When Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay raised a flag on the summit of Mount Everest in the early 1950s it was a moment of supreme triumph of man against nature.
Today, when you can actually DRIVE to base camp on the Chinese side of Nepal’s Himalayan Range, or join the hundreds (yes, hundreds) of climbers crowding the litter-filled base camp nightly above Namche Bazaar, the whole exercise has become a bad joke.
Hilary and Tenzing did it the hard way. No strategically placed ropes. No similarly permanent aluminium ladders and bridges. Just themselves against the world’s allegedly tallest peak.
Everything that can be done to Everest has been achieved…short of a top-of-the-world grand-piano recital with a choir of one-legged Rastafarians. And that’s not as stupid as it sounds. Today we have the breath-taking news (literally) that an eighty-year-old has stood in Hilary’s footprints. And he’s soon to be gazumped by an eightyone-year-old.
Thank goodness that a much more challenging (probably impossible) peak has been protected from the pantomime. Maachapachure, which towers over the holiday resort city of Pokhara, is on the prohibited list. And even if it weren’t, it’s twin peaks –the Fishtail to which its Nepalese name refers–make it unscaleable.
Meanwhile the human tide of gungho wannabes continues to belittle and desecrate the memory of the Fifties.
I drive a Laser. It’s almost as old as me. It cost $1,200 secondhand. It gets me from A to B quickly, drily, and inexpensively.
Meanwhile, inbetween the occasional short snippet of a television program I watch the interminable advertising for four-wheeled status symbols which can carry huge escapee boulders from a landslide, drag a tractor from a cow-encircled dam and perform all other weird and wonderful challenges which obviously beset the average driver on a daily basis.
And all for a miniscule $62,999.
Take a car out of the showrooms for that figure, and there is immediate resale depreciation of a large five-figure sum, followed by yearly depreciation that would set you back an overseas holiday. Do your sums and it would probably be cheaper to hire a stretch limo on a long-term basis.
But hey. Who cares? YOU are the envy of your avenue.
And the point of all the above rant?
To express no surprise whatever that an economy based on a slickly promoted self-gratification chase is going down the gurgler faster than the top speed of the almighty combustion engine itself..
It’s unsustainable . It’s obscene. And it’s not going to go away. Unlike the factory jobs.
State Government’s move to shift more of the cost of lighting arterial routes onto Local Government will see Unley ratepayers having to shoulder an extra burden of anything up to $60,000 a year, according to sources close to “Grumpy”.
Overall, the plan will see Council’s South Australia wide having to find an extra $800,000 annually.
Passing time while between customers at my Justice of the Peace desk at the Unley Civic Centre I scan the Advertiser’s death notices. Just to make sure I am not featured…
And today’s prizewinners are …the relatives of 85-year-old Margaret, whom they farewelled as
Queen of the Pavlova
Way to go, Marg!
Although it’s still some way off boss cocky Matt Benson’s target of 5000, which he had hoped the club would achieve by the season’s opening, membership of the Double Blues has reportedly topped 3700.
Meanwhile the club’s finances will benefit by $5 for every ticket it sells in the great footy raffle, which will be drawn in early September.
And there’s a great incentive to try your luck. Every extra $10 ticket sold lessens the chance of the luxury home first prize going to Mr Grumpy…dammit.
State Government proudly announced a week or so ago that, in response to dire passenger dissatisfaction, a number of bus routes had been allocated to alternative companies.
Among the services affected by the change was Unley Road’s Route 190, which I, as a masochist, use as an alternative to paying extortionate city parking fees.
But for how much longer???
Two days into the new service, and a group of city-bound optimists are waiting outside Woolworths when a familiar coloured bus hoves into view. It’s only been half an hour in the 15-minute zone and the driver is obviously making up for lost time as he thunders by. Would-be passengers resignedly resume their bus-stop shelter, but quickly arise as a “No pick-up” Number 190 does just the opposite, with the puzzled and embarrassed driver wanting details of his non-stop empty predecessor.
Fast(?) forward to yesterday, and the banana bus song (they come in bunches) is performed again.. No Unley-bound bus between 10.20 a.m.and just short of ll o’clock, when the King William Street bus stop is then occupied by a 190 and 190B, which take off nose-to-tail for Mitcham. At the Victoria Square bus-stop our driver takes off too rapidly, depositing an elderly Unley acquaintance of mine heavily into the deep entrance well, resulting in her suffering a confirmed broken collar bone, two cracked ribs and a visit to the emergency ward of the RAH.
And the powers-that-be wonder why the city is car-congested…
Next summer, when a drought is upon us and you are pondering on whether you can afford to water your garden, spare a thought for those poor individuals on the executive level of SA Water who are struggling along on up to $500,000 a year.Their situation is so tough that they are forced, poor souls, to supplement their pittance by resorting to their public-paid credit cards to the tune of $5,000 each.
Maybe it’s time to man the barricades. Or for someone with the time (and knowledge) to research and reveal the names of the lucky recipients of our largesse.
Now that WOULD be a public service!!