A Grain Of Salt 2019

Sunday. 29th December, 2019.😎

What's it all about Alfie, as in the positive thoughts that keep you going? Two thousand and bloody Twenty. OMG! Simply making it, once a forlorn hope? Refreshed, invigorated? Perhaps despair is a dirty word, or 'In for a penny'? More surviving but not necessarily thriving; about covers it. Whatever, count my blessings and move on. Aries 2020: "Aries 'Love to love' make great platonic friends. You will never be bored when you are with an Aries person. Think before you speak. Acting impulsively will only get you in trouble this year. On career: A time to spend more time on your more artistic hobbies. January: Your way is the highway! Do whatever you want and bulldoze your opposition without fear. Single persons are looking for ideal partners till the 14th due to the influence of Mars. After that, it is romance all the way!" Ours is not to reason why? Or nonsense? Indubitably, but no more so than a host of other superstitions we live and breathe with on a daily basis. Factually - the need, personally, to re-invest - in passion. [Research shows that a person's happiness from day to day has remarkably little to do with their material circumstances. Certainly money can make a difference – but only when it lifts us out of poverty. After that, more money changes little or nothing. Certainly a lottery winner is lifted by his/her luck, but after about 18 months his/her average everyday happiness reverts to its old level. Suits me. 18 months is about what I'm good for?] 2020, the re-discovery of fascism, featuring nationalism, 'with us or against us', security upgrades, religion, the forgotten spineless arts and, as always, corruption? Time will tell. On guard! But first, the politics...



Change.org petition, "Asserting the federal government has exhibited a ‘disregard’ for the rules governing the conduct of its own ministers, as well as ignored their corrupt behaviour. Also raises questions about the government’s failure to deal with climate change, and says the Liberal National Party has contributed to a range of issues affecting the nation, including: Robodebt and resulting damage, depression and suicides, Aged people on unrealistic waiting lists for Home Care services, Failing to properly deal with devastating bushfires, Continuing deaths in custody, Continuing mistreatment of asylum seekers, including sexual assaults and suicides. Also lists as grievances a number of ‘questionable decisions’, including the repeal of medevac laws, the axing of federal arts funding and Australia’s pitiful score in the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index and Economic indexes, announced at the same time as the country dries up, the flames get bigger, and the air more difficult to breathe." True, (see below-Warning). Another 2.5 years until the next election, but noted. Add in firefighting services cuts at $78 million, voted against the banking royal commission umpteen times, tax cuts to big business and we get the picture, for now. Big year coming up?



Warning: The government was warned by the Department of Home Affairs after the May election Australia faced more frequent and severe heatwaves and bushfires, and livelihoods would be affected without effective action on climate change. The department’s incoming government brief to the home affairs minister (we all know who he is), warned of “disasters” exacerbated by climate change. “The physical effects of climate change, population growth, and urbanisation mean that without effective action more Australians’ livelihoods will be impacted by disasters into the future and the cost of those disasters will continue to grow. Coordinated national action to drive efforts to reduce these risks and improve national resilience is required.” The brief, obtained under freedom of information, said disasters were only going to get worse.  


Last "doom and gloom" piece for 2019, from Martin McKenzie-Murray, The Saturday Paper: “How good’s Australia? Pretty bloody good, unless it’s burning or parched or you’re in aged care. Or if you’re Indigenous, or a child in offshore detention, or a journalist investigating war crimes. Or if you’re casually employed, wanting to buy your first home, or trying to police child exploitation and being thwarted by a serially negligent bank. Pretty bloody good, unless you’re contemplating our faith in political leadership". “Satisfaction with democracy is at its lowest level since the constitutional crisis of the 1970s.” The Australian National University’s election study declared this month. “Trust in government has reached its lowest level on record, with just 25 per cent believing people in government can be trusted.” [And not a mention of Rupert Murdoch?] So it goes. One thinks of the principles of our present Prime Minister and at the same time compares it with the recently departed former Victorian Premier John Cain; the sadness of an insurmountable difference.


“Reason and prudence, not a place with a commanding view of the

great ocean, banish care.”—Horace.


Being a  chum is fun,

That is  why I`m one,

Always  smiling, always gay,

Chummy  at work and chummy at play,

Laugh  away your worries,

Don`t  be sad or glum,

And  everyone will know that you`re a Chum,  chum, chum.



Foxtel's channel 103 (Sky News) is bad enough, but (Hillsong) 183? What the f##k???...Psychoanalysis: Lots of talking about something, rather than doing something?...Kylie Minogue and Adam Hills in a television promotional "Come visit Australia". It's so fantastic, why don't they live here?...Calvin Klein [Men] $32 for idiots; Sorbolene [Woolworths] for common sense..Australia per capita is the highest user of cannabis in the world...Greg Hunt, the finest representative of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia...ABC's The Drum will be chaired for the Summer season by the opinionated professional know-all and general pain in the backside, Sydney's Adam Spencer. I will not be watching...How can you be an informant if no-one knew?...One wonders what boxer Jeff Horn is trying to prove?...Who to vote for come 2022? The last Sydney man I voted for as PM was Paul Keating; he had an Arts Policy...Bob Hawke, and now John Cain, a Northcote man. Honest gentleman. The best former Premier of Victoria. Always paid for his theatre tickets...Not long now. 22nd March, George Orwell Day. Eighty-four...Thucydides on our Prime Minister? "When I have thrown him in wrestling, he persuades those who saw it happen that he did not fall, and he wins the prize."....My new year resolution? To be here  this time next year, heath-wise, the same as I'm feeling right now...Happy New Year...Hooroo...ello8





SALT.  Sunday. 22nd December, 2019.

Around the traps, cafes, coffees, RSL's. I simply do not buy it. Scott Morrison and horoscopes, hand in hand. Reality is what feeds me. And then Hawaii. This man has been playing us since the day he took over as leader of the Liberal Party. The good bloke persona, one of us, the  cap, sporting events. He needed his holiday? He closed down parliament and when they were sitting it was all about stifling debate, off overseas to walk tall with the big blokes. He's not 'one of us' he's our Prime Minister. Obviously (at long last) the majority now realise the imminent disaster/reality on climate change, the key word being frequency. The old "better late than never" grates, but it's all we have. Even worse, we must suffer a Prime Minister wrapped up in a form of God worship rather than coming up with a set of policies to inspire we sheep. Former Hawthorn coach John Kennedy's words come to mind. "Don't think. Do!" That is, obviously, the burning (no pun intended) question. What do we do to combat what's staring us in the face, not to mention a PM who secretly choofs off at the coal-face sprouting bubbles and not telling our deputy PM? I have no answer to climate change, that's their job. Our leaders, our scientists. The only certainty as it stands is knowing doing nothing is not the answer. Nor, for that matter, is having Scott Morrison as our leader for another 2 years, but needs must. Should he have gone to Hawaii? Definitely, positively - NO! As PM it was his job to stay put, show the flag, remembering his crack at Christine Nixon for going out to dinner. A cunning 3AW/Sky News apology, ever along the 'good bloke' line. Nonsense. He took the job. He wanted the job. Yes, I'm hearing the sheep. "He's entitled to his holiday, Why not have a family break? He couldn't have stopped the fires anyway." Slogans (I can't hold a hose?) and shonky statistics, and the coffee and cake munchers buy it. "It's not the right time?" Either he wants to lead or he doesn't. And what exactly has he done? $65 billion company tax cuts, $135 billion tax benefit for the rich, $50 million for some Captain Cook propaganda, $185 million for a Christmas Island fiasco, useless home loans at 5% deposit for the unwary, a religious discrimination bill, Medevac, the Tamil family, refugees Nauru, disappearing Arts policy, the ABC cuts, and so on and so forth. Eyes wide shut? Think about it, please...ello8.      




SALT Supplement: Sunday. 15th December, 2019.🙂

The OBE Award, translated, 'Over bloody eighty'. Ever closing, to oblivion. Is this why I write? To be a contributor, faint at best but better than a kick up my bum? We are waiting, but as yet no idea exactly what we are waiting for. Democracy, as we once knew it, gone, vamoosed, replaced by insecurity, concern. One can’t help wondering what the expectations are for Liberal voters? And today’s youth? Seemingly not interested. Dividend imputations, what are they? Is there an App for it? Rome burns and we leave it to the fire men fire ladies? What happened to university student protests? A need for a moral influence to act? A need, urgent, for courage and conviction on climate change. Morrison at 52-48 against Albanese suggesting people are locked into a fear of extra taxation under Labor. Not true, but irrelevant once locked in. We're all caught in a 3 year dust storm, masks on. 



Part of the editorial The Saturday Paper 14/12: "It is hard to know a way through this. The government is patently ill-prepared for the calamity it faces. There is an emergency and it is being treated as a game. The electorate is too divided and nothing is being done to mend it. The sly maths of a majority is all the prime minister cares about – the opposition, too. After the Great Fire, Nero built his palace in the ruins. Scott Morrison doesn’t have that kind of imagination. He doesn’t know what’s next and his inability to conceive of it stops him from confronting what is happening now. This is the great, great failure of our time, and it will ruin the earth." Agreed.



As previously stated (and worsening) a walk, best described as a shuffle, poor eyesight and the ever increasing sadness on sighting a rather gorgeous female. Not to worry. The alternative was to miss out on the rare possibility of a Collingwood premiership. Thankfully we have Google, the iPhone, recording and fast forwarding on foxtel and this computer. My brain appears to be reasonably normal, the bigger nuisance of remembering words. I know what they mean, just cannot remember what they are. Eric Idle. "Always look on the bight side" etc. Then again - 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. Better late than never?



In October, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, US Attorney-General William Barr, acting US Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and British Home Secretary Priti Patel wrote to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, warning the company’s plans would hamper investigations if there was no avenue for law enforcement agencies to gain access to user data. End to end encryption - WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger. End-to-end encryption is the method of encoding communications so they are accessible only to the sender and recipient. In a letter responding to the officials, Facebook defended user privacy as the ‘‘core principle’’ of encryption and said no one else could intercept the messages, including the company. So far so good. Wishing Facebook well.



Our PM Scotty; moving the goalposts on pensioners: Tried to cut pension indexation, cut $1 billion from pensioner concessions, axed the $900 seniors supplement to self-funded retirees receiving the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, tried to reset deeming rates thresholds, in 2015 did a deal with the Greens to cut the pension to around 370,000 pensioners by as much as $12,000 a year by changing the pension assets test, as Treasurer tried to cut the pension to around 190,000 pensioners as part of a plan to limit overseas travel for pensioners to six weeks, also tried to cut the pension for over 1.5 million Australians, by scrapping the energy supplement for new pensioners, also spent five years trying to increase the pension age to 70, continues to gouge pensioners by charging high-interest rates through the pension loan scheme. 


Philistinism and authoritarianism. Scott Morrison's cuts (18 down to 14 public service departments) has been going on since Adam was a boy. All walks of life. One builds one's castle,  yes men all around, (in this case ministerial staffers) bye bye the naysayers, opinions ex public servants. 


Senator Marise Payne vowed the government would continue to stand up for the rights of all Australians, including ‘‘due process and access to lawyers for our citizens detained abroad’’?...Greens boss Richard Di Natali's idea of working with Labor on climate change policy can be read as 'my way or the highway'...Ridiculous; Carlton disciplined brothers Jack and Ben Silvagni for drinking at a music concert on the weekend of November 23-24...More ridiculous; Boris Johnson wins. We lay a wreath for the English voters...A Religious Discrimination Bill? And here's me thinking masturbation was a wank?....We don’t go online anymore. We jump online?...Be careful you don’t do it their way but you put in your way of working, meaning a great deal of discipline. Fight it your whole life. Remember, you can’t give anybody anything that is not already in them. All you can do is awaken it....Hooroo...ello8



Sunday. 8th December. 2019, The Wash Up.🙂😥😎

Saturday 18th May, 2019. Election Day: Fortunately Collingwood defeated St Kilda thus providing a back-up in the event of the previously unthinkable disaster, in plain language putting up with "the mouth" of Scotty Morrison for another three years. What can't be cured must be endured, or Labor's too much too soon? Coming to terms with the result, indicating thousands upon thousands of everyday Australians voted in favour of a man who has the interests of the rich becoming richer? Depressing, but sadly no surprise. A victory for Scott Morrison on a platform of doing bugger all coupled with the weeks of personal attacks on the so called evils of voting for Bill Shorten, the passing of Bob Hawke only emphasising  the difference. One Nation, Palmer’s United Australia Party, Queensland dickheads. We await the future of "our" ABC, the refugees on Manus and Nauru and obviously climate change. Like a game of table tennis, forget the point you just lost, focus on winning the next, albeit the 3 year wait. That's what I tell myself anyway, despite a lack of conviction. Breathe deeply, from the diaphragm. 



Highlights? "Alleged unauthorised disclosure of national security?" Australian Federal Police officers raided the home of a News Corp journalist, Annika Smethurst, (authority to access her home, computer and mobile phone) in what the media company has called a ‘‘dangerous act of intimidation’’ after she reported on a secret government proposal to give Australia’s cyber spies unprecedented powers. The actions are in connection to a story published in April last year revealing internal government discussions about introducing new powers for electronic intelligence agency the Australian Signals Directorate. News Corp’s report included details from a secret internal document proposing new abilities to ‘‘proactively disrupt and covertly remove’’ onshore threats by ‘‘hacking into critical infrastructure’’. Undermining Australia’s national security? More accurately allowing the ASD to target Australians, as opposed to enemies on foreign soil. Under the banner of national security; in plain lingo, upping the fear game. Not enough? Add in the ABC and David McBride facing lengthy jail time for providing documents to the public broadcaster on the conduct of special forces in Afghanistan, which prompted the Wednesday (5th June) raids. Our PM (and Home Affairs minister) tell us they were unaware of the raids. Fair enough. Next question: What action are they going to take to ensure the Australian Signals Directorate are taken to task, and ensure no more repeats? Sorry. I was dreaming.



Democracy my backside! Double Dutch via Jacqui Lambie? So much for keeping them honest, not that I expected anything less. Jacqui appears to be basically honest, but in laymen's terms, a shade 'wet'. A “humbled” Ms Lambie, on her 2019 re-entry as a Senator, said her first priority was to ensure the government did not “try to slip something dodgy” through the federal parliament when it sits in July. Jacqui also warned the Morrison government must treat her "a hell of a lot better" this time around. "You know what" said Jacqui "Drop the attitude." Jacqui confirmed her vote with the government to pass that $158bn tax cut package, handing the Coalition a significant victory in the first week of the new parliament. “I’m just saying that if you ask me to choose between helping someone and helping nobody then I know what I’m going to choose every single time, just as sure as day follows night.” Followed by her secret deal Medevac vote, a significant precedent. Obviously Mathias ("No secret deal") and Peter and Scotty in cahoots. Not the nicest company for the lady who came back with all her ("As simple as that") hollering? [PS: Jacqui: “Everyone who refers to national security to keep something secret is a lying, cynical bum.” Jacqui said she worked very hard with the government to get “an outcome I believe we both want”, which is to keep the borders secure, to have the boats stopped and to prevent sick people from dying while waiting for treatment, and was satisfied, as a result of that hard work, the conditions now existed for her to allow medevac to be repealed.] The real secret is obvious as I see it - this government hates losing. As for us, the general public, we have a choice - mind our manners or eat crow. And the 30 day limit for Freedom of Information requests, forget it. Arrogance personified, unaccountable, authoritarian, bubble and squeak. Expect a 2020 attack on Anthony Albanese (an 'angry man' theme?) replacing Bill Shorten. And so it goes... 



Morrison axes Communication and Arts. Interesting. I'd never heard of it. What have they ever achieved anyway, the past 6 years? Creativity, imagination, culture? The axing of the Department of the Arts. Stripped. Merged to infinity, buried; the Canberra bureaucracy? Population growth, minus arts representation, schools, regional arts, theatre company tours, education, the richer collection of life's experiences? Realistically Morrison's lot were never interested in 'the arts'; mostly left wing voters anyway. An anti-intellectual cultural cringe. They say it will not make a difference. Yeah, and I'm Snowy on the Trams. Not to worry; give $345,000 to Scott Cam to encourage future tradies? Clear indications our present government is shaping up as the worst government in all my years of following politics. Take to the streets? Hopefully, or even now, too late. 2020 will tell the tale. Scott Morrison, in a back door way of telling the public service to shut up, And do what I tell you to do. "Having fewer departments will allow us to bust bureaucratic congestion, improve decision-making and ultimately deliver better services for the Australian people. The new structure will drive greater collaboration on important policy challenges. The best message I have to Australians is Merry Christmas and 2020 is going to be a great year.’’ Time  will tell. Shudder?......Scott Morrison's call on Chinese authorities, ‘‘very concerned’’ about the conditions Yang Hengjun was facing after it was revealed the pro-democracy blogger was being subjected to daily interrogations and held in isolation, triggering fears for his health. And Julian Assange?....Talk of a republic in Australia? Already with corrupt banks, chronic underpayment of employees by big corporations and small businesses and we neglect our First Nation people shamefully. We build expensive and probably useless submarines but we have many people who are homeless. We virtually starve those on Newstart and extort nonexistent debt repayment from the poor. We treat asylum seekers with endless cruelty and pretend they endanger our borders. How would a republic fix these evils, with our Prime Minister running the show?....Morrison: "I expect the ABC board to do better, and if they don't, they can expect a bit more attention from me." ABC funding cuts is the real reason for the  restricted olympic games coverage, not the ABC...Is aid important to Australia's Pacific influence? Yes...For the record the United States has some 800 military bases in 80 countries...Merry Christmas, particularly to all those public servants sacked by our Prime Minister....Smile, we're all on candid camera...Hooroo, until 2020/...ello8




A Grain of Salt. Sunday. 1st December, 2019.

The year ahead: As our increasingly authoritarian Prime Minister (Billy Graham reborn?) sees it, the big two are the medevac bill and the union busting ensuring integrity bill, (thankfully given the thumbs down by Princess Pauline and professional do-gooder Jacqui "As simple as that" Lambie) and both minor items seemingly more important than climate change and a national anti-corruption watchdog? Suspect our Jacqui will vote for medevac if Peter Dutton agrees to the New Zealand offer, but only 150, what of the remaining 334 on Manus and Nauru? A far more important option would be to oppose robo-debt, or increase Newstart, or bring the Tamel family back from Christmas Island. Even the obvious; Kevvy Rudd and Pamela Anderson's bring Julian Assange home. The Morrison crowd hate to lose as we all know, meaning (eventually) another try at the Union bill, ditto medevac (if it fails again). Even so, Morrison continues to laugh at us, telephoning the police commissioner (the Angus Taylor leak), our father, complete with his baseball cap, arrogance, a do-nothing government, a non governing government, friend of all important sportsmen and (supposedly?) women, indeed, our 'coal man' leader, speaking down to us. Question time in parliament is a joke. Watch him. During the bushfires he was there, caring, understanding, praying, for their pain, and strangely ignoring the connection between what was happening and the climate effect; "not the right time" said our father, our Scotty, adding "unconnected" as a straight out lie. The sadness of all those farmers, Sunday mornings with Macca, ABC 774, rusted on, believing. Scotty's offering? “Going to be a great summer of cricket, and for our firefighters and fire-impacted communities, I’m sure our boys will give them something to cheer for.” How embarrassing. [PS: Before medevac was enacted, 12 people died in Australia’s care in offshore processing. Since medevac, there have been no deaths.] 



The intoxication of power [George Orwell on totalitarianism]. To know a thing and not express it, is all one, as if he knew it not. Better to do with no end than nothing. Sounds Greek, but reason enough for this column. I write on 'no end', mainly, controlled by males for power under the guise of for all, of us. In the main the males lie. Equality for women? Never. They sprout it, but they lie. We all remember Julia Gillard. Then there's the Christians, thousands of followers, millions, one our Prime Minister, but find one who lives like Christ; cultural mystifications? Better still, find one who can describe who is the Holy Ghost? The various bibles have the males in charge, long ago written by men, maintaining their power. Lots of candles. Envy, lust, ambition, hatred, prejudices, racism and malice. When is enough enough? How do they treat women in Egypt? How do the candle worshippers, the catholics, profess to care for the poor, yet possess enormous wealth, in gold and properties, the world over? The British (and the Americans for that matter) knew of Hitler and the jews in 1942; said nothing? What difference between a jew and a gentile; nought. Hypocrisy is a way of life, in all walks of life, equally evident among us sheep, most happily on our merry go rounds. When you're 25 you think you know the lot, and you know nothing. When you're 55 you think you're 25 and you're not, the same when you're 75 (55?). Alas, come 78 and thereafter, slowly. the truth shines through, too late. The message is clear but no-one's listening. Be nice to waitresses, welcome to la la land. Ever downwards?



December already, Summer. For those silly enough to have a pool on the Mornington Peninsula, check your pool gates. Time flies when you're having fun? Looking forward to my one day of the year 'outing' December 25th. Shower, shave, shampoo, re-locate my good shirt, shoes. A bottle of wine, two stubbies and a 90 minute meet with kids, grandkids, rellies. If the weather (and company) are up to scratch I'll extend my stay to 120 minutes, but unlikely. A happy Christmas (in advance) to all, including (most) Canberra blood suckers. "I love to see this day well kept by rich and poor; it is a great thing to have one day of the year, at least, when you are sure of being welcome wherever you go, and of having, as it were, the world all thrown open to you." [Ibid]. Well, up to a point at least. 



Women, the alternative view? The Woolworths risk issue, schoolies and into January. Shop early or be prepared to dodge when they come at you? And come they do. Why should I be the one to dodge? I'm almost 80 bloody 4! Stiff cheese. Females of course, either on their eau de cologne or eyes fixed on the shelves, mostly unaware of my presence. There's no escape. Either dodge or get hit. Rude, very rude. Selfish, self absorbed. Brutal stuff.  



After watching Einstein and Hawking (SBS) there's the possibility, assuming I can get a spacecraft at the speed of (say) 60% of the speed of light, and choof off for a month, obviously steering well clear of the black hole, and return to find my kids are now at least 20  years older, we can have a get together on equal (age) footing. at the Rye RSL, assuming the RSL is still there? Not sure what I'd be eating for a month in my spaceship. Vegemite?  



A day at a time? Monday I slept for 8 hours; normally between 5 and tops 6. Radio on, a female, the dangers of sleep deprivation. 8 hours is perfect? My legs were heavy, not good. Reminder note for the day, chop up the vegetables, a week's supply. Not now, triple lethargic. A slow shuffling walk around the block. Too many female schoolies with very long bare legs, disconcerting; the male schoolies next door still in their cots. Read the newspaper, a sandwich for lunch, still no vegetables. Bugger the vegetables, maybe tomorrow? Maybe I slept on the right lobe? The lady mentioned the lobes theory, the left the one to take your troubles away? Bugger bugger. Eventually forced myself to take the vegetables out of the fridge, onto the kitchen bench. Interrupted, the telephone, Nicole from National broadband. Nicole rings twice a day, weekdays, apparently not affected by the 'do not call' register. I hang up on Nicole, as always. Is she real? 1pm. Maybe a nap, vegetables later. Triple bugger. The male schoolies are awake. Boom boom music while they discuss last night's activities, conquests? Despite (or because of?) the lady on the radio, I lay there on my bed, head flat on the pillow, neither lobe, dozing, 60 minutes, get up. The legs are better, almost, the vegetables done, in a flash, all back to normal. Earlobes? Strange indeed.  



People (generally) like to see you take your appropriate place in life, in the stream of everyday living. Stream? They (the people) mostly determine your said place, so if (in particular) you appear to be placing yourself at a higher level, resentment rears its ugly head. I have years of experience at this. Two of my best mates (both later played for Fitzroy in the VFL) were leaders in sporting prowess. We're talking early 1950's, different groups, hanging around milk bars, hamburger shops, girls, town hall dances, beer, youthful boredom. Our group was the leading group, compliments of sporting worship. As it happened I (a sporting duffer) had as much to say, probably more, than the sporting heroes. How dare I? Challenged every so often, the threat of a fist fight, once or twice, every year.  Fortunately my real skill, unrecognised back then, was talking. No problem.   



Hmmn: Kerry O’Brien threatened to upstage the actual winners at the Walkley Awards last Thursday night, with a blistering speech warning of creeping authoritarianism in Australia, including the recent raids on journalists at the ABC and News Corp, saying the “spirit of freedom of information laws, if not the letter, is being abused”, and reminded his industry peers that Julian Assange was “mouldering in a British prison”. With Kerry, a main man.



Is Craig McLachlan guilty of inappropriate conduct; probably, in terms of the modern meaning of this nonsense. Likely a peacock who gets ahead of himself. Hope he gets off...Final episode of SBS "Years and Years" next Wednesday, thankfully. Spooky stuff..."ESPN's AFL draft expert ran his eye over every club's draft haul and graded their performance with some club's setting themselves up well for the future, while other clubs missed the mark. Honestly, who gives a monkey's?...The excitement is building? The $50 billion submarine program has now been upgraded to the $80 billion submarine program, to begin, in 2024?...Yes, everybody loves Virginia Trioli, well 774 viewers anyway. Virginia appears to be constantly in a hurry and consistently chips in on her guests. Annoying...Sami McMillan to take over the morning slot, alone. Can't be worse?...Julie Bishop is long gone, leaving us with the effects of her harsh cuts to foreign aid...Peter Hatcher, The Age international editor, is surely Morrison's secret weapon...We can be certain the government's proposed union bashing legislation was never to include the cricketers union, the AFL players union or the police union....A survey of 25000 young Australians listed mental health and the environment as their two main concerns. Did this include the schoolies?...Words. They pop in out of nowhere. Once rarely heard, now on everyone's lips; visceral?...I require a psychological build up to withstand the 30,000 multicultural visitors to Rye throughout January, not to mention recovering from next door's schoolies, with still a week before they evacuate. Taking a break from writing. Back refreshed (assuming reasonable health) Sunday January 5th. "The first step to knowledge is to know that we are ignorant" [Cecil]..."The big adventure is to live" [Clive James]...Hooroo...ello8





A Grain of Salt. Sunday. 24th November, 2019.

Royalists? The Duke of York, now known as Handy Andy, claimed on that Saturday night he could not have had sex with a teenage girl in the London home of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell because he was at home, which is good enough for me. Andy copped a roasting, under age ladies by association. Haven't the Royals always been there done that, over centuries? The Greek bloke, Princess Margaret, Phil? But it's Sunday, which means I write this blog, and right now I can't think of anything worth writing about. Stress? Social commentator Hugh Mackay says (and who doesn't agree with this) the best way to relieve stress is to stop trying to change people. Look about, listen, pick out those who forever want to change you. Easily identifiable? I could go to my vault? Nah. Go for China, see what can be dug out. Currently the big issue... 



Paul Keating: “The reason that we have ministries and cabinets is that a greater and collective wisdom can be brought to bear on complex topics. This process is not happening in Australia. The subtleties of foreign policy and the elasticity of diplomacy are being supplanted by the phobias of a group of security agencies that are now effectively running foreign policy. The Australian media had been “up to its ears” in drumming up anti-China hysteria, singling out the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, No other state, including India, would catch up to China in terms of economic growth, while Donald Trump’s America was retreating within itself, with no appetite for military conflict with China. Australia must adopt strategic realism in its approach to China and not force upon itself a choice of one great power over the other." [Fair enough Pauly, not that I see this government adopting 'strategic realism'?] [Peter Hartcher, The Age, gets stuck into our Pauly? Truthfully, I didn't read it. Why read what you know their pitch is anyway? Ditto Amanda Vanstone?]



It's all rather confusing, the forms of hypocrisy in our current relationship with China. The Chinese power in the South China sea, the plight of the Uighers, the Hong Kong protests, set against our own treatment of aborigines during my lifetime and our treatment of refugees dating back to when we joined England and the USA in invading Iraq. We can hardly blame them for refusing Andrew Hastie and James Patterson (quiet Australians?) a visa for a so called 'study' tour when we do the same with others trying to enter Australia. The 'nonsense' factor is front and centre, but nothing is allowed to disrupt the important factor - trade deals, money, exports presently over $100 billion a year, iron bloody ore?



More hypocrisy, tot forgetting: Looking back to the mid 1950's, the Maoist long march stuff, his cultural revolution, the banishment of writers, actors, film and stage directors, artists generally; sent to prison or exiled for a decade or more, many tortured, killed. [Having witnessed some of the entourages some actors and celebrities prance around with at theatre openings, galleries, I have a degree of understanding, on a minuscule scale.] On the another hand our Government is supplying military exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two of the major combatants in the war that is devastating lives in Yemen? 



Wise words? [William.O.Douglas] "The privacy and dignity of our civilians (are) being whittled away by sometimes imperceptible steps. Taken individually each step may be of little consequence. But when viewed as a whole there begins to emerge a society quite unlike any we have seen - a society in which government may intrude into the secret regions of a (person's) life". Then we have former ASIO chief Duncan Lewis on China, seeking to take over Australia's political system. “Espionage and foreign interference is insidious. Its effects might not present for decades and by that time it’s too late. You wake up one day and find decisions made in our country that are not in the interests of our country.” [I  wonder as to the interests of our Prime Minister and Home Affairs minister on a daily basis]. Enough!



Julian Assange: I'm reminded of King Kong the movie, and lovely Naomi Watts being offered up to appease the monster. The Swedish authorities have dropped the rape charges, again, (previously dropped and re-stated last year) after Assange was ruthlessly sent to a British jail. The evidence (likely nonsense in support of the Americans in the first place) has weakened, they said, after 10 years. Sweden, Britain, and sadly Australia are the villagers, no points for guessing who King Kong is. Julia Gillard (and the Liberal government) have seemingly washed their hands, a bottom line of allowing an Australian to die in a foreign country for (apparently) reporting the truth. Hopefully common sense can prevail, as it did in the David Hicks case. In addition, to the point, it demeans our reputation in terms of looking after our own. Not over yet? 



The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP. There's good reason why I (and a few other ageing actors) resigned from the workforce once entitled to a full pension. If I got work, one day, two days (and declared the agreed income immediately, despite usually at least a month before the money was in my bank account, after agent's fees, which incidentally were also counted as my income?) Centrelink stalked me, demanding profit and loss statements, inferring loss of pension if not received, refusing to listen to reason or claim those agent's fees as a deduction. The stress factor Josh, more-so, the fear of robo-debt 5 years later.  



From Arthur Miller's Timebends - edited: I've often asked myself, is any of this absurdity, not only in my life but in anyone else's? The impact of things seen and heard from the carpet (or in my case Arthur from the linoleum). Recalled with a far greater shock of truth because those visions are our very own, our private misunderstandings of reality shared by no one else, our freedom to alter mere facts. The threads unwind that spin, the uniqueness of each person's vision, promising implicitly to remake the world all new. To reconstruct my life, becoming my brother from time to time, my father, my mother, putting on theirs and others' forms and faces in order to test the view from angles other than my own. It sometimes took years before I could painfully strip myself of such disguises and find myself again. At the very time we are most vulnerable to impressions, we are least able to avoid outrageously misjudging what they mean. At a minimum therefore, life will never lose its mystery.   



I played a lot of blind poker over the years. One of my rare skills. Always, when knowing I had the right hand in a big pot, saying to the others "Read them and weep". I'm of a similar opinion on a read of our Prime Minister's words in calling for an increase to foreign aid - “The new government has committed to continue to increase this investment and I commend it for doing so. However, we still must go further. If we doubt the need, let us note that in 2007 the total world budget for global aid accounted for only one-third of basic global needs in areas such as education, general health, HIV/AIDS, water treatment and sanitation. This leaves a sizeable gap. The need is not diminishing, nor can our support. It is the Australian thing to do.” That's an older speech; how times change. Words are not enough? - Mike Seccombe on Scott Morrison: “Belligerent in rhetoric, authoritarian in tone, divisive in intent, unimaginative in vision, deceptive and insubstantial in content." [As Woody Allen said in reply to [Female, breaking up with Woody] “You’re immature. Emotionally, sexually and intellectually”...[Woody] “Yeah, but what else?”. 



”The big brother robo-debt con is toning down, thanks to intense pressure from our Billy (Shorten), Crikey and Legal Aid. Hopefully. Never trust a snake?...Rupert Murdoch "There are no climate change deniers around here. I can assure you." [Reeeaally?]...Almost 2 years since the sexual allegations against Robert Doyle surfaced. Shades of Kathy Jackson and her financial dealings. How do they get away with it?...Nice to see an old theatre of mine, Theatreworks, staying with us despite missing out on federal funding from our "Who you know" government. Apparently looking for new board members "with skills sets that meet identified needs." Be better still if they identified the identified needs?....Recession; be aware, be prepared? Household debt at a record high level as low wage growth fails to keep up with a resurgent property market amid signs the Reserve Bank will start next year with another interest rate cut to boost the economy. Stop smoking cigarettes?...Strange as it may seem, to anyone with half a financial brain, the majority of Australian voters still believe the Liberal party are the best economic managers. I've put the question (Why?) many times, still waiting for an answer...Apparently we have a gender disparity in primary school teachers, in favour of the ladies. Expect no action on this one....I'd like to say the shareholders in Westpac have my sympathy, but I'd be less than truthful...Finishing on a classic truth [Voltaire] 'When the masses get involved in reasoning, everything is lost"...Back next Sunday, then returning 2020, hopefully...Keep yourselves nice...Hooroo...ello8




A Grain of Salt. Sunday. 17th November, 2019. 

On a personal note (eventually, at 83.66 years) I'm a simple sort, understanding the needs of corruption among the powerful, the more they get the more they want, at our expense; privatisation in particular dating back (and no doubt before) to our very own Jeffrey Kennett; aged care packages, NDIS, water, electricity et al. I don't worry too much on the why, move on. I (indeed almost all of us) are powerless anyway. Still, I'd like to know (sort of) who was responsible for Billy Shorten's policy in the last election for the outstandingly ridiculous (at that particular time in the lead up) electric cars policy? For the record, the Liberals and Nationals cut the capital budgets of the NSW Fire & Rescue by 35.4% and the NSW Rural Fire Service by 75.2%. A quarter of Australia’s small cultural organisations will lose their federal money in new Australia Council allocations. While Australia Council funding has remained static, it has declined by 19% in real terms since the Coalition took office in 2013. No need to mention the drop in the ABC funding; 'raped' being a more appropriate word and not finished yet. In 1991 we had a Royal Commission into aboriginal deaths in custody; over 300 recommendations. Were the  problems solved? [ From The Age, letters "The only new royal commission this country needs is an inquiry into the federal government concerning its failure to act on the countless recommendations by countless inquiries into countless problems facing this country and its future."] None of this affects me personally, being a little Aussie battler. Once upon a time I'd say 'onwards and upwards'. Alas, now it's simply onwards. A day at a time. We take heart in small victories, one way or another, in Ash Barty, the likes of Rafael Nadal, down and almost out, came from nowhere to win his match, early last week, albeit eventually crashed to Roger Federer, albeit Rafael victorious last Friday. Life is full of strange coincidences. On the same day workers lost their penalty rates our Prime Minister received an $11,000 pay rise. Drip, drip, drip...[Interestingly, had Labor won, more money would have been available for better health services. The drought would have been met with a major financial response. Lower-income groups and the unemployed would have been given tax cuts, Newstart increases. The housing market would have been rectified to some extent, grandfathering of negative gearing and people no longer receiving refunds if they did not pay any tax?] There, you see? No mention of the various other problems, like the staunchly heterosexual duo, Barnaby Joyce and Michael McCormack, the certainty of climate change staring us in the face, (a disgusting government using the bushfires as another excuse; "Now is not the time"?), the embarrassing reductions in foreign aid for our neighbours, and frighteningly, the future of civil disobedience. No point in upsetting your charmed lives. For safety's sake steer clear of the television series on SBS entitled 'Years and Years' - move over George Orwell. "It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time". 1984 updated? Take care?



[Classic corruption?] The Guardian. A camper trailer company in the marginal seat of Gilmore was awarded a $750,000 as a federal government grant. Under the requirements of the grant scheme, applicants were required to spend a matching amount to the government contribution. Six months after the company’s $1.5m project was announced as successful under the program’s business innovation stream, Off Road Camping Accessories was placed into administration and the company’s 50 employees were made redundant. The company was sold for $580,000 to Eagle Outdoors in November, which has since re-employed some of the workforce.



[Secondary corruption?] The Saturday Paper. Tasmania. Last month Justice Gregory Geason sent a young man to a short stint in the slammer after a jury found him guilty of rape, giving him good marks for not ejaculating and being otherwise of sound character. “There is no suggestion you have any disease, and I have commented that you did not ejaculate,” the judge said. Points were not deducted for his failure to wear a condom. There was evidence the accused told another person he wanted to have sex with the victim. This was only a “crudely expressed statement of desire”, said the judge, “not a statement of intention to act upon that desire unlawfully”. “As such, I do not treat it as evidence of predatory behaviour.” The young fellow came from a “good upbringing”, with a fine school record and sporting achievements. The trouble was he had an “honest but unreasonable belief as to consent”. Even though he raped the victim twice, at one stage putting his hand over her mouth, he will not be going on the sex offenders register. In fact, he was so good, his sentence of two years and three months’ jail time was suspended for all but nine months.



[From the vault]. I need Dean (Martin) at times, "You're  nobody till somebody loves you" particularly when females sprout their advices on the wireless “Everybody needs 8 hours sleep, eat your greens, salt, sugar, milk, exercises”. Always females, no idea why? I recall Phillip Adams talking of a chap who lived on canned food for years. Then there was Virgil G Perkins, author of international bestseller Enjoying Jogging who collapsed and died whilst jogging aged 26, leaving behind a wife, Beverley, their daughter, Alexis, and seven other children by previous marriages. Then the never-ending happiness solutions, altruism. Settle on Whitlam's “Optimism, enthusiasm and confidence against fear, prejudice and conformity”. Well, for a week at least. The Australian Study of Health and Reproduction’s study disclosed on average men have sex with 18 women in a lifetime.  I thought I was past it, but apparently there’s another 17 females out there waiting, for me? Cross me off your list ladies, particularly Green voters? Stop fantasising, silly old man.



I have had the odd times of behaving like an idiot. But honestly, DIY penis enlargement? Beyond the pale, idiotic...Three years back I paid my RSL membership fees at $90 rather than the $40 per year, a savings gamble on my future. Will I last and if not I won't be here anyway? In a (seemingly) blink of the eye, it's come around again, still $90, the equivalent of 150 Winfield cigarettes 2016. Now it's 60 cigarettes? Hang the expense. Bulk spam buy up at Woolworths. Pay before December 15th, might win a car? Snowy on the trams?


A sad state of (mornings) affairs when forced to listen to Ross and John 3AW, but honestly, with the 774 line up of Sami Shah weekdays, Libby Gore, and Macca weekends - what choice? We thank the ABC for Virginia Trioli...Happy anniversary Mary Ellen, 58 years, yesterday...An amazing week of news, as in the tragic results of those bushfires in NSW and Queensland. The courage of those firefighters, surely deserving our highest honours...Comedy: The Victorian Liberals are concerned about the mental health of timber workers. Petrol prices in Iran have increased by 50%, which is designed to help the poor?...The Ensuring Integrity Bill, a joke now, but not if it gets through the Senate...Another 7 years (after 2020) at close to $1 million a year for Brodie Grundy? Too much...The judge thought Geoffrey Rush’s main witnesses, Neil Armfield and Robyn Nevin, were flawless. I'm with the judge...Reality, what is it? Kardashians, The Block, Goggle box, Celebrity Name Game? Am I living on a different planet? Never seen any of them. What am I missing?...How many times have I decluttered, umpteen. This time I mean it?...The Hong Kong protesters are fighting for freedom obviously, with probably less hope than the ISIS wives trapped in their tents. Sad stuff...Gazing from a Cliff; on Scott Morrison: "Methinks he seems no bigger than his head" (Shakespeare)...Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important. [T.S.Eliot]...Hooroo...ello8



A Grain of Salt. Sunday. 10th November, 2019.

Albanese: "To really examine what we did wrong"? The internal tracking polls showed they were going backwards, but Albanese wasn't aware of this, etc. Dullards? So many said "I don't like Shorten" but no-one followed up with an opinion on Scott Morrison, even Peter Dutton? It stopped there? Multiple reasons (apparently?) why Labor lost, none of which included - 1/ Billy's dance routine. 2/ Billy's jogging routine & 3/ Allowing Morrison's & Dutton's records to go through to the keeper, with enough fear ammunition on their records to sink the Bismarck? OK, include Clive Palmer's millions, the greed of self funded retirees. We knew all this weeks ago, not forgetting the fear campaign (lies) via Morrison and Dutton. Letting Morrison get away with doing nothing. Move on, maintain most of the good policies, focus on the real fear campaign - another 3 years of authoritarianism (censorship?) under Morrison and Dutton, and possibly (hopefully?) attend to a form of treatment to counter the brainwashed simplicity of the donkey voters who, unknowingly perhaps, voted against their own interests. Personally I'll be amazed if I'm still here come the next election. In the interim, hope springs eternal. [I barrack for Collingwood]. 



Occasionally I must bow to the superior words of another, namely Richard Ackland, writing under the moniker of Gadfly in The Saturday Paper. "Here we are six months after the federal election and upon swaths of citizens it has dawned that they have bought tickets to a flop. If it’s cringeworthy now, imagine another two-and-a-half years of this clapped-out music-hall routine. Archie Rice has arrived at The Lodge, manipulative and tragic with his schtick of disturbing stunts, clinging to a world that has long gone. The supporting cast is equally farcical – prime among them a foam-flecked law’n’order character driven to locking up as many restive citizens as he can get his hands on, and other menacing creatures from deep stage right, whose role it is to frighten small children out of their wits. Archie distracts us with bricolage. “Look over there,” he commands, while over here the void gets bigger. Forget the crowd’s swirling sentiments about Indigenous recognition, or measures to address integrity in our polity, or the survival of the planet. The important thing is to have some God-bothering freedoms and to stamp out revolutionaries “trying to impose their political will on companies. We’re trapped in a John Osborne kitchen sink drama, the entropy unfolding." [Archie was the character in "The Entertainer" by John Osborne, played by Lawrence Olivier].



It doesn't seem right. I sit there, watching these television shows, World on Fire, Total Control, other dramas, and while there's a degree of anxiety for the heroes I have other problems to contend with, like all of us. I can spend a day of turmoil because there's no hot water until the plumber arrives? Life's a bastard? Then it occurs to me a few hundred people are sleeping rough tonight, outside somewhere, now, on the Mornington Peninsula. Extended to Australia all over, the aged care homes, the refugees the world over, the tragic bush fires, the drought, and so on. And here I am feeling sorry for myself? What have I done in life? Bugger all really. A life of riley? A life of nothingness? Guilt steps in. Wakes me up. As I said - it doesn't seem right. "One's truth must add its push to the evolution of public justice and mercy" [Arthur Miller]. Of course guilt supplies a degree of pain, but thankfully (perhaps?) without the need to do something about it. Eventually I graduated, to another thought (over a cup of tea and a biscuit) - never think about any one thing for too long. A harsh reality? PS: I had missed most of the episode of Total Control while pondering over my guilt. As it eventuated, I had missed nothing. Something to do with age? Optimistic...or pessimistic? Neither. Moving on... 



Child, aged and disability care,  royal commissions. health, the environment, the economy, corruption, censorship, wages stagnation. All in the trickle down area in favour of security, submarines and crayfish. Don't come crying to me. You voted for them. Come the month before the 2022 election wouldn't be at all surprised if you have a memory lapse, and voted the same again. Whack in another Clive Palmer, big tax promises come 2024 and Bob's your uncle.  Brainwashed. A Bill of Rights? Harder than winning powerball. [Interest rates almost zero, big tax breaks for the rich, and retail spending standstill? Morrison's lot. Economic managers? [Comedy, via The Age, Liberal voter "Underpayment of staff may be a major cause of wage stagnation which is damaging the economy."] It takes all types. [Morrison via Katherine Murphy: "The government who finds this activism inconvenient is the same government who has sparked the activism, given its purpose and salience and traction, because of its own woeful record on climate change."] I get the feeling, although it will not be tomorrow, our Scott's hubris will lead to his undoing, sooner rather than later. Here's hoping.    



“The Portsea Hotel is a world-class beachfront venue and we now have the team who can elevate this Mornington Peninsula establishment to the next level,” said Jonathan Alston, the new executive chef. What exactly is this next level? 



Violence against women: "So we know men with strong male tendencies are more likely"? Maybe some, but certainly nowhere near a bottom line observation and nowhere near a majority, surely? Observations by all means, but not conclusions. Some people have suggested I have a problem with females. Wrong as it happens. True, I wouldn't walk across the road to watch womens sport, but violence, never. They might hit me back! [Apparently there's an increase in insults to females in The Age crosswords. Disgusting.]



Bad mistake. He was a mate, wanted to do an accountancy course, wanted me to tag along. We had some good times, met after work, a beer, food, night school, 3 years, promotion. Why didn't he go for a trade? Could have been really useful now. Wear a high visibility top, KingGee GoVest, look the part, be the part. Electrician, cabinet maker, aircraft mechanic. A Tradesmen, tradespeople, are top of the shelf, useful, unlike accounting, at my age. I blame my mate. Him and his silly ideas. Too late now. Now I call on the council to change a lightbulb.



Censorship, China, Russia, Morrison's dream?...Margaret Court's tennis achievements demand recognition. Her personal beliefs don't amount to a hill of beans...If we ban the activists PM Morrison, how about the lobbyists?... May Ash Barty remain our hero and doesn't say anything we're likely to disagree with...Womens sport. Historic collective bargaining agreement that will give the Matildas a chance to earn the same pay as their male counterparts. Like the tennis, cricket, bigger and bigger. AFL football to follow, eventually? Sports pages? Get used to it...New AFP boss determined to share more information with us, and I'm a monkeys uncle... Do I qualify for a veteran's discount card; 5 months national service. Two years on call in the event of war?...Let's hear it for the mothers (and females generally) who support Leunig...Many of us (but not most) can afford a life with ideals, albeit it never quite works out that way. I'm forever fascinated by those who look me in the eye with disregard for the truth, yet most times believe their truth as they are saying it. Life's confessional box?...The less I hear from Peter FitzSimons the happier I am...Grounds for appeal, Geoffrey Rush judgement: "The judges conduct and the tone he used gave rise to an apprehension of bias" Bias, via the pot, the Sydney Telegraph?...From 'Yes Minister' (sums me up?) - "A low flyer supported by occasional gusts of wind"....Down to the final two, not renewing come December...Cheers...Hooroo...ello8




A Grain of Salt. Sunday. 3rd November, 2019.

I thought I was old at 30. Insignificant. Turns out, eventually, I was right. The difference? At 30 I didn't give death a thought. On an emotional (but not reality) level I gave socialism a real chance, still too young to sift through the Soviet system, the significance between them and us, no matter the system, ever hopeful. True, pinch a comic get the sack, pinch a mercedes-benz call your solicitor. A soliciter? Like the psychologists, never met one. What changes? The past becomes more attractive, the danger now, the hope factor down to "a cranky old bastard"? Maybe I should get out more. Smell the roses, eat lots of honey? Definitely cut out meditation. The surveillance society. You'd better believe it, and unless I'm mistaken, (hopefully not) a slow road to fascism, prejudice and (a form of) racism, to the forefront. 'Nothing to hide nothing to worry about' is the general public cry, ignoring the fact it applies to both sides, until it's too late. Never before here, but no guarantee, anywhere, lately. Depressing? The Ensuring Integrity Bill, meaning "get the unions"? No prizes for guessing which way Princess Pauline will vote and still waiting for Jacqui Lambie to show her colours. The International Mining and Resources Conference blockade response, by Michael McCormack: "Mining and resources provide a lot of money, particularly for the welfare payments that a lot of those people are no doubt on." And this brainy bum is our deputy Prime Minister? And so on and so on, our Prime Minister on the warpath, against all critics? Is ASIO watching? Indubitably, overseen by Mister, the right honourable, Dutton. Running out of puff. The hot weather approaches, a time for real niceness. And rest. Maybe some research, amidst that meditation? Nah. Maybe button my lips, and read more. Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, or Great Expectations? Better still, a comedy, being good for my soul, the Labor Party's revue of why they (it) lost the last election. I'm losing the thread...moving on... 



Aged care and the government response with a new Charter of Aged Care Rights and New Safety Standards. But the Australian Medical Association finds much of this a “tick box exercise”, compounded by the fact the major for-profit providers are too big to fail or to buckle to regulations that eat into their multimillion-dollar bottom line? Time will no doubt tell, but if it's consistent with the other government responses it's the old cry - "Expect nothing regret nothing". I'll stay put, for now. Rely on my 1 hour fortnightly ultra cheap visit from the most charming council cleaning lady. 



Here's another one: Scott Morrison: “We rightly acknowledge our First Australian traditional owners and I have always felt in this spirit we also acknowledge those for whom we owe the greatest debt: to be able to live in the best country in the world and enjoy the freedoms they paid for.” Surely Scotty double talk for our original settlers, fooling none of them, the original settlers that is.  



From the vault, edited: Are we all manipulative and deceitful? I would think yes, a question of degree. How do we combat this knowledge assuming we are aware of it, assuming a degree of guilt? That’s where justification comes to the party, our saviour. What wrongs have we done in the past 20 years? None! “They weren’t so much wrongs, more necessities due to the circumstances.” I took myself to Main Street, Mornington on a recent Wednesday to walk up and down both sides viewing all the stalls and buying nothing. I accidentally bumped the arm of a chap who turned and said “Watch where you’re going you stupid old prick”. My immediate response was to plant a straight left to his nose followed by a right to his solar plexus but his tattoos and bull terrier called for caution. I said “Sorry mate” and proceeded to walk on. Not satisfied, he replied “ So you bloody should be”. God alone understands his justification. He was lucky. I had a sore right hand. 



Three quick thoughts: (1) How much of your language do you use to communicate your thoughts, as against usage in order to obscure what you’re really thinking? (2) Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” had a season in Melbourne with a different director for each of the three acts. Said director Simon Stone “In one night, people will see three entirely different pieces of theatre, and in each piece will have a different effect on the audience. I want people to walk out transformed, as if their minds have been levered open.” I’ve lost count of the number of directors who have come into theatre over the years with a fresh look at transformation, whatever that is? (3) “We all know a bastard when we see one” said Michael Leunig. Perhaps so, if they’re playing for a team without black and white colours, or umpires, or politicians, or News Limited journalists. 



Nine tenths of the appeal of pornography is due to the indecent feelings concerning sex which moralists inculcate in the young; the other tenth is physiological, and will occur in one way or another whatever the state of the law may be [Bertrand Russell]. 



Feature articles in the newspapers regularly cover a closer examination of “what it’s all about” when one hits those mid 30’s. Should one devote such a large proportion of life to a career, or more into a 50/50 lifestyle mix? The question: “I’ve achieved most of my original focus; what now for the next 35 years? Should the job come first?” If you have a job you’re lucky, hopefully paying off a house, two little darlings (soon to become pains in the neck) and a wife (or husband) who (may have) become boring, in more ways than one. On the other hand (as they say) “Money often costs too much.” Married or single the question is as old as Socrates. Go for the 50/50 while you can, spend more time at restaurants with your partner, and if single, find someone who will listen to your self pity. 



Whatever the Trump result, let's not forget Alexander Downer's influence; ditto Joe Hockey and Helloworld?...I'm a fan of Premier Danny Andrews. He gets things done, which is more than the state Liberal party ever did. He has his problems obviously, neither solvable whoever runs Victoria. Come what may, the Victorian police force and Crown Casino rule the roost...Maybe it's me, (40 years of union involvement (with correct pay rates always the focus?) but for the life on me, had I been working for Woolworths, I would have known the correctness of my pay rate?...Is there a possibility Centrelink is underpaying me my pension?...A very stylish female entered the dedicated smoking area at my local RSL. I was about to say hello via "You look gorgeous". Phew, bit my lips. Nodded instead, a smile, friendly, without the leer. A leer? What is that?.. I'm not into halloween, but good luck to the kids. Much prefer we chop out Valentine's Day...Sorry to see the axing of Marngrook Footy Show, a relief from the other AFL TV grandstanders...Yet another Brexit attempt. The Conservatives (should really be re-named Gestapos) only in favour of a democratic vote if they win. Likewise Medevac...Your carbon footprint can be reduced in many ways, using less power being one, so I did my bit; turned the radio off...Labor: A set of policies (hopefully most of last time), the main thrust to scare those same voters who gave us Scott, into another three years of Scott as Prime Minister?...Wow, a plum job. $190,000 as an empathy consultant to interact with farmers. Is there an age limit?...Vale Annie (Phelan), sadly missed..."Rage against the dying of the light" [Thomas]...You don't need to be driven by ego, but it can take a hell of a long time to figure it out. Meantime, give it your best shot. Counting down. Final three weeks. The price of cigarettes and other price rises mean a reassessment of outgoings. It's been fun. Stay nice...Hooroo...ello8




A Grain of Salt. Sunday. 27th October, 2019.

Denial, bluster, talking points and attacks on Labor. Where is the government? A $300 million contract to maintain the Detention Centre on Christmas Island, for one sad little family of four? The drought? Australian farmers (they tell us) are the most resilient and optimistic in the world, Not sure they’re any different than farmers the world over but surely a strange lot. How can they justify their almost blanket allegiance to Barnaby Joyce? Never forgetting Attorney-General Christian Porter, Peter Dutton's megaphone, security nonsense, yet again. Sophistication? "Stability and certainty" my backside. 



I worry at times, who doesn't? I look on myself as a social democrat, an erratic voter depending on personalities, politics of the day, but primarily a supporter of Australia as an independent country, albeit now a dream. Yes, we were always sort of a second string to the British, and after WW2 our alignment with America was a good thing, but more and more as the years role by we (seemingly) became less and less independent in favour of "whatever America decides". Add in the coalition secrecy issue, our trade with China, also a good thing, but then (now) Beijing's presence, USA presence, the South China sea, Putin? I look at what's happening in Turkey, Syria, various types of marxism, nationalism, Islam, judaism, the many dangerous forms of fascism. It wouldn't take much to light the fuse. I'm comforted of course because we live in near enough to the best country on earth, and one way or another the danger of the powerful countries has always been there, as has human nature, so I move on, in the knowledge of "what would I know?" and hoping for the best for our kids. Intellectually, in these matters I'm a sardine. Fortunately, like most men, I'm re-active rather than pro-active, so the worry aspect can be placed into the re-submit area of my fast slowing brain. I listen to others with nary a word to say on these matters, climate change in particular, often the nonsense quip "If you've got nothing to hide you've nothing to fear" not taking the point that it applies to both sides, as in our government. Apparently more people are interested in winning on the pokies, or the weather, here at home allowing a pretend drought policy (farmers still relying, believing and voting for Barnaby?) and a similar attitude to the NDIS, TV's Utopia et all. Scott Morrison (evangelical entrepreneur Brian Houston to accompany him to a White House party?) and Mathias ("The government is ready to do more to help boost the economy?) Cormann. Peter Dutton (a regime of mass surveillance, enabled by artificial intelligence, our future as envisioned) telling us nothing, or a warped version of the truth, and then there's the opposition, Anthony Albanese, as yet, not quite sure where he's coming from? Thus, a government focussed on Labor and telling us as little as possible and an opposition yet to show their hand, if any, other than the John Setka expulsion. We need to have a side, something to barrack for, but right now were in lah lah land, 2022, a lifetime away.          



Senior figures at the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Department of Home Affairs have defended the need for a high level of secrecy, criticised media coverage and argued that some of the recommendations put forward by media organisations would threaten national security. Crap. A power struggle pure and simple. Give them an inch and they will want a yard. And we (us) are the losers. And who is at the top of the pile? Mister Dutton. I'll say no more. Well, just the one thing. In the 2018 budget papers a $7 million review into Peter's department was ordered. In response to media enquiries our Pete's department responded, the report did not exist, despite some $5 million spent on consultants and contractors. How about bringing Julian Assange home, or at the very least tell us why you allow England to let him rot in prison compliments of an aggressive magistrate? Further, why let the Doodle Dandies have him? Does it follow the possibility of any other Australian journalist who prints what is perceived as anti-American, subject to possible extradition? "Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you." [Roald Dahl]. 



Jobs jobs and more jobs says our travelling showman Prime Minister. Truth: The Coalition government has presided over a staggering blowout in the number of extreme long-term Newstart recipients, with an analysis revealing unemployed people are languishing on the welfare payment for an average of nearly a year longer than they did in 2014?



Better late than never; stopping the slow rot: All of Australia’s major media organisations have joined forces to call for reforms to protect public interest journalism in Australia. Australia’s Right to Know coalition includes Nine, News Corp, the ABC, SBS, The Guardian, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance. And, as always, the joker in the pack: ‘‘My government will always believe in the freedom of the press – it’s an important part of our freedoms as a liberal democracy,’’ As I said, nothing to hide nothing to fear works both ways.



Whistleblowers. I admire their courage. Sadly corruption is everywhere, big and small. I could have blown that whistle in three industries, but alas, no courage and a strong belief (almost from birth) as in never to dob. The big ever-present danger to whistleblowers is ambition, and (though not necessarily) greed. You go public and expect them to come for you. As for ASIC, forget them. They're the government. Corruption? Always has been, on various levels, and will never ever go away. Good luck to the courageous (some may say suicidal) whistleblowers. The positive slant is that it's probably not as bad as in almost all other countries. As I said, ambition, occasionally greed, and the 'see nothing' need to maintain your job. I think back to the crooks I've run across, in government, in the racing industry, in the unions. Most people didn't notice, or like me, shrugged, went about their business, waiting patiently for knock off time, to the pub, a few beers. And in politics? No doubt, as in the courts, as in law enforcement, as in human nature, as in playing the angles. Thankfully, not most of us, just the cunning ones. Moving on...



Why would they attack Leunig, a diamond, in our desert?...Chemist shop: A man's shake and a lady's shake. A healthy meal in a shake. For men, lose the beer gut without losing the beer. Ladies, have your cake and eat it too. Both 5 stars heath ratings, but who would buy them?...Racehorses slaughtered. 37 years as a casual at racetracks throughout Victoria. Jeff Kennett (high standards should be maintained, every race, every horse), Lloyd Williams (ban the whips). Racegoers hearts and minds are on backing a winner, never a word on the tragedy of disappearing race horses...If the voters didn't trust Bill Shorten can we assume these same voters trust Scott Morrison?...We consistently read of parliament devoid of leadership, blaming the government and the opposition. Surely unfair to give the opposition equal blame; what policies?...Uluru has closed for climbing, so be it. Me? I stayed on the ground while my late wife went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Had a coffee, two cigarettes. Got her photos developed, nice..The first church is in the skull, and there the gods face in two directions" [Arthur Miller]...Hooroo...ello8




A Grain of Salt. 20th October. 2019.

Meditations. Nothing happening up there in Canberra. Policy debate, what's that? Even Alan Jones ("How does that feed a cow?") was frustrated. The PM's daily 'talking points' (parodies) leaked. Labor re-organising? How long does it take? Morrison’s lot on a tight ‘do nothing’ hold, pinching $3 billion from education to counter (supposedly) drought assistance, vague at best. $5 million in rural financial counselling services? Our PM obviously much more in favour of treading the international boards, the sound bites saying nothing much, on their laurels, feeling important. No doubt playing for time, doing his ‘nothing here to see’ and the constant blame Labor game, till the next big rest break, Christmas, returning around March 2020. Disgusting, in our name, with our money. Another week of parliamentary "bugger all" and off he flies to Indonesia (Scotty, the not so quiet one). From Katherine Murphy, edited: "Morrison not only keeps his boot on Labor’s throat, he also torches the apparatus around him to try and prevent the opposition clambering up again if he gets a sudden leg spasm. By torching, I mean all the propaganda about the “bubble”. Morrison won an election doing this stuff, and post-election, he’s adjusting the formula to try and expand his mandate." Midsomer Murders or Scott Morrison? ”A writer or an artist is a storyteller, but, if any good, also a myth-maker. The goal you should strive for is a mythic goal. You take reality, anchor it in the facts and raise it to a level of myth” [Elia Kazan]. 



The Buddhist theory, patience and tolerance. Oh how we need it in this day and age. In terms of creativity it takes passion to become a successful artist; a successful anything! Anger, impatience and the other “negative” emotions are not wrong in themselves; you're anger blows over and is forgotten minutes later, but others don’t forget, so we learn to keep our extreme emotions inside. If you eliminate all the negative emotions you inevitably eliminate all emotions and the more you succumb the more it becomes entrenched. Passion is part of the human experience. Denying passion is taking a pass on being human. Corruption is a way of life, ever present, but doing nothing can be argued as a source factor in increased corruption? If you are wondering why artists are wrapped a little tightly it could be because they are feeling that passion and letting it drive their work. Enthusiasm, self belief, persistence and PASSION, not forgetting the need to make the move from fear to fearless. I have a close relative as a doctor  and will likely pooh pooh this (not that it would concern me) but I have a theory on genes. Yes, it sounds a tad highfalutin, and yet, thinking back early 1970's, sitting at a desk years on end, changing to a career as an actor, voice, movement, improvisations (all that jazz) resulted in something, not sure what, my genes perhaps? They say genes are made from your DNA. Perhaps. I prefer the change of my genes theory, as in an awakening. Maybe research those public servants I left behind, if still alive? [I should add all theories, buddhist, marxist, catholicism are all much the same; power to the powerful]. Still, the next time you want to cry or explode, particularly currently being governed by Morrison and Peter Dutton, give it a shot. Buddha will understand. 



How  safe are you? 1/ - Robodebt averages people’s income, assumes they work neat, regular hours throughout a year. Since the scheme was introduced people have reported receiving letters indicating Centrelink believes they owe a sum of money, often thousands of dollars, as a result of an “overpayment”. The letters do not provide evidence of how the debt has been calculated and places the onus of proof on the recipient. Centrelink claims the initial letters do not represent “debt notices”. But if recipients cannot prove the debt is incorrect, it is assumed the debt exists. Private debt collectors are also engaged to collect the money Centrelink believes is (may be) owed. 2/ - "The Australian Tax Office says garnishees that resulted in millions of dollars being swiped from taxpayers accounts were the result of a ‘‘misunderstanding’’ as a parliamentary inquiry heard the tax ombudsman is powerless to protect whistleblowers." Big Brother is watching us. As indeed are Scotty and Peter, men who pride themselves on Christian faith?



Other quality contributions: Ross Gittins "It never ceases to surprise me that a prime minister so ready to proclaim his Christian faith is so hard of heart when it comes to people on benefits (age pensioners excepted). Presumably, he’s not prepared to “give them a go” because he’s not convinced that they “have a go”. As the Australian Council of Social Service has said, increasing Newstart would be “the single most effective step to reduce poverty” – not to mention giving a much-needed boost to the nation’s retailers. But Scott Morrison, so generous in his promises of big tax cuts to high-income earners like me, has steadfastly refused to oblige. Rather, he’s working on an unending list of torments for people on welfare ."..... Ross Beamsley: Green Guide, your say. "It’s about time The Drum caught up with the 21st century! Where is the coverage of women’s issues, feminism, Indigenous issues, racism, gender and LGBTIQ issues, minority rights and some Sydney perspective in our daily lives?" The question is - did the editor realise Ross was having a go at The Drum? A pretty wet lot at GG, so - not necessarily? 



Apparently farmers in desperate need for drought relief are asked to fill out a 30 page application form. Ultra red tape?...And so we (Nosmo King) say farewell forever to the Bourke Street Mall...Australian Council of Social Services: 15000 children will be homeless this coming Christmas and 3 million Australians live below the poverty line...I'm in favour of banning Coles radio from the airwaves, forever...Religious discrimination bill. Hypocrisy (and comedy) at work - Attorney-General Christian Porter: ‘‘This is totally out of step with community expectations,’’....Crown Casino: ”When a State becomes a croupier it is closer to its end than its beginning” (John Raulston Saul). ...Hooroo...ello8 



A Grain of Salt. Sunday. 13th October, 2019.

Thankfully warm weather approaches. We are in need, positive need, of something, anything, to cheer us up. From John Hewson: "From his US/UN visit, "first" to Morrison is all about his personal interests and perceived political advantage; it means sucking up to the likes of Trump, whose concept of "America first" is also "America only", clearly determined and driven by his personal interests, failings and foibles, and his obsession just to be seen as (reality TV like) powerful, and to be liked." Indeed, we are left (seemingly) with a Prime Minister every which way but not at home, in Canberra, for we Australians. A type of publicity world tour of enjoying the spotlight of self indulgence, the likes of which (previously, thankfully) has never been seen, I am almost at a loss for words. Patience may well be a virtue, but clearly tested to the limit with this turkey. Self-Love; regard for one's own well-being and happiness? OMG. Maybe the (forlorn?) hope of writing a blog next Sunday full of happiness and no politics. And I'm Jack Robertson. Pressing on...



So sweet of Anthony Albanese to congratulate Billy Shorten for taking the brunt of the blame for Labor's electoral defeat, the false death taxes fear, Adani and Palmer's (50) millions merely an ever so slight by-product. Even better, Billy came forward in a courageous exercise of self blame, sensible, keeping the back stabbers at bay, if possible. Glory be. True, Billy was down in popularity, a factor heavily enforced by a right wing Murdock media, encouraging the sheep to the point of sad bad Billy, nice charming Scotty Morrison, even a softer (looking after our security interests?) Peter Dutton? Too late now obviously, but to clarify, a vote against Labor (because you didn't jell with Billy?) was a vote for the current two gestapos. A vote to make the rich richer, to maintain capital gains tax, negative gearing, to maintain the unemployment allowance (and thousands of middle aged types desperate for work) at a barely liveable rate, and - to ignore (most importantly) climate change, and - to deliberately forget the Nauru, Manus and Christmas Island hostages. As for Julian Assange, let him rot, though likely the Labor party would do the same? To carry on as before, class will out? No doubt the Labor party's report on the loss will come out with a tsunami of reasons to please their left and right wing influentials, ignoring the main reason. Yes, dividend imputations will feature front and centre, no doubt, and likely too much too soon, but not the greed effect, to the vast majority of these receivers of said dividends. They (not all of them, but likely around 90%) put their pockets first and foremost and left us to deal with the likes of the current lot, called, hysterically, "a government". It was always, all about, greed, together with, as always, a splattering of ignorance. Let us hope Billy, now shadow minister for (the plundered) NDIS can do something about the disgrace of Robodebt and obviously NDIS, in his new role. And Anthony Albanese? We wait, patiently.  Moving on...



University of Queensland doctoral research student, Reza Dehbashi Kivi had been held in a Brisbane jail on sanctions-busting allegations for 13 months? Attorney general, Christian Porter: "In all the circumstances of this particular case Dehbashi Kivi should not be extradited." to the USA.  But to be jailed, secretly, for 13 months? Why such a long time?



Peter Dutton has described protesters as ‘a scourge’, with the threat of increased penalties and imprisonment in several states, attracting a $6,500 fine or two years’ imprisonment. "People should take these names, and the photos of these people, and distribute them as far and wide as we can so that we shame these people. Let their families know what you think of their behaviour. We should push back on it because these people are a scourge, they are doing the wrong thing. If you want to protest, do it peacefully.” Such a darling man is our Peter. Just the one question. What's HIS meaning of peaceful? And while you're about it Peter mate, go easy on the Chinese. They bite.



Scott Morrison on farmers: After declaring “This isn’t – this isn’t welfare. This is really just helping people make sure that they maintain a viability”. Unlike those on Newstart? “Let our kids be kids, let our teenagers be teenagers, while we work positively together to deliver the practical solutions for them and their future.” Our saviour? We should be so lucky. The Lloyd Price song, "Personality" 1959, comes to mind.



You decide? 1/ Michaelia Cash paying The Block star Scott Cam to promote vocational education in his new role as “national careers ambassador”. Labor and the unions suggested the Coalition should stop hiring “celebrities” and properly fund Tafe and apprentices instead, claiming $3bn has been cut from vocational education? 2/ Asylum seekers who have been approved for medevac transfers to Australia are among 52 men who have been locked up in Port Moresby detention without access to phones or lawyers for the past two months. The vast majority of those in Bomana are Iranian, and more than half are at some point along in the medevac process, having applied for it; been approved or refused; or were seeking reevaluation. The Australian government has confirmed that approvals for medevacs have been “communicated” to Port Moresby, but said the management of detainees inside Bomana is a matter for the PNG government? 3/ A staff of 125 on Christmas Island detention centre at a cost of $22 million - and no detainees?



For the record Premier Danny Andrews, at the last count the vast consensus of opinion way down here on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, is daylight saving should run from the beginning of November until the end of February. Approximately 8 out of every 10.  



Haloween?...Not into overseas politics; enough crooks locally. Still, the Trump troops out of Syria leaving the Kurds to a loving friendship with the Russians, Iran and Assad's lot gives us a clearer picture of Donald's protection if Dutton and Trump lookalike Morrison gets us into a China problem?...Watch The Drum most nights, ABC. Ellen Fanning great stuff, but why oh why do they let Georgina Downer talk her nonsense?...Sadly we can't 'impeach' here in Australia. Wouldn't do any good anyway. Might end up with Peter Dutton; the devil or the deep blue sea?..."Buzz off". Old school phrase for knick off, useful (softer) when annoyed, at the RSL..Bupa aged-care facilities, happy valley for shareholders...Jobs for the boys; Abbott, Fifield, Sinodonis...More than 95,000 asylum seekers to Australia (by air) the past 5 years?...Reality television 'Love Island' where audiences reflect on whether women pay too much mind to the emotional needs of men. And here's me thinking it was the other way around?...We bid farewell to Jon Faine, occasionally a pain in the bum but generally great value. Supposedly middle of the road (no opinions politically) but clearly inferred slightly to the left. No doubt he will miss the adrenaline buzz. Well done....Recalling: I had a cat for 16 years, who always knew when I was coming home, common apparently. Why?...Even Steve Smith made a duck! Bring on the AFL football, or at least Christmas...Ascetic: "In hope to merit heaven, by making earth a hell" [Byron]...Hooroo...ello8




A Grain of Salt. Sunday. 6th October, 2019.

Ridiculous. Up at 6.30am, now 7.30am daylight saving time, and it's 24 degrees? Later tried Woolworths, knowing a hot Sunday requires extra care due to the increase in the ratbags element. Sure enough, exiting Woollies turning right, an approaching nutter on my right with the left blinker flashing. Did he  (more likely she?) turn left. Nah. Straight past to an outside car spot 'after' the Woolies entrance. The 70% ratbags rating. Safe home. 



The wonderful Morrison government has announced a review into the age pension assets test, including a review of the exemption of the family home. This should get the cats (liberal voters, shareholders) amongst the pigeons. Seemingly that is, more likely a tease announcement. I've called this government a Seinfeld government before, in the concept of a 'show about nothing'. Moreso there was one particular episode of Seinfeld where it was expressed to perfection, wherein Jerry asked George Constanza (who worked for the New York Yankees) "What do you do all day?" George replied "Nothing" "How do you get away with it?" said Jerry. "I look busy" said George, followed by examples. It worked for George, temporarily. Clever bastards those writers. Therein lies the story of Scott Morrison's government. Shop around, they tell us, for the best rates and services. Nary a mention of privatising the assets we once owned. Health care, education, energy sources, the Gas & Fuel Corporation, council services, including waste management, banking (State Savings Bank, Commonwealth Bank), port authorities and employment services? Is it too much to ask them to look after our old & disabled, (remembering when Scotty as Treasurer stripped them of a cool $2 billion?), our First Nations people and public infrastructure; our future? To forge ahead with a climate crisis policy? "All of my ministers are out there on the ground listening to the people"? Who, Barnaby? At our expense. The government is gambling the tax cuts and record low interest rates will kick start the economy. The dribbling down of the tax cuts for the rich. Nothing so far, tongues out for next month's figures. An aura of corrosive cynicism politically? Almost, certainly among this hidden Christian army on matters of same sex marriage, voluntary assisted dying and abortion law reform, (not so) strangely strong on capital gains tax, negative gearing, dividend imputations and other forms of welfare, in their favour? The need to rule, maintaining the status quo, (current political or social conditions) rich and poor? And our very own propaganda minister (Peter Goebbels Dutton?) deceptively quiet? We miss you Billy (Shorten). Onwards and upwards?



They say (and please don't ask me who 'they' are) when you're having an anxiety attack the brain tells you you're in danger. So, a chap borrows $400,000, lies (income) to the bank, the bank loans it, can't repay, feeling stressed, anxiety, the chap saying the bank should not have lent it. NOW, he's having this anxiety attack? On comes an expert (hundreds on call, mainly females) suggesting 'the bank has a case to answer'. Tell me something I didn't know, and while you're sprouting, shouldn't the chap take some blame? Say 99%? The problem may well be anxiety, but centred in the psyche of the lendee. Ever playing the blame game, living in accommodation without mirrors. The government also blames the big banks for not passing on the full amount of the interest rates cut laid down by the Reserve bank. Convenient, takes the heat of them from the fact nobody is spending.  



Perhaps another cause, anxiety? The disintegration phase. Birth, childhood, adulthood, marriage, house; a chosen path leading to old age, downsizing and (if you're lucky) past 80 into disintegration. Ever so slowly. A nice little back garden, to ponder. Slowly get down (weeds) but difficult to get up, and so on. A close eye on voluntary assisted dying. Heavy restrictions here but it's a start. A simple process, hopefully, when ready, say one more decade, hopefully? There's a school of thought kids nowadays have it tougher than in my time, despite the swish computers, mobile phones, freedom, including teachers unable to use the leather strap. Maybe? What was my lot back then? At 12 selling newspapers. A morning spot on Westgarth station, a set fee in a booth selling The Sun 6-8.30am. Afternoons a paper round The Herald, 10%, then to passing cars corner of Westgarth and High street. After dinner (tea) to the Merri theatre, St Georges Road North Fitzroy, a lolly boy, also 10% Thursday-Saturday plus matinees. On most (particularly warm) nights a street full of kids, playing cricket (telegraph pole, tennis ball) football (a made paper football), games, relievo, hidey, if lucky - nurses and patients? Playing knick knock, stealing from fruit trees, yonny fights with catholics, the movies (flicks) front stalls, girls, pashing on. Danger, always a threat. The Essendon (Don) mob, the North Melbourne mob and obviously the Collingwood mob. Within this limited structure lots of creativity, and the odd bruises, bloody noses. And lots of fun. Two kids broke into a jewellery shop, cheap watches for sale. Cops caught them, gave them a beating, as expected. Jobs plentiful. Duncan's match factory, 5 quid a week, some took the cash, others remained at school. Apparently we (almost all of us) were poor, but nobody noticed. Conclusion, better or worse? No idea. The  disintegration phase eh? I'll think about that - tomorrow.  



Climate change 2008? "What happens if the channel dredging project stuffs up the whole works, as I’m told it could by the local fishermen and divers? Who shall we blame? The nameless suits on a nameless committee? They tell of the project being good for Victoria. I haven’t got the time to read the 15,500 page environmental effects statement, so perhaps somebody could explain to me how it will be good for Rye"? 



Well done to Collingwood Copland trophy winner Brody Grundy, wants 7 years, the magpies keen on 5. I'd go for 5. I placed him 5th, behind Pendlebury, Jack Crisp, Brayden Maynard and Steele Sidebottom. Bias, no doubt. And Nathan Buckley? One more year?



Richmond. "Dawning of a bright new era"? God help us. "The more they get the more they want." Human nature, as always...Why watch Poldark (ABC) set in the 18th century? It's no relief from what's happening in Canberra now, run by a power clique headed  by Morrison and Pastor Jim Jones...China? Maybe ponder on US interference, Honduras, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Iran, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam - and Australia via Morrison? A sense of balance?...If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny. Our Treasurer accuses the Labor party of ‘talking down the Australian economy" our Treasurer having done so without any help from Labor re tax breaks for the rich, interest rates non existent for the pensioners, deeming and indeed only of use for those with a very hefty mortgage...Morrison "Big business, underage females, scientists, and socialists; pipe down"...Smokers in Australia still in the 2 million plus range. Every price rise a spending reduction to balance the personal budget?...What exactly is a vegan activist?...Summing up; from Keith White, Red Hill South "Please stop picking on the federal government, they haven’t done anything"...Hooroo...ello8