I saw a couple of Chinese-Australians (well, that sounds better than calling them Chinese people) driving a modern car called a (Subaru, or Ford, or Chevy, or Dodge, whatever) “TriBeCa” the other day. I wonder if they have any idea of what “TriBeCa” means? It’s a term borrowed from New York real estate speak, meaning “the triangle below Canal Street”. To a New Yorker it’s meaningful, to anyone else less so. To an Australian-born couple or a Chinese-born couple in Sydney, Australia it must be well-nigh incomprehensible. It’s like “Soho”… South of Houston Street, pronounced “Howston street” by the locals. No, “LoCal” doesn’t mean anything, though it may well mean “Lower California” to someone from the west coast. The West Coast of the USA, that is.

¡Those Peons!

It seems that the Hispanics of China have developed another string to their bow. In an article on the front page of Saturday’s ‘Business News’ (21 January 2017) in Rupert Murdoch’s paper The Australian, Alan Kohler’s ‘Letter from Davos’ mentioned Xi Jinping’s talk (at Davos, naturally) that was sprinkled with ‘peons to the wonder of free trade, globalisation and innovation.’

Alan Kohler also appears on the ABC television, Business Spectator, the Eureka Report, and from time to time as an adjunct professor at Victoria University, and has been editor of The Age newspaper in Melbourne. I wonder why he can’t spell paean? I can.

Back to his musings, which forced me to have a mental image of lots of peons — according to my dictionary, Spanish-American day labourers or unskilled farm workers — walking up and down Money Avenue in Davos wearing a billboard advertising the wonders of capitalism. Like a GorillaGram, or a StripperGram, only with a peon: HispanoGram, perhaps.

I hope the idea catches on with those fat cats in Switzerland; we need more variety and more literature on the glittering streets of Davos.

Spring in Balmain


Spring in Balmain brings with it lots of hammering rendering the noonday hush horrible as houses are bought and renovated, the city of Sydney baking on the horizon, lots of bamboo sprouting in neighbour’s yards, and a Jacaranda in bloom.

The Kentucky Phone

Kentucky Chicken Phone

Some of the most unusual and amusing digital accessories in the world are coming from the Japanese arm of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The fast-food chain already unveiled a fried-chicken keyboard, computer mouse and USB drive as part of a Twitter promotion and giveaway. KFC Japan looked upon its mighty works and said, “Yes, this is good, but we can do better.” And then it introduced a fried-chicken iPhone case. I think the laughing Colonel is saying “Oh no, she’s actually using the Chicken Phone! This is too much! Talking on it! Wait until she starts trying to eat it!!”

[From: the Wonderful Amanda Kooser at]

Tiger and the Rats

I once had a dog called Tiger, a Manchester Terrier, bred from a long line of ratters, one of which still holds the world record for killing 100 rats in six minutes forty-two seconds. He deserved a silver collar.

Interior, Italy, 2009


Paradise? You decide.

Paradise, or the northern outskirts of Sydney, Australia? You decide.
As always, click on the photo for a larger view. (And click two or three more times for a HUGE view.)

MONA Hobart lawn

An open-air concert put on free at MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, photo by John Tranter, 2013.


The Olsonite

Is an “Olsonite” a committed follower of the poetry of the great US poet Charles Olson, 1910 to 1970, poet and literary theorist, widely credited with first using the term “postmodern” in discussing American poetry and known for his association with the Black Mountain poets and for his influence on the generation of American poets who emerged after World War II?


Or just the material used to manufacture a toilet lid in the Durant Hotel in Berkeley, California?


No offence meant to the career, work or reputation of a great American poet. He can’t help being accidentally related to the American plastics industry.

A Goat in Berkeley

A goat in Berkeley

A goat in Berkeley, January 2014, photo John Tranter. PS: It’s not a real goat. It’s a life-sized imitation, that moves its head up and down.

Sea Lions

There are around 1,500 sea lions at Pier 39 in San Francisco Bay, near Fishermen’s Wharf. They migrated there from the coast after the big earthquake in 1989, and found a safe haven from predators with lots of seafood in the nearby Bay. They smell awful. What with their stentorian barking, and a life that is a mix of sleeping, loafing, shitting in the water, barking and biting each other, they reminded me of a huge poetry reading.

Photo by John Tranter, January 2014.

Sea Lions, 2014.