A Fond Farewell to Costco in Melbourne, Australia

It is with much regret that we have decided to stop shopping at Costco.

You see, the products currently sold at Costco in Melbourne, Australia, have gone downmarket and no longer tempt us to buy them.

I am not questioning Costco’s marketing ability. They cater to the demographic which will buy their products. Consequently, there are many huge bags of rice, lots of sweets and potato chips, cans of spaghetti and baked beans, alcohol, and foods with an Asian appeal such as frozen wontons etc.

Gone are the American imports which attracted us and the Continental delicacies which we enjoyed buying.

The change in products has been a gradual one. The original Caesar dressing disappeared, dill pickles were hard to find and even a well-known American jar of mixed bean salad is now unavailable.

Apparently, these kind of foods were not attracting enough buyers and so they were replaced with very mundane products that were obviously better sellers.

I was a fan of Kirkland’s own brand of products but they seem to have been replaced as well. This is unfortunate because many of the Costco offerings can now be purchased in our local Australian supermarkets.

I find that Aldi sells quite a few of the continental products that were originally in Costco when it first opened.

Such is the way of the world. My husband enjoyed the arancini he used to buy at Costco but they also went missing the last two times we trekked to the city to buy them.

What a pity this has happened! It was great while it lasted and we used to look forward to our regular visits there. But the selection no longer attracts us and we hope that another supermarket chain will provide the tasty titbits that we can no longer find at Costco.

The Right to Defend Yourself

It would be perfect if nobody had weapons. It would be perfect if nobody attacked anybody else. It would be perfect if peace reigned forever and ever and we all stood around expressing our love for one another. Wouldn’t it be wonderful?

We would even sing songs about it all. Hey hang on a minute! Didn’t someone imagine such a world and didn’t we all sing along with him?

Ironically, poor John Lennon was shot to death and we all grieved for him. His song fell on deaf ears,

Some of us believed that it was the fault of the gun in the murderer’s hands. If we could only take away all the guns then we would all be safe.

Wishful thinking and deluded, in my opinion.

Alas, when I look around at the world I seriously doubt that this is ever going to happen. Yes, it’s possible to take away the guns from the moral people, but the evil ones, the crazy ones, the determined ones will always find a way to find weapons and threaten those of us who mean no harm.

It’s the way of the world and always will be, I’m afraid.

Even if we all sincerely promised to disarm and signed agreements in the U.N (lol) with one another could we in all honesty trust those who want to destroy our way of life? Could we believe them when they claim to have disarmed?

Are we really that naive?

The Daniel Morcombe murder and a twist of fate

In 1997 I was commissioned to review a TV program called “Front Up” for The Courier Mail newspaper. This program was screened on SBS and I admired what its producer, Andrew L. Urban was doing. So I interviewed him about his program and promoted it unashamedly.

During our interview Andrew explained how he believed that everyone has a story to tell and that is why he would stop people in the street and see if they were willing to talk frankly about themselves.

And yes, he was right. People are quite happy to talk about themselves if they are approached in a relaxed and non-confrontational manner. Andrew told me that he relied on “an educated hunch”, a degree of openness which would encourage a friendly conversation.

“Front Up” became very popular because it was about ordinary people rather than celebrities.

So who would have imagined that two years after my interview with Urban that Brett Peter Cowan, the paedophile who has just been convicted of murdering Daniel Morcombe ten years ago, would appear on one of Urban’s “Front Up” episodes?

In it, Cowan appears relaxed and affable, the sort of man whom you would introduce to your parents. He talked about his hard battle with drugs and that he’s over all his problems and that he has found God… blah blah.

Alas, poor Andrew Urban had no idea that he was talking to a convicted child molester. How ironic it is that what was intended to be a show about ordinary people should have accidentally stumbled upon one of the most monstrous criminals in Australian history.

How low can females go? She stoops to conk out…

There is a clothing store in the Chadstone Shopping Mall which displays a female T-shirt with a worrying message.

I have walked past it several times and wondered what sort of female would wear it.

This is what the T-shirt says.

“Did I have fun?”

My reply to this chick’s question is “If you can’t remember whether you had fun or not, then you can be certain somebody else definitely had fun.”

The flower of womanhood has certainly withered, has it not?

Explosion in Middle Park, Melbourne, Australia– a further example of why threats to self-harm should be ignored

It is a tragic beginning to 2014 for two police women and one police man. These poor souls have suffered extreme burns to their bodies when they answered a call to come to the aid of a man who was threatening to blow himself up.

Something had upset him, some romance gone wrong or whatever and so the place blew up when the police entered his apartment. One police constable has burns to 90% of her body. What horror!

The explosive guy has survived, unfortunately, while the innocent police folk are scarred for life. That’s if they live…

I can’t help thinking that there is something wrong with society that puts up with these people who want to cause so much grief to innocent hard-working citizens like the police who tried to help him.

I have to be frank here and state that if someone threatens to self-harm or go on a hunger strike we should call his bluff. As Nike says “Just do it.” It will save us a lot of trouble and will get rid of these publicity-seeking pests.

So a person refuses to leave his apartment, so what? Hours of negotiations would be avoided if they just told him “Go ahead, make my day!”

In my opinion, the only time that we should interfere in the displays of stupid egotism is in the case of an hostage situation in which innocents may be in danger. That’s when the authorities have to become involved.

Quite frankly, I would have organised for the other residents in the apartment block to be escorted out of the building and then, for all I care, he could blow himself up to smithereens.

It breaks my heart to see three innocent people have their lives ruined just because this idiot was having a tantrum. It’s simply not right.

Sleeping with homeless people

There are two million homeless people in India. These people have nowhere to sleep, don’t know whether they will still be alive tomorrow and where their next meal is coming from should they survive the night on the streets.

Life is grim for them.

So a bunch of middle and upper class Indian do-gooders decided to do something for the homeless.

The idea they came up with was to spend a night in the open–al fresco, so to speak, to demonstrate their support for the poor unfortunates. It made them feel good to perform this generous gesture for their ‘fellow men’. After all, it was only for one night and they could always breakfast at some posh hotel the next morning.

Not for one moment could these rich people experience the stress and deprivation of being genuinely homeless. Not for one moment could they possible understand what it feels like to be insecure.

What hypocrisy!

The rich Indians had slept rough “shabby chic style” the way that Prince William of Buckingham Palace did a while back to show his support for the homeless in Britain.

When I say “rough” I mean minus the duvet, the fluffy pillows and the lavender-scented sheets. William was protected, of course, by the Secret Service and was never in mortal danger of being stabbed overnight as he slept. Nor was he concerned about where his kippers and coddled eggs would come from in the morning. We can assume that he felt pretty safe.

This was a gesture and as far as gestures go, the publicity shots were pretty successful.

I mean what more could the popular royal do, you ask?

Well, he could have invited a few of the homeless people to sleep on his turf in the palace. Offer them some shelter.

And that’s what those well-off Indians should have done. After all, they had homes, beds, food and safety.

They should have provided some decent sleeping quarters for the homeless, if they were genuinely concerned. That would have demonstrated that they really cared instead of taking part in a pointless stunt of tasteless and fruitless condescension.

What’s with the mothers and their battering prams?

I find myself cringing as a couple of yummy mummies head towards me with their prams. It wouldn’t be so bad if they looked where they were going.

But they don’t.

Here they come, oblivious of anyone one else on the planet. They won’t see me because they are talking to one another and it wouldn’t matter if there was an abyss lying before them. They would keep on hurtling towards it because they just don’t give a damn.

If I don’t jump to one side they would mow me down with their battering prams. And they wouldn’t even notice.

And if they are not having a chat then they are texting on their smart phones. You often see a solitary pram pusher looking down at the phone, walking along blindly while her baby screeches its head off.

Now it’s times like these that I wish there were some abyss in front of these creatures. Of course this will not happen [unfortunately] but it explains the smile on my face as I imagine them texting whoever. “Fell down a hole. Thank God my phone is okay.” And then they might remember the pram.

Wow! “Still Mine” – Another depressing film about dementia!

I just heard a review of a film which is catering to the senior market. It’s called “Still Mine” and is, wait for it, another film about an old person with Alzheimer’s. Now that makes more than four films in the past year that have dealt specifically with one of the characters going bonkers and how everyone copes with it.

The reviewer said that this film is for the senior market because seniors don’t want action movies or silly teenage romances. He is correct there.

But do we really want to see yet another a film about dementia, euthanasia and other depressing subjects when we go out on the town?

I prefer “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” which did not deal with the so-called morbid side of life. It was fun, uplifting and a pleasure to see.

I’m not avoiding the serious issues but I would rather enjoy my outing to the theatre than be confronted by the spectre of death and misery. If I want to see that I only have to switch on the TV to a news channel and I can access all the hopeless reality of this world.

Enough is enough! Give us something positive, worth going out for and spending our money.

Giving up your seat for an older person is very un-Australian

We have just come home from a trip on the tram and, as usual, an Asian stood up to offer us a seat. We accepted gracefully and yet we were sad.

Why? Well, it’s because Asians are the only young people to give up their seats nowadays. They are still respectful of elders and that comes from their culture.

It’s not the first time this has happened. In all the times that a seat has been offered to us, there has only been one occasion when a Westerner has stood up for us and he was a man who was getting off at the next stop.

While Western teenagers remain spreadeagled in their seats while fiddling with their I-phones, the Asians will stand up for an older person.

Of course, it all comes from the home, doesn’t it?

Anyhow, I made sure to thank this Asian couple in a very audible voice. This is what I said to them:-

“Thank you very much for giving up your seat. I hope that you don’t become too Australian by forgetting manners. Stick to your culture which still shows some respect.”

Why you cannot trust Calypso mangoes

I have to speak out about the disgusting TV ad promoting Calypso mangoes. Picture this…

A little old lady is shopping in a supermarket. She pretends to try to reach an item on a high shelf but can’t manage it. Why? Because she wants to distract a fellow shopper, an obliging tall man who has Calypso mangoes in his trolley. Why? Because she wants to steal from him.

I kid you not.

So when he turns his back on her to reach her item on the top shelf she steals four Calypso mangoes from his trolley and chuckles. To make matters worse, she tells him he is a nice man. So much for the storyline of this TV ad.

Impressed?

Well, I’m pretty turned off by the unethical behaviour of the old woman. She has stolen from the Good Samaritan. She depicts old people as being dishonest. She is certainly giving the wrong message to any child who watches this ad. And in my opinion, she makes me wonder about the ethics of a product that promotes such despicable behaviour.

Are the growers of Calypso mangoes to be trusted when their ad is based on theft? Who approved of this ad? Was it One Harvest itself which is showing it on its web site. Who has the final say as to what is acceptable to be aired on TV?

Or don’t they give a damn?

I, for one, do give a damn and will never buy a Calypso mango. It would go against my moral code.