HeartA Grain of Salt. Thursday 14/12/2017.

And so this is Christmas, Mister Lennon. Once upon a time a religious festival. Seek to make restitution, where possible, of the sins committed against others? Wow baby, very much dwindling numbers, real Christians. A time for reflection? Many minor ailments at 81 (back, eyes, teeth, tremors, sex) thankfully insignificant against the plus; still breathing. Focussed on experiencing one more on the half chance of the 'Blue Heelers' getting booted out of government. I've stocked up for January. Woolworths had Brunswick sardines out at $1; bought the shop out. Steering clear of the Rye hotel; the ugly carnival evolving across the road is upsetting. Awaiting a Christmas card from darling Greg Hunt? Cleaning up my back garden, 10 minutes daily (my back). Had my toenails done, haircut. Why? Nobody visits anyway? But you do. Those silly little extras for Christmas. And gifts; well, not me, I feign poverty, or sardines? Check the op-shops early January; book bargains, couches, shirts; disposed of by the "two bob capitalists". Change morning coffee (cafe) to an hour later, observe the passing parade, maybe buy some mirror glasses? Maybe not. I suggested this to my late wife and she threatened divorce. She could be looking down on me? Peace on earth brothers and sisters, goodwill to all persons? Bloody heatwaves. Not easy as one ages. Sorry, mustn't grumble, outside of politics anyway. No touching. For one day at least?  


It was ever thus. The Liberal Party got what they wanted when Sam Dastyari resigned, but it was never enough. Sammy was the entree after a government hunger strike the past year, the real target always the filet steak; Billy Shorten. It's indicative of the mongrel strain of his bully minders in Peter Dutton (Sam's a double agent?) and Scott Morrison (Sam's been caught cheating on his country?) and their Blue Heelers approach. Sam's mistakes pale into insignificance when measured against these two masters of double talk (lies). Add in Julie Bishop, Mathias Cormann and boots and all (on a roll?) PM Malcolm (Sam betrayed Australia?) and behold; a pack rape of Sammy, who made the mistake of getting above himself as an identity, particularly asking the Chinese to pay his expenses. "Sam should leave now, says Malcolm, not January as intended." Costing the taxpayers money? Does this include the workers on Public holiday and Sunday penalty rates he crucified with cuts from last July? Or was he trying to avert his dreadful showing on Q&A last Monday, or again to influence the Bennelong result? Whatever, the very fact he had the gall to claim the marriage equality vote as his victory after the real history of the saga (Shorten put the marriage equality on the map in 2012) gives us surely, a clear idea of his insincerity? I shudder to think of the prancing we must suffer from (loose with the truth) Big Mal after John Alexander's (a nice enough chap but not the brightest pea in the pod) Bennelong victory. Remember Mal in his quest for a Republic? What a comedown. If he wasn't so nasty it would be sad. He puts Henry Bolte in the shade, obviously even Johnny Howard. So be it. As ever, we roll with the punches. Ouch!  


The narrow minded? There appears to be some sort of consensus with rank and file Liberal voters (and many Greens) that unions are chock a block full of lazy bullying types. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is the largest peak body representing workers in Australia made up of 46 affiliated unions; no doubt the usual percentage of lazy bullying types as in every organisation, big and small, including big business and Canberra politicians. No big deal, but I find almost all of those types who sling off at unions are (at best) referring to only one or two trade unions, or one or two people in those very small number of unions as against the other 44 unions, mainly as a result of brainwashing by our media, mainly Murdoch's lot. I worked as a union representative for 30 odd years (president, vice president, organiser, committee) and in fact other than very small amounts for certified expenses, it was all about looking after our members. Compassion and accountability. 


Indigenous lawyer Teela Reid told the Prime Minister Big Mal (ABC's Q&A) he lacked courage for rejecting the constitutionally enshrined advisory body, one of the key recommendations that emerged from a constitutional convention at Uluru. Said Teela "If that’s his position then we clearly need a leader with some courage who will take our country (forward) entirely, not just Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but everyone.” Good luck with that one Teela. 


A Monash University study says visitor numbers are now at a “critical level” but locals have known this has been the case for many years. Last year, the staggering number of eight million tourists visited the Mornington Peninsula. [from [Peter Mitchell,  Murdoch's Leader]. Too true. Did this so called 'study' come up with solutions, or yet another study to come up with the obvious? Do they hire 81 year olds at Monash? 


The original "two bob capitalists" the Greens. Seeing themselves as "long term creative thinkers" seemingly ignorant a vote for them is a vote for Malcolm?...The stupidest and consistently worst line of dialogue in murder mysteries: "Shouldn't you be out there catching them?"...The middle of the road fairness (The Age) fast evaporating to the right with the disappearance of previous A grade reporters. Peter Hatcher, current Age newspaper political editor, is with the wrong employer. Time to switch to the Herald-sun?...Ex Collingwood champion Peter Moore criticising coach Nathan. Hey, that's my job!...Bugger the approval rating. ALP remains well in front of the Coalition, leading on the two-party preferred measure 54% to 46%....Danny suggests England return the parthenon marbles to Greece. England? When the sun sets in the east?...A new (disgusting?) phrase from my kids: "Suck it up"...I liked the old cowboy films; 40's 50's.The crooks easily identified. They had moustaches..."For life is not to live, but to be well" [Martial]...hooroo...www.ello8.com



WildA Grain of Salt.  Sunday 10/12/2017.

PM Malcolm on same sex marriage to lovely Leigh (ABC 7.30) "This is not the time to play tit for tat", following up with “Labour had 6 years in office and did nothing about it, and did everything they could to stop Australia having their say, but WE found a way to do that." Not the time for tit for tat? Reminded of preceding "With respect" before the rubbishing? No surprise; he has pure Christian Barnaby Joyce as his mentor. I'm more surprised he doesn't blame Labor for the war on Iraq. In form Mal then blathered on with his 1000 jobs a day nonsense. John Howard changed the Law so gay people could never get married, supported by other Liberal/National homophobics and Queensland's darling Princess Pauline; not opposed by Billy Boy at that time. Politics; such a mess. Still, it ended on a good note. Well done to the Gays and the majority of 'yes' voting Australians. I checked with Baker Boy and Woolies. Happy to serve Gays (cakes) provided they don't show off.


Labor's David Feeney (Batman) conveniently forgetting to declare his million-dollar property in Northcote while claiming a travel allowance when he stayed in an apartment owned by his wife, and lack of proof of renunciation of British citizenship? A curly one. Either put up (quickly) or leave the building? A repeat warning Billy: Sammy has to go mate. Forget the suspicions of ASIO/USA interference. Sure, ASIO is a branch of the ruling elite, but never provable. What is clear is that Sammy's a big noter, and although he can shine in the personable sense (Q&A) he has very little to big note about, other than in his mind. His asking the Chinese to pay his expenses clear evidence of his love of self importance; a time bomb. In the spirit of fairness a warning to the ever grinning PM Malcolm: Leave GetUp alone!  


I'm not one to cast aspersions but honestly, doctors? Here I sat being advised to do more exercises, the appointment being for x-ray results? My doctor would be early 50's, spending days sitting on his swivel chair. How would he know? According to my health data (iPhone) I walk 549 steps, .3 km in a return trip to my cafe. Add in the RSL nightly pot and it's 1184 steps, add in Woolworths and I'm looking at a whopping 1413 @ .89 of a km. I smiled at his advice, indicating acceptance. I refrained from telling him my last regular doctor passed away in his late 60's.


I'm a Woody Allen fan. Save just two films, one an all musical set in Paris, one the ugly 'Blue Jasmine', almost all the others were classics. His latest film 'Wonder Wheel' (yet to see) again brings with it this form of female criticism, resentment (Katie Walsh. The Age 7/12) out of the woodwork with the usual nonsense on separating the art from the artist, yet again referring to his marriage to his adopted daughter (so?) and the usual vague references to his unproven sexual assault accusations. Sexual neuroses my arse. How about human nature? The lady ends by suggesting a more refreshing perspective, whatever that means. Nothing wrong with not being a fan, but really, if you have something to say other than rumour, a form of evidence would be helpful.   


Just two more weeks to the big day. I married into a family of four daughters, three of whom married successfully in the coin area; sadly not my darling, who left us 2004 possibly through disappointment; wrong choice? I travel to Portsea the big one, balcony overlooking salt water, lush fields, the passing ferry. A two hour stay, an hour longer than any previous meet with friends throughout the year; my rule. A two stubbies limit, friendly conversations. Some 15 minutes before the banquet I depart, complete with connoisseur foods, pavlova, neatly covered in silver paper on classy cutlery (to be returned). Home, to my humble unit, dodging breathalysers, to devour in peace in front of a recorded episode of Inspector George Gently or the like. A happy hermit, hopefully. The following night (Boxing Day, darling's birthday) maybe a nice can of $2 (on special, Woolworths) Harvest mild curry; a toast to darling's memory. Yummy.


Christmas Day, though pleasant, is not the big day in downtown Rye. Boxing Day, as we here have renamed it, is Invasion Day. Ho ho bloody ho. Multiculturals en masse. Bring out the welcome mat: willkommen, benvenuto, bienvenido, dobrodošli et al. Not to worry, I stay indoors, let them settle. Come midnight on Orstralya Day, they skadoodle. A reminder the day before: Time to lock our garden hoses in our sheds.  


I regularly get half way through a television show when I realise I've seen it. I only watch some 3 hours nightly, sometimes two shows at a time depending on interruptions called commercials. In a restricted sense here's what I recall from television, 2017. WORST: The Handmaid's Tale (fell asleep most of the first 3 episodes, deleted the rest), Richmond's GF obviously, Doctor Blake, Big Little Lies (as in 'The Slap' lasted 2 episodes, bullying mothers?), Rosehaven (slow, boring, bland.), The Ex-PM (Embarrassing, including some performances), The Block (Rubbish), 20 to 1 (More rubbish, with unknown celebrities?), Top of the Lake (confusing, too much of squeaky voiced David Wenham), the AAACTA Awards (Peacocks), Scott Morrison interviews, again obviously and The Drum (when presented by Julia Baird). BEST: Utopia, Mad as Hell, Hard Quiz, Curb your Enthusiasm, Tracy Grimshaw's Don Burke interview, Midnight Sun (classic), Line of Duty (another classic), Great Railways Journeys, Miss Marple, Peaky Blinders (for Helen McCrory), Wallander (for Kenneth Branagh), Repeat series of Happy Valley (the gorgeous Sarah Lancashire), The Drum (with presenters Ellen Fanning, motormouth John Barron or Eleanor Hall; also depending on guests), Anything with/by Sarah Ferguson, Lovely Leigh's 7.30 (never Stan Grant), Lateline and Rake (for Richard Roxburgh).


The "Chinese Communist Party" says our PM. Emphasis on the middle word?...How is this anti-China fear mongering (interference?) any different (or worse?) than the foreign US of A interference?...732 of Australia's largest companies paid zero tax in the 2015/16 financial year. Do they qualify for Morrison's tax breaks?...Whenever a Liberal politician mentions the word 'transparent', move on...Australians 'coming together' same sex marriage, lovely. How about the same for the refugees on Manus, Nauru?..."It is not what is transmitted by the words but what is underneath them." [Stanislavsky]...Go get them Geoffrey (Rush)...hooroo...www.ello8.com



LoveA Grain of Salt.  Wednesday 6/12/2017.

Almost Christmas and still they carry on like raw prawns. Pass the gay marriage bill and leave the building. Fat chance. Remember the clever 1995 crime comedy film with John Travolta 'Get Shorty'? Seems Malcolm's mob has taken it on board despite the spelling; shorty being Dastyari or Shorten, take your pick. No point going into overdrive on this final week of parliament nonsense 2017. There was never any doubt they would fight dirty. Born to rule is not a myth. They believe it. They live by it. Shorten and the unions (or one union, the CFMEU), and for good measure Dastyari and Kristina, have them firing on all two cylinders. They have to because they have nowhere else to go, and the thought of being in opposition (to them) is not only a nightmare but as they see it un-Australian. Prepare for the truth to take an even bigger hiding. Rattle off the names; Morrison, Cash, Dutton, Joyce et al. New espionage laws (security fears) to get them out from under the mythical beds, notwithstanding Andrew Robb? The tough new welfare bill forcing unemployed older people to volunteer their time? Thankfully, doubtful this will get through but indicative of chopping away at the edges. Forget any policies for the benefit of all Australians. A year coming up with some 90% of attack any which way Labor, and 10% sneaky new laws sticking it up those who can't afford it. Yes, I'm aware of how it all sounds, and yes, philosophically we are better off than many countries, but not justification for letting 'our betters' get away with their dirty tricks. [Donald Trump: "People will believe you. You just tell them anything and they’ll believe you".] Enough said? 


It warmed the cockles of my heart to see the picture of a gloating Malcolm alongside Barnaby with big (real) smiles and enjoying a celebratory beer after Barnaby's success. Malcolm drinks beer, a true Aussie? A form of success anyway, if for nothing else than a lack of real opposition and the general feeling (rightly so) against this citizenship crisis  rubbish. The Nationals, representing what; 10% of the Australian voters? Barnaby comes across as the King of bloody England, straight into more Billy Shorten rubbishing? Farmers? They excel in criticising we city dwellers and relying on us for government grants. It now appears some Labor types will be walking the plank on citizenship, which to some extent bites Billy on the bum after months of doing nothing about his side, preferring to hone in on the Liberals. It serves him right. Maybe for the good? Anything to see him take the lead and show his other side, assuming there is another side. This nationalism annoyance puts John Alexander in a strong position for Bennelong come Saturday. Better news: Collingwood are unbeaten since August 2017.


Not to worry. True, it's a mess in Canberra, but on a local level messes are a fact of life. I look back 2 years and note the residents of Western Point "Somers" were concerned (up in arms?) about a proposed concrete footpath? I think they won that one? At about the same time Barwon Heads residents were spruiking loudly as to their concern about over-development; still are. Rosebud West (some anyway) rejected their name and eventually changed it to Capel Sound for reasons best known to the minority agitators. We at Rye (a seaside resort town according to Wikipedia) were suffering through another Winter in preparation for the yearly onslaught of Summer multiculturals, as in every year, and the problems of dog poo (back then) remain to this day. A question of perspective? [The Influential Mind by Tali Sharot; explores how emotion tends to overpower reason when it comes to human decision making?] I should stop there in the spirit of Christmas. 

More and more an ill wind at the ABC. Axing shows, shortening radio and television discussion shows. Michelle Guthrie showing her stripes as a true soldier of the right.


The AACTA Awards. Wednesday 6/12. Sorry, I have to ask; Awards for what? Top of the Lake: China Girl, Rosehaven, Sunshine? Have I missed something? Janet King even gets a mention? I'll settle for one - Wentworth. And Rob Sitch in acting. Me? I'll stay with the class; Line of Duty, Peaky Blinders and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Another night of the peacocks?


Sydney's Daily Telegraph and Brisbane's Courier Mail had Geoffrey Rush drawn and quartered on a nothing story (King Leer, evil Geoffrey - both front page). Unjustifiable claims of inappropriate behaviour (2015) by an unnamed female cast member who did not want to go public. Nor was Rush told then, now or why? Surely a right to know what’s been alleged against, let alone not inform him of it, and then to release such information to the public? A  denial of justice and a danger of irreparable damage. No wonder the lady didn't want her name public. It smells.


"Public interest immunity" says Michaelia, meaning 'piss off'?...Heavily into statistics, for 1 week only: 16% of Victorians gamble. Around 70% of the losses are on the pokies giving Danny $1.6 billion a year. Just saying...Amanda Vanstone’s expected piece in The Age on Sam Dastyari (a spy?) with nary a word on Michaelia Cash or Andrew Robb? Remember Andrew? Works for the Chinese now...Only 1 in 20 school kids get enough daily vegetable intake; how do they know?...Gillian Triggs: Australia’s offshore detention regime designed to “break” refugees, the inhumanity, “as a nation, we have to respond”. Spot on...Australian actress Sophie Monk complained of sleaze and sexual harassment in Hollywood. When Sabrina visited Australia asking where all the men were, (couldn't get a date?), I left a phone message inviting her to dinner. The call never came...It's not 'union' run superannuation funds it's a combination (industry and unions), presently making higher profits than the banks superannuation funds. Can the royal commission change things? Aside from a lessening in 'dodgy' behaviour, probably not ...NOTE: 1/ In order to insult me I must first value your opinion. 2/ I am not anti-social. I'm selectively social...Are there any predatory old women?...hooroo...www.ello8.com




WildA Grain of Salt.  Saturday 2/12/2017.

I'm rattled. Nothing new of course. Eleven years of writing this Blog is enough to send anyone on an express one-way journey to the nut house. Lucky for me our far right wing government and to a lesser extent the opposition party (claiming to look after our pockets, but only enough to survive after filling their own) has exterminated nut houses, so I remain free to roam, almost uninhibited. The good news? Well, I still manage to walk the streets without having a loud conversation with myself. The clock however, is ticking. A week of hell (heat and humidity) followed by that rain; veering east allowing normal downpours to quickly disappear into the Rye sandy soil. As Gough would say "Well may we say 'God save the Queen', because nothing saved me from the first week of hell compliments (?) of Schoolies". Not only next door (6 units) but on the foreshore organised by some crowd on the internet called 'Sure Thing. Rye Schoolies' drawing thousands to haunt me complete with speakers facing south? Five years of Schoolies no problem, but this lot alongside (plus the foreshore cancer) reached new heights. "Looking after the safety and wellbeing of the schoolies" apparently, but I ask three reasonable question; Who looks after us, who at the Mornington Council approved this, and why? Saturday has come to pass, the second week of the little pains you know where; the first departed, thankfully, and so far the new schoolies almost normal. With it the caravans and the tents arrived; Saturday morning abuzz. How bloody exciting. So be it. [I've had my blast. January, the big month, a dream by comparison. Thankfully some 90% of the year is worth it]. A week of selfish, screaming, singing (?) monsters has gone, but not the boom boom music and those do gooders who organised the Rye foreshore explosion. Sleeping tablets, ear plugs at the ready? 


What amendments? The 'yes' vote won by an overwhelming majority and we live in a democracy. So they tell us. No amendments please, particularly in the name of justice and religion, Christian, Islam or otherwise. The senate showed us how. The lower house should follow suit. Quick and easy. A small victory for the PM in the scheme of things after big Mal's very own 'schoolies' week, a forlorn opportunity to say 'little fish are sweet'?


Sam Dastyari was/is something of a loose cannon. Obviously his warning (surveillance) to his billionaire Chinese businessman was nothing the businessman or anyone else was unaware of but immaterial in the scheme of things. Billy sacked him, as was appropriate. Sam: “A recent audio recording shocked me, as it did not match my recollection of events.” Sounds like Arthur Sinodinos?  The question is: Who took the recording of Sam's warning to the businessman; ASIO? We can hope PM Malcolm can follow suit against Senator Michaela Cash, but best to not hold our respective breaths. [Said Peter Dutton “You can’t have a double agent in the Australian parliament.” A bit rich coming from the man who has been consistent in telling lies about events and conditions on Manus, but indicative of Peter's own warped form of justice.]


Bully Scotty Morrison, equally as desperate as big Malcolm answering all questions full of sound and fury (with a smile) signifying stuff all, but consistently ending on a positive note by getting stuck into Billy Boy, including critiquing Shorten for what they (he) will do IF elected? Scotty's a scream. He goes at Billy not only for the now, but also the maybe? It's to be expected. He's good at latching onto the right people, as shown when he made that sweet shoe shuffle from Lord Tony to big Mal, never forgotten by Tony's tribe. If big Mal goes what's next? A switch to Peter Dutton, Greg Hunt? [In fairness Billy Boy is no slouch in the knifing stakes; Kevvy Rudd, Julia Gillard?] Billy's Manus position is seemingly fixed in stone (none of the refugees will get into Australia?) but Scotty doesn't believe that for a minute. Neither do I. 


Initially I refused to be enthusiastic about the royal commission into the banking sector; silly me. I was thinking more of those people who put their trust in the big banks and lost heavily, as in their naivety rewarded. It's been obvious for at least the past decade the big banks have rewarded their advisers/staff (?) to make a profit via their style of financial advice; self profit, promotion rather than for the (mainly) naive customers. A lottery, a form of gambling. Banks are best for bank accounts, to be kept at bay like stray blue heelers. A credit card, a term deposit, a housing loan ok, but to put thousands, many thousands in as some sort of investment on your money. Almost always at a higher rate of interest; greed, on the say so of some person nicely dressed across the counter who has a convincing presentation? A big no no. This royal commission will not be for our benefit unless there's a form of control. The terms of reference appear already to be targeted (surely?) at the superannuation industry, industry super and the unions (and employers), who are making good profits for members, and so the banks want a (bigger) share. And we all know the Liberal Party is on the side of the big banks. The trade union witch hunt went for 2 years? I suspect (at 1 year) the Libs have shot themselves in the foot?


Our man of many pictures down there in Flinders (occasionally) Greg Hunt must be wondering, or at least jockeying? Peter Dutton and Julie Bishop hold the cards, but they say they are not the best of friends; enter Greggy?....“Government’s policy remains the same until it’s changed.” Former climate change PM Malcolm (a mid stream master?) and his $1 billion to Adani; coal. So why all those solar panels over his Point Piper mansion?...Fascinating. I moved into this unit almost 10 years ago and I've only just discovered (Friday 1/12) it has gutters?...After 3 long months of illness (virus and pneumonia) and discovering the uselessness of Swisse men's ultimate 50+ and Cenovis garlic I'm going way back to my roots. No, not them, the spoonful of Hypol type roots, with a daily spoonful of Saunders malt extract. $10 at Coles, Woolies. Yummy. Feeling fine...hooroo...www.ello8.com



CoolA Grain of Salt. Wednesday 29/11/2017.

"Hooray for Harry". Two headlines splashed front page of Tuesday's (28/11) Herald-Sun. A BIG picture of the boy and actrine Meghan Markle, engaged. How sweet it is? [Apparently Meghan must give up her acting. Seriously, or a pretend actrine? Actors never retire!]. My late wife (and others) have this fascination for the Royals which has always escaped me. Generally followed by the commercial television stations interviewing some unknown 'Royal watcher' (or watchers?) who we can only assume sleep in beds alongside as proof of their inner knowledge in their daily happenings and current thinking; a plum in their mouths a necessity, as evidential proof of their connection? Good luck to them. No doubt a source of more significant (?) news for at least 3 years, and possibly another 3 years after a possible divorce? The other half front page to Don Burke saying 'I'm not a nice man'? I rated gardening shows alongside cooking shows so not a fan. Still, having watched the ABC's witch hunt (?) of Donald (and The Age) I'm yet to be convinced as to exactly what he did 'physically' wrong some 20 or more years back before political correctness, other than obviously lewd sexual comments, a tendency (seemingly) to be oversexed and a suggested serial harasser? Yes, Channel 9 loved the money but if he was such a prick and a cause for such obvious grief try another job to retain their dignity? Or was it money, both sides? Not that I ever trusted him, which is immaterial, as I often distrust television personalities (and some actors) by instinct. The world is full of bastards, men mainly perhaps and women, and not all of them are bosses. All very interesting (or is it?), in particular equal degrees of nonsense, sometimes referred to as utter BS, depending on ones' point of view? As a public servant (Auditor-General's Office) I recall one young lady accusing me of a lewd comment. I probably said something like "I love your short skirt". Reported me. Six months later I discovered she was having an affair with one of the married bosses. Which one? Correct; the one she reported me to. Another time (Department of Navy) a sissy looking boss reported me for "answering the counter in a suggestive manner"? (I had no power, so suitably remorseful). With Fairfax media columnist Tracey Spicer on the job and Actors Equity (Media Entertainments and Arts Alliance) I'm thinking it will not only be Don Burke shaking in his underpants. 500 women involving 65 men? Wow. Many newspaper (letters) against Burke's behaviour; just one request. Delete the word 'totally'. [“Jessamine recoiled from the paper as if it were a snake. "A lady does not read the newspaper. The society pages, perhaps, or the theatre news. Not this filth." "But you are not a lady, Jessamine---," Charlotte began. "Dear me," said Will. "Such harsh truths so early in the morning cannot be good for the digestion.” [Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel]. Moving on...


When Rita Panahi and Andrew Bolt tell Malcolm to vamoose the writing is on the wall. True, they've been anti-Malcolm and (anti-Labor forever), but it's a type of death knell. So he took a week off politics? That's a good thing, he's a walking disaster; will always be remembered for his spell (?) as Communications Minister and his championing of (shudder) the NBN. People have turned off Malcolm in droves but I'm not sure they have turned off from his party, indeed either party. The next election looks like Shorten's to lose, but there's no move to Billy in the sense of popularity, warmth, personality or inspiration. That's not a criticism, more the way it appears. Who knows, when/if elected we may see a different man? Now however, we are desperate for sensible IDEAS, sometimes called policy. Maybe put a female in? Mind you Billy did suggest Malcolm was living in 'Lah Lah Land' so, as I'm forever referring to LLL, he gets a tick. Then there's the other Liberal camps of the future to cause concern (after Mal retires to Edgecliff) of Peter and Greg Hunt as against Scotty and Julie Bishop. Wondering if any one of them is a possible leaker? Fun and games.


Princess Pauline, the Big L liberal, anti-union, anti-Labor, xenophobic (up to a point) got it right in getting another $million or so in compensation for those one in seven voters, despite not getting her 11 seats as suggested. Maybe Queensland's Annasticia Paaszlczuk (Adani) got it right? What is certain is our Prime Minister got nowhere near 'getting it right'. 


From The Saturday Paper. 25/11. Editorial. "It started in 1992, when the concept of mandatory detention criminalised the legal act of seeking asylum. It started in 2001, with the Tampa and children overboard, when John Howard decided elections could be won on a fear of “boat people”. It started with Kim Beazley’s cowardice and Kevin Rudd’s ambition and Julia Gillard’s fecklessness, with Tony Abbott’s cruelty and Malcolm Turnbull’s impotence. It started a hundred different times and has been played out over and over. What is happening on Manus Island is the real cost of the cynicism of our politics. The lives of these men have been traded for votes. They represent the comfort of this country and its fear. The abandonment of these men is transactional. Their torture no longer serves a purpose. Voters do not blame them for traffic congestion and hospital waiting queues, as they once did, and so the government has lost interest in them. They are being killed with indifference. Politics in this country has created a moral vacuum. It is not until we start voting on the issue of refugees, instead of voting despite it, that this will change."


Triple J's top 100 changed from January 26 to 27th. What is Triple J?...The idea of a Royal Commission into the banks leaves me cold. Perhaps 10th in line with more serious concerns...Pass the Yes vote, forget the amendments...There's a push for more females as Liberal politicians. No surprise they're having problems. Look at the ones they have now?...No flights to Bali; schoolies disappointed. Hard to believe. The monsters are all down here, in Rye, next door. Monsters. Where's my rifle?...hooroo...www.ello8.com



HeheA Grain of Salt. Sunday, 26/11/2017.

One has to be moved to write a column (blog), one way or another. A subject, anything, no matter, assuming it moves you to tap away at the keyboard. Motivation. This heatwave failed to move me, as did the dreadful state of politics from our Coalition, as does Billy Shorten's hanging back on those asylum seekers. The cat with the cream is Billy, for mine a less than courageous Tom, never forgetting Tom failed to ever upset Jerry. Peter Dutton is into being moved. “We want people to move on,” he said in respect of Papua New Guinea military forces and police entering the Manus Island detention centre ordering the 400 refugees and asylum seekers to leave the facility. A  disgrace not to take up the New Zealand offer of 150 per year. Indeed, we hope (and in desperation) Peter moves on, sooner for preference. We note Peter's Christian concern for the 40% who voted 'no'. Likely Pete and Scotty Morrison are as one here, or are they? Pete & Greg H? Scotty & Julie? Would this same concern have occurred had the no vote won? Never? One can understand his meaning of 'concern' but alas, we are confused by his meaning of christian. Ditto Scotty's obviously. It's started raining at last. Time to write again...


Julie Bishop remains a fascination. In her ABC interview with our darling Leigh Sales she talked of our PM's 'extraordinary leadership' looking straight down the barrel of the camera? Julie would break any polygraph. Bye the bye, Leigh wears some unusual outfits, and those hairdo's? (Sorry, personal. Me? I'm dressed by my Op Shop and bald). Julie, along with Scott Morrison has adopted this 'everything's fine and dandy' response, both willing to twist the truths, so blatantly obvious, but also a type of begrudging respect. Ambition, theirs, is the bottom line.  


The voluntary assisted dying bill (a longish name for euthanasia?). Prolonging terminal agony for yet another six months? Better than nothing but still cruel. Christianity appears to condemn this bill. One wonders if God wold object to relief from prolonged severe terminal pain? The idea of allowing for more mistakes in the treatment of the ill and aged? There’s enough mistakes now with long waiting lists for palliative care? I admit, I don't get this palliative care preference as against a choice. Old age peace of mind - the Euthanasia bill; 6/2019. I'll wait. Suicide my backside..."It’s good to hope; it’s the waiting that spoils it". [Yiddish proverb].


Is Gina Rinehart so contemptuous of our democracy she could brazenly give Barnaby Joyce a $40,000 cheque at the National Agriculture Day event as a good thing, a reward for good farming? To a degree maybe, but it suggests also, the lady, despite her millions, is perhaps short on common sense. Surely she has advisers who would suggest Barnaby could not accept? Maybe she does (have advisers) but she's hard of hearing?


Religious freedom overseen by Philip Ruddock, a contradiction in terms? Have we so soon forgotten? When pray, did Philip grow a heart? Beware those religious grounds exemptions. Didn’t Hitler do this type of thing 1930’s? Freedom from religion? Scott Morrison ‘at least as many people wanted religious freedom as voted for same-sex marriage’ -  a clever twist? Scotty also claimed the government’s new energy policy will knock $400 a year off your electricity bills. Go Scotty, ever with a the trickle down. Jobs and growth and the last May budget? The world's best Treasurer?


Many years ago when I was a little tyke in the far from trendy suburb of Northcote (Westgarth), before the darkness arrived (Greens takeover), we had a tin bath filled with a saucepan from the copper alongside. Being the eldest I was third in, every Sunday night. On the odd occasion there was deep suspicion (never proven) somebody had urinated before my turn. Mum was too busy to hear my complaints, more likely I was third in the favouritism line. A lesson learned; never pee in the bath. How about the shower? There was no shower. What's the research on shower peeing? There must be an answer, considering the research on almost everything served up to us on a daily basis. Nothing on Google. Possibly not females, but likely higher than 50% of males? Out of respect for my first 14 years I clear my bladder before the shower. BUT...in this weather, a warmish shower into a quickish cold shower, and suddenly, occasionally, as a matter of some urgency, my bladder informs of reserves, now? A need to immediately exterminate! Welcome to guilt, but why?


“More than 20 years ago I told crude and inappropriate jokes, which were completely unacceptable and I apologise unreservedly.” [John Alexander]. The Crew Cuts: 'Life could be a dream. Sh Boom Sh Boom'. Hey mate, we all did it. Well, not me, but I'm one of those people who can never remember jokes, dirty or clean. Laughter, the best medicine. 


A stable government in Queensland so says Labor. Since when? Disenchantment remains in this two state type election, as in Australia generally. Good to see the One Nation vote showing up their nonsense; farewell Malcolm Roberts, forever? There's no such thing as stable government in this age of social media. The enhanced personalities of politicians generally disclose even more their selfishness and concern for retaining their seats ahead of for the good of the nation. Will a 51% of seats be a thing of the past? 


Dual citizenship is a non event. Dingbat-land. We can all agree on this. Change Section 44 and get on with it...Danny Andrews sprouts a rail line to the airport with work beginning in 10 years time, well after my demise. A bridge too far Danny mate; button your lips...Magicians? Tim Pallas State Labor - Created 265,000 jobs. Our federal treasurer - Liberal government has created over 800,000 jobs. Smoke and mirrors...Matty Guy to tackle traffic congestion, like he tackled planning as a minister? Maybe ban pushbikes?...How are NSW going in the cricket?...An international survey has revealed drinking red wine made them feel relaxed, sexier; 42%. Interesting. I'm not a wine drinker but as the majority of RSL females prefer the red I'll keep a closer eye out..."BURMA [Be undressed Ready My Angel]. Printed on the back of envelopes by servicemen about to go on leave." Tut tut!...hooroo...www.ello8.com



SickGrains of 'Salt' Wednesday 22/11/2017. 

"There's lots of issues the mainstream parties are not addressing and they tell a lot of lies". It was ever thus. A common catcall from the One Nation types and other fly by nighters. Be nice if they were a shade more specific, like naming the issues including how they would tackle them. The Northcote voters were 'sick of being taken for granted'. Meaning? How will they change it? As for the lies, well, I ask you reader, who doesn't? A  degree of union thuggery depending on the particular union's power base, a degree (bigger?) of big business thuggery generally transferring the money from your pocket to theirs. We fight on, knowing the risks, and knowing the best bets are one or the other. The rest? Power cliques, and as always, money. Similar to barracking for Collingwood. A few ups, many downs. Eventually (thankfully) the power base collapses and we welcome new ratbags, with new (old) ideas. 


Mornington Peninsula January mayhem: Banning visitors after 10pm, talk of banning using the outdoor decking after 10pm. Maybe a shade early, say 11pm? I've lived through it, a living nightmare. Bad enough when there was a family (5 or 6 houses away) and half a dozen kids out creating a racket from 6am. Toys, guns. Charming little bastards. Said nothing of course. Nice Italian family, lovely kids. January! One time I went in next door, 2 am, keep the noise down? They were too far gone, very friendly, but talking to a brick wall. Ended up joining them, no choice. That was 8 years ago. Now, living at the rear of Point Nepean shops, just the screaming teen females (not sexist, a fact) from the carnival till around midnight, so television (loud) and to the cot 12.30am. February; peace. For the residents and the lottery of a holiday house rented out to about a dozen or more thoughtless selfish types in pursuit of their 'fun' it's a recipe for a breakdown. A  lottery. My only query: A large group into a few frothies come 10pm (even 11pm), how do you stop them?


Don Chipp way back in 1977 promised to 'keep the bastards honest'. The Australian Democrats, now the Greens. Catchy, but other than the odd forest, an occasional high rise, strong verbal criticism and control of local councils it's always been Labor's job to keep them honest. Them being the Coalition. I was unsurprised by the Northcote result, but saddened. I lived in the then Labor stronghold the first 19 years of my life. We were poor by Toorak standards but heaped in tradition. I'd never met a Liberal voter until I started work as a public servant, few and far between and mostly bosses. Where was Toorak anyway? No television, no cars and although the Sun Newspaper was still Liberal opinion wise it was not owned by Rupert Murdoch. Northcote, now another upper middle class conclave heavily inhabited with PC Greens, but for what purpose? Hopefully PM Malcolm will do something about the tax cuts to ease the burden on these bracket creepers to give the decking a re-paint and offset soaring energy prices and flat wages? Matthew Guy congratulated them. Why not, in effect a Liberal victory? It appears their message is cutting through with more voters, but I ask: 'What is the message'? They have voted on the Liberal side more than Labor the past 10 years? The size of the swing was a mystery, possibly influenced by the Jane Garrett factor. The Greens, sifting through Fitzroy and Collingwood, likely soon to extend to Richmond and Brunswick; a threat to Labor, an advantage to the Libs. We will keep an eye (or two?) on this to see what the Greens can achieve ahead of Labor? The house we rented (28/- bob a week) was heavily modernised and sold for $2 million. And so it goes. La di  da.


Our Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (who you may have spotted at important race meetings if you happened to be employed on one of those days in the exclusive enclosures) now takes credit for our seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council. Hopefully the lady will have strong words to say about Cambodia, the Philippines, West Papua and particularly the mass killings in Myanmar? Surely these matters (as our Foreign Minister) are more important than bad mouthing Kristina Keneally? Or does the lady see herself as number 1?


30 years ago and they're still on about an old hero of mine; Whitlam government attorney-general-turned-High Court judge Lionel Murphy. We love you Lionel, never forgotten. A political witch hunt. Yes, he looked after a mate. More to the point he looked after all of us.


PM Malcolm: A week's holiday and tax cuts. Dreamland. Is it the heatwave?...Farewell to Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou; sadly missed...Who to barrack for, tricky? NSW or England?...The Western Sydney electorates (Muslim?) "no" majority suddenly highlight the concern of the right wing Libs, Morrison, Dutton and Cormann?...The Yanks on television: Way over the top on powerful movie sex maniacs yet soft on gun laws?...A lady spends $45 a week because she prefers to pay for a 'decent' coffee; obviously a Northcote Greens voter?... Togetherness (or segway?) 'LGBTIQ' Why not add an H?...I get stressed listening to all the people telling me how to handle stress...Alternatively "Reality is the leading cause of stress for those in touch with it.” [Jane Wagner]...www.ello8.com 


KissGrains of 'Salt' Sunday 19/11/2017. 

61.6% for yes. Yada yada. Your call PM Malcolm. If John Howard changed the marriage act back in 2004 (which Labor conveniently supported) why can't it just as easily be changed back? Interesting to note our Prime Minister, who refused to campaign, is now all over the media suggesting bouquets? The fascination of politics, as in lies. Malcolm is seen as taking credit for the result, yet he, like Bill Shorten, was against it to begin with. As for the multicultural 'no' element, so what; it's all about choice. Was last Wednesday a holiday or were all those yes crowds unemployed? My mob, Flinders, got a 70% yes, including Greg Hunt's yes. I find this group title 'LGBTIQ' confusing. Please do not add anymore letters. "We did it" they said - who is/are 'we'? Indeed 7.8 million did it by voting yes, but surely the vast majority voted yes because they saw no reason why the LGBTIQ should be restricted from marriage because of their sexual preferences. Be interesting to get the latest on the percentage of gays (OK - LGBTI, the Q is questioning?). Last I saw was around 3.5%, likely now at 4% or higher. So in fact we all did it, on fairness! Now for the amendments? Will the campaigners against same sex marriage accept the result? Publicly perhaps, but unlikely in reality. This is the mob who came out with nonsense of boys wearing dresses to school, amongst other false warnings. Expect some form of backlash eventually from the 'no' triumvirate, Morrison, Dutton and Cormann, but not yet, too shrewd. First order of business is to witness the fat lady singing.


Aside from the celebrations, let's not forget the ALP and its support for the Liberal Party policy of condemning asylum seekers to the living hell of offshore detention camps. This also applies to Coalition MPs and their support for punitive policies in industrial relations, welfare and Indigenous reconciliation. I look forward to the passage of the legislation enabling marriage equality, but I will not be celebrating yet. There are many injustices yet to be corrected including euthanasia – and smugness over this one result will only blind us to that inconvenient truth. 2018 is shaping as one very big year.


Politics aside (for now) I'm told those suffering from dementia are unaware, in the later stages anyway. As I'm aware I assume 'not yet' but nothing is certain? After passing 80 we forget things, little things, consistently. It goes with the territory. Maybe we have a far greater block of memories to remember? God knows. Every so often (but not too often thankfully) you'll run across an 'oldie' with a story to tell, which will open up more of your own memories in response, meaning (I assume) there's a gold mine of memories temporarily forgotten, liable to be recalled (a type of password?) by another from the same era, not that there's too many of us left. Mentally active seems a sound way to keep things at a satisfactory level. If in doubt (often), I do my multiplication tables in my head; 14 times 7 = 98? It means nothing obviously but it makes me feel more secure. The true meaning of 'mentally active' at my age is more a case of the ability to reach the lavatory in an emergency, and with 37 zaps of radio therapy 2004 there's no shortage of them. Many use Google for a quick result, offsetting the answer, slowly festering in your mind. Others assume it will come ‘when it’s ready’, most of the time anyway? Then there's grieving, a tricky one, but consistent, again at my age. A year, two years? Depends on the individual but whatever, sooner or later we get into a different pattern. Or do you continue? If you stop grieving can you officially accept they’ve gone? You've officially moved on? They're dead! Or is guilt a factor, as always? Why is there an importance to the grieving process? A bit like in a courtroom where some poor soul gets another year or two on his sentence because he failed to show enough remorse? A wife or a husband would likely assume pride of place; obviously a child, mostly, if not forever. Why am I on about dementia and grieving? Why not? Kids don't care about the oldies, but the closer they get the more their curiosity? That's my theory anyway.


No point complaining; nobody listens. Mostly true. The youth pay lip service and we all have our problems. I'm still recovering from pneumonia, resting, patience. 'Waiting' has taken on a new meaning. Unfulfilled predictable monotony, searching for the illusion of usefulness. No thought bubble, no writing, no work. Does work, any work, bestow dignity, meaning, a form of (self) status? The trauma of retirement in the background, haunting, the dread of doing nothing!!! Old age brings with it - nightmares. Or is it those $40 non addictive 2mg Melatonin tablets? Sleep at the drop of a hat. This blog allows me to treat myself to a whinge. I think I'm getting better, so I'll say no more. Offset the feeling of going gaga. For now anyway. For the record (non fake news) it was revealed last month that the world’s super-rich now hold the greatest concentration of wealth for 120 years – many via steps to avoid tax as the Paradise Papers showed. The World Health Organisation announced that cases of depression had ballooned in the past decade, making it the leading cause of disability worldwide. Loneliness is now being recognised as an epidemic throughout the west. Not for me. I'm a happy hermit.


The difference between NSW police and Northern Territory police: None...Is Steve Smith a good cricket captain for Australia? A champion batsman, but his public persona is more towards the daggy...A postal vote on Peter Dutton?...If we are sheep among wolves there's no doubting who the wolves are; they don't believe in assisted dying?...Girls are outperforming boys in literature at every form of schooling. This was the same in 1948, girls always top of the classes, and I survived. I still recall her name - Lulu Papadopoulos...Kristina Keneally: "Your government is awful. Enough is enough." Good stuff, but what if she loses, which is likely?...A fond farewell to Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie, a REAL independant..."80% of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe." [Jackie Mason]...www.ello8.com



LoveGrains of 'Salt' 14/11/2017. 

It's all so depressing. Politics that is. We have Princess Pauline charging to glory at the Queensland elections, some quoting 20%. ("She says some nice things" Who doesn't?). When it comes to policy we must conclude it's irrelevant in respect of One Nation. Most of us are guilty, forming political behaviour based on where we grew up, what our parents drummed into us deliberate or otherwise, and marrying these core beliefs with our interpreted sense of justice. We have a reasonably firm belief and conveniently ignore the bad points of our preferred party at a point in time and the good (if any) points of the current enemy. I've often voted other than Labor but my core voting intention has almost always been to vote against the Liberal Party other than for any other Party. The best example of set in stone thinking is the attacks by the Herald-Sun on Danny Andrews, and like sheep they follow, justifying what they believe in and ignoring the opposite. So it goes. The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has blasted Australia’s inadequate protection of human rights, calling for immediate action on the nation’s same-sex marriage and asylum seeker policies. It widely criticised Australia’s hard-line stance on refugees as a breach of human rights. Rightly so. The uncertainty of the citizenship debacle, the constant blame game of our Prime Minister, cleverly supported by the unelected (for now) Barnaby Joyce (a fact twister of epic proportions) and the upcoming confusion as a result of the yes vote. [The government has said if there is a yes result it will facilitate a private member’s bill to legalise same sex marriage]. Straight forward, but watch this space? An embarrassing mess, aided by the mysterious power of Peter Dutton's influence on our Prime Minister. Sadly, to the stage where it's pointless to criticise this lot. Sit back and watch them self destruct? Maybe not? Maybe our PM will get an epiphany (and push through the yes vote if it succeeds) and the ever calculating Billy Shorten will do something, or fall on his face? And pigs may take to the skies.

My old former Labor stronghold of Northcote comes up for a by-election this Saturday. Danny Andrews has been on the job for Labor and done his share of changes for the better, but alas, the Greens look like a shoe-in. To some degree I blame Billy Shorten. It's one thing to stand back and watch Malcolm self destruct but at some time you have to step up and show leadership, if any. Even with Peter (hammerhead) Dutton it was the Greens who said it like it is. First Green' Immigration spokesman Nick McKim (On Dutton: "A racist, a liar, a fascist and a serial human rights abuser") later re-iterated by the Greens MP Adam Brandt. Good luck to them.

Is it emotional to go on a porn site or to a brothel, leaving aside the guilt effect? ASIO and Google and in my case Woolworths can access my phone, my computer and list any suspected deviances, depending on their interpretation of deviant. Peter Dutton to target sex predators? Can they find out if I attend a brothel? Yes, by tracking phone destinations, also my credit card and accessing the brothel's records. Woolworths sends their weekly specials highlighting my previous purchases, Google obviously recording every search I've ever made. Amazon, the Tax Office, Centrelink, Facebook. A never ending list. Is there any way  I can do anything without them knowing? Yes, by staying at home, eating, washing and reading the newspaper, but they will know I'm at home. I gave up on secrets years ago. As a teen into my twenties I vaguely recall waking up half a dozen times with no memory of the previous nights. Nobody coming forward, but who knows, hopefully I'm not famous enough. One of my favourites Louis CK has been accused by 4 females. What is it with these entertainment power freaks? I did 40 years as an actor; witnessed many smaller insignificant romances, official and otherwise. Prior to I did 20 years as a public servant; younger, more 'incidents', but basically no different. All types yes, but power cliques men or women; nothing of note. Those oversexed types in positions of power cruel it for the 99% of us. Anyone with half a brain will know this will never change. And no; never been to a brothel, but...


A few objectors to this Honey Birdette sex shop in Westfield Shoppingtown. Not sure why. I visited one somewhere the back of Mordialloc some 5 years ago. No reason, other than time on my hands (driving past) and wondering how the other half lives, pointedly perhaps on what in life I was missing out on? A lovely receptionist gave me a walk around talk explaining all the items on sale. R rated movies at ridiculous prices. Flimsy (supposedly) sexy underwear at ditto ridiculous prices. Rubber type penises called dildo's (?) almost all way beyond (sizewise) my experience, and other contraptions I found confusing despite the receptionist's explanations. No reason to buy, but it was interesting, including the lady's explanation that business was thriving? I found nothing worth objecting to. Live and let live. OK, I did buy one item, which I still have as a knick-knack. A whip. 


A national anti-corruption agency? Former NSW Supreme Court judge Anthony Whealy:  "I call it the National Integrity Commission. It would be an umbrella-style body that would have its spokes protruding over and above the AFP, over and above the Parliamentary Expenses Authority, over and above the Australian Electoral Commission, and over and above the public service. Beautiful thoughts, dreams, sadly mere words. International tax avoidance and the Paradise Papers, with names including James Packer, The Queen and Trump's Wilbur Ross? Shady corporate structures facilitated to hide or obfuscate beneficial ownership, avoiding tax responsibilities in civil society all over the world. Isle of Man, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Luxembourg, Ireland, The Netherlands. In all (apparently) 53 tax havens, Any Australians? Heaps! The philosophy of making millions, billions? It's never enough, always more, and more, and having no conscience, letting us pay for the roads, transport, health, schools et al. Do we blame the accountants or their customers? Or Google or Amazon or our Taxation Office? A national anti-corruption agency? I'm choking on my cup of green tea. I have a panic attack every time I receive a letter from Centrelink. May we have a list of politicians on this list of tax dodgers?


Have you ever heard of management consultants who did NOT recommend sacking people? ...Section 44. On the one hand they have to renounce their British citizenship, if any, and on the other they must swear allegiance to the Queen? ...'Why is it Diogenes, that pupils leave you to go to other teachers, but rarely do they leave them to come to you?' 'Because',' replied Diogenes, 'one can make eunuchs of men, but no one can make a man out of eunichs...'hooroo...Cliff Ellen. cliffie9@bigpond.com  www.ello8.com




SmileGrains of 'Salt' 8/11/2017. 

We're supposed to live in a democracy. So tell me, where is this fascinating democracy when a government department [Michaelia Cash] and a national newspaper [The Australian] are set up with [seemingly] one aim; IE: to get the leader of the opposition [Bill Shorten] at any cost, including the use of our Australian Federal Police; such costs, in fact all costs, to be borne by the taxpayers? And approved by our Prime Minister who said: "We have no place in Australia for witchunts"? They've been witchunting Shorten for years, their own record at such a state they have no choice. Get rid of Billy (despite his voter unpopularity) or lose the next election. So much for Cash not knowing what was about to happen [the AWU raid]; more to the point can somebody tell why, as in based on what evidence? Evidence sufficient to justify the action as some sort of threat to the Commonwealth, or at least some form of corruption to expose? Therein lies the shame of it all. And for the 22nd successive time, a 54-46 result Labor’s way. 


The big con, or given serious political consideration, take your pick? "I do like some of the things Pauline stands for" says a potential voter way up there in sunny Queensland, echoing the thoughts of thousands of others. All part of the ABC's coverage of the upcoming election, albeit a cross section only. I wonder why the reporter didn't ask the obvious question "What things?" One Nation state leader Steve Dickson: “The message that we are sending to the two tired old major parties is ‘wake up, look at what has happened all over the world". From their own site they say - One Nation is committed to Australian sovereignty, the Constitution and Government of the people by the people for the people. For this they get, according to the experts, 18% of the vote; making Queensland the nuff nuff capital of Australia. One Nation ['Seinfeld'] - a show about nothing.


The problem, as a result of the 'Me Too' against sexual harassment and assault, is - power! Unfocussed power. These free thinking (supposedly) hard done by females, chock full of resentment, will not let go of the reigns, in fact tighten them along the lines of my favourite principle - 'The more they get the more they want'. I'm not referring to females (and some males) who are wrongfully treated as part of some power clique. I'm concerned for the normal relationships between males and females which can be in danger when we let this movement start making rules outside their own obvious orbit and (as usual) supported by the seemingly sensible 'pissant' type males espousing fairness for females. Will men have to ask for that first kiss? In my day such a request would likely as not put the closed stamp on any future romance. The male to make that first move was a necessity. Do nothing, and nothing results, unless you run across a forward thinking female; eureka! I repeat, I'm not talking about those powerful males using their power to calm the constant itch in their major private part. They've been getting away with this since Plato. Maybe with this newfound social media platform a few of them can be called out, hopefully, though doubtful, legally. No. It's what effect this nonsense has on the normal interaction between males and females which, if let too loose, can fracture the situation, which concerns me. "When I look into your eyes, I tend to lose my thoughts". Flirting, either party, is at risk. Beware. 


A shareholder's morality? A nice enough lady on the phone, suggesting a change from AGL to Red Energy, the latter being a 'wholly owned' Australian company. I asked, 'So what'? The profits stay in Australia apparently, taxed here. And AGL? No response. I asked the difference between an Australian shareholder and an overseas shareholder but ended it there telling the well meaning lady (trying to earn a quid?) "I'd 'think' about it". I'm none the wiser. The National Australia bank’s $6 billion profit was announced at the same time as the intended sacking of 6000 workers. Why? Extra profits for shareholders? Maybe $7 billion next year? Australian or overseas shareholders? What becomes of the extra $1 billion profit? Westpac announced an $8 billion profit, nothing on job losses; yet? What becomes of those 6000 workers? Our man (Scotty 'trickle down' Morrison) mumbles on about retraining, some transferring to the thousands of new jobs created by the Turnbull government? 'Creative' indeed. No need for a banking royal commission. Double dutch again. Greed is good, but only if you're an Australian shareholder?


Our PM, if nothing else a past master of the blame game: Malcolm Turnbull has dismissed the fears of refugees who are too scared to leave Australia's now abandoned detention centres in Papua New Guinea, instead claiming they are being encouraged to stay there by refugee advocates and the Greens. Fair's fair. At least he didn't blame Labor.


Goodness knows why I write this blog; ten years of erratic thoughts, a connection with the everyday to stave off older age? A mix of reasons but more likely something to occupy my mind between the hours of 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm. The 'appearance' of being busy? Recently after some 5 weeks of a virus, a week of feeling almost normal, followed by a second nastier virus (pneumonia) I experienced a longish period where I not only did bugger all but in fact my mind was at a stage of blankness where I had little or no reason to write anything. Told to 'rest' and let the antibiotics take their course, or courses; some half dozen varieties. A conundrum. I could understand the need for 'rest' albeit never quite trusting doctors anyway, but the carrying out of this task (rest) was the mystery. Doing nothing, watching television, taking naps? Walking was slow, too bloody cold. A little at a time. I tried more reading, but the eyes objected. It struck me, eventually, being a slow thinker at the best of times, I was getting old. Yes, I'm aware of my age (81) but until this dreadful problem of having to cope with resting, doing nothing, it hadn't really hit home that I was old. Does that make sense? I'm far from sure I like it, more so because although other older people seem happier (about doing nothing?) others disappear, forever? Where am I at right now, leaving aside the pathetic idea of self pity? Unsure. Maybe expunge the 'doing nothing' guilt factor, continue on with the 'rest' advice until I can feel in my bones to be reborn, or (more likely) eventually learn the art of doing nothing, accepting old age? Maybe Bing Crosby's "Busy Doing Nothing" or from a Collingwood perspective "Always look on the bright side"  A slippery slope. 


If it's OK to send them to the United States why is it not OK to send them to New Zealand? Stand up Billy Shorten; send them here!...Respectful, robust and always interesting, says Julia Baird in introducing ‘The Drum’ ABC 5.30. Not always...What's the point of a euthanasia bill at 12 months to live, cut down to 6? Who can tell? Doctors? We surely need better palliative care AND voluntary assisted dying. A security (pill) blanket?...Immigration Minister Peter Dutton as Opposition Leader and Health Minister Greg Hunt as his possible deputy after the next election; nightmares...Vince Colosimo, star of stage and screen? Well, screen anyway...'The Block', surely the world's most boring show, after The Ex-PM and Dance Moms. Thank God for 'Hard Quiz'...hooroo...Cliff Ellen. cliffie9@bigpond.com  www.ello8.com



HeheGrains of 'Salt' 2/11/2017. 

A five day stay (my 4th) at our very own luxurious Rosebud Hospital where '15 minutes of fame' (and then some) is a way of life for the ill inhabitants therein, myself included. No hint of shyness; out trots the life stories. Amazing stuff. Oh to have a tape recorder. [Yes, I have an iPhone but it's not the same, and it's rude]. We all have our problems and it helps to have someone who listens, or at least appears to. Let's hear it for the listeners, the female nurses, requiring high art knowledge, instinct, in psychological studies. How to listen, intrigued, but to escape (due to the needs of all the patients) in the nicest possible way; often some returning to continue from where it was left dangling. Clearly a special breed. I couldn't help remembering our Minister Greg Hunt's mail-out last year under "continuing to fight for" - a 150 bed facility at Rosebud hospital? Moving on...lots of 'A day at a time' obviously. 'Nip it in the bud' got its share of mentions. At least 2 Kathleen 'Kath' Darleen Day Knight's. No offence. Nice people. Jane Turner no doubt spent time at Rosebud Hospital with either a tape recorder or a wonderful memory. Add in the pressure of days on end without a smoke. Dinner of steamed fish in white sauce with mashed potatoes, followed by blancmange and raspberry. Pondering. If I maintain my no smoking regime I'm looking to a long future of these meals, better still, maybe even quiche, with spinach and feta? Heaven, clearly on a stick, on planet Earth. YUK!!! Am I in Lah Lah Land? I ventured 'once' into a loose political discussion "Who do you like in Queensland?" Answer: "I think Pauline has her heart in the right place". Pauline has a heart, made from the same stuff as Peter Dutton's? Pauline and Peter starring in a commercial to encourage the recruitment of more nurses with the backing music of  'Give me a kiss to build a dream on'? Saved from my flirtation with brain damage by the nurses. The Rosebud Hospital nurses. Triple orchids. 


Michaelia Cash, surely a permanent resident of Lah Lah Land and surely with the knowledge and agreement of our Prime Minister, again falls on her sword. As indeed does our man Malcolm, but as we've come to realise, our PM doesn't give a monkey's about anything other than Malcolm being Prime Minister. He finds it more convenient to never carry a sword. Being ensconced at Rosebud I missed all this. Lucky me. 


On far less important matters the High Court has ruled against Barnaby Joyce, down but far from out. Certain to be re-elected as soon as possible. Others to temporarily miss out, Deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash, One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts (who thanked everyone in Australia except me) and former Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters were ineligible. There's been a lot of jumping up and down on this one, but really, who was interested? The one plus is it gave the High Court an upgrade in respectability after two previous dodgy decisions, seemingly political. Pauline is devastated at the loss of this great man Malcolm Roberts? OMG - He's standing for Ipswich. Sure enough PM Malcolm came out after the Barnaby decision full of verbal beans, including a nasty shot at Labor's power costs? Desperate times for a sinking ship, albeit many desperate dirty deeds to come before the next federal election.


The Amazons of Libya 100BC ruled during the realm of Queen Myrina, rejecting marriage as subjugation. So that they might have children they were granted leave of absence, during which they copulated randomly with selected males from nearby towns. Only a woman who had killed a man in battle was allowed to give up her virginity. An Irish law from 697 forbids women to be soldiers, meaning they had been soldiers previously. A wealth of legend about female warriors from ancient Greece, who coined the term Amazon. Trained from birth, living apart from men, and went to war in their own regiments. They were mentioned in Homer’s Iliad dating back to 600BC. Said Rita Rudner "I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They’ve experienced pain and bought jewellery." Said Montaigne "Marriage is like a cage; one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside equally desperate to get out." [Some things bear repeating].


Obviously we are selling off bits and pieces of our country including some of our natural resources...to overseas interests. Gradually we squeeze our social services to the point of a poverty line. We are told "a civilised  society has a safety net". Where is the safety net in Newstart? We reward big business with tax cuts, approve politicians salary increases and slam dunk any hope of wage justice for the rank and file. Here in Victoria we have Danny Andrews getting stuck into items where 'nothing' has happened for years. Dying with dignity, safe drug injection facilities and the massive road and rail transport messes. Danny, the only politician to be tackling the big issues, and for his efforts cops it from all sides. One wonders why? 


No point in a citizenship audit says our darling Prime Minister. Fair enough, so why did they chase Billy Shorten on his qualifications?...There are certain things in life we can take on board. If you’re inclined towards the 3aw brainwashing then come a Sunday morning listen to George and Paul ‘Talking Lifestyle’...Communications Minister Mitch Fifield is something else. Pursuing a case of political and commercial agendas on behalf of Pauline Hanson? Attacking our ABC? Exactly what does this man stand for? Where is his heart?...Finally, on the subject of hearts, sensitivity and love of one's fellow man (or woman) the perfect example is our wonderful Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, particularly his handling of the Manus Island closure  standoff. Still, a monster he may well be, but the lack of response from a gutless Labor government is similarly a disgrace of equal proportion...The Israeli flag carried by the light horsemen at the charge into Beersheba re-enactment?...If I ever catch the chap who invented those safety tops on the cough medicine bottles; murder will follow...I was about to save the paper bags from my chemist (medicines) when I thought -  why? To the blue bin, along with the rest of them... hooroo...Cliff Ellen. cliffie9@bigpond.com  www.ello8.com


Monday 28/8/17:

 The pain of being beaten by Melbourne (Australian rules) dates way back to the 1950's. Beaten every which way 1955-57 and free kicks to Bob Johnson every time he got near the football and staged a push in the back, the brutality (as we saw it) of Noel McMahon and the knocking unconscious of Des Healy (supposedly an accident) by Bluey Adams and Bob Nunn's anti Collingwood umpiring. The joy of revenge, winning the 1958 premiership, stopping Melbourne's 4 in a row premiership run, the disaster of 1964 and Neil Crompton's goal. Thus, the victory, though counting for nothing in the scheme of things season 2017, nevertheless something to hang our hats on throughout the long Summer months waiting patiently for 2018 and the promise of better things to come. It's only football for goodness sake; settle down. True. But better than losing. Collingwood  14.15 (99) defeated Melbourne 12.11 (83) MCG. August 26, 2017. One last comment: If Steele Sidebottom does not win the Copeland Trophy, Collingwood's best & fairest, the game stinks, like it did in season 2015 when Dane Swan was robbed. [I played in a card school for some 40 years - blind poker; there was a saying when one won a smallish pot - "Little fish are sweet"] Enough on football. 


 Saturday 19/8/17:


The Gold Coast Suns carry an instant handicap with not only their name but also their dreadful jumper, and worse (unbelievably) the away jumper. How can these colours build a solid support base? On the Gold Coast? Inhabited by people who read the Gold Coast Bulletin, almost as bland as the Courier Mail? No. It’s a holiday spot. It doesn’t sit. The same applies to the player group. A Victorian club can be a mix of country, interstate, city locals all trained hard with constant Herald-Sun brainwashing, togetherness, mateship. A completely different type of brainwashing at Surfers Paradise, a cleansing, to a beach mode, a holiday mode. Sadly Rodney Eade had delusions of grandeur (and money) by leaving the cushy Collingwood job, perhaps fantasising as a premiership coach and forgetting his holiday footballers group were lacking in psychological impact. Theoretical good footballers in dire need of a backbone. He gambled and lost, forgetting he may lose the respect he held in exchanger for silly dreams. Who can solve it? At best a 5 year problem, and lots of money. 


 MONDAY 14/8/17: 


The Australian Christians Lobby and number one shite stirrer Tony Abbott have made their marriage equality views clearly known. Fair enough. I'm happy with the yes/no poll idea, given it's a waste of money and assuming the High Court challenge is defeated. This allows us to see what other snakes come out of the woodwork. Best for mine to hang it all out. Some will not obviously. Here on the Mornington Peninsula one word from Greg Hunt as a no and the sheep will follow. Ditto if Greg says yes, but more likely he will keep his powder dry. Some will be hurt, but that will happen anyway. A case of taking the pain for the gain? Unfortunately it comes with ratbags on both sides, including (horror) celebrities, so best we ignore the crap. Either result is not a win for our Prime Minister and hopefully Billy Shorten stands to gain in terms of his preferred PM vote. I'm a dreamer. If Billy does make it to the Lodge next year I'm hoping not only for the marriage equality 'yes' decision within the so called 'first 100 days' but just as important, he will take affirmative action for those stranded on Nauru and Manus Island.


 THURSDAY 10/8/17: 


Earlier this year the Herald-Sun gave Opposition Leader Matthew Guy the opportunity to tell us of his intentions as our next Premier, in tackling crime and making Victoria safe again. It's surely reasonable to assume the lobster/grange meet was part of his research, like his backflip after research on the re-zoning of farmland to residential; 24 hectare property at Ventnor overlooking Western Port Bay. Keep punching Matthew...Our Prime Minister looked us in the eye (down the barrel, so to speak) and said he was 'keeping our promise to the Australian people'. Even my old mate Blind Freddy (no offence Freddy mate) can come up with half a dozen broken promises on the back of a minute's thought. A 'unifying moment' said Mathias. Again - down the barrel. Imagine this lot running the ABC, with no SBS?...Doco/SBS on Dunkirk. Japanese dive bombers caused an English warship to spit in half. Sunk, with both insides going down. Tragic loss, drowned, some 600 men. 1940. Except for one man, who was on deck having a cigarette.


 SUNDAY 6/8/17: 


With cigarettes at $1.08 per the good news is a saving of $3.24 with my cigaretteless morning coffee, including a free copy of the crappy Herald-Sun. True, Collingwood won and true, some idiots will say Brodie Grundy should cop a week for a legal tackle and true, the crap newspaper will not mention the attempt to rape the ABC's 7.30 show, but the real disaster was two, (that's correct) TWO pieces as in two full pages written by Lord Tony's Peta Credlin. One against our Billy (obviously) and another on the gripping subject of same sex marriage. A difficult morning but warmed by the knowledge I was in the company of non smokers enjoying (apparently) a happy and contented lifestyle. Strangely, nobody was accessing their newfound right to sit outside?


Years ago Auntie Elsie had a windfall. Buried it down the back of her long backyard in Preston alongside the wood chopping area. Three years later, in need of the windfall, Auntie Elsie could not locate it due to the wood chopping area being moved by Uncle Tom closer to the house, thus all evidence of the previous wood chopping area gone with the wind. We sympathised, up to a point. Said lovely Auntie Elsie "Leave me alone in my misery". Now, some 65 years later, as a smoker, I can understand. 




A funny few days, but no haha's. Archbishop Anthony Fisher advising us to stay out of the bedroom as part of his 'no' campaign; at best twisted logic thus becoming himself - a 'sitting shot'. [As Mrs Brown said to the priest: "If you don't play the game don't make the rules"] Then followed the Hilary Clinton '4 Corners' brilliantly chaired by Sarah Ferguson, invariably inviting comments from all sides, every angle, no doubt influenced by our prejudices. Some criticised her for not calling out some of Hilary's long winded blame list. I preferred Sarah's non intrusive no nonsense approach leaving it up to us to determine our response. A fascinating watch, questions left unanswered. A troubled lady. Julian Assange, a "nihilistic opportunist who does the bidding of a dictator"? Definitely in need of a fact check. 


And then...


Whacko-the-diddle-oh. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has expelled Harvey Weinstein over decades of alleged sexual misconduct. "The era of wilful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behaviour and workplace harassment in our industry is over." Sounds good and no doubt lots more to follow, including the ever so cute 'metoo' to comfort people, make them feel like they contribute, care. Everybody knew?  Like they knew about other rumours; Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe, Wallace Beery, President Kennedy, or the other one? Some knew, a small percentage in the scheme of things, but those who did or had suspicions without proof would not let it stop them from getting to know Harvey on a more personal basis. It's the nature of the industry. Rumours yes, keeps us going between drinks, but who would ever call it out, then or now? And not always the fault of Harvey either. Here in Australia? Here, there, everywhere. Some people, not too many, let's say a small consistent percentage (men and women; mainly men) want sex, for the sake of sex, not love, or maybe love on a 30 minute trial basis. A new icy pole. Thirst quenched, until the need for another fresh icy pole. Raspberry for a change? Test out the merchandise. Enticement or harassment? Depends who you are, where the power is, where you're coming from. Example only - there's a truckload of difference between a fetching comment from Geoffrey Rush to an attractive young ingenue and that same comment coming from me? Films, television, theatre, emotional industries, less jobs, too many applicants, all hopes pinned on a career, success. Mainly good people but not without the monsters, including at the top. In the football world they say "Everything's in the mix". In the film and theatre world? Double it. Correction - quadruple it, with bells on! Careers, hopes, dreams, jealousies, human nature. Harvey will go, and the likelihood of any further sexually predatory behaviour will be carefully hidden, but not stopped, no matter the bullshit already in print. The positive news right now, as it stands at least, is the banishment of workplace harassment. Moving on...    


Wednesday 18/10/17. A friend enquired recently "Was I a planned baby? Strange. No such animal in my day...It's been a tough few days healthwise. Doctor says I need rest? Can't recall ever trying it, save those beach holidays years ago with the kids. Back November 1st. I deleted my Grain of Salt 2016, harking back to 2010, no reason...hooroo...Cliff Ellen. cliffie9@bigpond.com  www.ello8.com


Sick'SALT' A GRAIN.  Friday 13/10//2017. 

The problem with writers block is you're never quite sure if it's old age or simply a temporary brain haemorrage. Best relax, wait for an idea to spring forth? At my age it's a case of 'Waiting for Godot' or God for the believers, or legal euthanasia if in serious pain. This dreaded virus doing the rounds came back stronger than ever yesterday, after assuring me I was 'better'? Beware. The convenient dream (hope) of a powerball win has gone. I don't want to go overseas, or eat in fancy restaurants, or buy a mercedes, or shop till I drop, and sex is at best a vague memory. How sad is that? Sadder still, I'm not even depressed! Well, other than politics, but that's normal. It must be the lull, or this nagging virus. The magic between the arrival of the Schoolies, and Christmas, and January, and the soon to be Woolworths dawn visits. Normally this is the good time, the happy time, the relaxation, anticipation. I find it strange, in the sense of my whole life being based on the "something will turn up" philosophy, and if it takes too long you make something happen. But not this time, and more to the point: No one to blame? Maybe write a book, a murder mystery without street names. I read Watching You by Arne Dahl and all those Swedish street names confused me. Who cares what street they are in? Begin this blog with something positive? First, the doctor, antibiotics. Second, Scarlet O'Hara. Tomorrow is another day, if I make it? As the great Jeffrey Kennett would say: Have a nice day/week.


Anti-terrorism measures, the undivided attention of the Prime Minister and the Premiers as they agreed as one, on national security coming before civil liberties. PM: "Every hour of everyday is focussed on keeping Australians safe. We've seen real unanimity. This is us at our best". Oh so sweet, great publicity, now back to reality? The sooner we see the backside of Peter Dutton's ilk, either at the next election or by electing Shorten as PM the better, within reason. This is not to suggest Shorten will be better, obviously a 'time will tell' option, but it is to suggest we desperately need a change from this present government. A number of people have expressed a distrust of Billy Boy, none to date with any solid foundations, a question of instinct? These same people were happy chappies when Turnbull aced Lord Tony, so to some extent we can assume this instinct is tied in with being wrong about our PM. The thought of Dutton being our security supremo can be frightening. Enhancing the powers and reach of the national security state, bit by bit? They've even got Danny Andrews believing this con. I suppose the saving grace can be their history of organising the whole shebang is second to everybody. It's all very well to say 'if you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to worry about" but that's now! We've seen Dutton's work (and twin Morrison) so we should have a fair idea where he's coming from. We don't have a bill of rights. Face ID for acts of terrorism and serious crime? Sounds reasonable. What if they decide to extend it, which is a real possibility considering their attitude to refugees and in fact anyone who disagrees with them. A kid stealing a violet crumble from 7-Eleven? Not likely you may say, but where we land, after opening the floodgates, is anybody's guess.


The blame game: Malcolm Turnbull (energy crisis) launched into Bill Shorten calling him  “Blackout Bill”. The recurring theme: Because Shorten was a minister in the Gillard government, and therefore responsible for any gas shortfall? Obviously a transparent attempt at blame-shifting and a distraction from Big Mal's fallibility in overcoming divisions thus preventing him from landing a coherent energy policy, unless of course you're a daily reader of the Murdoch newspapers. And so it goes, ever sideways. [NBN: "We are restructuring it to make it more transparent so that people will know that, if they're not getting the right deal, it is a Telstra or an Optus or a TPG problem". A change from the Labor blame game? Marvellous Malcolm]. 


Low self worth has always been a major contributor to many causes of depression. It  begins as a child. Some survive, some carry it seemingly forever, some with the added burden of bullying, the danger years probably in the 10-20 age bracket. We've just been through Mental Health Week. No answers but lots of helpful discussion. The therapy (dubbed “behavioural activation”), is officially being promoted as a legitimate treatment for depression by Britain’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Sounds good to me. Here's hoping, for all our sake, including mine at times.


The inhumane policy on Manus? Option of moving to Nauru? And a 'no smoking' ban? Now four years since hundreds of asylum seekers were imprisoned by the Australian government on Manus Island and on Nauru; men, women and children. Most of them are still there, including some 60 children. Not the 5 who died.


The Fair Work Commission argued the Sunday and public holiday rates no longer provided a “fair and relevant” minimum safety net, choosing to make cuts of 25% to 50% points in the retail, pharmacy, fast food and hospitality industries? Business groups argued the cuts would help boost employment and growth in the industry? I suppose the question is - will Billy Boy fix it when (if) he gets in?


Harvey Weinstein could make millions by not writing a book... Debi Enker: ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie came out swinging, vigorously defending the organisation against attacks by the government and rival media outlets. I beg to differ Debi. Michelle leaves much to be desired...Why does Tony Jones (on 9) consistently rubbish Nick Kyrgios?...If someone says they're honest I'm listening, if extended to 'totally honest' I've moved on...Comedy: Scott Morrison will do what it right, the GST carve up?...Peter Dutton "Why are these companies involved in political campaigns?"...Can we expect mandatory notification of conditions affecting driving fitness?...Nick Xenophon is concerned about waste in the public service, on advisement from ‘decent’ public servants. Who are the indecent ones?..."It's within the guidelines" said Julie Bishop. [Grand finals]...hooroo...Cliff Ellen. cliffie9@bigpond.com  www.ello8.com



Wild'SALT' A GRAIN.  Saturday 7/10//2017. 

A Jerry Seinfeld week, a blog about nothing? They say a week is a long time in politics. Alas, a week after a Richmond grand final win is an eternity. I skipped the television news and the newspapers until Tuesday, only to be stymied by some ratbag retired accountant in Las Vegas coupled with more Richmond mania. (I'm a retired accountant. AASA, 1965. Show some respect, or are all retired accountants ratbags?). Kevin Bartlett, SEN sport was still raving come Wednesday. True, it reached over 20 degrees, a blessing after months of freezing winds and the Collingwood losses, but not enough to appease my mood. As for the U.S. of A, the predicted hopeless discussion on gun control returned, inevitably, for the umpteenth time, and the Second Amendment's "right to keep and bear arms" garbage, the NRA gun lobby pumping literally millions into the pockets of politicians, also highlighting more of former Prime Minister little Johnny Howard's one claim to fame (Gun control; Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission estimates there are up to 600,000 illegal guns in Australia?) thus softening his Iraq disaster amongst others and his current interference into the marriage equality debate. The Melbourne Festival is upon us, October 4 - 22. Have you noticed? The Arts; the Performing Arts? Are you excited, or has Richmond and the media dulled your senses? Do you recall how our Attorney-General (Brandis) sucked some $100 million from the Arts Council, gave a little bit back, and deftly got all the major companies to adopt the slogan ('I'm alright Jack') while casting all the little fish (Arts companies) adrift? We have an Australian space agency now, human exploration in the solar system; read planet Mars, in 7 years time? OR - The Seniors Festival beginning today, Federation Square, including free blood pressure tests? You're not a senior yet? You don't know what you're missing...


What ever happened to “be alert, but not alarmed”? Turnbull may well have an "obsession" with national security; pushing for a further toughening by including  police to hold suspects for longer, 7, 14 days without charges, and yes, sure we need to feel safe and steps have to be taken to ensure our safety, but every terrorist-mass shooting seems an opportunity for Turnbull to link it to Australia and his vital role in keeping us safe. Big Brother-style mass surveillance, probably, eventually, but far too late to worry about it now; Facebook, iPhones etc. The states all agreed, as they had to; being seen to be concerned. The balance between security and privacy (what's that?) yet to be determined, my suspicions clearly with the latter. As for facial recognition, I don't even recognise my own face on my driver's licence? Let us hope the day is a 'long way off' before President Dutton can jail us for not standing for our national anthem, but I'm not holding my breath. Meanwhile, let's enjoy our glass houses. [Note: I experienced 'counter-terrorism' in the 1950's, from publicans.]


This past week it's more than likely you haven't needed any heating, causing a false (but nice) feeling of saving money after an expensive winter. Not so. Those crooks have their profit margins locked in. Don't worry about it. It's not as if you have any say in the matter. More likely it can bring on stress, therefore spending your false savings on Somac or Mylanta. A vicious circle, like our water bills, and any other ideas those 'suits' can think up to extract a few cents from our worn out pockets. ATM fees cut, costing $780 million. Who were those rich idiots who paid the $2 fee? A need for a philosophical approach? One other thing; don't grow a beard. You don't want to end up doing 14 days without charges because someone in Peter Dutton's office takes a personal set against you? Joking...I think?


I try not to watch films with 'stress' actors in them. Anthony La Puglia, Russell Crowe, Elisabeth Moss and the like. They tend to display this stress factor even if ordering a cup of tea, and big on bloody 'pauses'. True, most everyone loves these performers, but frankly, I see them as a pain in the backside. They remind me of that rubbish in Ross Kemp's 'Extreme World'. My taste (as I've said) is with Humphrey Bogart; Casablanca. Mind you, I'll put up with anything after the pain of watching Baz Luhrmann's 'Australia' on SBS recently. Was that an Australian accent Hugh Jackson was using? Up there with Meryl Streep's as Lindy Chamberlain. "A dingo stole my baby".


Consistent letters to newspapers along the lines...'I wasn't going to bother about this yes/no voting nonsense but the aggression shown by the yes voters has made me decide to vote no'. Either they were always going to vote no, this being their raison d'être, or they have some hidden urge to advertise their stupidity. Were they unaware of the catholic church threatening to sack employees who have a 'yes' opinion on gay marriage; also ignoring the church's refusal to sack their own known paedophile priests? By all means vote no, but please, no stupid reasons. 


"The more they get the more they want" is near enough to the perfect example of the philosophy of life; with exceptions. Smoking age to be lifted to age 21? To those who agree with this nonsense, hide your heads in shame. If it comes to pass do we move into alcohol, gambling? Sex even? I'm told our brain is not fully functional until we reach 25, again with exceptions. Hilarious. How would raising the legal smoking age deter underage smokers?


Nick Xenophon, the gentleman who voted to abolish penalty rates and approved media reforms; not to be missed...Stewart Dew to the Gold Coast Suns. Damn. I wanted him at Collingwood...Drug testing 5000 welfare recipients; Scotty Morrison, a twin of Dutton. Sickening stuff...Another reason not to like Hawthorn; Kennett; Privatisation and deregulation = our energy crisis?...If you're against euthanasia why worry about it? It's not as if you have to join in. A no brainer?...Another refugee death on Manus Island, anyone notice?...Sydney-centric commentator Phil Gould on Melbourne Storm being 'over-rated'?...Richmond finished 13th 2016. Collingwood 13th 2017; a desperate sign for Collingwood supporters, signifying nothing?...Download the App, connect to your car via bluetooth and press play. Why? I have a car radio?.....Finally, well done Mr Steele Sidebottom....hooroo...Cliff Ellen. 



Cool'SALT' A GRAIN.  Sunday 1/10//2017. 

Of the seven federal MPs hauled before the High Court over their citizenship status, only One Nation's Malcolm Roberts and Greens senator Scott Ludlam were wrongfully elected, so the Commonwealth contends. Well, the Liberal Party anyway. In its official submission to the High Court the government says the other five politicians - Barnaby Joyce, Fiona Nash and Matt Canavan; Green Larissa Waters; and crossbencher Nick Xenophon - should be cleared because they were ignorant of their status. The High Court will do as it's been requested to do, or am I being cynical? Anything to see the backside (and the mouth) of Malcolm Roberts is a good thing, though Pauline will 'have a plan' I suspect? The thought of the same result for Barnaby, Fiona and Xenophon is tasty and would set the scene for Labor, but highly unlikely. Particularly professional do-gooder Xenophon.


Richmond captain Trent Cotchin was guilty, unless you happened to be a Richmond supporter. Cotchin went in hard, deliberately, trained to hurt, accidentally clipped the head of Dylan Shiel; guilty. A head hit, concussion; Dylan out of the game for the last 3 quarters. Brodie Grundy, guilty earlier this season, got 4 weeks? (should have got 2 but the AFL/MRP wanted to send a clear message - leave the head alone). Fair enough, so why did Trent get off? The combined power of Kevin Bartlett on radio and Caroline Howard on print and television too much for the MRP or the AFL to contend with, a week free of turmoil; the easy way out? Unjust? Indubitably. Bias, ever present under the guise of reality. Our AFL bias is put to shame by those Sydney commentators calling the Melbourne Storm match. Good luck to Richmond, nevertheless a well deserved premiership victory. Also to Dusty Martin; the Brownlow and the Norm Smith medal (Not Alex Rance, even Houli?). Well done also to Melbourne Storm, deserved premiers. Supporters of rugby league don't know how lucky they are. A set of rules allowing free passage to watch, rather than the confusion associated with AFL matches, albeit the AFL umpires were on their best behaviour on that last day in September. Done and (thoroughly) Dusted, 2017? A beautiful 6 months to hibernate, free of stress, before year 7 of the trials and tribulations of Nathan Buckley.


Treasurer Scotty (verbal tsunami) Morrison (ABC. 7.30. Leigh Sales) talking the talk on the best way to manage the economy; saving $4.4 billion from the budget deficit by making savings from payments to disabled people, students, the unemployed and savings via the shonky NDIS slowdown. I confess I only watched half, Scotty being miles ahead in the world of serepax and/or temazepam, take your pick. Wondering if he mentioned the Gini coefficient or raising the medicare level? Scotty, ever in search of an original thought, other than at our expense ideas.


Point Nepean Road leading into Rye and out to Blairgowrie is a single lane, presently a double lane both sides (at 50 kph) through the Rye main strip with planning apparently to be changed to a single lane both sides at 40 kph. We residents (in the main) choke with laughter at the thought of through traffic in Rye under their new proposals. Allow a minimum 20 minutes to escape the Rye carpark January into March? Wear a face mask for secondary effects similar to passive smoking? Further, no street parking, replaced by a bike path. Not that I can ride a bike but wondering as to any bike parking, perhaps resting on the new trees to be planted? A sea of colourful lycra? My humble unit backs onto Campbell Lane, parallel to Point Nepean behind the shops, to be upgraded with another bike lane and pop up shops, mixed use development, outdoor dining? Thinking of acquiring a gun licence, a peephole in my back fence? The phantom terrorist? A beautiful glossy (10 year) township plan? I'll surely expire before this disaster comes to pass, if ever. They talked of community consultation, forgot to consult Cliffie, submissions closed October 2nd? 


My doctor gives me valium and/or temazepam minus the addiction lectures; forgets to tell me to stop smoking. Well, doctors plural. I have to wait a week to see my doctor of choice, albeit in  the throws of possible death. History tells us doctors have always been held in the highest regard, way back to Galen, whose theories appear to have started it all. Various philosophies based on the then current data. Medical science now tells us smoking causes everything apart from a virus. They then took on board the numbers who never smoked but also suffered various cancers, (but not a virus?) so included passive smoking, mysteriously dismissing any mention of cars and trucks and the diesel carcinogenic factor? What was the major cause for the cancers 60 years ago when so many fathers and mothers puffed ceaselessly? Can anyone recall what a doctor diagnosed before they came up with “virus”, or antibiotics for that matter. Far be it for me to question our historically self righteous medicos. At my age pondering is a way of life. I shouldn't complain. The day may come (will come?) when I have to rely on these heroes, to give me a finality (dignity?) pill?


A predicted higher number of primary votes for One Nation in Queensland, meaning? Don't blame Joh Bjelke-Peterson, blame those wanky Queenslanders...Former PM John Howard criticised those in the 'Yes' campaign who dismissed concerns about religious freedoms as so-called "red herrings", saying there were "legitimate concerns". Johnny Howard? He invented "red herrings"...Surely it's more dangerous to talk on your mobile phone while driving than it is to play a colourful musical poker machine?...Comments to the order of "Most Australians" or "Community expectations" or "Out of  touch with the vast majority of Australians" work as a beacon for Cliffie to read no further...I was never one for Hugh Hefner's type of female, similar to many footballers' wives and/or girlfriends. I prefer (correction; preferred) a bit of meat on the body beautiful...Good to see our PM blaming state governments NSW & Victoria for his power problems, giving the ALP a much needed break...Remember as kids saying 'boo' to frighten someone? No need now; just say "Peter Dutton!", Minister for Evil, hopefully to be transferred to planet Mars, eventually?...Sunday 8th - Victorian Seniors Festival kicks off; get yourselves into Federation Square; enjoy...Specially for the oldies in desperate need, try Doctor Christopher Love; for a second coming? I had mine 13 years ago...hooroo...Cliff Ellen.



KissSALT' A GRAIN.  Monday 25/9/2017. 

Full marks to PM Malcolm, two years as number 1 is not to be sneezed at, particularly with Lord Tony (Abbott) up his bumper bar. Tony's latest, flanked by his lovers (Alan Jones and Peta-Louise Credlin) “We’ve got to be alive to the fact that sometimes, unconsciously, we ourselves might be bullies”. Classic hypocrisy. Stunt Man Malcolm hasn't done anything other than talk the (velvet) talk either, but historically, when did he? Strange how Tony comes out with these 'zingers' just before another newspoll? [The government lagging 46 to 54 two party preferred; the 20th consecutive, Labor's way]. How about a carbon tax Malcolm, or Tony? Does anyone really support either? Maybe a half dozen at most for Tony, adding probably (secretly) Peter Dutton. Can you imagine Peter's private conversations on the 'no' vote. Language Peter!


A week of 'how far Richmond' is enough to make a grown man cry. Pointless paying good money for newspapers. A subsequent clash (concussion) other than the Cotchin-Shiel incident? They’re kidding. Cotchin went in hard, deliberately, accidentally clipped the head; guilty, but better he got off, for peace. Lucky he wasn’t a Collingwood player; Anthony Rocca, 2003. Good luck to both sides. The sooner it's over the sooner we get to yet another disappointing year; 2018, Collingwood. Whoever is appointed the new CEO at Magpie-land, please, pretty please, ban he or she from suggesting they hope to make the final 8. Interesting to note two of Nathan Buckley's discards, Paul Seedsman for Adelaide and GWS's Heath Shaw were out there playing for better teams?


Friday 22/9 I reached 81.5 years putting me 12 months ahead of the game; Australian men life expectancy rate at 80.5. Not excluding me from the usual traps; cognitive impairment, unmanageable pain, fear of dying, anxiety, loneliness, social isolation; maybe even suicide, not uncommon for men in their 80's? Fortunately I do not suffer from depression or a sense of worthlessness or hopelessness - so far. I do have a mild anxiety when (or should) the need arise to die with dignity; euthanasia. I’m more concerned the influence the Australian Medical Association has on any outcomes come Daniel Andrews changes. Doctors? By all means write (printout) my valium, serepax prescriptions and referrals to (mainly) money hungry specialists, but having their say on euthanasia? Akin to the Herald-Sun advising on politics. Some of those rest homes lately in the news may provide a quicker option to la la land?


Lionel Murphy’s past has been released, big deal. The newspapers no doubt searched high and low for nasty things to say about the great (ladies?) man; found none. A past hero. He came to see "Norm and Ahmed" written by his friend Alex Buzo (performed in the carpark out front at La Mama) 1977. The night a drunk entered the stage and offered Norm (Cliffie) a beer. Took 5 minutes to tell the drunk (ever so nicely) to piss off. The rumour (doubtful, but advised of his imminent arrival before the event) he flew down from Sydney especially, arrived in his big black government car. Miss him.


Almost a month since the law change disallowing a cigarette (outside) with my morning coffee at my local cafe. A disaster under the guise of health. There are two great  pleasures in life. A good feed and a cigarette. Now rising by 12.5% every year for our benefit, now costing $7.7 million a year for law enforcement, but dwarfed by the huge billions in income the government receives to ensure our good health. Now giving birth to an illicit tobacco market, likely to get worse because the non smokers will never come to terms with our pleasure as against their belief (unproven) in the righteousness of their actions. An attack on our lifestyle, choice. True, sex was once quite pleasurable, but not to be compared with a cigarette, hence the need for a smoke after the often stimulating, but not always, event. A beer (or a glass of wine) fair enough, but again the pleasure was with the cigarette while imbibing. Are people stopping smoking (plain packaging, the excessive tax?). No. Why not? Pleasure. Cheaper tobacco, illicit tobacco? Tell me where to get it.    


Apparently I'm missing  out. Watching Gruen ABC, there are 50 million swipes on Tinder, in Australia, per bloody day? A third of them do not date; they simply search. I'm tempted, but they want to know my age, and what category of females I'm looking for? Any? Blast!  


Peter Dutton and our PM on the job? Some 50 refugees from Nauru and Manus Island to be resettled in the US. There are 868 people in Papua New Guinea of whom 679 have been found to be refugees; Nauru has 1,124 people, with 994 having been found to be refugees. So what - another 1673 still waiting on the results of the Americans’ “extreme vetting”? 


Saw 'The Drum' ABC on another sad tale on the evils of gambling. Painted a picture of the sad lonely types drifting in to RSL's for company, noise, the bright lights of poker machines, losses. A never ending barrage by self righteous pissants, almost all of which get up to non Christian activities in the privacy of their own castles. People do lose on the pokies. When they return something to the order of between 80 to 90 cents in the dollar it's a certainty. The Christians will twist this, quoting figures closer to 5000 to 1 or higher. A sin! They will ignore the majority who get a form of pleasure (and yes, company, and yes, a feeling of belonging, and yes, an escape from boredom, and yes, pleasure) in visiting these establishments, prepared to lose within reason, hoping for an unexpected windfall. Some of those Christians go to racetracks, admiring the beauty of a horse, or a view, or a glass of wine. Maybe they have shares in CommBank or AGL? Sticky beaks!  


People up in arms about unsolicited text messages. I get some 30 a day?...Friends ex overseas holidays, waxing lyrical on 'views'? What's so big about views? A cafe, coffee, gorgeous views passing by, consistently, in Summer. OR: better view in the Dandenongs?...Shane Jacobson in 'Little Big Shots' commercials when a goal is scored. Painful. We miss Bill Hunter...I read where Turnbull is stymied by his party. Nonsense. Turnbull is stymied by himself...Penalty rates cut from last July 1st; notice the difference in jobs?...Where have all those sparrows gone; who is killing them?...Growth maybe, but what became of innovation and jobs?...Why would anyone give donations to any political party?...Ratbags exist on every street corner. 70,000 needles a month; Lennox Street, Richmond. So sad..."Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well" [Samuel Butler]...hooroo...Cliff Ellen. 



Crying'SALT' A GRAIN.  Tuesday 19/9/2017. 

Over the top emotional stuff coming out of this yes/no equality postal survey, particularly on Facebook pages. Surely, aside from the political monsters, we can be allowed our opinion either way without any mud slinging; both sides. The no voters can only talk 'what about the children' and the yes voters seemingly adopt a position of superiority? A dangerous shortage of innate intelligence, a big factor in everything, the speed of perception and understanding, the analysis of the facts as presented to us, including if possible the knack of prospective thinking, (looking ahead), deciding (right or wrong), conclusions. The equality yes/no vote is not about children or fertility services, adoptions, fostering, surrogates; all covered under State legislation. The Postal Survey result will not change that. It is not about the Safe Schools programme. As it happens I'm a yes man, but the aggression by many of the yes voters in coming down hard on the no's can be a worry. Add in the likes of Cory Bernadi and John Howard from the no side, with false warnings of opening the mythical floodgates, quietly imposing doubt on the undecided. In the meantime we try to ignore it, albeit knowing beyond doubt it's all about homophobia. Do I have a problem with the LGPTI? Not a skerrick. As for women - well now, that's a different matter. Patience, people.


Michael Montaigne: Queen Joanna of Naples (14th century) caused her first husband Andreosso to be hanged from the grill of her window by a gold and silver cord, plaited by her own hands, once she discovered that neither his organs or his potency corresponded to the hopes she had conceived of his matrimonial duties from his stature, his beauty, his youth and his disposition, by which he had won her and deceived her. [a pig in a poke]. Interesting. Still, on an everyday level, while it may be nice to wake up looking at a vision alongside, it may well be a nightmare for the vision. Eve started it.


'Where' I got married was never an issue. My fiancee’s family wanted catholic so I obliged to receive catholic instruction in meetings with the local priest, the bottom line to promise (loosely?) to bring the kids up (if any) in the same faith. Water off a ducks back. Even so, still unable to marry in the church proper, on 'the day' to the vestry, a side room off the main church platform/stage (?) then appearing before the guests in the church, already married, unwitnessed by guests? Sounds insulting and probably was; the nonsense side of it done and dusted. Onwards to the reception, bride and groom, legally married, and a few (too many) beers. And later, a motel? 


Another week of pondering. The consistent rubbish coming out of Canberra; PM Malcolm (the Stunt Man?) with no energy policy, particularly towards lower power prices and guaranteed supply, blaming Labor? The disgrace of drug testing, working for the dole, threatening welfare payments, the cruelty on Manus and Nauru. Bringing to mind Paul Keating's "unrepresentative swill" comment, particularly the One Nation dickheads. I shake my head (in sorrow) every time Princess Pauline opens her mouth. The lady (?) appears to carry a long list of resentments. Oh for just one sensible statement. Maybe it's me? What's with her ABC attack? With these new (political, anti The Guardian) media laws how or where is she coming from? The ABC represents our lifeblood of common sense? “The more people say we can’t do something, the more determined the government is to deliver on behalf of the Australian people,” said Mitch Fifield when negotiating to make the Princess Pauline driven reforms (?) restrictions, on the ABC. Never forgetting ever the opportunist Nick Xenophon. What say our Labor opposition minister for the Arts, Tony Burke? 


The departure of Sydney and West Coast from our football memories 2017. One minute Sydney were 'hot' followed by that loss, and why? - badly coached? Amazing how they come to these conclusions after one match. As a Collingwood supporter the ancient dislike of Richmond with the memory bank locked in to the 1980 VFL Grand Final, beaten by 81 points, so I'm still on the (miniature) GWS bandwagon. A faint touch of orange amidst a tsunami of black and yellow. Hopefully the umpires will give a fairer assessment than last year's disgraceful final, pro Western Bulldogs, a free kicks count 23-13 in favour of the Bullies? I'm with Stevie J, Heath Shaw and Toby Greene. Ram Charan: "The sky takes on shades of orange during sunrise and sunset, the colour that gives you hope that the sun will set only to rise again." And if Richmond wins? Go Tigers. Hey - it's only football. Howdy Doody...boys and girls. 


Australians don't like being pushed around or hoodwinked, says Lord Tony. Why is it that Tony Baloney, and Malcolm in the Middle and Zinger Billy Boy consistently tell us what we Australian people want, or know, or like? How would they know?


Exercises, summed up by using Colin Dexter's fictional character Diogenes Small; The Joys of Occasional Likeness. "For coping with even one quarter of that running course known as 'Marathon' - for coping without frequent halts for refreshments or periodic hours of vomiting - a man has to dedicate one half of his useful years to quite intolerable training and endurance. Such dedication is not for me." [Note: Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, stress fractures, and runners knee are a few specific ailments often reported by runners]. Walking for Cliffie, slowly.


The Sex Party (my mob) is now called The Reason Party?... Another heavy loser blaming Crown Casino for massive gambling losses. Stay away?...Emmy Awards: Extraordinary, powerful, tremendous, talented, love (with each other?), a thousand thank you's, more great roles for women, Elisabeth Moss? - no shrinking violets spotted. Hated 'Big Little Lies'...Mick Malthouse drives a Lexus from Lexus of Brighton; suggests we do likewise. What with?...Bad enough putting up with Matthew Richardson doing special comments (GWS/West Coast) but Mick Molloy pre game? Painful... Everyone gets a 'fair go' - crap. Inequality IS an issue...hooroo...Cliff Ellen. 



SickSALT' A GRAIN.  Wednesday 13/9/2017. 

"There is no pleasure to me without communication: there is not so much as a sprightly thought comes into my mind that it does not grieve me to have produced alone, and that I have no one to tell it to." [Montaigne]. I wouldn't quite go so far. Living alone at 81 does produce a need to remain a part of the stream of life. Not a case of whoever reads this (if any) - more a point of registering my thoughts 'out there'. The alternative is the problem; doing nothing, the fear of drawing a blank mind. More walking is suggested, pondered, dismissed. The mind is my exercise, right or wrong; my mind. I'm a bit like Canberra this week; all over the place. (Tommy Trinder?). A month of a virus into a hacking cough. Waiting for the sunshine, vitamins C, D, garlic. Useful, psychologically, if nothing else?


Our Prime Minister had a 'warm and constructive' chat with US President Trump as to the ongoing crisis with North Korea's nuclear weapons capability. This historic meeting of great minds should be enough to make Kim Jong-un shake in his boots. Said Malcolm: "We are absolutely of one mind. kim Jong-un is evil." Who was it said 'the thing I fear most is fear'? On to more important matters? Malcolm’s credible energy policy, if he has one, at this stage looking more like a spectacular policy failure, not helped by those same sex marriage and citizenship problems; fast losing interest, tedious. His attempt at a diversions [North Korea, Shorten] had little effect, Labor agreeing on North Korea. Now 19 newspolls. The latest Fairfax-Ipsos poll of 1400 respondents found Scotty Morrison as the preferred treasurer over Chris Bowen, if one can relate to 1200 as against millions of voters? "That's why I talk about the better days ahead because we can see all these things lining up – more jobs, more investment, profit performance improving." says verbal diarrhoea's Scotty. No mention of increased wages? As for his 5000 modest drug testing trials? Poor bastards. 


The yes/no vote: The Amazons of Libya 100BC ruled during the realm of Queen Myrina, rejecting marriage as subjugation. So that they might have children they were granted leave of absence, during which they copulated randomly with selected males from nearby towns. Only a woman who had killed a man in battle was allowed to give up her virginity. An Irish law from 697 forbids women to be soldiers, meaning they had been soldiers previously. A wealth of legend about female warriors from ancient Greece, who coined the term Amazon. Trained from birth, living apart from men, and went to war in their own regiments. They were mentioned in Homer’s Iliad dating back to 600BC. Said Rita Rudner "I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They’ve experienced pain and bought jewellery." Said Montaigne "Marriage is like a cage; one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside equally desperate to get out." The government has said if there is a yes result it will facilitate a private member’s bill to legalise same sex marriage. The focus may well be on the wording? Either way we get there, hopefully sooner rather than later. No point getting knotted knickers. Patience and reason, before emotions? And if in doubt blame Labor, spread the fake fear. Says Cliffie: A good marriage is about friendship.


The trials and tribulations of kids, which I generally file under 'pains in the backside'. If one takes into account the barrage of letters via social media and letters to newspapers the kids (theoretically) are in heaps of trouble. By saying "no" as a reason to protect children (from same-sex parents), one assumes they include the danger to children of single mothers, married and separated or unmarried, and fathers, whose former wife has 'departed the premises' leaving those kids in dad's care? Never forgetting the gamblers (either, both or one parent) as in the power of the gambling lobby and its insidious impact on family life. Schooling, where these poor unfortunate billy lids may be asked to wear a dress, or (horror) shorts in preference to dresses, never forgetting the internet and all those groomers. Yet more diversions, the order of the day, and every day the past month. Our PM without the courage to put the marriage equality vote to parliament, now sprouting a High Court victory? On...and on...and on. Politicians mimicking schoolkids, daily, while we wait for a government to govern.


Political correctness? I can't imagine how 'the office' situation would work these days. My 20 years experience a lifetime ago of what is now called sexual harassment was emanating on both sides, now almost exclusively reported from the female point of view. The men appeared to be chasing more than the women but there wasn't any great margin between the sides as to who was doing the chasing; office romances being an everyday routine. An all female typing pool, a spread of both sexes as clerical assistants, with men always in the top jobs admittedly, but rarely any complaints, if any? Maybe a case of knowing the rules and thereby knowing one's limitations, or maybe not, on reflection? Perhaps an unseen undertow of resentment? On the weight of current evidence it appears I was looking but not seeing, though far from certain?


The Southern Peninsula grandmothers protest against the Detention of Refugee Children at Greg Hunt's Hastings office to no avail. Locked out. Told (by telephone) "The federal government has an arrangement with the United States for the resettlement of refugees from Nauru and Papua New Guinea"?....I'm reminded of the phrase psycho-sexually stunted when viewing some same sex marriage commercials?...The national anthem before every final; please no. Grand Final only...Any chance of the UN Security Council putting sanctions on Donald Trump?...Thank goodness for the AFL finals, even without Collingwood. Go GWS...A leading health expert advises sitting is almost as dangerous as smoking, so I smoke standing up at my computer...hooroo...Cliff Ellen. [cliffie9@bigpond.com]



Heart'SALT' A GRAIN.  Thursday. 7/9/2017. 

Peter Dutton as home affairs minister (questionable accountability?) will retain immigration and border protection and will take from the attorney general’s and justice departments and the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation and the Australian federal police. We are aware of PM Malcolm's sweet talking ability (waxing lyrical; bottom line hogwash) but this appointment will surely end in self inflicted pain. Said Malcolm: "Peter Dutton is a thoughtful and committed and compassionate immigration minister doing an outstanding job" Indeed? A man who calls anyone who disagrees with him un-Australian; lawyers, refugees, judges, women. He calls them liars, paedophiles, left wing rabble and various other insults; his English test a racism exercise designed to cause deliberate division. Too much power can lead to corruption, if it's not there already. What would I know? True. But giving this man so much power, and his record to date, and a PM who is 100% in need of him, represents the most dangerous position at the top in my 60 years of following politics. 


Maybe I'm too old to appreciate this current need for marriage. "Love makes you crazy" said Robin Williams, 'Cadillac Man'. Love is blind, sometimes insane, extreme passion married to the loss of rational thinking. It’s gorgeous when it happens; she (and he, or she?) can be fat, skinny, ugly, whatever, but it will be perfect because the feeling blots out everything else for days, weeks, perhaps months? Floating through a dream, unaware of anything, soul mates forever. They’re cute, you love their faults, and his/her honesty. Friends say things (gossip?) but 'they' don’t understand. One day, somewhere, somehow, he or she, or he or he, or she or she, will say something stupid and you will hear it; followed by a crash! Reality returns. He reads comics, he/she’s into Tony Abbott. He smokes pot, he/she thinks Dane Swan is Danish. Easy for a female to escape; simply be seen with another man, or woman. Equally for a male because they’re generally infused with a lack of sensitivity. [Man sitting at home drinking a cold one on the porch with his wife and he says, "I love you." She asks, "Is that you or the beer talking?" He replies, "It's me.......talking to the beer"]. Still considering marriage, love? Go for it. It's Spring, maker of June bambinos, sometimes. Custom, minus reason?


Heritier Lumumba (once Harry O'brien) on SBS - 'Fair Game', presented his point of view with honesty and courage. It's tricky, particularly where the Australian persona generally comes from, as against Heritor's Brazilian background and his concern for his skin colour. I loved his time at Collingwood and saddened by his obvious emotional ties at the finish. We are told of prejudice and how being the victim of racial bias can impact your mental and physical health. We ponder Nathan Buckley's lack of sensitivity or Heritor's over sensitivity? Later comments from Andrew Krakauer and Leon Davis indicate the racist element remains strong, embedded. Heritier's coming out after the Goodes incident or more specifically Eddie McGuire’s apology for the King Kong slip of the tongue. Football is about revenge and so called loyalty. The Collingwood supporter reaction is to assume Heritier had a screw loose, but Heritier was right. The moral sickness so to speak lies with us. We can say nice things but indirectly are we looking on them as a special breed? Former Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell was apparently unaware of Heritier’s feeling in being called Chimp because he did not mention it? Sounds logical from a supporters point of view but in fact it’s again us at fault. Maybe we shouldn't question Heritior’s motives; question ours? In supporting Heritier as a champion Collingwood player, and then doing an about turn because he stood up to Eddie is writing off his validity in favour of our own assumption of superiority. Said Heritier: "I think the sense of freedom has come since leaving the AFL. It's given me more time to explore other facets of life and to discover different parts of myself that I guess I didn't know existed." May he stay well clear of the mob from the United Patriots Front. I can't say I understand him, but I remain a fan of his work and his courage and wish him well.


Darling Dame Judi Dench: The 82-year-old star actrine opened up about her sex life and offered some advice to her fellow seniors."Well, of course, you still feel desire. Does that ever go? To the older reader, I would say: 'Don't give up'." Calls  to mind Emerson's words on love... "A private and tender relation of one to one, which is the enchantment of human life; which, like a certain divine rage and enthusiasm, seizes on you at one period, and works a revolution in mind and body, enhances the power of the senses, opens the imagination. The natural association of the sentiment of love portrays that one must not be too old. The delicious fancies of youth reject a mature philosophy. I therefore incur their imputation by stating that this passion, though it begins with the young, yet forsakes not the old, or rather suffers no one who is truly it’s servant to grow old, but makes the aged participators of it not less than the tender maiden, though in a different and nobler sort. It matters not, therefore, whether we attempt to describe the passion at twenty, thirty, or at eighty years. It shall commend itself to the eye, at whatever age." Enjoy.


United Patriots Front: Fascism, hatred, bigotry...Wages growth?...Another season of Mad as Hell bites the dust which leaves us the poorer. All so very talented…No problem with electricity prices or North Korea; putting my faith in PM Malcolm…Glen Archer; disgraceful bully...PM Malcolm flying helicopter high, Snowy Mountains, the reality of  Utopia?...The Logies gone from Melbourne. Why not The Brownlow, please?...'Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through country, church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call REALITY, and say, this is, and no mistake'. [Thoreau]... hooroo...Cliff Ellen. [cliffie9@bigpond.com]



Love'SALT' A GRAIN. SPRING. 2017. 

SPRING has arrived, the virus departed (hopefully?) thank the Lord, or Allah or Rumpelstiltskin. Is it me or the chilblains on ten fingers? I'm not one to wish time away but Winters and Collingwood force a change of mind. How to sleep with my hands under the doona, there's not a lot down there. Be thankful? The political situation remains a mess. Somehow it doesn't seen right to blot out the coming of Spring with the antics of those hypocrites in Canberra. 


The compassionless Christian (?) Peter Dutton. Funny how he comes out with his shock tactics (diversions) Monday mornings. PM Malcolm's left hand man (or duo if one adds Cormann) and the consistent attacks on Shorten with the dream, emphasis, on a favourable newspoll this coming week, not unlike appealing to Princess Pauline's followers? To lie is human I suppose, we all do it, but some more than others. Our capacity for dishonesty is as fundamental to us as our need to trust others, which ironically makes us terrible at detecting lies. (Likewise Shorten lies in his comments as to the fate of those on Manus and Nauru; on the assumption (hope?) he in fact would change his tune for the better when elected). But not so terrible in the case of Pious Peter. God help us. And we thought Scotty Morrison was bad during his 'sink the boats' as Immigration Minister? Consider: If the coalition is defeated next year this man is a fair chance to become either our PM or the leader of the opposition. What with all this nonsense, including the yes no vote and the new found fame of the young mum from Frankston (Cella White) best to leave them to it, but ever so sad.


Some say Eddie McGuire was courageous, fair enough, to each is/her own. More likely Eddie refusing to admit his error? The focus now is on “making Collingwood great again” said Eddie. Sounds like 2012? As a lifetime Collingwood supporter I wish Buckley well but as I've often said the past 6 years I'm doubtful, primarily due to lack of evidence. Bucks says he's got better; fair enough. McGuire: Buckley’s “strengths far outweigh any weaknesses, real or perceived”. Vague at best; he would say that, wouldn't he? Self justification, lying, is part of everyone's DNA, a question of degree; Eddie being a past master at self justification. He also said all the players were canvassed? Surely any players who wanted Bucks to go would keep mum; see the writing on the wall, a 'no Bucks' comment eventually getting back, and as I've said, Bucks wants followers before footballers. Some say the last 5 weeks saved him; doubtful. Eddie saved him. True, Collingwood has been good those past 5 weeks, thanks to Steele Sidebottom's captaincy to some extent and a team chasing respect. It was noted attendances were down despite their improved form, suggesting not all of us were behind Nathan's coaching skills. Eddie's been good for Collingwood there's no doubting that, and despite his loyalty and pig headedness his heart's in the right place, but this time his call has been for himself (and Bucks) rather than the team. Bucks is obviously a great Collingwood man and former champion, but hardly the point. I hope I'm wrong and as always, one cannot change sides, so go pies. Mind you, if they trip up early next year, and on the balance of probabilities it's likely, we can expect another tsunami of media overkill. As they say in the classics "I'm done". I'll follow the Rye Bowling Club, until March 2018.


Travelled to East Malvern early in the week; annual torture by a skin specialist. Old stomping grounds, 40 years of marriage. Bought a coffee and parked alongside Central Park. The ladies walking their dogs, genteel, sheltered, safe. I had a cigarette in the car; dangerous to be spotted, get run in by the thought police. I left this world 17 years ago, sold the house to satisfy my darling wife (cancer) who fancied the relaxation on offer in Rye. Checked out the old house, now worth 3 times my selling price; no regrets. It's not the same anymore; not the same when she walked out of that door? Or was that Gloria Gaynor? The coffee was dearer, as was the cake, like Sorrento, but moreso. Why do they pay more? Privilege? Riffraff begone? Walked through Hedgeley Dene gardens. Good stuff. Nice to look back. Better than the cemetery. Another life. I don't miss it; happy in Rye, miss her. 


Alan Tudge, paternalistic junior welfare minister, “Australians are generous; they are happy to help people down on their luck with welfare payments, but they do not work hard and pay their taxes to support other people’s drug habits.” Apparently dignity and respect are on holiday from this government, preferring stigmatism. Highlighting child abuse, violence, drink, drugs, gambling and other dysfunctions to justify the financial controls as the answer? The problem lies with the druggies, not us, they tell us, thus introducing a debit card to announce to the world they are welfare recipients. Wellbeing? I think not. Stress? Much more likely.


Robert Crumb, The Book of Genesis illustrator (took 4 years), arguably the most influential cartoonist of his or any generation: "Well, the truth is kind of dumb, actually. I did it for the money and I quickly began to regret it. It was an enormous amount of work - years of work and barely worth it. The average reader doesn’t want all that detail, it interferes with the flow of the reading process. But I just can’t help myself - obsessive-compulsive disorder". Thankfully (for Richmond) Dustin Martin didn't let the money interfere?


Matthew Richardson, Danny Frawley; selectors, AFL team of the year? No Collingwood players, no surprise...Big tick to Bangladesh for victory over our overpaid, aggressive, sledging cricketers...I'll listen to both sides, yes or no, but if they mention billy lids they've lost me...Alternatively, after a successful yes vote, can we move on to my personal dream; polyamory?...Is Roberta (Williams) a crook or was she infected by lifestyle (Carl)? Likely the realisation (assuming no bankruptcy rap) of voting numbers, (they vote for Pauline they vote for anyone?) meaning lots of dollars, albeit losing out to Billy Boy. Go Roberta..."No one ever went broke under-estimating the intelligence (or taste) of the American people". [H.L.Mencken]...“Bananas” by Woody Allen]...[Female, breaking up with Woody] “You’re immature. Emotionally, sexually and intellectually”...[Woody] “Yeah, but what else?”...hooroo...Cliff Ellen. [cliffie9@bigpond.com]



SmileSALT' A GRAIN. SUNDAY. 27th August, 2017. 

POLITICS: Best to leave them to it for a week. Mathias Cormann continuing the coalition attack on Billy Shorten, the best means of defence; fears of socialism, unions, in favour of their theory - the rich getting richer? Reds under the bed upgraded, modernised. Esteemed treasurer (?) Scotty calling Billy Boy a 'slithering snake'; efforts to prove he's a dual citizen dead in the water. Billy's  unpopularity lessened, Malcolm’s grew, both in the negative. On the two-party preferred Labor increased its lead to eight points. Billy's attempt at improving his communication skills astray via his shaky appearance on Q&A. 

Who doesn't lie? A friend, in telling me of another who called her a liar, put to me. “I’m not a liar, am I?” I readily agreed, colluding for the sake of peace, therefore lying - perhaps with a desire to please, more likely to put an end to a silly question. She then added “I’m a spiritual person as you know”. As I know? I again agreed, having not the slightest idea what a spiritual person is. Believing in God doesn't make one spiritual, more likely (appropriate?) superstitious. The gamblers are the worst liars, all of them, almost always praying to God. Spiritual or greedy; reward without effort? They say they win more than they actually win, or break even, but seemingly never lose, or at best, 'no damage done'? The storytellers, the embellishers, get more excited at each telling, or funnier, depending on the feedback. The worst are those who end a friendship, holier than thou, based on being lied to? Shockers, best they 'piss off' anyway. Those television dramas, where the couple proclaim "We have no secrets" A human nature impossibility! We all create myths. My friend was searching for self justification, a common everyday trait. I obliged, gladly putting her out of her misery. [Happy to oblige]. "No darling. Of course you're not a liar". "Of course darling, we're both spiritual" May I call you darling? So? You can't blame me. She was, as it happens, a dish. Well, female anyway. From my perspective all females are dish's. At 81 nobody asks for my advice/opinion, thus, a temporary reprieve...from invisibility?

TELEVISION: Hard going sitting though 6 episodes of 'Top of the Lake', Jane Campion, starring Elisabeth Moss and squeaky voice David Wenham. One starts these things and despite multiple pauses after or before so many lines you press on because (as always) you want to know the end result; there's nothing much better on anyway. One can't watch Casablanca every night. I'd previously seen Mzz Moss (reportedly a Scientology aficionado?) in 'The Handmaid's Tale' so a fair chance I was tiring of her 'look'? The good news was seeing Wenham caught, being a child molester. Some 300 minutes of drama, less 10% visual stuff, 30% pauses and 20% lost dialogue (set in New Zealand) so all up in fact 40% drama, or 120 minutes over 6 weeks. Phew. Being a glutton for punishment I followed up with the second series (China Girl) set in sleazy Bondi. Alas, I discover Wenham made a deal (turned state's evidence?) and perhaps more Mr squeaky. Desperately in need of better television; Line of Duty perhaps or Happy Valley. Better still (for relaxation) another series of Poldark (Demelza) or Henshall in Shetland. For a while I tried 'Death in Paradise'. Saddened, though stayed with it after the departure of Ben Miller, but then came the final crunch with Sara Martins (Camille) leaving the series, as did I. With Collingwood's form since 2012 it's not as if I can watch any football glory, apart from our victory over Melbourne Saturday. Already watched it twice, 'slowly' - a la Paul Keating.    

AFL (brainwashing): Our great game? Have you ever heard anyone saying ‘I’m going to our great game on the weekend? Can you imagine a Gold Coast supporter of 'our great game' wearing that dreary jumper? And if silly enough it will be official AFL gear,  meaning you pay more than it’s worth? The Gold Coast Suns is 'crucial' to our truly national (great) game? Why no independent (crucial?) Tasmanian side? I’ve cancelled my foxtel subscription. Geelong coach Chris Scott, former Brisbane player and a clear cut leader in the dirty hombres club. His hypocritical comments on GWS's Toby Greene right up there. None of last year's "we all love the Western Bulldogs" thankfully. For a while I thought it was Robert Murphy who won the premiership. I'm sticking with GWS. May they (it) win the premiership, with Greene getting the Norm Smith medal. PS: Love the new tackles. No more concussions. They fling them side on. Merely a broken arm now? 


Amanda Stone and Kim Le Cerf, mayors of Yarra and Darebin; Greens, the ultimate 'do gooders'. Separated by the Merri Creek bridge, High street, Westgarth one side, Clifton Hill the other. Australia Day Greens takeover, which I've been warning about for years. The bastards stole my suburb; Northcote. Those first 18 years; loved it, sadly but a shadow. Australia Day; perplexed? Not nationalistic but I do love my country. No beef for what day it's celebrated but I do care a group of council Greenies can decide on change without referring to the whole of the inhabitants. Bullies. Captain Cook 1770, Abel Tasman 1642, Dirk Hartog 1616, Aborigines 6000 bc. Take your pick?


Nathan Buckley, champion Collingwood footballer; no question. How this necessarily follows being a champion coach only Eddie can enlighten us. Sometimes (rarely), yes, but historically a sway of evidence against. I recall Nathan being asked about Stevie Johnson two years back, Nathan suggesting Stevie did not fit into Collingwood's forward planning? I thought then: Nathan wants followers rather than footballers? His relationship with Harry (Lumumba) was enough to confirm my opinion, also the Heath Shaw episode.   


Overheard: Lady had the dreaded virus along with so many of us right now; into week 3 myself. Lady couldn't understand because she had never smoked a cigarette. Her doctor explained her living in a time when her parent's smoked, thus causing her to live with the cancerous effects of passive smoking all those years ago, thus susceptible to catching this current virus. Doctors, classical 'enforced thinkers'?...Kids (and psychologists): We can ensure they are safe, as well as help them make sense of complex events, to keep them in the loop. Don't force it, and most of all foster hope. [If unsuccessful a whack on the backside?]


I'm not big either way. In fact I wonder why this urgent need to get married. Love is indeed love, for a few years (months?) at least. I'll vote yes, not from any firm belief but simply because I can't see any good reason why I should vote against their apparent need.....Paul Salmon's book (The Big Fish) is out. Apparently it's incredible?...Welfare recipients in Sydney’s Canterbury-Bankstown area to be targeted by the federal government’s drug-testing regime, which could push them on to cashless welfare cards. PM Malcolm Turnbull: The drug-testing trial was 'all about love' and looking after our fellow Australians? ...'In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is King' (Afghan proverb)...Spring approaches; hooroo...Cliff Ellen. [cliffie9@bigpond.com]



Big Grin22nd August 2017. 'SALT' A GRAIN. 

In this day and age we need to be careful, or as it's phrased today (as a parting goodbye) -  'take care'. Enforced thinking can take over, or at least (unknowingly) partly influence your current state of mind. One look at your nightly news and you're convinced law and order has been abandoned (deadlocks double checked?), or you listen to Paul Roos as a football commentator and you think he's a nice man (allowing for his anti Collingwood comments), or Elisabeth Moss is a great actress despite 10 minute pauses before delivering each line (Top of the Lake). Automatic opinions, which may (or may not) influence your state of mind, without further thought? That's ok. It's a shonky world. Just do not let it bother you. Take time out to smell the roses. The other age has gone, finito, forever. We now live in a different age. Get it firmly into your heads (particularly) you 70 years and over mob. Change, unlike human nature, is permanent. Not with regret, more with the knowledge that we, in fact, lived in a different age, a great age, likely the very best age. Born 1936 was perfect. 20 years earlier, 1916, or another 20 at 1896, not so lucky. Aches and pains aside count your blessings. A beautiful past; we snuck through those wars. They didn't use knives or kick heads way back when. People said hello. I'm thinking being born now, 2017, despite technological advances beyond our imagination and countless cappuccinos will never compare with our age. An age, I should add, free of psychologists, deadlocks and Pauline Hanson's mob. Yes, we had Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports (Bob Menzies) and Ronald Ryan's mate Henry Bolte, but with no television influence they were ignored. Probably the black years were 1955-1957 and Melbourne's three premierships, thankfully stopped in their tracks in 1958. [To each his/her own: For those who are big on psychology go to google (APIA) and follow Dr Tim Sharp, internationally renowned positive psychologist, author, speaker and founder of Australia’s Happiness Institute. He reveals some great ways to get a renewed zest for life. Also, he's big on wellness?].


Politics: We await the high court decisions. Dual citizenship, big deal? Let them all off or tell them to renounce without penalty and back to the business of (excuse my mirth) 'running the country'. Apart from Julie (Darth Vader) Bishop that is, unforgiven surely. A pity MP Peter Dutton isn't a dual citizen? Maybe bring in a law against hypocrisy? Replace Di Natale with Sarah Hanson-Young? Statues, stairs and bollards to be installed to protect stadiums and shopping centres and plant boxes (pedestrians) in shared traffic zones. Bollards around the jet ski entries in downtown Rye? Early last week, via the charming Scotty Morrison, News Corp papers came out with the story Labor’s tax policies would cost the economy $167bn, a placed lie, or put another way a twist of the truth. We recall his contemptuous insults towards Gillian Trigg as president of the Human Rights Commission and the children in detention inquiry. Morrison will say anything to enhance his ambition, albeit long gone, hopefully. As for Nauru or Manus a big tick to Cathy McGowan, the MP for Indi. Scotty followed up his Labor lie by by introducing a bill to raise the Medicare levy from 2% to 2.5% for all income earners? And Barnaby (?), in response to Greens senators Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam resigning, "It's quite clear under Section 44, you can't be a member of Parliament and have dual citizenship. It's black and white. I think you just have got to do your homework and make sure you're not a citizen of two countries when you stand for Parliament. That's basically it. Larissa said she believed that was not the case and I am sure that would be the outcome for Scott Ludlam. But unfortunately ignorance is not an excuse." And former Lib Philip Ruddock (?), running for mayor, Hornsby Council on Sydney’s cushy North Shore. Far removed from disgusting Labor type voters. Philip who? Sydney deserves him. Moving on...


The AFL, past masters and Fat Controllers of the ‘Do Gooders Society’ have gambling in their pure sights, as in reducing the Victorian clubs reliance on gambling. [Drugs also obviously, but apparently placed in the 'too hard' basket short term]. The clubs, as you would expect, claim some gambling revenue is invested back into the community. Some??? They’re organising a working group. They suggest the Victorian government is partly to blame for its damaging pokies culture. Excuse me while I choke on my instant nescafe coffee. Can I blame my RSL for serving me a beer when I'm trying to cut down? Maybe I can? Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a Los Angeles jury to pay $US417 million ($525 million) to a 62-year-old woman who blamed her ovarian cancer on the company's talcum powder. I've been using this same product for 81 years. Sounds like another serve of the passive smoking furphy. The AFL have their clean hands in everybody’s till including the equalisation cut from the richer clubs, the television rights which are set up to allow we everyday supporters to either fork out for foxtel or feed on the lean pickings from Channel 7 which includes no AFL matches on our traditional Saturday afternoons. Then there’s CrownBet and TV gambling advertising, never forgetting the ‘gamble responsibly’ nonsense. There’s much more obviously but sufficient to say it’s hypocrisy at its best, shrouded in the idea ‘for the good of the punters’. I don’t play the pokies but I see it almost every day at my RSL. Of course there’s a small percentage of damaged losers, as there will be no matter what in all forms of gambling, but there’s a massive upside for most of these gamblers. Leave them alone. You could marry this up with shopping at the Plaza's, the Chaddy's, Southlands. Some go there and buy items they cannot afford resulting in a credit card debt at 18%. Most, like the pokey players, look on it as a day out, a social occasion, a cappuccino etc. Wankers, the AFL that is, not us. 


A partial contribution by way of 2008 rewinds, the dreaded virus hanging in there but on the improve, hopefully, aided by antibiotics and vitamins, never forgetting the additional dose of necessary male (a specialty) self pity. I recall this piece, 2007 -  "I bought my first video recorder in the 70’s. It came with an instruction booklet which I put aside until some knowledgeable person arrived and did it all for me." It came to mind as I considered the possibility of suicide during the dark times of the past 21 days, highlighting the problem of how to go about it in view of my hopelessness at anything practical, mechanical. I always fancied jumping off the Port Campbell cliff into the blowhole if my time was near. Alas, one needs courage, in short supply. Thanatophobia. A car exhaust? Out of the question; I rely on my motor mechanic to fill up my windscreen wiper water. My late wife had a tool box; still in the garage, gathering 13 (long) years of dust. Gadgets, wires, switches, fuses, screw drivers (allen?) any or all machinery is foreign to me. Even my physical tool ran out of gas a decade back. I called a plumber once when darling was alive (at work) to attend to a running tap. I ask myself "Why is it so?" The never ending search for an all purpose pill, the dream of Voluntary euthanasia?  


The Age newspaper; bad enough to lose Martin Flanagan's Saturday column but Peter Hatcher on politics? Save time, skip it...Border Force smash illicit cigarettes smuggling gang. Why so important?...Pauline burqa burqa says it's Un-Australian. Precious Pauline is the epitome of Un-Australian...I heard it on the wireless; News: ‘Anyone who has information on people who were planning to blow up a plane should contact authorities’?…Right is right, not exactly right or absolutely right. We could also consider dispensing with ‘good to be with you’ and 'touching base'? Steinbeck: "Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that's what makes you strong. The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof.”...hooroo...Cliff Ellen. [cliffie9@bigpond.com] 



Crying16th August 2017. 'SALT' REWIND. 2008. 

 A second lot of rewinds, 2008. [Also refer Daily Snaps]  

A week goes by and  this dreaded virus hangs in there. The odd day almost normal, until  4-5pm, and then, almost sneakily, back in spades. Cough mixture, antibiotics, vitamins, panadols. Five hours sleep on a good night. The brain remains fuddled, the appetite on holiday. The Footy Show won the ratings but the kudos ended there. Sam Newman a shadow of his former self, Dave Hughes as a football comic way off beam and really, the whole show, past its use by date. Sadly of course, and good memories, but desperately in need of a revamp; if at all? Sally Pearson's gold at the world athletics championships in London was simply amazing. Perfect technique, sheer speed and beating the world record holder to boot after a 2 year break. Right up there with the very best in sporting history. As for politics, and Julie Bishop (dressed as Darth Vader), let's all wait on the High Court.


From a Sunday newspaper, edited. “Congrats to all those born from 1930 to 1970. We survived being born to mothers who smoked, took bex and/or vincents powders, ate processed ham and didn’t get tested for diabetes or all of today’s other blood tests. No child proof lids on medicine bottles, no helmets for bike riding, no seat belts. We drank water from the garden hose, shared soft drinks, ate white bread and real butter, played in the mud, played with paper or socks footies. We would play all day without supervision, always home before dark. No playstations, nintendos, foxtel, DVD’s, mobile phones, internet. And if we fell out of trees there were no lawsuits” [I'm still confused by child proof medicine bottles?].

What of the many older people who live alone? Do they choose to live this way or is it simply circumstance? In Japan attitudes have changed and remarriage is on the up. It’s one thing to say “I’m set in my ways” but is there a better way? We live longer now. What of companionship, cuddles, kisses, and a more mature vision that there is still a future beyond the past? Change on a personal level is a slow process but it can be for our benefit. I see those older people who attend Thursday night forays at the Rye RSL, old time dancing the night away to those wonderful old tunes. Surely they’re not all married? Some have simply embraced companionship, or maybe more? Should I seek a partner? If a yes, a few of my requests: She must do the cooking and cleaning (I would food shop and wash the dishes). She must agree to my choice of TV shows Fridays through to Sundays at 7pm. (Her choice the rest). Must  have her own computer, mobile. She cannot eat apples in my presence.

Wise words from Diogenes, a Greek philosopher who lived as a beggar in the streets of Athens some 400 years before young Jesus. “Meditate for one hour a day in silence; listen more, talk less; intended to please oratory is bullshit; to be elated at success and disappointed at failure is to be a child of circumstance; prefer loss to dishonest gain; piety in moderation - all religion is superstition; when at peace be alert, when in trouble be calm to efficiently deal with the crisis; nothing can be bought to perfection without practice, in mind and body.” [All good, prefer  the meditate bit by way of the throne and showering].

Life can be frustrating, however free one is from drama. We tend to get ourselves into a position, however innocent, to be to others what we perceive as required behaviour. It can follow that if there are too many who expect this required behaviour it can be a burden, causing a feeling that one wants to break the mould, the masquerade. So a hankering for the real truth, the real you, and so to the decision: to continue on as before and everyone is happy, or break out into your very own truth? Almost always, the masquerade has gone on for so long that it has become the truth, and so your interpretation of the real you...is but a fantasy. [Like they say at the football "Have a go ya mug"].

My doctor’s a good doctor because he gives me valium and serepax minus the addiction lectures. [He's given up on my smoking and recommends a beer as a quick cure for my tremour]. History tells us doctors have always been held in the highest regard, way way back to Galen, who’s theories appear to have started it all. Various philosophies based on the then current data. Medical science now tells us smoking causes everything apart from my current virus. After this conclusion they took on board the numbers who never smoked but also suffered various cancers, so included passive smoking, mysteriously dismissing any mention of cars and trucks. What was the major cause for the cancers 60 years ago when so many fathers and mothers puffed ceaselessly? Can anyone recall what a doctor diagnosed before they came up with “virus”, or antibiotics for that matter. Far be it for me to question our historically self righteous medicos. 

Food for thought, from Harry Leslie Smith: "After years of Tory government, Britain is less equipped to change the course of history for the good than we were under Neville Chamberlain, when Nazism was appeased in the 1930s. In fact, no nation in Europe or North America has anything to crow about. Each is rife with inequality, massive corporate tax avoidance – which is just legitimised corruption – and a neoliberalism that has eroded societies". [I'm with you there Harry].

In a world in which duty and self discipline have lost out to hedonism and self-satisfaction, there is nothing like closing your eyes and going with the flow. At least in a fantasy, it all ends happily ever after. [Edwina Currie]...hooroo...Cliff Ellen. [cliffie9@bigpond.com]



Crying10th August 2017. 'SALT' REWIND. 2008. 

Struck down by a virus this week, a reprise to fill the gap...[Also, refer: DAILY SNAPS]

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

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

What is a free country, a free Rye? Not in economic terms surely in spite of the massive pension I receive from Centrelink, always assuming I fill in my asset statement and let them know if I spend on luxury items in excess of $10. Not in behavioural terms either - who in their right mind would dare to write anything in favour of muslims or the terrorists or lesbians or sexy cross dressers or worse still rubbish the sporting Aussies. I walk the line. Well, I toe it anyway. 

I was asked “Would I stand for the national anthem”, a question worth serious thought, either answer requiring a reason. The “yes” answer is easy. I’d stand because if I didn’t I’d face censure, or even assault by the jingoistic xenophobic nationalistic sheep majority who attend 20/20 cricket matches and follow 17 other football teams. Go with the flow, despite any reason not to abide. A mark of respect? For whom? Why? Frankly I’d prefer to remain seated, which to my mind does not diminish my love of Australia. Our national anthem is downlifting. How could it have been voted for, against “I still call Australia Home” or “Road to Gundagai”? Alternatively, to the tune of “Goodbye Dolly Gray” Try it, YouTube?

My children, partners et al went to Greece/2007; wanted me to go - said it would be good for me. Children always know what’s good for parents. I find long cramped travel painful, so business class or not at all. Total cost $10,000. Instead, I spent under $4000, thus saving $6000+, which I didn’t have anyway. Advantages? A new set of false teeth, paid off my credit card, bought 2 pairs of sneakers, and had two 2 night getaways. I did not have to experience 42 hours flying, [6 take-offs and landings], hours of airport waiting surveying useless items, paying through the nose for food and coffee; 16 hours on the boring ferries, and suitcase living. Six weeks of wonderful solitude. 

I wrote in a Union magazine some 10 years ago. “Rome is burning while we all sit and watch”. Our relentless media is an embarrassment. If they don’t have a story they make it up. A Current Affair are the leaders in trash with both newspapers not far behind, although The Age pretends to be thoughtful. The big companies - Citilink, Tabcorp, electrics and gas companies, private hospitals and nursing homes, almost all the private [or shareholder] owned companies want increased profits every year. Not steady profits mind, higher profits, every year! Where does this leave us non shareholders? Never mind about the Reserve Bank increasing interest rates - the banks do as it suits them, one way or another, likewise oil companies and insurance companies. The government of either major party do bugger all, in fact are almost powerless. They caused it all in the first place of course, following the world trend of privatisation, like sheep. I’m not anti-government. They are trying, by way of health care, education, climate change, security and the economy, but power seems to get in the way. Rome is still burning, evermore dangerous. 

We all understand fashions in clothing, indeed I looked very swishy in my flares during the 70’s. Fashions also apply to housing. As a young man I read of the advantages of living in Nunawading, the open spaces, away from the hustle and bustle. Ridiculous to be sure, but Nunawading grew like Topsy. Some changes can be a worry. A mere 20 years back you could buy a nice little hacienda in Rye for $100,000. Then followed the fashion of people longing for a “view”, of water, or close to water. And so it was prices rose as a consequence, aided by the negative gearing brigade (buy, rent and claim real or creative losses against tax). The sheep as always duly followed aided again by cutting any trees that dared to block their “view”. Now? Well, now we have a richer class of people, big cars, big balconies, big house, big prices. Dromana, Rosebud, Tootgarook and Rye; bargains if any disappearing fast, ditto our peaceful lifestyle and ditto the renters struggling on low incomes. Will people be coaxed into moving to the Gibson Desert? Simple - build a Mirvac shopping centre, call it a lifestyle...and bingo! 

We have lived quite long enough for others: let us live at least this tail-end of life for ourselves. Let us bring our thoughts and reflections back to ourselves and to our own well-being. Let us disentangle ourselves from those traps which pledge us to other things and which distance us from ourselves. The greatest thing in the world is to know how to live to yourself. (Montaigne)...hooroo...Cliff Ellen. 



LoveCliff Ellen's finito 'A Grain of Salt'. 3/8/2017.


Is it time? There are overriding factors in the line of rubbish being served up by our current political leaders, namely jobs, wages and power. Most of us don't give a hoot about same sex marriage. Good luck to them, wondering why the big deal. The first 7 (years) can be sweet, the second a problem or forever parting, the third (if they make it?) into another more convenient form of 'company' love. We wish them well. Assuming Labor gets their family trust funds tax through when elected what will they do with the extra $17 billion (over 10 years)? Indeed, what are the current rulers doing with the exorbitant tobacco tax, petrol tax, the GST and the like? Will Labor screw us with broken promises? At best they will say they are lessening the gap between the haves and the have nots, and/or attempting to balance the budget. The Libs talk 'trickle down' idiocy after giving billions in tax breaks to their mates. Labor says 'inequality' can be cured for the 'have nots'. The bottom line is the quandary, meaning if there's no difference to jobs or wages, and power prices remain, (all near enough to certain) why should we listen? Labor is at least coming forward with these ideas, and I'm for giving them a chance to match their mouths with action, albeit knowing the likelihood of anything changing for the better is so clearly not a case of holding my breath. I'm also hoping a change of government will lead to a softening of the refugee issue on Nauru and Manus Island, indeed, if nothing else! True, comparatively we have a pretty good lifestyle, assuming you have work, or a pensioner not stuck with exorbitant weekly rent, but equally, other than a handful of honest ones, our politicians are a conglomerate of self interested pricks. Whatever taxes are in now Labor will keep, and try for more courtesy of their policies. And the Libs will respond by the increased security scare, and the emphasis on not trusting Billy, as if we can trust them? [They already have limited access to our computers and mobile telephones, purportedly in saving us from terrorists and criminals, convincing many on the 'for our own good' basis? It's only a matter of time before they can trace us every hour of the day including our past internet, email, private conversations history, toilet visits, whether deleted to not.] Against that we have the real threat of ISIS, much closer now into Malawi City in the Philippines, trained to some extent via Indonesia, closer and closer, but thankfully both parties onside with this dangerous threat. The trust issue is in fact history, if not today, certainly within the next 5 years. Sitting ducks. Thus, for no particular reason, if we must abide untrustworthy dickheads, lets at least return to them in kind with a change of government, and with it return the current coalition lot to a state of 'their' nervousness while they count their cash and wait for Rupert Murdoch to rescue them. Our vote, soon (possibly) to be our only bastion? Our 3 (or 4?) yearly opportunity for sweet revenge. At best a mild form of temporary revenge, slightly better perhaps than a light kick up their backsides? A change for the better, or same old same old, or simply power? Who knows? It might work. On the other hand are Australian voters (the majority) in favour of self destruction? Indubitably. If they replace Malcolm with Julie Bishop she will romp home. Moving on... 


Old age? I saw Jocelyn Moorhouse's 'The Dressmaker' at the movies; good stuff. Usual procedure, Sorrento theatre. A pie and sauce smuggled in, chocolate coated ice cream, empty theatre, maybe half a dozen. We get to the point where Mum (Judy Davis) has got her marbles back, Kate Winslet has found love with my lookalike double Liam Hemsworth and the big love scene top of the silo. Finished. So off I toddled in need of a  smoko  and a pot, dedicated smoking area. Last week, channel 7 (hard to watch anything on 7; the destruction of movies, via a million commercials) and I discover not only has the movie not finished, there was another 45 minutes less 20 minutes for more commercials. Ruined it for me. Preferred my version.  


A week into the new non smoking laws and as predicted they won't stop there. Eaton Mall in Oakleigh, where they serve only snacks outside to allow their customers to have a smoke with their coffee. 'It has long been impossible to walk down the mall without being blanketed by second hand smoke' says The Age. Blanketed? Way way over the top. And it will continue on (by these flat earth types) because that's their lot in life. Had you seen 'The Dressmaker' you would have seen first hand evidence of them in action. The 'do gooders' will win, eventually, until we, in fact, are totally blanketed. And then? Who knows? Drinking, gambling, sex outside legal marriage, nature strips, dog poo...on and on. 


The outback Aussie and backpackers, a poisonous mix?...I'm thinking two, possibly a three year contract extension for Nathan Buckley, if Collingwood defeat North Melbourne this weekend; Eddie McGuire saving face?...Note for water resources minister Barnaby: Guilt has a long shadow Barnaby mate. Ask Jeffrey Kennett...If you happen to be a confirmed Liberal voter in need of sustenance listen to Talking Lifestyle with George and Paul, Macquarie radio network; worse still Graeme Blundell talks Alfred Hitchcock...Most of us are honest until the opportunity arrives, thus maketh the thief...“The serious thing about drama is not the ideas. It is the absorption of the ideas by the characters, the dramatic or comic force which the characters give to the ideas” [by Henry Becque for Billy Shorten]...That 's it for me. I said I'd finish in November but I'm calling "a wrap" now, 10 years, 300,000 words. Enough. Keep yourselves nice...hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



WowCliff Ellen's 'A Grain of Salt'. 28/7/2017.


Peter Finch 'Network' "I'm a human being. My life has values. I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore". Seneca: We are like dogs leashed to the back of a moving chariot. Our leashes are long enough to give us some freedom and manoeuvrability, but not long enough to allow us to move wherever we want. Begin the day not expecting much, grateful if things go smoothly and psychologically prepared for a day when things go wrong. Boy scouts, girl guides? Louis B Mayor at the departure gate for eternity 'nothing matters'. Maybe for Louis, but not necessarily for Cliffie. Soon (August 1st) I will not be allowed to have a cigarette with my cafe morning coffee. They booted us out of the restaurants and made us smoke outside. Why? Because we appeared to be enjoying ourselves, even in the depths of winter in Melbourne, and they wanted a piece of it, albeit supposedly happy and contented inside and smoke free. In truth they resented us, so come August 1st they take this away as well, and according to them they will now experience an even healthier and more 'enjoyable' lifestyle, whatever that means, leaving aside the obvious reason of 'brainwashed'. They say plain packaging has caused a drop in smokers; they lie, knowing the real reason is cost, conveniently ignored because it does not further their determination to make us suffer, 'for our own good'? Silly cigarette packet warnings, unborn babies, gangrene and passive smoking? If they really had a brain they would adopt the Philippines warnings - 'Smoking causes Impotence'. I suspect most of them are impotent anyway, if not in the physical sense, certainly in the politically correct sense. C'Est la Vie? "No man should so act to take advantage of another's folly" [Cicero]. Bastards. 


It's a terrible thing when many pensioners are forced to turn off their lighting and heating because the costs are too high and in the same breath we have these pie in the sky ideas costing billions for useless submarines and the Snowy Mountains Utopia big ideas. Add in the big business tax cuts, cuts to weekend casual pay rates and a rail line to nowhere and there comes a time where one takes stock, more from frustration than necessity.The  new super Ministry for Home Affairs headed by Peter ('No comment on operational matters') Dutton sends a clear message, being to walk away from politics altogether; retire, to Midsomer Murders, et al. Win some, lose some, never losing sight of their bible; 'the more they get the more they want'. To put it another way, theoretical Liberal remedies against a backdrop of unemployment, low wages and power prices. Go Billy! [Scotty Morrison Double Dutch: The Gini coefficient, a globally accepted measure of inequality, “actually got better” based on last year’s census?] [More DD: Human Services Minister Alan Tudge refused to increase the value of welfare payments. The government should target the “pathways to poverty” rather than trying to solve “modern poverty” by giving more money to the unemployed]?


The appointment of Peter Dutton can be seen as the Roman Catholic church technique, as in moving them on, up to a point. Malcolm goes one better; onwards and upwards. Doctors voted him the worst federal health minister of the past 35 years. As immigration minister he had Australian citizens wrongly detained, and caught out lying in regard to allegations of sexual abuse, and immigration centre guards supposedly supplying drugs to asylum seekers on Christmas Island? And for what; Malcolm's popularity? Not quite. It will only take one biggish security scare and up pops Sir Peter, a browsuit, all guns blazing, to frighten the daylights out of enough (former) entrenched Labor voters to change sides; a Johnny Howard specialty.   


Bill Shorten's popularity (as a PM) is lower than Malcolm's @ 43% - 32%. Whether or not you prefer someone else as PM rather than Billy is far from the point. To say you would prefer Malcolm to Billy is the mystery. On what grounds? Certainly not the NBN disaster? Certainly not his big announcements with flowing words amounting to hot air. Certainly not his policies between the rich and the battlers. Certainly not his Human rights policies (and Lord Tony's via the harassment on Gillian Triggs). Billy is not a big speaker in the motivational sense, true, but judge him on policies, or at the very least give him half a chance to run his race. Labor has now been ahead in two-party-preferred terms the past 16 Newspolls, since September last year, currently @ 53-47 Labor's way. Thank goodness for small mercies.  "If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times" Mark Twain. 


The Age newspaper, Saturdays, once mighty, now but a faint shadow, if that. A waste of space, a waste of $3.80, the 'Insight' lift out at best an insult. To quote Ludwig Donath (as Al Jolson's father, Cantor Yoelson in 'The Jolson Story') "Aceh isn't Aceh anymore".


Wasn't it considered an advantage to have dual nationality?..."Inappropriate behaviour" as a male, older, and privileged with higher rank and income? I would never have met my wife?...Be funny if the Antarctica sized iceberg hit Bali. Jetstar would go broke?...A safe injecting centre in Richmond or dying with dignity. Why not both?...After a year of basic disagreement with the muck written by Murdoch prostitutes Andrew Bolt and Rita Panahi I was onside with both in the same week; Bolt on the AFL sackings and Panahi on my mate Eddie McGuire...If our PM is so keen on the British way (Home Affairs for Peter Dutton) perhaps he could follow them on death duties tax?...Began watching 'Prime Suspect 1973' ABC. The desk sergeant a Peter Dutton lookalike. I could feel a panic attack coming on. Switched channels...Amber Harrison has 'transfixed' Australia, according to ABC radio. Not here...Welcome back Eddie; 'The Footy Show'. Sock it to 'em Sammy, though sadly, like me, his age is showing...Lastly, one for the non smokers: "The trouble with always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind." [Chesterton]...End of doom and gloom edition. I feel better now...hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



Broken heartA Grain of Salt. Thursday 20th July, 2017.


Essential poll now 54-46 Labor's way. Time to call in the troops, reds under the bed Sir Robert Menzies style. Fear the unknown, unproven. Failsafe. A super ministry for Home Affairs, a Captain's Call, or buying loyal support? Peter Dutton: “Having made the promise to stop the boats and to make sure that we can keep our borders secure, we make this announcement today with this promise: the home affairs portfolio is dedicated to keeping Australians safe, to doing everything that we can to defeat the surge of terrorism." A Peter Dutton promise, similar to his many Nauru Manus promises? Then there's our loyal Treasurer the Hon Scotty Morrison. Is Scotty OK with this? Or is it a triumvirate; Mathias, Malcolm and Peter? Will Peter misuse his new super powers? Does a leopard change its spots? Malcolm running scared, at our expense? May it not come back to bite him on his bum, and potentially, ours. Welcome to paranoia, and 'No Comments on Operational Matters'. "Careless talk costs lives" [ WW2 slogan].


A PM Malcolm utterance ‘Even when republicans like myself can be, and in my case are, very strong Elizabethans’. Confusing. Apparently (though less with certainty) I was an English subject for my first 13 years, to 1949, wherein I became an Australian subject. I looked up Elizabethan; none the wiser. I tried Barry Cassidy's 'Insiders' for enlightenment, nothing forthcoming. Sometimes it's easier to remain ignorant.


Two AFL staff quit (forced resignations?) after affairs with juniors. Admitted they were ‘in the wrong’ and ‘truly sorry’ for  ‘inappropriate’ behaviour'? ‘Our industry is on a journey of change, and I can’t let my actions halt or damage that journey’ The affairs with junior (as in years, position) unattached females, apparently by agreement. An 'illicit' affair? [forbidden by law, rules or custom]. When did this type of action become illicit? I'm told it's about power, suggesting there's no power from the females p/o/v. Or the reverse, the younger male p/o/v. I must have missed something. Twenty years as a public servant marrying into 38 years at racetracks and 40 years as an actor. Affairs right left and centre, all areas, male bosses (mostly) and female bosses, some going on forever, some stopped by agreement, and none, repeat none, involving any influx (or lack of) power from either party. And that only covered the affairs I knew about. Inappropriate behaviour my backside. Suggest a much greater attention to on field thuggery, including before the ball is bounced, and an honest attempt to stop almost all of the football clubs heavily into sucking out the cash by way of poker machines. PS: I have no argument with any workplace rules being in place 'before the event' setting out the penalties for workplace affairs. They would not cease obviously, sex being such a wonderful attraction, so I'm told; long forgotten. 'Once cheated, wife or husband feels the same; and where there's marriage without love, there will be love without marriage'. [B.Franklin]. 


'The Handmaid's Tale', a futuristic, theocratic and dystopian United States, sexual slaves serving as surrogates for couples who desire children but who are unable to have them themselves. A child, or shipped off to the wastelands. If you're into slow motion drama with never ending pauses before the dialogue and inescapable commercials, go to SBS on demand. Could it happen today, particularly with ideologue Liberal/conservative (?) Dutton in control? Yes, but with political correctness on the rise it's more likely the opposite; women calling the shots. The Handyman's Tale'? Now that would be frightening.


Barnaby Joyce: 'People in regional areas were watching the antics in Canberra with incomprehension. They look at political candidates and say ‘have you ever actually lived, mate? Do you know what it’s like to not have any money in your wallet? Do you know what it’s like to think, I want a life with dignity and I’m on the pension, and I can’t actually afford food, so how do I do this and keep my dignity in this town?' Fair point. On the other hand if, as he says, the likely outcome of a state election in Queensland is a win by the LNP (but a narrow one), I can only assume they are not the brightest of voters up North. A choice of the LNP or Princess Pauline, whose followers are primarily in negativity mode toward immigrants and renewables, the oversexed Greens running a close third. Difficult to be sympathetic. Agree jobs Barnaby, but kindly include health, education and power prices. PS: As for Tanya Plibersek, Joyce believes the deputy Labor leader is “off with the fairies”, but the opposition frontbencher Anthony Albanese would be a threat as leader because he would talk to his people. I agree with you there Barney mate.


Essendon publicist, pit bullish moralist Mark Robinson, the same Robinson who never knew what was happening at his beloved Essendon (?), continues his "Get Eddie McGuire" tirade, now in it's 5th year, (satisfied Chris Judd showed genuine remorse but not convinced of genuine remorse from Sharrod Wellingham; the speed of his attack on Harry O’Brien followed by his apology with the slippery aura of self justification accompanied by a hint of suspicion as to the veracity of Harry’s story; his similar attack on Alex Fasolo;  a succession plan for the Presidency, the 'history of drugs' at Collingwood claim) and his hypocritical claim of Eddie's need for 'governance and responsibility'? At long last, he comes out of the Collingwood cupboard; not that we weren't aware of it. 


$30 million government handout to Foxtel [Murdoch] for womens sport?...Manus & Nauru: Only refugees who have a bona fide relationship with the USA will be admitted. As expected months ago, a mirage....Did Michaelia Cash pass Dutton's English exams?...The one actress who I could not stand in the TV series 'Broadchurch' was 'Doctor' Jodie Whittaker...Islamophobia: Christopher Hitchens. "A word created by fascists, used by cowards to manipulate morons"...Upgrade Victoria Park. Size the ground to the exact same size as the MCG?..."Wherever God erects a house of prayer, The devil always builds a castle there; and twill be found, upon examination, the latter has the larger congregation" [Daniel Defoe]... hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



MadA Grain of Salt. Thursday 13th July, 2017.


I'm reminded of Cockatoo (Vic) this time of year. I did something in a kid's TV series 'Come Midnight Monday' and it was freezing. Around midday the sun came out, departing around 2pm, on a good day. They breed them tough up there, almost the equivalent to the igloo existence in the town of Omeo where I did 'Redhill'. Here in downtown Rye (where I do nothing) we battle on, half way through Winter, dreaming of a Greek Island. True to form, Collingwood maintains it's losing streak. The search for sustenance. "Little fish are sweet", as was the saying in my 40 years of playing blind poker when having a win, albeit a smallish pot. So Collingwood lost...again. Gloom and doom? I switch to following some (and remain hating) other teams. Last Sunday afternoon I cut up a small plate of Westacre natural colby cheese, Fehlberg's pickled onions and Domara BBQ flavour crinkle cut gluten free crunchy rice crackers together with a generous double shot of Jameson caskmates whiskey, stout edition, to wash it down, and the pleasure of watching the latest two bully boys, as in unsociable, Carlton and Melbourne, bash and crash to (fight) it out. Better still, Carlton lost. One wonders why those teams push and shove each other before the start of the game. Game? The sickening treatment of Gary Ablett by Carlton, or the same aggression aimed at Jason Johannisen; hardly a game. When one or two players tackle an opposition player why do the umpires allow three and four other players to play stacks on the mill? Shouldn't complain, it might upset the joy (though short-lived) of a Carlton loss. Life is about people my friends, not reverence, and, as George Orwell said - revenge. Moving on...


In a lifetime following politics dating back to P.I. Bob (Sir Robert Menzies), the Liberal Party has been far removed from the so called progressive and innovative party. Health, education, superannuation and always wage justice has been a feature of their policies, in opposition thereto. The real motto (the rich get richer) remains. When was the last time they did not oppose a minimum wage claim? A ‘liberal’ party as Malcolm Turnbull tries to re-invent it? He's ‘dreamin’. Another letter box brochure from our honourable Minister Hunt on his achievements here on the Mornington Peninsula. I stopped at the selfies past 20. Is Greg Conservative or Liberal, or neither? Both sides in the middle?


COMEDY: Newspaper report on channels 7, 9 & 10 'unleashing a barrage of Aussie made programs in the second half of 2017 to fill the void' after a lacklustre first half. Listed are  The Bachelor Australia, Hells Kitchen, The Block, Yummy Mummies, Blue Murder and  Australian Ninja Warrior Hells Kitchen? Maybe Blue Murder, but even that's cast in Sydney? The void remains. 


I take a week away from politics and hope. Alas, in vain. PM Mal’s positive affirmation trip to Hamburg (G20) an exercise in false promises to practice his real talent (international statesman) and nothing else. I confess to a prayer for PM Malcolm's safe return, the nightmare of a replacement too much to bear. Concern for a rocket from North Korea takes precedence over the starving millions in Iraq, Syria, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sink or swim, but do not swim here. A rocket aimed at Darwin suggests Barnaby; why? And still those on Nauru and Manus await word from the USA, if ever? We pensioners, joyful as ever, excited, on ways to spend our extra $75. 


The last time Barnaby was our acting Prime Minister I was a touch critical as to his worthiness. Looking at the alternatives I've had a re-think. It can't be Scotty, still in search of an original thought. Attorney-General George Brandis record (a 'betters' person straight out of Bronwyn Bishop's mould, his attack on the Human Rights Commission, replacing members of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal with liberal minded fellows, attempt to strip the Australia Council of its independence) speaks for itself. Then there's Peter(Himler) Dutton, our resident right wing ideologue. Talk of him taking over this Homeland Security idea; more unnecessary power and control of ASIO and the federal police? A fine old mess.    


History, the call for a transport review. In 2009 politician Johan Scheffer claimed the Brumby Government’s transport plan was good for the Mornington Peninsula? Sure, we had a rail line to Hastings and Stoney Point (which we had anyway) and the freeway to bypass Frankston, but nothing has changed for the majority of Peninsula residents. It still takes 75 minutes by bus from Rye to Frankston, still no express bus service, still not enough buses and long long waits, still the fact one must own a car to get anywhere at a reasonable time. Over the years many plans, both governments, all amounting to sycophantic ramblings. I go back to the early 1940's, when it took 80 minutes from Frankston train station to Rye. As Matthew Arnold said long ago, I'm "Waiting for the spark from heaven to fall".


Still we are landed with the wonder of the attention on Tony Abbott's pronouncements? Tony's hero is Johnny Howard who lied, leading us to victory (?) in Iraq and by implication the creation of ISIS. As an opposition leader Tony's world was made in his anti feminist beliefs and continued scorn with his destruction (disgusting, debilitating, depressing) of Julia Gillard. As a PM he promised us the world in his pre-election speech, breaking all of said promises after he was elected. A destroyer, replacing his destruction of Labor's Julia in favour of his own PM Malcolm. The wonder is how he manages to have so many followers.  


Orchids: Queensland’s State of Origin and Cameron Smith. Beating NSW always gets my vote...Power prices may well be a factor but let's not exclude cigarettes prices...Whenever Libbi Gorr does her early morning stint on  wireless 774 I realise Red Symons isn't such a pain in the bum after all...According to Mark Robinson Luke Hodge has 'the respect of the entire football world'. Not the entire..."All persons are puzzles until at last we find in some word or act the key to the man, to the woman, straightway all their past words and actions lie in light before us." [Emerson]...hooroo,..cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



CoolA Grain of Salt. Friday 7th July, 2017.


Maybe a blog free of political neanderthals?


'The unexamined life is not worth living' said old Socrates. One assumes he was old. It's Winter, and thoughts of Port Douglas, a Greek Island spring to mind. It's too far to the airport so I adopt the Scarlett technique, 'think about that tomorrow' and press on a day at a time; each Winter appearing to be harder to endure with age. A pondering time, self examination discarded. I read of others in their 50's, 60's seeking to be themselves, still to realise they are already themselves, always have been. The idea of their 'real selves' but a dream, hidden thoughts, odd evil thoughts, hidden deeds notwithstanding. Four footballers earn our sympathy in taking a break from the stress, particularly the evils of social media. Bernard Tomic (for the same reason?) our ire in a professional tennis tournament. We scream foul at footballers throwing punches but allow free reign to the bully boys blanketing the stars? I have a printed copy of my columns the past 10 years; another my story of my first 20 years, the remaining 50 unaccounted for, forever. A 'flu injection, an extra sweater and stay warm. Ever onwards. 


I gave away reading books 20 years ago; all the classics, murder, spies, new populars, psychology, philosophy, biographies, auto-biographies. Other than newspapers and reference books it’s been books no more. I found talking to people by way of their stories, their points of view, their arguments, and writing, much more to my interest. I encountered apparent fools, but if I listened long enough there was almost always something there. These discussions formed another layer, to anybody, everybody. I’m a good listener. I have to be. If I talk they listen, but don't hear. A continuous discussion with fools brings a danger of becoming a paid up member; a discussions with learned persons of high rank can be a waste of time, the choice being to agree or go fly a kite. I returned to reading books a month or so ago, ex opportunity shops. Nothing much has changed. The classics remain, as does Colin Dexter, John le Carré, Zane Grey and Robert Galbraith but it's a long slog to find any decent new ones. Tried Val McDermid, up to a point. I'm searching for a new motivation to replace this column by the end of November. Suggestions for new writers welcome, NOT including Danielle Steel, Harold Robbins, Sidney Sheldon, Jacky Collins, Stephen King, James Patterson, Dan Brown or Patricia Cornwell?


The Australian Border Force boss has been 'put' on leave, as in seemingly stood down. Nobody's nose nose, because we are not allowed to know. Inappropriate behaviour? This mysterious ADF and their secrecy is at best disturbing. That's as it is now. Imagine the power upgrading with access to our telecommunications details. Yes, I know I go on about it, but as I see it with good (frightening?) reasons, one day, sooner than we think? Then there's this darknet trader illegally selling the Medicare details of any Australian on request by “exploiting a vulnerability” in a government system, raising concerns the health agency may be seriously compromised? It's only medicare you say. Their problem, for now. Ours later?


Sure, English should be a mandatory subject, but it should never be mandatory to pass it? Most people don't understand it anyway before their mid twenties. A 'pass' in english should be set at 40%. Maybe 30% for male football commentators.


Watching 'The Drum' ABC, the results of a study on people into their late 90's and centenarians, their philosophies on old age. Genes, keeping yourself busy, a whisky a day, not being a worry wart. All reasonable reasons, but other than luck (if reaching 100 can be considered luck?) nothing new capable of opening the secret to survival. Nobody mentioned an old favourite, now long forgotten. Sex! From 'My Body and Soul': To put great sex back on the menu you've got to put it on the brain. "Great sex starts in the mind," says body+soul's 'sex and relationship columnist' Dr Gabrielle Morrissey. A BS title if ever there was one. "Turning on your brain hours or days before you have sex triggers your libido into action. Your brain will focus on any pleasure that is occurring and increase blood flow to the area. [No mention of a Collingwood victory?]. Sex bio-chemically releases endorphins, the chemicals that get us revved up and make us want to have more sex, more often." Sexual activity could be considered significant exercise, the same as playing doubles tennis. I don't play tennis? The centenarian survey maybe include the old codger's sexual activity as a contributing factor? Elite singles, Tinder? No. Dr Morrissey's followers may well be burnt out by now?


I've never been a fan of Nathan Buckley as a coach going right back to Didak, Johnson, Jolly and Heath Shaw up to Ben Reid as recent as last Sunday. Dane Swan survived courtesy of massive supporter love, not Nathan. The results, not to mention their list management, speak for themselves. The latest response; a young team ready to mature is an old record, some suggesting a 3 year contract for Bucks? Nathan knows his football and speaks well, but his communication skills may only apply to restricted types, collars and ties. There are better coaches. Sadly, it's time. 


The blood sport of boxing has hit the headlines, a hero, compliments of Brisbane schoolteacher Jeff Horn who was doing it to make his pregnant wife proud? The  modern equivalent of the Rome coliseum. Human nature never changes. Good for Jeff, and a $1 million dollar purse. A re-match would nett another $5 million. Enough for a safe financial future, to retreat to a sane life, teaching, happily ever afterwards with proud wife and child? Hopefully, unlikely. Celebrity bites, but rarely twice shy. 


How does the development of phones with artificial intelligence offset the lack of intelligence of the user?...Comedy: Malcolm Turnbull calls for an end to "personality politics"...Disunity is death says the polls, referring to Tony and his mates. Disunity in politics is the norm...Energy, water, council rates and petrol = bloodsuckers...A gun amnesty. Sounds good, solves nothing...Would Hawthorn's Luke Hodge get a character reference at the AFL tribunal?..."It's good to hope. It's the waiting that spoils it" [Yiddish proverb]...hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



HeartA Grain of Salt. Friday 30th June, 2017.


Next week our embattled Prime Minister is off to Europe to attend the G20 conference. Not before time with the destructive Lord Tony hot on Malcolm's singed tail and born to rule submarine man Christopher Pyne shooting his mouth off on gay marriage, albeit apologising. [The Age headed it 'Humble Pyne' - surely joking?]. A weird subject anyway, unlikely to have any effective involvement in deciding on our next elected Prime Minister. Most of us don't care and would vote yes to shut them up. Amazing. Fancy 'wanting' to get married? To each his own I suppose, or hers. Treasurer Scotty Morrison was asked to comment on Christopher's blunder. Scotty blamed Labor? He's a card is Scotty. Marriage is a bargain, and somebody has to get the worst of the bargain. Helen Rowland.


What's the worst thing about our democracy? Elected neanderthals obviously, but thankfully, in keeping with our everyday lifestyle we 'get on with our life' as the majority of like minded people do the world over; we being those 95% or higher, despite those in power wanting more power and more land and more gold, as they've done since Adam popped out from a mystery tummy. We note our bleeding, cigarette prices in the guise of goodness, an alcohol tax, a gambling tax. We get on. After World War 2 we had Korea, then Vietnam, the Berlin Wall, Iraq, Afghanistan, now Syria and seemingly the forever ongoing struggles between the Israelis and Palestinians. There never is a war to end all wars, so best we put our two bob's worth in at the ballot box and make the best of what's in our sights. Here on the Mornington Peninsula there's a concern for three story buildings popping up, not to mention dog poo. All relative. Getting on. The government ‘respects’ the decision of the Fair Work Commission, when it suits them. Add underemployment, stagnating wages and the polls results are seen in their true light. No wonder we like our sport. 


"If you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve nothing to worry about." Beware. The latest push for compulsory internet data retention in the search for pedophiles has a self righteous  smell about it, but the catch is it's only the beginning. The last push was thankfully stalled by the then Attorney-General Nicola Roxon. The chances of it stopping there are next to zero, and strangely, but not really, always the push from a conservative government. Hopefully, though doubtful, the public will wake up to these evils sooner rather than later, or run the risk of becoming another China where every click on google is watched by security forces. Add to this the push by the Murdoch clan to get control of Channel 10 and as I said, beware... 


Imagine Peter Dutton with unchecked unrestrained powers, currently his probable intention (combined with the Prime Ministership), particularly with the AAT when they rule against him. [Not to worry. Attorney-General George Brandis has revamped it, sacking a few, appointing his mates, thus dismissing the idea of 'independence']. Up pops our local federal member, a Minister no less, Minister for Heath Greg Hunt as part of a three pronged (contrived?) attack on our Victorian judiciary, the suggestion of hard left activist activist judges. “The state courts should not be places for idealogical experiments in the face of global and local threats from Islamic extremism that has led to such tragic losses” said Minister Hunt, ignoring the separation of powers and the sub judice concept, material which has a tendency to interfere with the administration of justice. Freedom of expression is well and good but it can work the other way with the expression aimed at shutting down even our highest court, their independent conclusions, in favour of politicians making non-reviewable decisions, or as I like to call it, a charmless crusade of verbal clumsiness in the pursuit of more power. A neanderthal bludgeoning of our intelligence. Sadly, embarrassingly, Mr Hunt is our local member in Canberra. And the response? A perfect example for newspapers generally and other ratbag types to come down hard on them. Not so the Herald-Sun? Not so social media? They come down hard on more important matters in their crusade of charmlessness, highlighting their verbal clumsiness as their bludgeon, against the likes of Sammy Newman, Mark Robinson and Eddie McGuire.


A memory: Jeff Kennett as Premier: The SEC, the Gas and Fuel Corporation, Victorian Railways, Tramways and public hospitals were all sold. Health services, councils amalgamated, schools closed and land sold to private developers while thousands of teachers, auxiliary staff and cleaners were made redundant causing widespread depression and anxiety throughout all communities.


The Coalition has now been behind in 14 consecutive Newspolls. Will Gonski 2.0 be seen as a substantial achievement and cancel out Labor’s previous advantage on schools, or has Labor the ammunition at the next election? Then there’s the clean energy target, which some 95% of us (who are 'getting on' with life) do not understand, or clean coal, or at least do not count this when deciding who to vote for. Or does it all come down to our power bills?


Are Collingwood supporters losing their mojo? 70,000 members. A clear day, a Saturday afternoon at their mighty MCG home ground in a must win against Port Adelaide, and a paltry crowd of 35,000 which included a fair number of vocal Port Adelaide supporters. Lost heart? As previously stated if they tightened up the handball rule our game of AFL rugby would be vastly improved; hopefully back to watching a real game of football rather than 2 hours of wrestling. Home ground advantage is a curse on the fairness of 'our' AFL football. The obvious second NEED therefore is for ALL football grounds to be exactly the same size.


Cardinal George for due process; time may tell...How one man can ruin a football show: Damian Barratt. Footy Classified...A cut in penalty rates from July 1st. More jobs or more hot air?...Former North Melbourne champ Glen Archer jumps the fence in a suburban junior match in Heidelberg; out of character my backside...I thank God for influencing me to never have the urge to go to Bali, having little or no taste whatever for pizzas and quite fond of instant coffee. It’s an established fact if you worry less you’ll live longer?...hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



LoveA Grain of Salt. Thursday 22nd June, 2017.


The question is why, Peerless? A fat cat, a negatively geared capitalism Czar, meant for Russia, mistakenly born Australia, sitting alongside Lord Tony in the party room. The honourable Peter Dutton MP Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, on national security, for mine a double edged sword in trying to get at Billy Shorten's Labor and the inference of soft on border protection, toughening up the criteria for people seeking citizenship, a higher English proficiency, 4 years residency, previously one. Power to override decisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on citizenship, subject to a court appeal. Australian laws, Australian values? A blown up picture of Peter on Pauline's bedroom wall, her desperation for fame fooling no-one other than One Nation voters. No need for Peter to 'please explain'?


Wireless/Sunday 18/6, 1278, George and Paul, breakfast. Terry McCrann is their hero?  "Warnings of high risk for binge drinkers? The sharemarket in grave danger of collapse. Bill Clinton’s favourite movie 'American Beauty', Ronald Reagan’s, 'High Noon'. Climate change is nonsense. Malcolm Roberts wants coal fired, no low emissions, scientists are depressed, the national grid is a mess. It’s a carbon tax!" The rubbish one hears eating vita brits, no added sugar. [Macca on 774 was becoming a pain so I switched waiting for Barrie Cassidy's 'Offsiders']. Monday 19/6: Labor 53 points to 47, two-party-preferred, Newspoll, despite a string of populist measures in the May budget. Populist? That's the good news. Yet again Peter Dutton is the bad news. Watched Four Corners; trolls, a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people? One can assume our parliament is overrun by these mysterious trolls, Peerless Peter leading the charge, Princess Pauline close behind, separate classes for autistic children?


Sydney journalist Peter FitzSimons spruiking his realities on what not to eat (The Drum) followed by Garry Linnell (The Age) singing the same song, explaining their former wayward years heavily into superfluous indulgence in eating choices and on the scales at 100+ kilos, to their now sensible weight due to their current types of food not to eat. Skiting no less, achievements? Give me a break. Their choices of foods or greedy guts? Frozen meals, fish and chips, soft drinks, beer. I eat what suits, sugar, salt, beer whatever, as do the many, following extensive RSL research. 'Elegant sufficiency' as my old man used to suggest when I pleaded for a second helping after a humungous first helping of steamed pudding with hot plum jam. 'Less activity with the tongue and more activity with the knife and fork' Dad replied. Give your opinions, but please, do not hold it up as the only way to a healthy life.  


"Gluttony is the source of all our infirmities, and the fountain of all our diseases. As a lamp is choked by a superabundance of oil, a fire extinguished by excess of fuel, so is the natural heat of the body destroyed by intemperate diet" [Burton]. Eat, drink and gamble responsibly.


Suggestion: Improving the quality of your life. My life? Not quite, I've passed the point of no return so this is for "other" people, including females, politicians, psychologists as always and AFL football commentators. Fun is the keyword. What is fun? No definition, but you will know it when it's happening. I'm told its important to move your body in a joyful way, joyful being another word for fun. Dancing around the house is recommended, as is whatever you can think of which can form part of increasing your likelihood of getting fit and strong. Push ups, running, walking? Stretching, particularly when watching television? Already you're on the path to something called 'feeling stoked'. Self compassion obviously. I'm overloaded with self compassion, so much so there's no need to put those shoes on and get out the door; morning coffee at my cafe and afternoon's at the RSL. The way I see it if I'm willing to criticise all those do-gooders on dieting the least I can do is come up with a sensible alternative. No dieting, no gym fees? Voilà!


Labor was wrong in opposing needs based schools funding. True, 'needs based' is a con and overall less than the original Gonski, but it's a con the public will buy. Who didn't know One Nation and Derryn Hinch would vote for it? What percentage of voters have a vital interest in education? Why not accept it with a view to minor changes if and when they win an election? Bad politics Billy mate. Either way the constant schools funding so called crisis was over the top. My schooling 1940's was featured in The Sun newspaper with a picture (Alfred Crescent State School, North Fitzroy, before the invasion of The Greens) and the caption 'The black hole of Victoria', poverty wise. Where were we listed back then in comparing our education standards with overseas countries? Hey - I survived?


The obvious reason for settling at $70 million plus $20 million costs is to gag all the horrors of the past 4 years from the courtroom, otherwise certain to be dragged out for months. And when settled what then? The USA option, for some not all, on  the agenda for months with no positive action in sight. Moral and physical hardship, deprivation of liberty, lies and secrecy, with a cheque to cover it all. A USA decision on 6 weeks? For the lucky (?) few.


A ReachTEL poll shows Danny down at 54-46. Time to pick up sticks mate. Billy also in trouble if he doesn't do anything about power prices. People demand someone to blame mates...Carlton's Hawthorn like brand of unsociable football sad to see, the crash and bang before the game, the attention to Gary Ablett, a clean highly skilled player. Great to see another champion, clean and highly skilful in another era, Malcolm Blight, get legend status, AFL Hall of Fame...Smartarse Mark Robinson forced to apologise, ditto chronic smartarse Red Symons, accused of racism? The age of political correctness. How sweet it is. ...Orchids to Michael Gordon and Martin Flanagan for years of entertainment via The Age newspaper...Orchids also to Rebel Wilson for sticking it up Bauer Media. "It's not about the money" said Rebel, with a request price tag at $7 million?...If AFL umpires were instructed to enforce the handball rule there's every chance the current game of AFL rugby could be saved...hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



CoolA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 16th June, 2017.

I had high hopes after the doom and gloom of last week's column. Alas, the disaster began after my three most hated teams (historically) all had wins; Essendon, Carlton and Melbourne. The injustice. The fruitless taping and deleting, the Melbourne game marred by disgraceful umpiring in the exciting final quarter, possibly handing the death knell to Collingwood's final 8 hopes. Ever onwards, ever hopeful, a necessity. One more week before our politicians go into Winter recess, no doubt coming up with sound reasons for a trip to the Maldives archipelago or thereabouts, with families, secretaries, lovers. And we pay. PM Malcolm gasping for a break, unless of course a 'crisis' occurs to take away his drama in Cabinet, read Lord Tony and accomplices. Malcolm 'feasts' on a crisis. Doing nothing can be more accurately assessed as an act of opposition. By doing nothing we change nothing, by changing nothing we hang on in there on what we understand, and with it the danger of allowing the security blanket to overcome, to call the shots. But there are no shots. We search for that crisis. Any crisis. The act of 'doing' to save the day?


Then we have our Deputy PM, Country Party born to rule Barnaby Joyce and his suspicion of females with brains, Gillian Trigg, Yassmin Abdel Magled. You could say he's in good company; Eric Abetz, Prince Peter Dutton, Peerless Pauline, Andrew (Malcolm must go) Bolt, obviously Tony Abbott and the Herald-Sun's crew. Now it's Carla McGrath, deputy chairperson of GetUp, an indigenous female, also a member of the newspaper industry watchdog Australian Press Council with News Limited on the attack sighting conflicted interest and independence. News Limited, conflicted interest? This mob against anyone who disagrees with their far right wing Murdoch agenda, but it raises itself up a considerable notch when it comes from the fairer (straight talking) sex. Looking forward to November when I write my final blog, in 22 weeks. Will I outlast our current PM? Adopting a new found life of total retirement bereft of newspapers, and it follows, bereft of reading about all those crooks. That's what they are when it all boils down. Defending their assumed right of 'born to rule'. For now, notwithstanding, I'll keep on plugging. They say if you stop it's a fast train to the cemetery. Lordy lordy. Bringing to mind this one, from Russian Boris Pasternak...


'Like a beast on the pen I'm cut off

From my friends, freedom, the sun

But the hunters are gaining ground

I've nowhere else to run.'


NOTE: The two charming ladies in the Deli section of Woolworths Rye watched the Melbourne Collingwood Queens birthday match barracking for neither side and loved the telecast, failing to spot the disgraceful umpiring, proving beyond doubt people will believe  Doctor Who if they spot a telephone box, albeit red. Herald-Sun readers? 


Jeffrey Kennett: "We expected decisive leadership and clear plans from Malcolm Turnbull and got neither." But wait. He adds "Labor resembles a Dads Army, a tired collection of baseless ideas responsible for so many of the challenges we face today." Then rubbishes The Greens, One Nation and the Xenophon group. In his far from subtle way an aficionado of Andrew Bolt.  


If anyone can come up with sensible reasoning as to why Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, academy award-winning actor Cate Blanchett, mining industry heavyweight Jacques Nasser and most of the other 888 received Queens birthday honours ahead of Cliff Ellen I'm listening. Mind you the awards were male dominated (again) so we can assume with a reasonable degree of certainty the choices were Liberal Party inspired. Twice a year we receive these doctored wanks. Ban them.


It turns out it was all a waste of time, wishful thinking. Patiently waiting to reach the big one, 100 years old, 2036,  and being asked the usual question "What do you attribute to your longevity?" At 81 most of them have given me the flick. If I said 'God bless' to each of them after the turning the light out at beddy byes I'd be awake till dawn. And all those natural pluses like salt and sugar? The people who said those seemingly wise words at the time, involving a mysterious thing called 'research', would also have gone, no doubt damaged by a lack of this salt, beer, sugar, or the aftermath of quitting the cigarettes. Not to worry. I may not get there.  


The 63ha Morning Star Estate at Mount Eliza has been sold for $36 million to a Chinese developer, including the mansion, 75,000 rose bushes, 12ha vineyard, orchid, olive growth, grazing pastures and a redevelopment permit for a 72 room hotel. Concerns about foreign investors, conveniently ignoring previous (and current) investors from England and the USA. Or is it local concerns for property valuations? Similar concerns for the state's new planning laws allowing three-storey houses to be built across the Mornington Peninsula. I fancy building up where I live, back of the Rye shopping strip alongside a carpark. Obviously after I win powerball. The problem? I'd lose my council cleaning lady.


Ever onwards with the slogans; "continuous economic growth" but who believes this? A government in limbo, almost on the lowest level. Ask the workers, casual, part time, unemployed. Economic growth my backside, alongside increased company profits and the furphy of the  "trickle down" economics. Scotty Morrison says his discussions with Dr Alan Finkel have been 'very constructive'. The problem, according to Scotty, lies with Bill Shorten playing politics. No mention of Lord Tony et al? Poor old Scotty. Delusions of grandeur.  


Peerless Peter to challenge Citizenship Act to give him power to waive decisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Danger!...Four years on Manus Island detention centre and successful compensation claim. Best not to check their letter boxes for the next decade...Telstra to cut 1400 jobs. Aussie jobs or filipinos?...Greg Hunt criticising judges, out of touch with community expectations? Read 'his expectations'. Check your mirror Minister Greg...Yes, I realise Donald Trump is being investigated and the plum in her mouth Theresa May got a fright. I choose to ignore...Am I worried about elder abuse; not yet, phew...hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



CryingA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 9th June, 2017.


It's been one of those weeks, of struggle. Health problems requiring a doctor. One of two I trust, both on 6 week breaks, cunning buggers, likely sunning up north while God or the like play torturous tricks with our Mornington Peninsula weather. The washing machine packed it in and the refrigerator is making weird haunting sounds through the night. I'm definitely winding down, run my race so to speak. Maybe give away the smokes in surrender? Or is it a trifecta; winter, terrorism and metadata? An urgency to change course. The problem as always, what to replace it with? Volunteering? I watched the last half of the Fremantle-Collingwood game 3 times. I don't see my wounded magpies beating those demons in a pink fit come Queens birthday so gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Trump pulled up stumps from the Paris agreement (climate change) but we stayed put, our contribution, despite all the hullabaloo, as a dog pissing into the wind. So much for the Great Barrier Reef. I’m more concerned with Peter Dutton’s failure of compassion in his treatment of asylum seekers and the LNP asking the Electoral Commission to redraw the electoral map to Peter Perfect's benefit. Quick as a wink PM Malcolm questions how Yacqub Khayre was on parole (Melbourne siege) immediately, cleverly, backed by Billy Shorten. In darling genteel Brighton, a motel where I stayed overnight years back? A terrorist or a nutty criminal? They had a go at Peerless Pauline for using disaster as political opportunism, with no shortage of embarrassment or conscience in following suit. Former Australian trade minister Andrew Robb walked straight out of Parliament into an $880,000-a-year job with a billionaire closely aligned to the Chinese Communist Party and its key trade policy. Remember the mysterious Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)? Apparently too important to Australia to let us into the fine print with Trade Minister Andrew Robb in the driving seat, involving pharmaceuticals, copyrights and many other agreements? At least he's consistent; ever the shady deals. I wrote 2 years ago: "Who would I place my trust in: former HSU union leader Kathy Jackson or Andrew Robb?" Neither? Nothing changes. 


Then there's Quadrant, with the emphasis on rant. [Roger Franklin: "had there been a shred of justice, that blast would have detonated in an Ultimo TV studio. None of the panel's likely casualties would have represented the slightest reduction in humanity's intelligence, decency, empathy or honesty."]. Combined with the Institute of Public Affairs, obviously darling Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and the mysteries of Barnaby Joyce’s mind. A quadrella, of far right wing leanings as potentially damaging as any in my history? As for state politics poor getting/looking old Danny Andrews continues to gets shafted by our wonderful Herald-Sun newspaper, daily. Do we really think house invasions would stop if Matty Guy was elected Premier? Lastly the terrorists, ISIS or whatever they currently call themselves, surprisingly not taking blame for those house invasions but clearly everything else. Many on social media blame us, ourselves, courtesy of our entry, invasion, to the war in Iraq 2003. Fair enough, and possibly the British and Americans had further involvement with arms dealings, but do they solve anything by harping on the reason? Terrorism is a reality regardless of its handling by our mongrel newspapers and the jittery politicians. It's the NOW. The disasters of innocent killings, coming to us, maybe soon, hopefully never. Coupled with all this is the increased degree of hate/bullying on social media. Poor old nutcase Andrew Bolt copping more than a simple spray. Surely we don't need to take up arms for a different opinion; even so, I'm far from sure. The plus is the certainty of those with all the gold taking action, eventually, to protect their gold, and maybe building a Mexican style Donald Trump wall at the end of Peninsula Link? Busy times for our friends at ASIO. 


Such a nice picture in our local Mornington Peninsula News Group newspaper. Staff of the Rye, Dromana and Rosebud branches of my Bendigo Bank. 16 females in colourful blouses and 3 males. Are they blouses, shirts or tops? Perhaps blouses to allow for the various chest sizes? Land of the Amazons. No problem here, always nice, welcoming. One wonders had they shown a picture with 16 males etc? 


Department of Navy, public service, 1950's. A blast from the past. I had a giggle recalling. We were given notice of a time and management inspection team the following week. Pens down, feet up, long lunches at the Domain Hotel, St Kilda road, until the dreaded day, allowing an atmosphere of busy busy. On the go 9 till 5, for their benefit. Too busy to answer questions.  He was impressed. We got big ticks. Begone.


Doom and gloom. The blame game in spades. Hypocrisy, simplicity, forever...Have the Poms woken up? Theresa May?...If a new prime minister is emerging (Malcolm Turnbull - Mark Kenny; The Age) I'm off to Specsavers...Bribery will certainly corrupt the democratic process, always assuming there is such a thing as a democratic process.......Has darling Schapelle (Corby) left the building. We hope so, in spite of wishing her a happy and safe life. Did you read the book? How about the telemovie? All tommyrot. Skipped the book, lasted 30  minutes the movie?...A plethora of opinions swamping social media on various subjects. My favourite is when someone opens up with "Let's face it", meaning he/she has decided whatever is to follow is the reality, often including meaningful words like absolutely, exactly right and awesome?...Millionaires are grumpy too you know. So they have crayfish? Their tummy's are no more full than mine on a can of tomato soup and a piece of toast; yummy?...Awards are a big jerk off. [Jerry Seinfeld]..."Hast thou hope?" they asked of John Knox, when he lay a-dying. He spoke nothing, but raised his finger and pointed upward, and so died [Carlyle]... hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



LoveA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 2nd June, 2017.


My attitude to same sex marriage mirrors an attitude to most things in life, as in 'fair enough'. No two people on this earth have agreement in all things.  Basically I couldn’t give a monkeys. On the other hand one mother is nice, but two? After watching ‘The Slap’ and ‘Big Little Lies’ (TV) I’m thinking there could be problems. If one of their kids cops a whack you’re looking at a double whammy; pity the teachers. Alternatively two fathers heavily into enforced thinking (political correctness) may be overwhelming for any children of the marriage. God help a kid who has a taste for sugar. My interest in objectors (The Margaret Court arena) is their emotional involvement? Margaret said she would not travel Qantas, "where possible". Were they saying the name of the arena should be changed because Margaret doesn't agree with same sex marriage? Nonsense. 'Overwhelming majority' says Waleed at 62% polling but polling is often far from reality, many voting along the lines of 'seemingly the right thing to say', by no means certain in any final outcome. Believing in marriage between a man and a woman does not automatically suggest homophobia. Margaret suggests her different point of view lead to her being bullied, which was evident on 'The Project'. Not by Waleed but more from the self righteous attitude of the other three interviewers. Margaret gets off on religion and should have left it there. Her added comments, Hitler and the devil, made her an easy target. In my personal experience I "always" let the wife decide, unless of course I disagreed. "Freedom of speech is much more palatable when the opinions of others align closely with one's own". [Ed Rogers]. 


A decade since I started this column. Rye News May 2007, which became the Southern Peninsula News, extended to the Mornington News, the Western Port News, the Frankston Times and the Chelsea to Mentone News. February, 2010-2015, to a blog at www.ello8.com. At my age something 'to keep me busy' becomes a necessity. Gardening? Sadly no. I can get down (slowly) but a big problem getting up, in more ways than one? Television; mainly rubbish. Friends; mostly left the building. Winter has arrived, as has my water bottle, to accompany the worst set of politicians since William McMahon. Historically, a dreaded month for Collingwood supporters, with a week's relief due to a bye round? Problems no more than most, other than nonplussed how someone like Pauline Hanson has so many followers, even allowing for those contributors to the Herald Sun 'Your Say' pages. Nuff-nuff comes to mind. A stage version of George Orwell's '1984' at the Comedy theatre. "Comrade 6079, Winston Smith, thinks a thought, starts a diary, and falls in love. But Big Brother (and the rats) is always watching". An Australian production, an adaptation true to today? I'll go see it, but unless the book has changed Winston is doomed, like all of us, eventually. Kidding. It's the weather. Press on McDuff?


The senate estimates committee where senators have a fortnight to ask searching questions on our behalf of public servants and their roles. The Herald-Sun's column by Annika Smethurst, Pauline Hanson's picture, but nothing substantial other than mentioning Peerless Pauline's question 'Are cows still alive when they were slaughtered?' No mention of the following questions to ASIO chief (to add weight to her racism and prejudice approach?) 'Can you confirm the 4 terrorist attacks and 12 foiled attacks on Australian soil was committed by Muslims, and if not, who' ["The answer is no, they have not all been carried out by Muslims. We are only interested in people who are exhibiting or offering violence and to the extent there is extremism, which is very frequently inspired by a warped version of  Sunni Islam. That's where our interests are involved."]  'Do you believe that the threat is being brought in possibly by Middle Eastern refugees that are coming out to Australia? ["I've absolutely no evidence to suggest there's a connection between refugees and terrorism"]. Exit a dissatisfied Peerless. Not that ASIO's sensible answers will stop her, or Andrew Bolt, or Lord Tony.


John Steinbeck on critics: This morning I looked at the Saturday Review, read a few notices of recent books, not mine, and came up with the usual sense of horror. One should be a reviewer or better a critic, these curious sucker fish who live with joyous vicariousness on other men’s work and discipline with dreary words the tiling which feeds them. I don’t say that writers should not be disciplined, but I could wish that the people who appoint themselves to do it were not quite so much of a pattern both physically and mentally. I’ve always tried out my material on my dogs first. You know, with Angel, he sits there and listens and I get the feeling he understands every tiling. But with Charley, I always felt he was just waiting to get a word in edgewise. Years ago, when my red setter chewed up the manuscript of Of Mice and Men, I said the dog must have been an excellent literary critic. Time is the only critic without ambition. Give a critic an inch, he’ll write a play.


Constitutional changes in recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders people enshrining the indigenous voice in the Australian constitution gives a voice of sorts to the meaning of 60,000 years of occupation. The national congress of Australia's first people, to change the status quo? I have no firm belief either way and wish them every success, but they will need super thick hides. Expect the expected; right wing and the IPA. In the words of Comanche Ten Bears to Josey Wales "Our government has double tongue". 


Geography is about power. "Although often assumed to be innocent, the geography of the world is not a product of nature but a product of histories of struggle between competing authorities over the power to organise, occupy and administer space." [Gearóid O'Tuathail]. 


Billy's tactical error: Opposing Gonski schools funding and the NDIS; spot on with the medicare levy...Alex Fasolo's depression, a future goldmine, if not now, for psychiatrists, psychologists...Nice to see sports stars 'deeply regretting their actions'. Nicer still if they regretted them before they were caught..."We're actually trying to cut the cost to the taxpayer" Classic Pauline quote after James Ashby's suggestion on double charging..."Hail the cold case team. Don't ever sleep easy. The wheels turn slowly, but they are turning". [Dennis McTaggert]...Keep yourselves nice...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



WowA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 26th May, 2017.


6am Friday 26/5. Hardly a thought the past week other than the joy of a rare magpie victory. 'Nothing' days, where you have (maybe, depending on energy levels) a shower and shave. Put your washing on, choof to the cafe for coffee (500 steps via iPhone), read the Herald Sun crap free copy, home, time to write? No, almost 11am, lunch time. Check out Facebook. Disaster in Manchester, Peter bloody Dutton. Blame the moslems, all of them? Tired, maybe lie down after lunch, an hour, get stuck into it afterwards. Almost 4pm. A beer at the RSL? My mind a blank. A trip to Woolworths, food, fish, no teeth. Frozen veggies, microwave. Time for 'The Drum'. The day disappeared. Thursday already, pension day. Skip the weekly blog? Get up early tomorrow? Think of something...  


Perhaps they're in some sort of club, maybe the 'Heavy Hitters Club' (Heil Hittler aficionados) or the like; henchmen, dating way back. Remember Philip Ruddock before he turned reasonable? Peter Reith and that waterfront dispute to smash the Maritime Union of Australia? Scotty as Immigration minister, accused by a Senate committee of being 'selective with the facts' and seeking to unfairly apportion blame to asylum seekers over the Manus Island riots that claimed the life of Reza Barati? And now the current specialist from The Sound of Music, re-written. "What are we going to do about Peter" as in Dutton. Either we survive courtesy of a 2ml valium or as is the usual Australian way, we move on, hoping he gets his just deserts, laced with sugar. If you're in a situation where you believe this man represents the 'good bloke' concept, a visit to your shrink is recommended. Politicians are back in Canberra heavily fixed on Labor, as usual, read Billy Shorten, the Herald Sun on his tail, stirring. And Peter? He's full on, diverting the budget woes, getting personal with the independent Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Ken Henry and the ABC, ignoring his interpretation (child sex scandal?) on the Good Friday shootings at Manus Island Detention Centre and demanding 7,500 resident refugees complete complex asylum claims (40 pages, a long wait for legal help, if you're lucky) by October 1st as in manipulating public opinion, read terrorists or welfare bludgers? Scoot off back to where they came from, convenient politically when in times of increased unemployment, casual employment and underemployment. Laying the blame at the expense of justice. The threat to our security, the future of our kids, our pure Aussie kids, always aware of a strong percentage of Australians who resent immigration dating back to the Greeks, Italians. I'd prop him at the departure lounge, Sydney airport, checking out the ratbags flying to Syria. Philip, Peter, Scotty and Peter; Aces, top of the tree, in the HHC. 


The  alleged $165 million tax fraud. A democracy needs a political safeguard. I’m all for a federal corruption watchdog. Sure, we have PM Malcolm's usual guff ‘our police, our agencies will catch them, prosecute and bring the full weight of the law down to bear on them, ever vigilant, a relentless pursuit'. Institutions seemingly beyond normal parliamentary scrutiny can lead to an abuse of power, no matter noble intentions. Is the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation Michael Cranston, and/or his son Adam Cranston crooks? Time will tell. Surely time for our government to take action against allowing 'straw' company directors.


The mythical culture of the Amazon region is the saga of the female warriors called Amazons, these brave women of South America via ancient Greece. The arts of war, indigenous women, courageous, like the greek female warriors. Legend or fact? An all-female society with necessary contact with men. Women warriors needed to procreate, to preserve their bloodline. When they became pregnant, they released the captives. If the child born of the relationship was a girl, educated to be a warrior. If a boy, delivered to the tribe of the father or, according to other information, killed immediately. I sometimes get a whiff of this when entering the Rye branch of the Bendigo Bank. Joke Joyce?


Enforced thinking, or as some call it, political correctness. The review by Cameron Woodhead ('The misogyny & class prejudice behind the lyrics more galling with every passing year.') in The Age of 'My Fair Lady' at the Regent and followed by others (letters) completely missing the point. Is he suggesting we can't watch it? A fine musical. Beyond the pale nonsense from the critic. Shaw's play, Lerner and Loewe's production. A classic.


Darling Schapelle (Corby) is due home May 27th, sadly the subject of the paparazzi mongels from now until when, a picture the path to big money. Attractive, blue eyes, now a chubby 39 year old but still carrying the aura of sexy, maybe even innocence? An over the top behavioural family and the general (gossip) opinion of her late father being the cause of the drama/tragedy. May Schapelle be a survivor, innocent or guilty. 


I wrote a fortnightly column for eight years for the Mornington Peninsula News Group. I stopped. A number of people asked why, suggesting I was sacked. No, it was time. Martin Flanagan's column, The Age 13/5 "A lot of people who interfere with your work in journalism think they're improving you when really what they're doing is distorting or obliterating meaning." Clear enough?


Let’s not kid ourselves. The decision to demolish the Manus Island detention centre is to throw the 900 residents to the wolves, the 220 with no refugee status anyway. The others are off to America, South America, eventually, supposedly, if they survive, if ever. Nor should we place the blame with the PNG government. It's our fault. 


The 2014 Sydney Lindt cafe siege; blame the psychiatrist, the psychologist, the police, or maybe even Haron Monis?...A Guardian Essential poll showed no budget bounce for the Coalition, and Labor retained its two-party-preferred lead 46-54... The loss of tradition with the AFL bounce; nonsense...Dear Cassie Sainsbury; full marks for creativity...Where are my Doc Martens?...To Premier Danny: home invasions, surely a priority?...“If you allow suffering to overwhelm you, you’re not going to be of any use to anyone.” (R.D.Laing)...keep yourselves nice…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



CoolA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 19th May, 2017.


Let's not jump the gun, yet. The shadow of the once mighty Age says Turnbull's big-spending, higher-taxing second budget has delivered a poll boost to the Coalition's political fortunes with a majority of voters backing its tax on banks, (or us?), the increase in the Medicare levy and a decline in Labor support to respondent’s satisfaction with Turnbull’s budget plans. A 53-47 two-party preferred. The New Daily said the federal budget failed to deliver a change in fortune for Malcolm’s government showing voters have dismissed his economic reset and shifted their support towards the ALP and the Greens. Popularity prone Billy calls the budget a steal from Labor. “A Labor budget wouldn’t have given millionaires a $16,400 tax cut. A Labor budget wouldn’t give the largest companies in Australia and multinationals a tax cut.” Either way the polls are too early to gauge the real effect making the next poll far more important to Malcolm's future as PM. [Ditto Nathan Buckley's future if Hawthorn beat Collingwood tomorrow]. Add in Malcolm's far right colleagues, wildcats, ever ready to pounce? A plus poll and they purr, for now, particularly with no replacement in sight? Fascinating. Time for Billy Boy to pull his socks up anyway. With Malcolm veering slightly left it's not good enough to remain in a state of pot shots; own ideas a necessity, starting with the ridiculous situation of asking some to pay almost 50 cents in the dollar tax, no matter the higher earnings. That's not socialism Billy, that's theft. 


PM Malcolm: A cashless welfare card designed to reduce spending on alcohol and gambling has made a 'positive difference' and could be rolled out to other communities. Human Services Minister, Alan Tudge: The results were encouraging. It is not explicitly targeted at Indigenous people. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner, Mick Gooda: It raises discrimination concerns. A cashless welfare card? Gestapo land. Never trust those who dream up a system 'for our own good'. And the drug testing, 'based on love and commitment to support Australians'? Surely the cost, presently unknown, will be near enough to the projected savings -  $632 million over 5 years from July 2018 - meaning the poor bastards will suffer financially, demeaned, for no valid reason? 


The government’s media “reforms” designed to see the end of the two-out-of-three control rule for newspapers, radio and television and the 75 per cent reach rule for TV. If passed News Limited, read Rupert Murdoch, will control the Australian media and the political agenda, never to be retrieved, with The Age already showing sagging right wing leanings from the boardroom. Imagine the Herald Sun as the one choice? Peter Dutton “I think people realise that you can live without reading Fairfax newspapers. I think it’s a better way to lead your life, that would be my advice.” I'll put off the 'republic' idea. The thought of Dutton as President riding roughshod over the democratic process is frightening. His latest, attacking the independent Administrative Appeals Tribunal accusing it of political bias (?) for not ruling the way he wants them to rule puts a rhinoceros to shame.


So he pulls out in front of me from a driveway, shopping centre, street. Shite! Maybe a moslem, christian, atheist, even a female. A pig, a female dog? 90% probability. The expression, not the animal. Often he/she drives off, down hard on the accelerator, meaning what? Urgent necessity, a form of apology or the guilt factor? Possibly an anarchist, a neo-nazi? How about a sign of an apology, hand outside the window, fingers spread apart, or a light installed saying 'sorry'? My guess is the same 90% probability factor is consistent with those complaining of the camera settings on Peninsula Link. I travel the allowed limit while they regularly pass me, meaning at the very least they are travelling in excess of 100kph. Home safe, till tomorrow?


Setting our political correctness agenda? A St Kilda player levelled what Caroline Wilson (The Age) called a series of repulsive verbal attacks at Carlton captain Marc Murphy. The St Kilda captain and the coach apologised but Dame Caroline not satisfied, called on the players' union and the AFL to step up to the mark. Orchids to the AFL for not responding. Football commentators quickly joined in, voicing disgust. We can assume they all knew what had been said, but not us, giving the gossip (creative) factory free reign. Personal abuse a low life form of argument but highlighting and calling on the AFL is taking political correctness a step too far. Sooner or later someone will tell me (for a fact, straight from the mouth of a best friend of Marc Murphy) what was said. Over reaction. Move on.  


League Teams Thursdays with Jack Dyer, Bobby Davis and Lou Richards. A must. World of Sport Sundays with Ron Casey in charge and Lou the star attraction. A religion, a few beers before a Sunday roast. 1953 premiership captain with wingman brother Ronnie best on ground. A family team with the Richards, Roses and 3 Twomeys. Not my favourite, reserved for Bobby Rose, Neil Mann, Des Healey and Bill Twomey but he grew on me. Behind that public ‘comic’ persona was an intelligent man with the basics of human nature, the common touch his code of conduct. They will say he was a Collingwood man, but really, an everyman. Best quote - from North Melbourne’s Ron Joseph at the state funeral. To Bob Hawke at a GF breakfast. Lou: “Bob, the only thing you haven’t done for the workers, has become one.” Well done Lou.


"Australians must have a tax administration they trust" Never in my 20 years as a public servant...The Collingwood GWS match attracted 10,000, likewise the Shanghai weird experiment, and the AFL continues to ignore a Tasmania team?...French open bans blondie after serving her time; wrong...If I was a worry wart, which I'm not, I'd place Indonesia ahead of Sir Donald Trump...Billy Boy Shorten's problem is with his 'delivery'. He's a dag, pure and simple...“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” [Plutarch]...hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



LoveA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 12th May, 2017.


Gravity; all things with mass gravitate toward one another. Chameleons, octopuses, fish, changing colours, filling the gap? Fairness, security and opportunity, feeling our pain? Work tests, dole tests, drug tests, activity tests, volunteer work for older unemployed. Volunteer? No oral or dental health changes. The Melbourne airport rail link mirage, ditto erratic infrastructure expenditure, $300 million reduction in foreign aid, bugger Africa. Housing prices locked in, capital gains, negative gearing ignored. Bank taxes? To customers, offsetting a Labor Royal Commission. Gravity has an infinite range, although its effects become increasingly weaker on farther objects, read the underclass, the vulnerable, Manus, Nauru, Australian detention centres. A heathy mind, healthy body, equity, equality of opportunity; read crappolea. A change of clothes does not maketh the man, or the Liberal party. Will this change the newspoll result? Possibly. Most voters require cataracts. Howzat! - the bus is late, you miss your appointment, you haven't got the bus fare? Yet again my song "Ain't We Got Fun". Better than the 2014 budget?  Yes, like a drover's dog. The bottom line = $75 = 72 cigarettes, at Woolworths. Eureka!


Grumpy bum? When former PM Malcolm Fraser said 'life wasn't meant to be easy' he was referring to we Collingwood supporters. A little ray of sunshine popping out to tease (Geelong) amidst surrounding black storm clouds. Down teems the rain in navy effing blue jumpers. Unabated. There's always powerball. We thank God for hope. As a confirmed 'worry when it's time to worry' I adopt the positivity of one more premiership before (if) I reach 90; 2026. Without Nathan Buckley.


John Coates, AOC president and in my eyes a professional grumpy bum heavily into self love. With the ABC's Leigh Sales, 7.30 he talked of two previous promising applicants for his position, but in spite of their talent they didn't 'come up'? There's this assumption with a person holding all the aces he/she will 'come up' to that next step, the big one, read Danni Roche. Coates indicated he hopes to choose his successor, but is he capable of spotting this successor at his intellectual level, in his mind? Coates has been top dog for years, historically rightly so, but John's ageing and the excellent record of Danni Roche did not necessarily mean she would 'come up'. A canvas of members results overwhelmingly came back for change to Roche, but as we know Coates won easily. A strange mob. My interest in the result is minimal but I'm fascinated with the human nature assumption people make on 'coming up'. Did PM Malcolm, Scotty 'come up'? Tony Shaw and Tim Watson as coaches, Keyvy Rudd, Kathy Jackson, the big one in Donald Trump, forever and a day in business, the public service, even in a milk bar and obviously in the cot? Take your pick. Trial and error, no guarantees. The world is littered with those who did not 'come up' in spite of their promise, and those who did in spite of nothing, and then there's favouritism, the major factor, alongside the 'me me' factor. Human nature. I love it. Lah de dah.  


One can almost touch the feeling of self righteousness when seeing a politician oozing it out on television, telling us what’s good for our future happy healthy life. I recall the ‘goodness’ in Kevin Rudd, later Tanya Plibersek on the evils of smoking. Currently it’s about gambling, not to mention the evils of over imbibing in alcohol. Good people, always on guard in the fight for our wellbeing. Drugs, pot, ice? Is sugar a drug? The challenges of self harm, to children, tattoos, watching horror movies, porn. Vulnerable children unable to make proper choices. The evils of instant gratification. Fighting the predators, dangerous new computer games included. All those handicaps to goodness, abolished by the 'Goodies', in the desperate search for health and happiness. Masturbation would surely be included if it could be proved, which is a strong possibility in a 1984 style future; random testing? Knock knock! I ponder my good fortune, my protection, the goodness of our faultless leaders, during an extended sitting on the throne.  


Cupiditus (greed is the root of evil) said the Romans on gambling. Envy from the poor to the rich. The opportunity to get something for nothing. Simplistic, conveniently ignoring the pleasure factor, the idea that many people gamble because they enjoy gambling, as I enjoy a cigarette. In most cases a controlled addiction. The fascination of why some people are lucky and some are not. It can be pleasurable without any particular reason. Win $2000 in one hit from a poker machine and soon, they’re back again. Why? You say greed, I say not necessarily; pleasure? A decent study of the gambling psyche must surely include the fact of simple enjoyment. 


The tax cuts to business yes, go Billy, but Billy's off centre going in hard at the so called ‘needs based’ education funding, resembling Tony in opposition, against everything no matter the idea/policy. Some things are best left be, albeit basically a re-framed Labor policy, and even if it isn’t the voters will see it that way. As for the 'Australia First' white fellas commercial? "I’ve had a look at the final production and I think we should have had more diversity in it and I’ll be speaking to the Labor Party about that.” Deftly blaming others? A tick to Anthony Albanese. 


AFL match in Shanghai - a vital and historic weekend. If they say so?...Indonesia's so called 'moderate' form on Islam; blasphemy?...Dave Hughes on Q&A. God help us...$30 million to foxtel to promote womens sport?...Journalists sacked means a loss of skills, ours as well as theirs. A Vacuum, replaced by power, eventually?...Greens Leader Doctor Who hogging the limelight; pining for my Sarah Hanson-Young...Kids in bed by 8.30, gambling advertising? Good luck parents...The old Robert Menzies trick. If in doubt take a Labor policy, tweek it, present as a new Liberal policy, voilà!...Happy Mothers Day...Vale Lewis Thomas Charles...hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



CoolA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 5th May, 2017.


The Collingwood victory (Geelong) made for a pleasant Sunday and beyond, until 1.45pm tomorrow, hopefully repeated when my boys meet the dreaded Carlton and the rare possibility of a blissful fortnight. As the final quarter began I pondered. Do I pray to God or Allah, or follow the Greek tradition of relying on Tyche, goddess of luck? I chose the latter. No need to over burden the throng to the various main Gods. It's only football, taken with a grain of salt. Overpaid, over reported. Anti-Victorian Sydney PM Malcolm has been with us throughout like a blue arsed fly, assisted by Simon Birmingham giving a great impression of those bum sucking prefects from my Northcote High School days, ever testing the waters, university fees, The Greens Ghonski, haunting us with mysterious 'agility, innovation and creativity' sometimes called pie in the sky, making Billy McMahon appear to be a good past Prime Minister. Potentially, a disastrous Tuesday May budget and a Carlton victory? In the meantime, in between time, 'Ain't We Got Fun'. Moving on...


Metadata and the federal police. The beginning, or the beginning of what we are aware of? The Australian Federal Police illegally obtained a journalist's phone records under the Turnbull government's new metadata retention regime. AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin said the police officers investigating the leak did not realise they were required to obtain a warrant to access the journalist's metadata. "This was human error. It should not have occurred. The AFP takes it very seriously and we take full responsibility for breaching the Act," The question is why, and what does 'taking full responsibility' mean? "There was no ill will or malice or bad intent by the officers involved, simply it was a mistake.” Officers plural?  More than one who was unaware of the necessity to obtain a warrant, again why?


G-G Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce in particular, Eric Abetz, powerful Peter Dutton, George Christensen, Princess Pauline, News Corp's Herr Andrew Bolt and ageing Graham Richardson on Yassmin Abdel-Magied. A female and a muslim; two strikes? Racists, free speech or misogynists, never forgetting Julia Gillard and Gillian Triggs? Add sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins. Bigotry, hypocrisy, without fear of censure. Free speech when it suits, more correctly when they agree. According to insightful unbiassed Herald-Sun columnist Peta Credlin the government's 76 members [reps] includes 13 females, sitting behind Malcolm in close proximity to the cameras? They claim to be pro women, not including Kelly O'Dwyer apparently. No doubting the AFP accessing Yassmin's metadata? Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk: "Malcolm Turnbull is arrogant and disrespectful" with relations between the two at an all-time low. No surprise there. A never ending pattern, if one cares to look? Maybe write to master know-all Derryn Hinch for guidance? 


Billy Shorten odds on to win the next federal election, favoured by the Turnbull/Dutton race card, Lord Tony's self destruct resentment along the lines of Kevvy Rudd and Scott Morrison's confusion? Scott who? Unless they manage to get the price of gas down or not  upset university students and pensioners, or see the light and go for another leader; Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop? Aussie swinging voters change on a threepenny bit. Paul  Keating's visit to Melbourne last week, albeit uplifting, emphasised the blandness of the Labor opposition, read Billy Shorten. A need for ideas. Billy is a union man, party to destroying Kevvy at the height of Kevvy's popularity to maintain union dominance. Not the greatest example of courage. What we're getting is almost a blanket opposition to all things Turnbull and a blandness on anything likely to be taken advantage of by the majority white Christian Aussies, judged by Billy's lot as political poison. Pauly is urging Canberra to forge a more independent foreign and security policy. He says we should not be seen as a client state of the US, believing it won’t damage our alliance. Nice words, but Billy best keep his council for now. While Labor agrees with Turnbull in the fight against international terrorism, also overseas deployments as in the Trump factor, to go against these decisions opens him up to the power of the Murdoch press, made more powerful with The Age caught with their pants down. A recent poll for The Australia Institute found 60 per cent of voters feel the new president is a negative outcome for the world overall. And just under half said that, following Trump’s election, Australia should be more independent on military and security matters. This being so will we hear from Billy? Probably not. For now, his bread is buttered, but oh, for an idea!


Worth repeating. Scene 1: The Sergeant. “Mother Courage and Her Children” [Brecht]. “What they could do with round here is a good war. You know what the trouble with peace is? No organisation. And when do you get organisation? In a war. Peace is one big waste of equipment. Anything goes. No one gives a damn. Disgusting. How many horses in this town? How many young men? Nobody knows! They haven’t bothered to count ‘em! That’s peace for you! I’ve been in places where they haven’t had a war in seventy years, and you know what? The people haven’t even been given names! They don’t know who they are! It takes a war to fix that. In a war, everyone registers, everyone’s name’s on a list. It’s a winner, and they’re all scared of peace. Of course, until it gets going, they’re just as scared of war, it’s such a novelty!" 


Danny's budget 1/ $1.9b family violence, prevention package. A mirage. 2/ Arts funding drops to $106.6 million, from $152 million last year?...Am I missing something? A difference between right and absolutely right? Ditto totally agree?...Without proof it's silly to make definitive judgements, but if a friend was off on a working holiday to Columbia what advice would you give?...Do 'Australian values' include race baiting, lambasting the Sydney controlled ABC and locking people up indefinitely on Manus and Nauru?...It's good debt if it means infrastructure improvements at today's low interest rates; a rail to the Melbourne Airport goldmine?...I wish Jenny Craig would leave me be. I don't need a personal consultant, or a tailored menu... Give up cigarettes? I have enough trouble giving up crumpets!...If The Age goes we step into the jaws of the monster, and snap; bye bye democracy..."To recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less." from THE SOUL OF MAN...hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com


Broken heartA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 28th April, 2017.


Another Anzac Day. Contrived patriotism, hyped by jingoism, chest thumping, gushing. Ever increasing from the upgrade of this day early 90's by little Johnny Howard. True stories of courage and pain, the horrors of war. "Anzac Day means sport" someone said on radio, as does Good Friday, now? It also means crafty politicians and inspirational words on behalf of our brave diggers who paid so dearly, including aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The celebration has come a long way the past 50 years. Whitlam's Labor government was elected, conscription ended, as did our participation in the Vietnam War. Not quite the dream now. Captured by commercialism, opportunism. Real optimism has a low threshold with the possibility of world war, right-wing commentators falsely tagging most leftists as “totalitarians” who favoured authoritarian socialist states? One ponders how many real frontline soldiers celebrate this day along with the many thousands who treat it as our national pride, which can be a good thing, assuming this pride comes without their own set of racist rules. We give thanks to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Aussie values in war was about mateship and camaraderie, not Aussie political correctness self love rubbish. "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind" [Albert Einstein].


We do our best to ignore Donald Trump's many moods. In the scheme of things, as a world power we're a pissing little country, albeit with big mouths. By all means stand up for ourselves and show respect, but without this constant self worship of anything U S of A. We have the little fellow from North Korea who surely requires a visit to our Rye barber, with Foreign Minister Dame Julie mouthing off at him and that strange looking Syrian President with the long name. May they all stop with this bragging nonsense. "All the way with Trump"? On the other hand it's the one thing they don't blame Labor for...yet.


Gold Logie winner Samuel Johnson vowed not to act again until his cancer research fund, at $4 million, hits the $10 million mark. Good for Samuel; may he succeed.  He's been making similar announcements for almost a decade now; a troubled soul? The "Molly" mini series was painful at best. The best drama of the year? They're kidding?  


The University of Cambridge Psychometrics Centre, personalities on the internet. Our government's metadata retention scheme came into effect April 13, as in collecting, in effect, the private lives of Australians by telecommunication companies on behalf of our government. Storing our posts, our like clicks, perhaps revealing much more of our personalities we ever imagined, on Facebook, twitter et al. A psychological profile, including your personality, intelligence, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism and openness. If it wasn't so serious it would be funny. Objections are met with 'if you've got nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about' ignoring the reality of 'we all have something to hide'. Maybe reserve your Facebook 'likes' to anything which can prove nothing either way? If you witnessed those two Sydney brutes gang tackling Heath Shaw from GWS (caught on the umpires mike) refrain from any like or dislike? Ditto the charming though slightly wet, Yassmin Abdel-Magied. I clicked on  applymagicsauce.com -  Cambridge Analytica - took the test, based on logging into my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Came out as being 31 years old, some 7% homosexual, 43% masculine. 46% impulsive and 45% intelligent? Early days for now, but something to be mindful of, always assuming I'm not on something called 'the downward slope'? Freedom of speech is fine, provided they agree.  


Some 66% of my family are off to Bali mid year. Truth be told they can manage well without me, but credit where it's due, they suggested I come. "You would love it Dad". I've never been to Bali and confidently predict I never will. In all fairness I asked what the attraction was? Apparently it's the weather, the cheap cost, the walks, the wonderful food, the beaches and the change of environment. Good for the soul Dad? [The great advantage of a hotel is that it's a refuge from home life - G.B.Shaw]. Fair enough. However, I don't like too much of the walking caper, had enough sunshine for a few months, no food connoisseur, I live 200 yards from the sea and can do without 12 hours in an aeroplane. Case closed. My kids are not alone with this Bali mania. So many other friends (strangely I still have the odd 'living' friend) wax lyrically on Bali. A mystery I'll never solve. Possibly the Balinese females pleasing to my eyes, but in this day and age one is only allowed a passing glance? I'll soldier on, aware of my limitations, less is more stuff, settling for their pictures on Facebook. ["Brandleaders is offering the chance to win a $250,000 First Class holiday to Dubai! Experience Emirates Airline's unique First Class service on your way to Dubai. Spend 7 luxurious nights in the Burj Al Arab"]. I'd settle for winning the Monday $200 draw at the Rye RSL. Dubai?


Immigration minister Peter Dutton insisted the incident involving the child, and a separate sexual assault, contributed to elevating the “mood” on Manus Island before the violence. “I have that on very good authority on the island,” said officer Pete. “The parents of the boy involved in the incident might have a different view to the one that you have read off tweets.” Caught out by Cassidy, quoting from the Manus Province police commander David Yapu's version. Doubtful at best, but expect Pete's norm, as in 'the best form of defence is attack', following a Liberal tradition of truth being sent to the backline? Lah de dah.


I'm no fan of Nathan Buckley as a coach, dating back to 2012 when he mistreated the great Alan Didak and kicked out a magpie legend, born and bred hero Heath Shaw, but the nonsense emanating from a mere 18 point defeat by Essendon was way over the top. 


Rich superannuants complaining of superannuation changes: ”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)...A huge iceberg has grounded off the Canadian coast, April 24th. Melting?....Did you watch the Logies? You missed nothing...Kicked out of England, arriving in January 1788, the birth of the Australian accent. Advance Australia Fair renditions lose me the minute they say Advarnce...Eyes front for creative government accounting, May budget, good and bad debt?... hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



WildA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 21st April, 2017.


Almost fatally wounded by the Easter invasion of Melbournians escaping from the world's most chaotic city for reasons best known only to them. I'm thinking of placing an advertisement in the wonderful Herald-Sun newspaper suggesting they consider holidaying in North Korea, maybe witness the thermonuclear war? This may sound like bad advice but the reality is (do you like that word; reality?) the double page 'Your Say' clearly discloses the readers will follow whatever they're told to follow. Woolworths a disaster area; panic buying after one whole day of nothing to do, or buy. Supporter, prior to the Good Friday AFL match: "What else is there to do?' Read a book, take a walk, to the end of the Rye pier and beyond? Perhaps a full round next year, keep all sad supporters (and the calculating money grabbing AFL) happy. Important to have 'something to do' and so the bonus of happiness even without the comfort of an open for trading Woolies. Happiness, a positive emotional experience, until your team loses by a point. My wife had three kids which, by all accounts, involved my contribution. I can see a future where a DNA result will be instant at birth. A cat amongst the pigeons? Happiness can be when your kids turn out as expected, an impossibility but a nice thought. I was happy if they stayed out of trouble. Three kids is stretching it. One is enough. I'm rambling after another Easter wondering as to my inner serenity. Not one easter egg. True, I don't eat chocolate, but it's the thought? I, and thousands of others, have examined the happiness theory many times. My bottom line (do you like that; bottom line?) conclusion is I'm happy when I'm not unhappy. Somewhere along the line it's tied in with sadness. How can you be happy if you've never been sad? Enough. Another Collingwood loss. A bottom line reality 'mental health and wellbeing' check-up? Hallelujah!


I'm feeling sorry for treasurer Scotty Morrison? He's on a hiding to nothing with the May budget. PM Turnbull shot him down on his superannuation for housing issue, and not the first time - Scotty's previous GST idea. Add in Malcolm's yes men (for now) in Christopher Pyne and Peter Dutton and it's a gale force at Scotty's backside. He's already rejected negative gearing (can't upset anaesthetists, the cataract surgery gravy train and those top 20% including many politicians with two or more houses) and at best merely flirting with the capital gains tax discount. It's as if the government is creating a proprietary insurance company to protect their interests, against the interests and at the expense of, some 60% of the rest of us. The essential poll lists housing affordability at 62% worse, electricity, gas 74% worse, ditto discomfort with income, job security and (surprise surprise) political representation. [John Daley; Gratton Institute: "All politicians have done is increase expectations about how much difference governments can make, in ways they can't possibly fulfil."] The basic tenet of socialism, the redistribution of wealth, conveniently opposed by the rich, getting richer? Endorsing cuts to penalty rates, cutting company tax, arguing against negative gearing and capital gains reforms, not to mention the innocents struggling with robo-debt, the cuts to welfare benefits, education and health. Socialism to the outhouse? Lately a grain of salt is more to do with pepper. And that's before the dreaded May budget.


Sweet Uncle Tony (formally Lord Tony) has come to our rescue by making news on a no news week in Ray Hadley's radio nonsense. [Apparently Hadley is big in Sydney. No surprise, considering the occupants of Sydney]. "Governments should not dump prime ministers who are struggling in the polls. The best way to keep Billy Shorten out is not to sack an elected prime minister yet again, but to ensure the government does its job better”. Uncle has changed his thinking after a massive tour of country areas. A whopping 8 days on the road? "Axing the Human Rights Commission; cutting renewable energy subsidies to reduce power prices; reforming the Senate to end legislative gridlock and protecting existing benefits for employees to make it easier for future generations to get work". Says Katharine Murphy "The Coalition’s power struggle is between a conservative prime minister, who believes he has unfinished business and won’t leave the parliament, and a moderate prime minister, with diminished internal authority, who regularly has to sublimate his own views to cultivate some kind of internal stability and esprit de corps in order to manage a parliament with a one-seat majority". Uncle is big on promises. Remember those he made before Joey Hockey's 2014 horror budget? And consistent to boot, as in never keeping them.


All these exercises, walking? I walk, to the cafe mornings, the RSL afternoons. All up 250 metres a day, plus the never ending walking in my mini unit; bedroom, study, kitchen, watering. It adds up. As an actor for 40 years (well, purported to be an actor, but never proven) I did 15 minutes of stretching exercises daily, now down  to 5. My point? Walk by all means, enjoy yourselves, fresh air, out and about, but do not think it will improve your chances of a longer healthier life. No gain without pain my backside. Dog owners have no longer life expectancy than cat owners. 


PM Malcolm, as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's agent: "We have to make sure that Australian jobs are for Australians first and foremost. This is about putting Australians first, Australian jobs first, Australian values first". Racist propaganda for Princess Pauline, who not only agrees, but 'totally' agrees? Does this include the 48 Australian high earners who paid no income tax in 2014-15 and no Medicare levy, yet earned over $1 million income per year? The good news is it keeps Malcolm busy up until the budget. The underlying problem with 457 visas has always been about money, hiring overseas workers at cheaper pay rates. Will it change? Will Collingwood win the 2017? And I'm Snowy on the Trams.


We don't need our PM to tell us of Australian values. The AFL does it for us...The rich (including politicians) want to get richer because they're greedy. I wonder why they are so greedy? I've always wondered. I don't know why..."When you look into the abyss it also looks into you" [Nietzsche]...hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com


HeartA Grain of Salt. Good Friday Eve. 13th April, 2017.


Leaving aside treasurer Scotty Morrison's great ideas on housing problems, thereby protecting 'mum and dad' investors, and nonsense like: "The Turnbull government understands how business works. We focus on the things that we know make a difference because our life’s experience, our background in businesses, particularly the prime minister but so many in our team, we know that is the right thing to do.” added to by PM Malcolm's small businesses were “the most enterprising, the most ready to invest, the most ready to innovate” (which economist Saul Eslake describes as “bollocks”, ideology gone mad and small business the least innovative sector of business), and Jeff Kennett's "I am convinced the liberal national coalition presents the best opportunity for the most productive economic leadership" we ignore and wait for more creative nonsense on the upcoming May budget. Malcolm is in his element, giving advice to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Leave him be. Easter into Anzac Day, sweet relief from political brainwashing and people telling me there's a danger of a world war. I'm a 'worry when it's time to worry' man so I'll think about this tomorrow, Lady Scarlett. Time for the Buddhist theory of patience and tolerance.


AFL: Freshened by a Collingwood victory I tuned to the Fremantle Western Bulldogs game, having seen Midsomer murders umpteen times. I found myself immediately liking the Fremantle brutes. I thought about the why and it hit me. The visual ugliness of the white away jumpers. The Western Bulldogs have a beautiful home jumper so why must we put up with this excuse for a uniform? Likely the AFL, somehow connected with television and money, albeit no clash of home colours? I thought of the Carlton navy blue uniform, almost a visual spectacular in the scheme of things, yet forced to wear a pansy white outfit in away games? Somebody should get jail time. Whoever designed the Gold Coast uniform (home and away) should get life. Further, the intrigue with the umpires grey shorts, consistently appearing, from the rear, to have wet themselves? The Herald-Sun's Mark Robinson questions South Australian football supporters on racism (using a carriage to menace.harass or cause offence?) as if they're any different from other supporters? The AFL has issued warnings to prejudiced supporters to stay away from the matches. A fine idea, hopefully a controlling effect, but what of the many harsh words levelled at our piddling umpires? AFL players offered $371 thou (average) from $309 thou, and angry? Paupers?


Imagination: There's a play on at The Sumner, Southbank Theatre called "Three Little Words" by Joanna Murray-Smith about the breaking up of a relationship, the effect on the family circle, kids, the search for meaning, a common thread for many couples into their 40's. What to do with the rest of their lives? What's it all about Alfie? Not so much a relationship in ruins, but often requiring considerable thought; the kiddies under 18 thing, the restlessness syndrome. They're only ideas aren't they. Dreams. If yes, the so called attraction of freedom, or boredom? Most of my married life I avoided it, concluding (other than winning tattslotto) good food, a beautiful wife and general laziness was the convenient path to a form of happiness, concentrating on deciding my free time, as such, was more important, albeit a form of selfishness. After some 13 years of living alone I can attest to making the correct decision. When it's only you the imagination can run riot, if you let it. All this time on my hands, the only danger of course being sickness and predicting the years left to squander. [Montaigne: "Although it be no new thing to see horns grown in a night on the forehead of one that had none when he went to bed, notwithstanding, what befell Cippus, King of Italy, is memorable; who having one day been a very delighted spectator of a bullfight, and having all the night dreamed that he had horns on his head, did, by the force of imagination, really cause them to grow there"] Yes, that's stretching it, my point being I can control it at 81, on the day at a time principle, but in the 40's, young kids, starting out, for silly restless dreams. No. As I said, I'm lazy. What is my personal sense of purpose in life? Good question. What's yours? If you're restless go see the play. Might help? 


Three Days of the Condor: Vale the man: Melbourne Cup Day 1986. Always a long day's rehearsal under director Armfield, the Monday, 'Away' by Michael Gow. Up at 7am to work for Automatic Totalisators running the meeting at Yarra Glen. Arrived 9am for a 10 hour day. After balancing the course the operators set up picnic tables, chairs, grub, a beer or two. A drive to Melbourne, Kingsway, a part in a half hour movie, 'Man and Boy' written and directed by one John Clarke with an old mate Terry Gill and a new boy, Frank Magree. 9.30pm, a night shoot, till around 4am. Eventually located the previously unknown (to me) director looking like an extra, having a beer. Offered me one. Accepted. 'Any instructions' I said? 'Improvise', he said. I did. We shot a scene and he said 'More. Don't worry about it. Take it as far as you like'. Unusual, but it suited me. Sold on John Clarke, forever. A three hour sleep and back to another brutal day's rehearsals. Did other stuff with the man but it was a play I remember best. A police commissioner, last minute replacement for another actor who became unavailable. Lots of words, John the writer, also playing the judge, script on his desk. Got to a line and memory deserted me. John intervened "Perhaps you were going to say"...and delivered my line. Recovered. John was a classic, the sort of chap who makes you feel good to have known him, and very much the smartest, as well as the nicest man one could ever hope to have known. Thursdays, no more, John Clarke and Bryan Dawe.  Sad, left with magic memories.


Pauline's hubris flattened by Barrie Cassidy's Insiders. Look in the mirror Pauline. Don't blame the ABC...What in God's name is SBS up to with all those painful commercials; self immolation?...Maybe it's Red Symons, I don't know, but Libbi Gorr's gushing depresses me...Comedy: Matthew Guy's 'mandatory' sentencing suggestions?...Senior meals are regularly advertised as some sort of special deal, yet  only half the size of the full cost meals?...The pub test and small business owners; horseshit...English actor Bill Nighy: “at any moment I thought someone would come and tap me on the shoulder and ask what I was doing here”; the imposter syndrome. Tap PM Malcolm on his shoulder, either one?...In recalling John Clarke I'm reminded of Bill's movie 'Love Actually', where Gregor Fisher (Joe) said to Billy Mack. "It was an honour"...happy Easter...hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



CryingA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 7th April, 2017.


A dead week in politics. Mathias Cormann and our Treasurer seemingly at odds with each other on capital gains tax discounts and negative gearing, teasing, at best nonsense. Maybe partial, on the back of a past Labor proposal, similar  to “our” laws are “having an impact” on corporate tax dodgers? Johnny Mathis on the radio, singing 'Wonderful Wonderful', the 50's, a romantic memory flashback. She rejected me? Probably a good thing. Too skinny. Beautiful, but boney. The one that remains forever is in the shower, on those rare occasions when I drop the soap; National Service, Navy, 1955. Relax, hold soap firmly, according to rumour, never tested, phew. One of those days, daylight saving departed, an extra hour to squander. The comedy of letters in a Murdoch newspaper. The word 'totally' as always a feature. Totally misinformed? A twilight grand final? Bugger off. 2.30pm is a long enough wait. Christine is impressed with Peta Credlin's 'insight and intelligence' and agrees with everything Peta wrote. Christine also (apparently) has that same rare insight and intelligence? Joy praises Jeff Kennett's work with Beyond Blue, fair enough. Alas, Joy is horrified Julia Gillard is taking over from Jeffrey, a lady who couldn't run the nation. Obviously Joy had forgotten Jeffrey's privatisation and schools closures. Why do they blame Danny Andrews for Hazelwood? Didn't they listen to Premier Danny on 774 with Jon Faine last Friday? Nothing else in the newspapers, the weekly backlash of another Collingwood defeat. They get the ball, they pass it, backwards. A long kick to the forward line, and hope? Cloke got 3 for Western Bulldogs, and free kicks, never at Collingwood? Western bulldogs blessed by the umpires but not their fault. Umpires generally are not known for possessing brains. The extra hour covered; back to reality. Johnny Cash on YouTube 'Sunday Morning coming down' followed by the gorgeous June Carter in her red dress, with Johnny, and 'Jackson'. Moving on... 


Comedy? A month to the federal budget and a mere 4 years (2021) till we return to a surplus, suggests Treasurer Scotty, full of beans, and yet we spot a fault in his demeanour, the verbal diarrhoea betraying a worry as to his future, after May. True, he's in demand, so we cannot escape his doubtful ruminations, unstoppable, in the spotlight like Nathan Buckley, maybe both as Custer's Last Stand? A one-off $75 for pensioners and recipients of parenting payments, a gas pipeline 'could' be built between the Northern Territory and South Australia, the government to commission an independent report into increasing power affordability and reliability, and so, via the Nick Xenophon Team, tax cuts for companies with a turnover of up to $50 million. A guaranteed go-ahead of a solar power plant in Port Augusta offering a concessional loan of up to $110 million. Lots of spending, less tax receipts and pats on the back. Says Scotty: Corporate tax cuts would lead to “better wages, more jobs and more secure jobs” convincing mainly Herald-Sun readers. I'd be inclined to replace the 'would' with 'could' or more likely 'dreaming'. Is Xenophon working for Australia or South Australia? Didn't we agree to spend $50 billion for submarines to be built there, ready for action before I turn 100, years old? All in all a mere $24 billion less for infrastructure, health, the arts (as always), education, disability and obviously housing. I could add innovation but I'm not sure what the word means. The good news is a month of a smiling PM Malcolm, waxing lyrical, as is his best skill. What is very clear is this concerted attack on Billy Shorten, hoping to improve the Liberal likability polls, dating back to the Heydon royal commission and conveniently ignoring it was set up mainly to get Billy, and yet could find no evidence of corruption? Scotty talked investments in infrastructure and a number of other items as his plan, never a mention of the 'get Billy' plan, adding, Labor doesn't have a plan, nor anything on Scotty increasing taxes to pay for all his current plans. Billy doesn't need plans short term, he's busy running around in his bus in Queensland. All those half omnibus items will cost money, and unless you happen to have a tendency to live the life of an emu (or is it an ostrich?) we "everyday ordinary Australians" (more comedy?) clearly have our kicks (pockets) ready to be attacked. First however, my immediate decision to decide how to spend my extra $75 big ones. Cigarettes?


I don't see any big deal in Michaelia Cash (and Mathias Cormann) meeting up with Princess Pauline before the WA election re preference deals as suggested on the ABC's Four Corners. Princess has clearly displayed her preference for anything anti-labor and her personal need to be accepted in the big boys and (very few girls) liberal party movers and shakers club. It was ever thus. 


I'll finish with words from master writer, John Steinbeck: "A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn’t telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say—and to feel— 'Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it'. You’re not as alone as you thought".


Respectful relationships in schools: Little Jack Horner escapes?...Two Australian restaurants, Attica 33 and Brae 44 made the top 50 restaurants in the world. Sadly The Shark Shack (fish & chips), Rye RSL (rissoles) and Woolworths deli (Atlantic salmon) missed out...The Centre for Independent Studies. The perfect example of a misnomer...'The Friday Wrap' and Dave Hughes pronouncements on everything from Trump to Section 18c. A future senator, comedian, or neither?...Time for Eddie to begin the search for a coach, season 2018......hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



KissA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 31st March, 2017.


Prime Minister Malcolm's proposed expansion of the hydro-electric scheme, the details yet to be resolved, supposedly has merit. At $2 billion dollars we hope so. We think back to PM Malcolm's time as [non] Communications Minister, later as PM with all those items on the fantasy table falling through, and his blaming South Australia, and Victoria, and Tony Abbott, and the Senate, and the Yankee swap of refugees and anything else that moves. Grandiose words with lots of promise but lots of waiting, and all this, as I've said before, with the massive advantage of two major newspapers (and Murdoch's Sky News) flying his colours on a daily basis. According to the latest Fairfax-Ipsos poll Labor holds a 10-point lead [55-45] over the Coalition in the two-party preferred vote. At the last election bully boy Peter Dutton dropped 5% in his seat of Dickson to scrape in. On current figures he would disappear come the next election. Conveniently, this would allow him more time to attend to rental receipts from his negatively geared properties. "The bottom line" is can we trust Malcolm, for that matter Treasurer Scott Morrison? Remember the 2014 Joe Hockey budget promises? 


The Department of Immigration and Border Protection, headed by Peter Dutton and previously Scotty Morrison, both candidates for high office in a dictatorship, allow public servants to decide whether or not to send people back to their country of origin, no matter the reception and often the risk to life? I worked with public servants for 20 long years and believe me, it’s not a place filled with bright sparks, and it wasn’t as if it was only the rank and file. One shudders to think of the power in the hands of these unknown people, encouraged by their Minister. Then there's Manus Island and Nauru. Blood on their hands, in our name, on our conscience. Sickening. 


Trigger warning: It began in the open forum of the dedicated smoking zone at the RSL, where seemingly (at rare times) no particular subjects are taboo, depending on the comings and goings of the various members, representing vast contrasts of human multiculturalism. Men are turned on by women's feet? Some subjects are so nonsensical I keep my lips firmly sealed. A foot fetish? I checked it out later, of course, as you would, having spent many years in female company and other than their footwear, not the slightest ripple of sexual connection. According to psychologists (which immediately makes me suspicious) it's real? To each his own, but for mine, no way José. Apparently (psychologists again?) a highly popular one of four search engines online, for both straight and gay men, the other three obvious, assuming one of them is the face? I can see a political inference, as in One Nation aficionados "voting with their feet" but being open minded, maybe, at best, sexy feet strictly as a form of flattery. But, but, it did not end there. Casual members, half drunk, down for the weekend, uninhibited? The subject of shaving pubic hairs followed, again, lips firmly sealed. Men and women? Why? Apparently, and I didn't bother with this one on google, it's a fashion of the modern age, surely an illogical unreasonable fashion? Not just the females, as (they said), but the males insist on it, which was at best confusing. I settled for a very private opinion, in that those particular males are either aware of their paedophilia tendencies or will surely be later in life. Has the world, the male world at least, gone mad, or is it me? Thank God for the football, despite Collingwood's current form. Note: 99% of conversations in this area are in accord with normalcy.


A welcome return to AFL football after the lollipop women's competition has been run and won. Last year the final 8 was decided after round 5, so much for the evenness of the competition, despite the round 1 results. This year we are witnessing the slow burn, the last leg of former Collingwood champion Nathan Buckley as a senior coach, ever wounded after his decision to give Heath Shaw, a born and bred magpie, the boot. We wish him well.


Attorney-general George Brandis. I mention his name right off the bat because if I write about him I might, like George himself, forget who I'm talking about. "A review to see  whether private metadata captured from mobile phones and computers and retained for criminal investigations and counterterrorism measures should be available in civil court proceedings." Back in 2014 he said “The mandatory metadata retention regime applies only to the most serious crime – to terrorism, to international and transnational organised crime, to paedophilia, where the use of metadata has been particularly useful as an investigative tool.” It's a tool of power, by human beings, or purported to be human. There is no doubt the more power given to government, any government, will result in near certainty of the power being abused, eventually. One would think being in control of ASIO would suffice. George's erratic doings (WA Bell case and then solicitor general, Justin Gleeson) sadly do not end there. On the subject of Section 18c, the mistreatment of minorities where Canberra pretends to care for our language, George said “We don’t want to have a country in which freedom of speech, one of the things that the Anzacs fought for, is not regarded as one of our core social values." The Anzacs fought for many reasons A-G, but 18c, like now, was the last thing on their minds. ”Dear Malcolm: Send dear George to England, please. Note: Julie Bishop has denied George's London future. 


Congratulations to the Herald-Sun for giving Opposition Leader Matthew Guy the opportunity to tell us of his intentions as our next Premier, in tackling crime and making Victoria safe again. This should ease the stress on the majority brainwashed readers leading up to the 24th November, 2018 state election.


A healthy workforce for better productivity; no drugs, smoking, beer, over-eating. Show us the way oh masters and mistresses..."Essentially significant and wide ranging discussions on the housing market", said Scotty Morrison. That should solve it...Public housing in Ashburton? How dare they!..As a longish retiree I'd happily join a shed, but not a mens shed...I have a personal junk file labelled "Crap". Keywords highlighted, consigned, timesaving, including Birmingham, Trump, Hinch, Cash, 18c, Pauline and same sex marriage...None so blind than those who can see only what they want to see, which just about covers all of us...hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



SickA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 24th March, 2017.


One last week prior to the big one - the May budget. With the latest poll showing a slight improvement for our man Malcolm, likely to improve further as a result of the disastrous  terror attack in London, I'm suggesting Billy Shorten fly to Sydney for a week, visit the master, Paul Keating. True, Billy is not an arts man, (possibly a high school production of "Grease" or at a stretch "The Book of Mormon") but he's badly in need of an angle, a personality upgrade. A whole new bunch of policies to upgrade the arts, or at the very least take on Michelle Guthrie's obvious rape of our ABC before it's too late. 'Why we are funding that?' says Pauline Hanson, Malcolm's best friend, demanding funding end for 'leftist' ABC and "let migrants get news from their country of origin' and so get rid of' SBS? Dear Pauline: Try as you might to be 'one of them', in the end, they will never accept you. Take your money and run.  And Billy? Time for that angle? Ring Pauly Monday 3rd.


"It's a really interesting dynamic" Maybe I'm listening to the wrong wireless stations? Interesting dynamic I can barely handle, but preceding with the word 'really' can be jarring. Is the housing crisis an interesting dynamic, a really interesting dynamic or a disaster? Possibly for those who can afford to buy, but for those on an average wage it's a hill too high, perhaps forever. It was hard enough when I was younger looking at a 25 year mortgage and a seemingly guaranteed wage to meet the monthly payments, a third nipper close to arriving. A form of nexus with wages and house prices, not so now, with a form of world wages market separate from the richer types and their housing investments demands. A housing market collapse could be a disaster for those who had the courage to buy in now, probably looking at a mortgage bigger than the value of the house, and worse, no income guarantee. Those who are still hoping are looking at massive rent closer to Melbourne. One would think, logically, a housing market crash is inevitable. Not so, says the real estate agents; self interest? Big problem. Rye is looking like a viable option?


PM Malcolm is taking on national leadership. “I am a nation building Prime Minister” Snowy Hydro 2.0. A $2 billion hydro fix; can’t wait. Do I understand it all; NO. Am I doubtful on the plan being up and running in four years; VERY. And in the process Malcolm did his now obligatory ‘sling off’ at Labor’s South Australia and Victoria. But wait, he needs Victoria (and Libs NSW) to follow his dream, hopefully due for completion at the same time as our new state of the farts Lockheed Martin F35 stealth fighters. Malcolm appears to be ignoring the large shareholding of NSW and Victoria in this project, now some 30 years old, or is it yet another sling at Victoria, as in rather than talking with them he wants all the glory (if any?) for himself? Why do I keep thinking of Working Dogs Productions Utopia?


Homeland Security? We’re not far off from the power to 'exterminate' as and when required, Doctor Who. “He was radicalised” should cover any embarrassing explanations. No? I thought Orwell’s movie (1984), though frightening, was a shade far fetched with big brother televisions in every room. But wait, they, (who are they?) will claim to need more power. Maybe they will get that power with nuclear PM Malcolm's Snowy Hydro 2.0, or microwave ovens? Be prepared? Microwaves to the Rye tip, before they fill it in for more houses?


It’s all well and good (kosher) to come down hard on the ACTU’s Sally McManus [Malcolm calls it a culture of thuggery] and her thinking of an unjust law being there to be broken, but let’s not forget the trumped up Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption presided over by Liberal appointment Commissioner Dyson Heydon and assumed by all loyal Liberal voters, and the notorious Herald-Sun, and the wrongly named The Australian, to be gospel in the search, their search, for their truth . Therein lies the real culture of thuggery. 


Collingwood's Jordan De Goey claimed to have broken his hand as he played with his dog, to later tell of the injury during a bar fight in St Kilda. One wonders as to the size of Jordan's brain in thinking he could get away with this lie. Fined $5000 but not enough for our man Nathan's 'fine upstanding young men' principle. Suspended another 3 weeks after he gets fit? Stupid. Adding to evidence of the many brainless types amongst AFL footballers, playing, and often in later years as commentators. The West Coast Eagles drugs disclosures on the 2006 premiership a perfect example. West Coast won the premiership in 2006. Good luck to them. Say no more; please. But they will of course, on and on, risking further damage to the game for the stupid sake of appearing to be sensible. Footballers rarely understand, but regularly 'totally' understand? Also very big on 'awesome'. The 2017 season has begun, the colosseums are ready. Forget the past and begin with a clean plate. Let the blood sports begin. Go Pies.     


Tabcorp spokesman: "we have long shared the community's view that there is too much gambling advertising"?...Matthew Guy, sometimes likened to a ferret, comes out against Danny Andrews every which way, but never seems to explain how he would fix it?...Will the AFL grand final be played at night? Inevitable...You don't have to be Einstein to know what Donald really thinks of Angela Merkel...Peter Dutton to corporate Australia on same sex marriage - 'If you don't agree with me hold your tongue" Wasn't Peter a champion of free speech?...Most of my friends think Donald Trump is a ratbag and could start a world war. This proves nothing. I have few friends....Jenny Craig says this is my year. Meaning? "Venus will briefly dip into Water sign Pisces on April 2, which will be emotional for you, little ram, but also cathartic—an opportunity to examine your desires, release the past, and embrace transformation" And God barracks for Collingwood...vale Martin McGuinness...hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



CoolA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 17th March, 2017.


PM Malcolm, Messrs Frydenberg and Sinidinos strutting to our rescue on the coattails of Ben Chifley's Snowy Mountains scheme? Quietly does it on Lord Tony's carbon tax. Blame the states, particularly the Labor states. "Cheaper power" says Malcolm, or hot air? How does this fit in to our 2018-19 energy crisis? We await the 9 months feasibility study. SA Premier Jay Weatherill giving it to Mr Frydenberg, in Adelaide to take credit for doing nothing, not that you would know it if you watched the 9 News, edited to perfection from a political right p/o/v. Imagine the uproar if federal Labor was in government. Buy a generator? More likely the Nauru Manus refugees being settled into Australia. 


I'll let the politicians fight amongst themselves for a week. Well, not quite, but on a comparative basis, softer. They're all crooks up to a point. What is it? Get elected. Aim for a second term and juicy life superannuation, throw in a few furphies for the good of ordinary Australians (that's us?) and stock up on water and power shares, properties? "I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly." [Michel de Montaigne]. The principle of "the more they get the more they want" is heavily influenced by the "we know best" society, albeit the last thing to enter their tiny minds. I ponder on their pleasures, living day to day knowing they're doing the right thing for all we other Australians. I'm choking up, or attempting to offset it, with the constant battle for fresh breathable air, thankfully provided by Michel. 


Maybe talk sport? There's a comfortable subject free of graft and corruption. "It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up." [Muhammad Ali]. A womens AFL competition, for the good of women in sport or a future of ever increasing profits for the AFL and foxtel? Ditto the AFL pre-season mens rubbish. Maybe cricket, but it never fails. Whenever our Australian cricketers run into trouble racism rears its ugly head. It’s never us, it’s always them? We Aussies love our sport, even our Collingwood woes, and other than the gambling bug it does far more good than bad. If only we had this same attitude to drama, the arts, in schools. Sadly, a spider has more appreciation of the arts than a politician.


I liked the bit from cashed up (4 properties?) Employment Minister Michaelia Cash and Treasurer Scotty 2016 “Creating a path to real jobs for young people" Remember? $200 a week in addition to unemployment benefits at 4-12 weeks with $1000 to the employers, who can then cop 5 weeks work for nothing. How did that go? Social Services Minister Christian Porter (also tipped as a future PM) piped in with “to make them try harder to get a job”? Charming. We read of a glut of ministers (and no doubt back benchers) stocking up with this negative gearing caper. Property is a tasty investment so human nature springs forth, but how come they’re all so rich? Are they overpaid? We read stories of how busy they are with their parliamentary duties on a generous salary which we pay for. Our employees so to speak, making hay in their spare time. In 2016 the senate sat for 42 days, reps 51, as against 1959 and 1960 where it was 71 days apiece. Maybe they’re working less days to allow for these property investments? And already they’re talking of less time in Canberra due to technological advancements. Poor babies. 


Attorney General George Brandis is the minister responsible for ASIO, which is comforting because, like Michaelia Cash and Arthur Sinodinos he has memory lapses. What is a worry is the talk of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton heading a new super Ministry, Homeland Security, taking in Immigration, Customs, the federal police and ASIO. God help the refugees on Manus and Nauru. Move over Heinrich, or worse still, Hermann G?


Health Minister Greg Hunt: “We know that every single dollar matters to Australian families and keeping private health insurance affordable is a priority” As a politician Greg’s a bottler. The value of the government rebate will drop come April 1st adding $50 to the cost of this insurance, in addition to the $200 rise already predicted. As for my lot, members for over 25 years, fast approaching the time of real need, who cares? The value of the rebate for the over 70’s has fallen from 40% to 34.6%. Pensioners to find the extra cash, or drop out; to the backline. Go Greg? 


Pauline got into bed with the WA Liberal Party but no silk sheets. Suggested the preference deal did her party some damage, true, but the main damage was self inflicted due to Princess's foot, when appearing on The Insiders with Barrie Cassidy. This may extend to Queensland in next year's election if the Queenslanders were paying attention, but them being Queenslanders who can say? The Libs the big losers and hopefully Pauline's adrenaline will implode in time, and if PM Malcolm takes notice (again uncertain) he might see the light? We'll know soon enough. Will this be Scotty (kookaburra) Morrison's last budget? Bet he'd like that Homeland Security caper.


At last, an honest QandA, ABC, last Monday...Yet again brutal treatment of an Australian by a warped legal system. And still we travel to Bali?...Channel 9 at Schapelle Corby 3 weeks before she's due to fly home, under the guise of caring; mongrels...”The worst illiterate is the political illiterate. He hears nothing, sees nothing, takes no part in political life. He doesn't seem to know that the cost of living, the price of beans, of flour, of rent, of medicines all depend on political decisions. He even prides himself on his political ignorance, sticks out his chest and says he hates politics. He doesn't know, the imbecile, that from his political non-participation comes the prostitute, the abandoned child, the robber and, worst of all, corrupt officials, the lackeys of exploitative multinational corporations” [Bertolt Brecht. 1920’s]…Breaking News: "May 7th, 1945. Germany surrendered to the Allies"...And remember, smoking stunts your growth...hooroo…cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



KissA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 10th March, 2017.


The political half way mark: The 55-45 was a blow to our PM, nobody believing Malcolm’s baby cry of ‘Tony’s fault’, the dye firmly cast. Mathias Cormann, commenting on Lord Tony’s words “ He’s not helping our cause, he’s not helping himself and he’s not helping our country.” Maybe not, but the ‘country’ bit is arguable in so far as Malcolm and Treasurer Scotty Morrison can’t display any good conduct badges for inspiration. The glaring problems remain with PM Malcolm agreeing with the Fair Work Commission’s ruling on Sunday penalty rates, Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system, 18C, the logic of giving big business tax concessions on the back of some arguable nonsense about the ‘trickle down’ positives, consistently aligning with the rich getting richer at the expense of the unfortunates. Two years to come up with solutions with nothing presently forthcoming. Maybe time to put forward Robert Menzies ‘reds under the beds’ idea, re-named Homeland Security? Add to this the apparent neglect (fear?) of attacking Pauline’s One Nation dogma, surely an easy target, and the likes of Peter Dutton (the man who is re-writing Australia’s values and seemingly loving his tucker?) being suggested as a replacement PM, and we have a Party with lots of heads buried deep in the sand. Ostriches? And all this despite the obvious bias of the Herald-Sun and The Australian? At the same time we have Billy Shorten, forever trumpeting negative gearing, capital gains and superannuation concessions, gaining ground for Labor, but not his personal popularity, with consistent opportunities to attack the Lib’s misadventures. All well and good for Labor, but Billy and his soldiers also need to focus on working clearly for the economic interests of Australians by coming up with positive policies which have the effect of halting this ever expanding difference between the rich and the poor, and this should also include unrelenting attacks on One Nations’s rag tag policies. [From Jennifer Raynor’s ‘Generation Less: How Australia Is cheating the Young’ Between 2004 and 2012 people in every age bracket over 45 saw their net worth grow by more than the total wealth of those under 25.]. Billy may well take credit from the latest poll, but the fact of his own polling as preferred PM suggests the fault is with Malcolm rather than any groundswell support for Billy. A mild suggestion: On behalf of those requiring a Centrelink connection, upgrade Centrelink services staffwise, and promise to decrease the waiting time. After (say) 4 minutes the call back option from Centrelink? Pensioners and other welfare recipients shouldn’t have to spent half a day waiting on a telephone line. Isn't it a public service?


Congratulations to our favourite newspaper, that notorious Herald-Sun (ably assisted by Jeffrey Kennett) on the months, almost daily, of heavy duty anti-Danny Andrews criticism. With the latest poll figures of 54-46 at the half way mark and the alternative Premier now favouring Matthew Guy, Danny is looking down the barrel, despite his “getting things done” approach with railway crossings, infrastructure planning, housing access and lately his cuts to stamp duty. Stabbed in the back obviously by two of his own and those living away allowances. Don’t expect the H-S to look closely at Libs allowances. If these results transfer to the next election we can historically look forward to another 4 years of Matthew doing nothing, aside from looking after his developer mates.  A Seinfeld statewide future? 


The joint strike fighters are the cutting edge, whatever that means. The Lockheed Martin F35 stealth fighters. Wonderful. Dare not New Zealand or the Philippines pick a fight with we Australians. True, they’ve been coming for 8 years, but the point is they’re here, now, at last. Phew. Well, close enough. Estimated to be up and operational by December, 2020, but definitely some time in 2021. Can’t wait. Standing tall.


Mystery 1: Birth anniversary 81 looms large, more a reminder of getting closer to the back end of an innings. Assuming the presence of a God, he/she has a few things to answer for. Looking way back 1941, world war 2, poor kids, happy kids, no knowledge of others better. One kid at school could draw, piece of cake, anything I asked. I couldn’t draw to save my life. In arithmetic he was hopeless. I hardly ever had to think. Neither us had a clue how to play sport, others classy from the first bounce. Maybe it’s in those mysterious genes, or maybe this God will set me straight sometime in my fantasy future. Come back with a lethal mix of ignorance and arrogance, on another planet, a politician, a real estate agent, a TV news reporter or an eye specialist? Mystery 2: I mentioned those smaller flies recently, who quietly stay hidden inside the house for days, females flies obviously, uninvited. They prop, on a bench. You surreptitiously reach for the fly spray, and they’ve gone? How do they know? 


I’m no fan of One Nation and for the record I’m for children being vaccinated but as I see it Princess P is right on the blackmail angle. No jab no pay is a dreadful idea, albeit, thankfully, causing thousands to vaccinate their kids. The rest of her comments (look around, get tested, Putin) were nonsense, but the real threat of stopping welfare payments from the ‘we know best’ society (Tanya Plibersek et al) is what disturbs me. True, I’m biassed, and tie this principle in with the unproven passive smoking ‘what’s good for me’ nonsense, also a form of blackmail, by increasing the cost of cigarettes monthly; thanks Kevin bloody Rudd. Before you know it vague research can be included as science? What’s next, forced vasectomy? Dear Princess P, best steer clear of Barrie Cassidy, the week before an election.


A ‘moral imperative’ of budget repair? Funny…If the green for go light depicts a female in a bikini I’ll likely increase my pace to get closer?…Michelle Guthrie wields the axe; ABC. As directed…You’re getting very old when you can remember Willi Fennell on radio. He thought the pilot’s name was Nosmo. Nosmo King…Nice of Dane Swan to back the players for more money, success resulting in the AFL increasing prices, which extends to we supporters paying more at the gate?…AFL footy on foxtel up from $25 a month to $29, or 16%. Crooks…”He who fights can lose. He who doesn’t fight has already lost” [Bertolt Brecht]...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



UnsureA Grain of Salt. Friday. 8am. 3rd March, 2017.


Daydreaming. Reg Ansett on his way home? No. A helicopter hovering; 30 minutes now. Reg is dead? OMG. Check the doors front and back? A car chase. A crook on the loose? Surely not. I'm in Rye, Mornington Peninsula. Crooks are not stupid enough to go beyond Frankston, ditto politicians. Take the odds. Remain seated. It's been one of those weeks, as in sitting on my backside, in the heat, ignoring the obvious Canberra nonsense. Still on 18C, to legally call each other nasty names? Latest poll, from 54-46 to 55-45 and Malcolm blamed Lord Tony. He was dreaming. It's about penalty rates, about cutting legal aid, about equity, hitting the poorer people, and profits are up. Find that plot Malcolm?  


A survey of other countries suggests our education standards have fallen behind. They tell us it's a new set of standards, mandatory units on writing skills and ancient Aussie history. They say they got it wrong, "good for that time, but not good enough now for our modern space age". Isn't that wonderful; so sweet. The kids beginning school now will come out roses, no problemo. Those just finishing however, sadly, those in year 7 and beyond, due to past failures compared with the modern needs of today, may well have missed the boat? The "war and peace" on education standards, set exclusively by a never-ending list of nuff nuffs? And I haven't even mentioned the Gonski rubbish we have been served up the past few years; both sides, state and federal, or feral. Funding should always be "needs-based" yet conveniently ignored by the suits and skirts, which should have been the policy applying to all schools, public, private and left-footers. 


"Spirit of the blitz. What made our country great." said the English chap, eyes glued on the television, supporting his English football team. Here in Australia we do likewise with the Anzacs. Gallipoli and nationalism forever type of thing. Human nature. My thinking is if past history inspires us to a form of pride, then why not all our past? Do we pick and choose? Can we take pride in the Anzac tradition yet say what happened before 1788 had nothing to do with us because we weren't there? A form of logic to suit the mood?


Friday March 24 @ 7.50pm. The Western Bulldogs salivating at the thought of their colourful darlings slaughtering my once mighty magpies. I live in hope, discounting the past six year drought. As with every AFL supporter this time of year, the discipline of optimism. I'm concerned about our female football and netball teams. My boys are wrapped in cotton wool for the next 8 months, the danger of fraternisation set aside, but not so now, with females in close proximity. Propinquity! One glance can abolish that built in motivation in favour of the ever powerful hanky panky. Buckley's fine upstanding men to face the ultimate test. We await the first romance?


Greed is good? Rorts extend to all levels of government. We may not like it, but when presented with an opportunity the path of greed follows, particularly if within the rules of their particular situation. True, there are some amongst us who live by a strict code of doing "the right thing" which is at best comforting, but never enough to rid us from the stain of the greedy influential lot. The Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the state Labor government have used what appears to be a legal system in using a 'distance' home address while living, renting in their western suburbs electorates, thus qualifying for this distance allowance, or apparently a system to claim an unearned extra allowance. Legally yes, but morally? We abide the ignorant and the bigoted, but not the greedy. So much for their years of loyalty to the Labor party. 


Sadly, the problems never end there by a long shot, nor can they ever be eliminated. I would think one would have to be naive to think that unions (generally) would not only have substantial slush funds for use at their committee's discretion, but in fact their own private systems for claiming legal expenses within the framework of their own rules. Historically those running the unions have always had systems in place for their own financial benefits at the expense of members. Those running superannuation funds or sitting on boards of these funds have "upped the ante" so to speak. Ever thus. And no, not only the unions.   


You decide: Victoria Police A/C Rick Nugent was asked if he thought there was a problem with young African Australian kids committing these crimes. “I think that’s a bit strong. We know that over the last 12 months there have been more Caucasian youth apprehended than African Australian kids so I wouldn’t say that.” Data from the Crime Statistics Agency on youth offending in Victoria, specifically burglary offending incidents, October 2015 to September 2016: More than 2000 people between the ages of 10 and 17 years old were alleged to have committed such crimes. About 1700 were Australian born. The rest were born overseas in various countries. And yet 3AW’s Neil Mitchell in criticising the way Victoria Police handled the matter went on to accuse Sudanese and Islander gangs of committing the violence. “We can’t dodge this. There is a racial element to it. The gangs are organised mostly on racial grounds. Police are too frightened now to stop somebody. They see a carload of kids that happen to be black, but they’re reluctant to stop them. I see no problem with police saying we’ve got a Sudanese and Islander gang problem.” The media coverage of the “Apex” gang frequently reinforces this racial stereotypes about black African Australians, often alongside an "attack Danny Andrews" piece. Fact or politics?


Doxing, when a person’s private or identifying information is published on the internet (Centrelink) without consent. Beware...George Brandis cannot recall?...Was that Rupert Murdoch on "The Drum?" No, but close. Greg Sheridan... And still they rot on Manus island...So much for the Fair Work Commission...A female One Nation supporter is well and good, but a male? Told to speak when he's spoken to from birth?...Are there any 'second residence' MP's who do NOT claim that allowance?...Small businesses crying poor over penalty rates; no mention of black money?...Anti skyrail protesters, Werribee prison protesters. House prices?..."There are two roads to privacy - smallpox and poverty" [John Steinbeck]...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



A Grain of Salt. 8am. Friday. 24th February, 2017.


I'm still to be convinced on Billy Boy Shorten as Labor leader, but seriously, the choice is as clear as manifest as the nose on your face - It's Billy or the bush! [Or Anthony or Tanya]. Maybe consider a closer look at our Prime Minister from the opposite angle? The journalists tell of the old Malcolm, the honest fellow who said what he thought, displaying his principled pragmatism every which way, from Q&A, to parliament, to easygoing television interviews. [Four Corners 2009: "I will not lead a party that is not as committed to effective action on climate change as I am"]. Came the change, shattering our high hopes, taken prisoner by the hard (centre) right, seemingly, as a fee for the top job. Thus, the creation of 'change', the hypocrite Malcolm, as it now stands. We have been served up this story the three past years. But...why can't it be seen as the other way around? It's equally reasonable to assume the old Malcolm was the hypocrite, voicing his opposite thoughts in his journey towards bringing down Lord Tony and the prize of the top job, and now, today, we are in fact witnessing the real Malcolm? Ruling the roost, albeit on shaky foundations. The signs being who he surrounds himself with, an entourage of lesser lights, yes men, and the seldom seen Julie Bishop. The Australia Day Malcolm, or like nationalistic occasions, Netanyahu, signalling a one day return to the charming, charismatic, intelligent, self-confident, independent Malcolm. Returning (the following day) to his now everyday persona, with a strong hint of the self-absorbed, compassionless, and seemingly never-ending, boundless  appetite...for power. No? Just a thought.


In Canberra's house of reps sits Lord Tony, less pay but with the perks of an ex PM for life; not a problem. Oodles more time on his hands, with a not exactly hidden agenda of picking shit (no offence, sometimes the word is appropriate) at Malcolm in the middle, the man who kicked him out, the ta ta man. A picture perfect Tony, glasses low on the nose, eyes front, cagey, the look of the cat with the cream, as he watches Malcolm slowly reach that point where that wicked chap who replaced him will come out of his bubble worse than Tony ever experienced or dreamed. The punctured bubble boy? A big ta ta with a boot up his bum for good measure. Exultation achieved? As Paul Keating said "I wanna do you slowly". Maybe.


Pauline Hanson, a past master of her version of common sense, has exploited the honest difficulties of thousands of decent striving struggling Australians. In her own way a party to Trump's xenophobia, racism, sexism and intolerance pitched to rally and rile audiences and social media alike. Pauline's logic creates a climate of censorship and fear more than any real dangers to our way of life, the reality of her right wing thoughts coming to the surface as she gains momentum, namely more power. PS: Sorry to see Rod Culleton's departure. Rod provided us with good comedy, and common sense on a par excellence with his former leader. It could be worse. In America they have Tomi Lahren. If you've never seen Tomi on television, look away now.


What's the purpose of the SBS campaign of 'Face up to racism'? It's no big deal to realise racism is a matter of degree the world over, and with Ray Martin at the helm? The problem is not so much racism as religion, in its many forms; has been for the past 5000 years. What's the difference between strict sharia law, sharia law and islamic law? Who knows exactly? Jacqui (you only see what you want to see) Lambie has her opinions, including refusing to listen to anyone opposing those opinions to the point of downright rudeness. Thousands of interpretations according to how we all interpret our (or their) various bibles. "Throwing gay men off buildings, enslavement of women and children, early and forced marriage and female genital cutting are not sharia. The fact that some Muslims do these things, does not make them Islamic, and it most certainly does not make them sharia" [Joumanah El Matrah]. Good enough for me. We all live in glass houses, as evidenced by the allegations into child sexual abuse.


So some tradies charge $80 an hour? You want the real plunderers? Go see a medical specialist. Two visits at a total time of 25 minutes for a cool $420. My thanks to our health system and the government benefit of $178, but really, medical specialists leave the rest for dead. [With respect for the wonderful work of our general practitioners].


Full marks to the 175 written objectors who lodged against the plan to build the $1.2 million boat ramp, (the fourth) at Rye. The mystery was the motivation behind the support of this structure by Nepean ward Councillor Hugh Fraser, our local man? He surely realised the majority of Rye residents were strongly opposed to more jet-skiers. A simple visit to the Rye RSL at 4.30pm (most days), dedicated smoking area, and Cliffie could have saved him time and effort. Maybe Hugh's thoughts for the sanity of we Rye residents was not an important factor?


Sadly Scotty Morrison, Simon Birmingham and Christian Porter, in connecting funding of the NDIS with welfare cuts have successfully stamped their attitude to social concern. The highlighting of these glaring errors shines a mirror into the truth of their personalities. [See Howard/Iraq. Kennett/SEC].   


Cricket: Shaun Marsh?...Peter Dutton: Sometimes the name says it all...Congratulations to the many thousands who enjoyed White Night in Melbourne. We here in downtown Rye had a most beautiful wonderful peaceful black night...PM funnyman Malcolm tells us "the cost of living is his focus for 2017"...Womens football, netball, cricket. I blame Michelle Payne...When you're driving do you have your hand out of the ledge on the open window? Put it back inside; you advertise an idiot at the wheel...Comedy and provocation? Wanker Milo Yiannopoulos..."There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in" [Cohen]....Sorry about the whinging. I'll aim for a lighter touch next week. Promise, but don't bet on it...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com




SickA Grain of Salt. 8am. Friday. 17th February, 2017.


Friday comes around quickly when you've got your head in the oven. Inspiration is the key and it’s up for grabs. Who has the goods to take the floor; vision a necessity? Implementing Ghonski, renewable energy ideas other than coal, indigenous Australians constitutional recognition, highlighting Trump’s failures including a lack of respect for the USA legal system. Where are you, male or female? Your country needs you! Barry Jones: "There is no significant difference between left and right on refugees, on taxation, on coal, on gambling, on a federal anti-corruption body, a bill of rights, a republic, on preservation of the ABC and CSIRO, on planning a post-carbon economy, on foreign and defence policy and the surveillance state. Our leaders lack courage and vision, and fail to explain, to win public support on difficult issues.” Paul Kelly: “Turnbull stands by the same-sex marriage plebiscite, champions coal, ditches the emissions intensity scheme, reopens the section 18C issue and wins Trump on border protection.” Paul Bongiorno: They seem to have no inkling that their culture wars agenda on “free speech”, banning the burqa, denying climate change and thwarting marriage equality are deeply unpopular." And for comedy, Scotty Morrison: “Can I tell you about the deal that I am concerned about? I’m concerned about the deal between Labor and the Greens. This is a political deal that goes on election after election”? One gets to the stage of not hearing. Same old same old, dirty tricks on demand (hidden welfare cuts) courtesy of something called the Omnibus Welfare Bill. Billy Shorten: "The prime minister is taking $2.7 billion from Australian families and yet he proposes giving $7.4 billion to big banks in tax giveaways". I haven't quite reached the stage of watching "Married at first Sight" but I'm getting close.


The WA state election March 11th. Lord Tony (in addition to warning the May budget should not raise taxes) says the Liberals should preference One Nation ahead of Labor – but not ahead of the party’s Coalition partner under any circumstances. Stirring stuff, putting  PM Malcolm under more pressure. The libs to preference One Nation ahead of the Nationals in the upper house country regions – in return demanding One Nation preference the Liberals above Labor in the lower house seats. Either way Pauline is coming, like it or not. And Queensland? Trade minister, Steve Ciobo (Gold Coast seat), "Preferences should be determined on what’s best for the people of Queensland, and what can put us in a position to govern”. Opting out in anticipation of a bad result? And Victoria? No election here for a spell but Danny Andrews lately governing by a form of popularity (Packer's Crown, prisons, firefighters) fraught with potholes. Bad enough when Matty Guy was approving all those suspicious building contracts in the previous government; Danny following suit?


AFL females playing football? Allowing for a degree of unconscious bias & cognitive distortions at play it's times like this I'm reminded of the advantages, the necessity, to keep myself nice. The standard is what? A local under 16's boys competition? Hoping (praying) I'm not insulting the under 16 boys. One can assume it will get bigger and better, and the females will generally be underpaid, and the AFL will make more millions. As for my once mighty magpies, season 2017? Buckley's well behaved lot more desperate, but likely too late for Bucks. All is forgiven however (temporarily) if my boys can beat the Western Bulldogs at the MCG March 24. Hey! Our netball team is a shining light? A compromise? I suppose we can look at it as another angle on violence against females? Watched by millions they say; men?


You've gotta laugh. Amanda Vanstone regularly writes up her Liberal agenda (Howard and Turnbull, even Lord Tony) holding our Gough up as a failure. We all know our past two Prime Minister's achievements, and earlier Little Johnny. Line this up with Gough's: Medibank, superannuation, racial discrimination act, needs-based school funding, the recognition of China, abolition of conscription, student financial assistance, non-discriminatory immigration rules, community health clinics, aboriginal land rights, paid maternity leave for public servants, lowering voting age to 18. He also finished a war, and started none. Worth a mention, again. Imagine Gough up against Trump, or Keating.


I suppose it's serious but frankly it's nothing more than human nature. [Channel 7 boss Tim Worner's "deep regret and shame"]. Apparently Ms Amber Harrison copped $100,000 on a confidentiality agreement, broke it, and has now amassed over $300,000, and counting. Jeffrey Kennett in a  strongly worded justification from Seven's p/o/v, but he's on the board at Seven? Fun and games sells newspapers. I'm sure it goes on in Canberra unabated with bigwigs and all those ambitious young staffing assistants. Oh to be a Senator.


Full marks to PM Mal. Years ago we found a hiding spot in England for Alexander Downer, a man (apparently) into self love from birth and a leader of the born to rule brigade, our "betters" so to speak. At one stage there he thought of himself as PM material? Who can ever live up to Alexander's superiority? Along pops George Brandis. Voilà. The rabbit out of the hat.


Higher taxes or spending cuts? Both, if they can get away with it. Treasurer Scotty "Savings from the welfare cuts to funding the NDIS"?...A 2 state solution, Palestinians and Israelis? Never. It's in the bible?...True, our Prime Minister and Donald Trump appear to be on a path to self destruction, but when?...Something vague called 'trickle down' economics, which unsurprisingly, never trickles?...Random fatigue tests on drivers? Give me a break. Whacko's...Australia Posts CEO Ahmed Fahour  has to work for 30 minutes to get what I get fortnightly from Centrelink...It can't be easy living a life knowing you were the one who privatised the SEC...I had my annual visit to Melbourne Monday. World's most liveable? Spent half the day at traffic lights..."To get rid of depression, I swim with dolphins" [Patti Stanger].....hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



CoolA Grain of Salt. Friday. 10th February, 2017.


Bloody heatwaves. Bills. Come April HBA puts the price up, 4.8%, three times the inflation rate. Thanks Greg Hunt. OK if you're rich, not so if you're a pensioner. Do I leave after 40 years, at a time when I'm more likely to need it? Why doesn't our government allow half price contributions for those with 25 years service? Yes, I know, no way known. Not whinging, just pointing out an injustice. Cigarettes, beer usage halved. Mongrels. 


Cory Bernadi. [Who?] Bernadi. Cory Bernadi. [Who does he play for?] He's a politician. Set up his own party. [Yeah?] The Australian Conservatives. [Yeah? What's his story?] He worries about humans, marriage, mating. [Mating?] With animals. [What?] Dogs. [Western Bulldogs?] No. Real dogs. [Weird. Where's he from?] South Australia. [Oh, one of Downer's mob. Comprehende. Cool. Shih Tzu.]. Senator Bernadi's exit from the Libs can be interpreted as a plus for PM Malco, but is it a plus for Perilous Pauline? One is right the other daggy right, both into narcissism. Short term maybe, in the simple hope of cashing in on Trumpism, but long term likely to cancel each other out. Both policies are shallow in real terms. Pauline's moslems, marriage agreements, 2% tax is talk, no solidity, off the top of her head (or James Ashby's), ideas never to be effected in running a country. As for our unknown Core constituency Cory, just another ambitious right wing Abbott copier, but less so, for now, subject to change, both politicians being about as effective as Trump's Mexican wall. Said Cory “The level of public disenchantment with the major parties, lack of confidence in our political process and concern about the direction of our nation is very strong. This is a direct product of the political class being out of touch with the hopes and aspirations of the Australian people.” Fascinating how everyone knows of my hopes and aspirations? The bottom line remains however. The 54-46 latest figures may well be heathy for Labor, but offset by Bill Shorten's lack of popularity, the ace in the hole for Malco's lot. [We all knew Malcolm would turn nasty when cornered. Well, I did anyway. Jon Faine called it Keatingesque? An insult to Paul, a lack of understanding by Faine; the subtleties of comedy. Expect more of this attack on Shorten (Dutton, Joyce), cashing in on Billy's low popularity, schoolboy bullies stuff, Mal and Barnaby, sensible questions requiring answers replaced by personal abuse, seconded by the stupidity of Scotty Morrison's coal stunt. Christian Porter as Malco's replacement?]


With the focus heavily on Donald's doings and Malcolm's in and out inertia we have temporarily set state politics to one side. The notorious Herald-Sun celebrated PM Malco's  new found personality change (of course) but other than the Andrew Bolt piece on suggesting a replacement PM it was all attack Danny Andrews, again, copping it from all angles and the brainwashed majority readers/letter writers. Underage kids running amok, disregard for the law, urged on by Shadow Premier Matty Guy. Danny's onto a proposal for a more heavy-handed approach to the youth justice system; admittedly overdue. The problem has been here the past 7 years, time to spend a large chunk of the surplus to upgrade security and hire more bodies. Perhaps bar anyone with a record travelling further south from Frankston? Meantime stick with those level crossings and the Metro Rail Project. Consider upgrading the Peninsula bus service, with a travel time span Frankston to Rye today equal to the time span in the 1940's. Last Tuesday, page 2 a beautiful picture of our smiling PM sharing a Roald Dahl book with his grandson, followed by a genuine insight/sidelight of Lady Gaga's super bowl performance, including Mick Molloy, Dave Hughes and Lehmo watching the match on television, at Mick's digs. News? Gold.


Somewhere along the line it's a good idea to decide for yourself how you come at, arrive at, the right decision. Some people, less so nowadays, come at it by way of their religion, a form of indoctrination, no offence. Others a type of moral compass arrived at by your family life, Mum and Dad's politics, or an Uncle Albert, Auntie Dolly. I spent years questioning older people, always a good listener. You need to make an effort. Headlines are never enough. You need the whole story, read it. An intriguing aspect of self identification is my theory of a good actor playing an evil character onstage, where it is more likely the actor is playing to real truth, than the truth of his own offstage character? 


It's fair to say funding the arts is not a luxury, nor should it be looked at as discretionary. This state, indeed this Australian government has failed to support the arts for the past 20 years. It's all very well to make the big announcement of bringing the 'Book of Mormons' to Melbourne but we all know that's about money, for the sake of appearance, not arts funding. The playwrights, actors, musicians, poets, in fact all performers, have a vision, about cultural freedom and political independence, a vital component in building an open and fairer society. The ABC operates in the drama sense almost exclusively, but not quite (Newton's Law) out of Sydney? The ABC, our ABC, is being attacked by this ruling government, piece by piece. Imagine how we would be without it? Yet we condone it, we allow this cannibalism, before our very eyes. Speak up, before it's too late. 


An early start to the year of the Rat, my year, 2020?...PM Malcolm: "Let me say this to you. Our commitment to multiculturalism and a non-discriminatory immigration system is well known” - And still, men, women and children are left to rot on those islands?...Where are you Foreign Minister Julie Bishop?...Herald-Sun: TJ from Lara "Before granting bail magistrates/police should check the offender's social media posts for signs of instability" 1984?.....Hard working Australian families? I have no memory of working hard?...Comedy 1: The AFL are seeking ways to reduce umpire errors. A bit late. Ask GWS and Sydney. Comedy 2: Jobs, jobs, jobs. What jobs? Comedy 3: Three visits to Greece, often an electricity breakdown. NBD, it's Greece. Now it's us?..."And how his audit stands, who knows, save heaven"...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



CryingA Grain of Salt. Friday 3rd February, 2017.


Difficult to feel salty right now. A world of potential chaos? A sense (albeit from afar but closing rapidly) of how those many thousands of Germans must have felt during the 1930's with the ever increasing rise of power from Mr Hitler and his supporters. As a kid I was, of course, brainwashed, Australians being the best fighters in the world and all Germans were ignorant evil crooks. In later years I felt for all those innocent Germans. Registering a sense of concern, underlined perhaps by the daily rubbish served up by upstaging dipsticks from one morning newspaper and one seemingly weak Australian government. One wonders as to the Sky News influence, including Murdoch's effect on the US election result? A time when the opposition (Labor) should shine, but sadly Billy Shorten’s popularity is still below PM Malcolm’s despite Malcolm’s dreadful record in the job. Surely those hoodwinked by Malcolm (now clearly visible) can accept the obvious alternative, or are they still suffering from the indoctrination of the John Howard years, or is the consistent blame game, perfected by Tony Abbott, working? Whichever way they turn, here's hoping it's not Pauline's way, accepting the muslim ban on safety grounds to cover their conscience? Hearing footsteps, hopefully not of the goose variety.


Cock a Doodle Doo, the year of the rooster. Are we the real roosters? Not so long ago I had a basic working knowledge of economics, a diploma or something, but like this computer and the various upgrades it has passed me by, as indeed has my real sense of democracy, certainly social democracy, and with it a greater sense of insecurity, where the needs and concerns of ordinary Australians are at risk, notwithstanding the majority general ignorance. A feeling of danger from isolationist President Donald (Joe McCarthy?) Trump's changes in the space of days. Our economic woes, where Australian companies sent more than $100 billion to related parties in the low-tax nation of Singapore and another $15.6 billion to "hubs" in Switzerland. Noises previously from Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey about the need for multinationals to pay their "fair share" of taxes locally, repeated occasionally by our current leaders, but as expected, hot air. Qantas earned $14.9 billion, GHP $11 billion, Exxon Mobil Australia, $9billion. Lend Lease Corporation, $7 billion and another five who all paid zero tax. We, the Australian people, surely are entitled to be paid a bonus from the profits of these companies? And then there's the banks. [The double page advertisements in our newspapers 'Australia's leading banks are working together to make banking better']. More likely to offset a banking enquiry? OK, I'm no economist, but it's disgraceful these money making monsters get off free while the rest of us pay up to 49 cents in every dollar earned? It blasts the Coalition's ongoing claim to be the best money managers out of the water, with the present current debt almost double the deficit taken over from Labor - at $474 billion, almost half a trillion. Then there's the 10 ways to make housing cheaper? Other than boosting supply they apparently forgot the real way: renting. No doubt the shareholders in these monsters are feeling self satisfied but really, they're used in the same way as Princess Pauline and President Donald's supporters are. The higher echelon of these monsters run the show, and while we continue to do nothing about it we scrape - for schools, transport, health etc, not to mention my lot - aged care. As for jobs, maybe. At less and less per hour. A massive tax cut for big business and the workers become humpty dumpty's, in spades. Is there an answer? NO! The benefits of globalisation. Next they'll be saying Collingwood for premiers. I know, it's a great country and we're lucky to live here, but that doesn't mean wearing a blindfold. Moving on...  


Barnaby Joyce may well be considered a joke but he's one dangerous joke. His diatribe on 'political correctness gone mad' and suggestion for those not supporting his thinking as 'miserable gutted' and 'crawl under a rock and hide for a little bit' comes from our Deputy Prime Minister? Our Prime Minister, in his element on Australia Day. 'We are inclusive. We are compassionate, resilient, genuine. A deep commitment to our Australian egalitarian democracy'. Egalitarian? Once upon a time perhaps but fading, along with the increasing difference between the rich and poor and loss of respect for our institutions. The following day Malcolm reverted to normal blaming Billy Shorten for Trump's cancellation of the TPP deal, which was always a bummer anyway. 'Mr Shorten is the greatest example of Labor gutlessness for generations. It is shameful that Mr Shorten is so weak'. Surprisingly, neither of these cardboard leaders has blamed Labor for Trump's anti abortion laws?


Poor old Scotty. Bereft of ideas he choofs to London to solve our insoluble housing crisis, returning home with nothing, as expected. To Sydney radio (Ray Hadley) talking up President Donald's banning travel to the US from 7 Muslim-majority countries. “I remember in 2013 and I was implementing our border protection policy, people threw their hands up – and I said I’m doing what I said I would do in the way I said I’d do it – and guess what, I’m now getting the results I said I’d get,” If no-one else pats you on the back Scotty, pat yourself. A new Treasurer? Even Immigration Minister Dutton, who gets good conduct badges for rescuing refugees at sea in favour of lifetime imprisonment, leaves sad Scotty in the shade.


Gary Lyon is back on radio SEN after a year away with mental health problems - and his relationship with the former wife of former colleague Billy Brownless. "It has been the most humbling process in my life, because when you get to this stage in your life, when you lose control of your emotions, it just strips all ego from you, because you are in the hands, or you fall at the feet of, whoever can help you. You have this situation where you can't control your emotional state. It just humbles you". Fair enough Gazza. Some may say you played up and got caught, but I'll go along with the mental health issue. Welcome back.


Manus/Nauru, bring them to Australia Malcolm, become a hero...Anthony Mundine refuses to stand for the national anthem; right or wrong it's a terrible song, musically and written, stirring not 10%, an embarrassment...Teachers and nurses; thank God…A fortnight of Stan Grant on 7.30, please no more...President Trump's announcements may not please everyone but they will surely please ISIS...Dennis Healey on socialism "An obstinate will to erode by inches the conditions which produce avoidable suffering"...Vale the champ, onstage, ever the King, Freddy Parslow, with thanks....hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com


LoveA Grain of Salt. Friday 27th January, 2017.


Ken Loach's film "I, Daniel Blake" starring a good mate of mine (and great stand-up comic) Davey Johns, is a must see movie for an appreciation of the dangers of PM Malcolm's robo style (income reported to tax office as against Centrelink records, taking no special circumstances into account - an actor reporting a fee for a day's work at $200 and wrongly assuming this to be everyday earnings, and the like) demands via Centrelink. How do you fight an incorrect computer? No blame on Centrelink, 100% blame on PM Malcolm and 100% harassment of Centrelink staff discouraged from helping people in person, and  ordered to tell them to use the website, and the unfortunate recipients of this demand. Have you ever tried to use the myGov website, assuming you have a computer? Guilty without trial, a nightmare. Go Davey. Personally I'm for impeaching PM Turnbull for allowing his right wing demagogues ( AlanTudge and Christian Porter) to justify this evil.


After (almost) successfully ignoring Donald Trump for a year 'It's Time', with no reference whatsoever to the great Gough Whitlam. "The pub test" as they call it is surely just another word for "populism" gone wild. His inauguration speech appeared to be a shameful mix of patriotism mixed with the threat of doom for Hilary's supporters and others not of the white American category, similar perhaps to Hitler's Aryan race theory. Strangely, there's a 'looks' connection between the perfect white male American specimen and Adolph's equivalent. I saw lots of aggression, and a mix of subtle threats. I'm maintaining my 'wait and see' approach in spite of it, allowing for the power of big business and the political process itself to form some sort of leash, but far from confident. The idea of freezing his business interests, leaving control to his sons and successfully ignoring the disclosure of his tax returns kicks conflict of interest right out of the MCG. A form of corruption? Not sure, but highly suspicious nevertheless. Sadly people have a near blind tendency to believe whatever their existing prejudices are the world over, and even if such prejudices are proved wrong, staring them in the face so to speak, maintaining that said belief rather than admit the error can take months, years? Dangerous. Enough said.


The fascination of buying water? It costs $3 a small bottle at the cafes. Fair enough on a car drive to the Peninsula but at Woolworths they sell them in bucketloads, $7 for 18 bottles. Or at $9 for 12 bottles, superior brand? I've no idea why. I'm a tap man, although I still use the bottle my late wife left in the car, 2004, for longish drives. Maybe, with those crooks at South East Water sitting up on high in their suits enjoying humungus wages, it might be cheaper than in the tap? Nah. 


Various investigations over the past 4 years have come up with mobile phones posing no potential health risks, no adverse health effects. I'm thinking that risk can be put on an equal footing with that same risk factor claim applied to passive smoking, never proven but consistently announced with a 'we know best' aplomb. I ask myself - Why do mobile phones keep disappearing?


The Ipsos survey showing wide spread resentment of the rich and powerful, distrust of traditional politics etc. We are close to evenly split on the question of whether our generation has had a worse life than our parents, with 38% saying worse and 35% saying better. On a personal level I imagine my kids got the cream. In a way if they didn't, I sort of think I failed as a parent, but really, almost always, parents cop it from their kidlets anyway, particularly after they reach mid twenties, selfish lot that they are, but more likely human nature. GENERALLY, OK? The never ending blame game.


ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie cleaning her cupboard? The Director of ABC television, Richard Finlayson has resigned joining Mark Scott, Angela Clark and Lynley Marshall. Why Malcolm? 


"If people don't accept our culture, our way of life, don't let them in." Tell me Princess Pauline, what exactly is your idea of 'culture', aside from fish and chips? No disrespect intended.


Musings: Post 26/1. Am I sad? Of course I'm sad, in fact shattered. Another Australia Day over, the departure of our multicultural hordes, the Rye carnival and those screaming females, the raging motor bikes, the purring jet ski's, the crackers and never forgetting Jason Coleman's world class cabaret with the incredible international cast? Australia Day: A majority mix of a strong, tolerant and creative community (hopefully), a minority dash of fascism, as in ugly and entrenched, fuelled by patriotism, nationalism, prejudice and dickhead behaviour. So quiet now. A lull. Waiting patiently for their return. Easter can't come quick enough. More importantly, there's still time to give a shilling to my second home when trouble comes knocking: www.rosebudhospitalsummerappeal.org.au


Will the yanks take our refugees from Manus and Moresby? Not before hell freezes over...Weird world: Imagine, Barnaby Joyce and Pauline Hansen running against each other as Prime Minister. Anything's possible...Fascinating to watch the ladies at the Blairgowrie cafe, strident, confident, an aura of self importance, unlike the coffee swillers in Rye?...If you choose to think of something as "totally unacceptable" it's equally efficient using unacceptable...Coming soon - PM Malcolm's solution: Attack the Unions...I tried the organic pumpkin; mush...The ABC's 'Weekly' with Charlie Pickering is "going to be bigger and better than ever". That's no mountain to climb Charlie; a divot?...The Department of Human Services says the improper leaking of information could result in disciplinary action or constitute a criminal offence, but does not include politicians?...Had I remained in Melbourne in 2000 I'd be a net worth millionaire by now. Sad sack?...Mary Tyler Moore left us at 80. I get nervous when they leave at 80. I wonder why?..."Conventional economics is a form of brain damage" [David Suzuki]...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



{#smileys123.tonqueout}A Grain of Salt. 20th January, 2017. 


PM Malcolm is on the job, (reform taxpayer-funded expenses) conveniently, being a subject Lord Tony had previously advocated, safe from a far right backlash. A positive policy but just as important is the reform of political donations laws and establishing a hardline on a federal anti-corruption body? Then again - PM Turnbull's enquiry of Sussan's travel is set aside to set up a body 'Independent of Government' to oversee a revamped system? I was more fascinated with Sussan's one day trip to Perth (with partner, Cottesloe Beach) and decided to stay another 2 days; claimed expenses for those last 2 days? Bronny's helicopter farce resulted in 36 recommendations, and after almost a year, no results? Like Dutton's transfer of the refugees to the USA. An announcement, left to dingle dangle, shut up the natives short-term? In the spirit of the television series "Yes Prime Minister", prime viewing for the Coalition? "Hopefully Malcolm Turnbull's independent body to oversee the grey area of pollies expenses will help restore government funds to better use" said one letter to a  newspaper. Let us hope the writer doesn't hold his/her breath.


It's one thing to decide Billy Shorten's on the nose with some voters but when it comes to one or the other how in the name of Allah/God/Jehovah can they pump for Malcolm? Sure, we have idiots on the nightly news stranded by driving through flood waters, some who even buy beds at the full price, and others who are blinded by Pontius Pauline, but it's not Germany. There's no Hitler. Well, maybe, but as yet unproven. The latest poll shows Labor leading the Coalition in two-party-preferred terms, as it should, but voter disapproval of Billy Shorten has grown? Have they considered Malcolm's brutal aggression looking for $2bn from some of Australia’s most vulnerable people, or the morality of the unauthorised $2 billion costs associated with Nauru and Manus Island, or have they been holidaying in Bali, obviously flying Tigerair? 


Australia Day thought - from Robert Burton’s 16th century "Melancholy": "Neighbours, friends; expenses, diseases, frailties and mortalities which happen; wife, children, and such business which deprive us of our 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, to make such deep mines into the earth for gold, and many times to find nothing. Some to love dogs, others horses, some to desire to be obeyed, and yet themselves will know no obedience. Some to love their wives dearly, at first, and after a while to forsake and hate them. When men live in peace, they covet war, detesting quietness, deposing kings, and advancing others in their stead, murdering some men to beget children of their wives. How many strange humours are in men! 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. They make great account of many senseless things, esteeming them as a great part of their treasure, statues, pictures, and such like movables, dear bought, and so cunningly wrought. They commend courage and strength in wars, and let themselves be conquered by lust and avarice; they are, in brief, as disordered in their minds, as in their bodies. No man will mock his own folly, but that which he sees in a second, and so they justly mock one another.


Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and check out your good points. Not your bent nose or age lines, your nice features. Not the men? - yes, even the men. How about your accomplishments? Ambitions satisfied? Your vulnerability, your arrogance? Your bad mistakes in life; we all have them? When did you last make a fool of yourself? Do you block it out? What do you think others think of you, allowing for them not knowing the full story? These and other thoughts can pop up when Jon Faine is away on holidays. Whenever he returns it makes me realise how much of a vacuum we are left with without him. Arrogant yes, at times, sometimes of necessity, but New Zealand born aside he's our living treasure. True, on Thursdays one has to suffer Debi Enker, who apparently loves every show on television, but leaving that (also) aside...his show is gold. [PS: I never thought I'd say this but after a week of watching the angry one - Stan Grant, 7.30 - I'm starting to miss Leigh Sales?].


The narrow minded half witted bigots, protesting against a billboard? Morality?...What's Danny Andrews up to? Easy, read the unbiassed notorious Herald-Sun...Whether or not you get the pension, or you're entitled to it by law, paying taxes all your working life is not part of the equation...Peter Dutton "they need to adapt to Australian values". So does Pickled Peter!...Politicians and parental aggression. Who'd be a teacher?...Sports Minister Greg Hunt (Best Minister in the World Award) yet another chance to shine; 3rd time lucky?...Chelsea Manning: ABC News: Whistleblower. 9 News: Convicted traitor?...Research (my favourite word) at Australian University suggests looking after your grandchildren can add 5 years to your life; twaddle...PM Malcolm "There is a big cultural change on the way. I'm going to shake things up" - Culture Mal?... Bees and wasps are as deadly as snakes. And the burqa?...I see nothing wrong with under quoting. If you're buying you don't have to be Einstein to get an idea of the price range...Aussie cricket captain Steve Smith is a champion cricketer. As an after the game commentator he is valium material...What's Pontius Pauline's thinking on Eritreans, Ethiopians, Sudanese and Somalis?...No invite to the Portsea polo match. I ask myself, if not why not?...My girlfriend thinks I'm a stalker. Well, she's not exactly my girlfriend, yet...God bless Australia, and my girlfriend...Rye's multicultural invasion departs in 9 days - adieu...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com


CoolA Grain of Salt. 13th January, 2017.


Politicians exploiting their travel entitlements for personal gain. Medical specialist and their overseas junkets? Et al. A willingness towards dishonesty for money or personal gain? What's the advantage of being corrupt? Is it the crayfish, adrenaline, human nature or simply dishonest gains? Fifty years, Auditor-Generals Office, Attorney-General's, TAB, Unions, even theatre companies. A long list, most smallish fry, but corrupt nevertheless. Do they trust anybody? Do they go to the beach? Do they watch the swimmers, the volleyball, the runners, full of confidence and vitality? Maybe they imagine they're part of them? The "everybody does it" justification? On the other hand, assuming Sussan Ley's reason and entitlements for her Gold Coast visit are above board I see nothing wrong with her buying the Gold Coast apartment in her spare time. “No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious & charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful.” [Kurt Vonnegut].


Peter Dutton arises from his foxhole to welcome in 2017 – a proposal to tighten up Australia's citizenship test to crack down on would-be terrorists; "Australian values" apparently. Egalitarianism? The brown hound bounded round the brown house? Speaking and pronouncing proper English, like our Peerless Pauline who said "If you can't communicate how can you expect anyone to assimilate into our society?" On our ABC a documentary "Stop Laughing this is Serious" narrated by Eric Bana featuring our (so called) world class comedians, with nary a mention of Peter or Pauline?


Another Golden Globes run and won with the talented Meryl Streep's speech the highlight among many lowlights. The usual suspects. I couldn't help thinking, for every performer come artist in the audience there are 1000 or more others who spend most of their lives desperately trying to be a part of it, and almost always without a ghost of a chance, including thousands of Australian hopefuls hanging around over there waiting for their big break. Sad for mine. Fame is a mirage. 


Angela Merkel "Germany and America are tied by values of democracy, freedom and respect for the law and human dignity, independent of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views." No doubt hoping Donald Trump's election rhetoric (xenophobia, racism and sexism pitched to rile social media) was a flash in the pan on the road to victory. "We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead" said Clinton. Fine words considering the mocking disrespect he gave her. Time will tell of course, with, as always, the emphasis on social equality (or inequalities) and his ability to regenerate employment.


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


I live alongside 6 two bedroom units which was up for sale for some 2 years, eventually sold for holiday rentals. I often wondered if it could become a brothel. With VCAT approving another brothel in Cairnish Road, Oakleigh South, the 9th in Melbourne's East, Mr Phan, the owner said "I want to show there is no demon side to the brothel business and demonstrate to my neighbours I'm a good corporate citizen." Allowed up to 10 sex workers at any one time. I can imagine this stirring up the stove in downtown Rye. Chumminess. Togetherness. I could teach them about the brown hound? Pickled peppers, Red leather, yellow leather?


Ryan Buckhurst's video (pleading for council and community action) on  "Make Rye Great Again" gaining Facebook popularity. “Our foreshore is a wasteland for 11 months of the year to support the population growth for one month". Too true. Rye has always had the potential, but all I've seen is a Council making money (the dreaded carnival and campers) focussing on January, otherwise forgetting we exist. I spotted a parking inspector once. Mornington Peninsula Shire Council considers a bold streetscape masterplan for Rye recommending reinvigorating the commercial centre by removing two lanes of traffic, cutting the speed limit and building a main pedestrian crossing linking Napier St Plaza to the pier. Council strategy manager David Smith said a township plan was being prepared to “reinvigorate, protect and enhance this iconic coastal town”. Mr Smith is starting to sound like Peter Dutton.


You're trying to remember the singer from the movie about Jane Froman singing "Deep in the Heart of Texas" but It's not forthcoming. You relax, thereby instructing your brain (assuming you have one) to get back to you when it suits. Result - ping - Susan Hayward. True, there's google, but that's lazy. The message is clear: Do not unnecessarily stress your brain. As an emotional organ it can quickly turn nasty. Treasure it. This same relaxation procedure may be equally effective with constipation, probably offsetting the possibility of a stroke?


Former PM Stanley Bruce: "May those who enter this open door govern with justice, reason and equal favour to all. May they do so with humility and without self-interest. May they think and act nationally. May they speak with the voice of those that sent them here – the voice of the people." 


Manus and Nauru Billy Shorten. A disgrace. Time to get off your backside, fish to fry...We say farewell to Former One Nation senator Rodney Culleton, a dag if ever there was one..."Too much sugar affects longevity, according to research". What research?...Celebrate Australia Day on March 22nd?...The Port Phillip Bay sharks don't visit Rye...Privatise the profits and socialise the losses; a way of life. Get over it..."After the game, the King and the pawn go into the same box" [Italian proverb]...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com




{#smileys123.tonqueout}A Grain of Salt. 7th January, 2017.


Here in Downtown jet ski Rye it's the week of hell, the action attraction of our multicultural hordes, for reasons only known to themselves. I keep my head down, Woolworths at dawn, hibernate until 5pm, two quick pots at the RSL, home till bedtime. Alas, a long held dental appointment McCrae 11.15am. He came out of a side street, crossed the lane to Rye into the centre - assumed he would wait for me to clear. Mistake, never assume, straight in. Slapped on the brake and honked long and hard. A monster Toyota. Turning right at the traffic lights, forced to pull up alongside. Chopper bloody Read's twin brother. NFA. 


No point cutting off your nose to spite your face. This appears to be happening in politics right now, potentially the world over. Many letters, "I have lost my part pension. Had I known this I wouldn't have voted for PM Malcolm in 2016. Pauline is looking more attractive". Truly, some people may have a $5 million house and cash to qualify for the pension, others to have a $300,000 house and cash to lose a part pension but in the scheme of things it's small change. Apparently a saving of over $2 billion bickies - more to the point what to do with those bickies; tax cuts for the wealthy? Also true is the consistency of this sneaky government bringing in these and other cuts at a time where our attention is not focussed, and as always ignoring the real stuff, capital gains, negative gearing and superannuation concessions, however, the idea of switching to Pauline is nothing short of useless. We should vote Malcolm ta ta's because he's done nothing and we offer the other crowd the baton to stir up the stove. A 3 year trial. It's either one or the other because the dross (Pauline et al) are incapable of governing and have only the one result, to fracture the idea of democracy in return for power. Some may say it sends our government a message. Grow up! The only message they're likely to receive is being told to step aside, come 2018. Let's wait and see? The boogeyman may well be sitting in the car parked out front, but time to worry if he/she alights...and opens our front gate.


Another misguided idea springing forth (entrenched Coalition voters?) is the suggestion these 'do-gooders' are "leftists", as in anybody who disagrees with their thinking. For sure, those self righteous political correctness types are a right pain in the backside. As I've said previously they hijacked my suburb, Northcote. My loving misguided youth, not to mention North Fitzroy, where they even reversed the name? Greens maybe, Liberty Alliance, Family First, NXT? Do Gooders United, but never leftists. 


Watching Bill Collins doing an old interview with the lovely Debbie Reynolds who died the day before, prior to the showing of "Singin' in the Rain" on foxtel. Bill's a nice bloke albeit leaning towards boredom, Debbie streets ahead. Did you like Gene Kelly? I remember him in "For Me and My Gal" doing the title song in the cafe with Judy Garland. Loved it. Gene was a rat in that film, deliberately broke his hand to escape the war. He came good at the finish and love found a way with darling Judy but he didn't convince me of his character change anymore than his love for Debbie Reynolds. Good dancer, very much a yawn actor. The same in this musical. Thank goodness for Jean Hagen, Debbie, Donald.   


After 8 years, like Maxwell Smart I was 'that close' to cleaning out my wardrobe. I have 4 jumpers with holes in both sleeves, shirts 25 years old, jackets etc. I had everything out on the floor in a huge bundle, including two unused tubes of Titan Gel. My mistake? I left them there for a day. Had a change of mind on one or two items overnight and perhaps one tube of gel for insurance. By then it was too late. Everything is best chucked on the same day, to the tip or the op shop. An energy burst requires immediate action. Maybe next week. Maybe February after the multicultural hordes have piddled off back to Melbourne. Maybe 2018, if I make it.


29 year old Stacey Tierney found dead at the Dream Gentlemen's Club? Should this be on my bucket list, assuming I have one? Apparently they're always on the lookout for staff at this DGC. Amazing. 80 years old and I'm still learning. It simply never occurred to me these types of clubs existed. I knew about wine bars, and brothels of course. I would see them at the traffic lights, waiting to turn into Hoddle Street, exiting the MCG. Parking around the back? No. Too tricky a manoeuvre. Seaford? Too late. www.dreamsclub.com.au Interesting.


Social Services Minister, the aptly named Christian (Porter): "You can go online very simply and sort that out. Of the automated compliance system only 276 complaints had been received". The other 50,000 still on the line, holding? Suggest watching  the Ken Loach film "I, Daniel Blake" to pass the time? Reality check. [The debt recovery malfunction? The abandonment of the presumption of innocence? -  Gestapo-land]. 


ABC on big bash cricket "How can you not love it?" Easy mate, easy...Dire predictions of a property crash. Bugger. There goes another $400 from the value of my unit...People testing their urine to ensure their ketosis level; body breaking down fat; comedic dieticians?...Excited about January 25th? Who will be Australian of the Year? Political poppycock!...Matthew 5-7: "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart". Please ladies, have a care, no bikinis in Woolworths during January...Graffiti on those Portsea beach boxes! Would Rye or Rosebud have made the Channel 9 News?...Never stop learning. Never stop reading. [Anson Cameron's father]...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



SickA Grain of Salt. 31st December, 2016.


First the clean-up from 2016, the key word being 'Bland'. No tax reform as promised, a double dissolution for unknown reasons allowing Peerless Pauline back into the fold, the mediscare hypocritical nonsense, jobs and growth mirage, Bernadi, Christenson, Lord Tony and same sex marriage, climate change and Peter (Christmas) Dutton's refugees in detention. [Asylum seekers and refugees on Manus and Nauru into their fourth year, despite the increase in teachers and psychiatrists speaking of their experiences]. Never forgetting Billy Boy's supposed opposition to what he decides is suitable to oppose without risk to his popularity. What was Malcolm's favourite word? Innovation! Hail a year of nothingness.


The soldiers, our soldiers, looked so happy, healthy, in their Christmas Day messages on television, spick and span, beaming. I didn't catch where they were. Last I heard we were fighting with/for the rebels, or Syria, but definitely not ISIS. No doubt those soldiers would have a clearer picture. Maybe in Iraq, Afghanistan? Helping restore democracy, looking forward to yet another flying drop-in by Malcolm or Billy? I wondered what our boys (and some girls) were really thinking, everyday thinking as to why they were there, the good they were doing, their love of the uniform, the people they were apparently helping, their thoughts about PTSD. More pictures on television New Years Eve? Maybe shots of Wilson security staff on Nauru? Be nice to see a beaming politician paying Nauru or Manus a flying stopover? I've been watching these wars for 80 years and the only one I was certain of us having a reason for being was World War 2. On the other hand I'm probably a bunny in a field of foxes. Just saying. 


That space between Christmas and New Year; losing track of what day it is, and the heat. Theatre directors: My ageing mind drifted back. 1978 or thereabouts. 'Blood Brother' by Ian Nash. 30 minutes before the doors opened on opening night. Actors to play out, improvise, a scene from when they were 5 years old. They did. I refused. Enjoyed the peace and 2 cigarettes. Mid 80's, 'The Marriage of Bette and Boo' - actors given separate pieces of paper with various squiggles to interpret. Some 6 or more actors writhing on the rehearsal floor for 15 minutes. The director asked why not I? I'm not a squiggle. Stepped out for a smoko. I have more, but settle on two. To each his/her own. Was it me? Magistrates: Years ago I worked for a living; beer money mainly. In a train, listening to a known magistrate explaining to a friend along the lines of summarising each case during the train ride. Later that morning I was in that magistrate's court on a work matter. The 5'4 70 year old was up on an assault charge against a 6'4 30ish burly policeman. The old man's justification was ignored in favour of the damage done to Mr Burly, basically bad language. He copped 6 months. 


Most people are in such a hurry to voice their opinions they forget to listen. Listening can be, often is, good value. There's half a chance you might learn something. On a good day it may well be an epiphany. Up to a point you can pick and choose. Alternatively, you could listen to Pauline Hanson until kingdom come but unless you're a far right or far left fascist you'll be none the wiser. Many of my thoughts come from listening; at a conservative guess 5000 conversations at my local RSL. Everyday people, some normal, some close to normal; the measure being my normality obviously. Gossip of course (keep mum, never repeat) politics (better than the Herald-Sun, but that's saying nothing) history (rare but every so often the odd little gem) medical (sympathy required) behavioural traits (always a favourite) and AFL football, where most of us are sucked in with their nonsense. It doesn't mean I'll form an opinion based on information received. It's possible, but unlikely. One of the dangers of listening is believing. Assuming. By all means take it on board as someone's thoughts, but no more than that. Assuming something to be fact because someone told you is fraught with potholes. It doesn't mean they're lying anymore than you are. It means simply an exchange of conversation, nothing proven. Remember the dingo?


Community legal centres have their funding cut by 30%; one of a number of subtle cuts to areas where money is desperately needed. Then there's Centrelink under a new government directive [tougher compliance for welfare recipients, including 10% recovery fees] sending out bills, monies owing, based on vague documentation. This can be a nightmare where you're guilty until you prove otherwise with the added pain of your pension stopped until you explain yourself. Years back I received one of those death threat letters, telling me I owed $4000. I proved otherwise after a month but only because I kept detailed records. They sent a letter, not apologising, saying 'no further action'? God help those innocents who don't keep records.


From Prince Paul (Keating) on Australia, after Trump’s victory. “We’ve had a 50 per cent increase in real incomes in the last 20 years; median America has had zero. Zero. We’ve had universal health protection – from the cradle to the grave. We have a retirement income system, with superannuation. We have high participation rates in schools. We don’t shoot our children in schools, and if they were to be shot, we’d take the guns off the people who shot them. The Americans do not do this. This is a better society than the United States.”


"We are here on earth to do good unto others. What the others are here for, I have no idea." [WH Auden]...If the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the Jews, really believe in their right to it's biblical heartland, why are many of them living in our Aboriginal heartland?...Common sense, compassion and never assume. Maintain your hope 2017, may it be a happy year...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



WowA Grain of Salt. 24th December, 2016.


The half yearly budget and the ratings agencies nonsense? Triple A, double A. Who cares? It's a budget. A guess. A fairytale. Evidence? None of them got the GFC right. Wasn't that enough? Fronted by our two favourite yappers, Morrison and Mathias, long winded answers amounting to fresh air and blame. Four years in government and still all Labor's fault. More important is the significance of Canberra allocating Victoria a paltry 7.7 % of the national infrastructure budget. Someone tell Peter Dutton to keep those 12,000 fantasy Syrian refugees away from Victoria as we wont have any work for them, not to mention our offshore/onshore detention centres for innocent refugees. Think about this come the next election, always assuming you can think, and on that point after daily readings of the 'Your Say' columns in the notorious Herald-Sun, I'm extremely doubtful. Corporate tax cuts, assuming they get them through, will cause a surge in growth to the economy? At best a rumour, and how to offset the costs? Pensioners, welfare cheats, tobacco taxes? Those pensioners who lose out can thank Greens leader Richard Di Natale for voting with Malcolm. Peter Martin/Age, says it better. "There's a lot the government could do if was minded to. It could abandon or postpone its largely-unfunded company tax cuts, saving $2.7 billion over the forward estimates, and eventually $8.2 billion per year, it could slash the capital gains tax discount, saving $5.4 billion, it could end negative gearing on newly-purchased assets, saving $2.6 billion, which would grow to something much bigger. They are the type of things the ratings agencies expect from governments just re-elected." Spot on. We look forward to the 2017 May budget for repeat fantasy, assuming this mob are still there with George Christensen and Bernardi on their tails. Remember Orson Welles in the 1941 movie Citizen Kane supposedly based on newspaper magnate Randolph Hearst (“People will think what I tell them to think”). Too true. 


With the conservative vote in Australia seemingly up for grabs re Bernadi, Hanson etc I'm more interested in Billy. Shorten has done well as the leader of the Labor Party, as well as he could I expect. True, he's a cut above PM Malcolm as a politician but is it enough? Historically he was part of the get Kevvy Rudd dumping group, perhaps the main perpetrator, and Kevvy was intellectually a cut above Billy. Then of course Billy replaced Dame Julia, proving his ability as an infighter. He knows the game well, and when he's relaxed he can be worth listening to, but the reality is he hasn't quite got the necessary communication skills. He should be given credit for doing a fine job, albeit his part in the Rudd fiasco, but as a leader the Labor Party needs more. Being better at the game than the present Coalition lot is well and good, and in most circumstances a plus, but right now a drover's dog would do well, and with the talent of those behind Billy in Labor's ranks it's wrong to waste them. Time to thank Billy for his efforts and replace him with any one of the three outstanding others.


Oh to be a cricketer; male that is. A $900,000 contract plus a share of the revenue and looking for more. Females get $65,000 and no revenue share. Perhaps the males could give up 20% of their revenue share as a gift to the ladies? Or does greed rule, as ever? Not that I'm fond of watching female cricketers, but in this situation surely a case of fairs fair? 


Inadequate funding to protect abused women and children is a sad reality. If you're out and about on the Peninsula you can't miss it. The arrogance of the male, the assumption of superior intelligence coupled with a God given right in the decision making process including how to bring up 'the kids'. My observations, without any research, and hopefully no disrespect, is that it appears to be more prevalent amongst some of our tradies. Coming from 40 years of marriage equality I've found it a fascinating, yet ugly problem. I've seen the odd one or two escape from it, others to accept the impossibility of change, particularly with children, making their lot liveable as best they could. It's a small number, but nevertheless seemingly insoluble, for them. If there was government help, a form of escape, would this small number increase? I've only been living down here the past 17 years, living in employment and wages equality in Melbourne the previous 40 years, so from my perspective it sticks out like a sore thumb. A sad, traditional, reality?    


Why are blowflies so noisy? Who cares? Probably next to nobody but I wonder why they advertise their presence resulting in the certainty of an early death? One would think they would learn from their smaller brothers, who can quietly stay hidden inside the house for days, weeks even. Maybe the smaller flies are females?


"Why do we need driverless cars?" Because it's 'progress' stupid one. "Progress?" Yes, wake up to yourself you bunny! "Hmm. Apparently I'm a duffer, again. I'll take that on board. Is owning two or more properties progress?" Yes, you old fart. It's called improving yourself. "What's wrong with being satisfied for what you have? Why does the word progress automatically assume it's a good thing?" Go back to sleep. 


According to the ABS our incomes here on the Peninsula are below the national average. There's talk of cutting out cash. A cashless society; the horror. The Mornington Peninsula would grind to a halt, eventually. A “cash only” economy, in many cases of necessity, is a way of life down here. I'd be forced to cut out smoking!


Best television 2016 - 'Midnight Sun', 'The Night Of' and 'The Bridge'...Desmond Tutu: "When the white missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land"...Merry Christmas...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



LoveA Grain of Salt. 17th December, 2016.


December 1st arrives and it's Christmas songs. 'And So This is Christmas' John Lennon. Preferred Ricky May. My brain goes walkabout, saddened up to a point until after Auld Lang Syne. Maybe for the better. A cleansing experience entering yet another year; hope sort of thing, leaving aside dishonest politics, let alone world matters. Syria? Weren't we talking of taking refugees, thousands, or just another Dutton false truth? Whatever, where is Labor, or don't they care either? Probably not. Waiting on yankee Big Daddy, like they do with Julian Assange. Gutless. If this isn't a humanitarian crisis what is? Kids dental care cuts; sneaky. A new tablet for free? More headaches. Depression, risking physical and mental health? No. I survived 37 zaps of radio therapy 10 years ago and obviously with it the greatest loss of life's second greatest pleasure after crayfish, and yet these silly songs get me every year? It's not as if I play the pokies. No. I'm outside, hidden away in the RSL dedicated smoking area, caught, with background Chrissy songs, an outcast, no covering for rain because we don't deserve it. I'd gladly smash the speakers but alas, they have cameras, and anyway I might get sectioned. Bastards! Merry Christmas.


Lowlights 2016: Philip (children overboard) Ruddock as our special humanitarian envoy?... The split between Gary Lyon and Billy Brownless...350 jobs being axed from the CSIRO... Peter Costello as the new chairman of Channel 9...Andrew Bolt on the smearing of Peta Credlin as a hysterical control freak who probably slept with Tony Abbott?...Peter Dutton "the opposition's negative gearing plans will cause the economy to come to a shuddering halt and the sharemarket to crash"...Billy Brownless: "You don't touch a man's wallet, you don't touch a man's wife"...Australian Tax Office documents: 55 people had reported annual income of more than $1 million but paid no tax after legal deductions...Nathan Buckley "We only had 2 players we thought brought the necessary effort and attitude"...Quality time?...Michaelia Cash's "realities" and "actually's"...Wellbeing consultant Dr Jodi Richardson on promising research about hot springs bathing, or balneotherapy?...Labor MP David Feeney's $2.3 million negatively geared property to match Peter Dutton's five negatively geared properties...Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt, "getting results"?..."If something doesn't add up call the national security hotline"?...PM: "What the treasurer and I have set out will increase the transparency and accountability of the banks" PM Census: “The Australian Signals Directorate are the finest, most professional organisation of their kind anywhere in the world. They are extraordinary. They are the experts of the experts.”?...Finally, the notorious Herald-Sun, Murdoch media and obviously Neil Mitchell. 


Highlights 2016: My computer behaves, the huntsman stays out of sight and Robert Galbraith's Cormoran Strike three murder mysteries.


I follow Collingwood, hated by followers of 17 other teams. The AFL design the fixture for their own benefit, never Collingwood's. Other supporters cry fowl, no surprise. We're used to it as we're used to the AFL using Collingwood's supporter popularity. This year the Western Bulldogs last 2 games free kicks count (their way) was 22/13 against GWS, and 20/8 in the GF against Sydney. Had Collingwood received those statistics there would have been uproar, a 'football' world war, Caroline Wilson and Mark Robinson spewing . We don’t control what happens to us; we control how we respond. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own. When it feels like people are ruder and more selfish than ever, Marcus Aurelius urged us to ask when we ourselves have behaved the same way – and says the best revenge is simply “to not be like that”. No problem Marcus. Bloody AFL.


Craig Minogue, in company with Stan Taylor and Peter Reed, planted a bomb that killed a police officer. The desire to keep him locked up forever sends the message: "A policeman's life is worth more than an ordinary citizen's life”. Why?


Reading about the slaughter during World War 1, November 2016, the Western Front,  Pozieres. Both sides. Ghosts. I'm not big on the ghosts scenario but it brought to mind a happening when I was doing a play at Pentridge long after the inmates had departed for other prisons, or hopefully freedom. I went for a walk an hour before, an upstairs dormitory style room, huge, bare. B Division, not sure. Just looking. It was sort of like a gust of wind, but there was no wind. A sharp shiver. A presence, and a need to escape, quickly? Weird stuff. Never forgotten. Is there an answer, waiting, for me?  


A full faced veil? NSW district court judge Justice Audrey Valla: "Facial expressions are a key tool used by the court in assessing the truthfulness of a witness's testimony". The question of the veil doesn't interest me, whereas assessing the 'truth' from a face does? Kids learn to lie early into their teens. If you believe them maybe that's what they want you to believe? Be interesting on 'Judge Judy'. A lady with a veil up against a Nun? I'd be in trouble in a court case. My parent's didn't beat me as a kid.


Withdraw the $100 note? Greedy fools...Danny's "Caring Dads" nonsense...Australia Day: Patriotism yes, nationalism no...A classic boy and his dog tale. Red dog true blue. Maybe so, but with Bryan Brown in it I'll pass...Sam Mitchell the fairest? Best forgotten...99.95 ATAR - why not 100%?...Australia: world cricket champions?...Stay clear of the beach at Rye come January. There's a reason why all those people keep popping in and out the water...Farewell to the ABC's Caroline Jones; a lady...We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. [Kurt Vonnegut]. Happy Christmas, happy 2017...Back January 7th. Keep yourselves nice...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com




CoolA Grain of Salt. 10th December, 2016.


It's the quiet before the storm down south in Rye Land; the tsunami approaching. The schoolies have departed, bless the messy little monsters, and the multicultural hordes are up there in suburbia home invasions land, Melbourne, preparing, to invade, us. Christmas looms and Medicare Malcolm's still there. One wonders why the far right don't replace him, likely they have no-one capable, as in popularity-wise, and better results by keeping Malcolm on a firm leash. Treasurer Scotty, sadly, predictably, suggesting lower taxes for business as the answer, aka the rich get richer. Scotty's not the brightest star on the political planet but in his defence he too is severely hampered by right wing ideologues. Negative gearing, capital gains and other obvious avenues a no go; hogtied. Oh for the days of Keating and Costello; class, action, ideas, intelligence. A long gone memory. 


The difference between Danny's state government and Malcolm's federal sticks out like a sore thumb. Danny's full steam ahead, getting things done despite the hammering from the notorious Herald-Sun, 3AW, Channel 9 and Matthew Guy's mousy interjections. Malcolm does next to nothing and spends most (if not all) of his time blaming Billy Shorten's Labor. Labor is not in power Malcolm! Don't think, do! Your mob will not thank you for following orders. For goodness sake take a leaf from Danny. Resenting the opposition simply fails to paint the picture. Jobs and growth is hot air. And To refuse to consider an emissions intensity scheme for the electricity sector? Pragmatism, or courage? Have a go PM, before you go. 


Trump’s white men distortion apparently appealed to a massive majority of semi educated prancing white males, and white women who tolerate this nonsense because they don’t see it for what it is; ignoring it in a ‘team’ mentality. They feel better now? By referencing the ‘elites’ it brings out a ‘get them’ streak, something which PM Malcolm has latched onto recognising (perhaps) a similar attitude in the One Nation supporters. Andrew bolt, in a play on Malcolm's reverse psychology, calls socialists the 'totalitarian left'? The big risk is the increased strength of the far right and more importantly their ignorance of the real dangers in ignoring global warming. One can’t help wondering if those supporters (America and Australia) extend this arrogance, resentment, to educated females and LGBTI people?  


ABC MD Michelle Guthrie: “One of the opportunities for us is to look at what level of resource should be available for the entire organisation. Our resource allocation is very much around individual product rather than around the infrastructure layer capability that is common across those products. I am confident that the ABC has the people and the expertise to deliver on the very important objectives we have set under our 2020 strategic work. It is important that we open ourselves to fresh ideas and innovative approaches from a wide range of sources". This is all a lot of nonsense of course. Fine words in the PM's style to hide the real focus, as in dumbing down our ABC. A 3AW devotee? 


Ozland, The Munchkins? Australian Academy of Cinema and Theatre Arts Awards. Eva Orner, director of detention centre exposé 'Chasing Asylum', which won best documentary feature, delivered a politically-charged speech calling on the Australian federal government to abolish its legislation punishing whistleblowers reporting on detention centres. This was sadly the highlight of yet another self congratulatory, psuedo, glamorous night (Channel 7, 7/12) celebrating (?) one very ordinary year for Australian films. Take away 'Hacksaw Ridge' and what was left? Girl Asleep, The Daughter and Goldstone? Non events in box office figures and the winner isn't so hot as yet either. The television awards improved the situation up to a point. Wentworth was well deserved for drama, but Samuel Johnson (lead actor) in 'Molly' (Richard Roxburgh in Rake, or Ashley Zukerman in The Code?) and Elizabeth Debicki for The Kettering Incident (surely Danielle Cormak in Wentworth?) left me scratching my head. The presenters were tedious, moreso when they attempted comedy. Stranger still was Kenny star Shane Jacobson doing an unfunny comedy spot? MY best show of 2016 - Barrie  Cassidy's Insiders, by a country mile. And 'Eggheads'.


A 2016 survey of social cohesion identified four popular issues of long standing that are getting nowhere in Australian politics: Prescription of medical marijuana to treat painful medical conditions; 83% support. Reduced reliance on coal for electricity generation; 60% support. Marriage equality for same sex couples; 66% support. Medically approved euthanasia for people suffering terminal illness; 80% support. I'm for Danny's euthanasia push, as a comfort (at 80) more than anything else. My experience is that most sufferers fight for life to the very last, no matter the pain. A fine idea for peace of mind, but beware the watering down effect after (if?) it becomes law, from greedy relatives et al.


Most people don’t look, they scan; they therefore don’t see. They go to exhibitions to have been there - to 'think' they’re being nourished. How long do they look? Not long. There’s nothing to look at - a superficial impression of an image. There may well be an interest in the price? Good painting as an art form is tied in with impulses, private satisfaction and  ideas. The practice of painting for a wall and what would work in this space is ridiculous. 


Hears hoping Peter Dutton is enjoying his holiday break, but knowing Peter he's hard at work on the transfer deal with the yanks for his detention centre immigrants ...Privatisation means shareholders, and higher prices for us...Is it too much to ask for people to accept their appearance as an affirmation of self?...Can't wait for 2020; cheerleading is now an olympic sport...Retrospective legislation is evil...The future, as in no checkouts or cash in our supermarkets of the future, is not something to celebrate...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded

Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed

Everybody knows the war is over

Everybody knows the good guys lost

Everybody knows the fight was fixed

The poor stay poor, the rich get rich

That's how it goes

Everybody knows. [Leonard Cohen]



LoveA Grain of Salt. 3rd December, 2016.


Gene Kelly and Judy Garland 'For Me And My Gal' from the 1942 movie, followed by 'Ballin The Jack'. YouTube. Eight minutes. The amazing talent of Judy on the piano playing a new song written by Gene, the character, without looking at the piano or the lyrics? Your own private celebration, heralding parliament has gone walkabout 2016. 


The party is over. Thank the Lord. I thought they'd never leave. Let's be honest, they're not the brightest thinkers in our world. They have the cheek to raise the intellectual entry for our teachers? There's some bright sparks, true, but by and large a clear majority of dummies. PM Medicare Malcolm “We are getting on with our job of delivering on the promises we made to the Australian people, right across the board, whether it is national security, economic reform, industrial reform or the backpackers tax, we’re getting the job done.” Give them credit for cunning. Treasurer Scotty beating his chest over superannuation changes well aware had Labor not started it they would have done nothing. Ditto contradictory nonsense "the 15%, which is reasonable, which is fair" in a backdown from the 19%, in which he said Labor can 'go jump'. The Greens, originally at 0%, sucking up at 15%. All about pride, never forgetting the Adler shotguns, Malcolm Fraser's Lebanese grandkids, lifetime visa bans, 18C, Senator Brandis righteous indignation (as he saw it) and so on. Finally the ABCC (anti CFMEU) bill. If  you thought Nick Xenophon was going to vote against the bill then you would believe anything. Again, credit for cunning. He and Derryn went to a lot of trouble in terms of 'looking concerned'. As for Pauline, never in doubt; her vote for sale, to Medicare Malcolm only. So much for the cross benchers reservations. Pauline: "Rod said he's a farmer. No. He is a farmer of a different sector, he does not have backpackers. Derryn Hinch, what's his connection with it? Have they ever really gone out to speak to the farmers? I was so angry they would not agree with the government." Our lateral Pauline said she looked at legislation based on MERIT, and criticised the "bloody-mindedness" of Hinch, Culleton and Lambie? A national well worn treasure? In all, pragmatism gone wild.


Years ago as a public servant we used the re-submit system to good effect. A problem file? Begone. Re-submit the bastard for a month, two months, three. Problem solved, temporarily. The process to have legitimate refugees re-housed in the United States? Peter Dutton, a master of the re-submit system. 


We can watch television now devoid of politics. My message for the week, as in not wasting time and effort regretting past mistakes or what might have been? Pause your television. Find pleasure in reminiscing, past good times, mini victories. Find out who the murderer was another night. A person's mental wellbeing depends on their ability to cope with external pressures requiring inner strength. Empathy helps, and money? Christmas (niceness) approaches. Forget about Peter Dutton. Ignore he and his ilk forgetting when Malcolm Fraser offered those Lebanese a safe haven he had no idea a later PM would involve our country in an invasion of another Muslim country. Assume Peter was acting for all of us. Think of him as teaching his children to swim, or the like.


The twists and turns  of life. "You're hopeless Ellen" said my art teacher Grade 5, loud and clear in front of the whole class. Coming on the top of my Grade 4 teacher saying much the same as to my knowledge of geography. In Form 5 the history teacher banned me to the passageway for a month. According to my term 1 marks I'd learn more out there? If only I could see them now. Simply by listening and watching the ABC I'm "elite" now, through no fault of my own. A clever twist on the use of the word by PM Malcolm? The teachers were right, but happily I confused Mr Stephens, my non-elite history teacher, by coming second top in term 2, sadly reduced to mediocrity (point made) term 3. 


Leaving aside the responsibility of all parents to teach their darlings to swim and learn the times tables by the time they have completed 6th grade I have a question for Premier Danny Andrews. We have schools here in Dromana, Rosebud, Rye and Sorrento teeming with children to that 6th grade, and one skinny mini pool in the Rosebud industrial area. What plans are in place for our excellent teachers to carry out your wishes?  


“I think we’ve ceded that narrative to the extreme right,” he said. “I think we need to regain that narrative and define Britain in an inclusive way, that brings us together, rather than blaming the migrant, the refugee, or the Muslim for what is going on in our country.” [Brendon Cox, husband of Jo Cox, murdered by a white supremacist.]


Relaxed now, after the experience of Judy's beautiful voice, wanting inspiration, motivation, leading into Christmas, using Scarlett's philosophy on Trump, 2017. I fancied a Mercedes as my car of choice 20 years back, abandoned, an impossible dream in favour of the humble Toyota Corolla. At 80, years that is, on the road to ruin, or an image lift? Pizzazz. A player rather than a nonentity. I'm thinking Navara ST N Sport. Nissan 4x4 Dual Cab. $50 grand range. Re-invigorated. I watch the drivers at Woolworths when shopping. There's something in their faces, certainly in the way they walk. It's much more than 'Oh what a feeling'. Buy myself  a work shirt, magnum work boots. Do they still have hire purchase? Hope; the last to go. Still faintly operational. Ever onwards.


What is a Climate economist?...One wonders if the submarine kid, Nick Xenophon is acting for all Australians?...Culture is roughly anything we do and the monkeys don't. [Lord Raglan]...Farewell Fidel; say hello to Ned Kelly...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



SadA Grain of Salt. 26th November, 2016.


A week of seemingly never ending hypocrisy, indeed almost a year. I never thought I'd write this but the facts speak for themselves: It's official: Billy McMahon was a better Prime Minister. One final political week and the PM desperate to salvage something from the wreck by way of the ABCC union bust. For his reputation that is, not for our country. Post truth, as in fake, coming at us every which way, facebook included. The evil is when postings come by way of supposedly knowledgeable bloggers, tweeters. Or at the sophisticated level from the notorious Herald-Sun. A NEWS-paper? Seven pages on what people think (?) of Premier Danny Andrews followed two days later by another three, both with front page blasts. Anti-labor Premier Danny politics, read brainwashed, as news, post truth, mainstream. And Andrew Bolt, Rita Panahi for balance? Me? Post sex I understand, but of the far right wing dogma sweeping the world, no answer. George Orwell got it wrong, maybe a mere 40 years too early?


Is Malcolm losing it or has he caught the Barnaby farts? "We've had success with Cambodia, we've had success with the United States" On refugees? His second pearler was worrying about our children and grandchildren paying more tax than the fruit pickers. 10.5% from every dollar, whereas our children pay tax only after reaching $18,200? More interesting is our brainless reporters, listening without questioning?


What is happening to our ABC, our once reliable source of truth? MD Michelle Guthrie as the "provider of an independent national broadcasting service", ours, with the appointments of Amanda Vanstone ("democracy is the vehicle but you have to drive it") and Tom Switzer, for balance? No major changes, no cuts, said MD Michelle? The ABC provided fair and balanced reporting before Michelle's arrival. By giving way to these types, whatever the subtle differences, they will not be satisfied. They will see it as a victory and will move on, to more interpretations on their fairness? If the arrogant one (Jon Faine) goes we're all stuffed. Replaced by 'Every morning with Macca'? As it stands 'The Drum' is clearly muffled and '7.30' is wavering. If you're going to be 'elitist' have the decency to earn it? Sadly 'Midsomer Murders' is 'beginning to look a lot like Christmas'. Maybe get the DVD of "Love Actually" out for a good cry. Two handkerchiefs. Better now? 


It's not fair! I know, neither is Joe Louis's backside. Improve their houses by all means but why take control of the whole neighbourhood? Acland Street St Kilda is now a Mall, as in yet another nail in my beautiful memories following in the footsteps of Westgarth, North Fitzroy and Collingwood. Invaded, conquered. re-badged in their image, apparently purchasing the right to change their community as if their own private garden? A veto over any development they perceive as conflicting with their self-interest. I went to school to year 8 in North Fitzroy, the Weeties factory (a nightime break-in for thousands of football cards - I still have 4), the Edinburgh Gardens for the mysterious 'Nature Study', the football teams. Smith Street Collingwood bursting with all types, historical beginnings for Coles, Foy and Gibsons, Treadways. St Kilda came later with the kidlets, Sundays, The Blue Danube and Angela, the Vineyard for steak with Trudi, and Boris. "You don't want this Cliff. I bring what you want". The army and navy club upstairs; cheap beer. A Mall? Bugger off. 


The question is: Can Immigration Minister Peter Dutton (descendants of Lebanese muslims) and by association the unquestioned support of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, lie straight in bed? [22 out of 180,000, so what?]. These racist leaders, our leaders, do more for the cause of ISIS than any misguided Australians travelling overseas to support ISIS. They incite fear, suspicion, xenophobia, hate and obviously racism itself. The only reason they can’t have the power of Germany’s gestapo is because we do not possess the once might of Germany. Additionally it lets the Rod Culleton's loose from the asylum. "When we see extremists behaviour it should be called out for what it is" said PM Malcolm. Indeed. And that includes you buddy boy. 


Do men like females? Are females our equals, or superiors? The Amazons of Greek mythology not only participated in fighting and controlled politics but exclusively made up both the population and the fighting force. Men were allowed in once a year -  to keep the numbers up; nookies? With our Queen, Governor-General and next Prime Minister (hopefully) all females, it can appear the previous order of things is undergoing change, for the better? I'm dreaming. Michaelia Cash is our Minister for women? 


Peerless Pauline may well be as bigoted and far right as ever but thankfully, having now caught the addiction bug (respect) we can hopefully expect the odd half sensible comment. Mind you telling us the 1950's Italians "just got on with it" was a massive simplification. Hindus ex India Peerless Pauline; are they ok? Will they get on with it? 


Trumped out? Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. Breathe in, count to three; out, count to three. From the diaphragm.


Comedy Central? A higher entry score for better teachers. Mum and Dad investors. A tax on soft drinks, to solve obesity. The Australian of the Year Award...A necessary travel addition when going to Bali; a white powder mix of acetaminophen [pain killer], two type of cough medicine, and caffeine?...“Young people are saying they are responding to plain packaging and avoiding smoking as a result” Post truth?...South Africa "arrogant and self righteous" according Murdoch's press. Aussie angels?....Hail the person who takes a low profile when celebrity status beckons. Not so Derryn, not so Rosie, et al...“The lust of avarice has so totally seized upon mankind, that their wealth seems rather to possess them, than they possess their wealth” [Pliny]...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com


Broken heartA Grain of Salt. 19th November, 2016.


Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's rant against the Fraser government connecting his 1970's immigration policies as partly to blame for Islamic radicalisation is quite a stretch. Trumpism personified, a form of truth based upon whatever suits, presented as facts, righteousness, and no hint of the famous three; Bush, Blair and Howard, surely the real architects of the motivation for Islamic radicalism. As if the past year of the presidential race wasn't enough? Sadly, we can expect much more of this deliberate double talk. Second generation migrants, even the Sudanese against Victorian Labor policies? Poor devils. All part of the anti-Labor fear tactics, now more so in the light of the rise of Donald. Shorten appears to be unnecessarily following this blame game (adding fuel to the fire) with his 457 visas. We've had three years of the blame Labor push and other than the proposed tax reductions for businesses and the threat of calling unions to account (ABCC union bust) a policy vacuum. The problem is the more they sprout this nonsense, as in Trumpism during those long electioneering months, resulting in his many millions of followers, the more our lot see it as the way to go; Pauline Hanson included. Life, for now, is far from "just a bowl of cherries". Rudy Vallee turning in his grave? 


As is their want they nip away at the edges. Radio national, (Michelle Guthrie - no redundancies at RN?), Catalyst, snide remarks from the right of politics, and the greatest hypocrites of all - the fabulous Herald-Sun, not to mention The Australian. "Left wing ideologues, lefty talkfests, relentless leftist agenda, leftist elites (?), Waleed Aly" et al. Categorised as anyone who disagrees? Malcolm called on the opposition to embrace consensus, pragmatism? Always the joker. Ever onwards.


Philosophically I was more of the "something will turn up" type rather than ambitious; a form of laziness? If you're keen on a quid I don't recommend it, but if money is not a dominant factor there's the advantage of never having to suffer the types one does not warm to. Job satisfaction is having freedom in the way you do your job. This has caused problems along the way; the public service, the racing industry, directors, even at times this blog. A small price to pay. You're own form of control, or part control, is preferable to being under control. The other ingredient, ever important, is challenge, within limits. This does not mean I don't suffer fools, indeed I have the odd fool as a friend, mostly due to politics. We all have the "fool" gene. People who read my rubbish will know I'm approaching 81, putting me squarely in the category loosely called "anything likely to turn up will be to my detriment, highlighting physical and/or mental, likely both. Waiting for Godot, depressed? No. Stating the obvious, the inevitable. Politically, Turnbull, Tony, Peter, Trump, Theresa May, Rita and Bolt are severe pains, with only Angela Merkel and John Key for common sense; maybe? Perhaps Tanya Plibersek as a saviour? I don't want to "shut the door" and compound the problem, besides, I have my two walls - this blog and Facebook. Not as a cry for help, simply saying even at 80 a need to adapt to a different forward plan for the remainder, discarding the "something will turn up" principle of 60 years in favour of "a day at a time", later perhaps to "a step at a time"? And I haven't even mentioned Collingwood, or our millionaire NSW cricketers. It could be worse. Imagine sitting through Wagner's Ring Cycle?


Artificial intelligence (AI) approaches, apparently. A love affair with a robot? In my case it's better than nothing. Watching Leigh Sales interview PM Malcolm last week highlighted AI, to me anyway. Going on about Labor not supporting the refugees "never ever" allowed into Australia nonsense, manufactured to rubbish Labor. Leigh tried unemployment, section 18c, dying with dignity stuff. Good stuff. Malcolm would begin an answer prior to drifting across to Labor's refugee policy, or (wait for it) the mirage of jobs and growth, and obviously innovation. A mention of Labor's lie on medicare, forgetting his own lie on negative gearing and capital gains tax (It will smash housing?). One would think Malcolm's words, almost always amounting to nothing, would eventually show him up for what he is, until one thinks of Brexit and Trump, where both lots of voters voted themselves into a lonely corner, punishment for not thinking past the loudest repeated message. The bottom line "expect nothing regret nothing"? 


Comparing the number of achievements of our past two Prime Ministers, who give voice to the wonders of Menzies and Howard, ever excluding Gough Whitlam, some things bear repeating. (From the blog of Bob Ellis): "And thirty-eight years later we are like John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin’s Jewish insurgents ranting against the despotic rule of Rome, defiantly demanding ‘and what did the Romans ever do for us anyway?’ Apart from Medibank and the Trade Practices Act, cutting tariff protections and no-fault divorce in the Family Law Act, the Australia Council, the Federal Court, the Order of Australia, federal legal aid, the Racial Discrimination Act, needs-based schools funding, the recognition of China, the abolition of conscription, the law reform commission, student financial assistance, the Heritage Commission, non-discriminatory immigration rules, community health clinics, Aboriginal land rights, paid maternity leave for public servants, lowering the minimum voting age to eighteen years and fair electoral boundaries and Senate representation for the territories. Apart from all of this, what did this Roman ever do for us?" Interesting.


Trent Cotchin and Sam Mitchell for Jobe Watson's 30 Brownlow votes; the quick and easy answer. It may be that Cotchin or Mitchell (equal on 26 votes) would have got more votes with Watson's votes out of the equation, disclosing a clear winner. A more honest option perhaps by taking Watson's votes out of all his games and upgrading the others. Scott Thompson and Dane Swan got 25, Gary Ablett 24?...Judge Judy to the Supreme Court of the USA?...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



SickA Grain of Salt. 12th November, 2016.


I've made a point of ignoring the American election the past year other than the occasional one line comment; in simple terms a pain in my backside. Donald Trump elected as President by millions of supporters in a chase for the return of the (long gone) American dream to make America great again; jobs, prosperity and much more importantly - pride. Brexit re-visited up to a point, on a much larger playing field. Pauline Hanson ("We want change") for PM? Tony Abbott ("a strong and sensible centre-right party") for PM? I thought Hillary would win. As I wrote earlier this year I see bugger all democratic principles, still in danger of a takeover by right wing capitalism laced with corruption. His acceptance speech a good one, with no evidence of the electioneering sexist, hate persona. Time will tell, particularly sorting out the riddle, in that by sending an anti-establishment message (the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor) they have given total control to the Republican Party? How Donald will manage to bring the country together after all the hate he unleashed remains to be seen, if at all. On the other hand Hillary was never the right choice; lacking inspiration and promises along the same lines as always; in other words too much baggage. She's a smart cookie, but as was Obama, tied down by Congress controlled by republicans. Not to worry. If needs must we go alone, rather than the well worn path of sucking up. And if not, as in bowing to Uncle Sammy, we have the likes of the smooth talking duo (Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey) to ensure we are in safe hands, not that I believe we were, in reality, in safe hands the past 20 years. A victory for the far right, a slap in the face for the left? Where do they come up with these interpretations? Maybe it's time to spread the wealth; superannuation concessions, negative gearing, capital gains, trusts, death taxes; rejecting greed over social responsibility, fairness? These remain keys in our efforts to reduce the difference between the rich and the poor, although it must be said we are a country mile ahead of America in our general wellbeing. On a long long election day [9/11] it was so relaxing to watch Tom Gleeson on The Hard Quiz; and tune out. Breathe deeply, from the diaphragm.


You would be forgiven for thinking all those silly people who voted out the great Paul Keating in 1996 are sorry for their obvious error. And yet, it's likely those same voters backed up their lack of a skerrick of insight by believing Malcolm Turnbull to be the new saviour. One would think they are mending their wounds by now, noticing the cutbacks to foreign aid, the severity of cutbacks to aged care, the simplistic fear tactics emanating from Mein Fuhrer Dutton and like generalobersts. No chance. Why do those Retain Australia types look so ugly on television? More to the point what type of Australia are they wanting? They talk the talk, amounting to what? The necessarily significant widening difference between the rich and the poor underlying their motivations, but that's as far as any further thinking is considered. The rich won't give an inch; in fact want more, always, despite Trump. The poor get poorer and many lose jobs. A form of revolution. Here in Australia we have a show about nothing. Same sex marriage plebiscite, Section 18c, Gillian Triggs and the ABCC union bust. A government with no ideas other than protecting their treasure troves, playing footsy with Tony's right wing bullies and biting away at all forms of welfare; vigorously protesting, improving, their golden castle.   


Federal Labor, in opposing the government's planned lifetime ban on refugees in offshore detention ever entering Australia dating back to July, 2013, was a vote for common sense, deliberately put forward by Peter Dutton as a "stirring" measure against Labor and Shorten. Nothing to do with good government. "A matter of national security" says Peter, tongue in cheek. Peter for PM when they show Malcolm the door? I'm for bringing those sad people on Nauru and Manus to Australia, but also for restricting the migration intake by air to a responsible manageable level. 


From The Age: Health related anxiety potentially increases your odds of a heart attack by about 70% according to a European study published in the British medical journal. A study of 7000 people; 6% of those needlessly stressed and who went on to develop ischemic heart disease within 10 years? Other comments included "extreme anxiety can cause a heart attack because the body is flooded with adrenalin which drives the heart rate up and can cause a blood clot in the artery." Bad luck for actors/performers? One can conclude the newspaper was filling up space. You worry when it's time to worry; when it becomes reality. The piece adds "in fact a larger risk than smoking and lack of exercises."? Also from Indigenous heath and wellbeing conference the highlighting of stress vulnerability; behavioural intervention, passed down through ancestors? Creative fears and how to overcome them gets a mention? OR...try Optifast - a journey to a heathy future? OK, so I'm slightly annoyed by our media shoving the Trump happenings in our faces day after day, but equally this unknown band of health researchers (probably psychologists) go on and on about obesity, sugar, sweets, beverages et al. The stats (?), the arrogance, self righteousness? Live your own life, trust your own instincts, resist worry until you open your front door (mobile in hand?) and see a monster on the other side of your steel wire door. Phone triple 0.   


One positive note: The Trump diarrhea caused the notorious Herald-Sun to take Premier Danny off the front pages after months of vicious attacks, conveniently ignoring all Danny's positives... Remembrance Day; young men and women who gave their lives in the pursuit of freedom. Lest We Forget...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



CoolA Grain of Salt. 6th November, 2016.


A change of pace this week, streams of consciousness. The Melbourne Cup four day long weekend signalled the beginning, the entree, the multicultural hordes returning to the seaside resort town of Rye (Wikipedia) until after Easter 2017. I've barred up all my windows. If a heatwave arrives I'll share with the huntsman to devour the mosquitos. Parliament, a show about nothing, to sit another 3 weeks before their well earned (?) Christmas break. My old mate Kevvy Rudd from the woodwork - "in Australian politics, the appeasement of political thugs like [Tony] Abbott, [Peter] Dutton, [Eric] Abetz, [Kevin] Andrews and, depending on which way the wind is blowing, [Scott] Morrison, emboldening the far right to demand more, not less". Waiting patiently for Billy Shorten to call them all for what they are. Which is exactly what the coalition want him to do. They suspect Billy 's mob want to bring them here. Billy knows it could be a stacked deck, with Pauline and two of her duffer's egging them on. So much for the new improved Senate voting system lauded by the government and the Greens. Billy also knows if something doesn't happen soon the people (us) will start blaming him. Last in close the bloody gate; a nation of immigrants (us), now into fear at a cost of freedom (?) greed and hopefully guilt. "They stopped the boats, they cleaned up Labor's mess", repeated 1000 times, backdated to Rudd to repeat evermore. A vindictive political stunt primarily designed to "call" Billy Shorten's mob and punish innocent people in the process, despite Samantha Maiden's nonsense. A law of extreme unprecedented nature to prevent boats coming to Australia. What moral compass?


Everybody wants to be proved right, and yet in the scheme of things it's of little if any consequence. In groups there's that feeling, easily recognised if you care to look and listen. An urgency of getting your opinion into the subject, no matter if no-one listens. The others await that minuscule break in sound, to slip in their own point of view. Last year the Melbourne Cup was won by a 100/1 shot, proving again almost all the experts wrong. No matter, back they spring, in Spring, expertise label unblemished. Our media carry thousands of dollars worth of advertising; the pleasures of gambling. Who pays for these thousands? My pet subject (financial advisers) remain experts ad infinitum despite the 2007-08 financial and other crises. The psychologists tell us why after endless research, on multiple behavioural subjects. Climate change was big under Julia Gillard (and previously Kevin Rudd, until he weakened out) and along came Lord Tony to pull the plug altogether. If Andrew Bolt is wrong (climate change?) few of us will be around to tell him he was wrong, assuming he was wrong, expertise maintained. No matter the levels, we chase away, to have our say, be it Gone with the Wind. Scarlet thinks about things tomorrow, ignoring the possibility of no tomorrow? Humphrey walked off into the sunset with Claude - "the beginning of a beautiful friendship". ­Senator James Paterson suggests we sell Blue Poles? We discover Christian Porter: "The welfare system was flawed because thousands of parents claiming government benefits are financially better off not getting a job.” Our Social Services Minister peddling fear? It's evil to lie in parliament but outside it's open slather? Another bright spark as a representative of our government (life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, told by an idiot, signifying nothing). Not the brightest bunny in the rabbit hole, and plenty of true blue mates?


Did I back the winner? Nah. Bloody horses. 60 years since my last winner but who's counting? Gambling, the search for reward without effort, or more likely the necessity to have a social need (occasionally) for friendly interaction. Begone, till next Spring. Now for the new yankee president rubbish, whoever. Rigged says Donald (Trump)? "It is not what is transmitted by the words but what is underneath them." [Stanislavsky]. Trump appears to have pulled out the "rigged" rabbit based on his standing after the debates. A lifetime with people who talked of rigging. Working with totalisator companies for 37 years the "rigging" was a constant from hundreds of losing gamblers; it never was. Likewise the many suggesting the AFL draw is rigged; again, nonsense. An army of followers who believe everything is rigged, and Donald knows, and uses it. The voting public was rigged by PM Malcolm. An ability to spring forth with sweeping statements amounting to vague generalisations, amounting to zilch. The FBI; America's own  KGB?


The twists and turns of life. As a 40 year married man it was a pleasure to have some free time. Darling went overseas three times before I agreed to join her. I encouraged darling to enjoy those double decker sightseeing monsters, visit cemeteries (Van Morrison's gravesite? The Eiffel Tower, take pictures? I get giddy! ), thus allowing me to enjoy my pleasures (coffee on the sidewalks; people watching) - both happy. Equally, when I chuffed off on a job for the odd week darling would play with her remote control; her free time. A good marriage; sometimes the importance of space. Darling went to God, thus now freewheeling in space, nothing remotely akin to the space of a marriage. No complaints, keeping busy amidst the nothingness of Melbourne Cup week, pondering. A silly race that stops a nation, or Victorians. The A listers mingling in the marques. Experts, gambling, the rich and famous, happiness, despite those unfortunate people on Manus and Nauru, despite our pathetic government, despite spineless opposition. My stars suggest a relationship will flourish. If you truly believe the stars you need help. Maybe we all need help?


Did I say a change of pace? I lied...Don't worry. If Donald wins we have Joe Hockey..."Play not for gain, but sport; who plays for more than he can lose with pleasure, stakes his heart, perhaps his wife's too." [George Herbert]...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



LoveA Grain of Salt. 30th October, 2016.


As Bill Lawry would say "it's all happening". Minister for Law George Brandis stays, on a probable lie, with PM's approval (supposedly?) to surround George with only those who agree with him. Gillian Triggs branded after one small error (retracted) after 5 hours of questioning (bullying) compliments of Liberal Senator far from honourable Ian Macdonald. Johnny Howard denies sending troops to Iraq based on a lie and blames President Barack Obama for ISIS with the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The rich get richer, the more they get the more they want and the main game as always is power, lies, bugger the cost, and the born to rule bugger the morality principle. "The government has to trust its own lawyer" says Treasurer Scotty, also known as 'shoot the messenger' aided by another bullying effort from West Australian Liberal Linda Reynolds courtesy of the constitutional affairs committee inquiry. They rubbish the ABC's 'Four Corners' yet they wont let anyone see the bloody island, unless you're a reporter from The Australian? Who can trust this authoritarian (?) vindictive government? Our darling PM's approval rating is at Tony Abbott's worst levels. It might be time for Malcolm to take the bull by the horns (any horns for that matter) and put the same sex marriage plebiscite to a free vote in parliament. A cat amongst the pigeons, or vultures. Luckily for Malcolm Billy's popularity is stuck in third gear. A different story if maybe Albanese or Plibersek were running Labor's show. Enough!


Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis will severely test the loyalty clause for Hawthorn supporters, depending on the 2017 results. Collingwood supporters were badly wounded when Nathan Buckley showed Didak and Jolly the door, almost fatally when they did the same with Heath Shaw, saved (by a whisker) by retaining Dane Swan. These type of players represent the spirit of the club for the supporters. I know - it's a business, but really, that business rides on the back of grass roots supporters. It's five years since Eddie's Buckley worship took over and we're still waiting for the results of Nathan's switch to "fine upstanding young men". And yet another clean out re our backline? As a Collingwood supporter it's looking like a disaster. Custer's Last Stand? Indubitably.


Port Adelaide chairman David Koch Koch “The AFL will become the first elite foreign competition to play a regular season game for points in China, beating the likes of the NBA, English Premier League, Major League Baseball and NFL”. Obviously there's a quid in it somewhere; otherwise trumped-up, fiction, invention, falsification, nonsense. 


The residents of Somers are up in arms about the decision to put in a concrete footpath. Beaumaris residents complain about losing trees. South Yarra residents scream for a new train station. Add in all those skyrail objectors, ditto a 4th boat ramp at Rye at a mere $588,000.  Bless them all, the long and the short and the tall, particularly their motives. 


From Andrew P Street: "There’s nothing funny about the national broadband network turning into a cripplingly expensive white elephant. There’s nothing funny about the national disability insurance scheme becoming a political football or the Gonski education reforms being gutted. There’s nothing funny about superannuation tax havens for the ultra-rich becoming more politically vital than ensuring home ownership is affordable for young and middle-aged working Australians. And there’s absolutely nothing remotely funny about offshore detention. Your government sanctions child abuse and sexual assaults, withholds medical and psychological treatment for detainees and fails to prevent torture, even murder, on their watch while insisting they’re worried about “saving lives at sea”. Turnbull’s first year-and-a-bit hasn’t even reached that low bar: 100-plus days since the election, and the closest we’ve come to progress is the dead-in-the-water plebiscite." 


Dreadful as the circumstances are, it becomes a fascination when the media highlights a toddler murder, emphasis on the parents or parent. One look on television outside of the perceived behavioural area (perceived as in empathetic - see  the Dreamworld response) can result in a super quick public judgement of guilt, without evidence to the contrary. Either way he or she or both are in trouble media wise because of that one look. Sometimes, well, many times in fact, human nature can be our worst enemy. Obviously people express grief in different ways but you'd never know it from watching television, no doubt enforced by TV dramas where even the detectives decide on the accepted response to grief.


Hidden treasures: Greg Hunt is our Member for Flinders, the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, which is surely a joke in itself. Yet another coloured brochure with a host of good things he's into. [We at Rye are excited about our  possible CCTV cameras]. Sporting package, solar boost, CFA volunteer support, schools, intersections, dole projects, grants, housing, complete with many happy pictures. With Greg's majority (Self-funded retirees, Herald-Sun aficionado's?) who can argue? Cost? Ningun problema. Damn. I was going to include Minister Michaelia Cash but I've run out of time.


No surprise: Community Council of Australia has shattered perceptions that Australia is a country of the “fair go”, finding it is less fair, less safe, and with a higher incarceration rate than comparable OECD nations...Safe Schools Program. Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships? Weird stuff, never ending; kids are not pawns...Council elections; the dark side of democracy...The Australian Building Construction Commission bill - gestapo land re-visited...Soon it will be December, and all those hundreds of empty houses from Dromana to Portsea will have their lawns cut...Scotty Morrison, an answer for everything, a solution for nothing...We love you Ned (Kelly)...November the 8th can't come fast enough (A lassie took me to a ball, and it was slippery in the hall, and I was feared that I would fall, for I had nae on my troosers)...Melbourne Cup; number 4, each way all day; last winner 1956; safer to ignore...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



Big GrinA Grain of Salt. 23rd October, 2016.


Cox Plate day yesterday, signalling the beginning of the invasion of the hordes ex Melbourne for reasons best known to them, and golf, despite the weather. Woolworths a parking minefield, arrows ignored in and out, and when they park they walk, in the middle of the bays, oblivious. They're on holiday! A friendly soft honk and they turn, shitty, though knowing full well their error, coached to perfection in the human art of blame. 


A need to prepare physically and mentally for the Summer multicultural onslaught of many thousands to downtown Rye. Why come to Rye? Stop at Capel Sound, or West Rosebud as some call it? I'll do exercises, try NOT to read the notorious Herald-Sun and steer clear of emails from The Guardian and Crikey. Perhaps I'll read a book or two, but that could be too much of a stretch. If the rapid fire adler shotgun is allowed I may buy one in preparation for any feral animal sightings? Rent a high-rise for Summer looking down on Woolworths carpark? I'll remain on Facebook; it reminds me I'm still alive. The search for a like soul continues and if successful has its rewards, albeit never to be found among Liberal supporters. I somehow let the Seniors Festival pass me by, followed by last week's Mental Health Week and Responsible Gambling Awareness Week? But viola, not to worry - it's Veterans' Health Week today until next Sunday with the push to connecting with a mate to help reduce the risk of social isolation. Being in a situation where all my former mates have gone to God I'm on the lookout for new blood. Some of my Facebook friends are from the world of performing arts which, according to Halliburton (1447) have a third eye. [“An artist has more than two eyes”]. What Mister Halliburton didn't say (I assume he's a man. Females didn't have a lot to say publicly back then) was that it does not relate to ALL artists. Either that or I'm a fraud. I have only two eyes, both deteriorating rapidly, but good enough to spot a golfer. Socially connected people live longer according to our clever cockies in government, a sense of belonging, the benefits of an active lifestyle. The strategies to help ease social anxiety include moderation; in coffee, chocolates and alcohol. Sound sleep recommended, exercises, meditation and, surprise surprise - no smoking. If that's not enough we have Social Inclusion Week 19 - 27th November. Yet another psychological feast? I can smell psychologists, malodorous.


I quite liked Malcolm's approach to the rapid fire action shotgun. He sat back, let them all froth at the mouth and came in with the 'no change' declaration, giving himself and former PM Johnny a big wrap in the process. Always healthy to come in strongly on something he knows the vast majority of the general public agree with. In fact Johnny Howard's best decision in all his painful years, psychologically at least. Sadly it came back to bite Malcolm. Lord Tony spots the win win value and dives in with gusto, discounting some vague agreement with troublemaker Senator David Leyonhjelm. Malcolm spots Tony's motivation (helped by emails proving the then Prime Minister's own department's involvement) and stamps his authority, thus, this time, biting Tony on the bum. A hurdle or a hiccup for Tony? Either way a win for Billy. Should they be allowed? Not in the cities, but farmers may have a case. They opine these gun laws have saved "hundreds" of lives. Hmm. 


Billy Boy's appointment of Kimberley Kitching as a new Senator to replace Stephen Conroy is suspicious to say the least, disregarding the holier than thou "more females" angle. [No rank and file voting in Victoria?]. Let's hope the Health Services Union (soon to rejoin the Labor Party after 5 years in the wilderness) has cleaned up its act. Kitching was a former general manager of the HSU and was the subject of alleged lying to the Fair Work Commission and branch stacking. True, it's wrong to assume, but one can't help smelling a rat, with Billy pulling the strings. Maybe (eventually) a loss for Billy? 


Nepean Ward: The compulsory council election is done and dusted. A sure case of nobody's nose knows. I made a point of asking "Who are you voting for?" to approximately 30 people. None of them knew who the candidates were?


The ACSS - 731,000 children are living below the poverty line, many of them children in single-parent families where that parent is unemployed. Add the one-month wait for the dole for under 25s. Just  saying.


What's with all those Nick Kyrgios critics in the notorious Herald-Sun 'Your Say' column? I suppose they deserve credit for being able to read and write but one wonders where they're coming from. It's a mood thing; talent notwithstanding. By the time you reach 35 you're almost a grown man. Enjoy your rest break Nick. Read up on those strategies to help ease social anxiety.


Bring the people on Nauru to Australia; all 1150 of them, settle them here with the many thousands in community detention, unable to work. True, this solution causes another problem, but first we solve this tragic problem and then attack the next problem. The Labor Party - a philosophical commitment to social justice? We too are a nation of immigrants.


The same sex marriage plebiscite has probably long gone for the term of this government. Blame on both sides. The Coalition for refusing to tell us how the question would be put and Labor for playing politics. Shorten should have pushed for it anyway. Better to get a result despite no legal binding on a parliamentary vote. 


Brown to St Kilda, Cloke to Footscray and Marsh walked out? Magpieland is a skeleton, loyalty long gone. Worry not. We still have Nathan Buckley...Family First Senator Bob Day apparently didn't put the families of his creditors first?...“Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad.” [Kissinger]...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



LoveA Grain of Salt. 16th October, 2016.


From "Cocksparrows" - my story 1936-1956 on planet earth. "At Northcote Baths, 1950, age 14. Graham and I had great fun drying off after our showers, when unknown other boys were there. We’d talk loudly of our female conquests and the anticipation of more conquests later that evening. All bullshit to wide-eyed listeners, and in retrospect not the brightest thing to do, but we thought it was hilarious, particularly as both of us had little if any female experience. In fact none.” No swear words, no f's or c's. Kids. Donald Trump obviously took it further in his later years. We were "trainee" dickheads. But we grew up. Maybe?


Why this constant domination of our media on the presidential campaign in the USA? He wont get in! People in the streets, talkback, everyday types seemingly ignoring the real issues in our day to day lives in favour of this strange man. And we thought our elections went on forever? The gay marriage question, the funding of private schools, the sickening treatment of our refugees on Manus. Trump goes on about woman and it becomes the subject of the day? The ABC's 'The Drum' and '7.30' lost in Trumpland, more important matters banished to the backline. Even "Eggheads"? The impact, if any, may or may not come about next month. Simon Birmingham, Peter Dutton, Scott Morrison - these dingbats have enormous impact, Westworld characters, turbo charged; every comment the fault of Labor. No investment in permanent classroom teaching for many schools, Dutton's Border police and those temporary restricted visas, Scotty's never ending search to take away pensioner entitlements, unaffordable housing, private debt at record levels, underemployment and ‘real’ unemployment as a daily experience of 16.2% of the potential workforce. A mad mad world. The plebiscite was always a power base situation from the church with sexual deviation the unmentioned influence. The question of spending so much of our time checking up on others and making decisions based on questionable information outside of our known knowledge. Surely a time to spend more of our time questioning ourselves. We look at our politicians, most of all who purport to be Christians (?) which immediately pops up a multitude of queries. [Ceasar: It happens by a common vice of nature that we trust more, and fear more violently, things to us unseen, hidden, and unknown]. And the Labor Party? They must surely account for allowing the disasters going back to the children overboard, the continuing crimes of humanity on Nauru as in indefinite incarceration, the asylum seekers here in our own detention centres and the ongoing ill treatment of aborigines. They talk of caring and sharing but the bottom line is they're scared to do the right thing because it may influence their popularity vote, thereby a party to people rotting in a kind of hell. How does this make them any different from the other mob? Shaun Carney in the Herald-Sun. "Come next month Trump will be gone but his tens of millions of supporters will remain along with their countries chilling incapacity for self diagnoses". Maybe so Shaun, but that same self diagnoses is ever present here in Australia; either that or you're head's stuck up your... 


An inquest into Philip Hughes? Lots of opposition to this from the 'move on' pointless  angle. Remember Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thompson, Harold Larwood's body line tactics? A dangerous game, and those same tactics were employed almost every time Hughes came to the crease. The intent was clear enough; seen as a weakness, another wicket, but always, a dangerous game. Amazingly it's never happened before, but I see it as a wake-up call. The family was apparently upset. Who can blame them?


I've never been in a situation where I truly felt entitled, nor have I experienced any personal situation where womens rights were less than equal. According to our newspapers, television and radio there appears to be a global culture of disrespect for women, consistently talking on the quality they deserve. I'm not suggesting they are wrong, merely commenting on a lifetime of seeing woman as equals; practically, in fact, running the show, my show if you like. True, in some industries women get less pay for equal jobs, a glaring fault, otherwise what? Does anyone out there disrespect men?


I love this one - from The New Daily: Associate Professor Stephen Shumack, a dermatologist at the University of Sydney Medical School: "People who spend their days sitting around – that is, anyone with a desk job or couch addiction – need only shower once a week.  Maybe three times if you’re feeling icky. The daily shower dries out the skin and hair, stripping away natural oils and potentially causing health problems. An ordinary bar of soap can pick up fungal infection and other infections and even grow mould that in its early stages is invisible. So, on balance, with most body parts a rinse with water is sufficient. (I haven't washed my back in 80 years). The main benefit of a hot shower or bath is psychological; gets the circulation going. We recommend a lukewarm shower. On a cold day that means a short shower." See? Another guilt gone.


A consistent theme in my favourite free morning newspaper ('Your Say' - Herald Sun) is the letters complaining of the leftist media. One assumes they are referring to the ABC and The Age. Against this we have Foxtel's Sky News, Fox News and CNN, almost everything coming out of Channel's 7, 9 and 10 and of course the Herald Sun itself? Why this necessity to write about it when the odds are so heavily stacked in their favour? 


Ministerial accountability to the backline; power, power and more power to Attorney-General George Brandis QC...Thanks to Bobby Dillon; 'Things have Changed' - [People are crazy and times are strange, I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range, I used to care, but things have changed]...I miss the football. Even though Collingwood had a miserable season at least I had something to be miserable about...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



CryingA Grain of Salt. 9th October, 2016.


No more football until next March; what a relief. Scotty Pendlebury again best for Collingwood but not included in the team of the year. Bias or ignorance; likely both.  Remember John Nettles as Tom Barnaby (Midsomer Murders) about 20 series back in time? Now Tom's an old man in the ABC's 'Poldark'. His line as an upper class gentleman, responding to the rabble "How dare they speak that way to their "betters" caused me to immediately think of our Attorney-General George Brandis. Tom nailed it. As for our A-G it's time he left the building. His private arts fund by way of snatching $104 million from the Arts Council (or, if you like, individual artists and small groups) and the Gillian Triggs attack was surely enough without this latest rubbish on his honesty stoush with the Solicitor-General. Who do you believe? If you're on George's side you need seeing to, soon. Then we have Minister Josh Frydenberg sorting out the South Australian shutdown with nothing said (again) about climate change. Imagine, a whole ruling party (the Coalition) refusing to believe in climate change? The horse has almost bolted people! The good news? After suffering through numerous vague episodes of 'The Code' unable to follow the on screen computer messages (eyesight) on our ABC, the final episode was a good one. Thank God Sigrid Thornton was outed. Just the one request: please, no more series, unless made in Melbourne.


Western Bulldogs (Footscray) want "back to back" premierships, followed no doubt by the 4 on end dream owned by Collingwood. What a surprise. So much for the other underdogs. This change of umpiring from the home and home rounds to the finals is a mystery to me. Suddenly the media give orchids to the 'let it flow' theory. If it's so good why not have it all season? And who decided this umpiring change? Suddenly 40 throws a match allowed, unless it sticks out like a sore thumb. As for "too high" or "around the neck" or simply "holding" forget it. Play on. A close game is a good game, no matter the indecipherable umpiring? A lottery. Free flowing football becomes a free throwing no rules rat pack.  


Good to see those Godfathers (the big four Banks) put under such intense pressure. I use the word "intense" loosely. Well done Malcolm. Four days of nonsense. We shed a tear for the terminally ill CBA insurance clients, knowing full well the so called "cultural problems" of the big 4 remain intact and unharmed. Were they embarrassed? No way. Not that Billy Boy's Royal Commission is anything other than political. In fact Billy's starting to remind me of Matthew Guy. Banks are banks, holding our money. Better they are profitable, for us, their shareholders and of course the overpaid executives. A Royal Commission is costly, takes years, creates a legal goldmine and solves nothing. What does Billy hope to achieve with a Royal Commission, other than political? It will not stop idiot investors anymore than a banking tribunal will. True, the idea would be to make the banks accountable, but exactly what does that mean Billy? Please explain? Realistically, there's no chance. Reduce credit card interest levels and no credit card fees, a cap on executive salaries, end of subject. Move on Billy. Or bank with the Bendigo.


On Malcolm it's about time he stopped worrying about Lord Warringah Tony and cohorts and switched his attention to Billy Boy. We can safely assume our Billy is only opposing the plebiscite for political reasons; not so long back he was for it. What changed his mind? Never mind the "Australian voters" nonsense. Billy's no leader anymore than Malcolm, so time to delve to Billy's core; up the stakes. There were no bad polls against Kevvy Rudd when he got the boot compliments of Billy and his mates. It was only after the event they provided us with reasons, doubtful reasons as it happened. Hail Julia Gillard. Ditto re-hail the return of Kevvy, this time with bad polls but again purely political with little if any thought of policies for 'we Australian voters'. It's true Malcolm is treading water, but for mine I'd hone in on Billy's record rather than just sitting there like little Lord Fauntleroy dodging Lord Warringah Tony's bullets, albeit courtesy of his lieutenants and Andrew Bolt. Inspiration, the key, and a Paul Keating, is sadly missing from both leaders. 


Just as well those nine fine upstanding young men (good school, good DNA?) got cleared after 4 nights in a Malaysian gaol. Imagine had they been fine upstanding Aussie moslems with Peerless Pauline on their colourful tails. No doubt Tony Abbot supporters with the 'budgie' connection. One newspaper reported some 6 of them had no idea of their destination, a mystery tour organised by the other three, not that I necessarily believe what our newspapers report. Still, just as well they packed their Malaysian togs? All nine come from Sydney-centric, so no surprise.


Donald Trump the rock star; long kisses and groping 11 years back, on video, as in sexually accosting unsuspecting women, misogyny etc, and like the plebiscite on gay marriage - the end?...School excursions are there for the kidlets; good value. My experience was a walk across the road to Edinburgh Gardens from Alfred Crescent State School for some mysterious subject called nature study. Sad stuff about the snake, but suing for negligence?...No point whingeing about Ford and Holden. If people don't want to buy their cars what can you expect? And Labor didn't exactly scream about it. Who amongst our betters (?) currently drives a Ford or a Holden, both brands high on the list for car thieves?...If Collingwood had won the GF this year would Nathan have given Swanny his medal?...A ban on gay men donating blood; why?...My fondest memory of the 1960's? - the typing pool...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com


LoveA Grain of Salt. 2nd October, 2016.


Last Friday was a public holiday. Weather perfect and out in their thousands from Dromana to Portsea, similar to our January crowds, multicultural, cappuccinos, cake, fish and chips, ice cream. To all those Herald-Sun readers who were strong on criticising Desperate Danny Andrews in the 'Your Say' column for this "unnecessary" holiday - where were you?


Thank goodness the Grand Final week has passed into history. Now (perhaps) those Western Bulldogs supporters can stop whinging. A week of bias, indeed a fortnight, all WB and nothing of GWS and Sydney. The bandwagon, on the back of an inspired team headed for their destiny. The Coodabeens Champions were painful. I started to watch the pre-match entertainment but after 5 minutes decided in favour of a pre-game quirky little film called "Get Shorty"; good stuff.  [I had 'Sting' on tape anyway]. Next year we all barrack for St Kilda, including those fair minded WB supporters? As always, it's all about revenge followed by the impeccable principle of life "the more they get the more they want". The WB have taken more than their fair share of "hits" the past 30 years so it's well deserved. The free kicks count helped at 20/8 their way after 22/13 against GWS, but no blame. For a Collingwood supporter these are dream statistics. The big loser was not Sydney, more GWS for mine. Congratulations Doggies. Enjoy.


A touch of comedy early in the week with our Mornington Peninsula hero, Federal Member for Flinders and Minister for Industry Innovation and Science, the sanctimonious Greg Hunt, coming down hard on Billy Boy Shorten (the plebiscite) with a string of harsh adjectives on, of all subjects, hypocrisy? This followed Tony Nutt’s furious denouncement (with tears) on the lies of the medicare campaign. A new set of rules here? Blast away and conveniently forget your past sins, amounting to a holier than thou cathedral of goodness. Next they'll be telling us they were barracking for the Western Bulldogs. 


The level of respect for older people here in Australia is an embarrassment. I can't imagine how an older single person without superannuation, renting, can live on $440 a week with an additional $65 a week as rental assistance? An older couple gets marginally more but with rent running at a minimum of around $250 a week (if you're lucky) they're looking at less than $40 a day to survive. Sad, disgraceful. Other concerns: Dental health, hospitals and a more humane approach from Centrelink. [From The Adequacy of Aged Pensions in Australia think tank: "The age pension fails to provide a decent standard of living for 1.5 million people who rely on it as their main source of income"]. 


Some days are clearly not diamonds; weeks even. Take last Tuesday. No Eggheads on the ABC replaced by Trump & Clinton? Followed by two of my other favourite shows "The Drum" and "7.30" still gas bagging on about what Donald and Hilary said. I suppose with our pollies either overseas or carrying on about the plebiscite, or red white and blue forever, it's one of those horror weeks. Then there's Education Minister Simon Birmingham popping in contradicting Shakespeare's contention "There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face" and his double (triple?) talk on Gonski funding. You can have all the funding rules on the face of this planet on schools funding, but the bottom line has always been parenting and the attitude of the child. Yes, a good teacher can inspire, motivate, but that's a lottery at any school. By and large teachers do a great job all schools, over-funded or otherwise, so as always pot luck is forever a key. To expect "better results" as a result of funding is pie in the sky. MY opinion only, apparently.


Remember this from 2014: Newlyweds across Australia to be given a $200 voucher for marriage counselling as part of a $20 million trial to strengthen relationships and avoid family breakdowns? “Having counselling before marriage helps us understand getting married will make changes to the fairytale love that is present at the beginning of a relationship. At the same time we can realise the love is still there regardless of changes; two people are committed to living together, and along with this come responsibilities of work, a mortgage, children, daily expenses. All may affect the mood of either partner at various times”. Is this still the go? If so, will this apply to same sex marriages?


It wasn't so long back when every time I turned the television on there was Marta Dusseldorp, Vince Colosimo, Shane Jacobson, Steven Currie and Locky Hume haunting us. Where are they now? It's not that I'm missing them, far from it, but they are all Melbourne actors, and anything's better than most of the Sydney tripe they send down to us.


Interesting to look back on Commissioner Dyson Heyden's Royal Kangaroo Commission into Unions and his nasty cracks at Julia Gillard’s evidence despite any evidence against her, and not a murmur on then Liberal hero, former Health Services Union leader Kathy Jackson’s evidence, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Perspective? 


It beggars belief our rattled Prime Minister (48-52) agrees to take desperate refugees from Costa Rica yet ignores the plight of those on Nauru and Manus Island. Followed by Barnaby Joyce, Josh Frydenberg and Malcolm hijacking the energy debate for their own political agendas. Malcolm didn't even bother to comfort the South Australians. And we thought it was just the Victorians he ignored? "Energy security has to be our fundamental priority" Sounds good, as  does his warning to Vladimir Putin. 'We will not be bullied by Russia. He should take responsibility and express his compassion". Saving lives at sea doesn't account for much when they are destroyed on land.


The world is full of ratbags, so it's nothing new. Add Wyatt Roy to the list...“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” “Tis folly to expect justice from the unjust”... hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com


CoolA Grain of Salt. 25th September, 2016.


School holidays and all is calm, no Western Bulldogs supporters in sight, in Rye at least; no doubt to come out of the woodwork if they win on Saturday. Probably the best holiday period of the year because most of the darlings (schoolies) seemingly disappear, replaced by the more genteel types. Our Prime Minister (and Lord Tony) trot their stuff overseas on how efficiently we manage our migration system, all the previous problems attributed to Labor, stretching their interpretation of truths to new levels with nary a mention (or thought) of Nauru or Manus Island? Johnny Howard (Gay marriage, Iraq, Afghanistan) getting a guernsey to present Bobby Menzies as a man of the people on the ABC, the father of modern Australia; poppycock. 


From next July, non-concessional contributions will be limited to $100,000 a year or $300,000 every three years. The right to contribute stops if your fund hits $1.6 million. Who can afford $100,000 a year as spare cash? Those who have less than the $1.6 million have until June 30th to get there before these harsh massive restrictions. Our man Scotty Morrison "Raising your children, paying off your home and providing for yourself in your retirement. A trifecta of Australian Dreams". That accounts for 30% Scotty (home ownership). What of the other 70%? As for superannuation in retirement; maybe some $500,000 would see you safe, assuming you're single. Congratulations to those on Newstart. Spend your increase ( from $263.80 to a whopping $264.35; some 30% below the poverty line) wisely. Talk of extending the waiting period from one to 4 weeks; surely not? We love you Scotty?


Watching the nightly news the past week I didn't realise GWS were playing. A world of red, white and blue. Satisfying to see Heath Shaw in top form, fully recovered from the worst mistake in Collingwood's history, or if you like Nathan Buckley's unbelievable decision to show him the door after one bad game. In football terms, as a Collingwood supporter, a tragedy. My advice to Nathan: Time heals all wounds. We forgive you for Alan Didak, but regarding Heath Shaw - only if you admit your error and apologise. Mind you, Heath earns more in a fortnight (as does Nathan) than I earn in a year so I won't shed a tear for his GWS loss, despite the suspicious free kick count of 22/13 in favour of the Hawthorn like Western Bulldogs. 


Where do your politics place yourself? Far left, left, far right, right or smack bang in the middle? One assumes Andrew Bolt and Rita Panahi are far right. I'd go so far as to say they put Pauline in the shade. For now. Indeed, God only knows where Perilous Pauline sits politically in the general sense. However, if Donald Trump, who chops and changes his Muslims policy and his latest suggestion to ban them entering the USA, becomes President, and we follow our usual "coat tails" approach to the USA, how will Pauline's views be seen then? Perilous Pauline promoted to Powerful Pauline? Never forgetting Nationals George Christensen (another Queenslander) is only a stones throw from Pauline's line of thinking, if at all.


The Essential Research poll result is a concern, assuming it's fair dinkum, which is questionable, (49% support on a ban on Muslim immigration) but unsurprising given the push from Trump, Pauline, the Murdoch media, opportunistic politicians and the normal percentages of people easily led the world over and fuelled by fear. The real problem is not so much the thinking of people on either side of the opinion poll, more a case of the small percentage of ratbags within either group (almost all of which are tuppence in the pound) who attack it with their far right/far left nonsense adding fuel to this fear. Sad stuff. The issue of Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek calling for action in placing the refugees in detention in another country is disappointing. It's almost 3 years to the next election. Surely time to plead for the refugees to be re-settled in Australia. Just as PM Malcolm should have taken the bull by the horns in the marriage plebiscite so should Labor here. Weak leaders ever working to popularity meters.


McCrae was once Dromana, Blairgowrie Sorrento East. With the change of West Rosebud to Capel Sound ("Driven by the desire to strengthen our community"?) I'm looking for a consortium to put together a case for a change of Rye to HOPE; there's a ring of truth to living in Hope. "Where do you live?" "I live in Hope". Clearly an improvement, and far far better than the connection with bread, albeit gluten free. There are 50 towns called Hope throughout the world in places like the USA (26) the UK, Jamaica and others, but none in Australia. We in Rye deserve to live in Hope, thereby offsetting the emotional stress of the arrival of those jet skis come December, not to mention lots of visitors with beards. Tim Costello wrote about the streets of Hope in 1991, but apparently he was on about St Kilda. A second choice, according to a small minded few, could be Oblivion.


Perhaps an immigration ban on all males (and females) with  beards?...Thank God for television; saved thousands of marriages, and extended the life span...Dear Danny Boy: I'm for extending skyrail from Frankston station to Peninsula Link to Jetty Road in downtown Rosebud; seriously...Libbi Gorr gone from mornings; 774; phew...Headline, Mornington Peninsula Leader "Booze ban at Cliff's". Not true. I have a "visitors" ban...Western Bulldog's Liam Picken was picked at number 86 in the draft. Who was the idiot at Collingwood who overlooked this son of our past hero Billy?...Here's cheers Derryn; it's your life mate...Are you still watching "The Code" on the ABC? You must be desperate...“You shall not make for yourself a carved image - you shall not bow down to them nor serve them” (Exodus 20:3-5)...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com



CoolA Grain of Salt. 19th September, 2016.


A VicHealth survey in 2012 found one in three Victorians had witnessed sexism in the past year and done nothing in nearly half the cases. Ahh, but there’s more. A major survey from Texas of 3000 couples found the children of straight couples were healthier, happier and richer than gay and lesbian couples. This one attracted two pages in the Herald-Sun. Of the 3000, 175 little darlings had lesbian couples and 73 had gay couples; plus 2,752 straight couples. There’s nothing quite as exciting as a good old fashion survey. What would we talk about if there were no surveys? Never mind the details like numbers, type of questions, just give us the results to favour our point, assuming there is a point other than to sell newspapers. There will be much more of this nonsense once the plebiscite is up and running; hogwash et al. Our government was elected to make decisions, which they do when it suits them. Remember the now respected Johnny Howard? No plebiscites with Johnny. Even Phillip Ruddock is now respected. Time heals all wounds. One wonders is Peter Dutton will be accorded this same respect come 2026?


Peta Credlin's assessment of Malcolm's first year as PM. "He stopped the country from being run by Bill Shorten". The question is - what has Malcolm done in his first year other than changes to the Senate and losing a few Liberal politicians and his domestic violence package? Jobs and growth? That's funny. Can Turnbull lead "the fundamental challenge of budget repair" or, as he's done so far, defend by way of more hot air? The GST was sunk, the taxes on the table lost its legs and climate change along with negative gearing bit the dust. There's no secret to Malcolm, there never was. A classic case of an assumption of wisdom due to private wealth. Our English friends did the same during the first world war with their officer appointments. It's like those western towns they build as a set for a movie; all front, nothing behind, propped up by stilts. I prefer the reality - "He saved us from Tony Abbott". Our Prime Minister performs well when he's overseas with the big boys, like now, waxing lyrical and looking confident, and definitely much happier. Respect is built in. Lord Tony started the current wave of all this brutal stuff the day he had to face Julia Gillard across the table, and he's still there, somewhere, as is our Madam Pauline Hanson, backed by two stranger than fiction Liberals in Michaelia (kisses) Cash and George Christensen. On the other hand nothing changes, just the faces. Judging by my very limited experience many of the first hated immigrants, way back in the 1950's (and eventually their offspring) can be equally as vocal against our current crop of new arrivals. Interestingly, though without a point, there are some half a million people of the Islam faith living in Australia; about the same number of Aborigines, and about the same number of Peerless Pauline voters. 


The speculative boom in mining and housing we have experienced has benefited only a tiny percentage of the population; the increased levels of tax avoidance has led to worsening income inequalities; the intense pressure on the public sector has led to a reduction of services; there's been a transfer of wealth to private-sector rent seekers; and the impoverishment of the bottom 20% of society has led to higher crime rates, lower health standards and self-medication. Think reality.


Collingwood's thrashing by Footscray ( VFL) clears the deck for a long rest at Magpieland prior to Nathan Buckley's (seemingly) final chance as senior coach. Sixth time lucky? Neil Balme gone, a new football manager, a couple of new assistant coaches, new players and bob's your uncle. Sadly the bottom line (Can Buckley coach?) remains. Anything to prove Eddie's choice of Buckley? As always, we live in hope. The good news? Hawthorn misses the 4 in a row (phew) and GWS (or the Western Bulldogs) in with a chance. They say football is all about what's up top, in the head. This being so it indicates the Western Bulldogs charging towards it's second grand final. Time will tell.


Some things bear repeating: Robert Burton on melancholy, in general terms “If men would govern their actions by discretion and providence they would not declare themselves fools as now they do. They swell in this life as if they were immortal. He that is now above, tomorrow is beneath, and not considering these matters fall into inconveniences and troubles, tumbling into lust, calamities and absurdities, rarely foreseeing dangers manifest. Some delight to destroy, one to build, another to spoil, one country to enrich another and himself. They are like children; no judgement or counsel, and resemble beasts saving that beasts are better, as being contented with nature.”


Eight suicides a day is a disaster; so very sad. Worry not; I'm fine - looking desperately for a week of sunshine, and a cut in the price of cigarettes...Peninsular Health’s Older Wiser Lifestyles says  "No one is saying don’t drink. Alcohol is a natural social lubricant, it improves the food experience. It’s a colourful spread in Australian society”...I remain a Nick Kyrgios fan...."Death on the Nile" Hercule Poirot (Moliere, or Peter Ustinov) 'The great ambition of woman is to inspire love'. That was before Peerless Pauline...Barack Obama "Every time a fool speaks they advertise their own ignorance"...Whatever happened to Schapelle Corby?...Hilary is not exactly the perfect choice either...What's wrong with political donations?...Two policies both sides always ignore: dental health and equality of opportunities in schools...Pogonophobia is the fear of beards, and Peter Dutton..."It is not what is transmitted by the words but what is underneath them" [Stanislavski] "Let us rise early, gently, without perturbation" [Thoreau]...hooroo...cliffie9@bigpond.com www.ello8.com