In the UK, few will forget this year’s A-level algorithm. A-levels are key exams for 18-year olds; they make or break college offers. COVID-19 canceled them. Teachers were asked what each pupil would have scored. But the government fed these numbers into an algorithm alongside the school’s past performance. Result: 40 percent of all teacher estimates were downgraded, which nixed college for high-achieving kids in disadvantaged areas. Boris Johnson backed down, eventually, blaming a “mutant algorithm.” Still, even a former colleague of the prime minister thinks the A-level fiasco may torpedo his re-election chances.
The British people are starting to wake up to the fact that they’ve elected someone who is plain incompetent. He was a proven liar throughout his career, yet people believed him! Why on earth did you vote for him, then?
This week the British government has appointed our former PM Tony Abbott as their Senior Trade Commissioner (he was born in London so is a UK citizen). That just proves their stupidity. Abbott is known for his homophobia, his anti-same sex marriage views and his dismissal of climate science. He started appointing Australian “knights” without even consulting his own cabinet colleagues. The few who were appointed are now left in limbo, with an honour not recognised by anyone (Peter Cosgrove, what were you thinking when you accepted it??? And when he did this, it devalued our former highest Australian honour, the AC. Stupid!).
If you want a laugh, the Gadfly column of the Saturday Paper is excellent today:
Concerns have been expressed that Abbott, who was born in Britain before tragically relocating to Australia, will not be operating in Australia’s best interests. In fairness to Abbott, that is entirely consistent with his tenure as prime minister, when he was operating in Rupert Murdoch’s best interests.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison described Abbott’s appointment as a “good hire”, although take that with a grain of salt as he’s the man who hired Scott Cam as Australia’s “national careers ambassador”. Abbott has made no official comment on his appointment but sources close to him tell us the former PM’s eventual statement will involve a series of long pauses and something about shirtfronting trade barriers.
It makes you want to cry. The stupidity, the dispensing of patronage. In Britain, about GBP12,500 buys you a seat in the House of Lords and the title of Lord. It stinks of corruption, yet it happens. I despair.
I’m starting to lose track of the day number. It might be day 170 but I’d have to do a count and it doesn’t matter enough. Anyway, greetings to my great readers. It’s a 7.5Byoot day here, maybe even 8Byoots, clear blue sky, almost no wind, 21C. Lovely. Spring is in the air.
I’ve been out the back, raking up all the fallen limes from my tree. It took five years to start fruiting, and I was beginning to wonder if it wouldn’t, but now I can’t use them fast enough. They’re going bad in the bowl and I’m having to throw them out. I’ve juiced quite a few and frozen the juice as ice blocks, but it’s very sour. I’ve also halved them and frozen a bagfull, but it’s just as easy to use a fresh one. I’ve offered them to a few people but I can’t get any takers. I suppose I could put a box on my front wall and invite people to take free limes. Yes, I’ll do that.
I’ve also been spreading potting mix and compost on the garden beds, prior to planting some vegetable seeds. I bought some on-line back in April when the craze was on and they took more than a month to arrive (from the Perth hills area) as demand was so strong. I haven’t planted them yet, and I found many packets of the more common ones in Aldi yesterday. Must get to it. Need more compost.
I’m finding my Breville Air Fryer Oven excellent for roasting veges. A couple of nights ago, I roasted a $5 aluminium tray-full and put two chicken sausages on top too. Plus two small spuds sliced up. I had to turn the sausages and give it a little longer, but it worked a treat. I’ve kept the tray, so I’ll do more tonight.
I’ll never starve! My fridge is packed with all kinds of food. I see delicious prepared meals (not pre-prepared!) and I can’t resist. I’m the scavenger, too. Anything that’s near or past use-by date is for me. I figure it helps the shops get rid of their doubtful stock, as well as helping my budget.
I had the pre-paid funeral lady here on Thursday. Phwooaaar, she was a Glasgow Scot, maybe 50, very pretty and with pure white hair, cut fairly short. Wow, I was smitten. That Scottish accent. I wish I spoke like that.
But she was straight down to business, and if I wandered into chatting, she quickly brought me back to the subject. No time for socialising with her.
Unfortunately, I told her up-front, after she showed me their prices, that it was more than double the amount I’ve seen on other websites. She showed me their barebones offer, but even that was $1,000 higher. She left me their quote but I doubt I’ll be using that company.
When I started looking, I found a company that’s local (Malaga – in Perth, not Spain) and sounded OK, but despite leaving my details and two requests on their website a couple of months apart for them to contact me, they never have. Obviously, they don’t monitor their website. I figure if they can’t do that, what will they do when my time comes?
I’ll just have to contact this cheaper company and compare detail by detail, component by component. I don’t want frills or a full chapel service. All I want is a cremation (by law, you have to have a coffin) and a space at Pinnaroo for a gathering if people want to come. I know a funeral celebrant, a guy I used to work with, Harvey Deegan. I was surprised that he remembered me last time I saw him at a funeral, as he was a sports journalist.
And my ashes to be scattered on the sea or under a tree, I don’t mind. I did ask about the legalities of scattering on the sea and she didn’t know, but said many people do it. Just find a quiet location.
It sounds morbid to be talking about this, but I’m highly vulnerable to the corona virus and all the other things that go with diabetes, possible heart troubles and the slow form of leukaemia. I might drop off at any time and I don’t want anyone to be put to trouble when I do. I’m an organised person and I will organise this. I’m not expecting to drop off in the near future, but better to be ready.
I’m 73, Mum was 74 and Dad was 78. I have to renew my driver’s licence in November for five years, so that takes me to Dad’s age. Gotta last or beat that.
It’s rampant – wage theft, exploitation of workers in Australia (and I’m sure around the world). The latest is backpackers and foreign students, many of them young Chinese, trying to stop themselves starving during this virus crisis (they are not eligible for any government support) by working on fruit and vegetable farms and vineyards.
In what is an open secret, bosses are allegedly exploiting the lack of knowledge around Australia’s industrial relations system among migrant communities – particularly where they speak languages other than English – hiring people into jobs that pay as little as $5 an hour.
One young woman told of having to work 12 hour days, then having half her small wages withheld, taken, for “rent”. They dare not protest too much for fear of having their visas examined by Border Force, although I think they’d be very happy if they were deported. But more likely is that they would be locked up, “detained” on some charge related to working.
I can hardly believe the cruelty being shown by some Australians. There is blatant racism in this community and country and an attitude that these workers can be exploited because they’re foreign and desperate. What happened to the Aussie characteristic of the “fair go”? This is shameful! This is not how Australia was and should be. We should be showing compassion to the poor and vulnerable, not persecuting them.
This morning I’ve been shown some video on the web of a guy in Melbourne shouting from his first floor (that’s second floor, for you non-Aussies, you have to be different, don’t you 😉 ) balcony at the police, who have arrived to arrest him for trying to organise an anti-lockdown demonstration.
The fact is, there is a state of emergency in Victoria and Melbourne due to a large virus outbreak that started about six weeks ago. You’re allowed out for medical, exercise, children’s play, food shopping and some compassionate reasons, and that’s all. Yes, it’s a bit strong, but so is the virus. They’ve had more than 600 deaths and the virus was spreading like a fungus. It’s hard, but it’s necessary and it will ease up soon, as long as people obey the rules.
But some idiots see it as a violation of their rights and want to gather in a location to stage a protest. Sorry people, but at the moment, it’s against the law. It won’t always be this way, the lockdown will ease up when the virus stops spreading, but you can’t incite other people to defy the rules.
This guy was recording on his phone (not “filming”, there’s no film! Why do people say that?) as the police arrived, and he was refusing to let them in. He was spouting supposed laws to them as if he was a lawyer. So they broke his door in and arrested him as he came down the stairs. Sorry mate, I don’t have the slightest sympathy for you. You’re just a trouble-maker. If your demonstration went ahead (which it did), what about the rights of law abiders to be safe from any spread of the infection? Everyone else has rights too, mate. Your rights don’t override mine.
For the past week I’ve been working away, uploading all my historic black and white images to the family tree website for enhancement, then clicking the colourise button. It’s fantastic. These are from my uncle Darcey’s time in the Middle East during World War 2. I assume it’s Palestine. It’s ironic, as this is an Israeli company that’s doing these enhancements.
I think uncle Darcey would be extremely pleased with these enhancements and amazed at this new technology. Crumbs, I am too. I have many more to show, and many more still to be enhanced. Boy, this eats up the time but it’s so rewarding.
I’ve told how I’ve been installing a new (second hand) AV car radio into Vera, the Verada. It’s in and working, but I’ve realised only the rear speakers are active. Booger. I made up my own harness from a pre-wired harness for another vehicle, but I think I might have to just pay the $30 for another IEC harness, so I can plug them together. I should have done that in the first place as matching the wires and soldering them took ages (no need to work fast, Gertrude). It’s very fiddly.
That means I have to take all that fascia out again, with all the pain on my fingers as I try to squeeze the connector clips to remove them. Ugh. Oh well, can’t be helped. (By the way, the rash on my fingers is fading slowly and they’re not really painful now, but it was a very strong infection, or whatever it was. There are a couple of patches on my toes as well.)
The DAB+ digital radio is working marvellously. I’m used to losing radio reception as I drive into underground carparks, but DAB+ hangs on quite a bit, fading a bit but staying with me a lot of the time. I am impressed.
I tried a DVD for the first time today (in my garage, not on the road) and it works fine. You have to ground the green wire, (or connect it to a switch on the handbrake — too hard), which is meant to stop you playing the video while you’re moving, i.e. handbrake on, green wire earthed, video play allowed. Handbrake off, no video allowed. I won’t do anything silly.
The law about mobile phones changed as from 1 September – $1,000 on-the-spot fine and four demerit points for even touching your phone while driving. You might say it’s harsh, but there are too many idiots texting and even watching video on their phones while driving, and they won’t take any notice of the law. They have to be hit hard. I’m damned if I want to be hit by a driver who’s holding and distracted by his phone. Actually, it’s just as much her phone. Women are notorious for it.
If you want to use a phone in your car, you can but it must be in a holder, connected by Bluetooth and you must not touch it. Either use voice control, or a button on your AV console, or the buttons on your steering wheel. You can touch the AV unit because it’s considered to be a part of the car. A phone is not.
I have no problem with this. I get about three calls a year while I’m in my car and I just let them go through to the keeper* (voicemail). But my new AV unit has Bluetooth and I can pair it with my phone and answer by touching a “button” on the screen, so I may as well pair it, but in general, too bad about my phone. Quite often I forget to take it out with me. Sometimes it stays in my bag, unseen and unheard for a day or two. I am not a phone addict.
*For o/s readers, letting it go through to the keeper is a cricketing term, meaning the batsman declines to take a hit and lifts his bat, letting the ball go through to the wicket keeper. We say this a lot.
Which reminds me, I got my “landline” (actually VOIP) phone back a few weeks ago but I’m wondering why I bothered. With one exception (a friend) all I’m getting is scam calls. I’m sick of it!
I think it’s time I ditched this facility. Isn’t that great – that these Indian scam callers have virtually rendered our landline phone system unuseable. I’m sick of them. I don’t answer the landline phone unless I can see the name of the caller. If they want to talk to me, they’ll leave a message. Otherwise, too bad.
Which means I will now have three multi-handset cordless phone systems for sale. All of them have four cordless handsets. I bought two of them after I felt a bit dissatisfied with my older Panasonic set, but after a while I went back to it. Oh well.
This type of thing is good for people with kids, or who live in a multi-storey house or apartment. Good value then.