the WAFFLE page

April 30, 2013. Thirty days hath September, April, June and November...

Not surprisingly, my confession yesterday to indulging in a few rollies brought the wrath of objectors who felt compelled to comment. One was scathing and suggested this is where I'll be spending the Odyssey, two were far more diplomatic. But at least I managed to vent about Roxon and her obsession with getting her own way, which I've been meaning to for a long time. I feel better now.

Ormond Beach Dave wanted to know if the laws in Oz regarding tobacco and alcohol are the same as those in Florida. Yep, except alcohol is legally available to persons 18 and over. Once you're 18 in Oz you're legally an adult. Otherwise severe penalties apply to the possession of and/or sale to tobacco and alcohol to minors.

NC Art has been doing a little research into hungry humans and what we have sometimes eaten - even in supposedly civilized Europe.

My Massachusetts mate Justin has just realized his dream: I presented and "defended" my doctoral dissertation last week, and I have been welcomed 'formally' to the healing profession "excellentissme summa cum laude".  Conferring of degrees take place at graduation in early June. So how about that? The kid's a Dr. Now he can officially tell me I don't have a bloody clue what I'm talking about. It was very nice of JustinO to write me and let me know before announcing the news on his blog. His folks and friends must be thrilled to bits.

Now, get this. For the past week or so I've been having major probs updating AO. The Waffle page just sits there and refuses to budge when I use my FTP program to upload it at the end of the day. At least, it was refusing up until two days ago. Before that, I wrote to my ISP but have had no response so far. I phoned their tech help one night and got some offshore person who was useless and a total waste of time. So then, this totally non-technical person and high school dropout started to analyze the problem. Was it caused by the phone company being congested with iPhones and other telecommunication gizmos? (I use wireless broadband). Was it my old lappy? The AO files are listed on my FTP program in reverse alphabetical order, so Waffle is usually the first file to be uploaded. By the end of the month, the Waffle page is pretty damn big, especially if I've included lots of piccies and graphics. Are you with me? So a couple of nights ago, after being frustrated with the Waffle page constantly timing out, I tried uploading a smaller file first - the Updates page - and whammo, up she went. Then I tried the Waffle page. No worries. Last night, I uploaded Updates and the photos first, and then Waffle. No prob. So I solved the mystery. Waffle was too big to to go first. But once the "doors" had opened, the rest followed. So  much for the techos hehe. The kid ain't so dumb after all.

So here we are at the end of the month and there's been no journal entry. I feel a bit guilty about that. I like to have at least one photo album or vid. There's half a vid... the edited footage of Stan the Lawn Man but it's no good without the rest of PJ.

Check out the telegraph station at Eucla, the easternmost locality in WA on the Nullarbor Plain, and the Johnsburg Hotel in the Flinders Ranges, SA. Another two entries in the GN photo comp. Here's another shot of the Flinders Ranges during peak hour. BTW, 'Eucla' in Morse Code is ..- -.-..-...-

And here's a lesson in musculature by a soccer person. Check out how thick his wrists are. He's not a gray nomad, by the way. :o)

From the Beeb: US basketball player Jason Collins has come out as gay, the first active male athlete in a major American professional team sport to do so. He declared his sexuality in an article for Sports Illustrated, announcing: "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."

That's nothin', mate. In the Northern Territory's metropolis of Elliott, population 500, they've just held their Eighth Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, with as many as 50 people swarming in from outlying towns hehe. Check it out, babe. This is the real outback.

A video of an unfortunate woman trying to park her car in a Belfast street has become an internet sensation. It shows a female driver taking about 30 minutes and several attempts to reverse her car into a space between two vehicles on Fitzroy Avenue in the Holyland area. I used to teach that stuff many years ago. Some people just have no idea. "Pull up parallel to the car parked at the kerb, reverse turning full left lock until you're at a 45 degree angle to the kerb, then keep reversing while turning to full right lock." Yeah.

LG Electronics says it will begin deliveries of curved OLED television sets next month, making it the first to offer such a product to the public. The use of organic light-emitting diodes allows screens to be made thinner and more flexible than before. The 55in (140cm) model will cost 15m won ($13,550; £8,725) and is initially limited to sales in South Korea. Yeah, right. How much did they say?

Indulged in a little more inner shedness earlier, and put the pillow cases on. I could easily have stayed there for a week sleeping. I think I'm getting bored with my current routine here in Taree. Maybe things will improve a bit next week when I've got a few bob to spend on PJ items like an AGM battery. There's something distinctly uninspiring about insurance and power bills, and spending all my loot on those this past month has been FRUSTRATING! Like being bogged to the axles in mud. Speaking of which, one GN submitted a pic of his MH bogged out in the sticks. Luckily, he wasn't far from the farm where he was about to camp, and was in two-way communication via radio. He decided to wait for a tow rather than risk bogging the MH even further.

Anyway, things need livening up around here. It's too mundane and predictable. Keeping busy with AO preparations takes my mind off probs like no teeth and soup, and bloody pills! I keep reading about other GNs living life on the road and visiting all kinds of interesting places. Within a few days they're off to somewhere else. No time to get bored. No time to bitch about problems. It's like giving a squawking kid a rattle to play with

What was I saying about paying insurance and power bills and not being able to buy a house battery for PJ? Maybe it was just as well. I'm sure TX Greg will be interested in this thread on the GN forum. I've sent the bloke a private message to get more info on lithium batteries. But they sure do sound good. Makes you wonder about that old saying, everything happens for a reason.

Anyway, time to shoot through like a Bondi tram (as they used to say a million years ago), and catch up with a bit of telly. At least there's a bit of potential excitement with that lithium battery business. Less weight, more usable power. Can't wait for that bloke to PM me with the details. Gary

April 29, 2013. Austin Healey 3000 MkIII - classic British sports car from the 60s. A client of mine back when I was in the ad biz, owned one of those in British Racing Green. His name was Healey. His business went into liquidation and he had to sell it. Broke the poor bugger's heart.

TX Greg wrote: After I saw that pic you posted of the lady washing the Innovan camper I went and looked at that manufacture's website... That's a pretty neat idea :) They make it easy to load/unload if you have air bags...

I think I've asked this before, but how much higher is your tray floor from the height of the trailer bed it was on? I'm wondering if you're going to get enough extension out of the jacks to raise it high enough to clear. Sometimes blocks have to be used under the jacks to get the extra height.

It's about a foot higher, Greg. But it arrived on the back of a box trailer, sitting on two lengths of 4x2" which is about the same height as the Courier's tray so it should be okay. As I remember, the camper was raised about as high as it could go to clear the box trailer - especially at the rear because of the sloping drive.

SF Bill wrote: Karl Berry, Australian field hockey player, dies from snake bike afer warm up run. See, I keep telling people exercise is bad for you! Yes, I saw that on the news. He was bitten on the finger while trying to handle the snake - a brown - and didn't realize he'd been bitten. He continued training for a while before collapsing. He was only 24 as I recall.

Oregon Richie liked all the pics from the GN forum, especially this one: The pictures I saw this morning were great, too.  I just LOVED the one of the hill country area and that spiked numerous adventurous and romantic feelings.  And it was dry, too !!  Granted it could be a case of the one millionth billionth time of quoting "we need the rain" but dry is pretty nice, too.  Lovely.  Hope that guy can show up sooner than later so you both can get going in the "vehicle assembly building" even if it is outdoors and I think that in some form of inanimate way, the truck and camper are sort of like Becky and me... just longing to be together, hee hee.

You know how young lovers leave text messages for each other, and little gifts in the most unexpected places, and do all those silly romantic things that kids do? Richie and Becky don't. They're in their 50s now even though they've only recently married. Far too mature for all that teen nonsense. Yeah, right.

The most romantic thing I've ever done (I think) is when I grabbed a heap of drink coasters from the pub, wrote little love messages on the back of each of them, and then placed one on each stair of the two-flight stair case leading to the living area of the townhouse where I lived at the time. My reward was the helluva big smile I got when my friend reached the top of the stairs.

I was thinking about Cody and Mark, and how difficult their "relationship" was in the late '90s and early naughties. They were both paranoid about what others might think of their more intimate moments, particularly Mark. In the end, Cody was resigned to marrying Steph (whom he loved very much) "and having lots of little Codys". How dramatically things have changed in a little over a decade. Same sex marriage is on a roll and homophobia is rapidly fading. Before the end of this decade, same sex relationships and marriage won't even raise an eyebrow. However, even if Cody had lived, I don't think those two were destined to become a couple. Cody had ambitions to become a marine biologist running his own business, and Mark took to the high seas sailing yachts. Nonetheless, the love and friendship those two shared for a brief few years, bitter sweet though it was, will remain in my mind as the most poignant I've ever witnessed.

A newbie joined the GN forum recently, saying he and his missus were about to retire and could used any info about what rig and camper to buy, etc. So, along with the others, I welcomed him and said I'd learned a lot since becoming a member. "I used to think a dump point was where you left the missus when you went to the pub."

Just spoke to Ant the Antenna bloke. He's in Newcastle at the mo. He said the set top box is fine, but the mini TV is cactus when it's set to AV. His missus got it wrong when she spoke to me. She also told him that I'd collected it, which I hadn't, so it's still back at his place. He said he'd return it when he gets back home but I told him not to worry about it. The seller has refunded my purchase price and costs, so I'm sweet. I'll get one of those mini digital TVs from Dick Smith when I'm in Port Macquarie on the 13th.

NC says he doesn't recall anything about his 'foots'. … must be writing stuff in my sloop! Well, Art, here's part of what you wrote in your sloop: For your tootsies and slipper, ask an apothecary (druggist) for a 2% solution of formalin [formaldehyde] to apply on affected foots and toes.

As to the Math joke on the GN forum: Incidentally, that math tripe is sorta interesting. Using that calculation formula, you always come up with 9. Use multiple numbers and still get 9 or pairs of 9. Nine is a number hard to get rid of. Multiply 9 by any number and you will get 9 or numbers that add up to 9. It is the only prime number which behaves like that. Isn’t that wonderful?

Reminds me of late 1998 when I said to Sue, "Next year it'll be Nointeen noinety noine.". She said, "Don't talk like that... it sounds horrible." Depite her years in Oz married to THAT, she's never lost her Pommy accent. Strangely, Lindsay is a noine person. He makes an effort to be correct when he refers to 'my wife' but it sounds more like 'my woife'. Hehe.

BTW, Art says he does keep chickens...  just long enough to decapitate and cook. When I was a kid, the next door neighbors kept chooks and ducks. On special occasions, one was sacrificed and plucked for the table, and I remember the woman in the laundry surrounded by feathers, some of which floated through the window and off into the never never. These days, less than ten bucks buys one already beheaded, plucked, barbecued and wrapped in a plastic bag. Chicken was a rare treat in my day.

From the Beeb: New drug-resistant strains of the parasite that causes malaria have been identified by scientists. Researchers found parasites in western Cambodia that are genetically different from other strains around the world. These organisms are able to withstand treatment by artemisinin - a frontline drug in the fight against malaria. As far as Nature is concerned, humans are just another bug

President Barack Obama poked fun at himself and his adversaries at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington. He tickled his audience - who included actors Kevin Spacey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Claire Danes and South Korean singer Psy. The president ended his speech playing a taped piece with Hollywood director Steven Spielberg who did a spoof claiming his new project would be a movie on the president called "Obama" starring Daniel Day-Lewis. Mr Obama then appeared acting as if he were Day-Lewis preparing for the role. For quips from Obama's speech, click here.

A ban on the display of cigarettes and other tobacco products in large shops in Scotland has come into force. Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said the move will help prevent young people from taking up smoking. Under the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010, the sale of cigarettes from vending machines is also banned. In Oz, all tobacco products in any store, large or small, are stored in drawers out of sight. The only sign saying tobacco is for sale says SMOKING KILLS. All packaging is plain, covered in graphic photos of diseased limbs and other parts of the anatomy. No manufacturer logos are allowed. The only indication of the brand is in small type. Smoking tobacco is still legal, as is the sale of tobacco products, the revenue from which is 3/4 government tax. But any smoker who exercises his or her right has to undergo humiliation at a public counter to purchase a product embellished with disgusting images, all thanks to former Commonwealth Attorney General Nicola Roxon. Despite this, kids smoking is a common sight in the streets. I see it every day. Any more great ideas, Nicky babe?

Nicky babe lost her father to cancer when he was in his 50s. She couldn't stop him smoking so I guess she figured she could stop everyone else. Seems like it became a fixation. As Attorney General she took on the "big" tobacco companies and won her battle in the High Court. Bugger the collateral damage... people who'd smoked all their lives and had every right to. She was motivated by her father's death. She said anyone who lost a loved one to the evils of smoking would do the same thing. Oh? How many Aussies have lost a loved one to smoking? More than a few I'd say, including me. I lost my father and my younger bro. But I still smoke 3 or 4 rollies a day, unless I'm out and about in which case I don't smoke at all. But even as a "light" or "occasional" smoker, I still have to present myself at a public counter in the middle of the mall to purchase a legal product designed to label me as a social pariah. And that's what smokers have become - social pariahs. And for 2oz of ready-rubbed I have to pay $32 for the privilege. For less than ten bucks on eBay, though, I bought a lambs hide tobacco pouch made in England. I hope Nicky babe doesn't mind if I don't use her packaging.

I'm not surprised it took a woman to topple the "big" tobacco companies. A bloke wouldn't have tried. Probably wouldn't have even bothered. But not just any woman - it took a woman with balls, as it were. The type of woman who managed to elbow her way to the top of the corporate ladder to become the nation's Attorney General. Nicky babe is woman like our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who describes herself as "tough". You need to be tough to make it to the top in the blokey world of Australian politics. Nicky babe and Julia are good mates, by the way. The pair make Dirty Harry look like a wuss.

Nicky babe is no longer our Attorney General. She retired a while ago. Wants to spend more time with her family and keep an eye on them. Hehe.

Now, if anyone wants to write me and lecture me about the evils of puffing on a few rollies, forget it. I've heard it all before. The docs are not too thrilled about it but tolerate it. "It would be better if you didn't, Gary." Anyway, nuffa that. It's been something rolling around in the back of my mind for some time. I even thought about making a video for Youtube about the collateral damage in the Roxon Tobacco War, and the extreme lengths to which that woman was prepared to go to win her personal vendetta. But then I thought better of attracting the wrath of the do gooders of this world with all their foot stomping and desk thumping antics. I'm not denying the dangers of smoking. They're obvious to anyone with half a brain. I just don't like bossy women, especially when their bossiness affects me. I had enough of them during my stint in television production. What a pain! Mind you, I don't like bossy blokes either, hehe. I just don't like bossy!

Which reminds me, I have two older bros who are ex smokers. I've only gotta cough once on the phone and out comes the riot act. Say no more.

Anyway, it's THAT time again. Oh... at the pharmacy today the girl asked my name before getting my prescription. It's not easy to say Gary Kelly with no teeth. Er, tooths. I had to repeat Kelly. So when she came back with the script, I said, "I'm gonna change my name to something I can say with no teeth, darling." Gary

April 28, 2013. TX Greg wrote: The GN post you mentioned yesterday is pure SPAM !!! Google "Bill Cosby "I'm 83 and Tired" and you get over 68,000 results to that mail. You should write the GN admin they have a SPAM poster.

Thanks, Greg. I pasted your response on the GN thread. FL Josh also checked the authenticity of that post: Not Bill Cosby. I think astroid60's astroids are flaring up. I liked your comment.

I clicked on the poster's name, astroid60, and discovered he was born in 1942 which makes him about 70 or 71 despite what he says about being 83. He's also a newbie and has not written a biography. Sounds a bit suss, yes? Some jerk trying to stir up trouble.

Saw this post on the GN forum this morning. Kalgoorlie is where I am at the moment.  Since I left Tassie to do The Big Loop on 4th March, I've covered the Great Ocean Road, Mt. Gambier & breakfast with Fireheart, Naracoorte, Flinders Range NP, Yorke & Eyre Peninsulas, met up with Spida, crossed the Nullarbor to Norseman and am now at Lake Douglas, near Kalgoorlie.  The travels are going well and it is a great priviledge to be able to freely do so! He's talking thousands of kilometers there but it's as though he's taking the dog for a walk around the block!

There's a photo comp on GN at the mo with the theme of dust, dirt and sand. Here's a pic taken near Hill End in western NSW - an old mining town settled during the gold rush of the mid 1800s. I was at nearby Sofala in the Kombi some years ago. Not far from Bathurst where the Bathurst 1000 is held every year mainly between V8 Holdens and Fords.

And here's a pic of a road train in Queensland. Bit different to the touristy pics you see of the Gold Coast.

And here's how to wash a dusty camper up in Queensland's Gulf country.

Mmmmmm. Noice. I'm having breakfast... a smoothie with oats, peanut butter, honey, egg, vitamin powder, banana, milk, ice cream and cinnamon. Is it any wonder I can leap three inches in a single bound?

Okay, now here's a math quiz that somehow corresponds with your favorite movie. Not sure what it's all about but what the heck. You'll see my comment there. Hang on! Wait a tick! Look for my second comment. :)

From the Beeb: A man has been arrested in Mississippi and charged in connection with the sending of letters containing ricin to President Obama, a senator and a judge. Everett Dutschke was detained at home in Tupelo on Saturday and handed over to US Marshals, police said. When ever I read about people like that I think of them as little innocents in their mother's arms, with all rellos and neighbors standing around saying, "Oh, isn't he gorgeous!" Mind you, they said that about me too ya know.

An Ethiopian Airlines 787 Dreamliner has flown from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, the first commercial flight by the Boeing aircraft since all 787s were grounded in January. The Ethiopian Airlines plane took off at 09:45 local time (07:45 GMT) and landed in Nairobi, Kenya, some two hours later. There ya go, 'Plane Lands Safely' makes the headlines.

I was thinking about NC Art's foots. One foot, two foots. Otherwise we might as well refer to two heends, two theembs, two elbees, two neestrils and two big tees. Makes sense to me. And now back to the Beeb. One boob, two beebs.

How to eat healthily on £1 a day. Starting on Monday 29 April, 5,000 Britons will be challenging themselves to live on just £1 a day for five days, as part of a campaign by the Global Poverty Project. I reckon I could live on a couple of dollars a day without too much effort. Cooking your own food is a must on a budget, and there's a million things I can do with mince or ground steak.

Growing your own veg is another way. On Gardening Australia last night there were a couple of stories about people living in large apartment blocks forming garden clubs and using common areas (balconies, walkways, rooftops, etc) for growing flowers, herbs and vegies. One woman living in a terrace with a tiny yard in inner city Melbourne used large pots to grow all her herbs and vegies. When certain things like tomatoes were in over abundance she used them to make sauces, preserves and jams. Not easy to do when home is on wheels but out in the country there are lots of roadside fruit and vegie stalls where you can buy really cheap produce about as fresh as it gets .

Do you keep chickens at your place? A handful of outer garlic skins strewn around the roosting area keeps fleas and mites under control. I rather like chooks. Some varieties are very pretty indeed. I don't buy cage eggs. No way, Jose. Free range for me.

NC Art forwarded a most unusual pic... unique even. So I posted it on the GN forum here.

Well, looks like the PJ video and pics won't be ready before April ends. Chris hasn't been here to help me load the camper - there are a few things on this weekend so he's probably doing the family routine. I'm tempted to try it myself but I don't wanna get stuck halfway or whatever. And it'll be much easier with one driving and one guiding. Oh well... that'll be two journal entries for May... PJ and the Centenary of Rail in the Manning. I'm also travelling to Port Macquarie to see the doc so there might be something there as well. In early June, I'll be in Sydney to see the specialist so that gives me all morning from 7am to visit the Sydney Botanic Gardens at Farm Cove to the east of the Bridge and Opera House where there are great photo opps around Mrs Macquarie's Chair and the walk along the foreshore. It's a bit of a hike so I'll cab it from Central and then walk around the gardens and Harbor frontage. Farm Cove was where the First Fleet anchored in Port Jackson, Jan 26, 1788. They wouldn't recognize it now.

And so ends nudja weekend. Not too flash in the thrilling department but that's the way it goes. PJ will have to wait for another day. Gary

April 27, 2013. Another perfect autumn day - tad cool in the mornings and evenings but stunning during the day.

Back from a little shopping - neeeeeeew slippers! Scuffs, actually, with no back so I don't have to do the finger trick in the middle of the night to get the bloody things on. But they cover the foots well and are very comfy, with cushoned inner sole and synthetic wooly lining. Not bad for 20 bucks. BTW, if I used quid, that would be 10 quid (pounds). The quid didn't become a dollar in 1966 when we went decimal, half a quid did - ten bob (shillings). 10 quid was half a week's wages back then. My brand new 1965 Beetle cost 950 quid ($1900).

Anyway, I also bought 2 burgundy pillow slips for PJ - a splash of color for my boudoir. Plus boring groceries and mouth wash. And socks!

Oh... and I put 50psi in the rear tires. It's not quite enough to carry the camper but also not too low as it was before. I can put more in when PJ is together. Hello, Chris! Yoo hoo! Where are you? You've forgotten, haven't you? Tsk, tsk.

Just noticed that Taree will celebrate The Centenary of Rail to The Manning on Saturday, May 12 with a few trips around the hood. I've been on a couple already so I think I'll settle for videoing the official ceremony at the station... along with 5 million other photographers. 

From the Beeb: Two owners of garment factories in the building that collapsed on the outskirts of Bangladesh's capital Dhaka have surrendered to police. And also don't forget to arrest all the government bureaucrats who allow shoddy buildings to be erected in the first place.

An Ethiopian Airlines 787 Dreamliner is due to take off from Addis Ababa shortly, the first 787 passenger flight since all planes were grounded in January.

A US citizen is soon to go on trial on charges including attempting to overthrow North Korea's government, the North's official news agency says. Half the American population does that to its own government every four years.

New York police say what appears to be part of the landing gear of one of jets flown into the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001 has been found. The 5ft (1.52m) piece of metal, which bears a Boeing label and serial number, was wedged between two New York City buildings, police said. Imagine, there are teens today who weren't around when that happened. Seems like yesterday.

US country singer George Jones, who had a string of number one songs between the 1950s and 1990s, has died aged 81. Jones publicist, Kirt Webster, said the Grammy-winning singer was admitted to hospital for fever and irregular blood pressure and died on Friday. He was married to Tammy Wynette between 1969 and 1975 and the pair recorded several songs together in the 1970s. Born in Texas on 12 September 1931, Jones played guitar for tips on the streets of Beaumont as a teenager before going on to serve in the US Marine Corps. Known for his precise baritone and evocative voice, Jones' first number one song, White Lightning, came in 1959, followed by Tender Years in 1961

I've been meaning to say I watched a live witness to an event in Alabama on the news (can't remember what it was) who ended his sentence with "an' ever-thang".

Australian feature film The Rocket has taken the top honour at this year's Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Set in Laos with mostly non-professional actors, it won best narrative film while its 10-year-old star was selected as best actor

Here's a link to a thread on the GN forum started by an 83 y/o bloke who's "tired". He lists all the things that piss him off about life, and says he's glad he's on the way out so he doesn't have to put up with it much longer. Scroll down to see my comment, which mentions NC Art. You have to be a member to comment on the GN forum but if there's something you'd like to say to that old bloke, email me and I'll post it for you.

And now it's time for me to slip my tootsies into my new scuffs (pity I don't have a dressing gown and hair rollers) and plonk myself down in front of the telly. Guess what's for dinner? Here's a hint. It starts with 's'. Hehe. Oh well... Seeyaz. Gary

April 26, 2013. Back from my dose of inner shedness which, this time, included a little snooze. Bit cool in the house and the sun's shining, so I figured the camper would be nice and warm, which it is. I stretched out on the sofa and nodded off. Most pleasant it was with the birds chirping in the nearby tree. Yes, folks, I think I'll be very much at home in PJ when the time comes to flee.

NC Art reminded me that he hasn't always been a Northerner: Art was not always NC. He was born in SC and lived there 32 years before crossing the boundary to court the gal he married.

   The vid of ANZAC … and Yanks …  in jungle swamps reminded me of why I joined the Air Force: Avoid jungle rot which was harder to cure than athletes foot. 

   For your tootsies and slipper, ask an apothecary (druggist) for a 2% solution of formalin [formaldehyde] to apply on affected foots and toes. Also on slippers. No odor, dries quickly, and regular use for a week or so will dry up the fungus. Cheap too.

   What else can I help you with?

Ummm. Can't think of anything at the mo, mate. But it just goes to show that Nature didn't design our foots to be wrapped in material that causes perspiration and humidity to feed hungry little baccies. I wear thongs (flip flops) most of the year to keep my feet healthy, and prefer being barefoot around the house. It's also why I prefer boxer shorts to briefs. Hopefully, on the Odyssey, the weather will be conducive to minimum apparel. And not only for me. :o)

I was wrong about ANZAC TV programs being regurgitated yesterday. I watched a new doco about The Rats of Tobruk and their stuggle against Rommel in his quest for the Lybian port of Tobruk and control of the Suez Canal. The Aussies made up more than half the allied division (mostly Brits and some Indians). The Aussies were called Rats by the German radio announcer whose program was beamed into their desert camps - caught like rats in a trap. They Aussies rather liked it hehe, and adopted it. But life there was dreadful. Rations consisted of canned bully beef, biscuits like bricks, one full water bag a day (used for washing as well as drinking) and ascorbic acid tablets. The desert heat was intense, the flies as thick as the air itself, the sand storms endless, and the conditions deplorable. One former German soldier said you couldn't eat without a ring of flies around your mouth. You couldn't defecate without flies covering your ass. He also said their rations were even worse than the Aussies' - canned, dry unsalted donkey meat from Italy.

One of the Aussies, who was on patrol, described an incident where he was caught in a hail of bullets from machine guns so he dove into the nearest fox hole. Within seconds, two more men dove in on top of him. When they sorted themselves out, the Aussie realized the other two were Germans. Fighting broke out but subsided quickly when another burst of fire sent the trio to the floor of the hole. When it stopped, one of the Germans said, "Bloody Italians!" The Aussie smiled and agreed as the three shook hands. Then the Germans exited the hole and fled. The Aussie lamented that he didn't get their names - he would have liked to have met them after the war for a few beers.

Rommel had a reputation for being indomitable. His successes were legendary. Until the Brits and Aussies stopped his advance, that was. It was the first time Rommel had been defeated. It made headlines but not for long. A week later, the Rats' success gave way to even bigger headlines - the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, and its declaration of war against the USA. When Churchill learned that America was now involved in the war, he was delighted, and that night "slept like a man saved". According to the American military at the time, the allies were likely to lose the war in the Middle East, and the Americans had no interest in joining "losers".

Meanwhile, Rommel's reputation for timing his attacks to perfection and always managing to surprise the allies was (it was later discovered) the result of a group of his men specializing in radio communications being able to intercept top secret British broadcasts. The Germans were not only fluent in English but also in English slang, and understood perfectly what the Brits were saying. And yet the Brits had no idea their broadcasts were being intercepted. Sheesh. You reckon I wasn't boiling mad when I heard that? Jesus Christ!

Anyway, part two of the doco will be shown next week - when Rommel - with fresh troops, and re-supplied with arms and tanks - launches a major offensive thanks to information broadcast by the Brits about their plans. During a long desert haitus of 3 moonless periods, while Hitler was busy attacking Russia, most of the Aussies had been shipped to another part of the Middle East for recuperation. They were tired, covered in sores, and in desperate need of rest. But there was one Aussie battalion that didn't make the withdrawal in time, and who were left behind to face the latest onslaught from Rommel and his far superior war machine.

NC Art has been thinking again:


Number 8
Life is sexually transmitted.

Number 7
Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

Number 6
Men have two emotions: Hungry and Horny. They can't tell them apart. If you see a gleam in his eyes, make him a sandwich.

Number 5
Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.

Number 4
Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospitals, dying of nothing.

Number 3
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

Number 2
In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

And The Number 1 Thought 
Life is like a jar of Jalapeno peppers-- What you do today, might burn your ass tomorrow

From the Beeb: US intelligence agencies believe "with varying degrees of confidence" that Syria has used chemical weapons against rebels, the White House has said. It said the nerve agent sarin had been deployed on a "small scale", and did not say where or when it had been used. The White House has warned chemical weapons use would be a "red line" for possible intervention, but says this intelligence does not represent proof. Republicans in Congress called on Thursday for a strong US response.

Young, thin models tend to dominate the catwalks and fashion shoots, but a group of stylish pensioners is giving them a run for their money and appearing in glossy ads for eyewear and designer clothes. At 93, Ilona Royce Smithkin didn't expect to become a style photographer's muse, even less a model for a global fashion house. I thought NC Art at 87 might be interested in this story.

Few things tweak the patriotic nerve of Australians more strongly than being outstripped by their trans-Tasman neighbours, New Zealand. Traditionally, the rivalry plays out on the sports field. Yet this month has seen a kind of legislative equivalent of the Bledisloe Cup, the annual rugby union clash between the All Blacks and the Wallabies. Rather than out-muscle the Australians, the Kiwis have out-reformed them. They did so by becoming the first Asia-Pacific nation to legalise same-sex marriage. A most interesting read from Nick Bryant who is a great writer.

All five living US presidents came together as they attended the dedication of a new library in honour of George W Bush. Barack Obama joined George W Bush, Bill Clinton, George HW Bush and Jimmy Carter at the ceremony to open the George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas.  Tributes from all the other presidents saw George W Bush moved to tears. Pity the vid was edited down to just a few minutes. I would have liked to see and hear more of it.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said the Boston Marathon bombing suspects planned to detonate the rest of their explosives in Times Square. Mayor Bloomberg said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect, had told the FBI he and his brother "spontaneously" decided that New York would be next. Well, there was no next. And the reason for there being no next is because they had no brains.

The voice of Alexander Graham Bell has been identified for the first time, in a recording from 1885. On the wax-disc recording, the telephone inventor says: "Hear my voice, Alexander Graham Bell." The recording is among the earliest held by the Smithsonian Institution, which runs the National Museum of American History. Jeez, 128 years is just a blip. How far technology has come in such a short time

Seventy years ago, a small team of Norwegians was sent from Britain to carry out one of the most daring and important undercover operations of World War II - the aim was to prevent Adolf Hitler building an atomic bomb. Great story.

BTW, on last night's doco about Tobruk, one of the Aussies said at night in the desert when there was no cloud, no moon and no sand storm, you could read a watch or compass by the starlight. That got me thinking about what they say about outback Oz at night, and the clarity of the night sky. Here's another one. It's a place in Victoria called Halls Gap. Here it is again.

Well, that's it for today, folks. These cool evenings are making me peckish, so the chicken soup will go down well later. Not a bad soup, this one. It actually has chicken in it. Certainly an improvement on bully beef and canned donkey meat. Ew! Meanwhile, I think I might brew a cuppa. Gary

April 25, 2013. ANZAC day - our version of Memorial Day, lest we forget. 

So I was thinking about NC Art and his time in the USAF stationed in England during the latter part of WWII when the allies were throwing everything they could at the Nazis in Europe and the Middle East. What a crazy and foreign world it must have seemed to a country boy plucked from the simple rural life of North Carolina. A boy who grew up seeing the magic of lovely old cars like this gracing his hometown streets when he was still snapping whippers.

An RAAF jet just did a fly past. Wow! That was quick! No sooner had the noise deafened me than it was gone. Whoosh! I suppose that lone jet is doing the rounds of all the towns in the area. I didn't even have time to get to the bloody window!

I read one GN's report of a little town in Oz where the residents are all too bloody ancient for a dawn service, so they have it at midday and only march for a few hundred meters hehe. Then they all retire to the one and only pub for lunch. He says it's a very friendly little town and he's been made to feel most welcome.

As I showered, I heard a couple of high school kids on the radio commenting about what ANZAC day means to them. Some mentioned the futility of war. That's all very well, but in order to avoid the futility, both sides would need to agree on settling their differences peacefully. And there was no way Hitler and his Nazis were going to settle for anything other than European domination and the new order. Ditto the Japanese Imperialists. Futile war may be, but more often than not there is no option. Unless your pile of cannon balls is a lot bigger than the other bloke's pile, of course.

From the Beeb: The US government added one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects to a counter-terrorism database about 18 months ago, officials have told US media. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was flagged after Russian authorities suspected him of plotting an attack there. An FBI preliminary investigation found no evidence of a threat to the US. Yes, but what does it all mean?

Convict background, remember. It's embedded in the Australian psyche.

Got my dose of inner shedness today but also took the plastic covers off those two pillows I bought a month or two ago and allowed them to puff up. So then I decided to try them out in the cab over. Very nice. And the cab over is not claustrophobic at all, as I thought it might be. On the contrary, it's nice and cozy in there with tons of room to stretch out. Probably a bit steamy on hot summer nights (although it has a 12V fan and 3 windows) but I can always sleep on the couch in the main area, or even outside under the awning. Anyway, it felt good... just like home sweet home.

Some peeps with larger cab over vans choose to use the cab over for storage rather than sleeping. Some are a bit rickety and can't haul themselves into the cab over (no problem for me) and some just don't like sleeping there. No worries. At least they're putting the cab over to good use by using it for storage. I'll probably use it for temporary storage too - outdoor furniture, etc, when I'm travelling. Actually, it's amazing just how much useable room there is in such a small space... plenty for one.

Another quiet day today, ladies and genitals. I could have photographed the local ANZAC memorial service I suppose, and would have if I'd been in another town. BUT... that's not the way this particular day's cookie crumbled. BTW, Bluey and Curley were popular cartoon characters when I was a kid, along with Boofhead, Ginger Meggs, Dagwood (Blondie), the Phantom and others. Every Sunday I pestered my father for the comics section of the Sunday papers. Bugger the rest.

And now it's Oh Reservoir time... Hoo bloody Roo and all that jazz. The nights get a bit Picadilly here so I gotta put the socks on. I need a pair of slippers. Tossed the old ones out cos they were a breeding ground for bugs that feast on people's lower digits. I tried all kinds of powders and stuff to kill the bacteria but nothing worked. Oh well... they're cheap enough I suppose at about $10 a pair. So now it's telly time again and endless digger stories and docos dusted off for repetition yet again, as well as footage of today's events. Gary

April 24, 2013. Whale, it's a good thing I haven't been doing any serious spending the past month cos I paid all the bills today, including the latest power bill, and I'm almost back to diddly squat. BUT... the fiscal fog has cleared and it'll be back to clear skies next pay. First off, an AGM battery.

But's a funny word innit? Pops up all the time... lovely day but... nice bloke but... I feel great but... enjoyed the movie but... I totally agree but... Some years ago I had a friend I called 'yeahbut'. More sophisticated versions of 'but' are on the other hand, alternatively, however, having said that, by the same token, at the end of the day, etc.

FL Josh is a yeahbut. He reckons there might be a good reason why the mini digital TV is a discontinued line, and why the four left in Port Macquarie will probably still be available when I visit next month. Well, there is. There's not a big demand for mini TVs. Most peeps are into notebooks and iPads and all that kinda thing. And campers often go for larger TVs like the one I normally use here, which is an 18". As to lines being discontinued, that happens all the time these days. There's also a dongle you can buy that turns your laptop into a TV. But I think the data download aspect of that is expensive as it is if you use the internet on your laptop.

BTW, Josh had probs with email bouncing yesterday. So did Oregon Richie and TX Greg. My ISP is about to launch a BETA version of its email server so maybe fiddling with that has caused temporary probs. All's well now though.

The video of Market Street on San Francisco in 1906 was incredible. To spend seven minutes looking at how life was back then was just such an unusual experience. I found this about the film.  On youtube, they say the film is 1905 but then with some research, I found this. . .

This film, originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly when it was shot. From New York trade papers announcing the film showing to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall & shadows indicating time of year & actual weather and conditions on historical record, even when the cars were registered (he even knows who owned them and when the plates were issued!)... It was filmed only four days before the quake and shipped by train to NY for processing.

Here is a similar video of a ride through the streets of Barcelona in 1908.

Yes, the simple pleasures of life in the early 20th century, and kids skylarking. No way in the wide world could they have envisaged you and I looking at that footage on home computers over a hundred years hence, let alone space exploration and all the other technology we take for granted. The thing I find most fascinating about watching those early films is that it's real life with no acting or staged performances.

Some things never change though, as this graphic from TX Greg demonstrates:

And here's a little gem from naughty NC Art:

What deep thinkers men are... 

I mowed the lawn today, and after doing so I sat down and had a cold beer. The day was really quite beautiful, and the drink facilitated some deep thinking on various topics. Finally I thought about an age old question: Is giving birth more painful than getting kicked in the nuts?

Women always maintain that giving birth is way more painful than a guy getting kicked in the nuts. Well, after another beer, and some heavy deductive thinking, I have come up with the answer to that question. Getting kicked in the nuts is more painful than having a baby; and here is the reason for my conclusion.

A year or so after giving birth, a woman will often say, "it might be nice to have another child."

On the other hand, you never hear a guy say, "You know, I think I would like another kick in the nuts."

Time for another beer. 

On the subject of the Boston Bomber and his legal rights, Josh writes: There was also a bit about the Boston terrorist not being given his Miranda rights.  Miranda rights are something police in this country are required to give a suspect when questioning him, advising him that he has the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present when questioned and if he chooses to give up that right, anything he says may be used against him in a court of law.  If the police fail to read someone their Miranda rights (and have them sign a document as to waiving or keeping them), they cannot later use the things the suspect told them during his trial.  If they cannot use those comments at trial, they have to rely on other evidence to convict.  So with the Boston terrorist, those in charge have clearly made a decision they have enough evidence to convict without a confession or incriminating statements made during questioning, so they would forget about giving him his Miranda rights in hopes of getting him to provide information as to just who was behind this bombing.  One of the bits if evidence they have against him was when he and his brother hijacked a car and admitted to the driver they were the bombers.  They didn't kill the driver because he was not an American. 

Luckly, that didn't stop the 'non-American' from telling the cops about his encounter. Thanks for the enlightening info Josh.

From the Beeb: Australia's population surpassed 23 million on Tuesday. And as the country's numbers change, so does its image - you can forget Crocodile Dundee, for a start. The national stereotype has it that no Australian would ever look upon themselves as "average". No worries, mate, she'll be right, cob.

US security officials are to face questions in Congress over whether they mishandled information about Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. They will brief the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed hearing, after some US lawmakers accused the FBI of failing to act on Russian concerns. Tsarnaev was questioned in 2011 amid claims he had adopted radical Islam.

US authorities have dropped the charges against a Mississippi man accused of sending letters poisoned with ricin to President Barack Obama and a senator. Paul Curtis was freed on Tuesday after prosecutors revealed the investigation had uncovered "new information". Oops! Not a good look, chaps

France has become the 14th country to approve a law allowing gay marriage. The bill, which also legalises adoption by same-sex couples, was passed by 321 votes to 225 in the French parliament. The decision follows a divisive public debate with some of the biggest protests seen in France in recent years. The devil made me do it.

Back from a little shopping. Home Arts is having a closing down sale. Lots of goodies I'd love to buy if I weren't planning to travel Oz, like a really nice lazyboy-type chair with upholstered arms just $200, and lots of interesting cookware. Oh well... But I did get the rolled oats, peanut butter, honey, etc for that smoothie recipe I posted yesterday. I'll try it later. Roite now, I'm enjoying a cuppa. Before all the radiation business last year, I used to love a tipple - white wine. But I have dry mouth - insufficient saliva - and alcohol tastes terrible. So I've been on the wagon (apart from a couple of beers with my ex boss before Christmas) for ages now. I even bought lime cordial today! The dinki di stuff... made from real fruit, no added sugar, artificial flavoring or colors. I needed something to improve water... water is soooooo dreeeeeeeary! Even fruit juice irritates dry mouth cos of the acid. Tea is good though, and coffee.

Just heard a couple of ambulances whizz by which reminds me, there was a fatal plane crash in Taree yesterday.

And yes, I really do like my little truck. Not sure exactly why. There's nothing special about it. It's just a basic truck. No power anything except brakes. No air con. No fancy bits. Hehe. But there's something I like about it. Maybe it's the ugly duckling thing. Or Thomas the Tank Engine. The little truck that never gave up. I suspect the early Beetle had that sort of appeal. No frills motoring that captured the hearts and imagination of millions. Speaking of which, there was a display of Chinese vehicles at the mall today, with one little car selling for $10,000 brand new. I dunno how that compares to the US but here in Oz that is CHEAP!

I've read reports about early Couriers/Bravos and how much punishment they can take. Tough as buggery. But not too flash in the economy dept despite a 2.6L four-banger. They're pretty straight forward too, and easy to maintain. One bloke on the GN forum was saying he had a quote from a Ford dealer to replace a water pump. $1200. So he bought an after-market one and installed it himself for about $200. Hehe. There are heaps of retired mechanics and other technical peeps on the GN forum ready, able and willing to assist us poor buggers who don't know a spanner from a screwdriver.

And now, ladies and genitals, it's time for these old buns (what's left of them) to seek something softer as the telly beckons to be turned on. Irish stew tonight... the soup version. Might have a bit of Guinness in it! Woolies sell meat pies with steak and Guinness gravy filling. Mmmmm. Oh dentures, dentures, wherefore art thou? Gary

April 23, 2013. One of the GNs posted this graphic:

So I commented: If God had meant people to kiss, he wouldn't have given them noses.

I watched Australian Story on telly last night, about the career and retirement of Black Caviar aka Nellie from racing. I mentioned her the other day, but forgot to say she also won a major race at Ascot in England and was awarded the trophy by the Queen herself. The jockey dropped the reins in the last few meters and the horse slowed, narrowly beating the opposition. Silly boi. When she ran her final race in Sydney against the best horses in the country, connections hadn't planned her retirement. She won that race with ease despite carrying top weight. But it was decided that she'd done about all that could be expected of a true champion (25 wins from 25 starts), and that it was time to retire. Tears were shed, but it was in her best interests. Connections really love that horse. I watched Nellie standing at the fence, allowing fans to pet her face. Such a good natured girl.

Most of her power comes from a superbly muscled broad beam - a big bum. Her stride is over a meter longer than that of most other horses.

I phoned Chris the Fence Man last night and he'd only just arrived back from vacation, so I told him I was ready to load the camper onto the truck. He'll be here towards the end of the week, he said. It's almost show time, dear Breth, and the kid's getting nervous.

Stan the Lawn Man was here this morning to mow the lawns cos he'll be away for 3 weeks with his missus and beloved caravan. "Headed north. No plans. Just wander wherever." He said his legs are still sore from all the work he did here last week hehe. "And don't forget to tell 'em (on the video) I'm 70!"

Just back from a dose of inner shedness. There's a daddy longlegs who's made himself at home in there... no girlfriends from what I can see. Anyway, I don't mind those guys. Little does he realize, though, that his peace and tranquility is gonna be all shook up soon when I take PJ for a test flight.

From the Beeb: No mention has been made of any possible motive for the Boston Marathon bombing in the charges filed against surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Federal prosecutors charged him in hospital with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death. He could be sentenced to death if convicted on either count. 19 years of age, and a bad decision has ruined the rest of his life, as well as the lives of others. Those who knew him say he was a nice kid... or was before he got involved in all that Chechnya crap. Tragedy all round.

Two foreign men living in Canada have been charged with plotting a terrorist attack on a passenger train, with support from al-Qaeda elements in Iran. The authorities say the suspects Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, and Raed Jaser, 35, were arrested in Montreal and Toronto on Monday

A former Washington DC primary school teacher accused of producing child pornography has been arrested in Nicaragua, the FBI has said. Eric Justin Toth, 31, replaced Osama Bin Laden on the FBI's top 10 most wanted list in April 2012. He had been on the run since 2008, when another teacher found child pornography on a camera he had used at the school. And yet another twisted mind.

It's been a very quiet day, dear Breth. Not much happening at all. One of the GNs posted a new thread about the Australian population reaching 23,000,000 today but the webmaster Cindy closed it before I could enter my plea of innocence cos I'm still a virgin. Comments were attracting a bit of controversy about immigration and illegal boat people, so Cindy nipped it in the bud.

Actually, it's amazing that Cindy allowed my thread about same sex marriage in NZ to continue. 90% of comments were constructive but there were a few phobic yobos. Anyway, it's 3 pages long now and still growing. Getting a bit off topic though with jokes about silly stuff.

There was a post about a place in Alice Springs that was interesting: If anyone is heading to Alice springs a great place to base yourself is at the  National Transport Hall Of Fame. For $20 per week (to help towards the $6000 per month power bill ) and 25hrs of volunteer (couple ) work per week, we thought we would stay a week and we enjoyed it that much we stayed 5 weeks. There is an area out the back of the museum to park your rig... water / power and very safe. If you have not got your own bathroom, there are showers and toilets on site. The work is really enjoyable and very relaxed, not hard yakka, just work at your own pace and your own time schedule. Some of the jobs are just handyman jobs, for the women it may involve reception/gift/souvenir shop or in the coffee shop. Some times you might even get the chance to drive some of the beaut old vehicles from one area to another inside the sheds. We had the one of the best times in all our travells doing this. We had plenty of time to also go off and explore what Alice and the surounding area has to offer. This National treasure doesn't get any government funding as such so it is mainly run with volunteers. Also the Old Guan Train Museum is incorporated into the complex.

Sounds pretty cool, yes? It's a big and wonderful world out there, ladies and genitals. And I gotta get me a piece of it afore I carks it.

Someone also posted a smoothie recipe that sounds cool: 
Banana Smoothie:

1 cup skim milk
1 tblsp light, smooth peanut butter
1 teasp honey
1/4 cup traditional rolled oats
1/2 frozen sliced banana, and

1/2 teasp cinnamon, if liked. (Cinnamon lowers LDL cholesterol - the bad one - and it's good for type 2 diabetics).

Hit all with a stick mixer until blended nicely, and wow! So good!

The frozen banana makes the smoothie go thick. I buy 4 or 6 bananas at a time, peel and cut them in half, then individually wrap sliced-up halves in Gladwrap, and place in a plastic freezer bag to store. They freeze well like that, and you always have them on hand. ENJOY!

Interesting info about freezing bananas. Anyway, I don't have any rolled oats but they're on the shopping list! And I'll stick with full cream milk cos I need fattening up. Might add some ice cream as well.

After five bells again, boils and goils, and my pumpkin is about to turn into an easy chair in front of the telly. Byeeeeee! Gary

April 22, 2013. Paddy and Shamus were hitchhiking. "It's best if we split up," said Paddy. "I will meet you in the next city under the town hall clock".

Later that night Shamus was waiting at the appointed place when Paddy drove up in a swank car. "Where the hell did you get that?"

Paddy explained that he had just walked a little way when a beautiful woman picked him up. She drove into the woods, got out and took all her clothes off. "She said I could have anything I wanted, so I took the car," said Paddy.

"Good choice too," said Shamus. "You'd look ridiculous in her clothes."

It's 1906 in San Francisco, and somebody decides to put a 35mm camera on the front of a tram travelling down Market Street, just 4 days before the Great Earthquake and fire. Steering wheels are still on the right side of vehicles and nobody has figured out which side of the road belongs to whom. There are also no give-way rules. It's chaos with pedestrians, horse-drawn carts, bicycles, cars and trams all vying for a piece of the action.

Back from seeing Nancy the dentist, and calling into Ant the Antenna bloke's house. The second Bush set top box is another dud. Ant couldn't get it to work on either my mini or his own TV. Nothing but a rolling screen according to his wife. She said she'll send him over here when he gets home. Meanwhile, I've written to the seller on eBay to inform them of the latest fiasco. I'm not mailing this one back. Cost $11 last time and I'm not spending that again. Besides, I don't want a replacement. I'll go the local electronics store and get a set top box from them. On the other hand, for $99 they have a mini digital portable with no need for a separate set top box. Hmmm. Local store is out of stock though. Not surprising at that price.

Then there was the woman who discovered her husband sitting on a chair and crying. Naturally, she asked him what the problem was. "Remember when you were 16 and I got you pregnant, and your father threatened to have me jailed for 20 years if I didn't marry you?" he sobbed. "Yes, I remember," she said. "Well, I would've been released today!"

Stunner of a day, today. Sunny, bright and 26C. Pisses me off a bit to think this kinda weather will be gone by the time I get PJ together. Dammit.

From the Beeb: Now that US authorities have Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in custody for alleged involvement in the Boston Marathon bombings, questions have risen over his legal handling. US officials say Mr Tsarnaev will not be read his Miranda rights - a step usually taken when imminent dangers to public safety are involved. The move has met with mixed reaction, both on the political level and on the streets of Boston. That's a curly one. Make one mistake in proper legal procedure and this kid gets off as a consequence, there's gonna be hell to pay.

The BBC has obtained police video showing officers standing by while Buddhist rioters attacked minority Muslims in the town of Meiktila. The footage shows a mob destroying a Muslim gold shop and then setting fire to houses. A man thought to be a Muslim is seen on fire. Buddhists guilty of violence? Maybe we should forget about blaming religion, and just blame the human race instead.

Tin cans have, in 200 years, changed the way the world eats. But Victorian disgust over a cheap meat scandal almost consigned the invention to rejection and failure. The story of the tin can is one of ingenuity and endurance, and one that affects every one of us. It has changed the way we eat, the way we shop and the way we travel. But its pioneers had no such lofty ambitions - they just wanted to fill the stomachs of sailors. Cool story plus a vid of how the first cans were made.

And speaking of food, a while ago I mentioned the good ol' jaffle irons. I also mentioned them on the GN forum in the cooking and recipes section, and suggested peeps might share their ideas for creating interesting fillings. Somebody today suggested pizza but didn't elaborate. It fired my imagination though, and I immediately thought of those frozen pizza pockets I've seen in supermarket fridges. Instead of a topping, they have a filling made of traditional pizza ingredients. Voila! Perfect! Just think of all the yummies you can use to create wonderful pizza jaffles! The mind boggles! I can't wait to try a few different ones BUT... there's a small problem... TEETH! How depressing.

At least 45,000 people have attended the last big rally against same-sex marriage and adoption in Paris before the bill is expected to become law. Rejecting the police estimate of the turnout, organisers said 270,000 people had attended the march. All people are created equal. It's just that some are more equal than others.

How many of us have an open mind capable of using pure logic to arrive at sensible and rational conclusions? How many of us can claim to be free of bias? That's the problem as I see it. If a person is aligned to a certain political ideology, or a religion, or some cultural conviction how can they possibly analyze a situation without bias? I think science is about as close as we humans can get to having an open mind in our quest for truth. In order for science to accept anything as fact, it needs proof. Science deals with what exists. The laws of physics don't have opinions or biases or ideologies. They're set in concrete. The minds of humans, on the other hand, are like blobs of putty, easily manipulated by whatever intellectual forces happen to be at hand. Bleh. It's all too hard. Hehe.

'Ave a cuppa tea, G. What a sterling idea! Yes, I will.

I was wondering if I could speak to Gary Kelly.
Just a minute. Lemme check if he's here. Yes, he is. It's me.
Oh, hello, Gary. It's Brian from the volunteer...
And you're looking for volunteers. I haven't got any teeth.
Oh, ha ha... well, no, we're not looking for volunteers, I just wanted to thank you for your previous support...
Silly me! My previous support! I shouldn't have done it. Thank you for your previous support, Gary, and now we have a new raffle and we were wondering... ???
Yes, I was wondering if you'd like to buy a book of tickets.
My power bill has beaten you to it.
Yes, it's not getting any cheaper is it, Gary. Ha ha. I understand completely. Well, Gary, you have a lovely day...

Hehe. Poor bugger's just doing his job and there's me being a terror. Nice cuppa tea though.

Did I tell you I won $32 in Saturday night Lotto? I won $32 in Saturday night Lotto.

NC Art has a cousin studying at Harvard: It was a crazy week in Boston with the whole city on lockdown on Friday, and the fact I have my huge general exams in eight days on April 29 is making my own life crazy right now. I think everyone is still trying to process the effects of the bombings; I didn't know anyone who was running or who was injured, but it is really eerie to recognize the street where all these people were hurt as the one you walk down to go to the Boston Symphony Orchestra once a month or so. It's just strange, and you could feel that eeriness on campus on Tuesday and Wednesday when conversations were muted and everything felt sluggish.

Friday was a very different feeling because I had heard from friends at MIT on Thursday night that they had heard gunfire and everyone was stuck in their labs. I followed the news that night and listened to the live police scanner to see what was going on and heard the events transpire in Cambridge and Watertown. I woke up early the next morning to the sounds of police helicopters and an otherwise deserted city. It turns out that the two suspects lived about a 8 minute walk from my home just over the city border in Cambridge. I don't know how to describe everything except it being really eerie. Cambridge and Boston is such a diverse and welcoming place--my neighborhood is full of students and older Portuguese families, for example--and it's just strange when these big, and tragic, news events happen so close to home.

I've read a bit of the commentaries on the lockdown and civil liberties, and I don't really know what to think. Obama's "we refuse to be terrorized" doesn't stand up in light of the fact the metropolitan area ground to a halt on Friday, but at the same time, I'm willing to cut some slack for Massachusetts' elected officials who seemed genuinely worried for the safety of the citizens. To me what matters more is that Boston doesn't turn its back on the diversity that's here. The fact that tons of people have rushed to show support for the local mosques and our diversity here is a good sign. I hope things don't change; I think this part of the country is a open and great place.

In fact, one article I read that compared Boston's empty streets on Friday unfavorably to Israel after a suicide bombing when people continue to go about their daily lives and repopulate the coffee shops next to the blown up remnants of a bus or restaurant struck me as making the wrong argument. The fact that people in Boston were shocked and paused to feel this sense of community seems like a good thing. The fact that these kind of events are not common here--as they unfortunately are elsewhere--is good and means that we are deeply troubled when they happen. I've never felt like a Bostonian before because Harvard is its own bubble, but things like this really are a chance to pause and think about the local community. That feeling of connectedness to Boston is something that students, I think, have felt, and I hope doesn't wear off to quickly.

That feeling of connectedness happens in Oz every time there's a disaster. The floods a year or two ago in QLD were a good example of that, with people rushing to the aid of others, and forming small armies of clean-up groups to mop up the homes of those too devastated to do anything but weep. Shame it takes a tragedy to bring out the best in people.

There's an article on the GN main page about fossicking for gem stones and gold in the Northern Territory. The government there has a web site that gives tips and other information about fossicking... where, what to look for, and how to improve your chances of finding something worthwhile. Sounds cool to me. I'd love to rummage around various places in the hope of finding something special!

Well, whaddaya know, the eBay retailer who sold me the STB has refunded both the purchase price and the cost of returning the first faulty STB by registered mail. So I'm square. I appreciate their quick response. She said they've only had a handful returned from hundreds sold so maybe I just got unlucky.

As to the digital mini TV for $99, it's a discontinued line, but the 2 Dick Smith stores in Port Macquarie have 4 between them. To courier one to Taree would cost $35 which is a bit steep for something worth a hundred, so I told the bloke I'll be in PM mid May (to see the doc) and he reckons the chances of at least one still being available are pretty good. So we'll see.

And that's it for Mondee's Waffle, ladies and genitals. Soup de jour will be roast chicken with winter vegetables. It was garden vegetables last night so I thought I'd have something different hehe. Tellya what I'd much rather have... a jaffle crammed with lotsa pizza goodies! How yummy would that be? And lotsa melted mozzarella. Mmmmm! I shouldn't do this to myself ya know. It's enough to make a bloke wanna jump out of the ground floor window. Gary

April 21, 2013. Well, the responses to the thread on same sex marriage in New Zealand on the GN forum has been a real eye opener - from straights too! And oldies! And even religious peeps. Surprised the hell outta me. Here's a link to the page if you'd like to read the comments. Takes a while to get warmed up but stick with it.

NC Art wrote: The story of Leon Gronowski is a corker; Many heroes of the awful time are lost to memory or died unremarked. As the war in Europe was concluding Yanks in England could hardly believe first news and pictures of the Nazi death camps which were published in Stars and Stripes, a newspaper for the armed services overseas. We were accustomed to shooting and being shot at, but the extent of inhuman atrocities were hard to process.

   Years ago one of the many treatises on Hitler’s methods proposed that anti-Judaism was not part of an original plan, but he and his comrades needed a cause to keep the people in line. Jewish hatred and jealousy were ready made for distracting and diverting opinion. Maybe so, but….? Whatever, Hitler, Goering and Goebbels did a smackup job with it, knowing that Anti-Semitism propaganda worked in the free world too.

Good point, Art. Yep, horses led to water drink of their own accord, and a lotta those horses led by H, G and G drank. My dad used the word corker, as did most Aussies of his generation. Funny, but I don't remember my parents ever commenting on the war. Mind you, I don't remember them commenting on much at all.

Congrats to the Boston police, by the way. Sterling job. One regular (a supporter of the GOP and the NRA) on Justin's blog at the height of the drama in Boston asked Now tell me true, Justin...If you were locked in your house in Watertown, wouldn't you like to have a firearm within reach?. Justin didn't answer, so I did. But I turned the question around to how would you feel about your neighbors having firearms within reach. Hehe. In my case here in Oz the answer would be NO. Too many dummies around here. I also pointed out that firearms and law enforcement was the job of the cops, not civilians, and that the Boston cops were doing a fine job. Justin later endorsed my comments.

Basically, what the NRA and its supporters are saying is if letting the loonies have access to guns means I get to keep mine, then it's okay with me. Go figure.

Do you have probs with tar marks and bugs on your car? A GM suggests 50/50 kerosene and liquid detergent. Sponge on, wipe off. Another suggests a handful of grass, scrunched up. Oregon Richie has been having fun tarting up his Land Rover with decals and bits and pieces, so I just used a bit of touch up paint to get rid of a rusty patch on my windscreen wiper (visible from the cab and annoying me), and a bit of kero to remove gum residue from the old rego sticker on the inside of the windshield. Rego stickers are redunant now. Cops and cameras can get all the info they need from the license plate by computer.

From the Beeb: A top US interrogation group is waiting to question the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was arrested late on Friday when he was found seriously injured in a suburban backyard after a huge manhunt. He is under armed guard in hospital. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said the suspect was stable, but not yet able to communicate.

Hundreds of extra police officers will be on duty at the London Marathon later in a bid to reassure runners and spectators after the Boston bombings. Yep, it's the copycats you gotta watch now. Not forgetting the practical jokers.

This week, economists have been astonished to find that a famous academic paper often used to make the case for austerity cuts contains major errors. Another surprise is that the mistakes, by two eminent Harvard professors, were spotted by a student doing his homework.

Jeez, almost 5 already! I've been buggerizing around on the GN forum stirring up the oldies. One bloke wanted to know who was responsible for inflicting AIDS on the human race, so I told him it was heterosexuals... cos without heterosexuals there'd be no gays and no AIDS hehe. I also apologized for being naughty. But then another GN told me I'd certainly go to hell for that one, unless I eat 27 hotdogs for penance.

Meanwhile, if you're interested in the timeline of AIDS, you can find it here.

So there I was bragging yesterday about Waffle being full of variety and interest, and here I am today playing truant. Still nothing from Ant the Antenna bloke. Maybe he doesn't do stuff on weekends. Dozen madder. 

Apologies for the shortie today, ladies and genitals. I'll try to make up for it tomorrow. :) Incidentally, the spring lamb and garden veg soup was pretty good. Gary

April 20, 2013. Another Satdee, another weekend! The winds of time stretch sails taut.

I was pleasantly surprised by the response to my GN thread about same sex marriage in New Zealand and the humorous speech by the Kiwi pollie. I'd expected it to draw the phobes outta the woodwork but the vast majority of comments were very much in favor of NZ's action. Only one made a reference to NZ sheep being the major beneficiaries but he was soon chastized by one of the female GNs hehe. One other phobe posted a thread above mine with a link to an American country song entitled Two Roosters Don't Make a Chicken. My comment was: Goodness me, you learn something new every day. Hehe. Bloody nitwit. Those guys just don't get it. Oh, and another GN sent me a private message thanking me for the post, and saying how much she enjoyed it (as well as the clip of the NZ parliament singing the Maori love song). All good stuff.

NC Art wrote: Kiwi Wisdom. Amazing what man can accomplish just by avoiding cultural NONO words and terms. And also amazing is how stupid public bodies can be. Up Over … as opposed to Down Under … found all manner of reasons to avoid anything that might reduce carnage by gunfire. Our Senate just laid it to rest for the next millennia, they hope.

     Pot, another acceptable name for marijuana, weed, mary jane, a joint, reefer, ad infinitum. Why not make it legal, collect tax on every ounce and spend drug enforcement funds on real killers? Because that might make sense!

Way up yonder in the frozen north
In the land of the Esquimaux
I got shipwrecked on the Mary Jane And I don’t care
If I never get home again.
Oh lordy, she’s my baby from old Honolu
And a grand ole pal of mine.

      --A ditty I learned at a church camp. The reverends didn’t know that Mary Jane was a term for that sweet marijuana weed!

Horses for courses. I tried it a couple of times and it sent me totally paranoid. Scared the hell outta me. Speaking of horses, our latest equine legend Black Caviar has been retired to stud after 25 wins from 25 starts, a record that will probably stand for ever. She was at such short odds at each of her starts she was unbackable, but that didn't deter the crowds of fans who turned up at the races just to see her win and cheer her on. She'll go down in the record books as probably the greatest champion in Australian racing history. Nellie is her real name, same as my mother's nickname.


A young Aussie lad moved to London and went to Harrods looking for a job. The manager asked 'Do you have any sales experience?'

The young man answered 'Yeah, I was a salesman back home in Dubbo.'

The manager liked the Aussie so he gave him the job. His first day was challenging and busy, but he got through it. After the store was locked up, the manager came down and asked, 'OK, so how many sales did you make today?'

The Aussie said 'One!'

The manager groaned and continued, 'Just one? Our sales people average 20 or 30 sales a day. How much was the sale for?'


The manager choked and exclaimed £124,237.64!! What did you sell him?'

'Well, first I sold him a small fish hook, then a medium fish hook and then I sold him a new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was going fishing and he said down at the coast, so I told him he would need a boat, so we went down to the boat department and I sold him that twin-engine Power Cat. Then he said he didn't think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to car sales and I sold him the 4x4.'

The manager, incredulous, said, 'You mean to tell me...a man came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and a 4x4?'

'No, no, no... he came in here to buy a box of tampons for his lady friend and I said.... Well, since your weekend's shot, you might as well go fishing.'
I know all of you are very good drivers, so here is a fun test to see how good your speed is! The automobile driving manual says the average driver's reaction time is 0.75 seconds or 1 car length for every 10 mph. Test your average reaction time. Be careful, this can be addictive! You will be surprised at how slow you really are.


Well, it's mid afternoon now and Anthony the Antenna bloke hasn't been back yet. He's either absconded with the loot or he's having trouble with the set top box and mini telly hehe. Stay tooned.

From the Beeb: The teenage suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings is in custody after being found hiding in a boat in a suburban homeowner's backyard. Police said they exchanged gunfire with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, after cornering him in Watertown, near Boston. He had escaped on foot early on Friday, apparently wounded, after a police shootout that claimed the life of his elder brother, an alleged accomplice. Pathetic creatures.

Rolf Harris has been questioned by police over historical allegations of sexual offences. The 83-year-old entertainer and artist was interviewed under caution after attending police premises in south London by appointment in November. On 28 March, Mr Harris, from Berkshire, was arrested and bailed until May. "Tie me kangaroo down, sport." Very sad indeed.

On 19 April 1943, a train carrying 1,631 Jews set off from a Nazi detention camp in Belgium for the gas chambers of Auschwitz. But resistance fighters stopped the train. One boy who jumped to freedom that night retains vivid memories, 70 years later. Lest we forget.

It's difficult to comprehend that something as barbaric as Nazism existed only 60 or 70 years ago, with its agenda of Jewish extermination and European domination. Ghandi once said humanity is an ocean. If a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. Perhaps, but in the case of the Nazis, it was more than a few drops even though it may have started out that way. It flourished like a plague. And if it weren't for the stoicism of the Brits and their leader Winston Churchill during the Battle of Britain, imagine what the world might be like today. The Power of One when it applies to an individual like Adolf Hitler is frightening, and should never never be underestimated again.

My thread on the GN forum about same sex marriage in NZ has gone into its second page of comments, all in favor and all from straights (from what I gather). And it occurred to me that this is not a gay issue, it's a people's issue... it's an issue about equality, not sexuality per se. Meanwhile, the thread started by the bloke who posted Two Roosters Don't Make a Chicken has only one positive comment and is just sitting there like a shag on a rock. How interesting. Also interesting is the NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell's comment on telly last night that he's a supporter of same sex marriage in Oz having been persuaded by arguments in favor. Something akin to Obama's "evolving". Remember my little vid last year about the subject? I've posted it on the GN forum.

And there I was yesterday thinking the thread might be axed by the GN webmaster because it's somewhat controversial. Ho ho ho.

Raining and a tad cool this evening... good night for soup. Hehe. Oh well... It's spring lamb and garden vegetable soup, as opposed to just your basic lamb and vegetable. That's advertising for ya. There's gotta be a spring in lamb and a garden in vegetable before it's any good. And that's about it, ladies and genitals. No doubt about these Waffles... no shortage of variety. This one's covered everything from Mary Jane to racehorses, terrorists to same sex marriage, and a few other topics thrown in for good measure. Yesterday we even had Chinese roundabouts. And now it's seeyaz later time. Gary


I Googled the translation, which in essence means that it took the Chinese to think of creating a roundabout for pedestrians!

TX Greg wrote: The (Texas) explosion was actually in the small town of West, not Waco and about 80 miles south of me. It destroyed and leveled homes within a five block area. A vid of the blast caught on tape

I’ve been there many times to stop in at the famous Czech Bakery. They make the best Kolaches in Texas :) 

Sorry to hear that the replacement Bush Box isn’t working. Why don’t you try and just hook up the USB cable to the comp and see if it will do a software update. Perhaps maybe they had a batch with corrupted software. Worth a try just to see.

That would require a cable with a USB plug at each end. I'll get one. Greg also remarked on my mention of camping in the bush rather than a five star resort: "A couple of pot plants is not the same as being surrounded by bush!" HAHAHA, I think you meant to say "potted plants".

I've always called them pot plants, but I get your drift, Greg. There is a difference. :)

FL Josh suggested I check the instructions to see what channel the box is set to transmit to. TX Greg suggested the same thing last time. But the instructions don't say, and I tried all channels anyway, plus TV and AV settings. The procedure is very simple: connect all leads, connect antenna, connect power. When the box is first switched on, set-up instructions appear on screen. Well, they don't.

Oops! The manual says "To access the USB menu, press the Menu Button..." Roite... back to square 1. I can't even get that far cos the Menu Button doesn't work. Nothing works. I think I'll take it to the computer bloke who sold me the joiner for the audio plugs. No I won't! Guess who's right across the road from this house? Ant's Antennas! I've seen his 4WD and trailer outside his house lots of times. "For reception in a flash", it says. 

Back from meeting Anthony. He was poking around in his trailer when I introduced myself. "Yep, I know the face," he said. Then I explained the prob and gave him the box, mini TV and all the connections. He's gonna bring it back over here this afternoon - hopefully working. How's that for cool? I hope he doesn't charge too much.

FL Josh mentioned the channel scanning process: When you go off on your Odyssey, every time the box loses power, it will have to rescan, but then when your location changes, it will have to rescan also.  It is a royal pain.  I think it is a system designed by terrorists to bring the industrialized world to its knees. Shouldn't be a major prob, Josh. It's only good for free-to-air channels of which there are about 15. I don't subscribe to pay TV or whatever, and I only watch news and current affairs plus a few docos. It took only minutes for my regular digital TV to set up.

Back from shopping. There was a bearded bloke smiling and nodding at me as I approached him at the mall. When I got close he apologized and said, "sorry, I thought you were someone else." I told him he was right... I am someone else.

From the Beeb: The FBI has released photos of two suspects it wants to identify as part of the investigation into Monday's Boston Marathon bombings. CCTV captured the two men, one wearing a dark-coloured baseball cap and the other a white cap, near the scene. Like I said yesterday, it's only a matter of time.

Emergency services are searching for survivors after a blast at a fertiliser plant in the US state of Texas killed between five and 15 people. More than 160 people were injured and dozens of buildings destroyed in the town of West, near Waco

A gunman has shot dead a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge near Boston, officials say. Cambridge police say the officer was responding to a report of a disturbance in the area when he was shot and suffered "multiple wounds". He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. Jeez, poor ol' Boston.

The search for a far-off twin of Earth has turned up two of the most intriguing candidates yet. Scientists say these new worlds are the right size and distance from their parent star, so that you might expect to find liquid water on their surface. That's a start. Now all they need is malt, hops, sugar, yeast and a few other things.

Updating the Airstream trailer, the glinting American icon whose riveted aluminium skin has cheated the winds of change for eight decades, is tantamount to tweaking the evolutionary formula that defines, for instance, the Porsche 911. “It’s a piece of classic American industrial art,” said Bob Wheeler, the marque’s president and CEO. “Everyone recognises an Airstream.”

Hmmm. Well, while the Airstream is a land yacht, PJ is more of a land shed. Hehe. Nothing flash about PJ at all, but that's her charm. In any case, that's my story  and I'm sticking to it. I nearly bought a large non-stick frypan on spesh today but I already have a small non-stick for pancakes, fried eggs, etc, plus medium and large baked enamel pans I bought at a liquidation warehouse 30 years ago. I've used them daily for all those years and they're still fine. There's a large casserole pot as well. Actually, I've got heaps of stuff I'll rarely use, if ever.

Here's a twist. When the Kiwis passed a bill the other day allowing same sex couples to marry, they didn't legalize gay marriage per se. What they did was redefine marriage as an institution that cannot disciminate on the basis of sex, religion, race, culture, etc. Clever what? And now here's the best part, a speech given by one of the MPs in parliament. A funny man indeed. Wish we had him in Aussie politics.

Ant hasn't turned up yet so maybe he's having probs with the set top box hehe. Maybe I ain't so dumb after all. It also occurred to me that if I'm really really nice, he might do the neighborly thing some time when he's free to help me load the camper. Stay tooned.

And that's about it, I think. Not much else going on today. Actually, there undoubtedly is but I'm unaware of it. I posted the Kiwi MP's speech link on the GN forum to stir up the oldies a bit, hehe. I suspect the phobes will carry on with their usual claptrap. The GN site moderator forbids threads about politics and religion but this one might sneak through. The Oz PM and leader of the opposition last night stated that the situation regarding same sex marriage hadn't change in Oz - that the official stance remains the same - a big fat no. But I think they're embarrassed by the Kiwis stealing the march. In fact, I think the Kiwis have made our pollies look very foolish by stubbornly refusing to accept public opinion. Meanwhile, the MP's speech has apparently gone viral on Youtube. And the inevitable, dear Breth, becomes a little more inevitable.

Telly time and soup de boring again. Even toast and Vegemite would be preferable. Oh well... Gary

April 18, 2013. After 3pm already. Spent this morning editing the footage of Stan the Lawn Man to get that outta the way. It needs a bit of tightening but has scrubbed up okay. Stan will be furious when he sees it hehe... I've been a bit naughty with some of the edits. Then I showered and buggarized around for a bit. My new replacement set top box arrived but I haven't tested it yet.

FL Josh wrote: This may seem like stupid question but on the new box for your TV, which I gather is a converter that will convert digital signals to analog so you can continue using your analog TV, did you connect an antenna to the box so it would have some sort of signal to send to the TV.  There are special antennas for digital, but any sort of antenna should give you something.

Yep, did that. It's an indoor antenna but one of those powered ones that pulls in a pretty strong signal. I tested it with my regular TV one time and it worked fine... so that's the one I'll use in the camper. I also tested the last box with the outdoor antenna as well. Still no workies. So it'll be interesting to see how I go with the replacement.

As to the bit about people who never say they are sorry and how this gives them a feeling of power.  This is also a trait of psychopaths.  A person who says he is sorry is putting the feelings of others above his own.  This is empathy.  Psychopaths lack the ability to feel empathy, which makes them selfish and self centered.  They may be happier because they do not make sacrifices for others unless it ultimately has something in it for them.  If they have a nurturing upbringing, they won't do things like become serial killers, and many of our highly successful people in business, like Donald Trump, have the brain makeup of a psychopath and their success in business is because they have no qualms about stepping on others to get ahead.

Yeah... like my ex biz partner. Good point, Josh.

NC Art commented on the Beeb article about the film biz in Oz: Your notes on the film business Down Under read a bit like North Carolina's recent news. Where I and my son live there is a large studio with nearly everything needed for any kind of movie production. One sound stage includes a deep tank for any script calling for underwater scenes. A lot of junk TV stuff is done here, but it’s the big feature films that everyone wants. And, as in Oz, there’s big fights over monetary incentives.

   The people who work the film trade know how much a big production adds to local/state economy. The folks who see only the incentive dollars think it is a waste of money. Always a political football, our conservative legislature is trying to kill off the incentives, which entail tax credits on some expenditures. They forget that film crews live here and spend their income here on all the usual things such as homes, vehicles, food clothing and appliances. My son Keith recently finished up a blockbuster movie and earned the bulk of a year’s income. So he is sweating out questions about what the politicians will do.

The main prob in Oz at the mo is the high Australian dollar and the cost of Australian labor. It's affecting our manufacturing industries, inbound tourism, all exports, etc, but, on the other hand, is great for consumers. Computers, TVs, smartphones, clothing, cars from Asia, etc are all pretty cheap. Some Aussie manufacturers are looking to relocate overseas and/or to use cheaper overseas labor. Naturally, the local unions are kicking up a stink but you can't have your cake and eat it too. Many economists believe the Aussie dollar is way over valued and really belongs somewhere around the US0.75 cents mark. Currently it's hovering around US$1.04/1.05.

Incidentally, I phoned Chris again yesterday, twice, and I keep getting his answering maching. Maybe he's away somewhere. He's a self employed handyman so he can pretty much take time off whenever he pleases. Meanwhile, I have no one to help me with loading the camper. I'm not in a desperate hurry but it would be nice to get it over with. I'll try Chris again on the weekend. And puh-leeeease don't suggest Lindsay.

From the Beeb: Scores of people are reported injured and others are trapped in burning buildings after a huge explosion at a fertiliser plant near Waco in the US state of Texas. Firefighters, ambulances and six helicopters have been mobilised to deal with the situation. I heard the report on the radio in the bathroom. Terrible business.

Officials investigating the Boston Marathon bombings say they have found images of a potential suspect from surveillance camera footage. Boston City Council President Stephen Murphy, who was briefed by police, said a man was seen dropping off a bag at the scene. It's only a matter of time. Meanwhile, the tragedy has devastated a number of Aussies too, who were at the marathon as spectators or competitors. 

North Korea says it is ready to talk if UN sanctions against it are withdrawn and if the US and South Korea put an end to joint military drills. Ah, now it's all beginning to make sense, yes?

President Barack Obama has lashed out at senators who blocked a bipartisan plan to support expanded background checks on firearms. "This was a pretty shameful day for Washington," Mr Obama said at the White House. "But this effort is not over."

A US Navy ship has arrived in Singapore as part of US plans to increase its military presence in the region. The USS Freedom will be stationed in South East Asia for 10 months. It joins the US 7th Fleet, which is responsible for more than 48 million sq miles (124 million sq km) in the Pacific. By 2020, 60% of the US Navy's assets will be deployed to the Asia-Pacific as its forces leave Iraq and Afghanistan. China views the move with concern. Hehe.

A new type of battery has been developed that, its creators say, could revolutionise the way we power consumer electronics and vehicles. The University of Illinois team says its use of 3D-electrodes allows it to build "microbatteries" that are many times smaller than commercially available options, or the same size and many times more powerful. It adds they can be recharged 1,000 times faster than competing tech. That really excites me... power on the move.

New Zealand's parliament has legalised same-sex marriage, the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to do so. Lawmakers approved the bill, amending the 1955 marriage act, despite opposition from Christian lobby groups. The bill was passed with a wide majority, with 77 votes in favour and 44 against. The Kiwis have beaten us to the punch. And I love the way Parliament burst into a Maori song when the bill was passed.

1913: When Hitler, Trotsky, Tito, Freud and Stalin all lived in the same place. A century ago, one section of Vienna played host to Adolf Hitler, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Tito, Sigmund Freud and Joseph Stalin

Well, I just tried the set top box again and zip. I have no idea what the prob might be. And it can't be a second dud, surely. All the leads are plugged in properly. I even plugged the box into the external antenna but it makes no difference. I switched between TV and AV on the set - nothing but squiggly lines. I switched the box off and on again several times. Nuttin. Pressed 'menu', nuttin. Tried a bunch of channels on the TV. Nuttin. It's got me beat. I'll try it again with the main TV later but I'm loathe to do that cos it'll go through the set up with the wrong TV. Or won't that matter? No... I suppose it won't. It's the box that sets up for reception in this area, not the TV. Which means, of course, resetting the box from scratch on the Odyssey as I move from one locality to another.

Just tried it with the main TV and external antenna. "NO SIGNAL". So I must be doing something wrong but I have no idea what. Only one course of action, take it to a techie. Actually, there is another option - buy another box. A techie will probably cost more than another box - unless he falls for my sad and hopeless look.

Time for a bit of telly and soup de jour, Ls and Gs. The box will have to wait for another day... maybe tomorrow. Best thoughts and wishes for the people in Waco, Texas. Gary

April 17, 2013. One more thing about the Americas Cup of 1983. The NYYC was so confident of never losing the cup, they had bolted it to its stand. Hehe. So then came the horrendously embarrassing task of unbolting it after more than a century. That sure rubbed salt into an already sore wound by making the prize even more deliciously rewarding for the Aussies.

I read a comment on the GN forum regarding the Boston bombing that said, "America is a violent society". At first I rejected it but then thought more about it. When such things happen in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the like, we tend to explain it as "that's the way they are over there". So I started to think about the movies I grew up with; violent American movies of the Wild West and battles between Cowboys and Indians. Then cops and robbers. Then TV series like Elliott Ness, then detective shows with magnums sounding like canons. Special effects in movies became more sophisticated and showed lots of blood and gore - the more the merrier. And now we have violent video games. Sadly, it seems the GN has a point. 

NC Art wrote regarding the golf: Josh is right about Augusta National Golf Club. That course is a jewel. In 1947 I watched part of Masters Tournament ‘cause my brother-in-law was a member. I followed Sam Snead and Benny Hogan most of the time. They were real hot in those by-gone days, especially amazing was Hogan because he was back on the circuit after almost dying in a hellish car crash that broke most of his bones.

   Greg Norman was always a pleasure to watch and root for. A perfect gentleman, great golfer, and I felt really sad to see him get so close so often and then see it all crumble. Such is golf, a maddening game for anyone. I played a few years, but quit in disgust when I realized my body wasn’t put together in a golfing sort of way.

Nicely put, Art. I asked Greg for his autograph once. It wasn't for me, but a cleaning lady at the apartments where we stayed in Port Lincoln SA back in '89. Here's a couple of shots of him I took during the golf segment on the Mornington Peninsular, Victoria.

Above is a shot in the series I hadn't scanned until now. The camera was an Olympus OM1 35mm SLR with a Vivitar zoom. The TV shoot was a disaster. The sound bloke phoned me at home after we'd arrived back in Sydney to say he had trouble on the golf course with his equipment. "You can't sue me," he said. "I'm already bankrupt." To make matters worse, Norman killed the great white shark he was supposed to catch and release on the fishing leg of the shoot at Port Lincoln. It made the headlines because Jacques Costeau was offshore in his boat at the time and heard about it. The shoot was supposed to be the pilot of a 13-part series about the world's top golfers in a golf and game-fishing competition. I remember my friend Steve Starling saying to me after the shark fiasco, "There goes your house, Gary." Not the best of memories for me, dear Breth.

Speaking of memories and artefacts, Art also writes: While poking about in Smithsonian Online I dug up some interesting stories. From London:

   In the financial district , workers at a site for a Bloomberg News headquarters building found a trove of Roman artifacts from the founding of London in 10 A.D. through 350 years of continual building until they left England. Layer on layer as the city built in layers atop the last ones.

   And, in Thessaloniki, Greece, digging a new subway tunnel found layers of old Roman roads, one long stretch paved with marble slabs, some etched with children’s games. Mine own eyes have marveled at the ancient Roman baths in the city of, well, Bath. The old guys built some magnificent stuff with hot water, steam rooms, and places for women to cheat on their hubbies.

   Also, finding stuff under the streets seems to be a thriving business. In 1993 I was in Mexico City and viewed about two city blocks being excavated in a hunt for ancient Aztec objects. Same story as London: Foundation for a new building was abruptly halted when a few relics turned up. I guess a big hole in the city center is still growing bigger.

   How deep does Aussie aboriginal history go? Hell, maybe Chinese Romans got there too.

Aboriginal history in Oz goes back a few years, like about 40 or 50 thousand give or take. But artefacts are limited to cave paintings and fossils, such as megafauna - giant wombats and roos as big as double decker buses - back when Oz was part of the supercontinent Gondwana, and the Aborigines arrived here (Oceania) on foot from the north (probably India). 

From the Beeb: Images from the FBI probe into the deadly attack on the Boston Marathon have thrown light on the bombs used. Images from a joint Homeland Security and FBI bulletin show the remains of a dark coloured backpack and remnants of what appears to be a pressure cooker. Three people died, including an eight-year-old boy, and more than 170 were injured when two bombs exploded near the finish line of Tuesday's race.

Iran is hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, the most powerful for more than 50 years, with tremors felt across Pakistan, India and the Middle East. Allah is not amused.

Australia is proud of its movie-making traditions and was once the photogenic darling of the international film industry. But spending by overseas producers has fallen sharply in recent years, as they've gone elsewhere looking for cheaper options, or to places offering better incentives.

A film tells the story of Liberace's relationship with his lover, but the flamboyant pianist stayed in the closet all his life. How did he maintain this fiction, and what does it say about America's rapidly changing attitude to gay rights? A most interesting article.

You know those garden LED solar lights you stick in the ground for lighting pathways, garden borders, etc, at night? Whale, I got me 6 from a Hong Kong bloke on eBay. Stainless steel rod, solar gizmo, LED light in clear plastic cover, rechargeable AA battery, all for $2.05. I bought 6. How's that for cheap? The solar gizmo charges the battery during the day, then the thing automatically switches on at dusk. They reckon the battery lasts for about 2 years and, after a day in full sunlight, the night light lasts about 10 hours.

Oh yes, I was telling Oregon Richie this morning about a huge motorhome I saw yesterday on a Fiat chassis - a 6-wheeler. Actually, come to think of it, the four at the back might have been duals, in which case it would have been a 10-wheeler. Anyway, that bloke and I have tickets to the same show, and we both have front-row seats hehe. I got mine cheap. I don't know about all that luxury. I mean, it's a bit like saying you're going camping and staying in a 5-star resort hotel. That's not camping! A couple of pot plants is not the same as being surrounded by bush!

Sure as eggs, I'm gonna meet all kinds of peeps on the Odyssey; everybody from retired CEOs to grease monkeys. It's gonna be a real education, I'm sure. Sitting around a campfire is a great leveler, no matter what your background or rig. No leather chesterfields and billiard tables out there, mate. And the flies and mozzies don't discriminate. I'm gonna have to pay attention cos I believe the stories I'll hear on the road are just as important as the places I visit, and need to be an intergral part of the journal. And piccies, of course. Lots of piccies.

Most of the blogs I've seen provide scant detail of the trip. Went here, went there, etc, plus a few "snapshots". Most bloggers give the impression that keeping their blog up to date is a chore. You know, like something they'd scribble on the back of a postcard. For me, the journal is and will remain a vital component of the Odyssey. But then I'm an incurable old song and dance man, like Liberace with a different kinda keyboard. And a cheaper wardrobe.

Got me a small dose of inner shedness today. Lots more light in the camper now that the jungle has disappeared. Almost 20 years ago when I was living in Canberra, I woke up one one morning in the Kombi and thought, "Here I am at 50 and this is all I have to show for it." I don't feel that way about PJ. For starters, it's much better equipped, secondly my future has a plan with a purpose, and thirdly I have a regular and reliable income.

And that's Waffle for now, Ls and Gs. Cheerio ol' beans. Gary

April 16, 2013. The second half of the 1983 Americas Cup doco was on telly last night. It certainly wasn't all beer and skittles for the Aussies, who went down in the first two races to Liberty. Australia II was designed for speed, and was quite fragile in some respects. The Aussies were having all kinds of trouble with gear breakages. But they got their act together and won the third race. They also won the fourth but were disqualified for crossing the start too soon by about two feet. Then Liberty came back and won the fifth. With two races remaining, Liberty only had to win one more race to clinch the series. But it was Australia II that won the sixth. Liberty 3, Australia II 2. One more race would decide the outcome. Australia II got off to a bad start in the seventh and trailed the race by about a minute at the final turn. There was no wind, and Australia II had been designed to be quicker in a light breeze. Our hopes were dashed. It was all over Red Rover. Australia would return home empty handed. Alan Bond, the syndicate financier, went below decks on his observation boat and joined a desponent Ben Lexcen, designer of the winged keel. Bond told Lexcen they had done all they could, and that now they needed a little help from "elsewhere", so he prayed.

Meanwhile, on board the almost becalmed Australia II, one of the crew noted that there was a bit of a breeze further out on the final race leg. So in desperation, they decided to head for it. Liberty maintained its course. With the race virtually over, Australia II caught the breeze and her yellow and green spinnaker emblazoned with the Boxing Kangaroo filled to capacity, as did the hearts of disbelieving onlookers, taking her past Liberty and on to victory. What a nail-biter that was! The Aussies erupted, and not only at Newport, but all over Australia. There was one story of a couple of drovers on a huge outback property who didn't know the pointy end from the blunt end of a yacht. But they knew about the Americas Cup, and took two days to ride back to the homestead so they could watch the final race on telly. PM Hawke said "any boss who docks the pay of a worker who takes the day off is a bum!" Today, 30 years later, ask any Aussie over 50 where he was the day Australia won the Americas Cup and he'll tell you exactly where and what he was doing.

That was the day Australian sailing was put on the map. And not only sailing, but sport generally. It opened doors and made a huge difference to Australian business interests as well.

FL Josh wrote: Congratulations on Adam Scott's winning the 2013 Masters Golf Tournament.  I like watching golf, but I love watching the Masters because the course is the most beautiful piece of real estate I have ever seen.  If the Garden of Eden of Bible fame existed, this is what it would look like. It was the most exciting golf match I think I have ever seen.  There was so much to cheer for with each of the players.  Cabrera was very old to be winning the Masters, and is a grandfather, and had a son caddying for him.  Scott is loved by all.  He is just an all around great guy and was in position to win a big tournament in the UK some months back but missed out on it.  So the crowds were going wild for both.  The Aussies over the years have played such great golf here, with greats like Greg Norman, and they have just never been able to capture this tournament, so it was just so great to have it finally happen.

Thanks, Josh. Josh also wrote a running commentary so that I could get the feel of the game as he watched and enjoyed it. He sent this link for those who missed the broadcast. CNN explains the masters. Sorry to be so long winded with all this but it is so hard to put into words the excitement of such exceptional golf being played by such likeable players, on such a beautiful course in such an exclusive tournament.  As it says in the CNN video, you can't get tickets to the Masters.  They pass on from year to year and are all taken up so unless you have friends in high places, you watch at home.  Our local cable service broadcast it in 3D. I'm also attaching some photos of the Augusta National Golf Club.

And here's the Beeb's Nick Bryant in Oz to give an Aussie perspective to the win.

Josh also wrote about the Beeb story yesterday regarding bio fuel: In your Beeb, you linked to a bit about the mandated use of biofuels in the UK, and how it all isn't as rosy as some would think.  In the UK, they are mandating the inclusion of a minimum of 5% ethanol in their transportation fuels.

I am proud to point out we here in the States are waaaay ahead, and virtually all the gas sold here has at least 10% ethanol.  In my car, a 2000 Chrysler with 47,000 miles on it, and in excellent condition, I get 19.5 mpg on gas with 10% ethanol (gasohol), which means on 10 gallons of gasohol, I can go 195 miles.  However, on pure gas with no ethanol in it, I get 22 mpg, so if they would blend the ethanol at the pump, and let me buy 10 gallons of gasohol (9 gallons of pure gas and 1 gallon of ethanol) and pump just the 9 gallons of gas into my tank, then pump the gallon of ethanol onto the ground, I could go 198 miles.

So, my win win solution would be to deliver the gas and the gasohol to the gas stations separately and let us blend it at the pump, choosing to not bother pumping the ethanol if we choose, maybe with some clever slogan like "Save the Corn," and with no one bothering to pump the ethanol, they would be able to discontinue even shipping it and the end result is all the corn being used to make the ethanol could be used as food and we would just pay for it anyway at the pump.

I think the real reason America has not been back to the moon in decades is because our rockets can't reach the moon because of the ethanol in the rocket fuel!!!

Here in Oz, we have a choice at the bowser: standard or 10% ethanol. I understand standard will be phased out eventually and 10% ethanol will be mandatory (other than premium UL). For now, I use standard.

Speaking of energy, my power bill just arrived. Doesn't seem long ago I paid the last one and said, "Well, I won't have to worry about that again for 3 months. Yeah. How time flies, and now I gotta part with another $500+ by March 1.

Back from a leetle beet of shopping for a few groceries. Then I remembered needing black touch-up paint for the windscreen wiper arms so I popped into Super Cheap. Naturally, I happened to spy a few other things I need so now I have a general purpose saw and an adjustable wrench. Some asshole pinched my last wrench. I also noticed on an eBay email that AGM Batteries are getting cheaper. Saw a 105ah for $250 delivered. That's about $50 cheaper than the 100ah on my watch list, but the cheaper one is 26kg and not gel. The one on my watch list is 32kg and gel. I read somewhere that the heavier the battery the better the quality.

Another little task I've attended to is stopping paper bills arriving from 2 companies I deal with. All correspondence will now be via email.

From the Beeb: An investigation is under way after two explosions near the finishing line of the Boston Marathon left three people dead and more than 100 injured. The FBI has taken over co-ordination of what it described as a "potential terrorist inquiry". Boston police say officers are working around the clock and all leave has been cancelled. At least 17 people are critically wounded, officials say, and the injuries include several amputations. Obama has vowed to bring those responsible to justice. Reactive rather than proactive. But what can you do?

Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa should significantly outpace the global average over the next three years, according to the World Bank. Higher commodities, increasing investment and a general pick-up in the world economy should all boost the continent's growth to more than 5%. And why not? Every dog has its day, yeah?

The Pope has approved a report criticising the leadership of the largest group of American nuns. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is accused by the Vatican of "radical feminism" and of failing to obey church teaching on such matters as the possible ordination of women as priests. Never argue with a woman, Francis.

A man walked out to the street and caught a taxi just going by. He got into the taxi, and the cabbie said, "Perfect timing. You're just like Brian"
Passenger: "Who?"
Cabbie: "Brian . He's a guy who did everything right all the time. Like my coming along when you needed a cab, things happen like that to Brian, every single time."
Passenger: "There are always a few clouds over everybody."
Cabbie: "Not Brian . He was a terrific athlete. He could have won the Grand Slam at tennis. He could golf with the pros. He sang like an opera baritone and danced like a Broadway star and you should have heard him play the piano. He was an amazing guy."
Passenger: "Sounds like he was something really special."
Cabbie: "There's more. He had a memory like a computer. He remembered everybody's birthday. He knew all about wine, which foods to order and which fork to eat them with. He could fix anything. Not like me. I change a fuse, and the whole street blacks out. But Brian, he could do everything right."
Passenger: "Wow. Some guy then."
Cabbie: "He always knew the quickest way to go in traffic and avoid traffic jams. Not like me, I always seem to get stuck in them. But Brian, he never made a mistake, and he really knew how to treat a woman and make her feel good. He would never answer her back even if she was in the wrong; and his clothing was always immaculate, shoes highly polished too. He was the perfect man! He never made a mistake. No one could ever measure up to Brian ..."
Passenger: "An amazing fellow. How did you meet him?"
Cabbie: "Well, I never actually met Brian. He died. I'm married to his bloody widow!" 

Did you hear about the 60 y/o Frenchman who died making love to his 20 y/o wife? He died with a smile on his face. And the Scot who won the lottery and spent it all on whiskey? He died with a smile on his face. And the young Irishman who was struck by lightning? He died with a smile on his face too cos he thought he was having his picture taken.

Well, ladies and genitals, time to do the ol' seeyaz later trick again. Not too thrilled about the power bill but I knew it was coming. So that'll slow down the Odyssey timetable a bit. Grrrrr. Gary

April 15, 2013. FL Josh wrote: You said it would be nice to know whether the airliner that crashed was taking off or landing.  The story says "The Boeing 737 was on a domestic flight from Bandung in West Java. It missed the runway and landed in the ocean nearby."  and "Dewi, a passenger who sustained head wounds in the crash, told AP news agency he had watched the plane descending towards the sea."  These three statements tell you it was arriving, not departing.

And TX Greg wrote: The plane was landing. "after missing Denpasar airport runway" I take it you didn't get the meaning of "missing" which meant the pilot was trying to land and missed (overshot) the runway. That was a almost new plane (2012) with all the latest electronic gizmos. Kind of sad like your new Bush box that didn't work.

So now you know why I failed those intelligence questionaires. But I can imagine the pilot as well as the passengers thinking, "My goodness, these new Boeings are wonderful. There's no sensation of landing at all!" I saw it on the telly news last night and realized that the plane not only overshot the runway but wasn't even on it to start with! Meanwhile, Greg included this link to a vid of a landing he calls "riding a bull".

Stan started early this morning with the chainsaw. Good thing I shot the footage of the original condition of the overgrowth yesterday. I've also got a fair bit of today's effort, with Stan doing his Tarzan routine. At about 9am the bird next door complained that he'd cut her wysteria down to a small trunk hehe. Bugger her. The damn thing takes over my joint, and so does a second one further down that's climbing all over the garage. Anyway, Stan's doing a fine job, cutting the whole mess right back which will make putting PJ together a whole lot easier, as well as future parking.

Had another quickie irritation - Freudian slip - irrigation at the dentist again this morning. Steady as she goes, nothing's changed. In June when I see the doc in Sydney, it'll be yea or nay to an operation on the gum. Ho hum, diddly dum.

Lindsay just asked who's paying for Stan's work. "He's doing it all for free," I said. "Free? He's doing it for free?" Yeah, right. Then he wanted to know if the estate agent is paying for it. Why the hell should the estate agent pay for it? It's our responsibility to care for lawns and gardens, not theirs." So he's gone off in a huff now. Welfare mentality. Been on welfare most of his life. Ditto his missus. Actually, 10 minutes later and he's had a chance to think about what a dickhead he was, and has settled down hehe.

Wow! $230 for the job. That's nearly double what I expected. But he didn't just do a quick fix. He got stuck into those bushes and lemon trees until they practically begged for mercy. You'll see how dramatic the difference is when I put the vid together. Oh well... can't argue about getting my money's worth. In fact, he let me off $15 cos $215 was all I had in my wallet, and at least Lindsay is prepared to pay half. BTW, Stan's 69. Not too many blokes his age could handle a job like that single-handedly in half a day. But just before he left, he said he was buggered, and taking the rest of the day off.

From the Beeb: Adam Scott clinched his maiden major title and became the first Australian winner of the Masters with victory against former champion Angel Cabrera in a sudden death play-off at Augusta. Amazing stuff. There were four Aussies in the lead

I watched a doco last night about Australia II winning the Americas Cup back in '83. I was in Brisbane at the time and remember the car horns honking at past midnight our time. I think just about every Aussie was glued to the TV or radio. But it was a war. Those guys at the New York Yacht Club tried every trick in the book to have the Aussies disqualified. They even thought about canceling the race but decided public opinion would go against them. In fact, the NYYC hard-nosed hierarchy has few fans amongst the general American population many of whom were rooting for the Aussies to win. The psychological war was just as intense as the competition itself, with the NYYC determined to get a good look at the mysterious winged keel. But the Aussies kept it secret. And just to rub it in a bit further, the Aussies placed a couple of big, powerful loudspeakers on board Australia II during a cruise around the harbor and, as they sailed past Liberty, cranked up The Land Down Under on the stereo hehe. Cheeky bois.

In order to qualify for the race against Liberty, Australia II had to beat 6 other contenders from around the world in separate match races. But that was pretty ho hum compared to beating Goliath. And what a day that was. The last time we did okay was back in '62 with Gretel when we won one of the races against the Americans. It was only one, but it was the beginning of the realization that, hey, we can actually beat these blokes.

The UK's "irrational" use of biofuels will cost motorists around £460 million over the next 12 months, a think tank says. A report by Chatham House says the growing reliance on sustainable liquid fuels will also increase food prices. The author says that biodiesel made from vegetable oil was worse for the climate than fossil fuels. Just when you thought bio was good news...

From the GN forum: Remember it takes a college degree to fly a plane but only a highschool diploma to fix one. Reassurance for those who fly routinely in their jobs. After every flight Qantas pilots fill out a form called a "gripe sheet,"which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight. Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humour.

Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas' pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an E) by maintenance engineers. By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never had a fatal accident.

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
E: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
E: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
E: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
E: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
E: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
E: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
E: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
E: That's what they're for.

P: IFF inoperative.
E: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
E: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
E: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny.
E: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
E: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
E: Cat installed.

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
E: Took hammer away from midget.

Speaking of planes and such:  There were three black ladies getting ready to take a plane trip for the first time. The first lady said, "I don know bout y'al but I'm gonna wear me sum hot pink panties beefo I gets on dat plane. "Why you gonna wear dem fo ?" the other two asked. The first replied, "Cause, if dat plane goes down and I'm out dare layin butt-up in a conefield, dey gonna find me first."

The second lady said, "Well, I'm a-gonna wear me some floe resant orange panties." Why you gonna wear dem?" the others asked. The second lady answered, "Cause if dis hare plane is goin' down and I be floatin butt-up in the oshun, dey can see me first."

The third old lady says, "Well, I'm not gonna wear any Panties....."What? No panties?" the others asked in disbelief. The third lady says "Dat's right girlfriends, you hears me right. I ain't wearin no panties, cause if dis plane goes down, honey, dey always look fo d-a black box first."

Yesum, it's that time again. I haven't phoned Chris about helping me load PJ yet in case he wanted to come today. But I will soon. But now it's time for a bit of telly, a soft cushion for the ol' bones and a spot of sustenance. More tomorrow. Gary

April 14, 2013. Another perfect autumn day. Blue sky, no wind, bright sunshine, bottles of pills, a Toshiba laptop, clocks, crap all over a crowded desk, spare batteries, a phone, a half-drunk coffee, business cards, flip calendar, a mug of pens and pencils, notepads, an MP3 player, USB sticks and a used facial tissue. I need to get outta here, right?

A GN posted a couple of pics on the forum recently he called 'The Office'. His rig was parked on the grassy banks of a river, surrounded by forest, with his camp chairs and table nearby, and a twin fold-up solar panel. Not a bad office, I reckon. Hehe. I've been sitting here at my desk in Taree for 12 years, every day (excluding my time in hospitals). That's way too long. Think of all the places I could have been and the adventures I could have had in those 12 years! Mind you, it hasn't been totally wasted. I've written a few books, set up a few web sites and accumulated a few goodies that will take me away from the current routine. But it's 12 years that could have been put to better use.

I tend to think in terms of decades rather than years, these days. Two decades growing up, one as a radio announcer, one as an advertising copywriter and producer, one running my own business and eventually going broke, and one picking up the pieces and living with L&S. That doesn't leave too many more to go!

Soooooo, the idea is to make the most of the next one, yes? And we all know what that will entail. My older bros (by 10 and 14 years) have their sons, daughters, grand and great grand kids to fuss over and give meaning to their lives. But I don't. By the time I get to that stage (touch wood), I'll be able to spend my time luxuriating in the memories of the Odyssey, publish a book or two and feel satisfied that my existence has had some merit, not only for my sake but also for the sake of others who might take an interest in the stories I have to tell. Can't ask for much more than that.

I still feel I haven't done full justice to Cody's story yet, and that it could do with a rewrite to make it better suited to mainstream reading. That's a project in the back of my mind that I'll attend to when I have the time to focus on it, probably after the Odyssey.

So what's my next movie gonna be about? I started it this morning. I figure when Stan gets here on Tuesday he'll be into cutting back the overgrowth along the drive before I can get my camera organized, so I shot some footage of the way it is now. On Tuesday I'll shoot Stan doing his butch thing with his chain saw. Then, when Chris turns up to help me load the camper (which could be any time after Stan), I'll take a few stills as I can because I'll be busy with the loading. After that, I'll shoot footage of the interior/exterior of PJ all hooked up, then join it all together as the completed vid of the grand event! It's been a long time coming.

NC Art sent this link and invites us to take a tour of our marvelous solar system.

From the Beeb: US Secretary of State John Kerry says China is "very serious" about a pledge to help resolve tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme. The US and China earlier said they were committed to the "denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula. And they all wore blue ties, white shirts and dark suits. Meanwhile, let's see Pyongyang start throwing insults and making threats at China. Yeah, right.

An airliner has ended up in the sea off the Indonesian island of Bali after missing Denpasar airport runway, but all those on board survived. Hospitals treated 22 people after the crash, which involved an Indonesian Lion Air plane carrying 101 passengers and seven crew. I read right through the story which doesn't say whether the plane was landing or taking off. I think it was taking off, but it would be nice to know.

US President Barack Obama made $608,611 (£395,947) in 2012, down more than 20% from the year before, according to his tax documents. The decline in his pay comes as sales of Mr Obama's books slow. His presidential salary is $400,000. I could live quite comfortably on that. By the way, PM Julia Gillard's salary is just under $500,000.

In the cheapest and dirtiest form of motorsport, worthless cars that have been condemned for scrap, are done up with care are then rammed into each other. The BBC's Mike Bushell takes to the wheel and tries banger racing, joining one of the best teams, the Dreamers, for a taste of the action.

Just added a folding rake to my list of stuff I need. GNs say it's very useful to clean up a camping site previously occupied by grubs. One GN has a pair of long tongs labelled NOT FOR FOOD that he uses to collect "suspicious bits of paper" behind trees. Ew! I suppose you get that kinda thing from time to time at free camp sites. Another GN said a pile of someone else's rubbish was left at the side of his wheelie bin which was out in the street waiting for collection next morning. Naturally, the loose stuff wasn't collected. So the GN checked and found a couple of envelopes with the address of the dumper. He put all the trash in a wheelbarrow, took it down the street to the relevant address and tipped the bloody lot all over the front lawn, then spread it all over. He also explained to the neighbors on either side what he was doing and why. Went back home and never heard a thing after that.

Last night on Gardening Australia there was a story about a recycling depot in Sydney that's the biggest in the Southern Hem. The waste is sorted by hand then machines take over. In two weeks, the organic stuff is turned into high quality compost ready for gardens. How sensible. Lots of gardeners have their own backyard compost bins where all the cardboard, paper, food scraps, etc, go to make great fertilizer. They have worm farms too. And of course they have prolific vege gardens, fruit trees, flower beds and shrubs. Gardening is taught in many schools these days, with hands-on workshops, and the kids just love it. They also love using their own fresh produce in cooking class. All good stuff I reckon.

One kid on telly last night mentioned corn. Ohhhhh, yes! Been a long time since I sunk my teeth into corn on the cob. I could live on those things. Did you know cobs were once used as bum wipes? Goodness me. "Billy?" "Yes, mom?" "Are you alright? You've been in there a long time." "Yes, mom."

But back to GNs. Quite a few go fossiking for precious stones and/or gold, which would be a great pastime I reckon. I lived with a bunch of lapidary peeps a long time ago. They had all the grinding, cutting and polishing machinery downstairs under the house, and either made jewelry or sold the stones separately. It's a fascinating hobby. Even semi precious stones look stunning. When I'm in Coober Pedy or Lightning Ridge I'd like a stone as a keepsake. I'm not into rings... but... And what about a fair dinkum didge? I might meet an Aboriginal bloke one day who'll make one for me, and decorate it with his tribal do-dads. Or a dinki di boomerang.

And now it's time to vamoose. Another weekend bites the dust, and I didn't even get a dose of inner shedness. Never mind. I did advertise my stereo and CD collection on Gumtree though. $250 the lot. More like a grand or more to buy all that stuff new, but it's old technology, and it ain't coming on the Odyssey, so out she goes. Besides, it's all in my little MP3 player, with backups on USB sticks. If some mug, sorry... astute buyer... parts with $250 I'll be able to buy some goodies that are far more useful and practical.

So what's for dinner? Corn cobs? Yeah, right. No, I'm having 'hearty and filling' stockpot with beef and lotsa veg. It's not too bad really. Kinda, sorta. At least it smells and tastes like beef. Seeyaz. Gary

April 13, 2013. Oregon Richie asked me about power in Oz, whether it was mostly coal-fired, hydro, solar, wind etc, and I told him about the Snowy River Hydro-Electric Scheme built after the war with immigrant labor from all over Europe. I also told him about our Snowy country and how it inspired Banjo Patterson back in 1890 to write the epic poem The Man From Snowy River, which was made into a movie in 1982. Here's a Youtube clip of the poem being read to footage from the movie. Great shots of mountain stockmen and their horses.

NC Art forwarded this interesting article on the "death" of the PC:

Tom Ehrich on Life & Faith 

Apr 11, 2013 01:47 pm

Tanking PC sales -- disturbing and encouraging

By Tom Ehrich

Okay, my blog beat is life and faith, not technology. But I still have an opinion on tanking personal computer sales. 

The tech blogosphere is alarmed by sagging sales of desktop and laptop computers. Some call it “death of the PC.” 

The common wisdom is that people are switching to tablet computers and smartphones. Some blame lackluster PC hardware offerings by Dell et al. Some blame Microsoft’s latest iteration of Windows.

I think the problem is much more disturbing and encouraging than that. 

On the disturbing side is the question of creating content vs. consuming content.

Some use technology to write articles, essays, on up to dissertations and books. Or to manage spreadsheets, create presentations, manage databases, track customers, write code — in other words, to do the work that business, education and the arts require. 

That is work for a desktop or laptop. None of that content-creation work can be satisfactorily done on a mobile device. I have tried. Without a cursor or decent keyboard and without an ability to keep several apps open, the iPad makes content-creation frustrating, often nightmarish.

Mobile devices are made for consuming content — playing games, watching videos, reading emails, articles and books, checking the weather, and using social media. Oh, and telephone calling. 

I use four devices — desktop at my office, laptop on the road, tablet on the sofa, and smartphone on the move — and each is great. 

The disturbing decline, it seems to me, is in content creation. Fewer people are writing, managing data, making the quality of contribution that constitutes “creation.” Too many are like locusts, feasting on the work of others. 

I read the stats on declining PC sales and see less writing, less thinking, less dreaming, less desire to develop one’s mind. I see more hunger for fun and games.

On the encouraging side, I think people who do create content are shifting how they work. They use web apps, accessed by a browser, not requiring the latest in PC hardware. They are simplifying how they create content, moving to tools like Draft, a splendid app just for writing, as opposed to the bloatware put out by Microsoft. 

How much better could Office or Windows get? The problem isn’t Office 2013 or Windows 8; it’s the upgrade path itself no longer seeming necessary. 

On the one hand, we aren’t educating enough people who yearn to write, think and create. That’s a problem. On the other hand, people are abandoning the upgrade treadmill and extending the useful life of what they own. That sounds wise.

This isn’t “death of the PC.” It’s something far more complex and worthy of sustained attention. 

My sentiments exactly. I still use the ancient Netscape Composer for my web site pages. It's a basic HTML editor with no fancy whiz-bang gizmos, but it does a fine job. In fact, I use an old version that predates versions that include smart tags and various other tricks that I'd rather do without. I think you'll agree that while my pages are simple, they work well. I'm a firm believer in interesting and entertaining content over fancy presentation. Fancy presentation is often used as an excuse for poor content. And as Tom Ehrich points out, web page creation is best left to laptops and desktops with a full-size QWERTY. So there! :-p

Art also wrote regarding my item yesterday about trick questions and the Beeb pansy story: I swear that’s the kind of questions which all my teachers threw at me in elementary school. And that why I always won the dumbass prize!

   Incidentally, I was outta bed at 5:30 this morning for potty call, noticed my computer was lit up for some odd reason. That turned out to be it “did not shut down correctly.” Problem corrected, I read your blog way too early. Won’t make either of those mistakes again.

   Since we weren’t discussing pansies I think that’s an odd flower for the bloke to use as a statement on gay bashing, etc. For yearsandyears in the U.S. pansy was  a slur word for gays, but not while I was in high school. Otherwise the junior class play would have been a real hooter. Titled “Aunt Drusilla’s Garden, a song and dance routine used these lyrics:

   Pansies, pansy faces so quaint and queer, 
   Pansies always smiling to bring good cheer,
   Of all the flowers that I know
   Pansies alone seem to show
   Always for me, deep sympathy,
   Pansies I love best of all.

  Can you imagine a bunch of 15-year-old guys mincing about on tiptoes and singing that!?

Yes, 'pansy' had the same meaning in Oz, and still does. Anyway, my view of homophobes is that they protesteth too loudly. Hehe. Bloody dingalings.

So it's another Satdee. If I were like most peeps there wouldn't be a Waffle on Satdee or Sundee. I'd be having a day off. A day off what? Weekends and vacations are only for peeps who'd rather be doing something other than what they do on weekdays, which doesn't include me. 

Here's another intelligence test posted on the GN forum. I scored average. They're trick questions again but you can take your time. Just think them through before answering. I missed one because I'm not familiar with baseball.

From the Beeb: US Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in China where he is expected to urge Beijing to use its influence to rein in North Korea. Ahead of the visit, Mr Kerry said that a policy of denuclearisation shared by the US and China had to have "teeth". I know the feeling

China's Guan Tianlang at 14 becomes the youngest player to make the cut at a major golf tournament at the US Masters in Augusta. A new role model for kids.

The BBC has defended its decision not to play in full on Radio 1's Official Chart Show a song at the centre of an anti-Baroness Thatcher campaign. A five second clip of Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead will be played in a news item on Sunday's show. Sales of the song, from the 1939 musical starring Judy Garland, have soared since former Prime Minister Lady Thatcher's death on Monday, aged 87. Thatcher was first elected with a comfortable majority, and again for a second term with a comfortable majority, and yet again for a third term with a resounding majority. The only reason she resigned before her third term ended was because she was forced into retirement by her own party.

Ah yes, Sydney's bohemian heartland, King's Bloody Cross. I lived there in the late 60s for a while, and again during the mid 70s, and what a great place it was... and still is according to this Beeb article. I'd be happy to live there again in my dotage if I could afford it.

Have you ever wondered why rain smells so good? Of course not. You know it smells good but you couldn't give a hoot in hell about why. Well, it's about time you did. Thanks Art.

And what about an aerial photo of Boston? Have you seen one of those? Sure you have. What about an aerial of Boston taken circa 1860? Thanks again, Art.

When Cody gave Mark a fistful of fives right on the hooter in the quad after Mark had called him a faggot, he wrote me telling me about the incident. "I know I shouldn't have done it, G, but it felt good." Hehe. Anyway, here's another article in Smithsonian, this time about people who never apologize (and Cody never did apologize to Mark about that incident). They're probably happier than you.

A couple of years ago, PM Kevin Rudd apologized on behalf of all Australians to Indigenous Australians for the poor treatment dished out to them during early European settlement (some call it invasion). A few years earlier, when the topic of an apology arose, PM John Howard refused to give one. He reasoned that the blame wasn't ours, and that it wasn't our place to apologize. Regret the past, yes. Criticize it, yes. Ensure it never happens again, yes. But apologize, no. I'm with Howard. I'm not responsible for anything my ancestors may have done, and it's not my place to apologize on their behalf. Anyway, it's done now and I don't think it's made one shred of difference. The only thing that will make any difference to the plight of Aborigines in this country is equal opportunities for education and employment. Aborigines need role models; other Aborigines to aspire to, to emulate, to make them proud of their heritage and want to succeed. At the mo, that's sadly lacking and many feel defeated before they even start.

So there ya go. No one knows where Waffle will lead, including me. I just start somewhere and follow my nose. Rather like my plans for the Odyssey. I don't have one. Neither do many of the GNs for that matter.

Just having a bit of a gander at photos on the GN forum and spotted this one of an island off the coast of Victoria along the Great Ocean Road. How's that for unusual?

Meantime, it's THAT time. Thanks to my guests, Art, Richie and the little Aboriginal girl, and to the hoards of readers from all around the world. Hehe. I notice Joao's little pin is back in Brazil after his trip to Portugal. Welcome home, Joao. Same time, same station tomorrow. Seeeeyaz. Gary

April 12, 2013. Here's an ex-New Yorker's blog documenting a trip around Oz. It's very comprehensive with all the places visited listed in alphabetical order (if you scroll down the page), so it was obviously compiled after the event. This link is on the Coober Pedy page, a remote place in SA famous for its opals, and dugout houses. Check out the pics.

The pic of sad Mickey was posted on the GN forum this morning, and I thought it was most appropriate as well as poignant. All the GNs remember the Mickey Mouse Club with great fondness, as does yours truly. M-I-C...  K-E-Y...  M-O-U-S-E.

Speaking of movies and such, one of the GNs happened on this brilliant rendition of the theme from the 60s movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain.

Another GN told the story of the bloke who's marriage was failing, so he went to a marriage counsellor who asked all the usual questions. "Marriage is a give and take partnership," he said. "No one party can have everything his or her own way. For example, how often do you compliment your wife? How often do you bring her a special gift? As a matter fact, do you know what your wife's favorite flower is?" The bloke thought for a moment and said, "I think that would be Red Mill self raising..."

Actually, there's a lot of reminiscing that goes on in the GN forums, like the games we used to play at school in the playgrounds. That topic brought a huge response from members, and it was most enjoyable. Kids in those days didn't rely on sophisticated toys or electronic gadgets for entertainment, they created their own fun from simple everyday items. We built our own billy carts from scrap. We made full use of our imagination to invent ways of keeping ourselves amused. As I remember it, there was never a dull moment. And yet you hear kids these days bitching about having nothing to do, while the experts tell us our kids need government assistance and professional therapists. My mother used to tell me to go outside and play. She didn't have to say what with.

And certainly not when puberty came along. :)

TX Greg tells me he only got one of the questions in yesterday's dementia questionaire right. Oregon Richie gave up after the first two questions. Anyway, it's just a bunch of trick questions that have nothing to do with dementia. 

Well, the new SIM for my mobile phone arrived today by express post. I read the instructions and then tried to remove the old SIM. Forget it. So I drove into town and went to the comp shop where I bought the phone a couple of years ago. They managed to get it out, and also get the new one in. Thank you very much. Got home, tried to activate the new SIM. Zip. "Emergency numbers only". Huh? Wot dat mean? So I went on line and did the activation there. Once I'd set the activation process in motion, I saw: "Now take out the old SIM and put your new SIM into your phone." What??? But I've already done that! NOW you tell me! Soooooo, I removed the new SIM, put the old SIM back in and tried the activation thing again. Too late. It's already been done. Now what? I exchanged SIMs again and the phone went all funny. Blank screen. Maybe putting it on the charger might help. So I did that and then phoned technical assistance. Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring.... Got tired of waiting, hung up. Took the phone off the charger and miraculously something appeared on screen. Then it returned to normal. Updated the settings (time, date) and checked the phone book. It hadn't copied over to the phone like it was supposed to yesterday when I did the copy-->phone thingy. Don't ask me, I'm only a user. Anyway, I spent a while buggerizing around putting all the phone numbers back into the phone and now it appears I'm finally set up properly. Ya know what technical people forget when they're writing instructions? THAT THEY'RE TALKING TO NOVICES!

Oh yeah... the only way I could remove the old SIM was with a pair of long-nose pliers (could have used an eyebrow plucker thingy too). What a bloody fiddly thing that is. Samsung obviously designed it thinking the user would never bother changing the card. And I tellya what, those ABC, DEF, GHI, JKL, etc, pads are a BASTARD to type with. Give me a full-size QWERTY anyday.


However, I do intend to upgrade to a smart phone one of these days. I'm not into games or iTunes or social networking or all that baloney so all I need is something pretty straight forward - wouldn't mind a 5MP built-in camera though.

From the Beeb: The US says it is urging China to use all its leverage to help rein in North Korea's "destabilising" actions. US officials travelling with Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington wanted Beijing to evoke "a sense of urgency" in its talks with Pyongyang. North Korea has ratcheted up tensions in the region, threatening nuclear strikes against South Korea and the US. Yes, China. If you insist on hanging with dickhead friends, then keep the twits in line.

Google will allow users to decide what happens to their data after they die or become inactive online, the first major company to deal with the sensitive issue. Yeah, that's something I must attend to at some time. My ISP ain't gonna host AO for free. Or Cody's World for that matter.

He has been called an installation artist, a guerrilla gardener, a photographer and even a therapist. But Paul Harfleet prefers to describe himself as an "accidental activist". Mr Harfleet, 37, is the green-fingered man behind the Pansy Project, where a solitary flower is planted in the nearest soil to the spot where homophobic abuse has reportedly happened. Mr Harfleet, from west London, intends to photograph each pansy, and name it after whatever abusive phrase was thrown. A pansy a day keeps the 'phobes away.

A row has erupted in the Australian city of Sydney after authorities tore up a road crossing that had been painted in rainbow stripes for the annual gay parade. The crossing had become a tourist attraction, but the conservative government in New South Wales said it was a safety hazard. Road workers moved in late at night and replaced the vibrant stripes with grey tarmac. "Mean spirited," to quote a commentator on last night's The Drum.

Japan's top four carmakers are recalling a total of 3.4 million cars over a defect in passenger airbags. Toyota, which is recalling 1.73 million cars, said the vehicles had a defective part which "could cause the airbag inflator to rupture and deploy the airbag abnormally in a crash". Globally, Honda is recalling 1.13 million cars, Nissan almost 500,000 and Mazda 45,000. Mine doesn't even have an air bag. A wind bag, yes, but that's different. It inflates even when there's no crash.

Speaking of willies.... were we talking about willies? Dozen madder. At  the National Art Gallery in Dublin, a husband and wife were staring
at a portrait that had them completely confused. The painting depicted three black men totally naked sitting on a park bench. Two of the figures had black willies, but the one in the middle had a pink Willie. The curator of the gallery realized that they were having trouble interpreting the painting and offered his assessment. He went on  for over half an hour explaining how it depicted the sexual emasculation of black men in a predominately white, patriarchal society.

"In fact, " he pointed out, "some serious critics believe that the pink Willie also reflects the  cultural and sociological oppression experienced by gay men in contemporary society." 

After the curator left, an Irishman, approached the couple and  said, "Would you like to know what the painting is really about?"

"Now why would you claim to be more of an expert than the curator of the gallery?" asked the couple. 

"Because I'm the guy who painted it," he replied. "In fact, there are no black men depicted at all. They're just three Irish coal miners. The guy in the middle went home for lunch."

Speaking of Aussies and Kiwis... were we talking about Aussies and Kiwis? Dozen madder. Sitting together on a train, traveling through the Swiss Alps, were a Kiwi guy, an Australian bloke, a little old Greek lady, and a young blonde Swiss girl with large breasts. The train goes into a dark tunnel and a few seconds later there is the sound of a loud slap. When the train emerges from the tunnel, the Kiwi has a bright red hand print on his cheek.

No one speaks.

The old lady thinks: The Kiwi guy must have groped the blonde in the dark, and she slapped his cheek.

The blonde Swiss girl thinks: The Kiwi guy must have tried to grope me in the dark, but missed and fondled the old lady and she slapped his cheek.

The Kiwi thinks: The Australian bloke must have groped the blonde in the dark. She tried to slap him but missed and got me instead.

The Australian thinks: I can't wait for another tunnel, just so I can smack that Kiwi again.
I'm stealing all these from the GN forum ya know. Hehe. One more?

A fellow passed a house with a little red light burning in front, so he stepped inside. There was nothing in sight and nothing there but an empty bare hallway, with two doors reading, "Over 35" and "Under 35."

He decided to be truthful and entered the door that said, "Over 35." He found himself in another empty hallway, this one with two doors that read, "Over 8 inches" and "Under 8 inches."

Truthful again, he went through the "Under 8 inches" door and found himself in another empty hall, with two more doors reading, "Once a night" and "Over 4 times a night."

Still wanting to be truthful, he entered the door marked "Once a night" and found himself back out on the street.

The moral of this story is:

"Always tell the truth and you'll never get screwed."


Well, that's about it, ladies and genitals. Time to attend to the boring bits. I've had it with fiddling around with SIMs, so now I can relax and catch up with the day's gnus. Gary

April 11 2013. Speaking of dentures, there was a pastor who had new dentures fitted. The first Sunday in the pulpit he spoke for 8 minutes. The second Sunday he spoke for 10 minutes. But on the third Sunday he spoke for ages and wouldn't stop. It took several of the congregation to haul him from the pulpit. "What on earth happened?" asked one of the congregation. "Well," the pastor began, "on the first Sunday, the dentures hurt so much I could only speak for 8 minutes. On the second Sunday the dentures still hurt so I could only speak for 10 minutes. But this morning I put my wife's dentures in by mistake and I couldn't shuddup!"

And on the subject of dunking ginger nut biscuits in a cuppa tea, NC Art wrote: Think, man, think! Place the hard reaming bit in a spoon. Dip into tea. Lift and shove in the mouth. Soft as a baby’s kiss. [No charge for the advice.]

There ya go. Now we know why Art was the mayor and not the gardener.

Did all the Titanic deck-chair thing this morning on Netbank and, after paying the bills, and considerably deflating my fiscal balloon, I decided not to splurge on a new AGM gell battery just yet. I'll wait till next pay day cos I'm not too crazy about reducing my cash buffer too dramatically. Ya never know what might happen. PJ already has a house battery but it's a standard 12V car battery. My roadside assistance was due so I paid that... $100. And next Tuesday Stan will want about $100 for removing all the overgrowth. Money, money, money, money, money... there's never enough.

Once I'm about to hit the road, I'll upgrade my roadside assistance to premium for an extra $80 to cover towing, car rental, motel accom and those kinda things in an emergency. It's worth the extra $80 just for the peace of mind.

Yes, I would dearly love to keep the Odyssey momentum happening but 2 weeks ain't gonna make much diff. In fact, I don't see the specialist in Sydney until June anyway, and even then it's a tossup as to whether he recommends surgery on the gum or defers it again. On the poz side, once the surgery has been done, the healing process is completed, and the dentures are finally fitted, PJ will be well and truly ready and rarin' to go! She'll probably have a couple of short trips up her sleeve as well by then.

Not sure what model Camaro TX Greg used to drive - this is a '69. But it's not the car so much as the way the pic is shot that really appeals to me:

This is the type that Oregon Richie drives. He even had a landscape bloke with a big truck tip a whole bunch of dirt and rocks on his drive leading the garage door. Hehe.

Well, I've just saved myself the cost of future mobile phone calls. I've been paying $10 per month for mobile phone connection + cost of calls. Silly me never realized I was paying a provider for connection, and then my ISP for the cost of the calls (I have a bundle arrangement with my ISP - mobile phone, home phone, web site hosting, and internet connection). I've had the phone provider for years and didn't think about changing them when I did the bundle deal with my ISP. So now I've done a SIM only deal with my ISP which will make my current mobile provider redundant. The SIM with my ISP cost $25 for the card and postage, then just $10 a month for $200 worth of calls and data. I wouldn't use that in a fit, not with my current phone which is basic. So it's like getting my calls for free! If I ever update to a smart phone (which I will one of these days) I'll also upgrade the mobile plan with my ISP.

Speaking pubes and crabs... Weren't we? Oh... well, dozen madder, we are now: G’day Gary,

   Did you know the war on crabs—the kind that nestle in the crotch and also known as pubic lice—has been won? But not by medical science. The story:

   An entomologist with a hankering to study these pests waited for years to get funding, but when it came it was too late. He could not find a single specimen to dissect or psychoanalyze! The crab’s nemesis—in theory at least—is the growing practice of shaving pubic areas. News to me, but it seems the practice migrated to the straight community from gays who considered their bods more appealing that way. A warm, damp, forested environment seems conducive to crabs in which to thrive and hive. Wonder what Wingnut would have thought after his tussle to grow a substantial thatch.

   I can’t do an independent enquiry because I no longer have one gay friend in my current circle of acquaintances, but it is intriguing. And recalls an amusing incident…

   At 17 I worked as the typesetter for a company which printed a weekly student newspaper for Winthrop College, an all-girls school. In a humor feature, this riddle was in the copy: Q: What makes the ocean roar? A: You would roar too if you had crabs on your bottom! I deleted that paragraph, but the editor spotted the omission during proofreading and braced me about it. She, Pinky Bethea, was a sweet, but naïve girl and I had quite a struggle making her understand why the item was inappropriate. At the end I don’t know which one had the reddest face. Months later she thanked me for saving her ass. By then her education had advanced significantly.



By then her education had advanced significantly? Maybe her damp, warm, forested environment had become host to a personal invasion. Anyway, I've heard that if you put them in the freezer they go to sleep, and then you can plunge them into boiling water until pink.

Speaking of immigrants: From the Beeb: Tens of thousands of demonstrators have rallied across the US in a mass call for citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. The co-ordinated protests were designed to press Congress to act as senators negotiate an immigration reform bill. Not terribly familiar with that situation but it does bear some similarity with what Oz is experiencing with illegal refugees in this country.

Funny innit. After the war, and for several more decades, we were screaming for foreigners to emigrate to Australia. Now we're getting picky.

Syrian government forces are targeting civilians in opposition strongholds with air strikes, warns Human Rights Watch in a new report. Why can't they be like we are and sort out their problems peacefully? We ask. If we knew the answer, we probably wouldn't understand it anyway.

A bloke on The Drum last night, who spent many years living in America, explained why Aussies have such great difficulty in comprehending the gun laws situation over there. Australians and Americans have much in common. We're like family in many ways. But we have very different backgrounds. Americans fought a War of Independence. We didn't have to. The right for citizens to bear arms is enshrined in the American Constitution. That's not the case in Oz. Every Thanksgiving, American cities and towns honor their military by inviting a representative group in uniform to attend civic celebrations. We rarely see our military in uniform outside of Anzac Day (Remembrance Day). So we don't see arms as being every citizen's inalienable right. In fact, when 300,000 semi autos in private hands were surrendered and destroyed after the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, there was hardly a peep of protest. And the bloke who ordered it was ultra-conservative PM John Howard. Mind you, if the Australian government tried to ban meat pies and tamaaaaata sauce, or a pub on every corner, there'd be a helluva stink. Americans, at least some of them, see any attempt by government to modify a citizen's right to bear arms as tantamount to authoritarian rule.

Global sales of PCs fell 14% in the first three months of the year, the biggest fall since research firm IDC started tracking the industry in 1994. IDC said 76.3 million units were shipped, a figure that underlines the appeal of tablets and smartphones as alternatives to PCs. Yep, if it weren't for the full-size keyboard, I'd probably go that way too.

US President Barack Obama has unveiled a $3.77tn (£2.4tn) budget that proposes fresh taxes on the wealthy along with cuts to benefit programmes. The White House is offering to trim pensions and healthcare costs, but only in return for $700bn in new revenue. However, the Obama plan is viewed as having no chance of being fully enacted by the deadlocked Congress.

Congress in Uruguay has voted overwhelmingly to legalise gay marriage, becoming the second country in Latin America to do so, after Argentina. The bill was approved by more than two-thirds of the lower chamber, despite opposition from the Catholic Church. The proposal has already been backed by the upper house. It is expected to be signed into law within two weeks

Urugay or Uruguay? Take your pick.

Morgan Motor Company’s recipe has worked for a century: lightweight, hand-built cars with a surfeit of power, rakishly abbreviated bodywork and charisma by the bucket-load. Driving a Morgan is not quite as molecularly British as piloting a Spitfire down Bond Street dressed as the Queen while listening to the cricket scores, but it is not far off. Morgan is now looking beyond its biggest markets in the UK and Germany, toward China. Can this most niche of manufacturers translate its appeal for a new audience?

Test for Dementia

Below are four (4) questions and a bonus question. You have to answer them instantly. You can't take your time, answer all of them immediately. OK?

Let's find out just how clever you really are....

Ready? GO!!!

First Question:

You are participating in a race. You overtake the second person. What position are you in?


Answer: If you answered that you are first, then you are absolutely wrong!

If you overtake the second person and you take his place, you are second! Try not to screw up next time.

Now answer the second question, But don't take as much time as you took for the first question, OK ?

Second Question:

If you overtake the last person, then you are...?(scroll down)


Answer:  If you answered that you are second to last, then you are wrong again.

Tell me, how can you overtake the LAST Person?

You're not very good at this, are you?


Third Question:

Very tricky arithmetic! Note: This must be done in your head only .

Do NOT use paper and pencil or a calculator. Try it.

Take 1000 and add 40 to it. Now add another 1000. Now add 30. Add another 1000. Now add 20. Now add another 1000. Now add 10 . What is the total?

Scroll down for answer.....


Did you get 5000?

The correct answer is actually 4100.

If you don't believe it, check it with a calculator!

Today is definitely not your day, is it?

Maybe you'll get the last question right....


Fourth Question:

Mary's father has five daughters: 1. Nana, 2. Nene, 3. Nini, 4. Nono. What is the name of the fifth daughter?


Did you Answer Nunu?

NO! Of course it isn't.

Her name is Mary. Read the question again!

Okay, now the bonus round:

A mute person goes into a shop and wants to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of brushing his teeth he successfully expresses himself to  the shopkeeper and the purchase is done.

Next, a blind man comes into the shop who wants to buy a pair of Sunglasses; how does HE indicate what he wants?

Answer: He just has to open his mouth and ask... It's really very simple.... Like you!


Well, guess who's got dementia? Hehe. I'm shattered! It's late anyway and I gotta split. And I'll NEVER take one of those tests again! Gary

April 10, 2013. Roite. STB is packed away back in the box and ready to post to the eBay seller for a refund or exchange. Damn nuisance.

The good thing about all this is that it saved the mini portable TV which was gonna get the heave ho because it's analogue. It'll be a useful little gadget on the Odyssey.

Dentist in an hour for the usual irrigation thingy and a bit of chit chat, and then? Well, at the mo it's a mystery! Except for the post office. How exciting is that? Things have been slow, slow, slow lately with various types of auto insurance making a mess of the budget but all that's over now, and tomorrow is pay day. Sooooo, it'll be time to get back on track with the purchase of an AGM battery. It should arrive more or less about the same time as Stan does the overgrowth thing next Tuesday which will allow me to load the camper onto the truck. At the mo, access to the side storage bins is restricted. 

I'm still nervous about getting PJ all hooked up and heading out the drive for a test flight. It's a thing I have about doing anything new. Wussy boy, as Cody would say. So I'm looking forward to the day when I feel comfortable with the rig and have no more fears about the way she handles. By the middle of next week I'm hoping to say, "Now, what the hell was I worried about?"

Just made my morning smoothie and accidentally triggered my earliest childhood memory. Malt. After using my finger to push the malt from the spoon into the smoothie mix, I stuck my finger into my mouth before washing the spoon. Lo and behold, a memory came back. I've always loved the taste of malt and now I remember how my mother used to dip my dummy (pacifier) into malt when I was still an infant. How's THAT for a childhood memory? I'd have to remember what it was like in the womb to go much further back than that. I remember the color of the malt too... dark brown and shiny. Mmmm! Yummy! Other than that, I can remember giving my mother a box of Minties in hospital when my younger bro was born, which would make me about 3. And then stealing his rusks when he was teething. Funny innit, I don't care for barley at all but I love malt.

So there ya go. Even though we can't consciously remember things about our earliest days, the memories are still there, buried deep in the recesses of our brains, which means they can still have an effect on our behavior.

It's the build-up of plaque, food, film, bacteria that Nancy, irrigates, so she explained. Different thing to the mouth wash routine at home, which is insufficient to do the job thoroughly. That's cool. I like Nancy, and we get along really well. All the other peeps there are nice too. Soooo, next appointment, Monday. It only takes 5 minutes.

STB is posted using registered post (which requires a signature at the other end), so my "bargain" at $25 has now cost $36. Oh well... Absolutely gorgeous day out there in the sun. Just stunning. And the truck is running beautifully. She's almost 20 years old ya know but doesn't seem like it.

Spoke to a young Indian bloke yesterday who's in Taree on a job. He asked me about the cost of staying in a caravan park, which can vary a lot depending on season and location. Dunno about capital cities, but on average elsewhere between 20 and 30 bucks a night. He's paying almost $400 a week in Sydney for a "studio" apartment (bedsitter) which is basically one large room with a small bathroom and kitchenette. Sheesh. He needs to be close to university where he's studying. He also asked me about the cancer and how much it cost. I told him nothing for the operation and also for the radiation treatment, as well as the dentistry and dentures. He said in India only 10% of the population can afford treatment for cancer. "For the rest, you just watch them die."

When he was told he'd be coming to Taree for this job, he expected a small town with maybe 1 motel. "It's a city!" he said. "There's everything here!" Hehe. He's heard too many stories about the Aussie outback. As to motels in Taree, there has to be at least 20, and probably more like 40. So I told him about the house I share with L&S, and that it's still cheaper than the dump we were renting back in Sydney, even 12 years later!

From the Beeb: The start of an Afghan-led peace deal with the Taliban is needed to secure the future of Afghanistan after British troops leave, a group of UK MPs says. Yeah, what a good idea. And we all know we can trust the Taliban to keep its word.

The trend toward abolishing the death penalty continues, despite some countries resuming executions in 2012, Amnesty International says. Executions in India, Japan, Pakistan, and Gambia were disappointing regressions, Amnesty notes. But elsewhere the death penalty was "becoming a thing of the past," secretary-general Salil Shetty said. The five countries carrying out most executions remain China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the US. So now you know what the US has in common with China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

I still say the death penalty is not a penalty.

Privatisation, finance boom, manufacturing decline, home ownership, union laws. The UK changed hugely in the 1980s. But how much of that would have happened if Margaret Thatcher had never taken office, asks historian Dominic Sandbrook. A fairly unbiased look at the Iron Lady's legacy.

A student has been charged with a stabbing rampage that left 14 wounded, many in the face and neck, at a college in Texas, police say. Two people were critically injured in the attack at the campus of Lone Star College in the Houston city area. No point in commenting. What can you say?

Two flies in the house! WHAMMO! But how did they get in? Det. Insp. Kelly checked the back door and sure enough the fly wire on the security door has a hole in it where someone's fingers penetrated to test the handle. But the screen door is always locked, as is the main. So the drug-addicted morons are at it again. Or, more correctly, still at it. Pathetic mongrels. Long gone are the days when country folk could leave their houses and cars unlocked, and bicycles leaning against fences, unchained. Even the campgrounds are not safe from thieving assholes according to the GNs out there. Meanwhile, I grabbed a bit of plastic and taped it to the hole in the fly wire as a temporary measure to keep the flies OUT.

I was reading a few comments on the GN forum about crossing the Nullarbor. One bloke mentioned the Nullarbor road house and said the operator there takes your license details before he switches on the pump. Too many drive-offs, he says. Now that really surprises me... way out in the Nullarbor there are still crooks! Seems the morons are everywhere! Anyway, someone was asking about fuel and having enough to cross the whole plain, but there are service stations every 200kms or so. They're expensive though... if you call $5 extra per tankful expensive. It's all relative. I think some people are just tightwads.

Yep, I grew up with my mother saying, "Jack, when are you going to fix the front gate?" Hehe. I was maybe 10 or 12 when he not only fixed it but built an entire new front fence.

And here we is again, folks. I'll do my sums tomorrow and see how I stand for spending $300 on an AGM battery. If I do, that'll be it for another 2 weeks. Unless I win a few bob on Lotto, of course. And pigs start using the local airport. Gary

April 9, 2013. Oregon Richie has a puddy tat. Actually, it's Becky's and called Gracie. It keeps everyone amused, including itself. There's a cat in NC Art's family too: 

   Drama with a cat and a canoe? Yep. There is a farm pond a few yards from my son’s back door. Yesterday said son and his lady noticed a small fishing boat abandoned and partially sunken on the pond. They set off in a canoe to drag the eyesore ashore and found that Lovie the Cat decided to journey with them. This feline, like their other three, is mentally unstable; paranoia or schizophrenia. Nearing a small island, the cat leapt in the water, swam to the island and disappeared in scrub bush.

   The canoeists paddled home in disgust, but late in the afternoon decided to make another attempt to rescue the insane feline, set out toward the island, where they spied the wet fur bundle, and capsized the canoe. The cat laughed (according to the humans) as they swam and pushed the canoe back to the dock. In high dudgeon they tossed clothing in washer, showered and prepared to eat dinner and let the cat go to any cell in hell it might choose.

   Just after dark, a squalling cat, wet and hungry, showed up demanding its creature comforts; so the story ended well. I’m sure some of our “pets”—particularly those of the feline genus—spend a lot of time plotting to rid the world of humans, and this bears out my theory. Cats do NOT depend on people, despite what you might believe.

I'm not a cat person - can't handle all that purring and rubbing business. I much prefer dogs but I HATE parasites which seem to appear from everywhere the moment a dog sets foot in a house. By the time you've paid for worming tablets, flea treatment, tick treatment, doggy shampoo, grooming aids, vet costs, poo bags, a leash and all the other stuff including food, you're broke.

TX Greg wrote with suggestions as to how to get the Bush set top box working with the TV. I replied with info that might help him figure it out, plus a couple of pics. I sent the same pics to Jess the Bush person. With a bit of luck I might have an answer before the day's out. I've also let the seller on eBay know. What a bummer. Actually, TX Greg just wrote again with another suggestion but it didn't work. 10 minutes later, Bush emailed to say I need a splitter. The box has 3 inputs for video and audio and the TV has only 2. I'll check with my local electronics store - they've got a million plugs for all kinds of things.

Meanwhile, Stan the Lawn Man is here and has promised to attack the overgrowth along the drive next Tuesday. He has a chainsaw and intends to cut the whole mess right back. It's a mix of grapefruit and lemon trees and a vigorous wysteria that's gone ballistic - as well as weeds. It'll fill a trailer load for sure and will cost me a few bob. All the overgrowth is on the driver's side of the truck (when reversing) so I need it cleared to use the rear view mirror and open the door. Can't park in front of the second garage cos the clothes line gets in the way.

Trials and tribs, yeah? Life is a wet cat. I was nearly gonna say wet pussy but that would have altered the context.

My little FM transmitter for the MP3 player arrived just now. Plug it into the ciggie lighter, selected an FM band, and tune in the radio. But that's for another day. I've got enough on my plate for now.

Well, after all that buggerizing around with the STB, trying all kinds of tricks including buying a joiner (not a splitter), Bush finally suggested trying it with a regular TV, which I did. The screen said NO SIGNAL. So it's taken a day and a half to eventually find out it's a dud. The eBay seller still hasn't answered my first mail so I wrote again. They offer a "dead on arrival" return deal but it's only 3 days, and tomorrow will (technically) be the third day. If they refuse a refund or a replacement, I'll complain to eBay and Paypal and write a scathing feedback report. It's only $25 but that's not the point. They also owe me for all the time and stress it's caused, plus $4.50 for the joiner... plus TX Greg's consultancy fee hehe.

I'm eating a biscuit - a ginger nut which is hard as a rock. With no teeth? I dunk it in a hot cuppa. The only bit I can't dunk is the little bit I hold onto, so I gotta toss that. But at least I get to have a bikkie! In fact, two.

From the Beeb: Tributes are being paid at home and abroad to Baroness Thatcher after her death at the age of 87. David Cameron said she had been a "great Briton" while US President Barack Obama called her a "great champion of freedom and liberty". Whatever your feelings about the Iron Lady, she certainly made her presence felt. Our own Iron Lady Julia Gillard has a lot in common with Thatcher - hard as bloody nails.

An impassioned President Barack Obama urges US lawmakers to vote on gun control legislation that appears to be stalling in Congress. I don't like his chances but I wish him luck.

New details have emerged about "self-cleaning" effects in the Gulf of Mexico witnessed in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Researchers reporting at the American Chemical Society conference revealed details of a cascade of micro-organisms that spring into action to degrade oil. Those kinda bugs I like!

We often worry about lying awake in the middle of the night - but it could be good for you. A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural. Oregon Richie will be interested in this article. I sleep like a log so it doesn't bother me.

David Benardo has a special connection to this red 1963 Volkswagen Beetle. Benardo spent 20 years as a creative in advertising and marketing, working with a host of Silicon Valley tech companies, including Hewlett Packard and Electronic Arts. The 1963 Beetle spent 49 years powered by fossil fuels. This year, they are both reinventing themselves. Great article and great pictures! I must confess, I prefer the style of the earlier Beetles to the later Superbugs. I like the art deco look. If I had the dough, I'd buy a ZelectricBug tomorrow.

Well, after the STB fiasco, time has vaporized and it's time for the usual evening routine. Tune in same time, same station tomorrow! Y'all stay cool now. Gary

April 8, 2013. Is there such a thing as tasteful kitsch?

I figure if you're gonna go over the top, you might as well go all the way. Love the metallic paint job, and the fluffy white dash cover and purple dice hehe. An Elvis haircut and matching purple Elvis suit, high collar and white shoes would make the perfect finishing touch.

Remember those dogs on the rear shelf with the nodding heads? I had a real one. Kelly #1 - daschund/kelpie cross. She loved the rear shelf and always made a bee line for it in the Valiant. She had a good view of everything from there. But then I sold the Valiant and bought a Kombi campervan. Wot??? No rear shelf? But it had a bench running along one side under the windows, and she used to get up on that, especially when I was washing the car.

Actually, kitsch is making a comeback according to collectors - colorful stuff from the 50s and 60s - flying ducks on the wall and that kinda thing. Funny innit, the very stuff that was criticized in its time for have no class and being tasteless is now prized by collectors. 

My mini set top box for the mini TV arrived - perfect match for the little portable so I'll set it up later and see how it works. The government was offering a free STB to pensioners with the national changeover to digital, but some of the GNs who took "advantage" of the government offer said the freebie was also a cheapie with no record function. Waste of time, they reckon. BTW, my mini is a flat screen despite being analogue, so it's quite modern and takes up very little space.

And now it's time for another history lesson from our North Carolina correspondent and reknowned author, Art:  If you never wondered how, when and why the jock strap and it’s variations was invented, here’s the story. 

   In ancient Greece and Rome, athletic contests were big stuff, maybe because life could be otherwise deadly boring. And of course all that led to Olympic games with all the hoopla and folderol they still engender. Wrestling, naked, was a big crowd pleaser—especially for the ladies who sometimes bought a handsome gladiator to take home as a, uh, servant. Naturally, there was a good measure of testicle smashing during these violent encounters because there were no rules of fair play.

   One creative chap decided to protect his jewels with a strip of cloth to keep the free hanging part of anatomy tucked tightly to his crotch. A bit of contention ensued about the legality of such an advantage, but the damage was done … or undone, and the thing became universally accepted.

   So, when you draw on your supportive jockey briefs take a moment to thank that ancient Roman gladiator for keeping your balls out of harm’s way. Hehe. (O)(O)

Cody's continual references to boxer shorts convinced me to change from briefs to boxers and free-hanging mode. Seemed a bit strange at first but now I'm accustomed to the pendulum action. BTW, I notice the girls are back to wearing short shorts. I imagine the guys are following suit although I haven't seen any. YET. So what happened to the tops of undies and bit of ass cleavage trick? Is that passe now?

From the Beeb: A chemical found in red meat helps explain why eating too much steak, mince and bacon is bad for the heart say US scientists. There has been a wealth of studies suggesting that regularly eating red meat may be damaging to health. "...may be". The ol' 'may be' trick. That disclaimer was constantly raising its ugly head back when I wrote ads for health supplements including vitamins

Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina has firmly rejected demands by Islamists for a new anti-blasphemy law to punish those who defame Islam and Prophet Muhammad. In a BBC interview, she said existing laws were sufficient to punish anyone who attempted to insult religion. Is there a law against those who insult atheism?

Remember when the Nazis burned books and murdered dissenters in their millions? Same thing. Autocratic regimes don't allow freedom of speech or thought. And for good reason as far as they're concerned. It's called insecurity. Or paranoia. Or both. Take your pick.

Well, setting up the new Bush set top box was fun. Not. Followed all instructions, connected everything, nothing on screen. The manual says when first connected, the instructions (language, country, channel search, etc) appears on screen. I get nothing but static. Phoned Bush's 1300 warranty number but it rang and rang and rang till I hung up. Sent an email to Bush Australia but haven't heard anything back yet. Then sent an email to the eBay retailer asking if they have any ideas. Meanwhile, can't even get to first base!

So that's a couple of hours wasted.

Francois wrote with a few corrections about my Popeye reference yesterday: I've to correct some things you said on my life...

I was always an adventurer: from my late teen years til 45 y/o mountaineering and climbing walls were my passion and it was not occasional: quite each weekend, the whole hollidays (we'd much: 16 weeks a year as teachers) I was climbing. All the mountains, all the big walls in Europ have seen me: France, Italia, Swiss, Germany,Austria,  Norway, Greece... 

We'd a camper I'd built so it was easy with the kids. I'd a family and during the school year, I worked trying to help teens in difficulty as I could and yes, then, I'd a normal, regular life. And each year we passed August in Corsica on a deserted beach nude and happy.

Then during years, pain and weakness in my arms quite killed my mind: happily an old neurosurgeon (RIP) removed my cancer on the cervical spine. I was "too young" to take a retirement, so I worked yet 6 years as a network admin with many medics and much pain: that were the years I found Cody and you. Nomore physical exercises and I'd not remain 1mn arms up without tremendous pain.

Then the neurosurgeon seeing my health decreasing, prepared the file for my retirement, saying me to go and live in a country where the weather was always hot... Holly man! In 2004 I was retired and in Martinique. 

1 year later, swimming and snorkeling all days, I forgot the pain, bought a boat and received many friends from France: old ones but also some ex-students and my young cousins. With them, on my boat we visited all the small Antillas: good happy days of adventures. I was back alive...

Then in 2010 after many problems of racism, I sold everything, coming here in New Caledonia where my daughter had just given me a grand son. My goal was to buy a big boat and to live aboard, but I'd not find one in my prices, so I bought a smaller one and a barracks to live in.
And adventures began again. 

But my hip began to be painful and I didn't want a surgery here: I tried to sell everything here to return 1 year in France to have an hip replacement, but here nothing is being sold til the end of 2014 (at least). There will be a referendum on independence and peoples are waiting the result AND the troubles after...

So I decided to make my home some more cosy and I'm rebuilding it: see the pics there: not yet recently updated and comments are in french.

Boat? yes I continue sometimes to go far of here: last time it was with 2 teens:

And as soon as my house is finished (1 month) I'll go away for at least one month very far on the east coast I still don't know: its name (Côte Oubliée = forgoten coast) says the program: no one... totally deserted on 100 nm... I dream!

With all this I arrive sometimes to forget my hip, even I send a cry sometimes...

All this arrive too late and is too long for your waffles: do what you want

Never too late, Francois, and I'm sure the Wafflonians will be happy to read your synopsis. An interesting life indeed, and it ain't over yet. Yes, I suppose all that mountaineering and wall climbing took its toll on your body. Dancing and bike riding was about all I did physically and now I have no teeth. Let that be a warning to anyone out there who dances and/or rides a bike. There was one other fairly vigorous physical activity I engaged in quite frequently but nothing untoward seems to have happened as a consequence. So far so good.

Meanwhile, it's time to flee. Bush replied to my email with a diagram showing correct connection of cables. Yep, all that's fine. She mentioned 'source' but all the TV has is a switch between TV and AV, and I've tried both to no avail. Oh well... maybe tomorrow. Gary

April 7, 2013. TX Greg has more on jaffle irons: BTW> I did a little research on my mom's old toas-tite. Wow that thing is from 1949 and there is a company remaking them now... This looks YUMMY...

Hmmm, not really a sweet tooth to that extent. But using cinnamon bread is an interesting idea, and makes me wonder if using raisin toast (it's called toast even though it's bread because it's made for toasting) with leftover curry as a filling would be interesting. Banana goes very well with curry too, and perhaps some slices of banana with leftover curry as a filling would also be noice. Can't wait for teeth so I can try these damn things.

Here's another one suggested by a GN called the Diablo.

TX Greg also commented on the changes to the AO main page: That's a pretty nifty new poem there :) I see youre also getting ready for Christmas with the candy cane pic border, hehe. But I guess you could say the Odyssey is one long awaited Christmas gift :)

Actually, the poem has changed very little... just a few words to alter the tense from past to present. I was still waiting for the camper before, but now I've got it! As to the Xmas borders, I thought the pics needed something to make them look like they belong to AO rather than a couple of pics nicked from the net, stuck on like stamps. Stamps? Ooer! Now there's an idea! BTW, Greg, remember the Merry Christmas graphic you made for 2012 with the snowmen and "I'm dreaming of a white Ute"? I use that one for my avatar on the GN forum. Bit out of date but dozen madder.

From NC Art: The jaffle concept has been around for eons. In colonial days and before, most cooking was done in a large fireplace. Pots of stews and soups were hung on a device which could be swiveled in and over the fire to cook, and moved closer or farther to regulate heat. Likewise, the jaffle concept was used for cooking breads, braising meats, etc. In my own life a small fireplace was quite handy for preparing things such as potatoes placed beneath the grate in hot ashes. My mother always had a few sweet potatoes baked in the ashes when I got home from school in winter. Besides great taste, the delicacy was good for warming the hands on cold days.

   The cooking of meat was purportedly discovered by accident among the ancients. A piece named “A Dissertation on Roast Pork” remains in my memory from fifth grade. Seems that Chinese rural folks raised pigs to nose out dig up edible roots, truffles, and other fungi. A pig sty was set afire by vandals one night and the owner found his pigs burned to death. He reached out and touched one and it burned his finger. He naturally stuck his finger in his mouth to quell the burning and found the cooked pigskin quite tasty. Neighbors who stopped to console him were told of his discovery, tasted and found the experience pleasant. For months afterward, pig stys were suddenly burning down all over the province. Thus, the art of roasting pigs became more sophisticated and pigs were more highly prized than ever with this new use for the porcine creatures.

   Other civilizations discovered that a cooked wooly mammoth would keep much longer than raw flesh, and this did wonders for more advanced preservative methods. Far northern tribes hang fish out on lines to dry naturally; smoking meat is still practiced as is curing with salt, sugar, and other natural preservatives. During the American Civil War the Confederates had no ready supply of salt after the Union ships blockaded ports of entry. Thus salt became a critical commodity for feeding field soldiers, and supplies were guarded as heavily as any king ever was.

   So, there’s my history lesson for today.

And a wonderful lesson it is too, Art. I also believe the saying "worth his salt" came from Roman times when salt was part of a Roman soldier's salary.

Daylight saving ended at 3am, so it's a sign that winter's on the way. Not for a few months yet, though, and today is absolutely perfect with a clear blue sky, no wind and a comfortably warm temperature. Gorgeous! And a good day for washing. My old spray jacket was looking a bit shabby so it's in the washing machine on woolen cycle. It's not real wool (where do they grow those synthetic sheep?) but I used wool wash and the woolen cycle anyway. Looks good now... and might come in handy on the Odyssey. I don't expect to encounter cold weather but ya never know. Nights can get a bit nippy in the outback. Last time I wore it was about 4 years ago on board the fisherman's boat at Tuncurry when we went out early one morning to collect lobsters from his traps.

From the Beeb: The US Pentagon has delayed an intercontinental ballistic missile test scheduled for next week, defence officials say. The Minuteman 3 test was put off because of concerns that it could be misinterpreted by North Korea, amid fears of a conflict. It could be postponed till May. NK 1, US 0. So far.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela spends his first night at home since being discharged from hospital in Johannesburg. He's a tough old bugger. But he always was.

US President Barack Obama has issued an apology after he was widely criticised for referring to the attorney general of California, Kamala Harris, as "the best-looking attorney general in the country". Another example of political correctness going too far, in my opinion.

'Absurd' laws dealing with magic mushrooms, ecstasy and cannabis are hindering medical research, according to a former government drugs adviser. Prof David Nutt says he has funding to research the use of the chemical psilocybin - found in fungi known as "magic mushrooms" to treat depression. But he says "insane" regulations mean he cannot get hold of the drug. Yes, bungling bureaucrats are a worry. So out of touch.

I indulged in a little inner shedness today. The novelty is wearing off and it's more like home now - an extension of the house. And while I was making important decisions like where to put the pot scrubber, I thought about how well laid out the camper is, and how superior it is to Das Busse. Lots of GNs have campervans but they're not as practical in my book. PJ is more like a mini house than a campervan, with all the "normal" things like a bedroom, kitchen and living room, albeit compact but nonetheless there. I think it's wonderful. And outside there are two roll-out awnings... a kind of wrap-around veranda where I can lay a ground sheet and arrange a bit of camp furniture. All very civilized if you ask me. My little pop-up shower/loo tent will be discreetly out the back. Can't wait to have it all set up somewhere and actually experience the lifestyle for a couple of days. And shoot a little vid, of course. 

The Odyssey experience will be a radical departure from the way things are now, to put it mildly. And indeed from the way things have always been in my life. Francois has been there - regular job, daily routine, pretty much a normal life with an occasional mountaineering excursion. And now he's Popeye the Sailor Man spending months at a time at sea, and living on a tropical island putting citronella on his pillow. Such a radical departure from his "previous" life! I mentioned 'novelty' before. I'm sure the novelty will never fade from being a gypsy travelling Oz. Every few days I'll be somewhere new. How could that possibly become routine? New surroundings, new neighbors, new things to do, new adventures to write about. My head is spinning just thinking about it. 

Speaking of Francois, he sent this:

In my case, I didn't need one (no kids). And the one my parents used didn't work. Yoo hoo! Hehe.

Anyway, time to mosey along and make camp for the night. Guess what's on the menu? Let's not go there. Might have an early one tonight I reckon... feeling a bit pooped for some reason. Gary

April 6, 2013. Mine's a Toastie - the brand of my jaffle iron, that is. I checked eBay for used irons and there are a couple of the original round Jaffle brand with wood handles for auction. Mine also needs a bit of a scrub on the outside with an abrasive cleaner - well, it did. I just scrubbed it. Not too much, mind you. It's taken years to get that "lived-in" look, which I like. And it's cured so that it makes a nicely browned jaffle. As to buying an antique round one, I might one of these days when I have a little cash to spare.

Do they have them "over there"? Yes they do, I saw one for sale on eBay from the States. It was called a pie iron, and had deeper, round dishes. But there's also this one according to TX Greg: HAHAHA, I have one of those in the kitchen drawer, the round one. It is a brand called Toas-Tite. But we never used it in a campfire. Instead my mom only used it as a press to shape hamburger patties. The pressed patties held together way better on the grill than the hand rolled :)

Looks like aluminum, which mine is too... cast aluminium. So was the original Jaffle. But the pie iron I saw on eBay was cast iron. Anyway, they're a great idea and when I had teeth I used mine often on top of the stove to make lunch. I don't butter the topside of the bread anymore, though, just give the inside of the iron a quick squirt with cooking oil. As to burger patties, I hand roll them but use an egg in the mixture to bind the meat and veg. There's only been one GN so far with a suggestion for a jaffle filling: slices of turkey, cranberry sauce, and a few slivers of brie cheese.

I've already told the story of meeting a bunch of rowdy footballers at a campsite just outside a little historic mining town called Sofala west of The Blue Mountains. I was in the Kombi with my dog Kelly and it was pitch black outside. The footballers got lost on their way to a party somewhere and decided to pull into the little camp area for the night. Frightened the bloody daylights outta me. So I thought I'd better confront them rather than remain a mystery inside the Kombi, which might have tempted them to "have a bit of fun". They built a fire and I came to the rescue with my trusty jaffle iron and a few cans of baked beans, which they eagerly scoffed down with their beer. They turned out to be okay - noisy and rough - but okay. Next day we all crossed the river, including Kelly, and went walkabout on the other side in the bush. A couple of them tried their hand at fishing but didn't catch anything. Before leaving they invited me to call into a certain Lithgow pub anytime for a few sherberts. Yeah, right. I discovered later it was the roughest pub in town.

I mentioned that GN article about fire destroying an RV and tug yesterday. Here's a story from a GN who's had personal experience with such an event: True story....back in 1984 I remarried and my new wife and I rented a brand new Caravan from a most reputable dealer and one of the largest in Adelaide. I was not aware that the son of the proprietor had "prepared" the van for rental and connection to my 4WD......he was not the usual person who prepared their rental vans I later found out that he went against Company policy by having the fridge on gas with, of course, the pilot light on AND did not give us even a brief run down on the new caravan or tell us that he had set up on gas....we were travelling from S.A. to Victoria....I also stopped to have a small gas bottle refilled at Murray Bridge which I placed in the van without checking it.....the bottle was leaking gas as the young lad who filled it had not fully turned it off!....a most lethal combination.

We reached Bordertown and parked outside a prominent Bordertown Hotel and went in to purchase drinks to place in the that point I thought the fridge was connected to my 12V and we were fairly inexperienced and all I knew was the fridge was reasoably cold....inevitably when I opened the new caravan door I was confronted with a whoosh of first reaction, with the help of a couple of the Pub helpers, was to separate the Caravan from my vehicle.....the Caravan was totally destroyed and the Hotel verandah was starting to catch alight...main Street Bordertown the CFS was there in only few minutes and put out the verandah fire but nothing could be done for the caravan....our only joy was we had not transferred our personal gear from our 4WD into the van so lost only the errant gas bottle.

Typical of country folk we had many offers to stay with them as they presumed we had lost everything...we reported the whole thing to the local Police who were already well aware, like the rest of the town!....we gave our confidential details....reported the incident to the dealer/owner who wanted photos which we those days we paid $75 for insurance so it was covered however we never managed to recover that $75......on the way back from our Honeymoon at Halls Gap, and no I could not get my wife to go within 6' of another van either on our honeymoon or for many years after!

We stopped at Bordertown with the intention of buying the local rag so we could write a letter of appreciation to the Editor thanking everyone concerned.....I thought we may have made page 18 near the chook results at the local my horror...we were the bloody headlines complete with large photos......"" MINLATON BANK MANAGER AND NEW WIFE ON HONEYMOON LOSE VAN IN FIRE IN MAIN STREET"" much for the confidentiality of our details of the local Constabulary in those days....the headlines looked more like one of those dummy papers you get knocked up on the Gold Coast.

When I returned to Minlaton, Yorke Peninsula, of course the whole Town knew as news travels fast in S.A. country with many folk inter related.....the sort of publicity we did not need after a honeymoon and being up and about again!.... I believe the Dealer wanted the photos to submit at the time to Insurances and Caravan Associations to show the result of travelling with the gas pilot light on.....I hadn't filled up at that stage and I have alwys believed we could have been in even more strife if it happened at a Service Station wife is now paranoid checking gas stove etc...and always swears she can smell gas....I tell her its only me now...I kept re-assuring her on the honeymoon I was not one of those sorts of people that this sort of thing regularly happened to...even though I suspect I was on that occasion.....absolute 100% true story.....Hoo Roo.....

And while on the subject of GNs, here's another story, this time about the origin of a swear word: Manure: In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship and it was also before the invention of commercial fertilizers, so large shipments of manure were quite common.

It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, not only did it become heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by product is methane gas of course.. As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen. Methane began to build up below decks and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined just what was happening. After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the instruction ' Stow high in transit ' on them, which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.

Thus evolved the term ' S.H.I.T ' , (Stow High In Transit) which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day. You probably did not know the true history of this word. Neither did I. 

I had always thought it was a golf term.

And now here's something I pinched from Justin's blog. I couldn't find a way to separate the story on his blog from the others and link it, so I copied and pasted it instead. It's a most thoughtful article as well as thought provoking. Here goes:

Some excellent commentary
Published: April 2, 2013

I’m worried about how the justices can properly debate same-sex marriage when some don’t even seem to realize that most Americans use the word “gay” now instead of “homosexual”; when Chief Justice John Roberts thinks gays are merely concerned with marriage as a desirable “label,” and when Justice Samuel Alito compares gay marriage to cellphones.

The Nine are back there in their Miss Havisham lairs mulling, disconcertingly disconnected. In his zeal to scare people about the “possible deleterious effect” of gay parents adopting, Justice Antonin Scalia did not seem fully cognizant that gays and lesbians can have their own biological children.

Max Mutchnick, who created and wrote “Will & Grace” with David Kohan, is worried as well. His landmark show came up as a cultural marker during the court proceedings challenging Prop 8. When I was in California covering that trial in 2010, I spent time in Los Angeles with Max, his husband, Erik Hyman, an entertainment lawyer, and their bewitching twin daughters born through a surrogate, Evan and Rose. (In an amazing biological feat, both men fertilized the eggs, so that one daughter looks like Erik and one like Max.)

Erik told me then that taking vows in front of a rabbi and their families (two weeks before Prop 8 passed) made him feel different. “Now that I’m actually married,” he said, “it drives me completely crazy when the other side talks about ‘the sanctity of marriage.’ I’m committed to my spouse. We’re faithful to each other. We’re raising twin girls together. It’s deeply offensive to hear someone say that what we’re doing is robbing them of the ‘sanctity’ of what they’re doing, as though my very existence is unholy.”

On Sunday, stealing a moment in the midst of taking Evan and Rose to a West Hollywood park and a stage version of “Beauty and the Beast” at the Pantages, Max e-mailed me about how discouraged he felt after last week’s arguments at the Supreme Court: “I’m like every other dad in this park: horn-rimmed glasses and baseball hat, New York Times folded in quarters, ignoring my kids dressed in Ralph Lauren Collection playing. But the difference is, every day I open the paper and read about the fact that I’m just kind of gross, according to a lot of people. It’s such an odd thing to live with. I’m so tired of it.”

I asked Max to elaborate. This is what he wrote:

One of my favorite episodes of “Will & Grace” was “Homo for the Holidays,” the story of Jack coming out to his mother. The gang finds out that Jack is not the “out and proud” poster child that he pretends to be, but, in fact, has been telling his mother that Grace was his ex-girlfriend. Will confronts his best friend about his lying and pointedly asks Jack, “Aren’t you tired yet?”

I believe if you’re a homosexual of a certain age or one born on the wrong block in this country, your first steps are inextricably fused with lying. It makes the journey of life much heavier. Like Jack, I eventually grew tired of lying and came out to everyone. Now, however, I find myself tired of telling the truth.

It’s tiring being a member of the last group in America subject to official discrimination. If the gay civil rights movement were a musical comedy, it might be titled “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Supreme Court.”

More and more people think it’s wrong to hate gays. The support for same-sex marriage now exceeds the opposition to it. According to Rick Santorum, that’s all because of “Will & Grace.” (Thanks, cutie. DVD sales are way up!) But, if the good guys are on my side, why do I feel so depleted? I live in a place where all men are created equal, but, for some reason, I am not afforded the same rights. Should my take-away be: I am not a man? It feels as though the Supreme Court is O.K. with that notion. This court is speaking some of the same language that was being used before Stonewall.

Justice Alito raised the question of whether or not it’s too soon to allow gay people to marry. Is it better to keep doing what’s wrong until people are good and ready to do what’s right? Scalia uses the word “homosexual” the way George Wallace used the word “Negro.” There’s a tone to it. It’s humiliating and hurtful. I don’t think I’m being overly sensitive, merely vigilant. I once had to be vigilant for fear that people would find out what I am. Now I have to be vigilant for fear that I will be discriminated against for what I am. Then, as now, it’s a defense against danger.

No wonder I’m tired. I’m committed to fighting this battle until the war is won. I owe it to my inner gay child and my daughters. As Dr. King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” It’s the long part that’s kicking my butt.


Back to boring ol' me, folks! Great article, yes? Justices who still use the word homosexual and compare gays with cellphones. Methuselah lives on.

Checked an auto newsgroup this morning and found these. Never really been a fan of Ferrari but this one looks kinda cool:

I have a friend who owns a 1980 Ferrari, and has for quite a few years. He suffers from Parkinson's and can't drive anymore but it's in his garage waiting for friends to drop by and take him for a spin. His is red. I thought all Ferraris were red. Obviously not any more according to the pic above.

BTW, Oregon Richie commented on the way we all love to shop for goodies to keep us amused: Well indeed keep the budget in check and invest in the big things for the big adventure more than the little things which just seem to accumulate, right?  And where does one put all that stuff which one accumulates?  Toss it, sell it, or store it.  Becky has had a lifelong major problem in accumulating way TOO damned much STUFF which is more hassle than of any help or even benefit and just gets in the way.  Everybody has a bit of that problem but... jeez !!  That is WHY we have a long storage warehouse unit which costs 126 $ per month.  And then there is the one where some of the stuff my Mother had is... and we will have to deal with that sooner than later and THAT is another 61 $ out the door every month.  Hell.  187 $ just to store stuff nobody ever sees or uses.  Oh, well.

Yes, I do love to shop on eBay, looking for bargains and "toys" but, these days, everything I buy is destined for the Odyssey and has no other purpose. I'm done with accumulating waste. I have too much of it already, most having been carted from residence to residence as I've moved around NSW (and once in QLD). It's all gotta go before I head off on my gypsy adventure. But back to Richie's dilemma, now that I'm a pensioner, $187 a month to me is $2244 a year. I could buy something pretty damn special for that. In fact, I mentioned to Richie that once I hit the road permanently, I won't be renting any more, so that's over $5000 in the kick annually. In 2 years, that ten grand will have paid for PJ and all the extras. A rig for free! And by the time the Odyssey is over, I expect to have a tidy little sum sitting in the bank ready to set myself up in a cute little cottage in a retirement park for the remainder of my dotage, where I can write my memoirs and reminisce about my life as a vagabond, complete with pics and written journal. How dat for koolio? No big city though. Too expensive. Otherwise it doesn't matter where it is.

From the Beeb: US officials have played down the threat of war on the Korean peninsula, after weeks of bellicose statements from Pyongyang. A White House spokesman said the US "would not be surprised" if North Korea launched a missile, while a top US military officer said recent threats appeared to fit a familiar pattern. Yep, but I've heard more commentators lately express the belief that the little fat man is insane. Hopefully, his generals aren't.

North Korea should not risk a war which could "affect more than 70% of the Earth's population", the former president of Cuba has warned. In a rare written commentary piece, the reclusive Fidel Castro described the situation on the Korean peninsula as "incredible" and "absurd". He also warned that it posed the greatest risk of nuclear conflict since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

And here we is again, 5-ish, and time for the usual. Lemme check the larder. How does Hearty Beef & Vegetables sound? Hehe. Oh well... better than starving. You'll notice something a bit different on the AO main page this time. I've also changed a few words in the little poem up top. Gary

April 5, 2013. I already exist. How's that for amazing? I haven't downloaded music from Bigpond in years so I thought I'd pop in to the site and check it out. I can't log in because I entered the wrong user/pass. So I tried a variation or two. Still wrong. So I tried to join up. That's when I was told I already exist. Sheesh. Can't win.

Roite. Got that sorted out. Now, when I hear good stuff on the radio or elsewhere I can go to Bigpond and buy the track (or album). They also have a thing where you can add particular tracks from different artists to a "mix album" - create your own fav tracks on the one album as you go and then download it as one. Remember Sade and Smooth Operator? That's on my list.

Yes, gotta be careful of spending money. On slow days like today it's very tempting to part with a few bob in order to brighten things up a bit hehe. The stove-top oven on my eBay watch list has been marked down to $59 (from $79) and I was tempted to buy it yesterday, but then remembered I have other more important priorities such as an AGM battery. Some things can wait, while others can't.

Speaking of which, Stan the Lawn Man still hasn't turned up with his brush cutter to clear the driveway so I can access the camper with the truck and load it. It's most frustrating. He's a forgetful old codger. He's also getting a bit long in the tooth so maybe he's not feeling too well.

I am... feeling well, that is. The liquid food certainly makes a difference to my energy levels and stamina. There have been periods in my recent past when I've felt rather lethargic which made me wonder how I'd cope with life on the road. All seems well now, though.

Here's a lead story on the front page of the Grey Nomad web site about an RV jack-knifing and bursting into flames. I'm no expert on such matters but, at a guess, I'd have to blame inexperience with driving an articulated vehicle. It happened to a bloke I know. He said they were just driving along a straight road in the outback and everything seemed normal when he suddenly saw the van beside the car. Then it rolled and took the car with it. It seems from his experience that early detection of the van wandering or zig-zagging was missing; that the driver had no "feel" for the caravan behind until it was too late. I dunno about other drivers but I'm always very sensitive to the way a car "feels" on the road. If something doesn't feel right, I stop and check.

From the Beeb: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appealed to North Korea to change course, saying it has "gone too far" in its rhetoric. He said he was concerned any "unwanted crisis" on the Korean peninsula would have "very serious implications". The warning came hours after South Korea's foreign minister said the North had shifted a missile with "considerable range" to its east coast. Pyongyang earlier renewed threats of a nuclear strike against the US. If the little fat man in charge of N Korean affairs set out to impress his generals and ruffle Western feathers, he has succeeded. One commentator on The Drum last night went as far as to say he thinks he's insane. That's a worry.

Freelance writer Dan Baum is a self-described gun guy. But even though he has 15 firearms locked in a cabinet in his garage and loves an outing at the shooting range, he does not exactly fit the stereotype. "I am a Jewish, liberal Democrat and a gun guy," he says, "which in the US is a very weird hybrid." The writer, who grew up in New Jersey and now lives in Colorado, says he is representative of millions of ordinary gun-owning Americans. Yep, there are always two sides to a given coin. But he's not the kind of gun owner we're worried about.

Besides, I said, thinking about it a bit more, what if he snapped one day for some obscure reason. Who's to prevent him grabbing a gun or two from his arsenal and venting his spleen? Put it this way, who among us has not at least once in his life been tempted to shoot someone, and might have if access to a gun had been available?

And then there's this: A psychiatrist who had treated the man accused of killing 12 in a July cinema massacre in Colorado had before warned police he was a danger to the public.

NC Art has been conspicuous by his absence lately so I wrote to see how he's doing: All is well and thanks for asking. I have been busy fulminating about insanity in high places, starting with the state governor and his happy band of lunatics in the legislature. We now have a bunch of radical right-wingers dead set on destroying the temple and rebuilding it on a competitive business model. Read, businesses that profit handsomely with taxpayers’ cash. “Government cannot do anything right; free competitive corporations ALWAYS do everything perfectly and efficiently.” Only problem is that the corporation won’t do any state business without a guaranteed profit from dumbasses taxpayers like me. Grrrr

I agree. Business looks after business and governments look after people.

I just started a new thread on the GN What's Cooking forum because on another thread peeps got to talking about the good old fashioned, long handled, camp jaffle irons. Do you have them "over there"? Anyway, I thought it might be a good way to attract recipes or ideas for novel fillings. We all know about cheese and tomato, etc. Maybe I can find out how to crack a fresh egg into a jaffle and have it cook properly without spilling or sticking. When I make a fried sandwich in a pan, I fry the egg first and put aside until I'm toasting the first slice of bread. But the problem with all of this, of course, is that I'm HANGING OUT for a jaffle right now! No teeth, remember? So it's a problem. I should never have mentioned it. I feel like going into the kitchen and making one just to SMELL it. Dammit.

There are two kinds of single jaffle irons... round ones and square ones. Supporters of the square ones reckon they're better cos bread slices are square. But supporters of the round ones reckon they seal better. You just gotta cut off the corners of the bread. Sealing is important. You don't wanna take a bite and have stuff squirting out the back end.

Meanwhile, I'll be interested to read suggestions from GNs about fillings for jaffles. I intend to use the ol' jaffle iron quite often on the Odyssey. My older bro gave it to me years ago (I think when I had the VW Kombi campervan), so it's probably 50 years old or more. It's a square one. One GN said hers belonged to her grandma so it's probably 100 years old. Incidentally, the word Jaffle was the brand name of the original irons way back when, and the word became synonymous with toasted sandwiches. I think they're a great idea, and ideal for putting leftovers to good use. Another GN said he remembers the days when they put a dollop of jam or fruit in the middle of leftover meat as a filling. Sounds interesting! I think chutney would work too. Or maybe a little cranberry with leftover chicken or pork.

Oh dear, there I go again... and I'm stuck with SOUP. It's bacon and potato soup which ain't bad but... it's not the same as having something you can BITE. Gary

April 4, 2013. Cloudy, wet and cool... which looks likely to continue for a week or so. Oh well... If this were to happen on the Odyssey, I'd head inland where the weather is fine and warm.

Well, yesterday's impulse purchase of a set top/bottom box for the mini TV was a good move. I paid about 200 bikkies for that thing about 3 or 4 years ago, and there I was thinking seriously about tossing it! Thilly me!

Saw this on the GN forum just now. Love it.

I was in in the public restroom. I was barely sitting down when I heard a voice in the other stall: "Hi, how are you?"
Me: (embarrassed) "Doin' fine!"
Stall: "So what are you up to?"
Me: "Uhhh, I'm like you, just sitting here."
Stall: "Can I come over?"
Me: (attitude) "No, I'm a little busy right now!!"
Stall: "Listen, I'll have to call you back. There's an idiot in the other stall who keeps answering all my questions!"

Another GN has a signature: "I want to die like my grandfather peacefully in his sleep, not like his screaming passengers."

That twit the other day who criticized Ellen deG and used the words "Dykes and Poofs" copped an earful of my comments and has been berated by the ladies since hehe. Not only that, he had his comment modified by the webmaster. She PM'd me and apologized for missing his insulting language and not moderating it sooner. But at least it gave me an opportunity to give the bloke a piece of my mind. The webmaster runs a pretty tight ship and doesn't allow peeps to make nasty comments that offend other people. At the same time, she's fair. I had a bit of trouble the other day thinking of how I could respond to a bunch of ladies giving husbands (and blokes in general) a hard time without sounding sexist, so I had to be creative in my approach. It worked though, hehe, and got the message across.

From the Beeb: The US has announced it is moving an advanced missile defence system to the Pacific island of Guam as North Korea steps up its warlike rhetoric. The latest statement from Pyongyang said its military had been given final approval to launch a nuclear strike. North Korea has threatened to target the US and South Korea in recent weeks. You can bet your sweet bippy that N Korea's state-run news broadcasts will carry a different message

President Barack Obama has urged Congress to pass stalled US gun control legislation, saying the vast majority of Americans support new restrictions. In Colorado, Mr Obama accused the gun lobby of instilling fears of government gun confiscation to rally opposition. Gun control opponents maintain the US Constitution forbids the restrictions Mr Obama and gun control groups favour. I honestly don't get this constitution business. If the constitution said the world was flat, would that forbid believing otherwise? This is the 21st century. Attitudes change. Priorities change. Society changes. Can you imagine writing a constitution today that would still be relevant in 2 or 3 hundred years from now? Can we even begin to imagine what life might be like then?

The body's own "training manual" for successfully attacking HIV has been recorded by scientists and it is hoped it can be used to design vaccines. Problems are made to be solved, yes?

Traditional British social divisions of upper, middle and working class seem out of date in the 21st Century, no longer reflecting modern occupations or lifestyles. The BBC teamed up with sociologists from leading universities to analyse the modern British class system. They surveyed more than 161,000 people and came up with a new model made up of seven groups. To find out where you fit in use this calculator below.

How did I go? Hehe: 

Result: the class group you most closely match is: Precariat. This is the poorest and most deprived class group. According to the Great British Class Survey results, lots of people in this group: 1) Tend to mix socially with people like themselves 2) Come from a working class background 3) Rent their home - over 80%

BUT, I took the survey again, this time ticking the 'own my own home' box (which I will on the Odyssey) and my status improved to traditional working class, which is cool by me. 

The first mobile phone call was made 40 years ago today, on 3 April 1973. Martin Cooper, a senior engineer at Motorola, called a rival colleague at another telecoms company and announced he was speaking from "a 'real' cellular telephone". In 2012 a report carried out by the International Telecommunication Union found that there were six billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide. I had one of those early "bricks". Wow, things in the telecommunications biz have sure changed.

I see on the Beeb that a company in CA called Zelectric has a plan to turn "investment quality" VW classic Beetles into electric cars but I can't find anything on Google about it. A couple of vids of electric Beetles on Youtube but nothing to do with Zelectric. Anyway, not a bad idea and a good enough reason to give the old Bugs a new lease on life. I'd miss the sound of the old flat four though. That was part of their charm.

Speaking of charm, have you ever seen an Aussie wombat? They're about the size of a largish dog, round and cuddly, and they waddle when they walk. They have long and strong claws for digging their burrows. Here's a pic of one if you're wombat challenged. Anyway, I thought I'd better explain before I post the pic below that I saw on the GN forum. One of the forum members is nicknamed Wombat and is always getting heaps from the others. But he's a funny bloke and a good sport:

There ya go, something a bit different. And that, ladies and genitals, brings me to the end of another Waffle. Not a lot happening today but that's the way it goes. Actually, there is one thing I did... someone on the forum mentioned emergency contact details when travelling, so I typed all my details, contacts, meds, etc, in a Word doc and copied to a USB flash drive which is now on my keyring. Gary

April 3, 2013. One of the GNs mentioned going to see the Ellen Degeneres show in Oz, held at an outdoors venue recently. She had a wonderful time. But then some clown commented on the forum: Dykes and Poofs don't do a thing for me. As for her.....As for her I can't understand all the fuss..The people's of the U S must think we down under are Idiots.

Well, I know who the idiot is. There's one in every crowd, right?

I was surprised by a private message from a GN this morning: Hi Gary, just finished the Gosford segment of your scrapbook and had to write.... I am teaching at the Central Coast Conservatorium (formerly old Gosford Courthouse) in probably the very cell you spent those awful hours way back! Bizarre I know. Sandstone walls are whitewashed and skylights have been added for inspiration - magnificent iron doors and high barred windows remain. Soundproofing apparently, tho some would say with the constant warbling and scraping, the punishment continues, lol. I am really enjoying your story and thank you for putting it up, talent is shining through as it must!

From the Beeb: The US will defend itself and its "treaty ally" South Korea in the face of North Korean threats, Secretary of State John Kerry says. Of course. What else is new?

The UN General Assembly adopts a historic treaty to control the trade in conventional arms, voting it through by a huge majority. Funny innit. Go to the toy dept at the mall and you see plastic machine guns, pistols, tanks, warplanes and all that fun stuff.

US schools should train and arm staff members and appoint an armed guard to respond to shootings, a powerful US gun-rights group has said. In a report commissioned in response to a December school massacre, the National Rifle Association (NRA) said armed guards would make schools safer. And sell a lot more guns, of course.

Chilly water, muddy potholes and the scepticism of an expert New Jersey fisherman are the obstacles faced by Land Rover's refreshed compact SUV. And here's one for Oregon Richie, a mad Landy nut.

Back from the pharmacy. My medication didn't arrive so they sent someone to the hospital to get a small pack to tide me over until the regular pack arrives. That was very nice of them! So I took a spare seat between two blokes talking about having teeth pulled hehe. Naturally, I told them about my adventures. Then one of them left so I took the opportunity ask the younger one about his Samsung smart phone. He showed me a pic of a large flathead he caught just up the river a few miles. "Oh, so you don't carry a photo of your wife around, it's a bloody fish!" Then he showed me a pic of his missus - she gets to be the screen saver. Anyway, I asked about the cost, how long the battery lasts until needing a charge, what the thing is capable of, etc, and it was all very interesting. Rather than buy it outright, he's on a $30 a month plan for 2 years. It's a pretty tricky gadget, and I'm thinking it would be useful on the Odyssey for various things (apart from phone calls) such as email, checking various web sites, and other internet tasks instead of relying on the laptop which chews more power. I'd have to get used to typing with both thumbs instead of all fingers but that's okay.

Then I had a chat with a little old lady who didn't realize how many different versions of vitamin B there were and was waiting for the chemist to sort out the problem. She said she takes "brain" tablets as well... can't do cryptic crosswords any more but still finds regular crosswords "too easy". I could never do the cryptics, not even as a young bloke, and told her so. The next person to sit next to me was an old bloke who apologized for putting his tee on inside out. Hehe. So all that passed the time nicely as I waited for my meds.

The timing was perfect cos when I got back home, and took a pee, a young delivery bloke arrived with my liquid food. Now I'll be able to get back to putting on a bit of weight. Also, a postcard was waiting for me from Joao. It's a pic of Algarve, Cabo de Sao Vicente, the extreme southwest point of Europe. Joao says even in winter there are some motorhomes  - visitors from other European countries. "Who knows? Some day you may decide to extend the Odyssey to other continents?" Highly unlikely, Joao. There's waaaaay too much of Oz to see already! However, I will be taking a ship across Bass Strait to visit Tasmania! At the southernmost tip of Tassie, there's nothing but ocean all the way to the Antarctic.

Something else arrived in the mail too. Wanna know what? I'm wearing them now. Ready? Ooer! Higher highs and lower lows. The clarity is awesome, especially mid range (piano and sax). Rod Stewart and These Foolish Things is playing. Yep, the Sennheisers. If the little player had an adjustable equalizer I'd knock the upper tops down a little. I'll check the manual. Now Supertramp and The Logical Song. The ear buds have their own little pouch with a spring loaded opening (instead of drawstrings), and 4 spare buds. All very noice. Beatles and Here Comes The Sun. Ah! Just discovered something about the equalizer... it has various settings and I changed from "normal" to "rock". Big difference in bass response and "presence", so that'll do me. I'm a happy boy now. Go forth and press lots of buttons, I say.

Wow, there's a big Hammond pounding my ear drums at the mo... Santana and Evil Ways.

Well, I suppose I better add a smartphone to my list, but it'll have to wait. Got way too many other things that are more important. Next pay day? Not sure. The bank account and credit card have taken a hiding lately so maybe I'll wait till the pay day towards the end of the month. Huh? What was that I said? Hmmm. I just checked eBay for set top boxes. I have a 7" portable TV I bought a couple of years ago but it's analogue. I was gonna dump it but thought maybe I should get a set top box. A small one. So I just have. It's stock bought from a liquidated wholesaler by the seller, hence only $25 including postage. Can't go wrong. And I get to keep my little portable, which will be much better spacewise in the camper than the 18" TV, and much easier to store. Actually, the set top box will now become a set bottom box cos the TV is only a baby.

So there ya go... I'm fulla surprises. So fulla surprises I fail to surprise anyone hehe. BTW, have you seen the prices of digital portables? Whoa! So by using a small set top box, I got me a bargain.

Well, that was a bit of excitement I hadn't anticipated! And now it's time to de-Waffleize for another day and check the telly to see what the world's been up to while I wasn't looking. Have a noice one! Gary

April 2, 2013. Have you heard of 'ranga'? According to my dentist, Nancy, it's the new nickname for redheads... short for Orang Utan. She was wearing false eyelashes today, double ones, so I said I was jealous and wanted a pair of red ones (cos I useta was a redhead). She mentioned my weight again so I said I'd figured out how to gain weight easily... "I'm gonna get myself pregnant". She thought that was a great idea.

And what a glorious day it is too. I sat on the veranda to enjoy the sun for a while until Lindsay appeared, making weird noises and smoking a ciggie, so I came back inside. But at least I had a chance to think about relaxing in a camp chair and listening to a babbling brook. I was also keen to find out what the GN who went yabbie hunting yesterday had for dinner last night. "Vegie soup and dumplings. No luck with the yabbies." Oh well...

Someone on a forum (a newbie yet to start travelling) asked about essentials for the trip. Up came the usual - fire extinguisher, mobile phone, etc, etc, but then someone suggested a UHF hand-held radio. Very useful for communicating with truckies on country roads to let them know you'll pull over at the earliest opportunity to let them pass. Also handy to keep an ear out for approaching wide loads, and as a backup to your mobile phone in case of an emergency like a breakdown. So I checked the prices of units on eBay and they're between $50 and $100 for 1 watt with 5-10km coverage. Not something you'd use all that often but handy to have.

From the Beeb: More than 6,000 people died in Syria in March during the deadliest month since protests against President Bashar al-Assad began two years ago, activists say. Jeez, and we bitch about our lot

North Korea's parliament has endorsed plans to give nuclear weapons greater prominence in the country's defences. The move came a day after the ruling Workers' Party called for nuclear forces to be "expanded and beefed up qualitatively and quantitatively". Huff and puff according to one professor interviewed on telly last night. He said if North Korea decides to attack, there'll be no warning. They will simply attack. But they won't because the boss likes his wife and cars too much - and food - and he won't risk obliteration.

Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty for the man accused of killing 12 people last July at a cinema in the US state of Colorado. Death is not a penalty. Life is a penalty.

Lawmakers in the US state of Connecticut have agreed to a sweeping set of gun restrictions, including a ban on new high-capacity magazines. The proposal requires background checks on all gun sales and expands the state's assault weapons ban. It comes as new federal gun measures appear to have stalled in Congress. It beggars belief that anyone in his right mind could argue in favor of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines for private citizens.

A bag snatcher has managed to escape after running through the glass door of a Perth shopping centre. CCTV footage showed people reacting quickly after the man collided with the door and he was grabbed by a shop owner. I saw this on the news last night. Idiot bag snatcher. Pity he wasn't sliced to ribbons.

Just back from shopping for a few things and saw some young mothers with their babies and prams at the mall, all on welfare, of course, and all barely in their teens. The hopeless breeding more hopeless who will most likely end up snatching bags or breaking into houses like that twit who ran into the glass door. Go forth and multiply, huh? Thanks a lot.

One of the female GNs started a thread on a forum about how she hates her hubby hanging around when she's shopping for clothes, especially in the lingerie section hehe. Then a whole bunch of women commented on how husbands are a bloody nuisance and should be left at home when the wives go shopping for clothes. They also agreed that husbands have no taste in color and shape anyway, and that they're totally ignorant when it comes to style. So I waited until a number of the ladies had vented their spleens before I posted my comment: If it's true that men have no taste in fashion, then it appears that all the women I see at the local mall take their husbands with them when they shop for clothing.

Mind you, according to this vid, Wal Mart in the US is even worse.

Incidentally, religion and politics are banned from the forums. A couple have sneaked through and provoked heated comments from some GNs before being stopped by the webmaster (a woman). In my view, if people can't discuss such subjects rationally and logically, without resorting to personal insults, it shows a lack of maturity. Have you seen all the finger-pointing and name-calling that goes on regularly in the Australian Parliament? It's like something out of an unsupervised kindergarten class. Even the presence of television cameras doesn't discourage them from behaving like nitwits.

Wanna see a portable fire pit? One of the GNs saw this and posted the URL. Great idea for a campfire.

I don't think I would be doing much cooking on a campfire though... not just for lil ole me. But that fire pit would be handy for keeping a fire clean and tidy (as well as safe) as an open fire purely for the atmospherics at night while having a quiet beer.

Well, that's about all I have for you today Ls and Gs. Since Steve W has been kind enough to "loan" me his address for driver's licence, rego, insurance, etc, I thought I'd better take a look at it in case I'm asked about garages or whatever, so I did a Google street view. Wow! It's a biggie! It's in a semi rural area with lots of trees on a big block. He must've made a few bob selling fishing rods. Anyway, not to worry. Pretty soon my backyard will be a bit bigger... quite a bit bigger, in fact. Hehe. Gary

April 1, 2013. April the oneth. How time flies, except when you're waiting to put a truck and camper together and saving to buy more goodies. Speaking of which, I just put some stuff in the wheelie bin outside near the curb for pickup tomorrow morning when a 4WD towing a large caravan pulled over right in front of me - just to tease me. Lovely thing it was too.

TX Greg sent:

Meanwhile, here's a video about rejected race-horse names, such as Hoof Arted.

Speaking of hooves, there was an interesting story on telly last night about using horses as therapy for people with emotional problems, such as young offenders and those suffering some kind of trauma. It was very moving. Being herd animals, horses are very attuned to emotional responses from people. They can read a person's body language; they can read a person's heart rate and skin; they can "see" every nerve in a person's body. If a person is not totally relaxed, they'll shy away. On the other hand, if a person appears relaxed and trustworthy (as a leader), they will follow. 

One guy was asked to stand with his back to a horse and focus on relaxing; to lower his shoulders and breathe deeply and slowly; and to bow his head. Pretty soon, the horse casually walked up behind him and waited patiently to be led. Slowly, the guy turned around, smiled, then raised his hand slowly to pet the horse's forehead and ruffle its mane as it lowered its head to accommodate his gesture. The pair had bonded, and it was a delight to see. As the man began to walk around the stable, sure enough the horse walked behind happy to follow. No tether or bridle strap.

The people who took part in the therapy were all transformed. For many, it was the first time they'd experienced trust and affection in a relationship with another creature, and it had a profound effect on their sense of self-worth as well as their ability to communicate with fellow humans.

I've wondered about seeing horses led, especially by children, with no tension in the bridle. How could those giant quadrupeds be so placid and utterly willing to follow? Herd instinct. And it doesn't seem to matter what size the leader is, just so long as he/she meets all the other criteria. It also explains why horse and man has had such a long history of mutual dependency. Although, it doesn't quite explain why a horse is happy to pull a buggy with no one to lead it. NC Art tells stories of more cantankerous nags taking great delight in stepping on toes when least expected hehe. But I'm sure he's also had more pleasant experiences with those fine specimens. 

And on the subject of farm animals, here's a story posted by a GN: Little Johnny comes down to breakfast. Since they live on a farm, his mother asks if he had done his chores. "Not yet," said Little Johnny. His mother tells him no breakfast until he does his chores.

Well, he's a little pissed off, so he goes to feed the chickens, and he kicks a chicken. He goes to feed the cows, and he kicks a cow. He goes to feed the pigs and he kicks a pig.

He goes back in for breakfast and his mother gives him a bowl of dry cereal. "How come I don't get any eggs and bacon? Why don't I have any milk in my cereal?" he asks. "Well," his mother says, "I saw you kick a chicken, so you don't get any eggs for a week. I saw you kick the pig, so you don't get any bacon for a week either. I also saw you kick the cow, so for a week you aren't getting any milk."

Just then, his father comes down for breakfast and kicks the cat halfway across the kitchen. Little Johnny looks up at his mother with a smile, and says: "Are you going to tell him, or should I?"

Remember Hall and Oates? I've had their song I Can't Go For That rolling around in my head for days. I also like Rich Girl and Maneater but I was surprised to discover just how big they were back in the 70s and 80s - even got into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. Billboard named them the most successful duo of the Rock Era. They called their music Rock and Soul. Aaaaanywaaaaaay, I took a peek at iTunes yesterday and the oldest stuff I could find was hits of the 90s. That was about the time I lost the plot as far as hit music was concerned. It got worse during the latter 90s and through the noughties. So I'm just as bad as the rest of the old fogeys hehe. There's probably a lotta stuff from the past decade or two that I would like but I just don't listen to music radio any more - too much of that rap stuff. Although I have heard stuff on radio that I like - but it's talk radio with an occasional chewn. Jack Johnson's stuff I dig a lot, and the John Butler Trio, especially Better Than.

I wuz thinking about buying a second MP3 player - mine has 16GB of memory but when that's full, which it is, there's no facility for plugging in a new memory card. Mind you, it would take me a helluva long time to listen to all the stuff I have already, but it's only $30 for a spare. Hmmm.

From the Beeb: Private daily newspapers are being sold in Burma for the first time in almost 50 years, as a state monopoly ends. Sixteen papers have so far been granted licences, although only four were ready to publish on Monday. This is another important milestone on Burma's journey away from authoritarian rule, the BBC's Jonathan Head reports from the commercial capital, Rangoon. Good news indeed.

Imagine if you were a super-villain who had taken control of all the world's gold, and had decided to melt it down to make a cube. How big would it be? Hundreds of metres cubed, thousands even? Actually, it's unlikely to be anything like that size

At least three people have been killed and 15 injured in a pile-up involving almost 100 vehicles in the US state of Virginia, police say. They said there were 17 separate crashes within a distance of one mile (1.6km) on Interstate 77 near the base of Fancy Gap Mountain. The accidents began shortly after 13:00 local time (17:00 GMT) on Sunday, when there was heavy fog in the area. There is absolutely no way I'd drive in heavy fog. Can you imagine all those airbags popping, one after the other?

Pope Francis has delivered a passionate plea for peace in his first Easter Sunday message since being elected. Francis used his "Urbi et Orbi" address to call for peace in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and across the globe. You're preaching to the converted, mate. Been there, done that.

Actually, the other day when the Beeb published the story of Frank washing the feet of those young offenders I was tempted to say something naughty, but thought better of it. :) And I bet I wasn't the only one. Roite, Greg?

Nobody can explain the secret to a happy marriage, says Adam Gopnik, but it doesn't stop people trying. Anyone who tells you their rules for a happy marriage doesn't have one. There's a truth universally acknowledged, or one that ought to be anyway. Don't look at me, I'm just watching the show.

Just reading the GN forum again. One woman camped near a dam mentioned seeing yabbies (fresh water crays) in there, and she was wondering what to use to catch a few. So another GN wrote to say an old wire coathanger, an onion net bag (those bags used to sell onions by the kilo) and a bit of SPAM will do the trick. Use the wire to make a net with a hoop, pop the SPAM inside, and lower the bag into the water. Come back a little later and, hey presto, dinner. She said she didn't have any SPAM but did have a bit of dog food left in a can. A meal of yabbies in a restaurant would cost you a small fortune. Another trick used to catch them is to attach a bit of SPAM to a string then lower the bait into the water. When a yabby takes hold of the bait, lift the string slowly - the yabby won't let go - and bring it out of the water into a bucket. Most of the yabby is no good for flesh except the tail. About 3 or 4 would make a good meal. I've never had one but I've heard they're lovely and sweet.

So what am I having? Roast chicken. SOUP, that is. Actually, it's not too bad. And there goes Easter Mondee. Actually, there goes Easter! As well as March. And we ain't gettin' any younger, folks. You know all those sayings like 'make hay while the sun shines?'. They mean nothing to younger folks. Zip. As one GN noted, "it's all so finite!" Yeah, well so is PJ but between now and the junkyard she's gonna rack up some miles hehe, and every one of them is gonna be awesome. Gary


← Older posts      Waffle Index      Newer posts →
Return to Home Page