Thursday, 26 March 2015

Ban names

I'm not one who is into banning things willy nilly but one thing I sometimes wish was subject of banning orders is names. Particular sort of names. Those weirdly spelt given names like Jaxxsen or Caytie and so on which those poor children will have to repeatedly spell and explain for the rest of their lives. Those spellings would be a priority for banning in a world ruled by me.

But also high on my list is a short name that is not weirdly spelt but which always leaves me uncertain about its pronunciation. Marie. A simple name. Quite a gentle and nice name. But is the bearer a Ma-ree or a Mar-ee. I can never tell nor remember.

Ban it!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Love is Strange

A mature age gay couple marry in New York after many years of partnership. When the income earning partner is fired from his employment the couple is forced to sell their apartment and spend time separately living amongst family and friends.

'Love is Strange' is not the film I expected from the trailer. It is quite claustrophobic and mournful in tone. Very slow with long, lingering French cinema style scenes, the film's plot raises many unanswered questions making it a somewhat frustrating experience.

The redeeming feature of the film is the fine ensemble acting.

Off my game

I've been playing reasonably well at Bridge in recent months making contracts that should be made and also making some that are, well, a little tricky and not necessarily makeable.

But last night I was off my game. I didn't get to play many of the early hands. About two hours into play a very nice couple reached our table. Their play was slow, oh so slow. They used most of the allotted twenty minutes playing the first two of three hands. Privately I was annoyed with them. I had to play the third hand with only minutes left and my private annoyance got the better of me. I was distracted, played the hand badly, really badly, and that was a bad result for us.

Next round I got to play a couple more hands. 'Focus', 'concentrate', I willed myself but my brain had shut down. The hands were makeable but not the way I went about playing them. Now I was annoyed with myself for becoming distracted but nothing was going to get my brain back on track last night.

I was simply off my game.

Sunday, 22 March 2015


'Insurgent' is the sequel to 'Divergent'. The same characters are still fighting the powerful controllers of what remains of planet Earth and are engaged in the race to decode a relic which contains secrets the controllers would prefer to have buried.

There isn't really much plot in this film which relies on computer enhanced images and wizardry to maintain interest.

Enjoyable enough visually but little else to recommend it.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Prime Ministerial chalk and cheese

Yesterday, Australia's 22nd Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, passed away.

Malcolm Fraser

Mr Fraser was not the most popular of Prime Ministers during his term of office yet at the end of his life colleagues and opponents alike have looked back with respect, even admiration, for achievements which included refugee resettlement, multicultural policies, Aboriginal land rights, the Human Rights Commission, the Special Broadcasting Service and the fight against the Apartheid policies in South Africa.

In the fashionable statement 'du jour', Mr Fraser ended up on the right side of history.

This week, Australia's 28th and current Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, provided - yet again - a contrast.

Tony Abbott

During the week Mr Abbott spoke against bullying in a speech to mark 2015 National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence. The sentiments sounded fine. What a pity that only a day earlier Mr Abbott had displayed all the hallmarks of a bully in referring to an opponent in Parliament as 'Dr Goebbels'. Did Mr Abbott even for one moment consider the irony of his words versus his actions?

Then yesterday Mr Abbott reflected on the achievements of Mr Fraser identifying a number of those that I mentioned above. The contrast of Mr Abbott's history of actions in the very areas he was praising Mr Fraser could not be more different nor damning.

Those of us who remember life during Mr Fraser's Prime Ministership could not have foreseen then that at the end of his life he would be the subject of deserved acclaim for his lifetime's work.

Many of us who are experiencing Mr Abbott's Prime Ministership cannot imagine there is a chance in hell of him being the subject of equivalent acclaim when his time comes.

Chalk and cheese.

Autumn morning

I often post photos of views from my balcony such as the two below but usually these are taken in sparkling sunshine. This morning at 7am the sky is filled with dark low hanging cloud, with showers forecast, and the light is darker to my naked eye than my camera (Canon EOS 700D) suggests. I needed a steadier hand for the second photo. Click on the photos to enlarge them.