Saturday, 28 February 2009

My Three Sons

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I forget sometimes that readers of blogs are a fluid crowd and that there are new folk who would have had no idea who Richard is.

Above are my three sons. L>R: Richard 24, Martin 26, Simon 20.

He is OK today, a bit sore but OK.
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Friday, 27 February 2009

What? Twice in the same spot? But they promised...

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Rats. We had gone fifteen months since Richard had a seizure and were starting to hope it had been a one-zap wonder.

Not so.

He's OK, should be out of hospital in an hour or two, but it doesn't half cut your plans for the afternoon to bits.
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Big Game Hunter

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Something odd happening out there in Blogland today.

Henry the Dog posts about the wrongs of fur.

J Cosmo Newbery posts about a big game hunter called Henry.

All in all it seemed useful to post the above cartoon.

◊◊◊

BTW: the attendance figure for the day over at The Curate After Dark is now 497 new visitors for the day. 6 people have returned. Ad revenue has passed $4 for the two days. No comments posted.

Yikes! Boneman rattles the cage!

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Well, so much for all my attempts at meddling with visitor numbers.

Above is the chart of visitor stats for my sex blog. Boneman, internet savvy, put a link to a post in my sex blog on some high traffic site and all of a sudden there are visitors! It's not who you know, it's where they link you from.

Now it is only 9:20am on Friday so the last column still has a while to go. It even seems to have paid off - 18 of of the 730 visitors clicked on ads and my retirement fund is $3.89 better off.

The orange bars are my returning visitors. They are the loyal band of regulars! It would seem that the folk who visited yesterday are not returning at this point. No comments, no new followers. So they come from curiosity but it seems that they don't like what they find. *sigh*.

Oh yeah, I did try putting every naughty word and phrase I could think of on a post on my nursery blog. Nilch. Not one visitor. But as it doesn't post, I guess the spiderbots have never been their either.

Better check the job ads.
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Thursday, 26 February 2009

Smile? Me? No, no, I wasn't smiling.

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MIAMI (Reuters) - Florida wildlife managers have launched an experiment to see if they can keep crocodiles from returning to residential neighborhoods by temporarily taping magnets to their heads to disrupt their "homing" ability.

Crocodiles are notoriously territorial and when biologists move them from urban areas to new homes in the wild, they often go right back to the place where they were captured, traveling up to 10 miles a week to get there.

Scientists believe they rely in part on the Earth's magnetic fields to navigate, and that taping magnets to both sides of their heads disorients them.

"They're just taped on temporarily," Hord said. "We just put the magnets on when they're captured and since they don't know where we take them, they're lost. The hope would be that they stay where we take them to."

Can't they just blindfold them and spin them around four times?

No?

So, let me get this straight. I was taught never to smile at a crocodile. Capt Hook learnt to find other ways of telling the time after giving a crocodile a hand. Now we have to tie our Captain Marvel magnets to the heads of the darlings before relocating them to...somewhere.

I think it would be easier for me to move.
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Words fail me.

(Click to enlarge)

Well, my words failed me.

Above is the graph for visitors to this blog (ignore Thursday as it is not finished yet.) and yes, there is an increase on Wednesday after I posted the Sadism, Besiality & Necrophilia post. But that is not why the numbers are up.

The numbers are up because I posted twice yesterday after getting all excited about the supposed Islamic punishment. The numbers are up because regular people visited twice. And those people who did come via Google had been looking for pancakes and eggs. (And an aside - my religion blog is regularly visited by people chasing up that old myth about how Beethoven would have been killed if abortion was in Germany in his day. That post was put up over two years ago and it is the primary entry point. There you go.)

And, AND, I suspect the vast hordes of internet bottom feeders out there had no idea what necrophilia was, only a scant idea about sadism and probably misspelt bestiality. It was all my fault, I fell for the lure of a cheap and old joke about flogging a dead horse. In reality I should have used "oral sex, anal sex, whores and studs".

Next time.

Bah! The difficulty of doing a controlled experiment!

I do have a test blog, where I trial bits and pieces for layout etc. Perhaps I will turn on statistics for it, leave it a week to bet a base line and then post a post called "oral sex, anal sex, whores and studs".

Stay tuned.
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Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Well, there ARE words: try hatred, bigotry and malice.

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The preamble to this photo, and a number like it in a sequence, read:

THERE ARE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE THIS!!!!!

It goes on to say that an 8yr old boy in Iran was caught stealing bread and was sentenced to have his arm crushed by a car. (See, I told you bread was dangerous!).

It then asks "is this (Islam) the religion of peace and love?"

After the photos, it continues:

No religion can ever justify such hideous crimes
Pass it on ......let the world know what's happening in the name of Islam...
Pass this to all, for public awareness.
It must be sent WORLD WIDE!

And, like the well meaning and suitably shocked lady who sent it to me, folk see it and send it on.

But it is fake.

Worse than fake, it is religious and racist hate mail of the highest order and in forwarding it on you are unwittingly participating in a virus of the collective mind.

In essence, the boy is part of a 'market place magic act', common in the Middle East. The boy acts the part but is unharmed, as the unpublished photos from the series show. The blanket protects his arm. For a full explanation of the pictures and what is really going on, read about it at Snopes: here.

The disturbing difference between the email on Snopes and the one sent to me is the implication of Iran. Could the powers that be be trying to 'animalise' the Iranians as part of a pre-war softening? I don't know. The email also included Hebrew translations of the text. Is Israel involved? I don't know. Is it a double reverse sting with pike? I don't know.

But I do know that it is wrong.

◊◊◊

Finally: a call to action:

1. If you get an email that seems too good to be true, too bad to be true, too anything, go to Snopes and check it out. Go there now. Bookmark it.

2. If you find that it has totally misrepresented the situation, especially in a way to inspire hate and bigotry, send the Snopes link back to the sender along with a polite explanation as to how the email was wrong AND ask that they forward the reply back up the line, to the person who sent it to them.

3. If the email permits it, use "reply all" when you do.
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The blue things are rain storms!

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What blue things? (I hear you cry). Well, yes, my point exactly. Green, yellow, orange and red would be welcome too.

Less than 3mm so far for February and less than 4mm for the year. We are talking summer temperatures here. Friday is forecast to reach 38°C with winds. Bush fire weather again.

We woke early this morning to do our permitted hand-watering to find the ground wet!

But only a little drizzle.

Not only did it not register in the rain gauge, the cobwebs stopped most of it reaching the bottom of the gauge. If you look closely you can see it.

My own private rain catchment!


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Sadism, necrophilia and bestiality.

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I don't know if the cool, blandness of the pictured junket will undo the damage done by the blog title but I wasn't about to continue with the theme.

What I AM doing is playing to see what effect, if any, the title has on the number of hits received by my blog. I'll set it to post at midnight and collect data for the day then I'll publish the graph of hits. A bit of a statistics tragic.

And if you do like sadism, necrophilia and bestiality, your flogging a dead horse.

But so that your trip here wasn't wasted and continuing the theme of statistics, I now have something that I stole from Dan. No, not Dan, Don.

But I guess that means his trip here will be wasted. Sorry, Don.

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BREAD IS DANGEROUS.

1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.

2. Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.

3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; Infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; Many women died in childbirth; Diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations.

4. More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.

5. Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat, begged for bread after as little as two days.

6. Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder" items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cream cheese.

7. Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey, bread-pudding person.

8. Newborn babies can choke on bread.

9. Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than two minutes.

10. Most bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaning-less statistical babbling.
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Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Mardi Gras - Fat Tuesday - Pancake Tuesday

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Pancake Tuesday! Tonight, for dinner, there will be savoury pancakes with a meat filling followed by sweet pancakes with lemon juice and sugar. Maybe stewed plums.

I like the picture above but really my pancakes are somewhere between the very thin French crepes and these. And wider. Pancakes that you can roll up.

The following picture is just included for those who prefer the other side of Fat Tuesday:

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Sunday, 22 February 2009

It's a nice day outside!

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Not raining admittedly, but nice none the less.
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Saturday, 21 February 2009

Life's lessons.

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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

Yes, for those of you with good memories, this is a repost of something I put up over two years ago (!). It just seemed to resonate for me today.
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Friday, 20 February 2009

Late update

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Friday 4pm: A late update to the post, two back.

Miraculously we now have showers Friday, Saturday & Sunday.

Should I clean the cobwebs out of the dust...uh...rain gauge?

Hint: Outside, we have bright sunshine.
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The fallen...

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In the current economic climate, drastic measures are needed.

For no apparent reason, I have just been looking at my site stats.

I have just done the figures and it seems I get about 1,000 new visitors a week and about 250 return visits.

If only they would all leave comments!

However, at the risk of offending those who do, I am turning on AdSense. It may not get me much but, without a job, everything is something.

But I may have offended Google, we will see. Ads appeared immediately on my religion and politics blogs but are yet to appear on the sex blog. Either they cannot decide what advertisements to put there or I am about to get a smack on the wrist from Google.

We will see.

Poll: I have put a poll in the side bar to find out if you feel the ads are too intrusive.
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Hopes up...hopes down...

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The weather bureau has always been a 'non-prophet' organisation but I am starting to seriously wonder about whether even this has been overstated.

Have a look at the following sequence of weather widgets for Melbourne over the last few days:


Wednesday, 8am. Looks wet for Friday, no?

Wednesday, 4pm. Not quite so good for Friday. But showers at least.

Wednesday, 9pm. Still showers on Friday PLUS showers on Saturday. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, midday. Holding firm on two days of showers.

Thursday, 5pm. What happened to Friday?

Friday, 7am. What happened to Saturday?

This is not new, I collected these screen shots because it happens over and over again.

Every week we are promised showers (never rain) and, without fail, they don't show up. Of course, Tom, Bartek & others, I know that this climate change thing is all a myth but we are breaking a few records here folks.

We last saw rain of any value in mid December.

For my own sanity, perhaps I should do something positive...

...like delete the widget.
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Thursday, 19 February 2009

Boring is as boring does.

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A federal judge has ruled against a US couple who accused Google of invading their privacy by publishing a Street View picture of their house in the Internet giant's free online map service.

In April of last year, a Pennsylvania couple filed suit charging Google with trespass, negligence, invasion of privacy, and unjustly enriching itself by profiting from the photo of their property.

"While it is easy to imagine that many whose property appears on Google's virtual maps resent the privacy implications, it is hard to believe that any -- other than the most exquisitely sensitive -- would suffer shame or humiliation," the judge wrote in the ruling.

Well, maybe the shame and humiliation comes from having such a dull and boring house?

And the plaintiff's names?

Aaron and Christine Boring.
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Tuesday, 17 February 2009

A happy find!

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Tidying the shed and found some wine I had made a while ago using dates and sherry yeast.

Normally home made wines have minimal keeping qualities but this one was a surprise.

A rich, syrupy sherry.

Happy (dessert) days!
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Monday, 16 February 2009

Water safety

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Headline: Clean water attracts sharks!

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Environmental protection of Sydney's beaches and harbor has created a cleaner marine environment, but is attracting sharks closer to shore chasing fish, say marine experts, after two shark attacks in two days.


I can assure you that any shark swimming near me will find himself in exceedingly dirty water.
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Saturday, 14 February 2009

I don't suppose you have a mineral water?

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A hardline Hindu organization, known for its opposition to "corrupting" Western food imports, is planning to launch a new soft drink made from cow's urine, often seen as sacred in parts of India.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or National Volunteer Corps, said the bovine beverage is undergoing laboratory tests for the next 2 to 3 months but did not give a specific date for its commercial release.

The flavor is not yet known, but the RSS said the liquid produced by Hinduism's revered holy cows is being mixed with products such as aloe vera and gooseberry to fight diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

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Thursday, 12 February 2009

Nine zeros.

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The governments are are playing loose and fast with billions of dollars of late.

It is easy to loose sight of what a billion really is. True, someone said that a man with a billion dollars is as well off as if he was rich.

But what does a billion mean?

A billion seconds ago:

It was 1959.

A billion minutes ago:

It was 107AD, the Roman Empire was in full flight.

A billion hours ago:

It was the Stone Age

A billion days ago:

In honour of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday, I can report that no animals walked this planet on two legs.

A billion is a seriously large number.
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Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Not just the perfect way of getting your fat and salt.

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So, what do the aromas of bitter cocoa, butterscotch, cheese, earthy potatoes, onions, and flowers and ironing boards give you, if you combine them?

According to scientists at Leeds University, you get the aroma of chips.

Or fries, for those across the Pacific.

Or chups, for those across the dutch.

"Perhaps these findings will see chips treated like wine in the future -- with chip fans turning into buffs as they impress their friends with eloquent descriptions of their favorite fries," Dr Graham Clayton said, hedging his bets on the chips-fries controversy.


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Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Grumpy Blogger moment. Again.

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My poor dogwood - brown and crunchy.

Life has been a pain of late. The finances, as represented by the shares that were funding my retirement, is on the pox side of ghastly; job prospects are slow and far from encouraging; my garden has been cooked and crunched by the "non-existent" climate change; my state has been been hit by the longest drought, the hottest temperatures and the worst fires on record. Also apparently a non-result of a non-climate change.

My enthusiasm is not high.

What I have learnt from my garden is that plants, when stressed, discard the unnecessary. Leaves are discarded, in some cases whole branches are discarded, to save the core plant.

I must learn from that. I have been discarding unnecessary stuff.


Inspired by Braja, one irritant I am going to discard is word verification.

I don't use it myself. I have finally tired of it elsewhere.

Come this weekend I will no longer be commenting on blogs that require me to use it. It is such a pointless thing to do and just makes commenting a greater pain than necessary. There is nothing personal in this, it is just self-preservation.

Grumpy? Maybe but that's the way it will be.

Oh, and if your blog takes 30+ seconds to load because of all manner of widgets, gidgets and gadgets in the side bar, please forgive me if I move on before it finishes loading. I have other things to do.

Now, for a nice cup of tea and a wee lie down...
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Monday, 9 February 2009

Star of Stage, Screen & Radio Wales.

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Oh well, that went OK. I was just on Jamie & Louise's show on BBC Radio Wales talking about my time teasing Nigerian conmen.

The boys listened to it on-line and said nice things about it.

But they would be sleeping in the street if they didn't.

While I was waiting for the show to start I was re-reading some of the letters. God, I got away with some crazy stuff. You will notice, for example, that the Devil's photo in his passport bears a striking resemblance to Donald Rumsfeld. If you click on it, to enlarge it, you will be able to admire the fetching little red flecks in his eyes.

The letters are here, if you are interested.

I wont be offended if you're not. It is a largely misunderstood hobby.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, the red comment on the passport is to stop it being printed and used by people even more unscrupulous than me. And no, the number on the passport is not a real one.
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Alive and well.

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We are alive and well. City folk are pretty shielded from the fires. It is the people who live on the fringes of the city, where it meet the bush, that bear most of the brunt.

The depressing thing is that, even though the weather is cooler, the fires continue to burn as the countryside is so dry.
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Saturday, 7 February 2009

Temperature update...

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That's 115 in the old currency.

Fame, no fortune.

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Got an email from BBC Radio Wales this morning, wanting to interview me.

Radio, it's still out there!

Many moons ago I teased Nigerian conmen with J Cosmo Newbery. The results of that are on his Sweet Chilli Sauce site. The BBC Wales are doing a consumer awareness program on scams and how to recognise them.

Monday February 9th., 10:30am GMT.
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Finger's crossed.

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Another 'interesting' day.

Isn't that the Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times"?

With no rain greater than 1mm since mid December and the country side dried by a procession of high temperature days, fire danger is extreme. The last burst of over 40°C days was still. Today will be windy.

Here's hoping that it all passes safely.

Brown and crunchy is depressing, but it is better than black and dead.
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Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Crash and Burn Gardening

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I haven't felt like posting for a few days. Gardening blues perhaps. Things are getting dryer and crunchier. More high temperatures on the way with Saturday supposed to be 43°C again.

I feel a bit like Sophie, in the movie Sophie's Choice, having to chose which her children to save.

Hindenburg trivia: Apparently the meals on the airship did not include garlic because garlic gas was included with the hydrogen so that they could smell a leak.

The crepe suzettes were a bad idea too.
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Sunday, 1 February 2009

Brown & Crunchy

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I had to give a sad little sigh when Hliza, in a comment to my earlier post, said that "It's good that your garden is so green..it helps to cool the weather down a bit."

Sadly, three days of 43°C temperatures, combined with below 10% humidity, put paid to any greenness.

Above is the crunchy remnants of an hydrangea that grows against a south wall and never receives direct sun.


And this is a Hebe, reported to be sun tolerant.



And this is a camellia, rather sunburnt.

A Japanese maple is now the colour of maple syrup.

The grapes are now raisins.

The elderberry is brown and crunchy. As are both magnolias and a rhododendron.

The vegetable garden faired moderately well. The raspberries leaves are curled and crisp. The zucchinis melted and cannot be found. And the pumpkins, beans and tomatoes decided to finish their season early. Happily the silverbeet is well, as is the basil.

Poo.

I'd cry but salt water is the last thing the garden needs.
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