Cheeseburger Gothic

A Sweet Jane alt-hist challenge!

Posted January 9, 2010 by John Birmingham
Yep, you heard me.

She too has reached faff saturation point and so she tweeted the other day asking what might have happened if the US had entered the war earlier in 1941. Specifically, in January when Japan attacked American Samoa and Pago Pago in small scale raids.

But the US, as Jane points out, did nothing. Why? What would it have meant if we might have responded?

(Excuse the typo in the earlier version of this post. I wasn't really awake. Possibly still not).

154 Responses to ‘A Sweet Jane alt-hist challenge!’

Quokka asserts...

Posted January 9, 2010
Perhaps if you put links to Mayhem's and Madame's blogsites here it would contain the faff?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted January 9, 2010
I have it on very good authority that everything would be exactly the same as it is today, except that every American would have red teeth (something to do with chewing some narcotic nut native to certain Pacific islands).

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted January 9, 2010
I still maintain that a better, more substantial alt-hist discussion would center on exploring if Pizzaro's invasion of Peru would have succeeded if, prior to the invasion, the Incas had escalators.

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Tarl would have you know...

Posted January 9, 2010
Entered the war earlier? The U.S. was attacked on 7 Dec 1941, and fought a battle at Wake Island lasting through 23 December. Or does merely declaring war and fighting not count as entering the war?

As for operations in Pago Pago and Samoa, what assets would we have carried them out with? Aside from the aircraft carriers which were so fortuitously absent from Pearl Harbor, most of the pacific fleet assets were somewhat damaged on the day the war started.

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Abe asserts...

Posted January 9, 2010
Not sure I understand. Didn't the US enter the war in Dec 1941?

Pearl Harbour had been bombed and Wake Island had fallen by the time a Japanese sub lobbed a few shells at Pago Pago in Jan 1942. Yes the Americans were worried about the comms chain across the Pacific to Australia and NZ, which is why they landed some marines there later that month.

I think a more interesting question would be what would have happened had the allies worked out the significance of Rabaul to the Japanese plans and reinforced the small Australian garrison there.

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Bangar mutters...

Posted January 9, 2010
Let's assume that America enters the war before Pearl Harbour. America would have a fleet to use immediately, a fleet that would follow the old "battleships are kings of the battle" thinking instead of using what they had aircraft carriers and subs.

You would also have to question the will of America without the unifying caused by the sneak attack.

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 9, 2010
D'oh. 'Scuse typos. She would have meant Jan 41. I'll fix it up. That'll learn me to do these things before I'm fully awake.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted January 9, 2010
1942? Is SJS in one of my history classes? That sounds like the sort of question I get, right up there with, "Did we fight the Japanese first, then go after the Germans?"

Ah, no. It kinda sorta happened at the same time. Sheesh.

Sitting here pondering the matter, the only point at which I can see the US going to war sooner would be 12 December 1937 when the USS Panay was sunk on the Yangtze River. That said, while public opinion turned against Japan here in the US, the powers that be worked very hard to avert an escalation.

Things might have turned out differently though. The US was not quite at the same level of pre-war mobilization in 1937 as it would be by 1939-40. That said, I think Bangar has the jist of it about American willpower. The urge to remain neutral and pacifistic was very strong right up until Pearl Harbor.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Abe reckons...

Posted January 9, 2010
JB: "She would have meant Jan '41"...

--------

I can find plenty of stuff referring to subs shelling Pago Pago in Jan '42 but nothing in Jan '41.

Maybe because it didn't happen until Jan '42?

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Moko puts forth...

Posted January 9, 2010
IT's interesting to me that Americans entered the war before America did. Those are the ones that need special mention. It seems to me America entered when they were lacking other options.

The Battle of/for Britain was fought and won before the Yanks reared their ugly heads. They only started considering supporting Britain - offically - after that battle. Roosevelt sent William Donovan to make sure they were still alive. He went back and said, "Yep, most of them" and suggested Britain be supported by the yanks because they had a chance of survival. Gee, thanks.

...so umm... what was the topic again?

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted January 9, 2010
OK..so just to clarify, so we dont get bucket loads of FKN FAFF and all sorts of other shit. SOMETHING happened..WHAT specifically WHO cares. It was of sufficient magnitude to DRAW the US in early..eg...41.

Lets also assume, that the US fleet was not touched, so the catalyst might be an island attack or sinking of a ship somewhere ELSE on the planet. Sufficient to outrage the US to levels caused by Pearl Harbor.

Would the US have adopted full the doctrine of CARRIER warfare, or would it still be centered around the Battleship. Not sure there, though they were already well on their way. pearl caused them to accelerate this as they had no other offensive assets. Same goes for the subs.

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Murphy reckons...

Posted January 9, 2010
I think the evolution to carrier based warfare would have occured differently if the Pacific Fleet remained intact, perhaps not as fast. However, the Pacific Theater was not the only driving force. Keep in mind that Pearl Harbor was modeled on the British attack at Taranto, Italy. With a sizeable amount of the Italian Navy destroyed, the British could breathe a little easier in the Med.

That attack, btw, was pulled off using biplane torpedo bombers flying off British carriers.

So I suspect that sooner or later, the US would have used their carriers. And if they didn't, debacles akin to what befell the US Asiatic Fleet during the opening days of the war, or other elements of ABDACOM would have rattled their cages enough for them to think, "Maybe air cover would be a good thing."

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted January 9, 2010
Pearl also showed them that it works, HAV. The American advocates of carrier-based warfare have noted that Pearl made the point better than they ever could.

If the US had been drawn in early, it probably would have been by the Germans and maybe this would have meant more resources would have been shifted to the Atlantic sooner, leaving the Pacific even more exposed.

Maybe.

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted January 9, 2010
Japanese attack on Philippine Dec 8, 1941..American units present etc. If you utilise this as the tipping point for US entry then...well, it gets very interesting actually.

The probability of a us TF being dispatched and clashing with Japaneses Naval forces is high. Given the speed with which the initial occupation took place, you could well see a US carrier TF with heavy Battleship numbers going up against Naval and LAND based Japanese units as well.

I figure the initial units would be light from the US, so you could possible have the token TF being wiped out.

THAT would then be a major initiator for US involvement. the MASSACRE of a US Naval TF off the Phillipines..oh yes, that would do it.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted January 9, 2010
Perhaps a current era Japanese Plasma state physiclist gets sick of SJS so creates a time travel device. He goes back in time to the Japanese-Russian war and joins the JIN. He knows the outcome so performs heroic deeds, gets recognised, climbs through the ranks, is made captain of a submarine, then goes to Pago Pago and bombs 8 types of Frack out of the rock from under which SJS's grandfather would eventually crawl. Thus saving us from subsequent infestation & irritation.

heh heh heh

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted January 9, 2010
Clap clap.

Give this man a time portal, for services to mankind.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted January 9, 2010
I'm with Murph on this one.

Major changes in doctrine work slowly through the bowels of an armed force.

EG; In WW1, despite them being technically spectacularly crap, aircraft proved time and again to be deal breakers. Yet there was very strong resistance to their uptake pretty much until the Spanish Civil war. Lingering concepts of honour & officer code resisted uptake as unsporting or whatever. Until the Dorniers utterly smashed the opposition flat. Even then there was some remnant resistance.

See also; Anti sub convoys, Japanese & Allied. Field triage. and many many other ideas that were proven Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, yet the moustache twirlers back @ HQ resisted.

I suspect that pearl harbour A proved the efficacy of carrier based attacks & B reduced the pacific fleet to a point where options were limited - that old "If the only tool you have is a hammer all problems look like nails" thing.

If the US came into the Pacific War earlier, then there would have been no Pearl attack. If no Pearl Attack then the Americans would probably have stuck with the battleship big guns doctrine. Closing to close to defenders & placing gun platforms at risk. Resulting in further capital ship losses until the message got through.

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damian would have you know...

Posted January 9, 2010
I see a lot of doctrinal uncertainty about whether the battleship(s) is(are) part of the escort for the aircraft carrier(s), or the carrier(s) is(are) part of the escort for the battleship(s). Would we see the sinking of an insufficiently escorted battleship as a pivotal moment (like the sinking of the Hood or the Bismark)? Weren't the allies exceedingly wary of the Yamoto and Musashi throughout the naval conflict, air war notwithstanding?

On the other hand, if the US came into the war earlier than December 1941, might they have averted the invasion of Singapore?

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted January 9, 2010
JB No need to apologise - you had it right, well that is you faithfully represented what she suggested. (I saw Jane's bleetings over the last week or so and thought to myself at the time that she was on drugs.)

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted January 9, 2010
I'm reading an alt-hist novel called 1901 postulating a German invasion of New York just after the US acquired former Spanish territories and, as a consequence, had its military assets nowhere near New York. I'm enjoying it. It hits on many of the same issues of military doctrinal change mentioned above.

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Bangar is gonna tell you...

Posted January 9, 2010
Damian the battleship's were king of the fleet the carriers would be guard duty.

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Stephen reckons...

Posted January 9, 2010
I'm with NowhereBob and Murph as well. There's the story of the wargames pre WW2 where the carrier craft sunk the battleship(s), but the ref was told to change the results, because that wasn't the doctrine.

My father and I were once discussing early WW2 in Australia. At some point there was a plane crash (near Canberra,I think) which killed a bunch of the older officers from WW1. My fathers opinion was that it was the best thing that could have happened, as it opened up a bunch of command slots for people who weren't still fixated on infantry charges and trench warfare.

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Annette is gonna tell you...

Posted January 9, 2010
Bloody good question Sweet Jane. I wish my Dad was still alive so I could ask him.

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Sweet_Jane_Says mumbles...

Posted January 9, 2010
The US could have utilized those few days to warn Hawaii of attack. Roosevelt knew it would ultimately come to war. We were in the middle of war-like manuevers before the "Day of Infamy."

President Roosevelt froze all Japanese assets in the United States well before December, 1941. Commercial relations between Japan and the US were severed. The US Navy began deploying Marines to augment its garrisons late in 1940. The advance party of Marines who arrived at Pago Pago had been formally activated at San Diego and other United States naval bases. The potential utility of Midway, Wake, Johnston, and Palmyra was recognized, and surveys were conducted and plans made for the construction of base facilities, airfields, and seadromes during 1939 and 1940. In effect, the US was at war with Japan.

The short notice of Pago Pago would have made no difference to anyone that mattered in history - but, it might have made a great difference to the Arizona and other crews of Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt had his clear and unarguable cause for war. Did a few days make a difference to him?

J.

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted January 9, 2010
mmm..thing is a bit long..but hey..SHIT HAPPENS. Some info and thoughts

The more I have thought about this the more I have diverged from my original conclusions. I suspect, the overall scale of the pacific war would be significantly less, but first we need to understand, that between Jan 41 and December 7, 1941 there was a significant escalation in external events too the United States, possibly the most notable event, sending the Japanese on the path to planning a First strike on the US pacific fleet base in Hawaii was the oil embargo, resulted of the Japanese invasion of Indochina.

Although Mainland china was already under attack from the Japanese armed services, the US and IJN (Imperial Japanese Navy), had for some time been closely watching each other and were very aware of the other doctrine for fighting.

Specifically, each ones doctrine for the utilisation of Aircraft carriers. It should be noted that the upper echelons of the IJN considered the carriers secondary for operations against the USN and were quite prepared prior to December 7, 1941 to fight an attrition campaign against sortie-ing USN units as they transit across the Pacific West, to what was considered a guaranteed reinforcement of the US Facilities and Garrisons in the Philippines.

Additionally , the Imperial British forces, largely centred on Malaya were also aware of Airpower issues , but high ranking official’s such as the outmoded and very often meddling Sir Winston Churchill overrode those in the Admiralty who could well have made a significant difference. The Imperial British Navy was far ahead in terms of emerging technology and war-fighting doctrine than the British Army, who we all know as a result of history was ill prepared to fight what was then a modern war. Certainly also unawares of the type of war they would encounter against the battle tested Japanese Army and Imperial marines, who were at that point, possible some of the most battle tried troops on the planet outside of other countries units operating in the European theatre.

I’m not going to delve to deeply in MacArthur, because the simple fact is I hate the muppet, there are too many historical details which show he was out of touch and in my opinion a very poor commander who got lucky, had this man actually been required to think it would have spelled disaster for most persons under his command. I shall however castrate this git at a later point in time.

Back to the British, the Aircraft Carrier ( Fleet Carrier) who’s name escapes me, was detailed in December 1941 to sail with what we know as force Z, that’s the two Britich battleships Repulse and Prince of Wales who were subsequently sunk after three separate air attacks by Japanese Aircraft heading for Singapore. What most people do not know is that the British Fleet carrier had earlier run aground going into Kingston harbour in the West Indies and was delayed for 12 odd days due to repairs.

Now had the carrier sailed as it was meant too with the other force Z units, experts suggest it may well have met the same fate but I am not so sure. The carrier was carrying Sea Fury Hurricanes, whilst no match for an A6M Zero, these were not the units attacking Force Z, they mainly consisted of twin engine Bombers and Torpedo bombers. Both of which the Hurricanes would have had no issue in dealing with.

The Americans would certainly have deployed fleet units to the Philippines, how this would have been brought on early in 1941 who knows, if you utilise the Islands as the catalyst then we need to think of forward deployment and resupply of the Western Pacific defences. Additionally, you would then also consider the possibility of the Force Z deployment early as well.

Japan on the other hand owing to its thirst for natural resources and the really big one OIL, would still have ventured down the same path, we need to remember that at the beginning of 1941, the IJN had no less than 10 carrier platforms, 6 of which were the largest FLEET CARRIERS and the other 4 being light carriers. On top of this at the same time an additional 6 further carriers were under construction, add to this a fleet of the following.

10 Battle ships, 4 of the Kongo Class, 2 Fuso Class, 2 Ise Class, 2 Nagato class and another 3 Kongo class under construction during 41.

18 Heavy cruisers

20 light Cruisers

108 destroyers

68 Fleet size submarines

90 Patrol Ships.

Matched to, 660 Fighters

330 Carrier based strike aircraft

240 land based twin engine bombers and 520 sea plans or flying boats.

Possible the greatest collection of combat experienced pilots as well.

The USN Pacific Fleet which was under normal circumstances based at San Francisco had been relocated to pearl owing to the increase in tension, this bares little influence on this as we are talking now about Jan 1941 and not December later that year.

The US Pacific fleet at the start of 1941 consisted of the following units.

9 Battleships

3 Fleet Carriers

12 Heavy cruisers

8 light Cruisers

50 destroyers

33 submarines and 100 patrol boats.

However, the TOTAL USN Fleet units were as follows.

17 Battleships

7 Aircraft Carriers and 1 escort Carrier

18 heavy cruisers

19 light Cruisers

171 destroyers

112 Submarines.

As you can see the whole US surface fleet outnumbers the IJN although not significantly. As we all know, it was the US construction machine which the Japanese always worried about and the end game was too consolidate their conquest territories before the US could fully bring its production mighty to bare on them.

OK. I will give you a spell here , phase two is WHAT would the US shift to the Philippines and would the IJN have intercepted them Enroute ?, what would the British have done as well.

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted January 9, 2010
FK!, I hate retractions. SEAFURY Aircraft were not on line till much much later, SEAFIRES, which were the navalised version of the Spitfire were but not Till 1942, which means the poxy arsed Fulmar Aircraft were on deck of the British carriers at the time. Hmmm...might still have been ok...

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Bangar asserts...

Posted January 9, 2010
Nice work H, I like your thinking.

I still say unless the US was actually engaged in a shooting war with Japan, Pearl Harbour is still a possibility, there was more than enough indication it was going to happen but the info was ignored, stalled, not acted upon or acted upon inappropriately.

And without Pearl is there enough will for the US to go to all out war. Also what difference would it make if Germany and/or Italy don't declare war with the US?

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Sweet_Jane_Says asserts...

Posted January 9, 2010
How would anyone believe it an insult to refer to either of my Grandpas as Samoan? Big deal... What if they were Samoan? Yeah, both were Samoan Muslims and known Japanese spies.

J.

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Sweet_Jane_Says mutters...

Posted January 9, 2010
Do you know how many Samoans play NCAA or professional football in the US? Do you know how many Samoans are in the US military? America loves her Samoans.

J.

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 9, 2010
OFFS JANE..Back on the fkn meds. plenty of Saomoans here as well..fkn great people

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MickH puts forth...

Posted January 9, 2010
SJS, Your parents were known Jap spies?

Really?

Amazing. And you are still alive too!

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MickH is gonna tell you...

Posted January 9, 2010
Wouldn't have made too much difference. America was always going to win against the Japanese through sheer industrial might no matter what happened at sea in the early days. the date of victory is all that would have changed in the end/

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Peter Sill mutters...

Posted January 9, 2010
No ifs, ands or buts. Why meander from what was supposed to be? I find this topic a waste of time. I can tell you of a thousand stories of why history is supposed to be the way it is. You're spinning wheels on this topic. New one please.

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Moko mutters...

Posted January 9, 2010
Jesus, what a fucken tool you are Pete. You know you wrote that retarded comment on the blog of an alt-history author, eh?.

What the fuck are you thinking JB?. Raising alt-history what ifs here. Mate, sort your shit out thanks. Pete said so.

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DrYobbo mumbles...

Posted January 9, 2010
Sorry Janey, the capital of Polynesia is still Auckland. More Samoans in NZ than in Samoa. Or the US for that matter.

Sill, have to back Moko on this, what the fuck are you on about? You have any idea what JB actually does for a living?

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted January 9, 2010
Man, what if's are some of my favourites.

That's why I'm so conflicted.

SJS I didn't know your Grandndad was Samoan.

Did he know how to play nicely with others?

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted January 9, 2010
I smashed a good couple of hours today at my discretion I might add, just checking things out and doing what if, still not finished. its an INTERESTING exercise. Mr Sill is entitled to his view, thats fine, just dont expect me to be a fan and don't expect me to have any WHAT SO FUCKING EVER REGRETS when I tell you to FUCK OFF YOU FUCKING LEMON HEADED MUPPET ARSED FUCKWAD!. If you are unhappy go fukcing find another SAND BOX

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Scott mutters...

Posted January 9, 2010
Don't hold back Havock tell us how you really feel!

I've looked at ww II and the only way to change the outcome is to introduce externals such as alien spacebats or temperal interference.

Anything else only moves the end date.

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted January 9, 2010
Scott, I have no cause to CHANGE me SPOTS at this point..actually no cause at all unless the argument is suffeciently logical that I realise my stance is wrong. Which has happened before.

BUT, if ya don't like the movie..leave as they say, co's those that are STILL watching just me be into it. Pissing and moaning like a git, well, that WILL GET A RESPONSE.

As for the end result. Well that WOULD CHANGE, if you CHANGE elements prior to the opening of hostilities. THE RESULT, may be quicker..but sure as shit iot would still be a Different result other than winning. Its whats left on the field, how many died, what got sunk, who was left with what, who will not be killed and invent the warp drive ya ya ya .. Interesting exercise as far as i am concerned.

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savo would have you know...

Posted January 9, 2010
There is the possibility that if the US joined the war in early 41, that they could have got a rush of blood to thier collective heads and, with its battleship doctrine (aka Gunship diplomacy), parked some of them in Tokyo bay as a show of force/psy.ops/pissing contest which should end the tit for tat attacks, and bombarded, say ... , the Tokyo Central Railway Station causing civic disruption and showing just who speaks softly and carries a big stick and, accidently or otherwise, offed the railway stations big time neighbour, the Emporer. Where would that take us?

.

Additionally Yamoto doesn't get his 15 minutes of fame for catching the yanks with their pants down as Pearl Harbour could not happen. but Midway would undoubtably end up in Imperial hands (especially with Kolhammer's intervention) which may lead to a Japanese invasion of the West coast

.

or

.

the early intervention of the US big ship harrasing IJN convoys shortens the conflict in the Pacific making it a minor side show for Europe.

.

I remember the first Samoan I had any dealings with ... he tried to eat my skull. I was fingerprinting him and he grabbed my head and bit it. A bit unnerving and really made my Sergeant cross.

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Bangar ducks in to say...

Posted January 9, 2010
Savo, so we call that as definitely ID'd as a 'lation of the saccharine one.

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Scott would have you know...

Posted January 9, 2010
If America entered the war earlier it would not have been as committed to kicking arse as in otl.

That is until the Jap cariers sink enough US battleships for the message to get through.

No need to get into details as others of you have covered it above.

Havock I love alternate history . . . as long as the author has done basic research like Birmo, Eric Flint and Harry Turtledove obviously have.

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Catty would have you know...

Posted January 9, 2010
And now I shall stand upon my soapbox and flaunt my ignorance for all to see.

America should have entered the war in 1939.

That's what allies do. They back each other up. None of this "why should I offer any assistance to England? Japan hasn't done anything to America, so England can get stuffed."

Typical seppos. Willing to start wars to get what they want, unwilling to support Allied wars unless they are personally affected. Which is why I think we should withdraw ALL Australian defence force personnel from every American military conflict. Because NONE of it has anything to do with us.

But I should answer the question, and that answer is "nothing different". Considering the technology and weaponry of the time, travel constraints, production and materials restrictions, political due process etcetera, as far as I can tell the war would have played out exactly the same as it did, in the same time line. If, however, they had backed us up in 1939 like they should have, the whole bloody thing would have been over by Dec 41, and Pearl Harbour would never have been bombed at all.

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Scott puts forth...

Posted January 9, 2010
Catty, you are spot on, the tech time of production of equipment would have made only small differences. Times of battles and beach landings would have change, that's about all.

Now that I've said that I believe that a lot more sailors would have been killed as the USN continued using battleships and ignoring carriers. That is until the message finally got through.

See how long the bullshit over defective torpedoes took to be cleared up.

Speaking of has anyone else read Richard North's Ministry of Defeat: The Tale of the British Occupation of Iraq?

Refusing to learn from mistakes is alive and well in the modern British military.

In fact when I was reading the Axis of Time series I got a feeling of deja vu.

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Bangar reckons...

Posted January 9, 2010
Catty, if the US went to war in '39 they wouldn't have lasted the distance. They were "leave us alone and we'll leave you alone". This is why I keep referring back to "will" Pearl Harbour galvanized the American people.

As to allies I don't believe Australia or any other Commonwealth member had an alliance with the US and at the time Lend/Lease was a way for the US to help without truly being involved.

Further though I may like Churchill's quotes what is forgotten is his concern was for Britain, not the Empire, not the colonies, if everything but Britain was bled dry to ensure Her survival it was necessary in his view, so his attention was in Europe and thus his desire to retain Australian troops though they were needed at home (our home, which the British had promised to protect by securing things like “Fortress Singapore”)

Apologies dear I'll try and get it cleaned up in the morning, the home brew is kicking in.

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Scott puts forth...

Posted January 9, 2010
Sorry Catty, I got to disagree with you about withdrawing from the Afghanistan war.

Definitly problems about how it is being run.

Funny thing is the Amonium Nitrate that is being used in roadside bombs comes from aid agencies. Secondly the logistics train crosses the Khyber Pass and contractors pay the Taliban protection to allow passage.

Kind of like America paying the Germans not to sink convoys crossing the Atlantic. If you want to know a bit more Catty may I suggest the defence of the realm blog lots of background information.

Off topic, sorry guys.

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Scott reckons...

Posted January 9, 2010
Btw this isn't just America's war, this is a war about freedom.

Bin Ladin and his kind have offered us 3 courses of action.

Conversion to Islam, submission or war.

Considering how women are treated conversion is out.

Considering how non Islamics are treated in majority Islamic countries that's out.

Sadly this leaves war.

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted January 9, 2010
Nah SCOTT your fine..no stress here.

I accnot help but wonder, the galvanising incident would most likely have taken place when america sortied ships to probably the Philippines or somewhere else in westpac. IJN had good intel and would have tracked surface fleets if possible. At least a picket line of sorts with Subs.

Earlt on the US and most navies were not real swift on ASW

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 9, 2010
Left the bit I was getting too out. the loss of a MAJOR surface unit or two would have got the ball rolling I think

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Scott is gonna tell you...

Posted January 9, 2010
Indeed Havock nothing like a bloody nose to get someone pissed.

I still ask however how many ships will need to be sunk before a change in doctrine is forced through.

The Pearl attack was the catalyst in otl. After Pearl real panick set in.

Without public fear of Japanese units landing on the West Coast the pressure for change may take longer to develop.

A taskforce being sent to Davey's Locker will have less of an impact in the Philopines then the fleet being hit in it's home port.

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WalkingShaw would have you know...

Posted January 9, 2010
Think of it another way... Imagine if the Japanese hadn't have bombed Pearl Harbour or Pago Pago. What would the world look like today. Forget about what earlier entry into the war by the American's would have done. Japanese non aggression toward the US - sit back and suck on that for a while.

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Scott is gonna tell you...

Posted January 10, 2010
Now that I think of it, were the attacks in 1941 a probe?

Seeing that the Americans didn't react maybe the Japanese saw this as a sign of weakness.

If America reacted by sinking a Japanese ship or two maybe the Japanese would have held back.

The realists in the Japanese military and government knew that a war with America was unwinnable.

It seems that the cycle is set in stone.

Militants and tyrants see the restraint practiced by the western democracys as decadant and weak. They push and push and eventually cross the line then wine when the inevitable arse kicking arrives.

Look at Iran as a modern example. The West keeps negotiating setting deadlines then extending them and not following through when Iran plays funny buggers.

They will cross a line! perhaps not for a couple of years maybe a decade but the patern of behaviour is set.

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El Coqui is gonna tell you...

Posted January 10, 2010
I want to add my US $0.02 cents.

A significant portion of the ships sunk at Pearl, especially battle-wagons, were re-floated, rebuilt and put back into action. However, I doubt that we could had done the same if they had been lost during deep sea fleet action. Specially, if they operated under the battleships and their big guns doctrines with no serious air support. We were seriously outnumber in carriers in the Pacific at the time and the casualties that we got at Pearl will have paled in comparison.

Would the death of thousands of American sailors (probably about 10,000) and dozens of ships in one campaign galvanized the country as surely as Pearl Harbor did?

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted January 10, 2010
To chime in behind El Coqui(who is right, Pearl was ultimately a failure due to the failure to destroy A: Carriers B: Fuel Depots and C: Dry Docks). Many of those vessels were brought back on line. Furthermore, many ships used during the war were authorized under the various Naval construction authorizations in 1939 and 1940. Those ships, to include the Essex Class Carriers, would start to come on line by late 1942.

I think probably a better alternate history question to ask is this.

"What if Nagumo had launched a third wave to destroy the fuel depots and dry docks?"

I suspect that the war would have lasted far longer. Without the resources at Pearl, a victory at Midway, a narrow stroke of luck as it was (because on paper, by sheer numbers and experience, statistically the Japanese should have won the day) would have been impossible.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Sweet_Jane_Says has opinions thus...

Posted January 10, 2010
NZ has more Samoans...? The 2000 census showed a total population of 57,291 people in AMERICAN SAMOA. American Samoa is the southernmost territory of the United States. Yes, we still have territories, and it means that all the citizens of AMERICAN SAMOA are considered duel citizens of the US.

J.

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Sweet_Jane_Says reckons...

Posted January 10, 2010
The US was gearing for war as much as possible in 1939. Remember, the US had and still has a large populace descended from Germans. Even Ford and Lindbergh were Nazi sympathizers.

Fate gave us two favors, the Chinese and the Russians. The numbers of both kept the Japanese and the Germans respectively diverted and diluted. Americans, the Tigers, that flew with the Chinese before Pearl were able to gain valuable experience and intel. They were also able to arrange a few landings for Americans after Pearl.

It's doubtful that any earlier entrance into WWII would have been a deciding factor. We needed time to get on our feet after the Great Depression, we needed time to retool our technologies, and we needed an event to flare our righteous indignation.

J.

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sparty mutters...

Posted January 10, 2010
I suspect it would have been harder to have the Europe first strategy (even without Pearl harbour) with the consequences that would insue.

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andyf swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 10, 2010
what if the IJ had negotiated some sort of non-aggression pact with the US, as Stalin and Hitler did?

with the spectre of a another war with Germany rising above the horizon, would the promise of peace in the pacific have caused the US to allow the Japanese the resources they needed?

And when the US was fully comitted against the Nazis....

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Havock swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 10, 2010
Bout to start work so gotta reply at length later

US hq frowned on the tigers and intel gained was minimal. Not exactly geared up the US I would have said. Fleet units dispatched to west PAC would have been attacked in transit by IJN

the war would have been shorter as the roll back of ohm units would not have been so extensive, Singapore might not have fallen and THAT would have been a big bonus. Even if it did , interdiction of units in sth china sea would have been possible from Philippines, although I think inn would have committed vast troop numbers to that campaign. The Dutch east indies oil field were vital as well to ohm plans. Fkn word selection auto shite. Ohm should be IJN dam

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Boscolamb reckons...

Posted January 10, 2010
A better question might have been, where were most of the Essex class carriers built - the East Coast or West Coast of the continental US (or the Gulf?)?

If accessible on the west coast, could Japan have followed up a successful third strike at Pearl Harbor (as Murph suggests), by sending its fleet to hit our shipyards and scrap our future fleet before it ever gets completed? The reconquest of the Pacific would have been jeopardized by the loss of that carrier fleet. The victory could be delayed by years, or even result in a negotiated peace with Japan.

I suppose such a Japanese raid/strike might be severely hampered by logistics, but it is interesting to ponder...

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Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 10, 2010
Andyf, but what causes the US to go war in Europe?

Japan attacks Pearl

America declares war against Japan

Germany and Italy declare war against America nor required by their alliance

America is in the war in Europe

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Boscolamb mumbles...

Posted January 10, 2010
For anyone interested, in the last few years, a few 'what-if' books have postulated either an occupation of Pearl, or a third-strike by the Japanese. Gingrich and Forstchen wrote "Days of Infamy", and Turtledove also wrote a book with the exact same title.

Robert Conroy wrote "1942" about the Japs occupying Pearl Harbor, and a US counterattack - 'Jimmy Dolittle-style' raid, to trap the Japanese fleet in Hawaii. Interestingly enough, Birmo endorses the book on the front cover.

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Tarl is gonna tell you...

Posted January 10, 2010
Even after the correction, I still have no idea what we're talking about.

Pago Pago wasn't shelled until the war was on. I can't find any references to American Samoa being attacked before either, which is no surprise - the Japanese were actually rather careful to avoid escalation with either U.K. or U.S. before betting it all on a single overwhelming strike.

So for a trigger, we have to imagine either an accident (which isn't really likely to cause the level of outrage necessary for the U.S. to go to war), or an earlier atrocity which would. Since the Japanese actually weren't stupid (just pushed into a corner making them desperate for any change), presumably that earlier attack would also sink a considerable chunk of the U.S. fleet.

The only other way for the U.S. to enter the war earlier would have been something happening in Europe, which again would focus efforts on Europe rather than the Pacific.

Either way, unless we postulate that the Japanese attack manages to make such overwhelming gains that the U.S. navy loses most of its bases in the Pacific, the war doesn't change much. Our ability to build hardware was eventually going to wear the Japanese Navy down, unless for some reason we gave up earlier.

About the only big change that could happen from entering the war earlier is to end up ready to invade the Japanese Home Islands before we have the bomb ready. That probably leaves enough carnage to seriously change later history.

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Peter Sill mutters...

Posted January 10, 2010
Moko Chill Have a mocha. Don't choke on it. You cannot change history but you can change yourself. Reconcile with your defeats and gradually change your shortcomings to become your blessings. Stressed backwards is desserts.

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Sweet_Jane_Says has opinions thus...

Posted January 10, 2010
Well, Birmingham, it's time to close shop. It seems certain denizens have decided that this site no longer deals with speculative history, military strategies, and "what-if's" in general. Has anyone informed your agent and editors?

J.

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Moko has opinions thus...

Posted January 10, 2010
Pete, if you want me to ACTUALLY chill don't be a condescending arse clown.

You're the fucking Gomer that said:

"No ifs, ands or buts. Why meander from what was supposed to be? I find this topic a waste of time. I can tell you of a thousand stories of why history is supposed to be the way it is. You’re spinning wheels on this topic. New one please."

Sorry mate, but that's the dumbest thing I've read so far this year - excluding the random shit that comes outta SJS head - all year so far.

...and a MOCHA?. You just went down ANOTHER rung.

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andyf asserts...

Posted January 10, 2010
well, to be fair, the US had to be bribed into the war vs germany

and mr sil is an.....errr. what IS the word I am looking for? suggestions?

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted January 10, 2010
Oh so you were being speculative, Jane?

My mistake, I just thought you were wrong.

How silly of me. I should have remembered, YOU ARE NEVER WRONG.

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Scott puts forth...

Posted January 10, 2010
Tarl, that is a point I haven't thought of.

America entering the war a year earlier would have left the Yanks with a interesting problem.

Invade the main islands and except the million plus casualties that was projected or sit back and bomb the living shit out of everything in sight and wait for the bomb.

Another point was the USN blockade of Japanese shipping towards the end they were even sinking fishing boats.

What impact would a prolonged blockade have on Japanese civilians?

Unlike the Germans the Japanese were overly dependent on food from external sources. Yes shortages still occured in Germany but it is easier to sink ships and boats than stop a horse and cart on a country road.

Pete if this topic is not to your liking may I suggest the Blue Ladies Lounge.

SJS you've opened a can of worms, whether a invasion of Japan is launched or a prolonged mass bombing-starvation campaign is used the eventual casualty tally may be so high that the face of the Pacific would be unrecognisable to otl.

Could you imagine America treating a defeated Japan as it was in otl after millions of deaths. Especially with Dugout Dug leading it.

As an aside I could not imagine him surviving long in command with the casualty count as high as it would have been.

He sheltered the Emperor and made sure that Japan was treated a lot gentler than it's behaviour deserved.

Modern Germans are aware of the attrocities committed by there country. In contrast most Japanese bearly know anything about the war.

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Peter Sill is gonna tell you...

Posted January 10, 2010
Actually I was raised in Australia but I'm American. Your choice of colonial English lives up to Australia's reputation as a penal colony and I use the term lightly. Your convict choice of vocab. astounds my limited intelligence. I do forgive your country for putting forth people like yourself. It's a shame to even think I lived there. What a relief to be back in the good old US. So I'm not your mate, naver have and never will. My family did more in WW2 than you'll ever comprehend. Do you comprehend this, mate? Thank God the Yanks saved your sorry asses as you ponder on meaningless trivial uneventful passe matters.

Tha last name is Sill like Fort Sill. Read up on it, mate.

Macarthur was very much right. What takes an American fifteen minutes to make a decision takes the Aussies two weeks. Never made Aussie jokes. This could be a start to breaking this mundane pursuit.

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Moko mutters...

Posted January 10, 2010
Unless you've got something constructive to add to the topic why not just fuck off?.

Add stuff and become part part of the conversation, or don't, but right now you're being a troll of the worst kind. You don't like the topic, you've made that clear, and now you come back trolling for reactions trying to sabotage the whole thread. Why not just respect our right to discuss whatever the fuck we want without needing your approval?.

Whatcha reckon?.

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Scott has opinions thus...

Posted January 10, 2010
Pete, he may have said that but the important difference was the decision that took 2 weeks was more likely to be right, impulsive decision making has caused a lot of grief over the years.

If Dugout Dug was so good why hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl was his airforce not only on the ground but hadn’t been dispersed to revetments. They were all lined up wingtip to wingtip just asking to be ttrashed.

He spent more time making press releases saying what a legend he was than actually fighting the war.

If it hadn’t been for the mass of men and logistics flooding in to the Pacific the Americans would have been in big trouble.

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El Coqui mumbles...

Posted January 10, 2010
Attack on the US shipyards? No happening, I can't see the IJN risking the necessary forces by exposing them to land based aviation. The Army Air Corps doctrine of the times was to intercept attacking fleets at least a 1000 miles from shore. This led to the development of Flying Fortresses and Liberators. Can you say turkey shoot?

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DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted January 10, 2010
Sill, (a) fuck off, (b) Moko's a Kiwi (as anyone who knew their arse from their elbow could tell from his name) hence not a convict, and (c) fuck off.

Jane, not questioning that American Samoa is a territoru and it matters, but the fact remains there's more Samoans in NZ than in NZ. As I'm sure you're aware there's no ethnic difference between the people of American Samoa and those of Samoa (or the Samoan diaspora who you're referencing in the states.) There are (roughly) 115000 Samoans living in NZ, 70K in the US and 40K in Australia. Was wrong on the resident population of Samoa itself, it's larger than I thought, around 180K.

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Peter Sill asserts...

Posted January 10, 2010
My granddad was a Major in the Burma Campaign. When everyone else was cryin' in their boots or pissin' in their pants, my granddad killed those who needed to be and far, far more in the line of duty. I respect men and women who go the distance for the truth. Waddaya reckon, hey mate?

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Scott puts forth...

Posted January 10, 2010
Birmo, for the next topic maybe have Macarthur die in a plane crash a few months before Pearl?

A competent general in charge of the Filipino defence may have slowed down the Japanese onslaught.

Moko, good call!

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DrYobbo mutters...

Posted January 10, 2010
Yeah my granddad fought on the Kokoda Trail bayoneting the Japanese and watching his mates dying of dysentery. What the fuck does anyone's grandfather's war service have to do with the fact that you're a cretin with nothing to add to the discussion?

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DrYobbo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 10, 2010
Jesus Christ, I'd rather have heard from Peter Gill. At least he was a handy number 7 for the Gold Coast Seagulls back in the day.

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Moko asserts...

Posted January 10, 2010
Everyone in here has someone that did whatever where ever in their genealogy Pete.

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Scott is gonna tell you...

Posted January 10, 2010
El Coqui, agree with you about the IJN not risking an attack on the US mainland.

Have a problem with the efficacy of the Flying Fortresses and Liberators on ships.

In the Coral Sea engagement high altitude bombing was less effective than dive and torpedo bombers. Secondly taking those bad boys in for a low altitude run is asking for high casualties. Precision bombing especially in reguards to ships needed a lot of work.

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damian ducks in to say...

Posted January 10, 2010
It's easier to make a fast decision when you know less and take less into account. That's not always bad - sometimes you just get lucky, other times it's important to make a decision fast, and whether it's right or wrong is less important. But even in the latter case, it's best if that happens because you've acknowledged it rather than because you're just a tool.

I for one do find some of the stuff that has come up in this thread interesting, especially remarks Murph and El Coqui. Havock, the RN had more than just the two capital ships sunk by aircraft in the South China Sea, wasn't it 4 or 5? Not enough to hold off the IJN even with better air support, and the invasion came overland. Would a USN TF have met the same fate? Would an early US entry into the war have changed Japan's strategic aims?

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NBlob reckons...

Posted January 10, 2010
Looking at a map of East ASia.

I struggle to imagine any series of events that could have allowed the US to successfully defend the Philipines.

But I'm still trying to come up with something.

Interesting comment from El C on army air protocols. I had wondered why IJN never attacked West Coast USA, like they did Sydney.

One of my grand-dads was a Dr involved in liberating allied POW camps in Burma & Thailand, the other bodged aircraft back together from wrecks. Who t f cares. They have both been dead for 20 years.

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Peter Sill swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 10, 2010
I felt like withholding comments from you Dr. Yobbo in all due decency. Yet you had to add spark to what I wasn't going to say. You will want to hear from me more. So please make the appropriate apologies and allow harmony to return to its rightful place.

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damian puts forth...

Posted January 10, 2010
What are you here for, Mr Sill? Is there some point that your apparently random gibberish is working toward? You clearly don't like Australia or Australians, so why are you posting here at all?

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DrYobbo mumbles...

Posted January 10, 2010
Oh man I'm fkn dying of ROFL here. Sill, you're a funny man. A funny, funny man. But seriously, there'll be other threads. Some of them you may even make sense in. So be a good lad and fuck off out of this one. A'ight?

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Scott reckons...

Posted January 10, 2010
Lord Bob, the Americans would not have successfully held the Philippines.

My suggestion however is that the Japanese could have been slowed down.

Imagine if the IJN and the IJA had been tied down in a battle of attrission a thrust south may have been delayed or have less resources allocated to it.

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Peter Sill asserts...

Posted January 10, 2010
stfu

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Abe would have you know...

Posted January 10, 2010
My theory is that, faced with a stupid error to which she can't or won't fess up, Jane has reinvented herself as another arseclown.

Waddaya reckon, hey mate?

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damian reckons...

Posted January 10, 2010
As with a few of your remarks above, Mr Sill, this last one is not clear about to whom it's directed.

Abe - thus confirming the longstanding theory that the singular trollish person is in fact a hairy, late-40s overweight male person living in Albuquerque and posting, for the most part, in his semen encrusted underwear.

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Abe puts forth...

Posted January 10, 2010
If I lived in New Mexico I would be too busy eating to be a troll.

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DrYobbo would have you know...

Posted January 10, 2010
JB's in Albuquerque? Sounds like he took a wrong turn at Albu... erm, never mind.

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Sweet_Jane_Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 10, 2010
The US lacked the supplies and a reliable route of transport to keep the Phillipines free of Japanese occupation. Conversely, the Japanese could not invade the American mainland for the same reasons. The Japanese did take a few Alaskan islands and abused the native inhabitants. It was a factor in the US drive to extend a reliable highway system into Alaska from the US West coast.

J.

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Naut ducks in to say...

Posted January 10, 2010
Sill'y me old boy, please don't withold anything! So far you have been pure, unadulterated trolling GOLD.

I anxiously awaiting the next installment of your obvious genius.

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lostatlunch puts forth...

Posted January 10, 2010
This is what is wrong with the interweb, there is a nice little community.. and some blow-in comes in, does not get some of the references from an Australian orientated blog, everyone takes offence, no-one tells any good jokes about Australians & Americans... and you cant send a decent electrical shock down the line to a troll.

An Australian Combat Field Engineer Sergeant and a U.S Marine were on exchange duty and were sharing the latrines.

The Aussie Sergeant finished first and walked out without washing his hands. The U.S Marine watched in disgust, finished his squirt, washed his hands and walked up to the Aussie Sergeant and said. " In the U.S Marine Corps we were taught to wash our hands after a leak".

The rather large Aussie Sergeant replied, " In the Australian Army mate, we were taught not to piss on our hands ...! "

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Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted January 10, 2010
lol

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Abe mutters...

Posted January 10, 2010
LOL Good one. In a similar vein...

An Aussie was on a driving holiday in NZ when he happened upon a local giving one of his sheep a rogering on the side of the road. Pulling over, the Aussie said, "Hey mate, where I come from we SHEAR our sheep!"

"No way, bro. I'm not shearing her with innyone," came the reply.

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Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 10, 2010
Twas actually looking for a joke to boot Abe in the bals with, but found this little gem unstud...

HAd to change the names:

John Key, Prime Minister of New Zulland, is rudely awoken at 4am by the telephone.

"John, its the Hilth Munister here. Sorry to bother you at this hour but there is an emergency! I've just received word thet the Durex fectory en Auckland has burned to the ground. It is istimated thet the entire New Zulland supply of condoms will be gone by the ind of the week."

PM: "Shut - the economy wull niver be able to cope with all those unwanted babies - wi'll be ruined!"

Hilth Munister: "We're going to hef to shup some in from abroad... Brutain?..."

PM: "No chence!! The Poms will have a field day on thus one!"

Hilth Munister: "What about Australia?"

PM: "Maybe - but we don't want them to know thet we are stuck."

Hilth Munister: "You call Kivun Rudd - tell hum we need one moollion condoms; ten enches long and eight enches thuck! That way they'll know how bug the Kiwis really are!!"

John calls Kivun, who agrees to help the Kiwis out in their hour of need.

Three days later a plane arrives in Auckland - full of boxes.

A delighted John rushes out to open the boxes. He finds condoms; 10 unches long; 8 unches thuck, all coloured green and gold. She then notices in small writing on each and ivery one.........

MADE IN AUSTRALIA - SIZE : MEDIUM

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Bangar ducks in to say...

Posted January 10, 2010
Oh well,

In an outback pub a Texan was explaining how it took him five days to ride around his property when an old farmer piped in, I had a horse like that to, had to shoot the bastard.

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Moko asserts...

Posted January 10, 2010
Sorry, last one.

While waiting to finalise their Australian residental status, two Afghanistani men start chatting. As they part, they agree to meet in a years time and see who has adapted better to the Australian way of life.

True to their word, they meet after the year is up. The first says to the second "We have integrated so well...yesterday, I ate a meat pie and drank a VB while watching my son play Aussie rules"

The second man replies "F**k off, towelhead"

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted January 10, 2010
Hey all. "scuse my abscence. Been having a family weekend after many months of working sat/sun. I do have some thoughts on this topic, having had to give quite a bit of thought to alternate WW2 timelines a few years ago, for reasons we need not go into here.

On the face of it, I lean towards the old soviet 'corretation of forces' thesis, which holds that things will turn out how they will turn out regardless of small changes at the periphery. The industrial and demographic strength of the US, for instance, was simply too much for Japan to take on. You throw in the British Empire and they are fucked. Eventually.

But I cant help thinking that Pearl is such a pivotal moment, a fulcrum of history if you like, or a nexus point if you're a crazed multiverse believer like me. So much flows from it. It is possible, as a few people have said, to posit outcomes where Japan gets to a negotiated settlement if the US is not engaged enough to throw the switch from Isolationism to Total war.

Taking Jane's original idea, that they sortie well before Dec 41 (bugger the dates and typos, it doesn't matter, it's the idea that matters), I can see a situation where the IJN totally pwns the US Pacific Fleet somewhere out in the deep, takes Midway. Reduces Pearl to rubble and mass grave sites. Cuts off Australia.

And sues for peace to consolidate its holdings.

Isolationist sentiment in America might just have a chance at running FDR out of office for his historic blunders and war mongering, turning the Pacific into Tokyo's Co-Prosperity Sphere for a hundred years.

Doesn't mean it would have happened.

Just that it could have.

Almost anything could have.

Would almost make a great novel. If there was time travel involved.

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Quokka asserts...

Posted January 10, 2010
I haven't read all this yet - and given my level of laziness after spending a good part of the day in the spa perhaps I won't read it at all, ever, but I must point out that if the yanks had entered the war sooner and Pearl Harbour wasn't bombed there'd be one less stinky Ben Affleck movie in the world.

Which must surely be a good thing.

Oh and did you all know that Roxxy the Sex Robot is now available. Article on the ABC news website (it keeps me so well informed) - shopping hints for all you lonely hearts and/or perverts available on Youtube.

Carry on.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted January 10, 2010
I'm only thinking of you, JB. Surely it's a Geek feature. She's fully computerized and comes with multiple personalities.

Or so they say.

Which was enough for me.

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted January 10, 2010
I would posit perhaps with a different mind set, maybe different advisors that the US could in early 1941 take the step of reinforcing US units in the Philippines. This would be on the basis of creating a sufficient defence to give the IJN and Military in general pause.

The dispatch of a large surface fleet would perhaps be mitigated by diplomats not wanting to inflame tensions, so a TF centred around perhaps one or two carriers, 2-4 Battle ships and accompanying surface warfare units. The British in consort with the US would send a similar surface group, a Carrier, 2-4 battle ships and the associated units as well to Singapore.

What would be a given, based on knowledge and the Japanese high commands already decided courses of action would be the attack and hopeful destruction of the Fleet from the US in transit.

This would then be followed up by a strike on Pearl and Midway at the same time. The IJN has sufficient surface units to dedicate a two carrier strike group for the destruction of the US TF in transit and still have two carrier groups with two carriers each hit the US home islands of Midway and Hawaii.

I would postulate that the Midway TF, would be accompanied by an amphibious assault force as well. The retention of the islands would be problematic in the longer term, however, it would serve as a very big bargaining chip, not to mention an early warning post and continual thorn in the side of the US.

The RN would in all probability loose its Tf in the south China sea or in defence of the Malay peninsula and history would perhaps repeat itself, although, the Taking of the Philippines would consume much vaster quantities of men and materials.

This invasion would unfold as stage two, given the pre emptive moves on the United States part in resupplying or fortifying the islands, I would have the attack or left hok, flanking manoeuvre, thus bypassing the Philippines initially. Take Malaya, take Borneo and attrit the US forces on the Philippines. That’s mainly airpower. Once the strike groups ( TF’s) have returned from hitting Hawaii and Midway, they would then be utilized in the systematic destruction of US surface units and airpower across the wholes of the Philippines.

Given they have the ability to sortie at least three powerful surface warfare groups with carriers, I would have one deploy from Midway and roam between midway, Hawaii and the perhaps Guam. Assuming I didn’t stage an assault onto those islands to create defence in depth and further strain any resupply attempts.

The assault south would cease at Borneo, perhaps jumping south one more step to Indonesia to secure the bottom of the territorial gains and place pressure on Australia and create shipping issues.

From this point I would then if I was the IJN and high command sue for peace.

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Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted January 10, 2010
I can't see Japan suing for peace after Pearl. It was already on a rampage through Asia. America had already had an embargo on raw materials on Japan by 1941, and possibly circumstances lead to the Japanese defeat at Midway more than anything with 2(?) carriers missing and they couldn't replace manpower quick enough. Even if they took Hawaii could that have been any GREAT advantage to them?.

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Moko would have you know...

Posted January 10, 2010
Sorry strategically yes, but material?

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted January 10, 2010
Moko, if you work on the basis of Bring the timeline forward to Alt history, its a possibility then that Pearl might not have happened in the same manner. Rather, they hit the infrastructure and not the ships as minimal were present perhaps. Whats also possible is that, the severe losses to the TF dispatched to the Phillipines initially outraged America. BUT!, this didnt cause them to be as outraged. You can then utilise the attack on Pearl and say , massive civilian casualties as the catalyst for public outrage and mobilisation. Perhaps even the removal of the sitting president as well.

Then toss in some twists, like perhaps having the muppet headed, I cannot command anything, leave my planes on the ground in the Phillipines MacArthur, thats GENERAl, when he couldn't command a fkn row boat in Charge of the Hawaiian defences and then he gets removed as well. Castrated would be better so he has no offspring.

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted January 10, 2010
Ref Hawaii and taking the Island, NO, from any perspective that’s long term, Hawaii is a loser. its the denying freedom of movement short term and the forcing of the US to commit assets to its retaking, thus delaying the resumption of offensive operations elsewhere. its a loser for the USN short term, both from an asset point of view and its utilisation for maintenance and also in that public opinion would dictate its immediate retaking, or certainly it retaking prior to any other offensives. And that there is interesting, would that have caused issue for the US and its commitment to Europe, had Hawaii been taken, or perhaps Midway taken and Hawaii just bombed to hell and back

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Moko puts forth...

Posted January 10, 2010
Yeah, America wouldn't have been comfortable with Hawaii taken. A priority - even for just pride - would necessitate retaking it, and that would've been even MORE of a deciding factor on the future of the war.

Even if Japan won the second round I can bet my bottom dollar - which I have right here - that they would've been damaged to a point of no return. Even if the USN was they have opportunity for reconstruction.

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted January 10, 2010
Hum, well, my two cents worth, according to the guys I've spoken to from the Australian Parachute battalion - who never left the country thanks to Macarthur's lack of interest in them - the Sandakan death marches would never have happened, because there was a plan to use the aussie paratroopers to rescue them.

Apparently Curtin didn't have the spine to stand up to Macarthur and so the battalion was transferred from Scheyville (NSW) to Mareeba, where they pretty much sat on their arses for two years, getting extremely pissed off while they waited for a mission.

Book about this by Lynette Silver if anyone is interested.

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 10, 2010
Quokka..again, that also reinforces my view and a lot of other..MacArthur was a fuckwit who should not have been put in command of even a boy scout outfit

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted January 10, 2010
Now for the balance of the planet.

Well, perhaps with trade being stifled and the destruction of the US fleet ( PACFLT), the US would certainly ramp up militarily in the near term. Initial IJN conquests would be swift, although it would be in the 10-12 month category to finally take Borneo.

Perhaps the initial destruction would see the early return of Australian troops deployed to the middle east and maybe even the extension of the Lend lease arrangement to Australia. The Australian troops would be committed perhaps to Borneo or more likely Indonesia halting the Japanese offensive somewhere on those Islands.

I also wonder if perhaps Russia might make a move on the US in terms of Alaska. Perhaps towards the end if they were blind sided by a cease fire between the US, Japan ‘Australia and Britain. This would cause issues for Russia as it would rapidly free up IJN units , so if ideas were around to launch an offensive against the Kuril islands, brought forward from its original time frame and tensions were high in Europe…might they GO EAST .

Here is a curly element. If Russia had in an Alt time line like JB did in AoT arranged a cease fire with Germany. Whilst building up its offensive units it became aware of a plan to kill Hitler and the generals were looking to side with Russia, however, this is a double cross. Behind the scenes, Russia ia aware of the Riches that lay to their east, also bristling still at having let Alaska go in the first place, plans are made to invade Alaska. This would coincide with Germany fully declaring alliance with Russia, hence no need for Vast troops numbers, post Hitler’s demise of course.

What actually happens , is that Hitler is killed and the General Staff immediately announce their cessation of hostilities with the Allies and shift their troops to their EASTERN border. Allied units rapidly transit through Germany to reinforce these units as well. This is all pre D-day, although the build up was taking place. Stalin enraged of course, lashed out completely, launching an Invasion of Alaska and driving also into the Middle East. A general push also towards Japan…maybe, I don’t think so in the near term. Especially is hostilities have ceased with the US, the IJN would be too strong and severely kick any Russian surface units arses.

I aint fkn Finished yet either

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Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 10, 2010
H, factor in Japanese concerns about Russia as well, a contributing factor to their unconditional surrender.

PS bloody Macarthur should have stayed in the dugout.

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lostatlunch swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 10, 2010
now that is better back on topic...

Maybe the japanese (if they really wanted to expand) could have should have gone north, via siberia (the russians already had their hands full), to Alaska instead of pushing through the Phillipines and Pearl.. do not wake the sleeping giant until they are on the doorstep. The Alaskan oilfields would have taken away the major American advantage, the pacific ocean.. making the home islands more defensible and accelerating an American war effort without the benefit of being almost impervious to attack.. Zero's & Jenny's based out of a Canadian city.

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted January 10, 2010
Bangar, yeah thats an interesting dynamic, the flip side would be an alliance between Japan and Russia. Imagine japan securing the russian Flank against the US, Russia hits Alaska and in return they give the japanese a free reign across China, maybe threaten with some units or posture it, so as it appears that Russia will invade China. Better still, if Russia came south striking for the M East, Japan runs down the Asian West flank still and the Allies problem have just Doubled. I couldn't see we would have the combat power if we were still entangled in Europe against germany. However, if German was secured with a Coupe, then the Russian west flank is exposed, more so, if they are in Alaska. that really starts to get interesting.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted January 10, 2010
What would an optimised sphere of Japanese influence be?

Is there a way that Japan could continue to round up little countries none cared about and not touch the colonial properties of the allies; the Phillipines, Sri Lanka & india. Resulting in much rumbling from the allies, but no serious intervention.

The US was resistant to calls to join in the European theatre, what chance they'd muck in over England's colonial holdings.

If Japan has to secure the Straits of Mallacca it means taking Singapore & I think their rubber largely came from Malaya thats going to piss the UK off. With Hitler rampaging across the continent the defence of the far colonies is a second order issue for England. Resources were always going to be held back to defend the homeland.

Japan takes & consolidates it's hold over the new territories surrounding the Phillipines then acts when good 'n ready ?

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Scott mumbles...

Posted January 11, 2010
If we want to throw a cat amongst the pigeons, Hitler is incopasitated and as a result the Germans do not declare war on America.

Congress weren't going to do it but with the one testicled wonder declaring war on America it got the vote across the line.

Without American trucks and radios flooding in to the eastern front maybe the soviets advance would have been slowed.

It is unlikely that without US air power and masses of forces an invasion of the mainland would have been launched.

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Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted January 11, 2010
To think I mocked Jane when she suggested this topic. Well, sorry Jane I was wrong, this is a smart question and a great thread.

There. I said it. In public.

Not much left to say here, everyone here including Murph, Havock, JB and yes Jane have it sewed up with loads of spot on posts.

H's disdain for MacArthur is an eyeopener and now he mentions it the man was a dick. (He was also right cunt to peaceful demonstrators in the depression I understand.)

But to go back to points already made. Would not the lack of a Pearl Harbour day of infamy have made the US public less committed and deprived the US war effort of a clear raison d'etre?

Would Hitler have still pitched in? (My feeling is yes because the man was a clown).

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted January 11, 2010
I'm finding it difficult to seperate the researched fiction of AOT & fact. EG, as a character in AOT the wise admiral worked well, in reality was he as blind as Mac, as balls-out full on as Rommel, or dithery like Monty?

Was there really a clique in the Japanese command structure that Knew that the US was undefeatable?

Was there faction who lobbied for limited action. Or were they SO gung ho that they were blind to consequence?

My mind is drawing paralells with the US senate voting on the Patriot Act - when 1 or 2 notables abstained, everyone else couldn't vote fast or loud enough.

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El Coqui asserts...

Posted January 11, 2010
John et al:

You are assuming that Americans are going to lay down and take it. However, anyone that had read American history understand that it would had been impossible for Japan to get a negotiated peace out of us after occupying our territory and killing our people.

We also rally around our leaders, so FDR is safe.

Russia invading Alaska? Presumably if the Red Army could get itself to mount any large strategic operations after being gutted by Stalin's purges. They would find themselves in the American public opinion in the same position as the Japanese after Pearl. A backstabbing, untrustworthy enemy against whom, all rules of civilized warfare no longer applied.

We can drive to Alaska, the same thing can not be said about Russia. However, I expect that there will be a dearth of Russian prisoners to exchange.

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Bangar has opinions thus...

Posted January 11, 2010
NBob, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isoroku_Yamamoto

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted January 11, 2010
El Coq, no, not saying they will sit down and take it. more like until Pearl or there abouts, they US has been historically slow to anger if you will. WW1 is possibly a good case. Its this dynamic that lead the US to abstain from conflict in WW2 until they themselves were attacked. Hell maybe it was a carryover from WW1, I'm not sure. But without a doubt in my view and I suspect a lot of others in a Historical context, slow to anger, long to fight.

Typically most military strategists will utilise the phrase " WILL TO FIGHT". Pissed off, or angry or whatever other term you wish to coin, its the DRIVER. If the driver is sufficient, then motivationally with the troops you will have little concern as to why they are fighting and thus you need not motivate them.

now days, that can be all parcelled up into lying to the troops and public in general, justification for placing them in " Harms way".

Pearl harbour did this, the US had little choice in the matter.

What may have been done, and hence we are speculating here in this thread, is that the possibility of the US, making further pre-emptive moves, may have brought forward a situation where the driver, whilst still be a catastrophic loss to the US, was an event of such magnitude that the sitting government and President had no issues in declaring war. That’s because public opinion was with them.

If you look at the overall philosophy behind democratic gummits, they are elected by the people to serve them and safe guard their interests. If the people support the action, it really ties the Presidents hands in this case. Had FDR not declared war on Japan, its more likely they would have lynched him in the street.

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted January 11, 2010
NBOB, YES there was. its also well documented that Yamamoto had misgivings about a war with the US. However, these were definitely in the minority as we know. Its also a cultural issue, in that the ethos of the Japanese society and in particular their Military at the time, viewed most other races with a significant amount of distain and further, believed they failed the warrior ethos test.

that played itself out in the POW's and how the Japanese gave no quarter in combat.

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damian has opinions thus...

Posted January 11, 2010
Regarding Alaska, big amphibious invasions were a new, tentative thing that worked in favorable weather by sheer force of numbers only, and barely then. I can't see the Russians trying that in the Arctic in the 40s.

Matt K - a position varying from skepticism all the way to outright contempt and hatred of Macarthur is pretty much normal in Oz. Factors leading to this include, but are not limited to the attitude he took to the Australian troops under his command in the early part of the war.

Scott - the greatest pivotal issue on the eastern front was the Soviet Union's capacity to move its industrial base east, beyond Germany's reach, even as its heartland was overrun. Some argue the various ways the Germans might have moved faster could have led to a victory in the east, but most of these only work with hindsight and assuming perfect knowledge of events, a luxury not available to the German commanders.

Hitler lost a million men at Stalingrad, where Paulus wanted to break out. But if Paulus had his way, would that have affected the outcome? Soviet losses at Stalingrad were also pretty heavy.

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robW asserts...

Posted January 11, 2010
Darkman and Others:

Alaska oil didn't come about until the 1960s, and it was offshore. Even in 1960 they were pressing the limits of offshore technology to get to that oil.

In the 1930s and 1940s the only significant oilfields in the Pacific basin were (a) in the Los Angeles basin (Signal Hill, north to Ventura County, and the Taft field/Bakersfield); (b) Royal-Dutch Shell oilfields in Sumatra, South Sumatra, Central and Eastern Java and East Kalimantan; and (c) Burma Oil Company and Standard Oil (ESSO) oilfields in (then) Burma.

The only other "big" source of oil--giant oilfields--for the Japanese was through Iran/Persia, then controlled by the British (British Petroleum) and oil from Baku, controlled by the Russians. Both of these sources were not practical because of the distance. Also, the Shell Oil pipelines through Iraq ran from east to west to the Mediterranean, not to the Persian Gulf. Persian oilfields were, at this time, poorly developed and the giant oilfields had not yet been brought onstream. Oil from the Los Angeles basin was also impractical because of the distance and logistics and hostile natives.

That left only two sources of oil in the quantities Japan needed: Sumatra/Java/Kalimantan (Royal/Dutch Shell) and Burma (Burma Oil Company and Standard Oil).

Samuel Marcus, founder of Shell Oil, did his job well in getting the British to switch their fleet from coal to oil; John D. Rockefeller did the same in the US, with help from Samuel Marcus (Shell had significant oil interests in Texas).

By taking the Burma and Sumatra oil fields, the Japanese would not only guarantee their own supply (currently being denied by FDR), but put a crimp in the US and British supplies.

If it weren't for the Kaiser Shipyards in Oakland pumping out oilers and supply vessels, the plentitude of wonderful Signal Hill oil and nearby refineries in Long Beach, and the ability of the oilers to fuel up in the newly dredged Long Beach harbor system, the US would have been in a world of hurt. But, as it stood, they did have the tankers in short order, and there was plenty of fuel for the fleet.

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Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 11, 2010
Without Pearl isolationist sentiment in the US might have at least limited the foreign entanglement. Why should they get involved in another war of empires and foreign demagogues? Mind you, the stupidly counterproductive viciousness with which the Japanese carried on would have ensured some sort of show down. In that they were a natural ally of the Nazis.

I remember hearing a comedy skit on the radio about Yamamoto's "sleeping giant" comment.

Imperial Japanese high command.

Officer: Tomorrow we attack America!

Yamamoto: ... You mean South America?

O: North America!

Y: Canada?

O: United States of America!

Y: As in the most powerful country in the world?

O: Yes!

Y: Oh.

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Lobes mumbles...

Posted January 11, 2010
Yamamoto was well aware that Japan would never win a long war against the USA. His objections were overruled by hawks in the Diet.

Fun fact: Yamamoto graduated from Harvard, class of 1920.

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robW ducks in to say...

Posted January 11, 2010
To continue along the lines I mention above, when the US, Britain, and Netherlands East Indies (controlled by British interests--Royal/Dutch Shell Oil) initiated the oil (and steel) embargo against Japan in August 1941, Japan had no choice: Regime change and suspension of its fleet's activities or war. It's a simple calculus of (a) fuel supplies on hand in Japanese ports; (b) daily fuel consumption of the Japanese Fleet; (c) fuel requirements for the army in China; and (c) industrial fuel requirements. Plot consumption against supply and there emerges an asymptotic curve of diminishing--and disastrous--consumption that ends at zero. Japanese industrial civilization would grind to an absolute halt sometime in mid-1942.

Calculate the time it took Japan to 1. Perform Pearl Harbor; 2. Take Sumatra; 3. Take Burma and you will find a buffer of a few months of give or take viz. fuel supplies in Japan and Chinese ports versus the fuel consumption by the fleet, army, and military-industrial complex. The Japanese were performing that close to the edge. They did wait until they literally had no more options.

The US and Britain knew exactly what they were doing--picking a fight--with the fuel oil (and steel) embargo. After all, it was General Grant in the US Civil War who pioneered the concept of resource depreciation as a battle tactic. He knew that even though the North would sustain losses of 2 or 3 to 1 for every Southern soldier killed, he had the manpower to exhaust the South. The same principle applies for all resources.

What I am saying is that Japan had no choice but to attack when it did, and it requires no great leap of imagination to understand why Japan chose Pearl Harbor--because that was where the defensive fleet was located.

The clique in control in Japan had no choice: either war or regime change. They weren't about to countenance the latter, so it was the former, everything else be damned.

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Guru Bob asserts...

Posted January 11, 2010
Man I liove this stuff and am pissed off I onlyu just checked this out.

Today we really have no idea about the depth of isolationist feeling in the USA pre-Pearl Harbour - I can see a real scenario where FDR jumps the gun following a skimish in the islands and tries to get involved early and ends up turfed out on his arse. Without the catlyst of Pearl Harbour to drive America outrage the public support for a broad conflict would be extremely limited. Churchill realised this which is why he probably held back British code-breaker's intelligence about a surprise attack on the American fleet. He knew that a substantial event like that would push the Americans into the conflict and motivate them to win.

However without that motivation (nothing drives a country like the need for revenge)and without someone like FDR at the helm they could have looked for a negotiated settlement after a major setback. Think of losing a US Navy taskforce in a 'head-to-head' engagement with the Japanese Navy perhaps? Without the anger/motivator of the 'sneak attack' on Pearl, the public support for conflict could wilt to antipathy in the face of real losses?

Who were FDR's internal opponents at the time? Did any of them really stand out? If he got turfed out what were the alternatives? Have any of you read Phillip Roth's book on a Nazi affiliated America under President Charles Lindbergh?

There would also the very real possibility of America not entering into the conflict with Germany and leaving Europe to swing in the Nazi wind.

I agree with JB that Pearl Harbour is a fulcrum point where a lot of possibilities converge.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 11, 2010
Excellant robw, Double plus star & an elephant stamp.

I hadn't considered Japanese expansion as a necessity.

Were the trade sanctions / embargo a reaction to Japanese actions in China? I always had the impression that no-one gave much of a crap even after Nanking.

I met an old bloke in the UK when I was there in '91 who had been in China when the Japanese invaded, he was interred in a POW camp just like the Empire of the Sun (?) movie. He spoke about the absolute conviction of the Brit ExPats that the Japanese would never harm an Englishman for fear of the mighty Brittish empire. Scored very high on the wrong-o-meter.

Top old bloke, sad that he's gone.

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted January 11, 2010
GBob, "British code-breaker’s intelligence about a surprise attack on the American fleet."

Fact?

In Our Time Line?

Holy hell, If the great unwashed had known that the Americans may well have come in on Hitlers team.

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Sweet_Jane_Says mutters...

Posted January 11, 2010
Imagine FDR isn't president. FDR admired and wanted to be like his cousin, Teddy. Of course, Teddy received the Nobel Peace Prize for brokering peace between Japan and Russia, but he loved charging up hills. Teddy didn't shy from peace, and he didn't shy from war. He also had an infinite passion for America's great lands and interesting people. What would have changed if FDR wouldn't have had Teddy has a role model?

J.

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Sweet_Jane_Says puts forth...

Posted January 11, 2010
The real Jim, J. G. Ballard, was a British prisoner in a Japanese camp as a child.

J.

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Sweet_Jane_Says puts forth...

Posted January 11, 2010
FDR was finding a "big stick" to carry even as he spoke "softly." On September 16, 1939, FDR enacted the Selective Training and Service Act, allowing peacetime drafts for compulsory military service. Men between the ages of 21 and 35 were required to register. Training of 1,200,000 troops and 800,000 reserves began within one year of September 16, 1939. The Office of Production Management was set up by President Roosevelt to speed transport of supplies to non-Axis powers. The president also authorized the establishment of US navies in the Atlantic and the Pacific. At a cost of $4 billion two hundred warships were built.

J.

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Guru Bob ducks in to say...

Posted January 11, 2010
Nowehere - it (prior knowledge of the attack) is something that has been discussed and debated ad nauseum (see this wiki entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_Harbor_advance-knowledge_debate

I am pretty sure there was also a Russian agent who had all the details and passed them back to Stalin's NKVD - but can't recall whether it was stopped from being sent to the yanks or it was and they just didn't believe the source (those damn commies!).

Needless to say that it could be a thread all of its own.

SJS - I think that if FDR hadn't been President it would have been much easier for the Axis - he had steel in him. Pretty funny that America's greatest wartime leader was someone who would now be considered a rabid socialist in the US political arena. But then again things are different over there from the rest of the world.

Imagine if the USA had a Chamberlain type leader?

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Guru Bob would have you know...

Posted January 11, 2010
By the way the scenario that goes through my head is that the US decales war after a skirmish somewhere (eg Samoa) and prepares a task force to 'go and teach the japs a lesson' that then steams off into the sunset and gets totally creamed by Japanese carrier strikes (shades of Battle of Tsushima http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tsushima

This could be because of the US Navy's reliance upon old-style dreadnoughts and battlewagons but removes the 'sneaky attack' from the national consciousness.

The American political process turns against the warmonger FDR and a new leader emerges who then aims for 'Peace in our time in the Pacific' giving the Japanese huge concessions (probably including the Phillipines) and deferring the war until a later date.

The later conflict is fought along the lines of the actual conflict but with a revitalised modernised US Navy fighting with mainly carrier based forces.

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Scott swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 11, 2010
Damian, the germans were in deep shit from the get go.

Having said that however even having moved factories eastwards the Russians were in almost as bad shape.

The Russians didn't have communications equipment that was up to modern warfare most of what they had came from the Us. They had thousands of workers who's job it was to remove any US logos and paintwork so as to hide what came from America. Without com links tactical control is difficult to impossible. The purges of the 30s didn't help. Wicky the winter war to see just how crap the Russian military was.

The soviets lost upwards of 14 million, there comes a point where even Russian manpower gets bled white.

If field marshals such as Manstein and Guderian had been allowed to practice the elastic defence wich they advocated the german army would not have been wiped out in detail.

Germany was going to lose but the Russians may have been so weakened by the eastern front that occupation of eastern European countries may have been averted.

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Guru Bob reckons...

Posted January 11, 2010
Scott - if it was reduced to Russians vs Germans going head to head the Germans would still have lost eventually - Hitler coiuldn't resist meddling in strategic decisions.

The Russians also just had more manpower and resources in the long term. After Stalingrad it just became a matter of time. That victory also gave Zhukov more control over the military decision making process - have you read Beevor's book? It is very detailed and well researched.

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aaron is gonna tell you...

Posted January 11, 2010
i think the interesting part would actually be; what would happen to the european theatre?

am a bit hazy on this topic but apparently there was a strong faction for a finish Japan first policy (in our time line). If hostilities broke out between japan and USA earlier, perhaps this faction would have won - which could have led to much less help from the USA to Britain and Russia.

Even if Hitler still honoured his treaty and declared war on USA, the lack of pressure from a Japan first policy would have surely have made a difference.

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Bangar mumbles...

Posted January 11, 2010
Aaron the major Allied powers had a Europe first policy, that ended up with more provisions for Pacific theatre from the US than originally planned

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Guru Bob mumbles...

Posted January 11, 2010
Wasn't the Europe first policy decided at one of the big get-togethers at Yalta or somewhere?

I think that was the real possibility of two separate conflicts - one between the USA and Japan in the Pacific and the other was the 'European entanglement' that American interests were keen to stay out of.

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Bangar is gonna tell you...

Posted January 11, 2010
GB, it was one of the get togethers (forgive me for not looking it up). You've pointed out what I said up thread, Germany and Italy declaring war (with no obligation to) on the US and that brought them into both theatres, whereas they may have concentrated on Japan first which may have resulted in a slightly shorter Pacific conflict, the Russians running over more of Europe and the war not ending at the defeat of the Axis powers.

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Scott puts forth...

Posted January 11, 2010
Guru Bob, your right but my point was if Hitler was contained and the general staff was allowed to run the war, never going to happen with a maniac like Hitler. Funny thing was that Stalin eventually learnt his lesson, war is too important a process to be left to amiture politicians.

I know laugh your arses off! But the poloticians should define the objectives and let proffessionals get the job done.

Gulf war round one is an example Storman Norman ran what appeared to be a textbook campaign, Bush senior appeared to keep interference to the minimum.

No Bob I haven't red the book you refer to what is it's title. Always happy to expand my knowledge base.

Btw does anyone have a resource wich shows levels of production/usage for the period, new this bloke back in my uni days who could quote tunnes produced destroyed and shipped, scary bastard.

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savo mumbles...

Posted January 11, 2010
Oh, 'softly' sorry Jane, I said 'quietly' mybad

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Bangar is gonna tell you...

Posted January 11, 2010
Tut, tut, Savo rebuking it when you know it lives to bite the hand that feeds.

Hey Jane how about a thankyou? Or are you that poisoned by your trollish nature it's beyond you to do so for our thoughts on your question?

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Matthew K asserts...

Posted January 11, 2010
Ah the Battle of Tsushima, where the Russian Baltic fleet sailed clear around the world in order to be sent to the bottom in half a day. I think it was Neill Ferguson who said that they had no cannon balls on deck but one hundred Chinese prostitutes below. Classic.

Fun fact: On the way there the Russians fought a brief but victorious engagement against Japanese naval units in the North Sea off the coast of Britain. Which turned out to be British fishing boats. British civilian fishing boats.

And to think the Tsar got overthrown by the Reds! Go figure.

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damian is gonna tell you...

Posted January 11, 2010
Hitler wavered between the conviction of his own genius, and letting his commanders have their way. It was the OKW not Hitler who brought about Kursk, thus losing the war irrevocably. Certainly some of the more talented commanders may have done something different, but I think, for instance, Rommel is wildly overrated. I reckon Paulus was pretty good, for instance. I think just saying Hitler was a nutter is an oversimplification - it makes the most sense to think of him as a talented amateur who tried to micromanage.

When most people talk about the outcome being inevitable, it's in terms of industrial capacity. But this assumes a war of attrition, and that can be avoided with rapid concentration of force achieving a decisive blow - something very much on people's minds at the time with a sort of race between Germany and France and Britain. We've traditionally overstated the importance of material from the USA in keeping the Soviets on the job, but consider instead just how many T34s and Il-2s they were able to make, and how an earlier German offensive may have put the devil into that industrial capacity.

Likewise Yamamoto knew he couldn't win a war of attrition, and planned around achieving the early decisive blow. Though with no plans or capacity to invade North America, one wonders what sort of end they may have imagined.

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Matthew K reckons...

Posted January 11, 2010
Very true Damian, they might have been able to beat the US back to it's own mainland shores but keeping it there for long would have been... quite difficult.

Basically the Japanese bid for empire, like the Nazi German one, was fundamentally ill conceived from the beginning. They thought it was all about savagery and ruling through fear whereas the Brits thought of it more like plucking a live goose: getting the most feathers with the least hissing. And you've got to keep the goose alive and laying, yeah yeah it's a mixed metaphor but you get what I'm saying.

Interestingly I found that many right on Germans still have that impression of the British empire today.

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Rhino swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 12, 2010
Hmmm ... after giving this much thought and reading all of the well researched and fascinating analysis contained in the comments I have come to my own conclusion:

We still win.

The End.

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Guru Bob reckons...

Posted January 12, 2010
Steve - I was referring to his book Stalingrad but you can take your pick from any of these - he is one of the best writers in this field at the moment.

http://www.antonybeevor.com/index.htm

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Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 12, 2010
Rhino but how counts for style points ;)

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted January 12, 2010
Damian, has the Ruskies NOT been reading germanies mail, KURSK would have been won by the Germans.

Had Hitler not micromanaged..I have NO doubt, the outcome would have been different, same goes for moving the units at the Pass de calais..EARLIER!

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Bangar is gonna tell you...

Posted January 13, 2010
Well Jane I can't say I'm surprised by the lack of response.

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El Coqui reckons...

Posted January 14, 2010
The US will have prevail of course but think about the corollary effects of certain action on the post war history.

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damian would have you know...

Posted January 16, 2010
Havock - indeed. With a different outcome on the eastern front, there would not have been a western front.

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Respond to 'A Sweet Jane alt-hist challenge!'

Huzzah!

Posted January 5, 2010 by John Birmingham
At half past some time this morning I opened Google mail, attached a very large file, and sent off the second draft of After America. I immediately realized I had forgotten to include the prologue. After much cursing and a small amount of faffing around, I sent a second mail out with the offending document. The

That is not the end of the matter, of course. There are still three chapters at the end with which I am... displeased. They shall be corrected most severely in the next few days. And of course there is the line edit to get through. All of which takes place in hard copy and is thus a little slower and a little less convenient than we are used to in the digital world. On the upside it does provide a magnificent artifact of an actual A3 manuscript for me to take a slightly out of focus photograph of, for the purposes of taunting your worthless arses.

"Oh, did that line really describe a character called Havsy in a hibiscus print two piece bikini designed by Jodhi Meares? It's so hard to tell. This damned photograph seems to have been taken out of focus on purpose."

Only the Rhino knows. And Murph. And my editors Cate, Betsy and Joel.

I had kind of been hoping to catch up on some old episodes of Angel tonight, but having crawled out from beneath the crushing weight of one deadline I find myself confronted by another. 3000 words for The Monthly.

And so I strap myself into the dictating harness, take up my sword and shield and cry, "This Is Sparta!"

176 Responses to ‘Huzzah!’

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted January 5, 2010
well done sir

photo? or is that only for the twitterati?

.

.

.

the

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Abe reckons...

Posted January 5, 2010
What's the Monthly article about?

The

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted January 5, 2010
How very odd. Is this hanging definite article a new internet fad?

Abe. Submarines. How to build expensive, risky submarines.

Mmmmm... submarineylicious.

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Catty mumbles...

Posted January 5, 2010
Expensive risky submarines? Easy. Hovercraft + Selley's polyfiller. It worked in your pool on boxing day.

The

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Albion Love Den asserts...

Posted January 5, 2010
The

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WarDog asserts...

Posted January 5, 2010
Well done JB.

Another milestone.

Another roadblock removed.

The human tide awaiting the fruits our your hard labour salute you.

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Albion Love Den swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 5, 2010
BillyBoy... what

The

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted January 5, 2010
Lolz. Now I understand.

The the is the product a the that went feral in the dictation sofware I am still using.

The

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Lobes mutters...

Posted January 5, 2010
Well done on finishing the manuscript. Maybe a teaser for the faithful?

The

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Albion Love Den mumbles...

Posted January 5, 2010
Yes, right after your smug re-tweet regarding Dan Brown's foibles. Cumeuppance, Birmingham.

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Albion Love Den asserts...

Posted January 5, 2010
Shit.

The

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Scott asserts...

Posted January 5, 2010
Birmo, ever been down on one?

Btw congratulations on completing.

May I humbbley suggest leather straps for the correction of the last 3 chapters.

According to mistress MM it works wonders.

the

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Catty mutters...

Posted January 5, 2010
A round of applause for JB!

clapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclap

Sorry, I mean a round of drinks, of course. He has a lot of catching up to do.

The

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 5, 2010
Well done.

The maltesers are on me.

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Catty would have you know...

Posted January 5, 2010
Quokka, that's because you didn't dodge the splashback from the malteser chunder bucket.

The

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sparty would have you know...

Posted January 5, 2010
the the

great band

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John mutters...

Posted January 5, 2010
Can't wait for it to come out. Photo link?

The

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Scott mumbles...

Posted January 5, 2010
Catty puss love I thought we agreed not to tell Birmo about our experiment with his hovercraft-submarine.

On a more serious note maybe if this time around the fucknuckles in defence and there equaly mentally challenged political bosses allow a prototype to be built.

This would allow for new inervations to be tested out

If memory serves they built all 6 Collins at once trying to save money. All that happened was that the same defects aflicted the entire class.

Birmo the cost and risk often appears to be caused by pollies changing requirements mid project.

The Joint Strike Fighter is a case in point.

the

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted January 5, 2010
Scot, the cost of the risk is mainly the amount of risk associated with the specification of the subs capabilities. eg..its a fkn big wish list the Admirals and pollies have, usually some of which is not currently meshed together or even fkn DESIGNED. EG!..this new speced series of subs. BIGGEST fkn NON NUKE boats ever to be built they will be...FFS...R & D on a massive scale and..well. I'll save the rest for another time.

NOW..to matters at hand..HAVSY hey!........ya reckon old man...All together you three muppets or one at a time..however you, Rhino and Murph want it!

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Bangar would have you know...

Posted January 5, 2010
My proof reading rates are very reasonable ... Congrats as well ... the important question when will the rest of us see it?

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Timmo has opinions thus...

Posted January 5, 2010
Nice work, JB!

I bet that's a load off the shoulders...

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Scott asserts...

Posted January 5, 2010
Havock, my point exactly most of the tech either is on the bleeding edge of possibility or has never been meshed together.

Hence the need for a prototype, I was only 17-18 the last time and new f all about such things but even then I new they should have built a testbed before placing the sub in production.

I don't have a problem with the project I just hope they have learnt from the last go around. Like you said its a big mf of a project.

Looking forwards to Birmo's artical.

the

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted January 5, 2010
Timmo....sml load, for obvious reasons

OH and now that BUSINESS is out of the way, I must turn to pleasurable pursuits..QUOKKA...HAVSY will come back to fkn HAUNT YOU...OH HWO IT WILL!

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted January 5, 2010
SCOT!........DOWN on WHAT?!!!!!!!!!!!!......

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EnjoyMedway asserts...

Posted January 5, 2010
Good work, Birmo. Soon I'll read something of yours. The

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Scott puts forth...

Posted January 5, 2010
A sub of course Havock! What else would I have been talking about?

the

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Rhino has opinions thus...

Posted January 6, 2010
Birmo, I will reiterate here in a public forum what I sent to you via private "circle of trust' secret email:

Do you really think that it is wise to portray Havsy in the way that you do in AA? I mean, fun's fun and all but he really is unstable and it could be dangerous for you. At least Murph and I are safe(er) being half a world away. Since I am not there to provide personal protection I would counsel you to consider editing those parts - or, at the very least, tone down some of the more explicit aspects of the trans-gender, cross-dressing homoerotica. (Personally, I'm appalled that the Caitlin stuff was edited out but the gratuitous donkey show episode made it through your Aussie editor's review). Also, there are the draconian Aussie libel laws to be considered. I know that you'll stand firm as a pillar of artistic integrity - I just felt that it was my moral and ethical obligation as your loyal beta reader and all around Havsy provoker to raise these issues.

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Tarl reckons...

Posted January 6, 2010
Off-topic somewhat...

The 2010 Hugo nominations are now open, and I'm not sure whether Without Warning qualifies for them or not - it was published in the U.S. in 2009, but in Australia in 2008. I don't think you published anything else in 2009 that I can nominate.

Either way, I nominated it. I'll let the Australians on the committee decide if they have to bump it off because of publication dates.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted January 6, 2010
I know the kind of writing I do isn't quite as - for lack of a better term - romantic, but I have awful deadlines for drafting and filing all kinds of stuff. Right now. I just completed and sent out for filing and service three petitions for writs of mandate and a government tort claim. In the next ten days I have six more writs, a couple of complaints for damage and two appellant's opening briefs to get filed.

I gotta get me one of them dictating harnesses.

And then a couple of cases of beer.

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jennicki would have you know...

Posted January 6, 2010
Paul, don't you have a paralegal to do that stuff for you?

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jennicki would have you know...

Posted January 6, 2010
...because if you are one of those attorneys who does all that work himself, I am more impressed with you and I just didn't think that was possible.

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Rhino mutters...

Posted January 6, 2010
Rhino politically incorrect joke FTW on Blunty today.

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Rhino would have you know...

Posted January 6, 2010
But since it is 4:44 am in Oz I'm sure that I won't see it for several hours ... or at all if the spam trap gets it.

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lostatlunch reckons...

Posted January 6, 2010
Bravo That Man... another Everest has been scaled and now K2 should be much easier.

The

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted January 6, 2010
Jen - First, you are far too easily impressed (for which I am grateful). Second, paralegals can do some basic things (no offense to you excellent paralegals out there). What I am writing isn't within a paralegal's perview.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted January 6, 2010
Rhino - Re: politically incorrect Blunty comment: I actually laughed out loud, buddy. It has been a really hard, dark day, and I am in your debt for lightening it for a moment.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted January 6, 2010
The bikini left nothing to the imagination.

Congrats on "gittin' 'er done," Birmo.

Now, what about this next American tour/escape from the clutches of Havsies revenge? Any ponderings on that?

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted January 6, 2010
Havock settle down and go try on some shoes, would you?

You can't wear a bikini down Caville Avenue without them.

Its mandatory dress code this side of the border. We don't want to shock the seppos.

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Dark car, dudes with ski masks... mutters...

Posted January 6, 2010
The...?. THE.............?. FINISH THE FARKEN STOOOOOOR-RY!.

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted January 6, 2010
Congrats JB on manuscript mailing and articles both definite and indefinite. Rhino, that was a gem at Blunty.

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robW asserts...

Posted January 6, 2010
hibiscus-print, two-piece bikini?

hibiscus, print-two, piece bikini?

or hibiscus-print bikini? (assuming all bikinis, though one piece or the other is always optional, usually come in two pieces)

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted January 6, 2010
Hibiscus..the mere fact the author knows what they ARE!...concerns me FKN GREATLY...

robW...I sure do hope you are running state of the art encryption and stealthing software buddy!...

QUOKKA..I just bought BOOTS!..Big, god dam Lace up, steel toed CATIPILLAR, dont fk with me BOOTS. The tread pattern I figure should ensure grip on juglar areas..even when they might be rather slick and slippery.....

As much as I really really do hahte to be even in minor proximity to the same sorta camp and that horned bloody git, I find no cause to WORK OUT. Genetic selection has ensure that those above , thats above god, which means I am the consultant he comes too, Kinda like a really really cool and spanky looking TITAN I reckon, which means. I don’t do that girly stuff..pump weights, work out in the dark..these attributes and work practices are for the meek. They shall not inherit the earth.

I SHALL!

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted January 6, 2010
Robw are you trying to say 'Too Much Information'?

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted January 6, 2010
Wern't CAT boots, like an NFL tie? advertising for "Fun times nothing serious" in the tastefully dressed section of Oxford St. ?

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted January 6, 2010
Nbob.. Subtlety stylish, yet steel framed within, their full capabilities hidden within a rather classy exterior.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted January 6, 2010
the

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted January 6, 2010
better convene the OH&S comittee.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/06/2786306.htm?section=justin

bwah hah

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Chaz asserts...

Posted January 6, 2010
All I want to know is when is it due to be published?

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girlclumsy ducks in to say...

Posted January 6, 2010
Congrats, JB! Must be a relief, albeit a brief one.

Sorry to be a screeching harpie... but do you think you'll be able to come along to Felafel?

A few of the Burgers are keen for me to pick a night to be "Burger Night" - my thoughts are either this Saturday 9th January, or closing night on Friday 15th. I also have cast members who want things signed. ;)

Also, the Brisbane burgers should check out page 60 of today's Courier-Mail!

Once again, sorry to be a shameless pimp ho!

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Mayhem mumbles...

Posted January 6, 2010
Pimp away GC, I shall add my screech to yours, maybe if we make enough noise he'll pick a night just to shut us up.

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted January 6, 2010
mmmmm, I detect Faff....jesus that shit is hard to kill.

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Mayhem is gonna tell you...

Posted January 6, 2010
mmmmmm, I detect hypocrisy! Havock dear, how is it not faff when you are threatening Quokka, (and btw you do remember it was Abigail who dubbed you Havsy don't you)? but when we are trying to arrange a night out it suddenly becomes faff? Incidentally, I don't remember reading anything about the Melbourne Burger pre-Christmas catch-up. Did it happen? Or was it a little difficult to arrange?

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted January 6, 2010
Women and memories are like elephants.. thats remembering the LITTLE stuff I reckon. Now that you mention it..yeah Abi...oh well, Abigail, Quokka and Mayhem...I will lump all you oh so lovely ladies into the same pot. I only do that co's I figure I would get some cash sent to me by OTHER blokes is all.

I did manage to catch up with mr B and G Bob..however, given we WORK..away from an APRON it can at times be a mite harder. Thats not, altering the venue and so forth several dozen times, its selecting THE BEST time and going for it.

AND....AND..MEN NEVER..EVER..TALK FAFF!.. EVER!, I see why QLD has so many issues getting stuff done. I fear that the female population has been let off the leash somewhat. I might just have to arrange to straighten that out up their at some point I think

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Mayhem asserts...

Posted January 6, 2010
"given we WORK..away from an APRON "

"Would you care to elaborate on that statement Havsy my love?" she enquired sweetly, her dulcet tone completely at odds with the dangerous glint in her eyes.

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Quokka mutters...

Posted January 6, 2010
Did anyone know that Havock can knit?

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Mayhem is gonna tell you...

Posted January 6, 2010
Really Quokka?

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Quokka mutters...

Posted January 6, 2010
Yep.

My eyesight is getting worse too.

When I refreshed this page I saw JB's last line 'And so I strap myself into the dictating harness' and I could have sworn it said 'Dieting Harness'.

It was an odd moment, wondering what such a contraption would look like and if it was made by Apple.

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Mayhem puts forth...

Posted January 6, 2010
What sort of things does he knit? And Catty and I have decided that perfect eyesight is overrated. The blurring in your sight allows you to overlook (or just plain not see) the little inconveniences of life, e.g. age spots, wrinkles, the truth etc., you get the idea.

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Blarkon is gonna tell you...

Posted January 6, 2010
FKN GENIUS would be interspersing AA with loads of FKN FAFF to bring up the word count. Sorta like Neal Stephenson's diversions into the correct temperature of milk for Cap'n Crunch except that in the middle of Havsy and Richard Simmons doing a Matrix Style entrance into the lobby of Wal Mart HQ, you'd plant a 15,000 word dissertation on the correct technique for containing a zombie outbreak on Oxford St during Mardi Gras.

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Catty asserts...

Posted January 6, 2010
I'll drink to that.

The

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Catty swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 6, 2010
Actually, Blarkon, JB doesn't need to write a novel around the faff. He can write a whole book of faff, and it gets made into a movie AND a stage play. You do know that Felafel is Greek for faff, don't you?

The

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted January 6, 2010
wasn't there a blue room for faffing in?

el

for a touch of continental penache

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Timmo ducks in to say...

Posted January 6, 2010
Scott - I assumed you were asking if JB'd "been down on" a deadline, i.e. missing it, said in some kind of odd fancy-speak.

Failing that, editors came to mind too...

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Catty would have you know...

Posted January 6, 2010
Where do you think Havsy spends all his spare time? Which you should know, NBob, considering how often you visit. (Don't think we didn't recognise you without your miniskirt on).

Le

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted January 6, 2010
MAYHEM./......NO..I'm not elaborating anymore on THAT issue. For Security reasons of course and National interests

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NBlob mutters...

Posted January 6, 2010
catty,

total posts / NBob posts = X

total posts / Girlie faffaliscous posts = X to the power of N (where N = a bazillion)

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Mayhem ducks in to say...

Posted January 6, 2010
Havock...... Security and National Interests? You're a cricketer aren't you? May I suggest that you raid the clubhouse for "Security" equipment in the event that we ever meet.

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted January 6, 2010
NBOB..i think its time we went fishing and left the ladies to their tupperware or frilly stuff or gossip or dress making, or cleaning house, or washing , ironing, and entertaining the kids, or cooking my dinner or whatervere other trivial stuf it is they manage to fill their days with.

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Madam Morgana puts forth...

Posted January 6, 2010
Havock, just a little word on your choice of footwear. I'm worried that A CAT boot, meaty though the tread may be, will provide insufficient traction in the face of oozing or spurting body fluids. Surely metal spikes would be the go?

The

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Mayhem asserts...

Posted January 6, 2010
Havock, it's good to see you like living dangerously! Have I mentioned that there is a strong possibility I will relocate to Melbourne sometime this year? Just saying....

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted January 6, 2010
Havock, I'd be proud & very pleased to go fishing with you anytime, just don't take it the wrong way if we take separate cars. Not that I don't like the WB, just I know how vindictive some women can be.

You've got a full nomex suit, a kevlar vest & helmet don't you? The MotoX armour would be a minimum.

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted January 6, 2010
OK..I propose we SINK the fkn JAP whaling FLEET right here and right now!. The stealthy boat ( anti whaling) Andy Gill was cut in half recently by the...Japanese Secuiryt vessel ( one of 2 ) provided to the fleet by the JAP! FKN GUMMIT. Ref SMH on line. and not those exact words either.

now...where did i put my submarine.hmmmmm

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted January 6, 2010
YA bloody girl NBOB...then again...mmmm, where is me passport

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Mayhem mutters...

Posted January 6, 2010
....and bear in mind NBob has actually MET me!

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Catty has opinions thus...

Posted January 6, 2010
Not sure about the other cats, but I like FM boots - knee high, stiletto heel, suede for preference. Nice choice, Havsy. Should look good with that hibiscus-print two-piece.

The

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Madam Morgana mutters...

Posted January 6, 2010
The

Oh, yeah, Catty Baby! When I was a young mistress, there used to be a shop in Brissie called Suchi Shoes. Witch boots, slut boots, awesome black slouchy boots with silver skull buckles. I loved my lace up pointy stiletto ankle boots for much, much longer than I've loved any man.

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Chaz has opinions thus...

Posted January 6, 2010
When was the last time we tested one of the RGM-84's on our ANZAC frigates? there's a few targets in the southern ocean. Then we could see how the Japanese feel about been attacked whilst being defenceless.

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted January 6, 2010
yeah, kinda agree chaz, conduct endangering life, and fk..I would classify it as a Terrorist ACT..SINK THE FUCKING MUPPET HEADED GITS!

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Catty is gonna tell you...

Posted January 6, 2010
Ain't that the truth, Madam Morgana! I wore mine on my wedding day - actually, I had two pairs. Both pairs, now sadly deceased, were partially to blame for my large family. Them, and an amusing incident with a bindi patch that I really shouldn't go into.

Don't wear stilettos in a submarine, Havsy. The PSI exerted by high heels is greater than a sherman tank, and you wouldn't want to puncture the hull.

The

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted January 6, 2010
so on BLUNTY tomorrow, I guess we are capping either INDIANS at HOME or JAPS in the Southern OCEAN..HEY!!!!!!

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted January 6, 2010
Catty..I kinda like Tose Boots that Shania twain wears in the Video clip..DAM!..DAM!..AAND JESUS EFFIN WEPT!

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Mayhem mutters...

Posted January 6, 2010
Havock has been infected with the FAFF virus. Hav, there is NO cure known to man.....'tho a couple of women might know of one if you care to keep us sweet. (By which I mean grovel!!!!!)

Also seem to recall a promise from JB to The Fabulous that Felafel would get a mention on BT first week back?

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Bangar asserts...

Posted January 6, 2010
A couple of war head de-activated torps would do the trick, right into the props.

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Chaz reckons...

Posted January 6, 2010
Bangar, a tigerfish or adcap at full speed would punch through most hull plating. 1.6 tons of metal running at over 55 knots (80 in the case of the spearfish) don't need a warhead against a civi ship!!

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Catty ducks in to say...

Posted January 6, 2010
Oh, dear. How will Havsy concentrate on capping Indians while visions of Shania in a submarine are dancing through his head?

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Catty is gonna tell you...

Posted January 6, 2010
The

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Bangar mutters...

Posted January 6, 2010
It'd be a deniable accident then?

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Madam Morgana swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 6, 2010
I'm there. I think there's a sub for sale in WA. Whip around, people?

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted January 6, 2010
Temporary.. Insanity

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Mayhem reckons...

Posted January 6, 2010
In. Your. Dreams.

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Mayhem puts forth...

Posted January 6, 2010
Morgana, I'm in, as long as you'll let me use it every now and then to pop down to Melbourne for the weekend.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted January 6, 2010
Not that I'm one to condone violence at sea, but if anyone should want to sink the Japanese whaling fleet somewhere, I believe there's still a bit of space available 2km below the surface @17km south of Moreton Island.

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Catty puts forth...

Posted January 6, 2010
My despondent and defeatist opinion of Japanese whaling has been voiced time and again. I was right. My lone voice has been drowned out by the beeping of Playstations....

Hey, I've just had an idea. Let's buy that sub, Madam Morgana. Take it to Melbourne (fancy a lift, Mayhem?) and get Havsy to pack it full of all the explodey goodness at his disposal. (And maybe that bikini - the yellow ages you dreadfully, dear, your Autumn skin is crying out for the caress of a rich burgundy, or a silky chocolate. I'll send you a Seafolly catalogue). Then we paint the sub to look like a whale and dump it in the Japanese research area. Run (swim?) like buggery, fingers in ears, and KA-FKN-BOOM!

What do you mean, illegal?

The

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted January 6, 2010
Havock . . . .I thought they'd let you out of the Gulag come New Years. Yet . . . .Still with the Havsy? Jeez Louise.

Did anyone else watch the cricket today? I only had it in the radio - but terrific stuff I thought.

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Mayhem ducks in to say...

Posted January 6, 2010
Actually Brian, today may be the first time I have called the good sir "Havsy". However you would surely agree he brought it on himself. Wouldn't you? Sure about that now? Final answer, want to phone a friend?

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Madam Morgana mutters...

Posted January 7, 2010
Genius, Catty, my perspicacious feline friend.

The

I'll just check which whales are the most endangered - also the tastiest, erhm... I mean, most in need of scientific research - so we can get the camo paint job sorted.

Mayhem, of course you can take the sub on joyrides - you and Fireman Sam could join the Half Mile Under Club. If we get an old Collins class, the oxygen deprivation resulting from the lousy air reclamation system should enhance your enjoyment.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted January 7, 2010
I've said it once and I will say it again: the real issue underlying the whole whaling debate is the one thing no one wants to face - that whales taste wonderful, especially sauteed in a light cream sauce with tarragon. I am told Whale meat also grills very nicely and makes for an excellent, high protein/low fat curry.

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Scott mumbles...

Posted January 7, 2010
PNB, sounds lovely, I'm going to try it!

Anyway what are all the complaints about? Didn't the Japanese say that whales are the roaches of the sea?

3

2

1

Haha I love throwing bombs!

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Chaz would have you know...

Posted January 7, 2010
PNB not going to fall for that one. Whalemeant is extremely fatty!!

However i am very in favor of declaring the area in question a live fire exercise zone

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NBlob mutters...

Posted January 7, 2010
WEll, PNB whales are different because they have big Disney (tm) Eyes and they breathe air. Apparantly. It seems entirely acceptable to kill pretty much all other marine species (edible or otherwise)in a variety of exciting ways. To suggest green groups capable of hypocricy, well that's just unbelievable. Don't get me wrong, I'd like whaling to stop as much as the next man or muppet and I'll happily engage in a debate about the values of biodiversity. I still think there are way more pressing issues that are let go through to the keeper.

Captain Watson is a clown who measures his success by the collum inches he generates. I respect the direct action aspect but there are better ways than placing the lives of his crews at such a risk. Try the biography of Greenpeace for some interesting insights into the man. Like the Jehova's Witnesses the absolute conviction that all must bend to his version of the truth makes me gag.

Disjointed & incoherant, but that's what you get from me at this time of the day.

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Chaz mutters...

Posted January 7, 2010
Nbob actually whales are different because they are higher mammals not pisces.

Cetaceans are not much different in brain capabilites than primates now hands up anyone who thinks that it's acceptable to shoot gorillas to study them? Anyone?

I agree that many green groups are hypocritical and that they do lie to further their own aims. But what the japs are doing is illegal and in OUR waters.

Watsons direct action is happening because the mainstream antiwhaling groups are not making any progress. I've seen the footage as well and yes from sea level (and with the widest perspective) the Whaler purposely rammed the tri.

This has happened in our terratorial waters and yet the guvmnt is not willing to do a damn thing except wring it's hands. I recken we'll see an increase in direct action and it won't be pretty, unless the guvmnt starts to take a stronger line.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted January 7, 2010
Chaz - Not if the whale is scared before it dies. You would be surprised how much oil a whale gives off when its really scared. And, for the record, I think it is acceptable to shoot gorillas to study them. Research is important.

Bob - I have to admit that whale tastes about as good as Giant Panda, which tastes great if prepared using Julia Child's boeuf bourgingnon recipe substituting the "bouf" for Grande Panda.

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Chaz has opinions thus...

Posted January 7, 2010
Paul, isn't there a greek dish with dolphin meat and feta cheese?

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Bangar puts forth...

Posted January 7, 2010
There's certainly a Japanese one.

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Madam Morgana swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 7, 2010
No feta cheese in a Japanese dish - high prevalence of adult lactose intolerance in Asian countries.

Actually, whale meat isn't very popular with the younger generations of Japanese people - a lot of the last catch ended up ground into discount burger patties and force fed to school kids cos it didn't sell well. The economic pressure most likely comes from those old school gentlemen who have untold trillions of yen invested in the fleet, markets, whale slaughter infrastructure, commodities trading, etc.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted January 7, 2010
And that's a bad thing, Morgana?

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted January 7, 2010
JB it's 6.36pm and the Death Star refused to post this.

It insisted three times that the security code didn't match.

It damned well did.

I'd checked the word count and seemed to be calculating to stay under DeathStar Meltdown Trigger levels and that seemed OK but perhaps back at base another Bean Counter disagreed.

I was going to do a second part, but when things like this happen, it puts me off.

Sigh.

I thought they promised to fix it all before XMas?

******

It is terrible that this poor boy is dead.

But I wonder how the government proposes to make it safe for ANYONE in this country to take a short-cut through parkland without being accosted by knife-wielding lunatics?

We live within walking distance of the Brisbane CBD and in the 22 years I've lived here I have never deemed it safe to walk the streets around my home at night. Ditto for the parks.

My spouse used to scoff at my concerns about walking home through the Botanical Gardens at QUT at night until one day his usual path led past crime scene type, blood stains and the scattered contents of a backpack.

Other places I won't go after dark include the local nightowl, where several businesses close up shop early because the drug dealers come out at night and the street is full of crazed junkies.

I had to duck out to a late night chemist on the southside just before Xmas and I was accosted by a Creepy Man in the carpark.

Part of my martial arts training as a teenager was 'Be aware of the people around you and don't put yourself in potentially dangerous situations and environments.'

So I noticed the Creepy Man watching me while I was in the chemist. When he then followed me to my car and rapped on the window, I made damned sure that every door was locked and no way was I going to roll down the window to give him the $2 he wanted to get back to Inala.

Really? He wanted $2? Then why didn't he ask me for cash until I was alone, unless he wanted to punch me in the face, knock me unconscious, nick the car and then dump my body in bushland as an afterthought?

******

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Quokka reckons...

Posted January 7, 2010
My point being that some places just aren't safe for any vulnerable group in society.

As a female, I grew up with that knowledge - I'm an easy target, and as such, my personal safety is my responsibility.

Anyone who wants to tell me that I'm paranoid can go read the article about the woman who was dragged out of a park in Stafford in broad daylight yesterday, and then raped.

I'm really sorry for what the Indian students are experiencing - and I don't doubt that they are being harassed - but for Dog's sake, please have a care to your safety.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted January 7, 2010
I'm not going to argue that whales should be killed for meat.

I would sugest that there are many _much_ more important issues that should be tackled but as there are no exciting pictures Watson and his crew of well intentioned but misdirected self styled eco warriors ignore them.

Eutrophication of inshore reef systems.

Acidification.

The overfishing of sharks, tuna, billfishes & other apex predators.

The overfishing of foundation species like anchovy.

The method of otter trawling that clear fells the sea floor. Once described as like clear felling a forest to catch possums.

I could go on.

Anyone of these issues I consider 10 times more important than the harvest of whales.

As for cetacion's having special rights because of their pineped anatomy or large brains I say crap. Utter crap.

A cow is the equal of any dolphin or whale. A civilised person wouldn't kill a steer with an RPG (well not for meat anyway) so we shouldn't do it to a whale.

I aint a Japanophile, but the public claims of the Sea Shepard don't match their actions.

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Bangar puts forth...

Posted January 7, 2010
Aunty Q, you make a good point. As an average height (rapidly being eclipsed) male of increasing density, I've always paid attention to the situation and area. However I'd still like a dark alley to leave these poor pieces of an excuse of existence in.

Yes being aware and smart is good, eradicating the predators is better.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted January 7, 2010
I worry every time The Bloke walks home from the Gabba, too, given some of the riff raff in our street.

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Chaz mumbles...

Posted January 7, 2010
NBob. I don't disagree with any of your other concerns but what Japan is doing via it's whaling practices is a microcosm of all that is wrong with how we treat the seas.

But will disagree with you about a whale being no different than a cow. Sorry mate but cows are domesticated food animals. Whales are not. Did three years of marine sciences and we need them more than cows.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted January 8, 2010
Shepherds eat their flock...

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted January 8, 2010
Ok, Chaz, I'll cede that point. There is a fundamental difference between a domesticated & bred in captivity steer and a wild harvest species like a whale.

I guess my point is; If the whale harvest was sustainable & done in a humane manner I would have 0.0 problem with it.

My gripe with Watson et al is their selection of easy targets. It's heaps easier to vilify a Japanese industrial fishery than Old Man Cane Farmer who allows half the supaphosphate he applies to his field to run off into the creek.

The Iconic Species thing sh!ts me.

What's causing a major burr in my boxers at the moment is the forestry processes that clear fell a coup then make no sediment controll efforts. That lost topsoil doesn't just degrade & devalue the resource it directly & massively harms the surrounding waterways through tubidity, sediment & nutrient load. I spend a fair bit of time on the water and talk to a lot of old timers. I understand the gulf between proper scientific survey and opinion, but the changes they describe would (should) alarm the most disinterested punter.

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted January 8, 2010
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE RHINOS!!!

Talk about your loss of an important species.

Rat bastards.

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Rhino puts forth...

Posted January 8, 2010
It looks as if the whale's cousins are gettin' some payback...

http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/trainer-injured-by-falling-dolphin/story-e6frfku0-1225817107585

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted January 8, 2010
Only the whitey Rhino's. Down to a dozen individuals I believe.

Rhino's of colour are in plague proportions.

Apparantly ground up in tea they are good for one's yang.

That's probably explain Havoc's massive war yang. Fighting the good fight one Rhino at a time.

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Havock would have you know...

Posted January 8, 2010
Fkn gonna have a rhino carcass on me wall at some pointy

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Chaz mumbles...

Posted January 8, 2010
Paul allegedly thats not all they do with them! Especially the welsh ones.

Nbob, no argument with the clearance issue there should be a massive push to re-forest. there's alot of land up for sale at the moment that was cleared and should really be reforested. Maybe the crown could start buying it back.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted January 8, 2010
What is this with all the abuse of the Welsh going on? As far as I know the only thing that you can say bad about the Welsh - other than lack of personal hygiene - is that they complain a lot. So what is it with all the Welsh jokes? Dwi iawn 'n siomedig ag pawb chennych - and I mean that.

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Mayhem ducks in to say...

Posted January 8, 2010
Rwyf innau hefyd yn siomedig Paul. Cymru y rhan fy etifeddiaeth mongrel yn siomedig bitterly.

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Scott is gonna tell you...

Posted January 8, 2010
Hay, Mayhem if you are going to insult Paul could you do it in english so we can all enjoy it?

Unless you are engaging him in a pissing contest in which case go right on ahead!

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Mayhem swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 8, 2010
Pissing contest Scott!

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Scott reckons...

Posted January 8, 2010
Well Mayhem, unless Paul pulls the finger out you have it won!

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Bangar mumbles...

Posted January 8, 2010
Just finished watching The Cove, the Japanese have a recipe alright (with a side order of mercury), the ancient Greeks a death penalty.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted January 8, 2010
I have some Welsh in me from a great grandfather.

Which obviously makes me the only gay in the village.

I can't speak the lingo but I can whip up some fairy dust.

Although Zombie Dust is easier to access; just run a finger along my window sills.

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted January 8, 2010
Mayhem can you and Madam get JB to put links to your sites off at roll call here, or are you both shy/afraid of trawling trolls? I keep having to flick around to find something you've both said to click on. Its bad for my carpal tunnel. And my temper.

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted January 8, 2010
Its official, BTW. I've enrolled to study this semester so no way am I setting up my own blog site. Its fucking pharmacology too, so 1. it may kill me when my brain explodes from the shock of actually using it, and 2. I will have less time to Faff.

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Bangar asserts...

Posted January 8, 2010
Aunty Q, 1) wear a helmet, 2) there's always time for Faff.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 8, 2010
Aunty I recomend extensive home study.

Cosmetic nueropharmacology is one of my hobbies and I find the hours whizz by in a most entertaining manner.

What's that Mr Purple Giant Squid? No they are all nice people (except Lobes) I can't burn them all down. No Mr Purple Giant Squid they are not all sinners. Well I have my doubts about Prof Boylan, but most of them are nice people who give regularly to charities and ring their mums every sunday. Don't you ? (c'mon guys back me up here this guy is nuts.)

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Quokka asserts...

Posted January 8, 2010
Nbob keep up with the Ladies Lounge.

Catty's parents have no idea where she is (the unlisted number and the restraining order helps) and mine are six feet under.

We phone our mothers on Saturdays?

You think we're that mad?

BTW Nbob what's the name of that itchy stuff in Moreton Bay that proliferates due to the high nutrient content provided by the cane farmers and their runoff?

The Bloke went for a kite surfing lesson out there today and wound up hitting the water face first at least a dozen times. He came up red and very itchy. I said it was bound to be that sea grass thing that really shouldn't be there and is really, really bad for the fish.

Chaz? Anyone?

It'll drive me nuts till I remember the name of it.

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Mayhem ducks in to say...

Posted January 8, 2010
Nbob, I regularly give to charities, and I call my Mother every day.

Mr Purple Giant Squid probably isn't interested in my good points.

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savo ducks in to say...

Posted January 8, 2010
Congrat's JB. What's the pubication timeline?

The

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 8, 2010
Aunty Q caulerpa?

I had a half a dozen widsurfing lessons for a birthday present a few years back. The. Single. Worst. Thing. One can do after a session with the kite is to hang washing on the line as lifting ones arms above the horizontal is worse than a kick in the balls.

Apologies to miss Catty, didn't intend to disturb old phantoms.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted January 8, 2010
Or Salvinia

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted January 9, 2010
Mayhem - Okay, be that way. See if I care.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted January 9, 2010
Okay, I do care. I simply hate it when someone thinks that just because I speak a little Welsh I am Welsh. You think you're disappointed? Imagine mine.

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Madam Morgana mutters...

Posted January 9, 2010
Quokka - I'd be happy for JB to link to my site but maybe he's scared that all the faff is contagious. You could bookmark me, perhaps? It would be an honour. On the subject of Pharmacology - woah, sister. Heavy stuff. I graduated many moons ago from U of Qld and pharmacology was one of THE WORST subjects. All those freaking micrograms and crap. Of course, perhaps you're not innumerate like me. Best of luck!

Nbob and Nice Mr Purple Giant Squid - My mum comes to stay with us, 2 days a week, and phones everyday. And even though I have caller ID, I answer! Please spare me from your psychedelic rampage. BTW, is cosmetic neuropharmacology when you take drugs so you have hallucinations that you are more attractive than, objectively you actually are?

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted January 9, 2010
Ladies - I could bookmark you but its easier if JB does these things for me.

If he doesn't I'll stick another pin in the voodoo doll's left eye and see what happens...

Nbob I think it started with c or l. Heard a marine biologist grumbling about it on 612 radio. He didn't mention your purple squid.

MM I am quite innumerate. Part of the synesthesia, I've been told.

Thankfully its at Brisbane's school of Witchcraft and Wizardry and it's all about herb drug interactions. Mostly heart medications and antidepressants. So I'll have to wrap my head around that. I did OK in the pre-req pharmacology subject but will have to pull out my notes and try to remember the workings of various seratonin reuptake inhibitors or whatever. And statins. Gah.

Nbob The Bloke will be just fine.

He swims laps with me and does yoga for an hour every morning.

Which means that the only time he gets migraines is on the drive home from the coast after visiting his mother.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted January 9, 2010
Madam M.

Cosmetic Nueropharmacology is a concept I stole from a recent ABC Radio National broadcast.

The Cosmetic bit relates to the optional nature - JB's Migraine meds would fall outside this as there is a pre-exsisting condition the therapy seeks to control.

CP is more about optional augmentation, for mood, attention, etc. The classic example is the USAF who have been "Doping" pilots for forty years. Flying for 17 hours would be tedious in the extreme and any lapse in concentration would be ah problematic. So they give them honking great doses of ADHD medication. Ditto uni students swatting for exams. Or me for mood elevation.

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Mayhem would have you know...

Posted January 9, 2010
Paul, I never meant to imply that I thought you were Welsh. I got curious about what you wrote and google translated it. I then wrote my reply in English and for shits and giggles decided to run that through the translator too. I like that if I want to, I can now be a bitch multilingually.

Quokka, I would be honoured to have JB add me to the blogroll, however, as a relative newcomer to these parts, I have hesitated to ask, just in case there was some sort of ritual hazing to be undertaken before I could be admitted as a full blown burger dontya know. I suspect that's my military upbringing feeding my innate paranoia.

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Quokka asserts...

Posted January 9, 2010
Mayhem, you've met Lobes.

And you're still here.

That makes you a survivor worthy of rollcall.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted January 9, 2010
Mayhem - Oh. Well, okay, then.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted January 9, 2010
Hey, wait a minute: Google translates Welsh? Really?

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted January 9, 2010
I wonder if it translates into Vulcan, too.

That could come in handy.

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Madam Morgana puts forth...

Posted January 9, 2010
Thanks for the info, Nbob. And I'm so far free of giant purple squid attack so I guess I'm in the clear there, too. Phew!

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted January 9, 2010
Mayhem's blog kicked me off.

MM, want to give it a test run and see if its just my IMAC misbehaving?

Otherwise, Mayhem, I fear you have CyberSpace Goblins.

If only you could fix them with mortein.

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Timmo puts forth...

Posted January 9, 2010
PNB, I believe Google also translates to Swedish Chef, Klingon and Elmer Fudd, so don't assume that makes Welsh a real language!

Well, it did once at least - a quick check says it doesn't anymore...

Quokka,

Do you and The Bloke do laps at Yeronga pool? (I believe you mentioned that somewhere in the past?)

I've been going most Saturday mornings, just as a way to kick off the weekend positively and energetically.

I'm almost getting to like it, even!

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Mayhem swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 9, 2010
PNB Really, at least I hope it does. If not, I have no idea what I said to you, and if it was revolting my apologies. If it was just bitchy, then it was probably correct.

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Mayhem reckons...

Posted January 9, 2010
Hey Quokka,

Have checked that my blog is behaving otself. Seems to be okay my end, tho' you could be right about the goblins. I've had some mega problems with my emails the last 24 hours. Anyway, I did a bit of housework at my place, and there are mrtinis galore. Check it out if you can, and let me know here or in the lounge if you have any further problems.

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Mayhem mumbles...

Posted January 9, 2010
Strike that, reverse it! Since I changed my blog, it appears there is a problem adding comments. I won't let me do it either. I've had a migraine all day, and not really feeling up to stuffing around at the moment. I will have a look at it later tonight or tomorrow. Comments (everyone) are turned on, so not sure what's happening.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted January 9, 2010
That's my pool Timmo. Not so much in the school hols due to infestation...er...extra small people about. Have you had one of Goran's breakfasts yet? they're good.

Have been at Somerville when death by Water Polo Maniac isn't on the cards. They're vicious down there.

Mayhem I've got a house guest so drink up and ignore your probs, shall be busy for a bit here.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted January 9, 2010
House guest told me off for sticking pins in the JB voodoo doll.

So I took the pins out and left it in the pool for the night to snort chlorine and decaying marsh frogs that have made misguided life choices.

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Mr Purple Giant Squid mutters...

Posted January 9, 2010
Nowhere Bob. Your reluctance to enact my vision for these people displeases me. So does your reluctance to change your undergarments instead of merely turning them inside out every third day.

As such, I am leaving you.

Knowing your need for guidance and advice, I have arranged for my friend, Mr Enormo Lurking Spider, to take up residence with you. At least, until you stop taking the blue pills with the yellow ones. He should be there already. Check under the couch, Bob....

I hope we can still be friends, though. Keep in touch - I'll be right here at Mr Birmingham's - and intend to stay until I have finished viewing his extensive collection of tentacle porn.

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Mayhem ducks in to say...

Posted January 9, 2010
Quokka, comments problem now sorted. Apparently the new layout means I had to change the way comments appear, so now they come up on a separate page instead of at the bootom of the post. I posted an anonymous test comment successfully, so you're good to go.

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Madam Morgana has opinions thus...

Posted January 11, 2010
Disturbed by the appearance of enormo lurking spider... How do we keep in his good books, Nbob?

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted January 11, 2010
Strangely Mr Enourmo Lurking Spider has a policy platform all but identical to MR PGS. Lots of burning and flagilation of sinners.

As they are both denizens of my fevered & addled subconscious I suspect it says more about me than them.

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Madam Morgana swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 11, 2010
Nbob, lovey. How about a nice big dose of Vitamin C... freshly squeezed pineapple juice is lovely this time of year... and a good night's sleep. With -

-

are you sitting down?

-

no drugs. Then you can get up, all refreshed, and get messed up again. Just a thought.

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Mr Enormo Lurking Spider is gonna tell you...

Posted January 11, 2010
Boooooooooooob...

Drink the pineapple, Booooooooob....

It tastes soooooooo gooooooood.....

Like Meeeeeeedway diiiiiiiid.....

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Catty mumbles...

Posted January 11, 2010
I think, Mr Giant Purple Squid, you will find the correct term is "tentacle pr0n". Accuracy is important, especially when using Google Search.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 11, 2010
OK, slight freak-out commencing in 3.2.1.

now

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted January 11, 2010
Fark I hate housework.

Bloke back at work. No excuse to ignore it, now.

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Mayhem reckons...

Posted January 11, 2010
There's ALWAYS an excuse to avoid housework. Try harder.

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Madam Morgana would have you know...

Posted January 11, 2010
Here's a good one. The ultra extreme fire danger in SA and Vic means that the national electricity grid should be conserved in case of catastrophic emergency. So no vacuum or steam mop for you, Quokka!

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted January 11, 2010
Swooooosh....That scampering sound is the boys all rushing to switch off their x-boxes.

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Abigail would have you know...

Posted January 11, 2010
I'm late for this opne - again.

"Submarinelycious" ?

Le new year gold.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted January 11, 2010
Ah, another fine faff-fest in which I am secretly ashamed to have participated. But what is wrong with a little shame? Nothing! It builds character! No kidding. Seriously, there is this study that followed the lives of people who were hit in the face by a fruit pies in the 1960's (apparently that sort of thing happened a lot back then). The study group was disproportionately successful in business and unusually long-lived. The conclusion was that public humiliation not only spurs the humiliated to "get even with life" and so work hard to succeed, it also stimulates the immune system. I personally believe the study was flawed.

But in the event the study wasn't flawed, I wear the shame I feel from faffing here with pride! It is proof of my existence. Yes! I faff, therefore I am!

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted January 11, 2010
Okay, even I don't believe it. Damn. There is no upside to this faffing, is there?

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Mayhem puts forth...

Posted January 11, 2010
The upside is the smile it leaves on your face.... either genuine delight and the enjoyment of some offbeat humour, or the self-congratulatory smirk of those who believe themselves above such activities. I know which one I'd rather be wearing.

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 11, 2010
Meh.

I thought no boys were allowed in here unless they had chips or PMS.

Am I in the wrong room again? Its full of cigar smoke, lifeless bodies and empty bourbon bottles.

Looks like our joint to me.

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Mayhem swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 11, 2010
Yeah they all blur together after about the 150 comments mark don't they? But have to agree, difficult to work out which is which with the boys taking over every room. Bet you'd hear them roar if we faffed up their alt-hist thread though.

God, must be the PMS talking, I actually don't mind the boys dropping in every so often, gives us something to laugh at, as well as more ammunition.

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Mr Enormo Lurking Spider reckons...

Posted January 11, 2010
Yesssssss Mayyyyhemmmmm....

Annnnnd moooooorrre vicK-timmmmms tooooooooo......

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Quokka puts forth...

Posted January 11, 2010
My computer glasses suck. I keep reading that as 'Mr Emo Lurking Spider'.

And I'm picturing this nerdy looking Harry Potter style spider monster, but with a mohawk, harry's glasses, and an ipod that plays nothing but Morrissey.

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Scott swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 12, 2010
Tentacle pr0n, you too Catty?

Sometimes

the mind boggles and you just have to do a net search!

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Madam Morgana mumbles...

Posted January 12, 2010
Emo lurking spider... hehehe.

He wears mismatched Converse sneakers, too. Purple on one foot, green on the next, spotty then stripy. And goes through more eyeliner than Barry Humphries

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And in other news… « The World According to Me… asserts...

Posted January 15, 2010
[...] John Birmingham reports that the latest draft of After America has gone off to the publishers… -39.121821 175.394487 [...]

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Respond to 'Huzzah!'

More of a Friday Writing Thought than a Friday Writing Blog.

Posted December 18, 2009 by John Birmingham
Because the hour or so I'd spend on a long blog article would be best spent on my novel rewrite today.

Anyway, Jennicki asked me a while ago about self-censorship, about the internal editor whose blue pencil strikes through just about everything you write. How do you turn down that nagging, negative, rather insensitive voice?

I'm afraid, that like a parent with a whining child, you just have to ignore it at certain times. And the time you completely ignore it is in your first draft.

It's a draft. Nobody else has to see it, not even your real editor.

A first draft is your dirty little secret. It can be as woeful, as horrible, as embarrassing as you care to make it. Nobody ever has to know.

It is only in the later drafts, the ones where you let the editor run free with his diabolical blue pencil, that ever see the light of day.

Some shockers from my own first drafts?

Using the phrase "non-male Americans" instead of "American men".

Or a personal favorite, "the human wave surged towards him like a surging human wave."

Both those bits of garbage writing spewed out of me in the first draft of Weapons of Choice. They got cut on the first read through, of course. But sometimes your textual errors don't stand out as starkly as dog balls. And that's where you can spend hours, sometimes days, and in the worst cases years, worrying over what you've written. Is it good enough, should I change it, should I just give up and walk away?

Save all that shit for the second draft. After you've had a break from the text. You'll be a lot more objective about what needs to go and what can stay.

But right now, I have to go.

57 Responses to ‘More of a Friday Writing Thought than a Friday Writing Blog.’

Abe mumbles...

Posted December 18, 2009
I guess if you are shameless enough to let your editor see stuff like "the human wave...etc" there is no chance I am going to shame you into paying up is there?

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John Birmingham reckons...

Posted December 18, 2009
Oh, I have something very special planned for you Abe. But the chances of me blocking out the two or three hours it'll chew out of my day to set it up, before I send off this manuscript, are pretty much zero.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted December 18, 2009
Abe - I believe your arrangement with this "John" Birmingham is an enforceable contract. Feel free to contact me if you wish to explore your options.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted December 18, 2009
Hey, I'm just kidding. You're screwed, buddy. Sorry.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted December 18, 2009
http://www.theartistsway.com/

Girls and SNAGS I really did find this book full of useful tools for freeing up your your mind and getting an intrusive inner critic to shut the hell up.

The idea of keeping a journal of morning pages to expel The Crap from your head seems to work much like taking the garbage out.

The other suggestion of having a weekly 'artist date' i.e taking yourself out on some sort of adventure to do something you wouldn't normally do - seems to counteract the inclination to sluggishness and it opens you up to new experiences and ideas. She talks about the need to 'restock the creative well'.

Its very good.

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Havock ducks in to say...

Posted December 18, 2009
Abe, Paul, should you care to extend the contract to include some "wet work" or perhaps minimal violence, just give me a call

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Madam Morgana asserts...

Posted December 18, 2009
Thank you.

(I had written several hundred words of detailed thanks, including an extended lyrical metaphor in elegaic form, comparing JB with Socrates - minus the hemlock and pederasty - but after a read through I cut the lot)

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Orin mutters...

Posted December 18, 2009
JB - do you ever use print outs as a part of your writing/editing process, or do you do it all digitally (I remember you once mentioning getting galleys/pages from a publisher in physical form)? My process is entirely digital (then again it is reasonable to assume the people I write for have the most recent version of Word and know how to use all the markup/revision functionality ;-)

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Moko asserts...

Posted December 18, 2009
Abe.

I know ... some people ... with talents. VERY ... special ... talents. They are ... persuasive ... let's say.

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Abigail would have you know...

Posted December 18, 2009
I'm pretty busy as leaving in a couple of days for 6 weeks holiday- the beach (yay, I know).I can't find to comment on it , and don't know when online up north.

But thanks for this JB ,it was very amusing to read your bloopers (they'll never eclipse mine) you're a real darling , hugs and thanks

To everyone at the burger- I hope Christmas is lovely and happy and you do something you enjoy. Safe travels all. Mwah.

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted December 18, 2009
Birmo, I ain't sayin nothin bout nothin but if you need some guys to, you know, pet the kitty cats of some sausage maker then I can have some guys there pronto.

Just sayin circle of trust n'all dat.

R

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted December 18, 2009
Oh, and I got my eye on you Boylan. One a them smart guys.

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted December 18, 2009
Ori, paper is still imopt. I'll expand on that l8r when I have time.

Rhino, you and me, we got some bidness to discuss.

Havsy, have you forgotten what happened to you the last time you tried to get into the Compound. Don't make Miss November put it up on Youtube.

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jennicki reckons...

Posted December 18, 2009
Abe, what Moko is trying to say is thatI can be very persuasive using my feminine wiles.

I mean look how I got Dirk Flinthart on Twitter and all.

Oh.

Wait...

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jennicki ducks in to say...

Posted December 18, 2009
And JB, thank you, it's like you KNEW I needed to read this post today.

Merci mon ami.

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fknsanta has opinions thus...

Posted December 18, 2009
just holler and we'll put anythunks on the fknsantanet.

like what are wishlists for ehehehe.

fully patched'll cost ya and we're currently short on concrete slip-ons but you'd better stop hummin' that bing crosby dreamin' of white stuff rubbish and point your browser to - From First To Last - X12 Days of XXXMASX.

like now already.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted December 18, 2009
"A first draft is your dirty little secret."

Just hypomathetically, without reference to any person living or dead, here or nowhere, just how many dirty little secrets can one theoreticaly have without triggering excess baggage penalties?

Like a mother seabird I can vomit copious quanities of ideas onto a screen. My ideas, what if's and daydreams are legion and I think many of them have merit. It's the polishing, refining and fine tuning that I struggle with. I slave away at a sentance or paragraph for an hour polishing a turd till it reaches mirror status, but my lack of confidence (probably fully justified) makes me sure that the turd is and will always be a turd. My Fan Fic pieces are examples of this - I'm am pretty sure that the ideas behind them are worthwhile but my apalling lack of skill inhibit idea transmission rather than make it the silken flow of a experienced jugerauthor.

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted December 18, 2009
Hav, I reckon Abe probably hangs out at Queanbeyan Leagues Club for the Friday Meat Raffles, with a wad of tickets clenched in his fist and a glint of hope flickering in his eyes. If he doesn't win he'll be the one in a cold rage, shaking his head, repeatedly muttering "Birmingham. Fkn Birmingham."

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Chaz is gonna tell you...

Posted December 18, 2009
Abe, just accept that ten dollars and an author are not easily parted, except when it comes to food.

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Sweet Jane Says mutters...

Posted December 18, 2009
Flint, if you ever hit Twitter you must add me to your list.

J.

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jennicki mumbles...

Posted December 18, 2009
Only after he's done dragging the rest of our shocked corpses off the ground, J.

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Rhino reckons...

Posted December 18, 2009
Bidness you say? Sweet.

Ohhhhh Havsy ... did you hear that? The Boss has bidness for me ... you know what that means.

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Madam Morgana has opinions thus...

Posted December 18, 2009
Hey Bob, Try being kinder to yourself! Uber juggerauthors don't just check out of the neonatal unit and start churning out master works on their Etch-a-sketches.

Write. As much and as often as you can. Con as many people as you can into reading it - join a writer's group, then you'll have a captive audience. Listen to what your readers say. And keep writing - eventually the crap will turn into mulch, then compost, then... well, sometimes it's still crap but won't you have had fun and made some great friends!

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted December 18, 2009
Therbs,

I got a call from a ACT Number about a CONTRACT, TOW CONTRACTS actually, one up Nth and one on a bit fkn git over in the states who happens to reckon he might be SFAE..well I tell ya..HE AINT!...

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Catty swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 18, 2009
Here was I, fantasising about being Abe's kitty cat. Then I read Rhino's comment. *shudder*

I'm outta here. Sorry Abe.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted December 18, 2009
Rhino - I vehemently protest your utilization of an obscure colloquialism when you refer to me as "a smart guy."

Bob - I feel your pain, but I do not sympathize. Why not free yourself of your fan fic angst? Follow my example. Where you take very cold comfort in hoping your literary attempts are based in worthwhile ideas, I achieve real pleasure and a palpable joy not caring at all whether my fan fic is worthwhile.

Come, join me in my dada paradise. Be free!

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Catherine Howat is gonna tell you...

Posted December 18, 2009
John, how is the new "America" book going? more to the point, when? :)

cathy

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damian puts forth...

Posted December 18, 2009
Paul, would it make you feel better if I referred to the rhino as a "made guy"?

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NBlob reckons...

Posted December 18, 2009
I think he's more the Moscow Biznizman.

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jp has opinions thus...

Posted December 18, 2009
"And that’s where you can spend hours, sometimes days, and in the worst cases years, worrying over what you’ve written. Is it good enough, should I change it, should I just give up and walk away?"

Some of the smartest writers I know can't get behind that hurdle. I spent six year at the Age, and a family friend who writes there and everywhere else (and she's pedigree too) was working on a novel for like 12 years. Just came out this year I think -- and many a trip to writer's retreats looking for the answers in between. Saw similar in many of the grad students I've taught too, but I guess I expected it there.

Nothing like a deadline to get arse into gear and pull the story out in all its ugly glory. I was telling Naut the other day about my next nightmare: got 100k words down, but it's ugly, makes no good sense to anyone other than me (and I'm damn sure has some libel and copy-write issues in relation to dozens of news-sites used for research... wont be donating those early drafts to a library). The fine stuff came just a few weeks ago, thank fuck. It's like I went into the woods, cut down my tree, and finally saw to it to put on some tinsel and make it pretty. I think the key to writing a novel is that you need have 100% belief that you can pull it off, and do do a damn good job of it (however misguided that notion may be to others). Then you re-write it, edit it, read it a million times, edit it again, it comes out, you work on the next one, and you never want to see or hear about that piece of shite again. Then some time passes, royalties and nice emails come in, and you think back to that sweet little book and think, ah, shucks, that was a good one... but that kind of reminiscing is fool's talk, poisonous procrastination, deadline dreams, beer under the bridge.

Oh, and one other point, which JB may want to add his thoughts on: I find the shorter the piece of fiction writing, the longer it takes to edit (the same abound of words), eg a 3000 word short story takes far more time to get right than a 3000 word chapter of a novel.

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jp mumbles...

Posted December 18, 2009
"Copyright" issues even. How I miss having subs to make my words better...

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted December 18, 2009
JP - I'm getting some back catalogue stuff for summer reads. Sweet. Blowing up shit 'n stuff. Sort of like what Hav wants to do in Queanbeyan.

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jennicki has opinions thus...

Posted December 18, 2009
Whoa, that was fantastic to read. Thanks JP!

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Chaz ducks in to say...

Posted December 18, 2009
JP if the text is ugly, are you describing Naut just asking is all....

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Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted December 19, 2009
Havsy old boy ... you should see the email that I just received.

Wow.

Just wow.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted December 19, 2009
Damian - Yes, that would make me feel better.

Bob - I take that characterization as a compliment. I like Russian "Biznizmen" (although the class extends far beyond Russia). I like the way they think, in the same manner I appreciate the purity of any feline, and their appreciation for former field operators is sincere. But they never, ever pick up the check after a meal. I admit that annoys me.

JP - Your use of the term "sub" confirms what I've long suspected about the blogs Birmingham hosts - i.e., that these places are really a front for a clandestine segment of the so-called bdsm-d/s "community." It explains many things.

Although I am a bit surprised that you "Doms" use subs to edit text. From what little I know of the habits and customs of the subculture, that seems like a waste of time and effort.

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Madam Morgana mumbles...

Posted December 19, 2009
Thanks, jp! You've inspired me to persist with the rewrite.

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fknvty would have you know...

Posted December 19, 2009
appreciate the sentiment birmin'am which is particularly pertinent given todays plethora of poppycock print media.

i do remember, once upon a sydney morning herald there was ne'er a grammatic or syntax fault to witness.

and gone are the days of the august proof reader or obelistic editor, 'tis the blind misleading the blind so to speak.

it appears the intrinsic value of a word or claus has lost it's predicate in this digital abyss.

like a steeping redang smarting from the days slow simmer

to execute or not to execute, that is the question.

pz.v.

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Abe puts forth...

Posted December 19, 2009
ANything too nasty and I'll post my freshly minted gallstone to you in all its glory.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted December 19, 2009
I would love to see them, Abe. Seriously. I am fascinated by gall and kidney stones.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted December 19, 2009
Okay, I'm kidding again. Seriously. I am not fascinated with those things. I just couldn't resist saying I was.

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Patricia ducks in to say...

Posted December 19, 2009
*emerges bleary eyed from the cave of grant submission writing*

I missed the Blunty drinks??? Oh woe is me!

*stumbles back inside the cave*

*small whisper from the cave*

*sniffle* *sob*

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted December 19, 2009
On re-reading I caught a small glimpse of the labour involved in turning out a coupla hundred page novel. Not so much heavy lifting, but hours, weeks even months of bum on chair faff free application on a single project which span gulfs of imagination.

I can find satisfaction & frustration in writing a scene or two, like building a coffee table or some book shelves. A novel must be akin to building a freakin bridge.

Any fault in construction, while possibly not Tasman Bridge Disaster catastrophic does weaken the whole product.

Kudos for the large & hairies it must require to comit, persevere & deliver.

I unilaterally declare an momentary moratorium on hassling you on when we get AA.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted December 19, 2009
Times up. Get back to it, under whatever cricket must surely take a back seat to my immediate gratification.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted December 19, 2009
Two minutes. Not bad.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted December 19, 2009
Abe. Minty gall stones? Sounds tempting.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted December 19, 2009
PNB, Fair & reasonable, that's how I roll sir, fair & reasonable.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted December 19, 2009
Oh and FWIW, my Tasman Bridge Disaster analogy totally sucks donkey balls.

There was nothing wrong with how the bridge was constructed. All fault lay in operator error.

Barge skipper's sub-optimal professional performance killed people and as a result he lost his ticket for 6 whole months. Geeze I bet that'll learn him good.

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donna asserts...

Posted December 19, 2009
Thanks JB you are inspiring me to greater heights, well, greater than nothing heights, er ok smallish heights...ah forget it...

I'm probably not a writer anyway, but I'm a good reader mmm love reading mmmm, just finished your Without Warning, absolutely loved it and hanging out for what happens next!!

Am now onto Under the Dome - Stephen King just to compare, couldn't resist it. Very quickly realising there is no comparison, you win hands down!!! Just stop faffing around on the internet and get the next book done!!

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Rhino would have you know...

Posted December 19, 2009
Oh my Havsy ... you are NEVER going to believe what happens.

Good Gods man, I may have to ramp up production on the Rhino Action Figure franchise sooner than I thought.

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted December 19, 2009
Hmmm u gave me a clue for a new sausage recipe... might have to send some up there.

But I hope that the 3 hours u spend on this new idea will result in some sort of evidence, the kind that can be pawned on ebay. Can't imagine i'm going to pay for a great xmas with an ebay ad like "Fresh gallstone from overweight p/time sausage gimp and unappreciated bureaucrat who in his spare time saved you lot over a billion bucks last year."

Even if it is one humdinger of a gallstone.

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Havock mutters...

Posted December 21, 2009
Rhino, I am simply to cultured and calm to go apoplectic . I will however knee cap both you fkrs at the first oportunity

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted December 21, 2009
Fuck. That must have been some email Rhino references.

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted December 21, 2009
PNB, its based on the kinda intelligence that Jnr received when he went into IRAQ.....lo. and the fact that I have decided that a PREMPTIVE strike on this pair of muppets will not only result in LESS of this shit, but make me feel fkn good as well. The only thing saving the PAIR in the near term is distance.....in time!

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 21, 2009
I dont think this will get up at the GEEK..well, maybe after editing IT MIGHT!.

RIGHT!, It’s a case of “ what can I and can’t I get away with here”. NOT SURE, but one thing is for sure JB..I’m about to puch the fkn boundaries.

Prediction..not a wish..well sometimes.

Maybe we just might see in the coming decade the first CAPPED fkn muppet headed panty waisted, goody fkn too shoed thumb sucking media & public fkn opinion pole whole of a PM TOPPED. FK that would be good news. BAH,, cant say I want the fkn muppet dead…just both legs broken maybe..hell, NO, GAGGED, would be better so I don’t need to listen to his out fkn dated generated b y a consultant cos he never had an original idea in his life bloody tool.

Our roads user numbers have consistently increased every year JB and the numbers of DEATHs, have by and large come down, yet, these tools in CANBERRA and STATE GUMMIT insist on fining and policing the shit outta us in the vain fkn hope we get to what!.....ZERO FKN ROAD TOLL. Yeah right. FKN space fkn cadets pollies are. MONEY GRABBING. FK with your life for no GOOD REASON bunch of DK wadded, CK pulling, air thieving prolly cannot drive a fkn computer arse wipes.

As long as my furry oh so good looking arse points to the ground the tosser who is in gummite sprouting this shite will never get my fkn voted.

I dream of the day when bot bot ruddy, blonde, wanker boy is broken down on the side of the road. I STOP, get outta the car, tell him he is a fkn air headed , got no ideas fkn GIT and the FKR can walk to get fkn help. CO&@ SUCKING, mongrel headed, well fix it , by filtering it DIC@ HEA&..

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted December 21, 2009
DAM..it was posted, part B has been sent as well JB. Slighly late for the GEEK, but hey. Better late than never

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donna mumbles...

Posted December 22, 2009
Quokka

http://www.theartistsway.com/

Girls and SNAGS I really did find this book full of useful tools for freeing up your your mind and getting an intrusive inner critic to shut the hell up.

OOh Quokka, looked into this one and I liked it, and as i get up really early, and usually read for a couple of hours before work, now I am starting the day with a stream of conciousness writing vomity blat...which strangely is quite cathartic...wooo hooo...will tackle the inner critic next, take that you bastard critic (laughs maniacally)

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Respond to 'More of a Friday Writing Thought than a Friday Writing Blog.'

Friday writing blog: Voice.

Posted November 6, 2009 by John Birmingham
But first some housecleaning. I have updated the blog roll to the left as per everyone's requests of a few weeks back, although I have left some of the older inactive links in place. I simply cannot bring myself to delete kitten heel for instance.

Also I had an e-mail from Fairfax the other day telling me they'll be a few tweaks to the blogging format over the weekend. It won't go anywhere near addressing all the issues we raised but it's a start. I think the first thing they're looking at doing is changing the number of comments that can be viewed in the thread to save people having to click through multiple screens to get to the end of the discussion. At least that's what it looked like from the e-mail. I guess we'll see.

So, on to today's topic.

Voice.

I wanted to talk mostly about voice today, because it's an issue that came up in the comment thread of a previous writing blog. A couple of people weren't entirely sure what voice was, and others didn't know and how to find their own voice. So we'll start with voice first.

Perhaps a little personal history to illustrate. I wrote Leviathan to escape the gravitational pull of Felafel. In many ways Leviathan was a return to first principles for me. For 10 years before I wrote Felafel I had written feature stories for magazines, i.e. nonfiction. There were certain magazines such as the Independent Monthly which had a very formal, very old-fashioned 'house style'. Although the articles were all bylined there was very little difference between the in the forms of expression they used. A Helen Garner article would read very much like a Peter Robb article or even one of my articles. That was not an ironclad rule, especially where I was concerned, but it was a general principle. We wrote in a formal 'high' style which you can see reproduced in any number of British or American magazines currently available. The New Yorker is the obvious example.

At the same time as I was writing for the Independent, I was also filing copy of Penthouse, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Inside Sport, Wisden and occasionally for the broadsheet newspapers and their weekend supplements. Again the copy I submitted to each magazine was subtly different depending on the house style. Good Weekend for instance was very similar in style to the Independent, in that generally speaking it did not allow for any great rhetorical flourishes of slanguage, swearing, neologisms and so on. That doesn't mean the stories were boring. Some great writers worked on that supplement and produced some quite beautiful pieces of work, but they did so with very plain and simple rhetoric.

Rolling Stone on the other hand was a different matter. Rolling Stone was the magazine where Hunter S. Thompson came to prominence. It was the magazine with PJ O'Rourke published some of his earlier, funnier political pieces. It was not a magazine afraid of correspondents with strong individual voices. In fact so strong were some of those voices, such as Thompson's, that you can hear them echoing through the copy of a generation of writers who followed them.

If we look at a couple of quotes from Thompson and O'Rourke we can begin to see just how striking the sound of their voices on the page could be, compared to more conventional journalists.

Thompson: “The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.”

O’Rourke: “After all, what is your host’s purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they’d simply have sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi.”

In these two short bits of text we do not find every point of difference between two writers who otherwise share many points of commonality, but we do find two very different voices. In Thompson’s case he speaks from the black shriveled heart of a true believer turned cynic. His writing often lands on the page like hammer blows pounding his chosen target to a bloody pulp. To do that he chooses his words like a boxer chooses his blows, comparing good men to dogs, presenting us with the alien almost inhuman environment of “a long plastic hallway” populated not by business people or television executives but by “thieves” and “pimps”. His words are harsh because the thoughts he wishes to express are harsh.

The O’Rourke quote on the other hand comes from a piece about hosting a dinner party in his first edition of collected works, Republican Party Reptile. In that particular piece O’Rourke achieves his comedic effect by writing in the very refined, almost prissy style of a 1920s guide to etiquette. You can hear him in your head as you read and he sounds like someone wearing a cravat and nursing a frosted martini. That is the form he has chosen; the content however is subversive of the form; positing a moral universe in which cravat wearing ethics teachers drop pants at the first opportunity and snort cocaine off hooker’s boobs. (Incidentally, that distancing effect, a rapid wrenching away of meaning and subtext from the formal text creates an immediate sense of tension which is resolved when the reader laughs. It is one of the basic techniques of comedic writing.)

Given that magazines have different house styles, but that authors also have their own styles, how do we resolve the question that then arises; which style takes primacy?

There is no easy way to answer this, but being brutal about it, it’s a question of power. If the magazine has commissioned the writer the chances are they are buying that writers byline as much as they are his or her copy. In that sense even if they have a house style they will be willing to allow the writer a degree of freedom on the page, possibly total freedom depending on who they have commissioned. You don’t pay PJ O’Rourke to write stock standard op-ed political columns, for instance. You pay him to write jokes, his very particular brand of jokes.

This question arises for me on a regular basis, because of the features I write for The Monthly. Writing for them feels very much like writing for the old Independent Monthly to me. The house style is formal and literate. It should be possible to take a paragraph from one story and compare it to a paragraph from another story without being able to tell who wrote which piece. The author’s voice is impersonal. On the other hand, if you look hard enough in each piece, particularly the long feature articles written by senior correspondents, you will occasionally see small stylistic flourishes which set them apart from each other.

For instance in this month's edition you will find interviews with Mr. Flinthart and Mr. Bedak, both of which appear in a 3000 word feature written by me about the future of the National Party. At one point in the story they are referred to as Flinthart of Tasmania, and Bedak of Book Book. This sort of faux classic Boys Own adventure phraseology is something I’ll throw into a story every now and then just to break up the atmosphere if it’s all feeling a bit formal and learned. There is a similar small ironic distance between the form of the words and the intent of the author as I mentioned in the O’Rourke extract above. Thompson does something similar quite often when he uses biblical turns of phrase in his work. Indeed somewhere in one of his collections he talks about always keeping a Bible nearby him for inspiration when he writes.

Voice is then something which can be amplified or turned down. You’ll find my voice at its loudest and often most unpleasant in my blogs for Fairfax. Because blogging is almost conversational form of writing, it makes sense that the voice of the blog author should sound almost like spoken word. It doesn’t have to be, of course. A blog can be written as formally as a PhD thesis. But mostly they are not, mostly they sound like the writer is talking to you. Their voice comes through clearly.

In a previous writing blog somebody, possibly Jennicki, asked how difficult it is to switch from one form of writing to another. From Blunt Instrument to The Monthly.

With practice it’s not that difficult at all. It’s akin to switching between languages. It all depends on how fluent you are. If you’re still at the learning stage it can be very difficult indeed, but if you have been speaking a dozen languages, or writing in half a dozen voices all your life you can switch between them without any conscious effort at all.

So, the final question. How do you find your voice?

The same way you found your real voice when you were learning to speak, slowly at first, awkwardly, while making lots of mistakes, some of them quite embarrassing.

In a sense you shouldn’t go looking for your voice, you should just let it come to you. In the same way that our accents and our manner of speaking are largely determined by the home in which we learn to speak, your written voice will be determined by those places in which you dwell when you were learning to write. You will find your voice through listening to the voices of those writers and authors you most admire. Does this mean you will imitate them slavishly? If you are a teenage would-be author, almost certainly. But that will pass. And the more you read, the more influences you allow to play upon your own style, the richer and more interesting it will probably be.

107 Responses to ‘Friday writing blog: Voice.’

DrYobbo is gonna tell you...

Posted November 6, 2009
I think one of the hardest things for any writer - published and credentialled or otherwise - is stepping outside their own voice (or at least the voice they're most comfortable in) and working in another. That's one of the talents that differentiates the handy writers from the very good ones. I don't really have it, not enough to carry off (say) a 600 page technothriller. It'd inevitably descend into unshaven bogans drinking beer and chasing women not in their league.

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FKNHVK reckons...

Posted November 6, 2009
O'coursa if ya got a FKN distintiv style ya find FKN CLWNS Immitating ya AWSM voice all OVa the Place like a telletubby in an old bridesmades dress at 5pm in the carpark at flemington on cup day

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Allan Dunbar mumbles...

Posted November 6, 2009
So when are you going to start teaching?

I found this interesting because it's not something I've ever thought about when reading my own work. I think when I edit my own writing, be it an essay or work of fiction, I look for consistency in the tone and language - which is the same thing as voice, I think. It's good to be able to put a name and concept to it.

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Sweet Jane Says mutters...

Posted November 6, 2009
Voice does not change with genre. Mood, tone, and other literary elements change with genre. Voice is a writer's soul; everything else is cosmetic.

J.

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beeso puts forth...

Posted November 6, 2009
Bloody good piece. I was wondering how much rewriting and editing you'd do for the blogs. Looking back just then i think the bits i've written the best are the ones i've done in my mind for a fair bit first before writing. They sound the most how i think i should sound.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted November 6, 2009
"...and good men die like dogs, for no good reason."

And we are all poorer for the lack of him.

Very interesting stuff JB. Thankyou again. As a mug punter, I was all content content content and had given very little thought to voice. I do like 80 cent words and cheesy alliteration, but hadn't considered the effect it had on a hypothetical reader, except of course blinding him / her with my genious.

Dr. Yobbo- "snip ...unshaven bogans drinking beer and chasing women... snip " What's not to love? I'd like to see more of this in my impossibly dry & impenatrable Marine Legislation.

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Havock puts forth...

Posted November 6, 2009
Ok so it was worth the wait , you missing the deadline and all that. I'm on the iPhone so a longer piece od probable diatribe shall have to wait. But!, that's extremely interesting espesh the language ref you make. Theb take it a whole order of magnitude up and layer in not just characters and their voice but pace as well...... I wonder how many writers cut their wrists! I'll say it and you might want to frame it.

Nice piece

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Medway reckons...

Posted November 6, 2009
Damn... My actual voice is one of those that is always spoken over and ignored half the time, and occasionally trails off into randomness.

*writes on hand "Find your voice you pansy"*

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Naut asserts...

Posted November 6, 2009
I have been conscious of voice but never realised the depth of its importance.

Great post Birmo, you definately had your thinky, edumacating voice in there!

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damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 6, 2009
Just one thing with the list - you might want to add a link that works for the new Blunty:

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/blog/blunt-instrument

I suggest keeping the old one too, though.

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Chaz puts forth...

Posted November 6, 2009
Noice, and thought provoking. The question is what voice do us struggling wannabe's Havock, Meself, Jenn etc speak in? our Own? or some verdamn uitlander from Cape Town?

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Flinthart has opinions thus...

Posted November 6, 2009
One of the very few pieces of advice I will readily give to new authors is worth repeating here. Read shit.

I mean it.

When you read shit like L Ron Hubbard or Matthew Reilly or Jackie Collins, the 'voice' of the author is cracked, and weak, and the things you notice most are the horrible affectations and errors. Hubbard taught me that exclamation points do NOT belong outside dialogue. He also taught me that a page full of single-clause sentences is an experience, for the reader, not unlike being repeatedly bashed in the head with a nerf bat.

You see what I mean? You read shit, you can learn what NOT to write, and it doesn't interfere with your own development. You're just getting a quick primer in avoiding certain mistakes.

On the other hand... I read "Crime and Punishment" in a single 36-hour frenzy back when I was just starting to write. Dostoyevsky's voice was so damned compelling, even in translation, that I could hardly bear to put the book down long enough to eat.

For two weeks afterwards, everything I wrote came out like bad Dostoyevsky. Because a powerful voice is not easily emulated, and a poor emulation is a pitiful thing indeed.

So: read crap, and enjoy it. That way, you'll understand all the better what makes the really good stuff so amazing - and you'll have a chance of getting there for yourself.

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Medway mumbles...

Posted November 6, 2009
I noticed something along these lines the other day while I was reading a book called "Myst: the book of Atrus" (Rand and Robyn Miller). It's one of my favourite books and it has a very soft and delicate voice to it.

And when John mentioned about his loud and obnoxious voice in Blunty, I agreed.

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted November 6, 2009
"I wrote Leviathan to escape the gravitational pull of Felafel. "

Hows that worked out for you?

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted November 6, 2009
Actually CHAZ raises ..lets call it a though in the head and thats very dangerous territory for me on what Dirk and JB have said.

So here goes my interpretation.

With commercial non fictional works I suspect its far easier to change the tone, based on both the article and the demographic the publication is pitched at. Thats Skill based or perhaps having some longevity in the game, for commercial non fictional pieces of proses it's also I suspect a required talent if you wish to prosper.

But for Fictional work, the reader identifies with the authors style of writing, be it loud, blunt, eloquent or tech laden. Its here in the fictional arena I think, that a consistent level of voice is not only a requirement, certainly if its serialized works, but because its very natural perhaps somewhat easier to maintain.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted November 6, 2009
oooooaaahhh.

Juicy stuff.

I remember reading something about the code monkeys in WW2...the morse code people, that is, the tap tap tap clickety click folk, and how they'd spy and intercept each other's codes.

this being a German/French/English thing.

And the people who were doing the spying became very adept at recognizing voices that were done in code.

I'm sure it was morse code because I remember being absolutely intrigued that people could have a distinct voice and style and be recognizable through FKN code, of all things.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted November 6, 2009
Zing.

1 to Barnesm

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted November 6, 2009
DAM, I'm gunna go OFF topic here JB ref THE MONTHLY Article. Smashed the fkn nail into the piece of timber with a sledge hammer. FK, it aint rocket science....yet they manage to fuck it up at every turn, being from the BUSH I will call it, they want, what the city folk want and in most cases already have by the bucket load.

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virty is gonna tell you...

Posted November 6, 2009
my voice broke when i was 11 .... neva came back.

pretty fkn obvious huh

then this insane 60's rock scene hijacked a christian classical upbringing to the dark side. not that the dark side is evil mind you but it does ratfark many a decent artiste.

- many parallels with musical expression do scribblers have, with theme and variation appearing to be the key providing you stay within a firm set of ground rules / guidelines such as vocal development, do re me ect

problem being there's always an exception to any discipline that blows all the text books way.

e.g. a old uni mate, ross bolleter threw the fundamentals of harmony away, much to prof tunleys dismay, and is now (well purports to be) one of australia's most prominent avantgarde composers and indie improvisation gurus.

he plays brubeck and granger with pnash and style but he blatantly stole that from yours truly ;)

trouble is he can't make any fkn money outta his love and mastery of the contemporary stuff so he lugs away in a bar 6 nights week playing covers.

develope and maintain the voice ? follow your dream ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Am05yZehlAM

methinks it all comes down to agents (no, we're not recommending harry m at all), havin' a marketable product and the eternal fkn $ these days unless you go indie, but what do i know, hey. pz.v.

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Catty asserts...

Posted November 6, 2009
What about the people with a voice, but nothing worthwhile to say? What do we do? It's depressing. I'd give up writing altogether if it weren't for Andrew Bolt - I figure if he can earn a living from writing, I sure as hell should be able to.

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simon bedak has opinions thus...

Posted November 6, 2009
At NIDA Playwrights Studio nearly 20 years ago, we had to submit wk in hard copy for criticism. Two-hander, three hander scenes. My wonderful tutors Ken Healy & Terry Clarke would place a ruler in the character name columns and expect to be able to tell the diffferent characters from the way they spoke.

I know it's not what you meant by voice JB and all, but for those interested in dialogue (particularly from an ex-cattleman comet still orbiting the Felafel pulsar), this literal bent on your kindly shared thoughts might ssit as an interesting footnote. SB

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted November 6, 2009
Simon..good call. EXCEPT the bit about KINDLY SHARED THOUGHTS..We built his fkn GOLD PLATED FKN HOVERCRAFT so the fkr was due to ante up or be fkn capped i reckon...he used the excuse CARMA...well ..whatever. But I must admit, it is good.

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Abigail puts forth...

Posted November 6, 2009
Right on , Flinthart. I couldn't agree more. When peeps start rubbishing great writing (from lit and genre), I just want to point them in the direction of crap so they appreciate the difference. But, you get called a snob unfortunately.

May I indulge myself and add Ayn Rand, the writer I love to hate (on oh so many levels) ?

A narrative voice you could set concrete with.

JB- Thx. I agree- when are you gonna teach ? nonsense that "those who can't ,teach". I never believed that.

Voice is a great subject to think about because it's endless. You could discuss it forever and never run out of voices to analyse,praise, learn something from.

It was very interesting to read what you said about the less obvious individual voices of contributors to 'The Monthly' because it made me think that being forced to write within those confines is very good for developing a voice. I think it makes you hungrier.

About Blunty for a sec- it's funny, I don't think of that voice as "loud and obnoxious". But I can definitely hear a very flamboyant character in it- kind of 1970's; that free way people had back then. Loose but tight- makes no sense, but, you know, thats what I got. I just love that free voice. To me it sounds more like a cool, self-assured, iconoclast coming through. Actually, I can hear a lot of different writing forms in it, as though you read very widely. I don't know if you do read especially widely, but it sounds in your blog as if you do.

But that's just my opinion.

I mention this because it makes me more conscious of how a voice is the primary thing readers are identifying with (or, not) so it better be one readers can live with for 300 pp. A voice can get too anything- too rigid; too gentle; too obnoxious, and endlessly so. The "obnoxious" style can make you switch off because you feel like all you're listening to Kyle. May God help us.

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted November 6, 2009
No, Simon, that stuck in my head last time you said it.

I was about to bring it up but you know, the Dog Walking Hour and all.

When I was at some QWC thing years ago, Tara from Curtis-Browne said that voice was the big thing they looked for when they were reading a manuscript. And that even if the writer hadn't quite nailed it in the first chapter, if they could hear 'the voice' and it held you, they'd persist with reading the MS.

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted November 6, 2009
Which reminds me, occasionally I'll like something an author has written so I'll go to the next thing but they've lost their voice.

Its really strange. And sometimes the third thing that comes out is even worse.

Not that I end up reading the third thing...just skimming in the bookstore.

I wonder how much pure panic there is that makes an author lose confidence in a second novel.

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted November 6, 2009
Yes Quokka, Tara makes a good point. That is what they look for, but it makes me ask myself (and anyone else)- How the bejesus do some fiction authors get published when they are really, really bad? The only answer I can come up with is the publishers concur on "strong, consistent voice" , perhaps a tired old godforsaken soy milk drinking, lavender honey of a whining screech of a voice, but it seems to spell Best Seller. Bizarre. Chaps, this know because I attend two book groups and the crap we read but it seems to appeal.

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simon bedak mumbles...

Posted November 6, 2009
quokka, if you wanna hear a fucking voice, this week on the writing show on ABC-RN Don Walker was reading his yarn 'Shot'. Mate, I was being evicted, had a car full of memories heading to the tip, down a potential $2m on where we thought we were a month or so ago, and it was so fucking true, I had to pull over and just listen. I was amazed and, somehow cleaner for having been able to believe.

Oddly, I had a similar conversation off-handedly with me old next door neighbour Bruce who's a fucking successful movie director type. I've no interest in writing for film because its solving things with an economy of available objects in theatre that I dig. Anyhow, I asked him that seeing he had to read a metric fuckload of scripts daily, how could he tell the good one from the bad and how long did it take? Bruce reckoned two pages. Said, TOO MUCH DIALOGUE and not enough allowing the camera to tell the story - how about you and a theatre script?

I confessed quokka that I'd drop them in the bin after a single page if I saw an adverb in a stage direction.

Say, Tara's a cute name. Was she hot?

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sparty has opinions thus...

Posted November 6, 2009
very interesting- just realised that i read alot of fiction authors for "their voice" and when they lose it on a particular book (Dreamcatcher Stephen King?, John Lecarre The Night Porter?)I tend to hate the book.....

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hughesy would have you know...

Posted November 6, 2009
Marketing Abigail, marketing.

Dan Brown's DaVinci Code is a gold plated text book on what to avoid when writing. Runaway world wide best seller. Go figure.

It's paractically comedy it's so bad. Runaway best seller in this case can only mean that there are millions of suckers born every minute.

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DrYobbo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 6, 2009
I like the 'voice' of Blunty but I wonder if people sometimes don't 'get' it. Certainly there's a strong representation of overly earnest posters since the NT migration who haven't quite picked up the overarching tone. And I've certainly found that people have misread the tone of stuff I've written on my own blog which, while about a million miles from Blunty, borrows the same hyperbolic rantiferous slash-and-burn approach to whatever issue has been invented as the reason for rantation this time by. I've been asked by people who know me IRL whether those opinions are mine and whether I hold to them or would be held to them.

Tara is a cute name. Except the way the Seppos pronounce it which makes it sound like Terror, something you'd declare war on if you were so inclined.

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damian puts forth...

Posted November 6, 2009
Hee - when I dipped into this earlier for a moment and flicked through, I caught myself working out whether you meant Hunter Thompson of Jim Thompson :)

Myself, I still haven't dealt with the fact the world lost HST during the GWB years. I'd say that 10,000 GWB's are not worth one HST, except it's likely the value of the former is negative so it's not really a fair equation.

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damian mumbles...

Posted November 6, 2009
Yobbo - for a long time I misheard the line "She had a mind full of tyranny and terror" in the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song "Do you love me?" as "Tunry-and-turn" for similar accent related reasons, and he's bloody Australian.

And even notable for doing what I often call an Australian-accented version of "blues".

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 6, 2009
I liked her. She seemed like a 'don't fuck with me' kind of a girl.

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted November 6, 2009
Hughesy- Yes, quite so. I see how marketing is responsible for the success; they push and push. But I also wonder what makes them say in the first place, " The Da Vinci Code hey? this is a masterpiece, let's give this a big spin" ? Yet, they might also publish something far better. I don't understand their standards at all

Dr Yobbo- I know precisely what you mean about people not 'getting' tone anymore- the audience dont get each other, either (not always like that, of course). I would argue that it works both ways and the problems are: we no longer understand each other's subtler signals so well, and I put that down to the reliance upon emoticons; deep PC anxiety about offending so we are faster to take offence; lack of exposure to a wide lexicon of styles/ irony. I mean, I contribute to Blunty and Geek regularly and sometimes I am very earnest but I absolutely 'get' what is happening, it's just me feeling serious about an issue sometimes and not conforming to the mood going on around me because I don't feel like it. So it might be like that for some other people.

But occasional contributors who criticise certain articles, and blog such as Blunty *in the way they do* I think , wow, are you just not aware of your surroundings? Makes me want to tell them, for the love of all things kind and merciful,stop reading, one day it's going to kill you stone dead.

Remember when we used to 'get it' (voice) ?

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Orin would have you know...

Posted November 6, 2009
Oh and Havock - want a great example of voice - finish reading Transmetropolitan.

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Medway puts forth...

Posted November 6, 2009
@Hughsey: it's funny. Every time I hear "#1 Best seller" I always look at it in confusion because it's like one of those words you repeat over and over in your head and you just lose meaning of the whole thing in the first place and wonder "Am I even saying it right? Beast Sallah... Bist Sellaw... Beef Salad..."

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damian asserts...

Posted November 6, 2009
Flinthart - I agree with a proviso. You still have to read some good stuff. Otherwise, you won't know what it's like, and if you read enough shit, you won't even remember that writing something that isn't shit is even possible.

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DrYobbo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 6, 2009
90% of everything is crap, and it's usually the 90% that's most popular. The highest rating show on TV is Two And A Half men for fuck's sake, scripted by morons, watched by fuckwits who can accept the prevailing concept of a fat, faded clown in a bowling shirt shagging a bunch of women he shouldn't even be allowed to share a lift with. The top 40 singles charts are full of unexpurgated arse, most Hollywood blockbusters are cretinous rubbish... I guess it's not that surprising that poorly construed but brilliantly marketed books are just as successful as other similar forms of art/entertainment are.

I'd add to Flinthart's good points about reading crap (so long as you can recognise it as such) - write crap. You have to write a lot of crap to find your own voice. There's handwritten manuscripts of mine in drawers and folders which are lame attempts at co-opting the voice of Ian Fleming or Len Deighton or Freddy Forsyth. Writing in someone else's voice is often about as natural as having David Strassman's hand up your arse trying to operate your mouth, while he gargles a bottle of water.

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virty puts forth...

Posted November 6, 2009
hmmm the ha'penny hasn't dropped ha' it (well maybe catty is on it)

each to their own, it'd be a pretty borin' place if we all wrote the same way with the same "voice" wouldn't it now.

i briefly referred to him today over at that godforsaken place

- grab a copy of alexander buzo's "i don't want to sound incredulous but i can't believe it" some shit hot illustrated non fiction about tautology (penguin 1982)

- love the parting words from bob ellis quote "he was sued by david hill, and then re-befriended"

well worth the effort ladies and gentlemen, he graces about a foot or so my book shelves with wonderful memories.

gotta fly. pz.v.

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DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted November 6, 2009
Virty, Buzo's handy tome 'Kiwese' is still my ready reckoner for translating the local vernacular into the Queen's Australian English for communication purposes.

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jennicki asserts...

Posted November 6, 2009
Loved this. I always look forward to getting up and reading these posts on Friday mornings.

And this PJ O'Rourke is now on my "must read" list.

Is your Monthly article with Simon and Dirk available yet?

(Doc, a bit harsh on Two and a Half Men. I mean it's not brilliant or anything, but the writers throw in some pretty funny lines in most episodes I've seen)

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted November 6, 2009
Doc Yobbo : "Write some crap" Indeed, following instructions here is all I can say. I've just written 4 pages of shite.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted November 7, 2009
Great article. I'm not sure I have much to add.

I would agree that "finding" one's voice can be difficult. Sometimes I suspect academic training does not help in this respect. When I left grad school in 2001 I figured it would only take me a year or two to break into fiction. After all, everyone told me that I was a good writer. I never had trouble getting published in the past (granted, at the very lowest levels).

Turns out that over the six years of my life as a security guard (the Uniguard Era) I had to completely relearn how to write. My initial pieces sounded very much like my grad school papers on Ancient Rome. Great if I am telling a story about a bunch of historians trying to purchase lost texts from book collectors in the first century AD (Turtledove, I might add, already wrote that one). Not so good for other types of stories.

I've noticed that it is especially difficult for academics who try their hand at fiction writing to find a voice they are comfortable with. Academic writers are trained to write in a distant voice where they never fully commit to a point of view. They often struggle with this when they try to transition.

And just on a personal note, I found that when I first wrote dialogue for characters, they all sounded like yours truly. Bedak alludes to the importance of creating distinctive voices for each of your characters in his comments on play writing.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted November 7, 2009
Murph is spot on with his point about academic writing. It kills any individual voice you may have had. Does it on purpose too.

I'll pop back in here l8r in the weekend to pick up a few of these points. Gotta get to cricket now.

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Abigail mumbles...

Posted November 7, 2009
May I gloat? In cyberspace noone's going stop me anyway...

Have been writing a short novel (about 80pp) over the last 12 months while I've been home.

Just slammed draft 2 down on the table, baby.

Stayed up all night getting it finished , "1 year, 1 year, 1 year..." (sorry, stealing from Karl Lagerfeld and twisting it around a little) Another few months outta do it.

Style: Lit fic.

Voice : Very F***ING EXCITED, BABY.

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted November 7, 2009
And oh, just btw- sorry, too tired to remember to say this-

JB, you don't know how this last few weeks of the writingblog has benefitted me, you really truly don't. I've come back again and again looking at what you say about applying yourself and don't worry too much if you write shite just go through it, etc etc, and all of everyone's comments and I want to say huge thanks so much to you JB -and to everyone who responds- for keeping each other writing. But I musn't get too emo, there's some peeps here who'd call you a "pantywaist" for Far Less. (Ohh, I mean that in a kind way:)

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Quokka mutters...

Posted November 7, 2009
http://thingsboganslike.wordpress.com/the-full-list/

Dr. Yobbo some of us like bogans, and would pay good money (in bookstores and cinema) to see much more of them.

Tramp stamps most particularly.

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted November 7, 2009
I suspect in the fiction arena, creating voice assisted by character creation. This may be a character based on an individual or purely one you have made up, either way, defining who they are and attributed I suspect helps. Then as you progress and become familiar with the characters, speaking in their voice...Should theoretically become easier.

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted November 7, 2009
I still think though, that Voice and style are completely different. You may get into your characters voice, this might temper what is defined as your style, but style will override the characters voice, sufficiently to identify, but not kill off the characters voice. If that makes sense.

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Abigail reckons...

Posted November 7, 2009
Before I retire.. Murph- what you said was interesting- about 'the academy' and how it ruins the immediacy ,for all time in some cases. Especially if you major in Lit. (yep).

For one thing, it's you against the great voices and don't they let you know it. Very intimidating.

Iris Murdoch is a classic example to illustrate what you're saying. I'm not a fan for precisely the reasons you're talking about. She had a background in moral philosophy and gee, you couldn't forget that when you read her stuff. At some point the lecturn would come out , you're in an echoy hall, you're taking notes...

Robert Dessaix is another example, except I like him a lot and thats why I'm bringing him in. (He taught Russian Lit at ANU years ago) He has a distant, some would say pompous voice, but it's very effective and affecting (as far as I'm concerned) because of the subject matter.You know, he's SO controlled in his voice, yet he's talking about the most emotional of things and because of that tension it gets in. So, even if you can't kill the academic voice ,you can use it well enough if you're not afraid to use it as part of your style and in fact it can be a great style.But that's true only for the minority, I guess.

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virty swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 7, 2009
re: abigloating.

what doc yob said .....yeah .... in the beginning there was

"unshaven bogans drinking beer and chasing women"

party time or in W.A.speak ((((it's show time))))

lets get vocal, backing courtesy of sugarhill

i say hip hop da hippie da hippie

to da hip hip hop, ah you dont stop

da rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped da boogie MAN

to da rhythm of da boogie, funk dat beat boy

ferkin' mother of mary it's too early for this dudes fkt.

there's a few milk crates of homebrew kickassmulebubbystuff we call champers in the cellar, is by definition bopperstyle alcopop with a "lot'o'voice".

anyone got a straw ? No? lets see now, there's all these garden hose end pieces with the reserve bucket bong in a box in the basement .......

pz.v.

commiserations on the "fine", like you know, it's just like virtual & his art of motorcycle travel, there's always another juicy corner or two or three after the one you've just hooked into. i.e. life is an endless parade of tight corners (read phrases)

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NataliatheRussianSpy puts forth...

Posted November 7, 2009
Awesomeness-ness Birms. The observations you made in regard to O'Rourkes has helped me to pinpoint what I have been trying to achieve lately. Over time I have absorbed that style of writing but had not consciously defined it's parameters. You see I used to write skewering but obvious articles about songs I hated but recently wrote a satirical piece in which the voice was that of a hallucinating defense lawyer. I was pretending to defend when in fact I was lampooning the practice of lip-syncing. Mucho gratifying.

QUOKKA: Your comment about the morse code I found most intriguing! Though I may not comment much here anymore I am always lurking and you crack me up Aunty!

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Abigail would have you know...

Posted November 7, 2009
Virty-

I'm pretty tired should be asleeep, a bit wired, so perhaps am a bit stupid a present. But were you calling me "abigloating" and having some kind of go at me because I mentioned some work I just finished? (or were you merely picking up my own jokey way of saying it?) Sorry if I'm taking it the wrong way and it's difficult to read it's true intent ; it was a fairly obscure comment you made ; I'm really not sure.

If it was a sling of some kind, I'm going to call you on it and say it's unfair and it does a blog no favours at all,and I won't participate in a club. Again, sorry if I've misread it; it really was obscure, but I have no way of knowing the truth if I don't raise it here, seeing as I don't know you in any other context.

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robW puts forth...

Posted November 7, 2009
What a nice, quick essay and criticism. It reminded me of the "voice" in essays written by Anthony Burgess for the LONDON TIMES back in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Well done and kudos to you.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted November 7, 2009
Abigail, I have a minor in English Lit so I know some of what you allude to with Lit majors. My observation of English Majors is that they seem to excrete words with the same pain that might accompany passing shards of glass during a bowel movement.

I tell my students and peers in creative writing classes this.

The First Draft is Crap.

That gives you permission to write without thinking too much about how pretty it is. You can fix that later and in the meantime, maybe one finds their voice in the process.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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DrYobbo asserts...

Posted November 7, 2009
Agree with Murph, the first draft IS crap, even when it's not. Otherwise you'll end up sitting there fretting over coming up with THE solution to the particular problem you've run into in plot development or characterization. And also that academic writing - whether in the humanities or in the passionless factuality of the sciences - is not of much use for creative writing other than practice in putting one word after the other and ploughing through wordcount. AND his Fort Hood piece was very well judged as well. Dammit, agreeing with Murph three times in a paragraph isn't sitting well with me, I'm going for a lie down.

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Murphy reckons...

Posted November 7, 2009
Dr Yobbo, I find I get hung up on plot and character issues all the time. That usually happens when I'm about one-half to two-thirds of the way through the draft. Sometimes it will take me years to figure out just what is wrong with something.

While we are at it, I'd add that voice also applies to teaching, especially if you are in a field where lecture is the primary means of delivering course material.

Often the urge among academics is to stand there and give a stilted, distant, very emotionless lecture. However, the best lecturers tend to be very much like stage performers. They watch the students/audience to gauge their understanding and their reaction to the material. Sometimes the best instructors will change their delivery method (their voice) to get the students reengaged with the material.

An example. I was giving a pretty dry lecture on Augustus at the start of the Roman Empire in my Western Civ One class. Worse yet, I was using my grad school notes from 1998 which means I had not really had a chance to put my own spin on them yet.

I came across a bit where the notes stated that Augustus was pretty hard on writers who criticized him. The notes stated that this made writers of the era very cautious.

That bored the students and I was losing them. No wonder since I had just gone over the Julian and the Treason Laws.

So I switched it up. I said, "Imagine there is a website on the Roman Internet called Rate My Princeps dot com," spoofing RateMyProfessors, which college professors dread for some reason.

"Now imagine writing all those nasty things you wanted to say about Augustus in much the same way I know you all will about yours truly."

They got a chuckle out of that because they know about the site. They can imagine Augustus surfing along one night after a hard day rebuilding Rome into marble and seeing an entry that says he is a big fat poopeyhead who is no fun at all. They can see him throwing the mouse against the screen and ordering the Praetorian Guard to follow him to the Gaius Dorkus Maximus.

I believe PNB uses similiar tactics in switching things up while he teaches.

As for Hasan, Puma remarked at my blog that the entry seemed a bit out of character. It isn't really.

Why would we punish everyone for the actions of one man? If it were some nutty Southern Baptist from Alabama, we wouldn't throw all people from Alabama out of the Army, nor the Baptists for that matter.

Hasan made the mistake, not the entire Islamic community.

And maybe, just maybe, nearly three years of teaching history is changing me just a notch. I have to concentrate on more than just science fiction, technology and matters military these days. It is possible that I'm slowly being corrupted by my profession.

It could also be, given what I have been dealing with over the last year, that my desire to make the keyboard bounce under my fingertips with anger is not what it was. It seems I have better things to do with my time.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted November 7, 2009
Huzzah for Abigail and her just completed first draft.

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 7, 2009
Abi-G, I didnt read V's comment as a smackdown.

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted November 7, 2009
Thx JB, much appreciated.

And re Virtycomm- ok, I guess I wasn't sure, hard to know when we don't know each other's personalities. But it's alright. Forgotten as of now.

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Sweet Jane Says puts forth...

Posted November 7, 2009
They were complex, driven and skilled; their voice remained clear even in code, but peace would leave the best silent.

J.

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virty puts forth...

Posted November 7, 2009
not a malicious bone in my scrimshandered bod AB, ta for tha backup birmingham, tumultuous apologies and KOW TOWS on this parched bare earth if you feel sorely or taken back (many people do).

selfish contra bass word-smithing, it'll be my demise one fine day, some c***s gonna go me a cropper in real time.

you call it obscure, i prefer cryptic most just say it's fkn bullshit. each to their own .... voice.

isn't imagery a goddam wonderful thang?

should see what we do to wee kiddies (especially in eurythmy workshops, shoppin' malls & on public transport, riotous fun indeed)

- if i may divulge a little, in the beginning (no, not of the thread, but of the BT birthing process) my raves and hissyfits @ blunty were such that only birmingham had the ..... lets say savvy for want of a meatier word ..... to understand even slightly what the fk i was on about. comments in here like "but what will we do about virty" re the transition from BT to NT were commonplace.

pre transition was like ... this guy (me)is an stark starin' ravin' fkn idiot .. and in fact was often publicly admonished as such, but in this business you gotta be thick skinned, if you dish it up be prepared to have it thrown right back at you which is the quintessential blunt instrument take.

with a little persistence and education plus the help of like minded contributors taking the piss i've built some floor space and with due thanks to that gothic yungersack birmingham i have a seat in da house.

sweet dreams.

chocostout time.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted November 7, 2009
Tsk tsk.

These little contretemps and misunderstandings are getting terribly wordy.

In future, out of consideration for the fact that its the weekend and some of us have trouble following, much less thinking clearly, I'd be grateful if you could keep it simple.

ie. 'Gerbil up your arse, Virty?' or similar, which requires a simple yes/no/FKU type response.

If the response is 'yes' then you offer to find and attach the nearest vacuum hose so that the creature can scurry out and off into the wilds of Darling Harbor to seek shelter and trauma counseling among it's own kind, and if its 'No' then we're all good, Yes?

I for one am willing to vouch for Virty's character...well actually the less said about that the better but we do take the same shoe and dress size so when the annual Cheese Cutters Ball clocks around its a cinch to find something suitably glitzy in Virty's expansive wardrobe which more than suits the occasion. Its saved me a fortune in ballgowns and sequined heels.

Oh and well done on the second draft, Abigail. Must admit I posted here early this am before we took off to Bogan Ville so didn't hear a word y'all said. Nice work.

I myself have a first draft on the old PC which I work hard to ignore.

I leave the windows unlocked in the hope that junkies will steal it and save me the bother of looking at it again but what can I say, they're picky bastards around here and no respecting junkie will truck with any machine that's infested with Windows Millenium.

Sigh.

Is it naptime now? It feels like naptime.

Bogans. They're exhausting. We saw bogans on boats (i.e. Jet skis) and I will have you know that EVERYTHING they said in that link above about bogans and petrol is absolutely true.

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Abigail puts forth...

Posted November 7, 2009
Virty, Virty, Virty! thanks a lot.Allow me to flatter you wildly to make up for any miscommunication.

At 7 am agfter literlly no sleep getting this thing finsihed and elated I was, I saw yours and I thought, "is this guy having a sling at me because I'm saying aloud that I completed a draft? wtf?", It was just the wording and my suspicion of the internet. But I always feel it's best to air those questions- not like a sledgehammer,politely, and get it sorted. Like I said , I really wasn't sure, because I'm fairly new here and thought I might have been getting rolled, Roysten Vasey style. But as soon as JB replied I knew he'd have read into it properly so I forgot all about it. You'll like me Virty because I know what Eurythmy is. Bet you didn't expect an ex steiner person to sneak up on you. (I said "ex") You can be my latest best friend if you like.

Q.- thanks so much and I am very happy to learn that you can share shoes and dresses with Virtual. I trust the dresses are returned to you 'unharmed'.

First draft, well there should be a term for us draft makers so we sound Very Important. Let us know if you get further with it, huh. :)

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virty has opinions thus...

Posted November 7, 2009
all your cups still in the cupboard macropods? no Q bar gold free entry till you drop dead key rings for you me dear.

speakin' of irritatin' animals, this fkn scrub turkey down the bottom gully behind the dam is about to go to god fkt. like he's must be on steroids AND crystal meth or sumptin', he ain't built a goddam nest, is a fkn ten story tower with aircon!. the blue tongues and goannas can't even work it out.

maybe the trusty mule'l sort it. pz.v.

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damian would have you know...

Posted November 7, 2009
Murph: "My observation of English Majors is that they seem to excrete words with the same pain that might accompany passing shards of glass during a bowel movement."

I did a double major in English, and I attest the truth of Murph's words here. One day I hope to develop enough scar tissue to write easily again.

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted November 7, 2009
Damian...lol..Come with me for a while and I guarantee to fkn undo all the word...

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted November 7, 2009
ooops...try, ALL THAT FKN WORK!

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damian would have you know...

Posted November 7, 2009
HVK, we're talking HE here, are we?

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damian would have you know...

Posted November 7, 2009
Murph, I am glad to see what you've written here and in your own blog in the last couple of days. Given what may come, what is indeed likely to come, it's nice to see an intelligent conservative drawing the line between truth and falsehood honestly and correctly.

You ask, is your profession changing you. I don't claim to have answers along those lines, but I do think that it's the duty of an academic in any field to pursue the truth, regardless of faith or feeling. There is always a very great distance between what any theory of the world says what should be and what is indeed the case. Ideologues will insist that distance is small and for their version of the world inconsequential, while any true scholar will insist upon that distance being an interesting object of study in its own right. For my part, I like Terry Pratchett's rule - that it's okay until you starting thinking of people as things, after that point you become a monster. But that's just basic humanism and has been with us, as a more or less central theme of our Western culture since the 15th century or so.

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted November 8, 2009
Damian, with Hasan, it is simply common sense. It is impractical to purge all the muslims even if we wanted to and more to the point, the purge would be more damaging than anything Hasan might have done.

Besides, his biggest mistake is that he did that in Texas. He is lucky he did it on an Army installation. I suspect if he had been off post and tried that then he would, as Ron White said, "go to the front of the line," with regard to the death penalty.

The Army will probably give him life at Fort Leavenworth.

Sorry to hear about your writing affliction. One might try some Preparation H as a remedy (do they even have that outside of the US?).

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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damian has opinions thus...

Posted November 8, 2009
Murph - no idea about Preparation H. I do know the more directly named Anusol is popular here. That's a product where there is simply no doubt about its purpose.

As for a literary equivalent, if one exists and whether it's legal in countries who are signatories to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs - these are all questions for another time.

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Abe mumbles...

Posted November 8, 2009
Nice one JB. Most of my writing for work is pretty technical and formal, almost but not quite academic in style, whereas my uni essays are, by definition, academic, so my range of voice is somewhat constrained in the writing I HAVE to do. This is the reason for my blogging - to let my flippant and cynical sides have a voice too.

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virty mutters...

Posted November 8, 2009
how very a.l.tenno of you AB, gives one definite goosebumps or those thingmejigs when your approaching menopause and anthroposophic thinkys to ponder this fine sund'y morn tra - la, rack of lamb = lack of ram (overheard on abc nat. at 3.00 am, semi conscious but still rendered a loud WTF) and

"at the foot of thy crags, O sea!

but the tender grace of a day that is dead

will never come back to me."

slings:

- both birmingham and i had/has an arm in one for way too fkn long

- the intrepid mule is fairly partial to experimenting with them in the breville from hell, with fruit, much suga & ice

- preferred method for hurling shurikens @ these fkn scrub turkeys

- bollocks do this in a wayward wind when playing pirate

- prusik knots have a habit of losing them and their load at anything over a hundred feet hence the term "geronimo" (think carving up a mega wall at fairy bower and the leg rope breaks)

pz & ta.v. (blows sweet nothings at all and sundry)

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted November 8, 2009
Virty I had two of the FKN mongrel birds taken away before finally I managed to break someone's spirit at the EPA and they gave me some useful advice.

Brush Turkeys require 90% shade canopy in order to keep their mound at a stable temperature. You know those little holes in the side of their snouts? Temperature gauges, which is why you see them head down and arse up in their shit pile so often.

If you do some selective pruning in the tree above their mound then they can't keep it at the 36C required to incubate the devil's spawn housed within.

Get thee to Bunnings. All that you need is a brush cutter.

hasn't stopped the MFs roosting in the neighbour's nut tree but at least they're mounding elsewhere and there's less destruction in the garden. Albeit there's considerably less shade, too, but I added an extra two AC units in the recent renovation so we can endure a bit more heat.

Brush turkeys 10: Environment Nil.

Stupid FKN birds.

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted November 8, 2009
Yay Virty,I get it. I offically get it. You referred to Alfred the Lord. See, once upon a time I'd have seen the a.l. tenno bit by itself and not had a clue what you meant, but now I see you're cleverly cryptic, I'm going to have loads of fun. Aww, how sweet, you're trying to help me out ...But Anthroposophy on an empty stomach? I don't think so, baby.

I was once attached to PNB; we had drinks planned, serious kinds of drinks. He Offered. But since my suggestion of Stones Green Ginger Wine in Oaklands, (yes, it really was that classy) his silent has been significant. So Virty, what do you say? Some Rescue Remedy in a fairy dell with the other tomtens?

Oh, and :

The languages, especially the dead,

The sciences, and most of all the abstruse,

The arts, at least all such as could be said

To be the most remote from common use,

In all these he was much and deeply read...

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