Monday, July 31, 2006

Dancing Dog

A not so grumpy dog:

Saturday night late pub music, Collingwood, good music, birthday party time. [Again] The world is turning 40.

For the first time in a long time, I had someone ask me to dance, very flattering, and not only that, I then danced with someone who just never dances. Yes, she dances rather well.

Lastly learnt that there was a guy called Pliny around the time of Jesus, lived in Rome. Must be a bit of a hit cause he is still remembered by some today. Cheers E x


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Canadians and Teenagers

Canadians first, they are a bit older.

Lately, over the last few years I have heard many a good thing about Canada They seem to be able to by pass the American dream, or at least temper it to their own way of seeing the world. Unlike us down here where we are constantly following the American lead. But I digress, to the point. I heard a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation [CBC] chief talking about sport and their national broadcaster. He was saying that the CBC was getting out of sports coverage. Because sport had so many commercial outlets from free to air and pay tv. Thus freeing up the CBC to broadcast other programmes of national interest. I imagine the CBC is government funded like our ABC and is always strapped for cash. This is yet another one of the good news stories coming out of Canada. Shame about the weather.

Teenagers: Here’s a scene for you. Teenage boy comes into TV room with packet of family biscuits, I say family, because he had to raid the biscuit stash to find them. He eats half a dozen biscuits of a twin pack, say 40 biscuits, then puts them under his seat. Later in the evening he gets up and leaves.
Next morning biscuits are still under the seat, that is until family dog finds them unattended. Less than five minutes later and the twin pack of biscuits are wasted. I mean wasted, all over the floor spread thick and thin. Pooch is happy as pig in poo, covered in biscuit dust and full too boot.

Moral of the story. Teenage boys survival skills are very low. If they relied on biscuits as a food source. They just don't see the bigger picture.

Makes you wonder where the politicians are, still teenagers maybe.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Australia or UK

Had a friend in the UK ask the question; Is it better to be skint in the UK or in Australia?

I tried to answer it, but found I was floundering, yes no, maybe so. Good weather verses bad , family verses no family. The tyranny of distance.

We both have Australian partners but his children are born in England and mine born here in Australia. I think it is much of a muchness cost wise to bring up kids we are fairly well supported here, not sure about the UK now.

So if any one can help sort this out I would be most grateful.

We are both skint!!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Grumpy old men.

The afternoon had turned sour and a light rain had started pushing the afternoon to evening prematurely.

I was walking past the old blue stone building like I had done a thousand times before. I had never seen anyone come out of the dark brown doors.

Out he came, old and bent, he had large hands, big saucer shaped ears, sticking out from under an old cloth cap. He took five steps in his brown slipper clad feet to reach the second door, both facing the busy road. While he walked he pulled a long chain from his pocket, on the end was a set of keys. He quickly opened the door and disappeared again.

I could see through an old horizontal blind a dimly lit room with a large old brown leather sofa. His life seemed very brown. I think even his old cap was brown.
He works with pianos and lives and works in this old blue stone building painted brown. Do you know the colour Mission Brown? Well that is it, dark chocolate.
I've only been here 20 years maybe I'll wait another 20 years before I see him again.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Here are a couple of sayings I have heard over the last couple of days as I lay there recouping from a tummy ache. [Sounds pathetic, tummy ache] Very painful let me tell you.

This first one is from someone like a nun to a novice, trying to tell her how to approach a new task.

First it is impossible
Second it is difficult
Third it is done.

This one is supposedly a quote from Ian Flemming. I heard it on a doctor/nurse type soapy.

' A horse is dangerous at both ends and uncomfortable in the middle.'

Now I have had a lot of good times riding horses, but I have also seen how dangerous they can be too. I have also felt saddle sore, and still had many a mile to ride. Ouch.

If you ever get bored here is a tip. Get yourself a second hand musical instrument, of your choice learn to tune it. Then play. I don't think you will be bored again.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Farewell to Beirut

This is for Anna

IN THE year AD 551, the magnificent, wealthy city of Berytus — headquarters of the Romans' East Mediterranean fleet — was struck by a massive earthquake. In its aftermath, the sea withdrew several miles and the survivors — ancestors of the present-day Lebanese — walked out on the sands to loot the long-sunken merchant ships revealed to them.

That was when a giant tsunami returned to swamp the city and kill them all. So savagely was the old Beirut damaged that the Emperor Justinian sent gold from Constantinople to every family left alive.

Some cities seem forever doomed. When the Crusaders arrived in Beirut on their way to Jerusalem in the 11th century, they slaughtered every man, woman and child in the city.

In World War I, Ottoman Beirut suffered a terrible famine — the Turkish army had commandeered all the grain and the Allied powers blockaded the coast. I still have some ancient postcards I bought here 30 years ago of stick-like children standing in an orphanage, naked and abandoned.

An American woman living in Beirut in 1916 described how she "passed women and children lying by the roadside with closed eyes and ghastly, pale faces. It was a common thing to find people searching the garbage heaps for orange peel, old bones or other refuse, and eating them greedily when found …"

How does this happen to Beirut? For 30 years, I've watched this place die and then rise from the grave and then die again, its apartment blocks pitted with so many bullets they look like Irish lace, its people massacring each other.

I lived here through 15 years of civil war that took 150,000 lives, and two Israeli invasions and years of Israeli bombardments that cost the lives of a further 20,000 people. I have seen them armless, legless, headless, knifed, bombed and splashed across the walls of houses.

Yet they are a fine, educated, moral people whose generosity amazes every foreigner, whose gentleness puts any Westerner to shame, and whose suffering we almost always ignore.

They look like us, the people of Beirut. They have light-coloured skin and speak beautiful English and French. They travel the world. Their women are gorgeous and their food exquisite.

But what are we saying of their fate today as the Israelis — in some of their cruellest attacks on this city and the surrounding countryside — tear them from their homes, bomb them on river bridges, cut them off from food and water and electricity?

We say that they started this latest war, and we compare their appalling casualties — more than 300 in all of Lebanon by last night — with Israel's 34 dead, as if the figures are the same.

And then, most disgraceful of all, we leave the Lebanese to their fate like a diseased people and spend our time evacuating our precious foreigners while tut-tutting about Israel's "disproportionate" response to the capture of its soldiers by Hezbollah.

I walked through the deserted centre of Beirut yesterday and it reminded me more than ever of a film lot, a place of dreams too beautiful to last, a phoenix from the ashes of civil war whose plumage was so brightly coloured that it blinded its own people. This part of the city — once a Dresden of ruins — was rebuilt by Rafiq Hariri, the prime minister who was murdered scarcely a mile away on February 14 last year.

The wreckage of that bomb blast, an awful precursor to the present war in which his legacy is being vandalised by the Israelis, still stands beside the Mediterranean, waiting for the last UN investigator to look for clues to the assassination — an investigator who has long ago abandoned this besieged city for the safety of Cyprus.

At the empty Etoile restaurant — best snails and cappuccino in Beirut, where Hariri once dined with French President Jacques Chirac — I sat on the pavement and watched the parliamentary guard still patrolling the facade of the French-built emporium that houses what is left of Lebanon's democracy. So many of these streets were built by Parisians under the French Mandate and they have been exquisitely restored, their mock-Arabian doorways bejewelled with marble Roman columns dug from the ancient Via Maxima a few metres away.

Hariri loved this place and, taking Chirac for a beer one day, he caught sight of me sitting at a table. "Ah Robert, come over here," he roared, turning to Chirac like a cat about to eat a canary. "I want to introduce you, Jacques, to the reporter who said I couldn't rebuild Beirut!"

And now it is being unbuilt. The Martyr Rafiq Hariri International Airport has been attacked three times by the Israelis, its shopping malls vibrating to the missiles that thunder into the runways and fuel depots. Hariri's transnational highway viaduct has been broken by Israeli bombers. Most of his motorway bridges have been destroyed. The Roman-style lighthouse has been smashed by a missile from an Apache helicopter. Only this small jewel of a restaurant in the centre of Beirut has been spared. So far.

It is the slums of Haret Hreik and Ghobeiri and Shiyah that have been pounded to dust, sending a quarter of a million Shiite Muslims to schools and abandoned parks across the city. Here, indeed, was the headquarters of Hezbollah, another of those "centres of world terror" the West keeps discovering in Muslim lands.

Here lived Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Party of God's leader, a ruthless, caustic, calculating man, and Sheikh Mohammed Fadlallah, among the wisest and most eloquent of clerics, and many of Hezbollah's top military planners — including, no doubt, the men who planned over many months the capture of the two Israeli soldiers last Wednesday.

But did the tens of thousands of poor who live here deserve this act of mass punishment? For a country that boasts of its pinpoint accuracy — a doubtful notion in any case, but that's not the issue — what does this act of destruction tell us about Israel? Or about ourselves?

In a modern building in an undamaged part of Beirut, I come, quite by chance, across a well-known and prominent Hezbollah figure, open-neck white shirt, dark suit, clean shoes.

"We will go on if we have to for days or weeks or months or …" And he counts these awful statistics on the fingers of his left hand. "Believe me, we have bigger surprises still to come for the Israelis — much bigger, you will see. Then we will get our prisoners and it will take just a few small concessions."

I walk outside, feeling as if I have been beaten over the head. Over the wall opposite there is purple bougainvillea, white jasmine and a swamp of gardenias. The Lebanese love flowers, and Beirut is draped in trees and bushes that smell like paradise.

As for the inhabitants of the southern slums of Haret Hreik, I found hundreds of them yesterday, sitting under trees and lying on the parched grass beside an ancient fountain donated to Beirut by the Ottoman Sultan Abdelhamid. How empires fall.

Far away, across the Mediterranean, two American helicopters from the USS Iwo Jima could be seen, heading through the mist and smoke towards the US embassy bunker complex at Awkar to evacuate more citizens of the American Empire. There was not a word from that same empire to help the people lying in the park, to offer them food or medical aid.

And across them all has spread a dark grey smoke that works its way through the entire city, the fires of oil terminals and burning buildings turning into a cocktail of sulphurous air that moves below our doors and through our windows. I smell it when I wake in the morning. Half the people of Beirut are coughing in this filth, breathing their own destruction as they contemplate their dead.

The anger that any human soul should feel at such suffering and loss was expressed so well by Lebanon's greatest poet, the mystic Khalil Gibran, when he wrote of the half-million Lebanese who died in the 1916 famine, most of them residents of Beirut:

My people died of hunger, and he who

Did not perish from starvation was

Butchered with the sword …

They perished from hunger in a land

rich with milk and honey …

They died because the vipers and

sons of vipers spat out poison into

the space where the Holy Cedars and

the roses and the jasmine breathe

their fragrance.

And the sword continues to cut its way through Beirut. When part of an aircraft — perhaps the wing-tip of an F-16 hit by a missile, although the Israelis deny this — came streaking out of the sky over the eastern suburbs at the weekend, I raced to the scene to find a partly decapitated driver in his car and three Lebanese soldiers from the army's logistics unit. These are the tough, brave non-combat soldiers of Kfar Chima, who have been mending power and water lines these past six days to keep Beirut alive.

I knew one of them. "Hello Robert, be quick, because I think the Israelis will bomb again, but we'll show you everything we can." And they took me through the fires to show me what they could of the wreckage, standing around me to protect me.

A few hours later the Israelis did come back, as the men of the logistics unit were going to bed, and they bombed the barracks and killed 10 soldiers, including those three kind men who looked after me amid the fires of Kfar Chima.

And why? Be sure: the Israelis know what they are hitting. That's why they killed nine soldiers near Tripoli when they bombed the military radio antennas. But a logistics unit? Men whose sole job was to mend electricity lines?

And then it dawns on me. Beirut is to die. It is to be starved of electricity now that the power station in Jiyeh is on fire. No one is to be allowed to keep Beirut alive. So those poor men had to be liquidated.

Beirutis are tough people and are not easily moved. But at the end of last week, many of them were overcome by a photograph in their daily papers of a small girl, discarded like a broken flower in a field near the border village of Ter Harfa, her feet curled up, her hand resting on her torn blue pyjamas, her eyes — beneath long, soft hair — closed, turned away from the camera.

She had been another "terrorist" target of Israel and several people, myself among them, saw a frightening similarity between this picture and the photograph of a Polish girl lying dead in a field beside her weeping sister in 1939.

I go home and flick through my files, old pictures of the Israeli invasion of 1982. There are more photographs of dead children, of broken bridges. "Israelis Threaten to Storm Beirut", says one headline. "Israelis Retaliate". "Lebanon At War". "Beirut Under Siege". "Massacre at Sabra and Chatila".

Yes, how easily we forget these earlier slaughters. Up to 1700 Palestinians were butchered at Sabra and Shatila by Israel's Christian militia allies in September of 1982 while Israeli troops — as they later testified to Israel's own commission of inquiry — watched the killings. I was there. I stopped counting the corpses when I reached 100. Many of the women had been raped before being knifed or shot.

Yet when I was fleeing the bombing of Ghobeiri with my driver Abed last week, we swept right past the entrance of the camp, the very spot where I saw the first murdered Palestinians. And we did not think of them. We did not remember them. They were dead in Beirut and we were trying to stay alive in Beirut, as I have been trying to stay alive here for 30 years.

I am back on the coast when my mobile phone rings. It is an Israeli woman calling me from the United States, the author of a fine novel about the Palestinians.

"Robert, please take care," she says. "I am so, so sorry about what is being done to the Lebanese. It is unforgivable. I pray for the Lebanese people, and the Palestinians, and the Israelis." I thank her for her thoughtfulness and the graceful, generous way she condemned this slaughter.

Then, on my balcony — a glance to check the location of the Israeli gunboat far out in the sea smog — I find older clippings. This is from an English paper in 1840, when Beirut was an Ottoman metropolis: "Anarchy is now the order of the day, our properties and personal safety are endangered, no satisfaction can be obtained, and crimes are committed with impunity. Several Europeans have quitted their houses and suspended their affairs, in order to find protection in more peaceable countries."

On my dining room wall, I remember, there is a hand-painted lithograph of French troops arriving in Beirut in 1842 to protect the Maronite Christians from the Druze. They are camping in the Jardin des Pins, which will later become the site of the French embassy where, only a few hours ago, I saw French men and women registering for evacuation. And outside the window, I hear again the whisper of Israeli jets, hidden behind the smoke that now drifts 30 kilometres out to sea.

Fairuz, the living legend of Lebanese song, was to have performed at this year's Baalbek Festival, cancelled now like all the country's festivals. One of her most popular songs is dedicated to her native city:

Peace to Beirut with all my heart

And kisses — to the sea and clouds,

To the rock of a city that looks like an old sailor's face.

From the soul of her people she makes wine,

From their sweat, she makes bread and jasmine.

So how did it come to taste of smoke and fire?

Disgracefully, we evacuate our precious foreigners and just leave the Lebanese to their fate.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Celebratory Placement

I was reading the paper on the W/E and saw a 20 something year old football player, with a big toothy grin, he had his football kit on and was resting his knee on a football. [Just so you knew what he did, famous sports star] The words accompanying the photo informed you that he used his credit card. I wasn't amused. A squillionair sportsman uses a particular credit card, does that mean young men and women without the squillion$ are going to emulate their hero. He is their hero because he can kick a football, not because he has financial credibility.

The second advert was a well know soapy star Australian/Italian now living in America. Picture this; said star at his desk, suitably dishevelled to enhance the, ‘I don't care about my looks I am just so cool’.

Next to this beautifully shot photo is a question / answer sheet.

Favourite food, best moment in your life, [Marrying the missus] biggest surprise, [our first child] all that sort of tosh. Then low and behold the last question. My favourite card, no not the Christmas or birthday card I received from my great uncle. Oh no!! It was my [you guessed it] credit card.

I just don’t see the credibility in using these images. We all know that people from these professions, Acting, Sport, are no more money-wise than the rest of us, and in fact can appear to be very ordinary with money.

I suppose I just don’t get advertising do I?

Very late night Saturday night. 4.30 am. Yesterday was a wipe out a little peaky today.

Woof Gasp Woof

Saturday, July 22, 2006


No it's not my birthday that comes around in October. It's just I know a couple of people with birthdays around this time, and both of them have managed to get two birthday celebrations out of one year. Probably more that I don't know of. Now, it is the big 40, so they feel justified in getting us all to front up at least twice, with presents, arrangements, baby sitters, drinks, additional food, etc etc.

I reckon one day a year is enough, have a good bash and move on. I'm talking here of major organised party time.

Every day in the news paper they have birthdays on this day, question: How famous do you have to be, to get a gig in the birthday list? 10 minutes of fame and all that.

The days are getting longer very slowly but surely, and these last few nights/days have been clear skies. The moon is in it's last quarter and Venus is close by. The sky has had a colour of dark Indian ink. If you were of the Christian faith you would be reminded of baby Jesus and the three wise men, following their star. But I'm not so it just gives me goose bumps as I marvel at the magnitude of it all.

Friday, July 21, 2006


A discussion this morning about the use of carbon fuels and how much we are using.

We [the world] must be using up the reserves of carbon based fuels so fast that we will run out sooner rather than later. Consumer products are a big ticket item, along with cars, homes, air travel, heating and air conditioning.
I propose we are programmed to survive to find new ways to live as old ways become unworkable. However it may also include our ability to kill each other that is part of our survival plan.

No good will come of fighting over the remaining oil in the middle east. If we put the squillions spent on war on finding alternative energy, just think how advanced that could be.

What a stoke of genius: The middle east the home of some of the most ancient civilisations, that can't get along with one another. [Probably due in part to the holding on to dogma from 2000 years ago. ]
Add to this some of the largest reserves of oil, the life blood of modern society. Is this one big JOKE????

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Public Private Partnerships, that's what PPPs stands for and they have become the favoured finance tool for governments over here in Australia. Some bright spark in the private banking world came up with a what was a good idea for the banks and financiers and sold it to the treasury officials at all levels of government.
I think they caught on in the way they have because we had a period in the 1980s -90s when government debt had become a bad word and these PPPs can disguise the cost of the debt and the government looks like it isn't borrowing the money. The end result is that as a society we pay way over the odds for infrastructure finance, on the pretext that the private sector is taking a risk, like a business taking out a loan to develop a project.

The problem with this argument is that there is no risk. The government isn't about to go away, fail, disappear. The infrastructure being built/financed is a school, hospital, college, road, etc. The amounts of money being wasted on high fees and interest charges is not chicken feed. To add insult to injury, the governments that are doing this are by and large Labor, and Labor voters don't like this type of private finance for public infrastructure.

Chickens: Are being fed on Soya beans grown on land cleared from the places like the Amazon rain forest. Think about it, how green is my chicken?

On a lighter note, all the PPPs in the world can't take away the beauty of a sunny winters day, even if it is bloody cold.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dog Girl

Nothing to grump abbout today so i copied this out of the newspaper.


SHE bounds along on all fours through long grass, panting with her tongue hanging out. When she reaches the tap she paws at the ground, drinks noisily with her jaws wide open and lets the water cascade over her head.

Up to this point, you think the young woman could be acting — but the moment she shakes her head and neck free of droplets, exactly like a dog when it emerges from a swim, you get a creepy sense that this is something beyond imitation. Then she barks.

The furious sound she makes is not like a human being pretending to be a dog. It is a proper, chilling, canine-like burst of aggression and it is coming from the mouth of a young woman dressed in T-shirt and shorts.

This is 23-year-old Oxana Malaya reverting to behaviour she learnt as a young child when she was brought up by a pack of dogs on a rundown farm near the village of Novaya Blagoveschenka in Ukraine. When she showed her boyfriend what she once was and what she could still do — the barking, the whining, the four-footed running — he took fright. It was a party trick that went too far and the relationship ended.

Miss Malaya is a feral child, one of only about 100 known in the world. The story goes that, when she was three, her indifferent, alcoholic parents left her outside one night and she crawled into a hovel where they kept dogs. No one came to look for her or even seemed to notice she was gone, so she stayed where there was warmth and food — raw meat and scraps — forgetting what it was to be human, losing what toddler's language she had and learning to survive as a member of the pack.

A shameful five years later, a neighbour reported a child living with animals. When she was found, at the age of eight in 1991, Oxana could hardly speak and ran around on all fours barking.

Though she must have seen humans at a distance, and seems occasionally to have entered the family house like a stray, they were no longer her species.

Judging from the complete lack of documentation about her physical and psychological state when found, the authorities were not keen to record her case — neglect on this scale was too shameful to acknowledge — even though it has been of huge and continuing interest to psychologists who believe feral children can help resolve the nature-nurture debate.

What is known about "the Dog Girl" has been passed down orally, through doctors and carers. "She was like a small animal. She walked on all fours. She ate like a dog," is about as scientific as it gets.

Last month, British child psychologist Lyn Fry, an expert on feral children, went to Ukraine with a Channel Four film crew to meet Miss Malaya, who now lives in a home for the mentally disabled. Five years after a Discovery Channel program about her, they wanted to see if she had integrated into society. Ms Fry wanted to find out how far the girl was still damaged — and to see a reunion with her father.

"I expected someone much less human," says Ms Fry, the first non-Ukrainian expert to meet Oxana. "I'd heard stories that she could fly off the handle, that she was very unco-operative, that she was socially inept, but she did everything I asked of her.

"Her language is odd. She speaks flatly as though it's an order. There is no cadence or rhythm or music to her speech, no inflection or tone. But she has a sense of humour. She likes to be the centre of attention, to make people laugh. Showing off is quite a surprising skill when you consider her background. In the film, Miss Malaya looks unco-ordinated and tomboyish. When she walks, you notice her strange stomping gait and swinging shoulders, the intermittent squint and misshapen teeth. Like a dog with a bone, her first instinct is to hide anything she is given. She is only 1.52 metres tall but when she fools about with her friends, pushing and shoving, there is a palpable air of menace and brute strength. The oddest thing is how little attention she pays to her pet mongrel. "Sometimes, she pushed it away," says Ms Fry. "She was much more orientated to people."

After a series of cognitive tests, Ms Fry concluded that Miss Malaya had the mental capacity of a six-year-old and a dangerously low boredom threshold. She can count but not add up. She cannot read or spell her name correctly. She has learning difficulties, but she is not autistic, as children brought up by animals are sometimes assumed to be.

Experts agree that unless a child learns to speak by the age of five, the brain misses its chance to acquire language, a defining characteristic of being human. Miss Malaya was able to learn to talk again because she had some childish speech before she was abandoned. At an orphanage school, they taught her to walk upright, to eat with her hands and, crucially, to talk.

Through an interpreter, Miss Malaya tells Ms Fry that her mother and father "completely forgot about me". They argued and shouted. Her mother would hit her and she would pee herself in terror. She says she still goes off by herself into the woods when she is upset. Although she knows it is socially unacceptable to bark, she certainly can.

Miss Malaya seems to be happy looking after cows at the Baraboy Clinic's insalubrious farm, outside Odessa. "It was dirty, terribly rundown and primitive," says Ms Fry, "but in Ukrainian terms, very desirable. Her carers are good people with the best interests of their charges at heart, though there is no therapy as such. Oxana is doing things she is good at."

It was here that the reunion with her father was staged a few weeks ago.

In the film, they stand awkwardly apart and it is ages before anyone speaks. Miss Malaya breaks the silence. "Hello," she says. "I have come," replies her father. The exchange is moving in its halting formality. "I thank you that you have come. I wanted you to see me milk the cows."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Selfish And Commonsense

I have a relative who is very selfish, has been all her life. A single child who grew up with only her Mum, who in turn only had eyes for her one and only daughter. Selfishness is like a cancer it eats away at relationships and I believe ones soul. I don't just mean being mean with worldly goods, mean of spirit too. To always want to relate the world back to ourselves is the way we often operate it keeps us centred. But to view the world from only ones own perspective and expect those around us to always give to you. It is really just one big lie that is perpetuated daily as the selfish person manipulates their relationships to meet their selfish needs. Unfortunately, it is a bit like the friend who is always late, no matter how many times you talk about it they can't help themselves. Same goes for selfish behaviour, maybe it is innate in those who have it or is it learnt.

Commonsense does it exist is the question I ask, and if it does, does it work???

England has a heatwave, they are suffering, records are being broken. 31C seems to be the average high. I hope the oldies do not drop like flies, because it is very simple to keep cool, with a little water and a fan, or a breeze through a doorway/window even with the curtains drawn.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Oils ain't Oils

The escalating conflict in the middle east is yet again putting pressure on an already rising price of oil. The price of fuel at the bowser is going to go above $1.50 a litre and the government will face more questions on fuel taxes. All this leads to the question what are we doing with the fuel tax and should we be looking at alternative energy to fuel our motor cars? Of course we do!! But not a dicky bird do we hear from our leaders of industry or government. This comes on a day when GMH has just launched a new Commodore car another gas guzzele.

Israelis should be allowed to live in peace.

Palestinians should be allowed to live in peace.

We have to sort it.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday again

Day of rest.

Late nights bring sore heads and quiet days.
Here's a photo to ease the eyes.
Tomorrow is a new day/week.
Woof Woof

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Wet weather tennis junior style. Pouring with rain today, no hope of tennis and what do we have to do. Drive across town, only for all to agree that it is too wet to play. This weird behaviour, must of started before telephones. When you get there you stand around the wet court, under cover of the pavilion. Waiting for teams to arrive so you can sign irrelevant score sheets. Etiquette dictates this is done this way. My advice sort it out.

Soccer: 2 points:

Time to use the third umpire in the goal square for fouls too many footballers are falling to gain a penalty.

Off side: New rules need to be trialled, it just isn’t working at the moment. Ideas?


Friday, July 14, 2006

AWAs and Backs

The Australian Workplace Agreements, have made many workers worried and with good cause. I heard of one such reason the other day. A woman, I know, wont take time off work [she works in elderly care] to fix her aching back, because she is worried that if she tells her employer the reason she needs time off, she could looser her job. This is a fine example of where this government has got it so wrong. Instead of being worried about your future employment due to a sore back, you should be encouraged to get the back fixed properly and given time off or maybe light duties while your back improves. Instead paranoia reigns.

All cars should have insurance: Third party, Fire and Theft. Make it compulsory.

Commercial leases in Victoria are unfair to the leasee, more on this chestnut at another time. Any comments welcome.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Middle Class Wealth

I know a very wealthy doctor, he has a problem, [probably more than one] he can't spend money. He needed a key hole cover, it is worth $4.95. He had a minor heart attack. He makes the equivalent of hundred $4.95 key holes in a morning. I told him he needs help psychiatric help.

Someone I know needed coaxial cable he didn't have any, another friend offered him a roll he had left over. He was gob smacked couldn't believe this friend would give away his cable. This unfortunately reflects where we are at, generosity and friendship, it is easy really.

The Age newspaper has gone up another 20c so now it costs $1.40. It used to be 45c that's over a 200% rise if my income had risen the same amount I would be a millionaire.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Firearms and Lists

Where in the hell are the firearms coming from?
This outburst is prompted by the shooting yesterday in a suburb near here [Fairfield]. A solicitor was shot dead at the back of his high street practice. [I assume solicitors have practices]. The solicitor was shot out the back of his premises by person unknown. We live in a society that does not encourage the ownership of guns [unlike America]. We periodically have gun amnesties to try and rid us of these lethal weapons. In this case the police say it looks like the situation was never meant to go this far. If there wasn't a gun involved then it would probably have been a few bruises, a life saved.

When are we going to be able to block the unsolicited phone calls, you know the ones they ask for donations, or make you offers of weekends at luxury hotels, drink more wine offers, telephone deals to die for. You can tell them straight away when you answer the phone:

Their opening line is very friendly;

"Hi how are you today?"

"Good thanks"

You answer, thinking I don't recognise the voice who's so interested in my health at dinner time on a wet Wednesday evening.

"That's good" they say, "This wont take long. Are you the account holder for the phone in your house?"

Decision time you think, do I really want to talk to you about anything as my food goes cold, especially something like a phone bill.

"No I'm not." so polite exit is executed.

Not so lucky,

"Can I speak to the account holder please?"

That is it, all over red rover.

"No.’ Place phone down.

This can happen just as the first fork load of dinner is about to be loaded upward from plate to mouth. Quite literally.
So get me on that list of barred phone numbers ASAP.

When smokers tell you they want smoking banned in pubs then it is time to bar the lot of them, or give them a dungeon to puff in.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Deals and Bundles

If I said what I wanted to say about our Prime minister, the thought police would probably take me away. Suffice to say he has been caught out and the honest John tag has lost all credibility.

There comes a time when your time is up, unfortunately the higher up the ladder you are the less likely you are to recognise this fact. We all know of someone who had to be pushed. Is it human nature, to want to hold onto the power?

We live in a world of bundles. We have our food bundled Big Mac with the lot, Coke and fries. Etc. Etc. In trying to sort out the nightmare of a phone contract, we meet the bundle king. The have I got a bundle for you!! deal. And to cap it all off, we will cap that price for you sir. Can I just have a phone line, please.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Leaders and non Leaders

The leadership of the Liberal party? The papers are full of deals and counter deals, who said what, and did they say exactly that and when. All very important?
No not important at all.
The leadership of the Liberal party is for the liberal party to sort out, and probably only a handful of the members. So stop with the stories, tell the two school yard bullies to sort it.

I hear we have a Richard Branson in our corporate ranks. John is his name and his business goes by the name Crazy Johns. He sells mobile phones. For one person to make 300 million out of selling mobiles phones. Don't ask! The point being he can't rest having made squillions he has to find something else to market. Maybe he should take up hot air ballooning too.

Lastly; if you are a retired couple living on the pension, and one of you die, the surviving partner gets a letter from the relevant department. The letter commiserates you on your bereavement, and then informs you that your pension has been almost cut in half. I bet your bills aren't halved.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sunday a Day of rest

Can't be grumpy everyday.
So Sunday a day to reflect.

Ice creams down Brunswick St. Thanks Sam and Matt.

Walks by the Yarra with family, rain or shine.

Home made meat pie for tea with the new Dickens production 'Bleak House', yum.

Woof, Woof

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Commercial In Confidence

Commercial In Confidence

What a load of old bollocks that is; especially when it comes to government contracts to sell/lease public assets to private companies. We all own the assets that are to be used, we need to have complete transparency.

The Australian Wheat board [The AWB]. check them out; while this country went to war with Iraq, the shenanigans going on under the guise of Commercial in Confidence was tantamount to criminal. Even with a royal commission we wont get to the bottom of the bribes and corruption.

Public Transport in Victoria. Did you know you can’t catch a train back to Geelong [Victoria's second largest City] after midnight, no buses either. Again we have sold off chunks of a public asset [Commercial in Confidence] contracts, and quietly like sheep to the slaughter we put up with diminished services not a whimper. I don’t know much about South Australia, but I hear that they have free buses after midnight. Toronto [Canada] has had [I think] a 10 year study open to the public respecting the public transport users requests, and guess what usage is on the up and up.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Over Heard

Over heard at a works canteen.

"We don’t have any say anymore, the governments both big and small don’t listen to us."

I am hearing this more and more here in Australia. I am reminded of the
“Let them eat cake” line. By Marie-Antoinette.

The current mob of politicians have thrown our wealth around made us want to be wealthy but in the mean time ripped the soul and caring out of the equation. Hence eat the cake and forget the bread.

State school spending:
Here in Victoria many states schools are run down to the point of no return. Federal government awash with funds [Large surpluses squandered on tax cuts to the rich] Give money to Private schools who already have private swimming pools and acres of playing fields. The schools admit they are awash with funds but still gladly accepting of additional funds.

Primary school student teachers are being given additional training in how to teach reading to kids. The mind boggles, how long have teachers been teaching children to read.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Politicians and bad days

State and Federal Politicians are arguing over the distribution of power and money [taxes]. The prime minister talks as if he has collected the taxes and then given a fair proportion to the states and tells them to stop whinging. Excuse me, I think he has been in the rarefied air of power a bit too long. The people pay the taxes and the governments are given the job to provide services with the money collected. I call this the Common-Wealth. No politician owns this wealth any more than we do.

If you sleep with dogs you get fleas, Politicians must be riddled with corporate fleas.

Private transport versus Public. Surely with the oil situation we need to concentrate on getting people out of cars and onto public transport. Here in Australia our Federal government has just promised millions of dollars to The Ford Motor Company to help it make more cars. Not even energy efficient. The State government sold off the public transport and now it is bleeding us dry. These politicians must be scratching madly with flea bites.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Passports what the hell.

Did you know the number of pages in the New Zealand passport application form is 14. I reckon you could get it down to half that, but then some kiwis would loose their jobs. How many pages for the USA? Anyone know?

If a dog craps on a suburban pavement should the owner be responsible? Yes! I'm going to camp out in a near-by street and catch the canine pooch in the act.

When the afore mentioned crap is trodden on, a biological disaster occurs. Where have all the road sweepers gone? Don't you hate those leaf blowers all they do is blow the leaves and crap to another part of the street.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Church signs

A sign on the side of a local church:
"God must exist otherwise life would be meaningless". So?

Why do drivers at traffic lights take so long to realise that the lights have changed from red to green? Colour blindness?

Still on cars; if you are waiting to turn right at an intersection, get your car into the middle of the intersection and keep as close as is safe to the middle line. This could enable other motorists to cross the crossing. Makes sense?

I said three thats all you're getting.