Saturday, August 31, 2013

Who do I vote for?

I am getting fed up with election politics with its Pork Barreling promises and half truths.   What to do?  I thought of giving my vote to the Greens, but they can only be, at best, a minor player in any government formed.  Their manifesto looks good...see it here.

The Greens can be a party to...’Keep the Bastards Honest’ which is a quote from The Democrats’ leader Don Chip.  Don has left us and The Democrats could well be considered a spent force.

In my electorate, Fremantle, the incumbent Labor Party candidate is certain to retain her seat.  Labor has held the seat without interruption since 1934, however the city of Fremantle has gone green and The Greens may pick up a few more votes this election.  

The Freo mayor has been very green, declaring Fremantle nuclear free and banning plastic shopping bags.

A tongue-in-cheek look at The Greens.....

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dr Rudi in Bali

Yesterday I had an eye examination prior to getting a new pair of specs.  The initial examination was retinal digital photos of my eyes to look at blood vessels, retina and optic nerve.   The woman operating the camera setup introduced herself as Faye.... I, with one of my lame jokes, asked if it was fait accompli. She replied, ‘no, it is Faye Jones’.  Confusion reigned and I had to get back in my box and shut up.  

Today I had a dentist appointment for a teeth descale and two small fillings.  I was in the chair for about 30 minutes and the bill came to $427. My health benefit fund  helped by subsidising the total with $256 and I ended up paying $170.

Whilst I was flat out on the dental lounge I noticed that I had my legs crossed and my arms folded.  I asked the young dentist if that was common.  It is common.  I recalled doing that every time I have been in dentists' rooms.  

Next time (if there is a next time) I will wait until I visit Bali again and have Dr Rudi do anything at around 20% of what Australian dentists charge.   It would have to be some major work to make the trip worthwhile.

At the moment there are airfare/accommodation deals for 5 days in Bali ex-Perth for around $600.   Might see if I can find someone to travel with and just jump on a plane.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Alone again

I am alone again. Yay!!    Our son has gone to Melbourne for a week’s break.  I had become used to being alone after my wife Joan’s death.  It is difficult living with someone other than your life partner.    My habits are quite different to my son’s.....mine are the good ones of course.
I must start looking for a rental unit for him even if I have to subsidise the rent each week.   When I was reading the diary of Anne Frank where eight people of different ages from two families spent two years in very close quarters having a few tanties over minor things, I saw myself.  Must try and relax about the things that get to me.

Helen and James invited me over for a seafood dinner last night.  Helen is every bit as good a cook as her mother.   Great food and good conversation.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hung, drawn and quartered

I have a friend who is an ex-student of mine from Rockingham Senior High School around 1978.  We, and now I, have kept in touch with Sean over the years and we have stayed with his family, his lovely wife Denise and their kids Cody and Bae in Sydney and they with us when they return to W.A..   Sean recently asked me if I could look at his mother Penney’s stereo amplifier as it was making some strange noises.   Today, Penney dropped by and I managed to wave the magic wand over it and it now works well.     In actual fact I figured it was a build-up of carbon on the volume control and opened it up and blasted it out with compressed air.  All good!     I love those easy jobs!

As the population of this vast state increases we read of more violence from its citizens. Letters to the newspapers demand that the government ‘Bring back the birch’.  Others say that a return to harsher school discipline such as using the cane is needed.  Sorry, that just won’t work in these times.  Maybe the miscreants should be Hung, Drawn and Quartered.
Here is something I read today in The Writers Almanac.  Free subscription and a great daily read.

On this date in 1305, William Wallace was executed for treason in London. Wallace was a Scottish national hero. He'd fought unsuccessfully against the English for Scottish independence. In the 14th century, a convicted traitor was typically "hanged, drawn, and quartered": first he was dragged behind a horse to the execution site, which was often some miles away. Then he was hanged until he was nearly dead, at which point he was cut down and disemboweled; his entrails were often burned in front of him. At this point, he might be beheaded, and the final step — quartering — involved tying each of his limbs to four separate horses, which were then spurred to run in opposite directions.

A history book called The History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I (1898) reports that Wallace was drawn — that is, dragged behind a horse — for treason, hanged for robbery and homicide, disemboweled for sacrilege, beheaded for outlawry, and quartered for "various depredations."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Diary of a Young Girl

I have been re-reading the diary of Anne Frank.  It is a remarkable, well written story, told by a young girl about two families living in hiding in Holland in a secret hideout over a period of  two years until they were betrayed and transported.  Anne’s father was the only survivor from the camps of the eight people in hiding.   

 Her diary is a personal account of those two years in hiding, her personal thoughts and the inevitable difficulties of living in close contact with others. It was written as letters to her alter ego, Kitty.     Her diary ends abruptly with no indication that the hideout had been compromised.  Several investigations were held to address suspicions about who actually informed the Sickerheitsdienst (SD), but no single person was charged.  The diary having been published by this time, was probably the catalyst for investigations.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A pleasant funeral

AB’s funeral went well with a large group of family, friends and three ex-pupils.
An ex-student of mine attended and it was great to catch up with him.  He is a relative of Bronwen and I did know that at the time I taught him.  Bronnie, or AB as she liked to be called, never married and spent most of her life teaching, travelling and mentoring friends and rellies.

Later in the day I helped a friend by doing a bit of lifesaving on his PC.  I am not into the Windows operating system, but downloaded a piece of ‘tuneup’ software to run on it and that seems to have worked.  His computer was being quite irrational and I didn't have much hope that this download was going to be a fix.            A trial version of AVG Tuneup is useable for just 24 hours.

My nearest shopping centre is in a nearby suburb which elicits quite a bit of scorn from non residents.  Yesterday I dropped into a small supermarket there to buy some supplies.  When I got home I realised I had lost my iPhone, having left it in the shopping basket.  I dashed back to the store and asked, with no real hope, if a phone had been handed in. had.  A much relieved Kev tried to find out if the store manager got a name so that I could thank him/her, but he wasn’t available.  I will follow it up today.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Election Ho Hum

The run-up to the Australian Federal Election continues.  Candidates have been caught out showing poor knowledge of their party’s policies, making confused statements about topics such as refugees etc.  There should be a good selling DVD of the complete collection of faux pas statements made.  On second thoughts make one for each of the three main Parties’ muck-ups to ensure sales.

I guesstimate that about 80% of voters will vote how they always have, no matter what good policies opposition candidates espouse.  Followers of football clubs don’t suddenly change sides because of some scandal.    I am part of the rest of the population who actually considers the merits of announced policies and how they can be costed and votes accordingly...I hope.  At least I am willing to listen to all sides of the argument. We are what changes government at the ballot box and lots of people consider that a bit of flimflam.

Monday, August 12, 2013

RIP Bronnie

I have a funeral to attend this week.  It will not be a sad affair.  Bronwyn died yesterday at the grand old age of 104.    My friend Jack and I were taught by ‘Bronnie’ in grade six in the late 1940s.  She was an inspirational teacher, well liked by students and families.

Of recent years she was a resident in a nice residential nursing home where we visited her a couple of times.   On the occasion of her 100th birthday she remembered both of us, our siblings and parents. A later visit at around 102 years of age saw her struggling to remember us except that she knew that she had taught us.

I would think that it is pretty rare that a couple of 73 year olds would be attending their primary school teacher’s funeral who died at the age of 104.

 Bye Bronnie!

              Kev, Bronnie and Jack just 4 years ago on her 100th birthday

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Who do you think you are?

A recent episode of “Who do you think you are?” on SBS TV was about a woman tracing her family back to the 1700s.    She has a Jewish background and I found it very interesting. 
Her family and indeed most of the Jews of Europe of the time, were persecuted by Christianity and Islam.   She began her search in Holland, which in the 18th century, was one of just a few nations that didn’t demand that Jews wore something to identify themselves.....  Shades of Nazi Germany in the 1940s
I don’t believe that either side of my family have Jewish roots, but I feel empathy with Israel.  History has treated Jews very badly and the state of Israel is not going to be dictated to by anyone.

Mel Brooks did a song and dance routine on ‘The Inquisition’ in his movie...History of The World Part 1.  

One verse........Hey,Torquemada, waddaya say?
                       I just got back from the Auto-da-fe´
                       Auto-da-fe´, what’s an Auto-da-fe´
                       It’s what you oughtn’t to do, but you do it anyway

Monday, August 5, 2013

Federal Election

The Australian Prime Minister yesterday announced the date for the Federal Election.  September 7th will see most Australians front up to schools and community halls throughout the nation to vote for a Prime Minister.   Voting in State and Federal elections is compulsory.

Australia doesn’t have presidential style elections, we vote for political parties, not personalities.....or that is how it is supposed to be, but there is no doubt in my mind that we will be voting ostensibly for a Prime Minister.   He will be the leader of the winning party.

Pundits tell us that the election will be decided in the eastern states of NSW and Queensland.   Because of the time difference between east and west Australia (2 hours at this time of year)  Western Australians don’t hold sway in elections, because in most elections we are still voting when the results are coming in from eastern states’ polling booths.

Thankfully the run up to the election/slanging match is relatively short. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ruby the observer

Daughter Helen invited me over (we live about 750 metres apart) for a drink and dinner last night.  He husband James is on a mine site at Boddington about 127 kilometres from Fremantle.  Helen and I are driving to the mine site on Saturday to deliver James his contact lenses.  James’ employer will not allow him to wear spectacles under safety glasses.

One of their two dogs, Ruby, likes to sit on a chair and watch the fish in their fish tank.  Ruby also drinks from an outside fish pond and the fish gather round her lapping.  Somehow they know that she is not going to snap at them.

                                                          click to enlarge

Meantime, in the fish tank, there is a bit of a pecking order being sorted out.  A lovely new yellow addition to the menagerie is constantly being hassled by the largest fish in the tank, so much so that when the lights are turned off, all the other fish except the new one, dash into the crevices in the rocks to hide.  It will be interesting to see if that situation changes.   Much like humanity eh?