Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ruin your business #101

I am not well educated about Falun Gong, but over the years enough detail emerged for me to judge it not be be a religion but a cult and quite an insidious cult. I had a couple of emails a couple of years ago from a young and gay ethnic Chinese, from Indonesia, I think. He described to me how some Chinese girls at his uni were wanting to be his friend but without romantic interest. He asked me if I thought they might be Falun Gong. Obviously the details were greater than I have written here, but I judged them to be so and expressed that back to him. I haven't heard back from him since. He found me via my blog, btw. I saw them under a bridge in Singapore and they appeared to be trying not to be noticed. I asked our guide, Falun Gong? She nodded yes.

Is it every day? Many days of the week Falun Gong occupy a seating height wall of our city square. They have people out on the street as well, handing out leaflets. They often talk about organ harvesting, a rather odd thing to focus on for a cult. But then cults don't make much sense to me.

Is this connecting to my headline? Perhaps not but let me go on.

Many of you will know we shop on Saturday mornings. We usually visit the local market to buy a bunch of flowers. We have kind of focused on one flower vendor of late. I rather like the performing South American guy who looks Asian. He is a shocking show off and ever so cute. I think R may have picked up that I liked the look of the guy. Hey, if you've got it, flaunt it. For some reason R steered me to another flower vendor. We have bought flowers from this place before, run I think by husband and wife team of mainland Chinese heritage. The colour of the poppies was divine and irresistible, even though we knew they would only last a couple of days. We bought a bunch for $8. The woman then pulled out a petition for me to sign. I immediately knew what it was, and I said so and she agreed. At least take a leaflet, she pleaded. No, I know enough about Falun Gong. I was very cross. I am not a great supporter of the corrupt China and Singapore government, but at least they try to keep this cult from doing damage and growing.

Firstly, I am surprised market management allows cult soliciting by its stall holders, petition signatures at least. Secondly, do they think what they probably would judge as a gay couple are more likely to sign? Well, stereotypes happen for a reason, so that is quite possible. Thirdly, do think a blub blub blub year old man white Australian man is so ignorant about such things as Falun Gong?

There really is one thing about the episode that really pissed me orf. I cast my mind back to Pattaya in Thailand around 1989. We visited a cafe owned by one Lynne, of Glen Iris in Melbourne. As gay men, we were delighted with her salacious tales of this 55 year old Aussie woman hiring three local muscular young men to pleasure here simultaneously. Hey, she said, I am not as bad as the German frau. You would not believe what they get up to. Pattaya has its reputation for a good reason and thousands of Russians can't be wrong. After talking to her we focused on our meal. A Marbolo man came in and tried to sell to us. Marbolo is the call the 'poor' vendors of Marlborough cigarettes make as they sell what is probably drugs on the streets of Pattaya. Lynne noticed the Marbolo man and told him to get the fuck out of her cafe.

Just last week, KFC tempted me with a bargain price for six chicken nuggets. Hey, I was hungry. Forgive me. How much harm could six tiny chicken nuggets do? As I was waiting for my order to be filled, a beggar asked me for money. Where is Lynne to tell him to stop harassing her customers? I sat down to eat my nuggets and the same guy approached me again. I was cross. The elderly couple next to me told me they never give to beggars after they saw some dirtying up their faces in Dublin before going out begging.

Beggars in the street are one thing, but I really I don't like being harassed within a private business, be it by petitioning Falun Gong people, vendors or beggars.

Only in Thailand was the harassing person told to get out.

As annoyed as I am about the Falun Gong business, I don't want them to lose their business, so I will go back and anonymise this post. I certainly will not buy flowers from them again.

To end on a lighter note, we were served personally by the owner of where we usually have our Saturday brunch. Service should be pleasant and fun and not about signing people up for cults. He has served us before and is too of Chinese heritage and never cracks a smile, with just a slight change of facial expression as the ritual proceeds, and quite a while ago he went for the same joke line, so I was already prepared. He brought us R's extra hot skinny latte and my long black. Sir, your chilled soy latte, as he gave R his coffee, and to me he said, Sir, your hot water.

When he brought our orange juice, I said, what is this? Cold water or cordial? No Sir, carrot juice. Touche. I'd rather go to hell than drink carrot juice.

As you can imagine, life is rather busy and troublesome at the moment with such a demanding woe is me hospitalised Mother, but writing this, unedited and unchecked, was good stress relief.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Old buildings in my street

I was going to send this in an email a to workmate, but I thought you might like to see some of the demolished buildings in St Kilda Road, the street where I live and I have elaborated. Most photos are from the State Library and the others have so many times been republished, their source is not identifiable. They are possibly scans from Judith Buckrich's terrific book, Melbourne's Grand Boulevard - The Story of St Kilda Road.

These are the Jewish alms houses. Hels will correct me if I am wrong but they were for poor elderly Jewish people to live. They have been replaced by the rather ugly Montifiore care place for the elderly. I like where I live. Should I put my name there on a waiting list? I don't remember the alms houses but a friend who is approaching 80 does remember them. Weren't they just delightful in appearance. They were in St Kilda Road at the corner of Union Street.

This is what replaced them, Montefiori Aged Care.

I certainly remember these houses. It is extraordinary that they were demolished and such an ugly building, the former St Kilda Road Police Station building erected.

What is now there was going to be turned into apartments with the developer wanting some extraordinary planning exemptions which I guess were generally denied, and office space within the building is now being leased out.

The BP, British Petroleum, building is now known as The Domain. It was even given its own tramstop, 17A It has been converted to residential apartments. Some politicians and other VIPs live here at the corner of St Kilda Road and Albert Road.

Now, well a few years ago when I took this photo.

There is a rather horrid building on this site now, built by developer Floyd Podgornik who committed suicide within the building. At the corner of Park Street and St Kilda Road was the Casa de Manana or as it was known at times, the Case of Bananas. It was a favourite watering hole for tram staff at the former South Melbourne tram depot and Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works staff who shared the same site as the tram depot. A little of Floyd's building can be seen in the photo below of the Hallmark.

As you can see, it was altered significantly. I remember it as the bottom photo.

On the opposite corner of Park Street and St Kilda Road was Sleights Funeral Home.

It was replaced by a high rise hotel called The Travelodge, at some point renamed to Holiday Inn. It was converted into apartments in the early 2000s.

As The Travelodge.

As the apartments, Hallmark.

The building Florida Flats on the corner of High Street was attractive enough but any garden had been concreted over making it not so attractive. It was sad to see it demolished.

What replaced it was the offices of AAMI Insurance. An acquaintance worked there at night dealing with calls from people who had banged up their cars. I believe the building is now empty and a developer wishes to to demolish the office building for apartments, no doubt a high rise.

This is a painting of Illoura and the synagogue on the far side of St Kilda Road that can be seen in my blog header photo. In a book about Whelan the Wrecker one worker was quoted at being quite distressed to be demolishing such a wonderful building. The perspective of the painting seems quite wrong.

This now sits where Illoura once decorated the street. It too is called Illoura (Plaza) but its life is limited as has been lined up for demolition too.

This was the home of the Victorian Racing Club but it was demolished and our apartment building was built here in 1999.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Selections

Joining with River and others with some random photos for Sunday Selections.

Lining Melbourne's main street, Swanston Street, are so many people who sleep on the streets. They can also be seen in Flinders Street. The homeless have become very visible in the last year or so. Why so suddenly?

Nice work by Access Covers, Australia. Beats the PMG/Telecom/Telstra covers but I do enjoy noting MMBW covers, Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works. It primarily dealt with water supply, storm water drainage and sewerage but was for some reason was the defacto planner of our greater Melbourne. Of course things were better in the olden days. Bring back the MMBW. What were the equivalents in other Australian states?

A winter sunrise. I set the camera to 'long distance dark'. Not too bad but it is very hard to capture the colours of a sunrise or sunset with a camera. Sun arise, bring on the morning, as the song goes.

It took me forever to find my way to an office for appointment. Bad signage but the views of Southbank were good. You have to blow the photo up to see across the river where you can see Ad Rad standing at his window in his underwear. Wow, he is a tall dude and while he has a gut, not too bad at all.

I saw some men working on these lights at St Pauls Cathedral. I assumed they were installing new lights and once home I googled and I saw photos of St Pauls without these lights, confirming that they are new. Yet the next time I was in town and took a closer look and they have obviously been there for a long time. Coincidentally I captured some nice building detail.

Do not blame the seagull. The seagull is innocent. It didn't do it. It wasn't the seagull wot broke the lights outside the State Library. I would guess it was demonstrators who gather there and then march down Swanston Street and one of them chucked a yonnie at the lamps. Hehe, yonnie. I haven't heard the word from my youth for yonks. Don't hear yonks much now either. Does that come from Yonkers in New York, being a distant place from NYC?

I couldn't read the banner with my naked eye, but my photos tells me it says, Don't Hold Back, an ad for Jeep motor cars. There was one quite amusing Jeep tv ad I saw a while ago. It involved a clever older woman. I seem to be mortally attracted to clever older women.

The window cleaner lad cometh, but not on our window. He just cleaned them. Wow. his shoe size looks to be extra large. He is probably a sex starved Euro, British or Irish backpacker. Oh the pain, the pain. Comment who it was who said that on tv if you can remember. No googling. 

{Photo and text about an aftershave bottle removed for a subsequent post alone}

My visit to Mother was cancelled by her yesterday as Sister and Little Jo were visiting. Then her best friend and her husband turned up too. We will go today, Sunday. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Sister: Little Jo, I'm going for a walk in Fawkner Park. Would you like to come?

Little Jo: No Mummy, I'll stay here (as she sat at our computer).

Later I said to Sister, you should have asked her to go Pokemon hunting. Sister agreed. Little Jo did later find one in our foyer. I am not sure how you catch the critters, but apparently, observing Little Jo, you count one, two, three and then say got it.

Mother is still in hospital, issuing orders to her minions, that is us. We follow some and don't follow others. I try ignore things about night time incontinence and the need for absorbent pads and two pair of underwear each night, but I could not ignore when I found one used pad wrapped in her dressing gown that she gave us to wash. Today's list was pens as she keeps loosing the one she has, a writing pad as her current one is running out, two packets of Marie biscuits and some Holeproof socks, mens, large. Jesus, they were on special at Coles supermarket reduced from $11 to $8. I've never in my life paid anything like that for one pair of socks. Nurse Rani is having days off, replaced by Rey, a drop dead gorgeous nurse, who at a guess by his name and looks is of Philippine heritage. Oldest Niece, Firefighting Niece and Little Em joined us at the hospital today. FF Niece thought he was gorgeous and Mother agreed, helped by him being very kind and good with demanding old ladies. Mother has nothing but praise for the nurses and the meals, but not for her treating doctor with the same name as one of our senior female politicians.

For the first time after having my tax return prepared, the return dollars have been outweighed by the cost of having the return prepared. I think I will do it myself next year. Someone told me it is very easy at the Australian Tax Office website. H&R Block is very good though, and I pay half what I used to with a private accountant.

Long Tan! What a mess. It was the site of a battle during the Vietnam war (or the American war if you are Vietnamese) and over the last decade or more, the victor Vietnam has been quite generous towards Australians who fought against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese in the Long Tan rubber plantation and want to visit Vietnam. It goes without saying that we should never have been there fighting.  All the way with LBJ indeed! 18 Australians and 500 Vietnamese were killed in the battle. I guess we won the battle but lost the war. I don't understand why the Vietnamese government cancelled the planned commemoration at the last minute when many Aussies who had fought in Vietnam were already there. Maybe it was because the commemoration had become bigger than Ben Hur. Clearly something went amiss. But if you think about it, should we have Japanese from WWII here in Darwin to commemorate the bombing of northern Australia? Clearly not enough Australians wanted to go to Vietnam to fight a stupid war at the behest of the USA, so they were conscripted. Many anti American feelings in Australia come from this war, certainly if you are my age.

Cruelty to animals continues, with a local report of a crate of live chickens falling off a truck outside a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. Dead and injured birds were stuffed back into the crate and moved on, a cat skinned alive in the UK and again locally, a dog killed by having duct tape wrapped around its head. We humans are the quite despicable creatures of the world at times. Trivia, five horses were killed during the making of the 1925 Ben Hur movie.

Once again, Melbourne has been voted Melbourne's most livable city by one index. By another we are 16th and Sydney is 10th. While Melbourne is quite a good place to live, you try to get around on our roads and public transport. It is a misery. There are too many people in our large city of nearly 5 million people, yet our governments allows our population to grow unabated. Good for big business, but not so for the residents of our fair city. Vienna was runner up in the survey, but it is a very expensive place to live. Vancouver in third place is more affordable and also quite nice. I adored both cities, but the weather is better in Vancouver and it is more like Australia. That may or may not be a good thing, really. The survey is prepared for foreign companies to judge what a city is like before they ask executives to go there. I'll rephrase to the award being absolutely rubbish for anyone who is not a executive thinking of moving here or for a visitor.

Deer have now been noted in Wilson's Promontory. Australia has very thin soils and a delicate environment. Cloven hoof animals have no place here and should be eradicated, except for on farm land. Wild buffalo, camels, deer, horses......get rid of them.

Lordy, we export gas to Japan for their consumption and for our gas, after shipping costs, the Japanese consumer pays AU$8 per gigajoule. Adelaide folk pay AU$14. On average we pay 33% higher in Australia for our gas than what is paid for our gas exported to Japan.

Still, it could be more absurd, like Britain sending their apples to South Africa to be washed and then returned to Britain for sale at Tescos and markets.

Shocking images from a youth detention centre in the Northern Territory and now awful images from a northern Queensland youth detention facility. Just be very grateful you are not one of the workers in either place. You will have to deal with the miscreants and management and the court of public opinion. Management creates the culture of such a work place, ipso facto, the government.

I have decided to have a frank conversation with Mother. I am rehearsing it. Mother, while you are sharp of mind and by your test results you will live to be very old, you are increasingly feeble. If not now, what in the future when the time comes do you want to do? Live near Sister where there is good care? Or stay in your town?

I could go on forever. To wrap on something good, Little M was in daycare today so we only saw Little Em. At six months old, she is a laughing blue eyed and just a lovely baby. Mother, her great grandmother, had a good nurse of her today, as did R. I don't nurse babies, lest I drop them (or get bored). Her mother, Oldest Niece, is now officially huge, but she is so pretty and makes up so well, along with dressing really well, unlike her sister FF Niece who looked like a slob. FF Niece did visit Brighton in England for a few days, but then the gay pride march was about to happen and prices shot up so, she left.

We are having some welcome rain that began this morning and continued for a few hours. Dog Jack is visiting for the weekend and I am not looking forward to the smell of wet dog. We were at the home of Dog Jack's mummy when he was delivered and our Dyke Friend did not like his name, which I don't remember. R suggested the name Jack and it stuck. The woman who handed over Dog Jack was in tears. Her circumstances had changed and could no longer keep Dog Jack. "R, do you remember Dog Jack's former name?" He did. It was Tarquin. Believe me, Jack is much more like a Jack than a Tarquin.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Clever Jussy

Talk dirty to me Jussy. Explain quantum physics.

Jussy is so luscious. I think I may have said as a punishment for treating Jussy as a sex object, I must study Canadian politics to see if Jussy is actually an effectual Prime Minister. Hey, give me some time. I'll get there.

It is somewhat tedious to watch, but there is a video of our Queen thanking Jussy for reminding her how old she is.  You can find it on Youtube.

Later, it seems Jussy can talk dirty and can be quite rough.......I feel faint.