Opinion Australia

One man’s view of how the world might be.

Archive for October 2008

Moving right along…

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Well ‘moving right along’ is what we wish we *could* do but the New South Wales government has turned its back on hundreds of thousands of people encouraged to move to North Western Sydney on the promises or increased and improved infrastructure… including a rail link to carry people from the areas they live, into the City to work or shop. We’re going to be stuck here for the long haul with inferior access to the City for both personal and business use.

There is only one real corridor to carry literally hundreds of thousands of people from places like Rouse Hill, Windsor Richmond and further afield… and that is Windsor Road, which leads on to the only motorway accessible to us the M2. Was it not serious these roads would be considered a joke.

Despite being now widened (after *intense* community pressure) to four lanes Windsor Road is usually blocked solid from Rouse Hill to the M2 from 7:00 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. The so called motorway is blocked its entire length for much the same period. How much this costs in lost salaries, lost business and stress in incalculable, yet the government blithely abandoned what was left of the promised rail link (The North-West-Metro) because it is claiming it is all bar bankrupt.

We’ve been assured that new buses will be provided and more trains. But what use are more buses when the roads are already so congested traffic is at a standstill? Where are these trains to be provided, no doubt at stations already unable to provide reasonable *direct* access to the City!! The whole scenario is a nightmare already and is clearly going to be allowed to get far, far worse before anything will be done… if then!

And whilst buses and trains might seem to be an option for commuters, what about business users??

Now we have to ask what happened to the billions of dollars earmarked fro the scheme when it was first proposed ten years ago? Which governmental black hole did all that money get sucked into? Those of us who moved out here paid ridiculously high land taxes solely because we knew the money was going to provide us with this infrastructure… where is it??

The cynic in me feels the reason we are being abandoned is because this area has been a solid Liberal stronghold for the past 50 years, yet of the hundreds of thousands of us who moved here there are may who formerly supported Labor and had been making inroads to the Liberal majorities at every election… State and Federal. Now with that one decision all has been lost. And with it has gone any chance of the State Labor Party retaining power in New South Wales.

Finally they have shown themselves to be a party with no principles and it won’t simply be noticed by us in the North West. All over Sydney and the rest of New South Wales, people will see the reneging of promises to us as a taste of what will happen to *their* cherished promises!

To read more on the story there is an article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell… someone I do *not* want to see in power by the way!

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Written by welshdog

October 31, 2008 at 11:32 am

In the news…

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These are a few of the headlines I’ve found ‘of interest’ but haven’t had time to write about. You might notice that a lot have been gleaned from the online Site of the Daily Mail. I find it hard to believe this right wing rag could be producing so much ‘social comment’ but there it is… for good or bad they are passing on all sorts of stories about daily life in the UK. But not to show favouritism… let’s start in Australia!

Bernhard Moeller denied residency because of Down syndrome son Lukas

A would-be migrant doctor from Germany serving a quiet country town, somewhere it’s hard to attract qualified staff, has been told his application to stay has been rejected because his son has Down’s Syndrome.Β  This blatant piece of discrimination flies in the face of community wishes and support, the fact that this kid is almost self-supporting and that his family are more than able to take care of him til his dying day! Understandably there is outrage being expressed over large parts of the media.

Having been on the receiving end of this sort of discrimination I can well understand the frustration the doctor and his wife are feeling! Appeals are under way but you couldn’t blame then fro just throwing in the towel and departing to a country where they’d be made to feel more welcome.

Newlywed father-to-be killed by police in case of mistaken identity
Armed UK police were following suspected burglars past a man’s house. When he went out to investigate… he was shot dead by a policeman who didn’t bother to identify himself as a police officer… and with no evidence whatsoever, decided the home owner was one of the burglars. So yet again and unarmed innocent person has been gunned down by the defenders of moral probity.

I wonder if the inquest will go the same way as that into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes where the police are still trying to justify shooting an unarmed innocent man to death because they were told he looked like vaguely like someone that someone else thought might possibly be a potential terrorist… perhaps. The entire episode was a disgraceful, over-reaction as has been the sordid attempts the police force have made to wriggle out of their culpability.

As pathetic as it is… the debacle reminds me of this sketch by the Not The Nine O Clock News gang 25 years ago

What doesn’t change stays the same.

Islamists stone to death Somali woman for adultery
In yet another step towards racial tolerance, Somalia has allowed the stoning to death of a woman for ‘adultery’. They claimed she *agreed* she should be executed… but all evidence points to the opposite. What is worse was that as the crown became restless, a small child ran out towards the place where she had been buried to her neck in the ground awaiting her death and an armed guard shot shot him dead!!

When will people learn to treat other with kindness instead of mindless brutality? Not in my lifetime I think.

Baby’s lucky escape after blundering chemist gives mother deadly morphine prescription by mistake

Yes the baby’s mother was lucky she realised there was an error… but is no action going to be taken against the chemist for endangering someone’s life?? Apparently not… had things gone a slightly different direction it could well have been “Sorry… just an unfortunate error. So sad, too bad… here’s a few bob towards the funeral.”

That’ll do for now… there’s lots more but this post will go on for miles if I don’t call a halt!! πŸ˜›

Shouldn't humour be funny?

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For the past few days I, along with vast numbers of people in the English speaking world have been utterly bemused, mesmerised perhaps, by the recent ‘goings on’ at the BBC involving the much loved 78 year old veteran Actor, Andrew Sachs… perhaps more popularly known and loved as the inept, bumbling waiter in the John Cleese classic “Fawlty Towers… his grand-daughter and two obscenely overpaid ‘radio presenters called Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross.

Basically Brand and Ross in a pre-recorded segment, arranged to call Andrew Sachs on the telephone for an interview… lord knows why but if the rest of the story is anything to go by the ‘interview’ promised to be less than pleasant. Anyway, for some reason Andrew was unavailable and his answerphone picked up the call.

Realising he wasn’t there, the pair then began to inform Andrew that Brand had had sex with his grand-daughter.. and the dialogue involving *both* presenters, deteriorated from that point.

If this was live you’d have to wonder why the plug wasn’t pulled at that point… however it transpired that not only was it pre-recorded, it was give the thumbs up for transmission by an editor who presumably thought humiliating a totally innocent person by abusing their grand-daughter was somehow amusing.

So far nearly 30,000 people have complained directly to the BBC to make it plain they did *not* find it at all amusing and have insisted that sanctions be taken against both men for their actions.

In the immediate aftermath Russell Brand has resigned his million dollar a year contract… and Jonathan Ross who is paid the ridiculous sum of forty million dollars a year, has been suspended and is in danger of being summarily dismissed.

What people are incensed over, apart from the obvious disrespect shown to Andrew is that these people are being paid out of their licence fee to abuse ordinary people. They feel these tow saw themselves above the rules of ordinary decent behaviour to the extent they could simply flout social mores and conventions with impunity. Thankfully public opinion is being felt in the corridors of the Beeb and people are taking action.

This sort of behaviour isn’t new of course. Back in the mid 1970’s Peter Cook had a segment in his live show during which he would randomly dial a telephone number. If he was ‘lucky’ – which was never while I watched – the phone would be answered by someone who was watching the show. What would have happened had he found someone I have no idea, but if the person wasn’t watching the show… or worse was in bed asleep (it went out very late for obvious reasons) then they got a tongue lashing from Cook… live on air… much to the ‘amusement’ of the audience, assuming those embarrassed titters *were* from people who were amused rather than just being polite. I, and several audiences, sat through two of these excruciatingly embarrassing performances in stony silence and… for all his brilliance… I never watched Peter Cook live again.

Hopefully neither Russell Brand nor Jonathan Ross will be heared or seen on air again.

Whatever happened to those brilliantly funny and satirical programmes like ‘That was the Week That Was”, or the surreal ‘Monty Python’, or the gentle truly ‘British’ humour of ‘Dads Army’. Just how and why has the BBC been reduced to foisting this appalling exhibition of deliberate cruelty on a paying public as ‘humour’.

Isn’t ‘humour’ supposed to be funny??

Written by welshdog

October 30, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Hello… Ian?

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Yes it’s that time again when an ancient pagan sacrificial ritual is again resurrected, morphed into a quasi-Christian ‘festival’… only to be morphed once more by children into an excuse to get free goodies!!

Indeed… Halloween is once more upon us.

As a ‘festival’ it means little in the UK outside the religious significance, as far as I’m aware, but in the USA it is *huge* excuse to indulge in all sorts of weird and horrific displays of death and torture… all rather strange for a country that seems to see itself as a Christian enclave, but again I digress.

In Australia it’s never been much of a ‘festival, nor has it reached the proportions of ‘horror’ inflicted on the public by those same US worthies. Here, it is just an excuse for kids to dress up a little… or not… and meander around the local streets hassling people for candy, lollies and other goodies.

They turn up saying ‘trick or treat’ as the US kids do, but I’ve never heard of any of the adults ‘patronised’ by being ‘tricked’… no toilet papering houses here as far as I’m aware! However, I *do* know lots of *kids* are tricked by being given onions or tins of beans as a ‘reward’ instead of the goodies they are looking for.

That’s a bit unfair I think, but the kids seem to take it all in good part – so far. Who knows when they might start to learn the retaliatory escapades of their US counterparts!!

We’ve already prepared for Friday night… well a little anyway… by buying a couple of boxes of sweets and mixing the new ones in with some we’ve had here for two years or more. Hee hee…!!

Why (you ask) would we keep sweets that long? Simple really… the kids have birthday parties and most times we knock up more ‘party bags’ than people invited because often the guests will bring siblings along… and we’re suckers. Still, those bags left over were usually consigned to the ‘party box’ for another day… and guess who’s been tidying… and found them… and decided to put them to ‘good use’ (sorta)? Right – moi!!

Some of these kids might find their ‘goodies’ a little chewier than normal! πŸ™‚

My kids will be out on the streets as usual – come rain or shine. This year they invited a few friends over to trawl the estates with them, tho the eldest might yet go out with the group organised for Guides – she’s not decided. Regardless how many eventually set off, I will, as usual, be sitting in the car following them at a reasonable distance to let them do their thing, under a watchful eye. After an hour or so they’ll be shattered… or possibly on a sugar high… and probably sick… and we’ll bring them home to share out the booty.

So, maybe it’ll be Hello-ian again from me again this time Saturday… if we survive tomorrow night!!

Written by welshdog

October 30, 2008 at 10:06 am

Something's bugging me!

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Out in the garden last summer the air was green with these little bugs. They are around a centimetre long at their largest and seemed to be congregating from choice over the orange tree.

Little green bugs.

Little green bugs.

Clearly odd little sap sucking leaf hoppers of some sort but my dilemma is what to do with them? If I leave them they might ruin the trees, slowly weakening and killing it. They might ruin the fruit as well but since we only use a handful of the dozens of lemons the tree produces that isn’t an issue.

If I kill them off by spraying I might well kill off loads of the other little micro-wildlife we have creeping around the garden. I *do* spray cockroach killer around the doorways which must knock over things I’d rather keep but we have to balance some losses against the gain of keeping the yuckiest of beasties out of the house.

Still, we don’t spray in the garden or use pesticides other than scattering the occasional hundredweight of snail killer around – not that it makes much difference. We seem to be “Snail Central for the southern hemisphere. Despite decaying corpses and shells crunching under foot for weeks after a mass slaughter… next time it rains… out they come again in their thousands!!! C’est la guerre – at least they feeds the lizards.

Anyway, back to the subject. Has anyone got some suggestions?? Leave them?? Kill them?? Are they really a problem… or just food in the chain??

Written by welshdog

October 30, 2008 at 9:49 am

So I was born in 1947… yes?

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I was reading some of the interesting clippings from UK papers that my father sends me, and one of note was the dreadful winter of 1947… the year I was born.

Naturally I remarked to the wife that you’d think I’d remember something that dire even at such a young age.

Being the mathematician she is, she reminded me that I was born at the end of 1947 so the winter in question was the previous one and that the time I was conceived, sometime in February when temperatures were dropping to -20ΒΊC, my parents must have been so cold they needed something to do to get warm!

Apart from the ‘ewww’ factor I just accepted it, but she was actually right as it happens. I’d assumed “The Winter of 1947”Β  ran from 1947 into 1948, and not as she rightly established from ‘1946 into 1947’ so I *wasn’t* around to enjoy the benefits of sub-zero temperatures, frozen water pipes, massive rationing etc.

My parents were however. And after all… what else was there to do Arctic conditions but huddle together under the blankets and do what comes naturally?? πŸ˜€

I’m not complaining… I’m here aren’t? Well according to Descartes I must be or I wouldn’t be asking… would I?

Written by welshdog

October 29, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Posted in General Ramblings

Dog days.

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The Dog’s birthday on Monday last – I turned the corner to see “61 years old” on the calendar! Bearing in mind I expected to be dead by age 30 this could be worse… could also be better I suppose. Kids bought me a couple of interesting gifts. Eldest bought me a copy of “Marley and Me” about an idiot Labrador and his friend. Reminded me of three things.

Firstly our old Welsh Springer dog Cookie who died more than 12 years ago and is still very much missed. He was so much a part of the family he was more a child than pet.

Secondly the story reminded me, of course, of our current Labrador who was originally called ‘Snoop Dog’ then Snoopy… and now answers to the name ‘Stupid’. If *I* ever write a book about him you’ll understand why, but if you get the chance to read “Marley and Me” you’ll get the idea.

Lastly it reminded me how old my daughter is getting and how much of a sense of desolation I already get over her growing up. She is no longer ‘my baby’ except in my mind. No more picking her up for a cuddle and a tickle fight… she’s tool old… and too big! She could probably pick *me* up now! And who in their right mind would start a ‘tickle fight’ with a girl who’s a black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do (something else that happened whilst I was away)??

Oh yes.. she also bought me a heating and vibrating pad for my chair so I can massage and warm my back whilst I work! Very handy. Not tried it yet but I think I should… the back has been killing me what with all the work I’ve been doing recently!

Moving on, the youngest bought me two strange little things. One was a small resin pig relaxing with a big smile on its face. She also bought three model Buddha’s (don’t ask why… I’m sure I don’t know). They are in the form that is usually seen on the ‘three wise monkey’s, i.e. hands on ears/eyes/mouth “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. They’ll go upstairs on the shelf next to my little brass Buddha!! πŸ™‚

The wife bought me a cute little bear holding a clip for memo’s etc… around its neck is a heart shaped sign sign reading “I love you”. Awww… !

Written by welshdog

October 29, 2008 at 4:05 pm

Posted in General Ramblings