Saturday, March 24, 2018

Paying to read

There is little I pay for to consume on the internet. Because of the internet, I donate AU$10 per month to the Happy Cat Club in the US and I do so because it is a project by the tireless cat carer and fixer, and blogger mate, Strayer.

I pay $US2 per month to Old Reader where I see all you blog posts, pron from selected links, news stories that I am following and much more. It was once free, but for US$2 per month, it is very good value.

Aside from my previous $100 donation to The Guardian newspaper online in Australia, there is only one substantial thing of real money I pay for and that is my subscription to The Age. It costs around $25 per month. I can read the paper on my desktop, tablet and phone. It would cost nearly $100 per month if I bought the hard copy paper each day, and for the $25 per month, I also have access to the Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Times, WA Today, The Canberra Times and of no interest to me, The Australian Financial Review.

I can read so much on the net without paying and at times I get annoyed with The Age and think I might drop my subscription. Every so often The Age sends me an email with a promotion of something, usually something for rich people, something about arts,  or movers and shakers in society, none of which is of interest to me.

But then this email arrived from an Age respected journalist. Ok, it is not personal, but it is makes the point that my world and society would be very degraded without The Age, and the larger Fairfax Press. I am happy to support good journalism with my subscription to The Age, for now.

Hi Andrew,For over 35 years as a political reporter, I’ve analysed budgets, interviewed prime ministers and predicted the GFC. I’ve exposed secret negotiations between Australia and Indonesia, been called ‘Rudd’s mate’ and labelled ‘a partisan propagandist for the West against the Rest.'
The greatest compliment we can receive is a condemnation from those who fear free speech.

I’m not here to win popularity contests. You don’t reveal the truth in Australian or international politics by playing it safe and not offending people. And to do that, you need a platform and subscribers like you, who believe in telling it the way it is.
Your support since 2015 is the reason I, and my fellow journalists, can stay on the front line where stories break, reputations are made and nations are shaped.
Thanks to you, we can do our job without fear or favour.
Peter Hartcher

Peter Hartcher
Political & International Editor

Sad Saturday The End

I find the derelict pools the saddest thing to see.

Friday, March 23, 2018

A little Jewish humour

Terrific punchline that I did not see coming. Oh, he has made me remember the most wonderful strudel we had in Vienna.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Good read about a shocking train trip

British public transport isn't too bad at all, but quite expensive by our standards. In general it is total mess of public and private ownership and innumberale authorities that control the many parts of the system, along with those who want to make a profit from the system. That is works at all is amazing to me. At times it goes wrong and again with generalisation, the private operating part of the rail system dominates when things fail.

It seems odd to me that the worst of the British rail system seems to be in the better outer extended areas of south east and south west of London. Nevertheless this bloke was only going to Dartford, a bit south east of London.

What a horrific experience.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

New Opal Card

I was given a temporary Senior Citizen card the last time we visited Sydney. I did use up the balance by using public transport, I think, and it has now expired. Lookee see. I have a proper Senior Citizen Opal card now. But it too expires within two months. Pensioner Opal cards do not. R's card lives on and on.

Comparing public transport fare systems in our different states is quite futile. Sometimes what may seem cheaper isn't and vice versa. However, I cannot possibly imagine why my card is only valid for two months. It is not like my situation will change and I will get younger, which might be rather a shame.

I still have $1.50 on my Adult Opal card, and you can be sure by hook or by crook, I will use that up, if not this visit then the next. Actually, perhaps I can transfer the balance. If I can't use up the amount at all, I will ask for a cheque refund. That will really cost them. I am ever so keen on looking after the cents. Perhaps I am not so good at looking after the dollars.

I think we still have positive balances on our London Oyster cards. Next year perhaps. A plan is formulating.

Later: I believe I can transfer the balance from my old card to my new one.

I came across these during my recent clean up. When we travel to Sydney we won't be flying Ansett as it has gone, as has the much hated monorail.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Paul McDermott

Paul McDermott was once a member of the musical comedy group, The Doug Anthony Allstars. The name is very local. Doug Anthony was a politician and the longtime leader of the Australian Country Party The National Party.

Paul now hosts a quiz show on our ABC TV. I quite like the the quiz show, but what on earth has happened to Paul? Paul is very talented. There is no doubt about that.

I was once in a tram in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, returning home after getting my hair cut. Paul got on the tram and I thought to myself, gee, you are hotter looking in real life than on tv. It was partly his understated yet perfect dress, and he moved with grace. Maybe that is what really attracts me to some people, that they move gracefully. And that is not about being a fat or thin person. Many large people move with grace. Many thin people don't. There are no rules.

Anyway, clearly I like Paul. Whether he himself or the ABC decided on how he dressed for this quiz show is a moot point. I don't mind that he now has grey hair. I don't mind that he is older, but the absurd beard and how he dresses for the quiz show really turns me off him.

C'mon Paul. You were once a sexy guy. I can see remains of that now that you are bit older. Why hide it with your absurd beard and silly clothing?

Monday, March 19, 2018


I have updated the Sammy J post with a little I heard on guns in the US on radio this evening. Easy to go back and read the single paragraph update, and perhaps it gives us all hope.

Monday Mural

Remember this ginormous mural I showed you last year, about five or six building storeys tall? I came across another by the same artist and I do not understand it at all. Fire Fighting Nephew once worked at the backpacker bar and accommodation place in St Kilda known as XBase, the location of this mural.

As you can see by the hot guy people in the photo, it is also a very large mural. What to make of it? Backpackers often work on the land in Australia to earn money. I really don't know. I wonder what Big Willey's Bingo is like? It does sound ever so English backpacker, a double entendre, ah la Dick Emery. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Tosser Trumpet does nothing

I heard or read this somewhere, and I suppose it is true.

"Another day of oppressive gun control in Australia has ended peacefully."

Please Federal Minister Dutton, do not at relax any of our gun laws. If anything, make them tighter.

Although since the tougher laws were enacted, we still have people with guns shooting people, but at least they are mostly criminals shooting criminals. The last large gun massacre of innocent people in Australia was in 1996. Then PM Howard enacted some very restrictive gun laws and while I have little to thank him for, I do thank him for that. A shooting of a non criminal type here is rare and is big news if it happens.

At five minutes to seven Thursday nights before the news on ABC TV, there was a satirical segment by the late John Clarke and Stephen Dawe. I did put up one or two of them some time ago. As the brilliant John Clarke is the late, eventually a replacement programme has been developed, presented by comedian Sammy J.

I publish this in support of the huge number of people in the US, especially the young, who are out in the streets protesting about gun control in the US. Farmers may need guns. Security people may need guns. Police may need guns, but your average citizen of the US does not. Take them away from the people. I know many of you, well I don't have too many American readers, no surprise, but many of you don't like an armed country either. So, truly, this is just for support. I am not 'having a go', but Sammy certainly is. 3:38

Later edit: Have faith people. I listened to an so called 'expert' in the US on control and he sees the time where things will change. Those who are members of the NRA and those who support extremely free and lax gun laws are predominantly older white males. Young people generally are not supporters of the way things now are, and nor are the many immigrants in the US who see themselves as wrongly being those who threaten the safety of the older white males. Add to that the paranoia of the older white men that the government is coming to get them and they need a store of guns, survival food etc, well the expert suggests time will solve the US gun problem. We can only hope so.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Sad Saturday

The first one is perhaps not as bad as it seems. It looks like Autumn and everything is covered with dead leaves. The jetty seems to have gone.

Hear the noise and laughter at the pool?

Friday, March 16, 2018

I think I can

I  am not sure if this delightful story was recorded when ABC Radio Kindergarten of the Air opened in 1943 or some time before, but I believe it is from about then. The sound effects are brilliant and at the end you can hear the clatter of the wheels of the little engine spinning furiously as the train loses grip.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

F. U.Twitter

Twitter can be very useful. While I don't tweet, and my Twitter skills are minimal, I do did follow about 90 people or organisations. Three were journalists, a few people interested in public transport and a couple of people who I know. The rest just people of interest, but not impelling so.

Twitter used to list tweets in chronological order of them being posted. I don't know how it done now, but it can be impossible to find a specific tweet. Let me explain.

For those I was most interested in, their tweet would become a text message to my phone. Then Twitter extended the length of tweets from 140 characters to 280. Consequently I was rarely seeing the full message when it came as an sms and so had to go to my Twitter account or app to find it if I wanted to read more. Unlike Facebook, there doesn't seem to any way to order tweets chronologically.

Invariably to find it I would have to go to the person's profile who I follow who tweeted by scrolling through the list of 90 I follow and then find the message in the list of their tweets, which I also don't think is in chronological order, but usually I could find it there.

I am sick of this very tiresome business, meant in two ways. I don't want to miss what certain people tweet, so I am not leaving Twitter but I have culled my list of 90 down to 14. By only following 14, I hope to be able to easily find the tweet I am interested in. In fact by only following 14, I might even have time to use Twitter properly, rather than relying on text messages of tweets

I lose, you lose if you were one of 76 I used to follow and Twitter loses. Was it really a good idea of Twitter to make this change?

Hmm. I just noticed Public Transport Users Association occasional spokesperson and long time blogger Daniel Bowen has become famous enough to get a verification tick for his account, meaning it is the real Daniel Bowen and not a fake Daniel Bowen. It might be amusing to read the tweets of a fake Daniel Bowen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Cowes Day 3

Well, on Day 3 at Cowes, Mother's bowel problem rectified itself without drama. She made little remark except for it is almost a predictable cycle, but unpredictable enough for her being too afraid to do social things.

R was becoming thoroughly exasperated by hearing about her medical problems. I, like my brothers and sister don't really hear or take notice when she moans on about her medical problems, but clearly it was getting to R as he was getting snappy with me. I quote what R said to a friend on the phone, "She moaned and whinged for the whole three days". Not exactly, but she did moan on enough. R is used to Mother Thursday, where when he arrives to take her out she is about to die. By the time he takes her back home, she is happy as Larry. R said she never got to that happy point for the whole three days. I don't really agree. I had some good chats about old family stuff with Mother. Perhaps not so interesting to R.

Check out time was 10am. Mother was ready by 10:10, breakfast, showered, dressed, made up and packed, a good effort I thought. I must speak to her about getting her travelling luggage into one or two cases or bags.

I woke on the morning of our departure at 5am and I could not go back to sleep. About 5:30 I got up and did internet stuff on my tablet and phone. I showered and dressed and walked to the beach to see sunrise. It was quite nice, but I wasn't alone. Other people were up and about and people were packing up their caravans and campers and departing, clearly on a mission to be be somewhere else at a certain time.

We drove to the spectacular Nobbies. The flat rock in the distance is called Seal Rock. Mother reminded me that Step Father and I once walked out to the large rock at low tide and climbed half way up. I can't remember doing so, but Mother's memories are invariably accurate. I do remember messing about on the rocks at low tide. Now it is all forbidden and you must stay on the many boardwalks.

R inserted $2 into one of the fixed binoculars, but could not see a seal. He was annoyed.

In this photo at full size on the large desktop screen, I can see lots of seals on Seal Rock.

We saw a couple of these birds on the road back from Rhyll the day before. I identified them as geese. I had never seen them before on the island. They were also at The Nobbies. What kind of geese are they, I wondered out loud. Cape Barren Geese, Mother replied. How did she who rarely moves from her lounge room and kitchen know that? Yes, I should have killed some photos, but it hard to decide which ones.

Something disturbed them at one point and there was much honking.

After admiring the view, mention was made of lunch. R said he had an upset stomach and did not want lunch. His stomach had become upset the day before and it was due to Mother stress. He was totally fed up with her. He went off to the Nobbies centre shop to get a gastrolyte drink. I escorted Mother in the same direction. She slowly shuffled along without her walker or any assistance but I was within hands reach. She never takes in the bigger picture of where she walking, and so walks in directions like she is young. She heads for steps when there is a ramp. Always she finds the steepness as opposed to the gentle slopes. She stepped off the smooth path onto a rough gravel area. She made it to the cafe come gift shop.

I soon found R. "Are you so effing useless that you let your mother walk across to here without her walking frame?" "Err, the walking frame is packed under luggage in the car. I would have to unpack the car".  More along the same vein was said. R then disappeared. Mother and I had a look around gift shop, feeling fabrics and soft toy critters, but I was very stressed about R. We left and via a toilet stop, Mother shuffled back to the car, where R was nearby drinking his electrolyte drink while sitting on a seat admiring The Nobbies view. 

We set off to Mother's home but via the Summerland Estate and the Penguin Parade. My young memories is of driving along the same road at night after seeing the Penguin Parade and seeing Fairy Penguins crossing the road as they went to their burrows. 

The road is now closed at night to protect the penguins. The State Government compulsorily acquired all the houses there and demolished them and you would now never know there were any houses there. It has been totally returned to natural vegetation and while in times past the penguins and the Summerland housing estate lived well enough together, it is now all over to the penguins without humans to deal with. I approve and there is a brief summary here.

We stopped off for lunch at Grantville and R was holding it together by not saying much to either Mother or myself. As we left Mother said she will need to stop in Koo Wee Rup for a toilet. I thought, damn that. You are only fifteen minutes from home. I had set the sat nav for to take Mother back home, but then I saw a sign to Koo Wee Rup and I knew we had to go that way, so I swung across the road and exited the major road. Ok, the sat nav was telling me to use the Koo Wee Rup bypass. Instead we are back in Koo Wee Rup, so Mother may as well go to toilet here. 

We dumped Mother at home as quickly as we could and reached home mid afternoon. R hated the weekend away and it took him two days to recover and his physical problems to settle down. I didn't mind the weekend away. Mother loved it and thanked us profusely. 

In summary, this will be the last time we take Mother away anywhere. It is just too hard. She is just too slow. In the cabin it did not matter which way we wanted to go, she was in the way as she crept around. Yep, all too hard.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Lucky? Not lucky

Sometimes people can be so unlucky. Some people attract unluckiness in a serious way, but in this case, no harm was done except to someone's pride.

Kingsway is a major Melbourne Road leading from the city to Queens Road and St Kilda Road. I was travelling at a pace but below the speed limit and 100 metres from the lane that gives access to our garage. A car swung from a right hand lane into my extreme left hand lane and hit the brakes. I gave him a very severe parp parp. Or as an Indian friend says, I gave him a good horning.  I noticed a bloke running along the footpath. Clearly the driver had seen his friend and was going to stop and pick him up at a very inappropriate place to stop, but after me parp parping him, he took off like a scalded cat and swung his car into the lane where our garage is, with me right behind him. Just from what I saw, I think he was an Indian overseas student and perhaps he thought this angry Anglo Australia was the type to murder foreigners.

I wasn't actually angry, just slightly annoyed at having to brake hard and a little bemused. In an effort to get rid of me and to pick up his friend, he swung into a garage driveway. Can you guess whose garage driveway? I thought, oh, a neighbour, a resident of our building, as I pulled in behind him, me having already pressed the remote button to open the gate. He did not proceed into the garage and just sat there, with nowhere to go except forward because I was right behind him.

Eventually I reversed a bit to allow him to reverse. Do not stop on a major road to pick up a friend, and certainly not like he did. Do not mess with Andrew when he has had add ten minutes to his daily work travel, including home for lunch, that makes 40 minutes, all because of works associated with the stupid Grand Prix car race, Metro Tunnel, Yarra Trams, utilities work, all leading to there being only one road in and one road out from our garage, instead of many.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday Mural

I am not joining Monday Mural as it not going to be Monday focus for long, but do check out Perth Daily Photo and Colourful World, both in Perth, as they often have a Monday Mural.

If you travel on Melbourne trains between South Yarra and Richmond Stations, and unless you eyes are permanently fixed on your phone or you always sit backwards, you cannot have helped but notice this mural.

I will get off the train and take a closer look. Ah, ok, now I get it. What? You don't get it? Well, if you can't appreciate the message in a good mural, bad luck.

In other mural news, remember I posted a photo of this mural, in Queensway, St Kilda. It became so badly graffitied, sadly it has now been painted over white, which was also quickly graffitied. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Bad Blogger

Unheard of for me to not post something decent on a Sunday, but nothing is ready.

So, what about this. More money than sense? It would be a bit of fun, I told R. Tech nightmare perhaps, he replied. Setting it up keeps your brain active and may delay alzheimer's , was my retort.

"Ok Google, has the train track collapsed in storms again in Dawlish, England?" "Ok Google, what is the temperature here." "Ok Google, is President Trumpet a madman?" "Ok Google, is Kim Jong Un cute?" Ok Google, am I a hot and a really handsome bloke". "Ok Google, is the world fucked?" Ok Google, play my favourite song this week." Queue Billy Idol, White Wedding.

Has anyone seen The Addams Family 'Thing' for sale on eBay? I think Thing would be more useful. He could present me with a lit Benson and Hedges, a large glass of Tullamore Dew, some heavily salted peanuts and a cute kitten to play with. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Sad Saturday 5&6 of 10

We will go swimming next Saturday. There is not much to say about these posts, apart from feeling sad at such decay, so I don't expect comments.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Cowes Day 2

As many do, we nicknamed these rabbits Myxo and Calesi. Do some googling, but they are both imported diseases to attempt to control the rabbit population number in Australia. Mother was ready to go out by 11:00.

Mother's best friend forever died in her young forties. Her friend's parents owned this modest holiday house in Rose Avenue. It was about five minutes from the beach. Mother rented the house many times for holidays, some summer and some Easter. It looks worse that I remember. It is a very nice and quiet part of Cowes.

Many hours were spent on Rose Avenue Beach, a five minute walk from the house above.

A cycling school group. They had run out of road.

Mother said there was once an old farmhouse on this block. Solar panels were being added to the newish house.

A memorial seat for Chicko. I just tried to find out who he was to no avail. I did discover that where the children are assembled on bikes is the entrance to the prestigious Scotch College, School Camp.

I have been everywhere on Phillip Island, at least where there is a road but I could not remember Rhyll. It is mainly a fishing village, with only a small beach. You can see the long marked car parking spaces for vehicles and their boat trailers.

The water seemed exceptionally clear. We have nice views towards French Island, where Kylie Minogue once had a property and the mainland coastal place of Coronet Bay.

We drove up a very steep hill, attracted by this splendid looking house, well with splendid views at least. There were a number of quite grand newer houses.

Back to Cowes and the bakery on this intersection for lunch.

This avenue of cypress trees in the main street, Thompson Avenue, were planted in the early to mid 20 century. There was  a plan 1992 to cut them all down to make more car parking space, but local protests prevented that from happening. Golden cypress, I think.

We all walked very slowly down the steep hill to the beach. It had been made very friendly for the less fit, with ramps as well as steps.

I walked back up the hill to get the car and bring to the bottom to collect Mother and R. I had to stop for a photo stop or two.

"Oh, Oh Antonio. Where have you gone."

We stopped at a supermarket to get a couple of things and across the road was a church with some murals. Each panel references Phillip Island.

Feeding pelicans is alive and well at San Remo on the mainland side of the bridge to Phillip Island.

I would guess this is a bridge to Churchill Island from Phillip Island.

The Nobbies, Phillip Island. We visited the next day.

Mother once rented a gorgeous holiday house at Red Rock Beach on the far side of Cowes. R and I visited and stayed a night. It was on stilts. Mother's late friend who also visited said it was in Daffy Do Street. It was actually Daffyd Street. We checked out the house, which has been built in underneath, around the stilts. The beach was quite lovely.

The rocks did not look very red at all, but in certain light, they do.

Meanwhile back at the caravan park, the storm water drain empties into the sea.

It had been a cool and breezy day, about 20 degrees, but I was grateful for that.

We dined that evening at the Cowes RSL and had a terrific meal for a very reasonable price and R won $70 on the pokie machines. Mother and I had a Seniors roast lamb. R, a chicken parmigiana. Just a week night, but the venue was very busy. Mother said she could not possibly eat all of the food served to her and as we discussed doggy bags and take away containers for half her meal, she kept on eating on until there was nothing left to take home....and then had dessert.  

Home and to bed early enough. I knew R was undergoing Mother stress. It really manifested itself the next morning. Funny how Mother stresses R out so much but never her own children. More later.