Saturday, October 13, 2012

So many Wongs

For many years I knew two Wongs. There is an old slightly racist Australian(?) joke that I won't repeat but odd occasion I saw the two Wongs together, it made me think of the joke. If I saw one Wong alone, and you have to be of a certain age, I would think of an old credit card ad. Wait, I'll try You Tube. Yes, here it is. It was actually travellers cheques, not a credit card.

Now I know four Wongs, two at work, occasional commenter and transport enthusiast Marcus and a personal friend whose family name I only just discovered.  I can only recall two Smiths and I don't know either well.

Does this say something about the changing face of Australia, or is it just my world?

In an co-incidence almost too unbelievable to be true, when I just checked Marcus' blog address for the link, he had just written about his name and even used the same credit card clip. It seems there were difficulties in Australian for Wongs when that ad was on air.

Sexist Pig

Apparently I have misunderstood the word misogyny for rather a long time. I always thought it was a step beyond sexism. Apparently, it means woman hater. I have called people I know misogynistic but clearly that was a wrong call. No one I know is a woman hater. Some may have poor attitudes to women, but of course the women they know are ok. Substitute racism or homophobia and that works just as well.

While the fine nuances of politics are endlessly fascinating, it is the out there things we notice, via the media filter of course.

Just because Australia has a female Prime Minister and female Governor General, does not mean Australia is not sexist.

Photo from Fairfax Press.

Prime Minister Gillard seemed to speak from the heart and impromptu but as what she said went viral around the world, I rather wish she had polished what she said beforehand.

What our PM essentially said, was don't attack me because I am woman. She has a point. I do not recall a male politician attacked with such vehemence as Julia has been. She stands above it all.

Although I was a Howard hater and I did not like him, at times I admired him, especially his political skills.

While I've have never loved Julia, I do respect Prime Minister Gillard. 

But my extremely cynical almost 55 year old self is starting to really like our Julia. If she bopped the evil Abbott on the nose and got done for assault, I would still give her a character reference. 

From Manila to Calcutta

Mother misses her Filipina*neighbour, who suicided, very much, but she is not about to welcome another from exotic climes into her life. Beside Mother's house are three units, built about ten years ago. One of them is occupied by an Indian couple, their toddler daughter and the mother of one of the couple.

Mother has occasional chats to the couple and she allows them to use her rubbish bin if they have too much rubbish and she has space in hers. Nice to be friendly with the neighbours of course, but friends?

The Indian grandmother has taken to bringing her grand daughter into to see Mother. Grand Daughter is too young to speak properly, having only a few words in her vocabulary as yet. Grand Mother has even less English words in her vocabulary. She stands at Mother's front door after ringing the bell, smiling and chatting away in Hindi. Mother hasn't a clue what she is on about but it seems not to matter.

'Invite her in for tea Mother', I suggested. I was smartly rebuked. 'What would I talk about with her when we can't understand each other. I don't have the time anyway. I have my jobs to do.'

Fair enough, and the Indian Grandmother does seem the type who might make a daily habit of calling in for tea.

With a flash of inspiration by Mother, she took them to the back yard and with some gesticulating, showed them her lemon tree and asked if they wanted some. The lemon tree has long supplied the Highrise with lemons for g & ts and cooking. It has looked like it is dying for more than ten years, yet it is constantly in fruit.

Indian Granny accepted the bag of lemons and happily trotted off home with her grand daughter in tow.

Is Mother going to give them lemons every time they call? There will be no lemons left for the Highrise g & ts.

To be continued, no doubt.

Friday, October 12, 2012

You Choob Friday

A pretty nasty thing to do, but watch how the girl reacts. No car park rage. She just works smarter. They might have got the space, but can they get out of their car!

Ten Years On, We Remember

Hindu, Christian, Moslem, Buddhist, Jew and non believer. It mattered not and nor the country they came from matter. Ten years ago in an act of terror, extremist Moslems blew up two bars in Bali and a further bomb exploded at the American Embassy. The bomb did not discriminate.

While Bali is not Australia, many of us feel very connected the Indonesian holiday island of Bali. More Australians died from the bomb explosions than those from any other country. Two hundred and two people were killed, ninety one of them Australian.

It is difficult to be solemn at Melbourne's Bali Memorial with skateboarders flying around. In spite of my complaints a few years ago, City of Melbourne does nothing to enforce its own bylaw. Nevertheless, I took a few photos.

Australia's larger cities have memorials to the bomb victims.

by Jim


by Grace



 Melbourne's Lincoln Square.

There is a water jet for each Australian who died.

The Australian victims names are inscribed on this post. Below is the text of an inscription near the water.

Later edit: Odd, the Bali Memorial Fountain is turned off on Bali Memorial Day

 On October 12, 2002 our lives were changed forever.
We lost our loved ones, our precious sons and daughters, wives and husbands, mums and dads, brothers and sisters, our companions and good mates. We are left with our profound sense of loss. We will always treasure our memories of their youth, their love of life, their spirit, their warmth, and beautiful smiles.
We will always feel their presence. They will forever shine in our thoughts.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

So Cross

As far as I know, Annie O'Dyne coined the name So Cross for Southern Cross Station, or as it used to be known, Spencer Street Station.

If it is a warm summer's day in Melbourne, city people look for grass. There is not a lot within the city boundaries. This one is technically outside the city grid, but no matter. Thank you Fairfax Press for giving us a little patch of grass. We just love it.

Southern Cross Station was buzzing with people, extra busy because of school holidays. The pleasant enough cafe where I once caught up with blog mates is now a Hungry Jacks. I am appalled but it didn't stop me buying a cheeseburger.

As I get older, I find I get appalled far more often, but the advertisements for a private gambling company, the TAB, at a public railway station are truly appalling.

We once strayed into a gambling area with Little Jo when she was a baby. We were quickly moved on. Yet this advertising is seen by hundreds of children and youth every day. I am appalled.

There are promises of riches, but the reality is a good percentage of the money you gamble will go to government, which is not a bad thing for me and those who don't gamble, and a smaller percentage to a private company.

Gambling can be a bit of fun at times, but don't ever expect to win.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


When I first heard the title Citizen Journalist, I never imagined Citizen Journalist would be replacing proper journalists, but that seems to be what The Age is looking for. They want Citizen Journalist to go through government papers to find 'interesting things'. Extraordinary.

I have spent far too long sitting at the computer today. My latest foray was to find out about candidates for the forthcoming local council elections. I found a girl running for the Emerald Hill Ward. I'll vote for her. Women are usually more sensible and she wears glasses, so she must be smart.  Once again, The Greens have leafleted our building with flyers for the Junction Ward candidate. I sent them a message about being wrong and it being such a waste of their resources.

Today as I was about to step out to get on a tram at the Franklin Street tram stop, a car sped along the bike way at about 40km/h.  The driver had clearly ignored traffic signals and no vehicle access signs. I held my hands upturned at him, indicating 'what are you doing'. The tram driver smiled at me and nodded sympathetically.

That reminds me, I sent a letter of complaint to City of Melbourne about when I saw a crane truck go along the lowered tram tracks and break off a bit of granite edging. They have not gotten back to me.

I did receive a response from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about my experience at a Melbourne Airport Duty Free shop where I think I was forced to pay a credit surcharge because EFTPOS would not work. The reply was somewhat ambigous and not really satisfactory. Here are some snips. I took it as far as I could with the business, that being a state of stalemate.

Your complaint has been recorded on the ACCC’s complaints database. Each complaint is assessed against the ACCC’s Compliance and enforcement policy to determine whether ACCC action is warranted; either because of the seriousness of the issues raised by the particular complaint or because the conduct may be part of a pattern of conduct that is causing widespread consumer detriment. The ACCC usually does not confirm whether or not it will investigate a particular complaint. You will only be contacted if further information is required.

As a general rule the ACCC does not get involved in individual disputes between traders and consumers.

In news from the trains, there has been two separate pedestrian deaths within a couple of hours on the Frankston line today. Unbelievable. Time to get rid of major level crossings Teddy Bails. 

I'll drive darls

I read a short piece in the RACV magazine a couple of weeks ago that really made me think about something I had never considered. RACV is our state motoring organisation which along with lobbying for better and more roads, also offers road side help for broken down cars, among many other goods and services.

I will use stereotypes here for the sake of convenience.

A husband, whose wife does not do paid work, retires. They no longer need two cars so they sell her car. He takes over the day to day driving and they rarely go anywhere alone. She starts to lose her driving skills and road confidence. There comes a day when she just no longer drives at all. Her husband has a stroke and along with the stress of dealing with illness, she has the added stress of having to drive, not having done so for years.

Usually among couples, one or the other is the usual driver, rarely sharing equally. I would suggest that allowing the non usual driver to drive at least one quarter of the time is a good idea to keep their driving skills intact for as long as possible.

Me(ouch, someone hit my knuckles) I being the usual driver needs to remember the point I have made.

Can't you see I am getting old when I start thinking about things like this!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Out with the old

I feel incredibly cruel and unappreciative when something like our balcony cyclamen , which has given us so much visual pleasure for months, is just thrown down the rubbish chute like vegetable peelings. But what else can I do? I have planted a whole punnet, eight, petunia seedlings in a not so large pot. I am not sure if it is such a good idea to put so many seedlings in one pot, but otherwise, remaining seedlings would be thrown out too. This is the first time I've planted seedlings in a pot for over a decade and I am a little rusty. A few days after planting, they have 'taken' and are looking good. Should I 'prick' a couple of the smaller ones out?

R and I haggled over the petunia colour. I won......except, now I can't remember what colour they are. Such a hollow victory but it will be a nice surprise when they flower.

A St Kilda visit

This building in now known as Crest on Barkly, a four star hotel. Laughingly its blurb says it is eight minutes from the city. Perhaps, by car, assuming the car has flight mode. It used to be known at the Beverley Crest, a place where you could imbibe as well as stay. It was featured in a television soap opera, perhaps The Box.

Normally when you are driving, I would strongly suggest you watch the road, but if you going through St Kilda Junction east bound along Queensway, do glance up to your right and give a nod of respect to the Corroboree Tree, an over three hundred year old river red gum sacred to our Aborigines.

Rather than walk the length of this barrier and then about an equal distance back to the tram stop, am I really expected to back track and use a convoluted pedestrian subway? Would the person who ordered the signs do so? Would the person who decided on the placement of the signs do so? I very much doubt it. Not a single person in the world who was familiar with the tram stop would do so.

What time would it take to walk to the tram stop? Twenty seconds from where I am standing, across the road from a huge office block. Am I really expected to walk back along the path on the far right, wait for the long cycle traffic lights to cross the road, go down the steps or ramp under the road and then up again to get to the tram stop? This would take about three to four minutes at least. I assume this is the work of Yarra Trams and I may well make a proper complaint about such puerile nonsense. Clearly our tram company is heavily into self protection mode, as there actually aren't proper paths from where I am, yet the way is trodden by hundreds ever day. This really is a Vic Roads issue from when St Kilda Junction was built.

This Australian native hangs down from St Kilda Junction to Queensway. It is to the side but it is low enough to be struck by a truck. It quite amuses me as I pass by. No doubt at the moment, its care has not been specified on Vic Road's contractor's list. It is going to keep growing but let it be, I say.

Holy Sheet! After many years of trading,  Holy Sheet in Acland Street has closed down.

After a long period of non operation by the clock on The Esplanade (incorrectly called the Upper Esplanade but there are historical reason why people know it as the Upper Esplanade), the clock is once again working. Clock repair contractors were employed but they refused to work until the vermin was cleared from the tower, so rodent removal contractors were employed. No doubt the cost to ratepayers has been huge. That is me by the way. City of St Kilda (now Port Phillip) should have never given redundancy to their rat catcher who was a jack of all trades and could have probably fixed the clock too.

Monday, October 08, 2012

This tram stop is not a tram stop

I left Southern Cross Station and I wanted to go down Bourke Street. The pedestrian lights to cross Spencer Street went green and a number 86 tram was sitting at the stop, ready for me to get on, but the driver would not let me on. She gesticulated for me to go around the corner where there is a platform stop. I glanced up at the tram stop sign and noted two route numbers but unfortunately I did not absorb the numbers. I quickly moved to the stop around the corner and caught the tram.

As the tram proceeded along Bourke Street, I was thinking, that is not right. How can it be a tram stop for some trams and not others? If I ran across the road against the lights at the last minute when the tram was about to get a signal to turn, I can understand the driver not letting me on, but there was plenty of time.

Before I left the tram, I asked the driver if where I tried to get on was no longer a tram stop. She said it is for some trams but not the 86 tram as the stop gets too busy and crowded with people coming out from So Cross Station. Riiiiight.

I have looked at various websites but as the stop around the corner is so close, there doesn't seem to be any difference noted. I do know only two tram routes go past that stop, hence the two route numbers.

I am just going to have to go back and check, unless one of you knows.

Later Edit: While I did not take any details, from my camera I can work out the time. If my suspicions are correct, I may well follow it up.


We were at South Melbourne Market and I couldn't resist the strawberries at $1 a punnet. I bought two. I know large strawberries are not always nice, but these were small ones which are usually sweeter. It was not to be. They were as cardboard like and tasteless as the larger normally are. Sugar, caster sugar, lots of it, was required to make them palatable. Why do we have such rubbish fresh fruit in Australia? Japan does not. Malaysia does not. Why us?

Bronze sink? That was taken with the flash on.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Jones, sans ads

I just love how this Alan Jones business is playing out. I was one of those who was coined a 'Howard Hater'. But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine him being put in a chaff bag and thrown out sea, as Jones suggested should happen to Australia's PM Gillard.

Those appalling types who listen to 2GB apparently have no respect for Australia and the office of the Prime Minister of our country.

Maybe one day, social media will go all wrong and vent itself on you or me, but I am seriously liking the way social media is heading, in calling matters like Jones to account. I hope this is the way of the future, that is when someone as abominable as Jones goes overboard, decent people can take effective action via social media.

Lol at the point that those who are protesting against Jones, don't listen to him. Yes, that is quite correct. Why would we? His devotees are old and comfortably off people who probably don't get out much and have a scant connection with the real world. And some could be real rednecks (there, rednecks is another useful word from the US)

I am starting  to like PM Gillard. She did not engage in the debate and apart from saying she will not appear on Jones' radio show, she maintained a dignified silence, in spite of Jones suggesting that her father died of shame about his daughter's political lies.

I am a little troubled though. Don't our newspapers, The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, own McQuarie Radio who owns 2GB? Did Fairfax sell off McQuarie? As for The Age being owned by Fairfax and not David Syme, how did that happen?

To put it ever so bluntly about Jones, I think we are observing a piece of shit being scraped off a shoe.

A cocky visitor

A bird landed on the railing of nearby apartment, and after asking Red for help, it was identified as a Long Billed Corella. Here is a generic photo followed by my lousy photo. They like to dig mown grass areas to find roots and bulbs. I expect the nearby Albert Park Golf Course suffered some damage.

Subsequently there were flocks of black birds flying past. They made a distinctive noise and it took me no time to identify them as Yellow Tailed Cockatoos.

I saw a flash of white and later R told me he saw the same from his bedroom where he was undressing for a shower. The bird landed on a nearby balcony. I rushed for the camera and stealthily opened the balcony door a few centimetres and pointed the lens. Click, click. I knew the photos would not be great, no better than the Corella photo.

But then, much excitement. As I stood with the lens pointing through the door, the bird flew up, perhaps attracted by our potted red cyclamen on the balcony and landed on our balcony railing. My lens was a mere fifty centimetres away from the wild Sulphur Crested Cockatoo and I am ever so pleased with my photos of he or she wild bird. It snipped off the stem of a flower and flew away with the stem in its beak.

 A week or so ago when Little Jo was here, she and R made cup cakes and sprinkled them with hundreds and thousands. I et mine on the balcony and spilled a few of the tiny sweet sprinkles. They have not appealed to rodents, ants, birds or even this ladybird I found on our balcony. It is a weird thing to drop crumbs outside and and a week later, nothing has been cleaned up by critters.