Posts Tagged ‘TV’

Autumn is leaving its leaves.

May 24, 2019

I leafed through the book on leaves.IMG_0125autumn.JPG

Autumn leaves.

Autumn is almost gone but with the warm weather it has been dawdling and only now the leaves are leaving. In a week’s time it will be winter and yet many trees are still in leaf. I took the above photo to preserve how beautiful leaves can be. Back some decades ago, I went through a period of drying leaves in books but still remember how a fascinating discovery it would be coming across those after a year or so, when opening the book.

I sometimes wonder what will be still showing when autumn befalls us and what be left of any of us? A photo album, my postage stamp collection, a few boxes of photos, copies of rate notices? A faded marriage certificate? (With many, perhaps divorce certificates). I recently found a yellowed certificate of quantity-surveying together with one of printmaking including lithography. What will be made of us when a great-great-great-great grand child in two hundred years time will decide to dig into their heritage and open up the drawers to find those long lost dusty remnants of our lives?

The beauty of a nice fall preceding a good refreshing winter is that it gives a chance on reflection. How did it all go? Sure, a good melancholy has always been welcome, give a philosophical escape, especially in late autumn. Many escape reflecting on the past, and find escape in petrol driven leaf-blowers or go gambling at a club, watch footy on TV or worse,  give vent to a hopeless despair by denigrating Muslims or the Chinese.

For many the watching of falling leaves has a lot going for it. It gives a respite. I love it!

The Falling Leaves

November 1915
Today, as I rode by,
I saw the brown leaves dropping from their tree
In a still afternoon,
When no wind whirled them whistling to the sky,
But thickly, silently,
They fell, like snowflakes wiping out the noon;
And wandered slowly thence
For thinking of a gallant multitude
Which now all withering lay,
Slain by no wind of age or pestilence,
But in their beauty strewed
Like snowflakes falling on the Flemish clay.
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Balm for the saddened heart.

March 21, 2019

 

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’.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09c4ppc

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.

Rather Cloudy and warm with a chance of Rain and Cyclone Oma.

February 22, 2019
Image result for cyclone oma track map
Cyclone ‘Oma.’

Australia must be desperate for news when half the TV News-time is taken up by dire warnings of a hurricane bearing down on the East Australian Coast. Nothing is sure yet. A man with a small face wearing glasses is brought to the camera to explain the latest about this hurricane that has now been ‘bearing’ down for at least a week. Warnings about giant waves are interspersed with footage of surfers happily riding those big waves. Drone shots are shown of Gold Coast skyscrapers perilously close to the breaking waves. The BOM ( Bureau of Metereology)  man on TV tries to spin it as long as possible and now shows maps of large circles and a red centre. It shows New Caledonia on its right and the Australian coast on the left. Cyclone Oma is still 1200 kilometres from Australia but large waves have already arrived.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-22/cyclone-oma-weakens-to-stay-off-queensland-coast/10834820

We normally pay the weather little attention and know it roughly behaves as it does. Why it is part of the News is a mystery. I remember that in the past, farmers used to study the sky and figure out what the weather was likely to do. Even so, we too take some notice of the weather that is yet to come. The map on TV shows the name of towns and have either a sun, cloud or rain droplets displayed above them. The weatherman rattles off the future chances of wind, sun, rain or even snow and does it with an air of someone announcing the upcoming marriage of the Pope. One ABC weatherman has a curious way of lifting his left foot up on its heel while pivoting around back to his map. When he is finished he is curtly thanked by the News reader and that’s that.

I suppose with the impending tornado, nature is forcing us to become more attentive. A flood, a tsunami, blizzards or any other localized  apocalypse, the forecasters do get our attention more than the average weather forecast or news of a baby that is held upside down by its feet for alternative spinal manipulation.. The trouble when a tornado goes on too long, it wears us out and we slip away again. It is when a Prime minister arrives on the screen, wearing rubber boots and a face mask that we get to sit upright again. The TV screen shows us the wrinkled face of a farmer, hoisting by the help of his tractor, a cow’s carcass out of the mud.  Our PM, Mr Morrison, all puckered by concern mumbles a few inanities feigning concern but fully concentrated on future votes. I fear, with the resignation of M/s Bishop, chances of the party holding on to power has now slipped away altogether. However, don’t underestimate the anti refugee mob! The pot of hatred is being stirred again.

The weather is so much kinder, isn’t?

A case made for change.

January 27, 2019

Image result for Power outages hit Melbourne, regional Victoria

With the present heat-wave seemingly continuing, it presses home climate change. People were shown on TV, cooking eggs on their car roofs. In one case someone was also baking butter-cookies on the bitumen road. The Government through radio and TV urged people to conserve energy, not use the washing machine, TVs, irons, and limit hot water. They feared electric outages. That fear was realised when in Victoria there were electric outages affecting 200.000 people for up to two hours. But, to start cooking on the top of cars or on the hot bitumen is not for the elderly. We can go without cookies or eggs for two hours. In any case, here in Bowral we had no outages and did not see any outdoor cooking by pensioners.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-25/extreme-heat-for-victoria-melbourne-hottest-day-in-a-decade/10748330

It is absolutely astonishing that in Australia with so much sun and wind, governments have neglected to provide for such a comparative small population enough energy to not run short during hot days or very cold days. One of the reasons is of course, that this government is of a horse and buggy era. They believe in a flat earth and chicken feather future telling. It is so neglectful I wonder if a court case could be mounted by a clever lawyer suing the government for neglect? People are dying out of climate change neglect, and the government is responsible.

All housing, with proper planning, could have double glazing and reverse-cycle air-conditioning as being part of standard construction. Dark roofs should be banned, especially in the hot northern states. I notice that seas of charcoal roofs on houses are spreading around Sydney’s outer edges. Are the inhabitants going to fry eggs on their roofs, or make a lamb-curry (with lots of turmeric) on the dark concrete driveway? Is this what Messrs. Dutton, Abbott, and Morrison want?

Anyway, folks. The end of being deprived by reasonable Governments is nigh. Ministers of the Liberals are lining up in resigning. The few women in this government have left of bullying by rogue males. Some wit wrote, ‘that the only woman left in parliament is Christopher Pine. Very witty, I thought. Let’s hope that the Liberals will be gone for at least ten years and that the Labour will fulfil at least the obligation to wholeheartedly fund renewable energy. It’s not rocket science. It is proving itself all over the world. We should be leading not lagging.

The Hydrangeas are coming.

December 17, 2018

IMG_0225The Hydrangia

The Hydrangea.

It always seems that when Christmas gets closer the days give up less of their time for the normal things to do. This morning at 8.45 we had an another appointment at the local hospital. Just a routine visit but the waiting room was already crowded. The oncologist who saw us said; ‘Christmas is a crazy time’, the sooner it gets past, the better’. This was wholeheartedly agreed. Helvi said a few weeks ago; ‘oh dear, Christmas is coming. We so much like normal times.’ The waiting room was so full, we stood upright, no empty chair, and the TV was on some commercial channel espousing the benefits of a face-cream, guaranteed to take wrinkles away. Most of the patients were glued to it, I suppose, any promise is better than none, even though no cream has ever taken away a single wrinkle. We believe in magic as we believe in a jolly Christmas. The doctor told us he read somewhere that thirty days of food are bought for just one single day when the shops are closed. I enthusiastically added; ‘. We have seen people buying complete trays of mangoes and 5kilo hams.’

So when we got home, we took Milo for a walk hoping he would do his ‘business’ under the bushes. He is very hygienic normally and have no need to take a plastic bag with us in case he does it on the food-path. He did it once in front of a kitchen shop and people were hopping about, while Helvi quick as a flash distanced herself from me and Milo. However, he again happened to do it on the street in front of some pedestrians, but I pretended not to have noticed and bravely walked on. ‘ Hey, someone shouted, look at this,’ pointing to the still steaming little tart. I joked, ‘I did not do it.’ The woman looked totally perplexed but lacked humour. ‘Of course, you did not do it, your dog did. Go and do the right thing.’

Helvi was furious with me, especially when it was added, ‘finders keepers’ to the humourless woman. All social graces seem to have gone. Where are the good old day when there was laughter about? Is this the Christmas spirit so many bang on about?Surely, no one could have taken my remarks seriously?

When we got home  and things cooled down, Milo looked me in the eye. He winked. What do you feel about the above Hydrangea? Isn’t it a beauty?.

 

Shopping perils.

July 24, 2018
Image result for shoppers

 

I like shopping. Supermarkets are my second home. I like the way to try and untangle the shopping trolley. And that is just the beginning. I hope for shoppers that have trouble to untangle a trolley. I then like to offer my help. At the end of our shopping expedition I sometimes help a customer retrieve their trolley deposit from the slotted device. You can only get the return of the coin by joining the trolley to  the stationary queue of trolleys. For some shoppers retrieving that coin is difficult. Their elderly hands might be rheumatically contorted. That’s when I offer my help again. So do other shoppers. A working together community. Elderly shoppers don’t give up easily. They keep going stoically and with determination.

Shopping with my wife is the norm. It has worked for decades. It is almost an institution. Through the years a kind of shopping etiquette between us has formed. I do the trolley duties including opening the car, getting the bags, clutching my trolley coin in right hand, and then wrestling with trolley. Some trolleys have a mind of their own and are unwilling to go into the direction they are being pushed to. Helvi likes to do shopping by perusing. She insists on looking at the item for enough time before it percolates into action. Only after that has taken place she will place it in my trolley. I never understood what one gets out of looking at potatoes. But, I just accept. I always push the trolley. Helvi never does! It is my domain.

Because of the perusal shopping habits by my wife I have taken to following her dutifully from behind. The middle isles at Aldi’s are the slowest.  They carry non-food items. This is where mainly women are to be found. Men only congregate around the power-tools or sets of multiple screwdrivers. Each Wednesday there are new items. Most of them are of utensil or household varieties but can include fashion, ski apparel, chairs, TV’s and lots of kitchen gadgets. Some of the uses are too esoteric for me to comprehend. These aisles can still at times cause some marital friction. I have to be extra beware not to make snide remarks. Last week there were large rubber balls to roll-around over to become athletic and slim again. ‘Athletic, with row after row of sugary drinks, acres of chocolate and lollies, I suggested?’  ‘Don’t always be so negative’, Helvi said.

I have a roll of calming mints just in case.

The ultimate of self-control is mustered when we get to a new supply of beauty products/pharmaceuticals, especially creams and re-hydrating ointments including carotene make-up with celery extract. The worst are the moisturising creams and hair-colouring divisions. I get close to feeling sick. There is something about that section that I need support with. I end up leaning against a shelf. I need support, almost medical intervention. It is so boring. Helvi knows it but takes no notice. She knows the ritual and tells me, ‘Just go to the frozen fish section.’  ‘I need more time, she says.’ She knows I like prawns and salmon. Of course, she is right. I don’t mind the perusing of fruit and veggies, fish. Why then the impatience at the middle aisles, especially the beauty articles.

Could it be the profusion of so many beauty articles in the bathroom already?

But as always. It comes to an end.I load the car up and return the trolley. I get my coin. We drive home.

Till, next time.

 

Fitness pains.

July 5, 2018
Image result for Lycra bike gear for men

 

Most of us might be drawn to TV programs heralding the need for fitness. We are so often being told we excel in being the most obese country in the world. Some advice was given a few weeks ago, when shopping, to only shop amongst the outer aisles  and avoid the inner sanctum of supermarkets. Those inner aisles contain the worst of food aiding our spreading waistlines. That’s were the packets of chips, lollies, endless varieties of  jars of sauces hang out together with miles of soft drinks and utensils in which to cook or boil the fattening sugar loaded foods. Generally, the outer supermarket aisles have the nutritious vegetables and dairy sections to linger about in. This is also the area where more interesting people are to be found. You can tell the nutrition focussed shopper there, lists in hand ticking off the yoghurt (Greek). A serious readings of advice on the different butter-milks, the latest seeds from Bolivia and Peru. Many of us have jute cloth bags, and wear spectacles with a serious demeanour pointed towards those with Coke in their shopping trolleys..

During the last TV show it was about doing exercises. The opinion of experts was to try and do 10.000 steps a day. I can’t imagine us reaching such a level of ennui that we would walk and count each step. One need no fear of that ever happening to us. A friend informed us you can buy a strapped on gadget  that does the counting for you. It does a lot more. The gadget counts calories used, blood pressure, weight, steps up ( ascent but not descent) and lots more. They are called ‘Fitbits’. This is a generic name for different brands of physical tracking devices ranging in cost from $20.- to $600.- or even more. Many sports people use them. On a Saturday morning one can often observe bike riders checking their Fitbits while enjoying a skimmed milk latte. Did you know that those fanatic bike riders don’t wear underwear underneath their lycra skin-stretched bike gear? I don’t mind but please don’t stand too close to my Cappuccino with croissant.

We decided, after watching another fitness program, to rush out to buy our own Fitbits. We, ever so naively thought one could wear them just like a watch. However, after strapping them on and pushing a button nothing happened. Mind you, I did note that on the packaging the words ‘android’ and Blue tooth’ were mentioned. How is it that we keep getting fooled about this modern technology. The counting of those exercise steps is far from being simple.  One needs the gadget to be joined to the web through Blue tooth. I tried and tried. We ended phoning up our friends with Fitbits but nothing worked. I was asked for my Apple I.D and that involved entering my Apple password. You must be kidding me! Blue tooth? Android? What country is that?

Needles to say we rushed back to Bing Lee and fortunately we got our $378.- dollars back. Hoorah! I started delving into the different gadgets of measuring steps and lo and behold, our iPhone has that capacity.  What a discovery. Every late model of  Apple iPhone has a pink coloured app with a heart on it which is a health app. that measures the basic movements of your body. So, till 1pm today I have done 3800. steps and climbed stairs 4 times.

I am feeling fitter already.

The round-trip to the clinic.

April 24, 2018
IMG_20150516_0006

Table setting. Hand coloured etching.

 

Today we drove for the 7th time to a special clinic for radiation. There and back is around 140KM. We drive at around 100km an hour. The car has speed control. However, the use of it gives my foot a cramp. I prefer to keep working the pedal. There is also something frightening of a car going on its own volution. I am not sure about sitting in a self-drive vehicle. In any case we will be driving for many days yet, with a total of 25-35 radiation treatments.

The clinic itself is a jolly experience. This is surprising. Most or all of the patients have some kind of cancer. Perhaps the fear of getting cancer has at least been relieved by the certainty of the patients’ diagnoses. There is no more doubt. Still, jolliness and having cancer seems an oxymoron. The clinic has two waiting rooms. One has a TV which is always on, droning on a commercial channel most of the time.  The inane dribble on channel 7 by incessantly smirking presenters will do no good to any patient, not even those that are jolly and in remission. I change it over to the National Broadcaster’s news, ABC, channel 24. This gives News. Even there, the announcers seem to be laughing all the time too. I wonder what do they suffer from? Is the news from the Trump’s US or Syria so hilarious? Perhaps the TV bosses tell the announcers to be cheerful despite the carnage shown.  It surprises me that no one protests when I change the channel. Mind you, no one watches it much. They prefer to talk.

The other waiting room is a better place. They have bookshelves with many books to either read while waiting or take home in exchange for books patients might like to swap with. In any case, both rooms have patients waiting for treatment. Most have a specific given time and as the treatment only lasts a few minutes, many are in and out quickly. The undressing and re-dressing takes more time. The atmosphere is of geniality. I suppose there is a solid common bond. They all have cancer. The radiation perhaps also aids with a kind of warming glow. Shared problems together is a great binder and the laughter in the waiting rooms reflects this very well. Each time we leave the clinic we are both in great spirits.

Maarten is one of the patients whose time of treatment coincides of that of Helvi. He is Dutch born and 82 years old. He arrived here with his parents in 1953. I did in 1956. His Dutch language is still fluent and so is his brain. His parents settled in Wollongong with his father building a house there. He told me he created a Dutch choir in Wollongong which is still ongoing. Maarten also plays a recorder  and when well enough attends courses run by U3A. http://sohiu3a.org.au/   I think he likes classical music. I will ask him next time.  I am a sucker for classical music.

We meet each day at the clinic together with many others. Many arrive by Community buses with carers. Some are in wheel-chairs. We met a couple. The wife gets her nose radiated. She suffers a melanoma and hopes the treatment will prevent losing her nose. Perhaps in total, we spend at the most 45 minutes at this clinic.  We drive home and sometimes take a lunch at the Sushi take away in Mittagong or the Thai place back home in Bowral.  The daily trip means we have to put travel on hold. But, the experience each day at the clinic is a good compromise. Perhaps not a holiday but a good unexpected bonus of joy with strong people on the edge. The snippets of social exchanges between other patients is very exhilarating.

We  like the daily visits.

The lie of “it isn’t cricket.”

March 26, 2018

 

002

Our Grandsons at earlier times. Now teenagers!

 

A few days ago the ABC featured an article whereby fathers were trying to come to grips with the upbringing of boys. It was a father and sons article. It featured a photo of young smiling boys with cricket bats in their hands. The perfect roll model for creating future generations of wholesome men. It was presumed that young boys could not fail but to grow up as honourable and steadfastly focussed in pursuing a life on being good and caring adults. Learning cricket with fathers is sure-fire antidote for young boys to the dreadful Trump and Weinstein culture now so pervasive all around them.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2018-03-24/how-junior-sport-can-help-teach-boys-to-be-good-men/1744754

And then the biggest scandal in cricket exploded. Australia has always been a country of cricket. I remember during the first year of having arrived in Australia I became curious about the steady serious drone of male commentators on radios filtering through the venetian blinds of the suburban street walking on my way home from work. . When I inquired, I was told ‘it is cricket’, ‘don’t you know?’

We now know that the expression; “it isn’t cricket” has to undergo some serious revision. ‘Cheating’ is now embedded in cricket. The fall of this sport from grace is spectacularly shown on every front page and on every TV channel. The cricket ball was tampered with. Every few minutes we are shown the video in slow motion of a world famous cricketer trying to hide a small piece of yellow tape in his underpants. This piece of tape was supposed to alter the cricket ball’s curvature and spin when hurled through the sky on its way to the wooden bat and so presumably give an unfair advantage to one side of the playing teams. The plot to cheat was apparently hatched when during a spell they all were drinking cups of tea. The cricket Captain was involved during the tea break and it met the approval of those ready to win at all cost.

Anyway. For those with long memories, I have always maintained that as long as any sport is run maniacally to win at all cost, it will sooner or later come to a sad end. I even suggested and fostered the idea to have losers declared to be the winners at times. In other words, enjoy the playing of the game no matter what the outcome. Winning is all so overrated.

There are all sorts of sport worms now coming to the fore. In Rugby, rorting with salaries is now being exposed. In cycling a champion had to give up his medals because of taking cycling enhancing drugs. Russian sports people are banned for doping and heaven know what else.  One burly Australian footballer went on a rampage in New York City assaulting a family with children and is welcomed back into his rugby team. Can you believe it?  He hasn’t even apologised and paid the amount of compensation as demanded in a Court of Law.

http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/aussie-league-stars-new-york-rampage-i-didnt-know-when-help-was-going-to-come/news-story/257c6eb3211f91cb63801ff2a96e357d

Well, young fathers; I would give visiting sports venues with young sons ( why not daughters as well?) a miss for a while. What’s wrong with a nice outing to a library or art gallery, let the kids run wild amongst friendly non combatting books or soak up a good nicely coloured Chagall painting?

It might do some good. Sport is just not ‘cricket’ anymore. That is a great pity!

 

Watch the Matildas wipe AFL and Rugby out of the sporting pages and (lack) marriage equality.

September 21, 2017
Image result for sam kerr backflip

                          Sam Kerr doing the backflip

Move over boys, the women are coming! Nothing has been more exciting than watching women take over the back-page sporting pages away from the men, and not before time. The on-field backflips of Sam Kerr are sweeping the world.

I am normally not interested much in sport and find it a great pity that one is forced to endure sport before the  weather forecast. I often forego the weather report in order to miss a particularly ear-grating sport commentator. The horror of discovering, after our arrival in 1956, that a sport was being played in Australia with a ball that wasn’t round has never really left.

The Australian all girl soccer team of the Matildas is now winning over the admiration of many if not all. The reluctance of allowing women sport to be equal to that of men isn’t yet totally won over, but it is happening. They still play in lesser stadiums and earning lesser pay but the enthusiasm of the crowds are rising rapidly. The Matildas thrice win against Brazil was the clincher. A full proof sign that it is gaining momentum is the fact that our grandsons and their mates are now watching the women soccer games being played on TV.

The spectacular backflips of the main striker Sam Kerr after scoring her goals, are shown world-wide and grabbing attention that could not be improved upon no matter how well the advertising of sponsors.

It’s almost pushing the Same Sex Marriage debate off the news.

Last week on Q&A ( question and answer)  the Israeli politician Merav Michaeli was on the panel who  was sceptical of all marriages and concerned about the effects of break-up marriages on children, the equal rights of property division etc.

“Israeli parliament Merav Michaeli, whose reaction to Seselja’s meandering celebration of heterosexual marriage alongside his scaremongering over the school curriculum was best captured by guest host Virginia Trioli.Trioli to Michaeli: “You didn’t let Zed Seselja get through that answer without lowering your eyes. You have a jaundiced view of this institution?”

Jaundiced isn’t the half of it: “It was created back at the time when we women were commodities, as were children, as were men without property and of other colours. This is not something that we should maintain in the world when we realise all of us are human beings. It is not about love. 

“I realise the campaign says that love is equal. Love is definitely equal. It’s got nothing to do with this institution. This was a tool that was made to dominate women for the sake of reproduction. For men to have legal custody over children which are to the largest I would say chance of certainty their own flesh and blood. This is not something we should sustain.”

The best answer for the ‘yes’ vote was giving by a member of the audience who stated that a ‘no’ vote meant that the marriage between heterosexual people was the only moral right way, and that the ‘yes’ vote was  wrong denying the rights of marriage between people born with different orientations, implying that being different was inherently wrong and of a lesser value.

Of course, no one is obliged to marry, no matter how equal it hopefully might become.

My ‘yes’ vote is in the post.