Bruce Stainsby's Blog: Muttering from the mo

Seagulls and some Americans
share a lot in common.

November 8th, 2023

Have you ever watched a flock of seagulls when there is ‘human food’ to be had?

They may live in a community but it’s a community where the individual rules. 

They are self serving. 

They always put themselves above their cohort. 

If there is any chance that another gull might get to the food first, or even be in a better position to score, they take over. 

With this individualistic approach to life, I can’t help but see similarities with parts of the American culture. 

Many in the US put themselves above the community. They regard their own needs as more important than those of the group. 

The louder I squawk the more attention I get. 

This attitude seems to parallel a certain US president of recent times. 

Australians appear to be fundamentally racist.

November 1st, 2023

This may seem a radical statement, however the result of the recent referendum proves it. Given that not one state voted in favour of indigenous recognition and only the ACT voted in favour. 

It’s not the average Australian that’s to blame but rather the Labour party and the ‘Yes’ Vote’s total lack of communication skills. 

They simply didn’t articulate the argument for the change. 

In contrast the Liberals and ‘No Voters’, understanding this failure, came up with a one line statement that grabbed people. 

‘If you don’t know, vote no.’

Politicians should understand that the average person needs simple explanations, not complex rhetoric. 

‘Joe’ or ‘Julie’ public don’t have the time or the inclination to wade through pro and con arguments.

They want it to be kept simple and that simply didn’t happen. 

To many, my headline that ‘Australians appear to be fundamentally racist’ might seem extreme and inflammatory but that’s how the world has viewed the result. 

The vast majority of the international press articles I have read, expressed a very negative response to the referendum’s outcome. 

For a nation that prides itself on it’s multiculturalism, this is a shocking result.


Surprisingly, I’m agreeing with the church – again.

October 6th, 2023


Back in 2013, I wrote a blog in support of a poster on the facade of St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne. 

That message has remained up there for the last ten years. 

However now it has changed and the new one, again wins my applause. 

This one is in support of the ‘Yes’ vote. 

Good on you St Paul’s, you have hit the mark once more. 

Vote yes.

September 5th, 2023

Surely the original owners of this country, who have been here for over 65,000 years, should have a say in how it’s run. 

In Carlton, even a machine has a living history.

August 4th, 2023

I found this notice above an old biscuit making machine at Brunettis, a restaurant and coffee house in Carlton.

If you read the copy, you will discover it’s all about Pietro Berto. Yes, the machine has a name. He immigrated to Australia, from Italy, in the mid 1950’s.

Now this was about the same time as many Italians came to Melbourne and settled in the Carlton area.

As well as bringing biscuit making machines, more importantly they introduced the Espresso machine to our way of life. And it was from there that Melbourne’s coffee culture was born.

This resulted in Melbourne being voted the World Coffee Capital in 2022.

Carlton has a rich Italian heritage, that is further brought to life by this charming snippet of history.

You will find the words for the notice here:


Hello “Ciao”

My name is Pietro Berto, I was born in Vicenza Italy in the 1940’s.

At the age of 10 I travelled to Roma where I settled for a while and worked in Bar Santa Chiara, near the famous Pantheon. Here I helped make many delicious sweets, enjoyed by many tourists and locals.

At the age of 16, looking for new horizons and wanting to share my skills, I travelled thousands of miles by ship and migrated to Melbourne, Australia. I worked in various “Pasticcerie” in Melbourne, but finally settled here at Brunetti. I have been responsible for all the delicious almond biscuits you have enjoyed over the last 30 years.

I am now in my 70’s and have recently retired, but don’t worry I have passed on all my recipes and skills to my son, Pietro Jr. who will continue my legacy. Between you and I, the young generation are excellent in many things, but they just lack the toughness of us old guys.

P.S I love having my photo taken so #brunettiselfie and I can share it with all my friends!

Also don’t forget to try Pietro Jnr’s Biscuits!

I just couldn’t help myself.

July 2nd, 2023

So many people around the world think it, I just had to visualise it.

This logo stands for nothing, just like the company.

June 26th, 2023

PwC or Price Waterhouse Cooper, is a company that is well known in financial circles.

But now it’s known nation-wide – for all the wrong reasons. 

I had heard of PwC but never been exposed to their corporate identity, until now.

However as this visual abhorrence keeps on featuring nightly in the news, I realised that there was a real connection between the logo and the company image – both are bad.

Below is a quote from the ABC’s business reporter, Daniel Ziffer, that really sums up just how rotten they are:

(PwC) “…..being involved in shaping secret government tax plans and then creating and selling a scheme to thwart them to multinational companies dubbed the ‘Dirty 30’.”

Now, in a last minute act of guilt, they have sold off all their government business for $1. 

Of course this doesn’t take into account the millions they have already made fraudulently.

PwC is a large company and I am sure they would have paid a respected design firm a good price for this logo disaster.

I can only speculate that the client got their way with the design and the designers just took the money and ran.

If I were them, I’m not sure what I would be more embarrassed about now.

The logo or the company it represents.

When a good idea gets compromised.

May 27th, 2023

Supermarket trolleys have been around for quite some time.

The first one was invented in June 1937 by Sylvan Goldman, the owner of the Humpty Dumpty supermarket chain in Oklahoma, USA.

He simply took a folding wooden chair, attached wheels to the legs and a basket on the seat. He had already pioneered the idea of a self-serving store, so this was a natural progression.

Sylvan saw it as a way to get customers to purchase more, because they could carry more, on each trip to the store.

They were also seen to be of benefit to the customers, especially getting around the store and then to their vehicle or whatever form of transport they used to get home.

However now, because so many are abandoned, they are seen as nuisance.

And the supermarkets only have themselves to blame.

When some supermarket chains introduced the ‘pay to borrow’ concept the number of abandoned trolleys reduced dramatically.

The refundable $1 and $2 coins was enough incentive for people to return them to the racks. 

As is always the case, there were still lazy buggers who couldn’t be bothered and didn’t mind forfeiting their money. However this was counteracted by the people who couldn’t see the money go to waste. They were very happy to get some free cash and would willingly return other people’s trolleys, even if it meant a short walk back to the supermarket racks.

Then the supermarkets introduced plastic tokens, to replace the real money, and the entire system started to fall apart.

And they gave the tokens away. 

Now there was absolutely no incentive to return your trolley. Which is surprising, from the supermarket’s perspective, as a trolley can cost anywhere from $300, for a basic model, to $600 for a large child enabled one.

Some local councils put the onus of retrieving abandoned trolleys back onto the supermarkets. But this is just a bandaid and doesn’t take into account the inherent laziness of many people.

Apparently Coles are currently trialing the use of a QR code on their trolleys.

Firstly you have to download the app, then sign up to a Coles account. Once that is done you then have to scan the trolley and purchase a refundable digital token worth $2.

Once you have returned the trolley and rescanned the code again your money will be refunded.

So paying for a trolley has come full circle.

However this also has its downside.

With more and more personal data being compromised, just look at the Lattitude Financial debacle, people are unwilling to sign up to yet another scheme. 

Then there’s the fact that we still have a large group of ‘Boomers’ who just don’t get the digital age. They still visit a bank, carry cash and post letters to their friends.

They are being left out of so much and now the simple task of getting a trolley might yet be another example of contemporary life just abandoning them.

Why the supermarkets don’t just return to the old system of ‘cash for a trolley’ is beyond me.

Whatever happened to original architecture?

April 26th, 2023

In domestic architecture the ‘Hampton Style’ is popping up all over Australia, even in Hampton, here in Melbourne.

But it’s not from here. 

The current iteration comes from The Hamptons, on the East Coast of Long Island in New York.

Even this style was influenced by Colonial India.

The Indian Bungalow, known as a ‘Bangla’ originated in Bengal between the 1760s and 1850s and was developed to house British colonial officials.

This style was first introduced into Australia in the 1840s and became known as the ‘Queenslander’.

In the past, the United States had Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) and Australia had Robin Boyd (1919-1971). However in the last 50 years, no one seems to have stepped up to leave their mark on domestic architecture.

I have always bitched about the lack of originality, especially in the US. 

However now we seem to have adopted their boring approach of just copying the past.

The best of both worlds.

March 23rd, 2023

On a recent ‘overseas trip’, well it was over the bay to Queenscliff, we visited the Queenscliff Brewhouse for lunch.

This is a great craft brewery and restaurant, just a short walk from the ferry terminal.

There I had an IPA (India Pale Ale), which isn’t unusual, but the beer certainly was.

It was described as a Chardonnay IPA.

I got chatting to a guy, who was sitting at a table near by, and he believed it was matured in Chardonnay oak barrels, which made perfect sense.

Then I got talking to the manager and got the full picture. He took me behind the bar and showed me the ‘Barman’s briefing notes’ that were attached to the beer tap.

And sure enough, it was matured in Chardonnay barrels but it also contained 7% of the wine itself.

It was a great American, West Coast style, IPA with a fruity character, obviously helped by the inclusion of the Chardonnay.

If you like your wine but want a beer, this is for you.