Saturday, July 30, 2016

Saturday Quickie

I am away, but I ask you this. I think the time has come where people have stopped laboriously saying www when reading out a web address and if they haven't, they damn well should.

While watching commercial tv news this week, several times I heard reporters say the words 'mobile phone'. Surely if someone is outside and they drop their phone or used their phone or haven't used their phone, it goes without saying that it is a mobile phone, so drop the word mobile. It is quite unnecessary.

Oh yes, if you need to contact me while I am away, call me on my mobile.

Friday, July 29, 2016

This week's flowers

Well, this week's flowers did not last for this week. The following week they were replaced by more this week's flowers, which did seem to last almost long enough to be this week's flowers, by Friday night. Except we are not here on this Friday night of This Week's Flowers, so I am not entirely sure about this week's This Week's Flowers.

I love Iris almost as much as I love Roses. I love Ivy too, by you have to be careful with Ivy. She can get away from you and reproduce very quickly. Fellas, if a lass tells you her name is Ivy, be alert and alarmed. Ivy out of control can be a miserable experience.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Woolworths and advertising

Woolworths has introduced a pro Indigenous person staff policy, so don't be surprised if your check out chick/chap is an Australian Aborigine.

No, no, not one like this. God forbid. You'll catch diabetes from her (fingers crossed she is dead and has no relatives).

The more acceptable types, you know, a bit more white looking.

Ok, I am, as we say in Australia, having a go. Woolworths is probably doing a very good thing and should be applauded.

Non Anlgo Saxon looks in advertising in an interesting subject. I have noted of late that we now see Asian people in ads on Australian tv, mind, not too Asian looking, but obviously Asian. So no, you won't see a badly dressed Chinese mainland person in our tv ads, but you will see a successful Asian family living the dream, such as it is, of being high achievers and being just like successful white people. How good is that!

Our private schools just love the Asian/Indian heritage Aussie parent dollars, almost as much as they like minimum wage earning taxpayer's dollars. They put up billboards to attract new students and empire build, which they are doing extremely successfully. Did I read Wesley College has opened a Spencer Street campus? Oh, I missed this one, from the Sydney Morning Herald.

The billboards will always have a photo of a white student, but there must also be an Asian looking student and or an Indian looking student too, mind, not too Asian. Eyes have to be wide. Not too Indian, not too dark. Good lord, before you know it, they will putting up pictures of face covered female students with only their eyes showing.

Never underestimate the advertising gods. They know what they are doing. A little of the white person magic will rub off onto the children of these aspirational immigrants and they may almost be seen as an equal to whites in adult lives, depending on how useful seeing them as an equal by white people may be. Treat our Asian and Indian heritage folk well. They may well be dishing out your pension and paying their taxes to give you your pension.

Note to you foreign type readers: In Australia, Asian does not include Indians, Sri Lankans etc. We say Indians when referring to people from the sub continent. We divide the world's continents a little differently.

Later edit: Of course you cannot catch diabetes and this was written with provocation in mind and a great deal of cynicism.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Commos and Capitalism

On the corner of Little Bourke Street and Swanston Street is this very solid looking building. It was constructed for the English, Scottish and Australian Bank (ES&A) in 1928.  As is clear from the photo, a later sympathetic storey was added.

I can't remember it as the ES&A Bank, but I can remember it as an Australia and New Zealand Bank (ANZ). It then became the Bank of Hong Kong. You know that island, the home of capitalist free enterprise once controlled by Britain, and then given back to communist China. In a delightful turn around, after a time of being a surfing wear shop, Rip Curl, it is now going to re-open as Bank of China after being the Bank of Hong Kong. How the world has changed. It is worth clicking on the photo to see a larger view of the marvellous copper doorway.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Personal Diary

The stars aligned and we were able to meet Victor from Sydney for coffee at Riverland, Federation Wharf during his brief visit to Melbourne to see a show. It was great to see him, and who would have imagined back in 2005 when I started my blog that I would end up meeting wonderful and kind people who go out of their way to take us about and show us their town.

After chin wagging with Victor, we on to the shops. Sister's wife/husband, the Bone Doctor, is turning forty and we needed a gift. Sister suggested a small suitcase. We did look a bit last week but we were not happy with what we saw, nor the prices. I am not sure why, probably some serious inadequacy issues on my part, but I have not met many local Melbourne bloggers and one comes to my immediate mind, Fen. Fen bought a Tetris Lamp from an Australia Geographic store and I liked it. Bone Doctor is a little nerdy and I think the game Tetris might have been around in her youth, so we bought the lamp as a gift to her.

When Bone Doctor turned 30, she was working at the Austin Hospital and we attended her birthday party at a nearby venue, and met her family for the first time. Step Father was still alive then. This time she has hired a venue on the Bellarine near to where she and Sister live. One of her patients owns an accommodation place and has offered Bone Doctor's party guests two nights for the price of one. I have booked the Queen Room, settle down kiddies, as it was the only one that offered twin beds and is in a separate motel style building apart from the old building with its poshness, heavy old antique furniture, creaking floorboards, Axminster carpets and thin walls. I may be doing the place a disservice. I don't actually know, but we are looking forward to the two nights away.

So we are going to a party, a 40th, with a heap of lezzos, medical people, school teachers, kids and Bone Doctor's rather unconventional family. Should be a ball! Maybe not for the tame R and myself. Bone Doctor's family is unconventional. Her father is an early retired doctor with mental health issues, her mother is a working nurse, and of course they are also grandparents to Little Jo. BD's mother makes Little Jo be organised and do jobs when she visits. One of BD's sister's is a very shy radiographer, the other sister is a road works construction worker by day and a pole dancer by night, and her brother has mental health and drug issues and is on a disability pension, living in a shared house in the inner northern suburbs where he can play computer games until his heart is content.

They make  my family seem ever so normal, and here is an update. Fire Fighting Niece is now in Edinburgh and opined, Edinburgh Castle is much nicer from the outside than the inside. She has chummed up hanging out with with a gay couple from Perth, Australia. Next stop for her, Glasgow.

Fire Fighting Nephew went to see Matilda on Broadway, exactly as we did about one year ago. They have done and seen so many things in New York that we did, but I bet they didn't go to the Transport Museum in Brooklyn.

Back to beginning. What I did not tell Victor was that I had terrible back pain. The same thing happened a couple of years ago, without any obvious reason. Last time I saw my doctor who referred me to a physiotherapist and I had three sessions of treatment and an understanding of what was wrong and some exercises. Needless to say, as soon as my back was ok, I stopped the exercises. This time I am going down the drug road with a drug called Voltaren, at R's suggestion. He has at times suffered from extremely debilitating back pain, without also without knowing any real cause. I know my back will heal itself in time, and the drug seems to be a good help with pain and apparently has anti inflammatory properties, about which I am a little cynical.

Monday, July 25, 2016

It's only words

While Winston Churchill stole and adapted the phrase from playwright George Bernard Shaw, Shaw in turn had stolen and adapted it from Oscar Wilde, the phrase being in reference to Britain and the United States, the US probably not so united when the the matter was first noted by Wilde. The phrase is, two countries divided by a common language. Poor old Australia is caught in the middle, mostly opting for the British way, but at times the American way, and at other times, we ourselves are just confused.

I am quite aware of American term, fanny pack, but not everyone is. Here we used to call it a bum bag. I am not a hip young thing, so I am not sure of current terminology but young Australians would probably know what you mean if you said bum bag. The American meaning of the word bum is known to Australians, a street person or a person down on their luck. I want to say hobo but that is a US word too. Australia has its own terms for such people.

In the US fanny means bum, butt, ass and I believe they at times even say arse. Fanny means something completely different in the UK and it used to in Australia too. Maybe it still does. Recalling an horrific childhood experience was a moment when to me or to someone it was explained that a baby came out of a woman's front bottom.  The UK knows the word fanny as a woman's front bottom, not her rear bottom.

s onSo, slap a US woman on her fanny, she might take great offence. Slap a UK woman on her fanny, you will probably be locked up. We poor old Australians just adapt to the differences as best we can and take it in context.

Enough fanny slapping. Where it really goes wrong for Australians is with chips. Again this may not apply to young people. In Britain cut up potatoes cooked in fat or oil are called chips. In America they are called French fries or just fries. In Britain the baked and salted or flavoured crisp potato slices bought in a packet are called crisps, in America they are called chips.

Once again, poor old Australia is stuck in the middle, or at least middle aged Australians like me are, who reject the McDonalds corporation and everything it stands for. I refuse to use the term French fries or fries. They are chips, and even in a weak moment when I visit McDonalds, I always say chips.

The problem is for Australians is we never really adopted the British word, crisps. So, we have to judge chips by the context and let me assure you, when chips used to be written on the shopping list, it had to be checked with the other Highrise abode resident, do you mean crisps or chips. So we have taken to calling them crisps now, well sometimes, not always. Crisps have become an impulse buy and not listed on the shopping list, while chips are part of the regular meals. While it may make no sense, if we have to say what sort of chips we mean, we might say potato chips, which literally makes it no clearer, but we know what we mean as potato chips are crisps and not chips...... or French fries.

I am pleased I have given great clarity to folks on each side of the Atlantic and to Australians. You did follow all that, yes?

 It is only a matter of months ago that I noticed that in the US sulphur is spelt sulfur. (My spell checker agrees with sulfur. No surprise there). Apparently Australian scientists now use the spelling sulfur, reinforced by our McQuarie dictionary and it is now the official spelling. I am quite sure in the Oxford dictionary sulfur would be noted as an alternative spelling. Most of my Australian readers are of a certain age. How would you spell sulphur? Should we march on the streets about the change? Or should we just let the water flow to sea and the grasses bend in the wind? The wisest will say, doesn't matter. We know what either means. However, I am slightly infuriated.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Sunday Quickie

Got to toss off something quick and easy. San Francisco still has cable trams, that is public transport cars pulled along a road by a grip attaching under the road to cable. Sydney initially went for steam trams before electric trams but it did have one cable tram. Victor, Merle or Marcellous might confirm that Ocean Street is a steep street, too steep for steam trams, and so had a cable tram.

Melbourne totally went for cable trams before electric trams and had a huge system of cable trams. In this photo from the archives of the State Library is a terrific picture or painting, whatever, of a Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, cable tram. Past the tram is Junction Oval, former home of the St Kilda football club and possibly showing the Blackie Ironmonger Stadium.

In the distance is the South Melbourne Town Hall, perhaps back then called the Emerald Hill, as South Melbourne used to be known and might that the hills of the You Yangs in the distance? The church spire would be that of St Lukes in South Melbourne, still there.

Is the cable tram new to Fitzroy Street? Horses seemed to be alarmed by the tram and boys are chasing after the tram. I hope they are not attempting to tie a tin can to the cable to rattle and bounce along the road, as lads used to do. It must be a warm day as most are sitting in the open air grip car and not the saloon trailer. The conductor has clearly collected all the fares by moving hand over hand along the running board and is taking a moment's relaxation. Ít is just quite a lovely picture.