Saturday, April 13, 2013

Walhalla revisited

This is a bit disconnected, because it is about toilet paper and birds. Stay with with me.

When we went to stay at the caravan park in a cabin at Marcus Hill with R's sister and bro in law, we stopped off for supplies on the outskirts of Geelong. R's sister K, bought a packet of four toilet rolls. Apparently if you go somewhere in England to stay, the place will be miserly about toilet paper and it is a good idea to bring your own. 'No K. This is Australia. You don't have to do'. Sure enough, we brought the pack home and it went into 'consolidated toilet paper stock'.

K and her spare toilet paper became a running joke throughout their stay. Of course Australian accommodation supplies adequate toilet paper.

And then we went to Walhalla, without a spare supply of toilet paper and guess what? We ran out and on the last morning had to resort to tissues. Somebody had the last laugh.

The disconnection. I saw a bird in Walhalla I have never seen before. Ex Sis in Law told me the name, and I recalled enough to google it, yet nothing is to be found. The word sounded like mowma, as in mowing grass. I thought it was the bird I failed to recognise in Walhalla but it seems not as after a little searching, the bird I did not know turned out to be a Pied Currawong. It doesn't read like it is a very nice bird but it makes a pretty sound, number 12 on the birdsong top 40.

Photo from the website of Michael Dahlem.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The person who forgot to step backwards

How good is our Prime Minister? She has sent an old dinosaur, ex Prime Minister John Howard, to the funeral of another old dinosaur, ex PM of England, one Baroness Thatcher. Good call Julia. A has been from the twentieth century attending a funeral for a has been of someone from the same twentieth century..

Guns v asps

I worked with him. He was a refugee from Thatcher's Britain. He was gay and I never new until after he left work. Sometimes I have to be slapped in the face with things, and then I may pick up the nuances.

He was a protester against Thatcher's rule. I can't recall if it was Brixton but I am sure he said somewhere South London. Thatcher's police targeted him, for no good reason. He was just among the protesting crowd. He ran and jumped over fences but eventually the police caught him and gave him a good beating.

That was his story and when he told me, I was quite convinced.

When conservative governments are in power, the police seem to think they have leave to do their worst, with no repercussions.

Most of my impressions of the British police come from The Bill and I always thought they went a bit far with the portrayal  of how the innocent or the guilty could be so abusive towards the police. Not in Australia and not in America would you get away with talking to cops like that. Yet, from what I have seen on trains shows on the internet, that is very much how it is. People seem to able to question, even abuse police and get away with it or at least have minimal consequences.

She doesn't smoke or drink gin

Define allegory. I can't really although I am sure I know what an allegory is.

Cabaret is one of the most marvellous movies ever made. You will either have to sit through this one, not an unpleasant experience at all, or listen to a minute or so and then go to the end where you are hit with the punchline and it becomes clear it was an allegory.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Optic fibre to the end of you street

So close but so far.

Malcolm Turnbull, a shadow minister in our government's opposition party, is a rich man, partly from his creation of Ozemail which he sold for squillions of dollars. One would think he is tech savvy and I am sure he is.

I cannot believe he would argue for a lesser plan for the future of Australia's broadband than optic fibre to the home. Under his plan, fibre will be laid to a neighbourhood node and then go to homes via antiquated copper wires, unless you pay thousands to have it direct to your home. When the copper wires were laid in the early part of the twentieth century, there was no distinction. If you could pay the standard fee, you had a telephone. Fibre to the home is the modern equivalent. While it might be viewed as overkill now, it will be a very short time before it becomes necessity. Mark my words on that, as I have suggested in the past that people who do not have access to the internet will be disadvantaged, and so they now are. What was a toy had now become an essential service.

It is not a vote changer and I doubt anything can save the Labor Party from losing at the next election. What will be interesting is the back downs on impractical promises the Opposition has made when it is elected. I wonder if its broadband plan will be one of them.

Like as public transport should be done, plan it and build it as the budget allows but at least make a start.

Just another Saturday

We have taken to shopping at Aldi in the last couple of Saturdays, the first in South Melbourne because of tram works, it was too hard to get to and from South Yarra but South Yarra it was this Saturday past. I honestly can't believe how cheap it is and surprisingly, how many Australian made products are available.

If you haven't been before, stand outside the checkouts and watch how things work first. If you are hit the checkout with a lot of shopping and you don't know the system, you will be in for a shock and stress.

That was in the morning.

In the afternoon we took ourselves off to a recording of I Love Green Guide Letters in the supper room of  Melbourne Town Hall. The host Steele Saunders did well, with guest broadcasters Kate Langbroeke and Merrick Watts and an American comedian Pete Holmes. It was quite enjoyable, although unbidden R suggested to me that there was a bit too much of the f and c words. We are old!

We then had a drink outside at the Welcome Stranger Hotel and afterwards walked up Market Lane to Little Bourke Street and had a nice meal of Thai food with a bottle of wine. We caught the tram home, well two stops short because of tram works and walked the last bit, no mean feat with a stomach full of food and wine.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Recommended Reading - Thatch Despatch

I knew Pants would come up with something good, and she has served us well with this piece called Thatch Despatch.

Stealing your park

Melbourne's Royal Park was originally 1000 hectares. It is now 170 hectares. The government stole our park and they want to steal more.

Fawkner Park originally bordered St Kilda Road, but a strip was taken away for housing. Again, the government stole our park.

More recently Melbourne Tennis Centre was built, with a promise to compensate with other parkland. It never happened.

Yarra Park was supposed to be cleared of carparking for football match goers. That never happened. I can't understand why people battle Punt Road traffic to park in Yarra Park to see a football match when trains can get them there very efficiently.

Our supposed Green Wedges, land protected from development, radiating out from Melbourne have been and are being whittled away.

Our government tried to turn our National Parks into grazing land for cows. The Australian environment never had to deal with cloven hooved animals until white people arrived. It is not well suited to them.

Now our State Government wants to allow private developments in National Parks. Make no mistake, it will not be affordable and modest accommodation, such as exits in the National Park, Wilsons Promontory. This is purely payback and favours for rich developer mates.

Tourism Victoria can sing the idea's praises all it likes, beholden to the government as it is, but our National Parks are supposed to be..........well, natural.

The filthy hands of developers in Victoria do not have a great record. What makes anyone think this proposal will be any different. I can see the brochures now, ecologically sustainable development, lalalalala. Hands over ears. I have heard it all before.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Divisive Leader

Today on radio former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was asked about his impressions of Lady Thatcher's time as Prime Minister of Britain. He offered his opinions freely and seemingly honestly. One of the most interesting things he mentioned  was Rhodesia. This may strike a chord with a certain reader of my blog, and so I hope I have the details correct.

It seemed like an anathema, as while Fraser was oppressing Australian workers and behaving as conservative politicians usually do, I agreed with him on his stance about Rhodesia. He was pro independence, pro Robert Mugabe and anti Ian Smith. Thatcher was a supporter of Smith and the colonial vestige of Rhodesia. In no uncertain terms Fraser told her that she was on a road to nowhere and she needed to rethink her view, and she did.

Neither myself, Thatcher or Fraser could have imagined the country Zimbabwe and its leader Mugabe would turn out so badly.

And then there was the Falkland Islands. 97% of the residents wanted to remain English and Thatcher went to war about possession of the Islands. While it may have been a bit like our ex PM Howard's children overboard moment, an election winner, I think it was the right thing for her to do. That is about the best I can say about the woman who so divided England.

Bad Drivers

I spent two lots of five minutes out on the balcony with my camera in hand on a Friday evening.

"There is a queue, so I will just make another left turn lane."

"Why should I go to the end of the queue? I'll just duck around here."

"It is really no big deal making a second left turn lane surely?"

"Damn, I have blocked the pedestrian walk. Doesn't really matter. They can get around."

 "So what is wrong with a second left turning lane, even if it is not marked as such?"

"These damned pedestrians expect to walk across the road when the green person is showing and not have an obstruction. I've left them a small gap."

"What do you mean I should leave them a clear path to walk?"

"Go around you jerks."

 "There is a law about blocking intersections? First I've heard of it."

"Don't glare at me. I've left you a decent gap."

Oh dear. This one also made his turn from the straight ahead lane, but although the green arrow was showing to turn left, the lights for straight ahead were red. Smile and wave to the camera. Did you see the flash?

This is not just motorists behaving badly. It is serious dereliction of  duty by Vic Roads and Victoria Police, the former because it is an appalling designed intersection and nothing is done about it, and the latter for lack of any law enforcement. 

Actually I took this one in Prahran, it is no left turn, with big flashing lights stating no left turn. Nevertheless, if you are a forty year bleached blonde in a smart black car, you have exemption rights.ZPV 325

Later edit: A woman has just been doored below the Highrise. Her screams drew me to the balcony. Awful.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Dead at last

Ah, she is dead. Many will feel inclined to dance on her grave and for very good reasons. She was an evil and uncaring woman who skilfully manipulated her way to power and has reached the end of her life. That is about it from me as I will speak no more ill of the dead.

But is is art #713

The Archibald prize for portrait art is well respected and earns the artist much cred and some money, but I find the paintings a bit boring. Here is the winning portrait from 2012. No idea who it is supposed to be.

It seems it has died now, but Melbourne used to have Itchy Balls art prize. The Museum of Particularly Bad Art web site has not been updated since 2010. Gosh, when searching for it, I came across my own post from 2006.

But here is an art prize that has not caught my attention before, the Bald Archy. There are some great works there. I will get to this year's winner at the end but here are a few entries from years past, winners and this year's losers.

Bart Cummings is quite old and a horse racing trainer.

The Danish royal family, with our Mary.

Bert was a winner. He is/was an omnipresent media personality and bald as a badger but always wore a piece before he had a hair transplant. He does not take himself too seriously. 

Leader of our Federal Opposition in the pan.

Leader of our Government, also in the pan.

Julian Assange. I have just watched the telemovie about his early years and it was surprisingly good and very interesting if you are a nerdy type and interested in the early days of computers and know what a Commodore 64 is.

I love this one of our Julia, the Prime Minister of Australia. "I'll get that Rudd/Abbott, by hook or by crook."

This year's Bald Archy winning portrait, mining magnate Gina Rinehart with her daughter Giana who is the only child of hers who she is still on speaking terms with. It references a European work of a couple centuries ago. Ever so clever. I love it.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Another glorious photo from This below will be automatically be resized. Go and take a look at the large original.

We have to share taps?

I have had this photo hanging around for a long time. I did not delete it or file it as it was for use in a blog post, but I couldn't work out how to use it. In fact I did not understand the photo. My initial reaction was the black person's drinking water was the waste water from the white person's drain, but it is not so. I don't have a great knowledge of plumbing, but to me it looks like the waste pipe from the black person's drinking fountain runs into the white person's drain. Quell horreur, white and black people waste water mixing together.

Of course basic hygiene was observed, with white and black drinking fountains kept apart.

In Australia we did not have any sort of discrimination like that. Our blacks did not have drinking fountains and they certainly did not use ours, so there was no issue. I'm sure there was a billabong nearby for them to have a drink from, possibly.