Balm for the saddened heart.


We thought of looking at some TV again. I mean we generally watch the news but not much else. Thank goodness for SBS’ ‘On Demand’ and the ‘ABC I-view’ which allows one to see almost anything that has been filmed. We have taken to foreign movies and serials as never before. Anything with a foreign language and we will most likely watch it. Sometimes an English language movie pops up but with both our hearings failing we loved the subtitled foreign ones. For an unknown reason English language serials on the ‘Smart TV’, don’t show subtitles.

But back to out latest attempt to watch the normal TV programs. We watched two documentaries on the one night. Number 1. was Foreign Correspondent exposing the dreadful plight of how the multinational drug companies have managed to wreak havoc on millions of US citizens with a drug called Oxycontin. It belongs to the opioid class of pain killers and apparently this drug was sold in the US without warnings of risks of dependency. The camera on Foreign Correspondent took us through the streets of San Francisco showing us the sights of dozens of people, young and old, nodding off on heroin or meth.  A few sober enough to answer questions all spoke of how Oxycontin started them off on heavier drugs. Millions of US citizens’ lives are ruined by this scourge. And the blame squarely put on the Medical corporations responsible for their plight. It was a most depressing documentary.

Nr 2. was even worse. It was a documentary made by Louis Theroux on Milwaukee. It showed us the frightening casualness and acceptance of mindless shootings and killings in that city. It is called ‘Murder in Milwaukie’.

A loving grandmother is shown watching TV with a gun tucked under her cushion next to her, ‘just in case.’ Her grandson had been shot dead the week before. A group of young men interviewed by Paul Theroux on the cheerless looking street did not throw much light on this violence. They were seen smiling and joking. A man drove by and one could hear a shot being fired from the car. They did not even look up. It is that normal. The mother of her son shot dead the week before was showing her gun with a rapid motion ejecting life bullets on the bathroom floor. How utterly depressing. The despair and weariness of the police trying to bring the shooters to justice was included with an attempt to bring some balance to the footage.

I think we will go back to our Skandia Noir serials. At least the murders are fictitious.

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20 Responses to “Balm for the saddened heart.”

  1. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Gez, when We lived through one of the other eras of mass stupidity and cruelty- the Vietnam War, we had our televised blooding. For me -as a callow youth.

    Like so many others I stayed positive and protested and filled out dictions draft cards.

    But the end of the century and the start of the new one leaves me, a white-haired old fart, bereft of optimism and concerned for my adult kids and our baby grandson.

    Till now Aussies have mostly dodged a bullet but with counts like our Nazi senator on the street, who knows for how long our luck will hold out.

    Dire times indeed.

    Liked by 4 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      And here too, denials are offered and our PM Morrison runs away with quickening strides when questioned by his anti Muslim rantings. All of a sudden he portrays himself as a devout Mufti answering the call and doing his prayers. His hypocrisy breathtaking.

      Our hope is with the young as always, but time is of the essence.
      We take to comedy movies to ease the despair.

      Stan an Ollie helped a bit and this arvo we are off to Sometimes-Always- Never. And then, there are the sushi and salmon delights. It’s not all doom and gloom, Trouserzoff

      Liked by 3 people

  2. berlioz1935 Says:

    What you write about the Milwaukee family reminds me of the play “Little Murder” by Jule Pfeiffer we saw during the sixties.

    “Feiffer says he was inspired to write the story by the assassination of John F. Kennedy. “Which was odd because I wasn’t a big fan of his; he was the first actor in the White House,” he said. “And then when Oswald was shot, I thought there is a madness going on. And because of my politics, I saw that madness in Vietnam, too. So the motive of the play was the breakdown of all forms of authority – religion, family, the police. Urban violence was always the metaphor in my mind for something more serious in the country.”

    We, Uta and I, follow a similar habit in our TV watching as the pürogramming is not always to our liking. At least one can pick and choose when watching programs on demand.

    Indeed, we were watching, on SBS, “Counterpart” a thriller series set in Berlin which too has multiple killings. But watching the news about the happenings in Christchurch and other places (Jemen for instance) we decided to go back to “Counterpart” because it was fiction and a lot of outdoor shots of Berlin.

    Thanks for the music video coming from Utrecht where they had their own tragedy a few days later.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The Milwaukee documentary was very good. Murder and guns are portrayed so normal, and part of life, it seemed nothing more than going shopping or doing sport. People shrugged their shoulders and the police talking about the murder victim as if a dead pet or canary. Death is copying fiction movies. Its become a kind of entertainment.

      I feel that our present form of democracy has run truly and well out of steam. Some take to China bashing but from what I can see, they are emerging as something new.

      I can never understand why Australia chose the US as its example to follow. With all the immigration from Europe to Australia, it doesn’t make much sense. We too are obsessed with this Freedom of Market and follow the same path with unfettered and uncontrolled ways of exploiting people, the environment, privatising everything that can be sold and make a quick buck.

      Glad you enjoyed the video, Peter. The killings in Utrecht seem unresolved. Three people were shot dead. The suspect was on bail charged with rape.

      Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:

        I enjoyed the video too, Gerard, very much so. The thriller serious ‘Counterpart’ that Peter was talking about, had a lot in it that I found difficult to watch. After watching this kind of material with a lot of violence in it, I feel relieved when I can watch something like for instance ‘Kessler’s Expeditionen’:

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dorothea Jahnes-Oosterman Says:

    Certainly was an eye opener on Milwaukie. Children & teenagers don’t know any other way of life.
    “In relative terms, the US has the highest number of guns per capita. There were an estimated 89 to 100 guns for every 100 Americans in 2013–around one firearm per person. The country with the second highest number per capita is Serbia, at 75.6 guns per 100 people.Oct 6, 2017”

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Dora.

      I am puzzled too. Gun ownership is high in the US but so is it in Finland. Finland is peaceful and I did not feel threatened walking the forests and picking the berries. The villages were quiet and no gun shots were ricocheting during the gentle moon-fed nights when I was there with Helvi.

      You could never have made a cowboy movie in Finland. Perhaps those early movies with cowboys and sheriffs with Indians galloping through Texas ( around the same sets of rocks) that we so dearly liked to watch rendered us ready, that conflicts are best solved through the end of a gun barrel. We were all cheering on the goodies killing the baddies and felt good about it. America is keen on fighting wars as well. They galloped into Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria,… And for what?

      I really don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    This music/video is healing, calming, and beautiful…my ears, eyes, mind, and heart thank you, Gerard! 🙂

    Yes, with all of the sadness and horror in the world it is so wonderful to have music and some movies, plays, and television series to escape in for awhile. I do enjoy the comedies a LOT! 🙂

    Recently, a friend and I were talking about the old Pink Panther movies and how much Mr. Peter Sellers made us laugh. 😀

    “Music is the moonlight in the gloomy night of life.” – Jean Paul Friedrich Richter

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, We too love music and our daughter bought us a Bose Blue-tooth speaker from which we can hear wonderful music, and all directed through out iPhone. I don’t understand how those wonderful sounds can stream through a mobile phone, but there you have it.
      The speaker itself is small, hardly bigger than a coffee pot but the sounds and especially the base are fantastic.

      The horror of what happened in NZ has now resulted in a ban on certain guns in NZ. Within days all parties agreed on it. Now, that is so heartening how quickly this was achieved.

      Yet, in the US decades of arguments and debate, and nothing is achieved. Perhaps it is almost compulsory to have guns or ‘the right to bear arms’ strongly tinged with patriotism enshrined in the constitution is behind this obsession.
      The fact that it doesn’t make sense is irrelevant.

      Thanks for the hugs, Carolyn. The same to you from,
      Gerard, Helvi and a good wagging of tail by Milo.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Oopy…I forgot the hugs! 😮

    (((HUGS))) to you and Helvi! 🙂
    PATS and RUBS to Milo! 🐶

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Curt Mekemson Says:

    New Zealand: one more example of the violence. A right wing fanatic from Australia killing innocent people in New Zealand with the objective of starting a race war in America. Where does it stop, Gerard? The one good thing to come of it is a ban on automatic and semi-automatic weapons, a quick move in New Zealand that America has been unable to achieve. Big Pharma, from my perspective, is in ways worse than the illegal drug industry when it comes to criminal-like activities. Once again, it is an industry driven by greed. Paul Theroux (like me, a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa) is one of my favorite authors. I have read most of his travel books. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The victims in NZ included a 3 year old. An extreme right wing Australian went on this terrible killing spree.

      Our Prime Minster has been running death camps for Muslims in Nauru and Manus now in it sixth year. Some of those extreme right wing extremist cannot but get encouragement from our present Government,

      Many can lake a leaf out of NZ now. Their PM, Jacinda Arden took action to ban those weapons within days. She also wanted to take on the refugees from Manus and Nauru into New Zealand on humanitarian grounds, which our cruel PM refused to accept.

      We badly need a “Burning Man’ event in Australia, Curt.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        The insanity of the far right extremists seems to have no end, Gerard. And there is no doubt that the governments of Australia and the US have encouraged it.
        FYI, go here for your Aussie equivalent of Burning Man:


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Sorry, Curt.
      I made a mistake. The documentary was made by Louis Theroux and Not Paul Theroux.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. freefall852 Says:

    I know this is no replacemnt for the sadness of that done deed in NZ..but perhaps it is of a certain mood that could bring , if not a laugh to the lips, rather a smile of accepted humour that the situation depicted could well be the least of our modern-day problems..perhaps a bit of a “cheey-up” thing.

    The taking down of the calendars.

    Dropped in to the workshop to pay my mechanic’s bill a while back..about six months or so, in fact..anyway, it was on that day when old Peter..the mechanic..was taking down several of those “girlie” calendars that were almost a fixture on the office walls of such tradie shops like Peter’s garage.

    I like those old style mechanics know, those ones with an old busted engine block or gearbox covered in oil and rags by the big doors..the loose chain block and tackle hanging from a cross-beam in the rafters..and the racks of stored bits and pieces of “will be useful one day” stuff against the wall..the welding gear, the drill-press and perhaps a metal lathe for turning down that impossible to find part but this one will be alright with a bit of tweaking…and the peg-board with the shadow marks of all the spanners that go just there..and still with the old “pit” in the floor.

    It reminds me of the days of steam locomotives when I was a kid. I would like to walk close to the edge of the platform next to the huffing/puffing locomotive just to get a whiff of that rush of steam from the front wheel pistons…that moist steam that had that slight scent of lubricating oils..whoosh!..lovely memories…Christ ..they’ve taken all the fun out of a young boy’s life with the beigeing of things.

    Which brings me back to old Peter taking down those calendars.

    I stopped in the doorway of the garage office..a small cluttered room off the back corner of the workshop..Peter had his back to me as he examined one large poster of an attractive young woman clad erotically and holding a pneumatic implement…the poster was an advertisement for a well-known tool company.

    I looked to the wall where this calendar, along with several others had hung for many years. The wall was now cleared, but the tell-tale discoloured squares where they once hung still apparent.

    “Hello, doing a spring cleanout?”

    “Wha!..oh..hello young fellah…no.. no..” and he seemed to reflect for a moment..” I’m just moving with the times.” And he rolled the calendar he had in front of him up, with a sad..” Goodbye ‘Sadira’…” (the poster had scripted under the pinup ; “Sadira always uses a S….”and the brand name of the company).

    “So what are the new ones?” I asked..”A Pirelli calendar?”

    Peter sighed wistfully…

    “ new ones..or at least none with women on them…perhaps one from the grocery store..with pictures of kittens or flowers or more females…But I will miss ‘Sadira’…god..she was Vern would say ; more curves than a box full of Sidchromes!”

    I offered to pay my account and he slumped wearily into the swivel chair behind his desk. He pulled out the ledger and flipped the pages open with the red ribbon. He sat silently staring at the empty wall..and he sighed and leant back…a tad misty-eyed.

    “ I never got married, you know..nearly!..but not quite..That first one fair took my heart away..threw me for a while when she left and then I guess I never really got back the momentum to get serious with another girl until I suddenly woke one day and realised I was so much older..and I no longer had the hunger…or felt the need for’s the damage on that docket?”

    I paid the account and Peter rose and followed me out into the cool, darkened workshop..the brilliant Mallee sunlight outside razor-sharp in contrast. Peter and I gazed into the empty floor space.

    “ But times change…’cause you see, back in the early days, the only people used to come in here were the farmers with their tractors or the other blokes in the district..rarely a woman, and then only grudgingly as the place has that smell of dirt and grease and oil…so it was just par for the course to get those calendars from the travellers and such..and I’d put them up on the wall on top of the other as the years go by..just par for the course..But now women do so much more of their own business..arrange the repairs, discuss the mechanical problems, pay the bills..AND argue the toss on the cost of repairs!..and it don’t look good to have those calendars there any more..and besides, many of the companies themselves have stopped making those sort of calendars…they know as well…times change.”

    I didn’t have much to add to his I just grunted a kind of affirmation..and he started to walk away…then he stopped and continued..

    “… an’ I suppose a fellah gets too old to have such things on his wall…wouldn’t want it to get about that I was a dirty old man..women don’t like that sort of thing…but by jingo..I’m gonna miss that “Sadira”…just the sight of those lovely blue eyes at the start of the day was enough to kick me along..ah…women..beautiful creatures…( and he shook his head) ..more curves than a box full of Sidchromes…”

    And he went over to fix a flat tyre.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    A well told tale, Freefall. My first job after arriving in Australia back in 1956 was sweeping up in factories. Many of worker’s lockers had pictures of those calendar girls stuck on the backdoors.
    My mum, a staunch catholic, used to go with scissors in hand, cutting out any picture of girls in bikinis or scantily clad, from any newspaper, mainly the Sun and Mirror.
    Visitors were wondering why our newspapers had so many holes in them.
    Poor mum wanted her sons to grow up pious and save them from temptations of the female curve. I used to get a firm twinge just looking at an ad for a bra!

    It did not work.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. gerard oosterman Says:

    Not only pictures in newspapers and catalogues but juicy divorce stories when guilt had to be proven before a judge. Divorce detectives hiding under beds, camera at the ready.
    The good old times!
    Fish & chips wrapped in The Daily Telegraph often featured those lurid extra marital affaires in great details. I used to read and eat the fish and chips, all at the same time seated on a bench near Revesby railway station. It made the eating of fish and chips so much more memorable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • freefall852 Says:

      I have many old newspapers of the 1950’s, salvaged from under old linoleum from renovations when I was a carpenter….I have spent sometime perusing the “miscellaneous columns” of those old papers..the tragic and sometimes almost comical hunger compressed into one, two or three lines of those columns are a shining example of an anonomous work of art of human emotional beauty…I have written of one of them here..if you don’t mind another intrusion..:


  10. Forestwood Says:

    I am with you, Gerard re the TV. I don’t ever read True crime but enjoy my Scandi thrillers/murder mysteries that don’t glorify violence and are Fictitious. Louis Theroux exposes are depressing, but they are important in increasing awarenss of what is happening out there. I am certainly glad I am not a resident of Milwaukee. What a sad state of affairs. Gun control will never occur in America, I don’t think. It seems too ingrained in their psyche.


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