May 31, 2010. Last day of May. Wow, almost half way through another
year. Ya know, when you think about how quickly a year passes, three score
and ten ain't all that bloody long.
Another dull and dreary day but not as bad as the south coast had yesterday.
Gale force winds, lots of rain and quite a bit of damage - trees downed
and flooding. They say the storm was as bad as a category 2 cyclone. But
it petered out before it hit Sydney and won't reach the mid north coast.
I don't know what I'd do if I were living in a campervan in a storm like
that. What the hell could I do? Don't park under a tree for one
Back from shopping and I had a nice little chat to the checkout chick
about bums and toilet paper, and whether or not Betty Windsor wipes her
own. Hehe. The people in the queue behind me were a tad astonished. But
the CC was cool. She's a bit of a hoot, actually. When I told Averil about
the convo she said it's only a matter of time before they throw me out.
By the way, here's my mate Peter Holme III's tribute
to Memorial Day USA.
Beeb time: The Israeli navy has stormed one of six ships carrying humanitarian
aid to the Gaza strip, with at least two people reported killed. Israel's
Channel 10 private TV puts the death toll at about 14. Israel has so far
declined to comment. The ships are carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid to the
Gaza Strip in an effort to break an Israeli blockade. Israel has said it
would stop the boats, calling the campaign a "provocation intended to delegitimise
Israel". Yeah, well if Israel isn't careful, it's
gonna be seen as a bully. But maybe Israel doesn't give a shit.
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the worst environmental disaster the US
has faced, a senior official has said. White House energy adviser Carol
Browner also said the US was "prepared for the worst scenario" that the
leak might not be stopped before August. BP is to try a new tactic after
its latest failure to halt the leak, but says there is no guarantee of
success. Time for the blame game to stop and everybody
to pitch in and get this thing sorted. Standing on the side lines and pointing
fingers ain't gonna solve nuthin. A plane crash in Libya that killed
103 people on 12 May was not caused by mechanical failure, according to
a preliminary inquiry. The "black box" recorders indicated that the Afriqiyah
Airways plane had enough fuel and made no call for help. After studying
the recorders, officials also ruled out a terrorist act as a potential
cause. So that leaves...??? Two gay men jailed
in Malawi but later pardoned by the country's President Bingu wa Mutharika
have been released from prison, say reports. They
should never have been charged and convicted in the first place. It's a
bloody disgrace. Bangladesh has blocked access to Facebook after
satirical images of the prophet Muhammad and the country's leaders were
uploaded, say reports. Yeah, well, would you expect
anything less from a country like Bangladesh?
Can you imagine what the world would be like if all governments were
religious? Can you imagine what the internet would be like? If there was
one. Freedom of speech? Forget it. Freedom of thought? Forget it. Freedom
period? Forget it. Democracy? Forget it. Scary stuff, yeah?
Right, time to think about din dins. Beef burgers, onions and bubble
and squeak. Do you have bubble and squeak "over there"? It's kinda like
a hash brown except it's a pattie you make from various vegies (usually
leftovers) and fry. Quite yummy, really. And that's about it for today,
May 30, 2010. It's a Sunday cos my day/date Citizen always has
Sundays in red. There ya go. Sundays are red, violets are blue... Boom
Not a bad response so far to the War
vid I posted on Youchewb yesterday. I really got carried away with
that thing, downloading pics from the net and organizing the music and
farting around with the editing software. But it was good experience, and
I'm getting the hang of AVS pretty quickly for an old bloke. Watch out
I got the inspiration to put the vid together while I was cooking dinner
last night. Normally at that time I'm in the mood to relax and watch a
bit of telly. But I gulped down my dinner and didn't even turn the telly
on. I was engrossed in putting the vid together and determined to get the
thing finished before I hit the sack. Don't ask me where I got the energy
Speaking of energy, all this reformatting business and posting various
stories to Codysworld has made me realize just how much I accomplished
over the past decade. It's bloody amazing, and something I hadn't really
thought about. TX Greg has been working his proverbial off adding various
stories, the latest being 40 chapters of Steve so far. And what a story
that is. I'd forgotten just how astonishing (as SF Jim described it) it
really is. Time tends to dull the memories. So basically, I've come to
the realization that the past decade of my life has produced far more than
all the rest of the decades combined. It's weird because you don't realize
at the time exactly what's happening or how much is being accumulated.
Mind you, it was a lotta work for very little financial gain, but maybe
that's not the point. In fact, if money had been the point, all that stuff
would never have materialized.
Ah! Just had a little spurt of inspiration again. Check
This internet is pretty damn cool ya know. If I write a little piece
I've got somewhere to post it. If I wanna make a vid I've got somewhere
to post it. If I take a pic I've got somewhere to post it. Yeah? And if
I wanna make on a comment on something someone else has said on their blog
or whatever, then I can. How cool is that? The internet rules!
I shouldn't be talking like that ya know. Cool, rules, and all that
teen lingo. I'm 65 and I should be more mature and conservative. I'm a
bloody disgrace to the rest of the seniors.
It's Red Shield Day and a bloke with a Salvation Army badge arrived
at my door this morning to collect donations. "I hate everybody except
the Sallies," I said as I opened the screen door. "I'm collecting for the
Sallies but I'm not a Sally," he explained. "In that case, I hate you too."
But I gave him five buckeroonies and told him not to spend it on a beer.
Beeb time: Oil giant BP says its latest attempt to stop the leak in
the Gulf of Mexico has failed, and it will try another technique. I
know the feeling. I always take the long way around. Hollywood actor
Dennis Hopper has died at the age of 74 following a battle with prostate
cancer. Known for such cult classics as Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now and
Blue Velvet, Hopper embodied the image of the Hollywood icon. He was last
seen in public in March when he was honoured with a star on Hollywood's
Walk of Fame. Here comes the bowling ball and we're
all just hangin' around like ten pins waiting for the strike. A
man who attacked 29 children and three teachers at a nursery school in
east China has been executed, state media says. Xu Yuyuan, 47, knifed his
victims at the Zhongzin pre-school in Taixing city in the Jiangsu province
on 29 April. Xu, who was unemployed, reportedly said his motive was to
vent his rage against society. All 32 victims survived the attack. The
reason such atrocities never make sense is because they never make sense...
if you know what I mean. The world's leading supplier of the anti-diabetes
drug insulin is withdrawing a state-of-the-art medication from Greece.
Novo Nordisk, a Danish company, objects to a government decree ordering
a 25% price cut in all medicines. A campaign group has condemned the move
as "brutal capitalist blackmail". More than 50,000 Greeks with diabetes
use Novo Nordisk's product, which is injected via an easy-to-use fountain
pen-like device. What's more important? Running at
a profit or people's lives? Go figure. A gay couple jailed in Malawi
after getting engaged have been pardoned by President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Mr Mutharika, speaking as UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited his country, said
he had ordered their immediate release. Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga
were given 14-year jail terms earlier this month after being convicted
of gross indecency and unnatural acts. The case has sparked international
condemnation and a debate about homosexuality in the country. Mr Ban hailed
the president's decision as "courageous". I don't
wanna rain on their parade but I have to wonder if the pardon was staged
for Ban Ki-moon's visit. Israel says it will not take part in a
conference aimed at achieving a nuclear-arms free Middle East, proposed
at a UN meeting in New York. Well, well, well, why
am I not surprised?
I ditched my prescription reading glasses a week or two ago because
one of the screws in the frame kept working loose. So now I'm wearing my
cheap non-script 2X magnification reading glasses I bought for $25 a couple
of years ago at the pharmacy. The prescription glasses from an optometrist
cost over $200. And guess what? My close up vision is improving. I noticed
it this morning when I checked my watch for the day/date. Clear as a bell
WITHOUT glasses. I'm also thinking that the improvement might have something
to do with ditching my old computer monitor in favor of this laptop, which
is much clearer and easier on the eye.
I used to wear glasses for driving because my long-range vision wasn't
so good. About 5 years ago I discovered I didn't need them anymore. I could
see fine, and an eye test proved it. So what does it all mean? Well, apparently
vision can repair itself under certain circumstances.
The other day when I spoke to young Josh at the front gate, I saw his
mother approaching. She was maybe 20 or 30 yards away and I could see her
quite clearly. But Josh was squinting and asked, "Is that mom?" I'd seen
him wearing glasses before (which he prefers not to wear and wasn't on
this occasion) but I hadn't realized his vision was so badly impaired.
Next time he's across the street and I shout g'day, I'll know I'm just
a blur... which, come to think of it, probably improves my appearance.
Anyway, the day (as in light) is coming to a close and it's almost fish
n chip time. It's been a pretty quiet one. I feel like doing another vid
just to liven things up a bit but I don't wanna create things just for
the sake of it. It's gotta be meaningul. Hmmm, maybe an idea will occur
to me. Anyway, time to split. Gary
May 29, 2010. I
am the greatest! Muhamad Ali. A fascinating look at Parkinson interviewing
Ali over the years.
And while I'm checking out Youchewb vids, here's one of my fav singers,
Chris Smither and
a song about intelligent design.
Jim M wrote: This might sound nuts, but ask young Josh, ' 30 years
from now, will he remember Gary? ' Of course, the answer is 'yes.' But,
how will he remember you? What event will stir his memory? I would also
be interested in hearing his views on diversity, especially since he is
aboriginal, and with goals to be a teacher. I think you have had a huge
impact on his life. A neighbor who made a difference. Don't just let things
pass. Sit down and reach into his mind and heart before you part.
A Great Admirer,
Ooer! Anyone who says they admire me scares me half to death. I don't
know how to handle it. This whole Waffle thing is like I'm having a convo
with people out there in cyber space and we're just chatting away about
stuff as equals. Anyway, if Josh remembers me in 30 years from now it'll
be because of something that lodged in his brain... something that for
whatever reason made an impact. I remember one friend who said to me, "You
treat me like I'm Jesus or somebody!" That was about 45 years ago and he
said it long before John Lennon said something along similar lines. Certain
things stick in your brain, and for Josh I could be one of them. But it's
not something I'm consciously aware of when we chat.
Before I fergit, check out this pic
of an old loco crossing a bridge.
FL Josh, after seeing that emotional pic yesterday of a soldier crying
on the shoulder of his buddy, sent me a couple more similar pics. So I
got inspired to create something - a video using stills I downloaded from
the net put to Beethoven's Fur Elise. I've got all the elements so far,
and I'll put the thing together later. I'd like a bit more time to think
Beeb time: Signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty agree
to hold a conference on a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East. And
how does the Middle East feel about that? Isn't Israel part of the Middle
East? President Barack Obama pledges to triple the manpower in coastal
areas hit by the Gulf oil spill as he tours affected areas. Good
old manpower... when all else fails, you can count on sweat and muscle.
Former Diff'rent Strokes star Gary Coleman has died, aged 42, after suffering
a brain haemorrhage. Mr Coleman was taken to hospital on Wednesday after
a fall at his home in the US state of Utah. Mr Coleman played Arnold Jackson
in Diff'rent Strokes from 1978 to 1986, coining the catchphrase "What you
talking 'bout, Willis?" What happened? He was a kid
last time I saw him. A South Korean man whose baby daughter starved
to death while he spent much of his time playing a fantasy game online
has been jailed for two years. The 41-year-old's wife was also sentenced
to two years in jail, but her sentence was suspended. The judge said he
had shown the woman lenience because she was pregnant with another child.
busy playing games to feed his kid but he managed to find time to bonk
his missus. Can you believe that? Comparing your income with those
of family and friends is a recipe for unhappiness, a study has suggested.
agree. I earn less than just about everybody but I manage, and I don't
compare my lot with theirs. Make do with whatcha got, I reckon, and don't
bitch about it. China "will not protect" whoever sank a South Korean
warship in March, Premier Wen Jiabao has said. "China objects to and condemns
any act that destroys the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula,"
Mr Wen was quoted as saying after talks in Seoul.
do you like them apples, Pyongyang? A South African government official
is proposing a complete ban on digitally distributed pornography. Deputy
Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba has approached the country's Law
Reform Commission to ask whether a change in the law is possible. Internet
security experts have dismissed the idea as "madness". Adult
porn is simply filming what people do anyway. What's the biggie? As Ohio
June once said to me, it's only sex.
Just got a few more ideas for the fur elise vid and downloaded a couple
more pics. I hope this thing works as well as I expect it to.
Right, 4 o'clock and time to bung the chicken in a slow oven. Takes
about 2 hours to cook a 2kg chook in an oven bag on slow. Tweezy... already
marinated and basted. In about an hour I'll pop the peeled spuds in, sprayed
with canola cooking oil and sprinkled with herbs. Later I'll make the gravy.
Roast chicken and spuds with gravy. Just the thing for a cool wet night.
Several hours later... I
just posted the latest vid to Youchewb. Gary
May 28, 2010. I saw on the TV news last night that Art Linkletter
conked out. He was 97, which ain't too shabby. I enjoyed his shows with
kids, and the humor. Kids can be an absolute delight if handled with the
kind of empathy and genuine affection Linkletter had in abundance.
Maybe that's what I had with Cody. I still am amazed by his frankness
as he told me about his daily exploits. All these years later, as I reformat
the Codeman chapters, I still shake my head in disbelief as I read his
accounts of Life with the Codeman. And yet it was all so matter-of-fact
Okies, here's a Red
Bubble pic I favorited today for reasons that will become obvious when
you check it out. If that doesn't bring a tear to your eye nothin' will.
Beeb time: Rescue workers are trying to free survivors from the wreckage
of a train in eastern India after a blast on the line killed at least 25.
The blast hurled a passenger train into the path of a goods train speeding
in the opposite direction in West Midnapore, a railway spokesman said.
Railway official Manoj Kumar told Reuters: "At this stage I can confirm
25 deaths. The toll will be much higher." A doctor quoted by AFP said there
had been 30 deaths. A local government official said the toll could go
up to "anywhere around 50-60" because many passengers were trapped inside
mangled coaches. The area is known to be a Maoist stronghold but officials
say it is too early to say if rebels were to blame. So
many people with a cause believe that the end justifies the means. It happened
65 years ago at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Is it justified or not? Depends
on your perspective, I suppose. US President Barack Obama
has defended his government's handling of the huge oil spill in the Gulf
of Mexico. Speaking at the White House, President Obama vowed to hold BP
accountable for the "horrific disaster". He stressed that his administration,
and not oil company BP, was in charge. But he admitted the government did
not have the technology to deal with the damaged oil well nearly a mile
(1.6km) below the surface, meaning that Washington must rely on BP to plug
the ruptured well. There ya go. Don't go blaming
BP if you can't do the job yourself. Accidents happen ya know, and BP wouldn't
have been there in the first place if they didn't have permission.
People who fail to brush their teeth twice a day are putting themselves
at risk of heart disease, say researchers. A Scottish study of more than
11,000 adults found those with poor oral hygiene had a 70% increased risk
of heart disease compared with those who brushed twice a day. I've
heard that there are more germs in a person's mouth than any other part
of their body. Ew! Jamaican police say at least 73 people have been
killed in four days of fighting between police and gunmen, as authorities
continue their search for an alleged drug lord. Of these, 70 are civilians,
including a number of suspected gunmen or gunwomen, and three are security
personnel. The information minister said it was unknown whether the chief
target of the operation, Christopher "Dudus" Coke, was still in the country.
In the country's capital, Kingston, security forces have been going from
house to house in Mr Coke's Trivoli Gardens district an attempt to find
him. Find the bastard and crush him. Two members
of a Zimbabwean gay rights association have been freed from custody, their
lawyers say. They say the two are facing charges of possessing pornographic
material and insulting President Robert Mugabe. In
that case, they should arrest me as well. Illinois paint shop assistant
Lee DeWyze has won the ninth season of the American Idol talent contest.
He overcame his shyness to impress judges and viewers with his spirit and
soulful voice, beating bluesy musician and judges' favourite Crystal Bowersox.
"I have never been happier in my life," he said after scooping the title
and a recording contract which will launch with his version of U2's Beautiful
Day. From paint shop assistant to superstar. How's
that for a fairy tale rise to fame? The youngest person to climb
Mount Everest says he hopes his achievement will inspire young people around
the world to get out and exercise. American teenager Jordan Romero, 13,
has just returned from the north side of the mountain. Yeah,
right. "I'll be home later, mom... just gonna go for a walk." A
survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that condoms made
according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Indian
men. And what's the population of India? A
kitten got itself in a spin when it survived a 30-minute cycle inside a
washing machine! It's thought that Kimba, a fluffy white Persian kitten
from Sydney, Australia, climbed in when the door was open and curled up
with the dirty clothes. Her owner, Lindsay Rogers, said he was amazed when
he went to get the clean clothes and found Kimba in the machine. "We could
hardly believe our eyes when she emerged, looking like a drowned rat,"
he said. It must be true then... what goes around,
comes around. A range of extra-large condoms has been launched in
South Africa, to cater for "well-endowed" men. "A large number of South
African men are bigger and complain about condoms being uncomfortable and
too small," said Durex manager Stuart Roberts. There
ya go... if you're a size queen, don't go to India, go to Safrica.
A carer's news pamphlet arrived in the mail today and one article referred
to the carer's lump sum payment in July. Oh? I thought lump sums had been
absorbed into the pension and spread over the year at so many extra dollars
a pay. Apparently that's not the case with carer's pensions. Sooooo, a
bloke can look forward to a little extra loot in the kitty in July. That'll
Young Josh returned the book I wrote about him - Joshua - today. He's
already got a copy that I gave him for his 17th birthday but the bloody
drongo can't find it. Anyway, he borrowed my copy for his girlfriend to
read. I was in the loo when he arrived so I didn't see him, and I don't
know what his girlfriend thought of the story. I just read the first chapter.
Not bad. I'd almost forgotten it because I wrote it almost 2 years ago.
In a way 2 years might as well be 20 years ago because I tend to focus
on N O W. When ever I read something I wrote some time ago, I'm usually
surprised at where my brain was at at the time. It's kinda spooky, like
a time machine. Images of oneself taken some time ago are different because
they're physical, but when you read your own thoughts, that's really you!
Speak of the devil, I spotted Joshua standing out front and spoke to
him. He sits for an exam tomorrow for admission to university and he's
pretty confident of passing. If he does, he's off next month to Coffs Harbor
Uni to study for 4 years as a school teacher. I asked if his girlfriend
read the book. "She read the first couple of chapters." Right... thanks
for the accolades. AND... he and Shana (his g/f) are off to Bali soon for
a holiday with a bunch of old school mates. They must have money to burn.
Where did I go wrong?
Kitchen time. Cheap but not so nasty tonight... meat pies and chips.
Hehe. Junk night. Gary
May 27, 2010. FL Josh sent a link to Greyson
Chance's second appearance on the Ellen show. Can you believe that
kid's vid on Youchewb has had 30M hits already? My steam loco vid has had
about the same... minus the M.
Did the revolving door trick again today - pay day, bills day, back
to square one. Next, I'll whizz up the road and do the shopping. How boring.
Same old, same old. I think a bloke needs an Odyssey. But first a bloke
needs a quid.
Beeb time: BP says a bid to plug its leaking oil well in the Gulf of
Mexico is going to plan, but it is too early to know if it will work. That's
a headline? Amnesty International has criticised the "politicisation
of international justice" in its annual report, which documents torture
in 111 countries. The human rights group accuses powerful governments of
subordinating justice to political self-interest and of shielding allies
from scrutiny. It expresses particular concern over possible war crimes
committed during fighting in Sri Lanka last year. The report also criticises
the UN for its failure to intervene. In its report, Amnesty also cites
the United States and European Union for using their position with the
UN Security Council "to continue to shield Israel from strong measures
of accountability for its actions in Gaza". Hmmm,
makes you wonder about what is kept from us. Colombian beauty queen
Angie Sanclemente is arrested in Argentina, charged with involvement in
drug trafficking. Skin deep indeed. The trial
of an anti-whaling activist detained in the Southern Ocean during clashes
with Japan's whaling fleet has opened in Tokyo. Peter Bethune from New
Zealand, a member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, boarded a ship
in February. He pleaded guilty to four charges, including trespass and
obstructing commercial activities, but denied a fifth charge of assault.
If convicted he could receive a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
That's gonna cause a helluva stink! Apple has pushed past arch-rival
Microsoft to become the world's biggest technology company. Changes in
the share price values of the two in Wednesday's choppy trading left the
total value of Apple at $222bn (£154bn). Microsoft is now valued
by investors at $219bn. Well, well, well... the poor
cousin finally has his day. Suspected robbers in Germany appear
to have miscalculated the quantity of explosives needed to blow their way
into a rural bank. The building housing the bank in the northern village
of Malliss was largely destroyed by an overnight explosion. The bank's
cash machine survived intact and the suspected thieves are not thought
to have made away with any money, Germany's Welt Online reported. No-one
was injured, though the blast damaged nearby cars and buildings.
it weren't so serious, it would be hilarious. The chief rabbi of
West Bank settlement has prohibited women from standing in a local community
election. Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of the Elon Moreh settlement, near Nablus,
said women lacked the authority to stand for the post of local secretary.
He wrote in a community newspaper that women must only be heard through
their husbands. Now there's a bloke who really doesn't
know what day it is. A fleet of "Little Ships" which rescued Allied
troops from Dunkirk in 1940 are to set sail from the South Coast to mark
the 70th anniversary of the event. The flotilla of around 60 vessels will
sail to France to commemorate Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of some
338,000 soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk. Some
things should never be forgotten.
Back from shopping. Naturally, I took my little Fuji with me and
grabbed this shot. It's cool that the flash didn't activate so I managed
to capture the existing lighting which is really nice. Also checked Bluey's
tires and filled the tank. $1.28 a liter now... that's about $5 a gallon.
But I don't use much. Last time I filled was about 2 months ago hehe.
BTW, I've added a few
new favs to my favorites on Red Bubble that are worth checking out.
Ohio Jace wrote. I thought he might've been mad at me for ditching MrB
but no... there were technical issues and he couldn't get in touch. Bit
of bad news tho... two of the neighbors (very close friends) were involved
in an accident with an unlicensed and uninsured driver who ran a red light,
and collided with two cars as well as the neighbor and a pillion passenger
on their motorcycle. Lots of grazes and broken bones, but everyone survived.
The driver at fault had been arrested for drunk driving on a previous occasion.
Bad, bad, bad. No license and no insurance doesn't stop the fuckwits. Luckily
no one was more seriously hurt. Meanwhile, Jace, good to have you back
in touch. And don't forget to watch my steam
loco vid or there'll be big trouble.
And here we are again... kitchen time. Porterhouse steaks for THEM and
Asian thingies for me. I quite like steak but I can take it or leave it.
Actually, I watched a cooking show on telly last night which showed cattle
and pigs being farmed for meat. Admittedly, the animals were living in
wonderful and pristine conditions in Tasmania BUT, as the farmer said,
"We love our animals but we know what they're here for." Hmmm. Apparently
you're supposed to feel better about slaughtering an animal for meat if
it's led a peaceful and happy life. Well... I'm afraid I'd make a lousy
May 26, 2010. Well, back to the old routine, sort of. Two more
Codemans posted and more movies on hold for the time being. They really
are a lot of work and I don't intend to shoot anything that's not a worthwhile
event just for the sake of doing a vid. There's a mate of mine, a Red Bubbler
(in fact the guy who introduced me to RB) and sailor. He's working as a
bus driver (the singing variety) on the Gold Coast at the mo, and intends
to drive back to Taree to collect his small yacht. He wants to tow it back
to where he lives now. When he's in town, we'll meet up for a beer. I'll
do a shoot of the yacht and he can do the on-camera commentary - "This
is the helm, this is the rudder, this is the keel, this is my wife, yadda,
yadda." It'll be good experience for me doing the audio, the video overlays,
the cutaways, etc... and the content will be quite interesting. I love
boats... but I'm not crazy about waves, particularly anything above my
Yes, it's going to be a fair bit of work and another steep learning
curve, with lots of hair-tearing and swearing, but... a bloke's gotta do
what a bloke's gotta do.
A Red Bubbler just commented on the steam loco vid: "Nice work, Cecil..."
Hehe. I think that USD59 I invested in the editing software is money well
spent. It's opened up a whole new world for me... and probably another
obsession. By the same token, I don't wanna get too serious about it. That
would take all the fun away. I've learned something in life: professionals
take time out for vacations, but hobbyists never do. Honestly, if I were
to take time off from what I do I'd be bored shitless!
THEY had t-bones last night while Averil and I shared a supreme pizza
with double topping. YUM! THEY don't care for pizza, and I reckon they're
crazy. Actually, there was a woman standing beside me at the pizza shop.
She'd ordered 6 boxes of various pizzas. "And what's everyone else having?"
I asked. She said it was her son's 17th birthday and he was in charge of
the menu. Hehe. Figures. I've never met a teen who doesn't like pizza.
Okay, time for a Beeb: Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding has vowed
to restore order after at least 31 deaths during an anti-drug offensive
in Kingston. He said he regretted the loss of life as security forces battled
fighters loyal to a suspected drug trafficker sought by the US. Mr Golding
said police would continue searching for illegal guns and crime suspects.
most serious situation. Read
the full story here. President Obama is to request $500m in funding
to send up to 1,200 troops to help secure the US-Mexico border, officials
say. We're lucky downunder in that we only have the
Kiwis to worry about, and they're pretty cool. Hehe. Actually, our only
borders are internal. North Korea is to cut all relations with South
Korea, Pyongyang's official news agency reports. KCNA said the North was
also expelling all South Korean workers from a jointly-run factory north
of the border. The move comes after an international report blamed North
Korea for sinking a South Korean warship. Silly games,
but dangerous nonetheless. An advert for a clothing shop that features
Adolf Hitler dressed in pink has provoked outraged reactions in Italy.
The posters were put up in the city of Palermo in Sicily, with the caption:
"Change your style. Don't follow your leader". The swastika on Hitler's
armband has been replaced by a heart. But the local association of wartime
resistance fighters said the adverts were offensive to those who had fought
fascism. Everyone enjoys a good joke but it's impossible
to make a humorous or tasteful joke out of Hitler and his insane Nazi regime.
The house made famous by the 1970s Amityville Horror film has gone on sale
in Long Island, New York, with a price tag of $1.15m (£800,000).
The five-bedroom house at 108 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, gained notoriety
through the film based on the story of the Lutz family, who moved in in
1975. The Lutzes say they soon discovered that the house was haunted. Several
months earlier, six members of another family had been shot and killed
as they slept in the house. The family's eldest son, Ronald DeFeo Jr, was
convicted of the 1974 murders. Ghosts? Hahaha! I
don't believe in ghosts. BUT... I don't think I'd wanna live there... just
in case. Hehe.
I watched a nature program on telly the other night that talked about
polar bears standing 13' high on their hind legs. I was skeptical. 13'?
That's twice the height of a tall man. No way. So I checked Wikipedia.
The info doesn't talk about height but it does talk about weight. Try between
350 and 680 kg for adult males. I'm a regular guy at 70 kg. Hehe. So a
really big male polar bear could be almost 10 times my size. I think I'll
stick to koalas. That is scary! On the program, the guys used a chopper
to check out the bears. Then they decided to land to get a closer look.
The bears weren't fazed by the chopper at all. Rather, they were curious
to get a closer look at the humans, so they approached. Oops! The guys
clambered back into the chopper and took off, and I don't blame them.
Put a VW Beetle up against a Ferrari and what happens? Check
Well, look at me! Up to date with everything. Makes a pleasant change
from the past few days when everything was frantic. It's weird ya know.
There's no pressure except the pressure I create for myself. There was
a time when I told my bosses to get nicked if they gave me a hard time.
Now I'm the boss and I can't tell myself to get nicked. Hehe.
So here we are again, kitchen time. Leftover bolognaise with a little
extra chopped ham for good measure. Gary
May 25, 2010. AVS4YOU turned out not to be as simple as I thought.
But I've got it figured out now... after a full day yesterday tearing my
hair out. As I write this, I'm uploading the video of 3237 to Youchewb.
I've not done music or voice over YET. I'm too impatient to get the damn
thing posted. Maybe later. Music is a hard one tho because of copyright
issues. Anyway, now that I've put one vid together, I'll be fine for subsequent
Yesterday, I discovered the hard way (my normal style) that the vid
format AVS uses is not suitable for Youchewb. Of course, it wasn't until
the thing was fully uploaded that Youchewb said, "Sorry, baby, it didn't
work." All that time wasted. So then I converted the AVS vid to WMV which
took 90 minutes. After that I began to upload it to Youchewb but it was
gonna take 3 or 4 hours! The file was half a gig. I quit after about 90
minutes and went to bed. More time wasted. This morning I converted the
vid to another format, one recommended for Youchewb, and it took about
15 minutes. The size of the file is about 170MB which takes about 90 minutes
to upload. Yeah... things I wish I'd known beforehand.
The vid does have a few drawbacks. There's a lot of strobing caused
by the painted stripes on the train carriages, the pixel quality of the
vid is not very high, and there's a bit of shake because the camera was
hand held. But a woman there with a heavy tripod and an expensive camera
was in all kinds of bother trying to maneuver the thing as the train moved
about. I had no problem at all because I was free to twist and turn, and
the little Kodak was a breeze to operate. The irritating aspect of the
shoot was people standing in front of my camera while I was shooting. They
were so intent on getting their shot they didn't even notice me. Rude buggers.
However, despite the frustrations of the shoot and the steep learning
curve with AVS, it's been a worthwhile experience. I loathe learning anything
new. I'm always a bundle of nerves and my thoughts are riddled with doubts.
But the end justifies the means, yeah? Now I can confidently shoot little
movies of various events and places I encounter, and I expect my technique
to improve as I gain more experience. Yeeehaaaaa! Cecil B de Kelly!
Okay so now it's a matter of waiting for the vid to upload before I
post this page. I'll fill in the time with a Beeb:
Jamaican police launch an assault on the stronghold of alleged drugs
lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke in Kingston. I have
no time for those evil bastards, feeding off the misery of addicts.
The US toughens its stance on BP, with one official pledging to "keep our
boot on their neck" until the Gulf oil leak is stopped. Okay,
so if companies like BP decide it's all too hard and get out of the business
of exploration, what will the government do then? A top UK scientist
who helped sequence the human genome has said efforts to patent the first
synthetic life form would give its creator a monopoly on a range of genetic
engineering. Professor John Sulston said it would inhibit important research.
US-based Dr Craig Venter led the artificial life form research, details
of which were published last week. Now the old rivals are at odds again
over Dr Venter's efforts to apply for patents on the artificially created
organism, nicknamed Synthia. But Professor Sulston, who is based at the
University of Manchester, said patenting would be "extremely damaging".
a tricky one... public domain or private ownership? I would hope the former
prevails in the interests of the common good. The US has confirmed
it will hold naval exercises with South Korea, after a report blamed the
North for the sinking of a Southern warship, officials say. The Pentagon
said the joint anti-submarine and other military exercises would start
"in the near future". South Korean President Lee Myung-bak earlier froze
trade with Pyongyang, vowing to punish those who carried out the attack.
North Korea has said it will retaliate for any action taken against it.
China is waiting in the wings. Australia has expelled an Israeli
diplomat saying Israel was behind the forging of Australian passports linked
to the murder of a Hamas operative in Dubai. Australia's foreign minister
said these were "not the actions of a friend". The Israeli foreign ministry
said Australia's decision was disappointing. Hehe.
"Disappointing". Don't ya just love diplomacy speak? The Cannes
Film Festival has given its top prize, the Palme d'Or, to the mystical
Thai film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. It beat British
director Mike Leigh's Another Year, which was seen as the favourite by
many at the French event. I can't recall mine, so
maybe this is my first. The fourth instalment in the Shrek franchise
was the top film at the North American box office over the weekend, taking
$71.3m (£43.9m) on its first three days on release. Yet Shrek Forever
After did not perform as well as its two predecessors, Shrek 2 and Shrek
the Third, both of which made more than $100m (£69m) in their debut
weekends. Amazing stuff... what the world needs now
is Shrek - escape from reality. Researchers have shown off a transistor
made from just seven atoms that could be used to create smaller, more powerful
computers. Transistors are tiny switches used as the building blocks of
silicon chips. If the new atomic transistor can be made in large numbers
it could mean chips with components up to 100 times smaller than on existing
processors. And you thought the Intel chip was small
already. The old advertising slogan "Guinness is Good for You" may
be true after all, according to researchers. A pint of the black stuff
a day may work as well as a low dose aspirin to prevent heart clots that
raise the risk of heart attacks. Bit heavy for me,
thanks all the same. I prefer a paler ale.
the URL for the steam loco vid. I'll be back later to finish this page.
I just subscribed to a
new Youchewb channel. As soon as I heard this guy's piano playing I
began to weep. But that's just me. TOO EMOTIONAL! By the way, Greyson Chance
has been invited back on the Ellen show after his signing with a record
company. The kid's doin okay.
Oregon Richie just sent a link to a story about Robin
Gibb of the Bee Gees who chucked a wobbly at Heathrow Airport. He's
60 but he looks a bit lived in... looks 70+ actually. I'm a fan of the
Bee Gees though... they made some great music. I remember them as kids.
They recorded their first hit Spicks and Specks back in the mid 60s at
a studio in suburban Hurstville, a converted butcher shop operated by Spin
Records. It was the same studio my band used, with a 4-track recorder.
I believe the Beatles' Sgt Peppers was recorded on a 4-tracker.
But if you think 4-track recording is basic, guys like Frank Sinatra
had to record with the whole damn band in the studio using one track!
Oops! Are you still here? I had a bit of drama here earlier but all
is well now. But I forgot about posting this page! Don't worry about it...
it's age. Gary
May 23, 2010. Ladies and genitals, please be upstanding to drink
a toast to our dear old fart Gary Kelly for managing to figure out AVS4YOU
in just a few hours.
Well, I haven't figured it ALL out yet but I've made pretty good progress.
Once I got started it kinda became intuitive - probably because of my experience
in editing suites for many years. I wasn't an operator but I did quite
a bit of observing. Anyway, I like the software so I bought it ($59 US),
and now I have unlimited use of the program. It's pretty tricky, actually,
with all kinds of bells and whistles, and not as scary as I thunk it would
I put together the edited vision of the steam loco and decided to test
it before adding effects/audio etc but Microsoft chucked a wobbly and closed
the process. WHAT??? But then you expect MS to stuff things, so I shouldn't
be surprised. Anyway, I was sufficiently impressed by AVS4YOU to buy it,
but I've had enough fiddling for one day so I'll get back to it tomorrow.
I need to shorten the vid as well... it's currently running at 10:37. And
ya know what? I think I'm gonna like this shooting and editing business.
:o) The Little Movie Maker! I'll call it Fossil
Back from shopping, which took ages. Averil asked me what I was going
to do with the videos I make. Sell them? "No, no, no. It's a hobby. I like
doing it. I'm having a nice time. Once you start thinking commercially,
it becomes too complicated. I just wanna have fun."
Beeb time: World leaders and communities around India pay tribute to
the victims of Saturday's plane crash in which 158 people died. Passengers
one minute, victims the next. What can you say? A passenger train
has derailed in China, killing at least 10 people, reports say. The Ministry
of Railways said the train had been knocked off the tracks by a landslide
in a mountainous area of Jiangxi province, state news agency Xinhua reported.
we should all just stay at home. A man on a Greyhound bus travelling
across the Canadian Prairies has killed and decapitated a fellow passenger.
An eyewitness said the victim was stabbed 50 or 60 times by the man sitting
next to him, who then severed his head with a large knife. The driver pulled
over and passengers fled from the bus, bracing the door to keep the attacker
inside. "All of a sudden, we all heard this scream, this bloodcurdling
scream," passenger Garnet Caton told CBC television. Yep,
I definitely think we should all stay home. Read
the full story here. It's unbelievable. One of the world's rarest stamps
has fetched a record price at auction in Switzerland, organisers told the
BBC. The stamp - a version of a 1855 three shilling stamp which was meant
to be printed green - is believed to be the last of its kind. Auctioneer
David Feldman said the stamp was the world's most valuable object by weight.
all because of a mistake in printing that made it yellow.
The world is crazy. So what do you do about it? *Shrug* I don't have
an answer to that question. I really don't. However it's not easy to ignore
all the bad things. When you stub your toe, you're unlikely to say, "Oh,
well, it's only my toe. The rest of me is just fine." I suppose it's a
balancing act, basically. Acknowledge the bad, but don't ignore the good.
In fact, the more you embrace the good, and enjoy it, the less likely you
are to be overwhelmed by the bad. Yeah? Something like that.
Anyway, time to don the chef hat. BTW, the bolognaise last night was
deeeeeeeeeelicious! Tonight, it's chicken burgers with hash browns and
corn fritters. An easy Sunday feed. Tomorrow, I'll get stuck into the 3237
vid again. I need to write a voice over script which you're supposed to
do FIRST. Oh well... Anyway, I need to buy a little microphone for the
May 22, 2010. The twoty tooth. There ya go. Well, I worked my
droopy old ring off today... 2 Codemans, a bit of email, and I posted the
loco pics on Aussie
Odyssey. Then I read the help file of AVS4YOU. Eeeek! Kinda frightening
but I suppose if I take it one step at a time I'll get the hang of it.
I was gonna give it a shot today but I'm a bit buggered... not to mention
terrified. If it weren't for my interest in short vids on the Odyssey,
I wouldn't even bother to try. I like stills because you can print them,
hang them, frame them, turn them into calendars, etc, but there are some
instances where a vid tells the story more comprehensively. I used not
think so but after seeing various vids on Youchewb I've changed my mind.
So it's a skill I'd like to master before dementia sets in hehe.
One Red Bubbler wrote to say I should take off on the Odyssey now before
fuel prices become prohibitive. But I explained that the Odyssey won't
be about driving all day and covering long distances, it'll be about driving
an hour up the road, stopping, setting up camp, taking a look around and
maybe staying a couple of days. I honestly don't expect to be covering
more kilometers than maybe 1 or 2 hundred a week... if that.
Another Red Bubbler responded to my bitch about some bloke standing
in front of my camera as I was shooting the furnace of the 3237. "Next
time that happens, yell out 'Who dropped that $100 note?'" Hehe. Yeah,
I'll keep that in mind. One of the features of AVS4YOU is an extensive
range of dissolves and transitions which are bit gimmicky. I've seen them
used on amateur vids and they can be rather annoying. I suppose used sparingly
they're okay. I prefer simple dissolves and zero clutter. If the video
is not well shot and interesting, and well edited, no amount of gimmicky
razzamatazz is gonna save it (sez me who hasn't even edited his first vid
Now, lemme ask you a question. If a kangaroo loses its testicles, would
you call it lucky? No? Well, those testicles were apparently lucky for
a 13 y/o American boy, the youngest person to climb Mt Everest. Check
out the link sent by Oregon Richie.
Yeah, well I'm still trying to figure out why carrying Kangaroo testicles
is supposed to be lucky. It's like a rabbit's foot. You ever seen a rabbit
hopping around on crutches?
Beeb time: A plane has crashed near the southern Indian city of Mangalore,
with dozens feared dead. More than 160 people were said to be on board
the Air India Express flight from Dubai, and some officials say they believe
there are no survivors. Mangalore airport is located at the top of a hill
and analysts say it can be a difficult airport to land in. That's
an understatement. Admittedly, air travel is the safest statisticaly BUT...
well, you know. Two political veterans are expected to head a US
commission investigating a huge oil spill, amid criticism of the government's
response. Reports say former Democratic Senator Bob Graham and William
Reilly, who once served as environment chief for the Republicans, will
lead the inquiry. President Barack Obama's administration has been forced
to defend its record in dealing with the spill. Yes,
the blame game is on in earnest but blame doesn't fix problems.
Education officials in the US state of Texas have adopted new guidelines
to the school curriculum, which critics say will politicise teaching. The
changes include teaching that the UN could be a threat to American freedom,
and that the Founding Fathers may not have intended a complete separation
of church and state. Critics say the changes are ideological and distort
history. I don't understand this 'founding fathers'
business. Wisdom is not the preserve of the ancients despite what some
people like to believe. Pakistan has arrested several suspects in
connection with the failed bombing in New York City, officials say. One
of the arrested is the co-owner of a prominent catering firm used by the
US embassy in Islamabad, Pakistani officials told news agencies. Catering
for what? Hundreds of people have protested in Cannes against a
film about Algeria's struggle for independence against France. The film,
Hors la Loi by French-Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb, opens at Cannes
on Friday. The demonstrators, who included right-wing politicians and French
veterans, claim it is biased against France. Algeria gained independence
from France after a brutal eight-year war that ended in 1962. Well,
darling, when you're fighting for independence, as the Americans did, the
"other" side tends to become the enemy. Campaigners against a controversial
new immigration law in the US state of Arizona have adopted a popular children's
cartoon character as a symbol of their cause. Dora the Explorer has taught
millions of American children basic Spanish phrases on her Nickelodeon
TV show. But a doctored image on the internet now shows the cartoon heroine
with a black eye in a police mugshot. Her alleged crimes? Illegal border
crossing and resisting arrest. Seems to me like Arizona
has bitten off more than it can chew. Toyota is to invest $50m (£35m)
in US electric car company Tesla Motors, as the two firms announced a joint
partnership to build electric vehicles. The deal will give the Japanese
giant a stake of about 2.5% in Tesla, which will build its new saloon model
at a Toyota factory near San Francisco. Analysts said Tesla, which was
only formed in 2003, will benefit from Toyota's mass production skills.
you getting the impression that your current car is gonna be a museum piece
sooner than you expected? Heart attack survivors are highly likely
to avoid sex, fearing it could kill them, US researchers say. I'm
a heart attack survivor and I have exactly the same amount of sex I had
Yes, the wisdom of the ancients. There's no denying that certain ancients
were very wise indeed, but you and I will be ancients one day and what
will they say about us then?
Anyway, that's enough for one day. Got the spag bol simmering away.
I'll do the pasta soon, and then lavish the servings with lots of grated
parmesan! Cheese making is fascinating stuff ya know... been watching a
few programs on telly about cheese making. The number of varieties boggles
the mind. I'll visit dairies on the Odyssey and have a closer sticky beak.
Say cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese! Gary
May 21, 2010. Aaaggghhh! Codecs! I've spent most of the day looking
for codecs cos Windows Movie Maker doesn't wanna know about the video I
shot this morning. Grrrrr! Talk about frustrating! In the end I gave up
trying to solve the codec bullshit and downloaded a video editing program
called AVS4YOU. Looks like something I can understand without too much
hassle. I've had enough buggerizing around for one day so I'll read the
help file tomorrow and learn how to use it. If I like it I'll spend the
$60 it costs for unlimited usage. It has time lines for vision, audio,
voice over, video overlay, effects, text, etc, so I think it'll do the
job pretty well.
On the plus side, the little Kodak 2.2MP camera I bought back in 2002
did a pretty good job of shooting motion. It was a bit nerve wracking at
the time cos I had no idea whether or not I was operating the camera in
movie mode properly. But it all turned out okay. One lesson I learned was
not to mix shooting a movie and shooting stills. You can't do both at the
same time. I had two cameras around my neck and got myself into a helluva
tizz. The Kodak was set on low res so the result wasn't too flash. I was
worried about the size of the memory card which is 750MB max but I only
used 132MB. I'll shoot in higher res next time.
Meanwhile, I posted a couple of shots on Red Bubble. This
one and this
one. Later, I'll post all the stills on Aussie Odyssey but I've gotta
write the journal first and it's late. I'll do it tomorrow.
Okay, time for a quick Beeb: The US Senate passes a bill providing the
most sweeping overhaul of financial regulations since the 1930s. Take
a bow, Barack. US President Barack Obama's national intelligence
director has resigned after a 16-month tenure marked by a series of security
failures. His term of office saw the Fort Hood shooting, the Christmas
Day bomb plot and the Times Square car bomb plot. Well,
I guess ya can't win 'em all. Hehe. British Airways reports its
biggest ever annual loss, citing lower passenger numbers, higher costs
and the impact of strike action. I pity anyone trying
to run a business... honestly I do. The US state department says
there "will definitely be consequences" for North Korea following the sinking
of a South Korean warship in March. The North is facing international condemnation
after investigators blamed it for the sinking of the ship, in which 46
sailors died. Pyongyang has rejected the claim as a "fabrication" and threatened
war if sanctions were imposed. China urged restraint and did not criticise
the North. China's reluctance to admonish N Korea
is what Pyongyang is banking on. Scientists in the US have succeeded
in developing the first synthetic living cell. The researchers constructed
a bacterium's "genetic software" and transplanted it into a host cell.
The resulting microbe then looked and behaved like the species "dictated"
by the synthetic DNA. The researchers hope eventually to design bacterial
cells that will produce medicines and fuels and even absorb greenhouse
gases. I suspect we ain't seen nuthin' yet.
A judge in Malawi has imposed a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison
with hard labour on a gay couple convicted of gross indecency and unnatural
acts. The judge said he wanted to protect the public from "people like
you". I think it's patently obvious that the public
should be protected from people like the judge. Thailand's government
says it has mostly restored order in the capital, Bangkok, a day after
violence which left at least 15 people dead. Speaking from custody, one
(red shirt) leader, Veera Musikapong, has urged all sides to co-operate
in peaceful talks. "I'd like to ask all sides to calm down and talk with
each other in a peaceful manner," he said. "We cannot create democracy
with anger. Good things are built on non-violence." Very
sensible, and something you should have considered in the first place.
Pakistan has blocked the popular video sharing website YouTube because
of its "growing sacrilegious content". Access to the social network Facebook
has also been barred as part of a crackdown on websites seen to be hosting
un-Islamic content. We can't allow criticism of Islam,
dear Breth, because Islam might fall down and go boom.
Ya know, come to think of it, Islam and all other religions have a point.
Non believers should be punished. Children, for example, who refuse to
believe in Santa Claus should be put though a mincer and made into kiddie
pies. If they don't believe in the Tooth Fairy they should have all their
teeth pulled, preferably without anesthetic. It's no good allowing people
to accept or reject certain beliefs at their own discretion, they should
be forced to believe or else face dire consequences. Yes? Free will is
no good! Free will is the enemy of er... HIM... or Her or whomever. Faith
should not be a matter of choice. Yabba yabba do diddly wobba dobba ding
dang. And so say all of us. Hail whatsisname. Amen!
Yes, time for kitchen duties. It hasn't been a good day... well not
entirely. But there's always tomorrow. Gary
May 20, 2010. There are always two sides to every story, right?
We now cross to our Florida correspondent, Josh, for his latest on-the-spot
report: Don't let the situation in Malawi with the gay couple ruffle
your feathers too badly. When they held their celebration that drew
attention to them, they were either incredibly dumb or they wanted to draw
world attention to the laws in Malawi. It's the first step in effecting
As for the grinning faces around the vehicle carrying them, that
doesn't necessarily reflect the feelings of the population as a whole.
Those are people who gathered to condemn the two men because their beliefs
are different or because they need to make a show that their beliefs are
different. What would have been tragic is if they got arrested and
convicted with virtually no media attention. Thus, all the hoopla
is a good thing overall albeit not for them. Perhaps years from now
they will be celebrated for being the seed that brought change to Malawi.
Australia has 22,000,000 people compared to 15,000,000 for Malawi,
but Malawi has only one sixty-fourth the land area. The population
density is so high in Malawi that the crimes these guys were convicted
of will in the not-too-distant future become commonplace just from people
jostling each other at the marketplaces. "Ooops, 'scuse me.
Someone bumped me" "Ummm, that's okay. Hey, wanna hit McDonalds
and get some McAnts on a stick?"
FL Josh also reports on my comment about steam and that it's pretty
much relegated to ironing these days. You mentioned steam power.
Although not particularly romantic, nuclear powered ships are steam powered,
the nuclear reactor generating the heat to make the steam. The newest US
aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, is 1092 feet (333 meters) long
and 257 feet (78 meters) wide, displaces 100,000 tons, can hit speeds in
excess of 30+ knots (56+km/h, 35+ mph), and won't need to refuel for 20
years. BIG streamship. The worlds first nuclear aircraft carrier,
the USS Enterprise, was launched in 1960, is 1123 feet (342 meters) long,
257 feet (78 meters) wide, 93,000 tons displacement, and is still in service.
Okay, I get the picture. Fancy being married to that guy!
Anyway, in a couple of hours from now I'll be at Taree railway station
to check out 3237 as it arrives. Not sure at this point whether it will
arrive under its own steam or be shunted by diesel loco. However when it
leaves tomorrow morning on a trip to Grafton it will use its own power.
I'll return then to do a little movie of all the huffing and puffing. It'll
spend 6 weeks or so up around the Grafton area doing trips and then return
to Taree early July for a passenger trip to Sydney. Hopefully, it'll do
a local trip before that in which case I'll be on board.
I was walking down to the lemon tree to put more lemons in the FREE
LEMONS box which is beside my front gate on the other side of the fence,
and I asked a passing woman if she wanted some free lemons. So she said
sure, and took three. Then she asked if I wanted some free basil. She had
a big bunch in a carry bag. There ya go. So she gave me quite a few cuttings
a few of which I planted. Fresh basil in the garden, yeah? I dunno if they'll
take but they might. I'm not the world's greatest green thumb. Dig a hole,
'em in, water 'em and that's it. They smell nice tho, and I'll use some
of the leaves in a bolognaise. Rosemary is another herb that's easy to
grow. Averil's got a couple of bushes in her yard. Herbs! God's gift to
Okay, let's do the Beeb: A North Korean submarine's torpedo sank a South
Korean navy ship on 26 March causing the loss of 46 sailors, an international
report has found. Investigators said they had discovered part of the torpedo
on the sea floor and it carried lettering that matched a North Korean design.
Pyongyang rejected the claim as a "fabrication", South Korea's Yonhap agency
reported. It said the North threatened war if sanctions were imposed by
the South. But South Korean President Lee Myung-bak pledged to take "stern
action" against the North. Now there's a nautical
pun if ever I heard one. But this is very serious stuff. Bangkok
remains tense after a night under curfew, following a Thai army crackdown
on anti-government protesters. Surely there's a better
way to resolve this dispute. The first oil from the Gulf of Mexico
spill has reached a powerful current that could drag it to Florida, scientists
say. I'm sure FL Josh will be following that story
with interest. I'm sure all Floridians will. When such disasters affect
your own backyard, they take on a whole new meaning. US President
Barack Obama has vowed to pursue fresh UN sanctions against Iran despite
Tehran's nuclear deal with Turkey and Brazil. Mr Obama telephoned Turkish
PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan to say Iran's moves still "do not build confidence".
much for do unto others hehe. Mexican President Felipe Calderon
has used the start of a state visit to the US to renew his attack on Arizona's
controversial new immigration law. Mr Calderon said migrant workers were
forced to "still live in the shadows and, occasionally, as in Arizona,
they even face discrimination". President Barack Obama emphasised a message
of solidarity, saying the US and Mexico would "stand together".
it suits us. The French cabinet has approved a bill making it illegal
to wear in public clothes designed to hide the face. The legislation amounts
to a ban on the full-face Muslim veil. When in Paris...
Muslims living in Christian countries need to understand that they're not
living in Muslim countries. I think they've got a bloody hide, actually.
In Uganda, plans to introduce draconian new laws against homosexuality
look likely to go ahead despite mass protests, a major petition, and condemnation
from the international community. The bill, which proposes the death penalty
for so-called 'serial offenders', has already been described as 'odious'
by President Obama.
out the BBC video report.
Back from the railway station. All very interesting but the steam loco
was pulled by a diesel, which disappointed most of the gathered crowd.
Apparently there are some steep climbs on the way from Sydney and the 3237
was not designed for such heavy work. It had 6 carriages in tow though.
It took a side track and parked
some distance from the main platform where I was standing (along with
everyone else). Still, it was interesting. I'll be back tomorrow when it
leaves for Grafton. It'll depart the main platform so I should get some
decent footage, plus a bunch of stills. I wanna check out the interiors
of the carriages as well. I spoke to a Brit engineer who worked on the
Brit railways for many years, and also an Aussie who worked for NSW railways
for 54 years, most of those on steam locos which he described as "hot and
dirty work". He spent the last 20 years driving diesel
XPTs. He's retired now and is booked on tomorrow's trip. One question
I asked the Brit was how they syncronize three steam locos linked together,
all pulling the one train (which I saw on a Youchewb vid). He said they
do it by "feel"... the drivers, that is. Diesels are different in that
they're operated by computer which syncronizes all two or three locos used
for pulling a long train. The driver is basically an observer and the computer
does all the work. Not so with the old steam locos.
After tomorrow's shoot, I'll put an album together and post it on Aussie
Odyssey, then I'll edit the video and post that on Youchewb. All very exciting,
Last but not least, a comment from Oregon Richie about steam: Steam
engines... yeah. Among other things... I think I mentioned before,
that they were essentially the PRIME MOVER for the first Industrial Revolution.
Internal combustion, turbines, and what-not followed but it was the steamer
that really got it all going... quite aside from other prime movers, be
it animal, water, Dutch windmills, and... so forth. Electricity fashions
itself, no doubt... as second place in the hit parade, and of course...
I have long held the belief that the CPU / microprocessor was and is the
prime mover of the second ( or third ! ) industrial revolution.
So that's it for today. Fish n chips tonight. Gary
May 19, 2010. Reformatting the Codeman after all these years
still makes me reach for the tissue box. No one I've ever known has impacted
on me as much as the Codeman, or for as long.
Anyway, one more sleep till 3237 arrives in Taree. Steam obviously fascinates
people, otherwise we wouldn't still have sayings such as 'full steam ahead',
'letting off steam', 'under his own steam', 'steaming into the harbor',
etc. Steam these days is pretty much confined to ironing clothes but the
metaphors are still alive and well. I love all that huffing and puffing,
and smoke pouring from the chimney, and the sound of the steam whistle.
Last time I rode in a steam loco was 2003 and I remember well the chuffa
chuffa chuffa sound of the engine as it steamed along the track. Magic
stuff. Diesels might be more efficient but they just ain't the same.
If I were being thoroughly professional here I'd be writing a shot list
before the shoot. But... well... I'm lazy. I'll do it on the fly. Besides,
unlike a pro shoot, I'm not sure at this stage what's gonna be available,
such as meeting the engineer or whatever. Once I edit the vid and do a
voice over, I'll post it on Youchewb. ME AND MY BIG MOUTH.
By chance I discovered a vid on Youchewb this morning about
the old Sydney trams. I was about 17/18 when they were removed from
Sydney's streets, and all the tracks dug up to be replaced by motor buses.
Trams were great, and very efficient. Light rail has been introduced to
Sydney but there are a lotta people who would prefer the old trams. In
fact, Sydney had one of the most sophisticated tram networks of any city
in the world. And they gave the whole thing away, the dickheads.
Beeb time: Gunfire is heard in central Bangkok, as army units advance
on anti-government protesters, with five reported injured. Have
you ever seen two dogs fighting? With their lips bared and their teeth
showing? You can tell they're not in the mood to listen to compromise.
The Tea Party's Rand Paul has defeated Republican establishment favourite
Trey Grayson in the GOP Senate primary poll in Kentucky, partial results
show. The outcome of these primary ballots will be seen as a key indicator
of the volatile political mood in America. Polls suggest anti-incumbent
sentiment is rife across the US. Many voters are concerned that the federal
government is doing too little to foster economic recovery and cut wasteful
spending, analysts say. Ah, politics. Who the hell
would wanna be involved in that crazy business?A
court in Malawi has convicted a gay couple of gross indecency and unnatural
acts. Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were arrested in
December 2009 after celebrating their engagement ahead of a wedding planned
for 2010. They have been in jail ever since and now face 14 years in prison.
Their arrest had sparked international condemnation and a debate about
homosexuality in the country. Judge Nyakwawa Usiwa-Usiwa convicted both
men of engaging in gay sex, which he said was "against the order of nature".
They are to be sentenced on 20 May. Check out the
grins on the faces of the onlookers. It's enough to make me puke.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has handed the Pope a letter urging him
to allow priests to marry. Mr Morales also asked the head of the Roman
Catholic Church to admit women to the priesthood. Scrap
celibacy? Oh, my goodness me! We can't have that! Next thing you know,
they'll be asking us to wear pants!
What that Malawi judge Nyakwawa wawa lala haha nana booboodeedoop nincompoop
doesn't understand is that NOTHING exists that is not natural. Certain
natural occurrences may be aberrations but they are not unnatural. Let
me repeat, NOTHING exists that is not natural, otherwise it would not exist.
For him to say that those convicted men engaged in activity that is "against
the order of nature" is proof of the judge's ignorance - and those two
men have paid the price for that ignorance. The judge is no better than
the idiot clowns laughing in the background. I can't begin to tell you
how disgusted I am. Check out the faces of those two unfortunate men...
shamed by ignorance; shamed by pea-brains who know fuckall about nature.
It's an absolute outrage that makes my blood boil.
I feel so damn sorry for those poor guys. Their crime is that they love
each other and want to live together. That's a crime? Jesus Christ. A pox
on Judge Wawa Lala Booboodeedoop Nincompoop and all his idiot kind.
Soooooooooooooooo, what now? I dunno. Not easy to settle down after
my little outburst. It's just that such injustice really gets under my
skin - dickhead bureaucrats imposing their bullshit on others who are just
going about their private business and doing no harm to anyone.
Actually, I think I'll call it a day. Gary
May 18, 2010. Dreary, wet day. Bleh. But at least it's an opportunity
to recharge more camera batteries. No galavanting about outdoors today.
Sooooo, doubtless there will be days on the Odyssey like this, in which
case I'll probably be confined to the van. That would be insufferable if
it were not for the laptop and the internet.
Lindsay mentioned that a local electronics store has Olympus digital
compact cameras on spesh for just $68. Sheesh! 12MP and 3x zoom. He says
he'll get one for the trip to England. He asked me where the memory card
and battery go, so I showed him my Fuji compact. Then he asked where the
film goes. Hehe. He has no concept of what digital means. Mind you, he
has little concept of what anything means.
I'm kinda tempted to get one of those Olympus compacts but... I got
4 cameras already!
Recently, I mentioned Aussie author Ion Idriess and my interest in reading
one of his books, Across the Nullarbor (back in 1951 in a Peugeot
203). The book is out of print so I applied for a National Library
membership card, which I received this morning. It means I can access digital
material in the library's archives. How cool! One of these days I'll be
crossing the Nullarbor so it'll be interesting to read Idriess' account
of 60 years ago before I do. Isn't the internet wonderful? I honestly dunno
know what I'd do without it.
FL Josh wrote: Enjoyed the link to John Cleese on Sarah Palin.
He hit the nail right on the head that she is like a parrot, spouting out
words that she doesn't have clue to their meaning. Here's
a video of John Cleese at home. Most of us think of celebrities
living in mansions, and I guess most do, but John Cleese is more realistic.
BTW, Josh also sent a link to this story about young Greyson
Chance getting a recording contract.
TX Greg has been working his Texas ring off getting various MrB stories
posted to Codysworld. All of Daniel's Diary is posted and he's working
on the Daniel short stories as well. I'd forgotten about some of those.
How I wrote all that stuff plus 5 books astonishes me. What an extraordinary
period of my life that was.
Beeb time: US President Barack Obama will set up a commission to investigate
the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, officials say. The
horse has bolted, Barack... but maybe you can learn something about how
to keep it in next time. The UN urges Thai protesters and the government
to negotiate an end to the political crisis which has claimed dozens of
lives. Let's hope common sense prevails. Trouble
is, sense ain't all that common. Chinese tycoon and businessman
Huang Guangyu is sentenced to 14 years in prison on bribery charges, state
media reports. Power corrupts, yeah? Imagine how
that guy feels now... it's a helluva long way down from the top.
A US missionary has been convicted of trying to illegally take 33 children
out of Haiti in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in January. The
judge sentenced Laura Silsby, 40, to the time she had already spent in
jail on remand, and said she was free to leave the country. Silsby, from
Idaho, was caught with nine other Americans trying to take the children
into the Dominican Republic. This is the kinda thing
that happens when people believe they are acting on behalf of God and doing
his will. It's lunatic stuff. Barack Obama made millions in book
royalties last year and took delivery of a special $1,600 gift - the family
dog Bo, financial records show. Royalties from "Dreams From My Father"
and "Audacity of Hope" earned him at least $1m each, according to filings
released by the White House. Bo, a Portuguese water dog given to the Obamas
by the late Senator Edward Kennedy and his wife was valued at $1,600 in
Mr Obama's financial disclosure form. That's about
what it cost me in vet fees for Kelly II, and she wasn't worth anything
at all... just another mutt from the pound. Robin Hood has failed
to hit number one at the North America box office, landing behind last
week's box office lead, Iron Man 2. The Ridley Scott movie, which opened
the Cannes Film Festival last week, made $37.1m (£25.7m), while the
Iron Man sequel netted $53m (£37.7m). The film, starring Russell
Crowe, fell short of industry forecasts that it would take $40m (£27.7m).
It is estimated Robin Hood cost at least $155m (£107.6m) to make.
how much it cost to write Green Room. Some 90% of gay men in the
Asia-Pacific region are denied access to HIV/Aids help because of discriminatory
laws in many states, a UN-backed report says. Almost half the region's
countries criminalise gay male sex and the report says this is worsening
a situation in which infection rates are climbing. Repressive laws "often
take on the force of vigilantism", it argues. Repressive
is right. Get real, dummies. Video sharing website YouTube now gets
more than two billion hits daily. That's nearly double the number of people
who tune into the US's three prime time TV stations combined, its owners
Google have said. Twelve years ago, potential investors
I spoke to said I was crazy for having an idea that was basically Youtube
and Blogs combined. It'll never work, they said. Cest la vie. Iran
has signed an agreement to send uranium abroad for enrichment after mediation
talks in Tehran with Turkish and Brazilian leaders. Correspondents say
the plan could revive a UN-backed proposal and may ward off another round
of sanctions. But the BBC's Tehran correspondent says the deal will be
viewed with scepticism in Western capitals, as Iran says it will continue
enriching uranium. So what does that mean? One step
forward, one step back?
A Red Bubble photographer took a shot of a Baroque
column in a 13th century Italian church - a fascinating perspective.
I asked him about an odd looking gadget that seemed somewhat out of place.
Yes, it's a security camera. He said, "It's Big Brother, not Our Father".
Where the hell do I find these things? Here's a couple of crazy
teens doing a mime. Very funny. I give it a 9. Oh, and do you understand
German? Dozen madder. Check
out this vid anyway... it's from a show called Who is the Sexiest German?
And that's all I'm saying... mainly cos I just stuck a sock in my mouth.
Yes, folks, when things get a little dull, just check out Youchewb and
you're sure to find an interesting diversion.
And now it's time to throw some vittles together... chicken schnitzels
and corn fritters, with a squeeze of lemon, of which I have about 3 million.
Why can't lemon trees ripen their fruit in stages? Why does it have to
be all at once? Actually, the damn tree has a heap of babies already. It
makes the human baby boomer period look like nothing happened. Gary
May 17, 2010. Half way through May already. Good thing the old
steam loco will be rattling into Taree this week or I'd have no photo album
for May. I am getting a bit slack in that department but that will change
when I'm OUT THERE on the Odyssey. Matter of fact, I'm charging up the
Fuji and the Sony at the mo. You never had to worry about that with the
old mechanical cameras but everything is electronic these days. Batteries
are big biz.
Cameras are getting more sophisticated, I notice, as well as cheaper.
A pretty good DSLR with fixed zoom costs less than $500. Not quite up there
with professional cameras but certainly good enough for most shots, and
the quality is excellent. I've been surprised, for example, by having some
shots taken with my el cheapo Fuji compact favorited and/or featured by
groups on Red Bubble. And that's a $92 camera! (Actually, it's a $130 camera
but it was on special). I know a pro photographer on Red Bubble who always
takes his Canon compact where ever he goes and he says some of his best
shots were taken using that little thing. His proper camera is an expensive
Nikon DSLR worth several thousand dollars. So there ya go.
The thing is tho, you have to look the part. If you're shooting a wedding
or a surf comp you're not credible if you're using a little compact. You've
gotta have a lens as long as your arm to impress the audience. It's a case
of perception. And I guess that's what sells things like penis enlargment
pills and Harley Davidsons.
Old Ken, a neighbor, bought a used Canon 35mm film camera the other
day from the Salvation Army store for $4. Hehe. Imagine that.
Beeb time: Britain's two busiest airports are closed as a volcanic ash
cloud drifts further south, threatening disruption to thousands. Lindsay
and Sue will be thrilled to hear about that... they plan to fly to Heathrow
in August. The US has said the success of a move by oil giant BP
to curb a leak in the Gulf of Mexico is "not clear" and the technique provides
"no solution". It was responding to BP's move to siphon oil from the leaking
well head to a tanker on the surface. A government statement said it would
not rest until the leak was permanently sealed and the spill cleaned up.
BP executive Kent Wells earlier said the siphoning process was "working
extremely well". Settle down, guys. Some progress
is better than no progress. Thai officials reject an offer of UN-moderated
talks to resolve an increasingly violent dispute with protesters. A red-shirt
leader, Nattawut Saikua, said protesters were willing to hold UN-moderated
talks to end the stand-off, providing that the army withdrew from the area
around the red-shirt camp. But government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn
insisted that no outside help was needed. "We reject their demands for
UN mediation... No Thai government has ever let anyone intervene with our
internal affairs," he said. Sounds bull-headed and
stubborn to me. Turkish officials say they believe a deal on Iran's
nuclear programme is close, as PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to join talks
in Tehran. Mr Erdogan will try to persuade Iranian leaders to allow their
nuclear material to be sent abroad for processing. Brazil's President Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva is also at the talks. Sounds
encouraging. Japan has hosted the world's first wedding to be conducted
by a robot. The automated creature, known as the I-Fairy, oversaw the wedding
of Tomohiro Shibata and Satoko Inoue in the capital, Tokyo. The couple
decided to use the robot as they are both connected with Japan's thriving
robotics industry. Since robots had brought them together in the first
place, they said, having one officiate at their wedding was a natural choice.
During the ceremony, I-Fairy - which has flashing eyes and plastic pigtails
- instructed the groom to lift the bride's veil for the kiss. The wedding
took part in a rooftop restaurant in the Japanese capital. Welcome
to the 21st century, folks. England secured their first victory
at an ICC limited-overs (cricket) tournament with a crushing seven-wicket
win against Australia in the World Twenty20 final. Grrrrr.
Back from shopping. I took a quick detour to the river and spotted a
bunch of gulls just hanging around - pretty much typifying Taree today.
much going on. *Yawn* You have to be careful when you approach those
guys or they freak. Once one takes off, the rest follow. So I kinda pretended
I wasn't interested and got into position without disturbing them. Hehe.
But back to being bull-headed and stubborn. Thailand's insistence that
no outside help is needed to settle their internal affairs reminds me of
Lindsay's reaction when I ask him why he does certain things that don't
make a lotta sense. "Because I've always done it this way." Yeah... well
there ya go. But then you expect Lindsay to not make a lotta sense because
he's not the full quid. He could very well make a good politician.
Speaking of politicians and birds, namely parrots, Oregon Richie sent
this link to a vid of John
Cleese commenting on Sarah Palin.
I'm seriously considering doing a short vid of the 3237 steam loco's
arrival in Taree this Thursday. I can do stills as well but I just wanna
take the plunge into putting a vid together. A MOTION PICTURE! Woohoo!
Naturally, I'm terrified because I've always been a wuss with anything
new. I've also never used software to edit a vid. Eeeek! Sheesh... here
I am at 65 but I still feel like a kid starting out. You know that excitement
you feel when you try something new? Yeah... that's what I'm feeling.
Just phoned the local bloke who's involved with the arrival of the 3237
and he spoke for ages about the problems of parking the thing, turning
it around, and de-ashing (coal ash is apparently toxic and has to be disposed
of by burying - quite a change from the old days when people bought it
by the bucket and put it on their gardens). The loco was scheduled to stop
over for water and general maintenance at Taree without taking on passengers,
but the local bloke changed all that - he and his wife volunteered to man
the ticket desk. It will arrive at 2:30pm Thursday and stay overnight to
leave at 8am Friday. I'll be there on both occasions to get whatever pics
I can. The loco will return in early July for a local trip which I'll join.
And that's it! Dinner has been cooked, served and eaten already. Gary
May 16, 2010. Flying ain't my thing. And I'm not too crazy about
landing fighter jets on a pitching aircraft carrier deck in rough seas
at night. I can think of safer things to do. But FL Josh, an old air force
guy, sent two links to vids about the dangers of such things. They're 10
minutes each but well worth the time to view. Gripping stuff for sure.
is about landing aircraft on a aircraft carrier deck, at night, in rough
seas, when the deck is pitching 30 feet up and down and rocking from side
to side. Recovering aircraft in this scenario is more dangerous than
the missions they fly. They have to send added aircraft up to refuel the
fighters as they try and try again to land. Everyone in the carrier
holds his and her breath with each attempt. Incidentally there are
about 5,500 people on a carrier. These videos show how Naval Aviation is
different from any other type of aviation. The highest stress levels every
recorded in humans has been found in pilots landing on carriers.
Click here for
link 1, and here for
How do you figure this? Young Josh mentioned yesterday that he didn't
like the touch pad on laptops, and preferred the mouse. I've used a mouse
for donkey's years - left handed. But now that I use the laptop I use the
touch pad - right handed. There ya go.
The science program I watched on telly last night was about the erection
of the Taipei Tower, and the technology used in its construction. It's
built to withstand earthquakes and typhoons, both of which are prevalent
in the area. One of the construction techniques is based on bamboo - incredibly
strong but light and flexible. Another is based on a technology developed
thousands of years ago... the outrigger on small sailing boats. Yet
another is based on 300 year old stream technology to pump water from mines.
Yep, all pretty amazing. Skyscrapers are used in the same way we use shelves
in our homes... lots more space using a small footprint. Skycrapers have
been described as money-making machines. Taipei
Tower can accommodate 10,000 people - that's a small city with a footprint
the size of a city block.
Beeb time: Thailand's PM Abhisit Vejjajiva says troops will "push forward"
with an operation to end a huge protest in the heart of Bangkok. Many of
the protesters support former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was
ousted in a 2006 coup. They want Mr Abhisit to dissolve parliament and
call fresh elections. Well, if Abhisit says he represents
the majority and has nothing to lose, then why not? Brazil's president
is in Iran to hold talks with its leaders in what is seen as a last ditch
attempt to find a compromise over the nuclear issue. President Lula's visit
to Tehran has been described by both senior American and Russian officials
as the last chance for a compromise before new sanctions are imposed on
Iran. Teach them the Tango while you're at it, Lula.
The US Episcopal Church has ordained an openly lesbian bishop in a move
likely to increase the turmoil in the Anglican Communion. Saturday's ordination
came despite warnings from the Archbishop of Canterbury that it would deepen
an already bitter dispute on sexuality. If Christians
can't agree on one God and one church, how could they possibly agree on
anything else? The doctor accused of giving a fatal dose of anaesthetic
to Michael Jackson has come to the rescue of a woman who fell unconscious
on a plane. Dr Conrad Murray responded when cabin crew asked if a doctor
was on board a US Airways flight, US media said. That'll
change a few minds about the doc. Australians have gathered around
Sydney harbour to welcome back teenager Jessica Watson from her record
round-the-world sailing adventure. The 16-year-old is said to be the youngest
person to sail non-stop, solo and unassisted around the world. Yep,
the young lady in her pink boat got the royal pink carpet treatment in
Sydney yesterday with the prime minister in attendance and a foreshore
packed with thousands of well-wishers, and a harbor packed with boats.
But there are claims that Jessica didn't sail far enough, and her feat
won't be recognized by the World Speed Sailing Record Council because they
abandoned their under 18 category. She spent 7 months at sea sailing solo
despite the critics who said the voyage was too dangerous for someone so
young. Oh well, no matter what you do in life you get the knockers and
the party poopers, most of whom I imagine have never done anything worthwhile.
I also thought she was crazy to attempt such a dangerous mission but she
did it, and she returned triumphant. Ya gotta admire anyone who can beat
the odds no matter how crazy they are.
Just spotted a new 4WD covered in dirt. Bloody amazing. You see TV ads
for those things climbing over rocks, negotiating the roughest of roads,
and wading through mud and slush but you never see them like that in real
life hehe. They're always clean and polished, with spotless wheels and
tires... mostly used for taking the kids to school and shopping. Yeah,
I mean who's gonna spend $100,000 on a vehicle and then trash it? You're
better off buying an old Jeep or whatever to do the dirty work.
Once upon a time a Landcruiser or Land Rover or Jeep was a basic no-frills
machine designed to do the hard yakka. Now they're all carpeted, with polished
timber inserts, leather upholstery, air-conditioning, and fitted with all
the posh gizmos including expensive mag wheels. Not the sort of thing you
take off the highway and into the bush to get scratched to buggery and
filthy. Funny innit?
'Innit?' is apparently a new internet word. Albert uses it, and he's
a chat addict. 'Innit' has been British Cockney slang forever - short for
'isn't it?' Actually, 'isn't it?' is kinda weird as well. Remove the apostrophe
and you have 'is not it?' Hehe. I gather that is short for 'is it not?'.
So I guess 'innit?' is not so weird after all.
My older bro once said "I hope you're not using internet language in
your books... English is such a beautiful language". Oh? What English?
The English Shakespeare used? English changes with usage. Whether you like
it or not, whether you approve of it or not, that is the case and is something
up with which you must put. Language does not belong to the professors.
It belongs to the people. And the people shall determine its evolution.
In fact, all change is inevitable. AND... if all change is inevitable,
and therefore desirable, imagine a place like Heaven, dear Breth, where
there's no such thing as change; where a billion years is simply a clone
of the previous billion as well as the next. Scary innit? :o)
And here we are again; the sun is beginning to set and it's time to
think about feeding the troops. I've got some chicken sausages with fresh
lime and spices. The troops have requested I serve them with chips. Sounds
okay, I guess. Gary
May 15, 2010. Before I fergit, I've added a few more favs to
my Red Bubble list. Check
it out. Some really cool stuff there. When I look at that page of thumbnails
I'm amazed by the diversity of subject material on RB... almost everything
you can think of.
Oregon Richie wrote: I'm personally surprised that the young lad
of current YouTube fame (Greyson Chance) is getting as much attention as
he is. He's good, he's talented, but... don't quite see it to that
extent. Of course, even the internet has its own version of herd
mentality, too. People also LOVE to "discover" a new young talent.
Yes, it's true that teen heart-throbs are soon overshadowed by the next
rising star. Sadly disposable. There's an element of hysteria at the initial
discovery that can fade pretty quickly, which is a shame. The problem with
kids and teens is that they don't stay that way for very long, and the
transition from kid star to adult star may not translate very well. Michael
Jackson was a rare exception but I think it's probably wiser and safer
to be "discovered" as an adult. It's a bit like people who buy a pet puppy
and then become disappointed when it grows up.
2-minute noodles for lunch. Mmmm. Add an extra pinch of chilli powder,
a sprinkle of dried parsley, a little ground pepper and Bob's yer uncle.
I get the home brand which are as cheap as chips... probably less than
50 cents a bowl. And if you wanna make a proper meal out of it, you can
throw in a bit of bacon or leftover chicken or whatever. Noodles will certainly
be part of my Odyssey pantry. Actually, you can buy dried bacon chips that
require no refrigeration. Stick around, ladies and genitals... I'll be
a wealth of knowledge within a year or two of being on the road.
Actually, there was a very popular show on telly a while back called
Bush Tucker Man (photo) - with Les Hiddens. Each week, Les showed us
how to survive out in the bush and how/where to find edible fruits and
other foods. Most viewers lived in cities and had no intention of eating
bush tucker but they watched the show anyway purely out of curiosity. Besides,
Les was a pretty entertaining character. Many early European explorers
perished in the Oz bush or outback not because of a lack of food and water
but because they didn't know where or how to look for it. The Aborigines
had survived out there for 40,000 years! Mind you, I intend to have a full
larder on the Odyssey... NO witchety grubs. Click here for Les
Hiddens Wiki bio. Oregon Richie will be impressed that Hiddens drove
a Land Rover - two in fact.
Beeb time: UN chief Ban Ki-moon urges protesters and troops in Thailand
to avoid more violence as a tense Bangkok stand-off continues. Yes,
the old predictable "break it up you two!" from a bystander. Barack
Obama vows to end the "cosy relationship" between oil companies and US
regulators after the Gulf of Mexico disaster. Obama
the feather ruffler. Hehe. Well, cosy relationships between business and
bureaucrats can be a worry. Google admits its Street View cars have
been wrongly gathering information from people's wi-fi activity for three
years. Oops! Now you tell us! Indonesian security
forces say they have uncovered a militant plot to assassinate the president
and kill foreigners in a Mumbai-style attack. They say the plan was to
strike during an Independence Day ceremony on 17 August, and declare an
Islamic state. The militants also planned to take over hotels and kill
foreigners, they said. Allah told us to do it.
Some 20,000 pieces of mail - many more than a decade old - have been recovered
from a postman's garage in the US city of Philadelphia. The missing mail
is said to have included large numbers of cheques, bills and official letters.
Many have since been delivered to bewildered residents of Bustleton, a
north-eastern suburb of Philadelphia. "I got mail today from 2007," Kevin
Carpenter told ABC News. "Pay-cheques, things like that that I needed -
stuff from the social security administration and the IRS. I asked Dave
[the postman] and Dave said he hadn't seen it but as soon as he got it
he'd call me," Mr Carpenter added. Now that they've
found the mail all they gotta do is find the missing postman. Mike
Hussey hit an exceptional unbeaten 60 from 24 balls as Australia beat Pakistan
by three wickets to set up an ICC World Twenty20 (cricket) final with England.
It was the third highest winning run chase in Twenty20 internationals and
arguably one of the greatest finishes to any match. The 34-year-old Hussey,
known as Mr Cricket to his team-mates, hit six sixes in all to steer his
side to an amazing victory and set up a mouthwatering final against their
Ashes rivals on Sunday. Warms the cockles, that does.
I'm by no means a cricket fan/follower or a fan of any other sport,
really, but I must admit I do get a bit of a thrill when the Aussies win.
At one stage it looked like the Aussies would lose that game but they rallied
with a vengeance. "Never underestimate the green and yellow," someone said.
Kids can be brats, right? Check
out this little darling. And here's GWB
using his remote to open his garage door. And now for something completely
I've been thinking about shooting a short movie with one of my digital
cameras. I've had professional experience at putting wild footage together
but only as a writer - a paper editor - not an actual editor. Maybe it's
time to learn to push a few buttons. I saw a vid on Youchewb the other
day shot on board the 3237 as it traveled through Sydney or somewhere but
it was pretty wobbly as well as unedited. Just the wild footage as it was
shot. I reckon I could do a better job, and I'd like to get some practice
before I head off on the Odyssey. Stills in album form will be the main
visual content, with a written journal, but a short vid now and then would
be cool. I could add a voice over track in post production. It's just a
matter of DOING it, and I've always been terrified of doing anything new.
Hehe. What does the Nike slogan say?
I'm a notorious procrastinator as well. I just put a new battery in
a quartz clock that's been idle for days.
Knock at the door. Young Josh! I've seen him around town a few times
but haven't spoken to him for ages. He looks good and hasn't changed much.
Still doing the whiskers thing with a little goatee. Anyway, he wanted
to borrow the book I wrote about him... the story about the alien Joshua.
Josh is named Jesse in the story. His NEW blonde girlfriend wants to read
it hehe. He's got two part time jobs, one tutoring Aboriginal kids in grade
6 and another somewhere... I forget. But he's making $450 a week which
is pretty damn good. More than me, the bugger. Next month, he's off to
Coffs Harbor university to become a certified primary school teacher.
He won a scholarship. His girlfriend is going with him so they'll be like
Mr and Mrs without the kids sharing a flat. She wants to study to become
a pre-school carer/teacher. Sounds like a good match...a skinny kid with
black hair and a blonde with big boobs. Anyway, it was good to see him
again and great to hear that his plans are coming together.
Little Keiran has been a naughty boy. He's been chucked out of school
a couple of times and is now living with his father in Newcastle for a
"while". Newcastle is Australia's 5th largest city so high school there
will be much different to high school in a country town like Taree. Hopefully,
he'll settle down and learn a few lessons about how to behave. He's a good
little bloke... just a bit highly spirited. I've seen him spit the dummy
before, and if he were 6 foot something instead of 4 foot something, you'd
be wise to duck. Hehe.
Josh wanted to know when I'm leaving on the Odyssey. Yeah. Me and my
BIG mouth. But I'll get there.
And that's it... almost. T-bones for THEM and Asian thingies for me.
They don't like Asian thingies so it's my opportunity to pig out on junk.
BTW, those lean beef sausages last night were very nice - pan fried and
no fat. Gary
May 14, 2010. Guess who's coming to Taree? 3237. Huh? It's
a steam loco, a 32 class introduced to NSW railways in 1892. It arrives
next Thursday and departs again Friday morning at 8am for Grafton. I won't
be going on the trip because it's one way, and passengers have to make
their own way back to Taree. But I'll be there at the railway station to
take lotsa pics. It'll be back again in early July for a Taree shuttle
(whatever that means - if it means a local trip that returns to Taree,
I'll be on it).
The last time a steam loco visited Taree was back in 2003 and I was
there, but the camera was a 2mp Kodak... not the best for high res prints.
loco was the 3801.
FL Josh wrote: Geez, Louise, that kid is incredible. I Googled
him and found his name is Greyson Michael Chance and he
will be on Ellen today (the 13th I think and if not, then the 14th.)
In visiting his site, I found it was interesting he is here in the states,
in Oklahoma, and his last log onto youtube was two hours earlier.
It was 5:15am my time so I think it would have been 4:15 Oklahoma time,
which means he was last on at 2;15am. Kind of late for a 6th grader.
The article dated today, the 13th said he had gotten 3.7 million hits in
the last 24 hours. I noticed he had 5,469,541 when I checked and
the video was posted on April 28th, so that was 6 and a half million in
15 days. At that rate, all 6+ billion people in the world will have
seen it by mid July, and youtube will be out of pixels!!!! [Note - in the
hour and a half I was checking videos, Greyson picked up another 1,100,000
Yep, Greyson is quite a kid... and scrubs up pretty well on telly too,
being interviewed on a top-rating chat show.
FL Josh goes on to talk about Justin Bieber... from Ontario, that
I saw on Oprah yesterday afternoon and he started posting videos on youtube
and got discovered when he was 13. I saw just now that one of his
youtube videos has gotten 133,000,000 hits in 2 months.
Youtube, as well as the internet itself, has changed the world. Bloody
amazing. This morning I was reformatting a couple of Codeman chapters and
Cody was talking about Y2K. Remember that? Seems like ages ago. That was
when the chicken littles were telling us that the whole computer/internet
thing was gonna crash. I dunno if Cody got teary when he wrote those emails
but I certainly do. Costs me a small fortune in tissues. And ya know something?
If it hadn't been for the transfer of some MrB stories to Codysworld and
the reformatting of the Codeman I don't think I would have re-read those
emails. I was prepared to let sleeping dogs lie but that wasn't to be.
Beeb time: Thai security forces and anti-government protesters remain
in a tense stand-off in Bangkok after clashes which killed one. I
get the feeling sometimes that people actually enjoy confrontation. Maybe
it relieves the boredom or something. US authorities arrest three
men said to be linked to a suspect charged with the New York Times Square
bomb attempt. Crooks have a habit of underestimating
the cops ya know... hehe. The ability of Tibetans to live on the
"roof of the world" may be down to their DNA, US researchers say. Two of
the genes are linked to haemoglobin - the substance in blood that transports
oxygen round the body. Doctors say the research, published in Science,
could lead to treatments for severe forms of altitude sickness and other
illnesses. One reason I never wear stilettos.
A Taiwanese businessman has pleaded guilty in a US court to attempting
to ship banned missile parts to Iran. Yi-Lan Chen was arrested in the US
Pacific territory of Guam trying to ship thousands of components with dual
military and civilian use. Such exports to Iran are banned under a US embargo.
what happens when you get greedy? A married teacher is poised to
become Italy's first woman priest when she is ordained later this month
in an Anglican church close to the Vatican. Maria Longhitano, a member
of the breakaway Old Catholic Church, says she hopes her ordination will
break down "prejudice" in the Roman Church. I think
they mean a real one... not one that just walks funny and says 'hello sailor'.
Hawaii has enacted a law allowing officials to ignore repetitive requests
for US President Barack Obama's birth certificate. The measure is aimed
at "birthers", who claim Mr Obama was not born in the US and is thus ineligible
to be president. Mr Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1961. Since the
start of his run for the White House, Mr Obama has been hounded by rumours
he was born not in Hawaii but in Kenya, his father's homeland; Indonesia,
where he lived as a child; or elsewhere. I wonder
if those same people have a problem with Jesus being a Jew. The
number of US homes being repossessed hit an all-time high last month, but
is set to start falling, says the body that tracks the figures. Banks took
control of 92,432 properties in April, up 1% from March, and a 45% rise
from a year earlier, said RealtyTrac. So what happens
to the dispossessed? Cate Blanchett and Russell Crowe brought some
red carpet glamour to the south of France as Robin Hood opened the 63rd
Cannes Film Festival. The latest retelling of the legendary outlaw, from
director Sir Ridley Scott, is not competing for an award. New Zealand-born
Crowe, who plays the title role in Robin Hood, said: "There isn't a Robin
Hood that's been done that gives me a satisfying feeling that I know the
motivations of the individual, so that's what we attempted to do. There
were many, many hours of discussion before we came to the fact that we'd
better start at the beginning of the story and see how we do." Trust
the Poms to remind us that Crowe is NZ born. They're jealous. He's as Aussie
as they come. Bewdy-noworriesmate. A Moscow court has sentenced
a Russian national to four years in prison for handing over state secrets
to the US. Gennady Sipachev was found guilty of sending classified Russian
military maps to the Pentagon via the internet. The maps can be used to
make the targeting of US cruise missiles against Russian targets more accurate,
Russia's security service officials said. 007 is
alive and well, I see.
Apart from the steam train next week, there's a lifestyle expo on this
weekend in Taree. I went to the last one and .... well, it wasn't too impressive
so I'll give this one a miss even though it might present a few photographic
opportunities. I'm getting picky. I love steam trains though, and this
time I'll do high res pics.
And the British elections? Well, if you want the whole mess put into
humorous and insightful perspective, then you must
read Stephen Fry's comments. Proportional representation, by the way,
is the electoral system we have in Oz, and have for almost a century. I
could never write like Fry, and would never even try, but I do enjoy his
literary wizardry and wit.
AND it's that time again... bellies need to be filled. Lindsay suggested
sausages the other day but I'm not too fond of the regular snags... too
many chewy bits and crap. So I bought some "lean beef" sausages - a bit
expensive but not overly - a little less than a dollar a snag. I'll pan
fry them and serve them with fried onions, mashed potato and gravy. That
should do the trick. Gary
May 13, 2010. I bought my first pouch of tobacco today at PM
Rudd's new tax-increased price. Almost $30 for 2 ounces (I smoke an ounce
a week). Bloody outrageous. Problem is, when a dickhead like Rudd introduces
a new tax, and is accordingly voted out of office at the next election,
the incoming twit doesn't abolish the existing tax. No, no, no. Politicians
are pretty much tarred with the same brush. Yummy, yummy, yummy, money,
What I'd like to know is what it costs to manufacture and distribute
a 2 oz (50g) pouch of tobacco. I'm guessing but I suspect a pouch could
retail for between $2 and $3. I remember when a pack of tailor mades cost
40 cents. Tobacco companies can't advertise any more, or sponsor sport,
etc, so where does the rest of the money go? No prizes for guessing. It
sucks. Tax the bad guys.
Here's the bottom line: people addicted to nicotine have never broken
the law. And are still not breaking the law. And yet Rudd the Dud sees
fit to treat smokers like criminals. It's a fucking disgrace.
BUT... there are more pleasant subjects to discuss, like teens who can
play the piano and sing like an angel. Justin posted this link on his blog.
it out. I believe this little dude has a guest spot on the Ellen
D show coming up.
AND... here's a most amazing image captured by a Red Bubbler called
It's been a busy day with bills and shopping and this and that, so let's
do a quick Beeb: David Cameron prepares for his first cabinet meeting as
UK prime minister, with the economy set to be be top of its agenda. It's
wait and see time. The Thai army says it will surround a protest
camp in Bangkok within hours, increasing pressure on opposition demonstrators.
Gordon Brown is wishing he'd taken a leaf out of the Thai book hehe. I
like Thai food tho. A serious disease has hit poppies in Afghanistan,
driving up opium prices in the region, UN officials tell the BBC. Did
somebody wake Allah? The device meant to stop oil leaking from a
Gulf of Mexico well after last month's rig explosion was faulty, US Congressional
investigators have said. The blowout preventer (BOP), a set of huge valves,
had a hydraulic leak and a failed battery, they said after studying documents
from BP and others.
Oh dear, we don't need another
disaster. Get it right, chaps! Aviation officials in Libya are investigating
the plane crash that killed 103 people at Tripoli airport. The flight recorders
have been recovered and handed over to analysts for clues on what brought
down the Afriqiyah Airways flight on Wednesday. Police and rescue workers
wearing surgical masks and gloves have been combing the wreckage of the
Airbus A330 near the runway. Oregon Richie reckons
those A330s can practically land themselves... this one.. and those
flying it, sure megascrewed THAT pooch. I think he means pilot error.
A former Serbian paramilitary leader suspected of war crimes has been arrested
in Australia. Dragan Vasiljkovic was detained on the basis of information
provided by the Netherlands, Australian officials said. He is wanted in
Croatia for allegedly committing atrocities during its 1991-1995 war of
independence. Mr Vasiljkovic, who is also an Australian citizen, denies
committing war crimes but has admitted to killing people in combat. Australian
Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said he would make a decision about
Mr Vasiljkovic's extradition as soon as possible. In the meantime, he will
be held in prison. If the accusations are true, we
don't want the dude here. The Los Angeles city council has voted
to boycott Arizona businesses in one of the strongest moves yet against
the state's new immigration law. Council members agreed to bar official
travel to Arizona and avoid new city contracts with state firms. Last month,
Arizona passed a law requiring police to check the immigration status of
people suspected of being in the US illegally. Opponents have rallied against
the law, saying it encourages racial profiling. Integration
is a bit like slow cooking, really. Takes a bloody long time for all the
flavors to meld but the resulting dish is delicious. There are around
450 criminal gangs around the world making money from images of child sex
abuse, the UK's Internet Watch Foundation has said. 450
criminal gangs and how many customers? It's a major worry. Then again,
so is humanity.
Well, that's it. I'm cooking din dins at the mo. I bought a whole bunch
of stuff today but Lindsay wanted scrambled eggs and chips. Okay, no worries.
Hehe. Too easy. Gary
May 12, 2010. Bit of drama overnight. My ISP went down, and both
my websites were off line. I woke to a bunch of "Hey! What happened?" emails
this morning hehe. How the hell would I know? I was asleep. TX Greg said
the sites were down for 8 hours and I slept through the whole thing. Yeah,
well, at my age whaddaya expect? My ISP suspects it was attacked by some
hacker lunatic, but all is back to normal now.
Yesterday's summery conditions have gone AWOL... we've gone from 27C
to 19C, which ain't too bad but there's a cold wind blowing. :(
The local crows have been trying to take over the hood lately but I
noticed this morning that they're getting a bit of curry from the local
magpies and some smaller birds who don't like the idea of being pushed
around. Well, that's a positive sign. I don't like crows, and I like their
calls even less. They're noisy bullies.
Beeb time: David Cameron is the UK's new prime minister, bringing the
Conservatives back into power after 13 years, as the Liberal Democrats
agree to a coalition. Mr Cameron, who is six months younger than Tony Blair
was when he entered Downing Street in 1997, is the youngest prime minister
since 1812 and the first Old Etonian to hold the office since the early
1960s. Stand by for Gordon Brown's memoirs.
Seven children have been hacked to death in north-western China in the
latest in a series of violent attacks on schools, state media report. At
least 20 others were injured after the attack in Hanzhong city in Shaanxi
province, Xinhua news agency reported, citing local authorities. China
has been shaken by a spate of attacks on schools in recent weeks. Why?
You tell me. Oil executives have traded blame in Congress over the
Gulf Coast oil spill, as the battle to contain it continues. British oil
giant BP told a Senate hearing a crucial safety device made by drilling
contractor Transocean failed. Senators heard Transocean argue in turn that
BP had been in charge and that a third firm, a BP contractor, did not plug
the exploratory well properly. Yes, the blame game.
I mentioned that a week ago. Blame solves nothing but people engage in
it anyway. A Swedish artist who created an international furore
by depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog was assaulted as he delivered
a university lecture. Lars Vilks says he was head-butted by an audience
member as he spoke about the limits of artistic freedom. The cartoonist's
glasses were broken, but he was not injured. When
you offend a person's deeply-held personal beliefs, you might as well be
calling their mother a slut. It's just the way it is. It is meant
to be a beautiful, melodic and spiritual start to the day. But the morning
calls to prayer by some of Istanbul's muezzins and imams have had locals
plugging their ears rather than reaching for their prayer books. Nothing
worse than singing off key. Mind you, all that Middle Eastern and Far Eastern
stuff stuff is anything but music to my ears anyway. Ten suspected
Somali pirates captured by the Russian navy last week may have perished
after their release, a defence source in Moscow has told reporters. Marines
seized them during a dramatic operation to free a hijacked Russian oil
tanker far from shore, killing an 11th suspect in the gun battle. They
were released in an inflatable boat without navigational equipment. Within
an hour, contact was lost with the boat's radio beacon, the defence source
said. "It seems that they all died," the unnamed source was quoted as saying
by Russia's Interfax news agency. I see. Well that
explains the Russian's "generosity" at freeing the pirates Bye, bye, guys,
bon voyage! Pope Benedict XVI says the clerical child abuse scandal
shows that the greatest threat to Catholicism comes from "sin within" the
Church. Sin within? Well, well, well, how about that.
Yep, offend a person's taste in humor, music, art, religion or whatever
else and you've got yourself an enemy. I don't get it. If I don't like
something you like, or even worship, what difference does that make? It's
not an insult. It's just a difference of opinion. And as I keep saying,
opinion never made the world flat. Whether or not I believe in the existence
of God or Allah makes no difference at all to whatever the reality is.
So what's the problem? I know what the problem is - PEOPLE.
Hmmm. People. Ya can't live with 'em and ya can't live without 'em.
As I've said before, I don't get a lotta elephants reading this page.
Sooooooooooooo, I've thrown a bunch of stuff in the pot... potato soup
with bacon, extra chopped bacon, extra cubed potato, chopped leftover chicken,
chopped onion, a handful of peas, a little milk, 2 tspns chicken stock
powder, a sprinkle of Tabasco... and now it's simmering. Thick and chunky..
way to go.
I had a woman phone me today... a telemarketer from the RSPCA. I told
her I was retired and on a pension and she said "you don't sound that old...
maybe 50". So what I wanna know is what does "old" sound like? I think
I know. It sounds like you've given up; like you've accepted defeat. It's
in your voice. Mind you, I don't approve of people who "act" young. No,
no, no. That's false. Embarrassing even. BUT, I think there's something
to be said for the old adage, you're as young as you feel. And I don't
feel old. Actually, I think more to the point is this: I don't think
old. Okay, so I do the grumpy routine and carry on like I'm pissed off
with the world but that's just an act for a bit of fun. I don't consciously
feel that I'm 65 going on 30 but that's pretty much how it is. Hehe. Wrinkles
on the outside, brand new on the inside. Yeah. Put it this way: if you're
fair dinkum, you don't need to act.
Is there a secret to thinking young? I dunno. I reckon in my case it
might have something to do with having met Cody. Then again, Cody never
saw me as a peer, but rather as a fossil with empathy. He was happy to
tell me all about his life despite the generation gap, which was considerable.
So I'm not quite sure what the secret - if any - is. Steve confided in
me as well... stuff that would not go down too well with adults like his
parents. So why me? Hehe. I'm not sure. Trust? Maybe. Yeah... maybe that's
it. If you believe that the person in whom you're placing your trust is
honest and sincere, then that's the secret - if there is one. Gary
May 11, 2010. It appears that my ISP is down at the mo, which
is a pain. Fortunately, it's a weekday so they'll be aware of it. Actually,
it's the phone company. There's an outage in Sydney that's affecting NSW.
Consistency is very important in life ya know. I just downloaded 2 emails
from the Lottery office to say that none of my games had winning combinations.
I'm very consistent in that regard. A bit too consistent, actually.
Oh yes... seems like the phone company outage in Sydney is fixed. The
internet is my umbilical chord, and has been ever since I became addicted
almost 20 years ago. Before the advent of the internet, I used to do boring
things like the laundry and ironing and vacuuming. I'm being serious here.
Check all the headstone inscriptions in a graveyard and you'll see nothing
about laundry, ironing and vacuuming.
Got another little idea for a written
piece on Red Bubble.
The interesting thing about writing those little 1+2 ditties is that
I can express two points of view... and even a third if there's a 3 in
there. I see them as little slices of life, something like a photograph.
Capture it while you can. I came up with that idea almost 30 years ago.
I'd bash something out on the old manual Olivetti and show it to my boss.
He was a pretty good audience.
Another stunning day weatherwise and here I am sitting in my office.
I should be shot (with blanks, of course).
Beeb time: Gordon Brown says he is to step down as leader of the Labour
Party as the battle mounts to form the next UK government. I
don't know a helluva lot about the bloke but I'll be sad to see him go.
Global stock markets jump after Europe agrees measures to try to stop the
Greek debt crisis affecting other countries. Gambling.
That's what life is all about. Hehe. US President Barack Obama has
revived a civilian nuclear energy pact with Moscow, which was shelved in
the wake of Russia's 2008 conflict with Georgia. Mr Obama resubmitted the
pact to Congress, saying US-Russian co-operation over Iran justified the
move. The agreement would allow the transfer of technology and equipment,
including reactors. Mr Obama has vowed to "reset" relations with Moscow,
which became strained under his predecessor George W Bush. Cooperation
is cool especially when your stick is bigger than the other guy's.
BP officials desperate to stem a huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will
try to place a smaller dome over the blown-out well, it is reported. The
so-called top hat dome could be in place within 72 hours, chief executive
Tony Hayward said. The latest bid to plug the gushing well comes after
previous attempts to stem the flow failed. I'm confident
they'll succeed. They have no option. Eating nuts may help lower
cholesterol levels, US research suggests. The review of 25 studies, involving
nearly 600 people, showed eating on average 67g of nuts - a small bag -
a day reduced cholesterol levels by 7.4%. Show me
a squirrel with a cholesterol problem. Hairdressers, pet groomers
and farmers worldwide are collecting hair and fur to help mop up the devastating
oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The hair, stuffed into nylon tights, helps
booms soak up thick oil spewing from the blown-out well off Louisiana.
About 370,000 salons are taking part, said the charity organising the massive
"hair lift". Matter of Trust is largely co-ordinating its efforts via Facebook.
amazing. US singer and actress Lena Horne has died in New York at
the age of 92. Renowned for her beauty and sultry voice, Horne battled
against racial segregation to become Hollywood's first black sex symbol.
times have changed - for the better. Brain scans could be useful
as lie detectors to show if a witness lies when identifying a suspect in
a crime investigation, US researchers believe. Scientists at Stanford University
were able to tell when a person recognised a mug shot by reading their
I could have used one of those gadgets
during my dealings with certain people in the past. At least five
people have been killed in tornadoes that have battered parts of the US
state of Oklahoma, disaster officials say. The storms forced road closures,
ripped up trees and flattened homes. No doubt about
it... I'd freak if I saw one of those things approaching.
I remarked in an email to Oregon Richie this morning that it seems so
odd to have a jar of ashes still talking to me... as in the Codeman. Sad
as it may be, amongst the tears (and there's no shortage of those) I still
belly-laugh at how impossible that scallywag was - he had a terminal boner.
His whole life revolved around hormones hehe. Ya know, if it hadn't actually
happened I would never have believed it. But it also makes you think about
life and how transient it is. How many billions of souls have passed this
way and virtually gone unnoticed? I feel very fortunate indeed to have
been the recipient of fragments of Cody's life and the opportunity to preserve
As to my own life, well... hopefully there are bits and pieces worth
preserving. I'm just one of 6.5 billion people but... somebody's gotta
stand up and wave his arms around. Actually, one Red Bubbler commented
on the piece I wrote yesterday about Longevity. He says I really know how
to make a story out of life's journey. So I wrote back and said, no no
no, life tells the story... I just take notes.
Yes, notes. Most people don't take notes. Well, maybe they do but they
don't write them down.
And that roast chicken and spuds last night? Maaaaaaaaate! Awesome.
Two hours in a slow oven does wonders ya know. And because the chicken
is cooked in an oven bag, it stays moist. The flesh is so tender and tasty
(thanks to the marinade) I can't begin to tell you. I've got some left
over which I'll throw into a pot with chopped bacon, diced potato, chopped
onion, a handful of peas, a can of condensed potato soup, a little milk,
a few drops of Tabasco, and simmer it until the potato is tender (but not
mushy). Mmmmm! Do you use Tabasco? It's wicked. A little bottle lasts for
ages cos I only use a few drops at a time. But it makes a huge diff. Piquancy
is the word, I think.
Terry Everson just posted a pic of a country homestead in Oz, western
NSW. It's so typical of that part of the country, and the colors are magic.
it out. Yes, I can imagine sitting on the front veranda being treated
to freshly baked scones with cream and jam, served with a nice cuppa.
Fish 'n' chips tonight. No... I'm outta spuds. So it'll be fish 'n'
hash browns. That's okay... and it's easier. Gary
May 10, 2010. That pie I had last night, the one with the Guinness
infused gravy, was the best pie I've ever tasted. Sensational. It was marked
down to $3 so the regular price would be $4+ - not cheap for one serving.
But definitely yummy. I added nothing except a bit of ground pepper.
One of my Red Bubble mates posted
a pic this morning - one that made me think of the Odyssey hehe. Yeah,
beer in one hand, smoke in the other, just relaxing in the bush. Terry
and his brother Ken traveled Oz quite extensively as young blokes in a
Hillman Imp. I'm amazed that the little Hillman managed the rough roads,
but it did... and Terry says it did 60,000 miles before he sold it. As
you can see, all these decades later they're still at it, albeit in a more
modern 4WD machine.
Meanwhile, I posted
a little ditty of my own.
And check this out for a novel
way to tour Oz.
Beeb time: Polls open in the Philippines for presidential and local
elections after three months of intense campaigning. When
you live in a country like Australia it's not easy to understand all the
political crap that other countries seem to endure. A Chinese man
who spent almost 10 years in prison for murder has been freed after his
supposed victim was found alive. And what's the bet
all the finger-pointers conveniently vanish from sight. The US has
evidence the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attempted car bombing in
New York's Times Square, Attorney General Eric Holder says. Mr Holder said
the militants helped to facilitate the plot, and "probably helped finance
it". Like all good gardeners, we need to be ever
vigilant about ridding our plots of weeds. It's on ongoing chore I'm afraid.
The Twitter account of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has become the
most popular in Venezuela, with more than a quarter of a million followers.
Mr Chavez says he has hired 200 people to read through the many messages
he receives on the social networking site. He says over 18% of the messages
he receives are hostile. He deals with the negative messages by laughing
them off or sending back jokes. "I don't care," he said, "it's a form of
contact with the world." It's a pity Twitter wasn't
around when Hitler was in power. How fascinating would that have been?
Mind you, I suspect Barack Obama gets his share of abuse as well. It's
the nature of the Human Twit. Australia continued their unbeaten
run in the ICC (cricket) World Twenty20 as they saw off Sri Lanka by 81
runs in Barbados. Though each team still have one game to play in the Super
Eights, only an odd set of circumstances will deprive Australia of a semi-final
berth. Bloody Aussie smartasses.
Yes, good ol' Oz. I always vote for the OYGNWM party here. Owyagoinnoworriesmate.
It's an ancient Aboriginal word meaning bugger it.
My lemon trees don't understand when enough is enough. I took a stack
over to a neighbor's house the other day and now the remaining lemons are
ripening. I just brought an armful into the kitchen, way too many for us
to use. It's ridiculous. And it won't be long before the lemons remaining
on the tree ripen as well.
Chris, the bloke who did the rust job on Bluey about a year ago phoned.
I left a message on his front door to contact me re a couple of rust spots.
I noticed one on the front passenger door pillar the other day. Nothing
serious but rust has a habit of spreading if you ignore it. There are a
few other spots as well I've noticed over the past 12 months, and the battery
tray doesn't look too good. Sooooo, I guess I should get it all fixed.
I'm not too thrilled about spending money on a car I intend to sell but...
what if I decide not to sell it? Anyway, he asked me to phone again in
a couple of weeks and book it in.
This is all pretty riveting stuff, yes? Hehe. I've got a chicken in
the oven... a marinated, bagged one. 2 hours on medium does the trick -
tender and fall-off-the-bone. About half way through, I throw in some quartered
spuds, sprayed with cooking oil and sprinkled with mixed herbs to roast
until golden brown. I make the gravy with powdered chicken stock and spoonfuls
of the juice from the roasting chicken.
And that's it for another day. Apologies for nothing terribly exciting.
But that's the way it is sometimes. Oh, almost forgot, TX Greg posted the
remaining Daniel's Diary stories on Codysworld, so that's worth mentioning...
and he's working on the Daniel short stories as well. Greg's the kinda
guy you can't buy, ya know. He's a gem. Gary
May 9, 2010. Stunning day weatherwise, and I see that the bird
of paradise has produced one flower so far, while the camelia is budding
like crazy. And where am I? Don't ask.
I was thinking this morning that this Toshiba laptop is a pretty nifty
machine. I bought it over 2 years ago on eBay, almost brand new. But during
those 2 years, it remained in its carry case for weeks, even months, at
a time before being used infrequently. I was determined to stick to the
old desktop despite its slowness and faults. Old habits die hard, yeah?
Now that I've gotten used to the laptop, I wouldn't go back to the old
desktop for quids. But it took the death of the desktop to force me to
use the laptop on a regular basis.
Soooooooooooo, I'm hoping that's the way it will be on the Odyssey.
I still suffer from grave doubts about living in a campervan, constantly
on the road - a vagabond of no fixed abode. Eeeek! But there's a chance
I might think "hey, this is pretty cool!" and I'm hoping that's what happens.
Hehe. As they say in the Northern Territory tourism ads, "You'll never
never know, if you never never go". The 'never never' is a colloquial term
for the Aussie outback.
FL Josh commented on my little song and dance about the tax increase
on tobacco: The tax increase is a LOT more than 3 times as much for
you than PM Rudd. ... Those near the bottom of the socioeconomic scale
have very little discretionary income while those higher up have increasingly
more. ... I remember some years ago Bill Gates getting a lot of attention
for giving something like a million dollars to some worthy cause, and the
media was just eating up how generous he was. At the time he was
making something like ten billion a year, so if we assume after taxes and
paying all his necessary expenses, he was left with five billion in discretionary,
that million dollars was one five thousandth of his discretionary income.
If someone who had $500 a month discretionary income, they could match
Gate's generosity by dropping a dime in a beggar 's cup, and if they outdo
Gates by tenfold, and put a dollar in that beggar's cup, they still won't
get any media attention.
Josh went on to talk about the cost of smokers to the health system.
Well, yes, that's true. But you can't go around refusing medical treatment
to motor accident victims who were at fault because they were speeding
or whatever. The health system is there for everyone, rich or poor, guilty
or innocent. I've cost the system by having a heart attack, but I've also
saved the system heaps of dough because I never married and never had kids.
Should I bitch about couples who breed like rabbits? Blaming smokers for
costing the health system is simplistic. There are smokers whose contribution
to society has been immense while there are non-smokers who have contributed
virtually nothing. The reverse is also true, but they are things you can't
really measure by generalizing. A health system has to take the good with
the bad, end of story. It's like insurance. If you insure your property
for 50 years and never make a claim, that's not the point.
Anyway, I dunno what I'd do without FL Josh hehe. He livens up my day.
Beeb time: EU finance ministers will discuss establishing a new "stabilisation
mechanism" to prevent the Greek debt crisis from spreading. Very
sensible. If you're all sleeping in the same bed, you need to make arrangements
about nobody farting. Senior Conservatives and Liberal Democrats
are to hold more talks in a bid to agree terms for a power-sharing UK government.
of bed fellows... and Oregon Richie wants to know why they're called fellows
in bed. Hehe. The oil company, BP, has encountered problems with
the containment device it is trying to put over a blown-out well on the
seabed of the Gulf of Mexico. Chief operating officer Doug Suttles said
the 98-tonne concrete-and-steel box had to be moved, after ice-like crystals
began accumulating inside it. He said BP's engineers hoped they could find
a solution to the problem. Well, problems create
solutions, so there would be no solutions if there were no problems. And
we can't all sit around all day with nothing to do. Yeah? There
has been an angry reaction in Australia after television producers cast
a Caucasian man in the role of a Chinese-Australian war hero. Billy Sing
was a hero of the Gallipoli campaign in World War I, but a TV drama has
him cast as a white man. The producers say they could not find a 60-year-old
Chinese actor to play Billy Sing's father, so both parts will be played
by white actors. They have been accused of re-writing Australian history.
from that, Sing died alone in a boarding house aged 57, worth the princely
sum of 20 pounds 5 shillings after having been awarded one of Australia's
most prestigious military medals. Read
the story here.
Yes, one of Billy Sing's mates at Gallipoli was Ion
Idriess, an Aussie larrikin and rousabout who later became a prolific
author. He wrote over 50 books in 43 years. I remember as a kid reading
one of his books (The Desert Column) about his time at Gallipoli and being
horrified by his descriptions of the utter chaos and degradation there,
which he saw with his own eyes. As to casting Caucasions to play the roles
of Billy and his father, I think that's a serious mistake. It's like the
old Hollywood days when they cast white guys to play Indian chiefs and
English Cocknies to play Australians.
Actually, I've just noted that Idriess wrote a book called Across the
Nullarbor (1951), an account of his drive from Sydney to Perth across the
Nullarbor and back in a Peugeot 203. That would be an interesting read
Coming up to 5pm now and you know what that means. THEY are having porterhouse
steaks and onions and I'm having a pie. I saw it yesterday at the bakery
section of the supermarket, marked down to $3. Beef and Guiness Pie...
a delicious homestyle classic, filled with tender, slowly braised chunks
of beef with potato, in a Guiness infused gravy. Hmmm. It was marked
down cos today is its use-by date.
By the way, I watched a science program last night about a giant million-ton
platform in the North Sea off Norway used for extracting gas from the below
the ocean floor. All very interesting, and the technology used to erect
and stabilize the platform was fascinating... a vacuum system to anchor
the platform to the seabed, seamless hollow concrete "legs" to withstand
tremendous pressures at great depths as well as the force of huge waves
at the surface, and a special suction system that extracts the gas after
the intial pressure dies down... all that kinda stuff which I find riveting.
I remember finding science a boring subject at school but I think the problem
was the way it was presented. Boring and unimaginative.
Anyway, time to split! Gary
May 8, 2010. I'm still posting two Codeman chapters a day, and
I'm here to tellya that "listening" to Cody talk to me after almost a decade
of being dead is quite amazing. I've lost my parents and a brother already,
but I have very little recollection of conversations with them. Ditto various
friends. But Cody was different because he wrote it all down. Even then
I didn't save all of it... but enough to put the big picture together.
How many times does something like that happen in a person's life?
After some weeks of deliberation, I finally wrote the About MrB page
for Codysworld. I'm not comfortable writing about myself but TX Greg suggested
it so.... there ya go. Greg also mentioned that Francois congratulated
him on his work with Codysworld, which was good of Francois. I think Greg
has done a fabulous job.
Speaking of fabulous, I watched a program last night about words and
their origins. It fascinates me that words can change their meanings over
time. Words like frightful, terrible, awful and awesome, for example, started
out to describe horrible situations. But now you get expressions like "frightfully
nice", or "terribly handsome", or "awfully generous" hehe. Such words are
called enhancers. Awesome, of course, is now used to describe anything
good, and is especially used by kids to describe something they admire.
Just spoke to Averil on the phone to see if she needs anything when
I go shopping later today, and I mentioned PM Rudd's 20% increase on tobacco.
My beef is that 20% to a person earning $1000 a week is a pittance compared
to what I make as a pensioner. It means the tax increase is 3 times as
much for me. Pensioners have few pleasures by comparison. We don't dine
in restaurants, we don't go to clubs, we stay home Saturday nights, we
don't splurge on luxuries. And yet when a tax is imposed on something like
tobacco WE pay the highest price. People like Rudd see themselves as having
a divine right to save us nobodies from ourselves. Bleh. Anyway, Averil
tells me that I'm not the only one pissed off, and that some letters to
the editors of various newspapers have already stated opinions similar
to my own. Good. It also occurred to me that we smokers are saving the
government billions of pension dollars by falling off the perch 10 years
earlier than we would if we didn't smoke. So what does he want? Does he
want us to live longer and cost the government a fortune by extending the
life span of each pensioner? Does he want us all to quit smoking and lose
billions in tobacco tax revenue? The bloke's a bloody drongo, and I sincerely
hope he doesn't get a second term.
Anyone who aspires to be a politician, a cop, a priest or a bureaucrat
is a person who sees himself as someone with a right to control others.
And I'm not too crazy about having a ring in my nose.
Running a bit late today so I'd better check the Beeb! Liberal Democrat
leader Nick Clegg is set to hold talks with his MPs as he weighs up the
offer of a power-sharing deal with the Conservatives. More than a day after
the polls closed, it remains unclear who will lead the country after the
general election delivered a hung Parliament. David Cameron approached
the Lib Dems after the Tories won the most seats but finished 20 short
of a majority. Labour leader Gordon Brown also said he was prepared to
talk to the Lib Dems. What a mess. Eurozone
leaders approve an 110bn euro ($145bn; £95bn) loan to Greece to prevent
its debt crisis from spreading. And it's not just
out of the goodness of their hearts. A giant concrete-and-steel
funnel has been placed over a blown-out oil well at the bottom of the Gulf
of Mexico in a bid to contain oil leaking from it. The oil firm, BP, said
it might take up to 12 hours for the containment device to settle in place,
but that everything appeared to be going as planned. It is hoped it will
be able to collect as much as 85% of the oil and begin funnelling it to
ships above by Monday. Fingers crossed. What
was billed as the Muslim world's first nudist hotel has been forced to
close, just six days after it opened. It was shut after a local authority
inspection which found that one of the balconies did not conform to the
architect's drawings. God/Allah created nudity ya
know. Man created clothes. I don't get it. Australia beat India
by 49 runs in their opening Super Eights clash at the ICC World Twenty20
after a supreme display with bat and ball in Barbados. 21m
Vs 1.2bn - not bad. :o) The chief of
the Chicago commuter rail system has killed himself by stepping in front
of a speeding train, officials have said. Philip Pagano was under investigation
over alleged financial irregularities and was on paid leave. How
ironic. Lithuania's first gay pride parade can go ahead as planned
on Saturday, an appeals court has ruled. Earlier this week, a lower court
outlawed the parade after the chief prosecutor argued that anti-gay groups
could cause violence. But the appeals court ruled that the state must ensure
the right to peaceful assembly. Correspondents say that homosexuality is
seen as taboo by many in Lithuania, a majority Roman Catholic country.
there were no straight bigots and religious nutters, there would be no
need for gays to demonstrate.
Is the world crazy or is it just me? I sometimes wonder.
A Red Bubbler posted a portrait
today of an Aboriginal man looking a bit worse for wear, and said it's
a terrible thing in this day and age in Australia to see the desperation
of an Aboriginal man. Well, yes. But I've fallen for that trick many times
in my life (with people of various ethnicity), and I've drawn the line...
no more bleeding heart. I was a teen in Sydney when a tramp approached
me and asked for twopence for a box of matches. I offered him a box of
matches instead of the twopence but he wouldn't take it. And even back
then I understood why... he wanted the twopence to put towards a bottle
of methylated spirits. Those guys can smell a bleeding heart from 100 yards,
and they'll take you for whatever you got if you let them.
Anyway, it's that time of day again... bacon, eggs and chips. I did
a bit of shopping today for Averil and us, but took Bluey to the car wash
first. She's all bright and shiny and clean now. The attendant was there
and remembered me from last time when he took a few pics of Bluey going
through the wash. I gave him an Aussie Odyssey card so that he could check
out the pics on line. Hehe. He's a nice guy who enjoys a bit of a chat.
May 7, 2010. 50 years ago I became quite a fan of Ray Conniff
and his orchestra. Hehe. Sounds a bit corny now, and even back then it
was pretty odd for a teen to like Middle of the Road music. But I liked
the way Conniff used voices as instruments. He used vocal sounds rather
than words. Well, this morning I got a note from FL Josh: Adiemus
is the title of a series of albums by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins (born
17 February 1944). It is also the title of the opening track on the first
album in the series, Songs of Sanctuary (1995). Songs of Sanctuary was
a huge commercial success, topping classical album charts. It is considered
by critics to be the quintessential album, on which Jenkins' vision succeeds
to the greatest extent with the fewest resources
Each Adiemus album is a collection of song-length pieces featuring
harmonized vocal melody against an orchestral background. There are no
lyrics as such: instead the vocalists sing syllables and 'words' invented
by Jenkins. However, rather than creating musical interest from patterns
of phonemes (as in scat singing, or in numerous classical and crossover
compositions), the language of Adiemus is carefully stylized so as not
to distract the listener's attention from the pitch and timbre of the voice—for
example, syllables ending in consonants are rare. The core concept of Adiemus
is that the voice should be allowed to function as nothing more than an
instrument, an approach that has become something of a trend in recent
When I followed the link and listened, I was expecting something a bit
too "cultured" for my taste but I was pleasantly surprised. It's very nice
My dreams tend to be somewhat eccentric but last night's was even more
so. I dreamed I had a pet tiger hehe. He was very large as in HUMUNGOUS,
lemme tellya, and a tad intimidating, but he was literally a big puddy
tat and very affectionate. Now I'm wondering what he was supposed to represent...
if anything. I'm not a dream analyst.
There was an interesting program on tele last night - Catalyst - which
did a story on trickery; magicians and their slight of hand. Scientists
decided to investigate what it was about the art of magic that confuses
the brain, and convinced the magicians to divulge their secrets. Most
intriguing! Basically, the brain processes information it receives...
but not information it doesn't. Yeah? The trick is to understand the difference.
Beeb time: Oil from a massive slick in the Gulf of Mexico has started
washing ashore on a chain of islands off the coast of Louisiana, officials
say. Stop talking about it and clean it up.
Many people alive today possess some Neanderthal ancestry, according to
a landmark scientific study. The finding has surprised many experts, as
previous genetic evidence suggested the Neanderthals made little or no
contribution to our inheritance. The result comes from analysis of the
Neanderthal genome - the "instruction manual" describing how these ancient
humans were put together. Between 1%-4% of the genomes of people in Eurasia
come from Neanderthals. But the study confirms living humans overwhelmingly
trace their ancestry to a small population of Africans who later spread
out across the world. You betcha... and quite a few
of them live in this neighborhood. Russian forces have freed the
crew of a Russian oil tanker seized by Somali pirates off the coast of
Yemen, in a dramatic rescue operation. Forces based on the warship Marshal
Shaposhnikov approached the tanker with 23 Russian crew on board. The Russian
forces then boarded the Moscow University tanker, freeing the crew who
had locked themselves in a safe room after disabling their ship. As they
did so, the pirates opened fire, sparking a shoot-out. Ten pirates have
been arrested, and one was killed during the gun battle. They are being
held aboard the tanker, Russian defence ministry spokesman Col Alexei Kuznetsov
said. They will be transferred to Moscow to face charges. You
bet they will... bloody idiot pirates. Tiger Woods fought back from
last week's missed cut with a first-round 70 to lie four shots off the
lead at the Players Championship in Florida. It'll
be interesting to see how this bloke battles his own personal demons to
get his life back on track. Hundreds of voters have been turned
away and police called to deal with queues as people struggled to vote
before polls closed at 2200 BST. Voters were left "fuming" when they were
turned away in Manchester, there were three-hour queues in Sheffield and
ballot papers ran out in Liverpool. The Electoral Commission announced
a "thorough review" as people were also turned away in London and Birmingham.
The main parties all expressed concerns and some results may be challenged.
been a long time since an election in Britain has attracted this much attention.
Looks like the conservatives have got it by the knackers though. Tony Blair
must have known what was in store when he chose to resign.
Yes, idiots like those Somali pirates. There's not a lot you can do
about idiots. Their brains don't work properly so it's not like you can
spray them with WD40 to fix the problem. If you've got a 500cc Fiat Bambino
engine driving a Mack truck it just ain't gonna work. I'm not sure that
was an appropriate analogy - there's nothing wrong with a 500cc Fiat engine
- but you know what I mean. What worries me is that idiots can be and are
recruited by evil bastards to do their dirty work - like suicide bombers
- people stupid enough to believe the crap they're told. Soldiers are not
called cannon fodder for nuthin' ya know. Some people prefer to have their
thinking done for them, either that or they're just too damn lazy.
Actually, if you're inclined to be a con artist, it's a pretty easy
job. It's like giving a horse a lump of sugar, or rewarding a dog for fetching
a ball. Feed a person's ego and they're all yours. But there's a bit of
an art to it. Ask a girl if she ever worked as a beauty consultant and
she'll ask why. But if you tell her straight out she's attractive she'll
think you're hitting on her. Ask a bloke if he plays tennis and he'll ask
why. But tell him straight out he's got nice legs and he'll break your
nose. So to be a good con artist you gotta be a bit devious. Hehe.
Well, it's that time of day again... time to feed the troops. Pork chops
tonight, with spuds and a bit of gravy. Gary
May 6, 2010. Lovely day again but a bit chilly in the mornings.
That's okay tho... it's nice to spend a bit of extra time in a cosy warm
bed. I don't use an alarm so I wake when I wake. If I'd been in the army
I would have spent most of my time in the stockade for ignoring the bugle.
Beeb time: Fifty-eight-year-old Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua died
at his villa on Wednesday, state TV announces. Not
hard to do ya know... I had my heart attack at 58. Greece's president
warns the country is "on the brink of the abyss" after three people die
in protests over austerity measures. Sad. The world
owes ancient Greece so much. BP seals the smallest of the three
leaks spilling oil into the Gulf of Mexico, as it prepares to cover the
site with an iron box. Progress! Actually, I like
the way BP has gone about the business of solving the problem calmly and
methodically despite the cries of the Chicken Littles. A Ku Klux
Klan leader has pleaded guilty to murdering a woman recruit, a day after
an initiation rite in the US state of Louisiana in 2008. Raymond Foster,
45, of the Louisiana town of Bogalusa, was sentenced to life in prison
for second-degree murder of Cynthia Lynch. A former KKK member testified
that Foster shot Ms Lynch, 43, after she told him: "I want out", AP reports.
is just another word for lunatic. A Russian warship is rushing to
assist an oil tanker bound for China which has been hijacked by Somali
pirates. The Marshal Shaposhnikov was heading towards the Moscow University,
which was attacked 900km (560 miles) off the Somali coast, officials said.
The 23 Russian crew on board are reported to have locked themselves in
the ship's radar room. I think the Somali pirates
have bitten off more than they can chew this time. The Russians aren't
well known for their patience or tolerance.
Well, well, well, just look at the time. After 4pm already and all I've
done is fiddle and fart... and a bit of shopping. As you know, Cody used
to refer to me occasionally as the fossil. Well, Brayan from Brazil is
studying geology at university, which includes paleontology. But hey,
be happy, you're hundred of times younger than what it takes to be classified
as a fossil, what would be around 11.000 years or more. And you know one
thing? You have a vital spirit that is more active than lots of young people
I know (unfortunately, I'm one of them ;-;). Hmmm, maybe I do. Brayan
also says that the corridor that leads to the Geology building is the opposite
way to the Oceanography building, and every time he passes it he thinks
of Cody. Isn't that sweet? Cody had no idea how much influence he had,
or would have after his death. No idea at all.
Anyway, it's time to do the kitchen ritual again for the troops... chicken
breast burgers, hash browns and corn fritters. A quiet day, folks. Gary
May 5, 2010. My main errand for the day is to drive Averil to
the cemetery to visit the graves of Kev and also her mother (for Mother's
Day). It was 3 years ago that Kev died (May 3). This will be Averil's first
ride in Bluey.
BACK! Av didn't stay long. Shortly after Kev died, she would spend 10
or 15 minutes at the gravesite for a "chat" but now all he gets is a few
minutes and some chrysanthemums. And she thinks Bluey is cool. It's easier
to get in and out of than a Hyundai 4WD (her usual transport) she reckons.
"If all those bloody airbags went off in that damn Hyundai," she said,
"they wouldn't find me for a week!"
While we were at the cemetery, we saw a flock of black cockatoos fly
past - slowly, as they do. They make a bloody racket though with all their
squawking. Black cockatoos are pretty rare, even around here in the countryside.
I haven't seen many white cockatoos around here either. Out in the bush,
cockatoos give the farmers hell. They're wonderful birds but can be very
destructive. Farmers in Oz are often referred to as 'bush cockys'.
Well, I'm having a pretty good Bubble day. First thing this morning
I woke to the news that I'd scored a Top
10 rating in a photographic challenge, and just now I got a message
to say one
of my pics has been featured in the "Which Way" group. Pretty flash,
huh? I'm certainly not a great photographer but I do manage to kick a few
goals now and then.
Beeb time: Details emerge of how the New York bombing suspect was arrested
just minutes before leaving the country. Judging
by his photo, he looks Middle Eastern. How odd. Anyway, he got busted,
which is good. Allah must've been snoozing. Greek transport workers
join civil servants in a general strike over austerity measures planned
in exchange for international help. Hey guys, when
the pantry's empty you can't dine on caviar. Pablo Picasso's Nude,
Green Leaves and Bust sells for a record-breaking $106m at auction in New
York. This is where people involved in regular porn
have got it all wrong... it's gotta be all weird and indecipherable to
be worth big bucks. A giant iron funnel being built in a bid to
halt the huge spill from a Gulf of Mexico well will be deployed to the
seabed on Thursday, BP says. The 98-tonne, dome-topped box being built
by steel workers will be connected to a drill ship and lowered to the sea
floor. BP has never deployed such a structure at a depth of 5,000ft (1,500
metres) and difficulties may occur, it says. "There's no guarantees," BP
boss Tony Hayward told AP news agency. "We'll undoubtedly encounter some
issues as we go through that process. But if that was a good outcome, then
you would have the principal leak contained by the early part of next week,"
Mr Hayward said. I wish them well (no pun intended).
A comic book shop owner in Australia became a real-life superhero when
he caught a robber red-handed. Michael Baulderstone, who was dressed as
Spider-Man for a promotional event, spied a customer behaving suspiciously.
CCTV footage shows him "leap" into action and confront the would-be shoplifter
who had slipped a AU$160 (£97) X-Men book into his bag. Mr Baulderstone
said customers at the shop in Adelaide thought it was a stunt until he
asked them to call the police. That's one call-out
the cops won't forget in a hurry hehe. Making fruit look good holds
the key to getting children to eat more of it, a study suggests. In tests,
when offered the same amount and types of fruit, children ate far more
if it was made fun and attractive, the journal Appetite reports. Abso-bloody-lutely!
Show me a banana split with cream and chocolate topping and I'm all yours.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) web browser, now accounts for less than
60% of the market, down from 95% at its peak in 2003, according to new
figures. Still a hefty majority though. Other browsers
would kill for it. Just four weeks after release Apple has announced
it has sold one million iPads. Helped by a massive amount of hype ahead
of launch day on 3 April this latest set of figures mean it's selling faster
than the iPhone did when it was released. Bloody
amazing... 1M in a month!
Yep, fruit can look pretty damn impressive if you serve it in a creative
way. I love all the colors of a fruit salad, for example. But you can't
make a fruit salad for one without buying half the damn shop. That's the
problem. Watermelons are great too but show me a watermelon the size of
an orange. Passionfruit... now there's something special... dribbled over
ice cream, or better still sorbet. Sorbet is to die for. Not sure I have
a fav but I do love Kiwifruit (gooseberries), and that green flesh looks
totally awesome. My fav jam is blackcurrant. Yum!
I gave J a prod on Justin's
Blog about the Arizona immigration situation and got quite a response.
He was awake after all! There's no way I'm gonna argue with that bloke...
he's way too eloquent and informed. But I'm glad I gave him a prod anyway...
he has some very interesting, albeit controversial, points to make.
Yes, ladies and gentitals, it's that time again... the kitchen beckons.
Too easy tonight... mini meatballs, fried in a little oil, throw in a can
of chopped tomatoes with basil and oregano, topped with a sprinkle of parmesan
and Bob's yer uncle. Gary
May 4, 2010. After my little speech yesterday about the "meaning
of life" I got to thinking about labels such as "athiest". It's a bit like
smokers. Before Walter Raleigh introduced tobacco to Britain there were
no non-smokers because there were no smokers. For thousands of years, people
had no idea they were non-smokers. If there were no religion there would
be no non-believers. Before a alcohol was invented there were no teetotalers.
If I go through my entire life without killing someone it follows that
I'm a non-murderer. When I fill in a form that asks my sex, am I male or
Don't mind me. Just thinking aloud.
FL Josh wrote: Didn't you say you had Irish roots. With a name
like Kelly how could I not? However, my roots go back much further than
that, and here's
a film clip to prove it. Thanks, Josh... that's a classic.
Beeb time: Iran's nuclear ambitions are putting the world at risk, US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned. She told delegates at a
nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference that Iran had violated
its obligations and should be held to account. Earlier, President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad of Iran accused states with nuclear weapons of threatening
those who wanted to develop peaceful nuclear technology. His comments prompted
delegates from the US, the UK, France to walk out. The US Department of
Defense later disclosed that it had a total of 5,113 nuclear warheads in
its arsenal, a closely-guarded secret for decades. "Yeah,
but we're the good guys, so we're entitled to have them... and don't ask
us what would happen if someone like Sarah Palin were in charge."
US police have made "substantial progress" in investigating an attempted
car bomb attack in New York city, US Attorney General Eric Holder said.
Mr Holder said police had established "good leads" into who parked the
vehicle in Times Square on Saturday. Police have found the registered owner
of the vehicle, who sold it three weeks ago. He is not a suspect, police
said. Officials have suggested to US media outlets that there may be a
foreign connection to the attempted bombing. Mr Holder told reporters he
was confident the investigation would be successful "and the people responsible
for that attempt will be found and brought to justice". It's
more serious than I thought. I saw a clip of the bloke who noticed the
smoke emanating from the vehicle - "if you see something, say something",
he said. He was being hailed as a hero. Former Argentine military
leader Jorge Rafael Videla is charged with an additional 49 counts of murder
and torture. Garbage should be thrown out. How people
like that assume power in the first place is still a mystery to me.
Oil giant BP has acknowledged it is "absolutely responsible" for cleaning
up a huge oil spill after an explosion at one of its wells off the US coast.
But BP boss Tony Hayward said the firm was not to blame for the accident
which sank the Deepwater Horizon rig on 22 April, causing the slick. He
said the equipment that failed belonged to drilling firm Transocean. Both
companies are expecting lawsuits over the slick, which threatens to cause
major ecological damage. Get the job done. Worry
about the finger pointing later. Meanwhile, the lawyers are rubbing their
hands with gleeful anticipation. California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
has withdrawn his support for a plan to expand oil exploration off the
state's coast. He said the spill in the Gulf of Mexico had changed his
mind about the safety of oil platforms in the Pacific Ocean. Last year
he pushed for more oil drilling off California's coastline. But he said
after seeing television pictures of the Gulf of Mexico spill he asked himself:
"Why would we want to take that kind of risk?" And
the obvious answer is? Neil Robertson beat Graeme Dott 18-13 to
become the first player from outside the UK and Ireland to win the (snooker)
world title since Cliff Thorburn in 1980. The Australian, who rises to
number two in the world, had trailed 5-3 but having edged ahead, kept his
nose in front despite not being at his best. There
used to be a saying in Oz that anyone who was a good snooker/billiards/pool
player had to be guilty of truancy as a kid. Film and stage star
Lynn Redgrave has died of breast cancer at the age of 67. "Our beloved
mother Lynn Rachel passed away peacefully after a seven-year journey with
breast cancer," her children said on Monday. A member of the Redgrave acting
dynasty, she is the third member of her family to die in the past year.
wasn't the only thing common to their genes. Sad... 67 is still quite young.
Oregon Richie wrote to say he'd be surprised if I returned from a walkabout
in the Aussie bush praising Jehovah. Yeah, so would I. I will be doubtless
full of praise though... for the wonders of nature. We're all one big family
here on Earth ya know, all brothers and sisters, and that includes everything
that exists in its natural state. Not sure about the two women who were
here a few minutes ago asking to use my phone. They're friends of Verne,
a neighbor I'm always desperate to avoid. They babbled on about something
or other and I didn't understand a word of it. But I let them use the phone.
Then one of them smiled at me and said she'd see me again. Hehe. "What
are you into?" she asked. Sheesh. Leave me outta that one!
Did that really happen or was I just dreaming? Why me?
Anyway, back to walkabouts, I would like to experience the kinship Aborigines
feel for the natural environment... being at one with your surroundings
out in the bush. You can't do it in cities. You can't get cosy with power
poles or office towers or backyard swimming pools. But you can get cosy
with a billabong or a tree, if you know what I mean.
It's that time of day again... getting close to din dins time. Steak
n onions. It's been raining most of the day, and it's a little chilly,
so after cooking I'll watch a bit of telly. Actually, I watched an interview
last night with Mark
Holden... law school dropout and 70's Aussie pop star (the Carnation
Kid) who became a TV soap star. Later he tried his luck in America and
wrote songs for several major performers and became a successful
record producer. More recently he's been a resident judge on Australia's
Got Talent, and resumed his law studies. Now, at 56, he's a barrister.
How's that for a colorful career? Gary
May 3, 2010. TX Greg worked his butt off over the weekend and
posted 100 chapters of Daniel's Diary on Codysworld - plus the Sox Tribute
and The Trip. He'll post the rest next weekend. I dunno what I'd do without
him. It's funny how life works. I couldn't write something like Daniel's
Diary again in a fit. That was then, and it seemed right at the time.
FL Josh wrote: In the waffle, you said "The problem I have with being
a self-appointed philosopher is that I've not reached a definitive conclusion
about the meaning of life." You have previously stated we are simply a
product of chance happenings as the earth evolves, therefore according
to your stand, there can be no meaning to life. It's like throwing
a bunch of gravel on the ground and then trying to figure out the meaning
of the spilled gravel. So you are off the hook as to seeking the meaning
The meaning of life is very simple. It exists, and it's programmed to
continue to exist. When God said "go forth and multiply" he didn't say
anything about "because there's a ton of spare room in Heaven". Hehe. I
mean, how many damn angels does he want up there? No, he said go forth
etcetera because life needs to be renewed over and over in order for it
to continue. Nature doesn't care what species exist. Species come and go.
But "life" itself continues. And that's because a bunch of amino acids
(or whatever the hell they are) mixed with a bit of water produces life.
Now, we humans with our larger brains, have concluded that we don't
wanna be leaves on a tree that fall off and become fertilizer on the forest
floor. We wanna be special. We have an ego that says "I'm not just another
leaf on the tree. I wasn't put here to flower and die just to keep the
continuum happening". Human beings have convinced themselves that life
is not about the species to which they belong, but rather that life is
about the individual. I disagree. If a natural disaster such as an earthquake
or tsunami can wipe out a quarter of million people in a matter of hours,
what does that say about the importance of an individual? If the species
survives, that's what counts according to the rule of nature.
For me, the only purpose of my existence is to be of some benefit (if
I can) to my species. Very few elephants read this Waffle Page. I'm here
for one reason, and one reason only. My fellow humans. There's nothing
else. No heaven, no afterlife, no reward, no punishment, no God. Life exists
because the components for life exist on this planet. Happenstance. All
living things are related. They assume different forms, but they all stem
from the earliest single cell that floated aimlessly about in the ocean
a billion years ago. Life grows and propagates. It evolves. That's its
nature. It doesn't remain static. And here we are. Yoo hoo!
Individuals are important, of course. Our species stands on the shoulders
of those who went before us, and their contributions... the Harry Stotles,
the Shakespeares, the Einsteins. The human species owes its success to
its ability to record and preserve knowledge so that it can be passed on
to future generations. And that's exactly my point. The individual's responsibility
is to benefit its species in whatever way it can.
Therefore, dear Breth, there's no great mystery to the meaning of life.
Life exists. That's all there is to it. By the same token, a lump of clay
exists too. If you're clever enough, you can turn that lump of clay into
Anyway, that's the way I see it. And if a few billion people reckon
I'm a dill, well, that's the way it is.
So, did I win Lotto on the weekend? Of course, I did! Only problem was
I forgot to buy tickets... and that's when you win, right? Bleh.
Beeb time: New York investigators study fingerprints and video shots
after a car bomb attack was foiled in bustling Times Square. Was
it a car bomb? I was under the impression it was a loony carrying dangerous
goods. President Barack Obama says the Gulf oil slick is a "potentially
unprecedented" environmental disaster, and BP must pay. There
ya go. Oil exploration is cool until something goes wrong... then the blame
game takes over. Eurozone members and the IMF agree an historic
110bn-euro ($146bn) bail-out to rescue Greece's ailing economy. Yoo
hoo! Over here! Ya got a bit left over for a campervan? Pope Benedict
XVI has viewed the Turin shroud - the cloth in which, according to many
believers, Christ was buried. "The Holy Shroud eloquently reminds us of
Jesus' suffering", he said in Turin. The pontiff spent several minutes
praying before the shroud, although in line with papal tradition he did
not touch on the authenticity of the cloth. Why pray
in front of something if it's not the genuine article? Mammoths
had a form of "anti-freeze" blood to keep their bodies supplied with oxygen
at freezing temperatures. Nature Genetics reports that scientists "resurrected"
a woolly mammoth blood protein to come to their finding. This protein,
known as haemoglobin, is found in red blood cells, where it binds to and
carries oxygen. All very well but it didn't do a
helluva lot for the mammoth's continued existence.
Back from a hair cut at Mark's. I had to wait for 5 other customers!
But we all had a good ol' chat as we waited thanks to Joe, another customer
and the courtesy bus driver for the local RSL/Golf club. He was a panel
beater/spray painter in Sydney, then moved up here to the Mid North Coast.
He was born in Italy and came to Oz in 1953. As a young bloke, he played
in a band. Now he runs a karaoke business on the side, and travels around
the local clubs to make some extra bucks. He owns all his own equipment
and has 15,000 songs! Quite an enterprising chap! Mark's Barber Shop is
one of those old fashioned kinda places where everybody chats like old
mates, even if they're strangers... and it's not a bad way to pass the
Joe's dad was the typical Italian from the old days who made his own
wine, grew his own olives and vegetables and knew how to cook. It was blokes
like him who changed the face of Australia from the bland to the diverse.
Mark's wife by the way is an iridologist. There ya go... an iridologist
marries a barber. If you wanna know what's going on in town, spend a few
hours at the barber shop.
And that's it. Fish 'n' chips tonight... with a squeeze of lemon (of
which there are dozens on the tree). Gary
May 2, 2010. ZYX wrote: On todays Waffle (May 1) you said
it was impossible to start at the top and work your way down? TIGER
WOODS SCORES AGAIN. He's DOING IT!..................
I guess winning is as much about attitude as anything else. If you feel
like a winner then it's easier to win. But once you experience a losing
streak, or something happens in your life to damage your reputation and/or
self esteem, those nagging doubts creep in, and you respond accordingly.
I went through a terrible time after losing my house and going broke. Every
time I got behind a microphone in a studio, my throat jammed and I couldn't
get through a 30-second voice over without gagging half way through. Something
in your brain tells you you're not gonna make it, and sure enough you don't.
How do you polish a mirror to absolute perfection? You sand blast it,
of course. Sand blasting metals and other solid surfaces was discovered
by an American soldier who served in the Civil War. But in the case of
mirrors, you don't use sand... you use atoms. Hehe. They're not as harsh,
but they're very effective. I watched a science program last night about
giant telescopes used for star gazing. There's apparently a physical limit
to just how big you can make a single glass mirror. So in the latest telescope,
they made a number of smaller mirrors and fitted them together to create
a very big one. But that required ultra precise fitting of the mirror sections
to produce a perfectly concave reflective surface. All very interesting...
and they used a gadget designed originally as a musical instrument to make
the necessary adjustments. Don't ask me to explain the physics. All I know
is that when man sets his mind to solve a problem, he can be pretty damn
The thing is, the mirror can see planets and stars billions of light
years away. Billions? That makes us look pretty damn small... as in speck.
Beeb time: Louisiana's governor warns the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster
risks his state's way of life, amid claims the slick has tripled in size.
Jeez, and we thought ours at the Great Barrier Reef was bad! Tens
of thousands of people join protests in the US against a controversial
anti-immigration law introduced in Arizona. 'Controversial'
is putting it mildly. Part of New York's Times Square has been sealed
off as police investigate a suspicious vehicle. The area was evacuated
while a bomb squad was sent to check the contents of the vehicle on 45th
Street, the New York Police Department said. A senior government official
told AP the suspicious vehicle was a Nissan Pathfinder. Part of Times Square
was also sealed off last December after a report of a suspicious van, although
nothing dangerous was found. Can't be too careful
these days, but the guy is giving Nissan a bad name. Just five minutes
of exercise in a "green space" such as a park can boost mental health,
researchers claim. There is growing evidence that combining activities
such as walking or cycling with nature boosts well-being. I'll
buy that. Sterile gyms with all those smelly posers just ain't the same.
Pope Benedict XVI is to appoint an envoy to overhaul a conservative Roman
Catholic order whose Mexican founder abused young children over many years.
Marcial Maciel's actions were "immoral" and the Legionaries of Christ order
had to be "purified", the Vatican said. But Jesus
called them to him, saying, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder
them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
Now here's one for the books. Uluru
reflections? It's as dryzabone out there... almost always.
Yes, a speck. Here we are, a miniscule speck surrounded by objects billions
of light years distant while an even smaller speck at the Vatican wearing
a party hat is telling us that he has a direct line to boss. Oh dear...
One of these days I'll study ant language and interview an ant. I expect
the ant to be totally preoccupied with life in the nest - his relationships
with his fellow ants, the job of the queen, food gathering and storage,
etc. If I tell him about the world outside the nest - and I mean the big
world - all of it, New York City, the Himalayas, the North and South poles,
the Sahara, the oceans and all that, he'll reject it as being irrelevant
to his immediate environment, and of no consequence to the purpose of his
own existence. We humans are a bit like that except that we ARE aware of
the immense universe that surrounds our teensy weensy nest. Despite that
awareness, we still insist that our teensy weensy nest is pivotal to all
that matters. Hehe.
I'm getting worse ya know. Hmmm... then again, maybe not. I think it's
just that I find human beings a bit of a worry and I'm starting to like
trees a lot more. I've never been disappointed by a tree. Trees don't let
you down. Trees don't tell fibs. Trees don't con you. My best friend as
a kid was a tree - a camphor laurel. I practically lived in it. I haven't
quite reached the stage of becoming a tree hugger just yet, but I'm tempted.
Kids and trees go together ya know. Kids build cubby houses in trees.
I watched a TV program the other night about a house built of English
oak in the style of a medieval barn. When it's green, it's like working
with cheese. You can cut it, chisel it, drill it, shape it, and manipulate
it with ease. There were no metal nails used, only wooden pegs. As it ages,
the oak becomes stronger than steel and lasts for centuries. Pretty amazing
stuff. Yes, I do like trees. And that's one of the major disadvantages
of Heaven, ladies and genitals... there are no trees there.
The problem I have with being a self-appointed philosopher is that I've
not reached a definitive conclusion about the meaning of life. I'm still
battling with a zillion questions. If I wrote a book it would be about
how to tie a slip knot and make a meatloaf. Other than that, I'm not sure
what the bloody hell it's all about. But I have to admit, it's fun to ponder,
and to have a mind like an open window with the curtains fluttering in
the breeze. Imagine how utterly boring it would be to know everything.
And that's it. Meatloaf tonight. I cheated and bought one already made...
Mexican style, whatever that means. But I'll roast my own spuds, and make
my own gravy. Bit late to grow the peas so I'll get some from the freezer.
May 1, 2010. May already, and I'm still trying to get used to
FL Josh wrote: I read the beeb (and watched the video) about the
"Mystery of the Dangling Car," and had seen the story on the news here,
but since you are a non-believer, this is a perfect example of how there
is a spirit world and I have close ties to it. I looked at that mystery,
and asked myself, "How in the world could the back of a car be sticking
out of the wall of a multi-story parking garage, and the answer just came
into my head, clearly a message from the other side. "A car in the garage
backed through the wall." And by golly, when they investigated it,
that is exactly what happened. Wow. There you go. Psychic
powers big time.
Josh is a worry ya know. He also wrote: One final comment then I
have to get to my Tarot card readings. You had in your beeb how Obama
is using "every available resource" of the government to try to contain
the oil leak and you said he gets no brownie points from you. We
here in Florida and the Gulf coast give him big brownie points because
we don't want that crap spoiling our beaches and sea life.
I meant that Obama gets no brownie points for doing what he needs to
do. That's what is expected of him. You only earn brownie points if you
act above and beyond the call of duty.
Speaking of Obama, I saw an ad this morning for the 1935 Ford Fordor
V8, which pictured a white couple in the front seat and a white woman standing
by the "built-in" trunk overseeing a uniformed black man loading luggage.
How times have changed. Now we have a black man's luggage being loaded
by white folks. Yes, Mr President.
I think it's okay to discriminate. If I wanted a mechanic I'd hire a
German. If I wanted a poet I'd hire an Irishman. If I wanted an electronics
engineer I'd hire a Japanese guy. If I wanted a shearer I'd hire an Australian.
But there's discrimination and there's discrimination. Everybody, no matter
what race or creed, in my view, is an asshole. Hehe. Unless proven otherwise.
Yes, I'm still tying a slip knot a day, and I keep surprising myself
at how simple it is. The beauty of a slip knot is that you can loosen it
without untying it. If you're mooring your boat, for example, you can throw
the loop over the pole and tighten it. Then when you're ready to leave,
you loosen it, leaving the knot intact - like a lasoo. How cool is that?
Beeb time: US Air Force planes prepare to spray oil-dispersing chemicals
off Louisiana as the operation to tackle a huge slick steps up. Isn't
it refreshing to see the military being used for peaceful work rather than
destroying things. A former US student could face up to 20 years
in jail after being found guilty of hacking into Sarah Palin's e-mail account.
was a very silly thing to do. Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks
are set to start next week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says.
Mrs Clinton told reporters in Washington that US special envoy George Mitchell
would be returning to the region next week. Plans to launch the indirect
negotiations failed last month over a row about Israeli plans to build
1,600 homes in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks
have been stalled since 2008. Wouldn't you love to
be a dinner guest at the table with Hillary and Bill? Tiger Woods
missed the cut for only the sixth time in his professional career after
a horrendous second-round back nine at the Quail Hollow Championship. The
world number one, who started day two on two over, began with a birdie
on the first hole in North Carolina. But Woods, 34, went on to card three
successive bogeys from the 10th before two straight double bogeys on the
14th and 15th to finish with 79. You gotta wonder
how important it is in life to be able to hit a ball into a hole.
Lebanese officials are investigating the lynching by angry villagers of
an Egyptian man accused of killing a local couple and their two grandchildren.
The suspect was with police re-enacting the crime when he was seized by
a mob in a village south of Beirut, according to Lebanese media reports.
The mob stabbed him to death and then hanged him with a butcher's hook
from a pole in the village square. Do they feel better
now? Rising rates of obesity among young Americans could undermine
the future of the US military, two retired generals have warned. More than
a quarter of young Americans are now too fat to fight, they said. Yep,
that's occurred to me too. Might can't be fat. It just doesn't work (not
that I'm prepared to argue the point with a Japanese Sumo wrestler).
The outbreak of World War II saw thousands of people across Europe volunteer
for military service, in a bid to do their duty for their respective countries.
But among those who stepped forward for Britain were 10,000 German and
Austrian nationals, who had fled the Nazis and were willing to fight against
their own countrymen. Known as "the King's most loyal enemy aliens" many,
but not all, were Jewish. Read
the article here.
When ever I see a photo of Hitler, I see a total fuckwit and I can't
for the life of me understand why others didn't see the same thing at the
time. But I suppose like beauty, everything is in the eye of the beholder.
He probably appealed to the human desire for dreams of glory, rather like
religion promises the kingdom of heaven... or 27 virgins if you happen
to be a suicide bomber.
I've been contemplating lately what it means to be "the best you can
be", and how success is generally measured in terms of popularity. I mean,
how many athletes win a gold medal? And what does that say about the athletes
who miss out on a medal altogether? Are they failures? If being the best
you can be means coming last in a field of runners is that cause for shame?
Is winning everything?
If you want to insult someone you call them a loser. What is a loser?
Someone who doesn't win? Someone who doesn't come first? For me, all tryers
are winners. Losers are those who don't try.
A friend of mine who's in his 50s lost his job a while back and has
been seeking employment ever since. He's discovering that experienced people
in his age group are not favored by employers, and I'm not surprised. Experienced
people like to flaunt their expertise, they like to show the other guy
how it's done hehe. They've been there, done that. The inexperienced guy
is willing to be trained, to be molded, to fit in, to take orders. Most
employers don't want to be told how to suck eggs. They want to tell their
employees how to suck eggs. For someone like my friend, that's a very bitter
pill to swallow. I know exactly how he feels. And that's the connundrum
faced by experienced people when they try to re-enter the workforce. It's
easy to start from the bottom and work your way up, but it's impossible
to start from the top and work your way down.
Anyway, food for thought. Gary
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