Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Orange Back?

While we are on money, above is a new US $10 bill.

It's orange! What happened to the green back? Is nothing sacred?

I hope the street vendors in outback places are up with the changes. I have visions of heated arguments "It is real money, it's just not green anymore! What? You wont take it? Well you can forget me buying your "genuine illuminated plastic statue of David, with ashtray" then sport!"

We'll see. I might save a fortune.

Oh, and Photoshop had no qualms about printing the picture of the note. Still puzzled about that one.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

The Nanny State

.(Click to enlarge)

O wicked me! Trying to print a banknote!

Well, no I wasn't really. I was going to save an image for my "Curate after Dark" blog and Photoshop Elements somehow decided that it was a banknote and gave me the warning above.

How did it know, I wonder?

Here's what it wanted to block:

I doubt I would have got away with using it to buy a moose burger at the Vancouver 7-11.

But you never know.


Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Equal time

Having poked fun at the Floridapudlians, it is only fair that I come clean with Australia's odd laws:

A life sentence is 25 years.

Children may not purchase cigarettes, but they may smoke them.

You may never leave your car keys in an unattended vehicle.

It is illegal to roam the streets wearing black clothes, felt shoes and black shoe polish on your face as these items are the tools of a cat burgular.

It is illegal to walk on the right hand side of a footpath.

Under Australian Communications Authority (ACA) regulations, a modem can’t pick up on the first ring.

Taxi cabs are required to carry a bale of hay in the trunk.

Bars are required to stable, water and feed the horses of their patrons.

The legal age for straight sex is 16, unless the person is in the care/custody of the older person, in which case it is 18.

Only licensed electricians may change a light bulb.

It is illegal to wear hot pink pants after midday Sunday.

You must have a neck to knee swimsuit in order to swim at Brighton Beach.

Until the Port Arthur Killings it was legal to own an AK-47 but not legal to be gay.

Lawmakers are proposing a new law that will not allow anyone to come closer than 100 meters from a dead whale’s carcass.

I must confess that I thought a few of these had been removed from the statutes.

Want to see how your state or country stacks up? Have a look here.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Forbidden Love

Believe it or not, the above postcard is an advertisement for orange juice. It was one of a range of free postcards available in a rack at our local cinema. The back of the card says:

Original Fact: In Florida, it is illegal to be intimate with a porcupine.

(Thinks: Mmm...I'd love to know how that statute came to be put on the books.)

So, full of investigative zeal, I headed of to find out a bit more about it. I still don't know why that law is there but here are a few others that the good people of Florida need to negotiate:

Women may be fined for falling asleep under a hair dryer, as can the salon owner.

A special law prohibits unmarried women from parachuting on Sunday or she shall risk arrest, fine, and/or jailing.

If an elephant is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle.

It is illegal to sing in a public place while attired in a swimsuit.

Men may not be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown.

Having sexual relations with a porcupine is illegal.

It is illegal to skateboard without a license.

When having sex, only the missionary position is legal.

You may not fart in a public place after 6pm.

It is considered an offense to shower naked. (Can you sing in the shower if you are wearing a swimsuit?)

You are not allowed to break more than three dishes per day, or chip the edges of more than four cups and/or saucers.

Oral sex is illegal.

You may not kiss your wife’s breasts.

Penalty for horse theft is death by hanging.


No wonder they put GWB in office.

Here is the news...

The above panels are from one of my favour cartoons, Non Sequitur.

It does touch on a theme that resonates with me - how much news do we need to know? There is a fine line between knowing enough about what is going on in the world, being informed, and hearing far too much about the woes in individual's peoples lives - road accidents, untimely deaths, robberies, mayhem, disasters and calamities.

Every so often I have a 'break' from the news. Perhaps that is an unconscious driver behind our travels this year. We will miss most of the US election and a lot of the nationalistic hoo-ha that surrounds the Olympics. (I don't know what your country is like but the media here seems to think that the entire collective self-worth of the nation is inseparably bound to our medal count.). I don't mind missing either of these things.

And more fun than prison, too.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

National Girt Day

.Yesterday, the 26th, was Australia Day; a day in praise of the only nation on earth with the word 'girt' in its national anthem. To celebrate this all round good thing, we (Margaret, Richard and I) packed up a picnic and went to the cricket.

No, not to the Australia vs India test match, to the local district cricket match. It didn't matter who was playing, we just watched for fun, sitting in the shade, sipping champagne and shouting out "Oh, smashing shot, Curruthers!" or 'Damn fine catch, Witherspoon!" as the mood took us.

Come the evening, Richard went off to a mates place for the night and we opted for a BBQ dinner, of sorts.

I say 'of sorts' because this was no 'paper plates on your lap' BBQ dinner but a nicely set up table out in the back garden.

The green and gold zucchinis, from an earlier post, so suitable for Australia Day, made a guest appearance on the BBQ.


Friday, 25 January 2008

Burn's Night

Margaret, reading Robbie Burns poem, "Address to a haggis".

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

- from Robbie Burns, "Address to a Haggis".

The sounds of bagpipes, albeit on CD, filled Chez Kennedy tonight, Burn's Night. Robert Burns being a Scottish poet. Probably the Scottish poet, if you exclude William McGonnigal on grounds of insanity.

Haggis and neeps for main course. Neeps are turnips, served mashed. Haggis is, well, it is best not to know too much about haggis. It is delightfully tasty. The critics of haggis have either never tried it, have only tried Tesco's sliced haggis, or have been brought up on Sugar Frosties and doughnuts.

Athol Brose and blackberries for dessert. Athol Brose being a oatmeal, honey, cream and whisky blend.

Would you let this into your country?

Have been test driving the idea of not shaving for the duration of the travels - less to pack, less to do, less inconvenience.

Is that just a polite way of saying lazy? Maybe.

The only doubt I have is with border control - my passport and visas are beardless - opinions on-line are divided as to whether it will be a problem. We'll see. The worst case scenario is that I would have to shave to prove I am me but the photos in passports are supposed to last for 10 years. Who looks like their passport photo anyway? If I really looked like my passport photo I would clearly be too unwell to travel.

The photo, btw, was taken by hand; just holding the camera out in front of me. And, just to calm Margaret down, I should point out that I never have my glasses down my nose. That was just done to mess around.

Thursday, 24 January 2008


"You've been feeding the birds again, haven't you!"

This morning was more chaotic than normal in the front garden. I usually put out some seed for the doves and some meat for the magpies. I can see the feeder from where I am sitting in bed reading the paper with a coffee. A pleasant enough way to start the day.

This morning some crows (Or are they ravens? Any ornithologists out there?) came and ate the meat first. The magpies came and sang a bit but there was nothing to eat. So I weakened, got up and put out some chopped up bread & butter. That seemed to satisfy them. Then the doves arrived for their seed but also along for dinner were some Indian minahs (they may eat the meat too, I'm not sure) and some rainbow lorikeets. Overall it was quite busy.

Equally happy with the show was a stray cat. I found some dove feathers on the ground but not sure if he got one or just winged it.


Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Two fruit, rough cut.

They say each and every one of us has a different story to tell, a different history, something that sets us apart from our fellows.

We are, each in our own way, unique.

We were discussing this the other day and it was agreed that I was probably the only person in the world who had severed a tendon in his foot while making marmalade.

Please, no flowers, it was a couple of years ago now, but I warrant that it is a feat (or in this case foot) that may never be matched.

In retrospect, I did a silly thing. It is always in retrospect that things look silly. At the time it seemed perfectly reasonable. I had cooked the marmalade, tested its setting point with a cold saucer, stirred correctly, burnt nothing, retrieved the seeds. Everything was just fine. Until it came to filling the jars.

Why, I thought, not just line them up along the bench and pour the marmalade in from the pan? Much less mess than using cups and funnels and stuff to fill the jars.

So I lined up the jars along the bench and, holding the pan out in front of me, poured the marmalade into the jars, pouring toward me.

Big mistake.

I clipped a jar with the pan and it fell onto the floor. I, holding the pan, leapt backwards.

Let's leave me for a moment, poised in the middle of my backward leap.

The jar, obeying all the laws of Newtonian physics, accelerated towards the floor where it smashed into numerous pieces. One such piece, about one inch (2.5cm) in diameter skated across the floor directly away from the bench, tumbling end over end as it went.

Returning to me, I had taken the scenic, parabolic and slightly slower route but the glass and I arrived at the same place at the same time. Unfortunate timing meant that it was pointing upwards as I came down, piercing my foot and severing both the nerve and tendon to the large toe on the way in.

"Are you alright?" asked my wife.

"Um ... no ... "


Footnote: The only remaining legacy is that I have no downward pressure from my big toe on my right foot. This in turn means that I cannot wear thongs. (Or flip-flops or jandals, depending on where you live.)

Monday, 21 January 2008

Look out Granny Smith!

Last year I grew a yellow zucchini in the vegetable garden as well as the normal green ones. This year, where that plant was, a number of seedling zucchinis have come up and started to fruit.

As you can see, they obviously have an identity problem.

Am I green? Am I yellow?

Now, the story goes that the Granny Smith apple was a chance find as well (Full Story) but somehow I can't see Old Codger Kennedy's zucchinis storming the culinary world.

They will come in handy for Australia Day on Saturday, what with the national colours being green and gold.

And perhaps I should use some to make a Mock Apple Pie for Richard. It is not a great recipe but I think he is amused that you can actually use zucchini to make an imitation apple pie.

It reminds me of Dr Samuel Johnson who, when asked about a female preacher, said that "a woman preaching is like a dog walking on its hind legs; it's not done well but you don't expect to see it done at all".

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Job satisfaction!

Was in at the local hospital on Friday and in the brochure rack was a flyer on the National Public Toilet Map. You can view the map here, at your convenience.

It was funded by the National Continence Management Strategy.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not taking the sh*t. It is a great idea.

I just have to admit my total ignorance of both the National Continence Management Strategy and the National Public Toilet Map. How many other government initiatives are out there, straining away in quiet satisfaction, that I know nothing about?

Friday, 18 January 2008

The three camera tales...

In a comment to the last post, Sky asked for more details about the three camera sagas.

There can be found here along with a couple of other 'historical' posts.


Thursday, 17 January 2008

Don't give me 'foolproof' things!

A few days ago Peter Bryenton had a recipe for 'foolproof' pancakes on his site. I have a lot of difficulty with anything called foolproof because, if you manage to mess it up, what does it say about you?

Some years ago I took a recipe from a magazine that was for a foolproof lemon cake. I have managed to botch it about three times. I am deeply scarred by the experience but it is a lovely cake. The recipe is below.

The problem is the method. I am conditioned to the traditional method of cake making: cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs, stir in flour. It is a pattern. In the 'foolproof' method everything gets chucked in together. The most common way I managed to mess it up was by leaving things out. My heart would sink when someone would say "What's this ramekin of melted butter doing in the microwave?". There is no way to get the butter into a half cooked cake but I can tell you that a butter free foolproof lemon cake is edible, if somewhat rubbery.

The (almost) Foolproof Lemon Cake

zest of one lemon
175g sugar
2 eggs
pinch salt
150ml milk
100g butter, melted
175g flour
1 tsp baking powder

6 tblsp sugar
juice & jest two lemons

Preheat oven to 160
Grease & line round, square or ring tin

Combine zest, eggs, sugar, salt, milk and butter in a bowl. Yes, all in together.
Sift flour and baking powder and add to bowl, stir well.
Pour into tin, bake until set (abt an hour)

Boil sugar and juice for a few minutes
Pour over hot cake and leave 15min.

Tip out of tin onto wire rack to cool.

Eat as is or serve with cream/Greek yoghurt/icecream for dessert.

Variations I have tried:

1. Add 1 tsp ground cardamom and chopped peel from about 4 cumquats to cake. (I put the peel and sugar in the food processer and 'zapped' it as an easy way to chop the peel.) Replace the lemon juice in the syrup with equivalent amount of cumquat juice.

2. Buy a bottle of ginger topping. Strain out the ginger bits and put them in the cake with a teaspoon of powdered ginger. Heat sieved topping to use it as the syrup.


Good luck!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Technology and travel.

I own an Olympus OM-l camera.

In its day, it was a great little camera.

I have lost it, at gunpoint, three times.

The first time was in Khartoum, in the Sudan.
The second was in the Khyber Pass, Pakistan.
The third was in the Sahara, in Libya.

And three times it has been returned to me.

I don't take it out with me any more.

For this coming trip I am taking a Fujifilm Finepix Z1. Slim, flat, light, fits in any pocket without trouble, takes good pictures and, from it's manual, would appear to be considerably smarter than me.

Hopefully it is also a low-stress, low risk unit as well.

For those who ask about these things it is 5.1 megapixel. People ask me about pixels in cameras and I honestly never know. I only know the 5.1 from the Google images picture above, I have been using the camera for a year and a half and had never noticed the little logo on the front.


I am being sorely tempted on the laptop front too. I have said that I wasn't going to take a laptop with me because of 1) the weight, and 2) the security risk.

Apple have just released an ultra light, ultra thin laptop, the MacBook Air.

The security risk is still there but the weight issue is becoming less.

Will I weaken?

Monday, 14 January 2008

Viva Brazil! Viva Photoshop!

Yesterday we attended Viva Brazil, a festival in Federation Square. There was Brazilian food, Brazilian music and Brazilian dancers. Quite a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Not often I get free license to watch semi-clad women dance. And the dance was all shake and wobble. The women were all well built and obviously having fun. No anorexics in this chorus line.

One of my gripes with cameras and photography is that the eye and brain conspire to make you unhappy with the photos you take. The photo below is of a group of dancers. In real life it was bright, energetic, noisy; lots of wobble, smiles and fun.

The eye focuses on the bits of interest to the exclusion of all else.

The camera's rendition is just a little sad. Oddly, because it includes everything, it is empty and sparse.

Close cropping and Photoshop helps put a bit of life back into it.

Viva Brazil! Viva Photoshop!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Cast adrift

"Marooned Pirate" - Howard Pyle

My ISP went belly up yesterday. Don't know why. But it was awful! It only returned late this afternoon. A day without internet connection! All of a sudden you realise how many things you use it for.

And I'm heading off for the bulk of the year on a holiday?

Will I have withdrawal symptoms?

Will I cope?


A brief follow up on the last post. We head off in just under seven weeks time. I was just doing some early planning. Having proved posting by email worked I should have deleted the last post but a few folk had already commented by the time I thought of it and it would have been rude to delete it then so I left it.

Also I have decided to just continue with the A Curate's Egg blog for the travel posts rather than have a stand alone blog for the trip and will delete the other blog shortly.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Test post

I am just testing out the 'direct posting by email' option in Blogger.

Sadly I will not be travelling with a laptop so posting of pictures will be unlikely.

Coffee Gripe #2

Have you ever gone to make yourself a cup of instant coffee and not been able to find a tea spoon to open the lid of the can?

And when your finally claw your way into the tin, you find that there is a teaspoon INSIDE the tin?

What ever were they thinking?

Coffee Gripe #1

The Australian National Heart Foundation makes the following claim on their website:
Certain methods of preparing coffee (such as boiling ground coffee beans for long periods) may lead to a higher blood cholesterol level.
What am I to make of that?

A couple of points:

Coffee contains no cholesterol as cholesterol is only found in animal fats. (I am assuming that they are not boiling the beans in milk.)

Coffee contains scant levels of fat, mostly flavouring oils, and the levels of saturated fat will be at levels only two fifths of four ninths of scant.

So I can't see coffee being a direct cause of blood cholesterol.

But could some extractable compound in the coffee be able to trigger cholesterol production, just as statins can reduce it? Maybe.

To prove it you would have to do a randomised clinical trail where some people are given over-boiled coffee and others are not, while controlling for diet, medical history and genetics. Whether the ethics committees would let you attempt to intentionally raise a person's blood cholesterol in the name of research is a moot point.

I have asked the NHF for a reference to this research.

I'll let you know what they say.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Children, don't try this at home!

First, the preamble:
(Can I say that?)

Anyway, I have been browsing a book with the overly ambitious title of Instant Analysis by David J Lieberman. In one of the last chapters he talks about shaking up your mental and physical routines, those mechanical patterns in your life.

Some of the exercises he lists as ways of interrupting the physical patterns are:

◊ Change the order in which you put on your shoes
◊ Pick up the phone or drink with your other hand
◊ Rearrange your house, office, desk
◊ Wear your watch on your other arm

You get the idea. His intention is to shake up your life (just a little!) and increase your awareness of yourself and the world around you.

Now, about the post proper...

Many moons ago, when I was about 12-ish, a (former) friend dared me to ride my bike while holding the left handle with my right hand and the right handle with my left hand.

It's trickier than you imagine.

When the bike starts to veer left, your brain says 'steer right' but your right hand is on the left handle so you very quickly do a four point landing on the gravel.

The four points in question being two knees and two palms.

There are some patterns that I recommend you leave alone.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

The first step is the hardest!

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Begin it now.

- Goethe

Monday, 7 January 2008

The stone, the kernel and balance.

For money you can have everything it is said.

No that is not true.

You can
buy food, but not appetite;
medicine, but not health;
soft beds, but not sleep;
knowledge but not intelligence;
glitter, but not comfort;
fun, but not pleasure;
acquaintances, but not friendship;
servants, but not faithfulness;
grey hair, but not honor;
quiet days, but not peace.

The shell of all things you can get for money.
But not the kernel.
That cannot be had for money.

-Arne Garborg

A different spin on the UNIYOTP.

No, not an Indian spin bowler choosing a new ball, just a potato photo to illustrate this post.

I wrote a few days ago about the UN International Year of the Potato.

J Cosmo Newbery has taken a different slant on this and written to the Australian Health Minister.
Read his letter here.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

It's getter closer...

As well as potatoes and frogs, 2008 has also been dubbed the International Year of the Suitcase.

By me.

Around about the 1st of March, Margaret and I are heading off to conquer, or at least bamboozle, the world. So much for the International Year of Planet Earth. We were heading off on the 6th of March and I was planning a 'two months to go' post tomorrow but some last minute changes yesterday have messed that around.

The places on the list are Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Russia, Scotland, England, Wales, France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Peru, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands & Cuba.

Apparently visiting Cuba automatically makes me persona non grata in the USA for the rest of the century and possibly beyond. Bit sad. I would have thought there were a few other countries in that list that were more dodgy.

Scotland, for example.

It looks as if I will be spending my birthday in Malacca, Malaysia, and my wedding anniversary in Marrakesh, Morocco. Margaret's birthday will be spent in Melbourne. A big year for the Ms.

Exciting times.

If you could sit down and plan a long holiday, where would you go?

Friday, 4 January 2008

The most dangerous food in the world!

In my previous incarnation as a food chemist I was often asked ''What food shouldn't we eat?"
I'm not sure what people expected me to say.

Butter, maybe.

In the incarnation prior to that one, I worked at the Coroner's Court doing post-mortem drug analyses. No one ever asked me what drugs they shouldn't take.

However, there I am, Food Chemist, at a dinner party or a BBQ and after the obligatory "What do you do for a living?" question I get the "Oh, really? What food shouldn't we eat?" question. Always tricky if you don't know what is on the menu. But few people are ready for my reply.

Alfalfa sprouts.

Yes, those clean, green, biodynamically pumped shoots are one of the most treacherous foods on the menu.

"Surely not! You're joking, right?"


Think about it. Seeds of any sort are open to the environment. They will have bacteria on them. So what do you do with them? You soak them in water and leave them somewhere warm for three days. Water, warmth, and the seed, a good souce of protein. Bacteria heaven.
"But sprouts have been eaten for centuries." they protest.

"Cooked" I respond. Eating sprouts raw is a recent 'healthy' practice.

Cooking sprouts will kill any bacteria.

That doesn't mean that raw sprouts are bad, just that they are high risk. There is no safety net.
You can reduce the risks by using boiled or chlorinated water and changing the water frequently.

"Now, would you like my thoughts on curry powder? Or margarine?"

"Ah ... that's very kind of you but I can see an actuary over there that I have been dying to talk to ... "


Now that I have been studying psychology, people respond with "So, can you tell what I am thinking?"

"Yes, I can. And quite frankly I am shocked."

Thursday, 3 January 2008

What are they saying? And who to?

Margaret brought me a copy of "Psychologies" magazine when she returned from Scotland.

It has some interesting stuff in it but what intrigued me were the advertisements.

In the first 112 pages (I gave up once the ads started to be half, quarter or smaller page ones) there were single or double page ads for the following:

Cosmetics & perfumes (12)
Luxury cars (5)
Chocolate (4)
Washing powders and fabric softeners (4)
Cameras (3)
Stir Fry vegetables (2)
Cat foods (2)
and one each of bras, watches, toothbrushes,
car insurances, DVDs, Club Med and talk-back radio.

So just who is their market?


The article on Debra Messing read strange in the index "Debra Messing, on the couch. 'I've had to learn to say No'" Good thing too.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

2008 - it will be busy, it seems.

.Pond scum, up close and personal.

I was bemused to find out that 2008 is the United Nations International Year of the Potato.

Now, I have nothing against the potato but how about an international year for the chocolate mousse? Or the dandelions? Or nasal hairs? Or pond scum? Or...

It all seems a little arbitrary.

So I went exploring and it seems that 2008 is also the international year of frogs, sanitation, spaceships, the polar year, inter-cultural dialogue and coral reefs.

In a catch-all clause, 2008 is also the International Year of Planet Earth.

I guess that includes pond scum.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

That was the year that was.

Non-fireworks, especially for Mark.

BERLIN (Reuters) - From a Greek nunnery turned into a marijuana farm by two men posing as gardeners to a South African man with a gunshot wound told by a doctor to "walk the pain off," the world was full of weird news in 2007.

A Moscow woman set fire to her ex-husband's penis as he sat naked watching television and drinking vodka. The couple divorced three years ago but continued to share a small flat. "I was burning like a torch," the wounded ex-husband told Tvoi Den newspaper. "I don't know what I did to deserve this."

In another unusual living arrangement, a German man left his dead mother seated in her favorite armchair at their shared home for two years after her death of natural causes at age 92.

Yet not everything that smelled like a corpse was really dead in 2007. In the German town of Kaiserslautern, police broke into a darkened flat expecting to find a corpse after neighbors complained of a nasty smell seeping out into the hallway. But instead they found a tenant with very smelly feet asleep in bed next to a pile of extremely foul-smelling laundry.

There were sadly many deaths in 2007 that were hardly noticed, such as in Zagreb, where a Croatian man who boarded a night tram and died in his seat rode through the city for more than six hours before the driver discovered he was dead.

Unusual diets made headlines in 2007 -- such as: "No more crispy duck at Beijing toilets." Food stalls attached to Beijing's public toilets were banned ahead of the Olympics after complaints over toilets with poor sanitation.

Also in China, 66-year-old Jiang Musheng said 40 years of swallowing live tree frogs and rats helped him avoid intestinal pain and made him strong.

British artist Mark McGowan ate a meal of meatballs made from a dead corgi dog in a protest against animal cruelty. He said the corgi, which died from natural causes, tasted terrible.

Criminals filled odd news headlines around the world. In the United States, two Colorado men were accused of plotting to kill a man with rattlesnakes in a dispute over a $60,000 poker debt. "It's a story out of the Wild West -- there's poker, rattlesnakes and unsavory characters," said Lance Clem, of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. "You've got a bunch of snakes becoming involved with a bunch of snakes."

In Sarajevo, two armed men disguised as Muslim women in burqas held up a bank and escaped with $40,000.

A Zimbabwe man stole a bus because he needed transport to get his driving license.

A German bus driver threw a 20-year-old off because he said she was too sexy for his bus. "He opened the door and shouted 'Your cleavage is distracting me every time I look into my mirror and I can't concentrate on the traffic'," the woman said.

In La Paz, the winner of a Bolivian beauty contest was stripped of her title moments after her coronation when judges noticed she was wearing false hair plaits.

Climate change found its way into weird news. A Hummer owner in Russia's St. Petersburg gave activists the green light to pelt his oversized vehicle with rotten eggs and tomatoes.

A 60-year-old German man stunned lawyers during his appeal hearing on a flashing conviction by stripping off in court.

Every story needs a happy ending and Bangkok delivered for this one. A 76-year-old Malay Muslim woman from southern Thailand got on the wrong bus 25 years ago and got lost, ending up living as a beggar at the other end of the country.

But in 2007 she was finally reunited with her family.


Help! My lettuce are melting!

We have had two days with 40+ temperatures and the garden is not happy.

Most things are limp.

I have not watered it with tap water since January 18th last year and instead have been using saved rain water, shower water and laundry water. Tomorrow I think I will call in the reserves and use some tap water. Unfortunately we are only allowed to hand water 6am - 8am, two days a week, so I will have to set the alarm. At least it wont be cold.

So what did I do to take my mind off the heat? Painted a beach scene. Still got a bit of work to do on it. Haven't painted for ages, and it shows, but nice to get going again.