July 31, 2011. Tomorrow's pretty important if you happen
to be a horse. A horse in the southern hemisphere, that is. January
1 is used as the common birthdate for horses in the northern hemisphere
and August 1 for horses in the southern hemisphere. This is to coincide
with horse racing seasons.
Yesterday's link to a sleepy dog prompted NC Art to tell a story about
British humor: The train was quite crowded, so a U.S. Marine walked
the entire length looking for a seat, but the only seat left was taken
by a well dressed, middle-aged, French woman's poodle. The war-weary Marine
asked, "Ma'am, may I have that seat?" The French woman just sniffed and
said to no one in particular, "Americans are so rude. My little Fifi
is using that seat." The Marine walked the entire train again, but the
only seat left was under that dog. "Please, ma'am. May I sit down?
I'm very tired."
She snorted, "Not only are you Americans rude, you are also arrogant!"
This time the Marine didn't say a word; he just picked up the little
dog, tossed it out the train window, and sat down. The woman shrieked,
"Someone must defend my honor! Put this American in his place!" An
English gentleman sitting nearby spoke up, "Sir, you Americans often seem
to have a penchant for doing the wrong thing. You hold the fork in the
wrong hand. You drive your autos on the wrong side of the road. And now,
sir, you seem to have thrown the wrong bitch out the window".
An English gent would have said 'motor cars'. But it's funny anyway.
Speaking of accents, here's a Brit who seems to understand what
the Aussie accent is all about. Apparently, Aussies have a penchant
for dipthongs; a combination of vowels rather than a pure vowel sound.
Right becomes roite and nice becomes noice. Hehe. Mate becomes maete. We
also drop the 'r' sound at the end of a word. River becomes rivah and mister
becomes mistah. I use gonna in my written English but in Oz it's pronounced
gunna. A 'gunna' in Oz is someone who's always gonna do something but never
gets around to it. A bit like me and the Odyssey.
Then of course you get Italians
trying to speak English.
Beeb time: Republican leaders have expressed confidence that a deal
can be struck to raise the nation's debt limit before Tuesday, and avert
possible default. Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said there was
"a level of seriousness with the right people at the table". But his Democratic
counterpart said there was no "meaningful" engagement. In a sign of the
level of anxiety over the issue, troops in Afghanistan asked Adm Mike Mullen
if they would be paid. The admiral, who as chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff is on a visit to southern Afghanistan, said he did not know whether
that would be the case if the US fails to raise the $14.3tn (£8.7tn)
limit by 2 August. Democrats and Republicans have so far rejected each
others' proposals for cutting spending and raising the debt limit. It's
a worry. Brinkmanship I think is the word used to describe such situations.
A plane has crashed and broken in two on landing at Guyana's main airport
in the capital, Georgetown, causing injuries but no deaths. The Caribbean
Airlines Boeing 737-800 flight BW-523 from New York had 163 people aboard.
The plane apparently overshot the runway at Cheddi Jagan International
Airport during wet weather. "It's an absolute miracle that took place today,"
said Caribbean Airlines chairman George Nicholas. A few passengers sustained
bruises, with one suffering a broken leg. One woman
passenger said she was in terror. "I was praying to Jesus." Anders
Breivik has admitted killing 77 people in two attacks in Norway. Peter
Svaar from Norway's broadcaster NRK was one of the first reporters at the
scene of the Oslo bomb blast, and describes finding out that it was a former
classmate who carried out the attacks. Read
the full article here.
Well, I've decided I need more exercise. A lot more. I've been getting
seriously lazy and unfit lately, so I went for a walk around the block.
But half way around, I spotted a motorhome parked by the river. I do love
a chat, ya know, so I wandered down there, took a few pics with the little
Fuji and then stuck my head in the driver's side window and said, "G'day".
And that's how I met Pru and Mike (Or was it Mick? Can't recall.) Anyway,
we had a good ol' chat for quite a while about traveling Oz. I'll do a
small Journal entry tomorrow with a few pics. I also made a few notes so
I don't forget the convo.
Travelers are very easy to talk to. No worries about striking up a conversation.
Maybe they're more relaxed about meeting strangers. And why wouldn't they
be? Who the hell else is "out there"? Anyway, it's a bit late now to do
the journal entry. Gotta do all that boring domestic stuff shortly. Bleh.
Bacon and eggs and.... no, I better not say. Gary
July 30, 2011. The United States has one of the widest rich-poor
gaps of any high-income nation today, and that gap continues to grow. In
recent times, some prominent economists including Alan Greenspan have warned
that the widening rich-poor gap in the U.S. population is a problem that
could undermine and destabilize the country's economy and standard of living
stating that "The income gap between the rich and the rest of the US population
has become so wide, and is growing so fast, that it might eventually threaten
the stability of democratic capitalism itself".
pasted that from Wikipedia in response to a discussion going on at
Blog between a couple of lawyers with differering points of view, such
as the credibility of the Tea Party.
Here's NC Art's take on "Gurvermints": The epic struggles over raising
U.S. debt ceiling go on apace. One problem with the American experiment
in self-government is that every time we get our shit together we misplace
it. Dictators have it so easy--until someone shoots them, that is.
And here's Oregon Richie's: News of Norway seems to be increasing
here not to even forget mention of the debt ceiling and budget battles
back in DC. We're all pawns.... I swear to the almighty we're just
pawns !! Currently poorer people pay less taxes if much at all and
the very wealthy pay less, too... but guess what? The remaining middling
class folks seem to pay proportionally MORE !! Now ain't that a surprise....
Yes, pawns. I remember my lawyer saying that to me when I appeared in
court many decades ago. "It's a game between the judge and the lawyers,
Gary, and I'm afraid you're the pawn."
Beeb time: The US House of Representatives has passed a Republican bill
proposed by Speaker John Boehner to increase the nation's debt ceiling.
Mr Boehner's plan passed the House by a vote of 218-210, with 22 Republicans
and every Democrat voting against. Read
the full report here. The chief of the Turkish armed forces, Isik Kosaner,
has resigned along with the army, navy and air force heads. They were furious
about the arrest of senior officers, accused of plotting, shortly before
a round of military promotions. There has been a history of tension between
the secularist military and the governing AK party, with the two sides
engaged in a war of words for the past two years over allegations that
parts of the military had been plotting a coup. That's
all we need... more instability. The pilots of an Air France plane
that plunged into the Atlantic in 2009 lacked adequate training to deal
with high-altitude stalling, a report finds. The
trouble I have with flying is that at 32,000 feet there's nowhere to go
but down. Tens of thousands of Syrians have again turned out for
Friday protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Troops fired
live ammunition and tear gas at protesters, killing two people and wounding
dozens, activists said. There have been reports of fighting in the eastern
city of Deir al-Zour between military intelligence agents and residents
after five protesters were killed overnight. I really
do wonder if those people have any idea of what it's like to live in a
country like Australia. Police in northern California have uprooted
460,000 plants and made more than 100 arrests in a major operation against
illegal marijuana cultivation. Authorities said they had seized 1,500 pounds
(680kg) of processed marijuana, 27 guns and 11 vehicles over two weeks
in Mendocino National Forest. The 900,000-acre site is part of an area
known as the Emerald Triangle for its high number of marijuana plots. I
remember God saying something about apples but I don't remember him saying
anything about marijuana. And speaking of apples: Apple now has
more cash to spend than the United States government. Latest figures from
the US Treasury Department show that the country has an operating cash
balance of $73.7bn (£45.3bn). Apple's most recent financial results
put its reserves at $76.4bn. Moving right along...
Chinese migrants endured more than a century of government-backed discrimination
in Australia. Now, Chinese Australians are about to ask for a formal apology.
Descendants of those 19th Century labourers and miners say it is time that
Australia said sorry for the past. I don't get it.
How can the current generation apologize for something their ancestors
did? We can regret what happened, yes, but who are we to say sorry? The
people who need to say sorry are all dead. I feel the same way about apologizing
to Aborigines for the way they were treated by past generations of European
settlers in Australia. That's like asking all white Americans to apologize
for black slavery. It's in the past... finito, kaputski. Let's move on.
Major carmakers have agreed new fuel efficiency standards proposed by the
Obama administration in an effort to end the dominance of gas guzzlers.
They have agreed that by 2025, cars and light trucks sold in the US will
drive on average 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) of fuel, compared with 27
mpg today. It's about bloody time. The Europeans
have been doing it for decades.
Meanwhile, 2025 is 14 years away, so what's happening with alternative
fuels such as electric cars?
I favorited a couple more Red Bubble pics this morning. This
one I found irresistible, and one with which I can readily identify.
here's one I can only dream about photographing. It's amazing.
Back from shopping, including Averil's. I always take my little Fuji
with me just in case I spot something... and
I did! And now it's time for kitchen duties. I bought some of Eddy's
chicken rissoles, which are lovely. I asked Lindsay what he wanted them
served with and he said... CHIPS! What? Chips again? Well, I don't mind
really... I love chips. Hehe. Always have. And it's pretty hard to go past
the ones I make. Gary
July 29, 2011. Census time! Well, it will be on August 9. A lady
from the Bureau of Statistics called to the front door this morning at
9am to hand me a bit of paperwork. I chose to do mine on line. Mucho easier.
Seems like it's the centenary of the Australian census - 1911-2011, so
it apparently began 10 years after federation. Not sure what happened before
that. Maybe no one cared.
NC Art wrote: You are right about the foot pump. but a hand powered
bicycle pump was an old standby, but still required effort. A 12-volt contraption
worked for me--once, then blew its seal and went to the junk heap. May
I reasonably suggest a trip to a tire repair shop to plug the pesky leak
in the damned tire? Or are you thinking of vast empty spaces to be encountered
when the Odyssey begins? (On my long trip from Georgia to Alaska, we carried
three spare tires and used them all!)
The question that immediately springs to mind is, why not use the 1
spare three times? Hehe. I think I know the answer to that one. When I
first used the foot pump, I jumped up and down on the pedal like like a
man possessed. Oops! Gotta give the cylinder time to fill with air, I thought.
So I slowed down and it worked better. But it's not something I'd wanna
do for a living. As to a trip to the tire repair shop, I can't drive Das
Busse on public roads because she's not registered. So I'd have to remove
the wheel and use Bluey to take it down to the tire place. All too hard.
Besides, the leak is very slow. It's taken 4 months for the tire to lose
a third pressure. I'm also thinking of being in remote areas where an air
compressor might be very useful, even if only required once or twice. This
kinda problem never happened when cars used solid rubber tires, ya know.
Then Robert William Thomson came along in 1846 and buggered everything
with his pneumatic tire, which John Boyd Dunlop used on bicycle wheels.
Then Michelin introduced the first pneumatic automobile tire in 1895.
Some years ago in Sydney, I was driving my Kombi as a car approached
from the opposite direction. When the other car was almost level with mine,
I heard a loud bang. As the car sped past, I looked in the rear view mirror
and saw it doing a couple of 360s. Its front tire had blown. Fortunately,
the road was free of traffic. Had the tire blown a few seconds earlier,
that car would have collided head on with my Kombi. Incidentally, I had
a set of Michelins on the Kombi and they were still in good nick when I
sold it 8 years later.
Beeb time: The military commander of the Libyan rebels fighting to topple
Col Muammar Gaddafi has been killed, the rebel National Transitional Council
says. NTC head Mustafa Abdul-Jalil said Gen Abdel Fattah Younes was killed
by assailants, and the head of the group responsible had been arrested.
He said Gen Younes was summoned for questioning about military operations,
but never made it to the meeting. Gen Younes is a former Libyan interior
minister who defected to the rebel side in February. He was also part of
the group that helped bring Col Gaddafi to power in 1969. Sorry...
I don't get it. A Republican bill to raise the US debt ceiling,
cut spending and avert default on US debt is inching toward back-to-back
votes in the House and Senate. But House Speaker John Boehner's bill faces
a conservative revolt, unanimous opposition by Senate Democrats and a White
House veto threat. A House vote was delayed on Thursday evening as Republican
leaders struggled to round up support. Congress must raise the US debt
limit by a deadline of next Tuesday. Fix the problem,
boys, and stop arguing about how. Police in Norway have called off
the search for further victims of a killing spree on Utoeya island, but
are still searching the water around it. Anders Behring Breivik was arrested
by police on the island and has admitted to shooting 68 people there and
killing eight in a bombing in Oslo. Most were teenagers, the youngest of
them being 14-year-old Johannes Buoe. Mr Breivik has claimed he acted to
stem what he called the Islamisation of western Europe, blaming the government
for allowing it to happen. One twisted mind, 76 people
dead. Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful. A San Francisco judge has struck
a proposed male circumcision ban from a November ballot, ruling that the
city cannot regulate medical procedure and citing religious freedom protections.
The ruling was applauded by opponents of the proposed ban, who attacked
it as anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim. In May, advocates of a ban gathered
enough voter signatures to put the measure on the city's ballot. They described
the sacred rite for Jews and Muslims as "genital mutilation". There
ya go. Sacred rites. God appeared in the clouds one day and said, "Sorry,
guys, I made a mistake. You don't need that bit, so you can cut it off."
US car maker Ford is planning to expand its operations in India as it attempts
to capture a greater share of the country's car market. The US carmaker
says it plans to invest $1bn (£612m) in building a new factory in
the western state of Gujarat, its second production line in India. The
announcement comes as Ford is looking to increase its global sales by 50%
over the next four years. India is one of the fastest-growing car markets
in the world. Cars are no good without roads, mate.
And guess who pays for roads whether they own a car or not? Oliver
and Olivia were the most popular baby names across England and Wales in
2010 for the second year running, figures show. The top four boys' names
- Oliver, Jack, Harry and Alfie - all held their popularity, the Office
of National Statistics' 2010 list shows. There were no new entries in the
girls' top 10, but Sophie, Emily, Lily and Amelia all rose into the top
five. Ollie was the fastest rising name in the boys' top 100 while Olly
was 113th. What happened to Tom, Dick and Harry?
It's 19C at the mo, and we can expect highs of 20 to 21C (70F) during
the next few days. Not bad for winter! And it's sunny as well. I spent
a while in my sun room (otherwise known as Das Busse) earlier, and nodded
off as usual. I'm a bit reticent to admit that publicly but... oh well...
I can be excused because I'm a senior citizen, and we oldies can get away
with being a tad eccentric.
1. It's a very nice campervan. Do you use it often?
2. Oh yes, quite often.
1. Where have you been?
2. Well... er, nowhere yet. But I sit in it. And I pump up the tires
1. Here in the backyard?
1. How, er, interesting.
Okies, time to cook din dins... meatloaf with roast spuds and pumpkin,
and gravy. Can't beat the ol' home cooking, ya know. Gary
July 28, 2011. I'm glad Lindsay is here to organize Sue in the
bathroom. It's a bloody circus and one I prefer not to be involved in.
In fact, there's no way I could look after Sue by myself... showering and
all that stuff.
Well, Mieke, one of my fav Red Bubblers, emailed me to say she did a
little investigating and discovered that a bunch of visitors to her Bubble
page came from some place called Aussie Odyssey hehe. I got sprung. But
she's cool. She even sent me hugs. Anyway, I think her work is great. She
has a keen eye and a very artistic approach. In my reply to her mail I
told her to "watch out cos I'm taking notes".
Yes, dear Breth, photography is not just about pointing and shooting.
Rather, it's all about the eye of the beholder. Here's an interesting example.
There are miles of mudflats around Derby in West Oz, stretching as far
as the eye can see. All very boring, really. But not to Mieke. She chose
a small sample and used the camera to isolate it and frame it. And
this is what she produced. I think it's remarkable. Notice how she
uses portrait mode to accent the isolated detail and give the image added
depth. She's the type of person who really does see the trees for the forest.
The job of an artist - musician, painter, photographer, poet - is to
recognize the things the rest of us see but fail to note. Comedians are
the same. Artists act as tour guides on the journey of life.
By the way, I spotted a short report by Ten News in Oz about the Norwegian
bomber and shooter. In
a word? Insane.
Being insane is not like having a cold. If you have a cold you know
you have a cold. If you have a sore toe you know you have a sore toe. But
if you're insane, guess what? The other worrying aspect of insanity is
that you can be insane but not stupid.
Beeb time: Tripoli has condemned the UK for recognising the rebels as
Libya's "sole governmental authority" after similar moves by France and
the US. Khaled Kaim, deputy foreign minister in Muammar Gaddafi's government,
told reporters the decision was unprecedented and irresponsible. Libya
would seek to reverse the decision through the courts, he said. Britain
has ordered the expulsion of all eight remaining Gaddafi diplomats in the
UK. Courts? What courts? Meanwhile, I'm amazed that
Gaddafi and his supporters have managed to hang on for so long given the
pounding they've endured. Top Republicans and Democrats go back
to the drawing board with their budget plans after nonpartisan analysts
said their sums did not add up. Hehe. Silly bois!
But it's not funny really. Those guys are playing with people's lives.
Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg has announced the creation of a "22 July
Commission" to investigate Friday's bomb and gun attacks. He said the commission,
agreed to by all political parties, would analyse everything that happened.
The speed of the police response to Anders Behring Breivik's second attack,
on Utoeya island, has been questioned. I'm not surprised.
The response was pathetic. Folk rock musician Dan Peek, who sang
lead vocals with the band America, has died at his home in Missouri aged
60. Peek was a member of the Grammy winning group for seven years and co-wrote
numerous hits including chart topper A Horse With No Name. America's Dewey
Bunnell said that Peek's music will "live on in the great songs he shared
with us all." "We created lasting music together and experienced a life
we could never have imagined," he added. What a great
band. One of my favs. A Mexican judge has sentenced a US-born teenager
to three years in prison for four murders, which he said he carried out
on the orders of a drug gang. Edgar Jimenez Lugo, 14 at the time of the
killings, said he was under the influence of drugs and threatened by gang
leaders, according to officials. The sentence was the maximum allowed for
a juvenile in the state of Morelos, where he was tried. Jimenez was born
in California, but has spent most of his life in Mexico. The juvenile court
in Morelos found the teenager guilty of killing four people, whose mutilated
bodies were founding hanging from a bridge in Cuernavaca in 2010. Jesus
Christ, 14 years old. Drugs are bad news - very bad news. An eight-week-old
kitten has survived after being stuck in a washing machine cycle for an
hour in Aberdeen. Susan Gordon, owner of Princess, assumed she was elsewhere
but the washing machine door opened to reveal her bedraggled and clinging
to jeans. Princess was taken to vets and spent three nights being treated
for her injuries. The kitten is now said to be fine, with no lasting damage
from her washing machine ordeal. I know exactly how
Oregon Richie was right about using a foot pump to inflate a tire. It's
a bit like using a watering can to extinguish a bushfire. I'm buggered
after all that pumping, and the tire pressure hasn't improved much. Soooooooo,
it's off to the auto mart to buy a 12V air compressor. Plug and play. That's
more my style. I'll
use the foot pump for something more sensible.
Speaking of sensible, I'm just back from a haircut at Mark's Barber
Shop, so that's how I look now... sensible. Earlier I looked like the original
wild man from Borneo. Mark also trimmed my eyebrows which have gone feral
lately. On the way home, I
walked past this house, which was for sale recently. I figured it might
be demolished because it was so dilapidated and appeared to be abandoned,
but no. It's being renovated, which is great to see. It's a lovely old
house with walls made of vertical boards, both inside and out. The front
door was open so I had a quick peek inside. The house used to sit on wobbly
old tree stumps which have been removed and replaced by new timber poles.
Renovations have only just started so it'll be interesting to see how they
progress. With a bit of luck they might even let me inside with my camera.
If I had the dough, I'd love to live in a lovely old house like that, and
furnish it to match the period. I suspect it was built around the turn
of the 20th century. Yep, open fire place, pianola, 1930's cabinet radio,
fuel stove, and all that lovely stuff.
Anyway, it's THAT time again... kitchen. Sue's been to the dentist so
she's not in the mood for food, so I'll do something simple. Gary
July 27, 2011. If I'd thought of it at the time, I would have
added to yesterday's gross story about the cow's butt in veterinary class
that we're quite happy to have the stuff dumped on our strawberry patch.
The thing about human inconsistency is that it's consistently inconsistent.
I spotted a couple of interesting pics of Oz on Red Bubble this morning.
one of a paddle steamer on the Murray River... something I must experience
on the Odyssey. Here's
a close up of Uluru. I hadn't realized it was illegal to sell images
of Uluru taken in the national park there. Anyway, the pic is interesting
cos you don't often get to see the rock's detail close up. And
here's a view of the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. The Blue Mountains
are so named because they appear blue from a distance; a phenomenon caused
by sunlight on oil evaporation from gum leaves.
The Blue Mountains acted as a barrier to areas west of the Sydney basin
until Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson set off in 1813 to find a way across.
It was hard and dangerous slog, but they were eventually successful and
their route over the mountains opened up massive areas of fertile grazing
lands to the west. Gold was also found and started a goldrush in 1851 near
Bathurst. Today, of course, driving on sealed roads across the Blue Mountains
is a piece of cake thanks to the pioneering bravery and determination of
Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson. You have to wonder if that kind of spirit
still exists today.
One hundred years later in 1913, the railway link between Gloucester
and Taree was completed at a cost of almost a million bucks, which is not
all that much more than what my old house in Glebe (built about 1860) fetched
at auction recently. How times change. A million bucks sure ain't what
it usedta was.
Beeb time: The White House has warned that President Obama could veto
a debt limit plan proposed by top House Republicans. Meanwhile, Speaker
John Boehner's plan to trim public spending and raise the limit met with
resistance from rank-and-file members of his own party. Washington remains
deadlocked as a deadline to increase the government's borrowing authority
looms on 2 August. The US runs a budget deficit that topped $1.5tn (£920bn)
this year, and has amassed a national debt of $14.3tn. The government's
authority to borrow more money has expired, and the US risks a first-ever
default on its debt obligations if congressional and White House negotiators
are unable to agree on a plan to increase the debt limit by 2 August. The
debt limit has been raised dozens of times in recent decades, mostly without
partisan debate. This year, though, conservative Republicans refused to
allow an increase unaccompanied by dramatic cuts to the US budget deficit.
do agree that borrowing more to pay debts is not the brightest of ideas...
UNLESS the capacity to repay the debt increases. Norway's police
have published the names of four of the 76 victims of Friday's mass killings
in Norway carried out by Anders Behring Breivik. They include three people
killed in the Oslo car bomb and a 23-year-old man who died on a nearby
island where Mr Breivik went on a shooting spree. Meanwhile, the police
have defended their handling of the attacks. It was an hour-and-a-half
before an armed unit reached Utoeya island after the shooting began. Under
those circumstances, an hour and a half would have been an eternity for
those trying to flee. Imagine a gunman wandering around, firing at will
for 90 minutes while the cops were elsewhere. 90 minutes is a bloody long
time! Egypt's ex-President Hosni Mubarak is weak and refusing solid
food, according to the country's official news agency. He is due to stand
trial in a week, accused of corruption and ordering the killing of protesters.
The head of the hospital where Mr Mubarak is detained in Sharm al-Sheikh
said he was depressed, has lost weight, and was not eating enough to keep
him alive, MENA agency reports. But critics see Mr Mubarak's illness as
a ploy to avoid going on trial. Well, lemme put it
this way... he's not on my Christmas card list. Seventy-eight people
were killed when a Moroccan military aircraft crashed into a mountain in
the south of the country, the army says. The army said three other people
were severely wounded in the crash, in what is thought to be one of Morocco's
deadliest air disasters in years. Officials have blamed the accident on
poor weather. There was a chopper crash in Oz recently,
also due to bad weather. So why do people fly in it? An art dealer
has been arrested and accused of smuggling a tonne of African ivory into
the US for sale at his Philadelphia store. Victor Gordon, 68, paid a conspirator
to fly to Africa, purchase raw ivory and have it carved to his specifications,
prosecutors said. The conspirator dyed the carvings in order to make them
appear old before smuggling them into the US, they said. Traffic in ivory
is tightly restricted under US and international law. "It's safe to say
dozens of elephants sit before you," Edward Grace, deputy chief of law
enforcement for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, told reporters in Philadelphia.
said. Physicists have confirmed the ultimate speed limit for the
packets of light called photons - making time travel even less likely than
thought. The speed of light in vacuum is the Universe's ultimate speed
limit, but experiments in recent years suggested that single photons might
beat it. If they could, theory allows for the prospect of time travel.
Now, a paper in Physical Review Letters shows that individual photons too
are limited to the vacuum speed limit. That means that photons maintain
the principle of causality laid out in Einstein's theory of special relativity
- that is, an event's effect cannot precede its cause by travelling faster
than light. It is violation of this causality that would, in principle,
permit time travel. I'm no scientist but I reckon
nothing exists except the present. Read
the full article here. Is Australia too obsessed with sport? An
Yep, despite B grade Hollywood movies about time travel, I reckon the
past is memory and the future is imagination, neither of which exists in
a physical sense. So that leaves only one place to go, and that's here
Back from shopping. Remember the girl who sold me that waterless cleaning
wax and accessories for fifty bucks about 6 months ago? She spotted me
wheeling my trolley to Bluey and, all smiles, she said, "Have you used
it yet?" I shook my head. Hehe. So we chatted for a few minutes. She graduated
high school and is undecided about what to do with her life, so she's making
a few bucks selling this stuff. It pays the rent. Maybe she'll go to university
in a year or two but she's undecided. She's a very bubbly person with a
lively personality, but I'm surprised she remembered me. Must be something
stamped on my forehead.
Margaret Olley, a celebrated Australian artist and philanthropist as
down to earth as you can get
died yesterday aged 88. "The wheel of life is receiving and giving.
And it's in perfect harmony." She was a real treasure, not only as
an artist but also as a person. "Friends to me are everything." As
Cody would have put it, she had a no bullshit 'tude.
So that's it. Dinner's in the oven and it's time for a bit of telly.
Isn't life exciting? Gary
July 26, 2011. NC Art tells the story of first-year students
at the Purdue Vet School attending their initial anatomy class with a real
dead cow. They all gathered around the surgery table with the body covered
with a white sheet. The professor started the class by telling them, "In
Veterinary medicine it is necessary to have two important qualities as
a doctor. The first is that you not be disgusted by anything involving
the animal's body." For an example, the professor pulled back the sheet,
stuck his finger in the butt of the cow, withdrew it, and stuck his finger
in his mouth. "Go ahead and do the same thing," he told his students. The
students freaked out, hesitated for several minutes, but eventually took
turns at following the professor's lead. When everyone finished, the Professor
looked a them and said, "The second most important quality is observation.
I stuck in my middle finger and sucked on my index finger."
Ew! But ya gotta remember that Art was raised on a farm. Many years
ago I lived at a boarding house in a country town where I worked at the
local radio station. One of the other boarders was a student at a nearby
veterinary training college. One evening as all the boarders sat at the
tables in the dining room eating their meals, he decided to tell the story
of how that day he had done a pregnancy test on a cow, which involved shoving
his arm all the way up to his shoulder into the cow's vagina. Sheeeeeeesh!
Country boys ain't squeamish ya know.
Art also sent this link to a story about a
single family winning the lottery 3 times! How lucky can you get?
Just phoned my mobile techie. He took my faulty external drive away
a couple of weeks ago and I've not heard anything since. I thought he may
have forgotten about it. Nope... it's cool. The drive is okay but there's
something wrong with the case. He ordered a newie and is waiting for it
to arrive. So all is well in the backup department. Amazing innit... 14
years of stuff in a little black box.
Just checked Aussie Odyssey's stats on Webalyzer: Average daily visits
have gone from 85 a day in August last year to 385 now. That's a lotta
visits! For me, anyway. How many hang around for a good look or vanish
within seconds I dunno. But it is improving, and when/if I finally get
my act together it should improve even more.
Beeb time: Torchlit processions are held across Norway to remember the
scores of victims of Friday's twin attacks. Understanding
the mind of the killer. Democrats and Republicans have unveiled competing
plans to avoid a default, as the president and the House speaker prepared
to address the nation. Despite weeks of negotiations, the two parties remain
at odds over the size of spending cuts and tax increases. Amid the impasse,
President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner were appearing on
TV on Monday night. This not about democrats and
republicans, this is about the American people and the rest of the world.
If a political ideology wins, and the world loses, then nobody wins. I
just caught the end of the live republican address... "God bless you, God
bless your family, and God bless America." There ya go, problem solved.
God to the rescue. The New York hotel maid who accuses former IMF
chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempting to rape her in a hotel suite
has given her first interview. Nafissatou Diallo told Newsweek magazine
that she has told the truth about the incident on 14 May. "God is my witness.
I'm telling the truth. From my heart. God knows that. And he knows that,"
she said. There's God again... pretty handy dude
to have as a witness, I reckon. Pity he's too busy to appear in court.
It all sounds a bit suss if you ask me. Parliament in mainly Roman
Catholic Malta passes an historic law legalising divorce which now only
requires the signature of the president. Maltese
lawyers will be pleased. A 50-year-old South African man woke up
inside a mortuary over the weekend and screamed to be let out - scaring
away attendants who thought he was a ghost. His family presumed he was
dead when they could not wake him on Saturday night and contacted a private
morgue in a rural village in the Eastern Cape. He spent almost 24 hours
inside the morgue, the region's health department spokesman told the Sapa
news agency. The two attendants later returned and called for an ambulance.
huh? I think we all worry about being pronounced dead when we're not. The
ol' fingernail scratch marks on the inside of the coffin lid trick.
Two US teenagers are in a serious condition after a grizzly bear attacked
a group of seven students learning survival skills in the state of Alaska.
Four of the teenagers were injured after coming upon a bear walking with
her cub, state troopers said. National Outdoor Leadership School spokesman
Bruce Palmer said 17-year-olds Joshua Berg and Samuel Gottsegen sustained
the worst injuries, caused mostly from bear bites. "I thought I was going
to die when I was being attacked. I was so scared," Mr Gottsegen told the
Associated Press news agency from his hospital bed. That's
learning survival skills? Australian and Malaysian officials have
signed a controversial deal intended to stem the flow of asylum seekers
travelling to Australia by boat. The deal allows Australia to send 800
asylum seekers to Malaysia. In return, Australia will take 4,000 refugees
from Malaysia over the next four years. Australian Prime Minister Julia
Gillard said it would "smash the business model of people smugglers". Well,
if Julia says it's true then it must be true. Right? Yeah, right.
Superhero film Captain America: The First Avenger has knocked the final
Harry Potter film off the top of the North America box office chart. Captain
America made $65.m (£40.4m) in its debut weekend in the US and Canada,
according to early estimates. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part
2 was in second place, with takings of $48.1m (£29m). That was in
stark contrast to its record-setting opening of $169.2m (£103.9m)
last week. Okay, that's it. I've made up my mind.
I'm gonna write a book about Captain Oodnadatta. Forget the tight pants
and capes and helmets. My hero's gonna be dressed in shorts, singlet and
thongs and a battered bush hat with corks, and he'll be armed with a fly-swatter
with magical powers.
Hmmm. Captain Oodnadatta. Maybe that's not so silly. I think it's hilarious
that Oodnadatta, population 277, is smack bang in the middle of desert
country and yet has canoe hire. Ya can't believe a word those outback Aussies
say, ya know. Check the Oodnadatta
Pink Roadhouse. And be sure to click the side bar links. That's one
place I gotta visit.
I watched an interview with a psychologist last night who talked about
the Norwegian bomber and shooter. He apparently lacks normal empathy and
conscience. He has no feelings for his victims. He sees himself as some
sort of Messiah. One survivor said the killer was very calm during the
shootings. He didn't run, he walked as his victims tried desperately to
flee, saying something like "you may run but you can't hide". Another person
interviewed said the most chilling thing about the killer was his intelligence;
he didn't give the impression of being a madman. His actions had apparently
been planned meticulously for some years in a calm and orderly fashion,
and even during the execution of those plans, he was methodical and dispassionate.
I suppose the law of averages says if you have 6.5 billion human beings
on the planet, there's bound to be a number of aberrations. It's unavoidable.
July 25, 2011. NC Art compared my Lotto win with a class action:
Lotto winnings are akin to class action suits against manufacturers of
dangerous gadgets. Hundreds of thousands of folks join the suit as plaintiffs
and a jury awards them $150 mil. Then a judge cuts the award by 75 %, 100
lawyers get 75% of that, and the rest get $5.40 each after five years and
bundles of paper work to prove they have a legitimate claim. And you still
wonder about justice?
No, mate, I don't wonder about justice. Justice is a figment of human
imagination. If justice really existed, there'd be no misery.
Meanwhile, it's off to the doc shortly for a regular checkup, and to
burn off a few skin cancers. Those buggers keep popping up like weeds.
Our doc is a pretty good bloke... country boy born and bred. What a job,
though. Imagine spending all day talking to people bitching about their
illnesses. That's the reason I stick to "g'day" and never ask "howyagoin?"
G'day requires no answer; just a nod of acknowledgment. Mind you, it doesn't
work with Averil though. She tells me all about her aches and pains anyway.
I'm not a follower of sports but Aussies have been doing pretty well
lately on the international stage. Ohio Jace can tell you the story: This
was a good day for OZ (sports wise anyway); Cadel Evans won the Tour de
France, Casey Stoner won the motogp American Grand Prix, and Will Power
won the Edmonton Indy car race.
It's true that many Aussies punch above their weight, and maybe that's
because we're a small population that tries harder because we have to.
Jace tells me the weather over there in Ohio is hot and humid and stormy,
with lots of thunder and lightning. Not pleasant at all. The local pond
is "bath-water temperature" and the young-uns are spending a lot of time
there... skinny dipping, of course, with their willies bouncing all over
the place. Good thing they don't have kookaburras over there. There's a
reason kookaburras laugh a lot ya know.
Dunno where Jace got his info from but he says: The most the Norwegian
monster can get is 21 years in prison so he could potentially be released
to do it again in 2032. If that's the case, then it's an absolute disgrace.
That man should never be allowed to walk the streets again.
Justin posted this link
on his blog. This summer, the renowned director/producer Ridley
Scott launched a global filmmaker competition dubbed “Tell It Your Way”
following its Cannes Lions award-winning short-film project “Parallel Lines.”
The entrants were given freedom of expression and could take up any theme
they wanted; still there were two strict rules—there had to be the exact
six-line dialogue as it was in the Parallel Lines films, plus the entries
could last no longer than three minutes.
Oh yes... back from the doc. He checked my blood pressure... fine, and
did the stethoscope thing on my chest and back. Then he squirted a few
skin cancers. He also updated my prescriptions, and then checked a rough
skin prob inside my mouth just below my bottom teeth. He suggests I get
a biopsy. Eeek! In there? That's getting pretty personal. He said it'll
be under full anesthetic in hospital, with an overnight stay. Drat! And
if it's cancerous? I don't even wanna think about that.
While I waited for the doc to return to his room, I stepped on the weighing
machine. "66 kilos and 66 years," I said as he sat at his desk. He grinned
and said, "I should live a long, long time, then." He ain't skinny lemma
Beeb time: The man blamed for Friday's twin terror attacks in Norway
is due to make his first appearance in court. Anders Behring Breivik, 32,
admits carrying out a massacre on an island youth camp and a bombing in
the capital Oslo in which at least 93 people died. Under current law he
faces a maximum of 21 years in jail. He has described the attacks as "gruesome
but necessary". He is said to be linked to far right, anti-Islamic organisations,
and to have spent years planning the operation. Right.
so that's where Ohio Jace got his info. Read
the full article here.
Gay couples wed in their hundreds in New York after it becomes the sixth
and most populous state to recognise same-sex unions. And
the gay florists are rubbing their hands with glee! Soon will come the
day when all this no longer makes headlines, ya know... just like a black
person sitting anywhere they like on a bus. Mexican police arrest
1,000 people in a crackdown on human trafficking and sexual exploitation
in Ciudad Juarez, officials say. It's not before
time that the war on criminals got VERY serious. I just hope the prisons
are big enough to accommodate all the crooks. The New York hotel
maid who accuses former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempting
to rape her in a hotel suite has given her first interview. Nafissatou
Diallo told Newsweek magazine that she has told the truth about the incident
on 14 May. The move comes as authorities consider whether to drop charges
against him amid doubts over her credibility. The French politician, 62,
who resigned as head of the IMF to defend himself, vigorously denies all
the charges. He has said that what happened between he and Ms Diallo was
consensual, and his lawyers have described the maid's interview as "unseemly".
a moral to that story - don't touch the merchandise. US Treasury
Secretary Timothy Geithner has said he is confident the White House and
Congress will be able to agree a deal to reduce the US debt. He said it
was "unthinkable" the US would not meet its obligations on time. Mr Geithner's
comments to CNN come after talks between President Barack Obama and Congressional
leaders on Saturday failed to make a breakthrough.
Carolina Art reports: An old friend called me Friday night and said
she was--at age 82--ashamed of her country for the first time. She meant
the United States of America, and the occasion was a congressional leader
walking out during negotiations with President Obama over the financial
crisis. Some ideologues don't care a fig if the United States defaults
on debt and throws global financial markets into a meltdown. These stupid
creeps evidently don't remember the Great Depression when half the world
went hungry and never recovered. I DO! David Cameron lived in
his brother's shadow while he was growing up, he writes in a column for
the Big Issue. The PM, who guest edited the latest edition of the magazine,
said his older brother Alex had been a role model but he always felt "a
few steps behind". A
very interesting article which you can read here. Fast food giant McDonald's
sees its quarterly profits soar 15% on higher sales across all its global
regions. So much for the fast-food critics and their
doom and gloom messages. When you think of Pakistan do you think
of jazz classics like Dave Brubeck's Take Five? No? Check
out the vid.
I noticed one of Das Busse's tires is slowly deflating. I have a foot
pump which I'll try, but if it's all too hard I might get a 12V air compressor.
I reckon that would be a handy thing to have out in the sticks in any case.
About 30 years ago, a bloke I know drove around to my little house in Glebe
in his flash Porsche. When it came time to leave, he noticed one of his
tires had gone flat. So he whipped out his new-fangled air compressor but
it didn't work... the tire refused to inflate. So he had to get a special
low-loader tow truck to take his car home. Regular towing wasn't an option
for some reason... probably because the thing had such a low center of
gravity. Anyway, it cost him a fortune hehe. And he was not amused. Nonetheless,
he went on to build a million dollar empire in the advertising biz and
I was still charging a pittance for my advertising copy. So I guess he
had the last laugh. Gary
July 24, 2011. That lunatic who bombed a building in Oslo, and
then shot several people afterwards, is apparently a Christian fundamentalist.
I don't remember Jesus doing anything like that. Does one need to be a
lunatic in order to be a fundamentalist, or can they be independent? I
dunno, but I suspect murderous assholes like him are lunatics who use any
excuse to justify their twisted causes. The entire world-wide Christian
hierarchy should immediately condemn that person's acts, and make it plain
to any potential copy-cat that there is no place for violence in religion.
In fact, all religious leaders should do the same. Violence in the name
of religion is a definite no-no. Period.
I've been having trouble with my internet connection this morning and
it's bloody infuriating. Maybe it's Allah.
So, this morning I got an email to say I had 4 numbers in last night's
Lotto. 4 Main numbers Prize Pool: $1,912,261.40
Woooooooooohoooooooooooooooooooooooo! Almost two million dollars! Hang
on a tick... I was one of... 59387 winners, each received $32.20. Hmmm.
Beeb time: Norwegians are mourning the victims of a massacre at an island
youth camp and a bombing in the capital Oslo. At least 85 people died when
a gunman opened fire at the Utoeya camp on Friday, hours after a blast
in the government quarter killed seven. Another four are missing on the
island. A 32-year-old Norwegian man was charged over both attacks, but
police say it is possible another person was involved. The suspect's lawyer
said he admitted responsibility for the attacks. He said his client believed
his actions were "atrocious" but "necessary", adding that he would explain
himself in court on Monday. The suspect surrendered when approached by
police officers, police said. Atrocious but necessary?
WTF? An island youth camp. Imagine that. A bunch of kids just having a
nice time. How insane is that? Don't bother trying to make sense of it,
dear Breth, you never will. Troubled singer Amy Winehouse, who has
battled drink and drug problems, is found dead at her London home at the
age of 27. And yet another tragedy. At least
32 people have died and more than 100 are hurt after two high-speed trains
crashed into each other in eastern China, state media reports. Two train
coaches fell off a bridge after derailing close to Wenzhou in Zhejiang
province. Chinese media report that one of the trains came to a halt after
being struck by lightning and was then hit by the second train. "D" trains
are the first generation of bullet trains in China, with an average speed
of just short of 100mph (160km/h). Struck by lightning.
How unlucky can you get? US President Barack Obama holds crisis
talks with congressional leaders in a bid to avert a catastrophic debt
default. I've been thinking about that. Maybe the
Republicans figure a catastrophe is just what they need to be elected.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is at the centre of the phone hacking
scandal engulfing British politics. But how did the press baron go from
inheriting an evening newspaper in a sleepy Australian city to becoming
a global media titan? Read
the full story here. A heatwave has baked eastern parts of the US and
Canada, as temperatures surged to record-breaking highs in some parts.
The mercury in Newark, New Jersey, reached 108F (42C) on Friday, the highest
ever recorded in the city. In Canada, an extreme heat alert remained in
effect, a day after two dozen cities and towns broke their previous single-day
heat records. At least 22 deaths have been blamed on the heat. Across the
US alone, where nearly half of the population was under a heat advisory,
more than 220 heat records have tumbled. I don't
wanna make light of the situation but temps such as those are not uncommon
in Oz. A sex offender who lived among the remains of 11 dead women
at his home in Cleveland in the US state of Ohio has been convicted of
killing all of them. Anthony Sowell was found guilty of aggravated murder,
kidnapping, tampering with evidence and abuse of a human corpse in the
11 deaths. The 51-year-old former US Marine could face the death penalty.
honestly believe the death penalty is too lenient for such criminals. You
can't pay your debt when you're dead.
I hope I'm wrong about the Republicans and their apparent attempt to
cause Obama's downfall in order to win the next election, despite the immediate
threat to America's economy and international standing caused by the Bush
administration in the first place. But if it's true then that is not only
unAmerican and undemocratic, but tantamount to treason. America deserves
better than that. Any political party that puts its own agenda ahead of
the common good of the nation and the interests of its citizens doesn't
deserve to exist.
But back to punishment of criminals. If you were a judge sentencing
Hitler for murdering millions of Jews in the most abominable fashion; tearing
families apart and causing unspeakable heartbreak, misery and sadness;
sending millions of young troops to their deaths, and causing the deaths
of millions more civilians, what would your sentence be? It would be impossible
to punish a man for such heinous crimes. Nothing, no matter how horrendous,
could ever repay that man's debt to humanity. Even if he were staked to
an ant's nest and eaten alive it still wouldn't be enough. Nowhere near
enough. Similarly, there is no punishment adequate for the crimes of Anthony
Sowell or that Norwegian madman Anders Behring Breivik. How about that
Basque separatist murderer who received a 377 year jail sentence? What
When the bloke who wrote the Bible invented Hell and damnation, with
its eternal fire and brimstone for would-be sinners, he had a pretty good
idea... frighten the fuck outta anyone who crosses the line. Hehe. But
even that didn't work. So don't look at me for the answer, dear Breth.
I'm just sitting on the sidelines and taking notes.
Thank God for the Two Ronnies. If there's one
thing we need in this life it's a good laugh. How Ronnie Barker remembered
all those lines I'll never know. What a wonderful talent he was. And thank
God for Youchewb otherwise all that stuff would be locked in vaults never
to be seen again.
Yes, ladies and genitals, if it weren't for humor, there'd be nothing
July 23, 2011. Satdee again. After enjoying the Great Train Race
vid on Youchewb, NC Art wrote: The history of railroading is woven into
the history of America since the first track was laid. An exhaustive book,
"Nothing Like It in the World," was published a few years ago and dealt
with the first transcontinental line built during the Civil War. How it
ever got done is a miracle given the graft and corruption it caused during
the building of it. The purpose was Abraham Lincoln's way to keep the American
Pacific West from breaking from the Union in disgust. Forgive the preaching,
but I read a lot of history in trying to understand the madness of the
Art's comment kinda reminded me of going to work with my dad during
winter vacation, and getting up at 4am on Fridays. Dad worked for a printing
company that, among other things, printed The Land newspaper, a weekly
must-read for farmers and country folk. Dad would park in a lane at the
back of the building and we'd enter the printing room via a small side
door. It was nice and warm inside that huge room, and the bloke in charge
would always offer us a cuppa tea. I remember the clunk-clunk and the chug-chug
of the giant printing press as it pumped out scores of newspapers in rapid
succession. And I remember the rather intoxicating smell of newsprint and
ink. It was all pretty amazing for a kid of 12. Then we'd load parcels
of newspapers on the truck and deliver them to Central Railway Station
for distribution to various country centers in New South Wales.
I really enjoyed going to work with my dad during school vacation. It
was the only time I got to see the
big city and all the statues
of naked ladies that adorned many of the 19th century buildings. And
I'd help my dad carry stuff into customers' offices and the ladies would
chorus, "Oh, isn't he gorgeous! I wish I had red hair like that!" Sheesh.
But back to Art's comment about reading history in trying to understand
the madness of the present, I sure hope we never again see madness like
we did during the 20th century, with two world wars and then the cold war
between east and west. Surely nothing could be madder than that.
Mind you, the 20th century produced many good things as well... the
evolution of the automobile, electric power, world travel by air, space
exploration, telecommunications, the internet, and me. :-P
Beeb time: Norway has been hit by twin attacks - a massive bomb blast
in the capital and a shooting attack on young people at a governing Labour
Party youth camp. At least seven people were killed in the bombing, which
inflicted huge damage on government buildings in Oslo. A few hours later
a gunman opened fire at the camp on an island outside Oslo, killing at
least 10. The suspected gunman was arrested at the camp and the government
have confirmed that he is Norwegian. Police have said the 32-year-old suspect
was also linked with the bomb attack. Witnesses described the gunman as
tall, blonde and say he was dressed as a policeman. As
Art put it, "the madness of the present". Read
the full report here. Republican House Speaker John Boehner
has walked away from crunch debt ceiling talks at the White House with
US President Barack Obama. Mr Obama said Mr Boehner had rejected an "extraordinarily
fair deal" that would have included $650bn (£400bn) of cuts to entitlement
programmes. The president said he had been willing to take "a lot of heat"
from his party. Mr Boehner told a news conference afterwards that Mr Obama
had "moved the goal posts" by demanding a tax hike. President Obama said
he wanted a meeting with congressional leaders, including Mr Boehner, at
the White House at 1100 (1500 GMT) on Saturday. The
wonderful thing about having two sides to an argument is that each side
can spend all its time blaming the other without actually doing anything
to solve the problem. A gruelling heatwave intensifies over the
eastern parts of the US and Canada, with Friday expected to be the hottest
day yet. Global warming? Not down here it ain't.
David Cameron says James Murdoch "clearly" needs to answer questions from
MPs after his evidence to MPs on phone hacking was challenged. Quite
a change from reporting the news to making it. US President Barack
has announced the ban on openly gay people serving in US military is to
end on September 20. His certification on Friday of the repeal of the "don't
ask, don't tell" (DADT) law comes seven months after it was overturned
in the US Congress. The Pentagon had asked for time following the repeal
to prepare troops for the arrival of openly gay comrades. Mr Obama's move
affirmed the Pentagon had declared it was ready to accept openly gay troops.
can't wait for the war movie that stars a John Wayne type character with
a lisp. Hehe. A court in the Spanish capital Madrid has jailed Garikoitz
Aspiazu, a former military leader of the Basque separatist group Eta, for
377 years. Aspiazu, arrested in France in 2008 and moved to Spain in May,
was convicted of a role in the attempted assassination of a mayor in 2002.
At the time of his arrest, the man who went by the alias "Txeroki" (Cherokee),
was the most wanted Eta fugitive. More than 820 deaths have been blamed
on Eta over 40 years. It's a pity the twit won't
live and suffer that long. More than A$1m ($1.07m; £664,000)
of wine has been destroyed in a forklift accident in Australia. The 2010
Mollydooker Velvet Glove shiraz sells for A$185 a bottle ($199; £122),
the AFP news agency said. Winemaker Sparky Marquis told reporters he was
"gut-wrenched" that 462 cases of wine had been smashed while being loaded
for export to the United States. "When they opened up the container they
said it was like a murder scene," he said. "But it smelled phenomenal."
the Murdoch story look pretty ordinary. What a tragedy! As space
shuttle Atlantis' wheels touched down in Florida on Thursday, the shuttles'
epoch of defining manned spaceflight came to a close. What comes next for
the US space agency is a new way of running things - but not everyone is
happy about it. Read
the full article here. A Ghanaian minister is "promoting hatred" by
urging people to report those they suspect to be homosexual, a human rights
group has told the BBC. Ghana's Centre for Popular Education and Human
Rights said Paul Evans Aidoo's comments could endanger the nation's underground
gay community. Mr Aidoo said he wanted to rid society of gay people and
take them to court. It would need to be a pretty
big court. I still think anyone who hates gays with such a passion has
a MAAAAAAJOR problem themselves. Closet queens if you ask me.
Jeez, fancy a bottle of plonk selling for $185 a bottle. Hehe. No way
I could afford that stuff. I drink cardboard dry white... 5 liters in a
cask, and they were on spesh yesterday at 2 for $20. So that works out
to be $2 a liter, or a bit cheaper for a bottle cos a bottle is 750ml.
It's not a bad drop actually. Most quaffable in my humble. Matter of fact,
I'm having a sip now. *hic* And it's not even midday yet. I don't understand
all this sun over the yard arm business. By the way, I don't just drink
ANY cardboard. No, no, no. Berri Classic Dry White is my drop. I'm very
selective. If I'm gonna pay $2 a liter, I demand quality.
Oh dear... here I go again. For some reason I was thinking about the
old radio serials I listened to as a kid, like Yes What. My mom and dad
and younger bro and I all sat at the dinner table listening to the radio
as we ate the evening meal. So I searched Youchewb and guess what? Yep,
I found episodes
of Yes What. "Good morning, boys!" "Good morning, sir!" I'll never
forget that. I'm pretty sure my fertile imagination owes a lot to listening
to radio serials as a kid and visualizing the mental images.
I read where the actors involved in Yes What became so familiar with
the characters that they hardly needed a script... they just ad libbed
their way through each episode and made it up as they went along. I remember
well the introductory sound of that school bell and how I looked forward
with eager anticipation to what was about to happen next. "Greenbottle?
You're late again! What's you're excuse this time?" "Me, Sir?" "Yes, you,
Does anyone read all this nonsense? Dozen madder. I'm gonna write it
anyway. It's wonderful therapy, and it keeps me occupied.
NC Art sent a thing about breeding bulls. Basically it's the story of
bloke who took his missus to a cattle show. They checked out a bull that
had mated 50 times in the previous year, and the missus said, "Oh, that's
almost once a week!" They checked the next bull and the sign said that
he'd mated 150 times in the previous year, and the missus commented, "Wow!
That's more than twice a week!" Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Then they checked
out a third bull and the sign said he'd mated 365 times in the previous
year. The missus grinned, elbowed her husband's ribs and said, "My goodness,
that's once a day!" And the husband said, "Yeah, but was it with the same
What's the bet that little story was written by a bloke?
Well, the current (now former) owner of 15 Hegarty St Glebe (my old
house) wrote to say the house has just been sold at auction for $690,000.
Boo hoo! She said it was a very emotional moment. They bought a
similar terrace house further down towards the point, nearer the Harbor.
Very nice. It's also at #15, one of my lucky numbers. She wrote to ask
if it's okay to pass on my details to the new owners, Helen and Ben, and
the pics I took back in the '80s. Of course! No worries. I hope Helen and
Ben enjoy the place as much as I did. Gary
July 22, 2011. July twoty twoth. I think I figured out what that
wrong number on my mobile yesterday was all about. I think Byza is local
vernacular for Byron Bay... surfer talk. Byron Bay is where I set Green
Room, so maybe it wasn't a wrong number after all. I worked with a woman
named Marilyn who was nicknamed Maz. I was nicknamed Gaz. Maz and Gaz.
We got along like a house on fire and were great mates. No naughty stuff
though. No, no, no, no. None of that.
My link to the steam train vid yesterday brought back childhood memories
for NC Art:
Down at the station
Early in the morning
See the little puffabillies all in a row
See the little driver
Turn the little handle
Choo choo whoo whoo off they go.
And thanks for the memory of real big noisy steam engines huffing
and puffing, brakes squealing against iron wheels, air blasts as brake
lines are uncoupled between cars. As a five year old, I would cover my
ears as trains pulled into the station yard and unload freight and passengers.
Older relatives often arrived by train, and Dad took me to meet them.
I was standing adjacent to the engine when the driver blew the whistle,
and it almost deafened me. It actually hurt my ears! But I was too busy
fiddling with the camera to cover them. Yep, there's something very special
about old steam locos, and I hope enthusiasts keep them running forever.
I posted this link to the Steamfest
Great Train Race some time ago, but that was before Art joined Waffle.
I think he'll enjoy watching race footage shot from the driver cab of one
of the trains. Anyone who's seen it before can watch it again. It's great
Incidentally, Art thinks the sketch Brian did of me some time ago would
frighten two year's growth out of my little Nicaraguan tyke, Anyel. World
Vision doesn't want me to post a pic of Anyel on the net, but if you saw
him you'd realize he's as grumpy looking as I am. That's the main reason
I chose him for my sponsorship.
Another wet and dreary day, dammit. And I can't postphone the shopping
any longer. I promised L&S I'd do a roast tonight.
Let's check the Beeb: Leaders of the Eurozone countries have agreed
a new bailout package for Greece worth 109bn euros ($155bn, £96.3bn).
For the first time, private lenders, including banks, are also pledging
support which will give Greece easier repayment terms. The Greek Prime
Minister, George Papandreou, welcomed the deal: "We now have a programme
and a package of decisions which create... a sustainable debt management
for Greece. And this in the end of course will mean not only the funding
of a programme but it will also mean the lightening of the burden on the
Greek people." I'm not sure I understand all this
monetary business but I gather if one goes down, it threatens the stability
of the other members. Is that the price Europe is paying for a common currency?
If that's the case then I can understand why Britain remained independent.
Realist painter Lucian Freud, one of Britain's most distinguished and highly
regarded artists, has died aged 88. New York dealer William Acquavella
said Freud had died at his London home on Wednesday after an unspecified
illness. Freud, a grandson of the psycho-analyst Sigmund Freud, was born
in Berlin in 1922 and fled to Britain with his Jewish family in 1933, when
he was 10. Freud - particularly known for his paintings of nudes - became
a British citizen in 1939. His works have been increasingly sought after
at recent auctions and his portrayal of an overweight nude woman sleeping
on a couch sold in 2008 for $33.6m (£20.6m) - a world record for
a work by a living artist. If you're wondering what
all the fuss is about, here
it is. Pakistan has accused the US of slander against Islamabad
over the arrest of a Kashmiri-born man accused of acting as a Pakistani
agent in Washington. Ghulam Nabi Fai, a 62-year-old American citizen, is
accused of working in Washington for a Pakistani spy agency to lobby for
Kashmiri independence. Mr Fai was arrested on Tuesday and charged with
failing to register as a foreign government agent. Meanwhile, Congress
rejected a proposal on Thursday to cut off aid to Pakistan. Very
strange behavior if you ask me. Are they friends or enemies? I can't figure
it out. A punishing heat-wave settles over the central and eastern
US, with millions enduring temperatures as high as 37C (99F), and as many
as 22 deaths. 37C? You're joking, right? We don't
even turn the fan on at 37. Evidence on phone hacking given to MPs
by News International chairman James Murdoch has been called into question
by two former executives at the firm. He told the media committee on Tuesday
he had not been "aware" of an email suggesting the practice went wider
than a "rogue" News of the World reporter. But ex-NoW editor Colin Myler
and ex-NI legal manager Tom Crone have now said they "did inform" him of
the email. Mr Murdoch later said he "stands by his testimony". I
was amused by a comment made by our PM Julia Gillard when she advised reporters
"not to write crap". One reporter said, "When politicians stop talking
crap, we'll stop reporting it." Or something to that effect. Hehe. Meanwhile,
the Murdochs are providing the media with plenty of headline fodder.
A Saudi woman whose imprisonment for driving drew global attention to the
issue says she is more determined than ever to continue her campaign. Manal
al-Sharif, 32, was held for nine days in May after driving in the eastern
city of Khobar. "We won't stop until the first Saudi license is issued
to a woman," she told the BBC in her first interview since. Earlier this
week, prosecutors in the city of Jeddah announced they were going to prosecute
a woman for driving. Bloody amazing. I was teaching
women and girls to drive 40 years ago! The grave holding the remains
of Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess has been destroyed to stop it being
used as a pilgrimage site by neo-Nazis. Hess's bones were exhumed at the
graveyard in the town of Wunsiedel, southern Germany, early on Wednesday.
The remains were later cremated and are to be scattered at sea. They
should have been flushed down a toilet.
So what's this neo-Nazi business all about? If they succeed in ridding
the world of their enemies, what then? What's left to get excited about?
What would religion do without the devil? What would good do without evil?
What would governments do without an opposition? What would a see-saw be
if it were only half a plank? What would protesters do if they won their
case? What if the world were perfect and there was nothing to complain
about? There's so much I don't understand, dear Breth.
Right. What's worse? Being trampled by a herd of stampeding buffalo
or being eaten alive by a swarm of crocodiles? Hang on. I haven't finished
yet. OR, shopping? Try number 3. I hate queues. What's more I hate people
who open upright freezer doors and spend ages choosing something. And then
they finally close the door and leave you with an impenetrable fog. It
took me the best part of 3 hours to do today's shopping, which included
Averil's. She has no idea where anything is and I'm constantly backwards
and forwards up and down the aisles as I search for what's on her list.
And when I got home I did 6 trips from the van to the house, carrying all
the stuff IN THE RAIN while Lindsay watched TV. AND THEN I had to separate
all the stuff - ours and Averil's - and deliver Averil's stuff to her house.
No, no, no. I'm not cranky. Okay... a little bit. But I'll get over
it. There's a marinated and stuffed chicken roasting in the oven and so
far it hasn't complained. And I just put the herbed spuds in. So I'll feel
better when I tuck into that for din dins. Yum! Gary
July 21, 2011. Pardon me for a moment... gotta pay the bills.
Back in a tick.
Right... done. Almost back to square one cos I paid the quarterly power
bill. Talk about juggling oranges. I think of my bank account as a revolving
Well, at least someone thinks I'm a "charming and really nice person"
hehe. I got a letter today from my little Nicaraguan dude, Anyel, the boy
I sponsor through World Vision. I sent him some postcards with pics of
Australian wildlife that he liked very much, and also the
drawing of me done by Brian some years ago. Anyel says "it's nice to
know that someone besides my mother loves me a lot." Isn't that sweet?
He's a bit young for school at the mo - he's only 2 or 3 - but his mother
says he's looking forward to going to school and studying. He says he will
"write and draw to you". Makes me a bit teary to be honest... to think
that a little kid in Nicaragua and his family are benefiting from the few
bucks I send each month. He says he would like to learn more about me.
Oops! Well... lemme think about that. The word 'selective' has just sprung
I also got a message from a Japanese bloke on Youchewb who saw my
vid of a steam loco that visited Taree a while back. It is first
time to send my mail. I recorded the footage of Vintage steam loco made
in UK. about 45years ago. But the 8mm cinema have no sounds, so I searched
for the sound of SL made in UK. especially, Beyer Peacock's one. I'm very
happy to hear the sound, and many thanks for you.
There ya go. The little things you do that make someone else's day.
That's what it's all about, yes?
Now, this business of the inter-changeability of dickhead and numbnut
has got me puzzled. NC Art asked me to be the arbiter, and threw in fuckwit
as well just to confuse the issue even more. Is there a connection? And
can one expression be substituted for the other? My first thought is that
if you translate dickhead literally you get a mental image of glans penis.
And if you translate numbnut literally you get a frozen testicle. So there
seems to be a bit of a mismatch there. On the other hand, if you treat
both expressions as metaphorical rather than literal, you get a different
meaning... someone, as Oregon Richie puts it, "with a shortage of picnic
fixins" hehe... as in a sandwich short of a picnic. So I suppose that makes
both expressions inter-changeable, and the same would apply to fuckwit
in a metaphorical sense. Actually, I'm not sure about the literal translation
of fuckwit... the mental image that immediately springs to mind is a bit
My post yesterday of the Model-T Ford and Australia's first caravan
brought back pleasant memories for Art: First off, I got a great kick
from the T-Model Ford + Caravan. The old T was a versatile work horse.
A T was the first vehicle I drove beyond a farm wagon with mule power.
The orphanage had a similar rig used as a school/activity bus. The roof
was not so high and the rain curtains were mounted inside for ease in rolling
down and fastening with brass turn clips. Seats were three long leather
covered benches, one on each side and one down the center. My dad used
the thing to travel to the mountains of North Carolina and fetch a load
of Wine sap apples each October. Steep hills often required using reverse
gear to back up an incline because first gear had less torque.
How's that for a memory? But while Art's memory is intact, his bum's
not: Meanwhile I visited my doctor this morning to contribute a phial
of blood for rechecking analysis. (My blood calcium was high.) A ten-minute
procedure wasted two hours because the office resembled a cattle auction
in Omaha. Waiting room chairs are made of Masonite and most unkind to a
skinny butt; sensitive skin stretched over bone unpadded with muscle or
fat! This "old" business is for the brave or masochistic!
True. Getting older has its drawbacks, but it's compensated by a much
better and more comprehensive view. Keep in mind, however, that ya gotta
have a sense of humor to go with the view otherwise it doesn't work.
What's crackin bro. U moved to byza yet? My mobile phone rang
and that was the message. Wrong # ya think? Hehe. Byza? Where dat?
Oh yes... there was also something Oregon Richie wrote that I thought
was worth pasting here: Local news is much-about all the present sabre-rattling
and endless duel between the Republicans and the rest of us over budget,
debt ceiling, threatening to plunge the country into a serious economic
mess and otherwise make life as difficult as possible for our President.
These new far-right folks are something else. I think they are determined
to dismantle 7 decades of social progress and programs for their own selfish
means and saving the wealthy a lot of money and must hate the middle class...
which is self-defeating since I view a strong and progressive middle-class
as THE economic engine of our country. I don't get this at all.
It's disgusting, and in some ways... such as the current affairs of NASA....
it just seems that we're off the tracks. THE greatest space program
in history... the greatest explorers of the last century... we are no longer
a space-faring nation with virtually zip capability to do so so... what
the hell ? WTF !!!
Beeb time: The police team investigating phone hacking has been boosted
from 45 to 60 officers, Scotland Yard has said. Metropolitan Police Deputy
Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers said the move came after a "significant
increase in the workload" over the past fortnight. She said there had been
a "surge of inquiries and requests for assistance from the public and solicitors".
Earlier, the Met was accused by MPs of a "catalogue of failures" in the
News of the World phone-hacking inquiry. Meanwhile, News of the World owner
News International said it had authorised law firm Harbottle & Lewis
to answer any questions from Scotland Yard and the Commons home affairs
committee about its work for the company. I remember
Scotland Yard movies at the Saturday matinee when detectives used to whizz
around London streets in Wolseley
6/80s from the early 1950s. The US says it will send aid to
parts of Somalia controlled by al-Shabab if it receives assurances the
Islamist militants will not benefit. Assurances?
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has launched an unprecedented attack on
the Catholic Church in parliament. He said the recent Cloyne Report into
how allegations of sex abuse by priests in Cork had been covered up showed
change was urgently needed. Mr Kenny said the historic relationship between
church and state in Ireland could not be the same again. He said the report
exposed the elitism, dysfunction, disconnection, and narcissism that dominated
the Vatican. "The rape and torture of children were downplayed or 'managed'
to uphold instead the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and
'reputation'," the taoiseach said. Well said, Kenny.
Kenny 1, Benny 0. Three visitors seen climbing over safety barriers
to take photos at a waterfall in California's Yosemite park are presumed
dead after being swept away. I know the feeling...
gotta get that shot. But sometimes it ain't worth it. Libya's foreign
minister has denied that Col Muammar Gaddafi's removal was being considered
in efforts to end the country's conflict. "Gaddafi's departure is not being
discussed," Abdelati Obeidi told reporters after talks in Moscow with Russian
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Last week France said it had been contacted
by Libyan envoys saying Col Gaddafi leader was prepared to leave. My
feeling is that Gaddafi thinks he has too much to lose by abdicating after
40 years in power. I figure he wants to be remembered as the leader who
resisted the West and won. He doesn't want history to remember him as a
quitter. Space shuttle Atlantis is ready to make one last descent
to Earth. The orbiter and its crew of four are scheduled to hit the runway
at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida just before sunrise on Thursday.
At "wheel-stop", the ship will complete its 13-day mission to the space
station; but more significantly, it will close the book on Nasa's 30-year
shuttle programme. Atlantis, like Discovery and Endeavour before it, is
being retired. So what's next? American Airlines
has announced multi-billion dollar orders for 460 new Boeing and Airbus
planes. The world's fourth-largest airline by number of passengers, American
is buying 200 Boeing 737s and 260 Airbus A320 aircraft. American described
the twin deals as "the largest aircraft order in history". Its parent company
AMR Corporation added that the new single-aisle planes would "transform"
American's fleet. The new aircraft will be delivered between 2013 and 2022.
think Oregon Richie's in the wrong business hehe. He sells cars, and I'm
pretty sure he never sold 460 in one hit worth several million dollars
NC Art wrote something about competition: Rupie Murdoch had a head
start on the money biz. His daddy was a millionaire in Oz, so Sonny could
hit the ground running with his ambitious enterprises. He had other assets,
notably ruthless determination to stamp out competition and let prime ministers
and politicians know the power of the press. As a one-time city councilman,
I found out that if you can't love them, buy them or beat them!
Yes, competitors get in the way and make life difficult. Get rid of
the buggers and solve the problem. Did you watch that
soda pop vid yesterday? It's all about Coca Cola and Pepsi dominating
the market, except this one guy is providing opportunities for competitors
to do their own thing, and some of them have been doing it since the 19th
century. Competition is cool, provided it exists. Hehe. Choosing between
Coke and Pepsi ain't real competition to my way of thinking.
All of which reminds me of McDonalds and Hungry Jacks. I favorited a
Red Bubble pic of Hungry
Jacks in Christchurch NZ before the earthquake demolished it. I just
love it... straight out of Happy Days. Here's another pic I favorited...
very special moment between two little mates. Gorgeous stuff. I also
favorited a pic from Mieke of
a water abstract. It's just awesome! There are some clever people out
there ya know. I asked Mieke how do I plagiarize that and tell people it
was my idea in the first place? And she said find a water feature and use
telephoto when there's no direct sunlight on the water. Ah ha! Okay, stay
It's cold and wet and miserable today so I didn't venture out to the
shops. It's a matter of scraping together whatever's left in the fridge
for dinner, which happens to be scrambled eggs (with cheese), sliced tomato
and chips. No worries. Everybody loves it. But I'll have to shop tomorrow,
July 20, 2011. Goodness me, it's mid afternoon already and I've
only just started! I've been messing around with Youchewb, getting a few
giggles out of Clarke and Dawe, and sending comments to Justin's
blog. I love having fun on Justin's blog. He's very religious and I
enjoy saying silly things just to ruffle his feathers a bit.
How interesting is soda pop? Not very? Think again. You won't believe
this vid. It's
You wanna see some heart-in-the-mouth river crossing stuff in 4WDs?
favorited this clip.
Oh yes, I've also put together the pics of the first
caravan built in Oz.
Let's do a quick Beeb: The Met Police are accused of a "catalogue of
failures" over the News of the World phone-hacking inquiry in a damning
report by MPs. The Commons home affairs committee also criticises News
International's "deliberate attempts to thwart investigations" into hacking.
Murdoch business is making Quo Vadis look like a home video. The
UN is set to declare a famine in parts of Somalia, as humanitarian conditions
deteriorate amid the worst drought in over half a century. And
we think we've got problems. British troops in Afghanistan's volatile
Helmand province prepare to hand control of the city of Lashkar Gah to
Afghan security forces. "You can have your own town
back now, chaps. Good luck." If it sounds crazy it's because it is.
Police in the US, Britain and the Netherlands arrest more than 20 people
in connection with an investigation into high-profile cyber attacks. Hackers
deserve to be treated like common criminals in my book. Assholes.
A teenager in the US state of Florida, accused of bludgeoning his parents
to death with a hammer then throwing a party, has appeared in court. Tyler
Hadley, 17, allegedly killed Blake and Mary-Jo Hadley on Saturday before
locking their bodies in a bedroom and inviting guests round. Dozens of
guests showed up at the house on Saturday night for the party, and police
were called in the early hours after a noise complaint from a neighbour.
When a patrol car passed the house at about 0130 on Sunday the party guests
were just leaving, police said, and no further action was taken. After
receiving an anonymous tip about a possible murder, police returned later
that morning to the house and the accused answered the front door. Upon
searching the property, police said they found the bodies of Mrs Hadley,
47, a school teacher, and Mr Hadley, 54, an electrical utility worker,
in a bedroom. Try to make sense of that. I can't.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said News Limited in Australia
will face "hard questions" in the wake of the phone hacking scandal in
Britain. She said she was "disturbed" by revelations about Rupert Murdoch's
UK titles. By the same token, according to the polls,
the vast majority of Australians are also "disturbed" by Julia Gillard.
All she can muster at the mo is a 26% support rating.
NC Art also comments on the Murdoch mess: Yep Rupert Murdoch became
a U.S. citizen and renounced his Aussieness. That way he could buy lots
of American radio and television networks, plus the Wall Street Journal.
His FoxNews channel alone has misinformed more people about what's factual
than any media outlet in history. He's a real piece of work, huh?! Oh,
but neither he nor son James had any idea there were unethical rogues in
his far-flung enterprises.
Well, it takes quite a few bob to buy lots of American radio and television
networks, as well as the Wall Street Journal and Fox News. So where did
Rupie baby get all his money from? I mean if I went to America I'd be flat
out affording a bag of chips. Meanwhile, you can read the Borowitz Report:
Vow to Launch Full Investigation to Find Out Who is Running Company They
Are in Charge Of. If you're a bit late getting to the Borowitz site,
check the side bar for the story. Borowitz is a hoot.
Actually, I was thinking how I was born about 2000 years too late. I
shoulda be a fishermen in Nazareth or wherever it was that Jesus chose
his apostles. I coulda written a pretty interesting gospel - the Gospel
according to Saint Gary. Like, you know, funny about those 12 guys all
being bachelors and stuff like that. But alas, it was not to be.
Come to think of it, where did Matthew, Mark, Luke and John learn their
literary skills? One minute hauling fish, next minute scribbling on parchment.
Sounds a bit fishy to me. Sorry.
Since I wrote that last para, I had a little snooze. But it turned out
to be a BIG snooze. So I'm late for the kitchen. The problem is turning
on the heater. The heater makes me sleepy. Tomorrow I've got a job to do.
NC Art and his son were discussing the inter-changeability of dickhead
and numbnut. But Art also wonders if fuckwit is an equivalent, and he wants
me to be the arbiter. Stay tooned. Meanwhile, feel free to contribute your
own thoughts on the subject. Gary
July 19, 2011. Does the name Carl Barron ring a bell? He's an
Aussie comedian. A short bloke. He's also an accomplished musician; guitar
and piano, and speaks with a laid-back Aussie accent. Check
Yesterday, I mentioned Greg Somers, the artist I worked with some years
ago. I discovered him on Youchewb, and he's still the same hehe - laconic,
and in no great hurry to gather his thoughts. He's
working at Terrigal Beach where I used to live back in the early 70s.
He reckons as he gets older the world gets more absurd. Tell me about it!
At least it provides a bit of entertainment in one's latter years.
But at least now I don't react, just go with the flow. I've been
going to Buddhist meditation classes for some months now. It has made a
big difference in attitude. Every day is a good day, every day is a bad
day. It's how we see it.
Greg's sense of humor hasn't changed. Here's a little cartoon he did:
Did you get a good look at Greg's
self-portrait, which he entered in Australia's prestigious Archibald
Prize? Click on the thumb to get the bigger pic. He was one of the finalists,
even at his first attempt. How's that for cool? Don't you love the 'Dory
in grey' painting in the background? A hint at Oscar Wilde's character
Dorian Gray, an individual obsessed with living forever and staying eternally
youthful. Check the message at the bottom of Greg's tie. "Become an artist.
Immortality is to die for." It's also interesting to note that Greg is
not big time into ironing shirts.
Meanwhile, Oregon Richie sent some pics of his recent trip to High Cascades
aboard his Honda 599. Beautiful scenery of snow-capped peaks and spectacular
waterways. I'll put a little album together and post it on Guest Travelers...
maybe today or tomorrow. I also spotted a series of pics on an auto newsgroup
this morning of Australia's first caravan, built in Tasmania in 1926. I'll
make an album of those as well. That'll take care of July cos I've been
too slack to go anywhere.
I'm also gonna have to put some time aside to update the Bluey Page
to include Das Busse and my latest plans. Sheesh. So much to do!
Beeb time: A former News of the World journalist who made phone-hacking
allegations against the paper has been found dead. Sean Hoare told the
New York Times the practice was far more extensive than the paper acknowledged
when police first investigated hacking claims. A police spokesman said
the death was currently being treated as unexplained, but was not thought
to be suspicious. By the way, Rupert Murdoch is an
American citizen. When he left Oz and went to America, he relinquished
his Australian citizenship to become an American. Just thought I'd throw
that in. People keep calling him an Australian. He's not. US officials
have held face-to-face talks with representatives of Col Muammar Gaddafi's
government, the US state department has confirmed. The US said the meeting
reiterated its demand that Col Gaddafi step down, and involved no negotiations.
In a statement, the US state department said officials had given representatives
of Col Gaddafi a "clear and firm" message that the Libyan leader had to
go. No one can accuse the west of rushing into things.
Gaddafi's been in charge of Lybia for 40 years. Hello? The price
of gold jumps above $1,600 an ounce for the first time as debt worries
in the US and Europe escalate. Funny about that.
Old abandoned gold mines in Oz are being reopened. I wouldn't mind having
a bit of dig myself. The US general who has taken over as commander
of international forces in Afghanistan has warned of "tough days ahead"
in the military campaign. Addressing troops at a handover ceremony in Kabul,
Gen John Allen said he had "no illusions about the challenges we will face
together". Insurgents have stepped up attacks on troops and senior Afghan
officials. Gen Allen has taken over command from Gen David Petraeus who
is returning to the US to run the CIA. The never
ending story... ya can't have the goodies without the baddies What the
hell would Hopalong Cassidy have done without crooks? The Fab Four
made two hysteria-inducing visits to America in 1964, launching the so-called
"British Invasion" of the mid-1960s. As they visited Washington DC and
Baltimore a young photographer, Mike Mitchell, snapped dozens of images
of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Now, after being filed away for nearly
50 years, these never seen before black-and-white photographs are being
sold at auction at Christie's in New York. Take a look at some of them,
and hear The Beatles perform and talk about their visits to the USA. Interesting
stuff! Those were the days!
Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way...
Well, I just put Oregon Richie's pics together and posted them on the
Traveler page. The reason Richie is not perched on the saddle of his
Honda 599 is because he's the one who took the photo. Just thought I'd
clear that up. He's not that bloody clever. Yes, he could have used the
self-timer button and put himself in the pic but... well... I'm not saying
I just checked the clock. I've got five of them in front of me... just
in case one goes bung. It's 5pm. Ibce... hang on, my fingers are not in
position. Let's try that again. Once upon a time, there were a dozen little
prawns swimming around happily. Not any more. Pretty soon they'll be in
my oven. Do I feel bad? Well... no... not really. I mean, who's more important?
Me or the prawn? Does a prawn write this Waffle page? No. I rest my case.
And if that doesn't strike you as funny, have a few plonks and read it
July 18, 2011. So what was NC Art doing living amongst 100 orphans?
reference to 100 orphans is easily explained. I was born on the orphanage
campus because my father worked there as farm/dairy/buildings overseer
and jack-of-all-trades on top of it. So I lived on campus until my 17th
year. I graduated high school at 16 and thereafter ran the printing shop,
drove the activity bus and supervised senior boys dorm. In fact this was
a continuation of what I had been doing since my sophomore year in school.
My dad retired when I was 14, but I wanted to finish school with my friends,
so I became an "orphan" when parents moved off-campus.
of that time I also worked nights as a typesetter in a town 16 miles away,
but somehow managed to hold it all together. So I had two sets of friends:
townies and orphans, but with my activities I saw more of the orphan friends
because I slept and ate with them.
Since my dad had been the school bus driver, I got that job. The
printing instructor joined the navy after Pearl Harbor, so I took over
his job. The housemother left to work in an ammunition plant, so I got
her job. I had worked in the print shop since age 12. [Precocious maybe;
I produced a magnificent orgasm on my 11th birthday and found many opportunities
to revel in that wondrous sport, occasionally with a like minded bud.]
I expect this sounds way far out to most kids now, but that's the
way it was until I was 18 and enlisted in the air force.
How about that for a story? Sounds like something out of Dickens or
Mark Twain. If I were Art, I'd be getting my fingers busy on the keyboard
to tell the tale before it fades into oblivion. One also has to wonder
at the fate of those orphans... how many went on to live happy and productive
lives, and how many fell by the wayside.
Meanwhile, Oregon Richie had a thing or two to say about Michele Bachman:
never fail to be stumped and stupefied about these idiotic comments that
people make about any and everybody who has ever dealt with gay or bi or
no-sex issues at all. Among her other ravings, Michelle Bachman represents
the rather off-the-cliff far right of the Republican lunatic fringe.
She says things so inaccurate, so wrong, so incorrect, so contradictory
to facts, and downright stupid, that I can't believe she is voted in.
I guess her supporters merely love to hear CRAP that reinforces their own.
I guess that is the reason why so many otherwise intelligent peeps happened
to listen if not adore a certain chap named Adolf some time back.
I can't fathom it. I suppose it's "the dark side" and their version
of the force is a farce. Nuff said.
I get the feeling Richie is not a big fan of Michele. Hehe.
But you see, ladies and genitals, the world is made up of the Richies
and the Arts and the Garys and the Micheles and a whole bunch of other
"kinds", all of whom, allegedly, it takes to make a world. And I guess
that's the way it will always be. One bloke accuses the other bloke of
being a dickhead and vice versa, and so on, and yadda yadda, ad infinitum.
Variety is the spice of life? Well, imagine the alternative. Benny does.
He would like to see the whole world turn up for Sunday mass. It's all
about the missionary mentality... let's go out and convince the world of
the error of its ways.
Beeb time: Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson has
resigned following the phone hacking scandal. Britain's most senior police
officer has faced criticism for hiring former News of the World executive
Neil Wallis - who was questioned by police investigating hacking - as an
adviser. Sir Paul said his links to the journalist could hamper investigations.
He said there were lessons to be learned from the affair, but he was leaving
with his integrity intact. He also said he had no knowledge of the extent
of the phone hacking. Is this what they call the
Domino Effect? A senior aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Jan
Mohammad Khan, has been killed in an attack on his home in Kabul. Lawmaker
Hasham Atanwal also died in the attack, said police, as men stormed the
house in the capital. The incident comes less than a week after Mr Karzai's
brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was assassinated. Meanwhile, foreign troops
will cease combat operations in 2014. You have to
wonder if 10 years of foreign intervention has achieved anything at all.
Libyan rebels say there have been fierce clashes with Muammar Gaddafi's
forces in residential areas of the eastern oil town of Brega. Ten,
nine, eight, seven... South Africans are set to celebrate ex-President
Nelson Mandela's 93rd birthday, with festivities expected across the country.
country needs its heros, and Safrica hit the jackpot. The final
Harry Potter movie has shattered box office record in the US and Canada,
taking $168m (£104m) over its opening weekend. Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows: Part 2 had already made $92.1m (£57m) on its opening
day, said the film's distributor, Warner Bros. The previous opening weekend
record was held by Batman film The Dark Knight, which took $158m. I
wonder what all the publishers that rejected JK Rowling when she first
tried to get published are thinking now. I hope they kept copies of their
rejection slips, framed them and stuck them on their office walls.
India's Tata group says it will launch cheap housing that can be built
within a week for 500 euros, according to Indian media reports. A spokesman
for Tata, which in 2009 launched the world's cheapest car, the Nano, said
the pre-fabricated houses would help the rural poor buy a home. Prototypes
are already being tested with a view to launch by next year, the PTI news
agency said. Indian authorities say millions of homes are needed in rural
areas. Jeez, even Das Busse cost more than that!
Actually, if you check out primitive peoples like those who lived in
Papua New Guinea not so long ago, they could whip up a house in a day.
Chop a few palms, erect a few bamboo poles, and whammo, instant house.
And it cost nothing except for a bit of labor. And what about all those
pioneers who moved west a few hundred years ago in America? No way they
could jump on the phone and talk to an architect or a builder. Same thing
happened here in Oz. An artist mate of mine about 40 years ago built his
own mud-brick house in the bush at Somersby, not far from Gosford back
in the '70s. He even made his own bricks. Greg Somers living at Somersby.
Yeah. Figures. I just did a Google... whaddaya know... Greg's
still doing his thing even after all these years. He and I collaborated
on quite a few jobs when I was still operating my advertising copy business.
He's obviously done well.
This mug which I now use as a pen/pencil holder is all I have left
of my work with Greg. It was a campaign I worked on back in the late '80s
for a suburban newspaper. The radio ads did the whole "Look! Up in the
sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It's Multi Man!" thing. Hehe. The
rest of the ads went on about people wanting to sell a camel or a stuffed
croc or their mother in law or whatever. They were fun days. After recording
the ads, we'd all go across the road to the Il Costino Italian restaurant
and pig out on pasta and wine for the rest of the afternoon. The client,
a woman who worked for the newspaper, had the major hots for me, and made
me terribly nervous. "What a waste", she once said about me to the advertising
agent. Hehe. She was what you might describe as a Sherman tank in a dress.
The owner of that restaurant used to sell me pure alcohol and aniseed
essence so that I could make my own Ouzo at home. Whoa! Did that stuff
have a punch or what?
WRONG! I forgot that Greg also designed my old biz card, and
he did a sterling job. That was back in the mid '80s. You see that button
on the far right all by its lonesome? I never did figure out what that
Yes, folks, it's that time again. Din dins. I've just spent the best
part of the past hour talking to Greg Somers on the phone. My first attempt
at emailing him bounced but we've managed to sort that out. It was great
to chat to him again, and he sounds just the same. He says he was thinking
of me recently, and even passed through Taree a few weeks ago. And yes,
he still lives in the same mud-brick house he built all those years ago.
As I type this, he's out in the yard splitting logs for the open fire.
How wonderful. Then he'll check out Aussie Odyssey. Gary
July 17, 2011. Correction time. NC Art made a boo-boo. Six
hundred bushels of sweet potatoes to feed "10" orphans is a bit of overstate.
The figure should have been 100 orphans [plus staff members who cared for
them]. Must have been healthy; the boys went to amazing lengths to get
up with girls. Of course horny pubescents also found satisfaction among
themselves in barn lofts or wooded areas of the farm. I can't speak for
the young ladies.
100 orphans? Art must have had quite an interesting childhood. Anyway,
I'll stick to regular spuds if you don't mind.
And now, a group of Catholics is debunking the church's belated acceptance
of Galileo's claim for solar centricity. Their reasoning: "False information
leads to false ideas, and false ideas lead to illicit and immoral actions--thus
the state of the world today....Prior to Galileo, the church was in full
command of the world; and governments and academia were subservient to
Well, it's no surprise that religion can do pretty strange things to
the minds of believers. I find it curious, for example, that American presidents
can stand up and say "God bless America". Prime Ministers in Oz never say
that. I don't think PMs in Britain do either. However, I do have a soft
spot for American patriotism. It can be quite stirring, even for an Aussie
like me. Check
out this link posted by Justin on his blog of a surprise for shoppers at
a Provincetown supermaket.
NC Art also wrote: Here's wonderful news for all the gays of the
world. A Minnesota congresswoman named Michele Bachmann is campaigning
for the Republican nomination for president of the U.S. She is a devout
Christian and shares her husband's views of homosexuality. She
says gay people are in self-imposed bondage and slaves to themselves and
their curious behavior.
Hmmm. Well, I would suggest that Michele and her husband are slaves
to their own curious behavior. But that's just my opinion, and I'm not
a presidential candidate (nor a Republican, for that matter) with a million
degrees in higher education. I'm just your basic dickhead Aussie who likes
Vegemite on toast. What the fuck would I know?
The thing is, it's common knowledge that many gays undergo major psychological
difficulties adjusting to their sexual orientation. They're afraid of how
their parents will react, they're afraid of how their peers and friends
will react. Moreover, they're afraid of being "different", of being cast
aside by God. All of which makes them extremely vulnerable to vultures
like Michele Bachmann and her twisted husband who are nothing more than
snake-oil salesmen. Criminals. Crooks. Con men. Liars. Cheats. People who
make a buck outta the baseless fears of others. And Michele is gonna run
for president of the United States? Wasn't there a song called 'Devil in
I passed that link along to Justin,
along with my little blurb.
Jeez, imagine life without the internet.
Beeb time: The UN has made its first aid delivery to drought victims
in areas of Somalia controlled by al-Qaeda-linked militants since they
lifted an aid ban. UN children organisation's Rozanne Chorlton said al-Shabab
had given UN workers unhindered access and hoped this would encourage other
agencies. Why doesn't al-Qaeda fly aid into areas
that desperately need help? Or is that a dumb question? Iran says
it is ready to co-operate with Argentina over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish
community centre in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires. Argentina has
blamed Iran for the attack, in which 85 people died. The Iranian Foreign
Ministry denied any involvement and said it would help Argentina with its
investigation, which it said "was going down the wrong way". Yes,
of course. And isn't it generous of Iran to be so willing to assist?
Foreign Secretary William Hague has defended David Cameron, saying he was
"not embarrassed" by the extent of the PM's dealings with News International.
Mr Cameron has met its top executives 26 times in the 15 months since he
became prime minister, it emerged. Mr Hague defended the PM's decision
to entertain Andy Coulson after the latter quit as an aide over the News
of the World phone-hacking scandal. In press ads, Rupert Murdoch apologises
for "serious wrongdoing" by the paper. Lots of furious
backpedalling going on, ladies and genitals. Hehe. Oops! US President
Barack Obama has held private talks with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader,
the Dalai Lama, despite strong criticism from China. Mr Obama told the
Dalai Lama of his "strong support" for human rights in Tibet, a White House
statement said. Beijing released an angry statement saying the meeting
had damaged relations between the two countries. What
relations? Meanwhile, Oz PM Julia Gillard snubbed the Dalai Lama when he
was here in Oz. China is our biggest customer, so I guess that's understandable.
Actress Googie Withers, best known for appearing in Alfred Hitchcock's
The Lady Vanishes and TV's Within These Walls, has died in Australia aged
94. She was born Georgette Lizette Withers in what was then British India.
She died at her home on Friday. She was the first non-Australian to be
awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia and was appointed a Commander
of the Order of the British Empire. Her last role was in the Oscar-nominated
1996 Australian movie Shine. In 1958, Withers moved to Australia with her
husband, Australian actor John McCallum - he helped create the classic
television series, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. The couple co-starred in 10
films, and they lived together in Sydney until McCallum died last year
at the age of 91. Another Aussie icon bites the dust.
Computers and the internet are changing the nature of our memory, research
in the journal Science suggests. Psychology experiments showed that people
presented with difficult questions began to think of computers. When participants
knew that facts would be available on a computer later, they had poor recall
of answers but enhanced recall of where they were stored. The researchers
say the internet acts as a "transactive memory" that we depend upon to
remember for us. Yep, I agree with that. When I want
to check something, I do a Google. But I don't necessarily commit the information
to memory cos I know I can go back there.
Wanna check out a 1935 Duesenberg Speedster? I found a bunch of Duesenberg
pics on a newgroup that I emailed to Oregon Richie, and he subsequently
found the site of the museum that hosts the display. Check
out this clip. They don't make cars like that anymore, babes. That
is one head-turning chariot.
Sue's delusional again. Lindsay is running around mumbling about "nursing
homes" and "I don't understand what she's talking about". So I wrote a
longish email to her sister in England about Sue's condition. Sue's rellos
have no idea of the seriousness of this situation. They think all she needs
is a pair of reading glasses and the morning newspaper, and a night out
on the town once a month. Yeah, right. Her brain's gone. It's history.
How will that affect me? Well, I have a feeling my days as Sue's carer
are numbered. I figure she'll be institutionalized at some point. There's
no way Lindsay or I are qualified to care for somebody in Sue's condition
as it deteriorates further. Also, I don't see myself getting Das Busse
and the Odyssey organized in the near future, so that will probably mean
moving out and getting a small flat by myself. It will also mean a loss
of income as well as an increase in rent. Not good, huh? Well, we'll see.
July 16, 2010. Yep, you guessed right, another Satdee. Have you
ever seen g'day in living color? I
favorited this shot on Red Bubble this morning. How clever! The beach,
Wamberal, is just across the road from where I lived at Terrigal back in
the early 70s when I worked at radio 2GO.
Here's another shot I favorited... a very creative shot of a big rock
in Oz that's been photographed a million times. Just goes to show that
a new way to tackle an old problem.
When I arrive in Sydney on the Odyssey, I'm gonna be faced with the
challenge of photographing all the icons in a new or different way. Can
it be done? Hehe. I dunno. Icons don't change, but the lighting does. So
I'll keep that in mind. Also, there's an image that sticks in my brain.
One time, many years ago, I stood at the base of the Harbor Bridge looking
at the massive foundations, and all the giant bolts that hold them in place.
Gotta get a pic of that!
I guess photography is not so much about the subject but about the way
the photographer sees it. Yeah?
NC Art reckons sweet potatoes are cool, and that I must've done something
terribly wrong to bugger it up. You must have done something vile to
your sweet potato, m'man. These things are delicious, nutritious and very
healthy food. Full of vitamins and minerals, really. As for cooking, wrap
the thing in wet paper towels, bake in microwave 4 or 5 minutes, burn your
hand removing it. Split and lay a slab of butter on and pierce to allow
butter to get inside. That's the easy way. Alternately you may make sweet
potato pie. Boil or bake potato, remove skin and mash it to smooth consistency.
Add 1/4 cup of butter, a bit of cream, one beaten egg, sprinkle lightly
with ground cinnamon and top with marshmallows. Bake until marshmallows
are lightly browned. Let cool a bit, slice and eat as delightful dessert
or dinner accompaniment. Refrigerate uneaten portion and enjoy as an afternoon
snack with tea. My mom spurned the traditional pumpkin pie but used it
with sweet potato, then spiced it up with nutmeg and cinnamon to disguise
the pumpkin flavor. Incidentally, we harvested some 600 bushels of the
golden root crop annually to feed 10 orphans through the winter. And when
I came home from school, there was usually a potato baked in hot ashes
of the fireplace. Great edible hand warmer!
I can think of another edible hand warmer but I'd better not say anything.
5th amendment and all that. Yes, I did do something silly with my sweet
potato. I cut it up into chips and deep fried it. Didn't work. But Art's
comments remind me of the way I do potato and pumpkin mash. When you boil
them together (about 2/3 spud and 1/3 pumpkin) you don't need milk or butter
to arrive at a smooth consistency. The pumpkin does all the work, and it
sweetens the mash to a most agreeable taste.
One popular way of baking spuds in Oz on a barbecue is simply to wrap
the spud (with skin on) in foil and throw it on the fire. Serve with sour
cream and chives. When I bake spuds in a conventional oven, I peel and
quarter them, spray a baking dish with a light film of canola oil, place
the quarters round side down, spray the tops with more cooking oil, sprinkle
with mixed dried herbs (a generous pinch each) and bake at medium temp
for about an hour or until the skins are brown and crisp. Yum! I always
do that when I roast a chook or a meatloaf.
Lemme see what I could do with spuds for a week: Monday, mashed. Tuesday,
chips. Wednesday, baked. Thursday, battered and scalloped. Friday, potato
and leek soup. Saturday, barbecued. Sunday, potato pie. You could actually
live on the damn things!
One of the dishes I like to make in winter is meatballs in tomato. Too
easy. Make lots of small meatballs with sausage mince, chopped onion, parsley,
garlic, celery, and a pinch of herbs. Shallow fry and drain on paper. Dump
the fat. Meanwhile, boil diced potatoes until tender. Pour a can of diced
tomatoes into a saucepan and heat, add cooked meatballs and potato. Serve
with buttered crusty bread. Voila. Din dins.
Here's a classic lawyer story sent to me by NC Art:
BEST TRUE LAWYER STORY OF THE YEAR, DECADE, AND POSSIBLY THE CENTURY
This took place in Charlotte, North Carolina. A lawyer purchased
a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against, among
other things, fire. Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile
of these great cigars, the lawyer filed a claim against the insurance company.
In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost 'in a series of small
The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason,
that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion. The lawyer
sued - and WON! (Stay with me.)
Delivering the ruling, the judge agreed with the insurance company
that the claim was frivolous. The judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer
held a policy from the company, in which it had warranted that the cigars
were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire,
without defining what is considered to be unacceptable 'fire' and was obligated
to pay the claim.
Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance
company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss
of the cigars that perished in the 'fires'.
NOW FOR THE BEST PART...
After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him
arrested on 24 counts of ARSON!!! With his own insurance claim and testimony
from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted
of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months
in jail and a $24,000 fine.
This true story won First Place in last year's Criminal Lawyers Award
ONLY IN AMERICA ... NO WONDER THE REST OF THE WORLD THINKS WE'RE
Beeb time: Les Hinton, one of the top executives of Rupert Murdoch's
embattled News Corporation media empire, has quit. Mr Hinton was chief
executive of Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal. Mr Murdoch
said the resignation brought him "much sadness". Rebekah Brooks - chief
executive of the media group's UK newspaper arm, News International - also
quit on Friday. Mr Hinton led News International from 1995-2007, when the
UK's News of the World was hacking phones. Mr Murdoch will apologise for
"serious wrongdoings" by the News of the World, in full-page advertisements
signed by him, in Britain's main national newspapers on Saturday. What
is it they say about the bigger they are? At least 28 people are
killed by security forces in some of the largest protests against Syria's
President Bashar al-Assad so far, activists say. This
is lunatic stuff. What the hell does al-Assad think he's achieving?
Pop star and actress Jennifer Lopez and singer Marc Anthony are divorcing
after seven years of marriage, in what they call "an amicable conclusion".
can't help wondering why some people bother to get married in the first
place. President Barack Obama has said he is seeking a "big deal"
with Republicans to reduce the budget deficit and keep the US from defaulting
on its debt. At the White House, Mr Obama warned time was running out for
a bargain, but rejected Republican plans to cut public spending without
raising taxes. Cross-party talks between Mr Obama and congressional leaders
have failed to make a breakthrough. The US must raise its $14.3tn (£8.9tn)
debt limit to borrow beyond 2 August. Failure to reach a deal would rattle
a world economy still trying to put the 2008 downturn behind it, analysts
say. "We're all Americans, and we all believe what's
good for America is good for all Americans... it's just that we can't agree
on what's good for America." Well, anyway, that's my take on it.
The United States has recognised the Libyan opposition as the country's
"legitimate governing authority". The move means billions of dollars of
Libyan assets frozen in US banks could be released to the rebels. The decision
was announced by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a diplomatic
meeting in Istanbul. Gaddafi must be fuming hehe.
A couple from Largs in Ayrshire have been named as the winners of the £161m
Euromillions jackpot. Chris Weir said she and her husband Colin were "tickled
pink" when they realised they had scooped Tuesday's jackpot. "I even had
a glass of white wine which is something I normally only do at Christmas!"
laughed Chris. What will they do with their new found
wealth? Read the story
here. Volkswagen has sold more than 4 million vehicles during
the first half of the year, a record for Europe's largest carmaker. Deliveries
increased by 14% on the same period last year, led by strong growth in
Asian markets. All this from the
humble Beetle that was originally available in one color... gray.
There are funny jokes and hilarious jokes. I think this one sent to
me by NC Art belongs to the latter category: A cowboy walked into a
drug store in Texas , and asked to talk to a male pharmacist. The woman
he was talking to said that she was the only pharmacist and as she and
her sister owned the store, there were no males employed there. She then
asked if she could help him. The cowboy said that it was something that
he would be much more comfortable discussing with a male pharmacist. The
female pharmacist assured him that she was completely professional, and
whatever it was that he needed to discuss, he could be confident that she
would treat him with the highest level of professionalism. The cowboy then
agreed and began by saying... 'This is tough for me to discuss, but I have
a... permanent erection. It causes me severe embarrassment, and I
was wondering what you could give me for it.' The pharmacist said, 'Just
a minute, I'll talk to my sister.' When she returned, she said, 'We discussed
it at length, and the absolute best we can do is as follows: 1/3 ownership
in the store... A company pickup truck... Two home cooked dinners a week...
and $3,000 a month in living expenses.'
Justin's blog posted a couple of links to a story about a psychiatrist
a child of effeminate behavior that might have led to the child becoming
homosexual. Instead, it led to the child's suicide as an adult.
I think Justin is mad at me. I commented on the article, suggesting
that George Rekers is a homophobe who uses bullying tactics to "cure" people
of the very thing that troubles himself. That's what homophobes do... they
try to cure their own "problem" by curing others, either by physical abuse
or, in Rekers case, psychiatric abuse. They suffer self-denial, in other
words. People who are comfortable with their own sexuality are not interested
in criticizing the sexuality of others. But I also suggested that people
like Rekers probably console themselves by saying that they are created
by God in his own likeness, and argue that what God has joined together
let no one put asunder. Oops!
Well, I figure if Justin can use that argument to justify his own identity
then so can George Rekers. What's good for the goose, etc... But I don't
think Justin agrees with my logic. He (at this point) hasn't posted my
comment. You see, dear Breth, discussing religion and politics can get
you into serious trouble, especially if you say what you think. It's okay
for believers to say what they think, but woe betide any non-believer who
dares to do likewise. Funny old world, yeah?
Back from shopping, and taking a few more pics of the new police station
being constructed just up the road. I've been taking pics since they started
demolishing parts of the old courthouse and building the new adjoining
structure. While shopping, I bought a new Energizer AA/AAA battery charger.
$35! Sheesh. But that included four new 2450 nAh NiMH batteries, which
hold their charge very well and are pretty good. The Sony camera uses a
proprietary battery but the 2 Fujis and the Kodak use AAs. My Gillette
shaver uses AAAs.
I took a pic of Das Busse the other day when I moved it out onto the
street to make way for Stan the Lawn Man's mower and trimmer. At the time,
I didn't notice the sign on top of DB's roof. Seems appropriate, yes?
No cooking tonight, it seems. Sue's at the dentist having more teeth
removed. Yes, even on a Saturday in the PM. The surgeon had a cancellation
so Sue was slotted in. She won't be in any mood to eat din dins when she
gets back here. And Lindsay reckons he'll pig out on junk. So all I have
to worry about is ME. Gary
July 15, 2011. Well, ladies and genitals, I have some nice chewns
for you. I found this one on Youchewb this morning... a
lovely version of Jobim's 'Wave'.
I was impressed so I sent the link to a Red Bubbler from Colorado who's
a pretty nifty guitarist (as well as photographer and graphic artist),
wondering what he would think. I'm no expert. So he Bubblemailed me: holy
crap, gary ! that was a wonderful vid ! “wave” is one of my favorite jobim
songs…. i found one for you…..it’s on youtube…..it’s
the song “crazy” sung by diana krall, willie nelson, and krall’s husband
elvis costello... thanks for the tune, loved it ! peter
Well, that was a pleasant way to stay the day, thanks to my plug-in
Logitech speakers. The Toshiba built-ins are dreadful.
Oregon Richie commented on the price variation between the US and Oz
on electronics: I suppose it's true about the size of the US market
and also the massive bulk-buying power that many US retail powerhouses
may have. That probably reduces overall cost and shipping. But
as Richie points out, Oz has extensive health care and medical subsidies,
and there's no such thing as a free lunch. The money's gotta come from
somewhere. In our case, it's China. :o)
Dave from Ormond Beach says pretty much the same thing - tariffs. Yes,
we do have large discount stores in Oz but it still gets down to a small
population and market. I watched a report on telly last night about Aussie
consumers. Savings are up and spending is down. Consumer confidence, for
some reason despite a healthy economy, is stagnant. Our oldest department
store, David Jones,
says response to its latest sale has been dismal. To make matters worse,
David Jones value on the stock market fell by 12%. Other retail stocks
are down as well. By the way, David Jones city store doesn't have piped
music. Oh, no. Nothing that crass. They still have a bloke dressed in his
black and whites playing a grand piano.
Averil gave me a sweet potato the other day. I'd never tried one before.
Yuck! Never again. Gimme the good ol' reliable basic spud any day. However,
Averil did steer me in the direction of rippled wholemeal crisps, flavored
with sour cream and chives. Mmmmm. Not bad! They're a blend of corn, wheat
and oats. No spuds.
Beeb time: The FBI is investigating reports that Rupert Murdoch's News
Corporation sought to hack the phones of victims of the 9/11 attacks. The
criminal probe follows calls from a growing number of senators and a senior
Republican for an investigation. It's my belief that
anyone as obsessively ambitious as Murdoch doesn't mind treading on toes
to get him where he wants to be. Problem is, it also gets him to where
he doesn't wanna be. President Obama reportedly tells lawmakers
he wants a breakthrough on US debt negotiations in 24-36 hours, as a fifth
day of talks ends with no deal. It's what's known in the fiction trade
as a cliffhanger. The Italian Senate passes a stringent austerity budget,
aimed at reducing the country's deficit and avoiding a bail-out. I've
been through my own personal austerity budget and I can recommend it.
The Pentagon has admitted it suffered a major cyber attack in which thousands
of files were taken by foreign hackers. Deputy Defence Secretary William
Lynn said that in a March attack and other breaches, hackers had taken
information on "our most sensitive systems". The admission came as the
Pentagon rolled out a strategy for strengthening US cyber capabilities
and addressing threats and attacks in cyberspace. The plan would treat
cyberspace in a similar manner to land, air and sea. "In the 21st Century,
bits and bytes can be as threatening as bullets and bombs," Mr Lynn said,
unveiling the plan. In a speech at National Defense University in Washington,
Mr Lynn said about 24,000 files containing Pentagon data were stolen from
a defence industry computer network in March, marking one of the largest
cyber attacks in US history. Anyone wanna take a
guess at where the hacker(s) came from? The US has expressed concern
over a crackdown in Malaysia on protests last Saturday. The state department's
Mark Toner said people should be allowed to "freely express their democratic
aspirations". Malaysian police cordoned off central Kuala Lumpur on Saturday
and used tear gas and water cannon against thousands of people demanding
electoral reform. Reminds me of my De La Salle brothers
school days. A Maori MP has been thrown out of New Zealand's parliament
for refusing to read the oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II. Hone
Harawira began reading his own oath in Maori, which instead swore allegiance
to the Treaty of Waitangi - New Zealand's founding document. The parliamentary
speaker stopped him and told him to leave the chamber. My
initial reaction is that Harawira should have told the speaker to leave
the chamber. An online entrepreneur says that poor spelling is costing
the UK millions of pounds in lost revenue for internet businesses. Charles
Duncombe says an analysis of website figures shows a single spelling mistake
can cut online sales in half. Mr Duncombe says when recruiting staff he
has been "shocked at the poor quality of written English". Sales figures
suggest misspellings put off consumers who could have concerns about a
website's credibility, he says. I've noticed that
spam emails have atrocious spelling - too easy to pick. The UK winner
of the £161m Euromillions jackpot has claimed their prize, lottery
operator Camelot has confirmed. It is not yet known if the ticket holder
is an individual or syndicate - or whether they will go public. If the
winner is a single player, they would instantly be placed 430th in this
year's Sunday Times Rich List. Tuesday's £161,653,000 prize was Europe's
biggest-ever and was capped after a series of rollovers. It follows a £113m
UK Euromillions win in October. The lucky winner of the £161m prize,
who is said to be deciding whether or not to reveal their identity, successfully
matched all five main numbers and both Lucky Stars. That's
about $300m... woohoo! Imagine that! No shortage of friends, that's for
sure... including friends you didn't even realize you had!
Peter, the Red Bubbler who sent me the link to 'Crazy' earlier today,
just sent this one of a
duet featuring two marvelous young pianists playing the same piano.
Awesome stuff. Ya know, the human brain is capable of incredible things.
When they're bad, they're very bad, but when they're good they're wonderful.
But back to winning $300m. Would you tell your friends, or keep it to
yourself? Hehe. Pretty hard to keep a secret that big. But of course you
realize the consequences of going public. Gimme, gimme, gimme. Lots of
sad stories about being desperate for a quid, and how you could save their
ass. The wise thing would be to keep it quiet. But who's in the mood to
be wise when you get a phone call to say you're $300m richer?
Not sure what I'd do if I won that much loot. I reckon $300m is about
$299m more than I need. I'd probably set up a bunch of trusts to fund various
educational foundations, drug and alcohol rehab centers, charities that
care for the poor and underprivileged, and that kinda thing. I don't need
no Ferrari or Rolls Royce or Cartier wrist watch, man. Actually, I don't
ya know... those things don't interest me in the least.
However, I would invest in a new battery charger... with or without
$300m. My Energizer AA and AAA battery charger just went fffttt! Dammit.
July 14, 2011. Last night as I cooked dinner, I grabbed a sheet
of newspaper and saw an article about electronics and the variation in
prices between Oz and the US. Canon EOS 60D DSLR camera AUD1599, USD1000
- gap 37%. Lenovo Thinkpad X1, AUD1979, USD1199 - gap 39%. Apple IPad 2
64GB 3G, AUD949, USD829 - gap 12%. Panasonic HDC-HS900 video camera, AUD2099,
USD1400 - gap 33%. Very interesting! I figure it must have something to
do with the much bigger market available in the US. 310 million compared
to our 21. It's not the value of our dollar which is currently worth about
Ohio Jace commented on the introduction of feral creatures: I watched
a program on the Science Channel recently about Cane Toads. 102 were introduced
into Queensland in 1935 at present there are 1.5 billion in NSW, Queensland,
Northern Terr. And about to cross over into Western OZ. They have been
introduced into Florida and Hawaii as well as several islands in the Caribbean.
Introduction into Louisiana was unsuccessful. They occur naturally in southern
Texas and Mexico south to Brazil. They are edible and are commonly eaten
in their native range. Once skinned and the poison gland is removed they
Ew! I'll pass. I met a bloke from Far North Queensland about 20 years
ago. He lives on Magnetic Island, just west of Townsville, and is a very
talented artist who was commissioned to paint a selection of tropical fish
pictures for an Australian series of stamps. I saw them and you'd swear
they were high-quality photographs. But for a bit of fun, and extra income,
he gathers the carcasses of cane toads that have been flattened by passing
cars, cleans them, dries them, and then fashions them into weird caricatures
Jace went on to talk about various bird species that have been introduced...
pigeons, sparrows, starlings... Yep, we've got the buggers here too, and
they're a bloody nuisance. Jace also had a bit of a whinge about his local
pollies (like I keep whinging about ours). Hehe. But he says the Ohio gang
is well - and that, after all, is the most important thing.
But we all like to have a bit of whinge now and again, and bitch about
things that annoy us. NC Art is no exception: This Dallas hoopla leaves
me wondering about the brains of TV producers. By the time JR got
shot I didn't give a rat's ass hoodunnit, but I did wonder why the shooter
took so long to get around to it. And the Harry Potter frenzy over the
last film of the franchise has gotta be anticlimactic. But book buyers
and cinema ticket sales make Ms. Rowling a multibillionnaire--and
one of the richest women in the world. And there's Gary who can't get Green
Room published! Hope Justin gives you some good advice.
Well, ya never know. I've long had the feeling that it would take the
"right" person to discover Green Room, someone with a genuine belief in
the value of the story who is also in a position to do a bit of string
pulling. It's the ol' who ya know trick. Interestingly, Justin wrote: I
cannot understand why no one was interested in publishing this book. .
. . .when I notice the total trash which is in too many bookstores.
Now there's a clue. Publishers don't mind trash so long as it sells. Who
cares if it's trash? Publishing is about sales! Yeah, I can understand
that. Bucks rule.
As to the chilly winter weather we're currently experiencing in Oz,
Art has this to say: Oh how you whine over 50F temperature in winter.
Right here today's high was 98F, with a heat factor of 108F. Sheesh!
Ohio Jace mentioned the same thing... a heatwave in his state.
In other news, seems like the Australian tycoon Rupert Murdoch is
squirming and sputtering about journalistic misadventures. Looks like half
of England was on the take and feeding News of the World juicy tabloid
fare. Ruppie's been a bad boy. Hehe.
Art's been experiencing computer "issues" lately, regarding connection.
Tell me about it. Before electricity was invented there was no such thing
as a "blackout". Now a blackout causes havoc. Ditto with all the other
inventions that have spoiled us, and become "necessities". Hehe. Just because
we lived quite happily without all these technological marvels before they
were invented is irrelevant. We've become dependent upon them.
Lindsay and Sue are not going to England this year so they're using
their money to buy goodies, like a new flat-screen TV that's almost twice
the size of the one they have now. Why? Because they can. When I first
met Lindsay he was earning $5 a week to buy two bottles of beer. His disability
pension was used by the boarding house manager to pay for lodgings and
meals and cigarettes. Before I became Sue's carer, Lindsay would arrive
home from the boarding house with two plates of bolognaise, a couple of
toilet rolls and maybe some soap, and expect Sue to be grateful for his
ability as a husband to be Sue's provider. Sheesh. Compare that with what
he said to Sue this morning after arriving back from a trip to the electrical
store. "They've got TVs almost twice the size of ours for ONLY a
thousand bucks!" Only a thousand? He hardly had a dollar to bless himself
with when I first met him. And what's happening with the old TV? "I'll
put it back in the box and keep it as a spare." Meanwhile, here's me still
watching my little 18" Samsung I bought second hand for $90 about 8 years
ago. I'll have to upgrade soon because analogue will be switched off next
year. Nothing big or flash... something portable I can use in Das Busse
that can run on 12V.
NC Art sent this little gem: Never Choke in a Restaurant in the South!
Two hillbillies walk into a restaurant. While having a bite to eat,
they talk about their moonshine operation. Suddenly, a woman at a nearby
table, who is eating a sandwich, begins to cough. After a minute or so,
it becomes apparent that she is in real distress. One of the hillbillies
looks at her and says, 'Kin ya swallar?' The woman shakes her head, no.
Then he asks, 'Kin ya breathe?' The woman begins to turn blue and shakes
her head, no. The hillbilly walks over to the woman, lifts up her dress,
yanks down her drawers and quickly gives her right butt cheek a lick with
his tongue. The woman is so shocked that she has a violent spasm and the
obstruction flies out of her mouth. As she begins to breathe again, the
hillbilly walks slowly back to his table. His partner says, 'Ya know, I'd
heerd of that there 'Hind Lick Maneuver' but I ain't niver seed nobody
Beeb time: Indian officials blame terrorists for three explosions during
the evening rush-hour in Mumbai which killed 21 people and injured dozens.
twisted minds of religious fanatics. How the fuck do you solve that problem?
I guess Allah could but apparently he doesn't give a rat's ass.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp drops its bid to take full ownership of BSkyB,
after mounting criticism over phone-hacking allegations.
while Rome burns. Ratings agency Moody's has said it may cut the
US AAA debt rating, citing the "rising possibility" the US will default
on its debt obligations. The agency warned the likelihood the US would
fail to raise its statutory debt limit in time to avert default was "low"
but not "de minimis". The US has surpassed its debt limit, but Congress
and President Barack Obama remain at odds over how to raise it. More
fiddling while another Rome burns. The campaign group, Human Rights
Watch, has accused rebels in Libya of looting, arson and the abuse of civilians.
Observers from the New York-based group say they have witnessed some incidents
themselves, and have interviewed witnesses to others in territory recently
seized by rebels. I'm not surprised. War brings out
the worst in people. Or maybe it's the worst in people that brings out
war. Roman Catholic bishops in the Philippines are to return sport
utility vehicles (SUVs) received as gifts from government funds, an inquiry
has heard. Senators are investigating claims that illegal gifts bought
with state lottery money were given to the bishops by the last government
to win their support. The bishops acknowledge accepting the cars but say
they did so only to help poor people in remote communities. More than 80%
of Filipinos are Catholic and the clergy are highly influential. Of
course they are. They've got a monopoly on ticket sales to heaven.
An Austrian atheist has won the right to be shown on his driving-licence
photo wearing a pasta strainer as "religious headgear". Niko Alm first
applied for the licence three years ago after reading that headgear was
allowed in official pictures only for confessional reasons. Mr Alm said
the sieve was a requirement of his religion, pastafarianism. The idea came
into Mr Alm's noodle three years ago as a way of making a serious, if ironic,
point. A self-confessed atheist, Mr Alm says he belongs to the Church of
the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a light-hearted faith whose members call
themselves pastafarians. It had to happen.
British people are used to the stream of Americanisms entering the language.
But some are worse than others, argues Matthew Engel. I have had a lengthy
career in journalism. I hope that's because editors have found me reliable.
I have worked with many talented colleagues. Sometimes I get invited to
parties and meet influential people. Overall, I've had a tremendous time.
Lengthy. Reliable. Talented. Influential. Tremendous. All of these words
we use without a second thought were never part of the English language
until the establishment of the United States. An
article definitely worth reading.
Yep, suicide bombers do what they do because they believe in a heavenly
reward for their actions. Suicide bombers are motivated by greed. They
are not heroes. Repeat, not heroes. True heroes unselfishly risk or sacrifice
their lives purely for the sake of others. True heroes seek no reward or
personal gain. No point in telling that to the religious fundamentalists
and fanatics, though. Their brains are fucked. And when a person's brain
is fucked, it's hello? Knock, knock... anyone home?
Bloody good thing I live in Taree and not Kabul hehe.
Anyway, the heater's on and it's time to think about cooking din dins.
At about six, Lindsay will turn the heat off because the living room will
be nice and cosy. He figures once the temperature reaches a certain point,
it's time to turn off the a/c even though the temp plummets half an hour
later. If we had a log fire, he would walk in at a certain point with a
bucket of water. That's the way he is, and there's no point in trying to
argue with his "logic". I like to keep the peace around here and arguing
with Lindsay is not the way to do it. One of these days... Gary
July 13, 2011. Here we go again. Those chicken sizzle things
last night were actually quite good. Spray a little oil in a very hot pan,
sizzle for about 30 seconds on each side and that's it.
Also yesterday I took a look at the latest flyer from Australia Post.
The postal biz has suffered since email and internet banking have made
inroads into the mail biz, so Australia Post has diversified into retail,
selling all kinds of things such as printers and ink, laptops and notepads,
external hard drivers and memory cards and all kinds of computer peripherals,
as well as cards and stationery. I noticed those USB memory sticks are
now cheap as chips. I've still got a 2GB stick I've never used that cost
about 12 bucks. Now 12 bucks buys 8GB. It's all a far cry from when I started
back in 1986.
Just checked the local weather. 9.5C at 9:30am (about 50F) and cloudy.
Bleh. 50F might be okay for you blokes who live in places where winter
is severe but it's BLOODY cold as far as I'm concerned. Despite my fair
complexion, I'm not a winter person. Gimme the tropics any day (but not
the humidity). After the Odyssey, I think I might settle somewhere north...
not sure where at this point... maybe far north Queensland or even in West
Oz in Broome or Derby. I've heard great things about Tasmania too, but
it gets a bit nippy down there during winter. Anyway, anything could happen.
I might even conk out before the Odyssey ends!
A bloke from Arizona just called... something about opening an internet
store. I don't remember filling out a request for anything like that. Oh
well, dozen madder. He was pleasant enough, and had a very nice phone voice.
He even understood my Aussie accent, and ended the call politely when I
told him I wasn't interested. Me? Run a store? I don't think so.
Being winter, the local council blokes are out trimming extraneous branches
from the street trees. One bloke operates the chain saw and another bloke
tells him what to trim. Hehe. Can't have one bloke doing both jobs.
The other day I mentioned the revival of the Dallas TV soap, and TX
Greg took umbrage at my "ho hum" comment: What
the remake of Dallas "Ho Hum" haha. I grew up on that show. Actually
for a short while I lived a few miles from the Southfork ranch. Would always
see limo's wizing by carrying the stars while filming there. When you tour
the place it's a way smaller house than they make it appear on the show.
And Larry Hagman
wouldn't even tell the queen who shot JR....
Beeb time: A key US senator calls for an investigation into whether
reported hacking by News Corporation journalists targeted any American
citizens, as the scandal continues to grip the UK. Same
thing is happening in Oz. This is bigger than Dallas. Financial
constraints, maritime regulations and campaigns by activists will not stop
Japan sending its whaling fleet back to the Antarctic, a senior official
tells the BBC. And so the battle will continue. If
a restaurant put whale meat on a plate in front of me I'd puke.
Ratings agency Moody's cuts the Irish Republic's debt rating to junk status
saying the country is likely to need further official funding. Moody's
cut Ireland's ratings by one notch to Ba1 from Baa3. And the agency warned
that further downgrades were possible if the Irish government failed to
meet its deficit reduction targets, or if Greece were to default, thereby
causing further market disruption. Things are grim,
folks. Which is a shame. I've always thought of Ireland as a happy place,
with emerald green fields and gnomes playing in the garden. Former
occupants of the White House and other US dignitaries gather at a California
church to honour late US First Lady Betty Ford. It's
funny about funerals. Everyone's there except the guest of honor.
A US woman drugged her estranged husband, tied him to a bed and cut off
his penis, police in California say. The woman then threw the penis into
the waste disposal and told police who attended the incident in Garden
Grove, near Los Angeles: "He deserved it." Catherine Kieu Becker, 48, has
been charged with poisoning and assault with a deadly weapon. The 51-year-old
victim, who has not been named, is in a serious condition following surgery.
mind boggles. Indiana is the latest US state which will not require
its schoolchildren to learn joined-up, or cursive, writing. But students
will have to learn basic typing skills, which education officials say are
more useful in the modern employment world. The move is part of the Common
Core State Standards Initiative, which aims to ensure consistency in US
education and makes no mention of handwriting. But critics say writing
well is a vital skill for life and builds character. Despite
being a proficient typist, I'm with the critics. Handwriting is a very
Yeah, people like Shakespeare and da Vinci depended on handwriting.
And even someone like me, a relative newcomer, dipped his nib in a bottle
of ink as a kid at school. I was in high school before ball-points were
invented. They were considered evil at first, the work of the devil, and
we weren't allowed to use them. I didn't learn to type until I was in my
Well, I suppose I better do a bit of shopping. Averil needs a few things
Back! I had Bluey's heater on full blast. Too bloody cold! But I paid
Averil's rent and got a few goodies at the supermarket. And now the heater's
on in the house. I'm a frankfurt freak ya know, so I bought a dozen as
well as those bake-at-home bread rolls hehe. Hot dogs for lunch! With hot
English mustard! And before you start waving your finger at me, I'm skinny.
140 pounds. So there.
The young girl at Eddy's Chicken who makes the gourmet chicken rissoles
said she's flat out making enough to keep up with demand. I'm not surprised.
They're very nice... chicken breast mince mixed with chopped veges and
crumbed. Bung 'em in the oven for about 30 minutes and Bob's yer uncle.
They work out at about a dollar each.
When I was a kid, chicken was a once-a-year treat, usually at Christmas.
Now chickens are raised by the millions in huge sheds on chicken farms.
If Wile E Coyote had known that he would have stopped chasing the Road
Runner. By the way, did you know that the
Coyote finally DID catch the Road Runner?
And now, dear Breth, it's time to end this sermon, and attend to my
more basic duties, such as cooking for the ... well ... THEM. And me, of
course. I need sustenance as well. Gary
July 12, 2011. So yesterday was my lucky day, huh? Not according
to Lotto it wasn't. But I did get an email from Justin who is most impressed
with Green Room and says he has an idea (about publishing) rolling around
in his "little cranium". Well, if he can pull a string or two over there
in Massachusetts that's fine with me.
Meanwhile, NC Art has something to say about numbers: 9x99x9x9x9=?
G'day Gary, So eleven has special import for you. Nine is an interesting
bugger too because you can't get rid of it. Multiply any number by 9 and
you will get 9 in pairs, triplets etc and other single numbers which will
add up to 9s. (9x9=81, and 8+1=9) Go ahead and play with it when you have
absolutely nothing better to do on a cold and rainy afternoon. Hehe.
So what'll I waffle on about today? Dunno, actually. Oregon Richie said
it must be difficult living with L&S, which is true. But before those
two came along, I was living in Canberra with my ex-biz partner and his
family, and that was a major chore as well. So I guess I was in training
- getting used to the idea of living with mentally-challenged nitwits.
They say that everything happens for a reason, but I haven't yet figured
out why my life took a sudden U turn 20 years ago. I was cruising along
pretty well until then. Oh well, all will be revealed at some point, I
suppose. One thing I've learned... don't be so trusting. Or have I? Hmmm.
Oh yes... one of my fav Red Bubblers, Mieke, returned home from an evening
out and decided to take a
self-portrait while she was all dolled up. She's not a bad sort, ya
know. Most of the time she's in the bush taking pics of the Kimberley outback
and boab trees. She's quite a gal. Just now she announced on Red Bub that
she won a prize. Well
deserved, I say.
Justin's mention of Green Room inspired me to re-read the final chapter
to refresh my memory. Justin said he'd become so engrossed in GR that he
took a break (probably because of July 4 and the many relatives visiting
his house over the holiday period). He's now ready to finish the book.
I wonder how many tissues he'll go through. In the last half hour or so
I've gone through heaps. Even after all these years I'm still deeply affected
by Cody's untimely demise, and also by how his death as well as his life
profoundly affected all his friends and family. He was one helluva dude.
Justin knows him as Kyle, of course, but that's okay. Kyle was the name
Cody chose when I first began writing stories about him.
Beeb time: The US Secretary of State has said Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad has "lost legitimacy", amid diplomatic tension between the two
countries. Speaking after a crowd attacked the US embassy in Damascus,
Hillary Clinton said Mr Bashar was "not indispensable". France blamed the
regime after its embassy was similarly targeted. The embassy attacks came
after the US and French envoys visited the troubled city of Hama last week,
drawing sharp criticism from Syrian media. "Not indispensable"
is diplomatic speak for "dickhead". The UK terror threat level is
being reduced from "severe" to "substantial", the home secretary has announced.
The new alert level means the risk of a terrorist attack is considered
to be a "strong possibility" and "might well occur without further warning".
Theresa May said: "The change in the threat level does not mean that the
overall threat has gone away. "There is still a real and serious threat
to the UK and I would ask the public to remain ever vigilant." Then
why reduce the level? A man in the US state of Colorado has died
after shooting himself in the head during a game of Russian roulette, police
said. Anthony Martin, 21, and other men were drinking and playing with
a gun before the incident, Pueblo Police Sgt Eric Bravo told the Pueblo
Chieftain. Mr Martin died at the scene early on Sunday. Investigators believe
he did not know the gun was loaded, Sgt Bravo said. No arrests were made.
can you say? Failure to raise the US debt ceiling could trigger
another recession and throw millions out of work, President Barack Obama
has said. Mr Obama is struggling to marshal support for a budget package
that would include some $4tn (£2.5tn) of cuts. Don't
look at me! I'm hopeless with money! Neptune is celebrating its
first birthday. On 12 July it will be exactly one Neptunian year - or 164.79
Earth years - since its discovery. Jeez, if you were
on a salary paid monthly over there, you'd starve!
I'm wondering how long in Earth time it would be between breakfast,
lunch and dinner on a typical Neptune day, but I can't be bothered figuring
it out. Math ain't my forte.
And now back to Mieke. She
lives in Derby, east of Broome in Western Australia, up there in Kimberley
country. I checked my Camps book and saw quite a few camp sites around
the area but very few with mobile phone access, which means I'd be off
line for extended periods. I would continue to write the journal, of course,
and take lots of pics, but updating Aussie Odyssey might be fairly infrequent
when traveling around areas such as those. They're pretty remote. Anyway,
that's many moons away yet.
Here's a Youchewb
vid I found about living in Derby. Mind you, there are probably a million
other vids out there about a million other small towns.
Being on the east coast, the Odyssey will begin here in Taree. North
or south? That will depend on the season. If I were leaving now, it would
be north. If I leave in the summer, I'll head south or maybe west. I'm
not sure. Dozen madder. It's all interesting. One thing's for sure: it's
gonna take YEARS!
Meanwhile, it's time for din dins. I bought these thin chicken breast
sizzle things and I'm not sure I should have. But I'll give 'em a go, and
serve 'em with potato scallops. Gary
July 11, 2011. Hmmm, two elevens. This could be my lucky day!
In numerology I'm an 11, which is supposed to have some sort of spiritual
significance, as do the numbers 22 and 33. All other numbers are reduced
to a single digit, except those. My 11 comes from being born on the 29th.
According to the numerologist I spoke to (he gave me a free session cos
I was the local radio personality) I would become a writer. That was 40
years ago and I'd not really written anything. In fact, I was a talker
on the wireless! I thought the guy was nuts but he insisted that
because I was born in the 8th month and the year 44, all the fours meant
I was destined to be a writer. Hmmm. Silly him.
The kookaburras are pretty vocal this morning... laughing and cackling
themselves silly outside. I wonder if they realize how comical they are.
Mind you, lizards and meeces don't think they're too comical. Interestingly,
kookaburras are related to kingfishers but don't eat fish. On the other
hand, I'm not related to kingfishers and I do eat fish. So there ya go.
Well, you've probably asked yourself many times what would happen if
someone gave a chimpanzee an AK-47 they thought was unloaded. Thanks
to NC Art for forwarding the link.
Art also asked about a species of snake that was imported into Oz to
get rid of the rabbit plague (rabbits were also imported). I've not heard
of the snake (although there's no shortage of those buggers in Oz), but
some bright spark decided to import South American toads into Oz to get
rid of the sugar cane beetle. The toads took a liking to other prey, dismissed
the cane beetle, and are now spreading right across the north of Oz into
places like Kakadu and the Kimberley. Cane
toads are poisonous and anything that preys on the toad, such as goannas,
snakes and larger birds, dies. Cane toads have been spotted as far south
as the Mid North Coast (here in Taree). They are a major problem that has
so far baffled scientific efforts to eradicate them. Ditto the rabbit.
However, rabbits are now being farmed for their meat.
There's a football team in South Sydney called 'The Rabbitos'. The team
was named after the street vendors who sold fresh rabbits during the Great
Depression years to make an extra quid. Rabbit meat was associated with
being poor but it's making a comeback these days as a delicacy. Pity we
can't eat cane toads hehe. But I've heard there's a fledgling industry
now that uses cane toad skin to make shoes, bags, etc.
As Art says, Don't mess with Mother Nature! should be
taken seriously. How true. But Europeans who settled Oz thought they knew
better than the Aborigines who kept Oz in a pristine state for 50,000 years.
Some might say it's because they didn't know any better. Oh really?
Meanwhile, Art made it his business to research the rabbit story in
Oz: An exhaustive search for information about the Aussie rabbit plague
left me...well, exhausted. It is a wondrous story of the pests and the
desperate measures undertaken to control the furry beasts. One small positive
note in the saga of 600,000,000 bunnies was during the Great Recession.
Farmers and station staffers ate the creature, fed them to their dogs,
boiled them for chicken feed and sold the pelts for hatters in Europe.
That was helpful but never near the cost rabbits caused to agriculture,
erosion of soil, and destruction of habitat for other species, especially
Actually, that reminds me of the Akubra story. Akubra is Australia's
hat icon, made from rabbit pelts. Just about every Aussie farmer and bushman
wears an Akubra, which is also the famous slouch
hat worn by the Australian military service since the mid 19th century
- the 'digger' hat. The slouch hat’s mark in history is rooted in Australia’s
introduction to modern warfare at Gallipoli and the reputation established
by the AIF on the Western Front. From that time the simple felt hat, with
its side turned up, was an emblem of the courage of the Australian digger,
and it became a national symbol. Although commonly believed to be uniquely
Australian, similar styles of hat were adopted by many other countries,
including the United States, New Zealand, India and even Germany. Wikipedia.
My Aussie bush hat is not a "proper" one... it's made in Oz but from wool.
Pretty good hat, though.
Funny how this daily page starts out as blank and yet somehow manages
to get filled, thanks to various contributions and my own fertile imagination.
I also have a penchant for going off on tangents, quite often losing the
plot. No, that's not quite correct. There's never a plot to begin with.
I thought yesterday's paragraph that began with space exploration and ended
with clotted cream and scones was pretty typical of how my brain works.
Hehe. That's how I drive as well. I make a lousy navigator.
Now, for example, I'm tempted to go off on another tangent and investigate
any link between navigator and alligator but I'll resist the temptation.
Beeb time: The US says it is withholding some $800m in military aid
to Pakistan. White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley told ABC television
that Pakistan had "taken some steps that have given us reason to pause
on some of the aid". He said the US raid that killed Osama Bin Laden in
May had affected ties but he insisted the relationship "must be made to
work over time". The New York Times said the move was to show US anger
at the expulsion of US military trainers and to pressure Pakistan to step
up its fight against militants. No allowance for
you this week, son, unless you promise to behave yourself. Atlantis
has docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on the final mission
of the US space shuttle programme. It will spend at least seven days at
the ISS and, on its return to Earth, will be retired along with the other
shuttles in Nasa's fleet. Atlantis is taking vital supplies to the space
station, including more than a tonne of food, ensuring astronauts there
have got enough to last a year. The first shuttle mission was in 1981.
older than Das Busse! So what happens to the space station after the shuttles
are retired? Once Nasa retires its shuttles, it will be relying
on robotic spacecraft from private companies to make cargo runs to the
ISS, he says. There ya go. The Duke and Duchess
of Cambridge have visited a school in the deprived Skid Row area of Los
Angeles on the final day of their North American tour. Prince William and
his wife, Kate, were welcomed to the Inner City Arts academy by six young
children holding a banner and about 150 well-wishers. The royals were later
escorted to a visual arts studio where they sat at easels and spoke to
youngsters. Skid Row, in LA's downtown area, has a large homeless population.
haves and the have-nots. I guess that's the way it's always been, and always
will be. Survival of the richest. A full series update of classic
1980s US soap opera Dallas has been given the go ahead, it has been announced.
US network TNT said it had ordered 10 episodes of the programme, after
it commissioned a pilot earlier this year. Original stars Larry Hagman,
Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray reprise their roles in the new show, which
will focus on the Ewing family offspring. The series is due to air in the
US next summer.
Ho hum. The Australian government
has unveiled plans to impose a tax on carbon emissions for the worst polluters.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said carbon dioxide emissions would be taxed
at A$23 ($25; £15) per tonne from 2012. The country's biggest economic
reform in a generation will cover some 500 companies. In 2015, a market-based
trading scheme will be introduced. Households are expected to see consumer
prices rise by nearly 1%, and the move has been criticised by the opposition.
Critics argue the levy would damage economic competitiveness. Australia
is one of the world's worst emitters of greenhouse gases per head of population.
The country relies on coal for 80% of its electricity generation, and is
a major coal exporter. The problem I have with Julia
Gillard is that she's Julia Gillard. The problem I have with Bob Brown,
leader of the Greens is that he's Bob Brown. And the problem I have with
the independents is that they supported a minority party in order that
it could govern. In combination, those people told the majority of Australian
voters that they could stick their votes. Well, in 2 years from now, we'll
see who sticks who. I can't stand the bastards. As one commentator, Alan
Jones, put it, "Julia, go away, get out of our lives." I can't stand Jones
either but at least we agree on something.
Stan the Lawn Man is here giving me cheek, as usual. "You haven't backed
into any more garage doors, have you?" So I gave him a look at the strap
in DB that holds the hood up when one is attending to the engine. Some
twit cut it. An old leather belt with a buckle would do the trick. Something
pretty tough and strong. So I asked him to think about it. Stan likes a
bit of a handyman challenge. Maybe he's got something in his garage that
might be useful. My dad was like that. If you needed a bit of wire or a
nut or bolt or screw or whatever, you'd be sure to find it in my dad's
shed. And guess what? I have a drawer full of bits and pieces as well,
but nothing to fit DB.
Well, that's about it for Mondee. Pork chops and mash for THEM and a
beef and mushroom pie with mash for ME. Then a bit of telly. Is the Tour
de France over yet? One of my fav programs, the Letters and Numbers Game,
has been sidelined while the channel broadcasts lots of bums on saddles.
Bleh. So I've been watching the Time Team instead which is a Brit program
about archeological diggings in England and Wales to find Roman pottery
and other assorted bits and pieces from their ancient past. At least it's
a bit more interesting than lycra-clad bums on bicycle saddles. Gary
July 10, 2011. NC Art wrote about feral pigs in his state making
a nuisance of themselves, rooting up crops and scuffing rural roads as
they forage. Citizens wish to shoot the pests, which have been
protected for years. Thinning wouldn't hurt much; a sow can produce forty
piglets a year by multiple fertile periods. The beasts were introduced
by Spanish explorers, got loose and had a ball. No natural predators to
Feral pigs are protected in NC? That surprises me. We have them here
in Oz too but they're certainly not protected. Nor are feral rabbits, feral
cats, feral camels or feral anything else (except politicians). Actually,
the feral camels are used for meat, and also exported to Arabic countries
where they are prized because of their disease-free status. Kinda like
sending coals to Newcastle. It can be done, ya know. Camels are also a
regular part of the scene at Cable
Beach in Broome, Western Australia. If you happen to be on the other
side of Oz in Birdsville, you can visit the Birdsville
Bakery and enjoy a curry camel pie. Hehe. I'm not sure I'd be in a
desperate hurry to try one of those.
I can hear Lindsay trying to organize Sue in the bathroom. She screams
if the water's too cold, and screams if the water's too hot, and Lindsay
has no idea how to control the taps properly. It's a bloody circus, and
one I can frankly do without.
Camels were first used in Oz by early outback explorers. Camels were
eventually made redundant in the early part of the 20th century by the
introduction of motorized vehicles. When the Afghan and Pakistani handlers
were told to shoot their animals, they refused and instead turned them
loose. The camels adapted well to Aussie desert conditions and flourished.
Hundreds of thousands of them now inhabit the Australian inland.
Beeb time: Leaders across the globe have been sending their congratulations
to South Sudan on the day it became the world's newest nation. Statements
recognising South Sudan's nationhood flowed from the US, UK, Russia and
others as tens of thousands watched an independence and flag-raising ceremony
in the capital, Juba. US President Barack Obama said in a statement he
was "proud to declare that the United States formally recognises the Republic
of South Sudan as a sovereign and independent state upon this day, July
9 2011". As Oregonian correspondent Richie reports,
what decades of civil war will get ya !! New US Defence Secretary
Leon Panetta has said the US is "within reach of strategically defeating
al-Qaeda". Mr Panetta said that following the killing of Osama Bin Laden,
key leaders in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere had been identified and would
be targeted. He offered the upbeat assessment during his first visit to
Afghanistan since taking over at the Pentagon last week. Defeating
al-Qaeda is only part of the story. Defeating terrorism is the whole story.
A rose by any other name...
Hmmm. Not a lotta news around today. However, Waffle's Oregonian correspondent
Richie did sent this report on the final flight of the Shuttle: That
is really disturbing to me since we don't have crap waiting in the wings
at all. This is not good for progressive American exploration, space
research, science and technological innovation, and I can't flat believe
it. The Orion rocket program and the associated Apollo-type spacecraft
program seems to be stalled.
I guess there are too many issues "at home" right now that need to be
addressed before we can resume space exploration. Besides, the whole space
program thing was pretty much left to the Americans (and to a great extent
the Russians) while the rest of the world sat back and watched. Space exploration
really needs to be a joint effort by all nations. I'm sure Oz would love
to be involved as the official caterer - lots of cuppas and barbecued bangers.
And scones! Don't forget the scones
with jam and cream. The posh people call it Devonshire Tea. In Devon,
England, where Devonshire Tea originated, the scones or bread were served
with clotted cream rather than whipped cream. What's the difference? Whipped
cream takes a few minutes whereas authentic clotted cream takes 8-12 hours
in the oven. Hello? You wouldn't wanna be in a hurry. Then the clotted
cream needs to be cooled to room temperature before spending a further
8 hours in the fridge. The thick yellowish skin on top is the clotted cream.
The rest of the cream below can be used for baking. Well, I think I'll
forget all about making genuine clotted cream and stick to whipped, thank
you very much.
But back to space stuff, I watched Collectors on telly the other night,
a program about all kinds of people who collect all kinds of things. One
of the collectables was a medal minted in honor of the Apollo
8 flight around the moon.
Not the most exciting of Sundees, dear Breth. Gary
July 9, 2011. 2.7C ain't warm, lemme tellya. I heard the breakfast
announcer on local radio this morning say if you're not outta bed yet,
don't bother. Hehe. We're headed for 16C today which ain't too flash but
at least it'll be bright and sunny.
Now here's a short tribute to a bloke who made the whole world laugh
without saying a word, Charlie
JustinO is posting more stuff about relationships... the dos and donts.
It gets terribly complicated and I wonder if people underestimate the true
value of inflatable dolls. Meanwhile, staying single gets my vote. I can
do without all the complications involved in relationships. Many years
ago, I remember reading about the owner of Resch's Brewery in Sydney. He
was a very wealthy man but he regularly dined alone at the old Australia
Hotel restaurant. At the time, I thought it was rather strange that such
a man should choose to be alone, but now I too have no qualms about being
alone in a cinema or a restaurant or wherever else. Some people feel terribly
inadequate being by themselves, as if they'll be judged friendless and
On the other hand, I also remember reading about Dean Martin who apparently
got somewhat bitter and twisted in his old age and was often seen dining
alone and feeling miserable. But his reasons were different to mine. I'm
simply content with my own company. With or without, it's no biggie.
Have you read the latest Borowitz
report on Murdoch, and the shutting down of News of the World? That
Borowitz dude is a hoot.
It's bloody cold in the house so I grabbed DB's keys and sat for a while
in my "sun room". Mmmm, lovely and toasty. It was so nice, I nodded off
and had a snooze. Slowly but surely, DB is becoming more "friendly", if
ya know what I mean. Like I belong there.
Beeb time: Celebrations erupt on the streets of South Sudan as it becomes
the world's newest nation - the climax of a process made possible by a
2005 peace deal with the north. Welcome to the world.
Former US First Lady Betty Ford, the widow of former President Gerald Ford
and founder of a renowned rehabilitation centre, dies at the age of 93.
Betty's obituary here. The space shuttle Atlantis launches from Florida
on a 12-day mission, marking the beginning of the end for the space shuttle
era. Not only flying into space but also flying into
history. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have arrived in Los Angeles
as they continue their first official overseas trip as a married couple.
"They are the most genuine, down-to-earth people I have ever met," said
Neil Stiles, the president of Variety magazine group who hosted the technology
event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Hmmm, just a few
days after July 4 hehe. Adolf Hitler's hometown in Austria has revoked
the Nazi leader's honorary citizenship - even if he never may have been
given it. The council in Braunau am Inn decided to strip Hitler of any
honour he may have received and which did not expire automatically after
his death in 1945. The only thing that asshole and
his supporters deserve is utter condemnation. Sex gives worms the
power to fight off parasites, report researchers this week in the journal
Science. Worms forced to reproduce asexually succumbed to a nasty bacterial
infection and died. The researchers say the results are the most convincing
evidence to date for a key theory in evolutionary biology. The theory holds
that sex evolved because it lets organisms reshuffle their genes into new
combinations to stay a step ahead of parasites. Sex has long troubled evolutionary
Yep, that's why God created Eve (metaphorically
speaking). A skull belonging to one of the largest "sea monsters"
ever unearthed is being unveiled to the public. The beast, which is called
a pliosaur, has been described as the most fearsome predator the Earth
has seen. Palaeontologist Richard Forrest said: "This is an iconic specimen
- one of the most exciting we have seen in years. It was probably the most
fearsome predator that ever lived. Standing in front of the skull you can
imagine this enormous beast staring straight back at you, fixing you with
its binocular vision, and attacking. Just thinking about it raises the
hairs on the back of your neck." Estimates from scientists, based on the
2.4m-long skull, suggest that the predator would have measured between
15-18m from tip to tail.
God obviously got a bit
carried away during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Actually, I can understand why God got a bit carried away during the
creation process. He'd been sitting around for several billion years twiddling
his thumbs (assuming he has thumbs), with nothing to do. So you can't blame
him for getting a tad adventurous when he decided to create Earth and all
its living creatures. He must have been having a wonderful time, like a
kid with a bunch of new toys. Wheeeeee!
But back to the two sexes thing and the "reshuffling" of genes. I've
watched nature programs on telly and noted that the dominant males in a
group of animals do all the bonking, while the lesser males look on forlornly
in hope. Females are also very selective about who gets to bonk them and
who gets the flick. I figure it's Nature's way of making sure that only
the best genes are passed on to the next generation. If all creatures procreated
asexually, without a partner, there'd be no competition and the quality
of genes might suffer as a result. What would be the point of evolution?
Oops! I got involved in other things and forgot that I hadn't finished
or uploaded this page. Thilly moi! Better do it now. It's old age ya know.
July 8, 2011. In the US, 'father' doesn't rhyme with 'rather',
but in Oz it does even though we drop the 'er' in favor of 'ah'. However,
in Oz 'rather' doesn't rhyme with 'gather'. How do you make sense of all
that? Maybe you're not supposed to. I often think of how American eyes
read these words with an American accent even though they're written by
an Australian. Hehe. Noworriesmateshe'llberight.
Anyway, if the Poms can understand all those different dialects within
a relatively small country, with the Scots and Irish thrown in for good
measure, then Aussies, Yanks, Kiwis and Safricans shouldn't have a problem.
However, when you get Greeks trying to speak Aussie, you
get Con the Fruiterer.
Con is actually Aussie actor/comedian Mark Mitchell who was so intrigued
by his local Greek fruiterer that he copied him and turned him into a wonderful
character, known and loved by millions of Australians. "Bewdiful!" Mitchell,
as himself, speaks with a cultured, slightly English accent.
Con again with a blooper.
I was too lazy to do the shopping yesterday so I gotta do it today.
Bleh. So let's do the Beeb: This Sunday's edition of the News of the World
will be its last, News International chairman James Murdoch has said, after
days of increasingly damaging allegations against the paper. The 168-year-old
tabloid is accused of hacking into the mobile phones of crime victims,
celebrities and politicians. On Thursday, the Met Police said it was seeking
to contact 4,000 possible targets named in seized documents. Its editor
Colin Myler said it was "the saddest day of my professional career". He
added that "nothing should diminish everything this great newspaper has
achieved". The News of the World, which sells about 2.8million copies a
week, is famed for its celebrity scoops and sex scandals, earning it the
nickname, the News of the Screws. Nuff said.
Syria has accused the US of "interfering" in its affairs after the US ambassador
to the country travelled to the flashpoint city of Hama. The Syrian foreign
ministry said the visit by Robert Ford was "obvious proof" of US involvement
in continuing protests in the country. Earlier, the US State Department
said Mr Ford's visit was to show solidarity with protesters. So
what's wrong with interfering? The US and its allies wouldn't bother to
interfere if there was nothing worth interfering in. Nasa enters
the final stages of preparation for its last-ever shuttle mission, but
the Florida weather looks likely to delay the Atlantis orbiter's launch.
is a bottomless pitt that can absorb everything that comes its way. Click
here for an article about 20 highlights from the Shuttle's 30-year history.
Surgeons in Sweden have carried out the world's first synthetic organ transplant.
Scientists in London created an artificial windpipe which was then coated
in stem cells from the patient. Crucially, the technique does not need
a donor, and there is no risk of the organ being rejected. The surgeons
stress a windpipe can also be made within days. The 36-year-old cancer
patient is doing well a month after the operation. Ah
ha! I like the sound of that... that's what I call progress. Plastic bits.
Who's George? I dunno. But he wrote: Thanks for being you. May God
Bless You, George Well, George, I'm not too sure God likes me all that
much. And secondly, I don't have a problem being me. I just wake up in
the morning and whammo, there I am. Hmmm. I wonder what prompted George
to write that? Green Room? MrB? Waffle? He didn't say. But I appreciate
the sentiment. Thank you, George.
NC Art sent me some stuff about a new Safrican airline. Not sure if
he's pulling my leg or not, but it was a bit long for Waffle so I put together
new Journal page which you can check out here, together with an album
of the pics.
Shopping's done, and my little chat with Averil is done. She thinks
I'm a bit of a worry but she talks to me anyway. And now ladies and genitals,
the sun hath set and it's time for me to attend to my culinary duties to
feed... THEM. Gary
July 7, 2011. Windy again, but not too bad compared to Sydney
where it's blowing like crazy, so Lindsay tells me. He heard it on the
radio news. He just arrived back from the local bank after withdrawing
his and Sue's share of the rent/grocery money. Meanwhile, I paid all the
bills on line and watched my numbers tumble hehe. Don't ask me how long
it's gonna take to save the dough needed to bring Das Busse up to scratch.
It'll take as long as it takes, and that's it.
Speaking of slow, now I understand why blue-tongue lizards eat snails.
Snails are not quick, and neither is a blue-tongue. If you studied that
pic of the bluey in my laundry the other day, you'll have noticed how small
his legs are compared to the rest of his body. Frill-necks, by comparison,
get up on their hind legs and run like buggery. A
most comical sight. There'll be no shortage of those little critters
on the Odyssey, that's for sure. Or goannas and lace monitors. You gotta
be careful of those monitors. If they mistake you for a tree, they can
get a little too close up and personal for my liking.
NC Art wrote: Parents and teachers used to tie the left hand of left-handed
kids to force conformity with the right-handed majority. It screwed up
a lot of kids and caused psychological quirks that were worse than left-handed
scribbling. But hey, we just gotta do something about social misfits!
That's what they did to my mom. She was a natural lefty made to write
right-handed. I think it explains a bit about my mom's quirkiness. Then
again maybe she would have been quirky anyway. But my younger bro and I,
who are natural lefties, were left to our own natural devices. Obama is
a lefty, and so is Tony Abbott, leader of the opposition in Oz. Leonardo
da Vinci was a lefty and could write backwards (as I can) from right to
left. If you scroll
down a bit on this page, you'll see a list of famous lefties.
All this business about conforming to the "norm" totally pissed me off
at school. It was a Catholic De La Salle brothers school. We the students
all had to look the same. Yes sir, no sir, three bags full. Funny about
the brothers though. They wore frocks. Hehe. The worry is that kids are
like clay, and can be molded and shaped to suit the whims of the shapers.
However, I was one of those kids that refused to be molded and shaped.
It frustrated the hell outta my teachers and parents but that was their
problem. Later, it would become a similar problem for my bosses hehe. Oh
well... By the same token, I can't say that being stubborn and independent
has done me much good.
Beeb time: Relatives of dead UK soldiers are warned their phones may
have been hacked by an investigator for the tabloid newspaper News of the
World, the Daily Telegraph reports. Is there a difference
between digging up dirt and legitimate reporting? I dunno. The chief
prosecutor in the attempted rape trial of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn
rejects calls to stand down amid claims he leaked information that damaged
his own case. If it's true that his case has been
damaged, then it wasn't much of a case to begin with. A US appeals
court orders an immediate end to a ban on gay men and women serving openly
in the military, while new rules are being drafted. I
can't wait to see the new uniforms. Facebook announces a partnership
with Skype to add a video chat service to the social networking site, a
week after Google launched a similar feature. I wonder
how that might have affected my relationship with Cody. Hmmm. I'm not sure.
China has blocked internet references to retired leader Jiang Zemin after
rumours circulated that he had died. Jiang also means river and internet
searches for that word have returned a warning the search is illegal. Rumours
that 84-year-old Jiang Zemin was dead or dying resurfaced after he failed
to appear at a key Communist Party event on Friday. The censorship has
prompted people to create cryptic postings about the man who led China
for a dozen years. One of these days the Chinese
Communist Party is gonna realize it ain't smart enough to outsmart the
average Joe. After all, there are 1.3 billion average Joes. A talented
chimpanzee called Panzee can recognise distorted and incomplete words spoken
by a computer, scientists have discovered. That suggests that apes may
be more capable of perceiving spoken sounds than previously thought, and
that the common ancestor of humans and chimps may also have had this ability.
It also refutes the idea that humans have brains uniquely adapted to process
speech, say the scientists who have published their findings in the journal
Current Biology. Panzee was raised from 8 days old, by humans, and was
spoken to and treated as if she were human. At the same time, she was taught
to use symbols called lexigrams to communicate. "This has resulted in Panzee
showing proficiency in understanding approximately 130 English words,"
researcher Lisa Heimbauer told BBC Nature. Wow, she's
even smarter than some of my neighbors! A German soldier has turned
in safe-deposit boxes containing more than 1m euros ($1.43m; £890,000),
two days after finding them, German media say. The soldier found the boxes
beside a motorway exit near the Bavarian town of Bad Kissingen on Monday.
The authorities had been searching urgently for the cases after they fell
off a lorry transporting cash. The soldier handed them in to police, who
have yet to decide if he should face criminal charges, reports say. Regional
senior prosecutor Rainer Vogt told the DAPD news agency it was not clear
what the man's intention was in keeping the safe-deposit boxes for two
days before going to the police. I can readily empathize
with his reluctance to declare the find right away hehe. Oh dear, what
a dilemma. The Hamas government in Gaza has begun enforcing a law
introduced last year banning men from cutting women's hair. Until now,
the law had not been enforced, but this week at least one male hairdresser
in Gaza was arrested. Male hairdressers for women are regarded by many
Muslims as against Islamic tradition. Hello? Is anyone
home? Australia has lifted a suspension on live-cattle exports to
Indonesia, put in place over concerns about cruelty. Agriculture Minister
Joe Ludwig said he was satisfied that the animals would not be mistreated.
Australia suspended the trade a month ago when a TV documentary showed
steers being whipped, beaten and slashed repeatedly in Indonesian abattoirs.
then, after the suspension, tens of thousands of cattle were stranded in
holding pens and Aussie farmers started going broke. Oops. I think it might
be a good idea to export some of our politicians to Indonesia.
It was an over-reaction. The offending abattoirs were a handful. The
vast majority were abiding by the rules. It's good that the offending abattoirs
have been brought into line, but suspending ALL live cattle exports was
a mistake that not only upset the Indonesians, but also Aussie farmers
who depend on exports for a living. Dumb politicians.
So what's it really like in the Aussie outback? Well, it can be a bit
monotonous. I found parts 1 and 2 of Trip to the Gascoyne and Pilbara (in
Western Oz) a bit boring but
part 3 is pretty interesting.
clip that's more to my liking, except for the witchety grub. Ew! Actually,
I should do a few vids on the Odyssey and not just stills and text.
Well, I've been buggerizing around looking at Youchewb camping vids
for so long that time has slipped away and now I've gotta attend to kitchen
duties. Dammit. Gary
July 6, 2011. Did you know over 70% of married men are gay? Yep,
you can read about it in the Borowitz Report on Justin's
an exclusive. I hope this doesn't fall into Nazi hands because they might
steal the technology or, worse, identify the people who bombed the hell
outta Berlin. The bloke on the far left, bottom row, is none other than
NC Art, who features regularly on the Waffle Page. He's 85 now. The pic
was taken during WWII in London where Art and his B24 bomber crew were
stationed. Check out the bomber jackets, which became a fashion item after
the war. That big thing in the upper right-hand corner is not a fan to
keep the guys cool, by the way. That's one of the four gizmos that helped
get the B24 off the ground.
When I see Art in a pic like that, I can't help thinking that, at the
time, he had no idea he would live to see a black president, or be sending
email to bloke in Oz. Mind you, in those days I didn't either. I was born
in 1944 about the time that pic was taken. I have a neighbor just a few
doors down the road who's 86 and she still walks into town twice a day
to do her shopping and whatever. It's all in the genes ya know. And the
Back then, as young Art squatted below the wings of that B24, he had
no idea that 60 years later, February 17, 2005 to be precise, he would
write the following:
Near the mid-point of the twentieth century pockets of wooded rough
country survived in Western York County. Surely a few remain along with
sturdy, genial and fiercely independent folks who chose habitats there.
I hope so.
Using genial as a descriptive has limitations. Outsiders were not
readily invited for tea and biscuits. Those who passed a few tests such
as having no official government credentials were subjected to another
of sorts. A “revenooer” in disguise could not belt down half a jelly jar
of raw corn likker without disgracing himself–or even making orphans of
his children. Good ole boys could drain a jar of this juice without choking
or even burping. Good for lighting fires with wet wood too.
In the early 1950s the patriarch of such a clan was called to join
his creator. Preachers and undertakers assisted the family in arranging
suitable church services and interment. In all of this, two of the older
sons were not consulted because they could not be found. Speculation had
it that these lads were hosting a wake, properly at a still known to few.
This still was ready for a first run of heavy proof stuff which had to
be jugged for waiting customers. Paw had a good business head and so did
After collecting the cash the fellows stumbled out of the woods to
find Paw had been hauled to a church and lots of people were there and
prepared to weep on cue. The boys objected on grounds they did not bother
They simply walked in and announced that Paw would not be buried
today. The word spread to a sheriff’s deputy detailed to lead the hearse
to the cemetery. He was met at the church by a pair of 12-gauge shotguns
and decided to call for instructions. Backups were dispatched to settle
everyone down. They wisely called for reinforcement.
The boys had only one message, “Ain’t gonna bury Paw today.”
Paw was interred that day, several hours late, and after a dozen
deputies convinced the boys of their superior fire power and hauled them
to the county jail. Mourners had been escaping as the supper hour drew
near, so most were safe home eating fatback and collard greens. Kids need
Newspaper stories gave a fair account. Street stories filled in many
exciting details. I don’t recall charges being filed or any great stills
smashed up. Let snoozing hounds snooze, maybe. Sharon was the dateline
of the local rag’s story, but the locale was not identified. My guess is
an area well known to my father, whose home place was not far west of it.
He often referred to “the coaling ground” in a tone which seemed to mean
rough, lawless and dangerous.
“Coalin” was the way Dad pronounced it. Whether there were outcrops
of coal there or if it is a colloquialism for “killing ground” I don’t
know. But it fits.
And Art reckons I know how to write.
BTW, Ohio Jace commented yesterday on how we Aussies run our words together:
got an example during one of the recent Motocross races. The only words
I understood was great time and the guy talked for over 15 seconds. Two
or three Aussies race and he was here visiting, I think. We have many bad
speakers here too. Just listening can drive an English teacher crazy. Every
sentence contains "you know," "like," sometimes several times and they
have to begin a sentence with "I mean". Sometimes all three are used in
one sentence. I think "you know" was started by blacks and "like" by teen
girls in LA. Not sure about "I mean". And that's only half of it.
Yeah, we had a PM in the '70s, Malcolm Fraser, who was forever saying
"you know". Hehe. But I've noticed that the new crop of Aussie actors on
telly have not been trained in diction. They mumble, and I have no idea
what they're talking about. The same can be said for the new crop of American
actors as well, except that Americans tend to speak more slowly so at least
you have time to figure out what the hell it is they're saying. As a radio
announcer, I used to practice my diction exercises regularly. On radio,
listeners can't re-read the previous sentence. What is said needs to be
said clearly the first time. Once it's gone, it's gone.
Speaking of gone, I found a couple of vids on Youchewb this morning.
One is a compilation of film from the 40s through to the 70s of life
in Oz. Yes, I remember it well. The other vid that I found fascinating
was a promotional film about the change from British pounds, shillings
and pence to decimal
currency in Oz. I remember my first pay packet (no electronic bank
transfer back then) in dollars and cents. I was 21 then.
Beeb time: The credit ratings agency Moody's downgrades Portugal's debt
to junk status saying there is a growing risk it will need another bail-out.
selling enough port. Portuguese port is wonderful stuff (if you can handle
the hangovers). About 200 people are feared to have drowned in the
Red Sea as a boat carrying migrants to Saudi Arabia sinks off the Sudanese
coast, Sudan media say. Desperate people do desperate
things. I saw a report on telly last night about asylum seekers who accept
the prospect of drowning at sea. They figure they're as good as dead anyway.
Amnesty calls for an international investigation into the Syrian violence,
accusing the regime of crimes against humanity against protesters. It's
very simple. When a regime denies protesters the right to protest, it is
nothing more than a dictatorship. Malnutrition among children fleeing
Somalia's drought could lead to a "tragedy of unimaginable proportions",
the UN refugee head says. Unimaginable if you're
a westerner like me sitting down to three meals a day and taking it for
granted. It's time to share the wealth and care for the underprivileged,
dear Breth. A few dollars from each of us can make all the difference.
US President Obama calls bipartisan lawmakers to the White House for talks
on raising the country's debt ceiling, as a deadline for action looms.
been raising mine for years! India's health minister has sparked
a furious row over comments in which he described homosexuality as a "disease".
Ghulam Nabi Azad told a conference on HIV/Aids that gay sex was "unnatural".
Gay sex was decriminalised in the country in a landmark judgement in 2009
but anti-homosexual discrimination remains widespread. I'll
tell you what the disease is: it's called homophobia. All phobias, without
exception, are irrational. Scientists in Australia have found the
skeleton of a "giant wombat" which lived some two million years ago. The
plant-eating marsupial would have been the size of a four-wheel drive car
and weighed three tonnes, experts say. Its bones were found on a farm in
north-eastern Australia's Queensland state. The animal was widespread across
Australia when the first indigenous people arrived about 50,000 years ago.
are still here but much smaller. They're
kinda cuddly these days. Mercedes-Benz has reported its best
half-year sales on record, thanks in large part to growing demand in emerging
economies, particularly China. The German luxury carmaker said it had sold
610,531 passenger cars over the first six months of the year, a rise of
almost 10% on a year earlier. Sales in China rose by more than 50% while
sales in Russia were up by more than 70%. You've
gotta hand it to the Germans... they sure know how to build a good car.
I've owned 2 British Morrises and a British Wolseley, 5 VWs (3 Beetles,
a Fastback and a Kombi), 1 Mercedes, 5 Aussie Valiants, 2 Aussie Holdens,
1 Nissan and 1 Toyota, and although I think they're all good cars I do
have a special soft spot for the old Merc. Don't remember his name but
the previous owner was a German guy who worked for the German embassy in
Canberra. He probably wouldn't have been seen dead driving a Holden. Hehe.
Last night I was tempted to make up the bed in Das Busse and sleep there
just for a "trial run" but I didn't. I probably will one of these days
but it's winter ya know. Gets a bit chilly overnight and in the mornings.
But I did sit in DB for a while this afternoon. It's a blue sky day with
the sun shining but there's a cold wind blowing. Nonetheless, DB is parked
in such a way that the wind bypasses the open sliding door, and the sun
warms up the interior. It's lovely and cosy in there. I call it my sun
Every time I sit in there I try to imagine what it will be like on the
Odyssey, being confined to such a small space compared to what I have now.
But the more often I sit in there, the more comfortable I become with the
idea of living in DB. There will be many sacrifices, of course, but there
will be far more gains - I think. Hehe. You can't change the view from
your window every other day if your house is anchored to the ground. Similarly,
you can't change your neighbors every other day. I think I should call
myself the reluctant adventurer. The only valid reason I can think of for
going ahead with the Odyssey is this: what the fuck am I gonna do with
the rest of my life if I don't? Shuddup, Richie.
I was 63 when I first got the idea for the Odyssey. Four years later
I'm still here in Taree. "Gary's got a million ideas but none of them work."
Hmmm. Well, I guess we'll have to wait and see about that.
I phoned my mobile techie today to see if he'd forgotten about my external
hard drive. He took it away last time he was here because the thing was
doing something weird. No, he hasn't forgotten about it. He was in the
process of copying all the data to his "interface" when I called. There's
about 15 years of stuff on that drive... all the MrB stuff, the Cody and
Steve stuff, the Green Room stuff and assorted whatever. So what about
the life and times of G. Kelly prior to the mid '90s? That's almost all
gone except for what's in my head, and a bunch of pics from the scrapbook.
Fortunately, I put the Scrapbook together late last year and posted it
on Aussie Odyssey, otherwise it would have continued to gather dust on
So how important is it to document one's life? I dunno. I'll let others
be the judge of mine. Meanwhile, I'm glad to have documented at least part
of Cody's and Steve's. And I'll bet my left knacker that Art is glad he
kept that pic of him and his crew and the B24.
Yes, it's that time again. Din dins. If I'd been a cook in the army
they would have given me a dishonorable discharge for calling it din dins.
July 5, 2011. Lots of sore heads in the States, I imagine, after
Are you into meercats? Oregon Richie is. I can take them or leave them,
but I must admit this
is a pretty special pic. Speaking of which, here's one of Yosemite
National Park that I found captivating. It's called One
As I wrote Richie this morning, Red Bubble is a fascinating place for
me because I get to see so many things through the eyes of many other beholders,
everything from marvelous vistas to close-ups of decaying leaves. Photography
does that ya know... it forces you to notice things that might otherwise
go unnoticed, and unrecorded. Most photographers on RB are not famous...
they're not your Attenboroughs or whoever, they're just ordinary people
who are interested in a variety of things... bugs, architecture, landscapes,
waterfalls, portraiture, everyday happenings, street photography, steam
trains, ruins, boats, you name it. It's wonderful. Come to think of it,
photography is about one of the great secrets of happiness... sharing.
Okies, here's something I've been trying to get right for a while now.
Meanwhile, NC Art sent this stuff... "You gotta love the South":
The owner of a golf course was confused about paying an invoice, so
he decided to ask his secretary for some mathematical help. He called her
into his office and said, 'You graduated from the University
of Tennessee and I need some help. If I were to give you $20,000,
minus 14%, how much would you take off?' The secretary thought a moment,
and then replied, 'Everything but my earrings.'
A group of Alabama friends went deer hunting and paired off in twos
for the day. That night, one of the hunters returned alone, staggering
under the weight of an eight-point buck. 'Where's Henry?' the others asked.
'Henry had a stroke of some kind. He's a couple of miles back up the trail,'
the successful hunter replied. 'You left Henry laying out there and carried
the deer back?' they inquired. 'A tough call,' nodded the hunter. 'But
I figured no one is going to steal Henry!'
The Sheriff pulled up next to the guy unloading garbage out of his pick-up
into the ditch. The Sheriff asked, 'Why are you dumping garbage in the
ditch? Don't you see that sign right over your head'. 'Yep', he replied.
'That's why I dumpin it here, cause it says 'Fine For Dumping Garbage'.
A senior at LSU was overheard saying... 'When the end of the world comes,
I hope to be in Louisiana .' When asked why, he replied he'd rather be
in Louisiana because everything happens in Louisiana 20 years
later than in the rest of the civilized world..
The young man from Mississippi came running into the store and said
to his buddy, 'Bubba, somebody just stole your pickup truck from the parking
lot!' Bubba replied, 'Did you see who it was?' The young man answered,
'I couldn't tell, but I got his license number.'
A Georgia State trooper pulled over a pickup on I- 75. The trooper asked,
'Got any I.D.?' The driver replied, 'Bout whut?'
A man in North Carolina had a flat tire, pulled off on the side of the
road, and proceeded to put a bouquet of flowers in front of the car and
one behind it. Then he got back in the car to wait. A passerby studied
the scene as he drove by and was so curious he turned around and went back.
He asked the fellow what the problem was.. The man replied, 'I have a flat
tire.' The passerby asked, 'But what's with the flowers?' The man responded,
'When you break down they tell you to put flares in the front and flares
in the back. Hey, it don't make no sense to me neither.'
And this from South Carolina
'You can say what you want about the South, but I ain't never heard
of anyone wanting to retire to the North
Beeb time: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addresses cheering crowds
in Caracas after having a cancerous tumour removed in Cuba. I'm
wondering if he brought it home in a bottle. French writer Tristane
Banon is to file a complaint for attempted rape against former IMF chief
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, her lawyer says. Ms Banon accuses Mr Strauss-Kahn
of trying to assault her as she tried to interview him in a Paris flat
in 2003. Mr Strauss-Kahn said he would sue Ms Banon for making false statements.
He was recently freed from house arrest in New York in a separate alleged
case. He denies sexually assaulting a hotel maid in the city on 14 May.
dear... the Strauss-Kahn plot continues to thicken. More chickens coming
home to roost. Tennis champion Novak Djokovic receives a rapturous
welcome in his native Serbia, a day after winning the Wimbledon title for
the first time. I'm not a tennis follower, but it's
obvious that the win means a helluva lot to Serbia. Ex-Bosnian Serb
army head Ratko Mladic is removed from a hearing at The Hague war crimes
tribunal after continually interrupting the judge. Mladic
is forgetting he's an ex. Bloody dickhead. A statue of former US
President Ronald Reagan has been unveiled at a ceremony outside the American
embassy in central London. The invited guests include former UK prime minister
Baroness Thatcher - who was a close ally of Reagan when they were both
in power in the 1980s. The 10-foot bronze statue was specially commissioned
to "recognise Mr Reagan's contribution to ending the Cold War". A piece
of the Berlin Wall will be installed in front of the plinth. The statue
stands outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, opposite the statue
of President Dwight Eisenhower. I guess the War of
Independence was basically about kissing and making up hehe. A group
of religious conservatives in Pakistan has condemned a recent event hosted
by the US embassy in Islamabad in support of gay rights. The meeting was
described as "cultural terrorism" in a statement issued by Pakistan's largest
Islamic party, on behalf of various religious groups. "Such people are
the curse of society and social garbage," the statement released by Jamaat-e-Islami
read. "They don't deserve to be Muslim or Pakistani, and the support and
protection announced by the US administration for them is the worst social
and cultural terrorism against Pakistan," the statement, which was issued
in Urdu, is quoted by the AP news agency as saying. On
the other hand, gay people don't strap bombs to their bodies and murder
innocent people. Harry Potter creator JK Rowling has parted company
with her longtime literary agent Christopher Little, it has been announced.
The millionaire author has worked with Mr Little since he found a publisher
for her first novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 1996. Rowling
said it had been a "painful decision" but "was not taken without good reason".
Her books have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide. Right...
and now moving right along...
400 million, huh? Sheesh.
But back to the anti gay thing. Bishop Tutu during an interview with
Craig Ferguson on the Late Late Show described homosexuality as an "aberration".
In Nature, changes or deviations to and from the norm are not called aberrations.
They're called a natural variation... a natural occurrence. Variations
in Nature don't break any rules because there are no rules. Nature does
whatever it likes. So why call homosexuality an "aberration"? I don't get
it. Human beings are as much a part of Nature as everything else. Homosexuality
occurs naturally. End of story.
Ohio Jace wrote, and he's not too thrilled with what the bureaucrats
are doing to Ohioans. He says his state is for sale: Ohio is for sale!
Want to buy a prison? There are five to choose from. How about a turnpike?
It is 388 km long running east west across the upper portion of the state.
It currently costs $15.00 USD to cross, but you can raise the fee to whatever.
You can drill for oil and gas in state parks too.
Hehe. Well, I have to admit I've never thought about buying a prison
or a turnpike. But fortunately for Jace, the neighbors (who are basically
extended family) keep having babies, and they keep asking Jace to babysit.
As he wrote his email, the latest arrival Ryan was sleeping on his lap.
Ryan is now a whole month old. A whole month? Can you imagine anyone being
a month old? One month? Honestly, I don't know what Jace would do with
himself if he didn't have kids to take care of, and diapers to change.
He loves them all, even oldies like Sean who's early 20s now.
All the Ohio kids are into mud and ATVs and crazy bikes and all that
lunatic stuff, including Jace's great nephew. My great nephew is racing
motocross for the first time this year. He has a camera atop his helmet
and records every race, some of which, he has posted on youtube. If you
are interested check
him out at 123nasutus. He just turned 13 and changed division mid season,
and has risen from 42nd to 14th.
Oregon Richie loves motorcycles too... but not motocross. He's into
more sedate forms of riding, and spent today riding his Honda 599 over
the Old McKenzie Pass. Maybe he should fit a camera to his helmet as well.
Richie is also a licensed riding instructor and conducts classes once or
twice a month.
And me? Yeah... well... I'm still into pedal power (when I've got the
energy). And now it's off to the kitchen! Gary
July 4, 2011. Yes, folks, it's that time of year when Americans
celebrate Independence Day - the commemoration of the Declaration of Independence
on this day in 1776. Twelve years later, on January 26, the Brits planted
the Union Jack at Sydney Cove and claimed The Great South Land as a British
colony, a nation destined to become famous for "owyagoinmatenoworries".
TX Greg wrote: You've mentioned a couple of times about having nightmares
about the Odyssey. Reminded me of a very old scary Peter Fonda movie about
a couple that takes off on vacation in
a brand new motorhome.... And you thought you had worries!!! Oh,
is that all? I thought Greg was gonna send something scary! No worries
about zombies. They're a dime a dozen over here. It's the redbacks under
the toilet seat I worry about. A bite from one of those little buggers
and you're butchers for a week. (Butcher's hook = crook).
Oregon Richie wrote: I see absolutely no odd lunacy with the AO project
in the least... and I personally would LOVE to do something like that.
I very well may, too. I don't know WHEN perhaps or even if I will
be alone or not doing some of it, but... would be sensational. And
very exciting. I think your comfort level will sink in quite nicely
in no time at all, really. Given my travel instincts I think I would
have less patience than you have about it maybe.
No lunacy? He's gotta be kidding, right? On the other hand, if the Odyssey
went smoothly with no dramas or unexpected upsets like flat tires or being
attacked by a flock of galahs, I'd have nothing much to write about. Where's
the adventure in predictability?
BTW, did I mention that a bird shat on one of my shirts hanging on the
line yesterday? That's the trouble with leaving the washing on the line
overnight. The early bird has no respect for a bloke's washing.
The pic of the busted
Mercedes fender yesterday turned out alright. Not a helluva lotta damage
but just enough to REALLY piss you off.
One of my fav photographers on Red Bubble is Mieke. She does fantastic
as this shot of her dog Banjo. Who else would have thought of such
a creative background? She's a whizz. Mieke is actually more of a cat person
than a dog person, but Banjo has won her heart, and it's easy to see why.
Check out the eyebrows.
Speaking of dogs versus cats, here's
a classic. I love it!
Beeb time: The sister of Thailand's exiled former prime minister promises
to do her best in government after leading his supporters to a landslide
election win. As long as they don't change the traditional
Thai cuisine, I won't mind at all. Thai food is yummy. And I'm sure big
bro is delighted with the result of his sister's triumph. Turkish
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says his country recognises the rebel
Transitional National Council as the true representative of the Libyan
people. Gadaffi won't be too pleased about that.
At least 10 people die in attacks blamed on Islamist militants in the north-eastern
Nigerian city of Maiduguri, a week after a similar attack killed 25. 10
easy lessons in how to give Islam a bad name. What the hell do those people
have between their ears? Ex-Bosnian Serb army leader Ratko Mladic
will boycott a hearing at The Hague war crimes tribunal at which he is
due to enter pleas, his lawyer says. What's the phrase?
Delusions of grandeur. As families around the United States celebrate
the nation's Independence Day, many will be counting the days to the return
of their loved ones from military service in Afghanistan. Some 33,000 troops
are expected to head home by September 2012. For those who leave the military
world, there will be challenges ahead as they adjust to civilian life.
The least fortunate may end up becoming homeless and many will battle the
mental scars of war. Approximately
one in five homeless adults in the US is a veteran. At first glance
there is nothing remarkable about Parkaso Tomar, a hardy 70-something woman
who has spent most of her life working in the fields and tending to cattle
in a small north Indian village. Until of course she picks up a gun and
fires a volley of shots, all bang on target. I'm
not a gun fan by any stretch, but
I've gotta hand it to this old granny. Australia has become
the latest battleground in the ongoing global fight between Big Tobacco
and government regulators. At issue are the Gillard government's proposals
to banish corporate logos from packaging, demand that all brand names be
printed in the same bland font and that packets come in olive green - the
colour that smokers apparently detest the most. Australia already has some
of the toughest anti-smoking measures in the world, with grotesque pictures
of cancer tumours and gangrenous limbs printed on every packet, and cigarettes
hidden in cabinets out of sight of consumers in shops. What
a farce. This is the same government that refuses to ban tobacco as illegal.
It's a pathetic contradiction from a pathetic government headed by a pathetic
red-head. The authorities in Texas have warned United States citizens
not to travel to a Mexican border town over the 4 July holiday weekend
because of the threat posed by a major drugs cartel. The Texas Department
of Public Safety said in a statement that it has "credible intelligence"
that the Zetas cartel is specifically planning to target US citizens in
Nuevo Laredo. The threats, it said, ranged from robberies to extortion
and car-theft. Didn't the Mexican bandits back in
the old wild west days call Americans gringos? Anyway, it seems the "wild"
hasn't yet disappeared from the west. These days they steal cars instead
Hang on a minute. What did I call that Indian sharp-shooter lady? An
old granny? Bloody hell, I keep forgetting that I'll be 67 next month!
Sheesh! I'm not all that far behind!
Hey, I don't know all that much about photography, but here's a shot
that grabbed me... the Oriana
docking in Sydney Harbor. I like the intersecting lines between the
ship and the steps. I love the colors too. Great shot.
And now, ladies and genitals, it's kitchen time. Prawn cutlets and battered
potato scallops. And a squeeze of lemon. The tree's gone mental and I've
got more lemons than I know what to do with. Okay... with which I know
what to do. Don't get picky. Gary
July 3, 2011. What will this Waffle entry contain on this day
in 2012? Or 2013? Who knows? I was thinking this morning about my laundry
basket. Basket? Sorry, you can't come on the Odyssey. You don't fold away.
You're too big and clumsy, and you take up too much room. See what I mean?
There will be lots of changes and compromises... even regarding little
things like laundry.
Do you believe in God? Do you not believe in God? Or
is there a need to ask the question in the first place?
Well, well, well, outta the bloody blue up pops Steve Oliver! Steve
who? He was my boss at the ABC in Kempsey back in '77. He found me on whohub
(I can't even remember doing anything on whohub). Yes, good ol' Stevie
boy. He hired me cos I had "charisma" hehe. I was only there for six months
but the ratings went from 10% to 40%. Then I went back to Sydney and 2GB.
Steve visited Sydney a month or two later and treated me to lunch at the
nearby Spanish restaurant. That's when he told me about the ratings increase.
you scroll half way down this Scrapbook page, just below the pic of Kurt,
you'll see the ABC Kempsey entry.
Ah yes, I remember whohub
Well, fancy that... ghosts from my past. Steve said he was surprised
that I ended up back at Taree, which is part of the broadcast area covered
by the ABC in Kempsey (now at Port Macquarie), but that it's a "lovely
part of the world". Since doing the Scrapbook thing there have been quite
a few old colleagues who have contacted me to reminisce about the old days.
Steve is now living in Tasmania and runs a biz called Oliver Consulting,
which specializes in advising people not to hire people like me.
Beeb time: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has rejected indictments
of four of its members over the 2005 assassination of Lebanon's former
PM, Rafiq Hariri. He also said no power would be able to arrest the "honourable
brothers", who have not yet been named officially. The
honorable brothers, huh? Yeah, right. Eurozone finance ministers
agree to release a further 12bn euros of emergency aid to Greece to help
it avoid bankruptcy. And all I want is a lousy campervan
for a few grand. Libyan rebel leaders have welcomed an African Union
offer to open talks with the government in Tripoli without the direct involvement
of Muammar Gaddafi. The Transitional National Council said it was the first
time the AU had recognised the people's aspirations for democracy and human
rights in Libya. People's rights and democracy? Wot
dat? Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi should stop issuing threats against
Europeans and resign instead, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says.
"Gaddafi should put the well-being and the interests of his own people
first and he should step down from power," Mrs Clinton said in Spain. The
well-being and interests of his own people? Wot dat? The Vatican
has announced its finances have returned to profit - after three consecutive
years in the red. Its report said the Holy See saw revenues of 245.2m euros
(£222m; $356m) against expenses of 235.3m in 2010. But annual donations
from churches worldwide - known as Peter's Pence - were down nearly $15m
to $67.7. Wanna buy a ticket to Heaven? We've been
selling them for a few thousand years and never received a single complaint.
A Bugatti racing car bought for £60 in 1950 has been sold at auction
for £430,000. The 1924 type 35 Bugatti was found by Jack Perkins,
from Rugby, Warwickshire, at a Nottinghamshire aerodrome and restored to
racing condition. The car raced at Indianapolis 500 in 1936 and the American
National Championship races in 1938. I bought an
old Holden for $1000 in 2002 and sold it in 2009 for $1850. Where did I
go wrong? Okay, okay... it wasn't a Bugatti.
Now that Das Busse is not parked under the rotary clothesline, I took
the opportunity to raise the pop-top and take a good look. A bit of discoloration
of the canvas, and a few small tears, but otherwise it's in reasonable
nick. All the zippers work on the 3 windows, and the insect screens are
fine except for a teensy hole in one. So I guess I can live with that.
The raised pop-top certainly gives the living quarters a lot more space.
Standing room is about 6' and allows you to move around freely in the kitchen
and sitting/sleeping areas. It also improves ventilation. I imagine with
the side awning erected and the rear hatch open, it would be quite comfortable
and airy. A
view like this would be an added advantage. Or maybe something
Okay, so the laundry is folded and back in the basket. But when I went
into the laundry itself, I saw a blue-tongue lizard in there. No wonder
no one has pinched my soap powder or washing machine or whatever. This
guy obviously guards the place with great diligence and chases away the
crooks. He wasn't too impressed when I first disturbed him, so he disappeared
into the cabinet under the wash tub. But then he emerged again and I told
him not to worry, that I was only gonna take a pic and leave him alone
again. He's not skinny so I gather there's no shortage of snails and other
tasty snacks for him to feed on. He's about a foot long. Maybe a bit longer.
Back from shopping and snaffling a few bargains. I also saw a nice Mercedes
there in the parking lot with a dinged fender. Oops! I can imagine the
driver's reaction to that little altercation at the moment of impact. Mercs
ain't cheap to repair! Naturally, I took a pic. I haven't checked it out
yet but if its any good I'll post it.
So now there's a marinated chicken in the oven... garlic and chilli,
with herbed spuds. That should do the trick. Nothing like a roast on a
winter's night. And the laundry? It's still sitting in the basket. Hey,
Rome wasn't built in a day, okay? I'll get around to sorting it out. LATER.
July 2, 2011. Cockney rhyming slang was used by certain Brits
as a sort of code to confuse the constabulary. They normally took a phrase
whose last word rhymed with the word you wanted to say. For example, your
missus was your cheese and kisses, but the rhyme would then be shortened
to 'cheese' to further confuse the constabulary. If you were going up the
road to the pub, you'd go up the frog and toad to the rubbity dub, which
would be shortened to going up the frog to the rubbity. Hehe. Rhyming slang
was also popular in Oz back in the 19th and early to mid 20th centuries
but it's rarely heard these days. Here's a sermon given by the Rev Ronnie
Barker in rhyming slang. You
probably won't understand much of it but it's funny anyway.
When I checked my Youchewb page this morning to see what might be worth
linking here, I found a musical vid posted by a very talented young Brit.
He's quick witted, amiable and very clever. His
song is called Dr. What.
While I was off line, NC Art wrote "blogless" to ask what was wrong.
Hehe. Well, now he knows. I appreciate his missing my daily Waffle though.
Art also sent a link to the latest
Borowitz Report - how to save America from financial ruin the Republican
I started Das Busse yesterday and she kicked over first go, which ain't
bad for an old bus that's been sitting there doing nothing for a couple
of months. I don't have much faith in that old donk, though. I have a feeling
she's gonna need a bit of work. I remember driving back from Tamworth back
in early April and the engine sounded a bit rattly at high speed. Not sure
if it's valves or tappets or what but something ain't right. She's also
bit wobbly when first started and takes a while to settle down. Oh well...
a work in progress is a work in progress.
Justin also wrote about Green Room. He was up till 2am again the other
night because he "couldn't put it down". But he's dreading getting to "IT",
the end of the book and Cody's demise. You write very well... a gripping
style, which also grabs at the heart-strings. I cry easily...cuz I feel
deeply. Justin also comments on why publishers have shown no interest:
think likely publishers are afraid to take this on...afraid to get a rep,
afraid to invest and not get the return. Afraid of such a hot item
The message I keep getting from publishers is it's not their "genre".
Bullshit. Their "genre" is anything that sells, and Gary Kelly is an unknown
with no runs on the (score) board. I'm the 100 to 1 shot they're not willing
to put their money on. The frustrating thing for me is that I keep getting
feedback like Justin's. That's the second time he's stayed up till 2am
reading the book. How many books can claim that? I remember one bloke who
printed the whole thing out and then read it in one sitting. He couldn't
put it down. Another bloke said he was devastated for weeks after reading
of Cody's death.
Readers of MrB should note that Green Room is an abridged version of
Cody's story. The names have been changed (Kyle, Brett, Graham and Stuart)
and the location changed to Byron Bay on the far north coast of New South
Wales, Oz. The sexual content has also been "modified". However, the story
is essentially the same.
Well, the sky is blue and the sun is shining so I'm doing the laundry.
How thrilling. I'll have to move Das Busse cos she's sitting under the
rotary clothes line hehe. So much buggerizing around just to have clean
Beeb time: Hundreds of thousands of people reportedly stage fresh anti-government
protests across Syria, as rights groups say at least 14 people were shot
dead. Despite the government's attempts to quash
this uprising, it's not gonna go away in a hurry. The people are determined
to embrace democracy. Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has
been released from house arrest and had his $6m (£3.7m) cash bail
and bond returned amid doubts over the credibility of his accuser. Prosecutors
have agreed that Mr Strauss-Kahn should be freed "on his own recognisance",
meaning he must simply promise to appear in court. He is accused of sexually
assaulting a maid in a New York hotel on 14 May. The case is now close
to collapse, US media reports say. In a letter submitted to the court prosecutors
said that the maid gave false testimony to a grand jury, omitting the fact
that she cleaned another room before alerting a supervisor to her claims
of sexual assault. Well, there ya go... innocent
until proved guilty, yes? Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi threatens
to attack Europe in revenge for Nato's operations in Libya, in a message
broadcast in Tripoli. All the more reason to get
rid of the madman. The principality of Monaco celebrates the wedding
of ruler Prince Albert to South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock.
stuff of fairy tales. A baboon has been reported roaming the streets
and gardens of a town in the US state of New Jersey. Police have received
more than a dozen reported sightings and warned Jackson residents who see
it to stay inside. Have you seen the size of the
teeth on those things? Delicate negotiations between the US and
the Taliban must be allowed to flourish if peace in Afghanistan and the
wider region is to be achieved, guest columnist Ahmed Rashid writes. The
US and Nato have acknowledged that they cannot withdraw successfully from
Afghanistan, or effect a transition to Afghan forces by 2014, without an
end to the civil war and a political settlement between the Afghan government
and the Taliban. I wouldn't trust the Taliban as
far as I could throw it. But I guess compromise is better than war. Read
the full article here. Veteran US singer Liza Minnelli has picked
up the Icon prize at the Silver Clef awards in central London. Praising
the organisers, music therapy charity Nordoff Robins, she said that when
she felt "cranky" she "put some happy music on and it heals me up". Former
Beatle Sir Paul McCartney was named live act of the year while Annie Lennox
was recognised for her outstanding contribution to UK music. Status Quo,
meanwhile, picked up the lifetime achievement prize. Good
ol' Liza... still pumping and grinding. A roundabout revolution
is slowly sweeping the US. The land of the car, where the stop sign and
traffic light have ruled for decades, has started to embrace the free-flowing
British circular. A few moments after entering Carmel, it's clear why the
city has been described as the Milton Keynes of the US. As the sat-nav
loudly and regularly points out, there's often a roundabout up ahead. But
unlike in the English town famous for them, driving into this pretty city
on the outskirts of Indianapolis also involves passing several more under
construction. I live opposite a roundabout. Before
it was built I believe there was a serious accident at the normal intersection
about once a week. In the ten years I've lived here, there have been less
than a handful, and nothing serious.
Well, the day I decide to do the laundry a big black cloud decides to
park itself over my house and spit rain. Not only that, there's no wind
so it's just sitting there. God doesn't like me, ya know. And I can't say
I blame him. At least it's not rain rain... just a few spits. But the rest
of the sky is blue! If I were a bit further down the road I'd be fine!
Anyway, I'll hang out my second load and bugger the rain.
I saw a thing on telly the other night about why dogs are more popular
than cats. It's very simple. Dogs
have eyebrows. Dogs have expressive faces whereas cats and other animals
don't. Dogs have little forehead muscles that move the eyebrows up and
down. Moreover, many dogs have eyebrows with different colored hair to
the rest of their coat that defines them. Eyebrows are important. Even
women who pluck them replace them with a pencil line. I guess dogs have
an extra bonus too in that they
wag their tail whereas cats don't. For a bit of a giggle, check
out this dude.
By the way, the cloud has gone and the skies have cleared. I don't expect
that most of the washing is dry though. Not warm enough. I'll check and
maybe leave it on the line overnight. The rest of the week looks good...
sunny and reasonably warm. Meanwhile, that's it for Satdee. I gotta hit
the kitchen shortly and then watch a little telly. Not the most thrilling
of days but also no dramas. Gary
July 1, 2011. Cody's birthday, 29 today. If he were alive, he'd
be an experienced marine biologist probably running a business of his own.
His friend Steve
said that Cody's ambition was to get his degree and work somewhere in Florida
before returning to Cape Town to establish his own business. I'm not sure
what that would be... perhaps a marine park or aquarium, or some kind of
research facility, or a combination of them all. Quite a contrast to being
the neighborhood odd jobs boy or working in a surf shop.
Meanwhile, I've been off line since late afternoon yesterday. My ISP
is not sure if it's my modem or a fault with the line, but they suspect
it's the latter and have reported it to their carrier. Yesterday, lines
were down in Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland, but at that stage
New South Wales seemed okay except for three isolated incidents including
mine. It's very frustrating, of course. I can't even get on line to sign
Cody's guestbook. I've just gotta wait till my ISP or the local exchange
contacts me. What a pain in the ass.
Waffle (when I get a chance to post it) is here.
One of these days I'll get wireless broadband. Plug in the dooverlackey
and Bob's yer uncle. It runs on the mobile phone network which is okay
in populated areas but not in isolated areas such as between towns or in
the outback. On the Odyssey, I expect to work off line most days and only
post stuff when I'm in an area with good reception. For example, crossing
the Nullarbor might mean I'm off line for a week or two depending on how
many times I stop and camp overnight or even for a few days. The Camps
Australia book lists all camp sites with mobile phone reception.
I just checked the map. Wow! That's one helluva big place over there!
I note there are quite a lot of camping areas dotted along the Eyre Hwy
(across the Nullarbor) but only a few with mobile reception. Western Oz
is about as big as Victoria, NSW and QLD combined! It's gonna take forever
to check out that joint. I have a feeling that even after a few years of
traveling around, I won't have seen anywhere near all there is to be seen.
I reckon that might take a couple of lifetimes. Hehe.
I think the most important aspect of the Odyssey won't be so much the
places I visit but the people I meet. Most locations have been well documented...
deserts, beaches, towns, cities, mountains yadda yadda... so my story will
need to be different somehow. I don't want AO to be just another travel
documentary. It will need to have strong human interest.
Just phoned my ISP again. I thought I might try my old modem to see
if it's a modem problem but it's not. According to Comcen it's a telco
problem (Telstra in NSW and Optus in other states) with the old copper
wire network. But the latest news is they hope to have the situation rectified
in a couple of hours. It must be causing a major headache for a lot of
people and businesses across Oz. Madam Gillard will no doubt capitalize
on the old infrastructure breakdown to justify the billions being spent
on the fiber optic rollout. I still think wireless is the way to go.
Well, it's almost 24 hours since I was last on line and the latest from
my ISP is that "it's a work in progress". The telco won't or can't say
when things will be back to normal. And guess what, folks? It's Friday!
So all the telco workers will knock off at 5 this afternoon for the weekend.
4pm. Guess what? I'm back on line. I picked up the phone to call my
local mobile techie to ask if anyone else in this area is having a prob
but the line was dead. So I unplugged and re-plugged lots of phone things
and tried again. Hmmm, dial tone. So I figure I happened to pick up the
phone while Telstra was testing my line. Anyway, shortly thereafter, whammo,
back on line. So here I am, about to update Aussie Odyssey. No Beeb today
cos I've got a bit of catching up to do.
Lemme tellya, being disconnected is such a pain! You can't get email,
you can't Google, you can't Wiki, you can't do anything! Yes, absence makes
the heart grow fonder, and it's good to be back. More Waffle tomorrow.
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