Friday, July 27, 2007

Momentous Day

My day at work was a disaster. I am not saying why except that it perhaps involves $100,000. The work stress really gets to me at times. I am not sure how much longer I can do it. I can only say that once I leave work, I forget about it. Mostly. Today was an exception.

But I felt a bit sorry for the people of the state government electorate of Williamstown. Their representative, who happens to also be Premier of the State of Victoria resigned. While I can be very critical of our state government, I feel Steve Bracks is an honourable and decent man and I am sorry to see him go and I wish him well.

Poor old Willietown voters will now have to vote in a by-election.

I really do think it is wrong for elected pollies to resign so soon after being elected.

Lo and behold, Bracks resigns and so does John Thwaites, Deputy Premier and Minister for Water. Thwaites had no factional backing, so without the his mate Bracks in power, he had no support and no numbers to stay in a position of power. In the Labor Party, it does not matter how many votes you can get from the voters, if you don't have support of a party faction, you won't make it. Thwaites was an exception to the rule.

But as well as poor old Willietown voters having to vote at a byelection, so will the constituents of the electorate of Albert Park to select a new representative for state government.

Guess who lives in the the state electorate of Albert Park?

I met Thwaites once and seen him around a couple of times, but aside from that, I also think he is a decent bloke. I think it will possibly become a marginal seat now for Labor. God knows what loon they will serve up to us.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A boycott

I recall passionately boycotting French products when they were testing nuclear bombs in the South Pacific. After the French government tried to blow up the Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand, my mind was set on France. France may have moved on, but I don't forget.

Our state of Tasmania was boycotted by many over their retaining of capitol punishment for the offence of indulging in homosexual sex. Tasmania re-invented itself and now is quite a good place to suck dick.

We were in Tasmania a few years ago and stayed in Launceston and drove along the Tamar Valley. It is truly beautiful. It concerns me greatly that a company wants to build a pulp mill in this valley beside the river. Worse, the mill could be processing trees that are hundreds of years old. I love the sound of chain saws in the morning. What happens to this minor processed timber? Sent on boats to Japan.

A close friend works for the Mitsui Corporation, a big Japanese company, so I don't want to diss them unnecessarily, but Mitsui is a significant shareholder in Gunns, who want to build this pulp mill.

Mitsui have all their fingers in many pies as does Gunns. Gunn's even have their own wine label and it is being boycotted by Melbourne restaurants from what I read.

Gunn's are suing environmental activists over their protests. Well, that did not work well for McDonalds when they sued in the UK.

I really don't like the idea of a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley in Tasmania, so although I have drunk Gunn's Tamar Ridge wine in the past, I shan't again.

Up to you.

Homeless Highriser

(Only published because I am not going to accumulate unfinished posts and the post is a lot of nonsense)

R bangs on often about how we could not afford a decent house in an ok area any more.

Hello, I think I mentioned this five plus years ago.

It went along these lines. We sell this house and buy that flat (apartment), we won't be able to go back you know. It will never appreciate like this house has and will.

Surprising to me, where we live is doing quite well value wise, but it is of little consequence. I cannot eat pre fab concrete panels. I am a bit surprised to know that we could quite easily buy back where we lived.

But it was a modest place that needed some big money spent on it. It was fine to live in but very small and not to brag about.

R likes the idea of a garden. Well, who did all the work in the gardens of times past? Moi.

R would like to have a little doggie. I desperately would. But not until one of us is not working full time. We got away with it when we had houses and an outdoor area, but I figure it is unfair now.

We now live in a perfect place to grow old in. The ambulance trolley has a fully flat surface to travel over and it will fit in the lift. Once body corp fees are paid, that is it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

711 gone

Just like the ending in the latest Harry Potter book where he lost his virginity, our 711 has gone.

We have lived here for five years now. How quickly it has passed. A constant was always the 711 across the road. If we developed the munchies at 4 in the morning, there was always the seven eleven. So long as we were in a state to cross the busy St Kilda Road, the seven eleven would be there waiting, brightly lit, and a friendly Indian student at the counter.

But no more. It is to become very expensive smart apartments and businesses in Kings Cross Plaza have been closing down.

For a while I have meant to ask the nice wife of the owner of the 711 about what will happen. I never got around to it and it just closed without warning and the bright fluoros are off. Well, as in the photo, one light kept burning but it too is off now.

I et my porridge on the balcony this morning and watched the many people attempt to visit the now closed seven eleven. It was a very good business with a constant flow of customers. I have a vague recollection of a post I made when it was robbed one evening.

There are always silver linings though. Trams won't have slurpee containers left on them anymore by the the students of Melbourne Church of England Grammar School. There will be less yahooing in the street late at night by customers. There will be less rubbish on the streets. The crows (ravens) won't have bins to empty everywhere.

But it is a bit weird for something to disappear that you have come to rely on on a very odd occasion.

An ad for Dame M

Dame M went for the last shot about her eyes by visiting a large eastern suburbs catholic hospital last week for tests. She was told that she has macular degeneration and nothing can be done.

R spoke to her on the phone and from what he said, she is relieved now. She can no longer hope that her eyes will get better and will now adjust to how they are.

Dame M is now looking for a boyfriend who has good sight and can lead her around. Any takers? Her estate must be around 3mill if not more.

Not sure why she would look though. She already has the boarder who looks after her and a gentleman caller visits every morning. She gives him $40 and he returns later with her wine and cigarettes and whatever specials he happened to find in the supermarket. She refers to him as 'bloody Stanley' because he lectures her about her wicked ways, but I think she quite likes him.

R's last conversation with Dame M a few weeks ago did not go well and he was very annoyed after he spoke to her. I bore the brunt of his issues with her. But he called her out of the blue this evening because he is such a nice guy and perhaps felt a little guilty.

What makes Dame M interesting can also be problematic for sensitive folk.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Melbourne Grammar School MGS

Private schools can be marvellous places to send your children. My sister taught in a male only one and she was a good teacher and well respected and it is an excellent school. While not suitable for everyone, many children receive a first class education at our private schools. All you need as a parent, is the money to pay the fees and for the school I am talking about below, you also probably need to come from the right side of and a reasonable not too far distance from the river. After all, you would not want your child to be a social misfit.

The newish building in the picture above (much of it is underground) caused much botheration when the builder went broke. No doubt it cost the school money and certainly delayed the project.

No sooner had that building been finished and away they went with another, above. Melbourne Grammar School is clearly awash with money and who's money is it? Much of it is parents money but the school is the recipient of a substantial amount of taxpayers money. The amount must be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer's money.

This rot started under Gough Whitlam in the 1970s when he started to give money to catholic schools. Now all private religious schools seem to receive money from taxpayers.

So, should Vietnamese immigrant who gets up at 5.30 in the morning to go to her factory job where she earns a minimal wage and pays her tax be paying for rich people's kiddies wonderful schools? It is morally appalling to me.

The government, through us taxpayers have schools for everyone. The cost to parents is minimal and optional. It is recognised that some are better than others. Unlike when I was a school boy, there is now some choice about what government funded school that you would like to send your children to.

If you want to send your children to a private school, fine. You pay. I don't see why I should. And really, have you seen some of the types who go to private schools now? A pure Anglo Saxon private school has be coming to a posh suburb near you soon.

A massive increase to public funding of private religious schools in our supposedly secular country is just one more reason why PM Howard deserves to lose office and why I have always hated what he stands for.

(Note the bare leaf elms in the pictures. If you go to a government school, you probably have an ugly scrubby Paper Bark tree outside)


This was the only bit of tourist junk I bought while we were in Broken Hill. I like pretty rocks, in fact I should have an expensive one on my finger, but no one cares to buy me one.

This is el cheapo way of displaying them, on cardboard with plastic wrap over the top. I plan to do something a bit better, like display them on timber with labels maybe. I could add my bit of Hadrian's Wall to it as well, that is before I make my pilgrimage to return it to its rightful place.

Or should I commission the crafty Jahteh to make me a display box with a velvet covering? (Pun intended)

Two monthly flowers

We decided we could justify the cost of buying this orchid if the flower would last about six weeks and so we would not need to buy flowers weekly.

It has done better than that and it is still going strong with only some browning leaves. With the temperature inside varying from 17 to 24, I am surprised how well it is surviving the dry heat.

I suppose we will just give it to some undeserving friend to plant in their garden when the flower disappears.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A missed Mirka

About an hour after I arrived at work today, I thought, I should have made a post to alert people about Mirka being on tele tonight.

Mirka Mora is an artist, a mother, a wife, a lover, a restaurateur, a bohemian, a dodger of Auschwitz and a very strong local Melbourne character. If you strongly identify with Melbourne, then you ought to know who she is already.

On Andrew Denton's show tonight, she said she often got sick of parties. After one of hers went on for three days, she told the guests that her children upstairs had mumps, and they finally left.

She also said how all the people lined up at the till of one of her restaurants, totally ignored that she had cut nipple holes in her top and they were exposed as she was taking the money.

The cult of celebrity is nothing new.

But Mirka Mora is surely a Melbourne institution and one who is still alive.

Dame M is a bit more refined version of Mirka. A bit more, not a lot.

(Next time I see Dame M, I will ask, do you know Mirka? and I bet Dame M will say yes)

Travelling North Trivia - Roads

(Disordered and unfinished post but that's a wrap for holiday tales)

Roads, just on 2000 kilometres of them we travelled over.

Generally excellent. Between Echuca and Mildura part of the Murray Valley Highway goes into New South Wales, hence a 110 kph speed limit. Much better. Also once out of Mildura, between there and Wycheproof, again 110. 110 certainly seems to make the trip go quicker and I find my concentration is better. Bad for fuel economy though.

We bypassed Bendigo and while a freeway is being built, the road south of Bendigo was a disgrace and I thought dangerous. Once on the Calder Freeway, we did not stop until we reached Kingsway, one kilometre from home. Dream road and there could be an argument for 120 kph on that road.

Tumbleweeds. Between Echuca and Mildura many tumbleweeds were blowing across the road. I was a bit concerned as to what would happen if I hit one and eventually I did and I did not even hear a sound.

Howard on

PM Howard thought he would be modern and hip and post a clip. I just thought I ought to check it, but my John Howard search on brought up every loser thing about him except the actual speech.

Politicians, dabble publicly on the net at your peril. It can be a dangerous place. I know it is going to happen soon. A politician is going to end up on the front page of the papers because of their youtube or myspace presence and not in a way they like.

I think I prefer my politicians to retain a dignified net silence.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Alert but not alarmed

I think I was buzzed ten times by three helicopters last Friday. Back and forth they went over a period of a couple of hours. They are army Black Hawk helicopters, but I don't know what they were doing. I did not hear of an emergency. Perhaps an Indian doctor had lost his SIM card and they were assisting with inquiries.