Friday, October 24, 2014

The Moscow Ritz

It has been ages since I have come across a flash mob YT clip worth sharing with you, but I reckon this one is a ripper. Someone in YT comments noted how annoying the squealing bride was. I find her to be so. I had two conclusions in mind for this post and I wasn't sure which one to use, so have both.

Mr Menzies, you did rather misinform me about the evils of communism.


Now, is not a communist country one where people work collectively for the good of all and there is not the gap in wealth and conspicuous consumption that is to be found in evil western countries?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What's that thing called Mummy?

My gorgeously innocent readers will have no idea what this Christmas tree near The Ritz in Paris might resemble. I would be disingenuous in suggesting I am so innocent. The Paul McCarthy sculpture has created great mirth and a good bit of outrage. While I find it amusing, I don't find it artistic but then what do I know about art. Passion against it was so high vandals, or some may say decent public minded citizens, damaged it. It will be repaired and re-erected. Photos from The Guardian.

I had my fingers crossed

I had my fingers crossed and she came through. Maybe I am unkind in suggesting that it has taken our friend Pants nearly two days to write about Gough, but you will surely agree it is a fine and polished piece of writing and worth the wait. I was going to email our ex Liberal Party politician friend, who is at the moment in Malaysia, if he was returning to Oz for Comrade Gough's funeral, expecting a terse and cutting reply. He beat me to it with an email to say he is pleased he is not here to listen to hear the hypocrisy.

A handsome soldier dead

I've watched quite a number of You Tube clips from Wolters World. They are quite amusing and interesting. One of them instructs Americans about how to not be a stereotypical American when in Europe. He suggested not wearing a maple leaf on their backpack to pretend they are Canadian as everyone knows only Americans wear maple leaves on their backpacks.

R could have emigrated to Canada from England, but instead chose Australia because of our eternal sunshine, bronzed bodies and beautiful beaches. Photo, mid summer at a famous Australian tourist destination.

He does have cousins in Canada from his mother's sister, and while he knew his aunt, he does not know his cousins.

I suppose we are supposed to mourn a bit for the atrocity in Ottawa, because, you know, Canadians are a bit like us, only colder. 

Among R's occasional Sydney right wing radio host spoutings, there are grains of wisdom. He said when he heard that the passports of the two terror attackers (there was one a few days earlier that seemed to be not reported here) in Canada had been cancelled. Well, R said, that was stupid and does he not have a point? Better they go off and become cannon fodder or suicide bombers in some god forsaken middle eastern country. Does not the same apply to the Moslem terrorist lad who attempted to kill two policemen here in Melbourne? He too had his passport cancelled.

Meanwhile the luxurious lifestyle goes on unabated at The Highrise, with the occupants only slightly annoyed at the See Something, Say Something campaign by the removal of clear plastic rubbish bins at our underground railway stations where the free trashy newspaper receptacles become the substitute bins. I need to remind myself of our luxurious lifestyle when the alarm goes off at 5 tomorrow morning.

This post is brought to you by media empires (you whistle, I'll point) that need news to feed on, and governments that need electing to keep us safe.

Health Updates

Our Brother friend went home after his first chemo treatment. He was in pain and not comfortable at home. At his next scheduled visit he was re-admitted to hospital with failing kidneys and he was not lucid. He is now under care in the brand new Box Hill hospital. Treatments have been rethought and he may undergo radiotherapy as well. In spite of assurances from doctors that all will be well, other medical opinions are not so good. On this, I am a bit the glass is half empty. I don't have good feelings about it.

It was a couple of weeks ago when R received a text from Brighton Antique Dealer. She would not be able to attend any of my birthday functions as she fallen, stepped on a stone in her building's courtyard, and broken her femur bone. After a couple of days in hospital, she was moved to an expensive and brand new private rehabilitation hospital. We visited her last week, travelling there by tram because it was the easiest option. She is progressing well, using a walking frame to move about, but is somewhat mentally fragile. She is the antithesis of my similarly aged mother. BAD is an outgoing achiever, still running her own business, interested in the larger world, financially secure and has everything going for her. It is hard to see her struggling with a lack of confidence, as she clearly is. Her dyke daughter and the daughter's  partner are being very solicitous.  While I know them, I don't care too much for them. She should be back home by now and the bone healed within a few weeks.

It poured rain while we were at the hospital. We had coffee with BAD and she showed us her quite luxurious room. The rain stopped but we just missed a tram as we left the hospital, so instead of tramming it, we had ten minutes to get to the station before the next train. We walked briskly down the hill and made it with a minute to spare. In no time we were in the city, getting a couple of things at the shops.

It's a pretty little trip through Melbourne's expensive and leafy inner suburbs towards the city once you leave Gardiner on the Glen Waverley line. Gardiner is not the most attractive station though.

We are on our way to having two or more protective service officers at every suburban railway station from 6pm until the last train. Of course something had to be built for their comfort.  These guards come at great expense and I am not sure if it is worth the cost, especially at small and quiet stations where there is never trouble.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pictures of you

Our Transport Accident Commission has come up with some terrific ads over the years, many of them horribly shocking. You may be able to watch this one and not get wet eyes. I could not. I believe the original song was by a pop group.  Err, or whatever they are now called. A band? ABI Brother, Acquired Brain Injury, was treated by the TAC after his horrendous accident over an extended period and they are still stumping up reluctantly for some ongoing issues. Its rehabilitation services are a treasure. So there, your Wednesday is off to a cheerful start.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

God Gough is Dead

It is a sad day for true believers. His self belief in his own greatest can be summed up by this quote from Fairfax Press, which I rather like.

Director of the Australian National Gallery, Betty Churcher, informed Whitlam of a plan - fortunately kyboshed - which would have made him appear to walk across water to the opening of an exhibition. "Comrade," Whitlam replied, "that would not have been possible - the stigmata have not yet healed." His fans found it hilarious but it confirmed the worst fears of his critics. Here was Whitlam literally challenging the Almighty.

Whitlam was only Australian Prime Minister from 1972 unitl 1975, but we still benefit from many of his legacies.
Try these just to start with.

  • universal healthcare
  • free university education
  • Indigenous land rights
  • end to conscription
  • abolition of the death penalty
  • diplomatic recognition of China - first PM to visit China
  • racial discrimination act
  • family law act
  • no-fault divorce
He died today at the age of 98. Long may we remember you, comrade.
This brillinat political ad went to air in 1972 and it changed Australia forever.

Wellington Street Wander

Wellington Street branches off Dandenong Road, technically Queens Way, on the western side of Chapel Street, St Kilda. Queens Way was built as part of the St Kilda Junction reconstruction in 1966.

Let's begin with this photo of a nondescript building in Wellington Street. You may notice the steel pole. Generally steel poles are used only to support tramway overhead wires and not electric supply wires, but there is no tram in Wellington Street. However, there was before Queensway was built. In fact all Dandenong Road trams and motor traffic ran down Wellington Street. With effectively only one lane in each direction, can you imagine that today?  I will divert for a bit to share some photos I have saved over the years.

The old St Kilda Junction. The only thing I can recognise still being there is the spire of church at the corner of Punt Road and Toorak Road on the horizon, about a third in from your left. Punt Road rises to the top of the photo. The trams are in St Kilda Road and can turn right into Fitzroy Street or continue ahead down High Street (now St Kilda Road, St Kilda) and out of the photo left into Wellington Street. The tracks at your bottom right were I think for a tram that ran from Carnegie via Glenhuntly, Hawthorn and Dandenong Roads, Wellington Street and then down Fitzroy Street.

The redevelopment of St Kilda Junction must have been met with great approval as no doubt it was a congested nightmare to negotiate for vehicles and pedestrians. This photo is precisely dated in 1967 so I am a little confused by the tracks off to the left, presumably down Wellington Street when I thought the Junction redevelopment would have been completed by then. Maybe the tracks were just left there. Centre is High Street, now St Kilda Road, St Kilda and off to the right is Fitzroy Street. Our very own but modest flatiron building was of course demolished. The owner held out for a long time, receiving increasing financial offers to sell. Route 4 is now 67  and 4D route 3.

Another confusing photo with a route 16 tram seemingly coming along Wellington Street St Kilda. Maybe it has just come from a depot to take up service on route 16. Note the tramway signal box atop the verandah from where a signalman would control the track points for trams.

Just under the Punt Road marker is Wellington Street. It seems the reconstruction is well under way.

The very new Queens Way with light traffic and not the bank up of stationary cars often to be seen now. The only high rise to be seen is the Koala Motor Inn in Queens Road, now Conaught apartments.

Back to Wellington Street. I've long been conscious of this flat block as I pass it by all the time. It is not remarkable. I went inside a flat there once, but it was such a long time ago I can't remember it now. The flats are presumably rented out and the whole building has been sold. I would be very surprised if it is not demolished and a dominating monstrosity built there.

Next to it, this old house looks like it is divided up into flats. I can see it going too, hopefully not as it is fine looking house and worthy of restoration.

I am glad I took this photo of the sign in Queensway as it has now been changed. I think it's a cute billboard ad. The Windsor Telephone Exchange dominates behind the sign. Many people used to work there, providing phone operator services. I don't know what is in there now if there aren't people. "Connecting you now, caller." "Caller, do you wish to extend?" "Sorry Sir, there are no lines free to England. You need to book your call for Christmas Day."

Wellington Street is a mix of housing. Some have been turned into business premises.

Oh, that upper verandah does not look too safe without railing. Do you think the tape would prevent anyone falling?

This was not intentional, but in my files I found the same house back in the days when all traffic and trams ran along Wellington Street. Note the tram tracks are laid, as many were, with timber redgum blocks.

The house next to it, in the prettily patterned Hawthorn Brick I think, had once been stuccoed as you can see in the photo above. Lovely wisteria.

Two handsome Victorian houses side by side.

Another house being used for business purposes. The slate roof appears to be original and what beautiful mouldings on the front of the house.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Notorious Highrise

It wasn't fully light as I stepped onto the balcony Saturday morning. Hmm, some sort of roadworks down below. Looks like they are finishing up.  About four white vans were across the road which was partly closed. Witches hats were being removed. I really did not take much notice. I stepped back inside, but the kettle on, turned the computer on and turned the radio on for the 6.30 news. Oh, someone was killed across the road. I went back out and it was now a bit lighter and it was police tape blocking the road off and there was now a police car there. Those white vans must be forensic scientist vans. By the time I thought to take a photo, most of the action had ended.

The next news at 7 had more information. It seemed two lads had beaten someone to death outside McDonalds in the early hours of the morning. He died shortly after he was taken by ambulance to The Alfred Hospital. As they day went on, more details emerged. By noon on Sunday, the full story seemed to be out about how Joshua Hardy was beaten and kicked to death.

When I learnt that he was an aboriginal lad, from a respected Darwin family, attended Melbourne Grammar school and was now studying at Melbourne University, I started to feel very angry. While I should have felt angry that anyone was beaten and kicked to death, there seemed now to be an extra dimension to it. I took  Dog Jack our for a walk this morning and had a look at where Josh was killed and the flowers left there by friends and family.

Dog Jack was pulling on his leash as we went out for the walk and I did not really register anything as we left. Upon our return I noticed this painted on the path in front of our building. I don't have a clue what it is about, but I felt uncomfortable. I will just say, I had a bad feeling about it. Where we live is not the type of place to have graffiti on the footpath.......just a murder across the road.

Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo stayed Saturday night as Bone Doctor was riding around the bay the next day, 220 kms. What a feat. I avoided departure bother by staying in bed with the radio and laptop until an almost civilised time of 8am Sunday. I heard on the radio news that a person had attended the nearby police station and had been charged with the murder. I also noted he lived only metres away from where it is alleged that he committed murder. ANZ investment banker Kyle Zandipour has been charger with murder and guess what building is next to ours? An ANZ bank. Is there a connection to graffiti in front of our building? I don't know, but if the alleged murderer only lived metres away from the crime scene???

Sunday, October 19, 2014

US and Australian spellings

This will be republished as time goes on and more spelling differences are noted. If you add something in comments about a different spelling, I will add it to this post. We will start with the most obvious and the easiest.

Colour is the Australian spelling. Color is American. The spelling color is generally not used by Australians.

Labour in Oz. Labor in the US. The exception is the extraordinary decision by one of our two major political parties to change its spelling and call itself the Labor Party. Labour is generally used in Australia.

Satellite here, satelite in the US. This one did my head in because spell checker kept telling me it was satelite, but it just looked wrong. Speaking of double lls, labelling/labeling, towells towels. Hmm, towels, I am not sure about that. This is the problem of modern communication.

As I said, I will add to this list, but you could surprise me with one I don't know.


The ise/ize word ending





Gaol/jail. I am not sure about this one. How is it generally spelt in the Britain? While I spell it gaol, most people and media spell it jail.

Programme/program. As above. I spell it programme but mostly it is is not. 








Sunday Selections

Check for River's Sunday Selection here.

Leaves are well and truly appearing on trees now. Across the road though, the elms are deceptive. They are only green with seeds and husks, or hops. After a couple of warm days they dry off and then the wind blows them around like confetti, at times even into The Highrise. Curiously I noticed something on the inside of my shower door. I opened it and it was a elm hop was stuck to the glass.

We stopped by the site of the last series of the tv show The Block. We did not really watch the show, but R did watch once a week when the work they had done during the week was completed and revealed.

There were real estate agent boards on the front for each apartment to be sold.

The winners were the the two brothers on the Jellis Craig board. It is judged by how much the property sells over the auction reserve which is set by the makers of the tv show. The contestants get to keep the difference, plus $100,000 prize money for the winners. They deserved to win. Their apartment was both luxurious and masculine. It was the only one I almost liked.

We caught the tram to Victoria Gardens. While it is not so bad in this photo, see the hatched area on the road to keep cars clear of the tram tracks. When we arrived, cars were lined up on the hatched area waiting to turn right and of course blocking the tram. There was no reason for this except absolute stupidity and the blind following the stupid.

Since R has retired, he now does my ironing, of which there is very little. I bought a new shirt and washed it and then decided to iron it myself. But I had never used our latest iron. It is a complicated beast. With no class and a lot of the other, I worked it out. Well, I thought I had. It blurted out a measure of dirty water from the sole plate onto my new shirt. Wash, dry and I successfully completed the ironing the second time.

I image this is how sauerkraut begins, but no, it was something else and I have now forgotten what. The frypan is cast iron, bought for a couple of dollars about thirty years ago in a camping shop. It has served us very well. 

This was my grandfather's wheelbarrow, now in the possession of Tradie Brother. He has given in a rust treatment and soon it will have a coat of green paint, which is how I remember it. It is over fifty years old.

A curious anachronism in Princes Street, St Kilda. Nepean Highway is called St Kilda Road where they meet. There is not even a route number, so it must be quite old. Even the dot after Hwy tells me it is a very old sign. Note Vic Roads, just because I mention it, there is no reason to remove it. I like it.

A shiny new thing seen on Melbourne's streets, alas not normally going past The Highrise, with the exception of this one which was probably being tested. Made in Melbourne, for Melbourne........of mostly imported parts.

If you have a shiny new thing on the streets, you need another shiny new thing to push or tow the first shiny new thing when it breaks down.