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Today's quote:

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The two men who twice saved the world


One of them, Stanislav Petrov, the Soviet officer who saved the world from nuclear war in September 1983, died in May this year, aged 77 - see here

The other was Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov on a Soviet submarine off the coast of Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 - see here.

And now we have two men who want to destroy it. They're both known for their interchangeable haircuts:



You may just have enough time to get your own fixed before one of them pushes the button.



Close your eyes for a minute


And don't be ashamed of the tears in your eyes because we all feel the same: those were wonderful days and they left us with wonderful memories. Nothing more needs to be said!



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The only place I'm allowed to open my mouth

This is not a photograph of Dr Brodie's dental surgery. He uses a simple old-fashioned wooden rack and a very big pair of pliers - autoclaved after each use, of course ☺


Remember the phrase "to give one's eyetooth for something"? Well, this morning I did although not willingly, as the best dentist on the South Coast, Dr Grant Brodie of Ulladulla, spent a good part of the morning to pull one of mine.

It had taken almost seventy years to grow to its full size in my upper jaw, and for a while it seemed as if it would take another seventy to come out again. More drilling, more cutting, more injections - and lots of whimpering from yours truly as I lay there with my mouth wide open.

It's shut now because I'm back at home. It's only at the dentist's where I'm allowed to open it.



Monday, September 18, 2017

Wearing out old memories

Remember the funny tee-shirt that reads, "My parents went to [insert location of your choice] and all they brought me back was this lousy tee-shirt"? Well, for twenty years I lived all over the world, working in several dozen locations in some fifteen countries, and all I finished up with is a collection of tee-shirts.

Penang Port Commission, 1978

Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur

Cambridge University, Summer School 1983

Saudi Arabia, 1982-1985

Air Niugini, Port Moresby, 1974
still with laundry mark "15" for my room in the Pilots' Mess at Six-Mile

Sid Deeky is my friend

I am sure you don't want to see the other fifty-or-so, do you? ☺



Sunday, September 17, 2017

Flying high

Air Niugini tee-shirt, Port Moresby, 1974
still with laundry mark "15" for my room in the Pilots' Mess at Six-Mile


On November 1, 1973, AIR NIUGINI commenced operations as the national airline of Papua New Guinea, taking over the internal services of Ansett Airlines of Papua New Guinea and TAA.

AIR NIUGINI's first general manager, Ralph Conley, hired me in early 1974 to set up the airline's internal audit department, located at ANG House on a hill overlooking the city of Port Moresby and its harbour.

Papua New Guinea in those pre-Independence days was full of expatriates who under the immigration law had to be in possession of an open return air ticket at all times. Those tickets had been bought from AIR NIUGINI and in most cases would not be used for several years. AIR NIUGINI, being a member of IATA, also sold tickets to any destination in the world without flying to any overseas port other than Cairns and Honiara. They collected the money and only had to part with it after the overseas airlines had presented them with the used ticket coupon through what is known as the Interline Billing System which in those pre-computer days could take months. In the meantime, AIR NIUGINI "sat" on all that money from open return tickets and uncollected overseas fares and earned good interest on it! A very good business indeed! But imagine my surprise when during an audit I discovered that AIR NIUGINI's accountants at Six-Mile were routinely including all that unearned money as INCOME in their current Profit & Loss Statement! My report caused quite a flurry (and a few red faces) in the accounts department!

AIR NIUGINI had absorbed many of the previous staff from Ansett and TAA and there were many internal conflicts. One day, for example, an ex-Ansett flight attendant was assigned to an ex-TAA F27 and obstinately refused to open the door after a landing at Wewak. According to the regulations of her previous company, this was the responsibility of the traffic officer on board. The traffic officer, an ex-TAA man, had been trained differently and, in any case, had other things to do. He refused to open the door. The argument pretty well covered the subject of responsibility and competence. Fortunately, it remained at the verbal level, but it is reported to have lasted more than 15 minutes while the passengers roasted in the cabin under the sizzling sun.

The politics and jockeying for positions permeated most departments, including finance and administration, and internal auditing under those circumstances was not a pleasant task. I left before I could explore the deepest depths of the human character and just after Christmas 1974 (which I spent on a beach in Lae, blissfully unaware that Cyclone Tracy had just wiped out Darwin) flew out to Rangoon in Burma to take up the position of Chief Accountant with the French oil company TOTAL - Compagnie Française des Pétroles who had begun drilling for oil in the Arakan Sea. I stopped over in Hong Kong where the company had booked me into the swank PENINSULA Hotel who met me at the airport with a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce. I hadn't expected this nor had they expected to meet a young chap straight out of New Guinea, in shorts and tee-shirt, carrying a swag over his shoulder. But that's a story for another time!