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May 31, 2013. The last day of autumn in Oz, but a beautiful day nonetheless - blue sky and lots of bright sunshine, and quite warm in the sun.

I love this story from NC Art: A guy is driving around the back woods of Montana and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house: 'Talking Dog For Sale.' He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the back yard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador Retriever sitting there. 
'You talk?' he asks. 
'Yep,' the Lab replies. 
After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says, 'So, what's your story?' 
The Lab looks up and says, 'Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so... I told the CIA. 
In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running... But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger, so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired.' 
The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog. 
'Ten dollars,' the guy says.
'Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?' 
'Because he's a Bullshitter. He's never been out of the yard.' 

FL Josh has some answers to questions I posed yesterday: You ask how an athiest can respect someone with religious beliefs or vice versa.  It's easy for a person who accepts the fact that people have different opinions.  Like Voltaire said, "I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

I accept the fact that people have different opinions, Josh, what but Voltaire is really saying is "I may think you're a bloody boofhead, but I will defend to the death your right to be one."

You also ask if we have keep our opinions to ourselves to avoid insulting someone.  We can always express our opinions, but everything we say or do has consequences so the question becomes what is our purpose in expressing an opinion on something that carries a lot of emotional baggage, and are the consequences something that we want. Many people lack empathy so it doesn't bother them when they say things that are hurtful to others.  The comments about the indigenous player you mentioned could not be made without being hurtful, so we know those who made them lack empathy, and the fact that their comments were hurtful to all indigenous people, plus offensive to many others, didn't phase them.  They apologize not because they are sorry for hurting people but because they are sorry for themselves for being made to look bad in the media.  

In this case, I suspect the bloke who made the insulting remark thought King Kong is big and hairy, as is the indigenous (bearded) footballer, so he put those two things together before realizing that King Kong is not only big and hairy but also a gorilla. And gorilla equals ape. Unfortunately for him, the word 'ape' was all over the front pages because of the comment made by the 13 y/o girl at the football match. Otherwise the comment probably would not have attracted the attention it did. I think it's all a storm in a teacup. 

As for tolerance and whether it means live and let live and to agree to disagree, if you are talking about opinions, as opposed to actions like criminal behavior, then yes, if you are someone who cares about others.  For those who don't care about others, hell no, don't tolerate any different opinion and go out there and make their life miserable.  Who are they to dare to have a different opinion.

I think this photo pretty much sums up what it means to be tolerant.

On a different note, why can't you go to Liverpool for your appointment?  This is your health you're dealing with.  If things need to be done, why let them get worse?  I checked CityRail and they can get you from Sydney to Liverpool if the train you take doesn't go to Liverpool directly. 

Yessum. But the appointment is in the afternoon, and the doc is more often than not running late, which would make it difficult (if not impossible) to get from Liverpool back to Central in time to catch the train back to Taree. The XPT doesn't do the suburban run, only city to city. Anyway, it's only another two months and I'm kinda getting used to the hassle.

From the Beeb: Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has warned Israel that it will respond in kind to any future air strikes. In an interview with a Lebanese TV channel, he said there was "popular pressure" to open a military front against Israel in the Golan Heights. He also suggested Syria may have received the first shipment of an advanced Russian air defence system. Israel has warned it will regard the Russian missiles as a serious threat to its security. Security? In the Middle East?

Nasa's Curiosity rover has confirmed what everyone has long suspected - that astronauts on a Mars mission would get a big dose of damaging radiation. The robot counted the number of high-energy space particles striking it on its eight-month journey to the planet. Based on this data, scientists say a human travelling to and from Mars could well be exposed to a radiation dose that breached current safety limits. This calculation does not even include time spent on the planet's surface.

Pareidolia: Why we see faces in hills, the Moon and toasties. It's "the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist", according to the World English Dictionary. It's picking a face out of a knotted tree trunk or finding zoo animals in the clouds

These days, cars are fitted with umpteen complicated gadgets, their engine bays are jam packed with emission controls and electronic gizmos, air bags lurk behind every interior surface, aerodyamic bodies hide axles, brakes, exhausts, suspension, gear boxes and transmissions and practically everything else that makes a car go. But there was a time when vehicles were simple - bolted together like something from a kid's Mechano set - easily accessible and fixable. Right, Art?

So it seems the price of progress is to make things ever more complex. Even camping these days is no longer simple. People insist on all the comforts of home plus portable solar panels to power all kinds of electronic gadgets including phones and laptops. 'Roughing it' is no longer on the agenda. Mind you, using public loos and showers ain't gonna thrill me all that much - and having the porta pottie inside during wet weather could be less than salubrious hehe. But it's all about compromise, isn't it. Here in this house I have a proper loo and a large bathroom with hot and cold running everything. But I don't have an ocean view or a couple of gum trees right outside, or mountains in the background. I'm also stuck here 24/7 except for occasional day trips.

One GN the other day was concerned that too many wannabes lived in a fantasy world, thinking that traveling around Oz was gonna be a breeze. So he reminded us all of the pitfalls: the breakdowns, the pesky insects, the flat tires, the floods and heatwaves, and illnesses. Many GNs responded by saying that, while true, life on the road was a great and enjoyable adventure despite the hassles. Some even said they'd been travelling for years with no problems at all. Still others argued that problems are not confined to being on the road; they can happen at home too. So it gets back to compromise. One thing I'll be sure to do, given that I'm not the world's greatest mechanic or handyman, is upgrade my roadside assistance to the max, which covers towing, emergency accom, and tea and scones.

BTW, TX Greg wrote asking if I have any spare room in the basement of PJ: Well perhaps that (more people moving to Texas) means it's a good time to sell and move out of here. Got some extra room for me in PJ's basement, hahaha

Only if you don't mind being permanently horizontal.

Oh yes... a racist joke I saw on GN's Just Joking: 
Paddy says to Mick,  "I found this pen, is it yours?"
Mick replies,   "I don't know, give it here."
He then tries it and says,  "Yes it is."
Paddy asks,  "How do you know?"
Mick replies,  "That's  my handwriting!"

I was only kidding about the joke being racist. On the other hand, according to the rules of Political Correctness, if an Irishman were to take offence at that joke then it would be deemed racist.

Speaking of kidding: After being married for thirty years, a wife asked her husband to describe her.
He looked at her for a while...then said, "You're A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K."
She asks..... "What does that mean?"
He said, "Adorable, Beautiful, Cute, Delightful, Elegant, Foxy, Gorgeous, Hot.
She smiled happily and said.. "Oh, that's so lovely.. What about I, J, K?"
He said, "I'm Just Kidding!"
The swelling in his eye is going down and the doctor is fairly optimistic about saving his testicles.

Hmmm, I like this one: Last month a world-wide survey was conducted by the UN. The only question asked was: "Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"
The survey was a huge failure because of the following:
1. In Eastern Europe they didn't know what "honest" meant.
2. In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant.
3. In Africa they didn't know what "food" meant.
4. In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant.
5. In the Middle East they didn't know what "solution" meant.
6. In South Africa they didn't know what "please" meant.
7. In the USA they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.
8. In Australia they hung up as soon as they heard the Indian accent.

Weeeeeell, time for the usual routine. The savory mince worked quite well but it needs a bit of a whizzette to smooth it a little more - otherwise I get little lumps hiding at the bottom of the gums and bits that refuse to slide down the screech. So, a few whizzes will soon fix that. Oh, and Art? June tomorrow so don't forget to refresh the Waffle index page. :o) Gary

May 30, 2013. OR Richie wrote: The link did indeed lead me to the excellent photo collection of the auto and bike show.  A lot of cool stuff and show restored vehicles there but I liked the cute ones a lot; the Morris, and the little yellow Austin, the classic VW "cabriolet" of course and the Mini.  That white Benz was pretty sweet, too.

Had a bit of a fiddle in Photoscape with this one. Added the flare to the three pointed star and changed the image to black and white. You like? I like. I get a kick outta fiddling around in Photoscape just to try a few things - and learn a few things. The one above is a 230S. My '67 200 model was previously owned by a German bloke who worked at the German Consulate in Canberra. I saw it at a Toyota/Mercedes dealership on a trip from Newcastle to Sydney and immediately fell in love with it, so I traded my Superbug. That was back in '73 - several lifetimes ago. This is what mine looked like:

Back then I had no idea where my life was headed. Not a bloody clue. I was like one of those little chrome balls in a pinball machine, bouncing all over the place. These days I have a plan and some idea of what the future holds, although not precisely. I'll still be bouncing all over the place but with a lot less frenzy, and with some kind of purpose in mind.

If life is a book, then cars are like bookmarks in various chapters that serve to remind you of where you were and what you were at a given point, rather like songs do. 

What does the Hilton Hotel at Middleton in Queensland look like? Out there, mate, the flies and mozzies are so damn big they use chicken wire to keep them out.

A while back, I mentioned the world's largest herd of camels - here in Oz. 700,000 of the buggers. So one GN put a recipe for genuine Australian camel stew on the cooking forum:

3 Medium sized Camels
1 ton salt
500 bushels Potatoes
1 ton pepper
200 bushels carrots
3000 sprigs parsley
2 small rabbits
1000 gallons of brown gravy.
Cut camels into bite sized pieces, cube vegetables.  Place meat into pan and cover with 1000 gallons of brown gravy.  Simmer slowly for 4 weeks. Garnish with Parsley, Should serve 3800 people.  If more are expected add 2 rabbits. 

Just got a phone call from the Sydney doc's receptionist about a prescription when she mentioned "by the way, are you aware that your appointment on Monday is at the Liverpool rooms?" Huh? Yeah... it's miles away from Central so bugger that. But he's a busy man with meetings, conferences, operations etc, etc, etc, so the next available date is August 5 at Newtown. Mid winter in Sydney. Bleh.

How come there's always less money in my wallet when I get home than there was before I left? Groceries, petrol, odds and sods. The savory mince is now simmering on the stove with a can of peas and corn (including the liquid). About $10 worth of ingredients that will last about 5 meals = $2 each. Not bad. I'll do the taste test in about half an hour and if I think it's missing "something" I'll add tomato paste. Petrol cost $60 @ $1.50 a liter (a bit over $6 a gallon). Some GNs reckon fuel is expensive but I reckon if that's the case then make shorter trips and camp a bit longer. No biggie. In the outback where distances between towns/camps are longer, stay longer. There's no schedule, no timetable, no itinerary, no rush.

From the Beeb: The military chief of the main umbrella group of Syrian rebels, the Free Syrian Army, has accused Hezbollah fighters of "invading" Syria in a BBC interview. Gen Selim Idriss claimed that more than 7,000 fighters of the Lebanese Shia movement were taking part in attacks on the rebel-held town of Qusair. The French foreign minister has estimated the number at 3,000-4,000. The US State Department has demanded that Hezbollah withdraw its fighters from Syria immediately. Yeah? Like who's listening?

Every way you look at it, there are a lot of people moving to Texas. Five of the 10 fastest-growing cities in the country between 2011 and 2012 were in Texas, according to new figures from the US Census Bureau. New York is way out in front in terms of added population, but Houston is second with San Antonio and Austin fourth and fifth. The TX Greg factor? Whatever that is.

There's been a huge stink about racism in Oz this past week, with a 13 y/o girl at a football match calling an indigenous player an "ape", and later a high profile sports personality suggested on air that same player would be a good promotional figure for the movie King Kong. He later apologized profusely but only exacerbated the situation. So it seems that racist remarks are not what the utterer deems to be racist, but what the receiver deems to be insulting. That got me wondering about me, and whether or not I'm a racist. I suppose I could be if I say something in jest that offends someone. But I think in my case it goes further than that. I suspect I'm a peopleist - that's my word for describing someone who lumps all races together and thinks they're all nutz. I'm convinced the human species is riddled with design faults - some more than others, mind you.

And what about religion? Those of you who know me know that I am an athiest. How can a person be an athiest and still respect those who believe in some sort of religion? How can people who are committed to a belief in God or Allah respect me for being an athiest? Do we keep our opinions to ourselves to avoid insulting someone? Hehe. I'm not sure I understand political correctness. Does it mean you can think what you like as long as you keep your mouth shut?

And tolerance. What does tolerance mean? Hopefully it means live and let live - to agree to disagree. If that's the case, it's okay to be racist, sexist and every other kind of 'ist' as long as you're tolerant as well. Yes? No?

All I really know - or at least strongly suspect - is that NO ONE is totally devoid of some level of bias or bigotry. There. Is that all as clear as mud? Join the club.

And here we is at the end of another Waffle. The savory mince is pretty rich so I don't think it needs tomato paste. And it's thick so the noodles will need a bit of extra water... it needs to be quite wet to swallow, otherwise it gets stuck. Cya tomorrow. Gary

May 29, 2013. NC Art sheds a bit of light on lunch and dinner: Farm boys ate breakfast, dinner, and supper. City slickers ate breakfast, lunch and dinner. Continentals … like Frenchmen, had breakfast at noon, tea at five, and dinner at nine ‘til midnight. Lots of variations to fit local customs and the wallet contents. But who gives a rat’s ass? Soldiers go to chow whenever and wherever they can find it.

A: A rat.

The sun is shining and it's a beautiful day - not too many left of these before winter takes hold. So I grabbed the shears and pruning saw and did a little trimming in the garden, mainly as an excuse to soak up some sunny warmth. And now I'll jump in the truck and drive out to Wingham for a couple more lengths of chain, and then to the nuts and bolts shop for a couple more turnbuckles. They've been on my will I or won't I list for far too long.

Back! Well, that was a bit of a spend... best part of $50... but it's a bit of extra insurance to keep the camper glued to the truck in headwinds. Bill, the GN with the Courier/Freeway rig like mine, said he waited a few days for the wind to change before crossing the Nullarbor so that it was behind him. He said it as well worth it for the sake of fuel savings alone.

Speaking of head and tail winds, another GN posted this link to Click on any plane for the details of destination, speed, height, etc. Pick a flight close to its destination, click on it, then from this window top RH corner (the blue globe), watch flight in google earth. Click this window & watch the plane land. Just watched a flight from NZ to Sydney come in over the water, all suburbs can be seen, traffic movement, etc.

Hmmm, well he must have a faster computer than mine, and faster broadband. I could see stuff but not that well. But after watching a plane land, I checked out Google Earth and took a look at my little house (funny how I keep calling it that even though I sold it over 20 years ago) in Glebe. I still miss it. First and only house I've ever owned (well, me and the bank) - apart from the mini house outside in the backyard. Perhaps, the Odyssey will cure my homesickness for Glebe. I hope so.

From the Beeb: British forces are detaining up to 85 Afghan nationals in a holding facility at Camp Bastion, in what could amount to unlawful detention and internment, documents obtained by the BBC suggest. UK lawyers acting for eight of the men said their clients had been held for up to 14 months without charge. They compared it to the public's realisation of Guantanamo Bay and want the UK's High Court to free the men

I watched a clip on last night's news on telly of two opposing groups in a London street being forcibly kept apart by police. The groups were from the far left and far right arguing over the treatment of Muslims after the recent killing of a British soldier by Muslim extremists. The groups were screaming at each other, with hate written all over their faces and in their eyes, neither side listening to the other nor willing to compromise in the slightest. It was all so pointless. But that's all part of the human spectrum isn't it - you get your moderates, your rational thinkers, your crazies, your extremists, and your apathetics. And they're all having more babies.

Actually, I keep hearing "experts" who predict that the Afghan tribes will resume their old warring ways once allied forces withdraw. One bloke wrote a book about the three Anglo Afghan wars (1839, 1878, 1919) which were all a waste of time, and changed nothing. The author said the problem with the west is that it simply doesn't understand the Afghan mentality.

Three new crew members have arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) after launching from Kazakhstan. The Soyuz rocket carrying Fyodor Yurchikhin, Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano lifted away from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 02:31 local time on Wednesday (20:31 GMT Tuesday). Georgian Yurchikhin and American Nyberg have both been into space before. Italian Parmitano is a first-timer.

Liquid crystal displays have become so ubiquitous that it is easy to take them for granted. But one of the key players in LCD's development says the innovation wasn't "highly regarded" in its early years. Martin Schadt isn't exaggerating. In 1970 the Swiss physicist achieved a breakthrough that would pave the way for LCD read-outs at first on calculators, watches and alarm clocks, and then flat-panel TVs, laptops and smartphones.Funny innit. It only takes one individual from billions to change the course of history.

Chinese hackers have accessed designs for more than two dozen US weapons systems, a US newspaper has reported. Designs for combat aircraft, ships and missile defences were among those compromised, a Pentagon paper found, the Washington Post reported.

Australia has been ranked the world's happiest nation among developed economies for the third year running. Top position went to Australia, because of the overall strength of its economy, in the Better Life Index compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Ho, ho, ho, hehehehe, hahaha!

US house prices in March were up 10.9% from a year earlier, the biggest rise in nearly seven years, according to a closely-watched survey. The S&P/Case-Shiller index also said all 20 US cities measured posted annual gains for the third straight month. Meanwhile, separate data showed US consumer confidence in May rose to its highest level in more than five years. OR Richie is one MerryCan who'll be happy with that news - he owns a house that lost a lot of value after the 2008 crash, and he sells 'big ticket' merchandise.

Here's something I'm gonna have to be careful of on the Odyssey. Eeeek!

And that's it for Wensdee. It's the last of the chicken sang choy bow tonight. It wasn't really suited to noodles so I kinda chickened it up by adding 4 sachets of chicken flavoring not used with previous noodles. Also, because the meat wasn't cooked for very long, it wasn't as tender as I'd like it. I also had to give it a couple of whizzes to get rid of the little lumps. Fussy bugger, aren't I. So tomorrow I'll do a savory mince (MerryCans call it ground beef but 'savory ground' doesn't work). I'll check the packet mixes/sauces first and if I can't find anything interesting I'll use my own ingredients. Savory mince brings back fond memories of my mother's cooking and also the landlady of a boarding house where I stayed during my first job in radio. She spoiled me rotten. But for now it's telly time. Gary

May 28, 2013. I'm hobbling about like a... yeah... after all that kneeling business at the Wheels weekend. Soooo stiff and sore! I've just had trouble booking my ticket for the train trip to Sydney next Monday on line. So I phoned instead. Good thing I did cos I got a freebie. I'm elegible for 2 freebies a year but I don't know how to access them on line. So that's over $50 saved. Aisle seats, though - no windows.

The girl at Country Link wished me a happy time in Sydney at the Botanic Gardens photographing the harbor but said it'll be a bit foggy at 7am. Cool with me. I like fog. I've got all morning anyway, so after the fog lifts I can take more pics in sunshine... THAT'S if it doesn't decide to rain. According to the forecast, next Monday in Sydney will be sunny and partly cloudy with a top of 19 C.

WIFE: What would you do if I died? Would you get married again?
HUSBAND: Definitely not!
WIFE: Why not - don't you like being married?
HUSBAND: Of course I do.
WIFE: Then why wouldn't you remarry?
HUSBAND: Okay, I'd get married again.
WIFE: Oh? You would?
HUSBAND: *groan*
WIFE: Would you live in our house?
HUSBAND: Sure, it's a great house.
WIFE: Would you sleep with her in our bed?
HUSBAND: Where else would we sleep?
WIFE: Would you let her drive my car?
HUSBAND: Probably, it is almost new.
WIFE: Would you replace my pictures with hers?
HUSBAND: That would seem like the proper thing to do.
WIFE: Would she use my golf clubs?
HUSBAND: No, she's left-handed.
WIFE: ............ ?

From the Beeb: (Australian) Foreign Minister Bob Carr says a report alleging Chinese hackers stole plans for Australia's new intelligence hub will not hit ties with Beijing. On Monday the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported blueprints setting out the building's cable layouts and security systems had been illegally accessed by a server in China. Mr Carr did not comment directly on the claims. But he said the government was "very alive" to cyber security threats. I've noticed a couple of visits to AO from China. I wonder what they might be hacking? Hehe.

New York City has launched the first phase of its bike-share programme 10 months after it was scheduled to start. The scheme placed 6,000 bikes at 333 stations in the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. It is supposed to grow to 10,000 "Citi bikes" at 600 stations and could become one of the largest of its kind. What a great way to ease congestion and make it easier for people to get around big cities.

The world's tallest swing ride has been unveiled at a Texas theme park. The Texas SkyScreamer at Six Flags Over Texas theme park rises 400ft (122m) above the ground and travels at 35mph (56km/h). Owners say riders on the attraction will get views of Dallas and Fort Worth. Yeah? Leave me out of it, thanks.

With the rising value of the US dollar, the Aussie dollar has come down to about 95-96 cents, which is welcome news for our exporters but not so good for motorists. Petrol is up by about 7 cents a liter (30+ cents a gallon).

Well, in less than a week, I'll find out what the score is in relation to my lower gum and the exposed bone.  Am I good for an operation? Certainly the condition is more comfortable than it was some months ago, and the soreness has diminished considerably. I've also put on a bit of weight, and I feel okay. But I don't wanna get my hopes up too much. Here we are eighteen months after the operation and I was supposed to be back to normal within six months! Actually, I probably would have been okay early this year if not for the dentist trying to save my teeth instead of giving them the big heave ho before the radiation damage kicked in. Anyway, what's done is done. It's now that matters.

June is also the month when all the finishing touches will be made to PJ. Sooooo, the second half of 2013 could be veeery interesting.

Here's something NC Art sent that you've probably never wondered about but should have - the itch, and what causes it. There’s a lot we don’t understand about an itch. Why do itches sometimes pop up for no apparent reason? Why is itching contagious? Why can the very idea of an itch—maybe even the fact that you’re currently reading about itching—cause you to feel the actual physical sensation of one?

It's been a very quiet day here, dear Breth. Nuttin' much happening at all. Raining as well, bleh. But the rest of the week except Saturday is looking good with warmish temps and plenty of sunshine. But for now it's the usual routine... telly and supper. Do you call the evening meal supper? Cody always referred to it as supper. I call it dinner. Averil calls it tea, as did my parents (a throwback to high tea in mother England). Dinner, according to Averil and my parents, is/was lunch. Yes... all very confusing. Gary

May 27, 2013. Catchup time. FL Josh wrote about Mike Carlton's comments in relation to Ray Hadley: Are they really competitors?  Isn't 2GB a radio station and ABC a television network?  If so, they really aren't competitors, no more so than McDonalds is a competitor in that they compete for your time.

ABC is both a television network (Australian Broadcasting Corporation - publicly funded) and a national radio network with stations that compete directly with 2GB (a commercial network). 

Josh sent this interesting info regarding talk-back radio: Keep in mind that talkback radio is most popular with the uneducated masses seeking emotional support for their viewpoints, not facts.  When you got diagnosed with cancer, you didn't go to talkback radio to find a treatment.  If you had, you would be wearing a garlic bulb around your neck and gargling twice a day with oil from the Elbonian Crumpet tree, and asking other radio listeners if the basketball sized growth dangling from your neck should be lanced.

According to Wikipedia, only 17% of the population listen to talkback radio. That means 83% do not listen, so your "average Aussie" doesn't even listen to talkback radio.

Now that you mention it, ratings figures always talk about percentages of "the available audience". I wonder if Hadley is aware of the 17% figure. I'm exclusively an ABC listener and watcher these days because I can't handle the ads on commercial radio, nor the egos. I prefer talk radio as distinct from talk back.

Josh was also fascinated by the concept of a GPS speedometer and wants to know if the Courier has a cigarette lighter socket. Yes it does, right in front of the driver. I've also noticed that Super Cheap Auto has plug-ins that have multiple outlets for running devices off 12V, or charging cameras, phones, etc. As Josh points out, there are also free apps that work on Android smart phones that display the speed of a moving car.

However, Josh has this to say about yesterday's post of Weekend on Wheels: 207 pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I had to bail on the first page.  Just too, too, too many. In that case, Josh, just scroll through the thumbnails and click on those you think might be interesting.

My legs are killing me today after all that wandering around yesterday, and kneeling, etc. It'll be different on the Odyssey, hopefully, because I'll be out and about more regularly (and riding a bicycle). But there wasn't much opportunity yesterday for "arty" photos - too many people. It was a case of getting a clear shot and pressing the shutter before the space was invaded. The size of the display also meant there was a lot of exhibits to cover before the old legs became a bit too wobbly. Hehe. Yes, I'll leave the "arty" shots to sunsets and sunrises and waterfalls.

I didn't use the 55-200mm lens by the way. No need to. The 18-55mm zoom was fine for close-up stuff, and the extra wide 18mm meant I could get a whole car in shot without the need to move very far away. Forgetting the lens hood was a bummer but not to worry.

And now to something Francois sent yesterday - bus humor.

More pics in the photo comp have been posted on the GN forum. Here's one of dust, dirt, rocks and an old house. Here's one called Textures, showing an oyster-shell encrusted tree trunk at low tide. Here's The Breakaways near Coober Pedy, definitely desert country with plenty of dirt. And I just love this one called Crab's Eye View

A man met a beautiful blonde lady and decided he wanted to marry her right away. She said, 'But we don't know anything about each other.' He said, 'That's all right, we'll learn about each other as we go along.'

So she consented, they were married, and off they went on a honeymoon at a resort. One morning they were lying by the pool, when he got up off of his towel, climbed up to the 10 metre board and did a two and a half tuck, followed by three rotations in the pike position, at which point he straightened out and cut the water like a knife. After a few more demonstrations, he came back and lay down on the towel. She said, 'That was incredible!' He said, 'I used to be an Olympic diving champion. You see, I told you we'd learn more about each other as we went along.' 

So she got up, jumped in the pool and started doing laps. After seventy-five laps she climbed out of the pool, lay down on her towel and was hardly out of breath. He said, 'That was incredible! Were you an Olympic endurance swimmer?'

'No,' she said, 'I was a prostitute in Mildura, but I worked both sides of the Murray.'

Now here's something interesting. There were a couple of pics I took yesterday that were uh, a little rushed. For example, there's one that shows the interior of a Morris convertible. Two problems: 1) the horizon ain't straight and 2) the flare on the steering wheel is annoying. Sooooo, I went into Photoscape to see what I could do. Here's the result:

I was going to try to eliminate the flare altogether but then decided to actually accentuate it and make it look as if it were meant to be that way. Whaddaya reckon? That Nikon 18mm lens works well too. BTW, those seats are out of a VW Superbug.

From the Beeb: Angelina Jolie's aunt has died of breast cancer, nearly two weeks after the Hollywood star said she had had a double mastectomy to avoid such a fate. Debbie Martin passed away at the Palomar Medical Centre in Escondido on Sunday, aged 61, the hospital said. Sad way to be vindicated.

From thought to profit: How ideas become viable businesses.

Australia has unveiled plans to ban television and radio broadcasts of betting odds during live sports matches in a bid to curb problem gambling. Gambling advertisements will no longer appear during live events and around sporting venues, the government said. They're talking about football, tennis, cricket, etc, not horses or dogs.

Tens of thousands of people have rallied in Paris against a new French law allowing same-sex marriage. Police estimate that up to 150,000 people joined marches that converged on the city centre, but organisers put the figure close to one million. Think of the far right or the far left as a ship listing.

Yes, there's a good reason why ships have stabilizers. Speaking of ideologies and politics, I watched the story of Gough Whitlam's rise to power in Oz last night on telly. He was PM from 1972 to 1975 when his government was "dismissed" by the then Governor General Sir John Kerr."Well, may we say God Save The Queen," Whitlam said on the steps of Parliament House in Canberra, "because nothing will save the Governor General."

It's a fascinating story, and one I remember well... especially the election that brought Whitlam into power. It was very heady stuff, and the beginning of a new social era. Whitlam (who is still alive and in his early '90s) was a great orator, wit, raconteur and intellect. But, as one critic put it, a little too enthusiastic about rapid change - "he drove his government over a cliff". Whitlam is known for many witty comments. One I remember was when he was leaving Parliament House one afternoon, and approached by a reporter with microphone in hand. The reporter asked a question about the morality of abortion. "In your case," Whitlam barked, "it should be made retrospective."

Episode 2 will be aired next Sunday and I'm looking forward to it. I never actually met Whitlam but when I worked at 2KY in Sydney in the mid '70s, I was following him down the wide, carpeted, rounded staircase (the building was formerly a theater) to the ground floor. In front of Whitlam, a tall, large and imposing man, was a 2KY panel operator, a small, camp bloke in his mid 20s. The small bloke lost a slipper as he descended the stairs. Right away, Whitlam stooped to pick up the slipper and then handed it to its astonished owner. It was like a scene from Cinderella hehe.

Well, time's a gittin' on and I'll call it a day. Telly and nourishment time. Gary

May 26, 2013. After 5-ish already and I've just finished uploading two photo albums. But first, FL Josh wrote: As to the tach instead of a speedometer.  You can't simply convert the rpm reading on a tach to kph because the conversion would change each time you change gears.  You are going to be living with this thing and driving all over the place.  Bite the bullet and get the speedometer fixed.

One thing I should mention about changing gears. One doesn't normally do that when travelling at 100+ km/h on a freeway. As I wrote yesterday, the speedo works fine at lower speeds around town. But Josh wasn't the only one to comment about tachos and speedos.

NC Art wrote: Unless the laws of physics have changed, you don’t want to fiddle about trying to correlate rpm and speed of motion. What may work in one case won’t in another because there are just too many variables. Think gear ratios, engine efficiency, compression, wind resistance, street grade, tyre friction and, and god knows what all!

Such stuff is why some air liners arrive early and some late. With a head wind of 50 mph, the air speed may be 200 mph, but ground speed 150. Reverse that with a tail wind of 50 mph plane (and passengers) are getting along at 250 mph. Of course, such an early arrival may do you no good if you circle the airport forever waiting for clearance to land! Oops. Everything is relative. Even Einstein knew that.

Of course, the speedometer really measures (counts) only revolutions of the wheel it is attached to, but that’s good enough for most purposes. Now aren’t you glad to know that?

Yes, I am, Art, and you're a veritable fountain of stuff. But yesterday I asked the question about tachos and speedos on the GN techie forum and two blokes said not to worry about either. The simple solution is to use my GPS. Okay so I don't have a GPS but I will have once I hit the highways of Oz. Too easy.

Meanwhile, Art suggests lending an ear to The Johnson Brothers singing The Impossible Dream on Britain's Got Talent.

Josh has more to day about bullies in radio but I'll attend to that tomorrow. And Francois sent pics of humor on buses which is really cool. I'll do that tomorrow as well.

But now, it's Art's collection of things we don't normally see, and the things I actually did see today when I visited the Weekend on Wheels show in Taree. You'll find the links to the albums on the Journal page.

Time for me to rest these weary bones after all that walking, bending, kneeling and then spending all afternoon putting the albums together! Gary

May 25, 2013. Satdeeee and the weather's improved - blue sky this morning. OR Richie suggested a tacho rather than fixing the speedo (which works okay around town). I'm not sure how to convert rpm into kph but I suppose I could find out. I'll check the truck user manual. A digital tacho is about $70 and I could get an auto electrician to fit it.

NC Art sent this one: It was entertainment night at the senior citizens' center.  After the community sing song led by Alice at the piano, it was time for the Star of the Show-- Claude the Hypnotist! Claude explained that he was going to put the whole audience into a trance. "Yes, each and every one of you and all at the same time," said Claude. The excited chatter dropped to silence as Claude carefully withdrew from his waistcoat pocket a beautiful antique gold pocket watch and chain.

"I want you to keep your eyes on this watch" said Claude, holding the watch high for all to see.  "It is a very special and valuable watch that has been in my family for six generations," he said. He began to swing the watch gently back and forth while quietly chanting, "Watch the watch; watch the watch; watch the watch." The audience became mesmerized as the watch swayed back and forth, lights twinkling as they were reflected from its gleaming surfaces.  A hundred and fifty pairs of eyes followed the movements of the gently swaying watch.

And then, suddenly, the chain broke!!!  The beautiful antique watch fell to the stage and burst apart on impact.

"SHIT!" said Claude.

And on the subject of tides, Steve W wrote: That is a great photo of the beach (on the GN forum). One memorable thing of my travels around Oz was the immense tides in FNQ, NT and WA. Here in boring NSW we have less than 2 metres between low and high tides - up there and over there, over 12 meters is the norm. It makes boat ramps very interesting - here they are around 10 meters long - there, they can be 200 meters long. Also something I am trying to understand, here we have 2 high tides and 2 low tides per 24 hours (or there abouts) - up and over there they (often) only get 1 high and 1 low tide per day. It's got me buggered!

Me too, Steve. Must have something to do with the time it takes for a long tide to complete its cycle. No? I give up.

Back from shopping and slaving away in the kitchen making chicken sang choy bow. The hardest part is getting the lumps out of the minced chicken. It likes to form little balls as it's cooking, and I need it finer than that. Averil missed out on the bolognaise, by the way. I ate the lot! Eating those kinds of dishes with noodles has certainly improved my appetite. I can woof through a large bowl no problem. It's also lessened my annoyance at not having dentures yet. At least I can eat something semi solid that fills me up - and tastes good.

Allow me to remind you of something Steve W wrote the other day after I'd commented on Australian Story featuring the career of shock jock Ray Hadley. Much of what you say about Ray Hadley is correct but to say he is a more considerate man is just a tad off. Ray was a bully and still is - check out the recent stories at 2GB. I've met the man a few times and I am sorry, he is just not pleasant. Yes he does some good things for charities which is great but he is still a vicious bully, supported by "Singo" also a bit of a bully himself and a heroic piss-pot. Neither of them are "More Joyous" I'm afraid.

Steve wrote again today after reading an article about Australian Story by Mike Carlton, former shock jock and now columnist with the Sydney Morning Herald. It's a very interesting, albeit not surprising, piece by Carlton. I particularly liked this bit: On reflection, though, how petty and grubby it all seems. All of the above, that is.

Yes, petty and grubby. I was a fan of Carlton back during his days at 2GB breakfast with his "Friday News Review" where he'd mimick the voices of various politicians and celebrities. One of my favorites (although I had quite a few) was Cartlon's send-up of Ronald Reagan. Friday News Review was required listening in those days by much of Sydney. But Carlton was a bully too, although not as vicious as the likes of Hadley. During Lindy Chamberlains' appeal against her wrongful conviction of the murder of her child Azaria at Uluru (Ayres Rock), which she always insisted was caused by a dingo, and which was subsequently found to be true by a court, Cartlon on air launched into a scathing attack of the woman and finally pronounced her guilty. I remember being shocked by the vehemence of his statement. I'd always believed she was innocent, a belief that was vindicated in 1988. Another time, when we both worked at 2UE, I walked past him sitting at a typewriter busily typing something and made a comment. "Fuck off!" he barked. And he meant it.

To quote Carlton: It's a wonderful, dog-eat-dog world in Sydney radio. Yes, folks, that it is. And like Carlton, thankfully I'm no longer in it. However, it's interesting to ponder why such bullies continually top the ratings. What is it about bullies that attracts large audiences? And what does it say about your "average Aussie"?

From the Beeb: MI5 asked Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo if he wanted to work for them about six months before the killing, a childhood friend has said. Abu Nusaybah told BBC Newsnight his friend - one of two men arrested after Drummer Lee Rigby's murder in south-east London on Wednesday - had rejected the approach from the security service. And yet another plot thickens...

I checked the Courier manual earlier but couldn't find anything about rpm = kph, except that the ratio is 1:1 in 4th gear and 0.875 in 5th. I'll do Google and see if I can find something.

Oh, almost forgot... NC Art sent a bunch of pics of unusual things... things you don't normally see. I'll put an album together tomorrow. Also tomorrow, I'll visit the vintage car and hotrod show. No video this time... I'll take the Nikon and look for "arty" shots.

And now it's time for telly and to test the chicken sang choy bow with noodles. You're supposed to serve it in a chilled, crunchy lettuce leaf which is a most pleasant mouth and taste sensation. But noodles will have to do. Gary

May 24, 2013. Thinking more about "shock jocks" and their recipe for success. Having a bully mentality seems to help. Bullies attract sycophants - people who follow the bully and let him do all the thinking. Showbiz is a pretty cut-throat business that soon sorts out the doers from the wannabes. I've noticed that some successful people who are not bullies, but who are rather mild mannered, hire lawyers and/or managers who do the bullying and tough negotiation on their behalf. Either way, there's a bully in there somewhere.

Well, one step forward... Just got a call from Ford. The truck's brakes grabbed on the way to the dealership this morning, at low speed in traffic. Then it went back to normal. But I mentioned it anyway and asked them to check the brakes. New brake cylinders. $200. Oh well...  I'm surprised they didn't notice anything before though when the car was in for a thorough registration check. However, it's a good thing it's being fixed before the camper goes on board.

$200 won't make a big difference to the scheduled big spend next month on PJ but it might slow it down a little. I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled for specials. Another Lotto win of $13 last night helps. :o) Actually, I've noticed that AGM deep cycle batteries are cheaper now by as much as $100 for 100ah... from $300 down to about $200.

One of the regular GNs went through this kinda thing with his Toyota Coaster bus... doing it up and fixing things from pension to pension until he finally got it all happening. Now he's on the road and living the nomad lifestyle, happy as. He's still making improvements along the way but at least he's out there.

From the Beeb: President Barack Obama has defended the use of drones in a "just war" of self-defence against deadly militants and a campaign that had made America safer. I'm all for drones - provided they're on our side.

The soldier killed in an attack in London has been named as Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Drummer Rigby, 25, from Manchester, leaves behind a two-year-old son

Bully tactics again. Those extremists who killed Drummer Lee Rigby, and others like them, use fear and terror to spread their message. How can any religion that preaches love in the name of Allah justify fear and terror? And murder? They are nothing but bullies on a mission to destroy anyone and anything that doesn't subscribe to their twisted thinking. Of course, they don't see it that way. They're blinded by hate.

Why is it that human beings have this absurd notion that any great diety in the sky would be the least bit interested in going to all the trouble of creating a universe just for them? And a heaven just for them? And a planet just for them? Because human beings are full of themselves, that's why. They build monuments to their own self-importance and justify them by calling them places of worship - churches, cathedrals, mosques and temples - hoping to please a god who sits around all day doing nothing. Is there anyone who knows what God or Allah actually does all day? And has been doing each day for the past few billion years? All I remember from school is being told that such things are beyond human comprehension, so there's no point in asking the question. How convenient.  It's the same as kids believing in Santa Claus. They don't give a damn about how he does it or why, they just want their prezzies at Christmas time. 

The Boy Scouts of America organisation has voted to welcome openly gay scouts, ending a divisive ban. But a ban on openly gay adult scout leaders will remain in place. Whilever there are those who associate homosexuality with pedophilia, such discrimination will remain.

Part of a road bridge has collapsed into the Skagit River in the US state of Washington, officials say. Police said some vehicles were in the water after a section of the Interstate 5 highway collapsed. The four-lane bridge is near Mount Vernon, about half way between Seattle and Vancouver, in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Stand by for the blame game.

An ambitious firm has revealed their plans for a new type of personal air transport vehicle that takes off and lands like a helicopter. Will the idea fly? I like it, I like it.

FL Josh wrote: My parents bought my sister a 1960 Plymouth Valiant the year they came out as she headed off to college.  I loved Chrysler products but that was one ugly car.  The cost of a 1960 Plymouth Valiant when it came out was $2033 to $2423, and when adjusted for inflation, that is $15,970 to $19,035 in 2013 US dollars.  The $2033 model came with a 101 hp 6 cylinder engine, automatic push button transmission, but no power windows, no power steering, no power brakes, no radio and no heater. A 2013 Dodge Dart sells for from $15,995 to $22,495 and the $15,995 model comes with a 160 hp 4 cylinder engine, manual 6 speed transmission, air conditioning, power windows, power brakes, power steering, LED taillights, a CD player with MP3 hookup, projector headlights and 10 airbags.  A lot more bang for the buck compared to 1960.

I've owned 5 Valiants over the years and loved them all. My first one had the push-button auto, the next three column, and the last one T-bar. The truck is a manual 5-speed. Speaking of which, they didn't touch the speedo. "Requires speedo cluster to be pulled out and sent away, or try a second hand one." It works okay around town. But on the highway at speeds above 70 or 80 kph it sticks. I might shop around for a second hand one. They didn't charge anything to check the speedo but 2 wheel cylinders for the brakes and labor cost $203. Funny that the brakes did their little grab trick on the way out there this morning. Coincidence, or do I have a guardian angel with a South African accent?

I was lucky with the rain too. It stopped when they came to collect me and then started again after I got back home. According to the forecast, showers will ease tomorrow and there'll be a late shower on Sunday when the vintage/hotrod show is on. That's okay. But the show is being held in a park, and after all the rain this past week the ground could be a tad muddy.

BTW, what does the new Ford Falcon look like? This is what I was chauffeured around in today (a blue one). Nice car but a bit of a dinosaur as far as Aussie consumers are concerned. 

Toyota and GMH in Oz are doing quite well because they both have an aggressive export strategy and don't rely as much on the local market as Ford does. There are cop cars running around the US, for example, that are rebadged Holden Statesmans.

Just checked the GN forum and entries in the photo comp. Here's a beach at Cossack in WA called "Tide's Out". I've never seen a beach quite like that before. And here's Sunrise at Cleaverville Beach, Karratha, Western Australia.

Time again to check the telly and fill the belly. Seeyaz. Gary

May 23, 2013. Here are some more pics from the GN photo comp. Dust storm near Broken Hill. Low tide at Rainbow Beach. 

I've been thinking more about "shock jocks" and the difference between those blokes and me. I guess they think their opinions are more important than everyone else's. In my case, I think my opinion is just as important as everyone else's.

And down comes the rain! It's quite heavy at the mo and I'm grateful for not having to go outside today. Wet tomorrow as well but the forecast is for a nice weekend. There's also been extensive rain in the "red center" which has closed roads, but once it dries out a little, GNs will be treated to rapids in the normally dry gorges and lots of desert wildflowers. It would be great to see the outback in both conditions... dry and carpeted with flowers. BTW, did you notice I've added another row of years to the Journal table on the right column of the AO index page? Hehe. I'm getting optimistic about living to a ripe old age.

And now for something completely different. FL Josh writes: I have always been amazed at the way African Grey Parrots can copy sounds, including human voices.  Here is Einstein at the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee.

Thanks for that, Josh. She's quite a character.

I saw Aussie film director Baz Luhrmann interviewed the other night about his success with The Great Gatsby which is killing them at the box office. The movie was made in Oz. Anyway, Luhrmann suddenly launched into a impression of Marlon Brando which was brilliant. He apparently does a brilliant impression of Bill Clinton as well but said he wasn't in the mood. He and Bill are mates I gather. I'd love to be able to do impressions.

Is my prize of $12.55 in last night's Lotto worth mentioning? Pay day today and the same old in and out trick. There'd be a lot more in my account if Mastercard didn't keep charging a truckful of interest. Nonetheless I'm more or less on track for the big spend midway through next month on PJ. Once that's outta the way, I can focus on getting my card paid off. It's costing waaaaaay too much!

From the Beeb: A man has been killed in a machete attack and two suspects shot and wounded by police in Woolwich, south-east London. The Met Police said a murder inquiry was being led by its Counter Terrorism Command. Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK would "never buckle" in the face of terror attacks. Judging by what I heard on the radio news, the victim was a British soldier and it's certainly a terrorist attack linked to Al Qaeda.

US officials are investigating the safety of caffeine in snacks and energy drinks, worried about the "cumulative impact" of the stimulant - which is added to a growing number of products. Is our tea and coffee-fuelled society too dependent on the world's favourite drug?

I grew up in a coffee-free house. Sydney back in those days was famous for its tea rooms. The first I heard of coffee (apart from in movies) was when a coffee lounge was opened in the suburb where I lived as a teen. It was the "new thing" and quite sophisticated. That was back in the early 60s. Tea rooms still exist in Oz but are very rare. Virtually all cafes are coffee oriented. It's coffee, coffee, coffee. I still drink both, and enjoy both. But if I want a boost of energy, rather than a caffeine laced drink I go for a banana.

US car giant Ford Motor will shut all its Australian manufacturing plants by October 2016, after more than 85 years of making vehicles in the country. About 1,200 workers are expected to lose their jobs from the Broadmeadows and Geelong plants, in Victoria state. Ford said its Australian operations had lost A$600m ($580m; £385m) over the last five years. The strength of the Australian dollar has made manufacturing more expensive, while sales have been under pressure. "Our costs are double that of Europe and nearly four times Ford in Asia," Bob Graziano, the chief executive of Ford Australia, said. "The business case simply did not stack up."

Germany is the most positively viewed nation in the world in this year's annual Country Ratings Poll for the BBC World Service. More than 26,000 people were surveyed internationally for the poll. They were asked to rate 16 countries and the European Union on whether their influence in the world was "mainly positive" or "mainly negative". Oz doesn't even rate a mention!

Wartime talks between Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin were proving awkward until a drinking session lasting until 3am, newly released files show. In a Foreign Office account of the 1942 Moscow visit, an official recalls finding the men enjoying "food of all kinds... and innumerable bottles". The mood was "merry as a marriage-bell" although Churchill was "complaining of a slight headache" by 1am. The letter adds: "The two great men really made contact and got on terms."

Speaking of alcoholic drinks, cider is becoming increasingly popular in Oz, and sold on tap in pubs. That'll be good news for Tasmania which is known as 'the Apple Isle', but which has suffered badly with competition from cheap imports. Batlow in NSW is also a prolific apple growing region. I've never been partial to cider but it seems a lot of younger people prefer it to beer. Which reminds me, boutique beers are now making a big comeback in Oz with lots of small independent brewers sprouting up all over the place.

But back to Ford, they'll still operate in Oz but not as a manufacturer. It wasn't until 1960 that Ford decided to manufacture an Australian car here, which was the Falcon. Prior to that, they sold English and American Fords but I'm not sure if they were fully imported or assembled here. For a while the lineup included both the English Zephyr and the Aussie Falcon but the former was finally dropped in the mid 60s. Chrysler also started building the Valiant here in 1960 but dropped out in 1981, selling the plant to Mitsubishi. Chrysler now imports the Jeep and 300C. Once Ford ceases building the Falcon, the GMH Commodore will be the only one left of "the big three". Here's what they looked like back in 1960.

Yep, that was back in the days when basics such as a heater and a radio were extras hehe. You could buy one of the big three for about 1100 pounds ($2200). These days you'd need over $30,000.

Anyway, that's it for Thursday. Hopefully, it won't be raining cats and canines tomorrow morning when I take the truck out to Ford to have the speedo checked, and I hope they can fix it in house. Meanwhile, it's telly and sustenance time. Gary

May 22, 2013. Large motorhomes are common in the US but not so here in Oz. Check out this converted bus owned by a couple of GNs.

TX Greg wrote: Well safe for now. Last night's storms fizzled out just as they got here, but today looks like round two as another line of storms is heading this way. It is so sad to hear of all those that lost there lives there, especially the children. A vid of the tornado.... They stop filming when they reach the school to render them aid.

Horrific stuff. There was an American tornado expert interviewed on Oz TV last night who said many of the older houses and buildings in Oklahoma were equipped with basements but that more modern structures are not - that people can opt for "off the shelf" shelters which many ignore in order to save money. They take the risk that it won't happen to them.

Steve W wrote: Much of what you say about Ray Hadley is correct but to say he is a more considerate man is just a tad off. Ray was a bully and still is - check out the recent stories at 2GB. I've met the man a few times and I am sorry, he is just not pleasant. Yes he does some good things for charities which is great but he is still a vicious bully, supported by "Singo" also a bit of a bully himself and a heroic piss-pot. Neither of them are "More Joyous" I'm afraid.

(More Joyous is a racehorse that ran favorite and failed miserably recently. Its owner Singo sacked the trainer and caused a ruckus that ended up in court). As Mike Carlton said of Hadley and his type, "it's the nature of the beast". To get to the top in Sydney talk-back radio is rather like being in a first-grade rugby league scrum. It's no place for the faint hearted. Neither is parliament. Laws is also a bully. "Nice guys" in that volatile market just don't make it.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I graduated from country radio to city radio. It was a bear pit, and I didn't have the necessary aggressiveness or competitive killer instinct to make the big time. I stepped sideways into the writing/production scene. But I'll always remember being a kid made to sit in the school yard for an entire afternoon with nothing to do after I made it clear to the De La Salle brothers that I wasn't interested in playing football. I was a wuss, and the school had no activities for wusses on sports day. I didn't understand the need to physically abuse another person for the sake of winning something. I excelled at athletics because winning didn't require being abusive. But years down the track, I now understand what all that football business was about... it was to teach kids to "do unto others before they do unto you": to be aggressive: to bully: to be abusive: to get what you want at the expense of others. So yours truly went sailing naively through life thinking everyone was lovely. Yeah, right.

My older bro is competitive. He played football as a youngster and then "encouraged" his son to play. When I told him about the Odyssey web site he said, "But how will you compete?" Compete? With what? National Geographic? It's a diary, and diaries don't compete. For me, AO is not about being the best, it's about the best I can do. And there's a difference. Besides....

All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I'm not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
Until the sun comes up over
Santa Monica Boulevard

What a gorgeous color! Cherry red. There's an auto and bike show this Sunday in town. I'll take the Nikon this time and concentrate on creative stills. The 55-200mm lens is still a virgin so it's about time it was deflowered. I prefer the Fuji S7000 for video because 1) I can use the viewfinder instead of the LCD and 2) it switches between video and still mode easily. The Nikon allows use of the viewfinder for stills but not video.

Chilly one today, folks. There's a hot water bottle between my back and the chair. Everytime I wanna get out of the chair to go somewhere, I have to think twice. Hehe. I could use the a/c but it's way too expensive. So are those small room heaters.

Last night on the news there was a story about our former PM Kevin Rudd changing his "dinosaur" opinion on same sex marriage. He blames his wife and kids for pressuring him into becoming "the last of the Mohicans." Anyway, I walked into the kitchen and mentioned it to Lindsay who said something like "uh, same sex... aaaggghhh". So I said, "Won't be long before you and I will be able to get married." There was a grunt as he left the room in disgust, and I started laughing. Hahahaha. I cracked up big time. It took Lindsay a while but he finally saw the funny side.

Lindsay has this thing about being "a man". Yeah, right. One night he came into my room and woke me, saying there were some people in our front yard. He was too chicken to go out there himself. He waited until I'd sorted out the situation before he emerged from the house and stood next to me. What a hero.

From the Beeb: Emergency crews' search in the ruins left by the gigantic tornado that killed two dozen people in Oklahoma on Monday is almost over, say officials. Fire chief Gary Bird said he was "98% sure" there were no more survivors or bodies to recover from the rubble. The body count was revised down from 51 (to 24) after the state medical examiner said some victims may have been counted twice in the confusion. Yesterday's report said 91.

Oklahoma is particularly vulnerable to tornadoes, lying inside the so-called 'Tornado Alley', stretching from South Dakota to Central Texas. The geography and climate of the region frequently create the conditions for huge thunderstorms - with warm, wet air blowing in from the Gulf of Mexico meeting cold, dry air coming from the massive Rocky Mountain range, hemmed in by air masses on the eastern part of the country. Three-quarters of the world's tornadoes occur in the United States - around 1000 per year - but the patterns of how and when they will strike are still difficult to predict.

A series of pencil drawings by a north London artist has been amazing art critics. Kelvin Okafor, from Tottenham, has scooped a number of national awards and exhibited at galleries across the country. The 27-year-old Middlesex University Fine Art graduate's drawings are often mistaken for photographs. Amazing stuff.

A sweeping immigration bill that would offer a chance of citizenship to millions living in the US illegally has taken a stride forward in Congress. A Senate panel voted 13-5 to back the measure, after a plan to allow people to sponsor same-sex partners for permanent legal status was withdrawn.

So there I was thinking what can I post on Red Bubble? I rather liked the pic of the old Albion truck I saw at the Rail Centenary but the sky was over exposed. Hmmm. Then I got the idea to poke around in Photoscape to see what I could do about enhancing the image. And this is what I posted. I rather like it.

Here's the original pic of the Riley I fancied at the Rail Centenary as it appears on the AO photo album. Roite, grab the scissors and snip, snip, snip in Photoscape and the result is below. All the extraneous areas are gone, and the improvement is quite dramatic.

Good framing and composition should be done while shooting the image but that's not always practical. In the case above, I got a clear shot and took advantage of it before some boofhead got in the way. Yesterday, I complimented Mieke on a shot of a waterfall and how creative the lighting was. Then she explained that she'd under exposed the image and had to save it in Photoshop by improving the exposure. However, I still think she was clever in choosing certain areas to highlight rather than the whole image. It was Mieke who gave me the idea to fiddle around with my shots. Actually, those two shots of the '36 Ford are cropped... I copied them off a newsgroup this morning and "tidied them up".

Another aspect of the Riley pic I like is that it's side/back lit so you get cool highlights. Also, the thing about having lots of pixels is you can crop a pic and still end up with a quality image.

Well, that'll do for today, ladies and genitals. Telly and dinner in that order, then the old hot water bottle in bed trick. Lindsay last night said "at least I've got someone to cuddle in bed." Yeah? Well, I've got my hot water bottle... and it doesn't snore or fart, or get up in the middle of the night for a pee. Gary

May 21, 2013. Gorgeous out in the sun.. but the comp is in here! Oh well... Had another irrigation this morning and told Nancy about the bolognaise. She said the gum is looking good, probably because of the food. Noodles are good for carbohydrates, and the meat and veg good for protein. She also suggested something Oriental for a chicken mince dish, like sang choy bow (without the lettuce). Mmmm!

TX Greg wrote: OMG, a grand mother tornado EF-5 has just about completely wiped the town of Moore, Oklahoma off the map AGAIN. Homes, schools and even the hospital are gone. Interstate Highway 35 completely shut down. They are going thru debris now looking for and pulling survivors out. Back in 1999 this same town, which is about 180 miles north of me got hit by a record wind speed tornado of over 300 mph. The same storm front is now moving in my direction causing more tornado outbreaks near here. I just stepped outside and really don't like the way the sky looks here. I think I'll shut the comp down before it starts lightning. That one last week west of here was a EF-4 and wiped a whole neighborhood of brick homes clean off their slab foundations and killed six people. I really hate spring time here. GREG

Hang on tight, Greg. We get them in Oz too but nothing like those in the US.

I woke to a nice little surprise this morning... a donation to AO by a GN. How lovely! It's as much about people giving a damn as it is about the bucks, and getting something worthwhile from this site. The donor signed the guestbook too: Well done on the web site but more importantly on the travel... Getting out there and doing it...

Ev'rybody's doin' it
Doin' it, doin' it
Ev'rybody's doin' it
Doin' it, doin' it...
Ev'rybody's doin' it now.

I watched Australian Story last night about Ray Hadley, Sydney's top "shock jock". Very interesting. He was raised in a working class suburb in Sydney by hardworking parents, and wanted to be a race caller. He practiced as a kid calling colored cotton reels rolling down a slope hehe... and he was pretty good at it. But a job in radio eluded him, so he settled for becoming an auctioneer. One time he drove all around NSW looking for a job in radio but didn't get a single interview. Back in Sydney, he worked as a taxi driver. One day, he picked up a fare who happened to be a radio exec. Hadley drove around and wouldn't let the bloke out of his cab until he'd finished his spiel hehe. "I remember it vividly," the bloke said. "He really had me worried because he was looking at me instead of the road!" Anyway, the bloke told Hadley to come in for an interview. And that's when I met him at 2UE.

It was there that Hadley learned sports broadcasting (football, which he loved) and on-air work. After a couple of years, he was asked to sit in for John Laws who was going on vacation for a while. Hadley was both shocked and intimidated by the idea, but said "yes" anyway. And that was the beginning of his roller coaster ride. Famous advertising guru and radio station owner John Singleton offered him a job at rival station 2GB. Singleton waved more money under Hadley's nose than he'd ever seen in his life. Singleton remembers Hadley trying to look nonchalant when all that dough was being discussed but couldn't hide his dismay. And the rest is history.

The first time Hadley beat Laws in the ratings everyone was in shock. But as Hadley said, "Lots of people have beaten Laws in the ratings, but only once. Never twice." Hadley went on to beat Laws time and time again. In fact, Hadley has won the past 74 Sydney ratings in a row. Hadley calls a spade a spade, and he's a big man. He's brash, rude, volatile and a bully. Singleton commented on his temper, "Oh yeah, he's got a bad temper, and he frightens people." Hadley's temper finally landed him in trouble. He was suspended from being on air by 2GB management but Singleton stepped in and overrode the decision, asking Hadley to apologize to staff members he had abused and intimidated. Hadley called a meeting of all staff and did just that. His workaholic attitude and obession with the job also got him into trouble with his wife, who walked out with the kids. Hadley's mate, fellow football caller Ray Warren asked if he still loved his wife. "Yes, I do." "Well, when are you going to stop telling her you'd rather be at work than at home with her and the kids?" Hadley went to a marriage counsellor and the mess was sorted out. He's now a wiser and more considerate man - both on and off air.

But it just goes to show what it takes to be number 1 in a highly competitive market like Sydney. Hard work, a passion bordering on obsession, and talent. Not to mention perseverance and faith in your own ability. 30+ years ago he was driving around NSW being knocked back by tin pot radio stations that would have paid him a pittance. Now he's earning millions. And the auctioneer's license? He still uses it to conduct charity auctions for the wealthy, raising big dollars for worthy causes. Pretty cool story, I thought.

A shot of Hadley at a 2UE picnic back in the early '80s - he was in charge of the snag department. Looks like he had a moustache back then. Eeek! Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR with film.

Oh, and the other bloke I mentioned yesterday is Richard Wilkins, another "pest" who was determined to succeed. He hosted MTV in Oz for several years and is now Entertainment Editor for Channel 9's Today Show. He also owns a pub in Sydney. So he's doing okay, thank you very much.

Lachlan Valley Rail, the organization that maintains the old steam locos, emailed this morning to say that many of the members had watched the video of the Taree Centenary, so that was good. The more the merrier and all that.

When you think of crabs (not those sort, silly!) you don't normally think of art. But in Oz, we have very artistic crabs, according to one GN.

Here's a GN thread of a young woman who's not a GN doing the rounds of Oz in an old VW Kombi - with pics.

Here's another way of getting around Oz... as well as Europe, Asia and Indonesia. A French couple at the point they reached 70,000kms.

From the Beeb: At least 91 people, including 20 children, have been left dead after a huge tornado tore through Oklahoma City suburbs, officials in the US state say. Worst hit was Moore, south of the city, where neighbourhoods were flattened and schools destroyed by winds of up to 200mph (320km/h). About 120 people are being treated in hospitals. President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in Oklahoma. That was the one TX Greg mentioned earlier. Hope our Texas mate is okay.

Ray Manzarek, keyboard player and founder member of the 1960s rock band The Doors, has died aged 74. He formed the band with lead singer Jim Morrison in 1965 after a chance meeting in Venice Beach, Los Angeles. Manzarek, who had suffered from bile duct cancer for many years, died in a clinic in Rosenheim, Germany, with his wife and brothers at his bedside.

Plans to legalise gay marriage in England and Wales are to proceed unimpeded in Parliament after ministers reached agreement with Labour. Conservative critics had tabled a proposal to let heterosexual couples enter into civil partnerships, if gay couples were allowed to get married. This was defeated by 375 votes to 70 after a five-hour Commons debate. Today's kids will grow up in a very different world to the one we knew.

Discrimination against Jews and Muslims is on the rise around the world, according to an annual US Department of State report. The findings for 2012 spoke of an increase in anti-Islamic sentiment in Europe and Asia. It also said there was growing anti-Semitism, especially in Venezuela, Egypt and Iran.

Do Jews and Muslims discriminate against Westerners? I dunno. Not too worried about it, either. People are welcome to think whatever they like about me. I'll simply go with the yeas and ignore the nays. No problem. The only people against whom I discriminate are those who are not nice. Anybody who is nice is okay with me, dozen madder who they are or where they come from.

Bolognaise and noodles again? Yep hehe. I made a stack of the stuff. Too much for me, actually, so I'll give some to Averil and freeze the rest. Then I'll rustle up some chicken sang choy bow. Love all that ginger and Chinese sauce and chestnuts. It's sensational wrapped in a crisp, refrigerated lettuce leaf but I'm afraid noodles will have to suffice. I also used to make a pretty nifty savory tuna for wrapping in crepes. Mmmm. So I'll give that a shot later - with noodles. Meanwhile, it's time again to rest the weary ol' buns and catch a bit of telly. Gary

May 20, 2013. Oregon Richie wrote: I think the ad copy page is great.  Says it all, and I like the logo of the AO, too. Thanks, Richie, but TX Greg found a prob with his screen size. I've made a change to the block of copy so that it fits the width of the graphic. Hopefully it works with all screen sizes.

And what a story about the Camel herds in OZ !!  I had no idea.  That's a helluva problem obviously with some severe eco unbalanced damage as a result.  Not the first time that brilliant human idea of bringing in animals into a much different environment. Oh yes, those things are well adapted to the Aussie outback. Who would have thought a few dozen could turn into 700,000? Well, apart from Noah, that is. We also have feral cats, dogs, foxes, cane toads, goats, pigs, carp and other creatures that love their new home in Oz. Governments don't do much about it because most people live in cities where it's not a concern.

Speaking of imports, here's a paste from a newbie on the GN forum: Just thought I would introduce myself. The wife and I are from Africa (South Africa). We have been in Australia for 30 plus years and have been caravanning and camping since we arrived. The wife retired about 4 years ago and while I am 59 years old I too am looking forward to retirement and seeing and experiencing this great country. We have just bought a  new Navara which we intend using for our caravanning well into retirement.

FL Josh wants to know why I published the Aborigine joke I saw on the GN forum if I objected to it. Well, it's a bit difficult to explain an objection if people don't know what it is you're objecting to. 

Meanwhile, TX Greg wants to know if I've included a smoke detector on my list for PJ.

Yes, I have! And a fire blanket. One GN posted a pic of his rig bogged in deep sand as a warning was given by authorities to evacuate the area due to an approaching bush fire. Eeek!

Housework was a  woman's job, but one evening, Janice arrived  home from work to find the children bathed, one load of laundry in the washer and another in the  dryer. Dinner was on the stove, and the  table set. She was astonished! It turns out that Dave had read an article that said,  'Wives who work full-time and had to do their own housework were too tired to have  sex'. The night went very well. The next  day, Janice told her friends all about it. 'We  had a great dinner. Dave even cleaned up the  kitchen. He helped the kids do their homework, folded all the laundry and put it away. I really  enjoyed the evening.' 

'But what about  afterward?' asked her friends.

'Oh,  that?... Dave was too  tired.'

The bolognaise was great last night and I managed to get through a whole bowlful, piping hot! The scrunched up noodles work well, so I'm thinking of making some kind of Oriental thingy with ground/minced chicken. If the meat, veg, herbs, etc, are turned into a thick sauce and poured over noodles, it makes a tasty and hearty dish that's easy to manage without dentures. And it's a welcome change from soup! Maybe I could do something with canned tuna or salmon as well, like a mornay.

Episode two of the TV program I mentioned a week ago where people of different religions spend a week with each other was on again last night. A Buddhist who spent a week with Catholics was rather taken with their ceremonies, the concept of a God and Heaven. On the other hand, a Catholic who stayed a week with Buddhist monks at a temple in the tropical rainforest of Far North Queensland decided no God and no Heaven wasn't for him. I get the feeling that the size of the carrot is the determining factor for Catholics.

From the Beeb: At least one person is reported dead and several others injured in a series of tornadoes that have torn through the US state of Oklahoma. The worst damage was caused by a tornado near the town of Shawnee, 35 miles (55km) from Oklahoma City, local media report. A mobile home park near Shawnee is said to have been levelled to the ground. Where the hell do you hide from one of those things?

The amount of time asthma patients spend soaking up the sun may have an impact on the illness, researchers have suggested. A team at King's College London said low levels of vitamin D, which is made by the body in sunlight, was linked to a worsening of symptoms. Its latest research shows the vitamin calms an over-active part of the immune system in asthma. Oregon Richie suffers from asthma and allergies. He may find this article worth reading.

Rod Stewart has scored his first UK number one album for 34 years, going straight to the top with his LP, Time. Time is Stewart's first album of new material for two decades and was inspired by the process of writing his recent autobiography. The old rocker is still rockin'.

Writer's block, huh? That makes sense because Stewart released two albums a few years ago of old standards, both of which I have and love. But the reason he chose those songs rather than writing his own new ones is now apparent. It happens to the best of them - a period where the creative juices dry up for a while.

Things come apart. A series of photographs of everyday gadgets in bits taken by a Canadian photographer with a passion for seeing how things work.

Another gorgeous day in the sun (chilly this morning though) so I drove out to Ford and booked PJ in for a sticky speedo needle. I was concerned that accessing the speedo would be a complicated job but no. Depends though on what's causing the prob whether they can do it or have to send it somewhere. Then I had a hair cut, visited the pharmacy and picked up the laundry. It'll be a chilly night again sooooo the hot water bottle will get another run under the covers. Keeps the lower digits toasty.

Here's a GN forum thread with pics of a large motorhome that got stuck in a gutter. Good thing another camper had the equipment to come to the rescue. I don't think PJ will have those kinda probs.

Now here's one you'll enjoy... a NASA experiment in space - what happens when you wring a wet towel?

Wanna hear a racist joke? Due to a water shortage in Ireland, Dublin swimming baths have announced they are closing lanes 7 and 8....

AND... After 100 years lying on the sea bed, Irish divers were amazed to find that the Titanic's swimming pool was still full.

One more: Paddy is doing some roofing work for Murphy He nears the top of the ladder and starts shaking and going dizzy. He calls down to Murphy and says, "I tink I will ave to go home, I've come all over giddy and feel sick."
Murphy asks "Ave yer got vertigo?"
Paddy replies "No, I only live round the corner."

And here we are again. More noodles, bol and parmesan - great stuff! And telly, of course. Australian Story is on tonight - confessions by "shock-jock" Ray Hadley. I remember him when he was a kid out of school working at 2UE. He was forever asking people if he could help out with something - eager to get experience at everything and anything to do with radio. He was actually a bloody nuisance. But, here he is today, 30+ years down the track, Sydney's #1 shock-jock and TV football caller. There ya go. Another bloke of the same vintage, at 2DAY FM when I was there, used the same tactics. I remember him asking me if he could write a radio ad in long hand. Can't remember his name but he's a regular on TV chat shows and owns a pub or two. Where did I go wrong? I figured it out. I'm not a people person as in socializing and "being seen". I'm also not ambitious. But I can cook! Gary

May 19, 2013. I mentioned to Oregon Richie that it takes capital to set up a business - unless it's like my old biz. All I needed was a computer and phone. So I got to thinking about going back to making a buck from what I know best, and this is what I came up with.

I also realized that the green columns on the left and right of the Waffle and Journal pages are not independent of the text area in the center, so last night I designed a new journal page with independent columns. The left will feature a Quick Find Index of the various places I visit during that particular month (instead of having to scroll down a lengthy page), and the right will have permanent links to all the pages on the AO site (as does the main index page). If you're reading a journal entry and wish to visit another area of the site, you won't need to go back to the main home page. Evolution, my dear Wafflers.

FL Josh wrote: Obviously from your Aborigine joke, they are notorious thieves (else that part wouldn't be funny) so it must be scary having a family of them across the street from you.  Hopefully you keep your camper locked up.

That's the point, Josh. Such jokes make out that all Aborigines are thieves, which was my objection to it. Jokes about race can be quite funny as well as clever, but I thought that one was a cruel generalization. There are places in Oz where Aborigines have a reputation for lawlessness, drunkenness, drugs, etc, but they are largely the fault of a government handout system that tries to make the problem go away by throwing money at it. Fortunately, that's changing now with better education and incentives for Aborigines to achieve job skills and greater independence. The family across the road from here is exemplary, and far better behaved than many whites. In any case, I've known quite a few Aborigines over the years without ever having met any who stole an entire country.

Josh also wrote: I have lusted over Maybachs for years.  If I could buy any car in the world, that would be my choice.  It will be interesting to see what Mercedes comes up with to compete.

Men always stand flat-footed while women place one ankle in front of the other. At least models do.

Ever heard of the Karunjie Track? Here's a pic taken by a GN who was there. He says even the mud crabs were baked on the ground. Here's another view of the same area.

You've heard of the Little Drummer Boy, roite? This little bloke is 4.

Back from a wee dose of inner shedness, this time with a cuppa. Nope, didn't make it down there... made it here in the house and took it down, but it was still pleasant to sit there in the warmth of the camper (beautiful day outside but cold in the house) and sip the cuppa while letting my imagination run wild. One GN who's been on a solo trip said he arrived home, unpacked, got in trouble with the missus, got an earful from the kids, and wished he could turn around, go back to his rig and head out the drive again. Hehe.

How's this for a company car? I just Googled John Aust realty. Guess what? He's in Orange, which is out West in NSW near Bathurst. But it's also in California, which explains why the car's steering wheel is on the wrong side.

From the Beeb: A senior female Pakistani politician has been shot dead in the southern port city of Karachi. Zahra Shahid Hussain was the senior vice-president of Pakistan's Movement for Justice party (PTI), led by former international cricketer Imran Khan. She was killed by gunmen on a motorcycle outside her home in the city's upmarket Defence neighbourhood. Her murder comes on the eve of a highly-contested partial re-run of last Saturday's general election. I think I'll stay in Oz.

Australia is famous for its wildlife - kangaroos, koalas and numerous species of snakes and spiders - but it is also home to the world's largest herd of camels. There are about 750,000 roaming wild in the outback and they cause a host of problems. Curried camel pie, anyone?

David Cameron's support for gay marriage has made winning the general election "virtually impossible", Conservative activists have said. In a letter to the PM, more than 30 past and present local party chairmen warned his backing for a change of law had led to voters switching to UKIP. It's the other way around here. The majority of Aussies favor it but the pollies are too lily livered.

So how was the bolognaise last night? Bewdiful! My eyes were bigger than my tummy though and I filled the bowl. But it was great to eat FOOD even though no chewing was involved. I broke the noodles up into little bits and the bol was swallowable without "gumming it". Half a cake of noodles would have been plenty. Live and learn. I'll have some more tonight.

A lot of GNs talk about "the big loop" but I'm not so sure what my Odyssey trail will look like. It'll be slow, I reckon, and I suspect my trail will look something akin to those cooling elements at the back of a fridge. Up, down, up down, plus a few side to side detours, and some shaped like a W. The only thing of which I'm certain is wherever I head, it'll be away from where I've been, all of which depends on the seasons. Is that as clear as mud? Thought so. Anyway, it dozen really madder. Point A will cease to exist once I leave. And B? Well, who the bloody hell knows where B is hehe.

Anyway, back to Kelly's Copy. The new page is something that will sit there. It costs nothing. If someone comes along and is interested, great. If not, I ain't gonna chase it. Besides, I'm not looking for a career. For a long time I've thought about AO and its potential for merchandising. But what? Photos? T shirts? That sounds too complicated. You gotta have stuff manufactured and then you gotta worry about shipping and all that crap. Soooooo, it occurred to me that the best and least complicated thing to merchandise is little ol' me. The man himself. Matter of fact, hang on a tick while I tidy up a few things. Roite... there goes the photo prints and Red Bubble link. Dumb idea anyway, especially since I haven't even started travelling yet. One of these days when I've got a pretty fair "inventory" as Richie calls it, I'll organize calendars featuring 12 great shots and merchandise them through Red Bubble. For now, forget it.

Furthermore, dear Breth, I can make as much folding stuff from a serious ad campaign as... well, I better not say hehe. Suffice to say it's a helluva lot more than what you get for a few T shirts. AND... andandandandandandand... it doesn't matter where in the world a client is, just as it doesn't matter where in Oz I happen to be. Isn't the internet a wonderful thang?

Okies, telly and bol time. Gary

May 18, 2013. A GN posted a "joke" about two Aborigines riding a motorbike on a highway. The bike broke down so they began hitching. A truck driver pulled over to see if he could help and they asked for a lift. He said there was no room cos he was carrying 20,000 lawn bowls but if they could fit in the back he'd give them a ride. Later, the driver was pulled over for speeding by a highway patrol cop who asked what he was carrying. "A load of indigenous eggs," he joked. The cop didn't believe him so he opened the back door and quickly slammed it shut and locked it. Then he got onto his radio and called for immediate backup from as many officers as possible. The dispatcher asked what kind of emergency would require so many officers. 'I've got a truck with 20,000 Abo eggs in it - 2 have hatched and have already managed to steal a motorbike'.

One commenter said it was politically incorrect but funny away. Another said it was the joke of the year. I found it distasteful but wondered whether to make a critical comment or to ignore it. After a while, this comment occurred to me: Ah, yes. Now I get it. The cop was not only racist but also downright stupid. Bit subtle perhaps but I think I made my point.

FL Josh wrote: This is incredible, both as to the personalty of Aimee Copeland, the young lady who about a year ago, had to have her hands and feet amputated to save her life after she contracted a flesh eating bacteria, and the new technology.  Plus, she is changing her handicap to something positive, using it to be the source of her livelihood, becoming a spokesperson for the company that makes the prosthetic arms.

How sensible. The old spilt milk gets the flick and it's on with a new life. Oregon Richie knows all about that.

Back from a little shopping for bolognaise ingredients - ground pork/veal, bol sauce with red wine and garlic (on spesh for $2), fresh garlic, mushrooms, onion, herbs, bay leaves. Rather than spaghetti I'll use scrunched up noodles. Hopefully, it'll all slide down the screech without any probs. Oh... and parmesan. The soup version last night wasn't bad but lacked MEAT and oomph.

Roite. The bol's made and simmering on the stove. Some people simmer for 10 minutes or so (after initial browning of meat, onion and garlic) but I like to simmer on very low for an hour-ish with the lid on. Then cool and serve it later. It's even better the next day. The Italians, who make the best bol, use a process of reduction over a couple of hours... simmering with no lid until the liquid is reduced, then adding more tomato sauce, reducing again, more sauce, reducing again, etc, until the bolognaise is rich and perfect. Mine's pretty good though, and better than most restaurants I've tried. The stuff you buy frozen or packaged is HORRIBLE.

From the Beeb: France's president has signed into law a controversial bill making the country the eighth in Europe, and 14th globally, to legalise gay marriage. My parents are probably turning in their grave.

About 60 people have been injured, five critically, after a head-on, rush-hour collision between two commuter trains near New York City, officials say. Some 250 people were on the trains involved in Friday evening's crash. No fatalities have been reported

The US has chided Russia for what it calls an "unfortunate decision" to send missiles to the Syrian government. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey said the shipment "will embolden the regime and prolong the suffering" that has killed 80,000. The sophisticated anti-ship missiles could be used to counter any future foreign military intervention, US officials told The New York Times.

Incidentally, I watched Michael Parkinson being interviewed last night. He's interviewed a thousand celebrities from the Arts over 30+ years and said part of the fascination was why some people made it to the very top of their profession and not others. He was asked what made the difference and said, "Hard work. Without a doubt, hard work. But they don't see it as hard work. They see it as something they must do to achieve their goal." Then he was asked if he owed his own success to hard work. "Well, yes, but again I didn't see it as work. I've worked every day of my life since I was 16." Parky is now in his early 70s.

Mercedes-Benz has revealed its 2014 S-Class flagship models, vehicles that promise to match – and handily top – the technology, opulence and style of Maybach’s vaunted 57 and 62 sedans. “The best automobile in the world”, is Mercedes’ claim for the car – audacious, but, considering the model’s long and storied history, and the stupendous array of advanced technology in this latest generation, entirely possible. Ah yes, I had one - a 1967 model, and what a grand old bus she was.

Another bit of pooter housekeeping today - did a scan for malware and found a couple of sneaky bastards. They're gone now, and my internet speed has improved. There was a time when I would call the mobile techie for that kinda thing. Not now! I'm spending my loot on more important things.

A bit of a shorty today, ladies and genitals. But I'm looking forward to that bol tonight! Can't wait! Gary

May 17, 2013. Another Frideeeeeee! On the one hand they seem to come around rather quickly, but on the other, the next one (getting closer to the final spend on PJ) seems quite distant. The big splurge is now about one month away. Lemme see... the total cost of PJ with extra goodies will be about ten grand. That's not bad considering it's fully fitted with solar, twin awnings, a/c, as well as refurbished inside.

The Aussie dollar is now below parity with the USD (0.98 cents) since the USD is on the rise. Ours has been way too high anyway, and most manufacturers, exporters here would like to see it at around 0.75 cents US. Fortunately, I'll have made all my PJ purchases before things become dearer. If I get 4 or 5 years out of PJ before it needs updating I'll be happy. By then it'll still be worth about 5 grand, maybe more, and my savings should be pretty healthy.

FL Josh wrote: The article you linked to about the $600 VW I think was all wet.  I read through that thing and wondered how the hell they could come up with a carbon fiber body and all the other things for $600, even in China.  Well, the price is actually €20,000 and €30,000 ($31,400 to $47,100) according to the Wikipedia page you had a link to. With a price that high, they should put wider tires on it and a basket in back and the wealthy can have a street legal golf cart.

Yep, $600 wouldn't even buy the wheels. But I suppose in cities choked by peak-hour traffic, there's a demand for such buzz boxes. Sydney is spending billions on major arterial links to satellite cities within the greater metropolitan area, and has been for decades. But the point is, once you get to where you're going, where the hell do you park? Even if you do find a park, it costs a fortune. Somebody said the other day that it costs $55 an hour to park at Sydney airport. Parking at Taree airport is free, with no time limit hehe.

Speaking of parking, here's a customized '48 Mercury that parked outside this house a few days ago.

Josh also writes: In watching your new video, I noticed the Manning Valley Railroad recycles.  At 11:16 into your video, you can see on the wall, a banner saying Manning Valley Railroad 90th Anniversary Celebration, 1913-2003!!!

An astute observation, Josh. From what I gather, the local council employs a bloke to put signs up but hasn't got around to employing a bloke to take them down again. Lack of funds, I suppose. When I drove to the station the other day to photograph the Commemorative Plaque of the Centenary they told me it hasn't been put up yet, so the bloke who puts things up could be on holidays... or taking a sickie. Things are pretty relaxed around here ya know.

Back from seeing my GP. Blood pressure's fine, happy with the modest weight gain, new scripts, thank you very much, seeya later. "Gotta keep things moving around here ya know," he said as he booted me out the door. Actually, I made a reference to my RB calendar on his wall and he said he gets quite a few comments from patients who are always surprised it's a local (photographer). That's the mindset... ya can't have talent if you're a country boy. 

As I drove around town, did a little shopping, and then headed home, I thought how weird it's gonna be when home could be the parking lot hehe. Or anywhere that takes my fancy. That's gonna be the hardest thing to get used to. It ain't gonna be like swapping one house for another, which I've done numerous times over the years. This is gonna be  r-a-d-i-c-a-l.

From the Beeb: A quarter of gay people surveyed in a major EU poll say they have been subjected to attacks or violent threats in the past five years. Poorer and younger respondents were more likely to face discrimination due to their sexuality, the survey found. The EU's Fundamental Rights Agency surveyed 93,000 people in the EU and Croatia for what it calls the most comprehensive survey of its kind. Friday marks the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Hmmm. When you think about it, it's a bit like having an International Day against Irrational Fear. These days, if you're gay you don't go to a shrink. But if you're phobic, you should.

A tornado has ripped through a town in the US state of Texas, resulting in six deaths, officials say. Homes were destroyed when the tornado hit Granbury, 70 miles (110km) west of Dallas, late on Wednesday. Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds warned the death toll could rise as rescue teams search the area. Storm chaser Jeff Mangum was among those who filmed the tornado. He described the sight as "incredible".

New York officials say they have busted a multi-million dollar cigarette smuggling ring. Officials allege that three of the 16 Palestinian immigrants charged had links to known terrorists. The state's attorney general said investigators had recovered only "a fraction" of the proceeds from sales of more than a million untaxed cartons. With the preposterous price of cigarettes in Oz it's bound to happen here too, if not already.

A constitutional body in Iran has ruled that women cannot run in presidential elections scheduled for 14 June. Mohammad Yazdi, a clerical member of the Guardian Council, said the constitution ruled out the participation of women. That's the way it is over there. You have to be male and mentally disturbed.

Roite, just finished a bit of housekeeping with this old Toshiba... backing up stuff and freeing some disk space. I did a defrag last night and tonight I'll do a cleanup with CCleaner. The last mobile techie left CCleaner and Smart Defrag installed on my pooter. The poor old thing was getting a bit like me in its old age.

Bolognaise soup tonight. Basically 60% tomato, 20% pasta and a bit of beef. I'll add some parmesan and pulse it a bit to make the pasta a bit more manageable. If it works out okay I might make my own and break the spaghetti into little pieces.. Yeah? I need FOOD. Actually, Averil says she does her noodles that way... breaks it up before cooking. I love noodles.

And now for something completely different. I just had a peek at the GN forum to see what was going on and someone posted this link to a vid of a baby elephant having a whale of time in the mud.

The GN also posted this story: A couple made a deal that whoever died first would come back and inform the other of the afterlife. Their biggest fear was that there was no afterlife. After a long life, the husband was the first to go, and true to his word he made contact, "Connie....Connie. "...
"Is that you, Joe?"
"Yes, I've come back like we agreed."
"What's it like?"
"Well, I get up in the morning, I have sex. I have breakfast, off to the golf course, I have sex. I bathe in the sun, and then I have sex
twice. I have lunch, another romp around the golf course, then sex pretty much all afternoon. After supper, golf course again. Then have sex until late at night. The next day it starts again."
"Oh, Joe you surely must be in heaven."
"Not exactly, I'm a rabbit on a golf course in Arizona."

Roite, that'll do. Time for a bit of telly. Gary

May 16, 2013. A tad cool and cloudy today, and not the time to be at this latitude. If I were on the Odyssey right now I'd be further north, up there in sunny Queensland with the bananas and pineapples. 

The other day, I sent this link to Oregon Richie, who's a bit of a plane buff. Then I saw this one on Red Bubble of the same plane flying over Sydney. So he wrote: Was surely a splendid and nice day when the photo from the classic Beech was taken, and that's a great one... in that for Sydney "it's got it all" in terms of the Opera House and the famous bridge.  Nice boats having a nice time.  I wonder what a huge Aircraft Carrier would look like in the harbour?  Might be an interesting photoshop project sometime. Well, who needs photoshop when you can have the real thing? Like USS Kitty Hawk.

TX Greg wrote in response to the Rail Centenary video: The vid played great with no buffering problems and didn't notice any shaking at all. Liked where you climbed up on something to get the bag piper shot, which is why I think it would be neat if you did a little more off-eyelevel shots like we talked about before. And hey I thought you were a pro at getting on your knees, hahaha :)

Cheeky bugger. It was a platform bench I climbed onto to get the bagpipers. Climbing and kneeling for me ain't as easy as it useta was, and I suspect it ain't gonna improve in the coming years. However, I know what you mean, Greg. Perspective is everything in photography.

NC Art wrote: Enjoyed the rail centenary vid. I recognized Waltzing Matilda and A Long Way to Tipperary, but some other bagpipe skirling and squalling was baffling. And hard on the ears.

Lindsay thought so too. He closed the door to the living room while I was editing, hehe. There's a Scottish Festival in Wingham later this month. Think I should go there for a shoot?

   Yep, the Tablemate is a useful eyesore. I have had mine for near 20 years and it now carries a wireless keyboard, mouse pad, monitor, bills and bank statements. It’s looking a bit ratty, but wotall it’s handy.

I'm like you, Art. Piles of junk all over the desk with barely any clear space. The floor is also useful for filing "I'll get around to it later" stuff but rarely do.

From the Beeb: Embryonic stem cells: Advance in medical human cloning. Human cloning has been used to produce early embryos, marking a "significant step" for medicine, say US scientists. The cloned embryos were used as a source of stem cells, which can make new heart muscle, bone, brain tissue or any other type of cell in the body. Farewell to three score and ten.

The head of the US tax agency has quit after it emerged his staff singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny, President Barack Obama has announced.

I watched Lindsay this morning in the kitchen buttering crumpets. *sigh* He wasn't using PROPER butter though... he uses margarine. Bleh. Somebody on the GN forum was talking about mock fish. Wot? It's an old recipe a lot of GNs remember from their childhood but I don't. There's no fish involved... just grated potato, squeezed to remove liquid, and then mixed with raw egg to form patties shallow fried in oil. Sounds like hash browns to me... or potato cakes. Grated is cool cos you get lots of bits that stick out and that go all crunchy when fried. Yum! I suppose you could use the same mixture rolled into smallish balls and deep fried.

Have you tried papadums? Delish! I saw them being cooked over a gas flame recently. No pan, just straight onto the flame for a few seconds, turning once, until golden and crisp, and then onto a plate. Using tongs, of course. You could cook papadums that way over a campfire instead of marshmallos.

Oh dear... how I long for CRUNCH! Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch.

Back from delivering the DVD to Averil and a bit of chat... cut short by the arrival of Ken, the Weather Report. Can't stand the silly old git. He is soooo infuriatingly ignorant! He's no sooner through the door than he starts yapping and completely takes over without any consideration of what others in the room might have been doing or chatting about prior to his arrival. Fortunately, I spotted him as he crossed the lawn, so I was out of my seat and ready to leave. Grrrrr.

FL Josh wrote: This video was interesting, a see thru 1965 Corvette Stingray.

Oh... for some strange reason I was thinking see thru something else. Never mind.

Back from a little inner shedness and testing the adjustable table in the camper. No workies. The sofa is too high off the floor. But I can use the laptop table with the bead bag for inside, and a camp chair with the adjustable table outside. Or even bring the camp chair inside. No worries. And guess what I noticed? There's part of the camper that's made in the good ol' US of A - Dayton Ohio, to be precise. It's the heavy bell-shaped housings at both ends of the table pedestal that screw into the floor at one end and the underside of the table at the other.

Wanna see a shot courtesy of NASA with clouds, birds, the moon and Venus all at the same time? It's pretty damn cool.

The two pics above were posted on the Grey Nomads Forum, by the way. I'm stealing stuff again.

Oh... and have you heard about VW's new $600 car that gets 258mpg? No, folks, it's not a toy! I've since discovered that the 2009 concept model has been superseded, and the production version is due later this year.

Here's a shot (posted in the GN photo comp) of a road near Georgetown, outback QLD. If it weren't for that truck on the road, you'd think those "boulders" weren't very big.

Here's a shot of a spot near "Living Desert" just outside Broken Hill (NSW/SA border). The poster calls himself Rockylizard and has travelled Australia extensively, especially the outback which he loves.

'Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I have been with a loose girl . . .'
The priest asks, 'Is that you, little Dominic Savino?'
'Yes, Father, it is.'
'And who was the girl you were with?'
'I can't tell you, Father. I don't want to ruin her reputation.'
"Well, Dominic, I'm sure to find out her name sooner or later so you may as well tell me now. Was it Tina Minetti?'
'I cannot say.'
'Was it Teresa Mazzarelli?'
'I'll never tell.'
'Was it Nina Capelli?'
'I'm sorry, but I cannot name her.'
'Was it Cathy Piriano?'
'My lips are sealed.'
'Was it Rosa DiAngelo, then?'
'Please, Father, I cannot tell you.'
The priest sighs in frustration. 'You're very tight lipped, and I admire that. But you've sinned and have to atone. You cannot be an altar boy now for 4 months. Now you go and behave yourself.'
Dominic walks back to his pew, and his friend Franco slides over and whispers, 'What'd you get?'
'Four months vacation and five good leads.'

Whale, time to split, beetle, skedaddle, shoot through, watch a bit of telly, drink dinner (yeah), hit the sack, and do it all again tomorrow... except for seeing my GP for new scripts and a brief checkup. Thanks for the feedback and input. Gary

May 15, 2013. Well, clever little G here worked on the video of the centenary of rail last night and got it finished. It was too late to upload it though so I'm doing that now - after 4 hours of editing I was ready to hit the sack. Had a really interesting dream too. Wanna know about my dream? Okay.

I was in a jail cell, feeling rather depressed about having done some - I thought - pretty special filming of young and upcoming talent. I had the feeling I wasn't appreciated and that no one cared. Then a red-haired kid appeared on the other side of the bars and asked to be let in. My heart soared! It was one of the kids I'd filmed! I couldn't believe he came back to thank me. When he walked in, he shook my hand and smiled, and I hugged him. Then I ran my fingers through his shock of red hair and told him that's how I looked when I was his age. He was telling me how appreciative he was of my work, and thanked me for having faith in his talent. Are you with me, dear Breth? Guess who the red-haired kid was? And then I woke up feeling pretty good. :o)

Oh, and my little adjustable table. I used it last night to form a return with my main desk and it worked a treat. So I was able to keep the Toshiba on line and use the Acer for editing the vid. Actually, I wouldn't mind buying a second table as a spare. $15 is cheap! How cheap? Breaker, breaker. Calling NC Art. Come in Art. Over.

    That magical folding table truly is a marvel and does indeed require special handling. DO NOT LIFT BY THE TABLE TOP. SLIDE THE DAMNED THING TO WHERE YOU WANT IT. And, strips of foam glued to bottom supports will expedite sliding without friction and tipping over. I know because I bought one year ago because a new laptop comp ran too hot to hold on the lap. At the time it was sold only by Vermont Country Store … for $75.00! A month after ordering it had not arrived and the company sent a replacement … which arrived along with the original. I shipped one back being an overly honest bloke. Within another month the damned things could be bought anywhere for $23.00. Sooo, you got a bargain, friend.

Indeedy I diddy, Arty. However, being the tricky little Dicky I am, I discovered that if you grab the table top at the leading edge where it's hinged to the legs, you can lift and move it without the support dropping out of its slot. Indeedy doody, the support does click into the slot if you give it a bit of encouragement. Oh... and I discovered the hiding place of the dooverlackie that plugs into the holes at the base of the table top to stop things sliding off during slope mode for magazine or newspaper reading.

   I’ve a hard time with apostrophes. Plural, possessive, possessive plurals or what the ‘ell. Is it the Court of St. James or St. James’ or St. James’es or St. James’s or wot?!  Oo gives a fart?

Oregon Richie was impressed with the photo album: Of course... VERY good photo shoot you took at the 100th year celebration of rail.  Very good collection and nice perspectives; yep... downright bitchin', really.  Good shots of the mechanical bits and engines, too... and don't think I have ever seen such a classic RHD Chrysler like the one in that picture.  Of course, I did note the Range Rover in some of the first pictures as background as well.

Yep, trust Richie to notice that. He's a LR freak. Anyway, as I wrote him, no point in doing a soft shoe without an audience, and it's always nice to get feedback.

A little drama here with uploading the vid to Youtube. Stalled at 84% so I waited for 10 minutes. Then I disconnected and reconnected the modem. Still at 84% for 10 minutes. THEN 85, 86... Now it's 92 and creeping. Don't stop now, baby. Not far to go. Still at 92. I can't watch. It's too painful. Ooer! 93. Shall I take another peek? Ready? GGM! (Goodness, gracious me!) 98%! Slowly, slowly. Now 99%. One more to go, baby. You can do it! Ah ha! 100%. Now it's processing. Huh? This is taking longer than expected. Your video has been queued and will be processed as soon as possible. What a pain! Oh well... just leave it and hope that the damn thing does what it's supposed to do. I don't wanna go through all that bullshit again.

Now where was we? Hello? The processing stalled at 95%. Then there was a message to say the video may be shaky - whatever shaky means - and would I like it fixed. YES! Now it's supposedly fixed and "will be ready shortly". Looked fine when I converted it to .wmv last night and played it. So I dunno what they're talking about. Meanwhile, Youtube's version of "shortly" is different to mine.

It was budget night in Oz last night, and The Drum had a "Budget Special" program, followed by the reading of the budget by the Treasurer in Parliament. BORING! Which was good in a way cos I switched off the telly and edited the rail video instead. Later, when I watched the news, they showed excerpts of the Treasurer doing his thing. His speech wasn't about the budget, it was about how appropriate it was, and good for Australia's future it was, and how his party took brave decisions to ensure fiscal stability, etc, etc, etc. The guy should be selling vacuum cleaners. What a lotta codswallop.

Politicians live in their own little world. Many, many times I've seen them interviewed on news or current affairs programs and wondered why the hell anyone bothers. They sidestep questions with answers like "the fact of the matter is..." and then go off on a tangent hehe. Or "that's not the real issue, Penelope, the question should be..." And they put spin on everything. When things go wrong or don't turn out as promised, they paint a rosy picture anyway. And by the time they finish their little ramble, you're none the wiser. Even when they actually do something worthwhile, the opposition can't wait to pull it apart and tell you everything that's bad about it. What a circus.

Well, Youtube put my "shaky" video through some kind of automatic fixit process and emailed me to advise that it was ready to view. They fixed some shaky bits I suppose, but put shake into the bits that were okay. What a mess! They asked if I wanted to keep the edit or dump it, so I dumped it. Now they're processing it again. Meanwhile, I checked my broadband usage with my ISP and it's 5 times higher than average for a single day.

And here it is at last, the long awaited video. I hope your connection speed is better than mine... mine keeps stalling.

From the Beeb: US President Barack Obama has said the federal tax agency's targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny was "intolerable and inexcusable". He said those responsible for the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) actions would be held responsible. Dunno what that's all about but it sounds serious.

Oops! Guess what I forgot? In all the excitement of the rail centenary I didn't take a pic of the commemorative plaque unveiled by the Premier on Saturday, so I drove to the railway station just now. Plaque? What plaque? Oh, that plaque? No, it hasn't been put up yet. There ya go.

Russia says it will expel a US diplomat briefly detained in Moscow for allegedly trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer as a spy. Oh, dear, oh, dear, what will those devious Americans get up to next?

The authorities in Brazil have ruled that marriage licences should not be denied to same-sex couples. The council that oversees the country's judiciary said it was wrong for some offices just to issue civil union documents when the couple wanted full marriage certificates. Correspondents say the decision in effect authorises gay marriage. And so say all of us... almost.

An Air India flight was forced to land after the pilot was locked out of the cockpit during a toilet break, the airline says. He was unable to gain access to the cockpit because of a jammed door

The Dambusters raid: How effective was it? Seventy years ago an RAF bomber raid destroyed important German dams. At the time many argued it was only a propaganda victory. It was much more than that, writes historian Dan Snow.

Two old Aussie diggers are enjoying a beer in a pub when one says to the other, "Did you know lions have sex 10 to 15 times a night?" His mate swallows a mouthful of beer and says, "Oh, shit. And I just joined Rotary."

Just burned a DVD of the rail thingy for Averil and watched it on the TV. Works okay and the quality is fine, so if there's a prob with the Youtube version it must've happened during the upload.

Well, that's the story for today's Waffle, dear Breth. Back to normal now. I see there's the World Titles of Power Boat Racing on the Manning later this month but it's boats going around and around and around.... soooo... no. Also later this month there's Weekend of Wheels with hotrods, vintage cars, dragsters, bikes, etc. I'll check it out. But for now it's time to catch up with the telly. Gary

May 14, 2013. $11.80. Yeah? That's what I won in last night's Lotto. Hehe.

Well, last night after I'd managed to de-frazzle and settle down, I got stuck into posting the journal page and link to the rail centary photo album. I'll start work on editing the video soon.

On Sunday night, I watched a show on Oz TV about "swapping religion". A Catholic was asked to spend a week with an Indian family of Hindus, and a Buddhist was asked to spend a week with a group of young Catholics. The Catholic living with the Indian family fell madly in love with them as well as their culture, although she did have some difficulty adjusting to their religious ceremonies at home. At the end of the week, the Catholic had become so attached to her new Indian friends, she was reduced to tears - not so much because she was leaving but because she was convinced they would spend eternity in Hell for not having accepted Jesus into their hearts.

The young Buddhist had the same problem with the group of Catholics. They kept referring to the Bible when ever they chatted about their beliefs, saying the Buddhist was doomed to spending eternity in Hell if he didn't accept Jesus. In other words, there was only one road to Heaven and theirs was it. The Hindus and Buddhist were far more tolerant and "forgiving" of their Catholic friends.

And speaking of compassionate Christians, or otherwise, NC Art sent this: A woman had just returned to her home from an evening of church services, when she was startled by an intruder. She caught the man in the act of robbing her home of its valuables and yelled: 'Stop! Acts 2:38!' (Repent and be Baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven.) The burglar stopped in his tracks. The woman calmly called the police and explained what she had done. As the officer cuffed the man to take him in, he asked the burglar: 'Why did you just stand there? All the old lady did was yell a scripture to you.'

'Scripture?' replied the burglar. 'She said she had an Ax and Two 38's!'

Well, so much for the mini digital TV. The electronics store answered my email and said basically tough luck. I've checked the prices on eBay for similar TVs and they're $200-ish or more. Looks like I'll make do with the 18" I already have. It's not strictly portable but it'll do. It's the one I use at home already.

Back from shopping and spotting another irresistible cheapie from the Home Art closing down sale... an adjustable table for $15. Perfect for the laptop on tour and other things like a side table, originally $60. Pity I hadn't seen something like it when I asked Stan the Lawn Man to make one. His weighs a ton - and is now redundant. Oh well...

From the Beeb: A Philadelphia doctor has been convicted of the first-degree murders of three babies delivered and killed with scissors in late-term abortions. Dr Kermit Gosnell, 72, was acquitted on another charge of killing a fourth baby, who let out a whimper before he cut its neck, prosecutors said. Oh dear...that's taking the abortion issue way too far!

Police in southern Russia are questioning three men over a murder reportedly motivated by homophobia. The victim's naked body had been dumped in a courtyard in the city of Volgograd. His skull was smashed and he had been raped with beer bottles. A suspect told police he had been killed because he was gay. Oh really?

Apostrophe now: Bad grammar and the people who hate it. Children are again to be subject to a rigorous examination in grammar. But why does it make adults so cross when other adults break the rules? A new grammar and spelling test arrives in primary schools in England this week. It is the first time in a while that such emphasis has been put on grammar. Yes, it can be a tad annoying. Misuse of apostrophes is my main bitch. But I suffer it. *sigh*

I really like that little folding table. Magic! The only fault is that the support under the table doesn't click into place and hold firm. If you lift the table by its top the support drops away. Something to keep in mind. Otherwise it's ideal, and quite well made. It's one of those handly little items that goes a long way to making life more comfortable.

Well, I'm itching to start editing the Rail Centenary video so I'll end today's Waffle, update it, shut down this comp and use the little Acer. Depending on how I go, it may be ready for tomorrow. We'll see. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the photo album. Gary

May 13, 2012. Back from Port Macquarie and it's late afternoon. I'm buggered and frazzled. However, the doc was cool and said I'm doing pretty well. Even put on a couple of kilos. My dry mouth/saliva problem is improving. So is taste. He wants to see me again in 3 months, though, just to make sure everything is going to plan. Next, it's the doc in Sydney to determine my suitability for an operation to remove the exposed bone in my gum. That happens in early June.

After seeing the doc in Port Macquarie, I drove to the electronics store to see about the mini digital TV. Out of stock despite what it said on the web site. Then I got a load of crap about why they were out of stock and why the thing wasn't a big seller in the first place - it was designed for caravans and most people with caravans want a bigger screen. Well, I don't have a bigger caravan and I don't want a bigger screen. In fact, I already have a bigger screen. I WANT A MINI! He rang the other store but they didn't answer the phone. It just rang and rang and rang. So the kid gave me directions to drive there. I got lost. Seriously lost. So I drove back to the store for directions again. Then I got lost again. I drove all over town until I finally got sooooo frustrated I decided to call it quits and drive back to Taree.

When I arrived here I was starving, so I had a quick gulp and swallowed my morning medication (at 2:30pm). Then I tried to order the TV on line. Sorry. No home delivery included with this one. I rang the store. Same as before. It rang and rang and rang and rang until it cut out. So I wrote a long letter of complaint on the store's national web site and emailed it. I am soooooo peeved! Hours wasted buggerizing around, as well as fuel. And all for nothing. I'm pretty sure the lack of teeth has something to do with it ya know... people assume I'm mentally disabled or something because I sound weird. They just wanna get rid of me.

And to make matters worse, the speedo needle in the truck sticks. It must have been a town truck in its past life cos once the needle gets up to 70 or 80kph, it sticks. I was keeping up with traffic so I must have been doing 100 or more.

Anyway, I'm still starving, so now I'm getting stuck into a smoothie with the works. Oh yes... the doc is pleased that my appetite has improved. 

NC Art wrote: Vintage horseless carriages are an endless source of interest … even envy. A brother once drove home in a Chrysler touring car which cost him $60. The thing was a monster, sporting a rear seating area with large and roomy upholstered seat, plus two fold-down jump seats. A family of Gypsies could have fit nicely.

The thing was powerful also. Four forward gears plus an extra low and an overdrive cruising gear. Two reverse gears, the lowest of which could out pull a farm tractor. Alas, the beast didn’t last long. A piston cracked and could not be replaced. Turns out that in those days of auto making, a mis-sized part was simply machined to fit the engine under assembly! The cracked piston was oversized and the engine cylinder had been bored to fit! No mechanic was willing to try a fix. Too bad. But we had a ball while it lasted.

I stayed up a bit later than usual last night putting the photo album together with captions. Once I write the journal page I'll upload both. Then I'll get stuck into the video. 

Speaking of cars, this is what Peugeot was doing in 1938. Aeroflow front, concealed headlights and stowaway roof.

From the Beeb: A Hong Kong transsexual has won the right to marry her boyfriend, following an appeal to Hong Kong's top court. The Court of Final Appeal ruled that Hong Kong's current law, which barred the transsexual woman from marrying her male partner, is unconstitutional.

Nineteen people have been wounded in a shooting at a Mother's Day parade in the US city of New Orleans, police say. The victims included two children who were grazed by bullets. Police say most injuries are not life-threatening. "It appears that these two or three people, just for a reason unknown to us, started shooting at, towards, or in the crowd," Police Supt Ronal Serpas told reporters earlier.

Well, I'm buggered after all the running around with cameras the past few days, and then the TV shamozzle today. So, after a well earned snooze, I'll be back tomorrow. Gary

May 12, 2013. Busy, busy, busy. But it was a great shoot. Two steam locos and a diesel were parked outside the Model Rail Club. I was taking shots of one when the bloke on board waved at the camera. At least, that's what I thought. He was actually inviting me on board, inside the driver's cab! Woohoo! So I climbed up and filmed everything in sight - video and stills. Then the bloke grabbed a diagram of the loco and explained how the thing works. Fantastic! I also got shots of him shoveling coal into the firebox. It was awesome cos I was the only one (apart from him) in the cab. How lucky can a bloke get?

Then I spent an hour or so getting lots of shots of both locos - up close and personal - as well as a stack of stuff (video) of the model trains and tracks. Stills are no good cos they set off the flash and spoil the special lighting. Video is also better for capturing the action of the models as they run around the tracks. So it was all good, folks. Shortly, I'll toddle off again to get footage of the loco and carriages as they pass a road crossing about 10 minutes from here. And that'll be it for today. It's a good feeling when you've had a great shoot - oh, dear - I think a rephrase is warranted. But you know what I mean. Yesterday's was okay but not great. Today's was great.

AND... I was just about to leave when I spotted a beautiful old '29 Chrysler looking soooooo fine! The owner's wife was there and gave me a tour - even opened the bonnet/hood so I could check the old side-valve donk. I saw the pics of the car when it was a wreck. What a transformation! She said her hubby suffered a serious heart attack a while ago so they bought the car as an "interest" to lift his spirits. It worked! But while she was talking to me, hubby was up near the locos chatting with the train buffs. A trip in the Chrysler to the Steam Show, plus a bunch of flowers, was mom's Mother's Day gift hehe.

I happened to mention that those old side-valve sixes with their long stroke have a heap of torque, able to lope along at low revs without effort. She agreed, and said hubby drives around town in top gear without having to change down for corners, unless he comes to a full stop.

FL Josh wrote: About your videos, you say "Editing is APITA."  What does that mean? It's so hard to understand so much of what is in the Odyssey because of the abbreviations and cutesy nicknames.  I guess it is like croggers in the wingforp.  RPOZ!!!

Yes, Josh, I can lay claim to APITA as my creation - so you can blame me. It means a pain in the ass. Anyone else get it? However, you've got me stumped with croggers in the wingforp. And RPOZ. But if you think you have probs understanding my stuff, spare a thought for poor ol' Francois hehe. He has enough trouble with English without me buggerizing around with it.

In the May 10th Waffle, you say, "As the pages get longer with each passing day of the month, there'll be an index in the green column on the left (as you can see on this page) with the names of the places I've visited during the month."  "This page" was the Waffle page for May and does not have any index in a green column on the left.

Ah, yes, but before the paragraph you quoted, I wrote: I got the idea to add an alphabetical index to the Journal pages when they take over from Waffle. Journal pages, Josh. Not Waffle pages. The Journal pages have the same template with the green columns on the left and right, so it's the Journal pages that will have the index of place names. :o)

But Josh hasn't finished yet: You gave part of a quote, "Where there's smoke."  The full quote is, "Whoever said, 'Where there's smoke, there's fire,' has never tried to cook over a campfire."

Josh works as an editor/corrector of legal documents... combing patiently through reams of legalese to find boo boos.

I'm blessed today, ladies and genitals. Back from the shoot of the loco (actually two in tandem) crossing the road. The bells were ringing, the whistle was blowing, the smoke was billowing and the pistons were choofing... and the sun was in the perfect spot behind me. I probably should have dropped the monopod for greater stability but there wasn't much shake... just a little. Only a few people there as well, one photographer and a few lookers. It was a great spot with a great view. From where I stood on the left of the tracks, the rail line curved from left to right before straightening up for the run to the crossing.

Speaking of engines and engineers, Francois has three engineering questions for me:

Question # 1
How much does a house weigh?

Question # 2
How much weight can a rural two - lane bridge hold?

And.... Question #3?


From the Beeb: Former Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif is celebrating with his supporters, amid early signs that his party will be the largest after parliamentary elections. Media projections based on partial results suggest a big lead for Mr Sharif's Muslim League, and he has already claimed victory.

Turkey has warned it will take any necessary measure to protect itself after two car bombs exploded in a town on its border with Syria. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed to catch those behind the attack, adding: "Nothing will go unanswered."

Yes, that good ol' time religion. Where would we be without it?

Well, it's off to Port Macquarie tomorrow morning to see the doc at 10.30, and then I'll toddle into town to buy a mini digital TV. Dunno if I'll do a shoot up there. Maybe a few pics if I see anything interesting. But I'd rather spend a couple of days or a week checking out the place thoroughly, which is best left for the Odyssey. Anyway, I've got a stack of stuff to do back here in Taree, like editing the Rail Centenary footage and putting together an album of the stills, of which there are a few. AND getting someone to help me load the Freeway onto the Courier!

I expect the doc will give me a bit of curry about my weight but there's really nothing I can do about that. Besides, it's better to wait to see what the doc in Sydney has to say about the matter, and that'll happen in about 3 weeks. So will the video of Sydney's Botanic Gardens and Harbor from the foreshore east of the Opera House. Great spot, that. It'll be early morning too, with the sun low in the sky behind me, shining directly at the city skyline, Bridge and Opera House.

Ya know, when my old world fell apart, I sat around wondering what the hell I was gonna do with myself. It seemed like the end of the road. But then Cody came along, and a few years after that Aussie Odyssey came along. End of the road? No way, Jose. It's just the beginning. I'm like that bloke who had the heart attack and thought that was it. Roll up the tent. Then along came a wreck of an old '29 Chrysler and a worthwhile project. You know those coil springs they used in auto seating back in the old days? Dozens of 'em, all indvidually wrapped in hessian bags? The bloke did all that himself using his wife's sewing machine. He had to get professional help in some areas, like the pin striping, but otherwise he did the restoration himself, sticking to the original specifications, right down to the original color scheme. He cheated a little bit with the door and window cappings. They're metal painted to look like wood, and he painted them himself. Clever dick. Anyway, you'll see all the pics when I put the album together.

When I look back now at how depressed I was and useless I felt, I think where the hell was your brain at, idiot? I'm happier now than I have been for ages, and there's more to come. Funny innit. If it weren't for writing stories and then Aussie Odyssey, I'm sure the heart attack, the cancer and the current dental problem would have been major catastrophes. Instead, they're more like a bloody nuisance - something to shrug off while I attend to more urgent matters. Hehe. Yep, it's all about having a good reason to get outta bed in the mornings.

And now, after an eventful and productive day, it's time to plonk the old butt in front of the telly and get stuck into some hot soup. Gary

May 11, 2013. TX Greg wrote in regards to the student who lectured his teacher in Texas: I heard on the news last night that the teacher has been suspended for now. Here's one of the interviews thought you might want to see...

Jeff doesn't have the usual Texas accent, he sounds more like Justin Timberlake, hehe. Did you notice at the very start as Jeff is walking up to the front there is a kid at the front desk there that looks like he's sleeping thru the whole thing, hahaha Speaking of Timberlake, I saw this cool remix of Jeff's speech this morning...


It's raining a little. Is it raining further north at Port Macquarie? No. Just here. Why just here? Because we have the official presentation of the Centenary of Rail in the Manning, that's why. So I postponed the shoot for a while. It's gonna clear a bit later they reckon. The loco is doing several trips to and from Taree over the next 3 days, and tomorrow is an open day at the Model Railway Club with a static display of a loco in steam plus a bunch of other stuff. I wanna get both video and stills of the train arriving/departing so I'll do each shoot separately. Bloody rain.

Bill, the bloke with the Courier/Freeway combo, posted this pic from his local paper of an accident involving a rig caused by a passing truck on a narrow road.

Here's a shot in the GN photo comp of Winton during peak hour rush... looking back to the days of the dinosaurs.

And another shot of Winton.

You think I was kidding about the dinos? Nope. Winton has a museum of relics as well as a fossil preparation laboratory. I could do with a bit of fossil preparation myself... something I'll keep in mind when I visit.


Lady Interviewer:  Do you drink every day?
Man:  Yes.
Lady Interviewer:  How much a day?
Man:  Around 3 six-packs starting at noon.
Lady Interviewer:  How much does a 6-pack cost?
Man:  Roughly $10.00 at a deli.
Lady Interviewer:  And how long have you been drinking like that?
Man:  15 years.
Lady Interviewer:  So with a six-pack costing $10.00, and you consuming 3 six-packs a day, you are spending roughly $900 each month.  In one year, you would then be spending $10,800, correct?
Man:  Correct.
Lady Interviewer:  If in 1 year you spend $10,800 on beer, not accounting for inflation, 15 years puts your spending roughly $162,000; correct?
Man:  Correct.
Lady Interviewer:  Did it ever occur to you that if you did not drink for the last 15 years, you could have bought a Ferrari?
Man:  Do you drink?
Lady Interviewer:  No.
Man:  So where's your Ferrari?

Back from the first Rail Centenary shoot and I think I got some good shots. Lots of peeps there for the official presentation. I thought it would be the local council or railways dudes but no. Premier of NSW Barry O'Farrell did the honors, along with our local Federal Member of Parliament Rob Oakeshott. So it was a pretty posh do. There was a brass band, bagpipes, ceremonial horses with uniformed riders, a few antique cars including a solid-tired Albion truck with chain drive, and, of course, steam locos. So G was kept pretty busy pressing that shutter button... along with a million other people with cameras, some of whom are either inattentive or just plain rude.

I'm buggered now after all that standing, walking, climbing, waiting, etc. I had to climb on a platform bench to shoot over the heads of onlookers when the bagpipes played Waltzing Matilda. The things you do for a clear shot. Anyway, there's more to shoot tomorrow so no photo album or vid for a few days.

From the Beeb: Voting is under way across Pakistan in landmark national and provincial elections. The vote marks Pakistan's first transition from one civilian government to another in its 66-year history. However, the run-up to the election has been marred by violence in which more than 100 people have been killed. Yes... well, good luck, chaps

Texas authorities have launched a criminal probe into a deadly explosion at a fertiliser plant in April. The incident "severely impacted" the community in the town of West, a law enforcement official said. Where there's smoke?

A woman has been pulled alive from the ruins of an eight-storey building that collapsed in a suburb of Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, 17 days ago. Rescuers said the woman, named Reshma, was found in the remains of the second floor of the Rana Plaza after they heard her crying: "Please save me." Jeez, 17 days wondering if help would ever come

Ask most people about their idea of a therapy session and it will probably be a dispassionate professional sitting quietly taking notes as a patient pours out their darkest secrets - possibly on the analyst's couch. The patient may even break down in tears. Is it ever right for a therapist to cry?

It's been a busy day, ladies and genitals, and it'll be another one tomorrow. Oh well... So for now it's toodle-oo and seeyaz. Gary

May 10, 2013. Tenth already. Sheesh. An Aussie sports broadcaster thought he was off air the other day when he said that in Darwin at night (which has a large Aboriginal population) they have to turn the lights on before they know anyone's there - "they have to smile before they're seen". Then all hell broke loose with politically correct critics (whites and blacks alike) accusing the man of being racist. They said the comment was offensive. He was suspended pending an enquiry by his employer. Offensive? Racist? I didn't think it was a racist or offensive comment. He didn't say there was anything wrong with being black. Black is black. White is white. If someone said I was hiding inside a tube of toothpaste would that be racist? I don't think so. But that's just me. I don't take political correctness too seriously. And I think those who do are dumb - dumb diddly dumb - no matter what color they are.

TX Greg wrote: This one was all over the news last night with every news station here rushing to interview him. What is not on tape - and other students are now verifying - is the teacher had just used a cuss word to the class as to why they weren't learning. That got Jeff upset that all the lazy teacher did was hand out assignment packets to the class instead of actually getting up in front of the class and interacting with the students and teach.

Wow, things have sure changed since I was a kid in class. What impressed me about that young bloke is how articulate he is. Cody once gave his teacher a bit of lip in class hehe. I think he earned himself a detention.

BTW> Home index page improvements looking sharp :)

Thanks, Greg. A few little touches here and there is all. I was checking free web page templates on the net and decided I really didn't need to change what I have... just a bit of spit and polish. After I learned about anchors yesterday thanks to Francois - (happy to have helped you - to not die idiot is a good goal and to reach it, you've to learn something quite each day), I got the idea to add an alphabetical index to the Journal pages when they take over from Waffle. As the pages get longer with each passing day of the month, there'll be an index in the green column on the left (as you can see on this page) with the names of the places I've visited during the month. Each name will be linked to an anchor point so that you can click and go. It'll be useful to peeps who haven't read the updates on a daily basis, as well as newbies going back through the site. Yeah?

Down the track, once I've covered a fair bit of territory, I'll set up a main index that lists all the places I've visited in alphabetical order and links them to the appropriate journal entry. Organization, ladies and genitals. Ya gotta be organized!

Just got an invoice from my ex mobile phone provider: Your latest mobile phone invoice is now ready to view in Reward Mobile Selfcare at
Remember, if you are logging in for the first time you will need both your account number and invoice number on hand. Both of which are listed in this email above. 
The invoice total is: $0.00 and is due by the: 26 May 2013

Why do they bother?

NC Art wrote in relation to the Beeb story yesterday about the nun breaching security at a plant in Texas: Seems security at Oak Ridge nuclear energy plant has deteriorated drastically. In the late 40’s and 50’s I visited the place several times and was fairly certain I would be shot if I strayed into secure areas. My brother Homer worked for the Atomic Energy Commission after service in WWII, and right on until retirement after it became the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission). I guess that sorta disassociated it from blasting cities into molten masonry.

   Anyway, it is odd that local news hereabouts hasn’t made a peep about the old sister and cohorts. She looks so serene and sweet, but damned determined to do her part for peace. 

Interesting about peace. I watched a group of peeps on The Drum one night a while back, discussing Australia's new defense budget and our relationship with China. One panelist said she was a pacifist, and I wondered about what it is that a pacifist actually does if someone punches them in the nose. Which reminds me of a pacifist porcupine I saw on a nature doco. It was being harassed by a dog so it rolled itself into a ball and just laid there while the frustrated dog tried to figure out how the hell it was gonna solve its dilemma. Anyway, peace is the absence of war, and I don't see how you can have an absence of war while ever human beings are on this earth.

And what a lovely day it is outside in the sunshine! I thought I'd mention that cos Oregon Richie is boasting about pinching our weather over there. 

From the Beeb: Ohio prosecutors have said they plan to seek aggravated murder charges that could carry the death penalty, against the man suspected of imprisoning three women for about a decade. The charges relate to alleged forced miscarriages suffered by one victim. Ariel Castro, 52, was arraigned in court earlier for the kidnap and rape of Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23 and Michelle Knight, 32. And for all those years that bloke was mixing in society just like the rest of us do. Scary.

A British Olympic sailor has died after a Swedish catamaran capsized during a training session for the America's Cup in San Francisco Bay. Andrew "Bart" Simpson - a double Olympic medallist - was one of an 11-man crew on board the Artemis Racing catamaran, the team website said. I don't think Oz has an entry, but NZ does.

A gang of cybercriminals stole $45m (£29m) by hacking into a database of prepaid debit cards and draining cash machines around the world, US prosecutors say. Seven people have been charged in New York over the heist, which allegedly stretched across 26 countries. Where there's a will... yes?

YouTube has launched a trial scheme for paid channels on its website. Under the pilot programme, a small number of content makers will offer the channels for subscriptions starting at $0.99 (£0.64) a month. Each channel will offer a free 14-day trial and many will have discounted annual rates. Although the initial 53-channel line-up is fairly niche, one expert suggested the move might ultimately squeeze some smaller rivals out of the market. The lure of the dollar. It's inevitable.

Which reminds me... one rather eccentric GN, a gray hippie, posted a graphic the other day that said: The Best Things In Life Are Not Things.

Prince Harry has begun his US tour by meeting Michele Obama and joining her in honouring America's military mothers at a White House reception. I like young Harry. He's a bit of a larrikin.

A prominent barrister specialising in reproductive rights has called for the age of consent to be lowered to 13. Barbara Hewson told online magazine Spiked that the move was necessary in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal to end the "persecution of old men". She also said that complainants should no longer receive anonymity. The other side of the sexual assault of children coin.

Now, about cussing, swearing, 'coarse' language, 'dirty' talk, etc. The Bible says not to take the Lord's name in vain. Roite. So everybody's running around saying 'Oh my God!' or 'Jesus Christ' or 'God Damn' or whatever. People love to be naughty. Even people who don't like to be too naughty use expressions like 'Gosh', 'OMG', 'Dang', 'Lord', 'Gee', etc. It helps to use such expressions to let off a bit of steam when we're annoyed. Swearing or cussing is similar in that it uses words associated with taboo areas of human anatomy or excreta. It's designed to shock. 'Elbow' is not a swear word. Nor is 'nostril'. Mind you, penis, vagina, breast, rectum, sexual intercourse, excreta, etc, are not swear words either. It's because they are legitimate. They're not naughty. And the main objective of swearing is to be naughty. So slang words are used.

Swear words are also used as emphasizers to make a point. I'm upset doesn't have quite the impact of I'm pissed off... which can be further enhanced by saying I'm fuckin' pissed! However, what I fail to understand is what sexual intercourse and urine have to do with being upset. Or rain for that matter... it's fuckin' pissin' down. 

I overhead a bunch of teens standing around at the Mall talking, and one of them said something about "those cunts over there". But he wasn't angry. He wasn't insulting anyone. He thought 'cunts' was a legitimate word used to describe other youth, as if he were using the word 'guys'. If you were to ask him why he was referring to another group of people as vaginas, he'd give you a very quizzical look indeed.

Some comedians use swearing in their routines. It adds to their image of rebelliousness. Billy Connolly is a good example. His mother walked out on the family when he was a kid. His father molested him as a child. So he grew up with a chip on his shoulder and became rebellious. As a comedian he doesn't just make fun, he pokes fun. And he swears a helluva lot. I guess it's his way of getting even with the world, like a defiant brat.

So, dear Breth, it simply doesn't pay to analyze cussing, swearing or taking the name of thy Lord in vain. It's just a silly human habit that doesn't deserve the shock/horror reaction it gets. It needs to be dismissed as dumb. When people ask me why I don't swear I simply tell them I don't see the point of making a sentence any longer than it needs to be, or embellishing it unnecessarily. For me, in the vast majority of cases, swearing is extraneous. An example of when it's not extraneous is when it's used in a one-word sentence following an incident such as a misguided hammer coming in contact with a thumb.

Of course, juvenile swearing is different in that it's worn as a badge of honor. Kids who don't swear are deemed wusses by their peers. But that's another story.

Now here's another story that's interesting to say the least. It's about the toughest trestle bridge in the world, the Durham Train Trestle that has stood its ground for 100 years despite continuous assault by vehicles taller than 11' 8". Oh dear... And PJ? Well, she's about 10' so no worries.

Did you hear about the old bloke who went to the doc and said he was worried about senility because sometimes he'd forget to zip up? "That's not a sign of senility," the doc said. "Senility is when you forget to zip down."

And now, as the sun sinks slowly in the west... Actually, it's not all that slowly. Kinda gets turbo charged in the cooler months. BTW, that scarf works a treat. Throw it around the ol' Gregory Peck and it's amazing how nice and cozy it is. But it's been a wonderful day weatherwise. It's the nights that get a bit Picadilly. However, that's compensated by the Doona and two fluffy pillows. The GNs the other day were discussing the pros and cons of single beds versus doubles in their caravans. Most prefer singles. Mine's different cos the bed is in the cab over, and it's a double. I prefer a double cos I can stretch out. No way I wanna share it with anyone, anyway. Past all that nonsense. I demand a fart-free zone (mine excepted). And I like to toss and turn.

So, potato and leek soup tonight, which ain't bad - nice and thick and potatoey, and a bit spicy. I think I'm resigned to being pizzaless for a while yet so I'm making the best of what's available. Nothing else to report, really. Not even a little inner shedness. Tomorrow will be busy with the steam loco. I figure I've got Buckley's of getting anywhere near the bloody choo choo itself so I'll have to make do with a video of people craning their necks and standing on tippy toe, and kids doing their ooooh aaaaah thing. If you see a puff of smoke in the background that'll be the engine hehe. Gary

May 9, 2013. When I get to Melbourne, I'm gonna have to ride a tram. On the other hand...

Noticed the subtle changes I've made to the main AO page? A bit of fiddling led to a bit more fiddling. Nothing major. A bit tidier, and I finally got around to changing the Bluey page to the PJ page.

Where does the time go? I was just taking the ladder down to the camper when the Meals on Wheels lady turned up. What? Can't be 11:30 already! Anyway, sorted that out and then checked the camper power input with the missing lid and there are no broken bits, so I can buy a new lid. Another little job was to change batteries in the camera and charge the ones I took out for Saturday's Centenary of Rail in the Manning. On Sunday, across the road from the station at the Model Railway Club, a steam loco will be on display in steam for close-up inspection, plus Diesels, Heritage, Carriages, Model Railway Exhibitions, so I'll check that out too. Then I'll put the whole thing together as a video. That'll keep me busy for a while! 

Sooooo, what do I prefer to shoot? Video. Stills are cool, of course, but you can't beat video for action or an event. Editing is APITA but worth the trouble in the end. If you shoot HQ video you can lift stills off the footage, but HQ takes up too much memory. I shoot in standard.

FL Josh was impressed with yesterday's photo album: That hand formed aluminum body the Boeing employees built is an absolute thing of beauty.  Imagine how they must feel looking at it and thinking how that is their creation and thinking about all that went into getting it to that point. The tail lights looked very familiar and I am attaching a picture of a '56 Porsche.

Hmmm. A thought just occurred to me. Pick a year, such as 1956, Google pics of famous auto makers from Britain, the US, Germany, France, Japan and Italy, and their 1956 models, and assemble them into a photo album. Now that would make an interesting comparison. As to the '56 Porsche, I reckon the standard wheels make the track appear too narrow. A bunch of fatties would look better. But I guess purists would disagree.

Just wanted to let you know how much fun I am having retelling the joke about the two elderly couples that you had in the May 3rd waffle. Now lemme try something here to see if it works. Nope, it didn't. Does anyone know how to link one line of text to another on the same page? You see those internal links often on web sites that take you to a specific part of a long document quickly. 
Ah ha! It's about 8pm now and Francois wrote (he's a southern hemispherical) to explain anchors. I didn't know what the hell an anchor was, or how to create one, so I did a Google and discovered that I have to create an anchor next to the text I want to link to, and then create a link to that anchor (or target, as Netscape calls it). The article describes how to do it using HTML but Netscape Composer has easier shortcuts. For example, if you click on the link in the paragraph above, you'll be taken immediately to the joke Josh referred to. Trouble is you gotta find your way back here hehe. Sounds easy but it took a while to figure it all out. Now that I know how to do it, it's a piece of cake! In long documents, like Waffle I can easily link internally to anything anywhere on the page.
And that's the end of 90 minutes worth of buggerizing around with HTML and all kinds of other things to link text. Grrrrr.

Well, my bank account has a few more numbers today... not a helluva lot after paying the bills, but a few. Cost me $130 for a new supply of liquid hospital tucker as well. That lasts about a month. So, in another 2 weeks, there'll be a few more extra numbers, and by early June a few more again. By mid June there should be enough - coupled with an interest free loan of a grand from Centerlink - to put all the finishing touches to PJ. Yeah? It's been a long time coming, but that big bright light is lookin' good.

Even better is that the next big bills (touch wood) are not due until next April when I have to pay all the insurance again, so that gives me 9 months to get well established in the savings department. Struggle Street will finally be a thing of the past. Fingers crossed.

Speaking of accents (which we weren't), I loved the accent of that black fella from Ohio, a neighbor of the morons who kidnapped three women. When he was interviewed by a TV crew about kicking the door down and rescuing one of the women, he said, "When ah saw that pretty white girl rush into the arms of a black man ah knew somethin' was wrooooong, here." Did you see the mug shots of the three brothers? Sheesh.

From the Beeb: Police in the US state of Ohio have charged a man with the kidnapping and rape of three women held captive for a decade at a house in Cleveland. Ariel Castro, 52, owned the house from which Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, were rescued on Monday. His brothers Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50, were arrested but police have said they will not be charged. And we ain't heard nuthin' yet. It's bound to be one helluva story

Visual effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, who has died at the age of 92, left around 50,000 artefacts and pieces of memorabilia from films including Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans. Tony Dalton, his friend, biographer and curator of the Ray Harryhausen Foundation, is currently cataloguing the animator's vast collection. He gives an insight into the life and work of the man he remembers as a "genius".

Two Zambian men have pleaded not guilty during a court appearance in the small central town of Kapiri Mposhi to a charge of engaging in homosexual acts. James Mwape and Philip Mubiana, both 22, have been charged with four counts of committing "unnatural" sexual acts. Zambia is a socially conservative country and homosexual acts carry a jail sentence of up to 14 years. However, there's no law against the law being an ass.

An elderly Catholic nun and two peace activists have been convicted for damage they caused while breaking into a US nuclear defence site. Sister Megan Rice, 83, Michael Walli, 64, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 56, admitted to cutting fences and entering the Y-12 site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which processes and stores uranium.

    The Smiths were unable to conceive children and decided to use a surrogate father to start their family. On the day the proxy father was to arrive, Mr. Smith kissed his wife goodbye and said, 'Well, I'm off now. The man should be here soon.' Half an hour later, just by chance, a door-to-door baby photographer happened to ring the doorbell, hoping to make a sale. 'Good morning, Ma'am', he said, 'I've come to...' 
    'Oh, no need to explain,' Mrs. Smith cut in, embarrassed, 'I've been expecting you.' 
    'Have you really?' said the photographer. 'Well, that's good. Did you know babies are my specialty?' 
    'Well that's what my husband and I had hoped. Please come in and have a seat !'
    After a moment she asked, blushing, 'Well, where do we start?'
    'Leave everything to me. I usually try two in the bathtub, one on the couch, and perhaps a couple on the bed. And sometimes the living room floor is fun. You can really spread out there.'
    'Bathtub, living room floor? No wonder it didn't work out for Harry and me!' 
    'Well, Ma'am, none of us can guarantee a good one every time. But if we try several different positions and I shoot from six or seven angles, I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results.' 
    'My, that's a lot!', gasped Mrs. Smith.
    'Ma'am, in my line of work a man has to take his time. I'd love to be In and out in five minutes, but I'm sure you'd be disappointed with that.'
    'Don't I know it,' said Mrs. Smith quietly.
    The photographer opened his briefcase and pulled out a portfolio of his baby pictures. 'This was done on the top of a bus,' he said. 
    'Oh, my God!' Mrs. Smith exclaimed, grasping at her throat.
    'And these twins turned out exceptionally well - when you consider their mother was so difficult to work with..'
    'She was difficult?' asked Mrs. Smith.
    'Yes, I'm afraid so. I finally had to take her to the park to get the job done right. People were crowding around four and five deep to get a good look'
    'Four and five deep?' said Mrs. Smith, her eyes wide with amazement.
    'Yes', the photographer replied. 'And for more than three hours, too. The mother was constantly squealing and yelling - I could hardly concentrate, and when darkness approached I had to rush my shots. Finally, when the squirrels began nibbling on my equipment, I just had to pack it all in.' 
    Mrs. Smith leaned forward. 'Do you mean they actually chewed on your,'
    'It's true, Ma'am, yes.. Well, if you're ready, I'll set-up my tripod and we can get to work right away..'
    'Oh yes, Ma'am. I need to use a tripod to rest my Canon on. It's much too big to be held in the hand very long. Mrs Smith? Mrs Smith, are you okay? Oh, dear... I think she's fainted.'

And that's it for today, boils and goils, time to do ma thang. Gary

May 8, 2013. Yep, slept like a baby last night all warm and toasty. Gone are the days when my slumber was rudely interrupted by an alarm. Actually, those days disappeared when I ran my own biz from home back in the mid 80s. Alarms and I don't get along too well. I prefer the birds.

FL Josh was moved to comment on the patchwork quilt given to Sue yesterday by the kindly ladies from the local knitting group and Meals on Wheels. What a wonderful thing that happened to Sue, the gift of the patchwork blanket.  She and Lindsey have a sad life with little to brighten it, especially Sue who, being unable to get out and get a change of scenery, is like a prisoner there in the house. She has Lindsey and no one else, to show her kindnesses and I feel so sorry for her every time you mention her.  She is fortunate that organizations like Meals on Wheels attract people high in empathy who can feel her pain and are willing to put forth effort to add a little joy to her life.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Both Sue and Lindsay are self-centered and manipulative. I tolerate them but don't like them. Being Sue's carer for 12 years until I became ill saved my butt, but it also saved theirs. I remember when our GP first visited them here in this house. He was horrified to say the least, and thought they wouldn't last long. Nuff said. 

Josh was also concerned about the lack of improvement regarding my gum situation and exposed bone. Depends on how you look at it. The surgeon in Sydney was very worried about the situation deteriorating when he first checked it late last year. The fact that it hasn't is a positive thing in my book. The main concern is my ability to handle general anaesthetic again for an operation to remove the exposed bone. That stuff really knocks you around.

The problem as I understand it, was caused by Nancy trying to save my teeth despite the oncologist's recommendation to remove them. She was unaware of the effects radiation causes. By the time she became aware, and the decision was made to extract all my teeth, the gum had already receded to a point where areas of bone were exposed. It was hoped to encourage the gum to grow over the bone to seal it from potential infection, but that didn't happen. However, regular irrigation by Nancy and a mouthwash (Colgate Savacol) regimen by me has prevented infection and stopped further deterioration. At the same time, after extractions, the jaw takes about 6 months to stop shrinking so any operation needs to wait for that to happen. The only option now is to remove the exposed bone, stitch the gum over and let it heal so that no bone remains exposed, thereby eliminating any further potential for infection. It will also allow dentures to be fitted, and a normal diet to resume. And so say all of us. Amen.


NC Art forwarded a bunch of pics of what retired Boeing sheet metal workers do with their spare time. Too many pics to post on Waffle so I made an album. But when I checked the upload, the captions were missing. They were also missing from previous albums. Now, what could possibly have happened to cause that? I had to retrace my steps, which also involved rebooting the comp. Still no captions on the Boeing album. So I deleted the album and made a new one hehe. It's taken forever to figure all this out! Anyway, I finally did and it's there in living color and thingamescope. Thanks for the pics, Art. Veeeery interesting.

Who said being a webmaster was easy? Actually, yesterday a GN visited AO and was most impressed. He asked how the hell I learned to put such a thing together. Long story but I cut it short. If it hadn't been for people volunteering to do it for me back in the late '90s, and then stuffing it up, I wouldn't have have bothered to learn. TX Greg has been a big help along the way, as was Kot's friend Halien in the early days, but essentially this is the House that G built. I remember Cody being pretty impressed with his old fossil as well.

Back from shopping (before rush day tomorrow, pension day). Topped up with petrol (30 liters) for Monday's trip to Port Macquarie, and a bunch of groceries, including a $5 scarf for winter. Not hard to spend $100 ya know. Funny how the system works... just enough money to survive, just enough petrol to last whatever, just enough coffee to last two weeks, just enough of this and that to last till the next pension when you have to start all over again. Keeps the wheels of commerce turning I guess.

From the Beeb: Police have praised the bravery of three women found alive on Monday evening in a house in Cleveland, Ohio, after they vanished about a decade ago. Amanda Berry, who disappeared in 2003 aged 16, escaped with a neighbour's help while her alleged captor was away. What a bizarre thing to happen to anyone.

China's trade growth accelerated in April, beating analyst expectations, a positive sign for the country's fragile economic recovery. Exports surged by 14.7% compared with a year earlier. That is up from 10% in March. Imports also rose by 16.8% up from 14.1%. Not long ago, what China's economy did or didn't do didn't matter. Does now, though.

Russia and the US have agreed to work towards convening an international conference to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State John Kerry announced it would follow on from an Action Group for Syria meeting in Geneva last June. Sounds positive. What took so long?

A man has been left red-faced after an attempted robbery at a takeaway was foiled in unconventional fashion. Employee Joanna Tarnoski threw chilli sauce at a man accused of trying to force open the cash register at the restaurant in Sydney. Good on her. The crook's father's not too impressed with his son either.

If you're interested in a no-frills Aussie sports car that can do 0 to 60mph in 3 seconds, and is inspired by a couple of motor cycle enthusiasts who want their car to deliver the same handling thrills on the track as a two-wheeler, the Spartan is for you.

We're horrified when we learn that someone has been taken by a crocodile. But what if it's the other way around?

Sun's gone "over there", so it's time for me to do my little evening routine. Creatures of habit and all that. Spend a few weeks in hospital, though, and suddenly the routine doesn't seem so bad after all hehe. Gary

May 7, 2013. FL Josh writes: Here's a 16 year old who was bitten by a shark a day or two ago, and he has the greatest smile and attitude. Cody would have really liked him.

Yes, I can see Cody's email now hehe. Not something I could copy and paste here, I suspect. Steve, Mark, Wingnut et al could never in a million years have anticipated what lay in store for them when they first met the scallywag Codeman. Life would never be the same again.

Just got a phone call from the billing company that invoices me for power. One of those persistent door-knockers was here a few weeks ago and wouldn't take no for an answer, so I changed billing companies. The current billing company (the changeover hasn't come into effect yet) phoned and offered me a better discount to stay with them, which I accepted. Then they put me through to the new billing company so that I could personally cancel the contract, and the first thing they did was offer me an even bigger discount. Hehe. But I decided to stick with the current biller, and canceled the new one. So, dear Breth, if those companies can suddenly offer discounts of up to 25% for exactly the same service, what does it say about their charges? Bloody crooks.

So is the driver pictured above a lousy parker or does he not trust other drivers? Or perhaps he's loaned the car to his wife for the day. Thanks for the pic, Francois. You can tell by the shadows that he has tires mounted on the front as well.

From the Beeb: Three young women who vanished about a decade ago in the US state of Ohio have been found and are in hospital in a fair condition, officials have said. Amanda Berry disappeared aged 16 in 2003, while Gina DeJesus went missing at the age of 14 a year later. They and Michele Knight, 32, who vanished in 2002 at the age of 20, were found in a house in the city of Cleveland, police confirmed. Three men have been arrested in connection with the case. How weird!

North Korea has removed two medium-range missiles from a coastal launch site, indicating a lowering of tension on the peninsula, a US official said. Pyongyang was believed to be preparing for a launch last month, having threatened attacks in the region. Playing silly buggers again.

A New York state man is finishing up his handwritten copy of the King James Bible after four years and 2,400 pages. Phillip Patterson, 63, began the project after his long-time partner, Mohammed, told him there is a tradition in Islam of writing out the Koran. "The next day I started researching pens and pencils and paper," he said. Sounds like a crazy idea but... maybe not.

There are some lovely peeps in the world, ya know. A lady just came to the door representing Meals on Wheels and asked for Sue. Sue was in bed with HIM. Anyway, as she started talking, HE emerged from the bedroom looking bedraggled and horrible (as usual) so I left them to it. The woman had a Mother's Day gift for Sue (who's not a mother, but that's beside the point... people assume married women are all mothers), so Lindsay fetched her, and the woman presented a patchwork blanket made by a local ladies group involved in knitting for the less fortunate. Sue's name came out of a hat as one of the winners. Sue was absolutely beside herself with joy. I've never seen her so pleased. "I'm thrilled with that," she eventually said. So there ya go... a little kindness from a group of little old ladies has brought a lot of joy to a stranger, and made her day very special.

This morning I asked a question on the techies forum on GN about matching a solar panel to a 100ah AGM. I'm sticking with my current BP 70W for the time being, but when the time comes to upgrade, I was wondering if a 100W would be okay or if 200W would be better. No point in having more watts than you need. So my question was will a 200W charge the battery faster than 100W when it's down to, say, 50%, and the answer was yes because there's more current. Also 200W would be more efficient on cloudy days. So there ya go. I won't be using much electic power - just laptop, occasional TV, phone/camera battery charging, lights, etc, but nothing major like the fridge (which will run on gas except when I'm driving). I figure one AGM will be fine for my purposes. If I ever change my mind for whatever reason and decide on a second AGM, one 200W solar panel is probably enough to charge both of them. Yeah?

BTW, remember Bill, the bloke with the Courier/Freeway setup like mine? He was answering someone's question about slide-ons today and mentioned that he'd traveled 15,000 kms in the last 2/3 months with no problems. He reckons the Loadplus helper springs make a big difference to ride and stability. He's decided to sell his house on Magnetic Island (off Townsville QLD), charter fishing business and rig, upgrade to a bigger rig capable of carrying his dinghy and small motor bike, and take off permanently around Oz. He's too young for the pension, so he's gonna look for work as he travels. He's a bit of a handyman who can turn his hand to most things (except spelling hehe).

I also checked the availability of those mini 7" portable digital TVs in Port Macquarie and they're still there, so I'll get one next Monday when I see the doc. That $100 comes outta my wallet, so it doesn't count as savings... kinda sorta.

A couple of weeks ago, Red Bubble made some changes to my main page and I couldn't find the link to my usual place where I check all the latest posts from people I follow, so I got all grumpy and thought "bugger 'em"... and haven't been there since. But today I got a Bubblemail from a friend who wanted to know if I'd disappeared off the planet. I brought him up to date and he explained how to access my normal morning routine on RB. As a consequence, I went in there and saw the latest posts by Terry Everson, Mieke Boynton and Malcolm Katon, some of which I favorited. Check 'em out, especially Mieke's shot of Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. It doesn't look much as a thumbnail but enlarged it's a humdinger... so simple yet so effective. Those guys make the GN entries in the GN competition look pretty lamo hehe. But the peeps on RB are either pro or very serious amateurs. I've learned a lot from them, and will continue to do so.

Bit fresh again tonight, fellow Wafflers, and I'll bet Sue is enjoying her new woollen blanket as she watches a bit of telly. I'm looking forward to a bowl of hot soup as well. I'll have that spring lamb and garden veg again. It's pretty good. I'll sleep well under the Doona tonight! Gary

May 6, 2013. Back from seeing Nancy and another irrigation. Nothing's changed... no dramas... steady as she goes. While I waited in the waiting room a young teen talked to one of the dentists about his problem - a tooth that had been extracted leaving a possible "dry socket" and exposed bone. The dentist explained how exposed bone happens in the lower jaw where blood circulation is poorest. Yeah, same with me. It can also cause infection and bad breath, which is why I have to use mouth wash "vigorously" at least 3 times a day. At least my condition hasn't deteriorated. Weight is my main prob, but there's little I can do about that until I can EAT properly. Catch 22.

The fact that Chris hasn't turned up to help me load the camper onto the truck might be just as well. I have to drive to Port Macquarie next Monday and I'd rather do it without the camper on board. It's a fair drive and I'd prefer to test PJ with shorter runs just to make sure everything is hunky dory before I get too adventurous, especially at relatively high speed on a highway. Now that I've set a savings target instead of making purchases in the interim, there's no rush. Althoooooooough.... nope, too late. The stove top oven was on spesh on eBay at $59 for a while but now it's back to $79. Oh well...

BTW, while I was in the dentist waiting room this morning, I noticed ball point ink marks on the white vinyl tub chairs. They said they'd tried everything to get the ink off - commercial cleaners, old fashioned remedies. So when I got home I did a Google and discovered homebrand acne cream does the trick. Slap it on fairly thickly, leave 24 hours, wipe off. It may take a few days and applications but it will eventually work. The person with the problem answered the person with the solution to say, in fact, it did work! So there ya go. Ball point stains and acne cream. Boom boom. Must be the drawing action of the cream designed to remove impurities from deep within the skin. So that's my good deed for the day.

Speaking of good deeds, a Sunday school teacher was testing the kids. She asked them, "If I sold my house and my car, had a big jumble sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into heaven?" The kids cried, NO! So she asked them, ""If I cleaned the church every day, mowed
the garden and kept everything tidy, would that get me into heaven?" Again, the kids cried NO! The teacher was pretty chuffed with the kids's response and asked, "Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave sweets to all the children and loved my husband, would that get me into heaven?" Once more the kids cried NO! "Then how can I get into heaven?" One little bloke at the back of the class yelled, "Ya gotta be dead!"

Someone on the GN forum suggested hair spray to remove ink from vinyl. Anyone tried that? I don't used the stuff even for what it's intended. However, as a teen I do remember going out with girls whose hair felt like a bird's nest. Which also reminds me... the first time I ever kissed a girl I ended up with little balls of lipstick fat on my lips. Ew!

From the Beeb: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has condemned anti-Semitism at the opening of a meeting of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in Budapest. He acknowledged anti-Semitism was on the rise in the country because of the economic crisis but said his government had a "zero-tolerance" towards it. Good.

Israeli strikes on Syrian army targets show co-ordination with "terrorists" including al-Qaeda linked militants, the Syrian foreign ministry has said. The strikes had led to a number of casualties and widespread damage, it reported in a letter sent to the UN.

Last year the UK's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency raised £67m from the sale of personalised number plates. But why do people still buy them?

Coupon crazy teen Jordon Cox buys £105 of groceries for £1. He is saving his mother hundreds of pounds in grocery bills thanks to his savvy shopping techniques. Jordon Cox, 16, from Brentwood in Essex, scours newspapers and magazines for coupons and vouchers that offer special deals on food and household products. He told BBC Breakfast his mum Debbie is not allowed to shop alone because she would "impulse buy".

Hmmm, well I do enjoy snaffling the occasional special but I dunno if I'd go to all the trouble of collecting coupons. Years ago I remember reading about a woman who often won prizes in magazine and newspaper contests... the ones where entry is free. She entered everything hehe. She would tear out entry forms from magazines in waiting rooms. She was obsessed with entering competitions so I suppose the law of averages worked in her favor.

A tad on the fresh side today, dear Breth. Not winter yet but you can tell it's coming. Bleh. If it weren't for all this dumb gum business I could be swanning around up north with a hibiscus in my ear and drinking something with an umbrella in it. The only good thing about winter is a fire, but all the fireplaces in this house are closed off. One option is to burn the house down but what would I do tomorrow night?

Here it is 5-ish again and I'm all thunk out. I watched At The Movies last night, a show about what's new in movies from a couple of critics. But they also have a segment about the classics, and last night they talked about Gallipoli, the Aussie movie made in 1981 starring a very young Mel Gibson. Back then he had an Aussie accent. Both critics agreed that it's a remarkable film in every way. The female critic said she remembers when she first saw it in a cinema: "When it ended, I was so immersed, so totally absorbed, I couldn't get out of my seat." So that's one to look for on DVD.

A new Aussie film they mentioned is called Drift, about a bunch of surfers during the 70s and the beginnings of the iconic Aussie brands such as Rip Curl and Billabong. The thing that amazed me about the movie is that it took 9 years from when the idea was first mooted to organize finance, actors, a screenplay and all the other stuff that's needed before shooting can begin. That's a looooong time!

Roite, soup and telly time. Gary

May 5, 2013. The trouble with acronyms. In Oz, we have the National Roads and Motorists Association, which is a roadside assistance, insurance and investment organization. It had its humble beginnings back in the 1920s with a bunch of mechanics on bicycles rendering assistance to stranded motorists. We also have the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. One Christmas, the family was sitting around the dining table when the convo got around to animal cruelty and my mother said people like that should be reported to the NRMA.

And that's more or less why NC Art wrote: The subject was OED, the venerable Oxford English Dictionary. The OE in my note was—obviously?—a typographical error. Or booboo. Or flub. Or … oh hell let it go. Normally, I can pick typos before they escape into the cybersphere, but OE had me puzzled. At the time, I didn't connect it with the Beeb story.

p.s. The haystack question gave me trouble too. Others no prob. So my question is, how come you ended up a Mayor and the proprietor of a printing company and I ended up broke?

Proof reading is a real art, as I discovered when I wrote my first book. You have to divorce yourself from the literal meaning of a word and focus on its arrangement of letters. Otherwise you can easily read what you think is there rather than what is there. At the same time, you have to be aware of the word's place in the context of the sentence. It's amazing what you see when you do that. Things like too many words in a sentence, or a particular word that needs to be substituted by a more precise synonym. If your eye doesn't cruise along the sentence smoothly and effortlessly, the structure needs to be rearranged. If a sentence or paragraph is a bit too long and clumsy, it needs to be split in two.

However, as Rashi taught me, it's important to get the story out of your head and onto "paper" quickly. You can always come back and correct things later. At least, with a  word processor you can. Not so easy with quill and parchment.

Does Gary lie? Oh, yes, dear Breth, I tell terrible porkys (pork pies). I happened to click on Waffle001 last evening just to see what I wrote. Hehe.

And now it's time to throw a banana, some peanut butter, milk, egg, vitamin powder, honey, oats and cinnamon into the whizzer and whiz up brekky to wash down the pills.

Well, the change from buying bits and pieces ad hoc for PJ to saving for a targeted amount of money is working. It's taken the pressure off me and I feel far more relaxed about the situation. "You need a plan," as Mark often said to Cody.

Now what was on Gardening Australia last night? Oh, yes... seeds. Bloody amazing things are seeds. Tiny things you can hold between your finger tips that have the potential to grow into mighty trees that live for hundreds of years. The show featured one woman who grows everything from seed, and then collects the seeds from those plants to grow the next crop. Her father made his living from selling seeds. He would drive around the countryside and spot a plant in flower in someone's garden and ask if he could return in a few weeks to collect the seeds. Which reminds me of an American bloke who, with his young family, emmigrated to Oz in the '50s, bought a farm out west for next to nothing, figured out how to irrigate his land using bore water, built his own pump, irrigation system and various farming implements out of old discarded machinery, and planted kikuyu grass from seed.  Every year, he harvested the seed from his crop to plant a new crop. Neighboring farmers thought he was crazy growing grass as a crop. But think of how many front and back lawns there are in towns and cities around Oz. Not to mention parks and playing fields. The guy made millions, and all from a small farm that cost him a few hundred dollars and a bit of seed.

Of course, there are metaphorical seeds too. Ones that grow into Odysseys.

I took the solar garden lights down to camper to assemble them cos it gave me an excuse to get a bit of inner shedness. I like to spend a bit of time in there buggerizing around. A couple of GNs said they camped in their new van in the backyard  for a week to test how often they had to go back inside the house to get something. Not a silly idea. But one day I'll look back on this time of my life with a smile, remembering how frustrating it was and, at times, how impossible it seemed.

From the Beeb: Syrian state TV says Israeli rockets have hit a research centre on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. Huge explosions have been heard near the Jamraya facility, which Western officials have in the past suggested is involved in chemical weapons research. How would you like to live in that part of the world, ladies and genitals?

Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson has apologised for saying the economist John Maynard Keynes did not care about society's future because he was gay and had no children. Prof Ferguson has now apologised "unreservedly" for what he called "stupid" and "insensitive" remarks. He said it all, really.

Work has begun to raise the only surviving German World War II Dornier 17 bomber from its watery grave at Goodwin Sands, off the Kent coast. The aircraft has been lying in 50ft of water in the English Channel since being shot down more than 70 years ago during the Battle of Britain. It is the start of a two-year restoration project by the RAF Museum in Hendon. Didja hear that, Adolf? A British museum. It's enough to make a fuhrer furious.

Hungary's far-right Jobbik party has staged a rally in central Budapest in protest at the capital's hosting of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) on Sunday. Several hundred supporters took part, despite attempts by the government to prevent it going ahead. Jobbik said the rally was a protest against what it said was a Jewish attempt to buy up Hungary. Is there such a thing as a poor Jew? I can't remember having met one.

Australia is suspending the export of live cattle to Egypt after video emerged showing extreme cruelty to animals in Egyptian abattoirs. The Australian Livestock Exporters' Council said the footage, released by animal rights group Animals Australia, was "horrific". Those people should be reported to the NRMA.

Angus beef and mushrooms tonight. 14% beef and 8% mushies. Not bad. But right now I'm having a cuppa. There's a show on telly called Checkout which reveals the porkys told by manufacturers and retailers. One of the segments shows the enhanced photo of a product on its packaging - like a frozen meal or microwavable cheeseburger - and then shows a close up of the product on a plate. Hehe. Talk about PORKYS! There's absolutely no similarity at all between the photo and the contents. Only once have I tried one of those microwavable burgers. Yech! The patty tasted like it was made by Dunlop.

Yesty, I saw a full interactive pdf map of Oz on the GN forum, and downloaded it. I just went back to find the link and guess what... gone! It was from caravanning oz, a competitor of GN hehe. So I did a Google and found the original source. It's a really great map. Download it to your comp as a .pdf (right click and select save page) and remember where you put it! PDF files are read by Adobe Reader which is free if you don't have it already. If you don't want the free McAfee offer, uncheck it before you download Adobe. Once you've downloaded the PDF it'll work interactively by clicking it and getting it up on screen. Anyway, when the map is full screen, there's an index on the left side containing all the names of towns, highways and other things about Oz. You just click on the name of what you want and whammo, there it is! It's fast and easy. I'll certainly be using it on my travels as well as here at home to find stuff about Oz quickly. You can also use it off line. For followers of Aussie Odyssey, you can use it when I'm on the road to check out where on the map I am, have been, or will be. Have a play with it, and you'll be impressed I'm sure. I'll put a permanent link on the AO main page later.

Well, that's about it for this weekend my hale and hearties. Did you hear about the group of oldies sitting around having a chat? The convo was about the usual topic oldies relish discussing... health, or the lack of it. Aches and pains. Arthritis, vision problems, difficulty in hearing, reaction times and a general inability to coordinate movement. Then, after all agreeing on how crook they felt, one woman piped up, "Yes, but it's not all bad. Thank God we still have our driver's licences!" Gary

May 4, 2013. My mother would have been 105 today. And I would still be saying, "Yes, mum, I know, mum..."

NC Art wrote: Memories of Marshal Erwin von Rommel are still sorta scary. Seems no one was ever going to end his rampaging through North Africa. He seemed invincible and the wiliest military man possible. But he actually turned out to be ‘vincible’ after all. And after his reassignment to the European command, he never got his mojo back.

  Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery was the Brit’s hotshot, but he was eclipsed by U.S. General George S. Patton. Naturally the English were not happy about that. My radio man walked into a pub one night and yelled, ”News flash! Patton’s Third Division roll up seventy miles against the Nazis today. Monty advanced ten yards to capture two chicken coops and an outhouse.” The air was chilly in that pub. 

Hehe. One of the commentators on the Rats doco (don't know who) said "We don't need gentlemen generals who play by the rules of cricket. We need bastards."

   I had a moment of nostalgia on seeing the pic of Linotype keyboard and the two matrices in the tray above the keys. The text was a bit off the mark about the use of etaoinshrdlu. The main use was to fill out a garbled line of matrices by sending them back to the magazine after the ‘pi’ line was cast and tossed into the ‘hell’ box for re-melting. When  etaoinshrdlu appeared in print, it meant the operator failed to toss it and the proofreader failed to delete it … sometimes just for fun to tease the operator.

   Now, aren’t you glad to have me to critique venerable OE?

OE? Are we talking a ligature here? Or a dipthong? Or a Japanese princess? Dipthong is a funny word innit. Especially in Oz where the thong is the national sandal for yobbos. But to answer your question, Art, yes. One of Aussie Odyssey's few unique qualities is the venerable NC Art. Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the mor-a-or-ning.

Interesting guest on The Drum last night... an artist whose work involves using junk. He doesn't believe in waste, so he's taken his idea to food, and now runs a restaurant that has no trash bin. He sells nothing that involves waste. Leftover food is turned into compost which is sold back to the farmers who supply his restaurant. Producers of soy milk (which is quite popular in Oz) refused to supply him with bulk soy in reusable containers, so he makes his own. Regular milk is delivered in stainless steel bulk containers.Wineries supply their wine in reusable kegs so he has his wine on tap. Imagine that. Absolutely nothing he sells produces waste, and there's no trash bin. Have you ever been to the rear entrance of a restaurant and seen the trash bins in the lane? They're overflowing with waste. This guy's business is doing a roaring trade, and other restaurants are following his example. How inspiring!

There was a guest on Gardening Australia the other night who's in the ad biz. His garden is dotted with objects d'art rescued from junk yards, garage sales, etc, and "re-purposed". Bits of old machinery, concrete or wooden wash tubs, you name it... all looking elegantly rustic and artistic in their new home. One I particularly liked was an old upended inner-spring mattress with its cover off and all stuffing removed used as a trellis for climbing plants.

In regards to the pic of The Rock yesterday, TX Greg wrote: We need a pic of you with your arms wrapped around that thing. Oh oh oh even better, what if you climbed up and sat on the top, hahaha That would make for a funny avatar :)

Hmmm. Lemme think about that one.

I went back to that journal page... and just noticed the pic you took of the sign "The Rock"... someone put a C in front of the R and a X over the R, hehe

Back from the pharmacist for medication. BUT while at the Mall I checked Homeart's closing down sale "just in case" and saw an oval table mirror - beveled glass - with adjustable fancy wire stand for just $10. It folds flat for storage. Cool. The camper has a mirror fixed to the inside of the wardrobe but it means sitting in a rather awkward position to shave. This mirror means I can place it on the table or use it outside. It's good quality too... I can even see that my nasal hair needs trimming again. Ew! I asked the girl at the counter if I'd look any better in this mirror than I do in the one at home, and she started telling me about the adjustable frame and... Yeah. Oh, well... 

From the Beeb: More than 3,000 firefighters are battling six major wildfires in California, the state fire agency says. One of the fiercest blazes has shut the famous Pacific Coast Highway for the second time in as many days, with a 30-mile (50-km) stretch off-limits. The so-called Springs fire has reached the coast north-west of Los Angeles, threatening thousands of homes

The incoming president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) has told attendees of its conference they are freedom fighters in a "culture war". James Porter, who takes over the top job on Monday, issued the rallying cry at the NRA's annual meeting in Texas. "This is not a battle about gun rights,'' Mr Porter told attendees on Friday, saying it was "a culture war". [You] here in this room are the fighters for freedom," the Alabama lawyer added. "We are the protectors." Yes, the freedom to ignore the wishes of the vast majority of Americans.

Didar Hossain was working in a garment factory opposite the Rana Plaza on the outskirts of Bangladesh's capital Dhaka when it collapsed last week, killing hundreds of people. Despite the risks, Mr Hossain went into the ruined building repeatedly, freeing those trapped. He told his story to the BBC World Service. When ordinary people do extraordinary things... read this very moving account of a most unlikely hero.

What came before the "Big Bang"? They got married? Nope. I'm talking about the bang that created the Universe. Anyway, here's a Beeb article about the question, but not the answer. It's all a bit high fallutin' for me. The only bit that made sense was the final paragraph.

Is it okay to laugh at Hitler? A satirical novel that follows a bemused Hitler on a journey through today’s Germany is a publishing sensation. But is the dictator responsible for the horrors of the Third Reich a fitting subject for comedy? A most interesting read.

That's one of the reasons I like the Beeb web site. It has the news of the world and it has interesting magazine articles - and good journos. If I used the Aussie equivalent, the ABC, you'd think I was biased. If I used an American news outlet, you'd think I was sucking up. If I used the Oodnadatta Bugle, you'd think I was a dill. So the Beeb it is.

You know those infuriatingly impossible and really, really, really, really dumb intelligence questionaires that drive you nutz? Well, here's one. The only reason I'm publishing it is cos I got 10 outta 11 right hehe. I'll publish the answers a bit further down so you don't CHEAT!

1. Johnny's mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May....What was the third child 's name?

2. There is a clerk at the butcher shop, he is five feet ten inches tall and he wears size 13 sneakers....What does he weigh?

3. Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world?

4. How much dirt is there in a hole that measures two feet by three feet by four feet?

5. What word in the English Language is always spelled incorrectly?

6. Billy was born on December 28th, yet his birthday is always in the summer.....How is this possible?

7. In California , you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg....Why not?

8. What was the President 's 1975?

9. If you were running a race, and you passed the person in 2nd place, what place would you be in now?

10. Which is correct to say - "The yolk of the egg are white" or "The yolk of the egg is white"?

11. If a farmer has 5 haystacks in one field and 4 haystacks in the other field, how many haystacks would he have if he combined them all in another field?

How did you go? Pretty well? The haystack one confused me a little. Anyway, before I post the answers to the above questions, here's a little story about Aliens visiting the Nullabor...

Two aliens landed in the Nullarbor near a petrol station that was closed for the night. They approached one of the petrol pumps and the younger alien addressed it saying, Greetings, Earthling. We come in peace. Take us to your leader. The gas pump, of course, didn't respond. The younger alien became angry at the lack of response. The older alien said, I'd calm down if I were you.

The younger alien ignored the warning and repeated his greeting. Again, there was no response. Ticked off at the pump's haughty attitude, he drew his ray gun and said gruffly, Greetings, Earthling. We come in peace. Take us to your leader or I will fire! The older alien again warned his comrade saying, You probably don't want to do that! I really think that will make him mad.

Rubbish, replied the cocky, young alien. He aimed his weapon and opened fire. There was a huge explosion. A massive fireball roared towards him and blew the younger alien off his feet and threw him in a burnt, smoking mess about 50 metres away. Half an hour passed. When he finally regained consciousness, he refocused his three eyes, straightened his bent antenna, and looked dazedly at the older, wiser alien who was standing over him shaking his big, green head. What a ferocious creature! exclaimed the young, fried alien. He damn near killed me! How did you know he was so dangerous?

The older alien leaned over, placed a friendly feeler on his crispy friend and replied, If there's one thing I've learned during my intergalactic travels, it's that you never fool with a guy who can loop his penis over his shoulder twice and then stick it in his ear.

And now *drum roll*... here are the answers to the intelligence quiz:

1. Johnny's mother had three children. The first child was named April, the second child was named May...What was the third child's name? Answer: Johnny of course

2. There is a clerk at the butcher shop, he is five feet ten inches tall, and he wears size 13 sneakers. What does he weigh? Answer: Meat.

3. Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world? Answer: Mt. Everest; it just wasn't discovered yet.

4. How much dirt is there in a hole that measures two feet by three feet by four feet? Answer: There is no dirt in a hole.

5. What word in the English Language is always spelled incorrectly? Answer: Incorrectly

6. Billy was born on December 28th, yet his birthday is always in the summer. How is this possible? Answer: Billy lives in the Southern Hemisphere

7. In California , you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg. Why not? Answer: You can 't take pictures with a wooden leg. You need a camera to take pictures.

8. What was the President's Name in 1975? Answer: Same as is it now - Barack Obama.

9. If you were running a race, and you passed the person in 2nd place, what place would you be in now? Answer: You would be in 2nd. Well, you passed the person in second place, not first.

10. Which is correct to say, "The yolk of the egg are white" or "The yolk of the egg is white"? Answer: Neither, the yolk of the egg is yellow [Duh]

11. If a farmer has 5 haystacks in one field and 4 haystacks in the other field, how many haystacks would he have if he combined them all in another field? Answer: One. If he combines all of his haystacks, they all become one big one.

Well, time to YKW. That chicken and corn soup last night wasn't bad. I whizzed it till it wasn't too lumpy, but also not too unlumpy - kinda like Goldilocks would have (if she'd had a whizzer). And it actually had chicken in it. I checked the label - 4%. Hehe. I wonder now many peeps read labels to check the ingredients. They'd be horrified if they did. But for $2 for two servings I'm not complaining. Besides, I like the taste of corn. Gary

May 3, 2013. Yes, it's official, JustinO is now Justin K. O'Shea, D. Psych. Last Friday was the day I have been preparing for. . .it was the day assigned to me to present my doctoral dissertation before the appointed Board of Examiners, in this case four professors from the Department of Psychology and a doctor from the College of Medicine, and anyone else who was interested to come.  Well, I was 'accepted' and passed and, in early June, at the graduations of the various Colleges of the University I shall be awared a Doctorate in Psychology summa cum laude.

Yep, the little kid who rode his trike around the veranda of the family home in Massachusetts is now a fully fledged shrink.

Meanwhile, I've been doing a little shrinking myself. If I buy an AGM gel battery this pay, then what? I wait till next pay (in 2 weeks) to get a sparky. Then I wait another 2 weeks to get a gas fitter and gas bottle. And then, and then, and then... Sooooo, rather than do things bit by bit, why not set a savings target to get it all done in one fell swoop? In mid June, I'll be elegible again for a $1000 interest-free loan from Centerlink (the last one went towards buying the Courier). By then I'll have saved about a grand, so that's $2000 to spend on major projects as well as quite a few other things.

By mid June, I'll also have seen both docs - the oncologist in Port Macquarie and the specialist in Sydney - and be up to date with what's occuring with my recovery process. Yeah? BTW, no prize in last night's $60M Lotto. Are you shocked? I didn't think so hehe. But if you're of the opinion that Lotto is a mug's game with no chance of winning, tell that to the holders of the two tickets that won $31M each. I lost $5. 

Back from shopping. Woolies still has some soups on spesh for $2 ea. They're trying to reduce stocks of the less popular flavors, but among those are some I quite like. I also took the Courier for a bit of spin out of town to charge up the battery, and as I zoomed along the open road in the glorious sunshine I thought... yes, you know what I'm gonna say already... I thought about how it'll be with the camper on board, heading to yet another adventure. Hey, even my first adventure will do!

Last  noite, I watched the second part of The Rats of Tobruk, and the second Battle of Alamein which took place after Churchill had visited the battle zone, sacked Auchinleck and installed Montgomery. He was mad as hell at the British losses and Rommel's "good source" of information that gave him access to all the British battle plans. Eventually the security leak was discovered and then plugged, and Montgomery got to work. The Australian forces were sent to attack Rommel's position on the gulf while Montgomery's main thrust was towards Rommel's stronghold. The Australians were ordered to fight to the last man and the last shell, which they almost did. Their losses were catastrophic but they achieved their goal. As I watched the images on screen I was deeply saddened by the utter carnage - the sheer horror of war and the tragic loss of young lives, some still in their teens. After the victory, Churchill said: "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." He also said, "Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat." 

One of the Aussie Diggers who was interviewed for the program, and who is now 90, told the story of seeing two German soldiers approaching their foxhole on foot. He impulsively shot one, and his mate the other. The first German wasn't dead, but he was dying and calling out his wife's name. Whether the two Germans wanted to surrender or not was not clear. The Digger thought about putting him out of his misery but couldn't pull the trigger. So he sat with the young man all through the night until he died. Then he removed certain items from the body, including a wallet, inside which was a picture of the German's wife and two children. "If not for me, he could have enjoyed his life like I have. He could have enjoyed his grandchildren like I have. I've never forgotten that night, or that photo."

Lest we forget.

From the Beeb: US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has acknowledged his government is no longer ruling out arming Syrian rebels. It is the first time a senior US official has said openly that the US is reconsidering its opposition to supplying weapons to rebel forces. President Barack Obama - who rejected such a proposal last year - said the US was now looking at "all options"

Oxford English Dictionary Chief Editor John Simpson is to retire after 37 years at the famous reference work. Here he writes of a life hunting for the evidence behind the birth of words. An enduring myth is that the word pom (as in whinging pom and other more colourful expressions) is an acronym from either "Prisoner of His Majesty" or even "Permit of Migration", for the original convicts or settlers who sailed from Britain to Australia. Yes, Aussies have used 'Pom' for donkey's years, but why?

Rhode Island has become the 10th US state to allow same-sex marriages. Governor Lincoln Chafee signed the bill - shortly after the final approval of the measure by the state's lawmakers. BTW, did you know that all 50 states "allow" opposite sex marriages? Oh yes, that's been the case for quite some time now. Hehe.

Here's a pic called "Almost Made It" posted on the GN photo comp, taken in the Simpson Desert, SA. I have a feeling I won't be going there.

BTW, anyone remember this pic of The Rock I took at Barrington Tops back in 2008 when I drove out there on a mini Odyssey in ol' TT? It's on AO but I dug it up the other night and posted it on the sharing photos section of GN.

A senior moment: An elderly couple had dinner at another couple's house, and after eating, the wives left the table and went into the kitchen. The two gentlemen were talking, and one said, 'Last night we went out to a new restaurant and it was really great. I would recommend it very highly.' The other man said, 'What is the name of the restaurant?' The first man thought and thought and finally said, 'Whats the name of that flower you give to someone you love? You know, the one that's red and has thorns.' 'Do you mean a rose?' 'Yes, that's the one,' replied the man. He then turned towards the kitchen and yelled, 'Rose, what's the name of that restaurant we went to last night?' 

I've been thinking a bit more about the idea to target my savings rather than make ad hoc purchases. It may be a psychological thing but a particular amount of money seems a more solid thing to aim for, with a particular focus. It also sets a time frame - 6 weeks from now. In fact, I just did a rough costing of the list of things I need, including labor, and $2000 will be more than adequate. And that includes things like a collapsible ladder, second spare wheel, roof rack, stove-top oven, air compressor, fire extinguishers/blanket, UHF radio, etc. I feel happier already!

5-ish and time to cushion the butt. I'm sure there was other stuff I was gonna mention but... er... dozen madder. Gary

May 2, 2013. FL Josh sent this link to a most interesting and enlightening article about the pros and cons of lithium ion batteries. It's a good reason, in my case, to settle for AGM gel.

So what's been happening? Not a lot. Well, it depends on what you're talking about I suppose. There's no shortage of methane around here hehe. Must be all those smoothies and that hospital liquid food I'm on. Bloody hell. If I stuck a balloon up my bum, you could attach me to a piece of string and have fun down at the park. But other than that, it's very quiet around here.

The GN forums keep me amused and informed. Got some great responses about my camper's electrical outlets and wiring, and what type of fittings I currently have. 

From the Beeb: North Korea says it has sentenced a US citizen to 15 years of hard labour. The announcement, from state news agency KCNA, said Pae Jun-ho, known in the US as Kenneth Bae, was tried on 30 April. He was held last year after entering North Korea as a tourist. Pyongyang said he was accused of anti-government crimes. How do you spell scapegoat? What silly games those NKs play.

Newly discovered human bones prove the first permanent English settlers in North America turned to cannibalism over the cruel winter of 1609-10, US researchers have said. Scientists found unusual cuts consistent with butchering for meat on human bones dumped in a rubbish pit. The four-century-old skull and tibia of a teenage girl in James Fort, Virginia, were excavated from the dump last year. James Fort, founded in 1607, was the earliest part of the Jamestown colony

Facebook has said it will delete videos of people being decapitated which had been spread on its site. "We will remove instances of these videos that are reported to us while we evaluate our policy and approach to this type of content," it said

US soft drinks giant PepsiCo has withdrawn a commercial over criticism that it depicts racial stereotypes and makes light of violence against women. The online ad shows a battered white woman on crutches being asked to identify a suspect out of a police line-up of black men and a goat. I found the ad on Youtube. Dumb ad, but I didn't find it offensive. Just dumb.

The cartoon character Bugs Bunny turns 75 this year. Bugs Bunny first appeared as the Happy Rabbit in the Warner Bros animated short Porky's Hare Hunt in 1938. Billy West was the voice of Bugs Bunny for 10 years and told BBC Radio 5 live's Breakfast that "no one person could lay claim" to the character, "as none of us created it". One of my favs forever, good ole Bugs.

US scientists have developed a way to embed radio frequency identification chips on to paper that they say is quicker, cheaper and offers wider applications than current methods. The technique could be used to prevent fraud as well as provide a new meaning to the term 'paper trail'. The process uses lasers to transfer and assemble the chips on paper. Such smart paper could be used for banknotes, legal documents, tickets and smart labels, the team said.

Deanna Durbin, one of Hollywood's biggest box-office stars in the 1930s and early '40s, has died aged 91. Her son, Peter H David, made the announcement in a newsletter to her fans, saying she died "a few days ago". In 1947 she was the highest-paid star in the United States. But she retired from the business the following year when she was just 27. NC Art will probably have fond memories of Deanna. The poor ol' bugger went to the eye doc today and If this is garbled, it’s becasuse eye doc dilated my pupils and I can’t see shit right now.

Researchers at Cern in Switzerland have tested a novel way to find out if antimatter is the source of a force termed "antigravity". Antimatter particles are the "mirror image" of normal matter, but with opposite electric charge. How antimatter responds to gravity remains a mystery, however; it may "fall up" rather than down. Now researchers reporting in Nature Communications have made strides toward finally resolving that notion. How interesting! I wonder if that might have some sort of impact on the current propulsion methods needed to power airplanes and rockets.

That's one of a series of pics Art sent today. I thought it was cute. I got a chuckle outta this next one as well.

And afore I go for today, here's a fishing story Art sent:

I went fishing one morning, but after a short time I ran out of worms. Then I saw a cottonmouth with a frog in his mouth. Frogs are good bass bait.

Knowing the snake couldn't bite me with the frog in his mouth I grabbed him right behind the head, took the frog, and put it in my bait bucket. Now the dilemma was how to release the snake without getting bit. So, I grabbed my bottle of Jack Daniels and poured a little whiskey in its mouth.

His eyes rolled back, he went limp. I released him into the lake without incident and carried on fishing using the frog.

A little later, I felt a nudge on my foot. It was that damn snake, with two more frogs.

Butter chicken tonight... soup version. And, of course, the obligatory telly. I watch The Drum, a panel of journos and pollies discussing the day's events, often with a bit of humor thrown in. Oops! Nearly forgot the Lotto Jackpot tonight... $60M. Just a teensy bit of that pie will do, thank you very much. Gary

May 1, 2013. Late last year, Steve W said I needed to set a departure date for the Odyssey otherwise I'd never get going. He suggested February. Well, February has come and gone. I think the problem is getting the docs and Centerlink to agree to a departure date hehe. Yes, it's frustrating all round. The spirit is willing but the pension is weak. So is the flesh, it seems. Anyway, I'll press on regardless. No point is getting this far and giving up.

The GN who mentioned lithium camper batteries PM'd me and explained some stuff that was a bit too technical and fiddly for my liking. I checked eBay and saw lithium camper batteries for $1500, which is a lot more expensive than the GN's estimate of $500. I'll stick with my original plan to buy an AGM gel battery. Apart from anything else, $300 is far more affordable. However, the GN insists that he only paid $500 for his and that he's not technically inclined either. Hmmm. He says if I change my mind to get in touch with him. So the door's open.

Meanwhile, I did ask some GN techies about the exterior power points on the van. I didn't realize one was an outlet for connecting electrical devices to the outside of the camper... like the laptop when I feel like using it out under the awning. The other is the inlet for connecting to mains power at caravan parks. But it's missing its all weather lid, which is a bit of a worry. I better get a sparky to check all the wiring before I connect anything, and fit a lid to the inlet. If he can also connect the new battery and install a relay, that'll be a bonus. Otherwise I'll have to see an auto elec. One does 12V and the other does 240V - different licenses, different strokes.

TX Greg wrote: I know you said you been having some problems uploading, but you have me a little confused. You're making it sound as though your reloading daily ALL the pics for the month that are already on the server. Aren't you just uploading the html file and any new pics for the day that you added if any? Why reload pics that already on the server? Or are you saying that the html, a 327kb file, is giving you trouble loading, if so that's worst that old dial up speeds.

I know I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, Greg, but I'm not THAT dumb. Yep, I just upload the html file and any new pics - not the older stuff. As to the slow speed, not sure what the cause of that is. But now that I'm uploading a small file first, and all the other files after that, they're all going through quickly and without incident. Go figure. If it works, fine with me.

Greg also asked if I noticed the sign on the back of the MH caught in the mud that I linked to yesterday. Yeah... Life As Good As It Gets.

A while back, NC Art asked me about the Aussie who's building Titanic II, Clive Palmer. He also spent a few hundred million (chicken feed to him) on a bunch of mechanical dinosaurs which are now the star attraction at a leisure park he owns. But his latest venture is the launch of a new political party to contest the Federal Election in September. The established parties are dismissing Clive as a ratbag, but he's certainly no ratbag. He's also a real character and very entertaining. He can call a press conference at the drop of a hat, and create front page headlines. Underestimating Clive would be a big mistake, and it'll certainly be interesting to observe how he fares in his bid to become Australian Prime Minister. In fact, he'll be the ONLY interesting thing about the upcoming election. I rather like the guy. He speaks his mind and he loves to stir up the political stew. And I'll tellya something. There's a heap of voters in Oz who are pissed off with Labor (the incumbent) and disenchanted with the Liberals (opposition) who are looking elsewhere for a bit of inspiration. Stay tooned.

My 6 solar LED garden lights arrived today from China. I put one outside in the sun to test it.

From the Beeb: US President Barack Obama has pledged a new push to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amid a growing prisoner hunger strike there. At the White House, Mr Obama said the detention centre was "contrary to who we are" and harmful to US interests.

A general strike against tough austerity measures has begun in Greece, with the country's trade unions calling for "mass mobilisation" of protesters. The 24-hour action is expected to severely disrupt public services, including transport and hospitals. The cradle of democracy, and the birth place of philisophy - what a mess.

More than 30 retro Russian cars and motorcycles have driven through the streets in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, as part of a parade to celebrate capital city day. Tajikistan became independent from the former Soviet Union more than 20 years ago - but some Tajiks still have a soft spot for the old Russian-made cars. Yeah? There's a ring-in amongst them that looks suspiciously like an old MG.

For around half a century we’ve been trying to boldly go where no man has gone before. How successful have we been? To answer the question, we have created this graphic of every attempt to leave Earth’s orbit and reach a destination in extraterrestrial space – be it with probes, orbiters, rovers, or of course manned missions.

I mentioned Clive Palmer earlier. Just now I read a post on the GN forum: Kim Jung Un had NO military experience whatsoever before Daddy made him a four-star general. This twerp had never accomplished anything in his life that would even come close to military leadership. He hadn't even so much as led a Cub Scout troop, coached a sports team, or commanded a military platoon. So he is made the "Beloved Leader" Of North Korea. Terrific!

But then the poster had second thoughts and wrote: Oh crap! I'm sorry. I just remembered that we did the same thing. We took an arrogant ex-lawyer, confessed atheist, and former Communist sympathizer and made her Prime Minister. A woman, who had never managed any business, worked on a budget, or led anything more than a University Union demonstration, and we made her "Beloved Leader" of Australia!! I'm sorry I brought this up. Never mind, September 14th is coming !

Won't be long before the GN webbie deletes that one hehe.

And now, ladies and genitals, here's a lovely story about Doug and Sharon, two GNs who lost their respective spouses to cancer some years ago, and who have been travelling solo. They met at a GN gathering which also happened to be attended by a little naked person with wings and a bow and arrow. Hehe. Here's Doug's version of the story. And here's Sharon's version, the "real story". They're both very sweet. And here's a pic of the happy couple.

And on that happy note, I'll conclude today's Waffle and attend to other matters. :o) Gary


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