Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lady D'Arbanville

Occasional joy was to be had in my youth when discovering a good 'b' side track on a single record that you bought for the 'a' side. I recall discovering the great David Bowie track Amsterdam on the b side of one of his records. I think the Cat Stevens clip below is another b side track I discovered on a single. I had forgotten about it until recently listening to eighties music. It is a great track and I was never aware that Cat Stevens was quite a hot cat. Well at my age now, he back then looks quite hot.

Friday, December 16, 2011

P En G

Yes, Papua New Guinea, a failed state. One of our old colonies. Perhaps we have some moral responsibility? We certainly don't have a legal one, no matter how much money we waste on propping up the country.

At some point last week, it had two competing but ruling governments, two Prime Ministers, two Governors General. What a mess.

Surely the point of having the Queen as your ultimate ruler means that she must take some responsibility and sort things out. She has stayed silent.

HRH, aka the Queen, needs to bang a few heads together and knock a few blokes out, and appoint some PNG women to sort things out. They couldn't do a worse job, and probably do a much better one. Romantic idealism? I don't think so. From what I know of PNG women, they would be up to the task. I am loath to include religion in the mix, but a few of the ever so sensible and practical missionary nuns might help too

Ian 'Molly' Meldrum

I was reminded the other day of something I had forgotten, when Mike Willisee opened his current affairs show somewhat tired and emotional and quite giggly. The following night his opposition on another commercial tv current affairs show opened his show with, 'I'm Derryn Hinch and I'm sober'.

Just thought I'd tell you that because I thought it was funny at the time. There really is no connection to Molly falling off a ladder. Yes, Molly likes a drink and I am the last person to criticize anyone for that, but I believe he is now somewhat of a fitness freak, who generally foresake alcohol. Molly is or was a regular at his local hotel in Richmond, DTs, one that we often visited too. While occasionally a drag queen would draw attention to Molly, he was generally left to own devices.

So without personal contact, but just what I have picked up by his behaviour, demeanour and quite often being in the same bar as him, he seemed like a thoroughly nice and decent bloke. What better compliment can you pay to an Australian male.

I think it would be fair to suggest that Molly is a Melbourne, if not Australian institution. It is said that once over fifty, men should not get up on ladders. I won't go that far, but you have got to be very careful and aware.

Get well soon Molly. Melbourne still needs you.

Molly pre hat days with some foreign bloke.


More like the Molly we know and love, with our Kyles.

Farmers caring for the land

I had to laugh when I heard a representative from a farmer's group suggest that they had something in common with greenies in that they too care for the land and have similar concerns. Well, sorry, while many of the issues were caused by ignorance, farmers are very responsible for today's problems, over working land, salinity, taking too much water, clearing the land of all vegetation, not leaving areas for wildlife. It is only now that some farmers are seeing the sense in looking after the land for the land to look after them.

But many are not and are still objecting to the now reduced suggested water flows for our eastern rivers.

But what about the food bowl, I hear you cry. Oh yes, the food bowl. The one where grapes have been found to be unviable and the vines ploughed back into the ground. The one where beautiful oranges are almost worthless against subsidised overseas grown oranges. Yes, the food bowl that grows rice and cotton, both water intensive, in the driest continent in the world.

Naturally South Australian farmers will agree with me, they being the very last to get their hands on the water to put it to use for their own purposes. Well, actually South Australian fishers might be the last link in the chain who think those upstream always take too much water. The further upstream you go, the further upstream the blame will be laid.

Farmers, you have had two hundred years to work with the land, not destroy it. You learned nothing of sustainable farming practised overseas for hundreds of years, but just took what you could from the land. While no one wants to see your livelihood destroyed, it is time to give back to nature and restore some balance.

And before you get too soppy about the poor farmers fighting to save their livelihoods, just consider the (Murray, Darling) Basin Communities Association, fighting for farmer's rights, when it is nothing more than a front for big business.

The day water rights started to be traded for money, rather than allocated by a statutory authority, was a significant marker in where it all went wrong. It is almost past the time to get the environmental water flows right but we must do it. Only then can we distribute what might remain.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas in the city

Instead of the very expensive and quite horrible metal christmas tree that has graced our 'city square', yes that gravel patch where commercial enterprise in a public space is welcome, but not protesters against the avarice of big business such as Occupy Melbourne, this year City of Melbourne may have scored a goal with these temporary trees and attractions for children. It looked pretty enchanting to me.


Falun Gong cult woman harassing passersby to the far right.


I rather like salvia, but I don't think it is very fashionable in gardens now.


Same old tree went up in the public area of the Highrise. Ever so tasteful, just like a department store tree.

Not what you think, the answer

So we have this fairly normal looking houses at numbers 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens in London's Paddington. The photos and information come from Mike Slocombe. Here is the photo of the front again.


One would guess that people of money and influence lived in the adjacent houses and would not want a steam train infrastructure in between their rather grand houses. So while the houses at 23 and 24 were demolished in about 1867 to build the railway line between Paddington and Bayswater, this five foot thick façade was constructed to satisfy the local population. Here is a rear view, again from Mike.


It was a good place for steam engines to vent their foul fumes after coming out from underground.

Now of course human beings like to do funny things, so it is not unusual for pizzas to be ordered for delivery at 23-24 Leinster Gardens and ordered taxi cabs can be regularly seen sitting outside, waiting for a passenger to appear from the front doors. Humans also like making a profit, so in the 1930s invitations priced at ten guineas to attend a ball at 23-24 Leinster Gardens were sold by an enterprising person.

The whole tale makes me rather wonder about the rush to destroy inner city streetscapes in Australia when such effort went into the preservation of London's in the 1860s.

JayLa and Scott both knew about 23-24 Leinster Gardens. Peter was on the right track with his suggestion that it was a façade. Kath's suggestion of a playpen for Madonna's toy boys indicates where her mind is at. Fen's blood curdling suggestion was...inventive. Much to my surprise, V in Japan knew too.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Doored

A new word has entered our media, doored. This is what happens to a cyclist who is riding along, minding their own business and a car door is opened in front of them, and whoops, down they go like a sack of spuds. I have seen this happen three times, fortunately not fatal for the cyclist. It gives you are rather sick feeling when you see it happen.

Of course the motorist is entirely at fault. Before opening your car door, especially when on a road, check for passing cyclists in your exterior rear view mirror. In fact, check for cars and trucks too, that might take you out if you you step out in front of them. Sometimes humans are not even very good at self preservation.

There are laws about causing such a hazard with an on the spot fine of $122 or court fine up to $366. This is quite lenient if you consider no one is ever likely to be charged unless they cause an accident.

As The Age shows, James Cross is not an unattractive man, but that is irrelevant to me in this instance. It seems he was a much loved member of his family.


James was riding along Glenferrie Road in Hawthorn, a road I know well enough. It is congested with foreign student drivers, born to rule middle class teenagers on probationary licences, and monstrously large 4WD beasts. While I can only see that it was a black BMW car that doored James, it would not surprise me that it was one of the many 4WDs that infest our wealthier suburbs.

James was propelled from the car door upon impact and under the wheels of a passing truck and died at the scene. The innocent truck driver has not worked since.

What punishment might you think appropriate for the motorist who indirectly caused James' death by her carelessness? Would gaol be too extreme for culpability?

Try nothing! Not a fine, not a licence suspension, absolutely no punishment except by her own conscience and boy, do I hope that is giving her serious heartache, assuming black BMW Hawthorn drivers have a heart or a conscience. What on earth are police thinking? What on earth was the coroner thinking? What on earth is the Public Prosecutor thinking?

Bah!

You can read the full Age article here.

Not what you think

Here is a building in Paddington, London. The centre two are your focus and they appear to be fine five storey houses built mid nineteenth century, but all is not what it may seem. A clue is to note the very dark windows. I will repost this later or tomorrow with an explanation and a photo of the rear. Arrgghh, enough clues. I don't think you will guess, but one of you may well know.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nice one Vic Roads

I know our Vic Roads has extraordinary knowledge and capacity to do wonderful things with our road systems for getting trams and buses on the move instead of sitting in stationary traffic. It would seem they don't do it because of a lack of funding. I should probably blame our government but Vic Roads is in control. I just read last night somewhere that in Sydney City, their RTA installed an ability for buses to control the traffic lights in their favour, yet the system has never been switched on. From what I understand, bus congestion in Sydney City is horrendous and tinkering around the edges is all that is ever done.

Our Vic Roads, well the name says it all, is about cars principally. I recall some nonsense from Vic Roads a few years ago where they said they would take control of traffic lights to move late running trams along faster. Fortunately no one held their breath waiting for that. Instead they just breath a little heavier as they are sitting in their tram as it is stuck in traffic.

Yet even though Vic Roads looks after cars, they don't get that right either. If I am going to travel on a freeway and I think it may be busy or I have to be somewhere at a certain time using the freeway, I check Vic Roads website before I leave home. Clearly I haven't been looking in the correct place. Monash Freeway was closed in both directions from the early hours of the morning due to a truck crash near Ferntree Gully Road. At about 7.15 this morning I checked Vic Roads online map to see how bad the congestion was and look at what it indicated!


The green lines heading off to the left towards the city indicate no problem at Ferntree Gully Road, yet the freeway was completely blocked. Now, at noon, it is showing heavy congestion. Believe me, it would have been heavily congested at 7.00am. Vic Roads recently made a song and dance about their new webpage, showing road closures, and yes, it did show the freeway was closed, but why not on this 'live' map, that I and I expect many others use?

I feel like ending with calling them tossers, but instead I'll just say, that is a serious fail Vic Roads.

The Cuzes

I have cousins. I have never written about them. That is because I don't know them. After the manège a trios that was my parents marriage, with my father's brother, I lost touch with my uncle. He married the local school teacher and had three children. His oldest would be twenty years younger than me I suppose. I did take R to visit them once in the eighties. It went ok but there was no contact subsequently. My uncle did come to my father's funeral though. I did try to stalk the cuzes via Facebook once, but there were too many with the same name and I did not know what they looked like.

Then a year or so later, last month actually, I tried my uncle's wife's name in FB. It came straight up. I requested her to add me as a friend, which she accepted and on my page I started posting old photos of the Bolter's, that is my uncle's mother, my grandmother, who ran away to Sydney with one of her youthful music students.

Through the third party, my uncle's wife, I topped up a bit of family history. Several times earlier I had tried to write to my uncle, but it was always left unfinished in my computer folder. Too soppy, too smarmy, too distant, too revealing of what I know, keeping in mind that I don't know what his wife knows. He must be nearly seventy now. I don't know what his health is like.

I had sent about three messages to my uncle's wife and she responded each time, as well as commenting on the old photos. I sent what I think will be a last message, thanking my uncle for being our second dad when I and my ABI brother were young, well up to the age of about twelve for me. My father was mostly serious and very reserved....ha, who does that sound like. My father was very typically an embarrassment to me. My uncle, who was younger was handsome, vain (so my mother reminded me), a snappy dresser and great fun. Dad was slightly remote whereas my uncle entertained us endlessly. By the age of twelve, I also realised he was a very sexy man and had no end of local lasses in pursuit of him. I saw in him what obviously my mother saw in him. In the end, he married the local school teacher who had rich middle class parents and she also taught Tradie Brother and Sister at the local Gippsland primary school.

I don't expect to have proper contact with any of them really. It has been too long.

Post started on 07/09/11

Monday, December 12, 2011

Braghton

I can no longer say Brighton without affectation. Brighton Beach, the location of my favourite Melbourne train station, is a different matter. Here are a few snaps. I took more of the station back here.

Another subway closed. Why are they being closed and filled in? I would have thought it was better to walk under the line than cross it.


Siganl box closed, but it is a two part drop sign, so it could be open at times.


The signal box has an air con unit, so it must be used sometimes.


What happened to the Green Point Cafe? There was no evidence of a cafe being there within the station. It is not advertising for the cafe located elsewhere?


I shouldn't have looked down as I boarded the train. There was the biggest gap I have ever seen between the platform and the train. I felt like some do when looking down from heights.

My ABC

I can have a whinge about our ABC. There wouldn't be too many people who invest more time listening and watching our ABC than I do. Surely that gives me some rights to moan.

ABC Local Radio, Melbourne. Replacement for Richard Stubbs after he goes on holiday early on management's orders, Mark Holden. I no like.

Last Friday, cricket is due to begin at 10.25, truncating Jon Faine's program. I am of the age who used to become seriously annoyed at parliament and cricket interrupting programs on local radio. I can cope. It is time to listen to RN podcasts. But still, twenty minutes of Jon Faine's Wrap program with a right wing and left wing guest to discuss the weeks events before the cricket starts. Digital radio said no, and switched to Local Radio national replacement programme for the cricket and I missed the normally entertaining Wrap. I appreciate the digital replacement programme when the cricket is on, but not when it cuts in over an existing local programme still being broadcast.

I took a look at ABC's mobile phone website. This link looked promising. Err, no it wasn't. I don't know German.

Treasurer Swan, our ABC is clearly underfunded. Step up to the crease and fund it properly please. To be topical, fund the overseas service properly too.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Houston

'Houston, we have a problem'.

Well, it looked like it was going to be a problem with a new leaf stopping barely a centimetre from the ceiling, then it opened out and dropped down lower.

I luv Telstra

Hmmm, no email facility from 6pm Friday to late Saturday afternoon. I was not so stressed. It is rare that there are email problems nowadays and I correctly forecast that there wasn't an invitation to tea with Julia in Altona in my email inbox.

Apparently, email was not working because of a serious security breach at Telstra and Telstra shut the whole thing down. Golly gosh, someone could have seen our email password, xxxxxxxxx, and read our emails. What an exciting time they would have had. They have probably forsaken a Saturday night out with mates and are still reading our emails.

The www still worked, which is the main thing.

But, and isn't there always one, my day off, Friday, internet was down all morning into early afternoon. Nothing to do with the security breach. It was a server problem. The techie bloke left an e-note at the call centre to let the them know he was out fixing it.

But another but, the net outage affected many people, but no information was available in any recorded sense. I spoke to the the Telstra tech person who investigated and came back with an answer. Telstra tech help is not bad now. God, the hours I have spent on a phone line in the past. He only made a token effort to suggest I unplug and plug in my modem. He then asked the brand of the modem. Once I told him, he said that is very old. It is indeed but it works. He quickly stopped the shite of checking settings at that point, I think realising that I was a long time cable internet user.

So no, internet. I connected up R's laptop to my phone, using it as a modem and blogging went on without a hitch. I did realise that my phone when used as a modem was not secured, that is anyone nearby could tune into it and use the bandwidth to download a three hour movie. I have fixed that.

In summary, internet and email down Friday from 6am to around 1pm, then at 5pm email was shut down until around 3pm Saturday. I am fairly certain that Telstra will offer some sort of compensation.