Saturday, August 13, 2016

The good and the bad

It was heartwarming to hear Australian footballer Nicky Winmar has connected with his gay son after not seeing him for many years. After a racist taunt from someone among the spectators back in 1993, Nicky proudly pointed to his Aboriginal dark skin. It became a famous Australian photo and I recall the twentieth anniversary of the photo being taken three years ago as well as the incident when it happened. It was taken I think by Herald Sun photographer, or was it just The Sun News Pictorial back then.

I guess the estrangement with his son was not hostile against his son but about an adult relationship breakdown between Nicky and his son's mother. Reunited, Nicky is very supportive of his gay son, Tynan. It doesn't sound like Tynan is in to football but tomorrow night is the first 'pride' Aussie Rules match between the teams St Kilda Saints and Sydney Swans. Publicity where it is needed. A couple of hours before I writing this we dined at a Thai restaurant in town, which I may name elsewhere, and we were served by a very competent Thai drag, or sex change, or a boi dressing in kind of men's clothes, but with full make up and hair arranged like a woman's, but wearing a man's watch. No one batted an eyelid, as they don't about such things in Thailand and Vietnam. The times are a changin' and have.

Tynan with his dad Nicky.

Doesn't it just warm the cockles of your heart but this almost unrelated bit won't. Maybe the times aren't quite 'a changin' like we might think.

I think the Daily Beast is an electric only newspaper. I've seen it about the information  super highway but I have never tuned in, and certainly won't now. But then I am probably not its target market and obviously after this, nor are gays and lesbians. Let me link to it because of the disgraceful behaviour of one of its journalists. Ah, its Google headline says A smart, speedy take on the news from around the world. While you could meet the person of your dreams using the straight hook up app Tinder, it seems primarily a phone application to meet up with someone with whom you can satisfy your carnal urges. I would be as disapproving if this same journalist used Tinder to try to hook up with an opposite sex partner in the Olympic Village in Rio de Janero, but I wouldn't have written about it.

The gay equivalent of Tinder is called Grindr (sic). This piece of shit, one Nico Hines, a married man with children, downloaded the Grindr app and outside the Olympic Village, set it in action and within an hour had three connections with guys within the village. By the appearance of Nico Hines, they must have been desperate, or perhaps just seeking anonymous relief without being admired for their physical prowess and sports tally. It would probably be an acceptable story if that is as far as it went. This is Mr Hines, very ugly inside and I very kindly say rather plain on the outside.

Instead Hines wrote his story with detail that easily identified competitors from some countries by, well here is a copy and paste from the Star Observer; In his piece, Hines described a number of the gay athletes by physical appearance, the sport they compete in and the countries they are from – noting himself many are from homophobic countries.

Well, for many it was a dead give away as to who they were. While homosexuality is illegal in Tonga, gay competitor Amini Fonua took to Twitter. (Amini was raised in New Zealand and is a New Zealand citizen and so can be brave) 

And a very nice ass it is.

Daily Beast is obviously an electric newspaper that you can metaphorically line your cat litter tray with, if you don't have a birds in a cage.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Humphrey enlightens Hacker

Well, the world has not collapsed post the Brexit vote. But why did Britain join the EU (EEC) in the first place? Civil servant Sir Humphrey Appleby explains to Minister Jim Hacker. 1:44

For a little more detail, here is a longer clip. Decades later the brilliance of Yes Minister still shines strongly. 4:00

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Kitchen Bragging

I had thought of putting photos of our new kitchen on my Face Book page for family to see, but I am not going to. It is not that I don't want to share the new kitchen or brag, but with Tradie Brother unemployed and after working so hard for so long and now seemingly not wanting to work, he doesn't have an excess of money. Later edit: He is now working again but as a contractor.

Ex Sis in Law and her husband, Tradie's Brother's ex wife, is now living in her son in law's father's garage (slightly better than a garage) after walking away from their business. I work hard enough, putting in long hours at work, but they have too. What is the difference? Later edit: They moved back into their home that they had rented out and have now sold it to cover debts.

R has always encouraged me to do something different, a different job. Experience new things. Meet new people, rather like he has done over the years. I haven't. I have stuck to the same job for 37 years and I plan to be there for another three to reach the symbolic 40, plus a few more months to take me into the next financial year that will help with the tax I will have to pay after I leave work. R wants me to stop work now, so that we can 'do things'. R is very set on spending his money and leaving nothing for anyone. I am very set on making sure I have enough money for my old age so that I can maintain my lifestyle once I am not working. While I don't really have savings, my superannuation is very good, thanks to the Victorian Cain Labor government in the early 1980s. No thanks to the evil Dictator Premier Kennett who offered me thirty pieces of silver to quit my super and go into a performance based fund. Many did and now regret doing so.

R tells me I can live on $30,000 a year. Umm, so if I can live in $30,000 a year, where does the rest of my wages go? To a smaller or greater degree over the last few years I have paid for many things for R and my goodness, haven't we spent money in the last few years with holidays, appliances, technology and household stuff.

If I retire as planned, I will be 61. I won't be able to receive the old age pension until I am 67. I have only seen a general preliminary advisor at my superannuation company and when I asked if I will have enough money to retire at the age of 61, she smiled and said in a knowing way, yes.

Worst case, we could sell the very valuable highrise and move to something more modest, but I feel like where I live now is the reward for my lifetime of work.

If you are in Ethiopia and starving but still have a mobile phone and can read this, yes, I don't expect you to waste too much time troubling over my issues.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Happy Census Night

Except I can't fill in the census form online as it too busy. Who would have thought. Every time I have had to fill in the census form, I have done it on the evening of night the census targets. I cannot tonight, receiving successive messages to try again in fifteen minutes. R keeps telling me, don't worry, do it in the morning, and that looks like what I will have to do. I made sure he was person 1 on the form, so I can lie on the form. Last census, I was quite proud to list R as my partner. I am not doing that this time. I will understate my income and fudge my employment details. I have been quite happy to list these in the past.

As I ranted to Sister, I believe in the census but there is no need to retain our names. Not one current affairs broadcaster has responded to the soothing words about privacy concerns as they at the Bureau of Statistics tell us the information is secure. I do believe what the Bureau says, it is quite secure, but nothing is ever totally secure. I do believe that not even the Prime Minister can access the information. But all it takes is a change of law for that to be altered.  Our government changes our laws frequently and often. While Australian might be a benign society now, it may not always be so.

Let's round up Jews/Moslems/Poofs/Blacks. We have the data and we just change an administrative detail to find these people out. It can be done just by changes to administration, without laws being changed.  Ok, it is unlikely but very doable.

As an example of the disingenuous ABS, the ABS boss in Victoria was asked why the ABS needs the address of our employers? She replied, so that we can see your work travel routes for future transport planning. If I give my work place address, I would give my work place head office, which I have visited only once. That is not the place where I travel to work, but it is my work place address. Tossers.

The government won't recognise us as a married couple, not that I would marry R anyway. For the 37 years we have cohabited, we have kept our money separate. If R goes to the shops and buys an avocado for $2, he will note it and I will pay him $1, assuming I eat half. If he eats all the avocado , then I don't pay. Ok, not quite as stringent as that, but generally we each pay our own way. His money and income is not really known to me beyond that he seems to have enough money, and I suppose he could see my annual wage, if he really wanted to look around the computer or the letter rack. He doesn't bother.

10:36 and still the ABS website is still not working.


Grace of Perth Daily Photo and her husband P were very kind to us when we visited Perth. Grace may or may not have tried to convince us that Gracetown was named after her. As much as we think the lovely Grace should have a town named after her, apparently Gracetown in Western Australia was not named after our Grace. Unfortunately for us Grace is having a short sabbatical from the world of blog, but never mind.

Hero is a word often used to describe someone who has kicked a winning goal at a football match. No doubt there will be heroes who will win medals at the Olympics, who have done nothing more than win a competition. No, this Grace of Gracetown fame really was a hero, or heroine if you prefer but I don't.

When we visited Western Australia earlier this year, our Margaret River coach tour took us to Busselton and we were impressed with the what is now the holiday town south of Perth. Busselton was founded by the prosperous Bussell family in 1832.

Grace Bussell was born in 1860 and lived at the pioneering family's homestead, Wallcliffe House.

An Aboriginal stockman in the employ of the Bussells, Sam Yebble Isaacs, spotted a sinking steam ship, the SS Georgette, in Calgardup Bay on the Western Australian coast some twenty kilometres from the Bussell homestead. He rode his horse hard back to the homestead and only sixteen year old Grace was at home. Together on their horses they raced back to scene. Unfortunately Sam's role was not fully recorded, but I expect he too was a hero.

Grace rode her horse at speed down a steep cliff and into the raging surf and out beyond the breaking surf where people from the sinking ship desperately clung to her horse, her clothing, whatever they could grip and she ferried them to shore. She (and Sam?) worked for four hours in the raging seas, bringing around fifty people to safety. Although some people had drowned before Grace and Sam arrived, none did once they began the rescue.

Pretty good effort by a sixteen year old lass, I think, and in my mind a true hero, along with Sam and perhaps their horses too.

Grace was awarded a silver medal and a gold watch by the Royal Humane Society and her 'black servant' was awarded a bronze medal and a grant of 40 hectares of land near the Bussell's home. Not only was Gracetown named in her honour, so too was the town of Lake Grace and even in the Canberra suburb of Cook, there is a street named after Grace. Grace later married an admirer of her heroic effort and went on to raise her seven children. Grace died at the age of 75 in 1935.

Monday, August 08, 2016


Mother has been connected to the fibre optic National Broadband Network (NBN), mind, only her medical alarm alert system. Who knows who is paying for this. She did not ask for it or ask the reason. What a cool mother I have, now connected to the NBN, for her medical emergency alarm at least.

The installer did what he was no doubt instructed to do, scare people into connecting their phone to the NBN. Missus, you need to connect your phone to the NBN before your old phone line is cut off. That had the desired effect of Mother getting into a panic about her phone being cut off. We reassured her. It won't be for five, or ten years but most likely after you are dead. Ok, we did phrase it a little better than that, but that is the essence of it. And Missus, you need a mobile phone as once you are connected to the NBN, your phone won't work if your power is off. Gawd, now Mother, convinced that she will have a heart attack or stroke at home, is banging on about getting a mobile phone, but be assured, her children will not be paying for the ongoing bill.

At least Mother usually runs things past her children before acting. Not so ABI (acquired brain injury) brother. He too was alerted to the need to change to the NBN and went full steam ahead. His home phone no longer works and our large telecom company is paying for his calls to be diverted to his mobile phone, which he normally ignores. You may recall, he has my old phone. There have been a number of visits to his house by phone tech people. He went to the phone shop company to buy a device to fix the mess, but alas they did not have it and directed him to another retailer. He bought the device, I know not what, but to no effect. He was also advised to buy a long phone cord and run it from his kitchen phone to his phone point in his office to make his internet work.

Part of him being ABI is that he is tenacious and demanding and won't let go, and nor he should with a non working home land line and no internet. He has quite happily bashed off to Sri Lanka to watch cricket with the NBN business unresolved, and ready for the first test at Kandy. His cricket tours are fully hosted and expensive, but it the best way for him to travel. He has been to Britain, South Africa and now Sri Lanka with cricket tours. There is some sightseeing.

I am guessing the NBN and its agents are putting pressure on so that the numbers of people connected look good for the government.

We are going to connect to the NBN when our big telco company contract expires soon. I can see everything account wise about her telco connection on the net, but not when our contract expires. I seem unable to get a straight answer on that when calling. I will persevere, but I think it is about in two months time, just when I will be on holidays. Perfect. Our telco was very smart by backbone wiring our building back in 1998 with coaxial cable for the pay tv Foxtel and for cable internet. It has kept us as a cable customer since we have lived here, nearly 15 years.

I only agreed to move to The Highrise because we could get cable broadband back in 2002, as we had been using in our Balaclava house since the late 90s. Well, that and that we would never have to move again. The latter is tenuous, especially since we have learnt of the impact on us from the construction of Metro Rail. R is very troubled about Metro Rail and it seems its construction will have significant impact on us. As it is something like a ten year project, no doubt more on that later.

I think I am right is saying that now our local speed and red light safety cameras have been connected to the NBN as well. Do bother checking online if you can get NBN, but don't take what our Telcos tell you as gospel. Our telco tells us at their website that we are not eligible, when the building has had a large number of NBN devices and cabling installed by TPG, and I think that is who we will switch to.

Connecting red light and speed cameras to the NBN.

Our current cable internet downloads at between 30 and 40 mb per second. Telstra and TPG offer similar NBN internet prices, but Telstra's NBN offer is between 25 and 40 mb. Why would we bother? TPG is offering 100 mb per second for the same price, land line and calls included. A friend in Port Melbourne using his building's TPG NBN wiring is getting a download speed of above 90 mb per second. That is an amazing speed. I care more about reliability and things just working, as required. Never mind. In summary it seems I am about ditch our life time provider, firstly of land lines and internet. Our mobile phones will remain Telstra, for a time, until I work up the energy to change them too.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Found at the back of the wardrobe

I was having a bit of a clean up of my wardrobe when I came across these rolled up posters. I was scratching my head for a bit. Where did they come from? The first is a terrific representation of Melbourne. There are many more towering buildings than back then.

Ah, here we go. Department of Planning and Environment, 1986. Our neighbour in Balaclava worked there and she gave us these after she cleaned out of office. Maybe she was retiring.

Too hard to read, I think. The basics are that this was a grain storage shed in the Victorian town of Murtoa. The roof rises from 2.4  metres at the sides to 19 metres at the top of the hipped roof. 560 poles support the roof and the storage shed was an emergency construction during WWII when Australia had difficulty selling its wheat overseas. It had to be kept somewhere and not wasted. Colloquially is is known as the 'Stick Shed', or the 'Wimmera Cathedral', The Wimmera being the area surrounding Muroa.

Sick of statistics yet? It was one of 22 such sheds built in Australia, 4 in Victoria and 18 in Western Australia and this one could hold 93,000 tonnes of wheat. I believe it is the only one left. It is a testament to the skill and craft of the bushmen who built it with barely any new material.