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While you were asleep: Pensioner bomber strikes Japan, Centrelink’s hang ups, Cubs to WS

Japan

Approx Reading Time-10Monday. You cretin. What happened while you were asleep? Well, Japan was rocked by an unusual suicide bomber, Centrelink hung up on you and the Chicago Cubs did nothing of merit, nothing at all.

 

72-year old retired soldier turns suicide bomber, injuries three.

All aboard the hyperbole train. In what will surely be labelled the “pensioner suicide bomber” across the vast expanse of news headlines, a retired soldier in Utsunomiya, north of Tokyo, took his own life via the visceral method espoused by those with a point to prove. Although, the point in this instance is the larger societal landscape that enabled such an outcome.

Suicide, although down, remains a problem in Japan, with 30,000 people a year taking their own lives, especially the elderly who struggle to mete out a meaningful existence on meagre pensions. This morning, while we may breathe easy, safe in the knowledge that the violence overnight was not organised as part of a larger plot, there are those who face such a pale binary choice, where all of life’s thousandfold decisions have eked down to one.

 

Centrelink hangs up on 29 million calls a year, tortures the ghost of Wolfgang.

Those of you who have endured the spitting purgatory of Centrelink know that it is a mere bus-stop on a street that no longer sees service. Soundtracked by the horror of Mozart, brutally remixed by the bold choice of pre-recorded customer service messages, it is indeed a trial worthy of the climb made by old mate Virgil. The estimates inquiry has recently uncovered that over 7 million calls were dropped, when those on hold could stands no more, a figure which, for those who are required to call, is a grating cross to bear.

“So what,” one might huff on the way to workie-poos this morning. “What else do they have to do?”, you may utter. Well, department secretary Kathryn Campbell claiming that the figures were inflated because “smartphones are allowing people to call back in rapid succession” alludes to the fact that if we were still using rotary phones, or feeding scraps of change into a phonebooth with a door (remember them?), then the problem would be solved. Alas, as whoever-it-was once said it: if you message us, do we not call; if you hold us, do we not wait; if you hang up, do we not call back?

Those who have walked the Centrelink hold-line tango have long accepted this as normal and, while the system does need rejigging, there are those who will have to meet the life’s work of dead Austrian composers and weep quietly at the truth, for things shall not change.

And for that, we cue the music…

 

Chicago Cubs headed to the World Series, universe of sports writers choose words carefully.

Bill Murray’s mob are heading to the World Series, which represents a massive pickle in the world of those who deal in words. You see, there is a special kind of misery one is victim to as a fan of the Cubs. The pain of never making it. Not even being close. For a country obsessed with winners, the Cubs are the antithesis of that. Their most iconic player, who uttered the words “(what a day for a ballgame) let’s play two” did so knowing full-well that he’d probably lose both. Yesterday’s pennant win somewhat eased the anguished grating wound of Chicago baseball, as the last time they secured the National League, the famous Wrigley Field looked like this:

Belief is a dirty word in Chicago. Which brings us to a further problem. One of the most important facets of the win, is not addressing the obvious. The floor of every room that covers sport is layered in egg-shells in which to tip-toe over. Don’t mention the obvious, don’t publicly back the Cubs. Like all great baseball stories, there’s a fatuous story elevated into myth involving a ruminant and a shaken fist, which I dare not mention, because shh, I don’t want to be the one, that you know, mentions it.

However, covering it objectively, 108 years (the last time the Cubs won the Series) is a figure that sets the mind romantically reeling. Generations upon generations of Chicago-ian bloodlines have lived, and ultimately passed without seeing it. A Cubs win. For a sport which measures itself against the ghosts of the past, the yellowed legs of history will walk once more, and will need to be outpaced in order to re-write it.

As the weeping face of Bill Murray pointed out:

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