Cheese and Wine Age

Age is considered good for cheese and wine. Drinkers prefer to nibble on aged cheese and drink mature wine. Beaujolais and cottage cheese have their place. But for something special cheese aficionados prefer an aged Gruyere or Cheddar to Mascarpone. The same applies to wine. If you can afford it kudos comes from drinking an aged French chateau wine.

We struggle with old people. The walking stick, the dribble, the befuddled mind, are the archetypes that spring to mind. We have reached the period in this State even young people feel old. This is our fifth lockdown and people are fragile. It needn’t be so.

If I am, I am unaware of how you see me. The cover you see above is of a book of my recent writing. I plan to give to my grandchildren at my birthday party (if lockdown rules allow) later this month.

Finally, as an early 80th birthday present for myself I have enrolled in the course below. This should take care of lockdown ennui.

Best Laid Plans

Photo greynomads.com.au

Tom and his mate Tahlia were spending 2021 traveling around Australia, taking the long route. They were moving clockwise, using the outside of the road. Tahlia had just celebrated her 21st birthday, as had Tom. By now they understood this a vast land. You can drive for a thousand kilometres in this land and the highlight of your day is the chance to fill the fuel tank of your vehicle at a service centre. Most of these serve very unappetising fried food and little else. As, a vegan traveller, Tahlia must have gagged every time she entered one of these outposts. 

Correctly, after crossing the Nullabour they turned left when they reached Norseman. And they drove their converted delivery van, now a smart camper wagon, to the beautiful city of Esperance. After days spent looking at scenery, that barely changed hours after hour crossing the continent, the water views of the seaside town are remarkably restful. Being more venturesome than this old fellow, they learned the islands offshore were easy to get to by ferry. As a result, they had a merry time at an off-shore bar where they could share travel stories with other young folk, and learned something about the mysterious road ahead.  

The trip from Esperance to the capital of Western Australia one need not hurry. So they took their time visiting the wine area of Margaret River and swimming at wild ocean beaches. The great Jarrah and Karri forests, and the distant remnants of the whaling industry of Albany are only some joys one finds south of Perth. The long seaward protrusion of the Busselton Jetty was another place they visited. But the distant voices from home reminded Tahlia others would like to celebrate the significance of her twenty-first birthday back in Melbourne. A day away on the other side of the continent if you fly. So they called in favours to park “Van Morrison” in Perth and headed back home by air.

What should have been a happy home-coming break held a COVID-19 twist. Their plane had barely landed when health authorities announced Victoria had a new virulent community outbreak of the virus after over three months of being infection free. The State authority announced it would again enter lockdown that evening.

Just home, the young couple drove immediately back to the airport with a view to escape the Lockdown and resume their circumnavigation of the continent. They made phone calls to Western Australia health officials to find out if they could avoid fourteen days of enforced quarantine, as they had not been near the areas known to be infected, they simply wanted to return to their mobile home. Officialdom, being what it is, deliberated to the point of the plane’s departure time and came down with a judgement. Their home had no fixed address and the only way they could reenter the state was to do as all other Victorians must. That is it required them to enter quarantine. They sat out the Lockdown.

The reality was hard, too few in the population had been inoculated, the seven-day lockdown was extended and interstate travel banned. The outcome for Tom and Tahlia? Viruses are true egotists and they infect whomever they can.

Beryl

Photo. 2.bp.blogspot.com
Beryl bounced once in the old days

rebounded for a second, third,

this final time upon the board

outstretching her muscular arms,

lengthening her growing body,

she flew upward and out into

the April air tucking her knees

to her chest tightly embracing

legs frequently tumbling over,

straightening her body at the

final moment the trajectory

curled toward the water in the

local swimming pool. Dr Davies watched

her gracefully enter the hole

she drilled deep in the blue aqua.

As coach, he suggested points to

consider on her climb to the

plank for her fourteenth encore.

The diver and the boy cadet

were fifteen years — separated

by maturing youthful grace.

The Contest

Authors Photo
The grudge match was settled from the church choir loft.
It had brewed for days — who made the better flier?

We required regular writing paper.
John folded his piece in half and length ways.

He took the right and left top corners
and folded them to the centreline

Increasing the angle he folded each side again
Until he had fashioned a dart with acute angles

He was satisfied when he gave a twist to the paper
and two wings shot out at right angles from the centrefold.

I chose to tear the paper on the fold
where the larger portion became a square

With deft origami moves I folded it in two
to make a rectangle half the original size.

Folding that into two smaller squares I flattened
Those and bought the outside corners to the centreline

Until it was the shape of a delta wing. I slipped the
discarded piece and slid it in between the delta folds

to make a tail. We stood, side by side
and threw our planes into the void.

John’s arrow shaped plane flew true — diagonally to the floor.
My ancient design flew up, dived sharply and gracefully

glided above the church pews toward the pulpit
where it came to complete rest. Mission accomplished.


Proof that the shortest space between two points,
pilots know, Is not always a straight line.

Canberra Bubble

Image John Tiedemann



A change in the air reminds me of twenty minutes lost,

alert to the waltz a virtuous murmuration of starlings gave.

A fabulous swirling smoke of beating, iridescent wings, and assuring cries.

The ubiquitous birds hopping after insects, rising as one mass from the lawn

that evening became a swoosh, a concert, a dance rising and falling, a twisting

and turning of synchronised swimming on the fluid

broiling air. A smoke curling above the dark tree-line their flight of fancy.



Currently, a vicious parliament rings to a decade of got-you’s.

The debate, a pixilated landscape of noise

swirling through digital platforms, flying upward

toward a vector of warbling publishers

to meet more misdirection and gaslighting.

Media gathers there, for debate curling over

and through sensibility, yet loses nothing

of the awful, fascinating, and ceaseless filibuster

of truth lived by half the population denied a roost,

swooping toward a light shining upon raw truth,

now a boisterous law of prevailing opinion circles Canberra .




A wrecking ball of justice might just smash the Canberra Bubble this term.


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Maxine Beneba Clarke and 3 others followRay Martin@Raymartin55This will be the first Australian Government brought down by women. Deservedly so. #auspol8:05 PM · Mar 10, 2021·Twitter for iPhone

You and Me

We live life one day at a time. However we live each day it is just part of the patchwork of activity people live. Today I can think of nothing better than celebrating humankind as it is recorded in the 2021 film Life In A Day.

Watch the film found at https://lifeinaday.youtube/

Just so you can celebrate being your fabulous self.

A Day Playing By The Rules

Morning.

No fudging!

No Steelies!

Play for keeps!

A dusty rut marks the circle

where animated boys ring the orbit

for play, to cry,

“No Girls”

Egged on by allies, they shoot,

Aggies, Cat’s Eye, Milk glass,

hunkered down, fist on ground, 

a Lemonade Taw knocks out the Glassie,

et shot tour de force.

Penny marble,

threepence at most, 

all Spud needed

to fill his drawstring bag at lunchtime

when rules, ruled.

Afternoon.

Billy McMahon’s marble fell,

Marlene’s groom Ian

marched, measured, militarised,

fit to kill

fell on a foreign paddy,

loading artillery 

fifteen kilometres

from the action.

The town turned out 

when 3791583

marched home, alone

on a fancy gun carriage.

Rulers decreed — Regimental rules applied

Evening

All welcome.

A roulette marble drops,

winners play on,

launder money,

or lose the house.

The game played for a government’s budget has,

all white,

or ocean blue chips,

to cover 

the dollar,

or thousand, each represents

because no one needs a drawstring bag

in a cashless world.

Rules, rule in the house,

“not fit to hold a licence.”

Spinners

Ref. The Hollywood Reporter

He sat squarely on the piano stool. The boy reached out and opened Aunt Clara’s piano and spontaneously played. The lad played it so well his father bought him a baby grand piano at age 10 and reluctantly agreed he could at last take music lessons. At 13, young Louis played at his own Bar Mitzvah. By the time his influence entered my world he was a noted maestro and a chain smoking conductor his friends called Lenny.

By 1960 his modern opera, a rework of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet had reached the Princess Theatre Melbourne. The music by Leonard Bernstein with a libretto by Stephen Sondheim tells of a gang war between Puerto Ricans and the Whites ( or the Jets and Sharks). At that stage Bernstein was thirty-two. Sixty years ago the 33 year old reached new critical acclaim when this musical was released as film by the same name. A few years latter the film reached Melbourne and Jennie and I went to see it. I was so enthralled by it we bought a 12 inch LP ( Long Play) recording of the cast performance.

Our Pye, three-in-one player: (TV, Radio, and Turn-Table), was never put to use before it was stolen from our home. However, the record stayed and was a regular hit with us. The tracks; “I Feel Pretty”, “Tonight”, “America”, and “Somewhere”, have entered the canon of America’s greatest works. Fortunately, Stephen Sondheim lives on, Lenny died from the after effects of an addiction to tobacco, and his friend, American composer, Arron Copeland has also died. Clearly the world is poorer without their talent.

When we bought the West Side Story record, the best recorded music was found on 12 inch L P’s. We bought several. Most came from a group trading as The World Record Club and they were recordings of classical music. The records ran for 60 minutes, but the user could only hear the last 30 minutes by stopping the player and turning the recording to hear the reverse side. Fortunately, a 12 inch vinyl record was a big improvement on previous records. The extra time recorded on each disc was achieved by reducing the speed of the turntable to 33 revolutions per minute and adding width to it.

With the 33 rpm turntable also offered the listener other speed choices. A 45 rpm disc was the record used at the time by pop song promoters. The record had two sides and two songs. It was common for the promoter to advertise one of the two songs on each record. The A side was supposed to be better than the B side. Frequently they got it wrong, in the ears of the listeners, and the more popular song was on the reverse.

.

The first recording I ever bought was of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. It was written in 1880 to commemorate the Battle of Borodino where Tsar Alexander 1’s forces routed Napoleon in 1812. As my student allowance money was scarce my copy was a 45 vinyl disc. The overture only lasts about 16 minutes. To my annoyance half way through the performance the record had to be flipped over to hear the remainder. It was certainly a performance Tchaikovsky had not written, even though it was performed with actual canons.

The gramophone of the 1960’s replaced the model my uncle Paul had graduated to just a few years before. He had a passion for the popular music recorded before WW11. Performer’s names included favourites such as: Chick Corea, Al Bowlly, Fats Waller, Count Basie, Ross Colombo, and the catalogue ran on with the names of band leaders such as Chick Webb, Artie Shaw and the Dorsey brothers. The records were 78 rpm. Each side ran for about 3 minutes. I have retained one I have altered to a clock face. It is a Decca recording, of Bing Crosby singing, On the Sunny Side Of The Street.

Paul was fanatical about his collection. Each record had a matching file card. The card mentioned the name of the song: where and when it was recorded, who the musicians were. (The cards may have had other information I have no idea. But he did). For thirty years he ran an old time music program on, not one, but two community radio stations. He based each program on the notes he had made at the time of purchase.

When he started to collect these tunes they were sold in a brown paper sleeves. When he played a recording he would wipe any dust that might have fallen on it. Originally the first tunes he played was on a gramophone he had to wind up. The record was placed on a felt disc and the pickup was lowered onto the disc from the outside edge. The pick up was a steel needle. To protect his collection he would use a new needle for every recording he played.

The shellac recordings were brittle and easily damaged. The sound was reproduced by a needle running in the groove made when the sound was recorded. The trouble with such a system is the damage caused by the friction made playing the music.

Paul’s was not the first wind up machine. That role goes to the phonograph. Our neighbours, the Coverdale’s, had an original model. It played music recorded on cylinders. The recording method was similar in that used to make 78s. In that a grove was cut into the cylinder using a mechanism that converted the sound waves into energy that did the inscribing. The pickup followed the scratch to reproduce the singers voice.

Over the course of my life. We have used tape recorders, compact discs, and down loaded LPs to digital programs so they can be reproduced from the computer. I was ever so impressed when Ben and Nina introduced me to the first iPlayer. I found it hard to believe such a tiny recorder could hold so much music and be reproduced so easily.

Years ago I downloaded my entire record collection to my mobile phone, and I have listened to it amplified by wifi and Bluetooth. I have even used Spotify but I have found the range of classical music limited so when in doubt or in need of a switch-up I turn to an app on my phone and I can get worldwide coverage of classical music programs any time of day.

Aficionados, like to explain the 3mp copy excludes much of the pure sound a vinyl recording gives. They may be right but to my creaky old ears it sounds ok and it plays without the need to jump up and turn a record on the turntable. It is even better than the “clunk” you got when one record dropped onto the other when records were stacked one upon the other on a multi-player.

Any A, B or Z musician would be proud to be enjoyed so easily today. Bernstein, Beethoven, Brahms, or Borodin — music is great. That you can listen to any-type of music anywhere from the phone in your pocket is something the boys and girls of West Side Story could never have imagined

A Pyramid Scheme

John Hopkins University 25/01/2021

One

Year on

This sober anniversary

Marks the first reported

Transfer of the mysterious disease,

Coronavirus. This unwelcome case was first reported

Here. Few paid any real attention initially.

“Don’t know about you”, said the Prime Minister.

“I am off to watch my Sharkies play football”

“I think you misunderstand the point of what we’re doing …”

Devoted Australian family man, James Kwan, died in Perth, February 28 2020.

The retired travel agent was a passenger on the ship, Diamond Princess

Quarantine Isolation policies, couldn’t stop Ruby Princess folk spreading the virus nation-wide

Intermittent border closures lead to crazy disruptions to daily lives for everyone

This crazy pattern has continued for 365 days. Of sorts, corralled, we mourn all dead.


My thoughts go to all the first responders (and those who act as the last responders) and to all caught in the Covid 19 pandemic.

To us all: wear a mask, wash your hands, practise social distancing, and help everyone stay safe.

An Ode To Lynette

Ref: Esty.com
I turned,
As passed me by
An unknown sight,
With flashing lights,
Painted contours,
Sirens Screaming,
Accents stilted,
A debutante queen
Draped in crinoline.
As black-tied men
Pretend to care
Importance springs
From formal wear.
When we all know
A line of print
Makes impressions
When words remain crisp,
Or seem confusing
If short twisted tones
Really haughtily give,
“She passed me by”,
Coquette Lynette
The perfect subject
From way back when
As opening lines —
Such nonsense sprang —
“I turned as passed
Me by”, and love
Was yet an alien.

I met with “H” again this week. He asked if I was still blogging. On learning I still type he recited these words he wrote about 15 year old Lynette 70 years ago.

“I turned as passed me by an unknown sight”.

He said he had started an Ode to Lynette and never finished it and asked I could. I have tried. Now friends it is your turn. This is my challenge. Can you finish the lines “H” started back in 1951? It can be your gift to give him another idea of how his lines should end.

“I turned as passed me by an unknown sight”

Print your poem on your page and send me your link in the reply box. It will make “H” young again to see what you can do.