Saturday, December 01, 2012

The Crack Reporter, no

A three-metre crocodile was shot dead in the billabong the next day and human remains were found inside it. AAP.

That looks like a sentence I would write, not one from Australia Associated Press, a company I presume is under the banner of Associated Press, a world famous news organisation. While the sentence is clear, it is a very ugly sentence. 

AP has a history it can be proud of, but it has come to this?

St Kilda Colour

St Kilda is known to be populated with colourful characters, although not colourful as is 'a colourful Sydney identity'.

Even inside the small modern shopping centre, there is colour.

The Local Park

On the edge of Kingsway is a small park, well used by office workers at lunch time and often for barbecues. Not long after we moved here, the park was renovated and the patchy grass replaced by gravel, so it is not the coolest or most pleasant park, but the Moreton Bay Fig trees are magnificent.

 Many lanes of a traffic flow along Kingsway as it divides at the beginning of Queens Road.

 Look, I see a foreign bicycle. Send it home.

A closer inspection shows it bearing the moniker of Vic Roads rather than RACV.

Yes, that was a shorn Jack in the last photo. He has visited us for two long weekends in a row.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Myki 29/12

As of the 29th of December you will have no option other than to buy a stored value Myki card to travel on Melbourne's public transport. They Myki ticket system seems to work well enough. I am amazed at the stalwarts who hung out using Metcards, when Myki fares were a good bit cheaper.

If I travel interstate or overseas, I check out the public transport system in advance online, including the ticket system. If I don't do it in advance, I fall on the mercy of a local and no doubt pay through the nose. I don't have a lot of sympathy for foreign travellers in Australia who have to deal with our ticket system. I have had to do it in many of our states and overseas countries. That is just what you do when you travel. Their country, their ways. Our country, our ways.

But there is another category of public transport user, the very casual local Melbourne public transport traveller, like the visitors from the country or from Box Hill South.  Our Brother Friends fall into this category. In the last twenty years they may have used public transport ten times, always to do something with us. We take on the responsibility of sorting out that they have change or tickets in advance.

We won't do this again. What I will do is tell them to get off their arses and go and buy a Myki card in advance, with some credit. It is not too hard and the $6 for the card will not send them broke, no matter how they will moan about it.

There are so many important issues with our public transport that need to be dealt with. The PTUA fighting for a single journey ticket, dispensed by a new machine no doubt, is a lost cause and they would do better to devote their efforts to other issues. The PTUA is about four years too late to fight for the cause. Lol, I almost forgot that the PTUA is a political organisation. Someone from the PTUA has been on the phone and the new president, Tony Morton, is suddenly being called Dr Morton in the media. Yeah, that gives him a bit more credibility. PS, shallow, I know, but he was cute when he was younger.

Interestingly in Adelaide and Sydney, and Brisbane and Perth, they have or are introducing much simpler smart card public transport systems that cost tax payers much less.

It would seem Melbourne is a bit special with its new expensive smart card system, but that is what we have. We have to live with it and the time for fighting against it has passed. I think even the person in Victoria's Larrikens End already has Myki.

Hulot Friday 2

This is a short clip from Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot. M. Hulot has a flat tyre near where a funeral is underway.

Hulot Friday

One of Jacques Tati's lesser known movies is Traffic. I have not seen it. Here is a clip, and I have another to show you in the future. Of course you can go through the dross of You Tube and find them all yourselves, but I select the creme de la creme for your delectation. I am unsure which my favourite is in this clip, probably the old bloke in the Deux Chevaux. Two horses? Must mean 2 horse power engine.

Sorry, you demanded, well no you didn't really, to see the one I mentioned last week, the flat tyre scene. Maybe this arvo.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Smasha de cantaloupe

I suppose there was a reason to smash cantaloupes against a wall while being filmed just outside of  the delightful container bar, Section 8, but I can't imagine what.

Note: You may know this fruit as a rock melon. The nomenclature is  confusing. Clear it up in comments, if you please.

This week's and other week's flowers

I knew it would be useful to have a finished post up my sleeve for when life became too busy.

I do like a nice gladdy.

Erect gerberas, and they stayed erect for nearly a week.

 Lilies might look nice, but they can pong terribly, never mind the staining pollen from their stamens.

Natives, for a change.

Supporting the Dutch economy, via a tulip grower in the Dandenongs.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Garden at the Tram Stop

This was quite well done, with roots in the soil and the downpipe supplying water. But the plants are only plastic. Perhaps next time they could make a real ant farm.

A Tale of Two Schools

I was on a tram, as I often am. It was a Toorak tram, a posh area tram, if you like. Two school girls, I think from Merton Hall, were standing near me. The were typical private school girls, with the particular speech patterns and vowel sounds that such young lasses have. One appeared quite bored as the other recited a history of Vietnam from when the French arrived to when the Americans left. I listened intently and I could not fault her on her knowledge. She had the dates, the place names, our entry into the war,  in fact all the details down pat. I was so impressed, I wanted to say to her, well done you, as I left the tram at the station.

What an education. What a pity such excellent schools are not available to to everyone.

Groups of students are often seen around the city but this group stood out to me. Firstly I noticed that they did not have uniforms, although they were clearly in secondary school. Their clothes were generally not as most young people dress. They would be quite at home in Brunswick Street, with an older, say twenty years old plus, way of dressing. You know, they looked a bit artistic. Where on earth might that school be? Curiosity got the better of me and in a friendly, hopefully not creepy manner, I asked one of the students. Princes Hill, he replied. Right, Carlton. Well, I wasn't far off with Brunswick Street. Princes Hill is a government school and is probably educating some of our future artists, writers and actors.

Just two schools out of many that are educating Australia's future leaders, workers, performers and 'non-performers'. Thank goodness there will be some non performing types who will pay their tax as it is deducted from their wages. Someone has to pay tax to pay my old age pension.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In a frippery shop

R, you should have put that card back in the rack properly.

Why did I think of Copperwitch when I saw this little cased diary.


Sea Baths

I visited the St Kilda Sea Baths to buy a body massage voucher as a gift for someone's birthday.  Several photos of the Sea Baths in older incarnations were displayed along a central walkway. I am sure many Sea Bath photos can be found online, but I like these photos of photos. I read a little of the history of the Sea Baths just now and I've selected a few points that interested me.

Bathing on beaches was not allowed in the 19th century into the 20th century, unless at sea baths. The sea baths were sex segregated.

In the men's area of the baths, back in the 1884, there were complaints about excessive and un-warranted nudity. I suspect that is code for something.

1922 saw more complaints, probably about men again, for night basking on the beach and lewd behaviour.

1926, the baths burnt and were reconstructed by 1928.

We slip a little south to Middle Brighton Pier, where in 1930 many people watch a young man get killed by a shark. Women fainted as they watched the carnage and had to be given stimulants.

Meanwhile back at the Sea Baths, in the 1930s men started rolling down their upper body straps and walking the streets in their swimming costumes and being prosecuted for such brazenness.

1945, an army chap died after being stabbed in the heart by a stingray.

Still in the forties and fifties, the excessive public nudity went on.

In 1980 the shark net was removed from around the Baths and nightclubs proliferated at the Sea Baths. I think I once went to one called Bojangles. Ah, perhaps Hilliers too, run by dykon Jan Hillier.

I visited the baths only once and was very clearly a gay cruising area. There was a walkway deck around the swimming area. It was very shabby. You went on to great things, Mr Fairfax Press executive. You seemed so shy and sweet.

In 1991 tenders were called for the reconstruction of the baths, with the winning tender announced in 1992, awarded to a company called Zarawaters.

1993 saw the baths close for good and demolished in 1995. Some sections were retained to be incorporated into the new design.

The public hated the new building and judged it too big and too bulky. Developer Hannah Friedman appeared frequently in the media, defending the building as construction fitfully proceeded.

By 1998, Zarawaters was in receivership with a new developer chosen in 1999. As per the agreement with the new developer, some of the worst aspects of the redevelopment were demolished.

In 2001, the new Sea Baths opened. I judge it to be reasonably inoffensive.

I understand that St Kilda Sea Baths and Hepburn Spa (mineral) are connected.

Monday, November 26, 2012

But Officer......

Can people be fined for stupidity or laziness?

Public Transport Snips

''People's love of rail transport is independent of economic realities,'' Greiner told a lunchtime audience in September last year, quoting the British economist and columnist John Kay. ''The answer seems to be that there is something psychologically irresistible about vehicles on iron roads.''

Yeah Greasy Greiner, and? So people like fixed rail electric transport. Is that a problem for someone? 

(The status quo is a slog: just 19 per cent to 34 per cent of George Street buses currently arrive within two minutes of their scheduled time, according to the Department of Transport.)

If Melbourne trams had figures like that, the private companies that run our system would be quickly sent broke by fines.

The core of Mr Legge’s idea to deal with the current public transport crisis is to extend the same level of service as rail and tram-rich inner city Prahran now enjoys to all of urbanised Melbourne. His vision is that 95% of households would be within 800 metres of a fixed-rail station or stop.

We are kind of Prahran residents. We have quite good public transport access. But oh, how we whinge when we have to wait longer than a couple of minutes for a tram into town. We walk out our door and umpteen trams pass by as we walk to the tram stop. Once, there, we wait and wait. I am sure at least once we had to wait for five minutes. We pay dearly to live where we do, and should get a better service than having to wait five minutes for a tram. I think once I waited ten minutes for a bus. But I don't think it is unreasonable for most residents of Melbourne to be within a couple of kilometres of a train station.

Fifty new trams for Melbourne, a much better service perhaps? Fifty new flash French trams minus thirty Z1 trams to be retired is a net gain of twenty trams.

I suppose that is something.

Seven new trains. I think there are still six old Hitachi trains running. Assuming they will be retired, a gain of one train. 

Well, I don't think a lack of trains is a big problem for our existing train network. 

I am almost wet with anticipation at Premier Teddy's pre election promises. But has he delivered on his last election's promises?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Not my family

I used to have a benign attitude to these stickers. I have grown to dislike them. Although you can combine them however you like, say a single mother with ten children, they speak to me of a middle class smugness, a certain self satisfaction, never mind the stereotyped roles. I did a smirk recently when I saw a gap in the line where presumable the male of the house once was. There was a small sign pointing to the gap saying, vacancy.

Our neighbour

A couple of doors along is the St Kilda Road Police Complex. It is often mentioned in the media and the media often get things wrong.

Mr Red Symons of ABC radio, it is not the St Kilda Police Station and nor is it Police Headquarters or Police Headquarters in St Kilda Road.

All reporters, it is not Police Headquarters or St Kilda Road Police Headquarters. Police Headquarters is in Flinders Street. I will wear St Kilda Road Police Station.

You know there is a serious media story, albeit usually a tragic one, under-foot when the media take over the lane at the rear of our building.

R was ballistic last night because media had overtaken Queens Lane and interrupting his access to our carpark. Why doesn't the council book the illegally parked media cars, he asked? Good question, why doesn't it?

In my head, I am working up a list of matters to ask City of Port Phillip to deal with. This is added.