Tuesday, January 24, 2017

AO Tennis

I wonder if these transport cars for minor level competitors in the Australian Open Tennis are transported around Australia and their decals changed, depending on the event. They are driven by volunteer drivers and one of our neighbours volunteered a few years ago. She did not really enjoy it as most of the players were not friendly and treated her worse than if she was paid staff.

The sun was shining and a cool breeze blowing and it was just one lovely day as a couple of hundred people crowded  the Flinders Street at tram stop outside the station.

A couple of these big beasts soon cleared the happy crowd but the platform quickly filled again as more people arrived.

I was in town and going to see a friend in hospital by train, but I wasn't in a rush so I thought I would go to the tennis and see what is to be seen without paying, and it wasn't very much at all. I joined the masses to the tennis and after taking a couple of photos, I caught the tram to Richmond and then the train to Malvern from there.

It will soon be time for the Grand Prix car race but it does not add to Melbourne's atmosphere anywhere near what the tennis does. I am sure there is some crossover, but I think generally people who go to the tennis would not go to the car racing.

Australia has done very badly in the tennis just past the halfway mark and once again we have been shamed by poor behaviour of one of our players.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Mother's Cats and a rant

Probably about three decades ago on the corner of Mother's street was a small petrol station. It closed, as did the many small service stations once spread around Melbourne and country towns. It became a pinball parlour for a while and my two brothers in their teen years no doubt pumped their pocket money into the machines. It then became a pizza place and the owner used to put leftover pizza out for stray cats. Eventually flats were built on the site and Step Father felt sorry for the deserted cats and started to feed them. Their home changed to Mother's back yard. There were complaints by neighbours to the local council and a cat trapper arrived. The man actually caught a few, but Step Father felt so sorry for one who was pitifully wailing in a cage and he let it out. Some cats were removed, but not all. Cat catcher said, they are too wild to catch and soundly criticised Step Father as being uncooperative with the process because he set a cat free.

The cats never received medical treatment or veterinary attention but were well fed and if any ailed badly, Step Father might give them some eye ointment that was probably meant for his budgerigars or put them out of their misery.

Step Father died and Mother took over the responsibility for the cats, about six then. They received formula cat milk and the best of food but no still no veterinary care. They bred, perhaps inbred, and some have been killed on the road. Some have died from infections. One skeleton was found hanging from a hook in the garage. We assured Mother that happened post death, but we don't know. Mother likes watching them play in her backyard. While they run under the house if any person or other creature visits, they are comfortable with the presence of Mother. Some want to come inside and be pets, but Mother won't allow that.

Tradie Brother and a friend of Mother's have quickly and cleanly dealt with some of the kittens over the years, as did Step Father when he was still alive.

Finally, she is down to two non breeding mature cats. I am not quite sure why she was sure they were non breeding, but we took at her word.

Little Jo: Nanny, there are two kittens in your backyard.

Mother: No Skippy, I don't have kittens. (Joey=Skippy. Get it?)

Little Jo: Nanny, you do.

Mother: No Skippy, I don't have kittens.

Who do you believe? A mentally sharp as a tack 83 year old woman or her very smart 9 year old grandchild?

Yep, Little Jo was right. Mother does have now one new kitten. She did subsequently see two as Little Jo described, but now only sees one.

This must sound all very familiar to Strayer. Feed them but no responsibility.

I am going to offend someone deeply now, and I don't relish doing so, but before you take on a pet dog or cat or any creature, you must ensure that you have enough money to look after the pet's basic needs. That includes vaccinations, worming, teeth care and grooming if required. I don't expect people to stump up thousands for back operations for their pets, but pets do cost for their basic care and before you take on a pet, you must realise that it will cost money at times. Having seen out two dogs and three cats to old age and death, along with a couple of premature deaths of budgerigars, a cockatoo and a canary, never mind innumerable gold fish,  believe me, I know it costs.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Not much time to write. Here is some artwork I liked in the office foyer when we recently had our wills drawn up.

The lady has been caught short, as they say.

Reminds me of Maggie Thatcher.

 And I leave you with this disturbing graph to ponder.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Who do we trust?

In the early days of WWII, or a bit earlier, an American 'computer' company set up digs in Germany. I expect it used punch cards in a very primitive manner. The information fed into the system included fine detail of German citizens, down to language spoken, native language, Jewish language knowledge, Jewish ancestors and Yiddish language skills. Written information flooded in from all over Germany and it was all put into this primitive computer system. Maybe even information from occupied countries was put into the database.

This collated information database gave Hitler all the information he needed in one database and we all know what then happened.

So who was this company and is it still around? Indeed it is. It is called IBM. That would be the IBM company that thoroughly screwed up Australia's last census and had to shut its online census site down for weeks from around 8pm on census night, just as people finished dinner and then went online to do their democratic duty. It was not a cyber attack from overseas but just the sheer incompetence of IBM. A few weeks later, I did eventually fill my census in with a lot of nonsense as a reaction to the scarily bizarre census experience, and that our data will be retained with our names. It seems I am now an unmarried hetrosexual without relatives. somewhat of a contrast to my last census data, where I was a gay man in a defacto relationship with many relatives.

Of course if you were a homosexual in Germany in 1939, that would have gone into the database too and many suffered a similar fate to the Jews of Europe.

So, a company that complicity worked with Hitler and sorted and collated the information he needed for the Holocaust to happen, and without doubt knew how and why the information was needed, is now a big and 'moral' company in the US. And our Australian government entrusted IBM with our census? Disgrace! That IBM was allowed to flourish in the US is a disgrace.

Trust IBM with your data? I don't.

Friday, January 20, 2017

A day to remember

In the bigger picture, it was not massive loss of life, not a terrorist attack, but it was nasty day today in Melbourne when someone ran amok in a motorcar and deliberately mowed down people in a car free city mall. Three were killed and many injured, as the car driver did not steer down the centre of the road on the tram tracks where it would have been quite clear, but along the side of the mall where people walked. Many had time to dodge or run into shopfronts, but some did not.

I was in town yesterday, my day off, on my own as it was Mother Day for R. I brunched in Centre Place and wandered about town for a bit before setting off by tram and train to Malvern to see a friend in hospital. It was about 22 degrees, the sun was shining and the sky was blue, and a cool breeze was gently blowing. There were hoards of people setting off for the Australian Open tennis. There was a sense of joie de vivre in the air. Everyone seemed happy, including myself, who does at times moan on about what is wrong with our city, but I felt quite good about it yesterday.

I crossed Bourke Street Mall yesterday, where the awful crime occurred today. People being in the wrong place at the wrong time when a crime is committed always troubles me, but what happened today in one of the safest and cheeriest streets in the whole world does an awful lot more than just trouble me.

From what I have learnt about the alleged perpetrator, he has a long criminal history in spite of not being very old and I suspect the question will soon arise, well why wasn't he in gaol? Indeed, why wasn't he in gaol or at least detained?

My sympathy goes out to those who are bereaved and those injured. This just should not have happened in olde Melbourne Town.