May 31, 2011. Either either. They
look the same but are they pronouced the same?
I thought a bit more about that luminous toilet paper I mentioned yesterday.
If the luminous stuff on the paper rubs off, it could give you a butt that
glows in the dark. However, I haven't figured out yet how that might be
NC Art has similar thoughts: The thing about radioactive toilet paper
is that after a few days of use, your butt and hands will glow also, making
it hard to hide from predators--human or animal.
I never liked blundering about in dark. As the youngest kid in the
family, one chore was getting in coal from an outside bin to get fireplaces
and the cook range going each morning. This chore should have been done
before nightfall, but often was neglected by this young procrastinator.
So as I was shoveling coal into buckets one night, I heard a deep CHUFF!
behind me. Mean bull on the loose!, so I swung the shovel wildly in self
defense. There was no sound of a whomp to the bull's face, but my brother
let out a yowl. The shovel point had grazed the tip of his nose. Cured
him of practical joking for awhile.
Blundering is a good word. I like blundering. I like dismal too. Last
night on the game show Letters and Numbers the resident word expert said
that there are words to describe cartoon scribbles like those little curved
lines beside an object that's shaking, or horizontal lines and a puff of
cloud to denote something moving quickly, or vertical lines below an object
that's leaving the ground, or jagged bolts of lightning to signify electricity.
I can't remember what the words are (which are not yet accepted officially
by dictionaries) but they were created by a prominent cartoonist, whose
name also escapes me. Not much use am I.
So yesterday's altercation between Bluey and the garage door wasn't
a nightmare after all. It really happened. The thing I've discovered about
hatches is that they need to be closed while you're standing there thinking
about it. It's too easy to become preoccupied with rain and bags of groceries
and then forget about the hatch. And if you're using your side mirrors
to reverse, you don't see the open hatch. Anyway, cest la vie. What's done
is done. I'm still pissed off though.
Meanwhile, it's goodbye May and hello June. Half way through another
year. April, May and June are names given to girls. Augustus can be a boy's
name, but I'm not aware of anyone named January, February, March, July,
September, October, November or December. Interestingly, Tuesday can also
be a girl's name. And there was one bloke who was a mate of Mr Crusoe who
was called Friday. As to me, I was born on a Tuesday. How
do I know that?
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go.
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child born on the Sabbath Day,
Is fair and wise and good in every way.
Okay, so I'm full of grace. That's interesting because my nickname for
years was Grace (as in Kelly). Hmmm. Sue was born on a Saturday, and I
suppose there's some truth in her working hard for a living because it's
a wonder she's still alive. Lindsay was born on a Sunday. Fair and wise
and good in every way? I think we can justifiably dismiss that little poem
as a load of old codswallop.
Beeb time: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said a decision to phase
out nuclear power by 2022 can make her country a trailblazer in renewable
energy. Ms Merkel said Germany would reap economic benefits from the move.
"We can be the first major industrialised country that achieves the transition
to renewable energy with all the opportunities - for exports, development,
technology, jobs - it carries with it." I hope she's
right. The world does not have a choice if it's going to survive.
The prices of staple foods will more than double in 20 years unless world
leaders take action to reform the global food system, Oxfam has warned.
I find it pretty amazing that 6.5 billion people
are fed already. That's a helluva lotta people! Eight senior officers
who defected from Col Muammar Gaddafi's army have appealed to fellow soldiers
to join them in backing the rebels. One of the eight accused pro-Gaddafi
forces of "genocide". The men - who are said to include five generals -
appeared at a news conference in Rome. Yes, it's
not easy to butter your bread on both sides. Police in southern
Bangladesh say a woman cut off a man's penis during an alleged attempt
to rape her and took it to a police station as evidence. Well,
I suppose that's one way to prove a point. An impressive waterspout,
spiralling up into a bank of clouds, has been filmed off the coast of New
South Wales in Australia. A camera crew for an Australian broadcaster,
7 News, caught the column of water on camera, estimating it to be 600m
tall. Waterspouts occur when a tornado forms over oceans, lakes, or rivers.
I think it was off Terrigal, where I lived for a
while back in the early '70s. Click
here for the video. President Barack Obama has paid tribute
to US forces at a ceremony at the military cemetery in Arlington, Virginia,
on Memorial Day. He addressed an audience of serving soldiers, veterans
and families of those killed in combat. Mr Obama said: "The grief of mourning
you carry in your hearts is a grief I cannot fully know. Arlington is the
resting place for thousands of soldiers "This day is about you and the
fallen heroes that you loved and it's a day that has meaning for all Americans."
Including NC Art. A doctor has been beaten
to death by inmates of a prison where he was examining a patient in the
northern Indian state of Bihar, police say. Some reports say Dr Buddhadev
Singh Bhudeo was being pressured by prisoners to issue fake medical certificates
so they could avoid appearing in court. The police have lodged cases against
seven prisoners in the jail in Bihar's Gopalgunj district. Bihar's government
says it will introduce laws to protect doctors. How
thoughtful and timely.
Gopalgunj? And I thought Oz had some weird names. Even Woolloomooloo
isn't as bad as Gopalgunj. And what about where Kot & Co from Ukraine
lived... Dnepropetrovsk? Even they said they had trouble pronouncing it.
So where will I finally settle down after the Odyssey? Good question.
Rents in Sydney are astronomical, so I can forget going back there. I could
rent a 2-bedroom
house at Old Bar, close to the beach and 15 minutes from Taree, for
about $200 pw and share it with someone. But I really have no idea where
I'll settle. It could be Western Oz, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Queensland...
somewhere in the outback... who knows?
I'm not keen on sharing a house with anyone. On the other hand, if I
fall down and go boom it's handy to have someone else there to phone an
ambulance. Ideally, the person with whom I would consider sharing a house
would be utterly devoid of friends - no visitors, no boyfriends, no girlfriends,
no parties, no noise, no nuthin'. And they would need to be obsessive about
house cleaning, and keeping toilets and bathrooms spic and span. An interest
in gardening and weeding would also be beneficial. And cooking, preferably
Asian. Apart than that, I'm not picky.
And now for something completely different - urinal
Well, there goes Chewsdee... almost. Din dins time. That's doggy talk
for evening meal. If I ever open a restaurant, I'll call it Din Dins. Gary
May 30, 2011. TX
Greg has suggested I should pack this in Das Busse on the Odyssey. It's
not just a roll of toilet paper... no, no, no, this is special camping
toilet paper that glows in the dark. How sensible. Reminds me of
Karl Maldin's old Amex ads... don't leave home without it.
I rather fancy those solar garden lamps on a spike as well... anything
that prevents me from becoming unintentionally horizontal as I feel my
way around the camp site at night. People who live in cities forget just
how pitch black it can get out in the country. I spent a couple of weeks
on a farm when I was teen. It was at Coonamble, way out in the sticks.
One night, I went to the loo which was one of those country loos in the
backyard, a small shed plonked over a hole in the ground. Anyway, there
I was, arms outstretched, feeling my way through the inky blackness toward
where I thought the loo was, when all of a sudden I banged into something
that went MOOOOOOOOO! Frightened the crap outta me... and frightened the
crap outta the cow as well.
The interesting thing about sitting
on a bush loo (or dunny, as we call them) by the light of a flickering
candle is the time it takes after the bomb bay is opened for the missile
to reach splash down. It's then you decide to check the boards supporting
the can to make sure they're secure. If the unthinkable ever happened,
I'm sure nobody would want to rescue you.
Oh, the joys of camping out in the sticks. I can't wait. Yeah, right.
The weather is miserable today... cool and wet. I'm not talking 3 feet
of snow or a blizzard or a tornado, but by normal Taree standards it's
miserable, and that's the forecast for the rest of the week. On days like
this on the Odyssey, I'd either take refuge in town or, if that was unavailable,
I'd definitely need my laptop and the internet to while away the hours
in Das Busse. If there happened to be other campers at the site, I suppose
we could organize a get-together under shelter and amuse ourselves. However,
I'm hoping for lots and lots and lots of fine weather. Oz is supposed to
be the driest inhabited continent on earth, but not this year.
I just spent a while Googling travel blogs in Oz hoping to link something
interesting here. But they're all BORING. Or maybe it's just the people
who are boring, and can't put a decent sentence together.
Beeb time: Thousands of nationalist Serbs rally in Belgrade against
the arrest for war crimes of ex-Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic. They
hailed Gen Mladic as a hero and said he should not be handed over the UN's
war crimes tribunal in The Hague. There were clashes with police as the
demonstration ended. Gen Mladic faces extradition to The Hague on charges
of war crimes including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 7,500 Muslim men
and boys. Hero? The US city of Joplin remembers
the time exactly one week ago a devastating tornado struck, as visiting
President Barack Obama pays tribute. It must be extremely
difficult to write a speech that both inspires and sympathizes in an attempt
to make the people feel better. Can you imagine the reception God would
get if he arrived in Joplin to make a speech? South African President
Jacob Zuma is heading for Libya for an African Union-sponsored mission
to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. We all
know what it is, Jacob. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has forcefully
condemned the killing of 14 civilians in the south-west of the country
in a suspected Nato air strike. Mr Karzai said his government had repeatedly
asked the US to stop raids which end up killing Afghan civilians and this
was his "last warning". The air strike, targeted at insurgents, struck
two civilian homes, killing two women and 12 children, reports say. Who
needs enemies when you have friends like Nato? The Taliban must be rubbing
their hands with glee.
So, on a wet and cold day, what can a bloke have for lunch? How about....
a jaffle with cheese and pineapple? Mmmm, melted tasty cheddar and hot
pineapple. Sounds pretty good to me.
Yes, have you noticed that God never turns up at the scene of catastrophic
events, like earthquakes or tsunamis or devastating fires or floods or
tornadoes to offer his condolences? He'd certainly have a bit of explaining
to do. And yet you hear survivors thanking and praising God for sparing
them. Hello? I'll never understand that sort of mentality. Never.
Speaking of catastrophic events, it's not my day today, I'm afraid.
Back from shopping in the rain. Rather than leave the bags in the rain
while I backed Bluey into the garage, I carried the bags to the front veranda,
and then went back to Bluey, getting soaked in the process. I forgot to
close the rear hatch. As I reversed, the raised hatch struck the rolladoor.
BANG! So I drove forward. The window wiper caught on the rolladoor and
dragged the window out of its frame. SMASH! So now the hatch is buggered,
the glass is smashed, and the garage door is bent outta shape. All in the
space of a few seconds. Bluey is insured but the excess is $600. So there
goes this month's savings toward fixing Das Busse. Thank you very much.
Why not drive Bluey front first into the garage? Because there's a bunch
of stuff stored at the back and sides, and you can't open the doors. I
have to reverse in. She won't fit in the other garage because she's too
tall for the tiltadoor.
So I phoned Matt from Smash Zone and he's coming around here to take
a look at the damage. There's no point in claiming insurance if it can
be fixed for less than $600. And I'd rather not lose my no claim bonus.
What a day.
According to Matt, the door's okay. It opens and closes. The struts
have come loose, the hinges are a bit wobbly, the demister wiring and wiper
motor wiring is unattached, and the wiper blade has been ripped off, but
they reckon all I need is new (second hand) glass, which might cost me
a few hundred plus reconnection of the loose bits. They'll get back to
me tomorrow with a quote. I'm thinking maybe $400.
By the way, have you ever tried sweeping smashed glass from wet ground
and grass? It ain't easy.
Not one of my better days, ladies and genitals. One step forward, two
steps back. Gary
May 29, 2011. Sundee, and not a bad one. Bit chilly this morning
but it'll improve. I woke to take a pee this morning but Sue was in the
loo, and she takes forever. So I peed in a bucket instead. I'm conscious
now of how much pee I pee in a given day because on the Odyssey I'll be
using a porta potti, and I have no idea at this point how often a porta
potti needs to be emptied. And you can't just empty them any old place.
You either dig a discreet hole or find a dump point. So that means I need
a spade... and an axe and a hammer and and and... By the time I load all
the stuff I need into Das Busse, there'll be no room left for me. Maybe
I could put wheels on the porta potti and tow it. Yeah, right. Can you
imagine that thing bouncing and sloshing along a rough dirt road?
Actually, I've never been
to a dump point, and I'm not sure I'm looking forward to it. Ew! Because
of the chemicals used in a porta potti to deodorize and break down the
solids (Ew! again), you can't empty the stuff into one of those organic
public loos that disposes of waste using bacteria. You either dig a hole
or find a dump point. I've heard stories about some campers who don't bother,
and I don't even wanna think about that. But one experienced traveler said
he never drinks water from a river/creek/stream, and always carries bottled
water for drinking. Nuff said.
One of the tricks I've learned about using public loos is TAKE YOUR
OWN TOILET PAPER. There's either none available (which is a major worry)
or it's that horrible non-absorbent cheap stuff.
Years ago, after I'd been through a bit of drama, a mate of mine hired
Helen, a Halvorsen cruiser (something
like this one) on the Hawksbury River, and invited me to spend a weekend
aboard. We anchored in a little bay for lunch. While he was busy aft preparing
food, I went to the head (loo). Not being accustomed to seafaring ways,
I happily did my thing and then went back to see how my mate was doing.
He was rinsing the teapot in the river when GUESS WHAT went floating by.
Oops! Oh dear...
So, yes, the things you take for granted at home are much different
when you're out and about in the great beyond. And I'm sure I'll have lots
of amusing tales to tell when I'm "out there" vagabonding around Oz.
Beeb time: The police commander for northern Afghanistan has been killed
in a suicide bomb attack on the provincial governor's compound in Takhar.
Gen Mohammad Daud Daud is one of at least six people killed in the attack,
claimed by the Taliban. Those Taliban dudes are a
real worry... sneaky and cunning. A single bottle of wine has sold
for £135,000 in a London auction. The six-litre bottle of 1961 Chateau
Latour was sold to a Chinese bidder at Christie's auction house. The sum
was more than three times the expected price. Wine experts said the bottle
was of "perfect provenance". I can never be accused
of buying a bottle of anything I didn't consume. But I must admit I'd have
to think twice about consuming that one. A Californian team say
they have managed to convert human skin cells directly into functioning
brain cells. The scientists manipulated the process by which DNA is transcribed
within foetal skin cells to create cells which behaved like neurons. The
technique had previously been demonstrated in mice, says the report in
Nature. It could be used for neurological research, and might conceivably
be used to create brain cells for transplant. As
my doc says, the brain is what defines who we are, so anything that can
keep it healthy is welcome.
NC Art responded to my reference yesterday as to whether or not Churchill
was responsible for a remark about British and American culture: Humph
and bah. Churchill, Wilde, Russell, or Shaw, their comments on English/American
language are all of a piece: so obvious to require remarks by the
cognoscenti. A pox on all this picky criticism.
Oregon Richie is a great fan of Churchill and wrote: The renewed
interest in Churchill... much moreso in the past decade or so and even
frequently mentioned in the aftermath of 9-11 has been interesting.
Twice as many books written about him in the past decade than the 40 or
so years since his death. The part of his life from the thirties
and forties is what is remembered most. I think many would be fascinated
to know of his earlier history... as a young Soldier in India, the Sudan,
and South Africa... during the first world war... when he was sacked from
the Admiralty, and after a period of crippling depression and sorrow got
up and jumped over the pond to France to fight in the muddy trenches.
Something inspirational in the life of that man. And incredibly self-educated
for the most part, and having considerable personal bravery even though
he had a somewhat frail physical constitution in many ways. Aaaahhhh....maaaaazing.
But Art goes on to comment on pineapples: Your pineapple comments
are spot on. Many moons ago my mom made cakes with fresh pineapple, which
even in the benighted American south could be found in our one grocery
store. Coconuts too. The coconut cake was favorite of two sisters, but
I got the job of smashing the damned thing, picking the shell off and grating
the meat. I hated that because my fingers were bloody and sore for days
after the cake was but a memory. But a good memory.
Yep, coconut is awesome. I use it in curries and making biscuits...
and sprinkle dessicated coconut on various things. In Oz, the biscuit Dame
Edna Everage loves to make fun of, but which is nonetheless a revered
national icon, is the iced
VoVo hehe. If you wanna be posh in Oz when you serve tea, you must
also serve iced vovos. Iced vovos show that you have real class, even if
AND, Art writes... I just got a gracious reply from Justin.
I had written to congratulate him on his master's degree and encourage
him to go for his doctorate. Let's hope he goes far in helping young people
to cope with a hateful culture and take justifiable pride in who they are.
It's Red Shield day, and a Salvation Army rep called at the front door
for a donation. I gave him $20. Five minutes later, another rep called.
This time Lindsay answered the door and gave the guy $5. The same guy was
here last year and commented on the bricklaying of this house. "No cracks,
perfect mortar." His dad was a bricklayer. Yep, it's in good nick for an
80 y/o house. But the guy explained that he's not from the Salvation Army.
He's a Catholic. I'm sure many of the volunteer collectors are not Sallies,
but that doesn't stop them volunteering on Red Shield day. Sallies are
respected no matter what religion you're from, or even if you're an agnostic
or atheist. Sallies don't build cathedrals or expensive monuments. They
use their time and resources to get out there at grass roots level to do
their work. The Sallies were out on the battle fields during war time,
and they're still out there on the battle fields during peace time, helping
the sick, the desperate, the poor and the disadvantaged. Long live the
I was walking my dog in a local park at night one time when I lived
in Glebe. Kelly was running around without a leash, and the Sallies turned
up. "Would you like a cup of tea?" one of the Sally ladies asked. "Thanks,
but no thanks. I'm just here walking my dog." Well, Kelly was off somewhere
or other sniffing things, so the Sally lady thought I was lying. "Are you
sure you wouldn't like a nice cup of tea, darling? It's free." And there
I was about a block away from my house which is now worth about 3/4 of
a million buckeroonies.
I'm reminded of SF
Jim who always took Mr Biggs for his morning walk around the streets
of San Francisco. He said that when Biggs sniffed trees and fences and
lamp posts and whatever else, it was his version of the morning paper.
Hehe. He was "reading" about who had been there and what they were doing.
One time Jim told me about the dishes of water some people left out on
the pavement for people walking their dogs. How sweet and neighborly was
that? For those who don't know, Jim and I were mates for a long time before
he died of a heart attack in 2006. I phoned him the day before he died.
So what am I having for lunch? A savory cauliflower and cheese pastry
roll. Art reckons you can't do anything to cauliflower to make it edible
but you can ya know. This is very nice. The pastry is thin and flaky. I
think I could quite happily be vegetarian. Meat is okay but I can do without
it. Years ago, in the '70s, I was vegetarian for a while during all that
lovey-dovey, flower power, Woodstock stuff. I made a vegetarian bolognaise
once and my dad couldn't believe how delicious it was. I think if I had
to kill my own meat, I'd switch to vegetarian. I can't even catch a fish
without feeling guilty, let alone put a live worm on a hook. How gross!
Well, lunch was several hours ago, and now it's almost time to think
about the evening meal. Fish 'n' chips. Earlier, I sat in Das Busse as
part of my familiarization program hehe. On a moderately warm day, the
vehicle absorbs the heat of the sun and makes the van nice and cosy, even
with the sliding door open. It was so nice in there, I almost dozed off.
Yesterday, I started the engine and let it run for a while. No worries.
I think I'm feeling more at ease with spending a lot of money (to me) on
restoring DB as opposed to selling it and getting something else. Not totally
confident but getting there. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. The devil
you know, and all that kinda baloney. Any decision is better than no decision,
yadda, yadda. Gary
May 28, 2011. Jeez, Satdee again already. NC Art commented on
my attempt yesterday to find a particular Churchill quote: Quoting Churchill
can be maddening as memory faileth just in time for embarrassment. The
one you were searching for goes something like this: The English and the
Americans comprise one great culture divided by a common language.
Well, did Churchill actually say that? Bill
The great poet you memorialize seems quite like Robert Service in
subject and rhyme structure. Service was an Englishman who emigrated to
America and worked briefly as a bank teller before heeding the "call
of the wild" and struck out for Alaska. There he also toiled as a banker
while absorbing tales of the frontier--and the raw beauty of that virgin
and untamable land. I recommend
you spend a few minutes Googling Service and reading a few poems:
The Shooting of Dan McGrew
The Cremation of Sam McGee
The Call of the Yukon
Yes, I'm familiar with Robert W Service. I'm not sure whether it was
you or FL Josh who introduced me to his work some time ago. Great stuff.
It's 9C here at the mo, which equates to about 50F, and I'm not too
thrilled about it. Too bloody cold for me. Currently, it's 21C at Townsville
in north Queensland, which is about 70F, and they're headed for 26C (about
80F), with humidity at 40%. I know where I'd rather be.
Beeb time: Serbia's president says the investigation into arrested Bosnian
Serb war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic will focus on those who protected
him. It worries me that, throughout history, people
like Mladic keep rising to prominence and power. What is it about the rest
of us that allows this to happen? World leaders at the G8 summit
in France issue a joint call for the embattled Libyan leader Colonel Muammar
Gaddafi to step down. 40 years in power and now they're
kicking up a stink. Funny about that. The first funeral of a confirmed
victim of last Sunday's devastating tornado in the city of Joplin in the
US state of Missouri has been held. It came as the death toll from the
tornado - the deadliest in more than 60 years - rose from 125 to 132, local
officials said. But they say a new list of 232 missing has dropped to 156
after dozens of people were accounted for. The winds
have abated but the sorrow will take much much longer. Several towns
in Austria have been checking their archives this week to see if Adolf
Hitler is still an honorary citizen of their communities. It follows an
announcement by the town of Amstetten that - after more than 60 years -
it was finally revoking Hitler's honorary title. Hitler visited Amstetten
- west of Vienna - in 1938, and was made an honorary citizen the following
year. The Green Party sponsored the move to strike his name from the honours
list. It's a pity Hitler's father wasn't wearing
a condom. A Toronto couple are defending their decision to keep
their infant's sex a secret in order to allow the child to develop his
or her own gender identity. Kathy Witterick and David Stocker have been
widely criticised for imposing their ideology on four-month-old Storm.
The family were the subject of a recent profile in the Toronto Star newspaper.
In an e-mail, Ms Witterick wrote that the idea that "the whole world must
know what is between the baby's legs is unhealthy, unsafe, and voyeuristic".
Ms Witterick, 38, and Mr Stocker, 39, have also been criticised for the
manner in which they are raising their two sons Jazz, five, and Kio, two.
The boys are encouraged to choose their own clothing and hairstyles - even
if that means wearing girls' clothes - and to challenge gender norms. Jazz
wears his hair in long braids, and the boys are "almost exclusively assumed
to be girls," Mr Stocker told the Toronto Star. The child's grandparents
do not know Storm's sex, the Toronto Star reported, and have grown weary
of explaining the situation, but are supportive. In an e-mail to the Associated
Press news agency, Ms Witterick, a stay-at-home mother, said a four-month-old
infant was still learning to recognise him or herself, and said it was
inappropriate to impose a gender identity on the child. Well,
I think Nature takes care of that aspect. However, I have known boys who
prefer to be girls, and girls who prefer to be boys, so maybe Ms Witterick
and Mr Stocker have a point. I just hope the kids don't get confused.
Fiat says it will buy the US government's 6% stake in Chrysler, paving
the way for the Italian firm to take a majority share in the US firm. It's
all a bit strange, isn't it... VW owns Rolls Royce, BMW owns Bentley, the
Indians own Jaguar and Rover, Ford owns (or did) Mazda and Kia, Renault
has a major interest in Nissan... what does it all mean? The National
Museum of Computing has finished restoring a
Tunny machine - a key part of Allied code-cracking during World War
II. Tunny machines helped to unscramble Allied interceptions of the encrypted
orders Hitler sent to his generals. The rebuild was completed even though
almost no circuit diagrams or parts of the original machines survived.
Intelligence gathered via code-cracking at Bletchley underpinned the success
of Allied operations to end WWII. Amazing stuff about
technology we take for granted today. A dog who went missing after
tornadoes hit the US state of Alabama on 27 April turned up 20 days later,
finding his way home despite having sustained two broken front legs. Mason,
a terrier mix, was picked up by the tornado, leaving his owners to believe
he had been killed. But when his owners returned to their damaged home
a few days later, they found Mason waiting for them on the porch. A
wonderful story. Check
the video here.
Yes, the technology we take for granted these days. But a couple of
weeks ago I saw little Keiran and his mate carrying fishing rods on their
way down to the river. Those kids are forever thumbing buttons on their
hand-held gizmos, or walking around with earplugs in their ears, or playing
games on the internet at home, and yet there they were doing
a Huckleberry Finn. Maybe some things haven't changed.
I think any kid who hasn't climbed a tree or collected bugs or skinned
his knees or camped in the bush by a swimming hole has missed out on the
great joys of being a kid. I'm once again reminded of Wingnut arriving
home from a rugby game with one sock up and one sock down, covered in grass
stains and mud, to show Cody his battle scars before going home to shower.
Hehe. And remember the time Cody put Wingnut's soiled clothes into the
washing machine and then locked him out of the house? Hehe. Kids can be
soooo cruel. And what about the time on the swim tour that Wingnut's initiation
involved him wearing nothing but a mini skirt all the way to McDonalds.
And the time he put a lizard in Mark's sleeping bag. Hehe. What wonderful
times they were, and I hope all the guys still take time out to remember
them fondly. I certainly do. In fact, it was a great privilege for me to
share those shenanigans with Code during my fifties. He gave me an opportunity
to relive my own boyhood and to be reminded of how much fun it was to be
Speaking of fun, I just sliced some pineapple and gave Sue a bit. Lindsay
doesn't eat it. It was so delicious I wondered how many people remember
what REAL pineapple is like. Most people eat stuff out of cans today, or
candied or whatever. It's not the same. Nowhere near the same. And this
whole pineapple cost just $1.50.
Well, I better start thinking about feeding the resident loonies...
fillet steak and onions. Back in the old boarding house days, they never
saw fillet, or any other kinda steak for that matter. But they conveniently
forget what it was like back then. Gary
May 27, 2010. The difference between Eike von Stuckenbrok and
me is that I'm stuck and broke. Check
out this kid's fitness. It's astounding.
Trevor Thompson, another old radio colleague wrote: I stumbled across
your website while looking for some photos of my old radio station, 2LM.
Yes, it appears we worked at the same station! I left in December 1975
to take a shift at 2WL Wollongong.
You'll recall I was your replacement at 2UE in 1984 when you left
to go to 2DAY-FM if I recall correctly. I ended up spending 7 years at
2UE and left in 1991. Almost 30 years later I still remember listening
to some of the ads you wrote on 2DAY and in particular ads you wrote for
some Hi-Fi system or retailer which aired of a night time - they were 60
or 90 seconds long but I remember thinking "fuck" that Gary is a great
Do you have any other photos of 2LM? I think I have a couple of the
on-air studio....with me looking very baby faced...lol
1984... that's when Das Busse was born. Yes, I remember Trevor. We spoke
on the phone back in the mid '90s and I mentioned something about charging
$50 for a 30-second script. He charged $1500, explaining that clients didn't
appreciate creativity unless they paid a fortune for it. That was my downfall,
really. I had no business sense at all, and no idea of what my talent was
worth. I still don't.
One client back in the '80s told me I wasn't charging enough, and suggested
I should double my prices. So I tripled them instead and he didn't complain.
I just responded to an email from NC Art about Australians and their
way of expressing things. I was looking for something about mateship but
instead found this letter from Henry Lawson written to the Bulletin back
in 1903. Lawson was and is one of Australia's great poets:
I'm awfully surprised to find myself sober. And, being sober,
I take up my pen to write a few lines, hoping they will find you as I am
at present. I want to know a few things. In the first place: Why does a
man get drunk? There seems to be no excuse for it. I get drunk because
I am in trouble, and I get drunk because I've got out of it. I get drunk
because I'm sick, or have corns, or the toothache: and I get drunk because
I'm feeling well and grand. I get drunk because I was rejected; and I got
awfully drunk the night I was accepted. And, mind you, I don't like to
get drunk at all, because I don't enjoy it much, and suffer hell afterwards.
I'm always far better and happier when I'm sober, and tea tastes better
than beer. But I get drunk. I get drunk when I feel that I want a drink,
and I get drunk when I don't. I get drunk because I had a row last night
and made a fool of myself and it worries me, and when things are fixed
up I get drunk to celebrate it. And, mind you, I've got no craving
for a drink. I get drunk because I'm frightened about things, and
because I don't care a damn. Because I'm hard up and because I'm
flush. And, somehow, I seem to have better luck when I'm drunk.
I don't think the mystery of drunkenness will ever be explained - until
all things are explained, and that will be never. A friend says that we
don't drink to feel happier, but to feel less miserable. But I don't feel
miserable when I'm straight. Perhaps I'm not perfectly sober right now,
after all. I'll go and get a drink, and write again later.
Letter to the Bulletin (1903)
In 1926, Bill Hornadge wrote of mateship,
“What is a mate nowadays? Somebody you can rely on - through
thick, thin and middling; past hell and high-water. Like the mariner’s
compass he always points north to you. In any trouble, you know what
he will do, without argument; because, since he is your mate, it is exactly
what you would do yourself. Your mate is indeed yourself in another
fellow’s skin - perhaps your better self, perhaps your worse self; but
always the same old six-and-eightpence (68 cents), even when he measures
up to thirteen and fourpence ($1.34), or down to five and tuppence (52
cents). Seems contradictory, doesn’t he? - Your mate. He is!
My Australian oath he is! Look at my mate! Take it from me,
there never was such a dogmatic, obstinate, prejudiced, pig-headed son
of a twisted mallee root since mates were discovered. Yet I stick
to him; I can’t get rid of him; he is inside my skin; he’s me, bother him!”.
Here's another piece about Aussie mateship I found on a site called
During the Japanese occupation of Singapore, while I was a boy, one
hundred thousand captured British Commonwealth troops, including twenty
two thousand Australians, suffered badly, savagely beaten and starved,
many died. Without medical aid, and forced to live in disease-infested
work camps, they labored from dawn to dark. In Changi, Malaya and
Burma, Australians had a higher survival rate than all the others.
This fact has been attributed to the mateship culture and wry humor of
young Australian soldiers - everyone sharing what little they had and looking
after each other in the midst of slavery, starvation, bashings, torture,
vile diseases, imprisonment and beheadings. Yet they were still able
to pull pranks on their captors, perform plays, play games and take it
all not too seriously. I am not suggesting that the other soldiers
did not do similar things but it is well-known that Australians did it
more. Adversity really does bring out the basic elements of human
character, and Mateship is one of the finest.
The Christ of the "Never Never"
Poet: Henry Lawson 1867 – 1922. He wrote this poem
With eyes that seem shrunken to pierce
To the awful horizons of land,
Through the haze of hot days, and the fierce
White heat-waves that flow on the sand;
Through the Never Land westward and nor'ward,
Bronzed, bearded and gaunt on the track,
Quiet-voiced and hard-knuckled, rides forward
The Christ of the Outer Outback.
For the cause that will ne'er be relinquished
Spite of all the great cynics on earth-
In the ranks of the bush undistinguished
By manner or dress - if by birth -
God's preacher, of churches unheeded -
God's vineyard, though barren the sod -
Plain spokesman where spokesman is needed -
Rough link 'twixt the bushman and God.
He works where the hearts of all nations
Are withered in flame from the sky,
Where the sinners work out their salvations
In a hell-upon-earth ere they die.
In the camp or the lonely hut lying
In a waste that seems out of God's sight,
He's the doctor, the mate of the dying
Through the smothering heat of the night.
By his work in the halls of the shearers,
Where the drinking is ghastly and grim,
Where the roughest and worst of his hearers
Have listened bareheaded to him.
By his paths through the parched desolation
Hot rides and the terrible tramps;
By the hunger, the thirst, the privation
Of his work in the furthermost camps;
By his worth in the light that shall search men
And prove - ay! and justify each -
I place him in front of all churchmen
Who feel not, who know not - but preach.
Beeb time: Ratko Mladic has appeared in a Serbian court hours after
being arrested following 16 years on the run. Authorities want to extradite
the former Bosnian Serb army chief to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
He faces accusations including a genocide charge over the killing of about
7,500 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995. As
my mother used to say, the chickens always come home to roost. French
President Nicolas Sarkozy has urged Libya's Col Muammar Gaddafi to step
down as "all options are open". "We are not saying that Gaddafi needs to
be exiled. He must leave power and the quicker he does it, the greater
his choice," Mr Sarkozy told journalists. He is hosting a meeting of leaders
from the G8 group of wealthy nations in the northern French resort of Deauville.
doesn't trust Sarkozy or any other Western leader. He suspects they will
do to him what he would do to them if he had the opportunity. A
former leader of the Shia Muslim community in Trinidad is convicted of
taking part in a failed plot to blow up fuel tanks at New York's JFK airport.
there's always more room in the roost for extra chickens. Gun battles
between rival factions inside a Mexican gang drive more than 2,000 residents
out of their homes in Michoacan state.
This is absolutely
outrageous, and I can't understand why the might of the law hasn't crushed
these evildoers. Television channels in India have been ordered
not to broadcast "overtly sexual" deodorant adverts that use female models
in racy storylines. The channels have been given five days to modify the
offending adverts or take them off air. "The ads brim with messages
aimed at tickling libidinous male instincts," India's information ministry
said in a statement. None of the companies named by the ministry have so
far responded. The ministry said that the adverts offended "good taste
and decency" and appeared "indecent, vulgar and suggestive" by subtly sending
a message that the products "arouse women's sexuality". It said that they
portrayed women as "lustily hankering after men under the influence of
such deodorants". India has a population of a billion
people and from what I understand none of them was found under a cabbage.
The US state of Missouri has released a list of more than 230 people missing
since a devastating tornado struck the city of Joplin on Sunday. But the
list is shrinking as people are located, and officials hope others have
simply failed to contact relatives. I feel sorry
for the relatives and friends of the victims. Iraqi cleric and militia
leader Moqtada al-Sadr has threatened to take up arms against US troops
unless they leave the country by the end of the year. In a rare interview,
he told the BBC he believed US forces would not stick to an agreement to
withdraw from Iraq. The US still has about 46,000 troops in Iraq, due to
have withdrawn by January 2012. On Thursday, tens of thousands of the cleric's
supporters rallied in Baghdad, calling for the Americans to leave. The
Pentagon has been pressing the Iraqi government to decide quickly whether
it will ask some to stay on beyond the deadline. God
thinks Americans are okay but Allah doesn't agree. It would be so much
simpler if their were only one God but humans keep inventing new ones.
Australia's human rights watchdog has called for an end to the mandatory
detention of asylum seekers, citing suicides, riots and depression. Australia's
Human Rights Commission condemned the treatment of asylum seekers at the
Villawood detention centre, noting that their prolonged detention was causing
serious mental problems. It's true that some of them
are almost as nutty as our politicians. Tata Motors has reported
a tripling of profits in the last year. The Indian carmaker made total
profits after tax for the last 12 months of 92.7bn rupees ($2bn, £1.3bn),
up 260% from a year earlier, thanks to a 33% rise in revenues to 1.2tn
rupees. Business at its Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) subsidiary saw a sharp
turnaround, with £1.1bn in profits before tax, having hardly broken
even in the 2009-10 year. I wonder what Rudyard Kipling
would have thought about all this.
won America's Got Talent. He's a North Carolina boy just like Art,
cept he's 70 years younger. Here
he is doin' his thang (even though I can't understand a word of it).
Winston Churchill, who said you can always count on Americans - after
they've tried everything else, also said something about the similarity
between British and American culture despite the language barrier, but
I can't find the quote. Dammit. There was never and never will be a drier
wit than Churchill's - he said the most hilarious things without a hint
of a smile. Hehe. What a marvelous craft that was. If he were tweeting
today, you would never see a smiley or a hehe or a LOL. The guy was a genius.
Have you checked my Favorites
on Red Bubble lately? I've added a few which I think are well worth
Oh yes, I meant to mention a new word coined by Australian Gray Nomads
(or Grey as we spell it in Oz). It's 'fivesies', which is a ritual that
takes place about 5 in the afternoon after travelers have done their sightseeing
and whatever, and then congregate with fellow vagabonds around the camp
barbie for a bit of a natter and a few beers. Hehe. In that kind of environment
there are no fences or walls, no private property, no gates or mailboxes,
no street numbers. The whole camp area is shared property, with no sense
of personal territory. And it seems to me that the openness and sharing
of the common area promotes a wonderful conviviality and camaraderie amongst
total strangers; strangers with a common interest - travel. It's an opportunity
to make new friends and share stories of adventures and experiences.
Meanwhile, it's fivesies here in this house, and that means din dins...
at least the preparation thereof. Chicken schnitzels and corn cobs. Gary
May 26, 2011. Pay day, bills day, whoosh day. But I still have
at least one nostril above the water line. Considering where I've been
in the past, that's a plus.
NC Art sent an oldie but a goodie: An elderly man in Florida had
owned a large farm that had a large pond in the back. It was properly shaped
for swimming, so he fixed it up nice with picnic tables, horseshoe courts,
and some orange, and lime trees. One evening the old farmer decided to
go down to the pond, as he hadn't been there for a while, and look it over.
He grabbed a five-gallon bucket to bring back some fruit. As he neared
the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee. As he came closer,
he saw it was a bunch of young college girls skinny-dipping in his pond.
He made the girls aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end.
One of the girls shouted to him, 'We're not coming out until you leave!'
The old man frowned, 'I didn't come down here to watch you ladies swim
naked or make you get out of the pond naked.' Holding the bucket up he
said, 'I'm here to feed the alligator.' Some old men can still think fast.
Even Lindsay laughed at that one.
Well, a bit fresh today but sunny, so it's not too bad. Later, I'll
have to do the shopping for Averil and us. Boring, boring, boring. But
I suppose it beats the hell outta going out with a club and killing a dinosaur
for dinner. Which reminds me, back during early European settlement in
Oz, many of the first explorers died of thirst in the outback. The water
was there, but it was out of sight. The Aborigines knew how to find water
as well as food, and were probably quite puzzled by the Europeans' ignorance.
One of the tricks of the desert is to erect an inverted dish during the
night that collects dew, which is then funneled into a container. Not quite
enough to take a 10-minute shower, but enough to keep you alive. I guess
the Aborigines thought, "If the desert is alive with many creatures that
all depend on water, there must be water here." So the trick was to find
it. Now why didn't the early European explorers think that way?
You can also build a desert oven without the need for fire. Line the
inside of a cardboard box with foil, place a foil-wrapped roast inside
(chicken, lamb, beef with vegies), and leave in the sun for 3 or 4 hours.
Boom boom. Done. Mind you, the early explorers didn't have foil... and
cardboard boxes were probably a bit scarce as well.
Anyway, survival, whether it's in the desert or anywhere else, is all
about THINKING calmly and analyzing your circumstances.
Oregon Richie wrote: I have not paid as much attention to world news
here lately but find the complete horror of things like that Tornado that
tore a town apart and killed so many people to be just that... a horror.
I heard about an older teen literally being pulled out of his vehicle through
the sunroof by those forces. It's incredible. This last decade
seems to have been a right-nasty little hiccup in how planet Earths does
its moving and shaking routine, endless earthquakes, Tsunami forces, whole
countries torn to shreds and populations killed. Unreal.
And I responded by saying, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and
he comes down chimneys." (Meaning how do believers explain a God who sends
a kilometer-wide and 10-kilometer long tornado through a sleepy town that
destroys everything in its path and kills over 100 people?)
Meanwhile, Ohio Jace wrote about the weather there: Tornado sirens
blared last night, but all we got was high winds with lots of damage. The
high school was hit especially hard with roof damage. Not sure if they
are going to cancel the last few days to give the kids an extra week of
summer vacation. Trees are down around town and the power was off for a
while. It was the same storm system that hit Joplin the day before. (BTW
Joplin is under a tornado threat as I type this.) Luckily, for us by the
time the storms get here they have weakened considerably. There were three
tornadoes in Ohio last night bringing the total to 23. June is normally
the worst month for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in Ohio.
Most of the time we get hit by small tornadoes, but in 1974 Xenia
was nearly wiped off the map. In that one 34 peeps died with over 1,000
injured. Half the town was destroyed leaving 10,000 peeps homeless. In
1989 they were hit for second time and in 2000 for a third with 1 dead
in that storm.
That storm was part of the “Super Outbreak,” which until April 2011
was the largest tornado outbreak on record. A series of 148 tornadoes hit
13 states and killed 330. The deadliest was in 1936 hitting the south and
killing 340. The death toll for 2011 is approaching 500 with 6 weeks to
go in the peak season.
We were supposed to get hit again today, but the storms fizzled.
Tomorrow will be a different story with the southern plains getting hit
by tornadoes and severe weather again today with Ohio in the path of that
Ya know, I can't help getting the feeling that the Earth wasn't ready
yet, and we moved in too early. Meanwhile, the Ohio gang members keep having
more babies. There's another one due in a few weeks. Hehe. TV is pretty
boring over there. It's good of Jace to keep me informed of what's going
on in his neck of the woods. They're all doing fine despite the weather.
Beeb time: World leaders are set to gather in the French resort of Deauville
for a summit of the G8 bloc of wealthy nations. A shift in global influence
to emerging powers such as India and China who are not in the G8 has led
to the group's relevance being questioned. But analysts say recent events
such as uprisings in the Arab world and Japan's nuclear crisis have given
the group a new sense of purpose. Also on the agenda is how little or how
much the internet should be regulated. Regulated?
By whom? The Thought Police? The US military has announced the withdrawal
of a number of its troops from Pakistan. The Pentagon said it had received
a request from the Pakistani government to reduce its presence in the country.
The request would appear to be a sign of Pakistan's discontent at the manner
in which the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad was conducted
without Islamabad's knowledge. Oops! Some
of the biggest and best-known financial institutions in the world held
billions of dollars of Libyan state funds, a leaked report has revealed.
Principal among them were HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Goldman Sachs,
JP Morgan Chase, Nomura and Societe General, Global Witness said. The banks
refused to say whether they held, or are still holding, the funds. All
the assets have now been frozen by the European Union and United Nations.
careful where you stash your money, folks. The man accused of a
deadly shooting rampage that injured a US congresswoman is found mentally
incompetent to stand trial, after a court outburst. But
not mentally incompetent enough to buy a firearm. Veteran talk show
host Oprah Winfrey's final programme broadcast on Wednesday after 25 years
on the air. The 57-year-old, widely regarded as one of the world's most
influential women, pre-recorded the show on Tuesday. The Oprah Winfrey
Show, which is syndicated in 145 countries, redefined the talk show genre
and made Winfrey one of the most influential women in the US as well as
the wealthiest black woman in the world. I was not
a fan or watcher, but certainly a lot of people were. The Swiss
government has decided to phase out nuclear power, amid growing public
hostility to the industry. The government announced it would not replace
the country's five ageing plants after they reached the end of their lifetimes
between 2019 and 2034. So what's next? Palestinian
officials have dismissed Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the
US Congress, saying it will not lead to peace. Palestinian Authority leader
Mahmoud Abbas said the speech merely added obstacles on the road to peace.
not wrong, Narelle. But what's the Palestinian solution? A New Zealand
truck driver who fell on a compressed air hose that pierced his buttock
has survived being blown up like a balloon. Steven McCormack had fallen
between the cab and the trailer of his truck, breaking the air hose. The
nozzle pierced his buttock and began pumping air into his body, which expanded
dramatically. As he screamed, Mr McCormack's colleagues turned the air
off and laid him on his side, saving his life.
Christ! The bizarre things that happen to people!
Oregon Richie sent this interesting Huffington Post r-tickle about Obama's
visit to England and his speech in parliament.
Well, shopping's done, thank god. I don't enjoy shopping at all, and
Averil's takes forever cos she gets things from aisles I've never heard
of. It takes forever to find the damn stuff. However, I did tell her Art's
alligator joke and she thought it was hilarious. Then we chatted about
turtles and tortoises, and she'd always thought they were the same thing,
except tortoises were smaller. There was a time just a few years ago that
Averil would have gotten pissed off for being corrected but she's over
that now. She used to think I was a smartass, but now she thinks I'm an
Anyway, the supermarket had pineapples on spesh for just $1.50 each,
and I LOVE fresh pineapple!
Speaking of food, it's almost time to don the chef hat and do the nightly
ritual: bacon, eggs and chips. Boom boom. Gary
May 25, 2011. NC Art wrote: What has driven philosophers and
brainy researchers bonkers is the futility of putting people in nice tidy
boxes. The fractious human buzzards just won't fit comfortably in any structure
devised. Masters and Johnson became intrigued with sexual behaviors and
found astonishing variety. This set the western world in a tizzy because
good folks just couldn't accept that their righteous concepts were bunk.
But the authors' case studies proved that people are quite capable of "outrageous"
acts, then go right on teaching Sunday School.
And yet we have a North Carolina member of the state legislature
who is trying to pass a law to ensure "correct morals" are spelled out
and enforced by the majesty of the law. Fat fucking chance of enforcing
such damfoolery. Bro, we've come a long way from the aboriginals who met
over a disputed kill and said, "If you will not kill me I will not kill
you". Even then the devil was in the details, which we still don't quite
grasp. Perhaps it is ordained that we keep on searching for the unfindable
and dreaming the impossible dream?
Obso-bloody-lutely. It wasn't all that long ago that traveling to the
moon was an impossible dream. Nothing is perfect in this world but that
doesn't stop us searching for perfection. If Heaven is perfection, then
I imagine it must be insufferably boring, which is precisely the reason
we must never find what we're looking for. Hehe.
As to human beings being capable of an "astonishing variety of sexual
behaviors" why wouldn't they be? Human beings have a thing called imagination.
If you can imagine it, you can do it. Don't be fooled by the average facade.
It hides many secrets. Or attempts to.
I hear thunder! How odd. It's late autumn and quite chilly as well as
windy and wet, so why a thunderstorm? Fortunately for us in Taree, thunderstorms
usually pass overhead on their way to the coast, and don't last long.
Beeb time: Thousands of passengers in Scotland and parts of northern
England struggle with flight cancellations as ash from an Icelandic volcanic
eruption blows in. And there's Averil who's 77 and
never been in a plane. Both my parents had never been in one either.
US President Barack Obama has hailed his country's "special relationship"
with the UK in a speech delivered at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.
He thanked the UK for its solidarity since 9/11 and in tackling the security
threats that have followed. The 170 or so guests dined on new season lamb,
roast potatoes and a vanilla charlotte, accompanied by vintage champagne.
can't have a pow wow without din dins. Actually, I saw a program the other
night about Obama in Ireland and apparently he has Irish ancestry. He even
ordered a pint of Guinness at a pub. Egypt's ousted President Hosni
Mubarak and his two sons are to be tried over the killing of anti-government
protesters, judicial officials say.
The party's over,
baby. Pakistan has returned the wreckage of a US helicopter destroyed
during the raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, the Pentagon
has said. A spokesman said the remains of the aircraft were back on US
soil having been returned "over the weekend". It is believed the helicopter
was a UH-60 Blackhawk, heavily modified to make it quieter and less visible
to radar. After developing problems, the helicopter - one of up to four
used during the 2 May raid - was blown up. The team of Navy Seals did not
want sensitive technology falling into enemy hands. No,
especially the technology that caused the problems. How embarrassing.
The evangelical broadcaster who left followers crestfallen by his failed
prediction that last Saturday would be Judgement Day says he miscalculated.
Harold Camping said it had "dawned" on him that God would spare humanity
"hell on Earth for five months" and the apocalypse would happen on 21 October.
Mr Camping said he felt "terrible" about his mistake. And
now we await his excuse when nothing happens on October 21. What a bloody
drongo. US car giant Chrysler has repaid $7.6bn (£4.7bn) in
US and Canadian government loans that helped it stay afloat in 2009, six
years ahead of schedule. The repayments include $5.9bn to the US and $1.7bn
NC Art sent this pic. All I can say is that if you're still in love
at this stage of life, it ain't about lust. How sweet.
BTW, I meant to mention the wheelie bins in this pic yesterday. Look
how far they have to wheel them from the farm house to the fence for
collection! We only have to wheel ours a few yards. On the Odyssey, of
course, I won't have to wheel anything.
I've been meaning to phone Centerlink and ask about rental assistance.
I currently get $60 a fortnight to subsidise my share of the rent on this
house, which helps a lot. But what about when I'm sailing around Oz? Well,
what I do is keep all receipts as I travel around. Some places like national
parks or whatever will be free or just a few bucks, but others might be
more expensive depending on facilities and length of stay. So before I
go, I ask Centerlink to print off a bunch of claim forms, and then I fill
in a form each time I stay at a particular camping area. Once a month or
so, armed with a bunch of forms and receipts, I go to a Centerlink office
and present them and get paid retrospectively. Sounds cool to me. When
you're on a pension, every buck counts.
My mate Terry on Red Bubble, who recently had a couple of his images
published in Oz travel mags, took this pic of an
old gold-rush era country town, which I think is fabulous. That's the
kinda thing I look forward to seeing on the Odyssey. Big cities are cool,
no doubt about that, but little old country towns have a certain intimate
charm that big cities don't and probably can't have.
Just got an email from a Kiwi, Dion: I have just read the ‘Green
Room’ and I’m half way through ‘Green Room II’. I have found both books
to be incredibly inspiring and have helped me a lot. I’m a 20 year old
male living in NZ and I have taken a lot from these books in regards to
my own life. I am however straight but I do not discriminate and find these
boys life fascinating. I feel the sexual side of the stories was a little
to much for me and possibly other readers but the friendships and lifestyle
were what interested me. So thanks for two great books, and all the
best with your trip.
It's very gratifying to receive responses such as Dion's. I don't get
all that many but when I do I am most appreciative. As to the sexual aspect
of the lives of the main characters, well, that's the way it was so I can't
do much about that. In any case, human relationships no matter what the
sexual orientation of the participants all have the basics in common. Love
Take something NC Art wrote the other day for example: One young
(gay) friend (of mine) was an accomplished sketch artist, photographer,
gourmet cook and the sweetest tempered individual I ever knew. Died of
AIDS at 35 one morning early after I had put him to bed the night before.
It still hurts me. I had done his business printing for years and knew
him when he wasn't yet a grommet. My wife loved him just as much.
My wife loved him just as much. Get it?
The whole point of writing Green Room was to share the lives of my friends
and to inspire other people. As SF Jim used to say, I speak in parables.
But in the case of Green Room and Green Room II, the parables are real.
Okies, getting time for me to think about feeding the troops again.
I shoulda been a cook. Gary
May 24, 2011. In about an hour from now, I'll make my way out
to Bootawa dam, arriving early so I can take a few extra pics before the
official tour. AND LUNCH! Probably sandwiches, but that's okay. Can't complain
if it's free. And when I get back home, I'll know all about what comes
out of our taps.
Actually, I had a nightmare last night about taking photographs at a
gathering of people. Can't remember what the gathering was all about but
I do remember having all kinds of problems trying to frame people before
pressing the shutter button. They kept moving or ducking or doing something
unexpected and I had a devil of time trying to focus and compose. I'm a
worry wart, that's what it is. Every time I dream of being on air, everything
goes wrong... the mic won't work, the switches are broken, somebody stole
all the records and I have to ad lib my way out of a mess, or I can't get
the pickup arm to sit on the record because it's got a crack in it... or
the recurring scenario of my running out of breath and hardly being able
to speak. Worry wart me.
NC Art wrote and warned me about eating fried food. It clogs the arteries.
I remember how my mother used to keep dripping (fat from the cooking of
meat) in a baked enamel tray. She would use it again for frying stuff.
Back in the Depression Days, kids were given bread and dripping with salt
and pepper because they couldn't afford butter. But dripping was animal
fat. I use canola oil for all my deep frying, which is supposed to be low
cholesterol. But I do use butter for shallow frying, and sometimes olive
oil or a mix of the two. The oil stops the butter from burning.
Art also bitches about "Made in China" having decimated America's lunch
of consumer goods. It's the same in Oz. Almost everything is made in China.
But if consumers keep buying it, who is to blame?
Okies, back from Bootawa Dam. Not
the most exciting Odyssey but worth a look.
Beeb time: Nato planes have launched a series of air attacks on Libya's
capital Tripoli, with correspondents saying they may be the largest so
far of the campaign. Some of the strikes appear to have targeted Libyan
leader Col Muammar Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound. They came after France
announced it and the UK would also deploy attack helicopters to escalate
strike power. Nato is enforcing a UN resolution to protect civilians, following
the uprising against Col Gaddafi's rule. I'm really
surprised this has gone on for so long. I thought it would be all over
in a week or two. Anyway, Gaddafi and his supporters are fighting a losing
battle no matter how long it takes. They can't be too bright if they can't
see it. The US-UK partnership is "an essential relationship for
us and for the world", the countries' leaders have said ahead of the US
president's visit to Britain. Barack Obama is to meet the Queen at Buckingham
Palace later at the start of his packed, three-day state visit. He will
meet Prime Minister David Cameron for talks on Wednesday likely to focus
on Libya and the Middle East. What war of independence?
Officials in Missouri say at least 116 people are now confirmed dead after
a tornado hit the city of Joplin on Sunday, crushing cars and flattening
homes. Scary stuff, and all the more scary because
there's nothing we can do about Nature's fury. Israeli PM Benjamin
Netanyahu again rejects a return to the "indefensible" 1967 borders, on
the eve of addressing the US Congress. To me, that's
like saying there's no solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, so
therefore let's keep fighting.
NC Art sent this Viagra graphic: I'm sure that you have seen pharmaceutical
advertising in doctor's offices on everything from tissues to note
pads. This one should get First prize.... His Chinese doctor
friend said, "If power stay on more than 4 hour, phone erectrician."
I was gonna shop for something for dinner tonight but Lindsay suggested
scrambled eggs and chips. Sooooo... okay, that's easy enough. Gary
May 23, 2011. Charging the Sony camera for tomorrow's photo shoot
at Bootawa dam. But it's raining today. Will it be raining tomorrow? No...
not according to the forecast. Tomorrow should be fine and reasonably warm.
I don't use the Sony all that often because it's only 5MP max. But it's
got a wicked lens, and 5MP ain't too shabby either. It was a $2000 camera
in its day, so there ya go. I bought it on eBay for $400 about 4 years
Do you have potato scallops "over there"? They're sliced rounds of potato
dipped in batter and deep fried. Yum! They've been around forever in Oz.
frozen version last night wasn't bad... oven fried. Not quite as good
as the traditional fish 'n' chip shop variety - or in fact the ones I make
myself - but pretty good.
Back when I had my house in Glebe, there was a fish 'n' chip shop just
up the road at Forest Lodge, less than a 5-minute walk away. It was called
Frying Times, and was run by a group of young blokes who banded together
as a co-op. It was one of those old fashioned, narrow shops with booths
along one side. At the back was a tiny stage with just enough room for
a couple of jazz musicians. The joint was always packed. But their piece
de resistance was potato scallops. Mind you, all their food was fabulous,
but the potato scallops were exceptional. I discovered that they used a
special process where they dried the potato slices and "cured" them for
a day or two before dipping the slices in batter and then deep frying them.
Frying Times wasn't licensed but
there was a pub across the road where we could buy a couple of bottles
of something interesting and take them to the restaurant. I was besotted
by one of the young blokes working there who used to fuss over me, and
who enjoyed the fact that I turned crimson every time he gave me special
attention. Hehe. He knew I was harmless, and also knew that I dragged all
my friends to savor the delights of Frying Times. Yes, they were also very
Beeb time: Gunmen have attacked a military base in the Pakistani city
of Karachi, killing at least 11 soldiers, officials say. The well-armed
attackers set off explosives and have been fighting gunbattles with navy
personnel at the Mehran naval aviation base. The gunmen are now holding
hostages, including Chinese military personnel. No group has claimed the
raid, but the Pakistani Taliban have vowed to avenge the killing of Osama
Bin Laden by US special forces on 2 May. They have carried out several
attacks since then. I remember just after the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbor some Japanese bloke saying, "We have woken a sleeping
giant." Maybe the Taliban has done the same thing by capturing Chinese
military personnel. In any case, I can't help wondering if the war on terrorism
is serious enough. Why aren't the bastards dead and buried yet?
Iceland has closed its main international airport and cancelled domestic
flights after its most active volcano, Grimsvotn, began erupting. A plume
of smoke has risen 20km (12 miles) into the sky from the volcano. But Iceland's
Meteorological Office says the eruption should not cause widespread disruption
to air traffic. Let's hope they're right.
US President Barack Obama has sought to calm tensions with Israel over
comments that the border of a future Palestinian state should follow pre-1967
lines. Speaking to the US pro-Israel lobby Aipac, Mr Obama said the shape
of the border should be subject to discussions between Israel and the Palestinians.
He reiterated his view it must be based on the boundary which existed before
the 1967 war but involve land swaps. Israel has ruled out returning to
the 1967 lines, sought by the Palestinians. I remember
the 1967 war, but I don't remember any headlines about conflict between
Israel and Palestine before that. So what does that say? Researchers
have set a new record for the rate of data transfer using a single laser:
26 terabits per second. At those speeds, the entire Library of Congress
collections could be sent down an optical fibre in 10 seconds. How
do you spell amazing? The US President Barack Obama has spoken exclusively
to the BBC's Andrew Marr ahead of his visit to the UK and Ireland. The
president spoke about the raid in Pakistan which led to the death of Osama
Bin Laden, and Afghanistan's future. An
interview definitely worth watching. Followers of an evangelical broadcaster
who declared that Saturday would be Judgement Day are trying to make sense
of the failed prediction. Some believers expressed bewilderment or said
it was a test from God of their faith, after the day passed without event.
Meanwhile, the evangelist at the centre of the claim, Harold Camping, has
not been seen since before the deadline. He had predicted that Jesus Christ
would return to earth on Saturday. True believers would then be swept up,
or "raptured", to heaven, he had pronounced. How
can you make sense of something that doesn't make sense? In any case, there's
no way those believers will admit to being dickheads.
Just got an update about Frying Times from Jeremy, my ex-neighbor in
Glebe. The fish 'n' chip shop is still there but it's run by a Chinese
couple, and has been for a number of years. Jeremy says he used to work
with a guy who worked part-time at Frying Times while he was attending
university years ago. The guy is now the owner of a chain of cinemas! Sheesh.
Meanwhile, Jeremy's next door neighbor just sold his house for $965k at
auction. Pardon me a moment while I weep uncontrollably.
And I just received an email from Steve, who remembers me from my old
radio days: Just found out that a new radio station has recently started
up in Sydney, based in Parramatta – 2GW – servicing Sydney’s “Greater West”
(as opposed to the Lesser West). They are looking for announcers and given
that Lawsey has made a come-back at the age of 75, you are still a youngster!
It is run by Ian MacRae (yes that one from 2SM) who also does breakfast.
Work there for 12 months and it could solve your money issues! Anyway,
have a look at their website. Maybe you could be the new Hon Nick Jones!
Well, that's very thoughtful of you, Steve, and I'm touched. I really
do appreciate your thinking of me and letting me know. But I'm afraid I
don't have the confidence any more... been outta touch for waaaay too long.
But I do remember Ian MacRae. He started out in Pirate Radio back in the
'60s when commercial radio was banned in England. They set up radio stations
on board ships at sea in the English Channel and broadcast from there,
out of reach of British bureaucrats. They were probably largely responsible
for the success of British bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles,
and their broadcasts reached most of Western Europe as well. I met MacRae
when he visited Gosford back in 1971. He was breakfast announcer at 2SM
in Sydney at the time, and he used to say things like "how's your left
elbow?" I stole his line and turned it into "how's your boiled egg?" Like
many announcers at the time, he was a big fan of the Goons and Spike Milligan.
Anyway, I'm pretty happy doing what I do these days, writing. I can
take my time and think about what I do before I do it. And I don't have
a boss breathing down my neck. AND, I can have a little sip or two while
I'm doing it. Yes, I'm broke but I manage... kinda. And one of these days
I might write another book... a sort of precis of my travels on the Odyssey...
a condensed Reader's Digest version highlighting all the yummy bits (and
perhaps even a few naughty bits).
The thing about radio is you need to be constantly hyped, fulla beans,
energetic, quick witted, on the ball, go go go. As my boss at 2GO once
said, when you finish a 4-hour shift, you should be totally buggered. But
when you write, you can go to the loo between paragraphs, you can have
a sip of dry white, you can stare at the wall for 10 minutes while you're
contemplating something, you can relax. You can do the shopping. Or have
lunch. Or chat on the phone. And if you make a boo-boo, you can edit it.
Writing is very civilized. Very, VERY civilized.
But again, Steve, I'm chuffed that you thought of me. Thank you very
Well, that's it for Mondee. Lamb chops and spuds for THEM and something
or other for me... I haven't figured it out yet. Actually, I saw a bunch
of crocodiles munching away on an expired hippopotamus last night on one
of those nature programs. Not a good look. I dunno why I watch those shows.
They can be sooooo gross! Gary
May 22, 2011. Sundee. NC Art forwarded an article about the predicted
End of the World the other day. I couldn't figure out how to copy it here,
so I forwarded it to Justin's
blog and he managed to make it happen complete with pitchas.
Art also wrote: We fix a meal cos it takes some doins. Thanksgiving
dinner is a roast turkey with all the fixins. Say that and save energy
listing dressing, gravy, candied yams, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce,
pickles, corn bread, et al. Economical, what? "I'm fixing to go downtown.
Want ennythang?" That's Southern mountain folk talk. Bro, Gullah or Geechee
dialect from the southeastern sea islands would leave your head reeling.
Even an old Charleston brogue is marvelous to hear! "Arm going ootside
to get the pepper. Then arl fix beckon and aigs with salt an paiper. You
wan won, tuh or shree?"
Hehe. That's funny stuff.
Brit wit? It's a howl even when unintended: Two English gentlemen
met at a country house after years of separation. Percy says, "Hello Reggie,
old chap. And how's her ladyship?" "Ah Percy, buried her last week." "Buried
the old girl, eh?" "Afraid so, dead you know." Perfectly normal conversation,
but Americans find it hilarious.
So do Aussies. It's no wonder the Brits produce some of the world's
greatest comedians ... they don't even have to work at it.
Then there's American humor which does not translate: An overworked
fellow trudged home from the office and picked up a pint of Scotch from
the store on his block. Weather was cold and nasty and he was bundled in
an overcoat. Arriving in his kitchen, he shrugged out of his coat, dropped
his whiskey and it broke. He cursed his way out to replace his cheer and
a mouse crept out of hiding, stuck a paw in the liquid, tasted and retired.
Out he came again for another taste, and another. After several such forays,
he reared up on hind legs and shouted, "NOW bring on your damned cats!"
A Brit overheard this story at a party and noted the round of laughter,
but didn't quite understand. Anyway he decided to try that story on some
friends, but it fell flat. He got the tale told fairly well until the end.
There was no mirth when he said, "Whereupon the little mouse stood up and
said, "I say, is there a cat about'?"
Vive la difference!
Yes, Art... couldn't agree more. Vive la difference!
As to Aussie humor, it's not easy to explain. It tends to be pretty
dry and understated. Here's Steady Eddy, an Aussie
comedian with cerebral palsy, just back from a gig in America in 1995.
Actually, I can imagine Steady Eddy saying to himself before he became
a professional stand-up, "Hell, if they're gonna laugh at me, I might as
well get paid for it."
And what do the Pommy tourists think of Aussie humor? Click
here to find out.
I just remembered my first ride on the big dipper at Luna
Park in Sydney. Against my better judgement, I sat in one of the cars
and put on my seat belt thinking "what the hell am I doing?" After whatever
minutes of being hurled all over the place and having the crap scared outta
me by some ridiculous G force, and hearing the shrill screams of people
around me, I finally rolled to a halt back at the start. The ticket seller
arrived to open the car door and I said, "Can I go around again?" Hehe.
That's how I'm hoping it will be on the Odyssey.
Beeb time: Iceland's most active volcano has started erupting, although
scientists say it is unlikely to cause the kind of ash clouds which disrupted
air travel in 2010. Amazing innit... all that hot
bubbling stuff just below the surface even in Arctic regions. One
of Australia's favourite actors, Bill Hunter, has died of cancer, aged
71, in Melbourne. He was known for his roles in classic Australian films
like Muriel's Wedding, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert
and Strictly Ballroom. He played an Australian officer in the World War
I film Gallipoli. His career spanned more than 50 years, and he has been
favourite "ocker", because he often played an archetypal Australian
bloke. Oh dear... now there was an Aussie who was
as Aussie as Aussie gets. He was one of those actors who was never out
of work. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected US President
Barack Obama's call for peace with the Palestinians based on pre-1967 borders.
After tense talks at the White House, a defiant Mr Netanyahu said Israel
was prepared to compromise but there could be no peace "based on illusions".
The BBC's Paul Adams in Washington says that while notion of a peace agreement
based on 1967 lines is not news, Mr Obama has clearly angered Mr Netanyahu
by formally adopting it. Mr Netanyahu has come under increasing pressure
as world figures and organisations, including American's partners in the
Middle East Peace Quartet, EU, UN and Russia - lined up to back Mr Obama's
position. Arab League chief, Amr Moussa, also called on President Obama
to remain committed to the plan. I can't shake the
feeling that Israel is losing world support for its stance.
Last night, I watched Who Do You Think You Are?, a show about tracing
ancestry. Jerry Springer - London-born talk show host Jerry Springer’s
attempts to retrace the steps of his grandmothers who were both victims
of the Holocaust. In a painful and moving investigation, Nazi documents
reveal their fate in shocking detail. Jerry traces their journey, first
to the ghettos and then to the death camps.
I'm not a fan of Springer, but I was deeply moved by his emotional reaction
to the fate of his relatives at the hands of Nazi butchers. And not only
the Nazis, but ordinary German citizens who gave tacit approval to the
Nazi extermination machine. Lest we forget. And we should NEVER forget.
There are still people who believe that certain races should be eliminated,
and who would support any organized attempt to make it happen. It must
never happen again. Never, never, never.
Even though I've seen that kind of archival footage several times over
the years - images of Jews and others, stripped of all human dignity, being
herded onto cattle trucks and delivered by rail to Nazi death camps - I
still find it extremely difficult to comprehend such unspeakable atrocity.
There was one scene showing a handwritten report of a victim's possessions
- underwear, an umbrella, a purse, shoes, various items of clothing, etc
- all listed for sale to raise funds for the Nazi cause.
And what bothers me equally - if not more so - is that one man alone,
Hitler, could not have done it all by himself.
I think we need something a bit more uplifting after that lot. You like
Latin music? Check
And yes, dear Breth, it's THAT time again. Chicken rissoles and battered
potato scallops. That should keep the tummies happy. Gary
May 21, 2011. Nudja Satdee. That's Australian for "Good morning
and welcome to another Saturday." I've heard that boomerangs were not exclusively
an Australian invention but it was the Australian Aborigines who perfected
it. The lazy buggers couldn't be bothered chasing them.
NC Art wrote: If 50-70F seems chilly to you, maybe you should dress
in more than a towel for morning activities. But a bracing chill sure can
motivate you to hustle about.
Very true. Actually, how true is very true? Is it more true than true?
I mean, you can have partly true but I'm not sure about very true. Anyway,
yes, a bracing chill can motivate you to hustle about. Alternatively, it
can motivate you to stay in bed. 50-70F is not chilly, I agree... a tad
brisk in the morning but yesterday the day was gorgeous, and we can look
forward to the same again today. However, it's not quite winter yet. June
is our official start to winter but it doesn't get too cold until July.
August is the worst month because of the traditional August winds which
add significantly to the chill factor. Generally, the mid north coast gets
about 10 months of good weather a year, with the possible exception of
peak summer when the humidity kicks in. That doesn't worry the beach goers,
though. So you can understand why there are no snow ploughs in Taree. Hehe.
Art also tells a funny story about his experience at Niagara Falls:
a vest to Niagara Falls some years ago, there was a group of Canadians
who had dropped to the Lower Forty-eight for golfing and beering. They
had a good late party followed by an early start (with beer) before dawn.
I know this because of some (noisily) occupied rooms on my floor. At 4
a.m the fire alarm sounded followed by orders to evacuate the hotel. My
wife and I threw coats over sleeping garb and hit the street. The Canadians
were already out front, beers in hand but little in the way of clothing.
Undershorts of several varieties, bare feet or golf shoes seemed appropriate
to watch a hotel burn down I suppose. Fortunately it was a false alarm,
but those blokes seemed disappointed.
Meanwhile, congratulations to Justin
who has graduated with a degree and is now officially Master of Science
in Psychology - MS.Psych. Not bad for a kid of 22. Now all he's gotta do
is concentrate on his spelling. :-P
I've often wondered why Americans use the word 'elevator' to describe
one of those things that goes up and down from floor to floor in multi-storey
buildings. We call them lifts. Now, you can take something from a shelf
and lift it up or lift it down. Even if you lower it, you're still lifting
it. But to elevate means to raise. So what happens when you wanna go from
the top floor to the ground? Is the elevator still an elevator or something
else? I looked up de-elevate but it doesn't seem to be listed or in common
The other thing about Americans is that they fix meals. They fix breakfast,
fix lunch and fix supper. How can you fix something that ain't broke yet?
Just thought I'd check Youchewb to see what's what and found this...
of the funniest vids I've seen.
And if you've forgotten what
the weather was like in 1966, here's the forecast from a bloke who
pronounces Oregon Oree-gone. Hehe.
And now, ladies and genitals, the
difference between American and British humor. BTW, Spike Milligan
was an Aussie, not British, but he mostly lived and worked in England,
and also served with distinction in the British army during WWII.
Beeb time: US President Barack Obama and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
have admitted to "differences" on the path to Mid-East peace, after they
met in Washington. The talks came after Mr Obama said in a key speech that
any future Palestinian state must be based on the borders that existed
prior to the 1967 war. Mr Netanyahu also admitted that "we may have differences
here and there" on the peace process. He said: "While Israel is prepared
to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines
because these lines are indefensible. They do not take into account certain
demographic changes on the ground that have taken place over the last 44
years." But Mr Netanyahu insisted he valued Mr Obama's efforts, saying:
"Israel wants peace, I want peace." Yes, everybody
wants peace, but peace means compromise, and whilever compromise remains
elusive, peace will never be realized. The former head of the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) Strauss-Khan is released from a New York City jail
after posting $1m (£618,000) cash bail. The
bigger they are... Three Somali men plead guilty in a US court to
piracy charges for their role in a hijacking that ended in the deaths of
four Americans. Thilly bois... blinded by the promise
of easy money. Another teammate of champion cyclist Lance Armstrong
joins those alleging he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his
career. Goodbye career. US atheists are to
hold parties in response to an evangelical broadcaster's prediction that
Saturday will be "judgement day". The Rapture After Party in North Carolina
- "the best damned party in NC" - is among the planned events. Harold Camping,
89, predicts that Jesus Christ will return to earth on Saturday and true
believers will be swept up, or "raptured", to heaven. He has used broadcasts
and billboards to publicise his ideas. He says biblical texts indicate
that a giant earthquake on Saturday will mark the start of the world's
destruction, and that by 21 October all non-believers will be dead. What
I don't understand is why on earth any god would create a bunch of non-believers
in order to punish them. Why create them in the first place? An
Amazonian tribe has no abstract concept of time, say researchers. The Amondawa
lacks the linguistic structures that relate time and space - as in our
idea of, for example, "working through the night". The study, in Language
and Cognition, shows that while the Amondawa recognise events occuring
in time, it does not exist as a separate concept. "Amondawa people, like
any other people, can talk about events and sequences of events," he told
BBC News. "What we don't find is a notion of time as being independent
of the events which are occuring; they don't have a notion of time which
is something the events occur in." The Amondawa language has no word for
"time", or indeed of time periods such as "month" or "year". The people
do not refer to their ages, but rather assume different names in different
stages of their lives or as they achieve different status within the community.
the full article here.
Will I or won't I? That is the question. So it's taken me over a month
to pluck up the courage to get rid of the carpet in Das Busse. At least,
the back half in the kitchen area. And now it's all rolled up and in the
wheelie bin. The original linoleum is in pretty good nick. I gave it a
sweep and it looks much better. It's much easier to keep linoleum clean
than carpet, especially when camping. Carpet stains and gets tatty, and
you can't sweep it or wash it.
In the front half - the "living" area - the carpet's kinda screwed down
in places so I'll have to get a bit more aggro with that - maybe with the
aid of a Stanley knife and a bit of brute strength. It also hides wires
running along the floor from a pair of speakers in the back that are not
connected to anything. Also, the back end of the speakers (Jensen coaxial)
take up room inside the cupboards so they've gotta go. I'll leave the speaker
grills attached to the holes in the timber cupboards to cover them but
the speakers will get the flick. I've got a pretty good portable Sony stereo
(radio/cassette/CD) so I don't need anything else... and I don't intend
to make a bloody racket to annoy neighbors when I'm camped somewhere.
What really worries me about doing up Das Busse is spending so much
money. $3,500 so far (plus hiring a car to get to Tamworth and $250 on
a power steering kit). $6000 on body work. Maybe a couple of grand on mechanicals,
and another whatever on an awning and solar panels and then a bit more
on fixing the upholstery. Admittedly, she'll be a pretty smart campervan
after spending maybe $15,000 for sure (less whatever I get for selling
Bluey), but she'll still be a 1984 model. The thing is, once I spend the
6 grand on bodywork, I'm committed. There'll be no turning back. It'll
be the whole nine yards. Scary, huh? But I'm not sure what the alternative
is. Do I do a Nike and "just do it"? Or chicken out? And if I chicken out,
My gut instinct tells me that the scales are tipped in favor of doing
a Nike. But I'm still nervous about it. If it doesn't work out, I'm stuffed.
I've got a feeling this is the bravest thing I've ever done. I also have
a feeling I have no choice in the matter.
I should also mention that I'm not soliciting opinions. This is a situation
I have to resolve myself. I'm just thinking aloud... trying to work out
what the options are and arriving at some sort of conclusion.
There is also another matter in which I have no choice... that regarding
cooking tonight's dinner. Chicken rissoles, lamb chops or fish cakes? Lindsay
says fish cakes. No wukkers. I don't care much one way or the other. Oh,
and the pillows I bought yesterday for Averil? She doesn't like them. So
now it's not just a matter of taking one back for a refund, it's a matter
of taking them BOTH back for a refund. Sheesh. Gary
May 20, 2011. For you guys "over there", it's coming into summer.
For us, it's coming into winter. Bleh. I don't think it will bother Francois
in New Caledonia though... he's up in the sub tropics where winter temps
are quite mild, and even quite warm. That's where I intend to be during
Aussie winters. Back in the early 90s, during my time in Canberra, my bedroom
was my VW Kombi. I remember waking one morning with a frozen nose. It was
minus 8C. NEVER AGAIN!
Even in Kempsey, not far north of Taree, where I worked as breakfast
announcer for ABC radio back in the mid 70s, winter mornings were quite
cold. I used to ride my bicycle to work at 4:30am and by the time I arrived
at the station, it took about 15 minutes before I could get my fingers
to work. Serves me right for not wearing gloves, I suppose.
Anyway, if your house has wheels, I don't see the point of being somewhere
cold when it's nice and cosy somewhere else. Let's check today's weather
in Cairns - min 20C, max 28C, sunny (70-83F). And Noumea? - min 18C, max
26C, sunny with showers. And Taree? - min 10C, max 20C, sunny (50-70F).
And what about Canberra? - min 5C, max 15C, cloudy.
I often hear stories from people like Oregon Richie and Ohio Jace about
snow from driveways, icicles on the eaves, slippery roads, special
winter tires and all that stuff. That's all totally foreign to me. Hehe.
And I hope it stays that way!
I just read another blog on Aussie travel. A mice plague in Streaky
Bay, South Oz. Pretty cool if you happen to be a python or a kookaburra.
But the blogger talks about going further south to Port Lincoln (which
I've been to) and described it as very beautiful... good enough to stay
for 3 or 4 days. Yes, I enjoyed my stay at Port Lincoln back in '89. But
that same blogger also told the story of crossing the Nullarbor and meeting
a bunch of golfers who decided one night at their local pub to load up
the station wagon with grog and cross the Nullarbor while playing golf
along the way. Not too many greens out there mate! But they were having
fun, and as the blogger said, As I have said before, it is the people
you meet that really make our trip memorable. Also about the decorated
trees across the Nullarbor. You can find anything you want there. There
is a tree dedicated to BRAS only, one with Men’s Undies and
many that specialise in only shoes. It is so much fun.
But it seems most travelers who blog their adventures stay at caravan
parks. I can't find any bloggers who rough it in national parks or cheap
camping areas, which is what I'll be doing. No five star accom for this
kid. BUT... that may make my blog more interesting. Hehe. I do believe
that the people you meet is what makes any given trip more interesting...
sitting around a campfire, swapping stories, etc. There's only so much
you can do with photographs of scenery if you're telling a story.
Beeb time: Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been granted bail by a judge in
a New York court, after being formally charged with trying to rape a hotel
maid. Mr Strauss-Kahn had earlier resigned as the International Monetary
Fund's boss. His lawyers said he was honourable and would not try to abscond.
Prosecutors said he had "incentive to flee". Supreme Court Justice Michael
Obus imposed $1m cash bail and said there must be 24-hour home detention,
with an armed guard and electronic monitoring. The judge said one armed
guard must be deployed at all times, at Mr Strauss-Kahn's expense, and
the defendant must surrender all travel documents. In addition to the $1m
(£618,000) cash bail, a $5m insurance bond would also apply. "It's
not that we don't trust you, Dominique, it's just that we want to be sure."
US President Barack Obama says the US has opened a "new chapter" in diplomacy
after the Arab Spring uprisings. In a speech at the state department, Mr
Obama said the future of the US was bound to the Middle East by forces
of economics, security, history and fate. "It will be the policy of the
US to promote reform, and to support transitions to democracy," he said.
I would like to know is if the majority of people living in autocracies
actually want democracy. A former teammate of cyclist Lance Armstrong
has said the seven-time Tour de France winner used the performance-enhancing
drug EPO. Tyler Hamilton rode with Armstrong in the US Postal team, and
says both men used EPO during the 1999 Tour. "I saw [EPO] in his refrigerator.
... I saw him inject it more than one time," Hamilton told the CBS programme
60 Minutes, "like we all did. Like I did, many, many times." If
true, it's very sad. Winning and cheating don't mix. A US man paralysed
from the chest down after being hit by a car is now able to stand with
electrical stimulation of his spinal cord. I admire
people who work on this kind of research. Most of us don't even think about
it, and take our health for granted. At least 35 construction workers
have been shot dead and 20 injured by Taliban insurgents in eastern Afghanistan,
an official says. The Taliban recently declared the start of a "spring
offensive" of attacks. Orders from Allah, yes? That
makes it okay. One of the biggest insurance companies in the world
held a party for salesmen where they were rewarded with the services of
prostitutes. Munich Re is the world's biggest re-insurer - in other words,
the company acts as an insurance company for other insurance companies.
The gathering was held at a thermal baths in the Hungarian capital Budapest
as a reward to particularly successful salesmen. And
here's silly me believing that insurance salesmen are the world's most
honest and decent people with impeccable scruples.
Back from shopping. How dreary. And paying Averil's rent, and getting
her a couple of pillows. "Why did you get two?" "I thought you wanted two.
I use two." "No, I only wanted one!" See what I mean? Now I've gotta take
one back and go through all that refund rigmarole. Why me? After a bit
of a chat, and as I was about to leave, Averil said, "It's a good thing
you weren't married to me." I couldn't agree more.
Actually, when I suggested she get a new boyfriend so she could keep
both pillows, she said, "I couldn't think of anything worse." Hehe.
So here we go again... T-bones for THEM and pizza for me. When they
have T-bones, chops or whatever, I pig out on junk. They don't like spicy
stuff. Otherwise, it's been a pretty ordinary day. I did spot an old Jaguar
when I drove uptown. Not sure if it was pre-war or post-war but it looked
like this. Anyway, I was turning left at an intersection and didn't
get an opportunity to photograph it. By the time I'd parked, it had gone.
May 19, 2011. Imagine if it took only 25 minutes to get to Dallas
from Oz. TX Greg reckons it does. He says the new Qantas direct non-stop
flight takes 15 hours and 25 minutes, and since we're 15 hours ahead, the
flight would arrive 25 minutes after take off. And he's not even Irish.
I just Googled travel blogs to get an idea of what other people experience
on their travels. The first one I read told the story of a motorhome trip.
The group was returning home when a tire blew and sent the vehicle to the
wrong side of the New England Highway - fortunately when no traffic was
coming the opposite way. They were lucky because there was a gully on the
correct side of the road. Anyway, there they were parked on the wrong side
of the road, facing oncoming traffic, with no room to put a jack under
the axle, so they called Roadside Assistance. It took three hours for a
big tow truck to arrive, during which time they had lunch in the motorhome,
constantly buffeted by oncoming semi trailers and B-doubles just a few
By the time they reached Glen Innes it was too late to get the tire
repaired, so they spent the night parked in the tow-truck depot. Next morning,
the 'towie' arrived and, as he dragged the van out of the yard, managed
to rip off the plumbing at the back, which sent gray water spewing up the
streets of town. After running repairs on the plumbing, a new tire, breakfast,
and being assured that a metal plate bent out of shape in the wheel arch
would not affect the new tire, they were on their way again.
Less than half an hour down the road, they heard a clunking sound. Sure
enough, it was the metal plate rubbing against the tire. There was a hissing
sound which meant air was escaping. They limped into a service station
in a small village where the mechanic used a 20-ton jack to bend the metal
plate out of harm's way. There, they waited for the tire people to arrive
with a new tire while they had lunch.
After lunch and a new tire, they were on the road again when an oncoming
vehicle kicked up a stone. The driver of the motorhome saw it coming and
ducked. Luckily, it didn't break the glass but it made a helluva bang and
caused the driver to launch in to long list of expletives.
They had previously arranged to stay over at a friend's house in Tamworth.
On arrival, they took the motorhome to a caravan repair place and left
it there while they spent two nights with their friends before driving
their little Suzuki (towed behind the motorhome) back home to the Central
And during all this drama, the driver's mother had died at home.
Now, of all the stories on all the travel blogs, I had to choose THAT
one to read.
Okay, so I go to the next one... some girl booking a P&O Cruise.
I can't even afford a rubber ducky in my bathtub. Next! Oh... here's a
guy whose car has a serious altercation with a Melbourne tram, and comes
off second best. It's a write off. Oh dear, maybe I shouldn't read any
more. Oh, here's one that starts: So it has been a mad couple of weeks.
Since arriving in Cairns ten days ago I have snorkeled the Great Barrier
Reef, sailed the Whitsundays and spent far too long on a Greyhound Bus.
Hmmm, nothing about camping. Doesn't anyone go camping? ON A BUDGET? And
now here's one about some kid vomiting 17 times during the night. Right...
that's it. I'm outta here!
I was hoping to read something positive and cheery. No such luck.
Beeb time: The United States has imposed sanctions on Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad for human rights abuses. It represents the first time Mr
Assad has been targeted specifically by the international community for
his government's crackdown on protesters. The new measures freeze any assets
they have in US jurisdiction and make it illegal for Americans to do business
with them. Are McDonalds and KFC in Syria?
International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Dominique Strauss-Kahn will make
a new plea for bail at a court hearing on Thursday morning, his lawyer
says. Mr Strauss-Kahn, on suicide watch at New York's infamous Rikers Island
prison, denies all the charges. The maid, 32, has said she is "scared"
but will testify against him. Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman,
said the new bail hearing would be in Manhattan on Thursday morning. I
think Benjamin smells a nice fat fee for his services. After all, with
a name like Benjamin Brafman, why wouldn't he? The Queen has offered
her "sincere thoughts and deep sympathy" to the victims of Ireland and
the UK's troubled past. At a banquet in Dublin Castle she said with hindsight
"we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or
not at all". An apology was not expected, BBC royal correspondent Nicholas
Witchell said, but the Queen came "pretty close". He said there was an
"underlying sentiment of sorrow and regret" in the language of the speech,
which was "a powerful expression, a personal expression by the Queen" and
"a wish, finally to turn a page". Makes one wonder
how we will see current world policies in 'hindsight'. New satellite
images show deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest has increased by
almost six times in the past year. Obviously, the
green message is not getting through. China has no intention to
match US military power, a top Chinese general has said. Speaking in Washington,
Gen Chen Bingde said America's armed forces remained far more advanced
than China's despite considerable progress by China in recent years. But
Gen Chen warned that further US arms sales to Taiwan could damage US-China
military relations. So what's more important? US-China
relations or US-Taiwan relations? US officials have said there was
no evidence indicating leaders in Islamabad knew Osama Bin Laden had been
hiding in Pakistan. But defence secretary Robert Gates said he believed
"somebody" in Pakistan knew the whereabouts of the al-Qaeda chief. Top
military officer Adm Mike Mullen said it might take a while to find out
if Bin Laden had Pakistani protectors. Amid increasing pressure from US
lawmakers, both men advised against cutting off aid to Pakistan. It's
pretty obvious what the Yanks really think. If they trusted Pakistan, they
would have alerted Pakistani authorities to the whereabouts of bin Laden
and left it to them to take care of the matter. Ukraine's national
broadcaster has suspended its live weather broadcasts after a forecaster
commented on the country's gloomy political climate. The National Meteorological
Centre's chief meteorologist praised the beauty of spring before berating
"disorder, lawlessness and injustice" in Ukraine. Lyudmila Savchenko was
broadcasting live on National Radio when she made the disparaging remarks.
Forecasts will be now pre-recorded and edited before being aired. Remember
the bad old days of the USSR when citizens were not permitted to speak
out against the government? A retired prison guard in the US has
eaten his 25,000th Big Mac. It has been 39 years to the day since Don Gorske
ate his first nine. At a ceremony in his honour at a McDonald's in his
hometown of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, he said he would continue to eat Big
Macs "until I die". Mr Gorske, 57, appeared in the 2004 documentary film
Super Size Me, which looks at the impact of a daily diet of McDonald's
food. He is thin and his cholesterol is said to be low. "When I was 19
years old I had eaten my first 1,000 Big Macs and I was kind of like, I
thought how long before I hit 10,000?" he said before eating the world
record 25,000th burger on Tuesday. I don't care what
people say, I like them. But it's been about 9 years since I had my last
NC Art commented on my mention of racism yesterday: Yepppo, Dave
Chappelle is a hoot, but Chris Rock tops him in pure caricature. He insults
honkes and they roll in the floor with laughter.
I searched Chris Rock on Youchewb and have to say I found him abrasive
and confronting. You know, like using an elephant gun to shoot a mouse.
He also yells a lot... shouts, like he's trying to bully you into paying
attention. Like I'm hard of hearing or something? Don't yell at me, man.
And don't pepper every sentence with 'mother fucker'. It's not necessary.
Einstein didn't use it to explain his theory of relativity, and Abraham
Lincoln didn't find it necessary to make a point either.
Then again, maybe I missed the point of pure caracature... playing
the role of an obnoxious character. Well, I don't find obnoxious people
But things do happen. The Governor General of Canada was scheduled
to make a welcome speech to delegates of the American Power Association
annual meeting in Toronto. He was delayed, but sent his adjutant. Resplendent
in colorful uniform befitting his rank, on stage came a very tall gentleman
who happened to be black. A delegate from Alabama seemed about to choke,
but rallied and blurted, "Holy shit, it's a goddam nigger." He turned
red and slouched in his chair after noting scowls from all near him. I
felt like yelling, "I'm from South Carolina where we have better manners."
Which reminds me of something Francois wrote about living in Martinique,
where he had a house, boat, car and job. In 2009 he couldn't stand the
local racism any longer so he sold everything (losing a lot of money).
After a short stay in France, he moved to New Caledonia to be with his
daughter and grandchild. Racism is such a nasty and unnecessary business.
Unfortunately, it exists... and not only in Martinique. It's here in Taree
as well. AND, it's not only whites who are racist... it's all races.
Back from the barber shop and a haircut. The sign on Mark's door said
"Closed. Back at 2:30". Yeah, right. It was just after 3pm. Long lunch.
But I spotted him walking across the road just after I arrived. Then the
local mayor tuned up and let me go first. The
mayor (would you believe his name is Paul Hogan?) had a large scab
on his nose and I asked him if it was a skin cancer. Yep. And he's had
4 operations already because the previous 3 didn't get the whole cancer.
Lucky me. I had one on my nose with no further complications. In fact,
all my skin cancers have had no further complications, and I've had quite
a few surgically removed.
Anyway, it's now THAT time again. Same old, same old - time to feed
the inmates. I wonder how often this Waffle page will be updated on the
Odyssey. I guess the routine - if there is one - will be much different.
Also, depending on where I am, wireless internet won't always be accessible.
Oh, well, we'll have to wait and see about that. I can assure you of one
thing, though... the camera will always be busy. Gary
May 18, 2011. Here's
an interesting take on racism in the US.
And then of
course, there's the funny side to racism.
I've met lots of people in my life I don't like for one reason or another,
and they come from all kinds of backgrounds. Some are Aussies. Does that
mean I don't like Aussies? Nope. It means I don't like some Aussies. It
means I don't like some Indians, some French, some English, some Germans,
some Italians, some Greeks, some Asians, etcetera. I think it's wrong to
generalize. Just because there's one bad apple in the fruit bowl doesn't
mean all apples are bad. And if you ask a grub what constitutes a bad apple,
he'll give you an entirely different answer. "If that was a bad apple,
mate, I wouldn't have been in there!"
I know that politically correct white Americans never use the N word.
It's considered offensive. And yet black music like hip hop and rap is
peppered with words like 'nigger', 'fuck' and whatever else. Where's the
consistency? If a black man called me a honky it wouldn't worry me in the
least. If someone called me a faggot so what? The day I worry about being
called names will be the day I lose the plot.
TX Greg wrote to tell me that Qantas has introduced direct
non-stop flights to Dallas: So when are you ever going to come visit???
(I asked you that years ago, remember?) The flight is a piece of cake.
The horse ride from the airport back to the house might be a little bumpy,
haha. "Do what you can while you can".
Yeah, right. Me on a plane for 20 hours? No way, Jose. Besides, as I
pointed out to Greg, anything that costs more than 20 bucks a day is out
of the question. However, I did tell him the story of the bloke who visited
a pet store and asked for a horse. The owner explained that he only sold
cats and dogs. So the customer said fine, what have you got that's big
enough to ride?
Beeb time: The woman who says she was sexually assaulted by International
Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is living through an "extraordinary"
trauma, her lawyer has said. He said the woman, a 32-year-old hotel maid,
was now in hiding and felt "alone in the world". The alleged assault happened
at New York's luxury Sofitel hotel on 14 May. Mr Strauss-Kahn - who denies
the claims - has been put on suicide watch in the city's infamous Rikers
Island prison. As a precaution, guards are required to check on him every
15 to 30 minutes. The 62-year-old faces seven charges and could be sentenced
to up to 25 years in jail. I can understand why the
woman would feel alone in the world. The man has many powerful friends.
Libyan Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem crosses into Tunisia, amid reports that
he has become the latest senior Libyan official to defect. How
sensible. The Queen has laid a wreath at the Republic of Ireland's
Garden of Remembrance during the first visit by a British monarch since
Ireland gained independence. The garden, in Dublin, is dedicated to people
who fought for Irish independence from Britain. God Save The Queen was
played when she arrived at the Garden of Remembrance to lay the wreath
- regarded as a highly symbolic act as the garden commemorates Irish people
who fought over the centuries against British rule. Highly
symbolic indeed, and I hope it succeeds in easing tensions. Chairman
and founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates says he was strongly behind the company's
plan to takeover loss-making firm Skype. Well, there
ya go. I don't understand any of that stuff. Former California Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger has acknowledged he fathered a child with a member
of his household staff more than 10 years ago. Earlier this month the former
actor and his wife Maria Shriver said they were separating after 25 years
of marriage. The 63-year-old former governor has maintained a high public
profile and worked to revive his movie career since finishing a seven-year
run as California governor in January. How positively
riveting. A senior Yemeni al-Qaeda operative has been arrested in
the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, Pakistan's army says. Mohammed
Ali Qasim, also known as Abu Suhaib al-Makki, had been working under al-Qaeda
leaders along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, a statement said. The army
said his arrest was a "major development in unravelling the al-Qaeda network
operating in the region". Hmmm, a positive result
by the Pakistanis after the bin Laden raid. Seems to me like the Pakis
have been embarrassed into taking action. Farmers in eastern China
have been left perplexed after their watermelons began to explode one by
one. An investigation by state media found farms in Jiangsu province were
losing acres of fruit because of the problem. China Central Television
said farmers were overspraying their crops with the growth promoter, hoping
they could get their fruit to market ahead of the peak season and increase
their profits. Ah... another example of where greed
Francois wrote to say he doesn't like cauliflower: My grandad used
to say the best vegetable is the meat (whatever meat...): I agree totally
with his opinion!
Francois also doesn't like Strauss-Khan: And I don't speak of fresh
meat as this despicable Dominique Strauss Khan: do you know he was in the
frenchies mind, quite surely the next president (60%)... candidate of the
left while he is one of the richest man hehehe candidate of the morality
while he has always sex with young women in mind and in his body... that's
the french politic: I think France is the scorn of the world with this
affair: normal with the president who divorced then married 3 years ago
a sinking stupid model (who is considered as a slut by many) and who'll
have a baby in some months: totally ridiculous!
Well, that's an interesting observation, coming from a Frenchman. Francois
also explained what he meant by living the vegetable life... that you need
a body that works well in order to do the things you want to do, like setting
up camp on the Odyssey, running around with a camera, and offering free
massages to some of the locals :o), or, in
his case, sailing his boat. When I said we're becoming vegetables, I'd
in mind images as the Mandela's pic you linked yesterday. Even he has still
an exceptional brain, his body is very near of a vegetable ...
Francois says he's enjoying New Caledonia: I think New Caledonia
will be my last step and I'm very happy of its size: 400km x 80km seems
very small compared to your Australia, but with the very bad ways it takes
more than 1 day to go to the north from Nouméa (which is at the
south). To go through the island to the other coast is an adventure where
the native tribes are as spectacular as the rivers, the forest, the colours....
And last, but the most important with the boat, the lagoon is very large
all around: at least 20km, often 50 km and even 60 at the south and 80km
at the north, with somptuous islands everywhere: even I'd lived til 100,
I'll never see all this... I've seen maybe 1/20 of the "grande terre" (=large
earth) and 1/8 of the west lagoon in 5 months and the remaining is very
You can check out some of Francois'
photos of New Caledonia here (and the reason he's a grandad). I like
his boat! What a beauty! He also mentioned kava, a mild drug consumed as
a drink. It has a muddy appearance and taste. Yes, I've experienced kava.
I used to have Fijian neighbors who introduced me to it. YUCK! But it's
a ceremonial thing and a tradition among Melanesians.
Actually, 400km x 80km is a pretty big area. It's larger than the area
I currently live in, the Manning Valley, which measures 3752 square kms
compared to New Caledonia which is almost 10 times greater. 400km is about
the same distance as Taree to Sydney, which is quite a loooooong way, with
a lot of towns in between, including two major cities, Newcastle and Sydney.
spotted something interesting in my bedroom.
Just received notice that the rent on this property will increase by
$10 a week in late July. That will bring it up to $200 a week, which is
STILL $20 a week cheaper than what we were paying for a 2-bed dump in Petersham,
Sydney, 10 years ago! I think the landlady is trying to recoup some of
the money she spent on the new fence a couple of years ago, and the paint
job more recently. Now she's also up for a new paint job on Averil's place,
which she also owns.
And now, folks, it's time to cook dinner for the... residents. Fish
and hash browns with a squeeze of lemon. We're going Anglo American tonight.
May 17, 2011. An hour or so after I took "delivery" of Das Busse
in Tamworth at the Hertz depot, I parked outside a hotel/motel in Walcha
where I would stay the night. No sooner had I parked rear to kerb outside
the pub, than a bloke started checking out the van and peering through
the windows. "I should have bought something like this," he said. He had
one of those wind-up camper trailers that you tow behind a car, and he
said it was a bit of a nuisance to erect the thing each time he camped
somewhere. So there he was lamenting his purchase while I was also lamenting
mine. Hehe. At that stage, I figured I'd made a huge mistake.
But as I wrote Oregon Richie this morning, Mind you, I may see things
very differently when I'm camped somewhere and overwhelmed by a spectacular
view. Right now, she's parked in the yard with a view of the lemon tree.
So I'm tending to focus on the bus itself rather than what its purpose
will be. So maybe the end will more than justify the means. When Edmund
Hillary stood on top of Mt Everest, I imagine his thoughts were not about
how he could have done it better or cheaper. Know what I mean? Hehe. How
he did it was no longer important. The fact that he did it was what counted.
To illustrate my point, I saw a rather spectacular
pic on Red Bubble this morning of a sunrise. But it's important to
also read the accompanying story. And be sure to click on 'view larger'
for a better view.
Yes, it's all a matter of perception, isn't it. I'm reminded of the
Ray Stevens song Everything is Beautiful (in its own way). But I tend to
think that nothing is beautiful or ugly. It's our perception that makes
it so. You don't believe me? Ask a hippopotamus who's got the hots for
Meanwhile, if you're into crosswords, or you hate crosswords as I do,
then you might be interested in this
little gem from the Two Ronnies.
Beeb time: IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been remanded in custody
at New York's notorious Rikers Island jail on charges of sexual assault.
The judge said Mr Strauss-Kahn, 62, was a flight risk. He was arrested
on Saturday after boarding a plane and accused of trying to rape a hotel
maid. He faces seven charges and could be sentenced to up to 25 years in
prison. Oh dear... if only he could turn back the
clock. I think most of us have been there. US tycoon Donald Trump
says he will not be running as a Republican candidate for the US presidency
in 2012, ending weeks of speculation. Yep, better
not to run if you can't last the distance. Envoys of embattled Libyan
leader Col Muammar Gaddafi are due to hold talks in Moscow with senior
Russian officials. How to win friends and influence
people when you're in deep shit. Former President Nelson Mandela
has voted at home in South Africa's local elections, two days early, like
others unable to reach a polling station. His foundation released the first
photographs of the 92-year-old hero of the fight against white minority
rule since he was hospitalised in January. What an
extraordinary man and an extraordinary life. Click
here for the photo. Pope Benedict has told bishops around the
world to promptly report all suspected cases of sexual abuse of minors
by Catholic priests to local police in new guidelines he has issued. What
a novel idea! No wonder he's Pope. The US reaches its debt limit
of $14.3 trillion and takes measures to cut spending in order to avoid
breaching it. I know exactly what they're going through.
NC Art has had his thinking cap on again: The trouble with cauliflower
is there's never enough cheese to make the stuff edible. Same with
broccoli. Ask George H.W. Bush.
I disagree, Art. Have you ever tried cauliflower raw? It's yummy...
sweet and nutty. And I love it steamed and smothered in cheese sauce. As
to broccoli, I can take it or leave it. Preferably the latter.
Ah well, you might do well saving for your odyssey after all. The
economics appear solid. It might be different in the States, where there
is a fee for everything, a charge for non-existent service, restocking
fees for gadgets that don't work, etc. My cell phone gave up and died;
the warranty expired the day before (how the hell do they do that?). I
will get a new one with a $50.00 rebate if I can decipher the formula required
to send for it. Then the wait may be six months or a year while they use
my money for fun.
You see, Art, that's the problem with reaching 85. You're standing so
high on the mountain now, you're getting a much clearer view of life below,
and your perspective has changed to one of cynicism. Hehe. I'm getting
a bit that way myself. Life is a joke but it takes a lot of wrinkles before
the punch line becomes apparent.
Saturday, my internet connection failed. Today I'm informed I must
have a new cable installed and will need a new contract with a whopper
monthly fee. I am so thrilled! Hell I was born in a day we could have a
telephone for four bucks a month, and a service man would show up to fix
problems in an hour or less. Seems we deep-sixed the idea of giving value
for money awhile back. I had one phone for thirty years and it was still
working when I moved and left it for the new house owners. OK, enough of
bitching. Be sure to get a good photo of the famed Tasmanian devil. And,
as only a Limey can say with proper inflection, "Arr, fookall."
Yes, I saw an interview with old Pom who made it big in Oz as a gardener
with his own TV show. He's about your age. He was a drill sergeant in the
army, making life miserable for recruits. Next thing ya know he's growing
spuds and cauliflowers and roses. Hehe. During the interview, as he talked
about his experiences in Europe during WWII, he used the "F" word
but it came out as "Fook". As to Tasmanian devils, I doubt I'll see one.
And I certainly won't see the famed Tasmanian Tiger. The last one carked
it back in the '30s.
Truth is, who knows what I'll see? This is not a mission to accomplish
any specific purpose, like a David Attenborough documentary. I imagine
every day will be a surprise, and I guess that's the scary part. Gary
May 16, 2011. Here's a gem from Justin's
A Congressman was seated next to a little girl on an airplane so
he turned to her and said, "Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if
you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger."
The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to
the total stranger, "What would you want to talk about?"
Oh, I don't know," said the congressman. "How about global warming,
universal health care, or stimulus packages?" as he smiled smugly.
"OK," she said. "Those could be interesting topics, but let me ask
you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff
- grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat
patty, and a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?"
The legislator, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence,
thinks about it and says, "Hmmm, I have no idea."
To which the little girl replies, "Do you really feel qualified to
discuss global warming, universal health care, or the economy, when you
don't know shit?" And then she went back to reading her book.
I checked my counter's world map this morning to see where visitors
to Aussie Odyssey are coming from... mostly Western Europe, North America,
Oz and... hello? New
Caledonia. And then lo and behold, I get an email from Francois, who
is now living there, or as Francois calls it, Nouvelle
Calédonie. His daughter is there also, and his grandchild. So
I bought a small house, a boat and I'm sometimes a grand dad, sometimes
a captain sometimes a fisherman, and often... resting alone at home hehehe
Anyway, the main reason Francois wrote was to encourage me to take the
plunge: All this to say you: our remaining life is short, so go! go!
go! don't wait: if it's an error, you'd surely other doors to open. To
remain without opening the door to your dream is not the solution: are
you happy as you're with your drunkards without brain? More you're waiting,
more it'll be difficult to push the door, more you'll be near of the vegetable
Yes, Francois, I've considered all that. Of all vegetables, I prefer
the cauliflower because I quite like cheese sauce. However, before I turn
into a cauliflower, I would dearly love to go! go! go! but it takes
dough! dough! dough! That's the problem, and it's a problem only time can
solve. As a pensioner on a fixed income with no savings, I have no option
but to wait, even though it's frustrating. Every time I want to do something,
like buy a camper, or have it fixed, or fit solar panels, or whatever else,
somebody is putting his hand out and saying, "Yummy, yummy, yummy, give
me lots of money!"
Nonetheless, I appreciate what you are saying. As the young Swedish
boy Robin said the other day, "Do what you can while you can." At the moment,
I'm doing what I can, which means getting Das Busse in good shape before
I go! go! go!
I hope I've not given you a big headache with my english, and don't
be afraid, I can't afford a plane to just come and kick your ass, and my
boat can't go through the Coral sea til Australia (around 1500km) hehehe
Well, Francois, at least you get to keep your right shoe. And if you
did kick my ass, you wouldn't want your shoe back anyway.
Yes, ladies and genitals, I've created a rod for my own back. I'm trying
to do the impossible. I don't go out, I don't spend any money on clothes,
entertainment, or luxuries. I'm home 24/7 so that I can save what I can
for a dream that sometimes seems beyond my reach. At the moment, I have
Das Busse which needs work to get her up to scratch, and I have Bluey for
transport in the meantime. So at least that's a start, and I'm a bit further
along the track than I was a year ago.
But speaking of turning into a cauliflower, my oldest bro is 80. He
still plays lawn bowls, does maintenance around the house, rides a bicycle
and works part time as a hairdresser. My second oldest bro is still doing
okay as well and he's 77. So there's hope for me yet. I'm still in my 60s.
I admit I have some problem touching my toes, but I can touch other people's
toes no problem at all. In fact, on the Odyssey, I might ask a few surfers
if I can practice on theirs.
Yes, I know... I'm incorrigible. Is there such a word as corrigible?
Yes, there is, I just checked. But you never hear it. Corrigible means
capable of being corrected. Soooo, I hope Das Busse is corrigible. Meanwhile,
I'll personally stick with the in version.
Beeb time: Israeli forces have fired on groups of protesters at borders
with the Palestinian territories, Syria and Lebanon. Reports say that at
least 12 people have died and dozens more have been injured. In one incident,
thousands of Palestinian supporters from Syria entered the Golan Heights,
Israel says. Palestinians are marking the Nakba or Catastrophe, their term
for the founding of the Israeli state in 1948. Hundreds of thousands of
Palestinians fled or were forced out of their homes in fighting after its
creation. So what's the answer? Or is that a silly
question? The decapitated bodies of 25 men and two women - believed
to be victims of a drugs feud - are found at a ranch close to Guatemala's
Mexico border. It's not only drugs that twist people's
brains, it's also greed. Voters in Zurich, Switzerland, overwhelmingly
reject proposed bans on assisted suicide and "suicide tourism" in a local
referendum. How interesting. So much for the do-gooders
and Bible bashers. Australian police say a man who plunged to his
death from a seventh-floor balcony on Sunday was participating in the internet
craze of "planking". Planking involves someone lying flat on their stomach
in unusual and sometimes dangerous situations, and posting photographs
on social media websites. Police said the dead man, in his 20s, fell from
a balcony railing in Brisbane while a friend photographed him. The
price of so-called fame. The American shuttle Endeavour will try
again on Monday to launch to the International Space Station (ISS). Engineers
believe they have fixed a heater problem in the aft of the ship that kept
the orbiter from making an ascent two weeks ago. Maybe
I should get them to check out Das Busse. The Queen's state visit
this week will mark the "start of a new era", Irish Prime Minister Enda
Kenny has said. He said security would be high but she would receive a
warm welcome and there would be opportunities for members of the Irish
public to meet her. I hope all goes well for Betty.
It would be awful if anything went wrong.
I'm not a great fan of royalty but, on the other hand, I think it serves
a practical purpose, and I don't see any sense in dismantling it. If people
get their jollies from having queens and kings and princes and princesses
and castles and royal occasions, then why not? It doesn't do any harm,
and it brings in the tourist bikkies. It's also a wonderful excuse to party
as only the Brits know how.
Yes, when the Russians party they trot out a big bunch of tanks and
missile launchers and lots of goose-stepping soldiers. When the Yanks party
they have ticker tape parades and lots of scantily-clad girls waving fluffy
things. But when the Brits party they bring out the Crown Jewels and bright
red horse-drawn carriages.
And when Aussies
party? Well, it's a stack of bangers, a barbie, tamaaata sauce, lots
of Fosters and insect repellant. And shorts and thongs. Don't forget the
shorts and thongs. Bewdy mate, no wukkers.
Dunno about you, but I always get a few giggles outta this lunatic stuff
Oregon Richie wrote: I gather you have some pretty impressive plans
for the further outfitting of DB. That's a lot of money to spend
of course and I wonder if that covers it ALL or mostly dedicated to the
bodywork. Whatever you would do or even if another coach came along
you'd no doubt spend some bucks but that is quite the tidy packet, as the
Yes, $6000 for bodywork alone IS a tidy packet, but it includes taking
DB almost back to a shell and doing the job properly... pop-top off, windows
out, doors off, interior furniture out, decals removed, some replacement
panels... all that stuff... and a respray. A month's worth of work. After
that, I have to get the mechanicals done, upholstery repaired, solar panels
fitted, new batteries and wiring. AND a canvas awning.
But consider this: If I go nowhere, and just pay rent for the next three
years, it will cost $15,000 for rent alone. And I will having nothing to
show for it at the end of that period. So, do I spend $15,000 on Das Busse
and see Australia, or do I live in a flat for 3 years and go nowhere? The
cost is the same.
Actually, it's not quite that simple at the mo because I have to pay
rent AND fix up DB at the same time, which makes it a bit difficult. But
you get the picture. And I must thank Richie for asking the question because
it made me think it through. Now I have the answer. So, Francois, go!
go! go! will have to wait a while. Hopefully, it will happen before
I turn into a cauliflower... and before you lose a shoe.
And now it's time to think about my current situation... din dins for
the resident dingalings and myself. How about grilled onion and tomato
flavored beef sausages with mashed potato, fried onions and gravy? Sounds
pretty cool to me. It's also a bit chilly so on goes the a/c to warm the
place up a bit. And then a bit of telly. How exciting. Gary
May 15, 2011. I watched a program on telly last night about people
searching ancestral records for clues about their identity. The bloke who
was the subject of this particular show discovered that he was related
to European royalty... not that it made the slightest difference to his
present fortunes. His great great whatever was an illegitimate child. But
as he discovered the various links to his past he said something I thought
was quite profound: "We are but temporary custodians of our genes".
Something occurred to me this morning. I've never traveled by sea. Ferry,
yes, across Sydney Harbor, but not a proper ship. That will change when
Das Busse and I book
our passage to Tasmania, the island state of Oz across Bass Strait
in the Great Southern Ocean. So there ya go, the Odyssey will be by land
and sea despite being confined to Austra-bloody-lalia.
I spoke to a neighbor today who's been on the Spirit of Tasmania. The
one-way trip takes about 8 hours, "They say Bass Strait is pretty rough
but the day we sailed it was like a mill pond."
And something else I remembered. When the rust blokes quoted the work
on DB they said that once all body panels are exposed (doors, pop top,
interior furniture removed) for treatment and respray, they also treat
the metal with anti-rust material. So that's a plus. If you're gonna spend
six grand, you might as well get your money's worth.
Speaking of sea voyages, I saw a bit of vintage aerial footage on telly
the other night of a Manly Ferry crossing
Sydney Heads during a big ocean swell. That ferry rose and dipped like
you wouldn't believe, with massive sprays of water over its bow each time
it dove into the swell. Sometimes the swell through the heads is so bad,
ferry services need to be cancelled, something you might not expect in
such a normally tranquil place like Sydney Harbor. I'm not sure what the
distance between North and South Head is but it would have to be at least
a couple of kilometers
of exposed ocean. I was on a 53' ketch when it went outside the heads
to greet the arrival of the re-enactment
of the First Fleet during the 1988 bi-centenary celebrations, and we
bobbed around like a cork. It was an amazing day and I was right there
in the thick of it. So where are the photos? I wish I knew.
Here's a poster
of the Manly Ferries when I was a kid - the old steamers. How times
have changed. This
is what they're like now. However a trip to Sydney without a ferry
ride to Manly just ain't right.
Beeb time: US army engineers open floodgates in Louisiana that will
inundate up to 3,000 sq miles to try to protect major cities from Mississippi
river floodwater. You kinda get the impression that
natural disasters are a "normal" part of life. Azerbaijan's Nikki
and Ell are crowned the winners of this year's Eurovision Song Contest
with the song Running Scared, with Italy in second. I
watched the semi finals last night on telly. Er... yeah. Lots of flashing
lights and fireworks and strutting but not much else. Sorry. Authorities
in the US charge three people in Florida and three in Pakistan with providing
financial support to the Pakistani Taliban. Enemies
from within. Gotta watch those buggers. A leaked UN report says
Iran and North Korea have been exchanging ballistic missile technology
in violation of sanctions. Sanctions? Whose sanctions?
Those dudes don't care about Western sanctions or western anything.
The US will seek to expand domestic oil production in an attempt to reduce
dependence on imported oil and bring down fuel prices, President Obama
says. Well, it is a pretty big rock ya know, so why
not? Wallace McCain, a billionaire Canadian frozen food mogul and
philanthropist, has died aged 81. The co-founder of the McCain Foods empire
died in Toronto on Friday, after losing a 14-month battle with cancer.
He helped turn a small French fry plant into a global business, renowned
for its oven chips and frozen pizzas. Mr McCain and his brother Harrison
founded McCain Foods Ltd in New Brunswick in 1956. "Ah,
McCain, you've done it again!" Yep, they're in Oz too. McCain said he liked
making money but as a philanthropist he liked giving it away even more.
Frozen oven chips are okay I suppose but certainly nowhere near as good
as deep fried chips you make yourself. No way. But McCain knew that making
your own chips involves a bit of work... peeling, cutting, frying, etc...
and he also knew that people are basically lazy. Boom boom. How to become
a billionaire by selling frozen chips. In other words, how to tell people
it's cool to be lazy.
I'll be making my own chips on the Odyssey. All you need is a pot, a
wire basket, a spud, a vegetable peeler, vegetable oil and a heat source.
Too easy. Oh, and salt. You can't have chips without salt! That's the only
time I use salt. I don't use it in cooking or on anything other than chips.
Lindsay, on the other hand, smothers everything in salt and BBQ sauce.
And that's it for Sunday, ladies and genitals. Kitchen time again...
the usual routine. Lindsay is going through one of his regular doom and
gloom periods... it's the way it is with him. Woe is me and the sky's gonna
fall in. But he gets over it eventually and is okay for a while. Cest la
May 14, 2011. TX Greg wants to know if I spelt Oregonion wrong
on purpose. Hehe. No, I was having a "senior moment" and kinda got carried
away with "onion". But at about 4:30 this morning my bladder convinced
me to go to the loo and it was then that I thought about the spelling of
Oregonion as opposed to Oregonian. It's a geriatric thing ya know. Or as
we say in Oz, not the full quid.
I've also been thinking more about the $6000 quote for bodywork on Das
Busse. It's a lotta loot. I could get another quote but if it's less I'd
be worried about getting an inferior job. So I'm between a rock and a hard
place. It would be too easy to just drop the whole Odyssey idea. But if
I did that, then what? I see other older people around here whose lives
are humdrum routine - same old, same old every day until they roll up the
tent. Is that what I want? Sometimes I'm not sure what I want.
I was just thinking about those Do Not Disturb signs hung on hotel room
doorknobs. Some people have them hung on their doorknobs permanently, 24/7.
In any case, I think Das Busse 'The Project' is gonna take a bit longer
than I originally thunk. Backpackers are quite happy to spend $5000 on
a jalopy and rough it for 6 months but that's not my style. Also, I have
no one to share expenses with, and no one to rescue me if I get into trouble.
Everything depends on li'l ole me. So, as the boy scouts say, be prepared.
Beeb time: The US has stopped short of recognising Libya's National
Transitional Council as the country's legitimate government. The statement
comes after the first visit to the White House by a senior member of the
rebel council, which is pushing for international support. Earlier, Col
Muammar Gaddafi taunted Nato troops in an audio message on state TV, saying
he is a place where they "cannot reach" him. "I say to the crusader cowards
that I live in a place that you cannot reach and kill me in it because
I live in the hearts of the millions," he added. "Immortality is for the
martyrs, and death, infamy and disgrace are for the treacherous agents
and their cowardly masters." I think the Colonel
missed his calling... he should have been a comedian. But I find it confusing
that the US can drop bombs on Gaddafi and yet not recognize the opposition
as the country's legitimate government. The Pakistani Taliban say
they carried out twin suicide blasts at a paramilitary training academy
that killed 80 people, to avenge Osama Bin Laden's death. Happy
now, guys? A British woman has been beheaded in a shop in Spain's
Canary Islands, officials say. Spanish media said a homeless Bulgarian
man had been arrested in the town of Los Cristianos. Witnesses said a man
entered a Chinese supermarket in a shopping centre and stabbed then beheaded
the 62-year-old woman. He is said to have dropped the head outside before
being tackled. "Apparently this gentleman without any motive or any reason...
entered the shop and then cut this woman's neck and took the head in his
hand outside," said local councillor Manuel Reveron. Don't
ask me to explain it. I don't have a bloody clue. Ashton Kutcher
will replace Charlie Sheen in the hit CBS comedy Two and a Half Men, Warner
Bros Television says. Kutcher, who is married to actress Demi Moore, has
hosted the prank show Punk'd and is probably best known as Michael Kelso
on Fox's That 70s Show. "I can't replace Charlie Sheen but I'm going to
work my ass off to entertain the hell out of people," Kutcher said. When
my boss fired me from radio 2GO back in 1972 he said, "No one is indispensable."
Anyway, I don't understand what all the fuss is about or why Sheen was
being paid so much money to recite corny lines in a so-so sitcom.
US officials have had access to three of Osama Bin Laden's widows in Pakistan,
the White House has said. Spokesman Jay Carney gave no further details,
but the US wants to obtain information about the al-Qaeda leader's life
since he disappeared in late 2001. Now we might find
out if he had a big one or a little one. Uganda's parliament has
adjourned without debating a controversial bill which includes the death
penalty for some homosexual acts. It had been reported that a vote could
be held on Friday. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill has been condemned by Western
leaders and human rights groups, some of whom are celebrating "victory".
NC Art put it so well the other day, Meanwhile Uganda will debate a
"kill gays" bill on Friday. The law outlaws homosexual activity with a
death penalty. Also, anyone who knows of such activity will be imprisoned
for failing to report it. Neat solution to a non-problem. Yep... a
non problem. Pink Floyd stars Roger Waters and David Gilmour teamed
up for a rare appearance together to re-stage their classic album The Wall.
It happened during Roger Waters' concert version of the group's concept
album The Wall at London's O2 Arena. Hehe, they're
all old blokes now. Funny isn't it... kids become famous, kids grow old...
but the music stays young.
But back to what NC Art said about the situation in Uganda: A non-problem.
I honestly don't understand all the fuss about homosexuality between consenting
adults. What people do in bed is no one else's business. Sex between consenting
adults of any sex - same or otherwise - is not a threat to anyone. None
whatsoever. As Art says, it's a non-problem.
You know what the problem is? The problem is people who see themselves
as representatives of God... holier-than-thous who take it upon themselves
to judge others according to their own idiotic and bigoted values they
claim as God's word. Hello? As the Man said, judge not lest ye be judged.
And you know something else? It's a problem unique to human beings. Nothing
- and I mean NOTHING - else on this planet is that stupid. Or for that
matter, that egotistical.
Ooer! I'm getting all thingy again. Sometimes I frighten myself.
Well, that's it for another Satdee. They're like pages in a book - every
time you turn a page, the closer you get to THE END. Oh yes, I meant to
mention that it's snowing not all that far from here... at Barrington Tops,
and the wind is from the west which means it's COLD. Very strange, ladies
and genitals... blue sky, sunny, but the wind chill is ruining what would
otherwise be a pleasant autumn day. Gary
May 13, 2011. Yes, folks, Friday the 13th. Superstition is alive
and well. People love superstition... they love spooks and black cats and
ladders and Halloween and horror movies and all that creepy stuff. By the
way, wasn't the world supposed to end recently? How many Fridays the 13th
are there in a year? Well, between one and three. Any month that begins
on a Sunday will include a Friday the 13th. So whatever the total for 66
years is, I've managed to survive quite a few so far, and hopefully I'll
also emerge from this one relatively unscathed... unlike Jesus who was
crucified on a Friday, and whose Last Supper had 13 people sitting at the
NC Art sent a file my computer won't open. It's a pps file, whatever
that is. But the title of his email was Lightning in a Jar, so
I did a Google and found this.
Both Art and Oregon Richie have mentioned Newt Gingrich running for
president at the next election in the US. Richie refers to him as 'Nutty
Newt' while Art says: The paragon of virtue seems to think people will
vote for a hater of Muslims, gays and lesbians, blacks, and women's rights.
Yeah, this is the guy who was didling women (not his wife 1 or 2) while
condemning Bill Clinton for getting a casual blow job in the oval office.
Hehe. Well, there's not a lot we can do about people with extremist
views. You can't have a left without a right and a middle. Just ask a pendulum.
All we can do is hope that sufficient people are sensible enough and educated
enough to choose wisely when they vote. And that, dear Breth, is why Oz
has compulsory voting... just in case the sensible people get lazy. If
that hare gets too complacent and relaxes, the tortoise is gonna catch
I personally don't have a problem with compulsory voting. For me, voting
is every adult citizen's responsibility and not something that should be
left to chance. If government is not about grass roots participation, then
how can it be truly representative? If a citizen doesn't vote, then he
has no right to complain about who governs him. Similarly, if the majority
doesn't vote, it can't bitch about being ruled by a minority.
Certain Oregonions (and I'm not going to mention names) get a little
confused about Oz stuff... like you'll never never know if you never never
go. That slogan is part of the Northern Territory tourism campaign, based
on the outback being called the "never never" because of its size. So
here's a typical ad for the NT. Spectacular country, yes?
Also, if an onion is an onion, and you put Oreg in front of it, does
it remain an onion, as in Oreg-onion, or does it become an Oreg-own-ee-on.
Hehe. Buggered if I know... I'm an Aussie.
Meanwhile, I should seriously consider having a propellor and wings
fitted to Das Busse. Wheeeeeeeeee! As it is though, with the expense of
the current restorations, I should be ready to hit the road when I'm about
98. Unless, of course, I get lucky with Lotto. Even a minor prize will
do. Are you listening, God?
Weird, huh? I was terribly disappointed with DB when I first saw it
parked at Hertz in Tamworth. By the time I arrived back in Taree, I was
determined to sell it and put it down to poor judgement. And now? Well,
I don't wanna go through all that bullshit again so I figure I might as
well do the best I can with what I've got. If she ain't the flashest van
in the camping lot, then that's just too bad. The Joneses can go jump.
Hey, I could have done worse. Check
out this Youchewb vid of a Toyota camper. There's a wind problem with
the microphone for a while, but that goes away. The Toyota logo on this
vehicle is the same as mine... so mine's an antique as well.
Beeb time: An HIV-positive person can reduce the risk of spreading the
virus to uninfected partners by 96% if they are given anti-retroviral drugs
immediately, according to US scientists. NC Art commented
on that item in his email this morning: THAT seems to be very promising.
The US is to tighten security around the elite military unit that killed
Osama Bin Laden, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said. Mr Gates revealed
that the US Navy Seal team had expressed concerns over their safety and
that of their families. Al-Qaeda has vowed to avenge the death of its leader
in the helicopter-borne raid on his compound in Abbottabad, northern Pakistan.
that's the way it is, folks. You can't have left without right, and you
can't have tit without tat. And on and on and on it goes. The pro-democracy
struggle in the Middle East and North Africa is at risk amid a fightback
by repressive governments, Amnesty International says. Absolutely.
Repressive governments could not possibly exist in a democracy. It's do
or die for them. Egypt's authorities order a 15-day detention of
ousted President Hosni Mubarak on charges of profiteering, media reports
say. See what I mean? Police in Mexico have
found eight decapitated bodies in the northern state of Durango. Among
the dead was the deputy governor of Durango's prison, who had been abducted
on Monday. Gerardo Galindo's head was found next to a wall bearing a threatening
message by a local drug gang. Charming chaps, aren't
they. Scum of the earth if you ask me. The lowest of the low. Thousands
of people have fled the Spanish town of Lorca following an earthquake that
left nine people dead and damaged hundreds of buildings. Many residents
have gone to stay with friends and family in other areas, some because
their homes are unsafe and others fear aftershocks. Luis Suarez, president
of Spain's College of Geologists, said the quake should not have been strong
enough to bring down buildings and the scale of the damage must have been
due to pre-existing structural problems. He said the area's sandy soil
also made the impact worse. Sometimes it doesn't
pay to be of rigid construction - as a person or a building. Footage
has emerged of an angry passer-by pushing a suicidal man off a bridge in
Guangdong province. Retired soldier Lai Jiansheng, 66, reached out to shake
the hand of Chen Fuchao before pushing him off. The heavily-indebted Chen
Fuchao fell eight metres onto a partially-inflated emergency air cushion.
He was hospitalised with wrist and back injuries. Chen Fuchao may be charged
with disturbing public order. Lai was accused of causing intentional injury.
a strange world we live in... as if you didn't know already.
I know you're all itching to know what Eddie's chicken rissoles were
like last night. Very nice indeed. Lots of vegies and yummies mixed in
with ground chicken fillet, and crumbed. I baked them in the oven with
a spray of cooking oil. The girls at Eddie's hand-make all their chicken
thingies in full view of customers. No back-room stuff or machinery. You
can see what's going on. Actually, that got me to wondering if Eddie's
has a web site, and
guess what? He has two outlets, one in the Manning Mall and another
in The Triple C center (which is the one I normally go to). I mean, why
would you bother to make the things yourself when you can buy them for
a buck each? BTW, K001 in the Manning Mall graphic is where I got DB's
spare keys cut. How's that for a fascinating snippet of information? I
don't keep anything secret here on this blog, ladies and genitals, I bare
the lot... warts and all.
I checked to see if I could find a pic of Manning Mall. I did find a
couple but they're all dreary. However,
I did find this aerial of Taree. See that island in the middle of the
river on the right? You can just make out a bridge in front of it, and
I live just a wee bit to the left of the bridge. Yoo hoo! Can you see me
waving? I think the village at the bottom of the pic is Tinonee (emphasis
on the middle syllable - rhymes with baloney. Taree, on the other hand,
rhymes with Paris the way Parisians pronounce it - Pah-ree).
Well, that's it for Friday the thirteenth. It's coming up to 5pm and
I've gotta think about din dins. My two little darling babies are still
asleep, bless their hearts. They lead such interesting lives. When Lindsay
staggers out the bedroom door I'll ask him what he wants... pork loins,
fish cakes, frankfurts or whatever. Not that it matters... whatever he
and dear Sue don't have tonight, they'll have tomorrow night or the night
after. But Lindsay appreciates the opportunity to make important decisions.
Ah! He's just emerged... so it's fish cakes and potato crunchy bites.
It's called delegating authority. Gary
May 12, 2011. Bloody good job I remembered to renew my Lotto
subscription yesterday otherwise I would never have known I didn't
win anything when I checked the results this morning.
And now for something completely different... Chasers
War on Everything. They're an ABC TV comedy team in Oz.
Actually, those crazy blokes remind me of Roy & HG who did commentary
for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The US audience couldn't work out if they
were fair dinkum or kidding hehe. Here's a Roy and HG classic commenting
on the misfortunes
of New Zealand during the 2000 Olympics. Make sure you catch the last
And one more... Arseclown
of the Week.
Meanwhile, TX Greg (as I predicted yesterday) searched the internet
for a pic of a bloke sitting on a loo while holding an umbrella: Haha,
couldn't find a pic with a umbrella. Hope
someone doesn't try this on you.........
NC Art has a logical suggestion: When it rains in the loo tent take
a bar of soap and shower the day's road dust away along with whatever.
"Along with whatever" is something I don't even wanna think about. Anyway,
I spotted the loo/shower/change tent on spesh at a local department store
a couple of years ago for about 30 bucks and it's still in its packaging.
It's one of those instant things... spring loaded. Varoom!
Matt from Smash Zone and his mate turned up half an hour ago, and checked
out Das Busse. A proper job means removing all windows to get to the rust,
replacing a couple of damaged panels, removing the pop top, doors, etc,
etc. It's virtually a total respray. Big job... IF I want it done properly,
which I do. I told them I want the bus to last me at least a couple of
years, and maybe a few more. Are you ready for this? Ballpark, $6000. They
can also handle mechanical stuff and organize auto electrics (wiring).
They do complete restorations. They also said DB has air conditioning.
Oh, really? Yep, most of the bits are there but they're not hooked up.
Well, whaddaya know about that! DB has a/c!
Soooo, that came as a bit of shock. Six grand. But what is the alternative?
If I sell DB and start again, I could end up with another bus that needs
a lot of work. At least DB has all the fittings and a proper camper conversion.
It's also a long wheel base. I don't have the 30 grand or whatever it takes
to step into something with no problems, so I have to do it the slow way...
bit by bit. And if it takes another 6 months or whatever to get there,
then that's what it takes.
Also, the bull bar, which looks pretty substantial despite the ding,
is aluminium. I thought it was steel. The guys offered to hang a spare
wheel off it to give me 6 wheels altogether but that's the least of my
concerns at the mo. So obviously I don't wanna have a head-on with a runaway
road train hehe... I'll stick to runaway kookaburras... or very small kangaroos.
Anyway, I shook hands on the deal and they're gonna check with me again
in about a month or so to see how my financial situation is. I told them
about the carer's bonus due at the end of June. I think they'd be happy
with half the cost to start, and the rest at the end of the job, which
they said would take about 4 weeks. The sale of Bluey will help, of course,
but I don't wanna sell Bluey until DB is ready to rock and roll.
So there you have it: if I go ahead with the deal, and I'm inclined
to think I should, then I'll have a camper that's in pretty good nick and
one that will last at least a few more years without any major concerns.
As I said to Averil, you either do it or you don't. There's no in between.
Beeb time: At least 10 people die after a magnitude-5.2 earthquake hits
southern Spain near the town of Lorca, Murcia. And
we never know where it's gonna happen next. Former Republican House
Speaker Newt Gingrich announces, via YouTube and Twitter, he will run for
the US presidency in 2012. My money is on Obama.
A new vaccine can protect macaques against the monkey equivalent of HIV
and could provide a fresh approach to an HIV vaccine, a study suggests.
working on it, guys. I've lost a few friends to AIDS. Libyan rebels
say they have captured Misrata airport, driving back troops loyal to Col
Muammar Gaddafi. Hundreds of rebels were celebrating in the streets after
pro-Gaddafi forces fled, leaving behind tanks that were set on fire, witnesses
said. Tank collectors will be pissed off about that.
A Cambridgeshire boy has worn a skirt to school in a protest against what
he said was "discrimination". Onya
Chris, I admire your style.
Well, pay day, bills day, shopping day and all that... and it's late
now. Time for you know what. Lindsay said he was in the mood for "tasty"
rissoles so I bought spicy chicken rissoles from Eddie's, the chicken shop...
ground chicken fillet mixed with lemon and herbs and whatever... and crumbed.
They look pretty good, so I'll serve them with... hehe... CHIPS. Hey, I'm
the world's best chip maker so what's the biggie? Gary
May 11, 2011. Just printed L&S's share of fortnightly expenses.
They get all meals and cooking, groceries (soap, toilet paper, detergent,
etc), rent, lawnmowing and electricity for $90 a week each. How's that
for a bargain? I pay half the rent, power and maintenance and a third of
the groceries. I don't think those guys realize how well off they are.
Mind you, I'm not doing too badly either.
Oregon Richie wrote to say reading the Waffle page is like getting ME.
Well, yeah... being me is the only thing I'm any good at, soooo... there
ya go. When I first started in radio I tried to sound like John Laws, a
DJ in Sydney I admired. After about 2 weeks, I figured copying John Laws
was a pretty dumb idea, so I settled for being myself. Years later, Laws
resigned from 2UE and moved to 2UW, so 2UE recruited a DJ from Adelaide
who sounded just like Laws. Big mistake. Sounding like the real thing is
not the same as BEING the real thing. Ultimately, there's only one real
thing... and that's being who you are - preferably with no excuses. You
might not be as famous or successful as the next guy, but at least you're
taking the line of least resistance hehe.
Here's a cartoon that appeared in a Brisbane (Oz) newspaper, The Courier
Mail, and which Justin posted
on his blog.
I couldn't have said it better.
Cartoonists are wonderful... they capture the essence of everything
so cleverly and succinctly and with wicked humor. It makes me think about
the choices we currently have in Oz politics... Pinocchio (Labor), Tarzan
(Liberal) and Dagwood (Greens). BTW, imagine the Islamic reaction to that
cartoon if it had depicted Mohammed and a bunch of Muslim clerics.
Beeb time: US President Barack Obama has called for broad reform of
the US immigration system, while highlighting steps he has taken to strengthen
border security. In Texas, Mr Obama backed a path to legal status for illegal
immigrants, as well as crackdowns on employers who hire illegal workers.
He called on the fractured Congress to reject "the usual Washington games"
and enact a comprehensive overhaul. An estimated 11m illegal immigrants,
most of them Hispanic, live in the US. That's half
the population of Oz. Syria drops plans to run for a position on
the UN Human Rights Council, diplomats say, following Damascus' crackdown
on pro-democracy protests. Surprise, surprise.
Microsoft confirms that it has agreed to buy internet phone service Skype
for $8.5bn (£5.2bn) making the deal Microsoft's largest acquisition.
never used it. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has criticised
China's crackdown on dissent as "a fool's errand", saying Beijing is trying
to halt history. In an interview with The Atlantic, Mrs Clinton also called
the nation's human rights record "deplorable". She defended US dealings
with Beijing, saying: "We live in the real world." The BBC's Kim Ghattas
in Washington says Mrs Clinton seemed to suggest the Chinese system itself
would collapse and that democracy was inevitable. Well,
I have a feeling she's right. Churchill said, “It has been said that democracy
is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”
He also said, “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation
with the average voter.” The sons of Osama Bin Laden have criticised
the US authorities for carrying out his "arbitrary killing". A statement
given to the New York Times newspaper said the family wanted to know why
the al-Qaeda leader had not been captured alive. Another statement appeared
on a jihadist website saying the burial of Bin Laden at sea "demeans and
humiliates his family". If I were the son of bin
Laden I'd be too ashamed to admit it. Thousands of people are reported
to be staying out of Rome for the next few days, over fears the city will
be hit by a huge earthquake. The panic was sparked by rumours that seismologist
Raffaele Bendandi, who died in 1979, predicted the city would be devastated
by a quake on 11 May. Well, it's now May 11. Hello?
The Mississippi River has peaked at just under 48ft (14.6m) in the southern
US city of Memphis, the US national weather service has said. The city
is coping with flood levels not seen since the 1930s, which have forced
people from some 1,300 homes. Officials say they are confident flood control
systems will prevent further harm, but warn it could take weeks for the
floodwater to recede. Water is like fire... a wonderful
friend but a terrible enemy. A man has committed suicide by jumping
from the world's tallest skyscraper in Dubai, according to its owner. The
man, in his 20s, fell from the 147th floor of the 2,717ft (828m) Burj Khalifa,
landing on a deck on the 108th floor, local media reported. Reports on
the websites of the Gulf News and 7 Days newspapers said the man had jumped
after a dispute with his employer. Police statements showed that a holiday
he had requested was turned down, the National reported. I
read it but I don't believe it. Images of the Hindu goddess of wealth
displayed on swimwear at an Australian fashion show have sparked a legal
battle in India. The fashion show attracted worldwide media attention and
was held in the Australian city of Sydney last week. Pictures of the controversial
swimwear were published in many newspapers, leading to protests in towns
and cities across India.
Oh dear... we've done it
again! We Aussies are notorious for not taking things too seriously.
US carmaking giant General Motors announces plans to invest $2bn in the
US, securing 4,000 jobs at 17 plants across the country. Way
Stan the Lawn Man is here making a bloody racket again, and I had to
move Das Busse onto the street so he could mow the grass strip between
the driveway paths. Why couldn't they have made one big concrete slab instead
of twin paths? I dunno. Anyway, DB started okay and did all the right things.
Meanwhile, the rust bloke hasn't turned up yet to give me a quote. Maybe
he's not interested in the job.
I also spent 10 minutes sitting in Das Busse. Why? I'm trying to get
used to the dimensions... accustomed to living in such a confined space.
And the more I sit in there, the more comfortable I am about it. The word
'cramped' is giving way to the word 'compact', hehe. Everything is there;
it's just that it takes about half a second to get to it all. Except the
loo... that'll be outside in a tent. BUT, the loo/shower tent has no roof,
which ain't gonna be too flash if it rains. Oh well... I could be the first
person in the world to sit on the loo while holding an umbrella.
TX Greg is now searching the internet for a pic of a bloke sitting on
the loo with an umbrella.
But back to Stan the Lawn Man. He's dangerous ya know. When I go outside
to chat, he chases me with his whippersnipper. Or when he's finished, he
chases me with his blower. He's been doing that for 10 years.
Anyway, it's getting late, and time to think about COOKING. I'll do
porterhouse steaks and onions for THEM and I'll settle for leftover chicken.
BTW, the Federal Budget was handed down last night, and we lucky pensioners
will get a free set-top box when analogue TV ceases transmission in favor
of digital TV next year. Whoopy do. I'll be on the road. A set-top box
won't be any good to me cos I'll be using 12 volt. Besides, I can watch
TV programs on the internet, including ABC News 24 as well as various programs
on iView. AND, there's always radio. Gary
May 10, 2011. The
Ultimate Dog Tease. This Youchewb vid has had almost 11 million hits
Marcelle from Mid Coast Water sent me a map of Bootawa Water Treatment
Plant (how to get there) and it's pretty straight forward. So I'm booked
in for the tour, and photography is allowed. Years ago, I went with my
sis in law and my mom to Warragamba
Dam in Sydney... a huge facility, which it needs to be to provide water
for millions of people in a major metropolis. The Warragamba Dam is in
Burragorang Valley. But this is a sleepy hollow by comparison so obviously
Bootawa won't be as impressive. Nonetheless, it should be interesting.
One of the most impressive bodies of water I've seen is Lake
Jindabyne, part of the Snowy River Hydro-electric Scheme. It makes
Sydney Harbor look like a puddle. The lake is fed by melting snow from
the Kosciuszko Alpine region that sits on the border between NSW and Victoria,
and is one of about 11 dams in the area. Gets a bit chilly down there in
winter, so I'll visit in summer.
Speaking of chilly, we're getting an early dose of winter here with
cold winds coming from the south. Mind you, chilly here means single digit
temps C (between 40 and 50F) in the mornings and late teens to 20C (70F)
during the day. But when you consider that Townsville in Queensland is
getting 15C in the mornings to 26C during the day (60F - 80F) I know where
I'd rather be. What's more, that's where I WILL be on the Odyssey during
winter. Latitude: 19°15'36"S Longitude: 146°49'01"E - the Tropic
of Capricorn which runs through Northern Oz, Southern Africa and central
Jaffle for lunch. These days they call them toasted sandwiches, and
toasters to make them. But mine is a long-handled
cast-iron model made for campfires or stove tops. I've had it for years.
I'm sure it'll come in handy on the Odyssey as well. It's indestructible.
You can put absolutely anything in a jaffle... leftovers, canned stuff,
cheese, whatever. And I never wash it. No, no, no. Scrape it, yes, but
never wash it. The cast iron is well "seasoned" and nothing ever sticks.
Beeb time: The UN has expressed concern about the situation in the southern
Syrian city of Deraa as a government crackdown on dissent continues. It
said a humanitarian mission had not been allowed access to the city, and
a UN agency had been unable to get medical supplies to refugees. Deraa
has been cut off for the past two weeks, after troops and tanks were sent
in to restore government control. I thought governments
were supposed to represent the peoples' wishes. Yeah? Rebels in
the besieged Libyan city of Misrata say they have pushed pro-Gaddafi troops
back from its outskirts towards the capital, Tripoli. I'm
rootin' for the Rebs. The recipient of America's first full face
transplant says his newly regained sense of smell is among the top benefits
of the surgery. Yeah... the things you miss when
they're not there anymore. Pakistan is to launch an investigation
into how Osama Bin Laden was able to live in the garrison city of Abbottabad
undetected, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has told parliament. But he
insisted that allegations of Pakistani complicity and incompetence were
"absurd". I watched an Aussie interview with the
former PM of Pakistan last night who suggests that bin Laden could not
have lived in that residence for 6 years without being detected, even by
neighbors. He might have a point. The South Pacific island nation
of Samoa is to jump forward in time by one day in order to boost its economy.
Samoa will do this by switching to the west side of the international date
line, which it says will make it easier for it to do business with Australia
and New Zealand. At present, Samoa is 21 hours behind Sydney. From 29 December
it will be three hours ahead. The change comes 119 years after Samoa moved
in the opposite direction. Well, well, well, how
interesting. The US government has awarded $2bn (£1.2bn) for
high-speed rail in critical corridors, after Florida's Republican governor
declined the funds. The projects will boost rail services between Washington
DC to Boston, as well as in the mid-west and California. Florida Governor
Rick Scott cancelled a high-speed rail project in his state, fearing taxpayers
there would have to subsidise the project in the future. President Barack
Obama has made expanding rail services a priority. I've
always thought rail makes sense. So did Aussie and US pioneers.
The longest trip I've made by rail so far is from Brisbane to Sydney.
That was back in the mid '80s. I drove to Tweed Heads (just across the
Queensland/NSW border) to connect with the train. Obviously there was a
problem with common rail gauges back then, as there was between NSW and
Victoria. That was one of the absurd legacies left over from the old colonial
days before federation when all states were independent colonies. Anyway,
it was a good trip. The car was loaded onto the back of the train, and
I got a sleeper cabin. I had meals in the dining car and bought the Sunday
paper at Newcastle to read on the rest of the trip back to Sydney, where
my car was washed and delivered to me. Very civilized.
Well, of ALL people, I just met Robin from Sweden. He was here trying
to sell me a new billing company for my power needs. But I changed over
to a new company not long ago, AGL, which means I'm under contract for
2 years. Anyway, we got to chatting and I asked him where he was from.
He's been touring Oz for 8 months... did the east coast trip from Cairns
in Far North Queensland down through NSW and Victoria, and then across
Bass Strait to Tasmania where he toured all over the Apple Isle. He said
he's had a great time. He and a few mates did the whole trip by car (a
Jeep), camping here and there in a tent, meeting all kinds of people. He
said he's met travelers from 18 different countries so far, and made a
lot of good friends. "We spent five days on Fraser Island, camped in a
tent, and that was fantastic."
So I took him down the yard and showed him Das Busse while we discussed
my situation. "I'm almost 110," I said, "and I worry that I'm getting too
old for this kinda thing." But he laughed and told me I would never regret
the experience. Then he added, "Do what you can while you can." That struck
a chord and I said I'd have that painted across the back of the bus. "Do
what you can while you can." He said he was having such a good time
in Oz that he didn't want to go back to Sweden. "You'll mostly meet English,
German and Japanese travelers," he said. So then I asked him, "You slept
in a tent? What about when it rained?" "No worries. It was waterproof."
I got the impression this young bloke was having too good a time to worry
about little things like rain. "But you're young," I argued. And it was
then that he said, "Do what you can while you can." He also said that one
of the great pleasures of traveling is never knowing what any given day
will bring. "You have breakfast and then the whole day is a new adventure."
"But isn't that a bit scary?" "No! It's not scary at all. It's exciting!"
So then he left. He was just outside the driveway when he turned and
said, "Do it! You'll never regret it!"
Yes, I think Robin is right about making new friends easily as a traveler.
Travelers automatically have a lot in common, and love to share their stories.
Starting a friendly convo is no problem at all. I recall one episode in
Travels With Charley, John Steinbeck, where he pulled into a service station
to refuel and got chatting with the owner who said he envied Steinbeck's
freedom... that he'd love to travel but that he couldn't because he had
a business to run and certain other responsibilities. I got the feeling
that the guy's excuse was a copout.
I asked Robin about his English, which was pretty good. He said English
as a second language in Sweden is not very well taught, and that he used
books and the internet to improve his skills. He also said that Japanese
and some other travelers with little command of English still managed to
communicate quite well by using body language and gestures. I had some
experience of that when I met a couple of Japanese teens on a surfing holiday
in Oz back in the '90s. Their English was very limited but that didn't
stop us becoming good friends. I still remember clearly the smaller of
the two baring his chest and saying, "Small but hard!" Hehe. He also said
he worked in a "bootons" factory. Took me a while to work out that "bootons"
were buttons. But it was all good fun, and I spent many a night laughing
and joking with those two young blokes.
Actually, come to think of it, "Do What You Can While You Can" is not
confined to travel. :o) It applies to everything
in life. Seize the moment, as they say.
And so another Chewsday draws to a close. Fish and chips tonight. Gary
May 9, 2011. Oregon Richie enjoyed my little story yesterday
about the Spitfire: I enjoyed the views about the mighty Spitfire.
That was a project that in its infancy came close to being canceled by
the government but the eventual affairs of that nation proved it to be
invaluable. Pilots then and to this day speak in nearly awestruck
hushed tones about what an incredible flying machine that was; an extension
of their souls. I have seen one fine example over at the Evergreen
museum in the valley along with its chief dueling partner the Bf 109.
The 109 has "edge" to it and a certain hardness. The Spit is smooth
and sleek and the howling roar of the Merlin V-12 was unreal. In
the movie the "Battle of Britain" there is a scene of that disgusting swine
Goering, all dressed up like the lunatic he was... head of the Luftwaffe...
talking with his pilots in France, and asking them what more could he do
for them. One German pilot snapped to attention and said "Send us
some squadrons of Spitfires". Hmm.
For me, I find it curious that, at that time, the Brits were a very
staid and traditional lot as evidenced by the
style of cars they produced. And then along came the Spitfire, a totally
radical design that still stacks up today.
Now, what do you think about a visit to Bootawa
Dam and a tour of the
local water treatment plant which provides the Manning/Great Lakes
area with up to 60m liters of water a day, treated with a microfiltration
process that doesn't need chemicals. Sound interesting? Hmmm. Maybe I should
go and take a few piccies for the Odyssey. It's on May 24. I knew there
had to be a dam around here somewhere but I didn't know where it was. It's
out in the sticks on the upper reaches of the Manning River. By the time
the Manning reaches this area it becomes tidal and saline... good for the
fishing folks, not so good for a cuppa.
Beeb time: US President Barack Obama says Pakistan has to investigate
if any of its officials knew Osama Bin Laden was in the hideout where he
died last week. Fair enough. I'm a tad curious as
well. Egypt's justice minister says the government will use "an
iron fist" against those who threaten the country's security following
violence between Muslims and Christians in Cairo. Iron
fists don't work. Tolerance, understanding and conciliation are the things
that work. Syrian security forces enter the city of Homs making
a number of arrests, as nationwide operations continue against anti-government
protests. Security? In Nazi Germany they were called
the Waffen SS (Schutzstaffel) and their job was to stifle dissent by any
means. Gunter Sachs - the German-born billionaire, art collector
and former husband of Brigitte Bardot - has killed himself at the age of
78. Sachs's family said he shot himself at his chalet in the Swiss resort
of Gstaad on Saturday. "Gunter Sachs always knew how to enjoy life," wrote
the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung. "Those who knew him may very
well believe that he wanted to end it quickly to cut short the suffering
of old age." In that case, Sachs didn't really know
how to enjoy all of life. John Walker, one of the founders of 1960s
group The Walker Brothers, has died at the age of 67. His spokeswoman said
Mr Walker died on Saturday at his Los Angeles home after a six-month battle
with liver cancer. Their biggest hits included the songs Make It Easy On
Yourself and The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Any More). Well,
it will but John won't be around to see it. Lionel Rose, the first
Australian Aboriginal boxer to win a world title, has died at the age of
62. Rose, who beat Japan's Fighting Harada in Tokyo in 1968 to win the
world bantamweight title, had been ill for several months. He was named
"Australian of the year" after his world title win, the first Aborigine
to receive the honour. He also was appointed a member of the Order of the
British Empire (OBE) in the same year. He finished his career with 42 wins
in 53 fights, 12 of them by a knockout. Well done,
Back from a bit of shopping, including Mr Minit for key cutting. I got
two spare sets of keys for Das Busse. A bit more expensive than I expected
at $50 but that's for a total of 6 keys; front/side door and ignition,
back door, and petrol cap. I intend to hide one set on the body exterior
but I have no idea where yet. That Mr
Minit place is amazing... key cutting, shoe repair, engraving, watch
service, plus lots of knick knacks.
When I first got TT I had one set of keys. One day, I opened the boot/trunk
to rummage around for something and put the keys on the floor. Then I closed
the boot without retrieving the keys. Oops! So I phoned the NRMA and the
poor bloke had to first of all break into the car via the driver's door,
and then detach the back seat from the frame (which took a bit of doing)
and THEN had to poke a wire into the boot through the frame holes hoping
to hook the key ring. He finally succeeded but not before I'd gone a bright
shade of scarlet for being such a bloody dill. So then I decided to get
a spare set of keys.
And that's it for Mondee. A quiet day. Leftover meatloaf and pumpkin/potato
mash and gravy tonight. Nothing flash but it'll do the job, and it tastes
May 8, 2011. I got a laugh outta watching this
vid of a playful dog and a not-so-playful cockatoo. Hehe.
TX Greg, being the thoughtful little cherub he is, reminded me not to
forget the bottle openers when I
pack Das Busse. Thanks, Greg. That's very sweet of you. :-/
Meanwhile, NC Art wrote: Yep, cleaning up cowboy movie streets was
a full time (job). Realism be hanged. Ladies in the audience might be offended,
and small boys would be in hysterics waiting for Tonto's horse Scout to
dump a great load. But you are right about the value of various forms of
poop for fertilizing crops. Cow manure is wonderful, even tho getting the
stuff to the fields is not too pleasant. Chicken droppings are great also,
but stink to high heaven if spread before 'curing' awhile. And unfortunately
the gift from the horse is too heavy with hard minerals unless well rotted
with hay or dried grasses for weeks in sunshine. Still should not be used
on garden produce such as lettuce, carrots, radishes and others that are
yanked while tender and stuffed directly in the mouth. Trust me, I was
born and reared on a farm.
As a kid my family used to visit relatives who owned a 50 acre property
at Liverpool west of Sydney. They had a couple of cows and a few pigs,
and lots of bushland. I remember well the fruit salad and fresh cream desserts!
But I also remember my mother's disgust at hearing about the neighbors
who had moved in next door to our rellos. They were Italians, and they
used their own poo to fertilize their fruit and vegetable gardens. Hehe.
That was back in the '50s when Greek and Italian migrants were treated
with great suspicion.
Art also comments on female priests and American politics: I note
that Pope Benny Seventh got your panties in a wad by dumping a Catholic
priest over suggesting that females are worthy of ordination. That religion
moves too slowly for the unaided eye to see. Then an American state is
trying to pass a law that requires any woman seeking an abortion must undergo
a sonogram and be shown her fetus in the womb. Then she must be advised
on a raft of the horrors of taking a life. And a doctor--appointed by the
state--must tell her a lot of things that are not true about hellish results
to scare her into the nearest church maybe. One lie is a statistical absurdity
about the number of women who commit suicide after the procedure. So much
for the loud Republican claims of personal responsibility and freedom from
meddling of government in private affairs. These politicians are too blind
to see the contradiction. We've gone f*****g nuts!
PS: The celibacy rule was created after a bunch of popes married
like normal humans; after the rule plenty of them had mistresses and bastard
children all over the palace. One or more of these young lads followed
dad to the papal throne. Three (known) popes were caught in flagrante
and two died while in sexual ecstasy with a buxom wench.
Sorry to break the news, Art, but Americans don't have a monopoly on
going nuts. Hehe.
Beeb time: The Pentagon has released home videos of Osama Bin Laden,
seized at the secret Pakistani compound where he was shot dead by US commandos.
The tapes show him watching himself on television, and preparing a video
message addressed to the US. Check
out the full story here. At least five people are killed and dozens
more wounded during clashes between Muslims and Christians in Cairo, Egyptian
officials say. And what, may I ask, do Muslims and
Christians have in common? RAF war planes have destroyed rocket
launchers and dozens of Scud-missile containers in Libya, the Ministry
of Defence says. I heard someone comment on TV that
Gadaffi is an obsessive power freak, and has no intention of letting go.
Troops and tanks reportedly move into the Syrian city of Baniyas, centre
of anti-government protests, with reports of six people killed. And
Gadaffi is not the only one. The UK's wealthiest people have rebounded
from the recession increasing their worth by 18% in the past year, the
Sunday Times Rich List says. The economic crisis wiped £155bn from
collective wealth of the 1,000 richest people in 2009, but they are now
worth £395.8bn, according to the annual survey. The number of billionaires
in the UK now stands at 73 - up from 53. It includes its first woman -
Specsavers' Dame Mary Perkins. The 67-year-old is worth - along with husband
Douglas and their family - £1.15bn, a 42% increase from last year.
folks, all men are equal. Seve Ballesteros, one of golf's most gifted
and charismatic players, has died after a long battle with cancer. The
54-year-old passed away surrounded by his family at his home in Pedrena,
northern Spain, in the early hours of Saturday morning. Ballesteros was
diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008 after losing consciousness at Madrid
Airport. The five-time major winner had four operations to remove the tumour
as well as undergoing chemotherapy. The Big C strikes
again. How sad.
Checking prices of RV awnings and stuff and came across this
motorhome conversion company with a selection of used campers for sale,
mostly around the $30,000+ mark for the economy models. There's one "starter"
similar to mine but with more gear @ $15,000, but I'm hoping another $5000-ish
spent on Das Busse will bring it up to scratch. Take away what I get for
selling Bluey and I've got me a bargain, yes? That's the theory.
I watched an interesting doco on TV last night about an American collector
of classic cars and various other machinery who bought a
British Spitfire for a million bucks, and then spent a few hundred
thou restoring it. There was no way he could fly it to his home in Florida
(they were designed for short range flights over the English Channel) so
he had it dismantled (very carefully) and shipped in a specially designed
container by sea, and then transported by road to his display warehouse
where it was reassembled (also very carefully). Then it was taken for a
test flight to tweek bits and pieces such as the ailerons before the new
owner took the controls. He was thrilled beyond belief, and heaped praise
on the design and engineering of one of the world's classic aircraft, especially
the elliptical design of its wings. I've never heard a bad word said by
anyone about the legendary Spitfire (although I don't think the Germans
were too thrilled about them hehe). Pilots say they are incredibly responsive
to the controls and are a joy to fly. It's amazing to think that technology
is 70 years old and still impressive.
Right, pies are in the oven, stage 1 of the chips is done, stage 1 of
the scrambled eggs (for Sue) is done, and the tomato is sliced. I should
be a cook in a roadside diner ya know. I could make a grand a week. Easy.
And I could meet a few truckies. Hehe. Yeah, right. If a big hairy truckie
put the hard word on me I'd be outta there in a flash!
Wanna see my truck?
Cos I don't like trucks.
You'll like my truck.
No, no, no, no, no!
You're just playing hard to get.
May 7, 2011. Satdee again already! Oregon Richie was chuffed
with the pilot convos yesterday and sent me this link to the story of The
Long Way Home by a Pacific Clipper after the Japanese attack on Pearl
Harbor during WWII. I well remember those flying boats. They were operated
by Qantas out of Rose Bay in Sydney Harbor for many years.
And on the subject of WWII, NC Art wrote: Old war memories came back
as you wrote of naval special forces. Armies have counterparts and have
for a long while. A lesson I quickly learned while mixing with troops from
several nations was to keep a good distance from Aussie and Canuck Rangers.
They were big, quiet, and could sort out a bar fight without breathing
hard. My co-pilot tangled with one and got pretty banged up for his trouble.
Canuck? A slang term for Canadian.
Art also says cowboys didn't restrict their diet to canned beans: There
was also bacon--until it turned rancid from hot days in leather saddlebags.
The only animal to have tamed a horse and use it for transport is man.
How's that for cluey? If you wanna run faster and cover longer distances,
throw a leg over a horse. Horses have four legs and their bodies are horizontal,
which explains why Australian Aborigines never saddled up a kangaroo. Boing.
boing, boing! But it's only fairly recently that it occurred to me I never
saw a Hollywood western with horse poo in the main street of town. Lots
of ladies in long dresses crossing the street but no horse poo. And when
the director took a wide shot of the stranger riding into town, the whole
street was swept clean as a whistle. It was my
trip to Timber Town not far from here that made me realize how much
horse and bullock poo is part of the scene.
I remember as a kid the horse-drawn carts that delivered milk, bread
and ice to our street. The horse poo never lasted long on the road. Neighbors
would rush out with their shovels and buckets and scoop it up for their
garden while it was still warm. My mother never did that. She probably
thought it was too undignified.
Beeb time: US President Barack Obama has met the military team that
killed Osama Bin Laden and praised their mission as "one of the greatest
military operations in our nation's history". He also vowed the US would
defeat the al-Qaeda terror network Bin Laden led. Earlier, al-Qaeda confirmed
the death of Bin Laden, according to a statement attributed to the group
posted online. Meanwhile, documents found at Bin Laden's compound suggest
al-Qaeda was planning further US attacks. Officials are examining computers,
DVDs, hard drives and documents seized from the Abbottabad home where Bin
Laden may have hidden for up to six years. One planned attack targeted
a US rail route, US officials revealed, although no imminent threat was
detected. How embarrassing for al-Qaeda... somebody
has been snooping! At least 13 people have been killed in anti-government
protests in Syrian cities, human rights activists say. At least six people
were killed in Homs, campaigners say, with deaths also reported in Hama.
A prominent dissident was reportedly arrested in Damascus. President Bashar
al-Assad's government has said it is taking decisive action against terrorists
and criminals. You got it wrong, Bashar. They're
not terrorists and criminals. More than one tonne of ivory has been
seized at Nairobi's international airport, Kenyan police have said. About
115 elephant tusks were found by sniffer dogs inside metal containers bound
for an address in Nigeria. It was the largest seizure in recent months,
police said. Last year, two tonnes of ivory and five rhino horns were found
at Nairobi's airport. If it weren't for the end users,
it wouldn't happen. Anyone found with new ivory should be jailed.
Sir Paul McCartney is to marry his girlfriend of four years. The former
Beatle, who is 68, has become engaged to 51-year-old New York businesswoman
Nancy Shevell, who will become his third wife. Sir Paul's first wife, Linda,
died of cancer in 1998. He married Heather Mills in 2002 and divorced in
2008. Ms Shevell was married for more than 20 years to American lawyer
and political candidate Bruce Blakeman. All you need
is love, da dee da dee dum... At least 12 people have been killed
in a US drone strike in the troubled Pakistani tribal region of North Waziristan,
officials have said. It is the first such attack since US commandos killed
al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in a fortified compound in the north-western
town of Abbottabad. The raid on Monday heightened tensions between Islamabad
and Washington. Be careful you don't bite the hand
that feeds you, Islamabad. A row has broken out in Australia over
reports it plans to reopen a controversial processing centre for asylum
seekers in Papua New Guinea. PM Julia Gillard has not confirmed this but
a PNG minister said a request to house a centre had been made. The Manus
Island centre was part of the so-called "Pacific solution" adopted by the
John Howard government. This is the second backflip
Gillard has done. First, the carbon tax, and now the "Pacific Solution".
She's an opportunist - says one thing and then does another - and I don't
like her one bit. The sooner she's gone, the better. Her minority government
is only there because of the support of independents... and the sooner
they're gone the better also. Besides that, she's got a Pinocchio nose,
and we all know what that means.
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has removed Australian Bishop William
M. Morris of Toowoomba from office five years after he wrote a pastoral
letter indicating he would be open to ordaining women and married men if
church rules changed to allow such a possibility.
Well, you see, dear Breth, Jesus chose only men to be his apostles.
He preferred blokes. And the reason for that (funny he never married) is
because woman are unclean, which explains why Mary became pregnant without
any assistance from Joseph. She remained a virgin. Sex is a no no, you
know. We can't have blokes porking Christ's mom. It's okay for blokes to
pork women who give birth to ordinary humans but not the son of God. No,
no, no, can't have that. It's undignified. Celibacy is the norm for priests
in the Latin rite, such as Pope Benny. All that pumping and grinding and
sweating and grunting is not the kind of activity that befits a man of
the cloth. The Virgin Birth was the world's first case of in vitro fertilization.
No naughty bits involved. Apart from that, the priesthood is an exclusive
men's-only club because men are clean. Right, Benny?
Actually, I find it quite odd that a bloke like God, who never had sex
with anyone, and has no need for a penis, created such a bizarre method
of reproduction. I mean it's not as if he got the idea from watching porn
movies or anything like that because they didn't exist at the time.
I'd love to post a comment like that on Justin's blog but he'd break
out in boils if I did.
When I was a kid I had a thing about cubby houses. I even built a couple,
one with a secret compartment under the floor. Now of course I'm all grown
up and mature and sensible and have left all those childish things behind.
...Almost. When no one was looking, I took my Sony portable stereo down
to Das Busse and played a CD of my favs... one of those Kellys Kompilations
I did years ago. And I sat there listening to the music and wondered what
it might be like if I were parked out in the sticks somewhere. I concluded
that home is where your THINGS are... your music, your laptop, your cameras,
your clothes, your food and drink, your bits and pieces... all the things
that make a house a home. Have you ever moved house and taken one last
look at the place before leaving? It's weird to see that empty space. The
house is still there but the home is gone. The soul is gone. Know what
So I figure once Das Busse is loaded up with all my THINGS (well, the
ones that fit), I'll feel differently about it. Campervans have limited
storage. So I figure extra baggage will have to be stored in the area not
being used. For example, when I stop to camp, a whole bunch of stuff like
folding chairs and tables will be moved outside under the awning. If it
rains, they'll all have to come back inside which will bugger up my living/sleeping
space. So I'm gonna have to become an expert at logistics... this goes
here when I'm doing this, and that goes over there when I'm doing that.
I have a feeling that the driver's cabin is gonna be piled high with stuff
when I'm camped to get it outta the way of my living space. Sounds like
a lotta fun, yes? Never mind, I'll figure it all out. And when I do, ladies
and genitals, I'll take some piccies so you can see what a wonderful time
I'm having. And if I look a bit frazzled you'll understand why. Hehe.
Oh dear... me and my dumb ideas.
So what's on the menu tonight? Pork loin chops and onions for THEM and...
well, I dunno yet. There's leftover meatloaf and leftover chicken, or there's
Dhal Tadka, a spicy Indian lentil soup which I really like... and I'm not
all that hungry anyway. Trouble is, my bum will be on fire tomorrow morning.
Hehe. That Indian stuff goes through you like molten lava. But it tastes
good. Actually, it tastes bloody wicked. I love all Asian cooking but THEY
don't, so I don't get to have it all that often. I love Italian cooking
The other day Lindsay asked for a change from chips. "How about rice?"
"No, don't like rice." "How about pasta?" "No, don't like pasta." "How
about vegetables?" "No, don't like vegetables." Woe is me.
I used to make my own pizzas until Sue said, "I eat them but I don't
like them." I used to make Tacos until they both said, "No, we don't like
them." They don't like bolognaise (and I make the best), they don't like
sweet and sours, they don't like curries, they don't like this, they don't
like that. Well, bugger 'em. And then they turn around and ask for "something
different". Hehe. I deserve a medal. Honestly, those Seal blokes who wasted
Osama bin Laden have got it easy compared to what I have to put up with.
They wouldn't last a week here.
And that's it for Satdee, folks. Gary
May 6, 2011. Time for a few giggles. NC Art forwarded these excerpts
from pilot convos with ground control and other pilots:
Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock,
Delta 351: "Give us another hint! We have digital
Tower: "TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right
TWA 2341: "Center, we are at 35,000 feet..
how much noise can we make up here?"
Tower: "Sir, have you ever heard the noise
a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"
From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very
long takeoff queue: "I'm f...ing bored!"
Ground Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting,
identify yourself immediately!"
Unknown aircraft: "I said I was f...ing bored,
not f...ing stupid!"
O'Hare Approach Control to a 747: "United
329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, three miles, Eastbound."
United 329: "Approach, I've always wanted to
say this....I've got the little Fokker in sight."
A student became lost during a solo cross-country
flight. While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked,"What
was your last known position?"
Student: "When I was number one for takeoff."
A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus
had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down.
San Jose Tower Noted: "American 751, make
a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are
not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the
lights and return to the airport."
A Pan Am 727 flight, waiting for start clearance
in Munich , overheard the following:
Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start
Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you
must speak in English."
Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying
a German airplane, in Germany . Why must I speak English?"
Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful
British accent): "Because you lost the bloody war!"
Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact
Departure on frequency 124.7."
Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to
Departure. By the way, after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal
on the far end of the runway."
Tower: "Continental 635, cleared
for takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did
you copy that report from Eastern 702?"
Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared
for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern. We've already notified
One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by
the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed.
The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee.
Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and
said, "What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?"
The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the
insult go by, came back with a real zinger: "I made it out of DC-8 parts.
Another landing like yours and I'll have enough parts for another one."
The German air controllers at Frankfurt
Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect
one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without
any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan
Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground
control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.
Speedbird 206: " Frankfurt , Speedbird
206. Clear of active runway.."
Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven."
The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed
to a stop.
Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you
Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking
up our gate location now."
Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): "Speedbird
206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?"
Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in
1944, but it was dark...... and I didn't land."
While taxiing at London 's Gatwick Airport
, the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a
wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727. An irate
female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming:
"US Air 2771, where the hell are you going? I told you to turn right onto
Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it's
difficult for you to tell the difference between C and D, but get it right!"
Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting
hysterically: "God! Now you've screwed everything up! It'll take forever
to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I tell you to!
You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour, and
I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell
you! You got that, US Air 2771?"
"Yes, ma'am," the humbled crew responded.
Naturally, the ground control communications
frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air
2771. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her
current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was
definitely running high. Just then, an unknown pilot broke the silence
and keyed his microphone, asking: "Wasn't I married to you once?"
Art also tells me: The Associated Press reported this morning that
a New Mexico Apache leader has demanded an apology from Washington over
the use of Geronimo as a code word for the operation that took down Osama
bin Laden. The complaint is that it is scandalous to associate a ruthless
mass murderer with the
revered warrior Geronimo. Well, I suppose in their view, the killing
that brave did was simply defending Native American rights. I can see their
point, but the white settlers and a bunch of soldiers are still dead. Aborigines
don't get a fair shake anywhere!
No they don't. If they did, it would be you and me living on a reservation
instead of them.
Through my kitchen window I can see an NRMA roadside assistance van
attending to a motorist who can't get his car started. Those NRMA blokes
are worth their weight in gold, ya know. They started out back in the '20s
with bicycles, then graduated to motorcycles. Later they were equipped
with vans. I called the NRMA way back in '62 when my Morris broke down,
and the bloke organized a tow truck. Then he gave me a lift home in his
J van. Mind you, I was a young spunk then. I wouldn't even get a bloody
bus ticket these days.
The bloke who sold me the power steering kit is thinking about relisting
his brand new engine on eBay at a starting price of $2750. He said I could
have it for that price plus delivery, which is a damn good deal. But I
explained that I'm waiting on a quote for rust and body repair, and that
if it's over the top I'll sell the van and cut my losses. In any case,
if I do go ahead with body repairs, I'll be skint for the next several
months until I save enough for mechanicals, etc. So he said if I sell the
van, I won't need the power steering kit, and offered to refund my money.
How's that for a nice bloke? That's the last thing I expected! Anyway,
we'll see what happens.
Beeb time: US President Barack Obama lays a wreath at Ground Zero in
New York, telling firefighters America will "never forget" the 9/11 attacks.
neither will the rest of the world. The men assigned to capture
or kill Osama Bin Laden were part of the US Navy's legendary special forces
unit, the Seals. Who are they? It was years in the planning but took just
40 minutes to execute. From the US point of view, the mission, codenamed
Geronimo, could hardly have gone any better, a reflection on the preparation
and skills of the men who carried it out.
the full article here. Brazil's Supreme Court has voted overwhelmingly
in favour of allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights as married
heterosexuals. The decision was approved by 10-0 with one abstention. Brazil
is the world's most populous Roman Catholic nation and has an estimated
60,000 gay couples.
Ooer! I wonder what Pope Benny
will have to say about that! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are
to pay an official visit to the US following their first overseas tour
to Canada this summer. Prince William and his new wife will extend the
trip with a three-day visit to California from 8-10 July, said their spokesman.
While the prince has previously visited the States in a private capacity,
this will be the duchess's first trip to the country. What
war of independence? Oh, THAT one! Hey, that happened a long time ago.
A 97-year-old Hungarian accused of massacring civilians in Serbia in 1942
has gone on trial in Hungary. Sandor Kepiro was listed by the Simon Wiesenthal
Center as the world's most wanted Nazi war crimes suspect. Never
let the bastards rest. Seven detainees at an Australian immigration
centre in Sydney have been charged in connection with a riot. The men are
accused of several offences including affray and destroying property at
the Villawood detention facility last month. Do the
crime, do the time. I have no sympathy for those people. It may
seem strange that humans have evolved from fish, but the evidence can be
found not just in fossils but also within our own bodies. Your face is
your most expressive feature; it tells the world what you are feeling,
who you are and where you come from. Although no two faces are exactly
the same, they share a number of common characteristics; a couple of eyes,
a nose, a mouth and a philtrum. The philtrum is the groove on your top
lip that lies just beneath your nose. You see it every day in the mirror
so you probably never think about it. It has no obvious function. Instead
it is an accident of our origins, a clue to our fishy past and how our
faces first formed. Read
the full article here. The world's last known combat veteran of World
War I, Claude Choules, has died in Australia aged 110. Known to his comrades
as Chuckles, British-born Mr Choules joined the Royal Navy at 15 and went
on to serve on HMS Revenge. He moved to Australia in the 1920s and served
in the military until 1956. There ya go Art, you've
only got 25 years left. US carmaker General Motors' first quarter
profit more than triples, helped by rising car sales and the sale of assets.
to see the General back in biz.
The story about the Merry Can Seals is interesting. I watched a doco
on Oz TV about the training of our own special forces, and trust me, if
those guys didn't measure up 100% they were out. Some of them simply couldn't
handle the constant punishment and opted out of the course, even during
the latter stages. Only the absolute cream got the nod. As I remember,
they were navy guys... lots of diving missions as well as land training.
One of the training aspects that really got to me was how the trainees
were constantly abused and ridiculed by their superiors despite their best
efforts. It was obvious they had to rise above psychological pressures
as well as physical in order to make the grade. No wonder they're referred
to as the elite.
Reminds me of the movie, The
Okies, time for a tongue twister. Say out loud three times in quick
succession 'Irish Wristwatches'.
Chicken schnitzels and fresh corn cobs tonight. I absolutely love corn
cobs, smothered in butter with a sprinkle of ground pepper. Certain things
will always be in Das Busse's pantry... corn cobs, potatoes, tomatoes and
onions. Can't do without those! And they keep well. Rice and flour are
also important. For example, where do you get fresh bread out in the sticks?
No wukkers. Flour, salt, sugar, butter and milk. Make a dough, roll it
into a ball and put it on the end of a stick over a fire. And there you
have it. Fresh
damper (Aussie bush bread). You can also bake it in a camp oven. I
reckon you could also flatten it into thin rounds and fry it like a pancake.
Remember the old cowboy movies where the drifter would stop to camp
somewhere overnight, light a fire and open a can of beans? Well, that cowboy
wasn't too bright. I quite like beans, but there's a limit to how many
times you can eat beans for dinner. I intend to be a little more adventurous
with my culinary exploits.
As a kid, I always thought it was interesting that a cowboy sitting
by his campfire at night would welcome a stranger who might happen by to
share his coffee by the light of his fire, which was his private "space"
- his home for the night. In the morning light, the space defined by the
firelight would vanish and his private domain would cease to exist. Maybe
that's why we need walls made of something more permanent. Even an awning
at the side of Das Busse will define my space. It's one of those territorial
instincts we inherit from our ancestors. So I'll have to remember to pee
on the pegs each time I erect the awning.
Speaking of bush foods, our regular lemon tree has died in the bum but
the bush lemon tree is fruiting. Bush lemons have a thick crinkly skin
but what the hell. They taste like lemons, and I LOVE lemon squeezed on
chicken schnitzel. Mental note: add lemons to Das Busse's pantry. Gary
May 5, 2011. Oregon Richie was not a big fan of Osama bin Laden:
continues to be non-stop news here about the operation which finally wasted
OBL. Facing one's fate in the barrel of a modern-day sword of recriprocal
justice is certainly just as concerns THAT evil bastard. Dunno if
his last thoughts were of the idyllic afterlife full of more psychos and
wives or any other paradise was in his mind or that if his terror made
him think twice about all the people he forced to happily march off to
that fate made him think twice or if he actually paused to realize that
he really was a sick murderous evil bastard and kind of muttered "Oh, shit...."
to himself but I don't care. I doubt that these incredible elite
forces types lost their sense of control or discipline and whether he was
armed with an UZI or a flyswatter matters to me naught. He cost the
world thousands upon thousands of unjust deaths, incredible damage, literally
billions of dollars, and set millions of people at each others throats......
to put it in context. Story ended.
NC Art wasn't a big fan either: It isn't surprising to hear all the
claptrap opinionating over Osama B. L., but it is useless. I am all for
due process of law, etc., but some situations just do not resolve that
tidily. Did that merry band of murderers notify the Mayor of New
York City about the fine points of international law before executing innocents
in the demolishing of several blocks of expensive real estate? War makes
fine distinctions irrelevant. A priest asked me twenty years ago how I
handled the guilt of killing citizens in air raids over Nazi Germany. I
did not enjoy it at all, but those possible deaths meant that many others
could live free at war's end. He had never thought of that possibility,
and shut up about it.
War makes fine distinctions irrelevant. Yes, it does. And if it didn't
we Aussies would all be speaking Japanese and driving Toyotas. Hang on...
scratch the Toyota bit.
My feeling is that America had a job to do. There was no way America
was gonna let a bloke organize and carry out an event like 9-11 and get
away with it. If bin Laden had lived out his life as an old man without
being caught, it would have made America look foolish and impotent - not
to mention vulnerable. The capture and death of bin Laden is more symbolic
than anything else. It won't stop the fundamentalist loonies from causing
mayhem but at least the evil bastard got his comeuppance, and has ceased
to haunt the American psyche.
As to the question; is the world a safer place now that OBL is dead?
Well, would it have been any safer with him still alive? It's interesting
to me that the special forces gave OBL's body a Muslim burial at sea, which
is a sign of at least some respect. I can't see Muslim extremists giving
a Christian victim a Christian burial.
an old WWII vet with 4 sons, one of whom is gay, talking about marriage
Beeb time: President Barack Obama has decided that photos of the dead
Osama Bin Laden should not be released. US officials had been discussing
whether to publish pictures of Bin Laden's body to counter conspiracy theories
that he did not die. But Mr Obama believed the images could inflame sensitivities,
saying: "We don't trot out this stuff as trophies." Fair
enough. I'm not sure I'd wanna see them anyway. An international
aid ship helping to evacuate people from the besieged Libyan port of Misrata
has come under rocket attack from government forces. Witnesses said at
least five people died and there was widespread panic among those trying
to board the ferry, the Red Star One. Amid the chaos about 200 people were
left behind when the ship sailed for Benghazi, rebel sources said. Meanwhile,
the world continues on its merry way.
Well, it's a funny old world, ladies and genitals, a funny old world
indeed. As Jesus Christ said on the cross, "Forgive them Father for they're
a bunch of bloody dickheads." Well, if he had been an Aussie, that's what
he would have said. And on the third day, he would have asked for a carton
of Fosters to take with him to heaven.
Meanwhile, 12 prawns have sacrificed their lives so that L&S and
I can have dinner tonight. I don't think the hash browns suffered too much.
Anyway, it's too bad if they did. Gary
May 4, 2011. My mother's birthday. She would have been 103 if
she were still alive. She died in 1991.
To my left there's a door. To my right there's my bedroom window through
which I can see part of Das Busse's poptop, a lemon tree, the corrugated
iron roof of the house next door, and a tall tree beyond that. Not very
thrilling. I'm trying to imagine what I might see through DB's sliding
door on the Odyssey as I type my journal. At the mo, it would be the lemon
tree because she's parked in the yard, but on the Odyssey it could be anything...
and everything. I need to keep reminding myself of those possibilities
because I often have negative thoughts about living the vagabond life -
the dangers, the uncertainties, the risks... my older bro saying, "I wouldn't
do it... you never know what might happen." He was referring to health
But then I read anecdotes from travelers who say they've had the most
wonderful experience of their lives. Hehe.
I've always had that negative voice trying to spoil the party. Back
in my radio days it was, "What if I stumble? What if I don't know how to
pronounce something correctly? What if I make a mistake? What if I need
to swallow half way through the voice over? What if the client doesn't
like my script?" And so on.
I wonder what goes through an astronaut's mind during the countdown,
or an athlete's mind before the starter's gun fires. Anyway, like I said,
I need to keep reminding myself of the positives, like the
view through Das Busse's sliding door. Or
something like this. Or
this, the famous Todd River Regatta on a dry creek bed. Or
something like this. :o)
Beeb time: Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was unarmed when he was killed
by US troops on Sunday after resisting capture, the White House has said.
The CIA said it did not tell Pakistan about the raid in advance over fears
they would jeopardise the mission. Pakistan denies any prior knowledge
of the raid - its intelligence agency says it is embarrassed by its failures.
The CIA is already examining material seized in the raid, including computer
hard drives, DVDs and other documents. Well, the
people in the WTC towers weren't armed either. And quite frankly I don't
blame the CIA for not telling Pakistan about the raid. The code
name for the operation to capture Osama Bin Laden was Geronimo. Why was
it named after one of the best-known Native Americans? Read
the article here. News of Osama Bin Laden's killing by US forces in
Abbottabad is on the front page of practically every leading Pakistani
and Indian newspaper - with pages of coverage devoted to his death and
its likely impact. Columnist Kamran Shafi, writing in Pakistan's Dawn newspaper,
says that the circumstances of Bin Laden's death will embarrass the authorities.
"Certainly, the astonishing manner in which the operation that resulted
in Bin Laden's death - the news of what had happened… leaves us all gasping
in astonishment," the editorial said. "It is hard to believe that foreign
aircraft could have flown so deep into our territory undetected and unanticipated."
Another editorial, this time in The Nation says that Bin Laden's presence
in Abbottabad has not only exposed Pakistan's flawed security measures,
"but has also busted the bubble of foolproof security measures in Pakistan's
military hub". The Statesman says that official denials over Bin Laden's
presence in Pakistan has hampered efforts to deal forcefully with the so-called
Pakistani Taliban, with which al-Qaeda is said to have links. "Tens of
thousands of people have died in Pakistan as a result of terrorist activity
since 9/11, more than all the European and American victims combined,"
it says. "Given this context, and amid predictions by Western commentators
of possible terrorist retaliation against US and British targets, it is
Pakistanis, along with Afghans, who are most likely to pay a blood price
in terms of revenge attacks for the slaying of a man who is seen by some
in the Muslim world as an iconic figure." Undoubtedly
so. Amnesty International publishes satellite images of what it
says are North Korea's political prison camps, saying they appear to be
growing in size. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
about life in a North Korean camp here. Japan's Nissan Motor
has won a contract to provide the next generation of New York's famous
yellow taxis. The deal, which is estimated to be worth $1bn (£607m)
was announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The design will be based on Nissan's
NV200 minivan model. The van, which beat US carmaker Ford Motor and Turkish
manufacturer Karsan Otomotiv for the 10-year contract, will be phased in
starting in 2013. Who would have believed that on
September 2, 1945, aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri, when officials
from the Japanese government signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender,
ending World War II. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
has called for Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi to step down "for the
sake of the country's future". Mr Erdogan said the Libyan leader had ignored
the wishes of his people by using force against them. You
tell 'em, Recep Tayyip. The brutal killing of a South African lesbian
activist has been condemned as a hate crime by Human Rights Watch. The
US-based group has urged the police to do more to find those responsible
for the recent murder and rape of Noxolo Nogwaza. She was stoned and stabbed
on 24 April after a row in a bar in KwaThema township, east of Johannesburg.
Activists say gay South African women are targeted for what some call "corrective
rape". Corrective rape? How absurd. That's the kind
of logic you get from morons.
I heard a bloke on talk-back radio a little while ago criticize the
"home invasion" and murder of Osama bin Laden without due process through
the courts. So I did a bit of Googling.
There have been many media reports since 2001 that Osama bin Laden is
"probably" dead, that he was suffering an untreated lung complication or
kidney disease and/or diabetes, and that he died sometime in December 2001.
Various tapes released by Al-Qaeda in the name of bin Laden are voice only.
According to a media report, the last video of bin Laden was released December
27, 2001. The video was dismissed by the Bush administration as sick propaganda
possibly designed to mask the fact the al-Qa'eda leader was already dead.
"He could have made the video and then ordered that it be released in the
event of his death," said one White House aide.
Well, if bin Laden was already dead, then who was the dude shot by American
special forces in a Pakistani compound the other day, and then whisked
away to be buried at sea?
There are those who question the legality of the American covert operation
on foreign soil without Pakistani permission, and the shooting of an unarmed
man before disposing of his body at sea rather than capturing him alive
and bringing him to justice in a court of law.
Now there's something to think about.
Meanwhile, I have to think about feeding my own troops. Meatloaf tonight...
good old fashioned meatloaf with potato and pumpkin mash and peas and gravy.
I use a mix of sausage meat and ground beef with finely chopped onion,
carrot and celery, plus a few herbs. And I spray the top with a little
cooking oil so that it forms a nice crust in the oven. Mmmm. Gary
May 3, 2011. No wonder NC Art is 85. He has to make the most
of his watch: Thanks for the exposition on time. I remember the 30=day
automatic watches, but now wear one so damned smart it keeps the correct
time no matter what. The thing is controlled by a radio signal from a military
station on a mountain top in Colorado. And I don't need to worry about
being late to an appointment; It will not lose or gain a second in one
million years. How wonderful; I can't wait to see who to sue when
I check the time on May 2, 908,000. Timing is controlled by the radioactive
decay rate of Cesium. More wonderful?
Wikipedia: Two German chemists, Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff,
discovered caesium in 1860 by the newly developed method of flame spectroscopy.
The first small-scale applications for caesium have been as a "getter"
in vacuum tubes and in photoelectric cells. In 1967, a specific frequency
from the emission spectrum of caesium-133 was chosen to be used in the
definition of the second by the International System of Units. Since then,
caesium has been widely used in atomic clocks.
Robert Bunsen? Was he the bunsen burner person? I remember those things
from science class at school. BTW, the previous owner of Das Busse tells
me the gas bottle is full.
Well, my Citizen is a Singapore cheapie, day/date, automatic, 21 jewel
movement, sweep hand. No battery to replace, nothing to wind. Provided
I keep moving around, it'll keep going. It gains about a minute a week
and requires adjustment at the end of months with less than 31 days but
other than that, it's a great watch. It has a plain black face and stainless
steel bracelet... nothing fancy or showy.
I wonder what kind of watch Obama wears, or Prince William, or Betty
Windsor? Some watches are designed to be fashion statements, or an indication
of the wearer's wealth and status. Others are meant to dazzle with their
myriad of dials and knobs. Others can keep perfect time 30 meters below
the surface of the ocean. Sheesh. Mine's a pensioner's watch... it tells
the day, date and time, and that's it. And it's not meant to go into the
shower with you.
As to fashion statements, I
like gym boots. As a kid, I thought they were Jim boots because my
mate up the road, Jim, wore them. They don't need to be ankle high, though.
I like the simple rounded toe and no-fuss approach, and I like the color
combo of blue and white in canvas or denim. Otherwise, I don't wear fashion
statements... I wear non-fashion statements. The program director at a
radio station I worked for back in the mid '80s said, "You always look
such a dag." Hehe. Her nickname was Diamond Lil, so you can imagine what
she looked like.
Just got an email from the bloke who sold me the power steering kit.
He's been unwell but is now on the case to organize a courier. No worries.
I can wait.
Beeb time: US President Barack Obama has hailed the death of al-Qaeda
leader Osama Bin Laden as a "good day for America," saying the world is
now a safer and a better place. Bin Laden was killed in a raid by US special
forces on a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. He was buried
at sea after a Muslim funeral on board an aircraft carrier in the north
Arabian Sea, Pentagon officials said. Good thinking
99. We don't want a burial site to become a shrine for the asshole of all
assholes. Meanwhile, there will be reprisals. The death of bin Laden will
intensify Islamic fundamentalists' hatred of Infidels - if that's possible.
Syrian security forces killed 10 people and arrested 499 others in house-to-house
raids in Deraa on Sunday, an army spokesman has said. Residents said men
aged between 15 and 40 were being arrested, handcuffed and bussed to a
detention centre. Later, police broke up a protest by a group of women
in the capital Damascus. Rights groups say 560 people have been killed
across the country in protests against the repressive rule of President
Bashar al-Assad. Shades of Nazi Germany. And we all
know what happened to Adolf. The funeral of Col Gaddafi's youngest
son, Saif al-Arab, killed after an air strike over the weekend, is held
in Tripoli amid calls for revenge. Revenge is like
kicking a stone over the edge of a cliff. It ends up becoming an avalanche.
Be careful what you wish for Gaddafi supporters. The leaders of
African countries where al-Qaeda has staged attacks, such as Kenya, Tanzania
and Mali, have welcomed the killing by US forces in Pakistan of Osama Bin
Laden. Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki said it brought justice for al-Qaeda's
victims. Some 224 people, mostly Kenyans, were killed in the twin bombings
of the US embassies in Nairobi and in Tanzania's main city Dar es Salaam
in 1998. Bin Laden was an asshole leader of other
assholes. Period. Stock markets reverse their earlier gains and
oil prices rise after US President Barack Obama says Osama Bin Laden is
dead. The sun and the wind and the tides don't belong
to the Middle East. That's what we need to keep in mind.
My brain is not performing very well today... gone on strike. Oh well,
maybe it'll work better tomorrow. Gary
May 2, 2011. Very interesting article on Justin's
blog about a prominent US law firm refusing to defend the Federal Defense
of Marriage Act. The article then goes on to discuss the "evolution" of
TX Greg sent this pic of a Kombi sidecar. How cute is that? I think
BTW, have I mentioned before that Oz
has its very own Texas? So there ya go, who said there were no kangaroos
in Texas? Meanwhile, isn't it remarkable that Volkswagen created two of
the most internationally recognizable automotive icons in the history of
motoring - the Beetle and the original Kombi. I seriously doubt that anything
like that will ever happen again.
NC Art wants to know what a carer's bonus is. Well, I'm Sue's carer.
Sue is married to Lindsay. I care for them both but I only get paid for
Sue by the government in the form of a carer's pension. It saves the government
a packet. Both Sue and Linsday are on disability pensions. In other words,
that's what I do for a living. And once a year the government gives all
carers a bonus to show its appreciation for our good work (and saving them
a fortune in professional carer costs in institutions - something in the
vicinity of $50,000 per person per year). The bonus, by the way, is about
$1600. The carer pension is a bit less than $24,000 per annum.
L&S are off the booze now, and reasonably well behaved, so if Lindsay
stays on the straight and narrow after I'm gone, he could take over where
I left off, and care for Sue. That's up to him. Otherwise, Sue would be
institutionalized and perhaps Lindsay as well. Sobriety will be the key.
Meanwhile, after I go, I'll be on a regular age pension, which is considerably
less than what I get now.
Art also wants to know: What's with changing day/date at weird intervals?
These mentions have been noted several times, and I don't know what time
zone Oz is in, or how to adjust your time re Eastern Standard in U.S. Does
Oz change to Daylight Saving time from Standard time ala U. S. damned fool
custom? Ben Franklin was the original culprit as he decided a change would
save candle wax which was expensive and scarce in Colonial days. Milton
Berle, a comedian of years gone by, said we sure owed a lot to Tom Edison.
Without his invention we would be watching television by candle light.
I wear a Citizen day/date calendar watch. Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November, etc. The watch knows only 31 days, so whenever
a month is only 30 days long (or less), the watch tells me the next day
is the 31st instead of the 1st. Sooooooooooooo, I have to correct it.
Yes, I remember Milton, and we do have Daylight Saving. It was only
a month or so ago that we changed from Daylight Summertime back to normal
Eastern Standard. Many Aussies don't like Daylight Saving because it fades
the curtains. Hehe. Farmers don't like it because cows don't wear watches.
If a farmer milks his cows at 6am, which becomes 5am during DLS, he's gotta
get up earlier, and has a longer day. To make matters worse, not all states
in Oz have DLS, which makes it difficult to do business across some eastern
At the moment, it's 20:25 Sunday May 1 in New York, and here on the
eastern seaboard of Oz it's 10:25am Monday May 2. So that's a 14 hour diff.
Well, I couldn't wait so I drove to Smash Zone, the body repair place.
Chris, the bloke who did all the work on Bluey, sold the biz just before
Christmas to Matt, a big smiling character who seems friendly enough. The
workshop has plenty of cars in various states of repair, and it all looks
okay. So that'll do me, and it's not far from my place. Matt has an interesting
office... a converted caravan sitting just outside the shed. I asked him
to call in at his leisure and check out Das Busse for a quote. I discovered
a bit more rust today under the passenger side floor mat... nothing major,
just surface, but it needs to be attended to. So one afternoon after work,
he'll arrive and give me the sad news hehe. Obviously, if it's over the
top I'll cut my losses and sell the bus for whatever I can get. BUT, if
it's reasonable, say between 2 and 3 thou, I'll go ahead with it. I don't
expect to ever get my money back, but that's not the point. I'm willing
to spend about $10,000 all up. If the bus lasts 2 years that's $5000 a
year for transport and accommodation - or $100 a week. Not a bad deal.
And that's assuming I don't get anything back when I sell it. Yeah? Personally,
I reckon Das Busse after restoration will last 4 or 5 years without too
much trouble. Now all I have to do is last that long myself.
I know a bloke who traveled Oz in a motor home. He bought a new one
worth about a quarter of mill. "If I rent one, it'll cost at least a grand
a week, and I get nothing back. If I buy one, I lose about $20,000 when
I sell it. That's a cheap 12-month holiday." He's a millionaire, so he
can afford it. Hehe.
Beeb time: Al-Qaeda founder and leader Osama Bin Laden is dead, according
to US media reports citing officials. The US is in possession of Bin Laden's
body, the reports say. President Barack Obama is due to make a statement
shortly. Mr Bin Laden is top of the US most wanted list. He is accused
of being behind a number of atrocities, including the attacks on New York
and Washington on 11 September 2001. Best news I've
heard all day. Expect further reports before I post this page. The
UN has withdrawn all its international staff from the Libyan capital Tripoli
following a mob attack on its offices. UN buildings and some foreign missions
were targeted by angry crowds following a Nato air strike that reportedly
killed a son of Col Gaddafi. A BBC team in Tripoli said the British embassy
was completely burnt out with fires still smouldering and paperwork and
other debris scattered outside. Gaddafi is not the
only loony in Libya... obviously his supporters suffer from the same mental
deficiency. The Egyptian foreign minister urges the US to support
the declaration of an independent Palestinian state, in a significant change
of policy. But is it kosher? Police in Taiwan
are investigating a self-proclaimed prophet whose doomsday warnings on
a blog have caused panic. The man, identifying himself as Teacher Wang,
said Taiwan would be struck by a magnitude-14 earthquake and 170m (560ft)
high tsunami on 11 May. More than 100 cargo containers have been bought
and set up in a mountainous area of central Taiwan. Police said they were
investigating if the blogger had conspired with a container business to
defraud people. "Teacher Wang" suggested people live in such containers
to survive the disaster, which he said would kill millions of people and
split the island in half. The bigger the lie, and
the more often you tell it... Six major US tobacco companies defeat
a lawsuit filed by hospitals seeking financial compensation for treating
sick smokers. If someone is shot by a Smith &
Wesson, do you sue Smith and Wesson?
Come to think of it, maybe we should sue God for creating poppies and
I just heard a bunch of teens laughing and carrying on as teens do.
One of them had finished his drink, so he walked to a wheelie bin (waiting
at the kerb for tomorrow's collection) and put his container in the bin.
Nice to see that some kids do the right thing. In fact, it's always nice
to see *anyone* doing the right thing.
Time to stick a garlic and chilli marinated chicken in the oven, and
prepare a few spuds for roasting (with a sprinkle of herbs). Gary
May 1, 2011. Had to remember to adjust my day/date watch this
morning. I'll be right now till July 1, the Codeman's birthday. By then,
my carer's bonus should have come through, so, hopefully, that'll take
care of Das Busse's body work and Stage 1 of "The Project".
Lemme think about that:
1. Body work.
2. Mechanicals and registration.
3. Interior wiring, new batteries (including a deep cycle), inverter,
and light fittings.
4. Awning and canvas repairs.
5. Re-cover upholstery and install curtains.
6. Solar panel(s)
It's comforting to have an itemised plan so that I can see the light
at the end of the tunnel as it were, and know that it's all achievable.
Thanks, Richie. Meanwhile,
here's the same model as mine, with a similar camper conversion, selling
Just back from having a little poke around Das Busse. I don't like to
rush things, so I'm on a slow discovery tour. The stove at the rear has
a lock to keep it in place. Unlock it, and it slides and swivels to the
back of the van so that you can cook "outdoors" under the raised rear hatch.
How clever! I checked the fuel cap lock as well and it's fine now.
Hot water for breakfast tea? No wukkers. Boil the kettle at night before
retiring, pour the boiling water into a vacuum flask, and that's it. Tea
first thing after waking. And lemme tellya, when you light a gas fire,
you see a blue flame. You don't see that when you use an electric hotplate
or a microwave. A real flame! How exciting is that? Hehe. I'm getting carried
AND I really like those solar garden lamps. Pick a camping spot in the
morning, stick them in the ground, and voila! Night lighting. And they're
I commented on a 45-minute time-lapse Red
Bubble pic this morning and said I had no idea the heavens were so
busy. Oops! The heavens are not busy at all. We're busy spinning. Interesting
Beeb time: A Nato air strike in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, has killed
the son of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, a government spokesman has said. Colonel
Gaddafi himself was in the large residential villa which was hit by the
strike, the spokesman added, but was unharmed. His son Saif al-Arab was
said to be dead, as well as three grandchildren. Nato has confirmed the
air strike, without denying or confirming the reported deaths. A Nato spokesman
said the strike had hit a "known command and control building in the Bab
al-Azizya neighbourhood". "All Nato's targets are military in nature...
We do not target individuals," said Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard.
now we're getting serious. Very serious. The newly-wed royals are
to honeymoon overseas at a later date and are spending the weekend in the
UK before Prince William returns to work next week. So
much for the speculation about where the honeymoon would be. We'll have
to wait. But my money is on Oz. Hehe. Tens of thousands of pilgrims
are in Rome to attend ceremony to mark the beatification of the late Pope,
John Paul II. Among those addressing crowds in Circus Maximus park on Saturday
was a French nun, Marie Simon-Pierre, who says she was cured of Parkinson's
Disease. Her apparently miraculous cure is part of the case for the beatification,
the last stage before sainthood.
Circus Maximus. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has arrived in
Rome for the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II. I'm
not surprised. One of the world's most exclusive types of coffee
comes from the hills and mountains of South East Asia. But this coffee
is definitely not to everyone's taste - it is made from beans which have
been eaten and then excreted by small cat-like animals called civets. Even
if you can stomach the fact that this coffee comes from faeces, you still
have to stomach the cost - bags of coffee beans can fetch up to $800 (£500)
per kilogramme in Japan or the US, and coffee shops in New York sell just
one cup for about $50. I don't wanna know about it.
about it if you dare. Rod Stewart has been honoured with a lifetime
achievement from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
(ASCAP) in Los Angeles. He recalled, during the ceremony, his first failed
songwriting attempt with former Faces band mate Ronnie Wood. He added Wood's
mother had said: "I don't think the Beatles have got anything to worry
Good. I think he's great.
I phoned Averil earlier to tell her I was going shopping if she needed
anything. She didn't, but she said in regards to Das Busse, "Don't you
think you might get a little claustrophobic?" Well, I admit the living
quarters are a bit restrictive, but they're not really living quarters.
Open the sliding door and whammo, there's a million miles of Oz out there!
The van is basically a metal tent with a kitchen, dinette and bedroom,
and that's it... except you don't need to erect it every time you change
camp. Anyway, she suggested doing a trial run before the major event, which
is probably not a bad idea... although I've already done it several times
in the old Kombi.
And now, once again, it's time to hit the kitchen and do what needs
to be done. Welcome to the Merry Month of May, ladies and genitals. Gary
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