Saturday, January 19, 2013

Founded on Christian values

When I hear these words, I get a little afraid, usually because of either the person who utters them or the motive behind the words. It is not because I don't generally agree with Christian values, that is we ought not go around smiting and coveting, least of all one's neighbour's ass, no, its the suggestion that Christianity is the only religion to hold such values that troubles me.

There may well be some obscure religions that don't hold such values, but which? Surely Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam have similar principles, that is guiding principles to ensure society functions? No doubt someone can quote extremes from any of the religious books, the bible included. Let me just suggest that they are historical novels and should not be taken as records.

It is extremely arrogant for Christians to assume that they are morally superior because they have Christian values. (You may well wish to comment that it extremely arrogant of non believers to know they are right, but then hey,  science is on my side)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Morning Person?

I am never sure if I am a morning person or not. Possibly I am. I suppose I will find out one day when I retire from work and slip into my own natural rhythm. Nevertheless, I don't mind being up early and seeing the sun rise.

A tear in the eye

I am finding the older I get, the more emotional I get about unimportant things. Soppy, you might call it. News that my mother had expired overnight would have me stoic, strong and organising. At some point down the track, I would drink too much one night and end up a blubbering wreck about the demise of my mother and that would be a cleansing experience for me. If you are doubtful about this, I have form. The next day, while hungover, I would be at peace.

I teared up three times last Friday. Once was when I read this in the morning.

In the evening we went to see Jersey Boys, compliments of Sister and Bone Doctor. The tickets were priced at $145 each, and for that, we were in the grand circle, which sounds grand, but it was not. It was the very back and the very top of the Dress Circle. We were so far away and some of the screen visuals were cut off from our view. There were so many stairs to climb to get to the level. I noticed at intermission a staff member standing at the direct descending stairs so we were steered past the bar to get to the ground. There was no space to get to your seat without everyone in the row standing up. The only positive thing was the seats in the Grand Circle were better than those in the Stalls, which we found terribly uncomfortable when we went to see South Pacific. It is something like 25 years since the Princess Theatre was renovated. It may be time to do it again.

The show started slowly and I found myself closing my eyes and my head drooping. I started to enjoy it a bit towards the end of the first half. The second half was brilliant and when the song Can't Take My Eyes Off You, was sung, with a wonderful orchestra and band accompaniment, well, I teared up. Not from sadness perhaps, but from the beauty of the performance. The applause was deafening.

I would never pay such money to see a show, but I am not sorry I saw it. Thanks girls.

I had to get up for work in the morning the next day but once home, I did not feel sleepy. I did not know Frankie Valli was the original performer of Can't Take My Eyes Off You. I went to bed and played with my phone to see who else recorded it. I came across a video that again had me with tears in my eyes. Stupid sentimental old queen. Bah. If you are wondering if you should bother watching it, nearly 2.9 million viewers have. It is a marriage proposal to end all marriage proposals.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I don't get it?

A hippie at a protest camp near a forest he wants to protect sends out a press release via his laptop in the name of the ANZ Bank stating that they will not be funding a company's development in an ecological sensitive area. No one checked the veracity of the press release and the half the company's value was wiped off, before returning to the previous level. Some panicked investors may have rushed to sell. I cast no blame on the hippie, who is being investigated and had his laptop confiscated by the authorities. How is it that our share market and financial system so fragile that an unverified press release can wipe millions of dollars from a company? That is what the authorities should be examining, not pursuing someone who I consider is almost a whistleblower . Personally, along with his cause, I fully support the hippie protester for exposing the money mens' weaknesses. Well money women too now.

Some public hospitals are not reaching performance targets. They are not getting enough people through. People are waiting on hospital trolleys for too long. Surgery lists are way behind. So what does the State Government do? Increase their funding so that they can perform better? No, the government penalises the hospitals by reducing their funding. Well, that is really going to help ill people who present at the hospital. In my opinion hospitals should forget about budgets and treat the ill as best they can without financial constraints. Of course a lot of money could be saved by getting rid of the time wasters at Casualty and not having ambulances queued up, unable to attend an emergency because they can't admit a patient and have to keep them on board the ambulance.

New Years Eve: State of Victoria

City, 17 assaults
City, 39 arrests
Lorne, one stabbing, a few beach overdoses and a brawl
Victoria wide, over 30 overdoses

Victoria, over  200 arrested for being drunk and disorderly
Victoria,  356 arrests for various offences
Victoria, 60 caught drink driving
Footscray, previous night, 2 teens stabbed

I don't know what your standards are, but by mine these are appalling figures. What does Victoria Police have to say about it?

Police praised the behaviour of New Year's Eve crowds.

Little Jo Calls

Little Jo brought along her dolls to the Highrise during her last visit. Little Jo likes dolls, pretty dresses and is not keen on sport. She is totally opposite to Sister, one of  her mothers, when she was the same age.

The bowl arrangement is Little Jo's effort. Not bad but I don't like the upturned bowl being off centre.

I clean the balcony glass
weeklymonthlyat times and I did so before Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo visited. As I was cleaning I noticed the inside of the door needed a clean too, but sensibly I held off as I knew what would happen.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tea for Two

 I was looking at Fortnum and Mason website for something. What did I want? Ah yes, I wanted to find out what is Piccalilli. R had a vague idea but I didn't have a clue. I found out what is was, and while my buy on the internet fingers were itchy,  we have enough of that sort of stuff in the Highrise refrigerator and pantry.

What is this? Edible critters for sale at Fortnum and Masons. Extraordinary! No, not buying deep fried crickets or worm crisps.
For some reason tea sprang to mind. I cannot forget the perfect cup of tea we drank at a tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Where was that place? Google, maps and the internet were not helpful, so I texted our Malaysian friend Manny. Right, thanks Manny. Got it now. I am mentally prepared to buy some high quality tea over the internet.

Even though we may drink tea maybe only once a month, I was becoming very focused on buying some high quality tea.

Then Fun60 inadvertently stepped up to the crease with some information about Harrods. As I read it, Harrods beginnings were as a tea shop. The store has a fine tea department.

Now I am not sure if I should buy tea from the Cameron Highlands or from Harrods in London. 

And I shall slap your face if you tell me I need to get a life. This is my life, and don't forget how I may be helping Broken Britain or the tea pickers in the Cameron Highlands.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Moored at Station Pier

Voyager of the Sea was in port in early December. While it is not the largest ship in the world, its passenger capacity is the highest. I took tram ride down to the port to have a look at her.

Security is always tight when a cruise ship is visiting.

 This is a pillar kept from when Centenary Bridge was demolished in 1991. Essentially, the bridge was a road flyover and I don't recall any tears being shed when it was demolished.

 As you can see, Voyager of the Seas rather dwarfs the Spirit of Tasmania, a daily ferry to Devonport on the Australian island  state of Tasmania.

Nothing like a good rotunda. I have never seen this one used.

This toilet block harks back to a time when many European immigrants arrived at Station Pier and settled in the local area, hence the Ladies/Donne/Rynaikia sign.

A little whimsy.

View of the boats as I walked along the street towards the shops.

The home of Circus Oz, a performing circus without animals.

Morley's Coal Depot building. I wonder what those who used to hump sacks of coal around and ended up with ruined backs would think of a gym taking over.

This would be an old post office, a proper post office, staffed by dour and unfriendly staff. While post offices in normal street shops may be regretted, I don't miss the staff of years ago.

It seems little effort has been put into keeping the Bay Street streetscape. I blame VCAT, of course. How did anyone think this modern building would look right.

I was a bit mystified about this church tower. I looks old but also new. A little research tells me that, if I have the right one, it was illegally demolished by a developer and he was ordered to re-erect it.

I wandered up Bay Street to Liardet Street and caught the 606 bus to St Kilda. I remember the council sending us a survey some years ago regarding an improvement to the 606. It was along the lines of if the service was improved, would we use the bus. It was nonsense for us as the bus runs no where near where we live, however, I have now used the bus once and from memory it only used to run in the morning and evening peaks. It is now a forty minute interval weekday service. Of course a tram along the sea front, ala Black Pool, would be much preferable and very popular.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Dear Airport Security,

Have you heard of profiling? In your case by a person's profile, you target them as a risk to security. I can think of an Indonesian Moslem workmate, and his son has started at work too, and I would be targeting them for security and explosive checks. Unlike my other Indonesian Moslem work friend, this father and son combo are truly scary. The son is the worst. While he drives a smart black BMW to work, with loud modern music booming from the car, after he checks his Ipad for anything new, he can be found in corners praying to Allah. Clearly his missed humility in his reading of his religious texts.

In my anecdotal experience, our airport security seems to focus on checking old Anglo Australians for hidden explosives. If they are gay, they get extra focus for an explosive check. If it was one older gay man who mentioned it, I would not think much about it, but when I hear back from so many older gay men who have been checked so many times, and a very very old Anglo woman, well, what can be concluded?

Is it exhibition to older Anglo Australians that our airport security is doing their job?

So when did the last older Anglo Australian blow up anything, least of all a plane?

Should I remind our security that English Moslems blew up The Tube and a bus in 2005.

Should I remind our security that American Moslems blew up the World Trade Centre.

Should I remind our security that Australian Moslems have already been caught ahead of committing terrorist acts here.

So why is Airport Security targeting older gay Anglo men for explosive tests?

Up close and personal

We caught up with friends last night (Saturday) at The Dick, the Dick Whittington Hotel. While the hotel's menu is very limited, the food and the service make up for it.

Our ex NT politician friend and his Fijian Indian partner have returned from a holiday in Fiji. R had to pick the Brighton Antique Dealer up from Balaclava Station while I went straight to dinner from work. BAD brought along a friend, a fellow antique dealer who has financial troubles. Financial troubles can be quite relative. He lives in a large house in Kew with two houses behind which he also owns. He is considering buying an apartment in Paris. (Grace has just turned a violent shade of green) Personally, at eighty years old, I think he has left his run a bit late for a Parisian apartment. I have no idea if he is gay and no one else does. He rather likes our Fijian Indian friend and seems to cotton on to him. One can speculate, but who would know.

Our dyke friend was otherwise engaged and I made her apologies to the dyke hotel bar attendant. I may have been out of order passing on something that was not said, but no real harm done.

Also in attendance were our Brother Friends. We have known them for over thirty years but yet they are to desert us. They are moving to Thailand for a three month trial, followed by another three month trial. They have for a long time wanted to live in Thailand and now that they have retired, the time has arrived for them to bite the bullet.  They are being cautious and hope they will be content with renting two studio apartments in a small, modern and conveniently located hotel. Good luck to them and while of course we will stay in touch with them via electric wires and radio waves,  our number of friends will be further reduced, to about two people or three people.

We partied with our Brother Friends in earlier years, spent late nights out at bars and dance parties, being stoned together and had day time outings and picnics with them. We have seen their various friends, close friends and acquaintances come and go, as they have seen ours. We have holidayed with them, locally and overseas. We have had issues with them at times, as they have had with us. Now our connection is reduced to a couple of meals out a month and perhaps a twice yearly visit to each other's abodes. Oh yes, the weekly phone call and very occasional email too. Our friend in Japan moved away from Australia but I think we've kept quite a good connection with her since she left. I am not sure it will be the same for our Brother Friends. It really feels like another era ends, an era I have known for most of my life.

I am a little troubled about us running out of friends, yet I also feel some relief and I have no desire to add new friends. I worry that we don't have many friends, yet we don't feel the need for more. Perhaps it is because R and myself are very dependant on each other. In many ways we are quite opposite, so where he excels, I fail and where he fails, I excel. We are now quite well connected to family too. But there will be the day when R is not around anymore or my blog posts will stop dead. Have no fear though, I will take you on the journey of my long and lingering death, hopefully with a witticism from my death bed.

Yes, feeling a little maudlin. I will be over it in the morning.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Gardening fail

The lilies we had over christmas were glorious. They were in bud and opened very well and at $6, a bargain.

Over the years I must have planted hundreds of petunias in our various gardens, always with success. However, I had never tried growing them from seedlings here until recently. I bought a punnet and a bag of good quality potting mix and potted them up.

The first thing that concerned me was that the potting mix felt very heavy and not free draining. I proceeded and planted eight seedlings in a pot. Over the next week or so, they started to grow and I removed a couple of the smallest ones so as not to have the pot too crowded. I nipped off the flowers so that they would put energy into growth in their early stage. They reached a size where I started to let them flower and then came the wind, a cold blustering wind, straight in from Bass Strait. It really knocked them. Slowly slowly they died. I removed them until I was left with two, but they were barely growing and moving at their base in the wind.

So, we went out and bought a pot of already grown ones, which we should have done in the first place. The balcony is a harsh environment, boiling hot sun until lunch time and often strong and cold southerly winds, but these already well established petunias just love it.