Saturday, September 19, 2009

Turn back to 1979

That was the year I started my present job. Scares you? Believe me, it scares me.

But this is about smoking. In 1979 you were a thoughtless host at a party if you didn't provide ashtrays spread around you home for a party. If you were of a European bent, you would have cigarettes spread around for your guests. You were thoughtless if you did not ask a guest in your house if they smoked, and if they did, you should offer them an ashtray.

Kiddies may have followed their parental example by stuffing pine needles into a straw and lighting it, and then coughing their lungs out. Perhaps they liked to hold a 'fag' in their hands before eating the delectable sweet.

People wandered around shops back then just like they do now, except there was a good chance they would have a cigarette in their hand. If they needed two hands to examine a garment in Myer, they would stick their ciggie in their mouth.

Of course people needed to smoke while they were doing the supermarket shopping. It was and still is a stressful experience. A bit of ash on the broccoli did not matter. Hang on, there wasn't broccoli in the supermarket back then. Iceberg lettuce then, except it was just a lettuce. No one knew the name of it.

My fervently anti doctor father liked one doctor at least when he visited his surgery and noticed an overflowing ashtray.

R just told me of gay doctor at a surgery in Middle Park who would always offer his patients a Benson and Hedges cigarette. How to make your cigarettes tax deductible #101. He was Herbie Gibson. Do I have any aged gay reader who has not made themselves known? Time to speak up if you remember Herbie. I have been told he was an expert at prostate examination and many guys embarrassed themselves under his ministrations.

The tram driver and tram conductor would sit in their tram at the terminus and have a smoke together. The country trains had smoking or non smoking compartments. People smoking on planes were always down the back of the aircraft. No matter. The air circulated through the whole plane anyway.

In your office, it is your desk, so you will smoke at it and everyone did. Of course the office worker needed to smoke during their lunch break in the canteen.

After a meal in a restaurant people will need to have a smoke. They need to have one before hand too. Some hardcore had one between courses. Even more hardcore had one between bites.

So back in 1979, we should have been suffocating in cigarette smoke. We were constantly surrounded by a fug of cigarette smoke. Yet no one seemed to notice it.

Now, walk past an office building and you can't help but notice the stench of cigarettes near the doorway. Stand at a tram stop, smell someone smoking and you look around to see who the guilty party is. I recently heard a kiddie say sotto voice, Mummy, look, that man is smoking. You walk past someone who has recently smoked and you can smell it on their breath.

On the positive side, I have kissed plenty of guys who smelt of smoke, which may or may not be a turn on, but every person I have ever come across who has bad breath has been a non smoker. Now almost everyone is a non smoker so it no longer really applies, but I make this point from thirty years plus experience.

Then there was the nineties where people stopped smoking inside buildings and went out onto balconies or stairways or just outside. But the smokers were the interesting people and the lives of the party. Those left inside sat around staring at each other while the smoking people outside were entertaining all and sundry.

People are now severely restricted as to where they can smoke, yet people smoking seems to have far more impact now. We notice the smell of smoke. The societal change has been truly remarkable. From social norm to leper in two to three decades. Sadly most of the smokers from 1979 popped off a bit early and are not around to argue the point.

Warning: Medical authorities warn that smoking is bad for your health.

Lifting the leg and the park cycling path with the Saints being winners

Written last night:

Sis and the Bone Doctor are at the footy, we are looking after Little Jo. She just won't go to sleep for us. Better when she was younger and we could wheel her in the pram until she dropped off. (Finally at 9.30 she has dropped off)

We took her to Fawkner Park for a play on the slide and swing. We were chatting to a mum who was there with her child. Sitting on a seat was a Muslim woman who had two kiddies, the younger playing on the equipment, the older kicking an oval footy around. The world is changing.

A large dog bounded up, something like a full sized poodle, clearly friendly. The woman we were chatting to span around and loudly asked who owned the dog. A very nice looking and well spoken young man said it was his. He was there with his kiddie. The woman told him that the dog should be on a leash and not in the play area. I agree with her, but her tone was very hostile.

The guy said he would put the dog on a leash in a moment and that the dog was fine and no trouble, just as the dog lifted its leg and peed on a rocking horse and then ran straight to the Muslim woman who shrieked as the dog approached her.

I was suppressing my laughter. Stop laughing, this is serious. The woman we were talking to said she had had enough and left. The guy did put his dog on a leash. Yes, he was irresponsible, but I could not take it too seriously. If you grow up with dogs and have the scars as a lesson, you can judge dogs fairly well.

Police have been booking people for riding through Carlton Gardens on their bicycles. In Fawkner Park there is a designated shared bike/pedestrian path, the quickest route diagonally through the park. All other paths are pedestrian only. Why can't Carlton Gardens have a path like this? Fining cyclists the absurd sum of $250 for riding through a park is way above what is sensible.

I heard there was to be live coverage of the football last night. It wasn't. It was significantly delayed. I watched the action on the net until the site became too busy and would not refresh and then we listened on the wireless. Very exciting. R supports St Kilda so he is very happy. It would have been more exciting if we could have watched in live on tv.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Local Fountain

This is my most favouritist fountain in the world and it is just five minutes walk from home. I have posted a photo of it before but a long time ago. The MacRob fountain was shut off and fenced off when water restrictions were imposed. But the city council found a supply of recycled water to give it enough water to operate between 11 and 1 each day. Given we have a surplus of recycled water, how about leaving it on City of Melbourne? At night it looks gorgeous when lit and operating.

Note the cute little water spurting turtles on the lower wall and the sea horses up higher. The boy seems to be holding a fish that spurts water high into the sky. Click on it to see it better.

The fountain was sponsored by Sir Macpherson Robertson, a marvellous Melbourne man. He was a generous and self made man who made his fortune from the bottom up by making and selling confectionery. He was and excellent employer and I hope the girls at MacRob school are aware of him, as you should be everytime you drive over the MacRob bridge.

Here is a photo of the bridge by SplaTT. Elegant simplicity.

Not quite sure that he got the location of the bridge right though. As Jayne indicated when she was street walking in Burnley, there were plans for a bridge at the bottom of Williams Road.

'Such finds like the one above from an old newspaper copy, showing how it was once proposed to span the river to join Williams Rd in South Yarra with Burnley St in Burnley, are in large number at the society.'

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Clear the Way

Extended operating time clearways on major Melbourne roads are starting to appear. Morning times are 6.30 to 10.00. Evening times are a bit more complicated.

Clearways are terribly important for tram and bus travel along busy roads. They remove parked cars and normal traffic along with trams and buses run much more quickly and smoothly.

Vic Roads and the state government wanted the evening times to operate from 3.00 until 7.00. Shopkeepers objected as they feared a loss of trade if someone could not park directly in front of their shop. After some protests, the government came up with a compromise.

The clearways will operate until 7pm, so that is clear.

The start time will be 4pm except for around three hundred metres either side of major intersections, where it will be 3pm.

So as you drive along the road from 3pm, there will still be parked cars but not right at intersections. At 4pm the road will entirely clear entirely of parked cars.

The 3pm time at the intersections will help greatly while make a small concession to the shop keepers by not having it along the full length of the road until 4pm.

However, I have noticed in some locations, that the clearway has just been set at 3pm and no adjustment at intersections. Absurdly along Dandenong Road where there aren't shops, the 3pm/4pm alterations have been posted. I predict in time that the 3pm/4pm system will generally disappear and only remain in expensive shopping strips in the eastern suburbs where the critics are very vocal and well organised.

Generally I see it as a win for trams, buses and cyclists and a loss for the amenity of shopping strips. I don't believe the affected shops will go broke though.

Now I just cannot wait until Toorak Road becomes a tow away zone. Why it isn't now when most clearway roads are was part of the deal ex Premier Kennett made with Citylink.

Meanwhile the very anti public transport City of Stonnington has been widening footpaths so that clearways cannot be imposed in their very posh north south running shopping streets, sadly funded I notice with Federal Government stimulus monies. Must be time for City of Boroondara to get busy with extending their kerbing in Burke Road at Camberwell Junction.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Important Alert

Tomorrow night (Thursday), 8:30pm, ABC1, Skippy: Australia's First Superstar. Don't ask me what is Skippy. You know very well, wherever you live. Probably available on iView later for everyone with broadband.

Window Shopping

A stroll along Carlisle Street at night can be interesting. I wonder if there is a knife block for women and gay men only where there knife goes into the male groin?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I was a bad boy

Maybe I was five years old. Not sure. Mother was buying fruit and vegetables at the greengrocers. I was standing outside. Back in those days, the price of the fruit was written on a plastic tag which was attached to a metal spike which was stuck into a piece of fruit. Very hygienic.

I idly pulled out a spike from a piece of fruit and stuck it back in. Did it again, but stuck it in a different spot. Next time, I stuck it in another piece of fruit. This is passing the time. Then the greengrocer yelled at me.

I was mortified, humiliated and embarrassed. The smart mouthed me wants to say that I learned a lesson, don't get caught. But I knew I had done wrong and that I had been told off good and proper. I learnt some sort of understanding about what is other people's property and you just can't do what you like to it, including to peaches in the greengrocers.

I can't recall now, but I expect all the greengrocer said was, 'hey, stop stabbing the fruit', in a very gruff tone. Mother was embarrassed too. I think I might have been popped into the freezer for the rest of the day and not spoken to. Mother most certainly did not say, Andrew, be a good boy and don't do that, or tell anyone about the nasty man who yelled at me.

There must be a hundred and one ways of bringing up children but approving or tolerating bad behaviour cannot be one of them. However, it seems I have such an old fashioned view of children.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mother at Two

Mother is two years old in the photo, the same age as Little Jo is now. Everyone who sees the photo swears it is a picture of Little Jo. The wedding is that of Mother's now only surviving maternal aunt. She is in her nineties and lives in Berwick.

Getting the media on side

I admire one blog mate who seems extremely adept at handling media. I have read his writings and seen him perform for the media and it has given me a better understanding of how it all works.

Unions need to take notice and they mostly do. Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance paramedics have just fought and won an industrial campaign directly without help of their union, who I consider sold them out for the greater good. It is perhaps easier for them when the lives of the public are in their hands and there is no end of grateful testimonials.

Can't say the same for the jockey's union or perhaps it was more individual based. They pulled the pin mid race meeting over the issue of horse whipping and no, it wasn't because they were against horse whipping, it was because the use of whips was becoming too restricted for their liking. They want to whip when they like.

I don't like cruelty to animals at all and I would be happy to horse whipping banned, even though I don't think it particularly hurts the horse much. I don't even like horses being broken and forced to ride in long circles around tracks, but it is part of our culture and is nothing like dog or cock fighting, bear baiting or riding the hounds.

But the jockeys are on a road to nowhere. I probably shouldn't say this, but how seriously can you take squeaky voiced spokespeople?

But one person who you would think would know about public relations and media performance is Serena Williams. I am not a tennis follower but you can't help picking up sports news and information. The Williams sisters have been around for a long time and I do not recall any serious criticism of their behaviour.

Now in my mind, Serena has so damaged her image that the memory of her for the rest of my life will be her disgraceful behaviour and disrespect of another human being.

It is all about the media.

And while I am in the mood, Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, fail! I have heard her interviewed three times recently and she will just not answer questions. This is not unusual for a politician but she does not even come close to addressing a question. She drones on and on and I tune out but not to the point where I don't notice that she never answers a question. What a disappointment she has turned out to be.

How to make babies 7/7

Note the mother is now standing with her toes turned in and her legs close together. She doesn't want to go through that again in a hurry. I think this is not a bad bit of education for kiddies. Not sure what age. Thoughts?

Thanks to Therese J for sending the original.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

PNG Nuns

There was a letter in the paper mentioning it. Annie Phelan, the marvellous local actor mentioned it on radio. I chuckled when I read it.

The Age has published a series of articles about Papua New Guinea. PNG is an absurd little independent country to the north of Australia. It is almost totally propped up by Australia. Australia used to control it. Foolishly we gave PNG independence and it was all downhill from there.

But other countrys' charities get in there and do their bit too. It was a very interesting and educational series of articles. Writing like this is where newpapers really come to the fore. I would have never bothered reading any of it on the www.

Nuns in PNG are doing there bit too. They have HIV educational programmes. Of course the simplest way to prevent HIV is for the blokes to slip on a condom, but the god awful catholic church does not believe in such artificial contraception and hence it cannot approve them as a HIV prevention method. The catholic church, responsible for so many deaths over the centuries, does not use the brutal methods it used to use, but the end result is the same, death and suffering. Please someone save me from all these christian, muslim and jewsish cranks.

However these nuns are practical lasses. Against their absurd leader ex Hitler Youth and Nazi party member Pope Ratzinger who heads their church in Rome, they promote the use of condoms.

The nuns say, 'We are old and quite deaf and Rome is a long way away".

Just gorgeous.

Old Letch on a Tram

I boarded a tram to come home from town. Who is this young layabout sprawled out like he owns the tram. I want to sit there. He will have to move his legs and give me space to sit opposite him. Once I sat, he kind of moved his legs. He had to really as I pushed them out of the way with my legs. Then I realised he had been sound asleep. He was forgiven.

Ah, he is very cute. He had music plugs in his ears, large coloured sunglasses that had slipped down, so I could see his eyes. A plunging neckline showing his beautifully smooth chest. Tight black jeans. Very handsome young guy indeed. There is a reason why you seldom see me outdoors without sunglasses on.

He fell asleep again and his head dropped lower and lower until I could no longer see his face.

Then some saliva dribbled from his mouth. It hung from his mouth for a second or two and then dropped onto his arm. I couldn't help but keep looking back to see how it dried on his arm over the next five minutes. I arrived at my stop.

Oh the joy of being a lecherous old queen salivating over young men but how one sided and boring would sex be with him. Wonder what he had been doing that made him so tired?

How to make babies 6/7