Saturday, July 19, 2014


The stressful time at work has moderated and things are much better now and so am I. Stress can do terrible things to you, even perhaps changing your personality.

I recall the day we bought our house in Rosamond Street,  Balacalava. Afterwards we went out for a slap up lunch, at the Hawksburn McDonalds, ho hum. There were maybe six of us and we just weren't getting served. I suppose it was some sort of stress release after buying the house, but at the top of my voice, I demanded service. The restaurant went silent. We were served promptly. The people I was with to the last looked very embarrassed and remained silent.

Such behaviour is very out of character for me. While I am not the type to suffer in silence, nor am I the type to raise my voice. I like to the think I go about things quietly and effectively. Voice raising seldom helps any situation. While we did immediately get served, I had embarrassed the people I was with, made people eating there uncomfortable and I ultimately felt quite foolish.

So was it stress release related behaviour? I don't recall feeling better afterwards. Very odd business, really. Never happened since.

Promise there will be something cheerful for Sunday.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Poor old Malaysian Airlines

Sometimes things are just so big that no for pleasure blog writer feels a post by their humble selves would add anything of value to the discourse and they are probably quite correct. I am usually one of those. The bigger the story, the more complex it is, the less likely I am to understand it, let alone write about it.

Yet cannot the little person express an opinion about the very obvious without condemnation? I think so.

Without going into the rights and wrong of the Russian separatists in Ukraine, without doubt supported by Russia, if it is proved that the separatists are guilty of bringing down the Malaysian plane with the loss of everyone on board, then they must suffer the full condemnation of the world.

If Obama said, 'right, we're going in', I doubt too many would be against him. For mine, the terrorists could be locked up in the increasingly emptying Guantanamo Bay. I strongly believe in diplomacy, to prevent violence or future violence. Criminal acts should be punished and if it is a terrorist act against people from so many countries, then just forget the diplomacy. We want punishment and revenge for this intolerable act against the world.

Given 100 of the the 300 odd people killed were on their way to Melbourne, I take this rather personally.

Even if you don't understand the situation, you can still condemn a disgraceful act. Feel free.

When two tribes go to war

As Palestinians and Israelis go into an increasingly desperate and tragic phase of the long going war, who should I side with? I know many Jewish people and I know no Palestinians. Naturally I am sympathetic to those who I know. Ultimately I blame Britain when they 'sorted out' the area so many decades ago and then the United Nations a bit later.

However, this simple map, which I can't vouch for, tells a story. The situation is far more complicated than a simple map and no doubt the map was made by a supporter of Palestinian, but it worth considering. The green area on the left of the last map is the Gaza.

All so messy and tragic.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Prof

From the previous post: In the 1960s in Australia and possibly around the world, one pint milk bottles being returned for cleaning and re-use were appearing with a whole boiled eggs in them, much to the annoyance of the milk dairies .


His passion and enthusiasm were infectious. Professor Julius Sumner Miller (1909-1987) transfixed children, probably around the world, with his simple scientific experiments to demonstrate physics. His violently shaking body as he scrawled meaningless to me scientific formulas on a blackboard was mesmerising. I think I have now run out of adjectives. It was a lesson I did not really pick up at the time but it must have stuck in my mind, as I have learnt later in life that passion and enthusiasm is a wonderful thing along with them both being contagious, and when I find something to be passionate and enthusiastic about, you will be the first to know.

The Prof did come in for some criticism in his older years when he was accused of selling his soul by participating in paid television advertisements.

Nevertheless, he had a profound impact on me. His catch cry, "Why is it so?", was memorable. I can't find an old black and white recording of The Prof, so this tv commercial of the egg in the bottle will have to do.

Ah, I have just read his Wikipedia entry and he has a strong connection to Australia.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


In the 1960s in Australia and possibly around the world, one pint milk bottles being returned for cleaning and re-use were appearing with a whole boiled eggs in them, much to the annoyance of the milk dairies .

Why would this be so?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Ugly Balaclava

Sinch was a well known graffiti artist who was accidently killed while surfing naked on top of a train in the suburb of Balaclava. The sign at Flinders Street Station says it all.

Balaclava Station is undergoing a long awaited renovation, the prime reason being the very steep access ramps and there not being an alternative. I looked at the plans at the local library ages ago, like years and as work is proceeding, I thought I would take a look, having forgotten about the graffitiest's death. These sight of these memoriam flowers greeted me as I stepped off the train.

After Sinch's death, the temporary hoardings were graffiti bombed, so I assume police and railway staff are there to prevent a re-occurrence.

It is not a pretty place at the moment.

Down this temporary ramp.

Down this one.

And down this one. Have a look at the wall!

It was a long way down and I ended up well down a side street away from the main street, Carlisle Street. Now I am not easily shocked, but I was gobsmacked at the ugly graffiti everywhere.

Sinch on the wall, which may or may not have been done by him.

Just delightful.

Not getting better, as I walked towards Carlisle Street.

This was quite visible from the train platform but I did not take a photo of it from there. I took this one when a young lady told me it was by Sinch. Beautifying Balaclava? No.

The simple mural is rather nice, if a little faded, but more graffiti on a door and the walls.

A metal sculpture on the rail bridge of the ship Our Lady of St Kilda. It has been graffitied badly before, but there was only a small amount today.

Have a look at the shops near the station in Carlisle Street. This is a disgrace. I am glad I no longer live in Balaclava.

The western side of the rail bridge was graffiti free.

The old and convenient ramp for the hale and hearty to reach the station.

You can see some of Sinch's work here. He shows talent but what a pity he did not direct his energies and talent down a better path.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Local assist please

In the photo a tall tree dominates. Just to your left glinting in the sunlight, I believe is the communication tower on top of the hill on Canterbury Road between Warrigal Road and Elgar Road. On  the same ridge line over to the far left, a new high rise building has appeared. I mean the smudgy grey one on the horizon. I am guessing it is in Box Hill, but I am not sure. It is very brightly illuminated at night and if you click on the photo, you may be able to see the construction cranes. Does anyone know anything about the building, especially its location?

Later edit: This is so much worse than I thought and thanks to Em Stacks, I now know where this building is and it is so inappropriate. It is an area I am familiar with and this is just such a disgrace. Who was responsible? A Crikey writer reports and form your own view.

Even later edit: It is probably a moot point but the above it seems is wrong and the new building is this one, with one above yet to begin construction.Correction from Chris in comments.

Thorpe gay? Who would have thought

I don't think anyone is too surprised that champion Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe came out as being gay during an interview with Sir Michael Parkinson. While I wish Thorpe well, a couple of things come to mind. The superficial to begin, how much was Parky paid to come out of retirement to conduct the interview and how much was Thorpe paid to do the interview? I would not be surprised if jointly, it was a six figure sum.

But what really troubles me is why now? At the end of his career, as his value for endorsements and products is slipping,  he indicated he would like to be the area of sports commentating. He has some experience already and will be commentating at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Sorry if I seem sceptical, but it smacks to me of brilliant management by whoever manages him.

While his career never reached the heights of Thorpe's, and he also had drug and alcohol issues, contrast Thorpe to the diver Matthew Mitcham, who, as I recall it, thanked his boyfriend after he won medals at the Tokyo Olympics. There was a media fuss for a day or so, and then most people forgot about it, and perhaps Mitcham too.

Mitcham really has my respect.

If only the Thorpedo had just said, 'Sorry? What was that question? I don't think it is any of your business.'

In Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire...

I saw a map of languages spoken at home in Melbourne, by area. There were no surprises for me, except for an African language in West Heidelberg. While I know why, I am a little surprised to learn that.

I have heard of regrets from children of immigrants who never learnt the language of their parents and can't communicate with their grandparents, as their grandparents don't speak English at all and who may or may not even live overseas.

Now overseas born parents seem really focused on their children learning the language and culture of their home country, and surely that is not a bad thing.

It isn't, as long as it not at the expense of the language of world, English. Sorry Grace, French does not cut it in world usage.

I sort Australian English and accents into about six groups. There is the very well spoken, and there are not many of them. They live on a different planet to most Australians and I am hard pressed to think of one. Then there is the more academic style English, often slightly laborious but quite correct and has the best annunciation but still sounding Australian.

Then there is normal Australian, which I think I and R speak and most of my Aussie blog readers would speak. It may sound a bit odd to people of England and quite confusing to people in the US.

For native Aussies, there are two more accents, the country accent, not so great and with weird vowel sounds dropping of word endings and a rising at the end of sentences as if they are questions. Worse is the inner city rough accent, that often uses words from New York street life. There will often be the word 'dude' in a sentence. I really don't know where these people who say dude fit into the mix and is a temporary element of modern speech or permanent. I can barely tolerate being referred to as mate from a stranger, or bud, but sorry, I am not a dude.

Curious to me is the wog accent, and sorry, I can't think of a word to replace wog, but these are people who are born in or grow up in Australia but have partly picked up their parents' accent. I find the wog accent quite attractive, but I don't know such an accent will get speakers of such very far in high flying careers.

While it is all very admirable that children learn to speak the language of their immigrant parents, to speak Australian English well, without sounding posh or rough, is ever so important. Speaking Australian English well should be the parents' primary focus and another language secondary.

It may be a character fault of mine, but I am inclined to judge people by the way they speak.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


I was in stop start traffic in Queens Road mid afternoon last week. I have experienced the growth in traffic in Queens Road over the past decade, well in many places really, and it is not good. People should catch public transport and leave the roads clear for me.

I had just made another of innumerable complete stops and the car behind me ran into the back of me. Very bad words spat from my mouth. Although right turns are banned in Queens Road, I put on my right indicator and turned into the next street once there was a rare gap in the traffic flowing in the opposite direction and the person who hit me followed me. Better to block traffic in the right lane for a minute, than block the left lane for considerably longer.

He was apologetic. There is no point in not being when you run into the back of someone. Not that it is relevant, but he was of Indian heritage, quite nice looking and about 35. I could not see any damage on either car and nor could he. But just in case, I took his driving licence number, name and address and car registration number. You never know. He might have bent my chassis. What? Car's haven't had a chassis since the 1950s? Really. So what are all the bits bolted to? Ah, to each other.

Some drivers may have soundly abused him but that is not my style. However, I could not resist a parting shot, "You really need to stay off you phone when you are driving". He gave a weak half grin. I had hit the nail on the head. He must have had his eyes down looking at his phone in the stop start traffic.

From the old shoebox

Remember I once asked you if you knew who this is below and it was actor Betty White, from the US tv comedy show The Golden Girls. These all arrived in an email from a friend and I thought you might like a few of them. They are a nice mix of things and people and events. Some of the photos can make you feel quite sad too.

(I know this is going to spread over edge. I have two more posts for today, to bump this one down)


Betty White at home with her dog in 1952
An iceberg photographed in 1912 bearing an unmistakable mark of black and red paint. It is believed that this is the iceberg that sank the Titanic
Ham the chimp returns to Earth following his historic 16 minute space flight in 1961.
The rather luxurious seating area of the submarine, The Protector, in 1902.
Medical students pose with a cadaver around 1890.
The fuel tanks of the B-24H Liberator "Little Warrior" explode over Germany after being hit by anti-aircraft guns in 1944.
The Kennedy family leave the funeral of John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Native American couple, Situwuka and Katkwachsnea in 1912.
Camp Commandant Amon Goeth, infamous from the movie "Schindler's List", on the balcony of his house overlooking Plaszow labor camp, Poland 1943-44.
Construction of the Sydney Opera House in 1966.
1945 - German POWs weep and sit in disgust as they watch footage shot at a German concentration camp.
June 1915, Gallipoli: a Turkish sniper/sharpshooter, dressed as a tree, is captured by two Anzacs.
Dinosaurs are transported on the Hudson River to the 1964 World's Fair.
The Golden Gate Bridge around 1935.
Children for sale in Chicago , 1948. Some parents sold their children due to poverty.
Mourners pay their respect to slain civil rights leader, Medgar Evars in 1963. His killer was finally convicted in 1994.
Union prisoners receive rations at Fort Sumter in 1864.
The mugshot of Tokyo Rose, 1946.
A rescue boat comes alongside the crippled USS West Virginia shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Two childhood friends unexpectedly reunite on opposite sides of a demonstration in 1972.
Survivors of the Titanic are taken on board the Carpathia in 1912.
Wielu just after German Luftwaffe bombing the 1st of September 1939. Not only did this bombing provide a spark for World War II, but it is generally believed to be the first terrorist bombing in history.
A burial at sea on board the USS Lexington in 1944.
Crowds rush through the castle on Disneyland 's opening day in 1955.
A lion rides in the sidecar during a performance of The Wall of Death carnival attraction at Revere Beach , Massachusetts in 1929.
Future presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush with Governor George Wallace at a BBQ in 1983.
Dr. Werhner von Braun and Walt Disney in 1954.
The Statue of Liberty photographed during a power failure in 1942.
The RMS Olympic, the Titanic's sister ship, in wartime camouflage in 1915.
Anastasia shares a smoke with her father, Tsar Nicholas II two years before their assassination in 1916.
Children rush into a candy store following the end of "sweets rationing" in 1953.
Soldiers comfort each other during the Korean war in the early 1950's.
Stephen Hawking marries Jane Wilde in 1965.
Albert Einstein brings sexy back in 1932.
What is thought to be the oldest known war photograph: New Hampshire volunteers depart for the Mexican War in 1846.
Coney Island in 1905.
George W. Bush plays a little dirty rugby for Yale in 1966.
Arnold Schwarzenegger shows off to some elderly women in the 1970's.
Six year-old Arthur Conan-Doyle in 1865.
Construction of Hoover Dam in 1934.
Frank Sinatra asks Lou Gehrig for an autograph in 1939.
Harry Houdini exposes "spirit trickery" in 1925.
OJ Simpson carries the Olympic Torch in 1984. Nichole Brown can be seen on the left.
A permanent stable cavity caused by the detonation on an underground nuclear test in 1961.< /DIV>
Vladimir Putin and his childhood friends in 1969. None of them have been seen since!
Amelia Earhart receives what proved to be her last haircut in 1937.
The Japanese "War Tuba" used to locate enemy aircraft before the invention of radar. Circa 1930.
Washington-Hoover Airport which was demolished in 1941. This is where the Pentagon stands today.