Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cultural whips sting grey workhorses in new political paddock

Image: A very talented artist Virgil Serrano posted this study of the Animal Farm workhorse, Boxer.

THE concept of "age discrimination" crept into our culture over a few decades, and nowadays it's a fairly hot subject.
Many social and economic analysts and politically motivated interests, however, have latched on to a simplistic view of inequity from employers rejecting older people for no better reason than their age.
Sure, the "old and you're on the scrap heap" treatment needs correcting but is just a facet of complexities stemming from longer life expectancy and a shift in the population age scale.

FORMER Labor senator and Hawke government minister Susan Ryan, in her first year as the nation's age discrimination commissioner, has expounded on many of the issues. The 12 speeches she has posted under the Australian Human Rights Commission banner show her depth of feeling and expertise on discriminatory matters.
The recurrent theme of course relates to getting older people gainfully employed. Ms Ryan says age discrimination is driving "millions out of the workforce long before they are ready to retire".
The focus on the right to work has had politicians of all colours plotting to increase the retirement age and keep seniors working longer, but is anyone watching over the right to retire?.

SOME of us can still remember when senior workers could step aside with dignity when they had served their time in the harness. Now, many are destined never to have relief from a lifetime of toil – just like that poor old horse in George Orwell's Animal Farm. Society seems now to want to mimic that Orwellian porkine mentality and whip the workhorse until it collapses for the last time.

THIS pessimistic view is quite unlike that of Alex Petsheny, 62, a grandfather who came to Thornlands from Darwin three years ago so he and wife Jan could live closer to their family.
Alex is a workhorse looking for a harness but has been shocked by the snubs, from not only potential employers but from the same System that Ms Ryan represents.
Sure, bosses who employ older workers can receive incentive payments, but only if the workers are on Centrelink benefits for which Alex doesn't qualify.
As he says, you can look after yourself all your life and get no support, while others can jump out of one safety net and into another. The authorities need to do something about that sort of inequity.

ALEX has posted a Handyman Services notice as a multi-skilled tradesman/handyman offering general home repairs, painting, plaster repair, tiling and minor plumbing. He's fit and willing and just needs some encouragement right now.

Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Jewels shine among junk but misfortune can lurk in shadows

 Image: This delightful oil painting is a special treasure someone I know well found at a garage sale a few years ago.

LIFE can be one big treasure hunt so the reality television focus on antiques and 'jewels among junk' is bound to captivate many viewers.
The British do it with dignity, showing courteous assessment of objects presented to experts in the relevant field. Across the Atlantic, brash Americans comb through 'junk' with manic drive.

THE treasure hunt is not the invention of TV producers; it has been under way as long as humans have had hopes and dreams. An ancient Arabic parable tells of a little boy who found a jewel, put it in his bag of special things and lived in squalor, eventually dying as an old man, with the jewel that could have changed everything still tucked away at the back of a cupboard.
Recently, after seeing on TV how a UK woman found a medieval ring worth many thousands of dollars in a paddock, I heard how just a few years ago a Redland woman found a $20,000 diamond in a bag of buttons she bought from the Chandler markets.
Last week, a mate bragged about finding a pure gold trinket at a Redland op shop. He paid $1.

USERS of op shops, community markets, garage sales and classified advertising know the adrenaline hit of spying a bargain. Sometimes dreams come true but for every finder there's probably a loser, too.
After I had a garage sale a few years ago an elderly woman knocked on my door to ask if we had found a ruby that was missing from her ring; she visited about 12 sales that day – a costly treasure hunt, indeed.
A recent Lost and Found notice sought "the lady who accidentally put a box of collectables in with her donation to Save The Children Fund", which has a shop in Queen Street, Cleveland.

VOLUNTEER Marion Clarke says she was managing the shop when the woman went in to ask about the box.
When told it hadn't, the woman left without leaving contact details. "About a week later I was cleaning up and came across a box mixed up with the rubbish," Marion says. "I put it to one side to open it later."
Marion is not giving away clues about what she saw when she eventually opened the box. She has already taken a call from a woman who appeared to be 'fishing' for details.
"I simply would like to get the box back to the rightful owner," she says. Marion says the contents date from the early 1900s and are valued at probably $150.

Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Tax refunds on way for pay-as-you-eat splurge on treats

Image courtesy of fellow blogger Life, Musings and Jill, where you'll read a fantastic ode to the cream bun. Long live the CB!
THE often-quoted adage that death and taxes are the only certainties in life dates from a seemingly simple age without the multitude of influences that crisscross the communities of interest in our modern era.
The words of Benjamin Franklin have echoed through the centuries and seem to have an eternal following through the expanse of cyberspace that is the internet.
We need a smile at this time of year as those inevitable envelopes flop on to our desks and into our letterboxes with the certificates giving good or bad news of our pay-as-you-earn tax credits and income.

A SHARP mind in the tax-talk archives offered the consoling thought that you must earn money to pay tax, so in reality the bigger the tax bill the better off you should be.
Franklin didn't bank on some other certainties. In the spending spree that comes with the influx of tax refunds each year, many of those lovely sweet dollars will buy cream buns for overweight people.
The financial and economic analysts always neglect this thread of social commentary. While most of the retail economy waits beside the counters for cashed up consumers to splurge, courtesy of Glenn Stevens and his gang at the Tax Office, the registers are ringing up sales of cream buns.

THE thronging crowds at the retail centres become a mass of swollen cheeks, white smears and bouncing jaws.
The shopping centre landscape is littered with finger-licking and hand-wiping cream bun addicts, ceremoniously dumping wrappers in the bins as their gaze turns to the next fix in their sticky habit.
But it's not funny. We are told those buns and other sweet treats are making some people sick.

HERE's another certainty Franklin didn't bank on: a fat belly bouncing around every time you turn on the telly.
At least we can be sure that big efforts are under way to trim the blubber and get our society healthier and supposedly happier.
Weight control makes a market for a lot of enterprises in Australia in 2012, with big and small players hoping to divert some of the 'tax dollars' away from the bakery.

CAPALABA couple Kim Phillips and Gordon Mills chose our Classifieds to launch their contribution toward a slimmer Australian population.
Kim, a registered nurse, and Gordon, an aircraft engineer, advertised their Community Weight Loss Challenge, saying, "The idea is to get healthier and lose weight together over a 10 week period, along with group support, information over a range of topics and also cash prizes."
Just before that pivotal date, July 1, 13 people had taken up the offer. Kim, originally from country NSW and a Redlander for the past decade, says she recently lost 19kg and feels fantastic.

KIM and Gordon have much research backing up their weight loss program. We'll count the kilos after the first 10-week program and report the results.
Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.