Saturday, September 11, 2021

It was twenty years ago today

I was going to compose a Sunday Selections, but my heart is not in it. It has been a sad day here

What is left to be said. I've written various posts about the awful events twenty years ago in NYC and elsewhere but I don't think I've mentioned the heroes of the day, and they are genuine heroes. While I would have said 'That looks too dangerous. I ain't going in there', they entered the burning World Trade  buildings to rescue people.

Whether I've commented or not, I've read your posts about that terrible day twenty years ago. I liked Maribeth's post with her recall of the day and figures and here is copy and paste of not the innocents who were murdered, but the paid people, just a job, who put their own lives at risk for others and lost. I shed a tear and I commend them as real heroes.

My blog tells me the year was 2015 and who I am I to disbelieve the internet, least of all my own writing. Visiting the 9/11 memorial was a very moving experience.

That day, these first responders also died, as they raced to the scene trying to save anyone they could.

343 Firefighters (including a chaplain and two paramedics) of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY)
37 Police Officers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department (PAPD)
23 Police Officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and
8 Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics from private emergency medical services
1 Patrolman from the New York Fire Patrol

R Driving

 R being eight years older than me does very well. I preface what I am saying is that he is a very safe driver.

A combination of driving causing my arthritis to give me pain and R yelling at me over trivial driving matters, he now drives in the inner suburbs. I will do freeway and longer drives in pain as he hates freeway driving, but nevertheless he is very critical of my freeway driving. Freeway driving is but a dream at the moment.

I mostly keep my mouth shut about R's driving but his constant accelerating and braking drives me nuts. Hey, the traffic light is red. Why are you accelerating? Brake hard at the last minute and bring the car to a jerk stop. Why? I don't get it. To leave our car park we go down a ramp, along a flat level and more ramps and flat levels. Again he accelerates and brakes to an unnecessary almost stop at the ramps. People in the car park have headlights on and there are mirrors to check if another car is coming towards you.

I mostly stay silent, but I did say, why have you pulled up behind this right turning car instead of behind the car on the left when we are going straight ahead. He replied, the car on the left will have to wait for pedestrians to cross. No, the car on the left does not have its left indicator on so it is going straight ahead, and it did, as we had to wait for the right turning car to receive a gap in the traffic. Those of  you who drive on the wrong side of the road will have to translate.

I don't know how many traffic fines he has received. I have never received any. Two of his were speed camera catches in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda. How was I supposed to know the speed limit is a ridiculous 40 km/h? Well dearest, the speed limit is indicated on the sat nav, and there are around 30, 40 km/h speed limit signs within the one kilometre. The speed limit is 40 km/h because there is a high volume of pedestrians crossing the road, with many bars and pubs.

I asked why have you stopped and giving way to them? You have right of way. Reply, I am being cautious. My reply to that, no, caution is good, hesitancy when driving is not. You are not driving in England where it is you go, no you go, no you go first!

I know where my driving is not good (a terrible sense of righteousness) and although I have less driving confidence in my middle age, my driving has improved since I stopped working and no longer drive to work. I am more relaxed and less bothered about the faults of other drivers. I just call them stupid rather than wanting to shoot them in the head with a Kalashnikov. 

It is better I rant here rather than start WWIII by suggesting to R that his driving style could be improved. 

When we turn our car off, the screen display tells us the fuel efficiency of that drive.  I drive the same way and the trip takes the same time and my fuel consumption comes in at 9 litres per 100 km. R's come in at 11 litres per 100 km. When I drive, I am not slow, I am not hesitant, I am cautious and confident and you won't feel much in the way of centrifugal forces. However, my good reverse parallel parking skills seem to have disappeared. I am well out of practice. 

I can see the speed of our new car from the passenger seat. I say, you are at 46 in a 40 zone. He replies, I am just following the car in front. I say, tell that to the court magistrate and see how far you get. He says, you always have a smart arse answer. Then he tried to tell me it was not my business and that he will pay the fine. Well it is my business when you speed and are caught twice at such speeds that your licence was suspended and we had to do a cover up at your work, with you having to make an emergency trip to England for sick relative that was untrue and you were totally dependant on me driving and we even had to cover up your misdeed to family, with many complications, then perhaps rephrase your thoughts of you speeding does not affect me.

I am sure half of my osteoarthritic pain is caused is caused by R's accelerate then brake, rinse and repeat driving style. The G forces are awful, and racing the cold car engine too. I am waiting for his plaintive plea to ask me to drive again, but I am not holding my breath. It will come with conditions of no raging or screaming at me when I am driving and parking. He has experienced real driving and parking stress for a few months and may have kinder attitude to my 'incompetent driving that puts passengers at great risk'.

Friday, September 10, 2021

The old is new again

A new but rehashed Liberal Party (conservative) state opposition leader has been dropped in. When he was a former leader of the party at the 2018 election his party lost ten seats in our state. This was partly because of the very presentable Labor Party leader Daniel Andrews but mostly because of his aggressive and bumptious style. 

Daniel Andrews Victorian State Labor Party Premier.

He played the 'African youth immigrant gangs will kill us in our beds' card and lost on that one. Most of them were born here anyway and it is our society and a lack of support and opportunities that caused the problem, along with high immigration levels from certain countries. 

In 2017 Guy dined with at the Lobster Cave restaurant with a man who has been accused multiple times of being a local Mafia leader. The wine they quaffed was not a quaffing wine, but worth hundreds of dollars a bottle. Guy was really among the elite Melbourne accused 'mafia community' that night but we are assured no political donations were sought or received. Lie down with dogs....

We've been there and the Lobster Cave was quite good. We used discounts found on the back of shopping receipt dockets. But of course as I like a glass of wine or two, it cost me more but nothing like Mr Guy's wine consumption bill, not paid by him. Nothing to see here. Moving on.

These are minor things compared to his actions as a Planning Minister in a former Liberal Party Government. Many of his rezoning and building approval decisions were absolutely disgraceful and led to a number of investigations. I won't bore you with the details of all but one rescinded decision, after protests from many including his own party leader and US singer songwriter Miley Cyrus and her then partner, actor Liam Hemsworth, the rezoning mistake cost Victorian taxpayers a lot of money in compensation to the landowners, who funnily enough were Liberal Party stalwarts,  just to shut them up and make sure details were never publicised in court. 

Matthew Guy the new leader of our State opposition Liberal Party.


The Age newspaper has subsequently to me writing this post has published a good summary. You can read it here at, 

Crooks, liars, thieves and charlatans. 

Thursday, September 09, 2021

War, trams and culture

In 1796 at Sydney's Bennelong Point a defence fort was built on the harbour edge of the city and named Fort Macquarie presumably named after Governor Macquarie. the last English autocratic governor of Australia. His life is well worth a separate post. By 1821 a new fort appeared following his orders, keeping the old name.

The cannons should have been kept to pop off Japanese submarines that entered the harbour during WWII. 

The fort lasted until 1901 when it was replaced by Fort McQuarrie Tram Depot, opening in 1902. The depot was built in the style of a fort as can be seen in this photo.

It wasn't a particularly  large depot but a very useful depot with trams able to travel a loop around the depot and as such, it relieved congestion at nearby Circular Quay. The depot mostly supplied the north western and western tram routes.

The depot closed in 1955 and was demolished in 1958. Services were transferred to the Dowling Street Depot and in 1961 the whole Sydney tram system was closed down. I'm sure you can recognise what replaced the tram depot. Does the Sydney Opera House look at all fort like? Maybe.

With the exception of the photo below posted on FB, photos are from Wikipedia. 

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

US health care questions

The first is the most important and primary question.

1. If you are working poor in the US and have survival income, without private or work based health care insurance, what happens if you contract Covid and need hospital care to possibly save your life?

2. What if the same person as described contracts cancer? Will they receive life saving treatment? Remember they are working poor, don't own a home and don't have money and don't have health insurance.

3. What happens if you own a home heavily mortgaged to a bank? Will you not receive good hospital care without health insurance? Will you be forced to sell your home worth very little to pay for medical care? What happens then when what is realised from the sale of your house is expended?

I heard of a court case where a non US citizen Australian caught Covid in the US and it was alleged that the cost of the medical care was US$11 million. The person had to sue his workplace where he contracted Covid to be awarded coverage of medical care costs and other costs. So lucky that he didn't catch Covid on the streets.

There are huge issues with health care in Australia and our system needs a good bit of fixing, but in theory, the poorest and most disadvantaged person will receive the best of health care in our best publically funded hospitals. It is very hard to understand the US health care system. 

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

No time

I learnt at my much younger age, complaints can make a difference and changes. 

Too busy for a blog post. I have been complaining to our mobile phone company about our phone calls dropping out. It can happen four times in a long call. I use the landline if I have to call a business, go through a switchboard or have multiple button pressing to get to where I want to get to. I much prefer to use my mobile phone.

You must complain when things aren't right. If enough people complain about something, it will be heard. Even if one person complains, someone will look at it and think, I see where this person is coming from. My first complaint that I can remember was in 1980, a handwritten complaint to a roads authority about a road issue. I am not saying it was totally the result  of my complaint, but what I complained about was remedied with a huge amount of expenditure on a road. 

Here is my second complaint, to a private medical practice, from yesterday. 

Today I was to be fitted with a heart monitoring Holter. I arrived at the appointed time, but there wasn't a Holter for me. It seems they were all out and an expected return of one had not happened. I will return tomorrow, after calling first to make sure there is a Holter available. 

I am fortunate to be retired at the age of 64 and I had not taken time off work to have the Holter fitted. It was a terrible waste of my time, but time is something I do have, hence I have time to write this complaint. Had I have taken time off work, I would have been furious.

My partner needed our car today for volunteer work so I put myself at public transport Covid risk by catching a tram to and from Cabrini, a totally unnecessary trip.

There really is something quite wrong with your processes. The list of patients for the day should be perused first thing in the morning to check if there are any issues, never mind that you should have an adequate supply of Holters. Ah, we have Mr A H at 11.30 for a Holter. Do we have a Holter for him? No and we really can't depend on someone returning one. We'd better call him and reschedule.  

I've experienced the professional standards of both the public and private health systems and by gosh, the public system compares very well.  

I'll just add that the receptionist was very polite, helpful and apologetic. I imagine with some patients, she would have been on the end of raw abuse far worse than my remark that my time had been wasted. That is not fair on staff, being blamed for something beyond their control.

PS When I had the Holter fitted the next day, the person who fitted it said she had received my email and elevated it to appropriate person. 

Monday, September 06, 2021

Musical Monday

Fern...what? Fernsehgarten, in Germany. Before I sleep sometimes I watch a music clip or two. Maybe I heard it this particular day when out somewhere and I thought I'd like to hear Haddaway's  What is Love. The original clip is so good. Hotness rating of Haddaway, 6.5. If I was armed with a measuring tape it could rise to 8+, but I shouldn't do the stereotypical about black men. But I am allowed to think about it.

But instead of watching the original, I came across this clip where he performed in Germany at the mysterious venue in Germany called Fernsehgarten. Is it a town?

Then I discovered many other singers have performed at Fernsehgarten. Londonbeat with I've Been Thinking About You.

Dr Alban with Sing Hallelujah. 

They're playing my kind of music. I'd better find out about this venue that attracts top notch has beens. Ok, it it at a tv studio in Mainz, Germany and the performances happen in the warmer months and broadcast on tv. While I can't understand German, the host Andrea Kiewel seems pretty fab. 

See, Germany is not all about beer and sausage.

Click on which ever clip you prefer or search on Youtube for Fernsehgarten for your favourite has been band or artist.  

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Changes over the road

When we moved here across the road was the oddly named Kings Cross Plaza. The plaza looked dated but it had outdoor seating areas covered by practical deciduous trees, a huge 711 being a proper but very expensive small supermarket, a dry cleaner and a used school uniform business. 

We were sad to see the 711 close and it was quite a long time before anything where you buy a late night bar of chocolate opened in the area. We had to think ahead for a late night chocolate bar.

The plaza was pulled down and as ivy was stripped off a small adjoining apartment block a 1980s mural I had forgotten about was revealed on a wall. The mural showed a man climbing down from a window using perhaps tied together bedsheets. I could find my photos of the mural if I was being paid. If I come across it in the future I will show you. Close to completion.

The new apartment block with the older apartment block next door where the mural has now be well and truly covered over and will be for decades if not longer. It will be an interesting discovery for someone who is not yet born.

Did the new owners come from the suburb of Bulleen and brought their concrete lions with them that sat atop their gate posts? Thankfully they have disappeared, as have those plants in white pots.

To the right you can see the spa. I only saw it used once, by I assume the visiting son. He jumped in naked. Alas my camera wasn't at hand and it would have been a small photo from this distance with the camera I was using then.

It is very well lit at night.

As you can see the apartment has a very large outdoor area and last summer a massive renovation to the outdoor area began, turning some of the outdoor area into an indoor area. The project hasn't been quite finished but it is getting close. If I was told the project cost over $100,000, I would not be surprised. Work begins and I accidentally caught who I think is the son of the owners bare topped in the photo (You do believe me?)

New decking was laid. The fake grass removed and replaced by pavers. The old and shabby spa was craned out and a new spa craned in.

Look. A whole new room has been built at the side, as if the three bedroom place is not large enough. I can assure you it is very well built, with great attention to detail. About three weeks ago massive panes glass of heavily tinted glass were craned in to seal off the room at the deck facing, along with an external door to the room. Also the quite mature olive tree was craned in.

Here it is a bit closer.

While the olive tree seems out of place, it is a fantastic tree.

Now that the room is glazed, we can't see what is happening inside the room. The project is close completion. How the other half live, hey. If you Google 401 St Kilda Road, the price for many apartments is about three million. This one would be considerably more, I should think. It could be apartment 502, last sold in 2013 for $3.92 million. Interesting; it was sold off the plan, supposedly cheaper because stamp duty is only paid on land value and not the building in 2007 for $4.4 million. It always amuses me how we in the cheap seats look down on expensive seats and invade their privacy.