A Grain of Salt 2018

{#smileys123.tonqueout}A Grain of Salt. Sunday 18th March, 2018. 

“This is a victory for true Labor values,” Ged Kearney (Batman) told her true believers. Better than a Collingwood victory? The South Australian election and Batman on the one day and Labor's overhaul of dividend imputation a week before - a calculated risk? [Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen's new policy launch abolishing cash back share dividend imputations] “Those who don’t like it don’t vote Labor anyway”? Evidence of Labor getting ahead of themselves; not so apparently. The policy may well be sound but the timing shed doubt on Shorten’s leadership qualities. Shorten’s (Robin Hood) popularity (if that’s the word?) will surely get a lift. A long road until election day and even if he gets there it can only be with a small majority and again a doubtful Senate. If nothing else it shows Labor and Billy have a spine (of sorts) after the past four 'do nothing' years. Scotty Morrison: "97% of people claiming the cash refunds had an income of $87,000 or less." Yeah? Imagine enough capital to earn $80,000+ a year. If Pauly (Keating gives a thumbs up) agrees I'm convinced, but not with the timing. No doubt Scotty will come at us full on with a 'fear' campaign. One caller on $60,000 complaining, adding 'which is not much more than the pension.' A big difference between $60,000 and $23,000? Saul Eslake: The government’s posturing is “misleading in the same way that most of what Treasurer Scotty said about Labor’s policy on negative gearing was misleading”. Many callbacks mentioned their 'financial advisers'? Ten years ago I took part in a survey of home owners as to our thoughts on borrowing from banks from the sale of the property - we don’t pay them back until we die. Ten of us; served coffee, biscuits and $40 cash. What astounded me was eight of them had financial advisors which they clearly wore as a badge of common sense? I thought then, still think, many financial advisors are crooks (secret commissions), likely 40% are honest but incompetent, and 20% are honest and competent? "A vote for Bill Shorten could be a vote to make the life of a struggling pensioner worse" - Greens leader, Dr Richard Di Natale. Twisted truths. The Greens in Batman ran a campaign heavily reliant on negative messaging against Labor, and failed. Time to question Natale's leadership qualities; Anti Labor or pro Natale? Memory: In 2015 the government received the backing of the Greens to cut the pension to about 370,000 pensioners by as much as $12,000 a year when it changed the pension assets test. Fun and games.



No surprise the Labor loss in South Australia, mainly due to the redrawn electoral boundaries favouring the Liberals and the over-arching ambition of Nick (pokies) Xenophon. After 16 years with Labour at the helm probably a good thing. Malcolm wont have Jay Weatherill to pick on. Time to see how the other half solves their power problems, promising an 'affordable and reliable' power. 



South Africa demanded Australian home affairs minister Peter Dutton retract comments suggesting white farmers (Afrikaans?) were being persecuted. Dutton said the farmers deserved “special attention”. “I do think, on the information that I’ve seen, people do need help and they need help from a civilised country like ours.” Civilised, or  white? Sir Peter, an ultracrepidarian (one who is presumptuous and offers advice or opinions beyond one's sphere of knowledge)? Also PM Malcolm's smoking gun, making no bones about where he's coming from, noting he closely resembles the "look" of the traditional white South African male. One wonders if Prince Peter has done a genealogy search? Open visas, and his discussions with his gun lobby mates? No context, no explanation; the true state of Dutton’s slanging off, fake gossip, devoid of logic. Achtung! [Peta Credlin, Tony's mate, writing for the wonderful Sunday Herald-Sun says Mr Dutton is doing a fine job]. 


I look forward to Heaven's Register of Bad Deeds after my departure. Assuming (for now) Heaven is up there, maybe in the 'black' hole; find out the truth? Boozy Tuesdays no more, Melbourne city council and red wine with former mayer Robert Doyle. Tessa Sullivan and one touch breast. Her word against Robert's. Cathy Oke, three years to come forward, touches on her inner thighs, other non disclosed sexual harassment complaints, upheld by an independent investigation? The former Liberal Premier, damned. A weedy looking lot of councillors. A councillors code of conduct (generally) for sexual harassment? Vague, still. 



Psychologists: According to a recent study, potty mouths (those F & C words) might be a lot smarter than they were once perceived. According to their findings, people who use ‘taboo words’ are actually more likely to be fluent in mundane, neutral words. ‘People who use taboo words understand their general expressive content as well as nuanced distinctions that must be drawn to use slurs appropriately,’ the researchers wrote. ‘The ability to make nuanced distinction indicates the presence of more rather than less linguistic knowledge.’ A recent study? Who pays these prawns?


Victoria overlooked (in Queensland's favour) by PM Malcolm for big contract. Said Mal "Victoria will not miss out. Everyone will benefit"? The Victorian premier Danny Andrews: 1) The Federal Liberal Government has completely turned its back on the country's second-biggest state. 2) They have also abandoned Victorian auto workers not once, but twice. 3) They'll never willingly give us our fair share. We have to keep fighting for it. And never let up.“We were best placed to build these vehicles that would defend our nation, but we couldn’t provide the electoral boost that would defend Malcolm Turnbull’s career.” Andrews has done a great job for Victoria despite constant criticism from the Herald-Sun and  everyday letters from (mainly) brainwashed readers. A choice; Andrews or Matthew Guy? 




Those  nasty pasty Russian (supposed) poisoners, an illegal chemical weapon. Kick them out Theresa May. Ignore your (and our) drone strikes using legal chemical weapons on innocent people?.. A retail politician is one who throws in a few key lines appealing to his flock interspersed with double speak no-one understands...The 18 AFL captains did their 2018 predictions, 17 of which gave Collingwood no show for the final 8, proving beyond doubt good footballers do not necessarily have brains...Australia will not bring a complaint to the World Trade Organisation about Trump's tariffs?...Ties must be worn in the members area at racetracks. Why?...The Sunday Project and Lisa Wilkinson’s debut, to fading fame, a star getting ahead of herself? It's a smart-arse show anyway...National MP Tim McCurdy served with a summons; alleged fraud falsifying documents, attempting to obtain profit by deception. Reported, page 15 of the Herald-Sin?...Dear Julia Baird (ABC's The Drum) - not all misogynists are male..."The results are what  they are" "It is what it is" Please, try not to use those stupid phrases...The way I see it without computers I'd have died from boredom years ago..."I have seen corruption boil and bubble, till it overruns the stew" WS... hooroo...www.ello8.com




WildA Grain of Salt. Tuesday 13th March, 2018. 

Inconsequential: Yourchoice/politics/Liberal or Labor? [Forget The Greens; heavily into the Queensland Adani mine as a thrust for victory in Batman, Northcote?]. Seinfeld, a show about 'nothing' or Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness? Some of my relatives and acquaintances (I have no friends) vote for the Liberal Party. In normal circumstances (up to a year or two ago) we would chat along non religious 'respectable' lines politics included, but sadly such discussions are a thing of the past, primarily because I'm only human; meaning what's to discuss? Obviously they're confused, embarrassed even. Better I take their feelings into account (without showing it) and switch to the weather or television, a good movie, culture? A trail of Liberal disaster; Tony Abbott's mate Jim Mowlan still punching, Peter Dutton's efforts to criminalise public interest journalism, Barnaby Joyce (a pleasure more sensual than sexual?) and Vikki's baby, more importantly (like Julie Bishop) her entitlements, never forgetting marvellous Michaelia Cash and her 'brothel' type suggestion on Billy Shorten's female staff and that raid she knew nothing about, and those 28 bad polls, likely to hit the magic 30 by Easter. [Malcolm: "We have lost 30 Newspolls in a row. It is clear that the people have made up their mind about Mr Abbott’s leadership."] The same sex marriage plebiscite nonsense, all down to our PM's weakness, wasting months for what could have been achieved in a morning. The usual terrorism, national security announcements from Malcolm under Dutton's instructions - no problem sending more troops, boats (the South China seas), depending on his mate Donald Trump's wants. I reached back for Liberal pluses as sound reasons for sticking with Malcolm and his denying band on (no policy) climate changes. Remember the 15% backpackers tax, the tax cut to middle and high income earners when it was closer at 52-48, Dutton's attack on the Lebanese community, now the dark skinned Africans, the Centrelink debt recovery idea coupled with the budget’s proposed corporate tax cuts for big companies at a mere $65 billion? “The first duty of the leader is to keep the party together.” warned Lord Tony. The current 'Kill Bill' approach; it worked once upon a time with Julia Gillard? Shorten: “A chaotic and divided, incompetent and inept government.” The PM says "Judge him on “substantive” issues of governance" as the magic 30 looms? To be fair he did promise to end captain’s calls and supports Peter's 'better English' nonsense, also the usual whinges about the necessary cost of our health and social services, but hardly enough to chat to said acquaintances about. Surely Malcolm will be shown the door before the next election? Who replaces him? Julie Bishop(foreign aid cuts in spite of world humanitarian crisis), assuming she's not overseas, (1984's) Peter Dutton or Scotty (trickle down) Morrison? Whoever, let's hope they don't open up with "I see the job as a challenge" Yuk. Said Christopher Pyne “Thirty Newspolls was a symptom, but the truth is that Malcolm Turnbull has the support of the party room in a way that Tony Abbott didn’t have, so there is absolutely no clock ticking on anyone,” We shall see. On the other side of the coin it would have been nice to see Julia Gillard as our Opposition leader in these times. True, Billy got rid of a self lover (Sam Dastyari) and a self inflicted (David Feeney) but surely others are heads down in the woodwork among those heavy handed unionists? Acquaintances, relatives; will they remain Liberal voters? Not sure, but no matter what, they will not vote Labor. Food! That's the best bet. We shall discuss food. What's for dinner? (or tea if you grew up poor like me). They're big on food. Greek, Indian, Chinese? Before they order they spend 30 minutes discussing it and continue on while devouring it. I'll hold my tongue while eating my fish fingers. Anything's better than talking about their kids, grandkids, little darlings. Bring along a Peggy Lee album, my favourite song: "Is That All There Is"?  


Kids: I don't watch daytime television. I start around 7.30pm with a tape of The Drum, the news and the ABC's 7.30 finishing all three around 8pm. All I ask, for the following three hours, is for comedy (hopefully not from Sydney) or a decent drama like The Bridge or Midnight Sun, which strangely they now call "Nordic Noir"? Lately there's been too many shows with misbehaving children ranging from 10 to late teen's, almost all absolute pains, and unless there's something else worth a try, I evacuate. [Children, the modern version; other children that is, not my darlings: "Morose, entitled, demanding, peace disturbing, egotistical, half-thoughts in half-formed brains, often (too often) excused by the traumatic years of adolescence" Bring back 'the strap' at school?]. I appeal to television drama writers, if you must include thoroughly spoilt kids please make it short and sweet. Alternatively if you can't help yourself at least come up with something other than a misunderstood child who jumps to conclusions and has no concept of self blame. Either that or eliminate children altogether and definitely, positively, dispense with concerned interfering parents. I escaped the pain (to some degree) in the new ABC series Harrow, no thanks to some ordinary writing, but thanks to a classy performance from Ioan Gruffudd. Yes, a troubled daughter, but not too troubled...yet? Innocent ABC - with Lee Ingleby, painfully slow and two kids?  Some readers may think I'm a grumpy old man (haha) and kids rightfully are part of the rich tapestry of life. True, as are over protective parents. My point is they overdo it. Try thinking outside the square. It becomes a storyline rut. If such tapestry is essential where are the older people (like in most English television, thankfully)? In a mild effort at 'fairness' I admit there was no year 12 in my time, no ATAR results mystery, and politicians kept their noses out of the education trough, as did parents, aside from 'doing your best'. We went to school, we passed (just, phew) and on that final day, relaxed, fun loving, brainless kids, put sugar in the teachers' petrol tanks? [A 1951 Babies mix-up. Martin & Lewis film "That's My Boy", a classic]. 


Professor Julius Sumner Miller; "why is it so?" Watching The Bridge on the River Kwai after a break of almost 50 years, recalling the anxiety of that time long ago; will they blow up the bridge in time, will William Holden survive after two lucky escapes, will Alec Guinness wake up to his mistake? Unlike To Kill a Mockingbird (kids again, and oh so slow)the Kwai film was as good now as way back when. But, not only was I equally involved in the finish stress-wise, I was hoping again that Holden would survive? Strewth.



Exemption from new US steel and aluminium tariffs. - in return for what? "No strings" said our PM? "Security agreement" said Donald? (Whether it mean something extra or not, philosophically, at this stage, we're still beholding to Trump's crowd]...Rigorously enforce sanctions on North Korea says Mal. A love in?...Australian cricket writers having a serve of the bad South African sportsmanship? If it wasn't so serious it would be funny...I spent 3 hours in our car driving to Queensland years ago playing 'I Bloody Spy'. RW? I gave in. Turned out to be wrist watch?..."Boys throw stones at frogs in sport. But the frogs do not die in sport, they die in earnest." [Plutarch]...hooroo...www.ello8.com




KissA Grain of Salt. Friday, 9th March, 2018. 


“To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult.” [Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth]. International Womens Day, #MeToo (Tracey Spicer "a movement of joy") and others sticking it up we men. R & R; A revolution or a riot? Neither a revolution (but gaining in recognition), nor a riot because most Australians (men and woman) are thinking of it as nonsense, so far. Originally about sexual violence, now (apparently?) widening to offensive, even (disrespectful?) behaviour, the rules yet to be specifically written in stone. I'm obviously living in some type of bubble, separated from the madding crowd? 'The Age' full on, Clementine Ford ("Stop justifying your desire to maintain power by complaining feminism has gone too far. We haven't even begun yet".) Virginia Haussegger (Softer, lots of statistics, daily battles against ubiquitous sexism in media). Obviously I see and read of dreadful instances of inequality in other countries, Iran, Boko Haram girls in Nigeria and others. I see under representation in some films and television dramas, not necessarily a female thing. Maybe one has to be a woman to understand? Where I come from (the past 40 years) I've always worked with equal pay for the sexes and often worked under female bosses. My wife was no shrinking violet in the 'whose the boss' area. We argued for 'rights' - generally solved by each other's freedom. Andrew Bolt wrote a piece on his father, and love, unusual on that particular day. Sexual harassment has come a long way, often afraid to voice it with the fear of no action and even if acted upon, of job losses, the day in court problem, surely a plus after Weinstein. Our politicians, Tanya Plibersek, the dumb tampon tax and boosting representation of women in politics. All good practical stuff. In spite of my lack of knowledge on all this (seemingly?) emotional stuff maybe they're right, maybe an unconscious bias? Apparently there's evidence of widespread prejudice against women and girls from 'decades' of psychological research? Frankly I don't understand their anger anymore than I understand the males who come into it so strongly in support. Whatever, in the bubble or in the rubble? I blame those prefects at my all boys Northcote High School, the way they walked, bananas up their bums? [PS: I have a problem remembering names; 'love' and 'mate' come easily].



Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton takes in Immigration and Border Protection, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, known as AUSTRAC, and ASIO. Backed by Angus Taylor, Law Enforcement Minister, at best a figurehead, under instructions from Prince Peter.  Reminds me of the old joke...A Drug Enforcement Agency officer stopped at a ranch in Texas , and talked with an old rancher. He told the rancher "I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs." The rancher said, "Okay, but don't go in that field over there" as he pointed out the location. The DEA officer verbally exploded saying "Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government of the United States of America with me!" Reaching into his rear pants pocket, the officer removed his badge and proudly displayed it to the rancher. "See this f*****g badge? This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish. On any land! No questions asked or answers given! Have I made myself clear? ...... Do you understand?" The rancher then nodded politely, apologised and went about his chores. A short time later, the old rancher heard loud screams, looked up, and saw the DEA officer running for his life, being chased by the rancher's big Santa Gertrudis bull. With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it seemed likely that he'd sure enough get gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified. The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs. "Your badge! Show him your f*****g BADGE........ !"




Seriously: The Turnbull Government’s anti-democratic slide criticised at the United Nations Human Rights Council delivering a major report on Australian democracy. The Special Report: 1/ “astonished” to observe “mounting evidence of regressive measures” being pursued by the Government; 2/ “astounded to observe frequent public vilification by senior public officials” of charities, community groups and democratic institutions who hold the Government to account “in what appears to be an attempt to discredit, intimidate and discourage them from their legitimate work”; and 3/ that there is an “increasing discrepancy and incoherence” between the Turnbull  Government’s statements on the world stage and its actions at home. A Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said “To get a seat on the UN Human Rights Council the Turnbull Government promised the world to “promote good governance and stronger democratic institutions” and “protect freedom of expression”. But scrutiny and criticism of government are vital to a healthy democracy, even if governments find it inconvenient or annoying. At the same time, the government is proposing sweeping new laws to keep government information secret, and punish whistle-blowers, that have been widely recognised as going too far in a democratic country. The government must move quickly to withdraw or fix these Bills if it is genuinely committed to democracy, and being accountable to the people.” Daniel Webb, a Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said the Turnbull Government needed to dramatically improve its own human rights performance if it wanted to have strong influence on the Council, especially on democratic freedoms and its treatment of refugees and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Enough said.



Helen Razer; "Hollywood has the same message it always does: we are very important, and our industry survival depends on you believing this as much as we do.’’ What gets me is these female world celebrity actresses strutting, as they do, and yes they're talented, but I'm a much bigger fan of the likes of Sarah Lancashire and Nicola Walker than the hollywood female mafia bathing in their close-ups. 


The Greens cuddling up with the Libs (tunnel halt); true colours?...Kristen Hilton, 'The Age' 7/3. "If it feels like sexual harassment then it probably is"?...Scott Morrison: "Abolishing negative gearing and halving of capital gains discounts are primarily about raising taxes not housing affordability." The rich get richer Liberal Party policy...If Billy Shorten is a 'social climbing sycophant' who sucks up to the rich and powerful who does PM Malcolm suck up to?...Climate change, now a harsh reality (unless you ignore it as a Liberal voter)...Jon Faine gets stuck into Danny Andrews using the Herald-Sin and The Australian as his references? Firefighters, gambling lobby, Crown casino, crime, the whole bundle, and came out tops, Danny that is. A star, from Labor's ranks, still in front 52-48...Nine-tenths of the people who are daily obeying--or fighting against--Nature's laws, have no real opinion. Opinion means deduction, after weighing the matter, and deep thought upon it. They simply echo feeling". [Mark Twain]...hooroo...www.ello8.com


 A GRAIN OF SALT commenced in the Rye News in May 2007 which became the Southern Peninsula News from February, 2010 - 2015, to a blog at www.ello8.com 


SickA Grain of Salt. Monday 5th March, 2018. 

The Mamas And The Papas: "Monday, Monday, so good to me." Here's hoping, after a week of dross in politics. I'm desperate for inspiration. I tried Barrie Cassidy's 'Insiders' ABC yesterday. No go; not Barrie's fault. Barnaby Joyce capped the political week from hell with his "I say right from the start this was never about me" It's becoming 'famous last words' surely? Less  than a week out of the spotlight and he got lonely, sad man. Up pops "The identity of the biological father was “a grey area” but said it made no difference because he intended to raise the boy as his own." Also allows social media to slag off on his partner Vikki Campion as ‘sleeping around’. Remember the ABC'S 7.30? “Well, Leigh, what I want to do is make sure that private matters remain private.” Lower than a snakes belly? More likely he's covering himself for claiming allowances while doing the deed. Overseas at the time of conception? “Whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Not quite, but whatever, a man with his knickers in a knot. 'Of sound mind' heavily in doubt.   


I've never had any time for Malcolm Turnbull; a fraud, more accurately a duffer, even before his Godwin Grech episode and before he became Communications Minister, set in stone when he supported Lord Tony with the “No cuts to the ABC and SBS” which, as it eventuated, (no surprise) was a lie. “Is Turnbull wise enough to be a great leader?” wrote Ross Gittins after he became Prime Minister. A resounding 'NO' from me at that time despite the 'onboard' gushing types when he got the top job. Most on those onboard have walked the plank, left the building, to their credit, or relief? The good news - 28th newspoll running against the Liberals, big Mal's personal popularity also dropping. 


The “Kill Bill” strategy throughout 2017 continues. Julie Bishop "They need to keep talking about the inadequacies of Shorten who “does not have the character to lead at home or abroad”. Peter Dutton “The history of problems in Bill Shorten’s personal life. I think there’s a frustration on the Coalition side at the moment - we’ve sat there taking morals lecture from Bill Shorten in relation to Barnaby Joyce over the last few weeks. People know that there’s a history of problems in Bill Shorten’s personal life, in Tony Burke’s personal life, and to be lectured by the Labor party sticks in the craw". [In fact-  Labor pursued a bunch of questions about the public interest dimensions of the former deputy prime minister’s relationship with his former staffer Vikki Campion. There were no morals lectures, apart from Turnbull, who spoke about the world of woe Joyce had inflicted on the women in his life, and advised him to reflect on his behaviour, and then introduced a ban on sexual relationships between ministers and staff. It was Malcolm Turnbull, not Bill Shorten.] Sooner (hopefully later) the Libs will wake to the silly 'kill bill' idea, including the sexual innuendo campaign and realise it’s all about Malcolm and Barnaby and Scott, not to mention Duffer number two Dutton and Lady Muck Michaela. “He has been involved in a number of affairs across his adult life,” Dutton said, without context or explanation. “He’s broken trust with so many people across his adult life.” Later on 2GB: “There is a history of problems in Bill Shorten’s personal life.” [Groucho Marx's quip "these are my principles, if you don't like them, I have others”?] Still, if the 'Kill Bill' approach doesn't show any improvement one assumes they would be thinking of a replacement for Turnbull before the election: Julie Bishop? 


Anaesthetists have an identity issue apparently. Having a poll at the end of this year for a name change to Anaesthesiologist; an identity issue with the public, frustrating and misleading, despite average earnings at $340,000. This should up it to $400,000? Similar to East Malvern North Fitzroy to Malvern East, Fitzroy North? A wank?


Sammy Newman. People who know all the answers are to be avoided? "Donald Trump is the best president ever. He has improved that country no matter what you say" Also described Barack Obama as the worst president ever. [Barack Obama genuinely believed it was possible to work with his opponents in a collaborative and courteous manner for the good of the nation. The Republican majority responded with unprecedented obstruction and are now reaping the rewards]. No point answering then Sammy?


The Age: Editorial independence and the ABC? Emphasised by PM Malcolm and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield et al leaping onto the Alberici case like Rottweilers, which is unfair on the dogs. The ABC’s editorial processes were deficient by the organisation’s own admission. In other words, the Alberici commentary was not subjected to scrutiny consistent with the “accuracy and impartiality’’ obligations of the act. What has been exposed once again is a flaw in the ABC structure whereby its managing director Michelle Guthrie is nominally its editor-in-chief. "Hear hear."


The Batman by-election? The Greens big on climate change, economic equality, offshore detention and stopping the Adani mine in Queensland. Labor in line with the first two, also (almost certainly) the offshore detention issue but cannot say, at the risk of the tsunami from Murdoch's media, and still running quiet on the Adani issue. The Greens are strong on 'all care and no responsibility' conveniently ignoring a vote for them enhances PM Malcolm's prospects of victory come the federal election, whereas a Labor vote gives the equality option, climate change and offshore detention (positive) chances to tip the scales in the direction of the Greens primary aims? Hey, at least it makes those 'two bob capitalists' feel good, albeit bottom line Liberal voters in disguise. March 17, the Feast of Saint Patrick, a cultural and religious celebration. A Green one? Northcote, Clifton Hill, Preston, Thornbury - an infrastructure Utopia to stem the tide? [The Greens candidate for Batman was the subject of a 101-page internal complaint by 18 party volunteers.The party’s leadership has consistently declined to reveal the nature of the complaints against Alex Bhathal because the “issue” had been dealt with internally. The issues (supposedly) ranged from intimidation and bullying through to comments about Greens members, including systematic intimidation, and malicious and reckless false statements about members and party decisions.]. 50-50?


I’m running on the spot. Like the nightmares I had as a kid after seeing those mummy horror films. Big boofhead Boris Karloff chasing me, arms outstretched, dragging one foot after the other. The bastard’s getting closer and closer and I’m running on this bloody spot getting nowhere. Does socialism prevails in heaven; surely?....New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern showing super snobs Malcolm and Julie how a country should be run...Someone should do a survey on surveys?...Amanda Vanstone’s piece in The Age on Sam Dastyari (a spy?) with nary a word on Michaelia Cash? Turnbull suggested Cash had been “bullied and provoked” Unlike Sam Dastyari?...“We remain all the time against one another...grinding one another down. Each considers himself right or excuses himself...all the while keeping almost none of the commandments, yet expecting his neighbour to keep the lot.” hooroo...www.ello8.com




WildA Grain of Salt. Thursday 1st March, 2018. 

Farewell Summer welcome Autumn, my favourite. March, the ides, my birth month, 82nd. Will it be my last? My stars, 2018, predict (as always) Luck, Love, Money, Work and Family. Like politicians and Wellness Centres they lie, ignored without peril. I began SALT in May, 2007 (via the Southern Peninsula News to 2015), long enough, time to make a change, the problem (again) coming up with something to replace it. The brain slows down. Twenty years as a public servant, 37 working (?) at racetracks, 40 as an actor (hack-tor?) covering some 70 years as a Ben Chifley devotee. Travel? Not feasible; the long drive to Melbourne airport. I tried writing a book, no skill for fiction. Plays? Wrote five, in the WPB. Makes me think, every year, maybe because I live alone? Dying? Bugger off! No teeth, stronger eyeglasses, cataracts, shuffle more than walk, a tremor, occasional vertigo. I think of the joke, the one about 'putting lead in your pencil' - 'the problem is I've got no-one to write to'? Live the cliché, 'a day at a time'? Settle for 'don’t get your knickers in a twist'? It's all about pleasure, friendship  and love, not the joylessness of lust. Ever onwards...  


Martin Parkinson, PM's department public service numéro uno has dropped the audit into Barnaby Joyce’s use of his travel entitlements - “In light of Mr Joyce’s decision to step down from the Ministry, I have concluded that there is little to be gained from continuing this investigation,” So it's ok if you do it as a backbencher but not ok as deputy PM? “The matter of compliance with ministerial standards is one I take very, very seriously,” said Malcolm? This mob would sell their sisters if there was a bob in it, not to mention Australian Border Force boss Roman Quaedvlieg collecting $500,000 in wages while on paid leave; allegations of a relationship with a junior staffer being investigated, now being overseen by the head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Peter Dutton's man? Clowns Consolidated?  


Why this need for so many people to have (what they automatically assume) the 'pleasure' of meeting famous people? As to who can be considered famous is a moot point surely, but as a general rule, in my experience (mainly as Mr Anonymous) it's at best disenchanting. As it happens I've met a few the past 55 years, as a union official early on, as a pretend actor for some 40 years. I'll not name them obviously, but believe me (if you can), it's no big deal, a false premise so to speak. Generally they're quite normal like you and I, otherwise (possibly) more access to upmarket foodstuffs and parking spaces. Then there's the odd ones who believe their own publicity and bathe constantly in the 'me me' sunshine. Actors in particular often overvalue their own talent. The problem is when (at the same time) they undervalue everybody else's talent. No anger, no resentment, simply a fascination to why? Maybe they read (and believe?) those waiting rooms magazines?


# MeToo: A News Corp journalist revealed contents of her archive from the 1990s to prove comedian Tim Ferguson had once sent vulgar messages to her. Meanwhile, the actor who plays the lead in the touring musical, Green Day’s American Idiot, says he was summarily dismissed after a co-performer was made to feel uncomfortable about a ‘lame’ joke he made about menstruation. Further (on the Human Rights Commission survey finding almost 20% of sex abuse complaints were about suggestive jokes) - at the very serious risk of running foul of the #MeToo army, the following JOKE - Single v Engaged v Married, (and if my older sister is reading this blog 'look away now') : Three females were having a girl's night out and talked about their blokes. The single said, "Last Friday at the end of the work day I went to my bloke's office wearing a leather coat. When all the other people had left, I slipped out of it and all I had on was a leather bodice, black stockings and stiletto heels. He was so aroused that he rooted me on his desk right then and there!" The engaged giggled and said, "That's pretty much my story! When my bloke got home last Friday, he found me waiting for him in a black mask, leather bodice, black hose and stilettos. He was so turned on that we not only had sex all night, he wants to move up our wedding date!" The married put her glass down and said, "I did a lot of planning. I made arrangements for the kids to stay over at Grandma's. I took a long scented-oil bath and then put on my best perfume. I slipped into a tight leather bodice, a black garter belt, black stockings and six-inch stilettos. I finished it off with a black mask. When my husband got home from work, he grabbed a beer and the remote, sat down to watch TV and yelled, 'Hey, Batman, what's for dinner?'" [And, for balance, the world's shortest joke? - "Gamble responsibly"].


More comedy? 1/ Human rights lawyers say the turmoil created by the departure of assistant commissioner Brett Guerin (racist remarks under a fake persona made by Victoria Police's own Professional Standards Command) demonstrates the need for an external integrity body – separate to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission – to investigate police misconduct in Victoria. Obviously. While they're about it include the Army, Navy, politicians, judges and Sydney university. I'm surprised Matthew Guy isn't blaming Danny Andrews? 2/ Michaelia Cash claims 'public interest immunity' over union raid tipoff. This person (it would be wrong to call her a lady) is the Minister representing WOMEN? 


Poker machines: Gambling losses overall, violence against women, lower socio-economic suburbs where the machines are placed, high level of family incidents. No mention of the many many people who look on it as a social outing, aware of their controlled losses. An addiction maybe, but most of us have an addiction to coffee; and breathing. Supermarkets are to blame for selling me soft drinks, casinos for my gambling losses, anyone but me. Horse racing? No fault there, unless you have a heavy loss, in which case blame the bookies. Racing is different. It's a sport?


Are they deliberately dumbing down 774 and ABC tv? Looks that way to me...Robots  to replace catwalk models in Milan; what's the difference?...I didn't ask for a stupid air bag in the first place...A crackdown on the disability support pension? Rules changes. Some 60% of applicants rejected and a saving of some $5 billion. Vote Liberal?....."I say right from the start this was never about me" (Barnaby)...The real question? Is Michael McCormack the Nationals leader or is he a direct line for Barnaby's voice?...Vale Emma Chambers, 53, The Vicar of Dibley and Notting Hill. Talented lady...“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” [John Barrymore]...hooroo...www.ello8.com




CoolA Grain of Salt. Sunday 25th February, 2018. 

Melissa O'Donnell "It is utterly repellent that this man can treat so many women so appallingly and still think it is his right to dig in his heels, call this a witch-hunt, play the victim card and not understand at all both the hypocrisy and the duplicitousness of his behaviour." Fair comment, but surely Ms Campion played a role; two to tango? PM Malcolm: “These are matters for the leadership of the National party. I’ve been at great pains to stress I have not, nor has my party, sought to influence in any way the deliberations of the National Party". Barnaby: "It was unfair on my family, on Ms Campion and their unborn child. This has got to stop. It’s not fair on them,” [Nice, the way after all that nonsense, Barnaby makes it sound like he's doing the right thing. The National Party, seemingly a committee of morons?] .Yes, you could well say Barnaby Joyce put his families first, but blow me down, as I see it only after every effort to put himself first failed. As to what really brought Barnaby undone, I'm thinking: A good question. On balance, likely taking into account a weakness of mine in another life, I'm leaning, but not with any great certainty, towards thighs, two thighs.


Barnaby Joyce obviously got his knickers in a twist. Famous last words: “I’m going nowhere. The tide will turn because people will get bored of it” Classic self inflicted wounds as he joins Lord Tony on the backbench, the twins of resentment, retail politicians (whatever that means?), prime examples of placing their own interests, needs, above the voting public, self aggrandisement (read 'up themselves'), twin rhinoceros hides. Tony comes with Peta to assist, compliments of Sunday's Herald-Sin.  


The self destruct instincts of the Coalition the past months has allowed Bill Shorten to smell the roses. Prior to he was very much in the Tony Abbott mode; against anything Mal & Co came up with, though short on original thoughts. The ABC's two part documentary on Bob Hawke (The Larrikin and the Leader) showed how a good PM operates, in no way (presently) to be compared with Bill Shorten. One positive is his Treasurer Chris Bowen but other than that it's time now for Shorten to come alive with positive policies. We scream for a form of enlightenment, inspiration, not including following on in the fashion of Abbott by continuing on with the Barnaby Joyce affair. Move on; more important matters. [The Labor party, Kevvy Rudd and beyond, can be equally as cruel in their own cynical ways; forcing pensioners to pay extravagant prices to enjoy a cigarette to maintain their relaxed ways and at the same time pounce on a tin of Harvest mild curry at $2 a throw on special as their vegetable intakes. "Stop smoking" you say? Have a close look at your own habits before coming the righteous nonsense with me.] As for the Batman by-election, Danny Andrews threw everything at Northcote yet the Greens increased their margin? Good luck there. Billy Shorten, Mister Zinger. Over to you. 


United Nations officials have warned the federal government the proposed changes to national security laws would impose “draconian criminal penalties” on the freedom of expression and may be “inconsistent” with Australia’s obligations under international treaties. The legislation would “disproportionately chill the work of media outlets and journalists” and expose human rights campaigners, activists and academics to criminal charges. Enough said. Peter Dutton on his plan to have children pledge their allegiance to Australia: “In my view, there is a place for the pledge in a broader rejuvenated civics effort with school-aged children” I’m surprised he didn’t suggest they wear union jack caps? Our powerful Home Affairs minister, also responsible for the children imprisoned on Nauru, also for ignoring reports of rape and self-harm, now suggesting his personal ideas as to teaching school kids values? What is it they say? "Power acts as a conduit to corruption". They're not wrong there. I see a tidal wave on the horizon, with the aid of my specsavers new glasses.


Maybe on page five? Not on your nelly. The right wing view full on. Two state Labor MP's, Adem Somyurek and John Eren have words in the parliamentary dining room (in Turkish?) duly reported, splashed, front page on our wonderful Herald-Sin (relief from Double Talk Master Barnaby Joyce's self serving interview, not to mention Matty Guy's internal problems?) headed 'Wild Turkeys - Labor at War' plunging the ALP into crisis? No, not Daniel Andrews? Threatens to undermine federal Labor leader Bill Shorten? I didn't tune in to 3AW's Neil Mitchell but you can bet 'London to a brick on' (as colourful Sydney race caller Ken Howard used to say) Mr Mitchell would have featured it, including the vague connection to Bill Shorten. Low life. 


Aussie Mateship. [Mates have each others backs?] As evidenced in Canberra, a federal coalition with inner tensions, whispered confidences, different opinions, barbed confidential remarks, unexplained feuds, new incongruous friendships; some thrive, not so others. “Guarding each others backs” says our Prime Minister. We, Aussies, 100 years of mateship, guarding the backs of the US of A? Comedy. 


Philippines El Presidento Rodrigo Duterte suggested using condoms was like eating a lolly with the paper still on. Took me back 50 years on the Gold Coast where darling and I visited a 'sex shop' on a 'just looking' basis and ran across my sister's teenage son. We agreed: I won't tell his mother if he doesn't mention seeing us? Fascinated by condoms in football colours; sadly no Collingwood ones. I bought a Footscray one. Whether or not Rodrigo speaks the truth I have no idea, never having used one, including the Footscray one, long disappeared into "a drawer." Amazing how one puts things in drawers, never again to be located? [I have a vague memory of carrying one with me for a few months on the off chance, but no such chance presented; likely thrown away. Passed use-by date?]


Anson Cameron's piece in Spectrum, (Saturday Age) "A recent Human Rights Commission survey of Oz universities found almost 20% of sex abuse complaints were about suggestive jokes? Beyond a joke?...Job advert: 'Must be creative. Non conflictual, analytical, critical and with lateral thinking skills.' My type of job?...The Scott (professional government?) Morrison tax cuts; trickle down, dribble down or gush upwards?...My teachers had leather straps, ‘the cuts’ we called them. Right hand out. Eight, for talking. Imagine if they had guns?....Farewell to Billy Graham, gone to his best friend, God, and Eisenhower; and other VIP's up there...Tattoo shops, parlours or studios? Why do they attract (supposedly?) tough guys and gals?...The horse racing industry (aka the gambling industry) is on show for dirty dealings. I worked in the racing industry for 37 years. So what's new?...The house of Wellness, 9am Sundays, 3AW; for the desperate?...It was only a girls AFL match, but a Collingwood victory nevertheless; little fish...hooroo...www.ello8.com



SickA Grain of Salt. Tuesday 20th February, 2018. 

I have this general overriding philosophy far too many are in a race for 'respect' rather than the more relaxed attitude of being themselves. Cutting off their noses. A question of degree as always but if taken too far a mistaken raison d'être. There are other things more important than Barnaby Joyce, far more important. It was 10 years ago when Kevvy Rudd apologised to the Stolen Generation. The disadvantage and inequality remain despite hot air words of encouragement. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse took 5 years, with (again) hot air responses. The same can be said of family violence. Lots of words, promises, no action, never forgetting those poor forgotten souls on Manus and Nauru, ditto health, welfare, and 'trickle down' wages. The newspapers screamed 'Sack Barnaby' or 'Barnaby should go'. Strangely no-one suggested the same for our Prime Minister? Barnaby is no stranger to sacking people, like Darren Chester from cabinet and Keith Pitt from the front bench. It's not that Barnaby played up, or the stupid references to other political romances, it's his purity for marriage previously espoused and more importantly his dirty deals which has been ongoing for years, surely the real crux of our concern, the Ministerial Code of Conduct a misnomer to hide whatever dealings people of Barnaby's ilk (fortunately only a few) can get away with, way beyond respect. A witch hunt said Barnaby? The words of P.D.James come to mind 'Tough as a nut and cunning as a wagon-load of monkeys'. 


As for marvellous Malcolm - has he lost it? On the evidence to date it appears so. The combination of being sucked in by the immoveable Barnaby, his pressure on the ABC to take down and censor parts of Emma Alberici's piece on analysing how little tax some of Australia’s largest companies pay - 'There is no compelling evidence that giving the country’s biggest companies a tax cut sees that money passed on to workers in the form of higher wages', his weak attempts to change the rules on affairs with staff and his general subservience to Minister of Everything Peter Dutton. It's looking like Labor will keep up the pressure on the details of Ms Campions' employment in Canavan and Drum's offices. My question is - if they replace Malcolm, who will they choose? There's the real danger, what with Shorten's level of popularity the replacement could follow a surge of interest in the Liberal Party, not to the level of the initial popularity of Malcolm but enough to give the new leader the votes to win the next federal election from the unpopular Bill Shorten. What then? As it stands Labor needs Malcolm at the helm. The quagmire continues.


Jordan De Goey, loss of licence, fined, and an extra $10,000. The 'do gooders' have spoken. Sadly, not the Collingwood I grew up barracking for. Significant changes to his social life  and associations, to find new friends; a judgement on his old friends? How can he do that? They were surfing. Are surfers a problem? Are all my fellow drinkers at the RSL a problem? Mark robinson comes in with his usual hate Collingwood thinly veiled comments. Pendlebury says Jordan was shattered. Of course. How about being supportive? He made a mistake, as many do (and are punished appropriately). Why suck up to the AFL and the thousands of non Collingwood supporters whose opinions are coming via personal antipathies no matter the details. Sure, it would have taken courage to accept his fine and loss of licence, and add in the 'no drinking' clause, but leave it at that; the real meaning of being 'supportive'. Weak, the club that is, very much so.


This Ministerial Code of Conduct (hanky panky) from the conservatives (read PM Malcolm’s) point of view? Hilarious, if it wasn't so serious, bringing it into a form of confusion (acceptance?) with the #MeToo 'need to know' organisation. We had a form of this in the 60’s and in my experience in spite of the rule it was no less than ‘rife’. The biggest single issue putting a restricted stop to it (seemingly) was cutting out the typing pool and stenographers; ditto tearooms. Also creates more numbers of whistleblowers, particularly journalists and those who consider themselves as pure as the holy snow. It’s ‘disgusting’ until it affects you, the arrow (cupid's) that is. It doesn’t take much. A shaky marriage (common) away from home, eyeballing, minimum risk accommodation, touching (the arm, shoulder, waist), and a form of fantasy arrows over a series of ‘moments’ and that first move by either party, the end result not considered, ruled short term by appetite. Sexual harassment, assault against women, a side issue at best. Both parties. Mandated standards for politicians? Not in my lifetime. You cannot mandate human nature. Maybe Scotty Morrison (a confirmed pure driven snow aficionado) needs to step in, better still Perfect Peter Dutton, after all, he is our minister for ‘home affairs’? [”Anyone who has obeyed nature by transmitting a piece of gossip experiences the explosive relief that accompanies the satisfying of a primary need” - Primo Levi].


Jennifer Aniston and her husband Justin Theroux are separating after two and a half years of marriage, mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year," with the couple endeavouring to still remain best friends. This is the stuff one reads in the waiting rooms. Only the names are changed to protect the innocent?


Yet another piece of horse radish: Sportsbet racing gurus Simon Marshall and Julian Vallance dissect all the form lines going into every weekend's racing. The lads also give their best bets from around the country? If they're that good why tell us?


Personal antipathies; always a fascination. Footballers, friends, some actors, some actresses, liberal voters, cryptocurrency investors, anyone. Once bitten so difficult to change the first instinct, or indication. Sensing niceness, the transformation into a person of peace, almost good, a self confession, wiping any previous misgivings? Ambition, to pursue, a form of status, a personal parking space, later a handicap parking space, and money. What really matters? Pleasure, friendship and love.


Then there's Greg Norman, another shattered dream. His appearance on the ABC's 7.30 a  disaster...Obviously those 23 Lebanese took their jet skis across Port Philip Bay to be aboard the Carnival cruise ship; charming fellows. We miss them..."Ms Campion was the only person interviewed for the role because she had the skills and experience and was well known, of course." [Matt Canavan]...What happens between consenting adults is all well and good but can somebody tell me how I can locate one of these 'consenting' adults? Then again - "The younger they look to you, the older you look to them"...Iceland is apparently banning circumcision; will this extend to Jordan De Goey?...hooroo...www.ello8.com



WildA Grain of Salt. Friday 16th February, 2018. 

Another week off for politicians after zero achievements 2018. A mild attack of writers' block. [Again?]. I'll blame Barnaby. Those front page pictures longingly looking at his partner shattered my sensible imaginations. Sick and tired of the Canberra doings, particularly the dual citizenship fiasco; yet to meet  anyone with the slightest interest in it. "Who gives a monkeys?" is my feedback. There was a time when those with dual citizenship were considered lucky. Can somebody explain our attitude to those Canberra peanuts? Incidentally, they (the peanuts that is) consistently refer to their time up there (on great money, cushy allowances and super super for life) - as a 'public service'? For the record they are not public servants. The public servants are public servants. They pretend to serve us, fooling nobody (apart from Murdoch readers) but the rest of us look on the majority of politicians (bless them) as self servants. I'm rabbiting on, as if you haven't noticed. Lots of ideas floating in and out but no particular motivation to write about any of them, at this point in time. I have no idea on what is to follow, so if the reader gets lost, my apologies. Or go make a cup of tea? Ever onwards...


A cunning move from one of our 'betters' Madam Julie Bishop. Initially Labor respected Barnaby's blunder (a private matter?) and darling Julie comes in with 'People in glass houses' twisting it the other way, the inference Labor is keeping mum because of their own dirty deeds. Clever cocky. The lady gets that look in her eyes. Brrr.


Years ago as a Commonwealth Audit Inspector I had a clerical assistant, Tommy Dunn, who had survived the horrors of the Burma railway. In my job auditing the Army, Navy and Air Force Trust Funds I also came in contact with a Colonel McBain, also (from memory, but not certain) a Changi survivor. Tommy was an amazing chap, rough as they come, never a line without the F and C words, and stories, lots of stories on how he survived the Japanese. The beatings he took, the near misses of a bayonet. The never ending psychological battles. Tommy lived in an el cheapo flat in St Kilda (similar to my Rye humble abode) with an equally tough lady friend; lots of heavy drinking, including a nasty stab wound from said lady friend in his bottom, which he (yuk) showed me. A wonderful personality who was able to do his daily job despite his past and tumultuous St Kilda night life. McBain was much as one would expect from a higher ranking army officer. A gentleman, likeable, intelligent, and more from the angle of his disgust with the treatment from the Japanese, how they saw we Australians as a mongrel race, the lowest form of life because we chose surrender before death, and pictures, lots, near skeletons of men, almost nude. Different types of stories, often longer lunches with McBain at the former Domain hotel down the road from Victoria Barracks, but oh so fascinating, and common in the entrenched hatred he and Tommy had for their captors. Left me not only with the amazing courage of these soldiers but also, as I saw it back then, the cruelty of those Japanese inhumane army opponents. Both poles apart, both beautiful characters. Later in life (a month ago) I at last caught up with one of Richard Flanagan's books, the excellent 2013 novel 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North'. [I admired his brother Martin Flanagan's work for years as an Age newspaper columnist.] Richard's book brought those stories back to the stories I listened to some 50 years ago. More importantly Flanagan's story went into the motivations of the Japanese, the cultural differences and their equally self righteous beliefs in their actions, seemingly indoctrinated warriors, all hail the Emperor. No real point to this story, other than noting how one can go through 50 years thinking you know all the answers (up to a point) but neglecting to look at the other side, or having a set of opinions, but in fact based on only half the truth. Their reasons, their justifications. Maybe, just maybe, now having experienced these thoughts, though obviously a shade too late at my age, I can apply this same thinking to the motivations of the Liberal Party, or at the very least the  restricted reasoning of most of us at a younger age, including those 'instant decision' types with set political opinions (generally most of us) who read those morning newspapers? Or is that a bridge too far? Deciding on peoples motives the world over is a bridge too far. The Japanese delivered death and destruction on their idea of righteousness but so did those God given Americans who wore white witches hats in the deep south, and ever thus allover.


Barnbaby Joyce/Waleed Aly: "Perhaps some obligations should be beyond political calculations. Perhaps there are times to spend political capital on people other than colleagues, allies and donors. Perhaps there are times to spend it on those whose people were wronged enough to receive a formal apology a decade ago, who’ve since seen several policies that concern them effectively abandoned, and who in spite of that, when asked to give us their ideas share them from the heart. Perhaps, but apparently not this week." Exactly.


In poetry a stanza is a grouped set of lines within a poem. I see life in stanzas, paragraphs, minus the poetry. Five of them, 20 years apart. The first to 20 years is where we retain many memories, although likely highly erratic (re-written?) but far superior to recalling what happened in stanza 2 to 40 years, particularly the memory losses mid 20's. Maybe the odd grand final, but if like me there's no need; mostly a blank. The third we begin to think outside the square so I'm told, wondering as to the pretentious aspect of this mythical square. More a case of falling into a changing (convenient) pattern of love suitable to both where (if lucky) we each do our own thing, coming together to eat, to discuss the (failed) attempt to reduce kids expenses, watch television, or (if now separated a new 'lease of life', scouring the possibilities, ever hopeful, like Barnaby and his new partner, particularly her hypnotic thighs?). This stanza almost always includes a degree of bigotry, so a need to be aware. Also includes (if you're lucky) ending those painful experiences called dinner parties. The fourth we realise it was all an illusion, settle back and smell the roses, try not to upset Centrelink, worry about the power of Peter Dutton over a beer, generally realising the reality of greedy politicians is, and mostly always has been, a waste of worry time, turning instead to your particular victories; sport, Collingwood, eyesight, teeth and partial remorse, for no good reason. For mine, now in the 5th (final?) stanza, it's mainly a question of when, noting most of those kicking the bucket seem to be in the fourth stanza? The dominant point, wondering why we bothered thinking at all. Today is fine, give thought to tomorrow when it arrives? What is it they say about men? "They only have the three avenues of pleasure - eating, sleeping and that other thing. [Q] What do women want in a man? [A] Someone who’s single, attractive, smart, funny and successful. [Q] Will they settle for single?" [A] They usually do. [The Wizard of Id]. 


One Uber experience was warning enough...Melbourne's Lord Mayor? Sammy Newman? (Bogged down by delusional psychotic anarchists, likes flowers, nice views, french dinners and a beautiful partner?). Miss goody two shoes Jane Garrett? Rosie (superwoman) Batty? I'm for anyone who plays or played for Collingwood...The latest, Army, an optional (?) to place a rainbow flag against your name as a supporter of gay and lesbian people. The army says it's a workplace thing, a family, showing support for each other. A modern inclusive workplace? Keeping Australia safe? Crap!...Bugger. Malcolm's woken up; turned Barnaby into a plus. Pity. Still, Barnaby's refusal to vacate (may) work for Labor come the Batman by-election? Let’s hope Malcolm gave that can of worms a thorough rinse before he placed it in the recycling bin. Canberra, isolated, away from home, adventure, romance, remembering - “Love is rich with both honey and venom”...[I did warn you to make a cup of tea]...hooroo...www.ello8.com




HeartA Grain of Salt. Monday 12th February, 2018. 

Australia’s journalist union argues The Turnbull government’s (read Home Affairs) concessions on secrecy laws do not go far enough and the legislation should be “withdrawn and redrafted from scratch” arguing it currently contains prison sentences for up to 20 years for dealing with or publishing protected information such as material that is harmful or likely to harm Australia’s interests, subject to a limited defence for public interest journalism. The media will not get a blanket exemption, but existing defences will be easier to access as journalists will no longer be required to prove their work is “fair and accurate”, only that they “reasonably believe” it is in the public interest. Labor has offered a mixed appraisal, Shorten indicating he was satisfied with the changes, saying he was “pleased that the government has taken a backward step”. Shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus said he would wait to see the new drafting of the bill before endorsing it. Beware. Never forget the first principle: "The more they get the more they want". George Orwell's '1984' said it all. I'm with Dreyfus. One gets tired of Shorten's agreement style on security matters. We can assume (supposedly) he is being careful he doesn't fall for the "soft on our security" trap which the Hypocritical Party (and as always Murdoch's media) are hoping for. Problem is we don't know until (if?) he, Billy, is elected. A nothing week 1 of politics 2018, picking up where 2017 left off until Barnaby's exposé, adding to the drama (and my opinion as to his overrated position in Canberra) by being silly enough to think he had the wherewithal to explain it all away on Leigh Sales ABC 7.30? Likely week 2 also a washout with Barnaby's Blunder (in process) and yes, I'm aware of Scotty Morrison's $65 billion giveaway; just not interested, for now. Anyway, we can easily (surely) smell the hot air?


Ever onwards? Judging by the respect I had for Barnaby Joyce before 'the affair' I can honestly say nothing has changed. In a quiet political week (where's my mate Peter Dutton?), especially for Barnaby, who discovered, too late, it's all about the illusion that keeps us going. The alternative (reality) is too horrible to contemplate. In Barnaby's case it's forced contemplation, the emphasis on how to return to his idea of the normal, which in reality, is his illusion. Maybe he was thinking in terms of the words of Walter Scott? "One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum"?  


Further, from Fiona Cochrane: "The hard right is throwing everything they have at ending the GetUp movement by attacking the right of everyday people to participate in political decision making. And it's not just GetUp under threat – community groups, civil society organisations and even charities are in the firing line. The bill containing these attacks is deliberately convoluted – because the hard right are trying to disguise it as a "national security measure". It's a clever ploy intended to head off opposition and obscure the truth at the heart of the legislation". [Couldn't agree more Fiona].


Surely Ged Kearney is a far superior candidate than Alex Bhathal in Batman, set for St Patricks Day. Let's ask Jon Faine, lately shoving his opinions at us bordering on membership of the 'we know best' society after years of fairness? [He also butted in on Robert Doyle, a regular guest on his radio program over a period of many years, his "lecherous"' conduct towards the women working there caused embarrassment. Kept that one quiet?] 'The Batman seat has little appeal to Liberal voters" they tell us, lying in their teeth, banking on another Labor loss, rooting for The Greens. Rooting? Johnny Gorton and Ainslie Gotto, nice. Jimmy Cairns and the fantasy of Junie Morose, nicer (?) and...now even Barnaby? Couldn't give a monkeys on their political nonsense but just a teeny bit jealous; If power corrupts, bring it on. Undergraduates must pass an online course about sexual consent if they want to enrol at the University of Melbourne. Can I enrol under some seniors entry level? Maybe stand for One Nation, cop a senate job, and power? Better late than??? It's astonishing that Barnaby has managed to attract two women. Power is indeed magic. 


"Positive psychologists make so many outrageous claims, none of which have any scientific validity" [Professor Robert Cummins]. Unfair? Doesn't take into consideration the true skills of psychologists generally? It appears in some cases they come to a conclusion, followed by the use of their skills proper, as in "research" (otherwise known as asking 1000 people?), and voilà, their original conclusion is proven, in their eyes at least. Infallible, also used in deciding the causes of some cancers. Maybe that's stretching it. Like all walks of like we have that percentage of ratbags. The problem with this (likely small) percentage of psychologists is it attracts media attention. And we all know how people believe what they read, don't we. 


Mark Twain: "Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people's countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood of his hands and works for 'the universal brotherhood of man'- with his mouth." - "The Lowest Animal”.  Wow. George Bush? Spot on again Mark.


LOCAL: A pool at Rosebud in addition to the Colchester Road 25m indoor heated pool. The suggestion of another pool in Besgrove Street. Another survey, 25 or 50m? Most of us have been reading of this saga for half a lifetime. Why a 50 metre pool? For what; kiddies swimming lessons? We have (probably) the world's safest beach at our finger tips, easily learning to swim in shallow safe waters beginning by nature of doing the dog paddle and pretending to Mums we are swimming. Time to stop the rot, for peace. A 25 metre pool in Besgrove Street, a toddlers, half a dozen tables and umbrellas, shelter and heated in winter, a bus service thereto, for the protection of kiddies who worry about crabs, and jelly fish, and suspicious looking men, councillors and over protective mommies. Do it, don't do it, but decide now, or yesterday, and forever hold your peace. End of discussion!


'Chopper' channel 9; hogwash...It's time to ask why we watch Woody Allen films says Cara Marsh Sheffler. My reply, Why not?...'Marriage is a bargain, and somebody has to get the worst of the bargain' [Helen Rowland]...hooroo...www.ello8.com



CoolA Grain of Salt. Thursday 8th February, 2018. 

Barnaby Joyce? AFL's Gillon McLachlan: "I expect that my executives are role models and set a standard of behaviour for the rest of the organisation. They are to be judged, as they should be, to a higher standard." Fair enough. A rule in place, two senior executives sacked as a result. No such rule for our politicians, hanky panky (generally) being a never ending feature/side effect between couples in all walks of life, an age difference irrelevant. However, our Deputy Prime Minister must live to a higher standard, thus, having an affair with a staffer definitely not on. A hotchpotch of changing rules. We get 'the public needs to know' thrown at us when it suits, then they ask (of the #MeToo crowd) why they didn't report it earlier? Apparently everyone knew about it except us? So we assume the public (we) didn't need to know? It screams of the right wing media protecting one of their own. The treatment of Julia Gillard comes to mind. Barnaby played up, no big deal in isolation, but as he's presently our DPM he should give over that title and take his place as an elected member of parliament, not as our DPM. Labor’s Chris Bowen: “I have clear criticisms of Barnaby Joyce, I think he’s a very poor deputy prime minister, but my criticisms of him are of his job and, frankly, his personal situation is none of my business and, with respect, it’s none of anybody else’s business.” I disagree. As the deputy leader of our government he's duty bound to take on that higher standard. [The passion they had for each other was insurance against indiscretion, transformed, if broken, into public tragedy. - Stolen/rearranged, from Richard Flanagan].


"Applaud, my friends, the comedy is over." [Beethoven; on his deathbed] Not quite Ludwig. Indeed, easily accessible on a daily basis from the two 'You're say' pages of our illustrious Herald-Sin newspaper. Sue from Ivanhoe 'Girls and women see their value as the beauty within. Looks should never define you'?...I'm in stitches as I type this one from Jade of Mornington 'There is so much common sense in these pages every day I live in hope those with the power to make desperately needed changes for the people of Victoria read them'...Lastly, the numerous letter's in support of Peter Dutton, bringing shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to mind. “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” 


Speaking of Prince Peter (Dutton) our former attorney-general George Brandis: "One of the main reasons why the government has earned the confidence of the public on national security policy is that there has never been a credible suggestion that political motives have intruded. Were it to do so, confidence not just in the government’s handling of national security, but in the agencies themselves, would be damaged and their capacity to do their work compromised. Nothing could be more irresponsible than to hazard the safety of the public by creating a confected dispute for political advantage. To his credit, the Prime Minister has always resisted such entreaties”. George was spot on, adding a touch of nonsense in the last line? [The Prince replied on his radio spot, suggesting George was a bit up himself; an intellectual snob. For mine, a  draw; both spot on]. 


Again on Sir Peter, our Minister for Home Affairs, also remaining Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and a portfolio encompassing the federal police, ASIO, Australian Border Force, immigration, counterterrorism and emergency management, or, to put it in perspective, he's likely been accorded these powers as a result of our PM's bid to keep Sir Peter at ease, at bay? As for the success of this move the jury is still out. My guess? No way. While not suggesting he does, but on the evidence to date there's a fair chance the minister's motivation comes from regular viewings of Schindler's List?


“Innocent until proven guilty” sidelined in the tsunami of indignation and fury that is #Me Too. No? Tell that to the former Melbourne Lord Mayor. Sexism is entrenched where power is entrenched and power is everywhere and absolute? And we still don’t know the truth. That possibility used to be enough to keep doubt alive until due process. Have we gained something in bypassing legal principles? Robert Doyle, a passionate and fierce supporter of Melbourne's artists and writers, also obviously the touchy feely type after a few reds, (in real life commonly referred to as harmless, but a dirty old man?) like thousands of others, easily discouraged by as little as a glaring look. Just guessing?


I've felt the loss of Michael Gordon since he left The Age newspaper. I've had to think for myself, not easy at my age. Vale MG. The other tragic (equally) was of course John Clarke, comedy no doubt, a master, but mainly, importantly, (like MG) the ability to see through the bullshit, and to inform. With the likes of a handicapped Prime Minister in debt or at least controlled by whatever Sir Peter decides (Security?) and heavily biassed opinion pieces by (mainly) prostitute journalists the choice is more difficult. True, it's not all the bottom of the barrel. We thankfully still have Barrie's Insiders and one or two good journalists from The Guardian and The Saturday Paper. Add to that a second rate ABC, of late. Ever onwards I suppose. No choice.  


On dying, a choice of the least inconvenience to others, the least distress to myself. Why prolong it for a few extra painful months for the glory of doctors?...Beware of people who suggest something 'needed saying'..Restaurants, people, food - taking into account the decor, ambiance, the pretentious aspect of the customers. What's wrong with simplicity?...Housekeeping: The fear of clean underwear. Who to blame? Mothers, or the fear of being caught, even in death. If you're dead the nurses, doctors, undertaker couldn't give a monkeys?...Apparently Federation Square "makes you stop and think". From what I've seen there's little evidence?...Each year the number of AFL players who are in "a better headspace"'?...The proposal to ban the Eureka flag from federal government construction sites is right wing political blackmail...New Liberal Senator Jim Molan is Jim Molan, not General Jim Molan; separated at birth from former PM John Howard?...Why the silence from the Labor Party on the export of weapons, on selling arms to The Philippines; Duterte regime?....Why isn’t the Liberal party running a candidate in Batman? In Westgarth, 1936-58 we knew two people who voted Liberal. Their descendants have rights?...Regardless of what was in those filing cabinets can we trust this present government to safeguard our security? Brings to mind the old re-submit trick. Too hard, marked re-submit for 3 months, when returned, still a  'too hard basket' case, re-submit for another 3 months; alternatively marked NFA, no further action?...Dr Hugh Wirth, a man with a conscience...hooroo...www.ello8.com



WildSalt. Sunday. 4th February, 2018. 

"More money in the pockets of more hard working Australian families". So said our Prime Minister prior to parliament opening for business, 2018. Let the (funny business) begin, inclusive, all parties, hoping, but not expecting, again, any real action on aboriginal issues, refugees, immigration and infrastructure. Also including three state elections, a possible (probable?) federal election and the strange case of our inclusion onto the world of arms dealing. “Enterprise bargaining is on life support,” says our unpopular opposition leader. He got that right, proposing to change the rules for an anti-WorkChoice style campaign increasingly casual jobs, wages and conditions eroded at a time when employers are pocketing substantial productivity gains for record profit growth. A popularity poll, complete with Peter Dutton's radio spot Monday mornings, aimed politically, ruthlessly, at Victoria, thankfully only in Sydney, albeit pounced on by the media as news, despite the obvious motive. His big two are new laws to stop anyone criticising the government and laws on fine-line back door donations, seemingly to stop the left wing GetUp crowd, aiming (hopefully?) to tip Dutton out come the election? Difficult to assess the influence this dangerous man has on the general public voting intentions. On the other hand while the Sky News/ReachTel poll had it at 52-48 Labor's way the other polls had bigger margins. Then there's the seat of Batman, Labor spooked by the Greens, two bob capitalists, younger, richer, indirectly (at least) fast approaching a blue ribbon Liberal seat. Meanwhile, a rare column with fewer politics - a measure of goodwill, beginning NOW... 


Morning. After my coffee break. Exiting, back of cafe for the long 500 steps journey to my humble unit. True, she was attractive, blonde, around early 30's. Obviously (though guessing) not a real estate lady, nor the car (they power dress & drive power cars) and not from my morning coffee cafe. A private parking area back of the two businesses. Normally I'd ignore, not my business, but hard to fathom why, with about 50 empty parking spaces within 30 steps? I was super nice (a rarity?) suggesting not wise to park there, (and cop the razor sharp tongue of owner Maggie), also recalling the brilliance and delivery of my ONE line in the movie 'Pharlap' 1983. "You can't park there". She gave me a look of steel. Longish pause. Eventually "It's your business" I said. "I'm just trying to help". Another pause. Was I up for harassment? Eventually "Isn't it for the use of customers? [Obviously unaware of my experience watching and reading murder mysteries. Equally obvious (well, 90%?) she was lying and using it as a throughway to the strip shops.] This time I paused. Eventually "You're right" I said, but by now her iciness was giving me the tommy tits so I said "Sorry, your business", moved away, leaned on the back wall, lit up a cigarette. [No smoking allowed at coffee so after a 45 minute cigarette drought and my free read of the Herald-Sin the need of a quick nicotine re-charge]. A dirty look, and the lady got into her car, drove the 30 steps and parked legally, walking towards the newsagency walk-through. I was looking away as she backed out, but using the corner of my eye in the event of a possible ramraid. I enjoyed that cigarette, deadpan, nary the hint of a smile.  


What's happening with our ABC? Are they in partnership with The Age? First. the Craig McLachlan attack via Christie Whelan-Browne two nights running on 7.30, including Julia Baird's #MeToo barrage on 'The Drum'. Good to see McLachlan get a chance to have his say at least, right or wrong. Pity anyone similarly pre-judged and without the cash to go to court. Second, the story of the commonwealth selling locked filing cabinets full of commonwealth private papers? Extremely hard to believe. True, my experience of the Commonwealth public service tells me almost anything is possible, and the general public feeling of reliability in our 'public' service dangerously overrated, but this surely draws the line. Was it deliberate, if so what motive? [So much for ASIO efficiency?] Surely there's more to this. Are we seeing a new ABC? Starved of funds by our government (and likely the opposition if they get a chance) so they think by appealing to the nude nuts (non ABC viewers) they will attract a larger viewing public? They're dreaming, the ABC that is? It's not the same anymore.  


I'm with Foxtel, lately shafted with the loss of the old movies channel and now World Movies switched to on-demand, so extra cash per movie, no reduced costs; crooks. I (we?) watch everything through Foxtel, entrenched habits, so how does it all work if we ditch them? Confusion. Which reminds me (One for the psychiatrists?) - Many of the Foxtel shows available I'm sure I watched with Mary before she greeted St Peter 13 years ago. Some I watch a second, third time and mostly still pick the wrong murderer. For someone who has only received one prize in 81 years (The Prince and the Pauper, Samuel Clemens, Most Improved, grade 4) picking the murderer (particularly early on) is similar in my mind as an olympic gold medal. That special feeling of being clever; similar to leaving intelligent books front and centre if a visitor drops by. [I'm always suspicious of others telling me "I can always pick the murderer'?] I watched 'The Brockenwood Mysteries' Thursday, a New Zealand production, slow, old fashioned, but easy to watch without thinking. I picked him, the murderer, in the first 2 minutes, after probably two months of missing out, and almost always ruthlessly, consistently being criticised by Mary. My subconscious? OK, so how come she treats me with such disrespect? Did I maybe cheat a few times (at murderer guessing) when she was in-house? Sort of like 'seen it before' but not telling her? A false pat on the back? Who told her! Sometimes I would attempt to change my mind. No chance. A tough critic. I'd suggest I hadn't really picked her. She was simply a 'person of interest'. On the rare occasions when she let me change my mind, correctly, I would get a mark of 2 out of 10, at best a 4. So it was euphoria to at last "stick it up her" as the saying used to go. She did not take my victory in the right spirit. All I got was "About bloody time". No pats on the back? Strange lady; she never swore before? Still, so nice to go to bed in victory, no backchat, for once, slept soundly. Maybe I'm on a roll? The next night, Friday, I picked the murderer in 'Vera'. Deathly silence. Around 5 minutes before the finish I realised I'd seen it before; said nothing. On the other hand, if one must fantasise, why not include a grid girl? [Note re loneliness: Fortunately I do not suffer from it, but I firmly believe it's (as in chronic loneliness) on a par with depression and anxiety]. 


Archbishop Denis Hart says the church will learn from its mistakes?...It's spooky. The holiday makers have gone, the kidlets in school, no background music (Jet skis, motor-bikies, carnival), Woolworths almost civilised. So lonely....Michael Gordon, the best of The Age columnists, gone. He left a year ago, missed him. Miss him forever now..."I think it's indicative that we're in 2018 and the idea of pretty girls standing around looking pretty is a passé notion. WHAM. Witch hunt against men. Prix and pussies? Who cares; only the rich? ...One day the AFL womens football may be a wonderful competition. Sadly, not in my lifetime...I missed the super blue moon; no thanks to Danny Andrews. I get a second chance in 19 years...Telephone; federal government free solar panels. "I'm a little old man in a little old unit. Go!..."Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through. It is potential liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death" [R D Laing]...Well done Roger Federer, now second best to the great man, Rod Laver..."A fool and his money are soon elected" [Will Rogers]...hooroo...www.ello8.com




CoolA Grain of Salt. Thursday 1st February, 2018. 

I said I'd be back in a week. I lied. The intention clear enough, more about my attitude. Time is precious. I have no idea why, but my established fact is I'm always busy. Doing nothing I'm busy. Wasn't that a song, something about "the whole day through"? Fitting things in before the crunch? I'm aware of the 'nothing matters' philosophy but best to defer, to take onboard at the entrance to the supposed golden gates. I allow television @ 3 hours nightly. I started watching a 1985 film 'Jagged Edge' with Glenn Close and (favourite actor) Jeff Bridges. A courtroom drama. Did Jeff murder his wife? I figured after 10 minutes I wanted him to be innocent. Stop. Check the running time, almost 2 hours, meaning, like a Collingwood loss, I'll be disappointed if he is the killer. (I tape the magpies matches and watch if they win). So I fast forward (without watching). If he's innocent I'll go back and enjoy the show. If he's guilty I delete. Saves heartache and time. Alas, guilty! Fortunately 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' also taped. No need to fast forward Newman and Redford, the bonus of knowing they play a favourite song to the tune of the magpie theme song; Goodbye Dolly Gray...So? 


Australia is set to become one of the world's top 10 defence exporters under a $3.8 billion government plan. PM Turnbull: "This strategy is about job creation. It will give Australian defence companies the support they need to grow, invest and deliver defence capability. It will make Australian defence exports among the best in the world." The word 'defence' is quaint. We can assume these defence items are also capable of being 'attack' items? Well yes, obviously, but only in defence of attack? If it creates jobs it must be good. Good for whom? Aha - that, my friend, is the question.


Drones. Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell: "Artificially intelligent that can kill on their own will increasingly pose a challenge to Australia's values as they potentially give a military edge to foreign enemies who have no ethical qualms about using them. Countries and groups such as terrorist organisations that would have lower ethical standards than Australia about using such robots. Australia's military and its broader society would have to think about how it deals with these adversaries. It could already be seen in the Islamic State's tactics in Iraq, where the group randomly flew homemade bombs on cheap commercial drones into government-held territory." Yes, and what, (?) the Americans don't use these drones? And a second quaint 'lower ethical standards'? It all reads (without any knowledge of the back story) of following what we are deemed to follow courtesy of instructions by the USA. War games?


Why are so many members of the public lashing out at our tennis players? I'm a fan of Nick Kyrgios who right now is 'flying' so to speak, but before, subjected to public taunts, ridicule, from social media whipped up by sports commentators; Channel 9's Tony Jones, a regular stream of sarcasm, to eventually (apparently?) comments like 'about time' etc, indirectly suggesting they had a hand in their redemption, as they saw it. Nasty pasties? Currently Bernard Tomic is in the gun after leaving 'I'm a celebrity - get me out of here', also daring to voice Tennis Australia as corrupt, snobs, and Bernard's crack at 'hassling' reporters, 'counting his millions' etc. Yes, the right to like or dislike, but one wonders on what grounds they sit in judgement? Small minds amuse small etc, but please, consider, ask yourself how bright you were mid twenties, without pressure, justify your right at least? Who's to understand pressure on a tennis court, from thousands, to perform to what they expect? What is it, nationalism, or plain old jealousy? Perhaps even racism?


The Sky News/ReachTel poll of 2018, released last Sunday; two-party-preferred vote  52% for Labor. 48% for the government. 25 in a row. 32% of voters back the business tax cuts, 44% oppose them. Nice to see the voters are not fooled; well, most of them. 


New gag laws for dealing with 'unauthorised government information'. What? Has George Smiley (John le Carre) returned? Whistleblowers beware, reporters beware. An extension of the ban on Manus Nauru to unlimited areas. One super dangerous new law, Mister Dutton. Who decides what is fair and accurate? Compromise national security by intent or ACCIDENT? Either apparently. [Not to worry. The Australian Federal Police have lost almost 400 national security files in the last 5 years, proving (to me at least) nothing has changed since I left my Commonwealth job some 44 years ago. ASIO has been Conservative for as long as I recall, despite the secrecy. A Tennis Australia snob element. Staff changes no doubt over the years, but only for like minded applicants. Simply put: Yet another cock-up.]


Herald-Sin readers, life membership of La La Land. The power outages were all Danny's fault. Wouldn't have happened under Matty? Yet again United Energy doesn't cross their tiny minds? Personally, the water bills disclose the real, the biggest, crooks here in Victoria? An interesting angle on Matty Guy's threat to local democracy by his attack on Councils who represent (well, supposedly) the views of their communities. Careful Matty. This type of gestapo land mentality may convince leading gestapo Peter Dutton to use the same principle with state governments? ['Without Ron Walker Melbourne would not be what it is today' says Jeff Kennett. Strangely, we could say the same about self lover Jeffrey Gibb Kennett? Might even have an SEC, sold by the Liberals, the buyers promptly cutting maintenance, selling assets and increasing charges to consumers; us.]


Can Shorten do better on private health insurance? Will he cut the rebate? Never, but if he makes adjustments (?) he will surely not touch the rebates for those in receipt of a full pension. Enter scallywag Greg Hunt loaded with wind, fury and ambition; another Malcolm, but better at it. Billy also commits to a federal integrity commission, an acknowledgement Australian voters are disaffected with politics and want additional measures to clean up the system. No big deal on this one. Big chance Turnbull will trump him if the public screams loud enough. Either way, more of a 'doctored' Integrity Commission? ['We need to demonstrate the highest levels of integrity and operational standards to earn stronger levels of trust. [Bank chief Matt Comyn]. A simple question - WHEN?


Consensus. Is there such a thing? A group coming together, a decision, whatever, complete with private agendas, prejudices and often strong rivalry. Power lurking in the shadows. I've sat on countless committees, none the past 20 years thankfully, but nothing, like human nature, changes. Always a question of - who yields? 


The workers (so to speak) are surely equally responsible by their rejection of union membership, thus the reduction of the  ability to collectively bargain. The squeeze on labour is clear enough, encouraged by the Coalition, to move away from standard full-time, permanent employment, and the reduction of penalty rates. Workers; cutting off their noses? 


I'm more inclined to respect psychiatrists if they could explain the philosophical basis of their discipline, or more pointedly the difference (if any) between the mind and the brain? Take sleep - and the difficulty thereof, when the mind is encouraging full on stimulation albeit physical tiredness. Or simply a song? Is the mind re-charging? Why doesn't it take my clear instructions to brain; delete, think of nothing? 


Ben Mendelssohn's character in the movie 'Australia' was Lieutenant Dutton. Upset my concentration...'"Old sins cast long shadows" An old one, relating to Liberal and Labor leaders, and (to be honest) most of the rest of us...Fact: Anthony Albanese would have been a shoe-in up against Melodic Malcolm, our hopes (boo hoo) with Billy (baggage) Shorten...Amanda Vanstone's comedy via her regular spot in the Age - the lady deplores "constant negative sniping" by the parliamentary opposition. Speechless?...Ron Walker has left the building. A strong Liberal Party supporter, emotionally and financially; the Grand Pricks man. Not my go on both counts but he did great work for the city of Melbourne; thus, well done...Salt is back in the news, food salt, bad for us; make up your bloody minds!...hooroo...www.ello8.com



LoveA Grain of Salt. Sunday 28th January, 2018. 

We live in strange times people. A greater need for common sense or at least some ability to think for ourselves to offset the surge of politicians and (particularly) the media to recruit you as a fully paid up member of the brainwashed brigade. A hankering for truth, presently skewed by twitter and others with the minds of pip-squeaks, feigning their form of common sense as supplied by free to air television and those two newspapers, one of which is The Australian (I'll let you guess the other) never forgetting 3AW. The #MeToo lot creating guilt via gossip, alongside an ignorance of the rule of law. A minor storm when considering the planned attack on the present state Labor government from day 1 this year, enforced a day or so later by Peter Dutton, and later still by Matty Guy following suit on law and order. Result, for political purposes - convincing people (wrongly) to be frightened by dark skinned people, police crime statistics (and performance) either ignored or twisted to support their purpose and for good measure questioning the integrity of our courts. Frankly these politicians (and the media) couldn't give a monkey's Aunty Dolly about the wellbeing of their audience, i.e: us. One feels for the dark skinned people, painted into a corner to face the brainwashed and for extra good measure serving up one of their own (Nelly Yoa?) to prove (supposedly) their garbage. No good, lots of bad, can come of this. The Moslems breathe easier for the present, not so the Sudanese. Sad stuff. Let us pray when all this politically motivated fear runs its course, and like those before them are accepted into our way of life, (Sudanese restaurants?) they do not follow the Lebanese and Italian traditions and develop a love (worship?) of the jet ski.    


"It may be said there was attached to England a blessed island called Australia to which the souls of the socially dead were ferried across to remain in bliss forever”. [G K Chesterton]


In a world where thousands of men woman and children are staring into a life of struggle including the real fear of death (though not necessarily a dominating influence) they press on, because they have to, hell or hope, some considering the preference of hell, most in a state of everlasting hope, amidst starvation, severe health risks, no shelter and few if any possessions. A hard life, often short, full of pain, many of whom rely on religious beliefs; Christians, Moslems or other religions, giving them a form of comfort, and telling their stories to their children, hopefully sustaining hope, of a life, here, even (perhaps) dreams of a better life, after death? We here in Australia have sport [ritual, colour, drama, a sense of belonging, football with its high priests, martyrs] And shopping, art, music, travel, alcohol, drugs and our share of corruption. Our biggest problems - boredom, and knowing we will eventually die. And pornography, and almost unlimited access to the internet. Do I have a point to all this? No. Just saying. Thinking allows temporary relief from the humidity.


Australia is obviously not all wine and roses. Take for example the endless misery, fear and real danger to refugees on Manus Island, Nauru, Port Moresby wherever, in our name. Four to five years is near enough to endless as I see it. We know of Peter Dutton's attitude/actions (and Scotty Morrison's before him) but what can we see from the other side of the coin? Clearly, the possible loss of seats is of greater importance to Labor, underlined by Bill Shorten's non appearance in opposing this disaster (and blandly supporting the Australia Day date (ignoring dispossession) and posting 'more females needed in politics'? One wonders as to his (and his entourage) thinking. We can confidently assume they are political opinions for the necessity of votes, not upsetting the current state of the polls as top of the ladder, but if this current trend continues can we assume it's part of Labor's 'truth', or is there something else (Billy) is waiting for? Firstly to get elected and with it freedom for these refugees, and other hidden policies? At the very least industrial relations and the right to strike need a big shake up as does the protection of industry superannuation funds. Jobs growth sounds positive, but without wages growth (and no discernible household income growth) where's the benefit, apart from the hiring Companies benefit? The Fair Work Commission? What happened to 'the sensible centre'? Fascinating. Our hopes shattered or a new dawn rising, come the end of 2018? 


Tony Abbott: “What happened on January 26, 1788, was, on balance, for everyone, Aboriginal people included, a good thing, because it brought Western civilisation to this country.” And dispossession to the Aborigines?...British born Quantum physicist AND a female; Michelle Simmons as the 2018 Australian of the Year. Ticked all the boxes. "Do what is hard, take risks, embrace high expectations and do work that matters." Calamity! I've sat here for 10 minutes considering how I could get a positive out of any of the four. Result? I failed all four. Job 10:15 'Woe unto me'. Good luck to the lady. Needless to repeat, it all sounds like bulldust to me, as does the Australian of the Year Awards. Samuel Johnson as the Victorian nomination with no mention of Dane Swan? They're kidding.


Cloning humans next? Genetically identical monkeys created by scientists purely for medical purposes; I'll believe anything? If I can hold on for another 5 years maybe a cure for the results of my 37 zaps of radio-therapy 13 years ago? Even so, at 87, who with?.. A knockabout egalitarian image is either a myth or a thing now long gone, like the suburb of Northcote, my birthplace, inhabited by two bob capitalists, working undercover, under an assumed name, calling themselves The Australian Greens?...Poor ancient Dirk Hartog (25/10/1616) got nary a mention in the Australia Day 'date' debate...Darling Matthew Guy, kindly take note: [We] “Distrust all those in whom the urge to punish is strong” [Johann Goethe]...Cory Bernadi on musicians Australia Day playlist "It's caused a great deal of offence from those posturing narcissistic moralisers" An analysis of self? [The January invaders are evacuating as I'm typing, (ex Rye on the Mornington Peninsula) offsetting to some degree this stifling humidity. I've spent the past four weeks as a hermit, backed by the music of the jet skis, motor bikes, helicopters et al; thus posting two blogs weekly. Time to go walking again, visit Melbourne, Mornington, the Rosebud short film festival, and a weekly blog, Sunday nights. Smell the roses]... Back in a week. hooroo...www.ello8.com


A GRAIN OF SALT commenced in the Rye News in May 2007 which became the Southern Peninsula News from February, 2010 - 2015, to a blog at www.ello8.com 


SickA Grain of Salt. Thursday 25th January, 2018. 

Is Australia Day divisive? No question. Can it be solved by consultation, the date that is? Unlikely, both sides (particularly the coalition and the monarchists) would only agree to the present arrangement come what may. Equally (I assume) the other side heavily into the idea of justice for the descendants of the aborigines. I'm not big on nationalism (or Australian of the Year or those ridiculous Academy Awards) where the conclusions have a bottom line of who you know, money, and seemingly feel good (combined with self interest) intentions. [There are personal benefits. Here in Rye Australia Day marks the departure of thousands of holiday makers (to Melbourne and surrounds), a brand spanking new Australian of the Year after an eternity of Rosie Batty (no offence) and of course I can watch a decent murder mystery on television rather than the Academy Awards USA love-in]. Cynical? Not one bit. Simply how I see it all. I'm comfortable as an Australian.  


Liberal leader Matthew Guy and Nationals leader Peter Walsh. A 16-page document teaching Victorian students 'Australian values'. "Students need a thorough grounding in Australian values and what makes Australia such a peaceful and prosperous nation”. The pigs have departed the airport runway? Matty to teach the billy lids Aussie values? Australian, USA or British values? Comedy? My guess is all these political interferences in curriculum and the assessment conclusions has done more damage than good. Expect a big (election) year from Matty, law & order (purely political) & extra servings from his bullying mates - the Herald-Sin, 3AW and 9 News. Ho hum. 


What is a left wing fascist, used consistently by letter writers to the popular Herald-Sin? I would guess (conservatively) some 90% are followers of Peter Dutton's crowd. I say 'his' crowd because let's be honest, Malcolm Turnbull is more of a stand-in, the front man, the spruiker, rather than the power. I would also opine they know not the meaning of a left wing fascist other than they are referring to Labor voters and rather than regard themselves as right wing fascists they would mainly be springing from the dreaded 'thinking persons' crowd. They come down heavy on Danny Andrews and support the honest Matty Guy; true, though hard to believe. This is likely no big deal in the scheme of life sort of thing. We are all entitled to our opinions and so on, but, with our ruling government presently controlled by right wing fascists (the fascist a common denominator?) and in particular the government's blind faith in the petticoats of anything resembling the United States of America, which historically (indirectly?) means millions more innocent people being slaughtered, possibly making the threat of another war a reasonable probability, there is surely cause for concern? John Curtain may well have saved us from pig iron Bob way back in the 1940's, but as the great Gough Whitlam said (the main man in my 81 year stint) in the great exciting, sexy 1960's (when Gough brought back our boys and girls from Vietnam and gave thousands the opportunity of free university education, free health and fought the battle for aboriginal recognition) 'nothing will save us from'...Donald Trump? 


Whatever the outcome I like the news of actor Craig McLachlan's announcement he will fight the claims of sexual misconduct. I'm no fan of his Doctor Blake, never met the man, and from what I've seen of his personal interviews I was unimpressed, which is no big deal, simply instinct, possibly astray. The ABC and The Age came down far too strongly against him as a story in their own interests, based on hearsay. No disrespect to the ladies and no fault to them but the coverage reminded me of vultures. Be nice to get the other side, maybe some form of balance. There's also another side to this #MeToo coin. By all means hop in and agree (or otherwise) with their actions, but it's also often loaded to a point of personal abuse for those who prefer to see the story played out, legally if possible, from both sides. 


For Collingwood supporters? A 20-year-old experiment on inattention – the famous invisible Gorilla experiment. This involved recording two teams of basketball players and playing back the game to observers, who were asked to count the number of passes their team made. During the game, a man in a gorilla suit walks on to the court, pounds his chest and then walks off. More than 50% of the observers, astonishingly, did not notice the gorilla at all. Why is this so important? Because you only see what you aim at – not only metaphorically but also literally and physiologically. Your perception is adjusted to your aims. [Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson]. In fact, all supporters. Considering he's a psychologist (not my favourite persons) this Peterson is a clever cocky. He also said "The fact of our essential darkness may, perhaps, be seen transparently in the flood of hatred, abuse and rage that is now clearly visible on anonymous Twitter feeds. It was “so-called normal people”, not sociopaths, who were responsible for the atrocities of nazism, Stalinism and Maoism. We must not forget that we are corrupt and pathetic, and capable of great malevolence. His primary concern, however, which underpins nearly everything about him, is the defence of the individual against groupthink, whether on the right or the left." Almost correct, but surely he fails to name these "so-called normal people" as right wing fascists?


"In a pre-budget submission to the Treasury, the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has called for an easing of the tough new “taper rate” on the age pension assets test introduced in January 2017. The taper rate is the rate at which pension payments are reduced once asset thresholds are surpassed. Under the changes, the rate was doubled from $1.50 to $3 per fortnight. AIST research into the effects show the move is hurting those on below-average incomes." No big deal; although $2 would have been fairer. My concern is their preoccupation with social welfare as against tax breaks for the top end, and once they get this one, they look for more, as always. 


The Trans Pacific Partnership; at best, for we consumers - suspicious...Gender neutral toilets at the Arts Centre? Weird...Treasurer Scott Morrison can’t handle the truth; new jobs figures, another con...I’m with Germaine Greer on the #MeToo nonsense...Pat Cash on Australia Day; an additional brain cell since his playing days? Ditto Shane Jacobson; brown nose twins?...At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ended. What better day to celebrate Australia Day? Haha. My two bob's worth?..I've offered Billy Boy (Shorten) my services as a voice/communicator coach; awaiting his call?...Intelligence is not and never has been a measure of common sense..."The mind of mortals, in perverseness strong, imbibes with dire docility the wrong" [Juvenis]... hooroo...www.ello8.com




CoolA Grain of Salt. Sunday 21st January, 2018. 

This time next week they go north, returning to the big joke, called the world's most liveable city, Melbourne, simultaneously re-creating the seaside resort town of Rye for our (otherwise) entitled residents; a form of living normality, take away Easter and the Melbourne Cup. The horror of the first week of schoolies and (from Boxing Day) the first week of the invasion, has passed...'pleasant' time approaches. True, the carnival persists and the 6 hour daily humming of the jetskis, the intermittent roaring of motor bikes and the usual overhead helicopters, but comparatively it's been so much easier. Yes, doing 50 through Rye (the speed limit) meant being passed by almost everyone and yes, Woolworths was a no no between 9-6pm, and yes, each day more dumped trolleys and rubbish generally, but hey - who is complaining? We can see the light brothers and sisters. Regardless of your private situation rejoice, in the knowledge; a mere 7 more days. Hugs all round.


NOTES/POLITICS: 1/ And so we say farewell to the obvious political anti-Victorian fear/scare tactics of Dutton and Turnbull, for now, ever hopeful (but far from confident) the voters will remember their vindictiveness/shallowness come the next federal election? 2/ Where's Michaelia (Lord Lucan?) Cash, or more to the point when do we get to hear her explanation for the AWU raid?  3/ Malcolm Turnbull's personal intervention to give generous pay rises to his staffers, and sacked 18,000 public servants in his time as PM. 4/ It's a given we need a Federal Anti-Corruption Watchdog with Teeth, but also a given the teeth will prove to be false...and then there's Billy Shorten. Consistently miles ahead in the polls but down on personal popularity, likely attributable to his connection with the Rudd Gillard replacements from way back, ignoring the reality of PM Malcolm's antics and those former Labor voters with warm feelings for The Greens on a falsely instinctive level. It happens. I get the same feeling about certain actors. Kenny Doughty in 'Vera', even more painful in 'Love, Lies and Records'. Ditto Shane Jacobson and Marta Dusseldorp? Billy has done the job and deserves more. The problem lies ahead in coping with the barrage of dirty tactics to come from the likes of Peter Dutton, Barnaby Joyce, and our (under instructions) Prime Minister. On a state level a daily read of the Herald-Sin tells us Daniel Andrews has been a disaster in spending 'all our money'? Seemingly better than doing ''nothing', a consistent pattern (other than corruption, cronyism, nepotism) with former Liberal state governments. To be fair (to we who live in Flinders, named after Matthew Flinders who discovered Kangaroo Island) the Liberals do spend smallish amounts down here, whereas Labor has no knowledge of our existence, due (probably) to our majority voters love affair with the sweet talking healthy Gregory Andrew Hunt.    


The powerball paradox/conundrum/enigma, no doubt seeking heaven in this world rather than the next: I've been buying a 10 week ticket (6 sets of numbers) not long after Eve had it off with Adam. $56, averaging (thanks to occasional little fish) at around $2 a week for the big dream. Alas, nothing the past 20 weeks and today's $56 takes me past my 82nd birthday. The problem? Realism has  come knocking! A  victory will bring with it nothing less than a giant headache. Where is the pleasure of $10 million bickies at age 82? The dream of 6 star London, Paris, Thailand, Manilla is no more. A mammoth cache of moola, like beauty, is intellectually confusing - it sabotages common sense. The secret of contentment is never to allow yourself to want anything which reason tells you haven’t a chance of getting. Sometimes, common sense is best avoided? Alternatively, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch may well have said: "It is personal relationships that bring happiness, not money.” but I’d like the opportunity to prove it.


The greed of Tennis Australia clearly on show at the Australian Open, Thursday and Friday, heatwave. A letter to The Age: "How we would have loved to have had ball retrievers, shaded umpire stands, chilled water and towels, a sit-down between games, tie-breaking rules, gigantic prize money on offer and chauffeured transport. We country lads and lassies had a decided disadvantage in these long-lost tennis travails but we had a sumptuous afternoon tea, sunbaking opportunities, a small first aid kit that was rarely used, snake and mozzie repellent – and, for the affluent, the latest pair of Polaroid sunglasses"? Nice one.


"Most people talking about the economy have got no idea what they are talking about. Almost nobody knows what the Nikkei, the Dow or the Hang Seng are. The tiny minority who care about such things are hardly tuning in to the Channel 9 news to find out what happened to their investments. The overwhelming majority of Australians think we should spend more money on health, education and public transport. The vast majority also believe that Apple, Google and Gina Rinehart should pay more tax. Peter Costello, now steering the ship at Channel 9, redefined the budget outcome as the ultimate objective of economic management. He told us surpluses were good, deficits were bad. If he delivered a surplus, he must have done a good job right? Wrong. Costello squandered a mining boom and convinced millions that he’d saved the country. Costello and Howard introduced permanent tax cuts in response to a temporary increase in revenue, cut by half the tax payable on income from capital gains, trebled the threshold for the top tax bracket and made income from superannuation entirely tax-free. He also argued the government couldn’t afford to increase unemployment benefits, disability benefits or the age pension." I didn't say any of this and sadly (but normal) I've forgotten who did. More importantly, I agree. 


Almost three-quarters of Australians in a support program for severe mental health issues did not end up with NDIS funding as expected, so it's reported. But surely we knew it would be the case, one way or another?...Australian of the Year is upon us again come Thursday. I'll attempt to ignore it...Unlike the French, the yanks never did recognise the genius of Woody; now practicing their idea of self justification. Would I work with Woody Allen; you betcha...Changing the date of Australia Day, tied in with the (supposed) guilt factor and the Aborigines. Whatever. Move on to what really counts; wage decline, climate change, population growth, health, pensioners...Sydney buggerlugs Ray Martin on a postage stamp? No thanks..."Good-nature is the beauty of the mind, and, the personal beauty, wins almost without anything else, sometimes, indeed, in spite of positive deficiencies" [Hanway]...hooroo...www.ello8.com




LoveA Grain of Salt. Wednesday 17th January, 2018. 


In writing this blog there was never any intention to spread my word. I post it (obviously) here and on Twitter and Facebook. Basically giving a single sexless (old codger) male living alone an interest, something to keep the mind occupied. Facebook hounds me to pay money to extend the numbers, which I look on as a pain in the you know where. Efforts to tell them to stop proving useless, so I ignore as best I can. I do check the blog numbers and as a rule of thumb if I get 200 it's time to post another (blog). Some get thousands; good for them. My eight years writing a column for the local paper (2008-2015) had a distribution in the 90,000 mark. None of it matters. [Louis B Mayor at the departure gate for eternity.  “Nothing matters.”] Some may well say I talk enough bullshit as it is. Me? I say this gives me my opportunity to let it all out. 200, or 100, or 10 or 5000? No difference. It all depends on what strikes me, occasionally even intriguing me, a need to have my say. Politics, sport, human nature, free of food, renovations, America Presidents and dog poo. Do I repeat myself? I try not to. Does it matter if I do? Not one iota, excuse my Greek. End of explanation. [It's been a quiet week].  


My religion is best described as neutral rather than agnostic but as I move closer to a possible answer I’m having my doubts. It’s nice that God is a refuge and strength to some. It’s the representatives of God, those Christian leaders, the Hocus Pocus brigade who confuse me, contributing to religious madness by way of superstition and particularly guilt, amazingly ignoring their own wrongs in favour of their often confusing ideas of righteousness. Why the different costumes, the red cardinals, mass ceremonies, kissing crucifixes, fasting, bells, praying to statues, beads, holy water, exorcisms, confessions and all those candles? The Hail Mary seemingly as an antidote for past indiscretions, to be good again to practice, what? Envy, lust, hatred and greed? One wonders if they do the Hail Mary stuff to themselves? Never forgetting the other religions, (including the weird ones; Jehovah's?) all claiming theirs are the real ones. Winning in the name of God; killing in the name of God and historically (so it's reported) protected from their very own dreadful habits, in the name of God. How long has it all be going on? Forever. They wrote the books. Give us your money and we’ll save you, but do as I say, not as I do, or it’s a ticket to hell. I have a bible, the catholic one. Some good stuff there. Well, my wife had it, and I've kept it in fear of a ghostly reaction to discarding it. With apologies to the honest followers.


The Law Council of Australia president, Morry Bailes, said recent attacks on Victorian judges were not useful and eroded public confidence in the judiciary. “There is no place for political attacks on the judiciary undermining the independence of judges and magistrates. It is understood that in our free society informed comment on judicial decisions is part of normal discourse, but politicised criticism undermines the foundations of the democratic system which must be closely guarded by all, especially those in government". No prizes for guessing who he is aiming at. Sir Peter, Security Supremo, the gentleman with a black and white mind (no disrespect to Collingwood) and a cluster of houses, negatively geared. The problem is if you bite back, you're simply adding fuel to the fire of his political stirring nonsense. Better to ignore for mine, like I do with Donald Trump. Bye the bye, how many refugees on Manus/Nauru have found there way to South America? Patiently, we await the next federal election, hoping for a favourable result up there in the strange state of Queensland.


RYE VICTORIA: "By placing the community at the centre of the investigations we begin to create a vision for an attractive, liveable, connected, vibrant, sustainable and resilient Township." Their words obviously. I can see most of the value of the Rye township plan including the single lane in and out of Rye (but at 50 kph not 40) despite the many people I've come across who say it will not work. The Campbell laneway with pop up shops, coffee cafe's at the back of the shops Point Nepean Road (my unit backing onto it ex Nelson Street, looms (for me) as a future without peace? Or are they planning to buy us out? Having seen the situation at Mornington (Main Street) and Chelsea (Nepean Highway) the evidence of the natural swing around to increased parking spaces can work well. Both however have on street parking and a slight adjustment to allow the same at Rye is surely more practical than widened footpaths and no parking. Mind you if they scrapped their ideas for Campbell Lane and made it a compulsory bike path it would have the advantage of saving us from those bike riding hordes passing through, blocking our sea view when having our genteel morning cappuccinos?



A holiday visitor at the local RSL came up to me and said "I know your face". [Oh yeah?] We mulled over it for a while; what can I say? He hung in there. In desperation I eventually suggested I drove the 1936 Chapman float in the movie "Pharlap" way back in 1983. "No. I remember the film, not your driving". [Is that right?] "Ever been on television?" [No mate. Do I look like Bryan Brown?] "Who?" he said. "I never forget a face" and wandered off, thankfully. An hour later he came into the restricted smoking area and said "You were drinking coffee at Maggies cafe this morning, outside". Spot on. He tried to return to Pharlap, offering to buy me a pot. Fortunately my glass was empty; just leaving. Nice chap.


Should Australia Day be changed? Probably. I'd go for the first Monday after New Year's Day; maybe convince our multicultural invaders (Rye in January) to arrivederci earlier?...Match fixing in tennis? A lay down misere, ever thus...Dearest politicians: 'Everything' is more expensive than originally anticipated. The original only takes the positives, your positives, into account….Should the Margaret Court arena be re-named; NO?…Well done England in the ODSeries. Stick it up our arrogant Aussies, not including Victorian cricketers…Wasn't she simply gorgeous. Dolores O'Riordan, The Cranberries, gone, at 46. Sadly missed. [Warwick Thornton, filmmaker. "I spent my youth in Alice Springs, drinking and rooting. All the racists are still racists but they don't say it anymore. They've got a barrier they can hide behind. The computer screen". "Sweet Country" opens January 25. "We don't need a Map" February 8]...hooroo...www.ello8.com






WhistleA Grain of Salt. Saturday, 13th January, 2018. 

Puritanism? Kindly do not get your knickers in a knot, both sexes. I wish  Christie Whelan-Browne well in support of her claims. In the light of these females naming names (men) and with no intention of suggesting sides, preferring it all to be played out, as is necessary, I'm wondering about the side effects to it all. Obviously I'm against sexual violence in the physical sense, including stalking, also (obviously) I'm past the post in the male/female game, unless of course there's "somebody out there" who for some strange reason prefers older men, apart from their money? What concerns me is the more people come out in support of this #MeToo crowd (grist to the mill, particularly for religious extremists, men haters and the odd namby-pamby male) it upgrades, as in a revised interpretation, definition (?) of sexual harassment - to include a new layer of political correctness. Perhaps to a stage where no more can one say 'Looking good darling' to maybe even 'Wow'? Can you touch her on the shoulder, ask her for a kiss, tell a sexy joke in company, straight out 'flirt', tell her she's sexy, suggest she come back to my place? Have a coffee, see where it leads? Can I call her 'love' or 'darling'? Do Italians still give them a pat on the bum? Can we whistle? How about at a party, dancing, cheek to cheek, whispering sweet nothings, an email, a facebook message, declaring your feelings? Bad enough with Julia Baird on 'The Drum' (and The Age) - three episodes guested up with agreeable types. Powerful lady, but not sure where she is heading? Either it gets a whole lot worse, as it probably will, or somebody, somewhere, calls a halt in the name of 'enough'. Where are the boundaries? Has old fashioned flirting been outed? No, never to call a halt to Christie Whelan-Browne and company, but maybe (perhaps?) more clarification from those who appear to have strong emotional involvements? The self righteous brigade (maybe?) is on the march, confident, full of beans. Please, let's consider the fine print? [Note: I see no problem in replacing Craig McLachlan in the popular Doctor Blake Mysteries presently (apparently) on hold. I remember John Hannah doing 'Rebus' for British television into another series with Ken Stott in the chair. Stott, no offence to Hannah (or McLachlan) was in my opinion, better. Assuming of course the replacement isn't from Sydney.].


In David Marr’s book Panic he came to the realisation that he had been writing about panic, Australian panic in particular, all his career. Said the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights CEO Joumanah El Matrah: "The only factors that reliably correlate with crime among youth is poverty and alienation from society and its institutions. But even then, these factors cannot be said to cause youth crime; to be poor and disenfranchised does not mean you will break the law. To force Sudanese community leaders into the public space to defend themselves or to accept responsibility or to explain complex socio-economic phenomena through the lens of “Sudaneseness” is itself a highly racialised act. This further erodes the community’s self-agency and further alienates community members, especially young people. It widens the divide between us and them, and it is a breach that Peter Dutton hopes to form between us and them. It is not only about us being frightened of them but also about them being intimidated by us. This is entirely a function of Peter Dutton’s ideology." Good stuff from this clever lady. Not to mention the muslins generally. Not sure about panic, but yes, up to a point I've spent the past 70 years worrying (a mild form of panic?) about one thing or another, beginning with black Americans around 12 years old, when somebody told me they would rule the world within 5 years. A never ending list, but more a concern rather than panic. I'm a confirmed believer in worrying about something when it's time to worry. On the other hand, I haven't been out at night in 13 years.


The suicide of “Dolly” Amy Jayne Everett, has sparked a campaign to end cyberbullying which can only be a good thing. We had bullies at school of course, almost a daily event grade 5 onwards to grade 8 at the central school, North Fitzroy, including some teachers, insignificant in comparison with the tsunami of cyber bullying. The choice to ignore it, befriend someone for protection, or cop a hiding and say nothing. Better still tell Mum. Tough cookie my Mum. Came home from school grade 4 with welts on my thighs (short pants still?). Miss Stewart had whacked me (and my sister) with her ruler for being late. Mum soldier marched herself to school to take on Miss Stewart. We felt sorry for Miss Stewart, a biggish tough lady but no match for Mum. No problem thereafter. I didn't tell Mum about Les Mottram, big boy, school team full back, Northcote high school; a dozen muscle punches every time he caught me in the corridor. Maintain my smile. Piece of cake after surviving 'the cuts' a few times with a leather strap. I was undefeated at indian wrestling in Nashos; maybe I've got Les to thank for that? Bullies were easily identifiable but be very wary of the really dangerous ones; female bullies. Tangle with them and your reputation was in tatters. What reputation? My protectors (mates), not by design, were either the best footballers, or (conveniently) the best non bullying fighters; Les Curl. I copped a hiding twice as a bodgie, at The Glaciariun. Had one victory at the Preston town hall Friday night dance, but he was drunk. Peter Dutton is far and away the country's biggest official bully. Sadly it all comes into frightening perspective when you read of a young kid, and suicide, or others with severe depression as a result, well aware of the power of those types if you let it get to you. 'Hill Street Blues' and roll call, where the sergeant says "Let's do it to them before they do it to us"? Not quite, but truly a big problem in need of action. Thousands of bullies on Facebook, a need to know how to use the 'blocked' button. One click and they're gone, forgotten, for life. Sincere sympathies to those kids.  


It's a bit rich for PM Turnbull to speak up against bullying with Dutton given free reign; the rotten state of Denmark?...Sydney's Jude Bolten has predicted an all Sydney GF 2018 and Collingwood mid ladder. He got the last bit right...Amidst all these local happenings those sad people are still prisoners on those islands. Dreadful...Interesting to compare baseball bat sales as against normal sales figures? I'll settle for my hammer...Toby Mitchell, Ex-Bandito, shoves a photographer in the face. The lady shoved it in his face?’’...Princess Pauline Hanson must be having a ball with all this racist rubbish...Where's Billy Shorten, we hunger for a zinger?...hooroo...www.ello8.com




CoolA Grain of Salt. Wednesday 10th January, 2018. 


Corruption, cronyism, nepotism; where to start? Trainers on drug charges, to ensure a level playing field; very funny, no such animal. Public servants accused? No surprises there; been going on since my time, 1950's onwards. I quite like the banks. All those times at the commonwealth bank where the teller was obviously under instructions from on high to sell you a product. A class action against them; the banks that is, rightly so, albeit the customers who lost money (sometimes life savings) were, to put it nicely, not the brightest sparks on the planet, often motivated by greed. Assuming the banks are up for millions who gets the blame? Not the big bank executives. They still get their bonuses, massive salaries, retirement in luxury guaranteed, and those 'others' (who were forced to sell the product) are given their marching orders, in the name of cost-saving measures, an austerity policy, or to put it plainly someone (but not the big boys) has to pay for their absurd borrowing practices etc. A form of harassment? To top it off they want a bigger slice of the superannuation industry, with (obviously) the backing of our present government? Telstra? Politicians? The mining industry? Police? Never-ending. Enough...   




If state Liberal opposition leader Matthew Guy ever decides to finance a train extension from Frankston to Mornington or from Spencer Street to Melbourne airport he will get my vote. His latest idea for the road system was near enough to ludicrous. Matty has made it clear that law and order – currently distilled through the perceived increase in crime by young Sudanese people allegedly acting as “street gangs” – will be his primary focus. At Torquay last week some 100 young people rioted and threw bottles at police cars, not a Sudanese in sight, hardly reported. If Matty intends to seriously challenge Danny Andrews he'd better come up with something closer to sensible. Not that Danny has too much to crow about on his latest massive, over the top road planning, devoid yet again of any additional rail planning, also ignoring the rail to the airport and Mornington. Both leaders should also take onboard the extension of the freeway from Rosebud to Sorrento, or at the least to Melbourne Road. I can hear both of them saying "Where's Rosebud?"  



I've been whinging about the January Rye influx (invasion) for years now; time to list the pleasures. Two quiet Sunday beers around 4.30pm at the RSL, almost empty, a lull. The first Sunday in January is always that little bit better; the second Sunday better still, 3rd Sunday almost heaven, but best of all is Sunday the 28th, 2 days after Australia Day! Every Sunday evening, knowing a percentage are leaving to go back to work, thinning out nicely, gradually. Yes, they all return for the horror of Australia Day but like the odd single day of 40 degree heat, there's a calm in knowing the next day is mass exodus (arrivederci) day, and no carnival as a bonus. There's a degree of sadness for our friendly local shopkeepers, some in tears no doubt, softened likely, by the oodles of cash retrieved from the till and not included in the gross takings, as is, obviously, common sense. As Our Queen once said "Christmas is a festival of the spirit". Chivas Regal?



Scotty Morrison; no surprise lies: Federal Labor's negative gearing overhaul would likely have a "small" impact on home values, official documents reveal, contradicting Government claims the policy would "smash" Australia's housing market. The previously confidential advice to Scotty from his own department said the Opposition's plan might cause "some downward pressure" and could have "a relatively modest downward impact" on prices. What Scotty said about Labor's negative gearing policy: "It is the most ill-conceived, potentially destructive policy ever proposed by any opposition. The Labor Party have just gone out there with a growth destroying, home price destroying … set of tax measures. Those opposite want to take a chainsaw to the housing market." Just so you know: Negative gearing allows property investors who make a loss to reduce the tax they pay on other income. More than 2 million landlords, and more than 60 per cent made a loss in the 2013-14 financial year. The total amount of claimed tax deductions in 2013-14 was about $11 billion. The capital gains tax discount, introduced by the Howard Government, generally sees half the profits from the sale of an investment property go untaxed. The CGT discount for investor-owned properties is estimated to have cost the budget more than $6 billion last financial year.



Jumping to conclusions, Azaria Chamberlain the perfect example. Not that it will change 'the way we are'. I find it disconcerting to say the least on this rush to find a celebrity, a big name, in fact anybody, guilty (almost beyond doubt?) on the say so of one (or two or more) without letting the full story come out, helped by media sensationalism, understandable in the grab for attention. Geoffrey Rush initially (with almost zero details) and Robert Doyle, in numbers yes, but oh so vague. I do not want to be on anyone's side, but I wish to goodness people would put a brake of their (seemingly confirmed?) opinions on the basis of a few details. I remember the gossip years ago on Johnny Young where people 'knew for a fact' based on what? Fairy floss? Likewise 4 or 5 females and their relationships with the director, the cameraman, whoever was important. Gossip, jealousy or balderdash? Nobody's nose knows? I'm all for people speaking out, but surely we cannot hold ourselves as judge and jury without letting the whole case travel its course? Doyle (and McLachlan, despite the Age/ABC investigation) have been labeled, probably beyond repair, correctly or incorrectly, but not to the extent of returning to the history of witch hunts. Let's wait for the fat lady to sing. 




Helen Razer: "I watch this particular show only to despise the rich and celebrated, just as any sane person should. After all, a hatred of the ruling class is love of one’s own class. But this year, all those rich, celebrated pricks had agreed to wear black garments to falsely reveal their “solidarity” with the likes of me. I was not convinced by this Hollywood quick-change at all". Agree, up to a point. Big Little Lies glued me to the television screen for almost all of episode1, then to the last 30 minutes of the final episode. Reminded me of Dance Moms. Enough. Nicole Kidman and the 'big stars' entourage in black, their so called protest, (read no risk, more publicity). The Golden Globes Awards, Hugh Jackman and 'The Greatest Showman. A celebration of nonsense. The 75th GG Awards, about 65 too many.



I eventually watched some cricket. Michael Clarke commentating? They're kidding. Sack him. Also sack Healy; he's good, but far too biassed. Australian cricket; bad winners...“It is reason and wisdom which takes away cares, not places affording wide views over the sea"...Keep yourselves nice; hooroo...www.ello8.com






LoveA Grain of Salt. Saturday 6th January, 2018. 

Survive the Heat; letterbox: "The people most at risk are aged over 65, especially those living alone, have a medical condition, are taking medications, have problematic alcohol use, have a disability. Not good news for Cliffie. Ah, but, it also says if I'm in trouble managing the heat go to an air conditioned area, like a shopping centre. So? Hi ho, hi ho, it's on the road we go...the RSL, across the road, including free iced water. Solved.


Should I write a Blog on a 40 degree day? Short answer no. But it's Greek Day down here, finding the cross sort of thing. Backed by constant Greek music, the jet skis, not to mention the boom boom music every night at the wonderful Rye carnival, including screaming females till after midnight and occasional fireworks from those freely advertising their stupidity. Ignore, move on. There's lots of angry comments about the television series (Romper Stomper) on Stan. [No, I haven't seen it]. Hey - it's a television series; get real. Should we ban murder mysteries, Lolita's, R movies? How about pre show warnings of "it contains sexual references"? It's an art form, so I'm told. What is of far more concern is "the African people should not be used as a political tool to win elections", as said by a South Sudanese leader on the Channel 9 News. Spot on. Sadly, the next day. after our Prime Minister stooped so low (along with Greg Hunt), a young black father of 3 was stabbed to death in Port Phillip Prison. No, I'm making no specific connection, just pointing to a false emotional state these political interventions can possibly bring to a boil. There's a big difference between reality and television drama. The reality lies with our politicians. 


The Herald Sun has dubbed Victoria “a state of fear” and reported it could undermine the incumbent Labor government’s chances in the November state election. No. Melbourne is NOT in the grip of African crime gangs, albeit a current problem. Indeed, a problem since the arrival of the Eyetalians back in the early 50's. A beat-up, aided and abetted by PM Malcolm Turnbull's political intrusion, sadly jealous of Danny's achievements but eager to take credit for Victoria's created jobs numbers. We appear to live in an age where there are different levels of crime, though I'm guessing they show little difference percentage wise from a decade back. As always our burglaries, now committed almost exclusively by drug addicts, followed by the bigger thefts, jewellery shops, ram-raiding, with near to a form of military precision, (possibly to finance a bigger picture?) and of course the racist angle (including home invasions) aided and abetted by many young people being shut out of the jobs market. [The Greens remain a problem for Labor, but we'll ignore that in the short term.] Our police (with extra numbers) are on the job. Not a time to push the panic button. 


The early 2018 Coalition policy: 'Get Premier Danny Andrews' alongside 'Get Labor' state and federal. Bugger running the country. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who knows not what cathartic means, has blasted the Victorian Labor government over African street crime, claiming residents of Australia's second-largest city were scared to go out to restaurants at night. The Age also front page on Dreadful Dutton followed by our right wing 3AW having a feast on it all, feigning fairness but permanently (though subtle) sticking the boots in. Dutton's the big one. He's our security supremo with access and control over ASIO and the Border Police. Any comparisons historically with other famous gestapos; Saddam, Pol Pot or (more balls than Goebbels) Himmler? Not yet, hopefully never, but it appears to be moving in that direction. Very sad to see a minister with such a huge responsibility behaving like a water rat, or am I being unfair to those water animals? 


My five day residency as a patient in Rosebud hospital October (pneumonia) included severe problems in showering. The shower was a room with a shower, toilet, handwash basin and a rack for a towel. Day 1 the nurse suggested a shower. I declined. Day 2 I checked the space out. The shower was open, no covers for water. The hot tap was much stronger than the cold. Boom; water covering half the space. I declined the offer again, after considering and rejecting putting to her the research (?) on  the connection with over showering and cancer? I sat in my uncomfortable practical bed and thought about it, knowing they well may show pathological tendencies if I did not shower. Nurses are sweeties (the female nurses anyway) but like passive smoking they have their share of (perhaps?) misguided ideas set in cement, moreso with showering. I eventually got to talking to another charming nurse all the way from Egypt. I knew if I showered alone everything would be soaked, except perhaps half of the towel. Day 3 I put it to Miss Egypt: You set the taps for me, leave, re-make my bed while I'm showering, pick up my clean underwear from my drawer, also a clean white gown and a clean towel, then wait outside for my call. Miss Egypt obliged, such a sweety, and passed in the towel on my call, waited, passed in my underwear, waited for my third call, entered, to tie up my gown at the back. Done. Clean as a whistle. The fellow in the bed alongside, big, farmer type, had a shower every morning. "You can't start the day without a shower" he told me. Good for him.


Though-out 2017 I followed the ABC's 'The Drum' weeknights, usually good value until Julia Baird almost reached fanatical heights with the #MeToo campaign later in the year. I've nothing against males being called out for taking liberties with females. This is how it should be, but not to the point of Julia's vendetta against the whole male population, or so it seemed to me. Not  to mention her choice of (Hail Julia) guests. Most nights I deleted after 10 minutes but never when Ellen Fanning (a breath of fresh air) was in the chair. We are now blessed (?) with 'The Summer Drum' with opinionated, pushy, full of himself, 'all things Sydney' Adam Spencer hosting. You have to see this bloke to understand my point of view. Is it 'our ABC'? Not likely. It's Sydney's ABC. Watching Spencer, like Baird, despite the occasional interesting pieces, is almost as painful as sitting through La La Land at the cinema. 


Turnbull and Dutton outdoing Alan Jones as shock jocks? Wouldn't be surprised if Dutton bites Turnbull on the bum in the near future. As my mother used to say, it would 'serve him right'...Hot cross buns and tradition; humbug, buy up...January motto: “Solitude sometimes is best society" [Milton]...Keep yourselves nice; hooroo...www.ello8.com




SmileA Grain of Salt. Monday 1st January, 2018. 

We welcome 2018, as ever, hopefully. The never ending search for leadership, sadly gone walkabout 2017, the constant (impossible?) dream of integrity. New Years Day began so well. Midnight and 14 tons of spectacular light and sound, arguably a waste of money but so nice to see those many thousands (families, kidlets) enjoying. Only 99 drunks in half a million, great odds. Ditto the St Kilda crowds having a ball throughout the day, more importantly most of them behaving. Very much a bright start...until disaster struck! In the form of a Malcolm (coulda) Turnbull virus. Politics intruded on our nightly news like a huntsman on the ceiling above the pillow moving down. His concern (flanked by his little mate, the sweet talking Greg Hunt) for the growing gang violence in 'Dan Andrews Labor government'. If this wasn't enough he shoved cricket onto his (and our) agenda, hosting the teams, a need to 'beat the poms'. Has the man no shame? Almost ruined our New Years Day, all in the name of his politics. Somebody please gag him. Yes, desperate men do desperate things, but really, Malcolm's an embarrassment. I was going to open up my first 2018 blog (my 12th year) with nice thoughts, but the signal for dirt is loud and clear. Who said he who is without sin cast the first stone?


Will this be the year of another world war? Hopefully not, but it will arrive, eventually, and let's face it, this time Australia will not be excused. Hugh Jackman tells us Australians prefer  to 'have a go' rather than play it safe. How would Hugh know; he's never here? Rhonda from Sea Lake says this is not the Australia 'I know and love' but darling Rhonda forgets to tell us what is? Almost 5 million Australians are affected by stress according to a Medibank survey. Maybe an appointment with Doctor Tim Sharp from the Happiness Institute? Cliffy from Rye suggests a regular walk to clear the mind, and stop reading the Herald-Sun? [Cliffie is, always has been, a socialist, ever so slightly leaning left, trusting no-one, either side]. I vote for the Sex Party, but will I stay with them under their new name; the Reason Party? Confusing, pretentious, moving towards becoming Green?


Anna Brown, the Equality Campaign co-chair is willing to 'have a go', saying it’s now time to refocus on trans and intersex rights and gender diversity issues. “It’s only appropriate given how much these groups were targeted by the no campaign. As a movement we have a responsibility to stand by them and make sure they’re not left behind … to amplify their voices.” Good for Anna. More, maybe much more, to come 2018?


Let's call a spade a shovel. With Senator Michaelia Cash as Minister for Jobs and Innovation (If Michaelia is telling the truth about the day of the controversial police raid on the Australian Workers Union I'm Jack Robinson) and Home Security Supremo Dutton calling the shots there's not a lot to anticipate in the positivity sense. No doubt Peter's having a well earned break from Gestapo land checking out his 3 or 4 negatively geared properties. Imagine renting one of Peter's, forever wary; maybe walk around the house in your socks, shoes at the front entrance? The greatest 2017 hypocrisy example was surely our PM taking credit for the yes vote in the marriage equality saga. Not to dwell on politics so early in our new year, suffice to say we await the corporate tax cuts funded by welfare cuts and tax rises for the under $80,000 to see which way the cookies crumble; and Billy Boy's response. I could teach Billy a thing or two, (his 'zingers', his delivery); one wonders who is teaching him? Why spend so much time in the erratic state of Queensland? Terry Walker, Latrobe University writing in The Age says of our Billy "Bill Shorten is factionally compromised". Who isn't Terry?


Ozflix survey: top 5 Australian films. Why not? It's that time of year. Based on how much I enjoyed them at the time: The Year my Voice Broke, They're a Weird Mob, Newsfront, Crocodile Dundee and Muriels's Wedding. Best overseas films: Leon: The Professional and (as always) Casablanca. Worst: Star Wars, all of them. [Luke Buckmaster; Guardian, listed his 10 best Aussie TV shows for 2017. I thought 9 of them were rubbish. Agreed on the 1 - Blue Murder: Killer Cop, for Richard Roxburgh. The top three; Rosehaven, Sunshine and You can't ask That, season 2 were far far away from my tastes. No Utopia, Mad as Hell?


Are we ever redeemed? Perhaps you’ve done nothing wrong? Or you’ve forgotten? No matter how hard we try do we ever overcome our base nature? Are our sins really ever forgiven? The self help crowd will say you have to forgive yourself. I forgive, but my inner voice doesn’t listen. Perhaps the hope of a physical fitness redemption? A hankering of late (combined with more walking, a stone weight loss) and one last trip? Overseas. Three weeks. Short and sweet. A Greek Island. [True, I become bored fast, the past three trips to Sydney abandoned after three nights]. Best to be positive, plan anyway, but don't book until a fortnight prior to the flight. I checked my horoscope, 2018. It reads perfect, in line with my departure date of Friday August 31st: "2018 brings relief and a ray of hope after some challenging & negative times of the last year. You are able to dig yourself out of the hole with the promise of growth, based on opportunities from overseas, a rise in clarity. A very dynamic and unexpected phase of growth will begin on 27th June & continue till 28th August". Perhaps a fantasy, indeed, but fantasy is my specialty. 


[Guardian, Julian Burnside, barrister, human rights and refugee advocate,] Peter Dutton, Christian, boycotted Kevin Rudd’s apology to the stolen generations in February 2008. Like other members of Coalition governments during the past 16 years, he refers to boat people as “illegal”, and he administers a system of detention which shows astonishing cruelty. The leaked transcript of Turnbull's call with Trump shows him at his worst. To suggest that they are worried about refugees drowning is a lie: a fig-leaf to make immoral mistreatment look compassionate. We call them “illegal” and punish them as if they were criminals, explicitly as a deterrent so that others will not try to find safety in Australia. And these dishonest politicians, pretending to be motivated by compassion, overlook altogether that if persecuted people stand their ground and are killed by their persecutors, they are still dead – just as if they drowned; if they die in an attempt to escape to some other country, they are still dead – just as if they drowned. For politicians like Abbott, Turnbull, Morrison and Dutton to say they are worried about boat people drowning is a lie. For them to mistreat asylum seekers in the way they do is a betrayal of the Christian values they cherish. They are dishonest hypocrites". Julian says it so much better than me.


OMG, who let Alexander Downer out of his box?...The ABC News, copying the commercial channels: "Coming up" says the newsreader, followed by a clip, 2 bars of music and a voiceover announcer saying 'That's coming up'. Then it comes up?...Is loveable Barnaby Joyce behaving himself in Canberra? I've heard rumours, but my lips are sealed. Surely nobody's silly enough?..A glaring difference in the way bully boy David Warner celebrated his ton against the classy quiet way of Alistair Cook...Dating scene USA; many women are refusing to date those who voted for Trump. The men have other preferences?...Orchids to Premier Danny Andrews; death with dignity legislation, rental reforms, safe injecting rooms, railway crossings. A man on a mission, for Victoria...As 'the man' Paul Keating once said...”To do what’s right and good gives you the surge. Without the surge, what are you?”...Despite PM Turnbull gate crashing our day: Happy New Year...hooroo...www.ello8.com