Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011 (Sydney, Australia)

IT'S WORTH JAYWALKING TO: I was so excited about seeing the Sin City exhibit that I made two or three illegal street crossings to get to the Justice and Police Museum. (I almost got smeared by a big white bus emblazoned with the words "Spirit of Australia".) The exhibit, which unblushingly deals with Sydney's 20th century infatuation with organized crime might be a sign that Sydney is a "self-actualized" place. It's comfortable in its own sin, I mean skin.
Lots of the sin is linked to corrupt police and politicians. And lots flows from liquor, and the prohibition thereof. One gets a good appreciation for the background of the time-honored "six o'clock swill."
One of the great quotes that is featured on one of the walls came from the well-swilled lips of the crime boss Leonard McPherson:
"I'm the toughest man in f***king Sydney. I can kill anyone I f***king well want to, but I can't get my f***king dinner on time!"
The display notes he said this to his FIRST wife. I'm amazed there might have been a SECOND one.
. I found it outstanding. One exhibit included weapons taken from miscreants, including a wide range of bludgeons and stilettos pulled from walking sticks. Another daunting weapon: the handy mace (right). It's not the squirt-in-the-face kind of mace, either. The exhibits also included a look at the fabled bushrangers, a collection of some sour dour looking mug shots from the 1800s, information about some famous crimes (e.g., Graeme Thorne kidnapping), and a glimpse at some CSI-type forensic techniques.
A 19th-century court room is on display. Such a room heard about 120 cases a day in the later 1800s.
The prisoner's dock is preserved (right), looking like something that would fit in well at the great Taronga Zoo across the harbor . A journalist from the Sydney Mail (14 April 1889) had this to say about the dock: "Iron bars surround the prisoners, who are seated on forms, and it is almost impossible for one to regard its occupants as anything but the most abandoned of the Water Police Court, the occupant of the cage is very heavily handicapped, and the spectator is invariably astonished when acquittal is granted..."

TOTALLY BOARED: We had dinner with most of he Cambridge staffers on Thursday night at a restaurant in the fabulous Strand Arcade. The restaurant was Pendolino. Having had donkey in China, I absolutely had to have the ragu with WILD BOAR. The beast--the European variety anyway--has been an invasive nuisance in the United States. The memorable "Hogzilla" came to mind, briefly. It sure was tasty. I chased the wild boar with a dessert item that was topped by a GOLD LEAF. That also tasted good.

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