“Gran Torino”– why I enjoyed this movie

I enjoyed “Gran Torino” on a very basic level. I liked its ending.

Even though it’s meant to take place in an urban setting in Michigan, it is essentially a good old-fashioned western. Solitary hero, Kowalski (Clint Eastwood), suffering from tragedies in the past, is fed up with humanity but comes good at the end and saves the day. There are goodies and baddies, and the goodies win, just the way, Eastwood and the rest of us would like it to be. I am calling the hero Eastwood because it’s Classic Eastwood we are watching. Continue reading


Home insurance should be compulsory

Yesterday was a day of commemoration for the victims of the recent bushfire tragedy in Australia. Thousands have been left homeless and the death toll is now over 200 and rising. As a result of this tragedy there will be a Royal Commission to investigate the events and also to see how we can mitigate future losses in this country which is always prone to either floods or bushfires.

This occasion is doubly tragic because while one large part of Australai is experiencing serious floods, the southern part has had the worst bushfires in our history. And sadly, there are more to come.

While bushfires and extreme weather are inevitable in Australia, I was dismayed by the number of destroyed houses which were not insured. One often hears in the news that a family’s home was uninsured and they have to start from scratch. What is really annoying is that during the TV interview the victims are seen puffing on a cigarette. With the price of cigarettes, I’m amazed they are still smoking instead of having protected their assets.

I simply can’t understand how someone would buy a home and then decide not to insure it. The home is usually the most expensive asset they own and yet they don’t place insurance at the top of their list of priorities. This is irresponsible.

My argument is that home insurance should be compulsory. It should be part of the deal and if you can’t afford to buy it, you had better not buy a home. In my opinion, one can’t afford NOT to be protected.

I don’t think that it is the role of government to supply a new home for people who have not insured their homes, nor should our heartstrings be tugged by sad stories about losing everything while not being insured. When we buy a car we have to pay for third party insurance and it should be the same for homes. Surely one’s home is more precious than one’s car.

It’s once again that unfortunate attitude of “She’ll be right, mate,” which permeates parts of our culture. Well, the truth is, even though you hope that she’ll be right mate, she often isn’t, and then you’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

The Right to Defend Oneself

An elderly couple were hiding in their bedroom after two home invaders entered their home in a winery in Perth, Australia. On entering the house the invaders bashed down the door of the bedroom belonging to 77 year-old, Eugenio Valenti and his incapacitated wife. Mr Valenti warned them not to enter. They ignored his warning and entered anyway. So a struggle ensued in which one of the home invaders was shot in the stomach. Mr Valenti, himself, was injured and his gun was taken away from him. The pair of thieves ran off with Mr Valenti’s gun. When one injured home invader presented himself at a hospital for treatment, he was arrested.

Now there is discussion about whether Mr Valenti should be charged with using “unreasonable force”. Continue reading

Peter Costello laps up poll dancing

Our former treasurer, Costello, loves teasing, suggesting and then retreating. He slides up. He slides down. He slides round and round. Where he is going nobody knows and I’m amazed that anyone still cares.

The Man who would be King (but failed) is a serpent who slithers in the background eager to destroy the party which didn’t propel him into the leadership. And if he joined a choir it would be as a castrato.

You didn’t want me then and so now I’m going to make you pay for it, is his message to the Libs. So there.

And yet… and yet, the media still hover around him wanting to know his intentions.

Isn’t it obvious that Costello simply wants to sit in the background, gorging himself on sour grapes and doing the occasional “poll dance”? That’s what he did when Howard was in power and that’s what he’s doing now. Time to say goodnight to the folks, Pete. Your performance is tedious.

Timber homes in bushfire areas?

Yesterday’s blog attacked the greenies for their militant prohibition of backburning. While my heart goes out to Victorians who lost lives and homes, I have to say that if you build a treehouse you should not be surprised if the branch supporting the house breaks and crashes to the ground.

While watching the terrible scenes of the bushfire disaster on TV I could not help but notice how many brick chimneys were the only parts of the houses left standing.

So I support any move by councils and other authorities which will not allow timber homes to be built in areas susceptible to bushfires, unless genuinely fireproofed.

It’s all very well to want to have a log cabin in the hills and it sounds so environmentally friendly, doesn’t it? But if you must build in areas that are dangerous then go for safety first and then aesthetics.

However, if you can’t afford to build a firesafe home then perhaps you should not build one there at all. It simply isn’t worth the suffering that the “She’ll be right, mate” attitude produces.

The Greenies should be sued

There was a time when if you said you were not a greenie, you would be treated like a heretic during the Spanish Inquisition. You had to use green shopping bags even though you then went and bought plastic liner bins for your rubbish can.

To me it did not make sense because the green movement took on the dimensions of a cult and cults are irrational by nature and dangerous. The green movement was ripe pickings for teenagers who always need some fanatical ideal to follow. Then there were the disenchanted hippies from the Sixties who were trying to sublimate their fears of aging by adopting a tree or a koala or whatever other species appealed to them over mankind who apparently was the ruin of the world.

The result of all this is that clearing the land around houses became a no-no. So we had the devastation of Canberra fires which were the direct result of green lobby groups opposing backburning.

And since last week Australia has suffered its worst natural disaster ever. It didn’t have to happen that way if people had been allowed to backburn and clear dangerous matter around their homes.

And now we hear of a man who was fined $30000 last year for clearing the land around his home. He paid the fine but his home survived the bushfires last week. Others didn’t.

Well, there isn’t much greenery left in those bushfire areas any more, is there? And how any politicians such as Peter Garrett and Bob Brown can bear to look at their reflection in the mirror, I simply don’t comprehend.

Where is the Prime Minister of Australia’s wife?

Australia has just suffered and is still suffering from the biggest natural disaster it has ever had. The bushfires have killed almost two hundred people so far, people who perished in the most awful way.

The government representatives, the Governor-General of Australia, and even the cricket teams have visited the disaster centres. All sorts of volunteer groups are giving a helping hand.

So who is missing from all this? Who is conspicuous by her absence? Whereas John Howard’s wife would have put in an appearance to offer a shoulder to weep on, Mrs Rudd, (Therese Rein the multi-millionairess businesswoman) is nowhere to be seem. Is she overseas busy growing her millions? Yep, that’s where she is all right, in London giving interviews. And yes, she says she’s been thinking about the bushfires.

The most flippant explanation is that she doesn’t have an appropriate outfit to wear–something sombre and suitable instead of the flamenco fiascoes she usually inhabits.

Seriously, though, I bet that Michelle Obama would have been around to console those who were shattered by the natural disaster. Somehow, I just don’t see Mrs Rudd in that comforting role.

Malcolm Turnbull disappoints

If I thought for one moment that Malcolm Turnbull had the public’s interest at heart then I would support him. But I am very disappointed in his behaviour since he became leader of the opposition party.

I admit that when he became leader I was an enthusiastic supporter of his and very hopeful that he would be a viable alternative to the government. But he is not. He turned out to be someone who will oppose just to oppose instead of weighing up the situation and thinking of the good of the country.

His ambition is as strong as Kevin Rudd’s and that would be excusable if he were willing to contribute some good suggestions for the economy. After all, as a banker by profession he should benefit from his experience and yet, in interviews he always refuses to offer an alternative. When asked what he would do he criticises the government. If he has good suggestions he is keeping them to himself and that shows where his priorities lie.

Mind you, Peter Costello is doing the same thing. Now wouldn’t you expect him to help out during this crisis? On second thought, perhaps not. I suspect he would like every Australian to suffer deprivation rather than be a helping hand. And then he would smirk and give interviews when what he deserves is a big slap in the face.

I don’t support the Rudd government’s money handouts. But I do support the rest of the stimulus package and it is shameful that Turnbull will now prance around trying to get headlines “when things is grim”. This is not a time to be divided.

As it is, even the infrastructure projects will take a few months to get off the ground. We have no time to lose and Turnbull is doing himself a lot of damage by pretending to be against the initiative.

I don’t even know what he stands for any more. He has lost my support and I am surprised that I could have had such high hopes for him and been so wrong.