Sunday, 29 July 2018

Not so super Saturday

For weeks, the Political pundits told us that at least two electorates in the 'Super Saturday' by-elections were too close to call.

They weren't. The ABC's Antony Green called the results well within two hours of the respective poll closures.

Winner (NewsLocker)
Loser (The New Daily)
Forget News Polls.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

App tracking

I download Apps to my smart phone and tablet on a whim. Some, like NextThere, which tells me when a bus I'm waiting for is due, are very useful. Others, that I won't name, prove useless and remain unloved on my devices until eventually I delete them.

One of my loved Apps is FlightRadar24 which tracks commercial flights all over the world and provides me with hours of mindless entertainment when I am in the mood.

I see various flight paths to/from Sydney Airport from my apartment and often will open the App to identify passing planes and their routes.

Occasionally, like yesterday, I monitor a particular flight carrying friends. Cz and Cw flew to Vancouver yesterday and on and off for the best part of 12 hours I checked the passage of their flight. From ascent, I watched whilst the plane was still low over Sydney inner suburbs. Hours later after a cinema visit I tuned back in to see them somewhere over the South Pacific Ocean. Another couple of hours later and their flight was passing by the Hawaiian Islands and later still, at my bedtime, the west coasts of the United States and Canada appeared on screen as the flight was within 90 minutes of arrival at Vancouver.

You can do all this for free.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Traffic control at the airport

(News Corporation)
I dropped Cz and Cw off at the airport this morning for their flight to Canada. Traffic at the various terminals continues to be problematic especially at peak times. Marshalls wave lighted batons in a vain attempt to stream traffic but are ignored by taxi drivers who then trap other motorists thus exacerbating the logjam.

One taxi driver somehow managed to trap four cars in one go; two kerbside cars attempting to clear the area and myself and one other car waiting to replace them.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Let the sun shine in.....

The current extended spell of winter sunshine in Sydney is very welcome.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Future King

Prince George of Cambridge
There are comments I could make about this image of the future King Queen Monarch of England but on this occasion discretion is the better part of valour. Of course, as Jerry Seinfeld might say, there is nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018


In 1982 American diplomat Mason Skiles (John Hamm) returns to Beirut, where he was previously posted, when his skills as a negotiator are needed in a hostage situation.

This thriller seems a realistic portrayal of the murky world of Middle Eastern politics and diplomacy even if the images of the civil war affected seaside capital, once known as the Paris of the Middle East, appear more like the images of bombed out Syrian cities of recent times.


Saturday, 21 July 2018

The spirit returns

A rare sight nowadays. The Spirit of Tasmania, which usually plies its trade between Melbourne and our island State, steaming up Sydney Harbour. It has been years since there was a regular ferry link between Sydney and the Apple Isle.

I guessed the Spirit was in town for some R&R (repairs and refurbishment) and sure enough it steamed right into the Naval dockyard at Woolloomooloo.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

'Mama Mia! Here We Go Again'

'Mama Mia! Here We Go Again' is the sequel to 2008's box office smash 'Mama Mia!' and follows the same template of setting a plot to as many ABBA songs as the makers can squeeze in. With most, if not all, the most popular tunes having already been used in the original film this sequel has to make do with a number of lesser known numbers interspersed occasionally with the big hits like the title number, Dancing Queen and Waterloo. As it turns out even the lesser known ABBA tunes are...well...very tuneful.

The credits list no fewer than six writers including Richard Curtis who is the inspiration behind some of the most successful British comedies of recent times so it is puzzling that they have produced such a bland plot and more puzzling still that much of the script is lame.

However the sunny scenery and ABBA's infectious melodies eventually carry the day and the film ends on a high with its final scene and end credits.


Tuesday, 17 July 2018

'Ant-Man and the Wasp'

'Ant-Man and the Wasp' is the latest in the seemingly endless series of comic inspired hero and heroine movies.

The Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) are sent on a mission to retrieve (rescue) another Wasp lost in some form of a parallel universe. Standing in their way is Ghost Hannah John-Kamen) a hologram-like villainess.

The film is not high art but in having both a female hero and villain it certainly redresses Hollywood's  more traditional gender balance (or rather imbalance).

The performers don't take themselves too seriously and so the film is imbued with a reasonable amount of humour. The special effects are not over the top but they are modestly impressive.


Saturday, 14 July 2018

Doggy play date

Brunch today with Hn, Mb and Mk. The excuse for brunch was the first play date between Hn's Groodle and Mb's Spoodle which is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle.

This is a Spoodle
Dogs have play dates. I'm learning something every day. Luckily dogs don't require fancy foods or liquids when they date. Adults do. The dogs were completely satisfied with bowls of water. I needed scrambled eggs, turkish toast and a hot chocolate for my part in the date.

Hn's Groodle jumped at me. Mb's Spoodle did not. Mb is obviously a more effective doggy mother than Hn.

Friday, 13 July 2018


Lunch at Hn's. She has new dog. It's a Groodle. A cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle.

This is a Groodle
Dogs seem to enjoy jumping all over me. I don't enjoy dogs jumping all over me. Hn's previous dog, a Golden Retriever, used to jump up at me. Hn told me the Groodle wouldn't jump at me. It did.


Thursday, 12 July 2018


A birthday passed by recently and now I am less than a year from becoming a septuagenarian. (Look it up.) Perhaps it is showing. I'm feeling more tired than I have been accustomed to at the end of a day's volunteering.

Yesterday after my day at the nursing home I decided with no substantive planning to book myself a week's R&R at some tantalising destination. Honolulu came to mind.

I have visited Honolulu at least six times but the last visit was more than 35 years ago. In all those visits I ventured little beyond Waikiki Beach other than for transport to and from the airport. I hadn't even visited Pearl Harbour.

I checked the flights and checked my preferred hotel and with little more than thirty minutes spent online a week's holiday in Honolulu over Christmas has been booked.

Easy Peasy.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

My night on the Seine

Andrew has written about his lunch cruise in Paris which reminded me of my cruise on the Seine.

I was travelling with two friends, sisters, and our stay in Paris was at the tail end of a month visit to Europe extending from Prague overland to Budapest then by rivers to Amsterdam and overland again to the French capital. I suspect the two sisters were thoroughly sick of each other's company by then even if I was still having a ball.

One of our last touristy activities was billed as a romantic evening dinner cruise on the Seine. We piled onto the river boat with high expectations. The evolving coolness between the sisters was now so evident that no-one else in our touring party sat anywhere near we three.

The cruise got underway in summer's bright late afternoon light. Dinner was served as we puttered down river; afternoon light still blazing. The sights were indeed splendid, if not yet romantically lit, but with two companions no longer speaking the general mood had turned decidedly chilly. After a time the riverboat turned about and headed back the way we came; still in bright light.

As we approached the wharf where we had boarded I assumed we would continue up the river in the other direction. After all the day, although late, was still bright. The romance of evening, I felt, might thaw the sisters out and lift the mood.

Not on your life. We tied up at the wharf and were quickly shuffled off to allow the next load of tourists to have their romantic cruise. No doubt their's, unlike our's, was eventually an evening cruise.

Beware the 'romantic evening' promises when travelling at the height of Europe's summer daylight saving hours.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Flinders Street Station

Andrew recently made mention of the new lighting of Flinders Street Station in Melbourne and I had the chance to see it myself last weekend. It is indeed an impressive sight.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

The Eastern Suburbs

A view of Sydney's eastern suburbs shortly after take off from Sydney Airport on a sublime winter's day.

The green area upper left is Centennial Park. The green area to its right is Queens Park. The beach at lower right is Coogee with Coogee Oval the green circle to it's left. The long street running down the middle (with an angled left twist midway) is Carrington Road.

Friday, 6 July 2018


Two Jewish themed films in two days. Coincidental.

'Foxtrot' is an Israeli film in three sections. In the first section, the parents of an Israeli soldier are visited with the news that their son has been killed in the line of duty. The father is initially stunned by the news and then suspicious about what actually happened to his son.

In the second section, the film reveals the nature of the duty the soldier was engaged in and in so doing portrays the wasteful, demeaning and destructive impact upon not only the soldiers but also the civilians with whom they come into contact.

The final section of the film shows the ironic and tragic truth of what has happened.

Slow and often static but worth the effort.


Thursday, 5 July 2018


Ronit (Rachel Weisz) returns to London from her workplace in New York following the death of her orthodox Rabbi father. Her reappearance sparks antagonism and suspicion amongst her friends and associates in the tight orthodox Jewish community which flares into outright anger when she is drawn into a forbidden relationship.

'Disobedience' contains excellent performances but it is a slow burn which won't appeal to everyone.


Wednesday, 4 July 2018

‘Saint Joan’

(Sydney Theatre Company)
My previous exposure to George Bernard Shaw's plays has been of furtive glances to my watch as hour after hour of dense dialogue passed by. Concentration and patience waned through plays seemingly intended to outlast time.

Against this background of experience I ventured to 'Saint Joan' with some degree of reluctance. In the event this adaptation considerably shortens Shaw's work and, I gather, considerably tightens the traditional staging.

The settings may be a bit static but the performances are powerful with Sarah Snook exceptional in the title role.

I enjoyed it.


Monday, 2 July 2018

‘The Ice King’

'The Ice King' is a documentary about the life and career of British ice skater and performer John Curry who was one the first openly gay athletes.

Despite a sometimes stellar career and major achievements Curry's life seems a tale of missed and thwarted opportunities and ambitions. Quite an interesting film yet somehow like the subject's life,  I have the sense the work fails to adequately reflect the talent.


Sunday, 1 July 2018

‘Three Identical Strangers’

A student arrives for his first day at a new College and is astounded at the warmth of the welcome hugs, kisses and endearments he receives from complete strangers. When he meets his new room mate and receives a similar welcome he realises something everyone is confusing him for someone else. A few enquiries ensue and he is stunned to find he has an identical twin he never knew anything about. When this extraordinary occurrence receives national attention the 'twins' are further astounded to discover a third identical sibling. All three were adopted as babies to separate families.

This story seems fanciful yet this really happened. What is more this documentary about the triplets reveals extraordinary and troubling circumstances to their adoption and childhoods.

'Three Identical Strangers' is a fascinating, humorous and troubling documentary.