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Monday, April 3, 2017

Paris

I have been in Paris during the last week visiting my daughter and her family. I have posted on Facebook daily but never seem to get time to write a blog. I have posted lots of photos on Facebook. Having discovered the magic of the exposure triangle I am giving it a solid workout. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Las Vegas

Friday

I got on a plane in Indianapolis and landed in one of the circles of hell. I should have known this from the plane trip. There was a drunk woman sitting behind me and she shouted and shrieked for the entire excruciating 3.5 hour trip. I think she may also vomited and defecated but I did not dare look. 

I have never seen anything like the Venetian hotel. I never wish to see anything like it again. If I was wearing a jock strap and sandals I would be overdressed here. There are poker machines in the airport. There are poker machines everywhere. And they smoke everywhere - EVERY FUCKING WHERE!

To get to our room we have to walk miles through acres of poker machines and smokers. 

We had dinner in a French restaurant and it was expensive so we figured that we would avoid most of the drunken women with their tits hanging out and the men with green hair and green shirts vomiting into the pot plants. 

It was so dark the only way I could read the menu was to photograph it with my iPhone and enlarge it on the screen. 

It's very noisy here we said to the receptionist and yes she said it is St Patrick's day and also MARCH MADNESS. 

This apparently causes many young people in America to congregate in places like Las Vegas and drink themselves insensible and wake up in the morning covered in vomit and semen. 

We did not venture outside. We asked where the quietest bar was and were directed to a place where there appeared to be a couple of hundred people engaged in hand to hand combat accompanied by heavy metal music and TV screens showing snuff porn. 

We went back to our room and ordered a $12 bottle of Pinot Grigio. This translated into a check for $120 but if you need to drink yourself insensible money is no object.

Saturday

Today we went to Death Valley. It was very hot and very stark. It looks like most of America will look like after 4 years of Trump. 

I did not bring my camera on this trip because I did not think we would be touring the countryside. However - after in evening in Las Vegas we decided we needed to escape. It was not like I expected it to be but was sensational scenery. People camp out - in RVs of course - to see the night sky. 

Tonite we went to see Cirque de Soleil at the MGM Grand. This was about a mile from our hotel and it was hot so I said to Cate that we should catch a cab. No we will walk she said. I have never experienced anything quite like it. The strip is hard to describe but imagine more people you have ever seen in one place in your life all wearing clothes that look like they have been fired backwards through a thrift shop and - toss in a helping of drunks, panhandlers and near naked women - add excruciating music bellowing from every restaurant and shop and you are starting to get the idea. 

Most people seem to dress like they are just about to go to bed or else they woke up naked and in a drunken stupor after a party and put on what they could find in the trash can. 

It took us 40 minutes to walk a mile because there are many, many unavoidable detours as you are funneled into drinking, music and shopping areas. By the time we got to the hotel Cate was crippled with blisters and was hobbling. 

The MGM Grand is as terrifying as most other hotels but we found a very nice Italian restaurant and steadied our nerves with Lasagna and Soave. The show was wonderful. We got a cab home and crashed.

On this trip we used this Allegiant Air because it is the only one that goes from Indy to Las Vegas direct. We will basically do anything to avoid transiting through Chicago

This is one of those airlines where you pay to select a seat and pay to carry a bag on board and pay to get priority boarding. There is a box for donations on the way out of the plane.

When we first got TSA pre approval there were not too many people who used the facility. The TSA pre lane is the one where you do not have to remove your shoes and belt and take your iPad out of your bag. 

These days it is always immensely crowded and it is quicker to go through the non TSA pre lane. But we generally don't do it because we cannot be bothered taking shoes and belts off. 

Also in the TSA pre lane people are not shouted at quite so much. It makes me nervous when security people shout at me for an infraction I was not aware that I committed. There are so many possible infractions that there should be a manual and exams. 

They are always shouting SIR! SIR! you cannot……..

These people lie awake at night thinking about new tortures for passengers. I guess I would too if I was paid so little for dealing with an endless line of grumpy and whimpering passengers. 


In the Venetian monstrosity in which we stayed there was no way to the rooms except via the casino. I guess all the hotels are the same. We would not mind this except that smoking is allowed in the casino and we had to run the gauntlet every time we went out and came back. 

This is because many chronic gamblers are addicted to smoking. So in most parts of the USA you cannot smoke because smoking and passive smoking are lethal. But in Las Vegas your money is much more important than your health. So go broke and die. 

In the elevators the music being played is all classical and we heard Pachelbel and Brahms. In fact I think it may have been baroque music when we traveled 9 floors with a a man with a gut the size of Texas. He was not wearing a shirt and was sucking on a bottle of beer. He was also a world class belcher. 

There are trucks in the streets with signs saying that there a girls who would like to meet me. Well I sincerely doubt that but I was willing to meet one - but Cate would not let me dial the number. 

There are some interesting shows own in Las Vegas. One that caught my eye was Donny and Marie Osmond who have apparently been rated the number 1 show for the last three years.

Up until I saw that sign I had imagined the Donny and Marie would by now be in a nursing home being fed mashed peas but no - they are battling on and I guess they must really like what they do. 

But the act that astonished me was the Righteous Brothers. They are still going? Well actually as you all know they were neither righteous or brothers and one of them died from a drug overdose - but the survivor - Bill Medley has teamed up with Bucky Heard to storm Las Vegas. Unchained Melody has always been on one of my playlists. 

I no longer feel so old. 

Last week I was doing a new playlist for my iPhone - which I use in the car - and I deleted - for the first time ever - Chuck Berry. He took this rather badly as you know.

And he was working on a new album. 

There is hope for us all. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

You should do it with some style.

I have been having a few eye problems which have slowed me down a bit but my sight does not seem to be getting any worse so I expect it will clear up. I am seeing the doc in another couple of weeks. 

But I can do everything apart from read or write very well - and this is not a huge burden given that there is not much one would want to read these days in this country because it is mainly bad news followed by worse news. 

However the appalling daily news is inevitably punctuated by insane tweets by the orange dickhead in the oval office. These are exponentially flabbergasting and I just wonder where he can go next. I think he jumped the shark with the ‘Obama bugged me’ tweets so I think he must be just about done. 

Although he does seem to get all of his news from Breitbart and Alex Jones and the other masses of unhinged people on the far right  - so we may get a rerun of ‘Obama was a a male prostitute before he became President’. 

Cate has been accepted in a program in Morocco where she will go to build schools and stuff like that for a couple of weeks - in late May. 

I was not aware that Cate had any skills at all in the area of construction but she may surprise us all. We have been wanting to go to Morocco for a long time so she will take a week at the end of her work so we can take a trip in the desert.  

I am taking photography lessons. I have had a DSLR camera for many years and have only ever taken photos on full automatic. I decided that it was probably about time to actually start taking decent photos. 

I have learned about the exposure triangle and am taking lots of photos of apples. I am well pleased with some of them.

A man from somewhere comes to Indianapolis every couple of months to sell Four’N Twenty meat pies. These were invented in the town in Australia in which I was born - two years after I was born. 

I have no idea how this local pie things happens but they are delicious pies and remind me of home. So I have been getting stuck in to them while Cate has been in China and Japan. 

I am playing chess weekly with my mate David. I had no idea there was someone on the planet who played chess as badly as I do so we are a match made in heaven. In honor of this auspicious event I have purchased a new hand carved board and pieces. 

Even when you play as badly as we do you should do it with some style.  

Monday, February 13, 2017

Not my problem

I woke up on Saturday and discovered that I could not read properly. I have funny little blotches all over the place in front of my eyes so many of the words are missing when I try to read anything. 

This is not necessarily a bad thing because there is simply not much worth reading at the moment that provides comfort to a delicate soul like me. 

But because I can read only half of what I see - I only get half as cross. 

But I must say that I am getting a lot less cross as time moves on. This could well be because Indiana’s behavior is so appalling and so disgraceful that everything else - even the antics of the orange fluffbudgy - pale into insignificance. 

So I spent two hours with the eye doctor today and he concluded after an intense examination that he did not know what was wrong with me so he has referred me to a specialist  - where I go tomorrow morning.

I asked him if I should get new glasses and he said let’s not worry about that at the moment - and I have worried about that statement ever since. 

So I have carried out a brief assessment of the seeing eye dog capabilities of both Georgia and Indiana. 

At the mercy of Georgia I would spend an immense amount of time standing in front of the treat cupboard - and would never leave the house. 

As for Indiana - well with her I would be dragged miles on my stomach - shouting hoarsely for her to stop - as she galloped towards whatever she gallops towards. I have no idea what this is but she always wants to go somewhere and it is always at a gallop. 

And (spare me) she is now bigger than Georgia.

So after we walked them together last week Cate said ‘fuck me I am not doing that again’ or words similar to that 

And if you are wondering how I can write this without being able to see - then I should tell you that I am using one eye - squinting - and my nose is pressed to the screen of computer. 

And the fact that my personal trainer works me like a drover’s dog does not help at all. He says things like ‘this is the last one’ and when I finish and collapse sobbing on the floor he says ‘well just one more set’. 

So after gym I am nearly comatose and then have to deal with the travails of the day. 

So over the last week I have made many bookings for flights and hotels and shuttles and all sorts of things. I could not begin to tell you how hard it is to fly from Indianapolis to Paris if you are traveling Lufthansa. 

Lufthansa flies from JFK. United flies only to Newark. American flies to JFK but only on Shrove Tuesdays when the moon is full. 

So I have to go to Newark and get shuttles to JFK and on the way home I have to stay (shriek) at Newark overnite - but I am not staying in the rat infested hovel where we stayed last time. 

And there is so much to do here it makes my head spin. There are two people in this house - why is the washing machine going 18 hours every day. Where does all this dust come from. Does UPS deliver it in bags and Cate spreads it around the house and then puts her white gloves on and wipes the surfaces - and says hmmmm. 

So I really don't have time for politics. I have accepted the fact that the orange fuckweasel is not my president. I am not a citizen and I did not vote. 

And we will not be here to suffer the consequences of fucknuckle and his band of trogs. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Oh say can you see

Things are moving at a rapid pace here.

I have decided to go to Paris in March to see my daughter and two of my grandchildren. The others are in Australia and I shall go there soon.

We have also decided that we should go to Las Vegas for my birthday.

Naturally I booked Paris first and then booked Las Vegas for basically the same dates. 

This is an uncanny knack I have had for many years. I have brutally murdered a number of bookings over the years because I book flights to leave places before we get there - and stuff like that.

Nowadays I always pay extra so that I can cancel flights and hotels without any problems because I just know that when I make a booking I am going to have to change it.

When I am in the process of booking it all seems perfectly sensible and logical but days later when I check it…..well.

We have decided to go to Las Vegas because we think it is one of those places that just has to be seen. I think it will be execrable -  because we hate all the glitz and the glamor and the gambling but we will certainly have lots of fun. But there are some good restaurants. 

We are staying in the Venetian resort which has its own canal with gondolas and men in striped shirts who sing opera. Can’t wait for that. I may sing along. 

And incidentally in Indianapolis we also have a canal with gondolas where men in striped shirts sing opera. This is very weird but you get accustomed to it after a while and given that most people in the mid west have never traveled further than the next state -  for them it is probably quite exotic.

And we are going to see Cirque de Soleil. This was a bit doubtful at first but I spoke to the bank manager and she has given us a second mortgage. 

I am looking forward to Paris. I love Paris. I have been there a lot - maybe 50 times - and am always captivated by the city. It has changed a lot since I first started going there in the 70s and it never ceases to amaze me. 

It also gives me a chance to boot my once fluent French into life. I once worked for  French bank and spoke really good French. Nowadays I start speaking in French and people interrupt me and say - ‘Would you like to speak English’. 

For which the only appropriate response is ‘Fuck you - you cheese eating surrender monkey’ but of course I just fall in line.

But I am tough. I live in America where the president is a lunatic. I can cope with anything you throw at me.  

Cate and I spoke last year about the possibility of us staying in America when she retired. 

HA HA HA HA HA

We need to get out of here as soon as possible and now all we talk about is how soon we can leave. 

This blithering orange idiot is going to do so much damage that it may take this country 50 years to recover from the devastation he has planned with his willing compatriots. 

In centuries to come they will talk about ‘Putin’s puppet’ and the destruction he wreaked upon the home of the brave and the land of the fucked. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

This is America!

I forgot to tell you about how excited I am about Beyonce being pregnant. 

Fuck me dead this is such fantastic news. 

The people starving to death in Africa and the Syrians being slaughtered in their thousands rise as one and say how excited they are about this truly phenomenal event. 

And twins! Holy shit - this is truly a miraculous intervention by the one who loves us and guides us all. Who else would give us so much joy in the face of the excrescence of the toxic presidency

Clearly this is God's work. 

Sure he fucked up badly with DJT but he is making amends with this sensational life giving experience. Do not knock this. This is his gift to you. 

Now B has 86 million followers on twitter. This is one off the scariest numbers you will ever see - and gives you a pretty good idea why Trump is President. But you need to suck it up. It is what it is. 

This is America. Rubbish reigns. Good Luck!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

It would turn out just fine

Now you would have read or heard that President Trump spoke to Australian Prime Minister Turnbull and effectively bit his head off before hanging up.

But if you are not Australian you may not be aware of the refugee deal which Mr Turnbull and President  Obama agreed upon - and why it is happening. 

It goes like this:

Many refugees from Iran and other places have risked their lives to travel to Australia on boats. This has been facilitated by people smugglers who charge enormous sums of money to put people on leaky boats with a promise that they will get sanctuary in Australia.

Many of them drown - but some get through. 

Australia has decided that it does not want people arriving this way so instead of accepting them and processing their refugee applications in Australia it has set up gulags in places like Nauru and Manus Island. 

The purpose of this is to discourage people from attempting to find refuge in Australia.

The gulags are hell holes. They are tent cities set up in some of the hottest places on earth. They are run by private companies whose only interest is to make a profit. 

There are rapes and murders and bashings and self-mutilations and psychological problems in spades. 

Children are going crazy in these places because they are confined there permanently. These children will be damaged permanently. 

There is anger and frustration and hopelessness. These people are refugees for fucks sake and they are being treated much worse than murderers. 

These places are so bad that the government:

1: Sent big teams of medics, psychiatrists and social workers to help with the problems: or

2. Passed legislation that anyone who talked about the problems in these camps would go to gaol for two years.

Yes the correct answer is 2. 

The government has said that anyone who try to enter Australia ‘illegally’ will never be admitted. Let us pass over the fact that by definition a refugee cannot be ‘illegal’. 

Hence the deal between Mr Turnbull and President Obama. You take our ‘illegals’ and we will do something for you(we do know yet what it is). 

President Trump has probably said what a stupid idea. I don't even want my refugees let alone yours. 

Me? 

I am ashamed of my government for what it has done. I never talk about this because it cannot be defended. It is a horrendous stain on the   character of Australia which is a nation founded and sustained by immigration.  

If I had my way I would put all of the politicians in gulags and make the refugees politicians. I am sure it would turn out fine. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

We have failed them




These are my grandchildren. My generation has failed them.

I am frustrated by my inability to do anything of real substance in the face of the mind boggling ineptitude, incompetence and willful destruction of our values by the Trump administration.

The appointments he has made make it look like he actually wants to destroy America.

Perhaps he really is a Russian agent doing the bidding of Putin. He certainly behaves as though he is. 

Each Secretary he appoints is someone who has no affinity whatsoever with the area they will control and indeed most of them appear to want to demolish what they have been given.

The potential head of the Environmental Protection Agency is a noted climate change denier. This is not unusual - the majority of this administration’s senior people are -  but the damage this person could do is immense. 

Sydney has just experienced its hottest month ever. i.e. it was the hottest month since we started keeping records some hundred or so years ago. 

Each year is hotter than the last and indications that every future year will be hotter than the last.

My personal  belief is that it is much too late to actually do anything to stop what is happening. There are some things we could do to mitigate the future effects but even in Australia - where the climate change effects are obvious even to blind Freddy - the government sits and wrings its hands and does nothing.

The Labor party has a plan - so the government immediately starts a scare campaign tell all and sundry that their electricity bills will be enormous if we try to mitigate climate change. 

This is rubbish but in any event - there has to be some cost to attempt to save there planet. 

Indeed the majority of Australians are prepared to pay something. 

But our chicken shit Prime Minister is captive to his right wing. And - our deputy Prime Minster is a creationist. Yeh he thinks the world is 6,000 years old.

Give me a break.

If we keep kicking the can down the road we will find eventually that the can has been turned into a boulder and is no longer kickable. 

We only have one planet. When we destroy this one there is nowhere else to go.

Now what happens - or does not happen - is not going to affect me much. But it will affect my children and it will certainly affect my grandchildren. 

In 20 years time they are going to wonder why the fuck we knew what was happening and did almost nothing about it. 

They will think well there must have been a reason. There was obviously a big problem so why did they not take any action.

Well I am telling you in advance my dear children and grandchildren whom I love so much that we did nothing because we are fundamentally dumb, cowardly deadshits.

There are only two groups of people in the whole world who do not accept that climate change is real. They are the conservatives in Australia and in America. 

History books will record their stupidity, their lack of imagination, their cowardice, their self interest and their inability to see the bleeding obvious. 

Many are dying now because of climate change which causes massive storms and devastating droughts.

Millions will die in years to come. 

So really - no one says it better than Lily Allen so you should watch this video.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Good luck to you all!


I am in the process if trying to get fit and lose weight. To do this I have joined the YMCA gym downtown and have a personal trainer. I go three days a week and he works me very hard indeed. Today I had a very hard workout and was quite pleased at the end of it. 

His name is Kevin so he really should be Australian. But he is a nice man and is probably religious and may be even a (shriek) Republican so I sort of nibble around the edges of politics. But he has gay friends so that is a good sign. 

I rowed and pushed and pulled and huffed and puffed for a solid hour and was buggered at the end of it. (Buggered in the Aussie sense i.e. very tired -  not molested).

I thought to myself that I must be losing weight by now and weighed myself when I got home. I have gained four pounds. 

So perhaps my fat is turning into muscle. This does not seem likely when I look in the mirror - but who knows. 

And surely there must be a time in life when people should not have to look at themselves in full length mirrors. 

Honestly this does no good at all. When people get to my age they should come and take the mirrors away. They will say - hey - you look like a diseased walrus covered in barnacles - and everybody sees this when you go out - but there is no need for you to see this horrifying sight every time you go to the bathroom.

So we have replaced your mirror with a full size picture of a naked Donald Trump. This will certainly make you feel better about yourself. You will think every day ‘well I just must look better than that’. And you probably do. 

After the gym today I shoveled snow. I love shoveling snow. It is very therapeutic and I think about lots of good things while I am doing it. It was a crystal clear day and very cold and it was just marvelous. Nothing could be heard except the sounds of our two insane dogs chasing each other and growling and yelping. 

The new presidency it so much better than I had anticipated. I expected some amount of amusement - punctuated by bouts off dismay - but fuck me swinging sideways it is a complete catastrophe. 

I think the current presidency was designed by the Italians. They have turned roadside dining into an experience so surreal that people do it just to be there and say they did it. We traveled in Italy a lot and could not wait to get to the diners. 

It is like a vortex. 

Imagine a room absolutely stuffed full of hungry people. They all want to eat - and food abounds. But to get it you have to:

Fight your way to the food counter to see what you would like to buy:

Then fight your way to the other side of the room to the cashier to place your order. (remembering precisely what you want).

Pay for your food and fight your way back to the food counter - clutching your receipt - to buy your food. 

It is a whirling shrieking mass of throbbing and sweating humanity and sometimes people get spun off the edges and end up in the car park sobbing their hungry hearts out. Are they strong enough to try again?

That is this administration.

It is not a circus. A circus is organized. This is a total mess of uncoordinated rubbish perpetrated by  ideologues and fools who have no idea what they are doing and have no idea how it should be done.

I think we can say with confidence that what is happening now is going to fuck America for a very long time. 

We will not be here then - but good luck to you all.