Archive for the ‘Gerard Oosterman’ Category

Royal Commission into Australia ( warning graphic images)

July 26, 2016

7659422-3x2-340x227Child detention

We went away for a few days, and all hell seems to have broken loose. An ABC ( Australian Broadcasting Commission) came out on television with a damning report on child detention centres in Australia. Within hours of our Prime Minister, Mr Malcolm Turnbull, having watched the program, he announced a Royal Commission. It would be held about the juvenile detention centres in the Northern Territory of Australia. Have a look at this link. Yet, those allegation with videos were known for a number of years

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-26/turnbull-calls-for-royal-commission-into-don-dale/7660164

Within hours experts on breaches of human rights are now clamouring for a Royal Commission to be a federal Commission instead of just a State issue. Abuse of children seems to be widespread. Royal Commissions held about systemic abuse seems to go on forever like ‘Days of our Lives’ or ‘Neighbours.’

People hold Royal Commission in high regard but I am not so sure. Those commissions are nice little earners for the legal fraternities. I remember reading about Royal Commission back in the sixties in the mental health care and conditions of Callan Park, Sydney. As is common, recommendations were made, the lawyers got paid, but business as usual. It is just a kind of Tiger Balm or Cough Elixer to keep us quiet. I doubt that the mentally ill are treated any better today as when in the time when my brother was treated so terribly at Callan Park in the late fifties early sixties.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-26/timeline-of-voller’s-mistreatment-in-detention-centres/7661788

Never the less, I wish the Royal Commission would be extended to the treatment of our refugees at Manus and Nauru Islands detention centres. One can just imagine the horrors and desperations experienced when people burn themselves to death in order to get some attention. The dreadful rapes, abuse of children and the despair that those refugees will never be allowed to go anywhere except to Cambodia or back to the countries where they escaped from.

I am not sure if my father made a wise decision coming to Australia. I am ashamed.

Ps. My brother is in good care and still alive, but…in Holland.

Terror alert

July 22, 2016

Flight JQ27 was diverted to Bali, where the six men – identified as Bradley Beecham, Brett Eldridge, Michael Matthews, Mark Rossiter, Lynmin Waharai and Ricky William – were escorted off the plane by police.
Will our PM Malcolm Turnbull now get up in front of the TV and warn us about our Aussie born and bred terrorists? Totally radicalised by Christian culture and KB lager.

http://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/490a8f6028b6c34afaf6f4f611f8ec23

http://www.9news.com.au/national/2016/07/21/07/30/jetstar-flight-from-sydney-to-phuket-diverted-to-denpasar-after-mid-air-brawl

One can just imagine if those people would have had an Middle Eastern or Islamic background.

The second book for Seniors has arrived.

July 22, 2016

41yjSAQeq1L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ oosterman treats

https://www.amazon.com/Oosterman-Treats-Philosophical-Musings-vasectomy/dp/099458105X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1469075634&sr=1-1&keywords=oosterman+treats

The second book has arrived and is now ready, able and willing to be read. ( and bought) It has come with less trouble than the first one. Some of the pictures had to be reduced. I kept getting messages that the images had to have a minimum of dots or digits. A mysterious image of a shifter-spanner also kept appearing in the returned proofs from Createspace. Apparently something to do with Microsoft Word and unprintable Headings and Footnotes. How people know those things is something that will always delude me. The title ‘Oosterman Treats’ is the only title in the whole arsenal of Amazon. At least that is unique!

The next phase will be to market it. Again I’ll try and go around the local bookshops after enough courage has been gleaned and stored. I notice that some people go and do Toastmasters’ course in public speaking. I am practising my approach to the shop manager in front of a mirror. ‘Hello, howz ye going? I am a local author and wonder if you could put up my title(s)in your shop?’

This is followed up by trying to stay as straight and upright as possible. An image of confidence has to now take over as I wait for a reply, unwavering and with enough fortitude not to crumble or show some dejection. Things haven’t been easy when it comes to present my author’s mien.

A confessed love for roof cavity inspections, no worries. A perusing of dogs and ducks, easy peasy. A raconteur with the Aldi’s cashier girls, brilliant verbal skirmishes. A critic of everything political, even people. Australia, Holland, The UK, the US, and everybody all come under his fire. He is verbosely loose, and banned from blogs, but awesomely inspiring.

The idea of self promoting my book has gained though. I now have two on offer. If a refuse comes with showing the first, I can, with a sweeping and magnificent flourish, whip out my latest, ‘Oosterman Treats.’ from my book satchel strapped on my back. The blurb ‘post my vasectomy’ should get some attention.

We shall wait and see. ( get your copy now, available Amazon paperback and kindle).

The Roof Cavity Inspector’s job is never finished.

July 18, 2016
Aspidistra

Aspidistra

Readers might know from a previous article that I have ventured into a new career. With winter half way, the gas bill came in much lower than over the same period last year. I am just re-tracing again! We know that bills always feature strongly in the lives of Seniors. I do keep old bills in my filing cabinet for scrutiny and comparisons. Modern bills also have comparisons printed on the back, often accompanied by graphics showing little towers that go up and down according to the consumption of either gas or electricity. Many do spend time studying those. It helps to pass the day.

Of course, with rates going up, many try and economize to try and lower the bills. Again , as previously mentioned, we installed double glazing and blanketed all our ceilings with insulation. We chose the more expensive one. The specialist installer advised that the more expensive insulation blanket would keep their ‘loft’ for much longer. I like the word ‘loft.’ It probably alludes that the blanket will not collapse on itself like a pre-mature cake mixture not giving enough time to raise.

It was only after I ventured in our roof cavity that I discovered lots of light and heat escaping. Hence, the idea of becoming an inspector of roof cavities took hold. I bought a khaki coloured Yakka bib and brace overall, a sharp pencil and wooden fold-up ruler. The Peugeot had a roof rack installed on which a nifty 16ft aluminium extension ladder could be held with special straps. I had a few caps silkscreened on which ‘Roof Cavity Inspector’ ( RCI) was duly inscribed.

My life has never been better. With coups, rampaging terrorists, and police killings going on everywhere, there is nothing more peaceful than sitting in someone’s roof cavity. It is so serene. One comes to an inner understanding of what the essentials of life are all about. Of course, there are some hick-ups. Last week I inspected a roof cavity for an old lady who lived by herself. She complained of hearing scurrying going on. It turned out to be a busy rats family nest in one corner of the ceiling above her bedroom. I had to call a pest inspector. It made for social contact and we both exchanged the latest gossip about our joint inspectorial duties.

He told me how a manager of a motel at Ballina, NSW, was caught out in a cavity above the honey-moon suite of his motel. A young couple on their first honeymoon complained they heard a noise coming from above the ceiling of their room. ( with en-suite.) When the police arrived, they found the manager and wife very properly attired and in bed. However, when they inspected the noise complaint they found that the cavity above the honey-moon room with en-suite was all planked out, had comfort cushions and a thermos. What did it was that the thermos still had warm coffee and the managers finger prints. There was also a hole drilled next to the electric wiring holding up an ornate light in the room below through which it was assumed the motel manager was observing the frolics of the honey-moon couple down below.

We both shook our heads. I mean, the thermos with coffee? Can you believe it? I bet the manager had to do some explaining.

Stocking up on Cabbages. The end is nigh!

July 15, 2016
Almost There

Almost There

Here in Australia and in the state of NSW, at least grey-hound racing is being stopped and outlawed. They call it a banning of a sport! Lots of people are up in arms about it and claim it is a livelihood for them. However, the livelihood is the betting of money. It is the same with horses and racing. Take away the gambling part and no one would give horse-racing a second look. People could well end up eating horses instead of racing them around.
We all will be lucky to get out of this mess alive. We are stocking up on cabbages and sauerkraut.

The financial tectonic plates are rumbling,scrambling yet again. The US treasure notes pared early gains. The thirty year rate dropped from 1,099% to 1.007% when news got around that Turkey is having a coup. Two bridges across the Bosporus have been closed to incoming traffic and Turkish Pide stall holders are nervously looking over their shoulders. They are getting ready for a run by the public on food items, especially yoghurt.

The German bund rate was just about getting back into the positive territory again, when first Nice and now Turkey shemozzle, it went back in giving investors a mouth-watering negative return.

Our Australian pension is means tested and subject to ‘deeming.’ It meant, when applying for the old-age pension the first time, we had to empty our pockets and show our savings accounts. We are supposed to inform the government whenever our financial situation changes. Even the value of our car and furniture is taken into account in determining the fortnightly pension. The total amount is ‘deemed’ to earn an interest which is then used to lower the pension accordingly. An exemption is the value of our house. We are allowed to have a house.

However, the deeming rate set by the Government is getting tricky. Interest earned on savings is almost zero and getting lower. It will be interesting to see when banks in Australia will be giving negative rates on savings. It is already happening in Japan, Switzerland and Germany. Can one imagine paying the banks to keep our savings? Will the Government in deeming and ‘mean’testing of pensioners increase our pensions proportionally? After all, if interest earned lowers the pension, interest paid out ought to then result in getting compensated as well.

It is a complicated world. Who would have thought people are now investing in negative returns. Some are now shifting money into gold, works of art or old furniture. There are nervous hordes of financiers roaming the world, shifting currencies and doing their well practiced dodgy deals again. Of course, during a real crisis, food is what really counts. This is why we are keenly eyeing the food supply. Did you know that the red pickled cabbage sold out within the first day it appeared here in Bowral’s Aldi? We went back yesterday hoping to buy some more but it was all sold out. We bought the last few jars of sauerkraut.

Even so, the sun is out and Milo is on his favourite cushion. He occasionally looks at us, tries to stir us into getting dressed to go for our daily walk.

All is well in this household.

The Gas bill.

July 13, 2016

IMG_0618home

The latest Gas Bill arrived yesterday and showed a surprising fall in usage compared with the same period of last year’s. And that is despite the gas rates having gone up. Some six years ago after moving in our town-house, we did fill up all possible cavities above ceilings with insulation blankets. It seems that the mania for installing downlights reached its zenith around that time too. We have dozens of them. The bathroom upstairs has three of those alone.

In the past, one light per room was the norm. With the innovation of low voltage lights, architects seemed to think they could now go berserk on installing a multitude of down-lights on every square metre of ceiling. Of course, by doing that they would not have found much opposition from the energy companies. The more wastage the better. It wasn’t till I crawled into the roof space one evening when I noticed the whole area ablaze with light as well. The insulation experts told us that a lot of leakage of both light and heat was due to the downlights. We had to put brackets over all the downlights above the ceilings so that the insulation could go over those downlights’ transformers, prevent possible fire.

The roofs already had insulation blankets underneath the rafters installed by the original builders. So, we have double insulation. Of course, this will not insulate us against our final ‘journey’, but at least we will be warm as long as possible in the process. This is also why we put in double glazing on all glass areas in our living spaces downstairs. Readers by now might well conclude we live like misers, going around the place with candles, cackling manically, and ghoulishly celebrating, re-reading old gas bills. This is not true. We live well. It is just a Dutch treat or trait, that wastage is the eternal enemy to guard against. It might well be genetic.

Today though we will really test the ability to stay warm. An icy blast from Antarctica is supposed to reach us within a matter of hours. Already further south, people have been warned to stay indoors. The TV news showed us people all huddled up and looking anxiously at the sky. They say, that keeping newspapers in between blankets is a good way to stay warm too. I would recommend NOT to use The Daily Telegraph, The Australian or The Financial Times. They are owned by Murdoch and likely to send shivers up your spine. The Sydney morning Herald or Dutch Australian Weekly, Suomilainen Lahti, Aldi’s catalogues or Die Woche are all fine.

Snow is expected to fall wide-spread, especially in the Southern Highlands where we are living. Well, we are prepared as well as possible and will survive. I do hope that those Danish doonas stolen so many years ago are still warming up a few lost souls. The events so long past whereby the thieves stole doonas and yet did not touch money or other valuables, speaks volumes. It still intrigues, does it not?

By the way. Our gas bill was $396,- compared with last year’s (over the same period) $489.-. The bill covers three months. We did have an extraordinary warm autumn though. Perhaps that explains it. Even so, the rates per M3 of gas did go up! I now pay those bills using the computer. Such has been my progress on using IT.

The Art of morning’s Bed straightening.(for Seniors)

July 11, 2016
Almost There

Almost There

It’s a forlorn hope and belief by some, that with age comes wisdom. Some say, a good politician reaches their top when over seventy. Cynics often contradict this and might well say: they only achieve that level of pure wisdom, when they are richly fermenting in the Mount Calvary cask below ground level, or sometimes, elevated above ground as in an Argentinian Mausoleum. I believe that in Buenos Aires’ La Recoleta cemetery, a number of those past buried politicians are still believed as being a little bit alive.

We did not see much evidence of life of those dearly departed souls. Many cats and dozens of volunteer ladies feeding them is as much an attraction as touring this enormous cemetery. Some of the graves are multi storied, have dining rooms and bedrooms with imagery so real of the dead, one whispers in fear of being overheard.

But, back to gaining wisdom in the search for reasons and answers of what the heck we are doing here, it pays to remain humble in its pursuits. That is if there is such a thing as getting answers. It would be nice that between birth and the veneered Mount Calvary cask we get snippets of information leading us to some rest of the anxious mind in our nodding years.

The day could not start less ambitious and humble than just making the bed without any creases in its top cover. This is what I have been trying to achieve of late. It is more than depressing to discover, just prior to hopping in, that the bed is still unmade. Those days are rare. Of course, most times H makes the bed. Her manner of bed making is perfect, a level that I want to achieve in my quest gaining better and more wisdom. Where does perfect bed making come from? It is a joy to contemplate and watch a bed without flaws before finally diving under the doona.

No matter how it is tried, the efforts I make always includes some little imperfection or fault. It might be that a sock found its way down the bottom of the bed and buried itself between sheet and mattress. To rectify that, after you completed the bed making, is dispiriting, but this has to be overcome in the search for life’s answers.

Sometimes I find that the electric blanked switch gear found itself the wrong side up, showing a lump just below the pillow. Of course, I try and cover it up by throwing a book over it. H reckons that is not honest. In any case, you can lie to others but not to yourself. You know the book was put there for a reason. Your wife might be fooled but not your conscience. It nags you, and results in your search for wisdom down a notch to boot.

I noticed the old lady higher up always puts her bed pillows in the sun on a chair. I asked her some years ago, and she said; ‘It kills germs and keeps me healthy.’ She should know. She worked her whole life as a nurse. Is that why one often sees hospital patients sitting outside in the sun? Some smoke though!

It is part of this bunched together lot of townhouses, and perhaps also old age, that things like pillows on chairs outside get noticed. Sometimes I even say to H. while driving past, ‘oh, Mrs so and so must be home, her pillows are outside.’ Sometimes, but not often, a reply might come from H, ‘oh I haven’t noticed she was gone, ‘I don’t keep an eye out for those sort of banal signals.’ Why, and how come do you? This hurts a little. I am caught out once again being involved in the triviality of life.

What hope for answers and wisdom can there be when I seem stuck between bed making and adventures at Aldi?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EM6NC0C/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Sipping out of Napoleon Brandy Balloons for Seniors.

July 10, 2016
Old Turku, Finland

Old Turku, Finland

With the world’s volatility at fever pitch, one could be forgiven in taking out of the lockable glass door cabinet, the special festive balloons. I don’t mean the blow up types. In the past, people used the brandy snifter as an art form, especially those who read Somerset Maugham’s novels, with being on polite coughing terms with members of the House of Lords or those who went through Cambridge and became professors. I am not aware if that art ever became common in the US’s Harvard. I have heard in American movies the expression, ‘he is an old Harvard boy, you know.’ It (the art) might have gone trans Atlantic seeing John Harvard was an alumnus from Cambridge. Sniffing out of balloons might well have travelled with him.

The Oostermans never managed to reach that elevated level. I wonder why? It just seems so nice to read about it. Napoleon Brandy conjures up a world of its own. Plush, deeply buttoned leather chairs. The Lords revelled the absence of women. The smoking room and clubs for the privileged! Remember a few weeks ago, a bowling club was disqualified and their license taken away for refusing women as members. Was it in Queensland again? Pauline Hanson with her anti-Islam and Halal certification got 4% of the National vote. Now likely to have three seats in the Senate.

How on earth did clubs came about refusing women? I know that in the past women and children were not allowed in public bars. There was the ‘Lady lounge.’ A room of sherry and shandy sipping, blue tinted hair and rouged cheeks. Back in 1956, my dad, who was an astute observer, noticed this separation of the sexes. It was another one of those features in our new country. It would now be called ‘a challenge’ or finding ‘a solution.’ Today, of course, we all mellow together. Now we would not know what sex people belong to anymore. There is a bewildering variety of choices and sexes out there. You would not know what to find after a romantic evening out, and the question, ‘your place or mine?’ It might be wise to keep the light on very diffused and both hands around the brandy balloon.

The balloon glasses were used so that it would allow hands around it to warm up the brandy. It then released, ever so subtly its mouth-watering aged burnished aromas. Some brandy sniffing enthusiasts used to draw up the brandy through their nostrils, hence the name taking ‘a snifter.'(sniffing) This resulted sometimes in coughing. That’s why in those excusive men’s clubs in England and India, even still today, the polite form of men acknowledging each other was through a well practised cough behind the left hand while holding the balloon behind the back in the right hand. It would be considered bad manners to cough over the balloon. Eye brows would be raised ever so perceptively.

All this apropos to the world being in such turmoil. Countries are exiting long held alliances. Here they are still counting votes. No one is sure anymore and small groups are talking in hushed tones on street corners. In the US, assault weapons are selling like lamingtons here. The Bahamas have issued travel warnings for the US. Some say, if people had more weapons the likelihood of getting shot would be less. One would shoot first. But the last two killings were done by police who thought they were reaching for a gun. Which one is it?

The world would be a better place if more people went for a good bout of polite coughing, and taking a snifter of Napoleon Brandy instead. Of course, in our case it might well be a couple of herrings and a drink of buttermilk.

How Seniors grapple with complications of Governing.

July 7, 2016

Almost There

Almost There


Each evening, and with the demeanour of a black coated undertaker giving a quote for a juicy burial, we get to see our top AEC ( Australian Electioneering Commissioner) scrutineer on the telly, giving us solemnly the latest count on the last Federal Election. This commissioner is without bias and sworn to total independency as far as his political views are concerned. He is neutral. It is why he is very serious in his delivery of the latest numbers. He is so careful and weighs up the words carefully. If he was any more careful he would just cough slightly or wipe his chin adroitly. He looks as if he practised his art in front of his wife, or, in the case of no wife, in front of the mirror.

Now, faced with a battery of cameras he is without doubt having his moment of fame. Not, that he shows any enjoyment. Remember, joy could easily be seen as being biased. It would be surprising if he did not hold a political view. I would bet he is a conservative. How could anyone not become a scrutineer without also devoid of a free spirit? As our chief scrutineer intones the latest figures, the camera takes us to the room where a whole army of scrutineers are counting the voting papers. Row after row of tables covered with both green coloured and white sheets of papers. It is a very complicated affair, and for those not British born, too esoteric too even come close to comprehending. A bit like cricket really. Far too many numbers and variables.

The vote, and that includes all votes apparently, can go elsewhere in a process called ‘giving preferences.’ In a two horse race, ( I just learned this phrase recently) any vote to another party ends up mainly with either the Conservatives (Liberal National Party) or Labor. Labor without the ‘u’ in it! Another mystery. Yet, I remember many years ago back around 1977 or so, when I became an Australian national citizen, things appeared fairly simple. The ceremony for Nationalisation was held at the Sydney Town-Hall. We were given the choice to swear by oath our allegiance to Australia either on the bible or alternatively to the English Queen. I hope I have this right. I remember that it was a difficult choice, as I believe in neither.

Even so, it was a mass ceremony with hundreds of European migrants. No good being surly, and in any case, a cup-o-tea with Arnett’s biscuits, compliments of the salvos followed. I duly went on the stage and was giving a certificate of Australian Nationality. This certificate is in a box somewhere together with my high school diplomas, birth/marriage certificates and other washed up flotsam of time gone by. It is funny, that till this day I am still reluctant to accept so much that seems incomprehensible. This finding of so much that remains incomprehensible is an attitude of the curmudgeon. An obsession with the finicky. Just because I became Australian doesn’t seem to include me in the welcoming psyche of just acceptance on how things can be different in different cultures.

Going back to the voting. I read up about the Westminster system and the Adversarial part of it. I will make greater effort in understanding that the senate voting does not coincide with voting for the lower house except with a double dissolution of both houses. I will try and understand that some senators run for a six year period but others just three years. Further more, I will desist trying to come to grips with the preferential system of voting. I will desists asking; but why? I will resist, writing letters to the ABC, on why I think a multi party system would avoid all those preferential votes going anywhere accept there where the voter voted for.

I want to be a true believer, an Australian.

Senior moments of Australia steeped in political morass.

July 5, 2016

photoThe eight weeks of electioneering in Australia had finally come to an end. The voting had finished at 6pm on the second of July. The counting had started right on cue at all the scrutineering posts. Helvi and I had settled down on the claret coloured settee. Milo had been fed. The wine decanted and breathing heavily. It was all-ready-set-and-go. The TV was switched on soon followed by the sound bar. It is one of those electrifying evenings that one might still talk about for years to come. Forget about Dr Who or God of Thrones. Election night hasn’t been missed for at least thirty years.

The Government funded advertisement free TV station, the ABC, has always been our favoured channel to watch. As the early figures started to come in we were heartened by a swing towards the left. We are left of the centre but not so left as to drop into the stormwater drain of rioting unions or brick throwing bakers. That might be so because of our age. Our brick throwing days are over. If anything could still be thrown it would be a marsh-mellow. We do believe that the rich get smoked salmon and the poor mainly Salvation Army soup. The gap is increasing and the people getting restless.

As the evening wore on and with the wine taking its effect, the two person party in our household was swinging. All caution to the wind. The power of our multi millionaire Prime Minister was drooping. Seat by seat Labor was winning at the expense of the Liberal & Nationals. At the same time it also became clear that the Duopoly of both major parties was being curtailed. Both parties were losing out on the primary vote which went to a bewildering number of smaller parties. Pauline Hanson’s ‘One Nation Party’ did a Lazarus after almost twenty years in the never never wilderness. She sucked in the anti-immigration, anti Muslim, and anti halal certification vote. She made sure that at the election barbeques around her area, all her admiring xenophobes were provided with non-halal sausages. Her prime attraction for voters was to pass a law that would insist on CCTV cameras be installed in all mosques.

At the end of the evening ( and it was now 1.30am) the experts on elections announced the most likely scenario would be another ‘hung government.’ This election was supposed to be to strengthen the Government of the LNP PM’s Malcolm Turnbull grip on the future of Australia. It might take days if not weeks to get a final result. It is likely, another election will be held before Christmas. The reflections by Mr and Mrs Oosterman are, that our PM just did not follow up on the image that we had of an innovative progressive leader. He did not pass legislation on the SSM that the nation overwhelmingly wanted, and instead went for a $150 million plebiscite at the end of this year. The other promise of lowering taxation for businesses at the expense of health and education was also seen as a hand out to the ‘big-end’ of town.

Australia is now faced with uncertainty, yet life goes on. We had a terrific evening. The sun came up, darkness lifted. At least, the LNP are now in a downward spiral. Exciting times ahead. I do hope that the prospects for the refugees on Nauru and Manus Islands will get resolved soon.


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