Friday, 31 October 2008

Worms, worms, worms, worms...

Home-made beetroot pasta, en route to being 'worms' in our Halloween dinner.



Happy Halloween.

Rather than a pumpkin, this is a watermelon brain. Instuctions.

We here at A Curate's Egg have a couple of Halloween traditions:

1. Dinner is Worms & Pus, followed by Mud, Blood & Poached Brains for dessert.

2. Margaret always jumps up and down when the media unfailingly refer to Halloween as an 'American' festival. The Celts had it long before the Americans only they used turnips instead of pumpkins.


Thursday, 30 October 2008

The camera never lies. But food photographers....


"Don't add too many ingredients
- remember, paella is all about the rice
and the ingredients are there simply to flavour it."

So read the instructions at the start of a paella recipe on-line.

Quite frankly, I'm hard pressed to even see some rice in the above photo that adorned the recipe.

While the cook/writer is probably right, there was no way the photographer was not going to pile the seafood on for the photo.

They can't help themselves.

Don't get me started on how they manage to cut cream cakes and still have (a) cream oozing from the cut layers and (b) no cream smear from the knife cutting through the cake.

Truth in advertising is hard to get. Truth in food photography? Forget it.

Chicken Genealogy


Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Take Two Tablets...

In tidying my computer, as one does, I found a number of lists filed under 'the rules of life'.

I thought I might share them, eked out over a few weeks, perhaps.

The first list of life rules reads:

1. Never give yourself a haircut after three margaritas.

2. You need only two tools: WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape.

3. The five most essential words for a healthy, vital relationship are, "I apologize" and "you are right."

4. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

5. Never pass up an opportunity to pee.

6. If he/she says that you are too good for him/her - believe them.

7. Learn to pick your battles; Ask yourself, "Will this matter one year from now? How about one month? One week? One day?"

8. When you make a mistake, make amends immediately. It's easier to eat crow while it's still warm.

9. If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance!

10. Living well really is the best revenge. Being miserable because of a bad or former relationship just might mean that the other person was right about you.

11. Work is good, but it's not that important. Money is nice, but you can't take it, or anything else, with you. Statistics show most people don't live to spend all they saved; Some die even before they retire. Anything we have isn't really ours; we just borrow it while we're here... even our kids.

12. Be really good to your family and/or friends. You never know when you are going to need them to empty your bedpan.

13. If you are going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it,you may as well laugh about it now.


Monday, 27 October 2008

You can lead(light) a fairy to water...


Last December I did some leadlight panels (stained glass in some circles) for a tall, thin window in our pantry. I was really happy with the results, except for one thing: I felt I had chosen badly when selecting the colour for the wings of the fairy in the bottom panel (left side, above). I felt that they were too dark. But that meant cutting into the 'finished' panel, removing the dark pieces, cutting new ones and then reassembling everything. It could all go horribly wrong.

This afternoon I bit the bullet.

And am happy with the result.

I don't believe it!

Above is the first Blogger verification code that I have seen that is a real word.

Afterwards, when I posted to the blog I was visiting (Mark take a bow), the following came up as the replacement code:

To the best of my knowledge it is not an English word.

But it could be:

1. A Swahili word for belly-button fluff.

2. An Irish explanation for the state and direction of the economy.

3. Something entirely different.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

The (updated) Cow Theory of Economics.

"Delta Cows" - Lowell Herrero

The world finanical crisis can be explained by the following...

21 Economic Models explained with Cows - 2008 Update

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbour.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws
the milk away...

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you
want three cows.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow
and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon' and
market it worldwide.

You have two cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month,
and milk themselves.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 2 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows.
You worship them.

You have two cows.
Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the **** out of you and invade your
You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of

You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive.

You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.


Saturday, 25 October 2008

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time...

We decided to have lunch outside today. Yep. Soup. The jacaranda is without leaves at the moment and the flowers are yet to come so the sun was a bit strong on the back verandah.

Why not move the table over to under the ornamental grape on the trellis?

It seemed a good idea.

But we had ignored the green snow (above).

The ornamental grape is in blossom at present. Not a particularly pleasant or endearing blossom but lots of clusters of small green flowers. And they are falling like snow. Ok. Ok. Not exactly like snow but there are lots of them.

Before you know it you have little green pac-men on your cheese, on your soup, on your water, on your hair.


Friday, 24 October 2008

Now, that's more like it!

A few posts back, I was puzzled by a customs inspection of a condolences card from the UK.

Really, I wondered, it's a card in an envelope. Not even any lumps (until they squashed their explanation brochure into it). So, why the interest?

Well, the other day a large box we shipped from Morocco, one of the major marijuana growing areas in the world, arrived and that too had been inspected.

Now, THAT I understand.

But, no, there was nothing of interest in it to Customs either.


Of late I have been remiss in sneaking in a few rants into this blog that by rights belong in my more ranty blog, The Odd Angry Squawk.

The link is in the right hand side-bar.


Scrub up!

I recently bought a nail brush.

I was impressed that the packet included usage instructions. I have lead a broadly experiential life and it has made me fairly intuitive with the working of things like a nail brush but I will concede that there may be people out there who need such guidance.

What really worried me though was the terrible slur that the brush cast on my character, broad life experiences not withstanding. I use a nail brush because I have dirty nails, usually from toiling away in the vegetable garden. This is good, clean, honest dirt.

The packet says the brush is for removing dirt and scum from under my nails.


I really must protest. Like fathers and Santa Claus, like Batman and Bruce Wayne, like Brian Burke and Kevin Rudd, scum and I are never seen together. How would I feel if some impertinent little check out girl was to say “Oh, a nail brush! Got scum under your nails then, have you?” Horrified, that’s how.

Please, bring out a scum brush if you must but leave the nail brush to the filthy but manly realms of dirt.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

A reply to Bartek...

Bartek commented on one of my previous posts and suggested that weather patterns are not a good place to look for evidence of climate change as, firstly, our ability to measure the weather accurately was not as great 100 years ago and, secondly, one hundred years is not long enough to determine the true natural cycles of the earth's climate.

I should point out that Bartek and I travelled together in Morocco in August and, while I am serious about this subject, it should be read in a friendly tone.

Before I look at his two points, let me just step back a bit and take a broader view of the carbon cycle. Carbon is one of the 92 naturally occurring elements on the planet. We cannot make it and, excluding the odd rocket leaving the planet and the odd meteor entering, the amount of carbon on this planet is a constant.

It is found in three places:

1. The biomass - plants, insects, fish and animals.

2. Ground storage - oil, gas, coal and carbonate minerals.

3. The atmosphere - carbon dioxide.

The general trend of human occupation of this planet is to reduce biomass and consume the ground reserves. The carbon has to go somewhere, and that is to the atmosphere. Reafforestation and carbon sequestration are attempts to reverse this trend. Reafforestation is good but lags well behind still ongoing deforestation. Carbon sequestration sounds good in principle but I can't help having a sneaky suspicion that the carbon dioxide will leak out of what is effectively a hot rock sponge. We will see on that one but the catch is that it is an energy intensive process to capture, liquify and pump the carbon dioxide. Which produces carbon dioxide.

But the mass balance for the carbon cycle is irrefutable. The carbon has to be somewhere.

The question is: will it being in the atmosphere affect the climate?

It is easy enough, in the laboratory, to show that increasing the level of carbon dioxide in an enclosed atmosphere results in more absorbed infra-red radiation and subsequently raised temperatures. I should add that other gases contribute to the greenhouse effect, the most important of them being water vapour.

Water vapour is an important greenhouse gas? Yep. And if other gases, such as carbon dioxide, raise the atmospheric temperature you get more water in the atmosphere which raises the temperature further.

One of the problems that Melbourne has been having is that the humidity of the air has been too low for it to rain. Frustratingly, the clouds just drift past. Humidity is a function of temperature; raise the temperature of a gas and it will lower its relative humidity and it will hold much more water vapour.

To a chemist, all the chemistry and all the physics say that the process of global warming is a realistic one. The theory holds together.

As a gardener, I can agree that we are getting very little rain in Melbourne. As the friend of a farmer in central Victoria who has seen poor or failed crops for the last ten years I can tell you that the drought is having a devastating effect, financially, physically and mentally.

But is is really a drought? Or has the climate changed?

So, back to Bartek's issues:

Issue 1. Measurement techniques were flawed in the past.
Which measurements? My original post lamented the number of months when rainfall was below average. It is hard to get rainfall measurements wrong, if anything the old ones, if they were inaccurate, would be expected to be lower rather than higher, which only enhances my argument (and increases my lamentations). If they were randomly wrong then you would expect to see larger variation in the older data in charts like this:

(Click to enlarge)

The last ten years have been consistently below the median. The variation, visually at least as I can't be bothered doing the maths, seems fairly consistent 1855 - 1997.

Issue 2: That the natural changes in the climate are on much bigger cycles.
No doubt true. But that does not discount man-made additions to the cycles.

Melbourne's weather seems to have changes abruptly in 1997. I don't know why. If it was a natural cycle, I would expect a smoother change over a longer time.

That will do, I need to go and bucket water onto my vegetables.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

I'm angry! Now, um, remind me why again...

From a Wiley cartoon, The Age, 21/10/2008

The media gives me the irrits at times (only at times?); I am talking mainstream media here. They have to make things 'issues'.

A case in point: last week a nursing home was shut down because it had failed a Government audit. The media was howling lamentations and was full of clips of distressed residents and irate relatives. Woe! Woe! Woe! How could the Government do such a horrid thing?

I have no doubt that if some calamity (fire, death, pestilence) had befallen the nursing home, the same media would have been up in arms because nothing had been done. I can see their reaction in my mind: Woe! Woe! Woe! How could the Government have permitted such a horrid thing?

It is all so fake.

One small pleasure I used to have when driving home from work was listening to cub reporters trying to get compromising comments from seasoned politicians and diplomats with leading questions like "You must be angry about so and so...". The politicians weaved their way around the questions with most delicate verbal ballet. "Well, no, I am not angry. However I would like to say that..."

Sadder were the 'normal' people who got interviewed by the same cubs. Unprepared for the implanting of an emotion, they usually took the bait and told the reporter how angry they were. Even if they weren't really angry beforehand.

"Yes! I'm angry! Now, um, remind me why again..."

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

I still don't care what you say...

(Click to enlarge)

In a previous post, Tom took at shot at me about my concerns about climate change.

Is it real, or is it natural variation?

Well, the above graph displays Melbourne's rainfall against its expected average for 2008.

So far this month, two thirds through, we have received 9.0 mm (expected average = 66.5 mm).
Not looking good for October, Tom.

You can see that we have had eight months below average and only one above this year. If you say that you can reasonably expect half the readings to be above average and half to be below, then there is a binomial probability of 1.8% of this occuring.

But it you go back to the start of the century, there have been only 27 months with above average rainfall. That's out of 105 months. The probability of this occurring is less than 0.00005%

If it was a coin toss competition you would be starting to suspect foul play.


The above is a news-site's header for a story about UFO's in the UK from more than 50 years ago.

Two questions:

If saucers are such a you-beaut spaceship shape, why do we keep making pencil shaped things?

And if the life out there is so intelligent, why would it come here?

Monday, 20 October 2008

Thirty five years ago...

Thirty five years ago...the Sydney Opera House was opened.

1973. I was 19, studying chemistry at Melbourne University and living in a share flat in Carlton with about half a dozen other people (most of whom I am still in contact with). I had ginger hair, lots of it, a bushy beard and was a couple of jeans sizes smaller.

Where did that time go?

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Buddhist Soup

Most weekends we have soup for lunch.

Buddhist Soup.

No, no, no. You don't actually need a Buddhist to put in the soup. (I have generally found them to be tough and wiry, so best avoided anyway).

Buddhist Soup is where various leftovers from the preceding week get a second life, sometimes a third, coming back as a rich, and quite often mysterious, soup.

The only problem with Buddhist Soup is that, because your leftovers vary, you can never ever repeat it.

But it is always yum.

Or Om.

November 1st falls on October 18th this year.

Basil seedlings are in the nurseries from early August but past experience has shown me that planting them in my garden before November 1st is a waste of time. The cold nights and frosts get them.

Consequently my computer calendar springs to life every November 1st and says "Plant Basil!"

This year I have decided that frosts are just not about to happen. Cool nights perhaps but nowhere near frosty and have planted some basil.

That means pesto sauce is two weeks closer too!

Not rocket science but not bucket chemistry either.

With the weather warming and prices rising and reserves falling, all signs point to the time being right to start off the summer beer brewing season. True, I realise that summer is a month and a half away yet but the weather doesn't seem to realise that.

Lurking under this former rubbish bin is brew #1 of the season.

While the days are getting warmer, the nights are still a little cool so supplementary heating is required and that accounts for thos two brown wires disappearing into the top of the bin. Under the rubbish bin is a standard home brew container with airlock. The bin just helps keep the heat in one spot. But how is it heated (I hear you ask?), well for that I need to thank Parrish, a former employee from when I was involved with the laboratory.

One day I was talking to Parrish about home brew and discussing heating options. Suddenly he said "I havbe just what you need, in my locker!" Now, we gave the staff lockers to keep their clothes in, lunch maybe, shopping perhaps, you know, bits and pieces. Parrish's locker was more a cross between Dr Who's Tardis and Mary Poppin's hand bag. You never really knew what was in it and, quite frankly, I was happy about that arrangement. Parrish had a lunchtime hobby of scavenging in the waste bins of nearby factories. Anyway, Parrish rummaged inside his locker and came out with...

...a water-bed heater! (Of course! I should have known!)

So now I wrap the heating pad around the brewer, put the rubbish bin over the top, set the bed to 23degC and, hey presto, there is a contented 'boloop, boloop, boloop...' sound coming from the bin.

Now there is just the waiting bit...

Friday, 17 October 2008


I am no supporter of John McCain but I had to feel sorry for him when the local paper printed the above photo of him this morning.

It is of the same ilk as those knicker-snaps (or worse) of celebrities getting out of their cars; things that are not even of a long enough duration to be deemed fleeting are caught by the high speed cameras and then frozen in time.

I saw the incident and in real time it just looked like a very human reaction. He had started to leave the stage the wrong way, expressed an 'oops!', corrected himself and headed off in the right direction.


Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Got a brochure from Nestle in the mail today. On the back cover it had this ad for their 'Greenblend', you-beaut coffee, that delivers 70% more antioxidants than green tea.


What on earth is that supposed to mean?

What is it with the desire to find silver bullets in our food?

Why not just eat/drink it because it tastes good?

The little published fact is that every chemical (And everything is a chemical, don't fall for this 'chemical free' nonsense on packaging. If it is not a chemical, what is it?) will kill you if taken in excess. All of them. A woman died from drinking too much water last year. Vitamin A is especially toxic in large quantities. Sodium Chloride, common salt that is so essential in our diet, causes foetal abnormalities, developmental malfunction and death in laboratory animals when administered in high doses.

This marketing driven foolishness, that if a little of something is good for you then more must be even better, gives me the irrits.

Can you tell?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

(Supposed) Tourist questions about Australia


This is list has been going around for a while but makes a quick blog post on a busy day:

The questions below about Australia are from potential visitors. They were posted on an Australian Tourism Website and the answers are actual responses from website officials, who obviously have a dubious sense of humour.

Q. Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? (UK)
A. We import all plants fully grown then just sit around and watch them die.

Q. Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)
A. Depends on how much you've been drinking.

Q. I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railway tracks? (Sweden)
A. Sure, it's only 3,000 miles, take lots of water.

Q. Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Australia? (Sweden)
A. So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q. Are there any ATM's (cash machines) in Australia? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay? (UK)
A. What did you last slave die of?

Q. Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (USA)
A. A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Aus-tra-lia is the big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not.. oh forget it. .... Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.

Q. Which direction is North in Australia? (USA)
A. Face south then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send you the rest of the directions.

Q. Can I bring cutlery into Australia? (UK)
A. Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q. Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A. Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is...oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys' Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q. Can I wear high heels in Australia? (UK)
A. You're a British politician, right?

Q. Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round?(Germany)
A. No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q. Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A. Rattlesnakes live in Am-eri-ca which is were YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q. I have a question about a famous animal that lives in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees.(USA)
A. It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q. Do you have perfume in Australia? (France)
A. No, we don't smell.

Q. I have developed a new product that is the Fountain of Youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia? (USA)
A. Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q. Can you tell me the regions of Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A. Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q. Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (France)
A. Only at Christmas.

Q. Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A. Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

Monday, 13 October 2008

How odd. Being bugged or having bugs?

Got a card from Margaret's aunt and her husband giving condolences over Dad's death.

It had been opened by Quarantine.

And passed, for what it was worth. Inside there was a Quarantine flyer saying that they had opened the card and that they had not taken anything out.

But how odd for them to open it at all. A card is kind of flat and any inclusions would be obvious but they say that there was nothing in it. So flat it is.

Perhaps it smelt of drugs.

Or Tweed perfume.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

For when a 4WD/SUV is not enough...

In order to try and get a bit of a cross-section of what is happening in the world, I look in on a number of news websites. One of them is the Washington Post. Recently that website has been carrying ads for the Boeing HH-47 helicopter.

Are things so tough in the US now that Boeing wants to sell its weaponry to the average suburban reader? Is this the new way of getting the kids to school? Is it one-upmanship, where the Jones out-do their neighbours who only have an armour clad Hummer? Or has street violence reached a point where lift-and-carry is the only safe way to get to the mall?

Still dead wrong

Trevor asked for further insights on the death penalty; I don’t know that I have insights as that would require some sort of knowledge or experience of the process that I am not privy to. All I can offer are my thoughts on the matter. They are a bit scattered but you will get the idea.

In its simplest form my answer is that, if the death penalty is applied as punishment then it is a waste of time as I do not believe in heaven and hell. Death is a nothing, no heavenly choirs, no fire and brimstone. Nothing. Certainly not punishment. Dying can be painful and unpleasant but the means of execution are supposed to be humane nowadays. So what is the point?

If it is used as a deterrent, then does it work? The US has 36 states with the death penalty; do they have a lower crime rate than the remaining states? I don’t know. Certainly Australia, without a death penalty, has a lower crime rate than the US but we also have sensible gun laws.

In the last 16 years, fifteen people in the US have been taken off death row because DNA testing subsequently found that they could not have done the crime that they were convicted of. How is it that innocent people can be convicted of major crimes that they didn’t commit? Sometimes it is the bizarre case of people admitting to crimes they didn’t do in a strange bid for attention and celebrity. Sometimes it is the enforcement agencies, with the best will in the world, being ‘sure’ that someone committed a crime and adapting the evidence to meet their own certainty. There are also the issues of race, education and poverty that affect convictions or, more correctly, the ability to mount a defence. Juries in the past have shown more willingness to find someone guilty of a capital offence if that person was an outsider, a person of a difference race, religion or colour to the panel.

All these things relate to the justice system not being perfect. It probably can’t be perfect. But if a system is not perfect it should not have irreversible actions.

A related and very subjective issue is one of when the death penalty should be applied.

In its purest form, an eye for an eye, if someone kills someone else, should that warrant a reciprocal death penalty?

If a couple having an affair conspire to kill the woman’s husband; should that warrant the death penalty? For one or both? If one, which one? If both, an eye for an eye, should they be allowed to kill someone else to even the score?

If the husband comes home unexpectedly and finds the couple in bed and kills one or both in a fit of rage, should that warrant the death penalty? If he kills both, should one of his friends be executed as well, to even the score?

If someone is breaking into your house and, fearing for your safety, you shoot them; should that warrant the death penalty?

If you see someone breaking into your neighbour’s empty house and you shoot them (in the back); should that warrant the death penalty?

If you cause a road accident that results in someone’s death, should that warrant the death penalty?

The War Crimes Tribunal sentences leaders and officers who wage war to jail and, in some cases, death. Would you accept the same standards be applied to the people who invaded Iraq resulting in the senseless deaths of tens of thousands of people?

Should a soldier who kills another soldier be sentenced to death? Why not? Following orders? Then can a hired killer use the same defence?

OK, some of these are a little frivolous but they make a point: how and where do you draw the line as to what warrants an execution? It would appear that just killing someone is not enough, even if you are negligent, such as in a car accident.

One common argument often given is that 'why should this person be allowed to live and possibly get out of jail sometime when my mum/dad/son/daughter is dead forever?' It is understandable reaction. But that is one of the hard questions. How do you deal with someone who, through negligent or culpable driving, leaves the other driver a paraplegic for life? There is an imbalance there. There always is an imbalance in crime and punishment.

But is there always no hope of remorse and rehabilitation?

That will do for the moment, this is getting longer than I normally post.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Dead wrong

Today is International Day Against the Death Penalty.

But I find it appalling; there shouldn't be such a day.

It shouldn't be needed. There shouldn't be a death penalty.

It beggars belief that anyone thinks that killing another human being solves anything. When a person is put to death by government sanction it diminishes all of us.

And don't give me that Old Testament crap about an eye for an eye. If you want to hold that as 'law' then I will demand that all other statements in the OT be also enforced. (For example: working on the Sabbath on its own commands a mandatory death sentence - Exodus 35:2).

And what would the fine Christian folk think of Islam's death penalty for apostasy? It certainly toughens the market for the evangelists.

The Australian Government, the whishiest of the whishy washy, opposes the death penalty for Australian but not for other nationalities. So what message is that sending? Not that the death penalty is wrong but that Australians should be treated deferentially to other nationals.

I received hate mail (real mail, we-know-where-you-live real mail) for my opposition to the execution of the Bali Bombers. What value is there in executing people who believe that death will deliver them their heavenly reward? Keep them alive, I say. The longer the better.

That's it.

ABC News: Breaking Wind Stories

Thursday, 9 October 2008

News by the bucketful.

Jujee asked why I hadn't commented on the financial turmoil.

In truth I have nothing much to add.

Certainly I wonder on the merits of the world governments nationalising all the debt when they didn't feel the need to nationalise the profits.

Certainly the term 'self-regulation' should join 'military intelligence' as one of the great oxymorons of our age.

Certainly greed and stupidity have played a large part. Not to mention the gambler's fallacy. But these are all part of the human condition.

Certainly, from the point of view of a self-funded retiree (on paper, if not in fact) I wish it hadn't happened. But there are worse calamities that can befall you.


Language difficulties

In our travels in Peru we stopped at one restaurant that offered "Donkey with cheese".

Turned out to be a technically correct, but gastronomically loose, translation of Burrito.

But in a country that eats Guinea Pigs, you never know.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Six words

It is said that, in response to a bet that he could not write a novel (= a complex story) in six words, Ernest Hemmingway wrote:

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

Hard to beat that for brevity and pathos. He won the bet.

Others have run with this idea and asked people to write their life story in six words.

For me it would be:

I have been pretty lucky really.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Been out in the sun too long, perhaps.


Australia, well most of it, went on to daylight saving last weekend. I have no drama with that at all, we could stay on daylight saving all year as far as I am concerned.

But I had to shake my head in disbelief when callers to a radio station started blaming our drought (Ten years and counting. When does a drought become a permanent climate change?) blaming our drought on the "extra hour of sunlight".

No doubt these were the same people who complained that their curtains would fade quicker and cats would be copulating on their front lawns in broad daylight if we adopted daylight saving.

Perhaps it's time to chlorinate the gene pool again.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Black gold!

To people who are not Australian, or do not know Australians, Vegemite can be something of a mystery. But probably more Australians can sing the "Happy Little Vegemites" song than can sing the first two verses of our national anthem.

Thick, black and salty, made from brewery waste, it is very much an acquired taste. Don't let anyone tell you that it is 'just like Marmite', because it isn't. (mind you, there was a period in its life when Vegemite was called "Parwill", a parody of "Marmite".)

It is an Australian icon, something that we pine for when travelling. I remember it being on sale at travel agents in London.

Anyway, the reason for this post: the billionth jar rolled off the production line yesterday.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

It might be dry, but...


It may be dry, but the garden is looking lovely at the moment.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Brain to mouth malfunction...

CNN moved up the ladder of dumb news services (although still not in a position to challenge today when, in response to the finding of Steve Fossett's plane, they asked the following question:

"How is it that 2,000 searchers failed to find the plane and yet a single hiker did?"

Oh, give me strength! The folk are not bright enough to be dumb.


Idle thought: What the remains at the crash site do not belong to Fossett at all? What if the plane crashed onto another hiker?

Mmmm...not looking good.

The following is one of those email attachments that you find around the place on the joys of being a man. Some things I definitely agree with but overall, I am in bad shape.


Phone conversations last 30 seconds
Well, lots do but not all.

You know useful stuff about tanks and aeroplanes
Well, no.

A 5 day vacation requires only one suitcase

Toilet lines are 80% shorter
Absolutely a blessing.

You can open all your own jars

Old friends don't give you crap if you've lost or gained weight
Also true.

Dry cleaners and haircutters don't rob you blind

When clicking through the channels you don't have to stop on every shot
of someone crying
I don't click through channels. I know what I want to watch.

You don't have to lug a bag of "necessary" items with you everywhere
you go
I keep them all in the shed at home.

You can go to the lavatory alone
Is there any other way?

Your last name stays put
Sort of. Does that include non-de-plumes?

You can leave a motel room bed unmade
Oh yes! And I don't fold and stack the towels, either.

You can kill your own food
If I had to, yes. Not something I would do for fun.

The garage is all yours
No garage and the junk in the carport was put there by someone else.

You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness
Of course!

You see the humor in "Terms of Endearment"
Never seen it at all, humorously or otherwise.

You never have to clean the toilet

You can be showered and ready in 10 minutes

Wedding plans take care of themselves
Thank heavens. If left to me it would be elopement every time.

If someone forgets to invite you to something, they can still be your
I often prefer it that way.

Your underwear cost $7.50 for a pack of 3
Plus inflation, this is an old email attachment.

None of your co-workers has the power to make you cry

You don't have to shave below your neck
I suppose not.

You don't have to curl up next to some big, hairy bloke every night
Now, that is a blessing.

If your 34 and single, no one notices
54 and married, no one cares..

Chocolate is just another snack
But dark chocolate is a good snack.

You can quietly enjoy a car ride from the passenger seat
I get a bit twitchy.

Flowers fix everything
No, but they are a good start.

You never have to worry about other's feelings
Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Three pair of shoes are more than enough

You can say anything and not worry about what people think
But it is figuring out what people think that is such fun!

Michael Bolton doesn't live in your universe

You can whip your shirt off on a hot day
Can. Don't.

Car mechanics tell you the truth
But how would I know?

You don't give a flip if someone doesn't notice your new haircut

You can watch a game in silence for hours without your buddy thinking
"he must be mad at me."
Suppose so. Not many games I watch for long at the best of times.

One mood, all the time
Ha! No.

You can admire Clint Eastwood without having to starve yourself to
look like him
Why would I like to look like him?

Same work.......more pay
Same work, same pay. No exceptions.

Gray hair and wrinkles add character
Happy with that.

Wedding dress $2000, dinner suit rental 100 bucks
This is an old email attachment, isn't it?

You don't care if someone is talking behind your back
Of course I care. They should seek counselling.

You don't pass on the dessert and then mooch off someone else's
True. I can only pass on dessert if it hasn't been made yet. Once it is on the table, all bets are off.

The remote is yours and yours alone
If you are looking for the remote, I threw it over in the corner somewhere. I don't want the wretched thing. Mind you I cannot watch TV if someone else is flipping the channels.

You need not pretend you're "freshening up" when you go to the loo
But I probably will.

If you don't call your cobber when you said you would he won't tell
your friends you've changed
If I say I will do something, it happens. On time, too.

If another bloke shows up at the party in the same outfit, you might
become lifelong mates
Not causal.

The occasional well -rendered belch is practically expected
No, it's not.

You think the idea of drop kicking that small, ankle-biting dog is funny
Only if the f*cking thing barks all day when all I want is to sit peacefully in my front yard.

If something mechanical didn't work , you can bash it with a hammer
and throw it across the room
I've learnt from experience that this is a poor maintenance strategy.

New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet
Says who?.

You don't have to remember everyone's birthday and anniversary
But I do.

You're excited, I can tell.

Sometime during the week I passed the 1,000 posts for the four combined blogs.


Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Divide and...well...divide.

I am slowly getting my three off-shoot blogs up and running again.

Three off-shoot blogs? Well, as a decent young boy I was taught that one did not talk about sex, religion or politics in polite company. So, they have their own blogs so that those of you who differ in your views with me in these areas can just ignore then and still get your daily diet of lightly coddled curate's egg.

And those of you who want to explore these areas, the links are under the Dogma warning in the right hand side-bar.