Saturday, December 05, 2009

Missed a bit

When I painted the roof of our house in Balaclava and I ran out of paint, I thought does not matter. No one can see this bit from any angle. I did not foresee Google satellite or the even better


Not too often I write about cricket. The cricket on the radio in the background can be ok provided the commentators don't start yelling or get overexcited. I find it quite soporific.

My mind switches from a hot Aussie day with everyone trying to find shade while the match is played, to a game on an English village green, with polite clapping and dozing off in the sunshine.

Then there are memories of childhood cricket games in the back yard with so much energy expended and biffing my brother on his scone with a stump.

I had interesting responses when I wrote about my brother going to the Ashes in England earlier this year and various cricket grounds, and in another about Henry Blofeld.

I have recently read that the marvellous Bellerive Oval in Hobart, Tasmania has had night lighting installed, possibly the last of the major cricket grounds to do so. As I noted in a post, it must be in one of the best settings in Australia.

I listened a bit to the cricket in Adelaide yesterday. There was, guessing here, a West Indian commentator. He was amusing, clear speaking and knowledgeable. I did not catch his name. Who was he?

And to throw in a bit of depravity, I think Shane Warne is hot.

This is where I may get things wrong. A month or so ago Sheffield Shield cricket was being played. It is an interstate competition and very few people were going to see it, in spite of tickets costing less than $10. I believe one game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with its capacity for 100,000 spectators, had less than two thousand.

Full of knowledge about cricket, I have the answer. Forget about charging. Throw open the gates to all and sundry and play these games at friendly local cricket grounds. A Sheffield Shield match played at the glorious Junction Oval might even have me sitting in the Blackie Ironmonger stand. Just give me a nudge if I snore.

Tiger Teeth

I am not convinced that it was a good idea for Victoria to pay $3.5 million to Tiger Woods for him to visit here to play in a competition. Y'know, it is a competition. Prize money and all that. It no doubt amused a few, but caused endless headaches for people trying to go about their business in the area when Tiger was playing. In spite of the money he was paid, the he would not even visit the burnt out town of Marysville for a charity golf match. Was that to be an extra $500k?

I will ignore the elephant in the room and just talk about teeth. I like a nice set of teeth. I like white teeth. Some black people and some Asian people seem to have natural extra white teeth. But there is such a thing as teeth being too white.

American tv shows often have people with teeth that are too white. I not like.

On one side of the Atlantic you have England and their teeth are just teeth, and just very natural on the whole (Queen in waiting excepted. I respect her her for not having them fixed). On the other side of the Atlantic you have the US, and from what I see in tv shows, many have scarily white teeth. Was it Farah Fawcett Majors who started this?

So aren't Tiger's teeth just that too bit white, especially considering where they might have been. Funny, I like black guys and I like Asian guys, but Tiger just does not do it for me at all.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Indiana Hoosier

Well, I know where Indiana is but I have no idea what a hoosier is. I could look it up, but that is no fun, so tell me. I am sure a hoosier doesn't make hosiery. Here is clue. My US spell checker wants me to give it a capital H.

It comes from the title of a book our friend in Japan sent me for my birthday in October. I am such a slack reader these days, it took me nearly a month to read it and it is not large. The full title is, An Indiana Hoosier in Lord Tsugaru's Court.

The book is a US citizen's views on Japan as a resident for twenty odd years. He lives in the same village in northern Japan as our friend. It was a good read and for anyone who is thinking of visiting Japan, highly recommended.

Naturally it is written from an American perspective and so some is a little foreign to us down under.

Here a just a few of the many chapter subjects. Most chapters are only a couple of pages, making it an easy read.

Public Transport
Toilets (of course)
Postal and Parcel Services
Gift Giving
Divorce in Japan
Valentine's Day
Net Cafe Refugees
Student Suicides
Harvest Time
and many travel hints.

One of the saddest chapters was one about adoption. Essentially, Japanese couples do not adopt children, meaning there are many children brought up in orphanages. I am sure the question of gay couples adopting children would be very alien. Our federal opposition leader Abbott would thoroughly approve. He would much prefer a child to be brought up in an orphanage than with gay couple.

Poisoned Chalice

Once again a woman has been appointed as Premier of a state, in this case NSW, when the present government cannot possibly be re-elected. Denials that she won't be a puppet of the right wing of the NSW Labor Party don't convince me and probably no-one else either. How should we say it? Premier Keneally has been Kirnered? Or Lawarenced?

Yesterday I was very proud to receive recognition by my union for my thirty year membership, yet I say without hesitation, ex NSW Premier Rees only came across as union thug in a suit.

The last Premier of NSW, Iemma, was rolled by the left wing of the party because of his plans for privatisation of electricity generation in the state. The only ever elected female premier in Australia, Anna Bligh of Queensland, has lost much of her popularity for similar reasons.

From our Victorian experience of privatisation of power generation and delivery in Victoria, you will get a much worse service and now the companies want us to pay them to not pollute the air!

People do not want basic services privatised. What they want is good management of utilities by answerable governments. Good managers work with unions and good unions work with management. At times it might be necessary to make stands, but generally workers via their unions and management get along much better than they ever have in Australia's history.

So Ms Keneally is the sacrificial lamb and I would suspect one of her orders before the government falls is to privatise power and maybe more.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Last Tram from Clapham

The kind of intact Kingsway tram tunnel can still be seen in London. It was much celebrated by The Goons with their comedy radio piece, The Last London Tram. I have it as MP3 file. Can't recall where I found it but I am sure it is not hard.

The essence of the story was that two and a half years after London's tram system was closed down and the office was being wound up, a pin was discovered on a board indicating there was a tram still in the Kingsway tunnel around two years after the tram system closed. Sure enough, there was, complete with driver and conductor. They also had a passenger who refused to disembark because he had paid his fare to a place but the tram was to run to the depot as the last London tram. The driver and conductor refused to move the tram without a guarantee of a ceremony. Very amusing.

I am not sure about all of London's trams, but certainly the tram that ran through the tunnel was powered via a conduit between the rails and not by overhead wiring.

The tunnel ran from Southampton Row near Holborn Station along the length of Kingsway to emerge under Waterloo Bridge on the north bank of the Thames River. Some of the tunnel has been used for a motor car tunnel, but much is still intact.

What a marvellous thing to still be in situ in London, but London was not alone with having trams running in tunnels. Sydney trams after crossing the Harbour Bridge ran in tunnels to terminate at Wynyard Station. The Sydney tunnels are still there. One is used for carparking. I surprise myself. I have written about the Sydney tram tunnels before.

You can read of an exploration of the Kingsway tunnel here.

I believe this tram is descending into the Kingsway tunnel. How can you tell? Originally single deck trams ran in the tunnel but later curves on the roof were removed to allow double deck trams to use the tunnel.

It is locked off now, but this is the tunnel entrance
You can see it here with Google's Street View.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bank Statement

How long have I been saving those receipts I receive when using my credit or eftpos cards? Ever since plastic cards have been around, so a good while.

My first card was a BankCard, a bank credit card, with only a five hundred dollar limit. Now I think one of a few I have has a $26,000 limit. The less credit I use, the more the banks increase my limits. Pity they didn't when I needed them to.

Each month when the credit card or savings account statement arrives, I check the slips of paper off against the statement and also check my payslips off against the statements.

I have just stopped this month. I have never found an error in the bank's favour and perhaps two errors in my favour. Retailer loss there I think.

So when I am using an auto teller, I no longer request a receipt and I throw the slips from retailers away.

I will keep some as proof of purchase. I will keep them when I travel overseas. I will keep some to remove petrol vouchers. I will still carefully peruse my banks statements, but otherwise life will be just that tiny bit easier.

So am I the last person ever to save the little slips of paper and check them off against my bank statements?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Never mind a week

It would seem that a day is a long time in polictics. The leader of Her Majesty's Opposition Party in Australia is the the Mad Monk, Tony Abbott.

It must be nearly ten years ago that our friend in western Victoria reckoned Abbott was hot and that he would like to tie him up and do unspeakable things to him. Perhaps he could have started with some wax strips.

Should Abbott ever become Prime Minister, I will be off to New Zealand.

Hawkie summed up rather well when asked what he thought of Abbott as opposition leader. Temporary. We can only hope.

Pic from New Matilda.

The hair Blanche. Do something

Wot you sayin? I looked gay even when I was young? No-one took photos of me in overalls. Note AWA Deep Image black and white tv, Wonderheat slow combustion heater, deer hide lounge suite, and Ktel record changer sitting on the HG Palmer Hi Fi record player and radio. The Bone Doctor has been busy scanning some of Mother's old photos.

We had a big lounge room which we never used. Instead we used the dinette where we never dined and it looks very like a lounge room.

Monday, November 30, 2009


It must have been a pretty special sunset. Scott was the first off the mark with his photo from that night, followed by the Frisky Librarian. The building behind us normally blocks our view of sunsets, but clearly this was a special occasion. Beautiful sunsets surely tell us that the world is bigger than us. Here is my effort. Note the reflections in Albert Park Lake.

Must watch tv

This should be interesting. Tomorrow night on tv is one of a series of tv shows about the Royal Family. Tomorrow night's show is about Kanga, aka Lady Tryon, a Melbourne lass, a 'close friend' of Prince Charles and married to an English lord. If you would like to know a bit about her before you see the show, check out the website of a blog mate who was consulted during the making of the show. I'll be watching for her name in the credits. I expect her blog has already had more hits than it ever has.

Boring or not so boring politics

At the age of sixteen, I, like most of my age, thought politics were boring. Many people of that age now would agree.

Although I demonstrated against the sacking of Whitlam and against John Kerr and his actions at the age of 18?, I had little understanding of what it was all about. I was with the mob. The Queen, through her representative, the Governor General, sacking our democratically elected government still bothers me muchly. In instilled into me a life long hatred of the Liberal Party, oddly not the Queen.

By the age of thirty I was quite fascinated by the mechanations of politics and I knew more about politics than I could have ever imagined when I was young, far more than I know now.

While sometimes I have flashes of interest, such as what is happening or not happening in NSW, my interest has gone down hill since I was thirty. My most frequent thought about politics is 'well, there is no surprise there'. I hope for our future there aren't too many people like me who just roll there eyes with extreme cynicism. Cynicism is not a good thing, especially in young people. Not that I have any really young readers, especially as Reuben has deserted the blog world, but young people really need to care with passion. It is too late for me to change the world. Please young people, have a go.

However, having said all that, I am glued to the radio and tv with the botheration in our Tory party, the Liberals. The conventional newspapers just can't keep up. New world is here. Maybe tomorrow there will be a new lamb to the slaughter. So exciting.........but then nothing will really change will it. I will return to my despair.

I cut and paste an email I received from a friend today. It might just make myself and R change the way we buy pork, leaving only the fresh chicken meat problem to deal with. If by me pasting in this email changes one person's actions, it is worth while me doing it. Ignore what is clearly an advertisement if you want and hunt out your own free range pork supplier.

Hi everyone,

If you saw the 60 Minutes segment the other week regarding pig farming in Australia you would have been appalled at the conditions the pregnant sows are kept in during the term of their pregnancy. It is acceptable in Australia to pen these sows giving them only an inch between them and the bars that trap them. Pigs are very intelligent animals and you could visibly see the distress these animals were in..

Anyway it really upset me and seeing as I can’t give up this meat completely I have vowed to use free range pork from here on. I thought I would share this information with you and hope that you can also consider the plight of these animals and try to use only free range as well..

I did some research and found a local supplier of free range pork is Otway which is stocked at most Safeway and Coles plus other speciality shops.

Interesting point, lean Otway pork has less fat than a chicken breast and is perfectly cooked when the it runs pink to clear when skewered, don't over cook.

PS I dont have shares in this company

Memo to KDR

Who knows who is responsible for maps to be found in our trains and trams. Generally, they are good and easy to understand, but here is one that is less than clear for those who don't know.

Where does the number 3 tram go after it crosses Chapel Street on its way to the city? It is very clear where the 3A goes, but the 3 just seems to disappear, not to be found again until the blown up map of the city centre.

Actually, I just took another look. The 3A is not so clear. What happens to it in Fitzroy Street? The 16 continues along Fitzroy Street, but where does the 3A go?

What is the new company slogan? Think like a passenger or something like that. Well, map person better get on and make a start.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Catch Up Bits

Well well. Who's handsome visage gazed out from the MCV freebie gay paper this week, replete with Movember moustache.

Saturday night a week or so ago, we caught up with a dozen or so people for an Indian meal at Bala Da Daba in Glen Iris to celebrate a friend's birthday. It was very enjoyable and the venue was more suitable for a large number than the Ripponlea branch.

I was standing outside the restaurant enjoying the fresh air and the rain that was pouring down when a 4wd ran into another car and the 4wd ended up with its nose into a dry cleaner across the road. Sad to say, I don't think the 4wd was at fault. I think it was east bound in Malvern Road and a west bound car turned right into Tooronga Road in front of it. It was the full deal with ambulance, police, fire truck and later tow trucks. I noted the traffic light was green and so it wasn't a case of the 4wd going through a red light.

Sunday I worked and R looked after Little Jo. He took her into see the Myer christmas windows. The weather was still wet, so the there wasn't a crowd. Wednesday night Sister played cricket, so we looked after Little Jo again. How would you parents of young children like to have baby sitters on tap like Sister has with us?

Friday night just R and myself et at La Porchetta in South Yarra. I am not keen on most La Porchettas, but the South Yarra one is very good. The twenty five minute walk home with a full guts and a couple of red vinos was damn hard work.

Speaking of guts, Friday I had brunch at Gutz in Brunswick Street. I was a bit stressed because I too much to do that day, but I was determined to pleasure myself in Fitzroy for an hour or so but I can't say I felt relaxed.

Yesterday was Mother's mega garage sale. By 7.30 we were having breakfast at the Scottish restaurant under the arches (freeway) in South Melbourne and at Mother's by 8.30. Sister and Little Jo were already there along with Tradie Brother and his girlfriend who organised it. Mother made $660 and she was pleased and said we will have another. Given she did nothing, I am not so sure about that. Late Step Father's tools sold pretty well along with old videos and books. Clothes did not, but women's shoes did. The sale cleared about a third of what needs to go. We did make a hard rubbish pile though.

We came away with a 1000 piece jigsaw of Victoria's Twelve Apostles, about thirty Hogan's Heroes dvds for a workmate of R's, a device for removing lids off jars and some old maps, but the funny one was a foot spa that we had given Mother a few years ago and she used it twice. It had been a long day and last night I was looking forward to a foot spa. I got an extension lead, plugged the unit in at the base of my lounge chair, filled it with water and switched it on and nothing! It is now gone to our next hard rubbish pile.

Little Jo admiring the Myer window animatronics. Something about a pig called Olivia. No idea.