Saturday, May 31, 2008

Trains versus cars, only WA is really doing it right!

Compared to the basket case that is "Railcorp, we are" etc etc, finally somewhere in Australia is showing to can be done.
Now why cant the bunch of self interested loosers in charge of NSW do it thusly?

Western Australia has a lot to teach the nation about learning to live with rising petrol prices. But its FuelWatch - or should that be FuelBotch - scheme to be launched federally, is the least of it. Some Perthites apparently like FuelWatch - though I have yet to meet one prepared to drive out of their way to save a couple of cents a litre.
At the very time political leaders should be bold, preparing us for the high fuel and energy bills that climate-change policies necessitate, and finding ways to shield the poor, Kevin Rudd toys with lowering the GST on the excise on petrol, and adopts a scheme from WA of dubious merit.
The pity is WA has much better ideas to offer the nation. It has done more to tackle an entrenched car culture than any other state. Its hyperactive and hyperbright Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Alannah MacTiernan, has not just talked about getting people out of their cars, improving public transport and building railways. She's done it.
While Bob Carr and Morris Iemma have announced, then abandoned, a series of public transport strategies over 11 years, and delivered instead tollways and tunnels, crushing traffic congestion, and diminished train services, MacTiernan has almost doubled the size of the Perth railway network in seven years. Her crowning glory is the 72-kilometre Perth-Mandurah rail link through Australia's fastest-growing urban region, that opened in December. She launched the project and six years later rode the first train.
Under her watch, Perth has also got an extension and spurs to the northern suburban rail line that was built in the 1990s by the previous state Labor government; a series of gleaming new stations, including one in the city that makes our Town Hall station seem even worse; an integrated ticket system, still a pipedream in Sydney; and an enviable $80 million investment in a bicycle path network.
Perth also has free city buses, paid through a levy on parking spaces. And its TravelSmart scheme is now franchised around Australia and overseas to help people reduce their car use. (Part of it involves personal phone calls to new residents in a suburb to see if they want to participate in the scheme; if they do, they get appropriate information about public transport options and timetables). That scheme alone has led to annual reductions of 30 million car trips, and seven million more hours of cycling or walking.
If ever there was a car-dependent city, it was Perth. I should know. I grew up there, a non-driver right until I left in my 20s. My most miserable memories are of waiting endlessly at suburban Perth bus stops. Buses were a bit like Godot. The (Charles) Court Liberal government was so dismissive of public transport, it shut down the train line that ran from Perth to Fremantle in the late 1970s. When I left Perth to live in Manhattan, I thought I had landed in heaven: a city of non-drivers who walked or used the brilliant underground subway system.
The challenge MacTiernan faced, given Perth's car culture and its mindset, could hardly have been greater. Just about the only thing she is not responsible for in WA is FuelWatch. Her planning and infrastructure roles, which she has held since 2001, have put her at the centre of WA's boom, and she was determined to make a difference.
Back in 1995, she came to the realisation that demand for oil would inevitably outstrip supply. (It was a book called The Decline Of The Age Of Oil by West Australian Brian Fleay that convinced her long before most of us had heard about "peak oil"). Climate change as well as the need to combat Perth's sprawl stiffened her resolve to provide the city and suburbs with first-class public transport. "Practically and financially it's unsustainable to rely on fossil fuel," she said.
Like a prophet in her own land, MacTiernan has gone through hell. The West Australian, the city's only daily newspaper, and the local ABC, were virulent critics of the Perth-Mandurah train line, aided and abetted by a coterie of Tory engineers and militant unionists. Nothing was off-limits to the critics, including MacTiernan's hairstyle. From China, where she was celebrating on Thursday the delivery of the first iron-ore shipment from Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group, she likened herself to a "soldier at the Somme; you go over the hill, dodge the bullets, regroup and fight another day". Now Perthites love the train, and MacTiernan said that on taking the inaugural trip two days before Christmas, she felt she "had done something right".
It is possible FuelWatch is useful at the margins in providing consumers with information. But it's inconsequential compared with weaning people off petrol, reconfiguring our cities, and supporting the less advantaged in outer suburbia. MacTiernan got it - Perth is on the way; Carr and Iemma missed the boat; Brendan Nelson doesn't get it. And Rudd has crumbled. Urban planning, public transport and cultural change are critical, not knocking a cent or two off the petrol price.

You would think we would learn by now.....

But no...............
Good old human stupidity, and short sighted greed is at it again.
No wonder we have no viable future in our present form of society!

PLANS for a huge expansion of longwall coalmining under the Sydney water catchment have emerged as a leaked NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change report urged the Government to confront the state's coalmining industry.
The proposals, part of a presentation to the Australian Stock Exchange earlier this month by Indian-owned resources company Gujarat NRE, call for longwall mining to within 500 metres of the wall of Cataract Dam near Wollongong.
The proposal, currently being assessed by the State Government, could cause widespread surface damage and endanger Sydney's water supply, says a coalition of green groups. Longwall mining operations similar to the Gujarat plans have led to subsidence that has damaged homes, dried up rivers and led to surface gas leaks.
The chairman of Gujarat NRE, Arun Kumar Jagatramka, did not reply to Herald questions about the project.
The NSW Minerals Council reacted angrily to the draft report from the climate change department. "The mining industry has been defending itself against misinformation for a long time," said the council's director of external affairs, Lancia Jordana.
Subsidence from longwall mining, in which the removal of slabs of coal hundreds of metres long causes the surface to crack and sag, was a problem being addressed by industry, Ms Jordana said.
"Where cracking occurs, you may have an area that runs dry but the independent science [shows] there is no loss of water quality, that there is in fact no loss of water at all. It flows back into the river a bit further down."
The draft climate change report said subsidence was a "major issue" causing environmental damage in the southern coalfields, and regional staff did not have the expertise to assess properly its impact.
Gujarat NRE plans to expand longwall operations in the Sydney Water Catchment beneath the Cataract River, which ran dry in 1994, largely as a result of longwall mining, but now feeds the Cataract Dam again.
Gujarat NRE acquired Elouera Colliery from BHP in December and merged it with neighbouring Avondale Colliery to create a single giant mine.
The company's documents say it intends to extract 350,000 tonnes of coking coal this year, rising to 1.3 million tonnes in 2010, with longer-term targets of 2.5 to 3 million tonnes a year, by mining areas close to the dam.
The NSW Government is yet to approve the mine extension plans, though approval has been granted for access tunnels.
It commissioned an inquiry into mining in the southern coalfields in December 2006, with the findings likely to be released next month. In its submission, the Sydney Catchment Authority said it feared 91 per cent of the catchment area would be undermined.
"The impact of the scheme will be enormous," said Jeff Angel, director of the Total Environment Centre. "It will lead to more serious cracking, more damage to river and stream beds, more damage to swamps, more cliffs collapsing, less groundwater, and a threat to the dam itself."
Environment groups, including the National Parks Association of NSW, Rivers SOS, the Colong Foundation, the Nature Conservation Council and the Wilderness Society, say longwall expansion will continue to damage rivers and drain upland swamps.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ah yes! And what a surprise, hb's for you and me!

Well what can one say?

Perhaps, experiencing sobriety this morning I am a little lost for words.

So enjoy one's efforts again from a photgraphic filum session, lah.

More small signs of our impending doom..Sydney!

Sydney's weather see-saw continues
Richard MaceyMay 30, 2008 - 3:48PM
It almost seems as if Sydney's weather is chasing some meteorological see-sawing record.
This month has been the city's driest May since records were first kept 150 years ago.
By this afternoon just 2.8 millimetres of rain had fallen over Observatory Hill, far short of May's average of 121.5.
The shortage of clouds also made it Sydney's fourth sunniest May. The city has been bathed in 7.7 hours of daily sunshine, well up on the average of 6.1.
"We have ended up with a dry autumn," said the weather bureau climate technical officer, Mike De Salis.
Despite receiving little more than half the season's normal rain, this autumn has only been "the 30th or 40th driest on record."
While March too was dry, receiving less than half normal expectations, autumn failed to come close to setting any dry spell records because April was wet.
It is a pattern Sydney adopted before Christmas.
"December was wet," said Mr De Salis.
"January's rain was well below average. February was wet, March was below average, April above and May has been very dry. It's been back and forth."
While autumn has been dry, "we had a reasonably wet summer."
He blamed May's troubles on a high pressure system. "It drifted over NSW for the whole month. They bring stable air and you get no rain."
The see-sawing pattern may continue into winter, which begins on Sunday.
"There is a low off the Queensland coast that is going to drop a lot of rain on Brisbane and the north coast of NSW," said Mr De Salis.
"It may reach Sydney by the weekend."
The bureau is predicting possible showers from Sunday until Thursday. Besides being dry and sunny, May's daily maximum temperatures have been 0.4 degrees above average.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Praise be! More hornbags for thee!

Again in abundance, lots of rather attractive locals about their daily wanderings, and h-bag type activities!

It is, a wonderful world some days, with all these little rays of sunshine about, to gladden the dark, and fungus infested, parts of one's being.

Rather bootylicious.........

Yes, every normal bloke ejoys a bit of those FMB's, whilst going to the mall, the fish and chip shoppe, or on all fours while on yet another return trip from the bottlo.
So, enjoy thusly.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Random net hornbags...

Thusly, whilst one has been under the joys of inebriation, the following hornbags have been "sourced"...yes, what a suckful word that, um, myself.

Due to alcoholic influence, Im really not sure.

However, dont let that bother you, enjoy anyway.

Preferably, with beer.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tokens of doom: mascots seen as signs of times

HONG KONG: Superstitious bloggers have linked China's earthquake disaster and other recent misfortunes to the five Olympic mascots, a Hong Kong newspaper reported yesterday.
Gossip sites are full of speculation that four of the five cartoon mascots have fulfilled prophesies of doom with one more, connected to the Yangtze River, still to come, the South China Morning Post said.
The five Olympic mascots are Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, Nini and Beibei. Jingjing, a panda, is the animal most closely associated with Sichuan province where the earthquake struck.
Huanhuan, a cartoon character with flame-red hair, is being linked by bloggers to the Olympic torch that has been dogged by anti-China protests on its round-the-world tour.
Yingying, an antelope, is an animal confined to the borders of Tibet, which has been the scene of riots and the cause of international protests against China, the bloggers say.
Nini, represented by a kite, is being viewed as a reference to the "kite city" of Weifang, in Shandong, where there was a deadly train crash last month.
That leaves only Beibei, represented by a sturgeon fish, which online doomsayers suggest could indicate a looming disaster in the Yangtze River, the only place where sturgeon is found.
A Peking University sociologist, Xie Xueluan, told the newspaper: "Chinese see major calamities as divine intervention … The absence of religion reinforces this trend."
Other online prophets of doom say the recent disasters have come on days that are related to the normally lucky Chinese number eight. The Tibet riots (14/3) and the earthquake (12/5) happened on a date whose digits add up to eight.
This bodes ill for the opening day of the Beijing Olympics - August 8, 2008 - which was chosen for its auspicious abundance of China's lucky number.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?

Scientists claim radiation from handsets are to blame for mysterious 'colony collapse' of bees
By Geoffrey Lean and Harriet ShawcrossSunday, 15 April 2007
It seems like the plot of a particularly far-fetched horror film. But some scientists suggest that our love of the mobile phone could cause massive food shortages, as the world's harvests fail.
They are putting forward the theory that radiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to one of the more bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural world - the abrupt disappearance of the bees that pollinate crops. Late last week, some bee-keepers claimed that the phenomenon - which started in the US, then spread to continental Europe - was beginning to hit Britain as well.
The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation systems, preventing the famously homeloving species from finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back this up.
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives.
The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.
CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London's biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned.
Other apiarists have recorded losses in Scotland, Wales and north-west England, but the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs insisted: "There is absolutely no evidence of CCD in the UK."
The implications of the spread are alarming. Most of the world's crops depend on pollination by bees. Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, "man would have only four years of life left".
No one knows why it is happening. Theories involving mites, pesticides, global warming and GM crops have been proposed, but all have drawbacks.
German research has long shown that bees' behaviour changes near power lines.
Now a limited study at Landau University has found that bees refuse to return to their hives when mobile phones are placed nearby. Dr Jochen Kuhn, who carried it out, said this could provide a "hint" to a possible cause.
Dr George Carlo, who headed a massive study by the US government and mobile phone industry of hazards from mobiles in the Nineties, said: "I am convinced the possibility is real."
The case against handsets
Evidence of dangers to people from mobile phones is increasing. But proof is still lacking, largely because many of the biggest perils, such as cancer, take decades to show up.
Most research on cancer has so far proved inconclusive. But an official Finnish study found that people who used the phones for more than 10 years were 40 per cent more likely to get a brain tumour on the same side as they held the handset.
Equally alarming, blue-chip Swedish research revealed that radiation from mobile phones killed off brain cells, suggesting that today's teenagers could go senile in the prime of their lives.
Studies in India and the US have raised the possibility that men who use mobile phones heavily have reduced sperm counts. And, more prosaically, doctors have identified the condition of "text thumb", a form of RSI from constant texting.
Professor Sir William Stewart, who has headed two official inquiries, warned that children under eight should not use mobiles and made a series of safety recommendations, largely ignored by ministers.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

China earthquake tragedy...

I remember reading something about the potential of the Three Gorges Dam, some years ago, to create siesmic havoc. With the aid of the internet, here is the article reproduced forthwith..
In a project reminiscent of the Great Wall, the Chinese are building another of the world's largest structures. When they finish the Three Gorges Dam, the Chinese will have built a wall across the third largest river in the world, created a reservoir almost 300 miles long, and tapped an electrical source equal to 18 nuclear power plants.
Water held by the dam also may trigger earthquakes that could threaten millions of people. Two scientists at the Geophysical Institute are working together to help the Chinese assess the earthquake risk of Three Gorges Dam. Born in the mountains of the Tibetan Plateau, the Yangtzi River flows almost 4,000 miles to the ocean, making it the third longest river in the world after the Nile and the Amazon (the Yukon is half the length of the Yangtzi). Hoping to harness the power of the river, the Chinese government began building the dam a few years ago, expecting to finish by 2009. When the mile-wide, 600-foot high dam is complete, the flooding upstream will begin. As the water rises, it will drown more than 1,400 rural towns and villages abandoned earlier by government decree. The water rising behind the dam will power 26 huge turbines to provide electricity, and will allow people to control a river that has killed 300,000 people by flooding during the 20th century.
No one knows how local seismic faults will react to the incredible mass of water behind Three Gorges Dam. Like heavy snow on an overloaded roof, the weight of water blocked by dams can cause existing cracks in Earth's crust to slip, resulting in earthquakes. Faults tend to slip more often when a nearby giant reservoir is filled with water. The largest was a magnitude 6.5 triggered by the Konya reservoir in Turkey. That earthquake killed 200 people in December 1967.
NASA funded Jeff Freymueller and Shusun Li of the Geophysical Institute to help the Chinese determine the seismic risk of Three Gorges Dam. Millions of people downstream from the dam are at risk should an earthquake damage or destroy it. "A catastrophic failure of the dam would be perhaps the single most destructive event in human history," said Freymueller, a professor of geophysics. He added that the chances of the dam being destroyed by an earthquake are small, but because the consequences are so severe any seismic activity induced by the reservoir has to be taken seriously.
Freymueller and Li will study movement of Earth's crust around the dam site before and after the dam is built. Freymueller will use global positioning satellites, the same tool he used to determine that Seward and Homer are creeping in opposite directions by a few centimeters a year. GPS receivers placed at various points in the Yangtzi River basin by Chinese scientists will tell Freymueller how much the ground has subsided due to the weight of the reservoir. Li, a professor of remote sensing, will use a different type of satellite to view the river basin. A synthetic aperture radar satellite sends radio pulses to the ground and records the time it takes them to return. The satellite will allow scientists to get a wider view than that allowed by the GPS receivers on the ground. Combining the technologies may allow Freymueller and Li to measure the sinkage of the new river basin, which will probably be less than 20 centimeters, about the length of a man's hand.
Both researchers hope their findings on ground subsidence around the dam will allow an accurate assessment of how seismic faults will react to the load of water. Li has added incentive to find the seismic effects of the Three Gorges Dam. His hometown, Shanghai, is downriver.

Human Vermin behaviour.

The world is certainly in a rather sad way, as we, the dominating and all destructive species on the planet, keep treating all that gives us life, as something similar to one of those dingy toilets, in a less than salubrious part of town.
This would be of course where them queer blokes meet up, for, well social activities, and macrame sessions....
Read on!
The world's rubbish dump: a garbage tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan
By Kathy Marks, Asia-Pacific Correspondent, and Daniel HowdenTuesday, 5 February 2008

A "plastic soup" of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said.
The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world's largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting "soup" stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan.
Charles Moore, an American oceanographer who discovered the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" or "trash vortex", believes that about 100 million tons of flotsam are circulating in the region. Marcus Eriksen, a research director of the US-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which Mr Moore founded, said yesterday: "The original idea that people had was that it was an island of plastic garbage that you could almost walk on. It is not quite like that. It is almost like a plastic soup. It is endless for an area that is maybe twice the size as continental United States."
Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer and leading authority on flotsam, has tracked the build-up of plastics in the seas for more than 15 years and compares the trash vortex to a living entity: "It moves around like a big animal without a leash." When that animal comes close to land, as it does at the Hawaiian archipelago, the results are dramatic. "The garbage patch barfs, and you get a beach covered with this confetti of plastic," he added.
The "soup" is actually two linked areas, either side of the islands of Hawaii, known as the Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches. About one-fifth of the junk – which includes everything from footballs and kayaks to Lego blocks and carrier bags – is thrown off ships or oil platforms. The rest comes from land.
Mr Moore, a former sailor, came across the sea of waste by chance in 1997, while taking a short cut home from a Los Angeles to Hawaii yacht race. He had steered his craft into the "North Pacific gyre" – a vortex where the ocean circulates slowly because of little wind and extreme high pressure systems. Usually sailors avoid it.
He was astonished to find himself surrounded by rubbish, day after day, thousands of miles from land. "Every time I came on deck, there was trash floating by," he said in an interview. "How could we have fouled such a huge area? How could this go on for a week?"
Mr Moore, the heir to a family fortune from the oil industry, subsequently sold his business interests and became an environmental activist. He warned yesterday that unless consumers cut back on their use of disposable plastics, the plastic stew would double in size over the next decade.
Professor David Karl, an oceanographer at the University of Hawaii, said more research was needed to establish the size and nature of the plastic soup but that there was "no reason to doubt" Algalita's findings.
"After all, the plastic trash is going somewhere and it is about time we get a full accounting of the distribution of plastic in the marine ecosystem and especially its fate and impact on marine ecosystems."
Professor Karl is co-ordinating an expedition with Algalita in search of the garbage patch later this year and believes the expanse of junk actually represents a new habitat. Historically, rubbish that ends up in oceanic gyres has biodegraded. But modern plastics are so durable that objects half-a-century old have been found in the north Pacific dump. "Every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere," said Tony Andrady, a chemist with the US-based Research Triangle Institute.
Mr Moore said that because the sea of rubbish is translucent and lies just below the water's surface, it is not detectable in satellite photographs. "You only see it from the bows of ships," he said.
According to the UN Environment Programme, plastic debris causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals. Syringes, cigarette lighters and toothbrushes have been found inside the stomachs of dead seabirds, which mistake them for food.
Plastic is believed to constitute 90 per cent of all rubbish floating in the oceans. The UN Environment Programme estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic,
Dr Eriksen said the slowly rotating mass of rubbish-laden water poses a risk to human health, too. Hundreds of millions of tiny plastic pellets, or nurdles – the raw materials for the plastic industry – are lost or spilled every year, working their way into the sea. These pollutants act as chemical sponges attracting man-made chemicals such as hydrocarbons and the pesticide DDT. They then enter the food chain. "What goes into the ocean goes into these animals and onto your dinner plate. It's that simple," said Dr Eriksen.

Banks are barstards... dont we all know!

Here is a well written, and informed article, about the scumbag behaviour of banks, and their greedy behaviour.
Having been a victim of NAB in the past, and their absolute greed, and ruthlessness in recovering a percieved debt...."Yes sir, you failed in your card security by daring to go to the shop for 15 minutes, and allowing thieving mongrels to raid your house" type stuff, I think the banks suck.
With a passion forthwith.
So, choke on your endless lust for greed, and profits, you pack of human vermin, you.....
As small banks innovate, the big four salivate
When I first joined St George, the biggest building society in the late '80s, it was a strange place to work. People smiled, everyone wore name badges, and you were just as likely to chat with the managing director in the lift as the mailroom manager. The company mascot was a big lizard who danced with a cabaret singer … and this was a place to invest your money?
There were two important people you had to impress to get any proposal through - the managing director and Betty Blacktown. I never met Betty; she was a fictional embodiment of our customers. The branch staff were more loyal to their regulars than to any head office directive.
And they still are.
St George and mid-tier banks such as Advance Bank are important to banking. They had to innovate to overcome the price advantage the big four held. For instance, St George was among the first to extend branch opening hours, and launch ATMs, the Visa debit card and a call centre that approved personal loans. It introduced Home Loan Centres, Sunday trading and split-rate loans. Its pensioner account surpassed anything the others reluctantly offered.
Reverse mortgages were available at Advance in the early '90s; line-of-credit equity loans were introduced by Citibank before renovating became a ratings winner. State Bank's All-In account was the best transaction account ever. And smiling John Symonds had them coming with mortgages to your home.
At St George we looked at what Advance and State Bank were doing for motivation and overseas for inspiration. The big four were only a source of disgruntled customers.
When the treasurer Paul Keating stepped forward to protect the four monolithic pillars, NAB started to circle. It set up the mid-tiers as appetisers, and St George was an attractive target. It had a major market share of home loans in NSW. And although the high level of training and service meant its staff-to-cost ratio was ridiculously high, profits kept climbing.
It seemed only market analysts didn't value service, although people did. In customer service ratings, Advance and St George were about 20points ahead of the fatuous four, and we laughed when ANZ had to offer people money to prove they could be served while still standing.
They were heady times as the CEO, a banking pugilist, Jim Sweeney, fought tooth and nail to protect Julie and the Dragon from disappearing. NAB's CEO Don Argus wouldn't return his calls, and the reality of survival meant merging with Advance Bank.
Changes affect a corporation's culture. When St George converted to a bank, Betty died a quiet death. Mediocre middle managers pursued fee income instead of efficiency. After the merge with Advance, staff ratios were driven down; new ideas were carefully costed and had to go past a committee of financial scrutineers, who would ask, "No one else is doing this. Why are we?"
Branches were closed, Julie took her singing to the clubs and Happy Dragon now works for the footy team. St George acted like a big bank; they were just so much nicer about it, and a lot of that comes back to its customer-driven ethic.
If you look over the banking landscape of the last decade, it is hard to find new products, but you won't be surprised at their source: no-deposit loans came from St George, low-doc loans came from mortgage brokers, reverse mortgages were popularised by Bluestone.
The big guys' focus has been on innovating with channels (read: websites) and their wealth creation arms (read: financial planning) who only talk to those with a few hundred thousand in assets. Competition now comes from new players, like ING and BankWest.
Of the big four, Westpac is the best placed to handle banking's happy dragon land.
The Commonwealth produces innovative ads and little else. ANZ's innovative claim is to reopen the branches they once closed. NAB has managed to slip from first to second seamlessly, and their culture was described as arrogant and deceptive during the Forex trading fiasco. They once looked to St George with a view to ruthlessly cutting its costs, although some say it was because they wanted to learn how the dragon did it.
I doubt Mrs Kelly would be splurging on a strong brand to gut it back to its bones. Shareholders will be bigger winners than customers, but that is the way for banking these days. Branches will surely close once computer systems are integrated, and many HR bunnies will go once some retrenching is done, as well as the usual overlapping back room functions.
From experience, Westpac has a similarly family-friendly culture to the old dragon, and it didn't take long for Mrs Kelly to see the profit in combining strength with its customer-friendly ways.
The question is whether Westpac milks it, or mines it. With good service in short supply let's hope it's the latter. Even shareholders like a smile.
Con Nats worked at St George from 1989 to 1996. He is a freelance marketing and finance writer

Yet more local hornbags for ye to enjoy, and delight in theroff

As can be seen, the streets continue to be filled with lots of sights, and views, to gladden the heart, and pulse of the average bloke.

Life need not end, when one goes away from the trackside, the station platform, or one's well thumbed, and slightly grubby railway magazine collection.

So, become aware of the joys out one's door, and down the street, forthwith!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

And more fun for all concerned!

Our beloved Maria goes the grope, and looks to be enjoying it!
Er, very muchly!
Gina, our wonderful Gina, looking very much maternal with her new little one, to occupy her that more, rather than perhaps one's Tanduay.....
And here we have our two hornbags, hard at work learning the Aussie lifestyle, by slaving forth over the BBQ. As can be seen by the somewhat serious expressions, the following can be deduced thusly...
That BBQs are hard work, and there is a distinct lack of alcohol involved...

Honeybuns and other delights!

Yes, once more a gathering of hornbags, and, er other sorts, took place at a residence of a well known dribbly foamer. No, not yours truely. And of course, alcohol was consumed, groping took place, hopefully a bit of inner lemony scents was aroused, and, um, other stuff.
Anyway lets commence with the gallery of glamour that occured forthwithy.
Firstly we have Honey in the white. Yes that is her real name, so no bad jokes or other smutty remarks, this is a PG rated blog you know.
And thence, we have the wonderful Nesa, in the red, with a rather wicked gleam in her eye.
Who knows what evil could be being contemplated there?
And of course Annabelle, what more be said while she enjoys a slight grope of sorts...
Ah, and then we have at the top, Anna doing a very good impression of a young hornbag, certainly the sort that would attract the lens of the Colonel ( Copyright reserved etc), in her natural abode, the kitchen.
Oh no, Terrance old chap has lost complete control, and has to go the grab on Anna.
Judging by Terry's somewhat glazed look, and Anna's facial expression of unutterable fear and loathing, our Terry's effort to source some best practice, ISO 9002 hornbag, is not going particularly well I fear....
So, who do we have here?
It's Annabelle of course, putting her best foot, and, er, other parts in a rather fetching tiny miniskirt forward.
Yes, well, so how can we normal blokes ignore such a fine offer?
Just ask Annabelle, she will give more than an adequate reply to all concerned...
Ah..Grandma, on the left, who believe it or not..really is a Grandma. She strikes a fine, yet civilized pose, beneath some suspect pictures that try to set the mood for such gatherings.
If they dont work, what's on the back shelf does...