Saturday, January 28, 2017

My not so favourite newspaper

Dear, The Age.

Who is this seductress? She looks intellectual with her black glasses and would be quite a challenge for a straight male to get into the cot, but once she is there, she would go off like a frog in a sock, or something like that.

I don't know if it is a supplied photo with her approval or not, but it is such an inappropriate photo of Victoria's Children's Commissioner, Liana Buchanan. At the very least I will say that The Age has inappropriately used this photo. I would be horrified to learn that the photo was used with Ms Buchanan's approval.

I was reading the story here at The Age, but after seeing the photo, I became very distracted. Can you imagine a male Children's Commissioner with a similar look? I can imagine. Hehe, we know why he is in the job he does.

Thoughts on the voice

Thank you Our ABC for a terrific Australia Day awards evening programme. I thought it would be tedious, but it was not. It was hosted by Myf Warhurst, always competent, and Jeremy Fernandez. Jeremy has a voice like liquid chocolate. You just love it as it is poured down your throat. That he has nice looks is a bonus. Can you do much about your voice to make it nicer? Well, yes, the late English PM Maggie Thatcher had voice training to reduce her shrillness and to make her voice deeper.

But some people just naturally have great voices. I don't think I am so gifted, although once at the gay bar Jocks or later as Gay Trade Bar, the barmen asked me to repeat my order. I thought I spoke clearly enough when I ordered two Carlton Colds, and apparently I did, as the barmen then said, I just wanted to hear how you say Carlton Cold again and your accent. I thought, What? I am Australian and I speak Australian. I don't have an accent. Of course, not in the last shower did I come down and instead of a customer trying to pick up a barmen, the barman was trying to pick up me. He was nice, but I did not respond. Oh, life's missed chances. R might have have had something to say about the barman and me going to heaven but then I might have something to say about him and a chef going to heaven.

I remember meeting Jayne and Lance Hattat in Budapest and Marie in London and they did not seem to have accents to me. Nothing about the way they spoke distracted me from what they were saying. R's rels in the north of England certainly do. A segment of his family have retained very strong Geordie accents by way of R's youngest sister's husband who is very proud of Geordie history. But even in Geordie land,  accents are diminishing, becoming more British neutral.

A few days ago I heard Nigella Lawson speaking in a radio programme, and oh, her voice is sounding old but I took little notice until she said the word cooker, stove/oven/hotplates for us. The way some British people pronounce cook and book is a curious thing. Is it class based? I don't think so as I can't imagine Queen Lizzie pronouncing the oo sound like that. But what would she know about a cooker.....well, she I am sure knows about books.

One day Fen put up a sound file of her speaking on her blog. I just loved her voice but I don't particularly know why. She just sounded great.

Our former Governor General Quentin Bryce had a voice that really grated on me, as did former PM Julia Gillard. Former NSW Premier Keneally had the most curious voice and accent, but former PM Howard and Abbott had the most horrible voices, the latter with an awful way of speaking.

Current PM Turnbull is fine, as is Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition Shorten,. I don't like Pauline Hanson's voice/accent, nor Christopher Pyne's very much, but none too other in the political world bother me much.

But Jeremy's deep voice and liquid brown eyes makes me think of all sorts of possibilities, in spite of him being a married man with children. Just need to gay up his hair a bit to make him a gay icon.

Funnily, after checking if I had mentioned Jeremy before, here is snip from my last year's Australia Day post. Everything old is new again.

What could have been very tedious, the Australia Day Award announcements on our ABC TV, was very well done. Jeremy Fernandez has always been a favourite ABC Sydney person for me and he was a good choice as the host. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Asian Grace

Everyone knows that aside from being very good at mathematics and uber polite,  Asian people are also very graceful in their movements. So the stereotype goes, and this video shows that Asian people are not always so graceful, especially Chinese lads.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

How our police utterly failed us

We had a lovely brunch of baked eggs in an area we don't normally visit, Hardware Lane at a place called Triim. Mine were with chorizo, R's with mushrooms. You probably have to be Australian to get this, but it was the first time I actually heard someone order smashed avocado. R picked up his new supply of contact lenses from the optometrist and we wandered down Bourke Street to Myer to buy a dress for the almost 1 year old Little Em for her birthday. It was unavoidable that we would we see the flowers and toys laid out in memory of those slain last Friday. We almost bumped into former police commissioner Christine Nixon as she crossed the street. She was also on site last Friday as the event unfolded and assisted.

R stopped for a while and looked at the mass of flowers. I thought it would be in bad taste to take a photo, so I didn't and no-one else seemed to do so either. I also did not want to hang around and end up being someone dependent on the volunteers who were handing tissues to mop up tears.

Now for the hard part. Wisdom with hindsight? I am not so sure. The police had a number of opportunities over the day to stop the alleged murderer who, it is alleged, almost murdered his gay brother, beat up the former partner of his mother and stole his car, nearly ran down people in Clarendon Street, South Melbourne, took a hostage who escaped, seemed to be off his tree in Yarraville, burnt doughnuts outside Flinders Street Station while police stopped the traffic, had been charged with family violence offences before he tried to murder his brother and had a very long list of previous crimes. Why on earth was he bailed?

Not one police officer knew what the horrific outcome would be as they trailed this out of control person around Melbourne on the day. No matter what the police did, they would be damned if they did and they are certainly damned that they didn't. I am only a humble ill educated wage slave but to me it appears to be a drastic failure of policing. Someone like the person it is alleged committed the crime should have been stopped, straight away, by whatever method would work at the time.

I don't blame any police officer on the ground. No doubt directions came from on high, but it is as simple as this, Victoria's police force failed to protect its citizens when there were multiple opportunities to do so. Wisdom with hindsight undoubtedly, but that is the essence of it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Under threat

I was driving home from work at about 9pm. Two lanes of traffic mostly turn right into Dandenong Road from Wattletree Road. I was in the right hand lane.

A not too dark slim African heritage youth walked across the crossing in front of me yelling at the top of his voice, 'why won't anyone help me'. That he looked dirty and wasted was perhaps a reason.

I locked my doors when he stopped about four metres past the front of my car. He looked back at me or perhaps the car next to me. He was looking hard at me or us and still yelling and he began to walk back towards us. Against the red light, I swung left into Dandenong Road and made a U turn at Kooyong Road to get home. The car to the left of me followed me against the red light. I don't know if there were other cars behind us or what they did.

I am not normally given to bad language or so easily spooked. I have in my job dealt with many scary people over nearly four decades, but to feel under threat on my way home from work in a well to do suburb was fucking horrible shit. There is something seriously going wrong in Melbourne and I will whistle and point, immigration numbers. We need to be able to care for immigrants, not just import them willy nilly and dump them in our poorest suburbs and allow them to become petty criminals.

While there have been a couple of uncomfortable incidents when I have been out and about, never have I felt fearful in advance like I did last night.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

AO Tennis

I wonder if these transport cars for minor level competitors in the Australian Open Tennis are transported around Australia and their decals changed, depending on the event. They are driven by volunteer drivers and one of our neighbours volunteered a few years ago. She did not really enjoy it as most of the players were not friendly and treated her worse than if she was paid staff.

The sun was shining and a cool breeze blowing and it was just one lovely day as a couple of hundred people crowded  the Flinders Street at tram stop outside the station.

A couple of these big beasts soon cleared the happy crowd but the platform quickly filled again as more people arrived.

I was in town and going to see a friend in hospital by train, but I wasn't in a rush so I thought I would go to the tennis and see what is to be seen without paying, and it wasn't very much at all. I joined the masses to the tennis and after taking a couple of photos, I caught the tram to Richmond and then the train to Malvern from there.

It will soon be time for the Grand Prix car race but it does not add to Melbourne's atmosphere anywhere near what the tennis does. I am sure there is some crossover, but I think generally people who go to the tennis would not go to the car racing.

Australia has done very badly in the tennis just past the halfway mark and once again we have been shamed by poor behaviour of one of our players.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Mother's Cats and a rant

Probably about three decades ago on the corner of Mother's street was a small petrol station. It closed, as did the many small service stations once spread around Melbourne and country towns. It became a pinball parlour for a while and my two brothers in their teen years no doubt pumped their pocket money into the machines. It then became a pizza place and the owner used to put leftover pizza out for stray cats. Eventually flats were built on the site and Step Father felt sorry for the deserted cats and started to feed them. Their home changed to Mother's back yard. There were complaints by neighbours to the local council and a cat trapper arrived. The man actually caught a few, but Step Father felt so sorry for one who was pitifully wailing in a cage and he let it out. Some cats were removed, but not all. Cat catcher said, they are too wild to catch and soundly criticised Step Father as being uncooperative with the process because he set a cat free.

The cats never received medical treatment or veterinary attention but were well fed and if any ailed badly, Step Father might give them some eye ointment that was probably meant for his budgerigars or put them out of their misery.

Step Father died and Mother took over the responsibility for the cats, about six then. They received formula cat milk and the best of food but no still no veterinary care. They bred, perhaps inbred, and some have been killed on the road. Some have died from infections. One skeleton was found hanging from a hook in the garage. We assured Mother that happened post death, but we don't know. Mother likes watching them play in her backyard. While they run under the house if any person or other creature visits, they are comfortable with the presence of Mother. Some want to come inside and be pets, but Mother won't allow that.

Tradie Brother and a friend of Mother's have quickly and cleanly dealt with some of the kittens over the years, as did Step Father when he was still alive.

Finally, she is down to two non breeding mature cats. I am not quite sure why she was sure they were non breeding, but we took at her word.

Little Jo: Nanny, there are two kittens in your backyard.

Mother: No Skippy, I don't have kittens. (Joey=Skippy. Get it?)

Little Jo: Nanny, you do.

Mother: No Skippy, I don't have kittens.

Who do you believe? A mentally sharp as a tack 83 year old woman or her very smart 9 year old grandchild?

Yep, Little Jo was right. Mother does have now one new kitten. She did subsequently see two as Little Jo described, but now only sees one.

This must sound all very familiar to Strayer. Feed them but no responsibility.

I am going to offend someone deeply now, and I don't relish doing so, but before you take on a pet dog or cat or any creature, you must ensure that you have enough money to look after the pet's basic needs. That includes vaccinations, worming, teeth care and grooming if required. I don't expect people to stump up thousands for back operations for their pets, but pets do cost for their basic care and before you take on a pet, you must realise that it will cost money at times. Having seen out two dogs and three cats to old age and death, along with a couple of premature deaths of budgerigars, a cockatoo and a canary, never mind innumerable gold fish,  believe me, I know it costs.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Not much time to write. Here is some artwork I liked in the office foyer when we recently had our wills drawn up.

The lady has been caught short, as they say.

Reminds me of Maggie Thatcher.

 And I leave you with this disturbing graph to ponder.