Monday, 30 March 2009

Corellas come to Burwood!


It sounded like a heavy hailstorm but it was about 250 of these feisty little buggers feeding on a pin oak tree that overhangs our house. They are messy eaters and all the 'scraps' were falling on my roof.

They are Corellas, at first glace they look like the sulphur-crested cockatoo. As noisy as.

I got them pretty excited by putting a cup of bird seed in the feeder tray (above).

As well as the pin oak, some of them had a good feed on a neighbour's berry bush (below).

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Earth Hour


Did the Earth Hour thing tonight and sat drinking coffee and talking to Margaret and Simon by candle light for a while and then went with a walk.

Couldn't be sure if we saw anyone else doing it. Lots of houses with their lights on. Those with the lights off --- were they home and doing the Earth Hour light's off thing or were they off visiting someone else?

Oh, well. The thought was there.

The cover's as dull as the book.

The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais, published by Icon Group International, has been crowned the winner of the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year. The Bookseller received just over 5,000 votes on its online poll, with the study into the future of the diary product packaging securing a 32% share of the total vote since the shortlist was announced on 20th February.

Dorothy L Cheney and Robert M Seyfarth's Baboon Metaphysics (University of Chicago Press) and Brooks D Cash's Curbside Consultation of the Colon (SLACK Incorporated) finished second and third with a 22% and 18% share of the vote respectively. In fourth place was Mark Hordyszynski's Strip and Knit with Style (C&T), followed by Emmanuel Kowalski's The Large Sieve and its Applications (Cambridge University Press) and Lietai Yang's Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring (Woodhead).

There you go. I would have put my money on Curbside Consultation of the Colon.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Intergalactic Graffiti.


Want to leave your name on the red planet? Go here.

Mind you , if the Intergalactic Litter Police find it and track you back, well, you're on your own.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Thirty years of neglect.


Thirty years ago today this scruffy looking individual joined a bus load of folk for a 90 day overland trip from Kathmandu to London.

Didn't quite manage it all overland - Iran was too dodgy in 1979 and, in deference to the risks to the US members of the group, we flew from Kabul to Istanbul and then travelled east into Iraq.

The route was India, Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Egypt (yeah, ok, we flew there too), Greece, Yugoslavia, Austria, Germany, a blink in Belgium & Netherlands en route to the ferry, London.

There would be a few more gaps in the trip if you tried it now!

Monday, 23 March 2009

There ARE pink elephants!


Photographed in Botswana. Presumably an albino.

Cosmo! It's not the wine after all!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Naked, totally naked.


Now that I have your attention, I have to tell you I am talking about garlic.

No, no, come back!

I had decided to try to grow garlic over the winter. I have tried before but with limited success; I used some imported Chines garlic as my 'seed' in the past and got very small bulbs for my trouble. There is really no such thing as seed for garlic; you have to plant the cloves. Makes you wonder what would happen if man wasn't here to plant the cloves. Am I being manipulated by a garlic plant?

Man is garlic's way of making more garlic?

This time I purchased some pedigree, purple striped stud garlic from an on-line site, so fingers crossed. In the box, as a free gift, was one of these funny tubular garlic skinning thingos. And it works a treat - you put the clove in the tube and then roll it on a flat surface with your hand and out drops a perfectly naked garlic clove.

And a pile of papery chaff, but it had to be somewhere.

Friday, 20 March 2009

There must be a reason...


There must be a reason...I just don't know what it is.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

And while we are on nationalities...


"I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local store
does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts"

- A British holidaymaker complains about their trip.

You know you are Australian when...


You know the meaning of 'girt'
You know that stubbies can either be worn or drunk
You think it is normal to have a Prime Minister called Kevin
When you hear that an American 'roots for his team' you wonder how often and with whom
You understand that the phrase 'a group of women wearing black thongs' refers to footwear and may be less alluring than it sounds
You pronounce Melbourne as 'Mel-bin'
You believe the 'L' in the word ' Australia ' is optional
You can translate: 'Dazza and Shazza played Acca Dacca on the way to Maccas'
You believe it makes perfect sense for a nation to decorate its highways with large fibreglass bananas, prawns and sheep
You call your best friend 'a total bastard' but someone you really, truly despise is just 'a bit of a bastard'
You think 'Woolloomooloo' is a perfectly reasonable name for a place
You believe is makes sense for a country to have a $1 coin that's twice as big as its $2 coin
You understand that 'Wagga Wagga' can be abbreviated to 'Wagga' but 'Woy Woy' can't be called 'Woy'
You know, whatever the tourist books say, that no one says 'cobber'
You understand that 'excuse me' can sound rude, while 'scuse me' is alway polite
You understand that 'you' has a plural and that it's 'youse'
You know it's not summer until the steering wheel is too hot to handle
You understand that all train timetables are works of fiction

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

I've heard the phrase 'shit a brick', but...


A town in Japan has come up with a novel way of beating the country's crippling recession: by extracting gold from its sewage.

The appropriately named town of Suwa in the Nagano Prefecture is collecting the precious metal from the waste it processes, earning the sewerage plant hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Sewerage plant official Yoshihide Nakayama is in charge of reclaiming the gold.

"When we found the gold in the sewage we immediately put it under lock and key," he said.

Mr Nakayama's line of work is not for those with a weak stomach or a delicate constitution.


I've heard the phrase 'shit a brick', but I never realized it was a gold brick.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Any cyber lovers out there?

I have been talking to a local documentary maker about cyber romances.

Part of what he said in his email to me was:

I am preparing a research document for the ABC for a further series of films about Love Letters . At the moment, the only restriction is that the subject or the letters have an Australian context or connection.

I want the proposed programs to cover a diverse range of subjects. It’s early days, but I may have examples of Love Letters from a convict past, Australian literature, visual arts, immigration and politics.

It should also be a broad definition of Love, not necessarily romantic, but letters between parent and child, sister to sister, brother to brother, dear friend to dear friend, etc, etc. Broadening the definition further, the love could be sweet or nasty, soar magnificently or fail dismally.

I’d like a contemporary story that reflects Cyber Love Letters.

He contacted me because of my connection with some very dubious 'romances' on-line with Nigerian scammers. While he is interested in those stories, he is also wanting other, more genuine, stories.

Do any of you know of people who have had cyber romances and may be willing to share the experience?

Monday, 16 March 2009

Home cooking


OK, so I start a separate blog on cooking and the first post I do here is on cooking. Yeah? So?

This is really a non-cooking question. Sort of.

Nowadays we are bombarded with recipes - magazines, websites, emailed stuff, newspapers, TV programs, the sides of most packets of food.

I have books, magazines, folders of physical clippings, databases of e-clippings.

There is a niggling worry I have with this - there are some recipes I have kept making from my Grandmother's collection. Things she used to make time and time again. Things that take me straight back to her kitchen every time I make them. I can 'see' the lino, the table, the curtains, the dresser, the old stove...

Smell. It is like a time machine.

Nowadays, I am forever trying new recipes. I don't dare make the same thing for visitors twice in a row.

Have I robbed my children of their memories?

Sunday, 15 March 2009

A return to the past...


I used to have a blog where I put up my various chemical thoughts on life, the universe and everything, but mostly food.

From the chemist's perspective.

I have felt the need to re-invent the blog and the link to it is in the side bar. No posts yet.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Happy Pi Day!

Today, March 14th, is International pi Day. pi being the Greek symbol for the highly irrational number that comes when you divide a circle's circumference by its diameter. It starts with a 3 and a decimal point and then disappears over the horizon.

Pi = 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 more

Hence the day: 3/14 is how some parts of the world think March 14th is written.

A piece of trivia: if I convert "LEE" to digits, it becomes "120505". This sequence of numbers appears in the string of pi at position 1,733,630 counting from the first digit after the decimal point. The 3. is not counted.

However, doing the same with my full name gets the following response: The string 12050511051414050425 did not occur in the first 200,000,000 digits of pi.

Does that make me unique?

Or just irrational?

Shedding some light. Maybe.


I thought I had left this urban myth behind long ago. I first met it in 1983 and re-met it over the weekend.

It goes like this: I don't turn lights off because it uses more power to turn them on and off than they use when on.

Really? I don't think so.

How much more? Lets say 100 times, for the argument. It's generous.

How long does it take to turn a light on? Let's say half a second, for the argument. It's generous.

100 times a half =50. It's generous. Squared.

So if you turn a light off for anything over a minute you will be saving more power than if you left it on. So turn it off, already.

And take that myth and bury it. Somewhere dark.


But a different question, same topic: It was suggested that the turning on and off of a power-saving fluorescent bulb shortens it's life and that, if you include the cost of the bulb, the economics can favour leaving it on. That complicates the calculation. I still don't like it though.

Anyone know about this?

The sky's falling! The sky's falling!

There's water falling from the sky!

Now that blue band is travelling west to east and there is not much beyond it to the west but, hey, it is something!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Shit-house Poetry


Poetry in the loo can cut down on paper use too, says a Japanese group campaigning to save toilet paper as part of the country's battle against global warming.

Simply pasting a "toilet poem" at the eye level of a person seated in the cubicle can help cut toilet paper use by up to 20 per cent, a study by the research centre Japan Toilet Labo showed.

"That paper will meet you only for a moment," reads one poem.
"Fold the paper over and over and over again," says another.
Or just: "Love the toilet".

Now the group is looking to have its posters displayed in 1,000 public toilets.

Perhaps J Cosmo could come up with an offering?

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Kangaroo update


Mother and daughter, relaxing beneath a pistachio nut tree.

The original photo from my blog (Feb 12th, 2007), showing the mother being bottle fed:


Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Well, that was different.


Well, that was different. Headed into central Victoria for a few days away. In a last minute decision, Cosmo came along too. The country side was fairly brown. This is not unexpected at this time of year but the dams and creeks were all dry, too. We came across the tree above and at first glance it just looked like a tree in a paddock.

Then we realised that the shadow was watching us.

It was great to visit the countryside but nice to get back to my own bed too.

More pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Going bush


Leaving Melbourne for a few day and heading to beautiful downtown Wedderburn, in central Victoria.

Back late Wednesday.

Be good and play nicely.


It did knock, I was out the back digging compost into the vegetable garden.

Friday, 6 March 2009

A weekend off. At home, but off.


This is the 925th post on A Curate's Egg and my 1,522nd post over all in five blogs.

No wonder I feel knackered!

This morning I was all for chucking it in but I am feeling a little less impulsive this afternoon. I must apologise to folk as I have not been particularly diligent in travelling around the commenting traps of the blogs in my Reader (358 unread posts waiting for me.).

It is interesting blogging but at times I feel that I am starting to repeat myself, having flogged my hobby horses numerous times. Speaking of which, the above figures don't include the now defunct Chemist's Cookbook, a blog about food from a chemist's point of view.

However, I shall persevere, as long as people keep coming back to read!


Just an update on the ads. I have been looking at the figures and this is how it pans out:

◊ Roughly one person out of every 250 visitors clicks on an ad. (0.38%)

◊ Most of these people have come because of Boneman's fine efforts at propelling The Curate After Dark blog into the international limelight.

◊ Limelight fades.

◊ The ads have brought in 69¢ a day, roughly one good coffee a week. Boneman, I owe you!

◊ There is no retirement plan there but they add an element of interest.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Bits. No pieces.


Why do we have pieces when bits will do? I mean the English language is littered with double ups. Bits AND pieces. What is the difference between a bit and a piece?

Between a spick and a speck?

Between a bit and a bob?

Between a this and a that?

Between an odd and an end?

Between a flotsam and a jetsam? Well, I sort of know that one but it has become a double act anyway.

I wont go on, you get the idea.

And we are not the only ones: the French gave us bric-a-brac.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

It's raining! OK, it's not pouring but it is raining!

OK, so it is not much and will pass over us in about 20min (the weather moves past left to right) but at least the place has that lovely rain smell.

Now, I'm off to bed with the hope we will get more over night.


Flexible working hours!


Well, they are taking the recession with the seriousness it deserves!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Just when you thought it was safe...


The first screen of a mass distributed Police SMS message this afternoon warning of high winds tonight leading into a hot and extremely windy day tomorrow and Wednesday.

Ugh! Fingers crossed.


Sorry, enthusiasm has not been high on posting of late.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Well, so much for summer. Now...a wet autumn?

The above graphic represents our rainfall so far this year, as a slice of the average rainfall for the same period.

The little green wedge is 3.8mm, the lowest Jan+Feb on record. The previous lowest figure was three times higher, 11.3mm, in 1893.

Now, for some reason Australia ignores the solstices for its seasons. Summer is Dec-Jan-Feb, so we are officially in autumn (fall) now. Let's hope it is a wet one. The novelty of watering the garden in the wee small hours is wearing a tad thin.

Nuclear attack on Adelaide?


In the forelorn hope of finding rain clouds on the horizon, I checked the Weather Bureau's radar site this morning. (More of that later) Above is what I saw.

What the?

What on earth is happening in Adelaide?

I went to the Adelaide radar and the picture is no better:

Have the Martian's finally arrived?

The Kallathumpians bombed the place?

An enormous circular rainstorm, heavier at the edges than the middle?

Need a new valve in their radar?

It's a mystery!