Saturday, August 11, 2012

We are the Laser Sailing champions of the world

No idea what laser sailing is though.

Contrary to expectations, London's public transport system has not collapsed under the weight of the Olympic attendees. I never thought it would. A lot of money and effort was expended in advance to ensure that it functioned well, and so far no disasters. The dire warnings even spooked local Londoners who know about transport there. Smugly from afar I can say, I told you it would be ok on the night.

I have been slightly bemused by two American media outlets pressing the point that London's public transport rail system is very old and often breaks down, but Londoners are used to that. Perhaps these are media outlets who like Mitt Romney and what he said about the risk of the having the Olympics in London.

While returning from the City on the tram the other day, I absently mindedly flicked through some apps on my phone. I read a bit of BBC news and a bit from The Guardian.  Oh look, my London Tube Map app. Lordy, Pants lived here and the next station is Stratford, the station to get to the principal Olympic venues, via a shopping centre. Somehow I am guessing the Javelin to the Olympics does not stop at Hackney Wick. Poor Pants would have probably had to catch a train into St Pancreas and then the Javelin back past her place to get to the Olympics. She was smart to sell up the palatial Pant's Palace when she did and move back to Australia, no matter what a cultural backwater it is.

I can't say I am paying much attention to the Olympics, except for the colour and movement in London itself. Apparently our Channel Nine coverage is full of ads, appalling and very jingoistic. What a surprise. Naughty people have been getting around BBC geo blocking to receive their superior converage.

I have never heard our ABC sports broadcaster Gerard Whateley call a sporting event, but I have often heard him talking about sports on the wireless and I liked him. But after hearing him commentate an Olympic sporting event, maybe swimming, I no longer like him. He called it like an over the top mega important horse race. He was almost hysterical. And Australia lost! God knows what he would have been like if we won.

Fastest sprinter in world Usain Bolt ran 100 metres in just less than ten seconds. If he could keep that up, slightly struggling to adapt metric to a sixty minute clock, that would be one minute and forty seconds per kilometre. Wow, that is faster than my trip home from work along Dandenong Road. But then an Australian lass Sally Pearson won a hurdle race of 100 metres in about twelve seconds. Two seconds longer and she had to jump over hurdles. Try that Bolt.

The  next games are in Rio de Janeiro. I wonder where they will be after that. Please not Melbourne. We've had our turn. The games weren't quite the size they are now.

A scan of my 1956 UBD Street Directory reprint.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The pedos are among us

I am not even going to attempt to spell the word. Correctly spelt, doesn't it have one of those merged o's and e's?

I should be distressed about all those abused children who ended up as nothing more than sexually gratifying computer images for sickos to look at. Instead, I feel sorry for admitted viewer of kiddie porn, Andy Muirhead. No, I am not really sorry, but just terribly sad. I liked him on tv. R liked him on tv and radio. I even showed R how he could listen to him via the computer on ABC Hobart radio when R started work. How could Andy have done this to us? I think R liked him for a bit more than just his voice. Terrible, just terrible.

The world is full of pedos. They are well disguised. They could even be sitting on a plane in the seat next to you.

Virgin Airlines thinks so apparently. Should you be a male travelling on your own and seated next to unaccompanied minors, you will be moved, lest you reach across and go the grope on one of the kiddies. To one chaps embarrassment and humiliation, he was moved.

How has society gone so wrong that all men are judged, by an airline at least, as potential pedos? 

More from the canals of Amsterdam

Well, this initially appeared to be somewhat alarming. In fact it still looked alarming as it was making its way along the canals. There seems to be some defying of the laws of physics. Surely it must turn turtle.

There is also one in Rotterdam and one in Budapest, both of which make better splashes, but Amsterdam's looks the most un boat like.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Indonesians Burning

When we caught the Ekspress Rakyat from Butterworth to Kuala Lumpur we passed many palm plantations, clearly where jungle had been cleared. However, Malaysia clearing jungle for palm plantations is nothing compared to what Indonesia is doing.

As I recounted at the time, each day we would greet our friend in KL with, 'How's the weather Manny?'

He invariably replied with, 'Hazy. The Indonesians are burning again.'

To Malaysia and Singapore, and other nearby countries, the Indonesians burning is of great concern. The smoke travels and smothers both countries. In Indonesia peat lands are drained and the peat set alight. Once alight peat is almost impossible to extinguish.  A conference between the appropriate government ministers from surrounding affected countries was being planned while we were in Malaysia. But it was suggested that the conference was pointless as Indonesia just shrugs its shoulders and says it does have the money or resources to enforce its land clearing laws that stop the burning of peat and the cutting down of the jungle.

Our friend from northern Victoria spends most of his time when he is not in Australia alternating between Bangkok, Chang Mai and Penang. At times he has to leave Penang when the smoke gets too bad.

As well as the smoke problem, there is such a loss of wild life habitat.

An emotive picture always helps. Look at the poor innocent orangutan, being deprived of his jungle by Indonesia clearing and burning. Orangutans are truly delightful animals.

As well as palm oil being in a lot of our processed food, it is also used in biofuel. Biofuel was supposed to help the environment by replacing petroleum fuels, but around the world it has not. Huge swathes of forest and jungle have been cleared for biofuel production, along with productive farmland being turned over to biofuel production. Somehow, I don't think the promotion of biofuel was really thought through properly. It is rather like us extracting biofuel from sugar cane. Yep, let's clear more Queensland tropical rainforest and plant sugar cane for biofuel. Former Prime Minister Howard, at the behest of cane growers, pushed for biofuel very hard but the ten per cent mix that was available at service stations has not been seen by me for some time, no matter that it was cheaper. It seems the public rejected it.

Indonesia's carbon emissions are right up there with the giant energy consumers of the world, China and the United States, purely from rainforest destruction.

I can't vouch for these figures from Palm Oil Action Australia, but if accurate, they are of great concern. Like genetically modified food, I think we have a right to know what in our supermarkets and shops contains palm oil and then we can decide.
  • Indonesia has the second highest rate of deforestation in the world.
  • Over 300 football fields of rainforest are destroyed every hour in South East Asia.
  • Clearing forest for palm oil plantations is the leading cause of deforestation.
  • Over 50 Orangutans a week die because of this devastation.
  • There are now less than 500 Sumatran tigers and 3000 Sumatran Elephants left in the wild.
  • Palm oil is contained in 40% of products in Australian supermarkets.
  • It is not mandatory to label palm oil in Australia.
  • There is an alternative. Companies can source Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) which is planted on already degraded land or grassland NOT rainforest.
Just to note, I do not blame the poor people of Indonesia who make a dollar however they can and I don't think the poor have the capital to finance huge land clearing projects, but someone does.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Quiz #41

Answer: This is what was known as the Tooronga Gasometer, off Toorak Road near where the Monash Freeway/CityLink now cross. I am sure I can remember the bridge being much as it is in the photo. Toorak Road rises steeply in the distance as it approaches Tooronga Road. The present Glen Waverley railway line is visible, although I don't think it would have gone as far as Glen Waverley when this photo was taken. The road in the foreground is probably Elizabeth Street and the space in between has been heavily planted now. Where the gasometer was is not housing and a large commercial premises presently under construction. The trees to be seen will have long been removed for housing. Well done RH for correctly answering.

I can't remember what I was going to do with these two photos. So what are they and where were they?
Hint for the second photo, Jah Teh and Fen may not be far away. The site is now a park. Name?

Answer: Located in North Melbourne off Macauly Road across the road from the old North Melbourne Football/Cricket Ground in Arden Street. The site now seems to have apartments and open green space. Well done David Thompson who has more interests than just Art Deco buildings.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

In celebration of the London 'Lympics

Matt Shirvington was quite a nice looking lad when he was a young athlete but looks will only get you so far. I suppose he was an Olympic competitor at some time. Now I think he commentates on sport for a commercial television station. So, even though he was nice enough looking, I would have forgotten about him and only had a vague recollection of him when he popped up on screens for the London Olympics, except he has really stuck in my memory for some reason.

As for the Olympics, just wait for the howls from the Australian Institute of Sport that they need more money. I am writing this halfway through the Olympics and so far it has been a disaster for Australia, not because we have only won one gold medal, but because of the 'craic'. Craic, pronounced crack, is a useful English/Irish word that means talk, but it has connotations. There has been far too much craic.

Go Australia and bedeck our halls with silver.

PS You probably won't see the included video if you are using Google Reader.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Stop Now!!!

Our Prime Minister possibly does need a stylist.

She may well be barren.

She could be childless and one dimensional.

Looks like a weakling.

Never succumbed to the demands of child rearing, teenagers, and wait for it, servicing the needs of her husband.

Bob Brown's Bitch.

Burn the Witch.

Put her into a chaff bag and throw her into the sea?

Big arsed.

Needs kicking to death.

An old cow.

A liar.

A 'ranger.

A frump.

I can never remember any other Australian Prime Minister receiving so many vicious insults. It is appalling.  Whatever one's political views, no politician should receive treatment like that. Most of those insults did not come from disgruntled voters, but professional public speakers and the media.

I have come to admire Gillard because of the way she ignores the insults and just goes right on doing her job as she sees best, whether you agree with what she is doing or not.

If you insult the Prime Minister of Australia, you are insulting the office of Prime Minister and it follows, Australia itself.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Hamer Hall and the Gladdies

I thought I would set off early to capture the gladdys (Gladiolus) next to the renovated and re-opened Hamer Hall in the morning light. I suppose them being there was a connection with Dame Edna performing at Hamer Hall. As you can see, I was too late. Workmen were dismantling them. They looked great when they up, and with some good lighting on them at night.

Photo of the gladdies from the Herald Sun when they were erect as a Brazilian goat.

I believe this coffee and food van is operated by Michael Ibrahim. I wonder if he is one of those Sydney Ibrahims. Probably not. I think he could whip up a five course meal from what is jammed into the van.

The rebuilt entrance to Hamer Hall is very swish. The barriers rather spoil the scene. Hopefully they will be removed soon.

For some time as I have travelled over Princes Bridge, I have wondered what this concrete thing was all about. Ah, it became clear when viewed from the other side.

Well, my first issue. Why was a solid concrete fence built that blocked any view of the river below? Along the river below is an open metal fence. Why not here? If there is some outdoor dining going to happen in this area, an open fence would have been so much better.

Some forthcoming attractions. ABI Brother saw Tina Arena perform at Hamer Hall last Sunday night.

R moved away in embarrassment as I tried to explain to the cafe that the Vegemite was for my raisin toast. The cafe could not imagine the possibility. They sweetness of the fruit and the saltiness of Vegemite go very well together.

It was a lovely bright and clear morning and everyone was in a cheerful mood. You can see the earlier mentioned open metal fence. Beyond is another paved lower level next to the river bank.

Ah, this is all new. There are going to be restaurants along here. Just what Melbourne needs. Our demand for food out is insatiable.

The National Gallery, Victoria, has had a renovation. Hamer Hall is now renovated. I suppose the theatre building will be next. Give 'em cake.

I rather liked these thingies in Southgate, with their changing patterns. Lava lamps for the the 21st century.