Sunday, May 22, 2022

The loss of a trail blazer

Although I don't believe she ever worked for commercial media even their news services have paid tribute to Caroline Jones who died Friday after a fall at her Sydney home.

She was the first woman to cut the path for women in news and current affairs in Australia, first becoming a reporter for the current affairs ABC programme This Day Tonight and then host of Four Corners, an ABC investigative journalist programme similar to the BBC's Panorama. 

She is perhaps best remembered now as the presenter of Australian Story.

I don't think her voice fully developed its rich modulation until later in her life. She is described as respected and loved by all who entered her world in whatever manner. An anecdote I just read was that she was nick named 'One Take Caroline', as nothing she did on air was ever mucked up and so never needed to be recorded a second time, and she never used an autocue. 


ABC News:

Vale Caroline.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Vote often 7

If you are a young person and know nothing about politics, and truly many don't, and you have to make a choice on our voting day Clive Palmer's United Australia Party may appeal to you. 

Palmer has flooded television with political vote for me and my party advertising. On the face of it his ads are very appealing. They are so pro Australia, with a 15% tax on mining exports, a 3% maximum interest rate for home buyers. I could go on with more examples but his policies are derided by all economic experts. I read in reputable media that Palmer is paid $1 million a day by a Chinese company to export our mining resources and no doubt the Chinese company is state owned by China.

Palmer's propaganda like political posing scares me as I can really see the appeal of simplistic campaign to the ill educated and gullible, especially young men who would shout out in a pub, Australia for Australia. 

Of course as rich people do, Palmer has been very reluctant at times to pay his own bills. He is one very rich and scary man.

This was ready for publication but a text message arrived to my phone just after 5pm.
"Australia transferring all AU hospital & health care to to World Health Org immediately 
Stop them 
Vote 1 United Australia Party
Click for more"

I am not sure where this nonsense came from and given I am sure it is untrue, I won't waste my time looking. In Australia, and I'd be interested to know if other countries do the same, there is a 48 media black out of political advertising before voting opens. This is to prevent last minute outrageous advertising and in my opinion, it is not a bad thing. Unfortunately it only applies to old media such as newspapers, tv and radio and not to anything that might arrive to your phone or via the internet. THAT needs fixing.

Friday Funnies

I have no more left after this lot. I will have to find something new. I have a feeling I've used some of these before. No matter.

Poor old pouffe who self immolated.

Don't I know this one.

And I am entertained by reading this. I am worse.

I am sure I've used this one before. I think it is quite funny.

Kiddies, remember you spelling lessons, i before e except after c.

Oh that I had such a wise mother.

I downloaded this in December 2021. Amazing.

Needs verification.

Do you have a cat who would look so cross?

Good on ya for complaining. The same happens to me.

I'll give this one a miss.

They did indeed do such things. They are now dead. Tell you anything?

Who's he?

This is perhaps my favourite. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Vote often 6

We voted early yesterday. We caught the tram a few stops to High Street and trudged up the steep hill strolled 100 metres up a gentle slope to our nearest polling station at the Deaf School. The voting venue is an old chapel. As  I realised where it was, I thought I hope it is not still a church and and that it has been desecrated. Of course I meant deconsecrated. No thunder and lighting as I entered so I guess it had been.

The voting process was quite simple with a check of our names, dates of birth and home address. We were also asked if the reason for pre polling was a valid reason. Of course it was. My rehearsed answer was a fear of Covid in crowded places. I am not sure if R had a reply rehearsed but neither of us was asked for a reason. Apparently already six million voters have some reason why they can't vote on voting day. It is a silly rule, widely ignored and should be dropped. 

All parties offered us how to vote cards, which I ignored. I knew who I would vote for and give my preferences to. Better the Animal Justice Party than Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party or Clive Palmer's United Australia Party. More on him in my next and last Vote often post.

Our local Labor member was keeping company with the Greens candidate. They are both of a similar age and are attractive people. My mind went to where it should not have, my excuse being that in politics liaisons have happened so often.

So, our democratic duty is done and I look forward to election night when we know who will govern Australia for the next three years. The strong independent candidates will make it an interesting night.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Vote often 5, Karen Andrews

Karen Andrews is the Federal Government Minister for Home Affairs. Our Federal election vote will happen on Saturday and she is running once again for the Queensland Gold Coast seat of McPherson as a member of the Liberals (conservative party).

Stages 1 and 2 of the Gold Coast light rail was completed in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games with a mix of funding from the Federal, State and Local governments with all parties in unison and so far they have been for Stage 3. Stage 3 planning is complete, the route decided and Federal funding of $400 million to the $2.6 billion project has been promised.

Minister Andrews has written to Urban Infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher requesting that there be no federal funding for the project, citing to quote,

could end up "damaging businesses, creating longer-term traffic issues and impacting the amenity of those living on side streets with a route through Burleigh Hill, Palm Beach and Currumbin."

"I'm only motivated by doing the right thing for people in my electorate," Ms Andrews said.

"It's unreasonable for any level of government to try and steamroll over a local community."  

Property values along the route after the existing light rail opened have increased markedly. The Gold Coast light rail is an excellent system and a setter of standards for trams in Australia. 

Ms Andrews and her husband own a Palm Beach investment property. On the parliamentary register it is listed as a Palm Beach but not its precise location, which happens to be the Gold Coast Highway, right where the light rail will run.

The Gold Coast Light Rail extension has support from all parties, just not Ms Andrew herself. I'm sure she would never lower herself to use public transport, no matter the advantage and comfort. I do recognise that the construction period will be disruptive and unpleasant, but hey, the greater good! We've been through track relays twice here. It wasn't great but we didn't die we were pleased with the end result.

The Liberal Party is just so full of self serving crooks, liars, thieves, alleged women abusers and cheats and so I conclude what I think of Ms Andrews. I would rather the anarchists party was elected than this current government. 

Vote often 4

Katie Allen is not my local member but reigns over the electoral seat next door to mine. She is a Liberal (conservative party) member but she did cross the floor with a vote against her own party's transgender, religious discrimination and gay discrimination bill before the house (the bill being a backward step for rights for the aforesaid), along with four others of her party. The bill was thankfully defeated by five Liberal Party members who crossed the floor, along with Labour, Greens, crossbenchers and independents (needs verification) with Katie among them. 

While I would never vote for the Liberal Party, Ms Allen has my respect. She is a decent person, a doctor and her heart is in the right place, even if her politics aren't. She stood up to her leader and the party over a very sensitive issue.

If she holds her seat, the world will be a better place. The Liberal Party could do with a few more like her.

Rainman is well

I've put up photos of Rainman in the past but I don't think I've ever showed a video of him. I was so pleased to recently see him working away after seeing him not working during my last walk through the St Kilda Botanical Gardens. He is solar powered and the brighter the sunshine is, the more powerful is the water fall. The sun was at medium level this day.

Even in Autumn the gardens were looking stunning, full of people enjoying the last of the warm weather. Yeah, well, that was a couple of weeks ago and the weather has now changed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

My Aged Care

I like where I live and it is well set up for old people but if in the future I have to go into care I would like to continue to live in the same street. 

Near the bottom of our street is the Jewish Montefiore aged care accommodation that replaced the Jewish Alms Houses, except it has closed down as an old building and next door there is is a spanking new aged care building. I have a photo of the long ago demolished alms houses and the replacement and now closed old aged care Montefiore here.

My question to the former Montefiore was would I be acceptable resident as a non Jewish old gay man and while the answer was a little indirect but essentially yes. I noticed on the new accommodation website,  there is a gay rainbow flag symbol. I just hope the meals served are never involve gefilte fish and that I can smuggle in a roast pork sandwich. 

The benefits when you are old and infirm to live in an area familiar to you are underestimated by many. 

Jab 4, sorry Sir

Last week we went to the chemist where we had a third Covid vax. R had his fourth but I was denied because I am not 65. R had already had his free 'flu shot but me as not yet 65 had to pay $25 to have mine. 

I had a bad reaction to the 'flu vax perhaps eight years ago and I hadn't had one since. However I went ahead and all was good.

Good until today. I was very sniffly this morning and coughed quite a bit during the day. Tonight I used RAT kit to test for Covid and negative, only the second RAT I have taken.

My Covid precautions, far above the current Australian practice has not prevented me from catching a cold and six days after receiving the 'flu vaccine, I doubt it is reaction to that.

A fond farewell to Saudi Arabia

Recommended reading. I have not been following Susie of Jeddah Daily Photo for much more than a couple of years or so, and while I am not particularly interested in Saudi Arabia, her photos give a good insight into daily life.

Susie is returning to I think the US after fifteen years in Saudi and she has published a cracking final post, mostly photos of herself in various garb, at various places with various people. We all know enough about Saudi to know it has huge human rights issues and the rulers are despotic, but her blog is all about daily life for average people. 

You won't be sorry to read Susie's last post, if only to keep up with her costume changes. The photo below of course is one of Susie's. 

Thanks for the Memories.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Monday Mural

Linking up with Sami for Monday Mural.

Melbourne gay men of a certain age may remember St Kilda's Chaucer Street. It was the place to pick up a male prostitute. 

Off Chaucer street is Woolworths supermarket carpark where over lockdown when our movements were restricted and we did not want to use public transport, we would park but it was only recently I noticed this rather well done mural.

Birds of prey seem popular mural subjects but I don't think they are easy to paint well. The well known muralist Matt Adante is good at eagles and I think it may be his work.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Is it Sunday Selections day? Bad luck.

I had my teeth cleaned last week. I haven't had them cleaned for years and until my recent tooth removal, I had not visited a dentist for years. Aside from the removal of one tooth, I haven't had any dental problems. The removed tooth was marginal anyway as I was told at my last dental visit however many years ago.

Most dentists urge to visit every six months. One urges a friend to visit every three months. I think every two years is reasonable.

I am happy with my new Footscray dentists. Kind, empathetic, non critical, inexpensive and of course they seem competent.

But teeth cleaning is not pleasant with all that water trying to drown you. At some point the water suction tube hit my throat and I nearly gagged.

Me gagging when something touches the beginning of my throat?

Lol, I feel so old.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Vote Often 3

Another interesting seat near me is the Liberal Party (conservative) blue ribbon and normally safe Goldstein. The sitting member has a strong independent 'teal' candidate against him. With Labor red, Liberal blue, Greens...well green, teal seems to be a combination of conservative Liberal Party economics, with a strong focus on the environment, climate change and progressive social issues. 

That the teal independents are a threat to moderate conservative Liberal Party members tells the story of how the Liberal Party has not kept up with society's socially progressive attitudes and concern for the future of out planet. I hope the teals do well, with moderates in the Liberal Party removed and the party will go further into an unelectable position full of ultra conservatives religious nutters with no social care values, no care for the environment, anti worker, no care for the less fortunate in society, pro privatised medicine and big business profit over everything. 

I was initially concerned about the removal of moderates but now I can see some sense in what might happen.

One possible victim could be the Member for Goldstein, the openly gay Tim Wilson who is being challenged by former ABC journalist independent candidate Zoe Daniels. Daniels reporting at times from trouble spots around the world was a terrific and she was a passionate reporter and I think hers may have been the last paper book I bought and it was a good read. I recommend Storyteller

Friday, May 13, 2022

Friday Funnies

I hope I haven't used these before. My filing system is normally quite efficient.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Train Fares in Ole Blighty

We watched a nice YouTube video of the Night Riviera from Paddington, London to Penzance in Cornwall. The price seemed quite reasonable and the sleeper train trip sounded great, in spite of an 23.45 Paddington departure. You can board the train a good bit earlier and go to sleep if you want.

If you are in sleeper, you get breakfast delivered to your room but it did not look terrific to me. You arrive in Penzance at 8.00. 

A 9.00 departure would be convenient and takes the same time as driving. Go to Paddington Station and buy your ticket, £156 for a five hour train trip, AU$275.

Sydney to Melbourne in admittedly a slower train making an 11 hour trip, Economy AU$89, £51 and First $132, £76. I can buy a ticket now to travel tomorrow to Sydney by train for that price.

While Victoria's play with privatisation of trains was generally a failure with the companies pulling out after losing so much money, it seemed it has succeeded in England but only by charging usurious prices. 

For planned travel in England, you can get much better fares in advance than the last minute fares. There are real bargains to be had and there are websites than break your trip into pieces and make regional train travel cheaper again (what an absurdity). But what if your mother lives in Penzance and you are in London and she has a heart attack? You need to get there fast and London car ownership is much lower than here. The average London weekly wage, averaged between men and women is about £52, so you are looking at three weeks wages to walk up to Paddington Station to get to Penzance by train. I can only shake my head. How did this absurd situation arise and the voters of England stand for it?

This is a laugh. If a regional train is delayed because of a train track fault, one government department will fine another government department for the delay. It is a silly transfer of taxpayer money from one government department to another. 

Meanwhile across the northern border, ScotRail is back under government management after Dutch company Abellio that ran Scottish rail lines for seven years did not perform well. 

While most long distance trains in Australia are not popular choices, at least they don't cost a bomb to use. I've never ceased to be amazed by the cost of public transport in England, be it city or regional. 

Do the multiple English train operators have compassionate fares as airlines do? Here is a snip from something I read when looking up details for this post. Mr Burnham was criticised for only mentioning last minute train fares.

Andy Burnham’s recent Twitter fury about the cost of rail fares between London and Manchester – £369 for a last-minute return, which, as the mayor of Manchester pointed out, might buy you a return flight to Brazil – highlighted an exorbitant system so riven with fare rules as to make it unusable beyond the narrowest of circumstances.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


I walked along Southbank and bought some god awful coffee. I had a sip and it later went in the rubbish bin. I should have known better than to buy from a chain shop. However, I did sit to drink my coffee as this busker began his performance. A mocking heckle from a young chap who was walking with two mates had the busker ask if he was gay and the busker proclaimed he himself was gay and went on to remark the commenter was vaguely attractive and would be ok for five minutes. I forget how he phrased it now and it was quite subtle, but it drew laughs.

While the busker wasn't particularly young, my goodness, was he rubbery. My mind wandered to... well you guess. By the time I left, he had drawn quite a crowd.

Can you tuck your ankle behind your head?

Later edit: The performer is Samora Squid.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Path to Platform. Transport Tuesday

"Train in three minutes! Can we make it?"

Because of my age I am probably a bit on the slow side of the average walking speed of 4 km/h but not really slow.

I decided to check the walking times from the footpath outside our city stations to the closest suburban train platform.

Our train City Loop for has five stations, two above ground and three below ground.

I needed some rules for consistency. So, begin ten metres from the main station entrance, take the shortest path using escalators, don't walk down the escalators, stop the timer as I step onto the platform and the platform needs to be the closest one to the entrance. To note, I think the escalators still operate at faster speeds in peak times.

My conclusion is commerce affects the walking time at only one station. 

Flinders Street is our largest, busiest and most admired suburban train station and the original station was built in 1854 although the station as we know it now dates to 1909. There is a large concourse and a medium length escalator to the platforms. 1:18 to Platform 3. 

Next was Flagstaff, underground and completed in 1985. I should think it is our quietest city station and is looking shabby and dated. Two sets of short escalators. 1:55 to Platform 1.

The original suburban and regional station Spencer Street was completed in 1959 and completely rebuilt to Southern Cross Station in 2006. While there is plenty of commerce there, I don't believe it delays your access to platforms. With a decent sized concourse, for suburban trains you need to go up two short escalators and then down a longer one to the platform. Sensibly the regional and interstate trains that will have passengers with luggage are at ground level. 2:58 to Platform 9.

Parliament Station opened in 1983 and must be quite deep underground. While there are rather inconveniently located lifts, most passengers access the station via two short flights of stairs and a very long escalator down to Platforms 1 and 2 and another shorter escalator to Platforms 3 and 4. I think the escalator was the longest in Australia until the new one at Sydney's Central was built. After so many escalator falls, there are annoying warning announcements that go on for ever and a nice to the point photo at the top of the long escalator saying something like, 'You are about to descend Mount Everest. Your only safety equipment is you.' What? You have to take responsibility for your own safety? Quelle horreur. That won't do at all. Mainly because of the long escalator travel time this was longer than I expected. 3:02 to Platform 1.

Anyone who uses our City Loop knows what the last one will be, yep Melbourne Central. Melbourne Central opened as Museum Station, being opposite what was then our museum. You had to pass shops off the street to get to the station platforms. It it is an edifice to capitalism but not to public transport users. You walk past shops, some more shops and then down an escalator and then down another escalator. Museum Station opened in 1989 with Melbourne Central Shopping Centre opening in 1991. In 2003 the station was 'integrated' into the shopping centre and renamed Melbourne Central. The one direct escalator changed to two with a walk past commerce as train passengers were forced past even more shops. 

People who are not focused on catching a train clog up the walkways and escalators and this was on quiet Monday. The walking time wasn't quite as bad as I expected. 3:16 to Platform 1.

Things you take for granted when you are young become harder when you are older and that includes walking distances and stairs. I am fine on escalators but lifts really are necessary for wheelchair users and the very frail and feeble.

Well, this is an informative post but you don't really have a choice about the city station you will use and use the one closest one to travel to near where you need to be. 

Just to lighten the post as I was exiting Melbourne Central at precisely one o'clock to have coffee outdoors at the State Library, this ever so kitsch clock was doing its thing. There can be small to large crowds who gather to watch it.

Monday, May 09, 2022

Monday Mother's Day

Mother was determined to go out for a Mother's Day lunch. After trying six places that were booked out, she finally found Club Officer could take a booking for five at 11.30 but we had to finish dining by 1.00.

It was a $70 set price menu and Mother paid for her poorest son, Tradie Brother and offered to pay for us but we declined. She didn't arrive until 12.00 leaving one hour for a three course meal. Mother's three sons were there with her honorary son R. Sister has a cold and it is five hours of return driving for her to attend.

The entre was excellent. Mother had the roasted cauliflower, a couple had the pork belly and two of us had the prawns and chorizo. 

I probably made a poor main choice of risotto. R liked his. I fancied the Mediterranean chicken really but half a chook for lunch seemed a lot. 

We all had the pear dessert and it was nothing wonderful although very nicely presented. For $70 it wasn't good value.

Our main did not come out until 1, the time we were supposed to leave. It was no problem and we left about 2. The staff were all very good.

After Tradie Brother's death of his much loved dog Cobber, from a friend of a friend who is moving overseas, he has acquired a new dog. She is eighteen months old, white and some kind of medium to large terrier breed. She seems to be a great dog but as yet she is unnamed and in a way a name is pointless as she is profoundly deaf and was from birth. She can't even hear a loud hand clap right at her ears.

To make up for her lack of hearing, she is incredibly alert with her head constantly moving as she keeps a keen eye on her surrounds. I concluded she is of a hunting dog origin. She doesn't pay a lot of attention to humans but she does welcome affection. This could all be about the shock of her change of circumstances. Tradie Brother is very good at making well behaved, loving and faithful dogs. 

We bought Mother a potted pink Chrissy and a pair of lambs wool lined sock/boots with a non slip sole. ($5 cheaper at the local post office than Big W).

We are weary tonight. Anything to do with Mother makes us weary.  

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Sunday Selections

Check out Eleephant's Child's and River's Sunday Selections.

As usual mine are random photos not published.

I don't know why I recently looked at this photo taken at Conwy in Wales. We were not far from John Gray of Wales, but I did not know that at the time. How nice it would have been to meet him.

On me lonesome I caught a train to Sandringham for brunch, a little spoilt by posh women with loud voices in the cafe.

In Port Melbourne outside the supermarket you can lock your pet in

Daytime chrissies (such a convenient abbreviation if you don't want to attempt the full spelling).

Night time chrissies.

Should be for toilet paper and paper towel at the German supermarket. It is eitherl about 'supply chain issues' or the inability to get staff for stacking. We are getting a bit sick of Aldi not having stock.

A little research tells me it is a Rolls Royce, spotted when we were coming home from Prahran. A later sighting tells me it lives in a side street just down the road.

I am not sure about the intrusions into our river, first Arbory Afloat and the newest Yarra Botanica. 

Prahran Market tram stop.

While we waited for the tram, we sat either side of the banana. 

A morning visitor. No damage, so most welcome.

I booked our holiday to Ecuador before seeing this list so stop thinking such horrible things about me. 

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Just nice

Firefighting Nephew lives in perhaps a five storey block of apartments with I think 13 apartments. Buying off the plan gives an advantage of not paying stamp duty on the property to be built, only on the land. In many cases people overpay for their yet to built apartment but in the case of FFN, they have done very well with property value as they are on the beach front, a short walk to the shops and property prices and new housing around them has exploded.

The twins will be cut out in two weeks time, I believe. That is more than a month early. I am sure doctors know what they are doing. FFN and his wife get along well with other people in their apartment building and a whip around (collection) was made by fellow residents and enough was raised to pay a cleaner as a gift for a month for their apartment. With an eighteen month old daughter and freshly baked twins, it is a great idea.

Isn't that just such a lovely and practical gift by nice and caring neighbours!

Ageing and bits

I am not the svelte 20 year old weighing in at 58 kg anymore. I don't have thick luxurious hair like someone close to me does. My eyes need help to see and focus. I have the body and face I deserve at my age given how little care I have taken of both. At the age of thirty five I was horrified to notice hair growing in my ears and nostrils. 

It really began to go downhill at the age of fifty with reading glasses and my stomach was no longer flat, also a fuzz of very light hair over the same. Once they appear, they don't seem to get any thicker or visible. At my last work medical I was told I would probably need glasses to pass the next medical. Not long after I retired in 2019 and straight away I realised I needed distance glasses when I could no long properly see a hot looking man on the street. 

All part of ageing and I don't have a huge problem with most things. But what I really hate is the deterioration with my skin. I had incredibly smooth and generally hairless skin but that has gone and I really miss my smoothness. I can only console myself with that I did have smooth skin and while my skin now is not what it was, in comparison to most men my age, it probably still is reasonably smooth.

As if the bother with a new desktop wasn't enough this week, R went out and bought a new tablet today. It was a bargain price and he is ever so pleased with it. A Samsung A8, if you know what that is. Of course being the lazy type he is with tech matters, I had to spend some time assisting him to set it up. 

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Vote often 2

What should be a safe Liberal (conservative party) seat in a north shore Sydney electorate Warringah, was where former Prime Minister Tony Abbott lost his seat to independent Zali Stegall. Abbott was a nasty bible bashing sexist homophobic piece of work but I know little about Stegall however Abbott's enemies are probably my friend.

Stegall is on her way to retain her seat against Liberal Party (conservative) candidate Katherine Deves. Deves is as is described a Captain's Pick for the seat by Liberal Party Prime Minister Scott Morrison. But oh does she come with baggage, anti transgender, anti parent surrogacy. While voters in Warringah are conservative, they are also socially progressive and she is not a good fit. I expect Stegall will be re-elected and Morrison's choice was a terrible mistake. New South Wales is what it is and I don't have great knowledge.

Let's have a closer look at my home area and firstly the seat of Kooyong, once a golden seat of the Liberal Party and one of the most wealthy electorates in the country but now becoming marginal and this actually puzzles me. In the last election I think The Greens vote was very high and put the seat in danger. This time it is not and never will be the Labor Party who threatens the Liberal Party seat, and probably not The Greens this time but 'a teal' independent candidate. I am not sure where the word teal came from but it seems to cover people who are not Green but care about climate change, the environment, social fairness, the environment and corruption. Well, that sounds like Green to me.

Sitting member is the very posh, rich and eloquent Josh Frydenberg. He is perhaps a future leader of our country, and it could be worse than him. Well, it is currently worse than him.

I know nothing about the independent candidate for Kooyong, one Monique Ryan yet it seems she is in with a chance. A couple of years ago the son of former Liberal State Premier Ted Baillieu came out as gay and has now stated he cannot support the sitting federal Liberal candidate Josh Frydenburg and has been campaigning for the independent Monique Ryan. As an heir to the Myer/Baillieu empire, Rob has turned his back on conservative politics and perhaps his inheritance but as an army man, he will have good superannuation.

Monique Ryan, teal independent for Kooyong. 

Will the election results be like football a huge upset... In a shocking loss...  Just one more seat to mention in the next post.