Saturday, March 09, 2013


In case you are not aware Napier, on the east coast of New Zealand's north island, was all but destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 and 256 citizens were killed. The town was rebuilt in the Art Deco style, popular at that time, and is now considered to be second only to the Miami area South Beach, with well preserved Deco buildings.

By the early 1990s it was realised that the town had an important architectural style and serious preservation and restoration began.

I have found that some of the more interesting examples of Art Deco are often to be found within commercial and industrial buildings.

This photo by Alan Liefting shows the edifice of what is known as the Rothman's building. You may or may not like the building but if you click on this link, David Thompson shows you some marvellous lead light windows from Napier, including some from the Rothman's building. I can assure you, you will like at least some of the windows.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Bounding on Bruny

On my bucket list of places to visit is Bruny Island off the coast of the Australian island state Tasmania. R  rolls his eyes when he asks me where we should go for a holiday, and I repeat ad nauseam, Perth, New Zealand or Tasmania. Ok, R has been to all three in the past and I have been to two, not Perth.

What is there to see on Bruny Island? I have no idea, but seeing an albino wallaby is not a bad reason to visit. Note, the clip says kangaroo, but it is clearly a wallaby.

Macropod lesson:
Kangaroo is big, red and grey.
Wallaroo is smaller, looks more like a large wallaby.
Wallaby is much smaller, swamp, rock and many more, including several varieties called paddymelons, which are ever so cute.

This chap, or chapess wallaby is ultra alert. Their natural enemy would be the Australian dingo but a grown sized kangaroo can effectively deal with them. I am not sure about wallabies. There may have been the now extinct Tasmanian Tigers on the island too, which could have been a wallaby predator.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Dobbs the Deceiver

I heard the chairman and chief executive of Public Transport Victoria on the radio this morning and I was left somewhat slack jawed. I don't know if it was ignorance or spin, but I was horrified.

Bigger trams for Melbourne: Dobbs suggested that those who cannot fit on a tram in the busy St Kilda Road tram routes will welcome the new trams. Bad. None of the new extra long trams will run in St Kilda Road. At best some more of the larger B class trams may be made available for St Kilda Road services, but I doubt there will be enough to have much of an impact.

The Rowville train to service Monash University and several suburbs: Dobbs said that there was no point in building the rail line until the Metro Tunnel is built and the appropriate rail corridor upgraded. When it was suggested that the line could be built and people could change to existing trains at Huntingdale Station, Dodds said that people would not be happy to have to change trains onto already crowded trains. Bad. Yes, there would be more crowding, especially at peak times, but if people were asked, they would rather have a train to change from or to than none at all. The line could be connected to the main system later when the corridor is improved.

Metro Tunnel, if built, won't be ready until 2022, assuming it receives federal funding. Bad. In one fell swoop, Dobbs passed the buck from what seems to be his political mates at a state level to the Federal Government.

A caller to the radio station complained about Flagstaff Station not opening on weekends and the Latrobe Street tram service not operating at weekends, therefore making access to Victoria Market difficult. Dobbs appeared ignorant of these often discussed matters.

Another caller complained about ramps for wheelchairs on trams not being used. There are many reasons why they are not used and again it has been often discussed in media and elsewhere and Dobbs was ignorant of this too.

If Dobbs is really so ignorant about the public transport system he heads, god help us. What I really heard between the lines of such a disgraceful performance, was Dobbs removing public transport pressure from the state government and I can only wonder why.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


The world of the blog seems to attract people who write well. My blog is surrounded by people who write well, that is they can express themselves well in good written English. Let me tell you, it has made me pull up my socks, even though it may take me longer to write something than in the early years of my blog. I focus much more on sentence construction now. What might be correct and clear, can also be ugly, and rearranged to read much more nicely. Yes, of course I get things wrong at times and I get great pleasure at wonderful blog writers occasionally missing a typo in their own writing.

I have used the word sic in posts. It is a useful tool when writing, but I have never used it inside quotation marks.

I think I may have used who's instead of whose once or more when writing, even though I know the difference.

A mother is grieving for her lost son and her husband was killed in a car accident not so long ago. I find it patronising and just plain nasty on the part of the writer of this piece to insert sic inside a quotation written by the mother's sister.

Ellen Lutton, or your sub editor (do they still have sub editors?), you may very well always get who's and whose correct, but please don't patronise the grieving who's writing skills may not be as quite as good as your own. In fact, how dare you!

A Facebook page that Daniel McNamara’s mother had set up in his memory after he died now includes Michael’s name as well.
“It was a long and frantic night searching for Michael since about 6pm last night and that bright little boy, who's (sic) smile lit up the world around us, is now no longer on this Earth,” Michael’s aunt wrote on his Facebook memorial page.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Skipping Italy

"Phil, one is tired. One really doesn't want to go to Italy. Last time we went, there were more Italians than one could bear, plus one will get a doing over about costing the Italian taxpayers too much lira. Do they still use lira there or do they use pounds and pence now? Anyway, how can one get out of it?"

"Look Liz, you agreed. You'd better go."

"Well, the invitation to Silvio's party should have been declined and someone should have explained bunga bunga to me. You may be cock-a-hoop about the idea, but I am not."

"Just put it out that you have gastro, like everyone else does when they want a day off."

"Do you really think one wants to give one's subjects a mental image of their Queen riding the porcelain bus, let alone sitting on one?"

"It is the only thing that the doctors will really take your word for and not need some sort of proof".

"And, if they put one in hospital, as they probably will, one supposes you will be off having your own bunga bunga party to make up for missing Silvio's party?"

"The bladder Liz, I don't want that happening again. Do you know what they stuck up where? I will stay and mind the castle."

"Call the doctors then".

La Stampa March 04 2013

Regina Elisabetta รจ molto deluso per essere troppo male per visitare l'Italia.

Phone History

Ericsson GH218 - My first phone some time in the mid nineties I guess. The battery was separate and was removed and placed into a charger. I bought a spare battery, and so always had one charged. Originally it had  a short stubby aerial but as an inducement to get a firmware upgrade so that it would dial our emergency services number, 000, the aerial was replaced with this superior more whippy one.  I sold the phone to a friend for $100 and he left it in the back of a taxi cab and it was not returned.

Ericsson GH337 - I can't recall this one very well. It was a bit smaller and lighter and the charger plugged into the phone. Not sure what happened to it. Maybe it was disposed of in a phone recycling box. I think I received my first sms on this phone, sent by a friend from a computer to my phone.

Ericsson T10 - A dabble in the area of flip phones. A couple of people I knew at work had similar and invariably snapped the flip off. Amazingly it did not seem to matter. The phone still worked. Proudly, I never snapped the flip off. I gave it to a friend, who promptly snapped the flip off.

Ericsson T65 - This was a funny little phone. It worked ok. When I was finished with it, another friend asked if he could have it. No! It had Tetris installed and my new one did not. I don't think I ever played Tetris on it again, but I might have wanted to. I still  have it.

Sony Ericsson K500i - Sony and Ericsson had hooked up and things just got better. This is the smallest and lightest phone I have owned. I still have it. Post the 2009 bush fires, people desperately needed phone charges to replace theirs that had had been lost, so we gathered up our old ones and posted them to an address, so I don't think I have a charger for it.

Sony Ericsson K610i - Still a smart enough looking phone, even today. It still works. I was charging it in case R's rels need a phone while they are here. You can see someone was thinking about on screen icons, selected by the small and fiddly joystick in the centre.

Samsung S8300 Ultra Touch - This one was a semi smart phone. While it had a slide out keyboard, you could also operate it by touching the screen. It is by far the most attractive phone I have owned. I so wanted one, but I did not want to pay the asking price, so I found one second hand through Ebay. I very nearly had my fingers burnt. The seller disappeared from Ebay just a couple of days after I received the phone. He did leave some nice photos of himself on the phone though. I still have it, and of course I was going to give to R's rels when they are here, but blow, I took the back off it and could not get it back on because the battery had swelled up. It is stuffed. Note, the name Ericsson has disappeared.

Samsung Galaxy S 19000T - My present phone. I like it but although I was happy with a couple of the changes, I wish I had not upgraded the firmware.

Must say though, I am getting itchy fingers again.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Highest suicide rate in the world

I suppose it is very open to how statistics are interpreted, but the town of Nguiu on the northern Australian island of Bathurst Island is right up there, if not at the top of pile, in the suicide stakes and of course substance abuse. It is hardly welcome knowledge and perhaps we should just sit back, wring our hands and demand our government does something, as long as they don't spend too much of our money.

How depressing.

The Tiwi Islands are made up of  two main islands known as Melville Island and Bathurst Island and are populated by Tiwi indigenous Australians. The Tiwi are quite different to the mainland indigenous who live just a short sea trip away on mainland Australia in the Northern Territory.

With the local Tiwis speaking their own language and English as a second language, literacy was extremely low, as was numeracy, in what could be described as a quite dysfunctional society . But some good news. A highly motivated school principal, Peter McNamara, and the school board have made some very positive changes at Tiwi College.

Most of the students live far from schools and often struggled to attend, many not helped by their circumstances at home. Tiwi College was built with accommodation for students. They are ferried in Monday mornings and leave on Friday evenings. During the week they live in family group homes, with staff in parental roles, rather like a boarding school but somewhat more personal and family like. Naturally, school attendance is high with the students on site. While the students love the sport that is offered by the school, slowly but surely their school results are improving.

Is it a bit mission like as when aborigines were taken in and educated? Perhaps, but it seems to be working. If the current generation of Tiwi are better educated and able to get decent jobs, no doubt the suicide and substance abuse problems will fall away.

I must say, while I knew the Tiwi Islands were off the coast of the Northern Territory and the a disproportionate number of fine Aussie Rules footballers come from there, I knew little else. Click on the map from Monash University to see where exactly the islands are.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

News change

Good heavens. Not only is our big paper changing to almost the size of our little paper tomorrow, the website has changed dramatically too.

All this change is doing my head in.

Note: What was our big paper was a broadsheet, The Age, and our little paper is the tabloid Herald Sun. Our national paper is The Australian, still a broadsheet.

Sunday Selections

I am going against River's rule that they should be your own photos for a Sunday Selection post.

Will David Cameron be a one term Prime Minister? He is well on his way. How can it be that the rich overextended themselves in their filthy grasping for speculative profits and absurdly high wages and dividends, and now the poor must suffer to make up the shortfall? What sort of Prime Minister allows that to happen? Is Labour better? Not if Gordon Brown was any example.

The English should storm Westminster and chuck all the pollies into the Thames and start afresh.

The English class system lives on. I only encountered it with a snooty Post Mistress in Whorlton Grange in Newcastle and the local library in Hexham. Being Australian, where Jack is (supposedly) as good as his master, I felt confident in both circumstances and did not put up with their dried up old spinster type Tory voting ways.