The Spanish Parliament welcomes back the Jews. Big deal!

After several hundred years Spain has decided to entice into its country Sephardic Jews. These are the descendants of the Jews who were tortured  and expelled by good old Queen Isabella of Spain and her spouse Ferdinand in 1492.

It’s an intriguing phenomenon that countries such as England, France and Spain can’t wait to expel their Jewish inhabitants when the economy is okay, but when things go bad these countries decide they need Jewish contributions after all.

Am I cynical about Spain’s current welcome mat being rolled out for the Jews who were kicked out of its country in 1492?  You betcha.

It seems to me that the Spanish economy must be doing very badly indeed for the Jews to be invited back once again.

Domestic violence at Melbourne Zoo

Australia is in the grip of a domestic violence epidemic. I won’t go into the causes of it since there are many, but let’s say that most of it is due to drugs, alcohol and failed relationships.

A tragic state of affairs which I hope will be improved in years to come.

To make matters worse, last Friday a male gorilla at Melbourne Zoo attacked a female gorilla who subsequently died the next day.

Otana, who is a Silverback gorilla (whatever that is) behaved like an absolute animal!

Silverbacks are known for asserting themselves in a normal manner, the zookeepers inform us, but this time Otana went too far. He overdid the aggressive asserting and poor Julia copped a bashing.

Now that is sad indeed, but I have to confess that I chuckled when it was announced that the primate keepers have been offered counselling to help them through this difficult time.

Let them eat cake at Ashers bakery. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

In 1997 Tasmania became the last Australia state to decriminalise homosexual activity between  consenting males.

A propos of this I can recall one of my favourite cartoons of the day. There’s a very Aussie male wearing a dinkum hat and singlet as he waits in line at the airport in Hobart.

His comment is:-

“First it was illegal, then it was tolerated and then it became legal. I’m getting out of here before it becomes compulsory.”

So why am I recalling this cartoon today?  Well, it’s got to  do with the ruling in Northern Ireland which fined a devoutly Christian bakery for refusing  to bake a cake promoting gay marriage.

This was a case of discrimination, the female judge declared.

According to the judge the bakery was conducting a business for profit.  Hmm… very unusual motive.  “They are in the business of providing services for all. The law requires them to do so,” she declared.

My question is  ” If Ashers were a halal  or kosher food store would the owners have to supply a pork hamburger to anyone who demanded it?

The reason for not doing so surely would be the same as the Ashers bakery case. It is against their religious beliefs.

As I hinted above, there will be a day when we will have to come to terms with our sexuality…heterosexuality, that is.

 

Organic restaurants, expensive and uncomfortable

If you want to sit on a crate, balance on a swing or hurt your back on some Scandinavian style sterile furniture, then an organic restaurant serving that yummy organic food is the place for you.

The whole thing about organic is that if it hurts or tastes bad then it must be good for you. Take kale, for example. A green triffid-like growth that tastes so awful it has been promoted as being the best vegetable ever.

Well, I bought some just to see what the fuss was about and all I can say is it must be very, very good for you.

When I was a TV critic at the Courier Mail newspaper I reviewed a British series called “Heartbeat.” One of the characters in it was a lovable rascal called Greengrass who was always looking to make a fortune in a less than honest manner.

In one episode he was seen dipping some farm eggs into manure and rubbing that smelly stuff all over them. When asked why he was doing this, he replied “There’s lots of money in being organic.”

Melbourne Australia’s solution to insufficent public transport

It is hard to believe that the public servants in charge of Melbourne’s transport system are allowed to run free to ruin our lives.

Since The Intergenerational Report has been released by our government we have been informed that our population is aging.

This is an important report because it will help provide for the needs of a changing demographic.

One assumes, therefore, that the Victorian government is going to encourage the use of public transport which will inevitably be more in demand as the population ages.

So what have the brightsparks announced to ease the overcrowding on our trains and trams?

Those who run “the world’s most livable city” are going to remove seats from our trains and trams so that there will be more standing room. In other words, the result will be “cattle trucks”.

How that should prepare the city for an aging population who already find it hard enough to locate an empty seat in one of those contraptions is a mystery to me.

Shocking discrimination against graduating teachers in Australia

What is this world coming to? Is there no end to the demands made on teachers? As Kurtz in Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” exclaimed as he lay dying, “Oh the horror, the horror”.

It’s too much to bear!

So what am I going on about, you may possibly ask.

Well, it looks as if “the federal government is going to make all new graduate primary and secondary teachers prove they are capable of teaching maths and English by undertaking a mandatory new competency test from 2016.” (Herald Sun)

In other words, teachers will have to demonstrate that they can read and write and count before they are let loose on the students at school. As I said, “Oh the horror.”

Call me a cynic, but I am looking forward to the protests by the Teachers’ Union. Imagine expecting a teacher to be familiar with literacy and numeracy. It’s the thin edge of the wedge, I fear.

This sort of expectation can only lead to more problems.

Will teachers have to prove that they can actually impart knowledge, motivate students and stimulate their minds?

This sounds too much like education to me and I can’t imagine that the Teachers’ Union will allow this sort of thing to eventuate. After all, what will happen to the thousands of teachers who are employed in the system right now? Will they have to face an audit of their qualification to develop the minds of our children?

If this kind of discrimination against useless teachers is allowed to occur then surely there will be a scarcity of teachers!

Why the Australian nanny state is a waste of resources

Australia is under the misapprehension that it can protect and care for its citizens even if these citizens don’t appreciate the effort. In fact, they bite the hand that feeds them. Well-meaning and politically correct Aussies are deluded when they believe that they can do some good for their “fellow man”.

It is true that the less fortunate require assistance but that assistance has to be welcomed and treated seriously.

Let’s face it, very few people appreciate a hand-out and this was exactly the case today when we went to a shopping centre.

A man sat down beside us. He had obviously not been shopping, nor was he eating lunch. Instead, he sidled up close to us, showed us a food voucher for Woolworths and told us that it was worth $25 but that he would sell it to us for $20.

The voucher was one that is handed out by charities and the government to ensure that the dole is not wasted on gambling, drugs and alcohol. This man was keen to swap food for whatever he wanted instead.

Is this a good method of teaching the needy to shop responsibly? Or does this make a mockery of the system? After all, you can’t force people to act responsibly if they are determined to abuse the nanny state.

I bet someone will buy the food voucher from him and how ironic is that?

As they say, no good deed goes unpunished

My Installation Art. Should I increase my insurance policy?

Each year when we have to renew our insurance policy we discuss the value of our possessions. It’s an important discussion, after all, and one which should be taken very seriously.

Our home is replete with installation art. There is our unmade bed, which changes shape every morning . It’s so much more interesting than Tracey’s work of art from 1998 which has recently sold for over 4 million dollars. I kid you not. $4 million!

We also have our sink with unwashed dishes and a laundry with unwashed clothes in it. Think of the wealth which our modest residence contains!

On TV this morning there was a fascinating item about a heavy boulder which was being moved very carefully from one spot to another in California. This was another example of that valuable addition to the art world of INSTALLATION ART.

According to the “artist” who had the bright idea of transporting a rock for over a hundred miles and sticking it in some place for the whole world to enjoy, this artistic enterprise could be compared with the Great Pyramids of Egypt which have lasted around 5000 years. This installation will definitely last as long as the pyramids, he assures us. And it only cost $10 million to transport it!

Well, California is certainly a very safe place to deposit a rocky masterpiece such as this one.

Back to our insurance policy, however. I do have a couple of pictures on my walls. Nothing of value really, just paintings that I like. I wonder if they could be considered as works of art since the artist appears to have used brushes and paint on a canvas. A very outdated concept!

Not a single installation or transportation as far as I can assess. Perhaps I should throw them into my laundry basket and hang the whole damn thing from the rafters. Sounds promising to me as a likely candidate for the Turner Prize. Of course I would have to sell this masterpiece because the insurance premiums would be prohibitive.

Never mind, there’s always Ebay, isn’t there?

The hypocrisy of the Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia

As I sit in my home in Melbourne and listen to the whirring of the racing cars going round and round in circles, I can’t help but scoff at the hypocrisy of the entire farce.

We are told incessantly that we should cut down on carbon emissions. We are taxed to do so. Polluting the air is bad, apparently, but not when it comes to an event such as the Grand Prix. Here we have powerful engines churning out poisons for about four days. The noise is bad. The atmosphere stinks of petrol and yet all is forgiven because it is a special event which will put Melbourne on the map.

Well, it does that for sure. It confirms that the Victorian government has Fifty Million Dollars to waste supporting an event which does not even make a profit. It stands for nothing but hypocrisy about protecting the environment etc.

Not being a genuine Victorian I obviously don’t get it. The Grand Prix is about fashion show-offs, drinkers and voyeurs who hope that some of the cars will crash. And let’s not forget the gambling.

It reminds me so much of the events in Ancient Rome when the Emperors used to put on shows to amuse the rabble in the Colosseum. It seems as if nothing much has changed since the First Century AD.