Saturday, October 26, 2019

This week's controversies

It is good that here in Australia we only have controversies at the moment and not madness as is happening in Britain and the United States but our turn will come again.

Our Australian Aborigines own Uluru and its surrounds, formerly known as Ayers Rock, and lease it back to our Federal Government and it is jointly managed by the local aborigines and Parks Australia. If you haven't seen what the monolith looks like, Jackie in Toronto has a good photo taken when she and her husband visited. It's also like an iceberg with much of the rock below ground level. While we have the honour of having the largest monolith in the world, Mount Augustus not Uluru, Uluru is pretty damn large.

As of yesterday, Friday, climbing the rock will be banned, some time after the local aborigines requested people to not climb their sacred rock. Also, 37 people have died while climbing the rock and many more have been injured. Meanwhile today, there is a long queue to make the climb. My view? It's their rock and if they don't want people to climb it, so be it. It isn't the end of the world, but some people have a very different view. Some things are best admired from a distance. The Ponte Vecchio is perhaps not so interesting to walk across but how wonderful viewed with some distance.

I have not seen the rock because I have never really wanted to. I liken it the joyful surprise in finding out how wonderful Barcelona, Lisbon and Porto are as I knew little about them before visiting them. I've grown up knowing Uluru by photos, documentaries, travel shows and descriptions. Majestic as it is, I don't think I would find it too surprising.

Another matter here that went off like a bomb this week was stoked by a simple cartoon by the at times controversial Michael Leunig.

I think it rather depends who you are talking about. Is it the young blonde women who lunches and shops in High Street Armadale with a baby in a carriage that might cost as much a motor bike, often seen in the streets pushing a pram at speed in exercise clothing and glued to her phone? Or is it the new mother in the outer suburbs feeling socially isolated and friendless apart from the connections she has via her phone? 

If the job of a satirical cartoonist is to cause controversy, Leunig did a good job, especially with setting off war between the nodding in agreement Baby Boomers against the defensive Gen X and Y. What a hoot! Of course when daddy looks at his phone, it is only for really important reasons, like sports scores and photos of naked women.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Can't be 'effed Friday

Yesterday was Mother Day. R came with me. My cunning plan of us alternating each Thursday has failed. Your mother. You take her out. Last week the twins came with their mother. The week before the other two young great nieces and great nephew came. with their mother and Ex Sis in Law. Of course R wanted to see them, but then this week, he actually wanted to see Mother. Nice.

A rule is that we leave Mother's, well ABI Brother's by 3pm to avoid bad traffic. We scraped it in at 2:58. We heard as we left on the radio that the freeway was closed because of terrible accident.

The journey that in best case takes 55 minutes to get home took 1 hour 45 minutes. Oddly I did really well, avoiding congestion which included driving through a hospital car park. Once near home, it went really wrong because of traffic congestion due to tram track replacement.

I was annoyed at the delay, but then I thought about people who were picking up school children, had appointments, were going to work. Awful for them. I only missed a chat with strong man Vlad in Vladivostok.

We are doing this transport thing all too wrong. Nothing governments do fixes traffic congestion. It is about too many people and not having appropriate public transport in place.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Slums of Manhattan

R's nephew and his family, wife and two teenage children went to New York last winter. Seems an odd time to visit. They are going back next year but I am not sure at what time of the year. Yes, I am talking about that nephew who I am still exchanging Whatsapp messages with.

His son would have been 17 when they were in New York. I don't know if this is his own photo he posted on FB, or one he filched from somewhere. Pretty good photo, regardless.

I joke about the slums. An apartment alongside Central Park costs a motza, like millions. The photo is taken from Upper Manhattan looking towards Lower Manhattan with the Hudson River to the right and the East River is just visible on the left. Across the Hudson is the state of New Jersey. Click on the photo to embiggen it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A nice facade

The writing was on the wall. The northern part of city has many highrise apartments now, mostly where there were industrial sites.

I took this photo with my phone some months ago. I remember it as a Harley Davidson motorcycle showroom, called Harley Heaven. Will it be saved as a highrise apartment building goes up on the A'Beckett Street site?

Kind of. The facade will be kept with a decent set back for the tower behind it.

While I am not exactly what it's original purpose was, it seems like it may have a printing works, which makes sense. Before it was emptied of Harleys, it was Brent's Motors, selling Jaguars and Rovers. Before then it was the home of Commonwealth Motors, selling Hillman and Vauxhall cars. In another life, it sold Citroen cars.

Facadism is a popular way to save some of an old building. I have quite mixed thoughts about it. We have some terrible examples of it here in Melbourne and perhaps at times the building may as well be demolished rather than end up looking absurdly bad. I'm interested to hear your thoughts about facadism. Good? Bad? Can be done well? Examples? 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Return to Sender. Address Unknown.

We had a letter returned to our mailbox yesterday with handwritten, Not At This Address. It was actually a card, a Christmas card sent to a very old former workmate of R's. We guess she has died. She last was living with her daughter. We never saw her after she retired but we always exchanged Christmas cards. R put the unopened envelope on the shredder but just on whim, I thought I would open the card to see what he wrote.

Inside R had written, Best wishes for 2018. So that means we sent the card for Christmas in 2017. Where has the card been all that time? Why has it suddenly turned up? Someone going through a deceased person's estate?

Grumpy old man

I am in a grumpy mood as I post this. Somewhere on this box of dishwasher tablets, I expect it says, There may be some settling of contents, but it will be in print too small for me to read without a magnifying glass. I can wear this settling of contents a little with some foods in boxes like cereal but not with solid dishwashing tablets. The box was just over half full. That they are probably the cheapest dishwasher tablets that can be bought, at 14 cents each.........ah sorry, that we bought the dearer ones at 17 cents each, is not the point. It is clearly deceptive to pack a solid product in a box almost twice the size of what is needed. Bad form Aldi. Yes, this is the full box.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Canada Votes

Canadians are in the process of electing a new government. I thought this piece by our The Senator, a resident of our building, was a bit interesting. Perhaps not his best writing, but he does make some good points.

Canadians, as you vote, remember how appalling the former conservative government under Stephen Harper was.

Monday Mural

Perhaps this very large mural demonstrates the diversity of the inner eastern suburb of Richmond. It certainly has a great diversity of drugs to be bought on the street. But yes, regardless, it is an interesting and has a very diverse population. There was lots of police on the streets as there is a nearby drug injecting facility and the open on street selling of drugs was a problem. But my god, how cheap are the fruit and vegetables in Richmond. A few days later we were in the western suburb of Footscray, another quite diverse area, but the Richmond fruit and vegetable prices beat the Footscray Market hands down.

As always we brunched at the Victoria Lounge Cafe and Sandwich Bar. The Asian owner is so handsome, the food is great and not expensive, the service is good and it has on street seating in two streets. Hey, I should get a free meal for such a glowing review. No website but reviewed at Tripadvisor.

Why were we in Richmond? Household Management needed a large packet of satay powder. It's the only place we know where we can buy it. I can always find the shop among the many grocery shops because it is called Hung ??? something. Make of that what you will.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Falcon Chicks

Don't forget to check on the falcon chicks on top of a building in Melbourne. The three chicks seem to be thriving this year and the parents are now spending a lot of time away from the nest, presumably hunting for these hungry little fluffy things. In fact every time I check, the parents are never there but obviously they are feeding them. One chick does seem a little listless at times though......not sure really.

Sunday Selections

It has been a while since I have joined EC and others for a Sunday Selection post. Most of these images I have shamelessly stolen from the internet. I like graphs, charts, cartoons and I like humour. Here is some of all, some quite serious.

This is happening all over Australia. Nothing to do with climate change. No action by our governments required.

No kidding Sherlock. You think we haven't noticed?

I could not possibly endorse drowning The Trumpet, but if a terrible accident was to happen.........

I had to read this quite closely. I expect it will be a bit hard for a non English speaker to understand. It was hard for me to understand but it is quite clever.

Pedestrians are left out of this equation. Where do they fit? It is a good cartoon, and so true.

It used to be British American Tobacco, British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell who were the behemoths. Perhaps they still are but Nestle is certainly up there.

 The satnav has my sympathy. I feel a bit like that when I drive anywhere else but to very local areas.

This one is quite remarkable. Melbourne's trams, country trains, buses and suburban trains.

Looks awfully like a picture of a tram to me. The battle goes on and the futility of calling trams light rail vehicles has pretty well been confirmed, as even those in authority are starting to use the word tram. I've heard light rail vehicle was invented by spin doctors, not wanting their modern vehicles to be associated with rattly old trams.

This one is a photo by Jackie in Toronto and I hope she doesn't mind me using it. I've seen similar in Australia but not the last line, which made me really laugh. 

Untimely Fathers Day gif. I love how so many fathers are now so openly loving with their children.

I don't know where this came from but isn't it sweet. Grace or Gattina may translate, but I don't really think any translation is really required.

Has Boris done the impossible? A few days will tell, but I think he may have. Now, I really have no view on the merits of stay or leave. It is complicated. I was very surprised that long term English resident Friko, the widow of an Englishman, has had to sort her status out.

My stepmother gave me a reasonable explanation as to why my late father seemed so unaccepting of me as being gay, yet he really liked R as my partner. My father could simply not understand the sexual attraction of one male to another and felt repulsed by the thought. Fake news? Straight men now seem to understand what gay men are about and accept them as different, and while it is not their thing, they don't mind if it is a gay man's thing to like blokes in that ever so special way. So, this would not have been my father, and thank goodness as he would have embarrassed the bejesus out of me. Airport outing, I am not wanting, thanks.