Saturday, November 16, 2019


I was a bit topical with my post showing the kookaburra as The Guardian was running a most popular Australian bird poll. It was curiously won by black throated finch, a bird few people would have heard of but there was some campaign to get it up to the top as it is an endangered bird and the expansion of the Adani Carmichael coal mine threatens its habitat. Adani is an Indian company with a poor environmental record and will massively enlarge its Queensland coal mine as it digs up coal to send to.......India.

The black throated finch is a pretty enough bird, but of course cuteness should not matter when it comes to extinction of a species.

Of course the kookaburra was in the top ten in the bird poll. My maternal grandparents used to refer to kookaburras as laughing jackasses. What is a jackass? Back in minute while I check. I is returned. Well, it means a male donkey, but the Cambridge Dictionary also adds, Australian old fashioned; kookaburra.

You probably don't recall or did not read my blog back in 2013 when R's sister and her then husband visited Australia and stayed with us. Take a look at the whole post (lots of pretty birds) if you want or this hot link to a picture of kookaburras lined up ready for a breakfast treat of minced beef while we were drinking champagne and orange juice before we had breakfast on a verandah in Walhalla.

Wikipedia says they are terrestrial tree kingfishers. I came across this great video of them on someone's balcony somewhere on the Gold Coast where he clearly feeds them. It is illegal to feed native birds and wildlife but no one takes much notice and I've never heard of anyone being fined. The important thing is that they don't become dependant on humans feeding them and don't lose their ability to hunt or find their own food. Laugh along with the kookaburra.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Metro Train Madness

Our suburban train company is called Metro Trains but there is little Metro about it. It is simply a suburban train system.

It tweets on Twitter often and frequently. At times helpful, but more often disingenuously and I hate its corporate speak. A minor service delay on the Altona Loop train in the morning peak can mean no train for 40 minutes but only painted as Minor Delays. In the morning peak, when people depend on the train to get them work, that is a melt down, not a minor delay.

"We are running extra services to Flemington for the races" is absurd. The train to the racecourse only runs for special events. Metro Trains is not running extra services as it normally doesn't run any services on that spur train line.

"Due to a police request, trains to Sunbury have been halted." This was Tweeted three times, but the final one added something like 'If you have mental health problems, please call Beyond Blue or Lifeline'.

Well that gave it away as suicide by train. Police request? Like Metro Trains will keep its trains running over a dead body?

Yarra Trams is nearly as bad.

People will get very annoyed by public transport being delayed by a 'police request', and 'a delay on the Glen Waverley line due to  the Glenferrie Road crossing at Kooyong being blocked', when a broken down tram was blocking the train line is dishonest.

Police request? Tell us what the problem is. If it is suicide by train, we will feel how awful about how a person has done this and understand that it is a very serious matter and understand why our train can't run.

The glib corporate speak, "Due to a police request..." just doesn't cut it and makes us angry as the police are probably being overcautious and stopping trains and trams.

Metro Trains and Yarra Trams, tell us the truth in your alerts. We forgive you for things that are out of your control, but of course judge you on how you help people at the time and recover afterwards.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

A drive along the bay

I have childhood memories of my father and his father and myself driving to Ricketts Point and going out into the bay fishing in a boat. I can't image where exactly it was that you could launch a tinnie (small tin boat with a small outboard motor that was always hard to start) at Ricketts Point. I doubt we caught any decent fish and no female in the family back then would clean and prepare fish, certainly not my mother who would be horrified at the prospect and not even my maternal grandmother who bought fish for dinner every Friday at the Oakleigh fishmonger.

I remarked to R that we had hardly driven the new car and my cunning plan succeeded and he suggested we go for a drive the next day and have lunch somewhere. It was our intention to go to Mentone or Mordialloc, a nice drive along the bay. We didn't get that far and stopped at the Ricketts Point Tea Rooms. Well, that is what it used to be. It can now be described as a cafe with a nice outdoor area. It was a nice enough lunch, surrounded by mostly local comfortably fit, comfortably off and retired folk. I wonder if there is anywhere in the world that has such a fit, financially comfortable white middle class non church going people along a stretch of the sea but with the qualification that you won't be able to tell by the way they dress, which is in a very casual manner.

Anway, it was a nice drive and a nice lunch. Clearly the beach cleaning tractor had only done one run along the beach this day. Washed up seaweed comes and goes.

Oh look R, there is a kookaburra.

I've not seen kookaburras at the beach before and I was a bit surprised. Perhaps they are for this reason. Kookaburras love snakes. They pick them up with their beaks and drop them from heights repeatedly until the snake dies and then they eat them. I am not sure if they confuse a sausage on a barbeque for a snake or they have learnt that a sausage is pretty good tucker, but your sausage on a barbeque is at great risk if there are 'burras around.

This was about to explode into a very long post with kookaburra information. I will save it for another day.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Tele is a Sydney tabloid newspaper and a shocker at times. It has had the pants sued off it and well deserved. It is a Rupert Murdoch, News of the World newspaper and always goes for the worst. While this is not sueable, it is quite horrible.

Aside from the headline and the awful subline, it says about being unhealthy is that "16.8% of secondary students in Australia are attracted to people of the same sex as them or to people of both sexes". It does a good line in bad sentences too.

Very unhealthy indeed to like the same sex. What a disgraceful rag.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Chinese Terracotta Warriors

Perhaps the war between Australia and China is fake news?

I think the terracotta warriors were brought to Australia in the 1980s, but they have been back and we saw them a few weeks ago.

It was amazing to see such sculptures so old, with dates of...........well, I'll get to that. I forgot my camera but my phone did well enough. I liked this sculpture with the dog carrying its pup.

This piece is not original.

Somehow a murmuration of porcelain swallows was included.

I forget what these fake flowers were about.

They may look fierce with big heads, but they are quite 'armless. You can't really see it in my photo, but one warrior was 'superior' to the rest. As you know me, you can guess what I mean.

As we left we noted the Spiegeltent is back, a bordello type theatre performance space. Think of lots of velvet drapery and huge cushions. I think its origins are from Brussels.

Oh yes, the date thingie. Most sculptures are from around 220 BCE. Well, I know what BC is but what is BCE? And what is CE. Of course Guggle was my friend and how interesting. BC is of course Before Christ, year zero. BCE is Before Common Era and means the same thing. CE is Common Era, or as most of us know it, AD, Anno Domini. I am inclined to say if it ain't broke, don't fix it, but BC and AD is very much a Christian dating system and not all the world is Christian. Yes, not even me. I am one of those horrible Atheists. I don't believe in any greater power. 

So please, if you feel the need, send me your kind thoughts but not your prayers. Thoughts and Prayers is rather topical in Australia today as our Prime Minister has sent them to the people affected by bushfires and half the nation is pissed orf with his thoughts and prayers from his happy clapper religious bent and cartoonists are having a field day. Better that he acts on climate change in a Prime Ministerial manner.

Btw, if you want to see something really really old, check out Marie's post as she covers the areas around every London train station. One object she shows in a museum is The Dagenham Idol, and is 2250 BCE, preserved in marshes. That's seriously old.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Monday Mural

Simple, sweet and wonderful. And untagged. Until just a few years ago the tram depicted and built in the 1950s still ran in Chapel Street. Note the SS of the mural painter. He is well known. Pity I can't remember who he is and his other works. The route number, 427, is curious. In the last days of these trams they were route 78, earlier, route 78 or 79 and even earlier, route 77/78/79. Route 78 still runs in Chapel Street but operates with small boxy trams from the 1980s WITHOUT AIR CONDITIONING.

Sunday, November 10, 2019


Don't worry. I am not really going to write about Bitcoin and Block and Chain. No matter how much I read and learn about both, I don't understand.

But if you are the person who keeps sending me emails stating that you have been depositing Bitcoin into my bank account, can you identify yourself and give me my account details please, so that I can convert it to AU$, a currency I do understand. Bitcoin is not showing in my banking app. If I add up how much Bitcoin I have been given, I think I am very rich indeed.

Sunday Selections

Joining in with Elephants Child others. This week, other people's photos. For a bunch of I assume all Australian comedians, they look decidedly humourless. I don't know them all and not the two in the middle. From bottom left clockwise, not sure but he looks interesting, Dave Hughes, Wil Anderson, don't know, Tom Gleeson, don't know, Joel Creasey and Judith Lucy.

Joel appears to wearing the same suit when posing with Myf Warhurst. I think from 2017 on they have co hosted the presentation of Eurovision for Australian audiences. Joel, originally from Perth, has the most wicked sense of humour and I find him hilarious. Myf is an accomplished tv and radio presenter and knows music inside out.

A beautifully lit photo from

Oh, he is nice looking I thought to myself when I stumbled across him. Any more photos of him kicking around?

Apparently yes. His name is Baptiste Giabiconi and is a French model and I expect very well known both in France and in male modelling circles. I do like a boy in heels.