A Grain of Salt 2018


Broken heartA Grain of Salt. Saturday 21st July 2018. 

A cold and frosty morning. Every morning, and no bloody mulberry bush to warm up, albeit round and round. Power, spying, crayfish and Africans: 1/ "Political football" says Josh Frydenburg on the energy crisis. ABC's 'Insider's Barrie Cassidy last Sunday, an hour on energy prices, the mysterious national energy guarantee, including the world's most boring fart, Gerard Henderson; masochism, minus sexual gratification. Living in a different world? Quarterly electricity bill much the same give or take the past 4 years; roughly $25 a week? 2/ The yanks, world's best spy network, accuse the ruskies? I spy we all spy; Aussies, Chinese, Indonesians, Arabs, obviously the Pomegranates. The yanks getting uppity on other countries defence capabilities, ditto Chinese re-created islands South China seas and our yankee bases up north. Hypocrisy forever. [Spent 3 hours driving to Queensland long ago, I Spy my little eye, my daughter. RW. Three hours! Gave in. Wrist watch?]. Most of us are concerned about living a peaceful life, coffee and crayfish, minus the crap. [Historically my Auntie Elsie also ate the crap, ex the cray's bum?]. Fight amongst yourselves, restrict the reporting to the backline, way back. Someone muzzle fake fear expert Peter Dutton, now extended to Matty Guy and his agreeable mate PM Malcolm on African gangs. [Paul Keating 2011 - "One of the primary duties of a Prime Minister is to protect the country from prejudice. Howard was happy to let the racism virus out. And it’s like a flu virus, you never get it back. You know, when someone at the top of the system…you see Bob before me, Malcolm Fraser before him, Gough Whitlam, John Gorton – none of us would play around with this issue. None. The only one to do it was a little guy from Bennelong.”]. It takes all types. Speaking of types Malcolm Farr from News.com on the ABC's 'The Drum'. "John Howard is now a great and much revered elder statesman" By whom? We have by-elections, the state election, eventually the big one. At my age the opposite of love is apathy, or likely lethargy? Maybe see one of those psychosexual and couples therapists, Kate Moyle? Give me something, anything, to encourage, inspire, excite? Sense and sensibility?  



Last Monday morning, 9 degrees, dreadful north wind, apparent temperature 5 degrees. Half way through our climate changing Winter, searching for positives, the threat of a skylight crashing down, discarding in favour of my lifetime principle; time enough when/if it happens? What's the SES number? The usual heavy anti-Labor bias, KillBill, from darling Amanda Vanstone via The Age. Victories for multiculturalism (to some extent) with France winning the world cup (a showpiece) and locally the form (beauty) of Allir Allir and Majak Daw in the amazing final quarter of Sunday's Sydney North Melbourne AFL game. The inevitable crash to reality of my Collingwood magpies. I taped the Collingwood West Coast mini debacle, as I do (stress levels), the usual anticipation to a full study over 3 hours, night time television. Alas, deleted in favour of the little fellow Guy Pearce (Jack Irish) and 1990's attempt at comedy, but relaxing nevertheless, despite Shane Jacobson. It's a Melbourne show, always a relief from the slick smart-arsed Sydney dramas. Also The Handmaid's Tale on tape, deleted after 10 minutes of horrific Elisabeth Moss. Onwards and upwards, a week when I avoid football shows? Will Collingwood make the top four? Never. Probably the top eight, just. Enough on football. Bitter, cranky? Never.



Some reviews bear repeating, particularly from this lady, a star: Helen Razer. The Handmaid's Tale. "Why hasn’t anybody chopped Offred’s wicked fingers off? Serena Joy lost a pinkie for suggesting to Commander Deadshit that girls be permitted to read the bible, yet a handmaid who has fled several times, banged the chauffeur and hidden in an attic with a firearm remains digitally unhindered. But this is just the least of the incongruities in a slipshod universe whose finale—get this—brings stupid Offred to the stupid Commander’s house after being banished AGAIN because—seriously—her stupid mother’s milk is required for the stupid new baby. Now, I am prepared to cop that these bible boys prefer real rape to the artifice of handmaid insemination, but has nobody heard of a wet nurse? As I have advised in other television criticism, this program is almost certainly best viewed drunk and would certainly be improved by a drinking game. Take one shot for each “Under his eye”, a short draught of beer every time Mossy looks so fierce girl in closeup and pour three fingers of gin distilled in the empty vessel of liberal feminism and give them to Aunt Lydia." Spot on.



Now at 36 consecutive anti newspolls for PM Malco, but at 51-49 the gap is closing. We all like to be liked, even Dutton, even Shorten, so spare a tear. I have a feeling about this next federal election, not a comfortable feeling, particularly the effect of the continuous rubbishing of Shorten coupled with fake fear and as mentioned the racist card. I doubt any significant increase of Liberal voters (a sheep remains a sheep, shorn or not) but what remains is the danger of infected Herald-Sun reading Labor voters swinging over to the minor parties, which effectively may put PM Malcolm in a stronger position. Come what may we press on, albeit pressure on our patience to see the backside of Dutton. A bit like Collingwood and Nathan, and Nathan's still there? [I don't vote Labor, I vote against the ultra class system of the Liberal Party.] 



Aside from Mark (unrequited love) Latham, obviously, is there a hidden need in all of us to feel relevant? This rise and rise of social media suggests a yes, but not everybody according to my research, which includes RSL members playing their beloved poker machines and having a quick smoko while waiting for their free spins to run out, often interrupting my meditation. Is there a need to have your/my say? No doubt you couldn't give a monkeys what I think; likewise your misguided opinion (if you disagree), as relevant as fillet steak without teeth. I wonder about the need to write a letter to a daily newspaper. I send off the odd one, local paper, maybe twice a month, easy, and they often print it, depending on content relevance, but basically to fill in time. Local stuff, the importance of dog poo and crafty councillors; avoiding energy prices, myki, murderers, rapists and particularly the positivity of flashers. The Mornington Peninsula is overrun with Liberal voters. I fiddled with a half hearted idea to understand what made them tick, made them believe in the honesty of (now) Health Minister Greg Hunt? Similar to talking with prison warders. [Years ago in bankruptcy, Attorney-General's Department, I had two separate occasions to meet Pentridge warders, one reason or another. Zombies, cave men from the Flash Gordon serials years ago.] Relevant deprivation syndrome? As always, a question of degree.] 



Funny; drama; "I don't love you". Always the woman, always the long pause before delivery. Move on fella? Funnier; Malcolm Turnbull saying the Liberal National's candidate (Longman), Trevor Ruthenberg, made an “honest mistake” in claiming to have won a medal for distinguished military service instead of a lesser honour for long service. You mean he didn't know? [Even I hold two medals; the national service medal and the defence medal]...Peter Dutton quote "We've listened to the Australian public" (Restricted to those he agrees with?)...As recommended 5 years ago, now (almost) confirmed, place your fish oil supplements into the garbage...Do you have to be 'out there' to get somewhere? Where do they want to get to?...Freedom of religion is under threat; Matt Canavan?....The old theatrical saying 'There's no such thing as a small part' recalling Ernie Whittaker's ”Most actors are bi. If they’re not bisexual, they’re bipolar”. Speaking of television would somebody tell the directors not to put the credits on different parts of the television screen. It becomes a guessing game; this new artistic fad is now well worn...Almost everything beginning with 'The research shows' should make you suspicious...Amazing the millions of people who spend half their time on earth looking for something you can never find anyway?...Pride and platitudes nonsense. Sadly I couldn't make it to my son's (and Lady Catherine's) book launch ('Mental') due to jealousy. The cookie has crumbled...hooroo...[www.ello8.com]



WildA Grain of Salt. Sunday. 15th July, 2018. 

The decision to prosecute ('Witness K' and lawyer Bernard Collaery charged with breaching the intelligence act over East Timor spying revelations) was made by an 'independent' arbitrator, the Director of Public Prosecutions, heavily supported by Christian Porter on his path to political self righteousness for all. And I'm Snowy on the trams. Dating back to our Alexander 'born to rule' Downer. Also interesting to know who ordered the angels of democracy (our federal police) to raid the lawyer's office? Ditto the inquiry into the ABC’s competitive neutrality – and broadened to include SBS? Ditto penalty rates, et al. A new (Liberal) meaning for 'independent'? A furphy, but getting to be a habit. Political situations apparently far exceed those of security.


My pen is at the bottom of a page,

Which being finished, here the story ends;

'Tis to be wish'd it had been sooner done,

But stories somehow lengthen when begun [Byron]


I've been at it since 2007 (verbally from 1948 as a Ben Chifley follower). A loyal lad from Northcote, anything other incurring the wrath from my mother, Nellie Vera. Occasionally (very) like now, one has nothing to say. Crooked, greedy, politicians and cold weather, electricity prices, the Myki mystery? We all play the blame game; faultless? Perhaps take time to read more books; any decent female writers out there, apart from Catherine? My late wife had a bookcase full of female writers; a passion for keeping them, new, could never understand why? Eventually for the scrap heap, rarely re-read, op-shops. I didn't question this; to each their own, a necessity towards a daily happy marriage, or part daily when challenged? Silly idea, one of many over the years, (mine, not hers) particularly when confronted with a challenging lifestyle change; cooking, washing, cleaning? All second (third?) rate now. The iron gathering dust. I miss the roast lamb, pork curry casseroles, tuna mornay, apple sponges. No teeth, lasagnas and atlantic salmon; mashed vegetables. Had darling been alive she would have insisted I had teeth. She often (like always) inspected before going out together? When my son graduated we had a 'huge' argument continuing on into the night because I chose to wear my second best suit. I couldn't quite work it out (her anger); the reflection on her, on my son's girlfriend's parents, or my (seemingly) lack of respect for the occasion? It was important I'll admit, but not to the stage where my best suit was a necessity; A Hugo Boss suit, come on? Since worn twice, to funerals. Correction thrice, to darlings, Queen Mary, but (horror) no tie. Her fault (of course) she being the one who vamoosed. If darling is looking down (a certainty according to my Jehovah's Witness visitor) she would be ecstatic. I learnt how to operate the washing machine, more importantly I kept her tool box; unopened obviously but treasured, alongside the iron. A thought? If the witness is spot on, it may be a gold star if I wear the HB suit to a book launch, my son's, happening, as it happens, this coming Wednesday, and the thrill of meeting co-writer Catherine? Insurance, keeping my options open? Don't get me wrong. She was a good kid. I did a play in Superior Sydney, 16 weeks, and darling came up four times to act as my cleaning lady; albeit her need to lunch out every day in an exercise in fine dining. In a strange way she's still with me, as I sit there at night watching Midsomer Murders series 9 with Tom Barnaby, which I'm sure we watched together 14 years ago, (when I was home) and yes, I still don't spot the murderer? Time to retire? Nah. Not in my DNA. Structure? Personal development and self worth on my journey to be a whole (new) person; check out my body fat mass index? All pluses if darling were here. Alternatively, like they (and darling) did in those olden days, simply 'change the furniture around'? Looking back, some 10% ever onwards, the balance, the 90% now, on the path to solve yet another mystery - Wellness? Forgive me, it's July; googoo gaa gaa month. ['All Over the Place' Tommy Trinder. YouTube].



Tidbits: 1/ Guardian: "In six months, eight cases have been brought before the Australian courts of children suffering life-threatening psychological or physical illness that cannot be properly treated on Nauru. Every one of those cases has been won. Children have been moved to safety. And more cases will follow, this week and the week after, and the week after that." Enough said?...2/ The  Saturday Paper, Sean Kelly: "Steve Bannon, often named as the architect of Donald Trump’s election, only to later be sacked, this week told Peter Hartcher at The Sydney Morning Herald that Australia is “the San Andreas fault between China and the West. You are the representative of Athens and the democratic Western tradition, and China is a Confucian totalitarian system.” Out of concern, Bannon is watching us closely. “Every day.” Creepy, much?"...3/ Geoffrey Rush pulled out (Malvolio in Twelfth Night) MTC. Sad sad. We, as in I, feel for Geoffrey. The cast (opening November) lists Christie Whelan Browne, being sued for defamation by Craig McLachlan. Small world...4/ Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has raised $50,000 in just four days to fund legal action against NSW Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm. Fame? And the band played on?



Is there such a thing as multi-tasking? Obviously there is but it's surely related to your headspace. I constantly hear of people announcing multi-tasking as some sort of plus. There's nothing wrong with this, provided you do one task at a time without it encroaching on other tasks. If interrupted (mindwise) you run the risk of it all becoming a dogs breakfast. Can you read something and listen to a radio/podcast at the same time? Yes, but for mine a disservice to both. Why am I writing about this? None of my kids listen to me, which is no big deal, human nature being what it is, but, (aha?) this way I get a word in edgeways, which is the primary reason (some 90%) of why I write this blog. I'll concede, but not necessarily agree, the remaining 10% is more likely a need for relevance? Or maybe the other way around? Exercise the brain, but rarely the legs, keep on punching? 



Trump suggests Germany should increase its defence spending on the grounds of America doing all the financial hard yards on behalf of world peace. Perhaps, like Australia, they should consider spending less?...Our leaders: Malcolm, a facsimile of the British ruling class, and Billy, driven by what lies ahead, but without that stamp of authority...Of all the nationalities who invade Rye during Jubilant January, the standouts for arrogance the past 5 years were the Croatians...Jon Faine, no particular favourite of mine, handles all subjects fairly, personal political leanings irrelevant. Either you're not listening or a blockhead...#'War on Waste'? Now accumulated 6 Woolworths 15 cents bags?...Victory for the Frenchies, who (perhaps?) discovered the famous French letter, the franger, the Capote Anglaise?...By all means a rail line to Cranbourne honest Matty (Alice in Wonderland) Guy; why not another to Mornington, with a huge carpark?...Say something nice about professional gusher Libby Gore? Related to equal gusher Shane Jacobson? Nah, nothing forthcoming your worship...Kane Cornes "All Australians are barracking for England". Forgive him; he comes from Adelaide...4 Corners on the racing industry; corruption. It was always thus...Can Danny Andrews relight his flame for Calamity Jane Garrett? Doubtful...Comforting to see our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister soaking it all up in the inspirational Thailand rescue; where was Peter Dutton?....It's all about the choice, nothing more, nothing less: Love or money? I'm out on both counts...The entitlement syndrome; kids and Alexander Downer....Carlton's away jumper designer should be sacked...Collingwood and West Coast Eagles, today 1.10pm. For equal top spot. Time for a loss?... hooroo...[www.ello8.com]




CoolA Grain of Salt. Monday 9th July 2018. 

Emotional lability (exaggerated mood changes) is on the rise, or I'm a chameleon, a swinging voter? True, a no vote for a coalition exhibiting Peter Dutton and Barnaby, but with handsome Greg Hunt holding an impenetrable Flinders margin I need an alternative; Labor or the Reason Party? Labor irks of late with their quiet acceptance of Dutton's security scare tactics and the Nauru situation. We can never really tell what people are like but politicians (appear) to be more transparent, on the face of it? One look at the face to match the words and you're 80% there; Simon Birmingham? Politicians lie of course but who doesn't? Our speech patterns (like theirs) can vary depending on the receiver. The upmarket man or woman of importance, the bonzer bloke, Woolworths lady, including our particular slant on our/their opinions. Once a wanderer now a ponderer. Those headlines weeks ago on Geoffrey Rush and Craig McLachlan. Both innocent on disclosed evidence (if any?) seemingly (as of now) damaged beyond repair, thanks to the media and social media vultures. The other two, Barry Hall and Bert Newton, harmless, one an honest outdated mistake by a well meaning 80% dill, the other living beyond the light of past glories; again the common thread, social and media vultures. Last, but certainly not least, indeed to the forefront; Sarah Hanson-Young. (Leaving David Leyonhjelm aside, a confirmed dickhead or a harmless mug seeking attention, miffed by a female standing up to him?). Canberra, our parliament, is the capital of sexism, with  enough evidence to sink the Seven Seas Explorer! Powerful people believing in their own invincibility in a pressure cooker situation. Sarah, who said of PM Malcolm once, long since changed, “A politician and leader of compassion. A true gentleman with a heart full of empathy.” Now consistently attacked by the Libs with Peter Dutton front and centre (also stripped of her immigration portfolio by a jealous leader; Richard Di Natale). Shagging? A pathetic comeback, 90% nobody. Why is Sarah bothering? In parliament regularly men attack men and women; women attack men and women, starring Michaelia and (once) Jacquiline Louise Lambie (who doesn't care what anyone thinks) adding Dutton and Lord Tony, previously facing our darling tough nut Julia Gillard. Freedom of speech becomes freedom provided you keep it nice? What boundaries? Sarah is a sexy woman to some, also no doubt subjected to sexual harassment (on the quiet) from the odd codger or two in the Senate and beyond. Are all men rapists or some men? Potentially all? A vexed question. Sarah, not necessarily my political type, but in the sense of taking it up to those condescending, supercilious male mugs already has lots of runs on her scoreboard; her lips never sealed for too long. Does the #MeToo operate in Canberra? Doubtful. The bottom line - where is all this nonsense heading? [Sexist abuse in the Senate. "In the last 18 months or so, it’s gotten worse. There’s a group that egg each other on. They think it’s funny." - Karen Middleton.] [Note: Many years past as a public servant I spent 6 months in Canberra working on the changeover of our department to Canberra. I declined to transfer but many ordinary individuals rose to heights well above their ability. It was then, still is, a hotbed of sexual activity, now dominated by a mixed population of Greens and Labor voters.] Wankerville.



Most of us recognise that look, quick, (if friendly) a fraction of a second, half way through your story, in conversation, your turn, to talk (at my age, if you’re lucky). Oops, I’ve done it again. ‘I’ve heard that song before’? Sometimes, though rare, you wake early, cautiously check the time (hoping it’s 7 hours since you turned the light off; curses, 4.40 am, lay there, hoping to nod off, and it pops up. That look, from last night, any night, a previous conversation. Repeating yourself, again. There are variations on these reminders. Those who tell you nicely, others ever so nicely that split second look, and those rude buggers who tell you before you're less than half way through. Sometimes nothing at all, but come 5am, you realise it anyway. So what? True, ever so slightly annoying. Memory failures. I’ve got two vintage (ancient) sisters around my age. We get together when I’m able to take the arduous trip to Chelsea (alternatively long phone conversations) where it’s a ‘given’ on repeat stories, indeed expected. No looks, no reminders. Perhaps too busy waiting to take our turn to repeat those particular stories? If I'm talking football on the eau de cologne I have the computer on with the Collingwood team in front of me. Saves time. In the philosophical sense one sometimes calls on one’s talent for independent pleasure, realising there’s no good reason for getting out of the cot anyway; quickly re-heating the water bottle, a snakes, a 2ml valium, zzzzzz. I make a point of never going to Edit/find to check on any repeats of this column/blog. Original thoughts/ideas are rare indeed. Conclusion? Shut your mouth; it's my turn to talk, ['Say it isn't So' Daryl Hall & John Oates].



Front page splash in our morning Herald-Sun rag on the evils of the Richmond injecting rooms. Nice to think it came with a conscience, sadly a brainwashing exercise on behalf of helping Matthew Guy's mob get elected and his promise (if elected) to ban them. True. The Age costs $3 as against the Herald-Sun's $1.70 but the advantage ends there, the reporters basically prostitutes male and female, a requirement to agree with Rupert's policies, far right. Probably the best bet if addicted is to find a restaurant for your coffee with a free read of this rag. [I'm not wrapping The Age as such. It's far more likely to give us a sense of balance, albeit of late a swung slightly right under the guise of fairness]. There are minor H-S pluses - the sports section if you have a weird liking for the biassed Mark Robinson, an Essendon man and a bully. Also the 'Your Say' pages where you can assess like minded sheep (who believe what they read) including weekly pieces from Andrew Bolt who at least calls it as he sees it, twisted, but honest, and Jeffrey Kennett, purported (by himself) to be fair (my backside) finishing with 'Have a nice day'. Jeffrey supplies reasons, something I mistrust by nature. Paul Keating called them "mugs and hillbillies on life's long pathway.'' That just about sums it up.



If I put my mind to it I could probably say (with unerring accuracy) at 82 years (and a quarter) I'm dangerously close to joining the everlasting sleep. Strangely, on those rare occasions it occurs I find it difficult to face the reality of it. Sort of the idea it will go on, and on, and somehow, I'll manage. A shade weird, defying logic, or keeping myself balanced in the day to day reality? My father's (famous) line of his last 20 years was 'I could go any day" passed on to his son no doubt. But Dad was on the front line for four years (World War 2) and afterwards suffered 3 heart attacks, the third proving his words; I've hardly got one callus, either hand. Uncle Val, at the last 6 family funerals before his big sleep (at 100 years) also famous with his line 'I'll be next'. What brought this on? The In Memoriam piece on the infamous Logies. Moving on - "I feel better now". But wait! Suicide is (apparently) 70% more likely from men who have (or have recovered) from prostate cancer. Hey, that's me! Nah; hang in. Collingwood might win a premiership.



Comedy: Lord Tony on PM Malcolm? “I don’t believe in politically assassinating democratically elected prime ministers. I do not believe in that. He does, I don’t.”... Former Foxtel boss Peter Tonagh part of the government's efficiency review of the ABC and SBS. Doctored?...The Nauru files Malcolm Turnbull, Peter Dutton. The invasion of Iraq John Howard. You decide?...Political Correctness and the connection with the female rise to positions of power. Possibly, but we can't blame the Greens for everything?...Sensible wag Scotty Morrison (aka 'jobs and growth' mumbo jumbo spokesperson) wants all states to sign off on the futuristic GST deal THIS year, in other words before the election?...I lived in East Malvern some 40 years with a Staffordshire Terrier. If I was still there I'd have a German Shepherd...Watched Wentworth, mainly for Daniele Cormack, Nicole da Silva and Madam Rabe. Gone? Sadly, we still have Robbie Magasiva...The pleasure is not so much beating Essendon, more particularly sticking it up Brendon Goddard...Jenny Macklin to retire at the next federal election. A woman of substance....hooroo...[www.ello8.com] “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” [Mark Twain]. "Have a nice week."




SickGrain of Salt. Tuesday 3rd July 2018. 

MAGPIES SECOND! 10 WINS, and only Essendon, Eagles, North, Richmond, Brisbane, Power & Fremantle to come. Top 4? No chance. Top 8? 50/50 - at best. Hope springs eternal, but tipping Buckley will have a shave after the Richmond match. After 6 long years of disappointment, squalor (in football lingo) it's time to skite, albeit for this one lousy cold week. [A survey by Lifeline in 2016 found over 80% of respondents thought the feeling of loneliness was increasing in Australia, and two-thirds said that they often feel lonely. Relationships Australia has also found in a 2017 survey that 34% of respondents said they often felt isolated.] A Collingwood premiership would solve my isolation issues. 



State politics: Opposition leader Matty Guy promises to start construction on the east west link and the northeast link by early 2021 despite his record in government of doing nothing (apart from looking after land deals). Meaning some 3 years in government before he gets off his backside? No mention of public schools, aged care, mental health, hospitals, addiction rehabilitation facilities, public transport and so on. He's a funny little fellow. Mind you, Andrews is a worry of late, his retrospective legislation on Minogue and the blanket ban on plastic bags; political stuff (and popular nonsense) for the masses? Danny (like Shorten, but not quite as bad) lacks personality, albeit better than Guy's poison-ality. Even the once respected Age newspaper (The Age is not The Age anymore?) is giving Danny a blast and in fact he only has a 2% majority in the polls, so a close call looms. True, by the election Danny's level crossings promises will be delivered, but no doubt Matty's mob will hone in on the few residents (Liberal voters?) who are frightened of train travellers looking down on their backyard (indecent?) antics.



Television: The Logies. A love-in, on the Gold Coast, where they belong? Watched on fast forward of course, a necessity; discovered so many shows (and apparent celebrities?) I've never heard of? Lots of strutting, for unknown reasons? The highlight was seeing lovely Jana Wendt introducing '60 Minutes' into the Hall of Fame, or infamous? George Negus in a nice shirt rather than those crappy dinner suits male brigade. A fine show, 60 minutes that is, memories of those first 20 years, not quite up to it the past 5 years. 'Romper Stomper' the best mini series, because the competition was D grade stuff? Jacqueline McKenzie rabbiting on? Fast forwarded Shane Jacobson's interviews with the gold nominees after his first interview with Grant something. One gathers Shane is (supposedly) funny, but not funny, again, batting beyond his capabilities, and as always throwing in compliments in line with his sucking up technique. Ditto Bert Newton, but we forgive Bert, fond memories, albeit a distasteful joke about a dead man; Graham Kennedy. Saddened by the in memoriam part; I knew half a dozen of them personally.



PM Malcolm on Shorten: "Assault on jobs, enterprise and innovation. A leader who has no authority in his own party". How about your internal divisions Malcolm, on energy rates, as a starter? As of last Sunday low-paid fast-food, hospitality, pharmacy and retail workers around the country are seeing cuts to their penalty rates whereas companies including (eventually under your government) banks and big business looking to a decrease in their taxes creating bigger profits and insignificant real 'trickle down' and almost certainly less jobs. The 'egalitarian' word has been deleted from out (so called) democracy. A class war is upon us and sadly, we voters (in the main) are in fact believing this hogwash. Mind you, tax cuts solves nothing, other than dodging the real issue, re: wages growth, and as a result a much needed increase in consumer spending? The evidence is in front of us - daily. The banking royal commission, the restaurants and other businesses underpaying workers, and the government contribution by way of penalty rates? And they have the cheek to accuse Shorten of short changing the workers?



The espionage and foreign interference bill. Dicey at best. Authoritarianism continues to grow under the guise of security. 'Witness K' and lawyer Bernard Collaery charged with breaching the intelligence act over East Timor spying revelations. An ASIO operation to bug East Timor's cabinet in 2004 during negotiations about an oil and gas treaty, disclosing Australia had disgracefully spied on East Timor. We were the cheats! "Witness K was not a whistleblower. He went with his complaint to the inspector-general of intelligence security, received approval and I received approval to act," So said his lawyer, also charged. True, we have a real concern for our security, but as it stands our biggest present danger is authoritarianism. Basically if you have proof positive of our government’s corruption, and you tell us, you will be jailed? When Malcolm retires to his cottage by the harbour he can have port and cucumber sandwiches with Johnny Howard in discussing their wise choices on the Iraq invasion and (the compassionate one) Peter Dutton's appointment as our Home Affairs minister. 1 - [By Zeb Holmes and Ugur Nedim "The Law Institute of Victoria says it is “extremely concerned” about the repeated attacks on the judiciary and legal profession by home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, his tirade about the political inclinations and sentencing practices of magistrates."] 2 - [Extract-The Saturday Paper; editorial June 30:  Peter Dutton has made this portfolio his. Its cruelty is his cruelty. The immorality of indefinite detention is now the amorality of a single minister. He wears it on his face. The cynicism of the politics is now the relish of the executioner. A system that depends on an absence of compassion is a broken system, an evil one. A man that takes pride in this system, in his own lack of compassion, is a man unfit to be entrusted with the lives of people seeking asylum.].



Barry Hall re-named Batty Hall? A bad attempt at comedy by Baz on Triple M radio? Mind you the show itself was barely one rung up from listening to an uninformed discussion on the Arts. Sadly (for Baz) likely a life sentence. Once the female mafia decide (particularly Carolyn (Caro's Arrow) Wilson, there's no escape. ‘I was physically ill’ said one unknown female on television. Power, in the guise of self righteousness? I'm a lover of females, (moreso when they know their place), like Caroline and gorgeous Michaelia and our darling, the honourable Julie Bishop MP. Will all comments be tolerated in a modern sophisticated society? No way. The Kangaroo Court rules. Baz was pretty good as a sports commentator, not great mind, but better than Matthew Richardson. Then again, who isn't? Farewell Bazza. Say hello to Craig McLachlan and Geoffrey Rush - at  the cemetery? “I never saw someone ruin their entire career with one button push. That was fresh.” [Seinfeld on Roseanne Barr].



Malcolm our PM, who just received a $10,000 pay rise and a $7000 tax cut, on Penalty rates - “Let them eat cake”?...Why would Jordan De Goey go to North Melbourne anyway? They play at Etihad and down south in Tassie; catch the 'flu in front of those 4000 people. De Goey's an MCG man...Recalling Peter Jackson clothing, and Fletcher Jones. Classy in my ‘Bodgie’ years, style and cloth. How the mighty have fallen...Talk of more AFL rule changes? The obvious two: 1/ Reduce the 50 metre penalty to 40 metres and 2/ If a player is tackled by another and goes to ground, any stacks on the mill gets a free kick...Rebel Wilson and repayment of $4.1 million plus special damages to Bauer (plus interest?) by way of The Court of Appeal; depends on who you know?...As always, Michael Leunig's drawing 'gloom and doom' said it all...Watched the final episode of the ABC's 'Mystery Road' and (at last) answers, in place of long interminable pauses. The best episode, by a mile..."Power in war, moral power is to physical, as three parts out of four" [Napoleon]...Hooroo...www.ello8.com



HeheA Grain of Salt. Thursday 28th June, 2018. 

It's about the future. It's always been about the future. Even at my age. The old saying 'A day at a time' rings true. Funny, but true. What's gone (the past) is done. Maybe a pleasant fleeting memory watching an old movie or the like, but what's ahead is forever front and centre. The drones, the civil rights erosions, the tax havens, NBN, politicians pay rises, Trump, refugees detention, welfare cuts, the thought of another 4 years of this authoritarian (veering towards fascist) government and an AFL premiership. Not so much funny funny. More sick funny? It's one thing to quote the famous Scarlett in 'Gone with the Wind' "I'll think about that tomorrow" but maybe tomorrow will be too late? There's a school of thought along the lines 'words without actions are useless'. True enough up to a point, depending on the strength of your beliefs and concern. On the other hand, for some of us, better than nothing. Moving on...



FUN: 'Ev'ry morning, ev'ry evening, Ain't we got fun? Not much money, Oh, but honey, Ain't we got fun? The rent's unpaid dear, We haven't a bus. But smiles were made dear, For people like us'. Our darling Princess Pauline (Hanson) voted in favour of tax cuts for the rich on the back of "doing it for the workers". True, the lady cops a big tax cut and (if you've been paying attention?) a hefty pay rise, but surely immaterial? PM Malcolm is claiming a massive victory over these tax cuts, none of which will be received before July 2019 and then by way of a rebate, which is much the same as Shorten's, other than the big earners part to arrive in about 5 years. Malcolm goes on (and on) about 'aspiration' and workers living their dreams? He's big on slogans, recalling 'innovation', 'everything on an invisible table'? No mention of the world record of 34 consecutive newspoll losses. Then there's those tax cuts later (assuming Labor doesn't interfere in government, or if in government?) come 2022 and beyond (stage 3), with no information on how they will be paid for and estimated at a cost of $25 billion a year when fully implemented two elections later. Sell the ABC, cuts to hospitals, education, infrastructure, GST increase and others? The film "They're A Weird Mob" comes to mind. True, the middle and lower earners need a tax break, which Shorten agreed on anyway, but more importantly they need a wage rise. As it stands, despite Malcolm (and lap dog Scotty) it's all mostly hot air. Indeed an insult to the minds of 'ordinary Australians', evidence as to their thinking of ordinary Australians in real terms. On the face of it the same tax rate for someone on $200,000 as another on $30,000 seems fair, particularly as the larger wage means tax massively larger than the battler. It depends on how one looks at 'the rich getting richer'. I'm from the other point on tax, believing a higher tax rate at $200,000 (rather than the same tax rate) is fairer for all. Still, it's a cunning move, certain to perplex the majority of voters, many part time or casual, who earn less than $50,000 a year. Does it loom as a reason in our voting intentions? Possibly. More likely it depends on how both sides badmouth one another. Shorten has a 6% margin in voting intentions, likely to lesson come the crunch due to his lack of popularity, not helped by Albanese's (ambitious?) input. Best to leave them fight it out for a month or two after the 5 by-elections. Funny (there's that word again) really; some 5 years of personal abuse (Gillard, Shorten) and they stand insulted by returning fire at our beloved Prime Minister? "Only Fools and Horses".



Speaking of Scotty. (Morrison), a former gestapo minister (boat people) now our beloved Treasurer, he surely must be intelligent? One requires a certain intellectual level to be able to rabbit on as he does for an unstoppable 5 minutes on any given subject thrown his way. [EG: Those 8000 Telstra workers and the long wait for Scotty's 'trickling down' nonsense. In July 2019 the pension age reaches 66. How tough must it be when you lose your job late 50's managing on a Newstart allowance?] And yet, wandering back through 'my' past years I'm reminded of former bosses supposedly as intelligent as our Scotty; the Attorney-General's Department and public service bosses wearing those same suits all year round, years working for totalisator companies (and my contact as a union delegate with totalisator 'suits' and highly placed government officials), also as an actor under various knowledgeable directors and producers, particularly those trained at VCA or NIDA. What sticks out, starkly, (a giant carrot?) is a basic fact of life, namely the risks we take (throughout) of being broken by the stupidity of our superiors (?). 'Broken' is likely overstating the point; walking away? No point asking how they got to be where they are. It's Castles. Always has been. Likely they were all more intelligent than me (or not), but Castles, a result of some cluey (cunning?) one or two realising the benefits, the power, of agreeable dummies. It could be me? I've lost count the number of times I wrote off (ignored?) an ignorant boss in a position of superiority, albeit occasionally self-handicapped after deciding to embarrass the him/her, moreso in front of an audience? We should be thankful for small mercies. The good news? There is none. Grumble bum?



Take Christopher Pyne? It’s hard to believe Christopher is our Defence Industry Minister, more likely a top shelf 'yes' man. OR - if one cares to listen to 'any' interview with a politician on 3AW - say Education Minister Simon Birmingham? - you would be forgiven for assuming all is well…Research, he opines, the fashionable word of this past decade? Downtime for parents a benefit? No more the comment from kidlets: ‘Are we there yet?’ Bored kids encourage creativity, no need for external stimulus. The Raising Children mob. Building kids innate capacity. Glory be. Small mercies; Collingwood are winning.



The CBA, Medibank Private, state utilities. Why not the ABC? We’ll call it “SKY ABC”? Motto "Aspiration"? The $84 million recently slashed from 'our' ABC budget brings it to $254 million in the past 5 years. Not to mention those 800 job losses and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield's clear intention (to borrow from Paul Keating) "do it slowly" (as in our ABC) to satisfy our darling Pauline Hanson's One Nation of two people. What they're doing is blindingly obvious. What they're saying is bluntly pragmatic.



GWS's Jeremy Cameron crucified, no thanks to the football scribes (particularly Paul Roos 'On the Couch' which should be re-named 'On Melbourne's couch') eating him for dinner. Accidental hit for mine…I did my bit: Vegetables - 1 carrot, broccoli, potatoes, pumpkin into 4 cute green plastic bags, then into my 1 allotted plastic bag - an environmentalist?...There's that two second pause after I answer the telephone (with a gruff "Yep"), followed by someone asking if I am who I am, seemingly speaking from Alaska or the like; then I  hang up. The good news; they don't ring back...A two year waiting list for aged care assistance; can I last?...Jon Faine (774 Mondays) is beginning to consider himself an expert on AFL football. He's dreaming...The True Blue Crew; fascists, one assumes, and/or One Nation voters?...Cooper replaces Batman; defying logic, but too ridiculous to contemplate. Womens' business, or Greens?...Murder mysteries are much like life; most of the answers occur near the end..."I will not be as those who spend the day in complaining of head-ache; and the night in drinking the wine that gives the head-ache" [Goethe]...I was barracking for Peru; I don't like beards, including Nathan Buckley's...An introvert or an extrovert? I'm an actor, therefore I'm both...Hooroo...www.ello8.com




HeartA Grain of Salt. Friday 22nd June, 2018. 

We live in a democracy, likely the best system possible in these (dark?) times, any time arguably. Many holes are visible if one cares to look, or listen, the biggest problem as always being human nature, to put it plainly greed and power. Can we change it? Change it to what? Best we put up with it, no alternatives as it stands. Wait for an opening; the elections? From the perspective of the ordinary man (me) we only see these rulers, politicians, heads of industry (at first) in black and white. In truth we know nothing. It's the actions they then take (the manner in which these actions are reported) which add the colours, the various shades to form a more complete picture, never really certain we have the right opinion, no doubt affected (based?) on our own previous opinions, biases. [Communications Minister Mitch Fifield a perfect example, initially benign, sycophantic, cissy, now blossoming into his IPA reality].The Liberal Party's desire to sell off the ABC is not about money, it's about brainwashing. Not so much a left wing ABC bias (however likely) more a case of seeing both sides of the story, as against Murdoch's thrust of seeing it all from the right wing point of view. True, they say they will not sell it, but with the funding strangulation they're having ‘their way’ anyway. The real bias lies within the power behind the news the commercial channels pump out to us nightly, with Murdoch's newspapers added in the following morning; rubber stamped, brainwashed. It stands to reason the undressing of fair reporting has the huge promise of a Coalition government forever and a day holding sway. Historically this has the real possibility to create a tsunami of public opinion similar to Adolph's social success last century, despite the numbers at that time against him. Time soon to act at the ballot box, or suffer the consequences?  



I was super careful with this colonoscopy. I could never remember who dressed me. Obviously it was myself, but I wanted to 'pin it down'. Inspector Jacques Clouseau so to speak. [I'm due again 2021, but of course they can go fly a rainbow kite. At 82 now, enough is enough]. So there I was, alert, Doctor Wong (or Wing?) put a needle in my right wrist. "It will hurt a little" he said. Thoughtful, nice chap. "No problem Doc" I said "How long will this take?" "It's done" she said. She? Where's Wang, or Wing? Gone, disappeared? A mystery. Instantly (seemingly) I'm in the armchair, two biscuits, coffee. None the wiser. Bit like trying to recall childhood. Slivers of flashing thoughts, confusing, images? Home, to food, lots of food, and two imodium tablets, for security. As it happened it did hurt a little, still does four days later, but not on the wrist?



Watched the 1965 movie on Len deighton’s effort, 'The Ipcress File', a long long way from John le Carré but beggars can't be?. I need glasses for television these days but they antagonise my eyes so something slow allows me to ditch said glasses in a movie like this with no necessity/stretch to upset my brain or the need for perfect vision; Midsomer Murders and the like. The same with the ABC's 'Mystery Road', 5 episodes, a hundred questions, no answers, between never-ending pauses, therefore negating the usual problem of wanting to know the answer to this questionable mystery, occasionally coming alive when watching the magnificent views (photography) and Tasma Walton's performance work, as a wonderful variation to the 1000 close-ups of Aaron Pedersen's face. The positives of both - no commercials. 



Climb aboard the hate train? I am not part of the solution! They call it platitudes, as in telling women to ‘take care’ out there in the community, apparently sending the wrong message, some say, in fact some screaming? What's the right message? Two more suicides in a fortnight on Nauru. Does it bother you, or are you more concerned with criticising the police warning? It’s been said Australians are known for ‘doing the right thing’. Yeah? As to the vigil and Eurydice Dixon, more females than males attended. So? Why is it my fault? This blame game, seemingly led and strongly encouraged by female misandry, misandries (?), the effect more likely to divide the public in the reality of the situation, including the attempt to indoctrinate men (and boys) in terms of respect for women. Will it stop the rapists, the psychopaths? No, and likely it will not stop seemingly reasonable males who prey on women if an opportunity presents itself. They are among us, hidden, but I do not accept, other than some form of action in the cause of respect for women, I am part of this blame game. Rarely if ever are males raped, but in between the tragedies of Jill Meagher and Eurydice there are these male murders, however shocking, without the call to place me front and centre of the blame. A sad situation, a tragedy, yes, warped in perspective by a few (thankfully) illogical women and misguided males. It's one thing to remember the sadness of this tragic happening, another to use it as a bandstand announcement against all men. I don't deny some men are weird, as are some women. Most have witnessed the pub situation, where one or two of a group of men will make some rude/suggestive/personal remark against (say) two women in for a social visit. They laugh at their own comments. If one of the ladies comes back at them with a similar insult the men take umbrage, unjustly, and so on.  A form of ignorant cancer, but again, according no occasion to take me to account. Kindly cast your eyeballs to the allowed smoking section, where you will see a relatively harmless old fellow having a pot of carlton draught, minding his own business. 



A friendly reminder? How to close down a democracy (Naomi Wolf-The Guardian)..”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”. 


The tax package, ho hum. A tax credit is not to be confused with a wage increase...Woolworths, our saviour, the issue of plastic bags. Not so on the issue of milk bars, butcher shops, bread shops, chemist shops, ham and beef shops, any which way, and at 15 cents (or 99) a profit...PM Malcolm in favour of ordinary Australians, rich and poor, on tax relief, sadly not extended to those on penalty rates...Not big on retrospective legislation. Minogue copped 28 years, served 28 years, deserves another chance. Politics before justice?...Another year (come July) another chance to earn $4,500 in addition to my pension. I achieved this last September so it's been a long wait. All I need now is another job offer?...May we kindly cut the crap about 'touching' an umpire as a result of video evidence after the game. If the umpire is affected let him report the toucher, immediately or after the game. End of story...It appears Leunig is much admired, but only if the (former?) admirer agrees with his work?...Does anyone give a monkey's uncle about the Helpmann Awards?...Surprising the liberals haven't banned SBS’s ‘Handmaid’s Tale. Too close to their dream society?...Richmond champion Alex Rance would be a star for the French soccer team; arrogance, and no fine for staging?...I'm big on  letters (to various editors) but if it begins with 'right-minded people' I move on to the next letter. Ditto 'to be honest', Repeat ditto 'to be perfectly honest'....Psychologists, I'm informed, spend 3 (or more) years studying 'what makes people tick'? I've been at it for 50 years, and none the wiser..."Levity of behaviour is the bane of all that is good and virtuous" [Seneca]... Hooroo...www.ello8.com





WildA Grain of Salt. Sunday 17th June, 2018. 

According to Miriam Margolyes a 'positive mental attitude' is bollocks. I'm with Miriam; a mirage. When in Rome (as a blogger) switch to fantasy, or past remembrances. [Rome includes those two drongos strutting the world stage, by name Donald Trousers Trump and little Kimmy something, Singapore]. A community in shock on a local level; rape and murder. People on methamphetamine, homeless, wanting a home, a safe place to live, to suicide, or asking for help - Beyondblue, highlighting the need for social interaction, backed by a media telling us of a world in serious disagreement, seemingly a form of chaos. Then there's the bikes quandary, incomprehensible? The supposedly corrupt world soccer cup? What to do? Support vulnerable people, leave it to our 'betters' or ignore on account of self wellbeing? As I've often written, American politics do not intrude on my daily life, ditto English, German, Canadian, even sweet New Zealand. Well, maybe our attitude to the Israeli stuff and the poor Palestinians. Certainly the desperate people unable to get on a plane and be in the queue, boat travel a last desperate resort. Following Trump is like following the travails of the Gold Coast Suns. Worry when it's time to worry, and with this present coalition government there's more than enough on my worry plate. The same applies to social media and those ever present do-gooders. Outside of a political point of view and some form of charity/cause I don't understand where they're coming from. I don't understand why the majority of Herald-Sun readers so easily jump to conclusions; flocks of sheep. Yes, it was always thus, going way back to the old western movies, 'The Gunfighter' Gregory Peck, a lynch mob on demand, locked in opinions without evidence? Wankers united, or simply me...



I'm an old man living alone, social interaction by way of coffee at my local cafe, afternoon beer at my RSL. Leave the problems to the young, dodging the 7 or 9 nightly news. A touch of variety doesn't go astray, to my mind (though restricted?) a necessity of a lifespan, so, harking back, remembrances. My wife was a ballet freak in addition to her perceived need for overseas travel. And meditation, Monday nights? Should I have checked that out? No! A bloody good cook. Another film as a kid 'To each his Own' with Olivia de Havilland. Why not 'their own'? Live and let live and one big happy family, sometimes brutal, though verbal, arguments; not too many, only when I contradicted her. I succumbed on her 4th journey overseas, arriving in London looking forward to 6 weeks of pain with the song 'What's it all about Alfie' dominating my psyche. Week 4, on arrival Athens airport a need to use the luggage holding option, buy another suitcase? What has she bought? Unable to spot her credit card. Tried her ballet once. Three dance pieces, asleep the first two, slightly enriched by a sexy modern dance piece 3. Fell asleep in the opera but enjoyed both intervals. The universality of music, Maria Callus or Beyoncé? During my time in theatre most of the other actors were not followers of football? Maybe too much concentration on the fantasy of fame, or marijuana cigarettes; maybe even sex; philistines. Who knows why? It could have been school? Northcote high school, 1949-52, all boys, wasted years. Geography? Those lovely ladies at Preston girls school a bridge too far. Phew. So much for my positive mental attitude. 



What worried me as a magpie man was the strong motivation by the Melbourne team before the Queens Birthday game; doing it for Neale Daniher and the motor neurone disease factor, albeit another great charity cause. As it happened the Collingwood idea (response, designed or otherwise?) of featuring the former fireman, Murray Swinton, also an MND sufferer, and his family, at Buckley's slide into the iced water, sort of evened it all up. Maybe not, then again they say (can't but help agree) it's all above the shoulders? Then again, again, some of those footballers play by instinct don't they? [PS: If the AFL are into 'culture' it might be time to triple all fines where a player punches another, however lightly, outside of the general play?] 


Humble pie? After 6 long years of being anti-Nathan Buckley dating back to when he did the dirty of a rusted on Collingwood hero in Heath Shaw (and others) I'm coming around. Eddie was never going to admit his mistake. Could it be Nick Maxwell's return from GWS, the addition on the assistant coaching panel of Boyd, Longmuir and Hocking or simply Nathan's wizened ability to take onboard other opinions? It appears to have given birth late last year when Sidebottom captained the team for a few weeks. Round 23 2018 they go West to play the Dockers; could this tell the story? Not tough enough to win a premiership but nice to see them working so well and the improved system of playing on at (almost) all costs rather than last years marking, stopping, passing backwards and kicking for goal 'in hope'. The 'norm' is Richmond, tough, relentless. Maybe even West Coast but their MCG form not up to it. Sydney, by now attuned to MCG finals? Geelong? Fascinating. 


Yes, the banks are crooks, as most of us are seeing it of late. They're in business with shareholders, to please them, and themselves. They're only crooks if you want them to be crooks, if you give them the opportunity to be crooks. Primarily, you've got to be some sort of an idiot if you let them take advantage of you. Financial advisers be damned. Banks are good for most people, safe too, guaranteed by our magnificent angelic government. A bit like petrol companies. We know they're crooks but we need the petrol so we buy the petrol. Whatever your needs, term deposits, savings accounts, petrol; kindly do not get your knickers in the proverbial. Money laundering, so what? Changing banks; why? 



Space fillers: [Julian Burnside] "The treatment (torture?) of refugees and asylum seekers is deliberate and unnecessary cruelty. The way we are seen overseas is really worrying, it’s vaguely embarrassing to be in another country and disclose that you’re Australia. It’s like, I guess, being in another country and disclosing you’re American, because of Trump. Since the Tampa episode the Coalition has repeatedly called boat people ‘illegal’ even though they don’t commit an offence [in coming here as refugees by boat], and they call the exercise of pushing them away ‘border protection’". [Jon Faine] “I’ve been here since 1989 busting my guts for a vision and a set of values and quite frankly I’m sick of getting it ripped apart because of the failure of our managers. [Guthrie] has been remarkably quiet and reluctant to engage in what she herself previously has described as megaphone campaigning. She says ‘No, the best way to protect the ABC is to work quietly behind the scenes’. And that’s obviously delivered a terrible outcome in the last budget round. Politicians were 'laughing' at the ABC for staying silent while it was 'done over' by the Coalition government."



Sad to see the slow death by strangulation of Leigh Sales. Wondering how Kerry O'Brien would have reacted? Saving the ABC from dismemberment is reason enough to vote out this present government...Did you feel that handshake that shook the world?...Security or political? Christian (We're listening to our national security agencies?) Porter and threatened foreign interference in the five by-elections? Porter reminds me of George Warleggan, from 'our' ABC's 'Poldark'...Rebel Wilson: "While this case was never about the money for me, I do hope to receive as much as possible to give away to charities." Less your expenses Rebel?...Woe is me @ 7.30am tomorrow morning, today being a painful long one of no solid foods, milk products or orange juice, and picosalax?...Rodrigo Duterte, Peter Dutton? "Yea, this man's brow, like to a tragic leaf, Foretells the nature of a tragic volume" [Shakespeare]...Hooroo...www.ello8.com