A Grain Of Salt 2019

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



A Grain of Salt. 29th September.

Richmond, winner of the 2019 AFL Grand Final, embarrassing scoreline no surprise. Thankfully, Collingwood caught them napping in last year's qualifying final or we may have had to suffer them winning THREE on end. Perish the bloody thought. Still, well done, played according to their skills, more than I can say about Collingwood last week. With Tommy Hafey's wife and Kevin Sheedy presenting the cup, and the tigers drum roll on entry to the ground, GWS never really had a yelp. Almost unfair? And Melbourne Storm? Sad. Moving on to matters political. I'll list them any which way in the faint hope readers will keep a record of these misdemeanours come the 2022 election. First and foremost is why, I scream (unheard?) from the heavens, how in God's name we can let our Prime Minister feed us with lies, and rarely, if ever, call him to account? Where is the Kerry O'Brien replacement? Social Services Minister Anne Ruston, on Newstart: "Australians expect people to use their own financial resources to support themselves before they call on taxpayer-funded welfare." Franking credits, a taxpayer-funded welfare, do not apply? Ditto private schools, farmers? [On farmers, I'm told praying for rain if a positive for mental health?] The Prime Minister’s contribution of $150 million to the US space administration’s plans for the moon and Mars. That's OUR money he's playing with, getting in sweet with Donny Trump at the expense of the unemployed. At the 2019 federal election, voters revealed their preference for franking credits, negative gearing and tax cuts (their pockets, in other words) over effective action to combat climate change? Tax office spokesperson on tax audits "If you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to worry about." (Shades of Peter Dutton. Retrospective powers to banish people he believes are dual citizens who have failed to uphold the nation’s values – without needing to provide proof?). Sadly this agreement, this pathetic bottom line, which is readily believed by a dickheads majority, allows our security services to move us closer and closer to a police state. We run the real risk of an abuse of power no matter noble intentions. Oh my God, how I do miss Billy Boy Shorten. Those of you who didn't warm to him on instinct rather than reason, many of whom voted accordingly, should hang their heads in shame - "Now see what you've done!" PM - "It's great to be in Ohio". Again - OMG. 



Barnaby Joyce. You be the judge? Spent three weeks in drought-affected communities outside of his electorate as the government’s special drought envoy, according to MP travel records and claimed $675,000 in expenses for the nine months in the role, also allocated two staff members to conduct his work at a cost of an estimated $200,000. The $675,000 figure includes Joyce’s normal work as a backbencher, but the government has declined to say how much was related to his work as special envoy. [Taxpayers spent $2,600 for Barnaby to charter a flight between Melbourne and Horsham to spend three hours at a regional show alongside Nationals candidate Anne Webster in the lead-up to the election, according to figures obtained from the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority. claimed as part of his work as special envoy for the drought?]. Never forgetting Tony Abbott into aboriginal affairs and Phil Ruddock on religious freedom? I surely need say no more.



I've been ill the past few days. A form of vertigo. Mind blockage. Some advise I've been this way for decades. They would know? Are you a member of that “We know best” society? Their no smoking results (beware vaporers) over the past 10 years has the ultimate aim of banning smoking everywhere, other than in an outside Loo located at least 100 metres from any property or roadway. Members available on call on any subject, from compulsory sun protection in all schools, banning cutting branches off trees, banning dog stools, banning neighbours who leave their blue bins out too long. They invade the internet, invade suburbs, Northcote, North Fitzroy, St Kilda, and maybe soon Footscray (listed as one of the world's coolest neighbourhoods, gentrification?). Further aims include compulsory daily walks, no alcohol until age 21, compulsory weight loss (a favourite), and others yet to be announced, including no doubt, vaping. Primary purpose of these types? Self, almost always, self, and housing prices. 



My billy lids, grandkids, went to Greece again this year; wanted me to go - said it would be good for me. They always say that. Children always know what’s good for parents. I find long cramped travel painful, so business class or not at all. $8,000? They're kidding. I did not have to experience 42 hours flying, [6 take-offs and landings], hours of airport waiting surveying useless items, paying through the nose for food and coffee; 16 hours on the boring ferries, and suitcase living. To top it all off I got 6 weeks of wonderful, albeit freezing, solitude. Not one contradiction in 6 weeks. How good is that? 



Television shows, Gogglebox? Hard to believe people watch this stuff and nonsense. Me? Series 19 episode 2, Silent Witness. Forensic pathology expert Doctor Nikki Alexander (Emilia Fox) was charged with murder. After watching Nikki stick her nose in where it rarely belongs episode after episode, solving almost everything accompanied by slow thinking detectives, it was quite wonderful to see her locked up in a prison cell charged with murder. True, only lasted for 20 minutes, and true, when released Nikki was back to her intrusive best, but for me, it was 20 minutes of pure pleasure...Final episode of Eddie McGuire's Footy Show last Wednesday, also The Front Bar Thursday, pathetic. Both rated highly, no doubt Richmond supporters. Mick Molloy, showing his true character, nasty about those mighty magpies? All over thank goodness. Back to Midsomer Murders? 



The new Nationalism, the world over. Imagine, every day is Australia Day. The nightmare?...Our PM warning children against "needless climate anxiety'? Obviously this does not include the Christmas Island kids?...ABC's The Drum with Greg Sheridan and any of the Sydney councillors; immediately delete on sighting!...Magpies 2020. Assuming Jordan De Goey, Tom Langdon, Dayne Beams and Mason Cox are fully fit, lookout, unless of course we are robbed again, re Qualifying final last week...Fear, dread and anxiety, hidden, but there, hidden, nevertheless. Is there an answer? Possibly, writing can help. PTSD, as a result, of the result, again, that Qualifying final, has finally abated?...All the experts (?) predict climate change and terrorism as the biggest threats to our long term security. I’d include politicians, certain journalists, non-Collingwood supporters and sometimes rampant feminism. No? Just a thought...Love is the answer, but while you're waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions. [Woody Allen]...With the upmost respect, at the end of the day, we are where we are? [Greg Hunt]...Again, congratulations to those bloody Tigers. Keep yourselves nice. Try not to converse with Richmond supporters, particularly those who use the word 'we' rather than 'they'. A bad loser? Nah, only joking..."Some things are of that nature as to make One's fancy chuckle while his heart doth ache" [Bunyan]...Hooroo...ello8 



A Grain of Salt. 22nd September.

Spring, and a small sample of the hot weather, thankfully no early sightings of arachnids. The Ensuring Integrity Bill registration, a nonsense, specifically Morrison's efforts to stick it up the Unions. Our PM is surely wetting himself with the efforts of Jacqui Lambie against John Setka, helped along with additional (similar) generalisations from Rosie Batty and (now AFL football expert) Jon Faine, also the evermore Jenna Price (The Age) and other Unions in-fighting. Scott Morrison, our PM (and expert on managing a Seinfeld government, about nothing) looks us in the face and lies "I never said Shanghai Sam", despite saying it 17 times. [George Constanza (Seinfeld) "It’s not a lie if you believe it"]. Maybe Morrison missed his calling; as an actor? Looking at two episodes of Seachange (Channel9) it's not too far from the reality. Jacqui Lambie "calls it out for what it is" or perhaps what Jacqui thinks it is? Never forgetting the Pauline Hanson led inquiry into family law. (Women tell lies?) said our Princess, peppered with her personal anecdotes. That should do the trick? Glory be. 



Nice to see our leaders doing their best for Australians in trouble overseas, held in Iran. The Prime Minister said Australia’s decision to contribute to a US-led mission in the Strait of Hormuz (frigate, surveillance aircraft) aimed at protecting freedom of navigation in the Gulf region, demonstrating that Australia is “always prepared to do the heavy lifting when it comes to our alliance partnerships”. Considering the possibility it's payback because we sent the ship overseas? Then we have Julian Assange. A UK judge has deemed WikiLeak’s editor Julian ‘‘a flight risk’’ so he is to be kept locked up in jail after his term ends. English justice or politics? Both. We should talk? We feel for Julian. A triptych - J.Assange, J.Setka, the Biloela Tamil family. 



Compulsory drug tests, cashless welfare cards, Robodebt and Newstart, which forms our Prime Minister's stated belief in "compassionate conservatism." Tony Blair: "The only difference between compassionate conservatism and conservatism is that under compassionate conservatism they tell you they're not going to help you but they're really sorry about it." And what of our budget surplus? A joke, a figures juggling act. $4 billion owing to the NDIS (they can wait?), thousands more jobs (apparently, if they work for one or more hours it's counted as a job?) with no increase in retail spending, and (believe it or not) under employment went UP? Fantasy of course, the budget that is, and far far away from real economic management. The good news? Our PM, according to Donald Trump, is a man of titanium? A feel good Aussie government, titanium and (Peter Dutton) sensitivity.



And Collingwood? A sad loss and a deserved GWS win. Why Ben Reid and not Travis Varcoe? It's one thing to be beaten by 4 points, another altogether to listen to the after the game summary from the joyful trio of Garry Lyon, Jonathan Brown and Paul Roos, in particular the last two, going on and on in allowing Josh Thomas a goal for Collingwood after it appeared touched, no mention of Scott Pendlebury's disallowed goal or Chris Mayne's or Jeremy Finlayson's in the third quarter when he pushed Brodie Grundy in the back. How they claim to be unbiased is beyond me. They should be ashamed to take the money. Out-coached anyway. That said, we  move on. At least Melbourne Storm won. 



Well well well, 83 and a half, today. "How good is that?" After passing 80 one counts birthdays in half years. Who won World War 2? As a kid I thought it was 'us' the Aussie (take no nonsense) soldiers. Indoctrinated or brainwashed, take your pick. Dad came home after 4 years on the frontline thankful for the Yanks, which sat with me for years. Later still, maybe the Russians, Hitler's mistake, attacking them before taking down England? Now, likely the Russians, specifically Russian women. My point? None really, or perhaps those mind changes occurring over the decades. Back in 1955, National Service 5 months, I teamed up with another chap from Tasmania, Billy. We became close. He was under considerable stress because he was missing his home. Weird stuff, in those times usually put down to being a baby, ignored, but Billy was different. He became a mate. I was chatting with my son recently and voicing what many had said of our past in terms of mental health, along the lines of "none of these pressures happened in our day". My son said I was wrong; it was always thus. So what does that make me? "Naive" he said, charming? Along comes AFL premiership player Tom Boyd, speaking at length for the first time about his mental health struggles and reasons for quitting the game, including homesickness. My mind wandered back to my Tassie mate. I could not understand why anyone could be homesick, but nevertheless spent many times trying to comfort Billy's depression, only succeeding up to a point late in the 5 months stint. I've never felt homesick while away (5 months National Service, touring plays, away interstate with friends). So be it, but doing my best for Billy, fascinated how anyone could be (what I always thought) was a form of sooking, despite our mate status? True, home had its uses, like Mum doing all my washing and so on. Naive? Fair cop. I was wrong, again?



Bullies. I was bullied at central school and high school. People will tell you "sooner or later you have to stand up, fight back". What if you can't? There's always a mongrel lurking. So if that particular mongrel is certain to bash the daylights out of you what to do, cop it? Being of the male variety I didn't have the option of yelling Mum, who more than likely would have taken action and embarrassed me. At central school I had a type of bodyguard who took the mongrel out for me. At high school I copped it, about 3 times a week year 11, playing dumb, ever smiling, bored him eventually. By the time National Service came around I had learnt a successful remedy. Get yourself in with the right people. Never suck up. Friendly, neutral, never judgemental. Should I have taken boxing lessons? Possibly, but likely useless without a violence strain. Anyway, I prided myself on my two beautiful hands. Maybe I attracted bullies? In life after school the same type of thing. My group of friends were all of sporting prowess, particularly football and cricket, whereas I had none, though much to say on matters of football, horse racing and politics. Perhaps I had too much to say, in the light of my ordinary-ness in the sporting field, and outspoken in all subjects without those important (at that time) sporting qualifications, and a deep suspicion from others that I couldn't fight my way out of a paper bag? Belted up only twice. Easy. Go to ground and stay there. No kicking in my day.  



Nicola Gobbo unlikely to front the royal commission public inquiry to give evidence, diagnosed with severe stress disorder and had chronic head pain. Her mental anguish was exacerbated by ‘‘security issues’’ and it meant she could not take the stand. Another Cathy Jackson? How do they do it? Pinch a bar of chocolate from a 7-11 and it's goodnight Irene. Know the right people and you're home free?



Barnaby Joyce now into his second year as Drought Envoy?...The ever increasing vive la difference? Housing prices, static wages...It’s still illegal to have an abortion in NSW. A Liberal government in name only....Israel elections, Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges; whatever the result, pity the Palestinians?...I’m told painters (Archibald portrait prize) must ‘look into their soul’?...Totalitarianism and the Victorian push for facial recognition? Isn't that my mush on my driver licence?...What's more dangerous, the atom bomb, or drones?...Personal budget: Quarterly electricity bill, an increase of $5 a week. Adjustment; no RSL visit on Sundays, surplus maintained?...Bushwalkers, who can understand them?...Climate change (Harrison Ford) "Those least responsible will bear the greatest cost"...Finally, from Scott Morrison "I called the royal commission because I wanted to shine a light on the aged-care industry"...Hooroo...ello8



A Grain of Salt. Spring. 15th September.

Another week, marked by the return of walkabout politicians to Canberra and a re-launch of the 'blame Labor' game. Morrison "I like to set tests for the Labor Party" IE: Wedging. [John Hewson: "Wedging will get Morrison a standing ovation at a Liberal Party state executive meeting – but it won't deliver good government.] True. The reality, however, is to expect nothing from either party before (say?) next March. Morrison  will continue to play his silly baiting games, Dutton will do likewise with his totalitarian policies, (Manus, Nauru, Christmas Island, in our name?) and Albanese will be too busy searching for policies. A form of marking time before yet another (the Christmas) break. It would appear any new policies this government do bring to our attention are policies specifically designed to annoy the Labor party, so the government can continue on their merry way with the bottom line of their real intention, being a form of government in opposition, intimidation obviously the key word; Robodebt, Newstart. Drug testings in particular, surely hot air doomed to failure in the positive sense, and a clear indication of government disrespect, transferred (in many cases) to the general public feeling for less fortunate fellow Australians, particularly the many thousands who believe what they read from the likes of Rupert's media et al. What is it, 7 years in government? The economy? And still it's Labor's fault? More importantly - despite all the screaming, no climate policy? In a logical world one would think letting the Newstart drug testing go through would do more damage to the Liberal party? No way. Sadly, the media (and Scotty) would blame Labor, despite the cause (Scotty) staring them in the face. It is what it is, for now. [Dole recipients who are selected to take part in the Coalition’s welfare drug test trial but refuse to take a drug test will have their payments cancelled, so says the Morrison government. An extension of Robodebt, lambs to the slaughter?] And so on and so forth.



Vale Danny. Danny Frawley left us last Monday, champion footballer, Richmond coach, regular co-host on Foxtel's 'Bounce' and generally a true believer in helping others. Obviously much loved in the AFL's 'who's who' world. Impossible to dislike the man despite his annoying tendency to be a leader in the verbal tsunami area. I've had a go at him a few times, mainly his antics on 'Bounce', a show I've watched half a dozen times coming off the late Sunday AFL match, each time deleting after 10 minutes as rubbish television, no offence intended, supposedly funny, decidedly unfunny, apparently popular with football followers generally, who is to know? A tragic end to a gentleman, too young. ‘Always look on the bright side of life.’ Sadly, not always. All players, umpires and AFL officials wearing black armbands in the two semi-finals, a shade over the top for mine, enough a brief silence before the national anthem? On the other hand the connection with mental illness. At times the AFL is to be congratulated. Sometimes however, I see an imbalance between the good, as in a celebration of a fine man and athlete, and the Australian public (other than a minority and the Biloela residents) ignoring the dreadful behaviour of our Prime Minister and his instructor (Peter Dutton) whisking away the Tamil family to a virtual prison on Christmas Island before being kicked out of Australia. Somewhere along the line we've lost the thread?



Alternatively. The media. Fox sport, Herald Sun, Channel 7. A perfect example of 'the more they get the more they want'. Calling the tune right left and centre is one thing, carrying on like pork chops if the AFL Executive doesn't agree with them is another. They get on their blowers and appeal to the public, and in the reliable public come, like flies, bias, bias, and more bias. They (the media) suck up to coaches, certain favourite players, favourite teams, for allowing them access, more access, always striving for more. Interviewing a captain on his way to tossing the coin? How much more? Surely not the lavatory, the showers, but don't bet on it? The players, if not already, turning into robots. Supreme athletes, running into each other with gay abandon, bodies on the line. Toby Greene, particularly his future, damned forever, but AFL forgiven after a moment of extreme stress, a melee, hands and legs flying every which way. Supporters of 15 other clubs, in like Flynn, or more aptly, vultures. Is he worse than the now much loved Dermott Brereton, or Andrew Gaff, or Steven Baker? Sheep incorporated. Why is it when the AFL finals arrive the umpires lose their whistles and it becomes a slugfest, survival of the most brutish? Is good football now reduced to blood and guts, the colosseum sort of thing? OK. So I'm no different, bias wise. Collingwood face GWS Saturday. Would have preferred Brisbane, less likely to belt us up? Either way, Richmond looking good. A trip to the phone after Collingwood lose, cancelling Fox Sport, a saving of $29 a month, or 25 cigarettes.



Former working class Tasmanian representative, now Miss Bourgeois, Jacqui Lambie, as in 'tickets on herself' of late into her form of verbal tsunami. Slogans on almost every of her particular issues - "It's as simple as that. It's un-Australian". Pandering to gimmickry in argument and no shortage of colourful language. The calls for politicians to be subjected to drug and alcohol testing misses the point. Her demand for her support for the proposed bill to randomly drug test welfare recipients, politicians should also be drug and alcohol tested, so illogical it’s farcical. And obviously her John Setka nonsense, ignoring the wishes of his Union. Be hilarious to see ASADA enter into Question Time on one of those rare sitting days to drug test Jacqui and Scotty. Welfare is punitive and victim blaming, as Morrison is well aware, Jacqui's preparedness to take down thousands of working Australians to defeat John Setka? Heading towards a Liberal Party aperitif similar to Greens voters. Pipe down lady.   


They've thrown the baby out but lets not drain the bath. Good policies leading to the last election (negative gearing and capital gains tax) remain so and should be re-focussed come the 2022 election. The cruncher was of course franking credits, the real welfare recipients. Too much too soon possibly, but let's not forget Labor muddied the waters with other insignificant policies, the media complicit in bad mouthing Bill Shorten and the big fellow's (Clive Palmer) millions anti-Labor investment. Last I heard Morrison's government had a two seat majority, and one of them was the Speaker? 


Champagne cricket writer Greg Baum: "Bowling to Smith in 2019 is like giving advice to Donald Trump, or a warning to Xi Jinping, or a comb to Boris Johnson. I've got a line for Scott Morrison, too, but I have to get back into the country." 


Keeping faith? If Scotty's lot strive for a surplus his followers do likewise, banking their tax bill savings, thus, no trickle down, as expected?...Racism, Mister Morrison, is also known as condescending superiority. [Let's be honest, with deputy PM Michael McCormack (the brain machine) it's not as if he's protecting his back, or his farmers.]....What is a genre? Why some films and not others? Watching Graeme Blundell introduce films on Fox Classics some receive his 'genre' stamp, not others? [And then there's 'noir'?].....Casualization, the death nell to Unions, and workers generally...Whatever happened to Kathy Jackson, obviously a lady who knows the right people?...Chris Ullmann, political editor for Nine News and PM Scott (Seldom Seen) Morrison's man?..."Drug testing is about compassion, not hatred." [Greg Morton, Assistant minister to the Prime Minister] Nonsense Greg....Boris Johnson, a fruitcake, overloaded with arrogance, entitlement...I was never a fan of Wayne Swan but to deny Kevin Rudd and Wayne saved us from the last GFC is accept your 'duffer' status...Chadstone is history for many, all roads leading to opportunity shops, via Foodbank Australia....The last episode of Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell next Wednesday. A jewel in an ocean of nothingness. Great stuff. Be there...“Basically, when you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you.” [Buffett]... Hooroo...Ello8.





A Grain of Salt. Spring. 8th September.

Collingwood won. Abba dabba. Another week without the need for a 2ml valium? Healthy choices and a healthy body. "If we can all start looking for things that motivate us to be healthy that have nothing to do with appearance, learn to look critically at the multitudes of programs selling us beauty, and find a way for our society to empower us to make healthy choices, it will lead us closer to true health than the pursuit of a summer body ever can." [Dr Nikki Stamp]. Nikki got good money (from The Age) to write this nonsense? So nice to start the week off with love. Alternatively, a healthy body without a healthy mind can be a problem in the matter of choices? Beauty lies within, in my case well within, but sometimes a haircut can help? Confused, no doubt, emphasis on the conundrum of a heathy mind. A society based on respect and peace, rather than power, greed and good looks. Maybe put my teeth in? Moving on... 



The promised tax cuts windfall, the much needed boost to the retail sector: Shoppers closed their wallets in July, pocketing cash or paying off debt with more than $3 billion in tax cuts that had been deposited into bank accounts, leaving retailers watching on as sales fell across the country. You have to hand it to our Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, looking us straight into our starry eyes as he competently handles the economic policies of our government. Not to worry says Josh (doubtful at best) looking forward to the September figures.



Oligarchy? One wonders why all the screaming out on behalf of the persecuted Tamil family in detention on Christmas Island? The responses from Morrison and Dutton are consistent, albeit hypocritical, including the release of news (coincidence?) of a boat full of refugees. Australians concerned? Sadly, not nearly concerned enough. Scotty: ‘‘The welfare of others, to fight for a fair go for every one to fulfil their human potential and to remove whatever unjust obstacles stand in there way, be generous in spirit to share our good fortune with others out of compassion and a desire of justice.’’ A tsunami of more nonsense. Peter, on the other hand, is rightly worried about the mental health of our sailers after spotting body parts out there at sea. Did our Peter spot them or perhaps word of mouth from a naval captain? And along trots another darling, our Amanda (Vanstone) in a second The Age piece in a week, championing her two heroes. Amanda should know; did a similar thing to a family years ago in her Immigration portfolio. God almighty. [On election night last May, Morrison gave thanks to the ‘‘quiet Australians’’. They had ‘‘won a great victory’’. As to the others, well, they’re losers. And so a family is chucked out, their pleas falling on deaf, callous ears...Warwick McFadyen]. 



What is the point of these Australian Federal Police raids? Whistleblowers begone, or to warn all of us to keep our thoughts to ourselves? Is it really a security threat or more a case of flexing their muscles to like it or lump it? Ever so sadly, we are at the mercy of the majority of Australian voters, those flying flags on Australia Day, as in the Morrison/Dutton attitude to like them and so on. Mind you, with all that power (Peter Dutton) he runs the risk his army (for want of a better name) could phase into the Manilla situation and Rodrigo Duterte's soldiers? Or America's CIA? No? The AFP are human beings and we all know the percentages (of dickheads) among human beings. And sadly, not only the dickheads. I think back, way way back, marriage, a job, kids and Collingwood. Indoctrinated, a way of life, through Mum, Dad, products of the Depression, leading my way with nary a second thought. Followed by nationalism, protectionism, anti-communism. Along came books, along came George Orwell, the fantasy of 1984, or was it, a cell full of rats. Fairytales no more?


Bought my first football book Saturday, "Dane Swan", down from $45 to $13. Got to about 50 pages, maybe to return after I've got through all of Shakespeare's sonnets, poems. Got me thinking on life's influences as a kid. Didn't know the old man until around 10 (away at WW2). He'd take me outside and go through all those stars, the milky way the solar system. Lost me. Still, we all seem to be products of those early years without knowing it at the time, in fact, as I now see it, resulting in a form of product resulting in our own particular uniqueness. He succeeded in gardening, giving us problems, maths and logic (sisters and brothers I have none etc). True, a bit late in life to realise this, but even at 83, nice to look at, good or bad, to sort of gain a deeper understanding of how our personalities evolved. Mum of course gave us Collingwood, the 1930's depression, the snobbery of class distinction. No intention here to bore the reader, merely mentioning, a result of a pleasant Sunday morning after another Collingwood victory.     



Mandatory drug testing for people on government benefits. Big brother is stalking! Offset the drug users applying for Newstart and (as always) generally bad mouthing those of us on benefits? Add in our wonderful (inspirational?) Prime Minister "We are absolutely committed to press freedom and we are absolutely committed to every Australian being subject to the rule of law." 774 ABC, Sundays. Macca. “This is a wonderful country Macca full of wonderful people”. Many of Macca's callers living in that mysterious world of Lah Lah land; good for them. Not everyone. The Sri Lankan family, Christmas Island. Whistle blowers, witness K, Collaery. Right wing manipulated racial anxiety. Christians? Freedom of information blockages? Opposition gone walkabout. Barrie Cassidy gone, Jon Faine to follow. Check under your blanket peoples. A police state looms. 



Not fascist enough? Sarah Henderson’s attempt for a senate seat to replace Mitch [high art] Fifield, copping expected abuse from social (religious?) conservatives for supporting same sex marriage in the Turnbull years. Reminded of Tim Fischer passing away with the finest of farewell's from both sides of politics. Well done Tim. And then, I was never a fan of Tim, his stance on native policy and homosexuals not my cup of coffee. 



A Thursday escape: Powerball at $100 million. Whenever it gets to the century I take time out for a 15 minute fantasy, normally pausing Midsomer Murders around 8pm. Chances of winning 99.99% zero, but what to do if I win, being 83 years old and realistically not up to anything exciting late in life? Obviously the first order of business is to ensure no-one knows, unregistered ticket. Quiet, unnoticeable security upgrades, in my two bedroom unit, opposite the RSL. A Pride Sportsrider Mobility Scooter for easy across the road and Woolworths travel? Concrete the back garden, attach a portable arrangement (mini house) at the back door for added useable space and female visitors? A separate area in the emergency room at Rosebud hospital with a real kingsize single bed and a locked drawer for my serepax and 2ml valiums, in return for the cost and a fixed monthly direct debit? New shoes? 



What exactly is Australia's China policy? Haha. That's easy. Answer: Whatever Donald Trump, via Rupert Murdoch decides it is...Cigarette prices up at $1.35 per smoko. Patiently awaiting a Woolworths 'special' on Spam...A budget surplus is a book figure, and a lie, or if it suits a fallible mind, think along the lines of paying Peter and Paul...An appeal to non smokers. Vaping is risky. Kindly do not practice this in the dedicated smoking areas...The Drum ABC, last week. Two great shows hosted by Ellen Fanning. Viva la difference...Leigh Sales (ABC 7.30) comes out against a male kissing her in public without authorisation. Good girl. Much more interesting than the bland stuff being served up of late on her show...My favourite question for RSL liberal voters: "What are your party's policies?"...High-viz vests for WE old folks? No problem. Send me one, free, 2xxl...If Adam Goodes and Stan Grant came out  with their opinions of the Morrison government's attitude to race relations I'd be more likely to listen to them...I liked this one from The Age. "Claytons Christianity abounds"...When I was a kid the smart kids (ex the year 8 central school) went to Northcote high school. The not so smart kids went to Collingwood technical school. Turned out the not so smart were the smartest?...“If someone incites violence, with the intention that violence should occur, how can they justify that under free speech?” [Peter Wertheim]. Couldn't agree more... "Boris is good, everyone's great. It's a great country...get on with it" [Shane Plato Warne]..."Never think about any one thing for too long. [Cliff Ellen]...Hooroo...Ello8.  



A Grain of Salt. Spring.

The good news? Winter is over. The bad? Quarterly electricity bill, rates due. Maybe chop out 5 cigarettes a day equals $40 a week; piece of cake, a financial genius. What? (Sorry, I beg your pardon?) Stop smoking? Brilliant idea, forgetting the nervous breakdown certainty. I'll take the odds, 4 years over the average age for males, shooting for another 7 @ 90 years. Additional health (longer life) tips - vegan, organic, gluten free, automatically avoided. Surely by then we will have seen the backside of our current Prime Minister, renamed Seldom-Seen. Spends so much time overseas maybe he should stay there? Maybe go walkabout in the New Guinea jungle? But wait! Then we would have to stomach our deputy PM - Michael McCormack, the brain (brainless?) machine, or Peter Dutton, or Greg Hunt? ScoMo to the rescue. A warship to the Gulf to de-esculate, shouldn't it be escalate? Royal commissions; into banks, child abuse, aged care, the Murray-Darling Basin, mental health. Locally revelations associated with Crown casino, the recycling crisis, franchise cheats, wage theft, education scams and defective (Federation Square) buildings. Despite the overwhelming evidence to abolish robodebt, the government refuses to do so. A flawed scheme contrary to basic legal principles, (guilty before innocence). As Northcote cricketer Bill Lawry would say: "It's all happening". So,  what of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese. Who? Clive Palmer has a lot to answer for. Talking of cricket, 2nd test, a last day disaster. I sort of suspected it halfway through that day, signs of the approaching Collywobbles. Hoping (but not confident) those magpies can give it to Geelong next Friday, despite  the inclusion of Darcy Moore, likely to exit injured with one bump from Geelong's Tom Hawkins. So be it. If we (they) lose we should beat the winner of West Coast/Essendon. I don't mind so much if Geelong wins, at least a second chance. It's their coach I find hard to take, with strong memories of he (and his brother) playing for Brisbane and their on field hoodlum tactics. Whatever, we look forward to Spring, sunshine, miniskirts. 



Anthony Albanese’s pathetic stance against John Setka, supposedly as a domestic violence issue, is a nonsense. All done and dusted by a magistrate. I'm not for or against Setka, but if Albanese has a case (expelled from the Labor Party) give us some facts rather than adopting a Scott Morrison style. 



Shannon Pufahl  - Paris Review, edited...The strategies used by casinos and gaming machines are some of the same used by social media sites and other algorithm-based economies that rely on advertising revenue and personal disclosure. The psychological and technical systems originally built for casinos have found great admirers in Silicon Valley, where slots are seen for what they are: loud, lighted Skinner boxes. The goal of the casino is virtually the same as that of dating apps, Twitter, and iPhone games: to trap the user in a ludic loop of loss and pleasure, approval and refusal. The long, daily boredom of life interrupted, suspended by improbability, yet filled with obstacles and choices of real consequence. But every quarter or dollar chip, every spin or deal, is a single door opening into the future, a future emptied of everything but that one outcome, win or lose. How many people are walking the earth this very moment hoping for that feeling? As Jia Tolentino put it in the April 29 issue of The New Yorker, such platforms “encourage compulsive use by offering forms of social approval […] as though you’re playing a slot machine that tells you whether or not people love you.” Always a pleasure to read the intellectual stuff, makes me feel a part of the pattern, a second cousin, sort of. Indeed. Love, as always, is the answer. So I'm told. 



Well done GWS's Stephen Coniglio. I wonder about our highly paid AFL footballers and “keeping their options open” comments. The more they get the more loyalty flies out the window. I don’t buy the “we’re only at our best for a few years; get what’s on offer” reasons. We’re talking many thousands of dollars, paying for next to nothing, treated like royalty but not enough apparently for a mansion in Brighton and a ferrari motor vehicle, or perhaps they have that already and are simply angling for a holiday shack at Portsea? They earn more in one year than most of us earn in a decade or three. I’m a big fan of the one club career footballers, the rewards obvious; apparently not to the commentators. You can’t beat lifestyle. Money doesn’t necessarily equate with better. 


Is it me, a casualty of the ageing process? Began at 12; 71 years fighting those low lifers, one way or another. Time to opt out? Peter Dutton rules the waves, another (Christian Porter) inferring fear of the LGBTQUIA community (Religious Discrimination Act?), the rise of facism, racism; across those waves, Rodrigo Duterte, a hero (?) with his gestapo police licensed to kill, and ScoMo lording it in East Timor and those whistleblowers. Then there's Boris and Donald. Bring on the football finals, breathe easily, from the diaphragm. [Alternatively, thinking back to McCarthyism, 1950's, and all those FBI agents spending their days taking note of the thousands of critical letters to the editor writers across the USA, upgraded to China today, ASIO Australia here, noting Joe McCarthy died in 1957, we live in hope?] Having said that, the old "hope springs eternal" is fast becoming a mirage.  



Don't you love it when they say "A wide range of discussions on the (fantasy?) table on a whole range of issues"...Those SUV drivers. So confident, safe, superior, way way up there, above the ceiling, of my Toyota Corolla...I passed my Intermediate, year 8 and Leaving certificate, year 11, without the intrusion of teachers...The 3 Stooges: Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Scott Morrison?...China insists Australia should respect China’s sovereignty and stop interfering. Ditto U S of A and ditto Australia, East Timor...Vaping? Currently RSL members are using the dedicated smoking area to practice their hazing habit. They should be banned, the as yet unknown damage to our health, not to mention peace of mind?...The designer of those All-Australian jackets (AFL football) should be sacked. Today (Sunday 1st September) I am watching all Collingwood's appearances in last years finals, except the Grand Final. Salt and vinegar potato chips, a stubby or two....Hooroo...Ello8.



24th August. 2019

The each way conundrum, old age: One can wonder if the psychological inconvenience of guilt is at a higher level without the consolation of absolution? Guilt is a matter of degrees, surely, with the certain knowledge we all have our share. Does this bar me from the opportunity to go gentle into the night? [OK. OK. I've been watching The Crusades SBS on the self righteousness of those Christians and the justified killings of moslems way back in the 11th century. The obvious brainwashing effect from day 1 of civilisation, till the present and our antics in Canberra, Tuvalu, et al]. How  about cultural snobbery? We're all trained (in one way or another, unsuspected) and without realising it throw off images of the past in favour of our preoccupation with the present? Perhaps, at another level, how can one look on a Carlton supporter as someone with a brain? 


Why the guilt thing, absolution? Winter - almost over. Now, at least, with my 4 hours sleep (recommended 7-8 hours nightly) I can ponder rather than freezing. A final message to those do gooders/advisers "Button your lips". Everything's genetic, whatever that means. Born 1936, average age 67, now 79 (men) so I’m 4 years in front. To the op-shop, buy up on books. Stay with Facebook, The Age, The Guardian Fox Footy (until we lose) online, sport  mainly, the odd comment.   


From my blog 2007: Mount Martha north beach boxes? "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, or...Sheikh Hilali? They keep telling me the project will be 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?"


Was Cardinal George guilty? I didn't see it that way from what I read, but of course I wasn't there, in the courtroom. What is obvious is George knowingly switching known pedophile catholic priests to different diocese to protect his church at the expense of lifelong damage to those children. A type of manslaughter? 


Whinge, whinge whinge and so on. Wind farms, their precious views, railway crossings, skyrail, traders profits. Hey, I live in Rye, no rail line, no wind farm, minimum view of fences front and back. No problems. Precious pissants? 


Van Basham: “The IPA/Liberal “argument” is - stop me if you’ve heard this one before - that lowering wages will just magically create more jobs! Remember they used this line to argue to cut penalty rates? And how many jobs were created when that happened? Two years later, we found that it was... none. Zero. Nought. Money was taken out of the economy, life become harder for working people and NOT A SINGLE JOB was created.”


The mighty magpies. Mightier still if they trade Darcy Moore…Why complain against Alan Jones? He lives in Sydney, surely par for the course. We have our own problem; Neil Mitchell...Jeff Thomson and Jofra Archer; bastard bowling, should be banned..Frank Sinatra's Mt Way is apparently a favourite at funerals. Men's or wonen's? I'm a Stones man "You Can't always get what you want"....Hooroo.



A Grain of Salt. 19th August. 2019

The current political situation? Can it go any lower? "No policy. Designed to wedge the opposition" [Barrie Cassidy, spot on as always]. GetUp a no go says Scotty. Yeah, and the IPA? Scott Morrison and his government are an embarrassment. The Pacific Islands Conference a farce. Deputy PM Michael McCormack to keep up the insults with his astonishing comment that Pacific island nations affected by the climate crisis would continue to survive ‘‘because many of their workers come here to pick our fruit’’? ABC offices and the home of a News Corp journalist were raided - for stories that had nothing to do with national security? A government who also loathes each other? The Labor Party, in particular, now needs to show more spine. With this mob calling the shots (and presently in the process of demanding our public service do likewise or be sub-contracted out, along the lines of "You're either with us or against us", and adding in the departure of Barrie and soon Jon Faine a lot is resting on the shoulders of Patricia Karvelas. The only certainty is the appearance of Collingwood in two more matches season 2019. "And so it goes" said Mark Twain, or was it Kurt Vonnegut? No matter. Both wonderful writers up there with John le Carré's two books appropriate to our current leaders, The Perfect Spy and The Tailor of Panama. [An Australian, who lives in Guangdong, China, complaining about Hong Kong protesters (to CNN) because his flight is delayed - "They should learn their place".] Enough said. And for good measure - United States Studies Centre has warned, arguing Australia must move towards a shared reliance on a network of allies, in particular Asian militaries such as Japan, for its security? Moving on, ignoring the monkeys in charge, though slightly stressed, ever onwards...



A third viewing and staying with the ABC's Les Norton despite its Sydney origins. Over the top characters, a type of farce, an underlying truth of Kings Cross way back when, if not now, a small step down (or up?) from Richard Roxburgh's Rake. True, caricatures, and sometimes the dialogue is mumbled, but once you let it flow it doesn't seem to matter, up to a point. Should go well, particularly considering Coles Radio now tops the list of Australian digital radio listeners? What confuses is why those who watch and love The Handmaid's Tale turn their noses up at Les Norton? Mind you The Hunting SBS is better, (again with Roxburgh, a cool performer) albeit the need for 100 pauses an episode to read the text messages. The good news? Both  Aussie shows are better than 9's Seachange and SBS free to air movie channel replayed the outstanding Leon: The professional with the wonderful Jean Reno, also Gary Oldman, and Natalie Portman. So? After dark, at 83, homebound, the search for entertainment, other than Collingwood replayed victories. 



ABC former newsreader Ian Henderson turned 66 last week and was talking on radio of the benefits of living to an old age, food, exercises, the usual story. Presented as a sort ambition? Surely ambition has more to it? From an area of expertise, at a mere 66? Nice fellow, basically, proving nothing. We live in a time of age-based discrimination. An ABC fill-in. The bottom line, selfishly (?) Health, aged-care and pensions? Maybe for fairness, wasting time on the study of (possible) harm for toddlers with excessive screen time?



It would seem that if you are rich and famous and have been shown to have taken what was not rightfully yours, then a few grovelling apologies, an ‘‘I am sorry’’, a contrition payment and a large advertisement in a Saturday paper can be used to seek forgiveness. Will the same be available to all others who have taken what is not rightfully theirs and have been convicted? Even when that theft is because of a gambling or drug addiction, because they got it wrong, or even just because they could. [From The Age, letters]. A reminder of the theory of (genuine) remorse? Often judges considering this feature of the sad person in the dock. A nonsense. Remorse, 99 from 100, is for self, no less. Also brings to mind detectives in those drama series "He was lying". Without evidence, who can tell if a person is lying?



Theatre Works has been unsuccessful in moving to round 2 of the Australia Council 2021-23 funding process. "In expressing our own disappointment, we want also to highlight our deep concern and regret for other organisations and groups that will not have the opportunity to be funded. At this time of very tight arts funding it is more important than ever that the arts community work together to support each other and share resources and knowledge." Sad stuff indeed. A federal government without feeling/appreciation for the benefits of our performing arts. [Ditto our state government's millions into the Regent theatre and Luhrmann's production of Moulin Rouge].



Anthony Hudson calling the Hawthorn Gold Coast Suns game at Marvel stadium. Queried a free kick to the Suns "The crowd agrees" Hey, 99.9% of the crowd were Hawthorn supporters, there for Roughy's last game. And Gary Lyon's comment, when Richmond hit the front against West Coast. "Thoroughly deserved"? Wankers. 



I can convince myself to ignore the greed of bank shareholders by way of housing mortgages, credit cards and bank fees. I can ignore the impossibility of renters ever affording a deposit for a first home, and the ever widening wealth gap. I can convince myself corruption is an overseas thing, all superannuation funds are safe, the real crooks in  Greece, Thailand, Burma, in fact anywhere other than in Australia. I convince myself capitalism is all about democracy and a fair go. Who am I? No idea, but if you agree with these words I'd be concerned for you.



Happiness: A daily diet of radio 3AW, Café Latte locally, a weekly look at Channel 9's Seachange. Up in East Malvern last week, 3 cafes, busy busy busy. Outside tables despite the cold, warmed by female's voices chattering away. Swish males in and out, to one assumes, high level decision making? Perhaps the table chatterers pondering on those odd serious times as to why sex is so simple yet love is so complicated? On the other hand if you happen to be a Short Macchiato type, an even deeper thinker, maybe post on twitter why you voted for Schomo? 



An emboldened China? Yes, same as an emboldened USA? An emboldened Israel?...COMEDY? Mount Martha beach box owners asking for government help to preserve the beach; a mini-me version of Tuvalu and the Pacific Islands Forum?...It’s one thing to think outside the box, another altogether to locate the mythical box...Kind hearts and coronets. Half a billion dollars for Pacific Islands management. Extracted from Scotty's aids budget. A book figure, like the budget...Took a fall recently putting my pants on, no fractures. I put the question: Why do we men always stand up to put our pants on?...Federation Square surely heads the list of the world's most boring subjects?...Those who celebrate a budget surplus celebrate stupidity...Has anything trickled down to you yet?...If a totalitarian super power, China, eventually takes control and I'm still here will I be allowed to continue on Facebook?...I ask myself yet another question: How deep is an in-depth interview?....The late great Polly Farmer. Number 1. Thanks for the memories....Hooroo...www.ello8.com



Grain of Salt. 12th August. 2019

Three days as an eskimo, confined to igloo. Would not venture out the backdoor, the possibility of a sinkhole? Snow at a football match? Surely the coldest spell in my memory. Heavily into self pity, primarily connected with the difficulty of access to the RSL smoking area. Watched the ever reliable ABC News and the sadness of the 18 people killed, others missing, villages evacuated after Typhoon Lekima triggered a landslide in eastern China. A sense of balance returned, a dose of guilt.    



"It's not just a loss for me, it's a loss for all of us, and I'm very very very sorry." [Michaela Banerji, after tweeting criticisms of the government.] Public servants have pleaded for their right to free speech on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. During my 20 years (1953-73) I was under the impression (despite no social media) it was not allowed, as in signing a privacy clause. Were there dirty deeds back then? Always. Part of  the furniture re. Sales tax office, Tax office, ANZ bank, Caltex Oil, the last three in shady deals with bigger bankruptcies, the sales tax office looking after the big bigwigs. Corruption discovered, send the file to Canberra; file disappears, forever. Spoken of within, never with the idea of disclosure. Not restricted to the public service areas either. The racing industry? Corruption thrived, as it does today, everyday. I ignored it. Can't get blood out of a stone, shrines in fact. Work around it, do your best for the everyday sucker, as in most of us. A few beers at the pub, lunchtime, after 5pm. Would I have said my piece if Facebook existed? No! On the other hand, respect for the courage of whistleblowers. 



Bruce Pascoe: "A million fish died in our rivers last summer because billionaires dammed the upper reaches of several major Australian rivers so they could grow cotton. “What about the fish?” we should have asked our government. “What about the trees? What about the downstream farmers? What about Adelaide?” Government again. Nothing more to add for now. Maybe wait for a wind change, either by way of Morrison or (what's his name?) Albanese. The Crown Casino business, crooks from both sides of politics worse than white ants. Staying away until something positive happens, if ever? China, Hong Kong, NDIS, Julian Assange, Nauru/Manus prisoners and Donald Trump. Lost in a Canberra quagmire. People appear to get away with themselves more and more these days, as in an unfounded belief in their own infallibility. Who’s to blame? The infallible few of course. What does it all mean to us? We are flooded with more infallible experts in opposite directions, with confusion the main conclusion. Will my bank pay me my money on demand, and will Centrelink pay my pension? Yes? Good. Thus, I ignore them. My excuse? I'm 83.



AFL commentators: Matty Richardson leads the pack for fatuous comments (no offence), a seemingly nice man nevertheless, closely followed by Tim Watson, also nice enough personality wise. Nick Riewoldt talks sense, the problem being he talks too much, and Paul Roos leans too heavily towards Sydney and Melbourne coupled with his long time bias against Collingwood. The less said about Dermott Brererton the better; he says enough about himself anyway. [Matthew Richardson is unbeaten for useless comments but Tim Watson threw up a challenge in asking Gold Coast Suns chief Mark Evans: “Can you sum up your season in one word?”]. Finally, we can surely do without Gary Lyon calling a Melbourne Collingwood game? Biassed? No doubt. Nathan Buckley says our season is tracking (?) like 2018. He's dreaming. One finals appearance only, for mine. 



Bullies (and schools) are in the news, indeed will always be in the news. Human nature. How to cope with bullies, clearly identifiable at Fawkner Street Central, Northcote High School and Navy National Service. Stay out of their way, be a part of your own group (the nicer group?) and button your lips. Worked for me. Only challenged the once. A member of our nice group (a gentle young giant) stepped in and made a mess of him. Not to say I didn't cop a hiding (or two) outside of the group situation - Glaciarium ice skating - fortunately only a few bruises, no kicking back then. Navy national service, group showering, watch the nuggeting, never interfere. The  real bullies however, the one's one couldn't escape from, were the teachers. Grade 3 was Miss Stewart, biggish, tough. Gave me a few whacks on my thigh (short trousers). Mum saw the welt marks at home, marched to the school, no more whacks. [I sort of felt sorry for Miss Stewart. True, a dreadful bully, but she wasn't to know my mother would give Roberta Williams a run for her money]. Mr Blackie, grade 4, gave me a decent slap across my face in front of the class; saw stars, didn't tell Mum. Mr Rennie, grade 5, would call certain girls (not the tough ones) to his table, examine their work, touch them up. I had front row viewing; poor Dorothy feinted. Mr Baker, form 2 regularly gave out 8 straps with his leather strap. Mr Potter, form 3, knocked Jack Clues from standing next to his double desk right into the next row. Mr Stevens wasn't too bad. He simply made me stand in the hallway outside of the closed classroom door for the whole period. History, British. What's to miss? The prefects were to be avoided, obviously. Strolling the grounds with apples up their backsides. Avoid eye contact.  My crimes, generally? A loud voice.



Do we oldies choose to live this way or is it simply circumstance? In Japan attitudes have changed and remarriage is on the up. It’s one thing to say “I’m set in my ways” but is there a better way? We live longer now. What of companionship, cuddles, kisses, and a more mature vision there is still a future beyond the past? Change on a personal level is a slow process but it can be for our benefit. I see those older people who attend Thursday night forays at the Rye RSL, old time dancing the night away to those wonderful old tunes. Surely they’re not all married. Likely some have simply embraced companionship. Should I seek a partner? If a yes, a few of my requests: She must do the cooking and cleaning (I would food shop and wash the dishes). She must agree to my choice of TV shows Fridays through Sundays (Her choice the rest). She cannot eat apples in my presence and for balance I'll agree only to smoke in my study. Must have more money than me. Must never use my computer. 



Jon Faine, mostly classy, occasionally arrogant, has added a touch of comedy as the sun is setting on his radio career. Never a drama (or football) expert but excused because of his obvious other talents, his pearler with Debi Enker discussing Seachange “Brooke Satchwell stole every scene” went unchallenged? Alongside Kerry Armstrong and Katrina Milosevic? Come on buddy!....I'm not an Amanda Vanstone lover but couldn't help a smile at Greg Hardy's piece in support of Amanda "Fun at frothing readers" (The Age 6/8) and his honing in on the particular "frothers" from Northcote , Brunswick and Castlemaine. The self righteous ones. Spot on.  



Last night I watched the ABC's Sydney farce Les Norton followed by a first look at the upper crust British 1992 classic Howards End. Fascinating, the sameness...Intellectuals I can handle. No problem. Know your limitations. Directors (stage and screen) not so much, an enigma, almost universally in another world. Intellectual or fairy floss? Words like 'genius, insight, mentor, brilliant' lose me. Apparently it worked for Marilyn Monroe, Strasburg. Not for me...The country that first domesticated the cat was Egypt. Mickey Mouse’s first words on film were “Hot Dogs”. Shakespeare’s comedies are not really funny, but at least everyone lives happily ever after, or, despite what the Labour Party thinks “compassion” does not belong just to them...Let's hear it for Steve Smith and Nick Kyrgios...Socialism? "To level and confound the different orders of mankind, is far from producing an equality among them; it is, in truth, the most unequal thing imaginable." [Pliny]...Hooroo...www.ello8.com





A Grain of Salt. 5th August. 2019 

Another 5 week break for parliament. A Winter break? Characters this lot. Would not work in an iron lung? The Ensuring Integrity Bill, a misuse of integrity surely. Getting rid of John Setka and other union officials who may oppose coalition views? Basically to weaken the power base of all unions, already weakened by (mainly) ignorant young workers being underpaid and not realising the significance of union membership. I'm surprised they don't apply it to the ABC? Workers rights? Not from this government. "Everyone deserves a workplace free of harassment and bullying" says Frydenburg, tongue in  cheek, on another matter. I include Josh's words because of the rarity of truth. Added to this Integrity Bill we have the real fascination, as to WHY? If they have a John Setka problem (as has Albanese) why not go after the CFMMEU rather than ALL unions, most of which work for the benefit of their members and in the scheme of things political, harmless, save the odd train strike? Strange indeed. [Literary Award winner Melissa Lacashenko "It fills you with rage to be poor in a rich country and I think that's perfectly legitimate. We need a revolution."]. Not to worry. We have the cricket to calm our nerves. I only barrack for Australia when they play England, only because England (believe it or not) are even more arrogant than the Australians. And Collingwood? Still up there, top 8. Little fish are sweet.



Are you a snob? Of course you're a snob. You can't help being a snob. Everyone's a snob. Far more prevalent than racism. I (and no doubt you, if you think about it) can smell it, everywhere I go. Kindly do not tell me how good you are, allow me to discover your talents, even if, (being a female) hidden? You just have to temper it. Indeed, you temper it a dozen times a week assuming you spend a reasonable time in company. Being a regular RSL visitor I place them, a hidden list. A list, B, C list. I permanently ignore the A's, reasonably nice with the B's, depending, and by and large enjoy the company of the C's. Football is almost always a safe bet for conversation. Politics, religion, the weather. Historical can be enlightening, but careful not to get carried away with past (so called?) achievements. The person you're talking to could well be an ASIO spy? Food obviously, and powerball. You see my point? A plethora of subjects worthy of discussion and assuming we all make a note of it we can chat away for evermore without the need for you to tell me how bloody clever you are? Am I overstating it? Probably. I put this down to all those years listening to bloody actors. Sometimes a swear word is a required addition. One further comment; actors: The type who ask you how they went, theatre, film, television. I put a stop to that one years ago. Simple. Tell the truth. Well, you're truth at least.



Pondering? The Australian Taxation Office’s take on beer will rise again today, up 21 cents a litre on draught and 30 cents a litre for stubbies, cans and longnecks. Australians are paying a greater proportion of their income in beer taxes than any other developed nation. And not only beer re cigarettes, the highest the world over. The percentages of people over 65 living in relative poverty in Australia also leading the world (OECD countries) at 35%, USA 21% and the UK 13.4%, down to France at 3.8%. Ruled by politicians calling on "concern for our heath" as a reason, rather than crooks feathering their own nests with protective superannuation schemes, pay and allowances increases, way beyond our norms. For the fourth consecutive quarter, retail volumes per capita fell and are now 1.4 per cent lower than a year ago suggesting only population growth is keeping the broader retail sector afloat. At last count (2014/2015) one in seven (14%) Australians aged 15 years and over smoked daily, with an additional 2% smoking irregularly. This represents 2.5 million Australians who smoke daily, with more than 200,000 smoking irregularly. Even if there's been a drop it's safe to say some 2 million Australians love a cigarette. At $1.25 a smoke. No wonder people are spending less on food, moire included. The single most important political achievement over the past 40 years has been convincing ‘‘Howard’s Battlers’’ that they themselves are the ‘‘aspirational voters’’ who will benefit from policies that are clearly aimed at upper-income earners and, in doing so, convincing these people to vote against their own interests. An anyway decent policy on climate change (either party) would be a whiff of fresh air. We can only hope. 



The cost of rebuilding the once wonderful Regent theatre and the (hidden) cost of staging Baz Luhrmann's production of Moulin Rouge? Tourism for businesses, forgetting those millions for jobs, creativity in Arts across the board. Yes, I'm aware of Daniel Andrew's arguments for investing our money. I'm also aware of the alternate view of investing this money in Arts companies across Victoria. A wasted opportunity for the common people in favour of the elitists? Possibly overstating it, by a small margin? 



Peter Dutton: Oversight - the Australian Border Force, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre and the Office of Transport Security. Senator Keneally claimed the department had wasted taxpayer money by spending over $450,000 on corporate hospitality, $100,000 on executive office upgrades, $132,000 on motivational speakers and $9 million on a contract with Toll Holdings for accommodation on Manus Island even though the project was abandoned. Senator Keneally also cited an audit office finding in January this year that concluded the department’s Biometric Identification Services Project was “deficient in almost every respect” despite a cost of $34 million. Good old Peter. Hoping he enjoys his Winter break. 



Labor MP Ged Kearney, a former nurse and ACTU president, is seeking a meeting with Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie to plead for her to block the government’s Ensuring Integrity Bill, which will make it easier to disqualify union officials and deregister unions.‘‘No matter what your view is of an individual in the movement, the union movement is greater than one person,’’ Ms Kearney said. ‘‘I don’t think you should sacrifice the whole union movement.’’ The government only needs Ms Lambie’s vote to get the bill through the Senate, after using its majority in the House of Representatives to pass it there on Wednesday. Which way will Jacqui ("I've had a gutful") vote? Depends on her gut. The danger of Jacqui enjoying her own publicity?



Super elitist Mitch Fifield? Documents released under freedom of information legislation show that in February 2017, the government rejected singer, writer and director Robyn Archer, former managing director of SBS Shaun Brown, and Sandra Levy, former chief executive of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. They were on a list of eight names recommended by an independent nomination panel after an extensive application and vetting process. The then communications minister, Mitch Fifield, instead appointed the chair of the Minerals Council of Australia, Vanessa Guthrie. Guthrie had no media experience. May he enjoy his role as Australia's Ambassador to the United Nations.



Donald (trousers) Trump: He reduced taxes for the wealthy, he appointed conservatives to the Supreme Court, he’s boosted military spending, he pulled out of the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear treaty, and he moved the United States embassy to Jerusalem...Not to worry boys and girls. We have the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) to keep tabs (on our behalf/safety) on the performance of the federal police, customs officials and other federal law enforcement bodies, but NOT ministers or politicians...A joint parliamentary committee recommends an increase in Newstart. “Not interested in ‘Unfunded empathy’” says Scotty. Read it and weep....Dreamland - An independent, broad-based, federal anti-corruption watchdog?....Police overseeing police on corruption? They're kidding?...Interviewed by Leigh Sales, a far cry from Kerry O'Brien - George Calombaris "It  wasn't deliberate, it wasn't intentional". Sounds like a Peter Dutton kind of truth? Okay for employers to make an honest (?) blue, more important to hang John Setka, who attacks wage theft?...It seems every time I turn the television on somebody's saying It is what it is? What happened to Such is life?...Barnaby Joyce, tough going on 200 G's per annum, voted against penalty rates?...Questioning the number of injuries at magpieland. On and on. Other than the luck factor it's the game dingbats, the Physicality. Similarly, questioning coaches (wins and losses) who haven't the players anyway?...Liberal proposal to scale back low income workers superannuation, more income, more tax payable?...Swimmer Sharna Jack can't believe how the positive B sample got there, as in her system. Fair enough, she's an Aussie..."How good is the nexus between gambling, crime, foreign interference and Australian politics?" [Peter Hartcher]....Smile! It's near enough to certain you're on candid camera. hooroo...www.ello8.com




🙂A Grain of Salt. 29th July. 2019

From that famous ABC independent film Man and Boy written and directed by the talented (late) John Clarke "God it's cold. Are you cold? I've never been so cold in all me bloody life!" I put on The Rolling Stones, warm up the blood, assuming I still have some; blood that is. You can’t always get what you want. Sex, money? A high roller at Crown Casino and they come together, apparently; Asian sex workers have been flown into Australia on private jets. Nah. Too much like hard work. I'd be spent after the limousine trip from Rye. Maybe better health?The cold cold weather, arriving unannounced Monday June 2nd and has not let up since. Better weather can't arrive quick enough. The human enigma, as in coping, another month. And a day at a time. Brrr.



"Without taking into account all the recommendations from the joint parliamentary security committee, including there be some judicial oversight". 18 recommendations. The government on national security. Dutton’s personal attack on Labor’s Mark Dreyfus. ‘Our’ security says Peter, the meaning of ‘our’?  Everything Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton has proposed the past 6 years has been about increasing HIS power. Nothing to do with democracy, the greater good, likely meaning his own Liberal Party good, pity the poor in the process. One extremely dangerous politician. Can Peter be challenged? Doubtful at best, particularly with the dickhead non-aligned voters at such a high level, many devotees of 3AW, Herald Sun, others, subject to brainwashing, ready to accept a banana is an orange - if Peter Dutton says so. Cartoonists of late having a ball with the suggestion of our PM under the thumb of Sir Peter. Better late than never? The psychology of power, being the leader of a somewhat exclusive group for those 6 long years, a self belief in lying (or in saying naught) for the safety (security) of his country. It could be a good thing if we were given an insight to the reasons, but to tell us nothing implies a form of corruption. Everyone spies on everyone (countries) but we the people are left in the dark. We even enter into the idea of selling arms to other countries? For a while there with Gorbachev things were looking better, peace, humanity sort of thing, sadly not for long. Terrorism to the fore, an upgrading of the nuclear weapons threat, China's emergence, the Israelis, amounting to the increased reality of stupidity, and the possibility (faint, hopefully) of another war involvement.



Nostradamus, (George Orwell) was on the money. The Australian Signals Directorate and access to Australian companies, (and us?). The push for new powers from Home Affairs via Mike Pezzullo, via minister Peter Dutton, serious criminal activity and cyber attacks (and us?). The possibility (certainty?) of a frightening level of surveillance. Strict protection from personal data, strenuous accountability, openness, all guaranteed? Nonsense of course, but nothing we can do about it. Get used to it. [Orsom Welles, one of my few heroes, apparently met Hitler once. Said he had no personality, invisible in fact, sort of anyway, early days one assumes]. [ACT Policing has admitted unlawfully accessing citizens’ metadata 3,365 times, not 116 as previously admitted.]. And so it goes. Moving on... 



My reality: I turn the heating off at lights out, around midnight, a light beanie covering baldness. Around 4.50am I awake, a warm beautiful slumber, dreamland, beanie temporarily mislaid. I consider my options. Search in the dark, extruded right hand, no beanie? If I can quickly get up, turn the heating on (18) a glass of water, another 2 hours sleep. Reach for the phone, turn on the wonderful invention (the phone torch) locate said beanie. Alas, this decision has taken 20 minutes. A strong message from my brain, a need to pee, now. Bugger. The chance of a return to the comfort zone severely reduced. One in ten at best. Ho hum, 6am, up and at 'em, Read The Age, online, once a great newspaper, now a rag. Turn on Triple R 102.7FM. Sleep, catch up early afternoon, the nap. Old age. 



Gambling, for the most part, all forms, can best be described as excessive. Whether they win or lose (for now) those winnings are not fortune’s gift, they are baits, often a pathway to poverty, beggary, stripped penniless, and in want. Many, on a winning run, generous to a fault. Alas, a losing streak and subject to (often) severe mood changes, and the blame game, rarely themselves, the bathroom mirror ignored. No judgement call, merely a comment. They row their own boats. A bit of fun they tell me. A mere $20, a day? Every day or most days? Maybe one day, a week? The big one, the impossible one, beckons, ever a dream - powerball? Awaiting the lucky run, around that invisible corner. We all ever count our own desires as right? 



All (relatively) quiet here on our once fabulous cold Mornington Peninsula. Our Prime Minister (bless him) has apparently instructed his followers to button their lips, obviously not including Peter Dutton. Small shovels of earth to mark the start of the new Rosebud Aquatic Centre, destined to bloom after my demise. We excitedly await news from our own Greg Hunt, including a study of the ageing process at Monash University's existing campus at Frankston. Wow! Those pre-election promises. Stupidly sent his colour brochures to the WPB, assuming a Labor victory. Now I cannot recall his glorious set of promises. Old age.    



Credit where it's due, even from The Greens? Larissa Waters “We have three million Australians that are living in poverty, below the poverty line, on Newstart. You want economic stimulus? Even if you don’t care about the human face of these people — and it’s pretty clear you haven’t so far — you want economic stimulus? Lift Newstart. These people are desperate to spend that money because they don’t actually have enough money to meet their basic needs. This is real people that we’re talking about. I am very embarrassed by the agenda of this government. I think it brings the entire institution into disrepute when we see massive tax cuts handed out to wealthy people, massive corporate tax cuts, favours done for big donors, and ordinary Australians and the environment on which we all rely utterly neglected, and derided, and degraded. The cheek of you. Have some dignity, have some compassion, and please reflect on what your role is in this place.” Spot on sweet Larissa.



Kids are very good at inventing themselves. In some (many?) ways it can grow into an occupation. If nobody invents you for yourself, nothing is left but to invent yourself for others, as we do. Hopefully. Communism, an ideology of power at the expense of some 95% of the rest. A con, the one plus (seemingly) a form of artistic enthusiasm, restricted writers nevertheless. Hitler's fascism similar, with little choice (underground at best) on the rest; either you're with us or against us. I skipped the Adam Goodes documentary. Fair enough the man has had his say, a few times, (assuming it is his say and not further encouragement from the documentary maker and the media), but I see it as hardening racism in some, and encouraging others to think of themselves as educated people, suddenly? The famous "Do Gooders" increase their numbers. I wonder if they're non smokers? Time to move on?



Privatise Medicare? Go jump in a shallow lake...ABC's Mad as Hell, Four Corners. Beacons in a starving landscape of truth, re ABC cuts...A cap on franking credit refunds to double the old age pension? Save millions?...Aussie swimmer Mack Horton's refusal to stand on the podium. Silly boy; surely better ways to express your views. Obviously Mack doesn't follow Australia in the cricket...And the once mighty magpies? A slight slump, hopefully, albeit no Jordan De Goey next week, but the good news; assured of at least one finals appearance. Better than a kick up the backside..."A true artist should put a generous deceit on the spectators, and effect the noblest designs by easy methods" [Burke]...Two pullovers, hooroo...www.ello8.com




🤪A Grain of Salt. 22nd July. 2019

"The cart is shaken all to pieces, and the rugged road is very near its end." [Dickens]. True enough on yet another Monday, particularly today being World Brain Day. Indeed my brain is leading in the selfish cause of my future. I gather it's connected with migraine headaches, sort of appropriate in the woes of my Collingwood football team, yet again "bashed up" on the weekend. More pain certain to follow compliments of Richmond, premiers 2017 and hot premiership favourites almost all of 2018 until beaten by Collingwood in last year's 1st preliminary final. Revenge is sweet, Richmond sweating on a Collingwood loss. The (mysterious) Helpmann Awards have been run and won, a confusing voting system at best, a type of upmarket Logies, with Kev Carmody (who wrote 'From Little Things big things Grow") copping the JC Williamson Award for lifetime achievement. No doubt Kev is a champion bloke like his mate Paul Kelly but (with no sarcasm intended) I know little of either of them, my musical appreciation sort of dropping out around the time of the release of Peter Dutton's theme song by The Police - "Every breath you Take". Showing my age no doubt, obvious enough. I'm a Tuba Skinny man, traditional jazz, from New Orleans. 



I generally wake up Monday mornings wondering (the warmth of the cot, to get out of bed or not, the why) eventually deciding on my raison d'etre, my reason for being. To "say a few words" no matter what. This blog. It's also national pain week, reading something the other day, manifestations of mental illness, can't recall where, likely some psychologist. All feeding into the everlasting intricacies of the blame game, including the 'sitting in judgement' game. According to Jon Faine, to disappear from our airwaves come October. Maybe change my morning listening to 1116 SEN? No chance. Owned by Craig Hutchison, a pain at best. Thankfully not on Footy Classified lately but unthankfully replaced by another weirdo in Damian Barrett. Still, Faine can likewise be a pain, but a degree of class. Virginia trioli? Einstein: "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvellous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day." Fair enough Albert. Saw The Dish Saturday night, Working Dog crowd, classy, replacing the football replay against GWS. Beautiful film. Better than valium. This week in Canberra, where it's not a case of who cannot be trusted in our coalition cabinet, more a case of who can, maybe consider whether or not Christopher Pyne and/or Julie Bishop breached parliamentary standards; no chance, no standards anyway. An increase in Newstart, already indexed twice a year, like the cost of cigarettes? Again no chance, sprouting no doubt on the coalition policies of  creating more than 1.3 million jobs the past year. Where? When? Peter Dutton's showdown over temporary exclusion orders, which would enable him to prevent Australian foreign fighters from returning home for up to two years. Surely our responsibility. Labor to consider (?) as well as the future drought fund bill, $3.9 billion, dangerously perhaps to become a “slush fund”. Morrison, as always, to turn it into a political anti-Labor issue. Whatever, also no chance of Scotty contradicting Peerless Peter. Scotty plain scared of Peter's intellectual prowess? And yet again I'm a monkey's uncle. Albo (you remember Albo?) will back “any number” the government saw fit to attach to drought funding – as long as it could guarantee the money would not be taken from other funding pools. Sounds good, but an unlikely super loose guarantee. Industry Minister Karen Andrews on the cladding disaster "The commonwealth is not an ATM for the states" [Not counting the drought fund, high income earners, self funded retirees, the mining giants and obviously the French submarine manufacturers?] On the other hand the Newstart allowance at $275 a week is not enough to live on, pure and simple. Sadly however, it encourages hundreds of younger people to sit on their backsides looking for nothing less than a job which suits them; a form of bludging. A need to harden up this welfare system where those who really need it (people in their 40's 50's etc sacked and unable to find work) can have a respectable amount (at least an increase in the vicinity of $100 extra) to tide them over. A system to weed out the backside sitters and using the saved monies to  pay for the real needed increase? Again no chance in the short term. One wonders (again) if those voters who voted against Billy Shorten knew what they were voting for.  



Euthanasia, in Victoria. Laws so restricted with the certainty of severe pain and death within 12 months and supported by at least two medicos. Fair enough, a start at least, if little else, but not accounting for those (of us?) in late 80's, 90's unable to perform almost all tasks, eyesight and others ills, many with an active brain but little else, no lifelong friends, all gone to God, sort of being there, waiting for Godot, or God knows who. One suspects in such cases the opportunity to make their farewells in style, albeit a lesser form of style, with family if any to say goodbye, a fantasy of being present at one's own wake. No, not me, yet. While the sun is shining outside (apparently) and I can walk, slowly, 800 steps, happiness prevails. Let's be realistic. Collingwood play The Gold Coast Suns at the MCG in a fortnight. A certain win. That's 12, enough for one finals appearance.  I'll tape it as a positive victory, to watch in the interim, to the beginning of season 2020? Ever onwards? 



More action (rumblings?) on LGBTI rather than the necessity of climate change?...The last time an Australian Prime Minister (Mister Howard) was invited to dinner at the White House many Australians lost their lives...Pauline Hanson on the all white Channel 9 panel to discuss the Uluru climbing ban. For the life of me, I cannot understand why people get some satisfaction with knowing they walked to the top of Uluru?...One has to feel for the Hong Kong protesters. In the long run, they have no chance...A lifetime as a social democrat voting Labor, is it time to support The Greens? Stick with Albanese?...Pasteur "Chance favours only the prepared mind". My mind is presently prepared - for lunch, hooroo...www.ello8.com





🤪A Grain of Salt. 15th July. 2019

"Monday Monday, so good to me". At least it stopped raining, likely temporarily. Sunshine even, albeit 11 bloody degrees. A weekend locked in by constant rain, biting antarctic winds and an effective temperature around 6 degrees. Saved from total gloom by Collingwood's one point victory over West Coast Friday evening. Watched the replay 3 times. Jordan De Goey! Had to budget my cigarettes to wait for an opportunity to drive the long road (2 kilometres) to Woolworths. It gets harder after you pass 80. Everything takes longer. I once walked, now I shuffle, slowly. Various minor (hopefully) problems with the territory, likely more to come. There was a time when I could write 1200 words (a blog) in 2 hours. Now it can take 3 or more days. The thoughts remain but not so the effort. They're all crooks anyway. Well, almost all; politicians that is. A shower, shave and washing and other than lunch the day almost done. Time for a pot, or two? Watched almost all of the world cup cricket, why waste time sleeping? Strange rules. Both scored the same runs, England all out, New Zealand 8 wickets down, yet they lost? And so it goes. Complaining, no. Who would listen? Ever onwards yes, but ever slowly, very. I'd keep at it (now). I bought a pack of 50. Holiday gold @ $59.95. Hang the expense? Alas, time for my nap - and so on.. 



Reminded of Kathy Brier ('There'll be some changes Made')  from the outstanding television series Boardwalk Empire or Matt Berninger ('I'll see you in my Dreams') from the same show. We need something to happen. The Canberra crooks sat for a mere 4 days, now off again for a fortnight. Doing what? Watching the ABC's Insiders? Annabel Crabb? No. Pleasant enough, like a book club hostess, but a far cry from Barrie Cassidy. We are left with our very own Billy Graham, otherwise known as Scott Morrison, or as I like to call him SS, as in Seldom Seen, or is it the German SS? Sadly the Liberal Party now fully realise what I've been saying for years. The majority of voters are dickheads. Honest? Yes, up to a point, and well meaning, but dickheads nevertheless, and as a consequence - open slather. On Unions obviously, (The Integrity Bill to Parliament to toughen penalties against registered organisations and officials who regularly break the law, but also to signal a wider look at industrial law?), security half way to big brother status, relentless corruption (Murray-darling etc). in our faces the continuous stream of lies (Frydenburgh, Cormann, Dutton - neoliberalism personified), the small matter (?) of who will suffer because of the tax cuts. Answer: most of us. Time to listen to Kathy again, soothe the brain, but first, introducing Brad Chilcott.. 


The Guardian, Brad Chilcott: "The relentless attacks on human rights commissioners Gillian Triggs and Tim Soutphommasane for telling inconvenient truths; the introduction of laws to limit unions’ ability to advocate for better wages and more secure jobs; raids on journalists; cuts to environmental research funding; political pressure exerted on the ABC accompanied by debilitating cuts; attempts to destroy and demonise GetUp, the noisy Australians’ advocacy group of choice; attacking whistleblowers such as Save the Children; the consistent attempts to further pressure charities into political silence – none of these happen in isolation. The pattern is clear – no one in Australia should suggest that a better future is possible, and that it may be achieved through a democratic process informed by truth-telling and measurable facts. Our government do love quiet Australians – and they’ll go to any lengths to keep us that way." Good stuff. I do not intend to keep quiet, but in all honesty, nobody listens to people over 80. More to the point (I suppose) I'm more than willing to listen to the solid reasons those non rusted on voters went for the coalition because they didn't trust Billy Shorten?


The deeming (3.25%) rate does not apply to (ever so humble) moire, indeed to the vast majority of we pensioners; only applies to pensioners (single) with investments over $52,000, married $85,000, and only to those amounts over the $52,000 or $85,000. For amounts under those levels, 1.75%. As against, shopping around at (say) 2.4%. Small potatoes, no big deal. Cost them $600 million (peanuts?) and with it the grand generosity announcement via the commercial channels and Murdoch's newspaper prostitutes. Newstart? No chance, like the prisoners on Nauru, Manus, to be ignored. 


Why pick on the St Kilda coach? We all know they haven't got enough good players, no matter who coaches them. The Gold Coast Suns and to a lesser extent Greater Western  Sydney do not have the tradition, never will have until one of them wins a premiership. The idea of putting a team in la la land (the Gold Coast) was, still is, ridiculous. What supporter base? Liberal party voting retirees? Pumping either side up with draft picks etc does not make a soul. Had they included Tasmania 10 years ago they would have been a real team by now, soul included. Yes I know, it's all about money. Just saying. [The vagaries of AFL tipping. The previous 2 weeks against North and Hawthorn I tipped against Collingwood after every Age tipster went for Collingwood. This week they all tipped West Coast apart from Bob Murphy who tipped Collingwood by 1 point. I went with Bob.] Got 7 from 9. Now coming around the 2000th mark from some 6,500 others.


Trickle down economics began with Ronald Reagan (Kings Row). The rich hoarded and the promised trickle became a slight dribble. Never worked, never will, ditto the certainty of the coalition claims...Serena Williams abused an umpire. Ahh, but that's different?...Gerard Whateley and Kevin Bartlett? Never mind Kevvy, Gerard rules, but a great innings...Skyrail theft, Murray-Darling theft, not to worry, our PM is praying....A new book out "Turned On" about science sex and robots; it's all happening, never too late?...Barely a thousand words. Running out of puff. "Thou has laid his hand, Upon my heart, gently, not smiting it, But as a harper lays his open palm, Upon his harp, to deaden its vibrations" [ Longfellow]...Hooroo...www.ello8.com




A Grain of Salt. JULY. 2019

Getting more and more difficult to write a blog. Old age, numbskulls? Is there a point? Haha. Very funny. There's never a point, that's the point. All about keeping busy. I once spent time reading The Age. Alas, mostly lookalike Sir Rupert's lot. I listened to a Clinical psychologist and Mindfulness expert on the wireless, ABC 774. It occurred to me the general use of the word 'clinical' (in a tsunami of occupations) giving it a sense of oomph; the quality of being exciting, energetic, or sexually attractive. Why not simply psychologist? Too easy? As for 'Mindfulness expert' I give up. He said I need a context for myself? [The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood.] Maybe I'll get some cards printed? Cheap. $8. Still got about 100 from the last 200 I got 15 years ago where I had my name, address etc and the wording "Man about Town". Change to Cliff Ellen - "Mindfulness expert". Or Mindfulness Clinical Expert? Has a ring to it. If nothing else it gives me a sense of balance. In a world of nonsense coming our way via our Treasurer and religious Prime Minister we realise they are not alone. Numbskulls Clinically United? Then there's (yet again) the new proposed Rosebud Aquatic Centre, to include a Wellness Centre (or as I like to call it Gamblers' Anonymous) hopefully up and running before I reach the century. Not sure how long before I get the final call but hoping to see either the pool or those new submarines before departure?..Mindfulness, Clinical, Wellness, Collingwood. My head is spinning. Onwards?  



The glaring problem with these generous tax cuts, which Labor waved through, particularly stage 3 (if it ever comes to pass, 2024-25) is whether or not this silver lining affects the meat and vegetables of our day to day life, namely health, social welfare and education? According to the Grattan Institute cuts in the vicinity of $40 billion a year will be required to finance this 3rd stage necessity, or more simply the rich getting richer. 



During those weeks leading to election 2019 our PM and Peter Dutton harped on about the danger of Bill Shorten as Prime Minister. No mention of the real danger of these two loose with the truth types running the country, in the name of God almighty (hidden supposedly, but easily discernible if one looks closer). More grants to the commercial television channels more cuts to the ABC, Union bashing. Up against Anthony Albanese; Albo who? I was a Bill Shorten man. Not the perfect choice by any means but best of an ordinary lot from Labor and sensible policies (capital gains, negative gearing ) albeit too many others. I prefer (search for?) the individualist, along Whitlam, Hawke and Keating lines. Bunnies falling in line is not what inspires me, the new tax package a perfect example. Well and good to rule by compromise but always leading is the key to inspiration, and courage, sadly lacking to date. Lah de Dah.



Splitting stage 3 of the tax pack opens up 3 years of criticism from the coalition, blamed for preventing about 10 million workers receiving a tax offset as soon as possible, simply because it objected to one part rather than the entirety of the policy. Stage 3, a flat tax, represents economic vandalism, but we expect that from Morrison's lot, assuming we get to the stage in 2024-25, after the next election. Be nicer still if SchoMo told us where he would cut costs to finance it; no chance. Whatever, it has to be paid for, and at this stage a case of waiting and hoping we are not the bunnies, again. Inequality and financial instability are increasing every day, and likely to maintain this path for the next 3 years. Waleed Aly "Labor’s shortcoming has been one of narrative; of a clear summary of what its purpose is. It got somewhere in the last term with its emphasis on “fairness”, but the sheer preponderance of big-ticket items made this convoluted. Throughout the campaign Labor moved from topic to topic, rather than hammering a single message in the way Morrison did. If Labor’s suddenly for increasing the relative burden on the less wealthy (Stage 3 tax cuts) and relieving it on the top 20 per cent, exactly what story is it trying to tell us now?" Exactly. Waleed's a star. I saw Albo's vote for the complete tax package as gutless despite his seemingly sensible approach. Either way they attack. That's how they operate. Far better to maintain your principles, but that's just me. The Greens as expected voted against it. Well done. Albanese says John Setka must go. If he doesn't get his way they open up more criticism. Again, Morrison is taking it further, as a lever against all Unions. Far from a promising beginning for Albo as opposition leader. All very depressing at this early stage. Best to wait and see, a calmness approach, a hope for some blood in Labor's veins, before it's too late.



The Logies have been run and won. Fortunately I caught Kerry O'Brien's Hall of Fame speech (recorded; fast forward) which saved the day, or the long long night, adding a touch of real class against a list of other awards, most of which I'd never heard of. Tom Gleeson of course (Hard Quiz) and Micallef's Mad as Hell. Tom's acceptance speech for the gold a nice balance between honesty and appreciation, albeit a shade unpopular with the (yuk!) true believers; starlets, fame chasers? On a winner by appealing to all who cannot stand The Logies, myself included. The 'most popular' awards has had its day: Luke McGregor, Mystery Road, Gogglebox Australia, Have You Been Paying Attention??? The real awards, as always with a mysterious voting system. Acting Scott Ryan, Jenna Coleman; who? Till next year? As for Tom's new found fame. Where to from here?  



As I see it the answer is staring us in the face. Any football going through the goalposts by foot (as in kicking) is a goal, regardless of the football touching the goalpost, as in soccer. If the ball is touched off the boot and interpreted that way by either the field umpire or goal umpire it's a point. No reviews. If unsure, it's a goal. 



Mandates? Does this include actions in Iran on behalf of President Trump?...So many people I know use Uber, near enough to a fashion statement. Used them twice myself (when others paid) but somehow I don't trust them. If necessary, taxis for me, always..Mathias Cormann tells us religious freedom is 'a pressing issue' putting himself right up there on an equal footing with the other master of fairy tales in Canberra; Peter Dutton,  I've yet to meet anyone who takes Mathias Cormann at his word...I prefer watching a Nick Kyrgios match before an Ash Barty match, no offence intended....I was heavily criticised for questioning the transfer of Dayne Beams for two first round draft picks; all gone quiet now...To be sympathetic towards what we see happening to Palestinians by Israelis is not to be assumed as anti-semitic...Lots of reasons why Collingwood lost; no mention of Nathan being outcoached?...."Every breath you take, every move you make" The Police. Peter Dutton's theme song..."What millions died that Caesar might be great" [Campbell]...Hooroo...www.ello8.com




💔A Grain of Salt. July 1st. 2019


Israel Folau, no doubt a champion sportsperson, one of many who make the connection as to their ability in one area giving them a right to let us know their thinking in an unconnected area. It rarely works, though on rare occasions it works for the odd football commentator. Good luck to the boy, but really, so what? "Hell and damnation for homosexuals, atheists, thieves and adulterers" suggesting heaven will in fact be a ghost (no pun intended) city? By what right does Israel think, as is implied, he is better than a practicing homosexual person? Heterosexual types by and large think this makes them better, superior even. Why? What's their secret? Yassmin Abdel-Magied - Eric Abetz, defending Israel Folau and demanding new religious protection laws, brought to mind another "free speech/employment contract" controversy in which Abetz played a leading role. When Yassmin posted on her personal facebook page the innocuous comment, "Lest We Forget the Refugees," it was Abetz who bayed the loudest for her to be sacked from the ABC, eventually hounded out of the country by a chorus of vented spleen from the right wing radio shock jocks and Murdoch Media spruikers, the same ones who are so ardently supporting Israel Folau. Hypocrites. On a personal basis Israel can let fly, just another case of a champion sportsperson assuming his status connects with the status of his brain. If there be such a place as hell and damnation say hello to me when you get there.



There's a house up the road, seemingly unoccupied for months, with two guard dogs in the backyard. Every time I walk by (well, shuffle really) they bark, in a ferocious manner, bashing the side gate, seemingly to attack, moire? One of a few other houses, also unoccupied, eventually remodelled into expensive affairs by private builders from Melbourne. Drug money, rich investors, who knows? As I shuffle by, and pray they don't escape, I can't help drawing the connection with these guard dogs and our friendly coalition government, the difference (obviously) is we, as in "us" opened our gate, in a sense the same gate, on the 18th of May, 2019, another three long years. [No need to name the human dogs. PS: It suddenly occurs to me; who feeds the dogs?].



AND SO ON...Mr Morrison will declare that Australia will not be a ‘‘passive bystander’’ if China and the US cannot resolve their dispute in peace. Mr Morrison has previously said renewed sanctions against Iran remain on the table if it continues to destabilise its region. Good man, but check with Donald Trump before doing anything drastic...Prince Peter Dutton ‘‘He offered me the deputy leader position. I said to him that this wasn’t credible. And it wasn’t his to gift, either.’’ Turnbull says there was no such offer. After the outright lies Peter Dutton expressed on the prostitutes etc (medevac) I know who I believe....."Scott Morrison has backed Donald Trump’s harder line against Iran in an escalating dispute over its nuclear program, and he did not rule out military assistance from Australia". In leaving aside his announced problems (via his best mate Peter Dutton) re: African gangs and medevac transfers, one  wonders, if a war escalates, does Scotty intend to send himself?



Letters, 24/6. "I am not the only person living in rural/regional Australia who depends on Foxtel to receive ABC and its quality news and entertainment. ‘‘Live’’, free-to-air TV on all channels is badly pixelated here. iView, and streaming on a seriously overloaded wireless NBN, is a joke." Cough up the $400 million ABC. We Foxtel oldies rely on it, particularly the remote control, to tape, and fast forward the chemist warehouse commercials. 



"I'm not going anywhere" said the  young lady (they're all young in my eyes) alongside me in the dedicated smoking area of the Rye RSL. "Yes, I feel the same" said her attractive  friend. Amazing. Two healthy young ladies, middle 30's 40's sitting there crying in their shiraz, the (apparent?) need to meet a nice man for dinner and a dance. I was tempted to comment "You won't find them here darlings" but I bit what's left of my shrivelled lips. 



The Age letters: "The plight of refugees on Manus Island and Nauru. They now feel completely without hope, with the cruelty of the Coalition government given full rein. They have suffered enough; rather, they have suffered far too much. We, Australians, have broken many of these refugees in the name of deterrence. They are our responsibility. We are condemned by UNHCR for our actions. Refugees must be given justice, received with compassion." Ditto.



Can you spot the difference between The Age newspaper since Channel 9 moved into the partnership? Should I bother here to explain the subtle moves to the right? No, waste of time. Brainwashed. "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."



"All alone am I ever since your goodbye. All alone with just a beat of my heart". How good is the fantasy life? No doubt connected with age (and realistically an impossibility) but it sneaks into my current lifestyle sometimes, particularly if watching a decent drama. Maybe I'm unhappy with the character's interpretation. I imagine how I'd play it. Maybe say the line out loud. Perhaps spend 10 minutes (or more?) imagining myself playing the character? Playing it better? I can always wind the show back to where I lost the thread. True, it's far from the real box and dice, but in my circumstances better than a rag doll. Almost (but not quite) a necessity to blot out the tragedy of another Collingwood bad year, evidenced by a thrashing, courtesy of the North Melbourne football team, and likely more to come. Maybe switch my allegiance to Geelong? Fantasy sex? No, certain things have their limits.  



John Setka was fined $1000 and must attend a behavioural change course. Better to have doubled the fine @ $2000 and forget the behavioural change comedy course nonsense...Take your pick? If they don't lock them up they all scream 'fowl'. If they do, they worry about the increased numbers in the corrections system?...Apparently thousands of people love The Logies. Strange indeed. For the past umpteen years I've regarded them as rubbish; IE embarrassing...Why the Unions (thugs?) and not the banks?...Should I set up a GoFundMe page to finance my cigarettes addiction?...If I repeat this life, as suggested by Nietzsche, here's hoping I stock up on cigarettes before Kevin Rudd is elected...If you're interested in my opinions on the next British Prime Minister, or royalty in general, or the truth of announcements by Donald Trump, or basketball, or woman rights, do not bother me. I have none...Bomber Thompson, great coach, so insightful, so very sad..."He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. One by one, they all left the temple"... Another year of football misery. Epiphany! World Cup cricket?...Hooroo...www.ello8.com


🤪A Grain of Salt. LATE JUNE. 2019

The Liberal party fascination with the so called left wing ideology? The liberals sprout this nonsenses as a reason, paper thin logic hiding their dream of abolishing our ABC, or at the very least transforming it into 'their' ABC. The nightmare of the ABC as a Sky News offset, allowing for the expectation of our Prime Minister's attack on the IR reform (Unions), a further three years of the slow death of our refugees, and our Home Affairs minister's never-ending headbutt with lies presented as truths. Intriguing. I don’t see (hear, this ideology?) on 774, or the ABC’s The Drum, Q&A, 7.30 or Insiders. I see straight down the line fairness by commentators and a balance of guests between both sides (and sometimes left field others) of the political spectrum. When I read The Australian or the Herald-Sun, or listen to 3AW, or watch Sky News I see and hear a right wing ideology, often far right, often off the planet ratbag rights, so indoctrinated by the constance of their right wing views, anything delivered with a sense of balance is seen, wrongly I respectively submit, as the mirage of this left wing ideology bias. They hear footsteps. Why? God knows, they've got all our money, and more ABC cuts via Morrison, also the dickhead voter content who believe an apple is an orange, unless it's to do with some sort of power play to clear the decks forever, in their favour, albeit against the wishes of we the unwashed? I'm buggered if I know. They rave on about a mandate, knowing almost half of the voting public voted against them, and half of the other half don't have a clue what 'mandate' means, more likely voting against Shorten as a primary reason. I wonder if they read? Kurt Vonnegut? The old philosophy at play; the more you get the more you want? I have never run across them in real life. Well, I have, up to a point, but other than shoving the usual brainwashed points of view in my face (including how they clever they have risen to a sense of importance in their eyes) they rarely give me a chance to present an alternative. True, I give it a go, but the bottom line seems to rear its ugly head. A brick wall is a brick wall? Such is life?


Queensland voters present another fascination. A majority of dickheads, or easily led, dating back to Joh Bjelke Peterson? Maybe the weather, not unlike similar voters in the Northern Territory. Then again WA voters? We were lucky here in Victoria, consistently cleansed of many of our dickhead content. When they get into their 60’s they traipse off to Queensland to retire among like minded types, or retire to their holiday houses on the Mornington  Peninsula, occasionally haunting me at the Rye RSL. According to (my) research Qld at 66%, NT at 65%, WA at 60%, Adelaide around 50% and NSW, who knows? Maybe Albanese will make a difference, maybe not. Vic at 45%, often down to as low as 40% during Winter, compliments of the Bali exodus.


Perhaps the mind becomes separated from their bodies. One vote, allowing them to think these thoughts, without the reality of said thoughts, without the  truth, without what's behind their thoughts? They don't believe in climate change, and they go along with lower (effective) wages? Mind you it's only a vote. One vote. Also a conscience cleansing exercise for most Labor voters. If disgusted with our treatment of refugees subjected to mental torture (rotting in hell, a form of slow death) on Manus and Nauru, a vote for Labor and you've done your bit, right? What good can I (one person) do here, along with many thousands of others? In fact we've done nothing. Don't get me wrong. I'm not big on 'causes' preferring to ignore everything (and there's lots of them via Facebook) but I have the right to choose. In the meantime, what? Let others decide? Post a message, an angry emoji on yet another 'loose with the truth' announcement from Peter Dutton? Sadly, likely one in every thousand doing something positive, the remainder do the same, the same meaning bugger all. Sincere apologies if I'm depressing you, the reader, hopefully. 


"Nothing matters"? At best, wise words on your deathbed. Everything matters. Triptych, from the Greek adjective three-fold, in my case pain and suffering over two days, albeit in the scheme of things, insignificant. Where to advertise one's angst, to cry pain, than in the letters pages of our healthy local newspaper? Collingwood's Jaidyn Stephenson's unfair suspension via the AFL's (Fort Knox?) anti-gambling hypocrites; our Home Affairs minster suggesting women using rape and abortion as a ploy to get to Australia; the current suggestion to watch AFL football (or any football apparently) with buttoned-up lips. There, and I haven't even mentioned Adam Goodes, Rosie Batty or John Setka. I feel better now. [There are pluses along the road to old age. True, one loses the bum, and the lips slowly (almost) disappear, but in its place we gain a larger tummy and a form of male bigger breasts. As a philosophical answer one eventually gets to the refrain of "nothing matters" but then one moves to the conclusion, if nothing matters, what is left?]. The boredom of living alone, on a pension, can become obscure, some form of variety is needed, almost daily. Positivity and try (must?) become the two key words. A Collingwood victory helps, for a day or two.  


“Some people are trying it on,” said Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton. “Let’s be serious about this. There are people who have claimed that they’ve been raped and came to Australia to seek an abortion because they couldn’t get an abortion on Nauru. They arrived in Australia and then decided they were not going to have an abortion. They have the baby here and the moment they step off the plane their lawyers lodge papers in the federal court, which injuncts us from sending them back.” [The medivac legislation and our coalition being bad losers. Didn't our Pete say it would open the floodgates? And they call John Setka a 'thug'?]


The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union Victorian branch declared it “strongly condemns any external interference in union matters. Unions are for members, by members, and are not to be used as pawns for political clout. "John Setka should remain in his position until such a time as the members of the CFMMEU decide otherwise.” I'll go along with that.


"Bet responsibly" they tell us, while bombarding us with the betting odds, betting sponsorship around the clock, and come in hard on a 20 year old kid who wagered $36; fined $20,000 and a 10 week suspension. Who can claim to common sense as a 20 year old?...Tax cuts at $100 billion, (for working middle class Australians?) no special deals, no horse trading? What cuts do the government make to finance them - foreign aid, legal aid, pensions?...June is busting out allover? A song wasn't it, Carousel? Not in Rye buddy. If I survive till 2020 I might give June a miss. It's too cold; stating the bloody obvious...I am retired. I am to be met with in trim gardens. I am already come to be known by my vacant face and careless gesture, perambulating at no fixed pace nor with any settled purpose. I walk about, not to and from. [Charles Lamb, Last Essay of Elia]....Movie man Bill Collins has gone to God at 84. At 83, I'm getting nervous. Well done Bill...Hooroo...www.ello8.com