Judge Not

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Today I have chosen the main theme from the movie, Cinema Paradiso. The theme was composed by Ennio and Andrea Morricone and the performance took place in Venice in 2007. Unfortunately, I was not able to ascertain the orchestra in this performance. Do you know the film? I will just leave that with you. I can’t help wondering why love between consenting adults should be anyone else’s business? I also wonder why anyone would want to impose themselves on the lives of people living peacefully?

Let’s listen.


Love, not war.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

We Feel Love

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

Today my choice for Friday song day is I Feel Love, written by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellopertte, and performed by Donna Summer. It was inevitable that I would choose this song one day. It was Pan of the Wild Music’s favourite song. We played this song for Pan two days ago when my True Love got out of hospital. Pan, our last little, old canary, died this morning. Some time during the night he had a stroke. He was incapacitated and we took him to the vet this morning and ended his suffering.

Pan’s life was eventful, full of adventure and narrow escapes, song and good friends. I will share his story separately when I’ve had a few days to collect myself. He deserves that. My youngest son dug Pan’s grave. My husband would have liked to have done this one last thing for Pan but he was unable to because of his surgery. As is our practice, we buried him with three coins to pay Charon, the ferryman. A magpie perched on the powerline above us and sung him out.

Let’s listen to Pan’s song now.

The world seems full of anger and sorrow at the moment, ladies and gentlemen. Our fury and narcissism demean life. Love and kindness bring us together. I hope one day that we can all join together in song.

It rained overnight here but the sun came out this afternoon. Pan loved to sing in the morning and bask in the afternoon sun.

Sing it with me, everyone.
Kind Regards.
Tracy.

Pure Imagination

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

Housing policy is on my mind this week. The two main political parties vying to form the next national government of Australia have made their pitch to voters. One has offered to bend the superannuation rules so that first home buyers can access their retirement savings to help raise a deposit for their first home. The other is offering a government/purchaser shared equity scheme. Those are interesting ideas, both with their pros and cons, but as some commentators have asked, where are the additional houses needed to offset inflationary pressures? Hence, some have said that supply, not demand, is the main issue.

In a perfectly competitive market, supply and demand are apparently equal at the optimum price point. That’s capitalism, right? That optimum price is far too high for low to middle income earners. Correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t rising property prices and higher interest rates meant to benefit investors under Australia’s current taxation rules? Is this the real aim of the election commitments? Australia has the most generous housing investment incentives in the Western world. The current promises seem likely to increase residential property prices further and if the price of residential property goes up, so do rents. It is a zero sum game.

Lack of supply is, of course, someone else’s problem. For example, the cost of land is enormous. Land releases are normally the jurisdiction of state and local governments. Once a metropolitan problem, land prices have skyrocketed across many parts of Australia. Some have suggested that local governments should be forced to release more land for development and that red tape be cut (a familiar refrain). Deregulation could encompass, for example, lifting height and density restrictions, and doing away with community consultation on development proposals, etc. Some jurisdictions require developers to fully or part fund public infrastructure in the new suburbs adding to the price of house and land packages. I am equally as frustrated by simplistic land supply arguments as I am with demand side house price pump priming.

Meanwhile, good luck getting a qualified trades person, especially in this day and age of house burning or flooding climate catastrophe. Then there is the shortage of building materials also driving up costs and slowing construction. Both of the major parties are keen on boosting trade apprenticeships to help overcome labour shortages. Great, but I wonder if they realise there is a shortage of qualified trade teachers in the vocational education sector?

Many important sectors of our economy rely on temporary workers from overseas to fill skilled and unskllled jobs, including in bustling tourism towns in the regions. Even a tent is hot property in the peak tourism season. Are these workers going to want to come here if they can’t secure a roof over their heads? Last time I travelled up the coast of eastern Australia, I met fruit pickers who lived in their cars. It is a trend that has caught on. If low paid care workers can’t afford to rent or buy, we surely cannot be surprised that they are leaving that sector in droves. Our community suffers as a result.

From my perspective, the availability of affordable housing for all is an important indicator of good economic management and a good business-friendly policy, while its lack is a constraint on economic growth. How large must the ranks of the economically vulnerable, housing-insecure grow before housing affordability is genuinely addressed by Australian governments? Maybe nothing of substance will happen until affected businesses – and I don’t include property developers in this group – demand action. The voice of businesses, of commerce, seems to have more impact than the pleas of the vulnerable. If voters care about which political party can manage the Australian economy best, they should care about what’s on offer to improve housing affordability. Sadly, the answer appears to be not much. We are now in the land of pure imagination.

Tomorrow, Australia elects its next national government. Is writing this a good use of my time? Probably not. I’m just a quietish Australian. If you get a kick from champagne and (un)reality TV, this whole fruitless exercise should be a real turn-off. That’s okay.

So, back to the Friday song. Today, I’ve chosen a clip of Josh Groban singing Pure Imagination. I am particularly fond of this verse.

We’ll begin
With a spin
Traveling in
The world of my creation.
What we’ll see
Will defy
Explanation.

[Songwriters – Anthony Newley / Leslie Bricusse]

Sounds like the election campaign to me.

Enjoy.

For those reading because they are interested in my True Love’s adventures in hospital, rest assured that he is still with us. He’ll be in hospital for at least a week. For the moment, there is pain but hopefully in a few weeks, he won’t be so crook in the guts (Aussie technical term).

Take care, everyone. Stay safe and be your most compassionate self.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

Choose Your Own Poison

Tracy (front) and her sister riding Lightning,1972
An image flickers like an old home movie across the screen.  
A young girl stands by an open fridge door drinking thirstily from a large bottle of Passiona.  A woman, her mother, appears in the background and chastises her daughter for drinking too much soft drink.  Too much Passiona.  Always Passiona.

"Drink water," the child's mother says.
But the child doesn't stop. 

Images flicker alternately between the child vomiting violently, and drinking from the bottle of Passiona, before vomiting again.  The child becomes thinner and thinner.  
Images of the wasting child flicker faster until she is nothing but a wisp of fetid Passiona air,  translucent and ephemeral as she drifts in and out of consciousness.

When I was a small girl, I lived on a rural property on the outskirts of Sydney. Every week, the soft drink man would deliver a crate of syrupy, carbonated drinks to the property. They were supposed to be a treat, but I couldn’t get enough of them. My favourite was a passionfruit-flavoured fizzy called Passiona. In the 50 years since I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I have always craved carbonated fizzy drinks on those rare occasions when my blood glucose levels have been seriously high. It is worth noting that I became a Type 1 diabetic in the months after I recovered from a serious bout of the measles. Isn’t it fortunate that there are now vaccines to protect against many serious viruses that can trigger our immune systems to go into hyper drive and attack our own bodies?

The (optional) task for Day 14 of National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) is to write a poem/piece that takes the form of the opening scene of the movie of your life.

There’s more to this movie, but this is a start.

Take care, everyone.
Kind Regards.
Tracy.

NaPoWriMo #14
Ragtag Daily Prompt – Changeling

,

Not War

I have previously written about climate wars, culture wars, water wars and war wars, wars on rodents, waste, corruption, hunger and homelessness; the collapse of essential ecosystems; the persecution of climate activists, minorities and refugees; the jailing of protesters; and so on. I am not going to repeat myself here today. Instead, I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart, all those people who work tirelessly to keep us safe and who provide humanitarian aid in our darkest hours. They are the light that gives us hope.

Moving right along, it’s not a cat photo or video, but it is a reasonable substitute. I give you Ama and Makea. Enjoy.

Please, no more war writing and photography prompts, otherwise I will have to pull out the dead rat photo. If you have something to say on any of the topics above, say it anyway. It is always an important time to stand up for the issues that matter.

Mediate, not meditate, is my new favourite saying.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

Wrong. Not Right

In the good old days when I had a career, it mattered what people thought of me. Making a good impression was essential to getting more interesting (rewarding) work. Two of my biggest weaknesses were that I had a habit of not finishing my sentences and forgetting words and the second “weakness” was that I was (am) fat. So naturally, often people thought I was fat and dumb. Being fat and being dumb are seen as significant moral character flaws. One of these flaws on its own is not an insurmountable problem, but combined, the difficulty level for climbing the career ladder increases.

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Landing It

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

To travel to my home town, the place of my birth, would take a number of days by car. For a family with small children that journey would likely stretch to over a week. When I was a child, the cost of plane fares was also exorbitant, hence our family rarely visited our relatives in Far North Queensland. I remember a special occasion when our family did make the trip by plane. Perhaps it was my first plane trip. It was very exciting.

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Numbers Down

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

Canberra’s coronavirus restrictions were eased slightly at the end of last week and will be further eased at the end of this week. Some restrictions will remain but we can now connect again with friends and family, albeit in small numbers. Stay-at-home provisions have applied since Delta arrived here nine weeks ago. During that time, I have taken great comfort from the competent, calm, compassionate and informative approach of public health officials in our local government. The health team and the government could not have been any clearer about what they needed us to do, and because no sector of the community were given preferential treatment over another, Ken Behrens* largely did what was asked of us. I think it is fair to say that at times our Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman, outshone others in the spotlight. I’m such a fan.

One of the many strategies to help us open safely has been to get as many Canberrans vaccinated as quickly as possible. Just prior to lockdown, approximately 48 percent of the Canberra population over 12 years of age had had one dose of one of the Covid vaccines, while just shy of 25 percent of us were fully vaccinated. Now 98 percent of us have had one dose and 83 percent of eligible Canberrans are already fully vaccinated. Howzat! Thankfully the rest of Australia is not far behind us. Unfortunately, a small number of Canberrans have died over this period and our hearts go out to their families. The vaccines are very effective but as we have learned there still can be breakthrough infections. There is also likely a growing group of Canberrans whose vaccine protection is waning and who, therefore, will need to get a top up quite soon. It does sound like there will be no rest yet for the public health team and frontline health workers who have been working so tirelessly to keep us safe.

Today, my shout-out is to Canberra’s health workers, and Dr Coleman in particular. Thanks for caring. As Dr Coleman is originally a sand-groper (that is, someone from Western Australia), I thought I would choose my Friday song from a singer/songwriter from that state. Today, I have chosen Andrew Winton, performing his song Number’s Down. How apt, don’t you think? The chorus is very easy, so sing it with me.

Take care, everyone.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

* Each day over the last nine weeks, members of the ACT government have held a press conference to keep Canberrans informed of how the Delta outbreak was unfolding and the necessary steps to keep us safe. During one of these press conferences, there was a sub-titling error that referred to Canberrans as Ken Behrens and henceforth the name has been adopted wholeheartedly by the Canberra community.

Reminiscing

As you do … on cheap electricity and a gas-led climate emergency.

The late, great John Clarke, together with fellow comedian, Bryan Dawe, explain Australia’s energy market. [Videos might only be available to Australian audiences.]

But don’t mention the planet.

You have to wonder if those companies with large long term contracts for electricity are paying proportionately much less than small users of electricity? It would make sense. Discounts for bulk purchases are pretty standard, aren’t they? I wonder if small users are thereby subsidising the big users? Do we know by how much? On top of that, the Australian government has committed $600 million to fund a new gas-fired power station to boost capacity when domestic demand and hence, gas prices. peak. As gas is expensive and government will want to reduce the budget deficit incurred from the pandemic (including clawing back the cost of its gas-led recovery investments), it doesn’t sound like future electricity prices will be minimised. Maybe this will just spur more businesses and individuals to go off-grid? That is likely to make it even more expensive for those who can’t afford to make that switch. It doesn’t seem to be a win for the hip pocket or the planet. Who does win then?