Saturday, January 26, 2013

Coupla bits

Isn't google's Australia Day home page cool.

Home from the Bellarine, exiled from the Bellarine so that some Canadians with children could be accommodated, and once home R wanted fish and chips fro dinner and had the energy to go out and get them. He returned.

Me: "I was hoping for a younger delivery boi".
Him: "I see you've warmed the plates and put out serviettes, not".
Me: "I thought you would want a shower before we et".

That humorous bon mot went down really well.

Him: post dinner: "I will shower now".
Me: "You'll feel like a new man after a refreshing shower, but alas I will still be here".
Him: "Yes".

And then the fighting started.

Last line credit to Fruit Cake and who could really fight when Doc Martin is on.

I Bad Australian

It strikes me that when an American comes to Australia, they think it is quite English, certainly when they visit Melbourne. If an English person comes to Australia, they think it is very American. Is our identity planted firmly in the centre of the Atlantic? Not anymore it isn't, if it ever was. Yet the US and the UK do dominate our culture. Just musing as I try to write something about Australia Day.

I am am not going to criticise Australia here. It is not a bad place to live, in fact quite good for the haves. I suppose I am, a have.

People have clipped Australian flags in their car windows and trams have an Aussie flags at each end to enthuse us to celebrate Australia Day. But the older I get, the less I like the day. There was perhaps a time when I was a bit sentimental about the day, but that is not the case now. I now associate it with the 'uglies' who wrap  an Aussie flag around themselves, the Cronulla riots, it being the day in Victoria where there are  the most physical assaults for the year.

But that is just me. Enjoy your Australia Day.

Friday, January 25, 2013

T'was Fruit Cake wot dun it

Yes Fruit Cake mentioned something which had me off to You Tube to look for a Zig and Zag clip. Never mind getting home by 6pm on Sunday night to watch the music show Countdown as our Prime Minister Gorton did at that time, in earlier days, faster faster Pop. We want to watch Zig and Zag.

Even as a kid, I realised there was some adult stuff happening between Zig and Zag, not anything rude, but just some adult speech between them even though they were performing for kids. In my memory, they were brilliant. Info is mix of what I remember and what Wikpedia says. How sad that Zig, Jack Perry, was convicted of multiple sexual assaults on his grand daughter. Zag, Doug McKenzie died in 2004. It is not known if Perry is still alive.

Their catch call was 'there will be noooooooooooo trouble', and of course there always was, like the time they dropped a coconut on Melbourne's King Street Bridge and broke the bridge. The bridge did actually break, but it wasn't cause by a dropped coconut, more like deficient engineering.

This is a clip from I guess 1975 when colour television began broadcasting in Australia, also featuring Happy Hammond. As far as I recall, Peters Ice Cream always sponsored the show.

If you would to wallow a little longer in the trough of nostalgia, try this one. Note, famous bearded media resident in our building has also made accusations against the late Roy Lyons.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sitting on Albert

We are travelling down to the Bellarine at the weekend. Little Jo has expressed an interest in the book The Magic Pudding. I feel at five, she is still a bit young to have it read to her, but she will like the pictures. I first read it when I was eight. She is not sure of the names of the characters and I have forgotten some. I dug my copy out to take with me and show Little Jo.

At the top are pudding thieves, a possum and a wombat. Below is Sam Sawnoff, Barnacle Bill, Albert the pudding and Bunyip Bluegum. This frontispiece has the same illustrations by Norman Lindsay as the original edition. My copy was published in 1965 and the first in 1918.

First Day of School

Little Jo starts school this year, at a good government primary school. While she is an outgoing child, she also very sensitive and I know there will be tears at some point. She won't be upset at being left at school, but something or someone will upset her.

I cast my mind back to my first school days. Secondary school was not great. I was a complete stranger at an alien school. None of my primary school mates went to the same school. I was lost in the hugeness of a school of around 900 students, as opposed to my primary school of 30 students. I did adjust of course, in time, and found my place. At least I had thought processes that could help me understand.

Not so a primary school. I think I was ok on the first day. Something happened on the second day, but I cannot recall what. I remember it was something to do with someone who I came across on the net a couple of years ago, who was suddenly my best friend because of our childhood connection. While I responded to her, I held off from being any sort of new friend. This was pre Face Book.

It was a stinking hot day and I arrived home from school very upset. My parents clearly picked up on my distress, and did what they thought they could and it was the perfect thing. Dad took me, well us as ABI Brother came too, for a swim. I can't remember if was our dam or if it was at Blue Rock Creek swimming hole, but after the stress of the day and the heat, it was just wonderful. I felt so refreshed and ready to face the next day at school.

Turn the clock foward 50 years and how would that translate for a new kid going to school for the first time? Not much more than providing a reassuring environment at home at the end of the school day, along with a nice snack and and their favourite cold drink.

Just occurred to me, Tony and Rae must have some newies for school too. Well they are experienced at it. Sister, in spite of being a teacher, will be very questioning of Little Jo's first day at school.  Little Jo is an absolute sponge for learning, so I think she will do ok and she has been socially primed by day care and kindergarten.

Yes, I am ranting on a bit but I had to laugh. Mother was the reporting witness. Little Jo got a good telling off by Sister for something she did. Bone Doctor and Mother were out in the car with Little Jo and Little Jo insisted they return home to see Sister as she needed to tell her mother something really important.

'Mummy, I need to tell you I love you'.

Do you remember your first day of school?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yellow River

Back in my youf, we had proper music and literature, like the song Yellow River and the accompanying tome of the same name by I. P. Daley.

Apparently the song is about the American Civil War. Well, some forty plus years later, I have learnt that. I suppose I heard the Australian version by a group called Jigsaw but I find the original English recording by Christie much better. Normally I feel a frisson of arousal when I look at old pop groups on You Tube, but I am not for neither Jigsaw or Christie. They are all quite plain, only saved slightly by their voluminous hair.

The song may well have been called Yellow River, but it features the group Christie upon a barge in the Thames River. I would expect the very grey clip was never used by the London Tourist Bureau. While I know the bridges, can anyone identify any of the buildings along the Thames, apart from the obvious Westminster?

Also, for the musically inclined, is there a key change in the song, or is it just a tempo change?

606 Port Melbourne

I caught the 606 bus from Port Melbourne to St Kilda a while ago. Some time later I was at a bus stop waiting for the 232 bus back to the city from the large hardware store in Port Melbourne. The stop was almost enveloped by plane tree foliage, so I was kind of standing out on the road, making sure I could see the approaching bus, one eye on my phone screen and the other on the road.

A bus approached and it was a 606. I did not know they came along here. The driver half pulled in to see if I wanted the bus, in spite of me having stepped well back. Funny, there is nothing on the bus stop sign that indicates this is a stop for the 606.

I find the stylised map for bus routes pretty useless and the Public Transport Victoria map for the 606, and even the 232, pretty awful. Although the electric Melways can be helpful with bus routes, in the Melways the 606 was marked as a peak hour bus only, when it now is not.

After much study, I conclude that the bus stop at the corner of Farrell Street and Williamstown Road where I was waiting for the 232 bus, is also a stop for the 606 bus, which then swings into Bridge Street. So why does the bus stop sign not say that?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Mother Day

Pick up keys for ABI Brother's place from Mother, work on his computer. Transport Mother to lunch and Big W, then doctors. I go back to her place to empty vacuum cleaner, replace aircon remote batteries that don't need replacing but just in case, sweep up leaves, check water meter is not turning over when no water is being used. Doctor reception calls, pick up your mother.

Post Office to pay a couple of bills. Mother, how wonderful, you have budgeted and can pay your bills. No, $100 off the electric. Water bill from South Eastern Water reduced from $450 to $200 because of leaking pipe water leakage. I like South Eastern Water. Paid.

Priceline then Woolworths then pathology place for blood tests. In the interim, had some nice mother/son chat.

Back to ABI Brother's. Download driver for his printer as he has lost the cd. Update gazillions of things. Get rid of security certificate issues by adjusting clock from 2011 to 2013. Google was my friend. Connect bought sound cable so that his computer can make noise. Open sealed T Hub package and puzzle. Set up cordless phone part of it. Seems like an Ipad like device came with it. Well, when I have a whole day free sometime, maybe I will set that up. I don't see that happening.

ABI stands for Acquired Brain Injury, which my brother has. I have tried to explain over the phone that he does not have, because I have no intention of setting it up, Outlook Express, but a Gmail account. I walk him through it. All good. I think he gets it now. I wonder if he will reply to my just sent email that he should not be spending lots of time, now that he has good internet, on xtube. He seemed quite happy with being able to hear songs with You Tube. I have looked at all his paperwork for his internet and it is too hard to understand. He gets free phone calls, the T Hub, I think 500gb download limit and ADSL2 connection, which seems nearly as fast as our cable connection. While I followed the directions explicitly for his internet connection a few weeks ago, a Telstra technician called, without charge, and moved the in line filter from between the phone plug and his computer to the kitchen wall phone, and then his phone and internet worked at the same time. 

Some really good things came from the day. I bought a new dishwashing brush at Woolworths, but best of all, I pocketed Mother's unspent batteries from her air con remote control for our own future use.

The eyes have it

I had my biennial eye test yesterday. All is well and since I seem to take after my father, my eyes will be ok. I am getting close to outliving my father, so I hope I only have some of his genes. I use reading glasses rated 1.5 and computer glasses at 1.

I reported the result to R once I was home. He asked if I wasn't told that I need glasses. No. Are you sure? Yes, I am sure. R seemed very puzzled that I wasn't told that I needed glasses. I am long sighted. I have perfect vision once past a couple of metres or so.

R thinks I need some kind of tri focal glasses maybe because I carry around two pairs of glasses. I have my reading glasses, and my computer glasses, which are also essential for use in museums, galleries, libraries, the supermarket, plant trimming, eating, cleaning and a lot more. I only buy el cheapo glasses from el cheapo shops.

Not Carnivale in Venice

Sunday before last was the Midsumma Carnival at Birrarung Marr. As you can see, it is a terrible place to have it with dust, very little shade and massive earthworks happening on the hill.

We went with our Brother Friends, who surprised us by wanting to go. They gave their gold coin donation and as usual, refused to buy any food or drink.

We had barely entered the site when we decided it was worth attending. We set off looking for friends  to hang out with.

I am not sure if she was topless, it was hard to tell, but I shouldn't think being topless and playing a piano accordion would be a good idea. Our friends weren't here.

 Nothing wrong with a  bit of attention seeking to make friends.

I don't know who the drag queen is, but her dress blowing in the breeze looked good. Still haven't caught up with our friends.

As you can see it is overcast and just as well. People would have fried otherwise. Is that someone we know sitting down? No. Keep looking for friends.

"Those boys are following me. They clearly want to get their hands on my body", said R to much chortling by us while we searched for someone, anyone we knew. I was pondering if I could 'love him long time' About thirty minutes, I expect.

Everyone seemed to want to have their photo taken with her. One lass of Asian appearance was posing and the drag asked, are you a lesbian. Mostly, was the reply. Can't see any friends here.

They has been a changing of the guard and new bois appeared, equalling focused on the pursuit of R. We are near the entrance hoping to catch some of our friends as they arrive.

 Plenty of diversity. Perhaps our friends aren't that keen on diversity and so don't come to Carnival.

I think it was about 3pm when we left, and a few others were leaving, but even more people were streaming in. We had covered the whole area a couple of times and not a friend was to be found.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cream Wafers

We never buy them, but somehow we always end up with a tin of these at christmas. I was at work and someone was offering their tin around. An Indonesia guy said that they are available in Djakarta. He was asked how much they cost there. He did some rapid mental conversions and came up with the figure of $1.50.  I asked how much are they here? The reply was, $1.50 on special. Could they become a equal value global trading commodity?

Doing the Bus Stop

My sole dance routine is the dance to I Heard it Through the Grapevine. R can do the Macarena. We can just get away with YMCA. We can't do the Chicken Dance or the Bus Stop.

We use the words Bus Stop for another purpose. This is the bus stop below the Highrise.

 Doing the Bus Stop is the walk people make between the bus stop and the tram stop when it dawns on them that they are standing at a bus and not a tram stop. Some quickly work it out. For some it takes several trams to pass them by as their ignored signals to the tram drivers become increasingly animated. Often a helpful local person will assist with advice. This lady is doing the Bus Stop. Its style is kind of a resigned trudge.

She is nearly  there, at the tram stop after a walk of maybe 50 metres. A tram awaits.

Why is there such confusion when the stop is clearly marked as a bus stop?

Point one, the inbound bus stop is directly opposite an outbound tram stop and the inbound tram stops are a good distance away, maybe fifty metres in either direction.

Point two, there are innumerable tourist accommodation places nearby.

Point three, do tourist differentiate between buses and trams?

Point four, is it feasible that Melbourne Bus Link could run Melbourne's trams? Yes.

Point five, what seems very obvious to me is not to other people. If it was very occasionally one person, then I might just think they are no so bright, but many people do it, so it is clearly a system failure.

Point six, is it the only place this happens? No, it isn't.

Point seven, strangers could not be expected to know that tram stop signs are green, bus stop signs are orange and replacement bus for train signs are blue.

Point six, the remedy. It can only be a sign thus: This is a bus stop, not a tram stop. Too  hard, I'm sure.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Guns Don't Kill People

Gun shows are happening in the US to promote firearm ownership and to push back against Obama gun law reforms. It would be in bad taste to laugh, but, hahahahahaha, hehehehehehehe, hohohohohoho, lol,lol,lol,lol

From The Age.

Five people have been injured by accidental gunfire at three gun shows in the United States.

Authorities say three people were injured at a gun show in Raleigh, North Carolina. A state agriculture department spokesman says a shotgun discharged as its owner unzipped its case for a law enforcement officer to check at a security entrance, injuring two bystanders and a retired deputy sheriff.

In Indiana, police say a 54-year-old man was injured when he accidentally shot himself while leaving a gun show.
And in Ohio a gun dealer was checking out a semi-automatic handgun he had bought when he accidentally pulled the trigger, injuring his friend.

Arthur, of Sebastopol

There are regular writers of letters to newspapers. I only know of The Age ones, and not really recent letter writers. The first I recall was the unusually named Charlotte Hartwigg of St Kilda. After reading her letters to the papers for years, a letter was published that she had died.

Next was Constance E. Little of Swan Reach, later of Eagle Point. She too died and received some publicity due to her frequently published letters.

Another who comes to mind is Brenda Linane, formerly of Moonee Ponds, now of Altona. Social climber or what. Lord Sedgwick, oh dead blog, most unkindly referred to her as Brenda Inane. I was always inclined to agree with her opinions.

Now we get to Arthur Comer, earlier of Frankston, later of  Sebastopol.  I had a firm mental image of the pedantic, religious, right winger, and I was partly correct. What I did not think into the mix was that he is extremely clever and very quick witted.

After my little rant about the swearing in the podcast I Love Green Guide Letters things have improved greatly and the show is all the better for it.

Steele and a couple of his mates from ILGGL decided to visit Ballarat, near Sebastopol to meet up with the prolific letter writer Arthur Comer. They hired a minibus to get there and after recording the podcast, adjourned to Australia's last remaining 'all you can eat' Pizza Hut.

I thought they may have really sunk the boot into the eighty year old Arthur, using all the tactics that they would use as stand up comedians use for hecklers, but no. While I can't say they treated him reverentially, they treated him with respect. No that it mattered much. Arthur could hold his own with them anyway as they reviewed many of his letters to the Green Guide. It turned out that his letter critical of Channel Ten news reader Helen Kapalos did not lead to her being sacked the following day. Pure co-incidence. It also seems Arthur is turning in a prolific emailer.

It was a good laugh and I can recommend ILGGL. I just wish I had more time to listen to some other local comedian podcasts.

PS, I have subsequently listened to two more ILGGL podcasts, one featuring gay comedian Adam Richard and the other, Derryn Hinch.  Funny and illuminating. I am slightly wet in anticipation at hearing Wil Anderson on the show. Whatever happened to Boys for Noise? I used to enjoy their podcasts. They were at the forefront before all these other comedians got on board.

These podcasts are not money making enterprises. No one gets paid. They could be called self promotion for comedians, but no matter, there are heaps of them and all for free.