Saturday, June 25, 2011

A friend dances

Malaysia is an awful country. Its people are terribly repressed.....well, not quite. What it may appear to be to us foreigners is not necessarily how it really is for its non hard core muslims.

Friend is stretching it a bit, but we have met Lawrence several times and enjoyed his company and he has offered to guide us should we ever visit Malaysia. He used to judge a very popular television talent show, but it seems now he has taken to performing in them. I knew he was around fifty years old but I had never see him with his shirt off. I am impressed. Shirt off is in the second vid.

Friday, June 24, 2011

All About Scott

Someone is quaking in their boots. Fear not dear Scott.

Ann introduced me to Scott's blog. Scott lived in the same Melbourne suburb as my Sister used to. Scott and his partner have fine taste and a very nice house in Liverpool. C'mon, there is only one Liverpool. Hum along with me, Ferry, Across the Mersey. Please nobody start singing about a long haired lovers.

I heard Scott's partner on our Radio National a while ago. Scott's partner is clearly on the contact list of our ABC. Perhaps he could become a Liverpool stringer? But then perhaps our ABC does not need a Liverpool stringer. Has anything happen in Liverpool since the Beatles that might require our ABC to need the services of a stringer?

Tonight there was a convergence of matters. So when R showed my some quite humorous Katherine Tate You Chube vids, I remembered, ah, Scott is going to see her on stage.

Scott is also going to see a Miro exhibition when he is visiting London. (he has been already. See his photos) This brings me back to the beginning, because Ann who introduced me to Scott's blog asked for a snap of our Miro print.

Dearest Ann, here is the Miro. It is so old now (the frame and the mount of course), but we are very fond of it. There are many Miro works to look at online, but I can't see this particular one. I'd be interested to know the name of the work. It is dated 1927.

Persons of Interest

It pains me to post this but look what is on in Sydney, well in the first case, was on.

Firstly they have just had their Vivid Sydney festival. Have a look at the luscious public building and artwork lighting photos at Sydney - City and Suburbs

You want more? Persons of Interest is an exhibition about our spy agency ASIO's files. Can you believe that even our urbane film critic David Stratton had a file on him? He was required to attend the Soviet Embassy for travel documents so that he could attend a Russian film festival. He was noticed and a file duly made about his activities. Marvellous time. Lucky we don't live in that sort of society we? I'd love to see this one.

Photos are good. Everyone likes photos. How about the World Press Photo Exhibition at the State Library of New South Wales?

Dear oh dear me. Melbourne is now a cultural backwater. Its all happening in Sydney.Link

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Blog Mates

It is always nice to have new blog mates. There is nothing quite like you comment on mine, and I comment on yours. I have few new blog mates of late.

It is no secret that I am interested in public transport, especially trains and trams. It is kinda of a melding of worlds that I publish this wonderfully crisp and clear photo of a tram in the city where my newest blogmates sometimes live. Maybe they can identify the location? I will credit and replace the photo with the original in a day or so. It is a lovely old beast isn't it.


Remember a few weeks ago when we visited Preston? Although it was clearly the wrong part of Preston, I did find one interesting building to snap.

Revolting Greeks

This is from memory only from a broadcast I listened to some time ago. It would take me forever to check facts, but I think I have the basics right. Just beware.

Icelandic banks and the Icelandic economy found themselves in serious financial trouble. Rather than a bail out such as happened Ireland, and oh how the workers and the non high flying types in Ireland have suffered, the citizens of Iceland spoke and chucked out the government that proposed to go down the same road as Ireland. The people said, this is not our doing. This is the doing of big English banks, big business and with the complicit approval of our banks here. Why should we suffer? The new government listened. Peoples savings were moved to a bank that had failed and was now nationalised, but businesses had to sink or swim. Banks were let go to the wall and their debts not picked up by the government, or by Euro loans. London City (business) was screaming but generally its temper tantrums were ignored and London City lost a lot of money. Yes, the people of Iceland have suffered but not to the extent that they would have and not for such a long time as they would have if there had been a Euro bail out.

Personally I rather wish the same had happened in Britain and the United States and even here in Australia if required. All this wheeling and dealing and moving money around the world at the speed of light and generating huge profits and losses by speculative actions is not a matter that your average person should suffer for if it all goes wrong. Screw 'em. Let them suffer too. In the US and Britain the people are suffering badly because of such high government debt levels and stagnant economies yet big business goes on paying huge money to executives, money market speculation is just as rife and the big auditing companies take no blame for their shonky and complicit actions.

Which brings us to Greece. Is the Greek Prime Minister a proper socialist, or one in name only? He seems prepared to allow a further Euro bail out and tie the country down to huge repayments for years. Yet in Greece, big business, share traders, speculators, property developers et al pay little tax, if at all. Greek citizens are demonstrating and rioting in the streets. Good on them. I don't think things can get much worse for the average Greek citizen. Let the government fall, let big businesses fail, let the banks go under. It seems this may be the only way to teach rampant capitalism a lesson. They clearly have not learnt one yet and expect their losses to be socialised but their ill gotten profits kept.

And if I were the people of Germany and France, I would be saying to my government, forget these second world Euro countries. Why waste all our tax money on bailing them out.

Capitalism can become a very nasty and ugly beast if it is not kept under tight control.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Words, by our ABC

I can cope with many mispronunciations and poor use of language by everyone around me. Hey, I am not perfect, but I do expect higher standards by those who use words for their living.

Advancements. Not advances?

Back to back. Not consecutive? Perhaps I should remove sports commentators from this list, or it might be a very long one.

Disorientated. Not disoriented?

Eggsactly. Not exactly?

Goverment. I hear this so often, I am now doubting my own pronunciation that has another n.

Austraya. Nothing but infuriating that so many can't even get the name of our country right, from the highest citizens of our country to the lowest.

Not our ABC's finest moments.

That was the post I wrote but to add a bit here, I just made a phone call in reply to one I received earlier. I gave my reply to the question I was asked earlier by saying 'Hi E. Andrew here. Yes, no, I won't have that extra week off work.' Written it looks quite silly, but it came out very naturally. The yes/no, no/yes seems so widespread now that I suggest no more time is wasted by pedants attempting to stamp it out. I hear it in overseas podcasts now and in overseas news bulletins. Did we Aussies export this to the world? High achievers we are.

The fine streets of Surrey Hills

Perhaps not such fine streets. Surrey Hills is a middle class, middle Melbourne suburb. I am surprised to hear it has some unmade streets. Council wants to 'make' them but many residents are quite happy with how they are. I offer no opinion either way.

What I find interesting is how one particular street is described in The Age.

'LINED with sugar gums and native scrub and dotted with perambulating chickens...'

Now look at the photo. While it was easier to see in the hard copy newspaper, I think I can spy agapanthus, acanthus, what seems to be a birch tree, an alder, a liquidamber, a cotoneaster and violets. Nice, but not native species. However, the chicken does appear to be an accurate description, although whether it is prerambulating or not is arguable. Perhaps in Surrey Hills chickens do perambulate. Ours used to only scratch and peck, although the rooster occasionally strutted.

Is this important in the bigger picture of life? It is indeed. As soon as you put the words gum tree, native and add in an animal, straight away it becomes ideological and emotive. If you read the whole article you will find umpteen examples of words to draw out feelings of the above.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Two Fat Lattes

Frank and Benny have a show on our gay radio station called The Two Fat Lattes. Now it is broadcast at 7.00 pm on Friday night, a most inconvenient time for me, so I rarely listen and I have missed many shows. Benny and Frank were talking about a co host of theirs recently, Georgie, when they were broadcasting on Saturday mornings. She was funny too. Maybe her job was a promotional person for Lavazza Coffee as I won a Lavazza calendar back when she was on air. I still have it. It is huge. I would hate to check what year it was.

Some years later we met Frank and Benny when they held a sausage sizzle at The Saint, a St Kilda hotel, on the day of Pride March. I regret missing their 'shopping trip' along Sydney Road, Brunswick.

When Frank and Benny first broadcast on Joy, podcasts were something to be dreamed of. Who could have imagined where the internet would go. Now I can download a tightly edited podcast episode of the Two Fat Lattes.

Sometimes they are just good and sometimes they can make you shriek with laughter.

I tried some blackmail today. Joy is a community radio station. It operates on limited funding and they can't afford a huge amount of space to store podcasts. What to do to? It was proposed that instead of uploading podcasts to the web, they use ITunes. I protested. I hate ITunes. I used it for a bit and disliked it intensely. I recall Daniel posting about how to get a slimmed down version, but I thought damn it. I will just get rid of it and I did. I think it was James who suggested to just add podcasts to Google Reader, and that is what I have done and it works perfectly.

Ah yes, the blackmail. For some time I have meant to write a post about the Two Fat Lattes. Gay people will connect with what they say, and straight people will find them amusing. In an email I suggested that I would not write a positive post about the Two Fat Lattes if it went to ITunes only. Result! I claim the probably undue credit. For gay and straight alike, the Two Fat Lattes are funny. Trust me.

Here is a link the their podcast page. You can choose anyone, but I just listened to some of May 13th and it is not bad.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Encouraged to catch a train?

In the 1970s and into the 1980s trains and trams entered a period of decline. Patronage was falling and the government was not putting money into the systems. Another chicken and egg argument that is lost on me because I believe that had the system had money and resources invested in it, the patronage would not have dropped. Our country train system became a static beast, except where lines were shut down.

While I caught the train to Melbourne a few times from Moe station in the seventies, I have no memory of the station itself. The train trip I remember well. I would try to get a compartment on my own, and make sure if it was cold that it had a foot warmer. The last train I caught from Moe must have begun its journey there as the foot warmer was cold and I was very disappointed, but it heated up as the train rocked along. I have since learnt about foot warmers. They used to be heated and depended on a chemical reaction to stay warm. Clearly when I caught the train, it was post heating them up first.

The line was electric back then and later unelectrified. Can you believe that? It was once an important junction, running on to Morwell, Sale and Bairnsdale with branch lines heading to Walhalla, Thorpdale and the coal mine at Yallourn.

This photo of Moe Station is from an excellent website Stations Past. It was taken in 1989. Now really, why would anyone want to catch a train from such a disgraceful building as this. I expect I must have mentally blocked any memory of Moe Station from by brain. It illustrates very well as to why train travel had declined so much and was deliberately neglected by successive governments.

PS The station has been significantly renovated since.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Peter is a serial offender at getting his AM and PM mixed up. As his country uses a twenty four hour clock system, we should forgive him.

How do you go with a twenty four clock? I am not bad with it as I have to use one at work. Still, even at work, probably to other's annoyance, I write in am and pm unless there is no other option. My workplace is quite perverse in that if I worked until 2 am, I would be working until 26.00.

At home we always set clocks to am/pm where we can. I can't see a twenty four clock ever catching on here, not when we use a twelve hour clock face. How can you visualise the time in the twenty four hour format with a twelve hour clock face? You can, but it requires thought. In the twenty first century, I think we are already overloading our brains and memory.