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Showing posts from June, 2015

School lunch defines #2 vegetable of all time.

Never mind the old story about the Italians and the Greeks getting strange looks at their salami sandwiches on one-inch thick peasant bread. We were as Australian as gum trees, but our sandwiches raised eyebrows every day. Baked bean sandwiches. Canned spaghetti sandwiches. Beetroot sandwiches. Cucumber sandwiches. Sultana sandwiches. Some of those I would still eat. The rest, perhaps not. We didn't always take our lunch to school. Sometimes, in junior grades, I went home for lunch – yes, walked the half mile all by myself – and I could scent the aroma of home-made vegetable soup a block away from home. The walk back to school was slower and more reluctant. There was also a school canteen, staffed by volunteer mothers. In those primitive days, fulfilment in the workplace and paying $120 a day for childcare was just a pipe dream; and mothers did nothing all day except dust, and hold lunch parties, and drive their new Volkswagen Beetle to the church tennis club to play tournament

The first hero; and his brother.

I went back through the archives. (This blog is just a continuation of what used to be hand-written diaries. I keep them all in a box in the bungalow at the beach house. If fire ever roars through the Mornington Peninsula my life in words will be gone. No great loss. The early ones are just pre-teen terse two-line entries.) I went back through the decades, right back to the early 1970s. I flicked through. It must have been winter 1970. April, May ... there it was: Saturday 30 May, 1970. State cross-country championships at Bundoora. Saw Ron Clarke and got his autograph. I hadn't remembered getting the autograph. All I had vaguely recalled was seeing the adidas-wearing Glenhuntly-singleted Olympian near the finish, face etched in pain as usual. I had joined St Bernard's athletics club the previous month, after reading Franz Stampfl on Running , and Bundoora was my second race after Clifton Hill in pouring rain. I liked running and the rain never bothered me. Two years

It's OK to gamble: chief croupier.

Federal treasurer Joe Hockey, in a casino-logic moment, says that if you think house prices are unaffordable, just get a better job. See? Simple. Croupier logic. Rake in more money and everything's great. (Incidentally, 'Joe Hockey' could not be a better name for a hustler at a shady casino in a James Hadley Chase novel. But I happily admit that's just gratuitously nasty.) As truisms go, Hockey's assertion is practically an axiom, or even a platitude. I don't know, I'm just throwing words around meaninglessly, as you do in a casino while you're waiting for the spinning to stop. Plenty of spinning goes on in Canberra. It's a money pit. Want a million dollar house? Get a better job. Truism. Of course anyone can buy a house. All you need is a deposit and enough income to service the payments. Guess what? The commentators agreed with Uncle Joe. But they're asking the wrong question, or shooting the wrong fish, or looking into the wrong barrel