Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dogs with dignity

A dignified dog is one that is as natural as humans have bred them, and that is not saying much. But to do this to dogs is criminal. Thanks for the post Peter.

Bridging the gap between generations

I must pass these on to Little Jo from my late farther, who died well before his grand daughter Little Jo was born.

"Dad, who are your solicitors?"

"You've asked me countless times before and they have not changed."

"Please Dad, tell us again."

"Martin, Barton and Far..quhar."

Paroxysms of children's laughter. Say it aloud dear viewers. It is all in the timing and a pregnant  pause.

There was another from Father that my ageing brain cannot recall. The lines were said and would have naturally concluded with the word bum, but was cut short with, "don't be mistaken, don't be misled. One had a pancake stuck on  head". Anyone know?

Later, I remembered something about tom cats. That was enough for google to help.

Not last night but the night before
Three tomcats came knocking at the door
One played the bugle
One played the drum
And one had a pancake stuck to his ...
Don't be mistaken
Don't me misled
One had a pancake
Stuck to his head.

Somehow I doubt avoiding saying the word bum would not amuse present day children. Perhaps something rhyming with truck might be more appropriate for today's children.

Friday, June 21, 2013

It is all about perception

A Hainault robber who was seen “sizing up potential victims” outside a tube station before punching a man to the floor for his mobile phone, has been jailed for four years. Ilford Recorder.

From the blog Ian Visits. I think that is a fair sentence if that was all that the sentence was about and he had no prior convictions. 

There may be exceptions, but generally I think a physical assault on someone should be punished by a gaol sentence.

For some reason the Australian law enforcement and courts seem to take a very mild view of a physical assault, and I think this is very wrong. Physical assault should not be tolerated at all in our society.

I may not win female friends, but I will suggest there are degrees of rape. Surely the rape of a woman who says yes, then no, then yes, then no, is different to that of a woman dragged off the street and raped and then murdered.

If the perpetrator of such violent rape followed by murder had two prior convictions for violent rape, would you not think he would think he would receive the maximum sentence for rape of 25 years in the slammer? No, apparently not, only 15 years, judged by our judiciary.  There can be a very fine line between rape, and kind of unwilling sex. That he subsequently murdered her and received a very long sentence for that is not the point. Surely if someone rapes women violently three times, for the third offence he should be given the maximum sentence.

Judges always talk about severity of crimes when sentencing the guilty (they talk the talk), yet give them what seems to be very light sentences. Are our judges all crusty old fogeys who sleep through most of the trials? What they need to learn about is appearances, perception and symbolism. The guilty party referred to above would have ultimately served the same time gaol, a couple of years short of him turning 80, but he really should have been sentenced the maximum time for his third violent rape offence.

Might there be grounds for appeal? After all, his violent rape crime, a third offence of the same, was not bad enough to receive the maximum sentence.

Surely one violent rape, followed by another, followed by a third should lead to a maximum sentence on the merits of the rape alone, let alone the subsequent murder. I am a worldly person in some matters, but I find it hard to imagine what sort of rape could be worse than what the murder victim suffered that would lead to the maximum sentence.

Careful where you stand in Cuba Street

What an unusual fountain in Cuba Street, Wellington, New Zealand. I like the seeming randomness of the Bucket Fountain action, and the sudden mega action at the end of the video.

I have my own fond memory of a New Zealand fountain in Dunedin on the South Island. I am googling as I speak as can't even remember its name. Got it, Star Fountain. Damn, it has been demolished.

It was quite kitsch, I suppose, but it amused me with its synchronised lights, bright classical music and water jets.   The area known as The Octagon was renovated in the 1990s and the fountain never reinstated, in spite of local agitation. I do rather agree that during the day, the pipes were not the most attractive thing.  Too early for You Tube, methinks, but here are some photos.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cleaning the new carpet

Now we have a new carpet, is our thirty year old vacuum cleaner appropriate? Well, yes, it works. But indulge me.

After the tv and pvr upheaval when they all had to be disconnected, I rescanned tv stations and there are some new ones. Channel 94 seems to be devoted to products to buy. While I was tv fiddling today, I noticed in the programme guide that 94 had a one hour show on the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner, and I was mesmerised. Gattina has her Oscar, that is a similar product, to mow her grass. Her alternative to her Oscar was along the lines of  Lady Chatterley. I agree with her. Her Oscar is easier than a hulky gardener.

I think I should have a Roomba.

There are issues though. Firstly the time saving where you can sit on the terrace with a drink and read a book while the Roomba does the work is problematic. I don't drink during the day, I rarely read books, in spite of my e book reader and I would find the Roomba far to interesting to watch and I would constantly monitor what it is doing and checking if it missed an area. R has said to me in the past, the washing machine is automatic, you don't need to check what it is doing every ten minutes.

Problem two, although it will clean hard surfaces such as patio tiles, dare I trust its technology to not go over the edge of the balcony if I set it free there? A brand new Roomba smashed up after a multi storey fall would be sad.

Three, our carpet really only has to be cleaned to pick up lint from clothing, mostly black socks. Will Roomba pick up lint well when our old but powerful vacuum struggles to do so? I've heard women pick up the lint on the carpet as they vacuum whereas blokes go back and forth, back and forth until the damn thing picks up the lint. I am a bloke in that area. This is your job and you will do it!

Thirdly, after over thirty years of vacuuming our floors on a Friday, in earlier mulit pet owning days daily, semi retired House Hold Management has taken on the task.Not my job.

I have a birthday in October. You could all just crowd fund me for a Roomba. I was thinking of dropping hints for tablet computer for my birthday. Perhaps I should keep talking about Roomba.

Fast trains and a tribute

Below is a post I planned to do some work on, but I have decided to publish as is in a tribute to Paul Mees who died yesterday at the very young age of 52. He was much more than just a clever bloke and public transport activist. I doubt I would have such interest in public transport had I not been stimulated by frequently hearing Paul speaking in an informed and educated manner, yet also using great common sense. He is well known around the world in public transport circles and he will be much missed.

A train to the our airport? Not if it takes 30 minutes, thank you very much.  What is the point of building a train line to the airport if the trip will take longer than a bus? I think it should be a ten minute trip.

High speed train to Sydney, why not. Could the high speed train also service our airport? Of course it could. Could an airport train, a high speed train to Sydney and the proposed Melbourne Metro line be all combined. Oh yes, they could.

Will they return a profit? Maybe, maybe not.

Is profit and viability all about what life is? Viability certainly is but some things need to be provided as a service and if they cost more than they return in income, then the benefit to the public needs to weighed up to balance the cost. The above mentioned projects would be extremely beneficial to the public.

Our governments brag of their AAA credit ratings, which means our governments can borrow money very cheaply. What is the use of a high credit rating if you don't use it to borrow? Our infrastructure is very underfunded, the planning of our cities a disaster and big money needs to be spent. It won't fall from the sky, so if taxes are not increased to pay for what needs to be done, then the money needs to be borrowed. The way things are becoming, any interest paid might be cheaper than what our poor infrastructure is costing us.

New Carpet

This is the old carpet in the spare bedroom. The carpet was pretty well ok in the bedrooms, with only a few minor marks.

More old carpet. The marks don't really show in the photo. I have previously shown where the carpet is worn through to the backing under the computer chair. Jack was quite unperturbed by the upheaval.

Wardrobes were already chockers with cleared stuff, as was R's bathroom and toilet. My en suite was kept clearish. Where can the heavy books from the lounge shelving unit go?. I wonder what weight would snap granite bench tops?

Well, this is it. It does not look so different to what was there, but it is clean and new and fresh. The pile is shorter so it doesn't show footprints or shading like the old one. The colour is not a fashionable brown or fawn but we like it. There are two more largish projects before we will kind of be satisfied, the replacement of the lounge timber furniture with white and the kitchen cupboards re-finished.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Evil Evil VCAT

VCAT strikes again. Among single, two storey and low three story buildings that surround the old Yorkshire Brewery site in Collingwood, VCAT has struck again, overriding City of Yarra and approving three 17 storey apartment towers. What does that do for the local character of one of Melbourne's oldest suburbs? VCAT is a disgrace and clearly there to support developers to maximise their profits, against local representative councils and local people.

I've just ploughed through the judgement. There are many conditions attached to the approval, but as I have discovered, the developer will quietly return to VCAT without any resident knowing and have the ones it finds onerous overturned, as the developer did across the road over public access between two streets.

Where VCAT treads, be afraid, very afraid.

The VCAT decision was made by Laurie Hewet and Michael Read. Shame on them and I hope they feel guilty as they drive home to their historic houses in Melbourne's leafy eastern suburbs.

"How was work darling?"

"Really good, approved three seventeen storey towers in Collingwood.".

"Seventeen storeys in Collingwood darling? Oh! By the way my tennis club subs are due. Can you pay them please darling, and the boy's maths tutor said she hasn't been paid.  Sorry to be such a bother. I don't know how we manage on your modest income."

I am not at all suggesting that they are, but Members of VCAT do rather leave themselves open to accusations of being bribed by developers when they continually side with developers. It is all about perception.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pollies who I admire

Yes dear reader, this will be a very brief post. I could make it longer by mentioning politicians I despise, if you want?

Stick with the original plan. It will be no surprise that Greens seem far more honourable politicians than the two big parties, with special mentions for retired Greens leader Bob Brown and the current leader Senator Christine Milne.

Nick Xenophon was elected to the Senate principally on an anti gambling platform yet he has stepped into many controversial areas with policies that seem to be rather full of common sense to me. I was initially very cautious about him, but I hold him in fairly high regard now. Here is a snip from his website.

" I have continued to fight for changes in the key areas of gambling reform, the water crisis facing Australia, consumer protection, food security and the destructive impact of cults (especially Scientology)." What is not to love about this bloke?

That he has been banned from entering Malaysia to press the cause for fair democracy surely adds to his credit. I consider him too passionate about causes to ever be a leader, but what a fine person to have in politics. Long may South Australia continue to elect him and he has been effective in parliament.

I know less about Tony Windsor. He seems like an old style Country (National)  Party politician, in some ways, yet has become one of the independents who hold the balance of power in our Federal Government. He is not fazed by anything and judges each of his decisions with careful consideration and seems to focus on what is good for the country, rather than what is good for his chances of re-election.Voters may well choose the loose cannon Barnaby Joyce (bottom photo) over Windsor, but they would be making a serious mistake. Careful consideration is surely preferred over loud mouthed populist chatter.


Another South Yarra Stroll

There is a part of South Yarra I am very unfamiliar with, although I know the bordering streets very well. It's an expensive area, no doubt about that, and the standard of housing is very high, both old mixed and newer. The area is bounded Domain Road to the south, Punt Road to the east, the Yarra River to the north and Anderson Street and the Royal Botanic Gardens to the west. I took a a walk up Domain Road to Anderson Street, left and then right into Acland Street. I know one blogger on my list lives in the area.

This large block of only eight apartments stands dominantly on the corner.

It looks like it might not be such a cheap place buy into.

I turned right into Walsh Street. This looks like a main entrance but chimneys never sit at the front of a house of this vintage, surely? My guess is some land was sold off on what is now the side of this house that used to front Acland Street.

I turned left into Airlie Bank Lane. These are flats with carparking underneath. Why am I thinking mews? I don't even know what mews are really.

Airlie Bank Lane turns left and Dear oh dear, this is a very un-South Yarra like car. Google Street Views of the area are quite out of date, but this car was there when they were taken.

This one was somewhere along the way. Modern and somewhat brutalist and was not there when the Street View camera went past.

Now I am in The Righi with some fine Victorian here. The views from these two houses at the top of Airlie Street would be most impressive.

Because they look down Airlie Street, across the river to Richmond.

Rather late for geraniums. They face west and obviously get some night warmth from concrete. Yes, I checked that they were real. I was heading down Airlie Avenue towards the river.

 Melbourne, boring and flat, it is said by Sydneysiders and ok, it is not as hilly as Sydney, it does have some.

 The camera focus sadly was not on this glorious red. I can't even tell what it is.

At the bottom of Punt Road where it meets Clowes Street is this most splendiforous golden elm. It is a tree that pruners leave alone and don't cut off the lower branches.

I don't which is worse, the erupting telephone cable or a tee tree fence in South Yarra.

I am now trudging back up the hill along Walsh Street. Not every building has been restored and renovated to within an inch of its life. Oops, I am at the back of Melbourne Church of England Girls Grammar School. I put the camera away and tried to look purposeful. I didn't want anyone calling the police about a suspicious older man with a camera loitering around the back of the school.

An earlier South Yarra walk here with part two here.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Go Rafa

Has the French Open finished? It must be time for Wimbledon. Tennis. A workmate who was also an antique dealer, no, not the Brighton Antique Dealer, many years ago obtained tickets to Wimbledon and she was so excited. I am working class and so I must aspire to being middle class and pretend interest in Wimbledon, but I am not a sports watcher, although I rather like watching the pretty green countryside and villages of France during the Tour de France, never mind when it went almost past Walt's and Ken's abode.

Did you know that if all the strawberries eaten at Wimbledon were laid end to end, they would stretch to 60 kilometres? Did you know that accompanying such miles of strawberries, 7000 litres of cream would be consumed? Perhaps I could get to like tennis if it always came with strawberries and cream and if they could somehow be associated with Rafa........

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A visit to the gallery

I only visited the National Gallery of Victoria to see the bowls in the water.

Looking in through the water wall, once under threat when the building was undergoing a makeover.

There was a terrible fuss and people power had the wall re-instated in the plans. Kiddies just love it, and I do too.

 I did not mind the glassy deer, but R said it appeared to be covered in warts.

The floating bowls, which are moved around by one side water jet.

The sound of the bowls clinking together is quite hypnotic and relaxing. Many people were seated where I took this from.

The carpet end

Finally, I can say things are back to normal in The Highrise and we are loving the new carpet. The second digital recorder has now been connected, the final computer tidy up was completed, with only the sound not working because a transformer had fallen out.

Jack has been returned to his mummy, who was on her way from the airport. We put the heating on for him and our Dyke Friend when she gets home. We pumped it up form a miserly 21 to 24. All air cons are different and given we spent a few hours at her place on carpet laying day, we knew what to set it to, to make the place warm.

R stormed out from our Brother Friends' birthday dinner before eating at an overpriced Church Street, Brighton, Chinese restaurant.  The dynamics weren't good and the extra person they invited along, did not a good situation make. We may have known our Brother Friends for over thirty years, but one can really get under R's skin. I insisted R took the car home and I intended to get the train and two trams to get home, but I just missed the train and so caught a cab. Wombat, the chap R had issues with is the bloke who owns the restaurant near where you lived on tram route 86.

Life is such fun, hey.