Why four seasons in Melbourne are simply not enough

In May of this year I raved on about the wondrous weather in Melbourne. I was enjoying Autumn with its vestment of brown and gold, its cool nights and invigorating breezes. I looked forward to doonas and scarves and warm cuddly dressing gowns. I thought about buying one of those blankets with sleeves. I even quoted Keats.

Well, that jubilation lasted about a fortnight. You can have too much of a good thing, you know. A drop of a few degrees in temperature and what was bracing becomes bloody unbearable. What was comforting, such as an open fire, becomes a longing for fresh air. Going outside resembles an Antarctic expedition. Should I take a coat or an anorak? Do I need gloves? How about the thermal underwear? What if it warms up? (I threw that in just for a joke).

Might as well take the lot. In Melbourne you never know. Actually, that’s not quite true. Cause you know that whatever you take with you is the wrong thing. You should have worn the Michelin Man coat with the extra warm collar, the vest, the Gortex which cost a fortune. All those things that would serve you well if you entered the Iditarod competition.

The thrill of it all does wear off pretty quickly and you wish that the season, which has already lasted a full fortnight, would be over. And then Winter comes and you deposit your entire woolly wardrobe into your car, just in case.

You start watching the weather forecast for your previous abode in Queensland and you wonder if high humidity in the tropics was really all that bad, after all. From this perspective a day or two of higher temperatures would be most welcome.

Not for long, just a few days of warmth to defrost the bones would be perfect.

A week of one kind of weather is enough, in my opinion. Enough to provide variety without becoming tedious. So Autumn is perfectly acceptable if it doesn’t last too long. The same goes for the other three seasons. I would like shorter seasons, perhaps a dozen of them throughout the year. You would never get bored with the stifling heat or freeze to death with the cold. Relief would be just around the corner.

Look at it as a rebirth, a constant renewal. It would hardly be worthwhile storing your Winter Woollies in the dark recesses of your wardrobe. They could remain permanently in the boot of your car with the sun lotion and swimgear. I’m not sure how practical that would be, though.

So let’s forget the change of clothes and concentrate on what I know to be true. Seasons are good but they go on for too long. Unfortunately, what seems to be a welcome change in the weather soon becomes an irritation. Nature is fickle but I am more so, I guess. “Here comes the Sun and I say it’s all right…” for a short while, that is.

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Melbourne streets deserted during AFL (not so) Grand Final

You could have exploded firecrackers in the streets of Melbourne yesterday afternoon and nobody would have noticed.

It was reminiscent of the scene that greeted the invaders from that 1959 Peter Sellers film, “The Mouse that Roared.” The impoverished principality, The Grand Duchy of Fenwick, had decided to invade the U.S in order to be defeated and thereby be eligible for great sums of money as compensation from the U.S for their losses.

As it happens, everything went wrong and the best laid plans of mice and men came to a tragic end. The Fenwickians had attacked the U.S on the very day that some nuclear war games were being staged and so the streets in the U.S were deserted. There was no opposition to the invasion. Regrettably, The Grand Duchy of Fenwick was the victor.

And so it was in Melbourne yesterday. The gentle folk of Melbourne were either in the stadium or were glued to their TV sets watching a most auspicious Grand Final football match between St Kilda and Collingwood.

We felt like the only people in Melbourne who did not watch the match since we belong to the AFL, the Anti Football Club. That’s not quite true, however. We aren’t against football. It’s just that we simply don’t care.

Anyhow, it turns out that just like the recent federal election, the whole thing ended in a draw and so has to be repeated next week.

Australia seems to be plagued by draws lately, but at least the football will have a rematch while our government is still trying to work things out without a rematch.

What really intrigued me last week was a report of a 70 something year old man being bashed up outside a supermarket. The widower was described as a Collingwood supporter and I wondered what difference did this make in the scheme of things. Had he not been a Collingwood supporter would the attack have been justified?

The whole incident was over some youths who had been rude to the man inside the store and then waited for him outside and bashed him up. It had nothing to do with football. Nor did it have anything to do with the fact that he lost his wife six years ago and had been doing the shopping himself ever since. Many people do their own shopping, don’t they?

What did any of this have to do with the attack? It’s what I call irrelevant padding to make a story seem sadder than it is. “Elderly man bashed up by youths” is apparently not horrifying enough for these reporters. But it should be!

The Delhi Folly

There’s no chance that terrorists will venture into the Commonwealth Games venues. It’s just too bloody dangerous for them. Jihadists wouldn’t get far before a bridge would collapse, a ceiling would fall on their heads or dengue fever would drag them down. And if that didn’t get them, then they would succumb to horrid infections from the dreadful hygiene in the athletes’ village.

So what did the official spokesman for the games reply when he was questioned about the standard of preparation for the games. “Not a problem,” he said. “It is world class.” Third world, I guess. lol

Now I’m certain we are assured of a large TV audience for the games. Who can resist watching the whole thing fall apart? Will the swimming pools leak? Will the running tracks crumble underfoot?

Suddenly there’s renewed interest in these anachronistic games.

That’s if athletes bother to turn up and risk life and limb. As for tourism? Well, there should be plenty of discounts for masochists. Just getting to the venues in one piece should provide much excitement. They could even make a fortune selling T-shirts that read “I went to Delhi AND I came back!”

How the liberals in the U.S want to change history

I wonder how long it will be before the horrifying events of 9/11 are described as being an invention of history. Will 9/11 be a victim of deniers the way the Holocaust is being denied by vested interests?

It hardly seems possible, but I attended a function at Monash University last Wednesday evening which set off alarm bells in my mind. The function was meant to be a conversation with three academics, Jack Miles, Waleed Aly and Geoffrey Garrett with follow-up questions from the audience. It was being held four days after the ninth anniversary of 9/11 and its title was:-

9/11 America and Islam Nine Years On.

In spite of the miserable weather in Melbourne I was not going to miss this discussion as I regard 9/11 as a turning point in the way that the West and the U.S in particular view the Islamic world.

All three academics are respected scholars. I had heard Professor Garrett and Waleed Aly speak before and looked forward to what should have been an elucidating discussion on the set topic.

The conversation was animated. Jack Miles was a typical Californian University professor with very left leanings who worships President Obama. He did admit that the great white hope should have kept out of the Ground Zero mosque debate, but apart from that his hero could walk on water.

Waleed Aly could not understand why New Yorkers would object to the mosque since it was really a Y.M.C.A, a sort of gesture of friendship to N.Yorkers. Jack Miles added that the protests had been machinated by Republicans in anticipation of the coming November elections.

After about an hour and a half of very interesting discussions, I was puzzled by something that was missing in the whole conversation. Not once had any of the academics mentioned 9/11. Wasn’t this the topic for the evening? I checked the invitation. Yes, there it was in bold letters and yet not one of them had mentioned September 2001.

Exasperated by such a gross omission, I asked the question. Why was the set topic being ignored? I read out the topic and asked that it be discussed. Professor Garrett apologised but Professor Miles was adamant that Americans aren’t worried about terrorism as much as they used to be.

Was that any reason for not discussing the impact of 9/11? Were Americans really not concerned about 9/11 and terrorism any more? Or was this, as I suspect, a desire on the part of the liberals in the U.S to relegate the attack on the Twin Towers to a glitch, an aberration, something to shelve and forget?

I was outraged by this attitude. Miles even said that the U.S was such a violent nation that the only reason 9/11 made news is that the numbers of dead, almost 3000, was more than the usual dozen or so who are murdered every day in the States.

He apparently couldn’t differentiate between ordinary violent crime in the U.S and an attack by terrorists on the soul of the American people.

I imagined that in time, if academics like Miles had their way, 9/11 would be forgotten and that some of them would even claim it didn’t happen. Revisionists would triumph while the truth would lie dead.

p.s Following the function and as I was leaving, I was approached by at least a dozen people, people whom I’d never met before, who thanked me for my question. They had been wondering when the academics would get down to the set topic. Sometimes you just have to speak up.

How 9/11 tipped the world on its axis

The past two days I heard two speakers commenting on how Australia has become less tolerant since the new millennium. The first speaker was an elderly retired doctor who reproached the Australian people for not welcoming asylum seekers who arrive by boat. The next part of his talk was about the overcrowding in Australia. Hmm…

The second speaker was novelist Christos Tsialkas who said that he does not like living in Australia any longer because we have become intolerant and remote from world affairs. He is now living temporarily in Scotland which he prefers to England, by the way. He will return to Australia when his writer-in-residence time is up, but he is not looking forward to it.

He says that we have changed since the 1990’s.

I agree with both speakers. We are more wary. We are more insular.

What the two speakers forgot to mention is why this is so. They forgot to mention September 11, the Twin Towers being attacked by Muslim terrorists. They forgot to mention that 3000 people were murdered in a most vicious attack by a group of Muslim fanatics who despise America and all it stands for.

They forgot to mention the subsequent attacks in Madrid. They forgot to mention the attack on the London underground. They forgot to mention the Bali bombings and so on and so on.

These terrorist attacks by Muslim fanatics tipped the world on its axis. They changed the way we regard Muslims. Who are these terrorists who want to destroy the West?

While it would be wrong to blame all Muslims for what happened and what is still happening almost daily in some part of the world, it is only natural that we in Australia as in the rest of the Western world should become wary of all Muslims.

After all, we don’t know who is being trained right now to carry out another attack.

So it is inevitable that we become suspicious of strangers who want to change our way of life or who may even want to commit an act of terrorism. It has happened to Australians in Bali and we would be stupid to believe that the threat is gone, especially when we are informed by the terrorists, as has been broadcast today from Pakistan that the U.S and Europe will be attacked again very soon.

So if Christos Tsialkas and the retired doctor want to know what happened to make us suspicious and less tolerant, they should remember 9/11 when we woke up to the horrifying shock that there are people out there who want to hurt us just because we aren’t like them.

Hamas shoots pregnant woman and boasts about it

There is great jubilation in the streets of Gaza as I write. Hamas are celebrating their “brave” shooting of a pregnant Israeli woman who was travelling by car with another woman and two men. They were all shot dead by Hamas murderers.

I’m never surprised by anything that Hamas do. They thrive on killing and subjugating their own people. They thrive on the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis. In fact, that is the only reason that Hamas have lasted so long. Hamas feeds on hatred and uses fear to survive

So what is the reason behind this latest atrocity and the savage celebration in Gaza? Well, the Prime Minister of Israel has gone yet again to the U.S to discuss peace initiatives. The Palestinian leader of Fatah in the West Bank is also planning to join the talks. Now any peace initiative would be a threat to Hamas’ interests so they have committed these vile murders to upset the talks.

I hope the talks aren’t interrupted because Israel should avoid doing what Hamas is inciting.

I do believe that one day, far away into the future, there will be peace between the Arabs and the Israelis. But I also believe it won’t happen until Hamas is just a distant and unpleasant memory.