Saturday, September 29, 2018

Congrats to the Sand Gropers

Today at the Australian Rules Football League, West Coast Eagles won the footy ball. They had to fly nearly five hours from one side of Australia to the other to compete. The local team, Collingwood, hated by everyone who is not a supporter, played well too. As R  said, it was nice to watch a match where he felt no allegiance to either side.

I must say, it was a rather exciting and close match. I was so excited, I went to my bedroom and read a little Anna Karenina . But hey, I did get up to watch the last ten minutes.

So well done to the Western Australian Team, West Coast Eagles.

The team's supporters were very visible on the streets of Melbourne and they were wise to come with their beanies and scarves. My personal apologies for the unseasonable weather (yeah right). It seems you West Australian type supporters have stripped our large department store, Myer, of all their thermal underwear stock, along with Target and Big W.

C'est la vie, as they say in Western Australia.

The Human Sub Species

Here are a couple of photos of an Australian emu. They are curious birds, always hungry, can be aggressive but not terribly wise. They can run very fast but not fly.

Here is photo of a flock of them from a NSW government website.

Here is close up of an emu at the Perth Zoo. Strange critters indeed.

Jacob MacDonald has been charged by police for running down a flock of emus with his motor vehicle. I reckon eight years in the slammer would be appropriate, but then that is about what a sentence is for human murder, assuming he is found guilty. If he is guilty and convicted I am fairly sure he will go to gaol for his crime though, for a few years, or a couple........hmm, maybe a community service order, which are absolute jokes and often just ignored by the convicted. Photo of the accused, from Yahoo7.

Did I read that he is the son of a member of the police force in his home town? Be careful here with parental gender assumptions. Social media can be great and terrible. I wonder if in many years to come his doting grandchildren will ask, Grandpa, I saw you on Youtube. Why did you run over the emus in your car? Did I read that he said he fucked up when questioned about what he was accused of doing? If you watch the clip, he was in a gleeful moment. He sure did fuck up and forever will be known as the emu killer. What a moniker to have hanging over you for the rest of your life.

Well, cruelty to a plentiful species in Australia is one thing, but cruelty to a threatened species is another, to name the Australian Wedge Tailed Eagle, or Wedgies as some of us call them. They are majestic birds, akin to the American Eagle in status. They glide around effortlessly high in the sky. I have seen them. At killer speed they can swoop down on prey. I think it it is a bit of an urban myth that they have taken cute little white puppy dogs. There may be a doctored Youtube video out there somewhere of a bird taking a cute little puppy. They are opportunist birds that do at times take live animals but mostly they eat carrion and many studies over long periods say that a well mothered healthy lamb will be fine. Survival of the fittest, I suppose. We can conclude that these birds are not a great threat to farmed animals, yet farmers blame them, or did, for livestock losses.

This bloke put a lot of effort into killing Wedge Tailed Eagles. Murray James Sylvester killed 406 wedge tailed eagles with poison. Being an older bloke, there are not photos of New Zealand born Sylvester on the net, so I doubt questions will haunt him into his old age, or will they........

Friday, September 28, 2018

Hey mate, watch this

Trust technology? We do all the time and trust it with our lives. But like skydiving, letting elephants to step over you while you lie on the ground and swimming where sharks or crocodiles are likely to be, you can reduce you can reduce your odds of an injury or death by behaving sensibly.

Just to note, apparently the car owner, the driver, thought that the car was fitted with pedestrian detection and it was not. That cost $3,000 more on top of the purchase price. It is included now with many cars.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Odds on

(ok, I did not preempt)

Yes, there is a good chance we all may be in some kind of care home when we are old. Preempting the ABC Four Corners television broadcast, the government has announced a Royal Commision into care for the elderly. Royal Commissions have extraordinary powers, and we of a certain age all know what will be turned up.

This Royal Commission will cost tens of millions of dollars that could be better spent for care for elderly in nursing homes. According to the esteemed Sir Humphrey Appleby governments usually announce a Royal Commission when they know what the outcome will be. The government will make some new rules, but not address the problem that private profit making care where the primary motive for care for the elderly is a healthy profit return for shareholders, is simply not compatible with good care for the elderly, unless there are strong, enforceable and monitored government rules and regulations.

There is no need for a Royal Commission. We all know that many care places for the elderly are sub standard, and that there are abuses of elderly people in such care.

Perhaps our Federal Government could just govern and enforce regulations and make new ones if there are inadequacies, and such an inadequacy seems to be a lack of mandated number of care staff to patient ratios, depending on care needs.

And take note politicians. Even rich old white people who are in the poshest place suffer from poor care, if not abusive care. This is not just about governing, it is about you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Memo: ABC Staff

Dear ABC Staff. You have to do better. Doing well is no longer good enough.

Emma Alberici, you let the team down with some wrong minor details. You have to be perfect.

Faine, while you speak on air for three and a half hours on air daily and have done so for many years, apparently you once said something that was called into question. Shame on you. You must do better.

Symons, your black humour was appreciated by many, yet someone called you to account over one remark. Shame on you. You should be sacked. Ah, you were, and ratings for your former time slot have been halved. You could have lasted until you had a stroke or a heart attack like former breakfast presenter Peter Evans and had a public memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral just like Evans did.

I think it is safe to say Our ABC is in a terrible management mess at the moment. Meanwhile, the workers on ground keep churning out good product. I thank you.


Mother: She is in hospital, which was once a Jewish hospital. Over the course of a five days she is having two skin cancers removed. She tried to stay longer but the hospital told her that is all her health fund will pay for. Unfortunately the hospital is ten minutes drive away, so there is no excuse for me not to visit my dear mother.

Mother was served with a fencing notice by the property investor who said to me on the phone, hi, I'm your Mum's neighbour. We have eventually responded with offer of paying the cheapest quote.

Little Jo: She has the surname of both her mothers. Silly Sister booked airline ticket for Little Jo to fly to Japan in one surname. The ticket had to be reissued at the airport. Their flight was 90 minutes late leaving Melbourne and no time was picked up. Little Jo has started a Wordpress blog about their holiday. I think Sister is writing it, but it is good and there is clearly input from Little Jo. It is password protected and comments must be approved. While I do understand, the child does need to be exposed to the bigger unfiltered world and learn that life is not as good for all people as it is for her, that some people are weird and crazy and that the internet can deliver nasty things and nasty people.

It may look really busy and packed in Japan, just in from Sister. But Japanese people know how to move effortlessly in crowds in and there is no running into each other like there is here in my home city, mostly caused by over politeness.

Tradie Brother: He was owed over $10,000 for his last job. It must have finally been paid as he has offered to pay his debts to me, and is looking for a new job that pays more reliably. He is so in love with his dog.

ABI Brother: He is doing a great job with Mother living in his home, but he must be enjoying his week at home alone without Mother constantly nagging him and spoiling his routines.

Grandma: The fat tray for the barbeque nearly overflowed. I reckon there is more than a litre of fat in the tray. With the new barbeque and R using it to cook roasts, a lot fat is dripped away, filling the tray quickly. My grandmother would have loved it to add to her dripping tin in her fridge. Back in the 60s dripping was added to and subtracted from Grandma's dripping tin, on a needs basis. On the farm, we had some poor neighbours opposite us living in  a rented farm house. I was there once and the mother gave me dripping on toast, the dripping stored in a kerosene powered fridge. You need lots of salt and pepper on the dripping toast, I was told. With or without salt and pepper, it was revolting. It was like eating pure fat. Duh!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A disaster in the hills

How sad to hear yesterday morning the news that the quaint Ranges Hotel in Gembrook has pretty well been gutted by fire. We lunched there last year and not even two weeks ago on Wednesday, Tradie Brother took Mother there for lunch.

The fire will also affect the Puffing Billy Tourist Railway as people used to catch the train up to Gembrook, have lunch at the hotel and catch the next train back. There was a notice in the hotel for diners  to mention to staff that they were catching Puffing Billy after lunch to ensure they would fed well in time and not miss the train.

Photos from The Age and you can read my post back when we visited the hotel last year.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Goned Guthrie

Today without any proper kind of explanation, the board of the ABC sacked its managing director Michelle Guthrie. I never liked her and what she was about so far as I know, but that does not matter.

What matters is that the ABC is a taxpayer funded broadcaster and and supposedly independent of the government (haha), we as taxpayers are owed a a proper explanation as to why she was sacked.

Joy Melbourne, our local gay radio station, went through a management crisis in I think the early 2000s. Members were left uninformed of what it was about or the people involved. I did not renew my membership that year and have rarely tuned in since.

It is our money that pays the ABC Board and our money that pays the Managing Director of the ABC. We have a right to know, as we have right to know how our money is spent in many other areas of government, that are not released for the reason of  'commercial in confidence'.

I had a choice to to leave Joy, but I don't have a choice about being a taxpayer. It is our money and we have a right to know. The Minister for Communication should insist on a proper explanation from the Board of the ABC. But given he does not control the ABC, this is very unlikely. Only public and journalistic pressure will get an answer.

PS The post could have done with a polish, but it is just an off the cuff effort.

Musical Monday

Joining with no one for Musical Monday. I know this song so well, yet I haven't a clue who sang it and nor did R. She was the youngest person to ever have a number one hit in the world. It has become a flea in my ear and I hope to not make it one in yours.

Without further ado, I give you Peggy March. Watch and listen to whichever clip you like. You cynics who say she is a great lip syncer are probably right, but don't be such a spoil sport.

The original performance in black and white.

The song was used in the movie Sister Act. There are some connections in this clip.

The song went down a treat in Fernsehgarten, Germany.

Not only a lip syncer, I think she may have had some work done at some point. Nevertheless, at the age of the rerecording of the song for its fiftieth anniversary, she looks fabulous, and the clip features some of her history with the song. She was born in 1948 and it was recorded in 2013, so she was 65 at the time and is now 70.

What a great song. I had a moment of fear when I thought it was perhaps religious song and him who Peggy sang about was God or Jesus or some dude like that.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sister on holidays

Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo are visiting Japan and are flying to Japan today, this Sunday. I think they have a great holiday planned. 

Little Jo corrected my pronunciation of manga and amazingly knew that the tv show from the 70s? Kimba the White Lion was Japanese and I did not know that (more likely that I had forgotten). I knew Felix the Cat from the 60s was Japanese. I am amazed at how much Little Jo knows about popular young culture in Japan. I've forgotten the name now and she used the browser she is supposed to use on our computer that does not keep history for more than a day and has a family filter switched on. But there are whole shops for such things in Japan, and you have to book. She showed us a virtual tour of the shop, which took forever to watch. 

Dearest niece, sponge up information like there is no tomorrow, as you are doing. Soon enough your brain begins its decline as it starts to become subtractions from you brain, rather than additions. 

Our Friend in Japan has some convenient time off when the trio will be in the north of Japan. Well, I can't say they are going there to see her, I think they will like her friendly and familiar face and she will be kind to them. Actually, not sure why they are going to northern Japan. Perhaps it is because our Friend in Japan is there. They aren't seeing Mount Fuji, nor Kyoto. Thanks in advance Wombat for your kindness.

Bone Doctor was an exchange student in Japan and she plans to catch up with the family who hosted her, along with the Japanese exchange student who her own family hosted in Australia. BD is very clever and I expect she would know some basic Japanese language. 

Anyway, while I posted plenty of photos after we returned from our Japanese holiday, as per usual,  here are a few of my favourites from eight years ago. 

PS I am trying a larger font for your ageing eyes, or mine. It looks huge as I type but it looks ok in the preview. Your opinion is valued. 

It is hard to believe it was eight years ago. We arrived by train from Narita Airport to Ueno Station and we were promptly lost. Our hotel was nearby but we had no idea in what direction. I did not imagine Ueno Station was so large and had so many exits. We were supposed to arrive in daylight, but thanks to Jetstar we did not. It looked so simple on the map. Like lost children are told to do, we found a (smoking hot) policeman and sure enough, he directed us well. Next day we were back at the station to book train tickets north, and feeling much more relaxed. 

I don't remember taking this photo which must be at Ueno Station, but it is a nice thing to show, and saves me from inflicting a huge number of photos on you from the Transport Museum.

All over Japan are these attractive manhole infrastructure service covers.

Odd really, I was surprised at how beautifully Japanese maple trees grow in Japan. What?

Midsummer, we were thrilled and so excited to see Mount Fuji close up, the biscuit tin image from our childhoods.

Sulphur Mountain, where the sulphur turns eggs black.

Cruising on Lake whatever.

I think in Ueno Park.

Ok, just one photo from Japanese transport museum.

And another. I pretend drove a tram  that had working parts and we watched a turntable turn around a train. As we ate a metaphoric Devonshire Tea at the museum, a Shinkansen train shot past our window seats.

Our Shinkansen arrives to transport us to the north of Japan along the east coast. We had to change trains a couple of times to get to our destination in the north. Now it would only be a change from the Shink to a local train and it would be on a much newer and faster Shink.

I didn't mean to upload this photo, but this was the view from our Hirosaki hotel.

Hirosaki Castle gardens.

Hirosaki Castle (I think).

Orrisa Falls? Something like that on the way up the mountain.

Lake Towada. Very nice 'scenery'. One little boy has a very nice daddy.

Snuffling around was this prairie dog or as the Japanese call it Tanuki.

 A cultural parade in Hirosaki.

A temple outside Hirosaki. We had first visited a bakery and bought 'stuffs'.

Sculpture by the internationally known artist Yoshitmoto Nara.

Can't remember.

Mount Iwate dominates the skyline in Hirosaki. It is probably just as impressive as Mount Fuji. I think by the kindness of a friend of our Friend in Japan, we circumnavigated it.

I leave you with photos of some Hirosaki Park features, where we came across a lonely young European female traveller, so pleased to see some fair haired men and speak at ease in English. We loved our visit to Japan.