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We were regaled earlier this week with news of an Australian CEO, funded indirectly from the public purse, who is paid about $6 million p.a. for doing a job that his US counterpart, with a business at least ten times as large, was paid $350K p.a.!
After a lifetime of seeing such matters arise , I think its well overtime that we established independent, national and state, Public Salaries Probity Boards, with sweeping powers of arrest and recovery, if such is legally justified. Those who have approved 'found to be corrupt or wrong' payments, should also be charged. .No wonder so many of the disaffected voted for Trump. This sort of stuff has gone on long enough!!!
Since this post the Victorian Goverment Speaker has resigned after failing the ' pub test', for about $35000 allowances apparent misuse, and now his Deputy Speaker is under pressure re a much larger amount. for a similar matter.!!!
With the last big car plant closing down for good and immediate profitability reasons, (they can be made cheaper elsewhere), we lose another level of independence. We forget that keeping a minimum fall back capacity within OZ, for all important resources, is a security matter,. If we don't, then one day, we will deeply regret it. Why don't we take over an existing car manufacturing facility and design a special Australian peoples utility vehicle, (as the Germans did with the VW as part of a post WW1 economic recovery plan). It could be viable if, from day one, we scaled it appropriately, and we began with instructing all government departments to buy say, 30% of their fleet, from our own factories.This would save jobs and keep many valued skill sets in Australia.
The news that dominates all other, is the election of Donald Trump, an outcome that has polarised the world it seems. The election of his predecessor, Barak Obama, however, only polarised America.
Not all, but most Americans, have a high regard for Obama now, and one can only hope that over time, Trump might fall into that same category.
Pundits from both sides are still settling down, and so should we. We should ignore the rhetoric from both sides and see how this new President acts, (and is permitted to act).
"Ye shall be known by your actions, not your words."
Let's hope for the best, keep our powder dry, and see what evolves.
Over Christmas, I watched Andre Rieu's Love in Venice
concert on TV. It was totally absorbing from start to finish, and radiated much that is the best in humanity. Among the acts, was a nine year old girl who sang a wonderful aria. She brought us all to tears, both in the loungeroom and among most of those attending the concert.
This event was in stark contrast to the so many 'uglies' who bring pain and grief to others and blight our world.
I kind of hope there is a heaven and a hell!
Well It's that time again, and we are all old enough to know how 'lucky we are to get old' in this troubled world of ours.
Jack Sprat, the cat and I wish that every one of our fellow and most valued greypathers has a happy day on the 25th.
Let's hope that each of us goes out of our way to do something nice for someone else, someone who may not be quite as lucky as we are.
We look forward to another year of being part of this most valued 'virtual' community of ours.
With the current daily newspaper and TV emphasis on crimes of all kinds, one could be forgiven for thinking that we now live in a lawless country, where we should be more afraid for our safety than when we were young. Are the rates of crime up generally, is it area specific, or is it just increased raw numbers due to our increasing population?
Do established Australians, new and/or ethnic minorities, or other, commit more crimes per capita, than the so called 'rest of us'?
Does anyone have access to the facts? If so mail the editor
and we will sort such out for an interesting post in the Senate
It's been a long time since we ran a survey for ourselves. If you are interested in your fellow Greypathers and what they think, for example, about sex, or living on the pension, or if they are on Facebook or Twitter, or how much time they spend on line, or do they volunteer, or how they vote and more? then do let the editor know what questions you would like to see in such a survey via a click here,
or by adding a reply post below.
Having observed the seat loadings on various public transport over the past month, I cant see why we should not experiment with free travel for pensioners from 10 -3 pm weekdays?
The marginal 'cost of carriage' by half empty trains and buses, is meaninglessly low, and it would provide a great added incentive for pensioners to get out and about, with improved socialising, leading to better health, especially mental.
This vulgar and intrusive two story high sign in a local shopping centre, reminded me that these are no longer my times.
These days we have 3000+ demands on our attention from noise, traffic lights, signage, internet, mobiles and more, every day, nicely iced in the evening, with a growing volume of unspeakably fatuous television.
I think I was just as happy without it all.
Riding one's bike about, going to the pictures on Saturday morning, fishing off the local jetty, steady jobs with secure employment, having only one sport to contend with on Saturday afternoons, marrying a local girl and more, seem pretty good to me in retrospect.
The only thing I can see that is better these days, is modern medicine.
Am I alone here ? What do you think?
Looking at the world and the costs of intervention in seeking stability, I think that perhaps Australia might simply focus 80% of our efforts in supporting our Pacific neighbours. Europe could similarly sort out their problems and the African continent, the USA step back to cover North and South America, and our Chinese friends could worry about Asia.
Finding a balance is hard, and just because we like democracy doesnt mean it always suits everyone else.
The 80/20 rule makes sense to me.
In passing, sixteen years of trying to find something sensible (?), or of interest to say in an editorial each month, hasn't been easy!
I feel for the people of Syria. I had a bias that the were responsible for their own troubles, and then I recalled that they are not alone in the civil war 'space'. While they are sometimes called revolutions, how quickly we forget the British civil war, (Cromwell) the French civil war (Robespierre), the Spanish civil war (Franco), the Russian civil war (Lenin), the Italian civil war (Mussolini), the American civil war (Lee/Lincoln), the Indian civil war (Muslim vs Hindu), the China civil war (Mao). Civil war is not exclusive to any particular culture it seems. Forever, it is so many of the innocent who suffer the consequences of someone else's vision of a better country, under themselves.
At times one despairs for the human condition.
This image is of a full page anti Abbott article in the Age on Saturday the 30th January. I am not at all pro Abbott, but take deep offence at this scurrilous journalism that equates a politician with the avaricious and seedy Gollum of the Hobbit stories, and his unsavoury quest for his 'precious'.
Further they wasted an entire page on this tripe. It is gutter press that we seniors should reject.
Shame on a once most respected newspaper.
They say there are lies, damn lies, and statistics, but for what it is worth, see below.
We sometimes wonder if the day of social forum based sites like Greypath are numbered, due to the competing and perhaps greater appeal of facebook, twitter, youtube, skype, google etc. Well, for your interest, for the first 3 days of 2016, 'AW Stats service' show we had we had 700 unique visitors, 1300 visits, 7800 pages viewed, 33 500 hits and visitors from 27+ countries. While the trend is down, the interest still seems to be here.
A Happy Christmas
to you all.
We wish that each of you who visit here, leave Greypath a slightly better place for your passing. We wish too, that throughout 2016, you find the grace to travel in hope, meet with serendipity, and find opportunities to help your fellow man. Getting to be senior in a safe country like OZ, is a rare privilege in this troubled world of ours. From Jack Sprat, Felis & Ray
you can, don't get too far behind with technology. Mobile phones and computer software are getting smarter all the time, and if one leaves it too long, the reach to get 'up to speed' can be daunting. It's all fairly easy once explained, but often intractably hard to find your way though it all, on your own. Yesterday I was reminded of how helpful technology (and especially those myriad of new apps can be), when I saw a young man do a one handed casual search for vacant car spaces in Melbourne. With one's phone, these days we can get instant weather, bushfire area alerts, find lost keys, book ahead when travelling, and more. Driverless cars, robot tellers at your bank, and a likely cashless society, are looming.
Here are a few 'top tips' from an employment service. They concern how best to go about presenting yourself for a job interview.
These days, with a slowly increasing retirement age, and with disproportionate costs of living on the less well off, such matters will increasingly effect seniors. In this case the author is talking of the over 50's as old (!), but the advice holds for all of us. Click the link below for the story.
Over 50 and Looking For Work
As Shakespeare said, “A pox on both their houses”.
There is nothing new under the sun, and we must wait and see what the new brooms will bring.
There was no doubt that the previous conservative leader was steadily losing support, but now it’s all bets off, as the electorate mulls over what has just happened, and is reserving its political judgement.
Hopefully we will see some consensus leadership on climate change, economic growth, and social justice.
With rising sea levels we now have routine warnings of catastrophes emerging with our low lying Pacific Island neighbours, many of whom's states will soon be under water.
It will properly fall to Australia to lead the 'take in' of these environmental refugees.
Maybe we should begin to plan for a new 'resettlement' State, for these and other people. While there is no place like home, a refugee concentration in the north of Australia, rather than our already stressed southern cities, may well be environmentally and socially more suitable for everyone?
The far north of WA, (New Kiribati ?), and/or the far north of Queensland (Capricornia?) might well be suitable for such a grand plan?
A major infrastructure build vision, of this kind, could perhaps also help us weather the possibly economic stormy years ahead, as we restructure our economy to meet the challenges of a fast changing world.
(Such major infrastructure investment helped rebuild a bankrupt and damaged Germany after WW1).
Whether this a good or bad idea, we need plenty of such new ideas to consider, if we want create a 'Vision Splendid' for the Australia that our grandchildren are to inherit.
What do you think?
We have a national social injustice, which is worsening steadily.
Late middle aged women, who do not own a home, and have little capacity to earn, are a forgotten and poverty stricken sector of society. How can any of them, [as with so many of our fellow seniors who are on the pension], pay todays rents whilst on a social service pension?
It’s time for some innovative thinking about a new regime of social housing.
What about using refurbished containers as above for such housing? An incentive programme to home share? Buying up failing country towns and creating new communities? Using many off those superseded old trams? Having the unemployed work for the dole in building new community prefabricated housing?
There are many problems of course but you have to start with a national vision first. Something we so sadly lack in our Governments, these days…
What if we had a ‘greys only’ company? A company where you had to be 60+ to get a job? A company which valued our experiences and contacts? A company that allowed you to job share to the level that suited you? A company that was located near a major train public transport terminus? A company that kicked off with seniors services in the areas of travel, financial services, late life transfers from home to care services perhaps, and then went on to extend to wherever the skills of its grey employees found cost effective opportunities? A company that perhaps might be characterised by the motto, “doing well by doing good”.
What do you think?
Self diagnosis via on line offerings seems to be on the increase and is raising alarm bells.
How can we tell if the information supplier is appropriately skilled or not? How can we get good advice unless we input the right symptoms etc?
Is self diagnosis a good thing?
Well we have found one new group site, that seems to us to be fine, and it is built here in Australia
They are called Health&, and they have a very impressive medical advisory board and simple easy to follow advice regarding many conditions. We found them to be well worth a look.
You can find them via our health forum or Click here
It seems to me, that, biassed or not, it is far safer for our democratic freedoms to let our Human Rights Commissioner (and her successors), serve out their full terms, rather than to permit an incumbent government of either political persuasion, to try and get rid of them, when they do not like what they have to say?
While having coffee from the floor above, I was watching these older men on the complimentary lounge below. At no time did I see them even exchange a glance at one another, let alone say hullo. Also they were as evenly spaced as they could be. I was once told that old women happily prattle on. Old men however, are sadly, like old bulls, they spend their days at the bottom of the paddock, ruminating. The men here may have been waiting for someone, but, If you are perhaps, lonely and trending in his direction, find some place to volunteer now.
I have moved up to windows 8.1 so as not to get too far behind. It meant all of my work had to be transferred and all of my programmes had to be reinstalled. For me the new system is counter intuitive.
If I get caught up in something or the screen freezes, I had to find out that the only way get out, is to click the left mouse and drag it off the screen to the top left hand corner and then a small stamp like page appears that I click...
My right click suddenly failed to open its menu of options, and after a search on Google it appears that it is a problem with my Bluetooth settings ! Didnt even know I had such and they were very hard to find when I did search.
Lets hope the next edition of Windows works a lot more like windows XP.
If it wasn’t for the help of Felis (Above) , I’d be in trouble. Once you get used to it its not so bad though.
After Queensland’s unprecedented election results, turmoil in Canberra and now also in the Northern Territory, we have to ask what’s going on?
Poor public communication seems to be a common factor. If so, why has it become such a public issue these days?
The answer may well be in everyman’s capacity these days for the fast, mass communication of our grievances, (or other), via Facebook and Twitter. No longer are we limited to a solitary grumble.
The days of doublespeak, unilateral decisions and ‘Captains Picks’ by our elected leaders, will no longer be accepted, especially when anyone’s opinions can now be ‘retweeted’ and spread far and wide, if it has resonance with the rest of us.
Technology developments in the near future, will bring even more scrutiny of those we elect to public office.
They will be on air, 24/7
One thing that a new year does, is to provide us with a benchmark for the year past and a springboard for the year ahead.
We wish that you can all travel in hope for 2015, be charitable to others and they to you, and that, most of all, if you have a 'one day I'm gunna' in your kitbag, you actually do it, for as all we greypathers know, we 'may' be growing in wisdom, but we aren't getting any younger....
Our best wishes to you all from Felis and the Greypath team.
As we age we accumulate ‘stuff’ or clutter as it is so called. As we age too, we are likely to downsize in housing, making ones clutter even more obvious and space more precious. One’s children no doubt expect to hire a big skip out the front of our homes when we pass away.
It is probably a good thing to get all your papers in one special folder (Will, bank accounts, old birth certificates etc) and have them readily accessible by whoever is to tidy up after us.
It is also probably a good thing to clear out, give away or sell ‘stuff’ now, while we still have the oomph to make the effort. They say that if you haven’t worn a pair of shoes or a dress for year, get rid of them. The Salvo’s, Vinnies and more make money from reprocessing old clothing.
‘Stuff’ is comfortable of course, and letting go is hard, but it is liberating for many of us.
Have a look here http://bitly.com/1eXi1bc
Over the years I have read most all of the great philosophers, Schopenhauer, Kant, Hegel, Spinoza, Gandhi, Sartre, Whitman, Martin Luther, Socrates, Russell, Lao Tse, Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad, Nietzsche, and more.
Some have a simple themes such as ‘every man’s future is pre-determined’, while others say that ‘every man’s future is indeterminate and is in his own hands’!
Some say there is no God, and others that God is all.
When the opportunity arose I have argued with Jesuit thinkers about God, listened to Buddhists about their views on reincarnation and more, and spoken to ethicists such as our own Peter Singer.
At the end of it all, I found it is all too hard for me to really come to grips with. The point of life, its why and its purpose in the Universe, entirely escapes me.
So, I decided that, needing some sort of philosophy of life, mine would have to be a simple one. To ‘try and make the world a slightly better place for my passing, rather than a slightly worse place’.
I can work with that. All else is far too difficult.
It seems to me that most senior drivers would happily drop in for a driving test, [despite the possibility of adverse finding as to their driving skills] if they knew the outcome would be anonymous.
Findings from such test could be OK to drive, OK but warrant an annual test, or no longer fit to drive.
An independent assessment like this would give a driver, who didn’t pass the test, a chance to get their head around such loss of mobility, in their own time, and make alternative arrangements.
Why doesn’t the Federal Government create a few jobs for testers, by introducing such a test system nationally?
When we visit the Greypath forums it becomes obvious that the posts reflect our seniors society at large.
Vexatious, lovable, kind, impatient, hard right , hard left and centrist in our views, opinionated, modest, timid, bold, religious, irreligious and more..
When one combines those differences with the internet’s lack of body language, voice inflection, background, understanding of words and more, it is easy to see how sometimes people become upset by the posts of others.
Fortunately one can turn the computer off, something we cant do to the real world. It must be tough at times in some retirement communities, where there is no such off button.
On considering the above it seems we are generally very fortunate with the manners and forbearance in our forums shown by our fellow Greypathers.
Is this a bizarre world or isn’t it?
On the one hand we have the ongoing Isreali/ Hamas war, world wide terrorism, the emerging world threat of the Ebola virus, and on the other hand, we have the enjoyment of Commonwealth games.
All these events come through our TV ‘window on the world’, one after the other, slowly and steadily eroding our emotional reactions to any event that does not impact on us personally.
It’s a worry folks, and we must maintain our real awareness and compassion for the things that really count. “No man is an Island” as John Donne said
As far as I can see, just about the only person who may benefit from any sort of late in life home mortgage, is an asset rich senior who is income poor, and has no one to leave their estate to.
Getting cash up front against say, the value of one’s home, might make some sense in this one instance, but all others I can think of are fraught with peril.
No-one is setting up such loans for your benefit!
If anyone has a view on this subject I am sure we would all like to hear it.
The census in around 2008 showed that volunteers in Australia put in some 700 million hours every year! Today that figure would be higher. A small group I am involved with in the marine sector, puts in more than 2000 such hours a year and is only one of some 1000 environmental groups across Victoria.
Volunteering plays a crucial role in Australia’s well being, from meals on wheels, through guiding at National Trust buildings and on to removing feral pests.
I think its time the Federal Government came up with a national strategy and policy to encourage, recognise and support volunteering, as a nationally treasured activity.
Volunteering also has very great social benefits for all concerned.