Saturday, October 11, 2014

The war of orange and green

Later edit: My post has been thoroughly spoilt by everyone saying the green vest is yellow. I concede to popular opinion, so therefore, this post is nonsense. Nevertheless, the comments were interesting.

"Well it is the biggest mix up that you have ever seen.
My father, he was orange and my mother she was green".

So went the song from many years ago and I think I once put the song up here, but I don't think there was a video with it. What is that all about? I'll get there.

In Australia there seems to be no rhyme nor reason about the colour of high visibility vests worn on work sites and where a person may be at risk of not being seen, say a policeman directing traffic. Ha, like they direct traffic anymore. Vests may be bright orange or bright green. The use of them was somewhat lacking in Europe, I observed, but here it is overkill and seemed to be in England too.

Now in Ireland (independent) and Northern Ireland (British) Protestants were or are known as being orange and Catholics as green. There is a long history of antipathy, hostility and awful violence between the two groups and to add a personal view, shocking and well documented appalling  treatment of Catholics in Northern Ireland. So what colour high viz vests are worn there? Surely an orange high viz vest identifies you as Protestant and a green would identify you as Catholic.

My thorough research on this most important subject has led me to the conclusion that they use green, although they are described as fluoro yellow.

Does it follow, can I assume, that most people who would wear a high viz vest would do more manual type jobs? That is, that Catholics are more inclined to do such work, while the Protestants are the more managerial class? So where it may be contentious in Northern Ireland, green is the chosen colour.

Give me the power and I will sort the world's issues out with my magical clear thinking.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Our Mental ABC

It has been out ABC's mental health week. When I first heard of it, I rolled my eyes and expected a lot of worthy but boring and tedious stuff. I should have known better. Good broadcasting can make the dullest of subjects interesting, amusing and yet still get the message across. While I have not burrowed to any depth or with intent, what I have heard on ABC Local Radio, Radio National and ABC TV has been terrific. Well done to all.

Political parties always promise to not cut funding to our ABC broadcaster before they are elected, and once they are, they cut funding. Prime Minister Abbott is following a well worn path and the governing Liberal Party is cutting funding to our ABC.

In my opinion the ABC should be better funded. If you compare what it achieves on not very much money compared to the BBC, our ABC is a very lean organisation.

Mental health is not something that is readily discussed but I reckon it touches most of us at times. Think about who you know.

On tv I am watching the very entertaining one off  ABC production  Friday Night Crack Up, a two hour ABC variety show. Just wonderful talent.

I'll call you back, my battery is flat

Victor has been travelling overseas, again, and returned home via Hong Kong and found himself right in the middle of the protest that went on for a week or so. I quipped a comment to his blog post, I thought all the students would go home once their mobile phone batteries went flat. Victor informed me that Hong Kong has public charging points for mobile phones.  What a great idea.

Old men like moi religiously ensure all their devices remain charged. Sorry, flat battery, is not something you will hear from me. Not so my niece the last time she stayed. Firstly she forgot her charger and then we realised her phone was the same as ours and she could charge it here. Did she put it on overnight charge? No, she took it to bed and it was flat in the morning when she needed it. A ten minute charge got it going again and usable , until it again went flat some hours later.

Well so apparently does London have public charging points, solar powered. They have been turning redundant red phone call boxes into useful green phone recharging boxes. Our gubbermint has gotten rid of all our red phone boxes. Not happy. Maybe there are a couple left somewhere in Australia. Take a look at the London effort.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Niggers & Redskins

Now who is using sensationalist headlines. I do so to make a point.

Sister took Little Jo to the Royal Melbourne Show and bought R a show bag, a cheap one of course. Mine must have been lost as I never received it. R's was a Bertie Beetle showbag, with a few lollies and chocolates inside.

Now rightly so, you can no longer buy Nigger Boy liquorice and there used to be Nigger Boy show bags. But note, the word is not as offensive in Australia as it must be in the US, but still it is clearly a word not generally heard now. I don't know that Australians found this particularly offensive, but Harry Connick Jnr certainly did. He would have been condemned at home I guess, if he remained silent. For me, it does not represent anything and I don't connect the performance to American black people or slavery.

But I was surprised to find in the Bertie Beetle two lollies called Red Skins. Isn't that pair of words a derogatory term for American natives? I can remember these lollies from my childhood too, but not what they tasted like. I didn't like it much. If you have fillings, don't bother trying one now.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

How to cook a shemale

I first heard of the murder suicide on the radio and as it was in Queensland, a long way from here, I did not take much notice. Two different people at work drew my attention to it. Ah, very nasty business. I don't know why they thought I would be terribly interested.

The Queensland newspaper The Courier Mail is not known for its quality journalism, but this time it really scraped the bottom of the barrel of disrespect. It is a pay newspaper but you may be able to visit it for free to read the story here. I would never pay to read such a rubbish newspaper. At the bottom of the story is a half hearted apology for yesterday's disgraceful reporting.

"MAYANG Prasetyo was the innocent victim of a horrendous crime, killed by the man she should have been able to trust the most.
She should be remembered — as we reported yesterday — for her cheerful and friendly disposition, and for the care she had showed her family and loved ones in Indonesia.
Many believe that yesterday we presented Mayang’s story in a way that was disrespectful to her memory.
The Courier-Mail had no intention of diminishing the value of Mayang’s life, or to add to the grief being felt by her family."

The offensive stuff from yesterday, more appropriate for the English Sun newspaper. It is no co-incidence that they have the same owner.


What a great photo I saw of my seven year old niece Little Jo nursing my six month old great niece Little M.

Little M's mother is my oldest niece. Her mother is ex Sis in Law, her father, Tradie Brother. I still can't help but being amused by Tradie Brother being a grandfather, never mind me being a great uncle.

Did I ever get a cuddle from my mother? No. Did the nephew and nieces get cuddles from their mother, yes, lots. Am I bitter? Perhaps, but times were different.

My nephew and nieces were brought up in a very loving environment by Sis in Law, in spite of Tradie Brother being a bit old school. The love between the kiddies is palpable. It was youngest niece's birthday and her brother a couple of weeks before at Machu Piccu in Peru set up people holding up letter signs to wish her happy birthday. Just such a gorgeous thing to do, even though the display held up the tourist path for a time. A couple of weeks later when it was her birthday, he put it on Facebook.

Weekend before we had a great meal at Tran Tran in Victoria Street, Richmond. The owner greeted us and we had a nice chat. 

One night last week we looked after Little Jo for one night while Sister and Bone Doctor went to a Geelong Football Club bash at the casino and stayed in a fine hotel.

We had a nice dinner out with friends on Saturday night, just us and three others, at Topolinos in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda. It must be twenty plus years since we have been there and it was quite good. The evening was balmy and I rather wished we were sitting outside, but then our dinner might have come with horse snot. It was kind of my low key birthday dinner as our Brother Friends aren't going out at the moment because of illness, our Dyke Friend will be in Adelaide for my birthday, and another friend in Queensland. I don't mind the lack of fuss at all.

Plenty of bling on the equine.

The new car has had its second wash, and a good clean inside, well a vacuum anyway. It has now travelled over 1000 kilometres.

I chose my birthday present from R last week. It was about $40 more than he intended spending, haha. I am normally cheap to keep.

I am trusting Tradie Brother that the Frankston RSL Club (Returned & Services League) is very good, as my family birthday dinner will be there next weekend. I know how to live, digger.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

A most puzzling polictical decision

Box Hill, fairly safe Liberal
Doncaster, Liberal
Bulleen, Liberal
Mitcham, fairly safe Liberal
Forest Hill, probably the only seat that might swing.
The inner seats are safe Labor, but there is a danger to Labor from the Greens. The middle seats are Liberal. (NB the Liberal Party is the conservative party)

So why is Premier Napthine so hell bent on building this extraordinary folly known as East West Link.

I don't see political advantage for him really. I can see he could get political advantage by spending $8 billion elsewhere. I've called it the Fox Tunnel in the past. Fox being a trucking company, perhaps that is the reason for the tunnel.

Temporary sign have been erected in Punt Road, saying how the government will reduce Melbourne's car congestion by building the tunnel. I can't see how building the road tunnel in the north will affect Punt Road at all. The most mysterious claim is that it is a second crossing over the Yarra River. Well, firstly there is more than one crossing over the Yarra from east to west. Secondly, I don't see in the plans another bridge being built to get across the Yarra. So why is it another crossing?

This tunnel, foolishly signed up to by Premier Napthine is totally beyond my understanding. If I was more analytical I might be able to work out the benefit to the trucking industry properly, but I can't.

If Premier Napthine really must spend a lot of money on roads, I can see some benefit in linking East Link to the Ring Road.

What disturbs me the most is that Victoria is crying out for public transport improvements and $8 billion on a tunnel pay road to benefit a very select few is money that could be better spent. 

A letter to a newspaper interested me. Why do boom gates at train level crossings stay down for so long after a train has passed. This can be observed at Kooyong Station, where the train goes through the level crossing and instead of the booms rising as soon as the train has passed, the booms don't rise until the train is stationary at the platform after the boom gates. It seems old signalling is the issue. For mine, it is nonsense given the booms are operated by a person in the signal box. Train passes, lift the booms, lights go green, a few seconds after the rear of the train has cleared the crossing. How hard is that? If signal technology is the fault, then fix it, perhaps with a little money from the $8 billion.

As a society, we do more and more to protect people from their own stupidity. There are some level crossing where there have been horrific crashes between vehicles and trains. These should be a priority for removal. Then there are ones like Murrumbeena that cause long delays to cars, bikes and pedestrians. These should also be a priority. One much applauded planned level crossing removal is Burke Road, Glen Iris. Granted, the traffic there is horrendous but don't believe just because the level crossing is removed you will get a nice free run in Burke Road. The traffic now banks up down the hill from Toorak Road after the crossing and up the hill from Camberwell Junction further along Burke Road.  This will become worse, I should think. Instead of sitting at the level crossing, you will spend more time sitting stationary at the following intersections. I am not saying it shouldn't be done, actually it should have been done when the freeway was put through, but don't think removing this crossing is going to help the terrible Burke Road traffic congestion.

The expert public transport theorists suggest that no matter what is done to alleviate traffic congestion, more cars fill the void. I have lived long enough to see many examples proving this to be true. Money now needs to be spent on public transport and forget the gloss and the political payoffs of new rolling stock. Spend it where it is needed with line extensions, new lines, capacity and behind the scenes to speed the painfully slow train, and tram, systems up.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Balaclava Station works

Unlike the new station being built at Southland, work did eventually proceed at Balaclava Railway Station. It is not complete yet, obviously.

A steep ramp used to lead up to the station. Now there are stairs and a gentler sloping ramp with returns. A few times we have collected the nearly eighty year old Brighton Antique Dealer from the station. She remarked there was nothing wrong with the old ramp. It just occurred to me she had only ever walked down the ramp, not up it.

It was certainly an unattractive station before, with the platform depth being quite narrow.

A bit of old bridge footing, I guess. Does it serve a purpose other than for the youf to stand on while spraying the paint?

Now this will be a good development.

Looks like another Balaclava car park is lost, for what I am not sure.

She just stood there while I patiently waited for her to move on so that I could take the snap, but she would not move, so I took it anyway.

Far from complete, but probably much closer now than when I took these photos. I noted there is no raised area of platform for wheel chairs to enter the train behind the driving compartment.  Perhaps the platform is the correct height.

The outbound platform. I am pretty pleased with what I saw.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Sunday Selections

Check out River's, Elephant's Child, Jackie's and Kath's Sunday Selections, if they post. River will have one, I promise. 

Some photos are mine. Some are not. I wish I had labelled this one, but I think it is the foyer of Astor Theatre, possibly to close next year.

I don't think nunnery is really the polite word to use. I've got it now, a convent. The Convent of the Good Shepherd occupied a huge area of land on Beaconsfield Parade in Middle Park. I think this is the old school house. Most of the buildings have been demolished and the land is now used for both private and public housing. The wall in front of the building stretched for a long distance. While a good bit of the wall has been retained, and at times incorporated, there are gaps. R remembers the nuns being out and about at times.

Sixties I suppose, at a well known Melbourne location. Photograph by Angus O'Callaghan. The couple almost look like stylised drawings. She looks great but I don't like the way his coat drapes or the length his trousers. Great photo though.

Slightly interesting rays of light on the horizon.

Another great photo from I make no comment on the hat, but interesting lighting.

I just could not get the camera to focus exactly right for a close up of the cactus photo. The flowers are really small. Perhaps I expect too much from a point and shoot, even after adjusting settings.

Do you tire of seeing balloons? I don't.

Although I have never seen balloons out in such inclement weather as this.

I suppose Shannon Bennett could be called a celebrity chef. He owns Vue de Monde, an upmarket city restaurant. There is also Bistro Vue, along with three Cafe Vues, Little Collins Street in the city, Melbourne Airport and Heide. Cafe Vue in St Kilda Road, across the road from us, opened with huge publicity and for a while was very popular among the glitteraty. I guess you can call it a failed business now. We went there maybe four times, for coffee only, with a view to dine or breakfast there in the future. The service was so lousy, so slow and so full of attitude, we never did have more than coffee there, and that alone was a demoralising experience. We really felt types like us, not dressed to the nines, were not welcome. Fine, we won't go then and we didn't. It has closed. Bennett is an experienced business person, so I am surprised he got it all so wrong at Cafe Vue in St Kilda Road. Snooty is a good word, to describe the service. The online restaurant reviews prove the point, so it wasn't just us.

That's your bloomin' lot for the week, to quote a famous Tasmanian.