Saturday, July 16, 2016

You say Labor, I'll say Labour

While in Australia we use the spelling labour, one of our two main political parties is called The Australian Labor Party. Why?

It goes back a long time to a politician called King O'Malley. While he claimed to be born in Canada, and thereby a British citizen, it is now known that he was actually born in the US and not entitled to be an Australian politician. Wow, a politician telling a lie. How extraordinary.

There is a plaque in front of house here in the inner suburb of South Melbourne where O'Malley lived for forty three years. Among his many achievements was the transcontinental railway across Australia and the selection of the site and the naming of Australia's capital city, Canberra.

Another thing O'Malley was keen on was spelling reform and convinced the party to adopt what was thought to be the more modern spelling, Labor and not Labour. A century or so later, the party has stuck with the spelling, even though the spelling is at times vehemently criticised.

Photo from City of Port Phillip. NB It is very arguable whether or not he was the founder of the Commonwealth Bank but he was certainly a supporter and activist for its establishment.

When R worked for the City of Port Phillip, he had occasion to visit the former home of King O'Malley. Not sure how well this Google Street View embed will work, but I will give it a shot. There is a short oral history on You Tube by the City of Port Phillip presented by the present occupant of the house who has lived there for around thirty years. It's the double fronted house with cream picket fence.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Is it a cab?

There is little I admire former dictator state Premier Kennett for but in the 1990s he got stuck into the taxi drivers. You will wear a uniform shirt. You will not smoke in your taxi cab. You will paint your taxi yellow. The dictator's orders went out, and thus it was done.

Here is a snip from The Age in 2013:

Melbourne's familiar yellow taxis will soon be changing colour in a bid to spark competition and improve industry standards.
The move to introduce alternative colours to the current yellow taxi scheme has been approved by the Taxi Services Commission as part of an overhaul of the industry.
The commissioner, Graeme Samuels, has announced smaller taxi networks will be allowed to paint their cabs different colours as part of attempts to stimulate competition in the industry.
It is part of a raft of industry changes that also include more stringent driver testing and changes to the licensing system.
"You might see cabs that are, I don't know, lime green or blue," he said.
"What you'll be able to do is go to a taxi rank and say I want to pick a particular colour because I understand they provide a much better quality service, they've got better quality drivers."

If you've ever watched a taxi rank operating, I can tell you this promoting competition is load of nonsense. You take the taxi at the head of the queue. They are often so tightly parked that it would be impossible for any taxi but the first to move anyway. How would you be at the airport in the taxi queue trying to choose a certain coloured taxi? If you hail a cab on the street, you want the first one that appears and are not likely to wait and choose by colour. Yes, you can choose your taxi company when you make a phone or app booking, but whatever colour it may be makes no difference if you use your preferred company.

Could the foolish idea be connected to the ending of car manufacturing in Australia? Too hard to specify imports in taxi yellow?

The easily visible yellow taxis.

The not so easily visible other coloured taxi. Tossers!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Good About Oz

God, how old is this unpublished post? Stinking heat!!! We are now freezing.

In the stinking heat late morning we waited for a tram to get home from town. The wait is not long, but can be longer if you want a tram with air conditioning, which we did.

A cute young blond guy walked past hand in hand with who was obviously his older Asian male partner, both nice looking. The younger guy was a bit of pretty and stylish lad and the older Asian guy was neat and very masculine looking. While I noticed them, I scanned around and no one else was taking any notice. It may well be a little Pollyanna like but it was nice to see a stereotype broken down, that is an older Anglo Australian with a younger Asian Australian. This was the opposite and it pleased me to see. I also suspect it is an example of successful immigration where a newcomer to Australia has very successfully blended himself into Australian society to the point where he can confidently walk hand in hand with his same sex partner and no one raises an eyebrow.

An open letter to The Greens

This was not finished and of course was meant to be posted before the recent Federal Election. As I have nothing else ready to post, it will have to do for today.

Dear Greens,

While I have voted for you in the past, I will not be doing so in the immediate future until you get back to your base of the environment. I am about to put a stop to all your pleading emails.

There is an amount of self interest in this letter, as I have been badly affected by the huge increase in Melbourne's population over the past decade, both at work and in my own time. The population where I live has grown hugely and clogged up roads and public transport. It is now often a miserable experience to travel in my own city.

While I have never seen it spelt out on your website, you seem to wish to open the doors to everyone who wants to come to Australia. The theory of sharing our supposedly good lives with the needy of the world is admirable, but as Melbourne's population has grown exponentially, we actually do have kangaroos hopping down suburban streets, somewhat disoriented by the loss of their grazing lands. Kangaroos are high on the food chain. How many other lesser creatures have lost their homes as our suburbs ever expand.

A large density increase in the inner areas has happened, supposedly to slow the expansion of Melbourne at the edges, but both are happening without abatement.

The land where our vegetables and fruit are grown has become so valuable and highly taxed, the owners of this rich land for primary production are about to be driven out.

I am generally quite happy with the numbers of refugees we take in. I may well have issues about where they come from and the numbers that are taken from a particular country when there are so many on the list. Mix and blend and don't frighten the horses, if you please. Without checking figures, I suspect refugees are a much smaller proportion of our immigration intake.

I could bang on for much longer but I conclude with, Greens, you have lost your environmental vision for Australia. Humans and what we do are the biggest problem in the world and hugely expanding the population of Australia is doing us no good at all.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Party's Over Now

Sunday morning we picked up the balloons in Balaclava. We did not have time for food but there is always  time for coffee and we revisited one of our haunts from the late 1990s, The Wall. Great coffee.

The eighteen balloons looked very nice, all held together in a bag. Staff told us to release them from the bag as soon as we were home, as they might overheat. What would happen if they overheated, I wondered? Will there be a helium gas explosion? The balloons just fitted into the back of the car. As we left the shop with me holding the balloons, I said to R, there must be someone in this world who has walked out of a shop and accidently let go of the bag of balloons. My grip tightened.

Hmm, a good breeze had gotten up. The balloons blew on to the side of a spiky plant. Thankfully no popping noise, or helium explosions. It was decidedly difficult to hold them still in the wind. I will hold them up higher to avoid spiny leafed plants. It was a little bit of a distance to the car. I did not even notice the strands of barbed wire atop the brick fence as I walked along until the bag hooked onto the barbed wire. Fortunately R did not notice or there would have been harsh words about my balloon carrying competence. I tried to quickly unhook the bag but it hooked itself elsewhere. Eventually I managed, and quickly walked to catch up to R before he noticed my absence.

Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo turned up to drop off some food for later. Little Jo was being taken to see the musical Matilda and did not know that we would have a party for her afterwards, and when they arrived I only just had time to hide the balloons in my ensuite, but not time to release them from the bag. Will my ensuite be blown to pieces by an overheated helium balloon explosion? Perhaps the sharp plant and barbed wire punctures in the bag will give some air circulation in the bag. All was well when they left shortly after and the balloons were set free in my ensuite and then transferred to the lounge room.

The party went well enough. As is the tradition when Little Jo has a birthday party here, she set free a helium balloon, with mumbling from Sister about fish eating fallen balloons in the ocean. The balloon headed straight for Frankston, for a fate perhaps worse than a mere deflation and being eaten by a fish. Little M watched the balloon release with fascination, so we gave her one to set free. Little Em can't even turn over on the floor yet, but she can poke her tongue out in response to someone poking their tongue out at her. I got the photo!

Funny, Little Jo has never been interested in being out on the balcony but Little M at two is fascinated with watching the world below The Highrise.

Party attendees were Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo, Mother and ABI Brother, Oldest Niece with her 'husband' along with their children, Little M and Little Em. It was enough. Little Jo tripped over the balcony step inside and fell against ABI Brother whose coffee went flying onto the carpet. Little Jo, I don't mind you dancing on the coffee table, but please don't step into the chocolate cake crumbs on the table and then jump down onto the carpet. She did. I brought out Little Jo's playbox (crate) from years ago for Little M to play with and she had great fun, until she threw a heavy wooden block at her sister Little Em and was soundly roused upon and then sulked for at least two minutes.

There was a little carpet cleaning to do the next day, but all is good and I think everyone enjoyed themselves and enjoyed the food.

Oldest Niece and her partner have been together for what must be ten years now. He was a reclusive skinny young kid when we met him. Now he is, how shall a say it, large. But he a great provider, just as well, and a great dad.

Oldest Niece video skyped her sister, using our broadband, who is now staying with a friend in Amsterdam after the end of her Contiki Tour. We all had a chat with her. Fire Fighting Niece had been out partying the night before and did her best to be nice and charming at 9.00 am Amsterdam time when clearly hungover on Sunday morning. Sadly Fire Fighting Nephew and his Jewish Partner could not attend the party, as they were picking up her mother from her Otways apple orchard and then flying to New York for two weeks. We knew they were going, but did not realise it was so soon. They each could choose some tour options and FF Nephew chose to attend a happy clapper black all singing and dancing gospel church in New York. No nephew, you can't recreate Sister Act and dress up as a nun.

There is other family travel news. ABI Brother is off soon to Sri Lanka with an Aussie cricket tour. They will watch Australia play Sri Lanka and do tours as well. I am a little envious. I have never fancied going to India, but the easier Sri Lanka might be nice, still Ceylon in my mind.

The remaining balloons that weren't taken away were not looking happy the next morning.

By lunch time they were resting on the floor. I think that is what really happens if they get hot. They lose their buoyancy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sorry, a bit more tech and a quiz

Since I have changed my email address for my blog, I am not getting the many emails each day that my comment on other's blogs aren't deliverable, that is people were not receiving an email when I made a comment on their blog. Gattina told me quite specifically that she is now getting emails, so I assume others are too. This is good.

But the world is an imperfect place. Since I have changed to Gmail, I no longer receive notifications when Grace in Perth and River in Adelaide have made a comment. I do go back a few days and check comments, so it is not a big deal, but if they and whoever else I don't receive an email for when they comment, my apologies if I may miss one of your comments.

I had a bit of a laugh today, courtesy public transport impresario Daniel Bowen, who I follow on Twitter. When we lived in Glen Iris, we would catch the Alamein train from Burwood Station to town. Off peak it was a shuttle service and via the tannoy speaker at times when returning from town we would hear, Camberwell Station, change for Alamein.

I walked the old and long gone spur train line to Kew a year or more ago. It wasn't that interesting but there is a link to my walk on the side bar of my blog. The Kew train was also a shuttle service, from where the line diverted after Hawthorn Station. A similar announcement was made at Hawthorn as it was at Camberwell for the Alamein train.

Will it take you seconds, days, a hint, or will I have to explain the humour?

NB, this may only work with Australian accents, no it works for English accents too. Not sure about non native English speakers, including Americans :-P

Later Edit:

Say it out loud now, Hawthorn Station, change for Kew. It's a variation on the name of the outlying area of the suburb of Kew, known as far Kew.

Monday, July 11, 2016

All that glitters...

Something went wrong at Toronto's gay Pride March. I take in way to much information to properly absorb. Vaguely, black people in Toronto successfully stopped police who are supportive of gays from marching in the future. I remember seeing many non white faces in Toronto but not especially black people. Well, not really especially from anywhere. Like Melbourne, there were many people from many countries. Do your own research if you are interested. It will all be there on the information super highway. A gay policeman wrote a rebuttal to the black people who stopped police marching in support of the gay community. I won't offer an opinion as it is very hard for fat old gay white men to know what discrimination is like because of the colour of your skin. I suppose I better check that at least I did not dream this. Yes, here is an article at CBC.

Do you remember my recent post about dogs frollicking in a park, with such joie de vivre. Have a look at this link Jackie subsequently posted in a comment about Canadian PM Justin Trudeau. Look at the joie de vivre on his face.

Lest you think I am a shallow queen only focused on looks, here is a photo of the Canadian PM looking a little Prime Ministerial. There is nothing fake about his participation in Toronto's Gay Pride.

I suggested Margaret dressed her son Justin for Toronto's gay pride march. I may or may not be correct about that, but look at Margaret's current photo at the age of 68, I think (note to self, be cynical about Wiki dates of birth), shows her looking fine and without surgery. She certainly has a sense of style.

My penance for being slightly obsessed by Justin Trudeau and wanting to make babies with him is an hour next week studying what his party's policies are and Canadian politics. I will let you know if I find anything interesting, or juicy.

Nah, I'm still making Jussy sound like a pretty boy air head. The Prime Minister of Canada is an important person in the world, and we hope PM Trudeau acquits himself well among world leaders. Sorry, I just can't help myself. I bet former East German star scientist Chancellor Angela would like to snog Jussy and I bet PM Cameron would like to smack Jussy's bottom. Cammo was Eton and Oxford, you know. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday Selections

It seems to have been an age, but here is a meagre Sunday Selections post, join in with River, Elephant's Child and others. Maybe even Carol will burrow into her archives.

As I said, I was impressed with the remake of Balaclava Station. It was a long time coming, but hey, it was done before Southland Station has been built, with an even longer timeline. This is the platform for Sandringham bound train passengers. The facilities for inbound passengers are much better, but outbound is not so bad.

Blurry, but a live time tram indicator for the passing routes 3 and 16 trams is a great thing, although wouldn't it be more useful to passengers on the other platform getting off the train, rather than where people get on the train?

When the dark building was built, we lost a good chunk of our views towards St Kilda. A new building rising in Queens Road will probably see this view disappear too, the end of St Kilda Marina, the Palais Theatre and the apartment building, Edgewater Towers.

Back for a long weekend visit a week ago. He spent more time in the coziness of his bed this visit than usually.

We slip away to Perth for a week or so, and the world changes, with the synagogue opposite getting some extra lighting. I think it looks great, especially coming along Kingsway when you reach St Kilda Road.

The artist's name was not visible to me, but I did not closely search because rain was absolutely p p p.....pelting down. The wall is along the ramp up to the outbound Balaclava Station entrance. The word above, Sinch, is the name of a graffitist who was electrocuted when train surfing at the station. Many of his scrawls can be seen around Balaclava. I am not sure that he was an artist.

I did find a name on this panel in William Street, Balaclava, but google is not helpful.