Random Friday memory 4 – the iceman

Around the same time I might have been reading Digit Dick our house in Auburn Street Sutherland had one of these in the kitchen:


An ice chest. That one fetched $295 recently in Perth, I gather; $695 if restored. I seem to remember ours being very similar. No gas or electricity: just add ice to the top compartment and off you went. Of course in summer months the ice didn’t last long.

The ice came thus:


Though that one is rather before my time. But this description remains true of 1943-1952:

The ice was delivered each day first thing in the morning. The cart was tin enclosed.  The iceman used to have a hessian bag and he’d wrap the block in a hessian bag and tuck it under his arm and run in with the ice and put it in the ice chest. 

Not sure about the daily delivery in Sutherland, but the rest is right – and our iceman surely had a horse and cart, unlike this one in Wagga:


The kids would be lining up for chips of ice. I recall doing that on hot days…

The ice-man is a great example of how the absolute call for a particular service can change with the advent of modern technology. Before refrigerators were a commonplace appliance, it was necessary to devise ways of keeping perishable foods cold, particularly in the summer months. The ice-man would deliver to homes and businesses, slabs of cut ice which were placed in an ice chest. The ice would be delivered every couple of days and often created a lot of interest to the local children who would anticipate a piece to be broken off for them.

Bread and milk came by horse and cart as well.


Put out more flags

First, to state the bleeding obvious, I have no sympathy at all for the bastards who like to parade themselves as follows, and this is a comparatively mild example:


No more than I am/was a fan of the following, who rather dominated the world of my childhood:


By the way I was rather drawn by Peter Hartcher’s opinion piece yesterday.

The truth is that Australia, and the world, have to face squarely all the threats to peace and stability. “States” and “non-states” alike. There is no need to divide them into separate baskets, with one in fashion and one out at any given moment. In fact, these rising risks can all be classed under the same broad political rubric. The world has seen it before.

The regimes in Russia, China and the so-called Islamic State are all fascist. The defining characteristics of fascists? First, they are authoritarian. Freedoms are curbed. The people are allowed no rights to resist the will of their rulers. Dissent is crushed, and crushed violently if necessary…

There are many differences. Russia is notionally a democracy; China is run by a party that is nominally communist; the so-called Islamic State claims to act in the name of Allah.

Yet all three operate as fascist entities. Fascism “abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion”, as Robert Paxton put it in his book, The Anatomy of Fascism.

In short, there is no need for Western leaders to play word games and declare security fashions. All three of these rising threats are enemies of freedom. They deny freedom to their own people, and they ride roughshod over the rights of other peoples.

The world confronts a resurgent fascism. It doesn’t seem that the West, absorbed with economic crises in Europe and political dysfunction in the US, comprehends fully the force and fury rising against it.

But consider the following images of leaders of an earlier time confronting the greatest perils their countries had known:



Prime Minister John Curtin in London1_7815338_tcm11-18299

By contrast, Australia 2015 delivers something I can only describe as crass:


With a speech to match, composed of slogans and hot-button hate words: “disrupt, degrade and ultimately defeat the Daesh or ISIL death cult”:

Again, I stress, the death cult has been reaching out to our country with about 100 Australians fighting with Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq and about another 150 here at home supporting these extremists so this commitment is a matter of domestic as well as international security and I stress this is absolutely and utterly in Australia’s national interests to do this.

I did note the Chief of the Defence Force did not use the words “death cult” once…. Of course I hope the mission succeeds.

Meanwhile, I do commend this:

toneflags See Nick Evershed, Surge in poles: Tony Abbott’s flag count hits a new high.

“Wrapping oneself in the flag” is never a complimentary phrase, but I fear Tones may be doing something very like it.

If someone wraps themselves in the flag, they pretend to be doing something for patriotic reasons or out of loyalty, but their real motives are selfish. (‘Drape yourself in the flag’ is an alternative form of this idiom.)

Last night on TV – Merlin and Tibet

Merlin is still running on ABC3 weekdays at 7.30. It can’t have far to go as Arthur is now king. See also Wikipedia.


Colin Morgan as Merlin – he’s very good

I had suspected that the spells generally are in Old English, a language I actually studied at Sydney University long ago. Ironic really, given that the historical Arthur – to the degree there really was one – led the charge against the Old English speaking Anglo-Saxons.  But yes, the spells were apparently written by Dr Mark Faulkner of the University of Sheffield.

Later came one of those surprises NITV can spring: a Tibetan movie.


Dreaming Lhasa (2005) is not a movie I had heard of before.

Karma, a Tibetan filmmaker from New York, goes to Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama’s exile headquarters in northern India, to make a documentary about former political prisoners who have escaped from Tibet. She wants to reconnect with her roots but is also escaping a deteriorating relationship back home.

One of Karma’s interviewees is Dhondup, an enigmatic ex-monk who has just escaped from Tibet. He confides in her that his real reason for coming to India is to fulfil his dying mother’s last wish, to deliver a charm box to a long-missing resistance fighter. Karma finds herself unwittingly falling in love with Dhondup even as she is sucked into the passion of his quest, which becomes a journey into Tibet’s fractured past and a voyage of self-discovery.

Rotten Tomatoes finds most critics were unimpressed, but there were exceptions; for example: “The fictional story incorporates harrowing documentary testimony from former Tibetan political prisoners, but essentially this is a hopeful look at a resilient people keeping their traditions alive as they move into the digital age.”  I was certainly interested, and yes some of that filmed testimony was harrowing indeed.  See also IMBbWikipedia says of the production:

In the absence of any kind of a film industry among the exile Tibetan community, the film was shot using a cast almost entirely made up of non-professionals. Only Jampa Kalsang, who plays Dhondup, had some prior acting experience. The rest of the cast was chosen through a casting call sent out on Tibet-related websites, and through an auditioning process in Dharamsala, India, where much of the film was shot. Tenzin Chokyi Gyatso, who plays Karma, normally works in a bank in suburban Washington DC, while Tenzin Jigme, the third main character in the film, is a real-life musician and a member of the popular Tibetan refugee rock band, JJI Exile Brothers. The technical crew consisted mainly of Indian professionals, while an enthusiastic bunch of Tibetans provided them with backup and support.

Did I miss much on QandA?

February blog stats

February was quiet on this blog: 1,244 views compared with 1,739 in January – but 1,093 last February. The most visited posts in the last 30 days – so Feb + the last couple of days – have been:

  1. Home page / Archives 653 views since 31 January 2015
  2. Neil’s personal decades: 22 – Whitfields 1915 19
  3. Outnumbered, Merlin, and other recently seen TV 18
  4. Neil’s personal decades: 25 – more on WW1 soldier Norman Whitfield 18
  5. Australia Day 2015 – and Tony Abbott’s serious mental problem 15
  6. Seized by teen terrorists in the age of Whitlam! 14
  7. Anzac Girls last night on ABC 12
  8. Tangible link to the convict ship “Isabella” and the immigrant ship “Thames” 12
  9. The old Mount Keira Inn 11
  10. Expect the unexpected! Stunning victories/defeats! 11
  11. Welcome to McCarthyism 21st century Oz-style 11
  12. Neil’s personal decades: 18 – 1890s – T D Whitfield 10
  13. Neil’s personal decades: 16 – 1880s and 90s – Whitfields again 9
  14. About 9
  15. Tone’s day after… And a movie/play… 9

Sitemeter shows the whole set including archived blogs went up in February: 4,018 page views from 3,257 visitors, compared with 3,789/2,917 in January. There was quite an increase coming from Floating Life 4/06 ~ 1/07, pretty much poetry-driven it seems:

  1. Les Murray and The Widower (2005) 175 views since 31 January 2015
  2. Friday Australian poem #12: David Campbell “Men in Green” 118
  3. Two Australian poems of World War II 98
  4. Friday Australian poem #3: A D Hope, “The Death of a Bird” 97
  5. Friday Australian poem #15: Les Murray, “An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow” 81
  6. Friday Australian poem # 6: Mary Gilmore, “Nationality” and “Old Botany Bay” 77

The Floating Life archive was also up:

  1. Home page / Archives 360
  2. Australian poem: 2008 series #8 — Indigenous poetry 62
  3. Australian poem 2008 series #17: “Australia” — A D Hope 29
  4. Cronulla 05 27
  5. SBS “First Australians” Episode 3: Coranderrk Aboriginal Station 23

The ocean pool, Shellharbour. Most viewed photo blog post in February.