Saturday, January 28, 2023

Misery Day

To explain to non Australians about Australia Day, it is the day we celebrate when the First Fleet (ship) of settlers from Britain arrived to Sydney Cove in 1788.

Many of our First Nation people see it as invasion day, and that is exactly what it was. Britain invaded Australia, displaced the local population, gave them terrible diseases that killed them, at times massacred local populations and took sexual advantage of them. They took away Aboriginal hunting grounds to turn them into farms. There was mass poisoning of Aborigines.  In South Australia, quite a number were driven off a cliff to die on rocks or in the sea below. Well into the twentieth century, crudely put, half casts were removed from their mothers to have a 'better life', mostly educated in Christian ways at missions. Funnily they went on to be the best spokespeople with their excellent English language education, but many were treated cruelly, forced into domestic service and women regularly raped. 

The original owners of our land were treated appalling. Is the day when white man arrived en masse to commit terrible crimes against the local population a day to celebrate? 

That is history. It was not my doing and I have no responsibility for what happened. This is my country now, no matter how that came to be. My family on both sides has been here by free will since the 1840s. I am not sure how my Swiss Italian forebears managed to afford to come here from their impoverished subsistence village.

My Tradie Brother posted a photo of Dog and a koala of some kind in an Australian flag costume on FB with the comment, Australia Day 26th jan other wise piss off

I gently argued with him twice on the phone that the day had become so divisive, the date needed to change. He is not for changing.

What first made me alert and alarmed was when I heard the publican of the Torquay Hotel, who owns a couple of other pubs, decided to go low key on Australia Day after being approached by a couple of his Aboriginal staff. They did not issue an ultimatum, just asked and mentioned their discomfort if there was an overt celebration. He respectfully saw their point of view, to many approvals and many disapprovals. 

Then the Australia Day multicultural parade was cancelled, and just as well given what happened.

We trammed to St Kilda for brunch in the morning and I noted via Twitter there was a demo in the city and tram services were disrupted. That would normally be perhaps a one to to one and half hour disruption. No sign of Australia Day in Acland Street but earlier there had been a large mourning ceremony. 

Little did I dream that the disruption would go on until 2.30 when I caught the tram to see the RACV old and classic car display at the Kings Domain. I looked online before I went but information was not clear about the car show. The tram system was in such a mess, even I did not know how I could get to Kings Domain, but with more arse than class, I did get close by, only to find the car display wasn't happening.

I revisited the 'dangerous children's park' (more on that later) and I managed to find my way home. 

People displaying the Aussie flag on their cars, with flags bracketed to windows? Not to be seen this year.

Household Management decided it was Australian to go out for a pub meal that night and we trammed to the Malvern Vale Hotel and had some nice tucker. The pub's Australia Day effort was a couple of metres of Aussie flag bunting below a shelf and a flag in the decked dining area. I lost ten dollars on the machines and R won ten dollars. My argument that I has subsidised his win and he owed my $5 went unacknowledged.

The well turned out woman next to me on her machine wished me Happy Australia Day and then over explained about how her children were 'woke' and did not celebrate the day. She was one for keeping the day as it is. It is not in my nature to be confrontational and I kept my gob shut.  

And all this happened in Sydney too, with central city tram services suspended because of protest marches. In every Australian capital city, there were protest marches. It was so ugly in Melbourne with neo Nazis and white supremacists confronting the protestors. 

I never want to experience another Australia Day like this one.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Friday Funny

Hels of Art and Architecture, mainly drew my attention to this article after I used a photo of this ridiculous looking motorhome.

I really laughed when I read the short piece. While I don't like Clarkson, he can be quite funny at times.

Here is a summary YT clip of the episode, 8 mins. 

So what eventually happened to the campervan? If you read the article above you would know but for simple folk, here is another brief clip, 3 mins.

Thursday, January 26, 2023


Happy Indian Republic Day to all. 

Today celebrates the enaction of the new Indian constitution post independence from Britain. Generally Indian immigration to Australia has be a wonderful success. For some reason, the 'towel heads' as Sikhs may have been called in the past, seem to fit in exceptionally well and their organisational abilities to provide charitable food and care during times of disaster has been amazing. One such Sikh leader was up for last night's Australian of the year award.

It's Braighton darling

Brighton is now a very posh suburb and probably always has been.  The eastern part was once mostly market gardens, growing vegetable for the citizens of Melbourne and my mother's side of the family owned quite a number of them. Mother's grandparents are buried in Brighton Cemetery. Market gardening is hard physical work, with very early mornings to be at the market by 4am, dealing with the Italian market mafia so that you didn't have to deal with them, the heat and cold. However it was lucrative and the various family members did well, and extra well when they sold their land. 

So when home invasions and car hijackings by the black yoof came to Brighton, there was shock. Although this had been happening for some time elsewhere, when it happened in Brighton, it was realised there was a serious problem. The older gentlewomen of Brighton knew how to agitate over inappropriate property developments, how to impress on their accountants that they should not be paying so much tax and how to get a local council worker out to pick up as cigarette butt someone had dropped in the gutter (I am only half joking).

It is a few years since I have heard of home invasions and carjackings in Brighton, so the dear senior citizens of Brighton must have learnt how to lobby about policing. Truthfully, the state government has taken a multi pronged approach to the racial social crime problem, and it does mostly seem to be working. 

Have I painted a picture of Brighton? It is a lovely suburb, full of high quality older and newer housing. The streets are tree lined and aside from very busy roads to the east and west, the traffic is slow and there would rarely be road rage. People are educated, polite, respectful and environmentally and socially conscious. 

It is always a pleasure for us to visit Brighton, as we did this day to North Point Cafe, along with Ladies who Lunch and quite a wide but comfortable demographic. Psst, I think there may have been as Asian person there.....ah, no she was staff.

No trams in Brighton, everyone drives their own cars, except if they want to go to the city whereby they will lower themselves to taking the train because it is a damn sight quicker and more convenient. 

After lunch we needed a rest on a nice bench seat and wagtails amused us as they hop paraded up and down.   

Note, today is Australia Day but as it has become so divisive, I am not saying anything, aside from making the point that I am not writing anything about the day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Capitalism set free

I think we were only travelling to Sydney when we decided to try Uber. For some reason on a Monday morning at about 9.30am we were price surcharged, meaning our trip to the airport cost nearly $40 more than it would have in a taxi cab. We've never used Uber in Australia since. For our airport trips we use taxis. We either hail one on the street or I summon one on an app, we get in, the meter is turned on and at the end of the journey we pay what is on the meter. 

It seems taxi cab meters are no longer the way to do things. 

I simply cannot believe a Labor government did this, but it has.

I remember the time when the government decreed that to increase competition, taxis no longer had to be yellow. Well, if you are hailing a cab, being yellow is very useful. I think it was a mistake but I can live with that.

As a fairly media attuned person, I did not know of other changes and the principle ones being that you can negotiate with a taxi driver and also the taxi driver can refuse to take you if a price is not agreed on. Can you just tell the driver to turn on the meter? I am not sure. I have heard conflicting information. 

Nevertheless, taxi drivers have been refusing fares, refusing to turn on meters and charging usurious prices for trips in times of high demand.

Taxis have adapted to the challenge from Uber, with lots of information available if you use an app. Like with the Uber app, you can see your ordered taxi coming, how far away it is, fare estimates and the details of the driver. Yet now the certainty that came with taxis, get in and the driver can't refuse you, the meter is turned on and you are taken to your destination, has gone.

One Ben Carroll is the state minister responsible. You can be sure he will hear from me soon. In the 90s a conservative government highly regulated the taxi industry. In 2000 teens, a Labor government let the capitalist wolves free. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

A quickie today

I've began two posts for today but after yesterday's post, I think something lighter is due. It was a few months ago when I took a little walk in South Melbourne. Just in one minor street I came across some interesting stuffs. 

Such as this nice little hidden away park that only locals would know about. It was mid winter, told by the leafless trees, cold and so no one was around.

What is this? 

Quite a substantial building, now given over for modern purposes. I guess most bloggers who live in inner large cities don't need to be told to get off the main streets at times and see what is to be seen.

Monday Musings

We visited my almost dead Mother on Saturday. ABI Brother paid for lunch from a take away chicken shop with Mother's bank debit card. Delicious. Hippie Niece had put up Mother's Christmas decorations and Mother decorated the fake tree. She had left them up for when we visited. 

R cut her fingernails. She has become so deaf that I can quietly converse with R and ABI Brother with Mother still talking on about her ailments. ABI Brother had bought a new DVD player and although Sister got it to work for him, she didn't show him how. I worked out how to do it and told him as Mother talked on, none of us listening to her. 'Mother, where is your nail polish?, I yelled. On the ironing board in that purse. 'Do you still iron Mother?' 'No, but it is handy to use as a place to put things'. Mother used to have a dozen different nail polishes, but there was only a soft red and pale pink to choose from. I put some pink nail polish on the remote control next to the button on the tv remote that ABI Brother has to press to then watch a dvd. Still, I expect a call at some point from about how to watch a dvd.

Millions or billions have been spent on the upgrade of the Monash Freeway we use to visit Mother. In spite of that, two lanes were closed for maintenance on the way out, and two on the way home. At least work was happening on the way out. There was no need on the way back. I think parked trucks with lots of flashing lights and portable generator and solar powered illuminated signs counts as work. The lead up to the work zone is kilometres long and in slow traffic, it added at least 10 minutes to roughly a 55 minute trip. Not much, you may think but I hate driving and any reason meaning I have to drive for a longer is bad.

Today, Sunday was Gay Day, now called I think Pride Carnival. R asked me if I wanted to go and I said no as I knew he would want to go in the morning and the wandering around when my arthritis is at its worst without a seat with a back to relieve pain was untenable. Instead we went to St Kilda for brunch, or tried to. 16 and 3A trams were diverting along Dandenong Road from St Kilda Junction. Instead we stayed on the tram and had a nice brunch in Windsor. Yarra Trams had given no advance notice of a 'carnival in Balaclava Road' that disrupted trams. I searched online once home and I could not find anything about a carnival in Balaclava Road. I sent my former workmate a Whatsapp message. He mostly works at night and did not reply until mid afternoon and he too was perplexed. Soon after he replied he had found it on Facebook, a march by Jewish along Balaclava Road, perhaps between Hawthorn Road and Kooyong Road. Yarra Trams was not notified in advance, meaning that it wasn't on their website as a service disruption and no one knew about it in advance. The overseeing organisation should be prosecuted. 

Late afternoon found me on a St Kilda Road tram, leaving at the Arts Centre along with half the tram load. I had decided to visit Carnival on my own. I walked down the gentle slope. There wasn't the usual gold coin donation collectors. Now I mostly mask up only on public transport but it was so crowded, I put my mask back on after removing it when I left the tram. I ventured about 100 metres into the crowd of thousands and thought no, get out of here old man. You don't belong here and it is just too hard. 

I did see Grandpa Acid and quite a few luscious young, smooth and slim young men in crop tops. One may have worn one in his younger years. To note, a couple of those very tall and very dark black African men were in the crowd attired with with gay rainbow dress. Odds on there will be some gays in such a large demographic. 

I went to Clocks at Flinders Street and all outdoor tables were occupied. A duo were playing with the vocalist singing the Michael Jackson song, Billie Jean. The duo was rather good. Crowds continued to stream by, combining people out on a Sunday, gays and lesbians coming and going to Carnival and those celebrating Chinese New Year. 

I bought a takeaway long black and descended the stairs to a bench on the river bank. Even along the river bank, gays and dykes were walking past on their way to or from Carnival. Many other folk as well. I can officially say the city was manic. What Covid? I felt some melancholy as I sat there after spilling my overfull super hot coffee with my shaky hands. What a sad old man I have become.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Sunday Selections, Stolen

I'm joining with Elephant's Child and River for Sunday Selections with photos I have mostly filched from the internet.

I recall Wise Woman Web put this photo on her blog but it wasn't her photo. I think it is an iceberg passing by St Johns in Newfoundland, Canada, where WWW lives.

Procrastinating Donkey published this one and it amused me enough to save it to share. So nice see a post pop up from Jenny after an absence. 

Susie left Arabia and returned to the US but I really liked this Arabic watch photo.

Ok, it was cheap to stay on the top floor above Weng's Palace in New York. On West 40th street, it was a great location with Times Square and the Port Authority being close by. So hot, so humid. The air con rarely rested. We were on the top floor, no lift. Our leg muscles grew and our weight dropped off.

This is mine, a screen shot of what I saw shortly after we bought a new desktop last year. The fan had failed. I opened up the tower and found that wires had not been properly secured and had fallen and stopped the fan. I used some bread wire ties to fix the problem and sent a complaint email to the supplier. The company apologised.

Err, well. If it works for them. Fuel economy figure would be??? 

So sad to say goodbye to these folk after many years.

Drone shot of the Gay Pride Centre in St Kilda.

Was this the original Flinders Street Station or a plan? Or something else.

Is it Art Deco? A wonderful building in Hobart, Tasmania.

An empty dirty washing basket is such a brief moment of pleasure.

A rather cool sculpture.;

Once a Port Melbourne gay hotel, also called Meaghers Hotel. We went there once or twice. Now called The Palace Hotel. As Partners it for a time hosted the Lotus Night, to connect Melbourne's gay Asian community with others. We had some fun there at times but I can't remember detail.

Homoerotic photos published by taken in the US in perhaps the '50s. Great photos even if very obviously posed.

Words #397

I pronounce words so differently to many people in Australia. I don't know why. It is just how I speak. Here are some  examples. Integra...