Archive for the ‘Comment’ Category

Two red shoes.

Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

At the start of the pedestrian area in Agrigento, Sicily, we came across this monument to the victimisation of women. 

Thea interpreted the plaque to read:

‘In memory of all the (women) victims of violence so that they can tell their story without silence and arouse conscience and civility’.

Given what we have experienced recently in Australia, I think there should be one of these in every Australian town and city. 

It might just jog the conscience of some of the many perpetrators. 

Summer of 2022.
Part 3: Granada with the family.

Monday, April 29th, 2024

June 29, 2022. Lisbon, Portugal to Granada, Spain. 

We arrived into Granada late in the day and got settled into our apartment.

Then we all went out for dinner with the family.

It was great to get everyone together, especially our two young granddaughters.

The plan was to get the cousins, Aida and Brianna, together, before the wedding in Rome, so they could get to know each other.

June 30, 2022. Granada, Spain. 

We were in another Airbnb, which was yet another example of how poor the system has become. 

I believe that these places are never tested, by real people, to see if they are usable. 

There was one huge pot to boil water, no dishwasher and no tea towels, a washing machine but no pegs.

Also there was nowhere to hang bath towels to dry and there was a bathroom door that couldn’t be shut, let alone locked.

And this was a three bedroomed apartment, so more than likely the facilities would need to be shared.

After breakfast and discovering all the foibles of our Airbnb, we went off in search of a playground.

An essential activity when there are kids travelling with you.

It was then was back to our rooms to tend to washing and a bit of ‘housekeeping’ like onward bookings and reconciling the last week’s family expenses in Portugal with Ev and Steph.

That night it was another dinner with the family.

This time it was at Capitán Amargo (Captain Bitter) a craft brewery. This wasn’t Hayden and Andrea’s first choice, as that was booked out.

It certainly would have been mine. 

The local craft beer was excellent, as was the food. 

 

Capitán Amargo (Captain Bitter) Craft Brewery

July 1, 2022. Granada, Spain. 

As the big event on the upcoming calendar was the wedding in Rome the ‘girls’ needed haircuts.

Granada is Andrea’s home town, so it was left to her to select and book the salon.

That night it was another dinner with the family. We were sitting outside the restaurant and looking up at the Alhambra.

What a unique Granada experience to have while eating.

After dinner we all had an ice cream at a Heladeria los Italianos. This Italian gelateria has become an institution in Granada.

It certainly pays to have local knowledge.

Everything operates on a different time zone in this part of Spain. 

At 2pm, sharp, the city shuts down for lunch and then siesta. Dinner doesn’t really get going until at least 9pm, however 10pm seems to be a very popular time to start.

At 11:30 the streets are still full of people.

 

Alhambra in the background

July 2, 2022. Granada, Spain.

Another consequence of the upcoming wedding was that we needed to get congratulatory cards for Cam and Fran.

It wasn’t that easy, however, as usual, El Corte Inglés came to the rescue.

In Spain we have always found this department store to have ‘whatever’ we needed.

We then found more playgrounds, to entertain the little girls, and afterwards spent more time just wandering the streets of Granada.

That night it was Brianna’s early third birthday celebrations at Sonia and Toni’s. It was a warm night and the little girls and their dads all went for a dip in the pool.

Brianna’s birthday celebration was about a week early as she was going to be in Rome for the wedding on her actual birthday.

July 3, 2022. Granada, Spain.

This was our last day in Granada, as we were headed to Barcelona tomorrow.

Our flight was at midday, so there wouldn’t be much time to do anything more than pack and get the to airport.

I have always enjoyed Spanish coffee but after the last few weeks I feel that it isn’t as good as what we had in Portugal.

It was the size of serve and the strength that made the Portuguese coffee more enjoyable.

Look what was staring at me.

Monday, February 26th, 2024

On our trip north last year, we were having dinner in our apartment near Torquey, Queensland and I got rather a shock. 

I went to serve myself some salad and this little feller was staring at me from the bowl. 

I doubt a really good food stylist could create this, even if they tried.

It was just a freak of nature.

You Don’t Own Me.

Saturday, January 27th, 2024

 

At night, we very often listen to Spotify and most often we listen to the songs of our era.

These I regard as the soundtracks to our lives.

Just recently Lesley Gore’s 1963 hit single ‘You Don’t Own Me’ was playing. As I listened to the lyrics, I thought just how far ahead of its time this song was.

It was Gore’s second most successful hit after ‘It’s My Party’ recorded in her debut album of 1963, when she was only 16 years of age.

‘You Don’t Own Me’ was also a winner in the pop charts, reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964, where it stayed for three weeks.

Its rival for the top spot was taken by the Beatles ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’.

Surprisingly it was written by two blokes, David White and John Madara.

I wonder what their mates thought of this song back then.

Since its recording the song has been hailed as an early feminist anthem. It has been seen as a deciding factor in influencing the Second Wave Feminist Movement, that started in the early 1960s.

In 2016 it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Better late than never. 

Gore was very much our contemporary, being born in New York City in 1946. She unfortunately died, at a relatively early age in 2015, aged 68.   

Just read the lyrics and you will understand what I’m saying about the song.

Lyrics: 

You don’t own me

I’m not just one of your many toys

You don’t own me

Don’t say I can’t go with other boys

And don’t tell me what to do

Don’t tell me what to say

And please, when I go out with you

Don’t put me on display ’cause

You don’t own me

Don’t try to change me in any way

You don’t own me

Don’t tie me down ’cause I’d never stay

I don’t tell you what to say

I don’t tell you what to do

So just let me be myself

That’s all I ask of you

I’m young and I love to be young

I’m free and I love to be free

To live my life the way I want

To say and do whatever I please

And don’t tell me what to do

Oh, don’t tell me what to say

And please, when I go out with you

Don’t put me on display

I don’t tell you what to say

Oh, don’t tell you what to do

So just let me be myself

That’s all I ask of you

I’m young and I love to be young

I’m free and I love to be free

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

Friday, 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.

Tuesday, 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. 

I just couldn’t help myself.

Sunday, 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.

Monday, 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.

Saturday, 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?

Wednesday, 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.