Saturday, March 24, 2018

Paying to read

There is little I pay for to consume on the internet. Because of the internet, I donate AU$10 per month to the Happy Cat Club in the US and I do so because it is a project by the tireless cat carer and fixer, and blogger mate, Strayer.

I pay $US2 per month to Old Reader where I see all you blog posts, pron from selected links, news stories that I am following and much more. It was once free, but for US$2 per month, it is very good value.

Aside from my previous $100 donation to The Guardian newspaper online in Australia, there is only one substantial thing of real money I pay for and that is my subscription to The Age. It costs around $25 per month. I can read the paper on my desktop, tablet and phone. It would cost nearly $100 per month if I bought the hard copy paper each day, and for the $25 per month, I also have access to the Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Times, WA Today, The Canberra Times and of no interest to me, The Australian Financial Review.

I can read so much on the net without paying and at times I get annoyed with The Age and think I might drop my subscription. Every so often The Age sends me an email with a promotion of something, usually something for rich people, something about arts,  or movers and shakers in society, none of which is of interest to me.

But then this email arrived from an Age respected journalist. Ok, it is not personal, but it is makes the point that my world and society would be very degraded without The Age, and the larger Fairfax Press. I am happy to support good journalism with my subscription to The Age, for now.

Hi Andrew,For over 35 years as a political reporter, I’ve analysed budgets, interviewed prime ministers and predicted the GFC. I’ve exposed secret negotiations between Australia and Indonesia, been called ‘Rudd’s mate’ and labelled ‘a partisan propagandist for the West against the Rest.'
The greatest compliment we can receive is a condemnation from those who fear free speech.

I’m not here to win popularity contests. You don’t reveal the truth in Australian or international politics by playing it safe and not offending people. And to do that, you need a platform and subscribers like you, who believe in telling it the way it is.
Your support since 2015 is the reason I, and my fellow journalists, can stay on the front line where stories break, reputations are made and nations are shaped.
Thanks to you, we can do our job without fear or favour.
Peter Hartcher

Peter Hartcher
Political & International Editor

Sad Saturday The End

I find the derelict pools the saddest thing to see.

Friday, March 23, 2018

A little Jewish humour

Terrific punchline that I did not see coming. Oh, he has made me remember the most wonderful strudel we had in Vienna.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Good read about a shocking train trip

British public transport isn't too bad at all, but quite expensive by our standards. In general it is total mess of public and private ownership and innumberale authorities that control the many parts of the system, along with those who want to make a profit from the system. That is works at all is amazing to me. At times it goes wrong and again with generalisation, the private operating part of the rail system dominates when things fail.

It seems odd to me that the worst of the British rail system seems to be in the better outer extended areas of south east and south west of London. Nevertheless this bloke was only going to Dartford, a bit south east of London.

What a horrific experience.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

New Opal Card

I was given a temporary Senior Citizen card the last time we visited Sydney. I did use up the balance by using public transport, I think, and it has now expired. Lookee see. I have a proper Senior Citizen Opal card now. But it too expires within two months. Pensioner Opal cards do not. R's card lives on and on.

Comparing public transport fare systems in our different states is quite futile. Sometimes what may seem cheaper isn't and vice versa. However, I cannot possibly imagine why my card is only valid for two months. It is not like my situation will change and I will get younger, which might be rather a shame.

I still have $1.50 on my Adult Opal card, and you can be sure by hook or by crook, I will use that up, if not this visit then the next. Actually, perhaps I can transfer the balance. If I can't use up the amount at all, I will ask for a cheque refund. That will really cost them. I am ever so keen on looking after the cents. Perhaps I am not so good at looking after the dollars.

I think we still have positive balances on our London Oyster cards. Next year perhaps. A plan is formulating.

Later: I believe I can transfer the balance from my old card to my new one.

I came across these during my recent clean up. When we travel to Sydney we won't be flying Ansett as it has gone, as has the much hated monorail.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Paul McDermott

Paul McDermott was once a member of the musical comedy group, The Doug Anthony Allstars. The name is very local. Doug Anthony was a politician and the longtime leader of the Australian Country Party The National Party.

Paul now hosts a quiz show on our ABC TV. I quite like the the quiz show, but what on earth has happened to Paul? Paul is very talented. There is no doubt about that.

I was once in a tram in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, returning home after getting my hair cut. Paul got on the tram and I thought to myself, gee, you are hotter looking in real life than on tv. It was partly his understated yet perfect dress, and he moved with grace. Maybe that is what really attracts me to some people, that they move gracefully. And that is not about being a fat or thin person. Many large people move with grace. Many thin people don't. There are no rules.

Anyway, clearly I like Paul. Whether he himself or the ABC decided on how he dressed for this quiz show is a moot point. I don't mind that he now has grey hair. I don't mind that he is older, but the absurd beard and how he dresses for the quiz show really turns me off him.

C'mon Paul. You were once a sexy guy. I can see remains of that now that you are bit older. Why hide it with your absurd beard and silly clothing?

Monday, March 19, 2018


I have updated the Sammy J post with a little I heard on guns in the US on radio this evening. Easy to go back and read the single paragraph update, and perhaps it gives us all hope.

Monday Mural

Remember this ginormous mural I showed you last year, about five or six building storeys tall? I came across another by the same artist and I do not understand it at all. Fire Fighting Nephew once worked at the backpacker bar and accommodation place in St Kilda known as XBase, the location of this mural.

As you can see by the hot guy people in the photo, it is also a very large mural. What to make of it? Backpackers often work on the land in Australia to earn money. I really don't know. I wonder what Big Willey's Bingo is like? It does sound ever so English backpacker, a double entendre, ah la Dick Emery. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Tosser Trumpet does nothing

I heard or read this somewhere, and I suppose it is true.

"Another day of oppressive gun control in Australia has ended peacefully."

Please Federal Minister Dutton, do not at relax any of our gun laws. If anything, make them tighter.

Although since the tougher laws were enacted, we still have people with guns shooting people, but at least they are mostly criminals shooting criminals. The last large gun massacre of innocent people in Australia was in 1996. Then PM Howard enacted some very restrictive gun laws and while I have little to thank him for, I do thank him for that. A shooting of a non criminal type here is rare and is big news if it happens.

At five minutes to seven Thursday nights before the news on ABC TV, there was a satirical segment by the late John Clarke and Stephen Dawe. I did put up one or two of them some time ago. As the brilliant John Clarke is the late, eventually a replacement programme has been developed, presented by comedian Sammy J.

I publish this in support of the huge number of people in the US, especially the young, who are out in the streets protesting about gun control in the US. Farmers may need guns. Security people may need guns. Police may need guns, but your average citizen of the US does not. Take them away from the people. I know many of you, well I don't have too many American readers, no surprise, but many of you don't like an armed country either. So, truly, this is just for support. I am not 'having a go', but Sammy certainly is. 3:38

Later edit: Have faith people. I listened to an so called 'expert' in the US on control and he sees the time where things will change. Those who are members of the NRA and those who support extremely free and lax gun laws are predominantly older white males. Young people generally are not supporters of the way things now are, and nor are the many immigrants in the US who see themselves as wrongly being those who threaten the safety of the older white males. Add to that the paranoia of the older white men that the government is coming to get them and they need a store of guns, survival food etc, well the expert suggests time will solve the US gun problem. We can only hope so.