Tuesday, May 30, 2006

IT had to happen. Sooner or later Classie Corner had get back on one of its favourite subjects, wood.
Forget about the recent dog fetish. Wood doesn’t bark at night and chase cars.
Readers will have to suffer a spate of wood stories from the archives and realtime. This one from the Coffs Harbour Advocate in 2001:

NOSES often turn up at the mention of oregon, a timber whose Australian popularity has gone up and down since the colonial days.
In the past few decades many householders along the east coast have faced the costly expense of replacing pergolas built with plantation oregon that was unsuitable for external applications.
The sight of rot around the nailholes or at a simple butt joint where the moisture couldn’t run off certainly would turn anyone with a hardwood heritage off the imported timber.
But that’s not the sort of oregon that Paula Fursman’s Resurrection Recyclers specialises in.
Her firm chases the best – the oregon that came from the North American old growth forests many decades ago and that is highly prized by furniture makers.
Paula says it’s easy to tell the difference between the old timber and the plantation types.
“The good quality type has growth rings just one to two millimetres apart but the plantation timber has the rings wide apart and is light in weight and colour,” she says.
Resurrection gets most of its old oregon from the demolition of old houses in Sydney, which Paula says benefited for many decades from countless “backloads” on ships from Canada.
“They used it as ballast and at one stage virtually dumped it on the Sydney wharves for people to help themselves,’’ Paula says.
“Half of Sydney was built out of it.”
About half a dozen north coast furniture makers get their oregon from Resurrection.
Paula and husband John Lacey bought the recycling firm about four years ago as a “complementary” business to their earthmoving company which operates from the next door site.
The couple came from north Queensland. John has done a lot of work as a white water raft guide in addition to building up John Lacey Earthmoving, which runs two excavators, three trucks, three backhoes and a bobcat.
Resurrection Recyclers opened in 1981. Paula says she has benefited from a lot of the knowledge of the former owner.
Oregon, of course, is just one of the many recycled building materials on offer.
There’s lots of hardwood, and this time of year even firewood is on offer.
How’s this? Keep warm this winter with a fire of century-old mahogany.
Damaged and checked timber goes through the saw to provide firewood in handy sizes for just $28 to fill a 6 by 4 trailer.

Monday, May 29, 2006

THE winter chill has bitten hard but classified advertising, as always, has chipped in to help stop the shivers.
It’s a hot time for firewood vendors whose notices start sending smoke signals from the "for sale" columns every autumn.
One householder on Coochiemudlo Island has been warm and cosy during the cold snap, thanks to a delivery of aged ironbark this week from the Kingaroy district.
Firewood Supplies owner-operator Allan Newcomb enjoyed the barge trip because he spends most of his working days battling the traffic across Brisbane and adjacent districts.
Allan, who has a Pinkenba depot, says 25% of his deliveries come to the Redlands, mainly between Birkdale and Redland Bay.
The veteran of 24 years in the firewood business says critics at times have targeted the use of hardwood for home fires, citing the need to conserve a precious resource.
However, Allan says his stock comes from trees that property owners killed long ago, usually for cattle grazing.
Such trees are unsuitable for milling.
"You just can’t have trees as well as grass," Allan says.
"Owners went through their properties 50, 60 or 70 years ago and ringbarked a lot of trees that were just left to die.
"If we didn’t get them, a bushfire would burn them sooner or later.
"The wood has been drying out for half a century or more so it’s good for home fires.
"In recent years a lot of tree loppers who came into the business would cut down a tree yesterday and sell it tomorrow.
"Green timber like that makes dirty smoke that is not good for the environment and it will blacken the glass on a combustion heater."
Allan says ironbark burns the longest and hottest of the tree species and makes probably the least smoke.
He expects the supplies of firewood grade timber to last for many years.
As a guide to the costs, Allan says one of his 4WD ute-loads at $180 lasts the winter for 80% of his customers.
Allan was among four firewood vendors who advertised in a recent edition of our classifieds.
Reprint from Classie Corner, The Redland Times, Friday, May 25, 2006.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Yap yap. It’s the Year of the Dog in Classie Corner. The glorious celebration continues with today’s post from the Redland Times, which serves a lively community in Redland Shire on Moreton Bay, the shimmering entry statement for Australia’s new economic star, south-east Queensland.

DOGS come and go in the marvellous community of classified advertising but the spectre of one hound is destined to keep returning.
A proud old rhodesian ridgeback has been watching from doggie heaven as a business that took his name has grown from its Redland Bay base.
Dr Chet’s Pet Care Products now looks to take its war against Queensland itch and other ticklish animal problems to the world.
Elizabeth Leane, who took over the business in February, hopes to export the six-product range to New Zealand then to other countries including the United States.
She is the stepdaughter of the business founder, Ken Inman, a former building worker who became interested in herbs about a quarter of a century ago through involvement with a naturopath.
Ken realised the potential for herbs against Queensland itch, hotspots, fleas and flies in the 1980s, when his shetland sheepdog, Mickey, had summer itch.
After the first success, Ken worked on the project for years, patenting a herbal mix in 1994 and gaining official registration.
Elizabeth is grateful Ken is teaching her the business.
Highlights of the changeover include the Redlands’ retention of the "head office".
Elizabeth, who attended Redland Bay State School, proudly tells how her great-grandfather, William Muller, was the first white baby born at Redland Bay. The year was 1876. William died at age 99.
A new generation will grow up in a house that is being built at Redland Heights for Elizabeth, husband John and their daughters, Isabella, 4, and Zoe, 2.
"Like a lot of mums, I needed a job I could run from home and I have worked a lot in community pharmacy so the two things have come together in the business," Elizabeth said.
The production is now done in Noosa Shire, but Elizabeth expects to find suitable Redlands premises if a change is necessary.
She believes the world is ready for the anti-itch treatment system that includes the soothing, antibacterial and anti-insect qualities of ingredients such as aloe vera and coconut and tea-tree oils.
The treatments are designed for the size range from chihuahua to horse.
Pawnote: Dr Chet, who belonged to Elizabeth’s brother, Jason, died in 2001, aged 10 after an itch-free life during the business’s development.
Classie Corner first featured Dr Chet five years ago. Here’s the background of that historic encounter:
A TRUE animal doctor has been hard at work through the Checkout Classifieds to get tails wagging again for the multitudes of itchy canines.
Dr Chet died about six months ago but the good work of the 10-year-old rhodesian ridgeback lives on.
He remains the icon for a range of herbal products that are credited with an "immediate stop" on itch in dogs, horses and any other hairy sufferers.
Dr Chet’s Herbal Treatments are the brainchild of Ken Inman, of Redland Bay on Brisbane’s eastside.
Ken, who says he is near retirement, formerly worked in the building industry but became interested in herbs through involvement with a naturopath about 20 years ago.
He realised the potential for a herbal assault on Queensland itch, hotspots, fleas and flies in the 1980s, when his dog, shetland sheep dog Mickey, had a bad attack of summer itch, which Ken was able to cure.
Ken said that after working on the details for years he patented a herbal mix in 1994 and gained official status from the National Registration Authority.
He makes the products at a modest factory on a farm near Cooroy on the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
One of the priorities was finding a mixture to give a cooling effect for the troubled animal, with an antibacterial treatment and further additives to kill insects.
He markets the treatments in appropriate sizes for the size range from chihuahua to horse.
"The response I got from a dog owner this week seems to sum it up," Ken said.
"She told me she got the COD package the day before and had already put it on the dog and it was interested again in what was happening around it.
"When they are affected, dogs will spend all their time scratching.’’
Ken says, however, his system requires the owner to be committed to keep up the treatment.
Owners are sometimes disappointed one application does not succeed.
"Probably as with any chronic health problem, a sustained treatment is required," he said.
TAILNOTE: Dr Chet’s owner was Ken’s son, Jason. He – I mean the dog – did not experience summer itch. Ken says Dr Chet received a regular treatment to keep fleas at bay, so avoided the itchy consequence.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The relationship between humankind and caninekind (how’s that for political correctness?) continues to be a major feature of the marvellous community of classified advertising (see May 5 post).
But let’s not overlook the importance of all the dog2dog dealings. Today we are talking foxie2pomeranian, similar to the pair pictured courtesy of en.wikipedia.org .
I will hunt up more dog stories from the Classie Corner archives. Today’s post appeared in the Gladstone Observer in December 2001.
A LOVE story has ended in Marten Street, South Gladstone. The love was so strong it moved the earth.
But the lovers have been separated.
The "Romeo" has moved on, and the "Juliet" – a three-year-old fox terrier – now faces the surgeon’s knife to limit any future romances.
The operation to "fix up" the Shmakov family bitch, Layka, follows her three successful matings with the pomeranian dog who used to live next door.
His name is Vizza. He has moved with his human family to Roma, after he and Layka produced a total of 19 puppies in 18 months.
Their final litter of six $120 "lovely little balls of fluff" has starred in a Checkout Classifieds advertisement.
When the last pup has found a home, the "very good mum," Layka, will be whisked off to the vet.
The quotations above are from Nina Shmakov, who says the couple "moved boulders" to get together.
"We put logs across a gap in the fence to keep them apart but they still scratched until they made a gap," Nina says.
"Then we replaced the logs with boulders about rockmelon size.
"We thought they would never move the rocks but they kept digging under them until they broke the barrier.
"I tried to keep her in our enclosed veranda but she scratched too much.
"At least he was faithful to him."
Nina, who moved with husband Tony, a dry-wall plasterer, from Alberton in South Ausralia to Gladstone about seven years ago, says Layka replaced a kelpie-cross as their family pet.
"She’s the best dog I ever had," Nina said of the tricolour foxy.
"I named her after the first dog that went to the moon. She was a small dog too.
"Layka’s an excellent guard dog and treats the kids (aged 5 and 3) well.
"She won’t take off anywhere. We can leave the gate open."
With Vizza now safely out of earshot, Nina can describe the former neighbour as "a little yappa".
Nevertheless, the union produced outstanding puppies, this tme with equal numbers of medium-length and smooth coats.
Vizza and Layka must have timed this litter for the Christmas stockings.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Here it is, the long-awaited story with a romantic twist on how the Lancaster bomber helped save Britain during World War Two. This column appeared yesterday in the Redland Times, which serves the community on Moreton Bay at the gateway to Australia’s growth region, south-east Queensland.
LEONARD and Marie Spooner are thankful they have kept their television as they gradually clear their Birkdale retirement home.
The TV was not on the for-sale list under the heading, "Going overseas".
The screen has been the focus for keen eyes, hungry for technical details of the Beaconsfield mine rescue.
Leonard worked for many years with a mining-tool company.
"They adapted a raise-boring machine to drill the vertical shaft; the cutters may have come from my former company," he says.
"I started as a toolmaker and rose through the ranks to manager of operations."
Leonard has more than business in his life’s story. A World War Two pilot with the Royal Air Force, he received a Distinguished Flying Cross after 33 bombing missions over Germany.
He says the RAF lost 52 per cent of its bomber pilots during the war.
A bright voice guided Leonard home as he battled fatigue after maybe 14 hours flying a Lancaster.
He was in love with a pretty aircraft controller who talked on radio telephone from a Lincolnshire tower.
Marie also has a distinguished service record, having been in the first group of women radio telephone operators.
"Someone decided a woman’s voice was more welcoming for the pilots who were weary after such long flights," she said.
The couple married in 1944. After their RAF discharge they found England had little to offer.
"We couldn’t even get a house or apartment," Marie said.
The couple moved in 1948 to Ontario, Canada. They came to Australia in 1981 and lived on the Sunshine Coast for a decade before returning to Canada.
In 1997 they were back in Queensland. The Redlands has been home since 2002. Leonard and Marie, both 85, are heading again to Canada, this time Vancouver.
Marie has been suffering from our summer heat. They couple also want to be closer to family in the United Kingdom.
"It’s three days travel from England to here but Canada is virtually overnight," Marie said.
"We love it here; Australia is a lovely country. We have been all around, up the east, across the north and down the west. We have many happy memories."
The Spooners are sad to leave Wellington Manor Retirement Village and "all its happy people".

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Lancaster was part of the armoury that saved Britain in World War Two. More than a half century later it has received a mention in the marvellous community. Watch this space. Picture courtesy www.1000.pictures.com

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The great Miles Davis stares at you from this page today because he has a lot of gigs in the marvellous community of classified advertising.
He has good company in the record bins at garage sales and in the "for sale" columns.
Collectors of all types hunt through classifieds advertising for their prizes. A certain scribe claimed a copy of Miles Davis’s Greatest Hits a few years ago, courtesy of the classies.
One of the best things about collecting jazz records – apart from the music – is the cover notes.
Jazz cover notes must be a literary genre. They are amazing. From the Davis record (CBS), which appears to date from the mid 1960s:

by George Frazier
I don't mean to be a bastard about this, but, at the same time, I have no intention of being agreeable just for the sake of being agreeable. So, I'll admit at the outset that, damn right, I don't much care for men who dress badly. It's not that I necessarily hate them or that I'd ever dream of doing anything to abridge their civil liberties, and, for that matter, I do have a few friends whose clothes are simply appalling (though that's no problem, for I usually manage to look the other way when I'm with them), but, all the same, I see no point in trying to pretend that I feel very comfortable in the company of the ill-clad.
But the kind of man I do despise is the stupid son of a bitch who, in the arrogance of his ignorance, thinks he's well-dressed, who assumed that he will arouse admiration because he happens to be wearing a campy blazer by Bill Blass or something swishy created by Gardin. Now that's the kind of man I can't stand the sight of, and so much the worse for him if he subscribes to such stuff and nonsense as that somebody named Frank O'Hara was a decent poet. You’d be astonished how many foppishly dressed men respond to O'Hara-the wrong O'Hara. But the hell with that.
All I'm trying to say, really, is that most boutique customers should be lined up before a firing squad at dawn and that there should be a minute of silence to thank God for the existence of people like Miles Davis: Except, of course, that there are no people like Miles Davis. He is an original. He is a truly well-dressed man. He is the Warlord of the Weejuns.
Oh. he's a cool one all right, but writing about him presents certain problems, for although he is the most modern, the most contemporary of men, he is also a man born out of his time. In a godawful age when a lot of silly bastards dared appear in public in Nehru jackets (thank the Lord that
Nehru didn't have to live to witness that), Miles Davis, I’m afraid, is largely wasted. But before we have the next dance, I want it clearly understood that I'm not advocating that all men aspire to dress like Davis. That would be unrealistic, for it is this man's particular charm that he is unique, not only in his apparel, but in his life style. His apartment, for example-well, it is like no other apartment I know, tasteful and comfortable and push-buttony and without making anyone feel he better not dirty an ashtray. On days when Miles is in New York and I can take a few minutes from the task of
transcribing the corpus of my writings to vellum (a chore I had a couple of monks doing until they became unionized and began to charge me an arm and a leg for a lousy thousand words), I drop in on Miles and, as they used to say, we dish.
We dish about a lot of things, like, for instance, Is AI Hirt necessary? or Whatever happened to Zinky Cohn? But mostly we talk about clothes, nor could any dialogue be more informed and enlightening. For I happen to know an awful lot about clothes, and Miles, knows as much, if not more, and we are a caution the way we carry on. The Davis wardrobe is very special -the creation of Miles and the craftsmanship of Mario at Emsley's, who is reverential toward the Davis ideology. And well Mario should be, for Miles knows what becomes him. He likes his trousers bellbottom, often fringed, and his jackets long and highwaisted, with conspicuous suppression and a flare to the skirt. He also has an instinct for the right fabrics, and he knows how shirt collars should fit and the proper way to wear a silk neckerchief, things like that. He just knows.
But in the matter of being, not merely well-, but best-dressed, knowing is not enough. A man can have exquisite, absolutely impeccable, taste in clothes and yet look like hell in them - and were I a bigger son of a bitch than I am, I'd name you a few. But we must think positively, not negatively, must. we not? What is pertinent is that Davis, like the Beaus and Biddies before him, seems to have been born to wear what is on his back. He, no less than Richard Corey, glitters when he walks. He is tall, slim, handsome, and haughty. He is indeed the War Lord of the Weejuns and if you don't know what that means, don't mess around, just go to your room. But what I love about him most is his honesty. About him there is no coyness (as there is, unfortunately, about Astaire, who tries to pretend he couldn't care less about his garb.) Miles is interested in clothes and he sees no reason to feign that he isn't. One night, after a concert in French Lick, Indiana, he asked me how I thought he'd done. "You sounded superb. You -" But he stopped me. "No, not that," he said. "I mean how did my suit look?"
When not selecting additions to his wardrobe, Miles is a professional trumpet player. People who know about such things tell me he shows a lot of promise.

Friday, May 05, 2006

With great pleasure, I introduce to the worldwide web today a marvellous woman who seems to come as close as humanly possible to understanding humankind’s greatest pal, the dog.
Canine stories abound in the marvellous community of classified advertising but Dee Scott and beagle Phantom’s story is special.
Dee grew up in Cooma, New South Wales, Australia, and at age 13 trained her first dog, the family german shepherd, Sheik.
By the time Dee was 16 she was instructing with the Cooma Dog Club.
She later moved to Canberra and Melbourne, all the time training privately and with clubs. She has been heavily involved in the dog sport of flyball.
Dee and husband Neil moved to Thornlands, Queensland, several years ago.
Dee’s career highlights include bringing a mistreated heeler-cross back, Isaac, from the brink of "incurable" and she still enjoys the company of the lifelong friend.

HUGS and sniffles are hallmarks of a reunion but pats and sniffs were the order of the day when a newly retired federal agent met up with an old mate in the Redlands.
The officer had just ended a star-studded career with the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service in Melbourne.
Celebrated sniffer, Phantom, a beagle with the rank of Quarantine Detector Dog, checked more than one million passengers in almost a decade of service at Melbourne Airport.
After leading hundreds of "busts" for quarantine infringements, Phantom has finally retired to the home of his first and long-term handler, Dee Scott.
In 2004, Dee moved to Thornlands, counting off the days until Phantom’s retirement and their reunion.
"I was teamed up with him as a pup when I joined the service in 1998," Dee said.
"He’s a brilliant dog; I have his whole CV; he has had huge career.
"He was not trained for narcotics but to protect our agricultural industries, which contribute so much to our way of life."
Phantom had found his share of plants sewn into clothing and unexpected nasties like forgotten sandwiches in luggage but the big sausage bust stood out among the achievements, Dee said.
He had sniffed out a stash of 5.5kg of salami and sausages, clumsily disguised with a layer of chocolate, in a golf bag.
Dee, who has a business, Positive Response Dog Training, said the partnership with Phantom had highlighted her 25 years of training dogs and her belief in positive, rather than negative, reinforcements to gain the right behaviour.
"You cannot make a dog like Phantom go out and sniff when you want them to unless they are happy," she said.
"Dogs have a unique language; we don’t speak dog and they don’t speak English.
"People tend to humanise their dog’s attitudes but they should try to look at the world through their eyes."
Dee said dogs must also socialise with other dogs to help their training.
This is a message at Dee’s "Puppy Preschool", which she runs at Raby Bay Veterinary Surgery.
She also trains through Redlands Veterinary Clinic, Thornlands, and gives private consultations.
Phantom has had a lot of socialising since he first swaggered into his new home.
He was able to match a certain smell Dee took with her to work all those years, that of her heeler-cross, Isaac.
Dee reckons the pair virtually would have known each other already.

I spotted an ad for Dee’s "Puppy Prechool" on the Redland Times popular, Classifieds Fast Find Page. You can find Dee on 07 3821 6996 or 0424 058 450.
Today’s Times published the column with an upfront pointer. I have scanned the pic from the paper. It appeared with these words:
Television viewers may recognise the bloke with the long ears pictured with Thornlands dog trainer Dee Scott.
The beagle, Phantom, has featured on the Seven program, Border Patrol, as a star quarantine detector dog in Melbourne.
He has just retired to live with Dee, who was his first handler. The story features at Classie Corner in today’s Times Classifieds.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Warning: Don’t try this at home. Look what will happen. Writing will make an old man out of you, like it has of me.
Actually, the hazy pictures at right show the Classie Corner logo through the years. Top is a decade ago at the Sunshine Coast Daily relaunch; centre, at the APN group relaunch five years later; and bottom the current logo from the Redland Times.
Really, if I can work out an easy method I will replace these with a better quality.
However, as blog visitors already know: Classie Corner has had more relaunches than hot dinners; and the text, rather than design froth and bubble, is my bag.
Even I must admit today’s images are a bit rough but I am more concerned with the great story I have found.
You’ll have to wait until it appears in the Redland Times but the wait will be worth it.
A hint. Animals make great stories and nothing is better than a dog story straight from the marvellous community of classified advertising.
Watch this space. Meanwhile, have a good day/night.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Journalists and salesmen have something in common, foot scars from the slammed doors. The Classie Corner archives produced this toe-in-cheek outburst:
KEEP your canoe jokes to yourself. The next person who looks down at my feet and says, "Gee, did they give you a paddle when you bought those shoes?" will get a size 12 where it hurts.
The other size 12 is spare for the "wink wink nudge nudge" type.
Just what do they say about blokes with big feet?
I don’t know. Never could understand that one.
Then, there is the old "firm grip on the world" standby.
One Grafton retail worker can share my can distaste for Big Foot jokes.
His size 12s starred in a Checkout Classifieds for-sale notice, opening up a potentially sensitive subject in front of many thousands of readers.
Ethical considerations stopped me from getting down there for a bargain – "brand new" slip-on steelcap workboots for just $25. Size 12 to boot!
Checkout staffers can’t stick a foot in the door to snap up all the good gear from the for-sale notices.
It just would not be right. We would deserve the boot.
Before Thorpie made it respectable to have size 17s I endured a big ordeal after I saw a pair of size 12s in a secondhand shop without a marked price.
I asked the woman behind the counter how much. She said with a grin: "They’ll be no good for you; they’re size 12s."
She then peeped down over the counter and her words cut deep. "Oh. I am so sorry. I had no idea." Hand on mouth.
Just as if I was suffering some terrible affliction.
That’s the sort of attititude the size 12 invokes. "I am so sorry." What a pile of toejam.
I am fortunate to have progressed to size 12s after the Beatlemania of the 60s.
As a teenager I begged mum and dad to let me have a pair of sharp-toed beatle boots.
After a year or so of nagging they said yes. The campaign was long and hard and I was proud of my beatle boots, for a few weeks.
An adolescent growth spurt tried to rob me of the boots but I couldn’t give them up. They were just so hard to get it would have been ridiculous to give in.
For the next few months I shuffled around like a pop-crazed penguin.
I couldn’t even run for the bus, let alone do the twist. A few years later I ended up at the specialist with a foot problem.
In a gruesome twist, he put me into hospital and chopped off a toe in a bizarre surgical performance that has had more modern medicos shaking heads and tapping feet in bewilderment.
There has also been a bit of a kick in the teeth from the advertised boots.
The owner’s mum took the call. The issue of foot size was touchy.
"He usually takes size 11; these were too big," she said.
"The sizes are different between the brands.
"He just made an error of judgment and got another pair.
"He’s been doing a bit of fencing with a mate who just got married."
What can you say? "I am very pleased for him."
I can certainly recommend his boots, though. Trying on secondhand footwear can bring an eerie feeling.
You tend to wonder why good shoes may be "sacrificed" so cheaply.
Be assured. This vendor is still kicking.