Wednesday, 31 January 2007

What if...

I attended a short course at a local college a while back. In the course the instructor asked us to imagine our best holiday. What would we do, where would we go, if money was no object? How would we travel? What would we eat?

Dream the ultimate holiday.

Once we had done that, we were asked to determine what values we were applying to our imaginary holiday. Were they values of curiosity? Adventure? Luxury? Indulgence? Education? Culture?

What values did we draw on to make our perfect holiday?

And then the killer question: what would happen if you took the values that you applied when you were on four weeks holiday and applied them to the other forty eight weeks of your year?

What if you walked down the street as if it was a foreign land and actually looked at the houses? Smelt the smells? Heard the sounds?

What if your shared your self more with people you met?

What if you ate out more and tried different cuisines more often?

What if you visited more galleries and museums?

What if you permitted yourself to really relax?

What if you had more hot baths and massages?

What if you did more 'interesting' things because you needed to do them while you were 'here'?

What if you woke in the morning and looked forward to the day, eager to see what it offered you?

What if you put flowers in your hair and danced naked in the moonlight?

What if.

Monday, 29 January 2007

One of life's little lessons.

Rabindranath Tagore wrote:

"The morning came but my servant appeared not.

The doors were all open, the water was not drawn from the well; my servant had been out all night. My morning meal was not ready; my clothes were all lying unfolded.

As the hours passed my anger grew, and I devised hard punishments for him. At the last he came, late in the morning and bowed low.

I called out angrily: "Go forth from my presence and never see my face again."

He looked at me, and remained silent, and then said in a low, husky voice:

"My little daughter died last night."

And without another word he went back to his daily task.


"When a trout rising to a fly gets hooked on a line
and finds himself unable to swim about freely,
he begins with a fight which results in struggles
and splashes and sometimes escape.

Often, of course, the situation is too tough for him.

In the same way the human being struggles with his environment
and with the hooks that catch him.

Sometimes he masters his difficulties;
sometimes they are too much for him.
His struggles are all the world sees and
it naturally misunderstands them.

It is hard for a free fish to understand what is happening to a hooked one."

-- Karl Menniger


Friday, 26 January 2007

From the attic.

I have recreated a few past posts from the old Curate's Egg site and put them in a safe place. There is a link to them in the side bar.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

The substance of your fate.

H.G. Wells wrote:

"What personalities you will encounter in life, and have for a chief interest in life, is nearly as much a matter of chance as the drift of a grain of pollen in the pine forest.

In other school rooms and nurseries, in slum living rooms, perhaps, or workhouse wards or palaces, round the other side of the Earth, in Canada or Russia or China, other little creatures are trying their small limbs, clutching at things about them with infantile hands, who some day will come into your life with a power and magic monstrous and irrational and irresistible. They will break the limits of your concentrating self, call you out to the service of beauty and the service of race, sound you to your highest and your lowest, give you your chance to be godlike or ignoble.

These unknowns are the substance of your fate. You will love them, hate them, serve them, struggle with them, and in that interaction the vital force in you and the substance of your days will be spent.

And who they may be, and their peculiar quality and effect, is haphazard, utterly beyond designing."


Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Forgive me Lord, for I have grinned!

Had the Jehovah's Witnesses on the doorstep this morning. Well, one of them; don't know where the other was; they usually hunt in pairs.

Anyway Vickie was happy to talk to me without a chaperone and I was happy enoough to listen. Niggling a little here and there, you understand. I like to play with them, if I have the time.

After a while I said "Can I just tell you a little story?" Always polite, how could she say no?

"I have a friend who is a farmer, who lives at a place up in the country called Wedderburn. On his farm he has a tractor, an enormous thing with two wheels at each corner, that he uses for ploughing his paddocks. The wheels are as high as me and it has a fully enclosed, air-conditioned cabin."

(pause to let this sink in...)

"Do you have one?" I asked her.

(Puzzled look and a cautious answer.) "Nnno..."

"Why not?"

"I have no need for one."


"Can you see how this might apply to me and religion?"

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Delayed Gratification.

In 2005, after jumping from the good ship Agriquality, I had a period where I got very excited about making my own wines. It was fun to do, chemistry with a purpose.

Now, some time later, come the rewards.

Believe it or not, the above wine is Crabapple and Elderberry.

And it tastes as good as it looks.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Carrying on like a wet hen.

No, not autum leaves, rain!

In the last two days we have had 10mm here. Not much maybe, the January average is 47mm, but a darned sight better than things were a few days ago.

Things have been pretty grim, water-wise, the last six months and the garden is showing the strain. I have a system in place for collecting shower water, a separate system for collecting rain water (but, of course, that needs rain) and a third system that catches the washing machine water from the laundry, having recently switched to a garden friendly powder. The shower water goes on the flower garden, the laundry water on the vegetables and the rain water goes wherever needed.

Watch this spot for reports of 'bucket back'.

But yesterday and today we got rain. So what was I doing? Bucketing water out of the collection systems onto the garden. How deep down will 10mm of rain go? Probably about 30mm, allowing for interstitial spaces in the soil. Not far really. So bucketing on top of the rain should get water deeper into the garden. Then it is up to the mulch to keep it there.

But they predict storms with up to 50mm tonight! Well, I would prefer ten nights of 5mm but let's wait and see what we get.

After all, the weather bureau is a non-prophet organisation.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Better be a good runner.

(Yeah, yeah, I know penguins and polar bears live at opposite ends of the world. See the one with a bag...they are on holidays.)

Just a Wii problem.

I knew too much water was bad for you but I thought it meant you drowned.

Apparently you can actually drink too much water and get something called water intoxication.

The other day a contestant in a competition to win a Nintendi Wii game died after, as part of the competition, drinking a large quantity of water. Last one left standing won the game. The reports don't say whether she won or not.

Who thinks up these competitions?


Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Noah way known!

"How old is the Grand Canyon? Most scientists agree with the version that rangers at Grand Canyon National Park tell visitors: that the 217-mile- long chasm in northern Arizona was carved by the Colorado River 5 million to 6 million years ago.

Now, however, a book in the park's bookstores tells another story. "Grand Canyon: A Different View," by veteran Colorado River guide Tom Vail, asserts that the Grand Canyon was formed by the Old Testament flood, the one Noah's Ark survived, and can be no older than a few thousand years.

- San Francisco Chronicle.

Ye Gods! Sorry, Ye God! Where do these people come from?

And where did the water go to?

Even if you take the view that God did the forty day and forty night thing and that this resulted in a world wide flood that killed all creatures (both wicked men and innocent gazelles!) except those on the good ship Menagerie, you have to just wonder about the mechanics of the process.

If the whole earth was covered to sufficient depth by water to do the mass slaughter deed that was required, it raises a number of questions:

Where did the water come from?
Where did the water go to?
To carve out the canyon it would need to be flowing, not just evaporating. To where? What is down stream when the whole place is flooded? When New Orleans got flooded there wasn't great erosion, there was a great deposit of silt and sludge.

And most pertinently: Do these people have George's ear?

Monday, 15 January 2007

Where there's smoke...

Photo from Thomas Herbrich.

Boneman and Kate had a bit of a disagreement on marijuana and cigarette smoking in the comments to the last post.

I take a slightly different view. But I would, wouldn't I?

Both things are plant matter and they are being burnt and the smoke inhaled.

The smoke from both consists of a pharmacologically active substance (THC or nicotine), probably more but they are the well known ones, and a whole conconction of tars and resinous matter.

Tars being an assortment of organic compounds that have been modified, degraded and polymerised by the burning process. To what? What exactly is condensing in your body? They, to me, are more of a health worry and therefore I put marijuana and tobacco in exactly the same basket, risk-wise, as I do any smoked plant matter.

I would happily try a 'hash cookie' to see what the fuss was about but there is no way I would smoke any.

Now, there is the obvious question: what about other things that are charred before consumption? Such as roasted coffee, toast and BBQ chops. I guess I have greater faith in the stomach handling them as they either pass through the system or, if they get into the blood stream, get removed by the liver.

There doesn't seem to be a sump plug to my lungs.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Too much of a good thing.

Readers of my now defunct chemist's view of food blog will recall that one of my themes was the folly of looking for nutritional 'magic bullets' and the errors of assuming if a little is good for you then a lot must be better. I am not in favour of vitamin tablets, for example.

Or most other tablet supplements. Far better to get the correct levels in their natural matrix as part of a balanced, healthy diet.

How dull! How boring! Sorry.

Today the New South Wales Cancer Council warned against eating too many soy supplements.

The Cancer Council says soy-based products have previously been touted as super foods for breast and prostate cancer prevention. But while consuming soy foods can slightly lower the risk of contracting breast cancer, new research shows high doses of soy can stimulate the growth of existing cancer.

The Cancer Council says soy supplements can also interfere with breast cancer treatment.

However, Cancer Council nutritionist Kathy Chapman says eating a normal amount of soy-based foods is not dangerous.

"For women who've had breast cancer, taking high dose soy supplements could be harmful but having the occasional soy food is not really an issue," she said.

Apparently the phytoestrogens present in large amounts in the tablet supplements are causing some concern.



Saturday, 13 January 2007

Just a question...

In setting up the new blogs I have been playing with how to get a graphics header happening in place of a straight text header.

Well, I have been successful in getting it to work but I made the headers 900 pixels wide. No real problem for me as I have a large screen and it gave me maximum freedom in creating the graphics.

But Judith is having some problems with the width of the site.

Is it giving anyone else any problems?

The new religion?

Someone once said that the English were a godless race so they invented cricket to give themselves some idea of what eternity was all about.

Well, times have changed a little from the days when the game was played solely in white uniforms and cartoonists used to draw cobwebs between the players and the ground.

Test mateches (up to 5 days long) are still played in whites but the shorter forms of the game are in coloured uniforms.

We went to the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) yesterday for a one day match.

Both sides face 300 balls, highest score wins.

It was a fascinating day. It was my first visit to the MCG since it had been renovated - a circular, four-tier stadium that holds just short of 100,000 people. The attendance yesterday was just over 78,000. There is very much a colesseum feel to the place.

I am certain that the Australians would not like to consider themselves Christians in this modern day colesseum but the English lions were sorely mauled by the end of it all.

Sadly the experience was marred, for me, by too many drunks and too many Mexican waves. We left when the result was without much doubt but in time to beat the mob to the trams.

Friday, 12 January 2007


I'll spare you the sad and sorry details but A Curate's Egg is sort of back up and running.

The chickens are of course of symbolic of rebirth and renewal, so favoured by the religious types now that the Easter season is upon us. Well, it must be; there are hot cross buns in the shops. Have been for a week or two. What? Really? Still 87 days to go? Oh, well. The thought is there.

In the new form, my religion and chemistry blogs have gone. Politics is there as 'The Odd Angry Squawk', Sex is there as 'The Curate, After Dark'. (see side bar).

For those of you wondering why this blog, and indeed my website, is called A Curate's Egg, it all relates to the following George du Maurier cartoon that appeared in Punch Magazine, November 9, 1895.

I'm a slow reader.