Saturday, May 03, 2008

Gay whale rights

I wasn't always a gay whale. At one time, not even in the so distance past, I was as skinny as your sleekest otter.

But even a gay whale like me has rights. I fully support KRudd's change in gay laws, even if I don't understand them very well. I am more of your council botherer over rubbish bins type than a gay activist. In the nineteen seventies and eighties, I saw such huge changes in attitudes, anything more is just icing on the cake.

As for gay marriage........puuuuhhhllllease. Why would you want to.......but then I suppose, why shouldn't you be able to if you are silly enough to want to participate in this old religious custom?

Sister and the Bone Doctor had a good lawyer friend and Little Jo's birth certificate mentions three people. Ha, backfired on them. Now sister will have to be a kept Doctor's wife rather than a single mother on a government pension.

R is already ranting that he won't be able to receive a single pension. I try to point out that financially we will probably be better off by being a recognised couple, but I can't quote facts and figures at him, as I don't know and I cannot do it with conviction. Income tax thresholds, income splitting, Medicare safety nets are all things I hear, but I don't now how they will apply to us.

For thirty years we have been individuals in the eyes of the government. I have never had to know about joint stuffs.

Clearly if we had a child, we are about to be known as a family. But as a childless couple, can we still be a family? Can a childless hetro couple be known as a family? After all, in politics, it is all about families, especially working families. Hey, we work!

I really ought to put some effort into our finances and their complications and how the changes will affect us. Manyana. I am busy looking at the old longest Sydney tram route, to Ryde, and waiting for The Dummies guide to gay relationships, Australian edition, 2009.

Friday, May 02, 2008

An Outing


I am so old now I refer to going out as an outing. The weather yesterday was not great, so I pretty well stayed in until I caught the train to Murrumbeena and met up with R and we babysat Little Jo for a while. Sister unexpectedly cooked us roast pork. The Bone Doctor had to leave straight after dinner to return to hospital to use a circular saw and chisel on someone's leg.

Luckily I had today off too, so I took my postponed trip from yesterday quite early this morning.

2-16/19/20 bus to Casino, 55 tram to North Melbourne, 57 tram to Royal Melbourne Hospital, 401 bus to Melbourne Uni, 8 tram to North Carlton, 2-50/51/53 bus to QV for shopping and a 64 tram home.

Apart from a decent wait for the 2-16/19/20 bus to begin, I waited no longer than 5 minutes for any other vehicle. A good effort Melbourne Public Transport. When it works, it works well. I was out for two and half hours.

A few observations which may bore a casual reader. All, I think, Melbourne bus services in the 200 range are ex government owned bus routes. The 2-16/19/20 route numbers used to be in 600 range, until the government took over the poor and ailing service in the early eighties. I recall these Brighton Bus Lines? buses were completely worn out and dangerous. They were quickly withdrawn and replaces with much more modern air conditioned buses, some of which are still running. In the mid nineties, all Melbourne public bus services were privatised, read subsidised with public money to a private company to run them. But then even earlier, Brighton Buses took over some publicly owned Victorian Railway tram routes. Jayne explains here.

The same mid nineties privatisation goes for 2-50/51/53 service in Rathdowne Street Carlton, although it was government run since its inception. But why is there such a good bus service in Rathdowne Street? Why isn't it a tram? Well it once was, a cable tram. It was replaced by buses and not an electric tram. Read Jayne's blog with brief details here.

The 401 bus is an innovative and perhaps successful approach to our train and tram overcrowding. I haven't seen any figures, but I expect it is well patronised in the morning and evening peaks. It travels from North Melbourne railway station, via Royal Melbourne Hospital to Melbourne University. I should think it gets students off the trains at the extremely busy North Melbourne Station and onto the bus, rather than travel into the city and then tram to Uni. I will say though there were only two other passengers on the bus when I was on it and I know the bus in front was not running late. I am not sure if a six minute day time service interval is sustainable.

And the picture? A nice and grand house in North Melbourne. It is a beauty, with a slate roof, great cast iron lace work and poly chromatic brick work.

And, and, and, what was I doing in North Melbourne and North Carlton? Taking pictures of old signs to add to Tony's Melbourne's History in Old Signs website.

Security Services


R recently travelled on the Queenscliff ferry from Sorrento. While he could have been arrested and detained under terrorist legislation and as there wasn't a dolphin to be seen, he bravely snapped this photo of the security services travelling past the ferry. I know they are security as they are all in black.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Work

I haven't mentioned work for a long time. There is a good reason. It is boring, unfulfilling and tedious. It is a damming reflection on my character that I have done it for nearly thirty years.

I made it a bit interesting this week, but not in a way that is nice for me or the other person involved. I can't recall feeling so bad about myself since I accidentally bruised this guy's................

I work shift work. If the shift you are allocated does not suit you, such as finishing at 2.30 am, then you can swap your shift with someone who likes a good lie in.

It did not suit me to start at 5.30 am. So I swapped my shift with someone for one that started at a more civilised time and promptly forgot about it. I know how easy it is to forget, so I always make a note of this. But this time I forgot to make a note and went on to swap the same shift with someone else.

The 'office' asked me to please explain and I chose a shift and then had to call the disappointed person and offer a grovelling apology. I deserve worse.

No punishment is worse than my self criticism but I shall ask the not unattractive victim of my shift change debacle to give me a good hard spanking as punishment, or if he is not up to pleasuring me in such a manner, a hard punch to the nose.

Whatcha reckin? I deserve it?

The only reason I can write this is that the victim managed to get a shift that suited him at short notice.

I try to be Mr Perfect, but pretty well fail. Maybe I should wear my incompetent brain and heart on my sleeve more.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Kill a cabbie

Well, someone has almost. Our bolshie Indian student taxi drivers have bunged up the city tonight for a period much longer than a demonstration normally does. Good on them I say. No one should go to work and get almost killed when just doing their job.

Many Sydney cabs have drivers working inside plastic bubbles and have for years. I did not like them and I don't think too many cabbies did either.

It is not hard. Just separate the driver from the passengers with a proper zoned area for the driver. Some cabbies don't like the idea because of the lack of personal interaction, meaning they can't grope their passengers like they used to, and it will make the trade off of sex for fare harder to negotiate.

Tram drivers are now secure in their vehicles. So should cab drivers and I have noted that bus drivers are not either.

The world has changed folks. Cabbies need to have a secure in a safe working environment. Bugger the social chit chat.

Back to ranting about taxi drivers' driving skills tomorrow.

Update: And this morning, they are still there. North, south, east and west, no traffic nor trams can get through the intersection.

Train not stopping Lyndhurst

I have been looking at Melbourne's new train timetables. I have never looked at the Cranbourne train service before. I had to check on map for some details and found what I thought was a very strange thing.

These Lynbrook streets look very suburban to me. Adjacent is the very highly populated Hampton Park and something tells me Lynbrook is not so different. They are fortunate to be on the Cranbourne railway line.

They may have to cross a busy road, but there is their own railway station called Lyndhurst. But wait, the note on the map says 'goods only'.

Without knowing the physicality of the area, it strikes me as very odd that Lyndhurst, next to such a highly populated area, is not a train station for passengers.

Map courtesy street-directory.com.au

Monday, April 28, 2008

Another one bites the dust

The bone doctor's mother's best friend's husband died last week, at the age of 47 of a sudden heart attack. Little Jo can now add to her list of life experiences before the age of one, a funeral.

Lefty ranter and an Age editorial writer Pamela Bone died last Saturday. The Age writes here and here is what I wrote like three years ago.

Vale Pamela.

The Pope is cumming

I use that spelling deliberately. Since he can neither have sexual relations with male or female, I expect he does a good bit of masturbation. I prefer to refer to him by his old name, Cardinal Ratzinger. Can't you just spit it out with vituperation so much better? But I must move on. I don't want to get a mental image of Cardinal Ratzinger dropping a load over his hairy old guts. (No offence intended M'lord. I am sure yours is perfectly nice)

Islamic religion seems to cause us enough botheration, but probably not as much has the Catholic church had over years/decades/centuries.

Poor old Sydney. Not only to they have Premier Dilemma, suffered APEC, now they must give their city over to Cardinal Ratzinger. Jahteh, pass on to your sister that she won't be hearing, 'And they're racing at Randwick' on 3UZ.

Here is a crikey.com.au story from today.

A poll in the Fairfax press yesterday showed that the majority of Sydney people had got jack of the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day once they realised how disruptive it would be. While the men who run the world’s premier institution of misogyny and paedophilia should never have been allowed to hold their medievalist frolic in public in the first place, the event has undoubtedly been affected by the Iemma Government’s Sadim touch.

Typically, the NSW Government buggered up the organising of the event, leading to an extended stoush with the racing industry which was only resolved via a large bribe to the horse floggers, which came on top of tens of millions already gifted to the Catholics to help celebrate such bizarre concepts as transubstantiation, virgin birth and zombie messiahs.

John Watkins – apparently one of the talented ones in Macquarie St – then applied his usual “shut the place down” approach of handing police ridiculous powers and closing off half the city, which worked so well during APEC that the Chasers were waved through to within bombing distance of world leaders. He also claimed that the event would generate $190m in tourism revenue, but refused to release the basis for the figure, suggesting it’s the usual creative arithmetic of magical multipliers and outlandish assumptions employed by events organisers over the years. Youth Day organisers preferred an even sillier estimate of $230m offered by the local Chamber of Commerce. This was at the same time they were pleading for local Catholics to volunteer to have “pilgrims” billeted on them.

But while Alex Mitchell has previously explained how much taxpayer money has been showered on the Catholic Church, that’s not the end of it, not by a long stretch. Don’t forget that religious groups do not pay tax – including company tax, GST, FBT and capital gains tax, or even council rates, stamp duty or land tax. Even the for-profit services run by religious groups – which frequently compete with other business – are exempt from company taxation.

In 2005, Adele Ferguson did the hard work of estimating the revenue of Australia’s main religions for BRW. She found that the Catholic Church earned the bulk of the more than $23b in revenue earned by the ten largest religious groups - $16.25b. At the same growth rate identified by Ferguson, this would be $20.47b in 2008. If even just 5% of that revenue was profit, that’s more than $300m that the Catholic Church will avoid this year in company tax alone. Ferguson estimated that the Church had more than $100b in assets, the bulk of which would be property – which would mean several hundred million dollars more in land tax that state governments are missing out on.

So, courtesy of our exempting religions from taxation, the Catholic Church alone keeps the best part of a billion dollars a year minimum. Throw in everyone else – the Uniting Church, the Anglicans, the happy clappers and their coffee chains, the Salvos – and we’re talking a billions of dollars a year in tax revenue forgone. The $160m being poured into the Youth Day is small beer indeed.