Thursday, March 31, 2011

The blog appreciates the U.S.

Regarding politics, the blog has been feeling very grouchy lately. But our roving reporter sent these photos from DC this weekend, and the blog was genuinely touched by the sight of the U.S. flag next to a Free Yemen side. Why? It's hard to say. Must be that freedom of speech thing (which also includes the freedom to blog).

Two things

1. This was the blog's train station in North Sydney. From here we could easily travel to Macquarie University or the Circular Quay. Named after Edward Wollstonecraft, said by some to have left England to escape the furor resulting from Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. (Also Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's cousin.)
2. Just saying: I think it's short-sighted.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Work not dole

The desire that actual workers be invisible in the U.S. is mystifying. The upper photo shows the mural recently removed from the Department of Labor in Maine; the lower photo is Jon's photograph of a panel from the famous wharfies' mural lovingly preserved in the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia. That's right, a union made a gift of the mural to the public, and the government gratefully accepted it.

"The 2.2 metre x 1.8 metre section now on display illustrates the suffering of the working class in the 1930s depression, industrial resistance and the fight against Fascism.

A family is evicted from its home. Wharf gates are locked and unemployed workers line up for the dole, while the Unemployed Workers movement demonstrates against the dole and for the right to work.

Wharfies stack heavy lead 'pigs' (bars) by hand, displaying their heroic strength while

they raise their fists in resistance to oppression. Workers reach out to help their fellows under the Nazi yoke in Europe.

In the centre the face of WWF leader Jim Healy symbolises the triumphs of the union and the workers."

From our roving reporter

Supporters of the King of Bahrain prepare to demonstrate in DC this past weekend. GCC? The Gulf Cooperation Council, of course.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The blog solves a mystery!

What does this mean? (The blog saw this sticker on several cars in Sydney.)

Here, finally, is the answer:

"They are commenting about many car hire firms that employ mini skirted, generally very attractive young ladies to serve the clients..... and also to bring in the customers...... all this costs money (which you, the customer, pay)....

The no birds means they have some ugly bloke behind the counter.... who also no doubt details the cars, takes out the garbage etc.... etc....

This, in theory at least, means the rental of their cars is better value for money!!"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Water views and history

Photos taken by Jon on Christmas day, 2010. These attractive apartments were built at the turn of the new century around the historic gasworks building, which was originally a sugar works.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Capitol Bikeshare

More on the transportation theme, from the blog's February visit to DC. The red bikes are cheery, but all other things being equal the blog would rather take a train.

Monday, March 21, 2011

From Shangahi to Beijing...

in just 4 hours! Note that this is NOT the new Chinese bullet train, and that bullet trains in general are unlikely to be appearing in the US anytime soon. It is a view of Charlotte's light rail line (Lynx) taken by Jon from the Charlotte Convention Center.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The end of real estate as we know it?

Photographed around the corner from Jon's house in Sherwood Forest. The blog remembers fondly those halcyon days when houses provided shelter and a risk free investment opportunity. The current slow sales and declining value of homes in Winston-Salem, however, probably reflects continuing high unemployment in the region rather than the bursting of our bubble...

Maple Magic

Susan's Japanese maple was miraculously spared in the December disaster. Now that it is spring, the extent of the damage done to the landscape when the large white pine fell is quite evident. Jon rescued the maple from the rubble, and here it is. The blog is trying hard to see it as just a maple, not a metaphor.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The evolution of the yard sign

In Winston-Salem, at least, the political yard signs that flourished in 2008 and 2010 have now been replaced by much more attractive community event yard signs. The signs posted above in Sherwood Forest caught Jon's attention as he walked before work during the past week.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

To Sydney, From Sydney

One of the most charming things about Sydney's extensive train system is that one can go to and from the beach (east) or mountains (west) at low cost in the course of a single day. From the Blue Mountain train station of Leura. Susan, Jon, and Nate easily strolled to numerous hiking trails in the mountains. A local equivalent would be a train from Winston-Salem to Asheville, with stops at parks along the way.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Back in Sydney

The blog is reminiscing. The photo of a photo was taken by Jon at the Museum of Sydney. Actual bee hives first came to Sydney aboard the convict ship Isabella in 1822. More to the point, here is a passage from a letter published in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1912:

One hotel in Campbell-street, kept by a man named Walsh, was called the "Bee Hive." Over the door was a swinging sign, on which was gaily painted a beehive, and underneath were the following lines:—

Within this hive we're all alive,
Good liquor makes us funny,
If you be dry, step in and try
The flavour of our honey.

The swinging sign was obviously gone by the time the photograph was taken!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Winston-Salem's very own...

...bridge to nowhere! In Schaffner Park, early spring 2011.

Monday, March 14, 2011

So far as the blog knows...

...the term "job killing budget busters" has NOT yet been applied to the White House honey bees. Maurice and Diana documented the continued existence of "Obamahive" on a recent warm early spring day in DC.

No business like show business

This year's spring musical at Summit School was a tribute to retiring theatre teacher Loma Hopkins. Nate seemed to be everywhere. In the top photo he appears in a group from Grease; in the lower photo he plays radio announcer Bert Healy from Annie.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

USITT in Charlotte

Jon spent part of his spring break at the US Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Conference at the Charlotte Convention Center. Charlotte is now the largest city in North Carolina, but it was not settled by Europeans until circa 1755. Around this time Thomas Polk (yes, the granduncle of President James K. Polk) built a house by the intersection of two wagon paths between the Yadkin and Catawba Rivers. The "dark horse" himself was born near Charlotte Town in 1845.

The blog survives winter!

Now that Jon's forsythia is blooming, the blog has decided to come out of hibernation.