Saturday, October 31, 2020

Sammy J Saturday

 The latest offering from the ever so clever Sammy J. The next one, maybe next Saturday, I will show is brilliant. Denise Scott is a local comedian and actor and I assume it is her real life husband with her. Grouse is probably Aussie slang and it means good or really good. So after that background, here is Grouse Designs.

Dan the Man

 This is Victoria's State Premier, Daniel Andrews. He leads Victoria's Labor Party and was somewhat of an unknown outsider when he was elected. He seems like a decent bloke but of course he is a politician and carries everything that comes with that. He is not extreme about anything, in fact quite conservative generally.

I'll get back to Dan, but do have you any knowledge of the English Hillsborough football disaster in 1989? The match was played in Liverpool and due to poor crowd control measures and close to if not criminal negligence and behaviour by the police, 96 football fans died after being crushed to death by overcrowding. No one would say English soccer fans back then were well behaved, but it was not the case this time. It was a matter of fans wanting to see a football match and trying to enter the arena.

The Sun is a widely read tabloid Rupert Murdoch newspaper in England and only a few years ago it dropped its daily bare breasted page three girl. The headlines about Hillsborough on its front page and one some time later from the free London publication Metro.

 Liverpudlians were rightly appalled by the lies told by The Sun and boycotted the paper, and they still boycott the Murdoch rag to this day decades later. A case of power of the people over the press.

Rupert Murdoch also publishes our local state wide tabloid rag, the Herald Sun. It wasn't always as bad as it has become. While the government of Premier Daniel Andrews did preside over a failed returning overseas traveller quarantine system where infected travellers infected hotel guards who then infected family and friends and led to our second wave of infections mid this year, we will wait for the result of the formal enquiry. The Herald Sun went all out with accusations of sex being traded for favours between guards and those quarantined and all sorts of other baseless accusations. The job of the guards was to observe and report. I am not an apologist for the disaster that happened and the government under Andrews must take responsibility. Already significant heads have rolled.

However, the relentless campaign by Murdoch media via The Herald Sun against Dastardly/Disaster/Deadly/Dreadful/Dan has been awful. Andrews is taking a day off today, after fronting the media to update us and answer reporters questions for around two hours for 120 consecutive days. He locked us down as was necessary and only suffered a little push back from our Prime Minister of an opposing political party. I can't find an anti Andrews Herald Sun front page so this one from Sydney's sister Murdoch publication. 

The thing is, no one really knew what they were dealing with and it did take time for governments, bureaucracies and the public to get a grip on what was happening.
If you politics are opposite to mine and yours aren't extreme, as mine aren't, we can still be friends. I will respect your point of view, listen to your argument and probably still disagree with you, or even may be influenced by your argument. While I do not and never will vote for our conservative party, the Liberal Party, I have respect for a number of them for being decent people and not always going for the cheap shot in politics. 

I respected local Victorian Federal Liberal Party politician Josh Frydenberg until his intemperate outbursts at our Premier Andrews. "Killing Victorians". "Killing the Victorian economy with his lock down". "Open up, Andrews". "Killing the Australian economy with the powerhouse of Victoria under lockdown".  Yet for 120 days Andrews has comforted us, warned us, told us what to do, given us the statistics, pressed the message hard and I even think conservative Victorian voters might be impressed by the stalwart Premier Andrews.  Respect I had for you Frydenberg has gone. Criticise the Premier of Victoria who has gotten us through this second wave of COVID to nearly zero daily infections as harshly as you have, you are criticising me. Go fuck yourself Frydenberg.

Friday, October 30, 2020


 I love to write but I must punctuate writing with photos. I am not sure when I took these photos of our perhaps cheesy Melbourne Floral Clock, donated by watchmakers of Switzerland in 1966. Something like 10,000 bedding plants are planted twice a year.

It looks a little dull this year.

More recently how good are these kangaroo paw flowers at Prahran Square! Paw is somewhat of misnomer as kangaroos have claws that can rip you stomach open and your guts will fall out. While I am not sure if that has happened, certainly kangaroos have attacked people. Kangaroo Paw is the floral emblem of Western Australia. It is an interesting native plant.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

We are free

 At their harshest our lockdown laws prevented us from visiting anyone, travelling more than five kilometres and then only for medical, personal care, food or exercise. Otherwise, we must stay at home. This has now changed to 25 km and you can leave home for any reason.

All retail shops were closed aside from essential shops. Supermarkets, liquour outlets, newsagents, pharmacies and some food outlets were pretty well all that were open.

All cafe food was takeaway or home delivery. 

Delivery people could not enter our building. 

Only two people were allowed in the lift at one time unless from the same apartment.

Outside your front door you had to wear a mask, unless you had a medical exemption or were jogging or cycling. This is still the case.

Almost all office buildings were closed and if people could work from home, they must work from home. Also still in force.

If you had any symptoms at all of a cold, you must get COVID tested and self isolate at home until you received your test result. If you were a household or close contact of someone with COVID, you must get tested and isolate until you receive a result. Hundreds of thousands did, maybe even over one million. This was very harsh on some people and there were government payments to those who needed it. To encourage people who may have had symptoms but thought they couldn't afford to take time off work, there were also payments for them.

For the mental sanity of those who lived alone, they could form a bubble with someone who they could visit, as long as they were within the five kilometre limit.

Federal social security for those without jobs or who couldn't work was increased substantially from an absurdly low payment for the unemployed. Almost everyone agreed even before COVID, the unemployment benefit was very much too low.

There are probably other rules that don't jump to my mind. These were harsh rules and very hard on many people's mental health. Fines for rule breaches varied from $1500 to $5000 and although only something like 5% of those fined have paid, the normal government fine process will proceed.

Less than two weeks ago our hairdressers reopened. 

But after a slight delay because of an outbreak, this Wednesday retail fully opened and we could once again sit down at a cafe to have a meal and you could go to a pub for drink or food. There are still strict distance and number of patron rules in place but how good is that. 

I think in June, midwinter for us, we had an explosion of COVID cases in my state to over 700 new cases on one day at least and that was when we were harshly locked down. After a week of single digit new infections, on Sunday for the first time since March, we had zero new cases and again Monday zero cases. Sadly Tuesday was two cases but it is fairly clear it is well under control and contact tracing is now first class. 

We've been wanting to catch up with our Hairdresser Friend for outdoor takeaway coffee for more than a week but the weather wasn't great last week. Yesterday I asked if she wanted to meet for coffee at Sandbar on the beach front, expecting to just buy take away coffee and find someone public to sit, but there were a few vacant tables on the beach deck and it was such a beautiful warm and sunny day. R and I decided to have poached eggs on toast and we drank two cups of coffee. Hmmm, maybe too much caffeine is not good for the heart. Hair Dresser friend just had one cup of coffee and no food.

You have no idea how nice it was to sit outside at the beach and have food on a plate at a table, sitting on a chair and drink proper coffee from a china cup.

There are still many restrictions in place and we won't be unmasked until at the earliest, 2021.

Australia had two quarters of negative growth, that is recession, but it is now back in the black. Our Federal and State governments have borrowed vast sums of money to prop up Australia and it will have to be repaid but the money will have been borrowed at around zero interest rate.

Of course as Ponzi schemes do, our booming economy on the back of building cheap and nasty housing on the outskirts of our cities and often poor quality shoebox city apartments fuelled by high immigration numbers has collapsed. I can't guess how this will pan out. Overseas students, maybe with a two week quarantine period, will probably return next year, bringing in the money and vitality to our cities.

I conclude with stating with strong government action to restrict what citizens do in the absence of a vaccine, COVID can be killed off. It was done in New Zealand and Australia is getting very close to doing the same. That our respective countries are islands helps with being able to close external borders except for two week quarantined returning citizens. But I can think of a small important island that has only a few countries. Why didn't the same happen there? Pain is suffered but the end result is so good.

So what does a girl do when the retail stores are open after months of being closed? She goes shopping for new shoes, and that is what I will do today. Alas at my age, sensible walking shoes and not stilies. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Missing in Action

 Aside from there not being a post on Tuesday, who would have known I have had a heart attack and spent some time in hospital. I queried one of my many junior and senior cardiologists who treated me and he said, well yes you did really have a heart attack.

We watched the AFL grand final football match on tv Saturday night after dinner. I had a couple of drinks and at 11 I was ready for bed, but there was a slight pain in the centre of my chest. I didn't remember that I had stretched to reach somewhere so it is not a sprain. What is this about? R, don't go to bed for a bit. I just want to make sure this pain goes away. It didn't, and became worse, to the point of being very painful. R said lift you arm, and I did and I thought nothing was wrong but he thought there was. He was worried, alert and alarmed.

Memories are hazy now. Maybe forty five minutes later I said, sorry for the embarrassment hon, but I think you need to call 000. The paramedics arrived within ten minutes and they were terrific. They treated me as best they could but I wasn't coming good. They told me they had to take me to hospital and I said, is it really serious? Yes was the reply. They had given me drugs and they weren't working. Apparently at some point I was flat on the floor being injected by goodness knows what.

It is a twenty minute walk to The Alfred hospital, so the ambulance trip was quick. I was in the Emergency Department while cool and calm medical people fought to get by heart beats per minute down from 230 to something like my normal 90, while my blood pressure had fallen to alarmingly low levels. Eventually they sought my approval to give me heart shocko and that fixed my heart rate and then they worked on my blood pressure. I had a CT scan at some point.

I was all night in ED and about 7am was moved to a bed in a four bed ward. All of Sunday there was constant monitoring of me and drips of various things going into me. Without Saturday night sleep, I was looking forward to a a Sunday night sleep, but no. At 2am a nurse woke me and put me two one hour drips of something Chloride and it was causing me great pain as it entered my arm. I told her how painful it was when she came to change the bottle and she said I can slow it down, but it will take longer. Get it over and done with and then maybe I can sleep and I did for a couple of hours until I was woken to be taken for an angiogram where if required, stents would be inserted but they weren't required, then later for ultra sound.

Still I was constantly monitored and checked all day Monday. Even Sunday morning I felt like there was nothing wrong with me I wanted to go home. More cardiologists visited and told me they weren't yet happy with my heart rhythms. Monday night I slept the deepest sleep, only woken once for a blood pressure check and I was quickly back to sleep. I slept from 11 to 7.30 and then had to be woken. Unheard of for me. 

Monday I should have going home and R had cooked a nice Shepherds Pie. Tuesday was bureaucracy at its best. I could have gone home by late morning after the last cardiologist visit and I expect I would have if the bed was needed. But it was late afternoon when R came to collect me. We came home on an unexpectedly busy tram.

So nice to be home but poor R and the stress I put him through. I always thought it would be me who saw him carted off in an ambulance.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Musical Monday Flash Mob

 It's been a long time since I've posted a flash mob video. I happened across one that looked ok, a light classical piece, but the sound quality wasn't good and it lacked excitement.

This one is is great fun, even if in German, with a key change about three quarters through which gives it an extra lift. If a suggested video shows suggesting the same group performing the same song at a stunning crater lake location have a look. Or you can click here

Sunday, October 25, 2020


 I walked along Domain Road, past Melbourne Grammar, housing and businesses, mostly food related,to my right, parkland with picnickers within their socially distant chalk circle to my left. Oh, there is sight in the park. A table with a draping table cloth and diners sitting on chairs. And there is another one. What is going on? The rich and posh are bringing their own tables, chairs and tablecloths? 

Comrades, while I may well be a communist, my principles are weak and I thoroughly approve of restaurant Entrecote setting up this chair and table hire business. While it was rain, wind, storm and tempest in Melbourne today, very soon Entrecote will also need to hire out shade umbrellas.