Saturday, August 20, 2011

Who discovered Australia?

Who discovered Australia? I think those from the sub continent of India did. They transmogrified into Australia's original inhabitants some four hundred thousand years ago, and I think they stopped off in Indonesia for a bit on their way. The proof of my opinion? Look at their ankles, they are the same. Very scientific on my part and hopefully not offensive, but I have observed. In fact the legs are of Indian people and our original Australians are very similar. I am not a nineteenth century anthropologist, so I don't really know.

In the tv programme QI, a loud siren goes off when guests are asked a question and answer with the obvious but wrong answer. Get yourself ready for the siren.

Who in the modern world discovered Australia? Captain Cook? Siren. Brrrrpppp, brrrppp brrrpp.

Dirk Hartog from the Netherlands? Siren.

The first known European to land on Australia was ...

What country was originally called Nieu Zeland by a Dutch explorer? New Zealand? Siren. It was Australia.

To wrap, the first European landed in Australia in 1606 near Weipa in Queensland. His mum, a Dutchie known as Mrs Janszoon, knew her explorer son as Willem.

If you can do better than that, take me on.

When you read other people's blogs, sometimes they provoke a post for you to write. I thank you Peter. Wikipedia is not always reliable, but I hope it is this time.








Friday, August 19, 2011

Sad Day

I was thinking about writing about the tragedy realised today at our ABC. While I would waffle on and go off on tangents, Victor says it concisely here.

Red Dog

'Want to see a movie?, asked R. Fine with me, we shall see Red Dog. We went into Melbourne Central but either I had the movie time wrong or the website was wrong. We had some lunch into the newly and nicely renovated food court. It was so popular and busy. I then realised that several levels under us was the city train loop, so although it was now 2pm, we could make the 2.30 session at the Jam Factory in South Yarra if we caught the train and walked from South Yarra Station. We did so.

What can I say about Red Dog? It is a very Australian movie. Even though a lead character was American, possibly to make the film more marketable overseas, I don't think it will translate well. Having said that, it was an enjoyable enough movie. Light perhaps, but oh dear, tear inducing too. Take your tissues and dark glasses, and ladies, you better do the same.

As we left the cinema and wandered out through the atmosphereless Jam Factory, I remembered we had a kelpie when I was a kid. As a breed, I am not so keen on them. Although they are arguably the best cattle and sheep dogs, I don't think of them as great pets. They are just way too alert for my liking. Their eyes flick back and forth, ever watchful for a cow that is straying and needs rounding up, even when they are inside. I then remembered the dogs name, guess??? It was Red. I don't know why some dogs chase cars. He was the only car chasing dog we ever owned. One night he made a grave error by not noticing that the car he was pursuing was towing a trailer. That was the end of Red.

In the evening I phoned Sister to see how things were with her. She had taken Little Jo to see Red Dog that afternoon too. We were both in cinemas an hour's drive apart at the same time watching the same movie.

I was surprised to learn in the movie credits that it was based on a real dog.

Two days of dog tales. That will be enough for a while.

Later edit: I should make mention that the film featured a cameo by the wonderful but late Bill Hunter. I expect it was his last performance. He will be sorely missed from our screens.

A laugh to start your weekend

When I was quite young, someone near and dear used to sing this song. Pity I can't remember who it was.

The audio on the original recording was not great and you really need to catch the words properly. Cover versions were very variable and did not seem to hit the right spot. It is a funny music hall style song and not meant to be sung seriously.

And then I found Shirley and Pauline's attempt. What you don't hear clearly, you can read in the subtitles. It must have been such a laugh if you were there.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Confluence of Animals

I am absolutely horrified when I hear of a parent reversing their car over one of their own children and killing them. It happens often enough. If it was me, I think I would kill myself because of the guilt. It would surely be an experience for a parent to endure that is beyond imagination.

But in the same basket I would add your four year old child clinging to your leg and being mauled by a dog until she was dead. That happened in Melbourne yesterday. I may well have some mother readers. Can you even imagine that?

Our state government makes sound noises in response, increased penalties lala lala lala.

It is not hard. Ban these dog breeds. Oh, it has been done already, but in a typical politician way. The breed was banned, but not the cross breeds.

Big powerful and potentially killer dogs have no place in our present society. Even my most ocker Tradie Brother is rather fond of little yappers and he is about to see his second Lab to death at an old age.

I just looked at my post back in 2009 about the same matter. I think it is great to encourage people to write, never mind how bad their writing is. I don't dis people for bad writing, but for once I shall snobbishly elevate myself in a superior manner, so do read the ill educated comments from the working class who don't work and have a packet of Winnie cigs stuck up their tee shirt sleeves and may just own one of these dog types.

Oh, the confluence. The confluence became bigger after I started to write this post and I spoke to Sister. Explain later.

Danger Alert for Koreans

Is it something built into Korean men? Can they not hold their drink? We don't hear much about Korea and its people, well not South Korea anyway.

One tale that ended well was about the Korean man found groaning and naked in the snow at an Australian ski resort. His body temperature was something like 26c. He had partaken of alcohol and was returning to to his abode and became disoriented. Apparently when you get extremely cold you can feel hot, hence the lack of clothes. He got pissed, lost and stripped off. Sounds rather Australian really. He made a quick recovery.

Barely a few days later, another Korean man, who left a Federation Square bar in Melbourne, decided it was better to swim across the Yarra River, rather than walk across Princes Bridge. There was not a good ending to his swim. It is usually what substances are in the water of the Yarra River that can do you in, rather than the river itself.

All very odd.

I have only known one Korean person, and that was a long time ago. I can't recall his name, but it wasn't Kim. He was an ok guy.

My Sydney friend, who is made externally of plastic, has met some Korean guys for some fun in the past. The summary of his experiences without fail can be summed up by just one experience. After they did the biz, my friend got up to wash stickiness away, and the Korean guy shoved him back on the bed and said, 'I go first, you white bitch slut'. (post coital guilt? He should have smoked a cigarette) My friend acquiesced but was annoyed. Secretly, I think he liked it. He went back for more.




Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Old Train Fest

I like watching old steam trains take off from stations. Smoke, steam and the slow increase in the choof choof as the beast starts to show its power. I don't make a habit of looking at old steam trains on You Tube, but I discovered there is another aspect to a steam train starting off. That is, sometimes they don't do so smoothly. Their wheels spin and the engine clatters. Brilliant. That is why some of them have sand to drop on the track, to gain traction. Hey, I am picking up the train lingo.




Ah, then I discovered that it can also happen with diesel electrics. I'd never really thought about it. This engine looks like and old Victorian Railways model.



What more can I find out about old trains? Train travel is so good for the environment compared to car and plane travel. Oh, clagging. That sounds slightly rude. Please don't look at the Urban Dictionary definition. Don't do it. A movie tells a thousand words. Remember, this is not a steam train.



I imagined starting a diesel electric train is just a matter of turning on a switch and pressing a button. Apparently not. They can be difficult to start. You get clagging as well with this one. I suppose it eventually gets going and settles down.




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A choo choo to Avalon

The nice thing about catching a flight from Avalon Airport is its smallness. It is easy to park there and just walk to the terminal. The parking is cheap too, or was.

Is it owned by LinFox? They are certainly a major shareholder. It is interesting to note that the State Government is proceeding with its intent to build a railway line to Avalon. I assume it would be a spur line from the Geelong line, so it would not cost too much to build. A few new trains and staffing, not too much. If it was slotted in between Geelong trains and stopped at Werribee, it could alleviate overcrowding on Geelong train services.

But why is the government so focused on building a train line to Avalon when we so desperately need one to Melbourne Airport at Tullamarine?

It is extraordinary that a city getting on for five million people does not have a train service to its major international airport. It is only the seriously rich who are satisfied with Melbourne Airport.

Some of us get taxis to the airport, at a high cost. Taxi drivers rip off international tourists on a regular basis.

I believe you can catch the bus that circles Melbourne's perimeter but it dumps you in the middle of nowhere near the airport entrance.

Regular airport buses run from Southern Cross Station to the airport. The price is high, they are crowded and inconvenient and get caught in freeway traffic jams. I may be wrong, but I am not sure that they service late night flights.

Drive your car and park? The parking price is very high. The carpark is a long way from the airport, and so you need to use the very unreliable courtesy bus. I personally know of people who have allowed plenty of time, yet missed their flight because of the unreliability of the car park bus.

We should have a train to catch to the airport and it should be part of our public transport system and not charge absurd prices like Sydney's and Brisbane's airport trains charge.

I am getting extremely wearied by investigations, planning and feasibility studies. Just build the damn thing as part of the public transport system and people will flock to it.

Ah, but what about taxi owners? What about the airport bus shareholders? What about City Link (the motorway) shareholders? What about the privately run airport that charges huge parking fees?

Oh, do they vote Liberal and have influence?

It would be funny, except that the supposed public transport friendly Labor Party had been in office for umpteen years and had the opportunity to do it. Oh again, the Labor Party is under the influence of private company shareholders too.




Monday, August 15, 2011

I Stole This Week's Flowers

My brother's daphne bush needed a trim. Well I thought so. No point of throwing away what I cut off. Daphne is surely one of nature's finest smelling plants.


Superfluous Hair

Tweezers, wax, electric trimmer, electric razor, scissors. Tiresome.

I suppose I will know when I am old. I will no longer bother and go au natural and see what a forest can grow in my ears and how many spider legs can stick out from my nostrils.

I am reminded of the eighties when our elderly neighbour had a stroke. A few days later we visited her in hospital and aside from seeing her for the first time without makeup, he face was covered in sprouting hairs. Oh, the indignity of it.

This superfluous hair thing just seems to get worse as you get older. You've got a lot to look forward to kiddies. I'll just look forward to the day when I no longer care.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Laugh with your Mum

Evidently Feminoz's mother has dementia. It is not all bad. She can still enjoy her mother's company and have a laugh. I won't mention about her new toy boy, who is older than her.

My Mother doesn't have dementia. Perhaps it would be easier if she did. But at the recent social event, her friend's sixtieth, like Feminoz can have a laugh at or with her mother, Mother made us all laugh, if only by her predictability. Her nieces and nephew do not call her Nanna Fud (extraction of fuddy duddy) for no reason.

We were outside the venue and Mother was coming out through an open out glass door. 'Watch this!' I said to all in advance. She pulled, she pushed and then realised she had to turn the handle down, and then she pulled again. Finally she worked out that handle needed to be down and she needed to push. My prediction was deadly accurate.

But she went one better, and I did not predict this. The door closed on her dress and she was yanked backwards as she started to walk towards us. By now, thirty odd people were watching her. We just laughed.

Like all mothers, mine gave me a fair share of embarrassment when I was a teen. Now I just laugh at her silliness, which I know she uses calculatingly at times, usually to good effect.

Unfinsihed post #31

A very unfinished post I started to write in June.

In the 1970s and the 1980s Australia absorbed many refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Along the way we have absorbed many Indonesians and Filipinos and a good few from Thailand, Burma, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Now the mainland Chinese are arriving. I don't view the period when the Indo Chinese arrived with rose coloured glasses. There were issues, some even ongoing to now, but generally, they were accepted and if you didn't like them, then you have better accepted them by now as they will possibly the ones at hospital who cut you open, or approve your bank loan or photograph your wedding or wring out your incontinence pad.

And then there has been the South Asians arriving from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The sheer number of them combined with the overseas students from the same countries did overwhelm us somewhat. But as neighbours, co workers, those who serve us in shops, it hasn't gone too badly at all.

In the sixties and earlier, we had the southern European immigrants. In the forties and fifties we had large numbers of WWII Jewish refugees.

In the 19th century, immigrants came from all over the world, as did my antecedents.

All of the above came with their own cultures and religions, or their religion may well have matched ours. All have blended pretty well to make Australia what it is today (hopefully not a bad place).

But the immigrants that don't seem to fit into Australia are coming from the Middle East and northern Africa. Why so? The northern and eastern Africans look very different to what we are used to, with extremely dark skin, but then didn't Asian people look very different when they arrived in numbers? Through work, I knows some fine Middle Eastern people, but that is not the view of Middle Eastern people by many. I struggle to equate Middle Eastern people I know with those who are outrageous in their abuse of our country and its freedom. If it was just a few, ok, it's the odds, but there seems to be a huge number.

If you came from one of these corrupt and war torn godforesaken countries and were granted refugee status, wouldn't you be so so grateful and want to fit into the way of life of the country that has taken you in? First generation can be a bit problematic, but still I am surprised that they don't try harder.

Not all travelling Aussies behave so, but mostly when we travel to exotic countries, we respect their local customs. ABC's reporter Sally Sara in the Middle East seems to go a bit overboard in that area, often wearing a veil when it is clearly not required, but I digress. Generally, when we are in a foreign country, we respect their culture.

Don't these Muslim women in Melbourne who peer through slits in their black cloth head covering know how disturbing their appearance is? I have even seen them wearing gauze over their eyes. I really don't care what you think about their style of dressing, but I just hate it. They are completely covered in black, looking out of slits in cloth or with gauze over their eyes. In spite of me not being able to see their faces, I can detect the arrogance of them in their walk. Get out of my sight. I don't want you here. You practice extreme religion and it is not acceptable here. Says me.

Sometimes, you just smile at someone who passes you by on the street. Sometimes you have touch with a stranger, maybe because they hand you your change, maybe a accidental brush past. This is not acceptable to a heavily veiled Muslim woman.

And yet you can have Indonesian or Malaysian women wearing the scarf and they can look quite pretty.

Nah, Muslim women wearing face covering belong back in the 1960s with catholic nuns in black habits who frightened my brother in the street because he thought they were witches.

They are both uniforms of intimidation and distance.