Professor Plum marched into the mail room singing “Waltzing Matilda.” He mangled the words, but he had clearly read the mail. (More)

Professor Plum’s began: “Once a jolly swagman toked upon his billy bong, under the shade of a coolibah tree….”

While there are no official lyrics to the Australian classic “Waltzing Matilda,” Ms. Scarlet was certain that not even the unofficial lyrics went quite that way. She took his hand and they left to join the resident faculty in the wine cellar library, where they’ll spend the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”).

In the staff poker game, the Professor of Astrology Janitor was down under where he’d started, having lost half his chips when his pair of Kings fell to Chef’s three Sixes. Now he peeked at the Ace and King of Hearts and opened with a raise. Chef called, and the Professor of Astrology Janitor concealed his delight as the Ace of Spades and Nine and Six of Diamonds fell on the flop. He put in a small bet and, again, Chef called. The King of Spades gave him two pair, and again he offered a small bet. Again, Chef called. The five of Spades came on the river.

The Professor of Astrology Janitor checked, and Chef made a pot-sized bet. While the pot was small, her bet didn’t smell like a trap. Might she have an Ace-Nine, Ace-Six, or Ace-Five for a smaller two pair? Might she have three of a kind? Might she have called at the flop with two Spades and made a running flush? Or might she have two Diamonds and was now bluffing?

His mental walkabout left him back where he started, and he reluctantly called. Chef grimaced and turned over her Seven and Eight of Diamonds, then smiled as she saw that her Nine-high straight was good enough. The Professor of Astrology Janitor began his plaintive mewling and Chef went to the kitchen to make an Aussie Breakfast Fry-up, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

Earlier today, I addressed the media and, through them, the Australian public, about ongoing investigations into a group of officers and NCOs whose conduct, if proven, has not only brought the Australian Army into disrepute, but has let down every one of you and all of those whose past service has won the respect of our nation.

There are limits to how much I can tell you, because the investigations into this network by both the New South Wales Police and the ADF Investigative Service are ongoing. But evidence collected to date has identified a group of men within our ranks who have allegedly produced highly inappropriate material demeaning women, and distributed it across the internet and Defense’s email networks. If this is true, then the actions of these members are in direct contravention to every value the Australian Army stands for.

By now, I assume you know my attitude to this type of conduct. I have stated categorically many times that the Army has to be an inclusive organization, in which every soldier, man and woman, is able to reach their full potential and is encouraged to do so. Those who think that it is okay to behave in a way that demeans or exploits their colleagues have no place in this Army.

Our service has been engaged in continuous operations since 1999, and in its longest war ever in Afghanistan. On all operations, female soldiers and officers have proven themselves worthy of the best traditions of the Australian Army. They are vital to us maintaining our capability, now and into the future.

If that does not suit you, then get out. You may find another employer where your attitude and behavior is acceptable, but I doubt it. The same goes for those who think that toughness is built on humiliating others. Every one of us is responsible for the culture and reputation of our Army and the environment in which we work.

If you become aware of any individual degrading another, then show moral courage and take a stand against it. No one has ever explained to me how the exploitation or degradation of others enhances capability or honors the traditions of the Australian Army.

I will be ruthless in ridding the Army of people who cannot live up to its values and I need every one of you to support me in achieving this. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. That goes for all of us, but especially those who by their rank have a leadership role.

If we are a great national institution, if we care about the legacy left to us by those who have served before us, if we care about the legacy we leave to those who, in turn, will protect and secure Australia, then it is up to us to make a difference. If you’re not up to it, find something else to do with your life. There is no place for you amongst this band of brother and sisters.

David in Australia

Dear David,

We applaud your compelling and articulate statement. We agree that the standard you walk past is the standard you accept, and we hope that America’s leaders will show the same courage and command presence you have here and no longer walk past sexual abuse in our military.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

Wasn’t the swagman camping by a billabong? And will I need a campfire to make Chef’s Aussie Breakfast Fry-Up?

Waltzing to Breakfast in Blogistan

Dear Waltzing to Breakfast,

Yes, even in the unofficial lyrics, the swagman is camped beside a billabong, which is a small pond left after a river changes course. Chef says you will need no campfire for an Aussie Breakfast Fry-Up, which is simply bacon or sausage, fried eggs, served with baked beans from a can, “just as nature intended.”



Waltzing Matilda lyrics.

David in Australia.

Billabong; “just as nature intended.”


Happy Father’s Day!