Monday, November 12, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Just a minute.

You know when somebody comes up to you seeking your assistance with something, and they ask if you've got a minute and you say, "Yeah, sure", what happens to that minute?

Is it lost forever? Are our lives shortened by all those minutes we've given away? Should we be asking for minutes from other people so we can recoup our losses, and thereby balance the books? And who do we ask for our minutes back? The person who originally took yours, or will anybody do? Can we claim interest on minutes that haven't been repaid in a timely fashion, say for every minute owed we get one minute and six seconds back?

Was just wondering.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

What kind of sauce would you like on that?

This is a tale about a barbecued leg. Not a leg of lamb or beef as one might expect, but a leg of Wood; John Wood, to be precise.

In 2004, John Wood of South Carolina, U.S.A., was in a plane crash. His injuries were such that doctors were forced to amputate his leg. Being somewhat (up until that time, at least) attached to his leg, Mr. Wood asked that he keep the limb and get it embalmed and preserved, so that when he finally shuffles off this mortal coil he could be cremated as a complete set (Some assembly required). Apparently, he was able to find an obliging mortician, and get the procedure done.

Next comes the problem of where to keep the leg. I have no idea what was going on in Mr. Wood's head, but he finally decided to put the appendage inside a barbecue, which he subsequently moved into a self-storage unit. It hasn't really been explained how he came to that decision, so I'm going to go out on a limb here and offer the following possible scenario.

Mr. Wood comes home clutching his leg to his chest. Mrs. Wood takes one look and states categorically that she will not be living under the same roof as that. It was fine when it was attached to Mr. Wood, but now it would be just too freaky. To appease his wife, Mr. Wood takes the leg out to the garage thinking that at least out of sight, out of mind. Looking around for a safe place, he spies the barbecue, makes the mental "barbecue/leg" connection, and voila! Problem solved. Except that Mrs. Wood sees what he has done, and puts her foot down, saying that she doesn't want his leg anywhere near the house, and that he can also get rid of the barbecue as she sure as hell wasn't ever going to eat anything cooked on that. So to keep the peace - and the piece - and his legs together, more or less, Mr. Wood hits upon the notion of a self-storage unit.

This appears to be a satisfactory arrangement until Mr. Wood allows the lease payments on his storage unit to lapse. The owner of the facility, in order to recoup his losses, seizes all of Mr. Wood's possessions, including the barbecue housing the Wood leg, and proceeds to have what amounts to a garage sale. Along comes Shannon Whisnant who purchases the barbecue and takes it home. I can imagine his surprise when he discovered it came with an extra leg.

At first, Mr. Whisnant didn't want any part of the leg, nor any other body part, for that matter, so he hot-footed it over to the phone and called in the long arm of the law to take it away. But, being a small town, news about the unusual find quickly got around and people started legging it over to Mr. Whisnant's place to check out the leg. Seeing what he considered a golden opprtunity, and not one to look a gift leg in the shin, Mr. Whisnant decided to display the leg for Halloween - at a price. $3.00 per adult, $1.00 per child.

Naturally, word soon reached the ears of Mr. Wood, who understandably wanted his appendage back as he didn't feel complete without it. Mr. Whisnant refused to toe the line, and the leg suddenly became a bone of contention. Mr. Wood was hopping mad, and for three years they kicked the question of ownership through the courts. Eventually it was decided that, LEGally speaking, Mr. Whisnant didn't really have a leg to stand on, and the limb should be returned to its original owner.

And no, I'm not pulling your leg. This story is true.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm ...

This happened quite some time ago, but it has given me pause every now and then.

The highway at the end of our street is usually heavy with traffic and at certain times can be almost impossible to enter, let alone cross over to go in the other direction. To facilitate the people who live in the streets running off the highway, there is a side road which allows access; what they call a service road. With the help of the mud map on the left, I'll try and explain what happened on this day.

My normal practice, when approaching the highway from our street, is to pull up at the stop sign, make sure no one is coming down the service road, then proceed across the service road, stop where the blue "X" is and wait until there is a sufficient break in the traffic to allow me onto the highway. All done in a reasonably fluid motion.

On this particular day, for some reason I stopped at the stop sign and stayed there, even though nothing was coming down the service road. I must have sat there for at least half a minute before realising where I was. I thought to myself "What am I sitting here for?" and prepared to move off when a car driving along the highway suddenly locked its brakes and skidded into the spot where I would normally have been sitting waiting. It quickly became obvious that the woman driving the other car had realised she was going to miss the turn off and had slammed on her brakes in an attempt to still make it. All I could think of was that where she had stopped her slide was where I would have been if, for some reason, I hadn't been sitting at the stop sign daydreaming.

It makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ratatouille.


S, E and I went to the movies last night and saw Ratatouille, the latest offering from the Disney/Pixar studios. A terrific movie!

It's a tale about Remy, a rat with big ideas of becoming a cook. Strange, I know. I mean, when you think about it, you couldn't have two more diametrically opposed ingredients; rat and food. Not a good combination you would think. But Disney has pulled it off with aplomb.

The characterisations are fabulous, with wonderful vocal performances by Ian Holm, Peter O'Toole, Patton Oswalt, Janeane Garofolo, Lou Romano, Brian Dennehey and Pixar stalwart, John Ratzenberger. Add to the mix Pixar's usual excellent animation, a well structured storyline, a lively score, and you are served up a feast that is sure to satisfy even the most critical appetite.

This is by far the best animated feature I have seen in a long time. There are some periods of the film where the background movement and scenery almost takes away from the main action, it is that realistic. The storyline might be a little old for young children, but there is a generous helping of slapstick with will serve to hold their attention. For we older children, there's a good message in there, as well. Certainly worth going to see.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Oh! By the way ...

... I'd like to draw your attention to my new blog, "Writing The Image". It's a new attempt to get me back into the habit of writing, and although it's early days, I think it might be the kick start I need.

Please do visit.

Pipe dreams.

QUIT, the anti-smoking, anti-cancer council, announced yesterday that they had a proposed time line for the total banning of cigarettes here in Australia. They stated that by 2017, they hope to see legislation brought in that bans the use of tobacco in this country. It's already illegal in most States and Territories to smoke inside public venues. They just want to increase the boundary.

A commendable vision, but not one that I see as actually being achievable. After all, didn't they try this with alcohol in the U.S.? And that really worked. I can see it now. Couples, slipping down side alleys, knocking at unmarked doors with slits in them so someone inside can look out and see who it is. The door opens and a huge man grants them entry into the clandestine smoke pit.

Sigh.

I don't think so.

And it would be a real pain for those people who are smokers at the time the ban takes effect. It could be bloody expensive, too.

A man walks out his front door, calling to his wife.

"Be back soon, honey."

"Where are you off to?"

"Just nipping over to New Zealand for a quick puff. Want me to get anything for you?"

It's not the length, it's what you do with it.

As you are no doubt aware, George Dub-ya Bush, President of the US of A, is here in Australia for the APEC summit. He arrived Tuesday night our time, and was put up in the Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney. Sydney is virtually in a stage of lock down, amidst some of the most intense security ever witnessed in this country.

On Wednesday morning, Gee Dub-ya was scheduled to meet with Little Johnny Howard, our Prime Minister, at another hotel. The Prez got into his limousine which was part of a motorcade of no less than sixteen vehicles. When everything was set, they headed off for the all important meeting ... one hundred metres up the road.

The motorcade was longer than the distance they had to travel. By the time Gee Dub-ya was stepping out at the other end, others in his entourage were still waiting to enter their alotted vehicle. Obviously, he must have realised how silly this looked because, after he and Little Johnny had concluded their meeting, Mr. President decided it was a nice day to walk back to his hotel.

Really, to make the motorcade more relevant, Mr. Bush should have caught a taxi. At least then he would have been guaranteed to go the long way.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Did you read, or have you read?

Can you read these right the first time?
  1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
  2. The farm was used to produce produce .
  3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  4. We must polish the Polish furniture.
  5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  10. I did not object to the object.
  11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
  12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  13. They were too close to the door to close it.
  14. The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  18. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
  19. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  20. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Thinks that numerous deep(?) thinkers have thunk.

  • Last night I played a blank tape at full volume. The mime next door went nuts.
  • If a person with multiple personalities threatens suicide, should that be considered a hostage situation?
  • Just think how much deeper the oceans would be if sponges didn't live there.
  • I went for a walk last night and my kids asked me how long I'd be gone. I said, "The whole time."
  • So what's the speed of dark?
  • After eating, do amphibians need to wait for an hour before getting OUT of the water?
  • Why don't they make mouse-flavoured cat food?
  • If you're sending someone some styrofoam, what do you pack it in?
  • I just got skylights put in my place. The people who live above me are furious.
  • Why do they sterilise needles for lethal injections?
  • Do they have reserved parking for non-handicapped people at the Special Olympics?
  • Is it true that cannibals don't eat clowns because they taste funny?
  • If it's tourist season, why can't we shoot them?
  • Isn't Disney World a people trap operated by a mouse?
  • Whose cruel idea was it for the word "lisp" to have an "s" in it?
  • How come abbreviated is such a long word?
  • If it's zero degrees outside today and it's supposed to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold is it going to be?
  • Why do you press harder on a remote control when you know the battery is dead?
  • Why are they called buildings when they're already finished? Shouldn't they be called builts?
  • Why are they called apartments when they're all stuck together?
  • Why do banks charge you an "insufficient funds" fee on money they already know you don't have?
  • If the universe is everything, and scientists say the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into?
  • What would a chair look like if your knees bent the other way?
  • If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to see it, do the other trees make fun of it?
  • Why is a carrot more orange than an orange?
  • When two aeroplanes almost collide, why do they call it a near miss? Sounds like a near hit to me!
  • Do fish get cramps after eating?
  • Why are there five syllables in the word "monosyllabic"?
  • Why do scientists call it "research" when they are looking for something new?
  • If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
  • When I erase a word with a pencil, where does it go?
  • Why is it that when a door is open, it's ajar, but when a jar is open, it's not a door?
  • Tell a man there are 400 billion stars and he'll believe you. Tell him a wall has wet paint and he has to touch it.
  • How come Superman could stop bullets with his chest, but always ducked when someone threw a gun at him?
  • Why is it fake lemon juice contains mostly artificial ingredients, but dishwashing liquid contains real lemons?
  • Why do we wait until a pig is dead to "cure" it?
  • Why do we wash bath towels? Aren't we clean when we use them?
  • Why do we put suits in a garment bag, and put garments in a suitcase?
  • Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?
  • Do Roman paramedics refer to I.V.'s as "4's"?
  • What do little birdies see when they get knocked unconscious?
  • Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?
  • If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?
  • Should you trust a stockbroker who's married to a travel agent?
  • Is boneless chicken considered to be an invertebrate?
  • Do married people live longer than single people do, or does it just SEEM longer?
  • I went to a book store store and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self help section?" She said if she told me it would defeat the purpose.
  • If all those psychics know the winning lotto numbers, why are they still working?
  • Isn't the best way to save face to keep the lower part shut?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The breakfast club.

Let me tell how it all came about that I was invited to join the breakfast crew on Vega 91.5 FM.

You may have heard about the lastest self-help phenomenon sweeping the world; The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. The premise of the book is that if you visualise your wants and desires, they will become a reality. It's basically a remake of the teachings of Abraham.

On Monday evening, a current affairs program on one of the local television channels ambushed one of the "prophets" featured on the DVD. The following morning, the brekky crew took the subject and ran with it, having a bit of fun, Shaun suggesting he would like a DeLorean car - like the one in the Back To The Future movies - driven by a zebra. They invited listeners to phone in with their visualisations of something they would really like by Friday morning. Naturally, I rang in and told them I visualised spending a morning with the breakfast crew on Vega, asserting that I had been imagining it for months, which was all quite true.

Now, I have to admit I'm a regular caller to the show, though not as regular as some; on average I ring in about once a month. I have listened to the station since before it officially went to air, and the team know my voice very well. Sometimes thay need a conundrum explained, and sometimes we just have a bit of a giggle. And that's exactly how they treated my visualisation, suggesting I should strive for something more realistic, not so far-fetched, etc. I hung up and thought no more of it. Like I said, all just a bit of fun.

That evening, after I arrived home from work, I was totally blown away when I discovered an e-mail from Vega offering me the opportunity to turn my dream into a reality and join the brekky crew for an hour on Friday.

So Friday morning finds me at 7:50 am, standing nervously outside the door to the foyer of Melbourne radio station Vega FM. I was fine up until I reached the entrance, then the nerves washed over me. A bloke already inside saw me and opened the door. I told him who I was, and why I was there. He got me to wait in reception while he went to check my story. I sat on one of the chairs, and a couple of minutes later he returned to say that someone would be with me shortly. I wouldn't have thought it possible to more nervous than I already was, but sitting there by myself, in a half-lit reception with no-one behind the desk, I felt extremely exposed, kind of like the bloke who stands in the turret of a tank.

About five minutes later, Annie, the producer of the breakfast show, came out and invited me into the inner sanctum. She led me through the office area to a waiting area outside the broadcasting booth. I could see Dave, Denise and Shaun going about their business through a large window. Annie waited until they were finished talking, then went into the studio and told them I was there. Suddenly there were three people with very smiley, friendly faces waving at me.

When the next song came on, Denise and Shaun came out and shook my hand and said hello. I took the opportunity to present Shaun with a laminated copy of the image to the right, and the look of delight on his face was priceless. I'm sure he never really expected to see a zebra driving a DeLorean, but you know what they say about wishing for things.

It was actually a while before I was scheduled to go on air, so Shaun and Denise went back into the studio, while I sat in the waiting area. A number of other on air personalities introduced themselves, and Annie showed me some of what actually goes on behind the scenes in order to prepare a radio show. The assistant producer of the breakfast show, Conor, came out of the studio and introduced herself, and I had a short conversation with Tony Jones, the sports announcer, before he went in to do his thing. Unfortunately he told me there was no hope for Carlton, my beloved Blues, this year, but I think that's only because he's biased.

Dave came out and said hello. I think he was a bit wary of me, being an unknown quantity as such, and wasn't too sure how everything was going to pan out, which is totally understandable. He is, after all, the anchor of the show and the smooth running of same is, essentially, his responsibility.

Shortly, it was time for me to sit at the microphone beside Denise, and I was introduced to the audience. I think I did okay. I've since heard a recording of it, and I at least I didn't stammer or trip over my tongue. A listener even rang in and said I sounded like Bryce Courtenay, which left me well and truly red. All too soon it was over, (they got me to close the show for morning) and it was time for me to go home and change into my work clothes and return to the daily grind.

Before I left, Dave, Denise and Shaun spent some more time talking to me, and having their photo taken as above. (From left to right - Dave O'Neil, Denise Scott, some bloke who wouldn't get out of the way, and Shaun Micallef). I think Dave was a bit more sure of me by then, so maybe I had carried myself with reasonable comportment.

Although it all seemed a bit daunting at first, I believe I had entered what was rightfully my natural environment. The creativity was electric; you could almost see it rebounding from one person to another. It was impossible not to be caught up in it. I think I even said that if I had a job like theirs, I would be going home high every day. Needless to say it has left me hungry for more, so I'm going to do what S has suggested, and apply to a community radio station for some kind of position. Who knows? Friday morning could well have been the step I needed to take on my journey to a contented life.

For my entire visit to Vega, I was made to feel welcome and, far more significantly for me, treated as someone who was important to them. It was altogether a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Many thanks and sincere gratitude to all those involved in making a boy's dream come true.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

I'm going to be on the radio!

I have been invited to join the breakfast team on Melbourne's Vega 91.5 fm for an hour tomorrow morning.

It's something that I've imagined doing for a long time, and now it's going to be a reality. From 8 o-clock tomorrow morning I will be joining Dave O'Neil, Denise Scott and Shaun Micallef on their show. Their producer says they will get me to do a few things with the team on air (exactly what hasn't been determined, yet), then I can hang out in the studio and watch the doings.

If you're interested, you can listen here.

I'm really excited about this! It could be an opportunity to get a foot in the door that leads to a career in radio, something else I've dreamed about. You never know!

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

An island called Phillip.

S and I took have been discussing getting away from it all for some time, so last week we took some annual leave and headed for Phillip Island. With the help of some friends, we were able to rent a house no further than 300 metres from the beach at Cowes, so every night we were lulled to sleep by the waves. We stayed there for five nights. It was an enjoyable time spent walking and driving about, doing tourist type things, and basically just relaxing.

Here are some photos I took. Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to take photos at the Penguin Parade, but you can see some here.


Nobbies where you can see seals, birdlife, the blowhole and some spectacular scenery.


A koala at the Koala Conservation park. This park was set up to preserve and study the island's population of koalas. It has boardwalks where you can get up to the koala's level, and they are so close you can almost touch them.


A wallaby spotted in the bush on the way to Swan Lake, Phillip Island's largest fresh water lake.


Sunset on the beach at Cowes.


Sunset a little further along the beach at Cowes.


Seagull on an overcast and very blustery day.

Monday, April 30, 2007

A little ray of sunshine.


So it's an Autumn day, and the sun breaks through the clouds in the overcast sky. How can we make the most of this golden opportunity?


Now, why didn't I think of that?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ANZAC Day.

For The Fallen
Laurence Binyon, September 21, 1914

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
Australia* mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is a music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncountered:
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond Australia's* foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end they remain.

* - Binyon actually wrote England here. I have changed it to Australia. The fourth stanza that begins "They shall not grow old" has always been recited at our dawn services, when we comemmorate those brave young boys who died at Gallipoli. However this doesn't make the poem any less relevant.

~ooOOoo~

This poignant tribute to the Australian serviceman hangs in the offices of the Queensland State Headquarters of the RSL.

At the going down of the sun ...

I crouched in a shallow trench on that hell of exposed beaches... steeply rising foothills bare of cover... a landscape pockmarked with war’s inevitable litter... piles of stores... equipment... ammunition... and the weird contortions of death sculptured in Australian flesh... I saw the going down of the sun on that first ANZAC Day... the chaotic maelstrom of Australia’s blooding.

I fought in the frozen mud of the Somme... in a blazing destroyer exploding on the North Sea... I fought on the perimeter at Tobruk... crashed in the flaming wreckage of a fighter in New Guinea... lived with the damned in the place cursed with the name Changi.

I was your mate... the kid across the street... the med. student at graduation... the mechanic in the corner garage... the baker who brought you bread... the gardener who cut your lawn... the clerk who sent your phone bill.

I was an Army private... a Naval commander... an Air Force bombardier. No man knows me... no name marks my tomb, for I am every Australian serviceman... I am the Unknown Soldier.

I died for a cause I held just in the service of my land... that you and yours may say in freedom... I am proud to be an Australian.

ANZAC - Australia New Zealand Army Corps.

Lest we forget.

Friday, April 20, 2007

We'll always have Paris.

Travelling on the train to the football on Saturday, there were four young people occupying the seats opposite me; two boys, two girls. The girls were obviously enamoured of that well known vacuum, Paris Hilton, as they had gone to great pains to emulate her. All that was missing was the fashion accessory handbag dog. (I think the blokes didn't fit)

A couple of stops further along, another couple got on the train and sat next to me. The girl in this duo was a little older than the first two, and she also was of the opinion that Paris Hilton was the benchmark to which all womanhood should aspire. It was interesting to watch one of the younger girls checking out the new arrival surreptitiously, and turning her nose up in disdain, as if to say "is that the best you can do?"

It's so comforting to know that the younger generation has such a grasp on the important issues in life.

One of life's little jokes.

When the hair on your head stops growing, but the hair on the back of your neck has only just begun.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Don't hold back, now. Tell us what you really think.

Beerka Promotional ImageThis is a promotional image for a new bread based snack called Beerka. The line is "Made for beer".

I went to the footy this afternoon. To save spending possibly two hours driving, and trying to find a parking spot, I catch the train in. Getting off at Richmond station, there was a bread van parked outside, and people were giving away cartons and cartons of the stuff. Obviously, from the different colours, there were all kind of flavours available. Naturally, people being what they are, they didn't turn down a free handout, and one of the handlers was employed full time flattening the empty cartons.

Beerka Rubbish
The walk from the station to the MCG is about half a kilometre. There are quite a number of rubbish bins along the way, and all of them looked like this.
My guess is the footy patrons weren't overly impressed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Redecorating.

The Retreat was starting to feel a little musty, like an attic that hasn't been aired for years. So decided to do a little redecorating. Hope you like the new look.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The odds are even that it will be odd.

This is just one of those inconsequential observations that are generally fascinating only to the observer.

When I hang clothes on the clothesline, I take an item of clothing, and then grab a handful of pegs. I then proceed to pin articles until the handful runs out. Almost invariably, the number of pegs in my hand will be an odd one. Only on extremely rare occasions will I pick up an even number of pegs.

I'm wondering what it is that determines how many pegs I can grab in a handful. Are there other people like me who always get an odd number? Are there people out there who only pick an even amount? Maybe we could start a society. The Odd Peg Pickers Association.

Now that I've totally bored you, I'll get out of your way now.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Someone's knocking at the door.

We had this charming young female ring-tailed possum visit us the other night.

Daughter, E, was the first to spot it as it was climbing up the screen door. To start with, she thought it was a rat, but then noticed the tail.

Naturally, there was a mad scramble for cameras, which were suddenly not where they were supposed to be. Fortunately, I remembered my phone had a camera, and I knew where that was, so was able to get a few pictures of our visitor.

We're not sure why the possum felt it needed to climb our door; there's a large overhanging eave so there isn't any acess to the roof. I put it down to the rain. It was the first night in a long time that we have experienced any substantial precipitation, and it's certainly possible that miss possum had never seen any before and was thus unnerved by the experience and sought shelter.

E eventually found her camera and was also able to get some good shots before our model tired of the whole thing and stormed off.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I was wondering ...

What did they call a photographic memory before cameras were invented?

Back in the saddle again.

After some three weeks, my computer is back online. It seems that Windows did one of its regular updates, and removed a file that connected me to the network, resulting in my not being able to log on. Thankfully, problem has been sorted - many thanks to D - and things are running smoothly again.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Computer problems.

Sorry for lack of input. Having troubles with computer.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The iron lung and the Blues.

June Middleton made the news this week by being included in the pages of Guiness World Book of Records for the longest time spent in an iron lung.

Mrs Middleton, 80, contracted polio in 1949 at the age of 23 and now spends 18 hours a day in the machine. Fifty-seven years on, she was presented with a certificate whilst attached to a portable respirator, and watching her beloved footbal team, Carlton (The Blues) training for the upcoming pre-season competition.

Some of the players were interviewed at the occasion, and all expressed their admiration for her strength of will and character. As well they should be. Judging by the results of the last two seasons, I think it's safe to say that Mrs. Middleton has worked a damn sight harder than some of the players lately.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Random activity.

More random acts of ponderance.
  • I think Google must have Alzheimers. Every time I need to go into my templates, or to edit/create posts, it asks me to sign in. I do so, then tick the box that says Remember me on this computer. But it never does. Sometimes it even forgets me while I'm still signed in. Definitely Alzheimers. Can you imagine the chaos that would cause?
    "Hey, Mike. Where did we put that Website about the Great Wall of China?"
    "Website? What's a Website?"
  • Doing the shopping yesterday. Saw quite a few people wearing jumpers or jackets. How weird is this weather? If this keeps up, all the plants are going to develop a persecution complex.
  • On the subject of shopping; noticed that the supermarket has increased the price yet again of some of the basic staples. The saying goes; "Man does not live on bread alone." The way things are headed, doesn't look like man will be living on bread at all.
  • Emporer Johnny announced a Federal Government initiative the other day. Basically, the Federal Government is taking over control of the Murray - Darling water basin in an effort to address the current drought and water crisis Australia is facing. The country has been in the grip of one of the worst droughts in history for the past ten years, but we've hardly heard a word from Canberra apart from the odd politian (pun intended) paying lip service to the problem. This year however - which coincidentally happens to end in an election -, Little Johnny is personally going to deliver his people up from the arid lands. As transparent as the compound he is supposedly going to supply.
  • While on the subject of the emporer's new rain coat; John Howard's official residence is Kirrabilli House, in Sydney. To show he is a ruler in touch with his subjects, he has applied to have a rain water tank installed. The peasants have revolted. Kirrabilli House is a National Trust building, and the mandarins in charge of said organisation have declined permission for the project, stating the usual bromide about affecting the heritage value, etc, etc. This despite the fact that the house had a rain water tank when it was first built.
  • Has anybody answered the musical question "What's Love Got To Do With It?"

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Through the glass darkly.

Last December, the world's first "test-tube" baby gave birth to her first child, and it barely rated a mention. Stark contrast to when she herself was born.

Church groups were outraged. "It's the Devil's work!" they cried. The Pope disapproved, saying it was interfering in God's creation. Moralists denounced the process as "men trying to be God". Experts started popping up like mushrooms on TV news and talk shows, each with their own idea, and agenda. And the medical team who were responsibile for the whole thing were confronted by jostling, screaming, rampaging hordes (A.K.A. the media).

Much the same is going on now, with the cloning of stem cells. All the naysayers are pronouncing the beginning of our slide into condemnation. The church groups are as loud as ever. All focusing on the negative aspects, overshadowing the positive.

Sure, the potential is there for the procedure to be abused, but that's true of everything. Millions of people drive cars, and there will always be drivers who do the wrong thing and end up destroying lives. That's why we have laws to prevent these things, and to deal with the offenders if it happens. As long as we remain aware of this potential, there will be those who will continue to keep close scrutiny in order to prevent it.

Today, there are tens of thousands of test-tube babies living ordinary lives. We, as a society, have accepted them as part of the pardigm. Now, more than fifty percent of American couples would be willing to use the IVF program if they weren't able to conceive naturally. Yes, there have been some unlawful practises, but the appropriate checks and balances are in place.

And, on a personal note, I'd like to think that all those babies have been raised in a loving, nuturing home; simply by the fact their parents went to so much trouble to have them.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Nuts and ...?

Have a look at this label. Pay close attention to the ingredients. See the last bit in brackets?

"(MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF NUTS & HARD OBJECTS)"

Okay, I applaud their disclosure that the product may have nuts, but can somebody tell me what the hard objects might be? Fingernails? Teeth? Bone? Screwdrivers? Hacksaws? Car engine parts?

After giving it some thought, I believe the hard objects they are referring to are bolts. I mean, that would explain their reticence to name the objects.

MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF NUTS & BOLTS

Yep, much better to call the bolts "hard objects".

I'm sure you'll agree that's the only things they could be. What could be more natural? Nuts & bolts. I mean, can you think of any other hard objects that could be associated with nuts?

Oh my. I'm going all red.

New blog

Inviting you to have a look at my new blog, The Bookcase. It's a blog dedicated to the world of books; reviews, discussions and essays. There is also an open invitation for you to contribute.

This is part of my New Year's resolve to be more active in the blog world.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year

Hello, everybody, and welcome to the new year. Hope it turns out to be everything you want it to.