A Grain of Salt 2021

A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜ŽπŸ’‹

Saturday 16th October, 2021...So much free time in lockdown. Yet, at over 2000 COVID's a day it's head down bum up. Moreso with 'age' handicaps as in walking, exercises generally and particularly gardening. Thinking time on a daily basis. Still some 6 months until the next federal election, or less if Scotty decides "It's Time". Last time he won by promising zilch and getting stuck into Billy Shorten's long list of promises (negative gearing, franking credit refunds from government coffers and tax cuts for the wealthy), God knows how, but it does prove how easily voters are lead by the smell of a quid, a single seat victory. A mix this time on one or two promises, health/child care, appeal to the mommas, and the like. Worry about the cost after the election? More pork barrelling? Obviously security features, submarines forever, coupled with an attack on anything Anthony Albanese has saved up for him, throw in the (his?) outstanding success in beating the COVID monster and the odd Auzzie throwaway line - "She'll be right mate, a hi-viz vest, hard hat, white lab coat, having a beer at a local pub, kick a football." and back they come, easily lead, asking for more. Once upon a time I thought Robert G Menzies was bad enough. Turns out Bob was a saint by comparison. In fact they all were, apart from Tony Abbott. Give this bloke a second gong and we're all in trouble. Maybe after we see what comes of Lady Gladys's appearance before ICAC? A corruption federal commission? Forget it. Scotty and Company invented corruption. And his latest? Softer on climate change? Why not, till after the election? And so it goes...


Would that I could enjoy bowls or woodwork, fishing, gardening, long walks, bird watching, anything to escape those winds and bucketing rain; the inevitability of a power blackout. I have a bad back and I cannot blame Cupid; he deserted me long ago. My body has assumed control. I listen; I have no choice. I’m in constant argument on smoking but losing there too. Beer or coffee without a cigarette is Un-Australian; my necessity for cheerfulness being challenged. Fear of the “grim face” attitude, feeding on misfortune, increased levels of self pity. The ever present fight for the necessary attitude of positivity. ”The value of life lies not in the length of days, but the use we make of them” [Michel Montaigne]. Well said Michel, but you didn’t experience a lockdown, or Scott Morrison’s crusade of fear, or the real mafia (electricity, gas, water retailers and Peter Dutton lookalike heterosexual males) or the oncoming panic attack of a second Melbourne  premiership. 


From The Shot, edited: "Humans have a remarkable ability to acclimatise to almost anything. Consider the fact you’re now somewhat used to spending 22 hours inside, wearing a mask, and treating passing strangers and sales people as free therapy. This adaptability trait is helpful, but it’s also easily weaponised against us. Gradually, the incessantly simmering ideology disguised as news that we absorb leads us to believe nonsensical things we’d know aren’t true if we just thought about them for a few seconds. Clean coal? Phrases are pulled meaninglessly from the void and attached to positive associations and the serious handsome faces of Team Blue, negative connotations and the sweaty mugs of the franking-credit-thieves and grandma-shatterers of Team Red. This effluent is distilled and refined enough for regurgitation throughout the electorate, and these concepts are presented to us as truisms and not just Liberal Party catchphrases that mean sweet f##k all in reality. They are given credence and credibility by a media landscape lacking both. Nothing normalises nonsense, rot and decay like a good persistent narrative. And a sea of talking heads and front pages in the holding-power-to-account industry deciding the whiff of corruption is in fact the smell of dignity and grace and flowers, because it’s wafting from the industry’s favourite politician. Gladys Berejiklian, was one hell of a persistent narrative this week. At a very basic level, journalists are meant to be less chill than this. When a politician resigns following the announcement of a corruption investigation into their conduct – followed closely by two of their senior colleagues – that’s probably not the best moment to blanket the land with hagiography and stoke a narrative that NSW’s ICAC, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, is an undemocratic body that has gone too far by taking down a bastion of competence and compassion, a woman unlucky in love, the BEST and most human of us all."  [Enough said?]


Terrorism: Many on social media blame us, ourselves, courtesy of our entry, invasion, to the war in Iraq 2003. Fair enough, and possibly/probably the British and Americans had further involvement with arms dealings, but do they solve anything by harping on the reason? Terrorism is a reality regardless of its handling by our mongrel newspapers and the jittery politicians. It creates fear. It's the NOW. The disasters of innocent killings, coming to us, maybe soon, hopefully never. Coupled with all this, the increased degree of hate/bullying on social media. Nutcase Andrew Bolt copping more than a simple spray. Surely we don't need to take up arms for a different opinion; even so, I'm far from sure. The plus is the certainty of those with all the gold taking action, eventually, to protect their gold, and maybe building a Mexican style Donald Trump wall at the end of Peninsula Link? Busy times for our friends at ASIO. That’s before eight new advanced nuclear subs are built for Australia. In nuclear forces generally and other relevant military capacity, China is of course far behind the U.S. as are all potential U.S. adversaries combined.


From letters, summing up, for mine, the reality: "The epiphany that Morrison and Murdoch must have gone through to be apparently and suddenly embracing net zero by 2050. However, will they be interrogated by the media in general to explain and justify the past decade of wasted time where they held lumps of friendly coal and refused to accept climate change was happening, or will they be allowed to bask in the hypocrisy of their undeserved glory for finally accepting reality and doing something about it." [No chance?]


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


Theatre: We did two seasons of Michael Gow's “Away” late ‘86 and early ‘87 with the same cast. Later in the year we did a Victorian country tour with John Wood and Gillian Jones replacing Alan Cassell and Perth girl Rosemary Barr respectively. There was a third production in 1990. Memories include a weekend at Lake Charm, near Swan Hill where Neil and John began preparing dinner (Greek lamb) at 3pm for an 8pm sit down. I drank two bottles of white while observing their kitchen antics. Two master chefs in a 5 hour marathon. When we finally sat to eat a vote of ‘no smoking’ was passed, much to Annie’s displeasure. An argument followed, allowing me to retire to smoke outside with the  stars for 20 minutes while they sorted it out. Annie (Phelan) lost. A fine cast and many other good memories, other than Paul Goddard’s pettiness at times. I love those country towns, all day to look around, afternoon nap, one show at night, a few beers, bed. They also played table tennis, and after Ross Williams was declared the champion I stepped forward and mercilessly thrashed him. We had a ball. Working under Neil Armfield, first in "Away" (3 productions & touring) and Steve Martin's "Picasso" (4 productions) was something special. I was lucky to get the "Away" part. Ross Williams had recommended me to Neil for the part of Jim. I arrived for the audition at 10am very much the worse for wear after a long night of drinking after a performance of "Living Rooms" for Theatreworks, far from my best, and really did not know much about Neil anyway, a Sydney director? but I had read the Jim scenes once, at home the night before. Why not, a good scene, worth a try? The audition piece was the 'campers scene', where 4 campers spit out a long list of behavioural traits/comments, and (as Ross told me later) Neil wanted to see my reaction to their comments. Alas, I was groggy and lost concentration, so when it came to my line I had forgotten it. Even so, maybe he had an instinct, who knows, but I was not at my best. Maybe because I did not think it any big deal there was no nerves. Whatever, I was lucky. Also lucky in scoring the part of Gaston under Neil in "Picasso". I suggested myself for the part after seeing a workshop of the play at The Malthouse with Bobby Hornery as Gaston. Neil said Barry Otto had it. Apparently Barry then chose a period piece coming to Melbourne at the Comedy Theatre, so I was (perhaps) next cab off the rank. Maybe Bob was MTC busy? Had I not got that first role of Jim in "Away" it's almost certain I would have missed my chance to work with Australia's best theatre director. So much for good luck. As a balance I had my share of bad luck. I missed a few parts, maybe 3 or 4, you move on, no big deal? On the other hand I must have refused around half a dozen. If I didn't like the play, or the part, or the cast (if known) or the director, I wouldn't do it. Stuff it. In the scheme of things best forgotten. Yes, I loved working, but never for the money. I could earn that at racetracks. [I first met Bobby Hornery opening night of The Secret House, starring the lovely Monica Maughan and the talented Ezra Bix. A lovely man. We worked together later on a film (Mick and Richard Molloy's Crackerjack) a week on location, Corowa, pissing ourselves laughing all week.] 


Kurt Vonnegut: "We're here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And what the computer people don't realize, or they don't care, is we're dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And it's like we're not supposed to dance at all anymore." Let's all get up and move around a bit right now... or at least dance." [The  Bossa Nova?].


COVID, opening up, with caution. Crunch time for the National (divided?) Party, climate change, net zero by 2050? The lump of coal in parliament but a memory. A carbon tax? Why not???...The good times, when the Caulfield Cup was at 3pm, now 5.15pm for what?..."Could, and should, Andrews be called" said The Age, cute as ever, to the Independent Broad-based Anticorruption Commission on branch stacking. This from a newspaper who still hasn't questioned Morrison from his rorting of the grants programs at the last election...Apparently there's been an AFL trade period, nightly news. Is anyone interested?...For peace of mind I find it convenient to ignore anything Chris Ullmann and Shane Jacobson has to say...Peter Dutton’s ban of special morning teas to mark an annual day in support of LGBTQI colleagues; no surprise there...The Greens casino gambling limits. A minuscule target, drop of rain in a storm. The tsunami of gambling commercials every which way. Gambling is gambling. Like the cigarettes, sounds good, means bugger all, and big dollars for the governments....Forever the whinge on pay parity for women's sport. Why?...Are you enjoying your nightly news? Has the branch stacking (which, by the way, is not illegal) comedy got your gander up? How good is Sydney?...To all you letter writers out there, kindly never use “thinking Australians” as a reason for your opinions...We had a laminex kitchen table for 40 years, loved it. All I see now are bloody benches?...Would you be offended over social media ‘‘trolls’’ if you had a direct line to The Australian and the Herald Sun? No? Neither is Scott Morrison..."Ships, wealth, general confidence, all were his; He counted them at the break of day; And when the sun set! where were they? [Byron]...Keep yourselves nice. Cliff Ellen.





A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜₯

Sunday 10th October, 2021. I think of giving this writing caper away, yet the idea of surrender worries me. All over Beethoven. Finito. Rest home and the like, television, shuffling, snookered? Maybe one more federal election, Collingwood 2022? Keep on keeping on, punching. Change is inevitable. What happened to Melbourne, the city? Apps for everything, technology overtaking? Searching for a target, something to aim for. Slim pickings. Political differences we can understand, but so many dills. Anti-vaxxers with tattoos, maybe allergic to condoms? Somehow shake the bars, but how? Move on…   


The old football saying springs to mind - "Have a go ya mug." Specifically, homespun Anthony Albanese. Politics, to put it mildly, is in a state of flux. PM Scott Morrison's slick answers, in feeling invulnerable, in his ability to squash Anthony Albanese and seemingly no evidence to disagree with his opinion. Small yet significant examples, where Scotty brazenly remarks on the French Connection action "It goes much deeper than a contract." Albanese reply along the lines of "a closer examination" rather that attacking Scotty's flip flop reply. Seemingly scared Scotty will turn any reply from Albo into an election action push? Mark Dreyfus and the blonde lady Tanya P may well have good intentions, but even worse, blocked out (of the small light) due to our super bland Albo. True, nothing is certain in life, and at this stage, dare I say it, I can spot light at the end of the Lockdown tunnel. Barring accidents? Another fortnight should clear the air, the thought of a carlton draught from the tap in company, almost, but not quite, as the thought of an early federal election. ‘‘Scott Morrison’s personal ratings have slid over the last three months nationally but are better outside the cities, in Queensland, among older people and males." The obvious difficulty in swallowing the belief against mandating the vaccinations (apart from medical grounds) and so many among us who cannot see our Prime Minister's bullying standards, including News Limited continuous attacks on our state Premier. Yes, the need for a change of government. Sadly many are switching to Independent candidates, more likely former Labor than Liberal. How will this help? The lockdown itself isn't so bad. We each have our little misses, social interaction, filling in time, but we wait, ever patient, hoping for a return to a form of normalcy. The more trying aspect is the stupidity, the constant heightened blame game, finding fault, and highlighted by constant television news, and the obligatory examples of our dickheads heading the crunch, based on uncommon sense. We are told the American submarine deal was better than the French option. Fair enough, but Scotty handled it like the bully on show, again. Have we still got a public service, or has he downgraded them to clerical assistants and taken the outsourcing road, either or both by design? Invulnerable? I'm not into prayer, but it can't hurt to give it a try. Even so...  


Niki Savva, edited: "Morrison desperately needed Berejiklian to succeed to give him his best chance of winning the election. As a loyal Liberal, despite her antipathy, regardless of her complaints to confidantes that she felt patronised, bullied and undermined by him, that he sanctioned briefings by his office against her – or did it himself – she would have nevertheless turned out to campaign for him. Refusal would only have invited retribution. Morrison cashed in on her popularity and traded on her reputation when he could benefit, then he or his surrogates trashed it when it suited. Berejiklian stayed quiet for a long time. Eventually, it got so bad her office rang Morrison’s office demanding they stop."


The blame game, continued. There’s an art form of arrogance in the air. Always has been of course but heightened the longer the lockdown lasts. Everybody knows best. Desperate/dictator Dan, our health system, coulda shoulda. The local council, the Opposition. The financial implications. Everybody’s an expert? Mildura shutdown for a week, blame Dan? The dickheads united? Put up or shut up for mine. Mistakes yes, by all. $15 million Victorian support package for the Arts. I'll stick with Dan. 


Morning glory? The wireless. No Jon Faine, Red Symons? The dreaded winds, whoosh, like intermittent slaps on my backside. Hail bloody stones? The earthquake forgotten. The more they tell us about stress during lockdown the more likely? Daylight saving takes a few days to adjust, particularly mornings. And then the Global outage, horror, no Facebook, Whatsapp or instagram. As Bill Lawry would say "It's all happening". In desperation (up at 6am, really 5am?) listening to Sammy J, misogeny and racism from too much YouTube? Painful as always, corn on demand followed by people dropping rubbish; pick it up, the standard being if you walk past it it's the standard you expect? Worse, Telstra/Foxtel froze on me last night, telephone no joy, office open from 9am-5pm? Go to my APP? Go to hell? Eventually found trouble spots via google and got it working. What of older people without the internet? Still with Sammy J - Altered perceptions - supernatural survivors guide. Give me strength. 


Fame game continued. Samuel Johnson on his car accident June 19, The Project on channel 10: “I woke up and I was really way more famous than I ever remembered being. Photographers were trying to get at me while I was inside and I wasn’t in a hospital – I as either in a mental home or my drink had been spiked. Maybe I was kidnapped, maybe I was clinically insane. So, I thought all kinds of things. I was Russian for a while, I spoke with a heavy Russian accent in three-word sentences for a couple of days, and then I was a Japanese 11-year-old girl, and basically – basically what happens when your brain gets wobbled is you go loopy.” [Did I imagine this? Much more and I'll go loopy?]


Theatre Notes: 1989/90..."See How They Run" by Philip King, directed by Roger Hodgman, with Alan Andrews, Dennis Coard, Sally Cooper, Paul English, Judith McGrath, Richard Piper, Nicki Wendt and Noel Ferrier. I had a small part in this successful old farce as an Army Sergeant, with a cockney accent? Roger, the artistic director at the MTC, was a strange mix. A six week rehearsal period and a six week season and not one note from him. Was I doing the job or was I so bad he had given up on me? When you get too many notes you worry. Well, some do, not necessarily I. If you get none (very rare) you may worry just as much. I didn't worry, more a case of wondering,  going about my business assuming all is well. I had never worked before (or since) with a director who made no communication whatsoever. Richard Piper supposedly taught me the accent, and then proceeded throughout (along with Sally Cooper) to make disparaging remarks as to the quality of said accent - in the nicest of ways, particularly Sally. On one occasion a lady from Manchester came backstage wanting to know which part of Manchester I came from, seriously. [An anti-vaxxer?] Nicki Wendt, the product of a rich family, was one super confident lady, similar to Sally (who I really liked) in that they displayed a super “ring of confidence” and appeared to have a much more friendly attitude to the important people in the Company. Of course I was “one of them”, but there was an instinctive feeling that I was on a lower rung in the friendly stakes. An intruder? None of this bothered me, in fact it provided me with another area of fascination, human nature. I had a great time doing this play. Richard, Dennis, Paul, Alan, and particularly the lovely, talented, Judith McGrath were a joy to work with. Noel Ferrier knew the stage like a real old pro, no doubt from Freddy Parslow's era in that he would defend his space like a tiger, with the odd dirty tricks to see if you would “break”. Making faces at me with his back to the audience? No problem here. Freddy had taught me well. The show played to almost full houses (700 seater at The Playhouse; Vic Arts Centre). Lots of celebrating thereafter. And a rare bonus, being paid a reasonable wage. 


COMEDY: A federal corruption watchdog with Attorney-General Michaelia Cash overseeing it?...The Age, as a common thread for any political p/o/v they want to sprout - ‘‘We were elected to govern, elected to make decisions and that’s what we should be doing,’’ one MP said" [No name?]....More from The age, editorial - "Social media giants must be tamed." Who will tame The Age?...Morrison: ‘‘Social media has become a coward’s palace where people can just go on there, not say who they are, destroy people’s lives and say the most foul and offensive things.’’ Facebook accused of putting ‘‘astronomical profits before people’’ and called for politicians to rein in the power of big tech. He should know...Should Scott Morrison go to Glasgow? Whatever, I couldn't give a monkey's...Gambling advertisements, page after page, The Age, Facebook, Nine News and no doubt everywhere else. Gamble responsibly?...Toby Greene will miss the first five matches of the 2022 season after the league’s appeals board upheld an AFL challenge against the tribunal’s initial three-match suspension for making intentional contact with umpire Matt Stevic. Or under instructions from AFL boss Gill McLachlan?...Paul Fletcher, Alan Tudge, Michaelia Cash, Sussan Ley, Alex Hawke, Bridget McKenzie, Anne Ruston, Stuart Robert, Ken Wyatt, Melissa Price Andrew Gee and Anthony Albanese; hot air expertise?......Dutton: "If you've got nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about." Morrison on Federal ICAC ‘‘certainly not a model we would ever consider at a federal level’’...Ordinary hard working Victorians, says our Danny (Andrews) consistently. Where?...Surely enough evidence to have the vaccine mandate for all workers?..."When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions." [ Shakespeare]...Having said that - Keep yourselves nice. Take a break, a long one, Bali beckons?..Cliff Ellen.






A Grain of Salt.😎

Monday 4th October, 2021.  The lockdown blues, at my age the danger of going crackers in addition to the usual fleeting fear of loneliness. Calling on the familiarity of routines, chopping up a four day supply of vegetables after throwing caution to the winds and sound reasons for doing bugger all. Can I talk to friends? Most have departed leaving one or two who make a practice of reading right-wing press, and unsurprisingly, believe? "Like a beast in a pen I'm cut off; From my friends, freedom, the sun, But the hunters are gaining ground, I've nowhere else to run." [Pasternak]. We yearn for leaders, with human nature as a source, in place of words as a substitute for truth, passion and justice. True democracy does not create resistance. I'm still deciding which is best, imagination or hope, both options when I pay $75 for my 10 week ticket in powerball. Wealth perhaps, I've given up on power. Fruitcake comes to mind. Even so...


It's sickening really. On half a dozen occasions the past few days I've found myself humming along to the Melbourne AFL theme song? A nightmare. I'm waiting for the nightly news to be streamlined, the  future, for example they flash on the next story, click on watch or move to the next. Cuts out the real estate prices, the small business complainers, well, half the news really, mostly nonsense and bias, or more. True, SBS is the best news, the ABC coming from Sydney, but like a masochist I seek the Costello p/o/v (Nine News) under the guise of fairness but in fact a breath away from the Murdoch fear nonsense. 


Yes, Gladys has departed with the ICAC to come, and talk of a Morrison election. Under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, improper conflict of interest or a courageous decision? Suspicions yes, but I'm a wait and see type, guessing is for football commentators and stirrers. A federal anti-corruption watchdog with teeth is a dream beyond my years, even without teeth. Our media? Gladys departs almost with blessings from the Herald-Sun and The Age? Why the farewell fanfare, it’s a corruption commission! And leading dickhead Barnaby rubbishes ICAC, though likely another nail in the idea of a federal counterpart. A Spanish Inquisition? Hey, talk about the good old Melbourne bias. Had it been Danny Andrews they would have crucified him, shoved a million  questions at him, but not Princess Gladys; the Murdoch/News Group influency?  


Years ago I spent 20 years as a public servant. Security cleared to top secret so unable to tell tales, sadly, because I have a headful. Maybe I could tell now being 85 years old, but no. Never trust them, then or now. They may look innocent, probably you don't give them a second thought, but believe me you're way off the reality. A mix of crooks, intelligent people (even some of them are crooks) honest Joe's and many plodders, at various levels of so called competence. Not unusual to discover an intelligent clerical assistant and a plodder senior clerk. A long apprenticeship into human nature and particularly useful when the switch to acting came about. Not so much as a performer, more about reading the various types one encounters through the pyramid of the profession. Kindly do not misinterpret. The beauty of the acting profession, despite like all professions the dickhead content, is the high percentage of truthful types, in your face at times, but always a journey well worth taking/taken? A pyramid in the sense of one dying, move up another notch, or dreaming? And where did I sit in this conglomerate of bullfrog? Perhaps, but uncertain, one rung lower that the intelligentsia but thankfully aware of what was going on around me despite my (seemingly?) friendly nature. Unlike the 1950's ASIO (and Mister Dutton) now streamlined in the security sense, heading (if not already there) towards big brother. They could swat me like a fly if they felt like it. No stories. No courage. Recorded, written, in perpetuity? No, all in memory. Sook? A pity. Do they have emails in heaven?   


Join Faine, edited. "At what point does the COVID cabinet concede the strategies being used to try to influence behaviour are not working? The road map has a fundamental flaw: it is based on science not emotion. Scientists are not very good at emotions. Asking people to be logical and rational is not working. The government needs to try something else. Many of those not getting vaccinated are wary and suspicious of authority – they may have unpaid fines, warrants, tax or social security debts and avoid interaction with government as much as possible. They need reassurance not finger wagging. Speaking of needing to recalibrate, a gold star and elephant stamp to Josh Frydenberg last week for executing not one but two acrobatic marvels. Pragmatically realising that the community demands climate leadership from elected representatives, and as nothing concentrates the mind of a politician more than a looming ballot box, he made the case for net zero emissions by 2050. Then, only a few days later, in a frenzied week, the federal Treasurer also suddenly discovered the housing affordability crisis, the solution to which is apparently to hinder borrowing. Which is a bit like applying Savlon cream to a shark bite. Anything to avoid dealing with the actual problem: first-home buyers being outbid by investors assisted by negative gearing, surely the most absurd and regressive tax subsidy ever invented." [Always a good read.]


At least they (The Age) printed it. Page 7. Well, they had to: Malcolm Turnbull has claimed Prime Minister Scott Morrison put Australia’s national security at risk in the way he has handled the decision to dump a $90 billion submarine contract with France and instead build a nuclear-propelled fleet with the United States and Britain. He also revealed that he has spoken to Emmanuel Macron since the shock announcement two weeks ago despite Mr Morrison being unable to get the French President on the phone. Also accused his successor of ‘‘extraordinary subterfuge and deceit’’ that would have a ‘‘real impact on Australia. One of Australia’s national security assets was ‘‘trustworthiness’’ and Mr Morrison’s ‘‘acolytes and admirers’’ were bragging about his ‘‘clever sneakiness. This is an appalling episode in Australia’s international affairs and the consequences of it will endure to our disadvantage for a very long time.’’ 


BULLSH/THEATRE NOTES: By Bill Reed and Ron Edwards, (1978), directed by Malcolm Robertson, stage managed by Tessie Hill, with Athol Compton, Brian Hannan, Fred Parslow and John Wood, for the Playbox Theatre Company. A comedy, basically a story of three old timers telling yarns outside a pub that was about to be demolished. A challenge, as I was coming out of the suburbs (sometimes referred to as "the sticks") into the big city where the top professionals roamed, as it seemed back then. It went well, though stressful adjusting early on, and a follow up production (More Bullsh) in the same year, re-written with the three characters, Fred, John and myself. Bullsh introduced me to two characters who were to have a strong influence on my work, Malcolm and Fred. I initially refused this play and only accepted after long discussions with Malcolm who convinced me otherwise. Freddy Parslow? Like the footballer, a gentleman off the field, and a man on a rampage when he crossed the white line? Perhaps not quite. But oh, how he tested me. Freddy is loved by audiences, and rightly so because he entertains them. He’s very clever, very quick witted, and obviously talented, but he guards (his) stage like a blue heeler. He’s the king. Step out of line, temporarily capture his audience, however slight, and he bites. Getting a good laugh? Ad libbing? Whatever, Freddy controls, a past master supreme at ad libbing. Indeed it can happen at any time, so if one tends to “go up” at one of his unscheduled comments, he will add more, break you if you’re not strongly into the character. True, once the audience sees you’ve lost control, they will laugh loudly at your discomfort, but it upsets the balance of the performance, and does little justice to the writer’s intentions. During one performance of Bullsh Brian Hannan, also very good at ad libbing, decided to take the King on. There followed five minutes back and forth until Brian was forced to concede. Every comment from Freddy met with audience approval, while John and I looked on in wonder, waiting patiently for the real play to continue. Athol Compton was an aboriginal actor who found it difficult to cope with Fred. Athol only had the one long story to tell, a comic story which he managed to stuff up one way or another every night bar one. And on this one occasion Athol got a deserved laugh from the audience, which made us very happy for him. Freddy quipped, out of earshot from the audience “About bloody time” and Athol, so chuffed at his success, retorted, clear as a bell for all to hear, “Get stuffed Fred”. I was playing a 70 year old with a huge piece of rag as a handkerchief so I able to hide my loss of control. Athol quickly departed the stage, at best confused. Freddy was a joy offstage, a generous gentleman, but his antics onstage required a higher level of concentration. Malcolm’s contribution to my learning process consisted of three things...his niceness, which made us want to please (a trait of most good directors); his trust in you which gave us confidence, and his quick ability to see what was working, and more importantly, what wasn’t. A testing time, the realisation the fourth wall (the audience) must be ever present as a necessary part of the play, without thinking, by instinct. The importance of technique. 


From Kairen in Brunswick: "While John Hewson, Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd and Paul Keating turn their considerable intellects to analysing the big strategic choices facing Australia, Scott Morrison stands smirking on the steps of Number 10 waving a packet of Tim Tams and Anthony Albanese asks himself what the bloke at the pub thinks."...Malcolm Turnbull, John Hewson, Paul Keating - championing Australia's international reputation, including treatment of refugees, inaction on climate change...Now our COVID numbers are on the rise the East Brighton Liberal residents (mainly Melbourne supporters) come out of the  woodwork...The COVID death toll in the USA has passed 700,000. Worse still, the situation in Port Moresby, PNG. Think about it?...Magpieland: Copeland Trophy to Crisp from Maynard. Spot on, well done...Ask yourself - why did Morrison travel to the USA?..."The sufficiency of my merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient." [Augustine]...Keep yourselves nice...Cliff Ellen.






A Grain of Salt. πŸ˜ŽπŸ’‹

Thursday 30th September, 2021. You can be double vaccinated and willing to self isolate - yet, you are still not allowed entry into Western Australia and Queensland? Where is the sense, the humanity? To a larger extent the humanity, the treatment by our government, of the the Biloela family, the silent invitation to allow the Yanks and the British to crucify Julian Assange. The law of averages and the so called (News channels 7, 9 and 10) 'mass' demonstrations. Mass? Even in my (formerly beloved) Northcote? Count any group with a membership in excess of 300,000 (building contractors) and you can bet on it - there will be 2000 dickheads, protesters. Melbourne, the lockdown capital of the world! The past, the future and more important, the 'now'. The constant lifestyle of 'looking forward to something/anything is almost a memory? We are all getting to a stage, what is it now, two years? A memory blur? Note: Ignore Nightly News for a week or more, COVID to start, over 800 a day (rising) until the Melbourne football team (players and supporters) mania subsides. Vaccination rates, the woes of business owners, rule the airwaves. Politics will sneak in at times, as it does, but best to forget anything coming from the mouths of Payne, Joyce and our Treasurer, not to mention our Prime Minister's overseas activities about nothing in particular. Well, almost nothing. Building his platform to go to the next election on the strength of the Coalition to secure our borders. I shouldn't laugh. It's serious. And so it goes...


Paul Bongiorno. The Saturday Paper, edited: Submarines: As late as June, Morrison was personally assuring the French president, Emmanuel Macron, that the contract was still on track despite problems. There was much backslapping in the courtyard of the Élysée Palace. In the same month, Le Drian says he called his counterpart, Marise Payne, and specifically put to her the option of converting the contract to the nuclear-powered Barracuda-class submarines that France manufactures. He says he received no reply. Beyond South Australian jobs worries, Morrison could have a greater problem if his nuclear-propelled arrangement is seen not so much as bolstering our security but rather creating a threat to it. Not surprisingly, that’s China’s reaction. Paul Keating accuses Morrison of unnecessarily making an enemy of China. Keating is seen as a China dove and regarded by China hawks in the defence and security establishment as being nostalgic for the China that existed before Xi Jinping’s assertiveness. But he surely has a point that instead of sabre rattling we should be spending a lot more effort in diplomatic rapprochement. After all, China is our major trading partner. Keating says the party under Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese has been complicit with the Liberals in selling out Australia’s strategic autonomy to the US. Keating says Labor has gone along with Morrison as Australia “turns its back on the 21st century” for the “jaded and faded Anglosphere”. Albanese did not have a murmur of dissent when he pushed for backing of the AUKUS pact in shadow cabinet and the party room. One senior Labor figure says all the factions are committed to winning the election. No one wanted Morrison to have the luxury of framing the campaign in terms of Labor being pro-China and anti-America. [Most of this will wash over us, more to the point the words of Sean Kelly...]


Sean Kelly, The Age, edited: Politically, the government has now begun its shift away from the COVID present to a focus on the future. The week before last, the AUKUS agreement was announced. In some ways the agreement is significant, but it is also worth noting that its main effect is to bind us more closely to Britain and the US – nations to which most Australians would have assumed we were already pretty closely bound. It does so on the basis of submarines that should be delivered around 2040. In both cases, this is a particular version of the future we’re being sold. We have our eyes on it, the government says – but don’t worry, we can prepare for the future by continuing to do pretty much what we were already doing. Concrete action can wait a few decades. This is implausible, of course. But like many fictions, it’s quite appealing, isn’t it? The sort of thing that might be reduced to a comforting slogan and then accepted by a remarkable number of people as a substitute for reality itself – just in time for an election. [And more directly Hugh White's warning...]


Hugh White’s words “drags us closer to the front line of a war”. In a pathetic justification, Scott Morrison claims the submarines will “make the region safer”. Instead of visionary, capable leaders, we have failed adman Morrison and hawkish ex cop Peter Dutton further deepening our dependence on the US and moving us closer to war. The only moral war the Morrison government should be fighting is the war against climate change.


Change of pace, the  past? My days are best described as procedural. I move slowly, item to item, carefully, day in day out. I pulled out some of my theatre notes: The "12 Angry Men" cast of English and Irish comedians. 2004, Perth, Wellington and Adelaide festivals. A great group of comedians, lots of fun, to and fro rubbishing of Aussies, always in good spirits but strangely couldn't take to Jeff Green, reserved, above it, whatever. [They did a later tour with an Australian cast which won Awards; Marcus Graham, Shane Bourne, Aaron Blabey, Russell Fletcher, Peter Flett, George Kapiniaris, Rob Meldrum, Alex Menglet, Nicholas Papademetriou, Peter Phelps, Richard Piper and Henri Szeps.] On about the 4th performance as we were about to file onto the stage Jeff whispered in my ear "When are you going to get the accent right?" A smart arse? I let it slide for a couple of nights and replied, via my line (with an estimated 98% accuracy), as we were about to enter, whispered, "At least I can act". Bullseye! As for my accent; what accent? I did OK with one word, 'eyeglasses', southern yankee, try it? The english actors played the characters directly, and in this case it proved superior to the Aussie cast (in my biassed opinion obviously), digging around for meaning/subtleties/shades, presumably to make their characters more interesting. Particularly important is that no character can be real unless it contains a strong element of the performer’s own reality. In theatre for “exciting and significant” it can often mean “pretentious and meaningless”. A comedy is NOT a farce, it's about the reality...of the characters and their situation - nothing to do with “getting laughs”. The actors who compulsively work themselves into a style that cannot ultimately serve either the play or themselves, but which offers the security of known habits, proven effectiveness? For example: playing a character in a comedy who has not got humour about themselves - the humour coming from the character in the particular situation. The moment the character/performer loses truth, or appeals for laughter by stepping out of the character, it may well get laughs, but it ceases to be funny in the way it should be. Some actors (with popular reputations) have too much sense of audience and too little feeling of what is inside the character, and too little feeling for their on stage co-performers. They tend to play "out front" producing an unreal effect. In this industry we have our share of known actors who are bad actors, and good actors who will generally be unknown forever. This is the nature of any job where there are large numbers of people available for few positions. And again - so it goes. [Actors, performers, in this COVID age are doing it tough, with nothing from our federal government. We were lucky, way back when. We impatiently wait, for their rebirth.]


Tax breaks for the rich, so who pays off this national debt, your kids and grandkids, or the sitting shots? - Age pension, family tax benefits, disability support pension, JobSeeker and sole parent payment?...Again with the tennis, golf and what? Boating? and 15 kilometres? Bugger off...News: "A leading epidemiologist says" They grow on trees, like Melbourne supporters?...True, the Western Bulldogs lost the 2021 premiership, but the better news is they finished the season ahead of 16 other teams...Farewell to John Elliott, a one-eyed Carlton man, credit for donating the Malthouse to the  Playbox Theatre, 1986..."Few would begrudge victory for the Dees" said The Age editorial last Saturday. I begrudged. The triptych, Morrison, Lockdown and Melbourne. Imagine if The Age editorial said "Few would begrudge victory for Collingwood."..."You are old; nature in you stands on the very verge, of her confine." [Shakespeare]...Keep yourselves nice...Cliff Ellen.






A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜ŽπŸ’”

Friday, 24th September, 2021. AFL Grand Final 2021. Tomorrow. 7.15pm. Optus stadium, WA. Melbourne to win. To more serious matters, Victorian businesses wanting a roadmap to prosperity. Don't they always, bless them? Meanwhile poorer Australians and the increasing risk of homeliness, while the rich get richer. Along comes the entitled Christian Porter and his blind trust, "No conflict of interest?" And I'm a monkey's uncle? France fuming, submarine contracts cancelled. Prime Minister high tails it to the USA, the Porter case now seemingly closed. Christian "Upholding parliamentary standards?" Corruption wins - again, and a by-election is averted? Summarising, two disastrous errors by Scott Morrison as examples of a leader out of his depth. The sooner we see the backside of this salesman the better. The federal election by next March (democratic election?) and our security (and economic reform?) under Morrison and Dutton; Wot, me worry? More importantly, not being a golfer or tennis player it's November before the pleasure of a pot of beer from the tap? Bloody Andrews? Time to show him the door? Mandatory vaccination for construction workers a wrong move, where was the compromise? The alternative (Matthew Guy) has a dubious record, but so what? The entitled call it communism? If we can stomach Morrison we may as well include Matthew Guy. Sorry Danny, you mean well, but the power has become you. As for me: Memories of the past obviously, when Melbourne was a city with soul, art, adventure, bide away the hours, come to grips with a past long gone, what future? Obviously, one day at a time, the now, no choice? Danny at 64%, give him another chance? Scarlett O’Hara, “I'll think about that, tomorrow”? Even so...  


Professor Margaret Hellard: In addition to differences in the modelling, MPs from both NSW and Victoria told The Age that political motivations also helped shaped pathways out of lockdown, which will result in Victorians waiting up to a month longer for some freedoms granted to NSW residents from early October. Under Victoria’s road map, home visits will be banned and gyms and swimming pools will remain shut until 80 per cent of residents have received two doses of coronavirus vaccine. By contrast, vaccinated residents in NSW will be allowed to travel around the state, have friends and family visit their homes and attend theatres and cinemas when the state hits its 70 per cent double-dose target, which is expected to be on October 9. Bars, restaurants and cafes will be limited to takeaway only until October 26 when Victoria is expected to hit its 70 per cent doubledose target. Only then will venues be allowed to provide an outdoor dining service. For indoor dining, Victorian restaurants and cafes will have to wait until 80 per cent of the state’s residents are fully vaccinated, which isn’t expected to be until early November. A density quotient of one person per four square metres will remain in place. ‘‘In essence they are all pretty much saying the same thing – that you need to get really high levels of vaccination to get control of the pandemic,’’ 


Facebook post: "What is something that should be taught in school but isn't?" I answered - 'Thinking', which transported me back to my school days, particularly grade 5 onwards. Other than arithmetic there was never any discussion. History (Mr Stephens) form 5 consisted of the teacher writing on the blackboard for the full subject which we had to copy to our exercise books, which was in the textbook anyway. Learning by rote. Ditto commercial law (Mr Clancy) and other subjects of information without discussion. True, some students were shy and would keep it shut anyway, but always others wanting to question and told to shut it. I spent some periods outside in the corridor for opening my mouth, teaching? Most of it from my p/o/v was brainwashing, but no chance to test it? And others, now likely long gone, wondering why I hated school? These were not my original thought so much as my father doing most of the questioning for me. I'm told it's all different in today's classes. Good for them. Or is it? Like our Prime Minister I'll transfer said thoughts to the 'too hard' basket. There are certain "feelings" which stay with you forever, a song, the association of a secret love, ditto the last day at school. The joy of freedom. On the other hand, perhaps the beginning of not being able to take instruction?   


Paul Keating, edited: "So poisonous are the Liberals towards China they are prepared for Australia to lose its way in the neighbourhood of Asia, in search of Australia’s security from Asia, by submission to yet another strategic guarantor – 240 years into our history. This strategy amounts to a massive bet on the United States and its staying power in Asia. Rather than Australia finding its own way around the region, including with China, as we have done so well in the past, Morrison and Labor have tied us to the unknown endurance of the United States and the pain it is prepared to wear in defence of what it believes are its core Asian interests. I have said before, but it is worth repeating: the United States is a naval power, whereas China is a continental power. A continental power with the largest land mass in Asia occupied by 20 per cent of humanity. And competently served by a modern military. The United States, by its aircraft carrier fleets, enjoys naval force projection but that projection is fuelled from its bases on the American west coast. Its capacity in a military exchange with China will be limited by the attenuation of its supply lines and the vulnerability of its surface vessels to Chinese submarines and ballistic missiles. I have also said before, but worth repeating, that when it comes to major international conflagration, land beats water every time. Through this submarine purchase, Australia surrenders its naval forces to the command of the United States, while setting itself into a military position incapable of defeating Chinese landbased and sea-denial forces. It takes a monster level of incompetence to forfeit military control of one’s own state, but this is what Scott Morrison and his government have managed to do." [Labor MP Peter Khalil, a former defence intelligence officer, said Mr Keating was a ‘‘living legend’’ but was wrong to ‘‘so casually discount China’s aggressiveness’’ in areas like the South China Sea, Xinjiang and Tibet. ‘‘Keating is wilfully blind to China’s international aggression through cyber attacks, which have caused major disruption to our university and corporate sectors,’’ Mr Khalil wrote in an opinion piece. ‘‘His article colourfully and rightly highlights the narrowness of the Morrison foreign and defence policy, yet Keating’s attacks reveal that like Morrison, he has fallen into the trap of binary thinking – that Australia’s only choice is between a declining US or a rising China.’’] You decide?


Conspiracy theories are a part of life; here, there, everywhere, like Pimpernel and the Baroness. Proving it is another matter. Letting it get the better of you only helps psychologists, like conspiracy itself, an ongoing business, ever growing. Lawyers, police, crooks, protesters, politicians, the ins and outs of a duck's bum. Some thrive on it, poison for mine. A library of books on who killed John Kennedy? The motivations behind anti-vaxxers? I suppose, particularly stuck in lockdown, the fact of no chance of a pot of carlton draught from the tap brings the need to create a form, any form, of daily pleasure. I was sitting here only yesterday, or was it the day before, heavy rain outside, nothing to do, all day to do it in, smoking too much, and then a thought, an epiphany? Stop smoking? I fancied chicken and chips. Why? Bloody rain. Five minutes later it stopped. Got in the car, home with the feast, shower, nap, and woke up, no smokes for 3 hours. Another hour of YouTube amounting to 4 hours of Nosmo King. Time now 4pm, time for my one stubby, and a cigarette. Small mercies? 


Why the sympathy and degree of difficulty for Michael Voss as Carlton coach? At probably $1 million a year for 3 years he's an economic winner for life... Statistics on the decline of revenue streams? Any stats on profit streams?...At least 2 decades before the nuclear powered submarines get here? Interesting to know how farmers are faring in future European trade deals. A bold strategic move or politics?...Construction shutdown, 2 weeks, mandatory vaccinations stupidity. Melbourne, John Setka to separate the sheep from the wolves - right/left wing fascists, extremists, conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers? The question is - are the wolves union members and if not (as Setka implies) where are their sympathies?...Can it get any worse: Morrison, Dutton, Payne, Joyce and Albanese?...Meaningless award: Coach of the year, before the grand final...The various reasons why midfielders get all the Brownlow votes; nonsense. The umpires, never high on the intellectual list, simply look at the statistics after the game and vote accordingly...If she does not want to step aside, ‘‘she can go’’ said Scott Morrison after Christine Colgate handed out a few Cartier watches, Australia Post....Nobody ever says it nowadays - "I'm not made of money" - my mother?...Imagine had the french submarine deal been with the USA and we opted out the night before?....Some things cause laughter. Lewis and his latest girlfriend with exceptionally large breasts, and Marty's question (Curb Your Enthusiasm) "Have you set a date yet for when you're going to look at her face?"  It's all in the delivery...The earthquake, the Chinese?...The beauty of the AFL Grand Final, assuming you don't support either side, is the thought after the final siren - Thank God it's over! 2022; GO Pies...For the protesters: "Fame may be compared to a scold; the best way to silence her is to let her alone, and she will at last be out of breath in blowing her own trumpet" [Fuller]...Keep yourselves nice...Cliff Ellen.






A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜ŽπŸ’”

Sunday, 19th September, 2021. My birthday Wednesday @ 85.5. At my age I celebrate in halves, heavily focusing on the quality of my life, almost a daily basis? A rare message complaint after last week's Salt; answered "Everyone's entitled. Best you consider thinking past your personal brick wall. What colour is it?" No reply. Somebody reads my nonsense? Roadmap out of lockdown, gradual, cautious. A glimmer of hope? Sticking with Desperate Dan. Another Scotty deflection (self creative crisis?), the umpteenth, submarines, Casper, the Attorney-General, our not so friendly ghost, and way down at the rear of the pack, our 'Albo' - calling for funds, more females, and anything unlikely to be heard, including free Julian Assange, the Biloela family? His political clout lately is starting to compare with our Minister for Women, Marise (rubber stamp) Payne. A day at a time but whose counting? The Russians are coming, sorry, the Chinese. Never fear. The stress factor, the empathy factor? Check with your psychologists, on every tree. The Yankee Doodle Dandies have got our backs. And all those small businesses? Still suffering from brainwashing, Scotty's way. We live with fools, ever thus, highlighted in this pandemic, freedom fighters in Melbourne central, suits in Canberra, laid on. The moving forward concept, courtesy of your nearest tree? Even so...


Before Paul Keating's letter to The Age 16/9  - "By and large, anything written or said by Chris Ullmann should be taken as a double grain of salt." Paul's letter: "I know Chris Uhlmann has a sideline writing fiction, but he seems to be getting his two jobs confused (Opinion, 15/9). He accuses me of saying China bears no fault for the trouble in our relationship – this is not what I said, as readers would find if they checked my article in the Australian Financial Review of September 3 for themselves. The main purpose of my article to which Uhlmann takes exception was not to set out areas where I disagree with Beijing but to make clear the dangers to Australia in its current approach. Uhlmann follows Peter Dutton and the Prime Minister in the growing chorus of Australian hawks who hear the drums of war beating and compare the current situation in East Asia to Europe in the 1930s, with China being portrayed as the equivalent of the rampaging Nazis (Uhlmann’s reference: ‘‘The Anschluss of the South China Sea’’). This imagery and the overblown language that goes with it – ‘‘Almost all Beijing’s grievances with Australia are commands that it compromise its security and its democracy’’ – is intended to serve only one objective: to normalise in the minds of Australians the idea that China is an existential threat to our country and our way of life and that military responses will be necessary because, unless China dismantles its entire system, there is no other way to deal with it. There is no room in Uhlmann’s simplistic analysis for shading, debate or discussion – Beijing is a one dimensional villain and that’s it. Australia is the blameless hero. As I said in the Australian Financial Review article, Australia is being led by the government and the likes of Uhlmann into a strategic dead-end. And all in the cause of not having a foreign policy which is capable of dealing with China and the United States simultaneously." [Go Pauly, on the ball as always. We are all in, USA, UK, Australia? Not France and the former $90 billion submarine deal, which was always shonky anyway? A nuclear powered submarine fleet, before 2050; again shonky, tragically funny? What of health, education, aged care and the National Disability Insurance Scheme? Last I heard China has its share in this nuclear power field. I recall similar grumblings way way back, via the USA (backed by military might) and defence spending with the possibility (justification?) of a Soviet strike nightmare, not forgetting Iraq's hidden stash of weapons of mass destruction and again the inference "Time we attacked them before they attack us". The Chinese surely to see us as being used by the yanks, again. The question of why? The Yanks because of the China squeeze, the Poms for trade and Scotty for an election featuring the fantasy of armaments security, quaintly labelled a Defence (khaki?) Policy? One wonders if our Australian Hawks (as our Pauly calls them) have hidden tattoos on their backsides; eagles? Sadly, despite this submarine fantasy, historically, we are easily led, again.] Kevin Rudd, edited: "Over the past eight years, this vital defence replacement project has ground to a halt as the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government flip-flopped between Japanese, French and now unspecified Anglo-American suppliers. The result: not a single keel laid, perhaps $4 billion wasted, and the deep alienation of our Japanese and French strategic partners. It has been an essay in financial waste, national security incompetence and egregious foreign policy mismanagement. Well done, Scott Morrison!" [Finally, our 'Albo' approves, up to a point, wanting to know the full cost???]


The Shovel: "A former Attorney General who remembers the specific type of food that was provided at a debating function 33 years ago, can’t for the life of him think who might have deposited up to $1 million in a trust fund he set up." The PM responded - seeking advice on whether ministerial standards have been met. Do not hold your breath. Our Treasurer pipes in favouring the A-G? Time our AG stopped relying on his office for protection and told the truth, in common parlance, pulled his finger out? Blind trust is not the answer. Kristen Lock,  a public health researcher, once a Liberal who worked briefly for the former NSW senator Bill Heffernan, now says she doesn’t recognise the Liberal party and doesn’t know what it stands for. She describes Prime Minister Scott Morrison as a ‘‘slippery chameleon’’. I'd include our Treasurer and A-G. [Jon Faine: "The arrogance is breathtaking, betraying a smart-aleck lawyer mindset."] [Our PM, as expected, straight to the 'too  hard' basket. Stop press: Resigned, to back bench, remaining in the basket?]


Don't chuck everything out? My late wife put up with almost eight years of the dreaded breast cancer and sometime, during her last year, had the big clean-out including many of her letters to and from me. Sad, but no blame. Years ago a boyhood mate (Graham Campbell, later to become a champion rover for Fitzroy in the VFL) worked as a compositor at the Government Printing Office. He kindly gave me a huge used Jobbing book the size of about 40 exercise books, hard cover, for which I would save the odd printed material, news items, letters, moon landing, and particularly theatre reviews, the better ones obviously, a quick read at the time, then (almost) forgotten. I gave the jobbing book to my daughter a decade ago, she (her?) being into genealogy. Lately daughter has been sending me copies, bringing back near forgotten memories of those times. Fascinating. Recommended for those into their eighties feeling sorry for themselves. Don't chuck, explore, a lockdown plus? "Once upon a time in Australia?" Being "in the moment" sort of thing, which reminds me of something I'm hoping for with those 20 plus Western Bulldogs players when they take the field in the 2021 grand final. Actors, footballers, taxi drivers - "In the moment!"....      


By all means object to your freedom, that's your right, but not by risking my health? Suggest they get a new life, move to Birdsville, population 140?...We thank the gods, Sammy J on holidays...If, as they tell me, the nuclear subs can remain under water indefinitely, what's for dinner every night?...Performance enhancing, where 5 parts per billion can return a positive test?...I'm a big fan of those who give you money (Blind Trusts) with no agreements as to how you spend it..."End pension poverty" headlines an article in September's The Senior and the push for a guaranteed basic income. Couldn't agree more... Plibersek before Keneally?...Why, after a season of umpiring and reasonably logical free kicks, they switch to 'letting the game flow' allowing in the back, dropping the ball, simply pushing players during and before the ball is bounced. For the good of the game? Free kicks at a premium? A coliseum spectacle, a lottery?...I have a successful system in place now, albeit dependant on a strong armed visitor: when buying a replacement jar of jam or the like I leave it on the kitchen bench at the mercy of the next visitor....The days of buying a ticket to watch the grand final at the MCG are long gone anyway, unless you're well heeled. Best wishes to the rich getting richer. Other than the match itself, the  rest of the telecast, including what is known as our national anthem, despite almost all of those zombies not knowing the words, is rubbish....Lockdown advantage living next to a block of five 2 bedroom units, lights on, dead quiet? ...Many have no experience of a Melbourne premiership victory. Let me tell you it's one of life's most painful. Twelve months of strutting to a higher level than ever before. Go the Bulldogs, with, sadly, not a lot of confidence, I say to the red white and blues - "stick it right up 'em"...Common sense is far from common...True, Danny has no right to impinge on our freedom, but surely our state has a right to ensure that they do not harm others?..."For they can conquer who believe they can." [Virgil]..."Vive la France!"...Sports rorts, car park rorts, vaccination debacle, quarantine debacle, the Christian Porter saga, lack of respect for women, refugee policy, national anticorruption commission?...Keep yourselves nice...Cliff Ellen.






A Grain of Salt.😎πŸ˜₯πŸ’‹

Tuesday 14th September, 2021. Currently Health Minister Greg Hunt is one smelly politician and the democratic vaccine rollout is in fact heavily political in favour of New South Wales, per population, at the same time rubbishing Victoria and other Labor states (cave dwellers?) none of which (from Hunt or Morrison) can be categorised as 'surprising'. Add in being saddled with Albanese as Opposition leader and behold - a Quagmire! Dreams of the past, responsible (though biassed) mature politicians, watching World of Sport Sundays with Ron Casey, Lou Richards, a few glasses of the amber liquid, non biassed football commentators and happy Sunday mornings, until the Sunday roast, beautifully prepared by the little lady, followed by the dishes (supervising?) before the afternoon nap. Of course it will all equal out in the next 3 months and by then we will be so desperate to escape lockdown we will gladly set aside all these selfish crooked dealings; forgotten, sadly. Further, darling Gladys, who may well have started our latest lockdown, has decided not to attend any press briefings. Is this on health advice or survival? Fools rush in where angels fear to tread - and if this mob gets in come the election, we all pay? The Greens? Nah. And so on, and so on, and so it goes...We refer to the experts...


Waleed Aly: "We are in a time of emergency politics, in which governments claim the right to do things that would be intolerable at any other time. Indeed, they are only tolerable now on the understanding that government – and its organs such as the police – will not abuse this power by using it for anything beyond the emergency itself. There is nothing normal about QR check-ins." [The connection with contact tracing and ASIO/police spying cannot be ignored?] 


John Hewson The Saturday Paper, edited: Morrison’s tin-ear response at this week’s women’s safety summit came against the background of his having failed to address accusations of rape, bullying and sexual harassment within the parliament, having closed the Family Court, having in the past been instrumental in cutting emergency financial support to women who suffer domestic violence and, most recently, having failed to fully respond to the Respectβ€Š@β€ŠWork inquiry. In each case he was again seen as lacking genuine concern and empathy. In his keynote to the summit he showed an inadequate grasp of detail and understanding. The lack of recognition for Indigenous Australians and their disadvantage takes a similar form. Instead of acting, the Morrison government has further disadvantaged First Peoples in its response to Covid-19 and by the inequity of the vaccine rollout. Similarly, the government has ignored the major recommendations of the aged-care royal commission – it is unmoved in relation to the wages of nurses and other aged-care workers – and is yet to commit to the recommended 10-year reform agenda. Again, the response is no response. The most difficult policy resistance and intransigence, however, is on climate change. The science is irrefutable. It is widely peer-assessed and agreed by more than 90 per cent of climate scientists. There is very strong and widespread community support for action as revealed in almost every recent poll or survey, by statements made by major industry and civil society groups and many of our key institutions. [Again, read it and weep?]


Peter Hartcher The Age, edited: what’s the reality of Beijing’s plan for Australia? What’s Beijing’s objective? ‘‘China’s objective would clearly be to have us in a subservient position and to sign up to their objectives. They are seeking to disrupt the relationship we have with the five eyes [the intelligence sharing partnership between the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand] and the US in particular.’’ This is consistent with Kevin Rudd’s view that ‘‘China’s policy towards Australia since 2017 has been hostile’’, as he put it to me last year. Dutton says there’s ‘‘a 24/7 effort under way by Beijing to achieve their objectives – in Taiwan, in the South China Sea, and dominance otherwise.’’ If you doubt him, you might have missed President Xi Jinping’s opening remarks on taking leadership of the Chinese Communist Party in 2012. He pledged ‘‘we will win the initiative and have the dominant position’’. Xi is all about dominance, at home and abroad. On his frequent visits to China’s military bases, he typically dresses in military camouflage and rallies the troops: ‘‘Prepare to fight and win wars.’’ [Feeling safe and secure with our 6 Nelson class submarines?]


For a lighter touch, my wedding day: "I can vaguely recall the big day - a Thursday by necessity as in-laws Rose and (mainly Alan) never took a Saturday off from their work at the racetracks. Motels were just beginning to form part of the landscape. I left home in Bonbeach with all my gear and drove my 1959 Morris Major to a flash new motel (now a very ordinary motel) at Fawkner on the Hume Highway. Booked in at 11.30am to what I considered supreme luxury. Prior to that I had only ever stayed at the cheapest pubs (a room with a bed, wardrobe and wash basin) with mates in Sydney. I recall unpacking, putting 2 bottles of beer in my mini fridge, turning the radio on loudish, opening a bottle (might as well, you don’t get married every day) and pouring a glass, sitting back, luxuriating. I always like motels, possibly because of this very first experience. I eventually showered and shaved, finished my 2 bottles, and left in plenty of time to get to St Michael’s Church in High Street, Ashburton. In retrospect was I over .05. Graham Campbell was our best man and Emmy Miller was bridesmaid. Joff Ellen was M.C. and did a wonderful job, a good M.C. being half the battle of a successful reception, none better that Joffa. So it all went a treat, and Mary and I arrived at our motel around midnight. She looked quite stunning, sober, unlike me, as I remember. No air conditioning in those days and a heatwave night at some 35 degrees, and trucks roaring by all night! I’m sure we managed, I think?


Sean Kelly The Age, edited: By October last year, the federal government had been sitting on draft legislation for an anticorruption commission for almost a year. In Parliament, Anthony Albanese asked Scott Morrison why it hadn’t been released. A little snidely, Morrison said that, while Albanese might not have noticed, the government had been dealing with bushfires and a pandemic. When Albanese pressed him, asking how either of those elements had stopped the government releasing legislation it already had, Morrison told Parliament he was ‘‘not going to have one public servant diverted’’ from managing the pandemic. Well, OK. Now here’s an answer Morrison gave three weeks ago. Albanese used his well-worn line about the government failing at its two jobs, vaccines and quarantine. Morrison had his response ready: ‘‘Anyone who thinks a prime minister of this country only has two jobs isn’t up to the job.’’ He went on to say Afghanistan had been the centre of efforts that week. It’s an ingenious tactic, really. Ask Morrison about a subject, he’ll say his focus has been on something more urgent. Ask him about that thing, and he’ll say his focus was on something more urgent still. At some point, trying to discover where Morrison and his government actually spend their time begins to seem like searching for the end of a rainbow. You think you can see it, just, if you look hard enough but by the time you arrive, it always seems to have moved somewhere else. [There's more of course, you decide?]


Despite the lockdown? I'm coming out of South Coast Medical centre, Ozone street, a car across the road exiting from woolworths, to the left another car from Point Nepean Road and to the right another car to enter woolworths, all travelling slowly; behold, a space on the right, one car length, I enter - and he honks, me? Obviously from Melbourne breaking lockdown, he deserved a smack on his nose, and had he been a female I might well have given it. Didn't even stick my finger up. Gutless?


The lady lost her nest egg $220,000 by investing in a managed investment scheme securing long-term leases over rental properties etc. Government decided to cap compensation at $150,000 after, as always, breaking a promise of more than double this amount. "It's just shocking, and the government has done stuff-all to help us. It has destroyed me. I just want the money back and to get on with my life." At 69, now on the age pension. [You decide?]. 


Late News: 400,000 extra jabs for Victoria. OMG...Foreigners at magpie land; McRae, Bolton and Leppitsch. I'll give them 12 months...A four day week is coming? I started this idea in the 1970's...A pension rise of $14.80 every fortnight. All my dreams have come true?.... Paul Fletcher is our Arts Minister. Aside from American films what does he do all day every day?...Kevvy Rudd: Murdoch’s Liberal Protection Racket hard at work today right across the Murdoch Sunday papers. That’s 2.5 million readers. The message: 1) please forget that Berejiklean brought about 30,000 NSW infections by failing to lock down early 2) Saint Gladys will now “give you freedom”...Cliffy's Emporium in Daylesford is now a Tier 1 exposure sight....."It surely is one of the prominent frailties of human nature, that we are incapable of duly appreciating those favours which are offered to us at little cost. The inference is plain: we place fictitious value on what we desire, and on what we possess; and it may be instructive to carry our researches further into the affairs of this present life, and endeavour to ascertain what real importance attaches to any of those objects which we aim to obtain. It may be useful, although disagreeable, to discover that we run after bubbles, which burst in the hand." [Maund]..I'm getting on in years, extending to a weekly, Tuesdays, keep yourselves nice....Cliff Ellen.






A Grain of Salt. πŸ˜ŽπŸ™ƒ

Thursday 9th September, 2021. Wednesdays are often a bit of a quandary on lockdown. True, a shower will make me feel better, but a shave, why? If I have it I'm sure to be needing to repeat the effort by Friday so why not wait until the vague likelihood of the odd visitor? The eyebrows also surely in need of a trim but a DIY would involve the strong possibility of eye loss. Quite warmish outside, no mongrel winds, so a walk is on the cards before tomorrow's predicted strong northerlies. Bugger it. Have the shower, skip the shave, read The Age online, Scotty choofed home for Father's Day, cunning as a taipan, escaping another vulture in our Kooyong's Josh, and then the walk, half a k, no, the Council has taken the seats away, why? Check emails, mostly nonsense, recharge the phone. Then lunch, then a nap and after my nap reconsider my next plan of daytime action. TV, no, doesn't work for me. Read a book? Facebook? It's all happening Bill Lawry. Who doesn't like lockdowns? We watch the cannibals in awe, hoping they get their just deserts, likewise Melbourne losing, if not Friday then Saturday week. Oops, must away, Scotty's making a speech, justifying every action the past 20 months, Even so...


Parents and swimming instructors are worried about the loss of kids’ water safety skills during COVID-19 restrictions, while lifesavers prepare for a surge of beach visitors once lockdowns ease. In my day we were off to the Northcote baths whenever, to get us out of the house, out of the way, tuppence entrance fee, unsupervised, and we, surprisingly (?) survived. A miracle?


Niki Savvy, edited: "Announcing JobKeeper Morrison emphasised its Australianness. ‘‘There is not more support for some than there is for others. That is not the Australian way,’’ he said. ‘‘If one person falls on a hard time, if anyone falls on a hard time, it is the same hard time. We are all in this together. That is what is fair. That is what is Australian.’’ What is inexcusable is the gaping flaw which saw overpayment of a staggering $13 billion to entities with no mechanism to compel repayment. The government succeeded in making some very rich people even richer while still hunting down pensioners for a few lousy dollars in overpayments. Then it used Pauline Hanson to scuttle crossbench Senator Rex Patrick’s bill to force the disclosure of payments to all companies and entities with a turnover of more than $10 million. After he was caught sneaking off to Hawaii during the bushfires, he blamed staff for failing to announce his absence. ‘‘The office won’t do that again,’’ he said. ‘‘You learn from these things.’’ Apparently not. He claimed that same office only told him about the Brittany Higgins rape allegations after they were published. Then at the weekend he snuck off to Sydney, spent the Father’s Day weekend with his family, then returned to Canberra. It may have been within the rules for politicians, but it made a mockery of the ‘‘all in it together’’ homilies. Just for some perspective on how much is involved, it is $1300 for every Australian household, and more than double that proposed by Albanese for everyone who got vaccinated. At least they would have spent it here. Louis Vuitton bagged almost $6 million from JobKeeper then, voila, managed to lift its dividend to its parent company in France by $6.6 million. Recouping that money would go a long way to providing shelter for vulnerable women and children, or the homeless or to ventilate schools or save struggling small businesses. There are literally thousands of ways it could be spent to improve the lives of ordinary people." And... 


Double standards? The Coalition is blocking attempts by Labor, the Greens and Senator Patrick to bring businesses to account and recover millions, if not billions, of taxpayer dollars. On the other hand the government is pursuing 11,000 individuals, many of them welfare recipients, to repay $32 million they accrued by receiving both JobSeeker and JobKeeper during a confusing rollout period last year. When asked about this apparent discrepancy, Mr Frydenberg said this was ‘‘a false analogy because one is in accordance with the law, the other is not’’. This, we think, is the problem. [Not to exclude the many small businesses who exploited the system.]


Comedy of the week? The Liberal party held a strategy day last Friday and one senior member of the team said research presented by the Liberals’ head office showed the party was in a ‘‘solid’’ position to win the next election under Mr Michael O’Brien. ‘‘We have research to back it, advertising to prosecute it,’’ the source said. ‘‘The worst thing we could do is blow ourselves up by putting egos and factions ahead of Victorians when they need us more than ever.’’ [Dreaming?] Almost as funny? "A spokesperson for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner said protecting personal information was central to maintaining public trust and promoting compliance with health orders and contact tracing."


Common sense prevailed? Welcome back to the former zoning king and high rise advocate Matthew Guy, pledging unity, hope and positivity (?) also known (with his mate) Peter Dutton, for firing up the voters on Melbourne's so called African gangs. Some 15 months to turn it around and expunge the spiteful presence of Michael O'Brien, a big ask, made slightly easier with the backing of The Herald-Sun and, to a lesser extent The Melbourne Age and 3AW. From a Liberal Party p/o/v a necessity. 


Some things stay there forever. I've always had a bad memory for names, unlike Shane Bourne and Brian Nankervis who not only remember but can rattle off your billy lids names? Some 5 years ago I adopted 'love' or 'darling' for females and 'mate' for the blokes, thus blocking those past unhappy memories. Some I remember by association, like Chloe, because of my many visits over time to Young & Jackson's hotel. Geoffrey Rush at a Monica Maughan wake and the dirty look he gave me when I answered "Goodaye ahh ahhh". Ditto coming up the stairs from the Studio, Arts Centre and Liz Jones on her way down. The same look, after my "Hi, ahh ahh". Add in Stephen Curry at a play reading, called him by the wrong name, instant dirty look? Result: Incorrect judgements - for life? 


The difference: In central Europe, the arts is suffering far less of the financial shock endured in Australia: in February, the German government doubled its emergency pandemic aid for the arts with an additional 1 billion euros, to help cultural organisations and workers survive the second pandemic lockdown. ‘‘In comparison to Opera Australia, or companies in England and America, where people literally did not work ... we’ve been, I’ve been, in a very privileged position, and also I’ve been creating work over the last 18 months,’’ says Barrie Kosky. [Lucky man.] 


"Are you OK?" An Australian initiative apparently. Best wishes to the Afghanistan womens cricket team...SBS Celebrity Mastermind. I recognised John Wood, but the rest? Deleted...Where is the justice; iron ore, gold mining, our grand final, all in Western Australia?...Better news; Peter Singer – ‘‘Philosopher wins $1 million prize’’...Gladys "We are well ahead of the other states" Vaccinations. A miracle?...‘‘Millions in JobKeeper go to luxury retailers’’ and nothing to the universities; read it and weep... NSW is winning the race to be vaccinated. Commended by our PM. No prize for guessing how they did it...Looking forward to my vaccine passport, entry to my RSL?...Joe Biden : ‘‘We need to find ways to pressure and raise the pressure, frankly, on Beijing to abide by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and to challenge its bullying and excessive maritime claims.’’ So much for loyalty. Afghanistan, left in the lurch, has a population roughly the same as Australia. Add in China's territorial acquisition of fishing boundaries in the Philippines and the USA decision to do nothing about it. Can we trust the Yanks to come to our aid?...Three-year-old Anthony ‘AJ’ Elfalak was found alive after three long days and nights in bushland; beautiful.....Why do they all want Pfyzer and not AstraZeneca?...Free kicks the bulldogs way over Brisbane, 28-19. Game after game. Is it the jumpers?..."Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear" [Job]...Be not the first by whom the New are try'd, Nor yet the last to lay the Old aside. [Pope]...Be nice to waitresses, if you can locate one....Cliff Ellen.






A Grain of Salt.😎πŸ˜₯

Saturday 4th September, 2021. An abnormal situation! It's that famous Tommy Trinder song from the 1930's "All over the place". Frankly, I only gave myself half a chance of seeing out another Winter. Should I feel grateful? And now, vaccination rates will solve all our problems. The 80% double dose vaccination. Really Gladys? Yet another roadblock. Where is that ever elusive sweet spot? So many being totally isolated. We ponder the difference, totally isolated or isolated? Perhaps a call to Lifeline? "All states to open up society" say our business leaders. They  would of course, the more they get the more they want principle. Sticking with the national plan? Essential Poll: Should Schomo be re-elected @ 41 for no, 36 for yes. The last thing to go is - hope? Brisbane former players to run our famous Collingwood Football team, from the team who robbed us (Rocca's goal) in 2002? I wanted Ross Lyon, such is life. And yes, the playgrounds are open, Dictator Dan over bloody flowing with empathy. Far too much of Dan ("my view is") Andrews. Not that I have a choice, with Michael O'Brien? The Age editorial (Thursday) ignores the pathetic Morrison rollout and increases the pressure on our Victorian health system and Dictator Dan, straight out of News Limited propaganda, sad sad sad. They spat on us during those 120 donut days, and lives saved, now they're back, the mongrels, Scotty heavy on the "open up" political line (aided by Paul Guerra, CEO of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and the Premiers for saving lives, take your pic? Me? Simple, blame Sydney? Anything 'blue' in fact, cricketers, politics, Carlton? Another factor are the experts, often solving nothing and often servants of whoever is paying the money. Add in secrecy, always a factor, seemingly for our own good, but all about power. I've always hated waiting rooms. I can take 30 minutes, even an hour if it's important, but that's it. I walk, done it, probably 20 times. And like a nightmare, I'm slap bang in the middle of a daily waiting room, not quite knowing what I'm waiting for, the Godot nightmare? Onwards and upwards my backside. The other problem, secondary perhaps, is who to really blame? I fancy Josh Frydenburg but not quite, though slippery, Dutton still at number 1 after our ragtag PM. Have you noticed they all wear the colour of death - grey suits? Even more concerning is my lack of anger, acceptance so to speak? They tell me "All that makes Melbourne great on hold again." I pondered on this one too, what was it that previously made Melbourne great? Even so...moving on...  


The Saturday Paper: "Data from the Parliamentary Budget Office shows about 20,000 companies claimed JobKeeper while at the same time tripling their turnover. Another 15,000 claimed the payment while their revenues doubled. The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, says businesses can’t be expected to return the money. When it was given to them, he says, the whole country was staring into the abyss. “If they were going to pay back that money, then they wouldn’t have necessarily taken it in the first place,” he says. “If businesses had had to show an actual turnover decline, then we wouldn’t have gotten the money out the door.”The money that was paid didn’t all go to workers. Some of it went to executive bonuses. Some of it was paid out in dividends to shareholders. It could be argued that the two defining policy initiatives of the Morrison government are now tax cuts for the rich and handouts for companies. “The idea that we should be giving taxpayer cash to firms that are doubling or tripling their revenues is reprehensible,” says Andrew Leigh, an economist and Labor MP. “This is the sort of flagrant misspending of money that you’d expect to see in some tinpot dictatorship, not in a well-run economy like Australia’s.” In a speech this week, Leigh complained that welfare recipients were being hounded on overpayment while billionaires were free to keep millions of dollars in excess subsidies. He called it a welfare scheme for lottery winners."


The Chaser, edited: " Unfortunately, it looks like "daily hospitalisations and deaths" is not going to be a very rosy metric in the coming weeks, so we need to shift the goalposts yet again (I know, I know -- we probably should have thought about it a week ago. Thing is, none of us here at PMO can think of a good metric that would reflect well on the Liberal Party. So instead, we're going to have to start blaming the dead for dying. Now I know it seems a bit harsh, but in fairness, they're not exactly in a position to fight back, so it really is a victimless win for everyone. We're not on the hook for the growing deaths, and the dead don't care anyway because they're dead. Point is, from now on, whenever you talk about someone dying, please denote that they weren't vaccinated. DO NOT mention that it's probably because they couldn't get any. Imply that they were one of those anti-vaxxer types. I mean, just mentioning it implies it anyway so it should be pretty easy. Also, Covid deaths should no longer be referred to as "tragic" or "sad". Instead, please blame them for getting sick in the first place, and imply that they broke a health order or two by mentioning that the source of their infection is still "under investigation" (which is highly likely since our contract tracing system has all but collapsed). Also, just a heads up, we will be removing most of the financial support for the vast swathes of people most financially distressed by this pandemic in the coming months. At that point, it's almost certain that people will start having to break the public health orders to pay the rent, feed their family etc etc. If you can really go to town on these people for their individual choices, and ignore the systemic problems that we've created for them, that would be awesome."


John Cleese? Edited: "The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Afghanistan and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada. The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years. The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability. Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbour" and "Lose." Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels. The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy. Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be right, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is cancelled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level."


Clinical epidemiologist: "I have spent 20 years modelling various healthcare issues. The output of healthcare models are not facts. They are educated guesses. The better the information going in, the more accurate the guess that comes out, but they are always guesses. Whenever I hear a politician saying a product of a model is a fact, I know that a political point is being made. Nothing more, nothing less."...Understatement of the year: "Australia’s press watchdog has ruled News Corp’s The Australian newspaper was unfair and caused substantial distress when it published almost 50 articles over a 10-month period about gender affirming healthcare and transgender children and teenagers."...Watched the Geelong GWS match on the fabulous (and other wonderful comments) Optus oval in Perth; no way, the MCG by a mile...What follows booster shots?...The ABC's 7.30. A 4 night special on violence to women or workplace sexual harassment; a 4 night break after the first 4 minutes each night, from watching the remainder of this brainwashing...Perth to host our grand final, a massive culture, economic loss for we Victorians, albeit the rich Victorians. "Back at the MCG bigger and better in 2022" says AFL chief, following up with suggesting Toby Greene (manifestly inadequate, intentional, disrespectful?) should have copped 6 weeks rather than the 3, thus losing me for a lifetime, not that he ever had me anyway. Doesn't Gillon trust the umpire's evidence? Not the point. Gillon, a graduate from the school of political correctness, and who doesn't believe a good looking male on $1.7 million a year?..."He that sips of many arts, drinks of none" [Fuller]...Keep yourselves nice....Cliff Ellen.



A Grain of Salt.😎πŸ˜₯

Monday 30th August, 2021. Spring has sprung, almost, not before time, and Fathers Day come Sunday, good good. Andrews at 50% O'Brien 24%. Yabba-Dabba-Doo. True, not a lot to scream about, but living with hope a necessity, in my cave, with the certainty of uncertainty. What, end of September lockdown? I'm getting desperate. My three billy lids, all grown up now and seemingly respectable, all watch 'Survivor' on (apparently) Channel 10. No? Surely not? Not THAT desperate; not yet anyway. To each his/her own? Again, I leave it to the experts, in line (mostly) with the mysterious epidemiologists and the various chief health officers in each state. The precarious balance of getting back to work, our economy, and saving lives. Some 3,500 deaths a year from prostate cancer, perhaps 2000 a year influenza, and high numbers other causes. The percentages, the balance? Hey, what would I know? One thing I do know is that my marbles are on the down, diminishing by day. Yes, 7 times 8 still arrives at 56 but only just. Fortunately I've kept notes. And please, don't say "It is what it is." There's bugger all news anyway so here are my preferences...


Katharine Murphy, The Guardian, edited: “Safe” is a courageous word for a prime minister to lob in a pandemic, because pandemics aren’t safe events. It’s certainly true that Australia has endured less tragedy than places like the United States. But we aren’t safe from this virus, and most people know that. At the risk of stating the obvious, pandemics bring anxiety, illness and sometimes death. People either get sick, or they worry about getting sick. Australian governments have imposed lockdowns to keep people safe, but that physical safety carries a cost. Mental wellbeing suffers. What Morrison wants to do over the coming weeks is nudge Australians past his previous shibboleth of saving “lives and livelihoods”, the bulletproof political mantra that allowed the prime minister to take actions during the crisis that centre-right governments wouldn’t normally countenance. His new mantra will be “living with Covid”. Morrison shouldn’t compound bad judgments by peddling false comforts, “living with Covid” is a different experience for Australia. Morrison’s “safe plan” involves gradually turning off the commonwealth money machine. As vaccination rates rise, it also involves decoupling from a public health strategy that has been labelled suppression but is more like elimination. Given where we’ve been for the last year and a half, floating, isolated from the world in a bubble of government-built expectations that Australia’s primary objective is saving lives and livelihoods, what’s coming is less “safe plan” than huge (and politically risky) dismount. People are anxious, and angry. They’ve endured the commonwealth’s terrible vaccination bungle....[ I repeat, head down, bum up.]


Niki Savva The Age, edited: "If everything had gone according to Plan A, Scott Morrison would have called an election within days, then sailed through the campaign as the Prime Minister who had led the country through a once-in-a-century pandemic with minimal loss of life and only temporary disruption to the economy. Instead, there is a fractured federation, premiers grown accustomed to wielding immense power even at the expense of the national good, a prime minister powerless to stop them, a devaluing in almost every way of what it means to be an Australian, 15 million people locked down, the prospect of a second recession in two years, enough debt to cripple generations and a vaccination rollout Morrison nominated as his priority in February which could even now qualify as the greatest policy failure since Federation. Given its impact on the health and economic wellbeing of almost every Australian over many months, regardless of race, religion, sex, age or class, the botched vaccination program, mishandled at almost every point, is right up there."


The Saturday Paper, editorial. Edited: Morrison’s response to the fall of Afghanistan exemplifies this smallness. He has no interest in the situation because it is larger than him. There are no votes in it. The television news doesn’t care. Even the readers of this newspaper are less interested than they are in the vaccine rollout. The traffic numbers prove it. Morrison’s lack of imagination has left behind thousands of people. Their fate is reasonably certain. The Taliban is not new and their actions are unlikely to surprise. As one Hazara refugee recounts in the paper this week: “Once the international forces are out of Kabul airport, the dark time will again come to Afghanistan. People know that. The Taliban is not new to Afghan people. We keep forgetting that: they are not a new regime. They were there before. They have already killed thousands of people in front of their families. It is just a matter of time. Straight away they will kill people. They will not ask questions. There is no mercy. The fear people have is that once the international forces leave Kabul airport, the Taliban will start slaughtering. People sense it. They know.” From Letters: The extreme cruelty of the federal Coalition has long been apparent, in its scandalous refugee policies, in robo-debt, in its suppression of wages, its tax cuts for the well-off, its fossil fuels advocacy and climate denial, its funding of privilege, its corrupt allocation of public money, its denigration of women and denial of their rights, and its refusal to adequately address First Nations concerns. Is it too much to hope that its latest egregious act of cruelty – to abandon Afghans, despite impending Hazara genocide and crimes against women, denigrating those in dire peril as al-Qaeda supporters – will finally enlighten those still enamoured of a government bereft of not just policy but any last shred of morality (Karen Middleton, “They took him from his home, and killed him...”, August 21-27)?


Saul Eslake, a former chief economist at ANZ, notes estimates that the shutdown of Sydney is costing about $1 billion a week and the lockdown of Victoria about the same. Add in reductions in economic activity in regional NSW and the other states and territories and the total is probably in the order of $3 billion a week. In normal times, Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is about $40 billion a week. That’s a huge hit.


The Chaser, edited: "As Prime Minister of Sydney, and also, I suppose, the rest of Australia, I'm always keen for my country to thrive. That's why we've got to get away from this prehistoric notion that just because some places in Australia don't have Covid they should try and stay that way. If people in Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland stick to this outdated idea, it will impinge on the freedom of Sydneysiders to go to those states and cough on the people who live there. What sort of a future is that? Instead I call upon all the state Premiers to swing their doors wide open and adopt the lifestyle of a Sydneysider. Sydney is a carefree environment to live in at the moment. Nobody worries about what they're wearing or what their hair looks like. In 17 days, some residents will even be able to go on picnics! Imagine that! What a lifestyle! Are you jealous yet? A lot of people in the other states are resisting going down the path of becoming more Sydney-like. But it's futile to resist. You need to accept the inevitable. The Sydney lifestyle is coming to you sooner or later. Especially with someone like me in charge of the country. I've always said we need to follow the evidence, and to me, the evidence is quite clear. All the data show that throughout the pandemic my government has been terrible at overseeing the quarantine system. Now you might think "Hang on, why don't you just get better at quarantine? Why don't you build quarantine facilities outside crowded cities to reduce the risk of a leak?" Sure, that's what a caveman or cavewoman might say. But if you followed the evidence, you'd see that my ability to learn from my mistakes is almost non-existent."


Toby Greene again, and the dogs (self righteous football so-called experts) are barking, nonsense. Bye bye Toby....Comedies of the week 1/: Fox News accuses the ABC (Four Corners) of bias? 2/ Prime Minister ‘‘We work together as a team of premiers, chief ministers and myself, to make sure we respond to each other’s needs’’....Empathy (or memory loss?) with Afghans stranded in Kabul. And so we say farewell to our helpers trapped in Afghanistan, in line with our fantastic empathetic government, in line with Tampa, Manus, Nauru, dating back to the disaster of the Iraq war and our hero Johnny Howard, and the treatment of Julian Assange...The Bold and the beautiful is a form of mental cruelty, worse than Survivor?...Charlie Watts was good stuff, Gene Krupa even better...If the Chinese were building at Mickleham it would be all finished and a rail line added by now...Taylor Walker said he was sorry; move on please...The ALP needs our help to save the ABC. Better to change the leader? From the day Albanese took over the Labor leadership I wondered, and still wondering, if he did this for himself or for the good of the ALP?... "The wise man expects future things, but does not depend on them, and in the meantime enjoys the present, remembering the past with delight; but the life of the fool is wholly carried on to the future." [Epicurus]...Keep on keeping on?...Cliff Ellen.



THEATRE NOTES: 1989 brought me to the Melbourne Theatre Company, my first (and second last) experience in such exulted (?) company. The play was Top End, by John Romeril, directed by Paul Hampton with Maggie Millar, Vince Colosimo, Pam Drysdale, Bunney Brooke, Hao Zhau and Peter Cummins. And what a fascination this experience turned out to be. The rehearsal spaces, offices, and cosy canteen are situated in Ferrars Street, South Melbourne. An accumulation of people either exercising power, treading carefully to be accepted to be a part of an invisible clique, or a group of really enthusiastic types there for the good of theatre. Apart from this small latter group one could feel an underbelly of petulance, snobbery, spitefulness, arrogance and autocracy but with a higher degree of sophistication than in other lines of employment. Of course it was all “health and happiness” on the surface. Everybody loves everybody. Loyalty can sometimes mean lying and twisting in the interests of your cronies, while ruthlessly worsting anyone likely to challenge you in the scheme of things. John Romeril attended almost every rehearsal, creating a “two directors” situation, strange indeed, constantly muddying the waters for Paul Hampton. I received some four pages of typed “notes” from John two days before opening night. Apparently I got off lightly. Paul was replaced as the director at the same time after representations to Roger Hodgman (the Artistic Director) from Peter Cummins and Maggie Millar, who were dissatisfied with his direction. Poor Paul had been suffering from a severe case of the ‘flu for the final two rehearsal weeks. I couldn’t help pondering as to why two such senior actors had to carry out what I considered such a cruel act. Still, I was new here. To my mind the real problem was Romeril’s intrusions and the bad casting error of Pam Drysdale, a nice young lady who appeared to be out of her depth. [Pam had come from Albury and accepted the part without living away allowance, a big break for her. Maggie Millar convinced her she was entitled. Pam asked me and I recommended she forget it. Pam chose the Maggie option and (as expected) was never heard from again. Sad. A lovely young lady]. Not to worry, press on was my approach. Why create additional problems? The production had moderate success. Cummins and Millar exercised a superiority clique not necessarily commensurate with their ability; Vince was a delight, Bunny was a pain in the arse but the audiences loved her for past achievements; young Hao sang beautifully and Pam did her best, but sadly, not quite up to the part as I saw it. A feature of the intervals was my winning money from Vince and Hao at cards, while Peter Cummins made the odd nasty cracks in my direction, hidden reasons (?) which was water off a ducks back for me. Too long at the MTC I concluded? The MTC was “little hollywood” for mine (success at the box office and they love you, do badly and you’re in Iceland) albeit a bit like comparing the Empire State Building to a one bedroom flatette in Maribyrnong, no offence to Maribyrnong. A mix of class, pretenders and wankers, but thankfully, mainly class. Bottom line: A learning experience.





A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜ŽπŸ’‹

Wednesday. 25th August, 2021. Another day, another lockdown, another Dan Andrews warning, or else! Head down bum up continues. A Hawaiian style luau at Rye back beach apparently, why no invite? Sorrento hot spot, what 5 kilometre rule? A weekend of real sunshine, tempting the protesters for their meaning of freedom, which confuses us, up to a point? I'll settle for a walk to the letterbox and return, 107 steps, phew. I'm buggered now, as in the Australian meaning. Will I live to see a budget surplus? More chance of winning the lottery and/or a Collingwood premiership. Josh Frydenburg has popped up out of the woodwork supporting the "back to a new normal" at 70-80%, a change from attacking his home state. Can't help thinking (with no proof) the NSW's slack performance on lockdowns cost Victoria's latest and Canberra's first lockdown? I'll let the experts take the floor, assuming I agree with them, again, up to a point. We wonder where those thousands of fully armed Afghanistan Taliban soldiers have been hiding the past decade or two? Or is it just me? Ditto, why abandon those who assisted us in our folly? Our PM was on Insiders, the Taliban, the inoculations, including the 80% no lockdowns aim. I'm a left field type of ageing bloke; why didn't David Speers ask him why the entertainment industry was left out to dry in the Jobkeeper episodes? On the other hand a useless question, in the light of a Prime Minister who, in my experience, takes the blame game to heights never before experienced. It began as "I don't hold a hose mate" and continues on ad infinitum, like this lockdown. [PM Scotty's primary vote from 38 to 40 per cent. Labor has fallen from 35 to 32 percent. Not good, not unexpected]. I read where we all lie about twice a day, obviously some psychological study, likely even that's a lie? Mustn't complain. It's not as if I'm Julian Assange.      


The Saturday Paper/editorial, edited. As early as June, if not earlier, Australia was warned that its decision to leave Afghanistan would put at risk thousands of lives. Our government did not entertain special support at this time because that part of its imagination had already been closed down. Scott Morrison wasn’t taken by surprise this week: he was already in the grip of indifference, a kind of indifference necessary to live with the refugee policy he has spent years shaping....Richard Denniss, on Morrison. "How can you start a fight about religious freedom with “the left” when you’re in a fight with your own backbench about lockdown freedoms? How do you start a fight about net zero targets ruining the economy when your own quarantine and vaccine failures have cost far more jobs? And how do you start a scare campaign about Labor’s love of spending when you are rolling out the next phase of stimulus to prop up the economy that your Covid-19 failures caused? While the fight against unions, environmentalists and Labor will continue to unite MPs as diverse as Barnaby Joyce and Josh Frydenberg, it’s not at all clear that raging against those enemies will be enough to conceal Morrison’s failure to do anything other than shovel money on to his friends while carefully avoiding help for his foes. Will that be enough to swing the swinging voters in the key marginals again? Maybe." Paul Bongiorno, again Morrison. "When veterans, their organisations and refugee advocates began demanding Australia do something to get people out of Afghanistan, Albanese joined the chorus. He said, “Scott Morrison is characterised by always responding too little, too late. He waits until there’s an absolute crisis before he acknowledges there’s an issue, and then he blames someone else.” 


Peter Hartcher The Age. "The Morrison government’s approach to climate change is not the exception. It’s the rule. The prime ministerial inertia began with the bushfire emergency. It extended to vaccine rollout, the fixing of hotel quarantine, the demands for justice for women, and most recently the evacuation of Kabul. There is no crisis so big or so urgent that the Morrison government cannot find a rationalisation for avoiding it."


Anson Cameron "You’ve got two decades and money enough, and the family traumas are now shouldered by the generation below. Each day is a blank canvas. Admittedly, not many of them turn into a Picasso, but at dawn each holds that possibility. At last, 10,000 free days. Free days have always been the domain of Dukes and Dionysus. Now they’re yours. If you can get past the guilt that accompanies freedom in a captive world, this could be the happiest time of your life." [Obviously not I, but for 60 year olds, enjoy.]


Following on...way, way back, circa 1970. In reading where the brain doesn't become fully functional until the mid 20's I recall mine some 5 years later, a public servant. Workmate had a casual job Saturdays, as did his wife; both 6 days a week for their 4 bedroom mini mansion in Templestowe, a pool, no garden, the beginning of today's current trend. What was his plan? "To leave it all to his kids" he replied. He, like many others, was running frantically through this forest of life with the aim of stopping to look at the trees in a far off time still to be determined, after reaching 65, if at all. The average age for dying was 67, causing me to marvel, ponder, at the thought of 45 years as a sacrificial lamb in return for maybe just two special twilight years? For the kids? I questioned this fascinating dream, but it was way outside his focus. I discussed with the old man (father) who agreed with the work colleague? This got me thinking, as one does being a public servant surrounded by a few good people, the odd clever boss amidst a majority of dickheads. The thought of another 35 years, one file at a time, layer upon layer, listening to one or two clever dicks and superannuation units, cleverly surrounding themselves with less than clever dickheads, no doubt including yours truly. Wearing a necktie for another 35 years? I left the public service 2 years later; the neckties still in my wardrobe, good as new. I wanted to look at the trees. I concluded money was not the prime objective, the need (or wish) to be a balance between earning enough to pay the bills but equally to find time to work at something I loved and allow myself the extra time to sit on a park bench, view the beautiful legs; the difficulty being to find the work I enjoyed. That thought is still with me today as I ponder in my island of comfortable loneliness...for what? [Herald-Sun 15/4-"After 2 years I decided I didn't want to sit at a desk every day" said apprentice jockey Georgina Cartwright, 22, who gave up a career in accountancy]. "If a labourer gets no more than the wages which his employer pays him, he is cheated, he cheats himself" [Thoreau]. Who was right, the old man or me? All about choices. 


The Chaser: Edited, "There's a small leak here at the Chaser Springs Nuclear Reactor and Childcare Centre. I know many of you have been begging me to make it compulsory to wear masks in the affected corridors, especially where you can literally see the clouds of gas wafting out from the reactor core. But I didn't want to jump too fast onto that bandwagon. I believe in a little thing called freedom. I know that some of you (especially the shouty ones) think not getting radiation poisoning is a priority, but what about the people who don't care about radiation poisoning? I have to run this facility on behalf of everyone, not just the safety nuts who would have this facility shut down every time people start dropping dead. You've got to balance the pro-living nutters against the pro-freedom people. I've listened to what my safety officer was telling me eight weeks ago, and I am now making masks compulsory in all corridors where you can visibly see wafts of green smoke (unless you are going for a jog through the green smoke, in which case don't worry about it.) Now that face masks are compulsory, the need to fix the leak is basically redundant. Instead, I'm proposing that we learn to live with this deadly radiation leak (or in some cases, die). It'll be much easier than fixing it. Unfortunately, there aren't enough face masks for the children in the Child Care centre part of the building, but I'm sure they'll be fine. As long as 80% of adults wear face masks, then things should be able to get back to pretty much normal."


National Service 1955/4. Senior dickhead? We returned to Melbourne by train the Friday prior to the Melbourne Cup, on leave until the following Wednesday. My kitbag was full to the brim with dirty clothes, as, unlike others, I hadn’t learned to wash clothes. I had my last clean white shirt on, which was dark grey the time we got to Melbourne - the result of soot from the train. We got into the grog every time the train stopped, not so good for the normal passengers. Poor Mum. No washing machine or clothes dryer; all into the copper. Must have taken her 3 days to do it all. There was a number of Army personnel on the same train; tough Army personnel. One of them arranged a carriage to himself with this shapely female, so when they went to their respective toilets I had the bright idea of hiding in the luggage wrack up above. Back they came and were into it straight away. At the appropriate moment, approximately three seconds before (guessing?) orgasm, I screamed, jumped down and scarpered. The Army was on the warpath, and how. They searched every compartment, but they never caught me. Phew. What idiots will do for fame? 


The authoritarian drift (Kerry O'Brien) and soldiers in civilian situations, the Daleks in Doctor Who?...."We are all in this together" says Danny A, almost all?... Scott Pendlebury's offer? No surprise...Who to support in the AFL finals, certainly not Melbourne or Essendon, my hopes with Sydney, GWS, or Port Adelaide; even Brisbane?...One wonders how The Traveller section of Saturday's Age can find anything to print about?...Chris Uhlmann, ambitious right-wing journalist, warns of ‘‘bone-deep damage to the federation’’ because premiers, not the Prime Minister, are running the show on COVID-19 management. Thank goodness for something...Nine News called out the Jewish community at that 'engagement party' not Dan Andrews; true to form, no surprise... Email: "Live or work in St Kilda please get a COVID test" What?...Frogs under threat, Frenchies?..."It's only your friends and your enemies that tell you of your faults" [Haliburton]...Keep yourselves nice...Cliff Ellen.




Rio Would Be Nice. SCENE 3. 

(GLEN ENTERS WITH COFFEE,MAIL) Spare me days. The minute I sat down she started in on me. Accused me of smoking. Said she could smell it on my clothes? Got a shade testy there for a while. I think I might have won a point though. I told her I found half a dozen cigarette butts in the backyard a couple of days ago, and Mrs Next Door doesn’t smoke. Maybe Rex is a secret smoker? Sometimes a little white lie can throw the opposition off the scent.(PLAYS OUT THE SCENE) 

GLEN Maybe the helicopter pilot was smoking treasure?

JANE   “I’ll have Rex telephone the Council Dad. You can’t have helicopters   hovering over your house day and night.”

GLEN No treasure. Then again Rex? 

JANE “Emptying their ash trays” 

GLEN No treasure. 

JANE “You have to stand up for yourself Dad. Rex says if you had a real job you could live in a nice unit in Bentleigh. Mum would love Bentleigh Dad. It’s right next door to the Chadstone. You know how she loves shopping. Gloria could put in a word for you at Myer, working a microphone.” 

A microphone at Myers? I'm an artist. And Bentleigh? Retirement village suburb. Hard to believe she grew up in St.Kilda. 

JANE “St.Kilda is sleaze city dad. Full of creepy weirdos, drug addicts who refuse to shave and accost you for cigarettes, and wear dirty filthy clothes. Rex and I just adore Kew Dad.” 

GLEN Yes treasure. I think I’ll finish my demitasse of coffoire out the back, see if I can spot that helicopter pilot. Leave you to cook up a storm for tea. 

Lentil soup and bean salad? Rex’s favourite. Amazing. Born and bred in St.Kilda, with the sea in her veins, and she moves to Kew. Studley bloody Park. Rex will telephone here tonight. Nothing surer. On his super digital minuscule mobile with pictures, and charge the cost of his call as a business expense. And skite about it. Bloody dickhead. I’m waiting for him to call it a cell phone. The man with the ABN. Oh to have an attitude of divine nonchalance. I mean, life is short right? Be nice. It all evens out. The law of compensation, night and day, black and white, the ying yang and all that... 

I really feel like a beer right now. Can’t though. Gave it away 6 years back. Had a touch of that anxiety state. Sounds better than a nervous breakdown doesn’t it. Anxiety state. Bit like Victoria. If I give away the cigarettes what’s left? A cappuccino without a smoke. A bird without wings. Like doing a show to an empty house. I got the mail. Another daily highlight. Could be a cheque, or anything which verifies my existence. Mail is an event when resting. I might put in a call to Bali tonight. See how the massages are progressing. Half price after midnight. 

It’s good value this marriage business. If you need one another. That’s the key. My wife earns good money, does all the washing, cooks proper meals; chops, sausages. not Jane. Been married 5 years and we’ve been for tea once. Never again. No smoking allowed naturally, and he’s a royalist. Not to mention his famous permaculture vegan garden. And they’re tight. God knows where she got that from. Tiny health food meals. Nouvelle cuisine, which is French for you need a magnifying glass to spot the food. When we arrived home from Kew that night we both had to have a feed. Cheese on toast. Two pieces each.... 

Hah. Just had a thought. About being a star? I got a taste of it two years back on one of those 5 day trips to Surfers Paradise with darling, twin share package deal. White shoes a necessity. They put us up on the 39th floor of the Peninsular Apartments. I adopted this habit of getting into the lift and pressing 45, which was the penthouse apparently. People would look at me and I would maintain that straight ahead look. Staring at the otis sign and the maximum passengers allowable. Nonchalance personified. Like those aeroplane business types with their briefcases and computers, not looking at the air hostess when she starts sprouting those safety precautions. Swuavos. I was a star. Them mostly being holidayites, and so generally talkative, someone would ask “What’s it like up so high?” and I’d say, super cool, “It’s ok I suppose. Great view. The ocean, the mountains, looking down on the world. Trouble is I’m so busy. No time to enjoy it” I’d say, and I would laugh, knowingly. I felt a bit guilty, me and my little games. It's all good practice right? And they listened. A bonus. 

Jane doesn’t listen. She knows better. Well, as I’ve said they all know better. They get on with their lives and hope that I don’t harass them. Me, harass them? I hope darling’s being faithful in Bali. Those little indonesian fellows might make a pass at her during the massage. Hope the weather’s good. She spends all day on the beach if it’s sunny. Get a bad day weatherwise and she spends all day in those shops, buying up on Balinese culture. Fancy going to bloody Bali? I’d rather go to Elwood. Be good to get her home though. Throw out the water bottle. A good roast. Meat. Everybody gets on with their lives and conveniently forgets mine. Over 50 and unemployed. Nobody wants to know...like youth, nothing can be recaptured. Another time, another place...another person. 

Ahh well, say nothing. Remember that little fellow in “Faulty Towers” Manuel? “I know naathing” Yeah, I know. Dreadful imitation. That’s why I’m resting. He knew the score though little Manuel. That’s my aim. Survival. The common thread. Dignity and survival, without self-pity. And when the big one comes along, which it will, I live in a permanent state of hope, all unemployment ceases. I’m back in business. All is forgotten. 

A working ac-tor. I’ll be able to say to some of my former two-faced sycophant actor friends...Are you doing anything at the una mo-ment? Oh chin up. Me? Oh yes, I’m working on the new David Williamson play with Kate Blanchett I just adore David’s writing. And Kate is such a wonderful actrine, always admired her work, really communicates with her ac-tors, one of the true artists of our time. Tres quasi. Tres bullshit. Some of them deserve it though...so the question arises. Why do it? Do I seek fame? Respect? No. That respect business is a bit of a trap, a dog chasing his tail, or Greg Norman...a need to express myself as best I can?...a need to be noticed? (SHRUGS. A LITTLE SMILE) Perhaps... 

(PICKS UP MAIL) Two letters and junk. Two Queensland lottery letters. Addressed to Brett Barlow. That’s my real name, Brett Barlow. Glen Gardiner’s better. Other than bills these are all I get. Apart from the odd brochures from theatre companies telling me what plays are on and what parts I missed out on. It takes up quite a bit of time you know, deciding which prize I’ll take, should I win. Not that I have a lot of use for a mack truck, or a helicopter, or a speedboat. Well you can’t very well take the house can you? Not a lot of opportunities up on the Gold Coast for ageing actors, particularly with lined faces and bald heads. Bit of a haven for mental cripples up there...(COUGHS) Bloody cigarettes. I only smoke when I’m under pressure, which is when I’m resting-or working on a play. I’m definitely giving them away... (MOBILE) Suppose I should recharge the battery. Getting late. (EXERCISES) Bastards! 

Bloody agents. Terry’s probably at lunch by now with a successful client. Never been to lunch with Terry. Still, not a lot to talk about. Actually I wouldn’t mind going to lunch today. Bit of company to yap to. Get out of my rut. Still, not a lot to talk about. God! A man’s repeating himself. Getting rattier by the minute...I could go to Acland Street, have a real cappo, give Gloria a miss. And two last cigarettes before I definitely give them away for life, or at least until I get another play. Could well bump into some of my unemployed mates. I’m dressed appropriately. I should do something. Make the day “work for me”. Then again I might run into some working actors, stalking Acland Street in the hope of a touch of skiting. Duck if I see them coming. If caught I could always use the old standbyes... “Couple of jobs in the pipeline. Waiting on finance. Waiting on a couple of callbacks from auditions, on the shortlist for a big commercial.” or better still, “working on a corporate video.” Nobody ever sees them, and those that do fall asleep. Tell Jane I’m off to see Terry about a play. She gets nervous if I walk Acland Street alone. Looking forward to her lentil soup. I’d better have a feed before tea anyway. Lentil bloody soup! Maybe a pie and sauce, and a hamburger. Leave the mobile at home. A wee bit pretentious? Nah. You never know. Progress or decay they say, right? Progress or decay. 

(STARTS TO EXIT-MOBILE RINGS) Shit! Hello? Glen Gardiner speaking. Hello, Glen Gardiner here. Shit. What do I press? Send? (PRESSES SEND) Hell-ooo. Glen Gardiner speaking...Terry. Hi. Hah, my first call on the mobile. Better be quick Terry, it’s not cheap this time of day. Don’t want to waste your money...No, I’m still at home. Thought I’d head down to Acland Street instead...yeah. Save on petrol. More action down there...yeah...yeah... you’re kidding?...five week rehearsal, and a four week season? You’re kidding?...and a possible country tour? No...no, no, no, no, no. Say yes Terry. Don’t argue about the money. Stuff the money. Just say yes... No, I don’t want to read the bloody script. Stuff the script. Just say yes. Hang on, hang on, do I have to cry? No? Then I don’t want to read the script, just say yes. Wait wait, who’s directing?... oh, she-is-wonderful. I love her work. She’s a genius. Thank-you Tezza-mate. Fan-tastic. You are the best. Have a wonderful lunch Tezza. Bye old mate. (PRESSES END) 

Shit a brick. Good old Terry. Lovely fella. Shit a bloody brick. Must phone Cynthia, and Gloria and Marilyn. Bring some cakes home for Janey, buy a packet of cigarettes. Bugger it I’ll buy a bloody carton. Phone Bali before midnight. Hang the bloody expense. Up the bloody magpies. You bloody ripper!!! 



I'm back! Oh, fuck. Hard to believe. I can’t help myself. Breathe carefully, from the diaphragm. Up the fucking workers. EXITING - BACK TO AUDIENCE. RIGHT HAND RAISED IN VICTORY. 

Blackout / Curtain.[Music up. Running time...one hour] 

Cliff Ellen, 4/6 Nelson Street, Rye. Vic. 3941. Tel: 0412-244-966.

Email: cliffie9@bigpond.com  Directed, including additional ideas, by Nicholas Bufalo.





A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜ŽπŸ’‹

Thursday. 19th August, 2021. The current philosophy "One day at a time" continues, unabated, the heerby jeebies rising with the steady increase of nearby NSW's increasing Covid numbers, the COVID-19 donut day now close to a dream. I suppose the good news is we don't live in Afghanistan? Always a pleasure listening to Foreign Minister Michelle Payne. All questions answered efficiently, intelligently, telling us zilch. COVID-19 and Lockdowns unlimited, conveniently hiding, in particular, corruption, and setting aside the importance of climate change. I could add in racism and reconciliation, but unless you came down in the last shower you would know these are merely words equating to bugger all. Our PM, dear Scotty Morrison’s announcement of a “Secret mission” by ADF in Afghanistan (will we ever know the real truth? not bloody likely), ignoring those who escaped 7 years ago for prison life on Manus and Nauru? A convenient crisis for Scotty, aided and abetted by fear tactics from Murdoch's volunteer slaves? The blame game as usual, the Taliban, the Afghan army deserters, no mention of our not realising the problem 3 months ago. On the bright (brighter?) side it's not Chile, or Kabul, or Sydney. So many mum's worrying about the health and wellbeing of their nippers, unable to go outside and play, an  exaggeration? The real local worry Sydney aside, the dickheads living among us, threatening our lockdown exit. [Languishing is ok, for a day (or so) and the lockdown connection, assuming it doesn’t mask your anxiety. Label my emotions they say, for a sense of control? Libby Gore and her psychologist Jane, ABC radio, Saturdays,  breaking the shackles. the scheme of things to the forefront. OMG, dribble.] 


Peter Hartcher, The Age, edited "At the 2007 election John Howard’s Coalition and Kevin Rudd’s Labor agreed that Australia needed to cut greenhouse emissions urgently. They agreed that an emissions trading scheme was the most efficient way to do it. It was Joyce, a mere Nationals backbencher, who started the populist revolt against this national consensus. His barnstorming style of agitation opened Tony Abbott’s eyes to the possibilities. Remember Abbott openly admiring Joyce as ‘‘the best retail politician in Australia’’? Abbott, another mere backbencher at the time, followed Joyce’s example. He picked up the rhetoric of rejectionism and carried Barnaby’s revolt into the Liberal Party. In 2009 Abbott used climate denialism to destroy Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership. The Coalition’s support for an emissions trading scheme died with it. Abbott continued his campaign and used it to bring down the Rudd and Gillard governments. He used it to smash his way through to the prime ministership. In the interim, Joyce rose and fell. And this year rose again. He returned to be Deputy Prime Minister to Scott Morrison, a politician trying to move the Coalition back towards some sort of climate realism with the delicacy of a bomb disposal expert deactivating a dangerous explosive." [A rare instance of being in agreement with Hartcher.]


National Service 1955/3. AKA my time as a dickhead? Still on HMAS Voyager. Every 4th night you copped a 4 hour spell on night watch, quietly sipping coffee (or the like?) and watching for enemy ships? Chatting to a mate and overheard by a Chief Petty Officer saying - “ I don’t mind night watch” (You then got 4 hours off the following day as compensation) “At least it gets me out of real work” This involved scraping the paint off the ship, though it didn’t seem to need it, so we could paint it again? The CPO got nasty, threatened to “get me” when we got back to Flinders Naval Depot. Result was 4 hours extra, extra duty, a 12 hour day for the following 2 days. Back to Sydney ex Jervis Bay and every second night off (4PM-7AM) to paint the town. Some went sightseeing with their cameras, most went looking for love, or sex, ALL successfully if you were silly enough to believe them, and me, with a couple of mates, to the Metropole Hotel for some serious drinking. We would book in at “Johnnies” the naval establishment in the heart of the city. Off to The Metropole, then  to Kings Cross to eat and observe, then back to Johnnies, more grog. Weekends were noisy affairs at Johnnies. Many a brawl, where the provosts would get you if they felt so inclined. A need to tread very carefully. The provosts were particularly keen to dine on “fucken nashos”. Beddy byes around 2-3AM, woken at 6AM, clean up, breaky, back for full inspection onboard at 8AM. The sea air, the hard work, made me a lot fitter, though heavier than on entry. Indeed, I had a chronic cold for most of my youth (could not, still can’t, breathe through my nose), but did not catch another cold after discharge for three years. [Got back to FND (Flinders) and fronted the CPO, threatened victimisation, he backed off.]


Sami Shah, The Saturday Paper. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, we’ve released almost as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere in 30 years as humans did throughout their entire existence up until 1990...the latest Newspoll, holding on to its 53-47 lead over the Coalition. And Gadfly? A country so great, ruled by politicians so utterly mediocre? For a satirist, that is a siren’s song. The column will continue, both in print and as a podcast, at patreon.com/samishah. 


Nothing changes, barring COVID-19/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 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 ratbags 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 (including how cleverly 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? 


From Arnold Zable: "The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban is a tragedy, and a betrayal — for all its citizens, especially for its ethnic minorities,  among them the Hazara. In recent days I have been talking with Hazara friends, who I first came to know as asylum seekers back in 2000 and 2001. I have seen them rebuild their lives with extraordinary energy, hard work, and ingenuity. They are shattered, distraught and afraid for their family members back in Afghanistan. They find it difficult to sleep at night. They also fear for the projects they have been engaged in, helping their country build new schools, universities, improve health care, create businesses, and so much more — brave initiatives that have enabled women to receive a tertiary education  and create a more open, dynamic, technologically savvy society, where minority rights are respected, and the lives of all citizens improved.   These grass roots initiatives have occurred, often despite the corruption of successive governments over the past two decades. There are many unsung heroes in Afghanistan who have fought for a more egalitarian, democratic, multi-ethnic nation. But, while we lament, it is also a time to act. There are things that can be done. There are an estimated 4300 Afghan refugees on temporary protection visas of various kinds in Australia, some of whom languish in detention. There are over 7500 Afghan refugees who remain in agonising limbo in Indonesia. Over the years some have been driven to suicide. Many are in despair, and their despair has intensified in recent days. They are forgotten people. Listen to the pleas of Afghan community leaders here. Now is the time to pressure politicians. Now is the time to end the agony of limbo, and  to allow a greater intake of refugees from Afghanistan, and increase humanitarian visas — to follow the lead we took in resettling Vietnamese refugees back in the 1970s.  And now also is the time to remain alert to events unfolding in Afghanistan. Now is also a time to express a sense of solidarity with Afghan refugees, and citizens who are still struggling for freedom, and to remain acutely alert to the unfolding events."


LETTERS/1: Morrison’s government has other form. In 2019, it raided the ABC and the home of a journalist, prompting The New York Times to run the headline, “Australia May Well Be the World’s Most Secretive Democracy”. More recently, The Australia Institute called the 2020-21 budget the least transparent on record, with 384 secret items. Governing by secrecy is at best a sign of incompetent leadership, and at worst a symptom of corruption. Given robo-debt, the Leppington Triangle, the sports and car park rorts, the treasurer’s $60 billion JobKeeper miscalculation, and the resistance on ICAC, it’s possibly both. 2/ To get into office when faced with the powerful stranglehold of the right-wing media on information and analysis in this country, the party must abandon some fundamental principles of fairness and decency. There are still many areas where the country will benefit from a Labor government: public housing, aged care, Aboriginal issues, environment care and measures to slow global heating. Some sensible measures relating to negative gearing, franking credits and even death duties could be discussed and introduced incrementally over several years once their merits have been fully explained. It’s better to be in government with a moderate agenda rather than remaining a pure and powerless onlooker.


Would you want to be tested if you lived in St Kilda, gossips aren't into truth?...Farewell to a mate, many years past, Ches Baragwanath, a job well done...A message  to my billy lids, from Four Corners ABC. "They're our elders. We should care for them. We should respect them. We should make sure they have a voice, and it just doesn't happen."..."You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting. With most admired disorder." [Shakespeare]...Keep yourselves nice...Cliff Ellen.






“RIO WOULD BE NICE” STAGE: Music up..six slides from famous movie posters. Casablanca etc, with Glen substituted for Humphrey Bogart, and five others along the same lines...70 seconds. .....Film -fade to black...to Scene 2. 

============================================================ SCENE 2. 

(GLEN ENTERS) Terry’s secretary, asking if I wanted a new picture in this year’s Showcast. That’s the actor’s directory. $125. Claim it on tax. (REFERS TO HIS 1978 SHOWCAST ENTRY) Why? 

She knew me this time. Called me Glen straight off. I know, I know, it’s not a job. But it IS a phone call. They know I’m here see...I had two phone calls yesterday. One from Jim’s Mowing and the other was from a delightful lady doing a cigarette survey. Telemarketing or something. We got on well. Sexy. Lovely voice... husky... 

I had a part in Evil Angels. One line, but a KEY line. I didn’t tell Harold. I didn’t want to skite. You’ve got to practice being humble, the day may come? I was that bloke in the factory who said... 

“I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw her” 

Her being Lindy Chamberlain, poor lady. Remember? I had on a grey dustcoat? In a factory? (WAVES THE AUDIENCE AWAY IN DISGUST) Bloody Fred Schepsi- he patted me on the bum and said “Say it like you mean it boy”. Had to do it again? I got there at 6 in the morning, didn’t say my key line until 5pm. Didn’t know a soul. They thought I was an extra, again. Had to tell them otherwise, again. Embarrassing. I’ll give him pat on the bum. Suspicious? 

(HELICOPTER OVERHEAD) Piss off you bastards. Supposed to be chasing crooks but you spend half your time purving on my backyard. No marijuana here fellas. Go find some terrorists! I haven’t even got a beard. Check Mrs know-it- all next door. Check out the factory roof. Kill Monet! (HELICOPTER GOES) Gestapos! Fancy calling a cat Monet. The lady can’t even paint her house. You know she takes that cat out every week night, around the back streets of St Kilda, collecting bottles. Weird...Harold thought Schepsi was great. Harold seemed to think all famous people were great. I did the right thing by Harold- told him it was nice working with him, in the student film. Couldn’t wait to see the movie I said, which I never did see. The title put me off.  “Is Death The Finish” - a musical. 

Up you for the rent Schepsi. Him and his little blonde chicky assistant and his red mercedes, or was it black? That’s not resentment mind. Definitely not. Very dangerous that resentment business. An actors enemy. Same as self- interest, and probably self-indulgence... 

(SINGS) “It’s only a whimsical notion, to fly down to Rio tonight” Suppose I should do some gardening, tone up the grass. Looks a bit fake. (WHICH IT IS) not in the mood though. Need inspiration. When darling daughter gets home I’ll tell her I’ve done the leaves. Another big tick. I get restless. (TO MOBILE) Ring, ring. (SHAKES HIS FIST) I said ring you bastard. Only joking. Claim it on tax. If I get around to earning. I had a big year three years back. I did two plays and got six days in a movie at $500 a day. Over 17 thousand dollars for the year. My best ever. For a while there I thought I was infallible. I started thinking academy awards. Celebrity status was looming. Move over Geoffrey Rush I said to myself. I almost leased a car in anticipation. Automatic... 

I daydream a bit. Never too old to dream. Remember that young bloke in the movie-”The Commitments.” Young band manager dreaming of success, lying on his bed talking big time to imaginary booking agents on his imaginary telephone. I do that. Sometimes I take a break and dream about buying my own theatre with my lotto winnings. And the television interviewers talking to celebrities about their lives. I often wonder what I’d say. I don’t tell anybody. They’d think I was an idiot. I wonder if anyone else does it? More to the point, who doesn’t dream? That’s life isn’t it? You never quite know what anyone else is thinking. Can’t help it though. Sitting at home day after day, trying to look busy, maintaining your self respect, dignity.  We all worry about what other people think - don't we? They say the more you get the more you want. I’ve yet to be in a position to prove it. When there’s a bit of sun you can potter in the garden, but you need inspiration. Bloody hard. Sometimes I think it’s not fair. Why me? No answer. I was offered a leading guest role once, in Blue Heelers. A leading guest role. Big, bigtime. Meeting John Wood. We all love John. Got that asian flu two days before we started and had to drop out. Could not get out of bed. Knew all the lines. In bed a fortnight. Could have made a big difference. Too young to retire...where was I? 

Oh yes, sometimes, to pass the time, I settle back into a nice, safe, luxurious dream. A daydream. About being a bigtimer. A celebrity. Being interviewed on important matters, like superannuation, privatisation, economic rationalism, the aborigines, the republic. Spending weeks in Hollywood, California, rehearsing and shooting a movie, or in London on stage. Or New York. A successful play on broadway. Big flash condominium overlooking Central Park. Having my darling over for opening night. Standing ovation. A dozen curtain calls. Big party after huge success. Important people, like...Whitney Houston, Kevvy Costner, Paul Newman, Madonna. Flying back to Auzzieland business class. Having the air hostesses actually looking after me, calling me Mr Gardiner. So important I wouldn’t even look up when they give out the safety instructions. Loaded up with script offers. Met at the airport by Margaret Pomerantz. Taken to lunch by Alan Jones. Interviewed by Ray Martin. Searching questions like “Anything funny happen while you were O/S Glen?” Marvellous interviewer Ray. He’s like a brother isn’t he? Bigger than John Wood. It’s possible. Mind you I’d need an overseas agent. A business manager. Have to give Tezza the boot. The bastard. And clothes! Expensive clothes in that factory. But being a celebrity they’d pay me to wear them, right? (AS FACTORY MANAGER) “Hey, saw you on Sixty Minutes. You and Liz Hayes. I think she was keen on you.” It is possible. Me and sexy Liz Hayes? Hah. Where would we be without dreams eh? The foundations of success ...mind you fame isn’t the only thing I dream about. I dream about women. The dreams are always better. 

You know, I think they might have a marijuana roof garden up there. Why else those constant bloody helicopters? It’s possible to win lotto too. If you spend $5 a week, on the law of averages you can win once every 37,000 years, according to my smart-arsed son-in-law Rex. “Is that a fact Rex.” I said. “How interesting. What’s the odds of getting slaughtered on a mountain bike, Rex? Hit by a bull bar.” Silly bastard didn’t dream I was having a shot at him. On a scale of 1 to 10 an actuary’s sense of humour borders around .01. 

Funny really. Actors dream of getting work, while half the workforce dream of winning lotto, leaving work, and buying a new BMW. 20,000 actors looking for 200 jobs, so 19,800 miss out. “What’s my chances Rex?” They say you make your own luck in this business. It’s only the lucky ones who say that. Not the 19,800. They’re too busy waiting in the Centrelink queue to think about it. It’s not really easy, it’s hard! Takes 5, 10, maybe even 20 years, to get to a stage where you feel maybe, you’re good enough, to do some justice to your work. Then pfff. Nobody seems to want you. Not if you don’t know the right people, have you noticed that? You’ve always got to know the right people. In any occupation, not just acting. All of a sudden, out of the blue, for no apparent reason, everything can stop. Grind to a halt. Dead as the proverbial doornail. A conspiracy? Not really. You don’t know the right people you’ve had it. You’re not on the A list, or the B list at worst, forget it. Go home. Watch TV. Dream how you’re going to spend your lotto winnings. And even the right people can change. One minute you know the right people, the next minute the right people aren’t the right people anymore. Some other doozy who has cunningly kept his head down has popped up. An unknown from England with a suspiciously long CV. Bastards. It hurts, the embarrassment, the pain of failure, the constant need to at least get a job to show them, coupled with the doubt you're not good enough anyway. That one decent opportunity. 

So you’re back to square one. “Who’s the bloody right people?” Mind you the ‘right people’ are generally mediocre at best - ambitious, confident, and expert manipulators. Networkers extraordinaire. On the other hand it could be that you’re simply a bad actor, a very bad actor. Worse still a boring actor. Perish the bloody thought! I question myself. Why do it? Why the pain? But I can't stop. Can't give up. I love it. I'm alive when I'm working. On stage that is. Maybe take up networking? Nah. Not my go. Actors disappear though, you know? Just disappear off the face of the earth, although there have been reported sightings at places like Byron Bay, and Katoomba. Manly, St Kilda, even Rosebud. But they were on the D list at best. I wonder what list I’m on?... 

So, how to reverse it when all is so quiet? Living without an audience. No laughter (PAUSE). Like now. Confirming the self doubt. The very fast train to nothingness. You look around and what do you see? Less plays, less Australian telly, hundreds pouring out from colleges. More people less work. Your mathematical chances diminishing. And yet - part of being an actor is that you have to be happy, or “up”, “turned on”, or just plain positive. I used to think that having your own space was bullshit. I was a shade more successful then. But 6 months, nearer 9, with not the smell of a telephone call, makes me see the need for space. I can be normal out here. I can wallow in my loss of confidence, swim in my sense of shame, or I can continue to give myself a series of necessary pep talks. See, some people who live alone, unwanted, would just sit there, watching television probably, poor buggers.
I can’t. Can’t let the ladies think I’m down. People assume that being old and unemployed is not as legitimate as being young and out of work. That’s rubbish! I love feeling good, making the day work for me. Inspiration is energy giving, but it cannot be manufactured right? You cannot fake it. And the more you have done what it is to do, the harder it is to retrieve ...that old feeling. That something will happen. Something good. Living in a state of positive hope. Motivation. We all do. Even people with the dreaded cancer! Being unemployed. The fear of permanency. It creeps up on you. Not easy. Success eh? You know what success is? Being able to cope! That’s success. Just one tiny break. It's not fair. Or is it? Am I playing the blame game? What's the last thing to go? Hope!

I’m not crying! Simply stating the downside. One failure, well, one possible failure, does not make a life. I’m a happily married man with 4 lovely daughters, and granddaughter Skye. What more can a man ask, aside from a slightly more dominant male chromosome - and - I barrack for collingwood. No doubt all pluses so why the frustration? The need. Eating me up, inside. I want to work. I want to be there. I want to perform. Does that make me selfish? Fuck!... Must check that mail. Wont be long now. 

I like working with women. None of this anti-feminist thing for me. Not with a household full of them, I’d get shot at dawn. You know I don’t even get to hold the remote control. Now that is feminism gone rampant. My lot constantly use terms like “politically correct” or as Rex would say “economically viable?” I don’t even know what they mean. Oh and “Good for Victoria” Rex likes that one. They tell me I’m the boss too, but that’s a tactic. They’re very good at tactics. I’m not that silly. Ratty perhaps, but silly never. I have a house in there, and any decision I have ever made has been overruled. True! Where to hang pictures, wall colours, furniture, nick nacks, TV programmes, even flowers in the bloody garden, even the placement of my study. Study? Well, the outside loo is my study. No-one else uses it. Scared of spiders. You name it, I’ve had no say. Very very bossy are women. Same on stage too. No different. Females are bossy. Fact of life. Mind you I don’t get to work with any of those young sirens on Neighbours. Sexy little blondes. Sexy big blondes. If I was offered a part opposite that Sharon Stone I’d have to knock it back. A sex scene with Sharon Stone? It would destroy the family...I get the tough ones. My way of coping is to butter then up. Tell them they’re good, which they generally are, but that’s irrelevant. Insecurity is a permanent fixture in this business, male or female. Talent or not. Anxiety state is forever well and present amongst us. We are all experts in a panic attack situation. Breathe in, hold, count to 10; breathe out, hold, count to 10. Actually, tell them they’re better than good. Stunning in fact. Stunning is a popular word. They love that word. Lots of cuddles and closed mouth kisses, unless you get lucky. You have to, otherwise they’ll have you for breakfast, dinner, and tea. Even when you were a kid. Remember the schoolyard? Who was the toughest? The females! It’s called battle zone survival. Remember old Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard? Standing on those steps looking down... 

“All those wonderful people out there in the dark” she said. 

You are kidding. America maybe, which I very much doubt, but good old Melbourne, even Sydney, tough as nails. Exhibitionism has its price. 

(HELICOPTER OVERHEAD) Have a look on the roof garden, they’ve all got Mercedes. Go hover over Toorak for a couple of years. You work for ASIO? (NOTICES MILK CRATE) Shit! The milk crate. (HIDES IT) It’s probably that Naomi bloody Robson hovering for dole bludgers. She hates Collingwood you know. Never picks them in the tipping, so I watch Channel 9. Little Johnny Howard picks Collingwood. The poor mans friend. God’s gift to the rich, and Telstra shareholders, and people with term deposits. (HELICOPTER GOES) It’s amazing really. I barrack for Collingwood, I’m an actor, and I follow Greg Norman, and Victoria in the cricket. A sure fire recipe for super depression, week after week after week.......Hah. Bloody wrist watch... 

Not to worry. Lovely day, bit of gardening. Trouble is with darling overseas there’s no-one to show it to. There’s no point cleaning up if you can’t bring the lady of the house out and say “What do you think love?” I miss her. I wont tell her though... 

I haven’t mentioned directors! How lax can one get? Well, I did say I loved them, but you took that with a grain of salt. Artistic directors. There’s a contradiction straight off. Stage directors. Lovely people. God’s gift to the power game. All related to Tony Abbott, king of power and unemployment. I mean, really and truly, think about it? Puncing about the floor, trying desperately to look intelligent, always intelligent. Measuring their words after a thoughtful pause...words like, quasi, ethereal, surreal. Doing all the bloody newspaper interviews, very important , while we poor actors patiently wait for them to piss off and leave us to get on with the play. Within their limits that is. Their interpretative limits. They don't even put our names in the newspaper? One day a director will actually sit us all down and get a consensus, go completely mad and ask our opinions. I’ll be dead by then. Plays can live or die you know, and writers too sometimes, on one interpretation. As my old Dad used to say ... “Could not pour piss out of a shoe if the instructions were written on the sole” 

Well, Dad actually said that about anyone who disagreed with him. And female directors? A relatively new phenomenon, but gaining strength by the minute. Exactly the same only bossier. No wonder I don’t know the right people. I’m probably on the Z list. No, I’m only joking. I love directors. Well, I would if they’d hire me. I wonder who Terry is lunching with today? 

JANE: (OFF) I’m home Dad. Are you still out there? 

GLEN: Cleaning up the leaves treasure.
JANE : I’ll make coffoire.
GLEN: Be in shortly. 

What’s this coffoire? It’s coffee! Must have picked that up in Kew. Jane’s my eldest. Married to Rex. Named after Jane Fonda - I fancied her in my youth. Then follows Cynthia, Gloria, and Marilyn. I named Marilyn too, after you know who. No boys, so poor old Marlon missed out. 

“He that hath wife and daughters hath given hostage to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief” BACON. The writer not the food. Not that I necessarily agree mind. 

You will not believe this but Mrs next door, Mrs know-it-all, Mrs working class, has got two ankle biters - Jason and Kylie? Can you believe it? I too grew up working class but we didn’t have any social workers when I was a kid, so I thought I was well off. In America they have a social worker for every living person, or a psychologist, psychiatrist, analyst, anulists? 

You have to hand it to those yanks. I saw Oprah Winfrey on the box. A million bucks a week she gets. I’d buy two faxes with her money. Maybe even think about a pager. Bill Gates gets 350 million. Makes her a piker. I never watch television in daylight mind, just put it on for a bit of noise occasionally, when the house is empty. Anyway she had these 6 female actors on from the soapies. all with beautiful faces, perfect teeth, perfect voices, perfect boobs, dressed for a royal wedding. Legs crossed, luscious legs, and Oprah says, with that funny neck of hers, and those bulging eyes...
“How do you manage to keep the dialogue so fresh, so real, day in day out?” 

Out trots the bullshit, in military fashion. “It’s not so difficult when the dialogue is so real. The writers are wonderful, the actors are wonderful, the directors are wonderful.” Everybody’s wonderful! Beautiful people. Positive people. Talk about the personification of ambition. None of this live for what you’ve got over there. Ahh, the difference between an actor in permanent work and the less fortunate. I suppose it’s the same in all occupations...
I switched to weather watch on SBS. 

JANE: (OFF) Where are you papa?
GLEN: On my way treasure. Put that kettle on. 

Jane talks a lot, particularly at meals. Unending advice on how I should take up bowls, or bike riding, or get a proper job so as not to slowly fade away. You see, that’s another thing about unemployment. You lose your precarious position of power. This is not to say they don’t support me. No. Come opening night they’re all in line for free tickets. But gradually they begin to tell you. They cease to listen. I remember once, about three years back, young Gloria was doing drama classes, and actually asked for my advice. It felt good. A man likes his family at least, to listen. If I had a job they’d listen. If I had money they’d jump to attention, until it was spent. 

(DAUGHTER’S VOICE) “Come on Dad, don’t be a poohbar. You only live once. You’re dead a long time. Bali will be good for Mum Dad.” Daughters can smell a loose quid from a hundred paces. Rembrandt died broke. He must have had daughters. When I get to heaven I’ll receive a special longevity award for loyalty and service to daughters. 

Mustn’t get cynical eh. Hah. Sceptical maybe, but never cynical. Cynicism is corrosive. Cynicism is corrosive. Red letter, yellow letter. Red leather, yellow leather. Pickled peppers!...I’d love some lines to practice. I don’t know who with, they all run a mile when I ask. Except Gloria. She fancies herself as an actress. Ac-tor sorry. Mustn’t say actress. She works a microphone at Myer.....I didn’t mean those nasty things I said about directors. I just get so frustrated wondering why I’m forgotten. Give me a job and they can make all the decisions in the world. The very best feeling is when you’re asked to do something in (say) six months time. Not financially, but psychologically. Luxury and peace of mind... 

“Are you doing anything at the moment?” Oh, I have one or two things in the pipeline, and of course “Earnest” is happening shortly. “No, Earnest? Oscar Wilde. That’s fantastic. Well done.” Yeah well, should be fine, if they manage to get the right cast. Bit of a lark. Time will tell and all that. Beautiful. Working with the same group for 3 or 4 months, one big happy family, bossy women. If it succeeds it’s heaven. If not, back to my office, my space, my ensuite. I used to think I’d be better off as a clerk. No highs. No lows, unless you barrack for Collingwood. Regular pay packet. Nowadays they’re unemployed like us. Replaced by millions of computers, Philippinos, I worked as a clerk for 4 years, after I left school. Before I decided to become famous. Then I spent 5 months in the Navy doing National Service and seeing the world. The intake before us went to Japan and the intake after to New Zealand. We went to Jervis Bay. 600 young boys, 599 of which passed seamanship. Never could tie knots. Must be hard if you’re unemployed as a clerk. No chance of the telephone ringing then. No point having a mobile if you’re a clerk. Can’t even claim it on tax. 

JANE : (OFF) Coffoire’s ready papa. 

GLEN: On my way treasure. 

“For many a flower blooms to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness on the desert air” 

Got that from the movie - Bull Durham. Good movie. Wouldn’t mind buying one of those computers. Terry could email me the odd script. Save on petrol and claim it on tax. 

(EXITS, CALLING TO JANE) Did you get lotto for me princess? 

6 slides, in the same style as before, with glen substituted for a 

hollywood star...70 seconds....Film- fade to black-to scene 3. 





A Grain of Salt.😎

Friday, 13th August, 2021. The Melbourne add-on lockdown not unexpected week, head down bum up positivity, no choice? Last Tuesday was my one hour fortnightly visit from the beautiful cleaning lady, floors and bathroom, toilet; no appearance due to lockdown. I've had both jabs and darling wears her mask. A minor thing, insignificant but seemingly stupid, of many, in our lockdown maze. We press on, where is my bloody broom? I'll sing to myself, talk to the walls to stay sane? I consider  watching television, no, it's all about COVID-19, statistics and an unlimited supply of Professors in Australia, the USA and the UK, not to mention the ever changing opinions on the rollout by our sincere Prime Minister (with the smiling face, in fact a bully in disguise). A slight change lately in the added danger (more serious?) of climate change, again faint hope with our Morrison government and Barnaby pulling the strings. Interesting to note how Morrison uses his scientists for the COVID excuses but ignores on climate change? We feel for those thousands on the shrinking little islands, not to mention our children's future of heat waves and flooding, never forgetting Julian Assange and the biloela family, the brutality of our Home Affairs gestapos increased powers, the car parks saga, the arrogance of our Prime Minister's response. It's like a broken record. Then the added mystery of John Howard, Peter Costello, Joe Hockey, Scott Morrison and the Pentecostal church, Hillsong? Even a channel on Foxtel, assuming Murdoch's backing? Add in the $500k in jobkeeper given to Margaret Court’s Pentecostal church. A return to monastic reform of the Cistercian Movement back in 1098? I'm assuming money and power obviously, but what else am I missing? Do you ever get the idea someone is spitting in you're face? 


Jon Faine, The Age: Edited: "Scott Morrison and his ministers now argue in favour of lockdowns, but a few weeks back they were vociferously against them. Back then they thought it a useful wedge to try to characterise ALP governments as incompetent and anti-business, to tarnish the Labor brand federally. It turns out playing politics amid a pandemic is not just irresponsible, risky and immature but when exposed it is electorally poison. Combative as ever, Morrison also refuses to clarify his role in the car park rorts of the previous election. The likely reason for this obfuscation is to hide how involved he was in the pork barrelling exposed by the Auditor-General. The refusal to do anything tangible about the trio of JobKeeper rorts, car park pork-barrelling and the appalling way Brittany Higgins has been brushed aside will follow this government to the next election. Throwing JobKeeper at employers initially seemed appropriate because saving jobs was vital. But billions more than was required was paid. Free money proved irresistible to many employers who overnight became extraordinarily pessimistic about their business in order to qualify. An inexplicable failure to provide any legal power to claw back over-payments is the costliest blunder of any Australian government. The failure to re-calibrate the scheme after this excess was identified as negligent. Refusing to publicly provide full information smacks of a cover-up; Treasury has billions of reasons to hide its own failure. Australians only find out because of market scrutineer, Ownership Matters, who have cross-matched public information from the ASX. Only the ATO knows what happened inside private entities. The churches and religious schools who trousered excess millions will presumably be judged in some other forum. The refusal to provide universities with any assistance smacks of cultural cringe. As the Crown casino inquiry heard last week, if there are no consequences for illegal or unethical behaviour, then nothing is likely to change."


A snippet, on theatre directors, in fact film, television, all directors; a strange breed. On theatre, perhaps the correct wording is 'under a few' but this would be a big stretch, considering I rarely took any notice of them. I respected a few, certainly. Mark Callan was an aggressive bugger, intellectual as well, spare me. Ditto Neil Armfield in the intellectual sense, also amazing talent, but softer, more cuddly. I did two half hearted auditions for Greg Carroll and Peter Sommerfeld, both clearly against my casting, but got them anyway, snarly buggers, for reasons best known. I sort of sensed their attitude, which can prompt an 'up you' attitude on call, though not necessarily showing it, who knows? Peter Oyston was fiery early on but matured after I told him I loved his paintings. Malcolm Robertson was a darling, easily brushed aside if he challenged my comedic ability. We were best friends, loved the man. I particularly loved the rehearsal process. A close-up study of human nature. Stress, anxiety, laughter, pressure, creativity, beauty. Almost every day the various fascinations. I would take notes later at home, not of the play, of the clashes as (maybe?) I imagined? Never to be represented here, or when I reach 90, assuming I remember where I hid them? True, occasionally the spotlight was on me, but easily deflected, so one assumes they gave up, a lost cause? Reflecting, perhaps because I began in my thirties, almost 20 years as a public servant, the last 6 years at a senior level, thus unaccustomed to receiving orders, an attitude established beyond repair? Then there were the female directors, Anne Pendlebury, Karen Scott- Watson, Nancy Black, Caz Howard, Margaret Davis, Melanie Beddie, and for  television Jovita O’Shaughnessy. To  write anything about living creatures, particularly females in this day and age, can be fraught with danger, so let's settle on each and every one of them being thought of as darlings, amusing at times but always, darlings. The beautiful story of Karen asking the performers to improvise for 30 minutes before the audience were allowed in, their characters as children, while I remained upstairs for a cigarette. Nancy asking the cast to  write a squiggle on a piece of paper and represent said squiggle lying on the rehearsal floor, Nancy thoughtfully asking me why I was just sitting there watching. I'll leave it there. Maybe write a book one day. Nah, too late. 


The modern Morrison Indigenous Australians portfolio, like the NDIS, don't hold your breath...Final episode of the ABC's Mad as Hell last Wednesday; all class. Come back soon...Negative gearing is unfair, so too the retirement tax-free incomes and tax refunds for tax they haven’t paid, franking credit refunds. Chop them out and use the savings on more money for an anti-corruption commission and the Auditor-General's office? At best a slim chance? I could add the ABC, but no chance....David Speers soft cop approach on Minister Greg Hunt last Sunday Insiders was bland enough, continued on in his laughing attitude (seemingly) to the car parks fiasco. We miss Barrie Cassidy...The armed forces question on the census, including national service, extracting known information?...Jobkeeper compares with pink bats as a mountain to a molehill...Gerard Whateley and Garry Lyon, the Righteous Brothers, on and on with AFL (Taylor Walker) racism, not to mention LGBTQ people; hot air. Interesting to note both came down hard on Toby Greene, surely an 'in the play' accident. Strange how Whateley has a changed attitude to the Geelong captain...Orchids yet again, to Michael Leunig, despite recent criticism...Here is an IMPORTANT message for all callers to radio stations: By all means say hello, but do not include "How are you?"..."They that know no evil will suspect none." [Ben Jonson]...Keep yourselves nice, leave your worries on the bloody doorstep...Cliff Ellen.









JANE (OFF) “ Dad, where are you? Dad.” 

Glen: Allright, allright. In a minute ok? You don’t object to me having a quiet moment on the loo? Nature calls treasure. (TO HIMSELF) Daughters. Bloody sheepdogs. Nip, nip, nip, at your heels. Never stops. (SITS ON TOILET) Why is it that when your kids push into their 30’s they suddenly know everything, whereas we parents - at the exact same time - know nothing? In her genes I expect...on my wife’s side. 


(LOOKS AT THE AUDIENCE) The king in his castle eh? Luxuriating. Ahh. That’s better. Gets the taste out of my mouth. Jane left her E 1 cream right where I keep my toothpaste and I didn’t look. Vitamin enriched teeth. Ooh, the nicotine. She gave me some multi-vitamins to take a month back to make me feel better. Women love vitamins. This is my private lavatory- the outside loo. My study. My space. My castle. I leave the door open because the backyard forms part of my wonderful space. Nobody can see in you see. All that greenery over there almost covers that back fence, although Mrs know-it-all’s next door cat sometimes appears out of nowhere to check me out. (SSS. “Get out of it Monet, there’s no bottles in here”.) That’s a factory behind that fence; just see the brick wall behind that lemon tree and the plum tree, and those giant monsteria’s. See? Totally private. A clothing factory, specialising in swinging gear for swinging puncy guys. I’ve given up smoking so this is a secret smoke, complete with PK (SHOWS THE PK) in case of emergency. Jane thinks I’m wonderful not smoking. I get a big tick for that. Two ticks if I take my vitamins. Very rare to get ticks from women. Good for the self esteem. Actors need self esteem. I’m an actor, ac-tor, out of work-at the moment. Long bloody moment. Nine months with no foreseeable future. Resting but happy. Very relaxed. No depression. No stress. (SSS. “Go away monet. Don’t you spray in my backyard”). If the telephone rings with the big offer from my agent I’m ready. I’d let it ring 3 or 4 times just to show how cool I am. 


(MIMES) “What’s that Terry? Six months on location at Noosa Heads? And only 2 days a week but they’ll pay me a weekly rate? $10,000 a week. And what, I just have to pop in and out occasionally? On the 2 days a week. High rise accommodation with balcony surfside? OK Terry mate, give me a day or so to consider it. As a personal favour to you, I’ll see if I can squeeze it in.” 


Bloody dickheads! Sitting by the phone eh. Some actors actually do that. True. They just sit there, and they wait. Well, not real actors. I wouldn’t bother myself. I mean, what point sitting there, all day long, tied to the bloody telephone? I’ve got my iphone5! (PRODUCES HIS MOBILE TELEPHONE PREVIOUSLY HIDDEN) You never know right? Something urgent might crop up. There’s some good actors out of work you know. “talented people in a land of self-conscious, ironic, laconic, out- going, resentful, sunbronzed, non-rascist, multicultural,“Auzzies”, consumed by doubt, fear, their reputation, searching for self-awareness, truth!” An iphone5 could make the difference......I’m not resentful. No siree, I’m happy jack. I love everybody, even directors! Theatre administrators, sponsors, Eddie McGuire, Pauline Hanson, theatre critics...well, that’s stretching it a bit. Using love and theatre critics in the one breath. In my last play 9 months back, or was it 19 I’ve lost track, they said I wasn’t vulnerable enough. Too wooden they said. Well, one of them said. It only takes one little ferret. They’d know all about wooden, they invented the bloody word, made of it. More vulnerable eh? They love that word. I was playing a bloody serial killer! No. Mustn’t think like that. They’re ok. Where would we be without theatre critics eh? Good question. Broome probably...or Rye. 


Actually you know, it wouldn’t hurt to give Terry a ring. He may well have forgotten my mobile number? Maybe I didn’t give it to him? You can go a bit ratty sometimes sitting around waiting for the phone to ring...I wonder if the mail’s arrived yet?...oh bugger it, why not call him eh? (DIALS) Why not indeed. He gets his 10%. The bastard. Live dangerously! 

(TELEPHONE) good morning it’s Glen Gardiner here, is Terry about? Glen Gardiner. (SPELLS GARDINER) (TO AUDIENCE) she’s new...hello Terry, it’s Glen here, how goes it? Glen Gardiner mate. How’s business? Very slow at the moment. Yeah I know. Got to stay positive mate. Me? Never fitter old son. Fit as a mallee...trout. No, no bull. I’ve been sitting around doing nothing for months, and loving it. What? Maxwell Smart? Oh, right, and loving it, yeah. Good one Terry. No I needed the break really, freshen up the instincts. You get a bit stale when you work for months on end without a break. Well, so I’m told. No I don’t feel guilty, no sir. I’ve got a big sign up in my study. “Don’t feel guilty” Anyway, I just rang to tell you I’m here. Oh I know you know, but I’ll probably feel like working in another month or so and you know the old story - out of sight out of mind - out of mind out of work - out of work out of pocket - out of pocket disaster...Oh I know you’ll keep me in mind, you always have. Hells bells I’m one of the lucky ones having you as an agent. The best agent in the business I might add. No, I’m serious! I do not believe in sucking up, but I firmly believe it doesn’t hurt to tell the truth, and the truth is you are the best, no question. What’s that? A part in a film. Fantastic! ...sorry?... oh, a part in a student film, right. right... how big’s the part?... couple of scenes eh...well, I suppose it keeps me in practice...eh? No dialogue, right... mnn. Any money? No money either...what about expenses? No expenses... and what? A night shoot, and a possible nude scene...ahh, probably not Terry. It’s not as if I need the work. Anyway Tezz, nice talking to you old mate. Just thought I’d check in. I’m still alive as they say. Eh, we must have lunch one day, chew over the fat, my shout...bit busy at the moment, right. Well, when you’re ready just give me a hoy, and I insist on paying, the least I can do....well, back to relaxation plus. I might journey up to Chadstone later this afternoon, see my daughter Gloria, have a hot strong cappuccino. Eh? Half my luck? Haha. You my friend are one very funny man. See you pal. Oh, I nearly forgot. I got myself one of those new mobile phones a week back. iPhone 5. swisho camera, torch, the works. Very good as a security device yes. Also of course if you need to contact me and I happen to be out on the road, or on location, or...what’s that? Haha. Yeah, or at Chaddy having a cappuccino - good one Terry. You are one very farcical fellow. Anyway, I’ll give you the number. What? Oh, you’ve got it, right...couple of days ago...right. I forgot. Not to worry. Okey dokey, Tezza. great talking to you. Hear from you soon, I hope. Hah. Only joking Tezz. Bye. (PRESSES END) 


Lovely fellow, very funny man. Used to be an actor. (HAND GESTURE-VERY AVERAGE) A student film eh. Perhaps I should have said yes. Some of those kids could be famous one day. Still, I’d probably have to audition- for some snotty nosed 20 year old telling me that anyone can act, and how directors make actors. Finish up I’d tell the little snot to shove the film up his shortarse. Maybe I wouldn’t get the part? Shit! Still, one good thing, the next time somebody asks, I can say I was offered a good role in a film, but knocked it back. I mean, I don’t have to say it was a student film, right? 


I remember that last student film I did. A little blonde chicky directing. Earring in her nose. Looked about 18. Middle of winter, freezing cold, and all she had on was a thin black T shirt with the words “up you for the rent” written on it, and scungy jeans with holes everywhere, even near her crutch? Well, you couldn’t help looking. Called everyone “guys”. And everything was “cool”. Very cliquey her and her rabble mates, standing around for hours on end trying to get the lighting right. I think it was the lighting, they never tell you. All smoking drum tobacco and whispering, like they knew what they were doing. One of the crew said to me “how long have you been an extra?” The dickhead. “I’m an actor” I told him. Still, they had free coffee. No toilets, nowhere to rest. Just standing in a hallway, with practised politeness; me and two extras from outer space-extra terrestrials standing there in this dusty hallway for hours on end drinking Pablo instant coffee, and me despairing as to what the hell I was doing there. It’s ironic really. Extras are geniuses at talking, they never shut up, which didn’t particularly suit them in this film because they were both playing dead nude bodies. They were quite excited about it too. One of them was an older lady, apparently a star of amateur theatre in her youth. Geraldine. the Woy Woy amateur dramatic society, or Nar Nar Goon, or something. Anyway, according to geraldine they were- 


(GERALDINE’S VOICE)...”Very very talented and as good as any professional company.” Is that a fact Geraldine? Good for you darling. That’s terrific. No, me either. I can’t have a bar of that so-called method acting. “Is that right?” I said, “You were in Homicide once, good for you. Not another nude b o d y p a r t ? N o ? A prostitute. Wow. How bloody exciting. I agree darling, in real life people do bump into the furniture.” Shit a bloody brick! 


And the other bloke? What was his name? Harold? I think it was Harold. Definitely a nut case. A psychiatrist’s dream. He would have been about 50, with this jet black... toupee, poor bugger. Listed all his credits, from number 96 onwards, even had a part in Evil Angels. Who didn’t? How the highlight of his career was meeting and working with Meryl Streep in Evil Angels. What a lady she was. Offered him a piece of her kit cat apparently. Save my soul. I wonder if he played the dingo? Geraldine asked for a closed set in the nude scene, obviously quite excited. ..still, it’s a job. something to do with honing your skills, if you’ve got any. 


I had an audition a month back, for a commercial They are hell on bloody earth mate. The arse end of reality. Like meeting up for a school reunion where they’re all successful and you’re a clerk from Cranbourne - or an actor. You do a full performance in front of your fellow actors, your peers - before the audition begins! Being calm, happy, friendly... 

“Hello John, how are you? Good to catch up you old bastard” Wanting to look at your lines because it flashes through your mind you can’t remember how the piece of bullshit starts even. But not daring to, chatting away merrily instead. A cool cat. Keeping face. And absolutely dreading the question that you know for certain someone will eventually ask... 

“Are you doing anything at the moment?” 

Get stuffed you bastard! The only ones who ask are the ones in work. So not only do you have to have some bullshit answer ready, but you then have to listen attentively to what they’re doing, which was the purpose of the question in the first place, and then respond, enthusiastically... “That’s wonderful John. Well done old friend. You deserve it. Noosa Heads? Terrific. I see. Only 2 days a week but they’re paying a weekly rate. $15,000. You deserve it mate”. Thinking to yourself-you deserve to catch a 50 foot wave full of white pointers you smug bastard. Shit a bloody brick! And, and, get this, if by some freak of nature, you happen to be working, doing any piddling little thing, they say “And what are you doing after that?’ Get stuffed you bastard. God, please, let me out. By the time you audition, for yet another snot nosed unheard of director, probably from New Zealand, or Sydney, you’re a nervous bloody wreck. Takes all your strength to maintain your dignity. But somehow you do, even in the face of the unheard of snot nosed director asking, as they always do...”What have you been up to lately Glen?” Read the CV you bum! But you say nothing, or you mumble how much you just adore the crappy script, or you mention your part in “Pharlap” and they say “Far who?” Farruchi! Dead in the water. Breathe steadily from the diaphragm, offset the oncoming panic attack... 

I was terrible. It’s really embarrassing when you’re terrible. You can tell half way through. Something’s wrong. You’re off balance. Not centred. You think, maybe I should stop and start again? But you don’t. You finish it. And you feel stupid. It hurts bad, and you try desperately not to show it. Worse still if the director is someone you know...”We’ll give you a call” he says. Or she. Yeah, and I’ll be winning Lotto tomorrow. But you jump every time the phone rings - for the following six weeks. Unfortunately my wife is a social butterfly with eight brothers and sisters, so you become a nervous wreck...I missed out. Again. Well I think I missed out. That was only four weeks ago and they haven’t called yet. They still could be deciding? It was a superannuation commercial, and I haven’t got hair. See? Ever seen a retirement ad with an old bloke without hair? Lovely grey flowing locks the bloody skites. I could wear a hat...or a wig? Well...who cares eh? Who wants a silly commercial anyway? Against my principles. Who wants to play a bloody green frog? 

JANE(OFF) I’m out to do some shopping dad. 

GLEN Don’t forget lotto.

JANE What? 

GLEN Don’t forget lotto. 

JANE What?

GLEN (YELLS) Don’t forget powerball!

JANE I know dad. what are you yelling for? 

GLEN What! 

Ahh, peace at last. I can smoke inside now if I want. No. She’d smell it. She’s OK. I’d be lost without her. My wife, my darling wife, is on a two week holiday in Bali with her mad sister, package deal, twin share. I thought I’d give it a miss. Not into body massages, or aeroplanes really. I met my wife in 1960 at a football match. Collingwood verses Melbourne at the MCG. We were both in the queue to buy a pie and sauce. In those days there was no point going to the footy unless you liked a pie and sauce, or a hot dog, or hot roasted peanuts. No health warnings back then. I remember one day the bloke serving the hot dogs cut his finger on the server and the blood flowed freely into the hot dog juices. Nobody cared. All they were interested in was their hot dogs and the second half of the footy. This is her first overseas holiday, and her first holiday ever without me...we used to go off on holidays every year in the old kingswood. Me, darling, and the four girls. “I spy with my little eye”, something beginning with...R.W. I was good at that. I was the champ really. Only ever beaten once. True. Once...RW...daughter Gloria had me going for 2 hours on a holiday to Coffs Harbour. Nearly to Benalla before I gave in. 

RW....the bastard. Turned out to be wrist watch. 

Mind you it’s just as well I’m keen on women. I’ve got 4 daughters and one granddaughter. You can imagine the verbal chaos when we all sit down for tea together. Hell on earth part two. Six women around the table, not a dribble of a chance of getting a word in, and the world’s most boring son-in- law. Rex! He’s an actuary. Permaculture garden. Doesn’t follow the football, or any other sport, and subscribes to the M.T.C. That’s the Melbourne Theatre Company. Naturally this makes him an expert in judging an actor’s performance. All subscribers to the MTC are world class drama critics, particularly if the Age newspaper gives a good review. He came to see me once, in a delightful little production at La Mama. (PRONOUNCED LAH MAMAAH) Decidedly uncomfortable he was. Wouldn’t even have a free cup of coffee. I think he was suspicious as to where the cups might have been. He thought the theatre was the foyer. He crossed the stage, went out the far door, and finished up in the back lane. He looked a picture though, in his single breasted 3 button brown suit and his white skivvy. Rex thought the play was...interesting. What else. To an actor “interesting” is the dreaded word. 

Rex rides his bike you know, every Sunday morning around Studley park, in kew. Well, actually it’s not just any old bike. Oh no. It’s a mountain bike. And he doesn’t even ride it to Studley Park. He puts it in the back of his 4 wheel drive nissan pathfinder bloody tractor with bull bars, tractors to Studley Park, out with the mighty mountain bike, does his laps, back into the tractor, and pathfinds his way home to his little cottage in lah de bloody dah kew. The kew cottage. Complete with ensuite, spa bath, swimming pool, two car garage, and views. I’ve never been to Studley Park, but I’ll bet there’s no bloody mountains. 

Looking forward to that mail. Waiting on my cheque for the screen test I did for that commercial. Sixty bucks less commission less tax...Sixty? You know I’m over 50. You probably don’t believe it but I am. It gets you thinking. you become aware of the zip, zip, zip process. It can haunt you. Life zips by right? Have you noticed? Even when you’re not working it zips along. One day your 40, the next your nearing 60. How come? When a part does come your way it zips by faster. You can’t wait for it to happen. Must stay fit. Up to the health shop for those multivitamins, apple cider vinegar, Saunders baby malt extract. Can’t afford a cold. Two days before opening night you feel a slight wheeze in your chest, or throat. COUGHS) Shit! Don’t tell me, you think. Not now. Let me stay fit until after the play. You encourage the zipping process. Zippedy doo dah. Bastard! Cease zipping. Life. The big zipper. (TELEPHONE-INSIDE THE HOUSE) Hello hello? Maybe the old leo luck is shining through? Maybe I get to play the green frog? Maybe I pricked Terry’s conscience? Could be a job offer from one of the theatre gurus? Could be a lead role in a movie. Mission Impossible 3 starring Tom Cruise, and introducing Glen Gardiner. Could be Centrelink. You make your own luck in this business, right? So they say. (STARTS TO EXIT-STOPS AT THE THOUGHT) My god, what if they want me to cry? (EXITS) 






A Grain of Salt.😎

Saturday 7th August, 2021. I'm thinking back to those westerns, the wagon trains, women and children to a new life out west, perhaps singing a song, yodelling, suddenly forced into a defensive circle, families crouching down, fathers, cowboys and cowgirls taking guard, rifles and guns at the ready, and the Indians (no offence) are circling, screaming, with bows and arrows, flying though the air. Hemmed in, deep breaths, the question of survival. Living down South here in Rye some of my friends are rusted on Liberal supporters, no problem. My vote wavers regularly, as in never voting for the liberal party, believing in Labor's general philosophies, appreciating the usual content of self-serving pricks, occasionally my vote if a good local nominee, generally elsewhere. Scott (Gold gold gold) Morrison's record, or list of deficiencies, stares us in the face, and yet, the blind observance of refusing to look, albeit some pissy explanation as to the logic of Scotty's blame game nonsense? True, I was for Billy Shorten because I liked his policies, turned out he got done by a point despite the justice of negative gearing and capital gains, and as with a football game the experts in the field came out with seemingly sound reasons for the barest of margins win. Now we have Albo, deciding the power of the rich is too big a hurdle, a different approach, likely sensible, but far from convincing. The bottom line is that Scotty doing a strip on Point Nepean highway would make no difference to my rusted on friends. More likely they would blame Labor for forcing him to show his true size. [Chris Brayne, state Labor for Nepean, would be advised to think of another future, thanks to Danny Boy's lockdown.] [Cassandra Goldie, The Saturday Paper. "It is surreal that in the middle of mass lockdowns, when those affected have to feed and house themselves on little more than unemployment payments of $44 a day, we see the ALP join the federal government to lock in the largest tax cut package the country has seen. It also beggars belief that in a year when home prices are tipped to rise by almost 20 per cent in our capital cities, tax breaks such as negative gearing and the capital gains discounts are now bipartisan policy. The seriousness of these decisions cannot be overstated."]


How things change, from Niki Savva, The Age, on our blame game, sexist, philistine, Sydney-centric PM: "During his tenure, Morrison has fallen short on three critical occasions. The first was during the bushfires when he snuck off to Hawaii. He showed no grace and little remorse after he was forced to return by saying people did not expect him to hold a hose, mate. The second was underestimating the depth of feeling among women demanding change after hearing Grace Tame’s powerful advocacy and Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations. Even after his wife Jenny explained the significance to him, Morrison told the thousands who protested they were lucky not to live in a country where they could be shot for demonstrating. The third is the travesty of the vaccination rollout, a rolling unmitigated disaster plagued by inadequate supplies, poor planning, and contradictory messaging which he sought to mask by telling Australians weeks after he had received his first Pfizer shot, that it was not a race, feeding both complacency and hesitancy." [Do we have a choice? From St Matthew "Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other side. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also."] 


Footy Classified on Nine: I didn't think I'd ever say this, but there you go. Always had Craig Hutchison (Mondays) as a ratbag football commentator, a millionaire who gives his opinions to stir the waters, not to be taken seriously, whereas our Eddie McGuire (Wednesdays) was the main man. Like Hawthorn and the coaching debacle one never knows. Caroline Wilson is the star of both shows yet lately Craig has risen from his ashes as being almost respectable, to be listened to? Eddie, sadly, regularly drowns out the opening segment by enjoying the sound of his own voice. Are we really into the ins and outs of a duck's bum on football administration? What is the man trying to prove? Also on football, I'm hoping Geelong does not win this year's AFL premiership. Jeremy Cameron did the dirty on GWS. Loyalty to the backline.


The second last Straw? Federal law enforcement agencies are set to receive sweeping online account takeover powers under new legislation designed to cripple serious criminal activity on the dark web giving the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission the ability to disrupt criminal activity and collect intelligence. Peter Dutton's Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020. It follows $90 million in funding in the government's cyber enhanced situational awareness and response (CESAR) package to strengthen the AFP's cyber crime investigative capabilites. “As technology has changed so too has the tradecraft of criminals,” Dutton said introducing the bill. A third “account takeover power” will allow officers to take control of a person’s online account to gather evidence about serious offences, as well as that of their associates. It is expected to help law enforcement “uncover identities of individuals operating online and identify potential victims.” Any takeover will be “covert” and “forced”, according to the bill's explanatory memorandum, whereas at present agencies can only take over a person's account with their consent. “The account takeover power will enable an officer to obtain exclusive control of an online account and prevent the person's continued access to a forum, and the further dissemination of child abuse material,” Dutton said. “A magistrate will need to be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for suspicion and account takeover is necessary for the purpose of gathering evidence for a serious offence. [The matter of a friendly magistrate, which, historically, has rarely been a problem for the likes of the Peter Dutton lookalikes.]


Memory flashes: At the RSL, somebody mentioned hangings and my mind zipped back, performing as the Governor in the play Remember Ronald Ryan 1994. John Brumpton and Freddy Whitlock as Walker and Ronald Ryan. Scene first up after interval, interviewing them, both stark naked. The pain of not looking down, of willing myself not to crack up, the suspicion of both, particularly Brumpton, always a gleam in his eyes, of extending those private parts for my benefit. I think I survived, it was a serious scene, hope so. I can still, 27  years ago, almost feel the pain.        


Paul Keating: "Ross Gittins is right in arguing that the bare transfer of public monopolies to private ownership via government privatisation too often permits new private monopolies to raise prices, forgoing the efficiencies which would otherwise flow from competition (‘‘Why government reforms are not always for the best’’, The Age, 2/8). But he is completely wrong in suggesting that ‘‘the Keating government stuffed up the privatisation of capital-city airports, particularly Sydney’s’’. The Keating government did no such thing. Indeed, it did not privatise Sydney Airport or any other airports to private investors. Sydney Airport was privatised and sold by the Howard government to Macquarie Bank on a 99-year lease in 2002." [ Go Pauly, our man. And Kevvy Rudd? Never to be forgotten for robbing cigarette smokers of their daily health food intake - for life.] 


Early glory? Skite skite skite? Two gongs, Christies Radio Auditions, singing "Sunny Side of the Street" in a duo with Graham Campbell, compered by John McMahon with Shirley Radford on the organ, 3UZ, circa 1952. Also received 1 gong for acting. Tick tick? 


Anson Cameron, The Age: "Can you think of another office that has, in a lifetime, descended so far from the gilded peak of respect and admiration to the coaldust valley of contempt and ridicule as that of prime minister? (Obviously excluding: priests, schoolteachers, professional sportsmen, festival directors, crime bosses, mining magnates, local councillors, generals, knights, housewives and anyone on a university faculty.) But how could we not lose all respect for the office, given our prime ministers invariably turn out to be mouthpieces and frontmen for money and self-interest? This current bloke, smiling like a dolphin, fending off reality with sound-bites and covert prayer, is routinely goaded by FM jocks. Which is a type of egalitarianism, I suppose." [Anson, one classy writer.]


National Service 1955/2. We entered Sydney Harbour, at attention, on deck, all the way to Garden Island. Then we had to transfer (walk) to our allotted ships with our hammocks on our shoulders, me to HMAS Voyager, a Destroyer, where we were inspected as we boarded. Alas! My hammock was sagging at both ends, down to my waist. Apparently the hammock should be tied up in such a way that they float for days. Why wasn’t I told? Straight on to extra duties. Only me. Everyone else’s perfect, similar (possibly?) to their penis’s almost every night. We spent the next 4-6 weeks doing naval exercises in and around Jervis Bay. Voyager was much smaller than an aircraft carrier, so we were mixed in with regular sailors. They clearly resented us (smartarse nashos). Most of the intake, unlike the Army, were pretty intelligent; some, like me, cunning, but they put up with us. They had to. I slept in a passageway, just near the gangplank up onto the deck. It was a bastard of a ship, or more accurately run by a tough bastard. Some months after we left the ship, while overseas, they actually mutinied. Hushed up of course. One night (around midnight) they called “action stations”, big hooters sounding off - so here’s me asleep, with all these conscientious buggers bumping my hammock as they charge up on deck. Shit! I just got there on time. Then they shove us into longboats (Jervis Bay? Sharks? 10 foot waves! True, that night) and into the water for 15 minutes. Why, you idiots!!! 


Loved the one on Facebook, about the man in bed excited after buying gold condoms. Said the wife (dreamimg?) “Why don’t you use the silver and come second?”...Wage grants and business cash losses, slush funds for many...ABC "Rosehaven, the final series", the good news is the word - final...To all those budding reporters out there never give up, it's not a difficult curve. You're doubtful? Listen to the constant screwball questions the daily current crop fire at the COVID daily announcements...Eighty five years on and I've never met or known anyone who has won the lottery, or for that matter anyone with COVID. Perspective?...The RSL, two unvaccinated tradies, one with a wife and child, oblivious to the risk factor. I tried, but brick walls don't listen...Albanese's suggestion of $300 to be vaccinated sounds silly, but listening to the wall if ignorance locally, it's a good idea...Skateboarding, BMX, Synchronized Swimming and Surfing; What?...The Centre for Public Integrity, an independent group led by former judges and anti-corruption experts, says 100 per cent of Auditor-General audits of grants programs since 2019 have found flaws ranging from minor problems to serious maladministration; as  we  have come to  expect, sadly...No doubt those warm and fuzzy independent voters carry a feeling of contempt for both leaders but how does this connect with running our country? The impotent are pure?...And still, tragically, Julian Assange rots in Belmarsh prison...Living in the moment - Bacon. "Imagination I  understand to be the representation of an individual thought, of three kinds; joined with the belief of that which is to come, joined with the memory of that which is past, and of things present."...Keep yourselves nice...Cliff Ellen.






CAROLE (ENTERING) Would you like some breakfast before I go?

ROBERT No thanks.

CAROLE Got anything planned for today?

ROBERT Not likely love.

CAROLE You’re not going to Werribee?

ROBERT Staying home.


ROBERT You go off to work. I’ll be fine. Serves me right anyway...probably drown in self pity.

CAROLE What good will that do?

ROBERT Might teach me a bloody lesson. (PAUSE) Ricky go home?

CAROLE I called him a cab. David wanted to stay and talk, but Vonny and I kicked him out.

ROBERT Bloody David.

CAROLE He was only trying to help.

ROBERT He’s a smartarse.

CAROLE He’s a friend.

ROBERT I don’t want to talk to anyone.

CAROLE Turn the answering machine on.

ROBERT Soon as you go to work. 

CAROLE What’s wrong with Rick?

ROBERT I don’t know. I think Sue might have dropped him. He wont say too much. Gets a few into him and turns nasty...takes it out on me .

CAROLE He won though?

ROBERT Makes him even nastier. Sometimes I think he’s jealous of me.


ROBERT He’s always fancied you. Perhaps he thinks I don’t deserve you. Where’s Beck?

CAROLE Gone to school. Where did you go? (PAUSE) Where were you?


CAROLE Out where?

ROBERT God knows... I was in the car.

CAROLE I looked in the car.

ROBERT I was on the floor in the back seat. Didn’t come in till 3. Had a lot of bleeding to do.

CAROLE That’s a good thing.

ROBERT (LAUGHS) Yes. Bloody fool.

CAROLE I’ll get you a fresh coffee.

ROBERT I’ve had two already. A dozen cigarettes. Why am I so stupid?

CAROLE You’re the only one who can answer that.

ROBERT The difference between winning and losing is a nostril. You know? And it’s hell. Champagne to cats piss. All over the fucking country. All those betting pools. A world of excitement my arse-

CAROLE A world of pleasure?

ROBERT Capital required. Shit. It’s a bloody drug love. You’re better off without me?

CAROLE Vonny would agree.

ROBERT She’d be right! Idiotic. That’s the point. I bet because I want to win. I certainly don’t want to lose! A sport? That’s a joke. I mean, if I win I feelimportant. I want to do good things. I’d buy your carpet. Set you up in business. I’d love to buy Becky a car. I’d love to buy you the world.The intangible winning streak. King of the road. That’s it, you see? You never know when it’s ended. All of a sudden you’re down the black hole.

CAROLE So stop.

ROBERT Oh I’ve stopped. That much I’m sure of. It’s knowing when to stop before you lose your marbles. 

CAROLE It’s your own fault you know.

ROBERT Too late, but I know.

CAROLE It’s selfish too.

ROBERT When you win it’s fantastic. But losing is so...gut wrenching. I just can’t bear the pain. And I know I was selfish love. But I’ve stopped.

CAROLE You promise?

ROBERT Hah. Yes love, I absolutely promise. I mean it. It’s like bloody poker isn’t it? Just waiting for that one big hand to get you back in business. Luck. The unknown factor. Bloody Ricky. He’s got it. Why him? Me? I’m a chaser.

CAROLE He’s not so lucky with his women.

ROBERT So it seems. Unlike me eh?

CAROLE I told you.

ROBERT And you were right.  When you walk onto a racetrack you leave your brains at the front entrance.

CAROLE You want me to stay home?

ROBERT No, no. You go. I need to think.

CAROLE You need to go back to work.

ROBERT You know how much I lost?

CAROLE I don’t want to know-

ROBERT All of it......twelve grand...in 10 days. Can you believe it? 

CAROLE That’s disgusting Rob. 

ROBERT I know.

CAROLE Maybe you need counselling.

ROBERT Maybe I do. Shit. I haven’t even got the money for Beck’s excursion.

CAROLE I gave it to her.

ROBERT You’re a bloody marvel love. God, what a mess. I lost over $4000 yesterday.

CAROLE You lied to me yesterday.

ROBERT I panicked. Like a drowning rat. I’d promised all those things. I even backed the favourite in the last at 6 to 4. I never back favourites. Beaten by a nostril by a 20/1 chance. Ricky backed the bloody winner.

CAROLE He told me.

ROBERT He would, the bastard.

CAROLE I’ve got to go to work. We’ll forget the Gift Shop and put the carpets on Visa.

ROBERT What will Vonny say?

CAROLE She’ll understand. 

ROBERT No she wont.

CAROLE You can’t blame her. 

ROBERT No. We should go away on a holiday-Sydney or something.

CAROLE What with?

ROBERT I’m sorry darling.


ROBERT Never again.

CAROLE It’s serious Rob. You have a problem.

ROBERT Shoot me if I lie.


ROBERT I’m not home.

CAROLE (ANSWERS) Hello. Hello David. How are you...No, everything’s fine... Yes, he’s here. (ROBERT INDICATES NO, BUT CAROLE IGNORES)

ROBERT Goodaye Dave... No, of course I’m allright, what did you think? No, just letting off steam... Yeah, bad day. No. Still got some left... Never you mind...enough. (LAUGHS) You’re kidding? Werribee? No. I’m a bit washed out. I’ll give it a miss mate. Yeah. No. Here, talk to Carole.

CAROLE Yes David? He doesn’t want to go. No, definitely not. Look I have to go to work. No. He’s gone to the loo. Bye. (HANGS UP) 

ROBERT The bastard was testing me.

CAROLE He’s your friend.

ROBERT He’s cunning. That’s his nature.

CAROLE I’m going.

ROBERT Tomorrow still on?

CAROLE I’ve already taken the day off.

ROBERT Good. Give me a kiss. (SHE DOES) What would I do without you?

CAROLE Have you got any money?

ROBERT I’m fine darling. Pay day tomorrow.

CAROLE Do you need any?

ROBERT No, no. I must have $50 or $60 in coin.

CAROLE OK. Bye love.

ROBERT You know I love you.

CAROLE I know. 


ROBERT Helloo. Rick? You bastard. How do you feel?... Good. Serves you right you bastard. You crucified me........ Never mind about the sorry bit. You’re a hopeless pisspot. You’re sick, you know that, and don’t blame Sue... Oh I’m loaded aren’t I. Who are you kidding! You know Dave just rang. Wanted me to go to Werribee. Testing me the prick, before he runs to Vonny... No. Told him to piss off... No, she’s fine. I mean she’s not happy, but she’s fine....Yeah. Lucky in love. Hah.... What, you too? What is this? I’ve sworn off them mate. For life...Yeah? Taking a half day off eh... You’re kidding. What credit cards? Shit. She doesn’t know about them yet. She’d shoot me. I’ll have to watch for the mail... Yeah? How much?  I’ve only got about $20.....Tempting. You’d have to get me home before 5.30.....  Make it $200. Pay day tomorrow..You’re a champion. Yeah. Fix you tomorrow-IF I lose ... No, bugger Dave. Vonny’s bloody agent. One last try eh....Yeah. See you in a couple of hours. And suffer you bastard. (HANGS UP. PAUSE. CLENCHES HIS FISTS)

YES! (PICKS UP THE FORM GUIDE) Come to Poppa.   






A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜€

Monday 2nd August, 2021. Resourcefulness and innovation has left the building, the question of of adaptation remains, on shaky grounds. The jury is out. It's my time for change. Nothing new, I've experienced so many throughout the years, with (generally) a mix of need and enthusiasm. It's funny, but it's not, when the reality tells me my change options are severely limited, if bloody any? I often ponder when I read of some chap being kept in Remand until his case is heard some 4 or 6 months into the future. In lockdown, heating, meals, television provided and daily bouts of fresh air. No bail money no computer, anxiety, stress, who knows? Stress is invisible. Helen Reddy - Delta Dawn, could it be a faded rose from days gone by? Keep on keeping on, until, if ever, the arrival of ingenuity? Back to basics: Good strong leadership and governments to work together. Piece of cake? Our Sydney-centric Scotty in top form in his National Press Club address last Wednesday. Apparently forgetting his words of many moons past ("We are leading the world") in containing the virus? Counting the days to 70% vaccinations - and then, an election? PM pledges vaccine plan to prevent lockdowns; buying votes, cynical me? Labor has ‘‘abandoned’’ would-be homeowners and low income households wanting to buy homes, negative gearing. Maybe not. Clear the decks, why make themselves a sitting shot? Make it an all out attack on our mate Scotty. Knowing Scotty, well, purporting to know, he will use it anyway, not to mention the inference of Labor leaders into private negative gearing, Labor nest feathering? Alongside this, higher vaccination numbers does not mean the delta star or any possible new strain will depart. It’s nice to be fully vaccinated but it’s likely short of the final solution. Surely more lockdowns are our future? Having said this we are in fact all lucky. Comparisons may be odious but a look at other countries tells me we're doing well. Fresh air? I think yes, we all need fresh air, that and water, magic. Anxiety my foot. Reality. Writing this column requires some research obviously, at 85 the memory well on the decline. I could stop, do nothing, on remand by choice, or I could (would?) go nuts. No, stay calm. It was that bloody month; July. August 1st, 1957 I had my first date with my late wife, the start of something big. I'll listen to Sunday with Macca, ABC radio. A Morrison supporter, but anything to change the present. Who knows, I might even vote as a Green? 


John Hewson. The Saturday Paper. "Overall, recall the drone of words attempting to blame the states, the Europeans, even the vaccine advisory group for the rollout stuff-up. Recall Morrison’s dramatic shift in words from “lockdowns are a last resort” to “vaccines are not a substitute for lockdowns”. What is the public to make of this sudden and extravagant shift in the prime minister’s words? It is almost the opposite of what he said in defence of Gladys Berejiklian in late June, praising her world-class contact-tracing system, which he believed would mean Sydney would not go into lockdown. How can Morrison be trusted? How can he be considered a “leader”? Especially as he goes on pretending nothing has changed?Finally, recall all the words about economic “bounceback or snapback”, about “reset” and “recovery strategies”. Yet our economy has been left exposed to rolling lockdowns that could have been avoided, or at least minimised, by an accelerated vaccine rollout. This bewilderment of words is the outcome of Morrison’s daily political strategy, which focuses on the Stunt or the Big Announcement in an attempt to control the narrative. It is picked up, often without question or scrutiny, by the media – and tomorrow a different issue, often in a different location and probably with different words, will be offered. Morrison’s sole focus is to win the next election." [Obviously nothing new, but from a former Liberal leader.]


As a remembrance, from Mary Ellen, left us 28th July, 2004. "I’m lying on the bed with the balcony doors open & the sun streaming in onto me. We are about to wander off to the beach & lie on sun lounges. I’m getting brown. Mykonos is fantastic, clean, like I expected a Greek Island to be. We’ve been to the Port a couple of times for dinner, also seen where “Shirley Valentine” had dinner (big deal). Back to Ios tomorrow, a 5 hour ferry ride. I know it will be better this time. I’m not so desperately homesick anymore. I’m going back with a different & positive outlook. I’m going to laze in the sun & go to the Clubs at night. After all “if you can’t beat ‘em - join ‘em” I’m now on the beach, had my first swim, on a sun lounge on the waters edge, half under the umbrella. The water is pale aqua. A little colder than all the other places, around 21 degrees. Just a slight gasp as you slide under. Sandra & I are getting on very well, understanding each other better. She’s a bloody scream though,  can’t keep her hands out of her purse. She’s bought 5 times as much as me, plus $3500 worth of jewellery. Her husband will never notice it & when he does she’ll say it’s fake. So it’s our little secret. Sandra says she’ll be cleaning other people’s houses for years to pay for it. Our friends Russ & Lynn left this morning. A Hervey Bay couple, early 70’s. We met them on Kos, then the ferry to Mykonos & we all came here together at The Palace Hotel at 3am. Russ negotiated a cheaper rate for us, so we decided to stay longer. We had a few meals with them and they were great company. Russ is a retired air force pilot. He had many interesting stories about the war & gave us some tips on Italy. Well my treasures, even though I’m not homesick anymore, I am looking forward to coming home as I miss you all & love you all......Arrived back on Ios after 10 excellent days travelling the islands. Since leaving Athens we’ve been on water a total of 57 hours. Loved your letters Cliffie. As for me being “good” I’m always bloody good. I miss you also you dag. I’m having a really excellent time. Costing a fortune everywhere. I get money out thinking “this will last me such & such”. No bloody way. Everything costs. I’m not looking at the Visa slips or I’ll freak. I’ll freak when I get home, or rather we’ll both freak. I’ll be in bondage for years. Anyway, forget that. Had my hair coloured as soon as we got back. Got rid of all the grey strands from an English girl in a salon just near our front door. The last island we visited was Mykonos, from where I rung you. It was fantastic, very clean. Beautiful buildings perched among a pretty village much bigger than Ios - but in the same style. Ios a lot cheaper also. Mykonos geared for the rich & the gays - trendy money. I keep glancing at your letters Cliffie so I can answer you. Off to the beach. Back from the beach. Very hot, about 40 degrees. Jennifer is up, holding her head. No sign of Patch, probably snorkelling. Beni has gone to Santorini to meet her mother who has come from Denmark. Don’t muddle the photos. Love, kisses & my thoughts constantly... M.E. 


National Service, 1955. Most of our youth were called up for 3 months in the Army followed by 5 years of availability. It was almost impossible to get into the Navy or Air Force unless you were a Reserve or had lots of push. Uncle Bill Henderson, Mum’s upmarket brother from Kew, was a Senior Chaplain in the Royal Australian Navy and his influence got me accepted. Those first 6 weeks: It quickly became, by way of networking, the necessity to be a part of the influential group, and protection. They carried themselves with a feeling of superiority, for no good reason I could discern.  I was never one to suck up, but somehow, likely because I had a lot to say, I sorted of drifted into the right people, in these unusual circumstances that is. Probably the only time I ever did. Picking out certain associates who had not been sighted in the communal showers, giving their private parts a boot polish, as in Nugget, and cheering while they took their showers and were rewarded by becoming an “in” person. I felt sorry for them of course and understood their shyness in not wanting to be nude without privacy, coming from all parts of Australia and homesick, but protecting my backside was paramount, ahead of worrying about someone spotting my old fellow. I said nothing, and more importantly I NEVER dropped the soap while showering. Not because someone might date me, so much as I dare not risk being seen as homosexual in any slight way. So stupid in retrospect. I had no real idea of what homosexual meant! It didn’t take much for the “in” crowd to turn. I didn’t take an  active part in the nuggeting, something to be thankful for. Eventually we got to the stage where I was one of only a half dozen who had not been “nuggeted” - the battle of wits to escape. They eventually caught up with me but were unsuccessful in their attempts, only after a very tough wrestle with a few of my so-called mates. I fought like a true Magpie. Week three was my turn on duty (for a week) in the Cookhouse - serving up my mates double and triple ice cream sweets, watching the soup in the huge soup vats get thicker every night; endless cleaning of all the galley utensils. It was a tough week workwise, but worth the effort in making the right friends; common sense. [Not necessarily the 'right' friends but beggars can't be choosers.] 


I quite like watching the Olympic games, particularly the swimming, but I draw the line at breaststroke. Name change?...Four federal Labor MPs have backed a royal commission into Australia’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, arguing the inquiry will provide vital lessons for the future. Good luck with this one...if they got Alistair Clarkson they can get anyone, scotty?...Morning radio, morning TV news, lunchtime news announcements, some packed with over-long, sleep-inducing monologues, evening news – COVID, COVID, COVID. Why watch Q+A? Ditto Insiders...Frydenberg's heavy boots into Melbourne, now into fluffy wooden socks?...Kevvy Rudd: Despite Abbott’s promise in 2013 of “no cuts to the ABC”, its budget has been slashed by about $800 million under the Liberals, who are once again stacking the board with their mates...Straight to the RSL Wednesday after COVID restrictions lifted, a beer from the tap. Wearing my trackies explained to a lady "Couldn't be bothered putting my trousers on." Lady replied "Then we wouldn't have recognised you."... "I believe there is something out there watching us. Unfortunately it's the government." [Woody Allen]...Keep yourselves nice...Cliff Ellen.







 CAROLE We’ll be fine David. Vonny and I have it all under control. Really.

DAVID Merely trying to help Carole. You need to get it all together before day one. That includes proper accounting records, taxation requirements-

CAROLE Rob can take care of all that, surely?

DAVID You two are running the show Carole. 

CAROLE Just give us time David.

VONNY (ENTERING, WITH COFFEE) How’s young Beck doing?

DAVID The working girl.

VONNY You mind your own business. And while you’re at it keep out of ours.

DAVID I was talking about Becky. She’s got a job.

VONNY Who asked you? She should try something useful, like carpentry? David’s useless. Lot of money in carpentry. What do you think Carole?

CAROLE As long as she’s happy.

VONNY Growing fast. Is she studying?

CAROLE She’s fine Vonn.

VONNY What’s the job?

CAROLE It’s only part time. One day a week to start, for the TAB at the city racetracks.

VONNY She’s too young?

CAROLE They take them at 16. I’ll put her age up.

DAVID So you’re off the course, Becky’s at the track, and Rob’s the mug?

CAROLE Rob’s giving the betting up. He nominated the end of this month.


VONNY Mind your business. You see Rob keeps his word Carole.

CAROLE It’s not all gambling Vonn. Rob pays his share.

VONNY So he should girl. 

DAVID You keep out.

VONNY You be quiet!

DAVID I pay all our bills.

VONNY You wouldn’t be much use otherwise.

DAVID No darling.

VONNY Have you seen any of your money yet?

CAROLE He’s got it Vonn.

VONNY Let him show it to you. Why haven’t you got joint accounts?

CAROLE We have. But he has a separate punting account.

DAVID That’s a great idea.

VONNY You’re mad girl. 

CAROLE It’s only an interest Vonn.

VONNY What about your interest?

CAROLE As it happens we’re going to the bank Thursday. He’s promised me the $10,000. Then we’ll look at carpets.

VONNY He’s putting up the $10,000?

CAROLE He’s paying for the carpets and we’re borrowing the business money.

VONNY Hold him to it. Do not budge. I don’t want to interfere love but men are men. If David won all that money I’d be wanting to see the colour of it a lot sooner. 

DAVID Like the minute I open the front door.

VONNY What’s wrong with that?

DAVID Not a thing darling. 

VONNY How much has he got in this secret account?

DAVID Punting account.

CAROLE He hides that.

VONNY Find it. Have a look. It can’t be far.

CAROLE (LAUGHS) It’s fine Vonn. Really. I trust him.

VONNY I’m only thinking of you love. If he tries to put you off on Thursday you call me. You hear? You can’t trust a gambler.

CAROLE And you can’t force him to change either. Gently it goes Vonn.

VONNY It’s not my way love.

DAVID We know that.

CAROLE Drink David?

VONNY You’re changing the subject.

DAVID (EXITING) I’ll get it.

VONNY How much did he win, anyway?


CAROLE Enough for the carpets. 

VONNY You sure?

CAROLE (LAUGHS) Ask him yourself Vonn.

VONNY I might just do that.

DAVID (ENTERING) There’s 9 races at Werribee tomorrow.

VONNY That’s your third. How many are you having? 


RICHARD Hello darlings. Vonny. You look exquisite. And the lovely Carole. Beauty in full bloom. Greetings. And you too, old foxy.


DAVID Home from the battlefield.

VONNY Where have you two been?

RICHARD No worries gorgeous. The old sticky Ricky has been behaving, haven’t we lucky. Eh Rob? And Ricky brought home the bacon. For you darling. (FLOWERS-ROSES.)

CAROLE Thank you Rick. They’re lovely. 

VONNY You’re drunk.

RICHARD Point 049 Herr Vonn. But no panic. Rob was driving. (LAUGHS) Old Chatterbox.

CAROLE Sue didn’t arrive Rick.

RICHARD Typical.

CAROLE Have a good day love?

RICHARD We had an exciting day, didn’t we lucky?

ROBERT No damage.

RICHARD And,  for the lovely Veronica. Da dah. (PULLS OUT A BOTTLE OF MUSSELS.)

DAVID Mussels?

RICHARD The florist was out of snap dragons. 

VONNY You keep them Richard.

RICHARD Good for your figure Vonn. And other things.

ROBERT I’ll put these in the fridge. (BEER. BUT STAYS)

VONNY No wonder Sue wont talk to you.

DAVID Had a big day Rick?

RICHARD Skill Davo. Skill, arse, and a sure fire system. Legitimate non-taxable winnings. And instinct. Knowing when to stop. Hey Rob?

CAROLE You want something to eat?

RICHARD We ate darling. Fish and chips.

VONNY Give him some coffee.

RICHARD Dave’s the coffee man Vonn. He can’t hold his liquor. I brought him home, Carole. I looked after the old bastard.

DAVID How did Nick the Greek go? 

RICHARD I told you I won. (LAUGHS.) The single fronted in Brunswick looms. Or was it Yarraville? Maybe even Hawthorn now. What do you think Robbo?

ROBERT Just shut up Rick, for Chrissake. You’re full.

DAVID I meant Rob.


VONNY Did you win Rob?

RICHARD No telling tales Vonn. Not kosher. 

DAVID How was your day Rob?

ROBERT Pretty good. About even.

RICHARD Like the story of the bloke who went to the races, backed the first 6 winners, come the last he plonked it all, $25,000 big ones, on the favourite at even money. Gets done in a photo by a nostril. When he arrived home his wife asked him how he went. “I broke even” he said. (LAUGHS)

ROBERT Anything to eat?

CAROLE I thought you had fish and chips?

ROBERT Loud mouth had fish and chips.

CAROLE I can heat up some Irish stew if you like?

VONNY Let him get it himself. It’s nearly 10 oclock.

DAVID Twenty past nine actually.

ROBERT I’ll have a sandwich. (ON THE TABLE/SUPPER) Have something later.

CAROLE What about some bacon and eggs?

ROBERT I’m fine love.

CAROLE Sandwich Rick?

RICHARD You know what I want gorgeous.

VONNY He wants the mussels.

DAVID That’s my theory. 

CAROLE That’s about all he deserves.

DAVID What took you so long?

ROBERT Rick wanted to stop off for one and out the door. Bugger wouldn’t leave.

RICHARD Weak bastard. Stale bottle of piss.

ROBERT I didn’t feel like it.

RICHARD Not my fault.

DAVID What are you having Rob?

ROBERT I might try a whisky.

RICHARD And a beer for me Dave. One of your coldies you tight bastard. How many did you bring?

DAVID All talk and no action I’d say.

VONNY Time you caught a taxi home anyway.

RICHARD Piss off Vonny.

CAROLE Eh, eh. Steady Rick. Where do you think you are?

ROBERT Just settle Rick.

RICHARD Dave started it.

DAVID Don’t blame me.

VONNY Ring him a taxi David.

RICHARD Give me a bloody beer!

VONNY Get it yourself.

RICHARD I bloody will. (HE SITS.)

CAROLE You OK love?

ROBERT Long drive.

CAROLE Shall I heat up some stew?


RICHARD You’ll be sweet Rob.

ROBERT I’ll be sweet Rick. 

CAROLE Oh before I forget. Beck needs $150 for her weekend excursion. It has to be paid by tomorrow.


RICHARD Drop in the ocean Rob.

CAROLE I told her you’d give it to her in the morning.


RICHARD Drop in the bloody ocean.

ROBERT I’ll kick you out if you don’t shut up.

RICHARD Us professional punters.

DAVID So you’re pros now are you?

ROBERT Don’t be smart Dave.

RICHARD We don’t hire out lawnmowers Davo, at $27 a day. Six of the bastards and a secret receipt book.

DAVID All accounted for Rick.

RICHARD Arseholes. I’ll dob you in. Get them to do a desk audit.

DAVID Werribee tomorrow Rob?

ROBERT That’s right Dave. Not back till Monday.

VONNY You are going back to work then?


VONNY I see.

DAVID Still got your capital then?

ROBERT You have to ask, don’t you Dave.

RICHARD He’s loaded. 

ROBERT Get stuffed Rick.

RICHARD Same to you sonno. No wucken furries.

CAROLE Richard!


CAROLE That’s enough. 

RICHARD It’s a joke.

CAROLE A joke’s not a joke when it becomes offensive. If you can’t be nice go home.

RICHARD Put some music on. Dance Vonny darling?

VONNY You’ll fall over.

RICHARD Try me darling. 

ROBERT No music Rick. Just bloodywell behave will you or I will call a cab.

RICHARD Keep it up Robbo. Keep it up Popeye and we’ll see who comes out on top. Blow me down. Capital is all, son. Right? 

ROBERT Yeah. Yeah.

VONNY I think it’s time we were going David.

RICHARD Goodnight David. Make sure you take home any undrunk stubbies. Wouldn’t want to waste one.

DAVID We’ll be off then Carole.

RICHARD You are off Dave. 

CAROLE Shut up Richard. I mean it.

RICHARD Sorry gorgeous.

VONNY You’ll be sorry in the morning.

RICHARD Yes dear. (ROB HEADS FOR THE KITCHEN) What’s the matter Robbo? (HE BLOCKS ROB’S EXIT) Pissing off are we? Everyone’s pissing off. What’s wrong? Can’t you take a joke?

ROBERT Get out of the way.

RICHARD Show us your winnings Robbo. We’ll invest in lawnmowers.

ROBERT (PUSHING RICHARD ASIDE) Go jump in the Yarra, silly bastard.

RICHARD Hah. Can’t even get that right. It’s the lake Robbo. The Albert Park bloody Grand Prix lake. King Jeffrey. Remember? You voted for him. Give us a kiss. (RICHARD ATTEMPTS TO EMBRACE ROBERT) Don’t worry old fellow. You’ve still got your health. (LAUGHS LOUDLY.)

ROBERT (BREAKS AWAY) Piss off will you. Go on. Get out. Go home. Drive your fucking car and get booked.

RICHARD (SINGS) “Money, burns a hole in my pocket.” 

ROBERT What’s the strength of you anyway? Smart arsed bastard. And you Davo. You’re supposed to be my friend?

DAVID What did I do?

VONNY Come on David, we’re going home. Sorry Carole.

DAVID I didn’t do anything.

VONNY Leave it David.

CAROLE Take Richard with you Vonn.

VONNY No love. Not tonight. Call him a cab.

RICHARD What’s the hurry. Stay a while Vonn. Drive me home. Get us a beer Rob.

VONNY I’m not driving you home. You don’t deserve it.

RICHARD Rob. Beer!

ROBERT Get your own bloody beer. 

RICHARD I’m celebrating Robbo. Nick the Greek is celebrating. We won didn’t we? Didn’t we? C’mon. Turn the bloody music on.

VONNY We’re going home. (VONNY MOVES TO EXIT) I’ll call you in the morning Carole.

RICHARD I’m not stopping you. Got your stubbies Davo? Show us your winnings Robbo. Here, here’s mine. (PULLS OUT A WAD OF NOTES) Piece of bloody cake. One unit. Hah.

ROBERT I’ll call him a cab.

RICHARD Stay Vonn. C’mon. Rob’s going to be a sport. Robbo baby. Kiss me. 

ROBERT Get out of it. What’s wrong with you. Shit.

RICHARD I love you Popeye!

CAROLE I’m calling a cab Richard.

VONNY Go on love.

RICHARD Just as well it’s not for Rob. He’d be lucky to pay.

ROBERT Shut it Rick.

RICHARD Show us your winnings Popeye.

DAVID Take it easy Rick.


ROBERT Leave me alone will you, mad bastard.

RICHARD What did I do?

ROBERT You know what you bloodywell did. You’re sick you smug bastard.  Why are you glad when I lose? 

RICHARD We all love a winner Robbo. I’m celebrating.

ROBERT Bullshit. You’re stirring. What have I done? Eh? No wonder Sue pisses you off-you’re a bloody moron. Can’t even get it up.

RICHARD Keep it up Robbo.

ROBERT That’s more than you can do.

RICHARD That’s twice Popeye. At least I know how to win.

ROBERT Allright I lost. Are you happy? (TURNS ON DAVID) Are you happy Dave? Are you ecstatic you bastards? I lost. And don’t think you proved anything Dave?

DAVID Take it easy Rob-

ROBERT I bet to win Dave. OK? I bet to bloodywell win.

RICHARD Not today you didn’t.

ROBERT You, you bastard. Why can’t you just keep your motor mouth shut.

RICHARD You started it. I warned you.

ROBERT You’re like a bloody two year old. 

RICHARD It’s just a bit of fun. 

ROBERT At my expense. Great bloody friend you are. Full of fucking arse. Well you know what you can do? The pair of you. You know what you can bloodywell do. All of you. You can get fucked! Fuck off the lot of you. (HE STORMS OUT.)


RICHARD...I think he’s...upset.







A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜₯

Wednesday, 28th July, 2021. Green is good, Coles, Woolworths take your pick, the key word being 'sustainable'. Another nonsense. Reminds me of Ricky Ponting's face in every chemist shop recommending special vitamins, for men? Sadly thousands of men (and women) fell for it, but not so sad for our Rickey, who made a fortune. Ditto health food shops. The fascination of people chasing vitamins, feelgood pills. Our Prime Minister (‘‘I don’t hold a hose’’), bless him, said sorry. If this was a heartfelt sorry I'll go he? Better than nothing you say? No. Merely a response to the  latest voting trends. The sorry you say when you're not sorry. Another fascination; information. David Spears is what most might call handsome, therefore believable, yet Anthony (Albanese) could say much the same and somehow it doesn't quite stick, no disrespect intended re Albo's face, or indeed his unconvincing delivery of words, not to mention his (Labor's) dropping the negative gearing policy, crushing the first homebuyers opportunities. Then we add in our PM's direct line to Murdoch's media (obviously anti-Albo?) and out it comes, seemingly from reporters (prostitutes?) expunging Scotty's Claytons apology. A wicked wicked web. Add this to the sad political nonsense coming out of the NSW's premier while Victoria's long hard lockdown was happening, now NSW turn to get bitten on their sizeable bum, and Andrews calling for a 'ring of steel'. It's all pretty much obvious re NSW’s failings under Gladys Berejiklian, though surprisingly today's poll blames Scotty ahead of Gladys? Again the necessity for a much stated clear path to the vaccination rollout, surely heavily on our minds alongside (ahead?) of climate change? And the protesters for their rights, no masks, crowded together as one, individualism and their idea of freedom; ignore - Dickheads United. Is it worth complaining about these Aussie battlers protesting for freedom after just 4 weeks of lockdown? No! Dickheads. We wait, we hope, meantime, we go green - and gold? C'mon Aussie c'mon?


The Saturday Paper, Gadfly: "Speaking with Adelaide’s FIVEaa radio the prime minister said: “Right now, under no plan was there any plan that said we’d be at 65-70 per cent vaccination in this country. Under no plan.” Because repeating the words “no plan” several times is surely the best way to instil confidence in the country’s leadership. There was, however, a plan to have four million vaccinations by late March, which Morrison announced on January 25. Greg Hunt doubled down a few days after that, and said the plan was to have 20 million adults vaccinated by the end of October. All of which means the plan might well actually have required 65-70 per cent vaccination by mid-July, except we now know there was “no plan” and more of a vague intention. Perhaps even an unsubstantiated rumour. The PM continued deflecting responsibility when speaking with ABC Adelaide. It was unfair that Australia’s vaccine rollout was being criticised but not New Zealand’s, said the prime minister who once told protesters to be grateful they weren’t being shot at, like in other countries. Apparently, his entire approach to governance is pointing out it could always be worse – and then proving that true." Editorial: "As you read through the latest intergenerational report, the section on climate change stands out for the simple reason that it contains no projections. The numbers exist, just as they do for population growth and productivity, but they are not included. The Saturday Paper understands Treasury was pressured by the Morrison government to leave them out." [So much for our (non?) independent public service?]


Newspoll is the poll all politicians take particular note of, so the six-point lead recorded for Labor – 53-47, two-party preferred – is a shattering result. It breaks the run of lineball findings over the past few months, even though they mostly had Labor just ahead. Of course, the next poll will show if this is an outlier or the beginning of an entrenched rejection of this government...Former National Disability Insurance Agency board member John Walsh told a conference convened by Disability Services Consulting yesterday he didn’t think the NDIS had ever been implemented as envisaged. ‘‘I just look at it as a lost opportunity,’’ he said. ‘‘I can’t begin to say how angry I am about the way the Australian governments collectively have let down people with disabilities.’’ ['Collectively" can be read whichever way you're rusted on.]


History: 1977, the opportunity to have my first play produced at La Mama. No Worries, (later re-written as Lucky Last) which was part of a double bill with the most excellent two-hander Norm and Ahmed, by Alex Buzo, directed by Mark Callan. Two plays, two parts, vastly different roles. We performed Norm and Ahmed in the carpark adjoining the theatre in Faraday Street after an inside performance of No Worries. There was a pub across the road and every performance around 10.15 out poured the drunks, headlights shinning on the carpark, horns blasting, and some drunk gatecrashers. One such drunk journeyed onto the stage during one performance after I had hit Ahmed and he lay on the ground. Lionel Murphy, a great Labor man, was in the audience. The drunk then offered me a swig of his whisky, assuming I was one of ‘his mob’, and started a conversation rubbishing dark skinned foreigners, which he took Ahmed (Bruce Kerr) to be. Bruce was long ago from England. I managed to talk him away after around 4 tense minutes, adopting yet another role on the spot, faking a swig of his whisky, the real difficulty being to remember which part of the play we were at when the yobbo intervened. Mark was one tough director, insisting I play the part “his way”. We had one or two screaming matches but Mark won out in the end. I disagreed with his interpretation in spite of good reviews. One of the toughest jobs in acting is coming to terms with the director’s point of view if you see the role differently. A minefield balancing act. No Worries went well, though obviously not in the same class as Norm and Ahmed. Directed by Bruce Kerr the cast included Jack Mobbs, Sue Jones, Liddy Clark, Richard Dawson and (daughter) Jennifer Ellen.


From 'Letters': Recently, our school staff was updated on the code of conduct for Victorian teachers. Among the requirements for teachers is that we are paragons of virtue in the community, both in our personal and professional lives? On and on they complain, the kiddies missing school, the stress of it all. The nonsense of it all. In my day (etc world war 2) rarely a second thought, never forgetting the advantages of music, sport and social interaction at school. kids are resilient....The NSW Mockdown?...Why couldn't my kids be in the olympics. It seems their parents cop free track suits. Bugger...A former Supreme Court judge calls it corruption. The auditor-general calls it unashamedly targeting Liberal seats (‘‘How the Coalition’s car park promises went off the rails’’). I call it secret trials against whistleblowers, increasing surveillance of citizens. How about you?.....Billy Boy Shorten on Insiders ABC last Sunday, a cut above the rest, a star...Sport, the gruelling Tour de France on SBS run and won, to the Tokyo olympics. The necessity for diversions to offset COVID squabbling, Collingwood losses and our government devoid of the necessity for The Arts. One (freezing) day at a time...Is there anyone out there who likes Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates?...Our wonderful federal government contributes $7 million to the Robert Menzies Institute (Peta Credlin, not forgetting Georgina Downer?) at the University of Melbourne?...Yes, obviously, Brisbane did a Bradbury...It might be an idea to think about the cost of NOT locking down?...Direct from the South Australian Health Minister to her husband "Relax. This is the kind of day when you can tidy up your socks drawer."?...'Like a beast in a pen I'm cut off, From the friends, freedom, the sun, But the hunters are gaining ground, I’ve nowhere else to run' [Boris Pasternak]...Receiving the second AstraZeneca vaccine, today. Keep yourselves nice...Cliff Ellen.








CAROLE (ENTERING) Rob, you’ll have to speak to Becky. She was late for her interview. How will that look? Her room’s like a tip. She spends more time in front of the mirror than I do. The bathroom’s a mess. Then she expected me to drive her to the station?

ROBERT Can’t she walk? I was hoping to take the car.

CAROLE I’ve already driven her. You can’t have the car anyway, I’ve got shopping to do. 

ROBERT Yes love.



CAROLE I’m talking to you.

ROBERT What do you want?

CAROLE I was talking about Becky. 

ROBERT She’s in the bathroom.

CAROLE What is more important? Becky or that silly form guide?

ROBERT Sorry love. OK, I’m listening.

CAROLE Oh forget it. What’s the point.

ROBERT I’m listening love. Really. I’m all ears.

CAROLE What did they say at work?

ROBERT I’ve got leave due, what could they say? Wouldn’t notice anyway. Too busy robbing people.

CAROLE Do you think it was wise. They’re putting people off all the time.

ROBERT Forget work love. I don’t like it.

CAROLE Do you like eating?

ROBERT When I’m not there I like to forget it ever happened.

CAROLE What’s wrong?

ROBERT It’s all this enterprise bargaining bullshit. Bloody Unions.

CAROLE What are they doing?

ROBERT Selling us up the river. We’re being  screwed by the bosses after the Unions allegedly try to get the best for us. Wish they’d offer me a package.

CAROLE Then you’d be out of a job.

ROBERT Then I’d have capital. 

CAROLE Don’t be ridiculous. How long would that last? 

ROBERT Everyone wants to change you. If it’s not the bosses it’s the Unions. The bosses want more profits, the Unions want more power, and I’m the meat in the sandwich. 

CAROLE You can’t win Rob.

ROBERT Why not? People do. Lots of people get pleasure from their jobs.


ROBERT I don’t know. Professional punters. Bookmakers. Stockbrokers.

CAROLE Politicians?  

ROBERT A man can dream can’t he? 

CAROLE Doesn’t pay the bills. Which reminds me, where’s your credit card bill?

ROBERT Sometimes they’re late.

CAROLE Is it serious?

ROBERT Is what serious?

CAROLE Your job of course. 

ROBERT You should know. You work for the TAB. Making profits and cutting staff, full stop. Same bloody thing. We’re all just numbers.

CAROLE Could they put you off?

ROBERT Nah. Worse luck.

CAROLE Why do you talk that way? 

ROBERT What’s wrong with chasing a bit of pleasure. I’m 39 for chrissake.

CAROLE I wish you wouldn’t talk like that.

ROBERT What’s the difference? Ambition and gambling. Impossible to get the final prize. What do they reckon? The joy is in the journey? I’ll take the bloody journey.

CAROLE When does this journey end?

ROBERT End of this month. I promise.

CAROLE How much are you taking with you today?

ROBERT A hundred. Got to go to the bank.

CAROLE Don’t take too much.

ROBERT You’re doing it too. Wanting to change me. I don’t try to change you.

CAROLE That’s what you’re doing now.

ROBERT It’s just a couple of days off work.

CAROLE You want me to spend according to your ideas.

ROBERT Look love, one of the joys of gambling is pleasure. Surely there’s nothing wrong with doing what you love. I’m betting with their money.

CAROLE It’s our money now.

ROBERT Of course. But I know what I’m doing. See us on a Friday night? We’re on a high. It’s exciting. That’s our pleasure. Us against them. Saturday morning in the Pub. A few beers. Exchanges of opinions. Skill. Then all day at the races. Pleasure darling. You can’t beat pleasure. Our raison d’etre.

CAROLE  It’s not Saturday today.

ROBERT It’s not my darling. That’s the thing nowadays. It’s on every day of the week. Well almost. I only bet on the gallops.

CAROLE You didn’t the other night.

ROBERT A one-off love. Information. That’s the only time you bet on trots or dogs. What is wrong with chasing a bit of pleasure in life? I have no intention of putting anyone at risk. Particularly you and Becky.

CAROLE What if you lose?

ROBERT I wont love. It’s for us.  And even if I do it’s a curve. A slight curve. The trick is to see that the ups outweigh the downs.

CAROLE You’d like to do this full time?

ROBERT I reckon I could make a good living out of it.

CAROLE I don’t know anyone who does.

ROBERT They’re about. Professional punters. Low key. They’re in the betting ring all the time. You just have to know how to spot them.

CAROLE My idea of pleasure is paying the bills and holidays.

ROBERT I’m not going to do it. I’m just saying that’s what I’d love to do. Dreams love.

CAROLE It’s just that-

ROBERT All is under control darling. End of the month. Now let me study.

CAROLE Excuse me for talking.

ROBERT I didn’t mean that. Shit. Come on love. Be fair. What is it now?

CAROLE You think Becky should be looking for work?

ROBERT It’s only part time. A few dollars in her pocket. Good experience.

CAROLE I suppose.

ROBERT Is that it?

CAROLE No that’s not it. You know that money you promised? I could take the day off tomorrow?

ROBERT Not tomorrow darling, it’s Werribee. I always win at Werribee.

CAROLE What about the carpet?

ROBERT I’m not going to the races every day. Just today and tomorrow.

CAROLE Thursday then?

ROBERT Thursday’s great. We’ll go for lunch, then shop.

CAROLE And what about our business?

ROBERT What about it?

CAROLE Vonny’s got her money.

ROBERT Yeah. $10,000. I promised didn’t I?

CAROLE You haven’t mentioned it in over a week?

ROBERT Don’t let Vonny boss you about love.

CAROLE She’s my friend. You did promise Rob.

ROBERT Okay, I’ve been on other things, but it’s all in hand. 

CAROLE So you keep saying.

ROBERT We will go to the bank on Thursday morning. I will give you a bank cheque. Lunch.Then we will go looking for a nice carpet. 

CAROLE Thursday?

ROBERT Absolutely.

CAROLE Promise?

ROBERT Cross my heart.

CAROLE I saw some lovely outdoor furniture at Barbecues Galore.

ROBERT (LAUGHS) Do we need outdoor furniture?

CAROLE They’re on special.

ROBERT I didn’t win Powerball darling.

CAROLE I’ll pay half.

ROBERT The carpet will cost $4000.

CAROLE Ricky said you won over $15,000.

ROBERT He’s stirring. Haven’t you woke up? That’s his form. Why must you bite? 

CAROLE I’m not biting. I want to know where we stand. 

ROBERT I’m up for $14,000 and you’re dropping two days wages. I need the capital love. That’s how the bastards get you

CAROLE How much did you win?

ROBERT Certainly not $15,000. Shit.

CAROLE How much then?

ROBERT Why is everyone so interested in how much I won?

CAROLE I care about us. And our mortgage, and Becky-

ROBERT And new carpets.

CAROLE Or polished boards, I don’t care. It’s a disgrace. We’re earning good money. Where does it go?

ROBERT What are you talking about?

CAROLE I’m talking about you winning all that money and not talking about it.

ROBERT I care about us.

CAROLE It doesn’t seem like it.

ROBERT That’s not fair.

CAROLE I’ve hardly seen you the past week. You haven’t been near me in bed.

ROBERT Neither have you.

CAROLE No, no, no. Don’t try that. It’s not up to me.

ROBERT (LAUGHS) Why not? Sorry love. My mind’s been on other things.

CAROLE How much did you win? 

ROBERT I don’t know. Just under $5000 I think. 

CAROLE You think?

ROBERT I know. Roughly. About, oh... $4800.

CAROLE How much have you got left?

ROBERT Don’t you trust me?

CAROLE Don’t you trust me?

ROBERT I’ve got it all love. I’m still about even.  

CAROLE You’re always about even. Meanwhile how much do you owe on your credit card?

ROBERT I think I paid the credit card.


ROBERT Last week some time. I don’t know.

CAROLE That’s something then.

ROBERT Settle love. All is well. I promise.

CAROLE I just thought with all the work you put into that garden some class furniture would set it off.

ROBERT Fine. Classy furniture. Whatever. See how I go today. I reckon I’ve got that feeling again.

CAROLE You promise?

ROBERT I promise. 

CAROLE And you’ve still got all of it?

ROBERT Every cent.

CAROLE You were very quiet on Saturday.

ROBERT I lost a little Saturday. True. Just marginal stuff. No damage. I was bloody stiff, I’ll tell you that.

CAROLE Thursday then?

ROBERT Hey, I’m not going anywhere.

CAROLE Sometimes I wonder.

ROBERT Time I was off.

CAROLE You can have the car.

ROBERT No. Ricky’s coming so he can give me a lift for a change. Bloody stirrer.

CAROLE Both off on the same day?

ROBERT Different Sections darling. They wouldn’t twig.

CAROLE (TELEPHONE RINGS.) David and Vonny are coming over tonight.

ROBERT Yeah? Why?

CAROLE Gift shop discussions.

ROBERT Good. Good. (TALKS) Helloo. Rick. Hey listen mate, your car allright?  Carole’s down for shopping. Hah. Hang the expense eh. On my way. Have to stop at the bank for a refill. (PAUSE) Sure. No worries. Bye. (HANGS UP.) We wont be back before 7. I said it was OK for Sue to meet Rick here.

CAROLE That’s fine.

ROBERT Well, up and at ‘em. Lucky tie. See you tonight. We’ll talk gift shop.

CAROLE Good luck.

ROBERT Skill darling. Just follow the money. Can’t go wrong.

CAROLE So you keep saying.

ROBERT You my darling, are gorgeous. I love you.








A Grain of Salt.😎

Thursday, 22nd July, 2021. PM Morrison: “The pandemic continues to evolve, it continues to set its own rules”. To many, what it sounded like was, “having got lucky early on, but having failed most tests since then, the virus is still in charge and not me”. I can recall reading The Herald evenings, The Sun Mornings, hardly any [a sprinkle?] of brainwashing. Not that I could tell till my early teens, but the old man helped. Were he still with us he would likely ban today's newspapers, a form of communism he would have opined. It’s not simply the vaccination rollout, indeed the failure thereof, but sadly backed by a PM who has failed to inspire us by bringing us together as a whole, consistently marked by political favouritism. So sad, obvious togetherness abandoned to our detriment. We have now found ourselves unvaccinated and vulnerable, facing a variant of COVID twice as transmissible, able to outpace even a ‘‘gold standard’’ contract tracing system. The vaccine rollout continues, fellow snails. A rollout, at 14%? That's a disgrace. And the lockdowns, primarily the scramble for many to whinge for money. And so it goes, ever onwards, to...


The Chaser, edited. "As a Sydneysider, it's depressing to watch Victoria go into another lockdown. It's madness that the Victorian government didn't wait until the virus was raging out of control across several suburbs before locking down. Daniel Andrews is going to look like an absolute fool when Victoria emerges out of lockdown after only a week or two. Here in NSW, we waited until it was absolutely certain that our lockdown would drag on for months before we went there. Why lockdown if you're intending to reverse course just days later? Businesses need certainty, and by letting the virus take hold, the NSW government ensured that businesses have the certainty that its lockdown will go on for months. In Victoria, by contrast, businesses have no such certainty. It's madness that if you live in Victoria right now, you can't walk into a Louis Vuitton shop and buy a handbag. The Victorian government's heavy-handed meddling in the definition of what constitutes "essential" services, and "non-essential" services, makes a whole lot of arbitrary judgements about what people need in life. People who are negatively gearing their tenth property in the coming days will be denied their right to access high quality French fashion ware until after the lockdown. If access to French fashion ware is not "essential" then frankly, I don't know what is! Most importantly, what the hell is going on with Victoria's vaccination rates?! I mean, barely 10% of the population are fully vaccinated. The Victorian Government have shown a gross level of responsibility letting the Federal Government manage that process.  To those in lockdown in Melbourne, just remember -- you're doing it all wrong." [Clever buggers.]


You could be standing on the edge of a clifftop, a 60 metre drop to raging seas, and rocks, and you can feel the earth beginning to rumble under your feet, but at that particular moment you think to yourself "I've done nothing wrong, so I'm sweet, as a bug in a rug"? The old 'if you've got nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about'. You do you know! ASIO intercepted an average of 85 phones a year from 1974 to 1983. ASIO’s figures are secret for 2019-20, but likely to be in the thousands. Federal and state police and similar bodies received 3677 intercept warrants in that time. Rules forcing phone companies to retain their customers’ metadata began in 2006. Police and other authorities accessed this “digital fingerprint” information without warrants on 344,168 occasions in 2019-20. Today, there are at least 83 terrorism laws, many containing harsh new offences and powers. Ignoring habeas corpus, the Howard government introduced a law in 2003 allowing ASIO to detain and compulsorily question people for a week. They didn’t need to be suspected of any crime, but might have information about terrorism. Refusal to answer incurred a five-year jail sentence. In 2005, the Australian Federal Police was empowered to take people into “preventative detention” for up to two weeks and impose a form of house arrest, called a “control order”, for up to 12 months without court approval. The states have since made greater use of “preventative detention” for longer periods. Authoritarian changes gathered pace after parliamentarians acquiesced in the Australian Federal Police’s raid on Parliament House in 2016. They accessed IT systems and seized thousands of non-classified documents to search for the source of leaks to a Labor opposition frontbencher. The leaks revealed problems with rising costs and delays in the national broadband network – information that should have been public. In an earlier era, ASIO and the AFP would never tap phones in Parliament House, let alone raid an institution at the pinnacle of Australia’s democratic system. The parliament’s failure to find the AFP in contempt only emboldened the police. Secret trials are supposed to be a hallmark of authoritarian governments, not liberal democracies. But in 2018 then Coalition attorney-general Christian Porter authorised charging a former Australian Secret Intelligence Service officer, known only as Witness K, and his lawyer, Bernard Collaery, with allegedly conspiring to communicate secret information to Timor-Leste’s government. The substantive issues in their case have been heard in secret. The case involves the honourable role of the defendants in challenging the misuse of ASIS to bug Dili’s cabinet office in 2004 to give a multinational petroleum company, Woodside, an unfair share of Timor-Leste’s natural resources. Witness K, who was under tremendous stress, pleaded guilty. He received a three-month suspended sentence in the ACT Magistrates Court on June 18. Collaery is pleading not guilty. It appears the substance of his trial will be heard in secret. Morrison’s latest proposed law – the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill – is extraordinarily intrusive. It was introduced last December and the government gave the example of how it would help disrupt paedophilia and terrorism. The Law Council of Australia pointed out it covers any other federal crime with a potential sentence of three or more years. Magistrates don’t even impose a jail sentence for some minor crimes in this category. If passed, the bill will allow the AFP and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) to “disrupt” even minor crime by covertly destroying computers and other systems in what is known as an “offensive cyber” operation. Despite these immense powers, the AFP and the ACIC will be allowed to issue their own warrants. A report for the government on Australia’s national security laws, written by former ASIO head Dennis Richardson, found there was no need for additional powers such as “data disruption”. The government bluntly rejected Richardson’s advice, although he had also headed the Foreign Affairs and Defence departments. He said, “All agencies, including the AFP, can and do make mistakes and this would be no exception”. [From The Saturday Paper, edited. Sometimes called 'Keeping out the light' as in not involving the Australian public as to the idiocy (insanity?) of their plans. Secrecy, 1984 to 2021 and beyond. We trust them half as far as I could throw them.]


Jon Faine, The Age, edited: The Prime Minister has relished the opportunity to dominate the news cycle, and his ease behind a microphone is still his greatest asset. His is a marketing mind, and his capacity to reduce a complex issue to a core message is without peer in this parliament. But he cannot resist the temptation to use 200 words when 20 would suffice. [Eddie McGuire?] He confuses quantity with quality. The word-soup can be confusing and betrays any clarity of thinking. It has not helped that he has to constantly change the substance of his message. The planned November 2021 election has had to be abandoned, replaced with Plan B that depends on supply of vaccines and their smooth distribution through GPs and pharmacies in time for an election around Easter 2022. He is speaking directly to the journalists in the room, playing to his personal relationships with them while forgetting millions are also watching. We are puzzled by and not sharing that intimacy. It detracts from his gravitas. Actors are taught to be ‘‘in the moment’’ which is an arty way of saying ignore what is going on all around you and concentrate intensely on what you are doing until you are deeply into it. The PM is not ‘‘in the moment’’. His mind is racing to other things. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been the Nicole Kidman of the Australian political stage. Many seem to forget the past dud performances, forgive the personal misstep and allow the reset button to be hit, multiple times. Women in politics are always treated differently as the excellent ABC TV series Ms Represented is explaining. Under pressure she maintains a calm demeanour, her voice does not wobble and betray her, she does not get flustered. But her refusal to clarify and define ‘‘essential’’ is one of the most absurd and costly political blunders we have seen. Ask John Hewson how one error can define your career. A rejuvenated state opposition have started campaigning already for March 2023. Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg grabbed the spotlight when the employment figures were announced. He usually approaches microphones and cameras with a slow and deliberate delivery of what are invariably complex numbers. One anecdote is worth a thousand statistics. His ill-disciplined sledge at the Victorian Premier for ‘‘whingeing’’ may cost him dearly when the voters in Kooyong decide whether or not to extend his tenure. His slim 6500-vote majority could evaporate if he persists in prioritising the Liberal Party internal games over the external public debate. His rivalry with Peter Dutton as ‘heir apparent’ ought never over-ride his need to be seen to be fully committed to the wellbeing of the voters who put him in the parliament. Premier Dan Andrews has reinjected himself into the public sphere and it is as if he was never away. His tightrope act of pretending not to criticise either the PM or the NSW Premier whilst inferring exactly that criticism is remarkable. His sledge on Thursday that ‘‘this is Victoria, I’m not walking away’’ was akin to a footy backhander behind the play. Sincerity requires matching the words to the actions; nuance depends on the eyes, the mouth, the stance and the words all working together. John Howard’s famous edict ‘‘you cannot fatten a pig on market day’’ instructs that the relationships with the voters being forged now and under pressure will endure until the next state and federal elections. [Faine the drama critic? Still, pretty much spot on.]


Carparks and promises: PM Morrison announced plans for a Commonwealth Integrity Commission in December 2018 but the plan stalled during 2019 and was not revived until December 2020, when the government released the draft bill and asked for views? The Auditor-General’s Office (with decreased funding via our government) revealed a government-compiled list of the 20 most marginal seats ahead of the 2019 election, formed as the basis for the program, which so far has delivered just two completed car parks. More interesting is the placement of this news item in our friendly Melbourne Age, page 5 bottom half, a dog story and picture top half. Also no mention of the cost; many millions. [Note: The Urban Congestion Fund $660 million, is a slush fund by and large, for Liberal candidates.]


The Olympic Games to Brisbane, another reason to stay away, assuming I'm still here...The latest voting trend from a survey of 1607 voters; yet to be convinced?...Maybe we could encourage our PM & deputy PM to follow the trend; a joyride into space?...Nathan Buckley's expertise in epidemiology, Twitter, displays the same reasoning with his sacking of Adam Treloer and Jaidyn Stephenson...An opinion is a nothing in reality. I may well say Michael O’Brien is a dickhead but is he? Evidence, other than his political background, zilch....Nothing against lockdowns, apart from the 5 kilometre rule; ridiculous...I cannot come to terms with people who practice class distinction, although I'm told (advised?) I practice it myself, unknowingly. Maybe it's all too hard for me? Intellectual distinction I can handle. Watching Birth of  Empire. The East India Company on SBS, British imperialism, was hard going. Moral, racial and cultural superiority? Ignorant and stupid yes, more how people can convince themselves with good reasons (?) to make money, suck money from poorer people and double the deed by judging the suckers as inferior beings. I'm much the same about religion; so far...Like him or otherwise Barnaby Joyce was good stuff on Insiders ABC last Sunday. True, his weird logic on a menu for climate change was stupid, nevertheless  entertaining. We all need a laugh, wherever it pops up...There's an updated edition of my number 1 son's book 'Mental' in company with the fabulous Catherine Deveny. Buy it; recommended...Is renewing Powerball a necessity during lockdown?... Happy 85th birthday to Graham Campbell, former Fitzroy VFL champion and best mate of a lifetime..."Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud turn forth her silver lining on the night?" [Milton]...Keep yourselves nice...Cliff Ellen.




ROBERT (TELEPHONE) Yeah yeah yeah. It was lovely. Beautiful. But I can't talk now. I'm working. How did you get this bloody number anyway? Did I? OK. OK. Yes, At the club, yes, tonight, after 9. I've got to go. Flat out. What? No, tell the girl at the desk. She'll call me and I'll get someone to take you through to the members area. And wear a dress. What? Yes. A long dress. Yeah, you too. Bye. (HANGS UP) Shit.


ROBERT (TELEPHONE, OTHER PHONE) Yeah? No, no, no. No. Not yet. Just the four grand a win, two a place. Raider. Right, in the third at Randwick. I’ll get back to you on Brisbane. Let me know if you hear anything. You're on 10% as always. Bugger it, make it 15%. For this day only, I’m feeling generous. Stay calm Charlie. (LAUGHS. HANGS UP.) Silly old bastard. (CALLS) Dave, get here.


CAROLE (ENTERS) Robert pet, I need money. I forgot to go to the bank.

ROBERT I’m busy darling. You know the rules. Not when I’m working.

CAROLE You’ve been working all morning petal.

ROBERT No darling. I was up at 6. A 5k run, into the surf, catch a few waves, pool swim, bacon and eggs on the balcony. All before you saw the light of day. A healthy body, a healthy mind. Check out the tummy. (CALLS) Dave!

DAVID (OFF) Coming boss.

CAROLE My god you’re sexy, and so fit.

ROBERT Absolutely. Healthy body, alert mind.

CAROLE We’re having brunch at Jupiters.

ROBERT Fine, fine. Back to work darling.

CAROLE Money money, darling.

ROBERT What? Oh. Take credit cards, there’s a stack of them there. (COMPUTER) Shit. That’s come in. (CALLS) Davo. Get Harry on line two. There’s a real shortener in Melbourne. The pros down there must be on to something. Dave!

DAVID (OFF) With you boss.

CAROLE I can’t buy a drink with a credit card sweetie.

ROBERT They’re about to jump. It’s still big value the place in a big pool. See if you can manage $5000. Number 8.

DAVID (OFF) Right boss.


ROBERT Draw out some cash darling. That’s what it’s there for. You know the pin number. Triple33. (CALLS) Did you get set Dave?

DAVID (CALLS)  He’s taken it boss.

ROBERT (CALLS) Where’s Vonny got to.

VONNY (CALLS) Coming Robert. 

ROBERT Oh love. Do something about this carpet will you? Look at it?

CAROLE It’s only 3 months old.

ROBERT See that smudge? Bloody red wine. Doesn’t look good. They’re doing an article on me for Good Weekend. They’ll want pictures.

CAROLE You want a new one?

ROBERT Whatever love. Just fix it. Not good for the image. (TELEPHONE RINGS) I’m busy now love. Hello. No, no. It’s drifting. They’re playing funny buggers. We’ll let it run against us. Thanks John. (HANGS UP)

CAROLE Becky will want  money.

ROBERT She’s too young.

CAROLE She went last week.

ROBERT Give her $50.

CAROLE $50 wont last long. Be fair honeybunch.

ROBERT (RACE BROADCAST ON) Dave, tape it will you? 

DAVID (ENTERS) Already doing it boss.

ROBERT Give Becky two hundred from petty cash Dave. Call it stationery. Get the cleaner to sign the receipt. That dress she had on was a shade revealing.


CAROLE She says it’s the only one she’s got.

ROBERT (LAUGHS) Go buy half a dozen longer ones.

CAROLE She wont wear them.

ROBERT Buy two anyway. 

CAROLE Thank you darling. (KISSES HIM)

ROBERT Yeah, yeah. Whose car are you driving?

CAROLE Your Merc. 

ROBERT What’s wrong with yours? 

CAROLE You’ve still got the Porche.

ROBERT (KISSES HIM) Oh right, right. Well, be careful. 

CAROLE You are the sweetest, most generous man on earth. Will they be taking our pictures.

ROBERT I don’t know. Probably. Now go, go ,go. (CAROLE EXITING.)


CAROLE Thank you David. Byee.

DAVID Very sexy Carole. (CAROLE EXITS) You’re a lucky man boss.

ROBERT (BROADCAST/NUMBER 8 WINS.) Bastard. Should have had a win on it. What price the place Dave?

DAVID Showing $2.70 when they jumped. Finished at $2.45.

ROBERT Seven grand. Better than nothing. 

VONNY (ENTERING) Greek salad, cold meats. Provolone cheese Rob?

DAVID And camembert.

VONNY You get your own.

ROBERT I’d like a feed around 2 oclock Vonn. You know the score. (VONNY EXITS) And where the fuck is Rick?

DAVID He’s at the track boss.

ROBERT I know he’s at the bloody track. He hasn’t phoned in. I want to know what price he got. I think he might be trying a shifty.

DAVID Not Ricky boss.

DAVID Yes Ricky Dave. Give him a call. Double check with the bookie. I smell funny buggers.

DAVID Rick’s OK boss.

ROBERT I’ll do the thinking Dave.

DAVID Did you give that other matter any thought boss?

ROBERT What other matter? 

DAVID The ten grand?

ROBERT Dave mate. Don’t expect me to play Santa Claus. I’m not your banker. I tell you what to back, you take no notice. I can’t do anymore. Go borrow it from the bank and I’ll guarantee you. But no more betting mate. You’re a babe in the woods. 

DAVID Thanks Rob.

ROBERT No problemo. And keep an eye on Rick. He hasn’t had a win in weeks. I can’t be the Bank of England. (PHONE RINGS) Yes. Yes James? No. How much? $1.55. Allright. Give me 5000. Bye. (HANGS UP) Stockbroker. Here, free lunch voucher someone sent me. Good pub they say. Take Vonny. It’s for two. They’ll probably give you a free bottle of vino if you mention my name. 

DAVID You’re a marvel boss. Thanks. Vonn will appreciate this. (EXITS.)

ROBERT (LEANS BACK. TAKES IN THE JOY OF HIS LIFESTYLE. SIGHS. PICKS UP THE TELEPHONE, PRESSES A BUTTON.) Hey Alf, Rob here, what’s the upgrade on the state of the track down there in occasionally sunny Melbourne? (LAUGHS).






A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜‹

Friday 16th July, 2021. John Denver "Some days are Diamonds" not in July; "Some days are Stone." The football  experts (?) marvel at the upsets, ignoring the upsets at this time of year, every year. Our Prime Minister reminds us we are Australians, consistently contradicting his verbal nonsense with his representation of everything New South Wales, and yet, suddenly, gone softer, perhaps the penny has dropped following the Victorian lockdown via Sydenee? His bagmen/hitmen (assistants in military or police contexts) Josh Frydenburg, albeit a Toorak resident, and arguably the greater twister of truth in financial matters, and our own Greg Hunt, previously flying but now a shadow of his former glory, sucked into the Crying/Lying Game. However, sadly, in spite of the obvious staring us in the face, the matter of the Opposition, led by our fearless Anthony Albanese, a long way short of our previous man, Billy Shorten? Winter in July. A dry July? Not all bad. Our wonderful government, state or federal I've forgotten, likely state, sent a cheque for $250 to assist this old codger with electricity and other bills, obviously immediately converted in favour of 160 gold standard cigarettes? Our Scotty conned Malcolm Turnbull, no disrespect to malice, who tended (still does) to walk in his own shadow, albeit with good intentions. Scotty lost me when he announced an investigation into the cause of COVID ahead of the world. A bully identikit. Former federal MP Julia Banks reveals her experience of harassment and bullying within the Liberal Party and Parliament, saying she had to call Mr Morrison because his ‘‘bully boys’’ were trying to intimidate her. History now, but evidence for mine. As for COVID and the daily hourly update, I steer well clear and wash my hands. Even so...


The Age. Jon Faine, edited: Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt turning to a man in uniform undermines the credibility of the nation’s Chief Medical Officer and other experts. The inference is that medicos are not able to cope without external support; that doctors and scientist – whose training is to keep people alive – need help from people who are trained to kill. Authority does not come from wearing a uniform – it comes from doing a good job. Coopting the general is a political move to make it look as if something is happening when very little is happening. The nightly news is filled with footage of people in impressive looking uniforms sitting around tables seeming to be busy. In NSW, Premier Berejiklian is belatedly realising that the virus does not listen to her. Nor do large parts of the population of greater Sydney. Why would they? She has consistently made basic errors and refused to either admit when she has been wrong or learnt from other states’ mistakes. This a Teflon coated Premier who enjoys protected status from the PM, the shock-jocks and the usually rabid local Murdoch tabloid media. And while we are looking at the public role played by people in uniform, that recent national, uplifting message of community support from the Governor-General, David Hurley, wasn’t that wonderful. You didn’t see it? No, neither did I. [I said this 2 weeks ago, but nice to see our Jon still in there with feeling.]


I have hundreds of friends on Facebook, mostly known, some unknown. I tend to accept most friend requests, particularly from females. One never knows at my age, hope springing forth eternally? I do not message people but always answer. This results in my answering regular messages, for a better friendship, money (?), who knows, and with my free time, who cares? My initial response is to tell the sender I'm 85. "You don't look 85?" is common. I say I know for a fact my age is spot on because on March 22nd 1936 I was there in person. Occasionally, if I know someone over a period and convinced as to their plight I'll send a small amount of cash via cash transfer. If anyone says "Age doesn't matter" I'm immediately suspicious, but let it ride on the basis of no proof. Obviously if said proof arises, particularly in a shortish time, I ever so nicely block them. My kids think I'm nuts. Fair enough. But hey, I can't spend all day reading that dreadful Age newspaper, gardening but a memory, likewise (almost) walking. I read at bedtime and I'm not one for watching television during daylight hours. The instant opinion makers, often referred to as dickheads, would jump to the accusation of stalking. Not so. There's a film script there somewhere, or a stage play. Alas, it would take 6 months to write, and I can't spare it at this stage. A Crying Game/Shame? Who knows, who cares? Not I Monsieur. Life is a cabaret. Never a pedant. The fascination of the world's most difficult enigma; human nature. I love it. 


Twenty years as a public servant, only ever saw one play, The Pyjama Game, 1950's, other than Uncle Joff's variety shows, Plaza Northcote? Why theatre? Chris, a workmate, suggested we attend evening classes at the William Bates Academy of Acting, circa 1970. I wasn’t keen. What influenced me was the vacuum at that particular time after 3 years of accountancy classes; time on my hands, a need for an epiphany? Perhaps a more valid reason was after the first 6 months in the majority of public service jobs most of it (95%) becomes repetitive, boring almost. Chris did well at William Bates, but it wasn’t for me. I saw one of their plays and thought it was dreadful, similar to the melodramas of the 19th century I imagined, boring, mannered, written and directed by William Bates, and seemingly everyone (except me) thoroughly enthused. I packed it in. Months later Chris, fresh from his first play with William Bates and with a new found air of confidence, strut even (maybe the William Bates ensemble fancied his body?) suggested we attend classes at The Claremont Theatre, in South Yarra. Chris was a nice enough fellow, but was there something about his personality I had missed? A bit like before you get your driving licence. It’s all very confusing, then you look at some of those who have their licence and think - I’m missing something? Claremont was nothing like the Bates bum chasers, early classes almost all improvisation. The danger of making a fool of oneself - stranded on stage. I went along to my first real play (“Rooted” by Alex Buzo) and saw the difference between this style of theatre and the William Bates style. The Claremont actors were way above anything I was ever likely to achieve but decided to stick at it as an enjoyable hobby. Something like when we were kids, sitting around playing make believe games, now adults, and can still play games, and it’s considered almost respectable? I attended a much more intense approach, involving four nights a week doing improvisation, voice and movement for four months, a joy. Well, most of it - the voice classes left me way behind. The idea of “throwing” my voice was foreign to me. Why not simply speak louder? They were all better, younger, not too bothered. The more you play with better people, the better you become, so the theory goes, allowing for and including the usual small number of “go with the territory” dickheads. Initially stage fright the worry, self-consciousness. Turned out to be one big fraud. The minute you’re out on the floor concentration takes over, self-consciousness gone, survival a necessity. It’s your space, it’s our space? Lah de dah...

A friend wrote about dropping ambition and career as a life  choice. Wonderful idea, stress begone...Multi-billionaire Richard Branson, millions of dollars for space travel; a waste of space, physically, mentally?...Vaccine rollout bungled. Quarantine project delayed. COVID uncertainty continues. Now is the winter of our discontent. [Elizabeth Meredith. The Age]...Do we all look at/think about, mortality. It's rarely if ever mentioned and yet of late I've run across them, barely menopausal, thinking along these lines, a wasted life or losing on the poker machines? Or COVID overload? Alternatively we, morerso at my age, can fiddle around with the WhatIf nonsense. How can one think in terms  of a wasted  life barely out of their 40's? On the other hand I could perhaps comfort their various degrees of false stress, but of course I'm invisible. As a fully paid up pensioner I'm more likely described as an old fart's sinecure. Am I a dreamer? Not so now. Powerball for a while there but no. I have a slight advantage in that I can say almost anything now, being at, in the process of, reaching my 86th year. Silly old bastard? Silly old invisible bastard? Materialism self-aggrandisement, nonsense. Perhaps I should consider the consequences, but I'm only a worrier when the worry occurs. At least once every week I have trouble sleeping; noises. the trickle of the cistern, the inconsistent groan of the refrigerator....By doing nothing we change nothing, so we hang in there, to what?...I'm wondering why so many men lately are unshaven, hands in pockets. Does this connect with intellectual depth? Also, do we mistake beauty for intelligence?...Two of our senior ministers, Victorians Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt featured in heavily sticking their muddy boots into Victoria’s recent Covid woes. Nothing on Scotty’s attitude to NSW's woes. Pathetic...A week of Eddie Perfect on morning 774, too slick, too much. Previous week David Castle, best by a mile. Sammy j returned, kids stuff, supposedly funny. Nah...It occurs to me, since my forced switch to a fantasy life a decade ago, I've been far more successful?..."In every village there will arise a miscreant, to establish the most grinding tyranny, by calling himself the people."[Sir Robert Peel]... Keep yourselves nice...Cliff Ellen.









"Lucky Last" SCENE 5.  SATURDAY. 9.30PM. 


ROBERT Yes! You bloody ripper. What did I tell you Dave. (TURNS TV OFF.) They don’t get under my guard old feller. The master does it again. Take note  Rick. Number 8. Not number 3. Carole darling, we’ll have to get that television seen to. Bad picture sweet.

VONNY You get that television seen to sweet.

DAVID I lost.

VONNY     Serves you right. You let him talk you into it.

ROBERT    You don’t listen Davo. 

RICHARD      How about a loan Popeye?

VONNY          How much did you win Robert?

ROBERT        Look who’s talking. 300 big ones.

RICHARD      (AS POPEYE) Blow me down. (AS RICHARD) He’s not saying Vonn.

VONNY          You can lend Carole the money for the business Robert.

CAROLE        What a good idea Vonn.

VONNY It’s only we women who get them Carole.

ROBERT        You tell David to reduce the rent. 

RICHARD      Who have you got in the last leg?

ROBERT        Piss off.

RICHARD      Not a word Vonn. Read him like a book.

VONNY          How much did you win Robert?

ROBERT        A good gambler never divulges Vonn.

CAROLE       That leaves you out then.

RICHARD      Touche gorgeous.

VONNY          No secrets in our house is there David?

DAVID            No secrets darling.

VONNY          They’d be useless without us Carole. 

CAROLE        Try telling that to Nick the Greek.

RICHARD        (TO DAVID) If you followed Rob’s advice you’d be in front.

DAVID            Will you shut up.

VONNY          My father always called them the Red Hots.

DAVID You’re father was a gambler.

VONNY And look where it got him.

DAVID I only had $5 on it darling.     

VONNY         Not the point. 

RICHARD     How many units Rob?

ROBERT       A couple.

CAROLE      How much did you win love?

RICHARD    He won plenty. Cagey old bastard. He’s got the double at least 10 times.

ROBERT      He’s only stirring.

CAROLE      How much then? 

ROBERT      Put it this way. If Kylie Black, Golden Angel, or Poppy Low gets up in the next... I’ll get the quaddy!

DAVID          (TO VONNY) You’re my Golden Angel darling.

VONNY        Don’t be ridiculous.

CAROLE And what will that be worth?

RICHARD     About ten thousand big ones Carole. Enough for us to spend a dirty 5 star month in Bali. What do you say?

CAROLE I get the feeling you’re all talk.

DAVID No doubt about that Carole.

ROBERT Are you all talk Richard?

RICHARD Don’t change the subject.

VONNY It’s the quiet ones you’ve got to watch out for.

RICHARD Don’t say I didn’t offer.

CAROLE Come on Rob. How much?

ROBERT They’ve all been fairly short prices love. Maybe two, three hundred tops.

RICHARD     Bull-shit sailor man.

CAROLE      Are you sure?

ROBERT      Would I lie?


VONNY David doesn’t lie, do you darling.

RICHARD He wouldn’t dare.

VONNY What you need is a good woman Richard.

RICHARD How about a bad woman?

VONNY Could you handle one?

DAVID He didn’t handle Sue too well today.

ROBERT They’ve all been short Dave. 

DAVID How many units did you have on it.  Not that it matters. You’ll give it back.

ROBERT Bullshit Dave. 

DAVID           We’ll see.

ROBERT       What’s your story anyway? You lose $10 bucks and you turn.

DAVID Who’s turning?

VONNY         When did you lose $10?

DAVID I lost $5. Now who’s stirring. Honest love. And I’m not turning. You don’t  bet to win. That’s all I’m saying. You bet for the sake of it. You bet to lose.

ROBERT God you crap on.

RICHARD     Why do you bet Davo?

VONNY Because I choose to allow him.

CAROLE Good for you Vonn.

DAVID It’s a social thing. Vonny and I spend so much on entertainment. If I win that’s  fine. But I don’t expect to win. it’s not a necessity.

RICHARD Lah de bloody dah.

ROBERT        Have your second stubby and shut up.

RICHARD Put some lead into your pencil.

DAVID I believe we’re fine on that score.

VONNY         Don’t be crude. The pair of you.

DAVID Most people are busy advancing their careers. 

ROBERT Most people are hypocritically sucking up to the bosses.

DAVID We’re all hypocrites one way or another.

VONNY Except you and I Carole.

DAVID Every time either of you have a win you start to bet bigger. Why not take the money and run? Or just have a normal bet. Why increase your bet? It’s greedy.

ROBERT Because you’re on a winning streak. Right Rick?

RICHARD Spot on Popeye. Strike while the iron’s on the boil.

DAVID So how do you know when your run’s finished?

RICHARD Instinct Dave.

DAVID But if you’re instinct fails you, you’ve lost your winnings. Back to square one. Or losing more than you can afford-

RICHARD And skill. Now shut up you tight bastard.

VONNY You watch your language.

RICHARD Sorry Vonn.

DAVID If it’s skill you’d both be rich.

ROBERT One day Dave. 

CAROLE His theme song.

DAVID I say when you have a win you should bet smaller.  

RICHARD And be a piker.

DAVID Does it make you feel superior to lose more money?

RICHARD How did you guess?

DAVID Or does betting bigger make you feel more important?

RICHARD Davey wants to feel important.

DAVID Everybody does.

VONNY I don’t.

DAVID That’s not the point.

VONNY Enough David.

DAVID No. I’m serious darling. Everyone likes to feel more important. We all need to dream. Emotional serenity. I’d just like to know if they know.

ROBERT We know.

DAVID Do you know it can’t be manufactured? Do you know gambling is a disease? Do you know the Government runs on income from gambling?

CAROLE Anyone for coffee?

RICHARD Have some coffee Davo. It’s free.

DAVID (SHRUGS) I give up. Anyway Carole, if you really want the truth the quadrella should pay upwards of $500.

CAROLE        Will it?

ROBERT        It only paid $42 last week. 

RICHARD      How many units Rob? And how many on the double?

ROBERT I had one unit on each.

VONNY How much is a unit?

RICHARD      Excellent point, Vonny.

ROBERT        One unit. One dollar.

RICHARD      Bull-shit!  Sorry Vonny. You had over $200 at the pub. Show me the money?

CAROLE He only bets $20 a week.

RICHARD Hah! And I’m Jamie Packer.

DAVID And I’m Rupert.

ROBERT        I had one oxford scholar on each.

RICHARD Show us the tickets?

DAVID Show us the tickets Rob.

RICHARD Come on Buddy. I declared my $300.

VONNY         Show them the tickets Robert. Shut them up.

ROBERT         Don’t you believe me?


ROBERT        Get stuffed.


VONNY         Charming little boys.

CAROLE       They’re only teasing.

RICHARD     He means we should all get rooted.

CAROLE      Show them the damn tickets.

ROBERT       I bet on my phone account.

RICHARD     Show us the $200 you had at the pub?

ROBERT      You lot are hopeless. If you can’t take a mans word for it you can all go to hell. Bloody ridiculous.

CAROLE       They’re only having a bit of fun Rob. 

ROBERT        Sarcastic bastards.

VONNY         I think it might be a good time to get moving David.

CAROLE Stay a while Vonn. I’ll make coffee.

DAVID           We might as well wait for the last race.

VONNY         Shouldn’t be betting.

DAVID I’m not. 

VONNY Just as well.

RICHARD      He’s got it going at least 10 times with each horse.

DAVID            At least.

VONNY          David!

RICHARD       And 10 times on the daily double.

ROBERT         Are you finished?

CAROLE        I’ll make coffee. 

ROBERT         The double wont pay much anyway. $10 tops. They were both short.

CAROLE         What made you pick them? You never bet on the Trots.

ROBERT I told you, I got the tip for that last winner.  And I had a  feeling. You get that sometimes. I knew I had to crack it sooner or later.

RICHARD     I get the same feeling with Sue, to no avail.

ROBERT Or vice versa.

RICHARD Careful feller.

DAVID Give him a day or so and he’ll be shouting it from the rooftops. The superiority complex. Never fails.

ROBERT  (PUTTING THE SMALL RADIO TO HIS EAR .)  Shush. I’m trying to hear what the double paid.

CAROLE       I might not have to borrow that money after all.

VONNY         We are quite capable on our own love. I can arrange a loan.

DAVID           You need the shop Carole. The independent woman.

VONNY          You be quiet.

RICHARD      I can do your tax for you Vonn. In return for-

CAROLE        Shut him up Vonn. (EXITING.)

VONNY          I’ll give you a hand love. (EXITS.)          

DAVID           Well?

ROBERT        Shush Dave, the double...Wow. $39.80.  That’s value Rick.

DAVID            You lucky bastard. Out with it. 

ROBERT        Plenty boy, plenty. Let’s have a beer. What about a quick game of poker? 

DAVID            Enough to give Carole her capital?

ROBERT        Will you shut up about the bloody business Dave. Shit. Just leave it, OK?

DAVID            Vonny wont leave it.

ROBERT        Yeah, well, you’ve got the bloody capital, I haven’t. 

DAVID Only asking.

ROBERT Well don’t. What’s wrong with you? Tell Vonny I’m going bad.

DAVID You tell her.

RICHARD      (AS VONNY) You be quiet David.

DAVID            There’s not another gift shop around for miles. 

ROBERT         What’s the rush? She’s got a bee in her bonnet. Give the thing time to settle. Who wants a gift shop anyway? Need two bloody cars for starters.

DAVID Vonny likes the idea.

RICHARD Do you and Vonny still screw? 

DAVID Do you?

ROBERT An extra two hundred a week rent.

DAVID            That’s very reasonable.

ROBERT Just leave the fucking thing be Dave. Shit. Blackjack Rick?

RICHARD Hate to take the money off you son. 

ROBERT        Ten minutes. Come on. Ease the tension.

RICHARD      No tension here Lucky.

DAVID            Not a good idea Rob.

ROBERT Bugger it then. I’ll play patience.

RICHARD You tell me how many units and I’ll play poker.

ROBERT Not again. What is it with you two? Wait and see. 



RICHARD Show us your tickets.

DAVID Grab his hands.

ROBERT (WRESTLING) I haven’t won yet. Piss off. I haven’t got any tickets. 

DAVID Back pocket.

RICHARD Grab his bloody hands.

ROBERT (BREAKING AWAY) Look, if I get the quaddy and it pays $400 plus I’ll give her the money. But don’t say anything. Is that fair?

DAVID            What if it pays $300?

RICHARD       You’ve won $400 on the double.

ROBERT         (WHISPERS) I had the double 5 times. Couple of hundred. Play money. I need that to build up the phone account.

DAVID $200 is a big win.

RICHARD Chickenfeed Davo.

DAVID How much do you need to feel important? 

RICHARD Tell you what Rob. Ring up the TAB, give them your ID, then hand me the phone to verify your balance?

ROBERT Piss off Rick.


VONNY (CALLS) I believe you Robert.

ROBERT        Thank you Vonny. You’re a lady.

VONNY           Believe what?

RICHARD       Pick up the phone, Rob.

ROBERT No. I mean it Rick. A joke’s a joke. Let’s wait and see.

CAROLE (ENTERING) Anybody else for coffee?

DAVID Milk and three sugars thanks Carole.

VONNY(OFF) You get off your bum and come and get it. 

DAVID Carole asked me, dear.

VONNY          You’ve got legs.

RICHARD  Two and a half.

DAVID           I’m coming, I’m coming. Rick?

RICHARD      You are joking dear.      

CAROLE        I’ll get it David. It’s OK Vonn.

VONNY          (OFF) You’re too soft Carole.

ROBERT        Did you watch the footy replay?

RICHARD We watched it together dilldo.

ROBERT        Of course. Forgot. Bloody Carlton.

DAVID            (WHISPERS) Come on Rob. What’s the mail? 

ROBERT        What’s the time?

RICHARD      Sit down son. Relax.

ROBERT I’m scared of Jacks Echo. Bastard. Should have taken it.

RICHARD Shoulda’s your middle name.

ROBERT Changed my mind at the last minute.

RICHARD Relax Rob. You’ve won over $500 and you’re still whinging. You’re worse than old tightarse.

DAVID            I work hard for my money.

RICHARD       You’re a tightarse darling. No offence. Give us a kiss.

DAVID            You’re drunk. 

RICHARD Vonny is driving me home. I think she’s got the hots for me. We’re dropping you home first.

DAVID             Did she say so?

RICHARD She did Dave, along with her usual words of wisdom.

DAVID            Sit down Rob. You’re making us nervous.

ROBERT You know, I’ve got that feeling again tonight. You know? How sometimes before you win you just sense it? Like with Auntie Mary that day at Moonee Valley? Eighteen hundred bucks. First to last. Whoosh. It’s all coming back. Bloody Jacks Echo. You know what I mean?

DAVID            No.

RICHARD      Like it’s in your blood? 

ROBERT Exactly.

RICHARD      You haven’t got any blood.

ROBERT        That’s how I feel now. I really do. I’m going to win. It’s an indestructible force.

RICHARD       A what?

DAVID            You don’t want to win. You only think you do.

ROBERT Oh fuck. Shut him up Rick. 

RICHARD (EXITING) I need another drink.

ROBERT You know Dave, it’s a funny thing. When I got on the train tonight it was

empty, except for these two tough looking jokers. So I instinctively took on

a sort of a tough persona. Know what I mean. Just in case they might have got any ideas. I lit up a smoke. On the train! Loosened the collar, trying to look tough, you know. Plonked myself down on the seat,and accidentally sat on the front of the seat and went a cropper onto the floor. Talk about feel like an idiot. Flat on my bum. One of them had to get up and help me.

DAVID What are you talking about?

ROBERT I just remembered, that’s all. (RICHARD RETURNS)

DAVID Sounds more like you’re trying to change the subject.

RICHARD Here Davo, it’s only light. Makes you piss more.

DAVID I’m having coffee.

RICHARD Weak bastard.

DAVID You’re the weak bastard.

RICHARD At least I can crack it.

DAVID So you keep telling us.

RICHARD (POTATO CHIPS) Have a potato chip.

ROBERT What’s the time?

DAVID Still a couple of minutes.

ROBERT Where’s Vonny?

RICHARD She’s working tonight on telephone betting. She probably took your bets.

ROBERT Must be in the kitchen. She doesn’t work at the TAB?

RICHARD Wish she did. We could get all the mail.

DAVID She wouldn’t tell you.

ROBERT Where does she work?

DAVID The bank you fool. The National Bank.

ROBERT Of course.

RICHARD So she tells you.

DAVID Where’s Sue?

RICHARD In bed I expect. No stamina. (TO ROB.) Easy boy. You’ll be sweet. (ROB PUTS THE TRANSISTOR TO HIS EAR) Aren’t you going to watch? (NO REACTION.) C’mon Rob. Turn the telly on.

ROBERT Did you read that piece in the paper? Some psychiatrist said the keys to happiness were to cultivate a passion, and live for the moment.

DAVID What else did he say?

ROBERT It was a she. Only remember those two. Good thinking.

RICHARD How about Pete Plant at work-what’s his passion?

ROBERT Masterbation.

RICHARD We checked his drawer. Full of dirty magazines. A masterbater Dave, like you.

DAVID Not necessarily.

RICHARD It’s a fact. Everybody does it. I took a statistical sample.

DAVID Based on prejudice.

RICHARD That’s how I base all my opinions.

DAVID Not me.

RICHARD Turn the telly on Popeye.


DAVID He’s not talking. Turn the telly on. (MORE AD LIB RAGGING.)

ROBERT Piss off the lot of you. I know you bastards. You’ll all think it’s a great joke if I lose.

RICHARD What about the indestructible force?

VONNY Don’t be so bloody childish Rob.

CAROLE Have some coffee darling.

RICHARD (MIMICS) Have some coffee darling.

ROBERT A man’s a bloody idiot. Why didn’t I take the field?

RICHARD (TURNS TV ON.) Shoulda, shoulda, shoulda. Come on Popeye, you old sulk. We promise not to laugh. (AND PROMPTLY LAUGHS)

ROBERT Piss off the lot of you. (TURNS TV OFF.) Just leave me be. (HE EXITS. EARTO THE TRANSISTOR.)

DAVID This is ridiculous.

VONNY Leave him alone if that’s what he wants.

RICHARD (CALLS) Robbo. Mate. We love you. Don’t we Davo.

CAROLE He’ll come good David. He gets edgy. 

DAVID We all do.

VONNY I beg your pardon?

DAVID He’s superstitious.

CAROLE He’ll be fine after the race. 

VONNY Drink your coffee David.

DAVID It’s only a joke dear.

RICHARD Drink your bloody coffee. Let him suffer in silence.

VONNY We know all about that, don’t we Carole.

CAROLE We might get new carpets. Or another car.

RICHARD Or pay off his credit card.

CAROLE What credit card?

DAVID Do you want him to win Carole?

VONNY Of course she does.

CAROLE It beats losing.

DAVID What about your Gift Shop?

CAROLE We’ll get the Gift Shop. 

DAVID Rob gambles to gamble. It’s very selfish you know.

CAROLE Don’t start David. 

DAVID Be honest, Carole.

CAROLE Mind your own business.

VONNY That’s enough David.

DAVID I just hope he wins. If only to prove a point.

CAROLE Have a biscuit.

ROBERT (OFF) Killed them. Yabba dabba dooo.

RICHARD Hello, hello.

ROBERT (ENTERING.) No bloody worries. What did I tell you? Turn the telly on, quick. I had first and second. Quinella’d the bastards. What’d I say?

CAROLE How much did you win?

ROBERT I dunno love. But that was my best result. Kylie Black was my first pick. Should have had the lot on it really. Bit of luck and you could have had your business and the carpets.

DAVID You arsey bastard.

ROBERT Up the bloody workers Davo.

VONNY Well done Robert.

DAVID How many times did you take it?

ROBERT Never you mind you stirring bastard. That’s for me to know. Let’s just say a couple eh? What do you say Vonn? Ricky? No bloody worries darling. The world is our oyster. Put some music on.

RICHARD How much Robbo?

ROBERT How much Ricko. Give us a kiss you stirrer.


 “Hitler, has only got one ball,

 Goring, has only got one more,

 Himmler, has something similar.

 But poor old Goeballs, has no balls, at all”

RICHARD How much Robbo?

ROBERT Get stuffed!








A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜₯

Saturday 10th July, 2021. Freezing mornings, as we say in the classics, bloody cold. Difficult to think, difficult to type. I'll pick and choose what interests me, let them give us their  best. Or is it ageing? Morrison's road map: Reactive not proactive; populism, unreason and spin. It should be a breeze for Labor, sadly the supportive (and then some) media, The Age, Herald Sun The Australian 3AW and the like, very much cloud the issue of reasonableness. We thank our stars for Mad as Hell and Leunig. Tumbling rates of smoking, a $2 billion revenue drop in a year, means increased taxes in other areas to make up the shortfall, meaning 'a smoker such as I' (reminding me of an Elvis Presley favourite) will pay for the smoking tax and any increases in other taxes; shot twice? Putting the exorbitant tax I'm paying on cigarettes to good use; $1.9 billion to strengthen our national security over the next decade, $270 billion over the same period in our defence capacity. The arrival of a new book, Power Play, by former Liberal MP Julia Banks, is a reminder of the missed opportunities. Even so...


David Crowe. The Age: Scott Morrison and his close advisers live in hope they can reverse a diabolical problem with women that is serious enough to toss him from power. Morrison has been shockingly slow to act on issues that could have assured women he took them seriously. Long before this year’s explosive debate about the treatment of women, ignited on February 15 when Brittany Higgins went public with allegations of rape, he dawdled when he could have led. Her book tells why she quit the party to sit on the crossbench. Most Liberals will never forgive her for that, but their scorn is often a measure of their own toxic tribalism. If there is one thing the tribe cannot stand, it is the heretic who names their flaws. What really stands out, however, is the way Labor has struggled to exploit a glaring weakness. No matter how many women seem to recoil from Morrison, there is no dividend for Labor leader Anthony Albanese. [Are you ready for battle Albo? Is the Pope a catholic?]


Kevvy Rudd on suggesting our Greggy Hunt as Health Minister should be shown the door (tick). Around Morrison’s cabinet table sits: Michaelia Cash, who refused to fully co-operate with police investigating leaks from her office; Angus Taylor, who was caught trading in a falsified annual report; Bridget McKenzie, the architect of sports rorts; Alan Tudge, whose car park rorts put McKenzie to shame; Linda Reynolds, who mishandled an alleged rape in her office, then called the complainant a lying cow; Peter Dutton, another pork barreller who wouldn’t let Border Force officials appear at the Ruby Princess inquiry; Christian Porter, who resisted an inquiry to establish that he was fit and proper for ministerial office; and the list goes on. [ Kevvy's proverbial nail - to fresh air?]


Minister for the NDIS Linda Reynolds, meeting with state and territory disability ministers to garner support for a bill to amend the NDIS Act 2013. Cost containment due to concerns regarding NDIS sustainability is a driver for this attempt at legislative reform. The disability sector broadly, including allied health professionals, supports working towards making the NDIS more equitable and cost-effective. More comedy. And sadly more rules to disqualify potential customers to this excellent social service.


The Age, Ross Gittens/Edited. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s Intergenerational Report. Government spending will grow like steam because of the ageing of the population. Except that when you read the fine print you find that’s not the main reason. Only about half the projected growth in health spending is explained by population growth and ageing. The real reason the spending horse is expected to outrun the taxing horse is that the taxing horse has been nobbled. At a time when the coronacession led to a huge blowout in the budget deficit, the government used this year’s budget to bring forward the second stage of its tax cuts, and will proceed with the third-stage tax cut in July 2024 despite the deficits and rising debt. Worse, the projections assume that, because projected tax collections would otherwise exceed the government’s self-imposed limit on taxation as a proportion of national income after 2035-36, we’ll be getting new tax cuts in each of the last 15 years up to 2061. Yes, really. [Bully boy Josh, partnering with super bully boy Scotty. Read it and weep.]


The Saturday Paper, Sami Shah, edited. "Joining the Liberal Party has always been a pledge to uphold the values outlined by Robert Menzies in 1944: a commitment to the party of John Howard, Malcolm Fraser, Harold Holt and Robert Menzies; it’s also a commitment to the party of Andrew Laming, Christian Porter, Craig Kelly and Eric Abetz. At this point, none of Julia Banks’s revelations are shocking. Alleging Scott Morrison’s office backgrounded against her when she announced she was quitting politics would be shocking, if we hadn’t already heard detailed accusations of the prime minister’s office backgrounding against Brittany Higgins’ boyfriend. Finding out a cabinet minister sexually harassed her would be shocking, if Nationals MP Anne Webster hadn’t described a similar experience in March. Banks’s decision to not make a submission to the ongoing review into parliamentary workplace culture because she does not “trust the process” would be shocking, if we hadn’t learnt Barnaby Joyce now has a role on the women’s safety taskforce. Being erroneously described by the prime minister as emotionally unstable would be shocking, if we hadn’t all been rendered unstable by his oft-changing vaccine rollout commitments. The prime minister’s office has, of course, said it was not aware of any sexual harassment and has rejected claims about the nature of those conversations. Banks described Scott Morrison as “a menacing, controlling wallpaper”. The pattern on that wallpaper seems to be denials of backgrounding and ignorance of harassment. Just don’t peel it off, because who knows what’s hidden behind it. [There's more, but you get the picture, covers it all really.]


Robert Burton, Scholar, writer, and Anglican clergyman, 17th century. "The vanities and the fopperies of the time, to see men so empty of all virtuous actions, to hunt so far after gold, having no end of ambition; to take such infinite pains for a little glory, and to be favoured of men; to make such deep mines into the earth for gold, and many times to find nothing. Some to love dogs, others horses, some to desire to be obeyed, and yet themselves will know no obedience. Some to love their wives dearly at first, and after a while to forsake and hate them. Do not these behaviours express their intolerable folly? When men live in peace, they covet war, detesting quietness, deposing kings, and advancing others in their stead, murdering some men to beget children of their wives. How many strange humours are in men! When they are poor and needy, they seek riches, and when they have them, they do not enjoy them, but hide them under ground, or else wastefully spend them. There is no truth or justice found amongst them, for they daily plead one against another, and all this for riches, whereof after death they cannot be possessors. And yet notwithstanding they will defame and kill one another, commit all unlawful actions, against God and men, friends and country. They make great account of many senseless things, esteeming them as a great part of their treasure, statues, pictures, and such like movables, dear bought, and so cunningly wrought. They commend courage and strength in wars, and let themselves be conquered by lust and avarice; they are, in brief, as disordered in their minds, as in their bodies. No man will mock his own folly, but that which he sees in a second, and so they justly mock one another. If men would attempt no more than what they can bear, they should lead contented lives, and learning to know themselves, would limit their ambition. As a fat body is more subject to diseases, so are rich men to absurdities and fooleries, to many casualties and cross inconveniences. There are many that take no heed what happens to others by bad conversation, and therefore overthrow themselves in the same manner through their own fault, not foreseeing dangers manifest. Look into courts, or private houses. Judges give judgment according to their own advantage, doing manifest wrong to poor innocents to please others. Some rob one, some another: magistrates make laws against thieves, and are the veriest thieves themselves. Some kill themselves, others despair, not obtaining their desires."


KIDS: We had family parties where Dad and Uncle Albert, "Baldy" would get drunk and eventually burst into beautiful old songs-”In the shade of the old apple tree”, “Sweet Rosie O’grady” and others. Kenny, a technical whizz, had made his own record player, and played “Zena, Zena, Zena” for us. Later on we got our own record player, but could only afford the one record-”Down Yonder.” We loved that song. The story goes that Baldy had curly hair once, and for some reason he shaved it off, never to grow again. He had this trick of pushing his tongue onto his false teeth and out they’d come. He’d make a face then quickly flick them in again. His famous saying was “me old cock sparrow.” He always called me Clilla bong bong. Dad called me Bongo, or Bong. Auntie Else’s saying was “I’ll split you down, you cow I will”  Mum would say (in response to May’s “What will I wear”) “Your dandy grey russett with the yellow spots.” Or in answer to “It’s not fair” -”No it’s dark” or in answer to “Who are you talking about” “Jim Hicks, the American baseball tosser.” Or “You want to know the ins and outs of a duck’s bum.” Or “Wigwam for gooses bridle. “ Dad was famous for this one “When you get a quid, bury it like a dog does a bone.” Auntie Elsie dropped dead while doing her ironing, at 66 years. Uncle Albert  got cancer and died 6 months later.


Weirdos: Circumlunar flyby: Space Adventures is charging $150 million per seat, a price including months of ground-based training, although this is only a fly-by mission, and will not land on the Moon?....Ashleigh Barty barracks for Richmond; sad...Tracy Grimshaw interviewing PM Scotty; soft cop comedy...What's new? Wages low and profits up....Apparently, Nick Kyrgios’ girlfriend was granted an exemption to travel overseas. I second that...Well done Sam Mitchell, replacing Clarksom, a bold move. I smell Jeff Kennett, maybe keep Alistair and replace Jeffrey for fairness?..Hey Albo. how about a fully independent federal commission into corruption. Go  on, be a devil Mister Nice Guy, stir up the stove; attack the "Selective in its favour' party" - now! ...Blame not our Premier for the Grand Pricks cancellation (gut wrenching, so say the petrol heads?), blame our fascist (authoritarian, ultranationalism, dictatorial power) conservative government's pathetic vaccinations rollouts..."Pork-barrelling should be made illegal" said The Age editorial, very  tongue in cheek...Another call on my mobile from supposedly Telstra for a replacement router immediately, sounded like rooter?...As a magpie man I'd prefer our newspapers to stop asking Pies great Tony Shaw for his opinion. No great coaching record himself, since his departure, nothing but "knocking" them, including his nephew when he departed for GWS, way back...The cosy idea of an increased number of women in parliament, true, but the Liberals appear to attract females even more outrageous than the males?...The Australian National Audit Office must be properly funded, but I'm dreaming...We could have dome without the final episode of Jack Irish. Good cast, almost, and a good look, just a disjointed crappy storyline...So many males, including actors, with beards or whiskers these days. For appearance or a belief it makes them look more intelligent? Best most of them keep their mouths closed...Housing prices up, way up, first home buyers numbers down. Strange?...."Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber." [Plato]...Keep yourselves nice...Cliff Ellen.






CAROLE You’re late.

ROBERT Ricky wanted to adjourn to the Tabaret.

CAROLE They all go?

ROBERT Dave, Ricky and Sue. 

CAROLE Did you win?

ROBERT I was extremely unlucky darling. That close to putting a deposit on a gorgeous secondhand car for you. (KISS) Lovely little red number.

CAROLE I want a Honda.

ROBERT  Just a matter of time.

CAROLE  How much did you lose?

ROBERT  I didn’t lose. Bloody Richard. Knows absolutely nothing about horses and comes away $300 in front. Couldn’t believe it. Arsey bastard.

CAROLE      You won then?

ROBERT      I broke about even darling.

CAROLE      I’ll bet you did.

ROBERT  I did.  Talk about stiff. I had Centevie going with Royal Discard 10 times. Centevie wins by a street, and Royal Discard gets done by a nose. Should have saved on it. Cost me $400. Bloody Griffiths. Only wins on the long shots. Should be rubbed out.

CAROLE Never mind.

ROBERT  They should all be swabbed, including the Stewards. They wear hats you know, the Stewards. They have to. hide their embarrassment. And before that I backed Spoken, Barrakee, and Arabian Pool. Three seconds. Can you believe it? 

CAROLE      Why didn’t you back them for a place?

ROBERT      I don’t bet for a place darling. Mugs money.

CAROLE      How did you break even then, with all those seconds?

ROBERT   I had enough on Tinka Taylor in the last to get out of jail. Paid $8.50. Yes!

CAROLE      So it eventually won?

ROBERT Eventually bolted in. I told you. Patience. Should have won last week. Cost me the bloody trifecta.The point is if Royal Discard gets up, bloody Griffiths, I whack the lot on Tinka Taylor at 8/1. Would have won a fortune. I told you it was a certainty. 

CAROLE You told me that last week.

ROBERT Did you get the quinella?


ROBERT I told you to follow Tinka Taylor?  

CAROLE I work there. I don’t like going in when I’m not working.

ROBERT All they’re interested in is your money.

CAROLE They notice everything.

ROBERT I told you. Tinka Taylor with number 5 and number 9. Quinella paid $42.

CAROLE Did you take it?

ROBERT I left it for you. I’ll keep my good things to myself in the future.

CAROLE       How did the others go?

ROBERT I didn’t ask Sue. I think she’s there to look nice. She’s tinny enough to win. Dave had $10 on Tinka Taylor a place. Won 16 lousy bucks. A man wastes his breath.

CAROLE       Your tea’s in the oven.

ROBERT So how was your day off?

CAROLE       Beck and I saw a movie.


CAROLE       (CALLS) What do you mean, what for?

ROBERT       (STOPS) I mean...what did you see?

CAROLE       “The Castle” Australian film.

ROBERT        (EXITS)  Any good?

CAROLE        Better than Pharlap.

ROBERT       (CALLS) Pharlap’s a classic love. You O.K?

CAROLE       Got a bit of a headache that’s all.

ROBERT       Too much sex...sorry. Joke. Take a panadadol.

CAROLE I already have.


CAROLE        It’s a family pie. 

ROBERT      I had a pie at the races.

CAROLE      I didn’t have time to make anything.

ROBERT     Never buy pies on racedays love.

CAROLE     I can make scrambled eggs.

ROBERT        I want to put a bet on. 

CAROLE       What can you bet on tonight?

ROBERT       Trots darling. I got a tip.

CAROLE      You don’t bet on the Trots.

ROBERT       I got a tip. They’re on television.

CAROLE       Rob!

ROBERT       I broke even, remember. 

CAROLE       I want to watch a movie.

ROBERT      Only while the race is running. 

CAROLE      I’m watching “Midsomer Murders.”

ROBERT Fine. Watch it.  I can watch the races in Becky’s room. (STARTS TO EXIT)

CAROLE Where are you going now?

ROBERT I’ve got to put a quaddy on.

CAROLE I want to talk.

ROBERT What about?

CAROLE Come and sit down.

ROBERTOK. (SITS) I’m sitting. I’m sitting. 

CAROLE       I’ve been talking to Vonny.

ROBERT (LAUGHS) Bloody bossy boots. New bloody fridge. Poor Davo. 

CAROLE She wants us to go halves in a small business.

ROBERT     Us?

CAROLE     Vonny and I.  I told her I’d talk to you about it.

ROBERT       What sort of business?

CAROLE  A gift shop. Apparently David’s willing to partition off a small area of his Sports Store and charge us a nominal rental.

ROBERT       Charge Vonny? She’d kill him.

CAROLE       We’d pay the rent from the business.

ROBERT       What nominal rental?

CAROLE       $200 a week.

ROBERT That’s more than nominal.

CAROLE That’s cheap, and Vonny knows all the wholesale giftware places. 

ROBERT A small business?  Going out of style aren’t they? You’ve got fittings, stock, advertising, stationery. What about the TAB?

CAROLE I could drop to three days a week. And two in the shop and Saturday mornings. There’s nothing definite yet.

ROBERT       Bloody Dave. Not a word. So what’s the catch?

CAROLE There’s no catch.

ROBERT        Money darling. 

CAROLE       We’d need money for stock of course.

ROBERT       We all need capital.

CAROLE      Vonny says $20,000 should be enough.

ROBERT      Each?

CAROLE      $10,000 each.

ROBERT      $10,000 dollars?

CAROLE      I borrow it, and the business pays off the loan.

ROBERT     Your half of the business pays off your loan. Vonny wouldn’t have to borrow.

CAROLE       Something like that, yes.

ROBERT Unbelievable. One minute you’re wanting a holiday, the next $10,000.

CAROLE      It’s only $100 a week for three years.

ROBERT      What do you intend doing with this money, buy out Myer?

CAROLE      We’ll put the carpet on hold. 

ROBERT      We’ll have to, shit. We’re struggling to pay the bills as it is.

CAROLE     That’s not my fault.

ROBERT     Ten grand. Jesus. 

CAROLE      It’s in my name, Rob. If I want to do it I will. I just thought I should talk  it with you first.

ROBERT      The point is they’ll probably want me as guarantor. And I can’t very well say no, can I? I’d look a nice old piker. You clear $500 a week. Can you make that selling gifts?

CAROLE      Vonny says we’ll make more than that.

ROBERT       Meanwhile Dave cops his two hundred.

CAROLE     What do you think? 

ROBERT     I suppose it’s your money.

CAROLE Our money. That’s why I’m asking.

ROBERT When do you envisage starting up? As in borrowing $10,000.

CAROLE We haven’t decided yet.

ROBERT Let’s talk about it tomorrow.

CAROLE We’re talking about it now.

ROBERT Let me think it through. Sit on it for a while. 

CAROLE I’m sorry I mentioned it. 

ROBERT        I’ll put the pie back in the oven. We’ll talk tomorrow. I’ll have to get my bets on or I’ll miss out. Oh my god, nearly forgot. The fellers are coming over for a couple of hours.

CAROLE      You’re not serious?

ROBERT      They invited themselves. What could I say?

CAROLE      I’m not in the mood.

ROBERT Go to bed love. Have a lie down. We’ll talk about the business tomorrow.It’s more than likely a good idea. I’d better get these bets on, I got a tip. I’ll be in the study. (AS DOORBELL RINGS.) Shit. That’s probably Dave He left after the last. Wouldn’t come for a drink.

CAROLE       You let him in.

ROBERT      Where’s Becky?

CAROLEAt   Lynne’s house.

ROBERT     Again?

CAROLE     She’s almost 16.

ROBERT    (STARTS TO EXITS-CALLS) Coming. Only Dave love. $200 a week. Cunning bastard. Come on. Cheer up.

CAROLE      You’re a selfish bastard.

ROBERT We’ll talk the business idea through at breakfast. I promise. (THROWS A KISS-EXITS-OFF) Davo!


                      (ENTER DAVID, HOLDING TWO STUBBIES.)

DAVID Well, you got home allright. Hello Carole.

CAROLE Hello David. Where’s Vonny?

DAVID She went to an early movie. She’s calling in on her way home.

ROBERT (TAKES STUBBIES.) I’ll talk to you later pal. Spending up Dave?  Got to put my bets on. Wont be long. You want any?

DAVID           The Trots? Thieves on wheels.

ROBERT       (EXITING-STOPS)  Will I get you a panadol love?

CAROLE     I told you, I took one. 

DAVID     Not well Carole?

CAROLE   Just a slight headache. Vonny excited?

DAVID  Oh, all tied up in details. I mind my own business. What do you think Rob?

ROBERT Sounds great. Talk amongst yourselves kids. Back in 10 minutes. Here. Open one of your stubbies. Drink slowly. (EXITS.)

DAVID What does he really think?

CAROLE (SMILES) He’s “sitting on it.”






😎A Grain of Salt.

Sunday 4th July, 2021. The week that was: Presently the sadness of three males leaders heavily in opposition to my particular focus; global warming and the line between the haves and the have nots. Barnaby Joyce, Scott Morrison and our embarrassing Attorney General. Our Prime Minister and Christian Porter are in hiding, so who is left? Bloody Barnaby. And Collingwood continues to lose. Moving on - All that glitters is not gold? So much for a speedy safe vaccine rollout and a safe quarantine system; 'federal' responsibilities. Compliments of Scotty’s party the vaccine rollout has been an unmitigated disaster. The ‘blame game’ leaves little doubt on this one, political loyalties aside. Operation Pork Barrel, Bungle. The PM’s endorsement against medical advice, with most of the country in lockdown? What National Cabinet? What messaging? A shambolic immunisation performance from our federal government; clear enough? Still, in this situation I'm in rare agreement with out PM and his call for AstraZeneca to be available for everyone over 18 years old. If the patient decides to proceed with the vaccination, the doctor will be indemnified for the (very small) risk that exists. [Scotty: ‘‘If they wish to go and speak to their doctor and have access to the AstraZeneca vaccine, they can do so.’’ The problem being his natural desire to announce ahead of the pack IE National Cabinet. The Queensland Premier's reaction was ridiculous. The risk factor of one person from her state dying?] Most of us were to be inoculated by June 30 - and only 20% of Priority 1 (including Aged Care) has been done? Clearly, we need these vaccinations to go ahead into normality, whatever that may be? Some 24 countries have a higher fully vaccination rate than Australia, ranging from 35% Netherlands to 5.8% Australia. Personally, patiently awaiting my second shot of AstraZeneca. Moving on...[Stop Press: More comedy; Scotty came out of hiding, last Friday "A new deal for Australia today - to get us to the other side" Alongside him his trusty Lieutenant General soldier telling us about COVID? Is the uniform significant? Shifty lot. I can't help thinking of the 'crisis' word. Leaders may say different things in a crisis, but for mine they revel in it. More factual is the Auditor-General's report discovering not a single one of the 47 commuter car park sites promised by the Coalition in the run-up to the election was deemed worthy by the infrastructure department. A total of $660 million worth of projects was, in fact, hand-picked based on advice given by MPs and candidates in the 2019 election. See? Super shifty. Back to the latest: Lockdowns, border controls and flight bans, the four-stage plan Friday, and in no rush to close the deal, given the country will not be shifting out of the first stage until next year at the earliest. An agreement in principle and can be changed or forgotten as soon as premiers and chief ministers want to go it alone.] These are purported to be the four phases. The one we are in now, where everything is about vaccinating as many people as possible. Second, borders are opened to both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers without quarantine. Third, we manage endemic COVID-19 infection in the community like other infectious diseases, such as influenza. Fourth, we get back to pre-COVID ways of living. After disappearing for weeks, leaving us to stomach Barnaby blather-mouth Joyce, he and his cohorts (and his soldier) in their Kirribilli dugout give us this - Voila! Sadly, in hope, desperation more likely, many will buy this nonsense. Hard to beat a crisis for shifting public opinion. And if this doesdn't quite do the job there's always the comparative COVID deaths world wide to fly our flag. [Those carparks? National Audit Office. The Morrison government hurriedly spent $389 million on commuter car parks the day before calling the federal election. Three quarters of the projects ended up in Coalition electorates. Of the 47 car parks announced, only two have been built. And two have been cancelled. And 11 have not yet even begun the basic paperwork towards one day being built.] Even so... 


LETTERS: "Discrimination of the aged certainly leads to negative feelings and rejection. It seems the current generation believe wisdom is obtained academically when in reality it is acquired from life’s experiences, from successes and failures over a working life time. Let the current generation consider this: our bodies are old and less able but not our minds. You may be surprised. We still have much to offer, don’t talk down to us, seek our advice from time to time and let us participate when and where we can, it means a great deal to us and will be a boost to our self esteem and dispel negativism. [Use it or you lose it is my motto but whatever, keep a steady mind and particularly a sense of humour.]


Intergenerational Report. More comedy? Josh Frydenberg, in his response to the report, stated the stage three tax cuts, due to start in 2024-25 would reduce the tax burden on most workers and would signal the Morrison government’s commitment to future tax relief. Nonsense, particularly the 'most' word? Josh is a double dutch Professor of bullcrap. Aged care and care for the disabled? ‘‘Three key insights’’. First, our population is growing slower and ageing faster than expected. Second, the economy’s growth will be slower than previously thought. Third, while the federal government’s debt is sustainable and low by international standards, the ageing of our population will put significant pressures on both government revenue and its spending. [The insights are true enough, said by The Age bloke, (Plague of oldies or sign of times? Ross Gittins). Frydenberg's words flow forth based on keeping the sheep in order. I get the impression he learns these answers by rote. A file of various answers in support of his current mate, Scotty.] 


Is 'seeming' the only kind of being? Probably. I read it somewhere and it stuck. A reality for cover, the stalkers motto? Watched Caroline Wilson in an interview, answering a question along the lines of "Do you ever worry about the effect when you criticise someone or some football club? Answer to the effect covering her research and truth, no need to re-examine her words? I'll bet she does. Even I do, albeit without good reason. 


Bugger politics, A blast from my past: Two gorgeous Aunties. Auntie Millie gave me two shillings to have on Foxami in the 1949 Melbourne Cup at 16/1. The Sun newspaper on the morning of the big race, story of Foxami beat Hydrogen (the favourite) in a track gallop, so I assumed it was a certainty. Mum put the money on at the barber shop. Collected 22 shillings, a bloody fortune, went to Luna Park with Graham Campbell, spent almost the lot on rides on the Big Dipper and lollies from The Candy Shop across the road, reputed to be a hang-out for criminals and prostitutes. Auntie Millie worked as a Machinist, caught the train at Rushall Station every week morning. On our birthdays we would get a card from Auntie, and inside would be a 10 shilling note. I asked Auntie why we (and she) always travelled second class in the trains. Auntie replied “Because there’s no third class.”. Auntie sent cards when on holiday. She wrote “I realise such a handsome and popular chap as yourself cannot have much spare time for writing. We are having a very nice time even if you hope we are not. We are going out fishing soon. Well, tall, dark and handsome (which clearly indicated she was joking), Happy New Year. You ought to be good enough for the Magpies next year.” Sister tells of Auntie Dolly’s stories (The two Aunties, both single, lived together) of Melbourne before the Depression. Gladys Moncrieff, live shows at the Tivoli sitting up in “The Gods.” The many visits to the beach, Bourke Street itself, the large market, corner of Bourke & Russell, (Eastern Market), fortune tellers. How they often walked from Collingwood to the City. Dolly always had the best football & cricket tickets because of her job at Sherrins - reserved seats in the Ryder Stand at Victoria Park. She would also enjoy the luxury of travelling to Geelong (by train) with the team and officials. After the war, and during I would think, we had coupons to get essential food items, such as butter, tea and sugar. Auntie Dolly for some reason was able to get a supply of rice coupons, very rare, which enabled Mum to make one of our favourites - rice pudding. Dolly was particularly famous for her pork & baked beans, her secret remedy a secret to her death. 


Hard to believe; swimmers Point Nepean to Point Lonsdale yesterday? Wow...Someone should speak to Foxtel Sport. On the panel summarising after a game. Nick Riewoldt who is good, Jason Dunstall very good, and who's chairing it? Gary Lyon? Please, anyone can read statistics...Having a lend of themselves? Coffee drinkers, the non Nescafe types: The need, according to some (many?) the importance of the visual look, presentable, to be balanced, sweet, clean. Nonsense? And yet, in a philosophical sense, in our COVID age, a need to feel important. Haha. Wankers? Me? Happy with Nescafe, happier still if my number 1 son pops in with a free cappuccino, one sugar....The ABC's Gordon Street studios has been sold. Fond memories, in particular when Victoria made good drama for television...Brains, sense of humour and personality; ever the search for a Leader, all parties?...Try as he might, David Speers took a thrashing from Chris Bowen last week, ABC Insiders...Brad Scott as Collingwood's next coach?...Childcare costs higher than groceries and bills; cigarettes higher than both put together...Sadly, it's no surprise half the Rye RSL members believed the ridiculous story of Danny Andrews accident in Blairgowrie...Here's a tricky question - "What is a COVIDsafe App?...Barnaby "I hope I come back a better person."  A richer person?..."Negative virtue is a positive vice, if the means exist of improving it."  [Zimmerman]...Stay calm, keep yourselves nice...Cliff Ellen 






ROBERT (ENTERING) Bastard. Bloody second. Two in a row.

RICHARD Here. My shout. Get this into you.

ROBERT I don’t want a beer. I’ve got to get the openers for the next race.

RICHARD Be another ten minutes yet.

ROBERT Bullshit. Catch the bookies with there pants down.

RICHARD Yeah. Watch ‘em drive away in their Mercedes. Drink up.

ROBERT Shouldn’t drink at the track. 

RICHARD The race is just over Rob. Relax. The bookies like a beer too you know. 

ROBERT Champagne more likely. Bloody second. Bloody bookies probably paid him to pull it. Made his run too late. What did you back?

RICHARD Sue wanted to look at the stables.

ROBERT You didn’t have a bet? You’re kidding?

RICHARD I’m not you know.

ROBERT Women at the races. What’d I tell you?

RICHARD We’re not all mad punters. 

ROBERT You can see the horses in the Mounting Yard.

RICHARD She wanted to see them after the race, getting hosed down would you believe. She backed that winner too.

ROBERT Rosie’s Choice? Bloody thing drifted. Opened at 8/1 and ran unwanted at 25’s.

RICHARD Sue has a niece called Rosie.

ROBERT That’s how Caz picks them. 

RICHARD Beats losing.

ROBERT Bloody ridiculous.

RICHARD Sue reckons it’s all Karma.

ROBERT All what?

RICHARD She reckons you’re either meant to win or not. She can pick the horses

with a third eye.

ROBERT Bullshit.

RICHARD She’ s the one collecting. 

ROBERT I’m starting to worry about you.

RICHARD How often do you and Caz have sex?


RICHARD You heard.

ROBERT Piss off Rick. We’re at the races.

RICHARD I’m serious.

ROBERT So am I. What do you like in the next?

RICHARD Relax. Let’s talk about something else for a change. How often do you two have sex?

ROBERT In the first place it’s none of your business, and in the second even if I was silly enough to think it was I wouldn’t tell you. You’d blab within 24 hours.

RICHARD Does she always have an orgasm?

ROBERT Did you watch the fight last night when you got home?

RICHARD How often?

ROBERT Will you stop it.

RICHARD I just want to know.

ROBERTI don’t know do I? Possibly. Probably. Apparently. I don’t want to talk about it. We’re at  the races. It’s my pleasure time. I’ve got to go.

RICHARD Sue never does.


RICHARD She never has an orgasm.

ROBERT How do you know?

RICHARD She tells me.

ROBERT You mean you ask her?

RICHARD They never do with me.


ROBERT Silly bastard. I’m off.

RICHARD Finish your beer. Here Davo. (HANDS DAVID A BEER)

DAVID Second Rob.

ROBERT Yeah. Bastard. The jockey thought he was riding Pharlap. Must away. Got to get the early prices.

DAVID They’re not up yet.

RICHARD Don’t tell Dave.

DAVID Don’t tell Dave what?

RICHARD Get this into you. (THE BEER) Did you spot Sue?

DAVID She was on her way down to the Racing Museum. She backed Rosie’s Choice. The giddy goat  Payed $28 a win. Won $35.

ROBERT Women at the races. 

RICHARD She’s winning.

ROBERT That’s another good reason. They always win. I’m off. (EXITS)

DAVID You two keeping secrets Rick?

RICHARD Just talking about work.

ROBERT(CALLS) Hey Dave. Guess what Rick just told me?

RICHARD I’ll kill you. (ROBERT LAUGHS. EXITS.) How did your horse go?

DAVID Came third. Got 2/1 the place.

RICHARD How much did you have on it?


RICHARD (LAUGHS) Percy the Punter.

DAVID You’re either going to win or you’re not Rick. No point risking hard earned cash.



RICHARD Nothing. Rob spends half his life studying the form.

DAVID Might as well bump your backside against the Moon.







A Grain of Salt.πŸ’”

Sunday 27th June, 2021. Politics as it stands, a mix between crooks, incompetents and the odd bright spark. COVID couldn't have come at a worse time. Thank God, to some extent, for state Premiers, apart from Victorian politicians getting a 2.5% pay rise. I'm reminded of the song Dingbat the singing cat, he'd meow and meow till the break of day - which sums up my attitude to the daily, hourly, by the minute COVID updates. Unfettered stress material. Who watches them? The days are getting longer, and colder. Setting aside reason as motive in favour of reason as logic, may we imagine (dream?) of today as the road back? Haha. No chance. Our wonderful politicians state and federal are on their Winter break, a quickie at five weeks, poor darlings. My local council has a headline "Shire backs zero carbon future" which obviously allowed me to laugh out loud. We all know about local councillors, and motivation? I could write about our minister for water, the divisive, chaotic Barnaby, previously "sick of government being in his life" now a changed man no doubt, now an expert on women, our new deputy leader, but it's all been said before. Does a leopard change; no. Now on $433,575 a year, plus perks, compared to the previously meagre $211,500. They simply tread more carefully, and call up a young boy or girl to hold in a publicity grab. Can we trust Barnaby? Can we trust our seldom seen ("Where the bloody hell are you"?) Prime Minister and his regular anti-China outbursts to stir up the fear merchants. Can we trust Prince Peter Dutton, his Department of Home Affairs getting bigger by the day, also a "goodies" collector, five or so houses, negative gearing; mandated QR check-ins, tax file numbers, Medicare cards, possible vaccine passports, Centrelink customer reference numbers, proof of age cards, a possible need to furnish multiple forms of identity for home purchases, opening bank accounts, job applications. Some may say cynical, not I. Reality, more to the point. I shouldn't complain. The Rye RSL is open for business again, for now. 


Compassion? John Hewson, The Saturday Paper, edited: Scott Morrison’s sole focus is on winning the next election. He seeks to dominate the daily media with his political agenda – with the big announcement or stunt, backed by tightly controlled press appearances, generally suppressing scrutiny. There is a long list of worrying examples of the absence of compassion, and of the shameless political behaviour that it produces. The Uluru Statement from the Heart? The compassion in the vaccine rollout, with uneven vaccination of front-line workers, the aged and the disabled? Indeed, the rollout is extremely slow, and has become basically a mess, mostly because the government has not been able to deliver against its initial, shameless boast that it was leading the world. This just wasn’t true. Upwards of 2000 reported deaths from those who received robo-debt letters, job keeper payments, the Murugappan family from Biloela, the so-called “women’s issues” stretching from the handling of Brittany Higgins’s alleged rape, through various examples of bullying and intimidation in the parliamentary workplace, of both staff and female members of parliament, to domestic violence. [I've said all this before but nice to see Johnny coming to the party. And no mention of Australia’s illegal bugging of our poorer neighbour for corporate greed, ditto the massive dollars on submarines destined to be toy car models against China's huge fleet of nuclear-powered subs, imprisoning refugees as the norm, to our shame, and Julian in that England gaol.]


Pondering? She gave me that famous look, slow-burning, sensoring male insufficiency. I've had a few over the years, most always by tall attractive blondes. It's not as if I was hoping, even dreaming. This particular type of female has always been set aside, by preference, on a scale of winning powerball. As a young man I assumed they were more into self love, silly. Men are no different. Both brilliant by association? An actor, the networker, is one who can successfully hold two fundamentally opposing views and still function? Charities: Each of us has a quantum of compassion, stray dogs cloud the issue. Opinions: We all have our prejudices, football experts, 3AW, Tony Jones, the list is long. Personality: The more identities a man has, the more they express the person they conceal. Political generality in life is meaningless? Grand designs are new forms of the old misery, achieving nothing. Perplexity: Bald men often have an unwarranted air of maturity. Short sentences often mean facile opinions. Try not to learn from a grown up until you are certain he/she is a real grown up, sometimes difficult to tell; check out the tone? Do lovers rely on self-delusion, initially almost always? In capitalist Australia, America and England, economic repression of the masses (Us?) is institutionalised. [A restless mind? On the other hand the alternative on these freezing mornings? The House of Wellness aka Gagaland. An ice bath or a freezing cold shower is sympathetic to my nervous system, lifts my internal furnace by increasing my endorphins; ever thinking of me?]


The Senate inquiry on the exploitation of Working Holiday Makers and temporary work visa holders, appropriately titled A National Disgrace. Suggestion: First set up a secret committee of enquiry, appoint a respectable chairman, better still chairwoman. Experts, to investigate the problem. Hear witnesses, name names, spare no blushes, point fingers, make television appearance grabs, closing the gaps, preventing a recurrence, draft a report setting out what conclusions the committee has reached, significant 'as required' comments if any, and remain SECRET, particularly from those who sit on the committee, eventually to become a secret annexe in Commonwealth archives. Perhaps add an addendum, a codicil type of thing as a follow up action, re-submitted for 12 months, or on request, on the assumption anyone remembers after a year or three?  


I have no hearing problems, a plus, or minus depending on circumstances. Rye RSL. Reasonably handsome chap, 40ish, sunglasses on his hair on a freezing afternoon which instantly put me off. Cliffie, invisible, a yard away, ignored by this male dasher, the me me man. Yes, I'm aware the world is full of idiots, for goodness sake I was an actor for 40 years, not to mention 37 years at racetracks for totalisator companies. Heard this one umpteen times, the fascination of dingbats. Dasher is in conference with his seemingly subservient mate, explaining in detail how to win at the pokies. Hard to believe, but true. They had been to Rosebud RSL, now gracing us with their presence at Rye. No, he's not winning, he's breaking even, it's just a matter of time, the system never fails? A crap discussion lasting 20 minutes before returning to the action, also complaining of his wife (with early teen daughter) whinging for more money. "She only works part time. I work full time?" Phew. The pleasure of seeing his backside. Sadly, he returns 20 minutes later to take a phone call from his ungrateful lady, refusing to come straight home if all she wants to talk about is money. Spare me. A Liberal voter, surely?   


Dear Danny Andrews, welcome back. Tip; steer clear of reading The Age...According to magpie legend it's easy to spot the Collingwood gay or bisexual players, they don't get a kick?...Minister Alex Hawke, the Murugappan family granted three month bridging visas in Perth in the public interest? Bullcrap. To try to calm us down, Scotty style....The conviction of Witness K for exposing Australia’s immoral bugging of East Timor’s cabinet over a commercial matter may well be a national disgrace, ditto draconian security laws resulting in whistleblowers convicted, journalists’ homes and workplaces raided and trials held in secret, but in all honesty, surely over past dealings by this, our  current government, no surprise...What comes first, zero tolerance or electric cars? At 85, not in my future...Culture has been cancelled?...Eddie ("As simple as that") McGuire, ticking all his AFL boxes (bias) views?...A National Integrity Commission as promised; with this government, your kidding?...Mispronunciations, ABC's 'Jack Irish' - Castlemaine, Pascoe Vale, Fitzroy. Don't they bother with research? And made in Melbourne?...Travel shows invariably talk of "the best coffee" wondering therefore, whether or not they serve proletarian coffee with a democratic bun?....Ankle biters are on holiday, tread carefully...Parliament. The final sitting before the long Winter break. I thought they were always on a break? Comedy gold, if it wasn't so serious...Will there be a federal election 2021? No!. Lock in May, 2022... Amazing. Work for one hour a week and it's counted in the employment statistics? Again, crooks... "To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one picked out of ten thousand." [Shakespeare]...Gone Pies. Stay calm...Cliff Ellen.







ROBERT (ENTERING) Caz, where the hell did you put my tie?  I can’t find it.

CAROLE Which one?

ROBERT The blue one darling.

CAROLE The blue and red one with the tomato sauce stain?

ROBERT I cleaned it. (CAROLE LAUGHS) It’s my lucky tie. Picture of an elephant.

CAROLE Appropriate.

ROBERT Elephants are lucky.

CAROLE I thought it was skill.

ROBERT If you’d put things in their proper place darling I might be able to find something.

CAROLE Try swivelling your eyeballs. And wear a casual shirt. Ties don’t suit you.

ROBERT I’ll wear a tie darling. We’re going to the Stokehouse. Have to look the part. Could cost me a hundred dollars.

CAROLE And more. I’m having crayfish.

ROBERT I’m having sausages.

CAROLE Did you confirm the booking.


CAROLE You know why.

ROBERT (FINDS TIE) What’s it doing here? 

CAROLE Since when does a public servant “look the part.”

ROBERT I’m a good dresser.

CAROLE Wear the shirt we gave you.

ROBERT I wore it last week. 

CAROLE And don’t sit there all night reading the newspaper.

ROBERT It’s Friday night love. 

CAROLE It’s embarrassing.

ROBERT It’s only a bloody form guide. 

CAROLE I don’t care if it’s the bible.  

ROBERT It’s a bit of fun love-

CAROLE Boys night out you mean.

ROBERT I’m paying the bill.

CAROLE And I buy the food. And clothe Becky.

ROBERT Now you’re in a shitty!

CAROLE And whose fault would that be? You’re quick to go out to dinner when your yobo workmates suggest it. When do we go out?

ROBERT We’re always going out.

CAROLE We haven’t had a holiday in three years.

ROBERT You like Rick. He’s not a yobo. 

CAROLE When he’s sober. 

ROBERT We went to a movie last week.

CAROLE The week before. Bloody Pharlap.

ROBERT On the giant screen love. It’s a classic.

CAROLE We could have seen it on Foxtell.

ROBERT Yeah, yeah. $60 a month for repeats. 

CAROLE It’s a wonder you haven’t taken me to see National Velvet.

ROBERT You said you loved Pharlap.

CAROLE I said I liked it. 

ROBERT What’s the matter?

CAROLE Nothing. Hurry up. I’m looking forward to an expensive dinner. And next week you take me to dinner. Just us. And a movie afterwards.

ROBERT I don’t really like movies after tea.

CAROLE You watch television after tea. 

ROBERT I can watch TV and do things at the same time.

CAROLE What things?

ROBERT All television shows are the same. You sit there to see how it ends and you know how it’s going to end anyway.

CAROLE What things?

ROBERT Lots of things...study the form.

CAROLE Bring your form guide - and a small torch. Are you ready?

ROBERT I don’t really enjoy eating at flash places. Full of Yuppies. The bastards only sting you. $20 for an entree and you need a magnifying glass to spot the food.

CAROLE You don’t eat entrees.

ROBERT How do I look?

CAROLE Like a public servant.

ROBERT Come on love. We might as well enjoy ourselves. 

CAROLE You promised me 6 months ago you’d give up gambling.

ROBERT I said I’d give up losing love. I bet to a strict budget now. You know that. Pure entertainment  expenses. I haven’t lost love. $20 a week tops. Shit, I’m not made of money.

CAROLE You put $100 on a horse.

ROBERT Not that again. It was their money.

CAROLE Our money.

ROBERT I was winning. $20 a week is all I spend overall, with the chance of winning a big one. I used to spend that on cigarettes. No more than lotto money.

CAROLE So you say. 

ROBERT (TELEPHONE RINGS) Shit! Who the hell’s that.

CAROLE Could be Becky. I gave her the mobile.

ROBERT Only for emergencies we said.  (INSTANT CHARACTER CHANGE) Helooo. Robert Whittle speaking... Mate! What’s happening? What’s the good word? (CAROLE MIMICS ROB-”What’s the good word?”) Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hang on one second Dave... Tone it down love. He’ll hear you. (CAROLE GIVES AN UP YOU SIGN) Sorry Davo. Yeah? That’s too bad mate. Hang fire. (TO CAROLE) Vonny can’t make it. Dave suggests we eat here.

CAROLE What’s wrong with Vonn?

ROBERT She doesn’t feel well.

CAROLE I talked to her an hour ago.

ROBERT Maybe she developed a headache.

CAROLE Not surprised with Dave.

ROBERT Be fair love. Is it a yes?

CAROLE He doesn’t want to pay for her.

ROBERT Not so loud.

CAROLE I don’t care.

ROBERT Dave wouldn’t lie.

CAROLE He’s a man isn’t he? 

ROBERT ...Well?


ROBERT Dave? Ring you back mate. Carole’s on the loo. (HANGS UP) Darling. Let’s just settle eh? Becky’s out for the night. We’ve both worked hard all week.

CAROLE You’re on holiday.

ROBERT I’ve been in the garden all day. Look out the back. What say they come around later. I’ll go buy a large cray and vino. Just you and me.

CAROLE Oh sure, just us. And you and your little boys. I want to eat out.

ROBERT I’ll take you out another night. I promise. 

CAROLE (SARCASTIC) The Stokehouse?

ROBERT You’re the boss darling. 


ROBERT Give me a kiss. (HE KISSES HER)

CAROLE Tight bastard.

ROBERT Economical darling. 

CAROLE I’m not cleaning up.

ROBERT I’ll do everything. I promise. 

CAROLE We’ll never get to the bloody Stokehouse.

ROBERT You’re beautiful.

CAROLE And a new carpet?

ROBERT (LAUGHS) Let’s just sit on that one for a while eh.

CAROLE Of course. We’ll “sit on it.” “Run that by me.” “Hang ten.” Six months becomes two years. 

ROBERT All it needs is a good clean darling. Ring Myers.

CAROLE It’s embarrassing. Like your shirts.

ROBERT I’ll buy two new ones at K Mart.

CAROLE Bastard.

ROBERT ...Will I ring Dave? 

CAROLE ...No horses.

ROBERT It’s Friday night love. Our religion. 

CAROLE You swore off horses for life.

ROBERT Kiss me.

CAROLE I’ll give you more than a kiss.

ROBERT Promise?

CAROLE I didn’t mean that.


CAROLE I’ve just got cleaned.

ROBERT That’s the best time. C’mon.

CAROLE (THEY KISS) New carpets?

ROBERT We’ll go halves. 

CAROLE (THEY KISS AGAIN) Foxtel costs less than $15 a week.

ROBERT Bugger that.

CAROLE Then you wouldn’t have to take me to the movies.

ROBERT I love the movies. Just you and me - and my torch. ...Here. On the carpet. A fond farewell?

CAROLE They’ve got Sky Channel.

ROBERT You wouldn’t let me watch it.

CAROLE Take that dreadful tie off.

ROBERT (TAKING IT OFF) I told you it was lucky.








A Grain of Salt.😎

Sunday 20th June, 2021...Christmas in July? A nonsense. No mask wearing outside. Wow. After months of familiarity with my 'prison' routine, so proud to throw caution to the winds and head to Rosebud Plaza, for once unable to use the dozen sound reasons for doing nothing. Lashed out with new track pants and slippers; $18, or by comparison 14 cigarettes. Just as well, because there is bugger all worth writing about. Our daggy, posturing Prime Minister, (talking to world leaders on the beaches of Cornwall, at the Elysee Palace or up the garden path behind Downing Street) presently a dyed in the wool networker to Count Boris from England, leaving us (again) to fend for ourselves, yet another opportunity for our "Albo" to say a few words. Alas, nothing forth-coming, our media yet again conned by Scotty's publicity team. What's happened to parliament? Remember the time when politicians sat on a regular basis. I cannot recall any past times when our leaders reached this pinnacle of deviousness. I call it Knowledge Starvation. As an aside, I received a call on my mobile telephone (how did they get my number?) listing suspicious items on my banking account and my tax identification numbers, plural? Ditto Amazon Prime. Obviously I hung up, wishing I could hang the caller. The blame game is running at riot proportions in Victoria, as expected. Danny Andrew maintains a lead albeit reduced, the plus in his favour being the opposition leader Michael O'Brien, ever quick to criticise, never voicing a solution. One wonders how anyone can subject themselves to brainwashing (Nine Nightly News) but of course the dickhead numbers are ever in our midst. Sadly blame is part of our DNA, the difference being the degree. True, I hated the idea of wearing masks outdoors, but to blame our Danny, or our Health authorities, in plain words anyone without reasons, is a nonsense. Fear doesn't help, from the unvaccinated numbers. We hope (somehow?) Danny doesn't blow us all up with his West Gate Tunnel Project. Meditating: It began around 1962. 26 years old, and still pretty much a fair dinkum dill. Had a good job, mates, married, (more than) a few beers. Going with the flow, other than who would win (racetracks, football) no thinking required and regularly short of cash till payday, despite wife and child. As an example come Fridays from 5-10pm at Hosies Hotel in the city we would spent those 5 hours (standing, never sitting) discussing either football or the likelihood winners at tomorrows races. Worse still, the following morning at nearest hotel, 10am for a few beers and the same discussions before heading trackside? Then I woke up. Got my results for the stage 1 Commercial Law exam, accountancy, certain I had failed, give it away? I got 89%? Amazing. So simple. Put in the work and Bob's your uncle. Got me thinking, previously convinced I was surrounded by brainiacs. I only did the silly exam as a favour to attend the classes for as mate. We would meet 3 nights a week for a couple of beers before these silly classes. An epiphany. Credit to my mate? Note: I never joined the brainiacs mafia obviously, but was given approval to exit from the dickheads masses. Cheaper also. [What has all this got to do with the price of fish? Nothing, an exercise in ignoring the constant complaints, television, newspapers and social media. As I see it all fuelled by self interest and mostly shallow opinions.] And who does Scotty leave us with? Einstein deputy PM (who makes Barnaby Joyce look good?) and our minister of tsunami secrets Peter Dutton? Even bloody so...   


Further: Obviously everything looks better in retrospect; youth in particular. National Service was five months of a kind of hell, yet all I remember now are the good times. Back in 1965 after passing those final examination of the Australian Society of Accountants, it occurred to me at long last that if you put the work in, you get the results. When Dad took me into the Public Service Office for an interview in December, 1952, I just went along. Placed in the Department of Navy I simply went to work. Never a thought of whether it was a good thing or otherwise. School was the same. Just bowling along. Mind you, I didn’t think I was the brightest person on the planet, which was true really, no doubt partly attributable to not having any guidance (for which only circumstances are to blame) for the first 12-15 years of my life. Dad gave me many lectures in my teens, on study, achievement, even made me stay at school to complete Form 5 rather than work at Duncan’s match factory for good money, £5 a week. I listened, but never took it in. “Stupidity is sufficient unto itself, Wisdom can never learn enough.” (MECHTILD)


The never ending saga of the concussion rule in AFL football. You can't have it both ways. On the one hand the manic push to make the game faster, the breeding of powerful runners, quick ball-ups, suspicious handballs, man on the mark, reduced changeover numbers during the game. And still at 20 minutes a quarter. Halfway through the final quarter and most of the players are stuffed. Not surprising. As for these overpaid players taking a game off to be with the missus, all I can suggest, if they take up another career after football, they give an acting career a miss. Caroline Wilson, The Age/Footy Classified spot on. From other experts? complaints of boring matches? It's June, been like this since Adam.


Behrouz Boochani The Saturday Paper, edited: The Australian government has repeatedly claimed that it does not want anyone to die at sea, which is why it keeps refugees in indefinite detention. This is a classic example of adopting a philanthropic gesture to conceal an inhumane and brutal policy. I admit I’m angry about a government that has the power to detain two children for three straight years. Why has imprisoning human beings become so normalised in Australia? Why should a country that has all the elements of a democracy, including a prime minister, opposition, free media and civil society, still be discussing the rights or wrongs of keeping children in detention? How can the public be so forgetful? Also, via Karen Middleton: The immediate focus is Australia’s new Attack-class submarines. Designing and building was originally costed at around $50 billion, with the first boat due by 2026. That is now at $90 billion, also covering an American combat system and a new purpose-built shipyard in the Osborne precinct, where the submarines will be constructed as part of the sovereign naval shipbuilding capability the government wants to develop, the  due date now pushed back from 2026 to 2035, the last is due in the early 2050's.


The Chaser: “Here at The Chaser, we take the right to dress up in a silly costume and badger politicians very seriously. It’s been a long time since any of us studied law, but we’re pretty sure the ‘Right to Dress Up in a Silly Costume and Hassle Politicians’ is in the Australian Constitution, just below the bit about being allowed to torture four-year-old brown kids. Actually, thinking about it, locking up satirists other than The Chaser could be quite good for our business. In fact, in that spirit, we applaud the NSW Government for locking up producers of topical comedy content. We call on John Barilaro to get the police to lock up all other YouTube comedians and social media satirists in this state, and do a dodgy deal with The Chaser and appoint us as the sole provider of satirical content in NSW. In return, we will be offering Mr Barilaro a position on our board (but only after he steps down from parliament – it’ll all be completely above board and completely deniable. We know how these things work.) And we promise that if we ever get questioned in ICAC about the deal, we’ll make sure our mobile phone with all the evidence on it gets run over by a tractor (wink, wink).” [Clever cockies].


About bloody time: RBA to rein in lending as property prices soar...Intimidation and/or humiliation is a way of life. Get over it....Resolve Political Monitor’s poll for The Age 1103 people, more nonsense?... Nathan Buckley put the team ahead of himself, yes. His bank balance surely a contributor?...Still the disaster of housing prices and no mention of negative gearing?...If they ban cash how do I buy a beer when the power goes out?...Australia’s new trade agreement with Britain is apparently far more important than a climate change policy?...Scott Morrison to Christian Porter, "Did it happen?" Christian Porter "No it didn’t". End of story?...The Biloela family to Perth to be with daughter in hospital. This is not Queensland. Beware...Memories of 1958? Queens Birthday match SCG, Melbourne and Collingwood. Not quite, but to quote Teddy Whitten "We stuck it up 'em." A ray of sunshine in a disappointing season, a  wonderful  effort, send off and show of respect, for Nathan Buckley; go Pies...Peta Credlin appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia; sums up my opinion of these ridiculous awards..."Look not mournfully into the past - it comes back again; wisely improve the present - it is thine; go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear and with a manly heart." [Longfellow]...Stay calm. Cliff Ellen.





LUCKY LAST.  SCENE 1. A CHEAP RESTAURANT. FRIDAY. 8PM.                                                                                                                                                   

ROBERT So there you go Dave. On the off chance you’re losing when you come to last race you’ll get it all back on this one. I’ll stake my reputation on it. It’s the bet of the day. Even if something goes amiss it’s certain to run a place. Not that I think it could lose mind- 

DAVID Perish the bloody thought.

ROBERT (IGNORING) And you’ll get 6/1.  Maybe 10's if you catch the bookies with their pants down when the betting opens.

CAROLE Catch who?

DAVID The bookies Carole.

ROBERT She’s being sarcastic.  

DAVID That’s what you said last week.

ROBERT Come on Dave. You read the Stewards Report? The bloody thing was knocked from pillar to post. Still ran fourth.

DAVID I lost $10.

ROBERT I’ll give you the bloody $10.   I lost a hundred on the mongrel.

CAROLE You lost 100 dollars?

ROBERT It’s an investment darling.

CAROLE A hundred dollars Rob?

ROBERT That’s racing love. Not now. Just settle.

CAROLE Our money.

ROBERT I’ll get it back.

DAVID Famous last words.

CAROLE You bastard!

DAVID He always was.

CAROLE Shut up David.

ROBERT Be told Dave.

CAROLE You’re hopeless.

ROBERT It’s the only bet I had love. Bloody thing was a certainty.

DAVID  I’d be happier if it had a decent jockey up.

ROBERT Who’s the best judge of a jockey Dave, you or Gai Waterhouse? You put   Damien Oliver on board and you halve your price.

CAROLE I’ll halve you when we get home.

DAVID Serves you right. 

RICHARD (ENTERS) Greetings Comrades.

RICHARD (TO CAROLE) Lets you and I shuffle off to a Club.

CAROLE Hello Richard. 

RICHARD What are we doing in this dump?

CAROLE I’ll murder him when we get home. 

RICHARD What happened to the Stokehouse?

CAROLE Ask Kerry Packer.

ROBERT Booked out.

DAVID So Rob says.

RICHARD You said you booked!

CAROLE He forgot.

ROBERT They couldn’t find my booking.

RICHARD You didn’t book.

ROBERT Where have you been?

RICHARD Didn’t make it back to work. Davo! Your shout.

DAVID I just shouted.

RICHARD I’ll have a pot.

ROBERT I tried to ring you.

RICHARD Having a late lunch with the boss. Bored the pants off me talking tax rulings all afternoon.

DAVID That’s what happens to our taxes?

RICHARD You’re a small business man Dave. You don’t pay taxes.

DAVID Don’t ever leave Rick. 

RICHARD You don’t leave any more Davo. You wait till the bastards sack you. 

ROBERT I wish, mate. Make a fortune if I had the capital.

RICHARD Are you deaf Davo. One pot.

DAVID Shouldn’t you call Sue?

RICHARD She knows my number.

ROBERT Get a beer.

RICHARD (TO DAVID) Tight bastard. What is this place? Greasy Garry’s?

CAROLE Since when is $100 on a horse an investment?

ROBERT Give it a rest Caz.

CAROLE Fuck you!

RICHARD I love the way women swear.

CAROLE And you.

RICHARD Promise?

CAROLE Piss off.

RICHARD Been losing again mate?

ROBERT You have to speculate to accumulate. 

RICHARD If you’re lucky. 

CAROLE With our money.

RICHARD Give it to him Carole.

CAROLE You be quiet.

RICHARD Give it to me then.

DAVID Have you and Sue been fighting?

RICHARD She wants me to behave like her father.

DAVID Meaning?

RICHARD Do as I bloodywell say. Silly old fart.

ROBERT Just as well we didn’t go to the Stokehouse.

RICHARD Don’t blame me because you stuffed up.

DAVID You’re full.

RICHARD I brought a new pack of cards Davo. We can adjourn somewhere for a quick hour or two.

CAROLE Not at our house.


CAROLE No thank you Richard.

RICHARD We could play here? They’d be glad of the company by the looks.                                                                                                                                                 

CAROLE You do and I’m off home.

RICHARD Please Carole?

DAVID You can’t play here.

RICHARD You can’t play anywhere. Davo thinks a flush beats a full hand. (LAUGHS) Bloody retard.

DAVID You’re too lucky. 

RICHARD Skill Davo. Nothing to do with luck. Go on, be a devil. You own a bloody Sports Store you lousy bastard.

DAVID I lease it! 

RICHARD Hires out lawnmowers and pockets the cash. I’ll dob you in. Rob?

ROBERT Order some food and settle.

CAROLE I wouldn’t Rick.

RICHARD (PUTTING HIS ARM AROUND HER) Whatever you say gorgeous. 

CAROLE Get away, you perve.

DAVID Save it for tomorrow. Rob says Tinka Taylor is a certainty.

CAROLE Put the cards away Rick.

RICHARD Yes darling. 

CAROLE Piss off!

RICHARD You look stunning tonight.

CAROLE Sorry I can’t return the compliment.

RICHARD Where’s Vonny?

DAVID She’s in a shitty. Wants a new fridge. A bigger one.                       

RICHARD Has she got a lover?

DAVID Hilarious Rick.

CAROLE We’ll buy your old one.

ROBERT Nothing wrong with ours.

CAROLE It’s 20 years old.

RICHARD You’re all under the thumb.

CAROLE I wish they were.

RICHARD I wouldn’t mind being-

CAROLE Shut up Richard.                                                                                                                                                     

DAVID You could do worse than marriage Rick. A nice 4 bedroom out Nunawading way? Decking. A pool. Three kids.

RICHARD I’m after a single fronted in Yarraville. Concrete backyard. 

ROBERT You coming tomorrow?

RICHARD Can’t get it here. Have to follow the old system.

ROBERT Tinka Taylor in the last. Past the post.

RICHARD What number is it?

DAVID Number 3.

RICHARD Hah. I knew it.

ROBERT I studied the form.

RICHARD Always number 3. It’s bullshit. You can’t win following numbers.

ROBERT Nothing to do with numbers.

DAVID Number 3 didn’t win a race last Saturday.


DAVID It could be due.

RICHARD Piss off. Did you say you wanted to know how to win Carole?

CAROLE No Richard.

RICHARD I’ll tell you anyway. You pick out any horses that have won at least 25% of all their starts- 

CAROLE Not interested.

RICHARD And 50% placings . First, second or third gorgeous.

CAROLE I know what a place is Rick.

RICHARD Of course. The TAB. Your humble employers. And, and, you make your bet. If more than one horse is in the race, watch the betting. Follow the money. Oh, and it must have had at least 10 starts.

DAVID What if it loses?

RICHARD Capital Davo. A staking system. You must have a staking system. And you’ve got the capital. Stashed down South with your lawnmowers. 

DAVID Prudent Rick.

ROBERT Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

RICHARD He’ll buy you a new fridge.

CAROLE A new carpet.

RICHARD A new husband.                                                                                                                                                  

ROBERT The fields are really good tomorrow. I reckon I could win bigtime with an  ounce of luck.

RICHARD Skill! The name of the game. 

ROBERT I’m a little short of capital. Becky’s teeth cost me over $3000.


ROBERT That’s what I meant. The computer cost us $900.

CAROLE I paid for that.

ROBERT Same thing.

CAROLE You’ll be proud of her when she’s older.

ROBERT Proud of her now. She’s gorgeous.

RICHARD I noticed.

CAROLE Did you?

ROBERT Three grand. The bastards see you coming. Should be a tax claim. 

DAVID Take it up with the Deputy Commissioner.

ROBERT Up to the Government, not the D.C.

DAVID You voted for them.

CAROLE  He tried to get me to vote for them.

ROBERT They made promises. Never again. Politicians and newspapers. Hypocrites! Now it’s the GST. Can’t claim a thing on tax. Even get to you at the races. God knows how much they take out of the Tote pools. 20-25%?  The more they get the more they want. John Wren was a Saint. He only took 10%.

RICHARD Saints don’t barrack for Collingwood.

DAVID How much are you putting on Tinka Taylor without funds?

CAROLE A hundred dollars, Kerry?

RICHARD Check out his phone account balance Carole.

ROBERT I’ve got a few dollars in the phone account.  

CAROLE How much?

ROBERT There’s nothing wrong with a punt love. 

DAVID If you say so Rob. 

ROBERT I don’t go to the Casino or the Pokies do I?

CAROLE Only because you don’t like them.

RICHARD Spends all his money on shirts.

CAROLE We bought him that.                                                                                                                                              

RICHARD He looks like Molly Meldrum.

 DAVID Nobody looks like Molly Meldrum.

ROBERT You know in America the Catholic Church has been running Bingo games for the past 50 years-almost every parish in America.


ROBERT So God approves. Provided you don’t bet beyond your means.

DAVID You sound like a politician.

RICHARD It’s bullshit.

ROBERT It’s true. I read it somewhere.

CAROLE The Readers Digest?

ROBERT It’s a fact. The Church does it, the Government does it. It’s a social event. I’m conforming with society.

RICHARD And doing your balls in the process.

CAROLE He’s still got them.


ROBERT I read somewhere once, some fellow at the races was carrying on about the evils of the punt, standing underneath a tree. Must have been a country track. Anyway, lightning struck the tree. Killed him.

CAROLE Definitely the Readers Digest.

RICHARD Could have been Womans Day.


ROBERT So. So. So. Do a bit of reading. You could learn something.

RICHARD Yes Dave. Read Playboy.

DAVID Who wrote it?

RICHARD Funny Dave. Why don’t you come with us tomorrow Carole?

CAROLE No thank you. One evening in your exhilarating company is quite enough. Besides which, I’d starve.

RICHARD They’ve gone upmarket these days. They sell hot pizzas, hot chicken burgers, chips. All gourmet stuff. Then there’s the Tote, the Bookies. the Stand. The horses. Champers. Air conditioning. Atmosphere. Very sexy. You’d love it.                                                                                                         

CAROLE You think so?

RICHARD I’ll ask Sue. 

DAVID If she’s talking to you.

RICHARD What do you say?

CAROLE I told Becky we’d go shopping.

RICHARD Bring Becky. I’ll look after her.

CAROLE No you will not.

RICHARD She can study her father at close range.  The psychology of panic attacks. 

CAROLE I don’t think so.

DAVID It could be fun Carole.

RICHARD Don’t let him bluff you.

CAROLE He’s not bluffing me. 

RICHARD Go on. Be a devil.

CAROLE What do you think Rob?

ROBERT It’s your call darling.

RICHARD (AS ROBERT) It’s your call darling.

CAROLE You shut up.

ROBERT As long as you don’t expect me to stay with you all day love. I mean, racing’s a business. Have to be on the ball.

RICHARD  Left or right Robbo?

CAROLE Would you like me to come?

DAVID He’d love you to come. 

CAROLE Would Vonny like to come?

DAVID I could ask her.

ROBERT It’s up to you love-but would you like it?

CAROLE I might.

ROBERT You can’t bring Becky. Kids at the races.

DAVID A man with principles.

RICHARD And balls. Sorry. Slipped out. 

CAROLE I’ll think about it.

RICHARD You do that gorgeous.

ROBERT Eh Davo, remember that day at Moonee Valley?

RICHARD Don’t change the subject. 

ROBERT Eighteen hundred big ones each we won, on Auntie Mary. Eh? We left the races early, after the fifth race. Moonee Valley. Lucky lucky lucky-

RICHARD Think I’ll order. I’ve heard this one.

CAROLE I wouldn’t Rick.

ROBERT We get home, and here’s Carole sitting quietly at the kitchen table reading the paper. You thought we’d lost didn’t you love?


ROBERT Remember Dave?

DAVID I remember.

RICHARD How could we forget.

ROBERT Because of our long faces. Remember love? Then I pulled out all that dough, and plonked it smack bang in the middle of the old laminex kitchen table. Hah. You nearly had kittens love. Remember? Eh Dave? We danced around the kitchen. Bought champagne-

CAROLE Cheap sparkling burgundy.

ROBERT Crayfish. Prawns. Oysters. The bloody lot. Toorak toffs. You were estatic. We beat the bastards. Bloody beautiful. Bloody Auntie Mary. Last to first. Whoooshhh.                                                  






A Grain of Salt.😎

Sunday 13th June, 2021....Stress? To be sure, not from COVID, more the spooky winds. Winter, rain, flooding, marking the departure of often the best of all seasons, Autumn, albeit the pleasures robbed to a large extent by the restrictions. The federal responsibility for a national vaccine rollout plan is a non event, thankfully taken up on a state by state basis. I’m a long way off being convinced of the necessity of wearing a mask outside? And inside, no masks required if eating, drinking? A personal choice, OK, but the hazy logic of ‘forced’ wearing, causing panic more than the COVID cases? Best I curb my complaints; enough bullshit floating in via the media without me adding to it. PM Scotty is in Cornwall, a boy wearing long pants with his (war with?) China bug, ignoring climate change (?) talking global stability, brushing off his previous pro Trump image? If you can make sense of this you're  a better man -  Gunga Din. To top it off Peter Dutton calls for more (Big Brother) American troops in Darwin. A crazy, dangerous, Australian political world. Which leaves us temporarily in the hands of Michael McCormack, our very own Albert Einstein?   


A heavy blow against organised crime, including half a million dollars found in the walls of a chap arrested in Sydenham, wondering if he had smoke alarms? Conveniently allowing our (huckster) Prime Minister to highlight this ahead of the immoral, disgraceful and heartbreaking attitude to boat people, refugees, come people smugglers. Surely by now we could allow the Biloela family to return to Queensland without damage to the opinion applecart. Human rights? Pigheaded comes to mind, more importantly how does Matt Canavan, Karen Andrews, Scott and obviously Peter sleep at night? Sadly, my experience says this is the norm with many, dating way back to the 1960’s when working in the Official Receiver's Office, Bankruptcy Administration, clearly repeated by public servants (on behalf of our government) in the robodebt fiasco. Power at all levels, self righteous pricks, the perfect opportunity for Albanese to stake a claim, courage required, the re-settling in the USA or New Zealand a no no, a lifetime stain. Gutless nonsense. [Medical evidence abounds that detention for extended periods takes a heavy toll on the mental health of children and adults. Including yours truly?] 


The Saturday Paper, edited, Richard Ackland:  Australia’s government spying operation (to leverage Australia’s negotiating position over boundaries in the Timor Sea and the oil and gas prize underneath the waves?) in the ministerial offices of Timor-Leste.The Collaery and K cases are unsettling reflections of where Australia is today. A nervous, hyped-up nation, battling its demons with laws that undermine fairness and open process, that bring the justice system into odium, use national security to menace citizens and cover up government deceit, and impose the spectre of prison on journalists who have a nose for the story. [Can we trust them? Don't make me laugh,]


Nathan Buckley: His reported comment to Adam Treloar "The other players didn't like you" was a last straw for me. Lacked empathy for the players who differed from his standards of behaviour. No-one questions his loyalty, the problem mainly his inability to see other loyalties not on his radar. And so, eventually, it came to pass; Nathan Buckley as Collingwood coach. I was rarely a Buckley man, champion footballer yes, a star for the Magpies, almost as good as Michael Voss and James Hird. I was a Dane Swan man. And Heath Shaw and Alan Didak, presently Steele Sidebottom. As a coach (other than 2018, a changed man?) I've not been a fan. This past year in particular there appeared to be a sadness, loneliness, perhaps his marriage break-up, who knows? He departs with fine words from the football press and, as anticipated, Eddie McGuire’s gush as the greatest Collingwood player ever. We wish him well. [Caroline Wilson: “Buckley was still licking his Adam Treloar wounds when the Do Better report landed and Eddie McGuire stepped down. The inevitability of what took place this week seemed fated from the moment Buckley stepped into the final season of his contract with a divided board, dismantled list and not the support of the players he once had.”] Eddie McGuire, who strives to be loved, also a great contributor to Magpie land, consistently telling us “It’s as simple as that” but a reality of bullying (in the nicest way) if one doesn’t see it "as simple as that". [Nathan “I’m really content with the decision that has been reached.” Grain of Salt material?]


Recalling the old saying "He's got tickets on himself," Eden, which airs on Stan this month starring (apparently) Samuel Johnson, arguably my least favourite actor. Director, John Curran Skype called Johnson, wondering why he was considering the role. Johnson ‘‘I explained that I didn’t retire, I just quit until I achieved something different, and that different thing had been achieved, and I told him that if he wanted me on his set, there were certain non-negotiables. He agreed and I was hired.’’ Non-negotiables included no less than two takes per scene – he couldn’t be rushed as is common with many fast-moving television shoots. ‘‘That was my biggest problem during the Molly Meldrum telemovie,’’ Johnson explains. ‘‘I didn’t feel I was given enough time to produce something great. The scene might only come alive in take six, but the commercial realities don’t allow for such creative frippery.’’ [Celebrities, who needs them, not I.]


Lockdown memories: Uncle Joe Henderson was an upholsterer and Dad learnt a thing or two from him. In later years Dad would buy old chairs and re-stuff them. Mum worked in a Milk Bar at 111 High Street, Northcote while Dad was overseas. Five days a week, and every night we would wait for her to turn the corner from Cunningham Street into McLachlan, race up to meet her for the Herald newspaper to read about Collingwood, or Australia and Victoria in the cricket. My brother, 2 years younger, always got there first, better than me at running, football, and most likely fist fighting. My sister would also come to meet Mum (I could beat her) to carry the messages for her. Sometimes on Fridays Mum would give me lunch money - a big treat. I would invariably buy 3 penneth of chips or potato cakes (called fritters) and an icy pole with a small ice cream (two-up) on top. Grade 5 saw my promotion to a pie & sauce plus icy pole. Sometimes hot buttered crumpets for threepence. Pricey, but delicious. My first day at school I met Tommy Bell. If we were poor Tommy was destitute. Little, but tough, no shoes on? Most of the boys at Alfred Crescent State School (now Fitzroy North Primary) were destitute. Many were tough. I was a talker. Very very handy. They had a centrespread in the Sun newspaper years later, (16th February, 1968) describing it as “the black hole of Fitzroy.” (“The school that’s dying of shame”). Charming. No fathers around, all at War. Two of my mates lived in houses with dirt floors.  The single fronted variety, all over North Fitzroy. Not today. A fine school and expensive (still single fronted) houses inhabited by (seemingly?) Greens voters.


The USA withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in the next 3 months and the Taliban at the  ready. Like Australia, hoping the Yanks look after those who helped them; not confident... Umpires, Sydney-Hawthorn 10-26? the slant of 50/50 decisions?...The cashless (80%) welfare pension card? Smoko's?...Can we thank the SA government for the arduous COVID-19 restrictions on Collingwood and Geelong? Motivation?...More women in parliament - the Christian values of Karen Andrews, Marise Payne and Michaelia Cash?...Not sure where the buck stops, but near enough to be certain where it never appears to stop; Scotty. Also a steal from Tony Abbott “No wrecking, no undermining, no sniping”...PM Morrison calls for global allies to defend freedom over autocracy?...To re-iterate, independent assessors for NDIS packages smells of corruption...Keep yourselves nice...“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” ― George Orwell, 1984....Laughter may be good for the soul but first you have to possess a soul [Cliff Ellen]...Hooroo. Ello8.




FRANK Oh magic darling,  one long dream. We felt the history with our feet. Architecture, people, ghosts. I didn’t see any ghosts but your mother did. She’s got a third eye apparently. Talk to you later.  Bye. (HANGSUP)  Did you want to talk?

MOLLY (PREOCCUPIED)  I’ll see her later. 

FRANK A phone call for 15 cents...what’s the matter?

MOLLY I was just thinking about my camera. 

FRANK We’ll go again. Take more pictures.

MOLLY Such a shame.


FRANK Here. 

MOLLY You sly old devil. 

FRANK While you were buying your Brandy.

MOLLY You’re a darling. (MOLLY KISSES FRANK) What about the old one? 

FRANK We’re insured. No more expense concerns, no more stress, we’ll go again. Use up our frequent flyer points.

MOLLY I see.

FRANK I bought six roles of film.

MOLLY What brought all this on?

FRANK Maybe it was that Pierre of Paris kissing your hand.

MOLLY Ahh, Pierre.

FRANK Or Peter in Rome. The way they looked at you made me quite randy.

MOLLY You didn’t say so.

FRANK I thought. You’re a very attractive woman.

MOLLY Were you jealous?

FRANK Maybe - possessive? 

MOLLY How do you feel now?

FRANK Good. Holidays must improve in retrospect. “He travels safe, and not unpleasantly, who is guarded by poverty and guided by love.”

MOLLY Another flash?

FRANK The Sunday Times.  

MOLLY The house looks a bit tired after the 5 star.

FRANK Not with you in it darling.

MOLLY I feel like getting on a plane and just flying away.

FRANK It’s natural.

MOLLY What would you do if I did?

FRANK You wouldn’t. 

MOLLY You don’t think so?

FRANK Hey. Come on, what’s wrong?

MOLLY I feel like I want to see lots and lots more.

FRANK It’s the travel bug love. 

MOLLY You haven’t got it.

FRANK We’ll go again. (LAUGHS) I’ll tell you something else, while you were in that  shoe shop in Bangkok, I saw a sex shop... 


FRANK Well, strange country and all that. I’d have to be stiff to be spotted.

MOLLY Do you want to rephrase that?

FRANK They had these things called sex  aids.

MOLLY You didn’t buy any?

FRANK Customs scared me off.

MOLLY We don’t need sex  aids.

FRANK They sell them on the internet. 


FRANK They say sexual desire’s the first thing to go with old age.

MOLLY Where does that leave me? 

FRANK Haven’t lost it yet. 

MOLLY Glad to hear it.

FRANK What’s next eh? Love. Solitude. Death?

MOLLY Did you know that Shelley was drowned when he was 30?

FRANK Shelley?

MOLLY A very special poet. And you’re a dirty old man.

FRANK I don’t feel old.                                                                                                                                                      

MOLLY You think we need titillation?

FRANK Not necessarily...Can’t hurt to try.

MOLLY You’d have to hide them. 

FRANK Seems a pity to be left with only erotic dreams. 

MOLLY What if something happened to us and the kids found them?

FRANK We’d be six foot under!

MOLLY Goose.

FRANK Time goes so fast, doesn’t it? Nearly 38 years. Hard to believe. You try to hang on, what’s left...treasure it, you know, but it zips by. 40, 50, 60..in a flash. But the way I see it, if anything happened to you, without you...it would all stand still. Time...you know?

MOLLY Yes dear. You’re not special Frank.

FRANK You are.  (PAUSE) Are the kids bringing the dog?

MOLLY Bob is.

FRANK What’s for tea?

MOLLY Thai food?

FRANK I had a crazy thought for lamb chops and mashed potatoes, or a roast. We’ve got enough hand soap for the next 3 years.

MOLLY And shower caps-

FRANK Sewing kits, conditioners, frequent flyer points.  Let’s have a matinee?

MOLLY Double feature?

FRANK (LAUGHS) I can try. 

MOLLY (SIGHS) I have to go shopping.

FRANK We could eat out.

MOLLY The kids would be disappointed.

FRANK We’ve still got an hour. Let’s open the champers and retire to the bedroom.

MOLLY I don’t know. I miss Paris. 

FRANK Come on. Bloody cemeteries. You’re gorgeous. And very sexy.

MOLLY (A SMILE) Lock the security door.

FRANK Leave it open.

MOLLY What about the kids?

FRANK That’s their problem.



A Grain of Salt.😎

Tuesday 8th June, 2021. Anxiety, worry and stress? Vaccination supplies? As Bill Lawry would say 'It's all happening", for we Victorians anyway. Short and not so sweet, bloody COVID-19. "I love America, Land of the free" - substitute Victoria for America and there you have it. A mandate of love. I could drag on about lockdowns, quarantine, the various reasons, priority access to vaccine, all those ins and outs of a dog's bum, or breakfast, but we get all this on social media and newspapers and radio, the amazing array of the points of views dominated to a large extent by self interest, the net result arriving at the conclusion to ignore it all. Dragnet: Jack Webb’s ‘Joe Friday’ character typically used the phrase “All we want are the facts, ma’am.” Tell this to our shaky Prime Minister Scotty, forcibly coming to terms with Victoria being a part of Australia, at least for voting purposes. The whingers (whiners?) we ignore, particularly if qualified to receive the jab (without impediment) and have elected not to do so. James Campbell The Herald-Sun accuses Victoria of "dialling the fear up at every point", hypocritical nonsense, considering no mention of his newspaper, Nine News, 3AW and Michael O'brien; also no mention of Morrison's responsibility, the vaccine rollout and quarantine? I trust PM Morrison as far as I could throw the man, Hillsong, political donations, Brittany Higgins, long list, still, the reality of living in trying times, coupled up with contact tracing check-ins and the dreaded word 'mandate' being bandied around. The fantasy (hopefully) of a police state, until we realise Peter Dutton is but a breath away, and we surely know his thinking on these maters. Shivers? Enough said, the dog ever chasing his tail. Remember when the daily conversation was our weather, the good times? I was a terrible gambler. A consistent loser until I reached 30 when I saw the light. After that I stayed with blind poker, a consistent winner the following 25 years. The adage "Whinge and you'll win" well to the fore. Not anymore. No-one is hearing. And Scotty, he's heavily into comparisons, blame, and dodging? Imagine the situation with a strong Labor leader? Even so, moving on...  


The Saturday Paper, editorial, edited: "How could Afghanistan trust a country that spent 20 years working with local staff, contributing to a war that destabilised their home, that killed innumerable civilians, that likely achieved nothing, while committing alleged war crimes, and which then fled with half a week’s notice and with no support for the people who risked their lives to help them?" [A retired Australian officer has estimated 1,000 Afghan allies and their families are in danger and need to be resettled in the coming weeks.] 


Tony Burke Screenhub: "Now! During a pandemic, when people are already out of work, when people are already struggling to make a living, they decide now is a really good time to say to free-to-air TV, 'Oh, you don't have to do as much scripted drama as you used to.' Of all the times!—they wait until an industry is on its knees and then say, 'Oh, now's a good time to attack them.' They do that for free-to-air TV, they do that in cuts to the ABC and then they use the fact that these cuts have been made to say: 'Oh, now Foxtel is at a competitive disadvantage. We need to reduce their obligation.'" [The ABC is seeking additional funding – $30 million per annum over three years – to support production of an extra 36 hours of drama, factual and children’s content, and 30 hours of arts, music and specialist programming each year. Good news if approved but Melbourne performers shouldn't get too excited. Likely or unlikely, sure to be Sydney bound?] 


The Mighty Magpies: The day began well as an omen with Gary Lyon and Jonathan Brown calling the early Sydney St Kilda game, meaning (obviously) we were spared from their doubtful expertise for our clash with Adelaide. Better still Sydney won, never forgetting 1966. It wasn't all roses. We still had Nick Riewoldt calling and after watching the Melbourne Brisbane game the previous night it was like watching AFL Reserves. Nick was unusually kind and we (or they, the Pies) won. We look to Queen's Birthday against the old enemy Melbourne, presently strutting, chests out after 3 big meals covering Richmond the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane, looking to dine on the magpies as sweets come pudding. Knowing their supporters from the 1950's on, it will not be complete without a victory over the Pies, preferably a thrashing. We wait, we hope. Can 1958 repeat? Unlikely, but for now we bask for 6 days, in a victory. Go Pies.   


History, late 1940's: The Rainsfords lived two up from us. They were Catholics so they had fish and chips for tea every Friday, lucky devils. They would have tomato sauce with their fish and chips, whereas we were a strong brown vinegar family. Dick & Rene Rainsford. Children Reg, Brian, Maureen and Gary, mates for life. Rene Mason always had heavy make-up on and would stand in her kitchen, smoking, with her back to the stove, holding her dress up to keep her bum warm. Rene and Mum always had a big day out on Endowment Day - a monthly event. In their lounge room (like ours, rarely used) etched into the woodwork around the mantelpiece, on both sides, was the sign of the swastika. At the back of my mind was the theory they could be secret German spies. Dick Rainsford had rows of vegetables in his backyard and when he watered them we would walk up and down in the mud with bare feet. We made mud pies so as we only had a bath once a week, maybe washed our feet with the hose? They had an Auntie Bubba (Hilda) who had at least three husbands and as we saw her, a real lady of the world, attractive, in control, over men and life. Brian was a best mate. Only small around 5’5’’, handsome in his baby faced way, charming with people and females, and a year older and much much tougher than me. I always remember him for the “Ho ho” saying. Back then if you didn’t believe someone you would say “ho ho.” (Pronounced hoh hoh), disappeared into history. He would teach me about females, knew everything there was to know from my point of view, not that I learned, but I did like listening. A policeman, Constable Patton, picked on him one night outside the Westgarth theatre at interval (it wasn’t unusual for a copper to give you a whack around the ears back then) and he gave the policeman a hiding. Patton was off duty and nothing ever came of it. We would go to my Mum (in the early days) and say “Can we go to the pictures Mum, Brian’s allowed” Then we would repeat the dose with Rene. No doubt the mums were awake to us, glad to see the back of us. Anyone gave me any trouble, they had Brian to contend with, and believe me, no-one could beat Brian. 


Jon Faine: “Senator Colbeck’s demeanour at Senate estimates this past week, and the PM turning his back on reasonable and legitimate questions in the Parliament, suggest arrogance and a sense of entitlement. They both seem irritated at the very notion of being held to account. Health Minister Greg Hunt reverts to the debating techniques from his university days, leaving us knowing he has ‘‘great respect’’ for his inquisitors on TV and radio – but no genuine answers to their persistent and fair questions. He needs to step out of the political bubble and grasp each interview as an opportunity to inform rather than to deny what everyone can plainly see. From here? Express-track the inexcusably delayed stand-alone quarantine base. Commission some clear public health messages that are not delivered by stern doctors in white coats wagging their fingers. Use humour, popular culture, faces we trust from diverse backgrounds. Enforce QR code compliance. Oh, and while I am at it, stop throttling universities and treating the media as if they are the enemy. Save that for the virus.” [All in line with my point of view, allowing for Jon's residency in Fitzroy North.]


What the dickens is empathy training?...Does Ben Roberts-Smith have the 'eyes' of a bully?...Queensland Labor politics, so helpful to the AFL 2020, election victory, change of tune 2021, a Mathias Cormann about-face?...Interesting was never a favourite word (from theatregoers) to performers after a play. Looked on as a polite way of not liking the show? Now replaced by the much used word fascinating, sometimes even very interesting?...David Speers; a curly one, can he be trusted?...If you're voting for Joel Fitzgibbon at the next election you're voting for Joel Fitzgibbon...Property prices up and up, metro and country, the difficulty of getting into the market. Why? Who is buying?...Why bother? Sunday Age letter of complaint, the Victorian government removed the option of anonymity of sperm donors, name and address withheld. He should be so lucky?....Who gets Morrison's $500 a week handout? Declared hot spots over 3 days? Snowy on the trams?...Naomi Osaka is a class act, as for after matches press conferences, who watches?...The significance of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the inferior qualities of the legislated Voice as opposed to the constitutional Voice to Parliament and the significance for all Australians of taking this important matter forward to a national referendum...Benjamin Netanyahu or Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid. What's the difference, from the annexation of most of the occupied West Bank point of view?... Should I give away the Joe McDotes? Mickey Mantle, “If I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.”..."We lose the right of complaining sometimes by forbearing it; but we often treble the force." [Sterne]...Keep yourselves nice; hooroo...Cliff Ellen.





WAITER (TO MOLLY) Scusa bella Principessa.

MOLLY Grazie.

FRANK Yeah, well done mate. Grazie. 



MOLLY It’s nice. 

FRANK Zealous little bugger. Did we ask for the water?

MOLLY Just accept it darling.

FRANK Do they charge?

MOLLY Does it matter?

FRANK Just wondered.

MOLLY How’s your foot?

FRANK The band aid rubs against the back of my shoe.

MOLLY You didn’t have to walk in bare feet. 

FRANK A man of action darling.


FRANK A lost hankering for action.

MOLLY A lost cause?

FRANK I just have to be more receptive. Feel the spirits. Locate my third eye. That Colosseum must have it’s share of ghosts.

MOLLY History darling.

FRANK Feels a bit weird doesn’t it, sitting on the footpath.

MOLLY They do it in Melbourne. 

FRANK Rather be inside eating roast lamb.

MOLLY Elizabeth’s cooking lamb tonight.

FRANK That’ll frighten the daylights out of the oven. 

MOLLY This is romantic.

FRANK It is darling. We’d better buy some savlon for my foot.

MOLLY You didn’t bring  any?

FRANK Can’t find it. 

MOLLY This is so nice. Roma. 

FRANK Meek-onos. Mik-onos.

MOLLY Well done.

FRANK I’m quite looking forward to sprawling on a Greko Island. Ti Kaneis.

MOLLY I told you.

FRANK What did you tell me darling?

MOLLY Travel. It’s spiritual. You haven’t had a panic attack for days. No hernia problems. No prostate problems. Aren’t you glad you came?

FRANK Apart from my foot.

MOLLY This holiday will make you ten years younger.

FRANK I’ll bet you a dollar they charge for the water.

MOLLY Frank!

FRANK Just teasing darling.




A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜‰

Thursday, 3rd June, 2021. As I see it the lockdown was a necessity, the benefits (the urgency to vaccinate, to have COVID testing, the realisation of the pace of the spread in this new strain) underlining the realisation of where we are at. Yes, it's a pain and yes, we live among fools who ignore what's staring them in the face. The percentages may well be still heavily in our favour (of not copping the COVID) but that's far from the point. Herd immunity is the point. The blame game (an Adelaide hotel, the Victorian government) is irrelevant, stupidity amidst rusted on political party supporters. As for our federal government that's another matter. No names, but in the acting caper 'like' situations, as in some well known actors making a profession of complimenting fellow performers, his/her work, while bad mouthing privately, bringing into focus my recognition of Scotty's support of Victoria, ditto Frydenburg. Add to this the diversity in political leadership; Michael McCormack, Dan Tehan? The word 'pathetic' springs to mind. And to think we voted Morrison's lot ahead of my choice; Billy Shorten. Result: We all pay. Katharine Murphy correctly brands them dumb and dumber. The catchcry - "It's not a race?" Add to this the editorial, The Saturday Paper: "Run by a competent professional. Morrison is not that. He is the subcommittee chair of a suburban netball club buffooning his way through an office to which he should never have risen. Luck is the cliché of Australian politics, and through much of this pandemic it has been there: a compliant, engaged populace; island borders; examples from abroad of the virus before it came here. But luck cannot hold forever and it was wasted on a government that did nothing with it, that did not build a robust quarantine system and that failed to secure or deliver a comprehensive vaccine program." Moving on...


The Saturday Paper also wrote: The rollout of this vaccine has been politicised from the start. The federal government has assumed controls it doesn’t exercise in any other settings. It has messed up supply and stoked hesitancy. He hoarded responsibilities because they came with photo ops. The longer it has gone on the more obviously ill equipped he is to deliver. The tricks don’t work. The imaginary queue that served him as Immigration minister is now simply a symbol of unmet promises. We are at the front of nothing except another painful lockdown and we have only the federal government to blame. He has rejected any criticism of the bungled vaccine rollout, describing Labor Party critics as “whingers” and claiming “every Australian was happy”. Peter Dutton on the other hand wants to ensure his department “represents the people of Australia”. And, as we all know, the people of Australia don’t drink tea while dressed in ways that represent their individuality. That’s what foreigners and spies do. In fact, if Dutton had any sense, he’d use these morning teas as an opportunity to find out who is a traitor to his Australia. Dutton announced when he first took over the Defence portfolio, vowing to stop “these woke agendas”. John Kunkel, Scott Morrison’s chief of staff was tasked with investigating allegations that the prime minister’s media team gave negative briefings to journalists against the partner of Brittany Higgins. The results were in keeping with every result ever delivered when someone is asked to investigate their own wrongdoing – mining companies that blow up heritage sites and police departments that look into racial violence committed by their officers – and found no “first-hand” evidence. “My chief of staff found in the negative,” ???


Fascinating? Reason as logic, reason as motive or reason as a way of life? The COVID-19 as a blame game emphasises the massive number of sheep we live among, particularly rusted on Victorian liberal party supporters. Michael O’Brien is obvious, all political and bugger the truth, sadly supported by many. Maybe I should buy an Apple watch after this lockdown to record other people’s pronouncements, the idiotic labyrinth of the spoken word, as Anson Cameron calls it. [The shutdown of Australia’s second biggest state, representing 24 per cent of the national economy was a shock, right? Wrong. Jane Halton knew it was inevitable. Jane recommended improvements to the quarantine system in her report to the national cabinet last year. They’ve mostly been ignored. ‘‘It was predictable,’’ says the former secretary of the federal Department of Health and co-chair of the international vaccine distribution facility for poor countries, COVAX. How? ‘‘Several things,’’ she tells. ‘‘No quarantine system can be 100 per cent; not all quarantine systems are best practice; the virus is becoming more infectious; as things have relaxed in the community, the risk of significant spread goes up.’’]


Funny fellow? Declaring full confidence in his ability to triumph, Albanese said he was ready to ‘‘kick with the wind’’ in the game of politics. No rush, he said. The policies were coming. He argued a decisive clash with Prime Minister Scott Morrison was only just about to commence: ‘‘The fourth quarter is beginning now.’’ A Labor government would reform industrial relations, stop wage theft, reverse the casualisation of the labour force and help lift wages. Another Seinfeld. A show about nothing?


Bloody hell. I got involved with 'nothing' the other day and didn't get around to my afternoon nap till 3.30ish, a quick hour, cant have the usual 90 minutes or my night sleep problem. Also forgot to set the alarm, awoke to a beautiful feeling of anticipation, you could almost call it excitement. A beautiful dream. Apparently a big night out to follow, and a gorgeous female without a face I could recall. Woke up 6.15pm, lay there till 7, nice, then it hit me, the cold, the time, the reality of lockdown, bugger bugger, Campbell's soup and toast for tea? I get the feeling the fat lady has arrived at the theatre and heading towards her dressing room to be made up in preparation for her song. Could be COVID, could be me. My experience tells me these ladies, particularly of the fat variety, take longer to prepare. Here's hoping. My garden needs work done. I think about it, out there, and remember Marlon Brando in his garden, The Godfather, heart attack, and go back inside. There is one plus. As an amateur writer I have the freedom of being here for the enjoyment, no reputation required. At 85, to be sure, who would listen anyway? Even so, in the second week of lockdown, an aura of gloom invades us; me? Little things. Television dramas, murder mysteries, once a relaxation, somehow tainted after the nightly (COVID) news, the COVID documentaries, even the AFL football shows, appear to add to the gloom. I'm a rusted on fast forward man during the commercials, now I often let them play out, for relief? Positivity, keep on punching; Silly old bugger?   


Last Saturday was the coldest morning since 1949, bringing back memories. Sunday evening was bath night. Separating the kitchenette from the bathroom (tin bath) was a copper, where the water was heated and (by saucepan, called a “dipper”) put into the bath, cold water added if necessary. I was always last in, murky waters indeed. And what if the others peed in it? They never owned up but my suspicions remain. The copper was where Mum did all the washing. Nobody we knew owned a washing machine. In the first month of my sister’s birth 1937 there was a record number of fogs. Poor Mum, getting all those nappies clean on our clothesline - a couple of sticks called props, with wire in between. Brother Laurie and I were later upgraded to a separate room, out near the back door, Grandpa Henderson moved to Auntie Dolls. I slept nearest the fibro cement wall, with Laurie’s bed tight up against mine, and half a wardrobe each. God knows what we put in the wardrobe, we were very short on spare clothes. A typical old wardrobe, but cut into two so there were no arguments. Dad was an optimist. One very small bedroom in stark contrast to kid’s bedrooms today. No toys, no posters, very few clothes, two beds, and no worries. Later still, sister upgraded, Dad converting the front veranda into a bedroom. I had a passion for PK chewing gum and saved them. At one stage I had a tin with some 300 pieces saved. Roydon, neighbour Audrey Jones boyfriend, brought home (from the War) a whole box of juicy fruit chewing gum, which possibly started my hoard. I also had a wonderful used chewing gum display on the fibro wall next to my bed. I've been chewing ever since. [I can use this valuable background like our "Albo" Albanese if I ever run for PM.]


Joke of the week: Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck...Second joke. OECD head Mathias Cormann's speech, the need for ambitious climate targets and sustainable growth?...The coach, on Melbourne’s victory “It really shows the maturity of the group”?...Fox Footy commentator Jonathan Brown's calling of the Collingwood Geelong game was pathetic. He's no friend of Collingwood...American film crew excused from lockdown, no surprise, depends who you know?...Asylum seekers in detention - forever. Embarrassing. Disgraceful?..."Wherever there is authority, there is a natural inclination to disobedience." [Haliburton]...Hooroo...Cliff Ellen.








FRANK Darling, where have you been? I was worried.


FRANK How was the cemetery?

MOLLY Beautiful. 

FRANK I bought you these.

MOLLY Put them in a vase.

FRANK They haven’t got one.

MOLLY You didn’t bring a vase? 


MOLLY You found the hotel then?

FRANK Caught a taxi. Asked him to cruise along Avenue D’Italie until I recognised the place.

MOLLY How much did it cost?

FRANK Not much. (MOLLY LAUGHS) I can’t help being prudent darling. 

MOLLY You can, you know.

FRANK We might live till we’re eighty. 

MOLLY You’ll be ninety.

FRANK On the pension?

MOLLY Now, is important Frank.   

FRANK Are you allright darling?

MOLLY I’ve had a wonderful afternoon. I walked with the Sparrow and the Diva...and Oscar.  

FRANK “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”

MOLLY (EXAMINES HERSELF) Do you think I look like Racquel Welch?


MOLLY The top of The Eiffel Tower. Paris, laid out all around me, at my feet.

FRANK I went half way.

MOLLY Don’t be ridiculous.

FRANK I don’t lack the will darling, just the strength. 

MOLLY You don’t understand Frank. You have to do it. Go to the top. You love travelogues. Didn’t they have any meaning? I’ve read books since I was a girl. I’ve always wanted to see things, fulfilling a dream. The older I got, the stronger the obsession became. Can you understand that?

FRANK Of course-

MOLLY If you want to be a Knight you’ve got to act like one. 

FRANK It’s one thing to look darling; it’s another altogether to actually see.

MOLLY I beg your pardon?

FRANK Merely a flash of insight.

MOLLY More like a blood clot. Aren’t you overwhelmed by the sheer physical beauty of Paris? You only ever go half way Frank. 

FRANK I get a bit frightened-of heights.

MOLLY What will you do when we get to the Acropolis?                                                                                                              

FRANK I’ll definitely have a look. I promise.

MOLLY I’ll want to take my foot out of my shoe and feel the soil, feel the rocks, the marble. I’ll want to feel the ground under me. I want to feel the energy. The mighty Acropolis under me. History. 5000 years. Fulfilling a lifetime dream. 

FRANK Yes darling.

MOLLY You’re not hearing, Mr insightful flash!

FRANK I am darling. I’m hearing. Unlike our children.

MOLLY Two more wonderful days in Paris, and then on to Rome. 

FRANK The ruins of Roma. Two coins in the fountain.

MOLLY Three. (PAUSE) What’s the most important thing in life Frank?

FRANK The more you get the more you want? 

MOLLY Frank!

FRANK Joking love. Ancient ruins?


FRANK Justice?


FRANK Respect.


FRANK Well, yes...of course, and...

MOLLY Not money.

FRANK Shit no-

MOLLY And not your job.

FRANK Good health?


FRANK Yeah...and family.

MOLLY Same thing.

FRANK Same thing...love?

MOLLY You’ve got it...I love the flowers.

FRANK Am I really an arsehole?

MOLLY Yes darling!  







A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯

Friday, 28th May, 2021. I'm listening, to Mama Cass - Dream a little Dream? Interrupted by reality? Pickled Onions? I was far from convinced in Anthony Albanese’s support when Bill Shorten was leading Labor. The only reason Billy Boy is in Albo's shadow cabinet is to shut Victorian Labor up. Anthony’s so far short as an inspiring leader it’s becoming joke material. Could he win the election for Labor? Anything’s possible, but only as a vote against Scott Morrison, not (never?) as a believer in Albanese. The old Housing Commission beginning, some misguided sympathy vote? He talks of the “final quarter”? All his eggs in the basket as a final 4 week pelt? Crooked politicians, pseudo financial counsellors, property developers, negative gearing wizards, rich people who want to become richer at our expense and insurance companies? A bit bloody late mate. Yes, likely he’s holding fire because Morrison’s certain to use Tony Abbott’s attack mode to hide his own numerous misdemeanours, but meantime where’s the hope for Labor voters? At the very least he should have been screaming 6 months ago for a Howard Springs in every state? True, right now he's blaming the government, but where was he? I liken it to Collingwood winning the premiership. Gough, Hawkey, Pauly, memories, long gone. “It’s Time”? Put up or shut up? Another few years of these crooks, the possibility, shudder, of more from Peerless Peter Dutton. Then there’s COVID-19, shutdowns, vaccinations, the Wuhan laboratory error, the disappearance of half of the Philippines fishing areas, masks, the (former) ABC, the Arts, the soul. Breathe deeply, from the diaphragm, diaphragmatic belly breathing? What choice? Tanya Plibersek, Jim Chalmers? One day, yet again, at a time. Depressed? Nah. I’ll do as Albanese should do, keep punching. It’s Reconciliation week - “The Australian dream is rooted in  racism” - not to mention (shush) entitle-ism. Maybe start listening to Stan Grant. The better news. Mad as Hell is back on the ABC. Alternatively, the hermit lifestyle, solitude, silence, contemplation and communion with nature. Lah de bloody dah...[Cute: Letters: "I was born into a seemingly endless era of dull, conservative governments led by Bob Menzies. I do not want to die the same way. If Labor does not offer a clear alternative to the current smoothtalking, do-nothing crowd, I fear I will." And another "In 2015 I worked as a nurse on Nauru. I witnessed first-hand the speedy and efficient building of 1000 comfortable demountables by a huge team of some 10,000 Australian and Papua New Guinea workers, in a week".]


Lockdown: Achtung! Patsy Cline. Seven Lonely Days. I feel for those small businesses, the little bars, the coffee shops in Melbourne and Chapel Street Prahran where they charge exorbitant prices for coffee, sandwiches and beer. The sad souls will have to yet again increase their prices, if they survive. Will they lay blame, mostly yes. Aimed at Scotty? Mostly no. The state government? Mostly yes. They're a weird mob? [Doing it tough in lockdown. Chap on radio, owns 2 hotels, wife runs a small business, 2 children. Not easy. I shed a tear.] I love the way Greg Hunt begins his answers - “With great respect”? Victorian contact tracers were working to identify missing links in a growing northern suburbs coronavirus cluster. This puts a cat amongst the pigeons of those 30% who held back on the COVID vaccine (Astra-Zeneca). [University of Cambridge study, the risk factor, down to 0.2 cases per 100,000 for people in their 60s.].


Thoreau: “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” Visions: The early memories were of a street, McLachlan Street Westgarth, leading to the bridge across Merri Creek to Russell Station. The dominating memory, a street full of kids. Chock a bloody block. Loud voices. Screaming to be heard. I can still see it now, not myself, just lots of kids. Playing cricket, tennis ball to a light post as a wicket, or kicking a paper or sock football around, or playing chasey, hidey, marbles, or fighting, throwing stones (yonnies) at catholics, left footers, jumping like frogs, in and out the water, or the baker's cart, or the iceman, or the dirtman (rubbish collector) and sometimes, though rare, the spooky nightman (lavatories), but predominately kids, lots of kids. And after school, and holidays, and summertime till late at night, home for tea and back outside. No fathers, away at the war apparently, rarely given a passing thought, left when I was 4? Empire Day at school, union jack badges, free milk. And Merri Creek, a world of discovery; tadpoles, yabbies, frogs, leeches, flooding at times almost up to the bridge, and couples under the peppercorn trees along the railway line at night, sometimes, if lucky. The Salvos on Sundays,"Onward Christian Soldiers" a favourite, kids surrounding them, church on Sundays, a penny in the plate, or pocketed? Alfred Crescent State School and tougher North Fitzroy kids, keep clear. Edinburgh Gardens across the road, for nature study, Shakespeare. Who? 


PM, apologise to Holgate? The majority report, led by Green Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, made 25 recommendations. These included the Australia Post board, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, all owe Ms Holgate an apology ‘‘for denying her the legal principles of procedural fairness and natural justice in her departure from Australia Post’’. This lot? Not in my lifetime.


It's your  life. Your opportunity, a one off so to speak. I've used this philosophy near enough to all my life, I must have read it somewhere as a boy, maybe my father's attitude, whatever. Sure, I'm obviously one to have my say, my opinion, but if you go another way so be it. I'm not bothered. Even with my kids, same thing. Go your own way. I'm rarely surprised by the enthusiasm of some to argue their case. Human nature. More fascinated as to why it's so important for them to convince me to see it their way. If nothing else it helps to pass the time over a pot of Carlton draught. George Bernard Shaw said, ‘‘Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything’’. True enough. Is it progress when they invent a machine to cut off 1000 jobs?  Who decides the benefit of progress?   


Sean Kelly, The Age: Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian lead Liberal governments either in minority or perched on the edge of it, carrying the weight of years in power, beset by scandals, each onto their third leader, and yet, somehow, favoured to win another term. And so it will entrench the sense that incumbency is an invincible advantage right now.


The ancient Greeks, after examining human corpses, decided our brain was a cooling mechanism for our body; thoughts and emotions coming from the heart. Science might understand something about the brain but there is much we don’t know, and consciousness heads the list. Science hasn’t been able to find or prove the existence of this God in me but it does not mean it doesn’t exist. Can we predict future actions of the brain? Anyone married for more than a month knows it cannot, and any parent will tell you predicting the thoughts of children is impossible. When a human being dies science finds a way to re-use the organs but I doubt it will ever find a way to re-insert a brain, or a soul, thankfully. For the record my brain froze around the same time lust ended, a decade ago.   


700 highly paid employees at NBN Co received average personal bonuses of $50,000 last year. Sack them Scotty?..Is Chris Uhlmann a journalist or just another Murdoch hack?...I'm told some people still swear by Gatorade, sports science innovation, to help you win from within? Nonsense obviously, but not surprising, coupled with non smokers who eat organic food?... Nathan Buckley’s remark, ‘‘I don’t have a message for [the Collingwood members), mate. I coach a footy team.’’ You're the face of magpie land Nathan. It may be  true but why the sour face? ...Neoliberalism, free-market capitalism; Papua New Guinea bills the government $75 an hour, pays workers $8 an hour. Par for the course, move on...Phantom of the Opera, Hamilton, Moulin Rouge, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? All to Melbourne. Me? I'll stay home... ”And they who call you fool, with equal claim, may plead an ample title to the name." [Damasippus]....Hooroo...Cliff Ellen.






BARMAN Oui Madam.

MOLLY Set them up Joe.

BARMAN Seven up madam?

MOLLY No, sorry. I was daydreaming. An old Frank Sinatra song. A favourite of my husband and I. Long, long ago. Brandy and dry please Joe.

BARMAN Ahh. Let me guess. You have an argument, oui?

MOLLY Oui Joe. We had an argument. A tiff .In Paris of all places. 

BARMAN City of amour Madam.

MOLLY City of romance, Joe. That’s what Paris does to you. Reminds you of the romance...that once was.

BARMAN Ne-ver.                                                                                                                       

MOLLY Of what I’m missing, what I need.

BARMAN We all need romance, Madam.

MOLLY We do indeed Joe. We do indeed. That’s the real magic. 

BARMAN Joe is a very good listener, Madam.

MOLLY Joe is delightful. (TAKES HER DRINK. PAYS) Thank you Joe. Merci. It’s not so easy this holiday business. The big adventure after a lifetime together. Where did they go? Thirty-seven of them. 


MOLLY Oui. Different personalities. Trying to compromise. Searching for that old feeling, the kisses, the cuddles.

BARMAN The love has gone Madam?

MOLLY Temporarily misplaced Joe. 

BARMAN One must not dwell on the past Madam. The future-it beck-ons.

MOLLY And the present?

BARMAN The present is the future Madam, and the past.

MOLLY (LAUGHS) You married Joe?

BARMAN Three times Madam.

MOLLY No! Get out.

BARMAN Get in, madam. Variety. Good for the spirit. Oui?


BARMAN So, it is Madam. A lovely lady like you should try it.

MOLLY You think?

BARMAN Of course, Madam. You only live once.

MOLLY Sounds like a movie.

BARMAN Or a song, the seven-up song! ... Joe finishes in one hour.

MOLLY Ahh, Joe.  Variety. I like the sound of that. 

BARMAN We will sing the same song. Oui?

MOLLY I’m a grandmother you know.

BARMAN So is Racquel Welch Madam.

MOLLY That’s true. 

BARMAN “A lovely lady, garmented in light From her own beauty” 

MOLLY Sorry?

BARMAN Shelley, madam. Lust never sleeps.

MOLLY Shelley?

BARMAN Joe, madam.

MOLLY I see.

BARMAN Joe finishes in 57 minutes.

MOLLY (LAUGHS) Shelley. They should pay you double. I need a shovel Joe.

BARMAN A shovel, Madam?

MOLLY A large shovel. To hit the bastard over the head with. 

BARMAN Take careful aim madam. Better dead than injured. Oui? You must make him want you.

MOLLY He wants me Joe. He needs me. He’s a man you see.

BARMAN 56 minutes Madam.

MOLLY And then?

BARMAN Madam’s pleasure?

MOLLY(SMILES) Play that song again Joe.





A Grain of Salt.😎

Sunday, 23rd May, 2021. Josh Frydenberg “Australia is playing its part on climate change, having met our 2020 commitments and on track to meet and beat our 2030 target,” Arguably the biggest lie of the past 5 years. Sadly Frydenberg, obviously Dutton and our dodgy Prime Minister, make our previous times under previous (so called) leaders seem like heaven, on the proverbial stick. I'm tapering off, to a degree, old age and all that. Currently some 29% of Australians are carrying on like pork chops. Somebody mentions blood clots and they run for cover; one in 200,000, thereabouts. I hope they don't swim in Port Phillip Bay, keeping in mind the risk of a shark attack, some 7 deaths the past 175 years, ignoring the 35,000 or more who died driving here for a day at the beach. Beware of cars? Smoking, drinking, a dozen other reasons. There's a risk factor in walking to your bloody letter box; spiders? It was only a year ago we were hoping someone would invent a vaccine? Now you have your cake and you can’t find a bloody knife? I need big words to expunge these dreadful people from my everyday existence. Not only our leaders of course. Listening to the radio, the various letters pages, emphasise our confusion. Well, my confusion anyway. The vacant reasons for not taking the needle. They're waiting, for what? A second, third wave, Godot? I'll try Thoreau...“Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through country, church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call REALITY, and say, this is, and no mistake”. I feel better now? Not really. The cold mornings, the Collingwood disaster. Time for a beer, a cigarette, meditation. One day at a time. Even so...


Further - Reading where up to a third of our population are not going to take the vaccine, proof of the number of dickheads we live alongside. I assume these like minded loonies do not believe in climate change, surely an even bigger disaster? 46 per cent of voters believe the Coalition is the best party to manage COVID-19 compared to 20 per cent who prefer Labor. On jobs and wages, it is 37 to 30 per cent. On health and aged care it is 34 to 29 per cent. That is the power of mammoth spending. The Coalition is lavishing taxpayer funds on problems that often come from its own neglect, such as in aged care, but the effect on voters is real. Basically double dutch figures with the usual margin of error between 2-3% and under 2000 people, meaning bugger all in terms of the next election, zooming in? 


I was having coffee in a little Cafe looking out over Port Phillip Bay, across the road from Nepean Highway, thinking back to 1966, an Accountant in the Public Service. St Kilda wins the Grand Final by one point. Back then they had a tea room where we would all congregate twice daily and all they talked about was superannuation units and how much they would be worth when they reached retirement at 65. I wasn't listening of course. Thirty years old, more interested in other things? The average age for dying was 67, a lousy two years to whoop it up. 2001 was light years away, as was a Collingwood premiership. I looked up at the street sign, Ozone Street, Rye, on the Mornington Peninsula. The big Safeway Supermarket looking out to the Bay between Ozone and Hygeia Streets (named after the ferries running from Port Melbourne to Sorrento between 1886 and 1910). I ordered a second hot strong cappuccino from the pretty waitress as I pondered not too fleetingly, but longingly, on her shapely Betty Grable legs, a minor advantage of invisibility. My memory zipped back to 1940, our first holiday in Rye. Travelling from Westgarth was the equivalent of an overseas trip. A train from Rushall to Princes Bridge, then Flinders Street to Frankston and the neverending trip (90 minutes), still some 90 minutes 2021, on the Portsea Peninsula Bus. The excitement of seeing the water between Mordialloc and Aspendale. That whiff of anticipation, that very special smell. Number 14 Ozone Street. The house long gone. No electricity, the outside lavatory a hole in the ground; spiders, ants, mosquitoes and no Safeway monster. Streams of consciousness, flashbacks of confusion, happiness, fear. No money, same as everybody. Mum’s instructions “Go out and play, and don’t get into mischief. And be home for tea at 6pm." Free to roam.  Go Pies. 


First coined by the Roman poet Horace more than 2,000 years ago, carpe diem (or ‘seize the day’) is “one of the oldest philosophical mottos in Western history.” According to social philosopher Roman Krznaric. “Human beings have always had mediated experiences, ever since the invention of reading, but now things like TV have so removed us from direct experience of life that we’ve almost forgotten what it’s like. Krznaric wrote Carpe Diem Regained: The Vanishing Art of Seizing the Day. Seize the day! That’s what he said. An inspirational comment? How about “Have a nice day” or “cheerio”? He bullocked off to seize his frivolous day. I was at the cafe, coffee, reading, MMOB. I drifted back; the late 50’s. The open fields of green surrounded by friends, acquaintances, sunflowers, daffodils and old people. Swings, slides, running and tennis balls, the Merri Creek, tadpoles, the tip. Mucking around. No fields now, big trees, apartments, surrounding me. Walking is difficult. Hard to seize the coffee cup let alone the bloody day. Maybe go backwards; is there an App to go backwards? The brain’s still working, just. See a doctor, antibiotics for the back; miracle drug guaranteed to bring on diarrhea. Bloody forest. Snakes everywhere; huntsman, politicians, crooks. Mates, Gary and Jack, Lawrie, Nancy, lovely Dianna, all to lah lah land. A day at a time, an hour, a bloody minute. COVID. Seizing be damned. Back to my newspaper. 


I spent my first 19 year in Northcote (Westgarth) taking in North Fitzroy, Collingwood obviously. It stays with you forever. Eventually the sadness of losing Northcote and North Fitzroy, and who can believe it - Collingwood? Some half of those 19 years were in St Kilda, Luna Park, the darker side, the mini golf, prostitutes. St Kilda, seemingly, hopefully (the film festival, the writers festival) still survives. On the other hand - the City of Port Phillip plans to stop funding some of Melbourne’s leading independent arts organisations, including contemporary Australian drama innovators Red Stitch and St Kilda’s development hothouse Theatre Works. $30,000 each. Please God no. The insanity?


Our mate Peerless Peter (Dutton) true to form. The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia to acknowledge the diversity of the Defence workforce – marked with colour, cake and a gentle reminder to use inclusive language – is a major threat to our national security and must be stopped? That chap who ran the Gestapo during WW2 comes to mind.


Jon Faine. The Age, edited: Government budgets are now theatrical events rather than financial statements. Even cursory scrutiny of last year’s efforts – federal or state – or any of the years before, will reveal that the promises made and predictions relied upon bear little connection to reality. It is all about the moment, not what happens afterwards. Almost no one follows up any of the grand promises made. There are zero long-term electoral consequences when sometimes only months later the grand sweeping commitments are quietly abandoned. Anything to distract the voters from the astonishing and inexplicable failure to successfully vaccinate Australia as an approaching deep winter brings a probable third infection wave. Revealingly, there are other issues worrying Liberals in marginal seats. Voters in the formerly safe but now marginal Liberal seat of Higgins, around Toorak, Armadale and Malvern, have benefited from a letterbox survey. All the signs are there. With the federal budget out of the way, the faux election campaign begins. Ignore the PM’s protestations to the contrary – he will go anytime he thinks it is to his advantage. As John Howard always warned ‘‘you cannot fatten a pig on market day’’. [Good man, Jon.]


Keeping the borders shut? I live alongside 6 two bedroom B&B's. Noisy buggers. Keep the borders to the Mornington Peninsula shut?...Inappropriate behaviour; unwarranted conduct reasonably interpreted to be demeaning or offensive. Persistent, repeated inappropriate behaviour can become a form of harassment and thereby undermine a culture of safety? Who decides?...Another gem from Matthew Richardson "Bontempelli is getting more balls on the outside, so he's either going to pass it to someone or kicking goals."...The Israeli Palestine ceasefire is simply that, a ceasefire.The balance of power is heavily in favour of Israel?...David Wenham is in town appearing at some Sup Nova thing. The females love him. No idea why?...Hand washing, religiously, on return from the RSL; a pot or two. Assuming I had a slash there, should that area also be washed?...I'm happy I never bought a mercedes car. My toyota corolla thankfully gets me to Woolworths twice a week...Former Collingwood coach Phonse Kyne's message to the team at three quarter time with the magpies behind on the scoreboard: "Let's stir up the stove."...The 6pm Nine News is basically a publicity site for Morrison's re-election....I’ve been  dreaming lots more, that wonderful tune “I’ll see you in my dreams.” It’s day 19 since my COVID-19 vaccination. I read of the blood clot warning from days 4-20. Last day tomorrow? No more dreams?...Keep yourselves nice... Hooroo...Cliff Ellen. 






PETER Scusa. Mi puo aiutare.

MOLLY Sorry. I don’t understand.

PETER You’re Australian.

MOLLY Is it so obvious?

PETER Long way. (MOLLY SMILES) Actually, I wonder if you would be kind enough to assist me. I’m wanting a decent brand of perfume and I’m afraid I’m not very good at it.

MOLLY That depends who it’s for.

PETER My mother.

MOLLY I see.

PETER Really. I always bring home a present for mother. One of life’s little duties. 

MOLLY Lucky mother.

PETER I’ll take that as a compliment. 

MOLLY An elderly lady or a modern lady?

PETER Definitely conservative.

MOLLY I love Georgio, but, I’d say your mother would prefer L’ Air Du Temps. 

PETER Thank you. Are you travelling on an organised tour?

MOLLY With my husband. We’re going to Athens and Mykonos.

PETER Your first visit?

MOLLY Our first overseas trip.

PETER How romantic. (MOLLY LAUGHS) Mykonos is the most beautiful island. There’s a wonderful little restaurant not far from the harbour. Little Venice. You must try it.

MOLLY I might just do that.

PETER I’m Peter. Perhaps we could meet there for lunch one day?

MOLLY Mother wouldn’t object?

PETER (LAUGHS) Mother would be thrilled.


FRANK Arri-eee vederci Roma.....goodbye.....dah dah, dah dum-

PETER (ENTERS. SITS. LOOKS)... Enjoy Rome did we?

FRANK Mmm? Oh g’day mate. Yes. Off to Athens now, If the plane ever decides to arrive. 40 minutes late. Why don’t they speak English over these loudspeakers?

PETER They don’t speak Italian at the English speaking airports.

FRANK Is that right?

PETER The plane has arrived. It’s all a matter of clearance. Rome is a busy airport. 

FRANK It’s not a very big plane.

PETER It’s a 777.

FRANK Seasoned traveller are you?

PETER Not as such, no. I take myself off once every year. Three or four weeks. Unwind. Escape the madness of London.

FRANK (LAUGHS) Good old London, yes. What do you do?


FRANK For a living man. Occupation! 

PETER Oh. Psychologist. Been at it 12 years. Been travelling 12 years. Seen it all really. Rome is my favourite. It’s unique. The Eternal City, with a history stretching back 2700 years.

FRANK Eternal traffic.

PETER Sorry?

FRANK Not married then?

PETER (SMILES) Why do you ask?

FRANK You’d do well in the marriage business. Psychology and all that.

PETER Generally it’s the wives I see.

FRANK Men don’t need psychologists.

PETER Men don’t want psychologists. 

FRANK Roses do the trick. Roses, chocolates,  money... and subservience. Husbands are too far gone.  A mass of confusion.

PETER What business are you in?

FRANK Finance mate. Senior Financial Advisor for the Government. Can’t say much more. Top secret.  My wife and I are constant travellers.  Off to Athens for a break. The mighty Acropolis. Plato. Socrates. You?

PETER Mykonos actually.

FRANK I see.

PETER Do you? 

FRANK Seen Australia? 

PETER I hope to get there one day. 

FRANK I’ll be back there in 20 days.....8 hours, 17 minutes.

PETER What part of Australia?

FRANK Melbourne mate. World’s most liveable city. Garden State. The Yarra River. Fairy Penguins. Hump back whales. TAB’s. Football. Cricket. Cold beer. What’s so special about Rome?

PETER History, the ancient city. The educational centre, cultural, historic ruins, fashions, architecture-

FRANK I’m not big on monuments. 

PETER It all started here.

FRANK Crowded though, don’t you think? Scooter bikes, tourists. 6 million churches. Rampant materialism. Everybody striving to strut.

PETER That’s the adrelelin. All part of the atmosphere.

FRANK I love Paris. Take that Gustave Effel. Now there was an engineer extraordinaire. 1792 steps. 312 metres. That is one tall flagpole.

PETER A breathtaking view-

FRANK Paris at your feet. And charming little puppies with bursting bladders. And beautiful women. My wife loves a good sunset. Me? I love the female bottom.

PETER I saw one not 10 minutes ago.

FRANK I haven’t seen anyone come near those French women. I did like the Colosseum. I took my shoes off and felt the vibrations of history underneath me. Walked with the Christians. Until a spiritual lion bit my foot.


FRANK You wouldn’t have a spare cigarette on you?

PETER No... well... nature calls.

FRANK We all have to “pee” don’t we. 

PETER Don’t want to queue up when we get on board. It’s almost an operation on a 777-as you would know. (PETER BEGINS TO EXIT)

FRANK (HOLDING HIM UP) Mind you, Ayers Rock is higher than the Eiffel Tower. 1100 feet. Well before those Romans.

PETER (PETER EXITING-STOPS) Isn’t it called Uluru? (EXITS)

FRANK (OUT OF EARSHOT)  Pommies.                                                                    


FRANK Hi darling. Did anything take your fancy?

MOLLY Everything is so expensive.

FRANK Forget the money pet.

MOLLY  Sorry I took so long. 

FRANK I was charming a fellow traveller with my worldly knowledge. We’re going to have to do something about all our luggage. I’ll be down to seven stone time we get home.

MOLLY Isn’t it worth it - Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, the Sistene Chapel.

FRANK Don’t you ever get tired?

MOLLY An unbelievable, magic experience.

FRANK Magic, magic, magic. Captured for eternity on your magic little camera.

MOLLY We saw The Pope Frank.  

FRANK. Purported to be The Pope. Could have been the Dalai Lama. The Colosseum was good. Crown Casino in 20 years.

MOLLY Dinner last night with that sexy waiter.

FRANK He was after you love.

MOLLY He had a lovely bottom.

FRANK Jesus brought love into the world darling. 

MOLLY Did he now.

FRANK Thereby outlawing sex  orgies.

PETER (ENTERS) Hello again, Molly.

MOLLY Peter. Did you buy the perfume?

PETER L’ Air Du Temps. 

MOLLY You’ll be popular.

PETER So this is... 

MOLLY Frank, this is Peter. We met in the Duty Free.  

FRANK We’ve met. 

PETER Frank. Must be off. Hope we meet again Molly. 

MOLLY That would be lovely Peter. Little Venice.

PETER You can’t miss it.

MOLLY I’ll look out for you. (EXITS)

FRANK Doesn’t fancy women.

MOLLY I think he does. Not a very big plane Frank.

FRANK That’s a 777. They’ll take ages to board. What’s Little Venice?

MOLLY Peter’s favourite spot on Mykonos.

FRANK Don’t you find it hard? Coming to terms with the idea of having a holiday and being constantly exhausted. (STARTS TO EXIT) I’d better have a pee.It’s an operation on a 777.





A Grain of Salt.😎

Monday, 17th May, 2021. Our Prime Minister, the master of deflection: "The only opposition I'm focussing at the moment is the pandemic. That's what I'm fighting." And the rest Scotty mate - the re-election! On the other hand our millionaire opposition leader Anthony Albanese; the budget reply, opening with (not again?) growing up in social housing as the child of a single mother. Cringeworthy? Lacklustre? Underwhelming? “Cutting pollution means creating jobs.” said Anthony, words, without solutions, ditto negative gearing, capital gains. On climate change “We will examine these things” playing skippy the kangaroo? Never a vote FOR Anthony, more a vote against this double talking Morrison government. Also, Albo "The Morrison budget is fixing, to some extent, past coalition blunders." Highlight, discuss please Anthony? Also a need to highlight Aged care as a promise, after 2021-2022, non core is not law. As always, smoke and mirrors. Some choice? On the one hand Scotty throwing curly one's to paper over all the cracks and on the other former housing commission resident Albo keeping his powder dry until the election, hoping he in fact has some powder, and wondering, hoping, it doesn't happen to be Johnson's baby powder. Disraeli "There are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies and statistics." If that's not enough Collingwood keep losing, worse - Melbourne keep winning. "Smile, you're on Candid Camera?" Bugger off.  And so it goes...  


Kevvy Rudd, letters, on climate change: "Your May 1-7 editorial ( The Saturday Paper. “Hint and miss for climate targets”) reprised the utterly false premise that, during my leadership, I framed climate change principally as a moral challenge rather than a practical economic, geopolitical and environmental one. If you’d actually re-read those remarks in 2007, rather than lazily internalising Tony Abbott’s talking points, you’d know that I did no such thing. I said: “Climate change is the great moral challenge of our generation. Climate change is not just an environmental challenge; climate change is an economic challenge, a social challenge, and actually represents a deep challenge on the overall question of national security … Because the dimensions of this challenge are so great and they reach so far and they extend over such a wide period of time and cross so many of the traditional portfolios within government and between governments, we should be at a stage now in this country where climate change is beyond politics.” I don’t resile from describing climate change as a moral challenge; it remains the core question of intergenerational justice. But I was equally clear about its concrete consequences. At every turn, Labor has been ready and willing to take substantive climate action. Yet when the Greens party subculture surveys our lost decade, it blames Labor! Give us a break from this smug riposte that ignores the contradiction of Greens senators siding with Abbott to kill carbon pricing in 2009. [There's more, but that's ample sufficiency.]


On Albo's behalf? BUDGET: The government ignored (again) the need for new quarantine facilities, did little for the environment, and our existential climate crisis, and nothing for the ABC or our struggling universities, both of which have had to retrench hundreds and thousands of staff (respectively). Assistance to business increased by $21 billion. The Mickleham quarantine station? JobSeeker? Unemployment? No increase in real wages, in fact going backwards? Exit Holgate but Laming remains? Liberal rorts, as in an anti-corruption Integrity Commission? Obsession with property? Further consideration: A mandatory minimum qualification for personal care workers. Low wages in the aged sector was “noted” rather than supported. [The Age editorial: A key aspect will be the overhaul of the Aged Care Act, which the government concedes will not be introduced until 2023. It is not before time?] 


The gist? News Corp’s The Daily Telegraph ran a front-page story on May 4, 2020, about a 15-page dossier that laid ‘‘the foundation for the case of negligence being mounted against China’’. The Telegraph story alleged that China destroyed evidence at Wuhan research facilities and was soon being quoted in the US by national security experts on Fox News. It was followed up by Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro saying China ‘‘spawned’’ the virus. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then claimed there was ‘‘enormous evidence’’ of a Wuhan lab leak. The document was, in fact, a ‘‘non-paper’’ compiled by the US State Department which contained no classified information, referenced news reports and was merely a timeline of events, according to multiple senior Australian government sources who have read the document. It could not have come at a worse time; Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne had called weeks before for an independent investigation into the coronavirus and the headlines made it seem as if Canberra had aligned with the Trump administration to push the Wuhan lab theory at the expense of other lines of inquiry.


The Saturday Paper. Sami Shah: "Doyle told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell his actions had caused people anguish and pain. What he didn’t clarify was whether those actions were the alleged sexual harassment or the blanket denials offered through powerful lawyers that attempted to cast doubt on the claims made by multiple women. The interview is lengthy and, frankly, not that interesting. This is a man who once had a lot of power feeling bad about how he lost his power because he might have sexually harassed multiple women who lacked the power he had. “Australia is coming back,” Josh Frydenberg promised when unveiling this week’s budget. Doyle’s interview is a reminder that some parts of Australia never went away."


The Saturday Paper, Paul Bongiorno: "Josh Frydenberg was asked how the government could afford to stay committed to the legislated $137 billion third round of tax cuts in 2024 in light of the $57 billion deficit he is forecasting for the same year. He said they would remain because they would stimulate the economy and they are still progressive in that the rich pay more. They also receive more – millions more – and do nothing to narrow the iniquitous widening gap between the 20 per cent at the top of the heap and the rest." [Also from our Josh??? “Australia is playing its part on climate change, having met our 2020 commitments and on track to meet and beat our 2030 target.” ???]


Money to do what interested me was probably my single thought growing up. On reflection, this was either an entrenched personality thing or not having a father around until I was nearly 9 years old, or the environment, or perhaps a combination of all three. Alternatively, a dill is a dill. And yet, amidst this ignorance, at the age of 14, I bought a book entitled “Psychology and Mental Health.” What’s more I read it a number of times, and in my teens I read almost every novel in the library, nearly all the classics, and the novels of the day, Kings Row type, all the Frances Parkinson Keyes books, “Dinner at Antoine’s” etc. Human nature had somehow taken my interest. Dad eventually introduced me to Waldo Emerson and his essays. I read somewhere the writer must be willing to see, as the philosophers mostly did, but the reader must be willing to hear. Now, at 85 I get the feeling of losing it. My gov help desk, Telstra log in and I'm almost lost, not to mention the QR code. Oops, I'm drifting again. Here's one from my notes, 1996, on turning 60: "I should say something, most importantly the significance of change in the space of 12 months. This time last year I was in Sydney doing "Picasso". Alan and Rose were still with us, and Billie Ward, and Lil Wightman. Now they are gone. The senior citizens have departed, replaced by "us". Time moves inexorably onwards. Their lives, their memories, are part of my being, our being. I took out two letters, from Susie, and Jenny, written last April, not only mentioning Alan and Rose, but the baby in Jenny's tummy, young Louis. Now he is with us in all his glory, and we adore him. The thunder came and the sunshine overtook. Not to get maudlin but to appreciate the inevitability, in the knowledge that birth, death and "love" is what it's all about. To attend to my business and the business of those who surround me. I see "Al" and Rose and Billie and Lil, my rellies and friends, as clear as day. Perhaps they are watching, perhaps not. We press on, but there is something else. The fact that our appreciation of their value is not fully realised until after the event. Until we suddenly realise that something is missing. Or is it just me? I think not. So the lesson should be (?) to value the people around you more. A difficult one  in this materialistic/self environment, but a necessary one in the search for real happiness?"    


Two men stabbed in Prahran at 4am. "Anyone who witnessed the incident are urged to contact Crime Stoppers." Not on your Nellie...Jordan de Goey grabbing the rear of teammate Isaac Quaynor. So?...Quarantine and vaccination, a federal responsibility, ditto net-zero emissions by 2050. Coming soon: Regional quarantine?...Remember international tourism and fee-paying foreign students?....A National Integrity Commission? No such animal, but surely something for Albo?...Where is Barnaby Joyce? Still looking after our water rights?...Isn’t Israeli attempts to evict Palestinian home owners ethnic cleansing? Oops. If there’s a knock on your door after deciding the illegality of the Israeli settlements, beware; it’s the Thought Police....Actor Craig McLachlan whispered to a woman that she was attractive while she was playing a dead body on an a television show. The horror!...I watch Footy Classified on Wednesdays, good show, but honestly, somebody should put a muzzle on Eddie McGuire. The man can't help himself, a voice tsunami. Ditto Andy Maher on The Front Bar...What's with Victorian MP's Davis and O'Brien? No matter the news do they sit there deciding "How can we blame Labor?" Raw prawns?....Diogenes said - “How will my son benefit from education? At the very least when he goes to the theatre, he will not be just a stone sitting upon another.”...Keep yourselves nice. Hooroo...Cliff Ellen.






FRANK I’m not happy about leaving all that luggage with them Moll. They could plant something and we end up in jail for life.  

MOLLY Oh be quiet. King size singles. We’ll have to christen them.

FRANK My back’s gone love. 

MOLLY Later.

FRANK It’s the luggage love. Wears me out.  Where’s the dencorub?


MOLLY Got the tip ready?

FRANK Why a tip?

MOLLY It’s 5 star. I want to luxuriate.

FRANK How much?

MOLLY At least five dollars?

FRANK What for?

MOLLY Then they look after us.

FRANK Then they never leave us alone.

MOLLY You’re doing it again!


FRANK I’ll give him twenty baht.

MOLLY How much is that?


MOLLY Give him 100 baht.

FRANK He’ll think I’m KerryPacker.                                                                                                                          (MOLLY EXPLORES THE LUXURY. PORTER RE-ENTERS WITH MORE LUGGAGE. FRANK PLAYS THE RICH TOURIST.) You look familiar. You don’t happen to have a cousin in Athens who sells silk shirts? Fancy buying a nice rose’ one? (PORTER NO UNDERSTAND. PORTER BOWS, WAITS FOR TIP-FRANK SUPPLIES)

PORTER (AS HE DEPARTS, BOWS) Lovely pink shirt.



FRANK Bought it at the Airport.  Something to carry all our goodies in.

MOLLY Goodies?

FRANK Souvenirs. Soaps, ash trays, shampoos, shower caps, sewing kits. We’ll fill up the bag here. Little presents. Don’t touch any of the stuff in the fridge. They charge. Anything you don’t use in the bathroom we’ll take home. What about the towels?

MOLLY That’s stealing. 

FRANK They expect it. Like tipping. I’m going to check these bags for drugs. Don’t fancy rice and water for 20 years.

MOLLY Where do you get these ideas?

FRANK “Bangkok Hilton, Midnight Express”  Didn’t you see the guards at the airport with machine guns? More of them than bloody tourists.

MOLLY It was the same at Rome airport. And Paris. Athens.

FRANK Not Athens love. If smoking’s a health hazard the whole of the Greek Army will drop dead of lung cancer. They were all outside leaning on a tank smoking. 

MOLLY I took your picture in front of that tank. (STOPS) Frank, where’s my camera? Have you seen it?

FRANK I’m barred from touching the bloody thing.                                                               

MOLLY I think we’ve lost it.

FRANK I haven’t lost it.  

MOLLY I always carry it. I had it at Athens Airport. I must have put it down when I was arguing for your silly aisle seat.

FRANK Are you sure?

MOLLY It’s your fault. 

FRANK I could ring the airport. Wouldn’t hold my breath though. We’ve got a thousand pictures.

MOLLY It’s got all our Mykonos photos in it.

FRANK We can claim it on insurance.

MOLLY Thanks to you it’s gone now.                

FRANK Why is it my fault?

MOLLY I’m going to telephone the kids.

FRANK We’re nearly home.

MOLLY(SNAPS) We haven’t called in 4 days.  

FRANK Bob hasn’t called us once. 

MOLLY I’ve been looking forward to 5 star for weeks. Don’t you dare spoil it.

FRANK Didn’t you enjoy the past 6 weeks?

MOLLY That’s not the point. This is our last treat. It’s bad enough you’ve lost the camera. Don’t be so fucking tight. 

FRANK Don't swear. Keep yourself nice love.

MOLLY Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!

FRANK You finished?


FRANK I am not tight, I’m prudent. I just don’t feel like being stung that’s all. 

MOLLY I don’t care about the cost. Let’s enjoy the luxury and forget about money. Put that white towelling dressing gown on and have a swim.

FRANK Do you think we could souvenir the dressing gown?


FRANK (STILL EXAMINING THE CASES) They probably charge to wear them. 

MOLLY I’m warning you!

FRANK Can’t I comment?

MOLLY Leave the cases alone. Go and have a swim.

FRANK It doesn’t hurt to be careful.

MOLLY I put up with you whinging in the plane because I knew we’d have three days of luxury here. Fucking aisle seat? It cost me my camera.

FRANK Why are you so testy?

MOLLY I am not testy.

FRANK You’re testy.

MOLLY I simply want to enjoy it.

FRANK You’re talking bullshit.

MOLLY That’s it! I’ve had enough. I’m going home. (SHE BEGINS TO STORM OUT) 


MOLLY You heard. I’m going home. Book me a ticket to fly out this afternoon. I’ve had enough Frank. You’re an arsehole. You were an arsehole the day you were born and you’re still an arsehole. I can’t take it any longer. 

FRANK Take what?

MOLLY You, you prick. You’re always right aren’t you? You never apologise and you’re always right. I’m sick of it, and I’m sick of you, you arsehole. I don’tknow why you came on this holiday, I really don’t. You’re not enjoying it. You refuse to enjoy it. You insist on being an arsehole. In Paris you wouldn’t even pay to have a pee.

FRANK I didn’t feel like a pee. 

MOLLY Book me a ticket.

FRANK I came to please you.

MOLLY Oh no. No, no, no, no, no! Don’t you dare try that you arsehole. You suggested this holiday, “once in a lifetime” not me, you prick.

FRANK This has been for you love. (A BANGING ON THE WALL) Overseas. Our second honeymoon.

MOLLY We didn’t have a first honeymoon! (RESPONDING TO THE NEXT ROOM TENANT) Fuck off!

FRANK Steady love. People will hear you.

MOLLY I don’t give a stuff. If you wanted to please me you would have booked us 4 star all the way, instead of some of those crummy hotels. I hate crummy hotels. I nearly fainted because of those crummy hotels. Now at last I get a 5 star and you start again. Book me a fucking ticket home.  (MOLLY STORMS OUT)

FRANK Shit. Have to pay for another flight. Ooh, my back. 


MOLLY I’m going to take a 5 star bath. ( GATHERING UP HER BATH REQUISITES.)

FRANK I’m sorry love.

MOLLY You’re just saying that to save the airfare.

FRANK It’s just me. Cooped up in that plane. Deep vain thrombosis. 

MOLLY Deep pockets. 

FRANK No more. I promise. No point arguing at this late stage.

MOLLY You’re an arsehole.

FRANK I wasn’t an arsehole on Mykonos.

MOLLY You’ve always been an arsehole.

FRANK And a prick. I know darling. 

MOLLY I just want to enjoy a bit of luxury. Is that too much to ask?

FRANK It’s me darling, I’m a Philistine. Come on, sit down. (SHE SITS) Let’s have a bath together. Then we’ll go out and have a nice Thai meal.

MOLLY You don’t eat Thai food.

FRANK I adore Thai food. Coriander and coconut. Yummy.

MOLLY (FRANK KISSES HER) What about your back, arsehole.

FRANK I’m really fit darling. I’m sorry. I adore you.(TELEPHONE RINGS)

MOLLY Shit. You answer it.

FRANK (ANSWERS) Hello? Lizzy! How are you? Where are you ringing from? Our place. Excellent. (MOLLY WANTS THE PHONE) Here darling. I’ll put Mum on. Talk as long as you like.  (HANDS PHONE TO MOLLY)

MOLLY Hi darling, we’re in Bangkok. Oh it’s wonderful. King size beds, fabulous swimming pool.You’re father wanted to check the luggage for drugs. Silly moo. He lost my camera. No, we’re not fighting. Took 9 hours from Athens. Father wore his silk shirt. Yes. The pink... rose’ one. He’ll have to stay away from Commercial Road, he’ll be picked up. We’re going into town to buy some pressies.  I bought 4 pairs of shoes in Athens. How’s Sarah? No. Sarah’s walking Frank.  We’ll have to take a picture of her. Oh, no! I haven’t got a camera! Your father lost it....Allright darling. See you in three days. Kiss Sarah for me. Bye. (HANGS UP) 

FRANK I thought you only bought 2 pair of shoes?

MOLLY One each for Sarah and Thomas.

FRANK That’s wonderful.

MOLLY I’m sorry darling.

FRANK It was my fault.

MOLLY I know. Let’s try room service Frank. Look? Asparagus tips and cheese platter?

FRANK What about that bath?

MOLLY First room service, run the bath, eat in the bath, have a sleep (SEX), then the pool, then dinner. We’ll shop tomorrow. I’ll buy you another silk shirt. I feel like Susan Peacock/Renouf.

FRANK You’re much sexier.

MOLLY I’m a grandmother.

FRANK That Pierre of Paris thought so.

MOLLY He was gorgeous. Sexy tight bum.

FRANK What’s with these tight bums?

MOLLY A woman always pines for what she’s never had. 

FRANK If I hadn’t got married, and hired an expensive call girl once a week...

MOLLY Shut up. I’ll buy you a nice linen shirt.

FRANK I’ll lock the door. Oops, I forgot. No need.





A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜₯

Wednesday 12th May, 2021. Treasurer, the budget: ‘‘Australia’s economic engine is roaring back to life.’’ My response: "And Collingwood will be Premiers." The ABC has lost $783 million in funding since the Coalition government came to power in 2014. ASIO will also get an extra $1.3 billion over the next decade to combat the escalation in right-wing extremism. Aged care, a federal responsibility: More money yes, but ratios of nursing and care staff to residents? Can we trust the executives of these homes to spend their new money without oversight, to prioritise profits over the quality of life of older people? Looking forward to the fine print in this federal (re-election) budget, (pre-budget marketing and spin kindly provided to our government courtesy of 3AW and 9 News) aged care, tax cuts goodies for the rich, new home owners grants and the usual NDIS (independent assessments?) dirty tricks, sold as 'all is well in the State of Denmark' with the real possibility of an election (specifically re-election, due May 2022, accounting for some 90% of Scotty's motivation) late this year? Covering the cracks of chasing the poorest while allowing business mates (and former politicians liberally connected) to pocket millions, not forgetting JobKeeper subsidies they not only didn’t need but which they used to pay themselves bonuses and dividends. Thankfully we have AFL football for relief, and though Geelong are no favourites of mine (in their handbag style lily white shorts), there was much to smile about when they thrashed the usually brutal Tigers. Revenge, whatever the form, is a sweet meal, almost as good as fried chicken, sex no longer (sadly) being an issue. Strange how one can develop soft spots for other teams when your own team is a disaster; not so strange? Negative gearing continues unabated to rape the housing market. Sadly. controlled by News Limited and The Age, one feels for new home buyers and renters. Albanese’s Labor should be in there fighting for justice on this front but the might of the big two and ownership of the real estate sites is realistically a bridge too far, a sad inditement on the rich getting richer. Allegations of sexual assault and poor treatment of women in the Federal Parliament is likely to shove a few million over their way, over 4 years, for a few, in an attempt to shut them up? Greg Hunt:‘‘We’ll be responding in full to the royal commission. It will be a record investment in aged care and it will also be a record response to any royal commission in Australian history.’’ Yeah? All 148 recommendations? The mouse (Mickey/Felix?) that roared? And so it goes...


Kevvy Rudd, The Age, edited: The Morrison government’s adolescent chest-thumping over Taiwan has perplexed the Americans, infuriated the Chinese, puzzled the Taiwanese and bamboozled most of the region. Why have Morrison, Dutton and associates publicly signalled ‘‘Code Red’’ over Taiwan? It’s inconceivable that national security agencies in Canberra recommended this as it serves no national interests. Developing detailed, classified diplomatic and military plans for various Taiwan contingencies is prudent strategic planning. Shooting your mouth off about war in the Taiwan Straits is not. The only conceivable motive is that the government is determined to fight a khaki election, given the vaccine and quarantine programs are a mess, its credentials with women lie in tatters, and old faithful ‘‘debt and deficit’’ is now rendered toothless given that debt and deficit figures are seven-times bigger than when Labor left office. Never mind that Morrison as treasurer allowed the sale of the Port of Darwin to the Chinese. Then there’s the worst-kept secret in Canberra: the undeclared leadership battle between Dutton and Morrison, where the former views China as the best vehicle to outflank the latter within the Liberal party room. It’s obscene: playing roulette with our core national economic and security interests for political gain. The lives of our men and women in uniform are at stake. However, the Dutton-Morrison performance of the last fortnight puts beyond doubt that this government lacks the temperament to manage the profoundly complex national security challenges that now lie ahead. 


Not only misogynistic? Saturday Paper. Sami Shah: As it turns out, giving the Home Affairs minister the power to strip someone of their citizenship and dump them on a country they’ve almost never been to sets a bad precedent. It was an extension of the same philosophy that says we won’t grant citizenship to families where anyone might have a chronic illness or a disability. You’re only an Australian, it seems, if you’re not going to cost any money. Those must be the “everyday Australians” that Peter Dutton fantasises about so much. “Everyday Australians” are Australians who never fall sick, and never require help from their fellow Australians. Unlike Dutton, who himself caught Covid-19 at the start of 2020, and needed to be quarantined and given medical care at a cost to the taxpayer. Excluding Indian Australians from the basic rights of citizenship, yet somehow never enacting the same punishment on British or American Australians at the height of their pandemic crisis, reeks of that thing we Australians hate being accused of yet love practising at every opportunity – racism. Even Andrew Bolt wrote in his column that the travel ban “stinks of racism”.


Hugh White, emeritus professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University: As the Morrison government attempts a policy of containment against China, it risks the real prospect of war and one of the biggest failures of statecraft in Australia’s history.  Canberra, by looking for new opportunities to affront Beijing, with Chinese management of the Darwin port next in the firing line. And now our government has begun, with disconcerting nonchalance, to talk of war. And yet our government seems to have no idea how serious, and dangerous, our situation has become, and has no viable plan to fix it. This must count as one of the biggest failures of statecraft in Australia’s history. Our interests have been well served by the US-led order, which has kept our region stable and peaceful for so long. We will find a Chinese-led order much less to our liking, especially as China itself becomes more authoritarian and more repressive.The question is: What are we going to do about it? The Morrison government’s plan to push China back into its box is doomed to fail. The costs and risks of trying to contain China and preserve the US-led regional order are too high for most countries, and perhaps for any country – including the US. The Biden team may talk tough about China, but as Biden made clear last week in a major speech to congress, his priorities are overwhelmingly domestic. Savvy American analysis sees his rhetoric on China as being aimed primarily at achieving domestic reforms, because linking them to the contest with China might just win them some Republican support. But when push comes to shove with Beijing – as it must – Biden will have to choose between containing China and rebuilding America. He will choose America.  ["I have no respect for those who get us into trouble; I dislike being told who to kill and what to die for - and all in the name of patriotism." Charles Chaplin].


Another from a life of the ocean waves; National Service 1955. On the rifle range, a serious affair, 30 of us lying flat, rifles at the ready. Somebody talked, followed by Chief Petty Officer Perfect screaming abuse and threats. Again a talker, the English chap next to me, our Group Captain. Every group had a captain picked as the pets of the CPO’s, similar to puncy prefects during high school days. Threat executed. All had to double time march with rifles twice around the massive rifle range. Not easy. CPO Perfect calls us together, calls me out of the line, and puts the question: “Did you talk Ellen?” [“No Chief”] “Why don’t you be a man and own up?” [“Wasn’t me Chief”] “You’re a liar Ellen” [“Yes Chief”]. CPO advises our group that we should give the culprit a hiding, eyes on me. Dismisses us in disgust.  What of the so-called lecture, respect and honesty rules? Did this not cover ignorance and jumping to conclusions? Later “the boys” asked me the story and I set them straight. Definitely not me. I didn’t tell them who it was though, not that stupid, thus always having the Group Captain as a loyal friend.  


About bloody time? The Not On Your Side (campaign and website, Senator Kristina Keneally) will enable people to report the worst of the Morrison Government’s rorts in their communities through the website, which will catalogue and expose the scandals, dodgy deals and broken promises from Scott Morrison and his mates, already revealing a staggering 17 of 30 former Ministers in the Abbott Government have been appointed to cushy government positions or getting paid to lobby their mates in government. Scott Morrison’s ‘Year of the Mate’ tells you everything you need know about this Prime Minister – he’s on the side of his mate, not on the side of Australian workers. [But will the swingers read it?] And the threatened 5 year jail term for Australian citizens? A 'right' to come home, apart from Julian Assange? Mongels on display?


Israel/Palestine; urging restraint, Israeli rights?...The funny thing is the MP who said Michael Slater is acting like a spoilt prat is in fact himself a prat, and being a politician, clearly spoilt?...Qantas back in the news with mystery flights, recalling one I did to Adelaide 1990's. Such a boring city. Dead, so to speak. And yet, during the two arts festivals and another two fringe festivals I attended, a city come alive. Vive la Difference?..Let's call a spade a spade; the ABC, is surely now the Sydney BC?...."A memory without blot or contamination must be an exquisite treasure, - an inexhaustible source of pure refreshment." [Charlotte Bronte]... The art of acting, in fact the art of most everything, is relaxing. Keep yourselves nice. Hooroo...Cliff Ellen.






FRANK (CALLING) It doesn’t work love. You said it was easy. 

MOLLY Have you got it strapped properly? 

FRANK You didn’t tell me about any straps. 

MOLLY Bring it here. Silly old goat.

FRANK I can’t see any straps love?

MOLLY The only time you’re of any use is at tax time. 

FRANK (ENTERING WITH CASE AND TROLLEY TYPE LUGGAGE WHEELS) We cart the bloody thing half way around the world-


FRANK You said we couldn’t do without them. I’ve got to cart this all the way to Stansted Airport, wherever that is. I haven’t even spotted a service station.

MOLLY Why would we want a service station?

FRANK We might hire a car.

MOLLY You’d get lost in the traffic and I’m not driving. There. Try it.

FRANK Bloody waste of time.

MOLLY It saves your hernia .

FRANK I’ve got to cart this thing to the bus stop.

MOLLY We’ll catch a taxi to the airport. 

FRANK We will not catch a taxi. Not after your visit to Harrods. 

MOLLY Wasn’t it wonderful of Derrick to show me around.

FRANK He fancied you. I told you didn’t I? Bloody pommy purve.

MOLLY Are you jealous? 

FRANK Should I be? Sometimes I wonder.

MOLLY Do you now.

FRANK We’ll have to buy another case. They hit the back of my leg when I walk. The right leg. See? 

MOLLY Walk carefully darling. 

FRANK They’re a pain in the bloody neck.

MOLLY The back of your leg.


MOLLY The pain. Back of your right leg. Not your neck.

FRANK (MOLLY LAUGHS) Funny darling. Very funny. My legs are sore up here, see. 

MOLLY That’s poor circulation from smoking.

FRANK We are stuck with these useless heavy wheels for another 6 weeks. What about the Greek Islands? All those hills. And Paris, Montmartre. All because you had to borrow them. 

MOLLY I was doing it to make it easier for you, Goose.

FRANK They hit the back of my leg. Post it back. That’s the answer. Not your fault. You were doing your best. You’re a darling. Post the bastard back.

MOLLY Should we post the thermos back, and your overcoat, and your weet-bix?

FRANK I’m eating the weet-bix.

MOLLY You can’t post it back.  

FRANK We  could say we lost it in Bangkok. She’d believe that. She votes One Nation.

MOLLY Pack it in the bottom of your underwear case. Put your pillow on top of them, and you’re underwear on top of your pillow.

FRANK Then I wont fit my dressing-gown in.

MOLLY Poor baby.

FRANK And another thing, the power points don’t work. 

MOLLY We need an adaptor. 

FRANK I’m not a bloody electrician darling. 

MOLLY I’m making a list of things I want to say to Elizabeth and Bob on the phone. Anything you want to add?

FRANK Wait till we get to Paris.

MOLLY I’ll call again from Paris.

FRANK You don’t have to call them both. Call Liz, and let her call Bob.

MOLLY Bob would feel left out.

FRANK Why not send a card? 

MOLLY I’ve already sent cards.

FRANK Why call then? 

MOLLY Because it’s nice.

FRANK A wonder you didn’t send one to the dog.

MOLLY I did. Where’s the phone?

FRANK Ring tomorrow. Offset the cost of a new case.                                             


FRANK You know we’re going to miss the Grand Final.

MOLLY The Magpies aren’t in it.

FRANK We wouldn’t be here if they were.

MOLLY They haven’t been in it for years.

FRANK Tell me something I don’t know. Ooh, my leg.

MOLLY (EXITING) Not likely to be in it ever again.

FRANK Where are you going?

MOLLY (OFF) I’m getting you a valium before you have another panic attack.

FRANK I don’t need a valium.

MOLLY (CALLS) Do as you’re told. Breathe in, count to three.

FRANKI know. I know. 

FRANK/MOLLY-(IN UNISON) Breathe out, count to three. Relax.

MOLLY (CALLS) From the diaphragm, darling. 






A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜ŽπŸ€”

Thursday 6th May, 2021.  I'll lead with Tony Wright. Good stuff, The Age "The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been such a fiasco it has had to abandon all plans for a federal election this year. The near eradication of the coronavirus in Australia was supposed to lead to a celebratory period ideal for a rush to the polls, if not dancing in the streets. But Morrison had only to look across the Pacific to see what happened to Donald Trump to understand that when COVID and mismanagement steal all the headlines, the mightiest end up cooked. And so, he has chosen the oldest standby in the book of political opportunism: persuade the electorate to ... hey, look over there! Quick! Former prime minister Paul Keating called it ‘‘throwing the switch to vaudeville’’. John Howard perfected it by urging the nation to ‘‘be alert, but not alarmed’’, by which he meant ‘‘quake in your boots’’. The American writer H.L Mencken, a born cynic, defined the technique in 1918: ‘‘The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.’’ [As stated previously - "Reds under the bed" Menzies. Not to be outdone is our PM, big noting to the Yanks with his consistent Chinese digs (sideshows), ably assisted by our Minister of Fear, Peter Dutton. Expect this duo to be on the first plane to Washington if any real risk eventuates.] [Not forgetting Sean Kelly on citizenship: Thus Australian citizens in India can be treated as non-citizens. Australian citizens of Chinese descent can be treated as potentially disloyal citizens. Indigenous Australians can be treated as citizens whose lives are worth not quite as much as those of white Australians. The idea that a white suburban bloke is a typical Australian, while the ‘‘Australianness’’ of every other Australian is always doubtful, on the brink of being undermined.] Surely we can do more? Australians in India, 9000, abandoned? Risk averse, banning flights from India, jail, a nasty almost racist decision, despite the aid supplies. So much for democracy with these governing shysters. Even so...


Writing: As a kid the girls were always superior in the game of jacks, a mystery because they always had smaller hands? Skills vary person to person but if you dig deep enough we each have something. Equally perhaps we all have our problems. Stan Grant writes well, talks well, but I see him always with a chip on his shoulder. Nathan Buckley, despite his coaching ability, displays a personal chip aside from football (my instinct only) but nevertheless like everything, part of the whole. "Where did all those years go?" So fast. Forgot Hegel, I'm with Michel de Montaigne (by Sarah Bakewell): “It has never been clear to what extent Montaigne intended his destabilizing effects: whether he planned his roundabout itineraries or merely wandered off the point. I suspect there was a bit of both. Finding himself wandering, he made a virtue of it, until it became the very essence of his style. In doing so, he founded a genre which was passed on intact for over four hundred years and is still flourishing today: the digressive, exploratory, quirky personal essay.” Is there any other way to write? We non professional writers (allowing for the influence of self love or worse, writing 'to be' loved, as in the way some of our so-called actors perform) don't necessarily have a plan, we simply write as a benefit to the health of our thinking processes. A bit like a walk to keep oiling the legs. We will never be Montaigne's obviously.  Every 4 or 5 days I simply give it a burl. For my sake. A quick re-read, minor edits and it's done and dusted, and forgotten until what strikes me in a few more days. Particularly, with time on your hands, you should try it. It doesn't matter what comes out. Like walking, the more you do (up to a point) the better you will (may?) get at it, and for goodness sake, why imprison those (mostly) hidden thoughts. Writing (as I found with acting) is good for the soul. Try it? The years do go fast, a fact. Some may be satisfied with sitting on their backsides, but it can be a voyage of discovery, simply beginning with little memories and writing about them, like watering a plant memories grow. The opportunity to discover not only where those years went, but why? 90% of what you're watching on the box is rubbish, churned out for the benefit of people wanting to take the money out of your pocket. Cut it by 50/% and start writing. Your late voyage of discovery may well begin? [Personal discoveries, my précis: Ten years into a 20 year stretch as a public servant I realised it was not for me, put up with the nonsense for another decade because I could see no solution, and it paid well. Along the journey I did accountancy to please the old man. No enthusiasm, but anything for a change. I did casual work at racetracks, liked it, and stayed with it for 37 years. Liking is better than forced labor if you can manage the economics? A friend introduced me to drama classes. Initially not interested, but fun nevertheless, and anyway, another change of pace. Two years of it (more fun) and it twigged; a way out, nothing to do with ambition, career, love of the game, the real reason? - escape the public service! Decided, working for pleasure far superior, despite the income drop; chimerical?] 


More on Governing shysters: James Massola. Sunday Age, edited: At least 13 former Liberal MPs and political staffers have been appointed to plum federal government jobs since the start of the year. The appointment of Alana Matheson, the former Liberal deputy mayor of Campbelltown who has worked for the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and for KPMG – and who is the daughter of two-term Liberal MP Russell Matheson – was appointed to the $387,960-a-year post as a Fair Work Commissioner on April 1. Former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella was also made a FWC commissioner on the same salary, on the same day. Ms Mirabella, who previously served on the board of the government’s Australian Submarine Corporation, was appointed until 2033 and Ms Matheson until 2047. The end dates of their terms reflect when the two women will reach 65 and have to retire. Labor government accountability spokeswoman Kristina Keneally has criticised the ‘‘unbelievable’’ appointments as jobs for ‘‘Liberal mates. Scott Morrison thundered in Parliament at Christine Holgate for handing out a few watches, but he’s handed out millions of taxpayer dollars to over a dozen Liberal mates this year alone.’’ The appointment of Mirabella, who supported Howard’s Work Choices, is incomprehensible. Labor’s Tony Burke said, ‘‘I’m not sure if Christian Porter is trying to stack the FWC or just discredit it, but this appointment will do both... and send a chill down every worker’s spine’’. The ‘‘stacking’’ of the FWC dates to 2013 when any balance between employer and employee representatives was abandoned by Abbott. Under the Morrison government, accountability is immaterial, taxpayer funds are there to support Liberal mates and ideologues at the expense of workers.] Scotty: "I have always believed in miracles." The faith of our Prime Minister? Or more to the point - “God helps those who help themselves”? For the record the 51-49 two-party preferred is presently Labor’s way. Hope?


National Service 1955: After the first four weeks of hell on earth at Flinders we were allowed our first leave, from then on every second weekend. Those staying at the Depot had clean-up duties Saturday mornings and Sunday morning Church in spick and span uniforms for inspection, march past. We had leave passes, so a system was devised (some Interstate recruits had no desire for weekend leave, they simply wanted their mothers) where, as the officer went past inspecting your leave approval pass, the recruit would quietly hand his pass to the person in the line behind him. Presto, leave almost every weekend, assuming you could arrange for somebody to call your name at rollcall twice on the weekend. Not saying I organised this but instrumental in the planning. On one weekend where I was unable to arrange a pass I decided to duck the Sunday church service and march past. I hid with like minded mates in a wood shed back of the laundry. A bit of a chat, a few laughs, a few smokes. They had provosts (Navy police) on the loose looking for “our” type. Three of us were having a quiet chat with our boots off, when we heard voices. We quietly clambered to the inside top of the tall ceiling as we had nowhere else to hide. In they came, looked around, with us looking down, no result. Tricked the bastards. Just as they were leaving one of them decided to have a pee - on our boots? Caught! Smarter than we gave them credit for? Down to the Chief Petty Officers Mess to clean it up. Mess it was, from the previous evening. Empty bottles, cigarettes, glasses, food, spew, the stench of beer and vomit - apparently a normal Saturday binge. Black mark. Well, one of many.


Labor 28% of primary vote in Tasmania, can this influence Scotty, not likely. Tasmania has always been overrun by sheep...ATLA millions, dollars, gone south, again, no paper trail. Surprised?...Another Collingwood loss, in the process shattering the confidence of Moore and De Goey and yet again playing Sidebottom out of his natural position, the reward, I sadly suspect, will be a contract extension?...The contents of COVID needle number 1 sits uncomfortably in my left arm. A shade wonky day 2, porn? no effect...."The first step to knowledge is to know that we are ignorant." [Cecil]...Hooroo...www.ello8.com




A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜ŽπŸ’‹

Friday 30th April, 2021. The obvious fact is I'm becoming (or become?) too bloody old. I've run out of ideas, or perhaps more importantly I've lost the knack of reading between the lines, separating the bullshite. Maybe time to switch to being a helper, remembering those times (National Service?) where one never raised one's hands as a volunteer? Standing at the back of the pack, out of sight out of mind? [Not quite. When I finished my stint in the navy national service and returned to my public service job in the Department of Navy I gained access to my personal report; turns out they knew, branded a trouble-maker?]. The time has come, joining the volunteer chain, never too late at 85? A mens shed? Nah, I'd be lost with a screwdriver. Met a few at the RSL, nice enough, apparently clever with their hands, children's toys and the like, not my go. Besides, these chaps, even sheilas, remind me of my wasted years. It's either that or give away "Salt" altogether, and I'm definitely too old to do hard yakka, or worse, nothing. A lazy way to be sure, but in the event of an occasional lightbulb I'll keep this blog running, the emphasis on plagiarism, copying, beginning now?... "The government has quietly ditched its pledge to introduce a beneficial ownership register that would disclose the ultimate owners of companies, vastly improving our present opaque transparency that, among other things, makes Australian real estate a prime market for hiding dirty money. Senator Hume is the Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy and thus is responsible for the government’s Your Future Your Super reforms. The YFYS legislation has admirable overall aims of reducing superannuation costs and getting rid of dud funds, but those declared aims are undermined by highly dubious details that raise serious questions about the government’s real intentions.This is the government’s quite unbelievable plan to ignore administration costs in ranking super fund performance, preferring to only count investment costs." [Forgotten who said this, but typical of this government. Be warned.]


Me me me? I'm due next Wednesday, needle numbers 1. July 28 number 2, and a certificate. Wow. Pfizer’s is about 90 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic infection, while AstraZeneca’s effectiveness is about 76 per cent. That’s good news, but it also means the vaccines are not an impenetrable shield. ‘‘Even with a full vaccine rollout and very effective vaccines, not everyone is protected and not everyone can have a vaccine,’’ says Professor Catherine Bennett, chair in epidemiology at Deakin University. There is emerging – but not conclusive – evidence that the vaccines limit but do not eliminate spread of the virus. [Some complaints about the COVID reaction, obviously not Collingwood supporters. A day at a time, but for the life of me, which at best is a mini stanza in my indeterminate future, so why me ahead of (particularly) anyone under 65?]


Prime Minister ‘‘Sure, social media has its virtues and its values and enables us to connect with people in ways we’ve never had before, terrific, terrific, but those weapons can also be used by the evil one and we need to call that out. ‘It is going to take our young people... it’s going to take their hope, it’s going to steal their hope.’’ [Confusion reigns? As far as religion goes Morrison is entitled to his faith in line with previous Prime Ministers and each and every one of us. Well, not quite. I'm certainly not entitled, in the real sense. My problem is with some of his actions being in line with his righteous (as he sees it) Christian faith? Refugees in detention, the family on Christmas Island, Christine Holgate, a long list? Quoting scripture has been, always will be, selective, as in football followers.]


The wolves are at the door for Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley’s scalp, always (hypocritically) on the basis of a non biassed educated opinion. Fox Sport in particular, Nick Riewoldt, Jonathan Brown and the Herald Sun’s Mark Robinson. I’m not about to stick up for Nathan, never a fan of his coaching since 2012 despite his 2018 effort when Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir was there as an assistant coach. I go back to his treatment of Heath Shaw, Alan Didak, Darren Jolly and Ben Johnson as indeed I suspect do a number of Collingwood supporters. Smaller matters in between those years culminating in Treloar, Stephenson and Phillips. Yes, in one game he switched the great Dane Swan to full forward and they won, a one off as far as 'on the day' coaching changes were in evidence. Whatever, it’s time for a change at Magpieland. Nathan looking for another 2 years? Give me/us a break? As for picking a new coach it's a lottery. Ross Lyon? Eddie McGuire tells us he speaks for the Collingwood people. Not all of us. One thing is certain, Eddie talks too much. Carrying on about Port Adelaide jumpers; who cares? Dane Swan, on the jumper - One of the few wins Collingwood is gonna get this year so soak it up pies fans. [I should talk? To date this year I've clocked up 35,000 words.l 


"People who criticise Scott Morrison’s stance on climate change suffer from the quaint misconception that his job is to lead Australia into a clean carbon-free future and protect us from the potential catastrophic effects of fossil fuel emissions. His job is in fact to ensure that he remains in office. Distracting and dividing while distorting the issues around climate change and energy have been key factors in the electoral success of the Coalition for the past decade. Climate change denial and mockery of opposition climate policies have been a very successful strategy for the Coalition. Why, given this is his real job, would he change course? Of course we will see a slight change in rhetoric, plenty of announcements in funny hats, lots of token projects maybe even a few that are worthwhile. But it will be all smirk and mirrors. While the issue of climate change can be weaponised for electoral advantage, Scott Morrison will do so. It’s his job." [Graeme Henchel, and in similar words, much the same from our old mate, (Christian) Kevvy Rudd.]


CRAIG MATHIESON in Green Guide The Age on quiz shows, quotes “Few of us think we’re a better actor than Bryan Cranston or Marta Dusseldorp, but a handful of right answers while watching a quiz show and we’re convinced that we could take the prize. Fantasy is the secret ingredient." Fair enough Craig, but as it happens I'm no fan of either actor. Actors who subscribe to the business of constant pauses, for no discernible reason, bore me. Give me Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca) every day of the week. While on the business of television/films please note (you directorial - often pseudo geniuses) the opening style of credits (top left, top right, bottom left if you're quick, and so on) escape me. List them front and centre. We're not all young. Artistic my backside.


I’m listening Josh. May budget: More money for residential aged care with more home care packages to keep older Australians at home as well. How far the home care should go – not just on health, but on ‘‘companion care’’ or property maintenance. Female companion care?...Sam Pong, Mick Molloy and Andy Maher excelled on The Front Bar (7) last night with outstanding guests Erin Phillips and father Greg and hilarious Santo Cilauro...Had I been "stranded" in India this time a year ago I’m thinking I’d be wanting to return to Australia?...Work experience should never be compulsory...It's not simply Richard Pusey, it's "Porsche driver Richard Pusey"? An idiot obviously, but a murderer? Fair game for our holier than thou newspaper; vultures?...Peter Dutton's (and Mike Pezzullo’s alarmist language) on drums of war, indeed, drums of politics more to the point, as always. Unable to say much more. Sir Peerless Peter might sue me....Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of apartheid and persecution against Palestinians. Seriously?...If you blame our government state and federal for some weird decisions on COVID the past year be sure to place an equal blame on those 80,000 odd who attended the Anzac Day football disaster...Collingwood, cellar dwellers. Ditching 3AW breakfast, Russel Howcroft, Sen1116, Sammy J. 774. To 3RRR, no choice...To avoid criticism say nothing do nothing be nothing. Aristotle?...I have always been sensitive and susceptible to pain; now I am still more tender, and exposed on all sides. "Anything cracked will shatter at a touch" [OVID]...Hooroo...www.ello8.com





FRANK G’day there mate. What’s the score with these tourist buses?


DRIVER...You’re Australian then?

FRANK Sorry?

DRIVER (LOUD) I say you’re Australian.

FRANK We’re not deaf mate.

MOLLY Frank! 

DRIVER It’s the accent you know. I knew a lovely Irish lass went to Australia. Married an Italian. Asumpta O’Reilly. 

FRANK Red hair and freckles.

DRIVER Quite beautiful she was.

FRANK I’ll keep an eye out. Frank’s the name. What’s the score on the sights of London?

DRIVER That depends I’m afraid, doesn’t it?

FRANK Does it?

DRIVER My very word. What do you have in mind? London’s a very big city. Got everything here you know. The world’s most liveable city.

FRANK This is my wife Molly.

DRIVER Lovely indeed. Derrick is the name Molly. Welcome to London.

MOLLY Thank you Derrick.

DRIVER What particular spots do you wish to see in our historic city Molly, our teeming Metropolis. The “centre” of the Universe. 

MOLLY Trafalgar Square? Big Ben, Parliament House, the Palace of course-

DRIVER Definitely.

FRANK My wife’s a Royalist.

MOLLY We’re talking history Frank.

DRIVER The will to learn Molly. The philosophy of nature.

MOLLY So true Derrick.

DRIVER The art of learning is to conceal learning.

FRANK You’re doing well so far.

MOLLY He’s a philistine Derrick. 

DRIVER Never you mind Frank.

MOLLY Piccadilly Circus. The Thames-

DRIVER Harrods, Molly?

MOLLY Oh yes please.

FRANK Not Harrods darling.

DRIVER Wouldn’t be London without Harrods Frank. 

FRANK It’s a tourist trap.

MOLLY Don’t mind him.

FRANK You on a commission?

DRIVER I believe it’s called goodwill.

MOLLY Listen to the man Frank.

FRANK I’m a lifetime listener.

MOLLY I’m warning you! 

DRIVER As for seeing them all at the one time. Not that simple I’m afraid.

FRANK Are we talking money?

DRIVER We are talking economy Frank.

FRANK Excellent!                                                                                                                  

DRIVER (DRONING ON) Four buses you see. All colour coded. Black, yellow, red, and green. Here, see? Here’s a brochure highlighting the four routes. Special colour coding. It’s all here. You keep it Molly. My pleasure. Lovely shoes. But in fact overlapping at various intervals, so that you, the tourist, can board and alight at will. All, may I add, with some pride, for the one 24 hour price. All part of the service Molly. Some tourists, different tastes. Prefer museums, history and the like. Others the theatre, West End, Piccadilly Circus.

FRANK What’s the damage?

DRIVER Now that’s the trick, isn’t it sir.

FRANK Sir? I’ve been upgraded.

MOLLY Shut up Frank! 

DRIVER (AND ON) Most tourists buy their tickets in the morning, against my advice. They don’t listen you see Frank. Very few tourists listen, as it happens Molly. No offence Frank. 


DRIVER Flat out like bulls at a gate they are. All day on the go. Exhausted come tea time. Waste half of their 24 hour ticket. Not thinking, you see. Planning Frank!

FRANK Obviously. 

DRIVER That’s the key. Buy the ticket early afternoon. One o'clock. Have a look see. Please yourself. All afternoon. Rest up. Nice glass of red.  After tea you’re off again. London by night Molly. Very romantic.

MOLLY Harrods by night, Derrick.

DRIVER Thoroughly recommended Molly. Next morning after a decent kip you’re refreshed! Bangers and eggs. All for the one 24 hour price.

MOLLY Sounds wonderful.

DRIVER It can be.

MOLLY Do you mind if I take your photo Derrick?                                                

DRIVER (DERRICK IS CHUFFED) Not at all Molly. Where are you staying?

MOLLY Arran House in Gower Street.

DRIVER Ooh. Very nice. Lovely outfit.

MOLLY Thank you Derrick.

DRIVER For a lovely lady.

MOLLY Frank, get in close to Derrick. (FRANK NOT KEEN, BUT OBLIGES. TAKES PHOTO.) Thank you Derrick.

DRIVER My pleasure. (THEY START TO LEAVE) You know, a friend of mine, his wife had a sister who went to Australia 20 years ago. My friend’s wife took herself off for a visit over three months ago. Hasn’t come home yet. My friend is not complaining. 

FRANK Are you a smoker Derrick? 


FRANK (CALLING) Asumpta O’Reilly.

DRIVER I could have married her Frank.                                                                                                                                                    

MOLLY (THEY WALK AWAY) What a nice man.  

FRANK He had the hots for you.

MOLLY Londoners are so friendly. 

FRANK It’s likely Mrs Derrick that went to Australia. Bloody purve “Most tourists don’t listen” Wank, wank.

MOLLY The man was a gentleman darling. 

FRANK Go to bed with Derrick and cop a half hour lecture on the best way to do it.

MOLLY You’re disgusting.

FRANK Why don’t you go on the red bus first, and I’ll join you on the yellow bus, thereby skipping Harrods? (MOLLY STARES) No? Right. Now we have London sorted. Warm beer, 10 million people, and endless queues. Now we have to figure out how to hold the shower in one hand and the soap in the other. 

MOLLY I’ll hold the soap.

FRANK Again?

MOLLY You don’t deserve it.

FRANK I’m starting to feel taller already.





A Grain of Salt. πŸ˜Ž

Sunday 25th April, 2021. Anzac Day, remembering the Australian character (irreverent fun loving) way back when. Seriously, The Age, using Scotty's cancellation of the Belt and Road Initiative as a get Danny Andrews, or promote our PM? Front page "How the premier went it alone". Page 4 "How the premier failed to read the tea leaves." Editorial "Ditching, the right move." Add in the Wilcox cartoon. Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s cancelling of Victoria’s Belt and Road agreement with China; why now? Concluding China would not retaliate? National security experts and federal Labor have welcomed the decision. Hmnn, from Scotty's political point of view a big plus. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Uighurs in Xinjiang. Maybe? What of our government, consistently baiting China? Is this OK? And New Zealand? Trade Minister Damien O’Connor suggested Australia should speak with more ‘‘respect’’ and ‘‘diplomacy’’ towards China? As for Tigray, Yemen, Myanmar and Syria, a different kettle of shark? Angelic Australia, an international reputation as materialistic racist? A long list against, excluded due to space requirements. Enough to mention it worked, began, with old (PI) Bob Menzies, and his "reds under the beds"? [Turks deride us, we them; Italians Frenchmen, accounting them light headed fellows; the French scoff again at Italians, and at their several customs; Greeks have condemned all the world but themselves of barbarism, the world as much vilifies them now; we account for Germans heavy, dull fellows, explode many of their fashions; they as contemptibly think of us; Spaniards laugh at all, and all again at them. We accuse others of madness, of folly, and we do not see what we have on our backs. [Robert Burton]. And Morrison’s target? “Australia is on the emissions path to net zero”. Utopia. Basically cow/bull/shite. No deals yet anyway. Again, with this PM and charming Marise, "How now brown cow"?? 


Dear Peter Dutton, or Karen Andrews. In 2018 the government forcibly removed the family from their Biloela home and attempted to deport them back to Sri Lanka. This, and further deportation attempts, have been blocked by court order. Replacing charming Marise, peerless Peter Dutton’s new role, calling for a royal commission into veteran suicides, a whitewash, the big problem being the government attitude to veterans affected on return from overseas engagements. Support and compensation for injury, death, psychological and other traumas experienced by returning troops? Never has been, support that is, dating back in my time to those returning from World War 2; the long letters to Canberra on behalf of  Dad's TPI status. And so it goes...


Behavioural opinions? Almost toothless, what's wrong with liking cod? Yes it's cheap, but I happen to like it, so easy to cook, a bit of butter and (supposedly) good for me; healthy stuff? I regularly buy it from Woolworths deli along with a handful of shaved stras. Yesterday I fancied a piece of atlantic salmon and when I ordered it the comment "Have you come into money?" "Decided to lash out" I responded. I considered pulling out my funeral suit from the wardrobe, wear it next time instead of trackies? A Collingwood necktie? Perhaps a feed of crayfish? Darling girls. 


I'm in favour of an AFL grand final around 2.30pm. In the same breath Eddie McGuire sprouts a night grand final for the good of the game; money? The recent soccer news when 12 of the world’s biggest clubs announced they would create a new breakaway ‘‘Super League’’ surely underlined my thoughts, most of the clubs backing out in the face of supporter uproar? The super league and a night grand final was/is for the entitled, not the supporters. By all means state your case Eddie, but be honest about it.


Regardless of a slowly fading memory the increased thinking time can serve as a plus on a clear day. On theatre? Directors can be a problem, particularly with the clear intention to impose their own vision without tapping in to the actors interpretation. Actors talking to the audience is poison, ditto a scene where other actors (not part of a particular scene) are nevertheless visible on stage in a frozen (or any other) state. As an audience I respect the line between the story and my presence. The best directors are those who convince the actor to want to please him/her, assuming the director has equally given the actor the freedom to express his/her interpretation of the character; basic skills of psychology surely? I see the writers as submitting an emotional story. All the stage actions, including the simplest, have the necessity for the theatrical quality. The reality yes, despite the addition of the melodramatic touch. The quest for freedom on both sides, democratic, sensitivity, a theatrical form of poetry, specifically a need for the effective sense of the action rather than a scene or action about nothing? It can all be part of the magic, even if in a less than brilliant play. I regularly fell asleep watching Shakespeare, which leads me to the religious explanation, as in "You may not understand it but you must have faith?" Can acting be taught, on the basis of pretending; no. Technique, no. Necessities include an inner feeling of empathy, a particular type of personality, the need to ‘feel’ who you are playing. Should the early life of the character be studied? No. Just saying... 


Paul Bongiorno: "Fuelling the delayed election timetable speculation is the horrible fix the government has landed in, thanks to its bungling of the Covid-19 vaccination rollout. Health Minister Greg Hunt has become something of a sick joke with his assurances that everything is on track when clearly it isn’t. One press gallery wag says Hunt has become the minister for vaccine rollout announcements. If announcements were vaccines, he says, the nation would have been inoculated three times over by now." [We feel for Greg, like  Marise, a Scotty lieutenant, for now?]


The NDIS is trialling independent assessments in which a government-contracted allied health professional assesses eligibility based on a standardised three hour consultation instead of reports from the applicant’s specialists; cost cutting yet again? Professor Bonyhady, the inaugural chair of the National Disability Insurance Agency from 2013-16: "The assessments were not independent and should be called ‘‘robo-planning’’ because, like robodebt, they applied a mathematical formula in ways it should never be used. ‘‘Robo-planning could be used to exclude participants, cap plans or change the NDIS eligibility criteria.’’ [NDIS. A Labor initiative. Clear enough?]


Katharine Murphy on Scotty "Yesterday's man". We can dream?...One wonders why we waste time on the relatively low risk of blood clots from the AstraZeneca vaccine as against the real risk of COVID-19 growing wings?...Anthony Albanese’s commitment of net-zero emissions by 2050, at the same time voting for the mining industry? When Anthony Albanese won’t commit his party to a 2030 emissions target, there is no real pressure for the Morrison government to take this step.....More comedy? $3.7 million for a consent milk shake commercial which nobody understood...Hotel quarantines; months to build a similar Howard Springs, why not?...Confused? I'll say. Biden on climate (preserving our planet) change by 2030, also Boris, net by 2030, not 2050. Even China! "Not if and when, but how", says Scotty? Yet, if it's if and when, no need for how?...Those religious types can be so touchy. Anson Cameron, even Leunig? Both genuine treasures...The discovery of the inside toilet, almost as good as the wheel...Beware of the robo-reverse/jobkeeper payments...A road users tax to drive to Woolworths (1 kilometre) twice a week, or sell and drive a footpath slo-mo machine?...Series 4 of Unforgotten written by creator Chris Lang has finished. There will be no more. A wonderful cast headed by the fantastic Nicola Walker, a wonderful series...Herald Sun football writer Mark Robinson is a bully, always has been, complete with a forked anti-Collingwood anti-Eddie McGuire tongue; a sniper, under the guise of fair minded...Surprise? The International Monetary Fund warns the COVID-19 crisis is ‘‘intensifying the vicious circle of inequality, widening the gap between rich and poor and ‘‘could morph into a social and political seismic crack’’...The ABC'S Dr Norman Swan continues to be a pain in the bum. It's his hands, forming a fingers touching circle on his lap?...Outsourcing is another word for no accountability...Finally, our National Cabinet, for what it's worth, has a use-by date, if not already?...Heart and soul? "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out  of it are the issues of life." [Solomon]...The old man (Dad) wasn't keen on Anzac Day. Came home after almost 4 years on the front line with a sour taste. Bruce Ruxton comes to mind. Didn't say why. Didn't say anything much for another two years. Back then, it wasn't our place to ask. Lest we forget...Hooroo...www.ello8.com






FRANK I can’t find the bloody tickets. (CALLS) Where did you put the tickets Moll?

MOLLY (ENTERING, WITH CAMERA. BACKPACK ON) In your jacket with our passports. You’re not bringing that dreadful carry bag?

FRANK It’s got all my pills in it. Books, currency converter, disposable toilet seat covers, travel pillow, diary, pens, Lonely Planet, umbrella, binoculars, glasses, water-

MOLLY Morning fresh?

FRANK Sorry? 

MOLLY Hurry up. Taxi’s due any minute.

FRANK Why couldn’t Bob drive us? Or Elizabeth?

MOLLY They have jobs to go to.

FRANK We always drive them. Take the cost of the taxi off their presents. 

MOLLY Will you hurry up! 

FRANK Settle down. Tickets. Money. Credit cards. Phone card. Shit! My reading glasses. Where are the bastards? I’ve lost my glasses.

MOLLY Did you cancel the paper?  

FRANK (SFX. TAXI HORN) Yes. (CALLS) We’re coming. I can’t find my glasses love.

MOLLY Have you got your teeth in?

FRANK Bloody glasses. They’ve disappeared! Where are they?

MOLLY Have you got the phone?

FRANK (FINDS GLASSES) I did not put them there.

MOLLY Phone!

FRANK What? Yes, I’ve got the bloody phone. I’m not stupid. Shit, our passports. We got our passports?

MOLLY With our tickets. Don’t panic. 

FRANK I’m exhausted before I start.

MOLLY I want to take a photo.

FRANK (TAXI HORN) I’m coming, I’m coming. Don’t panic. Stay calm. Did you turn the gas off? 

MOLLY You did.

FRANK I feel sick.

MOLLY Will you hurry up!

FRANK I hope the pilot’s had an early night.

MOLLY Stay there.

FRANK (CARRYING THE LUGGAGE. STOPS. LOOKS.) I’m going to miss the dog.

MOLLY(CAMERA) Stay still. I’m setting the timer.

FRANK I’m going to miss “The Bold and the Beautiful”.

MOLLY Frank!

FRANK OK. OK. Just be quick then. 

MOLLY Stay still.

FRANK I’m still. These cases are heavy. (SFX TAXI. FRANK CALLS) We’re coming. You’d think he was paying.

MOLLY The timer’s not working.

FRANK (MOVES) Give it to me.

MOLLY (SHARPLY) Don’t you dare touch my camera. Here, it’s working. Don’t move. (MOLLY HURRIES INTO POSITION.) 

FRANK I desperately need to pee.

MOLLY You can pee at the airport.

FRANK It’s my prostate. 



FRANK Shit...sorry love.




FRANK Struth almighty. Where is the bloody street? Is it in hiding.I’ve lost a stone. 

MOLLY That wont hurt you.

FRANK Unbelievable. 23 hours on an aeroplane-

MOLLY At least there were no terrorists.

FRANK He looked like a bloody terrorist.

MOLLY Thousands of people have beards.

FRANK Not with a turban on their head they don’t.

MOLLY You’re hopeless Frank.

FRANK A screaming 2 year old monster alongside us, invisible air hostesses, and now babes in the woods. Lost in space bloody love. This is traffic chaos. 

MOLLY You wanted the double decker. 

FRANK I wanted to get the feel of the place. History darling. The will to learn. OK?

MOLLY You didn’t want to pay for a taxi.

FRANK (FRANK STEPS OUT ONTO THE ROAD-SFX A HONKING MOTORIST) How about a bit of goodwill for visitors you mongrel. You see that Moll? Nearly bowled me over. Heathrow. World famous airport? No beer before 10am. I could have been dying of thirst.

MOLLY (STRUGGLING WITH HER MAP) Drink some of your water.  

FRANK It’s packed away. 

MOLLY I think it’s this way. 

FRANK Come on woman, I’m exhausted. I can’t take much more. My feet are killing me. The cushions on the balls are dead.

MOLLY I beg your pardon?

FRANK The balls of my feet. Kids on bloody aeroplanes. No chance ofthem getting economy class syndrome.

MOLLY You check it then. Here. (MOLLY GIVES HIM THE MAP.) Wasn’t the boy’s fault. Poor little fellow. Look at your shirt. It’s filthy. 

FRANK You ordered the spaghetti Bolognese. I’m not a contortionist. (FONDLING HIS MONEY BELT) Oh my God. Only 47 days till we get back to Tullamarine.

MOLLY What are you doing?

FRANK It’s this money belt love. It’s pressing on my prostate.

MOLLY You look like you’re playing with yourself.

FRANK It’s falling down my pants. Look?

MOLLY You look like a pervert. Stay calm. You’ll have another of your panic attacks.

FRANK Should have slipped him a Valium with his bottle. I don’t want this. (HE GIVES MOLLY THE MAP) I hate looking like a tourist. Standing smack bang in the middle of the West End.  

MOLLY The print’s too small Frank. 

FRANK London A-Z. In microprint. Thomas doesn’t play up like that.

MOLLY The boy had an earache. My glasses are here somewhere.  It’s the next street after this one. This is Gordon I think. Remember, we’re having an adventure. It’s exciting. London. We must telephone home soon. 

FRANK Let’s find a pub and get some bearings.

MOLLY Stay calm darling. 

FRANK I’m not the one with blood pressure.

MOLLY You’ll get nauseous. You know how you are. See? What did I tell you? There’s Gordon. It’s the next one up. We’ll check in, have a cold beer and a nice shower. 

FRANK I’d kill for a cigarette.

MOLLY You’ve gone 4 months, you’re not starting now. How is your back?


MOLLY Did you bring the Dencorub.

FRANK I brought the whole bloody house.

MOLLY I’ll massage it when we get there.

FRANK Just one smoke darling, please please?


FRANK (TO PASSER-BY) Excuse me mate, I was wondering if you could help us? (FRANK IS FIDDLING WITH HIS MONEY BELT AGAIN). We’re looking for Gower Street. 



FRANK This is the West End isn’t it mate? Did you see that Moll? Bloody pommies. They wonder why we have a go at them. (CALLS) Manners cost nothing mate. No wonder you can’t play cricket.


MOLLY (VERY LOUD.) Hello. Hello. Hello darling. We’re here! It’s Elizabeth, Frank. Hello darling. It’s Elizabeth Frank.

FRANK I heard you. (TO HIMSELF) So did half of London.

MOLLY Oh It’s wonderful. Yes. We’re in London...Yes darling, I can wait.

FRANK.....Wait for what?

MOLLY She’s just topping up her glass of wine.

FRANK Who’s phone is she ringing from?

MOLLY Shush! (PHONE) Yes. We’re in London! No, I’m fine darling-got a bit dizzy on the plane so I took a pill. I feel fine now. Don’t worry. How is little Sarah? Did she? Frank, Sarah said Dada. Isn’t she a treat. Did you take a picture? Oh, isn’t she a treasure.

FRANK Who’s phone is she ringing from? 

MOLLY Oh it’s so big. All hustle and bustle. So exciting. Can’t wait to get to Oxford Street and all the shops.

FRANK Ask her if she’s calling from our phone.

MOLLY The trip over was wonderful.                                                                               

FRANK Ask her to check if you turned the gas off.

MOLLY Your father loved it. Silly old fart.

FRANK Who?                                                                               

MOLLY Shush! I can’t hear. (TO ELIZABETH)  Sorry love? (5 SECOND PAUSE) 

FRANK...What’s she saying? 

MOLLY She’s on call waiting. 


MOLLY Shush!

FRANK I don’t believe it. 

MOLLY Hello? Hello love, yes, I’m still here. What? Lizzy?  Lizzy? Oh, it’s cut out. Frank, it’s cut out.

FRANK (TO HIMSELF) Thank you, Lord!

MOLLY The battery’s run out. You’ll have to get it charged as soon as we get to the hotel. They’ll be worried sick now.

FRANK Was she ringing from her place?

MOLLY She’s at our house having a sleepover. 







😎A Grain of Salt.

Wednesday 21st April, 2021. Who is in charge? My mind or body? The years lecture me, on temperance, reform, calm, the fear of insensibility, even worse, pain? It is what it is, isn't it? Have I wronged anyone the past 70 years, can't remember, ignore? Write it all off to emotionally wrenching, life (the remainder?) is too short? My point, at 1021 months? No point obviously. My memory bank is growing holes, leaks. I feed on instinct. My personal sense of balance in dire need of a re-charge, albeit a shade late in my allotted time on Planet Earth. Every so often I miss the theatrical  experience. I haven't done a play for years, couldn't now anyway. Theatre sustains the soul, expands the soul, if lucky the mind, the rehearsal process more than the performance, politics to the backline. Read and copy what younger minds think, assuming general agreement, not necessarily by me? My personal blame game? It's been a bad week, the old problem, chest, a virus or an infection? Don't blame me. I'm a male, par for the course? One of life's greatest pleasures is having something to look forward to, big and small, at 85? Is waking up a pleasure? Not initially, maybe after the urgent pee? I blame Sammy J on 774, probably a hero of Wankers United. Self pity is so pathetic. Moving on...


The search for wriggle room, also known as the consistency of our Prime Minister's blame game. Troops out of Afghanistan ("We went, in the cause of liberty and freedom, including for women and children." ???), meetings with the Premiers (National Cabinet), right wing newspapers highlighting the possibilities of the May budget (doctoring the NDIS, again?), Scotty trying all avenues yet again, again, to shift the thinking from the vaccine rollout and the females issue; Christine Holegate, Grace Tame, Brittany Higgins. And emissions? "Our goal is to reach net zero emissions as soon as possible, and preferably by 2050." ??? Still, the vaccine rollout has haunted the airwaves, if anyone can organise it, the National Cabinet, we thank them. As for our soldiers, I'd get spooked by the sight of one dead corpse. They must go through hell, no wonder the odd rogue. 


Sean Kelly, The Age, edited: "What if Morrison had taken strong action the first time accusations of gendered bullying in his own government were made, in 2018? What if his government had acted decisively and empathetically in response to the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins? What if he had put in place quotas for female MPs a year ago? What if he had asked the states to get involved in mass vaccinations months ago? Why spend those months announcing and re-announcing every vaccine deal? Why wait until things were very publicly going wrong before stepping things up a gear? But the real difficulty for Morrison – the lethal threat to his political survival – is the unpredictable way that these various consequences combine and gain momentum over time. Take that ‘‘heated day’’ in Parliament. A genuine failure on aged care combined with a cheap political tactic and a dumb choice of words to put Morrison under pressure. Those mistakes begat a further dumb mistake in the form of the Holgate attack. Six months later, that mistake looms larger than it should as the result of Morrison’s earlier failures to act on sexism. Now those problems have combined with the vaccine mess to cast doubt on Morrison’s empathy and competence." [Doubts yes. Leading to change, don't hold your breath.]


The Saturday Paper/Gadfly. "At least one social media user has received a defamation notice from the law firm Baker McKenzie for calling the Defence minister (Peter Dutton) a “rape apologist” on Twitter. The tweets stemmed from backlash over Dutton using the term “he said, she said” to refer to Brittany Higgins’ rape claim." [Surely not?] 


I wrote in a Union magazine some 30 years ago. “Rome is burning while we all sit and watch”. Our relentless media is an embarrassment. If they don’t have a story they make it up. A Current Affair are the leaders in trash with both newspapers not far behind, although The Age pretends to be more thoughtful. I exclude The Australian and Sky News for obvious reasons. The big companies, private hospitals and nursing homes, in fact almost all the private [or shareholder] owned companies want increased profits every year. Not steady profits mind, higher profits, every year! Where does this leave us non shareholders? Never mind about the Reserve Bank and interest rates - the banks do as it suits them, one way or another, likewise oil companies and insurance companies. The government of either major party do bugger all, in fact are almost powerless. They caused it all in the first place of course, following the world trend of privatisation, like sheep. I’m not anti-government. I'm anti the rich getting richer and bugger the poor. Rome is still burning, evermore dangerous. 


Sunday Age front page headline: “$10b pledge on aged care to underpin key reforms” The opportunity to implement landmark policy change to reform Australia’s aged care system? also known as pre budget promotional double grains of salt, from a source (?) familiar with discussions held by the government’s expenditure review committee (ERC), who asked for anonymity so they could speak freely about the ‘‘very big package’’? [I’m for waiting for the fine print, including any changes (for the worse?) to the NDIS? An interesting sideline will be comparing this one with the Victorian budget.] 


From Jon Faine, The Age: “Contrast his communication strategy (if there is anything strategic about it) with Daniel Andrews’ press conferences during lockdown. The ‘‘daily Dan’’ showed the public the Premier was prepared to answer everyone’s questions, including those from highly combative antagonists. His tone was apologetic and earnest. He accepted responsibility, acknowledged errors, sacked ministers and his own top bureaucrat, and emerged bruised but mostly intact. Scott Morrison is increasingly looking like the emperor with no clothes – has anyone in his inner circle dared tell him his contrived media appearances are alienating and counterproductive?” [Enough said? Not quite. As it stands Scotty is a favourite to win the next election, depressing as it sounds, not because of any positives, but because of Labor's choice of leader. I see no way they will vote Albanese in, even allowing for Morrison's 'nothingness' on climate change and the long list of demeanours. Collingwood and Labor. Dark times ahead.]


I shop twice weekly at Woolworths in Rye, with luck in a handicap spot, otherwise Ozone  Street close to Freaky Tiki cafe (coffee, tea, quick bites, healthy?) noted for customers standing outside or sitting on high tables drinking coffee. There happens to be a 'superior' look about these younger customers, a discovery of some intellectual secret unknown to most of us. Why is that, or is it just me? Perhaps ask them their choice of fine wines, but would they recognise me? What makes some hold their heads high due to their choice of a cup of bloody coffee?


The WAFL series. Bugger, missed it...AFL bloodsuckers @ $20,000 a head, De Goey, Howe...Trouble on the set; Neighbours? Racism? No surprise, pretend mini celebrities on tap...Prefects were the problem in my boys high school, strutting the schoolyard daily, a feminine style of walking; me again?....Foxtel's Bounce, surely the unfunniest show on television?...774 Saturday early. Brian Nankervis a temporary replacement for Libby Gore; fresh air...St Basil's in Melbourne, where 45 residents died. $22 million in rent and fees to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese while receiving federal government funding. A blame game, but what were the children of those aged residents doing about it?...I'm so relieved. Apparently Prince's William and Harry are talking to each other. And Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a lifetime of service to his country, similar to my 20 years service as a Commonwealth public servant, including 5 gruelling months as a Navy national serviceman?...Former Liberal leader Andrew Peacock has shut the gate at 82. Andrew's standing as a measure against Morrison and Frydenburg brings home the difference with today's crooks. Andrew, by the length of the Flemington straight...Vale Britain’s Helen McCrory (Peaky Blinders) age 52. A genuine star/ ...Hooroo...www.ello8.com






MOLLY Frank. Come here.

FRANK(OFF) Coming. [“Tomorrow, just you wait and see”]



MOLLY This one has a balcony darling. Look.

FRANK How many stars?

MOLLY A balcony and a swimming pool. 

FRANK That’s a 3 star Moll. Paris is very expensive. Can we take this large thermos?

MOLLY We haven’t got enough room.

FRANK What about water?

MOLLY We’re going to Europe Frank, not Sydney. 

FRANK It’s not safe over there.

MOLLY It’s not safe anywhere.

FRANK It is here.

MOLLY Don’t be  ridiculous.

FRANK It’s a bloody big step Moll.

MOLLY You don’t want to go.

FRANK I’m just being careful.

MOLLY You checked on the internet.

FRANK They want you to go. 


FRANK If we cark it they save on two pensions.

MOLLY We’re not on the pension.

FRANK We will be soon. But if anything happened-

MOLLY I’m not listening. 

FRANK Straight from Hepburn Springs Moll. Best water in the world. 

MOLLY It’s so romantic. Paree. City of light, art, romance. Hotel de Fieubert! We’ve waited all our lives for this. 

FRANK It’s still risky.

MOLLY Will you shut up!

FRANK Charming. Lotto tonight. I have a feeling!

MOLLY First time for everything.

FRANK We’ll go business class if I win.

MOLLY You never win.

FRANK We could go to Burleigh Heads, get a 5 star. Go on one of those Seniors bus tours. 

MOLLY Not with me you wont.

FRANK Wear my white sneakers. Play the 2 cent machines all night at Jupiters Moll.                                                                                          

MOLLY A balcony. Paris. Roma. Nouveau-riche. Architecture. Atmosphere. Picasso. And only $30 a night extra for 4 nights.

FRANK Per person. See? P.P. That’s $240. I’m the financial planner petal.

MOLLY You’re a public servant.

FRANKI’m a financial Advisor!

MOLLY For Centrelink?

FRANK Why do we need a balcony anyway? Or a pool?  

MOLLY It’s about fulfilling dreams. A once in a lifetime holiday. 

FRANK My dream is to save a quid. The dollar’s going down like the big dipper. You can’t trust the Government.

MOLLY You voted for them.

FRANK  It’s about survival. 

MOLLY You’re not Bourke and Wills.

FRANK What about our trip to The Alice last year? 

MOLLY On a bus!

FRANK An air conditioned mercedes coach!

MOLLY I want to fly Frank. Fly like a bird.

FRANK Two bloody little sparrows. 

MOLLY I want to sit on my balcony in my Chanel black negligee,  overlooking Paris, and drink French wine. Like a movie star.

FRANK Do Safeway have Supermarkets over there?

MOLLY Morning swims after a long  walk.

FRANK This isn’t Burleigh Moll. This is the world. London! Paris! Mike-onos! 

MOLLY It’s Mykonos. 

FRANK (KISSES MOLLY ON THE NECK) I’ll swim when we get to Meek-onos.

MOLLY It’s my money too Frank.

FRANK Trust me. Find a nice 2 star with breakfast. 

MOLLY Don’t I have a say? 

FRANK My darling.  You- are- the boss!  

MOLLY When it suits you. 

FRANK Something simple -with a telly. 

MOLLY  I’m not watching television overseas.

FRANK We wont be out gallivanting every night.

MOLLY We have to eat.

FRANK That wont take all night.

MOLLY We might be inside gallivanting?

FRANK And vegemite. Don’t forget to pack the vegemite.

MOLLY You don’t eat vegemite.

FRANK Foreign food love. I might have to when I get there. 

MOLLY Why don’t we gallivant now? 

FRANK I want to watch the news.

MOLLY You’re not watching television overseas.

FRANK I can watch while you sightsee. Rest up occasionally. Watch a French movie. Juliette Binoche. Catherine Deneuve. 

MOLLY It’s all in French.

FRANK Who cares?

MOLLY It’s so exciting. Vino and a French movie. Nookies on the balcony.

FRANK Nookies?

MOLLY Sex darling, remember?

FRANK Vaguely.                                                                                                                           

MOLLY Whose fault is that?

FRANK Who said no last night?

MOLLY I beg  your pardon!

FRANK You were asleep actually.

MOLLY Cheeky bugger.

FRANK Travel makes you grow. We’ll be ten feet bloody tall.

MOLLY Let’s have nookies now. Matinee?

FRANK Matinee? It’s 5 o'clock.[ MOLLY MAKES A MOVE]

MOLLY Come on. An overseas entree.

FRANK Hells bells. Anyone could walk in. Young Thomas. Sarah.

MOLLY I’ll lock the front door. 

FRANK Wait till after the news.

MOLLY Frank!

FRANK I’m keen love, really. But not right this minute.

MOLLY You’ve jumped the fence.

FRANK The kids would have a heart attack if they caught us.

MOLLY I’m sure they know - as long as we don’t mention it.

FRANK They can go for their lives, but we must forever remain respectable.

MOLLY  Did you want to know about their sex habits?.

FRANK Our kids don’t have sex.

MOLLY You’ll be king in a 4 star.

FRANK Not Paris. God! $300 a night! Athens only eh?

MOLLY And Bangkok? I want the Amari! 5 star. They’re giving us a day free, so we only have to pay for two.

FRANK Bangkok’s full of drugrunners.

MOLLY Nonsense. Drugrunners stay in one star. It’s an adventure! We’re explorers! I’m so excited. Bangkok. Exotica. Shopping. We’ll bring lots of presents home for the kids. 

FRANK Bob hasn’t given me a father’s day present in 5 years.

MOLLY Bob’s not into presents.

FRANK He is when they’re for him. Elizabeth’s 35. When do we switch roles?

MOLLY Frank!

FRANKOK. Athens and Bangkok only?

MOLLY It’s my money too Mr financial advisor.

FRANK I am not bloody deaf darling.

MOLLY You never listen.

FRANK I’m listening.                                                      

MOLLY Men have selective hearing.

FRANK We just differ at times.

MOLLY Directly related to your pocket.

FRANK(FRANK KISSES) What about a second chance?

MOLLY London, Paris, Rome. We might see the Pope. I’ve dreamt about this trip for years. Terrazzo tiled floors. Room service. Balconies. A pool. The theatre. 

FRANK Mnnn. I’m feeling a bit randy now . 

MOLLY Baguettes. French food. World travellers. For seven whole glorious weeks. 


FRANK (PICKING UP THE THERMOS) I really think we’ll need this thermos.

MOLLY As long as you carry it darling.

FRANK Maybe take three bottles of water? 

MOLLY Just us and...oblivion.

FRANK You eat vegemite.

MOLLY Lock the front door.

FRANK They’d ring first wouldn’t they?

MOLLY They would darling. (AND OFF)



FRANK: Should I close the garage? 

MOLLY: What for? 

FRANK: If they see the car they’ll know we’re home.  

MOLLY: Shush darling. 

FRANK: What if they didn’t ring?

MOLLY: Will you put that bloody thermos down.



A Grain of Salt.πŸ˜€

Friday, 16th April, 2021. Being cranky is a dead set waste of time and particularly, energy. If you're unsure of the truth of living alongside dickheads (on the platitudinous basis of entitlement to an opinion) simply watch those demonstrators and their shenanigans on the right to not receiving the COVID vaccine. By and large Australia is an intelligent county, like all countries a need for balance. May calmness prevail, or watch on tape allowing the fast forward way of life, a necessity for aged magpie supporters. May our leaders restrict the consistent use of promises. Malcolm's promise, the NBN, "the envy of the world"? Before herd immunity the needless herd anxiety, again with the promises? Vaccine and Collingwood, both apparently in the process of running off the fantasy rails. Both will survive in time, time itself being the great healer. It could be worse. The cyclone in WA took away roofs and power. Gut wrenching indeed. Maybe stock up on Manuka honey? Had my flu needle, vaccine coming, sooner or later?  Get to know the people in your little world, either personal, or Facebook, or telephone. Sift them out, in your aggressive, though genteel way of communication, an innocent smile? Find our what newspaper they read, if they read a newspaper, if they read at all? Obviously readers of The Australian should be immediately delisted, with perhaps a re-think if restricted to the Saturday only edition. Are they carrying a Vaccine Certificate? Costello's Age readers tend to be a bit up themselves; treat with caution. I'd take the Herald Sun readers at face value. A staple diet for decades, all types, thousands, arguably accurate, using the "they're all crooks" philosophy, most, heavily into our favourite topic, AFL football, assuming (obviously) they don't follow Melbourne or Carlton. Men generally, older men past 65, are set in their rusted ways, devoid of fresh insights, but nevertheless good value on a 20% scale. Women are the value bet because they let it all out, with little  encouragement, hidden treasures at around 45-50%, obviously excluding 96% of females under 30. Listening is the key, an odd comment here and there to temporarily put a brake on the occasional verbal tsunami, but generally, listen. I'm a watcher, not sure why. Prefer coffee than cemeteries, tourist buses. Also why I loved the acting caper, a magic carpet ride of variable personalities, the never ending comedy of class distinction? [I should add a disclaimer, as my balance, in the need to dodge over-watching ABC shows, particularly The Drum and the like, the preponderance of women shoving their opinions down our proverbial throats. It appears to have got worse of late, albeit on the basis of fairness - 50/50 Labor or Liberal - most of it revolving around the cronyism of the coalition.]     


Our Prime Minister (who lately should seriously consider getting a strong hold of himself) said he regretted the distress his ‘‘strong language’’ caused Ms Holgate but refused to issue an apology, remaining of the view the Cartier gifts were inappropriate and denied his treatment of her was sexist. ‘‘It was not my intention to cause distress to Ms Holgate and I regret any distress that that strong language may have caused to her and indeed did cause to her. That was not my intention.’’ [It WAS his intention and it WAS to cause distress, as we all know.] $20,000 on the watches, a nonsense, political, following on from the history of other female crucifixions, Yassmin Abdel-Magied and the like. Never forgetting the media's roll in this via News Limited. Never forgetting our Christine is a Board member of our magnificent Collingwood Football Club. The Christine Holgate affair or The Witches of Eastwick, duly represented by Scotty, Peter Dutton and a couple of no-name ministers with hopeful aspirations? Our Christine Holgate correctly blamed Prime Minister Scott Morrison for driving her out of the top job over the Cartier watches saga, saying he humiliated her in the Parliament and triggered a process that led to her being unlawfully stood aside. Bullying for short-term politics, returning to bite our PM on his rather big bum. Good stuff. Albanese (wrongly) jumped in with his "untenable" comment, now attempting to wriggle his way out, showing a weakness, reminding me of Albo's half hearted support of Julian Assange? Christine: “I lost a job – a job I loved – because I was humiliated by our Prime Minister for committing no offence and then bullied by my chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo, who unlawfully stood me down under public direction of the Prime Minister.” Our PM may well see it as The Taming of the Shrew, but better he apologises? No chance? Just a thought. [Balance, again? NBN executives carved up about $75 million in bonuses in the second half of 2020] Moving on...  


We miss Barnaby Joyce. We all need a laugh to stem the tide? Heath minister Greg Hunt won the inaugural Best Minister in the World award at the World Government Summit in 2016 for his work in the environment portfolio. Another prize for his ‘‘courageous and collaborative’’ role in spearheading Australia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, awarded the 2020 McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership. Read it and weep?


The far left the far right, any difference? Both into power, ambition, a form of violence, twins in excesses and injustice. Their way (like a religion depending on country of birth) or no way. Dickheads in my language. Orpheus " Those who vowed themselves to that religion were to receive after death eternal and perfect blessings." Antisthenes relied "Why, then, do you not die yourself?" Indeed!


Comparisons? The Kennett Government, 1996. A radical right wing program. "Restoring the state's fortunes". Expenditure cuts, education and health, sales of public utilities, abuse of public accountability (secrecy, commercial confidentiality), changes to local government, personal attacks on critics. Ring a bell?   


Heartwarming minister Peter Dutton's refusal, no planes available to fly Kristina Keneally to Christmas Island. Fortunately, enough planes on offer for Mathias Cormann....Yet another heartfelt story on the 9 Nightly News; pictures of grandfather Prince Phillip and how he was much loved by all. It was known he did not like complements. Beautiful to watch. I should have taped it...JobMaker, another roaring success. Created 600 jobs...The national cabinet to meet Monday; Scotty, lifeboat on hand, and our Premiers, wary of the buck...Apparently the ABC interrupted 'Vera' on the death of Prince Phillip saga; thousands complained. Fortunately I'd seen that episode, about 3 times. Had it interrupted Unforgotten series 4 episode 5 I would have had kittens....."The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but as the wise man said, chance, and sometimes a ridiculous chance."...Dying is easy, Comedy is hard. If youth is escaping from my blood and my veins, at least I want not to uproot the picture of it from my memory.[ Forgotten who?]...Calmness people, please?...Hooroo...www.ello8.com



FRANK This is the go love. Balcony overlooking the Aegean, and only half the price of a 3 star. Heaven on a stick. (PAUSE) What will we do today?

MOLLY (SITS) I don’t mind darling. 

FRANK What do you want to do?

MOLLY I’m happy to do whatever you want to do.

FRANK You don’t want to do anything in particular? 

MOLLY Whatever. We’re on holiday.

FRANK You feel all right?

MOLLY I feel good.

FRANK  Happy?

MOLLY I’m happy if you’re happy.

FRANK Well, I’m happy... if you’re happy... Want to ring the kids?

MOLLY Do you?

FRANK Nah. We’re living for the present.

MOLLY The now.

FRANK Three days, now.

MOLLY Is it?

FRANK They’ll be on to missing persons.

MOLLY Maybe tomorrow.

FRANK You were in town a while yesterday. 

MOLLY I checked out Little Venice.

FRANK Did you bump into Peter?

MOLLY Got some perfume. 

FRANK Nice? 

MOLLYL ovely. 

FRANK(PAUSE) What’s so funny about this joke? 

MOLLYWhat joke?

FRANK(NEWSPAPER) The chicken and the egg, lying in bed. The chicken is smoking a cigarette with a satisfied smile on its face. The egg is frowning, and looking a bit pissed off. The egg mutters, to no one in particular, “Well, I guess we answered that question” (MOLLY LAUGHS) ...What?

MOLLY It’s that age old question.

FRANK Why did the chicken cross the road?

MOLLY What came first, the chicken or the egg.


MOLLY What came first. The chicken is smoking a cigarette. They’ve just had sex. What came first.

FRANK(PAUSE) We could go to the beach.

MOLLY Do you want to go to the beach?

FRANK We could I suppose. If you want. I mean we’re here aren’t we? Perhaps after breakfast. Journey down. What would it be, 200 metres? What about after lunch? Do we stay here or go to another beach?

MOLLY Have you got something in mind?

FRANK I thought you might fancy a day trip or something.

MOLLY That sounds nice. Where to?

FRANK Up to you Princess. Paros. Naxos. Santorini looks nice. Catch the fast ferry. Stay overnight. Bring your red shoes.

MOLLY I’ve read all about Santorini. There’s a steep bus ride up to the village from the port darling. You might not like that. Remember the Eiffel Tower. 900 steps.

FRANK It’s that high?

MOLLY According to Lonely Planet.

FRANK Get claustrophobia, and vertigo. I was really worried in Paris.

MOLLY You stayed down the bottom.

FRANK It was that movie. Dirk Bogarde.

MOLLY What movie?

FRANK “So Long at the Fair”. They were in Paris. His wife disappeared. I got scared, what with our big  argument.

MOLLY Your fault.

FRANK I’m not fussed though. 

MOLLY I’ll do whatever you want to do.

FRANK I love you.

MOLLY I know darling.

FRANK Do you love me?

MOLLY Yes darling.

FRANK We could go around to Elias Beach again. Take some more pictures.

MOLLY We could.  

FRANK Do you know they had indoor plumbing on Crete 2500 years ago.

MOLLY Did they?

FRANK Probably did better than they’ve got in Athens right now.

MOLLY Wouldn’t be hard darling.

FRANK Those three young ladies on the beach yesterday-

MOLLY They were gorgeous.

FRANK Layed out their towels. Took off their clothes. And sunbaked. Naked. Right in front of me, us.

MOLLY And the men.

FRANK A magnificent procession. (PAUSE) You think they see us?

MOLLY No darling.

FRANK That’s some sort of bonus isn’t it?

MOLLY If you say so.

FRANK Do you ever wish to be young again?


FRANK Puts off dying.

MOLLY We’ve always been young.

FRANK Been a fantastic holiday.

MOLLY Not finished yet. 

FRANK No. Bangkok. So, what do you think, Elias?

MOLLY It takes up the whole day. And there’s not a lot there apart from the beach. Would you be all right with it this time? Don’t forget most of them are in the nuddy.

FRANK Have to be in the mood for all those blokes in the nuddy. Makes a man feel inferior. Big dongers staring down at you. 

MOLLY I don’t think he meant anything by it.

FRANK Fancy coming over to you and asking the time with his donger on show.

MOLLY Bigger than yours.

FRANK You think?

MOLLY Au naturale.

FRANK Nearly gave you a black eye. 

MOLLY You could hold your own love.

FRANK Yeah? Ahh. No thank you very much. Showoffs. I suppose one beach is the same as another, isn’t it? We could stay here all day. Please ourselves.

MOLLY If that’s what you want.

FRANK Check out these teeth. See? You know that stain there-20 years. No dentist could shift it. Completely gone. See? Must be the salt water. Magic.

MOLLY Check out these boobs. 

FRANK They’re beautiful. 

MOLLY  I’m sure they’re bigger. Must be the salt water.

FRANK It’s magic. What about it then? Santorini? 

MOLLY You might have one of your panic attacks love.

FRANK I’ll be fine.

MOLLY We’d have to catch the 9 o'clock ferry.

FRANK Hardly over breakfast.

MOLLY Or catch the later one and come back late tomorrow night.

FRANK Not keen on the ferries late at night. Strange country. Foreign. Probably too many tourists on Santorini. Bloody backpackers. Like ants.

MOLLY Backpackers are nice...so what shall we do?

FRANK Whatever makes you happy love.

MOLLY We could stay here all day.

FRANK If that’s what you want.... what’s for breakfast?

MOLLY What would you like?

FRANK You sit there, take it easy. I’ll get it. 

MOLLY Did they find his wife?

FRANK Dirk Bogarde’s? (MOLLY NODS) They always do. What’ll it be?

MOLLY Oysters.

FRANK Of course. Oysters. And you darling. (MOLLY LAUGHS) Only if you’re up to it.

MOLLY Why not.


A Grain of Salt.πŸ’‹

Monday 12th April, 2021. Brrr. Far from sure I'm up to facing another Winter. Mid Autumn and bang goes the good weather. Prince Phillip's passing and bang goes the weekend television, radio, newspapers. Amazing how so many experts appear from the woodwork to tell us of their loving memories. Any bad memories? Tried Collingwood until half way through the second quarter; same overrated players, same (lack of) system, same blame game coach, underlining the disaster/loss of Adam Treloar, Jaidyn Stephenson and Tom Phillips. Season over, attempting to ignore the 4 zip painful Melbourne supporters, looking ahead, 2022? The passing of the Prince, yet another opportunity for our PM to show his empathy side, carefully scripted; dare he not? Call me suspicious, but this never ending conversation on supply (the vaccine rollout?) moves Scotty further and further away from his women problems, conveniently under the extra large umbrella of Marise Payne, assisted by darling Michaelia and company. Deflection, the master, feeding the masses, as in 'Gladiator' the movie while the toothless dragons (Led by Seldom Seen Albo Albanese, from Game of Thrones, Drones?) fly overhead, a bit like spotting the moon on a cloudy night. Then the recalibration, the Pfizer, the mathematics of one (blood clot) in 200,000 and they change the vaccine rollout for under 50's, including (surely?) most of the cleaners, carers, security guards and medical workers? Assuming a worry as to this statistic they might give some attention to the reality of the horrifying statistic on aboriginal deaths in custody, albeit according to The Australian newspaper this is also a statistic for all deaths in custody, disregarding the point yet again? [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders comprise just 3 per cent of the Australian population, according to the latest census figures, but make up 28 per cent of the prisoner population. Indigenous incarceration rates, a terrible stain on our nation.] Late announcements on sex discrimination (as they did with aged care) recommendations, some adopted wholly, some in part, others/many, noted, whatever noted means? The consistency of overselling and under delivering. Some 3 million short of the target a blot on our sniper PM'S hopes to run to the election on a reputation of the vaccine rollout. Still, if nothing else, it throws a shining light on the huge number of stressed sheep we live amongst. A long wait until the next election; last day 21st May 2022. "We will continue to lead the world in our responses to this pandemic" says our leader, providing us with his own grains of salt, in line with his words this time last year - "We are at the front of the queue." The far-queue? Political strategy – the states on delivery and the Europeans on supply.  Even so...


I rarely watch commercials on television. I tape everything and automatically fast forward the commercials. Recently, in one of those regular situations where the effort to get up from the couch is in the "too hard" basket I took time out to watch two 4 minute blocks on the telly, all these deals, advice, saving dollars, good health items. It occurred to me, the money out of our pockets sliding into there's. Assuming these commercials cost a fortune to make it stands to reason thousands must take their advice, or why bother? No surprise Gogglebox is so popular? Buggered if I know, maybe people derive a sort of pleasure in buying useless rubbish? Maybe, more likely, I'm simply a cranky old bastard?    


COMEDY, The Chaser's: Letter from Schomo: "During this pandemic, there have always been different roles and responsibilities between state and federal governments. The states have been in charge of all the unpopular things that actually stop the spread of the virus, such as making people wear masks, locking them down, and closing borders. The Federal Government has had the equally onerous task of running the press conferences, conducting photo ops, and making announcements that undermine the work of the states. However, there is one thing that the National Cabinet agreed early on would be the responsibility of the Federal Government: the vaccine roll-out. Now I won’t go into detail about why we were so keen to be in charge of rolling out the magical cure that will make everyone happy shortly before our next election is due. But we took on this burdensome responsibility, and we did so knowing that it would involve some work. And let me tell you it was hard. Do you know how difficult it is handing out billion-dollar contracts to some of our largest donors? The hang-overs from being wined and dined were almost worse than having Covid. And look, I’ll be honest, mistakes were made. Once we’d signed a contract with Pfizer and AstraZeneca, we were too drunk to bother signing up any of the other vaccines. Besides, the Sharkies were playing that weekend, and it just didn’t seem like it was worth ruining a weekend to deal with. We honestly thought that two varieties would be good enough. Pfizer for blue-ribbon Liberal Party electorates, AstraZeneca for everyone else. It didn’t even occur to us that there might be supply problems for the most wanted substance on earth. Anyway, that’s why it was great news to hear that the AstraZeneca vaccine has blood-clotting issues at a rate 1/160th of that posed by the female contraceptive pill. It’s a vanishingly small risk, but remember this vaccine isn’t just being given to women, so we have to do something about it. Which is why we’ve made the difficult decision that from today, people under 50 will no longer be able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. Of course, they weren’t able to get it before now, but at least we can now blame this all on AstraZeneca." [Clever truth? OR, depending on who you're rusted on to? ].


I’ve never been big on autobiographies. I read my share in the 1970’s in a half hearted search for insights as a working actor. I recall reading Confessions of an Actor: Laurence Olivier an Autobiography, and was overtaken by boredom. Other's the odd hint here and there but generally unimpressed, particularly my bias against self aggrandisement. Some obviously plain interesting, Mandela, Chaplin. Some say Anne Frank. Mark Twain is a 3 volume job, likely not enough time left to take on volumes 2-3, but a particular piece in volume 1 caught my attention early on “What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words. His real life is led in his head, and is known no more than to himself. All day long, and every day, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts (which are but the mute articulation of his feelings) not those other things, are his history. His acts and his words are merely the visible thin crust of his world, with its scattered snow summits and its vacant wastes of water - and they are so trifling a part of his bulk! a mere skin enveloping it. The mass of him is hidden - it and its volcanic fires that toss and boil, and never rest, night nor day. These are his life, and they are not written, and cannot be written. Every day would make a whole book of eighty thousand words - three hundred and sixty-five books a  year. Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man - the biography of the man himself cannot be written.” Keep on reading if that’s your preference. In fact further on in Twain’s book there’s another argument on the basis no matter the words, the real person (truth?) cannot be hidden. I’m for Twain’s These are his life words. Some say, ever onwards - “If you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve got nothing to worry about.” Give me strength?


Where would we be without strenuous denials, Christian Porter?..."You can always remember what you were doing at certain key moments in your life." So they tell me. I remember the moon landing, little else...Prince Philip, according to reports, sacrificed his promising career’’ to support his wife. A good man. I know how he feels/felt? I’ve done likewise by keeping my tongue firmly in cheek in support of various feminists since 1970....The Pfizer vaccine, secured, or ordered?...The Victorian regulator approval of an additional gaming machines should all carry the sign "gamble responsibly" which should cure any problem punters?...Former PM Malco Turnbull's call for a moratorium on new coalmine approvals; bad move mate, similar to another of his disasters, the NBN, gone for all monies. An unemployed PM's Club, new mates, Kevvy Rudd and Jules Gillard? Fortunately the COVIDSafe app was down to our local mate on the Mornington Peninsula, Greggy Hunt, maybe (hopefully?) to be an associate member?...A big orchid to the Australian Medical Assistance Scheme, to Papua New Guinea and COVID-19 assistance...ABC radio morning shift, Paul Kennedy, a breath of fresh air...9News? "The world is in mourning over the loss of Prince Phillip."...Absence of occupation is not rest, a mind  quite vacant is a mind distressed. [Cowper]...Hooroo...www.ello8.com





A Grain of Salt.😎

Wednesday 7th April, 2021. Let's face it, when Danny Andrews comes good he's not going to look kindly on our Mornington Peninsula, particularly Blairgowrie and surrounds. Not that it matters. The serenity of peace has been shattered and the kangaroos are becoming edgy on account of the obvious space invaders. The little fellow in the current commercial on television "Are we there yet" refreshing/haunting our memories of the long interstate family drives to Sydney and beyond, now replaced by the pleasure of "Have they gone yet?" Easter amidst the thousands, realestate.com.au front and centre. A four day break from a quiet beer at the RSL taken over by the (seemingly) entitled mob from up north. A new dawn? The good news is we are still here, bruised but recovering, months of calm ahead as a bonus, at best, hopefully? Cranky, no. Happy, temporarily, you betcha. A day at a time.       


Flight of the bloody bumble bee? If I didn’t know better I’d think our PM is following his normal formula, the art of deflecting. Particularly the ‘women’ problem and using the vaccine rollout (a supply problem, almost a year to organise, the European Union denying Morrison claims Covid vaccine doses have been blocked from being shipped to Australia?) as a blocker. The added problem is I really do not know better. Expect nothing from Sky news, 9 news and to a lesser extent 7 and 10 news. The same (factually worse?) from The Herald-Sun and the Australian. Add in The Age in a form of disguise as fair minded. Again our cash starved ABC, specifically Sydney ABC, almost the last truth outpost, with The Saturday Paper and the Australian Guardian adding what they perceive as the real truth. One has to be a political nut case to form an opinion close to the reality, and from my experience the majority decide regardless, on whichever political ideology they received from day 1 of their birth. Adding (again?) on the current youth crop, heavily into computers, iPhones, music, sport, self empathy and hubris, before the idea of how we are governed is the last thing on their youthful minds. I cannot recall any former PM having so many black marks against him, yet at the same time successfully applying his deflect policy, albeit his direct line to Murdoch’s professionals to calm the sheep. Maybe finish on Ravel’s Bolero, hopefully the final clash of symbols signalling Schomo’s demise?


Vaping: Quit Victoria director Sarah White “Adolescent brains are exquisitely sensitive to that, and they [manufacturers and sellers] get a lifelong or close to lifelong customer if they can get someone dependent when they they are in their teens." [And gambling, porn, alcohol, following a football team other than Collingwood, private schoolboys et al?]


Where do feminists stand in the power structure? Indeed, I pondered this question way back in the 1970's when, according to my erratic memory this all began, courtesy of Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch; 1970. I blame those dinner dances. Particularly the Tower Hotel in Hawthorn. Good news for our third child I suppose. I'd shut the gate after two. Dropped my guard didn't I, the catholic method? Settled for three, vasectomy. God knows, but does our Prime Minister? Let's hear it for our Scotty, now re-titled as our Minister for Empathy. Marise Payne, Amanda Stoker, Jane Hume, Anne Ruston and Michaelia Cash, our cabinet taskforce for women. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Finance Minister Simon Birmingham – are part of the group; why? Leaving aside the various sex issues, perhaps a real need to sort out the Liberal preselection intimidation, surely the root cause? Australian of the Year Grace Tame described the changes as “calculated distractions posing as solutions”. Go back the past 5 years and point out to an ageing duffer: name some (any?) of minister Payne's achievements? “Prime Minister for women”? Particularly ignoring Brittany Higgins’ allegation that she was raped in the office of another female minister. Not forgetting darling 'old cow' Linda Reynolds? Basically it's about our Scotty creating the appearance of females as part of the decision making process, no mention of culture changes, policies. EASTER MESSAGE: Prime Minister said ‘‘It’s our capacity to love our neighbour as ourselves that I think has really demonstrated the great Aussie spirit of mateship over this past year.’’ Yeah, the ABC in floods, bushfires, that's mateship, and what does Scotty do? Starves them. At the last election the Building Better Regions Fund; millions to coalition seats, not forgetting Sports Rorts and Dutton's Community Safety Grants, all heavily spitting in our faces; mateship via your voting intentions. Again, add in the banking royal commission, many of its recommendations not implemented; numerous inquiries into aged care, no action; indigenous justice, what wage growth? [Almost laughable? PM 'appalled' with the Christine Holgate watches episode]. Talking of bullshit, a funny thing, watching a movie The Bourne Legacy, CIA agents or the like, trialling a new empathy drug, as in the good guy, a killer without empathy. Why create a drug? We have non empathy on tap? 


Jon Faine “The City of Yarra, with a Greens majority, tried to impose a massive fee hike on grassroots sport clubs – triggering howls of outrage – and also rejected a state government proposal for a social housing development in the precinct around the Collingwood Town Hall. Years of work on a plan to provide 200 units – 100 of them for social housing – has been abandoned as the council refused to endorse the state government plan. The Greens majority on the council is uncomfortable about the involvement of any commercial property developer. The state government wants to draw on the successful Carlton template of mixed-use medium-rise apartments, a model that avoids public housing ghettos and relies on commercial sales for a cross-subsidy. Planning Minister Richard Wynne, who has been pushing this concept since he was a ministerial adviser in the Cain government, is furious. His exasperation is shared across the housing sector. Yet again, the Greens fail to understand compromise. It can be so hard to achieve any results at all in politics. It is well understood that 75 per cent of something is better than 100 per cent of nothing. [Parnell Palme McGuinness. “Zealots, ideologues and activists are exciting to have on side because they fizz with energy. They’re great to make a noise and get things started. But if you’re in the business of shifting community attitudes, beware entanglement. Their absolutism will inevitably become a liability and their agendas will override the project. The women’s movement inspired by the stories of Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame is at risk of succumbing to the control of such an agenda.” The entitled at play, North Fitzroy and Collingwood but a memory. St Kilda? Foreshore areas at Rye, Safety Beach and Mount Eliza will be subject to smoking bans from this month. Where to next? Me? To the RSL, a quiet beer, alone, smoking area.]


Is it me? AFL football. David King, Matthew Lloyd, Kane Cornes, pointing out a certain play on screen, where they went wrong etc. Why? I can never follow it?...As a boy, recalling dodging the odd chap talking to himself, not now. Over Easter commonplace to see someone passing speaking loudly to what I assume was an earpiece?...Never too late? Chap on TV advising his daughter, downhill skiing, always look up, never look down. Hand tremor, countless accidents, not anymore...Should we be a republic; absolutely. Should Morrison have anything to do with it; no way known...Apart from the odd vague references I managed to ignore Donald Trump's shenanigans for the whole of his presidency. I adopt the same attitude with the vaccine rollouts and previously designer Carla Zampati (state funeral, fashion, transcends all generations?) and yes, even Mushroom records. Perhaps the 1970s wore me out?...Where is our biggest danger? The USA's CIA, or China's Guoanbu or Russia's FSB or Nigerian hackers or...Hillsong?...Federal election: Between August 7 this year and May 21 next year, can't wait...Fascinating how people smile/laugh no matter what you say, at 85. Sort of - humour the old bastard?...Negative gearing, the destruction of the belief for thousands, of home ownership?...A pearler from Matthew Richardson as Sydney approached the 100 marks for the game (against Richmond) “I’m guessing when a team gets to 100 marks they wouldn’t get beaten too often.”...Strange how the Western Bulldogs always get more free kicks than the opposition? Add in another team, Sydney?...Steve Smith, a class act as a batsman, ready to take on the Australian cricket captaincy; surely he's dreaming...Thank God for the $44 million given to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation?...Scott Morrison, Greg Hunt, the federal Chief Health Officer, as well as many Premiers, have jumped the queue to get their vaccinations; why not?..."We're all frauds deep down, hopefully. Without it, where's our sense of balance? [Cliff Ellen]...Keep yourselves nice...www.ello8.com





A Grain of Salt.πŸ€”

Friday 2nd April, 2021. Easter. The Good Samaritan in hiding? The critics of contact tracing would do well to see it as the law of averages? Or if you support the Liberal Party, easy peasy, follow your leader Scotty and blame the Premiers; Labor premiers obviously. I’m having a bad trot. Have you ever had a bad trot? Who hasn’t. Mind you with the tumbling of Seeker Keeper the severe trot could well reach plague proportions. Thousands of Keepers will lose their jobs, but not (apparently) Andrew Laming. Some (perish the thought) may have to find a real job. I’m a pensioner so my bad trot equates with the computer paying ducks and drakes; no help whatsoever by Telstra. ‘‘PM has finally taken steps to show that he is listening’’ (The Age, 30/3). That solves that conundrum. Anaesthetist’s overpaid; a given, the Ned Kelly’s of medicine, years of study notwithstanding. Beware: Dr Katie Allen MP and Senator Sarah Henderson, raising the possibility of alcohol being restricted or banned at/in Parliament House; a nonsense. No problem for the next 5 weeks, no parliament until the May budget. I had most of this column completed this morning, the downfall of the day of Jesus. Alas, my computer took a dive and I cannot locate it, short term memory almost abandoned, all now emanating from the top of my bald skull. Short and sweet until a visit from Telstra for a piddling $240. Balance my books by a cut on my smokes - 5 a day for 30 days?


Good Friday brings back the memories. Queuing up at the fish and chip shop 6 deep. In fact no queue just a packed shop all yelling. Our one day without meat. Of course we cheated when no-one was looking; unlike the honest catholic family next door, strange, tomato sauce with fish and chips? Another as the RAAF reaches its century. As an auditor looking at the stores accounting system at Laverton and Point Cook; a 3 week job twice yearly. A stores accounting system full of holes but featured by daily lunches in the officers mess Point Cook attended by ‘other ranks’ stewards, 3 course meals, to coffee and cigarettes in the officers lounge. Importance feelings? A nominal fee of 2/6 pence, 1960’s. Six weeks a year, no F-35A fleet (now 33 strong and ready to deploy on operations), heaven on a stick. I recall the Point Cook beach, Port Phillip Bay, a sorry sight, one day in the future as a good investment? Sadly, did nothing, opportunity flyaway? Marlon Brando “I coulda been a champion.”  


Inspiration in hiding? We need a leader, in fact likely three or four, but sadly now as we stand, none, male or female. The fabulous three - crooks, dickheads and romantics, anytime, any country. Obviously the crooks are presently firmly in control (the males of course, albeit temporarily challenged) and equally the vast majority of dickheads follow, with a side audience of romantics. Socialist principles are scattered in there somewhere but again, perhaps thankfully, no leader, remember Bill Hartley? Thus, we continue on in our chosen path, exploited by the capitalists, male and female. [The romantics are scattered within, The Greens overrun. A new minister for Home Affairs, female. Still little hope for the Biloela family? And the band played on...] 


Like HIV and pandemic influenza we will never really know the root cause of COVID according to the experts, probably bats or the like, animals not humans. So much for Morrison’s grandstanding (and the cost to Australian businesses) in calling for an investigation far too early as a China blame game.


Our Michaelia and her threat/promise to ‘‘name every young woman in Mr Shorten’s office over which rumours in this place abound.’’ Did this include aboriginal women? I'm told Morrison knows about the misuse of social media but is he aware of his very own misuse by having a direct line to his News Limited mates when cornered? Perhaps another enquiry to be reported on (and rarely acted upon) in 6 months time, like the tragic aged care recommendations?  


BITS, PIECES: Record housing prices and record low wages. Nice for some, sad for the renters, extending the rich/poor differential, the possibility of the new rich joining the latter if (or when?) interest rates rise. Maybe list all politicians who negatively gear and hold shares in Real Estate.com?…Age editorial ‘Stop the vaccine rollout squabbling’. Hear here, all about supply dickeads, patience?…Sadly the ABC Melbourne 7pm news service is but a memory…The Park hotel Carlton and the detention of these refugees and asylum seekers…Scotty’s popularity with male Liberal voters is unchanged. Is the Pope a catholic?…Tim Tszyu won; zzzz…Collingwood, the pain of being in front for 117 minutes, and losing…Michael O’Brien, a bigger pain, featured nightly, the Nine News?…The home phones are running hot of late. Offers (free) of new lighting, solar panels deals, best to let it ring?…Canberra? “Wherever there is love and loyalty, great purposes and lofty souls, even though in a hovel or a mine, there is Fairy-land.” [Kingsley]…Happy Easter Telstra...Back Sunday 11/4, and a working computer...www.ello8.com


As a space filler, continuing on (whether you like it or not) “Over There.”…


MOLLY. (A FLIRTATIOUS MOLLY. PIERRE HANDS HER THE CAMERA. WHISPERS TO HER, “Si pourquoi est-ce que nous parlons l’espagnol?” THEY LAUGH. PUNCH LINE/JOKE-”Then why are we talking Spanish?”) Thank you Pierre. That was delightful. 

PIERRE. My pleasure Mollee. Always a joy to have conversation with a beautiful, intelligent, Mademoiselle. 

MOLLY. Not a Madam? 

PIERRE. Ne-ver a Madam, Mademoiselle Mollee. 

MOLLY. You’re a charmer Pierre. 

PIERRE. Paris is the city of Amour Mollee . What good fortune for me, your husband is, how you say, crook? 

MOLLY. There’s a tiger snake in his pocket. 

PIERRE. Lucky man. Oui?

MOLLY. (LAUGHS) He doesn’t like spending. 

PIERRE. (KISSES MOLLY ON THE HAND) Aha. Money is for spending Mademoiselle Mollee. Enjoy. Perhaps we can meet again. 

MOLLY. Sounds good.

PIERRE. Tomorrow. Le Louvre. Oui?

MOLLY. (LAUGHS) Oui. Merci...perhaps.

PIERRE. Oui. Oui. Adieu. 


FRANK. Who was that?

MOLLY. A Parisian fellow traveller. Pierre. He took some photos of me up the top.

FRANK. Kissing your hand?

MOLLY. A woman likes to be appreciated.

FRANK. I appreciate you dear.

MOLLY. Yes darling.

FRANK. Did you tell him you’re a grandmother?

MOLLY. He would never have believed it. (LAUGHS) Mademoiselle.

FRANK. Was he flirting?

MOLLY. The Eiffel Tower. Pronounced Effelle. We’ll be needing a new roll of film shortly.

FRANK. I bought three rolls duty free.

MOLLY. Three is not enough Frank.

FRANK. Bloody Notre Dame followed by 1792 steps.

MOLLY. You wouldn’t pay.

FRANK. I walked half way. Better view in the Dandenongs. 

MOLLY. (READING) It was completed in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel, originally a 300 metre design by Maurice Koechlin & Emile Nouguier, Eiffel’s engineers, then redesigned to 312 metres by architect Stephen Sauvestre, by adding an arch at the bottom. Made an historic monument in 1964. 

FRANK. Will Crown Casino ever be an historic monument? 

MOLLY. Are you listening? 

FRANK. Yes darling. Gustave. My feet are falling off.

MOLLY. We’ll find the Louvre first, then we’ll sit down and have a nice cup of cafe oh latte. Isn’t Paris magical? 

FRANK. City of illusions. Our money. Now you see it, now you don’t. 

MOLLY. Made me feel 10 years younger. 

FRANK. Should have brought the thermos. Have they got any poker machines here? 

MOLLY. We’ll look at the Louvre first. We must see the Louvre. The Mona Lisa, the Cone, then Pere Lachaise cemetery. 

FRANK. Why a cemetery?

MOLLY. I have to see Oscar Wilde’s grave. Maria Callas. Collette. 

FRANK. We’ll finish up joining Oscar.

MOLLY. You can’t visit Paris without seeing them.

FRANK. I haven’t seen the Melbourne cemetery.

MOLLY. For godsake Frank. Keep yourself nice.

FRANK. I could have stayed back at the hotel watching CNN. 

MOLLY. (ANNOYED) Don’t be so bloody ignorant.

FRANK. I always thought Notre Dame was an American football team. 

MOLLY. I mean it Frank. You’re a Philistine.

FRANK. So you said.

MOLLY. (MOVING OFF) I think it’s this way.

FRANK. (CALLS) It’s that way.

MOLLY. How would you know? 

FRANK. I checked the map this morning. It’s a circle, see? (POINTS) River Seine, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Louvre. Save standing here like a gork staring at a map. (FRANK INQUIRES OF AN OFFSTAGE PASSER-BY) Excuse me mate. (NO RESPONSE-THEN ANOTHER) Excuse me mate-Parlez Vous Louvre? Louve-rey? Bloody useless. The men ignore you and the women all have dogs pissing on the footpaths. Bloody little ankle biters. 

MOLLY. (STOPS) You’re a pain in the arse Frank. You can’t expect them to understand you when you insist on calling everyone mate. Learn the language. Bonjour. Merci. Parley vous Englais? Voulez-vous couchez avec moi? It’s simple enough. (WALKS ON) 

FRANK. That is the wrong way. Now who never listens.

MOLLY. Will you stop it. We’re on holidays for chrissake.

FRANK. All I’m saying is it’s over that way. The North Bank. See that building? 

MOLLY. Rubbish Frank. (ENGROSSED IN MAP) You got lost in Diamaru.

FRANK. So did everybody else! They found dead bodies in there when they closed. 

MOLLY. Are you coming or just being stupid. 

FRANK. It’s over that way. By that toilet. (MOLLY LOST IN THOUGHT BY WAY OF HER MAP & CITY LANDMARKS) We got off the train, walked up the stairs, came out at the top of the steps near that toilet. (INDICATES) 

MOLLY.I’m not listening.

FRANK. We came out near that pissoire. 

MOLLY. Those “pissoires” are all over the city you fool.

FRANK. Stay calm love. Don’t say I didn’t tell you. Bloody common sense. You never listen. God it’s hot. How do they stand it? 

MOLLY. They become acclimatised obviously. 

FRANK. You mean they sit here. The whole of Paris sits on the footpaths drinking very expensive ordinary coffee served by reactionary shopkeepers. Must all be rich. Bloody snobs. What’s wrong with “mate”? 

MOLLY. If you don’t want to come, go back to the hotel. Go on. 

FRANK. I didn’t say that. 

MOLLY. Don’t spoil my day. I can find my way around without you. I can find my way around in spite of you. Pierre offered to show me. 

FRANK. Yes. And we both know why. 

MOLLY. Because he’s a gentleman. 

FRANK. Bullshit.

MOLLY. Are you coming? 

FRANK. We’re going around in circles, that’s all I’m saying darling. 

MOLLY. Don’t “darling” me.

FRANK. Why wont you be reasonable? We need to find a 7-eleven. 

MOLLY. Will you stop acting your age for one minute. 

FRANK. We’re going in circles.

MOLLY. Enough! I’ve had enough. I can’t take it anymore. 

FRANK. Take what? 

MOLLY. I’m going on my own. I don’t know why I wanted you to come in the first place. I should have gone with Pierre. You go back to the hotel. If you can find it. Give me some money. Arsehole! 

FRANK. Arsehole? I’ll come. 

MOLLY. Money! You will not come. I want to go alone. I’d rather go alone. Money! (FRANK GIVES MOLLY MONEY) Now piss off. (MOLLY STORMS OFF.) 

FRANK. Shit. She’s going round the block. I’ll just wait here. Bloody holidays. Bloody frogs. Why can’t they speak English? Why should you have to pay for a piss? Why do they want the exact money? And the Attendant’s are all females. Madam bloody pee pee’s. Peeing is an event. You have to be psychologically attuned. (LOOKS) God, I’ve lost her. She’s got the map. Shit. Over five weeks to go. Bring on Tullamarine. Self pity and sorrow - the Gods of misfortune. Flowers! She loves flowers. Parley vous flo-werz? And chocolates! Catch a taxi back to that crummy hotel. (CALLS) Taxi! Shiiit! What was the name of that bloody hotel????



A Grain of Salt. πŸ˜Ž

Sunday 28th March, 2021: A week in politics, reminding me (for no specific reason) of Not the Nine O'Clock News way back when, as in comedy. COVID free, but not sex free in Canberra? What culture? A plethora, a banquet of misguided conduct. A PM displaying his weaknesses, fine words "a zero tolerance of abusive behaviour" believed by at best the ultra believers. The difference between control and no control; groping unlimited? Takes me back to the late 1950's, my months in Canberra as a public servant. Unacceptable behaviour by today's standards, then a day to day basis. Havelock House mixed accommodation for we public servants assisting in the changeover, Navy Department to Lah Lah Land, government housing (now worth a fortune) at cheap rates, some of my co-workers elevated to big time jobs despite average intelligence, Canberra's way of building castles. Scotty relying on other people for the facts, but only if he wants good news, the latter a tin ear. I'm recalling the movie "Running Scared" aligned with our Scotty ordering parliament to get this house in order? We're no longer in ancient Greece and females in the naked form. There's always been an underbelly of middle class prudes, the ever present threat of an angelical revival, a new age of prohibition zooming in? Like the bushfires and Hawaii, you need to hold the hose Scotty, but can you locate it? And behold, better late than never our Scotty takes a firm hold on the mythical hose, not unlike the staffer who filmed himself and his peeing machine. Scott and Nathan Buckley, playing out their final seasons? Who replaces Scott in a leadership spill? Greg Hunt, staying sweet, eyes on the main prize; recalling Scotty's words to a now slightly resentful Malcolm Turnbull - ‘‘This is my leader and I’m ambitious for him’’? Josh Frydenburg, who ratted on his own Victorians during Daniel Andrews COVID Premiership? Peter Dutton? Worse than Donald Trump and more crosses against his name than "Chopper" Read. Ever the fascination. The ABC's 7.30 Wednesday with Laura Tingle in the chair was a classic. Great to see our ABC fighting back with the bottom line; truth. Even The Age pain in the neck political editor Peter Hartcher gives our Scotty a serve in yesterday's newspaper. Balanced out as always by the editorial "It is not too late, Mr Morrison. Choose your words carefully, lead the debate, offer your voice and power of office as a force for change. Seize the moment. It would be a legacy worth the effort." John Howard's bullet proof vest facing an angry mob of gun owners pales into insignificance. Even so...


Snookered? The alleged rape of Brittany Higgins. Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to answer questions about the Gaetjens inquiry, saying the Secretary would answer in Senate estimates on Monday. However, Morrison was already fully aware that the inquiry had been halted on March 9, and that Gaetjens would refuse to answer in estimates. Morrison did not inform Parliament of the inquiry’s suspension. The Prime Minister conducted his business in the House as if the inquiry was proceeding. This led opposition leader Anthony Albanese to accuse Morrison of misleading Parliament — an accusation Morrison vigorously denied. [Filed for reference?] 


Catharine Murphy: "Tuesday’s effort was a Howard-era pivot, all the bells and whistles, which is notable as a piece of political craft, because that is not normally Morrison’s style. John Howard made an art of noisy repositioning when he’d messed things up just to make sure the recalibration hadn’t been missed in the nosebleed seats." [Scotty's realisation of the mess, (‘‘I believe in all the women of Australia.’’) also of his currently in question 'good bloke' image, a failure in these sex/woman matters, particularly his pathetic attempts at spreading the blame to Labor and the press. Result? His best effort at saying sorry? Morrison sees himself as this fictitious good bloke, with tears? I see enough of these types at my local RSL. Living in the past. It's hotting up in the kitchen, the ice is cracking?]  


One may well be amused in marrying up Joe Biden’s inauguration speech; what a privilege it was to work for government, including ‘‘people don’t work for us, we work for the people’’ with the reported Morrison government considering radical changes to the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme, including denying funding to Australians with acquired brain injuries and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder as well as reducing the avenue of appeal for participants under secret plans to save costs. Tearing down a Labor initiative. Sad, not unexpected, stuff.


Kids, adults? As a middle teenager a couple of ratbags on the outskirts of our friends general group, took it upon themselves to rob a local jewellers shop. Watches for sale at 10% of selling price all round. I passed, more likely the prospect of being caught. One to two friendly (?) conversations in the backroom of the Northcote police station solved the mystery resulting in charges and the return of the contraband. In reading the story of a Liberal adviser filming himself masturbating on the desk of a female MP (egotistical weirdo maybe, but what an imagination?) and passing the film around to unknown friends, perhaps a similar result in naming the camera operator and naming the receivers of copies? A cat amongst the pigeons? Stupidity comes in all areas of humanity.   


Breaking news on Nine - Shooting at Virginia Beach, USA?... I'd be ropable if I barracked for Brisbane. Talk of one vital free kick missed, resulting in a Geelong goal and a 1 point victory. I saw three, glaring, all Geelong goals?...Tasmanian premier has announced the state election will be held a year early on 1 May – a month before the opposition leader is due to give birth. Van Diemen's Land hasn't changed since the 1850's?...Quotas needed across the board. Democracy? Not in my lifetime....Famous last words, ex PM John Gorton ‘‘Meanness and poverty, tyranny and hate, have no place.’’...After the floods. What of climate change now?....The NSW and beyond disastrous floods yet again an example of the value of our ABC, ditto the Bureau of Meteorology. 


Not a lot to write about this week, politics in a state of waiting; on our PM'S response? A change of pace: My wife Mary and I journeyed overseas 1996, Mary into history, architecture, paintings, ruins and theatre. I preferred the footpaths, coffee, passers-by, sometimes theatre. We compromised. It occurred to me after the overuse of contemplation I should make notes, a story of our trip and an original title - “Our Trip”. So I wrote while Mary beheld, and introduced fiction which many would almost certainly disregard and replace with fact. Returning home I put the notes (now called the dramatisation of reality, or a play) through three drafts, helped by Malcolm Robertson, Anne Phelan, Mark Cutler, Nicholas Bufalo and Jennifer Ellen. In all, 14 scenes, Melbourne, London, Paris, Athens etc. The (almost) finished product stayed in the drawer, as they do, as it shall remain. Here is the Athens scene, posterity, a favourite of mine. 


SHOPK. Kalimera.

FRANK. Kalimera. 

SHOPK.You come inside sir. I have just the shirt for you. Beautiful silk. I sell for a very special price.

FRANK. Is that right? Silk, eh?

SHOPK. Is right. Come, come. You come too lovely lady. Lovely silk. Extra special price for lovely lady. (THEY GO IN.)

MOLLY. It’s all mens gear, isn’t it?

SHOPK. No, no. Mens. Womens. Unisex. No problem. You from England, yes.

FRANK Australia mate. Fair go. Frank’s the name.

SHOPK. Ahh. Australia. Beautiful. I am Dhanos.

FRANK Nearly lost us there.

SHOPK. Many Greeks live in Australia, yes?

FRANK That’s right mate. Great country. We love the Greek people. Greek food too, don’t we love? Greek salads, Greek coffee, Greek hats, Greek ash trays.

SHOPK. I have little cousin who lives in Australia. Yhanos. You know Yhanos? (THE SHOPKEEPER MEASURES FRANK’S HEIGHT.)

FRANK He lives next door to me.

SHOPK. Ha ha. You make the joke, no? You like Athens?

MOLLY We love Athens.

SHOPK. World’s most liveable city. I give you extra special price. See madam this shirt? Beautiful texture. Feel this. Is good yes? You try on. Here sir, Mr Australian mate. This is beautiful. I do special deal on this one. Which part of Australia you from? Sydney, Melvourne? (PRONOUNCED MEL-VOURNE-EH)

FRANK Melbourne mate. Worlds most liv-

MOLLY Frank!

SHOPK. I hear good things about Melvourne. I have second cousin went to Melvourne, 10, 15 years ago. Thanos. He still there. Must be good eh? Very good shirt madam. Definitely for you.

MOLLY It’s not really me.

SHOPK. You try this one. This one is for you.

MOLLY No, I don’t think so. Thanks anyway.

FRANK (EXAMINING THE SHIRT) What do you think Moll?

MOLLY Yes. Looks nice if you like it. It’s silk Frank.

FRANK Feels good love.  

MOLLY Where would you wear it?

FRANK Dinner, the footy, anywhere. How much?

SHOPK. Normal price 80 Euros. For Australian mate, just 40. 

FRANK $70 bucks! Not that cheap is it?

SHOPK. Cheap? What is cheap? You want cheap? It falls to pieces in no time. A man like you deserves the best. Not Asian silk, they no feed the silkworms, they generic engineer! This good silk. We feed souvlaki. Last forever. You twist my arm. 35 Euros for my Australian mate. Very best  low price.

FRANK I’ll pay 30. That’s my bottom line.

SHOPK. Ha, ha. You drive the hard bargain. I tell you. You buy two, I sell for 55 Euros. I can’t do any better than that.

FRANK Yeah? 45 bucks each. What do you think darling?

MOLLY Do you like them?

FRANK Yeah, I do. Feel the silk. 

MOLLY I already have.

FRANK Never worn silk. Too pricey. You think I need them?

MOLLY If you like them love. Shirts don’t go to waste.

FRANK That’s right. Can’t waste good silk. This silk lasts forever.

MOLLY Depends.

FRANK Bugger it. Live it up. We’re on holiday. Look good in Bangkok. Hang the bloody expense eh? What do you think?

MOLLY Why not!

SHOPK. 50. Final offer. I sell at a loss.

FRANK Now that is good. $85 bucks for two. You’ve got me mate. 50. Too good to refuse. I’ll take two. You take Visa?

SHOPK. Visa is good. How long you stay here?

FRANK Tomorrow we go to Mike-onos- 


FRANK 12 days. Catch the big ferry. Back here overnight, then off home via stopover Bangkok.

SHOPK. You will love Mykonos. Lovely scarf for lovely madam. 10 Euros. Very cheap.

MOLLY No thank you. It is lovely though.

SHOPK. No problem. Have lovely holiday. You come back I have many more beautiful clothes. Very special Australian price.

FRANK(OUTSIDE THE SHOP) What do you think?

MOLLY They’re nice.

FRANK You sure?

MOLLY I don’t know that you need two shirts love. You’re not exactly a social butterfly. Especially silk.

FRANK You’re taking the piss!

MOLLY They’re gorgeous.

FRANK I got them both for nearly the same price he offered for one. Until I beat him down. What’s wrong with silk?

MOLLY Just doesn’t seem you, that’s all.

FRANK Why didn’t you say something?

MOLLY They’re fine darling. I like them.


MOLLY Love. I adore them.

FRANK What’s me anyway? I’m a Philistine according to you.

MOLLY Where’s your sense of humour?

FRANK Just never worn silk. Bloody cheap for silk.

MOLLY Probably.

FRANK You’re doing it again. They’re bloody silk love.

MOLLY I know they’re bloody silk darling. There’s all kinds of silk. All at different prices. I bought a dress years ago. Had ART silk on the label. I thought it was very posh until someone pointed out art stood for artificial.

FRANK These haven’t got a label.

MOLLY Exactly.

FRANK I thought I got a bargain?

MOLLY I’m sure you did. It’s just that you always say a bargain’s not a bargain unless you need it. 

FRANK I’ll take them back.

MOLLY They’re fine. Very sexy. The blue will look great. I don’t know where you expect to wear the pink though.

FRANK It’s red...isn’t it?

MOLLY Well, Rose’.

FRANK Shit. Let’s try one of those souvlaki things, I’m starving.

MOLLY Let’s go back to that shoe shop first darling. I need new shoes-the red ones.

FRANK They were 75 Euros love.

MOLLY They’re double that back home darling.

FRANK You’ve got a dozen pairs already. You may well desire new shoes but you definitely don’t need them.

MOLLY If it’s allright for you to buy two puncy looking silk shirts-

FRANK Puncy?

MOLLY Wear one when we get back to our hotel. Sexy Rose’.

FRANK 75 Euros. That’s over $130.  Maybe more the way the dollar’s falling. Bloody crooks.  I’ll take them back.

MOLLY You will do nothing of the sort. He wouldn’t take them anyway. He saw you coming,  the old fox.

FRANK I thought I was the old fox?

MOLLY Forget it. We’re on holiday. 

FRANK Let’s go get a souvlaki and a beer. 

MOLLY Then to the shoe shop, and back to our 3 star for a matinee.

FRANK How much would these shirts cost back home?

MOLLY At South Melbourne market, about $20.

FRANK Tell me you jest?

MOLLY Wear the pink shirt.

FRANK Rose’.

MOLLY I’ll wear my sexy red high heels?


MOLLY You heard.

FRANK I might have a headache.

MOLLY Come on, you old fox. 

FRANK No wonder husbands die before their wives. Have you noticed how everyone smokes here?


FRANK One cigarette?

MOLLY Maybe after. 

FRANK Bob might like a silk shirt as his present, do you think?

MOLLY Bob’s a motor mechanic love.

FRANK It’s the thought that counts?


Nothing in life is finally tragic. Well, almost nothing..."When men take sinful means to avoid a calamity, that way very often brings it." [Wall]. www.ello8.com.





A Grain of Salt.😎

Sunday 21st March, 2021: POLITICS: Oh what a week. Bloody women. On the warpath. Lock away your credit cards men. OK, I feel for them. Sexual harassment and worse without justice, is a dreadful state of affairs and in desperate need of attention/action. I'm carefully sifting through past memories to ensure I'm not personally affected. Pretty sure I'm safe but not definitely, the sixties, seventies? "Own your own guilt" and "Enough is enough" say our Australian women, or seemingly a fair  proportion of them, hard to tell. Fair enough, assuming the same applies to our indigenous Australians. On the matter of our PM offering them a private meeting he had little choice. Highly emotional crowd and the customary blame game would have produced too strong a reaction for no good reason. The comparison of Tony Abbott as Opposition leader joining the anti Julia Gillard protesters; ditch the bitch? John Howard’s refusal to apologise to the tens of thousands of Indigenous children forcibly removed from their parents over several generations. John Howard again, bullet proof vest, facing an angry mob of gun owners. At the very least a sticky tricky situation for Scott Morrison. We can forget about a federal election for many many months. The question of carrying Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Attorney-General Christian Porter to the next election, and dumping them? No argument on the 50/50 male female concept but a slightly disturbing trend along the lines of encouraging any female with a chip on her shoulder a justification to speak out and be believed under the guise of men being (generally) bastards; what 50/50 concept? If a woman touches (physically or verbally) no problem but danger the other way round, etc. It sort of takes all the fun out of the equation, but hey, that's only me, and my flirting days are close to forgotten. Add in our charmer, law of the land Attorney-General Christian Porter, his only course of action (surely a smokescreen?) to offset the call for an enquiry, not to mention a defamation battle against the ABC, at taxpayer expense via the ABC's defence of this bullshit, not forgetting Porter's prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery intended to publicly punish the two 'veteran patriots' who revealed the Howard government’s criminal conduct against Timor-Leste. Let us hope nothing important in the law area arises with Michaelia Cash in his chair? Scotty may well think Labor's massive victory in WA was essentially a result of it's COVID closed borders policy, but can he be sure? Then the Dynamic Duo? Marise Payne Minister for Women and Paul Fletcher, Minister for Arts. If you prefer a Tri-namic Trio we should perhaps include Michael McCormack? Sports rorts. Refugees. Industrial relations. Julian Assange. A long list. And there was Scotty,  Round 1 of the AFL season, and Josh, MCG Upper Crust.  Me, Me, Me ad infinitum. Even so... 


From Leigh Sales, Sydney Media Lunch, Edited, captive audience? “I feel like I’m constantly asking myself this question ‘did something change in this country that the standard for behaviour now is not ‘I have to do the right thing’ or ‘I have to do what I promised I said I would do’, but instead ‘how much can I get away with?’ “I think that, from what I hear people say on 7.30 Australians are sick of this kind of situation. They’re sick of banks gouging their accounts with fees and charges while somehow missing large scale money laundering, that’s funnelling millions of dollars overseas to terrorism or child exploitation. They’re sick of highly profitable nursing homes taking money from families, and then neglecting or abusing mum or dad. They’re sick of financial advisors who promise to take people’s life savings and help them pay for their retirement, knowing the entire time that they’re fleecing them. I think the unemployed, students, pensioners were pretty sick of being harassed by a powerful government department to repay debt that they never actually even owed in the first place. People are tired of private health insurance constantly upping fees, then you go to a specialist and they go ‘oh sorry it’s not covered by private health’. They’re sick of politicians acting like public money is their own private fund and giving development deals to their mates or grants to their political allies and in the worst cases are taking kickbacks to line their own pockets. And I think from what the public says to me on the street, that they are sick of people coming on my show, when they get found out and saying, ‘oh, I’m so sorry, I had no idea this was happening – can’t take any more questions about it, because we’ve commissioned a report into it’. And then that report, when it comes through, sits in a bottom drawer, gathering dust and the same thing happens again and then they commission another report. Who holds the levers of power, mostly, in this country? In boardrooms? In CEO suites? In the media? In governments? In cabinet? It’s men. [Not quite Kerry O'Brien, but good stuff, though unsure of Leigh's level of frustration, solutions? We need strong women like Leigh at our ABC (Laura Tingle, Trioli, Ferguson, Alberici, Karvelas) at the very least to measure the hidden resentment of our entitled males pretending they believe in equality. Our Prime Minister ("Our genuine and real frustrations"?) shows his contempt for a question not to his liking from a male, but up a triple notch if from a woman? Albanese: "A wall of concrete"? And so on...]


Shades of our Prime Minister Scott and wife Jen conferences, but with a different outcome? Richmond's AFL success allowing for variations. Coach Damien Hardwick referred lovingly to his wife Danielle in many a press interview, now seemingly playing up with a younger female member of Richmond's staff, blossoming into an open relationship. One wonders why our self-righteous press (aside from Fox Sport pretenders) was so soft on Damien? 


The guest speaker at the national Press Club usually begins with acknowledging the original owners of our land. Fair enough, not sure it's a proven fact but if it pleases everybody it pleases me. I can't help wondering however, if this type of program is on in England, who do they acknowledge?  


Sour grapes? Western Bulldogs defeated Collingwood by 16 points, Adam Treloer playing out of position and under considerable performance strain got 18 touches, double the combined touches of Collingwood's Ruscoe and Henry. Had Treleor been in the magpies team allowing De Goey to roam, suggest a Collingwood victory, despite Grundy, and idiots like the three Fox stooges (Lyons, Brown and Riewoldt) being unaware of Collingwood's ability, or is it my one eye? Collingwood players embracing Treloer after the siren; good sports? Forgiven, if they beat Carlton?   


A form of half truths, indoctrinations. A health expert on the radio, doctor or professor, whatever. Good news in the drop in cigarette smokers among the young, due to packaging and getting the message through? No mention of the exorbitant cost, currently close to $1.50 per one cigarette. Hundreds buying the black market uglies (chop chop) at $36 for 100 cigarettes. Oh for the days when a packet of 10 State Express 3 3's cost a shilling and would be a week's smokes, behind the shelter shed at school, or under the peppercorn trees above the Merri Creek just past Rushall train station.      


Anti vaccine protesters; who can fathom?... Malcolm Turnbull described Mathias Cormann as “weak and treacherous”. Spot on. My thanks to the Morrison government in spending $1 million of our money for his air fares...We Victorian fans, and in particular Dan Andrews, can be thankful the confusion over the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is a federal responsibility...The question of Eddie McGuire bowing out, is back. Who knew he had gone?...I received my water bill, along with "shave a minute off your shower - this can save up to 7 buckets of water a week!" Easy. Showers every 2nd day, save 40 buckets, but will it shave the administration costs?...The light at the end of Josh's tunnel is a mirage....A leadership spill against Michael O'Brien was a nonsense, remembered for leaving Victorians with a $1 billion debt after he did a watertight deal with the east/west tunnel developers. Deliberate for mine, or as Jeff Kennett said - foreplay...Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, in regard to her ‘‘lying cow’’ comment. Who isn't?... Scott Morrison is guilty of over-promising and under-delivering, vaccinations. Petty nonsense. Why have an opinion either way?...A rise in children attacking parents during lockdown. Recommend; parent's strike first?......"The general population doesn't know what's happening, and it doesn't even know that it doesn't know" [Chomsky]...."Unforgotten" series 4 is back on the box, classy, starring Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar...85 tomorrow, that was quick? Look after yourselves, more importantly, create your own happiness?...All things are queer and opposite...www.ello8.com





A Grain of Salt.πŸ€”

Sunday 14th March, 2021: The cut off point zooms large. Eighty five years since birth, eight more days. Catchphrase "a good innings?" Who cares, at this age of little consequence. This time last year a doubt of reaching this time this year but a promise to myself if still breathing a change (after 13 years) retire the many Grains of Salt, submit to psychosomatic (energy levels?) comings and goings, ever hopeful of a Collingwood victory and more pointedly seeing the backside of our current dreadful Australian Prime Minister, any choice an improvement aside from Peter Dutton and Josh Frydenburg. On the plus side reaching 85 as a jehovah's witness would be tantamount to seeing the golden winning post; sadly not my scene, a red rose bush above the ashes? A long hard look at my innings, conveniently omitting the "I can't remembers" enshrining non racist thoughts and respect for all females? Placing the clever cocks and intellectuals at the top, dickheads at the bottom, I assess as sitting comfortably within the middle group (on a Navy scale) at either a sergeant or on a rare good year a sub lieutenant. A self ranking, why not at 85? [Note: No disrespect to dickheads, some of whom remain good friends. Shades of all types so to speak.] My life moves in a form of slow motion, a visit to Woolworths, even a shower and shave, become significant events, the shower often considered most of the particular second day but not actioned until around 9pm? Two pots at the local RSL takes care of another hour plus the walk (to and from) across the road, a stretch. Driving the car is easy, getting out being the bother. Complaints, no. Regrets likewise, the idea of a trip to a Greek Island 2022 still there, albeit highly unlikely. Women no, sadly up to a point, though being one who believed (practised?) a form of 'love at first sight' in a myriad of happenings, mostly remembered; love that is, not "In Love". Why all this 'hot cock'? It's my form of medication, contemplation, meditation. Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse (John Thaw) said "When I drink I think." Same here, including cigarettes when I (try to?) write. After all, this is my penultimate. [In my search for a replacement activity I'm developing a taste for westerns. Rio Bravo was reasonable despite John Wayne. A few days later El Dorado, same story different actors, apart from John Bloody Wayne. Saw the movie "Who You Think I Am" (Beware of how you handle Facebook?) with the wonderful, outstanding, beautiful, talented Juliette Binoche, ("If a star is someone who gives light, then I can be a star. But if a star is someone who goes after money and magazine covers then it's sick and I don't want it!") SBS world movies. Catch it if you can. SO, after a lifetime of following politics I'm retiring to the couch. I never got around to watching Bonanza, enough episodes there to see me out?] Even so...  


From The  Chaser, edited: Under Morrison, we’ve never had it better. Last year alone, the Prime Minister launched over 1.3 trillion Federal Government Inquiries: from Australia Post bonuses to Robodebt to wage theft to aged care to sport grants to whether Peter Dutton is actually a potato or not. It’s an easy process: you stuff up something, the media goes crazy, you launch an inquiry and then spend the next few months saying you can’t comment because you’re waiting for the inquiry. By the time the inquiry reports, everyone’s forgotten about and it feels like old news anyway. And the great thing for us is that every inquiry launched requires its own staff, its own office space, its own pompous over-paid white male barristers. Chaser Inquiries Corporation has made hay providing those services in this boom period. That is, until two weeks ago, when all of sudden, without any warning, for some reason that we can’t work out, Mr Morrison decided he didn’t like inquiries anymore. The weird thing is, the allegations against Christian Porter pose the biggest crisis of his entire time in office, and yet he steadfastly refuses to hold any sort of inquiry into them? [Social media is full of opinions. Hotel quarantine and now the vaccine rollout; Why the fuss? True, we've always had them but never so front and centre exhibiting the various shades of grey. Take the printed details of the alleged rape, the bipolar mention and eventual suicide; the Christian Porter question. It doesn't grab me. Yes, it's a long way from over so until Scotty relents, if at all, we painfully look to another War and Peace. I think of the Barnaby Joyce story, left his wife and family for his love of a younger woman and (as a result) a new family, as more serious, selfish, alongside his reasoning, realistically crappy justification? They're both entitled, but in a roundabout sort of way I'd place Barnaby ahead of Christian in the blame game. The 75% who maintain "They're all crooks" have a point.]     


Ever thus. From The Age "The duke reserved some of his toughest criticism for Prince Charles, revealing the heir to the throne stopped taking his son’s calls before the public announcement of Harry and Meghan’s resignation as working members of the royal family. ‘‘There’s a lot to work through there,’’ Harry said of the relationship with his father. ‘‘I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar, he knows what pain feels like, and Archie’s his grandson. I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship.’’ [Prince Charles was Sir John Kerr's man wasn't he? The firm. True to form. Hard going against the massive bias factor in England and many thousands here in Australia, including my late wife and Murdoch's News Limited television and radio outlets. Rather stupid to take the Oprah option, but then royalty doesn't necessarily carry brains. Meghan in for a lifetime of rubbishing by the Royal lovers, even Harry to some extent. After all, Meghan is an actress, or was, and has slightly darker skin, enough whatever the logic, for the white racist multitudes. And let us not forget their attack on Princess Diana? Alternatively, darling Meghan could be a nutter. Who's to know? Good luck kids.]


POLITICS: The National Audit Office is 'considering' looking into Peter Dutton's Community Funding grants? We admire their concern and expect nothing..."Relocate to regional areas" says our quick grabs PM. Which particular areas Scotty, and what jobs are available, not to mention accommodation rental increases?...LGBTIQ+ rights activist Rodney Croome on Labor slimming down its national platform ‘‘disproportionately on the LGBTIQ". Albanese referring to the need to end discrimination on the basis of sexuality or gender. Reasonable?...ABC's 7.30. Pluses for Leigh Sales interview with Julie Bishop, the common sense approach, conveniently forgetting Julie's attacks on Julia Gillard?...Morrison's brain washing exercise, the wage subsidy scheme for apprentices, get them while they're young, a vote catcher for our (mostly) Liberal voting tradies?... 50% off all Coalition and marginal seats for air travel; a Qantas/Virgin heart of gold, or a nonsense. Half price to Broome, sleep on the beach? Penny-anting replacements for Jobkeeper....The Labor Party heavily into raising funds for the next election. A shade early? Like all politicians one assumes Albo wants his place in the sun, and let's be honest he's been stewing (spew-ing?) over Billy Shorten for years, yet a victory means taking a massive debt on board; aged care, health, education, bushfires unpaid victims, a host of others... 'The rule of law' as interpreted by the entitled duo, our Prime Minister on behalf of our Attorney-General, fails to account for the rights of the alleged victim?...Jobkeeper and our Arts industry. Zilch, indeed, who is our bloody Arts Minister? Paul who?...Lastly, Scotty's boys on the job, courtesy of Costello's Nine. "China and the Virus. Under investigation" with Liz Hayes. Give it a miss. Will the massive WA Labor win transfer federally? Hopefully up to a point, but never count chickens?


Collingwood? The dumping of Adam Treloar, Jaidyn Stephenson and Tom Phillips remains a mystery, though dumping is not unusual with Nathan Buckley in the chair, former scalps in Heath Shaw, Alan Didak, Darren Jolly, even Benny Johnson, and Harry O'Brien to some extent. The mighty magpies? Not this year. Can the pies beat the Western Bulldogs in round 1 March 19, even allowing for the transfer of Treloar's 30 touches per game to their opponents? Interesting. Best hope? Our two most overrated players, Brodie Grundy and Darcy Moore step up and contribute. Scott Morrison and Collingwood. Glory be, the pain of it. Masochism, devoid of sexual gratification.


Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the OECD, a diplomatic coup? hopefully out of sight out of mind...Comedy from Kevvy Rudd "The age of male sexual entitlement is over."... More comedy re parents to share the load in teaching their ankle biters?...After years of consultation we here on the Mornington Peninsula have an aquatic centre, Yawa. At a naming cost of $200,000?...Defence Minister Linda Reynolds retracts 'lying cow' comment towards Brittany Higgins. Can Eddie do likewise?...You can't please everyone? One fellow RSL member with an intelligence level a cut above the general rough and tumble said to me  "I've  been reading your Salts and I've come to a conclusion." And?" I answered. He replied "A Grain."...Fuel prices up, says the clever chap on the News "The key is to know when and where to buy your cheap fuel"?...Get well soon Danny Boy, the pipes are calling...International Women's Day came and went. We, well for most of us, apart from noting not to watch the ABC's "The Drum" on that particular evening, shrugged our shoulders and moved to the following day..."Occupation was one of the pleasures of Paradise, and we cannot be happy without it. [Mrs Jameson]. Keep yourselves nice...www.ello8.com 





Sunday 7th March, 2021. Prior to Christian Porter showing his colours: “Should we know the name of the alleged cabinet-level rapist in Canberra? Of course, we should and we must,” writes Richard Ackland. “Even in our own shaky version of democracy, parliamentary representatives on the public purse are accountable to the people – so it’s ludicrous that a cone of silence should descend on these wretched details.” He says no amount of “duck, weave, deny, gasp for breath, hang on for grim death and hope the caravan moves on” will put these allegations to bed until an inquiry is held. Katharine Murphy says Scott Morrison’s refrain that “he’s not a police force” sounds a lot like “not holding a hose“, which was the lesson he was supposed to learn during the bushfires – the last crisis Morrison fumbled in full public view.” Murphy concludes: “The current situation is untenable for everybody and Morrison can’t manage his way out of it by attrition, omission and evasion. He needs to lead.” [All this sex goings on in Canberra, a few bad apples, power and lust. I'll leave them to sort it out, chucking hopefully the bad apples, oversexed males. Just the one thing; if the power was with the females, maybe not as constant, but still the same? Ever and ever a day. Rape however is a whole new ball game, a short half step back from murder. What can I say? Christian was, is, (but not for long, albeit police proven innocent) one very ordinary and harsh A-G. "You voters were the ones who were conned?" Live and learn? Oops, sorry, I was dreaming.]   


Brittany Higgins. Jenny Morrison. Christian Porter? The cat is out of the proverbial; half out for now? John Howard and Josh Fydenburg believes our Attorney-General. You remember Josh, last Winter, rubbishing Danny Andrews from the floor of the Australian parliament. It's one thing to deny it but when I heard he "vigorously denied" (indeed Josh also used "emphatically" denied) he convinced me. Porter himself was 'vehemently' firm. The real danger of anyone judged guilty without proof is dangerous, so, inevitably, I'm prepared to believe our Attorney-General, or not to believe, or disbelieve and leave it at that. In any case the police have cleared him of rape, insufficient evidence. The rule of law and the presumption of innocence applies, mindful of Robodebt and the secret prosecution of the man/men who blew the whistle on Australia spying on East Timor?  I'm not big on people coming forward years later. A day, four days OK, but years? Still, who can tell the mind of a (supposedly) raped 16 year old female, or male. Frydenburg of course, alongside Hunt (who also rubbished his own State) and Peter Dutton, has his eyes on the main prize. Mind you, no qualms from this government getting stuck into Bill Shorten and Julia Gillard on slightly similar serious matters? Gillard was all political, including the appointed judge. An interesting sidelight was the manner in which Channel 9 News (and The Age front page and more, pictures) honed in on a tearful Christian, as against the same interview on the ABC News, tears yes, seemingly less, more stress, though Porter's face always appears to be at least strained, no offence. An independent enquiry? Shuts people up in the short term. If it was up to me I'd give the cost of any independent enquiry to the ABC. Good news for Frydenburg and Hunt in the ambition stakes; one less to worry about. [In line with the new norm of open disclosure it's near enough to a certainty on (at a guess) half a dozen times during the 1970's I awoke the next morning with a memory loss of the past 12 hours. Did I do anything wrong? God knows. I do recall keeping my head down for a day or so. Maybe Christian forgot, it's possible, and the Gold Coast Suns could win the 2021 premiership?] Jacqui Lambie “It’s pretty much on its last legs. Morrison has an opportunity to lead but while he sits there in denial with ‘sorry, hardly anything to see here, move along’, I’m sorry but this isn’t something that’s going to move along”. [Far more on the ball here than when Jacqui folded under Medevac and her still secret deal?] Such a mess. McMahon was a bum fluff PM, Abbott off his rocker, but this bloke beats them all, as said, the Seinfeld show about nothing. Time for the Liberal Party to call for a leadership spill? 


Anthony Albanese began the week under the microphone of David Speers, ABC's Insiders, and came out a treat. OK, he's no smoothie, but really, would you choose Morrison instead? A number of people are down on an Albanese leadership, many of them from labor, both sides with no shortage of instinctive opinionated sheep. Albo's deal during the COVID crisis was almost a blanket shutout, traction not allowed. I was a Shorten man at the last election, still am philosophically, but as of now our current choice has to be Albo. Some will say neither, the Reason Party, The Greens but not the Libs, not impressed by Labor under Albo - so neither? That's stupid, no offence intended. On the other hand stupid is stupid so offence intended. At best half an argument if your vote is in a blue ribbon Liberal hangout, but never in a marginal set up. Nepean lost to Labor in the last state election after years of blue ribbon double talk. Blue ribbon can change! The choice is one or the other by and large, and on the clear evidence the Liberals have shafted us for (as always) their own good. Aged care, rape enquiries, robodebt, the foxtell deal, superannuation rape, climate non change, jobseeker, many examples, and at press conferences (?) -  smirking non-answers. Will Labor have its share of shonkies? No doubt. But far less, and if you care to listen, to compare and consider policies rather than a now proven list of evaporated former promises from this current government, will your vote be for the betterment of the everyday person. Indubitably? Unless of course your kick comes first. 


Our Scotty: “Australians must be able to trust that their loved ones will be cared for appropriately and the community should have confidence in the system.” The Royal Commission into Aged Care brings to light (for the umpteenth time) a privatised aged care disaster, a case of owners plundering the system, (privatisation and staffing levels) and a federal government yet again looking after their mates. Private for-profit aged care owners exonerated in favour of a medicare tax (surcharge?) on all of us? Should the government give more money to aged care providers without financial transparency? We, the public, has no way of knowing. $21 billion of government subsidies? A capital gains tax and/or negative gearing in place of an additional tax? Don't hold your breath. As for the 148 recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Aged Care; Nathan Buckley springs to mind.


From The Chaser, edited: The government has today announced that Attorney General Christian Porter will be temporarily taking leave from his job for the next 50 years, with Michaelia Cash stepping in to fill the role as over-acting Attorney-General. “It’s good to finally see some dignity and decorum brought to this hallowed government role,” announced the PM today while Cash performed interpretive mime behind him. “Not to mention how much safer women will feel knowing that another woman is now in the role, as long as we overlook the accusations about Cash bullying a female staffer from last November. And the time she was forced to apologise for sexist comments about Bill Shorten’s staff. And the AWU raids thing. Other than that she’s got a spotless record.” Asked how she felt being tapped to act as Attorney-General, cash burst into tears, before saying she wanted to thank God, her family, and the academy for this opportunity while doing cartwheels around the parliamentary lawns. [No comment from the Minister for Women's Affairs, Marise Payne, likely too busy standing behind Josh/Scotty in a nodding role on the  Christian Porter business? Our Marise did a one liner on the Nightly News "We should do more" (on women) proving the lady is up there, somewhere, in Canberra?] 


Speaking of Nathan Buckley: ‘‘What I now understand is that is a form of systemic racism. The dismissing and denial of experience is not a direct act, but in many ways it reinforces the pain and trauma that Heritier felt and that [other former players] Andrew [Krakouer] and Leon [Davis] have spoken about. It’s feeling like they don’t have a voice and they don’t have somewhere to go and that’s the systemic aspect of it.’’ [No choice? As a Collingwood one-eyed supporter I (we?) enjoyed watching the super skills of Leon and Harry in their black and white jumpers. Surely some pride, happiness, fame, money with their years as our heroes? Such a sadness in their (perhaps?) later in life bitter memories. We wish them well.]


DREAMS? In my teens a mate and I spent countless hours at Gibbys Coffee Lounge next to the Regent Theatre in Collins Street, also Rumpelmayers in Collins Street. Apart from long discussions on sport, and (later) females, our main topic was our dream (ambition?) later in life to be able to do nothing, but have the money to go to sporting events, the pictures, and (particularly) meet at Gibbys or Rumpelmayers for coffee and toasted cheese sandwiches. I do believe we achieved our ambition. [Here's another dream, for our present government, be it impossible: Integrity?]


Prince Harry and Meghan against the powerful right wing royal family, the Firm, a 'tell all' to Oprah tomorrow. We also wish them well; zzzz...Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and her ‘‘lying cow’’ comment, an Eddie McGuire moment, speaking before thinking?...Nice  to see the Nine News already weeding out people who are desperate for workers with the inference of comparing what's available as against our 1 million (lazy sods?) unemployed...Our Prime Minister stands shaky, but tall, with News Limited and The Age as backstops. The question of maintaining their allegiance?...Myer made a rare profit, slightly less than the millions it received from our government for Jobkeeper...QR codes and online forms equals, for many, stuff ups... Advice for quiz contestants - Do not tell me it's not your strong point. Tell me what is your strong point, if any?..."CCTV is crucial to this investigation" say our police, time and again. What happened before CCTV?...Yes, enthusiasm and full of beans, but no. Sammy J ABC morning 774 is too much...Frasier, (in real life Kelsey Grammar) has an allegiance (The Guardian) as firmly Republican, and on the right wing; he has made pro-Trump, pro-Brexit and pro-Putin comments....It's now 3 years (and 2 days) since Peter Dutton's mob whisked the Tamil family from their Queensland home and plonked them on Christmas Island; SHAME..."Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot, that it do singe yourself." [Shakespeare]...Smile, big brothers and sisters, you're all on candid camera, almost everywhere...www.ello8.com 




Sunday 28th February, 2021. There's nothing wrong with not liking Facebook though why some wear it as a badge of honour I do not know. Equally, there's apparently nothing wrong with some men having a strong attraction for womens feet. Schizophrenia reigns, a form thereof, as I farewell my 84th Summer, none the better for this particular experience. In line with current reasoning (referring to the ever fashionable blame game) I put this Coalition government at the number 1 spot, the gold medal for my raison d'etre. Was it Socrates who said you make a contribution or you lead a worthless life? A nothing much week, likewise our ducking and weaving government. The overpaid cricketers lost again. The tennis? What could have been, should have been, a celebration, marred to some extent by the audience showing their true colours, booing Daniel Andrews, entitled by way of paying a fortune for being there, the presentation ceremony, the mens Australian Open Final, tennis laala land - Daniil Medvedev spoke well thankfully, cancelling out his blame game (to his coaches box) every time he miscued. Moving on, according to the ABC vaccination information there are 678,000 ahead in the mythical mirage queue and 1.045 million in my same priority sub-group, likely offered early to mid March? Double dose vaccines, whatever? The past week the female mafia to the fore, the "alleged" rape followed by other females, followed by political correctness, but no word on the sexual deviant male. Another case of rape and another mystery man, a senior minister. One (apparently perverted?) male touched a female thigh sitting alongside him at somewhere or other. Heavens to betsy! The Canberra hothouse, always thus. Our PM unaware my left foot; he says different, who cares one way or the other? What would have been appropriate was to focus on Brittany Higgins plight, rather than Scott's professional dodging. Peter Dutton knew but no way did he tell? Our Peter doesn't tell his left hand what his right hand is up to. No need anyway, easy enough to guess his right hand activities? Respect our females, our woman, true, but forget the kids on Christmas Island? The Age front page yesterday, Premier Danny Andrews friendship with Lindsay Fox, "The Premier and the Billionaire" inferring what, socialists not allowed? The jobkeeper allowance (decrease?) courtesy of Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg, the sheriffs of Nottingham, but which one is the deputy? Over 30% of the workers in Cairns alone are on Jobkeeper. Marry this up with Dutton's $36,000 chartered flight or the $356,000 paid with our money to News Corp. Frydenberg has The Age political editor Peter Hartcher in his corner. Expect more from Peter Hartcher; yawn? As for our other Peter, Home Affairs, I leave the last words to The Guardian's Katharine Murphy "Dutton’s unabashed “up yours” to accountability." Autumn looms, everlasting hope and an 85th birthday anniversary. [Pandora's Box: Never accept gifts from Zeus? Out from the jar flew every trouble known to humanity. Strife, sickness, toil and myriad other ills escaped from the jar to afflict men and women forever more. Pandora managed to keep one spirit in the jar as she shut the lid, a timid sprite named Elpis, usually translated as "hope.] 


Source -The AIM Network and Kaye Lee. Prime Minister: It began with his preselection and the man who beat him 82 to 8 votes, Michael Towke. Two senior Liberals who wanted Morrison instead, abetted by Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph, then embarked on a crusade of defamatory character assassination which saw Mr Towke’s political career destroyed and his mother end up in hospital from the stress caused by baseless headlines suggesting Towke was a liar who was facing jail time. None of it was true. The Telegraph settled out of court and apologised but the damage was done. Scotty was on the way. In December 2010, as opposition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison urged the shadow cabinet to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about “Muslim immigration”, “Muslims in Australia” and the “inability” of Muslim migrants to integrate. That same month, forty-eight asylum seekers died in the Christmas Island boat disaster. Morrison criticised the Gillard government for “wasting taxpayers’ money” on paying for relatives to attend the funerals of their family members. Immediately after winning the 2013 election, Morrison stepped up the dehumanisation strategy, instructing departmental and detention centre staff to publicly refer to asylum seekers as ‘‘illegal’’ arrivals and as ‘‘detainees’’, rather than as clients. This language suggests criminality. People held on Manus and Nauru were to be called “transferees”, like they were some sort of package in transit. When Morrison moved on to Minister for Social Services, he remodelled himself with a fluffier image. Whatever the image he was trying to portray, it was during Morrison’s tenure that Robodebt was conceived. In his 2019 campaign launch, Morrison derided Labor for their “incompetent administration” of programs like “School halls. Pink batts. Cash-for clunkers.” The scale of devastation from robodebt dwarfs any and all such failures. On the eve of the May 2015 budget, Morrison embarked on a media blitz, doing six interviews in the morning to sell his $3.5 billion radical overhaul of the childcare subsidies system – a move that was seen as calculated to steal Treasurer Joe Hockey’s thunder. Morrison, when asked the obvious question, insisted he did not want Mr Hockey’s job, and he wasn’t angling to be prime minister. “I’ll be the prop forward taking it up and he can be the one who will score the try and that’s what he’ll be doing on Budget day.’’ Kind of like when he put his arm around Malcolm Turnbull and smirked, “I am ambitious for this guy.” Treasurer was the next stepping stone, doling out the public coffers to garner support for his ultimate goal – Smirker-in-chief. Then hugely underspending on the NDIS so he could brag about a surplus. [There's more, but enough for now. The economy, black money donations and a 'do nothing', no responsibility PM. Failure to deliver a treaty with Indigenous Australia, refusal to commit to honest climate change mitigation targets, hidden political funding, tolerating lies by politicians about COVID-19, cutting funding to our public broadcaster, the ABC, ministerial subversion of public funding programs to gain party political advantage. Sounds about right.]


The Auditor-General's Office over the past two years, which looks at whether money is being spent efficiently and departments are achieving objectives, has lost 20 staff, equivalent to the capacity for eight audits. Since 2013, Auditor-General Grant Hehir’s office’s budget has been cut by nearly $6.3 million, a trend that should be deeply troubling, an office instrumental in uncovering a range of scandals dogging the government, including the ‘‘sports rorts’’ grants that went predominantly to Coalition electorates before the 2019 federal election, the $33 million paid for land near the Western Sydney Airport later valued at $3 million, and the $118,000 in relocation expenses that have led the head of corporate watchdog, ASIC, to step aside. The airport deal is under police investigation after it was referred by Mr Hehir. This government appears anxious to threaten any agency perceived to be critical of it, whether the ABC, our universities, the Auditor-General or an anti-corruption office.


Fascinating? New York-based Professor of Psychology Arthur Aron: love is addictive. ‘‘It activates the same brain areas as cocaine. It’s hardwired in us, being intensely in romantic love takes so much attention, it can be hard to keep your life going, let alone have other relationships.’’ Is there a limit to how many times we can cope with falling in love or the heartbreak when it ends? Or can we – authentically – fall in love ad infinitum? Relationship experts (?) say it depends on how love was shown to you as a child. Condensed to three styles : anxious, avoidant and secure. [Sounds familiar, to me anyway.]


Jacqui Lambie on the Facebook Frydenburg tax: The government’s plan a shakedown. “This is a bipartisan shakedown delivered by a consensus of absolute stupidity here this evening. Journalism is important enough to deserve better than the poorly researched, poorly understood justifications being thrown around" She argued that simply transferring money from the pockets of the rich owners of digital platforms to the pockets of the rich owners of Australian media companies would not do much to arrest the decline of journalism in this country. “If we want more money for journalism, let’s tax companies making heaps of money and put that money … directly into journalism,” she said. [Alas, who was listening?]


I read somewhere you can hide your true personality forever, but write a play and it’s there for all to see. I wrote one about gambling, another on unemployment, and one on overseas travel. My soul is apparently, though not definitely, bared. I estimate I’ve seen 500 plays, which included some twenty excellent productions and five David Williamson plays where I thoroughly enjoyed my evening but forgot what it was all about the next morning. Thus twenty five out of five hundred, or one good play every 20 times. Ahh but the social aspect, and always the opportunity of witnessing some good work amongst the debris. I should talk! When it comes to playwrighting I’m far removed from those twenty five. On the other hand I find it an enjoyable pastime; the expectation of yet another thank you but no thank you? Civilised, in comparison with the backstabbing world actors experience throughout their stop/start careers. Victor Hugo wrote...”People do not lack strength; they lack the will.” Not all of us. Keep on punching?


Low life? A new hotline to dob in the jobseekers who refuse a job? Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said her department would follow up on people dobbed in to the hotline to see if they had a valid reason for turning down work. ‘‘In the event that they do not have a valid reason, they will be breached for that.’’ Isn't our Michaelia a peach?


From Gadfly, The Saturday Paper. "Married at first sight was watched by only 964,000 people this week. One assumes these are the same people who also represent the 64 per cent of Australians who are satisfied with Scott Morrison’s performance as prime minister as per the latest Newspoll....Comedy of the week: Marise Payne, Minister for Women?...I suffered bullying in high school but hesitant to report it due to the near certainty of getting the daylights belted out of me behind the shelter sheds at Recess...Olympic Games, Brisbane 2032; there in spirit?...Leigh Sales has become a bully...I was more fascinated by the pink high heels shoes...As expected; proposed reforms (?) to the NDIS, a Labor initiative...Scotty should allow his daughters to spend their holidays on Christmas Island?...Moral wisdom is surely interpretive. I've searched for a lifetime, yet to locate anyone to agree with me in a totality sense?...The former Liberal staffer (described as a 'lads lad'?) accused of rape or sexual harassment by four women has checked himself into a private rehabilitation clinic. Let's hope it's an all male clinic...The Royal Commission into Crown Casino (Victoria) @ 90% whitewash?..."The unexamined life is not worth living"?...I dream of our lovely Amanda Vanstone one day saying "My lips are sealed"?...www.ello8.com






Sunday 21st February, 2021. Loads of anti Facebook from all sources. Surely not getting your news from Facebook? Getting your news from your own sources, The Age, Saturday Paper, ABC App, Guardian, television, RADIO? One needs only half a brain to know this. News Ltd posts on FB to convince me to subscribe? A government conned, by design? Facebook is for fun. If FB pays, where does the money go? Journalism? Vague. News providers (apart from our ABC) Facebook, banks, energy providers, private health insurers or any privatised essential service exist just to do the best for the community, or individual customers? Give me a break. On the other hand, go row a boat, or get your news here? Joke Joyce?


The  Chaser, edited: The new media code. Essentially the idea is that journalism in this country is currently underfunded because Facebook and Google dominate online advertising, starving news organisations of ad revenue. The solution seems pretty obvious, doesn't it? Surely we should just tax all those large international companies that take their profits offshore? That sounds good, except that every time you design a tax like that, it ends up with News Corp also paying tax. So that approach had to be immediately scrapped. Instead, the government designed the “media code”, a complicated system of transfers that made the bad capitalists (Facebook and Google) have to pay money to the good capitalists (News Corp and the TV companies). It was sort of like tax, except instead of the public getting the money, only big Australian media companies would get it. And the great thing is for some reason, all the big Australian media companies loved the idea and threw their support behind the government. Anyway, so that’s where we are. The Australian public is currently swept up in a battle on behalf of big media companies against big tech companies. What a time to be alive! Viva la Neoliberalism!


An interesting debate? Prime Minister Scotty Morrison and Victorian Premier Danny Andrews both nominated, shortlisted for the annual McKinnon Prize for political leadership. Also Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Health Minister Greg Hunt and Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt. Claims to be a non-partisan independent award celebrating political leaders each year? Funny haha? Last year the award went to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian? Danny is a star. Imagine the past year with Michael O'Brien (lately adding in loveable Matty Guy) running the show? Danny stands tall almost daily facing attacks from tough female cookies (usually) representing Rupert's lot, many suffering from verbal diarrhoea despite Danny's answers. Even the gifted Leigh Sales during lockdown and her mix of facts and doubtful assumptions only serving to give the other vultures (journalist jackals?) a point, if any, particularly their inability to ask a succinct question. Leigh Sales on the ABC's 7.30 that evening, editing out the bad bits, as perceived by Leigh? A long way short of Kerry O'Brien. As for our seldom seen PM, here's Jon... 


Jon Faine, The Age, edited: Prime Minister Scott Morrison has a majority of one in the House, no majority in the Senate and a fresh scandal tainting his government almost every day, argumentatively dismissive of media attempts to hold his government to the standards they claim to govern by. He is personally hostile to and even occasionally contemptuous of any individual journalist who attempts to pierce the protective skin. Sound familiar? Greg Hunt should be embarrassed and apologise for his clumsy attempt to decorate government COVID ads with partisan Liberal branding but instead tried to label his inquisitor the ABC’s Michael Rowland – as some sort of leftist stooge for asking legitimate and compelling questions. Approving community grants to gain electoral advantage? Peter Dutton has been busted, and even though pork barrelling is as old as politics that is no excuse. How can he maintain the cruel detention of the Biloela family on Christmas Island at vast cost to the taxpayer? Bridget McKenzie, indignant at having to try to explain the inexplicable at a Senate inquiry, doubles down on her denial that the scandalous ‘‘sport rorts’’ were a rort. Fail to publicly address a complaint of alleged rape in a ministerial office by a senior adviser of a junior staffer, during an election campaign, to avoid scandal, outcry and political fallout? Deny it was covered up even though the PM’s chief of staff was informed? Claim to care but only because your wife told you to? A government wallowing in its sense of entitlement and impunity, the PM relying on his uncritical media partners, most of whom ignore the danger signs The media narrative that prevails is Morrison is well on the way to cruising to an easy election victory this year or next. No one dares describe Morrison as leading a barely patched together assortment of entitled dinosaurs who have run out of ideas, have no reform or policy agenda and lurch from crisis to crisis. Billions have been overspent on a widely misused job support scheme that has seen billionaires trousering millions of taxpayer dollars as bonuses. How can any government watch vital assistance plundered by some of the nation’s wealthiest when ordinary Australian families are struggling? Our climate change stance is now dangerously out of alignment with the rest of the world. Contrast and compare with the way the Victorian Premier is portrayed. Daniel Andrews – who has a commanding majority and ascendancy in the Parliament and no hint of a challenger – is often characterised as standing on shaky ground. His press conferences are portrayed in some media as attempts to cover his tracks and suppress information, even though he exhaustively answers even the most idiotic questions with the patience and calmness of a monk. Labor state premiers are relentlessly pilloried in a rabid newspaper campaign across the Murdoch media. Yet opinion poll after opinion poll shows the voters see things differently and it is those media pundits who have got it wrong. [I've said all this before, but nice to see it summarised in our daily newspaper by a sensible journalist. According to a newspaper I read, Peter Dutton's wife Kirilly Dutton is a director of the Mental Health Foundation of Australia].


Years ago as a Commonwealth audit inspector I worked with Tommy Dunne, who told me dreadful stories of himself as a pow working on the Burma Thailand railway line during world war 2. Tommy was almost an alcoholic, living in a boarding house in Mary Street St Kilda, often arriving for work under a dark cloud. An amazing man, how he got through each day managing to carry out his duties so well I don't know, but I loved him. He arrived in one morning telling how his lady friend stabbed him in his bum, and he duly displayed, despite my request to pass on it. The superior Japanese race mixing with lower than life (mongrel dogs) Australian prisoners. At that same job I was auditing the Army Navy and Air Force trust funds at Victoria Barracks administrated by a high ranking army officer, also a Changi survivor, no name, unlike Tommy, might still be with us. A gentle man, lots of photos of our men, near skeletons, again horror stories confirming Tommy's stories, and more. A documentary recently on the History channel, an episode of Combat Trains, brought it all back to life, forgotten up to a point, over 50 years ago. Sad but wonderful people, memories. [In isolation the Japanese appeared to believe themselves to be a super race above the rest. Then we remember Hitler, then the history of those poor souls in Port Arthur (corporal punishment upgraded to psychological torture) or the  might of the British navy and those cat o' nine tails punishment. It's not justice, a form of power, some might say enjoyment? I liken these types, and no doubt many would disagree, with the likes of the "for our own good" bandits, for our health, but more for federal government taxes, stretching the difference between the haves and my lot. A long bow obviously. Nevertheless human nature has been with us more than 25 centuries ago when the Persion Empire challenged the new found democracy of Athens; the more they get the more they want; forever on guard?


Matt Damon, working with sexual predator Harvey Weinstein said, “As the father of four daughters, this is the kind of sexual predation that keeps me up at night.” USA Senator Mitch McConnell defended his annoyance at Donald Trump’s tendency to grope women by saying, “As the father of three daughters…” Scott (transactional) Morrison. Wife Jenny told him, “You have to think about this as a father first. What would you want to happen if it were our girls? Tegan George from Channel Ten asked, “Shouldn’t you have thought about it as a human being? And what happens if men don’t have a wife and children? Do they reach the same compassionate conclusion?” Prime minister replied “being a husband and a father is central to me, so I just can’t follow the question you are putting”. [How fortunate for Scott Morrison that he was able to finally announce on Tuesday that the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine had been approved for rollout in Australia.]


Without former Collingwood great Murray Weiderman (assisted by Barry Harrison) Melbourne would have won 4 premierships in a row. More importantly (circa 1950's) Independant Order of Rechabites swimming carnival. The feature event, the relay race, won by Murray Weiderman, former Fitzroy champion Graham Campbell and unknown Cliff Ellen. Vale Murray. Well played, and swum, mate. 


Theodore Dalrymple on tattoos. “The iconography is limited and depressingly reminiscent of the ‘art’ produced by prisoners, which is violent, crude, garish and pagan, however well executed. It is a visual exhibition of modern superstition, the superstition of people who have strong emotions but weak minds and a very limited cultural and historical frame of reference.” Anson Cameron: "Getting a tattoo is like signing a contract to wear a Hawaiian shirt every day for the rest of your life. It’s like saying, “Right now, I love silly shirts, and I always will.” It’s like telling the same joke every day for the rest of your life." [Personally no problem, on males.]


Brittany Higgins told Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office she wanted a say in a sweeping review of Parliament House so others would not have to go through her experience on  March 23, 2019? Ms Higgins spoke to police in Parliament House four days after the alleged rape and chose not to make a complaint and said this week she did not proceed to a formal statement because she felt she had to choose between the police investigation and her career.  "I worked my entire life to get to that job." An independent complaints body, so long as Fitzroy North residents are barred from applying? I spent a few months in Canberra early 1960's when my department was transferred. Fascinating, sexual, atmospheric. On balance, decided to refuse the transfer. [The common usage of the word incredible has been "off the planet" of late, occasionally, the perfect 'spot on' - Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says "It is 'incredible' that senior advisors in Scott Morrison's office did not know about the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins"?] Like the racism business at Magpieland, we watch, and wait. Even so...[Although unconnected a memory of a Christmas party, drunk, in the boss's office one floor above the party, a female worker's friend suggesting physical connections, me worried about the security risk factor, when suddenly the boss appeared. To this day not knowing if I was lucky or unlucky. And yes, the boss was far from pleased, obviously discarding my 'not at fault' honest defence.] My personal thinking is a case of the male stalking Brittany, from his position of power, realised or not. Time may tell.    


So I woke up yesterday, 3pm, after my nap, certain it was Monday, put the rubbish into the bin, went to RSL 4PM. Got chatting, told her I now realise I was a day in advance. "Two" she said. "Why two?" "It's Saturday" she said. "No. Is it?" OMG. It was. Should I worry, or blame the heat?


Comedy line of the week/year? from Peter Dutton - "I pride myself on my integrity."...Antivaccination protesters have their reasons; beyond me?...So many sanitise their  hands when they enter the RSL, rarely when they leave. I do the opposite...More comedy? Bridget McKenzie says the Nationals are “very, very keen to make a positive, progressive contribution to the energy and emissions debate”...Loved the bit about two men fined for breaking the lockdown, caught at a brothel...Ash Barty is a star, Naomi Osaka number 1 for mine. Sadly, Serena not the best of losers...Award to Barnaby, weirdest comment 2021‘‘I might offer one word of caution for those who are jumping on board saying they want it. You know, you can’t say I’m going to marry a person and then say you actually want to marry someone else. Once you say you’re in, you’re in’’...Paul Rogerson has (apparently) a narcissistic personality disorder, meaning he's into self love; not alone?...[A point here, after receiving a couple of nasty letters. By all means send them if it makes you feel better. As I've said before I write for myself, as a motivation technique, likely (but not necessarily) connected to maintaining a form of sanity. I have no interest in replying to other points of view. Unless a rare error is pointed out, I delete. I recommend examine your desires, release the past, and embrace transformation?]...www.ello8.com






Sunday 14th February, 2021. Last week's effort/blog was, to put it kindly, pretty bloody ordinary. Although of no particular consequence, one doesn't like the idea of drifting into the 'bad actor' phase, knowing the moves, the lines, but thoroughly boring, including the odd one or two well known celebrities. One needs a strongish touch of adrenalin to up the ante. Unsure if I should consider 'getting out' at the right time, or presently influenced by the political state of nothingness we appear to be experiencing under this crooked (corruption and cronyism) coalition government. By getting out, meaning maybe try to stop this writing caper, for the umpteenth time? On the other hand life would not be the same without strife, despite the odd heartburn attack. Once upon a time trouble and strife was of course your wife, no more. Keep on punching, nothing much else to entertain? "Writing is an act of love. If it is not it is only handwriting." Fair enough; settling for handwriting. We wonder at Dolly Parton, who wrote 'Jolene' and 'I Will Always Love You' on the same day. Amazing. Keep writing! We thank our blessings, for pantoprazole (somac) in particular, bi-carb soda if severe. Anxiety and/or stress? A five day stage 4 lockdown. The positives of five uninterrupted afternoon naps when living alongside a carpark? The loneliness of a long distance stalker? The better news, (perhaps?) Eddie Everywhere, presently on the bi-carb, is yesterday's news. Well, almost. We would appreciate someone out there providing a list of the 100 people who signed that thing calling for his removal. Revenge? Nope, just wondering. McGuire and Nathan Buckley were a couple, so to speak. Never a particular fan of Nathan, more into Bobby Rose, Dane Swan. Right now I feel for Eddie, despite his millions. I went to Woolworths for my necessities shopping. Halfway through my mask broke causing a mild panic for a replacement, causing a memory block to buy toilet paper. Jughead, a once favourite comic strip, lives again. Moving on...   


David Crowe The Age: "The budget before that election included $5 billion in grants for everything from commuter car parks to swimming pools, with secrecy over exactly who would benefit. Only after the election did the scandals emerge. Thanks to the Australian National Audit Office, the government had to reveal the frantic work inside the office of sports minister Bridget McKenzie on the ‘‘sports rorts’’ program. She resigned for failing to declare a conflict of interest with one of the grants." A week ago I wondered where Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton was hiding. Not so; up pops the darling man shifting funding for grants away from (some) recommended groups - to his own hand-picked list. [The opposition has asked the auditor-general to examine the Safer Communities Fund after departmental documents revealed Mr Dutton diverted almost half the total pool of funding away from recommended projects to his handpicked ones in January 2019. The largest cohort of grants went to marginal Coalition-held seats, 21 of the 52 projects. Two of these were in Mr Dutton’s own seat of Dickson, which is allowed within the government’s own rules for grants. He also approved grants in Greg Hunt’s ‘‘fairly safe’’ seat of Flinders and Tony Abbott’s electorate of Warringah, which was held by a margin considered ‘‘safe’’ by the Australian Electoral Commission. Add in the National Retail Association @ $880,000 to compliment Sports Rorts, Robobdebt and anti-corruption grants. The Age reported this to their credit on page 3, saving the page 1 headline for ALP scrutiny of donations at Crown Casino? Similar (in a way) to the Nine News highly charged emotional beginnings nightly, almost everything involving Danny Andrews, and other news, Dutton et al reported later in a calmer fashion/atmosphere at the 34 minute mark of the hour long news? Add in the piece on Greg Hunt’s adding the Liberal Party logo to a government vaccine ad, paid for with our money. Clear enough? The obvious need for a national integrity commission in the battle against corruption and cronyism, for consideration come the next election?


Alternatively, assuming a rusted in coalition supporter, our Prime Minister - “We set the rules, you don’t know what they are but trust me I know these rules and no rules have been breached because we set the rules and they are being observed. The rules have been set so that we can do what we need to do to stay within the rules”. I feel better now?


In addition to the Safer Communities (pork-barrelling) fiasco, courtesy of Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, via OUR money, The federal government has quietly extended its refugee contract for Nauru, handing Queensland firm Construct $221 million for the six months to June 30 or $10,000 a day for each detainee on the island. This and a number of other like items to return prior to the next election to bite them on their bums, hopefully.


History 2: Early. The new shaft was a success for ventilation, so the “whip” was set up over it and paydirt was stockpiled in this new location. However it was the beginning of the end, as the “lead” ran out, and the mine closed down. The last gold was sold on the 16th October, 1937. Grandfather Bo went home to Melbourne and retired. The mine has been filled in, and grass has covered the horse track. There is nothing to show that men worked 90 feet underneath with picks and shovels, with the only light being a candle in a spike on the wall of the drove. But who knows? Maybe on a moonlit night you might hear the old whip horse plodding out, and if you listen carefully, you might just hear grandfather Bo call out “TURN!”. Later, as kids, under the son of grandad Bo's guidance, we would all sit at the solid rectangular wooden kitchen table for our meals, and (after Dad came home from New Guinea) when finished, have to say, to Dad in particular...“May I leave the table please.” Dad would tell us to chew our food at least 28 times before swallowing. We tried it a few times, but the fact was it slowed up the eating process, so we dutifully told him we were indeed following his instructions; we lied. He also encouraged us, with very little success, to talk properly. “The brown hound bounded round the brown house.” He was insistent we pronounce certain words in a certain way. Clurk [clerk] was never pronounced clark, likewise derby; all castle type words were castle, never carstle. A resentment towards changing pronunciations? To this day I follow him on the castle type words, apart from Newcastle, but followed the crowd with the clerks. Later, after tea, many nights, when the table was cleared, and cleaned (by Mum), it was big enough to play a few games of table tennis. I mention this because I invariably won.


They sprout the history of racist and misogynist comments that have always been excused as gaffes and that you (we) got it wrong, all about accountability and repercussions, which should have occurred after the Adam Goodes comments. Accountability, repercussions, examples please, decided by whom? Nothing about getting this 5000 year problem right? And yet, Lumumba goes on and on with the same formulaic hatred, answering nothing, adding (inferred?) personal accusations, and unquestioned? Even at Daniel Andrews? One gets the impression it's a case of feeding the vultures, the righteously indignant. Sadly the only result of all this is to make matters worse. It's more likely to create racism. Apparently it's OK to stick it to Eddie McGuire (particularly if you barrack for another team) but it's poison if you say a word, any word, against Heritior Lumumba? I can't help comparing the racism accusation heaped against McGuire and looking at the actions of Peter Dutton, with not a whisper? Gadfly The Saturday Paper: "Now that racism has been solved in Australia, the whole country can move forward to a new utopian existence with no more internal reviews needed in any other AFL clubs, which apparently can be accomplished only by the subjects of racism first being gaslit for years by The Project's Peter Helliar." He jokes obviously. Again, and this final time on this subject, move on...  


Also from Gadfly "In a boon to hack journalists everywhere, Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week inducted Australia’s F-35A fighter jets at the BAE Systems Australia maintenance depot as Kenny Loggins’ 1980s smash hit “Danger Zone” blared in the background. “Everyone who’s involved in this project is a top gun in my view,” the prime minister said. After that, he took the rest of the year off because his work here is done. No one is topping that. Anthony Albanese tendered his resignation. Tom Cruise announced he was leaving the film industry to commit more time to Xenu. Kelly McGillis punched Val Kilmer. We all wished we were governed by adults. The central part of Morrison’s announcement wasn’t the F-35A, which two air force chiefs decried in a statement in 2019 – describing it as inadequate for future strike operations and plagued with technical problems. Instead, the focus was on the maintenance depot, which the prime minister hopes will employ lots of people in the Hunter Valley to fix those technical problems that are bound to occur in poorly designed, redundant aircraft." Again, tongue firmly in cheek?


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


Currently a situation of no returning travellers (unless special compassionate circumstances) from overseas during the 5 day lockdown; I'd be extending this, overseas travellers, for at least a month, or until we return to zero cases for a week, never mind the pressure via our Prime Minister and Greg Hunt. Just saying...Stay calm, breath deeply, consistently sprouting to an evolving imaginary state of perfection. If it works say goodbye to heartburn?...Valentine's Day came & departed. Fancied KFC but outside the 5 kms limit, ho hum...John "Don't think, Do!" Kennedy, good advice for Schomo?...Christian Porter has not one sympathetic bone in his body, for poorer people. Watch this millionaire minister closely, particularly his philosophy on industrial relations. Lots to come on this one...Fascinating; found my old briefcase from 1972, when I last worked for a living..."False happiness renders men stern and proud, and that happiness is never communicated. True happiness renders them kind and sensible, and that happiness is always shared." [Montesquieu]...Look after yourselves...www.ello8.com






Wednesday 10th February, 2021. Parliament returns, temporarily? "Our goal is to reach net zero emissions as soon as possible, and preferably by 2050." Again our PM shifting sands, awaiting Joe Biden's take on climate change? Scott Morrison cancelled parliament for the odd week or two 'before' COVID, Then along came COVID, providing good reason for not sitting, replaced by the National Cabinet of Premiers, no Albanese, and Scotty's (famous?) one liners in place of political leadership. A Howard Springs at Point Nepean? Labor's deputy leader Richard Marles valiantly tried Albo's newest policies, but savaged by the seemingly pleasant David Speers on Insiders. our ABC. And the vaccine rollout? So, so busy, telling us nothing, choices, March, April, October? Talk of an election this year (The Age reveals Mr Albanese is preparing Labor for a possible early election). Nah, as late as possible, Albo's hot air. Is Peter Dutton still on the job? Yes indeed, under wraps. Whatever, politics by proxy, and ALL the nightly news on television desperate for something else to make news before we all go bananas, McGuire, Crown Casino... 


Quarantine: Isn't Quarantine a government responsibility? "The last thing we need is federal responsibility for COVID-19 quarantine facilities. Left to our bumbling, undermining feds, we’d be in the same mess as Europe and the US. The states haven’t been perfect but thank goodness we’re a federation with states putting local wellbeing first. The feds should, however, pay for COVID-19 protections and do so gladly as it’s our money and it keeps them at arm’s length from responsibility – which is just how they like it." [Mark Freeman] "The premiers, by now, are hyper-aware of the Morrison government’s ability to take credit for everything good while dodging everything bad. By trying to force the Prime Minister to share more of the responsibility for quarantine." [Sean Kelly]. And this double talk from Victoria's own, Greg Hunt "NSW has been ahead of the curve and provided a model for the rest of the country." Didn't even blink? Scientists call for our PM to take over quarantine. Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said Mr Morrison was evading his government’s responsibility by not creating a national program and quarantine should be happening ‘‘away from large populations’’ and not in city hotels with poor air circulation. [Albo got the first bit right, reneged, generalised, on the answer? Credit where it's due - he looked good in his cowboy hat.]


It appears Heritior Lumumba has won his battle (against Eddie McGuire, Collingwood in particular or racism as he sees it?). Somehow I suspect his battle is ongoing. [Harry O'Brien (Heritier Lumumba) now into the the AFL to undergo a warts and all review into the history of racism. And then to the rugby league clubs?] The politically correct and righteously indignant lot, the Witchhunters, vultures, have taken their latest person down, including politicians, Victorian Greens senator Lidia Thorpe, Labor MP Anne Aly. Also Indigenous leaders, Gary Foley and others. Interesting the two most overrated players at Collingwood (Brodie Grundy and Darcy Moore) led the players response. Appropriate: Gareth Evans, when suggesting to Bob Hawke that he should give up the keys to the Lodge. ‘‘Pull out digger. The dogs are pissing on your swag.” Peter Gordon (Western Bulldogs) lauded McGuire’s efforts to keep the 2020 AFL season on track despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, adding that he had done extensive work in the area of social inclusion. ‘‘I’m proud to name him as a friend. I’m horrified by the way he’s been treated in the last two weeks. And it’s my hope that in time, history will describe him in the terms he deserves.’’ Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett described McGuire’s resignation as a ‘‘travesty of justice’’ and hoped that an ongoing role could be found for him in the game. ‘‘He has been forced to resign because of a moment of time when two decades of community work support for the underprivileged and work within the Collingwood Football Club has been overlooked. There will be a lot of people tonight who will be asking themselves what is the cost of this attack on an individual who has for two decades served the community in a way the vast majority could not even compare.’’ Magpies legend Tony Shaw described McGuire’s achievements as ‘‘amazing’’ after taking on the role in 1998 as a 34-year-old when the club was at one of its lowest ebbs. ‘‘We were nearly three million in debt, we’re now one of the most financially successful clubs in the league. It’s a sad day for the game, a sad day for Collingwood.’’ McGuire’s resignation came after a group of Indigenous community leaders, politicians and a former AFL player sent an open letter to Collingwood over its ‘‘insulting and unacceptable’’ response to the Do Better report. Eddie, other than a case of Buckley-itis, was a great man for the mighty magpies. Thanks mate. Virginia Trioli suggested Eddie was playing the victim. He was the victim! I ask myself why, particularly the motivation behind this personal attack, under the racism guise? Shouldn't these indignant sports people and indigenous leaders call on ALL clubs for similar action? Didn't the AFL (and Eddie) bend over backwards to recognise the wonderful accomplishments of our indigenous AFL footballers? Enough said. Move on... 


By and large there's a number of furphies set conveniently in the minds of voters, one in particular affecting my lot, bank depositors, pensioners, disabled, namely the outrageous bullshit of the "trickle down effect" primarily for the benefit of the elites and the wealthy. A form of Palliative care? Low interest rates, often called monetary policy? is further explained as helping economic recovery and creating more  jobs. How many more years, at 0.01 %? Will this help stop the ever expanding inequality difference between them and us? Indubitably. And Collingwood will be premiers for the next 4 years.


History, 1930's: Uncle Bo (grandfather) was the man up top and as the bucket came high enough he would call out “turn.” The horse would be backed up to allow the bucket to be pulled over on to a trolley on rails. The horse would be turned around and another bucket would be let down. The trolley would be pushed out to the edge of the mullock heap and tipped. The paydirt was stockpiled until sufficient rain came for it to be washed. The creek was not a big stream so a dam would be built across it with a trap in it. When the dam filled the trap was opened and the stream directed through a “race (channel) to a sluice box near the stockpile. This was an open topped box into which the mullock was shovelled. The gold being heavier sank to the bottom, where it was caught on ripples. Uncle Bo would walk into Beechworth on a Saturday morning, 8 miles, to sell the gold at the bank of Victoria.


Tim Wilson is against any superannuation increases. Fair enough? Tim receives 15.4% in taxpayer-funded super contributions, also owns four properties...Sydney's Crown Resorts isn't fit to hold a casino licence, so says the report. Will it be acted on? Meantime, don't hold your breath?...$10,000 a ticket to watch the superbowl live...Joint strike fighter program, $65 billion, protection money?...Sick comedy: Matthew Canavan is deputy chair of the Select Committee on Job Security?....17,000 job losses in universities, a sector not eligible for jobkeeper? Not forgetting job losses in the Arts. The latest Guardian Essential Poll; Labor leads 47-44, the rest undecided...Virginia Trioli's interview with Taylor Adams; cunning, cat and mouse, not nice...."It is a charitable service in one who cannot remove a device within himself to try to remove it nevertheless from within another, where it may have a less malignant and stubborn root" - alternatively, If life is empty of meaning, the solution (and likely the fault) lies with you?... Look after yourselves...www.ello8.com

The fame that charms proud mortals with sweet sound,

And seems so fair, is but an echo, a dream,

The shadow of a dream, beyond repair

Dispersed and scattered by a puff of air. [TASSO] 





Thursday 4th February, 2021. Another year begins. Mythological optimism remains, up to a point, promises of progress towards a better world? My last year, though I'm frequently told I say this every year. Certainly the last following politics, ditto last chance for Nathan Buckley as Collingwood coach? his 12th, my 85th. Been listening to my body for years now telling me it's time, for what? to watch television? Hoping (expecting?) a Labor victory, the backside of Prime Minister Morrison. Forget Peter Hartcher's political nonsense, the Costello/Morrison man, presently supporting a coalition majority of ONE. With the USA back in (a form of) control, the Democrats, and with it the serious upgrade in the urgency of climate change, putting Morrison in a bind with his right wing clique, leading me (and my body) to a Labor victory sometime during the next 12 months. Jobkeeper supposedly ends in March? and all those borrowed billions. Albo's big chance. "The higher the monkey climbs the more he shows his backside?" Sure, he's no Whitlam, Hawke or Keating, but neither is our Prime Minister as strong as the experts tell us via News Limited, once you list all his mistakes the past two years, including his consistent 'do nothing' approach. Albo needs not only his jobs focus but coming in heavily (clearly) on climate change, negative gearing, capital gains and (wages justice) aka industrial relations. On the basis of governments being shown the door rather than elected, Albo's more than half a chance. The bright side of life? And why not? A last year worth the wait! [Every year begins in February in downtown Rye, the isolation during January a necessity until the departure of our multicultural hordes, bless them]. Yes, I hear you - China and Russia? Too hard basket.  


SEPTEMBER 2017: Heritier Lumumba on SBS, presented his point of view with honesty and courage. It's tricky, particularly where the Australian persona generally comes from, as against Heritor's Brazilian background and his concern for his skin colour. I loved his time at Collingwood and saddened by his obvious emotional ties at the finish. We are told of prejudice and how being the victim of racial bias can impact your mental and physical health. We ponder Nathan Buckley's (perhaps?) lack of sensitivity or Heritor's over sensitivity? Later comments from Andrew Krakauer and Leon Davis indicate the racist element remains strong, embedded. Heritier's coming out after the Goodes incident or more specifically Eddie McGuire’s apology for the King Kong slip of the tongue. Football is about revenge and so called loyalty. The Collingwood supporter reaction is to assume Heritier had a screw loose, but Heritier was right. The moral sickness (so to speak) lies with us. We can say nice things but indirectly are we looking on them as a special breed? Former Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell was apparently unaware of Heritier’s feeling in being called Chimp because he did not mention it? Sounds logical from a supporters point of view but in fact it’s again us at fault. Maybe we shouldn't question Heritior’s motives; question ours? In supporting Heritier as a champion Collingwood player, and then doing an about turn because he stood up to Eddie is writing off his validity in favour of our own assumption of superiority. Said Heritier: "I think the sense of freedom has come since leaving the AFL. It's given me more time to explore other facets of life and to discover different parts of myself that I guess I didn't know existed."  I can't say I understand him, but I remain a fan of his work and his courage and wish him well. FEBRUARY 2021: Systemic racism at Collingwood? True enough up to a point, safely assuming the same applies to every AFL Club at the nitty gritty. Racism the world over, whites, blacks, browns and pinks, a matter of degree. Eddie should have come in with a full blown holier than though apology as a form of appeasement. In the scheme of things (Collingwood's enemies) it wouldn't have had any effect of merit, but far better than the 'proud and historical' angle he came out with, providing, as expected, further ammunition for the "do gooders" (the politically correct and righteously indignant, no disrespect intended) within our society. Eddie retracted of course, a shade late but better than never? Heritior Lumumba (personal namecalling Eddie, of cowardice, bizarre etc?) now appears to want Eddie's blood. Nothing less will satisfy him, indeed, I suspect, not even that? Somewhere in this War and Peace drama there could well be, but not necessarily - money? And Neil Mitchell? If Neil says Eddie McGuire should go, typical, he should stay, until, as he himself said, the end of 2021. [Conclusion: You've said your piece Ed mate ‘‘We are apologetic, we are humbled, and we are also galvanised to dismantle any structures of systematic racism.’’ Good stuff, albeit the good bloke syndrome does not work for non Collingwood supporters. Eddie's been good for Collingwood. He tries too hard at times, to be loved, and occasionally subject to talking before thinking, but always with sincerity. And Heritior? Do not think about any one thing for too long. Read some poetry. Move on?]   


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


Kevin Andrews toppled in preselection battle for Menzies by former special forces captain and Cambridge-educated barrister Keith Wolahan. Andrews had endorsements from federal ministers including Health Minister Greg Hunt, Trade Minister Dan Tehan, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, former prime minister John Howard and News Corp commentators Andrew Bolt and Peta Credlin, who spoke at events in support of Mr Andrews. [A time will tell situation, particularly the unknown Wolahan. Andrews previously a member of the clique, but effectively (seemingly) the past few years, insignificant. Claim to fame; cancelling the visa of the innocent Queensland Gold Coast Dr Mohamed Haneef ?] 


Masochism gone wild. I'm excused. No Big Bash League cricket so forced to watch "Who wants to be a Millionaire, celebrity special" - Rachel Griffiths paired with Rhys Muldoon (pass), Red Symons with Wilbur Wilde (zzz), Stephen Curry with Bernard Curry (ditto), radio hosts Will McMahon and Woody Whitelaw (who?) and Samuel Johnson with Hilde Hinton (painful) - add in our Eddie (McGuire) attempting personality, more likely forced adrenelin and supposedly his version of comedy. How embarrassing. False heroes are endemic to public life. "You can never get enough of what you don't really want." [Eric Hoffer].


Our Prime Minister's National Press Club's appearance: Opening with "Thank you for your service". An American thing? Our own way, our Australian way. Apart from the Arts? Economic recovery, jobs and more jobs. Big wraps for Greg Hunt, Josh Frydenburg. "How good are we?" We did this, we did that, all vaccinations by October, free to all. [What was not mentioned, forever a part of any economic planning - the money markets, armaments and property development?]...The NSW RFS would like to thank Scott Morrison for giving Hillsong $43 million after refusing to give the RFS $20 million for 4 jet tankers?...."He is strongest who is most alone." [Ibsen]...Have a nice day?...www.ello8.com





Friday 29th January, 2021....Flippant, a disrespectful attitude? Or a need to flee to a holiday shack, escape the madding crowd. I'm alright Jack loud and clear. Australia Day, in my youth known as Empire Day. There doesn't appear to be any England Day, maybe Guy Fawkes Day? Certainly not a British Isles Day. With good reason. Scotland obviously, add in the Great Famine in Ireland 1847-51, one and a half million Irish people starved to death while millions of pounds worth of food was exported, under the protection of English troops, because the landowners would not sell the food below the market price. Then there's India, Australia obviously, America, the Boer War, half the bloody world in fact, and nobody wants to change God Save The Queen, right up there with Advance Australia Fair in the non-inspirational songs category. I'm not into the majority chest out flag waving nationalism, with it the danger in unenlightened patriotism. A flag incidentally with another country's flag in the mix. As for a particular day take your pick, January 26 is obviously a day to celebrate the arrival of white British colonists, including some who apparently stole a loaf of bread to feed their starving family, a long way short, in fact decades after the original settlers. Maybe call it Reconciliation Day, encompassing lasting injustices, here in particular, honing in, albeit noting it's been happening the past 5000 years the world over?  On the other hand if it makes them feel better (our majority that is, the online poll, conducted for The Age and Nine News, found 40 per cent were opposed to a republic, which would have the British monarchy replaced with our own head of state. Of the meagre 1222 asked, from 26 million, 40% said no, 34% yes and a whopping 26% said they didn’t know?) good luck to them. Should Australia Day be changed? Probably. I'd go for the first Monday after New Year's Day, maybe convince our multicultural invaders (Rye in January) to arrivederci to Melbourne earlier? [Note to the Council for the Order of Australia. The awarding of Australia Day honours will never be resolved until they nominate Cliff Ellen? Alternatively, by releasing Priya, Nades, Kopika and Tharunicaa back to their home and adoptive community in Biloela, I'm prepared to join the invisible majority?] There you have it, clear as mud. So it goes.... 


Chaser/edited: Immigration Minister and part time monster mash Peter Dutton has today joined the chorus of voices calling for Australia day to be scrapped, after learning the day celebrates the time a group of criminals travelled by boat from overseas to invade a sovereign nation’s borders. Asked what he thought about other similar holiday, such as ANZAC day, where Australians join together to celebrate invading Turkey by boat, Dutton said he felt faint, and needed to sit down. Dutton was then rushed to hospital, after being informed Boxing Day involves a giant boat race, Christmas celebrates a man who travels the world without a passport, and the Queens Birthday celebrates a foreigner who lives off government benefits. [JOKE?]


Comedy, a necessity for combatting the ever present danger of oncoming stress. An old one, bullseye! Husband’s call: "Honey it's me. I don't want to alarm you but I was hit by a car as I was leaving the office. Paula brought me to the hospital. They have checked me over and done some tests and some x-rays. The blow to my head was severe. Fortunately it did not cause any serious internal injury. However I have three broken ribs, I have a compound fracture in the left leg, and they think they may have to amputate my right foot." Wife’s Response: "Who is Paula?" [Women eh, who needs them? Who doesn't need them? Always assuming you're not married to a Margaret Court type.] 


The Saturday Paper, Gadfly: PM Scott Morrison bravely called up Vice-President Mike Pence and had a conversation in which Trump was basically ignored, much the same way a fart is ignored in a conference room. Morrison’s refusal to condemn outright Trump’s insurrection stands in stark contrast with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who issued an explicit condemnation, putting Scott Morrison in the unfortunate position of having even less character than Boris Johnson. The most we got from Morrison was something of a condemnation of the violence of the Capitol assault with the caveat, “But it has been a year full of violence, you know, in many ways last year in the United States” – drawing a comparison between men with Viking helmets and zip ties planning on kidnapping members of the senate to Black Lives Matter protesters who were calling for an end to police brutality. In fairness, Morrison showed a heroic level of restraint, stopping himself from adding there were “very fine people on both sides”, which in Australian politics is known as “pulling a McCormack”. [Obviously Michael, who made the odd mess or two while Scotty had yet another unenforced break.] 


Should Google pay? Josh Frydenberg says yes. When we say Josh we automatically include the triptych of Morrison, Hunt and the devious Dutton, so how does this affect moi? The government gets more money but I will not see an extra cent. Google may well charge, in addition to my paying for subscribing to The Age, The Saturday Paper and The Guardian, offset by ignoring the likes of Stan and Netflix. I see it as a murder mystery detective, as in who benefits? The newspapers of course, and the government needs the newspapers, particularly Rupert's clan and Costello's Nine. As mentioned previously I've lost my once lightning thoughts to particular words, thus a need for Mister Google. Looks like an extended visit to the three op-shops within walking distance, Josh and his followers, the super rich, likely to have a January cleanup (where I also search for brand name shirts) of books. Books in particular, for inspiration. They feed me with ideas. I'm told Bing, an alternate search function might help, apparently unrelated to Crosby? [Google holds 94 per cent search engine market share in Australia. Its closest rival is Bing with 3.7 per cent, followed by DuckDuckGo with 0.79 per cent, Yahoo! with 0.73 per cent and Ecosia on 0.2 per cent, according to independent web analytics company Statcounter. A push by our Treasurer as a representative for  Murdoch's clan and Nine news? Time will tell.]


Our mate Albo (Albanese) has declared he will lead Labor to its first federal election win in more than a decade following a major shake-up of his front bench designed to calm internal tensions over policy direction. "Right now, insecure work and underemployment are at record highs. We have more than two million Australians who are either out of a job or can’t get the amount of work they need,’’ He got that right. The bigger problem is, of course, climate change, and leaving aside his need to inspire us, and somehow come to terms with handling our Prime Minister's do 'bugger  all' approach, his climate change policies are (at best) still clouded, similar to his pretend support for Bill Shorten during the last election. ‘‘Climate change action is good for jobs, it is good for reducing emissions, as well as good for reducing power prices.’’ Vague. And why Tanya Plibersek minister for women? Making his own bed, without a pillow? [Albo's no fool, so we can assume he's stashing up a 'treasury' of Morrison blues to be brought forward at the appropriate time? Surely???]     


Kerry O'Brien could not accept his honour from the same body that would make "such a deeply insensitive and divisive decision". "Margaret Court was a great tennis player who thrilled most Australians in her tennis years including me, but her hurtful and divisive criticisms relating to the fundamental rights of the LGBTQ+ community are clearly repugnant to many Australians," O'Brien wrote. "I believe the decision to present her with this award was deeply insensitive and must undermine community respect for awards that were created to celebrate a true spirit of community, not divide it." [Kerry's a star. Match this with Malcolm Turnbull's award for his contributions to marriage equality. Hypocritical nude-nuts? Ditto Morrison in the dock, Princess Court; a deliberate political decision from a religious fruitcake.]


Talk of introducing compulsory swimming lessons. Perhaps compulsory common sense?...Comedy? Tony Abbott appointed as a distinguished fellow to the IPA (Institute of Public Affairs)... Message to Peter (African gangs?) Dutton - "What's your take on the far right extremists Pete mate?"...Hail the new warrior, Australian of the Year Ms Grace Tame; stand aside Rosie Batty. Beware inciting Julia Baird (The Drum) recalling her previous fanatical heights with the #MeToo campaign?...I see no good reason why any person of my age should be higher on the list for the vaccine. Having said this I'll hold out for the Pfizer vaccine with 95 per cent coverage, as against the AstraZeneca with about 60 per cent coverage?...Our cricket team tours to South Africa in March. COVID-19 in South Africa has recorded more than one million cases and 40,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic?..."The rest of the world understands Australian theft and murder, mainly because of their participation in similar acts, but in Australia we pretend bemusement or outright hostility to the mere suggestion. And we are such fair-go, goodbloke larrikins that we become furious when a sportsman accuses others of racism. [Bruce Pascoe]...Perspective? In a population of almost 26 million, in the past year some 150,000 Australians died, including 909 due to COVID...."Australia is now known around the world as the most inhumane, the most uncaring and the most selfish of all the wealthy countries." [M.Fraser. 2014]....My take on politics: "The secret of contentment is never to allow yourself to want anything which reason tells you haven’t a chance of getting" [M.T.]...Play it on YouTube - "Those were the Days" Mary Hopkin, 1969...Keep yourselves nice...www.ello8.com






Unenforced isolation. Saturday 23rd January, 2021. It's an age thing, as in going crackers? On a personal basis I've lost my instant memory for words. Yes, google helps, but not if you're lying down, worse, in bed after lights out and you search for it, and it evades. If you're not careful it can keep you there for an hour and it's already 2am? Eventually, occasionally, it arrives; I record on my mobile phone alongside the bed, but not necessarily if I've forgotten I have it on said mobile phone? Similar to a song, but worse. You can defeat the song by a forced change of song, or concentrate, think about - nothing, hoping you'll drop off, lalaland. But the words, "those Frenchies seek him here, everywhere. Is he in heaven or is he in hell? That demned elusive Pimpernel” -  adds in the concern/risk of "losing it"? The threat of no Google? Back to the concise oxford, if I can locate it? 


Social media pre-requisites: All decisions are instant, no need for evidence, no deep thought required and certainly no defence if challenged; similar to peeing on a brick wall for all the  good it does to challenge, or as the Navy used to call it "Urinating in a public place", in my day a £5 fine and loss of good conduct badges. No, never charged, or perhaps never caught? Truth is generally based on feelings, beliefs, perceptions, occasionally adding in education and upbringing. Some may say if you're relying on people you're relying on mud? Not to worry. At my age no necessity to maintain the false belief of my usefulness? Thirty years ago no choices, East Enders Midsomer Murders, read a book. Now we have Facebook, a host of choices, YouTube, On Demand, and still East Enders, Midsomer Murders and books. So it goes...  


The News: Neil Mitchell (3AW) is bad enough, now subject to Russel Howcroft (right wing; yawn) at breakfast. Sammy J (ABC) talks non political childish nonsense. Some say he's funny, yet to crack a smile. Left to 3RRR, kids, but good. I try midday ABC television during lunch, background. For horror I go to Nine News, a magazine style load of tosh designed via Peter Costello and promoted as 'A World of Free Entertainment' (for the sheep) alongside the Herald Sun to put more and more pressure on Dan Andrews. Australia Day approaches, as I've said, Scott Morrison Day, heavy footed on nationalism, tongue in cheek for "all Australians"? I'll choof across to the beach at Rye, experience the flag waving first hand, a concert, bands into the night, provided by our Mornington Peninsula Council. If I'm lucky I'll spot an aboriginal flag? 


Promises promises: Our man, Greg Hunt: Round 6 of the Morrison Government's Stronger Communities Programme is now open! $150,000 in grants are available to support community projects on the Peninsula that strengthen social connections, build community participation and create vibrant and viable communities into the future. Grants can range from $2,500 to $20,000. In recognition of the difficult year many community organisations have experienced in 2020, for this round grant funding for each project can be up to 100% of eligible project costs. [Is an election coming? He tried this caper last time?]


Lambs to the slaughter? Treasurer Josh Frydenberg wants the law changed to help the Covid recovery despite the banking royal commission saying it should not be touched. Abolishing responsible lending laws would help the economy recover from a coronavirus-induced recession by increasing the flow of credit says our Josh. In a report delivered to Frydenberg almost two years ago, the banking royal commissioner, Kenneth Hayne, recommended the law remain unchanged? Yet another lengthening between the rich and the poorer? It's not so much the rich getting rich that concerns me (Billionaire Solomon Lew will pocket $24.25m in dividends after his retail empire, Premier Investments received almost $70m in wage subsidies during the coronavirus crisis?) more a case of the latter, particularly the deeper the divisions leading to the failure of democracy. Sprouts Josh "Our economies continue to move forward". Meaning?


More than half of the recommendations made by Kenneth Hayne have either been abandoned or are yet to be fully implemented, after the treasurer received the inquiry’s final report and vowed to take action on ALL recommendations. Regulators put implementation of some recommendations on hold during the peak of the coronavirus crisis, but consumer groups fear Josh Freydenburg has taken advantage of the delay to undermine the pro-regulation consensus established by the royal commission, which followed more than five years of scandal in the financial services industry. Frydenberg said despite the coronavirus crisis more than 70% of the royal commission’s recommendations requiring action by the executive government had been implemented since he received the report in February 2019. An analysis by Guardian Australia of all 76 of Hayne’s recommendations shows that 44 have yet to be implemented and five have been abandoned. Three, which involve reviews of progress in making changes, are not yet due. Recommendations ditched include Hayne’s very first: "That laws requiring banks to lend responsibly NOT be changed"?


Tennis tournament: Aficionados (and particularly) the hoity-toity are in favour whereas we (down-to-earth, modest, submissive, subservient, deferential, overmodest, docile almost gentle) must abide for the benefit of those entitled? Apparently it brings bucketloads of moola (cash) into our state coffers. Equally apparent, I'm advised, this is of benefit to me, assuming (obviously) I don't catch the COVID bug. [Novak Djokovic.‘‘Decent food suitable for elite players’’ and ‘‘relocation - to private houses with a tennis court’’ No prizes for deciding how far Novak is up himself? On the other hand, truth, or selling newspapers?] Health before the economy is my mantra. Either way enough material there to bite Danny Andrews on his bum? Should I expect a quid from this increase in the state coffers? Is the Pope a catholic. Solution? Forget it.


Courage/toughness. Watching the history channel, Arthur Charles Jeston Richardson, an Australian cyclist and mining engineer, became the first person to circumnavigate the continent of Australia on a bicycle, no roads mostly, 1890's, a reminder to compare with my great riding, my pushbike, 1947 Northcote to Frankston, including a puncture. The effort draining, a call home to the milk bar where Mum worked, JW3822, SOS, arranged for Uncle Tom to kindly drive his ute to Frankston, collect me, and the bike, puncture mended, drove us home. Uncles and Aunties, great value 1940's, 50's. 


The Australian government has said it has made “significant achievements in the realisation of human rights” since the previous United Nations human rights council review in 2015. “These include significant investments addressing family and domestic violence, human trafficking and modern slavery and the legalisation of same-sex marriage.” [They look you in the eye and with the utmost sincerity, tell beautiful lies. Aboriginals in custody, Uluru Statement from the Heart? Same sex marriage used as a plus despite kicking and screaming against it?] 


Kerry O'Brien: "America's attempt to extradite Assange is all about politics, not about justice, not about national security. All Australians should be embarrassed if Assange is extradited for war crimes and other dirty secrets we all had a right and a need to know. If the Australian government does not intercede on his behalf it will be complicit in a grave injustice and a serious strike against a free press. We are all invested in this and we should all make our voices heard." [Here here, but why only the Americans? Surely there's a reason why the English judge decided (no bail) to let Julian rot in hell?]


"Democracy prevails" says Joe Biden. Depends what he means by democracy. Time will tell, noting Germany had democracy before Adolf, Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and with it the creation of laws which did not go through parliament approval? The circus is over, hopefully. Why no condemnation by the Morrison government to Trump's incitement of a fascist coup and the terrorist acts he inspired? Transparency, vigilance and integrity are keys to preserving democracy, here and in the USA? Joe Hockey was closer to the truth, his truth. Four years a mad Trump supporter, now, the following day, all for President Joe?   


The Chaser Weakly: The whole Trump era was terrific entertainment. It had a bit of everything: violence, death, racism, sexism, comedy, terror, absurdism, political intrigue, courtroom drama, press conferences at landscaping firms, Nazis and golf. But now that's it's over, let's just stop talking about it for a while. Americans can talk about themselves (they're very good at that), and we can talk about stuff closer to home. [Suits me].


Daniel Andrews criticism of former tennis great Margaret Court (sucked in to Scott's nationalism crusade?) set to be promoted to a Companion of the Order of Australia?..."A ragging Nathan Lyon delivery beat Rishabh Pant by so far it went to slip. Fazed? The next ball he clouted for six against the spin." Well done India. An end to Auzzie arrogance? Not likely....Occupational hygienist? A what? Adding to a long list of COVID experts?... Freedom of speech, up to a point. An opinion yes, but in Australia not those dealing with consumer protection, workplace bullying, electoral regulation, copyright, confidential information, privacy, obscenity, racial discrimination, nuisance, treason and contempt of court...Mining companies have gifted $136 million in political donations; why?...No point winning powerball if overseas travel is not allowed during 2021; no Paris?...Cute: "My body's absorbed so much sanitiser that when I pee it cleans the toilet."...."Life is an endless vacuum" [Bill Garner]...Keep yourselves nice...www.ello8.com






Unenforced isolation. Sunday 17th January, 2021. A Seinfeld week, a show about nothing, this week's key word, normality. Almost that is, after wading through the COVID news, the disgruntled overseas and interstate travellers and some tennis tournament. And the flim flam men, Trump and Morrison. A need for something interesting to allow my mind to tick back into neutral/active, normality. I was so desperate I read a piece on John Waters in The Age, a pre-publicity job on an upcoming Foxtel show. It never ceases to amaze me how it is assumed people into a form of celebrity status are into an equal status of intelligence? For mine - not necessarily! I recall his line back in 1983 (at age 34 All the rivers Run) telling me "Anyone who can't ride a horse shouldn't be an actor". "I've given up bread, sugars and alcohol" said John. As Steve Bisley said a number of times in that great early series Frontline currently replaying on the ABC - Hot cock! Goodness gracious me. A measure surely of our desperation for content. The Channel 9 news is all about real estate, electricity prices and the usual January drownings. I know, it's January. Be patient. Dream of normality, what ever that means. As for the biggest joke of the month, no secret, acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack. A day at a time, but oh so slow days. zzz.


Donald Trump from Tim Soutphommasane, edited: "If the problem is decadence, it may not be an exclusively American malaise. A moral complacency, a tendency for instant gratification, an inability to achieve systemic progress, a loss of common purpose: these are arguably all present in Australian public life. Granted, there are differences between Australia and the US. Our largely commendable national response to COVID-19 points to some structural resilience. But we, too, show signs of social decay amid abundance and strength. We see it in our stalled response to climate change. We see it in the lack of political accountability for lies, misconduct and maladministration. We see it in the constant calls for a return to Hawke-Keating style reforms, a sign of imaginative exhaustion. And we see it in the repetitive rituals of performative outrage that punctuate our culture wars." [Well said young Tim, on the other hand, from the high office of our acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack "It is unfortunate that we have seen the events at Capitol Hill, that we’ve seen in recent days – similar to those race riots that we saw around the country last year,” McCormack told ABC Radio National on Monday. “These are unfortunate events and of course many people don’t remember how you rode the horse; they remember how you dismount the horse. And it is unfortunate that this has occurred." That's telling them Mikey, man of steel? In drawing a comparison as in ability on the job, Michael is on a par with the Victorian opposition leader Michael O'brien? Add in a reasonable question (ABC journalist) to a representative of the Indian cricket side, "Is Australia racist?" Premier Gladys Berejiklian chipping in (dreaming?) "It's so un-Australian". Assuming we ignore Aboriginal people, Chinese, Muslims, Africans, Bosnians  and arabs generally, no, we're not racist.] 


The Chaser, edited "after a long and tense editorial board meeting last night, we have decided to cast aside our policy of impartiality and call upon parliament to retain acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack in his current position indefinitely. Michael McCormack has only been in the top job for less than a week, but in that time he has embodied Donald Horne's thesis that Australia is lucky because we muddle along despite having absolutely shithouse leaders. Michael McCormack has over the course of the past week managed to discredit almost every cause he's sought to support. By weighing into debates about Trump, Black Lives Matters, racial slurs at the cricket, Cheese Brands and fruit picking, he has done more for progressive causes in this country than any other leader ever, including Gough Whitlam. Every opinion he expresses is immediately discredited simply by sheer weight of his moronicness. Such skills are rare. We must seize this opportunity as a nation and make him Prime Minister for life. Because if Australia can continue to exist as a country with Michael McCormack as its leader then it truly is one hell of a lucky country. [Sadly, our PM and Treasurer are creating new avenues leading to the widening between them and us, superannuation, work choices, etc etc.] 


Like the Australian cricket captain, kindly excuse me, January in Rye (Victoria) can be hell on earth. Our Mornington Peninsula man, Health Minister Greg Hunt (sniper?) "Australia is the third most generous country in the world in regard to "humanitarian intake." highly doubtful according to my sources. Add in the contentious "providing medical care for refugees." Add in his comment last week, "Victoria has a duty to find a way to get its residents home"? Our Greg, the epitome of normality? 


Picking and choosing? Freedom of speech my backside. Yassmin Abdel-Magied spoke up and was duly crucified? Twitter is not removing Trump’s right to free speech, it is simply choosing not to publish it. This same power resides in The Age and The Herald-Sun, certainly in the 'feelgood' Nine News, indeed, in our government's deliberate handling (mishandling?) of our FOI laws? You may choose (like me) the silly idea of asking why, but if you expect an honest answer, yet again, you're dreaming. Or maybe ask another sniper;  expert on freedom - Josh Frydenberg? 


Enough said? The lost art/Leunig, Saturday Age/Spectrum: Finger strokes on a screen of glass, on your device, a thousand strokes a day...flick flick flick tap tap flick tap tap flick...swipe tap tap tap swipe swipe tap swipe...you could have done a wonderful painting with that agile finger, those sure and simple movements. You could have made a lovely wild and coloured thing...a happy mystery to hang on your wall, something to smile at... 


Old age, thankfully, luckily, good memories: Melbourne cup day 1949, a 13 year old in a gambling frenzy. Foxami had recorded a great time trial, faster than the favourite (Shannon from memory but don't bet on my memory) so logic reared it's head. I declared (to Auntie Millie) Foxami was past the post. Auntie advanced me 2 shillings (a shilling each way, my first bet ever) at 16/1. Duly greeted the judge and 22 shilling collected from the hairdresser/barber. Never a thought of returning Auntie's 2 shillings? Free to roam, the one rule, home for tea. To Luna Park with Graham Campbell (later a Fitzroy and Victorian VFL champion) and the big dipper, 4 rides until the front seats were vacant, the other 12 in the front seats. Across the road to Candy Corner. Chocolate malted milk shakes. Sometimes watching the prostitutes. I liked the skinny one with purple hair. The shady customers appeared to prefer the fat one? Enough left to catch the two trains home. [Money not a problem 1949. A morning station spot (Westgarth station) a built in type of cubby house, selling The Sun newspaper and various lollies, an afternoon Herald paper round and a lolly boy at night, the Merri theatre, North Fitzroy. Note: On Saturdays after a Collingwood victory a fortune to be made at the Northcote bowling club. The Herald and the Sporting Globe (pink) at tuppence a piece. Given sixpence and told to "keep the change." Nothing forthcoming with a Collingwood loss. Not to worry. Saturday's we're pay nights at the Merri theatre. 10pm. Hamburger shop. A slap up feast, baked beans on toast at 2 shillings and sixpence.]   


Jon Faine, local and overseas; edited: The Premier enormously enjoys his arm wrestle with the baying Murdoch hunting pack and it will continue. Strategic briefings against Andrews to pet journalists have left unreliable sources with red faces and zero credibility. Trump, the casualty list from his theatrically inspired single failed term in the White House is staggering. Now those voters who stormed the seat of constitutional power at his urging are left abandoned. Their anger over a ‘‘stolen’’ election is compounded by now being betrayed by their figurehead. It turns out it was all for nothing. They too were taken in by the greatest conman of our generation. The damage to their self-regard, to say nothing of the international reputation of the US, will take years to repair. [I'll go along with Jon.]


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his entire cabinet have resigned over a scandal involving the payment of childcare allowances and the government’s attempt to recoup the costs from the recipients. Scott Morrison and his government refused to do anything until robodebt was shown to be the travesty that it was?...The past 10 months I've washed my hands (thoroughly) some 2000 times. Can't help wondering how many COVID monsters went down my bathroom sink?..."Who by kindness and smooth attention can insinuate a hearty welcome to an unwelcome guest, is a hypocrite superior to a thousand plain-dealers" [Lavater - or, Morrison to Joe Biden?]...Keep yourselves nice...www.ello8.com







Unenforced isolation. Sunday, 10th January, 2021. Have they gone yet?  Who, you may well ask, unless like me you're a resident of Rye Victoria and presently tripping over multicultural adult hordes, darling little ankle biters almost all eating ice cream, many with a puppy on a leash, sometimes? The hot weather improves the need/opportunity to shop, to some degree; they all retire to the beach and the love of the humming jet skis, with the ambulance sirens occasionally for balance. Am I cranky, bitter? No. There's a type of masochistic pleasure in knowing come the day after Australia Day (we call it Scott Morrison Day) they disappear. They're not all bad. I saw one group putting their pizza rubbish in the bin, albeit an overflowing bin. I should have taped it but the females were already giving me dirty looks for (seemingly?) looking at them. The colder days earlier helped, in that my Woolworths visits at 7am were free of bikini wearing shoppers. I'm thinking of getting a badge - "I survived the invasion" centre, below it, Gloria Gaynor. 


History? Various new words have been thrust at us on a daily basis the past 10 months. I keep looking (without clarification) for a Scotty Morrison word, other than slogans, so I've decided to submit my contribution - anomaly. Something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected. “I don’t hold a hose, mate.” was a classic phrase following his Hawaii visit going pear-shaped. The national cabinet has turned out to be a front for abolishing parliament. Credit where it's due, he (and firefighter Geoff Hunt) created the $5 million dollar app, responsible for the successful tracing of some dozen or more COVID cases. Already, at this early stage, Mister Anomoly (aka Schomo) was attracting a massive approval rate, for reasons best left to Mary's little lambs. Not satisfied, he wanted more, hubris (excessive pride or self-confidence). JobKeeper was announced, a union idea watered down so artists, migrant workers, universities and recently employed casuals couldn’t apply, but the Catholic Church could? Better still, the sheep and the crooks dived in, still swimming. Jobkeeper was doubled, until now, and aged care with 685 out of our 907 COVID deaths ignored, kindly balanced out by renovation grants. Danny Andrews was our captain, day after day, despite balanced attacks from firefighter number 2 Josh Frydenberg. So no parliament, firefighters at the ready, and Mister Anomaly taking on the China syndrome and the original cause of COVID. Silly me; I asked why and was told it would allow us to prepare for future COVID type attacks? And then, another brilliant idea, for good measure - an empathy coach @ $190k. Keeping his head clear of these fascinations is Sir Peter Dutton, patiently waiting, hoping, for opportunity number 2.    


NOBEL peace laureate Mairead Corrigan: "Chelsea Manning, as an American soldier based in Iraq, could not go along with the murder of Iraqi civilians. Julian Assange, as a publisher, had to do his duty and disclose facts of the Iraqi and Afghan wars to the public. Edward Snowden, working in US intelligence, could not remain silent knowing that his government was carrying out illegal surveillance of US citizens and world governments." [No bail for Julian, no surprise. English justice? No such thing. A death sentence.]


The FOI system, a crucial limb of government accountability, relies heavily on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, an independent umpire that reviews government decisions and hears complaints. From The Guardian, independent senator Rex Patrick: The senator said the overloading of the regulator was part of a broader trend toward secrecy in Australia. “We’ve got a government that has expanded cabinet to broaden secrecy claims over all significant decisions, ignored the funding needs of the auditor general, reducing his performance audit capacity from 48 per annum to under 40, feigned interest in a real Icac (Independent Commission Against Corruption) and used the AFP to intimidate the media in its oversight role.” [We all know who runs the AFP. Peter Dutton, Medevac: From the Mantra Hotel in Preston to the Park Hotel in Carlton. They cannot leave the hotel for exercise, and the windows have been tinted so we cannot see them. Again silly me, asking why the secrets, particularly hiding/secrecy - from whom?]


The storming of congress; serious, highlighting double standards, American interference in other countries politics, likely Australia included? Donald Trump. Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and the hoax of COVID-19, without a word against his almost maniacal rule? Scotty (Legion of Merit) Morrison, the non carrying fire hose man: ‘‘He’s a strong leader, who says what he’s going to do and then goes and does it". Later "It is not for me to offer commentary on world leaders’’ - apart from Vladimir Putin and/or Xi Jinping? Can we be thankful Donald didn't start a war with China or whoever? The possibility our PM would have been there boots and all, our troops that is. [From 18 months ago: ."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"].Perhaps not, perhaps too busy with climate change, respect for Indigenous people, improving social inequality and (again) those refugees? [I may not consider myself a sheep, but truthfully, I can't rule out - goat?]


If they say it enough times it becomes truth in the eyes of many, obviously. The smokers alongside in cafes, pushed outside to street level, still the danger, pushed out again in favour of pure air, ignoring the roar of passing traffic and the dangers of (their words) passive smoking. Unborn babies and so on. Here's another: Reserve bank governor Phillip Lowe. Interest rates cut to 0.1% for 3 years "to restore the Australian economy and create jobs". No mention of bank depositors? Another form of the ridiculous trickle down effect. Never forgetting Josh Frydenburg telling us to work later in life. Work where? And from Bob Carr - the powerful truths of fascist thinking: the power of the big lie energetically repeated – in this case, that the election was stolen. [Don't blame me, it's the hot weather].  


Some oldies the luxury of sleeping nightly as babies, others the odd bad night. A thought sets in and refuses to depart, maybe 2, 3 hours. Awake, dark, sneak a look at the time hoping (say) 6am? Blast, 2.30am. During my 40 years in theatre I had twin jobs, equally as enjoyable, working for totalisator companies (later known as the TAB of Victoria) at country, provincial and metropolitan racetracks, the staff similarly divergent, all types, the same problem, too many for not enough jobs. Here's last night's musings, often forgotten after nodding off around 5am, occasionally indelible. I'm not big on auditions, an exercise in 'nonsense' from my perspective, be that as it may. La Mama half a century ago. I was there observing, to watch a friend strut his stuff along with half a dozen others. They all did well, but what would I know? The director asked if I could read the part. I was amused, read the lines, offered the part, a lottery. Another time I told the director I'd do it provided he did not direct me and if I was concerned in any way I'd talk to him privately, offered the role. Recommended by Ross Williams to audition, an unknown director of Sydney fame who, apparently, was looking for my reaction to a particular scene, which I completely stuffed up. I'd done a play in St Kilda the night before, plus a few frothies afterwards, so a 10am audition was a pain in the bum, do the right thing by Ross? I got it, likely Ross put in a good word. I did two half hearted others for Theatreworks, both clearly against my casting, causing (yet again) to read in 'high bland' (say the lines, adrenaline excluded), got them anyway? Others cast me without the necessity for the audition, which was nice because I'd have also stuffed them up. My attitude to film, commercials and television auditions was even worse. Matching heads was not something I took kindly to, turning up at best, bored, slightly aggressive, knowing these often incompetent know-alls were fantasising as to their importance and anyway, one had to do the right thing by the good intentions of one's agent. I had a rule, attending every second time. The agent wouldn't check up, no problem. Thinking back, perhaps I was the know-all? [And, to quote Vonnegut, 'so it goes'. I'll have a nap later, catch up on shuteye].


Duplicity and self-interest, America, Australia, the world...Memories; Donald (trousers) Trump: He reduced taxes for the wealthy, he appointed conservatives to the Supreme Court, he 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. Remember when Trump campaigned on law and order?...I seem to recall Health Minister, Martin Foley asking we Victorians not to travel to New South Wales, 3 weeks ago?..."We're Victorians. We know fire" - a VicGov commercial, good, but please, cut the first two words...Greg Hunt the handballer? "Victoria has a duty to find a way to get its residents home"?...Big Bash commentator Lisa Sthalekar, top shelf, at long last...Robert Burton, 17th century: "Self-love and vain-glory in an era of shameless self-promotion with an obsession with sex and its artificial allurement."...The lack of an audience should never be a deterrent to the artist, ditto the bullshit-artist?...Be kind to waitresses...www.ello8.com





Monday 4th January, 2021. Yet another New Years Day passes. Our newly discovered songwriter (nationalistic populist?) Prime Minister's meet the press was at his adman best. Cleverly letting the ball go through to the keeper, aka the state Premiers. Liked the way he compared our COVID results with other countries, the inference 'How good is Australia' (despite his constant references to snapback). Public universities were excluded from JobKeeper. Many artists were excluded. Many migrants, those on temporary visas, stuck in Australia because of logistics and money, were not eligible for help at all. Casuals who had not been with their employer for 12 months were not eligible: Academics, artists, recent migrants, young people, women.  [Frydenberg, asked why artists and actors had been left out, said, “We had to draw the line somewhere.” Asked about the exclusion of skilled foreign workers, he said, “We had to draw the line somewhere.” Asked why, if he was willing to spend $130 billion on JobKeeper, he couldn’t have spent more to cover casuals and foreign workers, again he said, “We had to draw the line somewhere.”] Fascinating difference between how the press handle Lady Gladys announcements as against our Danny Boy. 


And so begins my 14th year of Salt, hard to believe. Still searching for a change of direction. From my past 'big' decisions any change is highly unlikely. Dad marched me into town 1953, a 20 year public service stint. Accountancy was never on. A mate pleaded with me to come, so after working out a system (couple of beers, buy a meal, attend classes 7pm twice a week) it all began, primarily as a joke. Chris, another workmate, wanted me to come along to acting classes. What? Only ever seen the one stage show, a musical with Toni Lamond, The Pajama Game 1957. I had seen the Northcote High School play, recalling falling in love with the beautiful lead actress, who turned out to be a male? In for a penny, toddled along to William Bates Acting Academy? Nonsense. Chris got a part in their current play. Amateur crap. Melodrama, personified by dainty super chummy males? Abandoned Chris to his doubtful newfound fame. Months later, despite Chris's (now) modified fame in amateur ranks he asked I again accompany him to another crowd in South Yarra, professional, Claremont Theatre; Chris obviously smitten by ambition? I watched some improvisations, bit of fun; it all began, again, again a joke. Currently bereft of living advisers, keep writing? Not to worry. Happy New Year. Happy? 


Cassandra Goldie, The Guardian, edited: "From 1 January 2021 the maximum rate of jobseeker with the coronavirus supplement will be cut from $58 a day to just $51 a day. Originally increased earlier this year to $80 a day at the beginning of Covid, jobseeker will plunge back down to $40 a day at the end of March 2021 unless the federal government acts. The gap between the base rate of jobseeker and the minimum wage or the aged pension will be eye-watering. The age pension, not generous by any means, is $67. The minimum wage is $107 a day. Also, more than 1 million people are on temporary visas and are denied income support altogether. We need this federal government – this prime minister and minister for social services – to act, and fast. We need a permanent, adequate increase to jobseeker urgently, to be extended to everyone hit by unemployment now." [You can be certain the jobseeker welfare cuts will not dribble down to shops, growers, farmers, industry or charities.]


I recall a 3 week holiday on the Gold Coast, early 1980's. Strangely I've always thought I haven't got an artistic bone in my body. Still do. While there I read the Courier Mail daily and on weekends The Australian. The Age came in later in the day so I skipped it. I swam daily, walked along the beach and spotted all those rich houses. I'd had enough by the end of the second week but stuck it out for the family. There was the obligatory dream of living up there. Not from me. I had this feeling of loss. Glad  to come home. Whether or not I have an artistic bone is open for discussion, but therein lies one conclusion; most Queenslanders living on the Gold Coast do not.  


Anthony Albanese: ‘‘When it comes to Scott Morrison, I think Australians have started to work him out anyway. They see him as fake. As someone who is always political and always looking to shift blame to others’’. "Labor must do more than highlight deficiencies if it wants to win government" says Anthony. ‘‘In 2021 we face a critical battle. The battle ahead will be one of values – whether people are held back and left behind.’’ [A bit like the sailor pissing into the wind, the port side or the starboard side? Perhaps check out the wind, hoping (desperately) he has the wherewithal? There's an implied criticism of difference, as in no dividend imputations. Other than that Shorten's focus was for a fairer distribution of the wealth. Yes, dividend imputations too much too soon, but what of capital gains and negative gearing? Details Anthony? On the credit side, good to know he's kicking.]


When the relaxation of lending rules was announced last September, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg – and the Reserve Bank of Australia – pitched it as a measure to “cut red tape”. “As Australia continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that there are no unnecessary barriers to the flow of credit to households and small businesses,” Frydenberg said. “Maintaining the free flow of credit through the economy is critical to Australia’s economic recovery plan.” Under the government’s proposal, the National Consumer Credit Protection Act would be changed to allow lenders to give out money without thoroughly checking whether the borrower could afford to repay the loan. The proposal directl 


I ventured across the road (some 500 steps) to the Rye RSL last Saturday. Not an ideal time to visit, albeit the taste of Carlton Draught from the tap. Awash with visitors from afar (Melbourne), many with a misinterpreted sense of entitlement, on holiday, nationalism intact, beware. Trapped, inevitable, discussion (?) point the wearing of masks, as you enter, not when drinking. Amidst his bullshit he uttered the magic words - "I'm Australian. I'm not racist." I anticipated a "but" to follow so I chipped in to stem the flow. If nothing else I'm practiced at maintaining an agreeable attitude while withholding my private truth, which saw myself as staring, face to face, with our beloved Prime Minister. I escaped, well and good, but not without a nasty taste for the following hour or two. [Adding in the unsolvable problem of "What motivates them to think I might want a discussion?"]   


And so it goes: Digital producer Michelle Feuerlicht, a pioneer of online journalism at the ABC and at 23 won a Walkley Award for her work with Four Corners, believes innovation isn’t supported enough. “I fought so hard to push digital boundaries, and even after the recognition it continued to be a battle,” she says. Frustrated, she moved to the UK and now works on an Innovate UK-funded project that explores how live performances can use immersive technologies. “What I am working on now really exposes the gap between the UK and Australia. This sort of future thinking within the arts doesn’t seem to be happening in Australia. It feels like people are more satisfied with the status quo. I’m not sure there’s any need for my skills, because they haven’t got the sort of industry I work in now.” [Sad but true].    


The patience of the ‘not happy Jan’s’ waiting in line; 2, 4, 6 hours. How dare they have to wait? What caused them to go in the first place? The safety of no third wave or their rights? Victoria should have been better prepared, surge capacity! Yeah? So should they, as in you lot in those queues. No border restrictions would almost certainly have led to increased numbers of outbreaks and the possibility (certainty?) of disastrous  consequences. This is not going away. Or am I being too simplistic? Take your heads out of the sand. It's a globalisation problem. Unless we all pull together, expect the same or worse come 2022.


Priya and Nades, presently enjoying 1000 days holidaying on Christmas Island, were born in Australia. One and free?...Nomophobia, nah?...Watched Channel 9's pathetic political bias, Sunday News. Thank goodness for the weather lady, albeit I wasn't listening to her forecast...Let's ban jet skis in Port Phillip Bay?..."I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's." [Mark Twain]...Patiently waiting for the multicultural/crowds to disperse (evacuations beginning Sunday 10th January to the big one, Tuesday 26th January)...Deep breathing, from the  diaphragm...www.ello8.com