January 31, 2014. One down, 11 to go. How's your happy new year
going so far?
I'm contemplating making my own trifle - my way. Fattening! Instead
of sponge cake, I figure heavy fruit cake. I have leftover plum pudding
so I'll use that up first. It's not easy for me to swallow cake with all
the fruit so I'll use my extra sharp knife to slice it thinly and then
layer it in a dish. Crumbling it doesn't reduce the size of the lumpy bits
- tried that already. Instead of using jelly (jello), I'll use a good quality
fruity jam. Fruit in jam is cooked so it's soft. The idea is a layer or
two of thinly sliced plum pudding (or heavy fruit cake), spread with jam
and a good soaking of sherry, a generous layer of double-thick custard,
repeat cake, jam and sherry, and another generous layer of double-thick
custard. Depending on the height, maybe repeat the layers. Top with grated
chocolate. Refrigerate. I'll make enough for several servings so once each
serving is on a plate, top with good squirt of pressure-pack whipped cream.
I can't handle animal fat in meat but I have no probs with dairy fat
- butter, cream, cheese.
NC Art reckons it's still a tad nippy over there: Weather predictors
lied. Melting was supposed to begin today, but the jet stream god didn’t
read the weather forecast. Still living on an iceberg with temp right at
freeze mark. Besides that my water line froze this morning, but thawed
after my son put an electric heater in the pump house. We are on well water
way out here in the woods. He managed to get out to the road in a pickup
truck and brought back a newspaper, but said the driving was pretty hairy
even at 10 mph. I won’t be jumping in my ancient Buick until I can see
gravel through the ice on our 600 foot driveway through the wilderness!
If you go down in the woods today,
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go down in the woods today,
You'd better go in disguise.
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today's the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic.
Yeah... if you go down to the sticks today doesn't cut it. Or bush.
Woods works. You don't hear people using 'woods' in Oz, it's always sticks,
bush and sometimes forest. Now... if you're really hanging out to hear
the Teddy Bears Picnic song, here's
Ann Murray doing the honors.
Meanwhile, OH Jace wrote to say the weather in his patch is not too
flash either: We are having a heatwave in Ohio too. It was a balmy minus
7 degrees C today after dropping to minus 29 C Tuesday and slightly warmer
at minus 27 Wednesday and minus 22 C Thursday. This is the same storm that
crippled the south with snow and ice in Florida. We finally received a
decent snow last weekend, 8 inches, with a total for the season of nearly
a meter. Way above normal. It has not been this cold since 1978. Like the
past three weekends spring will make a brief appearance with temps around
4 C. Snow will changed to rain before changing back to snow next week with
temps approaching minus 2 again. The wind chill, as low as minus 40, made
things even worse.
Roite, well we're getting similar temps except they're plus instead
of minus. Jace goes on to say: I get to baby-sit Ryan when the kids
are in school which is not often at present. The poor kids will have to
go to school half the summer to make up the lost days. Of course, he wants
to go out and play, but it is way too cold. He seems satisfied with a quick
walk up the driveway to the mailbox and back.
Well, I think it's very encouraging that he comes back again. Must something
about your cooking, Jace. Jace also suggests Biotene for my oral cavity:
Next time you go to the dentist ask about BIOTENE. It is an enzyme that
helps with dry mouth. Dentist here swear by it. It comes as a mouthwash
and toothpaste. Nancy recommended Biotene toothpaste when I first started
seeing her. I still have some. I use a different mouthwash though... Savacol,
which is a pretty strong antiseptic.
Anyway, good to hear that the Ohio Gang is well and making pancakes
naked. I'm pretty sure Cody made toasted peanut butter sarmies naked one
time hehe. Nothing shy about that lad.
Back from shopping - a few groceries and all the yummies for trifle.
I looked for a good quality jam, one with lots of fruit, and found a brand
I hadn't seen before, Anathoth
Farm in New Zealand. Yes, I know, I'm being unpatriotic. Anyway, I
read the label and was pretty impressed. It was double the price of the
cheaper jams BUT, you get what you pay for. I bought the 3 berry variety
- strawberry, boysenberry, blackcurrant. Couldn't find grated chocolate
though so I'll grate it myself from a block of cooking chocolate.
From the Beeb: During World War One up to 12 million letters a week
were delivered to soldiers, many on the front line. The wartime post was
a remarkable operation, writes ex-postman and former Home Secretary Alan
Johnson. When a soldier on the Western Front wrote to a London newspaper
in 1915 saying he was lonely and would appreciate receiving some mail the
response was immediate.
Australian authorities have approved a project to dump dredged sediment
in the Great Barrier Reef marine park as part of a project to create one
of the world's biggest coal ports. The decision was made by the Great Barrier
Reef Marine Park Authority. We
haven't heard the last of that, that's for sure.
Well, I think I'll go and make this trifle and see how it turns out.
There are heaps of trifle recipes on the web using different ingredients
apart from the basics. So inventing a new one is nothing out of the ordinary.
Catch yaz tomorrow. Gary
January 30, 2014. OR Richie said of Obama's State of the Union
speech: Our President gave a very good State of the Union address last
night with predictably mixed results but we thought it was very good.
One commentator on The Drum last night said it was "classic Obama" but
long on rhetoric and short on substance. My layman's view is that it's
been a tug o' war in congress with one side not giving an inch to the other.
It must be frustrating the hell outta Obama to be the first black president
in the US constantly stymied by a hostile congress. At one point in his
address, he said anything was possible in the USA including the son of
a single mother becoming the president of "the greatest country on earth".
Hehe. Oh well... our PM says that about Oz too.
One of our pollies, Joe
Hockey, treasurer, I like. He's typically Aussie - acts like one, talks
like one, and has a laconic sense of humor like one. So I was surprised
to discover his ancestry is Palestinian. Just goes to show that no matter
what a person's origins, owyagoin, mate, no worries, will gitcha sooner
Hockey was interviewed on a show one time where he hosted the interviewer
to lunch at his home, and did the cooking. Bangers and onions on the barbie
with a bottle of tamaaaata sauce hehe. During the tour of his home (which
is his bacheor pad away from his family when he's in Canberra) the cameras
revealed an oven that still had traces of the original plastic wrapping
despite its being several years old. In his bedroom, the pillow slip starred
Bart Simpson which cracked up the presenter big time. Hockey shrugged and
said, "It was on special."
clip of Hockey as opposition shadow treasurer during Rudd's reign as
PM doing battle with the Speaker of the House. You'll need to watch it
all the way through to get the full impact. Interestingly, in the end,
then treasurer Wayne Swan answers Hockey's accusations. Behind Swan on
the front bench are PM Rudd and Deputy PM Gillard. All three, Swan, Rudd
and Gillard, are now out of politics and Hockey is the federal treasurer.
Parts of Oz might be in the grip of a heatwave (with a cyclone threatening
N. Qld) at the mo, but it's quite a different story in NC Art's neck of
the woods: Too Hot? Search for pictures of Atlanta, GA, after a weird
snow/ice/sleet/rain storm hit us Southerners yesterday. I have a white
blanket of sleet all round the house, and frozen moisture inside my bedroom
glass door to the lawn. Thousands of school kids stranded in schools waiting
for police and national guard forces to get them home. Bet the kids are
having a ball sleeping in classrooms overnight.
Kids have a talent for turning disaster into an adventure - but they
don't have to pay the repair bills. Meanwhile, FL Josh found this video
about a group of enthusiasts getting an old Ford Mustang ready
for a long trip.
One GN asked the forumites for advice and/or suggestions for a suitable
twin-cab ute to carry his slide-on camper around Oz. There were quite a
few responses but, in mine, I explained that my choice was of no value
to him cos all I had to spend was $2500. Hehe. It was only later that I
had sufficient bucks to tack on a couple of tires, helper springs, bull
bar, and a new set of front brake cylinders.
From the Beeb: Canadian pop star Justin Bieber has been charged with
assaulting a limousine driver in Toronto last December. The 19-year-old
handed himself in at a Toronto police station where he was mobbed by TV
crews, news photographers and screaming teenage fans. The charge comes
a week after the star was arrested for a separate incident in Florida and
charged with drink-driving. Is
it true that any publicity is good publicity? In this case, I suspect so.
Stem cell researchers are heralding a "major scientific discovery",
with the potential to start a new age of personalised medicine. Scientists
in Japan showed stem cells can now be made quickly just by dipping blood
cells into acid. Stem cells can transform into any tissue and are already
being trialled for healing
the eye, heart and brain.
Gene types that influence disease in people today were picked up
through interbreeding with Neanderthals, a major study in Nature journal
suggests. They passed on variants involved in type 2 diabetes, Crohn's
disease and - curiously - smoking addiction. Genome studies reveal that
our species (Homo sapiens) mated
with Neanderthals after leaving Africa.
Retired defence chief Peter Cosgrove has been nominated as Australia's
next governor-general by Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The ceremonial role,
as representative of Queen Elizabeth II, involves opening parliament, giving
assent to laws and receiving official visitors. Mr Cosgrove will become
the 26th governor-general of Australia.Now
there's another Aussie I like. A good and decent bloke if ever there was
Not all that hot today but windy, which played havoc with my Grey Nomad
sticker as I tried to stick it squarely on the rear of PJ. Now it's official
- I'm a dinky di Aussie grey nomad, with a GN baseball cap and stubby
holder to boot.
And here we are at that time again, buns (what's left of them) on the
couch time and a bit of telly. Gary
January 29, 2014. Boo hoo! Nancy gave me a big hug after the
irrigation this morning - her last day at the "office". She'll be a full-time
student again, with maybe a bit of casual work at a Darwin clinic. If Darwin
is anything like Taree, there'll be no shortage of people needing dental
care. She'll be back here every 5 weeks to see me. Meanwhile, we can stay
in touch via the magic of email. Emma and Cherie will take over gob job
duties while Nancy's away.
I checked the light rail map of Sydney last night. The tram at Central
runs through the inner west and stops
at Glebe, so I'll take that when I'm in Sydney on Monday. The inner
city light rail network was still on the
drawing board when I lived there. I think it was officially opened
Also last night I visited a Nikon user's site to learn a thing or two
about open-shutter photography, and ended up buying a remote shutter release
on eBay. $22 including postage so that's pretty cool. I wanna be prepared
for those outback
starry nights and campfire shots - also early dawn and dusk.
From the Beeb: US President Barack Obama is giving his State of the
Union address, in which he will promise to bypass a fractured Congress
to tackle economic inequality. Mr Obama will pledge to "take steps without
legislation" wherever possible, according to excerpts of the speech. The
White House said Mr Obama would unveil an executive order to raise the
minimum wage to $10.10 (£6.10) an hour for
new federal contract workers.
$10.10 an hour is about $400 gross for a 40-hour week. That's what I
get as an age pensioner, which in Oz is supposed to be about half the average
wage. What I don't understand about the Republican attitude is if a consumer
society has too many consumers that can't afford to consume, how is it
supposed to survive?
US President Obama has paid tribute to the American folk singer and
activist Pete Seeger, who has died following a short illness at the age
of 94. "Once called 'America's tuning fork', Pete Seeger believed deeply
in the power of song," said Mr Obama. "But more importantly, he believed
in the power of community. To stand up for what's right, speak out against
what's wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could
be." Seeger was quizzed by the Un-American Activities Committee in 1955
over whether he had sung for Communists, replying that he "greatly resented"
the implication that his work made him any less American. Seeger was charged
with contempt of Congress, but the sentence was overturned on appeal.
you wish those 'quizzers' were still alive today to stew in their own puerile
juices at having been such morons?
Speaking of consumers and consuming, Toyota in Oz is doing pretty well
with it's manufacture of the Camry here because it's an international car,
chiefly exported to other parts of the world. Holden and Ford produce "Australian"
cars designed specifically for local conditions. Ford doesn't have an export
market for its Falcon and GM's Holden export markets are drying up. Holden
used to do quite well in the Middle East, parts of SE Asia, S. Africa and
New Zealand but that's all changing now due to competition from car manufacturers
in Korea and other parts of Asia as well as Germany. Once Ford and Holden
quit manufacturing in Oz in a few years from now, Toyota will be the only
auto maker left.
Those who support the retention of auto manufacturing in Oz, even if
it means government subsidy, stress that auto manufacturing is not just
about cars: it's about electronics, robotics, plastics and other materials,
design, fashion, and hundreds of components of all types supplied by other
smaller manufacturers. Not to mention ongoing research and development.
"We can't depend forever on selling what we dig out of the ground," they
I've noticed the GNs often refer to stocking up at the big supermarket
chains no matter where they are - apart from the more remote areas of Oz.
So you can imagine what that's done to the corner store in country towns.
They're getting harder and harder to find. There are a few general stores
around the Manning Valley but only in tiny villages of a hundred or so
people. Even then, most of the locals make the trip into the nearby bigger
towns to shop at the supermarkets. I'm thinking of one at Mt George, a
community of maybe a hundred people consisting of local farmers plus a
handful of people living in town. The General Store is the 'only' store
- it sells groceries, liqor, petrol and gas, newspapers, and serves as
the post office. The railway runs right through Mt George but the trains
don't stop cos there's no station. I've been there a couple of times -
and one time I
spotted this bloke. Jeez, that's almost 6 years ago already!
Yep, time flies - especially when you've had a couple of naps
on a hot day hehe. So it's time to split for another day. Gary
January 28, 2014. After yesterday's little rant about Greg Norman,
it occurred to me this morning that it's not only golf and sport fishing
that some celebs have in common but also celeb status and camping. Yeah?
So guess who's gonna be "out there" meeting all kinds of people and armed
with a couple of cameras? I might end up doing my own series of videos
with me as the interviewer, cinematographer, editor, writer, audio tech,
producer, yadda yadda. And it won't cost me a cent.
Ya never know what kind of opportunities lie around the next bend in
the road, boils and goils. Anything could happen. And guess who has a whole
bunch of experience just waiting to be capitalized on? <--- preposition
at end of sentence - so sue me.
NC Art is the kinda bloke who can turn a negative situation into a positive
one by using a little creative imagination: G’day Mate. Light a big
fire in the chimney and enjoy roasted dove!
Pureed, of course. Speaking of which, my appointment with Nancy is just
15 minutes away. Poke, poke, poke, pick, pick, pick, squirt, squirt, squirt.
BACK! Tomorrow is my last appointment with Nancy until March when she
returns from Darwin for the first of her regular five-weekly visits. Emma
will be in charge of the squirting regimen in the meantime. Nancy's pretty
happy with the progress though, slow as it is. At first, it was a "continent"
of bone. Now it's an archipelego - a series of little islands divided by
growing gum. Cool, huh? Next Monday, I see the doc in Sydney. I wonder
if he'll notice the improvement.
In any case, I'll be spending the morning wandering around Glebe
Point Park, photographing the Anzac Bridge (which
was being constructed when I lived there) and various other sights
around the area including old terrace houses and views of the city from
the walkway around the point. What a pleasant way to spend a morning in
old Sydney Town.
So what's on the agenda today? Good question. I have no idea. Yes I
do! Make a smoothie, chill in the fridge, and pig out on a bit more trifle
in the meantime. Also sent an email to my ex neighbor in Glebe to check
if he's home Monday morning. If so, I'll call in for a coffee before I
see the doc. Roite... that's organized... coffee at 10am. The last time
I was at Jeremy's house I was torn to shreds by his cat, one of those exotic
gray, green-eyed thingies. But that was over 20 years ago.
Not much on the Beeb today (other than the usual Syria, Ukraine stuff)
except a story about niche bankers taking over certain financial sectors
of traditional banking, using the latest computer technology and social
media such as Twitter and Facebook. Established banks are trying to play
catchup but as one of the niche players said, "It's easier to come up with
something new when you start with a blank sheet of paper." Traditional
banks are hog tied to too much old techlology baggage. Besides, banks are
not my favorite people so I'm quite happy to see them getting a kick in
In any case, the digital age has opened up all kinds of new opportunities
for enterprising individuals. These are exciting times, folks. Even in
my case, the AO web site and its contents are something I could never have
considered doing even two decades ago. Here I am in living color and cinemascope
for all the world to see! (They just don't know it yet).
Once upon a time...
...a Cadillac looked like this. Pretty fancy, yes? More bling than Al
Capone's girlfriend at a gala performance. Forget all those silly fins
and acres of sheet metal that came later, THIS old girl has class. It's
probably a V16, in which case, that donk would sound as sweet as the Boston
Philharmonic. I mean, is that a statement or is that
a statement? Can you imagine that pulling into the drive and
gliding up to your front porch? Every curtain in the street would be instantly
pulled to one side.
Is there such a thing as style these days? I've often heard the term
"minimalist" used in relation to modern design. Well, there's certainly
nothing minimalist about that Caddy. Hehe.
Pay week this week, but also power bill week - $520, which pays for
3 months electricity. You know what else it would buy? One 200W solar panel
and a second AGM battery. Hello? $2000 a year for power, $5000 for rent
- are you with me?
And there goes the day. No dramas, no worries, and no long-lost relative
carking it and leaving me a few million bucks hehe. And now a bit of telly
and a nibble or two. Gary
January 27, 2014. I've never quite understood my older bro's
comment regarding my professional demise, that I went beyond my station
(in life). Maybe it's that traditional Aussie mistrust of people who "get
too big for their boots". It's called the "tall poppy syndrome". Cut 'em
down to size. And yet Australian lore is full of heroes who went beyond
their station; who dragged themselves up by their bootstraps from working
class backgrounds to become national icons. Not that I ever personally
aimed that high. People like Banjo Patterson, Don Bradman, the 'Lithgow
Flash' Marjorie Jackson, Slim Dusty, Rod Laver, Greg Norman, and thousands
Last night's Australian Story on telly was about Greg Norman, the World's
No.1 golfer during the '80s and '90s who made a career out of "almost"
winning several majors. He would get to within striking distance and then
whammo, lose the plot. But he turned his focus to setting up a business
marketing his nickname The Great White Shark - clothing, golfing merchandise,
course design - and is now worth well over 150m dollars. He's also involved
in nurturing young Australian golfing talent and setting them on their
way to professional success on the world stage. Among his personal friends
are many famous celebs including Bill Clinton. "And I'm not a democrat!"
I have mixed feelings about that bloke. He's worked hard and deserves
the success he has but he still killed that great white shark at Port Lincoln
which trashed the TV program I was working on, and which my house was riding
on. "Okay, Cap'n," he said after pretending to catch and release the shark
for the cameras, "you've got your footage, now let's get him!" Well, he
got him alright. The shark was drawn alongside the boat and out came the
gaff. Goodbye shark. Later that day, in the dead of night, attended by
only a select few, the trophy was strung up on a gantry where Norman proudly
posed for the photograph. Little did any of us realize that Jacques Cousteau
was on board his ship just off shore. He heard about the kill and soon
the news was front page headlines in Europe. Goodbye house in Glebe.
There were other reasons for the trashing of the program including the
incompetence of freelance crew hired for the golfing component of the show
in Melbourne by people I trusted to know better, but the killing of the
shark was the main contributor. The program was the pilot of an intended
series featuring top golfers and game fishers (such as Lee Marvin) that
didn't make it past Ep.1. By the time Nick
Faldo stole the 1996 Masters at Augusta from Greg Norman after Norman
succumbed to last minute jitters, I was sitting in my dingy flat in Petersham
next to a pile of unpaid bills on the floor wondering what on earth I was
gonna do about the eviction notice I'd received. Perhaps I was the only
person in the world that day who was pleased about Norman's change of fortune.
Yet somehow I survived, and here I am 18 years later with no bills piled
on the floor and no eviction notice. Not exactly a $150m empire but better
than living on the streets. Yes, dear Breth, I've learned a helluva lotta
lessons since those days. Trouble is, I'm not sure what the hell to do
with 'em hehe.
The weird thing is, what and where would I be now if the program had
been successful and led to the production of the full series? That's a
scary thought. I'm kinda content with things the way they are. I'm freer
now than I've ever been. Just me and PJ and blue sky. My only problem is
a wonky gum and no teeth but even that will slowly be resolved. So maybe
there's something to be said for the old adage 'everything happens for
Actually, there is one thing that's bothering me. There's a dove sitting
on top of the chimney cooing. The coo travels down the chimney and becomes
amplified by the time it reaches the fireplace behind me, like the damn
bird is sitting on my shoulder next to my ear. COO COO COO COO. It's driving
FL Josh got carried away yesterday after watching the vid of John Williamson
singing Waltzing Matilda, and did a whole bunch of research about the song's
origin and history. He loves the song, even though he thinks it's a bit
sad. I was inspired to included it on the page after listening to an interview
with a bloke from the Australian
National Archives which houses a plethora of digitized memorabilia
of Austrlian history. In any case, sad or not, the song has become the
unofficial Australian National Anthem, sung by Aussies everywhere of all
colors and stripes.
Last night it occurred to me that life on the road as a gypsy does have
one ever-present problem - where will I camp for the night? So I put it
to the GN forum and received some
Here's an interesting amateur vid on the trials and tribulations of
negotiating winding road with hairpin bends in
a large 5th wheeler, and relying on other travellers to help out in
a major pickle.
From the Beeb: US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has alleged
the National Security Agency engaged in industrial espionage. In an interview
with Germany's ARD TV channel, the former NSA contractor said the agency
would spy on big German companies that competed with US firms. Mr Snowden,
who was granted temporary asylum by Russia, also said he believed that
officials wanted to kill him.
Do humans have an innate sense of morality? If so, where does it
exist in the brain and how did it get there? BBC’s Horizon shows how scientists
looking into the minds of babies and criminals are rewriting
our ideas of right and wrong.
An innate sense of morality? Maybe. If we do have it, we don't always
act on it. An interesting scenario happened to me some years ago. I knew
TT was low on petrol but I took a chance and tried to get home. I almost
made it, but the old girl conked out just up the road in front of the courthouse.
I was blocking one parked car (rear to kerb) but try as I might, I didn't
have the strength to push TT backwards into the adjacent parking spot.
The young driver in the blocked car was shaking his head, looking at me
as if I were a total idiot, and not offering to raise a finger to help
me. Then, out of the blue, two young blokes who were standing outside the
courthouse waiting to be called inside to face a charge, appeared at the
scene and asked if I needed a push. They told me to sit in the car and
steer while they pushed the car into the parking spot. All done and dusted
in less than a minute. I called NRMA roadside assistance who arrived shortly
afterwards with a couple of gallons.
When all that was over, I walked over to the courthouse grounds and
up to the two young blokes who had given me assistance. At first, they
didn't recognize me and greeted me with a menacing stare - the kind of
stare you get from thugs and bullies. "I just wanted to thank you guys
again for helping me with the car," I said, and they realized who I was.
"No worries, mate. Anytime." But that got me to thinking about why a couple
of rough characters would go to the trouble of helping an old bloke in
trouble. I suspect they thought that by doing a good deed, it would somehow
manifest itself as a look of innocence on their faces when they stood before
Yeah... like bikie gangs turning up in droves at children's hospitals
and kids' charities with bucketloads of gifts and toys just before Christmas,
with plenty of media coverage, of course.
And once again, that's it from me for another day. Gary
January 26, 2014. Yep, Australia Day! Nice to see this headline:
of Year 2014: Adam Goodes, Sydney Swans footballer, recognised for
anti-racism advocacy and youth work.
Jules posted this on the GN forum: You know you're Australian when:
You believe that stubbies can either be drunk or worn. You pronounce
Melbourne as 'Mel-bin'. You believe that the letter 'l' in Australia is
optional, and it's perfectly okay to call it 'Straya'. You think Woolloomooloo
is a perfectly reasonable name for a place. You're secretly proud of our
killer wildlife. You believe it makes perfect sense for a country to have
a $1 coin that's twice the size of a $2 coin. You understand that Wagga
Wagga can be abbreviated to Wagga but Woy Woy cannot be just Woy. Beetroot
with your hamburger, of course. You believe that the more you shorten someone's
name the more you like them. You understand that 'excuse me' can sound
rude but 'scuse me' is always polite. You know what it's like to swallow
a fly, on occasion via your nose. You know it's not summer until the steering
wheel is too hot to handle, and a seat belt buckle becomes a pretty good
branding iron. You know how to abbreviate every word, usually ending in
'o': arvo, convo, compo, garbo, lezzo, metho, milko, muso, servo, smoko,
rego, speedo, righto, etc. You know that there's a universal place called
'Woop Woop' located in the middle of nowhere, no matter where you actually
are. And you can understand all of this, have a giggle, and tell all your
Aussie and international friends, I love Australia!
Meanwhile, things are a tad chilly in the good ol' according to FL Josh:
got off the phone with a friend who lives in northern Minnesota here in
the States. She said that since early this morning the snow has been
nearly waist high and is still falling. The temperature is 32F below
zero (-35C) and the north wind is increasing to near gale force. Wind chill
is -59F (-50C). Her husband has done nothing but look through the kitchen
window and stare. She says if it gets much worse, she may have to let the
drunken bastard in.
That actually used to happen next door to my little house in Glebe.
Old George and Joan were my original neighbors. When ever old George staggered
home rolling drunk (which was often), Joan refused to let him inside, so
he'd crash on the porch till morning. That's my house in the pic, George
and Joan were in the identical house to the left. Check out the size of
the porch, and its proximity to the footpath. And yes, I finally ditched
the iron fence and replaced it with pickets. I think the row of terraces
dates back to the 1860s. They don't make gutters from blocks of sandstone
Yep, those little houses were originally "workmen's cottages", built
for the ordinary working bloke and his family receiving the basic wage.
Now they're worth about a million bucks each.
As I shaved this morning, I listened to an interview with Adam Goodes
on radio. He's a most articulate young man and wise beyond his years. He's
also a very gentle person despite being a star footballer. "I got that
from being one of the older boys in the family - and it's a big family
- and responsible for the care of the younger boys. If I hadn't done my
job properly, I would have been in big trouble with my mum." Adam also
spoke of the power of politics and how it could be used to further the
things he believes in, such as racial harmony and equality. His current
focus is on his professional football career but I got the feeling his
future will be in politics at a federal level. Moreover, I wouldn't be
in the least surprised if he's destined for the top job - as Australia's
first indigenous Prime Minister. In fact, during yesterday's Australian
of the Year ceremony, he made no bones about directing some of his comments
about racial harmony and equality at our present PM, Tony Abbott, who was
standing to one side taking it all in. Hehe. Incidentally, Abbott is the
first Australian PM to also be the Member for Indigenous Affairs.
From the Beeb: In Australia, an 18th Century cottage that originally
belonged to the family of explorer Captain James Cook has been sprayed
with graffiti. The building was defaced with the slogan "26th Jan Australia's
shame", in reference to Australia Day on Monday. Opponents of the holiday
call it "Invasion Day," saying the day celebrates the wrongful seizing
of the land from Aborigines by colonists. Russell
I suspect Adam Goodes won't be too impressed with that kind of protest.
In fact, during this morning's interview he said he used to feel anger,
resentment and sadness about Australia Day but he's changed his mind about
what it all means now. He still feels sadness about certain aspects of
European domination such as its attemps to obliterate Aboriginal culture
and the terrible treatment of Aborigines by previous administrations (his
own mother was taken from her family at age 5). But he's also heartened
by recent changes regarding Aboriginal land rights and an official recognition
of the importance and relevance of indigenous culture to all Australians.
He says things are improving, and that also we're living in a wonderful
country with opportunities for everyone, including all minorities, to succeed
in life. The interviewer's parting words were, "Happy Australia Day", and
his were precisely the same.
Back from a little shopping, and a lovely day it is too. Hardly anyone
about. Medication, groceries, beer and a TRIFLE! Plus a bottle of sherry
- McWilliams medium dry. McWilliams has been around almost as long as Capt.
Cook's cottage. Speaking of plonk and the evils thereto, one of the GN's
Hmmm, well so much for my little house in Glebe and all the vivid memories
that go with it, including the very first time I went inside and the very
last time I closed the door. 23 years later I have another little house.
But this one, as the years roll by, will accumulate many addresses, at
least hundreds and possibly thousands hehe. Which reminds me, every time
I stop in a town I'll visit the newsagency or post office and get a sticker.
There's one on PJ's rear window, old and peeling, of Brunswick
Heads. Well, I'm not gonna do the ol' I've been everywhere trick
and have stickers all over PJ, rather I'll scan them and end up with a
digital scrapbook of all the places I've been, with the stickers being
impervious to aging and weathering. Yeah? And it'll take up no room as
would a real scrapbook or photo album. Down there fer dancin', baby. Oh...
next time I'm shopping, I better get a sticker of Taree and the Manning
Valley. That'll be No.1.
Did I say shopping? I just splurged on official Grey Nomad Forum merchandise
- bumper sticker, baseball cap and stubby (beer) holder. It's for real
now, ladies and genitals. The Odyssey is for real. I'm an official GN.
Oops! Yesterday I said B&J were touring around the Blue Mountains
area. I meant the Snowy Mountains. Not much snow this time of year though
in 40C temps. I think they settled for a mountain creek and a willow tree.
It's cooler here today, cloudy with a few showers. When I say cooler I
mean low 20s C.
It's a long weekend in Oz for Australia Day (pronounced Straya Day in
some quarters). A section of the Aboriginal population is not too happy
about that. They refer to European colonization as the invasion, and I
have to admit they do have a valid point. The first settlers didn't ask
permission to establish themselves here. They just planted the Union Jack
and took over the joint. In any case, I don't do the flag-waving, patriotic
thing. It's not my scene. I'm an Australian-born citizen of the world.
I love Oz, for sure, and am glad to be an Aussie. But I'm not a follower
of the Us and Them creed per se (except when the Aussie cricket team beats
the pants off the Poms).
Yes, dear Breth, we're all members of the human race. Well... not necessarily.
I'm pretty sure I got off the train at the wrong station.
Yesterday I mentioned Francois sending me a whole bunch of pics of cities
around the world. I got confuzzled, and thought I was gonna have to make
an album. But no! It's a link to a page on the web. 27
Incredible Views you'd only see if you were a bird. See what happens
when there are too many things happening at once? I get bam-bam-bam-ba-boozled.
Interesting to observe B&J's 21' motorhome layout yesterday. They
use the cab over for storage and have a NS facing double bed at the rear
- all ready made up. No buggerizing around shifting cushions when they
wanna hit the hay. The wardrobe and shower/loo are against the rear side
wall adjacent to the bed. The kitchen and dining area are amidships, and
the driver/passenger seats in the cab swivel around to face the dining/lounge
area. But, like most GNs, they spend their days outdoors, weather permitting.
I quite like the way PJ is laid out, and prefer to sleep 'upstairs',
leaving the rest of the interior as open living space. I also like the
idea of having two large storage bins accessible from the outside. I imagine
it can get a bit crowded inside if you're rummaging around for hoses, buckets,
Oh, there you are? I've been cruising around the web looking for something
interesting and got caught up with stuff on GN. Nuttin' much on the Beeb
today, or anywhere else. However, I did download a few pics from an auto
news group the other day. Would you like some pics of a few 1950s Jags
Gorgeous old thing, isn't she? And now something for the more sporty
Well, that's my lot for this Satdee, Ls & Gs. Time to do my potato
January 24, 2014. Everything is back to normal! No it's not.
Not quite. My routine went out the window this morning when Billeeeeeee
and Jules from Gray Nomads arrived to say g'day. Which reminds me, I forgot
to tell Jules my one and only semi-serious fling with a woman was a woman
by the name of Jules. She was Barbara Streisand all over again, including
the nose. Hehe. We were a riot together. At least I thought so. Hehe. Anyway,
back to my meeting with Billeeeeeee and Jules, I wrote a report with pics
I posted on the GN forum.
After I posted yesterday's Waffle, I finished the Birth of PJ video
and added it to Waffle, so if you missed it, scroll down the page and you'll
see it embedded. Magnetic Bill (who also refers to himself as Barnacle
Bill) saw it and thought it was cool. He's travelling down this way in
early Feb so that'll be another excuse for a chinwag.
TX Greg wrote: "Drama"? Sounds like you were having internet withdrawals,
hehe. You're getting better all the time putting those vids together :)
Yep, internet withdrawals. I thought about that yesterday and wondered
about my "routine" on the Odyssey. It'll be vastly different to the one
I have now, for sure. Bloody hell, a whole paragraph just disappeared.
I HATE THAT! I was saying that the video had lots of action and shots taken
from various angles in a fairly confined area to work with. But I still
had to be mindful of keeping it entertaining. I was pretty ruthless with
editing scenes down to "attention span" length to keep it tight and moving
along. It worked out pretty well, I thought. Stan will be delighted with
his DVD copy and take great pleasure in showing it to his familly and grandkids.
In all the years he's been mowing lawns, he finally got to star in his
very own movie. It was just in the nick of time too... that job was done
last August but he doesn't do heavy work like that any more.
Speaking of editing. Justin posted a link to this video on his blog.
It's a project by a college student in France (I think) and is excellent...
of the World in 2 Minutes.
Here's another link from Justin's blog: Totally off the subject Justin
(sorry), but thought you might find this interesting. According to Bill
Maher, the Ducky guys probably were your garden-variety racist/homophobic
frat boys before they morphed into their current made-for-tv, backwoods,
good ole boy roles.Bill
Maher has a new rule for Duck-Dynasty-following Americans.
Isn't it amazing what's there to be found on the net?
Which reminds me... so much to catch up on, and so little time. FL Josh
Here is an incredible 2 year old basketball shooter who goes by Trick
Shot Titus. I put these in an order to sort of tell a story.
2 years old? I can't even remember what I was doing at 2 years! Probably
still playing with rattles and learning to say da-da. Francois also sent
a bunch of birds-eye views of famous cities around the world but I'll need
a bit of time to organize those into an album. Barcelona really got to
me... it's a city of medieval buildings arranged around courtyards.
From the Beeb: North Korea has sent an open letter to the South calling
for reconciliation and an end to "hostile military acts". The letter, published
in North Korea's state media, comes weeks before South Korea is due to
hold joint military drills with the US. South Korea dismissed the letter
as having a "hidden motive". Hmmmm.
Singer Justin Bieber has been granted bail after appearing in a Miami
court accused of racing and driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana
and prescription drugs. Amateur footage shows the moment the 19-year-old
was pulled over by Miami Beach Police in the early hours of Thursday morning
whilst driving his yellow Lamborghini. Rajini Vaidyanathan reports from
much fame too soon, I suppose. A Lambo at 19?
I had a '51 Morris Oxford that cost 200 quid hehe.
Bill Gates, chairman of the technology giant Microsoft, has told
the BBC that the he would like to see the amount of money spent on international
aid increased. Speaking on BBC2's Newsnight he told presenter Jeremy Paxman
that he wanted to see farmers better educated and more money spent on health
care in areas of poverty. He went on to say that he would favour a higher
rate of personal taxation in the US. "I've paid more tax than any individual
ever, and gladly so... I've paid over $6bn (£3.6bn) in taxes," he
mustn't be aware of Einstein's theory of relativity.
Have I caught up yet? Almost. Now I can relax a bit. I need to embed
the PJ vid on the My Rig page and do a few other bits and pieces but I'm
basically back on track. I shouldn't do this to myself ya know. I've created
a rod for my own back with my own deadlines and sense of urgency about
certain things. That's gonna have to change on the Odyssey or I'll become
a nervous wreck. But I know what's gonna happen. After meeting some interesting
peeps I'll be desperate to write the journal hehe. Or if I take a bunch
of pics somewhere I'll be desperate to get them on line. It's the nature
of the beast. At least it is here. Maybe "out there" things will be different
and I'll succumb to a slower pace. I hope so.
Speaking of a slower pace, Billeeeeeee and Jules are slowly making their
way to Queensland, then across the top end to Darwin, and then over to
Western Oz. They're looking at about 12 months of travel. I think Billeeeeeee
said they were at Greens Lake for 4 months. That's quite a camp! And about
80 GNs visited Greens while they were there. B&J had their own "private"
on a grassy knoll overlooking the lake with their own "private" front yard
that was protected by trees hehe. No one else could park in front. How
Billeeeeeee sold his home some 3-ish years ago and bought the motorhome.
Jules was travelling with her husband but he took ill and died. She sold
her rig (too many memories), met up with Billeeeeeee and it was an instant
match. Now it's the B&J Touring Show hehe. The rig is their home, and
all their worldly possessions are in it. PJ will be the same for me. "It's
frightening at first," Billeeeeeee (7 e's) said. "I lived in houses for
60 years. Then all of a sudden you're homeless and living the life of a
gypsy." He went on to say that it's a good six months on the road before
the lifestyle becomes the norm. "My neighbors are Australia."
When they drove off from Taree, the pair headed for Port Macquarie to
catch up with a couple of friends. And then? Who knows? They've been treating
themselves to the luxury of staying in caravan parks lately but that can
be very expensive, especially when you're being sponsored by Centerlink.
The "Sponsored by Centerlink" sign is at the entrance to the rig hehe.
Shoulda taken a pic! So pretty soon they'll be back to free camping, which
is what I intend to do. In fact, it was only a week or so ago that B&J
were touring around the Snowy Mountains area. Their address on their biz
card is "On the Road, In the Playground".
BTW, Billeeeeeee owned a Ford Courier like mine and went all around
Oz in it. So that's encouraging.
And now it's time to polish off the rest of that trifle in marsala before
it goes off. I'm all outta whack with my meals today but who cares? Trifle
and TV. That'll do. Catch ya tomorrow. Gary
January 23, 2014. Drama day! Spent 2 or 3 hours this morning
trying to get on line without success, then tried the modem in the Acer.
That didn't work either at first so I spent the next several hours finishing
The Birth of PJ video. Earlier this morning I phoned my ISP about the modem
but they were busy and offered to call back. I'm still waiting and it's
Hopefully, I'll have this mess sorted by tomorrow. Gary
January 22, 2014. Nancy told me to shut up this morning. "I never
thought I would meet a person who talks more than I do." I frustrate her
when she's poised to fill my mouth with dentiphernalia and I interrupt
with a comment or two hehe. Did I just invent a new word?
the male for a female and that's what I see twice a week. The second person
on the left holds a vacuum thingy.
NC Art wrote: Yup, computers and www are just ducky …. Until they
ain’t. My son has spent three days and hundreds of $$ rigging up a network
to improve our connectivity and speed. When all was complete you should
have heard the language when he was blocked by a demand for security code—a
string of numbers and letters a mile long—when he finally found it. Then
couldn’t get rid of it for another day of sweating and mumbling. Even got
my telephone line involved, causing a series of ear-splitting squeals.
Now he doesn’t want to speak of that experience. Wonder why.
Luckily for me, the GN forum has quite a few tech whizzes that are only
too happy to answer questions from novices like me. It means waiting till
they respond (which could take a few hours or a day or two) but it's free
and usually very comprehensive. TX Greg is very helpful in that regard
Pleasantly warm today, but tonight a 50F degree plunge in temperature.
That's more of a high dive than a plunge hehe. We had 32C yesterday
but many areas in southern states have been roasting in temps around the
high 30s and low 40s. 40C = 102F. It's cloudy here today and a far more
sensible 25. Back in the early '70s when Oz converted to metric, I was
on-air and had to read temps in both celcius and Fahrenheit. It was all
rather confusing. My VW Superbug had a speedo with both mph and km/h on
the dial. Earlier, in the mid 60s when we went decimal, prices were written
in both the old pounds, shillings and pence as well as the new fangled
dollars and cents. That took a bit of getting used to. To make matters
worse, the new dollar was worth only half a quid (pound) or ten bob (10
shillings). Hehe. I'm glad we didn't change which side of the road we drive
on as well. Even to this day I still can't visualize the height of a person
given in centimeters or weight given in kilograms. I noticed on the GN
forum this morning people referring to their height in feet and inches
when talking about head room in their rigs.
After adding marsala to the trifle yesterday, and allowing it to soak
in overnight (it was too hot to eat anything much yesterday anyway), I'm
now enjoying some of it. Mmmmm! I'll be as full as a bull's bum if I keep
eating this stuff. And FAT! Oh yes, this is good stuff. Too much to eat
at one sitting, though, but that's okay... I'll have some more later on.
The dieticians at Port Macquarie hospital would freak big time if they
could see me now, shoveling a zillion calories laced with plonk down the
screech hehe. Yep, this won't be the last trifle I have, that's for sure.
From the Beeb: The US and UN have reacted with "horror" to allegations
in a new report that Syria has systematically tortured and executed about
11,000 detainees since the start of the uprising. The US said the reports
underscored the need to remove the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
A Syrian spokesman said the report had no credibility as it was commissioned
by Qatar, which funds rebel groups. I
puke every time I see al-Assad's receding chin.
The US east coast has been hit by the second major winter storm of
the year, with up to 12in (30cm) of snow, blowing wind and bitter cold
forecast. Even before the first flakes had fallen, US government offices
in Washington DC and schools in several states were closed pre-emptively.
As snow fell along major motorways along the US east coast authorities
warned of hazardous road conditions. And more than 3,000
flights have already been cancelled in the US.
Intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden is to stand for the post
of student rector at Glasgow University. The nomination of the former US
intelligence officer, who has temporary asylum in Russia, was arranged
by a group of students through his lawyer. Elections for the three-year
post will take place next month. A
latter day Robin Hood?
I discovered the other day on the GN forum that you can mix and match
solar panels of different wattages, which is cool. I was thinking about
eventually tossing my old 70 watt and installing a 200. But now I can keep
the old one and install a new one, giving me a total of 270 watts which
should be plenty. I'll also install a second AGM battery (same ah and brand
as the one I have). No rush but it's probably something worth doing sooner
rather than later, and here in Taree rather than "out there" somewhere.
Some eBay retailers insist on a street address for delivery.
Remember as kids we used to make paper airplanes? Only took a minute
or two. Here's a bloke who still makes paper airplanes but takes a lot
model of a 777 for example has taken 5 years.
How do you separate the egg yolk from the white? You probably don't
cos you're not interested in cooking. But if you were, and you wanted to
make a meringue, how would you separate the yolks? The boring old fashioned
the easy way like this?
FL Josh wrote: Just
what you need. I have no idea what possessed Josh to think that
belongs on my must have list. But it kinda reminds me of the All
Nippon Airways TV commercial that has been labelled racist. The Drum
panel discussed it last night and concluded that it wasn't racist, however
it did concede that anything's possible in the current politically correct
climate. One of the panel works for an advertising agency and said that
making fun of other races is a no no with a few exceptions. "It's okay
to make fun of the Brits," she said. Then after a pause added, "And the
French... cos the French are funny. And the Irish. But generally speaking,
making fun of other races is a risky area that the advertising industry
As a friend of mine in the voice over business says, "No one is writing
comedy any more." Comedy was my main stock in trade back in the good old
days before political correctness.
Anyway, not to worry and all that. Life goes on yadda yadda. And now
it's time to cease and desist waffling and turn into a potato on the couch.
January 21, 2014. Justin commented on his blog that a woman driving
in traffic was talking on her cell phone and chain smoking cigarettes (lit
a fresh one from the old butt which was tossed out the window) while her
two kids were strapped in the back seat. One reader commented that parents
should be licensed to raise children and Justin agreed. So that got me
to thinking about who would be in charge of the licensing.
I think God is in charge at the moment, although Chinese authorities
dispute that. I know one thing... there would be far fewer starving children
in the world if people from those countries stopped giving birth like rabbits.
Every time you see news footage of malnourished people you get the obligatory
scenes of women holding emaciated infants. A responsible person would not
bring a child into such deprivation and exacerbate an already impossible
But that still doesn't answer the question "licensed by whom?" Or, to
put it another way, who has the right to dictate whether or a not a person
is elegible to be a parent? Removing abused children from existing parents
is one thing, but how do you judge a person's suitability for parenthood
prior to the event? That woman smoking and talking on her cell phone while
driving probably has a good job, a house, and is a respected member of
I dare say society will one day figure out a way to minimize undesirables
being born into the community by some kind of selection process. Nature
already has an effective system in place. Only the fittest get to bonk
the ladies, and only the fittest of the newborns will survive. But humans
are different. Humans know better. Just ask one.
NC Art commented on yesterday's waffle about "indecency" in art (no
relation): Sin is in the eye of the beholder maybe. A big loudmouth
American Christian evangelist pronounced solemnly that AIDS was God’s
punishment for homosexuality … and got richer for giving us a peep at what
God told him in private. Another o’ his ilk preached that riches were guaranteed
to God-fearing folks who sent some of theirs regularly to his ministry
called the PTL Club. The “ministry” went broke, the donors got the shaft
and the evangelist got real rich…until they caught up with him, and his
wife ran off with their building contractor. We never learn.
Well, some of us do learn, but if we try to pass on our wisdom and experience
to a younger generation we're met with rejection, just as we rejected advice
from our betters when we were younger. There's no such thing as a wisdom
pill which can be taken by a younger generation. Each and every newborn
starts out at zero and has to go through the whole learning process from
scratch, despite its parents and grandparents having already been there
and done that. "Things are different now, Mom." Mind you, not all knowledge
is wasted or rejected, but many basic life skills are. Ultimately, it's
experience that remains the best (and sometimes the only) teacher.
Meanwhile, FL Josh writes: Playing catch up again on past Waffles
and I so enjoyed the 47 minute video on the bombing of the runway during
the Falkland's war you listed in the Waffle
for the 5th. My TiVo gets Youtube so I was able to watch it on
my 60" TV and it was riveting.
As for you putting hooks on PJ to hang things, you might want to
try the removable ones. I got some a while back when my sister was
in the hospital to hang things on her walls, and was very impressed with
them. You press them onto the wall and they stick, but when you want
to remove them, you pull down on a little extension of the glue layer,
and it stretches, and breaks the bond. The glue layer is sacrificed
and cannot be reused but the hook can be reused and you can buy packages
of the stick em, which
is like sticky foam rubber.
Yep, pretty sure these are they... those are these... these are those.
Even so, I'd like to be as sure as I can be about where to place them before
NC Art also mentioned the little VW
experimental car made in China. It was posted on Waffle ages ago but
Art may have been dealing with Windows 8 at the time. Where can I buy
a couple of these? They would make dodging idiots a lot easier than my
’91 Buick can manage.
Yesterday, Nancy and Emma suggested trifle for dessert. Dunno if you
have trifle "over there" but it's day-old sponge cake with custard, jelly
and whipped cream. If it's home made it's usually laced with sweet sherry
but the store-bought stuff uses something else, non alcoholic. And sparingly
cos the cake was fairly dry. Soooooo, I had a look in my cupboard to see
what lurks therein and there was a used bottle of Boronia
marsala, a sweet wine I used in a recipe way back in my tooth days.
It's not sherry, but it's fortified and sweet, so I figured that would
be okay, and poured a goodly measure over the trifle. It's back in the
fridge to allow the cake to soak up the wine before I take another shot
at getting it down the screech tonight. Mmmm. That should liven it up a
From the Beeb: The UN has withdrawn its invitation to Iran to join
this week's peace conference on the Syria crisis. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky
criticised Tehran for failing to back the plan to form a Syrian transitional
government, which is the basis of the conference. The invitation to Iran,
a key ally of the Syrian regime, angered the US and the Western-backed
Syrian opposition. Getting humans to tolerate each other is like convincing
dogs and cats to stop fighting, only
worse because humans are the one species.
Rosetta, Europe's comet-chasing spacecraft, has woken from its slumber.
A signal confirming its alert status was received by controllers in Darmstadt,
Germany, at 18:17 GMT. Rosetta has spent the past 31 months in hibernation
to conserve power as it arced beyond the orbit of Jupiter on a path that
should take it to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August. Engineers
will now finesse the probe's trajectory and prepare
its instruments for the daring encounter.
There's a 15 minute program on telly before the 7 o'clock news that
shows archival footage of news reports dealing with technological innovation.
One from 1987, had a reporter using Australia's first ever ATM. He inserted
the card into the machine, punched in a bunch of numbers and out popped
$25 cash. Amazing! But the card stayed inside the machine. Then he interviewed
a spokesman from Chubb, the ATM's manufacturer and installer, who explained
that the card is retreived by the bank staff and then posted back to the
customer "as soon as possible". He also said $25 was the cash limit and
that if a customer wanted more, he would need to see a "live" teller.
A report from 1974 interviewed a computer expert in a room full of large
machines. The reporter had his young son with him and said, "By 2001 my
son will be my age. What will life with computers be like then?" The expert
talked about personal computing machines with screens and keyboards that
would be able to communicate with each other as well as other places like
booking agencies for theater tickets and railway tickets. He said that
many workers would be able to work from home, saving time and travelling
in peak hour traffic. However, he didn't mention the internet and the information
super highway. That was apparently beyond anyone's wildest dreams at the
time. Nevertheless, he did pretty well at guessing the future of computers
in 25 years.
It's quite fascinating to see those reports exactly as they were originally
broadcast. I would have seen them myself, not giving so much as a thought
to watching them again all these years later - on a flat screen stereo
TV. By the way, my bank has been at me to select a PIN for my credit card.
Signatures are being phased out. So I finally got around to it.
Many tasks are certainly a lot easier and faster than they were back
in '74 but we rarely pause to make the comparison. New technology is quickly
adopted and adapted and before
you can say Jack Robinson it's routine and taken for granted. When
we first came to Taree and for quite a few years afterwards, I trekked
down to the estate agent every second week to pay the rent by check. Now
it's all done on line. Until fairly recently, I was a regular customer
at the bank, often standing in a long queue. Not any more. I no longer
receive paper statements in the mail, or bills.
The banks are doing well out of all this electronic commerce, of course.
Receiving or making payments is impossible without a bank account. No more
hoarding cash under the mattress.
And so another Waffle grinds to a halt - or perhaps melts to a halt.
It's been hot and humid again and this old bod has been feeling the effects,
and nodding off occasionally. More tomorrow! Gary
January 20, 2014. Back from Nancy and another irrigation. She
just can't resist that spot in front with her snippers, snipping away dead
bone where the gum is ULTRA sensitive. Yow!
FL Josh wrote: Amazingly, here in the good old U.S. of A., a 6 year
old girl being nude from the waist up is considered indecent, and any adult
who allows a child to be that way in the presence of others is
guilty of criminal behavior.
It was a cruel way to treat the little girl in front of her peers but
I don't see her exposure as being "indecent". Potential boobs ain't boobs.
There was a
controversy over images of a nude 13 year old girl a few years back
in Oz when exhibits were siezed by police from the NSW Art Gallery and
charges laid against a prominent photographer. Our PM Rudd at the time
said: I find them absolutely revolting. Kids deserve to have the innocence
of their childhood protected. I have a very deep view of this. And, you
know, for God's sake, let's just allow kids to be kids. He lived to
regret that ill-informed statement after charges were withdrawn and the
whole silly business faded. People who deem art and/or innocence to be
"indecent" have a morbid obsession regarding sexual matters.
Let me ask you this question: If both a pervert and a do-gooder "recognize"
something indecent about an innocent work of art, what does it say about
them? Take a moment to analyze the first line of Rudd's statement: I
find them absolutely revolting.
Some years ago, there was a movement to ban photographing children in
public places, especially the beach. Even parents were banned from photographing
their own children. The do-gooders were convinced that everyone with a
camera was a potential pervert. Now, of course, there are thousands upon
thousands of cameras small enough to secret from view, including those
built into phones and other gadgets. There's also a proliferation of children
themselves taking suggestive "selfies" and posting them on line. So much
for the do-gooders and their attempts to impose their far right views on
the rest of society.
My zippered suit/shirt bags arrived from China. Great value at just
a few bucks each, and ideal for storing button-up, collared shirts. Can't
be running around in Ts all the time. The bags fold in half vertically
and clip into place to become a carry bag. All very civilized. I have a
couple of coat/hat wall hooks as well - stick-on ones from a $2 shop that
I've been loathe to affix until I'm certain of where they should be positioned.
They're plastic but look like those old fashioned brass ones normally screwed
to a timber board. Quite stylish really.
FL Josh also recommends getting a few creative mates together to pass
the time at an airport: Here are some guys who created a human bicycle
on a moving walkway. A
plus for originality.
From the Beeb: Lions and donkeys: 10 big myths about World War One
debunked. Much of what we think we know about the 1914-18 conflict is wrong,
historian Dan Snow.
Detroit's history of industrial decline and financial failure has
culminated in bankruptcy. So why have some companies been using the city's
sell their products?
US President Barack Obama has said smoking marijuana is no more dangerous
than alcohol, but still called it a "bad idea". Speaking to The New Yorker
magazine, he said it was wrong to think legalising the drug would be "a
panacea" that could solve
many social problems.
And now for some pitchas! Back in 1953, shortly after her coronation,
Queen Elizabeth II toured Oz. I was sitting on my father's shoulders in
the crowd and remember seeing her standing in the back of the Royal chariot,
waving her gloved hand to loyal subjects as the procession passed by.
So the old bus remained in service for just over two decades. It wouldn't
have clocked up too many miles though, only being dusted off for royal
tours. I do remember thinking as a 9 y/o kid that standing in the back
of a Land Rover was rather odd for the Queen of England. Another car the
royal family was rather attached to for several years was a '57 (I think)
English Ford Zephyr estate wagon with a raised roof (for the obligatory
hats, I suppose) and seating for six, used for touring around various royal
estates. Prince Phillip loved driving it and described it as "sprightly".
Zephyrs were powered by a 2.2 liter six that developed about 80 hp.
Ford Australia's offerings before it began manufacturing the Falcon
here were the English Anglia, Prefect, Consul, Zephyr and American Customline.
Incidentally, buyers of new cars in Oz have a greater choice of makes and
models than any other country in the world because of our various free
trade agreements, which makes it virtually impossible for locally manufactured
cars to compete.
And now once again it's time to flee! Be noice. Gary
January 19, 2014. Sundee! Then again, as one GN pointed out,
there are 7 Sundees each week for retirees.
Last year, there was a news story about the accidental (or otherwise)
poisoning of Indian children by a school meal cooked in pesticide instead
of traditional mustard oil. It was one of those stories we often hear about
- tragedies that occur in overpopulated third world countries, and that
we tend to dismiss as being par for the course. But last night on telly,
there was a repeat of a program called Foreign Correspondent that did an
in-depth report on the village where the poisoning occurred, focusing on
a couple of families who lost some of their kids. It was heartbreaking,
and showed the real human face of such horror. "They (the authorities)
know we are low caste, so to them it doesn't matter." One little boy who
survived after a stint in hospital wasn't told of his younger brother's
death until he returned home. He broke down and was inconsolable. The older
brother 14 was given the job of burying his younger sibling. "I buried
him with my own hands." The camera panned to a mound of earth in a field.
Roite. Time for my chocolatium smoothiscus. I'm using Sue's Sustagen
now with more vits, mins and fiber - plus choc flavor. That was a steal
- 4 and a half large tins for $40. The dosage is higher too, which means
I have to add more milk... so, more of everything for the tummy. I've also
noticed I'm feeling a tad more sprightly since solving the noodles dilemma
and finally getting a decent feed at night.
From the Beeb: President Barack Obama has said he will not let controversial
surveillance by US intelligence services undermine Washington's ties with
Germany. Speaking to Germany's ZDF TV, he indicated that US bugging of
Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone had been a mistake and would not
happen again. After the row broke out last year, Ms Merkel accused the
US of an unacceptable breach of trust. On Friday, Mr Obama ordered curbs
intelligence was being collected.
President Barack Obama delivered his speech on Friday describing
reforms to the NSA and US intelligence-gathering policies, and initial
reactions are all over the map. As the BBC's Mark Mardell observes, the
president's proposal is thin on details - which has allowed commentators
to project their hopes and fears onto the president's proposals. From one
point of view, Mr Obama's proposals didn't go nearly far enough. "This
is the government, in the person of this president, telling
you what you have to give up in order to be safe," writes Esquire's Paul
The current situation in Europe with the UN rights committee interrogating
Catholic hierarchy about child abuse is quite the reverse of the way things
used to be when the Church wielded political power around the world, and
conducted various inquisitions over the centuries. Poetic justice. But
even so, the bishops and cardinals still consider themselves above secular
justice, answerable only to God. Everything they say in response to questioning
is vague and pretty meaningless. A typically pompous reaction by people
with a holier than thou attitude. I can only thank my lucky stars that
I live in a country run by a secular government. Religion is not compulsory
here, although my time spent at Catholic schools virtually made it so.
My belief is that religion exists because there's a market for it, and
there's a market for it because insecurity is part of the human condition.
Anyway, after another hot day and lots of naps and taking it easy, another
Waffle draws to a close. Is the whole world slowing down, or is it just
me? Even the spammers have been quiet lately. Gary
January 18, 2014. So just how big is Straya? One GN went to the
trouble of superimposing
a map of Oz over Europe, North America and other places around the
world. Interestingly, most of the interior of Oz is outback. The vast majority
of the population lives around the coast. Remove about 270 million people
from inland USA and there you have Oz.
is a town in NW New South Wales with a pop of about 2000. You often
hear the expression "back o' Bourke", which means no man's land. It just
happened that a friend on Google circles shared a post - a short film about
George, a young resident of Bourke, who tells his story. He grew up in
Bourke and is very attached to the place, as well as all his mates. He
loves the lifestyle, his family, sport, fishing, mixing with the locals,
etc. But career opportunities for young people there are pretty limited,
so his parents made it possible for him to attend high school in Sydney
where he graduated and then entered University where he's studying to be
a teacher. His aim is return to Bourke and be a role model for the kids
there. He loves the place. I really enjoyed his story and his positive
attitude about living in a small outback town. You often hear the whingers
who say there's nothing to do and/or that life in a small community is
boring. But George doesn't see it that way at all. He invited some of his
Sydney mates back to Bourke for a holiday and they loved the place too
- being just a stroll from George's favorite fishing spot and swimming
hole, playing cricket at the local oval, attending various social events
in town. All good stuff, and the kind of story I'm looking forward to hearing
as I visit various places on the Odyssey.
Hot and a bit windy out there but I got a dose of inner shedness anyway
and added a few more things to PJ's inventory. She swallows up stuff like
a bottomless pit. The color coded plastic rings on the saddlebag keys worked
well. No more guessing. Radiator fluid is topped up, Check List (for making
sure everything is shipshape before leaving camp) is in the cab, and all
is just fine and dandy in the Home Sweet Home department.
A couple of things will hopefully get done this coming week - the marker
lights installed by Andrew and the gutter above the gas bottle compartment
installed by Jason. Oh... and I really need to remember to call into the
tire place for a new spare. Then there'll be no excuses not to take off
on a mini Odyssey for a few days somewhere.
Which reminds me, the buttered noodles and cheese thing worked pretty
well last night... still a little reluctant to slide down the screech but
not too bad. And I polished off the whole bowl. Squeezing the cap of vitamin
E into a drink and discarding the gel coating worked well too.
From the Beeb: President Barack Obama has ordered curbs on the use
of bulk data collected by US intelligence agencies, saying civil liberties
must be respected. Mr Obama said such data had prevented terror attacks
at home and abroad, but that in tackling threats the government risked
over-reaching itself. However civil liberties groups have said the
changes do not go far enough.
A law in Russia banning "homosexual propaganda" has been condemned
by critics, who say it incites hatred. But a day hunting and relaxing in
the forest - and hearing some extreme views - suggests it has plenty of
support. Saunas are supposed to be relaxing but the prospect of this one
me with dread.
Now lemme try to get this homophobic thing straight - for want of a
better word. Homosexuality is wrong because it's not natural. Well, so
is becoming an astronaut but existing in an unnatural environment for which
humans are not designed has nothing to do with sex. Jumping out of airplanes
or from cliffs is not natural either but sky diving and bungee jumping
are not about sex. Smoking is not natural, being shot out of a cannon is
not natural, dancing on tip-toe is not natural, transplants are not natural.
So it seems to me that engaging in unnatural acts is fine as long as it
has nothing to do with sex. Now where's the logic in that? I don't get
it. Then again, maybe I do. Homophobes have an unnatural and dangerous
obsession with matters sexual.
Hot = shortie, it seems. Energy is not in great abundance. Hope you're
all well and smiling! Gary
January 17, 2014. The shredded chicken got stuck in the throat
again last night. Mayo didn't help much. I think it's the inherent dryness
of chicken breast, shredded or otherwise, that causes the problem. So I
thought about butter instead of mayo; melting a knob in the hot noodles.
Then I thought of adding just cheese instead of meat. Who needs meat? Cheese
has fat and protein. So I'll try plain noodles with a knob of butter and
a handful of shredded cheese mixed through. I could always tart it up a
bit with different flavorings for variety. Carbs, protein and fat without
choking half to death (as I did last night). Yeah?
I also wrote to Blackmore's about swallowing their vitamin E caps. Even
the 500IU caps got stuck last night. So my question to Blackmore's is can
I snip off the end of the caps and squeeze the contents into a smoothie?
That would sure make life easier. I don't have a prob with the other tabs,
so it's probably something to do with the gel coating... it clings to my
tongue, palate and throat due to insufficient saliva.
If I can solve this "evening meal" dilemma with noodles, butter and
cheese (and I love all kinds of cheeses) then spending a few days vagabonding
in PJ will be a breeze with no special cooking requirements. I'll be a
dairy diet man. The smoothies take care of other dietary requirements with
Sustagen (fiber and a whole bunch of vitamins and minerals), banana, yoghurt,
milk, egg, peanut butter and honey.
Just got a response back from Blackmore's. That was quick! It's perfectly
fine to squeeze the contents of the E cap into a smoothie or juice provided
it's taken straight away or soon afterwards. So there ya go. Prob solved.
Isn't problem solving fun? It would be pointless, though, if there were
no problems in the first place. Remember that next time you bitch about
having a problem hehe.
According to a GN's post it was on this day in 1949 that the VW Beetle
was launched in the US. It must have seemed at the time, given the American
appetite for large, gas-guzzling V8s, to be an exercise in futility, doomed
to failure. The Beetle was everything the average American car was not.
I can only imagine it was this strange little car's curiosity value that
aroused interest. And we all know what happened after that.
From the Beeb: The US National Security Agency (NSA) has collected
and stored almost 200 million text messages a day from around the world,
UK media report. The NSA extracts and stores data from the SMS messages,
and UK spies have had access to some of the information, the Guardian and
Channel 4 News say. The reporting is based on leaks by ex-NSA contractor
Edward Snowden and comes ahead of a
key US policy announcement.
Tennis is part of the essential soundtrack to an Australian summer:
balls rocketing off strings, the squeal of overworked footwear on baking
courts and the grunts of heavy exertion. It's a sport that Australia once
dominated. In the 1960s and '70s the nation built a triumphant global legacy
- Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Roy Emerson and John Newcombe were imperious,
while Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong Cawley became sporting royalty.
But since the early 1980s, Australia's women have claimed just a solitary
Grand Slam singles title, and it's more than a decade since the evergreen
Lleyton Hewitt became the last Aussie man to win a major, at
Wimbledon in 2002.
On a hot day such as this I can think of a million reasons to postpone
a couple of chores. But I did 'em anyway and now I'm glad I did. Mark the
barber took one look at me as I entered his shop and figured I probably
wouldn't last long enough to take my turn. Hehe. I do look a bit tragic
being so underweight, but as I told him it's the glass half full thing.
I feel okay. "And besides, once all the hair has been snipped back to a
reasonable length, I'll look fine." Sure enough, once the hair was trimmed,
I looked a whole lot better. I sure ain't lacking whatever it is that makes
I also bought a three-cheese mix - cheddar, gouda and parmesan - and
some butter, so I'll pig out on cheese and noodles tonight and see if I
can handle it with no problems. If it works, I can focus on gaining a bit
of weight. I don't mind the thought of eating the same thing night after
night as long as it tastes okay and produces results.
Hmmm, another shortie. Oh well... Better than raving on for the sake
of it. Seeya later. Gary
January 16, 2014. Pay day, and nothing major on the shopping
list which means I can start whittling down my credit card debt. That's
my goal this year, to be debt free. Imagine all that money I now pay in
interest being MINE! One of the most valuable lessons I've learned since
being on a fixed income is that spending less doesn't necessarily mean
having less. Keeping your eyes peeled for bargains and specials is the
key, as well as resisting buying stuff you don't really need.
It's also wise not to covet thy neighbor's goods. Just because the next
bloke's got a whizz bang rig with all the bells and whistles doesn't mean
mine is unworthy. I don't need caviar on my toast. Vegemite's just fine.
Actually, there was a graph on last night's finance report on the news
that showed "happiness" peaking at an average annual income of $30K-ish.
Anything above that didn't increase the happiness factor. The average income
in Oz is about $60K so I dunno what that says about our happiness. I suspect
the more you earn the more you spend, and the more likely you are to be
maxed out on your credit card keeping up with the Joneses.
I remember my mother commenting on a friend's new Holden back in the
mid fifties. My mother was a stickler for the security of owning a home.
She was the one who organized a mortgage on our house and who penny-pinched
in the early days to make it happen. The friends, though, chose to rent.
"And there they are, not even owning their own home, renting instead, and
they're driving a new Holden!" She was livid hehe. Dad, at the time, drove
the company truck.
Perhaps it's the kids who suffer most from pressure to keep up with
their peers... having cool clothes, the latest smart phone, etc. Cheap
is out. Last year's model is out. Well, peer schmeer. Stan the Lawn Man
and I were chatting on the front veranda just now when a driver at the
nearby roundabout screamed something at another driver who did something
wrong. "What's the point of getting stressed?" I said. "It doesn't solve
anything. People make mistakes. Get over it." I think that's one of the
great benefits of getting older (at least, for me) - you see the folly
of losing your cool over things that don't really matter, or that you can't
change, and you become content with what you have rather than dwelling
on what you don't.
That doesn't preclude having a dream, though. No, no, no. Just don't
make the mistake of believing that you can't be happy during its pursuit.
One GN wrote that he's giving up life on the road. He says he needs to
settle somewhere to "visit the doctor more than once a year" and pursue
a few hobbies. Fair enough. He's been travelling for 20 years, so he's
paid his Nomadic dues I reckon. He's currently looking for permanent residence
in a caravan or retirement park. I'll probably do the same thing eventually.
Many GNs worry about what will happen when it's time to quit travelling,
so they hang on to their house or other asset for "security". Others, like
me, throw caution to the wind. I'll figure it out when the time comes rather
than stress about it between now and then. However, I will free-camp as
much as poss and watch the pennies so that I can accumulate a reasonable
nest egg - enough for establishment costs and then live on the pension.
Lindsay has just entered the 21st century. Rather than give me his share
of rent/power in cash as he always has done, he organized a transfer from
his account to mine at the bank. The transfer each fortnight will continue
until he arrives home from England and a week or so staying with a friend
in Sydney. There ya go. The magic of internet banking.
There was a story on telly last night about a couple of Oz businesses
dealing in bitcoins for overseas transactions. They say it does away with
the middleman (banks) and saves them a fortune. Early days yet, but there
are two ATMs in Oz so far where you can insert money to buy bitcoins. I
use Paypal a lot (which has expanded its operations - quite a few merchants
outside of eBay now offer the Paypal option). Paypal withdraws money from
my savings account rather than my credit card so I don't pay interest.
Yes folks, banks might have to start rethinking their position in the marketplace.
Smartass buggers have had it too easy for way to long. Imagine that...
a virtual currency!
Right now, midday my time, 1
bitcoin is worth USD865. How much is it worth when you check? Apparently
it fluctuates pretty wildly but I suppose it'll eventually settle down
once it achieves more respectability with common usage. Didn't I read or
see somewhere that one bloke (British, I think) bought a thousand bitcoins
when they were worth 1 cent each, then forgot about them and trashed his
old laptop and couldn't find his account after learning that bitcoins had
reached USD1000? Oh, dear.
TX Greg wrote: HAHAHA. You'll find out why when you see this
vid of Devil
Baby Attack. Hehe.
From the Beeb: The mystery of why so many birds fly in a V formation
may have been solved. Scientists from the Royal Veterinary College in London
fitted data loggers to a flock of rare birds that were being trained to
migrate by following a microlight. This revealed that the birds flew in
the optimal position - gaining lift from the bird in front by
remaining close to its wingtip.
South-east Australia has been hit with extreme hot weather, with
temperatures of over 40C (104F) in some areas, and several bushfire warnings
in place. In Melbourne, a tennis player and a ball boy at the Australian
Open collapsed in the heat. Russell
Fuller reports from Melbourne Park.
Comedians have personality types linked with psychosis, like many
other creative types, which might explain why they can entertain, researchers
claim. They score highly on characteristics that in extreme cases are associated
with mental illness, a study by Oxford University researchers suggests.
Unusually, they have high levels of both introversion and extroversion.
The team says the creative elements needed for humour are similar to traits
seen in people with psychosis.
When a motor company’s history is as colourful as Bentley’s, basking
in past glories now and then is entirely acceptable. Enter the Birkin Mulsanne,
a limited edition of the British luxury carmaker’s flagship sedan inspired
by one of the racing world’s – and Bentley’s – most
I think my '94 Courier is one of only 22 - one of only 22 left on the
road. Poor old thing. She gets along okay, though, and has only 165K on
the clock. That's about 135K less than Bluey, and about 100K less than
the Falcon. Kilometers, of course. So, theoretically.... yeah.
Back from a little shopping - late, to avoid the Thursday pension day
crush. I checked those "creamy" pasta sauce thingies. Bleh. FLAVORED! Which
means "tastes like". But I found the shredded chicken in small cans in
various flavors or plain springwater (what's the bet the water is straight
out of a bloody city tap?) But I noticed that some of the flavors included
mayo. Of course! There's the "creamy" element I want. All I need do is
add mayo to anything that looks a bit dry and whammo, instant slippery
dip. I'll try the mustard and mayo chicken tonight. Come to think of it,
maybe I could handle scrambled egg mixed with mayo as well! Mayo is great
with all kinds of things. Cheap too!
Went to the discount drugs store and got a bottle of 500IU E caps which
are a good deal smaller than 1000. $37 for 150 which ain't bad - 2 months
worth. And at the railway station I bought my return ticket to Sydney for
Feb 3, first class, $22 pensioner concession. One person on duty and I
was the only customer. So all is good, and that's a bunch of stuff done
So now it's time to check the telly for the day's events and revert
to passive mode. Gary
January 15, 2014. New year? Wot new year? It's half way through
January already and all the fireworks and popping corks are well and truly
forgotten. Of all the events that have occurred here in Taree, Cody's death
seems the most recent probably because it had such a huge impact on me.
I learned the news in this very spot where I'm sitting now, and it's hard
to believe that this year will be the 13th anniversary.
Meanwhile, the gum saga continues. My next appointment with Nancy is
in half an hour. Ho hum. I'll miss her when she's off to Darwin though.
We're pretty good mates. Fancy that, eh? Good mates with a dentist. Who
BACK! Seems the lower gum on the left side has finally covered the exposed
bone. Success! But the right side still has a way to go, and the front
presents a few tricky areas. But overall the Trental and vitamin E treatment
is working together with Nancy's chipping away at dead bits of bone. She
says the brushing is helping as well. Pity I didn't start that a long time
ago. It stimulates the gum and also toughens it up.
She asked me about the shredded chicken and I told her it was like trying
to swallow a dry tea bag. The food forms a wad that sticks to the roof
of the mouth, dangit. She reckons (and I agree) that the sweet and sour
sauce isn't "creamy" enough. Bolognaise works okay because of the melted
cheese. So she suggested I check out some of the creamy pasta sauces at
the supermarket and add a small can of shredded chicken to the mix. Apparently
you can buy shredded chicken in various flavors in the canned fish section.
I spent ages shredding that chicken last night. Grrrrr.
Speaking of munchies, FL Josh writes: For those who like Gummy Bears,
but want to avoid calories, they now have sugar free ones, but . . . beware
Calories! That's what I need. Trouble is I'm not much of a sweet tooth.
Some people only have to look at something fattening and balloon. Not me.
Which reminds me... I was telling Nancy about prawns wrapped in bacon at
Black Stump restaurants and lamented, "I wish!" So she leaned toward me
and asked, "Do you know how many calories there are in wishing? NONE!"
Just thinking. If the pasta sauce in packets and canned shredded chicken
or fish works, that would be a boon to mini Odysseys. I baulk each time
I think about getting away for a few days because of the diet thing, and
having to prepare stuff. Hmmm.
After my blurb about Holdens yesterday, Josh was inspired to write about
one particular car in his life: I
owned one of these from 1965 to 1990, the most elegant car I have ever
driven, and quieter than the Bentley I drove a couple of months ago.
You could fit a Holden in the boot of that thing, and then some. 25
years is a loooong time! Between '65 and '90, I owned 3 Beetles, a VW Type
3, a Holden, a Mercedes, a Mini, 5 Valiants and a VW Kombi camper. I've
slowed down a bit since then. Since 2002 I've owned a Holden, a Nissan
and 2 Ford utes. Das Busse doesn't count.
After posting about five zillion photos from the Net on Waffle, I finally
got an email about copyright. I'm writing on behalf* of Destination
NSW. Destination NSW is the lead government agency for the New South Wales
(NSW) tourism and major events sector. They have two key consumer
websites - Sydney.com and Visitnsw.com. I just wanted to shoot you a quick
mail about the
following page: -- I noticed you are using a Destination
NSW copyrighted image... Anyway, they asked me to credit it with
a line of their HTML code. No problem. Done! If you scroll down Waffle
40 until you reach the waterfall pic, you'll see it. Waffle 40? That's
12 months ago!
From the Beeb: Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon has apologised
for quotes that appeared in a newspaper that lambasted US Secretary of
State John Kerry's role in the Middle East peace process. Mr Yaalon was
quoted as saying that Mr Kerry was acting out of "misplaced obsession and
messianic fervour". The US state department expressed anger at the remarks.
However, in a statement, Mr Yaalon's office said that he had no intention
to cause any offence. Yes,
of course... slip of the tongue.
I've been a bit fragile today, I'm afraid. It's the heat and humidity
ya know. Knocks me a about a bit, so I took two naps, which hasn't left
me with much time for my song and dance routine. I also took time out to
play with the little TV remote. Installed a new battery, set up the TV
and THEN realized it had to be turned on before the remote could turn it
on or off and perform its other functions. Duh! It's a great little gadget
though. I couldn't be happier with the picture quality and its convenient
size. Perfect for PJ!
Sorry about the shortie today, folks. The forecast is for hot and steamy
all week soooo... Better than freezing though. Gary
January 14, 2014. FL Josh reckons I should try apple sauce when
swallowing large pills. But I did the ice cream trick again last night.
The damn things take a bit of encouragement, to be sure. The thing about
milk or ice cream is that they stimulate mucus. Anyway, it's just something
up with which I must put. If solid pills present a problem, I can (and
do) whizz 'em up in a smoothie. But the vitamin E is liquid in a gel. If
the problem persists, I'll see if I can get 500IU and take two.
There was a
terrible road accident yesterday in Melbourne. A hoon sped through
a red light, killed a pedestrian, carried on and t-boned a car killing
a couple who had just left their daughter's wedding and critically injuring
another couple in the back seat. How do you punish an idiot like that?
Is he even remotely capable of appreciating the utter carnage and heartbreak
he caused? How would you feel if you were a cop attending the scene? My
first instinct would be to tear the hoon from limb to limb. Aaaagggghhhh!
There'll be more pleasant things to write about on the Odyssey, I'm
sure. Although, it's interesting to note that most GNs don't write much
about the towns or history or geography of the places they visit, except
to say it's pleasant or whatever and that they're having a nice time. Many
are more interested in talking about who they met up with (other GNs),
or how much a caravan park costs, or how their rig is going, or the weather.
A lot take pics but they're point and shoot with little idea of what makes
a good photo. One thing I find curious is how many GNs do the typical touristy
thing and pose in front of landmarks. It never crossed my mind during my
visits to Sydney to take a selfie in front of the Bridge or Opera House.
I'm of the view that they are far more interesting than I am anyway. PJ,
on the other hand, is different. I'm quite happy to include her in the
occasional pic. For example, Uluru without PJ in there somewhere just wouldn't
be the same!
So, although I'm doing the same thing thousands of other retirees are
doing, it seems I'll be telling quite a different story, and certainly
putting a lot more effort into my photography.
But even with regard to photography, I tend to be more focused on human
interest and/or entertainment than "art". Art has its place, of course,
but I am and always have been more of a song and dance man. Don't you love
the way actors refer to their profession as a "craft"? What the hell does
pretending to be someone else have to do with craft? Craft-y, perhaps.
Cinematography is a craft. Set design is a craft. Editing is a craft. Writing
a screen play is a craft. Pretending to be someone you're not is an innate
From the Beeb: Pope Francis has issued his strongest condemnation
yet of abortion, calling it a "horrific" symptom of a "throwaway culture"
that placed too little value on human life. He said it was was "frightful"
to think about early pregnancy terminations. Since his election in March,
the pope has not spoken out against abortion as sternly as his predecessors.
we don't know what Mrs God thinks about this issue.
German carmaker Volkswagen has said it will invest $7bn (£4bn)
in North America over the next five years as it looks to boost its sales
in the region. The firm will also launch a new sports utility vehicle (SUV)
in the US - one of its biggest markets - in 2016. It also reiterated its
goal of selling a million Volkswagens and Audis - its luxury brand - in
the US by 2018. From
such humble and unlikely beginnings.
When I was a kid, 50% of cars on Oz roads were British or American (with
a handful of French and German). The other 50% were Holdens. In '53, after
5 years of the same model, the FJ was introduced... same car but with a
tarted up grill, different tail light (yes, one) and 12 volts. Why would
you change something that had half the market? But by '56, the FJ was getting
a bit stale stylewise, so a more modern square shape was released. Ironically,
though, it's the FJ that became the Aussie motoring icon. And now, or at
least in 2016, after 68 years, "Australia's Own Car" will cease production
- UNLESS sales of the Holden rebadged in the US as a Chevrolet are good.
AND if GM doesn't decide to shift its production to the States.
I was 4 years old when the first Holden rolled off the assembly line.
So, by the time I was in my teens, the early Holdens were old enough to
be bought cheaply by my peers and were given a new lease of life. And they
were everywhere. Obviously, if there's one car I identify with more than
any other as a young bloke growing up in Australia, it's the Holden.
Roite, the chicken breast has been oiled, salted, ground peppered, gingered,
and herbed, and is now wrapped in its foil parcel ready to be steamed.
Too easy! Hopefully, in half an hour or so, it'll be tender enough to be
shredded easily with two forks. I don't need to feel guilty either... the
chicken is RSPCA approved according to the pack, so the chook was apparently
consulted before its demise and quite happy to cooperate.
The chicken's done (I think) so I better attend to the shredding. Catch
you same time, same station, tomorrow! Gary
January 13, 2014. Time's a-racin' again. It's almost 9 and I'm
due at Nancy's in half an hour. Better get this coffee down. And then?
A bit of shopping, I guess, and maybe a fiddle with PJ. I can't shake this
feeling of guilt about being retired ya know... not having a fixed work
schedule or somebody to answer to. Each day I sit here in my "office" to
satisfy the urge to feel productive, and it's been that way ever since
I pooped my pants in kindergarten. I ran all the way home where I sought
refuge in the backyard dunny. But I felt guilty about missing class, so
I recited nursery rhymes and my mother heard me. Hehe. She cleaned me up
and bundled me back to school.
BACK! There was a young work experience girl in the surgery, Holly.
She's a rower! And for some obscure reason she wants to be a dentist. She
appeared to be totally engrossed as she peered into my mouth. So I said,
"You know those clown faces with open mouths that you throw things at?
That's how it is at this end." Nancy finishes up at the clinic at the end
of this month, and is then off to Darwin - back every 5 weeks to check
on me. Meanwhile, Emma will take care of proceedings. Brushing with the
baby brush seems to be working well, and I'm getting more used it. So that's
TX Greg wrote to say the "Brawn
Power" bloke looked fit. Some of the rowers have very impressive physiques
indeed. Years ago, I worked with a girl who was seriously into rowing,
with shoulders that dwarfed most of the guys' at the office. Anyway, Greg
reckons I should carry sample packs of sunscreen to hand out. Hehe. How
I thought more about the shredded chicken thing and decided to downsize
from two breasts to one. The more I cook, the longer I have to eat the
same thing every night, soooo I figure I'll do one breast at a time wrapped
in foil with a little oil, garlic, ginger, herbs and S&P. Instead of
the conventional oven, I'll use a saucepan fitted with a steamer. In fact,
steaming foil parcels would be ideal on the Odyssey as well. You can use
all kinds of meats, seasonings and vegies to make quick, no-fuss meals
with almost no washing up! For the moment though, I'm interested in cooking
meats that shred easily and don't need chewing.
Well, well, well, right on cue my stone frypan arrived! I'll check it
As to swallowing monster pills without choking to death, NC Art says:
I discovered an easier way to get pills down the hatch. Three of various
size and coating each morning go down quite readily if taken with warm
orange juice instead of cold water. Presumably one could use prune juice
or other palatable and smooth potion. Works for me! May work for yew tew.
I think I have a problem relaxing the throat because of stress, anticipating
the worst. However, last night I managed to dislodge the pill with a dollop
of ice cream. Prune juice? Sheesh! Porta potti here I come!
Back from a little shopping. Jason the metal bender is still closed
for Christmas/New Year vacation. Next! Country Link no longer runs the
4.12pm return train from Central to Taree. Dunno why, the damn thing was
always packed. So now if I wanna get back to Taree the same day after seeing
the doc in Sydney, the train leaves at 2pm. So I phoned the doc's office
and they've put my appointment back to 12.15. Sorted. Next! Got two colored
plastic key thingies so I can tell which is which for the saddlebags. They're
not keyed alike. Dummies. And I got all my groceries including those for
the chicken parcel. Blue Dragon tangy sweet and sour stir-fry sauce with
vegetables, chunky pineapple, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Sound
okay to you? Genuine Asian made in Poland. Hehe. On spesh at just $2 a
jar.That'll go well with noodles.
From the Beeb: American Hustle has won three awards at the Golden
Globes including best film comedy or musical. Its stars Amy Adams and Jennifer
Lawrence also picked up best actress and supporting actress prizes for
their roles in the 1970s-set crime movie. Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave
picked up the top honour of the night, winning
best film drama.
In pictures: In 1973, a group of men sailed across the Pacific Ocean
on rafts - the 15,000km (8,300ml) journey from South America to Australia
was the longest of its kind ever recorded. They wanted to prove that ancient
civilizations could have travelled between two continents. These
are some of the pictures from the expedition.
The frypan is pretty nifty, made of heavy-gauge aluminium, sprayed with
a layer of marble, with a high base for induction cooking. It can cope
with metal utensils, be used for fat free, non stick cooking, cleans easily
and has a detachable handle for use in an oven. Fine with me!
Golly gosh! Look at the time. I gotta buzzoffski. Gary
January 12, 2014. Roite. Site's updated including the photo
album of the Rowing Regatta yesterday. Got lucky with a couple of shots...
a vintage bi-plane and a curious pelican. Don't forget to check the photo
captions. The 55-200mm lens works well and the anti-shake thingy is great.
Telephoto shots in good light are crisp. You'll notice a little vignetting
with the 18-55 because of the lens hood but cest la vie.
I'm looking forward to photo shoots on the Odyssey; having the time
to plan shots and aim for above-average quality and composition, and even
reshooting an image if needed. No rush, no pressure. Early morning and
late afternoon shots no problem.
Doing a little computer housekeeping at the mo, copying all the photos
for the past year or so to the external HDD to free up space on the internal
HDD. I thought the external was massive when I bought it a couple of years
ago at 250GB. Now you can get a 1TB portable for about $100. It's not all
that long ago that Pentiums were all the rage at 1GB. God knows how big
Youtube is, or those cloud thingies you can use to store files. It's also
not all that long ago that you bought rolls of photographic film in 36
exposures hehe. My, my, the times they are a-changin'.
Another thing I'm looking forward to on the Odyssey is the proximity
of all my gear to me. At the mo, some is in the house and some is in PJ
and I have to trek between the two. Once everything, including me, is installed
in PJ everything will be in easy reach. How convenient!
Yesterday, I linked to a Beeb story about wealthy pollies and was tempted
to comment, but NC Art has done it for me: That’s an unlikely mob to
be tending to the needs of the poor. What the hell do they know about hungry
folks? I think the Democrats are a bit richer because more of them have
been there longer … until recently. Finally Repubs have got hold of the
election machinery and made off with the last two elections in the lower
house. Then they promptly went on strike and now do nothing but obstruct
progress and cozy up the big money interests, so they won’t be long
in second place.
Lesson: Keep politicians poor to keep democracy alive.
The argument against that, of course, is if you pay peanuts you get
monkeys. There was a time in Oz politics that working class people made
it to the top job but now they're all lawyers. Our current PM is an exception
having started out training for the priesthood and then deciding the bucks
were a bit lean so switched to journalism before turning full-time pollie.
In the last 6 years, we've had the battling duo Rudd and Gillard now both
retired PMs on lifetime pensions of half a millon a year each. Mine's about
p.s. I did NOT go to divinity school, but I would have fit right
in with those smokers, drinkers, skirt chasers and hell raisers.
You forgot to include the mayor of Toronto, Art.
Hmmm. Just had an idea. I'm tired of mince (ground) meat. Sooooo, how
about I share a BBQ chicken with Lindsay? He can have the legs, wings and
whatever and I'll have the breasts which I'll shred finely using a fork.
Then I can put a jar of sweet and sour stir-fry sauce through the blender
for a few seconds just to get rid of the lumpy bits, put the whole thing
together and serve with noodles. Hmmm, sounds more chickenish than ground
chicken, and it should slide down the screech without any impediment.
I nearly choked to death last night trying to get one of those jelly-bean
size vitamin E tabs down the screech. It got stuck, so I laid down on the
bed in an attempt to coax it further down but it lodged in the windpipe.
Oh dear! There was a whole lotta coughing and spluttering going on before
the thing finally dislodged and cannoned out of my cake hole. I then stood
at the kitchen sink with a glass of water and managed to get the thing
down after two tries. Isn't life exciting?
FL Josh wrote: No one believes seniors . . . Everyone thinks they're
An elderly couple was celebrating their sixtieth anniversary. The
couple had married as childhood sweethearts and had moved back to their
old neighborhood after they retired. Holding hands, they walked back to
their old school. It was not locked, so they entered, and found the old
desk they'd shared, where Jerry had carved I love you, Sally.
On their way back home, a bag of money fell out of an armored car,
practically landing at their feet. Sally quickly picked it up and, not
sure what to do with it, they took it home. There, she counted the money
- fifty thousand dollars!
Jerry said, "We've got to give it back."
Sally said, "Finders keepers." She put the money back in the bag
and hid it in their attic.
The next day, two police officers were canvassing the neighborhood
looking for the money, and knocked on their door. "Pardon me, did either
of you find a bag that fell out of an armored car yesterday?"
Sally said, "No."
Jerry said, "She's lying. She hid it up in the attic."
The agents turned to Jerry and began to question him.
One said: "Tell us the story from the beginning."
Jerry said, "Well, when Sally and I were walking home from school
The police officer turned to his partner and said, "Were outta here!"
From the Beeb: Two pilots have attempted a dramatic take-off - from
a beach. Their single engine plane made an emergency landing on Martins
Bay in New Zealand after aircraft's engine failed. It did not stop the
pilots attempting to get it back in the air, along with the help of some
nearby holidaymakers. Lucas
de Jong reports.
January is a boom month for online dating, but certain irksome recurring
phrases might put off potential mates. A Magazine article listing 20 cliches
people write on their profiles attracted a huge response from readers.
are a few of the most unpopular expressions.
Aren't some people pathetic when they try to impress someone else? I
can think of many examples but I won't detail them. I prefer the quiet
ones who do and say nothing out of the ordinary... the mysterious ones
with a hint of a smile... a discreet sign of encouragement but by no means
an invitation. However, I would no sooner seek a companion on an internet
dating site than bungee jump. I'm perfectly content with my own company,
thank you very much. Myself and I have been together for a helluva long
time and we've sorted out most of our problems. We don't argue about things
like who gets the TV remote or the fav chair, for example. But probably
the most important thing is that we can tolerate each other's farts. I
honestly can't remember the last time one of us had to leave the room.
We also have realistic expectations of each other despite regular derogatory
And now it's time for a wrap, Bs & Gs. Enjoy the regatta pics and
I'll catch you tomorrow. Gary
January 11, 2014. Ah yes, I remember the name of that restaurant
now... Black Stump (char grill). It was a franchise and there were a few
in Sydney - and still are according to Google. Two American style restaurant/bars
I remember from my days in Kings Cross were the Texas Tavern and The Bourbon
and Beefsteak. Now I can't even do Hungry Jacks.
TX Greg wrote: Speaking of bacon, here's
a new product... BTW> I hope you get a gawk shot this time, hahaha
That bacon ball thingy is not a bad idea. More washing up though. I've
seen cooked "bacon bits" in jars in the herbs and spices section of the
supermarket. Some hot dog sellers use crispy bacon bits to sprinkle on
the sausage. Toasted and buttered buns improve a hot dog out of sight I
reckon. Ditto burgers. Oh dear, there I go again... *sigh*
It's after 10am already so I better move this tired old butt down to
the river soon (just made a coffee). The weather's great... sunny and no
wind. I'll get some wide shots of the general scene and then switch to
telephoto for some "up close and personals". In an Odyssey situation, where
I'd camped overnight, I could have gotten some sunrise shots of rowers
practicing. Mind you, I could have gotten outta bed at sparrow's and done
the same thing but, hey... I'm lazy.
The foodies will be at the regatta for sure, selling steak and onion
toasted sandwiches, egg and bacon rolls, pies, sausage rolls and all kinds
of yummies I'll have to ignore. I'll never take food for granted again...
or teeth. I was at Bunnings recently waiting at the checkout when a woman
remarked on the smell of onions frying at the nearby food stall. Tell me
about it. We got to chatting and she said she went through the no-teeth
thingy after a mouth operation. Said she understood what I was going through.
Thanks, darling, but it doesn't help at all.
Now what was it I was gonna say?
Oh yeah... I'm back from the regatta. Now don't forget to wear a hat!
Yes, Gary. And don't forget to put on plenty of sun block! Yes, Gary. And
don't start pointing the bloody lens at shirtless blokes! Yes, Gary. Well,
I didn't wear a hat or sun block. After about an hour in the sun, I felt
the tell-tale tingles and high-tailed it back to PJ where I downed a coldie
and watched proceedings from the cab, occasionally venturing out for another
pic or two. Then I came home and fell asleep for over an hour. That sun
really takes it outta me.
I'll put the album together tomorrow. It's after 4.30pm now. The photos
are okay... nothing thrilling. I didn't bother with the races cos no one
knows what team's what and it's a bit dreary if you're not interested in
who's battling whom. Although my old club at Glebe was there. I was a frequent
visitor to the old Glebe Rowers Club. The club building is gone now, replaced
by a fancy restaurant.
NC Art wrote but not to comment on bacon. Maybe he has an aversion to
feelthy peegs. Art chose instead to comment on something with which he
can more readily identify: True that old Ludvig B. was deaf during part
of his time composing Ninth Symphony—known as The Chorale. And a widely
known singer threw a tantrum about its difficulty to perform. An
orchestra was cobbled together and a top flight soprano was invited to
take part in a rehearsal prior to the first performance. The diva accepted,
came on stage, looked over the vocal part she was to sing, threw the score
in the floor and screamed, “No one can sing this shit!” and stomped out
of the theater.
It is a trying piece of music, but the soprano was wrong. Many women
have sung the part since … but very few very well.
And I like the story about the end of this master composer. Seems
he went for a walk, and being deaf could not hear thunder. A sudden downpour
caught him and he shook his fist at the sky, bellowing, “Das ist genucht!”,
had a stroke and died.
BTW, I was watching something on telly last night... oh, yes, an interview
with aussie actor Geoffrey Rush, who is brilliant. His latest starring
role is in The
Book Thief. He was talking about the percentage of the German population
that resisted Nazi rule (for the sake of their own humanity) and became
involved in various anti-Nazi activities such as protecting Jews from persecution
and death camps. That percentage was less than 20.
From the Beeb: The US Air Force is now investigating 10 officers
at six military bases for alleged illegal drug possession, service officials
report. Nine lieutenants and a captain at bases in the US and Britain have
been implicated in the investigation. Two nuclear launch control officers
at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana are said to be involved
in the probe.
For the first time, half of the members of the US Congress are millionaires,
according to a wealth analysis. At least 268 of the 534 politicians in
the Senate and House of Representatives had a net worth of $1m (£606,821)
or more in 2012. Democrats were slightly wealthier than Republicans, found
the data from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) at OpenSecrets.org.
It comes as politicians debate national jobless benefits and
the minimum wage.
Earnest history teachers driving their families on improving holidays
across Europe. Hippies heading to Woodstock in 1969. Surfers rolling down
to Cornish or Californian beaches. The elderly chap next door who wore
shorts and sandals with socks in summer and whose wife insisted the plastic
wrappers that came with the front seats when new stayed firmly in place…
The Volkswagen Type 2, better known as the Kombi, Camper, Transport or
Bus ? it had various names in different countries ? was in production,
in one guise or another, for
more than sixty-three years.
Ah yes, the old Kombi. Been there, done that, and glad I did. Seeyaz
January 10, 2014. NC Art commented: Yer roit mate. Your skill
with limerick production ain’t bad for early morn. Rhyme scheme is fine,
but the meter could use a bit of smoothering. Say it out loud to get the
feeling…and easy flow of accented syllables.
Oh hell, what do I know anyway?
There was a young man in Dundee Who buggered an ape in a tree The result it was horrid All ass an no forehead Blue balls and a purple goatee.
And this one of two stanzas, scribbled on the wall of the loo in
a divinity school:
There were two old maids in Birmingham And I’ll tell you a story concerning ‘em, They lifted the frock and diddled the cock Of the bishop who was confirming ‘em.
Now this bishop was nobody’s fool (He’d attended a large eastern school) He just took down his britches And buggered those bitches With his Arch-Episcopal tool.
Art and I went to different schools. There was never anything creative
on our walls, just stick drawings of our teachers. As to meter and accented
syllables, I had a problem with PJ. If you accent the P rather than the
J in PJ his home, you get a different meter than the one you get
if you accent the J rather than the P. Life wasn't meant to be easy ya
I was just thinking about a dish I almost always ordered at a restaurant
I frequented in North Sydney years ago. I'd never seen it anywhere else.
It was school prawns wrapped in bacon served on a bed of rice with special
tomato sauce (probably salsa). They were sooooo moreish I couldn't get
enough of them. But cooking them (or trying to) at home was a different
story. The damn toothpicks make them impossible to shallow fry. So for
some reason this morning, I thought about deep frying them. Secure prawn
and bacon rasher with toothpick, pop them into hot oil, cook for a minute
or two, remove from oil, remove toothpicks, arrange on bed of fluffy rice,
add a dollop of salsa on the side, enjoy. Does that sound like the way
to go to you?
One GN suggested grilling.
I feel like a deaf Beethoven writing music. No teeth and thinking about
I knew a chef on the Central Coast ages ago. His specialty was filet
mignon. Rather than wrap the filet in bacon and secure it with toothpicks,
he used a can from which the top and bottom had been removed. It was just
the right size to accommodate a filet wrapped in a rasher of bacon, and
would hold everything in place during cooking. The hot can also aided the
cooking of the bacon. The cans were his pride and joy, never washed, and
coated with black carbon from previous cooking to impart a smoky, BBQ flavor.
I don't know how he brought new cans up to "cured" speed, but he never
used a new can to cook a filet mignon. He was a bit of a character... always
had his large black dog sleeping on the floor of the restaurant kitchen.
Why would eBay email me about 60% off a Canon printer when I've only
just bought one? They do that kinda thing all the time. Speaking of which,
I splurged on a stone/marble coated 8" frypan yesterday for PJ. I already
have an 8" teflon, dish-shaped pan for pancakes, and a large cast-iron
griddle for campfire cooking. It weighs a ton! Many GNs say it's a mistake
to carry too much cookware. You only need the basics. Even now, here at
home, there's a ton of stuff in the cupboard I never use. But I bought
the stone frypan cos it uses virtually no oil, cooks more efficiently,
and is easy to clean. However, I have a feeling the ol' jaffle iron will
be my favorite hehe, especially after reading all the recipes and tips
on that web site yesterday. I can also use it on the stove or a campfire.
As to deep frying, all you need is a saucepan. Even a basket is not necessary,
just a slotted spoon does the trick. I do like my chips, ya know.
Food, food, food. I gotta stop this!
Well, the Beeb's no help. Not much happening today, I'm afraid. While
I shaved, I heard a tech head on the radio being interviewed about the
iPhone (and its Android copies) on its 7th anniversary. He was talking
about how much the device has changed people's lives. Apple is still ahead
of its rivals despite Androids collectively selling more phones. The iPhone
is better made and more responsive. One bloke in the construction biz called
the station to say that it's revolutionized the way he operates his company.
The iPhone has become his office. Another bloke said it's brought him and
his son closer together. He chases errant weather balloons for a living
and uses the iPhone to track and find them. Someone else - a stargazer
- said if you're looking at a star and wondering what its name is, there's
an app that allows you to point the phone at the star and it'll tell you
its name and a heap of other relevant info. Hehe. Another app allows you
to point the phone at a high flying aircraft to get all the relevant info...
type, flight #, where it's going or coming from, etc.
I've always thought of iPhones as a phone first and everything else
second, and since I rarely use my mobile phone, I couldn't see a need for
an iPhone. Maybe I need to rethink, especially in light of the Odyssey
and having no fixed line. However, I do like my laptop and full-size QWERTY.
And I can't see myself working with photos and video using an iPhone.
Back from a little shopping and buying a couple of new button batteries
for the little TV remote. How come they package them in pairs when I only
need one? Bloody crooks. Also that medication for the vascularization of
my gums ain't cheap either... $53 for less than a month's worth. And the
vitamin E is expensive as well. I can buy a good quality fry pan for less
than one of those other things and it'll last 10 years! Come to think of
it, the frypan I mostly use here in the house is part of an enameled cooking
set I bought at a liquidation sale 34 years ago for $20 the lot! The meals
I've cooked in that thing would number in the thousands easily!
My Nikon bag is ready to go. Batteries charged, lenses and hoods ready,
everything set to rock and roll tomorrow at the rowing regatta. Freezing
a couple of small bricks for the cooler and a couple of coldies. I won't
bother with PJ's fridge. I would have packed a sandwich as well but we
all know that story. Bleh. It'll be the first time I've taken PJ to an
event and used it as my private retreat. It can get pretty hot out in the
sun walking around with a camera.
So that's about it from me today, folks. Time to veg out and catch up
with what the world has been up to today. I hope all y'all are managing
to thaw out "over there". Gary
January 9, 2014. NC Art wrote Um NO: Sorry mate, it’s PARAPHERNALIA…
There was a bloke from Australia Who packed his paraphernalia PJ his home where e'er he roam Blessed be he that sail in 'er.
Hmmm. Not bad for this time of the morning. Thanks Art. You must have
read my comment the other day about being gracious when corrected and thought
I meant it. Hehe. Kinda reminds me of my youth when I had a job after school
delivering prescriptions and washing bottles at a local chemist shop -
And speaking of the '50s, I saw this on an auto news group this morning...
50s Main Street USA
So what happened? It was there one day and now it's not. The photo proves
that that moment in time existed. So where did it go? And where did all
the people go? The bloke driving the Caddy was probably headed home to
have dinner with his missus and kids and watch The Honeymooners on his
Admiral TV. Photographs are spooky in that respect: a moment in time plucked
from the continuum to be forever thus.
Speaking of photos, I checked the events calendar on the local council
web site last night and noted that the rowing regatta is on this weekend
just down the road. Teams from all over the east coast compete, and the
weather forecast is for fine and sunny conditions. I was there a couple
of years ago and saw some of those rowers without shirts on. By golly gosh,
I said to myself, all that rowing certainly er... well, I can't remember
exactly what I said but I do remember being rather impressed. So it occurred
to me last night that I now have a 200mm digital lens hehe. And I haven't
used it much. Yet. So I think I'll toddle down to the river on the weekend
and get some practice. If I'm early enough, I might get a good parking
spot close to the action and have PJ to relax in during breaks. Sound like
a plan to you?
I checked my Youtube channel last night after a long absence and was
surprised by the number of hits to a couple of my vids. About a year or
so ago I wrote that one of my vids was up around the 500 views mark which
I thought was pretty damn good given that I don't promote them. But the
Kombi Fest vid has now topped the 6000 view mark, and the Sydney on a winter's
morning vid has almost hit 4000. What happened? Word has gotten around,
that's what happened. Takes a while but it does happen. I figure the same
thing will happen with AO. It's been around long enough to become established,
and once I hit the road it'll blossom.
And then what? I dunno. Hehe. It's a bit of a dilemma, really. On the
one hand I'd like to remain relatively incognito but on the other, I want
AO to succeed. I can't imagine anything worse than emerging disheveled
and bleary-eyed from PJ, holding my bottle of morning urine, and having
someone recognize me.
I just checked out a jaffle
iron recipe site with more recipes than you can poke a stick at. I
don't have teeth yet but at least I can drool. I love hash browns, for
example, but they're a pain to make yourself, and the frozen ones are pretty
Grated raw potatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Butter the inside of your jaffle iron and fill with grated raw potatoes.
Season to taste and close the iron. Cook over medium coals, turning
frequently. It’s that simple! For a heartier appetite, add onion,
green pepper, and sliced cooked sausage to the grated potatoes half-way
through cooking. When done, top with a cheese sauce and serve up
The recipes include fish cakes, all kinds of sandwiches, pizza pockets,
desserts and a whole range of things you never thought of. I can't wait!
Finally got around to setting up the little TV with a bit of buggerizing
around. But once it was on, it went through the seach thingy no problemo
and all 19 free to air channels are perfect. It logged a whole bunch of
radio stations as well... not sure if they're FM band or digital. Can't
get the remote to work - probably a dead battery. I'm pretty sure the button
battery is right side up cos the drawer only closes one way. Anyway, the
TV is brilliant... great color and clarity and not bad sound for two little
From the Beeb: Australian PM Tony Abbott has defended what critics
have described as government secrecy over asylum policy. Officials have
in recent days refused to comment on reports that Australian naval forces
have turned back at least one boat to Indonesia. Accounts have also emerged
of asylum-seekers mistreated by navy personnel. Mr Abbott, who promised
a tough line on the asylum issue when he took office, said restricting
information flow boosted operational enforcement. "I'd rather be criticised
for being a bit of a closed book on this issue and actually stop the boats,"
he told local media. "The point is not to provide sport for public discussion.
The point is to stop the boats. I'm pleased to say it is now several weeks
since we've had a boat, and the less we talk about operational details
on the water, the
better when it comes to stopping the boats."
Hmmm. It's a tricky one. Abbott's critics keep talking about the asylum
seekers themselves and the way they're treated - being sent to off-shore
detention centers and refused entry into Australia. But they never mention
queue jumping. There's a proper process for emmigrating to Oz if you're
seeking asylum, and each case is dealt with in turn. Those who decide to
jump the queue and risk life and limb by travelling to Oz aboard unseaworthy
boats are the victims of people smugglers who make false promises and charge
a small fortune knowing full well their victims' fate - either drowning
at sea or being sent to a detention center off shore with no hope of ever
being granted Australian citizenship. Abbott argues that revealing details
about "operational matters" only serves to inform the people smugglers
who then ply their evil trade accordingly.
Anyway, it'll be interesting to see where Abbott goes with this one
- whether he can resist pressure to cave into the critics or stick to what
he believes in. I'm guessing here but I suspect there are similarities
between our problems with asylum seekers and the US's problem with Mexicans
illegally crossing the border.
The deep freeze that has left people in North America shivering for
days, shattering century-old temperature records, is loosening its icy
grip. The mercury is rising in the US Midwest and East, which has borne
the brunt of the so-called polar vortex, but
was still below freezing in many areas.
We cannot say we weren't warned. The growing threat of antibiotic
resistant organisms is once again in the spotlight. Prof Jeremy Farrar,
the new head of Britain's biggest medical research charity the Wellcome
Trust said it was a "truly global issue". In his first major interview
since taking up his post, Prof Farrar told BBC Radio 4's Today programme
that the golden age of antibiotics could come to an end unless
Rolls-Royce reported its fourth year running of record sales with
3,630 cars delivered to customers in 2013. That is a 1.5% increase on the
3,575 cars Rolls-Royce
sold in 2012.
Despite the rapid rise of cashless payments worldwide, many people
still prefer to have cash in hand and rely on paper money. But, increasingly,
those notes aren’t paper at all, but come in the form of a high-tech, plastic
banknote. More than two dozen countries, from Romania to Vietnam and Israel
have switched from old-fashioned cotton paper notes to polymer ones. Recently,
The Bank of England announced that the Sir Winston Churchill £5 note
will be made with plastic in 2016. Fiji and Canada also ditched their
crinkly paper notes for plastic in 2013. And Australia, which pioneered
plastic-based money, has
successfully used the notes since the late 1980s.
And that's it for another day! I'm looking forward to the weekend and
the rowing regatta... that should liven things up a bit! Gary
January 8, 2014. I'm losing Nancy! Boo hoo. But I'm thrilled
for her. She's moving to Darwin, going back to university to study something
unpronounceable but which is similar to the type of medicine my specialist
in Sydney practices - head and neck - except that Nancy will also have
a dentistry degree. She'll be a specialist's specialist. Bright girl, yes?
She'll be back here every six weeks though to keep an eye on me. Meanwhile,
I have an open invitation to visit her in Darwin. "You're one of the family
She removed quite a bit of debris from my mouth this morning and - to
quote her: "When I first started working on your mouth I was like Eeeeek!
But now I'm like less eeeeky." Hehe. She says to keep brushing with the
baby brush to toughen the gum in readiness for the upper plate and using
the bottom gum to "gum" it when chewing. Overall, she's happy with my progress.
The assistant was also impressed. It's been a month or two since she last
saw my gum and she could see the improvement quite readily. It'll be interesting
to hear what the doc in Sydney has to say when I visit him Feb 3.
Meeting people like Nancy and forming a friendship does wonders for
my self esteem. For a while there I was worried that L&S was the best
I could do. Back in the late '90s after my world collapsed, I met up with
a friend who had been a regular companion during my halcyon days in radio
and advertising. We were the Terrible Twins. As we sipped our beers in
a pub, I caught a fleeting look in his eyes accompanied by a plastic smile.
Gary's dead, it read. Gary's finished. I never saw him again, nor any of
my other former colleagues.
Took a while, but I've since learned that you NEVER chase the past.
Bury it and forget it. Move on. Chasing the past is like a gambler chasing
his losses. All of which begs the question: how come it takes a bloody
lifetime to wise up?
Speaking of lifetimes...
My best mate's father drove one of those when I lived in Terrigal 40
years ago. I remember the gentle throbbing of the lazy side-valve V8 with
enough torque to pull a house around.
I wonder if there's a 50's style resort you can visit, with 50's cars,
motels, furniture, B&W TVs, Rock-Ola juke boxes belting out Elvis records,
fashions of the period, drive in burger joints, pin ball machines and all
that wonderful 50's paraphanalia. Parkes
in NSW is about to stage it's annual Elvis Festival which attracts
thousands of Elvis look-alikes to the small western town (otherwise famous
for it's observatory). But it doesn't look quite right if an Elvis impersonator
turns up in a VW Golf. BTW, that XPT in the film clip looks very familiar...
it's the one I travel on to Sydney and back.
From the Beeb: Dozens of US former emergency service workers have
been arrested in a sweeping fraud investigation involving federal disability
benefits, New York authorities say. Prosecutors say 72 police officers,
eight firefighters and five corrections officers are among those charged.
Some reportedly falsely claimed disabling conditions arising from the 11
September 2001 attacks. The fraud is believed to have cost hundreds
of millions of dollars.
Former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has written a book strongly
criticising President Barack Obama's handling of the war in Afghanistan.
In Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War, Mr Gates says that the president
was sceptical that his administration's Afghan strategy would succeed.
"I never doubted [his] support for the troops, only his support for their
Now that I've almost finished loading PJ with all sorts of goodies,
I can't wait for a fellow camper to ask "Have you got such and such?" And
I can proudly say, "Matter of fact, yes, I have!" But now that my latest
goodies have arrived, the mini TV, collapsible buckets and water filter,
I'm beginning to suffer withdrawals. A mate of mine used to say, "A purchase
a day keeps the blues away."
Nancy was impressed with the buckets this morning and is gonna order
two for herself. The other day, a GN posted an idea for cleaning tea and
coffee stains from plastic/melamine cups/mugs. So I just added a little
bleach to my earthenware mug, filled it with water, left it for half an
hour and bingo! Clean as a whistle. So there's another thing I'll be needing
in PJ - bleach. White vinegar is also a great all-round cleaner. Another
GN tip was to use wool wash for handwashing clothes in a bucket. No rinsing
needed, which is important when water is scarce out in the sticks.
Well, I succumbed to the shopping withdrawals hehe. $9 for two suit/shirt
zippered covers with accessories pocket and handles for carrying/hanging.
I need a couple of button-up dress shirts for "special" occasions, and
they don't travel well when folded. Yeah?
Just responded to a post by a GN newbie who wants to know what other
GNs have to say about hitting the road and keeping their house, or selling
it. Responses vary - those who have sold and never regretted it, and those
who worry about having "something to come back to". Nervous nellies. When
I lost my house 20 years ago, I had no choice but to rent. And now renting
doesn't scare me one little bit. As I said in my response, if the day comes
when I have to quit the road for any reason, there are tens of thousands
of affordable houses/apartments like this one in country towns all over
Oz. So what's there to worry about? One change I would make if I rented
again is to rent a furnished apartment. Old Kev and Averil did that all
their lives and never had the worry of moving a truckload of stuff each
time. I've packed and unpacked more times than I care to remember. Never
again! And when I leave this joint, none of it is coming with me!
And that brings to a close another waffle. Gary
January 7, 2014. My Red Bubble friend Mieke recently organized
a get-together of Bubbleonians to visit Melbourne for a photographic jaunt
through the city. It's a great read with great pics.Red
Bubble tour of Melbourne.
Mieke is from the Netherlands but grew up in Melbourne. Now she lives
way up in Kimberley country in WA, in a town called Derby (near Broome).
When I'm over that way (who knows when) I'll say g'day.
Here's one you'll enjoy... choosing
a wife, posted on the GN Just Joking forum.
FL Josh wrote: If you plan on using the box the little TV came in
to store it and all its goodies, get a can of clear spray paint and give
it a couple of coats and that will help the box last a long time.
I've noticed certain boxes have a varnish type coating that makes them
more sturdy and durable, like my concertina file. It's a bit like a cardboard
brief case. $10. I figured I'd need a place for receipts and various papers
on the Odyssey. Good thinking, Josh. You'd make a great Gray Nomad.
NC Art commented on 'gentlemen's sport': Sports just ain’t what they
used to be. In a time called “Classical” [?] the Greeks and Romans went
at it without protection in wrestling. Finally some Roman gladiator tired
of having his gonads crunched, invented an athletic supporter … crotch
guard I guess. The Incans and Mayans didn’t read history and contended
naked in a game called pelote, actually the missile used for scoring. The
things were hard baked clay or some such and fatalities were common. Cracked
skulls, broken limbs, gut spilling. Actually, murderous inclinations were
played out on the field, grudges settled and old scores evened. We are
wusses these day, eh.
Whaddaya mean these days? I've always been a wuss. I did quite well
at table tennis and chess. Speaking of which, there was a story on a current
affairs program last night about Uganda (I think it was Uganda) where street
kids were lured to school by the promise of food. Part of the school's
curriculum was chess. One of the girls excelled at the game and has since
toured the world (including Russia). Her success and fame has encouraged
many of the other kids to take the game seriously, and they love it. No
power points, no batteries, no fancy bells and whistles. What a great story.
The chilling weather approacheth, and it is starting as I work here.
Tonight below freezing, tomorrow high 34 and low 9 … that’s Fahrenheit
scale! AND I have a doctor appointment in the morning. Brrr. Maybe I’ll
call in sick? My old bones just don’t adjust to wild temp swings, and besides
that, THIS IS A WARM WEATHER AREA! Someone better get with the program!
Good luck with the doc, Art. Which reminds me, there was a repeat of
a program last night about dogs trained to detect changes in behavior by
people with aggressive temperaments and a tendency to become violent. The
dogs and humans are paired for life and become very attached - best mates.
It seems the dogs can detect a chemical imbalance about to occur in their
handlers and warn them of any trouble before it happens. That may explain
how my dog used to be able to read me like a book. She could somehow tell
when I was considering taking her for a walk or a drive well before I said
or did anything. So it wasn't so much my mind she was reading, but my chemicals.
She would suddenly jump off the sofa, wag the tail furiously and carry
on with excited anticipation, knowing full well what was in my head. And
no amount of pretending by me could convince her that she was wrong hehe.
My foldable buckets just arrived! How wonderful! Each is housed in its
own zippered carry bag about the width and depth of 2 large pizzas. A cinch
to store in PJ. $30 for both including delivery. You did good, G. The buckets
are well designed too... as it's lowered, the top spins so that the walls
automatically fold inwards, ready to be packed away again. The handle locks
firmly into a groove. Bloody marvelous.
Eggs! Dunno why eggs popped into my head but they did... poached. So
I did a google and saw a link to a Youtube vid about cooking poached eggs
in cling wrap. But, apart from the cling wrap, you need a ramekin, oil
or butter and other bits and pieces. So I checked
out this vid which shows a much simpler method, including swirling
the hot water (not boiling) before adding the eggs so that the whites and
yolks wrap around each other. How clever! It's an Aussie vid (or maybe
Kiwi) and the bloke tends to mumble a bit, but you'll get the message.
Now, if I can get an upper plate and manage to chew a little, I reckon
I could handle a couple of soft poached eggs on lightly-browned toast minus
the crusts. Mmmmm! What a great breakfast!
From the Beeb: The US says it is speeding up the supply of military
equipment to Iraq to help its government fight militant groups in western
Anbar province. The White House said additional surveillance drones would
be delivered within weeks and more Hellfire missiles sent in the next few
months. Fighting in Anbar has led to some of the
heaviest clashes in Iraq for years.
Police in Australia have rescued a naked man who got stuck inside
a washing machine while playing a game of hide-and-seek. The man reportedly
hid inside the top-loading machine so he could surprise his partner. But
he became stuck and it took 20 minutes for rescuers to dislodge him using
olive oil as a lubricant.
As London's emissions regulations become ever more stringent, many
of the 20,000 old Hackney carriages on the streets of Britain's capital
are soon to turn their light off for the last time. But what will replace
them? Well, 18 months ago, Nissan revealed its potential replacement for
our lovable, chuntering black cabs. The NV200 London Taxi was pitched as
a cleaner, greener, more spacious and less vomit-specked taxi that retained
black cab's ability to turn on a sixpence.
If you go back far enough in Sydney there were heaps of RSL
(Returned Servicemen's League) cabs, mostly Holdens. There were also
Legion cabs and Yellow cabs. Then the industry decided to use Falcons during
the 70s, 80s, 90s and noughties. But other than the familiar RSL colors,
there was never really an iconic Sydney cab. Now you see Toyotas and other
makes of all stripes and colors. If it weren't for the familiar TAXI
sign on the roof, you'd never know it was a cab. One distinguishing
habit of Aussie taxi hailers is that we often choose to sit in the front
with the driver. I always do. I notice our PM sits in the front of his
Commonwealth car with the driver as well. But, come to think of it, former
PM Julia Gillard used to sit in the back. I guess she thought sitting in
the front was a bit blokey hehe. Most Aussie blokes don't like the notion
of being chauffeured. Bit posh for us.
I remember when my uncle drove his wife and my parents around in his
Austin Somerset, he and my dad would sit in the front while the girls were
relegated to the back. That's the way it was back then. Dad and Andy would
point out various cars in the traffic and discuss their merits while the
girls in the back checked out all the houses and gardens. It was also the
way it was with me and my best mate and our girlfriends. Blokes in the
front, sheilas in the back. Hehe. Dunno about these days, but whenever
there's a gathering around the backyard barbie, all the girls gravitate
to one corner and the blokes to another. As I got older, though, I swapped
sides. I had no interest in talking about blokey stuff like footie or fishing
or carburetors so I joined the girls instead and had a wonderful time.
During author Kathy Lette's interview the other night on telly, the
interviewer quoted one critic who wrote that Lette overuses humor in her
books, which can be a tad irritating. Lette responded by saying that women
laugh much more than men. And it's true, especially when they get together.
Women are incurable gigglers. Lette says it's probably some sort of defense
mechanism to alleviate all the stress they have to deal with... puberty
blues, childbirth, menstuation, motherhood, menopause, aging. My twice-weekly
appointments with Nancy and Emma are basically giggle sessions. I can remember
visitors to our house when I was a kid - usually a married couple related
to one of my parents. Dad would inevitably chat with the husband about
dry, humorless stuff, while mom and the bloke's missus would giggle merrily
away about anything and everything. Hehe.
In any case, whatever it says about me, I tend to gravitate to female
company at any gathering because I find their convos more amusing and entertaining
- generally speaking, that is. There are exceptions. Cody was a giggler
and a chatterbox.
Well, there ya go, another blank space filled with Kelly musings. Hehe.
January 6, 2014. Back from another Nancy irrigation. She was
trying to talk me into having my face stuffed with a Big Mac and washed
down with a thickshake. I wish! But I know it's impossible. Anyway, she
gave me a toothbrush to use with plain water to massage the gums - a brush
for babies 4 to 24 months hehe.
Speaking of health issues, Francois wrote: All my wishes for you
all. A good health for everyone is the best wish I've for you. My wishes
are a little late, because I finished 2013 and began 2014 in the
Noumea hospital with an intestine perforation: very painful during 20h
even with morphin! Then with much antibiotics and painkiller in IV, it'd
passed slowly. And after 6 days, I'm now back at home a little dizzy: the
hot weather is maybe for something: 36c on the terrace when I arrived here.
In 1 month exams to go and see the size of the damage, then in 2 months
surgery ("cold") to remove the bad part of intestines: Ewwwwwww...
You'd dream of better news, but that's my life...
I'm sorry to hear about your woes, Francois. What a cruel way to end
one year and begin the next! I hope it's over soon and you can go back
to enjoying your retirement as a carefree sailor. And thanks for the wishes.
Cricket is a gentleman's game, right? Yeah, right. I was listening
to the test the other day on radio as I shaved when a bowler delivered
a ball that bounced. The batsman was momentarily confused and lowered his
head slightly instead of moving it to the side. The ball struck his helmet's
grill and buckled it. The commentator was horrified and said if it hadn't
been for the grill, the ball would have sent the player's nose to the back
of his skull. Those hard leather and cork balls travel at 150km/h. It says
a lot for the courage of players back in the old days who wore no protective
gear at all other than shin pads. Then last night as I watched highlights
of the last test, I saw a batsman hold the bat vertically in front of him
to deflect a ball which snapped the bat in half like a twig. Bloody hell!
It was a good day for Aussie sport yesterday when we not only won the
Ashes 5-0 but Lleyton Hewitt also beat Roger Federer in the Brisbane International
Men's Singles final.
FL Josh writes to say he has another method of understanding the relationship
between volts, watts and amps: As to the volts, watts, amp thing, a
comparison of electricity to water helps me understand it, where voltage
is pressure, amperage is the flow rate and watts the total volume of water
that flowed. A fire hose and a water gun might have the same pressure
just as a car battery and 8 AAA batteries can both produce 12 volts, but
a hell of a lot more water flows out of the fire hose (car battery) than
what flows from the water gun (8 AAA batteries). A fire hose and
a water gun can both fill a swimming pool (watts) but it takes a hell of
a lot longer with a water gun than a fire hose.
I wonder if Benjamin Franklin was thinking about all that when he flew
kite in a storm. Now there's a frightening thought... all those zillions
of volts lurking in clouds. No wonder prehistoric man was so obsessed with
trying to appease the wrath of the gods. Those damn buggers were certainly
a cranky lot.
From wonderopolis.org: But was Benjamin Franklin really the first
person to discover electricity? Maybe not! In 1936, a clay pot was discovered
that suggests that the first batteries may have been invented over 2,000
years ago. The clay pot contained copper plates, tin alloy and an iron
It could have been used to create an electric current by filling
it with an acidic solution, like vinegar. No one knows what the device
was used for, but it sheds some light on the fact that people may have
been learning about electricity long before Benjamin Franklin!
A GN wrote yesterday that she's finished visiting various rellos and
friends and now has no particular place to go. How confusing! This really
is the first time since I hit the road 3 months ago that I have no direction
to go, nowhere that I really have to be, and the decision is completely
mine. A funny feeling, one of freedom, a little daunting, and fun all at
the one time. I can imagine the dilemma, if it is a dilemma. We spend
all our lives watching the clock, making appointments and sticking to a
routine. Even vacations are governed by bookings, itineraries, beginnings
and endings. When I ponder my next shakedown, I think about where I'll
go, how far, in which direction, yadda, yadda. Does any of that really
matter? No. Hehe. But it's a hard habit to shake. I'm sure I'll get used
to it after being on the road for a while. Just don't ask how long a while
My little Wintal portable TV arrived. It's in a box with a protruding
handle, so compact and easy to carry/store. Perfect for PJ. I'll play with
it later and figure out how it all works. $200 well spent, I'd say.
Yes, routines and timetables. Settling down to 2014 and taking it easy
is a bit of a culture shock. The last whatever years have been spent putting
all the pieces of the PJ puzzle together, spending, saving, spending, saving,
figuring out priorities, solving problems, always something to do and to
worry about. And now? It's all over bar the shouting. The stress has evaporated.
Remember FL Josh and Steve W reading the riot act about PJ's height?
I may have responded in a nonchalant manner - she'll be right, mate, no
worries - but in fact those buggers gave me nightmares. I can't begin to
tell you how nervous I was when I took PJ on her first test flight. I was
terrified! People forget I'm on a pension and that fixing things ain't
easy. More stress. But I survived. Hehe. And now I'm doing the banana lounge
trick with a drink full of umbrellas... and Raybans.
Actually, I lied about the Raybans. I bought my sunnies at a $2 shop.
Two pair - one in the cab and one in PJ.
Just checked the contents of the Wintal box. Inside the main box there
are two smaller boxes, both fairly sturdy. The TV is in one, and all the
attachments are in the other. You know those boxes where you take everything
out and can never get it all back in again? Not like that at all, thank
god. I'm quite impressed with the way everything is so neatly and thoughtfully
packaged. The quality of the TV housing is very good, so much so I checked
to see if it was made in China. It is.
All the bits are there. Remember all the trouble I had with the old
analoque portable with the set top box and those red, white and yellow
AV inputs? None of that this time. Firstly, it doesn't need a STB (has
its own digital tuner) and secondly both the supplied telescopic antenna
and the power antenna (mine) use the same kind of jack to fit the antenna
socket. Too easy. Depending on signal strength in a given area, I can use
either one. Later, I'll take it down to PJ and set it up.
So that solves all the questions about where to store the TV during
transit, where to place it for viewing, etc. Also I can watch it inside
outside. What a nifty little gadget! There's not a big demand for small
screen sizes. Most stores only stock 18" and up. But for me, a 7" 12V is
ideal. My goodness me, PJ is getting posher by the minute!
Back from a little shopping, including that in-line water filter I mentioned
the other day. $36.95! Is there some mistake? Is this the place that advertised
them for $26.95 on eBay? The attendant asked his boss who went to the screen
on the counter, tapped a few keys, and said, "Yes, $26.95 it is." I'm glad
I asked. The ticket price is $36.95. Also just got a note to say my foldable
buckets are on their way, and Andrew's gonna fit new park light lenses
at the front of PJ. The current ones are old and only one works. I hear
from the GNs that if park lights are fitted, Roads and Maritime insist
NC Art's having a bad day: Speaking of slow, I think the ISP I’m
locked to needs a million more servers in this area.Time-Warner has a virtual
monopoly and that always leads to sloppy service. I think that when schools
let out every 14 year old who has a computer at home fires up and watches
pornography until bedtime. Lately I have just about given up in the post
meridian hours. A speed check on downloads and uploads often hardly moves
the needle from zero. Bitching...
And don't forget all the kids with their smart phones exercising their
thumbs. I feel for you, Art. I know the story. Remember when cars started
appearing all over the place with insufficient roads to drive them on?
From the Beeb: Parts of the US are braced for potentially record-breaking
low temperatures as a "polar vortex" brings more freezing weather. A winter
storm has already blanketed areas of Canada and the north-eastern US with
up to 2ft (60 cm) of snow. It has been blamed for 16 deaths in recent days
and the cancellation of more than 3,700 flights this weekend. And
here I sit shoeless and shirtless with the fan on.
Anders Bouvin is the boss of the most successful bank you've probably
never heard of. And he, like the bank he runs, will challenge your preconceptions.
like their thinking!
Lindsay just arrived home with a large wad of money - English pounds.
He's booked his air tickets (Qantas), organized travel insurance and passport,
got Sue all packaged up in an urn, got himself a very flash jacket and
shirt, and is all set to fly to London at the end of this month. He'll
return early March. Sue's mother wants her daughter to remain above ground
until mum calls it a day (she's 90+) when they'll share the one plot. I'll
probably be long gone by then, cruising around Oz in PJ.
I must say, things are a lot more pleasant around here now with only
Lindsay here. When he goes out, I don't have to worry about Sue taking
a fall or getting into mischief. It's all so peaceful! And with that, I'll
call it a wrap. Hooroo! Gary
January 5, 2014. No one noticed 2013 yesterday (since corrected).
Not long ago I posted a couple of pics of the interior of the saddle
bags showing two steel bars used as supports bolted to the tray. One GN
commented: Any problems with electrolytic corrosion with the use of
steel against the aluminium? I've heard that electrolytic corrosion
is a problem with welding aluminium to steel but not in cases where there's
no welding involved (or changes to the metal's molecular integrity). Do
we have a metallurgist on board?
FL Josh wrote to say he saw my waffle reference to foldable buckets
and foldable water. He couldn't find any foldable water but did manage
to find dehydrated
water. He says he's been busy fitting new toys to his car: have
been installing 6 new speakers and a new radio in my car. Had to
make my own wiring harness to adapt it to the factory plugs. It's
a Kenwood with a 3" digital screen that can even show videos. Also
had to figure out how to put my music on a thumb drive since it doesn't
have a CD player. Have a back up camera yet to install, and am designing
a new computer as the internet keeps barking at me because my Browser is
old (IE 8) and pages that have trouble downloading also have trouble with
Google Chrome so I think Windows XP is just not up to snuff any more.
Am going to go with Windows 7 since 8 and 8.1 have such bad reviews.
Yes, the USB thumb drive. What a marvelous piece of technological wizardry
that is. I went through the transfer of all my CD music to thumb drive
some time ago and it's soooooo much more convenient. Makes you wonder why
they were ever called compact disks in the first place. As to Windows 8,
NC Art sings its praises all the time. Hehe.
Speaking of the devil, And then we have the waffle word, a verb or
a noun. When one effects a change of plan, there are sure to be after effects
… or is that an affection? Affectation?
Affectations, so I understand, refer to emotion rather than to thought.
The emphasis shifts to the first syllable. I spoke by phone once to Kot
and Co in Ukraine and referred to Oleg. For a minute or two, Kot didn't
know who I was talking about. I hadn't realized Oleg was pronounced with
the emphasis on the second syllable. Nonetheless, I have lots of fun with
shifting emphasis... fragile becomes frag-a-lee, rhyming with happily.
Envelope becomes en-vel-o-pee (rhyming with hyperbole). I knew a woman
who lived at Lane Cove in Sydney but preferred to pronounce it Lana Co-vay
hehe. And she always shopped at Tar-jay.
The manager of a country radio station I worked at almost exploded with
rage one day when he ordered me to stop pronouncing the local post office
as the post orifice.
I heard a writer on telly once describe poetry as the "distillation"
of thought. What a wonderful way to describe it! Poetry (not that I profess
to understand it or even like it) targets the very essence of meaning...
the ultimate brevity. Me, I'm a chatterbox, more comfortable with conversational
prose than formal. Another writer I saw on telly last night once described
writing as the cheapest therapy available. Too bloody right, mate. She
also used a phrase that stuck in my mind - porcelain people - to describe
the precious British aristocracy. She was once asked to make an official
presentation of some charity award to Prince William. Being an Aussie unfamiliar
with royal protocol in such situations, she was introduced to the prince
before the ceremony and said, "I understand I'm supposed to give you a
kiss after handing over the award. Would you like a bit of tongue with
that?" The poor prince didn't know which way to look. After regaining his
composure, he replied, "Perhaps later... ha, ha, ha." The author was Kathy
Lette who has written several books since her first sensation, Puberty
There's been a stack of media stories lately about intelligence gathering
by government agencies (as well as private enterprise) together with the
leaking thereof by whistleblowers Assange and Snowden. The other day I
mentioned rogue genes and ancestry on Waffle and the next morning I recieved
a spam email from ancestry dot com. Go figure. I'm being watched. There
was a program on telly last night about such things, and how ordinary people
are tracked by dozens (if not hundreds) of information gatherers on the
web. Apps are particularly dangerous. Many of them are not secure, and
the information supplied by users can (and does) end up in massive meta
data banks. To demonstrate the ease with which private info can be plagiarized
by third parties, an IT expert entered bogus info into an app and found
it later stored by another on line site with no affiliation whatsoever...
name, credit card details, password, street address, phone, etc. It was
all there. Anyone using an app should make sure it's secure (with the little
padlock icon) before entering any personal info.
As one commentator put it, all this information makes the people with
access to it extremely powerful, and it's only a matter of time before
that power is corrupted (if it hasn't been already). Currently, if you
can believe the official rhetoric, the gathering of personal info on a
massive scale is used by the goodies to catch the crooks. So what's stopping
it from also becoming the reverse?
You've heard of stitching photos, yes? Programs like Photoshop can stitch
two or more images, and some cameras have a pano mode that automatically
stitches 3 shots. So do those in-store surveillance cameras. As you walk
through the store and pass from one camera to the next, into and out of
frame, the store's surveillance software can stitch your whole in-store
time seamlessly together to show where you go, where you stop, what you
buy, etc. And if you're carrying a mobile phone or internet device, they
know who you are as well.
We've all known for ages about Big Brother. But it's only now that we're
becoming aware of just how big Big Brother is, and how all pervasive. If
it weren't for people like Assange and Snowden, we'd all be blissfully
living in la la land.
From the Beeb: The Everly Brothers were, quite simply, one of the
most influential groups in the history of popular music. Their close, expressive
vocals set the standard for any rock band that employed harmony as a primary
feature - from The Hollies to the Beach Boys. At the height of their popularity
in the late 1950s and early 1960s, they scored 28 hits in the UK and were
among the first 10 performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
when it opened in 1986. Simon and Garfunkel recorded versions of their
songs Bye Bye Love and Wake Up Little Susie, while The Beatles once toyed
with calling themselves The Foreverly Brothers. A
Ohio Jace wrote and mentioned the "big chill" over there: Speaking
of freezing over here. Storm number 9 is on our doorstep. Sunday will be
a balmy 7C before the storm arrives and fall to a frigid minus 26C on Tuesday
morning. The wind chill will be as low as minus 40C. Add to that 2 to 4
inches of snow. If the forecast comes true we'll be setting records for
the date to be the coldest since 1996. School is supposed to resume Monday
after a two week hiatus for the holidays, instead the kids will probably
have more days off. Click here for some
photos of the US winter storms.
Jace also mentioned English grammar: During the holidays there was
a CEO from a company in California who used “you know” at least 41 times
with a few sentences starting with “I mean” in response to the host's questions
in a 3 minute session. It was very annoying. You get that a lot when
people ad lib. I watch The Drum at 6pm weeknights. It has a journalist
host as well as a rotating panel - a mix of journalists, pollies and experts
from various fields, who are forever using "I mean" and "you know"... often
the latter immediately following the former. One pollie begins almost every
sentence with "the fact of the matter is..." Hehe. And just loves "quite
frankly". Those habits are just too easy to form and extremely difficult
to break. In my early radio days, the boss told me to stop using "rightio"
as oral punctuation. Rightio, the time is... Rightio, here's a song by...
I wasn't aware of it. Did you watch that Alec in WILDerland vid the other
day? That kid was doing the same thing with "okay".
Jace added that his oldest great nephew has grown 4 inches since he
broke his leg. So there ya go. Any shorties out there wishing to gain a
bit of extra height can try it for themselves. Ho ho ho.
Well, the news is just in from Magnetic Bill on the GN forum... Australia
has just thrashed the Poms for a 5 nil victory in the final Ashes cricket
test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. I suppose the poor old Poms will be
dreading the media crush at Heathrow on their return. Hehe.
Also this from the GN forum: This will be of interest to those of
us who remember the Falklands war in 1982. I wonder how many of you knew
the story. I certainly had not heard about it. It took place at the opening
of the Falklands war, as a task force sailed towards the Falklands to regain
control after the Argentinian invasion and occupation. In order to minimise
the air threat to the task force, it was necessary to make the airstrip
on the island unusable. The RAF brass proposed an audacious plan -- to
send a Vulcan bomber down to drop ordinary bombs on it, rather than the
nuclear variety they were originally designed to deliver. It makes a gripping
story and I won't spoil it for you by revealing whether or not they were
successful. Looks a bit big for my slow internet connection to handle,
so I've not watched it. But I know there a couple of air force enthusiasts
out there who
might like to give it a try.
Meanwhile, time for me to cease and desist for another day! Gary
January 4, 2014. First weekend of the new year!
NC Art wrote: Some thoughts on your musings of 3 January 2014…
The moving finger writes and Having writ moves on Nor all your piety or wit can lure it back To cancel half a line or all your tears Wash out one word of it.
Fear not lest existence closing Your account and mine Shall know the like no more, The eternal Saki from his golden bowl Has poured millions of bubbles like us And will pour.
The Tent Maker
Omar was referring to pen and ink, of course. These days we "process"
words. Is one a proper writer if one writes without a pen?
Now define AFFECT and EFFECT and explain how the hell to use them
properly. Hint: the pesky things can be verb, noun, and otherwise. A real
smart college friend—ultimately with a doctorate in history—never got it
and turned writing into a real chore because he refused to use those two
words! (He published four history books!)
I've always used affect as the verb and effect as the noun.
The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately,
in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it
did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes. Lady Bracknell, in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.
However, I must say that when I'm unsure about the correct grammatical
use of a particular word, I go rummaging in my bag of alternatives hehe.
Ultimately, though, one needs to ask oneself does it really matter? After
years of writing advertising copy for radio, someone pointed out to me
that truely is spelled truly, and rediculous is spelled ridiculous. Oops!
Luckily, on radio, the pronunciation is the same. At a gathering of arty-farty
showbiz types one time I was introduced to a woman as a writer. "Oh? What
do you write?" "Advertising copy." "Oh... then you're not a real writer."
Her bitchy remark caused me to overcome my fear of using the printed word
when I write. I figured if my critics were going to be humorless, crusty
old pedants like her, then it didn't matter. Moreover, it caused me to
accept being corrected graciously. No biggie.
I also discovered a new freedom. Not being a "real" writer allowed me
to use slang and all sorts of creative alternatives to correct grammar
and spelling. I could mix and match as I pleased, to produce a desired
effect. English was my toy and I could bloodywell play with it as I wished.
Bugger the pedants.
I do abide by certain rules, however. Albeit my rules. Keep sentences
short. Endeavor to be interesting as well as amusing. Be ever mindful of
the reader and what he or she wants to know rather than what I want to
say. If what I want to say overrides reader interest, then I'd better be
bloody sure that I communicate my point in an entertaining way. Humor can
Oh yes, and text. Large, crowded blocks of text are intimidating. Keep
the sentences short and the paragraphs short. Keep the page open and airy.
I haven't always written that way but I do now. I remember seeing advertising
copy from agencies. It was always written in a fairly narrow block with
double spacing so that the reader's eye could absorb the words effortlessly.
However, this blog is a little different because I have to be mindful of
depth and the need to scroll.
While you're freezing "over there", it's a much different story "over
here". From the Beeb: Australia experienced its hottest year on record
in 2013, officials have said. Temperatures were 1.2C above the long term
average, the warmest since records began in 1910, the Bureau of Meteorology
said in its
Cubans are now able to buy modern cars freely for the first time
since the revolution in 1959. Previously, Cubans had to get a government
permit to buy new vehicles. That requirement has now been abolished but
only a minority will benefit. The state has a monopoly on new car sales
and is marking up prices by 400% or more. Freeing up car sales is the latest
in a series of reforms in Communist-run Cuba. Fidel
fiddled while Havana burned. Or should that read was castrated?
What gets me about dickhead leaders is that they seem to have no shortage
of dickhead followers.
TX Greg was quite impressed with my electric pizza lesson yesterday.
you passed the pizzeria test. You know you have to be the only person in
the whole world that has had electricity explained in pizza, hehe.
I do need to add and clarify about the amp thingy. There's way more
to amps than just the time with draining the battery. The only easy way
to explain amps is - it is the amount of electric current volume that is
flowing to and being consumed by the device at that moment. You've seen
the fuses in your truck or the circuit breakers in the house? Those are
rated in amps. You can only shove so many slices of pizza down your screech
at once, right? You know when to stop so you don't choke, but wires don't,
so the fuses blow and circuit breakers trip when too much amps are getting
shoved down their screechs. Does that make sense?
That might also help explain why Cody used the term "amped". Amps
is about the flowing of electricity so one would relate to being excited,
fired up or stoked.
"Volted" No, think about that, your AGM battery isn't doing anything
but just setting in the driveway a-waiting for you to flip a switch and
create some amps a-flowing, right?
"Watted" NO, NO, NO. Have you ever looked close at a light bulb filament???
That would sound like you have your nads in a knot, hahaha
There ya go. And to think for all those years I couldn't understand
something as simple and straighforward as the relationship between electricity
and pizza. I will never think of volts, watts and amps the same way again.
And so another day draws to a close - wafflewise. I'm so excited I think
I'll do it all again tomorrow! Gary
January 3, 2014. Just wrote to OR Richie who, like me, has had
a rough couple of years. But all is well now and he's reaping the benefits
of all the hard yards to coast through 2014. I used examples of a couple
of other "coasters" whose stories I watched last night on telly, and which
are worth repeating here:
In NZ deer are a pest, attacking grazing land, etc. So one farmer
over there got the bright idea to farm the wild deer and use them for their
milk. Their milk has far more solids than regular dairy cows but, with
a little experimentation and thinking outside the box, the milk can be
made into high-end cheeses and other products, including health and pharmaceutical.
The farmer designed special sheds and equipment to milk the deer and more
or less pioneered a whole new industry, turning a pest into a valuable
commodity. How cool is that?
So there's another bloke who's done all the hard yards and is now
There was also a story about a bloke who used the hotel and hospitality
industries to make enough money to buy a large cattle property on Tasmania's
north/west coast. He's also a spud farmer. But there was a large area of
his property that was virtually wasteland... sand dunes and sparse vegetation
fronting the coast. So what did he do? He hired two of the world's best
golf course designers and had two golf courses made, both of which are
rated in the top 100 in the world, and are on every millionaire businessman's
bucket list to play. His experience in hotel management and hospitality
has been utilized to turn the courses into upscale resorts. He has no interest
in golf at all hehe. Hates it.
Very inspiring stuff indeed, and another coaster... just like you
Those stories were both on Land Line which is a program I love to watch
even though I'm basically a city boy, born and bred. As a kid going to
work with my dad during school vac, we would rise before sunup on Friday
mornings and take the truck to Marchants Printers where he worked, enter
a side door into the printing-press room with all its wonderful ink and
paper smells and clanking mechanical noises, and have a welcome cuppa with
the boss there before loading the truck with bundles of The Land newspaper
which we took to Central Station for delivery by steam train to various
country towns. Does The Land newspaper still exist? Well,
whaddaya know, it does.
NC Art commented on The Cat's Gonads: That damned apostrophe wreaks
all manner of havoc, what? As a simple possessive it works easily. But
eventually you come up on something like St. James’s Court. Or is it St
Jameses’ or St. James’es. Hell I don’t know but it looks downright quare,
rite or rong. But it all depends on whether the full name of the place
is St. James Court, in which case there's no need for an apostrophe. However,
if we're talking about the court of St. James, then it's St. James' court.
Its and it's presents a problem for a lotta peeps. I have a simple rule:
if its is not an abbreviation of it is, then its is the go. But if it is,
then it's it is. For example, the cat chased its tail. Ask yourself if
the sentence should read the cat chased it is tail. The answer is no, therefore
its is correct.
TX Greg is more concerned with electric pizza: Gary were you smoking
something yesterday when you wrote that about electricity, hehe. Yes that
all can be real confusing, but I feel you're OVER thinking it. The volts,
watts and amps are all independent variables that add up to make the full
picture. Tons of many other variables such as wire size and temperature
also play in to confuse it even more.
Volts = electrical pressure Watts = measurement of the total amount of electricity consumed Amp = a unit of electric current equal to a flow of one coulomb
Ok, here's a simple one, think of electricity like you're eating
So with that in mind your new AGM battery is rated in Amp hours.
I forgot the exact size you got, but let's say it's a 100 amp hour battery.
Watts ÷ Volts = Amps
Or like you said yesterday if you have a 30 watt device, 30 watts
divided by 12 volts equals a 2.5 Amp draw off the battery. Meaning if that
was the only device attached and running to a 100 AMP hour battery you
could run that device for about 40 hours.
Hopefully that didn't confuse you more, but I know it made you hungry
for pizza :)
Thanks, Greg. That makes perfect sense. At least it will until tomorrow
hehe. Lemme see if I can get it to stick: Gary orders a volt. Gary decides
to consume only a portion of the volt, being 3 watts. Gary takes 2.5amp
hours to get it down the screech. I do appreciate the analogy, though.
It's much easier to visualize pizza, slices and time spent eating than
it is to visualize volts, watts and amps. That's how I remember PINs. I
visualize the numbers written on a page, or associate them ages or events
When my old boss phoned the other day to catch up with the goss, I re-read
C Word and realized I hadn't updated it since all my teeth had been
removed. So that's what I did last night, in precis form. Short and sweet
for newbies and non-waffle readers. Chris (my ex boss and Kellys Copy Shop
client) has also written his memoirs starting with his early childhood
("What? Are you telling me you even had a dictaphone way back then?") for
the benefit of his grandkids and those to come. I have another friend,
a most talented voice-over guy I used in many adverts, who has also written
a memoir for the same reason. So there ya go, a bunch of old fogies grasping
for some kind of immortality hehe. By the same token, it would be interesting
to have a diary or other historical tome written by one or more of my ancestors,
about whom I know virtually zilch. All I have from my father is a piece
of paper on which is written in pencil a bunch of to-dos for a particular
day at work that he used as a bookmark. Not very enlightening, really.
I must admit I am curious about the identity of the previous owner of
the rogue gene I've mysteriously inherited, and which has stamped me as
the most unlikely offshoot of the Jack and Nell union. Anyway, I suppose
we all like to think we matter, or least mattered. But I tend to dwell
on the fact that there are countless billions of dearly departed souls
over aeons that have about as much significance as a large pile of autumn
I'm often bemused by the great deal of time, effort and money scientists
devote to saving an animal from extinction. David Attenborough was involved
in one case on an island off the coast of Oz where the accidental introduction
of rats in the bad old days devastated a native bug, something like a centipede
- a species exclusive to the island. After a concerted effort to rid the
place of rats, they found a handful of the missing insects (who have apparently
existed for hundreds of millions of years) and went about the business
of breeding them in large numbers to reintroduce them to the island's natural
habitat. But all during the story, they kept referring to the species,
and how important it was preserve the species. Bugger the individuals.
Bugger all the poor bastards who were devoured by hungry rats until there
were barely any remaining. Individuals schmiduals. It's not grandpa or
grandma at issue here. It's the kids. The species. The next generation.
Babies and more babies. The oldies and dearly departed are redundant. Finished.
Kaput. Of no further consequence. Hehe. So that's how I view my own mortality.
However, I have made an effort to preserve certain aspects of my life on
this web site for the edification of all the nephews and nieces I've not
met, and the grand versions thereof, just in case there's a spark of curiosity.
After all, there may be one out there with the same rogue gene I've inherited.
NC Art's another one. Have you read his "recollections
of a small town boy"? Great stuff. It's rather like a diary except
in short story form. Snapshots of a life in another time and place, never
to be repeated. Art's 88 now and I don't think he has the inclination to
write any more of those lovely essays. He wrote the ones I've posted here
during the 2000s when he was a mere whippersnapper. But what's writ stays
writ. That's what I like about the written word. It's a product of the
mind; of the soul; of the essence of the person. It speaks to you, not
from a grave but from a living, thinking mind. Words are truly immortal.
From the Beeb: Residents of the north-eastern US have been warned
to stay indoors, as the region braces for a storm expected to dump up to
14in (35cm) of snow. Nearly 2,000 flights have been grounded nationwide
as heavy snow fell from Illinois to Michigan in the US Midwest. New York
and New England are expected to see blizzard conditions, with wind gusts
of up to 45mph (72 km/h). In Canada, temperatures of -26C (-14F) were recorded
in Montreal and Winnipeg, not including the wind chill factor. It's
the opposite here.
Quest to grow human organs inside pigs in Japan: I am standing in
a fully functioning operating theatre. A surgeon and team of specialists
in green smocks are preparing to operate. But I'm not in a hospital. I
am on a farm deep in the Japanese countryside. On the gurney about to undergo
the knife is a
six-month-old female pig.
Well, I wonder what will happen with GM-H now. Late last year when Holden
announced it wouldn't continue manufacturing the Commodore in Oz after
2017 there was an outcry from unions and some pollies. But now the Commodore
is all dressed up as a flash Chevy ready for export to the US. I wonder
if sales "over there" will be sufficient to continue manufacturing in Oz.
If so, that'll silence the whingers. On the other hand, GM-H might use
the whingers as an excuse to shift manufacture of the Chevy SS over to
the US. That would certainly make the whingers look pretty damn stupid.
I hope it doesn't happen though. Oz needs its manufacturing industries,
especially profitable ones.
Roite, time for me to spleet. Be noice. Gary
January 2, 2014. Just checked eBay for in-line water filters
that attach to a hose (for filling the tank) and found one under $30 that
lasts 12 months or 5,000 liters, and it's from an auto place in Taree.
How convenient. I'll pop in at some stage and get one. Another thing on
my list is a foldable bucket. Scratch that. Found one on spesh so I bought
two! $30 total including delivery. Now all I gotta figure out is where
to get foldable water.
Well, well, well, I heard the postie's squeaky brake stop outside our
mail box, and there inside I found an envelope from Ohio with Chrissy stamps
all over it. Now who, I wonder, could that be from? Thanks June and Jace,
and thanks also Sean for your wishes and PJ prezzies. With the current
exchange rate that pretty much covers my water filter and foldable buckets!
What thoughtful peeps Ohioans are. It's just what I needed.
I'm off to a slow start today - it's after 2pm already. A hot
and humid day, quite oppressive, so I tend to fall in a heap. A good day
to be sitting on the banks of a creek under a willow tree with feet dangling
in the water. Quite a few GNs responded to a thread about books this morning,
and how much they love reading. I've never had much patience for reading
- always been too busy buggerizing around with whatever - an obsessive
fidget with a short attention span. I wonder if that will change on the
Odyssey. It just struck me that the one thing missing from the scene above
was a book.
Averil is a reader. She loves romantic novels. But she still calls her
hydrangeas 'hide-a-rangers' hehe. There are many words she either mispronounces
or doesn't understand. I remember one time she used 'platonic' to mean
the opposite. I've noticed a lot of GNs are woeful spellers with an equally
woeful grasp of grammar... even quite successful people who have retired
from well paid positions. So it seems that reading by itself is not necessarily
a good teacher of English.
I do worry about the poor old misunderstood apostrophe ya know. It constantly
ends up where it shouldn't be and is omitted from where it should. People
use an apostrophe to pluralize a word when all a word needs to go from
singular to plural is the addition of an s (in most cases). One cat, two
cats. One cat tail, two cat tails. An apostrophe is used to denote something
missing, as in can't which is the shortened version of cannot. Or you're
which is the shortened version of you are. Apostrophes are also used to
denote the possessive case. The tail of the cat, the cat's tail.
Observation has been my chief teacher. I wasn't a model class-room student
by any means. I figure stuff out. Why is it so? One of my clients back
in my copywriting days called me a 'wordsmith', which I thought was odd.
You know that expression 'in other words'? That's how I operated. I used
the 'other words'. I simplified the hyperbole. When I was given the task
of describing something I found complicated (which was normally the case),
I'd set about unscrambling all the crap and using simple language to get
the point across. I learned that technique from the brilliant Volkswagen
press ads of the sixties. They were genius in their honesty and simplicity,
as was the car itself. Moreover, they had credibility. You could believe
what you read in a Volkswagen ad.
From the Beeb: The Italian motors giant Fiat has agreed to buy the
remaining 41% of Chrysler it does not own in a move that will create the
world's seventh-largest car company. Fiat has owned a majority stake in
the US company since 2009. Well,
well, well, the meek shall inherit the earth hehe.
Remember the fifties and sixties? There were little Toyotas buzzing
around, and little Beetles buzzing around and little Fiats buzzing around.
Who woulda thunk they would eventually become the giants of the global
Yes, figuring stuff out. I once asked Lindsay where rain came from and
he answered "up there". So then I asked how does it get there and he didn't
know. Why is it so? He doesn't care.
One thing I find difficult to wrap my head around is electricity. An
engine's power is measured in kilowatts (or horse power). But my brain
wants to know that if watts and volts and amps all have something to do
with electricity, then why is an engine's power measured in kilowatts and
not volts and/or amps? How come Cody was amped about going surfing and
not watted or volted? Why have three measurements of something when one
would make it a lot simpler? It's been explained to me many times before
but in a way the EXPLAINER understands but not me. I wanna know why my
device measured in watts takes a battery measured in volts. Why isn't the
battery measured in watts? The device uses 30 watts so I need a 30 watt
battery. See how simple that is? So why isn't it so? Maybe it's a conspiracy.
Maybe the geeks don't want the rest of us to know.
It's like legalese. The lawyers specialize in gobbledegook that nobody
understands except them, so then you have to ask for a 'plain English'
translation. Click here to agree to our terms and conditions. Hehe. Who
the hell reads all that stuff? Much less understands it. It's a conspiracy
Communication is what it's all about, Ls and Gs. Effective communication.
When a sentence needs to be read twice in order to be fully understood,
then it needs to be rewritten. I've always found it curious that politicians
employ speech writers. One time I was surprised to hear Bob Hope thank
his team of writers. I had no idea his jokes were not his own. Funny old
And that brings to a close my pontifications for today. I'll stare blankly
at the TV screen now and assume sponge mode. Hooroo! Gary
January 1, 2014. Here we are, back at the start and having to
do the whole damn thing again! I've given up on New Year resolutions, though.
In fact I can't remember the last time I made one. Hehe. I know what I
wanna do but there are certain obstacles in my path that are in the lap
of the gods so I'll work around those and take it as it comes. One of the
things I hope to accomplish this year is the elimination (or close to it)
of my credit card debt. But I'm not obsessive about it - or anything else,
for that matter - so we'll see how it goes. Obsession causes stress and
stress is definitely not on my agenda.
Being on a fixed pension has certainly taught me a lot about managing
money. It's amazing what you can do with a limited income if you're careful
about your spending, and what you spend it on. All those old cliche expressions
like 'waste not, want not', 'a penny earned is a penny saved', etc, make
good sense to me now. When I look out my window and see PJ parked in the
drive, there's a great sense of satisfaction about having turned a dream
But PJ is much more than that. Living in a rented house means being
vulnerable to eviction at any time. So there's a certain feeling of insecurity
involved. But with PJ out there, I have no worries about accommodation.
What's more, there's power, cooking facilities, a fridge, storage, dining
and sleeping area(s), furniture, phone, internet and everything else I
need to be self sufficient. And mobile. How cool is that?
NC Art wrote: Fast away the old year passes…and such rot. Anyway
I hope your plans work out for the best ever.
Plans? I feel like I've launched the rocket, pointed it in the general
direction I wanna go, and now all I gotta do is let the momentum keep it
flying (with occasional adjustments from the booster).
On another (a nother?) note, it doesn’t matter what the latest TV
or anything else does; the next day something more wondrous will pop up.
A South Korean business has built a101-Inch ultra high definition TV set
priced at above $100,000. Current HD material won’t work on it, and they
don’t plan to make many of them … yet. Story of my life. Build a better
mousetrap and some other bloke will top it before morning. Oh well.
By the same token, Art, nobody's bothered to build a better mouse, so
if the old trap works with existing meeces, why bother with a new one?
Hehe. Anyway, the little portable TV is not about the latest and greatest,
it's about the efficient use of PJ's space. A year or two ago, Lindsay
bought a large screen digital HD thing, which is all very well if you're
not going anywhere. He also subscribes to pay TV cos he spends much of
his time (including the early hours of the AM) plonked in front of the
tube. Flat tube. I wandered into the living room the other night while
he was watching yet another re-run of Bonanza with a very young Wayne Newton
making a guest appearance.
A new computer is on the agenda at some stage though. This old Toshiba
is getting a tad battle weary. There was one on spesh the other day on
eBay but it was only 1.9GHz and I need about 2.4 or higher to use Windows
movie maker efficiently. No hurry though. I didn't trash my old desk top
until it was practically down to one cylinder. Remember the days when a
typewriter mechanic would arrive at the office to fix broken machines?
Or a technician to fix the photocopier? Elevator fixers were not an uncommon
I used to think it was weird how the boss sat in his office mumbling
into a dictaphone because he couldn't or wouldn't type. I also remember
the journalists who pounded out their stories with two fingers. As I recall,
it only took a month or two to learn to touch type back in my mid 20s.
Definitely one of the most useful skills I've ever learned. And don't talk
to me about iPads/phones and that two-thumbs business. I occasionally get
messages sent from those things - short, basic, no punctuation, no grammar,
and totally soulless.
9:30pm NY Eve in Ohio and 1:30pm NY Day here, so Jace and the Ohio gang
(mostly the little ones, and there's no shortage of those) are eagerly
awaiting midnight. I know cos I just received Jace's e-card with all the
news about the gang and some of the goings on around town. Our midnight
happened over 13 hours ago. I didn't stay up to watch the Sydney fireworks
but I did see the news report earlier. They were expecting 1.5 million
to line the harbor foreshores and other vantage points, with lots of tourists
present, all pretty chuffed about being in Sydney for the summer. For the
first time, the Sydney Opera House would also become a launch pad for fireworks,
together with the roofs of various buildings, barges and the bridge.
From the Beeb: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has spoken of the
"elimination of factionalist filth" in his first public reference to the
execution of his uncle last month. In a new year message broadcast on state
TV, he said "resolute action" had strengthened the country's unity. North
Korea announced on 13 December it had executed Chang Song-thaek after convicting
him of "acts of treachery". Yes, folks, we all look the same, think
the same, act the same and dance to the same tune. How
exciting is that?
Celebrations are taking place around the world to mark the start
of 2014. People in Auckland, New Zealand, were among the first to celebrate.
In Australia, hundreds of thousands gathered for a spectacular firework
display around Sydney's
John Fortune, the British comedian and satirist who found fame through
his TV collaborations with John Bird and Rory Bremner, has died aged 74.
He died peacefully on Tuesday with his wife Emma and dog Grizelle at his
bedside, his agent Vivienne Clore said. Who? If the name John Fortune
means nothing to you, here's
a clip of him and Bird doing their thing.
Yes, thinking a little more about 2014, for me this will be a coaster
year. The pressure's off. The hard yards are in the rear view mirror. I
can relax. Relax? Wot dat? Sounds suspiciously like doing nothing. If Nancy
can organize upper dentures for me, and I can improve my speech as well
diet, mini Odysseys around the hood will become more practical and enjoyable.
I'll be able to communicate with other peeps and enjoy a burger on the
barbie. Hopefully I'll put on weight and improve fitness in order to handle
long walks and/or bicycle rides, which will be good for photo shoots as
well. At the mo, having to limit myself to prepared meals and moderate
physical activity, provides little incentive to get "out there". And when
I say the hood, I don't mean five minutes down the road, I mean within
a radius of 100kms north, west and south. East is a bit damp.
When I first started mini
Odysseys in Tough Titties, I would leave here early in the mornings
with my thermos, cooler and a sandwich, and toddle off to various places,
always bitching about having to return home by mid afternoon or so. "If
only I could camp overnight," I
lamented. Hehe. So that's my next goal - to masticate - which, by the
way, produces saliva according to Nancy, and saliva is something I have
a problem with at the mo cos I'm not masticating my food.
I'm not expecting an overnight transformation. No, no, no. The lower
gum still has a prob with exposed bone, especially in front. But the right
side ain't too bad in terms of sensitivity. With gentle practice, maybe
I can toughen the gum sufficiently to handle things like sandwiches, cereal,
scrambled egg, fruit and certain meats like burgers. That would be coolio!
My visits to Nancy are currently twice a week, Mondays and Wednesdays,
which leaves the latter part of the week and the weekend for party time
in PJ! So that's the plan, Ls and Gs. Mark often said that to Cody... "sounds
like a plan".
Actually, I just had a call from my old boss, Chris Maitland, who ran
a business called Sound Plan, selling programs and advertising strategies
to radio stations. But that all went belly up when individual stations
were swallowed up by networks. Instead of having hundreds of radio stations
as customers, he ended up with just a handful of networks. Anyway, it was
good to hear his voice again and catch up with the latest goss (most of
which I contributed to). He didn't know about the cancer thing and being
And that's it! It's hooroo time again. Hooroo! Gary