Saturday, February 09, 2019

Strange photo answers

Here are mine and some that others had noticed.

Nearly everyone got the Free WiFi.
The policeman is holding a modern kind of what I think is a modern baton to guide traffic. I missed this one.
The skateboarder.
Someone bending over on the footpath with knee pads.
Above the double street lamp looking over the lowest building roof is a modern mural fo sorts.
On the wall of building where the map of Australia sits is some modern tagging.
There is modern sign "Everything for your dream kitchen" above the modern mural.
Behind the tram is a modern car, that looks like a Mini.
Above and behind the tram is a modern vertical "Parking" sign for a commercial car park. I missed this one.
To the far right just at the edge is an image of a modern car on what looks like an advertising hoarding. I missed this one.

That was a bit of fun. Thanks for your comments.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Your tax refund when you don't pay tax

This had suddenly become topical. I had written it already and was saving it to post in the future. But as the matter is so topical, here you go.

I will try to keep this simple. In Australia even the most basic worker is able to reduce their taxable income by work incurred expenses. A couple of examples. If you wear a work uniform, the cost of cleaning of the uniform is a deduction against your taxable income. If you are an outdoor worker, the cost of sunscreen cream is a tax deduction for you.

This also applies to businesses, costs incurred running the business are a tax deduction from profits. The taxable profit is reduced by costs incurred. I won't go into how bad this system is, with many very many hugely profitable companies managing to reduce its taxable income to zero, including multinationals that we all know so well.

This also applies to money invested to make profits. We have something in Australia called franking credits. Because a company has already paid tax, shareholders, stockholders if you like, this is recognised when you submit your tax return statement and your taxable income is reduced.

But what happens if you have shares/stocks that earn franking credits and you don't have enough income to be pay any tax? You get the payment from the tax department regardless of not earning enough to have taxable income. That is you are getting a tax refund when you don't pay tax! The Labor(sic) Party wants to abolish this, and I certainly agree.

If you own your own home in Australia, you can live well enough on the old age pension. I expect some of these people who will lose the franking credits for tax they don't pay may well live in houses worth one million dollars or a lot more. It's just a another way the wealthier people in our society do well at the expense of the poorer.

A lobby group has been formed to try to stop the future Labor government's legislation. And what a surprise, behind 'Defenders of Self Funded Retirees' is our conservative political party and rather oddly truck freight companies.

Disclosure: I am a very minor recipient of franking credits for our Telstra shares and I pay tax, rather a lot as a pay as you earn taxpayer, but I don't mind paying the tax to live in a well functioning country. I do get rather annoyed at others not paying their share.

Theresa, I know what you mean

It hasn't exactly been a high achieving week for me. It is like being on holidays, with plenty of time to do things, which means they don't get done. Nevertheless, I feel tired after a week of not doing a lot.

My bank is taking away my credit card

This happened to R late last year and now it is happening to me. My bank sent me letter to say my Mastercard would not be able to be used anymore. Instead I will be issued with a Visa credit card, the only benefit to me that I can see is a slightly lower admin fee.

I don't know if it is still the case, but Mastercard used to be more widely accepted in Europe than Visa. It is also the case that when travelling overseas sometimes one card won't work and the other one will. I did a little research and apparently Visa made our banking company an offer too good to refuse. No reason not to name the ANZ Bank.

Aside from I don't like my credit card being changed from Mastercard to Visa, it also means I will have to set up new automatic withdrawals and payment systems from my card. I suddenly felt quite cross. I only had to do that last year when my Mastercard expired. I am making a list of auto deductions and payments and hopefully I will catch them all, but given my past experience, there is always one (in my case more) you forget.

Then I remembered I had another credit card. In the mid 2000s I had credit card debt where I used to pay interest. I noticed an offer by Virgin, as in the airlines, for a balance transfer to their credit card with no cost and no interest for twelve months. I signed up and paid it off within twelve months and I have never had to pay credit card interest since. Eventually the Virgin credit card became a Westpac Bank Ignite credit card. Every so often I receive a statement with a zero balance. There is no account keeping fee, so it just sits there unused. But which credit company is it? I found the card and it is Mastercard. It looks like I did not activate the last card I was sent and I don't have enough information to set up internet banking. I will have to call.

But screw you ANZ. If I am going to have set up new auto deductions for the Visa credit card you change me to, I may as well set it up with the Westpac card and I will have a Mastercard in my wallet. Once a month I will have to log on and pay off what is on the card.

Later: I could not do it online as I did not keep any of the zero balance statements I was sent. I called, and of course had to go through an extensive phone menu, but once I was connected to someone, she sorted it all out quickly and cleanly. I think I will tell ANZ Bank I don't want their credit card with an account keeping fee. R now has a Visa credit card and I now have a Mastercard credit card. There is the free travel insurance that comes with the ANZ platinum credit card, but as R's partner, I will be covered.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Black Saturday, my memory

Black Saturday was the 7th of February, 2009. Ten years on I remember the day and the lead up vividly. Then State Premier John Brumby had warned us the night before that it would be a bad day. Most of us thought he was being alarmist, but I have learnt that he was acting on information from the Bureau of Meteorology. It was hot already the day before the 7th when 173 people died in bushfires. I worked in 45/115 degree heat. My workplace air con pretty well failed. I recall being draped over my work station, barely functioning, which wasn't a great problem as there were no customers.

We had arranged to go out to the local pub on the Saturday night as the drama unfolded, with our Brother Friends that evening. Once home, I just wanted to sit in the cool for a while but R hurried me on. You invited them, he said. I spoke back sharply to him and it was a few days of no speakies, salvaged by me needing help to send our old phone chargers to the fire relief centres.

Once home after dinner I listened to the radio and realised how bad things were. I think I heard an unsubstantiated report that the town of  Marysville had been burnt to the ground.

Next morning I was glued to ABC radio. I heard there had been fires that had intruded into Bendigo suburbs, where Sister, Bone Doctor and the two year old Little Jo were living, later revealed to be lit by an arsonist. I called Sister straight away and they were packed up and ready to flee to the centre of town. I can't remember if they did or didn't. Sister confirmed that the town of Marysville had been wiped out, with just one house left standing. Subsequently we saw how close the fire had come to Sister's place.

The true horror of the evening was probably not revealed until the day after the next. Fen's father dealt with the day, as I remember her telling me of her father's experience on that day.

Our state learnt a lesson that day. The stay if you are prepared or go if you are not was changed to to flee. Generators, sprinklers, water reserves, dams, fire pumps, they all failed against the fire. People with the absolute best preparation died, burnt to death.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Strange photo

This photo has been around for years. I may have even posted it once before but it recently popped up in another forum recently. Initially it just looks like a nice olden days photos featuring a Sydney cable tram. But click on the picture and look more closely. Somethings just aren't right.

I spotted seven rather odd things in the photo. I believe there may be ten oddities.

This is aburd

C'mon. This is so absurd and ridiculous. Hakeem al-Araibi is locked up in a Thai gaol after the Australian government wrongly put out some kind of Interpol alert when after he sought his assurance of safety if he travelled to Bangkok, and was then locked up with an extradition order. Hakeem is wanted by one of those awful Moslem Middle Eastern countries. He is now detained in Bangkok until April, when he appears at his next court extradition hearing.

Nothing more to say than he is an Australian citizen. Thailand continues to show what a failed country it is. It has no right to detain an Australian at the behest of a shonky Middle Eastern country. Australia putting him in this position is not much better.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Viral Collins Trams

This display at our local tram stop should have been displaying route 58 trams to Toorak. Instead it was displaying Collins Street trams in the city. It was certainly like that for a number of days but I am not sure when it was corrected. I thought to check after we returned from Victoria Market by tram and I noticed the display at Victoria Market for route 58 tram had also been taken over by Collins Street trams.

Very strange. The Vic Market photo is not very clear, but enough to see what I mean.

Convert ye sinner

The teenaged Andrew read about shock therapy to cure homosexualtiy and felt very afraid. Pictures of naked men would be shown to the man and he would be given electric shocks. Subsequently I heard of many variations of deterrent methods and I think it is rare that any really worked but what did happen is that it screwed up the heads of many men who had undergone some kind of conversion or aversion therapy. I have heard many accounts of such treatments, the accounts being by gay men, mostly on radio or in podcasts and some of the stories are really quite horrific and the impact on their lives quite dreadful. Homosexuality is not learnt. It is the way you are born, with perhaps some influencing factors along the way. You can live a miserable life of denial, but you cannot stop your basic urge that men are attractive to you.

It too is awful for women who marry gay men quite unaware of their husbands true desires, and of course subsequently the families they have. I remember when out for a drive somewhere with R, we accidently came across a gay pick up area without realising initially. Why are all these cars parked here with nobody around? Presumably the men were off in the bushes and every second car had a child car seat attached in the back seat. We came across the same thing again when on our first road trip in southern New South Wales. My sexual morals may not be of a very high standard, but I find that rather troubling.

In early days conversion therapy was often carried out by medical professionals until the profession decided it wasn't actually an illness and did not need curing. When the medicos stepped out, in stepped religious organisations, although perhaps they had always been there to offer to 'cure'.

Our State Premier Daniel has announced this below, a snip from The Age. The Australian Christian Lobby is up in arms and has a petition of tens of thousands of signatures. I wonder about that. Anyway, an excellent decision by our Premier. 

The practice of gay conversion therapy will be banned in Victoria, after the Health Complaints Commissioner found “overwhelming evidence” it does serious and long-term harm to those who receive it.
Victoria will be the first jurisdiction in Australia to outlaw the practice of psychological therapy or counselling to try to suppress or change a person’s sexuality or gender identity.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Reposting Miriam

The movie Lady in a Van (trailer) was quite good starring the brilliant Dame Maggie Smith, but I won't bother with the stage play. 'The Lady' in the MTC production is played by Miriam Margolyes who is now an Australian citizen. Some people don't like her, perhaps for political reasons, but she is fine and very funny actor. She must have some money, with homes in London, Kent, Tuscany and Robertson in New South Wales, Australia.

This is a repost from back in 2014. It is bit risque, but of course funny.

Bad blogger

I had a very indulgent weekend and I make no apologies for that. I did not even write a blog post for Sunday.

Saturday morning saw us as usual in South Melbourne shopping. Forget about Sydney's Oxford Street gay mile, or Melbourne's gay 200 metres in Commercial Road. South Melbourne is the place to be for gay male couples. I saw so many at Aldi, Woolworths, Brazil and the market. Amazing!

I did go out in the heat of the afternoon to get medications and take some photos. I wasn't out much more than an hour. By golly it was hot.

Saturday night, Clocks at Flinders Street Station. We investigated. The wine was cheap and we did not fancy the food. It is rare for us to not want to sit outside but it was so hot. We went across the road to Young and Jacksons pub and had an ok meal with much of a wait . Meanwhile, unknown to us at the time, our Dyke Friend from northern Tasmania exes mother in law and the ex were in Taxi across the road.

We peaked early and were soon asleep once home.

Heat at 38 degrees yesterday saw us celebrating Little Em's third birthday. Most of the family were there. So nice, even though so hot, in spite of Oldest Niece having a decent air conditioner. It could not cope with the number of people, the oven being on and the door being opened and mostly shut. Mother did ok. Oldest Niece and Ex Sis in Law paid her due respect. We met Oldest Niece's partner's maternal grandparents. How can it be that they are the same age as us! The many children played in water spurting slide and the little pool. I had met him before, but Ex Sis Law's husband's daughter has just the most hottest, most lovely partner. He played with Hippie Niece's twins endlessly. He is so good with children and he is only twenty. What a great dad he will make, albeit a balding dad.

Before the cake for Little Em, a balloon was burst, announcing the sex of Oldest Niece's third child. It burst into blue, as you can see. Somewhat heat exhausted, people began leaving after two hours, as we did.

We bought Little Em a pair of summer pyjamas for her birthday. She became bored with opening birthday presents. What does that say? The posh labels in our department stores could not supply and we ended buy them at Target. But Little Em rather likes Frozen and Elsa, and it happened that we were at Victoria Market last Sunday and came across this animated doll. She sings, Let it Go endlessly. We know Oldest Niece now hates us for buying it. Elsa lights up and zooms around a floor while endlessly singing Let It Go. The kids kept decapitating Elsa. Her head was separately packaged, I guess to keep her hair clean but it kept falling off. Children and adults laughed and laughed as poor Esla continued to be decapitated. Then some bad child broke Elsa entirely, and it was just her lower body zooming around, singing Let it Go. Ex Sis in Law fixed up Elsa and put her away on a high shelf, but somehow Elsa reappeared later outside tearing around on the outside decking, still singing Let it Go Best $12 ever spent, plus batteries.

What a  nice thing to depart with,. a chocolate bar., Straight into the esky for the trip home and straight into the fridge once home.