Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Bracks, Doyle and who will do something?

This morning there was a shop owner on 774, explaining how the shopping strip was being effected by people drinking and fighting on the streets starting from about 8am. I would like to know why do we as a community tolerate this sort of bad behavior? For that is what it is. We accept that parking officers will book us for the slightest infringement, we let Mr Bracks and his police minister fine us exorbitant amounts for more than 3kph over the speed limit. Yet we allow our state and local governments to turn a blind eye to drinking, violence. drug taking and selling and a host of other anti social behaviors. Why?

It seems strange that someone who is community minded, looks after their friends and family and generally considers the effects of their actions, can be rigorously policed, yet one can get drunk, assault people, sell or take drugs openly and generally the authorities will ignore it and put it in the too hard basket. I am not a wowser yet I think that people whose actions cause harm or damage to those around them, should be made to answer for their actions. Nothing will happen of course, Steve Bracks will continue to try to ban smoking or something similiar and Robert Doyle will do his WC Fields impressions for the press with his "I will be tougher" talk, yet neither will really consider tackling the real social troubles of Victoria - Violence, Drugs, alcohol, Theft, Unemployment, Education and Social Dislocation. Who will?

By the way I do enjoy a drink (but not in the morning on a street corner), haven't had a speeding ticket in years and have copped a couple of parking tickets in the past few years.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

More Snow in Melbourne?

I did a quick trip up to Falls Creek last Wednesday and came back Thursday morning, I stayed down in Mt Beauty that night,it started to rain sometime during the night and stopped about 7 in the morning. About 8.30 I got out of bed and went to put some things in the car, and when I opened the front door - it was beautiful, it must have been snowing since the rain stopped. It only snows in the valleys rarely and this was the best cover I had seen. Everything was blanketed in white except for the roads, I delayed leaving for an hour to have a look around and take some photos, around 9.30 I headed off and decided to go over the Tawonga Gap. I have seen light snow there before but this was stunning there must have been 4 to 6 inches at the top, apparently the road was closed however I had taken a back way to the main road and was unaware of the closure, still it turned out ok and was well worth the extra time it took to get back to Melbourne.

I know I don't have to live in snow and have the luxury of leaving it behind, however sometimes I wish it was just a little colder in Melbourne enough to get snow for a week or two a year.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Loss of emotional control

About an hour ago on the radio national program -The World at Noon, they had the acting head of the discrimination commission commenting on a report into harassment and vilification of people ( mainly Moslem) since the world trade centre attack. While the study had found an increase in discrimination, what concerns me is the reaction of the acting head (wish I could remember his name). He was almost reduced to tears when describing how a 7th generation person was told to 'Go home', the head (I think it was a Mr Jonas) started to choke and had to compose himself after reading this. Well is this man really suitable for a job like this if he is so emotionally upset by something like this? Surely in his working life he has been exposed to much worse insults either personally or said to someone else? If he hasn't I would say that he lacks the life experience to be in a responsible position anywhere, if he has heard worse how did he react? Did he burst into tears? Lose physical and emotional control? I feel that if an insult this mild causes him to break down momentarily perhaps he should seek employment elsewhere for his own mental and physical health.

This does not mean that I support vilification or harassment of anyone, and it should not be tolerated, however surely an adult should be able to read or listen to reports of bad behavior without losing control.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Why I Blog

I started writing this blog to get into the habit of being disciplined enough to write everyday, so far I am not doing too good. Like 90% of the population I feel I have a book inside me, like 90% I probably should leave it there. However I have wanted to do this for years so I will try to keep it up until I feel I can start writing a book. I am sure most of you will come up with reasons as to why I should allow myself to get discouraged, but I am hopeful that I will ignore you and let a publisher let me know the bitter truth.

Until then well please put up with me, any criticism is welcome.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

The Producers and the Pretzel Girl

Last Wednesday night we went to see 'The Producers' at the Princess Theatre, at intermission I was chatting to my lovely mother in law. "I don't like musicals where they sing and dance" she said, this prompted me to ask what sort of musicals she did like. In a typical aussie woman manner she said "Well you know what I mean" I did not know what she meant and I asked her to explain further, this resulted in a peculiar disjointed explanation which could best be summed up as "I don't like musicals where they dance and sing". Well what could I say?

As for 'The Producers' well it is an excellent production. Reg Livermore was his typical energetic self albeit in a workmanlike manner. Tom Burlinson worked very well in his part, it is difficult to think of anyone else locally who would match so well. Bert Newton is difficult I didn't like him in the part however everyone I have spoken to thinks he is great, maybe it was the role I don't know I just didn't take to him that night. Chloe Dallimore was a delightful Ulla, beautiful and can sing and dance - what more could I say?

Now for me the real star was a choice between Tony Sheldon(Roger Debris) and Grant Piro(Carmen Ghia). On balance I will have to go for Tony Sheldon - talented, brash, confident and a superb stage presence. He stole every scene he was in, the stage seemed a little poorer everytime he left it.

As for the show, well I like some of Mel Brooks stuff, usually his lesser known work especially 'History of the World'. I did like his references to his other work, particularly the "It's good to be the King!" line. This show however I have difficulties with the Hitler part. I know Mel is Jewish and that he has no sacred cows and one of the best ways to destroy someone is to make fun of them - but. It's hard to be specific just that the concept of a singing dancing victorious Hitler left me cold it cuts too deep for me to enjoy. There is enough in this play to write a book analysing it and the effects of it, I have neither the time energy or intellect so I will leave it here.

P.S. I think I love the Pretzel Girl in the Hitler dance scene.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Melbourne Drivers

Melbourne drivers are said by some to be the worst in the world, I must defend them, the drivers in PNG and much of Asia are a slightly worse. Today I was merging where two lanes become one, the done thing is for each lane to let one car at a time in front of them, thereby allowing the traffic to keep moving and it is fair to all. When my turn came to merge I placed myself to blend into the adjacent lane behind the car already in that lane. As I did this a silver commodore sped up and tried to stop me from merging, being a forcible mood I just kept going and inserted my car into the spot. Next thing the silver commodore pushed himself into the next lane and slowed down next to me and started waving a piece of paper at me, I think he was trying to tell me he had my number. He then took off at a great rate of knots to get to the next traffic light before me. Was I in the wrong?

I have driven in many countries where the police are more forgiving the people let each other in and generally they behave in a civilised manner. In England you the speed limit on the motorways is 115kph however as long as it is safe and the traffic quite the police will not bother you until about 135kph. England has the lowest per capita road toll in the world and the safest roads, perhaps if Mr Bracks and Senior Sergeant Ritchie concerned themselves with peoples behavior and less with fining people we may move forward and get a lower toll. In my line of work I attend serious and fatal road accidents regularly, after 22 years I can say I have rarely seen a an accident caused by speed, rather it is nearly always dangerous driving, failing to give way or gross stupidity that has been the cause. When was the last time a police officer booked someone for dangerous driving? How many fines go out each day for 5 to 10 kph over when it is safe to do so?

I dream of the day when our governments move to a free society where people are not fined into behaving the way the government of the day thinks they should. Ross Stevenson said recently "Victoria is a place where everything is compulsory or it is banned" I couldn't put it better myself.