January 31, 2011. There ya go... final Waffle for January and
the first for 2011. I posted a portrait
of myself on Red Bubble this morning. Up until that photo was taken
I thought I might be an alien or somehow not related to the rest of the
human race, but I was sadly disappointed.
I still feel unconnected (as distinct from disconnected) to my family
though. I know I'm related but I don't FEEL related. I watched a program
on telly last night about genealogy, featuring famous Americans including
Meryl Streep. Basically, we're all carriers of genes passed down through
the generations. Essentially, we're a continuation of our ancestoral genome.
And we're all related despite different colors and shapes. The original
humans came from East Africa and eventually spread out into the Middle
East and Europe, and throughout Asia and down into South East Asia and
Nonetheless, I still feel unconnected... as though I'm a visitor from
another galaxy taking notes. If I'm ever in a nursing home and asked to
join a singalong around the piano or a card game with all the loopies,
Just had an email from my ex-neighbor in Glebe: Thought you might
be interested in this recent sale - the terrace opposite yours 12 Hegarty
which housed the two polish guys was sold last week for $720k, needs at
least $300k work. We
had a sticky beak ....need to gut and start over.
Jeremy loves to keep reminding me of how much my old house is worth
these days hehe. I remember those old Polish guys, even though I didn't
know them very well. One of them appeared at my front door one Christmas
and gave me a beer. He was all smiles and quite jovial, and I was rather
impressed by his generosity, especially since we'd never really talked
before. Anyway, all those real estate prices are telephone numbers and
something with which I can't identify these days. I'm in a totally different
league. But as I said to Richie this morning, being a pensioner means the
pay is pretty lousy but at least it's reliable... and you can't be sacked.
Jeremy also commented on the recent Rowing Regatta in Taree: Love
the rowing regatta pics, our friends and their daughter were participating
for Balmain. Pity I was unaware of that or I could have taken a few
pics of the Balmain team. "Excuse me, I have a friend in Sydney who asked
me to take some pecs... er, PICS... of you guys."
Here's another house just
around the corner in John Street that sold for $844,000. And to think
I bought mine for $31,000 back in '78. Unbelievable. Dontcha love real
estate speak? Stylishly redesigned, sought-after area, exceptionally
desirable locale, remarkable eminence, bright flowing
interiors, sleek open plan kitchen, generous bedrooms, ample
storage. And of course, all homes boast something... they don't
have it, they boast it. Ample storage, by the way, means you're
a stamp collector. Estate agents are soooo fulla shit. That's what it boils
Did you know that Oz has its own
version of Table Mountain? Yes, ladies and genitals, it's just outside
Sydney and it sits above a canyon that's 1 kilometer longer than the Grand
in Arizona but not as deep. Here's another Red Bubble pic of Barrington
Tops taken at sundown. I was there on one my mini Odysseys but had
to get home to cook for THEM. On the real Odyssey I won't have to worry
about such things, and I'll be able to take pics at the most favorable
times. Like when I'm sober.
Oregon Richie has been bitching about being too busy lately but when
he saw what
was on Obama's plate this month, he changed his mind.
Beeb time: Police are ordered back on to the streets and the curfew
is extended, but anti-government protesters remain in central Cairo and
call for a strike. It's only a matter of time before
Mubarak is history. The people can smell victory. A court in Indonesia
has sentenced one of south-east Asia's best known pop stars to three-and-a-half
years in prison for making and distributing sex videos on the internet.
The tapes of Nazril Irham, or Ariel as he is known, and two other celebrities,
were made public last June. He is the first celebrity to be charged under
Indonesia's strict pornography law that came into effect in 2008. How
absurd. Next! Two of the most senior surviving leaders of the Khmer
Rouge are appearing in court in Cambodia. They and two other senior figures
face charges of genocide for their parts in the deaths of around two million
Cambodians between 1975 and 1979. They've got a bloody
hide. Lock 'em up and throw the key away. A new parliament opens
in Burma, after last November's elections, but the military is likely to
retain overall power, despite a new constitution. Of
course, what else? British movie The King's Speech is awarded the
top honour at this year's Directors Guild of America Awards. Not
So much for the news. Anyway, it's been another hottie today... 33C
or thereabouts. So it's salad tonight. Too hot for anything else. Oh, and
Bluey's trip meter clicked over today - 2000kms in 2 years. Hehe. Gary
January 30, 2011. Not sure why but Green
Room and Green Room II have been selling lately. It's not exactly a
stampede but it's encouraging. The book is currently with NY publishing
company Alyson... maybe that has something to do with it. Who knows?
I was wondering about National Parks and camping fees so I checked out
government web site, which is pretty comprehensive. It lists all NSW
parks, facilities, fees, etc. There's a daily fee of $7 per vehicle but
pensioners are exempt. However, there is a fee of between $5 and $10 per
person per night depending on the level of facilities, which can include
electric/gas BBQs, hot showers, picnic tables, flush toilets and drinking
water. Some even have powered sites. There are also free parks with little
or no facilities. I plan to make a day trip soon to see one for myself.
Or maybe two - and perhaps chat with a couple of campers.
I remember years ago, some bright spark got the idea to park his campervan
Domain near Sydney's Botanic Gardens with million-dollar views of Sydney
Harbor. It didn't take long for the word to get around and pretty soon
there were scores of campervans lined up along the road, forming a small
village of happy campers with their washing hanging out to dry, and camp
furniture spread around the place. All very cosy and cheap. Hehe. But it
hit the newspapers and Sydney Council stepped in to put a stop to it.
Camping in National Parks is cool though. You get access to things you
wouldn't normally, like the beach or a lake or a river or mountains or
waterfalls, etc. I can imagine becoming pretty attached
to a camp site after a day or two and being reluctant to move. Imagine
waking up to something
like this in the morning.
Beeb time: World leaders call on Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak to
avoid violence and enact reforms as protests continue into a sixth day.
in the making... again. Five Somali men suspected of hijacking a
South Korean cargo ship in the Arabian Sea are flown to Seoul to face possible
criminal charges. Do the crime, do the time. I have
no sympathy whatsoever for crooks. The Dutch government has frozen
all contacts with Iran in protest over the hanging of a Dutch-Iranian woman.
The Dutch foreign ministry said it was "shocked, shattered by this act
by a barbaric regime". They're right about the regime.
The suicide bomber who killed 35 people at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport
was a 20-year-old man from the North Caucasus, Russian investigators say.
That's all it takes, dear Breth, just one loonie.
Not much happening on the news front today, although I expect tonight's
7 o'clock edition to stretch the full half hour as usual. Funny about that.
They never stop at 7:15 and say, "Well, that's all that happened today.
Rissoles tonight. I'll skin a bunch of "less fat" sausages and add a
few extra goodies. The snags themselves are pretty bland. So in goes chopped
onion, garlic, mixed herbs, a teaspoon of curry powder, a teaspoon of gravy
powder, ground pepper and a bit of tomato paste. That should do the trick.
Then shape into patties, coat with breadcrumbs, and grill. I'll fry a few
eggs and make some chips to go with it. A meal fit for a pauper! A pauper
with taste, that is. Gary
January 29, 2011. I received an offer recently to purchase a
trailer at a bargain price but I passed. There was a time when I had decided
to use Bluey as my "sleeping quarters" while I towed a small trailer filled
with my belongings. But I've since ditched that idea. I need my home comforts.
My current thinking is that I'll pay off all my debts, which should see
me debt free by the end of this year. Then I'll trade Bluey on a used ute...
something fairly modern with a lotta miles left on the clock. After that,
I'll go looking for a used slide-on camper. The condition of the ute is
more important than the age and condition of the slide-on, and I think
it's easier to find an ideal combo by buying the package as two separate
items rather than one (as in a single unit campervan). Mind you, anything
might happen... but that's the current plan.
The difficult part is being patient. I HATE BEING PATIENT! But I really
must wait until I'm debt free before I do anything more. It'll help me
finance the ute. Then I can use my Mastercard to buy the slide-on, and
then live on Vegemite sandwiches for the next 3 years. Here's
an interesting ute with a difference.
Okay, you're familiar with the ukulele, right? But have you heard a
ukulele orchestra? This
Beeb time: Egypt's President Mubarak defends the role of the security
forces in suppressing protests which have left 26 dead, as he dismisses
his government but refuses to stand down. Right,
so it's all their fault and not his. Who do these guys think they're kidding?
The African Union is setting up a panel of heads of state to seek a solution
to the crisis in Ivory Coast over disputed presidential election results.
Coast, Uganda, Zimbabwe... is there a common theme here? South African
ex-President Nelson Mandela leaves a Johannesburg hospital and is said
to be in good spirits after spending two nights there for tests. A
living legend... for a bit longer. Ugandan police have escorted
a priest away from the funeral of a gay rights activist after he told homosexuals
to repent, sparking scuffles. Anglican priest Thomas Musoke told mourners
that homosexuality was "evil". Hundreds of people had gathered for David
Kato's burial in his home village near the capital, Kampala. If
Musoke thinks he represents Jesus, he's got another think coming. He's
an absolute disgrace. US economic growth accelerated in the last
three months of 2010 to an annualised rate of 3.2%, corresponding to a
0.78% quarterly increase. Boing, boing. It's called
pogo stick economics. Amazon has announced that in the US it sold
more e-books for its Kindle device than it sold paperback books in the
last three months of 2010. That's interesting.
The Pentagon has begun preparing the US military for the presence of openly
gay troops in its ranks and said a training programme would begin in February.
Gay troops could begin serving openly by the summer, once training has
been completed and the White House agrees the policy will not hinder fighting.
But the Pentagon warned that troops' same-sex spouses would not be eligible
for military benefits. Such as subsidised lipstick.
The French constitutional court has upheld a ban on gay marriage, which
was challenged by a lesbian couple with four children. The court ruled
that the ban, challenged by Corinne Cestino and Sophie Hasslauer, was in
keeping with the constitution. Activists had hoped France would join states
like Spain and Belgium in legalising same-sex marriage. An opinion poll
suggests most French people are in favour. I'm lucky.
I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to be married. US carmaker
Ford reports a profit of $6.6bn (£4.1bn) in 2010 - its best performance
in more than a decade. Obama will be pleased.
Internet connections across Egypt appear to have been cut, as authorities
there gear up for a day of mass protest. That stinks
to high heaven.
You have to wonder about good and evil. I'm inclined to think they were
born of a single egg; that they exist in tandem, forever intertwined.
Every January I think of Pilot. Pilot? January was a huge hit in the
'70s by an English group called Pilot, and it's one of those songs I fell
in love with. Very catchy. Check
it out and see if you remember it.
Well, another Satdee comes to a close. Time to cook fish 'n' chips...
well, chips for THEM, I'll have tomato and shredded lettuce with mine.
January 28, 2011. Almost one down and eleven to go. And by November
it will be 10 years since Cody was killed. I remember reading that email
from Cody's friend John like it was yesterday.
This is the very hardest correspondence that I have ever had to
write and I hope that you understand, once you have read it, why it has
taken so long to write this to you, in spite of pleadings from Steve.
There have been some extraordinary friendships throughout history but
I'm not aware of any more so than the friendship between Cody and me. Of
all the gin joints in all the world...
Meanwhile, the loonies from the Religious
Right are still active. Here's one who suggests that the repeal of
the US military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was responsible for thousands
of birds falling out of the sky in Arkansas. She was smart enough to ask
the question "is there a pattern?" without actually answering the question
herself, knowing full well that the mere suggestion of a connection is
sufficient to convince the ratbags to believe there is.
Yesterday, I lamented that I won't be around in a few hundred years
to see whether or not religion survives despite the Devil's Advocate we
call Science. But I failed to take into account that, unlike science, religion
can survive without proof. Religion doesn't need to be rational or logical.
All it needs is faith. If people wanna believe that birds fall outta the
sky because God hates gays, then so be it. Signed, sealed and delivered.
The Bible is full of stories that defy logic, such as Noah and the Ark,
but that doesn't stop people believing them:
And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou
bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and
Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every
creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come
unto thee, to keep them alive.
And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt
gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
There were no insurmountable problems, however, according to Dr. Max
D. Younce, who says by his calculations from Genesis 6:15 that the ark
was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet deep. Tons of room for everybody,
no worries. Sheesh. But as one skeptic points out, when religious faith
is backed into a corner, it simply answers criticism by arguing that God
has an infinite ability to work miracles, or that we don't always understand
God's intentions. Go figure.
Remember the old Airstream caravans made of aluminium like an aircraft
this one out.
Beeb time: Egyptian forces are on high alert as thousands prepare to
join anti-government rallies after Friday prayers, amid reports of mass
internet disruption and arrests of opposition figures. History
repeating itself yet again. Tunisian PM Mohammed Ghannouchi announces
a reshuffle of the interim government in which he stays but many allies
of the ousted president leave. Ah, yes, of course,
the good ol' deck chairs trick. Brazil says it will build 8,000
free houses for people made homeless by floods and landslides in Rio de
Janeiro state. Sounds like a pretty generous offer
to me. Former South African President Nelson Mandela stays in hospital
for a second night amid growing concerns about his health. Well,
he sure ain't no chicken. Now there's a bloke who deserves to be canonized.
The US space agency has held a day of remembrance for astronauts who have
died in the line of duty, particularly the seven who died in the 1986 Space
Shuttle Challenger disaster. Yes, who could forget
the footage of that disaster? David Kato, a Ugandan gay rights campaigner
who sued a local newspaper which outed him as homosexual, has been beaten
to death, activists have said. Police have confirmed the death and say
they have arrested one suspect. Uganda's Rolling Stone newspaper published
the photographs of several people it said were gay, including Mr Kato,
with the headline "Hang them". The BBC's Joshua Mmali, in Kampala, says
it is unclear whether the death is linked to the Rolling Stone campaign
but police have said there is no connection between Mr Kato's activism
and his death. The police say that though they have arrested one suspect,
the main suspect - who they say lived with Mr Kato - remains on the run.
activists are quick to blame Kato's murder on anti-gay sentiment, probably
because that would suit their cause. But the attack may be unrelated. Stay
tooned. A car bomb has ripped through a funeral tent in a mainly
Shia Muslim area of Baghdad, killing 48 people. Officials say that another
78 people were wounded in the mid-afternoon blast in the north-western
Shula district. A spate of bombings in the past month against pilgrims,
police recruits and security forces across Iraq has killed more than 170
people. The recent rise in violence comes as the US military prepares to
withdraw from the country at the end of the year.
can't believe any sane person would want to live in the Middle East. Honestly.
Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a new tax to help
pay for devastating floods that she says will cost A$5.6bn ($5.6bn; £3.5bn)
in reconstruction. Ms Gillard said the 12-month tax, starting from 1 July,
would be levied on those earning A$50,000 or more, and those affected by
floods would not pay. $1 a week for 60% of Australian
taxpayers, $5 for the remainder. I don't see what the big deal is.
Here's an interesting vid. What
happens when someone spots a rat on a NYC train?
January 27, 2011. Former Gosford High student Steve wrote: Nope,
is at the top above your right shoulder, with the impressive side-burns.
He is now as bald as the proverbial badger.......serves him right. Caught
up with him a few years ago. We may both be grey, but still have hair.......but
then we still have to wash it and have it cut....bugger!
Gray? What's this gray business? Mine's white... kinda silverish. Gray
is the American spelling but I notice they don't spell 'they' thay or 'hey'
hay or 'sleigh' slay. I do prefer American spelling to English as a rule.
I can't see the point of having a 'u' in color, for example. However, there
are inconsistencies in American spelling. They spell realise realize, but
not wise wize. And the Poms don't spell size sise.
Yes, one has to draw the line somewhere. If we pronounced Z as zee instead
of zed, we'd have to refer to our cousins across the Tasman as Enn-Zee'ers
instead of Enn-Zedders. Doesn't sound right. Anyway, language is and always
has been at the mercy of the people. Usage has determined things such as
the 'b' in plumber being silent but not in number or slumber. Gonna and
wanna are now acceptable, and so is the dropping of the 'l' sound in vulnerable.
Language doesn't remain constant. If it did, we'd all be speaking and writing
One of the Americanisms that puzzles me is their use of the word 'do',
as in do lunch or do drugs. Does Obama do politics? Does a philatelist
do stamps? Yes, it's all a bit confusing but then so is language itself.
A common expression that intrigues me is 'isn't it?' Remove the apostrophe
and you have 'is not it?' I've heard 'is it not?' used plenty of times
but not 'is not it?' Kids often use 'goes' instead of 'said' or 'says'.
he goes, "yeah, that's cool with me." And I go, "Cool." Hehe.
Averil says she was taught at school never to begin a sentence with
'and'. Her teacher must have never read the Bible. And God said, "Let
there be light" and there was light. And God saw that the light was good;
and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day,
and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning,
one day. And God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters,
and let it separate the waters from the waters."
My personal priority is ease of comprehension. If I have to re-read
something I get frustrated. I like to scan sentences quickly and absorb
the meaning without fuss. And that's the way I write. Forget all the fancy
bullshit and get the point across pronto. Simple and effective, that's
Beeb time: About 700 people are arrested across Egypt as police clash
with anti-government protesters in several cities, with two people reported
dead in Cairo. How dare the people protest! Don't
they know what's good for them? Tunisia has issued an international
arrest warrant for ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his family,
the nation's justice minister has said. Lazhar Karoui Chebbi said the interim
government had asked members states to work via Interpol to detain Mr Ben
Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia on 14 January. Mr Chebbi said Mr Ben Ali
was accused of illegally acquiring property and assets and transferring
funds abroad. Well, well, well, how about that.
The Hubble Space Telescope has detected what scientists believe may be
the oldest galaxy ever observed. It is thought the galaxy is more than
13 billion years old and existed 480 million years after the Big Bang.
much for Genesis. The Hubble was launched in 1990, and a new one is due
to be launched in 2014. The US budget deficit will hit $1.48tn (£930bn),
or 9.8% of economic output, this year, a spending watchdog said. It is
a record deficit in dollar terms, and almost equals the 10% of GDP overspend
recorded by Washington in 2009 at the depth of the recession. I
think most of us simply can't comprehend those kinds of figures.
Japanese car manufacturer Toyota is to recall nearly 1.7 million vehicles
worldwide over concerns about a possible fuel leakage. About 1.2 million
models are being recalled in Japan and 421,000 overseas. There have been
140 reports in Japan of the problem. It's not easy
being perfect. There is now even more evidence that life on Earth
may have been seeded by material from asteroids or comets. Prior research
has shown how amino acids - the building blocks of life - could form elsewhere
in the cosmos. These molecules can form in two versions, but life on Earth
exclusively uses just one of them. God certainly
does work in mysterious ways, dear Breth. Very mysterious indeed.
An unlikely sight has appeared off the the coast of Miami. A grand piano,
which weighs at least 300kg (650lb), now sits on a sandbank in the middle
of the Biscayne Bay. Exactly how and why the piano came to be there remains
a mystery. And
there's another one.
Well, there ya go. Turns out that God created Adam and Eve, put 'em
on an asteroid and tossed them into space. No wonder the Vatican put Galileo
under house arrest for the rest of his life and called him a heretic. I
think that also explains why some religions, such as Islam, prefer to remain
in the Dark Ages. I wish I could hang around for a few hundred years to
see if religion still exists despite the Devil's Advocate we call Science.
posted this link on his blog to a NY Times article about a couple of
white gay men who adopted two black boys and raised them, along with a
horse named Rocky. It's a fascinating read.
NC Art has been reading Steve's "epistles" on MrB and wrote: But
to the subject line, who other than some old dude like me would know who
in the world Dame Nellie Melba was? Damned few I’m betting.
Ah yes, Dame Nellie. (Encyclopedia.com) Vocalist
Nellie Melba (1861-1931) rose from a childhood in provincial Australia
to become a world-renowned opera soprano who performed regularly at London's
Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. A diva with a commanding
stage presence and a beautiful voice, Melba was the out-standing coloratura
of her era and one of the biggest celebrities of the early 20th century.
Not only was she a celebrated opera singer, but she also had a dessert
named after her... Peach
Melba. I bet Art didn't know about that!
I'm not a fan of opera. I don't even like Hollywood musicals where the
leading man and lady sing dialogue to each other. How preposterous! As
to pop songs in which a male and female express their undying love, bleh.
Not for me. I just don't get it. If you have something to say, say it,
don't warble it, dammit. Obviously, I'm missing the point somewhere - millions
of opera fans would accuse me of being uncultured - common and vulgar.
Ya know, it's just occurred to me that not many people can say, "I was
kidnapped, tied up, and wheeled around town in a wheel barrow for charity."
But I can. So I figure that's my claim to fame. And it's nice to know I
wasn't put on this earth for nothing.
Tony the Painter has finished his job, so I'll put all the pics together
and copy them to CD for him. He's probably never had a customer do a "documentary"
on his work before. Soon, he'll start work on Averil's place next door,
which needs a bit a spruce up. Tony drove his old Holden panel van (similar
to TT) to the house today instead of his modern Holden ute. The old van,
fitted with a big throbbing V8, is for sale, and it didn't take long for
a bloke to turn up to check it out and take lots of pics. This house is
on a main road near a major intersection - the perfect place to park a
car for sale. Anyway, the young bloke was blond and muscular, probably
a surfie. When I spoke to Tony about it he said, "It's a good thing I'm
not gay. I might've had an orgasm." Hehe.
Kitchen time again! Gary
January 26, 2011. Well, here we are... another Australia Day.
The first was on January
26, 1788 when Captain Phillip said, "Where the bloody hell are we?"
Back then, it was a bunch of tents at Sydney Cove amidst all the bush.
"Somebody stole the Harbor Bridge!" "Idiot! It hasn't been built yet!"
"Oh... sorry." The 2d on that stamp, by the way, is two pence (tuppence).
were the symbols for pounds, shillings and pence... 12 pence to a shilling,
20 shillings to a pound. Oz went decimal in 1966. I remember the stamp
dispensing machines at the local Post Office that sold stamps for sixpence,
threepence (thripence), twopence (tuppence), a penny and even a ha'penny.
The cost of a regular stamp in Oz now is 55 cents. It'll be a dollar before
the decade is out.
As I remember, my first middy of beer cost 11 pence, a penny short of
a shilling (10 cents). Now it's almost $3. Back in 1962, I bought a used
Morris for 200 quid ($400). Almost 50 years later, I bought Bluey for $350.
So there ya go, I guess some things get cheaper.
It's coming up to 4pm now, and I've not done much. TOO BLOODY HOT. I
had contemplated visiting the local river park to get some shots of Australia
Day celebrations but... no way I could handle wandering around in 35C heat.
Even doing a little shopping for Averil and us was tiring.
Beeb time: US President Barack Obama uses his 2011 State of the Union
address to say the US is facing a Space Race-style chance to invest in
research and science to create jobs. Makes sense
to me. Much of what we have today is the result of space and arms races.
And that's about it except for all the usual rubbish. There was one
interesting magazine article about a Christian
proprietor of a B&B hotel who refused to let a gay couple share
a room even though they were "married". Actually, the responses from the
public to the article were more interesting than the article itself.
Steve, former student at Gosford High when I was "kidnapped" back in
'71 wrote: Just further to your kidnapping - if you look at the names
in the newspaper clipping, one of your kidnappers was a Mark Edmondson
- who became the last Australian to win the Aussie Open Tennis in 1976
- beating John Newcombe. Not everyone can lay claim to that! How's that
Well, I see that Mark
Edmondson now designs and builds tennis courts. Can you recognize him
from the school
photo? I think it's the bloke just to my right with the cap on.
Anyway, that's it. It's just too hot to do anything but flop. Steve
reckons it's 40C in Sydney. Gary
January 25, 2011. Tomorrow is Australia Day, and here's a
bloke who reckons he's got the perfect Aussie Burger recipe. Even McDonalds
in Oz has succumbed to satisfying Aussie tastes by adding beet, pineapple
and egg to some of their burgers.
Tony's back painting the garage doors, so I had to get Bluey outta there
before I drive to the doc's for the removal of my stitches, etc. The more
I talk to Tony, the more convinced I am that there's hardly a building
in Taree he hasn't painted. There's not much I can tell him about making
home-made chips either. His dad ran a fish 'n' chip shop in England before
migrating to Oz.
Back from the doc's and got this email outta the blue from a bloke named
I stumbled across your website and found it fascinating reading and
brought back a lot of memories. I lived on the Central Coast when 2GO opened
and was also a student at Gosford High and remember
your kidnapping very well and you were such a good sport about it.
I also recall 2GO had an open day one weekend and I went through
the studio and you were on hand to show how it all worked. I did have a
great interest to become a broadcaster but it never happened.
Anyway, I am pleased that you are still enjoying life and good luck
with your travels and look forward to checking your scrapbook to see what
you are up to.
Well, what a lovely surprise! My "kidnapping" happened 40 years ago.
By the way, the "excision" of the two skin cancers 2 weeks ago cost
$264, of which $226 was rebated this morning by Medicare. There's another
one at the base of my neck which needs to be excised February 16. It was
hardly visible 2 weeks ago and then whammo. As the doc said some time ago,
"they'll just keep popping up". That's one of the things I'll need to take
care of on the Odyssey... regular checkups, prescription renewals, and
the occasional excision by various docs around the countryside. Imagine
that! I might get stitched in Kakadu!
Beeb time: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to track down
and punish those behind an apparent suicide bomb attack at Moscow's Domodedovo
airport killed 35 people and injured more than 100. Two Britons were among
those killed as the blast rocked the international arrivals terminal at
Moscow's busiest airport on Monday afternoon. Last March the Russian capital's
underground system was rocked by two female suicide bombers from Russia's
volatile Dagestan region, who detonated their explosives on the busy metro
system during rush hour, killing 40 people and injuring more than 80. I
will never understand that kind of mentality or behavior. Supporters
of Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri have taken to the streets
in protest at efforts by Hezbollah to form the next government. Protesters,
who accuse the Shia Islamist movement of staging a coup, are blocking roads
and burning tyres in several towns and cities. Hezbollah and its allies
earlier won the nomination of their candidate Najib Mikati as the next
prime minister. The US expressed "great concern" over Hezbollah dominating
government. No wonder they call Oz the lucky country.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a visit to Mexico, says there
is "no alternative" to the fight against drugs gangs, despite rising violence.
agree. You can't reason with those criminals. They need to be treated like
vermin. The man accused of the Arizona shooting attack that killed
six people and wounded 13, including a US congresswoman, has pleaded not
guilty to three attempted murder charges. Jared Loughner, 22, entered the
pleas over the attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords
and two aides. Wearing glasses and an orange prison jumpsuit, Mr Loughner
sat quietly through the whole hearing, smiling broadly, the Associated
Press reported. I don't understand how a person so
obviously deranged and disturbed was not locked-up before he caused so
much damage. A young woman has survived after falling from the 23rd
floor of a hotel in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires. Her fall was broken
by a taxi, whose driver got out moments before the impact crushed the roof
and shattered the windscreen. Eyewitness said the woman had climbed over
a safety barrier and leapt from a restaurant at the top of the Hotel Crown
Plaza Panamericano. Surely the restaurant food wasn't
THAT bad. Iranian authorities have hanged two men convicted of taking
part in protests following the disputed presidential election in 2009.
Iranian prosecutors said Jafar Kazemi and Mohammad Ali Hajaghaei had taken
photos and footage of the protests and distributed them on the internet.
They were also found guilty of chanting slogans promoting the exiled People's
Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI). Welcome to the Dark Ages.
Toyota beats General Motors to end 2010 as the world's largest carmaker
despite suffering a series of recalls and safety issues. I
remember when I first saw the name back in the 60s and thought, "What kind
of name is THAT for a car?"
Well, I'm certainly glad I don't live in the Middle East. They're all
nutz! I remember my mother saying years ago (she's been dead for 20) that
if there was a third world war it would start in the Middle East. I dunno
where she got that idea from because she didn't really follow politics
but it seems like a fair assessment to me. If you read the Old Testament
it's as though little has changed since Moses was a boy, including fashions.
Honestly, those people are in a time warp.
It's hot. And I mean HOT. I dunno how Tony handled the heat outside
as he painted and did various handyman tasks. But it doesn't seem to bother
him. He quit at about 2:30 and will be back Thursday for some finishing
touches. Meanwhile, Averil and I have agreed to share a pizza tonight...
a Chewsday Cheapie supreme with double topping. Yum! Steak and onions for
And that's it. Too bloody hot to write any more. Gary
January 24, 2011. It'll be Australia Day in a couple of days.
More fireworks and celebrations... another excuse for a party.
Meanwhile, TX Greg commented: Ok I could just see you here trying
to load a slide-on camper....
I agree with what Richie said the other day about a cab-over design
or Class C Mini Motorhome. You do plan on living in this 365 days a year,
right? You'll be surprised how much time will really be spent inside. Remember
last week at the rowing outing, "it's bloody hot! I lasted only 1 hour".
And yes I agree totally with what you said about a ute and slide-on being
"independent". It would suck that if something goes wrong with the
engine you have to take your whole house into the shop!!! I know you're
against towing a caravan but perhaps you shouldn't rule that out, way less
headaches than a slide-on :)
True... the sun and I don't get along too well in the summer, so an
awning is a must, especially in situations where there's no shade. I plan
on spending as much time outdoors as poss. As to towing, I can't afford
to stay at caravan parks (other than an overnighter occasionally), so I
need a vehicle that can handle dirt roads and narrow tracks which are often
the only way to access national parks and free or low-cost camping areas.
A caravan in those circumstances is a no-no. We ain't talkin' a 5-star
Odyssey here ya know.
This is the kind of thing available
in National Parks. Here's another
one. I have a book called Camps
Australia Wide which contains a huge list of free camping areas and
cheap caravan parks, plus facilities available at each site, type of road
access (4WD or otherwise), thousands of maps and other important info.
Many travelers refer to it as their "Bible".
Tony the Painter is back using a power sander to smooth some brickwork
on the front veranda before painting. That put paid to Lindsay's little
snooze hehe. But Sue is blissfully sleeping through the whole racket. Tony's
son is a part-time truck driver and the pair traveled to Brisbane in a
convoy of B-doubles to deliver a stack of stuff to various McDonalds outlets.
"That was a real experience," Tony said, and told the story of a nervous
woman driver "who shouldn't be allowed on the road" traveling under the
speed limit. So his son got up the ass of the woman and blew his air horns.
Tony was worried that the woman would throw her hands in the air in panic
and let go of the wheel (and I've seen that before) and crash. He said
to witness the devastation of the Queensland floods first hand is mind-boggling...
millions of dollars of damaged property and machinery everywhere you go.
"And the smell," he added. "The smell is everywhere."
I've spent the best part of the last hour chatting with Tony... he loves
to tell a story or two hehe. Turns out he lives on a farm and has a tractor.
He also has chooks (chickens) and rabbits. "Oh, the rabbits are for eating,"
he explains. Hmmm. "I've got lots of things... way too much, really." His
son is a farrier, which is a rare trade these days.
Beeb time: Leaked documents released by al-Jazeera TV suggest Palestinian
negotiators agreed to Israel keeping large parts of illegally occupied
East Jerusalem. The TV channel says it has thousands of confidential records
covering the peace process between 2000 and 2010. The alleged offers relating
to East Jerusalem are the most controversial, as the issue has been a huge
stumbling block in Mideast talks and both Israelis and Palestinians claim
Jerusalem as their capital. Israel has occupied the West Bank, including
East Jerusalem, since 1967, settling close to 500,000 Jews in more than
100 settlements. Julian Assange is setting a new
trend. Brazilian officials say the number of deaths known to have
been caused by this month's flooding and landslides in Brazil is more than
800. That is one serious tragedy. Parts of
the south-eastern Australian state of Victoria are braced for the approach
of a giant lake of floodwater 55 miles (90km) long, as Australia's severe
flooding problems continue. Deputy PM Wayne Swan said the recent floods
would rank as one of Australia's most costly natural disasters ever. More
than 30 people have been killed since flooding began last month. That's
God letting us know we've got too many bloody poofters, ya know.
An Australian soldier has been awarded the country's highest military honour,
the Victoria Cross, for bravery while serving in Afghanistan. Cpl Benjamin
Roberts-Smith, 32, was given the medal for single-handedly overpowering
Taleban machine-gunners attacking his platoon last June. He's
one of many heroes at the moment. I've heard countless stories of friends,
neighbors and even total strangers coming to the aid of flood victims in
Oz lately... huge numbers in their tens of thousands, volunteering their
labor. You hear a lot about the tradition of Aussie mateship but when you
see it on such a massive scale in real life, it brings a tear to your eye.
The King's Speech has won the best film accolade at the Producers Guild
of America Awards, beating off competition from Oscars favourite the Social
Network. The British film about King George VI also beat other strong Academy
Awards contenders including Black Swan, 127 Hours, Inception, The Kids
Are All Right and The Fighter. The film tells the story of King George's
VI battle to overcome a debilitating stammer with the help of an unorthodox
speech therapist, played by Geoffrey Rush. Geoffrey
Rush is one of the all time great actors, in my opinion. A driver
in Canada with a camera on his dashboard captured the moment he came within
inches of being struck by an out of control lorry. Matthew Krizsan was
driving along a road in Ontario when a truck going the other way came crashing
through the central reservation. He managed to swerve out of the lorry's
path just in time. No one was badly hurt in the accident. Check
out the video here.
Yes, volunteers offering assistance to flood victims in Oz turned out
in such huge numbers that they needed to be co-ordinated by various organizations
such as the army, Community Emergency Services, council authorities, police,
etc. Flood victims who suddenly had dozens of people helping to clean up
their stricken homes, and assist in various other ways, were overwhelmed
with gratitude, especially with the assistance offered by total strangers.
And that's it for Mondee. Tomorrow morning it's off to the doc's to
have my stitches removed, and a few other little nasties burned off with
freezing gas. How thrilling. Gary
January 23, 2011. Laundry time. How boring. No wonder rich people
hire domestic help. However, I do appreciate the old Simpsomatic washing
machine... mucho preferable to using scrubbing stones by the river bank.
And I rather like John Steinbeck's idea of putting his undies and things
in a bucket of water and soap with a lid, and allowing it to shimmy and
shake for an hour as he traveled along the road in his motorhome. Very
Speaking of motorhomes, I spread a few pages of newspaper on the kitchen
bench to tip stage 1 of the chips onto in order to cool before stage 2.
The page was full of used V Hickles for sale, two of which were utes (pickups).
So I thought about maybe trading Bluey on a ute from a local dealer. Buying
privately means you can't trade, or get access to finance, so a dealer
has those advantages. Also buying locally means I don't have to travel
anywhere. So that means I would have a ute to use as transport while
I save for a used slide-on camper. When I spot a suitable slide-on,
I can drive the ute to wherever it happens to be located, bung it on the
back, and bring it home. Yeah?
Anyway, that's another option to consider. The main advantage of a ute
and slide-on as I see it is that they're independent. I can keep one and
sell the other - upgrade them separately. It's like having a caravan without
towing anything. And when the ute needs servicing, the slide-on can be
parked somewhere else on its drop-down jacks. If I happen to be camped
somewhere, and want to save my spot, I can detach the camper and use the
ute for a bit of sightseeing or shopping.
Oh... and I remain forever indebted to FL Josh for giving me the tip
on how to keep the old washing machine pumping and grinding during its
Beeb time: Foreign powers negotiating with Tehran on its nuclear programme
say they are "disappointed" after a round of talks ended without progress
in Istanbul. Iran's chief negotiator said any deal should be based on Tehran's
right to uranium enrichment. The US and other Western powers say Iran is
trying to develop a nuclear weapon, a charge Iran denies. Perhaps
we should wait until Iran drops a nuclear bomb on New York before we rush
into any hasty conclusions. The BBC has apologised after Japan's
embassy complained over jokes on an episode of comedy TV quiz show QI.
Panellists made light of the experience of Tsutomu Yamaguchi who survived
the Hiroshima atomic bomb in World War II and the Nagasaki one three days
later. Presenter Stephen Fry described him as "the unluckiest man in the
world" (for having been in both cities when the bombs were dropped). I
suppose a line should be drawn somewhere but those bombs were dropped for
a very good reason, and there's certainly nothing funny about the way Imperialist
Japan treated Aussie prisoners of war forced to work on the Burma railway.
Nothing tops that for sheer vulgarity and barbarism. Tony Blair
has said he "regrets deeply and profoundly the loss of life" during and
after the 2003 Iraq war. The ex-PM said his refusal to express regret for
the decisions that led to war at his first appearance before the committee
had been misinterpreted. But his words were met with cries of "too late"
from the public gallery. Mr Blair also urged the West to stop apologising
for its actions and warned of the threat from Iran, during a four-hour
grilling by the inquiry. Asked whether what had happened in Iraq had made
the risk from Iran and other countries developing nuclear weapons worse,
rather than better, he said: "I don't think so." Jeez,
they're desperate for this bloke's scalp. One bloke interviewed on the
TV news called Blair a criminal. They're all experts in hindsight, if you
ask me. They've conveniently forgotten about the removal of one of the
most despised despots of all time, Saddam Hussein.
Big, Bigger, Biggest was interesting on telly last night. This time
it was about telescopes of the optical kind using mirrors instead of lenses.
Lenses split the colors of the spectrum and distort distant images, especially
those billions of light years away. Isaac Newton was the dude who first
used mirrors in a telescope. But last night's program traced the history
of telescopes and various improvements made along the way. There was one
on the west coast of the US that needed a mirror that (at the time) could
only be manufactured in New York, on the other side of the country. The
mirror, about 5 meters in diameter, needed to be transported by rail and
then road but word got out that a religious fundamentalist group planned
to destroy the thing en route, so extra security precautions needed to
be taken. Imagine that. The telescope would be the first of its kind to
prove that the universe is continually expanding, thus giving the "Big
Bang" theory serious credibility as a scientific fact. The religious fundamentalists
didn't want that to happen because it would jeopardize the notion of creation.
Go figure. Fundamentalists are not interested in truth, they are only interested
in preserving their own fantasy.
That's the way fundamentalists and fanatics of any persuasion - religious
or otherwise - are. They are intolerant of any argument that might destroy
their faith in whatever it is they believe, and they are willing to ignore
the facts, or even destroy them, in order to preserve their absurd convictions.
I suppose that's where the term "blind faith" comes from.
Okay, the washing is done, folded and stored away. And the bed is made
with clean sheets and even TWO NEW PILLOWS! I threw the oldies out. They
were disgusting. The newies cost $14 for two, so that was pretty cool...
and they're nice and plump and fluffy - and smell good. And the shopping's
done. The reason the laundry takes so damn long is because Ohio Sean keeps
sending me stuff. So blame him. Anyone walking by and seeing my stuff fluttering
on the clothes line could be excused for thinking I'm an immigrant.
Ohio Jace wrote to say the weather "over there" ain't too rosy. This
morning it was minus 23C. Wow. I've never experienced anything like that,
and what's more, I don't intend to. Meanwhile, Jace is doing his regular
baby sitting thing: I learned one thing, Stevie is far ornerier than
Cody and is taking advantage of being the only one here. He pushes a chair
around the kitchen and uses it as a ladder to get into the freezer or cupboard
for whatever he wants to eat. He turns the water on but not off, and worst
of all he likes to flush things down the loo, even if it won't fit. I keep
the deadbolt set on the door so he can't go outside and the stove turned
off with a circuit breaker to keep him from burning himself. Otherwise
we get along just fine. Unlike Code, he will take a nap, if I lay down
with him and hopefully not fall asleep before he does.
I don't know how Jace handles it. Then again, he probably wonders how
I handle L&S. Jace also mentioned he's quit an internet forum he belonged
to. He says the guys were getting too nasty. Yes, that happens with cyber
relationships sometimes. You have to take the whole thing with a grain
of salt... a big grain. It's not worth getting too involved. Meanwhile,
is tutoring after school and occasionally teaching class. The science teacher
is retiring in June so maybe Sean will be teaching next year full time.
Jace asked if I thought Cody would have been on Twitter or Facebook
if they had existed back then. Hard to say, but I doubt it. He liked to
do his own thing with his web site, the same as I do. Besides, he was a
busy boy with a million things going on in his life, and he kept his cyber
life totally separate from his private life.
So that's it for today, dear Breth. Time to feed the multitude. Gary
January 22, 2011. The host of a game show on Oz telly the other
day said he quite enjoyed playing football, cricket and other competitive
sports at school but that he didn't care who won. Hehe. I can identify
with that. And that reminded me of a Red Bubbler who entered a photographic
competition and posted a plea for fellow RBers to vote for his entry. Hmmm.
I guess that means the best photo is not necessarily the one that wins.
Bobby, who's been reading The Codeman, wrote: Why aren't you some
famous rich ass writer? It breaks my heart, you're so talented. Well,
who knows? I suspect it's because I lack the necessary competitive spirit...
the killer instinct, as some call it. In any case, I believe a bloke needs
to do what he feels is right for him regardless of what others may think.
Imagine reaching a ripe old age and saying, "I owe my success to doing
what others expected of me (while denying what I expected of myself)."
I've told this story before but I'll tell it again: When I started AO
my older bro said to me, "How are you gonna compete with all the other
travel sites?" Well, competing with anyone else was and still is the furthest
thing from my mind. AO is not about competition, AO is about one bloke
doing his own thing, that's all. If anyone else is interested, fine, if
not, fine. I'm not entering a popularity contest.
That is not to say I don't care about hits. I do. I also appreciate
feedback. But they're not the sole reason I'm here.
Anyway, nuffa that. I saw on the news the other night that Australia
Post is considering closing some of its post offices, including
the one built in 1890 at Glebe where I used to live in Sydney. Email
and various other electronic means of communication, paying bills, etc,
is eating into Australia Post's traditional business. Glebe Post Office
is an icon of the area, and there was a huge protest by locals at the decision
to close it. So, what price progress? To what extent should we embrace
our future without losing our past? I'm not sure what the answer to that
is but I can tell you I would never go back to using a typewriter, and
it's a long time since I licked a stamp. Actually, that's not true... I
used a stamp to send a letter off to Anyel in Nicaragua the other day.
But neither he nor his mom has access to the internet.
Beeb time: Tunisia's long-time PM Mohamed Ghannouchi pledges to quit
politics after polls, amid calls for all figures linked to the ousted president
to stand down. There's nothing more annoying than
people who are not wanted and who refuse to take the hint. Former
Haitian leader Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier tells reporters he returned
home to work for national reconciliation and apologises to the victims
of his 15-year rule. Oh? So now he has a conscience?
Doctors treating a US congresswoman who was shot in the head last week
say her transfer to a rehabilitation centre has gone "flawlessly". Lucky
girl. Tony Blair says he "regrets" the loss of life in Iraq but
urges the West to stop apologising for the 2003 war, in a four hour grilling
by the Chilcot inquiry. I don't remember too much
opposition to the decision to invade Iraq back in 2003. If there had been,
it would never have happened. Pope Benedict XVI has said public
officials must offer a strong moral example, his first apparent comment
on the sex scandal engulfing Italy's PM. Benny knows
a thing or two about sex scandals. It's time we ditched "Dear..."
from work e-mails, according to a US political figure, who says it's too
intimate. So what is the most appropriate way to greet someone in an e-mail
- hi, hey or just get straight to the point? For
me, straight to the point.
"Dear" has lost its meaning. If a company writes me and calls me "Dear
Mr Kelly", what's that all about? And I'm very suspicious of "fond regards"
and that kinda thing from strangers. So I tend to steer clear of all that
formality and stick to "G'day". Hehe. Straight up and down, that's me.
Actually, it's amazing how many people in a public place such as the
street or a shopping center respond to "g'day" with "fine, thanks". Hehe.
I DIDN'T ASK YOU HOW YOU ARE I SIMPLY SAID G'DAY! I DON'T NEED OR WANT
A RESPONSE! I DON'T EVEN CARE HOW YOU ARE!
Cody had a thing about signing off, "Your friend...", which was fine.
Friendship meant a great deal to Cody. Sometimes he went a little further
and threw in a *Hugs* or *Loveya*. But he was always sincere about his
greetings and signoffs. I'm a great believer in not saying anything I don't
mean. I know some people take that as being aloof, but I'd rather be aloof
Anyway, these days in my deliriously delicious grumpdom, I've concluded
that ya git whatcha git, and I don't intend to apologize for who/what I
am. I can't be bothered with all that nonsense.
Ah! Here's a little gem of info I just discovered: Australia has the
greatest number of reptiles of any country, with 755 species. I'm not surprised,
really, my ex-business partner was one.
I spent a bit of time earlier checking out Google's street view of places
where I lived in Potts Point/Elizabeth Bay (Sydney) back in the mid 70s,
and they're still there. One was a 3-storey mansion in Billyard Ave, overlooking
Elizabeth Bay - a former grand residence built in the 19th century, converted
into flats. Mine was at the back on the ground floor with no view... just
two rooms with a shared bathroom, but it did have direct access through
French doors to the rear courtyard. One of these days I'll spend a bit
of time wandering around my old haunts and take lots of piccies. It would
be fascinating to see those places again. I won't be able to have a beer
at my two favorite pubs, though. They're gone. Oh well, cest la vie.
Din dins time again. See you tomorrow. Gary
January 21, 2011. Only 344 days to go to 2012. It's kinda scary,
actually. My current rut will have come to an end. My security blanket
will have evaporated. Averil doesn't say too much about my disappearing
on the Odyssey but I know she doesn't like the idea of losing her messenger
and shopping boy. But as I said to her the other day, the thought of getting
my own little flat somewhere and living on my own in a nice, comfortable,
secure environment has a certain appeal BUT... what happens in 10 years
when I look back and ask the question, "what have I done, where have I
been?" 10 years can dissolve like an asprin in a glass of water. I'm also
mindful of something an old bloke said to me a few years ago. I remarked
on the caravan he was towing and mentioned my dream of traveling Oz, and
he said, "Don't leave it too late." Sounded to me like he had a few regrets
Anyway, memories are important. There comes a time in life, I suspect,
when memories are all you have left, so the more the merrier. Actually,
it's a pity it takes so damn long to reach the conclusion that life is
short. But, while you can't lengthen life, you can pack more into it. Cody
certainly achieved that in his short 19 years.
A copy of Green Room sold the other day, and today a copy of Green Room
II was sold. So there's another reader who's following the story with interest.
I realize I'm biased, but I still think Green Room deserves to be a best
seller. It's all about marketing, ya know, and I ain't got the wherewithall.
Beeb time: US federal agents have charged 127 suspected mobsters in
multiple investigations into New York's organised crime families. The arrests
were made on Thursday morning throughout New York City, New Jersey, Rhode
Island and other areas in the north-east US, FBI officials said. They were
accused of a range of crimes including murder and extortion. Attorney General
Eric Holder said the arrests were the largest single-day mob crackdown
in the history of the FBI. "We are committed and determined to eradicating
these criminal enterprises and bringing their members to justice," Mr Holder
said during a news conference in Brooklyn. Elliott
Ness lives again! Dunno about eradicating though... fighting crime is a
never-ending battle. President Hu Jintao says China has no interest
in pursuing military dominance over other nations, after meeting US politicians
and business leaders. He should have added, "at the
moment." Tunisia's new interim government says it will recognise
all banned political groups and grant an amnesty to all political prisoners.
there's nothing like a good spring clean! Google co-founder Larry
Page is to take over as chief executive of the search giant in April, with
Eric Schmidt moving to executive chairman role.
wish I knew what hasn't been invented yet. The world may have twice
as much natural gas than previously thought, according to the rich nations'
think tank the International Energy Agency (IEA). The world may have 250
years of gas usage at current levels thanks to "unconventional gas" from
shale and coal beds, Anne-Sophie Corbeau, senior gas expert at the IEA
told BBC News. Could be a worry if you believe in
reincarnation. The victim of a high-profile New York baby-snatching
case has been reunited with her mother after solving the mystery of her
abduction herself. Carlina White was abducted from a hospital in Harlem
in August 1987, when she was just 19 days old. Raised as Nejdra Nance in
Connecticut, Ms White, 23, always had a sense she did not belong to her
family, police said, and began her own inquiries. DNA tests this week confirmed
Carlina as the daughter of Joy White. Police are now investigating the
woman who raised Carlina. What a fascinating story.
Stay tooned for the movie. A woman in the US is able to speak for
the first time in 11 years after a pioneering voicebox transplant. Brenda
Jensen said the operation, which took place in California, was a miracle
which had restored her life. Thirteen days after the surgery she said her
first words: "Good morning, I want to go home." It is the first time a
voicebox and windpipe have been transplanted at the same time and only
the second time a voice box has ever been transplanted. I
wonder what her husband has to say about it. Hehe. A Roman Catholic
priest has appeared in a Canadian court after being extradited from Belgium
to face charges of molesting boys more than 30 years ago. The Reverend
Eric Dejaeger, a Canadian citizen, had been wanted since 2002. Pedophiles
need to understand one vital thing above all else: kids don't stay kids.
A live hen was thrown through the open window of a Kentucky Fried Chicken
(KFC) restaurant in Warwickshire. RSPCA inspectors say they want to speak
to the two men who approached the restaurant in Bermuda Park, Nuneaton,
on a moped on Tuesday evening. The RSPCA is now looking for a new home
for the hen, which it has named Mrs Sanders. Cruel
and tasteless prank but I love the name. Dozens of people flocked
to a cash machine in Dundee after it started "spitting out" money, it has
emerged. Police were called to the Scotmid branch in Fintry Road after
staff noticed a crowd gathering outside the ATM at the front of the shop.
A witness told the BBC Scotland news website the machine was paying out
double the amounts requested. How lovely! But I wonder
if the amount requested or the amount actually received appears on the
bank statement. Oops!
So there ya go, China has no intention of pursuing military dominance.
Back in the 50s and 60s, Australia was paranoid about China, which was
referred to as "The
Yellow Peril." That was back in the days of the "White Australia Policy".
Now, of course, China is our largest trading partner and the White Australia
Policy is dead and buried. The Prime Minister of the time Robert Menzies
(Australia's longest serving PM) was nicknamed "Pig Iron Bob" because he
sold Australian iron ore to Japan before World War II, which the Japanese
turned into warships and fighter planes.
The TV volume just went through the roof as I attempted an afternoon
snooze. So I went into the living room and there was Sue pressing buttons
furiously on the remote. The harder you press, and the more determined
your facial expression, the greater your chance of success, right? Well
it is according to Sue's logic. So I switched off the TV, told Sue to leave
the remote alone and tried to resume my snooze. A minute later, the volume
went through the roof again. Same process. But I've given up on my snooze.
Later, Lindsay will emerge from the bedroom (he sleeps most of the day)
and blast Sue for buggering up the TV again. He'll phone Austar technical
assistance to get the thing working, and then tell Sue for the umpteenth
time NOT to touch the remote. But she'll do it again tomorrow or the next
day. Decades of alcohol abuse have shrivelled her brain and her short term
memory is shot to pieces. What a pair.
So I ask myself, could life as a vagabond on an aimless Odyssey be any
worse than this? Surely not.
I just favorited a few more pics on Red Bubble including
this one. Baby orang utan was leaping about the cage having the time
of his life when daddy arrived, so he scampered back to mom's arms and
tried to look innocent. Hehe. It's nice to think that on the Odyssey I'll
have the opportunity (often, I hope) to be at the right place at the right
time to take pics that are exceptional. Meanwhile, there's no shortage
of inspiration on Red Bubble.
Kitchen time again. Chicken schnitzel and hash browns for HIM and soy,
honey and garlic stir-fry chicken for Sue and me. Gary
January 20, 2011. Just as I suspected... last night's storm kicked
up a bit of a stink for about half and hour and then drifted away to annoy
I heard a story on QI last night from Stephen Fry that the oldest woman
in the world died at 125. She was asked to what she attributed her longevity
and she said olive oil. "I drink it every day and put it all over my skin.
I only have one wrinkle and I'm sitting on it." I think Stephen was having
a lend of us.
Pay/Bills day again, and I've done it all on Netbank in 5 minutes. No
envelopes, no stamps, no checks. A bunch of numbers comes in, and a bunch
of numbers goes out. L&S pay their share in cash so I use that for
shopping, etc. Rarely do I use plastic, and I haven't had a checking account
Would you like to take a train ride from Milson's Point over the Sydney
Harbor Bridge to Wynyard Station in the city? Okay, no worries. Just
make sure you've got your ticket. It's a trip I've taken a zillion
Shopping's done and it's late. Maybe time for a quick Beeb: Chinese
President Hu Jintao acknowledges "a lot still needs to be done" in China
over human rights, after talks with US President Barack Obama. And
Barack said, "So what the fuck is taking you so long?" Yeah, right.
Some 33 members of ousted Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's
family have been arrested, state TV reports. Oooo!
Doesn't look too good for those guys. Controversial US pastor Terry
Jones, who last year threatened a Koran-burning protest, has been banned
from entering the UK, the Home Office says. Good.
Swiss police have re-arrested a former banker on fresh charges of breaching
bank secrecy laws by passing data to whistleblowers' website WikiLeaks.
Only hours earlier Rudolf Elmer was found guilty by a Zurich court of breaching
another bank secrecy law. Elmer, 55, was fined more than 6,000 Swiss francs
($6,250; £4,000) but escaped prosecution demands for a prison sentence.
He had said the leaks were to expose tax evasion by the rich. Rudolph
needs to learn that it's much safer to expose the poor because the poor
can't do anything about it. Republicans in the US House of Representatives
have passed a bill to repeal President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul,
in a symbolic move demonstrating their gains in Congress. The vote fulfils
a top promise made to Republican voters in the November's mid-term elections.
if the poor can't look after themselves, fuck 'em. A US Air Force
sergeant has been sentenced to eight years in prison and dishonourable
discharge for exposing sex partners to HIV at swinger parties. David Gutierrez
had been convicted of aggravated assault and of violating orders to notify
partners of his status and to use a condom. Gutierrez begged a Kansas military
judge for a lower sentence, noting he had not infected anyone. He feared
he would be unable to afford HIV drugs without medical benefits. The
poor fellow. People in the south-eastern Australian town of Kerang
have been told to leave their homes, as rising river levels threatened
another community in the worst flood crisis in decades. More than 1,000
Kerang residents have moved to a nearby evacuation centre, as the Loddon
River continues to swell. When Prince Charles commented
on the floods in Oz recently he quoted two lines from Dorothy Mackellar's
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!
The US has signed a $45bn (£28bn) export deal with China, according
to a Washington official. The trade deal includes a $19bn purchase of 200
Boeing aircraft. That'll make a few Yanks happy!
Well, time to vamoose ladies and genitals. The day has almost vanished,
and I have a couple of hungry mouths to feed! Maybe I should swap L&S
for a couple of budgerigars or something. Gary
January 19, 2011. Another cloudy, mild and showery day. Normally,
I associate this time of year with heatwaves and humidity, but it's very
different this year, including record floods in Queensland and Victoria
after a decade of drought. So what's all this global warming stuff?
It just occurred to me that the naming of Aussie states is interesting.
On the east coast we have Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria... all
very British. The Australian Capital Territory was annexed from NSW in
the early 20th century to house the Federal Parliament so that doesn't
count. And then in the middle and further west we have unimaginative names
like The Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. How
dreary. Further south we have the island state of Tasmania, named after
Abel Tasman the Dutch seafarer and explorer who sighted the west coast
of Tasmania in 1642 and named it Van Dieman's Land. Meanwhile, WA, SA and
NT are stuck with pretty uninspiring names.
I grew up hearing popular songs about towns and states in America...
Carolina, California, West Virginia, Chicago, New York, San Fransisco,
Hawaii etc, and I realized it was no wonder we didn't have songs in Oz
about Woolloomooloo or Oodnadatta. Hehe. Australian names are not very
musical whereas those in America are. I Left My Heart in Boggabilla just
Boggabilla is near Goondiwindi, by the way, which is pronounced "Gun-da-windy".
Speaking of which, Oregon Richie reckons a cab-over design is better
than a pop-top campervan, and I'm inclined to agree with him. But I still
worry a little that it might be difficult to negotiate
narrow dirt tracks with something that big. I don't intend to stick
to freeways or stay at 5-star holiday parks, ya know. On the other hand,
the price is right for me, and life is, after all, a compromise. The problem
is, for every hundred or so campervans there's
only one cabover, so they're quite difficult to find, especially at
a price I can afford. Anyway, dozen madder... whatever happens happens.
about something historic like this?
Beeb time: Former Haiti leader Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier is charged
with corruption and embezzlement just two days after his return, prosecutors
say. Some crooks just cannot resist returning to
the scene of the crime. Apple made record profits and revenues in
the run-up to Christmas, but the company's statement makes no mention of
boss Steve Jobs' health problems. Given the runaway
success of Microsoft, I'm surprised Apple has lasted long enough to make
it this far. Chinese President Hu Jintao has kicked off a four-day
US visit with a rare private dinner at the White House with President Barack
Obama. Analysts say Mr Hu's visit is the most important by a Chinese leader
in 30 years given China's growing military, economic and diplomatic clout.
I can't see Julia Gillard getting that kinda treatment. Floodwaters
in Australia's state of Victoria have split the town of Horsham in two,
as the body of a young boy was found in another flood-hit town, Shepparton.
Heavy rains which had laid waste to Queensland are causing an escalating
emergency in Victoria. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is to form a panel
of corporate leaders to help rebuild devastated infrastructure. The floods
are said to be Australia's most expensive natural disaster.
putting it mildly. Technology that links vehicles into "road trains"
that can travel as a semi-autonomous convoy has undergone its first real
world tests. The trials held on Volvo's test track in Sweden slaved a single
car to a lorry to test the platooning system. Trains of cars under the
control of a lead driver should cut fuel use, boost safety and may even
cut congestion. A most interesting concept, which
you can read about here.
Yes, imagine that... lock into a lead vehicle on a long freeway and
relax as your car is "towed" along. Kinda like riding in a train carriage
except the carriage is all yours. You can read a Donald Duck comic, or
fiddle with a Rubic's Cube, or press lots of buttons on your cell phone.
Right, baked cocktail frankies and chips for Lindsay and me, and baked
chicken chippies and corn fritters for Sue. They're such a picky lot.
There's a big black cloud hovering over Taree at the mo, and I can hear
a bit of rumbling. What's the bet it'll make a bit of noise for 10 minutes
and drift towards the coast? That's what usually happens. Gary
January 18, 2011. Tony arrived again but stayed only 2 hours.
It's cloudy and threatening to rain so he toddled off. He's chosen a different
color to the one we had before. We had gray and white trim which is now
peach and white. I'll post a few pics when he's finished the job... which
could be any time between now and 2020 hehe.
One of my favorite Cody expressions was one he used to describe Wingnut
after a game of rugby: "Wingnut looked like he'd been dragged through a
hedge." Hehe. Well, I was reminded of that when I saw myself in the bathroom
mirror just now. I won't be able to shower until tomorrow when I remove
the bandage on my leg. All I've been able to do this past week is shave
and wash my pits. Ew!
Selling an old Austin Cambridge has its drawbacks as this
Youchewb vid shows. I was surprised when a potential buyer turned up
in an old '50s Morris Oxford like the one I had (my first car). Pininfarina
designed those BMC cars of the late 50s and early 60s, and I reckon they
still look good today. The British 4-potters didn't have much grunt so
BMC in Oz competed with Holden, Ford and Valiant with an Austin Freeway
6, and a Wolseley 6, based on the Pininfarina design. But
the experiment was "too little, too late".
Yes, dear Breth, those were the days when cars were cars, and they were
interesting. Now they're a dime a dozen and boring. Or maybe I'm getting
older and less interested. As a kid, I was totally absorbed by cars - the
smell of leather upholstery, and the shine of all the dials on the dash.
Most people in our street didn't have a car. My
dad had a van he used for work, which was better than no car at all,
but until my older bros reached their late teens, and bought their first
cars, our street was virtually car-less. Occasionally, someone would by
an old bomb which sat out front in the street until the tires went flat
and weeds grew around the wheels. My mate Jimmy up the road had a car.
Well, his dad did. It was a late '30s American something or other that
sat in the front yard and never went anywhere, so we used it as a cubby
house. Ya know, when you're four foot something sitting on a fat leather
seat in a monster Yank Tank, it's pretty impressive... even if it won't
Beeb time: Italian prosecutors have alleged that Italian Prime Minister
Silvio Berlusconi had sex with a "significant number" of young prostitutes.
In a request to search some of Mr Berlusconi's properties, they cited allegations
that he had paid the women or given them free use of apartments. The prosecutors
are investigating whether Mr Berlusconi paid to have sex with a 17-year-old
nightclub dancer. Prostitution is not a crime in Italy, but paying for
or helping arrange sex with a prostitute under the age of 18 is an offence.
hum. The extent to which Queensland's soils became saturated with
water as the Australian state was deluged with rain is evident in new satellite
imagery. The maps were made by Europe's Smos spacecraft, which carries
a novel instrument capable of seeing the moisture held in the ground. The
hope is that its data can be used in future to give flood warnings where
wet soils are becoming overloaded. Check
out the image here. The chief executive of one of Germany's leading
space companies has lost his job because of the Wikileaks saga. Berry Smutny
was alleged to have told diplomats at a meeting in Berlin in October 2009
that Galileo, a flagship space programme of the EU, was a waste of taxpayers'
money. As my mother used to say, "the chickens always
come home to roost". A former Swiss banker has passed on data containing
account details of 2,000 prominent people to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
The data - which is not yet available on the Wikileaks website - was held
on two discs handed over by Rudolf Elmer at a press conference in London.
Mr Assange promised full disclosure once the information had been vetted.
Mr Elmer is scheduled to go on trial in Switzerland on Wednesday for breaking
bank secrecy laws. Stay tooned. The impact
of the King James Bible, which was published 400 years ago, is still being
felt in the way we speak and write, says Stephen Tomkins. No other book,
or indeed any piece of culture, seems to have influenced the English language
as much as the King James Bible. Its turns of phrase have permeated the
everyday language of English speakers, whether or not they've ever opened
a copy. The Sun says Aston Villa "refused to give up the ghost". Wendy
Richard calls her EastEnders character Pauline Fowler "the salt of the
earth". The England cricket coach tells reporters, "You can't put words
in my mouth." Daily Mirror fashion pages call Tilda Swinton "a law unto
herself". Read the
full article here.
Yes, I suppose when it comes to language, we're all guilty of plagiarism
to some extent. "Cool" is one of the most interesting words to my mind.
It's been around for 50 years or more and is still used by the younger
generation to describe anything acceptable. As with most things, they think
they invented it.
Bangers and mash with fried onions and gravy tonight. "Heart Smart"
bangers with less fat. Gary
January 17, 2011. Tony the painter is back. Talk about casual
hehe. A bit here, a bit there, no worries. He spotted the wound on my neck
(the bandage wouldn't stick, so I ripped it off), and asked what it was
about. I told him about the skin cancers, and how they keep popping up
from time to time, and how I have to get the more serious ones surgically
removed. "If you were a horse," he said, "they'd take you out to the paddock
and shoot you."
This morning on a newsgroup I was fortunate enough to find a bunch of
pics of cars caught up in the Queensland floods, so
I made an album.
Justin posts quite a bit of material about relationships on his blog,
which got me to thinking about the need for most people to be one of a
pair or a group. How often do people go out to dinner on their own, or
to a movie or concert on their own? I think most people feel insecure on
their lonesome. Maybe I've gotten used to being solo over the years but
it certainly doesn't bother me. I'm quite happy to dine alone in a restaurant
or go any place by myself. I don't feel conspicuous at all. And it saves
a lot of disagreements. It's not that I prefer to be alone, necessarily
- I quite like company - it's just that I don't see a need to be part of
a pair or group in order to be whole. Does that mean I don't suffer from
feelings of insecurity? Or does it simply mean I'm a grumpy old fart?
Mind you, I wouldn't be writing this blog or running this site if it
didn't have an audience, so I'm not entirely self-reliant, and I do enjoy
a bit of tap dancing.
Yesterday, I referred to imported RVs and Australian compliance. Well,
in Sydney there's apparently a company that imports Right Hand Drive RVs,
probably from places like Fiji, Papua, and other countries where RHD is
the norm, but where the used car market is very small. For
example, this Toyota has very low mileage for a 15 y/o car, which makes
me think it was purchased from a rental company operating in a small country...
perhaps New Zealand. Even the Great Barrier Reef is 1000 kilometers longer
than the whole of NZ. At the moment, the starting price is $10K with no
bids yet, and 9 days to go. My guess is it'll go for something like $15K
or more. Maybe a lot more!
Of course, camping and touring is a seasonal thing, so the best time
to buy a camper is in winter when prices are lower. That's something to
keep in mind.
Beeb time: The condition of US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who
was shot in the head in Arizona, is now "serious" rather than "critical",
hospital officials say. Doctors said Ms Giffords' condition was upgraded
because she was sucessfully taken off a ventilator. They replaced her breathing
tube on Saturday with a tracheotomy tube in her windpipe to protect her
airways. I wish her all the best. Thousands
of people have fled their homes in Victoria as major flooding hits the
southern Australian state. The floods have already swamped some of the
state's northern towns and are threatening 1,400 homes in 43 others. Victoria
state officials said the flood is set to be one of the worst ever seen
in the state. Around 3,500 people have left their homes so far. Here
we go again. We're so used to reading about drought in Oz, this is almost
unbelievable. Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor's right leg, which was infected
with gangrene, has been amputated in a life-saving surgery her doctors
have deemed a success. She is in "frail health" and will be closely monitored
in a Los Angeles hospital, Dr David Rigberg said. Isn't
that sad. Poor ol' Zsa Zsa. I hope whatever time she has left will be pleasant
and even fruitful.
Meanwhile, I watched a program on telly last night about fishermen in
Tasmania who catch pseudocarcinus gigas - giant crabs. And
I mean giant. The biggies weigh 10kg (22.2 pounds). But they are thrown
back... way too big to serve at a restaurant table. Smaller crabs about
3kg are preferable. Very few fisherman are involved in catching these expensive
crabs (up to $200 served in Asian restaurants) because they live very deep
in the ocean. Raising the traps can take ages. So there ya go... now I'm
a crab expert.
And so ends another hot summer's day in Taree. Time to head to the kitchen
and rustle up some tucker for the misfits. Hehe. Fish cakes and chippies.
January 16, 2011. Well, I did it! I actually got off my saggy
old butt and went OUT THERE to take
a few piccies for AO. I didn't last long, though. It was too bloody
Meanwhile, TX Greg did some comparison work on RVs in the US and Oz:
so the Oz and US dollar are right at the same price. I was window shopping
some of the used Oz RV's and I'm quite shocked that they are
soooooooo much higher than ours.
Yeah, well I figure there are two reasons for that. 1) Oz is a much
smaller market with a pop of 22m and 2) that was a dealer. Dealer prices
are usually more expensive because they buy stuff they can warranty. Most
of the stuff on that site is way too big as well as pricey for me. At the
bottom of the page there were a couple around the $20K mark which I could
be interested in. But I've noticed that private sellers on the used campervan
sites, or eBay, have a lower price tag. On the other hand, you don't get
a warranty or finance.
tons of deals like this here.
one less than Bluey.
Great value compared to similar vehicles in Oz but again, too big for
moi. In some cases left-hand drive vehicles can be registered in Oz but
they are exceptions. There are other factors as well, such as complying
to the Australian Manufacturing and Safety Standards. That would not be
a problem with modern cars but I imagine older cars would not measure up.
In the case of older cars already registered in Oz, and previously sold
here as new, the current Australian standards don't apply. Thanks for the
info and comparison, Greg, but I'm afraid I'm stuck with what I can buy
FL Josh wrote: When the banker said, "No," to you on borrowing $20,000
on a pensioner's income, was that no a personal loan with no collateral,
or no to a vehicle loan where the value of the vehicle would serve as collateral?
It was a personal loan, unsecured. I figure a car loan with the car
used as collateral would be a different situation. As Oregon Richie has
suggested, buying a car from a dealer would solve the finance problem.
However, banks and other finance institutions also have car loans available,
as opposed to personal unsecured loans. I intend to apply for a car loan,
have the money ready and waiting, and then do the shopping. That way I'll
be in a position to bargain a little. I also think I would get more for
Bluey by selling it privately rather than using it as a trade. However,
anything might happen. Stay tooned.
I also got an email outta the blue from a bloke I used to work with.
He's a cameraman/editor who did some shoots for the TV program I worked
on. He also operated a production studio in Petersham where I did a bit
of freelance stuff before moving to Taree. In the meantime, he moved to
the Central Coast. But now he's at Canowindra (pronounced C'nown-dra) where
he flies his own home-made hot air balloon and does aerial photography.
He's a bit older than me and has to be nudging 70, but he's one of those
infuriatingly energetic people who's always on the go. He's also a SCUBA
diver who thinks nothing of swimming with sharks, or shooting footage from
the skids of a chopper. Total
lunatic, so I'm not surprised he's into ballooning. I used to annoy
him when he phoned by saying, "Richard Swansborough", and putting a lot
of sibilance/whistle on the two s's in Swansborough. So he wised up after
a while and let me get as far as "Richard" before saying, "DON'T... say
it." His father was 90-something before he conked out so I guess Richard
still has a few more productive years ahead.
No Beeb today, ladies and genitals. I ran outta time doing my little
AO excursion and all that buggerizing around putting the photo album together.
And now, it's kitchen time again. Too bloody hot for anything but a salad,
so that's what we're having. Oh, and Rodney? I'm pretty sure I heard him
sniffing around at about 4am but I made a bloody racket and I think he
got the message. So I managed to sleep in until 6:45. Gary
January 15, 2011. Rodney woke me at 4am. Read
the story here.
BTW, I've updated
my Red Bubble favs page with some pretty awesome stuff. One shot I
find particularly inspiring is The Final Frontier by William Bullimore...
a shot of the Parkes radio telescope at night under a starry sky.
Cameras are such wonderful things. Little did I realize back in '65
that the pics I took of my new Beetle would be so important to me almost
half a century later. When I scanned the old family photo album recently,
and sent copies off to the rellos, my older bro said, "I wouldn't have
these photos if it weren't for you." He was referring to stuff I took of
him and his family back in the late '80s. Yes, never underestimate the
importance of a photo. And the older it gets, the more important it becomes.
Speaking of which, I suppose I should motivate myself to take a wander
down to the Manning River to check out all the rowing boats and teams visiting
Taree for the regatta or championships or whatever the event is called.
And now for something completely different
from Eikevon Stuckenbrok.
Beeb time: Tunisia's president steps down and flies into exile in Saudi
Arabia, after unrest in the capital and other cities. People
Power. It works sometimes. BP announces a major deal with the state
run energy giant Rosneft to explore in Russia's Arctic region. Well,
well, well. The name's Bond, James Bond. Pope Benedict XVI has formally
approved a miracle attributed to his late predecessor, paving the way to
John Paul II's beatification on 1 May. The Vatican credits him with the
miraculous cure of a nun said to have had Parkinson's Disease. Too
bad about Muhammad Ali and millions of others. An extensive study
of tree growth rings says there could be a link between the rise and fall
of past civilisations and sudden shifts in Europe's climate. A team of
researchers based their findings on data from 9,000 wooden artifacts from
the past 2,500 years. They found that periods of warm, wet summers coincided
with prosperity, while political turmoil occurred during times of climate
instability. How interesting. No wonder everyone
talks about the weather. New Caledonian crows use tools to investigate
unfamiliar and potentially dangerous objects, according to scientists.
New research shows crows cautiously investigating new objects using sticks
as an extension of their beaks. New Caledonian crows are known to fashion
tools to access food sources such as wood-boring beetle larvae. While
that may be true, I can tell you they never went to music school.
As floodwaters in the Queensland capital Brisbane begin to recede, scientists
are casting their eyes out to sea and wondering whether the region's greatest
natural feature, the Great Barrier Reef, will be scarred by the experience.
This is the world's largest reef system - in fact, the largest thing on
Earth made by living organisms, stretching for 2,600km along the coast.
the trouble with human beings: they make a terrible mess.
I've been buggerizing around on Red Bubble again. I spotted this shot
The Tank Engine by my old mate Terry Everson, so I thought, bugger
him, why should he get all the damn glory? So
I posted my version. Mine was soon favorited by William Bullimore,
photographer extraordinaire, who then posted this shot of the interior
of the Siding
Springs Telescope near Coonabarabran in NSW. William and a couple of
mates have been touring western NSW on a camping trip for the past few
As to borrowing money from banks and other institutions, Oregon Richie
has this to say: Don't get bummed about that bank. Try another
bank. There are many banks with different programs and lending parameters
for people with down payment and rate adjustments calculated in, just like
anything in lending I have ever done, or in the mortgage biz, etc.
True, "it is their money" but a lot of different sources are in competition
to sell the only main product they have... money, period... and to a less
but still viable extent... service. I'm reasonably well aware of
your situation for some years and would not really regard it as problematic,
and jeez... you ought to see the CRAP we often deal with at the stores.
THAT is one helluva eye opener, mate... I have royally shit-canned some
pretty puke pink banks and credit unions in my time and found other sources...
especially when they seem to think they are high and mighty and their IT
don't stink, as it were.
I like this line: but a lot of different sources are in competition
to sell the only main product they have... money, period... Yes, I'm
not aware of any bank manager who went down in history as a great contributor
to the benefit of mankind.
Well, time to rustle up some vittles and watch a bit of telly. I hope
Rodney doesn't wake me at 4am again. It buggers up my day. Gary
January 14, 2011.
‘Live on the Edge’
Experience a Tandem Parachute Jump
Free fall for up to 50sec at 200 kph
100% pure adrenalin
Venue: Taree Airport
Time: Bookings essential
Entry: $295 from 10,000 ft - $340 from 12,000 ft
DVD or Photo’s extra
I was checking out the local council's What's On page and noticed the
ad above for parachute jumping. Hmmm. I think I'll pass. However, there
are things more suited to old fogies happening this weekend; sand modeling
at Old Bar, a major rowing regatta on the Manning, and model trains in
Taree. And the weather is improving. The rowing usually provides opportunities
for interesting pecs...er, pics... not so much the rowing itself, but just
the crowds and close-ups of the boats, etc. I've gotta get myself OUT THERE
before January disappears.
I just saw a 2000 model Toyota camper with 585,000 kms on the clock!
Wow! That makes Bluey's 360,000 look pretty tame. I checked the web again
for used campers and there's a million of 'em. My main worry is that when
I'm ready to buy, I don't rush into the first thing I see. I'm a bit like
that ya know... spontaneous... a sucker for making impulsive decisions.
I need to think clearly and carefully before I make a choice. Yeah, right.
Beeb time: Rescuers are trying to find survivors in cut-off areas of
south-eastern Brazil hit by deadly floods that have left more than 400
people dead. Well, that tragedy certainly puts our
problems in Oz into perspective. Mind you, for every individual devastated
by floods, it's a personal nightmare. Christina Taylor Green, the
nine-year-old killed in Saturday's shooting in Arizona, is buried, marking
the first of six such funerals. Grief such as that
cannot be measured. UK scientists have created the world's first
genetically modified chickens that do not spread bird flu. Evolution
has been genetically modifying all living creatures for millions of years.
Scientists can't wait that long. Banks repossessed a record one
million US homes in 2010, and could surpass that number this year, figures
show. Foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac said about five million homeowners
were at least two months behind on their mortgage payments. Foreclosures
are likely to remain numerous while unemployment remains stubbornly high,
the group said. Among the worst hit states were Nevada, Arizona, Florida
and California, once at the heart of the housing boom. So
what's the problem here? The world financial crisis or people biting off
more than they can chew? The Australian state of Queensland is facing
a reconstruction task of "post-war proportions", as floods left swathes
of it under water. State Premier Anna Bligh said the state was reeling
from the worst natural disaster in its history. She
became very emotional last night as she talked about Queenslanders being
tough and resilient. Oz was built from scratch, so we're used to it.
A New York man who says a rat bit his penis during a jail stay may sue
county officials, a judge has ruled. Peter Solomon, who said he later had
to endure a course of rabies jabs, says jailers knew the ward in which
they placed him was infested with rodents. Rodney
bites Dick. I have to tell you, I do worry about that kinda thing happening
to me. A total of 34,612 people have died in drug-related violence
in Mexico over the past four years, according to new, more detailed government
statistics. Unveiling the database, President Felipe Calderon acknowledged
that 2010, which saw 15,273 deaths, had been "a year of extreme violence".
makes Al Capone's Chicago look a bit tame. The first recognisably
modern computer is to be rebuilt at the UK's former code-cracking centre
Bletchley Park. The Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (Edsac)
was a room-sized behemoth built at Cambridge university that first ran
in 1949. However, one part of the original Edsac that is unlikely to be
re-created is the 1.5m (5 feet) long tubes of mercury used as a memory
store. Modern health and safety regulations preclude the use of mercury,
said Dr Hartley. Yes, such dinosaurs should be preserved
as a reminder of what life what like when I was 5 years old (not that I
Yes, Oz was built from scratch, like the US was. So I figure it takes
a pretty enterprising type of individual to leave the country of their
birth and heritage to venture forth into the unknown to make a better life
for themselves. Even prisoners who had no choice still had to adjust to
a life of hardship and initiative to improve their lot. In fact, convicts
probably did it a lot harder than free settlers.
Patience is definitely not one of my virtues ya know. I keep looking
at campervans and I WANT ONE NOW. And then I figure out how long it's gonna
take before I'm ready to borrow the cash AND I CAN'T WAIT!
Hello? Borrow the cash? I decided to phone the bank to see if a pensioner
with no debts is eligible to borrow $20,000. In a nutshell? No. "You don't
meet the criteria." Well, I'm glad I checked. So that puts paid to Plan
A. I asked the bloke if I might be able to get the credit limit on my Mastercard
increased from $7,500. He said if I've always paid on time, never late,
yadda yadda, then I'd be in with a chance. But what the increase might
be is another question, and I doubt it would extend to $20,000. Mind you,
$20K is a ballpark figure. There are good vans for $10 to $15K available.
And Bluey is worth maybe $4K. In any case, I need to re-think my strategy.
Forget about a personal loan. It's back to the drawing board. Banks schmanks.
Where there's a will, there's a way, and I'll find it. Gary
January 13, 2011. Ah! Here's
the perfect motorhome and only a quarter of a million bucks. No worries.
I'll use PayPal. Actually, I'll probably meet a few peeps with motorhomes
like that one on the Odyssey. It'll be quite interesting really to meet
the millionaires and the backpackers and everyone in between, as well as
people from different countries and cultures.
more in line with my budget, but probably a bit too big and bulky for
this is the kinda thing that interests me. And it's cheap! If I had
the money now I'd probably make a bid for that one.
But I suspect I'll ultimately end
up with something like this.
For now, I'm just window shopping. It keeps the dream alive and amuses
me. Besides, every time I look at one of those campers, I imagine myself
sitting at the table loading a bunch of pics into the laptop after doing
a David Attenborough, and updating AO accordingly. What fun!
Beeb time: More than 230 people die in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro
state as flooding and mudslides hit south-eastern Brazil. Jeez,
that makes ours look a bit ordinary. Haiti marks the anniversary
of the powerful earthquake that killed 250,000 people and devastated much
of the country. And that makes ours look like a total
non event. The flood-hit Australian city of Brisbane wakes to widespread
inundation but the peak level is a metre lower than feared. Better
to prepare for the worse than be taken by surprise. President Barack
Obama arrives in Arizona to pay tribute to six people killed in a shooting
on Saturday and to praise US lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords. I
doubt he'll say anything about gun laws. A gang which trafficked
mainly Afghan migrants into Europe has been broken, European police force
Europol has said. It said 26 alleged gang members had been arrested in
Italy with further arrests in Germany and France. It said the gang was
responsible for smuggling about 200 illegal migrants into Europe every
month, a fifth of them children. Are there more bad
people than good in the world, or is it just that the bad people make the
headlines? US actor John Travolta is to receive one of Germany's
top entertainment honours, the Golden Camera. The Pulp Fiction star will
collect the award for best international actor at a ceremony in Berlin
on 5 February. Travolta, 56, was praised by German listings magazine Horzu,
organisers of the awards, as "one of the greatest actors in the world".
like yesterday I was watching him in Welcome Back Kotter. A winter
storm that pummelled southern US states in the last few days has now hit
the north-east, causing travel disruption in the air and on the roads.
Eight inches (20cm) of snow fell on Central Park in New York City and up
to 12in in New Jersey and Connecticut. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled
and commuters faced major disruption to road and rail services. I'm
sure the Westboro Baptist Church has a perfectly reasonable explanation
for it all. South Sudan has reached the 60% turnout needed to pass
the referendum on secession from the north, the south's ruling party and
ex-rebel group says. "The 60% threshold has been achieved but we are asking
for a 100% (turnout)," the SPLM's Anne Itto said. I'm
always surprised by such headlines because I'm so used to compulsory voting
in Oz. David Nelson, the last surviving family member from the 1950s
US sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, has died aged 74. The actor-turned-director
died at his Los Angeles home of colon cancer, a family spokesman said.
Nelson starred in the real-life sitcom which featured his parents - bandleader
Ozzie Nelson and singer Harriet Hilliard - and his brother Rick. The TV
show ran in the US for 435 episodes from 1952 - 1966. I
don't remember David as well as I remember Rick "I'm
a Travelin' Man". Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has attacked
as a "blood libel" suggestions that political rhetoric contributed to Saturday's
fatal shootings in Arizona. Ms Palin, a possible 2012 presidential runner,
hit out at commentators' "irresponsible statements" laying "blame for this
terrible event". Her remarks came as new details emerged about the attack,
in which six were killed and a congresswoman wounded. I
can't stand that woman... not one bit.
Right, shopping's done. It's such a pain... ours and Averil's. I showed
Averil the pic of Anyel Antonio and she thought he was a cute little fella,
which he is in a grumpy kinda way. I wrote a letter yesterday that I printed,
and bought a couple of Taree postcards today... pics of kangaroos and koalas
and pelicans and that kinda thing. He's only 2 ya know, so he's not into
anything too serious yet. According to his bio his favorite hobby is "playing
with toys". Fair enough. I'll post my letter and cards tomorrow.
And here we go again... kitchen time. Lamb chops and spuds for THEM
and I'll settle for a Black Pepper Beef with Rice in a box. Hehe. 2 minutes
in the micro and Bob's yer uncle. Actually, the last one I had... sweet
and sour with chicken and rice... was pretty good. Not brilliant but not
bad. I'm practicing for the Odyssey... no refrigeration required. Gary
January 12, 2011. I kept shaking my head in disbelief last night
as I watched footage on telly of the floods in Queensland. There was a
freak event in one town that sent a wall of water down the streets, tossing
cars around like corks. And there were people in those cars! Even houses
were knocked off their footings. There was no warning - it all happened
in just minutes. If it weren't for mobile phones with cameras, that footage
would not exist. Anyway, it's a dark hour for Queensland, "Beautiful one
day, perfect the next". Here's
some footage shot by a guy with a mobile phone.
But as Art from North Carolina writes, things ain't so rosy where he
is either: Global warming or something has got the weather all out of
whack. I’m looking at a car under five inches of white stuff and weather
forecasts meaning it won’t melt unless I turn a warm water hose on it.
It just doesn’t DO this kind of thing In Wilmington, NC! But people are
not supposed to drown in Queensland, and Race 4 fungus wasn’t supposed
to wipe out Australia’s Cavendish bananas either. So we can just hunker
down and dream of better days, I spose.
Hmmm, well I dunno about dreaming of better days. I'd like to think
we can turn things around. I mean little Anyel is only 2 years old and
he could very well live until the end of this century. Imagine that! He
might even make into the next! I can't even begin to imagine what life
might be like then, given what has taken place over the last 100 years.
Back from the doc's and being very brave under the scalpel. I went in
with a couple of spots and came out bandaged like someone who'd just survived
a major car crash. Six stitches in the neck and four in the shin. Just
before I left the surgery, the nurse asked if I felt dizzy. "How could
I be dizzy if I'm not blond?" I asked. She's blond. Oops. During the op,
I asked the doc if he ever thought about being a full-time surgeon. "I
don't mind skin," he said. "Cutting people up and stitching skin is fine,
but internal organs? No thanks." I'm with him. No I'm not... I couldn't
even handle stitching skin.
Can you imagine anyone with half a brain saying something like this?
Westboro Baptist Church said Monday it plans to picket Thursday's funeral
for Christina Taylor Green because "God sent the shooter to deal with idolatrous
America." The fundamentalist church has picketed many military funerals
to draw attention to its view that the deaths are God's punishment for
the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.
But as J begins his response on Justin's Blog, these fantatics should
never be underestimated: It is easy to dismiss the Westboro crowd as
being the worst sort of white trash, but you have to be careful with them.
They are quite cunning, and have a thorough knowledge of First Amendment
Beeb time: Up to 20,000 homes may now be hit in Brisbane, officials
say, as deadly floodwaters surge towards Australia's third city. This
is the kinda thing we expect to read about happening in other countries,
not this one. A judge in the US orders the personal doctor of Michael
Jackson, Dr Conrad Murray, to stand trial for the involuntary manslaughter
of the singer. I wonder what Michael would have to
say about all this if he were able. An off-duty policeman has opened
fire on a train in Egypt, killing a Christian man, but it is unclear whether
the attack was sectarian. At least another five people were reported to
have been injured in the shooting on a train between Assiut and Cairo.
Officials said at least four of those hurt were Coptic Christians. The
Egyptian interior ministry named him as police officer Amer Ashour Abdel-Zaher.
Officials have not given a motive for Tuesday's shooting. The ministry
statement said the officer "opened fire on some train passengers from his
pistol and ran away", adding that he was later arrested at his home. Don't
look at me. I think the whole human race is nutz. Astronomers have
released the largest-ever colour image of the whole sky, stitched from
seven million images, each made of 125 million pixels. The Sloan Digital
Sky Survey's latest effort tops its own record, published publicly for
professional astronomers and "citizen scientists" alike. Data from Sloan
have helped to identify hundreds of millions of cosmic objects. And
we're one infinitesimal speck amongst all that. Check
out the animated vid on Youtube. Former President Bill Clinton
has told the BBC the US political climate must change after the shooting
of a US Congresswoman and others in Arizona. "No one intends to do anything
that encourages this sort of behaviour," he said. But political rhetoric
"falls on the unhinged and the hinged alike". Some commentators suggest
the vitriolic political rhetoric in the US may have contributed in some
way to the attack. Did someone mention Palin?
A new James Bond film has been given the go-ahead and is due to be released
on 9 November 2012, film studio MGM and EON Productions have announced.
Producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and MGM said the 23rd Bond
would go into production in late 2011. The latest 007 adventure, starring
Daniel Craig for the third time, will be directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes.
James Bond is one of the longest running franchises in film history. 48
years to be precise. I was 18. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange,
who published leaked US diplomatic cables, fears he could face the death
penalty in the US, defence documents say. He is fighting extradition from
the UK to Sweden over allegations, which he denies, of sexual offences
against two women. His lawyer said there was a "real risk" the US would
then seek extradition over the leaking of the diplomatic cables. No
comment. A pilot project to see if cash crops can be grown in the
salty ground of India's coastal areas has been launched. The area in Tamil
Nadu state will house dozens of species of halophytes - or salt-loving
plants - that can be used for producing cash crops. Halophytes can be used
to produce edible oils, medicines, vegetables, and cattle and fish feed.
interesting. Salinity is a problem in some areas of Oz as well.
A study has found that around 40 sites that allow people to upload illegal
content had more than 53 billion visits in 2010.
over 8 times the world population, and over 25 times the web population.
I think that says most people are willing to be dishonest if they think
they can get away with it. Film star Michael Douglas, who was diagnosed
with throat cancer last year, says his tumour is gone and he is beating
the disease. Buying a little more time.
Well, it's almost time to attend to kitchen duties. Crumbed chicken
thingies tonight with hash browns. Hehe. I love the word 'thingies'...
it saves you having to figure out what the real word is. Actually, that
reminds me. During surgery this morning, the nurse dropped some implement
on the floor. My immediate response was, "Cut! Take two!" And now if you'll
pardon me for a moment, I'm going to whip some cream and make a coffee.
Done! Whipped cream in coffee is wonderul because it's aerated... kinda
like a cappuccino. And according to the spell checker, I spelled aerated
and cappuccino correctly. So there ya go. I'm not all that silly after
all. I've gotta be careful about such things ya know because FL Josh is
always ready to pounce as soon as I make a boo boo.
Back to the salinity thing in India. When Europeans first settled Sydney
Cove, they tried to grow crops they were familiar with back in England
and almost starved. It took a long time for the penny to drop... to figure
out what works here, and how to take advantage of the local environment.
It's the same with salinity. If X won't grow, try Y. I think that's a pretty
good lesson in all of life. Don't piss into the wind. But I have to admit
I'm glad they figured out how to grow spuds here cos I can't live without
my spuds. And grapes... yeah, gotta have grapes. Gary
January 11, 2011. I thought I heard Rodney early this morning
but maybe it was just my imagination. I'm getting paranoid. Why can't rodents
mind their own damn business like most other creatures and stay OUTSIDE?
The postman arrived today with a pic and some background info from World
Vision about my sponsorship of a child living in Nicaragua. Mr Grumpy,
otherwise known as Anyel. He makes me laugh. I didn't think anyone could
look grumpier than me. He lives with his mother and has no father or siblings.
His mother is unemployed. Anyel was born January 29, 2009, which means
he'll turn 2 at the end of this month. I must send him a birthday card.
Isn't it weird that what I spend on a card and postage will be as much
as they have to live on for a whole week... less than $2 a day.
So there ya go, I'm a daddy. Maybe that's why Anyel looks so grumpy.
I wrote the above and included a scan of Anyel before I read the World
Vision handbook. They ask not to scan photos or publish information that
could compromise the child's identity, which is fair enough given how many
assholes there are in cyber space. It's a pity because I'm quite taken
with the little bloke and feel just like a proud father.
I'll dedicate a page to Anyel on Aussie Odyssey and update it as I receive
reports of his progress. World Vision sends annual updates but they may
send more in response to stuff I write to him, such as my first letter
and the birthday card. Fair dinkum, every time I look at that grumpy little
face I have to laugh. He's got a high intelligent forehead and big brown
eyes, and he's kinda cute.
A bloke named Scott Blain, music student, subscribed to my Youchewb
I checked him out.
I think if I had to nominate my absolute fav song of all time it
would have to be this one... Mad World by Gary Jules.
Beeb time: Officials in the Australian state of Queensland say at least
72 people are missing after flash floods which have already claimed eight
lives. A massive deluge overwhelmed Toowoomba, a city west of the state
capital Brisbane, without warning. Sandbags have been given out to residents
of Brisbane, where the flooding may not peak until Wednesday. State Premier
Anna Bligh called the flash floods Queensland's "darkest hour" since the
flood crisis began. At least two of the dead were children, Ms Bligh said,
and she warned that the death toll was likely to rise. I
saw some of the footage last night on telly. Unbelievable. See
the video and/or read the full report here. A man charged with
trying to assassinate a US congresswoman in a shooting that left six people
dead and more than a dozen wounded has appeared in federal court in Phoenix,
Arizona. Jared Loughner, 22, faces several charges over the attack on Saturday.
During the 13-minute hearing, Mr Loughner said very little, only periodically
leaning forward to speak into a microphone. When asked, he said he understood
that he could get life in prison or the death penalty for allegedly killing
federal Judge John Roll on Saturday in Tucson, Arizona. Go
forth and multiply and hope like hell you don't bring a monster into the
world. Pope Benedict XVI has called on Pakistan to repeal its blasphemy
laws, which can carry a death sentence for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
He said the laws served as a pretext for acts of injustice and violence
against religious minorities. The Pope referred to Pakistani governor Salman
Taseer, whose assassination last week was blamed on his support for changes
to the blasphemy laws. I agree with Benny. Only narrow-minded,
mentally-deficient fanatics could possibly support strict laws against
Well, the day kinda went that way... not that I did all that much. Tomorrow
I'm off to the doc's for minor surgery on the skin cancers, which I'm not
looking forward to. Bleh. Gary
January 10, 2011. Rodney has thus far not returned. Good. And
nobody complained last night about the scrambled eggs with cheese and tomato
and chips. And why would they? I do a damn fine job of that particular
dish even if I do say so moiself.
The weather's gone a bit loony... cool and cloudy with showers. And
this is summer? It's one of those el-nino thingies. Blame Joao.
Last night on telly they were doing a cricket post mortem about our
loss to England during the recent Ashes tour, when up popped a Tasmanian
cricketer who seems to have the potential to take over the Australian captaincy
at some future stage. Weeell, I think we have a sex symbol on our hands.
Cricket is not normally a sport associated with scrummies, but this bloke
is an exception, and I can see a lot more young Aussies, particularly girls,
being suddenly interested in the sport. Yeah? Obviously, I'm not the only
one who thinks so because he's already done a bit of beefcake
Tour is a funny word in Oz. We pronounce it too-wa. Hehe. So one day
I'm gonna too-wa Astraaaylya.
Beeb time: US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is responding well to
treatment for gunshot wounds, surgeons say, as her suspected attacker is
charged. She's a very lucky woman, albeit traumatized
for life. As for the perpetrator, what can you say? Insane? Huge
numbers of southern Sudanese vote amid scenes of jubilation in an independence
referendum expected to split Africa's biggest country in two. That
sounds about right... them and us. That's pretty normal. You can't have
a world full of us's or thems. That's not the way it works. Hehe.
An Iranian passenger plane with more than 100 people on board has crashed
in north-western Iran, killing at least 72, officials say. The IranAir
Boeing 727 was flying from Tehran when it came down and broke into pieces
near the city of Orumiyeh. Iran's civil fleet is made up of planes in poor
condition due to their old age and lack of maintenance. Nuff
said. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has aired concerns about
China's rapidly developing military capabilities, as he flew into China
on a four-day trip. Mr Gates is to meet President Hu Jintao and other top
officials, at a time of strained military relations. The visit comes days
after websites published pictures apparently showing a working prototype
of a Chinese stealth aircraft, invisible to radar. They
call it maintaining the balance of power, provided the US has a bit more
balance than the opposition.
But back to the killer in Arizona. As Oregon Richie points out: This
young man was clearly unbalanced and erratic which had been noted in the
and yet he does manage to waltz in to a Sportsman shop and pick up a handgun.
Background investigations my ass. Yes, I know about insanity. I live
with two peeps who are mentally challenged. They are well practiced liars
in order to divert attention away from the real issue. When I went to the
living room the other day to investigate the loud TV volume, Sue was pointing
the remote toward the window instead of the TV, and pressing buttons furiously,
saying, "Do you know what program this is on?" She figured "Do you know
what program this is on?" sounded like an intelligent thing to say, which
would somehow excuse her behavior and remove any guilt. Both Sue and Lindsay
are most adept at vehemently denying any wrong doing. When caught red-handed,
they explode in fierce denial in order to shift the blame elsewhere. When
all else fails, Sue bursts into hysterical tears. Lindsay simply storms
out of the room. I wonder if they were living in America what would happen
if they waltzed into a Sportsman shop.
AND... I have to say that I found Richie's use of the phrase 'Background
investigations my ass' rather curious. Think about it. Sounds a bit
like a rectal examination.
Speaking of doctors, I'm due for a bit more surgery on Wednesday...
a couple of skin cancers, one on my shin and one on my neck. Dangit. But
it's gotta be done. As my doc told me years ago, "they'll keep popping
up". And they do, so I guess I can look forward to periodic surgery for
the rest of my life. That's fair skin and the Aussie climate for ya.
Shopping's done - the usual bits and pieces. As I wheeled my trolley
to the escalator, a young midget bloke was fooling around and apologized
for getting in my way. He was a nice young fella, full of fun and wearing
a big grin. Then he traveled down the escalator ahead of me, jumping from
side to side with his little legs. He was little but obviously very fit.
Now there's a young person with conspicuous issues to be dealt with, but
from what I could see he was doing very well.
Kitchen time again. Steak and onions for THEM, and I'm gonna pig out
on a Beef and Guinness pie which was on spesh at three buckeroonies. Gary
January 9, 2011. Rodney's back, albeit a different Rodney. The
last one was as stiff as a board. This bloke was scratching around and
woke me at 4am. No way I could sleep with that critter buggerizing around
in the dark, so I skedaddled outta the bedroom, closed the door, booted
the comp, made a cuppa, set a trap and went online. Later, I heard him
scratching around in the wall cavity. I'll check the bait under the house
later to see if he's taken it. If he has, he's history. I'll also check
the hole I plugged with steel wool. (Checked. The bait is not disturbed
and the steel wool is still intact).
I watched an interesting documentary on telly last night called Big
Bigger Biggest. It was about ship building. I was surprised to learn that
paddles were replaced by propellors only in the 19th century. The problem
with paddles at sea was that when the ship rolled to one side, one of the
paddles would be spinning around in mid air. That problem was solved by
the use of a propellor at the stern. I think it was Archimedes in Ancient
Greece who invented the screw which, when inserted into a tube and revolved,
became a pump. Anyway, bigger ships had difficulty maneuvering in harbors.
One of the world's biggest ships The Independence at 160,000 tons solves
that by having twin screws at the stern that can rotate in any direction.
It also has smaller screws parallel to the hull built into the bow that
can maneuver the front of the ship sideways. I watched The Independence
sail into a harbor unaided and position itself perfectly alongside a wharf.
Sister ships Oasis and Allure of the Seas weigh in at 220,000 tons. And
it all started with a dugout canoe.
The program also talked about things like speed, bow waves, drag reduction,
gyroscopes, side fin stabilizers, etc, which was all rather fascinating.
When the French built the Normande back in the 1920s, it was the most luxurious
ship afloat, so the Brits decided to build a faster ship rather than compete
in the luxury department. The Queen Mary at 90,000 tons was the fastest
ship for about 20 years. It's a floating hotel now.
When I was a kid, my grandmother sailed
on the Orion down the east coast of Oz and across Bass Strait to Hobart
in Tasmania. She had relatives there. That's about the only sailing story
by the family I'm aware of (apart from its initial arrival in Oz). The
Orion certainly has an interesting history, and I just learned that my
grandmother was on the Orion's final voyage before the ship's sailing days
were due to end.
And now more on motorhomes and campers. TX Greg suggests something like
Or perhaps something more economical...
Thanks for the finds, Greg. That's really kewl stuff!
is not a bad Toyota for $16,000.
is not a bad chariot either and it's 4WD.
Beeb time: A US congresswoman has been shot in the head and six other
people have been killed by a gunman in Arizona. Democratic Representative
Gabrielle Giffords, 40, was shot at close range during a public meeting
in Tucson. She is in a critical condition, but the doctor treating her
said he was "very optimistic about her recovery". Police said a total of
13 people were shot and wounded during the attack. Doctors said five of
them including Ms Giffords were in a critical condition. A suspect named
in local media as 22-year-old Arizona resident Jared Loughner was arrested
after the incident. That won't stop the gun lobby.
Nothing will stop the gun lobby. Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar
Salehi says his country is now capable of making the fuel plates and rods
used inside nuclear reactors. Western analysts have previously said the
Islamic republic did not possess such technology. It's
only a matter of time. The US government has subpoenaed the social
networking site Twitter for personal details of people connected to Wikileaks,
court documents show. The US District Court in Virginia said it wanted
information including user names, addresses, connection records, telephone
numbers and payment details. Those named include Wikileaks founder Julian
Assange and an Icelandic MP. Do they still blow a
bugle when they come charging over the hill?
Anyway, what I wanna know is why the US government isn't targeting newspapers
and other media responsible for disseminating the leaked cables to the
general population. Has anyone asked a government spokesperson that question
and gotten a straight-forward answer? It all sounds a bit suss to me. Australia's
PM Julia Gillard was asked a similar question during an interview but avoided
Oh yes, my old analogue TV. I accidentally discovered how to get all
the regular channels. Takes a bit of fiddling but it works, and it means
I don't have to worry about getting a new digital one... just yet. The
old Samsung is pretty much on its last legs but it'll do for now. And it's
good for my health cos it doesn't have a remote so I gotta get up off the
chair to change channels. I bought the thing second hand from a TV repairer
8 or 9 years ago for $90 and it was a dud. Every time I turn it on I have
to adjust the contrast, brightness, color and volume. It refuses to remember
the settings. It's a pain in the ass but the picture quality is pretty
And here we go again, kitchen time. I was gonna go shopping today but
didn't, so I'm gonna rustle up scrambled eggs with cheese and tomato. And
if anyone bitches about it, too bad. Gary
January 8, 2011. The Man With The Golden Voice! Ted Williams
was very clever in announcing (no pun intended) to the world that he has
a golden voice without attracting criticism of his ego. He said it was
God given, which means he's allowed to brag. Hehe.
He didn't thank God for his teeth, though. No. FL Josh wrote a tome
yesterday about flossing. In this country, one
never sees someone in a responsible position with dirty and missing teeth,
and you rarely see the bum on the street with clean and nice teeth.
I do add the disclaimer "in this country," because we are fanatic about
our teeth, particularly having them very white. I look at pictures
on the internet of people from different countries and Americans have very
white teeth and other countries not so white with Britain in a world all
of its own. The British and their terrible teeth has become a world
I disagree, Josh. It's become an American joke. American jokes are not
world jokes. In any case, if it weren't for the British, Hollywood would
have no one to play pirates. American actors in Hollywood all have perfect
teeth and two legs. Australians don't have a problem because we speak with
our mouths closed to keep the flies out. But back to flossing: Flossing
introduces oxygen at the gum line where the bacteria that cause gum disease
hang out. They cannot tolerate oxygen and it disrupts their little
party for about 24 hours. Thus, by daily flossing, you keep the bacteria
that causes gum disease in total disruption and gum disease can't exist.
Josh started flossing daily 32 years ago after being told by a periodontist
that he was in danger of developing gum disease. He says all traces of
gum disease cleared up. Healthy gums do not bleed when one flosses.
Also, floss up and down the side of the tooth, not back and forth.
This keeps the side of the teeth smooth and free of plaque. I remember
when I was young and would go to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned and
how afterwards, as I ran my tongue along my teeth, they would feel so clean
and slick. Now my teeth feel like that all the time.
In all my 66 years I've never flossed, and I've never had any problems
with my gums. Reminds me of the old story about the bloke in Sydney who
was throwing confetti out the tram window. A fellow passenger asked him
what he was doing, and he replied that he was keeping the elephants away.
The fellow passenger said, "But there are no elephants in Sydney!" Boom
I just checked the weather forecast. Rain. Lots of it. For the whole
damn week. I had planned to check out the sailing and sand modeling tomorrow
but that looks like getting the flick. So much for the driest continent
on earth and global warming. Did I mention that floodwaters in Queensland
will take six months to drain into the river systems and make its way down
to the mouth of the Murray in Victoria and the Southern Ocean? The amount
of water in Queensland at the mo makes Sydney Harbor look like a puddle.
Beeb time: President Barack Obama cautiously hails a "clear trend" of
rising employment as the jobless rate drops to 9.4%, and calls on businesses
to boost investment. 9.4 is still high though. I
think ours is almost half that. However the improvement is welcome.
Beatriz Elena Henao, accused of trafficking large quantities of amphetamines,
is extradited from Colombia to the US to face trial. These
people wouldn't exist if it weren't for demand, which is what puzzles me.
Captain Andrew Strauss says England's Ashes-winning heroes have yet to
reach their peak after meting out a 3-1 series thrashing to Australia.
but while you're busy reaching your peak don't expect the Aussies to be
sitting around twiddling their thumbs. Men and women have been banned
from shaking hands in a district of Somalia controlled by the Islamist
group al-Shabab. Under the ban imposed in the southern town of Jowhar,
men and women who are not related are also barred from walking together
or chatting in public. The BBC's Mohamed Moalimuu in Mogadishu says the
penalty would probably be a public flogging. Insanity
is recognizable only by the sane.
Right, so here's what I'm thinking. You can buy a pretty
good motorhome for about $20K. Once all my debts are paid off, and
I owe nothing, which at the current rate will be in about a year or less,
I could borrow $20K. Over 5 years that would cost about $400 a month @
7.5%. But that's what I currently pay in rent, and if I had a motorhome
I wouldn't be paying any rent. Boom boom. Selling Bluey would fetch about
$3.5K which would set me up with solar and whatever. Are you with me? Most
of the older vans for sale are pretty rough, and average around the 5 to
7K mark, so I think it's better and wiser to go for something like the
Mazda advertised. I'm not a kid anymore, and I don't wanna rough it too
much. I like my creature comforts, and I wanna play with my electronic
So that's the plan. Get rid of what's left of the debt and start again.
Use what I currently pay in rent to pay off the van. Make sense to you?
Reminds me of the time Cody was in a pickle about his future while Mark
was getting himself organized in the yacht building biz. Mark said to Cody,
"You gotta make a plan." So that's my plan, and unless some unforseen circumstance
buggers it up, that's the way it'll stay, in which case the Odyssey should
be underway by the end of 2011.
Just now I heard a lot of chattering outside and went to investigate.
A family of galahs was sitting on the power lines, enjoying a shower of
rain. One of them, the bloke who was doing most of the chattering, was
hanging upside down, cooling his wingpits. Hehe. The batteries in my big
Fuji had gone flat, dangit. So I grabbed the little compact but the zoom
is only 3x, not enough to get a good close up. Galahs are very comical
birds, as are most parrots.
Sue is very comical too. She tried to change channels on their TV and
the volume went through the roof. So I went into the living room and turned
the TV off. The noise woke Lindsay from his afternoon snooze and he tried
to get the thing happening again but couldn't. Sue had buggered it up by
pressing a zillion buttons on the remote. So then he stormed about the
house swearing his head off, and now he's on the phone to the pay TV company
trying to get his reception back on track. "She's not that fuckin' stupid,
Gary," he said to me the other day. Yeah, right.
I remarked to someone the other day that I must be some kinda weirdo
to live with such a pair of wallies, especially for a whole damn decade.
But then I thought about some of the people I've known previously - allegedly
respectable and intelligent people - and I'm here to tell you that L&S
ain't all that much different. Fair dinkum, I'm not kidding. I've known
some real doozies in my time and I figure that's why I can handle living
with this pair. So far, that is. Gary
January 7, 2011. FL Josh wrote: I saw on the news this evening
Ted Williams, the homeless man and he has a haircut and is all cleaned
up and was doing radio spots somewhere. He has been offered several
full time jobs and a company has offered him a home, allowing him to take
over the mortgage. One of the best investments he could make
if he really wants to move into the big time is investing several thousand
dollars in his teeth. His teeth are so bad, you'd think he was British.
Josh sent this update.
As Ted says, radio is "theater of the mind", so teeth are not as important
on radio as they are in movies or on TV. You can have severe halitosis
on radio and nobody notices, unless they're being interviewed live in the
studio. Americans have a fixation about teeth anyway - they figure you
can be as ugly as a hatful but if your teeth are cool, then it's not a
problem. There's an old saying in the biz: "He has a great face for radio."
I used to tell listeners that I was broadcasting my show naked. I never
did, but I was often barefoot - as I am now.
I'll tell you who has perfect teeth - young Josh. If they weren't real
you could be excused for thinking they were false. I've never seen more
perfect teeth, and they are all natural - he never wore braces. My doc,
on the other hand, has prominent spaces between his teeth. He could eat
an orange through a tennis racket. Gaps between the teeth may not be cosmetically
desirable, but it's better for the health of the teeth because bits of
ikky stuff don't get trapped and cause decay.
Beeb time: US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has announced a $78bn (£50.3bn)
military budget cut, in part by scrapping a $14bn amphibious fighting vehicle.
The cuts over the next five years come in addition to $100bn in internal
savings already announced. Mr Gates has been sceptical about whether large
military vehicles, like tanks and amphibious Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles,
will continue to be crucial military instruments as engagement in modern
warfare changes. Makes you wonder what would happen
if the dream of world peace ever came true. French carmaker Renault
has said that suspected industrial espionage against its business poses
a serious threat to its "strategic assets". "The biggest advantage Western
car makers have against rivals with lower labour costs elsewhere is their
advanced technology. Hence the talk in France of an economic war." I
really dunno what to say about that. The Chinese government is considering
making it a legal duty for children to visit their aged parents, state
media report. Parents who can't stand their kids
won't be too happy about that. England beat Australia by an innings
and 83 runs to seal the Ashes series 3-1 and secure their first series
win down under in 24 years. If the Poms keep this
up, they'll beat us again in 2035. A new edition of Mark Twain's
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is causing controversy because a racially
offensive word has been removed to avoid offending readers. Twain scholar
Alan Gribben says the use of the word "nigger" had prompted many US schools
to stop teaching the classic. In his edition, Professor Gribben replaces
the word with "slave" and also changes "injun" to "Indian". That's
taking political correctness too far. Why not rewrite all history books
to remove the offensive bits? How ridiculous. Reminds me of the way people
refer to the 'N' word or the 'F' word. Do they mean Naughty or Fiddlesticks?
No. You know what I suspect? I suspect that black people are less offended
by the word Nigger than white people are. Hehe. Oh well... people are such
You see, ladies and genitals, I can talk about anything on the Waffle
page... halitosis, radio announcers, niggers, faggots, Oregonians, Floridians...
whatever comes along. Nothing is sacred. I don't have to worry about political
correctness... at least not other people's ideas of what constitutes political
correctness. I refer to the Pope as Benny, and to the Queen as Betty, but
nobody gives a toss.
One of the bodyguards of a moderate Pakistani politician saw fit to
shoot his boss in the back and kill him because the politician was against
the death penalty for blasphemy. That bodyguard betrayed the trust placed
him in order to dispense his own version of justice. I'm right and he's
wrong, so therefore I have the right to murder him. He was a Judas,
and yet the lunatic followers of his fanatical creed are calling for his
release from custody and declaring him a hero. Have you heard them on TV?
The don't speak, they yell. And they yell at a high fever pitch. They talk
over the top of anyone who might be at variance. They're not rational.
They don't know how to make a point calmly and intelligently. They scream.
They wave their arms all over the place. They're insane! I really worry
about people like that. I really worry about people who simply don't understand
But back to the word Nigger. I personally prefer not to use those kinda
derogatory terms as a general rule, but I'm not afraid of them. To delete
them from a work published in 1885 when they were commonly used terms is
to pretend they never existed. That's denial. That's rearranging the truth.
In Matthew 13:42, Jesus says: "And shall cast them into a FURNACE
OF FIRE: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Should that
be removed from the Bible? It's barbaric. It's not the way we civilized
people behave. We don't incinerate souls (which apparently have a larynx
and teeth) for eternity. Torture is against the law.
Oh, it's all so silly. It really is all so silly. And now it's time
to cook din dins. Din dins is not silly. The fish is not too thrilled about
it but that's his problem. Gary
January 6, 2011. Pay day/bills day again. But I'm slowly getting
my debts down and making progress. Actually, I'm paying way above the minimum
required so I'm pretty pleased with that.
My ex-neighbor Jeremy sent a link to a fascinating article written for
the New York Times about modern Sydney's convict past. I
really enjoyed reading it.
This morning by snail mail I received a pic of the Royal Hotel at Young
(formerly Lambing Flat), built in about 1864. That was my initial accommodation
when I got my first job in radio back in 1969. I called the museum there
and was told by a very sweet old lady that it would cost me $10 to have
a photo of the Royal mailed to me. But that was back in early December
and I'd forgotten about it. I guess old folks are never in a hurry, especially
if they're from the country. Yes, my stay at the Royal was my first experience
as a guest in a hotel, and I thought I was a celebrity. Hehe. Scroll
down the page until you get to the pic.
FL Josh sent a link to a Youchewb
clip of an amazing homeless man who has an awesome voice with what
we call in the biz, timbre.The clip has had almost 8m views. Actually,
I just sent the link to John Laws who's coming back to Oz radio on January
31. Using this guy for voice overs would be a good gimmick, and would give
the guy a break. Lawsy is 75 now and just can't leave that microphone alone...
like I can't leave the keyboard alone.
Beeb time: A series of decisions to cut costs contributed to the BP
oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, a US presidential panel has found.
to put it in a nutshell. On the other hand, show me a company that spends
more to make less. The 112th US Congress convenes, starting a new
legislative session in which resurgent Republicans aim to cut the size
of government and spending. You see? Microsoft
shows a full version of Windows running on chips usually found in mobile
phones, a move it says will benefit portable gadgets.
Nature gave us legs for a very good reason. Passengers on a Turkish
Airlines jet have overpowered a man who tried to hijack their flight from
Norway to Istanbul, security sources say. Turkish media reported that the
man put on a mask and tried to force his way into the cockpit, saying he
had a bomb. Turkish media said the suspect was a Turkish citizen from a
Kurdish village in the south-eastern region of Anatolia.
dingaling. The Archbishop of Canterbury is to marry Prince William
and Kate Middleton at their forthcoming wedding, St James's Palace has
disclosed. The palace says Miss Middleton will travel to the 29 April ceremony
by car. But the newly-weds will return to Buckingham Palace in a glass
carriage along Parliament Square, Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade and The
Mall. The Queen will host a reception at the palace, followed by a private
dinner and dancing in the evening. While the rest
of us watch telly and eat fish 'n' chips. Matt Prior hits England's
ninth century of the series as England's lead goes past 300 on day four
of the final Ashes (Cricket) Test in Sydney. Next!
Heavy summer rains have left huge swathes of Queensland swamped by muddy
brown floodwaters, which have cut off rural communities and created a vast
inland sea the size of France and Germany combined. With the help of audio
from BBC News and Australia's ABC - and images from across the state -
take a look at the scale of the challenge facing hundreds of thousands
of people who live there. Check
out the slideshow with audio. Most global car executives do not see
reasonably priced electric vehicles being available in the next five years,
a survey suggests. I'll stick with Bluey then.
Children's author Dick King-Smith, whose book The Sheep-Pig inspired hit
film Babe, has died aged 88, his agent confirms. Leaving
something worthwhile behind is about the best a bloke can do, I reckon.
Okay, showered and shaved, and soon it'll be time to hit the shops for
the groceries and all that mundane domestic business. Same old, same old,
week in, week out. I think I need an Odyssey. Yeah, think about it. If
I were to tell you what I did on this day a year ago, or two or three or
four years ago, it would be the same thing I'm doing today. Right? But
on the Odyssey it would be very different. VERY DIFFERENT. So that's why
I need to do the Odyssey even though it's a totally lunatic idea. X years
down the track I'll be able to say I was at this place and that place and
the other place, and I took these photos and those photos and a bunch of
other photos, yadda, yadda, yadda. And that's the thing about life. If
you look back and see the same old routine... well, what kinda life is
that? If you want the most out of life, don't do today what you did yesterday.
You can quote me on that. Hehe. I might have that inscribed on my tombstone.
All done. Bills paid, shopping's over (for a while), Averil's happy
and I'm buggered. I saw young Josh, his mom Stephanie and younger bro Brendan
at the mall. Brendan is a BIG boy now but, according to Josh who slapped
his fist against the palm of his other hand, he still rules the roost.
Hehe. Yeah, right. Josh is looking well... and still has that whispy excuse
for a beard on his chin. Oh well... His mom says she's hardly seen him
since he came back home for his summer vacation. He says he'll pop in to
see me sometime next week. "You better," I said, "I'm feeling rejected,
and I'm getting a complex." Actually, Josh is looking more like an Aborigine
as he gets older. You can't conduct a convo with Josh in a public place
though. He knows everyone in town and is constantly being distracted by
So what's for dinner tonight? Burgers, eggs, onions and chips for THEM,
and I'll settle for a sesame seed bun with egg, salad meats, tomato, onion
and lettuce... and maybe a few chips on the side. Boom boom. Gary
January 5, 2011. Oregon Richie managed to get improved internet
connection in Albuquerque and caught up with my nooz, as Americans insist
on pronouncing it.
Just checked what's on at the local council's events page, and there's
a sand modeling comp next weekend at Old Bar. Last time I went there wasn't
much happening but I suppose I could take another look next Sunday. There's
also a rodeo at Wingham with all the usual cowboy stuff, but... well...
seen one... etc. Hmmm, there's also a Marathon Sailing Event next weekend
at Manning Point, so that could be an opportunity for some good photographs.
I really need to get out there - somewhere, anywhere - and start snapping,
ya know. The following weekend there's a model railway exhibition.
Oh dear... tissue time. I just got an email from an ex-neighbor in Glebe,
the house next door to mine. What she wrote was totally unexpected. Here's
part of it:
It is always great reminiscing the 'good' times of the past Gary,
as it certainly makes our journey along the way interesting, and memorable,
a learning curve with many cherished memories. These are a few of
the memories that make who we are and what we stand for:-
* A lovely man from No 15 who would give his shirt
off his back to anyone - and he did at that. A very kind and trusting
gentleman. His name is Gary.
* A man of much humor, intelligence, kindness,
creativity and determination.
* A man who loved his dog - Kelly. I hope
you have some new pet love and energy in your life from our wonderful animal
kingdom - they never replace our cherished ones now in 'doggy' or 'çat
' heaven, however they bring so much joy and unconditional love that sometimes
humans can not.
* A talented neighbour of words - of careers in radio,
writing, story telling - and ideas and much much more,
* A caring neighbour - an icon of the street. He was
not far from sitting at his door step on a hot balmy night clunking a glass
or two and I would be coming home late at night from one of my several
jobs!!!!! There would be a cheery chat.
* Oh and the amazing story you wrote to 2 GB (a copy
that I still have filed) when my house was broken in to......
* Our street / park parties. I think the first one in
Hegarty Street and we were slouched in bean bags on the street / road and
I think traffic had to re route almost as this very important social event
of neighbours transpired over bubbling liquer, laughs and analyses of world
* Entertainment in the street with ambulances
mopping up the damage from head blows to a neighbour who gave nothing but
trust and support to those in need .
* Trust and financial support given by you to someone
not so trusting and honest for an amazing business venture you so believed
in - and the devastating loss of the roof over your head - and we won't
* The yellow Kombi - which became a home for a while.
I have missed this neighbour ever since - as no one will ever replace
Well, how the hell do you top that? That's the last thing I expected
from anyone, let alone Kim. Bloody hell. That has absolutely floored me.
She wouldn't have written anything like that 20 years ago so maybe it's
true what they say about absence making the heart grow fonder. The years
have clouded her vision hehe.
Beeb time: There has been strong international condemnation of the assassination
of one of Pakistan's best-known liberal politicians in the capital Islamabad.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regretted the death of Salman Taseer,
governor of Punjab province, saying he had promoted tolerance. How
ironic. It happened to another man 2000 years ago who preached tolerance
and peace. Flood preparations in the Australian city of Rockhampton
are being put to the test as levels on the River Fitzroy approach their
peak. One bloke on telly last night who had survived
all kinds of natural disasters in his time shrugged and said, "She'll be
right, mate, we've survived worse than this before. No worries."
The US Navy relieves an aircraft carrier captain of his command over the
production of lewd videos aboard the ship. Apparently
he was well liked and respected by his colleagues so it's a pity he overstepped
the mark of a man in his position. You can't be one of the boys when you're
"the" boy. A photograph taken by a Philippine politician moments
before he was shot dead has led to the arrest of his suspected killer.
prevails. Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty has died at
the age of 63 after suffering a long illness. His career high came in the
1970s and included the anthemic Baker Street and Stuck in the Middle with
You, recorded with his band Stealers Wheel. Rafferty had battled a drink
problem and spent time in hospital in Bournemouth with liver failure. What
a pity. Who could ever forget Stuck in the Middle with You? What a classic.
here for a clip of Baker Street. A man in the US state of Texas
has had his robbery conviction overturned after serving 30 years in jail
- longer than anyone in Texas cleared by DNA. Cornelius Dupree Jr was jailed
from 1979 to 2010 as part of a 75-year sentence for aggravated robbery
with a deadly weapon. The 51-year-old was freed on parole in July 2010.
DNA test results proved his innocence roughly one week later. Isn't
that outrageous? He wasn't convicted, he was lynched by a mob of hillbillies
who wanted blood. How disgusting. "I must admit there is a bit of anger
but there is also joy, and the joy overrides the anger," he said.
Alastair Cook and Ian Bell push England into the lead on day three of the
final Ashes (Cricket) Test in sunny Sydney. Do we
really need to know that? Flushed out by Queensland's rising flood
waters, deadly snakes are on the move in the region's cities and towns.
There are also fears that crocodiles are now floating in flood waters.
Residents have been advised not to enter the waters. The Australian state
of Queensland is home to some of the world's most venomous snakes, including
the Common or Eastern Brown snake, the Coastal Taipan and the Death adder,
as well as saltwater crocodiles - among the largest of the species, and
a notorious man-eater. Man-eaters tend to be notorious,
yes. Insightful British reporting there. Iran has invited foreign
diplomats to tour its nuclear facilities, ahead of fresh talks with key
world powers over its controversial nuclear programme. The offer was reportedly
extended to Russia, China and several EU countries, but not the US. US
State Department spokesman, Philip J Crowley, has dismissed the offer as
a "clever ploy". I guess we'll find out sooner or
later. Remember WMD in Iraq? US carmakers report strong sales for
December, confirming the auto industry's steady recovery during 2010. All
bad things come to an end, yes?
Getting back to what my ex-neighbor Kim wrote, before I put the scrapbook
together I tended to look back on my life and saw just a shambles of disjointed
and unrelated events that amounted to nothing much worth talking about.
But that changed when I began to assemble all the bits and pieces, like
pieces of a jigsaw, to create a big single picture. I'm not sure it all
makes sense in terms of purpose or direction but at least it gives me a
better perspective of what my life has been all about. If I were to compare
it to anything I'd compare it to the Big Bang. Hehe. But the Big Bang ended
up okay. Yeah?
Yes, it's funny how other people see you, and say things you would never
say about yourself. Kim was a sweetheart, and obviously still is. I'm grateful
she wrote the things she wrote because I was tempted to think of myself
as a total wally - a naive twit who couldn't help getting himself into
Well, it's THAT time again. Pork chops and onions and spuds for THEM
and I'll settle for a Maharaja's Choice - Vegetable Biryani - basmati rice
with vegetable curry. Sounds pretty good to me. I love all that kinda spicy
stuff. Which reminds me, I must write toilet rolls on the grocery list
for tomorrow. Gary
January 4, 2011. That's 4 times so far I've remembered to type
2011 instead of 2010. So much for Alzheimer's. Oregon Richie is still traipsing
around New Mexico. He says he can't get this page (waffle #16) to load
on his computer for some weird reason. He's using the motel internet connection
which fluctuates in efficiency somewhat.
Coincidentally, I watched a repeat of Stephen
Fry in America last night on telly. He toured the south west including
New Mexico where he visited the Los Alamos nuclear research center and
interviewed one of the scientists there. He also spent some time in Monument
Valley where he chatted to some of the local Indians and joined them for
lunch. That's one helluva place. Santa Fe was another place he visited.
All very interesting stuff. He also took a hot
air balloon flight over the Grand Canyon.
I can't see myself floating around in a balloon, although I'd love to.
Looking over the edge of the basket would freak me out. Actually, Fry took
a flight in a vintage WWII bomber, a B something or other, a "Flying Fortress",
the same type that dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those huge
radial engines make a helluva racket and Fry had to yell at the camera
to be heard. He didn't say much. Later he took a peek at the mothballed
fleet of aircraft in the Arizona desert. Billions of dollars worth
of airplanes that could be put back into service if required. They're injected
with expanding foam and covered in a skin of protective film.
Beeb time: Huge swathes of Australia's Queensland could remain submerged
for weeks, hampering recovery efforts, the state premier says. Some
people are refusing to move because they fear looters. It's a sad fact
of life that those bastards exist everywhere in the world. Snakes are a
problem too... large blacks and browns seeking refuge from the water, and
entering people's homes if doors are left open. Oscar-nominated
British actor Pete Postlethwaite has died at the age of 64, a spokesman
has announced. Former girlfriend Julie Walters praised him as "the most
exciting, exhilarating actor of his generation". She said she agreed with
Steven Spielberg, who worked with the actor in films including The Lost
World: Jurassic Park, when he described Postlethwaite as "the best actor
in the world". That's a compliment if ever I heard
one. The US Navy says it is investigating the production of lewd
videos aboard a US aircraft carrier which have turned the spotlight on
a veteran commander. The videos were apparently made in 2006 and 2007,
and one features gay slurs, simulated masturbation and women pretending
to bathe together. The films' key figure is Capt Owen Honors, now USS Enterprise
commander. Let me quote J's comment on Justin's Blog:
man should be relieved because he doesn't have the dignity and sense of
proportion required of command. Ailing actress Zsa Zsa Gabor
is being treated with powerful antibiotics as doctors try to save her right
leg, which is infected with gangrene. Her publicist John Blanchette said
she had a deep lesion which could have entered the bone. The treatment
would last two to three days If unsuccessful the leg would have to be amputated.
The 93-year-old has been admitted to hospital a number of times since breaking
her hip in July. It's very sad when a reputation
built on being physically attractive deteriorates to that extent.
Hundreds of Cambodians have celebrated the unusual wedding of two snakes,
in the belief the nuptials will bring those attending prosperity and peace.
Serpent bride Chamreun, a 16ft-long (4.8m) python weighing 200lb (90kg),
wed her smaller mate in a village just south of the capital Phnom Penh.
Buddhist monks blessed the pair and villagers showered them with flowers
during the two-hour ceremony. Many Cambodians are superstitious, and merge
animist practices with Buddhism. Animism is the belief that spirits can
inhabit living and inanimate objects. Well, there
ya go. Each to his own peach. Australia begin day two in some trouble
after being reduced to 134-4 by England on a rain-shortened opening day
in the fifth (Cricket) Test in Sydney. It'll be a
bloody miracle if Oz manages to even the score, in which case you'll hear
the cheers no matter where you are in the world. A US judge has
ruled that a woman from Pennsylvania can sue Disney over claims that a
staff member dressed as Donald Duck groped her at a theme park. April Magolon,
27, says she was holding her child at Disney's Epcot theme park in Florida
when the employee grabbed her breast and joked about it. Remember
the song by Andy Stewart, 'Donald! Where's your troosers?' A Ugandan
High Court judge has ruled that media companies in the country should not
publish the identities of people they say are homosexuals. The decision
was described as a "landmark ruling" by gay rights activists. The case
was brought against The Rolling Stone newspaper which last year published
several lists of people its editor said were gay. Many said they were attacked
after their names and photos were printed. That newspaper
should be ashamed of itself. It won't be, though, not if it's being run
by peanut-brained homophobes. Advertisers have always sought to
influence and persuade - no more so than at this time of year. But since
the advent of mass communications, there has been only a handful of ads
that monumentally changed the way people think about a product. One
of the most interesting articles I've ever read (being an old ad man).
A Taree photographer on Red Bubble went to the south side of the Manning
River to take pics
of the fireworks on NYE. I thought of that too but got lazy. The fireworks
are launched from a barge on the river, and the lights of the town are
in the background. Pretty good shot. Maybe next year I'll take the hint.
BTBW (by the bloody way), I've added a
few new pics to my RB favs.
No biggie but I found one of my original Kellys
Copy Shop biz cards. Scroll down the page to just below the pic of
the old Amstrad computer.
And now it's 5pm ladies and genitals, time to think about peeling a
few spuds. Gary
January 3, 2011. Aussie Odyssey is attracting more visitors.
December's visits averaged 120 a day compared to 106 a day during November.
And I haven't even left home yet! Total visits for December were 3720,
up 500 on November. Once I'm on the road, I think it will make a big difference
to the hits. However, I don't wanna become a walking neon sign wherever
I go. I'm no David Attenborough and have no wish to be. I'm just a bloke
doing his thing.
One of my fav Red
Bubblers is bundling his missus into his "van" (I guess it's a camper)
and toodling off to mid-western NSW for a couple of weeks to check out
the scenery and do a bit of camping. Half his luck. He's a very good photographer
and will no doubt post some pretty stunning pics. I've put in an order
for an image of a few
bangers sizzling in a pan on a campfire at dusk, with a billy on the
Meanwhile, I noticed the other day that I'm losing a bit weight, so
I stepped onto the bathroom scales just now. A little under 10 stone, so
that's a tad under 140 pounds, or about 63 kilos. Eeeek! Maybe it's because
it's summer, and hot, and I'm eating like a sparrow.
I've heard that food tastes better outdoors in the bush, and according
to my limited experience it's true. Don't ask me why. Maybe the fresh air
sharpens the taste buds or something. On a couple of my mini Odysseys,
I've packed a sandwich and a thermos of tea, and stopped at one of those
roadside picnic areas out in the sticks. Cheese, meat, tomato and lettuce
never tasted so good. Back in my teens, I camped with a mate at a place
called Bendemeer and we did a bit of panning
for gold in the MacDonald River. I remember the grassy banks and the
large stones in the river. A couple of fellow campers shot a 'roo and made
kangaroo tail soup, some of which they gave to us. It was delicious...
or so I thought. I took some home to Sydney and it was bloody awful, so
I threw it out. I was about 16 then and didn't have a car, so my mate drove
his mother's Renault. Sheesh, that was 50 years ago.
As I searched for pics of Bendemeer, I
found the Bendemeer Pub, which we visited. I don't think I drank beer
back then so I probably had a pub squash. It's a lovely old country pub
and I hope to visit it again one day... next time for a beer.
That'll be $3.80, mate.
What? Last time I was here it was 10 cents!
When was that?
50 years ago.
Times have changed a bit since then, mate. :)
Beeb time: Floodwaters in the Australian city of Rockhampton are rising
faster than expected, Queensland authorities say. The city has already
been badly hit, with many people being forced to flee. More than 20 towns
have already been cut off or flooded across an area larger than France
and Germany, with more than 200,000 people affected. Earlier, a woman swept
from the road in her car has become the first victim of the widespread
flooding, and at least two others are reported missing. While waters are
receding in some areas, in Rockhampton - a city of 77,000 - they have yet
to reach their peak. This is one flood they'll be
talking about for decades to come. Check
out the vid here. Egyptian Coptic Christians angered by a deadly
bombing at a church in Alexandria clash with police for a second day. How
much longer do we have to wait before evolution gives our brains the intelligence
to stop all this nonsense? Bad light curtails play in the final
Ashes (Cricket) Test in Sydney with Australia 92-1, debutant Usman Khawaja
on 22 and Shane Watson 34. England retains the Ashes
no matter what happens but Oz is trying to even the score which at the
mo stands at 2-1. If England wins this final test, it will be 3-1. If Oz
wins, it'll be a face-saving 2-2. Russia's airlines must ground
their Tu-154B planes, after a fire in Siberia which killed three people,
the country's transport watchdog says. At least 43 were injured when the
plane, carrying 124 people, burst into flames before take-off from Surgut.
Russia's transport safety regulator said the ban would remain in place
until the cause of the disaster had been established. Those
passengers are undoubtedly thanking their lucky stars that the plane was
not in the air when it burst into flames. Iran's Revolutionary Guards
have shot down two "Western spy drones" in the Gulf, a senior Iranian commander
has been quoted as saying. "Many" other drones have been shot down over
an unspecified period of time, the Fars news agency quoted him as saying.
those Iranians have any idea how much those drones cost?
Oregon Richie is bizzy checking out Los
Alamos and other attractions around New Mexico from his current base
in Albuquerque - museums, science thingies and wotnot. He's into all that
techno and retro stuff. I'm more into trees and campfires and beaches but...
whatever blows your hair back. However, I will be interested to visit Parkes
Observatory one of these days... and the radio telescope at Tidbinbilla
near Canberra. I'm also interested in visiting the old mining towns of
Lightning Ridge, Coober Pedy and Kalgoorlie. Heck, I could go on and on
and on about what's on the must-see list. Actually, I have a sort of melancholic
interest in abandoned buildings and ghost towns...lots of cobwebs and squeaky
hinges and untold stories. Hehe.
And that's it for today, dear Breth. Gary
January 2, 2011. Last night, a thought suddenly entered my head.
Why not make a difference in 2011? So I jumped on the computer and sponsored
a child through World Vision. I chose the grumpiest looking kid I could
find, as well as the one who had been waiting the longest for sponsorship.
He's 1 year old Anyel Antonio from Nicaragua, so he'll be less grumpy this
year, as well as in the years to come. As I get correspondence from World
Vision about his progress, I'll post it on a special Anyel page on Aussie
I did a similar thing back in late 80s but lost the plot when I went
broke. I remember getting regular updates about the kid's progress, and
the progress of his family. They were from SE Asia. It was a big deal when
they got a concrete floor in their hut to replace the earthen floor. His
education had improved and his parents were able to establish a vegetable
garden in their backyard. They sent hand-written letters and a photo or
two every few months.
Joao made a comment on my Youchewb video: Hi Gary. Fireworks are
always cool. Here in Floripa we have a "minor" version of Sydney party
with fireworks over the old suspended bridge but I don't use to see that.
I stay in my beach. Fireworks in Brava beach have more or less the same
dimensions of those in Taree. I wish you a happy new year!
Yes, one wonders what 2011 will bring. So far, there's been one surprise.
Anyel Antonio is now part of my life because of an impulsive decision.
So what's happening at the Beeb? Dilma Rousseff is sworn in as Brazil's
first woman president, succeeding the popular President Lula, who leaves
office with approval ratings of 80%. The kinda ratings
any politician would kill for. President Hosni Mubarak urges Egypt's
Muslims and Christians to stand united against terrorism after a bombing
outside a church in Alexandria kills 21 people and sparks clashes. If
there's one thing humanity needs to get through its thick skull it's that
friends are better than enemies. Tolerance is the key. Members of
a Russian pop group, Na-Na, have described the panic on board a passenger
jet when it caught fire and later exploded at a Siberian airport. Three
people were killed and at least 43 were injured after the Russian plane,
carrying 124 people, burst into flames before take-off. One band member
said people had "been literally stepping on each other's heads" in an effort
to escape. Read
the full story here. A number of people with Hotmail accounts have
posted complaints on Microsoft forums complaining that their e-mails have
been deleted. A spokeswoman for Microsoft said that the issue of missing
e-mails was not a widespread problem. The company said it is working to
rectify the problem and apologised to customers for any inconvenience.
yes, the good ol' "we apologize for any inconvenience" trick. Pope
Benedict XVI has said he will organise a summit in Assisi with religious
heads to discuss how they can promote world peace. Too
easy! Three Hail Marys and a bit of incense. No worries! A senior
official has described the flooding in Queensland, Australia, as a disaster
of "biblical proportions". State Treasurer Andrew Fraser said the economic
impact would be severe, with huge costs compounded by lost income from
mining, farming and tourism. Rockhampton, where 77,000 people live, is
the latest city bracing for impact, amid warnings of 30ft (9m) floodwaters.
More than 20 other towns have already been left cut off or flooded across
an area larger than France and Germany. Too many
Hail Marys if you ask me. After a 10 year drought, all the bloody Catholics
got together and whipped out their Rosary Beads to pray for rain and look
what happened. Sri Lanka's government has decided to change the
names of all state institutions still bearing the nation's former British
colonial name, Ceylon. The Ceylon Tea label, however, is unlikely to change,
as the industry believes it's a brand of quality for the country's most
famous export. Oh... I wonder if that has anything
to do with my comment yesterday. Hollywood action star turned California
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is preparing to leave office in January,
following one of the more challenging periods in the state's history. The
BBC's Peter Bowes looks back at the so-called governator's transition from
muscle-bound Austrian actor to US politician. Read
the full article here.
Another hottie today with a forecast max of 34C (about 95F) in Taree.
Holiday makers on the Mid North Coast won't be complaining, unlike our
Queensland neighbors. I won't be anywhere near the northern tropical areas
during summer on the Odyssey... probably down south in Tassie or somewhere.
However, summer heat is almost impossible to escape on the Aussie mainland.
Even Victoria and South Oz get heatwaves in the low 40sC at this time of
year. Yesterday, I walked barefoot from the back door to the laundry along
a cement pathway and thought I was walking on hot coals.
Oregon Richie by contrast is now in Albuquerque where he says the weather
is not too bad: I suspect the mountains north of ABQ and to the west
is where the ratty weather is, and you can see snow on the surrounding
mountain foothills, but it's predicted to warm up progressively from tomorrow
on. I'll probably head north/northeast tomorrow to Santa Fe and possibly
a zing up towards Los Alamos, famous for where the "Manhattan Project"
of the wartime nuclear research took place. ABQ is a fair enough
clean city with splendid roads and freeways but not a huge local attraction
of scenery, from what I have seen thus far.
I hung my new Red Bubble calendar for 2011 yesterday and this
is the 8x11" pic I'll be looking at for the next 4 weeks. I gave one
to my doc who hung it on his office wall, so I wonder what his overweight
patients will have to say about it. Actually, it looks pretty good blown
up to 8x11.
And that's it for this second day of 2011. Fish cakes and chips tonight.
January 1, 2011. Welcome to the New Year. I fillumed Taree's
last night and, to my surprise, the
bloody thing worked. Well, it did after I buggerized around a bit.
It was all very professional... I used a tripod and everything. I even
edited out "Is this bloody thing working or not?", "Jeez, I'm stupid!"
and a bit of coughing.
I had to go to the help page of Windows Movie Maker to refresh my memory
and got myself into a tizz as usual, but I managed to figure everything
out eventually. I prefer stills but little movies have their place, and
they're quite fun to do. I used the Sony F717 which I bought used for $400
back in 2007. It's a bit long in the tooth now at 5MP but is still a good
camera. BTW, eBay has offered to refund the $30 I paid for that dud memory
stick because I used PayPal. So all's whale that ends whale.
And now, for a REAL fireworks show, let's
check out what Sydney did last night.
Ohio Jace sent me a happy NY e-card. He's had a busy holiday looking
after a zillion kids, but the gang's doing fine. Thanks, Jace.
Beeb time: Firework displays, parties and other celebrations are taking
place around the world to usher in the new year. Festivities ranged from
the release of thousands of silver balloons in Tokyo in Japan, to the first
countdown of a western new year in Hanoi, Vietnam. In Sydney, crowds watched
what is hailed as the world's biggest New Year's Eve fireworks display.
It was the tiny Pacific island nation of Kiribati that was the first to
welcome in the new year at 1000 GMT. Celebrations across Asia and Australasia
followed, New Zealand - the first major country to see in 2011. You
know those knots they tie in a length of rope to measure the speed of a
sailing ship? Well, it's kinda like that. Welcome to the new knot.
Sri Lanka's government has decided to change the names of all state institutions
still bearing the nation's former British colonial name, Ceylon. The government
wants the country's modern name to be used instead. The decision comes
39 years after the country was renamed Sri Lanka. I
remember when the best tea came from Ceylon. Now it's "blended and packaged
in Indonesia from local and imported teas". In small print, of course.
Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid will not receive a posthumous pardon for
killing a county sheriff in 1878, the governor of the US state of New Mexico
has said. Bill Richardson had been asked to pardon the infamous 19th Century
bandit in order to fulfil a promise supposedly made in exchange for court
testimony. But Mr Richardson told US TV that Billy the Kid's name - linked
to as many as 27 murders - would not be cleared. Billy the Kid was shot
dead after escaping from jail in 1881, aged 21. Three
years younger than our own infamous Ned Kelly, hanged on November 11, 1880.
The western United States is bearing the brunt of new winter storms, with
heavy snow blanketing an area from New Mexico to Minnesota. Snow and ice
have closed a number of major roads, with Arizona and New Mexico particularly
badly hit. New Mexico is where Oregon Richie is headed.
Great timing. Two alleged armed robbers are in police custody after
a botched heist at a Chase bank in a suburb of Houston, Texas. The men
had taken seven hostages and fired gunshots during the attempted robbery.
Five hostages were released and one suspect apprehended earlier in the
day. The problem with most robbers is that they try
to hold up banks without proper training and a certificate of proficiency.
Bloody amateurs, that's what they are. Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad is to sell his 33-year-old car to raise money for a charity
that funds housing projects for young people. Mr Ahmadinejad was often
seen in the white Peugeot 504 when he served as Tehran's mayor, but has
rarely used it since becoming president in 2005. It will be auctioned in
February in the south-western city of Abadan. Officials hope it will fetch
more than the $2,000 (1,500 euros; £1,300) such cars sell for in
504 was a pretty good car. I've driven a few. Thousands more
people are preparing to evacuate their homes as one of Australia's worst
floods continues to inundate the state of Queensland. Forced evacuations
are being planned in Rockhampton as rising floodwaters threaten the town
of 77,000. The total affected area is larger than
the size of Germany and France combined. Pretty serious stuff.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo was on telly last night. I thought
tattoo schmatoo so I wasn't planning to watch it. But I got involved with
setting up my camera to fillum Taree's fireworks and the program started
already. Hmmm, not bad. So I got hooked. They had pipes and drums, marching
bands, brass bands, precision mini motor cycle displays by young kids,
Scottish dancers doing all that Highland Fling business in tartan kilts,
plus a bunch of other colorful and interesting stuff. So I watched it all!
They also featured bands from various countries including Australia and
New Zealand. Here
are the closing scenes.
And that's it for the first of the first one one. Lamb chops for THEM
and I'll have the chicken stir fry that Mr Misery rejected the other night.
What a way to start the new year. Gary
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