All covered up

We decided to head down to the house on Wednesday night after work and found this –

Yep – it was fully wrapped in sisalation and the roof was on.  Yesterday we went back down to meet the sparky on site and found that the bricks had been delivered and all of the plumbing roughed in.

Of course we had to take the furkids down for their first look at their new home.

Tomorrow the brickies start and we’re told that will be finished by the end of the week.   Next week we get our first look at the garden design and decide then whether we give the go ahead for the landscaping to be locked in to start in July around the time we’ll be moving in.

***********************************
Raels and I went to the footy on Friday night.  She is a Collingwood fan and me Carlton.  For people who aren’t immersed in the AFL culture that’s like being Protestant and Catholic, or Jewish and Muslim, Democrat and Republican, Capulet and Montague, Hatflields and McCoys – you get the picture.  Unfortunately for me, my team lost, but it was pretty obvious we had improved from last year.   Bring them on again I say.  Not sure whether we’ll do together again though.  It’s too hard to barrack when you might piss of the person sitting next to you.

First week I went with three of my kids.  Why do girls pull funny faces with phone cameras?

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Morality and the police

I’ve been a cop in my life, for sixteen years in fact, although I did resign in 1997.   And there were times of moral dilemma that occured throughout that time, particularly in the early years when the old school coppers were still around.  I saw no great evidence of corruption, although there were times when blind eyes were turned to minor crimes and other times when people were bricked for offences when the evidence for conviction wasn’t quite enough.   And I hasten to add that I never falsified evidence at any time, although I did let some people off minor offences using my discretion.    But I did know some old school coppers who did push boundaries at the time.   Blokes who learnt the ropes in the 60’s and 70’s when the world was a differnet place.    For the most part the old school detectives knew they may have to stretch the truth and the old school crooks knew it was a fair cop anyway.

Times change of course.  Footing a kid up the bum when they were wrecking letter boxes became unacceptable, beating confessions out of armed robbers is no longer allowed, and that’s not a bad thing.   One of the things that has really changed is the release of information.  In the old days it was common practice to pass on information to outsiders, other agencies, law enforcement professionals, private investigators etc., but that can’t be done anymore.

That’s why the revelation that Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon said something to Collingwood Football Club President Eddie Maguire about the recruitment of Ben Cousins raises a number of concerns in my mind.  The Chief has to practice what she preaches.  Now the information is public it is in the public interest to know exactly what was said and in what context.  If it was innocent then there should be no issues.  If you are head of a department that prosecutes it’s own for unauthorised release of information then you must be prepared to put yourself up to scrutiny when it appears you have done the same.   Of course people can have an opinion but when you are in the public eye and your opinion counts you have to be very sure of what you say.

At this stage it is Ben Cousins who stands to lose out because of what may have been said by the Chief Commissioner.  And in many ways it doesn’t matter whether what she said was correct or not.  Perception is what is important here

Morality and the police

I’ve been a cop in my life, for sixteen years in fact, although I did resign in 1997.   And there were times of moral dilemma that occured throughout that time, particularly in the early years when the old school coppers were still around.  I saw no great evidence of corruption, although there were times when blind eyes were turned to minor crimes and other times when people were bricked for offences when the evidence for conviction wasn’t quite enough.   And I hasten to add that I never falsified evidence at any time, although I did let some people off minor offences using my discretion.    But I did know some old school coppers who did push boundaries at the time.   Blokes who learnt the ropes in the 60’s and 70’s when the world was a differnet place.    For the most part the old school detectives knew they may have to stretch the truth and the old school crooks knew it was a fair cop anyway.

Times change of course.  Footing a kid up the bum when they were wrecking letter boxes became unacceptable, beating confessions out of armed robbers is no longer allowed, and that’s not a bad thing.   One of the things that has really changed is the release of information.  In the old days it was common practice to pass on information to outsiders, other agencies, law enforcement professionals, private investigators etc., but that can’t be done anymore.

That’s why the revelation that Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon said something to Collingwood Football Club President Eddie Maguire about the recruitment of Ben Cousins raises a number of concerns in my mind.  The Chief has to practice what she preaches.  Now the information is public it is in the public interest to know exactly what was said and in what context.  If it was innocent then there should be no issues.  If you are head of a department that prosecutes it’s own for unauthorised release of information then you must be prepared to put yourself up to scrutiny when it appears you have done the same.   Of course people can have an opinion but when you are in the public eye and your opinion counts you have to be very sure of what you say.

At this stage it is Ben Cousins who stands to lose out because of what may have been said by the Chief Commissioner.  And in many ways it doesn’t matter whether what she said was correct or not.  Perception is what is important here

Language Problems or Don’t drink 15 cans of beer before getting a tattoo

I just received this in an email from a friend and thought it was worth passing on. You can imagine the conversation –

“Ordering a cake by phone in Springvale, a southeastern suburb of Melbourne with a high proportion of Asian residents.

Cake-shop employee answers phone: “Harro, dis Springvale cake-shop, how can I helping you?”

Customer: “I would like to order a cake for a going away party this week.”

Cake-shop employee: “What you be want writing on cake?”

Customer: “…’Best Wishes Suzanne’….underneath that…’We will miss you.’ “


This reminded me of Neville who on a visit to Thailand last year after his beloved Geelong Cats won the Australian Football League premiership, fortified himself with 15 cans of beer and visited a tattoo shop for a celebratory bit of artwork on his arm. Thinking he was helping out the artist he wrote down what he wanted on a piece of paper and in order to balance it up decided he would have one on both his right and left arms. So that the bloke got it on the correct side he labelled each of the drawings with “right arm” and “left arm”. Here is the result.


Note that instead of “Day Premiers” it actually says “Gay Premiers” which all non Geelong supporters will tell you is most appropriate. You can read more about it here.

Language Problems or Don’t drink 15 cans of beer before getting a tattoo

I just received this in an email from a friend and thought it was worth passing on. You can imagine the conversation –

“Ordering a cake by phone in Springvale, a southeastern suburb of Melbourne with a high proportion of Asian residents.

Cake-shop employee answers phone: “Harro, dis Springvale cake-shop, how can I helping you?”

Customer: “I would like to order a cake for a going away party this week.”

Cake-shop employee: “What you be want writing on cake?”

Customer: “…’Best Wishes Suzanne’….underneath that…’We will miss you.’ “


This reminded me of Neville who on a visit to Thailand last year after his beloved Geelong Cats won the Australian Football League premiership, fortified himself with 15 cans of beer and visited a tattoo shop for a celebratory bit of artwork on his arm. Thinking he was helping out the artist he wrote down what he wanted on a piece of paper and in order to balance it up decided he would have one on both his right and left arms. So that the bloke got it on the correct side he labelled each of the drawings with “right arm” and “left arm”. Here is the result.


Note that instead of “Day Premiers” it actually says “Gay Premiers” which all non Geelong supporters will tell you is most appropriate. You can read more about it here.

Language Problems or Don’t drink 15 cans of beer before getting a tattoo

I just received this in an email from a friend and thought it was worth passing on. You can imagine the conversation –

“Ordering a cake by phone in Springvale, a southeastern suburb of Melbourne with a high proportion of Asian residents.

Cake-shop employee answers phone: “Harro, dis Springvale cake-shop, how can I helping you?”

Customer: “I would like to order a cake for a going away party this week.”

Cake-shop employee: “What you be want writing on cake?”

Customer: “…’Best Wishes Suzanne’….underneath that…’We will miss you.’ “


This reminded me of Neville who on a visit to Thailand last year after his beloved Geelong Cats won the Australian Football League premiership, fortified himself with 15 cans of beer and visited a tattoo shop for a celebratory bit of artwork on his arm. Thinking he was helping out the artist he wrote down what he wanted on a piece of paper and in order to balance it up decided he would have one on both his right and left arms. So that the bloke got it on the correct side he labelled each of the drawings with “right arm” and “left arm”. Here is the result.


Note that instead of “Day Premiers” it actually says “Gay Premiers” which all non Geelong supporters will tell you is most appropriate. You can read more about it here.

Workless Saturday


Not much work will get done in Melbourne this afternoon, it’s AFL Grand Final day and even if you don’t barrack for either of the teams competing, 90% of the population will be sitting down in front of the TV watching the game.

I barrack for Carlton – the not so mighty blues these days having finished near the bottom of the competition for the last five years. But despite that my club is still one of the most powerful in the competition and we all live in hope that a climb back up to premiership glory won’t be far away.

I had no choice about what team I followed and nor have my kids, my oldest son Luke being given his first footy jumper when he was a day old. But that’s not uncommon, if you’re born, raised in Melbourne or adopt it as your home, you will have a football team to follow. Admittedly, some will be more passionate than others, but an early conversation starter when you meet a stranger is still “Who do you barrack for?” Everyone knows that the person asking the question is talking about footy.

We have a national competition now with teams from all the mainland states involved in the competition but when I was growing up it was a suburban league and my family followed Carlton because that was where they lived. The tribalism has survived the relocation of teams and the intermingling of the barrackers in suburbs way beyond those where the game originated.

Carlton’s home ground used to be Princess Park, it still is used as a training venue but the game and it’s requirements for corporate hospitality overtook that and all of the other suburan grounds that used to be used.

I loved school holidays in winter when I was a kid because it meant that I would spend time staying at my grandparents and on Saturday afternoons my Grandad and cousins and I would head off to Princess Park to watch the game. There weren’t many seats in those days and if you got their a bit late it was pretty hard to see anything when I was still wearing my kids height. We’d spend a bit of time picking beer cans up off the ground and building a platform we could stand on that would give us another 6 inches in height. I remember the smells too – the intermingling of beer and cigarette smoke; the smell of meat pies and tomato sauce which either burnt your tongue when you bit into them or were on the cold side of warm. The sound of the lolly boys calling out – “Drinks, lollies, chocolates, peanuts and potato chips. The winds were cold and the rain sometimes sleeting but that didn’t matter we were there to watch our heroes.

The cheer squads sat behind the goals at opposite ends of the ground. They carried 6 foot long sticks with massive amounts of streamers in club colours taped to their ends that would be waved after our side scored a goal or in an effort to put off the opposition if they were kicking down that end that quarter. These were called floggers and we made a few attempts to make some as well but they were never as large or as colourful as those the Cheer Squad carried. You could always tell who was in the cheer squad because they’d be wearing their duffle coats with countless badges with player names and numbers sewn onto them.

I have been lucky enough to have my side win 8 premierships in my lifetime which is roughly one every seven years, and I have also been lucky enough to see a couple of those live on this last Saturday in September at the MCG [the Melbourne Cricket Ground]. This is one of the great sports arenas of the world and if you live in Melbourne it’s simply called “The G”.

I saw several Grand Finals in a row when I was in High School. My mate David Palmer and I would get up early, catch a train into the ground and hang around the Salvos who would be given tickets that people couldn’t use and then give them to people in exchange for a donation. We got into the ground with standing room tickets for a few years in a row. In 1972 I went home happy when Carlton beat Richmond and in 1973 it was David’s turn when the result was reversed.

When I was in the police force I also saw a couple of Grand Finals in the 80’s when I was on the close personal protection team for the Prime Minister. They were good jobs because once he was inside his Federal Police gaurds stayed with him while we could go off and watch the game. And finally I was able to go to last years game as a guest of one of my works sponsors.

These days Grand Final day is much more of a social event than it was in the 70’s. Back then far more supporters of the participating clubs could get tickets, today 70% of the available tickets go to corporates and members of the AFL and the Melbourne Cricket Club. Still the atmosphere is as good today as it was all those years ago. You can still get a beer and a pie with sauce, but also such eclectic foreign items and pizza and even sushi if you so desire. Thankfully, smoking is now banned inside the ground. Floggers have also been banned but people will still wear their club colours, although I haven’t seen a duffle coat in years.

I’m not lucky enough to be there today but I am sitting in my loungeroom in a comfortable chair and I’ll be barracking for the Victorian club in the game, the Geelong Cats, and hope they absolutely belt those upstarts and relative newcomers form Port Adelaide.

If you want to get a taste of Melbourne and learn a little bit about footy in general and this special day in particular then checkout the three Youtube videos below. The first two were used on TV, “Up there Cazaly” in the 70’s, and “Thats what I like about football” in the 90’s. The final one is by Paul Kelly and whilst not about football does capture some of the essence of Melbourne and that area around “The G”.

Workless Saturday


Not much work will get done in Melbourne this afternoon, it’s AFL Grand Final day and even if you don’t barrack for either of the teams competing, 90% of the population will be sitting down in front of the TV watching the game.

I barrack for Carlton – the not so mighty blues these days having finished near the bottom of the competition for the last five years. But despite that my club is still one of the most powerful in the competition and we all live in hope that a climb back up to premiership glory won’t be far away.

I had no choice about what team I followed and nor have my kids, my oldest son Luke being given his first footy jumper when he was a day old. But that’s not uncommon, if you’re born, raised in Melbourne or adopt it as your home, you will have a football team to follow. Admittedly, some will be more passionate than others, but an early conversation starter when you meet a stranger is still “Who do you barrack for?” Everyone knows that the person asking the question is talking about footy.

We have a national competition now with teams from all the mainland states involved in the competition but when I was growing up it was a suburban league and my family followed Carlton because that was where they lived. The tribalism has survived the relocation of teams and the intermingling of the barrackers in suburbs way beyond those where the game originated.

Carlton’s home ground used to be Princess Park, it still is used as a training venue but the game and it’s requirements for corporate hospitality overtook that and all of the other suburan grounds that used to be used.

I loved school holidays in winter when I was a kid because it meant that I would spend time staying at my grandparents and on Saturday afternoons my Grandad and cousins and I would head off to Princess Park to watch the game. There weren’t many seats in those days and if you got their a bit late it was pretty hard to see anything when I was still wearing my kids height. We’d spend a bit of time picking beer cans up off the ground and building a platform we could stand on that would give us another 6 inches in height. I remember the smells too – the intermingling of beer and cigarette smoke; the smell of meat pies and tomato sauce which either burnt your tongue when you bit into them or were on the cold side of warm. The sound of the lolly boys calling out – “Drinks, lollies, chocolates, peanuts and potato chips. The winds were cold and the rain sometimes sleeting but that didn’t matter we were there to watch our heroes.

The cheer squads sat behind the goals at opposite ends of the ground. They carried 6 foot long sticks with massive amounts of streamers in club colours taped to their ends that would be waved after our side scored a goal or in an effort to put off the opposition if they were kicking down that end that quarter. These were called floggers and we made a few attempts to make some as well but they were never as large or as colourful as those the Cheer Squad carried. You could always tell who was in the cheer squad because they’d be wearing their duffle coats with countless badges with player names and numbers sewn onto them.

I have been lucky enough to have my side win 8 premierships in my lifetime which is roughly one every seven years, and I have also been lucky enough to see a couple of those live on this last Saturday in September at the MCG [the Melbourne Cricket Ground]. This is one of the great sports arenas of the world and if you live in Melbourne it’s simply called “The G”.

I saw several Grand Finals in a row when I was in High School. My mate David Palmer and I would get up early, catch a train into the ground and hang around the Salvos who would be given tickets that people couldn’t use and then give them to people in exchange for a donation. We got into the ground with standing room tickets for a few years in a row. In 1972 I went home happy when Carlton beat Richmond and in 1973 it was David’s turn when the result was reversed.

When I was in the police force I also saw a couple of Grand Finals in the 80’s when I was on the close personal protection team for the Prime Minister. They were good jobs because once he was inside his Federal Police gaurds stayed with him while we could go off and watch the game. And finally I was able to go to last years game as a guest of one of my works sponsors.

These days Grand Final day is much more of a social event than it was in the 70’s. Back then far more supporters of the participating clubs could get tickets, today 70% of the available tickets go to corporates and members of the AFL and the Melbourne Cricket Club. Still the atmosphere is as good today as it was all those years ago. You can still get a beer and a pie with sauce, but also such eclectic foreign items and pizza and even sushi if you so desire. Thankfully, smoking is now banned inside the ground. Floggers have also been banned but people will still wear their club colours, although I haven’t seen a duffle coat in years.

I’m not lucky enough to be there today but I am sitting in my loungeroom in a comfortable chair and I’ll be barracking for the Victorian club in the game, the Geelong Cats, and hope they absolutely belt those upstarts and relative newcomers form Port Adelaide.

If you want to get a taste of Melbourne and learn a little bit about footy in general and this special day in particular then checkout the three Youtube videos below. The first two were used on TV, “Up there Cazaly” in the 70’s, and “Thats what I like about football” in the 90’s. The final one is by Paul Kelly and whilst not about football does capture some of the essence of Melbourne and that area around “The G”.

Workless Saturday


Not much work will get done in Melbourne this afternoon, it’s AFL Grand Final day and even if you don’t barrack for either of the teams competing, 90% of the population will be sitting down in front of the TV watching the game.

I barrack for Carlton – the not so mighty blues these days having finished near the bottom of the competition for the last five years. But despite that my club is still one of the most powerful in the competition and we all live in hope that a climb back up to premiership glory won’t be far away.

I had no choice about what team I followed and nor have my kids, my oldest son Luke being given his first footy jumper when he was a day old. But that’s not uncommon, if you’re born, raised in Melbourne or adopt it as your home, you will have a football team to follow. Admittedly, some will be more passionate than others, but an early conversation starter when you meet a stranger is still “Who do you barrack for?” Everyone knows that the person asking the question is talking about footy.

We have a national competition now with teams from all the mainland states involved in the competition but when I was growing up it was a suburban league and my family followed Carlton because that was where they lived. The tribalism has survived the relocation of teams and the intermingling of the barrackers in suburbs way beyond those where the game originated.

Carlton’s home ground used to be Princess Park, it still is used as a training venue but the game and it’s requirements for corporate hospitality overtook that and all of the other suburan grounds that used to be used.

I loved school holidays in winter when I was a kid because it meant that I would spend time staying at my grandparents and on Saturday afternoons my Grandad and cousins and I would head off to Princess Park to watch the game. There weren’t many seats in those days and if you got their a bit late it was pretty hard to see anything when I was still wearing my kids height. We’d spend a bit of time picking beer cans up off the ground and building a platform we could stand on that would give us another 6 inches in height. I remember the smells too – the intermingling of beer and cigarette smoke; the smell of meat pies and tomato sauce which either burnt your tongue when you bit into them or were on the cold side of warm. The sound of the lolly boys calling out – “Drinks, lollies, chocolates, peanuts and potato chips. The winds were cold and the rain sometimes sleeting but that didn’t matter we were there to watch our heroes.

The cheer squads sat behind the goals at opposite ends of the ground. They carried 6 foot long sticks with massive amounts of streamers in club colours taped to their ends that would be waved after our side scored a goal or in an effort to put off the opposition if they were kicking down that end that quarter. These were called floggers and we made a few attempts to make some as well but they were never as large or as colourful as those the Cheer Squad carried. You could always tell who was in the cheer squad because they’d be wearing their duffle coats with countless badges with player names and numbers sewn onto them.

I have been lucky enough to have my side win 8 premierships in my lifetime which is roughly one every seven years, and I have also been lucky enough to see a couple of those live on this last Saturday in September at the MCG [the Melbourne Cricket Ground]. This is one of the great sports arenas of the world and if you live in Melbourne it’s simply called “The G”.

I saw several Grand Finals in a row when I was in High School. My mate David Palmer and I would get up early, catch a train into the ground and hang around the Salvos who would be given tickets that people couldn’t use and then give them to people in exchange for a donation. We got into the ground with standing room tickets for a few years in a row. In 1972 I went home happy when Carlton beat Richmond and in 1973 it was David’s turn when the result was reversed.

When I was in the police force I also saw a couple of Grand Finals in the 80’s when I was on the close personal protection team for the Prime Minister. They were good jobs because once he was inside his Federal Police gaurds stayed with him while we could go off and watch the game. And finally I was able to go to last years game as a guest of one of my works sponsors.

These days Grand Final day is much more of a social event than it was in the 70’s. Back then far more supporters of the participating clubs could get tickets, today 70% of the available tickets go to corporates and members of the AFL and the Melbourne Cricket Club. Still the atmosphere is as good today as it was all those years ago. You can still get a beer and a pie with sauce, but also such eclectic foreign items and pizza and even sushi if you so desire. Thankfully, smoking is now banned inside the ground. Floggers have also been banned but people will still wear their club colours, although I haven’t seen a duffle coat in years.

I’m not lucky enough to be there today but I am sitting in my loungeroom in a comfortable chair and I’ll be barracking for the Victorian club in the game, the Geelong Cats, and hope they absolutely belt those upstarts and relative newcomers form Port Adelaide.

If you want to get a taste of Melbourne and learn a little bit about footy in general and this special day in particular then checkout the three Youtube videos below. The first two were used on TV, “Up there Cazaly” in the 70’s, and “Thats what I like about football” in the 90’s. The final one is by Paul Kelly and whilst not about football does capture some of the essence of Melbourne and that area around “The G”.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxM8XB61ZvU”>

Of Heroes

Just a quick post this time to mention two sports people in the news downunder.

Firstly, last night we saw an amazing performance from Jana Rawlinson who won the 400m hurdles at the World Athletic Championships in Japan. What is remarkable about this is that she did it only 8 months after having a baby. This is a lady who in some ways self destructed just prior to the Athens Olympics so it is a fantastic effort for not only making the comeback but for the manner in which she has done it. I understand she continued to train through most of her pregnancy.

Secondly, Andrew Johns, arguably the greatest Rugby League player Australia has produced and therefore one of the best ever anywhere, admitted on the Channel 9’s NRL Footy Show last night that he has been taking illicit drugs for 14 years. You can see a video of his confession here.

In my eyes Andrew Johns has just stepped up a rung on the pedestal despite the fact that this confession may well tarnish his playing reputation I think that he has shown an enormous amount of courage to come out and expose his personal issues so publicly. I fear that it is the tip of an iceberg in terms of the illicit drug problem amongst elite sportsman in this country but I hope that it will now not continue to be swept under the carpet.

Channel 7 a week ago purchased some confidential medical records that have since turned out to be stolen. These records named a Melbourne AFL club and stated that two of it’s players were in rehab for drug use. The story has become more about the purchase of stolen medical records than about the issue of illicit drug use and I have been astounded by the response from both the AFL and the AFL Players Association in the vilification of the journalist who broke the story and the fact that in my opinion they are missing the point about the drug use.

The AFL and the AFLPA claim that it has the most stringent drug testing policy of any sport in this country or the world but there are way too many unanswered questions here for me to believe what they are saying.

We know, for example, that Ben Cousins, who plays for the West Coast Eagles, has or had a major drug problem and we also know that he never tested positive for drug use. What we don’t know about the current situation is whether these players alluded to by Channel 7 have tested positive and were caught by the AFL’s drug testing or whether they have gone into rehab voluntarily. We don’t know how many tests are done for illicit drugs, nor how many have tested positive, nor do we know what clubs are involved. On face value, at least one Melbourne based club has a drug culture that needs to be dealt with. And under the AFL policy, unless a player has tested positive three times, that club has no right to know if any of it’s players are using drugs. That is absurd.

I also don’t like the way that the AFL and AFLPA continue to qualify what they say by stating that we know there is a drug problem but there is a drug problem in the rest of the community too. It is a cop out to claim that football players deserve some leniency because they give up a lot when they become footballers.

If lucky enough to be given an opportunity to play sport professionally they also gain a hell of a lot, including a salary that most kids won’t see in ten years of work let alone as a rookie sportsman. And those who are good enough will go on to become part of the privileged few who can retire comfortably in their early 30’s. So yes, they give up some privacy, but the payoffs can be enormous. Like it or lump it they also become role models and it is bad that kids can now see an example of elite sportsman who have taken drugs and continued to perform well on field and to prosper off it as a result of money and privilege.

Andrew Johns has at least given a public confession now and we will all watch and hope that he can overcome his problems. I would have far greater respect for the likes of Ben Cousins and Daniel Kerr, and these other hidden drug users if they went public and showed that they were serious about overcoming addiction and in showing they understand the duties a role model has to younger people in society.

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