We were golfing again!!
But, back to waiting!!
In Victoria, compared with the rest of Australia, the last few weeks have been frightening, but compared with most other countries have been relatively benign. A lot of our problems are created by a small number of attention seeking idiots who believe their need for notoriety exceeds their need to think of others as well as the concept that aged care homes are for profit making as distinct from resident care.
The impact on our golf has been annoying, but at least for most of of us we can still play at home clubs subject to the various club-based restrictions.
This seventh accummulation page includes daily posts from the second half of July.
To celebrate the end of the fourth month of these pages, I've looked for songs in my collection with Blue in the title.
Fats Domino was mainly noted for one song: Blueberry Hill, but others also sang notable versions.
Take your choice between Fats Domino, Louis Armstrong and Elvis Presley.
Douglas Adams is well known British writer most famous for his Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy. Perhaps some of this is fantasy too.
Australia is a very confusing place, taking up a large amount of the bottom half of the planet. It is recognizable from orbit because of many unusual features, including what at first looks like an enormous bite taken out of its southern edge; a wall of sheer cliffs which plunge deep into the girthing sea. Geologists assure us that this is simply an accident of geomorphology and plate tectonics, but they still call it the "Great Australian Bight" proving that not only are they covering up a more frightening theory but they can't spell either!
The first of the confusing things about Australia is the status of the place. Where other landmasses and sovereign lands are classified as continent, island, or country, Australia is considered all three. Typically, it is unique in this.
The second confusing thing about Australia is the animals. They can be divided into three categories: Poisonous, Odd, and Sheep.
It is true that of the 10 most poisonous arachnids on the planet, Australia has 9 of them. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that of the 9 most poisonous arachnids, Australia has all of them. However there are curiously few snakes seen, possibly because the spiders have killed them all.
But even the spiders won't go near the sea. Any visitors should be careful to check inside boots (before putting them on), under toilet seats (before sitting down) and generally everywhere else. A stick is very useful for this task.
At this point, we would like to mention the Platypus - estranged relative of the mammal, which has a duck-bill, otter's tail, webbed feet, lays eggs, detects its aquatic prey in the same way as the electric eel and has venomous barbs attached to its hind legs, thus combining all 'typical' Australian attributes into a single improbable creature.
The last confusing thing about Australia is the inhabitants.
Sometime around 40,000 years ago, some people arrived in boats from the north. They ate all the available food, and a lot of them died. The ones who survived learned respect for the balance of nature, man's proper place in the scheme of things, and spiders. They settled in and spent a lot of the intervening time making up strange stories.
Then, around 200 years ago, Europeans arrived in boats from the North. More accurately, European convicts were sent, with a few deranged and stupid people in charge. They tried to plant their crops in autumn (failing to take account of the reversal of the seasons when moving from the top half of the planet to the bottom), ate all their food, and a lot of them died.
About then the sheep arrived, and have been treasured ever since. It is interesting to note here that the Europeans always consider themselves vastly superior to any other race they encounter, since they can lie, cheat, steal, and litigate (marks of a civilised culture they say) - whereas all the Aboriginals can do is happily survive being left in the middle of a vast red-hot desert, equipped with a stick.
Eventually, the new lot of people stopped being Europeans on extended holiday and became Australians. the changes are subtle, but deep, caused by the mind-stretching expanses of nothingness and eerie quiet, where a person can sit perfectly still and look deep inside themselves to the core of their essence, their reasons for being, and the necessity of checking inside your boots, every morning, for fatal surprises. They also picked up the most finely tuned sense of irony in the world, and the aboriginal gift for making up stories. Be warned.
There is also the matter of the beaches. Australian beaches are simply the nicest and best in the entire world. Although anyone actually venturing into the sea will have to contend with sharks, stinging jellyfish, stonefish (a fish which sits on the bottom of the sea, pretends to be a rock and has venomous barbs sticking out of its back that will kill just from the pain) and surfboarders. However, watching a beach sunset is worth the risk.
As a result of all this hardship, dirt, thirst and wombats, you would expect Australians to be a dour lot. Instead, they are genial, jolly, cheerful and always willing to share a kind word with a stranger. Faced with insurmountable odds and impossible problems, they smile disarmingly and look for a stick. Major engineering feats have been performed with sheets of corrugated iron, string, and mud.
Alone of all the races on earth, they seem to be free from the 'Grass is greener on the other side of the fence' syndrome, and roundly proclaim that Australia is, in fact, the other side of that fence. They call the land "Oz", "Godzone" (a verbal contraction of "God's Own Country") and "Best bloody place on earth, bar none, struth." The irritating thing about this is they may be right.
There are some traps for the unsuspecting traveller, though. Do not, under any circumstances, suggest that the beer is imperfect, unless you are comparing it to another kind of Australian beer. Do not wear a Hawaiian shirt. Religion and Politics are fairly safe topics of conversation, (Australians don't care too much about either) but Sport is a minefield.
The only correct answer to "So, howdya' like our country, eh?" is "Best (insert your own regional swear word here) country in the world!" It is very likely that, on arriving, some cheerful Australians will 'adopt' you on your first night, and take you to a pub where Australian Beer is served. Despite the obvious danger, do not refuse. It is a form of initiation rite. You will wake up late the next day with an astonishing hangover, a foul taste in your mouth, and wearing strange clothes.
Your hosts will usually make sure you get home, and waive off any legal difficulties with "It's his first time in Australia, so we took him to the pub", to which the policeman will sagely nod and close his notebook. Be sure to tell the story of these events to every other Australian you encounter, adding new embellishments at every stage and noting how strong the beer was.
Thus you will be accepted into this unique culture
Most Australians are now urban dwellers, having discovered the primary use of electricity, which is air-conditioning and refrigerators.
"She's a Bute Sheila cobber."
"She'll be right mate."
"Don't ever put your hand down a hole for any reason WHATSOEVER."
" The beer is stronger than you think, regardless of how strong you think it is."
"Always carry a stick."
"Air-conditioning is imperative."
"Do not attempt to use Australian slang, unless you are a trained linguist and extremely good in a fist fight."
"Wear thick socks."
"Take good maps. Stopping to ask directions only works when there are people nearby."
"If you leave the urban areas, carry several litres of water with you at all times, or you will die."
"Even in the most embellished stories told by Australians, there is always a core of truth that it is unwise to ignore."
Occasionally, airline attendants make an effort to make the ""in-flight safety lecture" and their other announcements a bit more entertaining. Here are some real examples that have been heard and reported:
A woman arrived at the Gates of Heaven. While she was waiting for Saint Peter to greet her, she peeked through the gates and saw a beautiful banquet table.
Sitting all around were her parents and all the other people she had loved and who had died before her. They saw her and began calling greetings to her, "Hello. How are you! We've been waiting for you! Good to see you."
When Saint Peter came by, the woman said to him, "This is such a wonderful place! How do I get in?"
"You have to spell a word," Saint Peter told her.
The woman correctly spelled "Love" and Saint Peter welcomed her into Heaven.
About a year later, Saint Peter came to the woman and asked her to watch the Gates of Heaven for him that day. While the woman was guarding the Gates of Heaven, her husband arrived.
"I'm surprised to see you," the woman said, "How have you been?"
"Oh, I've been doing pretty well since you died," he replied ""I've had a fantastic time. I married the beautiful young nurse who took care of you while you were ill. And then I won the multi-state lottery. I sold the little house you and I lived in and bought a huge mansion. And my wife and I travelled all around the world. We were on vacation in the South of France and I went water skiing today. I fell and hit my head, and here I am. What a bummer! How do I get in?"
"You have to spell a word,"
Moral of the story: Never make a woman angry . . . there will be Hell to pay!
An Englishman, a Scotsman, an Irishman, a Welshman, a Latvian, a Turk, a German, an Indian, a Moroccan, a Frenchman, a Dane, several Americans (including a Hawaiian and an Alaskan), an Argentinean, a Slovak, three Australians, an Egyptian, a New Zealander, a Japanese, a Spaniard, a Russian, a Uzbek, a Guatemalan, a Colombian, a Pakistani, a Malaysian, a Croatian, a Cypriot, a Pole, a Lithuanian, a Chinese, a Sri Lankan, a Lebanese, a Cayman Islander, a Ugandan, a Vietnamese, a Korean, a Uruguayan, a Czech, an Icelander, a Mexican, a Finn, a Honduran, a Panamanian, an Andorran, a Venezuelan, an Iranian, a Fijian, a Peruvian, an Israeli, an Estonian, a Brazilian, a Liechtensteiner, a Moldovan, a Syrian, an Aruban, a Mongolian, a Portuguese, a Hungarian, a Canadian, a Cook Islander, a Norfolk Islander, a Haitian, a Macedonian, a Bolivian, a Georgian, a Bahaman, a Tajikistani, an Armenian, an Albanian, a Samoan, a Greenlander, a Micronesian, a Virgin Islander, a Belarusian, a Qatari, a Tongan, a Cambodian, a Canadian, a Cuban, an Azerbaijani, a Romanian, a Chilean, a Kyrgyzstani, a Jamaican, a Filipino, a Ukrainian, a Dutchman, an Ecuadorian, a Costa Rican, a Swede, a Serb, a Swiss, a Greek, a Bulgarian, a Belgian, a Singaporean, an Italian, a Norwegian and two South Africans walk into a fine restaurant.
"I'm sorry" says the maître d', "but you can't come in here without a Thai."
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned, but overbearing, regulations were set in place.
Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teenagers suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they had themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer paracetamol, sun lotion or plaster to a pupil, but could not inform the parents when a pupil became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home, but the burglar could sue you for assault because you protected yourself and your own.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion, his daughter, Responsibility and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realised that he was gone.
If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.
Evan Hunter was a pen-name for American writer Ed McBain. His most famous novel was The Blackboard Jungle which was made into a film featuring Bill Halley's Rock around the clock.
Second Ending appears here because reading it as a 16 year old had more effect on my life than anything else I've ever read.
Briefly the story is about a goup of young New Yorkers who are into the heroin scene and it features the suicide of Helen, a victim of circumstances and drugs. Whatever else I may have done prior to reading this, after I would never have started into the drugs scene - it was simply too sad.
Get your grand children to read it. You could save a lot of misery.
Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student in Saint Petersburg who formulates a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her money. Before the killing, Raskolnikov believes that with the money he could liberate himself from poverty and go on to perform great deeds. However, once it is done he finds himself racked with confusion, paranoia, and disgust for what he has done. His justifications disintegrate completely as he struggles with guilt and horror and confronts the real-world consequences of his deed.
Despite many reviewers arguing that The Brothers Karamazov was Dostoevsky's greatest novel, I found Crime and Punishment far more readable and enjoyed the psychological interplay between the magistrate Porfiry Petrovich and Raskolnikov.
A married couple is travelling by car from Melbourne to Brisbane. After almost eleven hours on the road, they were too tired to continue and decided to take a room but only to sleep for four hours and then get back on the road.
When they checked out four hours later the desk clerk gave them a bill for $350.
The man explodes and demands to know why the charge is so high. He told the clerk that although it's a nice hotel, the rooms certainly aren't worth $350 for four hours. Then the clerk tells him that $350 is the "standard rate". The husband insisted on speaking to the Manager.
The Manager appears, listens, and then explains that the hotel has an Olympic-sized pool and a huge conference centre that were available for use.
"But we didn't use them," the husband said.
""Well, they are here, and you could have,"" explained the Manager.
The Manager went on to explain that the couple could also have taken in one of the shows for which the hotel is famous.
"We have the best entertainers from New York, Hollywood, and Las Vegas perform here," the Manager says.
"But we didn't go to any of those shows," the husband said.
"Well, we have them, and you could have," the Manager replied.
No matter what amenity the Manager mentioned, the husband replied, "But we didn't use it!"
The Manager is unmoved, and eventually the husband gave up and agreed topay. As he didn't have the check book, he asked his wife to write the check. She did and gave it to the Manager.
The Manager is surprised when he looks at the check. "But ma'am, this is made out for only $50."
"That's correct. I charged you $300 for sleeping with me," she replied.
"But I didn't" exclaims the Manager.
"Well, too bad, I was here, and you could have."
Outside of the noise presented as music so far in these pages, there is a huge range of classical noise, religious noise and Chinese noise. Most of these pieces are fairly long.
While I've put the Chinese noise first, you may feel inclined to stop it early and go to the others.
I mentioned my mother earlier. Amongst her other activities she lead some 35 trips to China as a tour guide. In a moment of misapprehension she brought home for me a copy of the Chinese Opera The White-haired Girl.. I listened to it once and now is the chance to resurect it. Fortunately, the soprano has only a small role.
In the early 1970s, I once navigated for Peter Janson in a Victorian Championship car rally. In a getting to know you session Peter showed me around his suite at the Windsor and introduced me to horn music for which I'm forever grateful.
I've lost track of the music titles from this record, but the music and playing stand by themselves.
If you're not into classical music you may not have heard this. When it was first played in Paris in the early 1900s it caused a riot amongst the audience many of whom thought it outragious. I find it grows on you.
Petrouchka is another ballet by Stravinsky. It's easier to like the first time round than the Rite of Spring.
You could well have heards this, but not know what it was.
Joachim Raff is not a well known composer now. Born in Switzerland, he moved to Germany where he became a major figure in music in the mid-1800s. Wikipedia tells us more here.
This is the first recorded version of the symphony by the London Symphony Orchestra.
Some years ago a small rural town in Spain twinned with a similar town in Greece. The mayor of the Greek town visited the Spanish town. When he saw the palatial mansion belonging to the Spanish mayor, he wondered aloud how on earth he could afford such a house.
The Spaniard replied: "You see that bridge over there? The EU gave us a grant to construct a two-lane bridge, but by building a single lane bridge with traffic lights at either end, I could build this place"
The following year the Spaniard visited the Greek town. He was simply amazed at the Greek mayor's house: gold taps, marble floors, diamond doorknobs, it was marvellous.
When he asked how he'd raised the money to build this incredible house, the Greek mayor said: "You see that bridge over there?"
The Spaniard replied: "No."
There were photos taken of all sorts of things to aid our knowledge of history. Here are a few of them.
A priest attends a house party. He is properly dressed in his priest's collar. A little boy stares at him the entire evening. Realizing the child's interest in his collar he asks, "Do you know why I am wearing this?"
The boy nods and says, "Yepp: It kills fleas and ticks for up to 3 months."
There were photos taken of all sorts of things to aid our knowledge of history. Here are a few of them.