Saturday, February 02, 2013

Macca, Snarl, Halpin and Juanita

I cracked 100 Google friend followers a couple of weeks ago. I am now a declining force with only 98. Given the effort it takes to de-friend, a couple of people must really hate me.

You may be interested to know which of my posts keep generating comments. Top of the list was published in May, 2009 and titled Time to go Macca. 2013, and he is still on air and has only become worse. It has 42 comments, some of which are mine, but for my blog, that is substantial. (I wonder what Jane and Lance's record is for comments, given each post usually generates over 200 and they reply to each one, so over 100 comments from their readers)

Another one to generate comments, and create offence, was Snarl, October 2009. It was about dangerous pit bull terriers and boy did the uneducated masses jump on that one. The comments have to be seen to be believed for their literary style. It really is worth taking a look. It was interesting how two commenters connected disliking dog breeds to racism.

It seems so many young, impressionable gay men loved Luke Halpin, one of the stars of the tv show Flipper. I certainly did and every so often a comment pops up there. One lass was rather upset at him being fancied by gay men and dared me to publish her quite silly comment. Of course I did. No reason to not embarrass her.

But there are four connected posts about the same subject where more pops up every so often, and that is the murder of Sydney heiress Juanita Nielsen. 2006 here. March 2007 here (recent comment with a different theory) and the same year here. 2012 here. I remain convinced once a certain ex NSW Premier dies, we will find out a little more.

I was writing another post and mentioned oleander shrubs. It occurred to me that among my blog mates, I have experts in gardening, public transport, cooking, history, biology, caring professions, photography, writing, music history, cartoonists, an artist, adventurers and illustrators of our country, ornithologists,  architecture, film lovers, a disproportionate number of ex school teachers,  and some are just like me who know a little about a lot, and a few more who I just like. Sorry if I missed your area of expertise.

What fun.

Friday, February 01, 2013


Astonishingly, of the 97 people aboard the Hindenburg airship, 62 survived when it exploded. Nevertheless, the disaster ended air ship travel. Have you seen the quite horrific footage? It is hard to imagine how anyone survived.

I am not dying

Eye test result, prone to heredity problems, but no strong sign yet. Begorrah, I knew I could see.

Doctor ordered blood tests taken three months ago were reported and indicate normal lung, liver and kidney function. I was much surprised and also surprised that my Vitamin D is a little low. That is the exposure to sunlight one. I get plenty of that.

While there is nothing wrong with R's teeth, he is ordered for a check every six months and diligently attends. Same dentist told me to return in two years. That could well be because it was four years since my last visit, so they figure if they can get me back in two years, they are doing well.

At the age of 55 I should have received a bowel cancer test kit form the government. It has not appeared. I must query with them. Doctor said he can organise one, and I doubt that would be free, but how brave was I was I to ask my hot as doctor about bowel cancer? I expect he won't feature in my fantasies for a while. I wrote the bulk of this a few days and I just received notification of a bowel cancer test kit on its way.

But I can't forget my 2011 experience of doctors, including Bone Doctor lifting her eyebrows,  looking worried at my heart ecg print out. It was investigated with a heart stress test and an MRI scan and it seems it is ok. At least I did not attend for the MRI post a cold, like Kath did, and end up with snot on my face. Bless.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Queer Melbourne City

Two Sundays ago we joined our fourth gay history walk, run by the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives. In the past we have walked in St Kilda, Carlton and South Yarra. This one focused on the city proper. We heard that similar walks are conducted in Sydney by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and in Adelaide a walk is led by Dr Gertrude Glossip.

We gathered at the forecourt of the State Library in a group of about forty, with Dr Graham Willett and Wayne Murdoch, both from ALGA, conducting the walk and alternating as speakers.

Our first stop was at the corner of Swanson and Lonsdale Streets. Society Five operated at a nearby building in Lonsdale Street. We moved on to the front of Myer in Bourke Street where we learnt about the amazing Myer window dresser Freddie Asmussen. Not only was he a VIP in the Myer Emporium, he was also a confidant of and party arranger for Dame Merlyn Myer, one of Melbourne's Baillieus, yes related to our Victorian State Premier.

We continued down Royal Arcade and what is now the second level of Koko Black was once the site of a men only Turkish Bath, right back into the 1870s. Plenty of shenanigans happened there. We exited from Block Arcade into Collins Street opposite what used to be the basement gay male only sauna, now a Foreign Language book shop. I recall in being called Caulfield Sauna 2, the other being in Glenhuntly Road and that one still operates.

 A little way along Collins Street was where the Australia Hotel stood. It seemed to be somewhat reluctant to embrace its gay male customers in its early days. Downstairs was the Woolshed Bar and upstairs was another bar for the professional and well dressed gay. It was also the site of a public gay kissing protest after a student at Melbourne University was booted out of Uni for gay activism.

Across the road used to be the Queensland Travel Agency, also the site of gay led protests when the despotic Joh Bjelke-Petersen ruled Queensland.

Now I have been inside Manchester Unity building on the corner of Swanston and Collins Streets and I have never noticed the ground floor murals. I shall go back and take a look and maybe some photos. I understand they feature male nudity. I just searched and a couple of the murals can be seen here.

We paused again in the City Square and learnt about the dyke Harriet Elphinstone Dick (1858-1902). In the 1940/50s the stretch of Collins Street leading up to Spring Street was like Sydney's Oxford Street with many accepting cafes and flats when artistic types, gays and bohemian types resided.

As we walked up the hill we paused at this non-descript, nay ugly, office building. On the seventh floor was the University Club. It was once an ordinary gentleman's club, like the Melbourne Club and the Melbourne Savage Club, but the University Club had fallen on hard times and an enterprising person took it over and the University Club became a gay venue. I went there once and I can't really remember it, not for any reason other than it was so long ago.

Something else I had forgotten and re-learnt was a tale from the 1990s that happened at Collins Place where a tabloid journalist who broke a story about the late choreographer and ballet dancer Kelvin Coe having HIV was pelted with red paint by Coe's partner.

Across Spring Street, we found some nice rocks to sit on while we got and handle on the life of early 20th century venerealogist, birth control advocate and sex educator Dr Storer who lived opposite in Alcaston House. Trove, the digital newspaper archive, is chockers with reports of his deeds and misdeeds.

The walk wrapped up in Fitzroy Gardens and was where two gay lovers in the 19th century carried out their suicide pact with revolvers, except only one died. The other was hung after been found guilty of murder.

It was entirely a co-incidence that there was a fairy convention in nearby Treasury Gardens. I am a firm believer in No One Loves a Fairy When She is Forty.

This photo did not come out well, so why is it here?

Ah, St Andrews Square.

The Age covered one of the walks back in 2006, which talks about some of sites we visited during this year's walk.

The Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives recently set up a Face Book page and it already has over 800 members. That is not quite the numbers for Lost Gay Melbourne on Face Book, but that is to be expected. There are Lost Gay.... FB groups for other Australian cities. ALGA has many items in its collections of interest to historians, who might learn things about Melbourne from quite a different angle. School children use its resources for projects, as do many others. It operates on a shoe string, purely on donations, memberships and bequests, and yes we are both members. Victoria's Public Record Office is not averse to using the resource too. ALGA has professional historians involved, which is great, as oral history is notoriously unreliable, yet we are inclined to trust oral histories.

I shall probably write a separate post one day on the above mentioned and quite fascinating Dr Robert Vivian Storer.

So thanks to those who put this year's walk together, which I have no doubt numbered than the two excellent presenters.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Waiting for the phone to ring

I will call you back in a minute, said Tradie Brother. He returned my call in a few minutes. Highrise protocol has evolved to if one person is watching television, you leave the room to speak on the phone.

Turning the unused light off

Australia could produce all its electricity from solar power, and from what I understand, at not much extra or  cost, certainly in the medium term. We have the centre of our country almost empty and the sun shines a lot. It is a perfect place for solar panels. Vested interests in coal from power and gas miners prevent this happening and I suspect now there are even vested interests in wind farms that would not be happy about mass solar power. If we must, we can have wind, wave, methane from decomposing rubbish to supplement the solar. Now don't tell me that a combination of all won't supply base load power always.

Water; we can desalinate water using solar power for little cost. Once again, kiddies will be able to run under garden sprinklers on a hot day and our grass will be green. The only negatives I see with desalination is that it is power hungry, addressed by solar power, and brine outlets not dispersing the brine widely enough which could be easily fixed for some extra dollars. Full environmental flows for rivers is quite possible.

Gas for heating and cooking; the supply will see out your grandchildren and there seems to be no harm in taking gas from our gas fields. 

Recycling; There is nothing that can't be recycled. Our governments need to organise it much better and we throw out so much that could be reused, if not by ourselves, by others. Third world countries do recycling better, sadly because of poverty, and it is not done safely.

Freight; it is absurd that we move freight by trucks on roads between our major cities when we have rail lines between them.

Transport of the public; I drive my car to work as mega messy things happen if I am not at work on time. I could get a tram direct to work, but I don't as the service is not reliable enough. I could catch earlier trams to be sure, both ways, twice a day, adding an hour plus to my working day. No, and I live in a very good public transport oriented area, which we use all the time, but not when we have to be somewhere at a certain time. Our public transport needs to be more efficient and reliable.

Airport rail line; there aren't too many first world cities the size of Melbourne that don't have a rail line to their major international airport. While we don't want to waste money, and so it should be efficiently managed, who cares if it makes a loss. It is a service to the public.

Medical care; We need to pay more tax to pay for it. I would quite happily pay the equivalent of my private health insurance in extra tax, as long as I knew the money was not being wasted, just so that our medical system works for all. Think how much money is spent on private health insurance in Australia and how much money there would be be for medical care if that money was directed to public health. Mind though. I have quite a strong feeling that way too much money is being spent in health bureaucracy, in fact many bureaucracies.

How to pay for all of the above? The government borrows the money at a low rate of interest, which it can because it is the government, and invests money in our future and the future of subsequent generations.

The fat finger

Oh dear, the Prime Minister's consort has really done it now. Is he to be our Prince Phillip? Suggesting that doctor shopping for a prostate exam and choosing an Asian female doctor with small hands was the sort of thing you say in privacy, not at a public forum.

But the publicity about his self admitted faux pas probably has more men thinking about having an exam than any advertising budget could have achieved.

And, apparently, it is not girth of the finger that men need to worry about. The exam can not be done properly by someone with very short fingers. For the non penetrated, it is not the penetration you have have to worry about. It is what happens once you are.

Well, getting a needle jab can be unpleasant too, as can being cut open for prostate surgery. Caught early, you may not have to be.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Local tea for local people

A couple of weeks ago I was talking about tea, from Harrods or from Malaysia's Cameron Highlands. Seems I don't have to travel to London to buy Harrods tea, at least. It is readily available in David Jones Food Hall, along with many other top shelf brands.

Monday, January 28, 2013

We don't have gas

Him: 'Sweetheart, we need gas, gas for the barbeque.'

Me:  'Ok my dearest.' Check gas gauge and still in ok state. Weight is what I go by, and it is feeling a bit light. Better get gas soon.

Him: 'We need gas for the barbe. Can you get a new bottle next week?'

Me: 'Ok.' There is still a good bit left. No rush.

Him tidied up the barbeque the next time it was used and I looked online as I knew the gauge was unreliable. Pour hot water over the bottle was the best advice. I will do that. I hate the thought of swapping back a gas bottle, still half full. I didn't follow through.

Him: 'Can you turn the barbe on'.

Me: 'Ok. Dearest, there is no gas left why didn't you tell me the gauge had gone into the red zone?' Barbeque fails to proceed.

Him: 'I told you to get gas. You are an effing know it all, pondering about how much gas is left, penny pinching about returning unused gas, checking on the internet about to check gas levels in bottles. I told you to get a replacement gas bottle, and you didn't.'

I had only had one glass of pre dinner wine, so I dashed out and returned in twelve minutes with a new gas bottle.

And then the fighting started.

Right back to 1979.

Extra Special

Two brilliant photos recently published on Shorpy. Be sure to click them to see them full size.

The Young Moderns was taken after the people have eaten and they have full wine glasses. I can only speculate that a brouhaha is about to begin.

 Midnight Special  is a very moody and atmospheric black and white photo of a steam train, subtitled "Freight train about to leave the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad yard for the West Coast."

When only the best will do

Would you local people agree with me that the people used in giving up smoking tv commercials by using a nicotine substitute, are generally very average looking people?

Now I could not possibly know better than advertising companies, but I recall cigarette advertising used glamorous and successful people, and international lifestyle. Wouldn't it be better to use such people to encourage people to give up smoking?

The urbane Stuart Wagstaff for Benson and Hedges, when only the best will do.

Peter Stuyvesant, your passport to international smoking pleasure.

Games show host Tony Barber whistling for Cambridge cigarettes.

The fresh taste of Alpine, showing what was perhaps a European ski field, clean and white.

Comedian Paul Hogan, anyhow, have a Winfield.

Medical authorities warn that smoking is a health hazard, and I warn it is a litter hazard. I snapped this photo at the Domain Interchange (tram). It is to be rebuilt over Easter so I guess this problem will then be much reduced.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

That was Australia Day morning

R and Little Jo spent Australia Day morning making 'craft' robots and a brilliant hand puppet theatre, not pictured .

Sister's clock only cuckoos during daylight hours. It has a light sensor and even in summer when it is light early, if it is heavily overcast, it might not even strike for 7am. It was not overcast this morning and it struck at 7 and scared me for half a second. Do have your speakers turned up.

Lunch on one's own

Ok, it was on our own. We lunched beachside and  delightful lunch it was.

A friend of R's lived in this apartment block. We visited once. Above Ingrid's place lived the celeb Mary Hardy, who later shot herself in her bath. Bless Mary. She was the comedian sister of Frank Hardy, who wrote Power Without Glory, which should be compulsory reading for all Melburnians.

Generally, I don't think much of modern architecture, but doesn't this example look ok? I would not mind living there, not that I could afford it. The streetscape is preserved, without some glaring wart. Across the road is the beach.

General beach photo, taken as we discussed whether we were in Albert Park or Middle Park. The person or thing that you are taking a photo of never sees anything, but there is always someone who is watching your extending lens. The Newport gas fired power station smoke stack is dominant. It is more or less an emergency electricity generator. It is not really a smoke stack, more a gas burn off stack. The top of it expels and burns gas, so it is alight with flame when the power station is operating.