Monday, 25 January 2010

Burns Night

Kennedy tartan.
(Actually I go back to Ireland, via Scotland,
but why not have a whiskey anyway?)

Happy Burns Night!

No, not the result of a badly planned Australia Day BBQ, Robbie Burns, the Scottish poet.

A couple of Scottish jokes to celebrate:

A lodger in a Scottish guest house in Milngavie, near Glasgow, was on his way to the bathroom carrying his shaving gear, when the landlady stopped him and said, 'Have you got a good memory for faces, Mr MacGregor?'

'Och aye,' Mac replied.

'That's just as well,' she said, 'because there's no mirror in the bathroom.'


Scotland - The home of golf
Sign at a Scottish golf course: 'Members will refrain from picking up lost balls until they have stopped rolling.'


At an auction in Glasgow a wealthy American announced that he had lost his wallet containing £10,000 [$20,000USD] and would give a reward of £100 to the person who found it.

From the back of the hall a Scottish voice shouted, 'I'll give £150.'


Ear Muffs
Winters can be extremely cold in northern Scotland, so the owner of the estate felt he was doing a good deed when he bought earmuffs for his farm worker, Archie.

Noticing, however, that Archie wasn't wearing the earmuffs even on the coldest day, the owner asked, 'Didn't you like the earmuffs I gave you?' Archie replied, not wishing to upset his employer, 'Och, they are a wondrous thing.'

'Then why don't you wear them then?'

Archie explained, 'I was wearing them the first day, but somebody offered to buy me a drink and I didnae hear him.'


Did you hear about the thoughtful Scotsman who was heading out to the pub? He turned to his wee wife before leaving and said, 'Jackie - put your hat and coat on lassie.'

She replied, 'Awe Iain that's nice - are you taking me to the pub with you?'

'Nae, just switching the central heating off while I'm oot.'




Tomorrow, Tuesday, is the Australia Day public holiday.

Australians have been done out of a long weekend this Australia Day, with the public holiday falling on a Tuesday.

But research shows that up to 500,000 workers will blow off work today anyway to snare themselves a four-day weekend.


Saturday, 23 January 2010

A short survey...


A friend from psychology days is doing some research for her PhD and has put a survey on line.

If you have a few minutes (it took about 10), could you do it please:

Subject: Can you spare 15 minutes to help with our research?

If you are over 18 years old, we invite you to participate in a study on health-related attitudes being conducted by Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia).

Participation is entirely online and anonymous. It involves reading a short description of a person and answering questions about them and yourself. This should take 15 minutes or less.

The study can be accessed by clicking on the following link:


Even if you can't participate, please pass this on to others who may be able to help.

Thank you.

Monday, 18 January 2010



Just back from visiting our glorious capital, Canberra for a few days.

The driver for the visit was the presence of an exhibit of paintings from Paris' Musée D'Orsay; a wonderful collection of impressionist art.

Highlights of the trip - the Musée D'Orsay exhibit, the National Portrait Gallery, the High Court, new and old Parliament Houses, a number of lovely meals, and Qantas loosing our suitcase for the second time.

Now, to fight through the mail, real and e,...

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Good news is bad news?

The disappointment of the local media, that we had had a 'Code Red' fire alert day and yet there were no newsworthy fires, was palpable.

Poor darlings.

They will have to go back to beating up stories of politician's dog's infidelities for another day.

Monday, 11 January 2010



It's currently 6:30pm and still 42°C (108°F).

Time for a cold chicken salad and a beer.

Predicting 27 degC minimum overnight, and then not until about 6am.

That's 81°F.

Might use a fan tonight.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Temperature update...

The forecast for tomorrow is now 43°C.


Snow is not the problem!


I see from other blogs and from family correspondence that things are cold in the northern hemisphere.

For example, here is my brother-in-law's house in Scotland:

Well, I have just been hanging shade cloth across out back verandah, creating a very fetching 'Bedouin look':

They are predicting a warm day tomorrow.

41 degrees.

That's Celsius, not Fahrenheit. 106 degrees, in the old currency.

Granted, for some of you, 41 would be a warm day in Fahrenheit too.


Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Sizzling Flying Foxes, Batman!


Thousands of Country Energy customers lost power last night after a colony of flying foxes flew into a supply line on NSW's north coast.

The incident left 10,500 homes and businesses from Yamba, Maclean and Iluka without power after 9:00pm AEDT yesterday.

Some flying foxes died as a result.

-ABC News

When I was a boy the bat signal shone out at night, right enough but no bats died.


Monday, 4 January 2010



A cat knows your every thought. It doesn't care. But it knows.

The Lost Generation

Now I try to keep videos to a minimum but this one is worth a look.

It goes for less than 2 minutes.

Read it as well as listen to it.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A 'thorn in the paw' moment.

This is a magpie. Big chunky things, weigh about a kilo (couple of pounds). Sing beautifully and demand meat and scraps from us every morning.

This is our front fence.

The two have difficulty living together, it seems. This morning I found a juvenile magpie with its head stuck between the pickets. Not too sure how it happened; maybe it landed on the rounded tops and slipped off, going neck first between the pickets. He had scraped the top of its wing; you can see the blood on the fence.

The good news is that he (she?) seemed OK and flew off when released.

The question is, will it think of me as its rescuer, and perhaps one day rescue me from some marauding tiger, or will I become part of the problem, associated with the whole trauma?

A second magpie was sitting on the fence, watching the whole show so maybe he (she?) will put in a good word for me.

The Snob Factor


Read of a fascinating survey recently.

People were given a glass of Californian wine or a glass of North Dakota wine, along with a piece of cheese, and

1. Asked to rate what they expected the wine to taste like before they tasted it;
2. Asked to rate what it did taste like once they had had some; and
3. Asked to rate the cheese that they were given with the wines.

Unbeknownst to them the wines (a cheap cabernet) and cheeses (mild goat cheese) were identical.

The results were as follows, rated out of 9:

So the participants expected Californian wines to be twice as good as a North Dakota one. Once they tasted it they didn't change their rating if they thought it was from California but improved the rating for the North Dakota drop.

Interestingly, when the cheese was being drunk with what they thought was a good wine, it rated much more highly.

Appearance is everything, it seems.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

2010 - The Predictions.


I have spent hours pouring over Tarot Cards, chook entrails and tea leaves to bring you my predictions for 2010.

Come December 31st, we will do a tally.


1. There will be a major disaster in China. Thousands will die but the government will refuse overseas aid.

2. The long feared, and eagerly anticipated by the media, San Francisco earthquake will fail to happen.

3. A plane will crash into a built up area. The number 7 is relevant in this event.

4. Fidel Castro will die but no-one will notice.

5. China will assassinate the Dalai Lama, claiming national security as justification and the CIA's use of drone planes and extraordinary rendition as its pivotal moral guidelines.

6a. The Queen will die suddenly.

6b. Appalled at the prospect of being overseen by Queen Camilla, Australia moves to become a republic.

7. A major rocket will explode on launch.

8. Kevin Rudd will be re-elected PM or Australia; Bronwyn Bishop will become the leader of the tattered remnants of the Liberal Party. Both parties will suffer losses of high profile members.

9. There will be a postal strike just before Christmas but no-one will care as they all sent SMS greetings anyway.

10. Somali pirates will capture a cruise liner; troops from southern Europe are involved in a disastrous attempt to recapture the vessel.

11. The price of oil will hit US$170 a barrel.

12. Climate change sceptics will continue to mock "global warming" as Europe and the US suffer worse blizzards than those of the winter of 2009.

13. The US endures more hurricanes in one year than ever before.

14. Despite the lobbying of the right-wing media for it to happen (while piously saying that they hope it wont and thereby keeping it in the mind of the lunatic gun crowd), Barack Obama is not assassinated.

15a. Major bushfires sweep through Victoria in February.

15b. Media panics as all the good names for bush fires have already been taken. Settle on Black Saturday II, III, IV and Ash Wednesday, The Sequel.

16. A major crash in an F1 race takes the life of a major competitor. The letter M figures strongly.

17. Camels are going to be important for some reason.

18. A Pakistani leader assassinated by the Taliban.

19. The colour blue is going to figure strongly in a major news story.

20. Tom Cruise renounces Scientology as a fraudulent and manipulative organisation and, in search of moral redemption, joins the Mafia.

21. As a distraction from its domestic upheavals, Iran will invade and annex a large portion of Iraq.


Friday, 1 January 2010

Out with the old, in with the old.

Well, that was an interesting year.

I can't honestly say that 2009 went the way I expected it to a year ago though.

(Tomorrow, I may post Mystic Lee's predictions for 2010...)

Certainly I knew about Martin getting married and the trip to Malaysia and that was quite an adventure. Especially in getting my Mum to come with us to KL. (She had never left the country before.)

My new job was not on the horizon at all and that took up large chunks of the year. No reflection on my predecessor but there was lots to do and the 'normal' day is 7:30am to 6:00pm plus bits at home. But I got to go to Sydney four times.

Amongst it all I managed to send the occasional blog into the ether. I did a quick count and it comes to 477, over one a day! (I laid 13 dozen Curate's Eggs, cooked up 43 recipes in the Chemist's Kitchen, climbed onto 63 political soapboxes, pounded 78 pulpits and apparently I had sexual dalliances 138 times. No wonder I am tired!)

Let's see what 2010 brings. Predictions tomorrow.

Rationalisations, justifications and high fives: 31/12/2010.