Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A bit of environmental outrage

The Netherlands is now running all of its electric trains using wind power to generate the electricity. Believe me, as I have seen them, there are a lot of wind turbines in Netherlands coastal waters. Australia should be generating all of our power with wind, wave, hydro and what Australia is known for and has in abundance, sunlight.

Because onshore gas production has been banned in the State of Victoria, a little scare campaign has been underway by those with vested interests in increasing the price for natural gas we pay. Apparently because of a 'gas shortage' we will have to start freighting gas from Queensland and it will cost a lot more. Phewy. Our gas comes from Bass Strait off the Victorian coast. When I was but a lad, I remember hearing that there was enough gas under the seabed in Bass Strait to last us thousands of years.

I should have saved the name of the author of this little gem. Whether true or not, I do not know, but politicians and those who lord it over us wonder why the public is fed up and cynical.

There's a neat political game going with France and Czech Republic selling reliable base power to Germany and Austria while the latter two can promote their own "green" energy policies - including opposition to nuclear power - and look nice and virtuous (while cooking their dinner using nuclear power from the country next door). Two countries get money, the other two get political kudos. Everybody is happy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tasteful Restraint?

Where is the most ornate old theatre foyer in Australia. I think Victor may have discovered  a strong contender and I would be interested if anyone can mention a more ornate theatre foyer in Australia. Note, I don't use the word beautiful. That is in the eye of the beholder. Art Deco is more my style. I remember being very impressed by Sydney's State Theatre where we watched a film soon after the theatre was restored to its former glory in about 1983.

While it is not longer used as a theatre, the foyer is.....well, Victor has the information on The Regent Theatre in Brisbane and some terrific photos.

Here is a tease photo.

Monday, January 16, 2017

ABC Fail

I remember Stan Grant from his commercial tv current affairs show. We used to call him Grand Stunt. As a commercial current affairs host, he was fine and par for the course for such shows.

He is now a fill in summer presenter on our ABC TV current affairs show 730. Photo from the National Press Club of Australia. Not bad looking for an older man.

Once 730 settles back to its normality in the new year I understand he will be a Friday night presenter for a replacement programme and also oversee ABC coverage of indigenous matters, he being of aboriginal heritage no doubt makes him well qualified for that role. 

But after watching him on our screens for a week, I do not like him as presenter of 730. He is not ABC. I cannot define the qualities that make an ABC presenter, but I know he does not have them and am a lifelong watcher, listener and supporter of ABC news and current affairs.

And it rather infuriates me that ABC TV has a wealth of tv female journalistic talent there for the taking who could host a current affairs show but instead it employs someone who recently worked for Rupert at Sky News and has the lack of credibility of someone who has worked at such a conservative and biased news organisation.

No, he is not suitable for our taxpayer funded ABC. End of story. Which managerial tosser thought he was a good idea?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Selections

Joining in with River and others for Sunday Selections. As per usual, mine are random left over photos not used elsewhere.

A tuk tuk front in a cheap Asian eatery. The photo didn't come out very well.

I think this was taken with my phone. I think it was Batemans Bay where we stayed for one night on our Spring road trip. It too is not a good photo. Something went wrong with the bridge as we arrived and caused a terrible traffic jam.

This photo is about two months old. The white building seen behind the cranes is Edgewater Towers in St Kilda. The building under construction has now blocked our view, as did the one on left did significantly. You have no right to a view, as a former Mayor of the City of Port Phillip told us. Fortunately our main view from the lounge room cannot be blocked.

London's Serpentine has a temporary arts pavilion built each year and so now does Melbourne in the Queen Victoria Gardens. I think this is the third. Each year I wonder about the under usage of a temporary building that takes ages to construct and no doubt costs a bomb.

These beds, also in QV Gardens, used to be planted with wonderfully colourful annuals. Look at them now. Boring as the proverbial bat droppings. A bit weird, but the annual flower beds were replaced with these sorts of plants from a donation by Naomi Milgrom, of the Sussan and Sportsgirl retail shops. Why?

These lamps line Princes Bridge, the main entrance into town for many people. One is now missing thanks to some idiot climbing up on to it on New Year's Eve. It collapsed. I hope he was charged, but that is unlikely. I suppose it will be fixed and the others are due a repaint anyway. The lad is due for the stocks and rotten tomatoes.

I think Grace mentioned she liked the look of Flinders Street Station, our main city suburban train station.

It is much photographed and just as interesting at the Elizabeth Street end with the clock tower. It will be repainted soon, a paler stone colour.

St Pauls Cathedral on the diagonal opposing corner.

Young and Jacksons Hotel, aka Princes Bridge Hotel, with the ghastly electronic advertising board above, but the board does hide a very neat open roof top cider bar.

Trams in the busiest tram street in the world, cyclists, taxis, delivery vans, trucks and council workers all hate where the horses for hire are located. All pass within inches of these horses. They simply should not be at this location. The horses and carts also ignore time restrictions noted on the parking signs. Lord Mayor Doyle should act. Yes, one horse did swing its snout out to one side once and it was hit by a passing tram.

I don't know if it is true, but when six o'clock closing of hotels was in place, because of the terrible mess made as men gulped down multiple beers and often enough brought them back up again, never mind just spillage, public bars were all tiled and simply hosed out after closing. Pub tiles were often nice though,

Intricate work at Melbourne Central.

In the gloom for some reason this cruise liner looked very bright and white.



Oi, this is Australia, not Britain. Where is the kangaroo and emu?

The mad running season concluded in December.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A remarkable woman

Journalists were much less known in the past partly because their names were not published with their stories, that is newspaper stories did not have a byline. Perhaps that is one reason I have never heard of Clare Hollingworth who recently died at the age of 105 in Hong Kong, where she has lived since the 1980s.

I wonder if she ever met Helen Thomas, a fine American journalist who was feared and treated with great respect, even by presidents.

Let me tell you a little about Clare Hollingworth. This photo from The Guardian.

In 1939 she was helping refugees on the German Polish border. She was recalled to London and then hired by the London Daily Telegraph and sent back to the Polish border city of Katowice as a reporter. She borrowed a diplomat's car and took a little investigative trip into Germany by simply driving across the closed border. She noticed a hessian barrier which the wind caught and blew aside and she was able to see in the valley below hundreds of German tanks lined up and ready to invade Poland. The consul-general did not initially believe her when he was told. She phoned through her story back to the Tele in London while the consul-general contacted the Foreign Office. Three days after the story headlined, '1000 tanks massed on the Polish border', Germany invaded Poland and so began WWII.

She reported from various trouble spots after the war, Poland, Germany, Algeria, Egypt, Beirut, India, Israel, China, Vietnam, Romania, Greece and Yemen. She exposed Kim Philby as being the third man in the English spy triumvirate. She was the Daily Tele's first resident correspondent in China in Mao's time and watched the Tiananmen Square massacre from her hotel window. 

She finally stopped reporting when she was in her 90s and could be found daily at her own table in the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents' Club where she would imperiously knock her walking stick on the floor when she wanted service. She was truly a remarkable journalist and woman, and I had never heard of her.

If you would like to read a little more, the best obituary I came across is in The Guardian.