A Grain of Salt 2018

CryingA Grain of Salt. Monday 21st May, 2018. 

Torpor: A state of physical or mental inactivity; lethargy. It was sometime in May 2007 I started this Grain of Salt stuff, thus 11 years. How many times have I called "enough"? Two, three, a dozen? Well, this is the one, official, the lucky last, maybe. "Phew" you may say. About bloody time. Correct. It's May, Autumn, and freezing, with Winter bearing down. I've just about run out of patience for Winters. At the very least I'm going to follow the lead of those grizzly bears and torpor, till Collingwood make the top 8, likely never under Nathan Buckley. Western Bulldogs next week, Fremantle to follow; win both and we're (my boys) half a chance. I'll fill in here with a few words, but for no real purpose other than giving it some body. Five by-elections to come followed by elections state and federal? Bugger politics; I'll let it all run its course. I intend to clean up the shop, meaning I'll go through all the stuff, my drawers, my cupboards, my trunk, and disperse as necessary. The blue bin, op shops. Maybe make a tape to be played at my wake? Three kids, 3 grandkids, a son-in-law; 7. Only need another 5 for a dozen. A few jokes, backed by an appropriate song; "After you've Gone" by Judy Garland. Leave me alone in my misery, again? Not really, just rabbiting along. 


Interesting comparison. The government push/set-up (Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash) against construction union boss John Setka and the royal commission into unions headed by a suspiciously biassed Dyson Heydon, costing millions, many millions, our money. Charges dropped. Not guilty of blackmail. Coalition embarrassed? No way sadly. Always an obvious, disgraceful set-up, basically putting political opponents in the dock; Bill Shorten et al. Against this the government's refusal for a banking royal commission, eventually forced into it with numerous cases of theft by banks and other big business crooks, and then they give themselves credit for allowing it? No shame. Occasionally, very occasionally, a small victory, for now. Don Chipp springs to mind "keeping the bastards honest". I wish. Full marks to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus, a shade over the top, on the blackmail charges being dropped: "You can sack us. You can tap our phones. You can raid our offices. You can punish our leaders. You can fine us or jail us. But you will never defeat us." We wish her well; a tough job.


$400 million for airport security? Smells like, looks like, is, another Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton con job, on our trail to frighten us, helped along by that strange anti-feminist Eric Abetz, backed by Mitch Fifield in their quest to destroy our ABC as well. (I'm shaving off my beard). "Dangerous times" said our Prime Minister to 3AW's Rupert Murdoch man Neil Mitchell. Said Mal: "Police are trained to observe behaviour". Tommy rot! Since Menzies reds under the beds and Howard's tampa stuff (John's an expert on religious freedom?) it's been an unending story. The tragedy is not only those 'thinking' people who readily believe this nonsense, but honest everyday people who are sucked into believing he's doing it for our benefit? The airport can (or was?) the beginning of the big holiday, overseas trip? Lots of people not there to fly out, some even for warmth, atmosphere, maybe to pick up a partner, although why anyone goes to an airport without good reason (the cost) is beyond me. What happens with no ID? Suspicious? Leave the building? True, the way the world's going at the moment he may be right one day, but hopefully by that day this mad for power chap will be long gone. In the short term, the now, his aim is to walk on water, and woe betide anyone who disagrees with him, including Malcolm Turnbull. Comedy: The Liberal Party motto - "the freedom of the individual"? 


I don't get it. I really do not get it. Bolt blames Hamas, as does the Herald-Sun, as does Malcolm Turnbull's crowd, as do the letter writers from South Caulfield and Malvern. The Palestinian leadership? Yet all we've seen over the past years is Israel taking more and more Palestinian land and lately killing unarmed protesters including children. Previous attempts at negotiation failed because (it appears) it can never succeed anyway unless the Palestinians agree to the Israelis wanting more, evermore; not to mention military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Why are we so blindly agreeing with what appears to be the slow death of these people? Labor is also very quiet on this one. Do we simply just follow the yanks any whichway? It's not as if I have any firm opinion. It's more a case of wanting to know why our government is so strong on Israel in the light of what we see in the media. Trump for a Nobel peace prize?



The sad death of a 14 year old schoolgirl in Melbourne's east highlights a consistent danger on our roads. Drivers coming into a heavy traffic situation, looking right, seeing a break and driving in turning left, assuming all is clear. The same situation at a roundabout entering (for example from Jetty road to the Mornington Peninsula freeway roundabout) - clear on the right - go, and on the left others are entering from Melbourne via the peninsula freeway? It's not enough to simply assume all is well with that quick look to the right and go, and yet we see it happen time and again. Almost always, that driver is guilty.  


"On the ABC, the gender gap, climate change and wage growth, the Liberals pretend to care while making sure nothing changes" (Greg Jericho)...A bright spark, writing on the uselessness of our ABC "All the dramas are repeats anyway". Why do you think that is Einstein?...The Essendon footballers were apparently all on the same page, up until last week. The question is "Who turned the page before the Geelong game"?...Angus Cerini is a brilliant writer. His new play The Bleeding Tree ( Brenna Harding, Sophie Ross & Paula Arundell) is on at the Arts Centre now. Go see it...Love is in the air; Meghan and Harry, the perfect conjugal bond, and a baby bible written by Meghan?...A passenger train came off the rails near Rushall station in 2016. I smoked my first pack of cigarettes in that spot, a pack of 10, state express three 3's, in 1949, under the peppercorn trees, secretly, quietly. Two peppercorn trees away we could hear love being made...Shane Jacobson as the narrator in The Rocky Horror Show. Not for me...Backroads ABC, featuring Barrie Cassidy's spouse Heather Ewart and numerous salt of the earth Aussies. Good stuff, starts June 11th..."Hell, I never vote for anybody, I always vote against". [Comedian, WC Fields]....Back come Spring...hooroo...www.ello8.com



WildA Grain of Salt. Tuesday 15th May, 2018. 

Once upon a time...I could understand almost everything. Now I look at my desk, a long desk 7 foot, specially made, and on each end there are papers or folders to be looked at, at a later date, when I have time to think, to understand, to comprehend? Today I added to one lot, the platinum rewards master card terms and conditions. Some 20 pages, small print, effectively 40 pages. Too old too hard and papers are multiplying? One day, maybe tomorrow (?) I'll chuck the lot into the blue bin and receive a small taste of freedom. Out of sight out of? Short term I telephoned the bank and was told not to worry. I'm obviously getting too bloody old. It happens fast. Only 4 years ago Centrelink went for me with a supposed $4000 debt along robo-debt lines, putting it on me to prove otherwise. I did just that. Bastards. Not anymore. If it happened today it would be immediately added to either folder, both already a foot thick. I was an accountant in another life. A CPA. Hard to believe. Maybe not. Maybe I'm fantasising? After all, who can remember last century? Moving on...


The day after, being the Monday following Collingwood's loss to Geelong, and 3 degrees at 6am. Yet another year with Nathan Buckley, his 7th. Goodness gracious me. Yet again looking towards September (if I'm still here) with no appearance from my magpies. C'est la vie? It's no wonder I look to politics as my saviour, my bastion of hope. Danny Andrews, maybe, or more significantly not Matty Guy? Billy Shorten? [Someone tell Billy not to smile. Not a good look]. Stormy weather to follow right up to the election including the 5 by-elections, both leaders with clear back-stabbing qualifications. If Billy loses one (by-election) he may survive, but two brings Anthony Albanese on his tail. Anthony's OK but dangerous to change leaders mid stream. And the voters? Mainly comprised of people who get some strange type of pleasure from enjoying Eurovision, Survivor, Gogglebox, including my daughters. [No offence darlings.]. I've always said I don't suffer from stress, depression, anxiety and/or trauma but as a political (and Collingwood) tragic it's surely time to take a break? The frightening thought of Buckley, worse still Turnbull and Dutton for another 3 years? Anxiety looms? Are these things 'really' important? Not so you'd notice. There's an old saying in poker, a card game I played for 40 years, "whinge and you'll win." It never worked. There's another for footballers "A lot of it is between the ears." True. "It could be worse" is probably the safest attitude. Laughter can help. I tried Love Actually the other night after a 12 year break. My favourite line for a good laugh, "Shut up, miss dunkin' donut 2003". A day at a time...forever. Amen. [I should add our Treasurer, Scotty, as this country's treasurer, is also a matter of hilarity, in the economic sense]. 


Front page, the Herald-Sun Mothers Day. Grass roots sports clubs risk losing government funding when they fail to deal with misbehaving parents and players. Stamp out violence, cheating and the ugly parenting syndrome. An ugly parent is interpretive; a nonsense. Obviously a no-news day. Either that or they were short of material to rubbish the Labor Party's budget. 


Harking back to that budget, in particular the cut to the ABC of $84 million over three years, (now at $254 million since Tony Abbott said 'no cuts to the ABC') at the same time giving $50 million to some Sydney Captain Cook nonsense on top of $30 million to Rupert Murdoch's Fox Sports, (a payback for hiring prostitute journalists?) one has to ask our Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield - WHY? The latest Fairfax-Ipsos poll of 46 to 54 per cent Labor's way (from 48-52) has hit the coalition budget between the eyes (unless you read The Australian), and while there are a variety of reasons I'm seeing our attitude to our ABC as a strong reason. If he (they?) really care about the vast majority of voters they would know the ABC (news, documentaries, drama; radio and television), without commercials, releases us from the pain of those free to air commercials, an addition to some sanity in our daily lives. I read where Fifield is a member of the Institute of Public Affairs, a body that lobbies for the ABC to be privatised. This is surely purely political nasty pasty stuff. Then there was Jennifer Duke, in The Age "Michelle Guthrie should sort out her problems with the government and Fifield, rather than honing in on the government?" Why put it on Michelle, a Liberal appointment? A strange point of view. It's plain enough where they (the coalition) are coming from, payback for anyone criticising them, (a la Peter Dutton's style) but ask yourself, have these cuts got anything to do with running this country? Cormann says the ABC should have the same fiscal restraints as the commercial stations. Again why? They are in it for the moola. The ABC gives us a reasonable assessment of what's happening out there in the big wide world. Where is it leading to?" [“Seven in 10 Australians think a strong, independent ABC is critical to a healthy democracy. Cutting funding to the ABC is the opposite of what we should be doing in an age of ‘fake news’ and when the business model for journalism has been seriously disrupted.”]. We should be celebrating I suppose. The latest news poll might make them pull back a shade. As I've said previously, watch closely for more dirty tricks.


The coalition plan to ban cash payments above $10,000 is straight out of Big Brother. Never mind the high and mighty preventing money laundering or any other supposedly 'sensible' reasons. It's a step in to more 'we're watching' territory. Get this through and before you know it it's reduced (on the back of lying statistics) to $5,000; $500? They want to know more, evermore. The black economy as they like to call it, is little fish, but a small measure of (mostly) battlers, a ray of light on our day to day activities. Imagine this on our Mornington Peninsula. How else would we survive?


Are you a 'useful' member of our society? Apparently there are many of them about. No clear vision of what it means but I'd love to meet one...I'm for negative gearing, capital gains tax discounts, family trusts, shareholder cash handouts and real spending on housing, rental affordability, roads, public transport, schools, hospitals and a fixed plan to reduce the national debt...Jessica Mauboy, Eurovision. 20th. About right...Some blogs get 50,000 hits per blog. I've got there with a mere 250 blogs over 11 years?..."It is difficult to grow old gracefully" [Madame de Stael]...hooroo...Cliff Ellen...www.ello8.com




SickA Grain of Salt. Friday 11th May, 2018. 

Is it class warfare? Always has been. Do the fabulous four (Turnbull, Corman, Morrison and Sir Peter) care about us? They care about our vote. "A tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury - signifying nothing"? Not quite. It's about (as always) power, and keeping the rabble (us) where we belong, looking after their mates (not us) in their need (desperation?) to stand tall, maintain the "haves" balance, the care for "ordinary Australians" but smoke and mirrors. The 2018 budget (aimed squarely at the swinging voters, sometimes known as "thinking people") proves we are in need of an election to give this coalition government a giant boot up the backside. Turnbull's leadership, if you can call it that, has been a disaster. A mish mash of power cliques heavily leading toward Dutton's right wing dogma. The renewable energy industry has been routed. What climate change? Our national debt? What national debt? The Arts, culture, is beyond their thinking. [$50 million to re-enact Captain Cook's landing, in Sydney? Any chance of Dirk Hartog getting a mention?]. The obvious bullying of the ABC (cuts) a snide attack on questioning journalism. Hospitals? With some 100,000 on the aged care list there's 14,000 extra aged-care home packages, always assuming you're not renting. Peter Dutton and The Administrative Appeals Tribunal having the gaul to overturn his immigration decisions, an Attorney-General (Christian Porter) under instructions to put someone (race discrimination commissioner) in the role who has middle Australian values? Budget cuts by stealth, including The National Archives, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and The Financial Security Authority. The cuts they are asking you to forgive and forget, your reward for this change of heart (amnesia?) is $10 a week, a lump sum come August 2019, assuming you earn between $48,000 and $90,000. The question is will you ignore the history of those promises the past 3 years and buy this one based on the new found honesty of the big four? Mathias got it half right: "When it comes to personal income tax cuts our first priority is to provide tax relief to low and middle income earners." Scotty: "You can trust the Coalition to manage the country's finances because trust is earned by performance." What 'performance' in particular Scotty? The budget's a con, what's more it's not a very intelligent con, bordering on an insulting con. Vote them in first for a few pennies boys and girls (forgetting the lies) and if all is well (after voting them in this coming election and the following two thereafter) you will get more, depending on various revenue producing factors, Chinese trade in particular. To the middle class workers: Vote us back in and things will get better within 7 years. To the rich: A rainbow, increased wealth, a flat tax. Will it affect the next newspoll? Good question, bickies in the bin always a temptation. Incidentals: No increase to the poverty-level Newstart payment ignoring the pleas of community groups and already the overstretched Department of Human Services; 1,200 job cuts. When we finally start hitting flat tax territory (after they win the next two elections) the more unfair the system becomes. The truth of the lie (the benefit to low income earners) balances out at a golden handshake for high-income earners. Dear "thinkers": You work it out?



Wireless Ross and John. 3AW. “The informed choice - The Australian Newspaper.” Laying in bed trying to imagine Billy Shorten as our next prime minister. Just after 6.30am, coldish. Rain. Six hours sleep, sufficient, that time in the cot where you simply stay put, turn the wireless on, knowing it’s becoming increasingly urgent to visit the loo. Scotty Morrison, a former ruthless Immigration minister turned nice, (his interpretation), unconvinced. Billy? Somehow he doesn’t sit; yet. Malcolm looks the part, Australia's representative, but what comes out of his mouth is pure flim flam, including his subservience to Peter Dutton. What can we tick as achievements the past years of Tony and Malcolm? I think of Billy as against Dutton (whose sympathies only sit with people who resemble him, deliberately setting out to scare us into his form of submission) and he's looking better already, but who wouldn't? Some gain stature as numero uno. Look at Danny Andrews. Worth a try, it's only 3 years. "The Australian" - the informed choice my backside. That's Murdoch's rag. Time for a pee. Billy's budget reply worth a chance. Ditto Labor's fabulous four; Shorten, Albanese, Wong, Bowen. Open warfare? Clearly. Let the battle begin. [Does it matter? Is it any different to a Collingwood loss? Yes, that only last a week.]



Alexander Downer on the memories that will linger after four years in England promoting Australia's interests? "Well, there was the excitement of Brexit, of course, but, inevitably, I remember the times I’ve met the Queen, for example – dinners at Buckingham Palace.” [He's a treasure]. Note for my diary; the big wedding only a week away.



Richard Ackland The Saturday Paper. 5/5. "While a concerted social media campaign is gathering pace to have the ABC desist from featuring Institute of Public Affairs drones on its chat shows, a special committee appointed by IPA member and Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield has been set upon the public broadcasters to see if they are competing too avidly with the private broadcasters. Competition is all very well, but apparently not when it comes from publicly funded broadcasters – targets of Pauline Hanson, who persuaded the government to set up this wretched inquiry in exchange for her vote on the media “reforms” bill, from which not one iota of reform has yet flowed. Even so, there would be a revolt in the streets if Mitch and his merry men tried to stop the free news websites of the national broadcasters and, in particular, the streaming services such as SBS’s On Demand. Political defenestration for this clot of a minister would be in store, should an angry mob get hold of him." [The ABC need a close look at 'The Drum', not the show itself, the guests, a strange array of wankers, almost nightly. Fifield, a real life puppet].



Rod Martin, psychologist, examined the relationship between a sense of humour and psychological wellbeing, finding individuals with a good sense of humour had higher levels of self  esteem and self-worth, and more positive in the face of challenging life events, ditto coping with stress. The more I read on the results of psychologist's research the more I disregard their usefulness.



The citizenship fiasco. Both leaders erred. Shorten in attacking the coalition initially (supposedly with good legal advice but suspiciously not taking into account the leanings of the high court judges) and Turnbull for challenging the high court in the Barnaby Joyce case. [Barnaby's a card. Labor 'hypocrites' on the citizenship?]  Bi-elections, historically in favour of the previous outcome. Expensive. Leave us alone in our misery.  



Brodie Grundy got 3 weeks. Nick Naitanui deserved the same...Ricky Ponting recommends CrownBet. A step up (or down?) from Swisse...Beware of anyone calling themselves a broadchurch...We already have a flat tax. It's called the GST...Batten down the hatches. A  year of misinformation and dirty tricks approaches..“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.” [Pericles]. “If you like not my writing, go read something else.” [Robert Burton]...hooroo...Cliff Ellen...www.ello8.com




WildA Grain of Salt. Monday 7 May, 2018. 

Pre-budget 2018: In your face lies (our faces) including nonsense from the Business Council of Australia on the companies trickle down effect of tax breaks. As part of its political campaign, For The Common Good, the business lobby inked in a media deal with News Corp and Sky News, reputedly forking out $1million. Whose common good? Positive outcomes? Sure, about as likely as a Carlton premiership. Followed by the personal data loss (CBA) 2016, telling to us barely a week ago? My records! Maybe someone pressed the delete button by accident? I've done it half a dozen times the past 10 years. Years ago at the Melbourne Showgrounds, a trots (harness racing) meeting, visiting the control area, I saw a button, pressed it, and an announcement went through the airwaves to the whole crowd, a loud musical announcement indicating a protest; hid my head in shame. Can the CBA tell ME what THEY have on ME (under the fair exchange no robbery principle?) - so we can all know what they know? Pigs may fly. [Twitter user records also accidentally went to millions. "An extraordinary blunder" said our harbour mansion PM Malcolm, forgetting to include the government filing cabinets blunder]. Our footprints are out there, for eternity. Nothing we can do about it. But we can do one thing: be on constant awareness alert of any misuse of our data (footprints) and loudly scream about it from our rooftops, particularly if Peter Dutton is involved, always assuming you have a roof.


Newstart at $545.80 a fortnight. Can you live on it? Julia Banks, on some $500 per day says yes, on $40 a day? [Julia wouldn't need to pay rent, having some 6 properties of her own to choose from]. Politicians get some $80 a day for a meal allowance? Cliffy says yes, assuming no car and free board. Otherwise NO; recent research found just three of 67,000 rental listings were affordable for someone on a Newstart allowance. Mind you, there's a few people sitting on this allowance with no intention of looking for work, thus buggering it up (the idea of the short term fix) for the honest ones. I'm OK on my full pension with my never-ending dream of getting 'more' - as in job perfection, as a Senator, in Canberra. 


The budget big items? Most of them have been leaked anyway. As expected they dropped the medicare levy and surely the silly idea of axing the energy supplement to we pensioners. His $80 billion tax plan to big business is looking shaky. Perhaps go for it without including the big banks, but unlikely, though tempting to be popular with the donkeys (the 20% 'thinking' voters) indeed giving Turnbull half a chance to have the next news poll fall his way? Enough to put the frighteners on our Billy? Can we afford the goodies? No, with the current debt attracting interest repayments in excess of $13 billion a year, (likely to rise with an increase in interest rates) but for now we ignore the piper (national debt) in favour of winning the next election, the coalition that is. Never mind the goodies; keep your eyes peeled for the "planned budget cuts". And as oft repeated, keep your eyes peeled for Peter Dutton's push for extra powers, against us, under the guise of criminality and paedophilia, thankfully quietly opposed by foreign minister Julie Bishop and others; hopefully a power struggle within? I'm assuming Labor has it's doubts but can't risk the coalition screaming "Labor's short on our security". COMEDY: Mathias Cormann "When it comes to personal income tax cuts our first priority is to provide tax relief to low and middle income earners". And high earners? Mzzzzzz Kelly O’Dwyer "A Black economy taskforce, a strong focus on tax integrity”??? This mob will not surrender without the devil of a fight.


Italian maestro Riccardo Muti here (well, in Sydney) to conduct the Australian World Orchestra, says “Today we need music and art and beauty with a capital B more than ever” Full of praise for his orchestra, he enthusiastically says “The spirit that moves them is extremely intense and full of enthusiasm because everyone wants to do the best. The joy factor is so high. Everyone wants to be here. Everyone is highly motivated to make really good music. Music can make miracles.” Good stuff Riccardo, but not only music and classical orchestras. I have some fine memories of this 'like' feeling with 3 or 4 plays I did in another life. Indeed, it can apply to many things, presently likely applying to the Richmond football team (albeit the AFL culture of money) and many other forms of endeavour. I recall local Cr Frank Martin telling us “Art and culture is more than just providing entertainment. Within a community it can foster creativity, inspiration and innovation” Well said Frank. The same goes for visual and performing arts. Do you go to the theatre? Musicals only, or MTC as a subscriber? Try another world - Theatreworks Acland Street, La Mama Faraday Street, Red Stitch, Chapel Street, Frankston Arts Centre, Davey Street, even the Southern Peninsula Arts Centre, Eastbourne Road for an effervescent school play; broaden your horizons? If you live down south on the Mornington Peninsula consider a vote for 'The Arts Party'. Greg Hunt's a shoe in anyway and neither of the big two give us a second thought. Culture; never be frightened. It’s only a word. A good word. Live dangerously? [Arts, coalition pre-budget tip - $140 million location incentive to lure big budget films? Big bloody deal.]


By and large I've disciplined myself not to "want more". Like everyone else I've strayed at times (the odd shirt to add to my 30 others, a new car every 13 years, crayfish?) but gradually it became a personal preference in my lifestyle, possibly motivated by the cost of a family, but I don't think so; more a form of my own personal enlightenment? Do I need a new car, what's 200,000 kilometres etc? Watching The Footy Show (10 minutes) I saw Gary Ablett’s house, luxury supreme, looking very cool, apart from the reindeer's head sticking out of the wall above his fireplace. Why? Later tuned into The Night Manager SBS and the rich in Monaco, by comparison suggesting Gary's pad was short change. What I'm wishing for, missing? Nothing? Yachts are too much trouble. I wonder if they take their yachts through the South China seas, visit a new Chinese man (or woman) made island for fresh fish? I wonder if they vote Labor? I don't really wonder. I know by the time they reach my age (IF?) they'll be singing "What's it all about Alfie?" Most of them, not all. They must be important people right? After all, they are rich. Do they want more, forever? [Nothing serious. Merely pondering].  


Simplifying? Don't eat sugar, lots of exercises, less cancer problems. Stay tuned for the next brilliant solution?...What are bullies? Basically they have a plan, more by instinct, avoiding analysis, by deliberately turning the pack against you, thus setting you apart from the group...Actors? Whenever I see Mark Bonnar in a show I immediately dislike him? Even if he's obviously playing a good guy I'm still hoping he is the murderer. Why is this? Maybe it's his short beard and moustache? I get the same feeling when Shane Jacobson pops his head in?...Saturday May 19th. Lock it in. No, not Collingwood and Fremantle; important yes, but pales into insignificance with the big one. The wedding. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Can't wait...People tell me marijuana is a safe drug. For most yes, definitely not everyone, particularly me...Police opposed bail because Mark Thompson was a flight risk? Give me a break; more likely a suicide risk. A rare talent previously on AFL360. Sad...The possibility of a coalition victory, ditto Matthew Guy; Shakespeare; "When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions."...hooroo...Cliff Ellen...www.ello8.com



KissA Grain of Salt. Wednesday 2nd May, 2018. 

My family is not short of feminists, by coincidence most of them (if not all) are of the female variety. So I say to myself (nobody else listens anyway): Is there a war on men? I barely lasted half way in series 1 of The Handmaid's Tale, returning to episode 1 of the second series but gone again after the first 15 minutes. Admittedly the SBS commercials are enough to shy away from the gentlest of shows but really it's all a bit much for this shy, retiring, nice, gentle, useless (sexually) male. I blame Margaret Atwood. And Sarah Sanders (frightening?) and obviously Elisabeth Moss, that vacant look? Then we have Julia Baird and her Americanised #MeToo band (God help Ross Lyon) haunting me on the ABC's "The Drum" at least once a week and the Herald-Sun (also at least once a week) calling for equal pay for women, in spite of some 50 years working with women on equal pay, and generally equal male/female deviance. They appear to use Harvey Weinstein as the starting point. Personally I've had my suspicions dating back to Louis B Mayer and all those plum roles given to sweet little June Allyson. Moving across to left field, since the year 2000 prostate cancer has received a total of $148 million from the National Health and Medical Research Council compared with $296 million for breast cancer. The NHMRC is the largest funder of medical research in Australia. Why the difference? As it happens I've had this 'thing' (what better word for it?) since 2004 and believe me (which you probably won't) it's quite the psychological battle, devoid of sympathy even with a Psycho-oncology specialist within my extended family. I was 68. I suppose I was considered lucky? Some get it much earlier. More men die of prostate cancer each year than women do of breast cancer; indeed over 3000 males a year. Obviously there are degrees of erectile dysfunction but from my experience (we band together in our loss?) the best we survivors can hope for is some 3 years partial to instant loss immediately following. Not that it's been a big worry. I was never one to have any skill in the area of attracting females. My biggest worry (well, concern?) was experiencing feminising changes, namely bigger boobs. Does libido diminish? I'd say no, but clearly tempered by the reality. Obviously I agree with the sympathy for those suffering from breast cancer but I often note this same feeling is nowhere near accorded to the prostate sufferers, men. I don't mind if we're forgotten but I get slightly annoyed when the balance favours one sex without reference to the other; it's not fair. Continue on with your war by all means (you will anyway) but try to be a bit more down the middle; fairness. Leaving aside misogyny and misandry.  


The Banks, AMP, corruption. In our faces, day after day. All so bloody boring, so I spent time on some research, via my line of people I come across at my wonderful RSL. Result - very little sympathy for those apparently robbed. Some yes, but sadly many innocents, basically due to a lack of financial knowledge. Dutton not helping with his usual slap at Union industry funds, joint things between unions AND industry Peter. Why? Political obviously, and they, the Union funds, were the honest ones? Not to worry. The coalition has found $8 billion they didn't realise they had. How can you not know there was $8 billion in your kick? Goodies for all. And chocolates. Vote Scotty Morrison...and peerless Peter Dutton. May corruption go hide in the bushes, till it stops raining? [Back in 1970 AMP and the CBA knocked me back for a housing loan after fulfilling the loan requirements due to what they termed a 'credit squeeze'. Almost 50 years later and they're still crooks.] As for our present coalition government: Hindsight specialists?


Speaking of Sir Peter, (beloved by Herald-Sun readers alongside the contempt for the Administrative Appeals Tribunal) be warned; again: Minister Peter Dutton has oversight for national security, for the Federal Police, Border Force and ASIO, for the law enforcement and emergency management functions of the Attorney-General’s Department, the transport security functions of the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, the counterterrorism and cybersecurity functions of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the multicultural affairs functions of the Department of Social Services, and the entire Department of Immigration and Border Protection. And all this was gifted to this dangerous man by our Prime Minister Malcolm. Add to this new spying regulations (on us) giving our mate Peter Dutton more power, as if he hasn't got enough already? So much for the former powers of the Attorney-General or to put it plainly yet another downgrading of democracy. Some people are calling for 'more power' for our man Peter. How can you have more when you already have the lot? 


I grew up in the war years, school that is. Second grade type teachers called back into service due to the younger bright ones being overseas. Some good, some quite ruthless, brutal, none to be compared with todays teachers. I've witnessed 3 grandkids going through the 12 school years. Teachers today are fantastic. Why they must put up with politicians telling them how to teach is beyond me, as is this ridiculous comparison with school kids from other countries?  


Collingwood supporters? Symptoms are either universal or particular, some signs are secret, some manifest, some in the body, some in the mind, and diversely vary, according to the inward or outward causes. To confine them these general symptoms may be reduced to those of the body or the mind, the usual signs appearing in the bodies are melancholy, be these cold and dry, or hot and dry, as the humour is more or less adjusted; yet their memories are for the most part good, they have happy wits, and excellent apprehensions. Their pulse is rare and slow, which is very strong; but that varies according to their intended passions or perturbations. If the heart, brain, liver, spleen, be disaffected, as usually they are, many inconveniences proceed from them; apoplexy, epilepsy, vertigo, those frequent wakings and terrible dreams. Maybe try this NatureBee stuff?


With this Ross Lyons business (whatever the details, maybe never known?) I confess I get confused with this secret payments to harassment victims. What if (and I pre-empt this with never having tried it or even thought of it) you spotted an attractive female at a party and you say to her (after appropriate introductions) "You look quite gorgeous Gloria. I'm wondering, maybe even hoping, wishing (?) -  if you fancy the idea of coming back to my place afterwards, close by, a few drinks, cheeses, or a pizza (?) and later, if it suits you, hopping into bed with me for fun and games?" Is this harassment?


Richmond beats Collingwood by 8 goals, and I can't even blame the umpires. Took a 2ml valium. OK now...Happy days. My pension has topped the 900 mark, fortnightly $901. Move over Lindsay Fox...Paul Roos named his top 6 centreline players in the AFL. As expected no Collingwood players. I blame his Fitzroy origins...Rita Panahi calls out the anti-Trumps for mindless hypocrisy. She should know...The sad loss of the malted milk (gone, like another pleasure, the incinerator) with super cold milk scooped from a vat in the milk bar counter to metal containers, generally almost 2 glasses. Now a milk shake, a mile away from the old way? A pity...Naked beachgoers straying from the "clothing optional" Sunnyside Beach at Mt Eliza, sometimes nice people spotting sex in the bushes? Come to Rye with 13 new CCTV cameras optional along the Rye foreshore. Promise I wont peek...Health Minister Greg Hunt (our man) has kicked in $1.5 million to fight the mystery flesh eating bug currently (apparently) plaguing Rye; tick...I don't like David Bowie, and if it's possible I like the other fellow (Elton John) even less? On the other hand rather than the Collingwood theme song (after we win the 2018 GF?) I'd prefer a super loud version of The Cranberries - Zombie. OR Rolling Stones - Paint it Black...A Nobel peace prize to Barak Obama was a bit much. To give one to Donald Trump is too much...hooroo...Cliff Ellen...www.ello8.com



CoolA Grain of Salt. Saturday 28th April, 2018. 

Lull Edition: Newspoll number 31 at 49% to 51% on the two-party-preferred measure. A 50% drop in the previous margin, no doubt forming 'doubt' in the Labor ranks? The government has indicated it plans to justify its budget spending by differentiating between what it calls “bad” debt, spent on welfare, and “good” debt spent on infrastructure. I could talk of the difference between PM Malcolm's 'sorry" on the banks' royal commission and the rubbish presented to us on Barrie Cassidy's 'Insiders' by Kelly O'Dwyer but what's the point? Suffice to say I'm crestfallen. Well, not really. I just wanted to use that word. If you don't recognise the hypocrisy by now you never will. Malcolm is of course temporarily ecstatic, having mingled overseas with the VIP's of the world, in gay Paree for Anzac Day and previously  our  roots (?) in the old country. Morrison continues to snip away at we welfare types by stealth, hiding the fine print in search for print comforting to his richer voters, a switch to tax changes for all, temporarily, a funded NDIS, for how long? Meanwhile the indirect attack on Danny Andrews continues, from Canberra and coupled permanently with the aggressive attack courtesy of our boring morning newspaper prostitutes, sometimes referred to as journalists. And so it goes...


Odd spot, The Age 26/4 “British schools are being forced to scrap traditional analogue clocks and replace them with digital ones. Students complained they couldn’t read clock faces during exams". Kids have unusual needs in this day and age. I have a Telstra mobile 5.6. Recently I wanted to add an app (forgotten why) but only applicable for a 6 and above. I ignored it, bye bye app. But why? Upgrades cost, and in a way it's a type of blackmail. Other than messages and the rare telephone calls, mostly wrong numbers, and the weathert and the clock [time] at least 75% of the other 'stuff' is useless. Slick nonsense. Maybe an  email but better to use this device on the computer and set it out in 'letter' style. You remember letters? Kids these days take great pride in their technical wizardry, but can they read, write and spell without their upgraded iPhones? Do they care? Lost in a world of thinking they are clever? We hear and read of the smart ones, high ATAR scores or something, but how many others? Do they read books? Why so important to have the latest model and then scream about money problems? On the other side of the coin the richer ones keep building their superannuation, enough to retire on to their normal standard of life? When they die the money stays here. The same applies to an expensive car (gadgets) clothes and furniture. Make self time, listen, and take time for those you really care for? No? Just a thought. An NAB commercial: "Sometimes talking to yourself can help you work out what you really want" Imagine - somebody got paid for thinking up this nonsense. What do I really want? Cheaper cigarettes? Probably me, old age, but I sense a feeling they are near enough to be certain everything will come our roses, but an equal feeling they lose something in the process? Time will tell, and likely, I won't be around. C'est la vie?


On March 29th Adelaide beat Richmond by SIX goals. On April 13th Collingwood beat Adelaide by EIGHT goals. The vagaries of AFL football, indeed sport in general, what's up top (brains?) obviously playing an important role, thankfully. The experts (surely a comical word), made up primarily by ex footballers, which should clearly define their stupidity status pick Richmond to beat Collingwood Sunday 29th. All 29 of them. (A great test of where Collingwood is "at"? Why not a great test for where Richmond is "at"?). Sheep. Half of them should be offloaded to Pakistan. True, some are real experts, Gerard Whateley, Paul Roos, Robbo albeit their bias. Certainly not Danny Andrews or property expert Matthew Guy, or people I've never heard of in the football sense like Shane Warne, Bianca Hatfield, Gilbert Gardiner and Lauren Wood. In a strange way one excuses them. After all, having your name printed in the Herald-Sin is enough to brand you for life. True, on form Richmond should be favourites, but not enough for those lagging behind in this tipping to show a strand of courage. Me? A victory means a month (4 weeks) of joy, a defeat, the past 3 weeks carrying me through to the Brisbane match May 6th at The Gabba. Go Pies. 


Mixed memories: 1/  The 1970 GF half time and starting on my second half dozen VB cans. Left 10 minutes into the final quarter never to return for 20 years. 2/  The 1990 GF and a 5pm matinee at Playbox's Malthouse ("Away" by Michael Gow) - announced loud and threatening as I entered the rehearsal space 4.20am, "No radios please". Ross Williams (one mad Essendon supporter, fine actor) listening to his transistor, earphones. Asked me 3 or 4 times if I wanted to know the score? No!! On stage, opening scene, a dance sequence and Ross whispered "Collingwood by 48 points." Pleasure. 3/ On tour with Ross Williams who asked my advice on a play he was auditioning for. Read it, told him it was overwritten and to forget it. He decided to do it anyway. The play? Joanna Murray-Smith's "Angry Young Penguins" Bad blue Cliffy. [Joanna became famous]. 


Catherine Deveney copped a spray for a tweet on Anzac Day, immediately branded a 'leftie'. Apparently anyone disagreeing with the general trend of Herald-Sin readers is a leftie? Who are these 'righty's'? Maybe Richmond supporters, Hawthorn, Carlton? Does this make the wonderful cartoonist Leunig a leftie? My late wife often made me tripe on toast for breakfast Saturdays in winter. Does this make me a leftie?


I choke when reading about reasons re crooked financial advisers the big 4 banks. No mention of the real reason: Bonuses! These people (so I'm told) "fly in the face of everything Australians stand for". Yeah? Historian Charles Ferrall: “No other social or ethnic group has been the object of such prolonged and intense vilification [in Australia] as the Chinese”. Does this include Telstra, farmers taking advantage of low wages for those on something called agricultural visas, 7-11's, health funds, water companies? A very long list. Not many of us left standing? Further, the AMP shareholders are considering legal action against the company? Surely their greed formed a part of it? Not to worry. Try as we might financial  advisers will never go away, to appear again, near you. Be careful. Gamble responsibly?


Assistant treasurer Michael Sven Sukkar "Like termites they'll get in and they'll eat us from the inside out unless we do something" [On the infiltration of the socialist threat to the Liberal Party]. The horror?...Do you think John Howard attended Anzac Day commemorations? Greggy Hunt came to ours in downtown Rye, in a suit conservatively estimated to cost around $3000. Way to go Greggy (and Johnny), hands on hearts?...I'm 82 years old and yet to see a mullet stunned?..ABC. The Drum: "Feed your mind and exercise your thoughts with smart conversations among a panel of informed minds." Not always...$35 million bickies spent by the Coalition on advertising the upcoming May budget. And you're voting Liberal? More fool you!..Another Royal, a baby, a Prince. So sweet. I was praying for Prince Cliff after famous playwright Clifford Odets, even Cliff Richards?...To bed midnight @ 11 degrees, wake 6am @ 20 degrees. If that's not climate change what is?...Please, never say "Thanks for that" to me. Innocuous, hate it?...On recyclables, waste not want not...Back in a week...hooroo...Cliff Ellen...www.ello8.com


HeartA Grain of Salt. Sunday 22nd April, 2018. 

From the classy novelist Richard Flanagan: "A new authoritarianism that is always anti-democratic in practice, populist in appeal, nationalist in sentiment, fascist in sympathy, criminal in disposition, tending to spew a poisonous rhetoric aimed against refugees, Muslims, and increasingly Jews, and hostile to truth and those who speak it, most particularly journalists. The challenge that faces us, the grave and terrifying challenge, is to transform ourselves as a people. This fundamental challenge is not policy, it is not franking credits nor is it tax giveaways or rail links, necessary or not as these things may be. It is to realise that if we don’t create for ourselves a liberating vision founded in the full truth of who we are as a people, we will find ourselves, in a moment of crisis, suddenly entrapped in a new authoritarianism wearing the motley of the old lies. The forgetting extends to the horrific suffering of war. The prime minister who will, no doubt, speak sincerely and movingly of the torn bodies and broken lives of the Australians who fell in France, is also the same prime minister who wants to see the Australian arms industry become one of the world’s top 10 defence exporters, seeking to boost exports to several countries, including what was described as “the rapidly growing markets in Asia and the Middle East”, in particular the United Arab Emirates, a country accused of war crimes in Yemen. Anzac Day has become enshrouded in cant and entangled in dangerous myth. If this seems overstated ponder the bigoted bile that attended Yassmˆn Abdel-Magied's tweet last year "Lest We Forget" (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine???)” [Good stuff].


Back to me: The financial services royal commission has surely made a mockery of our Treasurer’s announcements before and after. One would think in ‘red face’ terms. No such luck. Full on for strong action and blaming Shorten? Scotty, the man devoid of pride, and sadly, honesty. His call for ‘responsible investment’ in the upcoming budget falling on deaf ears.  Expect a few financial advisers to bite the dust, a good thing. At least it protects people with good intentions (but sadly no idea of finances) but the bottom line will remain unchanged, namely culture and protection of the big boys and girls. ["I'm not Santa Claus" said Scotty. We knew that. Certainly not for the children in detention.] Then we have Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer going to new lengths in bending the truth. Amidst all this we have Frydenberg, Dutton and non politician Peta Credlin in there punching for Malcolm’s job. Oh, and Labor’s Anthony Albanese if Billy Boy falters. Ambition first, country to the backline. As for the big 4 (banks) other than their crooked financial advice arm expect no other changes. Heavily involved in the property lending market so a necessity to keep things calm, safe. A form of safety anyway. If that crashed we'd all be in hot water. Even me and my humungous $2000 term deposit. I considered stocking up (baked beans) but decided to take the risk.


Our minister for health Greg Hunt refuses to condemn gay conversion therapy pretending the torment of young queer people in the name of religious doctrine is a freedom of speech issue. “People are entitled to have different views, views that I disagree with,” he told ABC Radio National’s Patricia Karvelas. The Australian Medical Association “opposes the use of ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder and that the patient should change his or her sexual orientation”. A new approach from our Greg, but basically stirring. Muddy the waters.


Woe is us? We are represented by two councillors here in downtown Rye. One is our mayor Bryan Payne and the other Hugh Fraser, at best Scarlet Pimpernels in physical sightings. Statewide we have Premier Danny Andrews, doing a fine job (little if any opposition from Matthew Guy and never heard of David Morris?) until he, Danny, gifted $500 million to the AFL for Etihad and the MCG improvements, mumbling something along cultural lines, albeit there idea of culture amounts to an oval football game? Federally our Health Minister Greg Hunt, no doubt eyes on the top job, with the other suggestions (after PM Malcolm's departure hob nobbing with royalty in dear old England - at best a hidden far right enthusiast (Dutton) or Morrison, highly unlikely to attract a change in the personality polls. Finally we have Billy Shorten, uninspiring culture-wise and at this time no idea of who represents Labor federally for Rye. Which leaves me with a certainty (hope forever springing eternally): Collingwood for the top 8, and end of season finals.     


Bugger. I missed him, again. Jeff Green at the recent Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Jeff's from the UK, been at the top of the stand-up tree circuit for years now. Met him as a cast member on tour with "Twelve Angry Men" 2004, Perth, Wellington and Adelaide festivals. A great group of comedians from England, lots of fun, to and fro rubbishing of Aussies, always in good spirits but strangely couldn't take to Jeff, reserved, above it, whatever. [They did a later tour with an Australian cast and replaced me with Henri Szeps?] On about the 4th performance as we were about to file onto the stage Jeff whispered in my ear "When are you going to get the accent right?" A smart arse? I let it slide for a couple of nights and replied, via my line (with an estimated 98% accuracy), as we were about to enter, whispered, "At least I can act". Bullseye! Nil problemo. As for my accent; what accent? I did OK with one word, eyeglasses, southern yankee, "glaaases" try it?


Why do I ignore Syria and Donald (Where's your trousers) Trump? Easy. Saves so much time, better spent on almost everything relevant to my situation, dating back to John Howard, Bush and Blair on the lies they told us to invade Iraq. Factually the truth will not be told at best in 20 years, if at all, and sadly (?) I'll be on the other side of St Peter's golden gate by then, hopefully. On the other hand, assuming there is such a place thereafter, there will no doubt be a register of "Truths from Planet Earth" where I'll find out anyway? Blaming Russia for the cyber attacks? Why not Billy Shorten? No? Barak Obama then? That's easy - he’s black...and so on.


As a kid I had tummy problems. Mum took me to see God, our local doctor, who told me to "let it come naturally Cliffie". An outside lavatory, a bench seat in good timber attached to the side of the house, fenced, private. Spent half my youth following the good doctor's instructions. Sitting, waiting. In those days we did what we were told. It didn't occur to us to question it. Had spitting championships with a mongrel associate boy four houses away (Mason) who always beat me at marbles.“Mason steps up. He’s a champion this fella. Takes aim. Wow - look at it go. It’s a beauty! I think he’s got the record folks. A huge roar from the crowd. Yes, he’s got it. It’s a new world record. Mason leers at Ellen. He’s an ugly customer this Mason. A marbles hoarder. Low life, but a true champion spitter and Victorian marbles champion. What can Ellen do? Surely he’s gone? Ellen ignores Mason. Who cares about marbles? Starts running his tongue around his mouth. Cool as a cucumber. The crowd is hushed now. Ellen looks calm, confident. He slowly turns, looks Mason in the eye, smiles, thinks of his lost marbles cache, gives him a look of contempt, laughs at the crowd, wets his mouth again...and...off - it - goes. Wow. I do not believe it folks. Will you look at that spittle. It’s going, it’s going... It’s gone folks. Over the fence and far awaaay. He’s beaten it! He’s thrashed Mason. Ellen wins! Mason is shattered. He’s crying tears, unheard of in a spitting championship! The crowd gets to its feet. A huge roar. Ellen acknowledges the crowd. What a bloody champion! What a sportsman! A hush, Ellen speaks, dry, calm, confidently "Stick your marbles Mason, where the sun doesn't shine." [I always won when nobody was about. Fantasy is a necessary accompaniment to everyday life, all ages, but not too often. My marbles (alleys) sadly, were lost forever].


Matthew Guy picked  Collingwood Anzac Day; that hurts. Worse still, mate Danny Andrews picked Essendon?...It’s all a bit rich from where I’m standing/sitting? So many complaints (apparently) on the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth games for not showing enough Australians after an Aussie tsunami for 11 long days? Sydney Reporter Johanna Briggs (“An absolute disaster”) sounding off yet again; a painful sports journalist..."Lest We Forget"...Back next Sunday, hooroo...Cliff Ellen...www.ello8.com 

  A GRAIN OF SALT commenced in the Rye News in May 2007 which became the Southern Peninsula News from February, 2010 - 2015.


HeheA Grain of Salt. Tuesday 17th April, 2018Wild

Strange times. I decided to take a few weeks off to write about my 40 years in theatre, a change of pace but continuing on with my theory of staying alive, which to me means keeping busy. I generally pick my subjects by what strikes me. I found that after a week of ignoring these items I was drifting into the area of not caring. Made me feel older, restless, if that's possible at 82? I don't go far these days. The cafe mornings, the RSL afternoons. All up 2000 steps, plus stretching and watching rare Collingwood victories and murder mysteries. Decided to keep on punching, combine both, busier, be that as it may. Better than watching the roses. 


Comedy? The dangers of being on Facebook, you're inner thoughts on record, likes, dislikes, messages, all recorded, forever, leading to influencing your political leanings. A form of brainwashing? Maybe, but equally (perhaps) a week's read of Murdoch's Herald-Sun, including Bolt, Panahi and particularly the double 'Your Say' pages (never forgetting listening to Neil Mitchell 9am till midday) for that same week - and Facebook pales into insignificance. Unless of course you're thoroughly 'rusted on’. Rough percentages suggest some 80% are rusted on, the remaining 20% being the deciders, who wins. The thinkers, or so they imagine.  


The tendency to blame Centrelink for the robodebt disaster (basically averaging  income on a good week discounting bad weeks or part time unemployment and sending a demand thus causing confusion and often depression) in order to appear to be doing the right thing by so called (inferred) cheats was near enough to a copy cat of the Tax Office motivations in the attack on small businesses, but not strangely, but predictably, big businesses. A generalisation to raise moneys based on half truths. The Tax Office incidentally have used these tactics dating back to the late 1960's on a smaller scale. In both cases these dreadful tactics should be placed squarely with our Coalition government. [A deputy commissioner of the Australian Taxation Office, Michael Cranston, is charged in connection with a $165 million tax fraud. Centrelink hounding its “clients” for entirely fictitious “robo-debts”.] And so it goes. 


From my theatre notes: I'm not big on auditions, an exercise in 'nonsense' from my perspective, be that as it may. The first was at La Mama almost half a century ago. I was there observing, to watch a friend strut his stuff along with half a dozen others. Afterwards the director Keith Salvat asked if I could read the part. I was amused, did it and offered the part. Another time I told the director, Chris Bendall, I'd do it provided he did not direct me and if I was concerned in any way 'I'd talk to him'. Later offered the role. A third (apparently - again later - recommended by Ross Williams) for (to me) an unknown director of Sydney fame (Neil Armfield) who was looking for my reaction to a particular scene, I completely stuffed up. I'd done a play in St Kilda the night before, plus a few frothies afterwards so a 10am audition was a pain in the bum. I got it, so likely friend Ross put in a good word. I did two half hearted others for Greg Carroll and Peter Sommerfeld, both clearly against my casting, but got them anyway? That's about it. Others, Malcolm Robertson included, cast me without the necessity for the audition, which was nice because I'd have also stuffed them up. In the midst of all this Will Gluth assumed he was auditioning me, why I have no idea. My attitude to film, commercials and television auditions was even worse. Matching heads was not something I took kindly to, turning up at best, aggressive, knowing these mainly incompetent know-alls were fantasising as to their importance and anyway, one had to do the right thing by the good intentions of one's agent. One time somewhere in the 90's I was directing a Tram Show and with a dropout the cast called for auditions. Done and dusted and one particular lady did well, recommended by the cast. I ignored, and cast another lady. Is it me?


"A disgraceful almost unbelievable act of negligence. Heads will roll." said our PM Malcolm. The Australian Federal Police has dropped these investigations into those highly  classified documents; second-hand furniture shop. There's a surprise. When did our AFP ever solve a case?...$500 million to the AFL for Etihad and MCG improvements. Cultural? How about the profits from entrance fees, booking fees, food, drinks. Imagine how this money could finance a few theatre companies around Melbourne; real culture, sadly lacking in our politicians in favour of re-election. If not, then at least to housing, hospitals?...More migrants or less? 200,000 a year? I suspect 95% are in favour of less, a rare occasion where we may agree with Lord Tony and the ever frightening Peter Dutton. Me? I'd like someone to explain in words we can understand why we need 200,000 a year. Particularly, who benefits?...The Russians and the Syrian mafia says there was no chemical weapons. Who's right?...Not my cup of tea but if interested 131877 for your Wellness fix...Watched a 1950 film The file on Thelma Jorden with Barbara Stanwyck. Interested because I fell in love with Barbara back then, hoping to recapture the same feeling. No such luck...Down to the dregs, My last 4 cups of Nescafe Gold coffee (only top shelf for me) after weeks at $18, 200g. Saved, down to $9, bought two....hooroo...Cliff Ellen...Adelaide played a very good game Parlez-vous. Adelaide played a very good game Parlez-vous. Adelaide played a very good game but Collingwood beat them all the same, inky pinky Parlez-vous...www.ello8.com


EXTRA: By Mike Carlton, The Saturday Paper 31/3/18 (edited): The leaking of a secret report of the Business Council of Australia that showed more than 80 per cent of companies would simply shovel the extra dough back to shareholders or invest in the company. The finance sector is nakedly corrupt. Big banks are caught laundering millions of dollars for criminal gangs. Their Masters of the Universe crookedly rig lending rates, and shamelessly gouge hundreds of thousands of their most vulnerable customers by fiddling the figures to flog loan “products” the poor sods do not need, cannot use, and can never possibly repay. The notional regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, trots blithely along in the rear of this cavalcade of corruption, delivering the occasional flogging with a limp lettuce. Caught red-handed, banking chief executives appear at carefully choreographed media events to offer a hand-wringing faux apology before diving back into the ordure again. 

Public morality is also dead. The Christian churches conspire to turn a blind eye to a pandemic of child sexual abuse, browbeating their victims with contemptuously small compensation payments and secrecy agreements. Even now, exposed by a royal commission, they twist and turn to evade their responsibilities. In the Northern Territory, children are still sexually abused, most notably in Indigenous communities, where syphilis is rampant. Across the nation, domestic violence continues unabated: on average, a woman is murdered by a current or former male partner each week. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between 15 and 44 years of age, the great majority of them young men.

How we got to this sorry state is anyone’s guess, although I am inclined to date it back to John Howard’s calculated elevation of selfishness and xenophobia as national virtues. Much of the mainstream media are on the same bandwagon, chiefly at Murdoch’s News Corpse, where vendetta journalism has become an art form. Targets – frequently prominent women – are chosen to be relentlessly reviled and bullied for trumped-up transgressions in both the news columns and on the opinion pages. Julia Gillard, the young Muslim activist and engineer Yassmin Abdel-Magied, the former human rights commissioner Gillian Triggs, the Indigenous academic Larissa Behrendt and, most recently, the ABC’s economics journalist Emma Alberici, have all been singled out for the lash.

This is in the service of the so-called culture wars, of course. Devoid of any evident capacity for original thought, the Murdoch bloviators hurl barbs and insults pinched from the lexicon of the American lunar right. “Virtue signalling” is the customary sneer for any sign of compassion or humanity, along with “political correctness”, a particular Howard favourite that simply meant any idea he and his acolytes didn’t like. We are going to need genuine leadership to get out of this mess, to return to being that country where there is at least a halfway decent chance of getting and giving that fabled fair go. But it will not come from Mr Harbourside Mansion or his Liberal and National party “government”, as it is laughingly called.

After the Abbott disaster, Trumble attained the prime ministership on an unprecedented wave of goodwill from across the political divide. He blew it in a year. Spineless and dilatory, in thrall to the loony right, he has turned out to be a prime minister even worse than Billy McMahon – a singular achievement. Madly, Abbott continues to stalk him, hoping for some sort of Churchillian return from the wilderness.

Bill Shorten? Much better, but he is woodenly uninspiring, not a man to lead the revolution at the barricades. There seems little of Curtin or Whitlam, Hawke or Keating about him, and he appears to be uncomfortably close to the big end of Collins Street. As for the Greens, forget it. They’re absorbed with chucking their toys out of the cot. For all its flaws, I love this country. If you have been born an Australian, or have become one, you have been hit by the lucky stick. But we are squandering that good fortune as surely as Steve Smith destroyed his baggy green. [Mike says it so much better.]



CoolA Grain of Salt. 10th April, 2018. 

Billy Shorten was under the pump (full on) from lovely Leigh Sales (ABC 7.30 9/4) and came up trumps. A delightful breath of fresh area, particularly following yet another Treasurer Scotty Morrison interview along the 'Kill Bill' lines, thankfully using the fast forward remote to offset same old same old after the third mention of the dangers in electing Shorten. “Let’s face it. Malcolm Turnbull is streets ahead of Tony Abbott” said Amanda Vanstone, The Age. Ditto Labor streets ahead of the Coalition. Our PM Malcolm, now thoroughly entrenched as a ‘hollow man’. The 62% who voted for him to remain as leader do so because there is presently no alternative leader among coalition ranks and likely half of those who voted are Labor voters anyway, brainwashed as to Billy's union affiliations (So?) and still guilty about being conned by Malcolm when he stabbed Lord Tony. I see the election as a 'no race'. True, it's Billy's to lose and as it stands Billy has a communication problem but his policies show a relieving wave of common sense. Then there is the ginormous advantage of no more of Malcolm’s ‘extravagant’ words signifying nothing, no more gestapo tactics from Peter (gag laws for dealing with 'unauthorised' government information?) Dutton, no more Scotty Morrison nipping away at we poorer lot by stealth and hopefully clearing Nauru of those sad immigrants, to Australia. Do you really want these selfish, power hungry visionless trio calling OUR shots for 3 more years??? Who do you blame for those 30 negative newspolls - Turnbull or Shorten? Yes, I've said Billy can be uninspiring, that I'm no particular fan of Billy. I've even offered my services as a voice/communicator coach. That's my social media right. We scream for a form of enlightenment, inspiration, and clearly it's been proven it is not coming via the Coalition. Julie Bishop said "They (the Coalition) need to keep talking about the inadequacies of Shorten who “does not have the character to lead at home or abroad” Such a dreadful snob, born to rule, and Malcolm has (lead at home or abroad)? How about policies, and anyone can suck up to Donald Trump. Billy can only be an improvement, complete with policies. He deserves an opportunity. We also lose Michaelia Cash and her 'brothel' type suggestions on Billy Shorten's female staff and that raid she knew nothing about? Malcolm says "Judge him on “substantive” issues of governance" like what? Ending Tony's captain’s calls and supporting Peter Dutton's 'better English' nonsense? Then we stomach "Liberal party conservatives Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton positioning themselves in the event Malcolm Turnbull’s position ultimately becomes untenable, with both using Monday’s negative Newspoll milestone as a trigger to publicly express interest in the top job". The horror? I almost choked on my vita brits. "Turnbull would need to consider a transition in the event he could not turn around the government’s political fortunes, much deeper into the year. I think Malcolm’s not a fool, he’d know that himself,” said the loveable Barnaby Joyce. “We’re stating here the bleeding obvious." I wouldn't put money on it Barnaby. Lastly we have the small business types, hoodwinked into thinking they are better off under the Liberals, discounting the present Australian Tax Office attacks on them (guilty until proven innocent?) but not a sign of any similar attack on big businesses? Julie Bishop, Peter Dutton, Mathias Cormann, Greg Hunt, Simon Birmingham, Scotty Morrison, Michaelia Cash and Christopher Pyne, loyal followers of PM Malcolm, for now, knives at the ready. Billy Shorten for Prime Minister. It's a given, for a clean-out, and half a chance, unless you're a sadist...Keep yourselves nice...hooroo... Cliff Ellen...www.ello8.com




HeheA Grain of Salt. Sunday 8/4/18. 

It's so quiet today. Sunday, sunny, windless, and this warm unseasonable weather continues, bringing with it a vague unfocussed longing, for what? Perhaps, simply to fill in this blank page? Either I venture out for a stroll or go without seeing a soul until around next Thursday. On the other hand when I do find myself in company I often feel as if I am not present, an anonymity? A flatness, way short of depression. Nothing is grabbing me. Obviously there's no need to write a blog so not to worry. On the other hand I can't simply sit around watching the replay of Collingwood's victory over Carlton after a 5th viewing so a diversion becomes almost a necessity, a certainty. Watch Richmond and Hawthorn? Hate both of them. I ignore the Donald Trump stuff. A war? Nothing I can do about a war; why would they include Rye? Electricity prices? My bills roughly the same the past 3 years. The duck season? Lots of letters protesting the duck shootings. Another world, foreign to me. Coal, renewable energy targets? Beyond my brain. If it's so evil why do big countries like India and China use them, apparently building big new coal power stations investing billions? I'm getting too old to chase new horizons of learning. A friend awoke recently to find his toilet with running water; fixed it. Caused me to ask the lady in the unit next to mine to show me where this mystery tap was on my toilet, also the main tap outside. I've been here 8 years and never a thought of a running toilet, or indeed where the outside tap was. My taps produce water with the turn of the tap, hot and cold? The lady obliged. That was enough learning for another year. A few Facebook friends enthusiastic about various causes, good for them. Politics, sport and human nature just about covers my needs. A Seinfeld blog, about nothing...again? 



The middle of the afternoon, my mind a blank, time for a nap, I lay down to rest, relax, and on cue my mind is overloaded with thoughts, ideas. Too late. It's the weather, or perhaps as those clinical psychologists suggest, a case of a narcissistic personality disorder. Why is that? Ahh, the wonders of technology. I have my smartphone alongside. Speak the ideas. Capture the thought, gems. Now I’m relaxed. Thinking of nothing, blackness, ever wary of some stupid song trying to push in; I sleep, success. The alarm goes off, or on? Jarring, back to reality? Not quite, but much better. Coffee, a ciggy. Now to try to remember those gems before I nodded off. Gems? Not quite. Here goes... 


Where do the politicians go during the present lull in Canberra? Scotty Morrison perhaps pouring over his upcoming May budget, no doubt including taxation goodies, a certainty to convince those 20% of swinging idiot voters who pride themselves as being independent thinkers, whatever that means. There's talk of coalition funding cuts to our hospitals, assuming the states will fill the gap. I'd like to think voters will keep this in mind on their way to the various polling booths next election but I wont put my house on the voters remembering this. PM Malcolm traipsing all over Australia with selfies and blaming Labor (and Shorten) for anything and everything, Peter Dutton and company in secret meetings encouraging fellow Libs to support him if a leadership change (spill) becomes a reality. Poll number 30 hits the headlines tomorrow, scooped by Fairfax media at 48-52 Labor's way. An improvement for Malcolm or a decrease for Billy? [Billy Shorten's attack on “seeing off one Liberal leader 2015, Lord Tony, and seeing off another in Malcolm. Yeah? Now is the time Billy, remembering Anthony Albanese is watching, smiling]. Johnny Howard rolled into the ABC's 7.30 show to support PM Malcolm. Why not equal airtime giving Paul Keating an opinion? Tony Abbott excited, on his bike, in lycra, spreading the message here in Victoria (the Monash Forum - how dare they? pushing for new coal-fired power stations, supported by madam Peta Credlin on Sky News and the famous Herald-Sin on Sundays, followed up in The Australian to celebrate (?) tomorrow's Newspoll, the 30th in a row where the Coalition trailed Labor. Dame Julie as ever smiling in the background, supposedly supporting Malcolm, secretly checking out her numbers; supporters. The rest of them, particularly the independent senators, are enjoying this long spell doing nothing (as in a rare time for peace, security, a restorative period of solitude, a time to think, in Bali?) The media lost for news other than nuff nuff nonsense on poll number 30 and lately police brutality. Lots of looking back stuff (the waterside workers, 20 years ago, a Peter Costello comeback to politics, Martin Luther King's demise at the Lorraine Motel, 50 years ago) and other fill-ins. Statewide, Premier Danny is hoping for the new look (disappearing level crossings and his tunnel) will convince us to stay with the man who ‘gets things done’. [Expect little (nothing) from Dan the man on police brutality. An investigation yes, but a result down the track? The powerful police union is a bridge too far]. With Adelaide, Essendon, Richmond and Geelong to follow for Collingwood we put celebrations on hold, other than a rare look at the Footy show on 9 today. I only watch if we (my boys) win. Apparently the Commonwealth games are happening up in Queensland. Saw 15 minutes of the opening ceremony, not my scene. Serepax material. With half the world not competing I'm not sure why it's happening. 



A comeback for Michael Clarke? Surely not...Mitchell Stark said he knew nothing of the sandpaper incident. Would he have known had they chucked the ball to him?...Comedy via Shane Warne (a cricket overhaul?) change of tune from after Australia beat England?...Like Humphrey, my problems "don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy little world"..."The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable" [JKG]...hooroo...www.ello8.com



SmileA Grain of Salt. Wednesday 4/4/18. 

It's a funny old world. I still smoke cigarettes, my only defence being I live alone so small pleasures remain despite the risk, (I'm dreading the day someone says crumpets are bad for me). I have approval to smoke at my cafe with my long black (and free read of my bible, the Herald-Sun) up until 8.30am, provided there are no customers eating outside to take in the never ending cars and trucks roaring past, which apparently does not affect those outside healthy eaters. I note none of them are as old as moi? I case the area on entry, particularly at Easter when holiday types rise early and hop into a bacon and egg roll, outside. I watch until they finish their gorging, sneak in one smoke if I'm lucky. They've all gone home to marvellous Melbourne now, until Elizabeth's birthday. The next few weeks looking good.



Poll number 30 looms large, as in losing, and with it signalling the back door to our present Prime Minister; moralising, selfies, sanctimony and secure borders. Ever on the popularity trail (another visit to our overseas troops, alignment with a surf club; Steve Smith out, replaced by Mick Fanning?) after 3 years of kowtowing to the people who gave him the job (the coal lovers), now hovering to kick him out. Yes? If it's a no - it's certain defeat, a last resort for those born to rule politicians, led by a man whose only wish (seemingly) is to survive. The catch-cry 'best economic managers' is in tatters with budget deficit and net debt at record levels not to mention tax breaks at the top end and the intention to try again to get the $65 billion big business tax cuts. Shaping up as the uninspiring Billy Shorten's election to lose, the search for a Whitlam, Hawke or Keating long gone. We got through the marriage equality, followed by Barnaby's blunder, followed by the cricketers. Hopefully we'll survive the #MeToo power clique, but becomes more unlikely if Shorten's mob (the female mafia) wins. Alternatively; Mal out, Julie in? Half a chance, if they have the sense to do it. An end of year election? Whoever wins we wish/pray for a new Home Affairs minister. Interesting.  



AFL football has returned. Yet again after watching all the cuddling and touching (even bottoms?) I'm calling for a "Coming Out" day. No, I'm not against anybody's sexual preferences. I simply look on the AFL as our leaders in social wellness, above board professional guardians of our standards. It's time. Collingwood lost again, and my late entry to the $29 a month for the Foxtel sport package (an hour before the Collingwood/GWS game) is telling me of yet another bad investment. (I thank Centrelink for my pension increase and thank Bupa for taking it away. Even Stevens?) Over summer I'd forgotten the likes of Mark Robinson, Danny Frawley, Jonathan Brown and particularly Cameron Mooney and David King, now returned to haunt me until I call 'halt'. Maybe give my boys 3 months; record the wins if any, ignore the vocal tsunamis (particularly Brown) and the self righteous (for reasons best known only to him) David King. We now have 3 female commentators and a few male goodies left, all better than those mentioned. As for our coach, Mr Nathan Buckley? No comment. Go Pies? Three months at $87, more fish fingers made in China.



I'm told too much technology can have an adverse affect on your ability for 'deep' thinking. I'm not one to take notice of these latest ideas, albeit (perhaps) a higher degree of results after some top level research? I'm a long way from being a deep thinker but I will say I spent much more time 5 or so years ago at least reading more in the way of essays, maybe what might be called more of the classic stuff/novels. Life is all about 'choices' and honestly, in this particular piece of new information (true or otherwise) I'm thinking there's a lot of truth in it, because try as I might, I've never had the time for much in recent years and holy moly I'm no technical wiz either. One either joins the club (Facebook, twitter et al) or opts out. Simply using Facebook as a friends/social only situation is likely the best result (other than not going there) but somehow various other areas (politics, friends social issues) pop in and you (or I) get hooked. I'm not suggesting it's all encompassing, but it does tend to dominate my time. Maybe it's time to smell those fantasy roses. Then again it's not as if I have a lot of other things to do. Deep thinking? Nah; leave it to Jeffrey Gibb Kennett, currently enjoying a charmed life. Back in his box as numero uno at Hawthorn and his consistent diatribe in Murdoch's newspaper under the guise of common sense, seemingly never to be called to account despite a level of hypocrisy way above that harbourside mansion Prime Minister from Sydney. Danny Andrews is not perfect, obviously, but honestly, Kennett's morning blast (today) was beyond the pale, with nary a balance as in a mention of Matthew Guy's antics. At least call it a draw? A deep thinker at the shallow end of the pool? When I hear the song “We’re a happy team at Hawthorn” (radio, or wireless) I change station.



Getting old, loss of marbles? Two people poisoned in England. England says by a nerve gas only made by the Russians, proof positive? As if that’s not enough they send Russian spies back to Russia (again; proof positive? If they knew they were spies why did they put up with them in the first place?). But there’s more? WE do a copy cat and send our spies home? How did we know? Australia, copy cats supreme, sucking up a specialty? A comedy of errors.



It’s reported house prices have increased as a result of the name change from West Rosebud to Capel Sound. If true (always a problem believing the estate agents beat ups) it’s a thin line, but anything’s possible with stupid people. Now a request to change Rosebud to Capel Sound East? Nonsense? Not necessarily. This is the Mornington Peninsula, heavily inhabited by Greg Hunt followers. Changing the name of Rye to Capel Sound West. No way José. Hopefully?


Brazil, and a man jumped onto the stage and hit an actor playing a Roman soldier; Jesus being crucified - 'The Passion of Christ'. Brought back memories of 'Norm and Ahmed', La Mama 1977, when I punched Ahmed to ground. A patron (?) offered me a swig of his whisky, held up the play for 5 minutes.   


"Abuse takes many forms and can have wide reaching emotional, financial and physical effects on victims" says Attorney-General Christian Porter (a national plan to tackle elder abuse). Expect action early 2020...If the police knock on my door I'm coming straight out with my hands held high, wearing a helmet and cushioned clothing; CCTV is too expensive.....Matthew Guy's true colours. Good Friday pairings deceit. Ho hum....Strike a light. The SA cricket team were set to win the series anyway; sadly sandpaper has taken the gloss away. Time to design white trousers with sandpaper pockets?...."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]...hooroo...www.ello8.com



HeartA Grain of Salt. Easter, 31/3/2018. 

April Fools Day: Staying in until midday to offset some smartarse telling me Nathan Buckley's been sacked. What does Easter mean to me? Friday fish? Once upon a time it meant holidays, earlier still, easter eggs and a Billy Graham type named Jesus who returned from the dead (Sunday) witnessed by witnesses? Faith apparently, cameras still to be invented. True or untrue is of no consequence if it drives you along your particular path; surely a good thing. Live and let live, unless you're a cricket tragic. Garfield, Arlene, Odie, John and Nermel are bursting onto the stage at Chapel Off Chapel. This hour long all singing all dancing extravaganza is filled with fun and mischief as Garfield and his friends learn about acceptance, honesty and friendship. 3-13th April. Can't wait. Happy Easter Christians, ditto others, including non believers. 



To suggest our cricketers are unAustralian chokes me up. It's a stupid word, if it is a word, and should be expunged from our daily usage. How on earth can we go down that worn track. If this is some form of measure is it likewise to sentence innocent boat people to Manus/Nauru for 5 years and counting, to ignore sick children, to make cuts to unemployed people, including drug tests, to condone banks cheating their customers, to arrange your income without paying tax and receive a pension or part pension despite holdings with a net asset value in excess of 2 or more millions? Say whatever you want, but kindly refrain from the use of the unAustralian tag. [Shane Warne wrote a sensible piece on ball tampering (sandpaper) in the dreadful Herald-Sin but stuffed it up at the finish with his 'cheating is unAustralian'?]



The Sydney mafia (Cate Blanchett, Gillian Armstrong, Peter Weir, Rose Byrne, Phillip Noyce and Richard Roxburgh) have signed an open letter calling on the government to protect the country’s screen industry, lobbying the arts minister, Mitch Fifield, since September. To maintain Australian content rules for free-to-air TV and extend them to new media including Netflix, Amazon, telcos and internet service providers; to increase tax incentives that could lure more international productions to Australia and create more jobs; and to put a hold on funding cuts to Screen Australia, the ABC and SBS. Good luck with that one. We await Fifield's decision via the May budget, but to use Josh Frydenberg's permanent defence "the reality is" - I don't see either major party having "culture" as a necessary part of their policies. Desperately needed. We wish them well. 



From Fiona Cochrane, edited: "The single dole was increased by 50¢ to $273 a week, an Easter bonus? The Senate’s passing of the Orwellian Welfare "Reform" Bill will, in its first year, add to homelessness by cutting off payments to more than 80,000 people according to ACSS and contains 17 measures that will adversely affect the lives of thousands of the unemployed, single parents and women and children escaping violence. The unemployed will no longer be back-paid to the day they lodged their claim, meaning the longer Centrelink takes to process that claim, the longer the jobless go without and the more the government saves. Until now, the legislation has protected people who can’t complete and lodge their claim because they’re in hospital, are homeless, are escaping domestic violence, or are victims of natural disaster or fire. Fortunately, Princess Pauline (Hanson) was shamed into reneging on a commitment to remove a small, one-off “bereavement allowance”. I shed no tears for the plight of those poor self-funded retirees whose unused dividend imputation refunds the Labor Party threatens, albeit a small few genuine cases. Why? Because their investment advisers have rearrange their affairs; read 'too well off'. Then they scream the 'saving the government a fortune' mantra. They forget that their contributions to super were taxed at 15 per cent rather than their much higher marginal tax rate, as were the annual earnings on those tax-concession-enhanced contributions. When they cry poor, these comfortably-off people with their hand out don’t tell you their goal is to get sufficient assistance from the taxpayer to allow them to avoid dipping into the capital value of the shares and property they want to hand on intact to their offspring." [Labor has adjusted the imputation policy - all pensioners and part pensioners would now be exempt, to offset those genuine cases].



Darren Lehmann has gone but nothing from James Sutherland, who should also leave the building, representatives of what is/was purported to be our cricket culture the past 5 years. Nothing personal, more a case of them developing shiny bums, knowing what was happening and choosing to do nothing, counting the bickies in their respective bins. Nobody cried when two young Collingwood footballers copped 2 years for innocently taking a banned drug while on holiday in Bali? They lost real money with very little in their tin tanks, although no doubt Collingwood sneaked a penny to two their way. Fair enough. Sure, Smith may well have forfeited $4 million in one year, this next year, but the past few years have surely allowed him more money most of us have only dreamed of to play with during his 12 months holiday. As for bringing cricket into disrepute, this began 5 years ago. Yes, I'm sorry for the boys, two of them anyway, seemingly mislead to some degree. As I've said, the past 5 years I've barracked for all cricket teams playing Australia, except obviously England, tantamount to barracking for Carlton. “Aussies play hard but fair.” Try telling this to the other test cricket teams of the world. A relief to put aside a ridiculous hypocritical statement after years of bullying, supported, approved, generally, by the media’s biassed reporting (Michael Clarke now high and mighty forgetting perhaps his previous warning to  England's Jimmy Anderson: “Get ready for a broken f##king arm” while facing Mitchell Johnson) against teams from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, to a lesser degree (perhaps?) England; even our great Prime Minister. 'Culture Vultures' rings a bell. At last, we can truthfully say, “The reality is”…Well, one hopes so.



We thank the wonderful Jeffrey Kennett for resigning as chair of the new panel overseeing Victoria's medically supervised drug injecting centre, a taint on Danny Andrews Labor mob. This self righteous arrogant man (who puts cricketer David Warner to shame), is better suited where he belongs, at Hawthorn Football Club. A firm supporter of the Vietnam war, sacked 50,000 public servants and closed 350 government schools eliminating 700 teaching jobs, 16000 public transport jobs and privatised the SEC and the Gas and Fuel Corporation, costing each and every one of us (apart from shareholders and executives) many many thousands of dollars. He uses his appointment of Elizabeth Proust (John Cain's former chief of staff) as head of his Premiers Department and working with Julia Gillard to succeed him at Beyond Blue, as evidence of his fair minded approach, convincing no-one? 



From Senator Nick McKim (Greens), edited. "There are still men, women and children locked up on Nauru. A 10-year-old boy who has spent half his life in detention has been self-harming and desperately needs psychological care. Doctors have pleaded for him to be brought to Australia to save his life. Dutton fought to keep this child on Nauru, away from the care he needed. Earlier this month, in the small town of Biloela, a husband, wife and their two young daughters had their home raided before dawn – just hours after a visa had expired. This family had settled in that community and were making a new life after facing persecution in Sri Lanka. Peter Dutton’s officers threw this family into detention on the other side of the country, where they remain, cut off from their support network. Minister Dutton has deliberately made life difficult for migrants in this country by cutting them off from social security and tried enforce lengthy waiting periods before people can become citizens. He wants to introduce university-level English tests before people can become citizens – a hallmark of the White Australia Policy. He wants all Australian children to recite a citizenship pledge every day at school. He regularly steps outside the law to deport people, and has sought to curb the powers of the judicial bodies holding him to account. Earlier this year, Peter Dutton ramped up a race-based attack on Melbourne’s African communities and claimed that people in that city were too afraid to go out to dinner. By giving Dutton the new super portfolio of Home Affairs, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has allowed his minister to continue to conflate immigration and national security." [The Grandmothers against Detention of Refuge Children group are focussing on 'Help win Dickson and remove Peter Dutton'. Good stuff, but - maybe better to hold their fire until the election is announced? We don't want to run the risk of Peerless Peter switching to a safe seat?]


Kindly excuse my blatant plagiarism..."None live so easily, so pleasantly, as those that live by faith" [Matthew Henry]... hooroo...www.ello8.com



 WildA Grain of Salt.  Tuesday 27th March, 2018. 

Mishmash Issue: Hold on to your hats? Strong winds, getting colder, searching for my water bottle? Climate change denier PM Malcolm almost hits the big one. 29 on end, deservedly, but who's counting? When Newspoll asked voters about Shorten’s policy “to abolish franking credit cash refunds for retirees” 50% said they opposed it. Only 33% were in favour, indicating the selected people they polled were still strongly with Labor at 53-47%. No surprise really what with those tax breaks for the wealthy, unemployment payments delayed, legitimate refugees confined to manus/Nauru, glaring instances of (the lack of) humanitarian rights. We wait, we hope, for Labor to close those detention centres. Pauline Hanson's support of the coalition's $65 billion tax cuts to big business in return for 1000 apprenticeships, chicken feed? Dutton spends a few bob sifting out the Queensland paedophiles, attempting to woo the One Nation voters in his electorate, and our national paedophile hater Derryn enjoying his moment in the sun, again, voting (for all the bluster) as expected, but yet to state his voting intentions, or specifically what he wants in return for his yes vote? The last week of parliament before the vital May budget, and the approach of number 30 bad polls; in fact 60 counting Lord Tony. Yet again - it's time.


Sport? Cheating; Armstrong, Maradona, Johnson, Facebook. Everybody does it? A lame excuse. Football, meat pies, holden cars and our Australian cricket team; first loves, from our past. Steve Smith, great batsman bad captain. I wrote this months ago. Nothing clever about it; instinct based on his boredom in press conferences. I did not recognise Smith as a leader of men. There’s been a bad smell about this leadership group (Smith, Warner et al) for some time now. I see David Warner (instinct again) as the leading instigator showing all the signs (without proof) of the classic bully. The problem now is they are not so much heroes but millionaires, multi in fact, bringing with it the holier than thou danger and bugger the rest. Maybe shed a faint tear for Cameron Bancroft, an example however on the danger of sucking up to the powerful NSW lot. A feeling of superiority not to be earned or admired. A ‘first time ever’ of ball tampering? Possibly, though unlikely, and clearly not a first time for attitude. For everyone 'caught' there's others who escape. So be it. You get caught you do the time. Life wasn't meant to be easy, even for millionaires.....Another Collingwood loss, can't say I'm shocked. Surely nobody believed the new forward/backline lineup they served up for the off season after defeating Melbourne in the last game 2017? Same old same old? Waiting for season 2020? It's all happening, but not at Magpie land. Moving on...  


"I'm propping!" Years ago meaning a signal of your intention when others were on their way to what they saw as greener pastures, not so I (or me?). Overseas travel. What's it good for? I loved travel before and after, rarely during. Packing, luggage, waiting, uncomfortable beds, famous sites I'd seen on television anyway. Loved in retrospect, never 'in love'. True, I saw the Eiffel Tower. Had a coffee, a cigarette, peace, while darling went to the top. Nice pictures. The same in London, Athens, Rome. Loved those double decker buses; a sidewalk coffee, 3 hours of bliss, darling returning with more pictures.  A female thing, or me?


Doctors waiting rooms? A painful process at best, particularly with the long wait added on. The magazines, seemingly to discourage reading. Some have coffee and/or tea, or a television screen and daytime television, flimflam. Waiting patiently, acquiescent, each in our own private world, the mobile phone, messages, facebook. All expressionless. Worse still, kids, ankle biters, restless, noisy toys on offer? Whinging? Indubitably. I'm 82.


Home Affairs Minister of Everything Peter Dutton: “They don’t realise how completely dead they are to me.” Imagine Pete as our Prime Minister. No? Anything is possible after PM Mal departs, sooner we hope. One wonders how the Liberal rusted on supporters lot think of him? I've tried (research?) to get (ascertain?) the thoughts from other Liberal supporters, indeed more of them than Labor at my local RSL and elsewhere. I'd really like to know. When I succeed (rarely) it's more a case of "He won't stand any nonsense. Tough. Stops the boats. Sort out the genuine refugees". Simple stuff, no detail. No understanding of the danger of this man as the leader of our (my) country. Some suggest our local man, Minister for Health Greg Hunt as an added thought after a shortage of reasons why they're for Peerless Peter. Whatever, but with so many countries in some sort of wave towards a type of fascist rule it's a worry. Further, most of them do not believe in climate change? We live in nervous times. 


Australian breakfast TV, Sunrise, an all-white panel on Indigenous child removal? How can they justify this dreadful example of self justification as a duty of care? I don't watch morning television (saw it as a clip on Facebook) but enough to steer well clear of this morning nonsense. Apparently many thousands watch this stuff every week morning, possibly (arguably?) the same people who write to the 'Your Say' pages in the Herald-Sin? I have morning radio, once Red Symons on 774, the occasional insight tempered by an attitude similar to (former?) Australian opening batsman David Warner. Worse was to follow with Red's replacement duo, causing a switch to the people's (brainwashed?) friends on 693, Ross and John (quite good) up until Malcolm's mouthpiece (Neil Mitchell) and another switch to Jon Faine, the best, despite the odd 'up himself' comments. What I listen to mornings (or don't watch) is obviously of vital interest to my two readers which is the reason for this par. [Combine this vital information with my TV evening preferences of The Drum (assuming Julia Baird is not in the chair) Peter Costello's biassed 9 news and lovely Leigh's 7.30 and you get some idea of where I'm coming from?  


Being a millionaire does not necessarily maketh the man (or woman); more often than not it unmaketh...Taste? The less I say on the subject of local comedians the better, including Pacquola, Scott and Lucy...“Wasted opportunities, poor execution” say Collingwood’s Nathan Buckley?...Nick Riewold on St Kilda players being crushed on the move to Seaford? Poor darlings. Imagine living in Rye?...I'm missing something. I see these car drivers (Grand Prix) walking/talking tall and I ask myself; why?...The bullies are (were) winning, David Warner...Why has lol disappeared?..."A brave man is sometimes a desperado; a bully is always a coward" [Haliburton]...hooroo...www.ello8.com



CoolA Grain of Salt. Thursday 22rd March, 2018.  

Another birthday, today as it happens. Please, no happy birthdays. What's to be happy about? Some (most) people celebrate. Not I. Some say "Well done" Why? Reminds me of how close I'm getting to St. Peter, worse, the long wait for another Collingwood premiership; certainly not in the next two years. True, there's hope of seeing Malcolm Turnbull leave the building along with Peter Dutton, but the way it's shaping I may need another year to witness the joy, if at all. I've escaped any of the #MeToo wrath; comforting not to be famous. [No evil guilt memories but lots of forgotten 'next mornings' so surely I did something wrong?] Maybe Mary, now gone almost 14 years, is champing at the bit, planning  an attack? I think of Kurt Vonnegut's words "I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the centre." I doubt I even got close to the edge, too late now, settling on a favourite of mine - "Regret is corrosive". Is 83 a possibility? Barely. I'll settle for fish and chips, two pots, with the kids. Rye RSL.   


"April Showers" Why this song? The by-product of a late dream, yet another; the actor's nightmare - being about to enter stage left, and forgotten my lines? Exactly why I prefer showering late morning when the brain is in order (yes, I know, ‘what’s left of it’ very funny. I'm in stitches). I get my ideas in the shower, not always, but often. Straight into a shower from waking up results more likely in some silly song on the brain. Before you know it, in a dazed state (the song, and trying to picture who helped you work on those lines in your waking dream?) you're dried and dressed. Wasted opportunity. "It isn’t raining rain you know it’s raining violets". Bugger.


American billionaire Warren Buffett: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Labor’s policy on negative gearing and capital gains tax will undo a Howard-Costello policy that made things very favourable for older, wealthier people; a policy that has served to entrench wealth inequality. The same applies to the double dutch imputation cash rebate. Why shouldn't a retirement nest egg be used as and when necessary, particularly for older people over 75? One guesses this seemingly urgent need to retain capital is tied in with leaving it to the billy lids, but surely if into the mid 70's onwards with capital investments in excess of (say) $500,000 (likely more, and home ownership) it's of no consequence in the scheme of things to dip into it for the odd few thousand? Perhaps financial insecurity rules the roost, or 'shrouds have no pockets'? Live dangerously. It's time. [400,000 jobs created in a single year but little (if ever) about debt, deficit, wage stagnation and low growth and investment, all to be solved when the company tax cuts come through? The shift from full-time to part-time and from higher-paying manufacturing work to lower-paid agriculture and healthcare work, the average earnings has not grown since May 2014?] “So often times it happens we live our life in chains and we never even know we have the key.” [Eagles].


The greens lost because of damaging leaks within the party, or because of Shortens $250 million to the left footers (catholics)? How about "being responsible for your own actions" De Natale? Blue & green should never be seen. Richard? 2007; voted against Labor’s emissions policy; refused to trial the refugee swap with Malaysia, opposed Shorten's imputation policy, and others previously mentioned. Excuses. Are you a Collingwood supporter Richard? I repeat: Blue and Green should never be seen?


Television/desperation: I don't have netflix but I do have the cheapest foxtel available, perhaps one short rung above the free to air rubbish other than the occasional ABC decent offerings; rarely made in Melbourne. I watched two old movies in the one sitting, obviously free wheeling the fast forward button as necessary, particularly Graeme Blundell's pathetic 5 minutes at the beginnings as an introduction, far worse than old Bill Collins introductions. Prior to Blundell I caught an advertisement for 'Married at First Sight' which included the line "I gave this relationship everything I had". Romance? Never to be watched. Both movies also had what I loosely call love affairs. Dean Martin (a favourite) in love with an air hostess who miraculously survived after opening a door mid air causing thousands of everything except her blowing out into eternity. We forgive Dean's love scenes. He didn't belong there but one does this with a favourite actor. "Airport" followed by "Earthquake" in Los Angeles with Charlton Heston in another love affair including a before and after sex scene with Geneviève Bujold (in preference to an ageing, though beautiful Ava Gardner). Charlton has carked it now (as has Deano) but how Charlton must have cringed watching that pathetic effort, or did he? Hard to imagine Charlton loving anyone other than himself. Stick to your chariot Charlton. [Colin Vickery, television journalist, Herald-Sun: "Every day viewers will be watching this pair (Georgie Gardner, Karl Stefanovic) on 'The Today Show' for any sign of tension between them." What? There's another world of worse than weird TV viewers out there?]


Our man: Danny (boy) Andrews. The infamous Herald-Sin and 21 heads front page. An anti-Danny smorgasbord. How dare they talk of hypocrisy, they invented it? $20,000 apiece from 21; stationery money at best. Compare with the $700 million Malcolm cuts from our hospitals. And why is it 'our' money? No doubt Malcolm will come in eventually with 'shocked and appalled'? Dear Danny: attack is sometimes the best method of defence. [A teacher retires after 46 years, some 46 years in a safe income earning job. He's miffed. Loss of email address and ID terminated, but no thank you? Ending with "Thanks for nothing Dan". Poor soul. Do you have any super teach?] 


A Richmond grand final victory 1980 followed by a year of painful skiting; finished 7th of 12. May 2018 be a repeat...White South Africans; Peter Dutton: "I’ve asked my department to look at options and ways in which we can provide some assistance, because I do think, on the information that I’ve seen, people do need help, and they need help from a civilised country like ours". Australia's number 1 racist. He has to go. Vote responsibly...The Asian summit and the fight against terrorism; PM Malcolm in there on our behalf? [human rights protests - Cambodia]. Don’t expect Australia to be a part of it. Say it by all means, but softly, with guilt....Personality quizzes, influencing the voters. So, what the difference re Murdoch media?...Peta Credlin, Rita Panahi & Andrew Bolt; Sky News for fiction?...Free speech is something you say provided it doesn’t upset the Government, females, aborigines, Israelis, Muslims, gays, catholics, South African farmers and Peter Dutton...I'm into cultural diversity, political surveillance, cultural cuisine (eggs in red wine), a co-ordinated and various strategy plan, counter-intuitive, innovative and ongoing. There's no point to this par, simply using words which look impressive in print...Today is the start of a 7 day lucky cycle; powerball?...Lots of sympathy for those 'coming out' suffering from mental health, possibly a question of degree. Me? Not yet, but sooner rather than later. Once upon a time I simply went out and bought a shirt. Now I have a wardrobe full of shirts?...The last thing to go is - the dream. GO PIES..."The cart is shaken all to pieces, and the rugged road is very near its end."[Dickens]...hooroo...www.ello8.com




Big GrinA Grain of Salt. Sunday 18th March, 2018. 

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



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



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


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



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


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




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




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

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


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


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



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




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


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



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




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



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


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



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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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




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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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




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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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

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


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


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


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


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


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




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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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



WildSalt. Sunday. 4th February, 2018. 

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


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


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


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


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




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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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




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

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


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


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


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


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


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




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


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


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


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


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



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


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






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

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


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


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


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




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


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




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



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



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



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




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



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






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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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




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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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