February 28, 2011. You know what this means... I'm gonna have
to turn my day/date watch forward several times to get from 28 to 1 tomorrow.
It also means we're about to launch into the third month of 2011. The
passing of time is much slower when you're young. How can you say time
flies when you're 20-something? You look over your shoulder and there's
nothing there! I remarked on Justin's blog the other day that I never listen
to my elders because I don't have any. That's not quite true, of course.
NC Art has 20 years on me, and I listen to him.
I was watching the program Collectors the other night and there was
a bloke who collects fountain pens. But he also uses them. He's written
10 books with his favorite fountain pen. He loves the tactile nature of
a pen... the feel, the smell of the ink, and seeing the letters take form
as the nib travels across the page. He must be a very patient man. For
me it's all about speed... keeping up with all the thoughts bubbling around
in my brain and getting them onto the screen before they disappear.
Besides that, I write left-handed. At school, I gave up writing
words at a forward leaning angle because the heel of my hand, which
followed the pen, smeared the wet ink. So I developed a vertical style,
with my hand directly beneath the words. However, I'd already established
my signature, so my signature is still written in the forward style while
everything else is written in a vertical style. Barack Obama is younger
than me so he was probably brought up with ball-point pens which don't
have a problem with wet ink. Yes, sir! Give me QWERTY anytime.
I watched the story of America again last night. Very interesting stuff.
The creation of mass-produced steel used in the construction of sky-scrapers.
Edison's electic light. (He tried thousands of different filament materials
before he arrived at the one that worked). Henry Ford's Model T and the
production assembly line. The discovery of oil. Prohibition and the emergence
of organized crime in big cities such as Chicago. The spread of suburbia
after cars became available to the masses. The building of massive road
networks. The assembly of the Statue of Liberty in New York (which nearly
didn't happen because NY didn't have the money to construct it). And the
millions of immigrants who came from all parts of Europe to try their luck
in "the land of opportunity". Quite a story, and it all happened in a relatively
short period of history.
There was a particuarly interesting segment about the sudden increase
in cars because of their affordability as well as availability. People
had to learn to drive. Brake? Wot dat? You just pull on the steering wheel
and yell "whoa!". It's true! And some people were so used to steering horses
with reins, they didn't really understand what to do with the wheel. Horses
follow the direction of the road, not so automobiles. Hehe. Musta been
pretty scary for the car salesmen whose job it was to teach their customers
Beeb time: Libya's border with Tunisia is being overrun with migrants,
many of them from Egypt, fleeing turmoil in Libya, aid workers say. A UN
refugee official told the BBC that 20,000 Egyptians were stranded and needed
food and shelter. Many are sleeping in the open despite the cold. Some
Egyptian refugees staged protests shouting: "We want to go home." About
100,000 people have fled anti-government unrest in Libya over the past
week, the UN estimates. Amazing, isn't it? This whole
Middle East rebellion thing happened out of the blue, and has gathered
extraordinary momentum in just a matter of weeks. Tunisian Prime
Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi announces he is resigning, a key demand of
demonstrators following last month's uprising. Toppling
like ten pins. At least two people are killed in the Gulf state
of Oman, in clashes between security forces and protesters demanding political
reform. And on and on it goes. The countdown
to the Oscars is on with The King's Speech and The Social Network going
head to head for the best picture prize. Oh well...
whatever blows your hair back.
As to the email I received about the sale of codysworld.com, I sent
a paste of the offer to TX Greg who wrote: Oh what a scam!!! Next they'll
want your bank info. Gary, think about this, why the fuck would they write
you thru the "privacypost" addy. Remember you added that when got the domain
name. So they (or a bot) searched for the owner and reached you using the
privacypost addy posted there. You would think if someone really wanted
to reach you they would have used your addy on the home page :) I don't
believe they ever really saw Cody's site or they wouldn't have asked that
kind of a rude point blank question.
So there ya go. The world is full of naughty people trying to take advantage
of naive old fossils like me. Anyway, it didn't work cos I wrote back and
said the domain name is not for sale. Actually, I get a stream of emails
asking me to link to other sites, usually weight-loss sites, saying that
they were impressed with Aussie Odyssey, yadda, yadda. A load of old codswallop,
so I delete them.
And there goes another Monday. I paid the doc's bill today for the recent
surgery. $240, but I got $175 back from Medicare. Anyone who reckons Medicare
is not a good idea has way too much money. Now all we need is Medicar.
Every time I get Bluey serviced I can get a rebate from Medicar. Yeah,
right. Like that's gonna happen. Gary
February 27, 2011. Lovely day, and headed for 32C, which is a
tad warm. So I'm all ready to toddle off to Tinonee for the assemblage
of artisans at the Tinonee Artisans Workshop/Collective thingy. They're
probably all bearded and strange looking - and smoking funny cigarettes.
Society dropouts - leftovers from the Flower Power days. Hehe.
I do admire people who are clever with their hands, though... glass
blowing, pottery, wood work, iron work, instrument making. It's a wonderful
thing. I think most people have great admiration for a true work of art
made by hand. In fact, I think hands themselves are a true work of art.
Just watch the
hands of an experienced potter as they caress and smooth a lump of
wet clay into something
truly marvelous. It's magic!
Speaking of art, NC Art forwarded this message from a disgruntled shopper
on eBay: I recently got ripped off on E-Bay. Please pass this
on to all your buddies who might trade on E-Bay so they can be aware and
protect themselves. They should really watch out for people who will
take advantage of them. I spent $50 on E-Bay for a penis enlarger.
Bastards sent me a magnifying glass.
The pipes are calling.... Yes, they certainly are. Sue's taking a shower.
She never turns the shower taps on sufficiently to stop the squeal from
the pipes at low pressure. It's bloody annoying.
I watched a program last night about old subs - the Oberon class. A
number of them had been anchored in Canada for years and left to rot until
someone got the idea to save one of them and transport it (1000 tonnes)
to a proposed maritime museum. Towing the thing across the Atlantic to
its destination was quite a hazardous task, and then dragging it up a rocky
beach to its final resting place was even more frustrating. But they eventually
got it there. The interesting thing to me was that subs are built from
the inside out. Once built, it's too late to get a grand piano in there.
Or anything else larger than a human being. There's no way I could sail
on a sub... way too claustrophobic for me.
Oberon subs were battery powered, and very quiet. They were also very
strong and could dive to a depth of 200 meters. "When we were on a mission,
nobody knew where we were or what we were doing."
Let's do a quick Beeb before I tiptoe out to Tinonee: The UN Security
Council is meeting to consider action against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's
government in Libya over its attempts to put down an uprising. A draft
resolution calls for an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze. It also
proposes referring Col Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court for
alleged crimes against humanity. But it took an uprising
and the loss of innocent lives to make it happen. Why is that? Do you wait
for a snake to bite you before you act? I suspect that opponents of the
war in Iraq would answer that question with a yes. A third of city
centre buildings in Christchurch could face demolition after the massive
quake, New Zealand officials warn. Yes, I heard anything
from a quarter to a third. That gives you an idea of the scale of this
disaster. The Irish Republic's main opposition leader Enda Kenny
says his party has won a "massive endorsement" to govern after parliamentary
elections. I expect a similar result next month in
NSW when our state election is due. The encumbent Labor party has made
a total mess of things. The army in Egypt has passed a draft of
constitutional amendments to be submitted to a national referendum. Under
the proposed changes, the president would only be allowed to serve two
four-year terms, instead of unlimited six-year periods. Deposed President
Hosni Mubarak was serving his fifth six-year term when he was toppled by
a mass uprising earlier this month. The amendments would also reinstate
judicial oversight of elections. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces
that now controls Egypt asked a panel of experts to suggest constitutional
amendments that produce democratic reforms. It's
encouraging to see that the army is doing the right thing by the people
of Egypt. Hopefully they will be a role model for the rest of the Middle
East. Oil prices retreat after reports suggest Saudi Arabia has
increased production to offset shortages caused by unrest in Libya. Our
dependence on oil certainly needs to be addressed, and the sooner the better.
A bloke who runs a company in southern California (so he says) wants
to know how much I want for my domain name codysworld.com Well, it ain't
for sale. That's a memorial to Cody. Goodbye campervan but them's the breaks.
No, I could never do that.
Well, I tiptoed out to Tinonee only to discover that the artisan's thingy
was on Friday and Saturday. And what's today? Sunday. Oh well. I
managed to get a few pics anyway, including a couple of a koala in
a tree. Koalas sleep 20 hours a day ya know, which is almost as long as
Lindsay and Sue. Gum leaves don't have a lot of nourishment so the poor
things spend most of their time wondering what day it is. So does Lindsay,
actually. He put the bins out this morning before he realized it was Sunday
and not Monday. Hehe.
Well, that'll do for today. Time to rustle up some vittles for the dingalings.
February 26, 2011. Further to Art's question about Oz yesterday,
I was answering Oregon Richie's email this morning and remembered the old
'30s song, Is 'E An Aussie, Is 'E, Is 'E... So I checked Youchewb
and sure enough, there it was.
The Duo, Mr
Flotsam and Mr Jetsam was composed of a New Zealander and an Englishman
who performed in Australia during the 20s and 30s. The NZer was a bass
baritone with one of the deepest voices on record (no pun intended) and
I read where he had shattered a couple of mechanical microphones by standing
So here we are thinking how wonderful it is to be living in the digital
age with all kinds of marvelous technology... compared to what? Compared
to what went before? I wonder what people 50 years from now will think
about the technology of 2011. Which reminds me. I watched The Collectors
last night, one of my fav shows. People love to collect all kinds of things,
and it's endlessly fascinating. The host was saying that the time to collect
stuff from 2000 to 2009 is NOW! And he referred to the period as "The Noughties",
which I thought was cute. He said there's a plethora of stuff available
now that's not only collectable but cheap! He says it's vital to keep the
original packaging as well as the receipts. So if you're in your 20s or
30s, get cracking.
I think I'm the type who loves to admire other people's collections
rather than be a collector myself. However, I am grateful for having kept
my old scrapbook together over many years of moving around all over the
place. Luckily, the digital age came along and enabled me to digitize all
the material and assemble it on AO so that it has some sort of permanency,
and is available for perusal by others who for whatever reason may be interested
in taking a peek. I wonder what Cody would have thought about my Scrapbook
Cody knew very little about me. Just the basics. Our relationship was
all about him - his life, his interests, his friends. I was "there" but
not really. I was like the person religious people call God. You don't
ask God how he's feeling, or if he had a nice day, or what he did yesterday.
Your relationship with God is all about YOU. Hehe. It's all about how YOU'RE
feeling, and YOUR problems, and YOUR hopes and dreams. God can bloodywell
take care of himself. And that's how it was with Cody and me. But that
was fine with me. No problem at all. In fact, that was the whole point
of the exercise.
Beeb time: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged the
global body's Security Council to take "decisive action" over the Libya
crisis. He said violations of human rights had been carried out by Muammar
Gaddafi's regime, and more than 1,000 had died. Speaking at a meeting of
the Security Council in New York, Mr Ban warned of a growing refugee and
food crisis. At a hastily organised news conference at the UN in New York,
Libyan deputy ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi described Col Gaddafi, who has
been in power for 42 years, as a "madman". He warned that thousands would
die in Tripoli because the Libyan leader would never flee and would fight
to the end. Gaddafi didn't suddenly become a "madman"
ya know... he always was one. Brazil's two biggest companies, Petrobras
and Vale, post record profits, in the latest sign of Brazil's growing economic
might. Now all they have to do is get rid of the
slums. The polls have closed in the Republic of Ireland's general
election, with turnout believed to be close to 70%. There are 566 candidates
contesting 165 seats in the Irish parliament and the first results are
expected early on Saturday afternoon. 70% is high.
I watched a program on telly the other night about lots of young Irish
people abandoning the Emerald Isle to seek their fortunes overseas. Well,
there's no shortage of Kellys and O'Shaunesseys and O'Learys in Oz, I can
tell you that. The UN's nuclear watchdog says it has received new
information on "possible military dimensions" to Iran's nuclear development
programme. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the report
raised "further concerns" about Iran's activities. "Concerns"
is putting it mildly. Italian auto giant Fiat has announced it is
to manufacture up to 300,000 vehicles a year in Russia, days after its
deal with local manufacturer Sollers fell through. Fiat intends to produce
saloons, SUVs and light commercial vehicles. One
of those famous automotive Marques that has outlasted many of its competitors
over a very long time. Some 6,000 Jordanians have taken to the streets
of Amman, in the biggest pro-democracy rally in eight weeks of protest.
Fearing a repeat of last Friday's violent clashes, more than 3,000 police
were deployed in the city centre for this week's so-called day of anger.
Inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, demonstrators want greater political say
and economic change at home. Not surprising, yes?
Rescue workers in New Zealand found no survivors during another day of
searching in the quake-hit city of Christchurch, as the slow process of
identifying the dead began. More than 220 people remain missing in the
wake of Tuesday's earthquake. Rescuers believe multiple bodies lie beneath
three collapsed structures. The death toll stands at 113 people, of whom
six have been formally identified. As many as 120 people are thought to
have been killed inside the collapsed CTV office block, including Japanese,
Chinese and Philippine nationals. I was thinking
about that place last night... a busy TV station with people working at
computers, in edit suites, running around with papers, chatting on the
phone, etc. And 2 minutes later, with no warning, they were dead, crushed
by tons of rubble. It just seems so improbable.
I just searched the etymology of "codswallop". It appears that "cod"
is a word meaning testicles, as in "codpiece", which is a brief worn to
protect a male's wobbly bits in sport. From Wikipedia: A
codpiece (from Middle English: cod, meaning "scrotum") is a covering flap
or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of men's trousers and
usually accentuates the genital area. It was held closed by string ties,
buttons, or other methods. Wallop, on the other hand, is British
slang for beer. Put the two together and you have codswallop, which basically
means a load of rubbish... something that doesn't make sense. Codswallop
and diddly squat are two of my favorite expressions. I just love the sound
If you were posh in Oz, but you couldn't afford a Rolls Royce or a Bentley,
you bought a Rover. My mother thought Rovers were lovely cars... not that
we ever had one. She liked the leather and the woodwork and the gentlemanly
way Rovers did their thing. Like
pretty sure my mother was thinking of something more along these lines.
But my father's first car was an
Austin 7. Not very flash at all, I'm afraid. Then he drove a Chevy
panel van. After that, a
Commer. Ew! Mom thought it was okay because it had a Humber Hawk motor
in it. But it was sprung so harshly, anyone not tied down was catapulted
through the roof every time it hit a bump. Anyway the Commer didn't last
he got an Austin. Actually, that's a Morris but it's the same stable.
Mom thought it was kinda cool because it had bucket seats instead of a
finally a Holden. When he retired he bought a '49
Standard Vanguard for 50 quid at a repo yard. Mom didn't like that
much either. So he bought
a '53 Desoto also from a repo yard. Mom thought that was pretty posh
because it had tinted windows. Then he bought a
Ford Cortina. And finally, his last car (which I actually arranged
for him), another
I was supposed to toddle out to Tinonee (Tin-own-ee) today to check
out the artisans doing their thing but time got away. So I'll do that tomorrow.
February 25, 2011. Thanks to TX Greg for doing the $600 @ 3%
compound interest over 10 years. It's about $800. I was wondering what
the rental bond on this house is worth after 10 years. It'll probably cost
that to repair the damage Sue's Daily Demolition Derby with her walker
NC Art has some interesting things to say: Browsing your blog today
and noted your continuing quest for a travel camper. Look for a used hearse,
maybe. The things are soft-riding, roomy and durable. Not easy on petrol
use, I first saw them on a long trek across Canada and on to Alaska. Four
guys, me included, bought an A-Model
Ford vintage 1929 and drove the thing from Athens, GA, to Anchorage,
AK in 1949. We were last year at University and burned out by too much
study. A helluva trip, but quite an experience.
Yes, of course! A hearse! It could come in mighty handy at the end of
my trip. Art is 85, by the way, in case you're trying to figure out how
he managed to make that trip back in 1949. I was 5 then. Now *that* would
have been one helluva trip, especially all those years ago. Pity they didn't
have digital cameras back then.
Art wants to know what Oz means: Please tell me what is meant by
"Oz." Google search cites a publication, either a newspaper or magazine,
but you use the term as a name of a place apparently. Is it a colloquialism?
Yes, it's a colloquialism. An Australian refers to himself as an Aussie,
and other Australians as Aussies. But Aussie is pronounced Ozzie and doesn't
rhyme with posse as some Americans believe. Oz is a shortened version of
Aussie and has come to mean the country itself.
On the subject of comedy, Art says: South Park is mildly amusing
once a year or so. However, for a great and sophisticated send up
on current follies of our dear leaders, look for The Daily Show with Jon
Stewart on Comedy Central TV channel. Or do you say telly, like the Poms?
The show is 30 minutes and followed by Stephen Colbert for 30 minutes.
Both are satirical and hysterical at times. Note: Among the old time comics
you cited, the Marx Brothers was omitted.
Yes, who could forget the Marx Brothers. Or the Three Stooges. As to
pay TV, I don't have it. I'm a Scrooge who watches Free to Air, and not
very much of it in any case. L&S have pay TV but their whole lives
revolve around watching the boob tube (when they're not sleeping).
Art goes on to comment on digital cameras: Don't even try to read
the user's manual on that camera; they are written by engineers in no recognizable
language. My son just bought a digital number with a manual running to
60 pages. He just points and shoots. How sensible. But you can (and
I do) use Focus Lock which locks the apperture and shutter speed by pressing
the shutter button half way. It means you can take a reading of part of
the scene rather than the whole scene, and lock it before you rearrange
the composition. It's handy in situations of high contrast or if you want
to highlight something in particular where an overall reading doesn't work
too well. BTW, my Fuji manual runs to 120 pages.
Art also said something interesting about Daniel: Still am working
my way through Daniel's Diary, more methodically now because I read in
bits and snatches originally. Your imaginary character is as depraved as
he is lovable. Good job! Yes, that was the whole point of creating
Daniel. I wanted to see if an incorrigible scallywag could also be "lovable".
And it worked! I wanted to show Cody that he had no reason to apologize
for who he was. Mark summed that up one day when he said to Cody, "Under
what rock did I find you?" Hehe. But he loved him anyway. In fact, as he
confessed later to Steve, he loved his spiky-haired mate more than anyone.
Beeb time: Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has told state TV that
Osama Bin Laden and his followers are to blame for the protests racking
his country. In a phone call addressed to residents of the town of al-Zawiya,
Col Gaddafi said young people were being duped with drugs and alcohol to
take part in "destruction and sabotage". Col Gaddafi said the protesters
had no genuine demands and were being dictated to by the al-Qaeda leader.
talk about grabbing at straws. The US shuttle Discovery blasts off
from the Kennedy Space Center on a historic final mission before retirement.
a bit like Aussie Odyssey. US authorities in Texas say a Saudi student
sought to make a bomb and drew up a list of targets including former President
George W Bush's house. Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari was arrested on Wednesday
and charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. The US
said he had sought to purchase chemicals and other kit needed to construct
a bomb to wage "Jihad". Mr Aldawsari, 20, is due to appear in federal court
on Friday. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison. Idiot.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden to face
sexual assault allegations, a judge has ruled. At Belmarsh Magistrates'
Court in south London, District Judge Howard Riddle said the extradition
would not breach Mr Assange's human rights. Mr Assange said the ruling,
which he will challenge, was due to a "European Arrest Warrant system run
amok". The 39-year-old denies three allegations of sexual assault and one
of rape last August in Stockholm. He believes the claims are politically
motivated because of Wikileaks' publication of sensitive material - including
leaked US diplomatic cables - from governments and high-profile organisations
that has made headlines worldwide. It seems it's
gonna be a while yet before the fat lady gets her chance to sing. Stay
tooned. Officials in New Zealand have released the first four names
of the 113 confirmed victims of Tuesday's earthquake in the city of Christchurch.
They include two adults and two infants - aged five and nine months. Rescue
workers are still combing through rubble but no survivors have been found
since Wednesday afternoon. Police say 228 people are missing, including
122 believed to have been in one smashed building where it is thought no-one
survived. I watched a live report on ABC TV last
night and the correspondent in Christchurch, a young man, was desperately
trying to control his emotions. He was within an inch of bursting into
tears. The anchor person back in Sydney was very sensitive to the situation
and kept crossing back to herself to give the young bloke time to recover
his composure between crosses but you could see he was struggling to cope.
It was very moving and spoke volumes about the depth of the human tragedy
there. The city of Shanghai - which already follows China's one-child
policy - has announced a new rule for households. From May a one-dog policy
will be introduced, and more than 600,000 unlicensed dogs will be declared
illegal. Jeez, only one dog for the whole city!
US carmaker General Motors has posted a $510m (£317m) profit for
the fourth quarter, and of $4.7bn for all of 2010. The latter figure covers
its first full year after bankruptcy, and represents its first full-year
profit since 2004 and largest profit since 1999. Good
to see the US economy getting back on track. Toyota is recalling
2.17m vehicles in the US over reports that accelerator pedals could become
stuck in floor mats and carpets. The company has now recalled more than
14m vehicles globally since 2009 over safety concerns. Attention
to detail, chaps, attention to detail! Keep your eyes on the detail!
A restaurant in London's Covent Garden is serving a new range of ice cream,
made with breast milk. The dessert, called Baby Gaga, is churned with donations
from 15 women who responded to an advertisement on an online mothers' forum.
One of the women, Victoria Hiley, 35, said if adults realised how tasty
breast milk was more new mothers would be encouraged to breastfeed. Each
serving of Baby Gaga at Icecreamists costs £14. Um...
yes... well... er... lemme think about that.
I supposed it's what ever you get used to... cow's milk, ewe's milk,
goat's milk... we take it for granted. But milk from a human breast? That
might take an extra bit of getting used to.
I was talking to Lindsay in the living room as he shuffled through the
TV channels and stopped for a few seconds at a scene of a couple of guys
playing pool. It reminded me of a time a few years ago at a local pub where
I was playing pool with a couple of young blokes. We were divided into
teams, two apiece. It was my turn to have a shot and I'm hopeless at judging
angle shots off the cushion. Anyway, my opposite number went to the loo
and my team mate, a young cheeky bloke wearing a baseball cap, put his
finger on the cushion opposite where I was standing. So I lined up the
shot and whammo! My ball bounced off the cushion, struck the ball I was
aiming at and sent it into the pocket. Bloody amazing! How some people
manage to calculate those angle shots just by looking at them I'll never
I enjoy a game of pool even though I'm hopeless at it.
Back from shopping, and scored a couple of good specials. I also paid
Averil's rent at the estate agent's office. There were a couple of young
Irish lads at the counter. One had two drinking straws in his mouth. No,
this is not an Irish joke... it actually happened. So I asked the bloke
if there was a lolly on the end of the straw, and he pulled them out to
reveal nothing. "No," he said in that wonderful Irish accent, "I just like
suckin' on 'em." Hehe.
After they left, the receptionist and I got to chatting and she said,
"You've got a radio announcer's voice." "That could be because I worked
as a radio announcer." And then I went on to tell her I used to work at
the local ABC. But I haven't worked in radio for decades, so I'm surprised
it's still there. Not the ABC, my dulcet tones, you twit.
Right, meatloaf tonight. I just turned a wholemeal bun into fresh breadcrumbs.
A bit fiddly, and it takes a bit of persistence with just a knife, but
I got there. Then I added an egg, finely chopped onion and celery, a sprinkle
of ground pepper, a dash of mixed herbs, a dash of garlic, a slurp of barbecue
sauce, some parsley, and 650gs of heart-smart ground beef. I hand mixed
it all in a bowl and now it's "marinating" in the fridge. I'll bake it
later with spuds and pumpkin, and serve it with gravy. Sound cool? Pretty
hard to beat the ol' meatloaf ya know.
The roast spuds are easy. Peel and quarter lengthwise, place in baking
dish round side down with meatloaf (and chunks of pumpkin), spray with
cooking oil, sprinkle with mixed herbs. That's it. Bake the whole shebang
for about an hour and a quarter. And that's what I call yummy din dins.
In fact, if I ever open a restaurant, that's what I'll call it... Yummy
Din Dins. Of course, all the macho guys conscious of their image would
call it YDD's but the girls wouldn't. And all the TV ads would end with
"Yummy!" I could make a fortune. BUT... I can't be bothered. Gary
February 24, 2011. Now here's a bloke who can spin a great yarn...
Corbett with his Parrot Joke.
And here he
is again with his Handyman Joke.
I think the secret to Ronnie Corbett's talent is not in the joke itself,
but in its telling. He has a wonderful knack of keeping you interested
and amused while he waffles on about all sorts of irrelevant jibberish.
Now, IF I were currently on the Odyssey, and camped at Pacific Palms
(about an hour's drive south of here), I could wander over to the beach
and take pics of the 13th
Annual Pacific Palms Surf Club Battle of the Boats. There'll be surf
boat crews from NSW, Victoria and Queensland... about 180 crews in all.
So the 2-day event promises a lot of exciting and colorful activity and
wonderful photographic opportunities. BUT, I won't be there. Commuting
back and forth and having to be here to cook the evening meal is all too
hard, so that kinda opportunity will have to wait until I'm on the road.
The thing is, I don't like to be too far away from where I belong...
my bed, my chair, my kitchen, my "things"... the place I call home. I'm
very much like Peanuts' Linus and his security blanket in that respect.
And I don't like commuting. An hour there and an hour back, that's 2 hours
wasted. I could have used that time to much better advantage.
Now that might seem a bit of contradiction to my intention to travel
Oz. But I don't intend to spend all that much time "on the road" traveling.
Certainly no more than an hour or two at a time. Then it'll be stop and
camp time, and a bit of a stroll around the hood for a day or two or five.
I won't be in a hurry to get from one place to another, and I intend to
sniff out all the little places in between. At that rate, I'll be 103 by
the time I'm done. "Scuse me, mate, what country is this?" "Bloody Australia,
mate." "Oh... are you sure?"
Beeb time: US president condemns the violent crackdown by Libyan authorities
on peaceful protesters as "outrageous and unacceptable". And
what was he saying a couple of months ago before it all happened?
Hundreds of people remain missing in Christchurch as New Zealand authorities
continue search and rescue efforts after Tuesday's deadly earthquake. They
say it's a once in a 5000 year event... a case of being at the wrong place
at the wrong time. A former Serbian police officer is jailed for
27 years for his role in the 1999 murder of more than 700 ethnic Albanians
in Kosovo. Most of us couldn't live with the death
of one person on our conscience, let alone 700. It's unspeakable.
The US government says it will no longer defend in the courts a law banning
federal recognition of same-sex marriages approved by states. US Attorney
General Eric Holder said President Barack Obama had found the Defense of
Marriage Act (Doma) unconstitutional. The 1996 law defines marriage as
"only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife".
so a heterosexual couple marries and then one of the pair decides to have
an operation to change their sex to the same as their partner's. Does the
marriage remain legal under the law? Just wondering. A woman in
Brazil was shocked to find an alligator hiding behind her sofa after heavy
rains flooded her house in the central town of Parauapebas, in Para state.
She said she was alerted to the animal's presence by her son, who was patting
the alligator's head. The woman snatched the child away and called the
fire brigade, who trapped the 1.5m-long (5ft) reptile. The firefighters
said the family was lucky the animal was not hungry. Indeed!
Sofas are expensive. Veteran broadcaster Larry King, who left his
CNN talk show in December after 25 years, is to tour the US with a one-man
comedy show. The 77-year-old will give fans "a hilarious and insightful
look" at his life both behind and in front of the cameras, producers said.
Audiences will also be able to ask King questions during the tour, which
starts on 14 April in Connecticut.
I don't really
know the guy but I imagine the show will be a success. The Zimbabwe
authorities have detained 46 people for attending a lecture on the unrest
in North Africa and the Middle East. The group has been charged with seeking
to overthrow President Robert Mugabe by emulating the protests which toppled
the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia.
Ah ha, the message
is spreading. Bombs are not the only means of removing dictators. It's
quite simple, really. A dictator's power lies in his ability to control
the masses. If the masses refuse to be controlled, then the dictator has
I took another peek at campervans. Those on eBay are generally more
expensive than those for sale on Gumtree Classifieds by backpackers who
need to return to their country of origin... which makes sense. Desperate
people do desperate things. In fact, I've heard of campers being abandoned
at airport parking lots by people who just don't have time to sell them
before they leave. The thing is, most of them are for sale in Sydney, and
I think it would be wise to inspect any vehicle in person before making
a decision to buy. When the time comes, I think I might have to ask my
old neighbors in Glebe if they can accommodate me for a weekend while I
do a little camper shopping. Many of the campers are in the city area,
which is just a bus ride away. If I'm lucky - and careful - I might get
myself a bargain. Naturally, I'll catch the train to Sydney and leave Bluey
The last time I rode the XPT was in 2002 when I returned to Taree from
Sydney after my heart attack operation. Which reminds me, I should post
that story with pics on AO. I still have the story which was posted on
my old web site. I remember being desperate for a drink on the train. When
the bar finally opened at lunch time, all I could get was a thimble of
wine. Hardly a mouthful. That was the longest 5 hours of my entire life.
Anyway, that's a while away yet, and anything could happen in the meantime.
Kitchen time again. Anyone out there who knows math? Wot's $600 over
10 years @ 3% compound interest? Gary
February 23, 2011. Goodbye stitches! The doc checked the wound
and pronounced it "fine". It's still a bit tender but I'm glad the stitches
are out. They kept getting tangled in the cotton of my shirt. And yes,
the lesion was cancerous (according to the biopsy). It was quite large
- about a centimeter in diameter, which meant an incision about 3 or 4
times longer. So that's it until the next one. And to quote the doc, "We
got it all".
Speaking of cancer, here's a short film about the filmmaker's father,
an old man with terminal cancer. The filmmaker decided to tell his father
how much he loved him before it was too late. It was selected as runner
up at TROPFEST 2011 (the world's biggest short film festival). Jeremy
my ex-neighbor in Glebe is related to the filmmaker and sent this link.
Well, here we are with just a few days to go before this February is
history, and I'm feeling guilty about not having ventured forth to do a
bit of happy snapping. Hmmm. Lemme check the schedule of events at the
local council's web site. Okay... here's something interesting this weekend,
an Artisans Expo with various skilled artisans working with wood, clay,
glass, iron and other materials. There's also a Luthier who repairs and
makes stringed musical instruments. That's something different, and would
probably provide opportunities for interesting images. It's out at Tinonee
which is not far from here... in the bush. 10am to 4pm. Whaddaya reckon?
Anyway, I gotta get off my saggy butt before the month ends.
The last thing I want when I'm photographing indoors is for the flash
to fire. I want to capture the natural ambience of existing lighting, like
a candle or an artisan working by the light of a single lamp. Soooo, I
read the Fuji Finepix manual. Gimme a break, I've only had the camera 2
years. It took me ages to finally find the relevant paragraph. I read everything
else. And that's why I hate manuals. Anyway, if the flash pops up, push
it down again. That's it. By pushing it down again, it turns off the flash.
Too easy. But not too easy to find. Grrrrr.
While I was furiously pushing buttons, I tried a few different settings.
My fav is AUTO but there are others labeled S, P, A, M and whatever else.
And when you select one, little numbers appear on the screen. Hello? Don't
ask me to read the manual again cos I probably won't live long enough to
finish it. So one of these days, when I'm camped somewhere, there'll be
a camera buff who knows about all that stuff camped nearby and I'll do
the ol' "G'day mate" trick and ask him if he knows what all that stuff
is about... and to explain it to me.
Actually, I did know about F stops and apertures and depth of field
and manual focus and all that stuff years ago when I used semi-auto SLRs
and 35mm range-finder film cameras but I've forgotten most of it. I need
a refresher course. I even had a separate light meter in those days.
Here's a cute
idea posted on Justin's blog. You'll be met with a black screen. Click
your mouse anywhere and see what happens. Or hold down the left mouse button
and drag the mouse all over the black screen. Spring is in the air! Over
there, that is. Over here it's coming into autumn.
Beeb time: Libya's Col Muammar Gaddafi condemns anti-government protests
and refuses to cede power, in his first major speech since unrest began.
year old habits die hard, yes? New Zealand Prime Minister John Key
declares a national state of emergency as the death toll from Tuesday's
earthquake in Christchurch rises to 75. Our PM recently
referred to our mates across the Tasman as "family", which I think is an
apt description. You can't get much closer than ANZAC. Oz has responded
to the earthquake with "anything you need you'll get". Former White
House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is elected mayor of Chicago in the most
competitive city hall election in more than two decades. Yes,
I remember him. An Iraqi immigrant to the US is convicted in Arizona
of the second degree murder of his daughter, in what prosecutors said was
an honour killing. Ah yes, the old honor killing
trick. Sheesh. So has he restored his family's honor? NOPE. What a twisted
twit. Four Americans hijacked by Somali pirates off the coast of
Oman have been killed by their captors, US defence officials say. The US
military said its forces trailing the vessel had responded to gunfire heard
aboard but found all the captives shot when they arrived. US Navy Seal
special forces sailors boarded the ship without firing a shot, then killed
two pirates while they were taking control of the ship. But the BBC's Will
Ross in Nairobi says the pirates' telling of the encounter differs from
the US Navy's. The pirates report the US warship attacked first, killing
two pirates, and the hostages were killed in retaliation. Either
way, the pirates were trespassing and had no right to be there. They're
scum of the highest order and should be dealt with accordingly.
Two Iranian warships have sailed through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean
Sea, canal officials say. Iranian officials have said the warships are
heading to Syria for training, a mission Israel has described as a "provocation".
I'm sure it is. Union unrest is spreading through the mid-western
US, as labour activists in at least three states protest against pending
anti-union legislation. Thousands of protesters gathered in Ohio and Indiana
and, for the second week in a row, Wisconsin. Republican-led governments
there have argued the moves are needed to balance state budgets wracked
by deficits. But Democratic-leaning unions say fiscal woes are being used
as an excuse to erode collective bargaining rights. I've
never been a union man, but I've always believed that power should be shared
equally and fairly. Scientists have named a new dinosaur species
"thunder-thighs" because of the huge thigh muscles it would have had. Fossil
remains recovered from a quarry in Utah, US, are fragmentary but enough
to tell researchers the creature must have possessed extremely powerful
legs. The new species, described in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica,
is a sauropod - the family of dinosaurs famous for their long necks and
out the video here. An unpublished and previously unknown Enid Blyton
novel is believed to have turned up in an archive of the late children's
author's work. Mr Tumpy's Caravan is a 180-page fantasy story about a magical
caravan. Blyton, who died in 1968, remains a children's favourite and a
publishing phenomenon thanks to such characters as the Famous Five, the
Secret Seven and Noddy. An estimated 500 million copies of her books have
been sold around the world, with updated and reprinted versions of her
most popular stories still selling eight million copies a year. Oh
dear... where did I go wrong? Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro says
the US has no interest in seeing peace in Libya but is solely concerned
with the country's oil reserves. Mr Castro, in a column published in state
media, said it was too early to evaluate what was happening in Libya. But,
he said, it was clear the US would not hesitate to order Nato to invade.
"What is for me absolutely evident is that the government of the United
States is not worried at all about peace in Libya," he writes. Instead,
Washington will not hesitate to order a Nato invasion of the oil-rich North
African country, in "a matter of hours or a few days". I'd
be too ashamed to show my face in public if I were him. He's a fool.
Peru says it has suspended diplomatic relations with Libya over the use
of force against civilians there. It is the first country to take such
a step since the anti-government protests erupted in Libya last week. Up
You says Peru. "History is sweeping" through the Middle East and
North Africa, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said. In a speech to
the Kuwaiti Parliament, he praised the "brave and peaceful" protests by
people "hungry for political and economic freedom". It's
nice to know that Cameron has been reading the papers.
Yes, ladies and genitals, it's THAT time of day again... time to think
about kitchen duties. So we're having butterflied prawns, turned into cutlets
and crumbed, with home-made cheeps. And a squeeze of lemon. Lindsay came
into the kitchen and I said, "Yes, a stitch in time is worth two in the
bush", and he said, "Yep." And then I said, "And a rolling stone is a joy
forever". And he said, "Yep" as he left the room.
I deserve a medal ya know. Gary
February 22, 2011. Why do I choose the BBC to do the news thing?
I could choose the ABC in Oz (which is what I rely on locally), or any
number of American news outlets. I think it's because the BBC has been
around for ages and has a rep for being accurate and impartial. The Poms
are terribly proper, you know. I don't like the press as a rule because
it tends to be opinionated and 'colors' its reporting. I gave up reading
newspapers 20 years ago when I read an article in the Sydney Daily Telegraph
that was so preposterous I tossed the paper in the bin and never bought
another copy of any newspaper again. Lindsay does, and I use them for wrapping
FL Josh wrote: I don't know if you get the animated TV show South
Park there in Oz, but since you like to cook, I thought you'd like this
episode about cooking. South
Park, season 14, episode 14 - Creme-Fraiche.
Yes, South Park is shown in Oz but at the mo there seems to be a contractual
problem and "we are working hard to bring you (Oz) full episodes as soon
as possible." Meanwhile, I miss out on the joke. I'm not a fan of South
Park but it does have a strong cult following here. In fact, I'm not a
fan of most (if not all) animated sit coms. I have no idea why people watch
The Simpsons, for example. Even non-animated sit coms bore me... too many
puerile plots and smart-ass one-liners for my liking. It's like every line
has to be hilarious (at least according to the canned laughter). Comedians
like Charlie Chaplain, Bud Abbot and Lou Costello, and Laurel and Hardy
didn't need canned laughter. Go figure. Actually, there was one famous
American (British born) comedian who NEVER made me laugh. Bob Hope.
I'm not sure I have a favorite comedian. Jack Benny was pretty cool,
and I like his classic
sketch with Mel Blanc. My earliest recollection of a comedian was when
a workmate lent me an LP
of Shelley Berman. I was about 16 at the time. The workmate was Jim
McGuiness, a dwarf, who nicknamed me Gary Patrick Thomas Francis O'Dooley
Kelly - which I've never forgotten.
a couple of Berman's routines on vinyl.
The Two Ronnies were classic as well - Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker.
they are with Fork Handles.
Yes, I could go on... but I'd be here all day if I did. Okay... one
more... Ronnie Barker
and his Mispronunciation sketch.
Beeb time: Libya's leader, Muammar Gaddafi, makes a brief appearance
on state TV in the capital, Tripoli, dismissing "malicious rumours" that
he has fled the country. Churchill said, "The best
argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average
voter." But he also said, "It has been said democracy is the worst form
of government except all the others that have been tried." Multiple
fatalities have been reported after a powerful 6.3-magnitude earthquake
struck Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island, police say. The powerful
tremor, which struck at 1251 on Tuesday (2351 GMT on Monday) only 10km
(6.2 miles) south-east of the city, caused widespread destruction. Christchurch's
mayor said there were "scenes of great confusion" as people gathered in
the streets for safety. TV pictures of the aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake
showed several collapsed buildings in the centre of Christchurch. People
could be seen wandering the rubble-filled streets in distress. Christchurch
Mayor Bob Parker said he was on the top floor of the city council building
when the quake hit, throwing him across the room. "I got down onto the
street and there were scenes of great confusion, a lot of very upset people.
I know of people in our building who are injured and I've had some reports
of serious injuries throughout the city." They ain't
called the "shakey isles" for nuthin'. Obviously building codes will need
to be upgraded, like now. At least 30 people have been killed in
a stampede at a stadium in the Malian capital of Bamako, officials say.
Seventy others were injured in the incident, which occurred at the end
of a sermon given by imam Osman Madani Haidara. The crowd reportedly wanted
to be blessed by the imam after the speech, made on the festival of Maouloud,
the Prophet Muhammad's birthday. No comment.
In an old townhouse in East Boston an elderly stooped man is tending rare
orchids in his shabby office. His Labrador Sally lies on the floor between
stacks of academic papers watching him as he shuffles past. This is Dr
Gene Sharp the man now credited with the strategy behind the toppling of
the Egyptian government. A
most interesting article which you can read here. Hacker group Anonymous
appears to have singled-out its next target - the anti-gay Westboro Baptist
Church in the US. And I suppose the Westboro church
will use the hacking to its advantage by calling it the work of the devil.
Susan Boyle scored the most successful album overseas by a UK artist for
a second year running, research by Music Week magazine suggests. The Gift
sold 3.7 million copies abroad compared with the six million shifted by
her debut I Dreamed A Dream. If
you want to be reminded of how it all started, click here. Eagle-eyed
motorists were in for a surprise when pranksters tampered with a petrol
station price sign. The 24-hour Tesco garage in Fleetsbridge, Poole, Dorset,
was targeted on Sunday morning. The unleaded petrol price was changed to
25.9 pence per litre and the letters LOL - which normally stand for Laugh
Out Loud - were written below it. The normal price of unleaded petrol at
the station is 125.9 pence per litre. Tesco said it had corrected the sign.
A spokesman said: "Staff corrected the sign as soon as they were alerted
to the prank." Hehe.
Wow, that's about 2 Aussie dollars a liter! Petrol in Oz is about $1.30
to $1.40 a liter. So the Brit price for petrol is almost 9USD a gallon.
Here it's about $6. A little while ago Justin (MA) said his little Honda
FIT gets 40mpg, but he's only paying about $3 a gallon. When I was his
age, it was 40 cents a gallon.
Back in 1962, my mate and I went to Queensland's Gold Coast for a holiday
in my old Morris Oxford. After a few weeks we ran outta money, so we headed
back. I switched off the ignition and coasted down hills wherever I could
to save petrol. The old Morris finally ran dry at an intersection about
a mile or two away from his house in Sydney. We pushed the car across the
intersection into a service station and searched under the rubber floor
mats and in the boot/trunk for coins, and found 11 pence. It was enough
to buy a quarter of a gallon of petrol to get us home. My mate's sister
lent me 4 bob (40 cents) to get another gallon so I could get home as well...
and that lasted me the rest of the week. Jeez... bloody kids.
While we were camping around the Gold Coast (it was pretty much a seaside
village in those days... no glitz or glam, no high-rise) we met a couple
of girls. My girl and I went for a bush walk one day and found a spot where
we laid on the grass and I did the boy thing. Silly me. I kissed her and
her lipstick rolled into little balls of fat and stuck to my lips. No tongue...
no no no. I wasn't too impressed with the kissing routine but I undid her
bra anyway, and sucked her nipples, wondering where the hell all this would
lead. Then I looked up and spotted a peeping Tom up the hill in the bushes.
Thank god for that! He saved the day. So the girl put her bra back on and
we returned to the car. Saved by the bell!
Oh dear. Was I really THAT stupid? Kids are nutz in case you haven't
figured it out yet. Gary
February 21, 2011. I watched America last night, part
3 of The Story of the US. It was about how cotton revolutionized the economy
and introduced mechanization. It showed how the north became increasingly
industrialized, and explained the events, including slavery, that led to
the Civil War, which was responsible for more deaths than all other wars
in which the US has been involved combined. It told of the rise of Abraham
Lincoln, and the fall of Robert E Lee who commanded the Confederate Army.
It told of Lincoln's use of the railway to transport troops and supplies
to the front line, and of civilization's first "email", the telegraph.
It's an amazing story, and one which certainly fascinates me. It's a docu-drama...
part movie, part narration, in which the actors don't have speaking roles.
Oz didn't have slavery but it did have convict labor which was used
extensively in the early days of European settlement to construct roads,
bridges and various buildings. I suppose there wasn't all that much difference
between slavery and convict labor, really, except that convicts could eventually
earn their freedom. Some actually became quite famous. Francis Greenway
was an architect who designed some of Sydney's most famous buildings. Mary
Wade had 21 offspring, and 300 descendants at the time of her death. One
of her eventual descendants is Kevin Rudd, current Foreign Minister and
previous Prime Minister. John Kelly, who was sent to Tasmania for stealing
two pigs, became the father of Australia's most notorious bushranger, Ned
Georgia Bobby left a note on Cody's tribute book: Cody I want to
see the sunrise over the beach you surfed at. I wanna hike the mountain
you loved. I want to breathe the air you once breathed. Soak it all in
and cherish it always. I wish i could have known your friends. It causes
both pain and joy knowing about you. Yet i have found out that i cannot
help coming back here. I think it is possible to be retrospective and yet
still be positive by moving forward. Take care my friend.
Beeb time: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son, Sayf al-Islam, has warned
of civil war in the country. He said that the government would "fight to
the last bullet" to stay in office. Hitler did that...
and used it to blow his brains out. Thousands of Moroccans rally
in the capital, Rabat, demanding political reform and an end to the current
regime. It could get a bit confusing ya know. Is
it a minority making a lot of noise, or a genuine majority that wants change?
Uganda's Yoweri Museveni has been declared the winner of presidential elections,
extending his 25 years in power. He took 68% of the vote in Friday's poll,
the Electoral Commission announced, with his challenger Kizza Besigye on
26%. Mr Besigye alleges election fraud and has rejected the results. "It
is now clear the will of the people cannot be expressed through the electoral
process in this kind of corrupt and repressive political environment."
surprise. "If the Big Bang was the start of everything, what came
before it?" That is one of the questions being posed by a new website being
set up by the Vatican and Italy's scientific community. After centuries
of mistrust between religion and science, the intention is to give the
public a greater understanding of both sides.
can read the full article here. Nearly 70,000 protesters have taken
part in rival protests in the US state of Wisconsin over planned budget
cuts. On the fifth day of such protests, opponents of the Republican state
Governor, Scott Walker, outnumbered supporters of the bill. The bill introduced
in the Wisconsin congress would cut sharply the wages and benefits of public
sector workers, and curtail collective bargaining. Waffle's
North Carolina correspondent Art reports: The governor of Wisconsin
and his all out war against public service employees re labor unions and
collective bargaining (is making the headlines). The teachers and school
kids are picketing the gov's mansion. These Republican ideologues are getting
too big for their boots.
Art berated me yesterday for omitting to include the Wisconsin debacle
in Beeb time. He's 85 and he gets a bit uppity sometimes. Hehe.
Here's what Art has to say about sex: This seems highly offensive
to Old Mother Nature--the wily old bitch. She tricked us all into spending
a good part of our lives sniffing out the next sexy encounter. Besides
starting wars, sex acts just make everyone look ridiculous. All that twisting,
grunting, contorting is laughable--and dangerous for your vertebrae. Anyway
she did a great job of making sure we overpopulate the environment with
sperm to spare. Just think of how much seminal fluid is splattered all
over everyone just to get one wiggler to find a welcoming egg. Yeppo, she
did a number on us alrightie! And we LOVE it.
Well, I dunno about 'we'. The older I get the more ridiculous I think
it is. Ya know, it's a bit like Ivan Pavlov's dog... give it sufficient
reward and it'll do all kinds of silly tricks. Pavlov simply observed what
Nature's been doing all along. And humans are no different. The old carrot
in front of the donkey trick.
Ohio Jace has added a bit to the Wisconsin issue: The state (Ohio)
is trying to pass a Union busting law for public employees so they can
not have collective bargaining on their contracts. Wisconsin is trying
the same thing and made the national news because so many teachers called
off sick to attend the demonstrations schools had to be closed. IF the
states get the laws passed every union in the country will become fair
game for corporations big and small. Public employees are already prohibited
from striking, they do of course. Cops get the blue flu, etc.
As to the US deficit, Jace has this to say: An ex-forum buddy sent
a few numbers about the American deficit, not sure of his source, which
he did not include. In 1981 the US debt was $1 Trillion partly left over
from war spending in WW II, Korea, and Vietnam. Plus the construction of
the thousands of miles of new Interstate highways that crisscross the country.
Under Reagan (Republican) it tripled to $3 Trillion with no wars and most
of the highway system completed. Under daddy Bush the debt went to $4.6
Trillion in only 4 years. During the Clinton (Democrat) years it went up
another $1 Trillion in 8 years. Now get this; under baby Bush the debt
went from $5.5 Trillion to $13.5 Trillion in 8 years that is $1 Trillion
per year of his two terms. During the 20 years the Republicans were in
charge the debt rose by $11.5 Trillion. Clinton added $125 Million per
year to the debt, but the Republicans added $575 Million per year on average.
How is that for a so called conservative party. Again I do not know his
sources but he is a retired chemical engineer.
Otherwise, the Ohio gang has been glued to the TV screen watching the
V8 Supercars, Formula 1, the Daytona 500 and Motocross... except for young
Cody who went to town with his parents for the weekend to watch the Rodeo.
February 20, 2011. Okay, now that I have my savings plan, it's
patience time... and my name ain't Job. The sensible thing would be to
save enough to buy a camper without needing to sell Bluey beforehand. I
really don't wanna be without a car for longer than a few days. Oh dear...
how I hate being patient, let alone sensible.
What I will enjoy is watching the numbers mount up in the savings account,
fortnight by fortnight. But when it reaches an amount where it's "possible"
to buy something not quite up to scratch, I'm gonna be tempted. I just
know it, dammit. And I really need to exercise a bit of restraint and wait
for the "right" camper to come along before I rush into anything. Grrrr.
Rush? What rush? I've been buggerizing around since 2007 with this thing.
Bluey arrived in 2009 and proved to be a mistake. So it's about time I
got my head together and stopped being so damned impulsive. Hehe. Yeah,
right. If Cody were here right now he'd let me have both barrels. Steve
probably would as well. And I don't even wanna think about what Mark would
Beeb time: Intense violence has been reported in Libya's second city,
Benghazi, with troops said to have opened fire again on anti-government
protesters. At least 15 people were killed and many more wounded, unconfirmed
reports say. Witnesses described scenes of chaos as snipers opened fire.
Some reports spoke of machine-guns and mortar bombs being fired. At least
84 people have died, rights groups say, but reports have been hard to verify
amid tight controls. Reports emerging from Libya are sketchy and sporadic,
after the government moved to control internet access, but the Associated
Press news agency and al-Jazeera television both said troops had opened
fire on people attending a funeral on Saturday, killing 15. The
government move to control internet access speaks volumes about the internet's
ability to influence change. Thousands of jubilant protesters in
Bahrain are occupying Pearl Square in Manama after police pulled out, as
the government opens preliminary talks with opponents. It's kinda like
watching a game of 10 pin and seeing the pins drop. Algerian security forces
have prevented anti-government protesters from staging a march through
the capital. Several hundred members of an umbrella group for some opposition
parties, human rights bodies and trade unions, gathered in central Algiers
but were dispersed by police in riot gear. Inspired by the popular uprisings
in Tunisia and Egypt, Algerian opposition parties and other groups have
been staging rallies. I wonder what we'll be reading
about the Middle East this time next year. And I wonder how this pro-democracy
revolution will affect the Taliban in Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda.
The US House of Representatives has approved deep cuts in federal spending,
in a vote regarded as a victory for the new Republican majority in the
house. The vote - largely along party lines - approved $61bn (£38bn)
in reduced federal spending between now and the end of budget year on 30
September. After the overnight vote, the House of Representatives' Speaker,
John Boehner, said it was part of Republican efforts "to liberate our economy
from the shackles of out-of-control spending". Did
I miss something? Didn't the republicans get the US into this mess in the
first place? And wasn't the economy in surplus during the Clinton administration?
A week or so ago, FL Josh had something to say about budget cuts, and
the ability of "the masses" to vote for politicians who promise policies
that are doomed to failure: A perfect example is the mid term elections
we just had here in the states where the masses voted in many Republicans
because of promises to reduce the deficit and give more tax cuts.
Hello! Are tax cuts really a way of cutting the deficit? Can
you cut your credit card debt by telling your employer to keep half your
salary? Floridians elected a governor four years ago who promised
to lower property taxes. He did and the local communities were devastated
by the loss in income and police and firemen had to be let go and libraries
closed and school budgets were cut. Some schools eliminated all sports
programs. The people went to the meetings of their local governments
pleading with them not to cut the programs that effected them. Well,
elections rolled around again a few months ago and they elected a new governor
who promised to lower property taxes again and he will take care of the
deficit by cutting corporate income taxes.
And speaking of saving a buck, NC Art reckons the recession has gotten
so bad that if the bank returns your check marked "insufficient funds"
you call and ask if they mean you or them. He reckons it won't be long
before truckloads of Americans will be caught sneaking into Mexico. And
he says when Bill and Hillary travel together now they have to share the
Meanwhile, I watched Big Bigger Biggest again last night. This time
it was about wheels, beginning with the one Mr Ferris invented. It was
basically a very large bicycle wheel that used wire spokes to hold it all
together. But whereas bicycle wheels are driven by turning the hub, the
large wheels are driven by turning the rim. All very interesting. The
biggest at the mo is the wheel in Shanghai.
BTW, here's the transcript
from Can We Help with Kate Burridge talking about metathesis - pronouncing
words such as spaghetti and ask, and why the 'g' often goes missing from
words that end in 'ing'.
Let's talk about squeaks. I can handle a squeak if I know where it's
coming from. It's
the ones you can't find that are sooo irritating.
Well, time to think about din dins and feeding THEM. Gary
February 19, 2011. I regularly have visions of being camped somewhere
on the Odyssey soaking up the awe-inspiring atmosphere. But is it all it's
cracked up to be? I
read this blog and laughed my head off.
Here's another blog, this time from a Dutch
lady who recently traveled the south coast of NSW. It's quite an interesting
read and mentions many of the places I visited in the past. She could learn
a thing or two about paragraphs, though.
I'm afraid my trip won't involve hire-cars or expensive accommodation.
Nope, it'll be the poor man's Odyssey. But that's okay. I'm sure I'll have
my fair share of stories to tell. And
I'm not worried about the views from the camper.
It's a hottie... 33C at the mo, and tomorrow will be 35C. The rest of
the week will be mid 20s. I'm getting VERY itchy feet, dear Breth... I've
spent hours looking at used campers and checking loan companies and all
that baloney - like a kid with his nose pressed against a candy store window.
And I've come up with ANOTHER idea. Hehe. How's this for logic? The money
I already owe I don't have to borrow, right? It's already owed. So instead
of using all my spare cash to pay off my debts, why don't I put it into
my savings instead, and only pay the minimum off my debts? Okay, so it's
costing me interest, but I'm accumulating CASH. When I have enough, I can
use it to buy a camper. That way I don't have to borrow anything or ask
some nerdy, tight-ass, bespectacled banker to lend it to me. THEN, I can
go back to paying extra off my current debts to get rid of them. Does that
make sense to you? It's just that as a pensioner I don't like my chances
of borrowing anew. My current borrowings go back several years. I could
end up paying off all my debts and then discover that I'm ineligible to
borrow more. And that would suck.
I've already got 3 or 4K tied up in Bluey, so that's not a bad start.
I reckon another 6 or 7K should get the ball rolling, and I reckon I can
sock away close to a grand a month. Soooo, that's the new plan.
Beeb time: At least 46 people are now known to have died in clashes
between anti-Gaddafi protesters and security forces in Libya since Wednesday.
The true death toll may be higher, with 35 deaths reported by a single
hospital in the second city, Benghazi, on Friday alone. State media have
warned of retaliation against critics of Muammar Gaddafi, in power for
more than four decades. Websites have been blocked and electricity shut
off in some areas. The mainstay of the unrest is in regional towns and
cities, where many people live in poverty. I saw
Gaddafi interviewed on telly some months ago and that dude is one ugly
son of a bitch. King Hamad of Bahrain asks his son, Crown Prince
Salman, to start a national dialogue after bloody clashes in the capital
Manama. I suspect we ain't seen nuthin' yet in terms
of the entire Middle East. The US has vetoed an Arab resolution
at the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlements in the Palestinian
territories as an obstacle to peace. All 14 other members of the Security
Council backed the resolution, which had been endorsed by the Palestine
Liberation Organisation (PLO). It was the first veto exercised by the Obama
administration which had promised better relations with the Muslim world.
Washington was under pressure from Israel and Congress, which has a strong
pro-Israel lobby, to use its veto. The Obama administration's decision
risks angering Arab peoples at a time of mass street protests in the Middle
East, the BBC's Barbara Plett reports from the UN. It's
actually getting pretty scary. Four Americans sailing on a yacht
off the coast of Oman have been taken hostage by Somali pirates, an international
maritime watchdog says. Those pirates don't realize
just how dumb they are. That's like kicking T-Rex in the shins.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned Taliban fighters in Afghanistan
that they face a stark choice between war and peace, as US military pressure
on them mounts. "They cannot defeat us. And they cannot escape this choice,"
Mrs Clinton said in a speech in New York. Pardon
my cynicism but that sounds like saying once we've weeded the garden, all
the weeds will be gone forever. It crops up in our speech dozens
of times every day, although it apparently means little. So how did the
word "OK" conquer the world, asks Allan Metcalf. And
here's the story of OK.
Yes, back to the savings plan. Cash talks all languages, and it means
I can buy privately instead of from a dealer. Now why didn't I think of
that before? I could be half way there already. Oh well... better late
than never. HOWEVER, it may change my plan to buy a ute and slide-on separately.
I might go for a single unit campervan. Dozen madder. Just so long as I
get this tired old butt outta here and on the road!
Chicken cordon bleu tonight. It's in the oven now. Yum! Gary
February 18, 2011. Jeez, midday already and I've only just started
this page. There's some bloody crooks out there ya know. I got a reminder
recently that my domain name aussieodyssey is due for renewal, but it's
from a crook. I phoned my ISP to check it and they said it was a phoney,
and to ignore it. My ISP takes care of re-registration and then bills me
automatically...and that's the way I prefer it. Actually, I need to upgrade
my disk space usage. I've used 850MB out of 1GB so far so I need to go
to the next level. I haven't uploaded a lot lately but that will change
dramatically when I hit the road. My shutter button will suddenly get VERY
busy. I won't be able to step out of the camper without snapping away furiously
at whatever happens to be there. AO is currently averaging 3.5K visits
a month but I expect that to change significantly once I'm up and running.
Beeb time: Washington has urged Bahrain to show restraint in dealing
with protesters and called for meaningful reform in the small Gulf state
kingdom. Security forces cleared hundreds of demonstrators from a square
in the capital Manama on Thursday, leaving four people dead and hundreds
injured. Washington is watching with growing concern as unrest and violence
spread across the Middle East, threatening its regional interests, BBC
state department correspondent Kim Ghattas reports from Washington. While
Bahrain iwiths tiny, with a population of less than one million, it is
home to the US navy's Fifth Fleet and is near another key US ally in the
region, Saudi Arabia. This is one Middle Eastern
plot that is certainly thickening, and no one really knows where it's headed.
Japan has stopped its annual Antarctic whale hunt before the end of the
season, saying "harassment" by US activists had made it impossible to continue.
The hunt had been halted temporarily last week, after the Sea Shepherd
Conservation Society chased the Japanese fleet's mother ship. Now the fisheries
minister says the fleet will return home. Anti-whaling nations, led by
Australia and New Zealand, and environmental groups say the hunts are cruel
and unnecessary. Australia is taking legal action in the International
Court of Justice against Tokyo over whaling. Go back
a hundred years or so and Oz was one of the world's most prominent whaling
nations. IBM's supercomputer Watson has trounced its two competitors
in a televised show pitting human brains against computer bytes. After
a three night marathon on the quiz show Jeopardy, Watson emerged victorious
to win a $1million (£622,000) prize. The computer's competitors were
two of the most successful players ever to have taken part in Jeopardy.
But in the end their skill at the game was no match for Watson. On
the other hand, Watson can't make tomato sandwiches. Check
out the video here.
Obviously there's a lot more news than that, but it's all a bit ho hum.
Obama will pay a state visit to the UK in May. Catholic bishops in Brazil
have complained that TV reality shows are immoral. And scientists have
created an anti-laser.
Last night on telly I watched a program about Australia's
new radio telescope, the SKA, with 10,000 times greater discovery potential
than present-day instruments. Welcome to the Big Bang, ladies and genitals.
February 17, 2011. Pay day, bills day, shopping day. The old
revolving door trick. My priority at the mo is to get rid of my debts...
pay off the credit card and other loans which - provided nothing catastrophic
gets in the way, and I manage to put up with L&S for another 10 months
- will mean I can get the Odyssey happening. What I'll be doing, basically,
is using the money I currently pay in rent to pay off a mobile home....
swap one for the other. Make sense? The money I currently spend on energy
will be used to buy a solar panel and batteries. And in a few years, I'll
own the bloody lot.
Beeb time: Security forces in Bahrain have dispersed thousands of anti-government
protesters in Pearl Square in the centre of capital, Manama. Hundreds of
riot police using tear gas and batons moved into the square before dawn
on Thursday. The US has expressed concern at the violence and called for
restraint. Bahrain is a key US ally, hosting the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.
Anti-government activists in Libya have been using social networking sites
to rally support for protests on what they are describing as a "day of
anger". Pro-democracy protests have recently swept through several Arab
nations, with the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt forced to resign amid
growing unrest. But this week's demonstrations were the first display of
defiance in Libya, where dissent is rarely tolerated.
2000 years ago in ancient Athens, democracy was born. It's taken quite
a while to catch on.
Sorry about the short waffle today, dear Breth, but that's the way it
is sometimes. No dramas, just ran outta time. Gary
February 16, 2011. Okies, in about half an hour I'll be on the
operating table. It's so much easier to go to the doc's surgery rather
than the base hospital. The hospital asks you a zillion questions and makes
you fast for 12 hours and yadda, yadda. And then they make you wear a silly
gown, and plastic shoes, and wheel you backwards along corridors into an
operating theater with a big light hanging over you and about half a dozen
people gathered around. At the doc's I don't get any of that baloney. I'm
in and out in less than half an hour. The thing that pisses me off about
this skin cancer is that it decided to pop up AFTER the previous two were
removed about a month ago.
ZYX commented on what I said yesterday about still working on my first
million. Still working on your FIRST million? I'm working on my
SECOND million. (Gave up on my first million decades ago).
And here I am back again, minus the lesion. The doc had a medical student
with him, a Muslim girl who was born in Iraq. She was very nice and pleasant
as the doc allowed her to give me a couple of injections and even 2 of
the 5 stitches. During one injection, she kept pressure on the plunger
after removing the needle and squirted me in the eye! Oh well, no harm
done. She thanked me afterwards and announced that I was "her first" (guinea
pig). Hehe. She said she wants to go back to Iraq when she's a qualified
doctor to "see what I can do to help". Earlier, I was lying on the operating
table in readiness for the procedure when the doc first walked in and asked
the nurse, "Is this the victim?" He's a cheeky bugger.
Anyway, I'm glad that's over... over until the next one, that is.
an interesting use of creative imagination on Red Bubble.
Beeb time: A US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent has been shot
dead and a second wounded in Mexico. Officials say the pair, described
as "special agents" shot "in the line of duty", were driving between Mexico
City and northern city of Monterrey. The investigative arm of Congress,
the General Accounting Office (GAO), said the area lacked enough border
agents to stop illicit activity such as gun running and illegal immigration.
are some baaaad dudes in this world. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
says recent opposition protests in Iranian cities are "going nowhere" and
vows to punish their organisers. To quote Oregon
Richie: Sooner or later the worst of 'em will react in predictably nasty
manner and I can still recall... even though I was a kid... the late 60's
when the evil Soviet tanks rolled into Czech cities, but I suppose a wave
of pissed off humanity can overcome a wave of tanks..... A senior
CBS correspondent is recovering in hospital in the US after she was beaten
and sexually assaulted by a mob while covering the Egyptian protests, the
US network says. It says the attack occurred on Friday in Cairo's packed
Tahrir Square after President Hosni Mubarak stepped down. Ms Logan became
separated from her crew and was rescued by women and soldiers.
'mob' is the right word to describe those nut cases. I've seen them screaming
into the news cameras. Anyone who yells at me has NO CHANCE of convincing
me of anything other than their complete lack of intelligence. US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned repressive governments not
to restrict internet freedom, saying such efforts will ultimately fail.
She said the US was committed to global internet freedom, in her first
major address since the Egyptian uprising.
not too thrilled about Julian Assange though. Hehe. Toronto police
say they have seized marijuana with a street value of 1m Canadian dollars
($1m; £618,811) from a takeaway pizza restaurant. Pizza Gigi's owner,
57-year-old Salvatore Crimi, sold the drug from the restaurant, police
alleged. I've heard of hash cookies but not pizzas.
Once round-ups on Ben Tapp's vast cattle station in northern Australia
took a month. Now he can bring in 2,000 cows in five days, using low-flying
helicopters. Ben Tapp flies a helicopter like a cowboy rides a bunking
bronco. The cattleman owns two vast stations - the Australian term for
ranch - deep in the Northern Territory. Maryfield Station alone covers
1,500 square km (370,000 acres) and holds some 20,000 cattle. Check
out the amazing footage of those crazy chopper pilots. Islamic morality
police in Malaysia have arrested more than 80 Muslims in an operation to
stop them celebrating Valentine's Day. Officers raided budget hotels in
the central state of Selangor and capital, Kuala Lumpur, detaining unmarried
Muslim couples who were sharing rooms. The religious authorities in Malaysia
say Valentine's Day is synonymous with immoral activities. Lemme
check my calendar. Yep, 2011. Maybe the Malaysian one is different.
The world's biggest miner BHP Billiton has made record half year profits
and is promising to give back $10bn to shareholders. Wow.
Back in 1885 when Broken Hill Pty Ltd began mining silver, lead and zinc
in New South Wales, things were a lot different.
a pic of Argent St. Broken Hill in 1888. And here
is Argent St (the main street) today. It still has that lovely country
town look. Here
it is back in the early '40s. Yep, Broken Hill is one of the
many towns I'm looking forward to visiting. It's gonna take forever!
What was that you said? Did
you say Harry Baals or Hairy Balls? Anyway, there's gonna be a building
named after the former mayor.
So that's it. I survived the day. Check ya later. Gary
February 15, 2011. One more sleep before the doc whips out his
scalpel. And then whips out a needle and thread for a bit of sewing. This
getting older business has its drawbacks, dear Breth. It's all such a bother.
Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to one day sitting in my little club
lounge parked somewhere out in the sticks or by a beach or wherever. I
love those U-shaped
club lounges in campers. They remind me of the booths
in old fashioned restaurants - your own personal space. Prob is someone
has to move out or over each time you wanna go to the loo. But there's
something homely about a club lounge as opposed to regular bench seating
or individual chairs. There goes my cubby house fixation again.
It's the old primeval territorial thing ya know. Park your camper at
a particular spot and it's all yours. Trespassers Beware! Private Property!
Plonk your umbrella on a spot at a crowded beach and that's it. If anyone
dares get too close to your spot they'll be glared at (unless they're good
looking, in which case they'll be ogled which is different to glared).
Beeb time: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed her firm
support for the thousands of opposition supporters who protested in Iran's
capital on Monday. Mrs Clinton said they deserved to have "the same rights
that they saw being played out in Egypt" and that Iran had to "open up"
its political system. "What we see happening in Iran today is a testament
to the courage of the Iranian people, and an indictment of the hypocrisy
of the Iranian regime - a regime which over the last three weeks has constantly
hailed what went on in Egypt," she said. Hillary
is not a big fan of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ya know. A court
in Ecuador has fined US oil giant Chevron a reported $8bn (£5bn)
for polluting a large part of the country's Amazon region. The oil firm
Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, was accused of dumping billions
of gallons of toxic materials into unlined pits and Amazon rivers. So
now the focus shifts from BP to Chevron. Oops! An Australian man
has fended off an attack by a 10ft (3m) crocodile. How could anyone possibly
defeat such a beast? Get
your pad and pencil and take notes here. Ancient Britain was a peninsula
until a tsunami flooded its land-links to Europe some 8,000 years ago.
Did that wave help shape the national character? The coastline and landscape
of what would become modern Britain began to emerge at the end of the last
Ice Age around 10,000 years ago. Quite
an interesting article that you can read here. China has overtaken
Japan as the world's second-biggest economy. Japan's economy was worth
$5.474 trillion (£3.414 trillion) at the end of 2010, figures from
Tokyo have shown. China's economy was closer to $5.8 trillion in the same
period. At its current rate of growth, analysts see China replacing the
US as the world's top economy in about a decade. The US economy is currently
almost three times the size of the Chinese economy in dollar terms. Hmmm.
The status quo is a-changing. A planned $8bn-merger between stock
market firms in Australia and Singapore may be moving closer as talks start
again. After reading about trillions, billions don't
seem all that impressive anymore. Meawhile, I'm still working on my first
Yes, it pays to know a thing or two about defending yourself against
a crocodile. If you're fortunate enough to be attacked by a gay croc, just
yell "handbag!" and you'll be fine. How do you tell if a croc is gay? Er...
I'm still working on that.
In any case, croc farming in northern Oz is big biz. Koorana
Crocodile Farm is Australia's oldest (1981) and it's also a... wait
for it... restaurant. Now there's a bit of a turnaround... people eating
crocs instead of crocs eating us. It's an interesting story because the
farm started with no breeding stock, so rogue crocs that were terrorizing
local communities were captured live, and they ended up with 100 of the
buggers. In nature, not many of the hatchlings survive which keeps the
numbers down, but in captivity all the eggs (or the great majority) survive.
So you get lots of handbags!
And that's it for Mundee, folks. Gary
February 14, 2011. TX Greg reminded me that it's Valentine's
Day. I'm about as romantic as a piece of burnt toast so obviously I
don't take much interest in such things. However, if that's the kinda thing
that blows your hair back, go for it - with my blessing.
Meanwhile, FL Josh wrote: Come on, Gary, get real. You live
in a democracy where the masses elect the leaders and if the masses believe
things like that (economy quick fix), they will elect the people who promise
what they believe will work, so they are in a position to put it into action,
and the elected leaders take great joy in doing what the masses thought
would help them when in fact it does just the opposite.
Yes, I live in a democracy. And a democracy allows people of all political
persuasions and beliefs to present their case and stand for election. That's
what democracies do. The alternative is called an autocracy.
You go on to say, "As to idiocy that floats around on the internet,
it's not confined to the internet, mate. Never has been, never will be."
The problem with the idiocy on the internet is that it is able to spread
so fast at virtually no cost. That is what is so unsettling.
I hope you're not suggesting censorship, Josh.
Josh also sent this link to a video about a photographer who (like me)
carries a small digital camera wherever he goes and takes pics of everyday
things. The pics have been compiled
into a book which is selling like hot cakes.
When I was a kid of 12 or 13, I used to accompany my dad to work during
school vacations, and I remember a derelict building in Sydney whose street-level
shopfronts were covered in hoardings of corrugated iron and plywood. I
was also intrigued by the
almost nude statues that one never saw in suburban Lakemba where I
was raised. My dad was a delivery driver and spent most of the day on the
road in the city. I couldn't fathom why such a large and beautiful building
was allowed to deteriorate into such a sad state of disrepair and neglect.
I had no idea at the time that it was the Queen
Victoria Building, one of the great pride and joys of Sydney during
the 19th century. Anyway, I noticed a Red Bubbler who posted a pic of the
interior of the now fully restored
and refurbished QVB, one of the best projects ever undertaken by the
Sydney City Council, and a fitting tribute to one of the great cities of
the world. Here's
one of the Red Bubble pics. Here's
If that marvelous building had been demolished in Sydney's mad rush
during the 50s and 60s to modernize, it would have been an unforgivable
tragedy. It was during those days that lobby groups were formed to protect
Sydney's heritage and put a stop to thoughtless
and greedy developments.
Beeb time: Egypt's new military authorities say they are dissolving
parliament and suspending the constitution. In a statement on state TV,
the higher military council said it would stay in power six months, or
until elections. Egypt's current parliament is dominated by supporters
of President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted on Friday after 18 days of mass
protests. The statement was read out on state TV on Sunday from the higher
military council, saying it would suspend the constitution and set up a
committee to draft a new one, before submitting it to a popular referendum.
in the making, folks! About 2,000 people have clashed with police
in Yemen's capital Sanaa on the third day of anti-government protests.
Violence broke out as demonstrators, inspired by the Egyptian uprising,
marched through the city, demanding political reform and the resignation
of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Yep, stand by for
the stampede. The King's Speech has walked away with a clutch of
Bafta awards, including best actor for Colin Firth. Helena Bonham Carter
was named best supporting actress and Geoffrey Rush picked up best supporting
actor. It also won best film, outstanding British film, best score and
best original screenplay. I'm glad Geoffrey Rush
was recognized. He's an amazing actor. Malaysia has stepped up a
campaign to stop Muslims celebrating Valentine's Day - labelling it a "trap"
that could encourage immoral behaviour. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin
Yassin said Monday's celebration of romantic love was "not suitable" for
Muslims. Yassin must be a grumpy old fart like me.
Returning to the US, former BBC North America editor Justin Webb is perplexed
by a gun ownership surge in his old crime-free neighbourhood, where people
leave front doors unlocked. Interesting
article and worth a read. A man fatally stabbed his stepfather, ex-girlfriend
and her mother, before running over a pedestrian in a 28-hour rampage in
New York City, police said. The man, alleged to be Ukrainian-born Maksim
Gelman, 23, was armed with five knives when he went on a stabbing spree
early on Friday, officials said. Four other people were knifed but survived
the attacks. Mr Gelman was finally arrested on a train on Saturday morning
after an all-night manhunt. It was horrific enough
but could have been worse if............................. (fill in the
blank space). Ministers are expected to publish plans to enable
same-sex couples to "marry" in church, the BBC has learned. Equalities
Minister Lynne Featherstone is to propose lifting the ban on civil partnerships
taking place in religious settings in England and Wales. It'll
take many people a bit of getting used to, but I reckon it's ultimately
Meanwhile, GetUp in Oz is trying to raise the money to
put this ad to air about marriage equality. Twins - one gay, one straight.
One married, one who wants to marry but can't. YET. It's a pretty powerful
That's pretty interesting, actually. One sperm, one egg split into two,
identical twins, same genes, one straight individual, one gay individual.
So what does that say about being "born" gay? Does that validate the argument
of those who say sexual orientation is a matter of choice? Don't ask me.
I'm just watching the show.
Yes, Virginia, there are talking dogs. Ohio Jace just sent me a Valentine
e-Card with a talking dog whose eyes follow the cursor around the screen.
The audio message was from Sean Cody and Jackson Steven hehe... the two
young neighbors Jace is baby sitting while their parents celebrate an early
Valentine dinner on the town. It'll be June and Jace's turn tomorrow night...
the boy's treat.
a camper designed for a table top ute. It's almost $30K just for the
camper, which is a bit rich for me thank you very much. But it's got a
loo! So if I win Lotto...
Now at $6.5K this is something
more suited to my budget.
a cheapie at about $4.4K that would be great. If I had the bikkies
now I'd get that one.
Anyway, I like looking at them. They're kinda like tree houses without
the tree. Hehe. I was big time into cubby houses as a kid. Oh yes, dream
on, dream on...
Baby you can drive my car! Beep beep, beep beep, yeah! Okay, bangers
and mash and peas tonight. That'll do. And onions and gravy. Gary
February 13, 2011. I discovered last night that 'pasghetti' rather
than 'spaghetti' is quite common. Lots of people have difficulty with certain
combinations of consonants. The lady who explained the 'condition', linguist
Kate Burridge, has her own problem with 'crisp' and, unless she deliberately
thinks about its pronunciation, pronounces it 'crips'. 'Ask' is another
one... some people can't help but pronounce it 'aks'. I love Kate's language
segments on the TV program Can We Help? Here's one where she discusses
of 'er' or 'est' to certain adjectives, or using 'more' or 'most' instead...
but never both. A few months ago I heard one of the local radio announcers
refer to part of the mid north coast as "the most beautifulest..." Last
night Kate Burridge talked about the dropping of the 'g' sound on words
that end with 'ing' - which Cody did all the time. It was apparently fashionable
and acceptable up until the end of the 19th century, and is still so in
poetry and song lyrics. The dropping of the 'g' segment hasn't been transcribed
FL Josh was not amused by my inclusion of the letter to the President
yesterday suggesting simple ways to fix the economy. That bit from Justin's
blog shows the idiocy that floats around on the internet. But, you know
what, many will read that and think that is such a great idea. The
pen can be mightier than the sword, but when the pen is making available
things that just are not true, like so much stuff on the internet, it may
be mighty but in a destructive way.
I wouldn't worry about it, Josh. Anyone who took that suggestion seriously
would not be in a position to put it into action. As to idiocy that floats
around on the internet, it's not confined to the internet, mate. Never
has been, never will be. Oregon Richie referred to the economy quick fix
as "jocular" which I think sums it up pretty well.
But FL Josh is not one to leave the room without having the last word:
speaking of those over 50 earning good money, from what I've heard, Mubarak
got paid $850 a month for being the head of Egypt for 30 years and he is
now worth over 60 billion, so that just goes to show you how if you are
careful with your money, and invest it wisely, you can build quite a nest
I just worked that out: 30 years x 12 months = 360 months @ $850 a month
= $306,000. Yes, Hosni has certainly done a sterling job of turning $306,000
into 60 billion. Half his luck, hehe. Actually, one will do. He can keep
the other 59.
Beeb time: Egypt's military vows to oversee a transition to civilian
rule, as crowds continue to celebrate President Mubarak's resignation.
hope the leaders of Burma and Fiji are taking notes. Actually, I have to
say that Australia's military played a crucial role in the clean-up operations
after the floods and cyclones and fires here. They were a very welcome
sight indeed. Egypt's military authorities have reaffirmed the country's
commitment to all its international treaties. The announcement, which was
read by a senior officer on state TV, implicitly confirms that the country's
peace treaty with Israel will remain intact. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
welcomed the announcement, saying the treaty was a cornerstone of Middle
East stability. Iran won't be pleased about that.
Eleven people have died in a stampede at an election rally in Nigeria.
The rally in the southern city of Port Harcourt was part of President Goodluck
Jonathan's election campaign ahead of a poll due in April. At least 29
others are said to have been injured at the rally, which was held in a
crowded sports stadium. President Jonathan has ordered an investigation
and said the incident was "sad, unfortunate and regrettable," adding: "I
mourn with those who mourn." The crowd panicked after a policeman fired
in the air to try to disperse crowds at the gates as people left the rally,
according to witnesses quoted by Reuters news agency. What
a dumb copper. Try a megaphone next time, dickhead. Anti-government
rallies in the capitals of Algeria and Yemen, inspired by events in Egypt,
have been broken up. Riot police in Algiers dispersed thousands of people
who had defied a government ban to demand that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
step down. A similar march in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, calling for President
Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave office was attacked by government supporters.
see, monkey do. US marine archaeologists have found the sunken whaling
ship belonging to the captain who inspired Herman Melville's classic 19th
Century novel, Moby Dick. The remains of the vessel, the Two Brothers,
was found in shallow waters off Hawaii. Captain George Pollard was the
skipper when the ship hit a coral reef and sank in 1823. His previous ship,
the Essex, had been rammed by a whale and also sank, providing the narrative
for the book. Oh dear... another of the many books
I've not read. Mankind's capacity to store the colossal amount of
information in the world has been measured by scientists. The study, published
in the journal Science, calculates the amount of data stored in the world
by 2007 as 295 exabytes. That is the equivalent of 1.2 billion average
hard drives. Don't rush me. I'm working my through
it all. Rome wasn't built in a day ya know.
Back from shopping. The young checkout bloke was "vision impaired" and
I noticed how close his face was to the computer screen before he announced
what I owed him. "Do you wear glasses?" "No, they don't work for me." I
didn't have time to ask him anything else, but our brief convo interrupted
his concentration and he had to study the change he put in my hand up close
to check if it was the right amount. Poor kid, but I suppose he's learned
how to make the best of his lot.
Actually, that reminds me of a segment I watched on Can We Help last
night. The host was blindfolded and led through city streets by a sighted
person. He learned how to "read" certain obstacles and tactile signs with
his white cane, and to listen to the sounds of walk signs at pedestrian
crossings, etc. His next mission was to be led around town by a totally
blind person who was experienced at getting about on his own. All pretty
amazing stuff and something most of us don't even think about.
Fresh corn cobs 66 cents each. That's cheap! Obviously, the corn crop
was unaffected by the floods. So half a corn cob each for Sue and me with
our chicken Kiev tonight. Grumpy Lindsay can have a boiled spud. He's such
a dreary tart. And I mean d-r-e-a-r-y. Gary
February 12, 2011. Satdee again. Averil doesn't say 'windows'
she says 'windaz'. She's very old school Aussie. She likes to think she's
a bit posh but she's not. Far from it. My mom thought it was posh to pronounce
'dear' as 'dee-ah'. Hehe. She also referred to older folks as 'eldery'
but I didn't have the heart to correct her. I knew a young bloke who simply
could not get his head around 'spaghetti', he used to call it 'pasghetti'.
Lindsay calls cockroaches 'cock-a-roaches'. Actually, so does Averil.
And she calls hydrangeas 'hide-a-rangers'. Years ago, I was corrected by
a bloke about how I spelled ridiculous. I used to spell it rediculous.
When I realized it was related to 'ridicule', it all fell into place. Anyway,
if you wanna check out the literacy of Aussies, just visit eBay. I can't
believe how bad much of the spelling is. And it ain't just typos.
FL Josh wrote: I saw on the news where the people of Egypt are pleading
with the military to remove Mubarak from office. That and protesting
are about all they can do. This is why we here in the States cherish
our right to bear arms because it also gives up the ability to overthrow
a corrupt government. Imagine a million man march on Washington with
Yes, Josh... or even overthrow a non-corrupt government. Remember, it's
not only the goodies who have the right to bear arms. Anyway, I don't like
guns. A firearm gives an individual an inordinate amount of power, and
you know what they say about power. I watched a doco on telly last night
about WWII and saw footage of General Patton with his two pistols strapped
to his belt. He was probably sorry to see the war end.
I believe the pen is mightier than the sword. And these days, the pen
is the Internet, which basically means there's a helluva lot more pens
than there used to be.
This was posted on Justin's blog just now:
Dear Mr. President,
Please find below my suggestion for fixing America's economy. Instead
of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money
on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can
call it the "Patriotic Retirement Plan":
There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay
them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following
1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings - Unemployment fixed.
2) They MUST buy a new AMERICAN Car. Forty million cars ordered -
Auto Industry fixed.
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - Housing
It can't get any easier than that!!
P.S. If more money is needed, have all members in Congress pay their
Mr. President, while you're at it, make Congress retire on Social
Security and Medicare. I'll bet both programs would be fixed pronto!
Beeb time: Hosni Mubarak has stepped down as president of Egypt, after
weeks of protest in Cairo and other cities. The news was greeted with a
huge outburst of joy and celebration by thousands in Cairo's Tahrir Square
- the heart of the demonstrations. Mr Mubarak ruled for 30 years, suppressing
dissent and protest, and jailing opponents. US President Barack Obama said
that Egypt must now move to civilian and democratic rule. Yes,
there's a helluva lot more pens these days. Swiss police say the
father of missing twin girls posted a letter saying he had killed his daughters
before he killed himself. Tragic. The US trade
deficit ballooned in 2010 by the largest amount seen in a decade, Commerce
Department figures have shown. The trade deficit - the difference between
imports and exports - hit $497.8bn (£311bn) last year, up 32.8% on
the year before, the biggest annual percentage gain since 2000. Imports
from China hit record levels, totalling $364.9bn for the year. I'm
sure most people don't understand that a high standard of living comes
at a high price. Claims Julian Assange would face a "secret trial"
on sexual assault charges in Sweden are inaccurate, a UK extradition hearing
has been told. The Wikileaks founder's lawyer said his client might not
have a fair trial. At Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in south-east London,
Geoffrey Robertson QC, representing the Wikileaks founder, said rape trials
in Sweden were "secret" and heard behind closed doors - a claim that was
denied by representatives of the Swedish authorities. In addition to this,
he said, criticism of Mr Assange by Sweden's prime minister could damage
his chance of a fair trial. Fredrik Reinfeldt's remarks had shown "complete
contempt for the presumption of innocence", he said. Mr Robertson told
the hearing that the prime minister's comments this week had created a
"toxic atmosphere" in Sweden. "Mr Assange is public enemy number one as
a result of the prime minister's statement," he said. They
don't come any better than Robertson. An artist who had a camera
implanted into the back of his head has been forced to remove it after
his body rejected part of the device. Iraqi-born Wafaa Bilal had surgery
last week to remove one of three posts holding the camera in place as it
posed a risk of infection. The camera had been taking a photo every minute
as part of a year-long project. That's art?
Fossil evidence seems to confirm that a three-million-year-old ancestor
of ours dubbed Lucy could walk upright consistently - one of the major
advances in human evolution. There was no booze back
Here's a pic posted by a Red Bubble mate who's been around Oz quite
a bit during his life. He's a fair dinkum Bushie. Believe
it or not this is called a highway... Plenty Highway, and what you
see there is red dust, called bulldust. It's fine like talcum powder and
gets into absolutely everything. I don't think you'll ever see me traveling
roads like that one, folks.
on one of these old girls is something I just gotta do when I'm in
Victoria. That would be something really special. Come to think of it,
I've never ridden
in a horse-drawn vehicle so I better put that on my list too. And
let's not forget... no, come to think of it, let's forget it.
So there goes another Satdee, 'cept for a bit of telly. I think Big
Bigger Biggest is on tonight, which is always good. Gary
February 11, 2011. Well, another couple of weeks and that will
be the end of another summer. Not that it's noticeable here on the mid
north coast. It's pretty summerish during March, April and May... and even
beyond. And speaking of April, Bluey will be due for re-registration for
the second time since I bought it. How flieth time.
I just phoned the bank and asked why I'm still getting statements for
my old redundant credit card. "Because you're 19 cents in credit." Sheesh.
So she transferred the 19 cents to my valid credit card. "You'll get one
more statement to say that the old credit card is now finalized, and that'll
be it. No more statements." And there they were, spending 55 cents on postage
every month to tell me I owed them nothing.
Beeb time: US President Barack Obama says the Egyptian government has
yet to put forward a "credible, concrete and unequivocal" path to democracy.
Mr Obama said "too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government
is serious about a genuine transition to democracy. The Egyptian people
have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not
yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient,"
Mr Obama said in a statement. With all due respect
to Obama, who is he to tell leaders of other countries how to suck eggs?
A suicide bomber dressed in school uniform attacks an army facility in
Pakistan, killing at least 31 people and injuring others, officials say.
in the name of Allah. How pathetic. What you look at can influence
how much pain you feel, a study has revealed. Contrary to many people's
compulsion to look away during a painful event such as an injection, scientists
found that looking at your body - in this case the hand - reduces the pain
experienced. So what do you look at when you get
a jab in the butt? A group of former gangsters, homeless men and
street kids from Compton, a Los Angeles city notorious for gang violence,
is possibly the world's most unlikely cricket team - but it's now making
history as the first all-American side to tour Australia. I
saw the story on telly last night and it's very interesting how the British
'gentlemen's' game has changed the fortunes of this group of former misfits.
here for the full article. A drug derived from the curry spice
turmeric may be able to help the body repair some of the damage caused
in the immediate aftermath of a stroke. Ah ha! Love
My ex-neighbor in Glebe wrote to say their dog Molly died last weekend
during the six-day heatwave. She was 10 1/2. Poor little thing. She was
cremated and "her ashes are at home with us". I thought about it and realized
that their son was 8 or 9 when Molly arrived, and they were probably great
mates, playing in the park out back and spending lots of quality time together.
So there's a long history of mateship there, which explains why Molly's
ashes have a special place in the home. Letting go is very difficult.
I remember when Cody's dog Sox was put down because of old age and arthritis
(she was almost 14). Cody came home from school and saw that the yard was
clean and all of Sox's dishes and things had been "put away". Cody went
down to the beach and sat on a rock and wept. Cody was just 3 years old
when Sox arrived. They grew up together. Well, Cody grew up, Sox grew old.
So if you're gonna have a pet, get a cockatoo. They can live for 80
years or more. My parents moved into an apartment in their latter years,
next door to an old house where an old lady lived with her cockatoo. The
cockatoo was as ancient as she was, and
had barely any feathers left. In the mornings, my parents would hear
the old lady yelling at the cocky and the cocky yelling back. Hehe. They
were both as cranky as all getup, but also inseparable.
I've seen a lotta shots of Uluru but
this one is quite different, and I can imagine traveling that road
and seeing it in the distance with great anticipation of being up close
and personal to the world's biggest monolith. Two-thirds of it are underground.
That's one helluva pebble!
Here's a shot of one of the 72
houses burned in Western Oz bushfires last week.
And there goes another day. I saw the colors of the sunrise this morning
when I got up for a pee. And now we're about to hand over the sun to our
northern hemispherical bros and sisters so they can do their thing between
breakfast and dinner. Then it'll be our turn again. Imagine if the earth
didn't revolve. We'd have no days. We'd have no weeks or months or years.
We'd have no calendars or clocks. We'd have no seasons. Fish 'n chips tonight.
February 10, 2011. What's the difference between moved and removed?
You don't have a skin cancer moved, you have it removed. Therefore, removed
doesn't mean moved from one place to another, it means to be taken away,
to eliminate. A thing moved from one place to another is relocated, and
I'm not having my skin cancer relocated. English must be terribly confusing
Anyway, this latest skin cancer popped up just a few weeks ago and it's
been pretty aggressive since. I was supposed to have it removed yesterday
but the house inspection got in the way. So I postphoned it till next week.
You know that little hollow between the collar bones, below the Adam's
Apple? The cancer is sitting just to the right of the hollow. Ew! Stan
the Lawn Man looked at it a while ago and said, "Jeez, mate, you better
get rid of that pretty soon."
If you love Air
New Zealand's puppet Rico (and who doesn't?) you'll
love these bloopers.
Just spoke to Stan the Lawn Man about buying a ute. He's had a few so
I asked him about what's better for a slide-on; a table top or a tub. He
a table top, and I think I agree. If you put a slide-on on a table
top, you've got those two areas each side of the narrow base vacant for
front opening tool boxes for extra carrying capacity. Furthermore,
there are under-tray
tool boxes for even more carrying capacity. Alternatively, there
are slide-ons specifically designed for table tops, so I can buy either
one - a slide-on designed for a tub or one designed for a TT.
Beeb time: The US administration steps up its criticism of Egypt's leadership
after a 16th consecutive day of protests against the rule of President
Mubarak. I don't think anyone officially appointed
the US as the world's political arbiter but that hasn't stopped it. Besides,
who else is there? A married Republican congressman from New York
state resigns amid a report he flirted online with a woman and sent her
a shirtless photograph. I'd last about two seconds
in politics. A US man has pleaded guilty in a court in the state
of North Carolina to plotting terrorist attacks. Daniel Patrick Boyd filed
a guilty plea at the New Bern court to charges of conspiring to provide
support to terrorists and conspiring to murder, kidnap and injure people.
Prosecutors claimed that Boyd, a 40-year-old building contractor who converted
to Islam at a young age, stockpiled weapons at his home in a quiet corner
of rural North Carolina. From there, they said, he fostered a cell of young
Muslim men, including his two sons, who trained with firearms and plotted
an attack on a US military base. Once you own a man's
mind, you own him lock, stock and barrel. The threat of terrorism
against the US homeland is in some aspects "at its most heightened state"
since the 9/11 attacks, US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano
has said. The US faced new threats by groups already inside the country,
inspired by al-Qaeda. Ms Napolitano warned that attacks could be carried
out with little warning. Yep, you can't drop bombs
on your own territory. Singer Barbra Streisand is to give a rare
performance at this weekend's Grammy awards, organisers have said. The
eight-time Grammy winner, 68, is nominated in the best traditional pop
vocal album category for her latest record, Love is the Answer. Jeez,
68 already. My generation is getting old! The Prince of Wales has
hit out at climate change sceptics for what he calls the "corrosive" impact
they have on public opinion. He warned against the pursuit of growth at
the expense of the environment. And the Prince said environmentalists should
sell the benefits of sustainable living rather than just telling people
what to give up. Such as Buckingham Palace.
Yes, I wonder how much of Buckingham Palace is powered by renewable
February 9, 2011. This is just wonderful... a
photo of a bloke with a wife, three kids and a mortgage taken when
he was 25 years younger.
a little ditty I just posted on Red Bubble.
The real estate people are due here in half an hour for the inspection.
Lindsay is all excited about having "visitors" and has been busy getting
the place ready. He even dragged Sue out of bed. Hehe.
Actually, I had a visitor early this morning. Another Rodney. He was
scampering about between the inner and outer walls of my bedroom so I banged
on the wall to let him know I wasn't impressed with his unsolicited arrival.
I wish those things wouldn't keep investigating this house for goodies.
THERE AREN'T ANY GOODIES! Piss off and go somewhere else. However, it appears
that my bait has attracted a nibble or two.
I was telling Oregon Richie this morning that I might have all kinds
of wildlife stories to tell on the Odyssey... 'roos sniffing about looking
for a handout at the campsite, snakes taking a peek to see what's going
on, monitor lizards skulking about, dingoes looking for an easy feed. The
only creatures I've encountered so far on my mini Odysseys are a kangaroo
which was about 100 yards away, a 5' monitor lizard which was pretty harmless
(just a few feet away) and a bunch of leeches that took a very personal
interest in my blood. Oh... and a few pelicans, but they prefer fish.
I'm not particularly worried about sharks. As far as I'm aware, there
are no species that lurk in ankle-deep water. But jellyfish do. Swarms
of bluebottles get washed up on shore sometimes. I sat on one in a rock
pool when I was a kid, and it retaliated by stinging my bum. What a painful
experience that was! They're not easy to spot either... almost colorless
except for the bluish tentacles.
Well, Les the Inspector has just left. He says the place is looking
good and tidy but he couldn't resist running his finger along a couple
of edges and showing us the dust. Cheeky bugger. "I'm just doing my job,
Beeb time: The US has called on the Egyptian government to immediately
lift the country's emergency laws, which have been in place for 30 years.
Vice-President Joe Biden made the call during a telephone conversation
with his Egyptian counterpart Omar Suleiman. It came after a day of renewed
anti-government protests in Cairo and other Egyptian cities. I
guess if there hadn't been anti-government protests the US would have remained
silent as it has for the past 30 years. Oops! Did I say something naughty?
The Middle East peace process could become a "casualty" of the calls for
change sweeping across the Arab world, the foreign secretary has warned.
William Hague, who is touring the region, said it could "lose further momentum"
if international focus shifts to countries like Tunisia and Egypt. He urged
Israel to avoid "belligerent language" and called for "bold leadership"
from the United States. Peace process? How long is
a piece of string? A US investigation into Toyota safety problems
finds no electronic flaws to explain complaints about unintended acceleration.
certainly doesn't have that problem hehe. Swedish prosecutors did
not follow "proper procedure" while investigating rape claims against Julian
Assange, a UK extradition hearing was told. Sven-Erik Alhem, a witness,
said it was "quite peculiar" that authorities did not get the Wikileaks
founder's version of events before seeking his arrest. The
Swedish case sounds a bit suss to me. US President Barack Obama
has not smoked a cigarette in almost a year, First Lady Michelle Obama
has said. It must be getting a bit stale by now.
Australia's prime minister and other MPs have wept as they paid tribute
to the thousands of people whose lives have been rocked by natural disasters.
Julia Gillard struggled to hold back tears while speaking of the 35 killed
in last month's floods in Queensland. I'm convinced
Gillard is a hard-nosed, career politician, but I'm pleased she's not completely
devoid of heart. Sunday's Super Bowl breaks the record for the biggest
US television audience for a single broadcast. Next!
Beer found in a 200-year-old shipwreck, the world's oldest surviving beer
sample, is to be chemically analysed by Finnish scientists - and brewed
again. I'm glad the Fins have got their priorities
right. A 95-million-year-old fossil is helping scientists understand
how snakes lost their legs through evolutionary time. Found in Lebanon,
the specimen is one of only three examples of an ancient snake with preserved
leg bones. I think it's important that we don't make
the same mistake. Can you imagine Sarah Palin without stilettos?Read
the full story here. A portrait of the muse who transformed painter
Pablo Picasso's life has sold for £25.2m ($40.7m) at Sotheby's auction
house in London. La Lecture went to an anonymous phone buyer after six
minutes of bidding. Is he an art lover or an investor?
Methinks the latter.
It's after 6pm already and the troops are expecting dinner. I'm running
a bit late after doing the shopping for us and Averil, and having a bit
of a chat with Av after delivering the goodies. The young bloke at the
newsagency was looking pretty fit so I said, "Have you been doing things?"
"What things?" "Lifting things and pushing things and jumping up and down
things." "Yes, why?" "Because it shows." I decided not the say any more
about that and paid Averil's bill instead. But I think he was pleased with
my observation. Hehe. Gary
February 8, 2011. Well, I lied yesterday. I hardly did any cleaning.
So I had to do it all today. And I am, to put it mildly, BUGGERED. My back's
I've decided dirt is cool. I like dirt. I also like dust. And from now
on I'm gonna live and let live. Dirt, dust and me are gonna get along together
Anyway, it's after 5pm already and I've still got a bit to do before
the estate agent arrives for the inspection at 11:30am tomorrow. AND I've
still gotta cook for the troops.
Ohio Jace wrote: The French are going to be very upset with you.
From Waffle: The satellite photo of cyclone Yasi you mentioned the long
island below the storm was Norfolk Island, it is in fact New Caledonia
a French territory and you know how they feel about English speakers trying
to steal their thunder away. The tip of the north island of NZ is barely
visible in the lower right so Norfolk should be under the thinner cloud
bank and would be a tiny speck.
Hmmm. Well, it did occur to me that it might be New Caledonia and not
Norfolk. But I went for Norfolk. And now that Jace has chastised me, I
do remember Norfolk's most famous resident, author Colleen McCullough (The
Thorn Birds), referring to the island as a "speck" in the Pacific.
While I was bitching about our recent heatwave, Jace had this to say:
spent three hours chipping an inch of ice off my sidewalk and driveway
Wednesday. It would have been worse if the temps had not risen above freezing
overnight. It fell as rain instead of snow and froze on contact with the
still frozen ground. It started Tuesday afternoon so schools let out early
and did not go back until Friday. The rain ended Wednesday afternoon with
temps just above zero C. Power was off to thousands of peeps, but we lucked
out here it was only off a few hours not days like other parts of Ohio.
My driveway is lower than the road so I have an uphill run to make. And
it is too short to get up any speed so the truck just spins the wheels
Otherwise, the Ohio Gang is doing well, and the kids are making the
best of the snow and ice. Kids are like that, ya know. Fun is their #1
Time for a quick Beeb? Let's do it: Protesters on Cairo's central square
call for a new push to oust President Mubarak amid signs they are losing
momentum. Yes, being on the streets yelling and screaming
ain't a lotta fun after a while. One of Russia's most wanted men,
Chechen warlord Doku Umarov, says he ordered last month's bomb attack which
left 36 dead at a Moscow airport. That's the way
it is, ya know. There are those you just can't reason with, so it's pointless
trying. Former Philippine army chief General Angelo Reyes dies in
an apparent suicide after facing corruption allegations. It
ain't worth it, baby, and you found that out the hard way. Former
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld releases his new 800-page book, Known
and Unknown, on Tuesday. Some critics pick up on what they see as an attitude
of defiance over the Iraq war. Read
the full article here. US President Barack Obama has said he believes
there has been progress in Egypt, one day after Egyptian Vice President
Omar Suleiman met with oppositions groups in the country. "Obviously, Egypt
has to negotiate a path and they're making progress," he said after a speech
at the US Chamber of Commerce. Fair enough.
It's late, and I gotta skedaddle. Gary
February 7, 2011. Clean up day. Lots of scrubbing, vacuuming,
washing, dusting, and all that BORING stuff. The house needs to be spick
and span for an estate agent inspection on Wednesday. I really hate doing
things that don't stay done, such as cleaning and mowing lawns. Write a
book and it stays writ. Take a photo and it stays took.
TX Greg wrote to say I should get a slide-on (he says slide 'in') camper
with a wet room. That's all very well but he's
talking about a truck camper. I'll be getting a ute (utility), not
a truck. A ute is basically half
a car with a strengthened chassis and a tub or table top at the back.
It's not a truck or pick-up. Slide-ons designed for utes (and they are
the most popular) are not big enough for a wet room. I'll have an external
pop-up tent where I can shower, etc. Actually, I've already got the tent
and it's still boxed! It cost about $30. The porta-potti will go in there
as well. Apart from that, water is heavy stuff and the more you carry the
heavier the load. My Camps Australia Wide book lists all camp sites and
what is available. If there's water available, I won't carry it. If not,
then I will... but no more than necessary. I've already been advised by
an experienced traveler to carry bottled water for drinking/cooking. He
says some people have a habit of emptying their porta-pottis into rivers
and streams. Ew! Some people are just sooooo gross! Not to mention thick.
Last night, I watched telly for much longer than usual. There's a new
docu-drama series about the birth of the US and its rise to nationhood.
Fascinating stuff. Last night focused on the first arrivals and the Pilgrims.
I found myself rooting for the rebels against the Brits during the War
of Independence, and the reading of Jefferson's Declaration of Independence.
Very stirring stuff indeed. But then followed another docu-drama about
The Battle of Britain and I found myself rooting for the Brits
against the Nazis. Lots of Hurricanes and Spitfires giving the Messerschmitts
and Nazi bombers a hard time. It also contained interviews with some of
the old pilots. And so a great night's TV was had by.... me.
One of the current day pilots, who served in Afghanistan flying British
fighter jets, underwent a special training exercise to fly a Spitfire.
He began with a Tiger Moth bi-plane, then graduated to an American mono-plane,
single-engine trainer before he was ready to take the controls of a genuine
Merlin-powered Spit. After his first flight, he was almost speechless.
He said it was like being an integral part of the aircraft... that pilot
and plane were a single unit. He said it was incredibly responsive to every
touch, and awesomely powerful. He was obviously very emotional as he slid
back the canopy after landing. All he could do was smile and shake his
head for a while. To describe his experience was beyond articulation in
Beeb time: Egypt's opposition groups say government proposals on how
to end the political crisis are not enough. The banned Muslim Brotherhood
and other groups took part in landmark talks with the government following
days of protests aimed at forcing President Hosni Mubarak to resign. The
government has proposed a reform of the constitution, but the opposition
said the talks were only a first step. US President Barack Obama said Egypt
would not "go back to what it was". Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, he
said: "The Egyptian people want freedom, they want free and fair elections,
they want a representative government, and so what we've said is, you have
to start a transition now." You
can read excerpts from Bill O'Reilly's interview with Obama here. The
Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers for the NFL title. Whatever
blows your hair back. Christina Aguilera fluffed a line of the Star-Spangled
banner as she belted out a version of the US national anthem to open Sunday's
Super Bowl in Texas. Well, after all she's only human...
ish. Three Americans accused of spying and illegally entering Iran
have gone on trial in Tehran, with the proceedings being heard behind closed
doors. Prosecutors said they had evidence the three were connected to US
intelligence agencies. Surely no intelligent person
would want to visit Iran. Prison officials in Colombia say they
have caught an 11-year-old girl trying to smuggle dozens of mobile phones
and a gun into a jail. The guards became suspicious when they saw what
they described as irregular shapes underneath the girl's jumper (pullover).
When they investigated they found 74 mobile phones and a revolver taped
to her back. From out of the jumpers of babes.
Wildfires have destroyed a number of homes in western Australia, as the
north-east of the country continues to be affected by flooding brought
about by Cyclone Yasi last week. Flooding also affected the southern state
of Victoria after Yasi caused a series of thunderstorms over Melbourne
and other large towns in the state. In the western Australian city of Perth,
wildfires tore through suburbs, destroying at least a dozen homes. There
have been no reports of casualties. In Victoria, the Melbourne suburb of
Elwood was one of the hardest hit, with floodwaters cutting off many houses
and washing cars off roads, the Associated Press news agency reports. Melbourne
received half its average annual rainfall in just a day, AP says. Yes,
folks, we've got it all here in Oz... floods, droughts, fires, cyclones...
take your pick. Japan and Australia will hold talks in Tokyo on
Monday aimed at securing Japan's first free-trade agreement with a major
agricultural exporter. For years Japan has protected its inefficient farming
industry, and has put high tariffs on imports. But Japan's sluggish economy
could be causing a shift in policy and thinking, analysts said. Given
all our natural disasters lately, and the destruction of many crops, it's
a good thing Oz has a very BIG garden!
How big is
Oz compared to other countries? Early explorers called it Terra Incognita.
It's lovely and cool today, but not cold. A welcome change from the
past week or so. Heatwaves are the pits. And now for something a little
different... Clarke and Dawe, a couple of Aussies (actually one of them
is originally an EnnZedder) with
the Year in Review.
And that's it for today, dear Breth. Pork medallions and roast spuds
for THEM and Thai Mussaman chicken curry with jasmine rice for ME. Gary
February 6, 2011. Geoff Brown wrote: I've so enjoyed reading
Journal. What a journey. Now you wouldn't remember me, but we were
at radio DJ together all those years ago (I was paneling at 2GB at that
time) and I think we just missed each other at 2KY and later at 2GB. But
anyway, just thought I'd drop a note and say "Hi"... and thanks for sharing
your memories. (PS Found your site by Googling 'Tony Langshaw' who I just
recently spoke to after maybe 20 years...)
It's always a pleasure to have old radio colleagues "discover" the Scrapbook
story on AO. I'm sure it brings back a lot of memories for them too. I
wrote the thing for myself really, and perhaps any rellos or friends who
might be interested so I'm rather chuffed when people like Geoff write
Speaking of radio, I was seaching Youchewb for something about John
Laws' return to radio this year after his retirement in 2007 but found
this instead... Kevin Bloody Wilson singing a song about trying
to call Lawsy from a public phone.
TX Greg also wrote about an ice accident at the new Super Bowl: Well
it just gets worst for the Super Bowl, six hurt one serious.
Greg adds: Wow there is this big bright object in the sky today,
oh yeah forgot what the sun looked liked :) We've been over 100 hours below
freezing now, but hopefully that will change today and the roads will clear
up, it better because I'm almost out of FOOD!!!
Greg also alerted me to a formatting prob on AO which I've fixed. Thanks,
Greg. He knows I'm getting a bit dottery in my old age so he keeps an eye
Not dottery, it seems, is FL Josh who just finished building himself
a new whizz bang computer that uses his favorite old software but at a
much higher speed. He's just caught up with the Waffle page and, apart
from commenting on Yasi being "one hell of a storm", has this to say:
As to the situation in Egypt. I find it interesting that the
Egyptian people have had it with Mubarak because he has always favored
big business at the expense of the working man. When Obama was running
for the presidency, the opposition said he was a Socialist who wanted to
"redistribute the wealth," and why should you "penalize the wealthy for
being successful." He managed to get elected but the opposition (aided
by Murdoch's FoxNews) has hammered away at him on this same theme.
After the midterm elections, enough Republicans took Democratic seats to
start shifting things back to what they were, and basically just like what
Mubarak has done. The Republicans say we must reduce the deficit,
and cut spending. But they also not only continue the Bush tax cuts
for the wealthy, but include new tax cuts. The result is what they
have passed will result in about $800 billion dollars less in taxes collected,
making the budget even more out of kilter. So now government spending
must be reduced. The masses love the concept of not having the government
intruding in their lives so they buy into this, but how do you cut spending?
You reduce and eliminate programs. Who do the programs effect?
For the most part, the working masses. So what is happening here
in the States is programs that help the working class are being reduced
and eliminated because it is the wealthy who pay for them and they want
to keep their money. So, our leaders are doing the same thing to
us that Mubarak did to the people of Egypt. The masses are generally
dumb as a box of rocks on how things work so they go for whatever the leaders
tell them. Here in Florida, our new governor is trying to cut the
budget and he is lowering the taxes on corporations because this will draw
new companies into the state and create jobs. But those lowered taxes
benefit existing companies mostly. A better thing to do to draw new
companies in is to give them financial breaks in building new facilities.
So how is our governor going to compensate for less income? He is
requiring government workers to contribute 5% of their salary towards their
pension plan. Prior to this, they did not contribute directly, but
salaries were lower than other states where one did contribute, so in effect
they were already contributing. He also is going to lower their salaries
by 5%. Florida's government workers have not seen a pay increase
in 6 years. So, here in Florida, the machine is moving right along
to shift the wealth from the workers to the wealthy business owners.
I don't normally publish Josh's stuff in full but I think he has some
worthwhile things to say. He also says my "heart-throb" Sarah Palin is
preaching don't redistribute the wealth, but she means don't redistribute
it downward, only upward.
Josh also has this to say about Rumsfeld: Rumsfeld's comment about
how Saddam Hussein had to be removed made me think how Iraq was a stable
country before we attacked it, and now it is in total chaos, and while
Hussein was a ruthless dictator, he at least kept all the religious factions
under control. Now we look at Iran. I don't know about the
make up of Iran's people but I wonder if we were to get rid of Ahmadinejad,
would the country cease to be a potential nuclear threat, but end up like
Iraq? As far as the world goes, Iraq isn't a threat right now, but
one has to feel sorry for the people living there. Most will not
live long enough to see their country settled down and the place looking
Last evening I downloaded a bunch of pics from the net of tropical cyclone
Yasi, and this morning assembled them into an
album I just posted.
Let's check the Beeb: Egypt's most influential opposition group, the
Muslim Brotherhood, says it will enter talks with officials on ending the
country's political crisis. The group told Reuters the talks would begin
on Sunday and would aim to assess how far the government was "ready to
accept the demands of the people". The Brotherhood had earlier said it
would not take part in the negotiations with Vice-President Omar Suleiman.
President Hosni Mubarak has rejected protesters' demands that he quit now.
North America correspondent Oregon Richie reports: I have also learned
that the so-called "Muslim Brotherhood" are, by and large, not traditional
fanatical wack-jobs and neither have a leading role in the affairs of state,
and probably won't, and it's a bit interesting to me that the few Americans
I have chatted with have such a knee-jerk reaction about all that.
Say what we or you will for public consumption but the crude interpretation
of THAT, to me... is that most Yanks still hold those who follow that religion
in fundamental contempt and deep distrust. The blame game goes on, and
pointing the earthly finger at those who CAN be blamed.... goes on.
David Cameron says Britain must abandon multiculturalism and robustly defend
liberal Western values, in a speech on the causes of terrorism. I'm
still not sure what he's talking about. The Queen has appeared to
have given her blessing to the Oscar-nominated film The King's Speech,
which portrays her father King George VI. The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani
said Her Majesty is understood to have had a private screening of the film
and is said to have found it moving. The story details her father's battle
against his speech impediment and also shows a young Princess Elizabeth.
Screenwriter David Seidler said the approval was the ultimate honour. I'm
not a film-watcher as a rule but I'd like to see that one. Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak holds talks with key ministers on reviving the
economy as protesters keep up pressure from Tahrir Square. Looks
like Hosni is a lot tougher than protesters anticipated.
In any case, I wouldn't be surprised if leaders of other Arab nations
have urged Mubarak to stay on. If he goes too easily, it could be the start
of a domino effect throughout the region.
Big Bigger Biggest was on telly again last night, this time about the
history of building offshore oil rigs. All very fascinating stuff, and
testament to the genius as well as perseverance of mankind. For all its
faults, mankind is a remarkable animal.
I heard the a/c turn itself off a little while ago, and now it's back
on. I set it to 25C instead of 22. Oregon Richie mentioned that point as
did others on the web thread I read the other day... too low a setting
causes the machine to work overtime. Years ago, I was returning to Sydney
up the Hume Hwy in my '73 Valiant with under-dash a/c. I had a mate on
board who complained that the a/c wasn't working properly... it was spitting
chips of ice. So he wound down the window and in came a blast of hot air
straight from hell, so he quickly wound it up again. There was a huge storm
behind us and I was desperately trying to beat it to Sydney. The air was
thick with humidity. But the storm eventually caught us on top of Bulli
Pass and reduced visibility to an alarmingly short distance. I couldn't
stop for fear of someone ramming me from behind (no jokes, please) and
I could barely see the white lines on the road ahead. Frightening stuff.
But Big Val made it home, for which I was most grateful. I called all my
Valiants Big Val. They were great cars, every one of them.
In Oz, most names given to cars and other machinery are female. But
I've noticed used campervans for sale by European travelers touring Oz
have male names. We are sad to sell our beloved Henry after a wonderful
trip around Australia but we must return home now.
Anyway, now that I've experienced a/c at home, I'm a definite convert.
I wouldn't be without it.
here's the kinda slide-on I'm after... or something similar. Seems
like you can get a fairly decent one for around the 5k mark. Here's
another one but it's a tad rough.
So that's it. Lamb chops and spuds for THEM and buggered if I know what
I feel like. Dozen madder. Gary
February 5, 2011. I watched the live stream of Julian Assange
last night on the web. Actually, his piece was pre-recorded. But it was
all pretty lame, I thought. Nothing unexpected except a bit of extra criticism
of Julia Gillard, who irritates me. Kevin Rudd was also irritating but
she's worse. There was a side bar of live comments from viewers which was
also lame... lots of LOLs and silly small talk from puerile minds. Another
bit of juicy news was Assange's assertion that Hillary Clinton's backroom
dealings with the UN are dodgy and even unlawful. Stay tooned.
Meanwhile, here's Julian Assange interviewed
by Larry King. It's in 3 parts.
BTW, I forgot to mention yesterday Irish/Australian
comedian Jimeoin who can find humor in almost anything...including
Okies, it's 35C already and it's only 11:30am, so on goes the a/c. If
I encounter weather like this on the Odyssey, which I undoubtedly will
from time to time, I suppose I'll have to seek refuge at the seaside (which
is often about 10 degrees cooler), or find a pub or shopping center with
air conditioning. If I happen to be camping out in the bush somewhere,
I'll either be taking lots of cold showers or floating around in a local
stream... or both. But these hot conditions only occur during a relatively
short period of one or two months on the mainland. In Hobart Tasmania at
the moment, the temps are in the low 20s C.
I'd forgotten that if you wanna know something, Google it. So I typed
in "cost of air conditioning" and found a thread that was very helpful.
Costs can vary, obviously, depending on the type of house construction,
external temperature, type of a/c, etc, but it seems that the cost of cooling
is not horrific. Maybe a couple of dollars for 6 or 7 hours. This is the
first time I've used the a/c for cooling in over 9 years since we've been
here, so it's only in extreme conditions that it's needed, perhaps a total
of 10 or 20 days a year, if that.
Beeb time: Barack Obama has urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak "to
make the right decision" to end weeks of unrest, and reiterated a call
for an orderly transition of power "that begins now". However the US president
stopped short of telling Mr Mubarak to step down immediately. And
I can understand why. The (British) prime minister will criticise
"state multiculturalism" in his first speech on radicalisation and the
causes of terrorism since being elected. I'm not
sure what he's saying. Here in Oz multiculturalism is hailed as a success.
Two of Malawi's most senior judicial officials are arguing over whether
a new bill includes a provision that outlaws breaking wind in public. Justice
Minister George Chaponda says the new bill would criminalise flatulence
to promote "public decency". "Just go to the toilet when you feel like
farting," he told local radio. Is there any reference
to farting in the Bible? The Ten Commandments don't seem to cover it.
The hit show Dallas is making a return to our screens, with many members
of the original cast including Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy. At its height
- in the 1980s - it was one of the most watched programmes on television,
but will it be a success this time? It's the question
on everyone's lips, ladies and genitals. The BBC has apologised
for remarks made on the television programme, Top Gear, that caused outrage
in Mexico. Top Gear presenters characterised Mexicans as lazy and feckless.
wonder what on earth made them say that? More than 20,000 anti-government
protesters gathered in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, for a "day of rage" against
President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The demonstrators called for a change in
government and rejected Mr Saleh's offer to step down in 2013 after more
than 30 years in power. Meanwhile, a similar number of his supporters rallied
in a central square. The gatherings are the largest in two weeks of protests
inspired by the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Go
figure. Thousands of Australian soldiers, police and emergency workers
have been sent to help Queensland's stricken coastal communities, left
reeling by the state's worst storm in a century. Emergency teams are cutting
through the debris to reach towns still isolated after Cyclone Yasi hit
on Wednesday. Watch
the video here.
Oregon Richie sent links to Ronald Reagan's speech in Germany about
tearing down the Berlin Wall. It reminded me of Sydney radio personality
Mike Carlton who used to do some very funny voices in his weekly Friday
News Review, which was probably the most listened to segment on Sydney
radio back in the 80s. Here he is pretending to be an Indian
offshore customer service rep for Telstra. Carlton did a magnificent
impression of Reagan which was hilarious, and I'm desperately trying to
find a vid or soundtrack. But alas it seems all that wonderful material
from the 80s has disappeared. Oh well... I can't say I liked Carlton as
a person. He could be harsh and sometimes rude, but I certainly admired
his genius for comedy.
Well, that's about it for this Satdee. No one's hungry so I'll do scrambled
eggs for Sue. Gary
February 4, 2011. Here's a pic I found on a newsgroup this morning
of tropical cyclone Yasi.
The damn thing is almost as big as Queensland itself. Taree, by the
way, is about midway along the clear section between the two areas of cloud
on the lower east coast. The area is called the Mid North Coast of New
South Wales. Not sure about that island on the upper right just below Yasi
but I think it's Norfolk of The Bounty fame. The island directly above
Oz is Papua New Guinea, the world's largest tropical island.
TX Greg wrote: Wished you send some of that heat wave your having
over here. Been trapped in the house since Tuesday when a major sleet and
ice storm came thru. Hasn't
been this cold here in more than twenty years. All the schools have
been closed for the last three days now and yesterday Texas was in a state
of emergency as two power plants went offline forcing rolling blackouts
to keep the whole system from going down. They shut my area off for a couple
of hours yesterday and now they say more snow Friday!!! And to top
that off it's Super Bowl weekend here at Mr. Jerry Jones new one billion
dollar Cowboy Stadium... Amazing
the big screen tv cost more than the entire old stadium!!!
Everything's bigger and better in Texas, right? Yep, that's a pretty
impressive structure. Looks like you could fit a couple of pyramids in
there with room to spare.
Beeb time: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says he would like to resign
immediately but fears the country would descend into chaos if he did so.
may have a point. On the other hand, he may be using that as an excuse
to buy more time. Tricky situation, yes? A Pakistani politician
has dropped her attempt to amend the country's controversial blasphemy
laws, accusing her party of appeasing extremists. Pakistan People's Party
MP Sherry Rehman made her decision after the government ruled out changing
the law. There has been a climate of fear since the murder of Punjab governor
Salman Taseer who opposed it. Mr Taseer was killed in January by one of
his bodyguards, who later admitted murdering the governor because he had
spoken out against the blasphemy law. That's the
way religion works: believe or be damned. Last year's Amazon drought
was worse than the last big one, in 2005, raising new fears for the region's
capacity to continue absorbing CO2 emissions. Basically,
what human beings have done over the past century or two is shit in their
own nest. Americans and Canadians are recovering from a monster
winter storm that crippled air and road transport, closed schools and destroyed
buildings. Authorities warned over conditions across the mid-west, where
temperatures were set to fall below -34C. And here
we are basking in +34. French actress Maria Schneider, best known
for playing Marlon Brando's lover in Last Tango in Paris, has died in Paris
aged 58 after a long illness. The actress was 19 when she was cast opposite
Brando in Bernardo Bertolucci's controversial 1972 film. Did
I miss much? I've not seen the movie. Some of the toughest anti-smoking
measures to be adopted in a major city have been approved by councillors
in New York. The measures are set to extend a smoking ban to municipal
parks, beaches and even Times Square. The ban will take effect three months
after it is signed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It will make it
an offence to light up in any of the city's 1,700 parks and along 14 miles
(23km) of coastline. I heard on some news report
about a clean-up of rubbish of which 70% was cigarette butts. Former
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld remains largely defiant about the
Iraq war, saying in a new book that had Saddam Hussein remained in power,
the Middle East would be "far more perilous than it is today". Mr Rumsfeld,
78, has written an autobiography due out next week. He concedes he could
have sent more troops, and that internal US rivalries hampered post-war
reconstruction. Leaked excerpts have been published by the Washington Post
and New York Times. There ya go, Rummyleaks.
Cyclone Yasi has battered the state of Queensland in north-eastern Australia,
leaving a trail of destruction. Worst hit were the coastal towns of Tully,
Mission Beach and Cardwell, with hundreds of houses destroyed. The cities
of Cairns and Townsville were relatively unscathed but are being lashed
by heavy rains; warnings of flash floods have been issued. At least 180,000
homes are without electricity; relief workers are using heavy equipment
to cut through fallen trees and debris. In Cardwell, boats were piled on
top of each other in the Port Hinchinbrook Marina. A storm surge there
sent boats up to two blocks inland, ABC news reported. Check
out the video here.
Back to Mubarak's fear of chaos if he resigns now, what does he call
the current situation? On the other hand, when I see news footage of protesters
and screaming and carrying on like lunatics, it looks to me like they
are caught up in a wave of mass hysteria - demanding immediate change without
considering the consequences. What will immediate change be replaced with?
Who is at the helm ready to take over? When Saddam was toppled, the country's
services went to pieces - water, power, law and order, food, roads and
other infrastructure. Even now it's a mess. So what is the answer? Don't
ask me. I'm just watching the show.
From an organization called Get Up: Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder
Sarah Palin said should be hunted as a terrorist and whose activities Julia
Gillard pre-emptively judged as "illegal" is at the centre of the debate
over freedom of speech. You
can watch him speak on an internet video stream at 6pm Melbourne time here.
That's about 2 hours away as I write this. A video recording of the live
steam will be made available shortly after the event.
It's been another hot day but tempered by a cool breeze, which has made
a huge difference, so much so I didn't use the a/c. Next week we have a
string of days with tops in the mid 20s - far more comfortable! Gary
February 3, 2011. Lindsay is delighted about the cost of tickets
to England during the peak season of July. $4,500 each. He's in his element,
storming around the house, swearing his head off. Hehe. He loves it when
he has something to bitch about... makes him feel important. Meanwhile,
if the rellos in England are unable to juggle their schedule (they promote
stage shows and concerts), then it's stay-home time for L&S.
Apparently the temp reached 39C yesterday in Taree (about a ton F),
and the heat wave will continue until Sunday. Meanwhile, cyclone Yasi has
caused serious damage to a couple of coastal towns in north QLD but it's
been downgraded to a category 2 as it makes its way inland. Religious fanatics
will be having a field day blaming the sins of man for all the devastation.
Wiz wrote: I think Cody would have loved this video/song. Thought
I'd pass it on as I thought of the both of you when I saw it. I
think you're right, Wiz. And you know what happened, G? I got this huge
lump in my throat and wished you were there with me to see it (my first
green room). Then it closed out and put me into the washing machine.
I've always been impressed by Cody thinking of me in his moment of triumph.
So what about Ian "Thorpedo" Thorpe making a comeback to competitive
international swimming? He's aiming for the 2012 Olympics. He's 28 now,
same age as Cody who was a big fan. I think Cody liked the name Thorpedo,
as well as the guy's talent.
Another Cody wrote today: I just wanted to tell you thank you for
writing the stories. I am currently reading Wingnut and I love it, I wish
that I had his life.
Beeb time: Egyptian anti-government protesters defy orders to leave
Cairo's main square, after three die in the worst violence in more than
a week. Waffle correspondent Oregon Richie reports:
guess things in Egypt are coming to a head, so to speak... and Mubarek
may as well pack his bags. First he gives a slightly conciliatory
speech of sorts, then threatens them, continues to shut down all media
and comm contact with everybody beyond the border, and... he wonders why
they are even more pissed? He's over 80, too... and probably cannot
even fathom it. So he'll just sink deep into the fathoms of murky
disdain and shame, and... next ! The Australian state of Queensland
is counting the cost as a powerful cyclone carves a trail of destruction
across the north-east. Cyclone Yasi struck the coast south of the city
of Cairns at about midnight, ripping roofs from houses and toppling trees
and power lines. Small communities bore the brunt of winds up to 290km/h
(181mph) as the storm swept inland slowly weakening. About 30,000 people
have been evacuated from Yasi's path and taken to shelters. Others spent
a terrifying night in their homes as the colossal cyclone - the most powerful
to hit the area in nearly a century - roared overhead and lashed them with
rain. Averil's niece who lives in Cairns says the
damage to her place is mostly superficial but she had to give her cat valium.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation says income at its television businesses
helped its profits jump 150% in the last three months of 2010. The
boy from Adelaide certainly knows how to make a quid. Human Rights
Watch urges Pakistan to release a boy of 17 who has been charged under
controversial blasphemy laws. How can you blaspheme
against a figment of human imagination? There ya go, I've just blasphemed.
Four people including a Muslim cleric have been arrested in Bangladesh
in connection with the death of 14-year-old girl who was publicly lashed.
The teenager was accused of having an affair with a married man, police
say, and the punishment was given under Islamic Sharia law. I
feel like blaspheming again. A bitter winter storm stretching 2,000
miles (3,200km) is crippling swathes of the US and Canada with heavy snow,
rain and high winds. More than 20in (51cm) of snow fell on Chicago, bringing
the typically bustling city to a frozen halt. I dunno
what's worse... our summers or the northern hem's winters. The United
States has said it "deplores and condemns" the violence in Egypt. "We are
deeply concerned about attacks on the media and peaceful demonstrators.
We repeat our strong call for restraint," White House spokesman Robert
Gibbs said. US state department spokesman PJ Crowley said: "Egypt's path
to democratic change must be peaceful." You're talking
to a lot of hot-heads over there, Uncle Sam. Ugandan police have
arrested a man over last week's murder of David Kato, a gay activist who
sued a local newspaper which outed him as homosexual. Police say Enock
Nsubuga, the second person arrested in connection with the killing, is
their main suspect. They deny that Mr Kato was killed because of his sexuality
and that initial inquiries point to robbery. We will
be sure to follow that case with interest, and it's not just the police
who are interested. Moscow has warned Dublin it will retaliate for
the "unfounded" expulsion of a diplomat over the alleged theft of six Irish
citizens' identities. Their identities were allegedly used to provide cover
for members of a 10-strong Russian spying ring which was cracked in the
US last year. One spy, Anna Chapman, allegedly used details stolen from
a member of Dublin children's charity To Russia With Love. Now
that's what I'd really love to see... an Irish Jimmy O'Bond. News
Corporation's Rupert Murdoch unveils the Daily, a digital newspaper made
exclusively for the iPad. Smart move, Rupert.
Oregon Richie mentioned the other day that Egypt's leader Mubarek has
been in power now for 30 years, which got me to thinking about Robert Menzies,
the longest serving PM in Oz. Second longest was John Howard with 12 years,
1996-2007. Menzies was PM for 17 years (1949-1966). He was also PM for
2 years between 1939-1941, a total of 19 years in the top job. And he wasn't
voted out in the end... he retired gracefully during his final term. Menzies
was replaced by his deputy Harold Holt, a keen sportsman who disappeared
at Cheviot Beach when turbulent water suddenly built up around him, and
he disappeared. Help was called and a major rescue operation was mounted.
By nightfall some 190 people were looking for the prime minister without
expecting to find him alive. The search was scaled down on 22 December
and officially terminated on 5 January 1968. Holt's body was never found.
One of the more loopy speculations was that he was picked up by a Russian
submarine waiting off shore. Hehe.
Another hottie and the a/c has been on since about midday. Shopping's
done, bills are paid, and life goes on. Gary
February 2, 2011. I rather like the quote on this morning's desk
calendar... nicely put: Happiness is a by-product of an effort to make
someone else happy. Gretta Brooker Palmer. And who is/was Gretta? An
author, that's all I know.
Bubble is celebrating its 4th birthday. 4 years is not a long time,
but the site has done very well in that short period, attracting thousands
of amateur and professional photographers from around the world to show
and share their wares. I've learned quite a bit by just observing the work
of other happy snappers, and also from comments made about my own efforts.
I love the site. The vast majority of the members are nice too.
I also uploaded a pic of Tony
the Painter's portable radio.
Meanwhile, as if QLD hasn't suffered enough with the recent floods and
associated devastation, tropical cyclone Yasi is headed for the north QLD
coast between Cairns and Mackay and is expected to hit tomorrow. There
were fears that it might affect the Mid North Coast of NSW (my area) but
it seems that won't happen. Yasi has been upgraded to a category 5 with
300kph winds at its core. That's a pretty stiff breeze, dear Breth. About
3000 tourists have already been evacuated from the Whitsunday Islands (Great
I can tell you one thing for sure, I won't be up north on the Odyssey
at this time of year. No way.
NC Art wrote: Yeah, sermonizing is a word. [Steve Part 43]. That’s
when preachers quit making sense and just preach at you anyway. Also, your
take on the selling game is right on target. Not sure what Art is referring
to about the selling game but I sure do understand what he says about sermonizing.
You hear it all the time. When in doubt, quote the Bible. Well, for mine,
you might as well quote Donald Duck.
Art also adds: Ouch, what Queensland doesn’t need is a category 4
Beeb time: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has said he will not stand
for re-election in September, as protests against his rule grow. Speaking
on state TV, Mr Mubarak promised constitutional reform, but said he wanted
to stay until the end of his current presidential term. The announcement
came as hundreds of thousands rallied in central Cairo urging him to step
down immediately. US President Barack Obama said that Egypt's transition
"must begin now". That's eight months away. Who will
trust him not to use those eight months to strengthen his position?
Australian officials warn Cyclone Yasi, approaching Queensland with winds
of up to 295 km/h (183 mph), could be the deadliest storm in living memory.
are a lot less spectacular. King Abdullah of Jordan sacks his government
and appoints a new PM charged with carrying out reform, as protests continue.
is the spice of life, yes? But I think I'd rather live in Australia.
The US braces for another onslaught of bitter winter weather as a storm
expected to hit a third of the country gathers in the mid-west. God
must be mad at something. The global consumption of fish has hit
a record high, reaching an average of 17kg per person, a UN report has
shown. Fisheries and aquaculture supplied the world with about 145m tonnes
in 2009, providing about 16% of the population's animal protein intake.
honestly surprised that the world can feed over 6 billion people (apart
from the starving masses). The British Heart Foundation is to begin
a major new research programme to find a cure for heart failure, a condition
affecting 750,000 UK people. The charity hopes to harness the miraculous
healing abilities of zebrafish, a species that is able to mend its own
heart muscle. Ultimately, the research may make this possible for people
to do so too. There ya go. God has been working miracles
for zebra fish while ignoring us. A Buddhist monk is likely to face
five years in prison for violating strict anti-smoking laws in the tiny
Himalayan nation of Bhutan. Police have not named the monk but said he
is 24 years old and was caught with 72 packets of chewing tobacco. Bhutan
says it is determined to become the world's first smoking-free nation.
It banned the sale of tobacco in 2005. But authorities admit that booming
contraband traffic from neighbouring India has largely undermined the ban.
you want to know what's good for you, or bad for you, ask someone else.
Anyone will do. But don't ask more than one person because you might attract
conflicting opinions. A Swiss male social worker has confessed to
abusing 114 children and disabled adults in care homes over three decades,
prosecutors say. The unnamed man, 54, who worked in nine care homes, also
admitted to eight cases of attempted abuse, most of them taking place in
the Bern area. You have to wonder who was the more
mentally disabled. A Labrador retriever has sniffed bowel cancer
in breath and stool samples during a study in Japan. Okay...
moving right along...
Come to think of it, it's probably a good thing that our sense of smell
is nowhere near as sensitive as a dog's or we might be tempted to do things
that are not considered dignified.
Well, it's just too bloody hot to put up with the discomfort any longer,
so I turned on the air conditioning. I'm gonna freak when I get the bill
but there's really no option. Besides, I was beginning to feel ill. I guess
I must be getting a bit long in the tooth to withstand this kinda heat.
Some bloke is outside running around with a lawn mower. He's gotta be nutz.
If I encounter this kinda heat on the Odyssey, it'll be straight to the
Joao from Brazil was unaware I'd dumped my old Post Office box, so he
sent my Chrissy pressie to the wrong addy. Oh well... So it was returned
to sender and Joao was asked to try again. He wrote me and asked for my
street addy. Today, over a month later, I received my pressie: Xmas
gift in February? It happens. Why Rubber Soul? I like it. And it's remastered.
:-) Thanks a stack, Joao. I like Rubber Soul too! Some of the Beatles
greatest songs are on there... Drive My Car, Norwegian Wood, Nowhere Man,
Michelle... timeless classics. I saw Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones
interviewed and he was asked if he could explain The Beatles' success.
"They wrote better songs," he said. You're a gem, Joao. Thanks again. "Rubber
Soul stayed at the top for nine weeks of its 42 week stay on the (British)
albums chart. The American version of Rubber Soul reached number one in
the first week of January 1966 and stayed at the top for six weeks. It
had an impressive initial chart run of 51 weeks." They don't make bands
like that anymore, ladies and genitals. And they did it all on a four-track
tape recorder almost half a century ago. Bloody amazing.
Well, I tellya what, this a/c certainly makes a big diff. It's the first
time I've used it in summer since we've been in Taree, which is now approaching
10 years. I phoned Averil to let her know we're luxuriating in 22C while
she's sweltering in 36+. Hehe. "Darling, you've got a few bob in the bank
and you can't take it with you. Get one of those air conditioners you stick
in the bloody window." She's gonna think about it. Mad if she doesn't.
February 1, 2011. Off to the doc's again for a few squirts...
burning off skin cancers with freezing gas. Stan the Lawn Man gets quite
a few as well. He's spent decades in the sun every day, 5 days a week.
The other day he showed me one on his neck and another on his lip, both
of which need surgery. When he gets the one on his lip done, I'll say to
him, "No worries, mate, you never smile anyway." Then he'll curse me for
making him laugh... probably chase me around the yard with his whipper
Getting older has its compensations, to be sure to be sure, but it also
has its drawbacks. I'm not sure if the compensations outweigh the drawbacks.
On the other hand, if I were asked if I wanted to go back to some point
in my life, I'd decline the offer. Been there, done that. Next! Although....
I wouldn't mind spending a night or two at some of the restaurants I used
to frequent. "A bottle Margaret River Chardonnay, please, and I'll have
the filet mignon with green pepper sauce."
Well, that's done. I've been squirted, my blood pressure is excellent,
my cholesterol is low ("That means I can still make chips." "Yes, you can
still make chips.") and my prescriptions have been updated. So there ya
go, there's life left in the old dog yet. He also said my brain is fine.
Hehe. Well, what he doesn't know won't hurt him.
Beeb time: Egypt's army vows it will not use force against demonstrators,
as the government says it is preparing to open talks with the opposition.
interesting. Consumer spending in the US grew at its fastest pace
in three years during 2010, official figures have shown. The
sales team has gone back to work. North Korea has at least one hidden
nuclear site and should face tougher sanctions, a UN report says, according
to diplomats. I wonder if they realize that just
one bomb from them would mean total obliteration. Composer John
Barry, famous for his work on Born Free, Out of Africa and the James Bond
films, has died in New York of a heart attack aged 77. Born John Barry
Prendergast in 1933, the York-born musician first found fame as leader
of the John Barry Seven. His arrangement of Monty Norman's James Bond theme
led to him composing scores for 11 films in the series, among them Goldfinger
and You Only Live Twice. His work saw him win five Oscars, while he received
a Bafta fellowship in 2005. Pretty good effort, John.
a compilation of some of his music. Undercover New York City investigators
bought high-powered pistols from an Arizona gun fair without undergoing
a background check, officials said. One made the purchase despite telling
the seller he was "probably" barred by law from gun ownership, a report
said. Well, well, well, who would have guessed.
Fax machines, ham radio and dial-up modems are helping people get around
the net block imposed on Egypt. Never underestimate
the will of the people.
Another hottie. It's almost 36C right now, and that's the way it will
stay for the rest of the week. Ohio Jace wrote the other day to tell me
it's warmed up to 0C over there. Sheesh. He says he's also having problems
with crows and Jehovah Witnesses with crooked teeth. So the sheriff hired
some people to let off fireworks to scare the crows (5000 in one flock)
away, but it didn't work with the Jehovah Witnesses. Otherwise, the Ohio
gang is getting along quite nicely, which is always good to hear.
Sue has lost another tooth in the front. Lindsay wonders why. He places
jars of lollies and biscuits in front of her to keep her amused while she
watches TV all day and he sleeps, but he fails to make the connection.
Anyway, he's organized a visit to the dentist for her, and a set of dentures.
The free dental service has a 5 year wait, so this guy is a regular dentist
who needs to be paid. "It's up to you, Sue. You've got the money saved
so you can still afford your ticket to England. I'm not putting up with
your sister's criticism again, so if you don't get a denture, I'm not going
to England. But it's up to you." Same old trick... blackmail. Do what you
like as long as I approve or I'll stuff your plans. Personally, I couldnt
give a shit.
It's interesting about the sister and her husband. They figure they
know all the answers. When Sue was last in England, they bought her a pair
of reading glasses and gave her the paper to read every day. Yeah, right.
Sue is smart enough to "look" like she's paying attention, so she managed
to fool her sister and husband into thinking she was actually absorbing
what was printed on the pages. Wrong! They didn't think to ask her about
what she'd supposedly read. She can't even remember what she had for dinner
They also made Lindsay promise to take Sue out for a "nice dinner" at
least once a month. The last time they went out for dinner, it was compliments
of a free coupon I'd won at a local pub. It was their wedding anniversay
so I gave it to them. That was over 10 years ago. Lindsay ended up in hospital
and Sue was found by a good Samaritan sprawled on the footpath, so he brought
I know what you're thinking, ladies and genitals. What a way to make
a living. Gary
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