crisis but to help cook the breakfast.  The impact we have by going into schools and helping parents become leaders and how that turns around the school community.

This is brilliant work.  I’m often gob smacked by the impact those I work with have on others.  I know it’s not work that I can do.  But, in my own way, I hope that by supporting my colleagues through my ICT, Property and communication skills I might be making their job easier so that they can get on and do the important work that needs doing.

This stuff doesn’t come cheap.  Some of our great programs receive no government funding and we do our best to fund raise to cover the gaps, but that is getting harder.  We need some help to keep programs like Peopleworx alive.  Peopleworx is about helping getting kids working.  We need a bit of a kick to keep the Creating Capable Communities work going.

Can you help?  Can you make that all important tax-deductible donation to assist in this important work?

Visit the website and make a small contribution.  (Or even a large one).  It all helps.

I can say with confidence that we are an organisation that is well run, careful and progressive.  It has a great staff of over 100 people and 350 volunteers, it reaches many thousands of people across Melbourne’s south east offering support and help to those in need.  We really do take our mission seriously:

To create caring, capable communities through innovative, ethical solutions, promoting wellbeing, and responding to the needs of families, children and young people.

Thanks for reading.

https://familylife.com.au/donate/

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