the WAFFLE page

April 30, 2010. There ya go, another month down. Thirty days hath September, April, June and November... which means I gotta adjust my day/date watch AGAIN. 

FL Josh wrote: The BBC had some of their facts wrong.  The Orca that killed the trainer had killed before, at a sea park out in California, so it was decided he would no longer be used for acts where trainers got in the water with him.  Killer whales can no longer be caught so when a sea park wants one, they have to buy one bred in captivity.  This one that killed the trainer was used for breeding purposes and apparently he was (and is) good at it.  I think the price of one is around $300,000.

I've seen footage of killer whales in nature documentaries "playing" with seals, tossing them around in the air in a most cruel fashion until the seal is dead. Gruesome stuff, but that's nature, and killer whales are not called killer whales because of their killer looks.

Josh also wrote: I found it interesting in your Waffle that you felt Australia requiring cigarette manufacturers to drop all colour and branding logos from the packets would cost votes and a loss of tax revenue.  I would have thought the ail of such a move would be to make the cigarette packages less attractive to non-smokers who might start, primarily kids, but maybe it is important to smokers like you to have brightly colored packages.  I just don't know.

I think when I was a kid I was attracted to packaging. Not now, though. I used to buy illegal tobacco in plain plastic bags but the seller got sprung and went outta biz. I don't smoke much these days - maybe 5 a day, never indoors or in the car - but I do agree with Josh that the smell of tobacco smoke is offputting, especially to a non-smoker or someone like me who still has his sense of taste and smell. During my heavy smoking days, my morning cuppa tasted bland, not much more than hot water with sugar. Now I can taste the real tea flavor (half sugar, no milk) and it's wonderful.

When I first gave up smoking, I remember the smell of my pillow. It was putrid, so much so I had to ditch the pillow before I could sleep.

I also agree with Josh that smokers are often thoughtless, and dump their butts carelessly all over the place. During our annual Clean Up Australia campaign, the worst offender is cigarette butts. Gum chewers are the same.

But the thing I object to with this government initiative is that they're conveniently creating a diversion from their recent failures: the disastrous home insulation program which was abandoned, and the more recent axing of the carbon emissions scheme. PM Rudd introduced a 20% tax increase on tobacco yesterday which he says will finance hospitals to the tune of $5b. In other words, he needs smokers to continue smoking in order to create that revenue. If the government legislated to make tobacco illegal instead of bullshitting with all this sabre rattling and finger pointing it would put an end to smoking, period. But no... Rudd won't do that because 1) it would cost votes, and 2) it would lose revenue. It's a scam.

As the opposition leader Tony Abbott said, the PM is as addicted to spending money as smokers are to nicotine.

30 years ago governments were quite happy for the advertising industry to tell us that smoking was cool. Now they've decided to tell us that it's uncool. Furthermore, smokers and tobacco companies have become Public Enemy #1, and any good politician knows that you can't be seen as a knight in shining armor by your flock of sycophants if you're not SEEN TO BE fighting the enemy. 

This is a government that tells us it's fine to sell billions of tons of coal to China but it's not fine to smoke tobacco. Hello? Get real. He contradicts himself at every turn. Rudd is a dud.

And don't gimme all that crap about kids taking up smoking. Kids will take up whatever they want, whether it's legal or not - preferably not because it's cool to be a rebel. Cody told me he estimated a third of the kids at his school were outta their trees from smoking dope by lunch time. Dope doesn't come in brightly colored packages with attractive logos. It's only available from undercover dealers. Ditto the "party" pills that are so popular at rave dances. Where there's a way, kids will find it, and governments have virtually no say in the matter.

Check out obesity. It's an epidemic. And it's not caused by drugs such as tobacco. Governments sponsor advertising campains to promote healthy foods, such as fruit and vegetables. But they don't outlaw fast food outlets. They don't target the fundamental causes of obesity. Why? Cos they're fulla shit, what's why.


I feel better now. Let's check the Beeb: President Obama says "every available resource" of government will be deployed to help contain the Gulf Coast oil leak. No brownie points for that one, Barack. Belgium's parliament passes a law which would ban women from wearing Islamic veils like the burka or niqab in public. I agree. The world's governments will not meet their internationally-agreed target of curbing the loss of species and nature by 2010, a major study has confirmed. Virtually all species and ecosystems show continued decline, while pressures on nature are increasing, it concludes. There are too many humans... that's what it boils down to. A tough new anti-immigration law in the US state of Arizona is facing its first legal challenges. Critics say the new legislation, which requires police to question anyone they suspect may be in the country illegally, targets Hispanic minorities. A Latino Christian group and an Arizona police officer have filed lawsuits. Had to happen. John Lennon's handwritten lyrics to the Beatles song A Day in the Life are expected to make up to $700,000 (£460,000) at auction. The double-sided sheet of paper with notes written in felt marker and blue ink will go under the hammer at a sale in New York on 18 June. Pity ya gotta be dead first. A team of doctors in western India are carrying out a study on a hermit who claims to have survived without food and water for 70 years. The holy man claims that he derives energy through meditation. Yeah, right. Sanjoy Majumder reports from Delhi.  Authorities in Tulsa, Oklahoma, have been left baffled after a white vehicle ended up poking through the outside wall of a car park - five storeys up. No-one was hurt in the incident but several cars below were damaged by falling debris. Check out the vid here.

Okay, so that's Averil's shopping outta the way... plus a bit more of ours. She asked me if I could drive her to Kev's grave sometime next week for the anniversary of his death 3 years ago. So I asked her if she checked to make sure he'll be home. Hehe. Three years, eh? Whoosh. I can still hear him saying, "You wouldn't last five minutes in the bush!"

Weeeeeeeeell, that's it for today. Pretty ho hum, actually, but the weather was glorious. Pork loin medallions and spuds/corn for THEM, and a grain-fed beef burger and spuds/corn for me. And dessert? I never bother with dessert. Sometimes THEY have ice cream and cake, but not me.

Oh, before I fergit. I was at the supermarket today and the checkout chick asked one of the floor staff to bring her something "and a screwdriver". So the floor person said, "What do you want a screwdriver for?" "I'm not telling you... just bring me a screwdriver." "I'm not going to seach the place for a screwdriver unless you tell me what you want it for." So the checkout chick looked a bit sheepish and said, "I used some glue to fix the dividers (in the till tray) and the money got stuck." Hehe. That's a first. Gary

April 29, 2010. You know what paleontology means, right? Fossils. Well, Brazil Brayan is studying to be a paleontologist, and I suspect that includes me, the fossil. He read Green Room on line and is now into Codysworld and Aussie Odyssey. BTW, hits to Aussie Odyssey are improving so that's cool.

Bills day, shopping day, so I better check the Beeb before I'm running around like a blue ass fly this afternoon: US Senate Republicans agree to a debate on the most significant reforms to financial regulations since the 1930s. Good. The head of the IMF warns that the crisis in Greece could spread across Europe, as pressure grows on Germany to support a bail-out. Yesterday I said I didn't quite understand what all the fuss was about, but I thought about it and I can see now that if Greece is not paying its bills, then that affects the creditors. The US Coast Guard sets fire to part of a big oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, in an attempt to save environmentally fragile wetlands. Motorists have been burning oil for decades. It's a proven method of getting rid of the stuff. Gordon Brown has said he is "mortified" after being caught on microphone describing a pensioner he had just spoken to as a "bigoted woman". Gillian Duffy, 65, had challenged him on issues including immigration. As he got into his car, he was still wearing a broadcast microphone and was heard to say "that was a disaster". Mr Brown later went to Mrs Duffy's house in Rochdale to apologise and sent an e-mail to Labour activists to say he "profoundly" regretted his comments. Reminds me of our own PM Bob Hawke back in the 80s who spoke to an age pensioner in a shopping mall and called him a "silly old bugger". He probably was, but it's not something a polly should say on the record. A trainer at a US aquatic park was dragged to her death by a killer whale after her long hair drifted into the animal's mouth, a police report says. Trainer Dawn Brancheau was lying nose-to-nose with the orca in shallow water when the incident happened at the SeaWorld park in Florida. She escaped to the surface briefly but the animal struck her twice more before she was dragged under again. I guess people in a situation like that sometimes forget they're dealing with the unpredictablity of an animal. US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved controversial plans for the country's first offshore wind farm to operate off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. But the late Senator Edward Kennedy strongly opposed the idea, which some fear would spoil the seascape. The plan would see 130 wind-powered turbines erected in the shallow waters of the sound, visible from the Kennedy family compound in Hyannisport and other Cape Cod estates. Native Americans in Massachusetts have argued the turbine blades would desecrate the view of the sunrise that is essential to their prayer ceremonies. Congratulations on a wonderfully innovative idea but don't put it in my backyard. Australia is to announce new rules which will force tobacco companies to use plain packaging, reports say. Manufacturers will be required to drop all colour and branding logos from cigarette packets within two years. The move, which is being billed as a world-first, comes after recommendations were made by the World Health Organisation. PM Kevin Rudd, who is to hold elections this year, aims to cut smoking-related deaths to under 10% by 2018. Without making the sale of tobacco illegal, of course. That would cost votes not to mention loss of tax revenue. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has applied for a visa to visit the United States next week, the US says. The application is apparently motivated by his wish to be at the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference next Monday. If that bloke's eyes were any closer together he'd only have one

Shopping's DONE. But I done good... ol' eagle eye for specials. As I approached the exit to the under-cover carpark, I saw 3 kids zoom past on skateboards, with no hope of stopping if a car had suddenly emerged. When I got to within a few feet of the footpath, the coast was clear. Hehe. Well, almost clear. I was across the path as another kid came screaming toward the side of Bluey on a skateboard, and you should have seen the look on his face. But he managed to stop in time. Kids!

Then, after all that buggerizing around with trollies and checkouts and skateboards and driving home, it took half an hour to store everything away in the kitchen. Would've been worse if I'd done Averil's as well... but I'll do hers tomorrow.

And now I'm buggered. There were a variety of other mini dramas to contend with as well but I won't bore you with the details. Almost time to hit the kitchen... T-bones and onions. Gary

April 28, 2010. Seems strange reading Cody's mail as I reformat the Codeman stories. It's 11/12 years ago but he's talking about NOW. I'm pretty sure if he were alive today he would not relate to the person he was back then. After all, we all live in the present and it's what's happening now that we're preoccupied with. Moreover, what matters to you at 16 is a helluva lot different to what matters when you're 28. Hmmm, so it's a slice of history, and I think it deserves a place in history simply because that's the way it was at the time. I mean we never think of Huckleberry Finn as being dead, do we. Huck will never die, just as the Codeman will never die.

Yep, Mark Twain is dead but Huckleberry lives on. Tutankharmun is dead but the pyramid lives on. The guys who built the Sydney Harbor Bridge are all dead but the bridge lives on. Are you with me?

You wanna know the real story about Adam and Eve? Check it out.

You like banned commercials? I think they're the best ones hehe. There's more here.

It's a gorgeous day and I'm feeling guilty about being here instead of OUT THERE. But I have to remind myself that I will be OUT THERE permanently on the Odyssey. Ya see, ladies and genitals, the problem at the mo is that by the time I get from here to there it's more or less the middle of the day, and that's not an ideal time for photography. Ya gotta be up at sparrow's and still there when the sun sets. So.... I gotta be patient.

Beeb time: Goldman Sachs' chief executive has denied his bank contributed to the US financial crisis by betting some of its own investment products would fail. Lloyd Blankfein and other executives at the Wall Street giant were accused by a US Senate panel of acting unethically, while Americans lost jobs and homes. Mr Blankfein said clients came looking for risk "and that's what they got". He's probably right. That's why fishermen bait their hooks. World markets slide as Greece becomes the first eurozone member to have its debt downgraded to junk status. I'm not sure I understand this... if my neighbor goes broke, why should that affect me? Leaks from a Gulf of Mexico oil well could cause one of the worst spills in US history if not stemmed soon, officials warn. I hope someone is listening. An American man extradited from the UK three years ago has pleaded guilty at a court in New York to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Syed Hashmi was arrested in London in 2006 and became the first person to be extradited under laws brought in by the UK after the 11 September 2001 attacks. Hashmi, 30, was charged with sheltering an al-Qaeda operative in London between 2004 and 2006 and lending him money. The prosecution has recommended a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. Hashmi's guilty plea was part of a last-minute deal with prosecutors in which he admitted to certain charges in exchange for three other counts being dropped, thus avoiding a trial and up to 70 years in jail. I have no sympathy whatsoever for such people, only contempt. The US defence secretary has warned that Hezbollah now has more rockets and missiles than most governments. Robert Gates accused Syria and Iran of supplying weapons of "ever-increasing capability" to the military wing of the Lebanese Shia Islamist movement. I've given up on trying to understand humanity. Too many seem to be incurable fuckwits. People who regularly eat chocolate are more depressive, experts have found. Research in Archives of Internal Medicine shows those who eat at least a bar every week are more glum than those who only eat chocolate now and again. Albert? Are you reading this? Car giant Ford has reported net income of $2.1bn for the first three months of 2010, its highest quarterly profit for six years. I must be missing out on something cos I've never owned a Ford. Mexico has urged its nationals to carry proper documentation with them to Arizona in response to a tough new immigration law in the US state. In a travel alert, the foreign ministry says there will be a "negative political environment" for Mexican visitors and migrants. The law, signed into law last week, requires Arizona police to question people on their immigration status. The Mexican government has condemned the legislation as "discriminatory". What we need in an ideal world without discrimination, dear Breth, is 6.5 billion clones that all look and think exactly the same. The Australian government has put plans for a flagship emissions trading scheme on hold until 2013 at the earliest. The move comes after the scheme was rejected twice by the Senate, where Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's government does not have a majority. It is a politician's prerogative to change his mind, yes? Just wait until after the election before you tell anyone.

I've never liked Kevin Rudd. Rudd the Dud I called him in one of my stories. He was doing quite well in the popularity polls just to prove me wrong. Until recently, that is. The home insulation project turned out to be a total disaster, and had to be axed. And now he's turned his back on the emissions trading scheme. Methinks Rudd is destined to be a one-term PM. We'll find out later this year.

It's been interesting to watch Tony Abbott's performance since he took over the leadership of the federal opposition. He usurped former leader Malcolm Turnbull by just one party vote. Right away, he demonstrated his ability to chip away at Rudd's credibility. Abbott is a boxer and triathlete. He knows a thing or two about facing an opponent in the ring or on the field. He uses phrases such as "Rudd is running scared", "Rudd is backing down", "Rudd is losing his focus". Hehe. He's very clever, and paints a picture of Rudd as a man confused and disoriented. Rudd doesn't know how to respond; he's not used to dancing around in the ring with a boxer. Abbott is Mr Cool, always calm and in control... never ruffled. From what I've seen of Obama, he's the same. Be patient. Wait for the other guy to make a mistake and whammo. Hehe. Reminds me of Mr T's advice to Mark in the ring with that boxer who had always outwitted him. Yeah? Mark flattened the dude and won.

I have a piece of rope on my desk, and a couple of times a day I tie a slip knot.... just to get into the habit. After a while, it became so second-nature and simple that I now wonder why the hell it seemed so complicated to me when I first gave it a try. I suppose it's the same with everything. Do it often enough and it's no big deal.

I had a survey company phone me late yesterday about my reaction to a phone convo I had recently with my bank. I couldn't even remember the convo. In any case, what do these survey people think? That we're all sitting around bored shitless waiting for the phone to ring? That we have nothing else to do in our lives except answer the phone? I got a bit testy hehe,  and told the lady that I had better things to do. So she asked if another time would be more convenient. NO. I don't like being rude BUT...

Well, here we go again... kitchen time. It's a bit cool in the evenings this time of year (autumn) so I was wondering what I'll be doing on the Odyssey if it's a bit chilly. Probably a campfire, I reckon. I'll need to get savvy and collect firewood during the day. In the desert? Yeah, right. Oh well... I'll think of something. Gary

April 27, 2010. Lindsay loves a drama. "Those fencing offcuts are still in the bin... they wouldn't take it away." Then he walks off, leaving me to solve the problem. Lots of people are like that. They love to bitch about things but refuse to offer a solution. The trouble with solutions is that they leave you with nothing to bitch about. Hehe. So I phoned the estate agent, who suggested I phone the fencing guy. "No, no, no. He's bigger than me, and he might hit me over the head with something. You hired him, you phone him." See? Even the estate agent tried to pass the buck.

Pass the buck? A marker known as a buck is used in card games to mark the player who is the current dealer. When the buck is passed to the next player, the responsibility for dealing is passed. 

You can check out the origin of many common phrases here. Isn't the internet wonderful?

Averil just phoned: "There a group of kids hanging around your side fence... I dunno whether they're graffiti-ing it or not." So I checked. Nope. They were just hanging about and chatting. Averil sits by the door all day watching people going to and fro, and imagines all kinds of weird scenarios. She gets a bit carried away sometimes. Of course, groups of kids hanging about can be intimidating to older folks, sometimes. It's not always easy to distinguish between a bunch of innocent kids and a gang up to no good.

I half expect to have graffiti on my side fence sooner or later. That's the problem with panel fences... they're a canvas for airheads. But the landlady calls the shots around here. If/when it happens, I'm not sure what I'll do about it... if anything. Getting rid of one lots just makes way for another.

Beeb time: Former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega is extradited from the US to France, where he is wanted for money laundering. That's one of the downsides to getting caught hehe. Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is declared the winner of this month's landmark polls, despite facing war crimes charges. Oh well, ya can't win 'em all ya know. US Senate Republicans have blocked moves to start a debate on sweeping reform of financial regulations. Democrats and Republicans are disputing a bill to introduce the biggest shake-up of regulations for 60 years. A procedural vote in the Senate would have cleared the way for debate on the bill, backed by President Barack Obama. Oh dear, we can't have the poor getting richer. That's a no no. Chimpanzees deal with death in much the same way as humans, studies suggest. Scientists in Scotland filmed a group of chimps grooming and caressing an elderly female who died, and remaining subdued for several days afterwards. Other researchers saw females carrying around the bodies of their dead children. Both studies are reported in the journal Current Biology. The scientists say this suggests other species, particularly apes, are more like humans than we might think. Either that or we're more like apes than WE think. The famous Hollywood sign in Los Angeles has been saved from demolition - thanks to Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner. The soft-porn magnate stepped in at the last minute with a $900,000 (£580,000; 670,000 euros) donation to stop the site being developed. The sign is owned by the city, but the property around it belongs to a group of Chicago-based investors. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger described the news as "the Hollywood ending we hoped for". Yeah... it's part of history now, and deserves to be preserved. The memoir of former US President George W Bush will be a candid account of his "flaws and mistakes" as well as his achievements, his publishers said. The book, Decision Points, will offer "never-before-heard detail" on some of the key events of Mr Bush's presidency, Crown Publishers announced. Due for release in November, the book also covers Mr Bush's family life. I was gonna suggest it be called History's Thinnest Book until I saw "flaws and mistakes". Hehe. Sony has signalled what could be the final end of the venerable floppy disk. The electronics giant has said it will stop selling the 30-year-old storage media in Japan from March 2011. Earlier this year Sony stopped selling the disks in most international markets due to dwindling demand and competition from other storage formats. The slow death of the "floppy" or "diskette" began in 1998 when Apple decided not to include a floppy drive in its G3 iMac computer. Since then various other firms have stopped support for floppy disks, including computer giant Dell in 2003. Computing store PC World stopped selling them in 2007. I've still got a bunch of them I haven't used in years.

Yep, floppies are gone, 78rpm records are gone, 45s are gone, reel to reel tape recorders are gone, Walkmans are gone, film cameras are almost gone, and so it goes. The furious and relentless march of technology soon makes today's norms redundant. As a kid, I could never have imagined today's world, not in a million years. And it's not even out of first gear yet.

Actually, I've noticed that the price of digital radios is coming down. I must get one. There are 8 radios in this house already... not digital tho... plus 3 old valve radios. And to think my first radio was a crystal set with a cat's whisker (tuning wire) that my dad made for me out of old radio bits, including a set of bakelite headphones from WW II.

So I have to wonder what a young bloke like Albert will experience in his lifetime. He was born with the internet, computers, mobile (cell) phones, digital television, DVDs, iPods and whatever else is around these days. But he's 15. What's the world gonna be like in 30 years when he's 45? I'm not complaining though... I remember what it was like to have bread and milk delivered by horse and cart, and to witness the marvel of television in 1956, and to see DC3s flying through the air. Not forgetting Hopalong Cassidy at the Saturday matinee flicks. Hehe.

I suppose that's one of the attractions of doing the Aussie Odyssey. I'm conscious of leaving a record for future generations. My Odyssey might not be all that relevant to the present generation, or even the next, but a hundred years down the track it'll be a different story. Imagine two or three centuries down the track, or a millennium! I think we're very fortunate these days to be able to record our lives and experiences for the benefit of future generations. The best we can do at the mo is dig holes in the ground and unearth bones and pottery, but it ain't the same.

Justin is discussing something pretty interesting... living in the present moment... and one of his commenters Jabacue has some valid points to make, such as studying meditation, which according to him is the art of focusing on the present to the exclusion of all else. This is difficult because our mind will take over with the thinking process and start to bombard it with all sorts of unrelated stuff. Yes, I know exactly what he means.

The estate agent was here and told the office he'd be back in half an hour. Hehe. What he didn't take into consideration was ME. I do love a chat ya know. Anyway, after all that chin wagging, it's time to cook din dins for THEM and me. Bacon and eggs and chips. Gary

April 26, 2010. TX Greg has been doing a fabulous job on Codysworld. The Mark story is now complete except for two "extras", The Trip and Sox's Memorial. Greg dissolved into tears at the last chapter of Mark, and he's not the only one. I've blown my nose so much it's a wonder I still weigh anything. Greg added a couple of special touches to Mark 88 and the final chapter, 100. Also Just Jinger has changed the band's name to Just Jinjer, and they're now ensconsed in LA. Just jinger is slang in Safrica that means "just fine" but obviously it doesn't work in the US. Meanwhile, I'm still uploading a couple more Codemans each day. Greg deserves a huge Cody hug for the effort he's been putting into the site (mine don't work). You're a legend, Greg.

Ya know, when I think about little Wingnut hopping the fence that fateful Saturday morning, expecting to jump on Cody's bed and wake him, and then discovering that his big bro and best friend had been killed hours earlier, it eases my pain. I can't think of anyone who would have been more devastated than Wingnut, especially at age 14. We were all crushed, yes, but Winger was just a kid, and kids don't have the wherewithall to handle such a terrible shock. I also think Winger helped Cody's folks deal with the loss as well (which would have been reciprocal). Winger had become part of the family, as did Cody's other friends. I remember Mr T referring to them all as "my boys".

On a lighter note, Lindsay complimented me this morning on the soupy casseroley chickeny bacony potaoey thingy last night. Yeah, it was damn good. I told Averil I'd give her whatever was left over. Guess what? Hehe. It's all gone.

FL Josh wrote:


Many of us 'Old Folks' (over 50) are quite confused today about how we should present ourselves. Feeling 'young,' we try to conform to current fashions and present a youthful image. Contrary to what you may have seen on the streets, the following combinations DO NOT go together and should be avoided: 

1. A nose ring and bifocals 
2. Spiked hair and bald spots 
3. A pierced tongue and dentures 
4. Miniskirts and support hose 
5. Ankle bracelets and corn pads 
6. Speedo's and cellulite 
7. A belly button ring and a gall bladder surgery scar 
8. Unbuttoned disco shirts and a heart monitor 
9. Midriff shirts and a midriff bulge 
10. Bikinis and liver spots 
11. Mini skirts and varicose veins 
And, most importantly, at some point you have to give up the 'DAISY DUKE' shorts!

I'm afraid I'm at a loss to see any beauty whatsoever in piercings or jewellery attached thereto. Nose rings, nipple rings, belly button rings, cock rings, eyebrow rings, rings that climb all the way up the edges of ears, lip rings, tongue baubles or whatever else wearers think is cool. I guess it just goes to show that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Not this beholder, though. Ew!

Beeb time: Oil continues to leak at the rate of 1,000 barrels a day after a rig sank off Louisiana in what US officials call "a very serious spill". Yeah, apart from environmental damage, we can't afford to waste a drop of that stuff! India's cricket board suspends IPL chief Lalit Modi over corruption allegations in the worst scandal to hit the game since 2000. I suppose when you're dealing with human beings, you gotta expect that kinda thing. The first passenger flight between Iraq and the UK for 20 years lands at Gatwick after flying from Baghdad, via Sweden. Unthinkable after 9/11. Aliens almost certainly exist but humans should avoid making contact, Professor Stephen Hawking has warned. In a series for the Discovery Channel the renowned astrophysicist said it was "perfectly rational" to assume intelligent life exists elsewhere. But he warned that aliens might simply raid Earth for resources, then move on. "If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," he said. When it comes to Aliens, I'm an athiest. I don't think that assuming intelligent life exists elsewhere is "perfectly rational" at all. We still don't have it here on earth yet. :-P 

Should I mention bandages that don't stick or not? It's not very interesting. But it certainly got my attention today when I put a bandage on my leg that wouldn't stick. When I removed the bandage from the packaging, the sticky stuff went all wrinkly and stuck to itself. I tried pulling it apart but it refused to untangle and got even worse. So I was left with a non-stick bandage. I ended up using sticky paper tape to secure the bandage and my leg looks like a naughts and crosses game.

One of these days I won't be waffling about non-stick bandages, I'll be waffling about being out in the Aussie bush, or at the beach, or parked near Uluru, or fossiking for opals, or watching a couple of bangers sizzling on a campfire. It'll be interesting to compare the two lifestyles... this one in a normal, predictable, mundane suburban environment and the other "out there" living the volatile life of a vagabond. Kinda scary, actually.

Hmmm. Lemme think about that. Predictability is a rut, right? You get so used to the same old, same old, day in, day out, that you expect it, and you become paranoid about anything interrupting the regular routine flow. Yeah? But if you're "out there" spending every day in an unpredictable environment then it follows that you get used to life being erratic and uncertain, and that's what you become accustomed to. Change becomes the norm. Stay chewned.

Oregon Richie sent an interesting link to an item about various notables who doubted the potential success of new fangled gadgets such as the wireless, television, and even the internet, as well as pop groups like the Beatles.

And here's something I found just now by checking my Youchewb account... Craig Ferguson interviewing his newspaper delivery girl.

Well, time to cook dinner... beef burgers and hash browns with onions. Gary

April 25, 2010. ANZAC day, the day each year when we remember those who lost their lives in war. I noticed the road barriers up this morning redirecting traffic away from the march. That same scene happens in every town around Oz. Then, after the march, the diggers head for the pubs and play two-up, a traditional gambling game which is illegal except on Anzac Day.

Yes, gambling in Oz is perfectly legal as long as the government can tax it. Otherwise, it's illegal. The only exception is two-up on Anzac Day. If a copper tried to arrest a digger for playing two-up on Anzac Day, he'd be strung up in the town square quick smart. We had an SP (starting price) bookie in our street when I was a kid. SP bookies took bets on horse racing, illegally. He was a railway worker with a brand new Holden. Hello? Illegal bookies and back street SP gambling joints were part of the Aussie culture back then... common as muck. And I don't think the cops were too interested in putting a stop to them. Why arrest the goose that lays the golden egg? Coppers who weren't on the take back then would have been in the minority. During the mid 70s, I frequented an illegal club in Kings Cross. When ever it was due to be raided, the cops phoned beforehand and gave the owners prior notice hehe. By the time the cops arrived, the regulars had fled, and only the newbies were arrested.

The government decided if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, so they did. They set up the TAB (Totalizator Agency Board) which had a shopfront in every suburb and agencies in every pub and club. The private SP bookies went out of business because everyone now had access to betting on the races without having to be at the racecourse. See what I mean? If the government can tax it, it's not illegal. That's why tobacco is still legal (provided you have a license to grow it or sell it). Prostitution is also legal so long as the girls and the guys pay their taxes. Governments don't mind sin as long as they can tax it hehe. The TAB, incidentally, has extended its gambling services to telephone and internet betting.

Oregon Richie mentioned that he once lived in a trailer in his 20s... "trailer trash". So I began to ponder the origin of the term "trailer trash", and I figured it must have come from people with 5-bedroom houses, mortgages up to their eyeballs, a 3-car garage and a brown tongue from licking the boss's ass on a daily basis. Hehe. Silly people keeping up with the imaginary Joneses. What a load of old codswallop. Living in a trailer wouldn't bother me in the least.

I was just chastized by a friend who accused me of "trivializing" something he wrote. In fact, I was complimenting him on his insight but he misread my meaning. Sometimes ya can't win ya know, and it makes me wonder sometimes why I bother speaking my mind. Anyway, he wrote back and carried on about how he values the friendship and yadda, yadda, yadda. But even so...

FL Josh wrote: In regards to your discussion with Averil about how we live in the NOW, I came across a quote today I thought you would like.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), the American author well known for living for several years very simply in a self-built house on the edge of Walden Pond, wrote in his Walden (1854), in the chapter called 'Economy': "In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick too; to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line."

Wonderful stuff, and far better than I could ever write. Thanks, Josh. Dontcha love that? The meeting of two eternities?

Beeb time: UK Foreign Office apologises for a "foolish" document suggesting the Pope could launch "Benedict-brand" condoms in Britain. Too late, mate... that's destined to become a classic. Hehe. Storms in the US state of Mississippi have left at least 10 people, including children, dead. Governor Haley Barbour said there was "utter obliteration" in Yazoo County, where three died, and he declared a state of emergency in 17 counties. A church in Yazoo City was flattened and houses reduced to rubble. Tornadoes have also been hit the nearby states of Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama, with the severe weather reported to be moving eastwards. The sight of one of those things approaching would frighten the bloody daylights outta me I'm here to tellya. A prototype spaceplane developed for the US military has been launched into orbit from Florida. The X-37B, which has been likened to a scaled-down space shuttle, blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 1952 EDT (2352 GMT) on Thursday. The military vehicle is unpiloted and will carry out the first autonomous re-entry and landing in the history of the US space programme. The spacecraft can return experiments to Earth for inspection and analysis. My kinda rocket... you go out there and take all the risks, and report back later while I stay here. European air traffic has returned to normal, with nearly all restrictions imposed during the volcanic ash cloud crisis now lifted, officials say. The European air traffic agency, Eurocontrol, said it expected 29,000 flights on Friday. There were 27,284 on Thursday. Orwell and Wilbur? Are you reading this? See what you did with your flying bicycle? President Robert Mugabe has backed Iran's "just cause" on seeking nuclear power, as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues his Zimbabwe visit. No surprises there. Young Arab women wait in an upmarket medical clinic for an operation that will not only change their lives, but quite possibly save it. Yet the operation is a matter of choice and not necessity. It costs about 2,000 euros (£1,700) and carries very little risk. The clinic is not in Dubai or Cairo, but in Paris. And the surgery they are waiting for is to restore their virginity. Whether in Asia or the Arab world, an unknown number of women face an agonising problem having broken a deep taboo. They've had sex outside marriage and if found out, risk being ostracised by their communities, or even murdered. Now more and more of them are undergoing surgery to re-connect their hymens and hide the any sign of past sexual activity. They want to ensure that blood is spilled on their wedding night sheets. No surprises there either. Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water and may even have extra health benefits, say researchers. Yep, nothing like a cuppa. Black with half a sugar, please

Well, the leftover chicken with bacon, potato, peas, soup, etc - plus a dash of Tabasco - has been simmering on the stove for an hour - warming, actually - simmering hasn't happened yet. Gotta be careful not to overcook it. By about 6pm it should be ready. That's another hour. And that's it for another day, folks.

Not it's not! I almost forgot to mention a program I watched on telly last night about the development of the Airbus A380. International airports have a maximum allowable wingspan which was a problem during the development of the airbus because the damn thing is so big. Normal wings have a problem in that they cause air turbulence at the tips, which means that most wings on existing aircraft are longer/wider than they really need to be. Airbus designers needed to restrict the length/width of the aircraft's wings in order to satisfy airport standards and yet still give it the necessary lift it needed to fly. The curvature of regular wings divides the air passing over them so that the air above the wing surface has less pressure than the air passing beneath. That's what gives the wing lift. The designers studied the wings of an eagle, and noted that the wingtip feathers in flight bent almost vertically to avoid the turbulence normally caused by a flat wingtip. So now you know why modern aircraft have those vertical tips at the extremities of each wing. Yeah? Nature had it figured out already. That meant that the Airbus could restrict its wing width/length to accommodate airport standards, and yet still provide sufficient lift to get over 500 tonnes airborne. The program also covered other aspects of the Airbus's design, such as its skin, which I won't go into here, except to say that the bloody thing is a marvel of modern science (coupled with the tried and proven marvels of nature). In fact, the idea for the aircraft's skin was borrowed from a medieval bow and arrow design. Gary

April 24, 2010. As I formatted another two Codeman stories this morning, I spotted one of Cody's classic descriptions of surfing a wave, this time in tandem with Steve, so I posted it on Red Bubble.

Albert's dog died, and he's naturally very sad, poor kid. He's 15 and the dog was 14, so obviously they grew up together and shared almost all their lives. There's nothing you can say or do. It's just one of those things in life that we go through. Cody went through it when Sox died. They grew up together too. Kids and dogs, peas in a pod, best friends. As Albert wrote: I made a document of memories with her, and a lot of pictures, and I really think that helped. Remembering lying there  in the grass with her in the summers, just looking at the skies. Really awesome times. Playing with her on the fields etc. You know the whole thing about friendship, yeah? About that you can share any thing with your friend, and feel comfortable?

Oregon Richie commented on my pics of Dumaresque Island: Very nice pictures of the Isle of Dum, and interesting... having an island in the middle of a river.  Must be a pretty fair sized island, too.  I'm surprised nobody has not hung their hat in the little shack there... gives me reminder of something like a "Coastwatcher" shack on a deserted island or atoll during the "big one". I suspect that Dumaresque Island is the result of the Manning River splitting into two at various intervals along its journey, and having two mouths - one at Old Bar, and the other further up the coast at Harrington. I think it's one only two or three rivers in the world that has two mouths. I, on the other hand, just have one big one.

Speaking of rivers, I hear that the recent floodwaters in Queensland are slowly making their way south and filling the rivers all the way down to South Australia and the Murray. Good news indeed after such a long and relentless drought. But that's the nature of Outback Oz... famine or feast.

Beeb time: The G20 says the global economy is emerging from recession faster than expected, although the Greek crisis causes concern. Same old story, doom and gloom one minute, blue skies the next. Ya just gotta hang in there. Arizona's governor has signed into law an immigration bill seen as one of the toughest in the US, despite strong criticism by President Barack Obama. The bill - which takes effect in 90 days - also makes it a crime under state law to be in the US illegally. President Obama has described the law in the US border state as "misguided". He would have described our White Australia policy up until the 1960s in the same way. Obama would have been excluded from emigrating to Oz back then. Not now. A former US nurse is charged with two counts of aiding suicides in other countries over the internet, US officials say. Ya know, if you buy something at a department store and decide you don't like it, you can take it back and get a full refund. Why can't you do that with your own life? A New York man has pleaded guilty to terror charges in connection with a plot to set off suicide bombs in the city's subway system. Zarein Ahmedzay admitted conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and providing support to al-Qaeda, in a plea entered in a court in New York. Yeah, freedom of choice and democracy are sins against Allah. Can you believe that twisted thinking? A US watchmaker said he hid funds in a Swiss bank account because of "survival behaviour" learned from the Holocaust. The 65 year-old watchmaker, Jack Barouh, argued his secretive behaviour was motivated by his fear as a Jew of persecution and sudden loss. He is just one of many US citizens being tried for tax evasion who held secret accounts at the Swiss bank, UBS. The bank last year admitted to the US government it had hundreds of such accounts. Some of these may have aided US citizens avoid paying tax. Accountants call it tax minimization. Hehe. A convicted murderer in the US state of Utah has chosen to be executed by firing squad. When given a choice between lethal injection or being shot, Ronnie Lee Gardner told the judge: "I would like the firing squad, please." Of the 35 US states that have the death penalty, Utah is the only one to give firing squads as an option. He wants his final curtain to be a grand exit. US politician Sarah Palin has testified against a former student charged with breaking into her e-mail account. Mrs Palin told the court that the main way she communicated with her family during her 2008 vice-presidential campaign had been compromised. David Kernell, 22, is accused of identity theft and fraudulently gaining access to her Yahoo account. His lawyer said the case was a prank, not a crime. Mr Kernell, from Tennessee, could face up to 50 years in jail if convicted. Kernell was a fuckwit, but I still find it impossible to feel any sympathy for Palin. I dislike that woman intensely. A French Muslim woman has been fined for wearing a full-face veil while driving a car. Police in the western city of Nantes said the veil - which showed only her eyes - restricted her vision and could have caused an accident. The woman's lawyer says they will appeal against the decision, which he described as a breach of human rights. Whose rights? Hers or other motorists and pedestrians? If you're not fit to drive, get off the road. End of story. 

I wasn't always like this ya know. I spent most of my life keeping my opinions to myself because I felt inferior; afraid of ridicule. It wasn't until I met Cody that things changed. There was a guy I admired immensely, who thought of me as an "awesome old dude". And that was it. I crawled out from under my shell and shouted from the rooftops. Hehe. I wonder what my life would have been like if I'd met Cody was I was a kid. When Australian journalist Kerry O'Brien interviewed Barack Obama recently, and asked him if he was confident about something or other, Obama answered with a big grin, "I'm always confident". That struck a chord with me because I was never like that. Even now I'm still working on it. One of the things Obama has in his favor is that he never feels intimidated by his opponents. That's a big plus in my opinion, not to mention an important strength. As Oregon Richie puts it: He can hold his own, and he can match the opposition clowns round for round, shell for shell, and sortie for sortie... to put it one way.

TX Greg just wrote and talked about index pages and whatever - stuff I can't absorb at this time of day. But he did point out a typo where I mentioned Cody's 1988 emails hehe. Oops! When you get to my age, ladies and genitals, all those numbers tend to lose their significance. It's all just one big blur. 1944 - blur - 2010. 

After shopping, I chatted to Averil about stuff, which included NOW. You're born now, you live now, you go to school now, you have your first nookie now, you get married now, etc, etc. Everything happens NOW. And I said when you get older you start to think about falling off the perch. It's a trap. You're still here, alive, NOW. And if you start thinking about what hasn't happened yet, you're missing out on now. It's like you're on vacation, lazing in your banana chair, sipping on a mint julep, checking out the tanned yummies wandering about the beach, and you're thinking about having to go back to work. Hehe. STOP! You're not back at work, you're here NOW lazing on a beach in a tropical paradise, sipping on a mint julep and checking out the good sorts. Yeah, think of life as now, not as yesterday or tomorrow. She agreed. In essence, I believe the older you get, and the closer you get to the inevitable, the more important NOW becomes. Focus on that, dear Breth, it's all ya got.

And here we go again, the clock ticketh towards din dins time... fish n chips. There was a fish n chip shop close to where I lived in Glebe (Sydney), run by a group of young guys. Their food was stunning... perfect fish, perfect chips, perfect potato scallops, perfect everything (including one of the guys). I had to fan myself with a serviette every time he served me. I've got my own chips down to a fine art as well... golden brown and crispy, and not oily. Ya can't have limp chips, dear Breth. It's a sin and you'll go to hell if you serve limp chips. Limp chips are a no no. There should be cars driving around with bumper stickers saying NO LIMP CHIPS.

So that's it for another day. Onwards and whatever. Gary

April 23, 2010. Yep, you guessed it... another two chapters of the Codeman posted, with Mark making his famous entrance. I still get a kick out of Cody's recipe for making friends and influencing people: 1) Flatten the bastard. 2) Make up. 3) Live happily ever after.

A Red Bubbler mate Terry Everson who takes some wicked pics of outback Oz visited AO today and emailed me. He wants to know what's the latest with Bluey. Well, as I've explained before, the current plan is to sell Bluey and buy a ready-built used campervan with all the gizmos. Bluey is a coach and not all that well suited to a camping trip around Oz. She's a good coach... a wonderful coach... a totally gorgeous and stunning coach... but she's a coach. So why did I buy Bluey in the first place? Because she was $350. How much have I spent on repairs? Shuddup.

I had a message from Youchewb this morning that a bloke from Brazil subscribed to my channel. He's organized a bunch of musicians from various countries around the world to be involved in a collaborative Musical Nation Project. Sounds cool to me, in more ways than one. Check out this clip of two guys dancing on a giant keyboard and playing music. It's awesome!

Ya gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em... right? Right. So yesterday when I unpegged the washing from the clothes line it was late, and I wasn't in the mood to hang all the shirts. So I folded them as I put them in the washing basket. Saves wrinkles, right? And then it occurred to me that you don't need hanging space in a campervan. Folding clothes takes up much less room... it's a far more efficient use of space. What's more, you don't need a million hangers. I hate hangers (the ones you hang clothes on... as distinct from the genital variety). And I don't iron anything. I used to, religiously every Sunday morning. But not now... and not for almost 20 years. Ironing schmironing. You don't like wrinkles? Too damn bad.

It's been 10am for several hours now cos the battery in my desk clock expired. Who said time doesn't stay still? Actually, I quite like the idea.

Beeb time: Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg lock horns in the second prime ministerial TV debate, focused on global affairs. Same speech by all three guys: "Don't listen to those other two. I'm right and they're wrong." Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu again rejects US calls to halt construction in East Jerusalem, as the US envoy arrives in the region. Don't believe everything you've heard about David and Goliath, Benjamin. A man who says he was the victim of an American paedophile priest is bringing a lawsuit against the Pope and the Vatican in a US federal court. His lawyers want the Church to release any files it has on abuse cases involving priests. The alleged victim, whose identity has not been disclosed, says he was abused by the late Father Lawrence Murphy. Fr Murphy is accused of attacking up to 200 children during his 20 years at a school for deaf children in Milwaukee. He was finally moved from the St John school to another diocese in 1974, but was never prosecuted or defrocked. This is making the church's apology to Galileo look insignificant by comparison. An oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that caught fire after an explosion on Tuesday night has now sunk, the US Coast Guard has said. A search is continuing for 11 missing workers after the blast at the Deepwater Horizon rig. The other workers on the rig, off Louisiana, were evacuated to the US. Concerns are rising over a potential for a major spill, with the coast guard saying the rig may be leaking 8,000 barrels of oil per day. I sincerely hope they're wrong. Napping after learning something new could help you commit it to memory - as long as you dream, scientists say. They found people who dream about a new task perform it better on waking than those who do not sleep or do not dream. The researchers think the dreams are a sign that unconscious parts of the brain are working hard to process information about the task. I'm a napper. :o) The first Victoria Cross to be won by a British army soldier - along with the cannonball which blew off his arm - has fetched £252,000 ($387,500) at auction. The medal, which is Britain's highest military award for valour, was given to Glasgow-born Major John Simpson Knox. It was for acts of heroism between 1854 and 1855 during the Crimean War. Whatever blows your hair back. But that kinda loot would buy a pretty cool motorhome. One of Toyota's most popular cars, the Corolla, has been banned from sale in one of Brazil's biggest states, which says the model is a safety risk. The Minas Gerais regional government stopped sales of vehicle, claiming an acceleration problem was "putting in danger the lives of occupants". It said nine Corollas in the state had shown problems that Toyota said were caused by badly installed floor mats. Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles internationally. Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall of the Toyota boardroom? 

That business about learning while napping ain't all that new ya know. How often have you heard the phrase, "I'll sleep on it."

I chatted to Averil the other day about "me". (She gets a word in here and there occasionally but I bring my stop watch to make sure she doesn't overdo it). Anyway, I explained that since we're all a work in progress, when - during that period of progress - can we truly say "this is me"? Interesting, yeah? The reason I've been pondering this question is because lately I've been reformatting the Codeman stories which contain my email text to Cody from the late 90s to 2001. Reading my words has made me realize that I'm pretty much the same guy now as I was back then, over 10 years ago. But if Cody were alive today, he would be a very different person at age 28. Yeah? Therefore my personal "work in progress" has slowed down, which means I've achieved true "me" status. Hehe. If you're a young person reading this, sorry mate, you ain't there yet.

Before I fergit, which I almost did, I posted those Dumaresque Island pics I took yesterday.

Also, I've updated my Red Bubble favorites lately. I don't favorite a lotta pics, only those I feel that are really special for whatever reason. Check it out.

This morning I sat on the front veranda (I dunno why I keep saying that cos we don't have a back one) and saw hundreds of school kids walking down the street to wherever it was they were headed (some sort of school excursion), and thought, "Jeez, Taree mums and dads have certainly been busy". You often hear stories of country towns being depleted of their younger people who leave in search of better opportunities in education or careers. But the sight of all those kids this morning made me think that Taree is doing pretty well in maintaining its population. There are nearby towns with more prestige, like Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbor, etc, but ol' Taree ain't too bad. If it weren't for Aussie Odyssey I'd be happy to stay here.

It's coming up to 5pm (despite my desk clock that still says 10am) and I've gotta think about throwing on the chef hat. T-bones and fried onions for THEM and I'll have Asian thingies... spring rolls, cheese and spinach pastries, and samosas. I could have something more substantial but bugger it. Can't be bothered. We had roast chicken last night, with herbed roast potatoes... melt in the mouth, fall off the bone, type chicken. I'll chop up the leftover chicken and combine it with a can of condensed potato and leek soup, diced bacon, diced potato, a cup of cauliflower florettes, a handful of peas, milk and a bit of powdered chicken stock to thicken it. It's not a soup, and it's not a casserole... something in between, and it's awesome. Gary

April 22, 2010. When I checked my email this morning there was one from surferdude, but it was Steve's automated response from Cody's guestbook. Oh well... Coincidentally, Steve featured in the two reformatted chapters of the Codeman I posted this morning.

TX Greg organized a link from my old site to Cody's site, so when anyone clicks on the old URL they'll be taken to the new one. He's a bit of a whiz kid, the ol' Greg.

Laundry day today. How thrilling. Actually, I've given thought lately to taking advantage of the good weather (which will soon cease as winter approaches) and camping overnight somewhere. The prob is, though, and always has been, that caring for THEM is 24/7. Day trips are okay because I can be back in time to cook the evening meal. Maybe I should just forget about overnighters (or longer) until I'm outta here permanently. When that happens, every night will be an overnighter. I'll be posting more pics of sunrises and sunsets than you can poke a stick at. Meanwhile, the autumn weather is so nice I reckon they should change the name from autumn to awesome.

Beeb time: Air traffic in Europe should be back to "almost 100%" after six days of unprecedented travel chaos, air traffic officials say. And then it will be as if nothing ever happened. A top US official warns Syria of repercussions if claims it supplied Lebanese Islamist group Hezbollah with Scud missiles are true. As someone said on the TV news last night about a different issue, sooner or later the body is exposed and it smells. Stunning new images of huge explosions and looping gases on the Sun captured by Nasa's solar observatory are released. Check it out. A Colombian cardinal has been dropped as the main celebrant of a special Mass this week in Washington, following protests by Church abuse victims. Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos was to preside over a Latin Mass at the National Basilica marking the fifth anniversary of the Pope's inauguration. Abuse victims had complained that the cardinal praised a French bishop for not denouncing a paedophile priest. Pandora's Box ain't got nuthin' on this lot. France's justice minister has called for legal action to be taken against a man who was photographed wiping his bottom with the French flag. Michel Alliot-Marie said it was unacceptable for the Tricolour to be insulted in this way, and called for those responsible to be prosecuted. Her response came after the photograph was displayed in a competition run by the media retailer, FNAC. The image won a special mention in the "politically incorrect" category. Taken on the street, the photograph shows a man seen from behind: his trousers are around his ankles and he is apparently wiping his bottom with a French flag. I can understand the anger. If anyone did that with the Oz flag he'd be wishing he was never born. Global airlines have lost about $1.7bn (£1.1bn) of revenue as a result of the disruptions caused by the Icelandic volcanic eruption, a body has said. They'll get over it. Avatar actor Sam Worthington has been tipped to become the next 007 in the wake of news that the 23rd Bond film has been placed on indefinite hold. Yes, that's the problem with actors - they're mortal and they keep falling off the damn perch. Next! Former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch has died in hospital after being taken ill at the weekend. The 89-year-old was admitted to the Quiron Hospital in Barcelona where he was being treated for heart problems. Yes, when he announced Sydney Oz as the city that won the 2000 Olympics, he called it "Syd-en-nee".  Later, after the games, he announced that it was the best games ever. Unforgettable stuff. Islamists have warned the creators of the TV show, South Park, they could face violent retribution for depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a bear suit. A posting on the website of the US-based group, Revolution Muslim, told Matt Stone and Trey Parker they would "probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh". The Dutch film-maker was shot and stabbed to death in 2004 by an Islamist angered by his film about Muslim women. Don't upset the lunatics. You never know how they might react.

The day has vanished. I needed to do a little shopping for us and Averil, but decided to take a bit of a run in Bluey out to my favorite fig tree, and then over the bridge to Dumaresque Island, where I found some interesting subjects to photograph - quite unexpectedly. There's more which I'll post on Aussie Odyssey soon enough. It's late now and I've got a chicken in the oven that's trying to get out, and squawking like buggery. Feathers are flying all over the place. Obviously there's something terribly wrong with this particular recipe. Gary

April 21, 2010. Another two Codemans... that's 19 so far. Actually, I made a boo-boo with the post but TX Greg alerted me to the prob and I fixed it. Bloody good thing he keeps an eye on me. He's obviously the type who helps little old ladies across the road.

I saw a pic of a slip knot on Red Bubble this morning and thought I'd give it a shot. Yeah, right. After several failed attempts I decided that my problem was being left handed. But once I got my brain around it - which kinda went contrary to my natural instinct - it was fine. So here I am at 65 and I know two knots... the shoelace type bow and now the slip knot. Actually, I know three knots if you include a necktie.

I was a boy scout for about five minutes as a kid. We were on camp and one of the seniors put me in charge of making rock glue. So I attended to a pot of boiling water over a fire, with two rocks boiling away inside. I was there for hours and they never melted. Can you believe that? For the rest of the camp we had to make do without rock glue. Kids and their DUMB initiations. Remember Wingnut on one of Cody's hikes being told about dehydrated water? Hehe. And also being told to ask Mark for a loan of his skyhook? Wingnut's revenge was to put a lizard inside Mark's sleeping bag. But the end result of that was Wingnut, still inside his sleeping bag, being unceremoniously dumped in the mountain stream. Aren't kids loads of fun? Yeah, right.

There's been a bit of a dip in hits since this page moved from its previous "home", which is understandable. At the same time, there's been an increase in Aussie Odyssey hits. Hehe. Anyway, this is where I live now, and the past belongs to the past. Aussie Odyssey is also a long-term commitment. I'm more interested in where it'll be in a year or two from now than where it is at present. Furthermore, it's not a popularity contest. This is what I wanna do for the rest of my life.

I tied another slip knot just to make sure I got it right.

Let's check the Beeb: Travel chaos continues to grip Europe, despite the easing of its aerial lockdown as the volcanic eruption appears to wane. By the way, we had an earthquake in Oz yesterday. It was out in the sticks so, apart from knocking a few buildings around, damage was minimal and there was no loss of life. A consortium of nine companies wins the right to build a controversial dam on a tributary of the Amazon in Brazil. I hope what they say about too many cooks doesn't affect this particular project. For the first time Google releases data on how often countries ask it to hand over user data or to censor information. Good... information is information whether some would prefer it withheld or not. Freedom of information will hopefully make certain governments and bureaucrats think more carefully about they behavior. Argentina's former military ruler Reynaldo Bignone has been sentenced to 25 years for human rights abuses committed almost three decades ago. Gen Bignone, 82, ordered abductions and torture while second in command of the country's largest torture centre between 1978 and 1979. And that's where all those bastards belong. New Caledonian crows have given scientists yet another display of their tool-using prowess. Scientists from New Zealand's University of Auckland have found that the birds are able to use three tools in succession to reach some food. The crows, which use tools in the wild, have also shown other problem-solving behaviour, but this find suggests they are more innovative than was thought. I suppose it's only a matter of time before they figure out that scare crows are a trick. We're got quite a few of the buggers around here and it's about time they took some serious singing lessons. Texting has become the most popular form of communication among young people in the US, research indicates. I see them around here, walking while checking their phones, almost oblivious to everything else. The US Supreme Court has ruled that a law which makes it illegal to sell videos of animals being tortured, violates the right to free speech. Chief Justice John Roberts said the law was too broad and invalid under the First Amendment, Reuters reports. The ruling is a victory for Robert Stevens, who was sentenced to three years in prison in 2005 for making and selling videos of dog fights. The 1999 law was intended to prevent depictions of animal cruelty. It was adopted by the US Congress and originally aimed at limiting internet sales of "crush" videos which show women crushing small animals with high-heeled shoes. Sick, sick, sick. Hi-tech criminals are racking up more than 100 attacks a second on the world's computers, a survey suggests. While most of these attacks cause no trouble, the Symantec report suggests that one attack every 4.5 seconds does affect a PC. Invisible crooks. I wonder how Sherlock would have tackled that one. A German bishop accused of physically abusing children in his care has issued an apology and asked for forgiveness. Bishop Walter Mixa said in a statement that he was "sorry for causing many people grief" without specifying exactly what he meant. The Bishop of Augsburg has been accused of carrying out beatings at a Catholic children's home in the 1970s and 1980s. I imagine the children pleaded for mercy as well. Women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes, an Iranian cleric says. Hojjat ol-eslam Kazem Sediqi, the acting Friday prayer leader in Tehran, said women should stick to strict codes of modesty to protect themselves. "Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes," he explained. There ya go, ladies and genitals, now we know what causes earthquakes. All those silly scientists dunno what they're talking about.

But back to the German bishop. That guy has been found out, and now he seeks forgiveness. Hello? His crimes date back 30 and 40 years. He's had decades to feel remorse and apologize. Why the sudden change of heart? Because he was EXPOSED, that's why. How could anyone possibly find it in their heart to forgive a man who kept those terrible secrets for 3 or 4 decades?

If I complained to my parents about getting the cane at school, the response was "you must have deserved it". That's the way it was back then. And look at how I turned out. Hahahaha! My teachers would be horrified if they could see me now.

Oregon Richie wrote: ... watched a YouTube thing on the famous "Gimli Glider" of about 26 years ago.  A brand-new Air Canada B767 was cruising along and it flat ran out of fuel.  There were some troubles with the instrumentation so they manually calculated fuel loads.  It landed without power, being handled like a REAL glider, side-streaming the aircraft which made it sort of in a off-kilter sideways position to bleed off fuel, to land at high speed at Gimli... an abandoned Canadian Air Force field.... which had the local go-kart and drag racing club using it.  Two boys, aged like 11 and 13 were peddling their bikes up the runway and did not hear it till it came in and the nose packed it in to the runway. You wanna see real life drama in mid air? Check this out. It's riveting stuff.

Speaking of real life dramas, Sue just took a tumble in the kitchen. (I'm a carer for two people, Sue and Lindsay, a married couple in their 50s who are both disabled). At first I thought it was a fit, but no - thank god. Been there too many times before. This time, her bum missed the chair. She was disoriented for a while, but everything is cool now. "That's enough excitement for one day, darling," I said as I lifted her off the floor. "We don't need any more." Now she's happy with her coloring pencils and coloring book.

How many blokes does it take to paint the raised sloping sides of a median strip that runs the length of the road outside my house? Five. One to operate the spray painting gun (white vinyl), one to push the motorized paint container/compressor, one to sprinkle stuff on the newly painted surface, one to hold the upright splash board, and one to carry the horizontal splash board. Hehe.

It's ANZAC day this weekend... similar to Memorial Day in the States... the day we remember those who sacrificed their lives in war for people like you and me who enjoy the freedom we have today. Ironically, the countries with whom we were at war also enjoy those same freedoms. How crazy is that? No matter how much we detest the unspeakable horrors of war, it's the price we must pay for the preservation of freedom. And that, dear Breth, whether you like it or not, is that. ...and at the going down of the sun, we shall remember them. Lest we forget.

So what's on the menu tonight? JUNK. Sausage rolls and chips. Hehe. We have a junk night every now and then. I used to make my own sausage rolls, which were great, with all kinds of goodies in the mince, but Sue's not crazy about pastry so it's all too hard just to make them for L and I. I used to make my own steak pies as well... then I got lazy. I'm not a bad cook but cooking for one on the Odyssey won't provide a whole bunch of incentive to go to any trouble. Besides, there's a whole range of meals-for-one in sachets that require no refrigeration. Are you with me? I shop for Averil, my 77 y/o next door neighbor, and the other day I got her two sachets of pasta dishes which she said were delicious. Gary

April 20, 2010. Another two Codemans posted. I'm getting into a rhythm at last. Two a day is not a lot so it'll take about 2 months to post all the chapters. That's okay... once it's done it's done forever. It's amazing for me to re-read those words written so long ago by a young man so full of life. Makes you think about what it means to be ALIVE, and how tenuous life can be.

Yesterday, I decided to check Bluey's sliding windows. One was a bit sticky so I used both hands to slide it back and forth to loosen it. And then I discovered what it's like to have your right hand index finger stuck between a speeding panel of glass and the window frame. YEEEEEEOWWWW! Jeez it hurt. But no major damage done. A typist, like a piano player, needs all his fingers ya know. If one goes down, the team is buggered. Besides, that finger is also my shutter button finger. Something tells me I won't be getting too adventurous with my digits on the Odyssey.

Beeb time: A few flights take off in northern Europe, but the UK warns a new volcanic ash cloud may be spreading from Iceland. It fascinates me that things once unknown are now essential to daily life. The US summons Syria's top diplomat to review "provocative behaviour" over the potential transfer of weapons to Hezbollah. Yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda. The head of Cuba's Catholics says the country is in one of its worst crises with people openly criticising the socialist system. Oops! Some people just don't care for '56 Oldsmobiles. Japanese car maker Toyota has agreed to pay a record $16.4m (£10.7m) to US safety regulators following recent safety concerns. Toyota won't even notice it. US President Barack Obama has played golf 32 times since he took office, more than his predecessor George W Bush did during his entire presidency. Mr Bush, who played 24 times, was mocked for his fondness of the game. In an interview following the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, the former president was filmed on a golf course calling on "all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers", then pausing before saying: "Thank you. Now watch this drive." Golf Digest has ranked Mr Obama eighth among the list of golfing presidents, behind Bill Clinton but ahead of Ronald Reagan, who was known for practising putting in the aisle of Air Force One. John F Kennedy, widely considered the best golfing president, took great pains to ensure he was never photographed on the course. No golfer has truly lived until he's played Coober Pedy. One of Australia's most infamous gangland bosses, Carl Williams, has been beaten to death in prison. Police said Williams, 39, died of a cardiac arrest after sustaining head injuries in a fight with an inmate. He was serving a minimum of 35 years at a high security prison in Melbourne for the murder of three gang rivals. Commonly known as "Fat Boy", Williams was a well-known figure in Melbourne whose life of crime had been turned into a hit television series. Pity the bastard didn't live to serve his full sentence. Arrogant nitwit. Authorities in the western Indian state of Gujarat say they have recovered more than a dozen human foetuses from a rubbish bin in the city of Ahmedabad. They suspect the foetuses could have been dumped by local abortion clinics which have been conducting illegal sex determination tests. The unborn babies' bodies have been sent for post-mortem examinations. It is thought millions of female foetuses may have been aborted in India over the past 20 years. How cheap is life? That's how cheap. A patient lost a testicle during an operation because the surgeon cut it off by mistake, a General Medical Council (GMC) hearing has been told. Dr Sulieman Al Hourani was only supposed to cut out a cyst, but removed the whole right testicle instead. "Don't worry, Mr Smith... you'll be glad to know I managed to remove the entire cyst, and you still have one perfectly good testicle left."

Here's an interesting pic I saw on Red Bubble this morning of an approaching dust storm in Oz.

I also saw an interesting pic of a chain which aroused my curiosity as to how chains are manufactured. I did a Google but I'm still not exactly sure how the links of a chain are made and joined together. The chain was first invented in 225 BC.

I visited my Youchewb account to search for a vid about chain manufacture. However, waiting for me was a "recommended" vid because I'd previously favorited one about Quentin Crisp. It's a very interesting look at being gay in America during the bad old days. There are some interesting links there too, including this one.

Meanwhile, I did find this vid about chain-link fencing wire. Where would we be without the internet? If you haven't had enough of chains yet, here's one from a Chinese manufacturer of leaf chains. Ah ha! Here we go! I found a vid about the manufacture of gold chains. I reckon that's enough about chains for one day.

Chains, my baby's got me locked up in chains.
And they ain't the kind that you can see.
Whoa, oh, these chains of love got a hold on me, yeah. Beatles.

It's coming up to 5pm which means almost kitchen time. Chicken breast burgers, hash browns and corn fritters. Yum. Not too thrilling for the chicken but don't blame me... I wasn't the one who created this world in six days. I read about a leech that lives in nostrils and feeds on mucous glands. Hello? What kind of god would create something like that in his spare time? I mean... really. People are forever praising god for creating mountains and rivers and lakes and forests and all the lovely stuff, but they conveniently forget about all the ikky bits. Gary

April 19, 2010. The sound of lawnmowers and whipper snippers! Isn't it wonderful? Yeah, right. If you live in an apartment on the 34th floor you don't get that kinda thing. I saw a story on TV the other night about a golf course at Coober Pedy, the outback opal mining town in Oz. The tee is a square of green carpet (which you have to carry around with you). The fairway is barren desert. At the end of each fairway is the green hehe... which is not green at all. But the club has a loyal group of members who love to play a round or two on weekends. No lawnmowers. No whipper snippers. I gotta see that place with my own eyes. I wonder what Tiger would think of it? I do know that the Coober Pedy golf club has reciprocal rights with many famous clubs around the world... just for the fun of it.

TX Greg wrote to say all the Wingnut stories are now posted, including the sub parts - The Hike, The Swim Meet, The Birthday Week and the Kyle & Nick story. I dunno how Greg managed to accomplish all that in just one weekend but he did. Next weekend he'll tackle the Mark story. Meanwhile, I'll carry on with the Codeman one chapter at a time. Ya know, I talk about having written 5 books. 5 books? That doesn't count all the on line stories I've written like those mentioned above. I think I worked out some time ago that I'd written over 3.5 million words in 10 years. No wonder I wore out several keyboards. Sheesh. And the show ain't over yet!

Greg also wrote: Love the mug shot on A/O, guess you could say that's a double mug shot, yours and the mug, haha

Bloody Texans... they're a worry ya know.

Beeb time: EU transport ministers are to hold emergency talks on easing the ash cloud chaos paralysing air travel across Europe. Yes, the things we take for granted until they're no longer available. I see where people are renting cars and choosing alternative means of travel such as coach. Views of the US around the world have improved sharply over the past year, a BBC World Service poll suggests. For the first time since the annual poll began in 2005, America's influence in the world is now seen as more positive than negative. The improved scores for the US coincided with Barack Obama becoming president, a BBC correspondent notes. Nuff said. Oz, of course, continues to enjoy a high level of positive influence around the world, as schools in many countries teach their kids to say "owyagoinmatenoworriesshe'llberight". The amount of water used to make food and goods exported to the West is worsening global shortages, a report argues. Find another way, chaps, find another way. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has vowed to respond "resolutely" to the sinking of a warship last month near the sea border with the North. The North has denied causing the explosion near the disputed border which sank with the loss of 40 sailors. In an emotional speech, the president wiped away tears as he recited the names of the dead and missing sailors. He did not mention North Korea but said the South's military would become stronger to prevent similar incidents. North what? Who dat? I can't for the life of me imagine a similar situation here in Oz, with a north and south at odds. We're all one big happy family (except on the football field). US musical TV series Glee has been named best comedy series at the Glaad media awards in the US for its positive portrayal of gay characters. Creator Ryan Murphy revealed that Kurt, played by actor Chris Colfer, would have a boyfriend in the next series and the pair would be school prom kings. He added that the gay character "would never be a victim" in the hit show. I've not seen that show

Anyway, I'm not into homosexuals being "portrayed". I mean what constitutes a stereotypical homosexual? Alexander the Great? What constitutes a stereotypical heterosexual? Hitler? Ya know, if I made a movie about the second coming, I'd cast someone like Paul Hogan to play Jesus hehe... a rough and tough outback Aussie who swears like a trooper and wrestles crocs.

House painters are obviously not desperate for work around Taree. Just spoke to a second painter asked to give a quote by the estate agent. He doesn't want the job because it's too "fiddly". He says he'll give them a "silly" quote so the other guy will get the job.

Albert sent me a pic today - head and shoulders shot. For those of you who don't know, Albert is a mate from Denmark who got in touch a while back after reading some of my stories, and we've become regular emailers. Albert is a native of Columbia and was adopted as a baby by his folks in Denmark. He's 15 now and quite the handsome lad you know, with typical South American looks. He could play an Incan chief in a movie no problem. But he has big soft moo-cow brown eyes hehe... not the type to be dressed up in war paint and brandishing a spear. Albert is more at home with his grand piano and guitar. Anyway I wrote back and told him he's handsome and now I'll never hear the bloody end of it.

THEY are having pork chops tonight. So I wondered what I could have, since there are only 2 pork chops. Hmmm. So I grabbed a bread roll from the freezer and it's defrosting. I'll toast it, butter it, add leftover meatloaf, cheese, onion, tomato, beetroot, pickle, and lettuce and voila... instant burger. That'll do. Gary

April 18, 2010. I think I've got the Codeman reformat thing figured out. I went back through some of the earlier chapters today and made a few changes. It's a matter of getting accustomed to a routine formula where I know automatically what to do instead of having to think about it. I'll make the same changes to the 14 currently posted before I repost them...probably later today or tomorrow. Then I'll resume reformatting the remaining 120 chapters.

Got an idea for a written piece this morning and posted it on Red Bubble. It was inspired by a 100-day grain-fed beef burger I had recently.

Saw a bunch of interesting pics on a newsgroup this morning about the evolution of Fiat automobiles. Most fascinating. It caused me to ponder just how smart mankind is. We tend to judge man's genius on what we see today and conveniently forget about what it took to get here. People 50 or 100 years ago weren't dumb ya know, they just didn't know as much as we do now. But it's thanks to them that we do. In other words, I think it's much easier to improve on something that already exists than to bring it into existence in the first place.

TX Greg wrote to say he's reformatted and uploaded the first 30 Wingnut stories. Reformatting those stories is pretty straight forward and Greg has a pretty sophisticated HTML editor - not like my old Nescape Composer. Yep, it's all looking pretty good. I can't do the same with the Codeman though - it's a different situation. The Codeman will have to be done one by one till all 134 chapters are finished.

If you're a Waffle newbie and none of this makes any sense to you, don't worry about it. I'm just tidying up a few loose ends from my "previous" life.

Previous life? I've had several, and have been criticized for being erratic. If it hadn't been for my younger bro taking up guitar at 15 and forming a band with a bunch of young locals, I could have easily stayed a public servant (office clerk) all my life, and lived in the same house. Instead, I got a taste for showbiz and worked in many different places and many different radio stations over the years, ending up in Sydney and working for 4 stations there, plus a TV station. Then I started my own freelance copywriting/production business. When I look back at my previous "lives" I appreciate how interesting they all were, even though some of them ended in disaster. My older bros, by contast, did pretty much the same thing over and over for most of their lives. When they look back, they must see a long straight road with no deviations. Mind you, I wouldn't wanna live my life (or lives) over again. No way, Jose. But it (they) certainly weren't dull.

And now it's off to a new adventure called Aussie Odyssey... totally unplanned, unpredictable and perhaps even unthinkable. How's that for crazy? But I don't wanna end up an old man (okay, older man) with nothing to talk or write about. I mean, what's the point of being here?

Beeb time: Europe's volcanic ash air travel lockdown continues with some flight bans extended to Monday while air lines fly test planes. 'Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get it under control. I trust you are not in too much distress'. Cuba's most famous cigar maker, Alejandro Robaina, has died aged 91. Mr Robaina, the only person to have a brand of Cuban cigars named after him, had been a roving ambassador for the country's state-run cigar industry. But more typically, he could be found on his small farm in the Vuelta Abajo region of western Cuba, tending his beloved tobacco plants. He was famous for their quality and always told visitors: you have to love the land and care for it. Let that be a warning to smokers... you might only live till you're 91. Zimbabwe is marking 30 years since independence from the UK. Celebrations include all-night song and dance performances in the capital, Harare, and a speech by President Robert Mugabe in the city's stadium. How exciting, a speech by Crazy Robert to celebrate the collapse of a once prosperous country. Malta's president has referred to an abuse trial involving three Catholic clergy, in a speech marking the arrival of Pope Benedict on the island. George Abela said justice had both to be done and seen to be done in the Maltese case. The priests are accused of sexually abusing orphaned children. It ain't gonna go away in a hurry, Benny. Librarians in New York's oldest library have uncovered a surprising book thief: George Washington. The first president of the United States of America borrowed two books from the New York Society Library in 1789 but failed to return them. Adjusted for inflation, he has since racked up $300,000 (£195,000) in fines for being some 220 years late. The New York Society Library says it will not pursue the fine. It would simply like the books back. Naughty George! An Australian publisher has had to pulp and reprint a cook-book after one recipe listed "salt and freshly ground black people" instead of black pepper. Penguin Group Australia had to reprint 7,000 copies of Pasta Bible last week, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported. Hehehe. I wonder if Barack has an original copy. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has labelled the US an "atomic criminal" at a conference on nuclear disarmament in Tehran. He also said that the use of nuclear weapons was prohibited by religion. Religion prohibits a lot of things that religious people find convenient to overlook. 

The AO guestbook has been flicked. The operators wrote a while back to advise that the service would be discontinued. Okay, it wasn't being used much anyway. So I redesigned the main page, deleted the larger graphic of the AO boomerang logo and replaced it with a pic of me and my AO mug, compliments of TX Greg. I've had those mugs in "storage" for a while but I've decided to use one for everyday cuppas... tea and/or coffee. Why not?

As to an alternative guestbook, I'm not sure. They tend to be targets for spammers and idiots. Any suggestions? Meanwhile, if you have anything to contribute, you can email me. My signature at the end of each Waffle is my email addy.

And that's it. Kitchen time - leftover meatloaf, potato/pumpkin mash, peas and gravy. Gary

April 17, 2010. Jim M wrote: day one.. im not comfortable with this. it's just not you. or perhaps it's just not me? confusing!!! Yes, I guess this transition from the old site to Aussie Odyssey will take a bit of getting used to. But I do believe that change in life is inevitable. As I reformat the Codeman stories I'm constantly aware of how much has changed since those words were first written over a decade ago, and how much Cody would have changed if he were still alive today. For that matter I've changed too. Who hasn't?

Speaking of the Codeman, Albert wrote to say: Nice job! But sometimes it gets a bit confusing who's saying what etc. Yes, I know what Albert means - it's confusing for me too! I'm trying to standardize the formatting so that Cody's email to me is italicized and everything else (almost) is normal text. If you have any suggestions, lemme know. But I don't want the story to look like a mad woman's knitting with too many text changes and/or colors. I tried using lines today to divide certain passages and I think it works okay. I'm not crazy about it, tho.

I got another Texas rocket up the old clacker this morning from Greg about the Irish virus graphic posted in yesterday's Waffle being too large for viewers using low resolution. Sheesh. It's fixed now. One of these days I'll open a used rocket yard. I've got French ones, Texas ones, Safrican ones, and all kinds of other ones... all used only once.

Beeb time: Air travel across Europe could be hit for days by the effects of a volcanic ash cloud from Iceland, aviation officials say. Yep, clogged jet engines can give you a bad hair day. Thousands are expected to attend a memorial service in the Polish capital for the victims of last weekend's plane crash. I don't think there'll be too much sympathy for the pilot, though. A Brazilian court allows bidding to start for contracts on a massive dam on an Amazon tributary, overturning an earlier ruling. What was the point of the earlier ruling, then? I'm not sure I understand appeals. Toyota has announced yet more recalls, the latest being 600,000 Sienna minivans in the US due to corrosion. The news came a day after the Japanese company halted production of its Lexus GX 460 because of safety concerns. Toyota's competitors will be rubbing their hands with glee, of course. A recently unearthed Rolling Stones track is to be released as a limited edition 7" single for Record Store Day. Plundered My Soul was recorded during sessions for the band's sprawling 1972 double album Exile On Main Street, but was left to languish in the vaults. The group rediscovered the track while preparing a reissue of the album, which is due to be released on 18 May. We're all in the wrong business, ladies and genitals. Kenya's flower industry has been badly hit by the cancellation of flights across Europe because of the ash cloud caused by a volcano in Iceland. The head of the Kenya Flower Council told the BBC it was costing growers between $1.5m and $2m a day. She said about 500 tonnes of flowers were currently being kept in cool storage at Nairobi's airport. Flowers are the East African country's biggest export earner, accounting for about 20% of all exports. There ya go... you learn something new every day. A renegade British bishop has been fined 10,000 euros (£8,750) for denying the Holocaust in a case that has acutely embarrassed the Vatican. The case went ahead in a German court without Richard Williamson, whose breakaway Catholic fraternity told him not to testify, his lawyer said. Denying that the Holocaust took place, or questioning key elements, is illegal in Germany. It's a pity it wasn't illegal 70 years ago. A senior scientist has told the BBC he has fled Russia to avoid arrest after warning of a possible disaster in the run-up to - or even during - the next Winter Olympics. The games are due to be held in the southern Russian city of Sochi in 2014. Dr Sergei Volkov, a former consultant to the Sochi Winter Olympics, is in hiding in southern Ukraine because he fears being detained by Russian authorities on trumped-up criminal charges. He says he refused to keep quiet after discovering that the massive construction programme was forging ahead without essential research into the region's complex geology and ecology. "It's a potentially dangerous area," said Dr Volkov, a geologist by profession. Isn't democracy wonderful?

I chose now to do some shopping, and guess what? It's raining. Great timing. Actually, Bluey is due for another wash and wax at the auto thingy. I really can't be bothered handwashing the old girl. Those auto washes do a better job anyway, squirting jets of water into all the nooks and crannies where mud can accumulate (or salt) and cause corrosion. I've heard there's not a lot of auto washes out on the Nullabor tho hehe. Not a lot of anything really... except space.

Back! And it stopped raining. I bought a little bottle of Tea Tree oil, which is a natural antiseptic. Tea trees are native to Oz, but have nothing to do with tea as in the beverage commonly used to dunk your bikkies in. Aborigines have used the medicinal properties of tea tree oil for countless millennia. Anyway, I developed this little red spot on my leg ages ago and the doc said it was eczema. I tried various creams and potions, all to no avail. Then the local pharmacist said the doc was wrong, and that it was a fungal infection, similar to tinea or jock itch. Charming. He sold me a tube of cream and with great confidence and a big smile told me that the spot would soon disappear. Yeah, right. It got worse. So for the past week or so I've left the thing alone, to dry out. It develops a crust or scab and if I use creams, the crust doesn't get a chance to dry out and heal naturally. It stays soft and ikky, and causes a problem when my jeans rub up against it as I move about. Soooo, I bought the little bottle of Tea Tree oil (my last one disappeared from the bathroom when Sue decided to put it in her room) and dabbed a bit on the sore. You don't need much. It'll be absorbed by the skin and won't stay moist, which means the scab can dry and do its thing. That's the theory, and it can't be any worse than the doc's or the pharmacist's whose suggested remedies have failed miserably. Stay chewned.

The market is bulging with all kinds of remedies for this and that. The internet is worse! Take my psoriasis for example. After a 10-year break it returned with a vengeance. Over the years I've tried everything. Now I apply home-brand baby oil (less than $2 a bottle) to my scalp 3 times a week, leave it for 4 or 5 hours, wash it out in the shower, and the psoriasis is practically gone. It won't disappear altogether, but the baby oil keeps it down to an absolute minimum. Cool with me, and $2 worth of baby oil lasts about 6 months. Hehe. Sometimes self diagnosis works better.

The Nullabor and endless space. Yeah. I often wonder about that and what it will be like when I'm out there. I've never been to a place that's as flat as a pancake in all directions as far as the eye can see. It must be truly remarkable to experience that kind of total isolation, especially at night with just you and your campsite and a squillion stars. I'm looking forward to it!

Well, it's after 5pm and time to think about rustling up a bit of grub for the troops and me. Bacon and eggs and chips tonight. Gary

April 16, 2010. Here we are, the first of the regular Waffle updates on Aussie Odyssey. I've been waffling for over a decade on another site which is now redundant. So here I am!

I need to remind readers of the old Waffle page that Aussie Odyssey is a G rated site, so the nature of material presented here won't be too "adult"...nothing overly explicit about wobbly bits. By the same token, I don't intend to polish the halo too much. I'm a bit cheeky by nature, and that won't change. I also tend to make controversial statmements from time to time, and that won't change either. Which reminds me, I spotted a campervan across the road today with the words JESUS IS LIFE painted on the back. Well, there ya go... a bright spark who's got the big question all sorted out. Hehe. I'm not religious, in case you're wondering. And that's an understatement.

First, an update for the old troops: I posted two new Codeman chapters today. I'll try to do that on a daily basis so just check the site regularly. Also I posted a new album on Aussie Odyssey - a montage of April pics so far this month. Oh, and before I forget, here are some interesting pics taken by a Red Bubble photographer in Afghanistan. Some very moving images there.

AND... FL Josh sent a link to a lovely poem about motherhood which I copied and pasted on Red Bubble. Thanks Josh. Josh also wrote to say the Waffle page had disappeared on the old site, but it worked fine for me, and I've heard nothing from anyone else.

Now, I must tellya this: last night on the 7:30 Report, veteran Aussie presenter and interviewer Kerry O'Brien interviewed Barack Obama, who is due to visit Oz in June. It was nothing Barack hadn't said before, but it was interesting nonetheless. Also I thought Kerry did a fine job.

Beeb (BBC) time: European air traffic controllers say flights could be disrupted into the weekend by ash spewing from a volcano in Iceland. Seems like a contradiction doesn't it... fire in Iceland. A UN commission says security provided by Pakistani police for murdered ex-PM Benazir Bhutto was "ineffective and insufficient". Brilliant deduction, Watson. A proposal to reconcile whaling nations and their opponents will almost certainly be sent this year to governments for a decision. You have to wonder what will happen if we start seeing "Save the Cow" on bumper stickers. A black box voice recording from the Polish jet which crashed in Russia shows the pilots knew they were about to crash, Polish officials say. Polish chief prosecutor Andrzej Seremet said it was clear the crew knew disaster was "inevitable" after the plane hit tree-tops. "This is the captain speaking... I'll make this short." An "external explosion" probably sank the South Korean naval vessel which went down near North Korean waters last month, an investigator says. "The possibility of an external explosion is far higher than that of an internal explosion," Yoon Duk-yong told a news conference in Seoul. Here we go again... another thick plottens! Barack Obama says it should be possible to send astronauts to orbit the planet Mars by the mid-2030s and return them safely to Earth. The US president made the claim in a major speech to staff and guests at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. If you're reading this in 2035, write an email to Gary Kelly, c/o Heaven and tell me all about it. A Californian man delivered his own obituary to a local newspaper before killing himself. The body of 64-year old Allan Leo Peters II was found hanging from a bridge the following day. In his note, Mr Peters wrote "Yes, I have hanged myself" and then in brackets he added: "At least I hope I did." It also contained a photo of himself smoking a cigarette and a money order for the cost of publishing an obituary. In his letter Mr Peters said emphysema had dramatically reduced his quality of life and that he believed in euthanasia. The newspaper says it will print the tribute in Friday's edition. Yep, if you want something done properly, do it yourself. US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle earned $5.5 million (£3.6m) in 2009, mainly from book sales, according to the White House. The couple have doubled their income since Mr Obama took office in January 2009, tax returns show. The figure excludes Mr Obama's $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize, which he donated to 10 charities. You could buy a pretty flash motorhome for that! Islamist militants al-Shabab have banned teachers using bells to signal the end of class in the town of Jowhar, 90km (56 miles) north of Mogadishu. Al-Shabab said the bells sounded too much like Christian church bells. This comes after last week's order by the Hizbul-Islam group that radios stop playing music because it is un-Islamic. I rest my case. The Library of Congress is to archive every single public tweet ever made. Twitter says since they started in 2006, billions of tweets have been created and 55m are sent every day. The digital archive will include tweets from President Barack Obama on the day he was elected as well as the first tweet from co-founder Jack Dorsey. "I think it shows the tweets are an interesting part of the historical record," said Alex MacGillivray, Twitter's general counsel. Already, there is so much information on the net that no single person could possibly absorb it all. But I like it. A new species of leech, discovered by an international team of scientists, has a preference for living up noses. Researchers say the leech can enter the body orifices of people and animals to attach itself to mucous membranes. They have called the new blood-sucking species Tyrannobdella rex which means tyrant leech king. You've gotta hand it to God... he's full of creative ideas. Pope Benedict XVI has called on Roman Catholics to "do penance" for their sins, an apparent reference to the recent child sexual abuse scandal. He said Catholics were "under attack from the world which talks to us of our sins" and should see the necessity "to recognise what is wrong in our lives". Yeah right, that'll be the day

Well, that was a big Beeb for today! It's been a big day period... been going flat out since early this morning without a break... cept a quick puff on the veranda. Life will be different on the Odyssey! Or will it? Speaking of the Odyssey, for those newbies who don't know, I expect it to become effective early next year. It was supposed to happen earlier but certain things got in the way, one being finances. My current plan is to sell Bluey as a coach rather than try to fit her out as a camper. Then I'll buy a used camper with all the goodies already built in. I'm in saving mode... watching my pennies.

Speaking of Bluey, she's going pretty well now that I've spent all that money. Yesterday, as the engine warmed, I noticed the Nissan service sticker on the windscreen... next service due at 362,000 kms, 10,000 kms from now. Hehe. Hey, my last car TT took 7 years to do 5,000 kms! Bugger the kms, I'll have it serviced at 6 monthly intervals regardless. Ya know... if I looked after myself as well as I look after Bluey, I'd be in much better nick.

Once again I have to apologize for not keeping up with my replies to email. But I'll catch up as soon as things settle down. Er... a bit. It seems like I've been bombarded with things to do lately. Which just reminded me to purchase my regular Lotto tickers on line. Gotta be in it ya know even if my chances of winning something are Buckley's.

Buckley's? William Buckley was transported to Oz in the early days of British settlement as a convict. He had stolen a bunch of clothing back in England. He escaped with a few other convicts from a small settlement on Port Phillip Bay (Melbourne) and fled into the bush. His fellow escapees found the going a bit tough and decided to return to camp, as well as the obligatory flogging. But Buckley pressed on. Near death, he was found by a group of Aborigines who thought he was the spirit of one of their deceased members. He lived with them for over 30 years and learned the ways of Aboriginal culture... how to make fire, how to hunt for food, how to find water, etc. Eventually, he returned to white settlement and was pardoned. He was then interviewed by a journalist who wrote a book about Buckley's experiences. Meanwhile, shortly after his disappearance, authorities had given up looking for the escaped convict because they figured he could never have survived in the bush, and the saying came about that if you had no chance of succeeding at something, then you had Buckley's. "You got two chances, mate, none and Buckley's." But I still buy tickets in Lotto hehe. 

I love Irish humor. Hey, with a name like Gary Patrick Thomas Francis O'Dooley Kelly why wouldn't I? Gary


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