A Grain of Salt 2018

 

CoolA Grain of Salt. 22nd September, 2018. 

 

Another birthday already? 82 and a half. [After 80 I measure by halves in an attempt to upgrade/contribute to the pleasure content]. Time to think seriously about those "old peoples' homes? Stand in Prime Minister Scotty's on the job with another royal commission into aged care, apparently having second thoughts after some 5 years opposing the idea and raping them for funding via dreadful wages, staff ratios and as always profits for his shareholder mates. Let's hope they fix it before I'm dragged off. [I spent a few days in Rosebud hospital last year and quite liked the food and the female nurses. If these places are similar, unlikely, I won't complain]. For mine it's top dressing, similar to putting a file into re-submit; after the election. We know the problems, as we have known the past 20 years. I don't say it's not a good idea as it sits, albeit political, the results, particularly from the point of view of the crooked operators (shareholders profits before care, doctors?) likely (as in the banking royal commission) to be named and shamed, but what then? What difference between then, and now? A good bed, reasonable food, shower, television and a night nurse, young if possible, biggish. Is that not reasonable? Ah, but will I last? Again, one day at a time. Not that I'd go unless it became a necessity. If pushed I see it as an answer in lieu of putting it onto one of my kids, my trio of knowledgeable know it alls.  [Unbelievable. 82.5 years? I've  been doing this acting caper (caper is appropriate, a good word) for the past 50 years. I've agreed to do a play reading from a play we did almost 30 years ago. The question is...WHY? Sadly, the answer, probably, is...to be noticed? Such is the universal desire for fame. Pathetic.] My billy lids are not really know it alls. More likely concerned caring advisers. xxx. 

 

  

Normally I'd have posted this blog yesterday. Alas, the pain of those AFL football preliminary finals intruding on my everyday calm, despite the imminent possibility of a Collingwood loss and the horror possibility of Melbourne beating West Coast borne of those three in a row victories, 1950's and losing to them in 1964. Now relaxed, not caring about the grand finaI, or who wins, so long as it's not Melbourne. No more the nonsense of possible player transfers 2019 on radio and television. One assumes they must fill in the time, but otherwise, who cares? No more turning page after page of the newspaper on football. Six months of peace, summer, jet skis, multicultural visitors and traffic chaos. Peace on earth. The symmetry of the soul. And saving $29 a month; foxtel footy. Verbal diarrhoea expert (?) Nick Riewoldt, before the game: "Richmond, because ‘they know’ their best is good enough, whereas Collingwood don’t know", adding "Richmond will ‘blow them away’ in the last quarter." Wrong, yet again Nick. Try thinking before you speak.

 

 

Scotty demanded the party take immediate steps to ensure a “rigorous and confidential” process to deal with concerns and complaints from party members, including members of parliament. A federal executive to come up with concrete plans to ensure the party continued to attract and support “outstanding men and women” who want to represent the party. And I'm Cheetah's uncle? The Herald-Sun don't let the grass grow for long, via Rupert's prostitutes. Today, Saturday, two big pieces - 'Prime Minister survives and thrives' and Scotty on 'What makes Australia great and the art of getting stuff done'. Poor old Billy Shorten. He can't even win a popularity vote over Scotty Morrison. Surely this does not amount to a vote for our other verbal diarrhoea expert Scotty? One can only assume they don't fancy Billy so there's no alternative but to click on the other fellow. In a way Billy's lucky. Imagine the popularity vote had Julie Bishop got the bickies? Billy is our man. Why? He barracks for the mighty magpies; reason enough. [Scotty to his party room "We have momentum". Where?]

 

 

I'm no fan of Barnaby Joyce by a long shot. Nothing so political, more the way he twists and turns according to his own interests. Still, his claim of innocence in the matter of  Catherine Marriott's alleged sexual harassment is fair enough. One cannot simply say 'something happened but no details' and expect some form of result? The ABC got into it but were they any better? A Seinfeld 'show about nothing'? No police, no details? Hey, it's one thing to see how brutal he can be politically but far too much of a stretch to add sexual harassment on the basis of no details. Having said this it's fortunate one doesn't form an opinion (buy a book) on its cover?

 

 

According to the Labor Greens majority senate report Peter Dutton “had a clear personal connection and existing relationship with the intended employer of the au pair in the Brisbane case”. He may (or may not) have misled parliament, but he certainly misled former PM Malcolm, as did his mates (at the time) Mathias Cormann, darling Michaelia and our arts expert Mitch Fifield. Including (possibly) but not proven, our present stand in Prime Minister? Whatever,  a relief (for now) to see Peter pull his handsome head in.  

 

 

Is it safe to have strawberry jam on my toast?.....'Mad as Hell' back on (Shaun Micallef ABC) with a vengeance. And they tell me I'm biassed?...True, Buckley's coaching credentials are greatly enhanced, but it takes much more to blot out his record of the past 6 years...Malcolm (apparently) complained to Rupert Murdoch on News Limited coverage before the great spill. Wow. There's power for you...Our national anthem is downlifting. I'm in favour of “I still call Australia Home” or “Road to Gundagai”? Or a smokey - “Goodbye Dolly Gray”?...Saturday’s Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce Centennial Cavalcade has Shane Jacobson as the event’s ambassador. That settles it. I'm not going...."I’d like to die at age 100, in the loving arms of a young woman, shot in the back by her husband." [Hollywood film producer]. There are two theories about how to win an argument with a woman. Neither one works [William Stacey] "Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood" [Oscar Wilde]...Next door is up for sale today at $2 million plus. Six 2 bedroom units. Hoping it doesn't attract a brothel owner. Then again, maybe we could do a deal?...Sorry about that. When Collingwood wins a big one it brings back memories of 15 years ago, when females formed a part of my life...hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

 

 

WowA Grain of Salt. 17th September, 2018. 

"What's the world coming to" (or words to that effect) has been a catchcry of late, if not since Adam, moreso today in this age of social media and daily mainstream news bulletins. Be nice to waitresses has been my standby the past 50 years. Life is not a battle with other people, although in so many cases one wonders; surely a battle with yourself? One assumes a Melbourne premiership will affect the happiness of thousands of supporters for the next 6 months, and it follows if victorious, hungry for another premiership throughout 2019. The more they get the more they want? As Kurt Vonnegut would say "And so it goes". Short term I look to a Collingwood victory against the mighty Richmond team. If not - a Sunday of sadness, and a Monday of moving on to more important matters. We may well understand the political reason for Labor's Bill Shorten keeping quiet on those sad people on Nauru but we expect one of the first things he does on winning the election is to bring them all to Australia for first class medical treatment and settlement in our country. Being a selfish prick, albeit I prefer to think otherwise, I could pray for an 18 degree day and no rain, having just filled my clothesline with a week's washing. Or for those filipinos who were in the path of Typhoon Mangkhut, some dead, many homeless. [My skylight is presently covered with a bright orange thick plastic compliments of the SES. It makes too much noise when the wind blows? Waiting for a part from Sydney say the Insurance crowd?]. Consistent fist fights after (sometimes during) a football match the past 60 years for motivations beyond my reasoning? The inescapable conclusion we live amongst dickheads, as always a question of degree. I settle on a simple motivation. To relax, calm, have two morning shots of my Spoilt Respimat inhaler, warding off stress, almost always the reason for migraines. The latest research? [All over Australia, the world, millions of people involved in research on all known subjects consistently resulting in new, not necessarily true, conclusions]. "The study of more than 19,000 healthy people aged over 70 found taking 100 milligrams of aspirin a day didn't prolong their life or significantly reduce the risk of a first heart attack or stroke." Aspirin, straight into the garbage? Transcendental Meditation mantra? Good old Collingwood forever? Moving on, so far no rain...     

 

 

Yes another case on the television. A couple borrows half a million to invest in some shonky crowd paying higher interest - for their retirement? No need for details, a never ending novel involving sad people. In short they borrow (say) half a million on their house. Why, already going well enough? To help them in their retirement? High interest crowd goes broke (more likely crooks) the couple lose the lot, including their house. God almighty. On the other hand can we blame their stupidity? If former PM Malco Turnbull was silly enough to trust Peter Dutton I suppose anyone can be a bunny candidate?

 

 

Prior to the 2007 financial world event, the GFC, and during the past decade I have warned - never to trust these crooks. In 2007 I wrote "Who’s to blame? The infallible few of course. What does it all mean to us? We are flooded with more infallible experts in opposite directions, with confusion the main conclusion. Will my bank pay me my money on demand, and will Centrelink pay my pension? Yes? Good. Thus; Ignore them." After the GFC they behaved (financial advisers) for a time, a short time. But they're a cancer, as evidenced by the financial services royal commission, ever on the plough to sneak the money from our kicks to service their own high style of life. I also wrote "The financial geniuses told us it all started as a result of people in the USA re- mortgaging their houses to a point where they couldn’t meet the payments. Vague stuff about a derivatives market and an unknown group conning decent people to live beyond their means. The fat cats still got their bonuses, the shareholders and super funds lost fortunes and thousands became unemployed. I’m a simple person in matters of world finance and yet I suspected something months before it began as a result of the odd warning amid a sea of financial journalists spewing confidence? My point however is, if I was suspicious, why didn’t our super duper financial experts ( Treasury, IMF, World Bank, G20, know-all journalists) see it coming? How come they’re still expounding their expertise and none, not one, admitting they were wrong? Capitalism gone crazy." True, they went underground, or blamed others, giving us the benefit of getting rid of them, for that short time. The financial advisors are still there claiming their best for their clients? Thousands of Barnaby Joyce's? Will the government compensate these losers? Probably, to ensure people are calmed by the magic word 'superannuation' but with the many billions invested in superannuation funds it stands to reason there are forever termites in the woodwork. Be certain. Now. Oh, one last suggestion? Scotty Morrison will suggest the Libs are the superior managers of our economy, ignoring, belittling,  Rudd's effort at the last GFC. Don't believe him.  

 

Why did they kick Malco out? Easy. They wanted to stick it up him and with it the bonus (for Dutton at the time or Morrison for the Libs who feared Dutton) of more power...The election of candidates on the basis of merit is basically bullshit, by the Liberals primarily but also by Labor. As always it depends on influence and more importantly 'who you know'. Conflict of interest is rampant, indeed set in stone...Scotty wants to see more women in parliament. He just doesn't want to do anything about it...Attorney-General Christian Porter now rated higher than Peter Dutton; how the mighty have fallen, hopefully, but not with certainty?...Tony (anti climate change and same sex marriage) has to go; ditto Barnaby. Way out of touch...A shade late for Malcolm Turnbull to suggest Peter Dutton being referred to the High Court. Malice, created the monster, sucked up to him for 5 years, now he's miffed?...Why should the players mouth the national anthem during the singing of Advance Australia Fair”. Meditate fellas. If you concentrate hard enough you won't have to put up with the lady’s mispronunciation of ‘advance’?...Scotty Morrison, a former prime minister in waiting, not necessarily a future leader of the opposition? [17% margin and Scotty claims it could be close?]...Riewoldt Brown and Brererton, the three Fox experts suffering from a tsunami of verbal diarrhea, all picked GWS to win?..."We play a finals type brand of football" said the Melbourne coach. Meaning what?...Princess Pauline: "Climate change happens naturally, through the sun, and the moon and it's just natural occurrences that have happened for centuries"...As a boy I called them fritters; we all did. Somewhere along the line they became potato cakes?..."Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, and disregard of all the rules [George Orwell]... hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

 

Broken heartA Grain of Salt. 13th September, 2018. 

Jobs and growth my friends, I kid you not. Five years, a surplus is on the way, positive numbers come 2021, certainly prior to 2030? 1000 jobs a day as I type and our economy is growing, broadly based as a mirage (ringing in our ears?) for we everyday ordinary Australians? And it's all Bill Shorten's fault? A reckless Labor party? One wonders how the party in government can always blame the opposition who are not in government? What jobs? The bills keep increasing so the shareholders do well but not so wages. You can tell us till you're blue in the face but if I'm sitting here with my higher power bills, ditto water, ditto everything, and my wages are the same it means I've got less money; a need to cut down on expenses, food even. How is this Labor's fault? Of course; silly me. You're telling us when (if?) Labor wins at the next election things will get worse, inferring (as you've done the past 5 years, with no evidence I'm aware of) things will improve, via trickle down? But hey, someone, somewhere, has the result of these increases now, so where are they? If we get less who gets more? Never mind this muppet stuff, tell us how it will get better, how you intend to increase our wages and decrease the phantoms who are taking more than their share of the cake without blaming Labor? Also, why was Malcolm sacked, or was this also Labor's fault? Labor now leads 56-44 so it's not only me. Scotty on day one of his pretend prime ministership announced his focus on fixing the drought. A week later he suggested we 'pray for rain'. ‘‘We are on your side’’ said Scotty, with no clue how to reduce emissions? After the pain of the political nonsense still no energy policy or an answer to the scientific calls for action on climate change. ‘‘I’d encourage others who believe in the power of prayer to pray for that rain and to pray for our farmers’’. Thanks matey. What a bloody toxic mess. Call an election (but he will not) and bring them back from Nauru, but he will not. His credentials on refugees are the same as Dutton’s, his views on the economy fiercely free market, government support for the corporate sector above all, and be honest, your a climate change denier Scotty. In the scheme of things the idea of keeping the pension age at 67 means not one iota, the chances of retirement (pension) at 70 likely a reality by the time most young people get there. Dutton: Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. First Turnbull (bitten on the bum as warned) now Morrison. He's got them bluffed? [Woody Harrelson: “We live in a completely corrupted world where every government is just a bunch of businessmen working for a bunch of bigger businessmen and none of them give a shit about the people. The sad fact is no one knows how to change it because no one knows how to take on the corporations. So I guess we’re stuck with this system until the oil runs out.”]. Suck on that Scotty. 

 

 

Sussan Ley and Sarah Henderson in Parliament (The Age, 11/9). After spending months championing a ban on live exports and even putting up their own bill, they meekly rolled over and voted against it. Then they had the gall to say it was Labor’s fault?

 

 

Property owners living close to Melbourne’s sky rail (between Caulfield and Dandenong), are changing their minds about the negative impact the project will have on the value of their homes. Some believe the sky rail is a boon, bringing a reprieve from traffic congestion and attracting buyers to the area. ‘‘Now we think it’s great." said the Murrumbeena couple. "The other day we went for a walk on the streets nearby and even underneath the rail and we couldn’t believe how quiet it was.’’ Real estate agents say the local market has largely remained unaffected by the new rail. We knew all this at the time of course, said so in fact; the real beat-up coming from Murdoch’s crowd and Channel 9 stirring up the sheep. Looking forward to the same at Carrum station. Another victory for Daniel Andrews? Up to a point. By all means upgrade the Frankston hospital but spare a thought for our Rosebud hospital and an upgrade of public transport from Portsea to Frankston. We don't all drive cars Danny boy. Either way we will vote with you, not because we love you, but because a vote for Philip Island's Matthew Guy is out of the question. 

 

 

Serena Willams is a great tennis player but outstanding ability in sport doesn't guarantee intelligence, common sense even, nor a particular sense of entitlement. As a champion Serena is clearly entitled to respect for her outstanding ability and for what she has done for the sport of tennis. This entitlement does not extend however to her disregard for her opponent; clearly an ugly sight to be seen. Her superior ability as a tennis player gives her no contract into self righteousness no matter the facts, in this case laid bare for all to see. The so called cheating was never the point, it being to accept the umpire’s decision and move on. Attempting to combine it with sexism (because you lost) was an excuse for being a bad sport and an insult to our intelligence and (particularly) the winner. A great winner a bad loser, petulant, disrespectful. It's always a fascination in sport, the better the player the more we assume a higher degree of intelligence, ditto millionaires. Let us all now move on.

 

 

“The privilege of serving as the leader of the Liberal party is a decision of the parliamentary party and they have made their decision,” said Scotty. Utter nonsense. He wanted the job and his ambition told him he could do it better, so he planned it. And yet, (apparently) voters prefer this fellow over Billy Shorten, indicating (obviously) we are surrounded by sheep. 

 

 

Pauline Hanson: "I've been fighting for 22 years for equality for everyone, to be inclusive"?...Religion (or lack thereof) is a private matter and should have no place in running our country...How is it the peoples’ game when yet again the AFL switches matches to suit the television hierarchy?....The pot and kettle? Peter Dutton is concerned about the mental health of Roman Quaedvlieg?... From letters; misguided or cute? "A breath of fresh air in the bush with being able to watch Sky on Win TV and no longer having ABC leftist spin“...With all this talk of female bullying I'd love to meet the male capable of bullying Peta Credlin...Another brainless football interviewer: "Take us through your mindset when you kicked that goal?"...I say again, no problem with whoever wins the grand final, so long as it's not Melbourne or Richmond...Sadly, without a "significant other" I was not invited to Shane Jacobson's wedding...”Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you” [Spanish Proverb]....I pray for Collingwood and powerball...hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

 

WowA Grain of Salt. 7th September, 2018. 

KillBill continues via Pretend PM Scotty Morrison via CFMMEU's John Setka and his ankle biters. The hopeful side issue of switching blame to the unions (in this case Union singular) to wash away the bad taste of the Malcolm Turnbull stabbing. (A fresh campaign to win crossbench support for new laws that will make it easier to deregister unions, including the militant CFMMEU, after several minor parties signalled they might now support the reform; options for curbing the power of the union after years of ‘‘demonstrating their lawlessness and their thuggery and their brutality, their threats’’). Stay tuned? Scotty also buying in on the law and order stuff in Victoria via 3AW's morning right wing maestro Neil Mitchell, hoping to lend a hand to Matty's efforts come the November state election. Clear as day, albeit too late? I'm sure many people like me were at the very least surprised when the Victorian Liberal Party nominated Matthew Guy as their leader to replace Denis Napthine, particularly his suspicious (at best?) land dealings (rezoning) as planning minister and the Fishermans Bend, Ventnor Phillip Island dealings. Those of us with longer memories also recall the strange decisions of a previous planning minister Robert Maclellan. I'm not suggesting any form of corruption, merely the dealings that were done in favour of the big money people and bugger the rest. Perhaps Matty was the best of a bad bunch among the state liberals; more likely he had friends in high places. Back to roost? Matty hits out suggesting Danny has an evil soul. Who hasn't? On the other hand when there is no defence for your actions the common (human nature) rule takes effect; namely "attack is the best method of defence". [The East West link project, $1.3 billion was rejected by Danny Andrews before the last state election, indeed he was voted in telling the voters of his party's intention. Intriguing how voters of Matty's lot call it hypocrisy in the light of the waste of $3.5 million as settlement in the Ventnor set-up? Either way, the question is, and always has been, does this excuse Matty's conduct, as these hypocrite types suggest?]

 

 

Peter Dutton rabbits on about his high moral integrity. Fair enough. Who doesn't justify their actions? I'm more intrigued as to why Dutton never accepts an invitation to chat with the ABC's Leigh Sales, leaving aside his not so secret wish for the destruction of our ABC. From the quick grabs I've heard from his radio stuff via Mitchell I'm thinking the real reason is more likely the man has difficulty putting two sentences together? He's been in our faces for, well, years now, and I have to say there's little evidence (if any?) of his ability to converse on a respectable level? Blind Freddy can lay down laws, one-liners, but honestly, where's the meat? Much the same with his present stoush with former Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg, reminding us of Michaelia Cash's defence when cornered; 'threats' as a defence? Fun and games. Take a chance Pete, come on Q&A?

 

 

AFL football. Of all things of interest to me the one thing I've never had any interest in is the entertainment at half time on GF Day, ditto scalpers. Maybe they have little to talk about this time of year, but honestly, who is interested? And why start the finals on a Thursday night, albeit lovely to see our PPM Scotty there to watch the match, thankfully minus his football guernsey? Last but by no means least, why have this long boring week before the finals with no football? It gives the players a rest my backside. The AFL; money money money.

 

 

'Interesting' was never a favourite word in commenting on a professional stage actor's performance. Likewise (often) when referring to the play itself, depending on how it's said. Theatre comes with a world of bullies, all shapes and sizes. How often to hear nice things about myself at the same time as not so nice things (including gossip) about co-performers; the query of truth or otherwise, particularly if a co-performer tells you how much the gossiper loved his/her work, and so on and so forth. Everyday stuff, on and off stage. And always, lots of bullying, almost always by stealth. The key has always been to see through the dialogue. Some have it, most have not. There's a certain beauty in innocence, which can come through forever, so long as you do not represent a threat to the ambition of some alongside. One gathers it's taken to a higher level in politics. I'm not convinced. A multitude of bodies vying for a smaller number of opportunities; the creation of the bully, everywhere. 

 

 

The Australian Catholic Church, in refusing to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding the confessional, particularly regarding the reporting of child abuse by pedophiles, seems to have attracted opposition via social media. Fair enough, but why just the pedophiles, how about violence, theft, home invasions and all the various law breaking forms? I'm for maintaining the secrecy. I don't see anyone rushing to tell all if lifted and how can it be proved anyway? He said, she said? Maybe install tape recorders, a mobile phone? The vast majority of priests are good people deserving trust rather than trying to punish them for the few bad quinces. Thousands of good people rely on this confessional process as a cleansing of conscience. A can of worms surely? [If I was of that faith I estimate I'd be 'in the box' for the best part of a year. I'm still racked by guilt with those love letters I sent 50 years ago, and no-one to confess to?].

 

 

John Wood is alive and well (apparently), appearing in Pinter's 'The Dumb Waiter' at Chapel Off Chapel with old Don Bridges. Finishes Saturday, sadly...Aceh isn't Aceh anymore (from the movie 'The Jolson Story'. Ditto honey, which I have been using in my coffee for 50 years...."Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the  tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel. [John Quinton]...hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

{#smileys123.tonqueout}A Grain of Salt. 3rd September, 2018. 

Spring has sprung! Thank the Lord, or Zeus, or Janus.

Father's Day yesterday. And all is well in the state of Denmark, my backside. I've had a virus for 11 days, still not well, heavily into self-pity. Do I take a second lot of antibiotics or do I hold out for the magic of feeling fit and risk a relapse? My son went off to Bali for a spell. I told him of my health situation and he was concerned, to the obvious point of "don't cark it while I'm away" (and spoil his holiday?) more inferred than said, maybe? He rang again from the airport, either concerned, or filling in time? Maybe my phone was out of order yesterday? Maybe the effects of this mysterious virus? Very quiet. No football and Collingwood beaten by Essendon in the VFL; no joy. Ran across John Wilson, RSL President, at coffee; recommended a whisky after I said I'd had no alcohol for a week. Jameson's Irish. If my son reads this in Bali he'll no doubt feel guilty and bring back a 1 litre bottle? In for a penny in for a pound? It all helps? Either that or pigs might fly? 11 degrees yesterday, but the sun was shining and no wind so I tried that for a 5 minute spell. Again, no joy. Held out for episode 3 of 'Rake', ABC. Richard Roxburgh and his wife and girlfriend good as always, the others disjointed, the storyline rubbish. My favourite comic as a boy was 'Sad sack'. That tells the story? Feeling a shade better now after following John's advice, 3 times, only the dregs left now. Maybe I'll post this on Facebook, get a few likes in sympathy? No? A porn site? Nah. Leave me alone in my misery. Hold out somehow until next Saturday night in the hope of a Collingwood victory against West Coast Eagles, be dreadful if I cark it before a possible premiership. Of course I wouldn't know would I? Or would I? Maybe St Peter barracks for the magpies. More likely he (or she) is a Gold Coast Suns supporter. A masochist? Ever onwards?

 

 

PM Scotty back from trade talks in Indonesia declaring them a win win. Funny fellow Scotty, living in hope, ambition, despite his dreadful taste for rugby league sweaters. Worse than watching Billy Shorten dancing. Nobody knows what these trade talks mean because they're confidential, not to mention these things have been going on the past 5 years. Let's be honest. If you can't do a decent trade deal with Indonesia (we give them aid) who can you do a decent deal with? Why not a deal with Cambodia (we gave them $44 million) to free James Ricketson; six years in a Cambodian jail with no evidence? Scotty is more of a PPM. Pretend prime minister. What else? Oh yes - he will fix the drought problem like he stopped the boats, with his mate Barnaby roaming all over the far north of Australia. Who pays his roaming charges? It's looking like a pantomime in the ghost town of Canberra, not to mention Lord Tony on the prowl (also up north?) looking after the indigenous people's woes? Meet up with Barnaby, a few beers, a few laughs about how they shafted former PM Malcolm Turnbull, now banished to New York? [Former PM (one of many formers) Malcolm Turnbull departed Australia for New York for  six weeks following his resignation from the seat of Wentworth. The Turnbulls own a two-bedroom apartment, in the iconic twin-towered 1930s art-deco building The Century, on the Upper West Side overlooking Central Park. Nice, but how big are the bedrooms? Old home week; Kevvy Rudd, Joe Hockey? Dom Perignon Vintage Champagne 750mL on hand - a steal at $250? Jealous? No way. Yellowglen at $4 tastes the same; to me.]

 

 

And with all these goings on a necessity for an urgent upgrade to 'hope'. For we Australians. [From The Paris Review: “Dear Poets, How did I get old? This body is mine and yet surely must also be someone else’s. I want to age gracefully and, most of all, I do not want to become invisible—to myself or anyone else. Is there a poem that could help?”] No doubt there is (a poem) somewhere in the woodwork but after the actions of Abbott's mob (putting their interests before Australia's) and the resultant failed treasurer Scotty Morrison as a short-term Prime Minister (until they can come up with another selfish angle) we desperately need to straighten the ship, which leaves us just the one alternative, like it or not. We need to elect a Labor government. Not only to steer us into safer waters but at the same time to clean out Abbott's lot and obviously put Pauline Hanson to bed. I see Sky News (where Princess Pauline is a celebrity; true) is coming onto free to air television. Be  warned, look away. [Al Jolson "You ain't seen nothin' yet".]   

 

 

I quite enjoy a good western movie. Almost all about revenge of course but that's the beauty of it; they get caught, justice wins, all in around 2 hours. You barrack for Collingwood and it's not unusual to wait 5 years or longer for revenge, not to mention politics. "A Big Country" 1958 with Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker, Charlton Heston and Burl Ives was 150 minutes of Gregory winning battle after battle, against evil, and the added bonus at the end, of love. Good stuff.  

 

 

"It's not so much what you know as who you know." A rule of life, if not for many clearly for most, sub heading - human nature. Peter Dutton's au pair favouritism (for a friend, or a mate of a friend, whoever) is a storm in a teacup, despite the nonsense of a rule for one a rule for all, and despite the obvious examples of his department's (seemingly) cruel attitude to many much more deserving cases. True, Dutton is a master of hypocrisy and clearly (like Morrison) not up to the job of PM, in fact a dill in some cases and not to be trusted. He went on radio last Wednesday airing his idea of dropping the GST from electricity bills, a move that would deprive the federal or state governments of $7.5 billion in revenue over four years. Victorian Liberals, our own Greg Hunt and Michael Sukkar, sided with Dutton when polling showed Turnbull had much stronger support in Victoria? [Twenty years in an earlier life as a public servant I saw numerous examples. Made up of (my insight?) three from every four rigidly following the statutes as laid down by Commonwealth rules, and that fourth person in a position of power (which can occur at many levels, power depending on his/her attitude) and happy to bend those rules either for goodwill or the possibility of future gain or simply to feel that power within, however small, as something to make him/her feel useful, to bask even, along the lines of an effective multi-vitamin, generally for males.]   

 

 

Andrews 90-kilometre underground rail ring project good stuff, linking every major rail line through the city’s middle suburbs; cross-town rail services without the need to first travel into the city and (according to the proposal) will shift some 200,000 daily commuters from cars to rail. Just the one problem. A rail line (and carpark) to Mornington? Danny!!!!

 

 

Another storm via teacup, state coroner Sara Hinchey and the $12,000 roaming charges, 'doing the dishes' and bullying. Fashionable nonsense. I'm with Sara...The Inspector Foyle series; repeats, yet relaxing, with the added bonus of watching a show with non-bearded men, unlike most modern day television. If it's a murder mystery I always suspect the man (or woman) with the beard...Petrol $1.60 a litre; might have to walk to Woolworths?..."Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and  campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other." [Oscar Ameringer]...hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

 

 

CryingA Grain of Salt. 31/8/2018. 

 

A political desert, between worlds so to speak; a new Prime Minister reaching out to shake our hands but as yet (without parliament sitting and no big speeches apart from being ‘on our side’) a will of the wisp. On location with special drought envoy Barnaby Joyce, touring south-west Queensland to fix the drought, both climate change deniers? Playing hidey? Questions: why is Barnaby allowed back in? True, through the back door but back in nevertheless. The same can be said of Tony Abbott, remembered for his famous words ‘‘What happened on the 26th of January 1788 was on balance, for everyone – Aboriginal people included – a good thing because it brought Western civilisation to this country’’. Thus, our Special Envoy for Indigenous Affairs? Peter Dutton loses Immigration but does he? As I see it, pure wallpaper? A new Minister for Immigration under instructions? And the real backstabbers, Matthias Cormann and our Flinders man Greg Hunt, no change, forgiven, not even a light smack on the wrists, more of a kiss it better? True, they all got Turnbull kicked out as a first intention, but it surely included Dutton rule, which is unlikely to change. They can’t go again before the next election...Thus ‘We’re all in full support of Scotty, hearts and minds forever’ but nobody really believes this. Well, other than the sheep. Some Libs have jumped ship (Emma Husar, Julia Banks) screaming bullying? Did they not notice the bullying tactics against Julia Gillard? Oh, that was different was it? Still, who can blame them? An elected government (up to a point) in tatters, same old same old. And Scotty reaching out, ready to please, his mates that is, not us. New Energy Minister (figurehead?) Angus Taylor reiterated the government’s intention to curb electricity prices, but made no mention of reducing greenhouse gas emissions created by burning fossil fuels for energy. Are we to believe the 40 who voted for Dutton are now on scotty’s side? In a pig's bottom. Watch this space?

 

 

So where to now? "I'm on your side" PM Scotty sucking up to Tony’s mob - Andrews, Abets, Hunt and those who switched from Turnbull for Dutton. It appears they erred, if not with getting Dutton in, then by preferring Morrison to Bishop who surely would have effected a big swing in the polls. Too late to change. If Shorten wins are we looking at Peter Dutton as opposition leader? With a healthy margin in the polls it's a good  time for Shorten to come off his comfortable seat on the fence and call for all those on Manus, Nauru to be brought to Australia for processing. Sure, he would lose a few points but would it tease Morrison to be tempted into an early election? Or is Morrison a Turnbull clone in there for his place in the sun, albeit short term? Albeit under instructions? Sheep may well be sheep but surely not to the point of voting in this very temporary Prime Minister come the election? It all boils down to yet another lull in politics, for as long as (if ever) we can see some sort of reason (policies?) in their present situation. Thankfully the AFL finals are upon us so something to switch our little minds to what really matters to us, a Collingwood premiership, at this stage at best, forlorn. Maybe Peter Dutton (our secrecy God) can help my once mighty magpies? One only needs a key umpire in need of an au pair visa  and bob's  (or Peter's) your uncle? Whatever, we need an election, a time for us to see if Shorten can shut up and put up. If you're reading this and honestly believe Morrison is the first choice as against Shorten, I plead with you - to tell me why?

 

 

Past blasts: 1/ It was Big Brother Scott Morrison, the sensitive Christian, who not only convinced the majority of Australians the boat people escaping persecution, homelessness, and hunger, were illegal, but also allowing the horror of Manus Island and Nauru, and checkmating the gutless Labor opposition, as the new Minister for Social Services. 2/ Jeffrey Kennett, always remembered with the arrival of our electricity bills, holds a position of some respect within our community. Jeffrey kindly took it upon himself to delve into the reasons leading to our choice at a previous state election sighting performance, personality and policies as the ingredients to watch out for. I said at the time - It’s “London to a brick on” his bottom line will be in favour of dashing Denis Napthine. A week later Jeffrey came out in favour of Dashing Denis. Coincidentally Denis had promised more schools. That’s funny, seeing as our man Jeffrey closed so many in his time. [Expect much the same from Jeffrey prior to Danny Andrew's election, in favour of Matthew Guy, come November]. 

 

 

We can barely stomach Gary Lyon's pro-Melbourne comments (as an unbiassed commentator?) on SEN but his criticism of Nick Kyrgios is beyond the hypocritical pale..."When I was a boy, I was told that anybody could become Prime Minister;  I'm beginning to believe it." [Cliff Ellen, with apologies to Clarence Darrow]...hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

HeheA Grain of Salt. Monday. 27th August, 2018. 

 

Waiting patiently for our government to govern? Mathias Cormann told Sky News he was backing Peter Dutton because he’s “best able to connect with hard-working, aspirational families in Australia”. Arguably the biggest lie of the week, the plus showing us where his loyalties lie, not that we didn't suspect it anyway. I'm reminded (looking back) at the prosperity of the persecutors (WW2, Germany, Japan) and see individualism winning as always in favour of the masses. I have nothing against individualism for the general good, it's human nature to look after number 1, but it's those who do not extend it to the masses. Mathias includes us (aspirational families) but his selfish actions against the vastly more popular Julie Bishop underlies his real selfish ambitions. Mathias, Michaelia Cash and Mitch Fifield said they no longer supported Turnbull because Turnbull no longer had the support of the party room, disregarding the 45-38 vote in Malcolm's favour after the first spill, which really meant Malcolm no longer had 'their' support. Had they stuck with Malcolm how could he lose on those numbers? Who needs enemies with friends like this lot? Certainly way off this 'broad church' they sprout. Had there been a sensible reason Dutton would have been elected, and he lost 40-45. I can understand the idea of Turnbull going because he can't win the next election, but the real reason was never put forward, and can we say Scotty has a better chance? Will the media let up on Scotty, particularly News media? Will Scotty stand up to the authoritarians, or is he an authoritarian in disguise? Let's not ignore Scotty's record: Locked in massive cuts to hospitals, tried to give $17 billion to the big banks, cut $17 billion from schools, voted to cut penalty rates, voted to raise the pension age to 70, to cut the age pension, and voted against the banking royal commission, telling us there's 'nothing to see'? Will Scotty tackle climate change, the refugee crisis? Farewell to former PM Malco. A bullseye, assisted by Malco’s abandonment of his policy commitments by way of his desperation to placate the hard right. Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Only fair to give him his time in the sunshine, see which way the cookie (cocky?) crumbles, and of course his pentecostal Christian ethics in the light of his handling of the refugees on Manus and Nauru, particularly his decision during his tenure as Immigration minister, to tell us (we) voters - nothing! A dual personality; half Malcolm half Peter Dutton? At the very least we are entitled to be told the differences (if any) between Malco’s policies and now Scotty’s? Strangely, the polls only 2 weeks ago reduced Labor’s margin to 51-49. One wonders how that would have panned out had Turnbull suddenly got the courage to fight the energy crisis and global warming. The loyal Scotty (a fair go for those who have a go) Morrison, although his switch from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull wasn't (at that time, 2015) strictly loyal. Are we back on the merry go round? Again.

 

 

Far right politicians, are (more accurately) authoritarians, demonstrating cruelty, gender bias, discrimination and (apparently) ignore climate change. Their basic aim is to keep us in line, we sheep, by way of a brown paper bag, full of broken biscuits, here and there, a penny a pop, while they (born to rule) call the shots. Peter Dutton (an outstanding individual according to Mathias Cormann) thankfully got his medicine in defeat, for now, ditto Greg Hunt. Did I say medicine? Dutton stays in his love job (security, minus Immigration) and Mathias stays as is? Dutton, a one dimensional man, his (Mis)information about border safety, so called African gang crime, previously immigration comes to mind. Such people divide and cripple everything that is decent, tolerant and compassionate. Sadly, they often claim to be Christians, but rarely, if ever, tell us what this means to them? Peter Dutton's record included - voted as the worst Health Minister in the last 35 years, signed off on the Liberals' attempt to privatise Medicare payments, walked out of Parliament during the apology to the stolen generations and responsible for the last four years of cruelty on Nauru and Manus Island. He's anti-union, anti civil liberties, anti gay marriage and wants to bring in legislation that allows the Federal Government to call the army in to deal with anything under the confusing barrier of terrorism. And incidentally, Mathias is now completely on the side of Scotty's mob? Pentecostals believe that God rewards materially, as well as spiritually. This underscores an emphasis on positive or victorious living. Scotty tells us we all should play by the rules. Whose rules? Summing up - do we trust him, Scotty that is. Yes, about as much as I trust an unbiassed football commentator.

  

And Collingwood? Well, a trip to Perth against the West Coast Eagles can never be something to anticipate. We can but pray...Legend has it that on his deathbed the actor Edmund Gwenn answered director John Ford’s “What is dying like?” with a reflective, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”. Agree...hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

 

Broken heartA Grain of Salt. Thursday. 23rd August, 2018. 

Hiccups: My best intentions, to give away this blog in favour of a wellbeing concept, (fishing, community gardening, bus trips and possibly mens sheds) collapsed after a mere two days. As it happened I was listening to two groups at my local cafe. One lot of fishermen, in a technical language, the other builders on a break from upgrading work at the local RSL; both talking double dutch. I tried valiantly to escape the politics of the day but surrounded by PM Malco's woes. My football team is in the top four with the likelihood of a match (and loss) in Perth to the West Coast Eagles. The real possibility of then playing and losing to Melbourne; a nightmare! Conclusion: Doing nothing is not easy, all too hard to ignore. Where's the pleasure? A need to let it out, to feel inclusive. It matters not if no-one is listening. This way, true or not, it gives me a feeling to be part of the stream. Opting out (mens sheds, fishing, bus trips) is simply not my go; opting back in. I'm more than likely romancing, but as I see it, I'm a player, again. Cheers. 

 

 

WEDNESDAY. Similar to those old football matches with spot fires breaking out everywhere; the umpire out of control, in this case the umpire being PM Malco. The obvious answer is for our PM to go for an early election, but this requires procedural problems, and courage, sadly lacking in his (now) long list of changes in attempts to appease the likes of Peter (Donald Trump) Dutton and company. Malcolm's form to date shows evidence time and again of 'being Prime Minister' as his main thrust. It was always obvious Dutton was in it for more (and more) power, and (to repeat myself) you give in to these types they come back to bite you on the backside. Dutton is one step up (or down?) from Princess Pauline Hanson. Either way it looms as a coalition defeat in our next federal election, assuming they don’t decide to run with Julie (ice maiden) Bishop as the new leader, surely able to gain the popularity numbers close to when Malcolm first came in. Sheep remain sheep. You don't believe me? Read the Murdoch newspapers. Then there's the ever reliable Scotty Morrison who can talk the hind legs off a donkey, his favourite song as always being "I will survive". An unlikely candidate although I'm sure he would disagree. A Prime Minister who wants to please everybody pleases nobody. Ignoring the clear messages (ambition) of Dutton (and Greg Hunt) to appease them at our expense. I blame Malcolm for creating Dutton, for that matter I blame Howard for creating Princess Pauline. You suck up to those types you do not gain, because they turn, following the example of life itself (for many) - "The more they get the more they want". Power! The name of the game, and us? We're not the sheep, but clearly as it presently stands, we're the bunnies. Either way the sooner an election the better, (albeit likely still next May) with (hopefully) a victory for the Labor Party. Will Billy Shorten stand up? Time will tell but for now, anything is better than this lot.   

 

 

THURSDAY. I listened to Neil Mitchell for 20 minutes to see which way his political wind was blowing; Turnbull or Dutton? He opened up with wondering why people don't like Peter Dutton, inviting callers to ring in. Added how well Dutton interviewed yesterday, better than Turnbull? Hmm. Rubbished Bill Shorten's holier than thou smugness, his involvement in bringing down two former PM's, the inference Dutton was at least honest? Followed immediately with a dreadful home invasion story by four Africans on a helpless female home owner. That was enough. Good luck to those with the courage to phone in opposing Neil's views. A set-up for mine. Brainwashing. Still, one has to be a masochist to listen to Mitchell. Surely a vote for Peter is a vote for Tony? A long noisy political day. To a Scotty Morrison or Peter Dutton vote. What a choice? Also a lovely sunny morning in downtown Rye with my coffee outside in that warm windless sun, despite the political chaos and backstabbing, how lucky we are. And yet, to read the morning newspaper an army of whingers, on various matters, the me me me generation at play. One wonders if they ever watch a small snapshot of the real world, the real traumas, on SBS world news? Later I listened to callers; 3AW and 774, strong Liberals or Labor, both consistently opening with "the reality is"? 

 

 

Malcolm Turnbull of course has now basically 'left the building' so to speak. We wonder why this Lord Tony Abbott and Co mob kept at it. Ego and malice with Tony was clear enough, but why his followers? Malco gave in time and again to anything they wanted, yet still they went, for his throat? Then Mathius Cormann jumps ship, then darling Michaelia Cash. Greg Hunt had long departed for Dutton as his number 2, but no surprise there. Greg has always been high on ambition. Not to worry, let them self destruct. We may be bunnies, but we have a vote. Use it wisely. [And hopefully leave John Howard's views out of it].

 

 

What motivates a lifestyle change? A long long time ago. I worked for 20 years as a public servant, Commonwealth. Navy, Auditor-General's, Attorney-Generals. A world of equally obscure colleagues in character and mainly origin, introducing (more accurately, highlighting) the mystery of human behaviour. Age 15-34. My roots. Extremes of mateship, solitude, self-justification, self-pity. Dreams of a future, superannuation, marriage, the tension of responsibility, of life itself. Those around me so happy, so healthy, so secure in their aims, opinions, self-satisfaction. The mind can become separated by the body, without reality, of sheep. Where was I? I resigned.

 

 

The first episode of Rake (ABC Sundays) was, sadly, dreadful...Water bill $30 service charges $300. Crooks...I'm hearing the music, again...Amidst all this fray a young refugee on Nauru is critically ill after refusing to eat and drink, and rejecting medical care for weeks, while a 12-year-old girl has been taken to hospital after reportedly attempting to set herself on fire..."Strange, to wander in the fog, To live is to be alone. No man knows the next man, Each is alone." [Hermann Hesse]...hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

  

 A Grain of Salt. Sunday 19th August 2018 Love

FINALE: I began my interest in politics around 1948, now at 2018 hitting the 70 years mark. I've seen a lot of evil selfish ambitious power-hungry B's come and thankfully go and obviously the odd heroes. The plus is sooner or later they bite the dust. Small victories. One of them hanged Ronald Ryan, another sacked half the school teachers and sold off the gas and electricity. Another created a great superannuation scheme, brought the soldiers home and gave thousands of parents the opportunity to send their kids to university. John Gorton for the libs a plus and obviously Gough. To quote Kurt Vonnegut "And so it goes". The short answer - I'm opting out. My last Grain of Salt blog, retiring to a quieter world of the odd comments via my Facebook page and the odd letter to my local newspaper. Maybe wash my jumper and cardigan, make that video I promised to be played at my funeral albeit not having a funeral. A wake? Looking ahead to an unfettered life of leisure. A lowering of energy levels, less adrenaline (once an automatic entry depending on the situation) now requiring a different kind of fuel, a wellbeing concept; fishing, community gardening, bus trips, mens sheds, camping. Well, not camping, mustn't overstep the mark. One step at a time. Slow steps. Everything takes longer? 

 

 

"The  National Energy Guarantee was overwhelmingly supported by the Liberal Party." says PM Malco. Lots of time spent on this so called yet to be proven guarantee, confusing almost all of us (including most of the liberals), power prices being our one, but not necessarily primary, concern re climate change ignorance and prisoners on Manus, Nauru. Will power prices go down; unlikely. Will it hurt us; possibly, but no evidence to date. Conveniently, all this hullabaloo (and Senator Fraser Anning) takes pressure off those crooked financial empires; banks, AMP. [Peter Dutton considering his options? PM Malco has no-one to blame but himself. You suck up to this type you eventually get gobbled up. The option of Dutton as Liberal leader with Greg Hunt as his number 2? Maybe, but any leadership change before the federal election would spell disaster, thankfully, for Dutton.]

 

 

It's all well and good for our PM Malco and Oppo leader Billy boy to shake hands over the Senator Fraser Anning kerfuffle (From Queensland. Enough said?) but if it wasn't so serious it would be funny. One fellow praised Howard for his opposition to racism, forgetting Tampa got Howard elected (and his early call on immigration bans) and has continued unabated, through Lord Tony, Malco, Peter Dutton (another Queenslander?) front and centre, even Matty Guy? They're all in on the race and migration issues, alongside an 'aura' (thinly veiled) of repugnance. Some of them may well be far right (almost fascists?) but the moderate element has little if any qualms using this race card for their own political ambitions, and bugger the side effects to innocent citizens, particularly many thousands of peace loving innocent muslims. [For the uninitiated if we closed the borders to them we would go broke]. Take away Anning's 'final solution' comment and despite their disgust they're all on much the same hypocritical page. Also hides the dangerous issue of Peter Dutton sneaking in his new gestapo laws (not mitigated by a genuine threat) disguised as a terrorist threat. [Scott Ludlam/The Guardian: "Exploiting legitimate fears of terrorism and child abuse, the government wants expansive new powers which will allow it to hack your phone for purposes that are actually as loose as “protecting the public revenue; or the interests of Australia’s national security, the interests of Australia’s foreign relations, or the interests of Australia’s national economic well-being”. The bill sweeps the whole world’s telecommunications sector into its remit, with the intent not so much of breaking encryption standards, as making them irrelevant. The argument that the law needs to be updated as time and technologies move on is quite reasonable. The curious thing is, this argument is used to repeatedly ratchet up new powers for governments and secret police, while privacy law, whistleblower protections and anti-corruption legislation stay marooned in the 1980s for reasons that never quite come up for discussion. The most important gap in our legislative architecture – the absence of a legally enforceable human rights act – remains in the wilderness of major party indifference for the time being. In the meantime, it seems we’re due for our three-monthly bipartisan force-feeding of upgraded surveillance powers."]. Sadly, some 25% of voters do not vote for either of the two big ones, suggesting the real possibility most of them, (and many liberal party voters) think of Peter Dutton as a man of action rather than a dangerous power freak. What can I say? Sheep are sheep? I hope I'm wrong? The obvious risk of similar power freaks from ASIO, the border forces, the AFP who for personal reasons could invade unknown, into our privacy? Is this over the top? I hope so, but as it goes, now, the wind is blowing in a dangerous direction.  

 

I said to the nurse, in answer to "How are you feeling?" "Grumpy!" "Why?" she said, smiling. "Not sure, something to do with old age". She laughed, saying "You're fine. I'm sure you have a few years in you yet". Yeah yeah, they all say that, but, one wonders how many of her customers she said this to, carked it in the week following? It's not as if she would know? Anyway, I'll give her a big tick, despite her cheerfulness. Got me four free visits to the foot clinic every year. If she's on the mark I might just use them all?

 

I was confused. In The Age all but one of the football experts (or prats, whichever you prefer) picked Collingwood to beat Port Adelaide, despite Collingwood being beaten by the four top teams ahead of them on the AFL ladder and being thrashed by Port Adelaide the last time Collingwood played them at the MCG? Turns out the prats got it right. Silly me? Go pies. 

 

Will PM Malcolm bite the dust as liberal leader? Depends on Murdoch's News Corp media...Mark Robinson hacked. Justice?...The fat lady is singing. Or maybe I'm simply not hearing the music? Keep yourselves nice..."Politicians are the same all over.  They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river." [Nikita Khrushchev]...Cheers. Hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

 

 

AWild Grain o Salt. Monday 13th August 2018. 

I like to look at both sides of the proverbial coin, which is why I make a point of reading the Herald-Sun on Mondays (free at my cafe, thankfully). A summary of yet another mighty magpies victory, or the political feel from the relentless readers; the sheep majority. Politics in particular is boring of late. PM Malcolm loses his 38th popularity poll on end and our man Danny (Andrews) a nose ahead on 51-49 much to the disgust of the sheep. Andrew Bolt again telling PM Malco to stand up to (his?) fantasy of climate change and poor darling Rita Panahi still rambling on about African gangs. Ho hum. Moving on... 

 

 

"We need a mature discussion" (on national energy) so says PM Malco. Mature being the key word. His government's treatment of asylum seekers and aborigines makes a mockery of his use of the M word. They (with Josh Frydenberg) have the cheek to accuse Victoria of hanging back on energy policy? Not to mention their deliberate lies on racism using fear as a political tool and the imprisonment for 5 years of innocent refugees on those islands. There  stands a mountain of evidence which blasts out: Don't trust this government. Almost all their policies framed from 'attack' Labor? Here's another of their famous phrases to beware of "I want to make something very clear? We wish. As for the $444 million to protect the reef; a diversion from real policies, as is the national energy commitment, which despite Malcolm sprouting it will save us money is nonsense. We have elections to run, Victoria, NSW and federal. Time after we get results on these elections to consider their diversions. Either way nothing will happen before the federal election. Snakes and bloody ladders, emphasis on the snakes. 

 

 

Class distinction, real or imagined? In my day (1950's) it was indeed real. North and South of the Yarra, a different era. When I was around 20 (1956) I got the idea it was time for a change. Ever since, this same idea pops up once a year. Prior to I simply didn't think. When you came from an era of doing what you were told without question, no television, computers, no car, it was a clear path, particularly north of the Yarra. Twice I was rejected by South Caulfield parents of a potential girlfriend? [To be fair I incurred the wrath of the Collingwood head trainer (father) of a girlfriend when I arrived at her birthday party, north of the Yarra, without wearing a tie?] School, a job, get married, kids. My mother was law. Labor was law. Collingwood was law. When dad came home after 4 years away we had 2 rulers, again assumed never questioned. After the initial first 20 years the idea of change was so stark I was ill equipped to act on it. It took another decade before I came up with an answer. The idea originated from a question I asked myself "What am I doing sitting here day after day in an office, like others, looking forward to turning 65 and superannuation?" Leave the public service? Why not? I'd had a few promotions, now advanced to the 12 times tables, but still nothing much to disturb what was apparently my brain, more specifically a point to it all? Stupid economically, but it heightened this idea of change, never to leave me. Now at 82 I'm into yet another blockage; change to what? I considered stopping smoking (too late) re-writing the half dozen of my failed attempts at playwriting (too hard) stopping this blog (no good reason), even a female, definitely not. Technology is fast leaving me behind. I'm stuck again, back in the 1950's, back to "I'll think about it" otherwise known as doing nothing.  Hugh Mackay says stress and depression is reaching the epidemic stage. I've always liked Hugh's social research stuff (analysis) so when he comments I listen. Particularly as it may affect my personal status. Hugh tells "stress and depression is reaching the epidemic stage." Elsewhere I note men over 80 (moi) is right up near the top for suicide rates, no doubt linked to unemployment (who would employ me?) and the obvious one of social isolation. How to cope? I'm not into drugs, other than half a serepax to sleep and the odd 2ml valium if I need to travel further than Dromana. I do not regard smoking, the odd pot of beer, the odd wager - as drugs. As for going to a psychiatrist or worse (shudder) a psychologist, I put those options in the 'nonsense' category, most of their cures far from tested, prescribing more drugs as a cure? Well, not so much a cure, a stalling effect at best, barring the obvious ultra serious cases. The simplicity of the majority answer as I opine is with communication. Getting off your backside, showing (and receiving) a form of empathy, particularly listening. Ever in search for the magic of serenity?

 

 

Justifying your actions? If you know it's a wrong action it's a fair bet  it will be justified in a day or two, or at the least in the passing of time. That's what life's about. At best a series of events, all fully justified...eventually. I watched the two-up game last Anzac Day in the carpark. Intermittent inside visits for a beer. Some smoking. A sea of happiness. Big money, big cheers, every throw. The only thing missing was the sausage sizzle. The serenity duly noticed.

 

 

Brisbane Writers’ Festival, an institution which engaged the authors Germaine Greer and Bob Carr before publicly “disinviting” them. What are these festivals their for? Publishers, publicity, boring speeches from the writers; approved writers? Pseudo intellectual claptrap to serve up to (mainly) an audience of self centred goodies. A PC bandwagon, sometimes known as a wank-fest. If “inclusion” and a happy-clappy embrace by the purportedly intellectual community of arts administrators did not serve as a way to control populations, then Peter Dutton’s department of Home Affairs would not commission its use. [Helen Razer]. If I banned anyone Warren Mundine would be the first one considered. The Byron Bay writers’ festival featured Matt Haig’s sessions on anxiety; heavily attended. Why not a festival in Rosebud; I'd travel that far, if only to hear Matt Haig. Reasons to Stay Alive, was a number one Sunday Times bestseller and was in the UK top 10 for 46 weeks. 

 

 

"At the heart of the Uluru statement is a single terrible, haunting sentence, which reads, “This is the torment of our powerlessness.” To end that terrible torment there is finally only one remedy: it is to accord Indigenous Australia a measure of power through constitutional recognition of its sovereignty. The bonfire of our vanities is fully loaded with the fuel of growing inequality, fear and division" [Richard Flanagan]. In this day and age it's a pleasure to see such fine words amidst the chaos of our nightly television news services.

 

 

Tom Lynch gave those precious 7 years of his football life as a star for the Gold Coast Suns. He decided to go elsewhere and his club and teammates turned on him? One very low blow...I often wonder when radio callers state "this has not been my area of expertise" why they don't tell us what this expertise area is?...$444 million to administer funding to the Great Barrier Reef, and the GBR Foundation didn't ask for it. Work that one out?....At last, Collingwood will play at least one finals match. I don't mind who wins the grand final, as long as it's not Melbourne, or Hawthorn, or Essendon...“One must not hold one’s self so divine as to be unwilling, occasionally, to make improvements in one’s creations”[Ludwig Van B]...hooroo..www.ello8.com

 

 

 

 

LoveA Grain of Salt. Wednesday 8th August 2018. 

Prime Minister Malcolm (Malco) on the by-election results: "We look very thoughtfully and seriously and humbly at the way in which the voters have responded". At the same time not so humble Treasurer Scotty Morrison said the corporate tax policy would remain? Cunning buggers; don't want to lose face. No chance of success so when rejected leave aside until after the election; another reason to be shown the rear door? Probably go half way, cut business taxes up to a certain turnover leaving out the big banks, then claim a victory? It brings to mind a message (their message) to we voters, the non Liberal voters, the gift of a certain type of Irish sandwich, where they pat you on the head while whacking you on your backside? A shite sandwich? We should be thankful for this consistent hypocrisy, in recent times rising to great heights, and yet, without it how can we decide on the incorruptible? Power (Home Affairs, Peter Dutton) may well corrupt, but there's an added clause somewhere telling us the loss of power corrupts even more? [Phew. Peter Dutton was in Lombok during the earthquake. He survived. Malco likely had a minor stroke.] Our Prime Minister chooses to retain his power (as he sees it) but in fact survives by impotence. On the other hand freedom, as we perceive it, doesn't exist anymore, including freedom of speech. Racism abounds, a political tool accompanied (motivated?) by Dutton's dream of authoritarianism (dictatorship?) as his personal form of democracy, supported by PM Malco, whose love of Peter is exceeded only by his love of President Trump. Add in the cost of housing, power bills, lack of wages growth, long term job (in)security, not forgetting the dumbing down of Fairfax (PM: “To be frank, I welcome the announcement,”?) and the obvious attempt of the same medicine (Mitch Fairfield) for our ABC, and ignoring the reality of climate change. [Agriculture Minister (Q&A) "Linking the drought affecting much of Australia to man-made climate change is a “big call” and he does not “give a rats if it’s man-made or not”.] To quote Gough Whitlam "It's time". Expect monies to flow; the drought and any other disaster likely to put the government in a good light. Way down here on our Mornington Peninsula Health Minister Greg Hunt is supplying letter box brochures, pretty pictures, grants. If you have any half arsed performing arts idea this is the time to apply for funding. [Tim Soutphommasane warns that “race politics is back” and criticise Turnbull government ministers for their rhetoric on African gangs and ethnic separatism in a fiery final speech as race discrimination commissioner.] Well done Timmy. The bleeding obvious, but the courage to put it out there. Bloody politics. Soldiering on...just.

 

  

One wonders if Bill Shorten will wear a wide brimmed felt country hat when inspecting the drought areas? Or is he too busy? No offence intended to our farm community but surely we should consider the previous ‘age of entitlement’ announcement [from former treasurer Joe Hockey now languishing in America comforted by caviar and an ever increasing bank balance] is in fact, over, but only for some? Yet again millions in aid to farmers as drought relief from a government who (so far) has renounced climate change, surely a factor? Why are these businesses given such special assistance when many other businesses (as a result of Woolies, Coles, Aldi) are left out to dry, no pun intended? 

 

 

Andrew Gaff (West Coast) 'intended' it to be a jumper punch. In the process the opponent’s height decreased and it became dramatic, but not intentional in the sense of the damage done. The Greening incident (Collingwood, years ago, Jim O'dea 10 weeks) was intentional; clear cut deliberate, as was Leigh Matthews (4 weeks) against Neville Bruns and St Kilda tagger Steven Baker's seven-match suspension for engaging in rough play. Gaff's worthy of suspension, yes, had it hit the intended mark, likely 2 weeks. Gaff eight, so regardless of the intention he was lucky, albeit the dreadful aftermath of missing the finals, not to mention the guilt factor. The two Collingwood boys got 2 years for stupidly taking a drug, harmless alongside thousands of similar kids their age doing 'something stupid'. Comparing apples to oranges maybe, but (to use a famous phrase) 'the bottom line' is punishment, the key for those caught straying from our sense of self righteousness. Lined up against Jim O'dea Gaff was unlucky, but so is Andrew Brayshaw. It could have been worse. Had he been a magpie he would have got 2 years, and after serving his time Buckley would have added another two. Different times, different approaches. He misjudged; pay the penalty. [While on AFL football it was a joy to see the satisfaction on the faces of Paul Roos and Mark Robinson when reviewing the Sydney-Collingwood result].

 

 

JETSKIS: Ports Minister Luke Donnelley "While most jets riders do the right thing, there remains a small, reckless group who ignore the law. We'll find you, we'll fine you and if necessary we'll take you off the water". Yeah? And I'm a monkey's uncle. Cr Antonella Celi feared targeting the Rye hoons would only move the problem elsewhere? Who can blame her? Who cares about Rye, who cares about the majority of Rye residents against the jets mobsters? A problem exacerbated by Rye's council representatives, Mayor Bryan Payne and Hugh Fraser, both rarely (if ever) sighted and reputed to live elsewhere, allowing more of these mafia mobsters to haunt and disturb our daylight hours serenity during January and February. Positives? February at least allows for serenity after dark; not so January with the fun loving carnival. 

 

 

COMEDY: Twenty ASIC officers to check on the big banks from the top down. [Kelly O'Dwyer: "We will make no apologies for protecting the interests of every hardworking Australian"] What! If you have half a brain you will not believe a word of it. Public servants; no such animal? Half of them have been sacked, the remainder the choice; toe  the line or depart? [Let’s not forget it was our PM who repeatedly said a royal commission into the banks was unnecessary]...The mystery of Craig Hutchson as frontman (why?) on Channel 9's Footy Classified?...Who is Buzzfeed?....ABC's Four Corners: Facebook, nipples a no no. No bother. Thankfully, thighs are allowed... After a long July of those biting winds the sweet plumpish lady on Channel 7's news tells us August and September are the worst months for the gale force winds?"..."All creativity is driven by boredom" [John Clarke]...hooroo...[www.ello8.com] 

 

 

SickA Grain of Salt. Thursday 2nd August 2018. 

I was an avid poker player for some 50 years, the first 10 a constant loser. The old saying "whinge and you win" eventually seeped its way through to my fractured psyche and voilà, the tables turned, adopting it, some say (wrongly) as a rule of life. Always nice to see July slip by, where the winds are getting stronger every year here on the Mornington Peninsula; climate change? If I wasn't so old I'd seriously consider moving further north, to Seymour or thereabouts. Temporarily another lull politically where we wait for any government changes as a result of super Saturday. Likely another 10 (long) months before we get the vital opportunity to vote out this government. The 200 kilometre mountain in the Tour de France? Does this guarantee a better government under Labor, no, but from what we are seeing it surely cannot be worse. The state election (Andrews, November) should clear the air as to the dirty tricks they have up their oxford sleeves; a full on attack via News Limited and company. Andrews must be a cleanskin or they would have found dirt by now. A strange breed of Herald-Sun readers gasping for a Matthew Guy victory and the 'red shirts' nonsense. $400,000? Chicken feed. They must have short term memories, or brainwashed. [Mind you I'm still waiting for the disappearance of the Carrum level crossing, not to mention a train line to Mornington.] The so called super Saturday by-elections indicated (hopefully) the importance of saving the ABC; stopping Peter Dutton’s fear campaign (aided and abetted by PM Malcolm, Eric Abetz and the right-wing, corporate funded think tank Institute of Public Affairs), and the love-in by the Libs with One Nation. Add in Mal’s corporate tax cuts (surely for the scrap heap, albeit once more to the Senate) and Alexander ('family of nation builders') Downer. So much for the citizenship nonsense. The KillBill attack may soften but unlikely. Without policies they must destroy Billy? ‘A test for Bill Shorten’ said Malcolm. In what context? Maybe the next election will be fought on policies; negative gearing, penalty rates, hospitals, schools, pensions? The concerns re power prices; gas and electricity, energy supplement. A 4% increase in personal bankruptcies evidence of increasing hardship. We look to the policies that will bring most benefit to the lives of we everyday Aussies? That, and the necessity to ensure Peter Dutton is shown the back door and the necessity for an independent ABC. Am I repeating myself? Indubitably, by necessity. We await the Liberal Party policies, re-think a necessity? The fascination of what's next? The big question: Do they know their arses from their elbows? 

 

 

Collingwood: The pain of it. Bad enough losing Treloar and Dunn but adding Jordan de Goey made it a bridge too far. Add in the injuries on the day against the Richmond brutes, (no offence; Scharenberg, Howe, Mihocek) and it's goodnight ladies. I taped it, figuring more chance of winning powerball on the basis 'you've got to be in it to win it', one of life's stupidest rules, but handy as a justification plus for sad gamblers. Match started at 1.45pm. Set the alarm for 4.15pm. Into the cot, the 5c iPhone alongside (on sleep). Awoke, realised, (as I do after most afternoon naps) it wasn't morning yet? Light bulb! Remembered the football, clicked on AFL. Bugger! Checked the goals per quarter in search of positives; 9 magpie goals to 6 tigers, 2nd and 3rd quarters. Prepared the setting; Carlton draught stubby, crackers, obelia hommus - settled in. Watched, enjoyed (little fish are sweet), deleted. Dinner. Watched Poldark; thankfully (a series of one-liners, long pauses in between, and positively nothing said anyway?) it finishes next week. As stated previously, no chance of a top 4 finish for my boys, top 8 a maybe, at best. On the shaky assumption I'm still here come 2019 (50/50?) - a premiership, Billy Shorten, a third prize in powerball? Are fantasies a refuge from a real life? That is the question! [I was going to add in females, but no point stretching credibility.] What can you do? You follow a football team for that pain and pleasure, a way of (my) life, knowing full well it's all about money, power and ruthlessness. Nathan Buckley has NINE coaches? Likely the same at most other  clubs, add in admin staff at likely a minimum 20? Then there's the AFL, they don't tell us but again (likely) some 30 or more on over $200,000 a year and again admin staff of 30, 40? And amidst all this money it gets bigger and bigger, and I haven't even mentioned Fox Footy, SEN and the Herald-Sun. A tsunami of money and kick backs. Like politicians, lots of brown paper bags. A 'need to know' as part of the scenery. They purport to tell us everything but they lie. [Excuse my depression, reminded of Andrew Ettingshausen (ET as they called him), a former rugby league star, apparently on with his former teammate and friend’s wife for 12 months, featured in the Womens Weekly at the time. Also a piece in A Current Affair and a page spread in the Herald-Sun. Stated Andrew was suffering from a form of depression called disassociation? Good enough for Andrew good enough for Cliffie?]

 

 

Addictions: I've  always thought I was free of any harmful addictions; heroin and the like. Half a serepax nightly, cigarettes, though easily controlled for an hour at a cafe or after 7pm nightly; beer one pot a day; sex long forgotten. I was wrong. I pressed the wrong buttons on my email, forgot the pin number and somehow lost everything for the afternoon. No problem. Who worries about emails, most of them nonsense? But no? It played on my mind. It sat there refusing to go away. Bloody technology! As soon as I woke up the next morning (thanks serepax) there it was, emails, how to solve, even though I knew it would fix itself when my son or grandson visited in a day or so? It festers. Why? I went to Telstra at Rosebud Plaza; no go, come back Friday after booking a technician @ $30? Crooks. It's working now, never mind how. Happiness has come home, hopefully to roost, again, for no good reason. I had a haircut to celebrate. 

 

 

"At the end of the day" What does that mean?...Enjoyed Heather Ewart's 'Backroads' on our ABC; her visit to Nyngan, NSW, on the Bogan river. Maybe better than Seymour, the bogan influence close to home at Rosebud Plaza, heartwarming?...Jack Irish, ABC. Marta Dusseldorf, Roy Billings. It's Fitzroy and Ballarat, not Fitzroy and Ballarat. If you're a Sydney actor in a Melbourne show have some respect for local pronunciations...'The Real Full Monty' on 7; yet another Shane Jacobson self promotion suck-in. Apparently it rated 'through the roof' - obviously watched by Herald Sun readers?..As in politics as it stands now, the AFL (rule changer's?) also suffer from the infection of arses and elbows..."You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy" [Eric Hoffer]...hooroo...[www.ello8.com]

 

 

 

WildA Grain of Salt. Friday 27th July 2018. 

Our Prime Minister smiling in his sugarless corn flakes? The Age (Fairfax) in partnership with Channel 9, Peter Costello's mob, with 9 the major shareholder, $4 billion @ 51.1%. True, The Age has been ever so subtle in their opinions of late, moving to the right, spelling (the possibility) of the death knell for honest reporting. The defence of independence by Fairfax newspapers has been laid to rest. Democratic socialism burning? Paul Keating (The Guardian) "If in the announced arrangement, Channel Nine has a majority of the stock, Channel Nine will run the editorial policy. The problem with this is that in terms of news management, Channel Nine, for over half a century, has never, other than displayed the opportunism and ethics of an alley cat. There has been no commanding ethical or moral basis for the conduct of its news and information policy. Through various changes of ownership, no one has lanced the carbuncle at the centre of Nine’s approach to news management. And, as sure as night follows day, that pus will inevitably leak into Fairfax. For the country, this is a great pity." I'm with Paul. Nine has always been right wing and unlikely to change. Their nightly news consistently had Peter Costello and clan written all over it. Regardless of tomorrow's by-election results it makes Labor's general election victory next  year or whenever (?) so much the harder.

 

 

Kerry O’Brien: "The government mistakes good journalism for leftwing bias. The pressure on the government to have a royal commission into the banking sector came primarily from a series of programs on Four Corners. Why is that leftwing? Why isn’t it just good journalism? I tried to explain this to John Howard once. It’s probably the biggest fallacy in the whole debate about the ABC – that just because a journalist or a news organisation does that type of story does not make them a subversive socialist.” The infiltration of the IPA’s views (Read: Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield,) about the ABC becoming mainstream have come courtesy of News Corp and its constant stream of anti-ABC commentary, led by the national broadsheet, the Australian, and Channel 9. With the Fairfax/Nine development the necessity to save the ABC, our ABC, as a last bastion of independence, becomes a vital necessity. We are to the point of fighting back before the horse has bolted? Either we stand up, or look forward to endless repeats of Midsomer Murders and Sky News. 

 

 

To make order out of chaos? Guy Rundle: "This simple enthusiasm for socialism – by which people mean a mixed economy with rational feedback loops, in place of the liquid nitrogen-filled Mack truck careening towards the freeway fire that is capitalism – has panicked the right into a spiral towards authoritarianism. That’s why the movement that purports to stand for free minds and free markets fantasises about compulsory purchases of coal-fired power stations too valueless to sell, charges whistleblowers for espionage without a peep, and wants to use the state to crack down on universities offering the “wrong” lessons." More and more the picture in emerging". Authoritarianism verses social democracy, highlighted by vacuous social exchanges via Peter Dutton, Malcolm ("zero tolerance for racism") Turnbull; partisan, polarised, and un-co-ordinated recollections, albeit gleefully published as positives.

 

 

A week of brainwashing via the Herald-Sun prior to tomorrow's 5 by-elections, Rita Panahi and Susie O'brien front and centre. If this wasn't enough we had the usual gentle, reasonable fair minded diatribe from Warren Mundine? Always nice to see where they are coming from, rarely a surprise. Opt in of the health thingo? Bugger off. The confusion with the Centrelink/mygov site enough to stay clear of our government’s simplistic reasoning. [I quite enjoyed my three visits to Rosebud hospital chatting over my medical history with the female nurses, sometimes (if lucky) with a female doctor]. Wednesday a picture of West Australian actor (?) Hugh Jackman braving the surf at Bondi beach? 22 degrees, water temperature 18. He would be brave at Rye, 11 degrees, effective 3 degrees, water 11 degrees. I was to post this piece Sunday, but what with the importance of the Collingwood Richmond clash better to hold off, hopefully basking in the summations, the pleasure received from my magnificent magpies? Oops, Jordan De Goey injured; dark clouds gathering for my boys. A triptych: The loss of The Age, Richmond's victory and Labor's 2 by-election losses? A nervous tomorrow awaits. OMG? 

 

 

It's all about worrying for the kiddies? The evils we can hide the darlings from? I'm not a gambler the past 30 years, after spending years in my youth happily losing everything except my underwear, the long long wait till paydays, every second Thursday, followed by 5 hours of poker; lost there too. The joyous hours (5-10pm) Friday evenings at the Mitre Tavern discussing the certainties at tomorrow's races, and a dozen glasses of beer, or more if we decided to 'kick on'. Smoking was allowed. Fish and chips or a hamburger with the lot, assuming we had time to eat. Unlike the AFL, classless and inclusive? [Our 'great' game is apparently not quite as great now, according to the experts. It's become the AFL (and a selected few's) game?]. We presently have the 'ban the pokies' mob on account of damaging the minds of these kidlets? They will not stop there. Like smoking 'the more they get the more they want'. The money involved no doubt (like alcohol) something of a blocker, albeit temporarily? Gamble responsibly remains the funniest of one liners. Pizzas, hamburgers, cokes, sugar, porn. Those poor little treasures. The question is - How did I survive those evils, or did I? Add in the latest on football violence (spectators) which has been with us forever; 50 years attending football matches included the necessity to 'button my lips' while watching matches at Kardinia Park, easily the most dangerous of venues. 

 

 

The biggest danger to the 99% peaceful loving South-Sudanese is from Australian ratbags...I quite like the idea of an apple store at fed square...Richmond fans (like Essendon Anzac Day) have to pay a premium; never happened in magpieland...“In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue, but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing” [Mark Twain]...hooroo...[www.ello8.com]

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

My pen is at the bottom of a page,

Which being finished, here the story ends;

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

But stories somehow lengthen when begun [Byron]

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

CoolA Grain of Salt. Monday 9th July 2018. 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

SickGrain of Salt. Tuesday 3rd July 2018. 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

A friendly reminder? How to close down a democracy (Naomi Wolf-The Guardian)..”invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy, create a gulag, employ security contractors, set up a surveillance system, harass citizen groups, introduce arbitrary detention, control the media and believe that dissent equals treason”. 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

A 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 Flinders) 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 I.

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

=============

A 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

=========

A 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

==================

A 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

A 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 in, 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 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

 

===================

A 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 to 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 the 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 the with (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

 

====================

A 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 their 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

 

=================

 

A 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. 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

 

=========

A Grain of Salt. 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

 

============

A 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

 

=============

 

A 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.

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

 

================

A 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 hat in the deep south, and ever thus allover.

 

Barnababy 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 Major? 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

 

============

 

A 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 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

 

==============

 

A 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 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

=============

A 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

=======================

 

A 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

 

=====================

 

A 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]...Slowing down as 82 looms. Reverting to weekly, Fridays. Back March 16....hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

===============

 

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

Inconsequential: Your choice/politics/Liberalor 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, total 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

 

=================

 

A Grain of Salt. Sunday 18th March, 2018. 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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? 

 

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?

 

 

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

 

==========

 

A 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

 

==================

 

A 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

 

===================

 

A 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

 

===============

 

A 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

 

===================

A 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

 

==============

 

A 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

 

===============

 

A Grain of Salt. Tuesday 17th April, 2018. 

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 has 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....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...hooroo...Cliff Ellen...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.]

 

===================

A 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].

 

 

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. 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 weather 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 our 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 (mad Essendon supporter, fine actor) listening to his transistor, earphones. Asked me 3 or 4 homes 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

 

=============

 

A 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. 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

 

===============

 

 

A 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

 

================

 

A 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? 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

 

================

A 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

 

==============

 

A 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

 

==============

 

A Grain of Salt. Sunday 27th May, 2018. 

Fortunately I've given myself a well earned break over this coming Winter, thus escaping the bullshit facing us from all angles political, asylum seekers policies and tax cuts in particular, dirty tricks a specialty. I dream, fantasise, sitting in the coliseum watching the lions fight it out with the tigers, sipping piña coladas with double salt and vinegar potato chips, but settle for the hermit's life, (compliments of my old age pension, now a whopping $900+ a fortnight) and hoping (a forlorn hope) for a change of fortune (so far so good?) for my Collingwood boys. Nathan Buckley has grown whiskers. Perhaps therein lies the difference? Friday morning at 1.5 degrees? Hell hath no fury like an 82 year old grumpy-bum. A victory later that night over Footscray, and the sun returned, temporarily. Wayne Carey posed the question, the best magpie ever, Buckley or Pendlebury? Neither: Dane Swan. Watched the match, twice. And Sidebottom. 

 

“The federal government’s decision to strip income support and housing from asylum seekers transferred to Australia for medical treatment “beggars belief as an unprincipled act of cruelty”, the chief executive of the St Vincent de Paul Society, Dr John Falzon said, in response to the Department of Home Affairs targeting a cohort of up to 100 people, transferring them to six-month bridging visas, which come with work rights, and withdrawing housing assistance and income support of about $200 a fortnight.” Further evidence of these trickle little changes our humanitarian government sneaks in on those poor souls; in our name? [Behrouz Boochani, detained for five years on Manus Island despite committing no crime. "As a result of the refugees’ struggle, there has been success in documenting what is happening and in writing history using their voices. But no matter how much emphasis I place on these achievements, ultimately, they mean nothing until the refugees are free.”].

 

If only? [The German minister for culture Monika Grütters announced a significant boost for annual national arts funding of USD$356 million, which if passed by parliament, amounts to a 23% increase. Grütters said that it was meant to emphasize how ‘culture is the foundation for our open and democratic society’]. "The Culture of our country is central to its heart and health. We risk a race of philistines, crude and aimless pleasure-seekers". Under a two page "Arts and culture" spread not long ago they reviewed some four shows? "800 words", a New Zealand Aussie co-production, "The Block", "Australian Survivor" and Foxtel's "Gobblebox"? Sad stuff. Pauline Hanson: "If people don't accept our culture, our way of life, don't let them in.". [Pauline Hanson on Penny Wong: "She's playing the Asian card, she's playing the female card, and I'm sick and tired of it." Pauline: "A Senator for the people of Australia"]. Dear Pauline, no way, nor half as much, as we're sick and tired of you dear person.] Paul Keating "The myth of monoculture, the lie that we can retreat to it". Why does a certain book, a play, a musical, a film, the Autumn leaves, a painting, stay with you forever. That's culture. Our present government, indeed every government since Paul Keating look on culture as secrecy. Do we go without? Not necessarily in the hands of the individual, but a huge bonus to we Australians if our government came to our aid by recognising the advantages to all of us. We give thanks to our actors, writers, painters, artists generally, some 95% of whom work for dreadful wages (or nothing) for the love of their culture. A national disgrace.

 

What is a flat tax? Financially a flat tax is all about disposable income. Some people are sucked into it on the basis of fairness; a 'mirage' for mine. It is in fact a massive GST, as in fair on the face of it but hiding the overall effect of the rich getting richer (as they may well deserve) but not on the back of increasing the difference between them and us. Under a flat tax the more you earn the more at your convenience, (disposable income) over and above the cost of everyday living. True, you pay more tax but you're disposable income rises, assuming both have the same basic costs of living. An example I read of in The Age newspaper, assuming both cases require $40,000 a year for daily living: Earning $87,000 with tax at $20,000 [costs $40,000] = $27,000 disposable. Earning $174,000 with tax at $52,000 [same $40,000 costs] = $82,000 disposable. Clear enough? Inequality increases, forever. I'm not suggesting the one on $174,000 shouldn't enjoy his higher salary, but I am suggesting he/she should pay a higher rate of tax (and he/she on $87,000 a lower rate) as a safeguard for the greater good. I suppose it's where you're coming from, but I'm for giving those on the lower incomes half a chance, at the same time rewarding the higher income lot, but to a lesser fairer extent. 

 

Loving the limelight, and the moola; Barnaby Joyce's TV deal for comments @ $150,000. Dominic West as Richard Burton, ABC 25/5 "Burton and Elizabeth"; painful...SEN wireless interview of Jeff Kennett; almost as painful, self love on display...Airbags. When I first bought the car 8 years ago they tried too sell me the full package. I refused; 1 only for me; why put your passenger at risk? Recalled for adjustment twice. Useless things...Abortion is not my scene but I respect their right; the Irish abortion issue, a little ray of sunshine...A ten year budget. Who are they trying to kid, to con? When was the last time we got a 3 year budget right? Surely no-one believes this 10 year nonsense, either party?...Super Saturday, July 28. Five by-elections. Spot bang in the middle of the Labor conference. What’s wrong with during the school holidays; vote postal if away? Dirty tricks, a devious bunch. One would need to be blind Freddy to remain a rusted on coalition voter; no offence to Freddy. "Deliberately designed to disadvantage the Labor Party" said Tanya. So much for the independence of the Australian Electoral Commission....The Andrews government sadly succumbs to social media with this mandatory minimum sentencing. No two situations are identical...La Mama "We shall build again" Fond memories...We're all prisoners you know. So who is the jailer? Time...I did it - a column  without mentioning our Prime Minister and our Minister for Home Affairs...Can anyone beat our man (my man, Health Minister Greg Hunt, Flinders) in a political debate, a wizard with words, an expert in sticking the boots in, ever so nicely? Not so far... hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

===============

 

A Grain of Salt. Saturday 2nd June, 2018. 

Old age: Maybe it's the weather, or my mind? I wake at 6am, check the weather (1 degree) followed by 30 minutes of indecision. Re-heat the water bottle? No; takes too long. The pressure mounts. I decide, springing into action, quickly, the heating first, then obviously the loo, then get dressed. Another day unfolds, getting rattier. Watched a television drama last night "Apple Tree Yard", the psychiatrist was speaking on behalf of the defendant (murder) listing the traits which would indicate if he had an unsound mind. Couldn't help noticing most of those traits (particularly fantasising) applied to me? Anxiety, apathy, discomfort relating to temperature and noise, unmet needs? Pick myself up, start all over again? The thought of being here in case of another Collingwood premiership? The departure of PM Malcolm, Peter Dutton? Ever onwards...

 

 

A Labor government? Cliff's Dreamtime. Looking back/Gough. Amongst other things..."Ended Conscription, withdrew Australian troops from Vietnam, implemented Equal Pay for Women, launched an Inquiry into Education and the Funding of Government and Non-government Schools on a Needs Basis, established a separate ministry responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, withdrew support for apartheid–South Africa, abolished Tertiary Education Fees, increased pensions, established Medibank, extended Maternity Leave and Benefits for Single Mothers, established the Legal Aid Office, the National Film and Television School and the Australian Film Commission, devised the Order of Australia Honors System to replace the British Honors system, instituted Aboriginal Land Rights". Mind you, it took all of 3 years!!!

 

 

Jini Maxwell: "Failures in the arts industry. You know the drill: the arts is an industry built on labours of love. It is underfunded, underpaid and overworked. We are so devoted that we are willing to talk about the love to the exclusion of talking about the labour. The truth is, I can’t afford to work in this industry. I’ve had break-ups and breakdowns caused by my relationship to work. I’ve booked flights to a board meeting on credit while on hold to Centrelink. I can’t afford these expenses, this life, these hours, but who can? We don’t do it for the money. Working in an industry that prides itself on devotion requires a bad memory for the bad things. We focus on the work, and not the expectation of outsized labour that facilitates it, or the voices this labour model necessarily excludes. We do it for love. Underpaid staff spend their limited resources on strategic planning focused on securing capital from funding bodies who are more interested in seeing work programmed and produced than they are in ethical labour practices. Without this funding, there is no work. The arts comes first. There’s no time left in the workers’ days for the organisational structural development that would allow for better work conditions. Where can an arts organisation apply for a salary for its workers?" [We await a Paul Keating lookalike]. 

 

 

The question of a view, ever a fascination. In earlier years we would walk along the Gold Coast beach admiring the wonderful houses and obviously the views. The balconies were rarely inhabited? A friend had a magnificent view of Port Phillip Bay from his on high Rye property but most annoyed with one tree blocking some 10% of his view. I asked how often he sat looking at his 90% view. "That's not the point" he said "It's a feeling, uplifting, energising, cultural even." Culture, or property value? I got a taste of this 'culture' during my many visits to Manly, a unit with a balcony, the Pacific Ocean, and my 2 stubbies every evening around 5pm. Nice, no culture, but good beer. I don't know how, but my friend eventually had that tree removed, and interestingly he sold a year later. Am I a Philistine? [I visit the Rye back beach once or twice a year for a top up of my culture; ditto the Rye pier twice a year]. This preoccupation with a view is overrated, and yes, most of the Rye balconies are also empty. 

 

 

Ged Kearney: “Indefinite detention is an appalling policy and for people to be detained without any hope of ever knowing when they’re going to move in to safety is appalling and it shouldn’t happen. I think we would hope that we could get them off those islands as quickly as possible and settled as quickly as possible. I’m sure that that would be the intention of a Labor government.” Regardless of all the double talk and badmouthing of Billy Boy, this is the bottom line of Labor in respect of the refugee debate. The pragmatists know that a softening of the refugee stance will likely gain some votes, but lose more. It’s more important to get rid of this government for those already in this country. Some may argue Billy will be no better (than the coalition), which is a nonsense. Of course he will be better, but in the unlikely event he's no different we still get to kick out the current crooks. One thing is certain: He (they) cannot be any worse.

 

 

No matter your situation in life spare a thought for older unemployed Australians, particularly those waiting to reach pension age and struggling to get by on the Newstart allowance; nothing in the budget and clearly a need for another $50 a week (Deloitte Access Economics) and indexed to wages. The best form of welfare is a job says Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash but what happens when they can't find these mysterious jobs? Labor has promised a review, surely a given. In the meantime these older unemployed Australians must make do on $40 a day. Disgraceful.

 

 

Welcome to the Hall of Fame Kevin Sheedy. I remember him as a Richmond footballer; in my eyes a thug who spent much of his time trying to take out better players from the opposing sides. Tough, relentless, brutal. I never took to his type, including our own (Collingwood's) Barry Harrison. These olden days footballers, particularly as seen on Fox Sports "Hall of Fame", the bashers, king hitters, seem to wear it as a badge of honour. They announce their misdeeds and everybody laughs? I fail to see how trying to 'take out' a better (cleaner) footballer can be so celebrated. Not all of them obviously, but enough to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Live and let live? Sport? ["I spend a little time every day to play sports". Vladimir Putin].

 

 

Barnbaby Joyce may be a pain in the bum but no-one, absolutely no-one comes close to Peter Dutton. True, Barnaby sells himself, in this case for his partner Vikki, perhaps, but in fact imagine (if you will) how many members of the coalition sell their souls by ignoring the real danger of climate change, not to mention allowing commercial TV networks and Murdoch's newspapers to attack our ABC, cutting funding at the same time as gifting $30 million to Murdoch's Fox Sports? Who is worse? Not forgetting Princess Pauline (Hanson) our number 2 racist, presently scampering after falling on her sword, again. No, I'll leave Barnaby and Vikki to sort themselves out. Love to Sebastian. 

 

Kylie Minogue, on turning 50. "I'm comfortable with who I am" Sweet...Road rage against people travelling in the outside lane? Assuming that person is travelling at the required speed limit, say 100kph, what's the problem?...The faking of breath tests by the police. Ho hum?...Comedy: A review of national intelligence?...The uproar with the Etihad stadium fighting past 2 weeks. Evermore, since 1944, my first match? Ratbags forever...OK, so you're sitting there comfortable in your $1million+ house, the works, owned, and you have work, as does your partner. The good life. So pray tell me dear couple, what prompted you to decide on a half million loan to finance the purchase of two more million dollar properties?...Industry superannuation funds are not only union superannuation funds. Do not be conned. All about political support for the retail funds, mainly the banks...Many letters still on the Red Symons sacking, the 'Y' question? No secret. He eventually got up the wrong peoples noses, including mine; ditto Gary Lyon and Dermott Brereton. Simply prawns (?) including ex-Richmond footballer Jade King?..."He that wants money, means and content, is without three good friends" [Shakespeare]..."Stand by your man (and woman) and in particular, keep yourselves nice" [Me]...hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

==========

 

A Grain of Salt. Thursday 7th June, 2018. 

We live in hope; Herald-Sun editorial Sunday 3/6: "Arts are vital to the fabric of this city. Every bit as important as sport. Significant cog creating thousands of jobs attracting tens of thousands of tourists. A financial boost to contemporary art. A nod to changing taste. A rallying point for a culture that flows from local theatre to the Regent to the ballet to the long thriving television industry." Bit late for a conscience? Danny's $1 billion plan for the new arts precinct? Imagine what could be done as grants for small theatre companies/groups involving hundreds of struggling artists - on one tenth of that billion. Maybe then we can enjoy the fruits of our so called "mixed vibrant" communities? Use the remaining $900 million to impress the H-S philistines? Yes, I'm aware of these $20,000 grants for new ideas, any areas. Vague, and more details on who decides? [Our mate Danny has a holiday house just down the road from me, Blairgowrie. If you're reading this Danny mate give me a call and we could have coffee, Rye RSL, and discuss our bus service, ditto taxis?] 

 

The latest Guardian Essential poll shows the ALP ahead of the Coalition 54% to 46%, so much for the May budget con though likely influenced by the Barnaby factor. Turnbull at 41% approval (rusted on Libs on the 'better than nothing' concept). Shorten down to 27% approval, immaterial in a general election. Better than being behind, but in football thinking it's not even half time yet. One wonders what this government has in mind for the next 6 months, aside from bumfluff issues like Pauline, Barnaby, Fifield's ABC attack and the all hands on deck killBill factor. Surely the taxation policies (both parties) won't change the voting intentions. How about wage rates? Climate change? Prisoners on Nauru? Security, the dangers of China? The plastic bag ban? The Guardian sends me a daily email. Nothing is shouting out at me. Perhaps the other darling, Michaelia Cash and her classic bullying, the AWU attack; read killBill. Nah. We await something, anything, a motivating thrust to clearly identify where our government (stop laughing) and the opposition are heading for this coming vital 3 years. Has Billy Shorten gone walkabout? Meantime I'll be watching murder mysteries, and Collingwood, and by the eau de cologne in case Danny calls.

 

The double tackle by Toby Nankervis and Reece Conca (Richmond) on Essendon's David Zacharias (one arm pinged) was brutal and should be banned from the game. Yes, I hear your calls "A legal tackle". I see it as brutal, yet another form of deliberately taking good players out of the game. First Richmond, followed by copy cats Melbourne. Sadly, Melbourne should defeat Collingwood Queen's birthday after four wonderful weeks of Pies victories. Best I include this now before to comes to pass. What if I'm wrong? Does it matter? 

 

More football: Remember those times when Stephen Quartermain called the AFL matches on television for channel 10? His obvious Hawthorn bias and his questioning of every (rare) Collingwood free kick? We remember. Farewell Stephen. The beauty of karma, football and politics? At Northcote high school I was known as Ben, after the great Ben Chifley. It's the "little fish are sweet" philosophy (from 40 years as a poker player and winning a game with a small pot; money). Extended to football and politics, both requiring years of patience until (if?) the big day arrives. A Paul Keating victory, the 1990 grand final. Elephant's skin a requirement, also an asset over another 40 years as an actor. Few and far between certainly, but highlights, worth the wait, and so on. Keep On Punching (Punch It) - Unofficial Video, or dreamtime? A Collingwood premiership, a Labor victory (and if not Peter Dutton fails to hold his seat), a real bus service to Rye (or a train?) without Myki, banning another Rye boat ramp? Chocolates or boiled lollies? Haha. Likely none. Hope everlasting. I'm due for my 3 yearly colonoscopy July, surely my last. I adore the choice. A strange person enters, mumbles something, scratches my arm and instantly (seemingly) I'm sitting there, dressed, with a cup of coffee and two biscuits, OR, something went wrong and I'm in lah lah land.  The mystery of who dressed me? 

 

Robert Burton, 17th century: "The vanities of the time, to see men so empty of all virtuous actions, to hunt so far after gold, having no end of ambition; to take such infinite pains for a little glory, and to be favoured of men; to make such deep mines into the earth for gold, and many times to find nothing. Do not these behaviours express their intolerable folly? When men live in peace, they covet war, detesting quietness, deposing kings, and advancing others. When they are poor and needy, they seek riches, and when they have them, they do not enjoy them, but hide them under ground, or else wastefully spend them. There is no truth or justice found amongst them, for they daily plead one against another, and all this for riches, whereof after death they cannot be possessors. No man will mock his own folly, but that which he sees in a second, and so they justly mock one another. If men would attempt no more than what they can bear, they should lead contented lives, and learning to know themselves, would limit their ambition". [Nothing changes?] 

 

 

Monica and Billy Clinton. They agreed, no problem...The Liberal Party has again come under fire for the low number of women in its federal parliamentary team. Judging by my favourite duo, Cash and Bishop, who can blame them?...Mostly I let it pass by, albeit jarring, but one lady (ABC's 'The Drum') said that word 36 times. "Actually"....One careless former deputy PM. "When you get four you shut the door." Barnaby, vasectomy? A simple procedure, 20-30 minutes, no referral required, medicare bulk billed?...Apparently it’s OK for Britain and America to bleed us dry (capital investment) but not China?...Life is about change, re-invention and moving forward, according to the H-S TV writer. He got the change bit right...They say  everyone has a price. Reduce the price of cigarettes and they get my vote..."If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these acceptance speeches, there wouldn't be any inducement to go to heaven." [Will Rogers]...hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

=============

 

A Grain of Salt. Tuesday 12th June, 2018. 

Mitch Fifield, Communications Minister, far right wing large L liberal extraordinaire, a firm believer in privatisation and an IPA member. The IPA released a new book last month arguing the government “shouldn’t simply defund the ABC” but give it away “to either the Australian public or a group of people”, read Rupert & Co. Imagine (if you will) the change of name, continuous commercials and pay as you go - Rupert's Australian Broadcasting Corporation? RABC; never again 'ours'? No Barrie Cassidy, no Sarah Ferguson? Frightening. And another thing: The Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill (peoples rights?) security? Covertly posing as a citizen? To shape Australian opinions? Being properly prepared is the job of this government? Fundamentally the corrosion of our democratic system? The more power they take from us the more they will want, and the more they will never return us to our former freedom. Ignore these things at your own peril...eventually? And this fellow purports to represent all Australians?

 

 

“You got us into this mess, you get us out of it.” Martin Flanagan (Richard's bro) on the constant marked differences between Australia and china. As in responding favourably in economic relations/support, but the allegiance to anything USA. A quandary, particularly with China’s South China seas actions in plain sight. One wonders (the attitude on this subject) of our Xavier man (I blame his parents, including that 'sissy' walk?) Billy Shorten, and the ever reliable number 2 Labor 'male', the smiling cuddly koala Anthony Albanese. It's not going to go away and with the coalition heavily into security (CIA style, compliments of  ex Queensland cop Peter Dutton) there remains a vague though certain worry among our so called "ordinary Australians", moi included. Where's Gough when we need him. Or Pauly? Step forward Billy? Yes, we note your promise to return the funding taken from our ABC but expect more, particularly security, and those poor souls treated like criminals on that island. Enough politics?

 

 

Red Stitch Actors Theatre (St Kilda) presently on a grant from Creative Victoria and with a reputation as the ‘innovative’ ones, or maybe ‘dare to be different’ or my preference ‘up themselves’ or the softer 'masters of melodrama' are apparently having problems, inner turmoil, personality clashes. It was ever thus, remembering Anthill, Church, Pram Factory and others in earlier times. The buzz phrase "It is what it is"? Theatre is consistent in that every 5 years or more we are swept aside by a new man or woman with new ideas, believing themselves reincarnations of Elia Kazan, indeed old ideas, refracted so to speak, signifying nothing. La Mama standing strong, a need, clearly a need for Red Stitch also, despite my cynical observations, respectfully respecting the main thrust, as in for the good of the whole as per the objectives. Beloved by Age theatre critic Cameron Woodhead, an appropriate surname at times, and with a long list of enthusiastic theatregoers, we hope they can put personalities aside and stay with us. Having said this I reserve my right to change my mind, particularly if they ever give Shane Jacobson a guernsey. 

 

 

A week is a long time in football? Bob Murphy ex Western Bulldogs champion, currently AFL expert, last week - Top 8: Richmond, Melbourne, Eagles North Melbourne followed by Sydney, Collingwood, GWS and Geelong; no Port Adelaide, no Hawthorn? Three of Bob's top 4 beaten, so much for expertise? Bob lives in Northcote where I grew up, before it became fashionable and overrun with unusual females, so we forgive him. He came in a week too early. Incidentally, one doesn't necessarily have to be an ex footballer to be an expert? Which reminds me: Mum wanted Dad to buy in Northcote. Alas, Dad chose Bonbeach; war service loan? I came home from National Service (defending my country?) and the deed was done, without consultation? And in the move my Marlon Brando leather jacket disappeared. I'm still regretting it. As Marlon said ('On The Waterfront') "I could have been a champion" -  money wise.

 

 

More politics? Scotty Morrison celebrates the tradesman’s ‘ute’. The majority of ute owners on the famous Mornington ‘ute’ peninsula are not tradesman. Some of them are, obviously, easily identifiable by driving like wounded bulls. "We're leading the world" says Scotty on the back of an increase in company profits. Is the trickle down on its way? Scotty's problem is his predictability. A bumble bee buzzing every which way with little if any variation on the buzzing, or bumbling. Maybe the 'ute' idea was some sort of epiphany? We wish him well, and respectfully suggest he would have more success with the proposition of a GST increase. [I don't agree with that either but there's far more chance the voters will come onboard (one of his Utes?) than the trickle down nonsense. 

 

 

History/Runts: Wankers abound at any level in life. I recall my time as president of the Totalisator Employees Association representing the unionised on-course totalisator workers. At that time I was a dividend calculator, casual workforce, no acting work. The union meetings were run with my sense of efficiency, monthly, all over in an hour, then drinkies. We had a secretary, keen young fellow, humble, useless at writing letters, but hey, we needed someone, so if correspondence was required I'd write it for him, later to type and send off as directed. Later still, 5 years later, for reasons unknown he got an office job with the TAB, a 'suit' so to speak, part of his duties being to come on-course (the racetrack) to inspect tote houses (I'd stepped down from dividend calculating in favour of a supervising job - no smoking allowed in the now sophisticated computerised dividend van). He strutted about MY tote house (now a non union man obviously) and eventually had the front to "ACTUALLY" pull me up on some forgotten minor problem? I looked at him, not necessarily nonplussed, more mystified. WTF? People change? Eventually words sprung forth: "Piss off David" He blushed, evacuated. Never came near me again. [We won most of our industrial cases, lost the odd one. Eventually the TEA was amalgamated with the clerks union, Labor's Bill Kelty, a bad idea (I voted against this) resulting in increased fees for our (former) members and virtually loss of representation. The monolithic TAB did the rest.].

 

 

Son Steve and former Age columnist Catherine Deveny, a celebrity nonetheless north of the Yarra river, according to RSL dedicated smoking zone research largely unknown in downtown Rye, have written a book on mental health coming out mid July titled "Mental". [Everything you never knew you needed to know about mental health]. I haven't read it but with some 50% of my blood entwined (according to my late wife?) there's a fair chance of some good stuff there in these troubled times. Recommended, particularly for those on the Mornington Peninsula Council who voted in favour of an additional boat ramp at Rye and jet ski lovers. "Depression is melancholy minus its charms." [Susan Sontag]. Model Jesinta Franklin should buy it. The lady plans to retire at 40, her ultimate goal, to be able to volunteer with causes to places in my heart? Jecinta who? Seriously, well done to both.

 

 

What happened to the sexual misconduct claim against Barnaby? What's happening with our honest Kathy Jackson? Where is our lovely Michaelia Cash?...Gross government debt $500 billion and rising...As a rule of thumb suggest the ANU ignore anything coming from The Ramsay Centre, (our man Johnny Howard and Lord Tony) particularly the controversial western civilisation degree, academic independence?...SAS ‘elite special forces’ allegedly committed war crimes; Kabul. No? The price we pay, or in reality the price they pay?...Backing out, into infinity, Woolworths Rye carpark, a long weekend, full of cowboys, the odd cowgirl mommas, two Toyota Hilux 4 doors plus 'utes' either side, their bottoms halfway into the parking lane. Exterminate?...The 10,000 nudes and Woolworth's refusal? Questioning art? Interesting to know Woolies idea of Art? On the other hand those willing to strip a strange lot, in Winter? Some may conclude they do more damage to Art than Mitch Fifield?...'Entitlement' is the key word. Watch their faces, particularly Greg Hunt and Melbourne supporters...No more holiday hordes till Melbourne Cup Day. And Collingwood beat Melbourne. Jackie Gleason "How sweet it is"...hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

 

 

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

 

A 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 Flinders) 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 I.

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

=============

A 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

=========

A 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

==================

A 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

A 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 in, 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 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

 

===================

A 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 to 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 the 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 the with (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

 

====================

A 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 their 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

 

=================

 

A 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. 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

 

=========

A Grain of Salt. 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

 

============

A 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

 

=============

 

A 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.

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

 

================

A 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 hat in the deep south, and ever thus allover.

 

Barnababy 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 Major? 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

 

============

 

A 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 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

 

==============

 

A 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 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

=============

A 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

=======================

 

A 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

 

=====================

 

A 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]...Slowing down as 82 looms. Reverting to weekly, Fridays. Back March 16....hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

===============

 

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

Inconsequential: Your choice/politics/Liberalor 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, total 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

 

=================

 

A Grain of Salt. Sunday 18th March, 2018. 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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? 

 

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?

 

 

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

 

==========

 

A 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

 

==================

 

A 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

 

===================

 

A 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

 

===============

 

A 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

 

===================

A 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

 

==============

 

A 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

 

===============

 

A Grain of Salt. Tuesday 17th April, 2018. 

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 has 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....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...hooroo...Cliff Ellen...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.]

 

===================

A 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].

 

 

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. 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 weather 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 our 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 (mad Essendon supporter, fine actor) listening to his transistor, earphones. Asked me 3 or 4 homes 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

 

=============

 

A 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. 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

 

===============

 

 

A 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

 

================

 

A 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? 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

 

================

A 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

 

==============

 

A 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

 

==============

 

A Grain of Salt. Sunday 27th May, 2018. 

Fortunately I've given myself a well earned break over this coming Winter, thus escaping the bullshit facing us from all angles political, asylum seekers policies and tax cuts in particular, dirty tricks a specialty. I dream, fantasise, sitting in the coliseum watching the lions fight it out with the tigers, sipping piña coladas with double salt and vinegar potato chips, but settle for the hermit's life, (compliments of my old age pension, now a whopping $900+ a fortnight) and hoping (a forlorn hope) for a change of fortune (so far so good?) for my Collingwood boys. Nathan Buckley has grown whiskers. Perhaps therein lies the difference? Friday morning at 1.5 degrees? Hell hath no fury like an 82 year old grumpy-bum. A victory later that night over Footscray, and the sun returned, temporarily. Wayne Carey posed the question, the best magpie ever, Buckley or Pendlebury? Neither: Dane Swan. Watched the match, twice. And Sidebottom. 

 

“The federal government’s decision to strip income support and housing from asylum seekers transferred to Australia for medical treatment “beggars belief as an unprincipled act of cruelty”, the chief executive of the St Vincent de Paul Society, Dr John Falzon said, in response to the Department of Home Affairs targeting a cohort of up to 100 people, transferring them to six-month bridging visas, which come with work rights, and withdrawing housing assistance and income support of about $200 a fortnight.” Further evidence of these trickle little changes our humanitarian government sneaks in on those poor souls; in our name? [Behrouz Boochani, detained for five years on Manus Island despite committing no crime. "As a result of the refugees’ struggle, there has been success in documenting what is happening and in writing history using their voices. But no matter how much emphasis I place on these achievements, ultimately, they mean nothing until the refugees are free.”].

 

If only? [The German minister for culture Monika Grütters announced a significant boost for annual national arts funding of USD$356 million, which if passed by parliament, amounts to a 23% increase. Grütters said that it was meant to emphasize how ‘culture is the foundation for our open and democratic society’]. "The Culture of our country is central to its heart and health. We risk a race of philistines, crude and aimless pleasure-seekers". Under a two page "Arts and culture" spread not long ago they reviewed some four shows? "800 words", a New Zealand Aussie co-production, "The Block", "Australian Survivor" and Foxtel's "Gobblebox"? Sad stuff. Pauline Hanson: "If people don't accept our culture, our way of life, don't let them in.". [Pauline Hanson on Penny Wong: "She's playing the Asian card, she's playing the female card, and I'm sick and tired of it." Pauline: "A Senator for the people of Australia"]. Dear Pauline, no way, nor half as much, as we're sick and tired of you dear person.] Paul Keating "The myth of monoculture, the lie that we can retreat to it". Why does a certain book, a play, a musical, a film, the Autumn leaves, a painting, stay with you forever. That's culture. Our present government, indeed every government since Paul Keating look on culture as secrecy. Do we go without? Not necessarily in the hands of the individual, but a huge bonus to we Australians if our government came to our aid by recognising the advantages to all of us. We give thanks to our actors, writers, painters, artists generally, some 95% of whom work for dreadful wages (or nothing) for the love of their culture. A national disgrace.

 

What is a flat tax? Financially a flat tax is all about disposable income. Some people are sucked into it on the basis of fairness; a 'mirage' for mine. It is in fact a massive GST, as in fair on the face of it but hiding the overall effect of the rich getting richer (as they may well deserve) but not on the back of increasing the difference between them and us. Under a flat tax the more you earn the more at your convenience, (disposable income) over and above the cost of everyday living. True, you pay more tax but you're disposable income rises, assuming both have the same basic costs of living. An example I read of in The Age newspaper, assuming both cases require $40,000 a year for daily living: Earning $87,000 with tax at $20,000 [costs $40,000] = $27,000 disposable. Earning $174,000 with tax at $52,000 [same $40,000 costs] = $82,000 disposable. Clear enough? Inequality increases, forever. I'm not suggesting the one on $174,000 shouldn't enjoy his higher salary, but I am suggesting he/she should pay a higher rate of tax (and he/she on $87,000 a lower rate) as a safeguard for the greater good. I suppose it's where you're coming from, but I'm for giving those on the lower incomes half a chance, at the same time rewarding the higher income lot, but to a lesser fairer extent. 

 

Loving the limelight, and the moola; Barnaby Joyce's TV deal for comments @ $150,000. Dominic West as Richard Burton, ABC 25/5 "Burton and Elizabeth"; painful...SEN wireless interview of Jeff Kennett; almost as painful, self love on display...Airbags. When I first bought the car 8 years ago they tried too sell me the full package. I refused; 1 only for me; why put your passenger at risk? Recalled for adjustment twice. Useless things...Abortion is not my scene but I respect their right; the Irish abortion issue, a little ray of sunshine...A ten year budget. Who are they trying to kid, to con? When was the last time we got a 3 year budget right? Surely no-one believes this 10 year nonsense, either party?...Super Saturday, July 28. Five by-elections. Spot bang in the middle of the Labor conference. What’s wrong with during the school holidays; vote postal if away? Dirty tricks, a devious bunch. One would need to be blind Freddy to remain a rusted on coalition voter; no offence to Freddy. "Deliberately designed to disadvantage the Labor Party" said Tanya. So much for the independence of the Australian Electoral Commission....The Andrews government sadly succumbs to social media with this mandatory minimum sentencing. No two situations are identical...La Mama "We shall build again" Fond memories...We're all prisoners you know. So who is the jailer? Time...I did it - a column  without mentioning our Prime Minister and our Minister for Home Affairs...Can anyone beat our man (my man, Health Minister Greg Hunt, Flinders) in a political debate, a wizard with words, an expert in sticking the boots in, ever so nicely? Not so far... hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

===============

 

A Grain of Salt. Saturday 2nd June, 2018. 

Old age: Maybe it's the weather, or my mind? I wake at 6am, check the weather (1 degree) followed by 30 minutes of indecision. Re-heat the water bottle? No; takes too long. The pressure mounts. I decide, springing into action, quickly, the heating first, then obviously the loo, then get dressed. Another day unfolds, getting rattier. Watched a television drama last night "Apple Tree Yard", the psychiatrist was speaking on behalf of the defendant (murder) listing the traits which would indicate if he had an unsound mind. Couldn't help noticing most of those traits (particularly fantasising) applied to me? Anxiety, apathy, discomfort relating to temperature and noise, unmet needs? Pick myself up, start all over again? The thought of being here in case of another Collingwood premiership? The departure of PM Malcolm, Peter Dutton? Ever onwards...

 

 

A Labor government? Cliff's Dreamtime. Looking back/Gough. Amongst other things..."Ended Conscription, withdrew Australian troops from Vietnam, implemented Equal Pay for Women, launched an Inquiry into Education and the Funding of Government and Non-government Schools on a Needs Basis, established a separate ministry responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, withdrew support for apartheid–South Africa, abolished Tertiary Education Fees, increased pensions, established Medibank, extended Maternity Leave and Benefits for Single Mothers, established the Legal Aid Office, the National Film and Television School and the Australian Film Commission, devised the Order of Australia Honors System to replace the British Honors system, instituted Aboriginal Land Rights". Mind you, it took all of 3 years!!!

 

 

Jini Maxwell: "Failures in the arts industry. You know the drill: the arts is an industry built on labours of love. It is underfunded, underpaid and overworked. We are so devoted that we are willing to talk about the love to the exclusion of talking about the labour. The truth is, I can’t afford to work in this industry. I’ve had break-ups and breakdowns caused by my relationship to work. I’ve booked flights to a board meeting on credit while on hold to Centrelink. I can’t afford these expenses, this life, these hours, but who can? We don’t do it for the money. Working in an industry that prides itself on devotion requires a bad memory for the bad things. We focus on the work, and not the expectation of outsized labour that facilitates it, or the voices this labour model necessarily excludes. We do it for love. Underpaid staff spend their limited resources on strategic planning focused on securing capital from funding bodies who are more interested in seeing work programmed and produced than they are in ethical labour practices. Without this funding, there is no work. The arts comes first. There’s no time left in the workers’ days for the organisational structural development that would allow for better work conditions. Where can an arts organisation apply for a salary for its workers?" [We await a Paul Keating lookalike]. 

 

 

The question of a view, ever a fascination. In earlier years we would walk along the Gold Coast beach admiring the wonderful houses and obviously the views. The balconies were rarely inhabited? A friend had a magnificent view of Port Phillip Bay from his on high Rye property but most annoyed with one tree blocking some 10% of his view. I asked how often he sat looking at his 90% view. "That's not the point" he said "It's a feeling, uplifting, energising, cultural even." Culture, or property value? I got a taste of this 'culture' during my many visits to Manly, a unit with a balcony, the Pacific Ocean, and my 2 stubbies every evening around 5pm. Nice, no culture, but good beer. I don't know how, but my friend eventually had that tree removed, and interestingly he sold a year later. Am I a Philistine? [I visit the Rye back beach once or twice a year for a top up of my culture; ditto the Rye pier twice a year]. This preoccupation with a view is overrated, and yes, most of the Rye balconies are also empty. 

 

 

Ged Kearney: “Indefinite detention is an appalling policy and for people to be detained without any hope of ever knowing when they’re going to move in to safety is appalling and it shouldn’t happen. I think we would hope that we could get them off those islands as quickly as possible and settled as quickly as possible. I’m sure that that would be the intention of a Labor government.” Regardless of all the double talk and badmouthing of Billy Boy, this is the bottom line of Labor in respect of the refugee debate. The pragmatists know that a softening of the refugee stance will likely gain some votes, but lose more. It’s more important to get rid of this government for those already in this country. Some may argue Billy will be no better (than the coalition), which is a nonsense. Of course he will be better, but in the unlikely event he's no different we still get to kick out the current crooks. One thing is certain: He (they) cannot be any worse.

 

 

No matter your situation in life spare a thought for older unemployed Australians, particularly those waiting to reach pension age and struggling to get by on the Newstart allowance; nothing in the budget and clearly a need for another $50 a week (Deloitte Access Economics) and indexed to wages. The best form of welfare is a job says Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash but what happens when they can't find these mysterious jobs? Labor has promised a review, surely a given. In the meantime these older unemployed Australians must make do on $40 a day. Disgraceful.

 

 

Welcome to the Hall of Fame Kevin Sheedy. I remember him as a Richmond footballer; in my eyes a thug who spent much of his time trying to take out better players from the opposing sides. Tough, relentless, brutal. I never took to his type, including our own (Collingwood's) Barry Harrison. These olden days footballers, particularly as seen on Fox Sports "Hall of Fame", the bashers, king hitters, seem to wear it as a badge of honour. They announce their misdeeds and everybody laughs? I fail to see how trying to 'take out' a better (cleaner) footballer can be so celebrated. Not all of them obviously, but enough to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Live and let live? Sport? ["I spend a little time every day to play sports". Vladimir Putin].

 

 

Barnbaby Joyce may be a pain in the bum but no-one, absolutely no-one comes close to Peter Dutton. True, Barnaby sells himself, in this case for his partner Vikki, perhaps, but in fact imagine (if you will) how many members of the coalition sell their souls by ignoring the real danger of climate change, not to mention allowing commercial TV networks and Murdoch's newspapers to attack our ABC, cutting funding at the same time as gifting $30 million to Murdoch's Fox Sports? Who is worse? Not forgetting Princess Pauline (Hanson) our number 2 racist, presently scampering after falling on her sword, again. No, I'll leave Barnaby and Vikki to sort themselves out. Love to Sebastian. 

 

Kylie Minogue, on turning 50. "I'm comfortable with who I am" Sweet...Road rage against people travelling in the outside lane? Assuming that person is travelling at the required speed limit, say 100kph, what's the problem?...The faking of breath tests by the police. Ho hum?...Comedy: A review of national intelligence?...The uproar with the Etihad stadium fighting past 2 weeks. Evermore, since 1944, my first match? Ratbags forever...OK, so you're sitting there comfortable in your $1million+ house, the works, owned, and you have work, as does your partner. The good life. So pray tell me dear couple, what prompted you to decide on a half million loan to finance the purchase of two more million dollar properties?...Industry superannuation funds are not only union superannuation funds. Do not be conned. All about political support for the retail funds, mainly the banks...Many letters still on the Red Symons sacking, the 'Y' question? No secret. He eventually got up the wrong peoples noses, including mine; ditto Gary Lyon and Dermott Brereton. Simply prawns (?) including ex-Richmond footballer Jade King?..."He that wants money, means and content, is without three good friends" [Shakespeare]..."Stand by your man (and woman) and in particular, keep yourselves nice" [Me]...hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

==========

 

A Grain of Salt. Thursday 7th June, 2018. 

We live in hope; Herald-Sun editorial Sunday 3/6: "Arts are vital to the fabric of this city. Every bit as important as sport. Significant cog creating thousands of jobs attracting tens of thousands of tourists. A financial boost to contemporary art. A nod to changing taste. A rallying point for a culture that flows from local theatre to the Regent to the ballet to the long thriving television industry." Bit late for a conscience? Danny's $1 billion plan for the new arts precinct? Imagine what could be done as grants for small theatre companies/groups involving hundreds of struggling artists - on one tenth of that billion. Maybe then we can enjoy the fruits of our so called "mixed vibrant" communities? Use the remaining $900 million to impress the H-S philistines? Yes, I'm aware of these $20,000 grants for new ideas, any areas. Vague, and more details on who decides? [Our mate Danny has a holiday house just down the road from me, Blairgowrie. If you're reading this Danny mate give me a call and we could have coffee, Rye RSL, and discuss our bus service, ditto taxis?] 

 

The latest Guardian Essential poll shows the ALP ahead of the Coalition 54% to 46%, so much for the May budget con though likely influenced by the Barnaby factor. Turnbull at 41% approval (rusted on Libs on the 'better than nothing' concept). Shorten down to 27% approval, immaterial in a general election. Better than being behind, but in football thinking it's not even half time yet. One wonders what this government has in mind for the next 6 months, aside from bumfluff issues like Pauline, Barnaby, Fifield's ABC attack and the all hands on deck killBill factor. Surely the taxation policies (both parties) won't change the voting intentions. How about wage rates? Climate change? Prisoners on Nauru? Security, the dangers of China? The plastic bag ban? The Guardian sends me a daily email. Nothing is shouting out at me. Perhaps the other darling, Michaelia Cash and her classic bullying, the AWU attack; read killBill. Nah. We await something, anything, a motivating thrust to clearly identify where our government (stop laughing) and the opposition are heading for this coming vital 3 years. Has Billy Shorten gone walkabout? Meantime I'll be watching murder mysteries, and Collingwood, and by the eau de cologne in case Danny calls.

 

The double tackle by Toby Nankervis and Reece Conca (Richmond) on Essendon's David Zacharias (one arm pinged) was brutal and should be banned from the game. Yes, I hear your calls "A legal tackle". I see it as brutal, yet another form of deliberately taking good players out of the game. First Richmond, followed by copy cats Melbourne. Sadly, Melbourne should defeat Collingwood Queen's birthday after four wonderful weeks of Pies victories. Best I include this now before to comes to pass. What if I'm wrong? Does it matter? 

 

More football: Remember those times when Stephen Quartermain called the AFL matches on television for channel 10? His obvious Hawthorn bias and his questioning of every (rare) Collingwood free kick? We remember. Farewell Stephen. The beauty of karma, football and politics? At Northcote high school I was known as Ben, after the great Ben Chifley. It's the "little fish are sweet" philosophy (from 40 years as a poker player and winning a game with a small pot; money). Extended to football and politics, both requiring years of patience until (if?) the big day arrives. A Paul Keating victory, the 1990 grand final. Elephant's skin a requirement, also an asset over another 40 years as an actor. Few and far between certainly, but highlights, worth the wait, and so on. Keep On Punching (Punch It) - Unofficial Video, or dreamtime? A Collingwood premiership, a Labor victory (and if not Peter Dutton fails to hold his seat), a real bus service to Rye (or a train?) without Myki, banning another Rye boat ramp? Chocolates or boiled lollies? Haha. Likely none. Hope everlasting. I'm due for my 3 yearly colonoscopy July, surely my last. I adore the choice. A strange person enters, mumbles something, scratches my arm and instantly (seemingly) I'm sitting there, dressed, with a cup of coffee and two biscuits, OR, something went wrong and I'm in lah lah land.  The mystery of who dressed me? 

 

Robert Burton, 17th century: "The vanities of the time, to see men so empty of all virtuous actions, to hunt so far after gold, having no end of ambition; to take such infinite pains for a little glory, and to be favoured of men; to make such deep mines into the earth for gold, and many times to find nothing. Do not these behaviours express their intolerable folly? When men live in peace, they covet war, detesting quietness, deposing kings, and advancing others. When they are poor and needy, they seek riches, and when they have them, they do not enjoy them, but hide them under ground, or else wastefully spend them. There is no truth or justice found amongst them, for they daily plead one against another, and all this for riches, whereof after death they cannot be possessors. No man will mock his own folly, but that which he sees in a second, and so they justly mock one another. If men would attempt no more than what they can bear, they should lead contented lives, and learning to know themselves, would limit their ambition". [Nothing changes?] 

 

 

Monica and Billy Clinton. They agreed, no problem...The Liberal Party has again come under fire for the low number of women in its federal parliamentary team. Judging by my favourite duo, Cash and Bishop, who can blame them?...Mostly I let it pass by, albeit jarring, but one lady (ABC's 'The Drum') said that word 36 times. "Actually"....One careless former deputy PM. "When you get four you shut the door." Barnaby, vasectomy? A simple procedure, 20-30 minutes, no referral required, medicare bulk billed?...Apparently it’s OK for Britain and America to bleed us dry (capital investment) but not China?...Life is about change, re-invention and moving forward, according to the H-S TV writer. He got the change bit right...They say  everyone has a price. Reduce the price of cigarettes and they get my vote..."If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these acceptance speeches, there wouldn't be any inducement to go to heaven." [Will Rogers]...hooroo...www.ello8.com

 

=============

 

A Grain of Salt. Tuesday 12th June, 2018. 

Mitch Fifield, Communications Minister, far right wing large L liberal extraordinaire, a firm believer in privatisation and an IPA member. The IPA released a new book last month arguing the government “shouldn’t simply defund the ABC” but give it away “to either the Australian public or a group of people”, read Rupert & Co. Imagine (if you will) the change of name, continuous commercials and pay as you go - Rupert's Australian Broadcasting Corporation? RABC; never again 'ours'? No Barrie Cassidy, no Sarah Ferguson? Frightening. And another thing: The Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill (peoples rights?) security? Covertly posing as a citizen? To shape Australian opinions? Being properly prepared is the job of this government? Fundamentally the corrosion of our democratic system? The more power they take from us the more they will want, and the more they will never return us to our former freedom. Ignore these things at your own peril...eventually? And this fellow purports to represent all Australians?

 

 

“You got us into this mess, you get us out of it.” Martin Flanagan (Richard's bro) on the constant marked differences between Australia and china. As in responding favourably in economic relations/support, but the allegiance to anything USA. A quandary, particularly with China’s South China seas actions in plain sight. One wonders (the attitude on this subject) of our Xavier man (I blame his parents, including that 'sissy' walk?) Billy Shorten, and the ever reliable number 2 Labor 'male', the smiling cuddly koala Anthony Albanese. It's not going to go away and with the coalition heavily into security (CIA style, compliments of  ex Queensland cop Peter Dutton) there remains a vague though certain worry among our so called "ordinary Australians", moi included. Where's Gough when we need him. Or Pauly? Step forward Billy? Yes, we note your promise to return the funding taken from our ABC but expect more, particularly security, and those poor souls treated like criminals on that island. Enough politics?

 

 

Red Stitch Actors Theatre (St Kilda) presently on a grant from Creative Victoria and with a reputation as the ‘innovative’ ones, or maybe ‘dare to be different’ or my preference ‘up themselves’ or the softer 'masters of melodrama' are apparently having problems, inner turmoil, personality clashes. It was ever thus, remembering Anthill, Church, Pram Factory and others in earlier times. The buzz phrase "It is what it is"? Theatre is consistent in that every 5 years or more we are swept aside by a new man or woman with new ideas, believing themselves reincarnations of Elia Kazan, indeed old ideas, refracted so to speak, signifying nothing. La Mama standing strong, a need, clearly a need for Red Stitch also, despite my cynical observations, respectfully respecting the main thrust, as in for the good of the whole as per the objectives. Beloved by Age theatre critic Cameron Woodhead, an appropriate surname at times, and with a long list of enthusiastic theatregoers, we hope they can put personalities aside and stay with us. Having said this I reserve my right to change my mind, particularly if they ever give Shane Jacobson a guernsey. 

 

 

A week is a long time in football? Bob Murphy ex Western Bulldogs champion, currently AFL expert, last week - Top 8: Richmond, Melbourne, Eagles North Melbourne followed by Sydney, Collingwood, GWS and Geelong; no Port Adelaide, no Hawthorn? Three of Bob's top 4 beaten, so much for expertise? Bob lives in Northcote where I grew up, before it became fashionable and overrun with unusual females, so we forgive him. He came in a week too early. Incidentally, one doesn't necessarily have to be an ex footballer to be an expert? Which reminds me: Mum wanted Dad to buy in Northcote. Alas, Dad chose Bonbeach; war service loan? I came home from National Service (defending my country?) and the deed was done, without consultation? And in the move my Marlon Brando leather jacket disappeared. I'm still regretting it. As Marlon said ('On The Waterfront') "I could have been a champion" -  money wise.

 

 

More politics? Scotty Morrison celebrates the tradesman’s ‘ute’. The majority of ute owners on the famous Mornington ‘ute’ peninsula are not tradesman. Some of them are, obviously, easily identifiable by driving like wounded bulls. "We're leading the world" says Scotty on the back of an increase in company profits. Is the trickle down on its way? Scotty's problem is his predictability. A bumble bee buzzing every which way with little if any variation on the buzzing, or bumbling. Maybe the 'ute' idea was some sort of epiphany? We wish him well, and respectfully suggest he would have more success with the proposition of a GST increase. [I don't agree with that either but there's far more chance the voters will come onboard (one of his Utes?) than the trickle down nonsense. 

 

 

History/Runts: Wankers abound at any level in life. I recall my time as president of the Totalisator Employees Association representing the unionised on-course totalisator workers. At that time I was a dividend calculator, casual workforce, no acting work. The union meetings were run with my sense of efficiency, monthly, all over in an hour, then drinkies. We had a secretary, keen young fellow, humble, useless at writing letters, but hey, we needed someone, so if correspondence was required I'd write it for him, later to type and send off as directed. Later still, 5 years later, for reasons unknown he got an office job with the TAB, a 'suit' so to speak, part of his duties being to come on-course (the racetrack) to inspect tote houses (I'd stepped down from dividend calculating in favour of a supervising job - no smoking allowed in the now sophisticated computerised dividend van). He strutted about MY tote house (now a non union man obviously) and eventually had the front to "ACTUALLY" pull me up on some forgotten minor problem? I looked at him, not necessarily nonplussed, more mystified. WTF? People change? Eventually words sprung forth: "Piss off David" He blushed, evacuated. Never came near me again. [We won most of our industrial cases, lost the odd one. Eventually the TEA was amalgamated with the clerks union, Labor's Bill Kelty, a bad idea (I voted against this) resulting in increased fees for our (former) members and virtually loss of representation. The monolithic TAB did the rest.].

 

 

Son Steve and former Age columnist Catherine Deveny, a celebrity nonetheless north of the Yarra river, according to RSL dedicated smoking zone research largely unknown in downtown Rye, have written a book on mental health coming out mid July titled "Mental". [Everything you never knew you needed to know about mental health]. I haven't read it but with some 50% of my blood entwined (according to my late wife?) there's a fair chance of some good stuff there in these troubled times. Recommended, particularly for those on the Mornington Peninsula Council who voted in favour of an additional boat ramp at Rye and jet ski lovers. "Depression is melancholy minus its charms." [Susan Sontag]. Model Jesinta Franklin should buy it. The lady plans to retire at 40, her ultimate goal, to be able to volunteer with causes to places in my heart? Jecinta who? Seriously, well done to both.

 

 

What happened to the sexual misconduct claim against Barnaby? What's happening with our honest Kathy Jackson? Where is our lovely Michaelia Cash?...Gross government debt $500 billion and rising...As a rule of thumb suggest the ANU ignore anything coming from The Ramsay Centre, (our man Johnny Howard and Lord Tony) particularly the controversial western civilisation degree, academic independence?...SAS ‘elite special forces’ allegedly committed war crimes; Kabul. No? The price we pay, or in reality the price they pay?...Backing out, into infinity, Woolworths Rye carpark, a long weekend, full of cowboys, the odd cowgirl mommas, two Toyota Hilux 4 doors plus 'utes' either side, their bottoms halfway into the parking lane. Exterminate?...The 10,000 nudes and Woolworth's refusal? Questioning art? Interesting to know Woolies idea of Art? On the other hand those willing to strip a strange lot, in Winter? Some may conclude they do more damage to Art than Mitch Fifield?...'Entitlement' is the key word. Watch their faces, particularly Greg Hunt and Melbourne supporters...No more holiday hordes till Melbourne Cup Day. And Collingwood beat Melbourne. Jackie Gleason "How sweet it is"...hooroo...www.ello8.com