Saturday, December 01, 2007

Mystery Quiz

This second level in this building at the corner of High and Chapel Streets used to be where Greek men played cards. It is now a nightclub where people queue to get in at six in the morning.

What do you think is behind the wind up shutter? It is only opened at nighttime.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bigger, wider roads

I noticed from Glenferrie Road that preparatory work is happening at the foot of the Monash Freeway. I understand it is to be widened. It seems such a short time ago that it was last widened. It has to be less than ten years.

The widening is necessary to free up traffic flow on the freeway. That was what was said last time it was widened. Call me a bit thick if you like, but this strategy just does not seem to work. The stationary traffic surely proves the point.

Perhaps if they widened it and put a train line there instead of extra road space, a longer term benefit may be gained.

I wonder if I will see the Monash Freeway widened again in another ten years. The Hobart option is looking more and more attractive.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Betty Battenberg

This post by Copperwitch (a stupid old woman who has yet to learn how to make the best of herself, the person in the post, not Copperwitch)and this one by Deajohnize and the Turnbull chappie who was our prospective federal opposition leader, a pro Australia republican, has had me thinking a bit about our boss Liz. Make no mistake about it. She could control us down to the last detail if she wanted. She is a monarch, a boss, a ruler.

She has pretty well conducted herself faultlessly in the the public eye since her reign began.

US comedian Joan Rivers used to make great fun at Maggie Thatcher's expense when Mags was in power. That is until the real Maggie made a surprise visit to River's show and Rivers went to water with much bowing and scraping.

I reckon I would do the same if I happened across Lillibet, and I think many people, even with the most anti monarchist feelings, would too. Is she our own Dalai Lama?

But I do think she has done us a bit of a disservice as our monarch and a respected world figure. I really wish at times she had been a little more political and a little more outspoken. We heard that she and Thatcher did not really get along and that she disliked some of Thatcher's policies. From downunder, some of the policies and the results seemed appalling. Perhaps just a subtle word or two in public may have brought bitch Maggie to heel a bit.

She was happy to dine with Idi Amin and Robert Mugabe at State Dinners. Perhaps just dropping them from the invitation list might have worked wonders.

Perhaps a bit of honesty about Diana might have made her seem human. Even if the things were bad, the air would be cleared. Ok, you are not great friends. Mother in law and daughter in law often don't get along. We understand that.

Because of her age, the opportunity is now lost. I doubt she would be up to challenging anyone. All too hard now.

I am so pleased to be born when I was born and I have seen and experienced some marvellous advances in science, medicine and technology. I also feel privileged to have lived in the time of the last respected English monarch, who has ruled over us with minimal interference.

I did but see her passing by yet I shall love her until I.... well until something else interests me for the moment.

Street Lamps

I wonder how many of these old street lamp brackets are left around Melbourne? I have come across a couple of them.

The first pictures are of the old Malvern Fire Station, now and art gallery. Clearly fire engines were not the size they are now. Today's models would not come close to fitting through the doors. I do remember when this fire station was operational. It is a fine utility building. I doubt that the location of the lighting bracket is original.

This other lamp pictured is in the laneway next to Safeway in Balaclava. I can well imagine that it is an original location.

If you know of any others, I would be interested to hear.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Put your right arm in, put your right arm out

But in North America, it would be your left arm.

It seems to be becoming more prevalent for young men to drive around with their car window down and the arm hanging out. They should talk to trauma surgeons at a major hospital about it and ask for some statistics.

People generally divide into two categories when driving in warmer weather. There are those who have windows open on all but the hottest days and often have bits of the bodies hanging out the car window. They clearly like the warmth in their car and the warm to hot breeze.

Then there is the likes of me who so rarely opens the car windows, that the motors struggle to get them down. It is a bit of a bother at pay car park booms, but so far I can get the driver's window down enough. I do open the rear windows a bit when the car needs hot air blasting out of it.

Windows up people like to be insulated from the exterior life. We like our temperature on the cool side. We don't want to hear the musical taste of a car driver next to us. We don't want to hear people yelling on the street. We don't want to give any indication that we wish to interact with any other motorist. We don't want critters flying in, or leaves or pollen or dust. We tell ourselves wrongly, that if we cocoon ourselves like this, we are safer.

I will never change but your windows open people need to keep their limbs inside at least.

PS My father was pulled up for having his elbow outside the car in the late 1960s. He was talking the policeman out of giving him a ticket when my mother muttered mongrel copper. Ticket immediately issued.

PPS An Australian woman in the US was killed recently. She looked the wrong way on a busy road and stepped straight into the path of large vehicle. Aussies take care where they drive on the wrong side of the road.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Solar Hot Water

It is a large house but not attractive to me. But I think they must have a super supply of free hot water though. The roof faces north and so will get sun in the winter too. I bet that cost.

Just as I was positioning myself to take the photo, the owner returned home with his large dog.

Terrible tram crash

Gee, tram passengers dying in a crash. That must be very rare. Trams are an ever such a safe way to travel. But in the early days of the twentieth century, some did die. McMahons Point is a salubrious part of Sydney, and so it received a tram service in the early years of the twentieth century.

It must have been a busy enough route as there were two trams coupled together. One of the trams became defective and so the driver and conductor worked out a plan, no doubt following company policy, for the driver to power the tram and the conductor to brake. They were at opposite ends of the two trams. It was a foggy, damp and wet day.

They soon lost control of the tram. It gained a speed of 80kph, or 50mph on the steep slope down to McMahons Point. Some people had jumped off, as you would but well before it reached a speed of 80 I should think. It derailed on a curve, went over an embankment and ploughed into a house, and then the rear car telescoped into the front car.

There were many injuries and two deaths and probably a very surprised home owner. I don't know the actual site or topography, but I would guess at the corner of Blues Point Road and Henry Lawson Avenue.

And I take the chance to repost a couple of my favourite Sydney tram pictures.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Transport Corruption

I am following the reported tales of corruption in Sydney's CityRail closely. So many rorts. Lucky are we in Melbourne that nothing like that happens!

The good and the bad

I will start with an honourable mention. She has not been much on my horizon for some years but full praise to Michelle 'au' Grattan. Her election writing for The Age over the past few weeks has been superb. That I would not have a clue how she votes or where her sympathies lie, is to be commended. No wonder politicians live in terror of a phone call from Michelle and they dare not refuse to take the call. She must be due to be elevated to a 'National Living Treasure'.

R likes Ms Gillard. I don't really. But I think she will be a very impressive performer.

My glee at Howard losing his seat is perhaps a little premature but it was very bad for him and she who must be obeyed. I just love Maxine McKew and she did a fine job against Howard. The only praise I can find for Howard was his gracious defeat speech but more importantly that he stuck with his electorate and did not seek a safer seat. Foolish perhaps, but honourable though heavily outweighed by the long list of his dishonourable deeds.

Bit sorry to hear of Mal Brough's defeat. I am not going to judge his intervention policy in the Northern Territory yet, although there are clearly some problems with it, but I think his intentions were honourable and that he is a decent bloke.

I am not directly responsible for R's behaviour, but if he behaved very badly, I would not be happy. I know his character well enough to know what he would not do. He would not try to circulate pamphlets like Jackie Kelly's husband did, and it is a fitting punishment that she retires in disgrace. The bonus is that her replacement was not elected either. Good riddance.

Well, who would have thought. Corangamite, that bastion of wealthy western district farmers, now in the hands of Labour. Ok, partly due to an electoral redistribution but having a seventy odd year old who has been around forever surely did not help.

Mr Costello's moment has passed. Revenge is a dish best served cold, and he has. He looked so so happy on election night after it was clear that the Liberal Party had lost. He still had the ace up his sleeve though, and dealt it beautifully. Hopefully he will slide into obscurity where he belongs. That'll learn ya for taking on and crushing low paid workers in a crap job twenty odd years ago. My brother, who works for Dollar Sweets, tells me there are still a few workers there who were around at the time.

I am very sad that Senators' Lyn Allison and Andrew Bartlett are lost to our parliament. I can only hope that such decent people will see The Green light.

And just when I had this almost finished, Clare Martin, Chief Minister of Northern Territory has resigned. I don't know too much about NT politics but I instinctively liked her.

But wait, now leader of the Federal National Party has resigned too. Try reverting to the name Country Party and act in country people's interest, and you may stand a chance. Otherwise, you will all be sent to oblivion over time.

I can't say my party, The Greens, excelled in the election, but they did ok. They killed all comers at St Kilda Primary School booth, where we used to vote when we lived in Balaclava.

Now we have some contenders for leader of the Liberal Party. Abbott is a oily creep and surely not acceptable, Nelson maybe, but for me the only credible choice is Turnbull. We will see.

I have said anything about Rudd yet. All I will say is well done for winning the election. I will be watching for actions, not glib words.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A wandering mind

At some point on Saturday night the part of my brain devoted to politics shut down as if Control Alt Delete had been pressed. My brain's cache was clearly full.

Before I dropped off to sleep, I wondered about the word vilean. I have never seen it written before and while I heard the word often in the seventies and perhaps the eighties, I had not heard it for a long time but then I did the other day. I forget where. It means dirty if you don't know and I guess it is a combination of vile and unclean...........viLEAN.

My mind wandered further, back to a body corporate committee meeting when R slayed them in the aisles when he spoke of a previous building manager. Getting a straight answer from him is like nailing jelly to the wall. He brought the house down. No one, nor me, had heard the expression before. We were all very amused. R has many English sayings such as that, that we Australians have never heard. He puts them out there in conversation, usually to great effect.

I saw the same phrase used in an obituary to describe Ian Smith, ex leader of Rhodesia. Of course I was against Ian Smith back when he was in power. So was Malcolm Fraser, our ex PM. Fraser did some great work to bring about the end of white rule in Rhodesia.

Well, Zimbabwe's people are clearly better off now, not. Oh, a select few are. I expect it was with some glee that Smith observed Zimbabwe's downward path, from the safety of South Africa.

The political brain cache must be starting to clear.

Dear Jeanette, do not wrap the Royal Doulton with the hand painted periwinkles in newspaper as it can stain. Use plain paper. Happy moving back to Wollstonecraft. Not too far to go. You should get a removalist for just over $100 per hour. Hope you don't expect us to pay.