A Grain Of Salt 2019

WildA Grain of Salt. The wash-up. May, 2019.

I say again? Looking back: I wrote to the great Gough Whitlam in the 70‘s asking why he supported Indonesia's takeover of East Timor. Days later Gough telephoned, carefully explaining his reasoning. True. He caught me off guard, unprepared, my letter on file. Short term, and in that moment, I agreed to disagree, overcome (for once?) in Gough being on the other end of my telephone line. We who lived through those years were so very lucky. Gough stood head and shoulders (literally and spiritually) above everyone. He was our star, our inspiration, our hope, by a mile. “Optimism, enthusiasm and confidence against fear, prejudice and conformity”. At Gough’s memorial service Graham Freudenberg said “never more than now”. Eventually another arrived, in the form of Bob Hawke. I say again!


Saturday 18th May, 2019. Election Day: Fortunately Collingwood defeated St Kilda during my "nap" time thus providing a back-up in the event of the previously unthinkable disaster, in plain language putting up with "the mouth" of Scotty Morrison for another three years. What can't be cured must be endured, or Labor's too much too soon? Coming to terms with the result, indicating thousands upon thousands of everyday Australians voted in favour of a man who has the interests of the rich becoming richer? Depressing, but sadly no surprise. Not that you would know it around 9pm. The warning signs, the heart pouring out the blood, a likely panic attack. A victory for Scott Morrison on a platform of doing bugger all (as in the rich getting richer) coupled with the weeks of personal attacks by Scotty (and the Murdoch press) on the so called evils of voting for Bill Shorten. Respect the wishes of the Australian voters? I think not. Sad for the way so many Australian voters are lead by the nose, indubitably. The passing of the great Bob Hawke only emphasised the difference rather than help Bill Shorten. Bob walked, talked, danced, pranced like a true blue Aussie. Not so Billy, try as he might, emphasised, again, by his prancing, dancing. Bowman Hall, Blacktown. Where 47 years ago, Gough Whitlam delivered his landmark “It’s Time” speech; Keating’s contribution. All seemingly well and good but on second thoughts, no offence to Billy, emphasising the difference. An old song in and out of my emotional mind - ”It’s not the same anymore, it’s not the same when (they) walked right out that door”. An urgent need for a valium, 2 ml only, to see out the next two hours. "Calm down" I tell myself. I survived Henry Bolte when he hung Ronald Ryan. Bastards. Selfish stupid bastards. Getting too old for these crooks. Switched to a replay of the football; didn't work. Watch it Sunday. Come 11pm the valium does the job. Shorten walks of course, as he had to. The scare campaign, One Nation, Palmer’s United Australia Party, Queensland dickheads, all contributed, but the bottom line was Shorten’s unpopularity. A mystery, albeit a fact. Way back, when Bill was elected leader, most of us thought it a gamble, his connection with the Rudd departure and later the Rudd return ex Gillard, added with his restricted ability to communicate. No blame on Bill, he worked hard at it, but it proved to be the wrong choice. Lacking in adrenaline, a necessary need to communicate, before a big audience. Personalities prevail. I have little (if any) time for Morrison, but in the two horse race against Billy, he won, notwithstanding Shorten’s great back-up team. I liked, believed in his policies, negative gearing, capital gains tax, weekend loadings, wage increases, health and climate change. Not so the additional “bits and pieces” - the electric cars, dividend imputations (justified, but too much too soon?) agreeing to the 5% home ownership deposit, the dental care, the roads in Victoria, too much to bite off, and nothing positive on Adani, despite his common sense reply. We await the future (fate?) of "our" ABC, the refugees on Manus and Nauru, obviously climate change, and additional tax benefits to the big earners. It all added up to scaring the voters. It's like a game of table tennis, forget the point you just lost, focus on winning the next, albeit a 3 year wait. That's what I tell myself anyway, despite a lack of conviction. It could have been worse. Yeah? It could have been grand final night after another Collingwood defeat, by 5 points! Can I last another three years? God only knows, and I'm not so sure about him either. Breathe deeply, from the diaphragm. 


Bad language, dickheads, violence at AFL matches? Always has been, dating back to my time (VFL) during the 50's to 70's. An instinct to stay alert, despite the emotion. Watching from "the outer" at Geelong, danger, in fact for the sake of my health, watch with a closed gob. Almost as bad at St Kilda and the old South Melbourne, not forgetting angry females with umbrellas. She whacked me? A few beers, voice your opinions (particularly the opposition brutality) and whack!...Geelong's Billy Brownless, congratulated Scott Morrison, then bad mouthed the loser (Shorten); poor form, smirked? I've never liked Stan Grant. Likely a nice enough fellow but I see him as a man with a chip on his shoulder and someone to be wary of. No specific reason, dating back to when he replaced my favourite newsreader, Mary Kostakidis. Mind you, I have similar feelings for certain football players from Melbourne AFL teams, many politicians obviously, but the real dodos are the people who blatantly express themselves as more intelligent than you. Some speak the truth, but in showing it they lose me, for life, along with Brownless...Chap at the RSL was telling of how happy his mother was on Sunday morning. Apparently her house is valued at $900,000 but had Shorten been elected he was going to tax it at $200,000. What can I say? The Australian, the Herald Sun, never again. My last blog was The Finale. Hey. Couldn't let it go without letting it all out. Scott Morrison? Remote at the ready, sound off button. Three years...Hooroo. Go Pies. cliffie9@bigpond.com  



KissA Grain of Salt. Finale.

Tuesday 14th May, 2019. The Election: After weeks of nonsense the past week has confirmed the rising number of dickheads we live among. A result of Guardian, the ABC and radio stations covering marginal seats (plus newspapers, letters) asking people their thoughts; if any? Climate change is a seemingly fair comment, despite the suspicion it's based on fear tactics and the wider coverage of weather patterns the world over, rather than scientific knowledge. Many therefore likely to pump for The Greens, which is their right, but useless without details as to Green preferences. [The Greens expect a Labor victory and an increase in their numbers, thus an increase in their power base]. Then the many, on the personalities of Morrison and/or Shorten, ignoring policies? All logical I suppose, considering the rise in the numbers of the undecided. The old 40% rusted on Liberal/Labor is now more in the vicinity of 35% undecided. Of this 30% balance, maybe higher, we have, as always, the “thinking persons” who purport to infer they are thinking about the country as a whole, those who vote for what will/may benefit their pockets, and the rest who wouldn’t have a clue (or interest), with the usual bottom line if cornered “they’re all crooks”. These “dickheads” have always been there, but this time it’s been shoved in our faces to a much higher degree, suggesting, if anything, a lottery come Saturday. The biggest confusion (at my level) is why people prefer Morrison to Shorten? It’s one thing to say you do not like Bill Shorten but another thing altogether to provide a reason why you prefer Scott Morrison, surely a Peter Dutton lookalike, and if not, certainly a follower? Only one of two parties can win, so if you don't go for Billy it comes down to Scotty? One thing is certain, a Morrison victory leaves our ABC on its knees, as does any action on climate change, as does the plight of the 900 asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru, as do the wages of many thousands of part time employees. Infrastructure and health a yes, obviously, ditto the dividend imputation gift, not forgetting Julian Assange, but on school kids I'm not interested, not from a federal point of view. A vote for "It is what it is" and the rich get richer? No. Clearly it's time for a change. Shorten's crowd (classy by comparison) deserve a chance to "have a go", to use Morrison's words. Bill Shorten "Respects the intelligence of the Australian people." Good for Bill. I'm not so sure. Time will tell. 


I'll fade into the distance, slowly, hopefully, retaining a thinking function and warding off the possibility of a rest home. Dying is no big deal but the brain and eyesight can be concerns. I began my nonsense (Salt) back in 2007. This is the finale. True, one needs to keep busy, but even at 83 one also needs change, of sorts. I've been into change for as long back as I can remember. Twenty years a public servant, a lifetime in itself. Keating was spot on, "The nutters are in charge" rusted on during the last few years of those twenty. Forty as an actor, 37 as a part time casual at racecourses and these final 12 years. During all those 67 years my mind has been constantly full of ideas, still is, almost all never acted upon. No big deal. A bit like when I went overseas with darling Mary, 1996 (first time, her 4th, as my offer of compliance?). Darling was off out daily, double decker buses et al while I settled for coffees, on footpaths, smelling the roses and more ideas, including counting the days to return home. Maybe podcasts is the new go? I don't watch television until 7pm and sit there for five hours (all recorded, to fast forward perceived rubbish) and often drift off during a show into yet another brilliant idea, drift back, rewind to where I lost the thread, etc. Maybe settle for the odd opinion on my Facebook page, read a good book, walk more. Or, as Maria Ressa (Rappler co-founder and the political situation in the Philippines ahead of the country’s May 13 midterm elections, the first test of Morrison lookalike Rodrigo Duterte’s continuing hold on popularity) says “There are four noble truths, and the first noble truth is that all life is suffering. And if you accept that all life is suffering, then everything is good. I am not kidding. It really works!” By and large everything has indeed been good for me, albeit almost always the early realisation of a show run by (and servicing, in the main) dickheads. Once realised, one steers a path to suit oneself. A strange world when you think about it. True, I've almost always done it Frank Sinatra's way, and made enemies, but in fact made many more friends, admittedly mostly dead. It's very possible to be nice (to waitresses) and still decide against the restaurant specials, and come out smiling. Particularly tricky as an actor to be sure, near impossible in the public service (building castles) but nevertheless achievable, as I see it, or saw it. I wrote this column in a local paper for 7 years, until a dickhead popped his head up requiring an exit.  The culture of our country is central to its heart and health. Without it we  risk a race of philistines, crude and aimless pleasure seekers. Can't recall who wrote this, but spot on. Cheers to all. It's been fun. xxxx hooroo cliffie9@bigpond.com



Anzac Day, ever a fascination."Spirit of the blitz. What made our country great." said the English chap, eyes glued on the television, supporting his English football team. Here in Australia we do likewise with the Anzacs. Gallipoli and nationalism forever type of thing. My thinking is if past history inspires us to a form of pride, then why not all our past? Do we pick and choose? Can we take pride in the Anzac tradition yet ignore what happened before 1788, nothing to do with us because we weren't there? My father had 1519 days including 1327 as a frontline soldier in the middle East (Libyan campaign, Greece, Crete) and New Guinea. Came home and refused to talk about it for another 5 years, hated Churchill and the RSL. “I’ll never shop at Woolworths again” said the lady, referring to the use of Anzac marketing, seemingly oblivious to our Governments, the RSL, Channel 9, the newspapers and numerous others who have done the same thing increasingly over the past decade, building to a nationalistic crescendo. I attend the service and watch the men and women march with their medals proudly displayed in memory of loved ones. But it always brings me back to what really happened on the Gallipoli peninsula and my father’s memories of those 1327 days on the frontline in World War 2. From historical writings, and first hand from my father, we got a raw deal in both world wars, and it was the unsuspecting Australian service men and women who paid so dearly. Lest we forget?


It becomes more evident that a number of older people have a strong sense of regret about their lives coupled with a singular respect for their actions. We all join the chase (respect) and we all become hypocrites? We want other people to conduct themselves in a certain way (actions & thinking) yet we do not conduct ourselves any differently. Can we behave the way we expect others to behave? No - it’s all bullshit. The better class of ratbags are clearly in evidence at football matches. I watch football on television, being the only ratbag in the room. I can say anything, assuming ASIO has not bugged me. I have enemy mongrels in every football team except those boys in the black and white stripes. Wankers abound in all walks of life. Try an opening of an art gallery. When people respect each others talents & truly work together as a group they are capable of wonderful achievements, even dickheads. The emphasis shifts from self interest to the project at hand. 


The “We know best” society? The no smoking results over the past 10 years, the ultimate aim of banning smoking everywhere, other than in an outside Loo located at least 100 metres from any property or roadway. Members available on call on any subject, from compulsory sun protection in all schools, banning cutting branches off trees, banning dog stools, banning neighbours who leave their bins out too long. They invade the internet, invade suburbs they move into; Northcote, Fitzroy North. Further aims include compulsory daily walks, no alcohol until age 21, no gambling obviously, compulsory weight loss (a favourite), and others yet to be announced. 


I did my share of gambling as a youth and stopped. I later worked at racetracks all over Victoria and met many thousands of gamblers, gaining some insight into the gamblers’ psyche. A very small percentage lose more than they can afford, and in trying to recoup their losses only succeed in more losses, and in some cases, sadly, destroy marriages, or themselves. It’s also true some smoke 50 cigarettes a day, some drink too much liquor and some are sex maniacs. But on this subject of gambling they (the self-righteous) go way overboard. For every sad gambler there’s another 100 who bet within their means as entertainment, be it horses, football, bingo or the lotteries. Men and women, young and old, pensioners, the rich and workers alike. Some spend $150 to see a singer, others $20 a week for the pleasure of it all. It’s not evil. It’s entertainment, and occasional pleasure. 



A large body of evidence, extensive research? On Scotty Morrison, the pensioners friend, adopting the Tony Abbott approach of blaming everything on Labor: Australia’s five-man Junta: Abbott, Dutton, Hunt, Cormann and Morrison? Shorten opposed the government’s tougher assets test on pensions and The Greens again did the dirty on Labor by coming to Scott Morrison’s aid. “Work, save, invest” said Scotty Morrison, and we thought Tony and Joe had left the building? Treasurer Scott Morrison and the medicare rebate, frozen for how many years? "The Liberals are good for small businesses, and the economy, and the workers. The Liberal Party is "absolutely" prepared to fight for the workers". Scotty Morrison's words, not mine. Scotty Morrison on the negative gearing rort: "The vast majority of Australians (lies, nearer 5%) who do it are on middle incomes, they do it as a way of ensuring that they can provide their own future. (and subsidised by some 10 million taxpayers paying more tax). It’s entirely legitimate. (so is Labor's policy?). They make sacrifices (but not as much sacrifice as the other 10 million taxpayers) to do it and in so doing they take a burden off potentially the taxpayer later in life. Scott Morrison's "the best way to drive income tax cuts ultimately is by growing, so our focus is very much on - let's drive the growth" And as Scotty suggests "the best way to drive the growth is to encourage business investment and deliver business tax cuts". What happened to Scotty's "Essentially significant and wide ranging discussions on the housing market"? Christopher Pyne shooting his mouth off on gay marriage, albeit apologising. Morrison was asked to comment on Christopher's blunder. Scotty blamed Labor? Scotty Morrison, Simon Birmingham and Christian Porter, in connecting funding of the NDIS with welfare cuts have successfully stamped their attitude to social concern. The highlighting of these glaring errors shines a mirror into the truth of their personalities? The Department of Immigration and Border Protection, headed by Peter Dutton and previously Scotty Morrison, both candidates for high office in a dictatorship, allow public servants to decide whether or not to send people back to their country of origin, no matter the reception and often the risk to life? 


I spent the first 60 years of my time on earth never having heard of the word organic. You can imagine my relief when I discovered the benefits of this "thing" which was apparently part of much of the food I was eating. "The word organic refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution". I feel better now? No mention of beer or cigarettes. 


"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness” "The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable" [[John Kenneth Galbraith]. Lest we forget?...Hooroo.



CoolA Grain of Salt. 12th April.

"You vote Labor once, you pay for it for a decade" so says ScramMo. Not to be denied, Josh Frydenburg announced "We are back in the black" regardless of the fact we are indeed still in deficit. Let the battle begin, here in Victoria open warfare via the Herald Sun and The Australian with Billy Shorten (and anything remotely critical of Danny Andrews) in their destructive sights. Election May 18, more importantly the day (beginning 1.45pm) we, as in the mighty magpies, play St Kilda; always a healthy sign. Calm and collected, not angry, not depressed. (More on depression later). The thought of seeing and hearing this man spruiking on my television screen (and radio) for 35 days is too much. Besides, I’m far from certain the favourable news polls will transfer into Labor votes, meaning, I have little confidence in the intelligence of the Australian voting public. Morrison’s tactics obvious, throw out dodgy figures (Labor’s tax hike) and when questioned invite Labor to show the real tax hikes, in fact the attempt (and more to follow) to trap Labor into coming to the party on their terms, blanketing the important issues. Likely Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek the best weapon. Not sure what side the fat lady is on. Like a football match, I remain hopeful, with the fast forward button at the ready, particularly if watching Channel 9 news.. 



Some things however, need to be said, particularly in this current climate of straight out lies and half truths. Michaelia Cash and her pathetic attempts to use the electric cars policy as a call to arms for all Ute drivers is best left at that. One dull spark is our Michaelia. The longer as stand-in Prime Minister the longer he enjoyed the aroma of his excrement. Harsh perhaps, but I cannot see any other motivations, a very nasty pasty man, the extra week costing millions in public monies. Add in his Christmas Island venture also costing millions, because he had a tantrum after losing the Medivac vote,  add in his patting Peter Dutton on the back (rather than his backside) for allowing the family of the mega rich Chinese businessman Australian citizenship 2 weeks after meeting him for dinner, add in both of these 'leaders' treating families fleeing from hell for a better lifestyle and copping a form of imprisonment for 5 years, and we surely come nearer to the truth of their character. Believers in self government, 'self' being themselves. Last count Dutton had 8 houses? I said last week we need a change of government, if for nothing else than to apply the necessity of income redistribution. But of course there's much more. No, not Shorten's electric cars. That's a given, eventually. Why Shorten needed to include it now is beyond me. Time enough to bring it forward around (say) 2020/21? I'm giving it all a miss until after the election, possibly forever if Morrison gets in. And we thought the last election run up was bad? This one far too nasty for my sensitive tastes. I've stopped reading the Herald Sun and haven't read The Australian in years. Facebook (with input from The Guardian and Costello's channel 9 at The Age and the ABC) will keep me informed, as necessary, according to my tastes. The big dipper at Luna Park comes to mind. 



Julian Assange will get no quarter from Scotty's coalition (as he got from Theresa May’s superior lot who clearly used it politically viva Britain's political self interest) and I don’t see Shorten sticking his neck out at this election stage, sadly. England and Australia - hail the might of the US of A? No courage, no guts. The judge - “a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own self interest”? A pity Julian wasn’t kicked out after May 18th, our election, assuming a Labor victory. He might have had half a chance. 


Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think? "I could go any day" is my standard throwaway line of the past decade, direct from my father the final 10 years of his innings. Chatting away at the RSL recently, the result of an 83rd birthday. We came up with half a dozen names of deceased members the past 4 years or so and it occurred to me, all bar one were younger than 83? Got me thinking, previously never a serious issue, now in fact a reality. It looms, perhaps not larger but looming enough to make me sit up and appreciate those intangible roses. How do I feel about this? Does it matter? I shuffle rather than stride, I forget things, I can't do things, the eyesight, the voice, the tremor, no female and so on, all on the debit side. What of the credit side? We all have a degree of various superstitions. Maybe say nothing? Eventually I came down (strongly) on the credit side in favour of at least 2022 depending on what handicaps come my way, if none, say, 2026, an even 90? Why? The idea of 'missing' things, simple as that, yet strongly. Presently, the kids, grandkids, sisters, Collingwood, walks, a beer or two, a coalition defeat, a good movie, play, a good book. All positives. True, no sex, but the reality is I've forgotten how. Are you listening, God of the Genes? It's those old jiving competitions as a kid. The 4 bar beat, 50 or so couples, and some mongrel would come up and tap you on the back - you're out! Bastard! Look elsewhere Mister God. I'm staying.....hopefully? If  the coalition wins I'm out of politics forever. If Labor wins I'll be back, urging Shorten to act on his promises, adding in the Manus/Nauru people, in bringing them to Australia, including Julian Assange.


Life can be frustrating, however free one is from drama. We tend to get ourselves into a position, however innocent, to be to others what we perceive as required behaviour. It can follow that if there are too many who expect this required behaviour it can be a burden, causing a feeling that one wants to break the mould, the masquerade. So a hankering for the real truth, the real you, and so to the decision: to continue on as before and everyone is happy, or break out into your very own truth? Almost always, the masquerade has gone on for so long that it has become the truth, and so your interpretation of the real you...is but a fantasy. Mind you, at my age it's too late for anything exciting anyway. Haha.



Open plan living's the go. Those in the know, know. Sixteen metres from the sweeping kitchen to the lounge room, pool table, a 5 seater couch, looking out onto the decking, pool & spa. The dining table surrounded by eight high backed rarely sat on chairs. Double showers obviously, glass walls, three toilets, massive main bedroom, ensuite with sunken bath and a triple garage. Happiness?...Israel Folau, surely a fan of Michaelia?...Daylight saving, one lousy hour, that's all it is. Someone please explain why it takes 3 days to adjust?...The country that first domesticated the cat was Egypt. Mickey Mouse’s first words on film were “Hot Dogs”. Shakespeare’s comedies are not really funny, but at least everyone lived happily ever after, or, despite what the Labour Party thinks “compassion” does not belong just to them...And Geoffrey Rush, no corroborating evidence. Enough said. Great result, so far...[Stanislavsky: "It is not what is transmitted by the words but what is underneath them." It can’t be done in TV because there’s nothing underneath and nothing to transmit. The nature of TV is action, period.]...Hooroo...Cliffie...www.ello8.com


HeartA Grain of Salt. 5th April.

A multi-gag comedy act closing a medicine show? The budget, double dutch. When was the last one that came to pass? A book figure (a guessing game, a mirage) meaning nothing much to almost all of us. High-income earners at $200,000 getting more than $11,000, compared to $255 for someone on $35,000, eventually. An NDIS shortfall of billions, money previously budgeted not spent. Shaky assumptions, if proved to be near enough to accurate (which hasn't happened in the past decade) depending on the result of next month's election. Custer's last ditch to win the election, particularly hypocritical infrastructure announcements for Victoria; Danny Andrews - a Sydney infrastructure budget? More government spending and more tax cuts, top end mainly, as in a promised surplus (next budget?) yet doubling our national debt? No pay rises but tax cuts receivable coming soon,  mostly for those comfortably off (and even more for this group well into 2025, if they're silly enough to believe). For the unemployed a one off peanuts, effectively bugger all. Will it transfer  into votes? Yes, up to a point. Tradies for example (by and large) don't read the fine print. They (think they) see the dollars. My question: Is the budget an insult to the intelligence of the Australian voter? A big yes, but what would I know? I personally feel for three issues, namely climate change, the cruel, disgusting treatment of asylum seekers and the secrecy laws under Peter Dutton, more stealth, less freedom, big brother, and Newstart, sadly, nary a mention. We of the never never. This mob has had their chance, chances, time to try the other mob. If for nothing else than the necessity of income redistribution.  ScoMo ScramMo?



An alternative point of view? "The Daily Telegraph and its stablemates have taken the blowtorch to Labor’s climate policy, labelling it a “lunchbox tax” across numerous news stories, editorials, graphics and opinion pieces. The barrage of negative stories is in sharp contrast to the glowing previews of Scott Morrison’s first budget as prime minister which the publications say will bring tax relief for millions of workers”.  Rich workers? Hmm.



It's arrived, right on time, for the umpteenth time; Health minister Flinders Greg Hunt's massive colour brochure with a mere 8 pictures of our Greg and money to burn, from mens sheds to life saving clubs to youth mental health to climate solutions to (subject to Dan matching it) $5 million for an Aquatic Centre. It's big, it's beautiful. Not that I blame him. After the disaster of attempting the big one on the tails of Peter Dutton, and money to burn (albeit on a promise only) why not? As I've  said - Greg's a shoe in.



"I have no recollection of that". From our stand-in PM Scott Morrison, and his $9 billion plan (idea?) to detain those on bridging visas, one of his many one liners, vacuous, the path of fear and prejudice, the path to another 3 years of coalition disaster? From a Christian? 



I've had no brief for Eddie McGuire since Nathan Buckley's appointment 2012, now mellowed, (as indeed Nathan has mellowed, along with the addition of two assistant coaches) and yet, again they come at him, in particular the Sydney president, a personal vendetta (in company with Caroline Wilson) perhaps, including disingenuous complaints from the supporters of 17 other AFL clubs, ignoring the truth, plain straight nonsense; the coin toss. Best they ask themselves "Am I truly disgusted by the comment or is it because I can't stand Eddie McGuire?" A gaffe yes, intentional, no. The number of people who wrote complaining to newspapers gives rise to the question; Is Eddie's more evil than Pauline Hanson, Fraser Anning? Silly of course, but a reasonable example of the degree of bias among football followers. Get a life?  



I was asked about writing. It's all I have left, having little or no knowledge of the mysterious tool box, screw drivers et al, once the property of my late wife. I can spend 3 hours writing and by the time I've prepared lunch realise it was all rubbish. I can go to bed happy with what I wrote and around 7am the next morning it occurs to me yesterday's 1200 words was peppered with nonsense. Other times happy, but not so (apparently) from the odd email. The danger (ever present) of writing to please others, also perhaps putting yourself down after reading the work of the many superior writers. At some point in the equation, like most things in life, you write to please yourself. It's done, it's yours, put it away and move on. I miss gardening, but once I get down I can't get back up? I advised the lady nicely (if serious) to look up  Catherine Deveny.



Real life answers, unlike theories, are something we live with; no answers in fact. I can go for months not thinking about unknown answers, then one morning say 5am I wake early but lay there, not so much thinking positive, more letting the mind wander, part subconscious, drifting, aimlessly or otherwise. I always think I write for something to do, a need to keep busy, to feel alive. Not so says the rare morning thoughts. I wanted Mum's approval, always, even now, more than 50 years after? Nothing to do with writing or any other specific. To do with everything. All for Mum? Maybe something happened as a whippersnapper, forgotten? Before you know it 7am has arrived, phone alarm. Rise and (try) to shine. Interesting. Truth or theory, ignore, I'll never know? Later, maybe in a week or so, it returns. The dodderings of a silly old man, too much time alone. A long walk, cobwebs. Answers to the backline. Ever onwards?  



Greens Sarah Hanson-Young "Streaming services such as Netflix and Stan (and Amazon and any others who might enter the space) should be forced to spend 10 per cent of income earned in this country on original Australian content. They would also be obliged to promote that content to their subscribers". Hear hear. Are you listening dreamer PM Billy?



Seven winners from 19 matches; bugger the football tipping...Saw "Play Misty For Me" Clint Eastward, 1971. I take a while to catch up. Right up there as the worst movie, ever, writing and acting, IMDb 4 stars; they're kidding?...Brian Lake, a football thug, caught up with, at last...Political correctness via the left wing feminist 'Army' and the consistency of the 'pay gap' nonsense, the more they get the more they want, ever to the fore; save my soul...Will social media platforms influence the election, indubitably...Gambling is a disease, but the bottom line is the pathetic attempt to obtain money without effort, with apologies to the majority who do so for simple pleasure...Always the way? You don't realise how good it is until it's in the past...We await the judgement of the Federal Court (Geoffrey Rush) this coming Thursday...Beauty is intellectually confusing - it sabotages common sense. The secret of contentment is never to allow yourself to want anything which reason tells you you haven’t a chance of getting...[“The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but will follow their own desires and will collect themselves more and more teachers who will tell them what they are itching to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3) ...Hooroo...Cliffie...www.ello8.com




LoveA Grain of Salt. 30th March.

Song: 'All over the Place' by Tommy Trinder? "He's here, he's there, he's everywhere? Sums me up this past week. Or was it the shock of a Collingwood victory over Richmond? Watched it 3 times. Years ago I did a 6 months stint in Canberra working in the Navy Department. Had a jiving contest to the Buddy Holly song Rave On with one Patricia McKinly. Patricia won, after 19 plays. I've been raving on ever since. Not so now, travelling at half speed. The internet blog is an open road, without cars, peppered obviously with ratbags, here in Rye, the world over. We welcome them. A dull old world without them. By nature they whinge, as we do, and any form of bad luck, be-it unable to find a tissue for a runny nose, and they look to place the blame, anywhere but in themselves. Ever downwards? Facebook helps, the odd smart arsed comment, hopefully sucking them in, but like newspaper editors, the degree of control makes it only satisfying up to a point. West Coast Eagles player Liam Ryan copped racist comments. We ponder, had he been a Collingwood player, non aboriginal, would he have copped that minor fine for a head butt, or a 4 week suspension? Magpie Mason Cox a week for protecting himself? Can't go there; we let it pass. Moving to more important matters, seemingly (a favourite word) important, but sadly, from both sides (of politics) l ask, in fact plead, for real emotion. Labor appearing calm, calculated, a set of policies most (but not all) of which I agree with but delivered similar to checking the letter box for the mail rather than any true feelings; empathy and love on permanent holiday, even uplifting enthusiasm? In football terms "Have a go ya mug!" Liberals come at us in a form of emotion called hate, resentment, sort of like "How dare they take our ball home! Not always, as in lucky Scotty? The Christchurch madman episode coupled with the One Nation badly dressed Blues Brothers to the USA for gun control money, drunk or otherwise, unexpectedly giving Scotty an opportunity to shine, albeit he took a long time to realise his good fortune. Empathy, disgust on show, a principled Scotty? A set of policies coming out of keeping what's theirs (and more) and never the twain shall meet, throwing us the odd bone as leftovers from their Peking Duck. The emotionless Greens, the implication of saying things hoping we can agree, a niceness, served with self righteousness. One Nation are straight out fraudsters better left alone and the Nationals are still subject to the cancerous Barnaby influence. Best they kick him out and get on with their farming. Guardian Essential poll: Labor remains ahead of the Morrison government 52-48. Right now it's all about health care and cost of living (power) expenses rather than climate action and islamophobia. April almost upon us, first the budget then the election announcement. Aside from the Herald Sun, The Australian and Sky News usual right wing views, we have the subtleties of The Age and Channel 9 News, front page the likes of 'Frydenberg vows to lift wage', including a piece (of nothing) about John Setka, as in connecting up the problems for Billy Shorten, the suspicious banner of fairness; get used to it. Core Liberal values or a far right factional line? Kooyong a fascination, money pouring in for Josh. Why? He may well be a dill but surely a shoe in despite Labor also putting up cash for their nomination. Ditto Greg Hunt, another shoe in (a Louis Vuitton?) and far from a dill. Greens Sarah Hanson-Young coming on strong with the media “reorienting priorities” to put “public interest journalism and the public good” ahead of profits. If the lady gets her way with this one I'm applying for a name change: Jack Robinson. [Jack Robinson was one we used many years ago, along the lines of a 'monkey's uncle']. Incidentally, a bit for our stand-in PM Scotty to consider. The (so called) thousands missing out on dividend imputations, negative gearing and capital gains tax when he, in fact, affected the income of many thousands by lowering the assets test threshold, reducing some to a part pension, and others (part pensioners) to no pension at all. Herewith endeth this week's rave. 



AFL: Football commentators have a life of Reilly. Week before round 1 and lots said about who would win and why. Most got 3 winners (from 9) and quickly reverted to the praises of the upset winners. I got 4 by picking Geelong. Two from two round two; so far. An automatic suspension for punching, 3 reported, 3 found guilty and none suspended? So much for banning the punch, until (after severe criticism) this week. All commentators praised the new rules, knowing full well where their bread is buttered. Collingwood won so (apparently) favourites again, temporarily. Such is life. A season of watching matches and turning the sound off between quarters, particularly the likes of Matthew Richardson, Dermott Brereton and Nick Riewoldt. As for AFLW star (Tayla Harris) and the ban on the 'original design' T shirt ex trolls of the picture creating graphic comments? Been going on since WW2, Betty Grable, who supposedly insured her legs for $1million dollars, the pin-up darling of the United States Navy. Coach of an AFLW team? Attractive females in shorts, beautiful legs; trolls? Inevitable?  


Can we behave the way we expect others to behave? No - it’s all nonsense. The better class of ratbags are clearly in evidence at football matches. That’s why I watch football on television. I’m the only ratbag in the room. I can say anything, assuming Peter Dutton has not bugged me. I have enemy mongrels in every football team except those lovely boys in the black and white stripes. Mind you wankers abound in all walks of life. Try an opening of an art gallery. Stand there, staring, and await a passer-by (preferably female) to tell you what she sees? Listen, maybe agree, then respond, something sensible, for example. "I see green, a forest, the wilderness at risk". You'd be amazed at her response, or not. I tried this once at an opening. Going well, until the invited VIP, Greg Hunt, made a speech. I went out for a smoke after 15 minutes (my God, how that man can rave on) and when I returned he was still at it; forgot  the female art lover, went home. 


A job for Billy Shorten, quickly, when elected? Robo-debt, Centrelink. Threatened to charge daily interest, garnish wages or seize funds from the bank accounts of vulnerable people if they fail to repay alleged overpayments, some of which may have accumulated over many years. Warned of a potential ban on overseas travel, legal action or forfeiture of tax refunds if payment is not received within 14 days. In many cases, the overpayments have arisen because of Centrelink’s mistakes, rather than through any fault of recipients. The obvious wrong of guilty before innocent, catch some crooks, destroy the peace of mind of the innocent. Three, four. ten years ago, who remembers, who keeps records? A mongrel policy; needs to be put on the scrap heap. 


A roadside test for fatigue. God save us from the researchers...The Footy Show on 9 (AFL) with Anthony "Lehmo" Lehmann, Neroli Meadows and Brendan Fevola; no, thank you very much...I'm a bit Princess Pauline's way on the Al Jazeera nonsense. True, she has a long list of types she hates, and sadly (unlike this blog) people take notice, which is the real danger, but Al Jazeera? James Ashby and Steve Dickson, One Nation. "Tell 'em they're dreamin"...DannyAndrews shuns advice on pokies; heavily criticised? Human nature is a given. Better the 'goodies' spend their time on far more important issues....My quarterly electricity bill arrives next week. The beauty of smoking 25 cigarettes a day, cutting to 20 during April and a saving of $165; non erit sollicitum, no worries...Female bullies; Teena McQueen, federal vice president of the Liberal party on ABC's Q&A...When the interviewee responds: "That's a really good question" does it infer the other questions were a pain in the bum?...Squirming, meaning? Scott Morrison fronting Waleed Aly...Why the set against the Shooters Party? Isn't it an olympic sport?...More bucks compliments of Scotty for a fast train service to Catland. Hey Scotty, (and Billy) ever heard of the Mornington Peninsula?..."You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy" [Eric Hoffer]...Hooroo...Cliffie...www.ello8.com



Big GrinGrain of Salt. 23rd March.

ENERGY: The lucky last blog? 2007 - 2019. Birthday boy; 83 yesterday. The motivation remains, energy levels fast descending, Time to attend to unfinished business, slow motion, chucking out half the crockery in the cupboards, old taxation files, checking all the drawers, a final attempt (unlikely) to re-write (chuck?) those plays I wrote for a few years, late 1990's. Contemplate, meditate; previous unintended consequences, higher sense of anxiety, fear of death, balancing the good and bad? All come to mind at birthday time, not specifically, not urgently, but here, odd thoughts late in life, mostly set aside in favour of watering the garden or out for coffee, a beer, cigarettes - and a blank mind, recalling those Greek men and women on an island, sitting there, all day, hardly a word between them, expressionless, seemingly contended, say hello and they respond, smiling, 'yasou' temporarily? Washed out or washed up, sometimes hard to tell the difference. The aches and pains do nor subside, indeed increase, instantly forgotten when a disaster of Christchurch proportion arrives, the glaring reminder of how lucky we are as combined with the bastards in our midst. Perhaps some sort of retrospective advantage? Mum taught me to get off my bum, Dad taught integrity, his interpretation. I, like many others, grew up loving both parents? Not that I've begun doing any of the above. It's in the planning stage, not for the first time. In perpetual planning devoid of action; ever thus? This time a year ago I mused I'd be lucky to reach 83. Right now I'm not sure I want to reach 84. The pain of another AFLW series, the consistently devious Scott Morrison, soon to promise us (not necessarily on his heart) goodies? A need as ever, for a future. A dozen Collingwood victories, the defeat of this coalition government? [Way back, 1970, I took a 6 months break from my Saturday casual job to watch Collingwood, certainties, win the premiership, won by Carlton. 49 years on I'm getting the same feeling, not quite, early days; older and wiser? More likely yet again hope, everlasting, something to look forward to?] Change is the problem, as always. Who likes change? OK, we put up with change, but never to confuse the word with 'progress'? The coffee cafe disappeared and a $4 million upgrade of the Rye RSL resulted in a loss of its soul. The Bistro, the characters, the smoking area outlook, all gone in favour of what? An auditorium, or more appropriately, as suggested by one member, a barn, for  poker machines and profits? The seniors fish and chips at $20, and no bread rolls? My blog runs till the end of November so I'll post occasionally but mainly old stuff, 2007 onwards, if the mood arrives. And tomorrow? Tomorrow we press on. 83 is a nothing age really. Looking forward to the big one; 2036, surely including one more Collingwood premiership? Depressed, no. Rattier, probably. ["Every man desires to live long; but no man would be old." Swift]. Birthdays, a pain in the bum. I'll be fine in a day or so. 



I seem to recall this government telling us how increased productivity would "come on down" in some sort of form, dribbles, yet I've heard nothing convincing enough about increases in wages, and lots on productivity increases, meaning (to my small mind) widening the difference between them and us. An observation rather than a personal worry, a concern for the young. Corporate profits from 2016 up 40%. Wages? True to form Scotty concentrates on the small business man or woman and the additional wage rise sending them broke, sacking someone, ignoring the corporate greed. A form of lying, his specialty. The ties that unbind: Our Prime Minister, on asylum seekers (inference re paedophiles, murderers, rapists) supporting Peter Dutton suggesting they take housing and hospital spots from Australians, a nonsense. Add in his comments on terrorism, specifically, “radical extremist Islamist terrorism”. The 'blame game' thrives in Australia, presently spot on with those two dangerous males, Morrison, Dutton; toxic bigotry, islamic phobia? We sacrifice the lives of innocent asylum seekers by this border protection policy, the added danger of forcing them to return to the danger which they fled from. ELECTION 5/2019: Scotty Morrison + Barnaby Joyce = Billy Shorten? Surely past the post, or will our wolf don a woolen jumper come the election date announcement? We look forward to discovering the real Bill Shorten; the soul, if any? Also interesting is how the coalition sets itself up after the election, assuming we cop Billy. Whatever, at the very least Peter Dutton loses his Home Affairs portfolio. If Labor has any sense it will split up this gestapo power clique, the AFP and ASIO under separate ministers, sooner rather than later. Genealogy? Fraser Anning out of Pauline Hanson out of John Howard, compliments of Phillip Adams. Enough! As Mister Whitlam said - "It's Time!" 'The bottom line', to use that ridiculous phrase, is not to get ahead of ourselves. All politicians live in Lah Lah land; big money, big allowances, big indexed superannuation. All cost increases charged to the Bunnies; us. Will Billy be different. Not sure, but pretty sure he'll be better than the present lot. 



Facebook of late has been overrun by do-gooders exiting the woodwork via some weird form of self righteousness best left alone. We all like the opportunity to express our opinion but (sadly) all in all, it's close to reminding me of the 'Your Say' daily 2 page job in News Media's Herald Sun. An upgrade by many in the blame game. And the share concept? Share (or like) if you want to save those noisy crickets? I'm surprised no-one has asked me to share/like Fraser Anning? Bugger off. Finally, please, I beg of you, do not include this nonsense - "Like if you support...whatever."


Strewth. Still recovering from the master, Kerry O'Brien's retirement. Now 774 entertaining smartarse Jon Faine (end of this year) and Barrie Cassidy sometime in June, not to mention Sarah and Tony Jones scarpering overseas. Ita's new broom at 'our ABC' more important than ever before? Virginia Trioli for Insiders? So long as it's not the lovely Annabel.



The Guardian. Tuesday 19/3/19. Israeli shelling: Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said the attack was "outrageous and unjustifiable" and demanded "accountability and justice". The UN said its officials had repeatedly given details of the school and its refugee population to Israel. At least 15 people, mostly children and women, died when the school in Jabaliya refugee camp was hit by five shells during a night of relentless bombardment across Gaza. More than 100 people were injured.


Collingwood, big named stars in their eyes, beaten, the same way Geelong beat them 2018. All 4 emergencies (Goldsack, Sier, Greenwood, Crocker) should have played. Team players more important than stars. Has the Collywobbles returned? I'll let you know next Saturday. If Collingwood remain favourites I''m Jack Robinson. 



So much for direct action as a result of the banking royal commission/royal omission?...For some weeks now I've made no mention of The Greens. That's because there's been nothing worth mentioning...Interview with Tarrant's grandmother, a Nine News (invasion) exclusive. World's stupidest question, Hannah Sinclair "What would you say to him if you saw him?"...The Eggboy, a hero to many, not quite, violence?...Why do AFL footballers wives all look alike?...Why do far right ringleaders wear tight T shirts?...In the scheme of things political, we Victorians can be thankful we have Danny Andrews as Premier, as it stands, presently, head and shoulders above any other politician in Australia....Orchids to another star, Senator Penny Wong, the quiet star, who landed this year’s McKinnon Prize for Political Leadership, the University of Melbourne’s school of government....Hooroo...James A FitzPatrick “And so we say farewell to ???...Cliffie...www.ello8.com




KissA Grain of Salt. 16th March.


THE WEEK PAST: My cafe of 18 years is no more. 'Maggies' gone. Sign on the door, business for sale? I was due my next coffee, free! Progress, the dirty word? Labour Day long weekend, the celebration of the 8 hour working day, March 11, a fascinating visit to the Rye RSL, witnessing the holiday visiting players, far removed from the day to day reality players. Swaggerers, from Melbourne surrounds, loud voices, seemingly important, mainly males, dressed like car salesmen, golf shirts tucked in, Liberal voters perhaps, my lips sealed, a one pot Cliffie visit a necessity, in and out. Tried the White Cliffs cafe. Met the ladies after their pilates exercises, apparently to improve physical strength, flexibility, posture and enhance mental awareness. No evidence sighted, but nice to chat with, and after the (visiting) RSL important males, anything was an improvement. Why? At my age (friends gone to God) I still have the need for company, in any form. One can't live on the computer. Proust said "In life we end up doing whatever we do second best". No idea what I could have done best, unless it was my ability to pick a 'shonky' from 100 paces, which I still retain, thankfully. Reminding me of one of life's supposedly most important skills; the interview. I tended to judge the interviewers' rather the reverse, their form of tribalism, trivialism, or was it the assumption of privilege? Still recall my first. Six years in the job, obviously first choice, albeit a hint of the larrikin, and had to run the gauntlet? Three of them, knew I was gone before I opened my mouth. In the nicest possible way told them to shove it. Later the word change to audition, worse, turned up to at best half of those arranged through my agent, who meant well. Occasionally put in my best if it was for a big money commercial but generally no go, in fact often not bothering to learn the mainly ridiculous lines. A shoulder chip? Bill Lawry’s catchcry ‘It’s all happening’ springs to mind, a week of opinions front and centre. Mens, womens clubs nonsense. Only the one club for mine, the RSL, cheaper beer. George Pell, sentenced, subject to appeal, sad stuff, but understandable. Inadequate? Inarguable, apart from the revenge motif for some, maybe, but not necessarily, with a tad of self guilt? Billy Shorten, vague on a wage increase, strong on abortions, flimflam? PM Scotty relatively quiet, tonsillitis? Not forgetting the school kids, climate change, wakening the brownshirts? What would Proust know anyway? [Marcel Proust Remembrance of Things Past. Sometimes quoted as the greatest novel in the world. My late wife gifted me the three book series. Got half way through book one and the character was still in bed?] Second best? Switched to Le Carré, and hero George Smiley...  



POLITICS: 54-46 one lot, 53-47 another. Anticipation? Scotty looking very happy. Perhaps the satisfaction of being PM, albeit a stand-in, the height of his expectations, opportunity, now forever happy as a 'previous' PM, subject to all those 'previous' PM's perks, for the rest of his natural Christian life? Scotty on International Ladies Day "We don't want to see women rise only on the basis of other people doing worse" has some sort of masochistic ring to it? Beware of upsetting the female mafia Scotty. Suggest you watch The Drum ABC 6pm weeknights to witness what you're up against. Way back before Christmas we were looking at the long road to the election in May and with it the pain of Scotty's tsunami mouth on boat arrivals and a closed mouth on climate change. Voila! Already mid March and bearing down fast. An unexpected increase in the price of iron ore, add in $5 billion to play with; tax reductions? Not over until the fat lady sings? Maybe the fat lady (plump, sorry) is presently doing her voice warm-ups? Maybe Scotty's iron ore bonanza will allow him to join Shorten's push for an increase in the 'living' wage. Flying pigs! Let's not anger the bosses, the shareholders. Apparently (we) pensioners due for a $10 fortnightly increase, or 9 cigarettes. Smiling? 


We (well, I) thought Tracee Hutchinson was the nomination for Flinders against our handsome Greg Hunt. Not so as it happens, choosing unknown (so far?) 27 year old Joshua Sinclair. A strange choice and good luck to the boy, but as I see it he (along with Julia Banks) will fall at the death come May. In a way it's a pity I'm approaching 83. I quite like the idea of running for election in Flinders (as an Independent obviously) against our  man, Greg Hunt. After all these years he's beatable, not that I think he will lose. Still, the chance of beating Greg would be on a par with winning powerball. Resident political peacock, sexy Barnaby Joyce, putting his never ending ambitions before the coalition national good. The Age suggested PM Scotty hauled Joyce 'over the coals'. Coal, interesting? Joyce has deaf ears anyway. Enough said on this one. 



RELIGION: "Mike Willesee, in his last two decades, returned strongly to his Catholic faith and a convinced belief in God. His life-changing event was the witnessing of miracles. Quite properly, he began as the very sceptical journalist and became convinced, after subjecting various inexplicable phenomena to scientific appraisal, that divine intervention was the only explanation", so said a letter writer to the newspaper, and others in like mode. People have been doing what Mike did for centuries, including the odd famous atheists. Double talk if it suits your purpose by all means, but as I see it merely a simplistic example of having a bit each way, and why not? Safe than sorry? A form of confession, the 'just in case' principle. Hail Mary. Hail Saint Peter. Then there's George - "Presumed to affect long term mental and physical harm." George Pell, Doctor of Philosophy, Oxford university, unique, sentenced, subject to appeal, 6 years, non parole, 3 years 8 months, sad stuff, but understandable. Inadequate? Full marks to the judge in broadcasting the reasons for his decisions. With a touch of luck this may have an effect on those idiots who read a headline then scream at the decision with no knowledge of what went on in court? Will this result in a Hail from Saint Peter? That's up to George. And we? We, will never know. 



SPORT: Aussie rules, or (like horse racing) the mythical bottom line; money. If it aint broke, don't fix it? The AFL can't help themselves. What was wrong with 2018? Other than the usual problem of interpretive umpiring (here forever) and the 50 metre penalty being too harsh (should be 40 metres) it was a good year. No chance. A host of new rules, nine in fact, to make the game faster? Why? As it stands (stood?) injuries regularly ruin a team's performance. The possibility of a double 50 metre penalty and positional rules after each goal. Who decided and who benefits? Already (again) the call for a twilight grand final despite the majority in favour of keeping the day as it is. Not this year, but it's coming. More people watching later in the day, more advertising revenue? Bugger the football followers. The AFL, stuff up merchants. Do I still follow the AFL? No choice, I'm a magpie, but I wouldn't give the AFL my loose change after presenting a $5 note for a cup of coffee. And Gerard Whateley, AFL360? He's in their pocket, and Murdoch's. Ho hum...



What is the biggest advantage of the iPad? Easy. It shuts up the ankle biters, most of the time. On the other hand if we have a day off for the GF, why not for the kids?...Should the AFP be part of Peter Dutton's army? No, but like Sir Rupert, we are stuck with it...OK to use Federation Square as a celebration of a hoons fast car grand prix race, but not to have an Apple shop?...The fascination of the United Australia Party and Clive Palmer. Spending a fortune, why? Where does his (or someone's) money come from?...An appeal by Sean Christian Price (convicted murderer, rapist) for a reduced sentence had his 41 years reduced to 40?...It's not easy being ignorant. I can buy sourdough bread at Aldi, Woolworths, Bakers Delight, and they're all different?....'Four Corners' last Monday. No going through Dubai ever again, for Cliffie. Rich brutal arabs?...The difference between 9 News and Sky News; none...“If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less, but to dream more, to dream all the time.” [Proust],...Brenton Tarrant, neurological, words fail me...hooroo...Cliffie...www.ello8.com



WildA Grain of Salt. 9th March.

Labour Day weekend. A multicultural Rye and loving it. Not quite. A 7am coffee hour at my local cafe and revert (run?) home to hermit status. Could Malcolm (the fantasist) Turnbull (accused his former colleagues of sabotaging its election chances for the sake of destroying his leadership) have won the May election? Julie Bishop? One liners specialist, foreign aid cuts specialist, social gatherings of note specialist. Currently playing the female card; where was the lady when Lord Tony was getting stuck into Julia Gillard? And loveable Scott Morrison, can he win? As of now it's a case of the people voting against a party (the coalition) rather than a vote for Billy Shorten's crowd. Dear reader, you don't have to read on. These days (12 days short of 83) I post a column and my brain winds down (on holidays?) for at least 5 days, engaged in important matters like morning coffee, afternoon nap, 2 beers, Woolworths, eating, showering and watering. Eventually, Saturday returns, and compliments of The Age a ping returns, a blog required, a 4 hour job. A vague feeling of feeling useful. Pathetic, I know. Ever onwards. Speaking of onwards... 



Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war, to Christmas Island; Scotty's necessary visit? Three more sitting days, at budget time, (surplus or doctored?) till the long (seemingly never-ending) road to election day. Ministers gone, almost certainly to have remained under Malco. Christopher Pyne's chutzpah, more the stand-up comic, and a pension around $3,500, the same as Julie Bishop, A WEEK, for life, no doubt indexed. Danny Andrews critics still complaining of the East West link $1 billion loss yet quiet (unsurprising) on Scotty’s $1 billion plus for Christmas Island merely because of being miffed on the floor of parliament with the medivac bill vote. Be interesting hearing a liberal voter justifying this nonsense, including the cost of the flight there for no reason? Incidentally, when you read of the sadness of shareholders, those dividend imputation credits, maybe ponder on why our PM increased the threshold for full pensioners and reduced the aged pension assets test?



Who wins if Labor wins? Tony's mob and Dutton, assuming elected, in so far as maintaining their power within their clique? But in opposition? There's lots to be questionable about our present coalition government but until the election date is announced it's all basically fairy floss. True, both sides announcing policies but nothing to shock the pants off us, unless you're in line for an abortion. Tanya Plibersek yet again displaying her 'goody two shoes' light green personality. The current Schomo tactic of re-interpreting Treasury or ASIO to further political aims, low life stuff easily read unless your a Simple Simon, or, to be fair, a Simple Simone, also backing Prince Peter; the arrival of refugees to Australia for medical care would “displace” Australian citizens from medical services, a proven nonsense as responded by our medical professionals. Scotty again "I respect the independence of the ABC as our government always has." Even Simon and Simone would not fall for this rubbish. Historically we have Labor and Liberal voters, generally opposed to any policies other than their own, the Cockies (Nationals) who generally resent Labor God knows why, but then, a party re-considering Barnaby Joyce is beyond even basic intelligence, The Greens (also known as The Invaders) and thus the real influence on the result, the swinging voters, swinging being far from any connection with the reality of those sex obsessed 'swingers'. They vote according to a combination; their kicks (pockets) and the degree of naivety in assessing the 'fear' problem, which of course is what Scotty is relying on, for good reason, evidenced historically time and time again. Then of course we have young Josh Frydenburg, a Lotus Land Kooyong resident on the housing market collapse, again disproven, on Labor's tax policies hurting the poor? On the one hand a coalition victory means they rule the roost, matters like Centrelink's Robo-Debt programme, the principle of guilty before innocent, the encouragement of whistleblowers (dobbers) and the sophisticated distance (widening) between them and us, or the party of do-gooders, the vague promises of wage increases, taxation justice and upgrading the NDIS, aged care and hospitals. Judging by the multiple opinions via Facebook and twitter it's a different ball game in this day and age. Or is it? People complain if a fly lands on them. At my local RSL one charming lady wanted to know why the dedicated smoking area (shoved down the back opposite the pokies) was so luxurious? Then there's the sex scandals, Pell and others, likely to sway anyone who has a higher degree on their 'self' opinion. Politics? I'll say no more, for now.



Complaints of too many people smoking cigarettes in movies; those who watch almost 3 times as likely to start smoking, naming Universal Studies the main suppliers. Followed by another peanut on Faine's 774 telling of his success the past 20 years in reducing the number of smokers. nary a word on the influence (necessity?) to restrict them due to the exorbitant tax here in Orstralia. Give me a break. We get some doozies.



‘‘Sex is broken,’’ said American Orthodox Jewish rabbi Shmuel ‘‘Shmuley’’ Boteach on the ABC’s Q&A program. ‘‘Sex is about intimacy,’’ he proclaimed. ‘‘Sex is the motion that brings forth emotion.’’ Reminds me of The Crew Cuts and their hit song Sh Boom Sh Boom. "Oh, life could be a dream, she boom, if I could take you up in paradise up above." Speaking of sex, something long gone from my harmless repertoire, sexual harassment is one area that affects all women but where the weakest can suffer most. The #MeToo movement has highlighted the cases in which even successful female actors have faced harassment and kept silent for fear of damaging their careers. They would know of course, and I don't dispute it, but in my 40 odd years in the game I never witnessed it. Smelly feet? Apparently single women into their 50's cop it the most. Not at the Rye RSL. 



Guilt? Dreams or nightmares? It began with the girl next door, no idea how but murdered her, in a room upstairs near our back fence. For 15 years on and off, until one morning I awoke and realised no female in particular and no room upstairs. Never again. Moved on to another female, this time specific, murdered but no details, at work, also about 15 years until, again, waking one morning to take in the nonsense. The past 20 years the standard, at the opening night curtain, due to a number of situations blocked from learning my lines, didn't have a clue, but always a specific play. Last Thursday morning, not concerned with the opening, a crowd scene, will "wing it" (I'd done this before), just needed brushing up on one or two later scenes, again blocked, but waking, all fresh in my mind, detailed. What was the play called? Checked out my name under AusStage, incomplete record but almost. No such play, and yet, I knew it so well? Psychologists awake! At least it wasn't murder.  



Sad Sack? Mike Willisee nailed it (Australian Story. ABC 4/3) "I always liked to have something to look forward to." After wasting a few early years (growing up?) in the Commonwealth public service. Worked a treat right up until around 2016, age 80. Now? Years ago they watched television and died around 67. What can a man look forward to at almost 83? I could say the same for a woman but for some mysterious reason they appear much more cheerful, positive, forever on bus tours and the like. And they know how to cook. At long last I can look forward to the first 3 matches, Collingwood against Geelong, Richmond and West Coast. Chances of winning all 3; zero. Still, better than the proverbial kick up the backside? Nathan's 8th year, sooner, or never? Buckleys?



All talking about Married at first Sight. Tried again for 15 minutes; worse than reading The Australian newspaper...The question is, Howard and Abbott: Would you give a character reference to a close friend over many years once this (Pell) comes to light? I would say yes, but apparently it upsets many thousands? Prince Tony says he doesn't remember being asked, and I'm a monkey's nephew...Must we still be committed to those dozen subs @ $50 billion?...Friday was International Women's. No word on International Men's Day, April Fools Day?...Leigh Sales didn't come up looking too flash in her interview with Joanna Lumley (ABC 7.30 Wednesday) but full marks for courage...I received a visit from an Aged Care representative, including a booklet "Are you prepared for an emergency?" Listed on 'how to stay informed' was "Watch Sky News on television"? Better the house burns down....AFL football matches that don't count, JLT series, apart from lining Foxtel's pockets. I'll forgive Foxtel if they promise to ban Dermott Brereton from calling Collingwood games...We lost Spring, and Autumn is getting dodgy...Thinking back to the 200 females I considered chatting up but didn't, I put it down to fear of refusal, loyalty to the sanctity of marriage, or plain lazy. Whatever, I feel ok about it now...Financial genius? I chew Extra sugarftree peppermint gum in an effort to curb my cigarettes habit. On special @ Woolies, down to $1.80 from $2. Bought 6 packets, equalling the saving of the cost of one cigarette... Patience is a virtue, and a necessity...Van Gogh was famous after he died. We give our thanks to Vincent, a long bow, a powerball bow, but a bow nevertheless...hooroo...Cliffie...www.ello8.com





SickA Grain of Salt. 3rd March.

POLITICS/CURRENT: The the necessity of a repeat of Naomi Wolf's words, The Guardian, on how to close down a democracy..”invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy, create a gulag, employ security contractors, set up a surveillance system, harass citizen groups, introduce arbitrary detention, control the media and believe that dissent equals treason” “Since [narcissists] deep down, feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable when they are in conflict with the world they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world's fault. Since they must deny their own badness, they must perceive others as bad. They project their own evil onto the world. They never think of themselves as evil, on the other hand, they consequently see much evil in others.” Peter Dutton? Donald Trump?



My late wife did her schooling at a catholic convent. Later we had our first two children baptised catholics. Prior to our wedding I was required to take a form of lessons in the catholic way, unimpressed of course, but one does the right thing to meet the conditions, albeit shrugging shoulders in putting up with all types. My good fortune I suppose; never one to take fright at these apparent abnormalities, as in Gestapos during National Service, never expecting logic anyway. Later, fortunately, darling's enthusiasm plummeted so we were able to merge into an advanced stage of normality. As a child some of my best friends were catholics. I attended a 3 year course at St Josephs CBC North Melbourne, no problem, sat up the back and pretended the Hail Mary's. To each their own, no offence, be it catholics or Otherwise. And then, this week, the tsunami arrived. As if the heatwave wasn't enough? George (humpty dumpty) Pell; the walk on water man who suddenly discovered gravity. I always saw him as a man in line with his friends, particularly Prince Tony, Johnny Howard and Herald Sun resident ratbag Andrew Bolt, floating on high above us mere mortals, a sense of  entitlement beyond the reality of our everyday lives, hard right Liberals all. George called The Greens "sweet camouflaged poison" so I gave him a tick there. To me the catholic leaders and all the other types who wear robes devoting some special knowledge (and often worshiping statues) are simply of another breed, good luck to them sort of thing, fancy a beer? George apparently (subject to appeal) touched up a couple of young boys, not good in this day and age, sad in it's own way, particularly as we're told these people (the boys mainly in this case) suffer from the experience for a lifetime. Sadder still on the details I read, (one boy's evidence against Georgie's) just how he could be found guilty beyond reasonable doubt, albeit not suggesting the boy was lying. Guilty on the verbal evidence of one witness? Still, I wasn't in Court. The great shame is no doubt the damage Pell has caused (directly or indirectly) to the victims over many years, for some, as I've said, a lifetime. Be that as it may (the sadness) I can't quite see the aggression towards George's lawyer, Robert Richter. A vanilla comment in support of his client, in spite of an apology, thus displaying Gregory Peck's effort in To Kill a Mockingbird as pure fantasy. 



Sexual deviation (secular non secular paranoia) has been with us forever and always will be but obviously raises the emotions beyond boiling point with many, particularly those who get some urgent necessity (pleasure or revenge?) in hard line protesting. They surely can't all have a case against Pell. So be it. I'll leave George to his demons and move on to other concerns, as in getting the truth from Michaelia Cash and her "Kill Bill" skulduggery, in the process unfairly targeting the AWU, or Andrew Demetriou's cash grab with the training group Acquire ($900,000 a year, a loan of $1.68 million to buy in with Acquire shares, $500,000 a year for his son Tim and a $150,000 bonus to Andrew) before Acquire's collapse? 



With all those Liberals, Christopher Pyne, Steve Ciobo, Julie Bishop, Kelly O’Dwyer, Michael Keenan, Nigel Scullion and Luke Hartsuyker calling stumps, there's the strong suggestion of deserting a sinking ship. I'm not so sure. No doubt a variety of reasons but maybe an underlying motivation of win or lose the idea of taking orders from Scott ("Our achievements are there"?) Morrison after his efforts the past 3 months is a bridge too far? And all declaring (tongue in cheek) Morrison a winner in May? 



The older I get the more people give me advice. Is this not strange? The old people in places like China and the like are considered the wise ones. I’ve come to the conclusion most people, on reaching a certain age consider themselves experts on almost every subject. They talk and interrupt at will, but listening is taboo. Where do they get this sudden surge of wisdom? The Herald- Sun? Neil Mitchell? Not that I don't have my faults. Not so much of always thinking I'm right, more a case of concluding the following people are to be severely doubted: Financial advisers, psychologists, obviously politicians, real estate agents, prostitute type journalists and even more obvious, Intelligence officers? By no means a complete list, but enough to give me a form of balance.



We all know the government (plural) are crooks, taxing us ruthlessly on items which may have anything connected with our pleasure; beer, cigarettes, petrol et al. This we understand, for our own good, and needed to run the country. The problem is they go easy on their china plates (at our expense) while the mates, and they, enjoy the high life, basically a free ride to luxury land; free cigarettes, champagne, sex. True, they chip in occasionally by pretending to help those beyond help (small time bank borrowers) and have some crowd called Centrelink for the unemployed and my mob (pensioners) but on closer examination run by Gestapos to blackmail us via a 'robo-debt' programme. It's all padding for our vote and the continued maintenance of their high lifestyle. Most people who read this blog are intelligent (up to a point, or better still assuming they agree with the writer) or they wouldn't be reading this, but one never knows, so I'll say it anyway. If you have received any telephone calls (almost certainly) on debts owing to the tax office or your NBN, or Telstra is about to be closed down, hang up, and forget it. Unless of course you have a financial urge to help those Nigerian con artists. Maybe they're sincere? Can we blame the Nigerians, the biggest oil producers in Africa and responsible for many deaths in this industry, also run by crooks? Desperation out of necessity? Then again, if you (the reader) happen to be a type who borrows from the bank (our bank, any bank) with no prospect of being able to repay, and on your mark to cry wolf (blame the banks) when asked to repay, by all means send off the urgent telephone debt to the tax office, in support of our Nigerian battling brothers and sisters.  



Foreign Minister Marise Payne spoke up "I'm not for or against quotas" Courage?...Nine News openly displaying where it stands politically with Neil Mitchell commenting on politics. Why not go the whole hog and hire Gerard Henderson?...The consistent calls for celibacy as a cause for sexual appetite; nonsense. All about opportunity, power and naivety...Nicole Gobbo, the Genazzano College graduate, who wanted to be someone. We all do, some more than others. [To the police, 2014. "I feel betrayed by the very people in whom I placed my trust"?]...The brain can increase in size as a result of unhealthy eating, and likely to cause impulsive behaviour, according to someone on radio; perhaps old George had one vanilla slice too many?...Ita ("A passionate defender in the independence of the ABC") Buttrose, a promising choice, as chair of the ABC. Political obviously, but Initially didn't the list comprise of three men? No mention of the appearance of an independent appointment, free of partisan political interference? Expect a promise of moderate funding to the ABC prior to the election..Danny Andrews public transport infrastructure causing inconvenience for a few weeks. Poor darlings. Come live in Rye?...Shortsighted, blaming Shorten for accepting the Christmas Island nonsense. His options to oppose was full of potholes...Snowy2. I love it. The additional benefit of including credit to Malcolm Turnbull, indirectly softening the knife in his back...Bad mistake! Decided to post this blog 8am. Didn't get to Rye Woolworths till 10am, today. Packed, significantly mostly men? Mostly stupid men...Mike Willesee, thanks for the memories... hooroo...Cliffie...www.ello8.com




CoolA Grain of Salt. 26th February.

Heat and humidity, not welcome at my age. Heavy breathing, at best a reminder of long ago pleasures. An over emphasis on pondering, too much time on my hands, cleansing, with a smile? Anger, revenge? Lots of it going around. No need, an episode of Silent Witness or a  Collingwood victory stems the asexual tide. Political correctness (frankly?) is a pain in the backside. Truly I think of most politicians as corrupt, if not directly then certainly by association; also true, most, if not all of big business executives, are corrupt, as plain as the nose etc, always have been. Union leaders present a mix of motivations, particularly the big two. The more the power the more certainty of corruption, the mix being the need to satisfy the hopes of it's members, basically honest working people. Not a patch on the Bill Hartley days of the 1960's thankfully. [Hartley's focus on his workers, members, before the practicalities of an election win. Pigheaded.] Not big on the Right obviously but if I'm with the Left there's lots to disagree with. Particularly under the banner of  'for our own good', overloaded at times with wankers, meaning their quest to be heard on what they think is right, ignoring the other side of the ledger. If it's not the pills issue, a sugary can of coke, overeating, it's smoking, lately beer, (alcohol) as a cause of cancer alongside sunbaking. I shudder when they tell me they're 'free thinking, intelligent'. Tell your opinions please, but do not come the 'free thinking, intelligent' self publicity nonsense, particularly males entering any arena on behalf of females. As a pensioner smoking 10 cigarettes a day and two pots of beer I'm up for almost half of my pension. $300+ a fortnight, soon to be increased with more brainwashing on the connection between alcohol and cancer, supported by the true blue Lefties. Waiting for somebody to suggest 'morning fresh' as a cause? All enthused by the honest to God non smoking non drinking side of the Left's political correctness mob, well on the road to a return to the goodness of Christian living, boredom, their way or the highway, featuring repeats of reality television with a glass of water and a dry biscuit. They quote statistics, 60% of lung cancer caused by smoking as an unchallengeable truth, unborn babies, passive smoke fumes? What of the other 40%? Likely boozing non smokers, or washing the dishes with morning fresh and not rinsing in cold water before draining? Does playing the pokies cause a malignant cancer? Only if you lose, which is a 99% given. What has all this got to do with political correctness? It's all part of the pattern. The rich get richer and the 'good' Lefties rack their heathy food brains to come up with fresh ideas to ensure we have a healthy, albeit miserable, day to day existence, and higher taxes. On the other hand it could simply be me, sounding off on the scourge of middle class morality. Who knows, who cares. It's my blog. Do these same people give their protected children the greatest gift (freedom) ever? One wonders. Not all Lefties obviously, those in a form of partnership with the 'hallowed' Greens, just enough to intrude on my day to day pleasures, if any. I find difficulty in becoming a cult follower of either party in politics. The Right for obvious reasons and the airy fairy goodness of some to the Far Left of Labor. Most of the elected one's, both parties, are similar to journalists on Murdoch's media bandwagon, prostituting their real feelings for a quid, power. As I've said before, when one reaches the stage (age?) of realisation (self interested crooks) there's nowhere left to go? Comedy is a big help. Anything remotely funny on television gets my attention, apart from Rosehaven obviously, and ABC Sydney's idea of comedy. A belly laugh much more effective than serepax/valium. “There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable, and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry” [Mark Twain]. Socialist bureaucracy? A drama tour of the politically absurd? Just saying, with, as always, a smile...



PM Scotty's not the real boss. He's a bully, Peter and Tony call the tune, bigger bullies. God, how I cannot stand bullies, in all forms, haunting me since the high school days. Followed by National Service gestapos screaming orders. Followed by directors. "He owes me" said Andrew Burnes, Helloworld CEO on Joe Hockey, according to reports. We, in fact, are the ones owed! Mathias (Cormann) had a "stuff up", his words, convenient. Politicians: Primary job requirement, loss of individuality. Primary false assumption, a firm belief of providing a 'public service'. Can we blame them? $6000+ a week, locked in for life generous superannuation scheme, free travel, accommodation, food and more importantly a locked in "sense of entitlement". Best job? Probably an Independent Senator, allowing the option to smell the roses (do nothing) come in occasionally on a matter heavily favoured by public opinion, enjoy the odd (totally safe, confidential) bribe, and ensure his/her (paid for) public service staff, particularly his 'image' officers, are looked after to attend to his/her local issues. Cynical? No way, a realist, like everything else, there are exceptions, the problem being the scarcity of said exceptions the past few weeks, overrun seemingly by those in clover and dodgy deals. No parliament for 35 days? Christmas Island for medical transfers? Michaelia Cash and Michael Keenan, exposed? Mathias Cormann and Peter Dutton knew 'naathing'. [History, two years ago: Federal Liberals insist it is not as politically damaging for them to have received donations from Chinese businessman Huang Xiangmo as it is for Labor's Sam Dastyari. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann received a $20,000 donation from Mr Huang last year. The money was used for Senator Cormann's election campaign. Senator Cormann argued all appropriate disclosures were made?]. Did Michaelia know about the AWU raid, what of the evidence the police confiscated? Ditto Peter Dutton on the $423 million Paladin contract, Mathias $2,800 forgetfulness. Tell Sam Dastyari? who 'genuinely thought' he had paid for the Singapore holiday? Thirty five days of Scotty allover (except in parliament) on television, promising big bucks. Not to worry, joined by Greg Hunt and Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt. If you've missed any of this goodwill stay tuned to Channel 9 News. Lots more nonsense to follow, particularly a form of softening on climate change, the Climates Solutions Fund? A sucker punch or a PM with a sense of humour? Canberra, a gated community.



At last, something more bland than AFLW. AFLX...Ita Buttrose, poised to become the next chair of the ABC?...Andrew Bolt, our resident Herald Sun fascist on the job against 774's Sami Shah and Cassidy's Insiders. Newspoll at 53-47, Guardian 52-48 Labor's way, after last week's 51-49 two party preferred. Getting desperate?...Public hangings (we're told) in times past were very popular. I can see why now with the complaints of many suggesting 46 years without parole is not long enough?...How is a ratbag on the roof at Parkville Youth Justice Centre the fault of Danny Andrews?...Fancy that; living a long life without reading or seeing anything on this Harry Potter character?...Review of state school boundaries, giving parents a choice; poor darlings...In the wake of the Marriage at first Sight nonsense I learn the matchmakers always ask what 'type' a client is looking for. Strange. In my day only the one rule - "whoever fancies me"?...Auditor-General on $37 million for teachers conferences and seminars "fail to positively harness students' potential"; try the figures on the medical industry?...A spade a spade; the Nauru governments new laws on medical treatment, via instructions from the Australian government?...Julie Bishop, the lady in white, departs, cheered on by foreign aid recipients?...Someone apparently hacked our parliament; the pot and the black kettle?...No more yoga, homeopathy or Feldenkrais on my Bupa health. Sadly missed?...The flying fox declared an endangered species; Michaelia Cash?...Ex The Age letters "Machiavelli, writing in the 16th century said: ‘‘When you see a minister who thinks more about his own interests than about yours, who seeks his own advantage in everything he does, then you may be sure that such a man will never be a good minister, and you will never be able to trust him.’’...hooroo, keep smiling. If unable to, watch Hard Quiz...Olivia Colman's academy award, great result...Cliffie...www.ello8.com




HeartA Grain of Salt. 19th February.

Last week's blog produced a few claims via email of bias. Fascinating. I'm biassed apparently. Work that one out, better still tell me who isn't biassed? I'm nothing if not willing to take another point of view, a service to all those non biassed people (other than AFL football followers) so let me start off with: It's quite wonderful seeing our Health Minister Gregory Hunt here there and everywhere, the Scarlet Pimpernel so to speak, promising lots of money to fix up various health problems in our society. A pain in the backside and our Greg pops up, alongside, with promises to solve the issue, panadols at the ready, after the election of course. A bonzer bloke is our Gregory, and he's not alone. Our resident mentor Peter Dutton's there, just behind our Scotty, our PM, front and centre fixing up our cattle industry and promising compensation for drought stricken farmers, electricity, or on the beaches setting up Christmas Island, Roman armour and shields at the ready to stop any rapists, murderers and paedophiles arriving by boat. It's all happening. Warren Mundine's company was paid $220,000 to subsidise a pay TV show on Sky News; well deserved mate, another man of the people, never one to list his long list of credits, Labor or Liberal. The admiration (civic mindedness?) of the AFP/Border Force for reporting the Bali nine, again with footballer Hakeem al-Araibisome. Rosehaven stars (so funny) Luke McGregor and Celia Pacquola starring on The Project - again hilarious, including dynamite accurate political observations. Channel 9's latest thriller "Bad Mothers" - gripping, not to be missed, fantastic dialogue and sexy Mandy McElhinney for good measure. No bias in bowels, always worth a popular mention. The three weeks of calm between diarrhoea and/or constipation comes to mind, presently sending warning signals. Some of my best ideas during constipation, or in the shower. My doctor (mid 40's) says I should 'let it all happen'. What would he know? The xenophobia and intolerance of far right politics overseas, Italy, France, Germany, sounds good, coming soon, noted by our men Schomo and Sir Peter, already pupils? And the sweet sounding Michaelia Cash, a darling who had no idea the gun was loaded, treated badly by those AWU thugs. Beware the Unions, trust your local bank. Non biassed positivity, I love it. Coming soon to all media outlets including the wonderfully unbiassed The Australian newspaper, when the ruthlessly honest Schomo is elected for another three years. Latest poll 51-49, similar to the old Boris Karloff "The Mummy" movies. I'm running on the spot, getting nowhere, and there's Boris, dragging one foot after another, scraping, towards me, closing the gap.  Moving on...



This latest Ipsos poll at 51-49 Labor. A 3 point drop to Labor, a rise to the Libs. Short term at best with some 1200 people targeted. Shorten's popularity however (popularity?) dropped even further suggesting voters prefer Morrison to Shorten. As I've said, Billy deserves his chance, doing a fine job the past 5 years, but really, Morrison more popular? Weird stuff, surely a concern with the election on our doorstep. Like it or not Billy is on the nose with voters, also the certainty of the deputy opposition leader Tanya being equally certain to get the biscuits in a popularity contest with Scotty. Oh well, when you've put up with Menzies and Howard for years and Collingwood 31 years without a flag (and Ronald Ryan's mate Henry Bolte in Victoria) not to mention no female company for a decade, you learn to live with punishment. C'Est La Vie. [PS: Tanya on about a higher ATAR score and $40,000 to attract better teachers; Good teachers are born Lady Jane, not made.].  



Paladin limited tender, Manus security, $423 million? Peter Dutton, "I know naathing". Maybe, maybe not. Corruption is something that happens in overseas countries, never, thankfully, in Canberra? Yeah? It's a bit like saying Australians were the best fighting force in World War 2, which I was lead to believe back then. The problem is once you've concluded they're all corrupt you have nowhere to go? "They're all crooks" is a continuous comment from the majority of Australians who do not follow politics. The type one doesn't get too far into a conversation (on politics) with, the way they say it usually a clear indication there are more important matters in life, or simply they haven't a clue, a shrugging of the shoulders. They come in all shapes and sizes, a passing parade of the everyday; tradies, retirees, arty types, seemingly level headed types, even the over intellectual 'save the termites' types, albeit like everything else in life there are degrees. In political terms, corruption, crooks, and nobody's interested. Occasionally one makes an effort; the pension is unchanged the past 5 years, the observation of no movement in wages, as against costs increases, not simply power bills, but the disgraceful water bills, food, cigarettes and beer, and profits have increased. The certainty the present government will maintain the status quo, effectively extending the gap between the rich (big business, shareholders politicians) and us. Perhaps a change of government to attempt to stop the rot? At the conclusion of last Sunday's Barrie Cassidy's Insiders a sketch showing half a dozen people at Bondi Beach not knowing who our Prime Minister was. No doubt edited for effect, but perhaps making a point closer to the real situation? Politicians wages, superannuation, always maintained, unlike us, keeping them in clover, crooks? A Labor government may help those in need? No certainty, but time to see what they’re made of? Perhaps less corrupt than the present government? What have we (the vast majority) got to lose; and at the very least a reasonable chance of an increase in ABC funding? Well, half a chance, surely better that the risk of no ABC? Or Gone With the Wind's "After all, tomorrow is another day"? Or Scotty Palmer's famous line  "Keep on punching"? I'll go the latter, keeps me alive. A need to keep breathing in case Collingwood wins more matches than last year, like politics, a lottery. The football coaches tell us of players being "in a good space"? Lucky them, whatever that means. Are all Australian politicians corrupt? No. Only almost all, but as I said, there are degrees. 



If it's your thing to view sophisticated bias, tune to Channel 9 nightly news...Our man of Christ, Scotty, and his $60 million (over the next 3 years) emergency accommodation for women fleeing family violence; all heart, unsure as to soul...A celebrity chef as a guest. Forget the show, but why for godssake?...Over the years I've always had a soft spot (please, no puns) for the sight of schoolgirls around the year 11 and 12 category. Beautiful blossoming young ladies, as agreed by any male I've ever come across, but I put the question, does this make me, almost all males, paedophiles, or must we look away?...I do not see Federation Square as an icon, maybe in another 30 years. I'm still for an Apple store, sorry...Apparently they're coming for Meghan Markle, the trolls that is. No surprise. She's not British...The reason why Hollywood has separate categories for male and female is obvious; the females would always win...Winx has had a big influence on people's lives, similar surely to Marriage at First Sight and Dancing with the Stars?...Christians, and the obvious question, allowing for the good of faith among many: What has Christianity ever done for Mankind, or womankind for that matter? Oops, after saying this should I be afraid of dying? Possibly, occasionally, at night, never in daylight hours....Appropriate, last line, Orwell's 1984 "He Loved Big Brother"...hooroo, spread the love...Cliffie...www.ello8.com




WildA Grain of Salt. 15th February.

Is your head spinning? Bloody hell, mine is. Another 3 months of this vicious political infighting before a result, facts twisted, lies on demand. If you're not a political animal think yourself lucky and settle for anything on wellness, a simple murder mystery where catching the guilty is more or less guaranteed, better still womens football, though that's stretching it. A touch of comedy with sexual harassment against our Princess Pauline and fists flying. via her protector James Ashby. Guardian Essential Poll @ 55-45% Labor's way. Comforting for a split second. One thing's for sure. Our Prime Minister is governing for his survival and not for ordinary Australians. I find myself questioning anything he says, almost all for the purpose of getting elected, as he himself said - "Whatever it takes". Sexual predators and bullies, cyber attacks, criminals who need deporting, radical Islamic extremism, paedophiles, rapists. A defence force that needs billions of dollars to protect us. And borders. Borders most of all; fragile against the terrible desires of sea-borne asylum seekers, borders to keep the attack on Shorten, bugger anything else. Surprised he didn't gamble on a snap election, but of course like Malcolm, he adores the power, Christian power?  And not a word on climate change, the floods, bushfires and drought, the real threats? In a twisted sort of way we should be thankful. At least we now know what type of person he really is, misinformation, racism, guaranteed, albeit the danger of brainwashing the majority of voters. 



There will be many reasons put forward leading up to the May general election, each and every to convince we voters of who best to run the show with that strange idea of 'for the benefit of everyday Australians' which in many (most?) cases amounts to appealing to our capitalist pockets, albeit the future of our kids, thus the fear angle. I see one reason over and above the roars, namely saving the independence of the ABC, obviously already crippled due to funding cuts but in danger of permanent destruction at the control of a right wing government. PM Morrison's lot (Mitch Fifield) soon to decide who to take the reigns as the new chair, a shortlist of three, no doubt all like minded as was Justice Hayne and the banking fairy floss royal commission. We know the influence of Murdoch's lot via the Herald Sun, Australian and Sky News. Perhaps the gradual leanings of The Age, prior to the Channel 9 takeover, now suspiciously (but not yet, thankfully) a slow gain as a pseudo Murdoch influence? [The Age "Independent, always. When politicians put their interests before yours, you deserve to know." Let's hope so.] Saving the ABC, our ABC, becomes vital in our everyday need for balance. Whoever is chosen will no doubt be asked on the subject of ABC bias, creating another road to go down on left wing tendencies. Fortunately there remains a couple of smaller voices in the background, The Guardian and to a lesser extent The Saturday Paper, Barrie Cassidy's Insiders and freelance bloggers, but if we lose the ABC, clearly a reality with a Liberal government victory, we become a voice in the wilderness, a faint voice at that, without balance, spitting into a gale. We can only rely on Labor, as yet to be seen, but as it stands now, Shorten's lot remains our last hope for survival. Labor doesn't inspire confidence to step in on our behalf, indeed more difficult once the new chair has got all his Murdoch eggs in place, but it's either that or looking towards a one sided news service for years to come. This is not necessarily a vote for Bill Shorten's mob. It's more a vote for sanity.



Letters, The Age: "Labor’s plan to abolish franking credit payments to non-taxpaying retired Australians has emerged as a potent weapon for an extremely unpopular Liberal government in its fight to hold on to power. I’m part of this retired generation that received free tertiary education, had a lifetime of readily available work, rode the long boom in the housing market and sharemarket and at the end of all this advantage, was handed the gift of a generally tax-free income. I’m embarrassed by the unseemly behaviour of fellow retirees." Greed is good? [The Age editorial Monday 11/2 calling for Tim Wilson to resign, which he never will, only served to highlight Wilson's political campaign against cash refunds, franking credits.] The Liberal Party's small win both ways; at Chris Bowen because he gave them ammunition too early and Shorten because his knowledge of the issue is somewhat glazed. Probably safer if Billy keeps well clear on franking credits; clouds the issue and gives fuel to the PM alongside his cash promises every which way. Shorten on safer grounds with The medical evacuations bill. "This bill and the amendments are about character. It is about how we treat sick people in our care." unless of course Dutton's lot invent a fantasy boat loaded with criminals trying to reach our shores? Don't laugh. Very much a possibility, all under cover of 'security' also known as 'tell us nothing' unless it helps the Liberal cause. No doubt Billy would like the same backing (the Greens and crossbench MP's) to call for a general election, but no chance of the same support. If Morrison had called a snap election on the basis of Labor's weak on borders theme, at least showing a belief in his fear complex, he may have had half a chance, but that takes courage. He still may, though doubtful. Voters are fickle. 



Australians would be able to access up to 10 Medicare-funded sessions with a psychologist without being diagnosed with a mental disorder, under changes recommended by a federal government review; funding for people ‘‘at risk’’ of developing a mental disorder to be able to access rebates for psychological therapy services. Big bucks for my favourite animals, psychologists. Professor Allan Fels, chair of the National Mental Health Commission, welcomed the proposal, which aims to encourage people to see a therapist before they develop a diagnosed disorder – including those who might otherwise avoid seeking help due to stigma. Good stuff. Bit of a con for mine, but good luck to them. I'll stay with serepax.



Future Fund chairman Peter Costello has taken aim at National Australia Bank’s decision to have outgoing chairman Ken Henry play a key role in picking the bank’s next chief executive, saying it is not practicable after blistering criticism from royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne, the PM's man. Mr Costello raised concerns about Dr Henry remaining chairman until a replacement for Mr Thorburn had been found? I'm a Ken Henry man, Costello is not. It's personal as I see it. 


Coach Alen Stajcic - the lack of reasons given for the dismissal of the Matildas’ most successful coach. Whose idea was it to get Our Watch to poll the players – and seemingly friends, relatives, mates or anyone else who could get access to the supposedly confidential online questionnaire and weigh in with their considered opinion on the coach’s failings? It's not my scene, but I smell a rat. Perhaps Stajcic is a Collingwood supporter?



Infrastructure Australia or infrastructure Sydney?...The Lawyer X scandal, all guilty, both sides?...So much for democracy, in accepting the medical evacuations bill; $1.3 billion to open Christmas Island; money no object when it comes to being elected?...Peter Dutton's rare appearance on Leigh Sales 7.30 ABC last Tuesday proved beyond doubt why his mob went for Scotty first; suggest Peter takes up the 10 medicare funded psychological visits, how he challenged Malcolm, created Phelps and thus the medical evacuations bill?...A new cream on the market as a challenge to viagra. Only a 5 minute wait (as against 20) and lasting 30 minutes. Wow. Sadly, for me, that's 29 minutes too long?...Prince Phillip has voluntarily surrendered his licence. Voluntarily?..."To feel for none is the true social art of the world's stoics - men without a heart." [Byron]...Drive carefully, keep smiling, hooroo...Cliff Ellen. www.ello8.com



CoolA Grain of Salt. 8th February.

I've been on Facebook for years now. Always a fan regardless of the constant cries against it, the so called (real?) lack of security. At my age who gives a monkeys? If they really want to take me to the cleaners they will, despite any security blocks. A window to the world? Up to a point, yes. Particularly now, at 82. Ratbags abound of course, no different than the reality over a beer at my local RSL. Potential ASIO type spies around every corner, including spying lawyers and a few police officers? Advisers non-stop, appeals for a thousand causes to 'like', save the whales, bring back the noose, save the injured ants? The now frightening reality of climate change and the blockheads who can't see for looking. A favourite of mine is the writing school brigades, how to write, the 4 rules, the 4000 rules, prepositions, a noun or a pronoun, the comma. Nonsense generally but good luck to them. Write your thoughts, check them out tomorrow, delete the rubbish, et al. My focus has been on lifestyle, since 1966 believe it or not. Amazing, 52 years. Bugger ambition I thought back then, still now obviously, waste of space and too late anyway, likely the cause of various types of stress, constantly evidenced by some of the actors I worked with along the way. I recall doing 3 plays with multiple productions and in each some actors would drop out of the next production to pursue other avenues. Why leave a ship sailing on the crest of a wave? Your priorities change with age, by necessity. If I program the day with a shower, shave and washing it sort of shoots a big hole in it. In younger times I may well have ignored these details on the basis of why write about it, who is interested? I am! A simple formula; do your best and be nice to waitresses, but not necessarily waiters. Try not to upset the females, particularly councillors. They can make a ton of bricks feel like a pillow. One rule. Ignore Jeffrey Kennett, and obviously Amanda. [A tip from David Cornwell which can apply to writing and acting "Forget everything except the ground you stand on and the face you speak from at that moment"]. Have a nice week?



If the election doesn’t go your way you shrug your shoulders and put it down to the ignorance/stupidity, of the voting public. The evidence is staring you in the face; are you blind? They think we are stupid and we think they are stupid, which of course translates to all of us being 90 cents in the dollar. Further - it follows there’s an odds on chance those elected are also stupid. Can anyone think of a better system? We blame anyone except ourselves? Many of the Herald Sun readers threatened to exit Victoria if Danny Andrews was elected, where to? ”The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” (John Kenneth Galbraith). George Washington is the only president who didn't blame the previous administration, ditto William Haines and Sir Edmund Barton. It is only about things that do not interest one that one can give really unbiased opinions, which is no doubt the reason why an unbiased opinion is always valueless. Something to keep in mind when reading critical comments pertaining to my Collingwood football team. Am I biassed? Never. On my heart, I promise.



There's been a mountain of discussion from Scotty on what to expect from a Labor government but maybe consider what to expect from another Liberal government? Then again let's not, apart from raping the ABC and various sneaky cuts to anyone earning under $40,000 a year. What with Prime Minister Scott Morrison's flagging of a fear campaign now up and running until the election and the daily grind supporting his fear census from The Herald-Sun, not to mention the now not so subtle change of reporting from Channel 9's The Age it's probably a good time to ignore the lot, at least until March, where we can survive by way of a mix between the lies and the lead up to the AFL football season. In the meantime we maintain hope, for a 2 out of 3 result in May; defeats that is. Tony Abbott obviously but unlikely, the complete Australian larrikin in a suit, Peter Dutton, ditto, but more mobster than larrikin and of course my local man, one suave Gregory Hunt, his petticoat ambition on show in backing Peter Dutton. I'm tipping Hunt will survive (Mornington Peninsula voters only read the Sun-Herald headlines) but more than satisfied if the other sophisticated hoodlums (even just the one?) get shown the door. Former Liberal Julia Banks as an independent against Greg (Hunt). Perhaps a few votes as a protest against our man’s enchantment with Peter Dutton, but otherwise who would be silly enough to vote for her (more likely a disgruntled Liberal out for revenge?) as a serious contender? Julia surely will not preference Labor's Tracee Hutchison? Greg says we have 7,900 Mornington Peninsula oldies in receipt of the dividend imputation cash refund (franking credits) now re-named a retirement tax. It's a comforting feeling for a man like me, balancing (budgeting?) my $915 fortnightly pension by way of food, cigarettes and beer (I've taken a liking to cod; cheaper) to know I live as an equal, surrounded by those 7,900 mostly multi millionaires. PS: It matters not to me which way this dividend thing goes but hoping Labor keeps the changes to negative gearing and capital gains, if elected. 



Banking: "Heat on PM now" - words of wisdom meaning bugger all, or to upgrade my language 'signifying nothing'. Bankers Greed, from the top down, not the other way round, and with it the expected surge in the share prices. Why? "The report is wholly inadequate and fails to get to the core of the issues in the banking sector and the insatiable greed of the banks and those responsible - the bank executives - off the hook" [Michelle O'Neil ACTU]. [Case study The Age: She was 19 and asked for a loan to pay for a holiday to Europe and to pay some other expenses, a full-time student who was working casually in hospitality, given an unsecured personal loan of $18,500 with an interest rate of 16.9 per cent, fell behind on the repayments and feels the bank took advantage of her naivety, a victim of irresponsible lending. She paid almost $9000 in interest on her $18,500 loan. Her ordeal ended 12 months ago when her mother and step-father paid off the loan, and she is paying them back.] The banking royal commission will never stop this gross stupidity. "It's forced the banks to come to grips with the way they have handled their customers and their staff" So what? Spectacularly successful, culture change, no more thieving, ICAC, APRA on their tails? And I'm Snowy on the trams. Don't hold your breath, in spite of the so called 'scathing assessment'.  ASIC enforcement? Funny. Next idea, blame the banks for the drop in housing prices? Hopefully not, currently also grossly overstated. There will obviously be huffing and puffing but nothing will seriously happen before the election, both parties swearing by the implementation of the 76 recommendations, likely well after the arrival of this year's Father Christmas. Analysis: fairy floss, albeit better than a kick up the backside. 



Security, the common  theme, as in "If you haven't done anything wrong you've nothing to worry about". The glaring problem - who decides what is right or wrong?...It's times like this I recall the song in the first stage play I ever saw The Pyjama Game and the song "It's too damn hot" sung by Toni Lamond's late husband...Are jiggers used in an actual horse race or on the training track for brainwashing?... Essendon football club doing nicely with 101 poker machines at Windy Hill and 89 at the Melton Country Club, the move at Melton to close the venue between 1am and 9am defeated?...Bill Shorten "What voters want to know is what this country will look like in 2030". Go for it Billy, keeping in mind the Townsville floods, bushfires, droughts, climate change?...Amazing. Watched True Detective 2018 and missed a dozen or more lines because they mumble, followed by On the Waterfront 1954 and it's every word perfection. What have they learned the past 64 years?...Kindly tell me why I should sympathise with people who bought property at the height of the property market?...I've held off on Clementine Ford for months now; a bully and waving a highly biassed flag against men..."The mind of mortals, in perverseness strong, Imbibes with dire docility the wrong" [Juvenis]...hooroo...Cliff Ellen. www.ello8.com




LoveA Grain of Salt. 1st February.

Irreverent; doom and gloom? Not necessarily. I write because it keeps me alive. Death is permanent, particularly in a world not distinguished by good deaths. I did eight years and decided to call it quits 2015, writing - "This is my last column. I’m saddling up my horse and riding into the setting sun. My hero (Hopalong Cassidy) has lived through his adventures and when it was over, he got on his horse, Topper, and rode into the sunset. What happened when he disappeared over the horizon with Lucky and California? What happens after “The End” placard covers the screen? Do they take time off before finding another adventure? Do they die of wounds suffered during those 66 movies? Do they live happily ever after in some frontier town? Not a bit of it. They run out of daylight puff, camping quietly in a unit, listening to a Roy Rogers CD, or Gene Autrey, rear of the Rye shopping precinct, dodging psychologists, doctors, councillors and female researchers, happily ever after until the big fellow calls it quits." Still here, beginning year 12, the continuous adventures of (often) crooked politicians, the assumption of being beyond reproach. Including judges, nobody is beyond reproach. Look at our Ministry of Home Affairs at the disposal of one Peter Dutton? Why are they all scared of him? There's not a man or a woman alive in Canberra who can come out a cleanskin once Prince Peter decides to pull their life stories inside out. Are we any different; likely not. The difference in outlook come February, now able to walk the walk in Woolworths without fear of being trampled by shopping trolleys and big strong females pushing them. The deli section almost empty, the return of real specials rather than cartons of soft drink products. Bugger the second rate cricket and obviously the AFLW nonsense. Re-invigorated...



Fear mongering par excellence, and a long long time till May. Front and centre page 1, more on page 4 The Age, Tuesday, 29/1 and a big picture of our Prime Minister headed "PM warns recession on way under Labor" the budget focusing at saving a government. Your children and grandchildren et al. Friday, 1/2 "PM warns on credit crunch" front and centre. Does this form part of the subtle changes now Costello's mob (9) has come to roost? The New Age? On the other hand the consistent low popularity rating of Bill Shorten leaves a question mark: Is Scotty, even Scotty, more popular than Billy Boy? One can't help wonder as to Billy's gravy train election if the Liberals suddenly agree on a climate change policy? As for marvellous Malcolm Turnbull and  the rumour he's behind all these Independent challenges to Libs in safe seats I'm thinking Malcolm is getting an unearned reputation. He had his chance and took his one ball (like Hitler) home. Former Liberal Julia Banks as an independent against our Greg (Hunt). Bugger, this can only help Greg? 



At the tennis: Nine chairman Peter Costello in the Nine "suite", along with John Singleton and ABC lover, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield. Also thereabouts, Julie Bishop, Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien and Gilmore hopeful (and professional suck) Warren Mundane. This sense of entitlement they all share, free hotel upgrades, flight upgrades, tickets to sporting events and just about any other freebie on the planet. You be the judge? [Any connection with Tony Jones and the tennis turned me off. Orchids for Todd Woodbridge.]



Don't cry for Cliffie? Australian Loneliness Report found more than one in four Australians feels lonely three or more days a week. It’s most common among those who are single, separated or divorced. Compared to other Australians, the lonely report higher social anxiety and depression, poorer psychological health and quality of life, and fewer meaningful relationships and social interactions. Sweet nonsense. Let's hear it for the researchers.



Jeffrey Kennett: "You cannot look after those in need if you weaken the financially independent and strong but I believe that is potentially what Labor's considerably detailed policy announcements could do" Mister hypocracy. Dribble down economics and static wages growth a certainty; the rich getting richer? [Doctor Nikki on Silent Witness: "Do you ever have the feeling that everything you've tried to do is pointless?"]



[Prime Minister:“Labor and Mr Shorten are offering you a weaker economy to live in, held back by higher taxes and militant unions”'] My experiences with small business owners is by and large they are equally as thick as the majority of voters. I would ask (by instinct, often caused by their form of bragging) why they vote Liberal? "They handle the economy better" (How?) often adding vague stuff along the lines of "Union thugs? "So what was the difference under Labor" said I, ever so innocently. Again vague replies. If in the mood, meaning in the mood for a sensible conversation, highly unlikely, a follow up question "These union thugs, would they be worse than the banks?" Tricky. He becomes wary. Could go on but no need, pigeonholed forever, unless someone in particular was carrying the entitlement crush too far; time to send him/her a stinger " Well, I assume you know how the banks can rob you, that your party knocked back the banking enquiry numerous times, so tell me, in what way are these union thugs hurting your business, the CFMEU for example, or the workers union, even the dentists union, which in particular of the 20 or more unions are hurting you personally? Waste of time, but sometimes fun, depending on my mood. Move on to the weather.



From the newspaper (Darryl Pyrke) "Transgressions perpetrated by China, but it is just following the example set by former powers like Spain, England, France, Germany and Russia. The US also has dirty hands – ask the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Cuba, Nicaragua, Chile and Venezuela. Moreover, when we take China to task for flaunting the “rules-based order”, we should do the same when the US thumbs its nose at the International Court of Justice. If we shrug our shoulders when Western powers behave badly, we should do the same with China. If not, why not?" Well said Darryl. Defence Minister (?) Christopher Pyne "I call on China to act with great responsibility in the South China Sea,’’ No chance, but courage for stating the obvious. [Note: If Trump's mob have decided on Juan Guaido as Venezuela president (and apparently, as expected, we agree) let's pray the United States don't want Scotty Morrison as our Prime Minister.]



"Electric shock devices in racing." I'm shocked, as I was in the 1960's and '70's and so on...Why does our government, either side, put up with the gambling lobby at the same time causing (more and more) smokers to be branded non religious lepers?...More police at train stations? Make up your minds wingers. When they turned up for the Rye schoolies you screamed overkill. Come to Rye. We don't have a train station...The housing prices went up, and up, many words on the problems associated with buying a house. Now prices are down, slightly, and it's a bad thing?...Who you know? Josephine Jones from Rye is the Mornington Peninsula Shire's Citizen of the Year, her current focus on reducing cigarette butt litter?...One Australian flag on a car outside the Rye RSL Australia Day. A world record.... Huawei equipment, 5G Telstra 4G. Lost in space...There's no need to completely agree. The word agree is sufficient. Also fascinated with 'inundated', water doesn't so much flood anymore, it's inundated...Old age update: Solved the boiled eggs problem; iPhone alarm. Risky, but still manage to cut the pumpkin with all fingers intact. Opening a new jar of green tomato pickles or jam sadly long gone, must wait for a visitor...Looking back to the last time America won a war, World War 2, I'm thinking, did they really win that one? Surely it was the Russians?...RE: The Darling River and cotton growers. Who owns them?...Awareness of consequences, the frontal lobe of my brain, problem solving, responsible judgement?...A favourite of mine "An unfortunate consequence of war" How sweet. Tell it to the relatives...Yes, smoking is costing a fortune and sensible to quit, but if I cark it in a fortnight who gets the $300?...hooroo...www.ello8.com



SickGrain of Salt. 29th January.

Annual end of January rave; psychobabble? "Little fish are sweet", emanating from years of playing blind poker, winning a small pot, the philosophical, finance towards staying in the game, the everlasting hope of the big pot, next hand or never? I liken it to table tennis, to everyday life. You lose a point forget it, move on, focused on the next point. Hope? "Have a go" as our temporary PM Scotty would say. When you live in a flat 10 yards from the big carpark back of the Rye main shopping drag Point Nepean Road on one side, six two bedroom holiday units the other you really deserve a prize of sorts simply be surviving through January, culminating in the xenophobic attitude surrounding Australia Day, on a noise level the worst day on the calendar. Add in the January jet skis, Greek day, the occasional ratbags in the holiday units and the carnival every night (screaming females) you get the full picture. And yet, here I sit, still breathing, alive, after another Australia day of nationalism soup mixed with an ever stronger dose of racism. Still hoping for that mirage, the big pot. Not powerball, more leaning towards 'grasping' for a positive reason to stay around past 83 (22/3/19), motivation a necessity. When discouraged a loving sift through past victories; second prize North Fitzroy Annual Sports, 1946, Crisscross under 13's, Herald Learn to Swim 1946, and the big one, two gongs on Christies Radio Auditions singing Frankie Laine's "Sunnyside of the Street, 1953. I opened the batting once for my house team, Northcote High School, carried my bat through the innings, 7 runs not out, dropped the following week? It sort of all stopped there, no more awards, prizes. As Mum used to say in answer to the child's catcall, "It's not fair" - "Neither is Joe Louis's backside". I remember Empire Day, little union jack badges at school, long lost. I have to blame someone? It's the Australian way isn't it? Scotty Morrison perhaps. Nah, he gets himself in enough bother without my help. A Tony Abbott Captain's Call on Warren Mundine in the seat of Gilmore? Warren's been a Warren man for years as evidenced by his appearances on the ABC's The Drum, the type of guest where there's no need to listen to his answers, always for his right wing mates hiding under the guise of fairness, never short of listing his credits for the good of himself. Warren (an each way specialist) on Australia Day: "I'd like to see the date changed. I'd also said the date of January 26 is a date that will always be important for Australia"? Bad decision Scotty. Read it and weep. Belligerent Scotty wants to spend $6.7 million to commemorate 250 years since the voyage of the HMS Endeavour. ‘‘We want to help Australians better understand Captain Cook’s historic voyage and its legacy for exploration, science, and reconciliation’’. Why? James Cook was an explorer, copped a spear in Hawaii before 1788, the Endeavour (named after Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse, Endeavour being Morse's Christian name?) expedition was a journey of science and discovery. The east coast of Australia? He wasn't even the first, the Dutch and the Portuguese long before, likely the Indonesians. A conquest? Cook's men played havoc (islander females) on those islands but we were never told. Scotty picked the wrong horse, again. Matthew Flinders, whose remains were found recently in the bowels of England did sail right around Australia. At 9 years old who is to know? At 90 years old most people don't give a care. Can we spend millions of dollars funding science, exploration, discovery and reconciliation rather than on a boat trip and a few parties? Maybe fund an investigation into the Darling river? Why do we readily agree other countries are corrupt but not here in Aussieland? Either way a form of ugly nationalism will survive and the indigenous people will carry their own form of resentment in search of their own special day and like all of us, carrying "the more they get the more they want" gene. Back to motivation, got sidetracked temporarily, Australia Day can do that, and with it the additional nonsense of those Queen's honours, now extended to nominations for the best cat lovers. Cat lover of the year? Senior cat lover of the year? Pussy lovers? No problem really. Forget motivation, move on, February, peace beckons, consider myself lucky, two pots after 4pm, discuss world affairs (extending the freeway to Blairgowrie, extending the train network to Rosebud, a new olympic size swimming pool?) at my local RSL, action on all three items likely by 2050 after I've long departed. An afternoon nap drained out the noise of the Rye foreshore celebrations, watched a movie ("Don's Party" B grade 1970's, dialogue by David Williamson, good for the stage not necessarily film, too many clunky lines, reeking of Sydney-isms, with Graham Kennedy doing a courageous through erratic acting performance with the females, generally, taking performance honours.) sound up loud to block out the 9pm fireworks. Early morning Tuesday coffee at my cafe, waving the thousands goodbye, heading north, safe driving to the world's most liveable city, now referred to locally as Chaosville? After all, this is A Grain of Salt, never to be taken too seriously. When one comes right down to the reality of the nitty gritty, The Australian, Sun-Herald and to an extent now The Age are all grains of salt. Brainwashing in all of its many forms. The skill, if you can call it that, in sifting through their real intentions towards we everyday Australians, helping us to forget wages stagnation, the increased differences between the haves and the battlers, but in a more sophisticated way since 1945. The short answer is always the bottom line, the protection of the status quo. A lot of water under the bridge, (not Darling water) for the better, who knows, certainly not for the indigenous people? We have our own flag in a sense, don't we? Social fragmentation, a call for social cohesion says psychologist Hugh Mackay. Am I socially isolated? Nah. I smile, I talk to everyone, even RSL Liberal voters. We all have a theory about how we see others, but do we really see them? [Herewith my interpretation of an esoteric language to create an impression of truth or plausibility?].



It's a funny old world. Sister's boy had his 60th in Echuca last Friday, whole family, caravan park. I asked the question, why bloody Echuca in that heat? Then a blast from the past. The last time it was so hot was a Friday, 1983. In Echuca (All the Rivers Run) a scene at 52 degrees under the umbrella, with a female, Siggy? Red sky, Lara bushfires etc, too dangerous to drive home. To Moama hotel. Very drunk, almost as drunk as Gus. Recall Diane Craig there, likely because of her beauty. Saturday, listened to Bert Newton on radio, guiding me home. 



Watching the ABC's 730 and the female doctor's encounter with our Victorian police took me back 30 years. In the city watching a younger man picking on a seemingly harmless older man, name calling, light slaps. Eventually the older man lost it, lashed out. Scuffle, police appeared. Arrested the older man and chatting to the younger man, appearing to believe his interpretation. I told the police I saw the whole scene. The old fellow innocent. I was told (aggressively) to move on. I tried again, threatened with arrest, words exchanged, told to 'f##k off'. Never again.  


A Labor government would introduce a gender target in the Australian honours system to boost the number of female recipients, aiming to address stubbornly unequal representation in the biannual awards. Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek‘‘The award categories recognise traditionally male dominated professions while overlooking female dominated industries. That has seen the contributions of many Australian women go unacknowledged.’’ It's all a load of tosh anyway, heavily influenced by politics and "who you know". Does anybody really believe in this nonsense? Peter Reith copped an award, isn't this proof enough? Alternatively, maybe not nonsense, if someone nominated me?



Amazing: Unknown Senator David Bushby (Lib, Tas) after 11 years in the senate appointed as consul in Chicago?...A national enquiry into sexual harassment, better an enquiry into saving the Darling river?...Television: ABC's (well compared by Colin Lane) "Stop laughing this is serious" in fact a ‘love-in’ albeit some nice memories, clips, going back to the old Tivoli days. It's the in-betweens who annoy, adding in their two bobs worth - Zoe Coombs Marr, Felicity Ward, Patrick Brammell; who?...Barrie Cassidy is back next Sunday, thank God. The Drum next Monday in an hour format 6pm weeknights, including the painful sexual harassment specialist Julia Baird. Can't wait...Let's be honest. Better still, let's call a spade a shovel. If you had your choice of opposition for your first baggy green cap (cricket) you'd pick Sri Lanka wouldn't you, slightly ahead of Ireland?...Police investigating police, tricky, the alternative, who would have the courage?...Clive Palmer spending a fortune on political advertising. Can he smell an early election?...Dear Derryn Hinch, (Aiia Maasarwe) age is no excuse for stupidity...Differences, madness? Diogenes opined you point with your forefinger it's normal, but with your middle finger?..."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]...hooroo...www.ello8.com





KissA Grain of Salt. Tuesday, 22nd January, 2019

Stillness and solitude. It helps. Three weeks gone (along with 20,000 visitors) and only the last, the big one, Australia Day, to survive, soon after to return to normalcy. The year has had its moments, particularly those odd occasions at my local Rye RSL coming across the various visitor types who put large amounts of moola into those bandits and because of their actions consider themselves a form of a very important person. A long held fascination dating back years to my public service days and trying to come to terms with why my boss considered himself on a higher intellectual plain than anyone under him? Knew his statutes well enough, not so interpretations, the needle in the proverbial haystack in understanding the fine print of life. [Knowledge is nothing if the mind's not there; Storaeus]. Again, as an actor, an increased form of fascination. The simplistic is the star, the director, bugger the rest. Not all, some, mainly film and (to a lesser extent) television, including those with a doubtful right to their high handed behaviour. A preference for the stage, a form of equality, the aim a better production, togetherness, salaries and ambitions notwithstanding. Everyone's a judge? No doubt, but assumed superiority can hide a can of worms, sometimes (again, television) more interesting than the script. Mixed in obviously (luckily?) with some real talent, never the necessity to explain. They (we) knew, appreciated. Back to the RSL. Once upon a time there was a Members Bar, for members only, a place I avoided permanently. The self righteousness, sense of superior importance, an easily recognised smell. Better to let them play with themselves? Eventually opened up to all comers, members and visitors, still a no go personally on principle, my principle that is. What attracts (again) is the openness, the equality. The Crown Casino style was never on my agenda. A high rollers area, class culture, no thanks, no offence to other points of view. I've come across a few of these big spenders even at the RSL, some nice, one or two friends even. A classic recently. Shown the door at the Rye hotel for playing 3 machines at the same time, [A limit of leaving a machine for 3 minutes to do with giving others a chance to play during the busy periods]. Called the girl a liar and ditto the boss for sticking up for his staff. Took his business to the RSL (a 5 minute time allowance, cheaper drinks) explained (to we in the dedicated smoking area) his disgust with the hotel attitude and balked at my genteel intrusions into his justification argument. No big deal. I make a point of niceness (not always successfully), saves uncalled for nastiness, and knowing in the long run, self importance comes home to roost, in most cases, in the meantime providing a heightened interest over and above the prefrontal cortex while downing my two pots. [I did ponder once, before I barred reading any Donald Trump news, whether or not he was in fact a Russian spy. Decided against on the basis of him being a massive magnification of the VIP syndrome]. The old question, when Thucydides asked Pericles who was the better wrestler. Pericles reply "That would be hard to establish, for when I have thrown him in wrestling, he persuades those who saw it happen that he did not fall, and he wins the prize". As in adulterating and corrupting the essence of things, common, particularly in politics. Surely preferable to be nice rather than the need to be right, as you see it? [Brigid Delaney, The Guardian "There is no place in Australia as egalitarian or as democratic as the beach". True enough Brigid, unless you have a beach box?]. Note: No resentment, merely following my nose (pondering) as is my wont on this second of life's fascinations - the social media. 



Kevvy Rudd did well for us during the GFC but chickened out on his promised climate change policies, not to mention causing a run on tinned baked beans and spaghetti with his locked in self righteous cigarettes pricing policy, or was it Bob Hawke? Dame Julia (Gillard) let ambition go to her head by joining with her Victorian left wing union mates, snobby in their own peculiar way, to scuttle Queensland's Kevvy, who to that stage was doing a reasonable job. Abbott's sexism (and love of royalty) got the better of him, the thought of a female sprouting across the table too much, and when he did get there, with a host of promises, aptly named lies, he sort of shot himself in the brain, either that or the influence of Peta, the dragon lady. Lastly our marvellous Malcolm, who was enraptured by his self importance (as Prime Minister) lots of promises but little (if any) courage. The obvious question: If it was clear enough to us everyday Australians as to Peter Dutton and Greg Hunt's ambitions why was Malcolm (in no mans land, incapable of either good or evil) so naive as to think by continually caving in to their demands it would solve the problem? Again, the VIP factor, often arriving with a form of blindness? The fact he re-appointed Dutton as Home Affairs minister says it all. Such a waste of a (once) potential talent. We are left with Scott Morrison, clearly ambitious, representing himself as a man of God, an everyday Australian with a history of attacks on the less fortunate under the guise of fairness, by coincidence resulting in (if Scotty rules?) bigger profits for big businesses. These aims (business profits) in itself would not present a bigger problem if this mob had a plan to stop the massive profits going overseas, in some cases paying no tax? Does he really believe in "having a go"? Time will tell, but let's not forget he still has the vultures, Abbott, Dutton, Hunt and the sweet talking Mathias waiting to dive. Obviously it's Bill Shorten's election to lose, a drovers dog, a vision of fame or forgotten, and equally it's long gone time for a change of leader. Both leaders presently shoving popular little promises in our faces, meaning, as far as the election goes, fairy floss. Who will be the next leader of the Opposition? Greg Hunt? [I've ignored Mr Tampa, his "children overboard", a contributor to the Iraq disaster, Pauline Hanson's hero, our greatest prime minister. The less said the better].  



Outrageous? Laughable? A serious and respectful conversation says Scotty, we wish, in fact never. Honestly, our temporary Prime Minister is a prawn (a pawn?) at the very least, wet. A conversation on Australian values leading up to the dress coded Australia Day? Vanity or stupidity; hard to decide, surely not malice? Wage growth, health/medicare, climate change, cost of living, jobs, immigration leading up to no thongs and no shorts? Suspending belief, and assuming Scotty is all for his values, it might be an idea if he can set out his list of his said values? [There's a reasonable argument for Australia Day January 1st, when Australia became a federation, 1901. Whichever way we look at it January 26th implies conquest. It's not an easy choice obviously and whatever the date it should be representative of inclusiveness, and certainly not reflective of some past English glorification. I would (respectfully) suggest the 27th May, 51 years since the 1967 Referendum. This constitutional change meant that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were fully included in Census results for the first time. Just saying...].



Kelly O'Dwyer abandons ship? Good move...Channel 9's sycophantic Tony Jones on Nick Kyrgios defeat "Good riddance". Warren Mundine's ingratiating, highlighting the beauty of Australia Day, the great Aussie land...Time heals all wounds, or is it the other way around? The problem with bad memories is if you've got no-one to share them with they never go away?...A lot has been written about toxic masculinity; the gillette commercial? I'm wondering if I've got it? Nah, I use Bic sensitive. ...Reminder to myself; read up on all this Rule Britannia Brexit business, 'after' it's all sorted...To bring in almost every new behavioural rule/law on the basis of "if it changes the life one one person it's worth it" is yet another nonsense...Australian Workers Union raids. Michaelia Cash. No charges laid. No surprises...Public servants have a nonsense called 'key performance indicators'. Love to read the results for those working in Home Affairs...There's no doubting the advantage of Google. After years of ignorance I now know what petty bourgeoisie means; I think?...Andrew Bolt, the Herald-Sun director of disinformation?...I'm getting sharper rather than older. Boiled 2 eggs and remembered a mere 40 minutes later...Stephen Fry on when he was born: "I remember looking up and saying, that's the last time I'm going up one of those." I know how he feels...Keep yourselves nice...hooroo...www.ello8.com




CoolA Grain of Salt. Tuesday, 15th January, 2019

Heat Stress? Half way through January, something to be thankful for. Home alone, early visits to Woolworths, cafe (coffee), late afternoons the RSL. Ever the January hermit, the multicultural on the beach, hoons, jet ski protests. Writing this blog can be a blessing, a type of preservation of the mind, the atrophy of retirement. Not enough physical exercises to be sure (February can wait) more of the short sentences variety, facile opinions, dreadfully democratic, albeit a mephistophelian persona, well hidden obviously. Clearly I'm no pedant, a mention of the name (Peter Dutton) to clarify, test the waters so to speak. A national register of sex offenders, names, addresses. God help someone with the same name. Political nonsense. ASIO has a nice big building in Canberra, big staff. Give them something to do? Recalling ASIO in the 1950's, small time, conservatives politically, reds under the beds, an aura of self importance down there in St Kilda road, Victoria Barracks.  Were they watching? Yes, left wing unions, the Norm Gallaghers and bearded blokes? Now? In fact they would have lots to do, creativity an important factor in a public servant's lot, particularly making great account of many senseless things, maybe increased tracking of all those bearded types ex overseas? One wonders how they see Peter Dutton as their big shot, resentment perhaps, after years as the number one in charge of Australia's security. Atrophy? There's a political calm right now. We await our PM's actions on a number of matters; ABC Justin Milne replacement, superannuation top 10 suspicions, other sneaky items in the frying pan. Best to wait and see, the wonder of our temporary Prime Minister's plans on how to tackle (change) the minds of the majority Victorian Labor voters, although it's more down to Prince Peter Dutton than the verbal diarrhoea from Schomo's tonsils (I should talk?). Meanwhile (in a form of retirement) the fascination of Powerball and a first prize of $100 million, one chance, at $8 a pop weekly, in 100 thousand years. A mathematical impossibility, never, in fact, but if nothing else it makes for beautiful dreams. Gambling is a disease? Not so say the experts. If you take away the opportunity they will stop; nonsense. Life is a gamble. I could mention our cricket team; best not, despite the one day temporary re-birth. In desperation, the AFL is not far off (March 22nd, Collingwood Geelong), maybe watch the Richmond Collingwood semi final 2018 the night before as a warm up? Best I don't anticipate, best I make it to March before sounding off. A day at a time. I'm slowing up, or is it simply Summer. Can I manage another year writing these blogs? Or freeze at this keyboard, staring, still breathing, just, at this blank screen. [NOTE: Couple of big words in this stanza. I've been reading a John le Carré novel, it's catching.] At my age a week of feeling good, as in no dramatic illnesses, can cause a form of imagined anxiety. What's next? Ever onwards...[A fair go for all Aussies says "our" Scotty, today's Herald-Sun. Hard work, common sense and respect. With Jen and the girls enjoying the flathead and chips like everybody else, not dragged to the right or the left. Expect much more in the lead up to Australia Day, the unofficial opening of the election?] 



Comedy: On the backside of godfather Peter Dutton, supported by (once marvellous) Malcolm Turnbull (sucking up, unsuccessfully as it happened, to Peter Dutton) raining down on the dangers in the streets of marvellous Melbourne, our illustrious charmer PM Scotty Morrison following suit by having a go at law and order in Victoria. "Law and order means something in NSW and I feel for Victorians who are asking the big question. Why is this happening in our city (Melbourne, your city Scotty?) and not other places. There is a law and order problem clearly in Victoria." Scotty eventually changed his tune, even congratulating our police force, and now in favour of getting stuck into the weird one, Fraser Anning and the St Kilda fiasco (much later than his quick response to school kids on climate change). Hypocrisy reigns, unlimited, in fact teeming down. Hailstones, February to May, courtesy of our capricious Prime Minister?


How utterly dreadful. ‘‘City price falls worst in a decade’’. What to do what to do? Does this mean my humble unit has lost its yesterday's value, or is it still higher than its 2006 value? As for the housing market generally (82,000 on the public housing waiting list) it would appear the need for a form of price correction (particularly in Sydney and Melbourne) is becoming a necessity. We urge the personable Billy Shorten and his Labor mob to stick with it, not be sucked in, not lose its nerve, on reforming the capital gains tax concessions and the negative gearing provisions. Add in franking credits for good measure; no offence intended for those ageing (mostly moneyed up) lot. It's no coincidence we get bombarded with these housing prices fears this time of year. Creative news to carry us through to the heavy stuff. Resulting in unnecessary fears, renting or owning. As for mortgage holders who bought top of the range they had their choices, like all of us. We Australians are lucky. We have the benefit of choice, for a job, an iPhone, a cigarette, a house. Stop whinging. Stop the greed. Take a stroll though the poorer sections of Johannesburg, Iraq, a hundred other countries. If you're an Aussie and you stuff up, it was your choice. If still unconvinced go join the United Patriots Front. Get a free T shirt, maybe even a badge?   


Lest we forget: the Malaysia plan (Julia Gillard) involved flying newly-arrived asylum seekers straight back to the source country, Malaysia. Scott Morrison, then the shadow immigration minister and his leader Sir Tony Abbott weren't prepared to see if it would work and they stepped in to block Julia Gillard's legislation by teaming up with the (dreaded?) Greens, who wanted the boats to keep coming, and other cross-benchers. "The last person who tried to embarrass a minority government by undermining border protection laws in Australia was Scott Morrison". [David Rowe]. I't's a long journey till the next federal election, supposedly in May, but as this border protection racket will be front and centre better to have a sliver of knowledge at your disposal before entering the voting booth.


Australia Day and some local councils threatening the citizenship ceremony on an alternative day. No chance says our Scotty, it's "our" day. Scotty's big on the word "our". Scotty, our very own Iago. "A change to the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code means councils will be forced to hold a citizenship ceremony on 26 January, another on 17 September, and institute a dress code that bans thongs and board shorts." Council response along the lines of "representing their ratepayers views"? I'm easy either way but looking at our Mornington Peninsula situation, particularly our local council representative in Rye, the idea of representing our views is laughable. No shorts?...Television, 8pm-11pm for the ageing: Silent Witness: Emilia Fox as Nikki Alexander. Now into series 22 and still waiting for Doctor Nikki to do her job and let the police do theirs. Nothing to do with femininity; simply, Nikki is a pain in the backside...Is it me? I long for a good murder mystery without spoilt brats in it. When they invariably storm out of the house blaming their parents I find myself wishing they would stay out. Even the better English shows. Example: The recent season 3 of Unforgotten with the brilliant Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar had four suspect families, ALL with troubled souls, painful ankle biters. Great stuff the show, pity about the kids...The ABC's Summer Drum hosted by Sydney's me me me Adam Spencer. Thankfully, I'm not that desperate...The latest: Mobile call from the Taxation Office, a lawsuit being carried out under my name, the remainder of the message missed as I hung up..."In every village there will arise a miscreant, to establish the most grinding tyranny, by calling himself the people. [Sir Robert Peel]...Someone asked Diogenes "Please teach me true contentment." "If I teach you that, you wont be content"...hooroo...www.ello8.com



LoveA Grain of Salt. Tuesday, 8th January, 2019

My compassion level has overflown. Almost nightly, the News, a drowning, Wilsons Prom, Phillip Island, Gunnamatta. Swim in the bay, paddle in the ocean, surely? Come to Rye, overcrowded, drownings appreciated. January on the Mornington Peninsula with uneven headed visitors around every corner, particularly on the beaches, the road, Rosebud to Rye, Point Nepean Road a carpark. Compassion, the quantum level, energy levels, including the quantum spirituality? Yes, well aware it's a bit above my head. Maybe a shade more than a "bit"? It's straight out compassion I'm on about. In plain terms if we relate it to our Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton we immediately comprehend, but only up to what we are told. He must have a hidden level, (a secret charity, The Patriots?). We surely all have it, but like everything, the levels differ. Facebook is overrun with compassion, spend all day, a week, a year on the bloody thing if your addicted, as indeed it appears some are. I'm sort of drained dry if I take on board the people on Nauru/Manus. Add in what's left for the unemployed on Newstart and there's very little remaining, even drownings, all of which (no offence) can be cancelled immediately, on the spot, with a toothache. I'm alright Jack? Forgive me, it's January...



Spending so much time alone patiently waiting for the crowds to disperse (evacuations on Sundays began January 6th to the big one January 27th) I think of how lucky I've been, always in retrospect. The wife departed 14 years back, complete life style change, softened by those memories despite a form of sadness. I ask myself "Did I realise we were having the good times while they were happening or am I re-writing history? I think not, although likely most of us are unaware of those good (sometimes not so good), those pieces of our past, while they are in process. Something like the short term version of a 3 weeks break after 49 weeks of work. Arguments the first week, forgotten in favour of the second two on returning to the daily grind. Maybe the daily grind was part of the good times, the treasured years, at 82 treasured more so, in retrospect? Thus, a message, to all you young bloods (all ages to at least 70, likely even beyond) try stopping every so often, and as I've said "smell the roses". And if you have parents or parent, keep in mind not only the now, but the possible changes on the parent's health issues. Is this an appeal? No. A reminder to take into account how lucky you are.  


Many years ago when I was anxious to do something about a perceived (forgotten) injustice a chap said to me “It’s like pissing into the wind son.” I never forgot, been part of my personal bible the past 50 years. Assume it all comes down to being unafraid to express your opinions, also 'feelings' if the situation is on safe grounds. Small victories, many defeats along the way, but in spite of little if any changes to the status quo it can still be a benefit. I’m no fan of “I never talk politics”. It feeds me. I never talk religion is true enough. To each their own, just please don't bend my ear, although at times I toy with the idea of a more philosophical approach, depending on the feed. I'm big on stillness, a miser with words, particularly with idiots. Other than that if you feel strongly enough about some things say so, good for the intangible soul, unless you've used up your quantum of compassion or (obviously) you happen to be in an argument with your wife. [Former Neighbours performer Magda Olympia Valance (psychologist?) - "Trust your gut. Your gut feeling is your guardian angel, putting you on the right path"] Gut? Funny people those psychologists, ditto actors. I'll give that one a miss.


After the $4 million dollar upgrade the jury is in on the new big bold and beautiful Rye RSL. A non smokers delight according to my singular research, minor noise level complaints, apparently a solution in hand. The old smoking area absconded (like footpath eating at cafes) in favour of the cleanskins, in favour of breathing fresher air and a doubtful guarantee of living longer, while we smokers have been shoved down the back opposite the poker machines; out of sight out of mind? It's OK to gamble till the cows come home but smoking is evil, apparently, in brainwashed Australia. (Ever noticed how the holy people cough even if spotting a smoker at 50 yards?). Rather sad on what I consider second class consideration, and then, suspiciously, only as a small comfort to further encourage those poker playing gamblers who enjoys a fag between their free spins? The same at Rye Hotel I'm advised. Also St Andrews Beach Brewery (without the pokies) big bold and beautiful, a map required to locate the hidden area for smokers. Multiple warnings (many with doubtful evidence) on the health issues of smoking. The question: Does gambling affect your health? A comparison of one against the other, pluses, minuses? A good one for all you thousands of research nutters. Only in Australia. Finally, observations from Rye RSL smoking area: Perhaps a goldfish bowl to blend in with the swimming pool style tiled floor, a fan in the undercover area to circulate the pure smoking air? A ban on the pain of the overhead blaring music emanating in between the Chemist Warehouse commercials.  


Aha. Senator Payne is alive and well. The lady has spoken, a bit each way nevertheless and signifying nothing: “It’s an interesting issue for us to discuss. At this point I don’t support or oppose quotas, but I do know that as an organisation there is more that we can do,” Kelly O'Dwyer also chipped in with her two bob's worth: "There's no question that the Liberal party can and should do better when it comes to getting more women into parliament". Interesting, not that either of them (and Julie Bishop) lifted a finger when Sir Tony Abbott attacked Julia Gillard on a daily basis. Violence against women a vague thought? Interesting to know if these ladies are in favour of the anti-harrassment fund started by Tracey Spicer, NOW Australia? [Not fussed on numbers, females, politicians, but heartily agree on more females as prison officers. Tough cookies, females.]


The lovely Alison Whyte as Lady Macbeth, Royal Botanic Gardens. Worth it for Alison alone...Powerball at $80 million, a week of dreams, thousands of discussions, how to spend or invest, Hallelujah?...Nicole (The Stepford Wives) "It was tough. Once I was 'in her' it was OK". Nonsense...St Kilda beach, last Saturday; Peter's patriots, perhaps?...Prior to Christmas day two new books; Shane Warne's on cricket and Sam Mitchell's on football, the nightmare of getting either as a Crissy present...Assisted dying, Alfred Hospital. Not right now but comforting...Let me get this straight, the new bollards are consistent with the heritage of the bridge (Princes) but a new Apple shop at Federation Square is not?...Why did the Sydney crowd boo Kholi, white (Aussie) supremacy?...Frances McDormand appealing to Meryl Streep and female nominees at the Oscars to stand up for female rights in the movie industry. Celebrities, way over the top...Shops selling hot cross buns, the question of why letter writers get upset about it?...For our beloved PM "Politicians need activity. It's their substitute for achievement"...Finally, patriotism, the last refuge of the scoundrel?...hooroo...www.ello8.com



SmileA Grain of Salt. Wednesday, 2nd January, 2019

New years day started off full of beans. 6am, no recycle blue bin. Located a block away, upended. Refilled, back in time for the council truck. Did not spot the offenders but according to gossip likely "of European appearance". Let us get it over with. Begin another new year with "Happy New Year"! Done, dusted? Happiness, restricted to the fact of making it "bigger and brighter than ever before" according to Costello's 9 news. And I'm a monkey's uncle. Tell it to the puppy dogs, particularly left home alone by puppy owners among those 400,000 people crashing into Melbourne for those crass fireworks. Watched them all, Melbourne, Sydney, Paris, New York, Moscow on the 9 news, all of 5 minutes. Not a grumpy bum. Don't like (appreciate?) fireworks full stop. Nothing changes, other than who is (supposedly) running this country. [In fact big business runs this country but best we don't go there, best keep it simple this early in the year.] From a new year opening blog 2009: "Nice to see the price drop in petrol and interest on mortgages. Does it follow food prices and interest on credit cards will drop? More likely the pigs will take to the skies. Savings will quickly be gobbled up as always by price increases in public transport, water and electricity. Never mind - another freeway, tollway, publicity pictures for the politicians, and all is serene in our land of false celebrities." As I said, a decade, and nothing changes, other than the climate. New year resolutions? All about me nonsense, rarely if ever carried through. Better perhaps to follow the "keep yourselves nice" rule as far as possible, no matter the surrounding ignorance at times. Resolve to help others? Practical at least? Just the one for me, same as last year. Never to watch, even by accident A Current Affair. Other than that, again, we live in hope. Indeed, in fact, seemingly, always in a state of flux as this and most years begin. 83 come March, insignificant at best. If I can stick around till 2036, 90, I might witness another Collingwood premiership; that's my significance. Little steps. How to put it - waking up on the wrong side of the bed? Every day? Nah, likely those last 7 days. Wrong time to write a blog? Probably. Margaret Mitchell's Scarlett O'hara "I'll think about that tomorrow." Good idea. And now? Now it's tomorrow. Watched Julia Roberts "Pretty Woman" last night. Cheered me up no end. Moving on... 



As predicted, as expected, Aussie Godfather Peter Dutton (surely never ever a candidate for full membership of the #MeToo Nuns Chorus) has broken his silence with an extraordinary spray at Malcolm Turnbull. Incompetent, indecisive, a plan to become prime minister but no plan to be prime minister. “Malcolm is charming and affable but he doesn’t have a political bone in his body and it’s not a criticism, but without political judgment you can’t survive in politics and he didn’t.” Peter, political judgement? Reminds me of blaming the pitch when Australia was defeated by India, ignoring the Perth doctored pitch. A perfect pot and kettle situation with (seemingly?) misguided motivations, a bigger problem being, surely, he really believes his words, ignoring his own understanding in self destruction by challenging marvellous Malcolm? Credit where it's due I suppose; he hasn't (so far) referred to the "of African appearance" nonsense at Chelsea beach and in fact our Peter (on past performances) discarded his two liners in favour of (for him) a monologue. Maybe he should consider a career as an actor. Lots of vacancies right now with the disappearances of the likes of Geoffrey Rush, Craig McLachlan, John Jarratt. Oops. Sorry, no connection. I tend to run away with myself at times. If you think I've lost it keep reading. Alternatively, how can one lose what they never had? Also taped "The Godfather" last night. The late great Marlon Brando. Classic.  Ever so slowly we spring back into top gear; well, second gear at least.



Holiday time. So many of my friends (obviously richer friends) off overseas. Bali a regular spot, swear by it, various reasons, none of which convince me. Maybe once a year as a holiday but twice, thrice? Thailand, the pyramids, USA, Europe. Almost every time I go to Facebook I see friends pictures posted from overseas. Which is nice, appreciated. Happy little vegemites, possibly lovers of fireworks? I've been of course when my wife was alive. She also had this strange (as I see it) travel bug. She'd previously been (Hong Kong, Greek Islands, even Beijing?) but wanted to go with me? Why? Alas, six weeks, the good hubby, once, mid 90's after promising for 10 years. Hard work, albeit a small advantage in retrospect, the relief from being back home. I recall my actual words when I landed in Dublin 22nd August 1996, still recovering from that never-ending walk Heathrow airport to Aer Lingus "Only 47 more days before we get back to Tullamarine". Summer in Dublin, but raining? I get the odd fancies. Manly for a few days? A few days on a Greek island? No. 22 hours in plane? Maybe it's my mother? In true Aussie fashion always handy to put the blame elsewhere. Apart from two holidays as kids Mum never left Victoria, her trips amounting to Victoria Park, the MCG and Coles cafeteria in the city. We went to Bonbeach and Rye for two Christmases. No electricity, gas lamps. Perfect. No "what to do" nonsense by Mum, the same rules "Go outside and play". Right on the beach, just a train trip. It's not my age, I've never had it. Early days as a public servant we got three weeks leave a year, the real pleasure being three weeks of no work and relaxation at home. Girls, movies, racetracks, a beer or two, or three. Even those road trips to the Gold Coast with the kids, a combination of duty and pleasing my wife. Good luck to them, to almost all of you travellers. Me? I'll settle for a trip to my local cafe, the RSL, Woolworths, a slow stroll along the Rye pier. Yes, I saw the  eiffel tower once. I stayed down, had a smoke while darling went up and took lots of snaps? According to darling I missed a great experience by staying in my hotel room while she spent a day at the Pierre Lachaise cemetery? Who is Jim Morrison anyway? Oscar Wilde? Yes, I've read his books, seen his plays. To each their own. That's mine. Too old anyway. Am I complaining, a cranky old bugger? Correct! Presently a hermit, confined to barracks, to re-appear, revitalised, come the day after Australia Day when I spend the morning parked close to the Peninsula Freeway and indulge myself in the pleasure of watching those thousands of vehicles on the road back to Melbourne.   



We know the English hated the Germans with good reason WW2, but apart from their misguided hate towards their own Jewish people who else did the German's hate?...Well done to Michael Palin, knighted in Britain's New Year Honour's list, but thankful we don't do it here. Can you imagine - Sir Bryan Brown?...hooroo...www.ello8.com