Saturday, April 22, 2023

The Shrine

Oh. I forgot. When Sister and Jo visited, R and myself took Jo to the Shrine of Remembrance. 

The Eternal Flame.

How Putin and Zelensky could get together. Two snouts in one trough. Quakers are cool. 

I see our home, our building at least.

Gorgeous cypress trees. 

The old Observatory in this photo.

The spire of St Ignatius on Richmond Hill. 

Worth visiting just for the views but R found it to be a sad place. Well, it is a war memorial after all. 

I can't afford to visit the US because of health insurance costs

This comes from the website Quora and is written by Mark Pitt. I innocently thought if you did at least have health insurance in the US, you would be ok and the insurance company will look after you as the British National Health System does. Australia's system of public health care is not as good as the NHS, as I well know, with very long waits for important surgery, never mind the cost of visit to a doctor, though subsidised by Medicare, still costs a bomb. However, if you have something life threatening, your treatment will be prompt and absolutely free, as I also know.

Note point 4. In the UK a 5% chance of success would ensure alternatives were looked at and it is unlikely surgery would have proceeded.

If this is accurate, it is damning and could possibly happen to any of you American readers of my blog. 

  1. My friend Mike (name changed) is a civil engineer who married his second wife following the death of his first wife in a car accident. Her car was smashed into by a garbage truck.
  2. Mike’s new wife is a Pharmacist, so know the medical field very well.
  3. A couple of years ago, Mike started having headaches and developed a lazy eye.
  4. Mike was diagnosed with an aneurysm on his brain. Surgeons gave Mike a 5% chance that the surgery would work. Mike risked it.
  5. Mike had the surgery, following by a stay in hospital of a couple of months.
  6. Fluid on the brain then caused mini-stroking, so he had further surgery to slow the swelling. His lazy eye is now permanently closed.
  7. After his hospital stay, he was transferred to a facility in order to rehabilitate. He stayed for a few months before his insurance company informed him they would no longer pay to keep him there.
  8. Mike then went to another facility, where he stayed for a while before relapsing. A further hospital surgery ensued.
  9. After discussions with the insurance company, Mike’s wife convinced the original rehabilitation center to take him back.
  10. Madonna Hospital Omaha then allowed him to stay until the insurance company, again, said that they would not pay. Madonna informed the couple that “Many couples get divorced in this situation.” This, in order that the sick spouse does not bankrupt the well one.
  11. Mike was transferred to a third facility where was allowed to stay until they informed his wife that their facility cannot look after Mike any longer - he is too sick.
  12. Mike is now in no-mans’- land. Madonna Hospital Omaha will not take him as they risk not been paid and the current facility is little more than a convalescent home.
  13. Mike is now out of insurance - his lifetime maximum has been reached and the only option is now Medicaid.
  14. If Mike takes Medicaid, all of his assets, and those of his wife, will be taken by the government in order to ‘pay’ for ‘care’ that is provided under this catastrophic government plan. If Mike does not take Medicare, then imagine buying a new car every month - such will be the bills.
  15. So, a 49-year-old civil engineer and he and his pharmacist wife now face a future of selling their home, depleting their savings and perhaps declaring bankruptcy due to the American health ‘care’ system.
  16. Meanwhile, Madonna advertises its expert care on TV, the hospital boasts that they have the best treatment facilities in Nebraska, and the economy of Omaha is about two million dollars better off because one of its citizens got brain cancer.
  17. There is no ‘care’ here unless you can pay, and where the American people are kind and generous, when it comes to health, there is one great big elephant in the room.
  18. No President or Congress has ever been able to fix it because of an inherent fear of ‘paying a little tax for the benefit other people’.
  19. American health technology is indeed the best in the world, but, like everything else in this land of the free, there is a fee. It’s all about that thing that does not exist, apart from an idea - a bill of exchange - money.
  20. As for Mike, well, he’ll have to manage as he sits in his $12,000 wheel-chair, surrounded by paid-for drips and technology, in his new apartment that he is forced to rent due to the sale of his home.
  21. It matters not that your insurance policy is maxed-out at $1 million or $10 million. Eventually, it will run out.
  22. Imagine going to a country where a plate of food costs $5000. Then, when you cannot afford to pay for food anymore, you are dismissed as a nothing; a financial burden - persona non grata. You cannot keep yourself alive, you cannot afford it; you die because you cannot feed yourself and nobody gives a shit. That, my friends, is healthcare USA.
  23. This shall never be fixed. Like wars, healthcare makes too much money for the millions of people who work in the field. There are too many special interest groups and lobbyists to change things; too many bribes, corrupt politicians and ineffective presidents to be able to bring change.
  24. Meanwhile, Mike is literally speechless, and his schooling, college degree, patriotism, church-going and membership of the Knights Templar will not matter. His hundreds of thousands in taxes may fill a few potholes on Omaha’s dreadful roads, but it will not help him. Mike is an American patriot, but sadly, in America, the flag-waving and hand-on-heart means nothing. On the issue of health, America pleads the fifth; it says nothing.
  25. Americans are a commodity; they are useful to the economy until they are not, and while Fox news propaganda hails that this is “the greatest country God gave man,” try telling that to a man who has worked all his life, only to be forced out of a system because he is unable to pay.
  26. Think of the concentration camps of 1942–1945. You were either fit to work and aid the effort, or you were left to die. The analogy may seem dramatic, but then both ‘outcomes’ were determined by a tick box on a clipboard.
  27. In 200 years, the USA is unlikely to be here. Empires die, as they make stupid decisions which implode. However, in 300 years, history will say, “In the USA, if you did not have enough of that paper - that ‘money’, then the people who were in charge of collecting more of the paper money put to death those who had not enough paper money to give them. Some people died, because some other people said, they were not worthy - they were not endowed with money.”
  28. Thereafter, when tiny robots repair every cell in the body for free, and when work and toil are a thing of the past, people will ask, “Why did people die?” The reason shall be just the same as when people fell into mills and factory equipment during the Industrial Revolution. The reasons will be the same as why millions died in WW1 where generals ordered men to go over the top of trenches only to be shot and killed. The reason will be that the few controlled the many, until the many woke up and saw that the few controlled too much, and called ‘enough.’
  29. The NHS is not perfect in the UK, but the 1940’s government freed the British public not only from tyranny but from the worry of their healthcare. In 1948, the National Health Service was born. It remains the greatest of British decisions and has saved millions from death, disease, and despair.
  30. Whatever you think of the NHS, it is near and dear to the British hearts and minds. It is the Mother of the UK. Using that analogy, the USA is simply an orphan. The USA is a camera obscura - a dream-like nation. It appears to be fantastic until you see that the bleached white teeth hide a mouth full of decay.

Edit 17th April 2023.

Thank you for all of your upvotes and comment.

Steve passed away leaving his two girls and a wife. The doctors applauded the body as it passed through the halls of the hospital. Some have commented that the UK NHS would not have performed the surgery anyway? This is subjective. In the UK, costs are so much lower, so if Steve had been to a private hospital, then the bills would be much lower - we don’t bankrupt people here. Again, the USA impersonates the ostrich when it comes to healthcare. The government likes the anxiety that comes with fear, with worry - it keeps people under control and on the treadmill. It’s even becoming a burden for foreigners to visit the USA; such is the high cost of travel insurance. The system will break, the ‘let them eat cake’ attitude is too much.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Easter Monday

Sister and her daughter Jo arrived by train/tram on the Monday. Sister bashed off to a football game and somehow we entertained Jo. Again many places were closed so we ordered pizza to be delivered for dinner. 

The next morning, no one was being decisive. I don't like that situation. R and Jo were going see the 1pm performance of the musical Mary Poppins at a theatre. They loved it.

Before, we all trammed into town and brunched at a place we know well and to fill in time, we visited the Ian Potter Gallery.

There was an exhibition at the Australian Centre for Moving Images that Sister wanted to see. She and Jo paid to see it. We didn't.  We just waited outside for them in comfortable seats. R and Jo then headed to the theatre, I went home and Sister roamed the city. Sister returned back here and her wife, Bone Doctor joined us. We returned to the city and met up for an early dinner after R and Jo's show at a nice enough place. Jo came back with us while Sister and Bone Doctor attended a comedy performance. I can't remember after that, except they went home. 

I love the Ian Potter Gallery. Some photos were taken when I visited on my own and some were taken on the day.

A teenage school student was responsible for this exhibit. The name of this work was so good, I can't remember what it was. I'll just say, Increasingly impractical jugs. 

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Melbourne's loss

Some charities divide people into deserving and non deserving and treat each as judged accordingly. This is one reason why I have big issues with human charities. 

Yesterday Melbourne lost a good soul, Father Bob Maguire at the age of 88. He was a Catholic Priest who was forcibly retired by The Church when he reached a certain age, but that never stopped his care for the poor, the disadvantaged, the drug users, those down on their luck...anyone really. He simply helped without judgement or discrimination. Of course the church hierarchy did not like his modus operandi of non judgemental care but his popularity was so great, it dare not interfere.

He set up a respected foundation after retirement,  

Bob also had a good sense of humour, was a bit of a larrikin, never took himself too seriously and was a wonderful raconteur. 

I understand his family has accepted the offer of State Government Funeral.

#176 Why I dislike religious institutions

I don't know how it is in other parts of the world. I don't care to follow religion but I seem to remember that in the 1960s in Australia the Presbyterian and Methodist churches combined to form the United Church. But apparently some old vestigatives of Presbyterian Church survived 

In a submission to a government enquiry into discrimination in schools, the Presbyterian church submitted that a gay student would not be an appropriate person to be a school captain. Of course most other religious schools held similar hateful views. No gay or dyke teachers at our school! Must be of our religion. No living in sin. It went on. 

The church owns five schools in Melbourne. Its schools are run by boards of governors and the most prestigious school, Scotch College, 'almost' immediately disassociated itself from the submission, describing itself as an inclusive school for all without discrimination. The church may own the school but does not control it.

Which century are we living in? I can't believe such a submission would come from the Presbyterian Church in modern Australia. What a disgrace. 

Meanwhile the gay captain of the Church of England Melbourne Grammar School eloquently speaks out. This lad will go on to be a huge benefit to society.  

The Presbyterian Church of Australia has declared its right to refuse school leadership opportunities to students based on sexuality or premarital sexual activity. This comes in response to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s review of discrimination laws.

The Church has reasoned that, in the case of discriminating against students based on sexual preference, gay students “would not be able to give appropriate Christian leadership in a Christian school which requires modelling Christian living”.

I write this as captain of Melbourne Grammar School. I write this as someone who is gay, a fact about myself which I cannot change. I also write this as someone confused – surely “modelling Christian living” is not well exemplified in the practice of exclusion or discrimination?

The Christian faith is built on the example Christ set in his life. His revolutionary compassion, so radical then as it still is now – care for the outcasts, the lepers, the unclean – inform the values of Christianity and direct the moral constitution of the Church. Jesus shocked the established powers of his time, his love the instrument of a legacy which left a world faith developing in its wake.

His example leads me to wonder what Christ would make of this situation. If he was confronted with a body of young people – all, to remind the Presbyterian leaders, made in the image of God, in the imago dei – would he divide them and cast inequality among their ranks?

Would he tell a portion of them they could not lead their friends, simply because those they love are of the same sex? Well, Jesus did not condemn the adulterers, did not avoid the pariahs, and surely would not deem some more capable of Christian living than others because of the details of their sexuality.

I see nothing particularly Christ-like in telling a child that, because of some unchangeable fact about their identity, they cannot have a recognised position of respect among their peers. To be honest, what I do see is irrationality.

The beauty of my generation is its widespread, gentle disinterest for sexuality. My peers know I am gay and they do not much care, just as they do not much care that others are straight or of other sexualities. This strength in character, this security of identity, is characteristic of the best leaders, and the Presbyterian Church of Australia has a chance to demonstrate it too. Unfortunately, the current absence of such a positive and healthy outlook is harming both the place of organised religion in the modern world and the safety of adolescents.

Not in modern Australia. But here I am, a student, writing an open letter to a group of adults who have lived a good deal longer than I have, and my intention here (at the risk of sounding quite bold) is to educate. I ask the Presbyterian Church of Australia to withdraw their response which outlines the right to discriminate among children and adolescents based on sexuality or sexual activity.

Firstly, it is a violation of the privacy of students and a rather clumsy attempt at preserving a worldview now thankfully frowned upon. Secondly, it is the most remarkable antithesis to the true Christian values (the central commandment “love thy neighbour as thyself” should be the directing maxim here).

And, thirdly, this desire to discriminate among young people is plainly unsettling. The sexuality of students is not something which should be the subject of so much scrutiny – as Stephen Fry once pointed out, the stricter branches of the Church often like to brand homosexual people as exhibiting unnatural sexual attitudes, though it is not the gay community which displays an unhealthy obsession with the regulation, repression and restriction of sex, rather the shoe is on the other foot there.

I am very lucky – I am secure in myself; I attend a school which values all its students equally. Yet so, so many children do not yet have this same confidence. The influence of the Presbyterian Church of Australia in declaring the right to discriminate against students based on sexuality is therefore mightily dangerous to some of the most vulnerable in our society.

Those people behind this submission to the ALRC need to exhibit the compassion which their faith is built on, as do the other religious groups which have submitted similar requests.

Organised religion is a powerful force for positivity. Those groups which tarnish the name of spirituality by using it to justify prejudice do a disservice to all people of faith, and they endanger all those who fall under their care.

Daniel Cash is Melbourne Grammar’s school captain.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Easter Sunday

Brighton Antique Dealer invited us for coffee at the RACV club (Royal Automobile Association of Victoria) where she and her toyboy were staying in the city. 

They found a good deal for accommodation at Easter, but they did not want to pay the high dining prices at the club. 

We had coffee with them and what a lovely place the club is. There is so much interesting art within the building. Their room was divinely large with two large beds and so tastefully decorated, and ok city views.

We had trammed in on a 58, and to get to where BAD wanted to dine, we trammed down Bourke Street and then Swanston Street to Clocks, a gambling venue that serves ok meals at a very reasonable price. The trams were so busy on a Sunday night, we could barely fit on any of them.

You can visit Clocks and totally ignore the gambling machines. Become a club member, we have, and you get everything discounted by a dollar or two. Ironically I ventured into a smoking area at the western end for a breath of fresh air and there was not a bad view of the Flinders Street train platforms below. I knew the view was there already.

So, some photos from the club. 

There were a couple of very nice motor cars within the club.

I forget what model car this one was.

A named private lane leading to the RACV Club car park.

City building views from BAD's room were not bad. 

The club has a huge library with of course lots of motoring books but being Easter Sunday, it was closed. We looked down on a dining area.

It doesn't look like it but the pool room was very busy with most of the dozen or tables in use.

I always though Clocks was a Greek owned club, perhaps because of the Doxa name, but it is a not for profit charity.  The next time I lose $5 in a pokie machine, I will consider it a charitable donation.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2023


I recently read the word  patriachal at a very respected blogger who I could not imagine misspelling any word. Spell checker did not like the word at all and suggested patriarchal, adding an r before the c. I've no idea, and I would appreciate patriachal and non patriarchal views. 

In a Trumpian manner, I refuse to concede that my spelling of souveneir is wrong. The internet and another  respected blogger tells me I am wrong.  I am an average speller but it is a word I know how to spell.  'Tis wot I learned. 

I now understand the spelling confusion of program/programme. 

You program a computer. You may program something to happen. But if you are listening to the radio, you may be listening to a radio programme, or you may be at the theatre and buy a programme (always for a usurious amount). 

At school I once threw a disc and nearly killed Mr Embling, my Physical Education teacher. He was tall, fit, curly haired blond, blue eyed and American. Did I obsessively think  about Mr Embling? Oh yes, but then without really knowing why. 

Actually, it may have been called a discus.  But a round thingie is a disc and the spinning around thing in this machine where I type is a disk.  I am happy with that. 

I was not in the poshest part of our big city, and the northern suburban school boys on the tram were pronouncing the word asked as arsed. "You arsed him." "I didn't arse him". Is that a sexual expression? I thought I knew everything about the kinks of sex, but I really don't know how to arse someone. Please do not give an explanation YP

I was just on the balcony and watched a tram turn from St Kilda Road into Toorak Road. I thought how gracefully it glid around the corner. Sure enough, spell check does not like glid, but that is how I learnt it and it is apparently allowed for Scrabble. To me, glided around the corner sounds wrong, if not just ugly.

Anyway, thanks for your attention and being oriented and not orientated.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Monday Mural hands

I'm joining with Sami for Monday Mural.

I am unsure where I took this. It's nice. Of course if I look at my Google timeline after establishing the date I took the photo and I could see where I was and probably remember, but that takes time. As I keep telling you, I am a retired person and I don't have a lot of spare time.

This one was taken in behind Cafe L'incontro with Council House 2 to the right. I think the naming of the lane is recent, Rainbow Alley, complete with a rainbow street sign. 

Sunday, April 16, 2023

A Family Gathering

To celebrate R's, Mother's and Little M's birthdays most of the family gathered at Moonlit Sanctuary for a sausage sizzle and birthday cake. A wheelchair was booked for Mother and we booked the barbeque. The weather was warmer than expected, jackets off and it was a really nice day. There were also sandwiches and lots of nibbles.

Sister pushed Mother around to see the animals. One child hurt herself when she fell backwards and Mother got stuck when she swung one leg over a bench seat at a table and could not swing it back again. Here are some photos. 

Keep your puppies and kittens close to you.

While very dog like, Australian dingoes are quite different to dogs. They don't bark but howl, they kill for sport or practice and generally can't be trusted as pets. Nevertheless they are a fascinating creatures and I can recommend a book I read in my teen years, The Way of the Dingo

Apparently they are trustworthy enough at the sanctuary to be taken for a walk by guests who pay.

I believe this is a wallaby, kind of like a kangaroo but I know it as a pademelon. This was our third visit to the sanctuary, the first at night time and we had pademelons moving around and over our feet in the dark as owls swooped past our heads mere centimetres away. The night experience was terrific.

They are seriously long and thin legs.

Some native bird I suppose.

Owls etc were a bit difficult to see.

A not so great photo of a spotted quoll.

Ditto a Tasmanian devil. 

This is a water dragon, a lizard of sorts. It likes to be near water and is a good swimmer.

We became very interested when the water dragon decided to be 'friendly' with a tortoise. 

Another tortoise purposefully made its way from a few a metres away to assist its friend against the water dragon's attention. It was so funny to watch and the kiddies were entranced, as I was.

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...