the WAFFLE page

August 31, 2014. Okies, I assembled all the Cruzer pics into an album but I also chose one to manipulate into an arty farty pic for posting on Red Bubble. Kinda cool, dontcha think? Meanwhile, here's the Cruzer Club's album. And before you threaten to shoot me at dawn, I labeled the last of the Model A Fords as 1929 when it's actually 1931 but I can't be bothered editing it and uploading the whole album again. So there.

OH Jim wrote: I see USB sticks looking like miniature toys all the time, with a chain to put it on a lanyard or keychain. so maybe it is just another one of those things.

Can't have Bubba B without his very own Nikon now can we?

OH Jim told me about his young mate Zach going to his high school's football game Friday night. Jim is a follower of football and baseball - a bit of a sports nut. Most Aussies are too. But for the life of me I can't see the point, and never have. I suspect it's because I'm basically a loner, and sport involves a lot of socializing. As Jim says, Friday night high school football was always a big social event for students when he was a kid. So there ya go. I never mixed with any kids from my school - not one. I used to hang with a few guys from my street, and then guys from work after I left school. But even then I remained aloof, and was always in trouble because I'd promise to attend a party or whatever and not turn up.

So I guess that explains why I'm the ideal candidate for a solo Aussie Odyssey. Lonliness is not something that concerns me. Not at all. Ironically, though, I'd be lost without my internet connection and daily journal. Communication with other people is important to me - but at an arm's length. Weird? Yeah. But that's the way this particular cookie happens to crumble.

From the Beeb: The European Union has given Russia one week to reverse course in Ukraine or face new sanctions. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the EU was working urgently on further restrictive measures. Earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said his country was "close to a point of no return - full scale-war" with Russia. Russia denies Western accusations that its forces have illegally crossed into Ukraine to support separatists there.

US planes have made humanitarian aid drops to the besieged Iraqi town of Amerli, the Pentagon has said. Some 15,000 minority Shia Turkmen in Amerli have been surrounded by Islamic State (IS) militants for two months. The US also carried out air strikes on IS positions. The Iraqi army, Shia militias and Kurdish fighters have been struggling to break the siege. Aircraft from the UK, Australia, France joined the US in the humanitarian aid drops, said Rear Admiral John Kirby.

The ocean, flat, soothing and expansive, is one of the world's great levellers. It can be beautiful wherever you are. A few weeks ago I was sitting by the shore in Gaza on a summer evening looking out west over sun-kissed waves, the chaos and carnage of the war at my back momentarily fading away. This week, I sat by the shore in Sydney on a bright winter's day looking east, the waft of grilled lobster and calamari from the expensive harbour-side restaurants drifting over my shoulder. Two wonderful ocean views. A world apart.

Time to shoot through again but before I skedaddle, here's a link to 20 practical uses for Coke. Gary

August 30, 2014. A solo GN wrote this morning that she gets a bit lonely on the road at times. I've wondered about that myself but, by the same token, how can anyone feel lonely when they're surrounded by nature? Some people call it feeling "at one" with nature or "communing". I figure we're all from the one family... the trees, the wildlife, the sun, the stars... the earth itself. Anyway, that's how I look at it.

The Cruzin Club's show and shine was on this morning so I toddled down for a look see. There was a bigger and broader range of cars on display than there was at the GM show - hotrods, restored cars, mostly Yank tanks - at Fotheringham Park just down the road from my place, beside the river. It's mid afternoon now so I'll put the album together tomorrow.

When I checked the pics I chastized myself AGAIN for not paying sufficient attention to contrast. I keep getting tricked by the fact that my eye sees contrast differently to the way the camera lens does, and I forget to make allowances. Grrrrrr. Most of the pics are fine, though. It was a very bright sky which contrasted strongly with some of the cars' colors and shady areas.

There were a couple of '55 Chevy Bel Airs on display, NC Art will be happy to know. And speaking of the old devil, he sent good wishes: Yeah well, Happy Birthday to Gary Kelley, you old curmudgeon. And, as many more of them as you want!

Kelley? I often get Garry but not Kelley. Anyway, dozen madder. Art's old enough to spell anything any way he wants to. As to beginning a sentence with "Yeah, well..." Cody often did that, especially when he was about to give himself a wrap. After the school Valedictory Service, Cody couldn't wait to tell me all about the awards presented to the other guys, including Mark who was voted the most popular prefect and all round good guy. But when it came to Cody telling me about his own award, he began with "Yeah, well..." as if he were being forced to admit it. His award was for being the most caring person at school, always at the ready to help anyone in trouble (which often meant standing up to the bullies on behalf of others).

FL Josh also wrote but he was confused: What in the world was the gift from your dentists? It looks like a super tiny Nikon camera about two inches wide with a USB card reader.

It puzzled me too but it's a sort of key-chain thingy - a toy. The USB stick slots into the mini camera to protect the plug end. When both parts are together, it looks like a mini Nikon with a telephoto lens but it doesn't actually do anything, and there are no moving parts. However, the USB stick is a proper drive with 8GB capacity. There's a little chain that came with it so maybe you're supposed to hang it from the rear view mirror inside the cab, like some people hang a pair of dice.

OH Jim reckons it's weird to be reading about my birthday on the 29th when it's already the 30th over here. Yeah, well the earth is round ya know, and we can't all be facing the sun at the same time. Actually, they were talking on QI last night on telly about it taking some hours and minutes (can't remember what it was exactly but I think it was about 6 hours) to reach any point on the globe from its antipode (its opposite point). It's theoretical, of course, but if you were to drill a hole through the center of the earth all the way to the other side, and jump in, it would take 6 hours-ish to arrive at its antipode. At first, gravity would cause you to accelerate towards the center, and then you would decelerate until you popped out the other side. So there ya go... something to try when you've got a bit of extra time on your hands and you're at a loose end.

Not much happening on the Beeb today so I'll take this opportunity - since I'm running late anyway - to take my bat and ball and call it a day. I prepared dinner earlier this arvo; blended the chicken meat, mashed the spuds and fixed the veges. The trick is to put them into separate containers and also serve them separately on a plate so that it looks like a proper meal with individual servings. It keeps the flavors separate too. Once all the prep is done, it takes about 5 minutes to put my dinner together and heat it. Gary

August 29, 2014. I checked the bathroom mirror this morning just to see if there was a noticeable difference between the way I looked yesterday and the way I look today. Nope. Just the same. And I feel the same. Then I got an email from Oz Lotto saying "no winning games" hehe. So much for my lucky day!

However, I did get a pretty pic from TX Greg, one he plucked from his crystal ball. Yep, a scene like that would do me just fine. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GARY!!! The pic reminded me of the link Joćo sent you to the Pink Lake. I've hidden something special just for you in there. To find it you need to look long and hard, hehe.

How long? Ten seconds? I know you too well, Greg.

That looks like a scene from north Oz... up around Townsville/Cairns in QLD, or maybe around Darwin somewhere in the NT or perhaps across to WA in Broome. Quite a few GNs have spent the past few months around the top end enjoying the tropical "winter". Fingers crossed for next year.

OK Mike wrote: Now that I have finally turned the page on my calendar to August I see that I did have your birthday noted on the 29th , here it goes again . Happy birthday Gary !

Thanks, Mike. Reminds me of the Harley calendar Cody gave to Mark for his birthday, with all the pencilled notes like "this is the day you beat the crap outta me". I wonder if Mark still has it.

I'm off to the dental clinic shortly and my cheesecake! Philly cheese with white chocolate and raspberries. I'll take the little Fuji compact with me to record the momentous event.

BACK! I told Andries and Anna that I'm officially wise now and that they could ask me anything. So, as anticipated, Andries asked what is the meaning of life, and I answered, quick as a flash, that there isn't one. Anna, meanwhile, insisted that the answer was "Andries and Anna are the best!" Hmmmm.

So where are the pics? Anna went ballistic with my little Fuji and took a few of me opening my prezzie so I made a photo album (with captions) which you can see here. I'm not too thrilled about less-than-complimentary pics showing me during my recovery from cancer et al but what the heck. It's all for a good cause. And... I do look kind of... amusing. Hehe.

Shopping's done and now I'm tucking into Anna's cheesecake in a glass. Mmmmmmmm! Very noice indeed! I love the taste of raspberries.

From the Beeb: More than three million Syrians are now registered as refugees and the desperate crisis is only getting worse, the UN's refugee agency says. The UNHCR says Syria is now "the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era" with almost half of all Syrians forced to flee their homes. The majority of refugees have fled to countries neighbouring Syria, with 1.14 million now seeking shelter in Lebanon. More than 190,000 have been killed in Syria's three-year civil war.

Passwords are a pain. We choose simple words that are easy to remember, but equally easy for hackers to guess. Yet we still forget them. And they also get stolen with alarming frequency. The reported theft of 1.2 billion email passwords by Russian hackers earlier this month was just the latest in a long string of major password security breaches that have led some people to wonder if the use of passwords should be abandoned. But what are the alternatives?

A study of smokers in Australia suggests there is "no evidence" that the introduction of 'plain' cigarette packaging has changed the way people buy cigarettes. Researchers writing in BMJ Open found no increase in the use of illegal tobacco and no sign of cheaper brands flooding the market. They surveyed 2,000 smokers before and after the laws came into force in 2012. Since then, all tobacco products have to be sold in standardised dark brown packaging with large graphic health warnings. There are no tobacco industry logos, brand imagery, colours or promotional text on the packaging. Brand and product names are printed in small text.

Do burgers, sugary snacks and other unhealthy foods exacerbate the effects of mental illness? David Robson investigates the evidence, and discovers a surprising new idea to help treat depression. The people entering Felice Jacka’s offices over the next few months will be in the throes of depression. She wants to help them – but her approach is unorthodox. Her team at Deakin University in Australia won’t be trying out a new cocktail of drugs. Nor will they be mulling over the patient’s childhood, their jobs, or their marital difficulties to help them cope with their problems. Instead, she wants them to talk about food. If Jacka is right, changing their eating habits could be a key part of these people’s recovery.

There was an interesting snippet of info on QI last night on telly. The host, Stephen Fry, asked members of the panel who amongst them was related to Charlemagne, known as the father of modern Europe. Turns out they were all related, as are you and I and all other people of European descent. It works like this. Most people have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 great great grandparents etc, etc. And if you go back far enough, such as the 13th century, all of us end up with a common ancestor. So there ya go... you bloody lot out there are related to ME! But the really really really bad news is that I'm also related to Lindsay. Oh dear...

Anyhoo, it's about time I plonked this skinny butt on my fav chair and pigged out on chocolate in front of the telly until dinner time. Which reminds me... I was asked by several peeps at the dental clinic this morning if I was gonna go out and celebrate my 70th tonight. Yeah, right. With no teeth? On a cold winter's night? No thanks. I'm quite happy here stuffing my face and watching telly with the heater on. Gary

August 28, 2014. Roite, we need to get a few things straight here. TX Greg wrote: Ooops, either I or OH Jim missed something there. I thought you ditched your home land line ISP way back and your USB modem connects like a mobile phone, and Jim is thinking your using a land line.

Yep, ditched the land line a few years ago in anticipation of the Odyssey, so I've been using a dongle, but it's the same ISP. If you remember, the dongle was posted to my ex neighbor in Glebe when I was undergoing the cancer op in Sydney and he brought it around to the hospital.

You mentioned, "frustrating without a keyboard" hehe, Gary they all have a on screen full keyboard to type something in or when you do get the choppers in place you can also just talk to type. The keyboard pops up on the screen any time you need it for whatever you're doing or working on. Way easier than the old phones where you had each number assigned to three letters. Oh that was a pain to type.

But it's still a one-finger job. I'm a touch typist. I use both hands and all fingers and need a full-size keyboard as well as a full-size screen... not much different to using a manual typewriter and an A4 page. BTW, do you know how QWERTY came about? The first attempts at designing a typewriter keyboard resulted in the keys jamming, so the letters (on those long stems) were arranged in such a way that separated the most often used sufficiently to keep them apart as they arrived at the ink ribbon. No more jamming (or very little). It's possible now, with electronic keyboards, to design the layout in alphabetical order but typists like me who are used to QWERTY would kick up a huge stink.

OH Jim adds: Got to clarify one point from Greg... Hotspots run over WIFI and not Bluetooth. Two different animals. Bluetooth is primarily used with wireless earphones, speakers, mice, keyboards and headsets, and has a range of maybe 25 feet. WIFI can go a lot farther. I have a cheap tablet that I can use with the hotspot on my phone via WIFI . It has no Bluetooth ( I told you it was cheap).

5GB is a good chunk of data. I am confused though. I thought you had a simple phone. What are you doing buying data for that? Or is the data for your home connection. Here, ISP's charge for faster connections, and not for your data. It is truly unlimited for home connections. I shudder to think how much data I use a month on my home connection, and what I would pay for using it, if I had to pay for the data.

I do have a simple phone. The 5GB is for my internet connection, not the phone. And I don't have a home connecton. I have a dongle. Roite, I hope that clears that up.

Right now, I'm a sexagenarian but that will end at midnight when I become a septuagenarian. According to FL Josh, Lindsay will burst out of a cake and offer me a big bowl of ice cream. Thanks for the wishes, Josh. I suppose turning 70 should be treated as a momentous occasion but it doesn't feel like that. Feels pretty ordinary, actually. I have learned one thing... that 'old' is a perception. Teens think people in their 20s are old. 20-somethings think people in their 30s are old. And so it goes. As to the expression you're only as old as you think you are, I would refine that to you're only as old as you think. Think, think, think.

When I talk to most older peeps I get the impression we're from different planets. My mind doesn't work like theirs. Fact is, it doesn't work like most people's no matter what their age. I'm an odd ball. A social misfit. I do enjoy the company of thinkers though. A bit of cerebral stimulus keeps me amused.

And speaking of amused, I mentioned canned laughter the other day. Last night on telly, a pro comedian was talking about audience laughter and how people in a group tend to laugh more readily than they would otherwise. It's a social thing - like yawning if someone else yawns, or feeling itchy if someone else is scratching. The sight and/or sound of someone laughing makes us laugh, even if we don't have the vaguest idea of what is causing their mirth.

Hehehehe and hahahahahaha and ho ho ho make me laugh, but LOL doesn't. Neither does the plumber arriving to check the bathroom while I'm taking a shower. The drain prob wasn't solved yesterday so he called again. Brilliant timing. So he'll be back later - "if possible". Couldn't wait five minutes.

Jim sent this pic:

Now, before you start criticizing that billboard for leading people astray, you should read this.

And Josh sent this one called How Ironic:

From the Beeb: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has demanded an explanation from Russia's President Vladimir Putin amid reports that Russian troops have launched an incursion into south-east Ukraine. Ukraine said Russian forces had crossed the border and were supporting separatist attacks. The US State Department said it suspected a Russian-directed counter-offensive was under way. Russia has repeatedly denied arming or covertly supporting the rebels.

Australia's national flag carrier Qantas has reported an after-tax net loss of A$2.8bn ($2.6bn; £1.57bn) for the year ending in June - its biggest ever financial loss. The struggling airline said the result was in part due to an A$2.6bn write-down on its international fleet. Analysts were expecting a net loss of around A$750 million. Qantas said weak domestic demand, poor consumer spending and rising fuel costs also contributed to the huge loss. It is the worst result in the company's history and compares with a revised after-tax profit of A$2 million a year earlier.

This week, a nine-year-old girl firing an Uzi submachine gun accidentally shot to death her weapons instructor. Not all Americans grow up shooting guns - but those who do often start young. When he was five years old, Dan Baum started shooting guns. The author of Gun Guys: A Road Trip has crisscrossed the country learning about America's gun culture. He believes shooting can teach children valuable lessons about respect and discipline.

Lemme read that again just to make sure I'm not seeing things. A nine-year-old girl firing an Uzi submachine gun. Have I got that right? A nine-year-old girl? A child? An Uzi submachine gun? This happened in America, right? Not the Middle East. And the instructor wasn't an Islamic State terrorist, right? He was a regular law-abiding citizen and weapons instructor, the average guy-next-door type.

Is anyone else as puzzled as I am, wondering why on earth a nine-year-old girl is being taught to fire a submachine gun?

We've had quite a bit of heavy rain the past day or two so, now that the clouds have cleared and the sun is shining, I checked out PJ for leaks. None. Dry as a bone. Some months or more ago, I discovered a bit of water at the bottom of the closet, inside at the back, but we had gale force wind then (a mini tornado) which caused the rain to become horizontal. There was no water this time.

So there ya go, another day bites the dust and in a few hours I'll have joined the ranks of the geriatrics hehe. I've said something like this before, but it's worth repeating; the future seems such a long, long way away while the past seems like you could reach out and touch it. It's weird. Oh well, not to worry. Just hang in there and make the most of it. Gary

August 27, 2014. The south coast (including Sydney) has been copping wild winds, local flooding and heavy rain, all of which has now moved up the coast and now we're copping it. Taree had lots of rain last night and a few thunderstorms. It's calmed down now though and it'll be fine from tomorrow and for the next week, with temps getting back into the low 20s. Spring has almost sprung!

TX Greg cleared up some techie stuff about modems and phones: Yes it can all be really confusing. And yes your USB modem would be the same as what I was calling a Hot Spot. "Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances." So basically everything, phone, comp, printer, ear buds, all connects now with no USB wires tethered. If the laptop doesn't have that built in there is a simple and very cheap adapter... 

Since the smarthpone has the internet built in you will probably find you use it more to surf the web, even checking email, and then just use the laptop for editing and uploading the website stuff .

That does sound like good deal at Kogan for Oz prices, as I had to pay $199 with a 2 year contract. My only question is if you buy the phone from them, how to you get your actual service activated on it?

I'm not a passive internet user, Greg. I think I'd find relying on a smart phone very frustrating without a keyboard. But I agree that it would be useful for checking email and surfing. As to your question about activation, you can buy an unlocked phone and then a SIM card from a carrier/ISP without a contract. My current ISP offers SIM-only deals. An unlocked phone is more expensive than one on a contract initially but allows you to change carriers/ISPs at any time. Some phones have two SIM slots.

OH Jim also sent some useful info: As for using your phone as a WIFI hot spot, well it does have its place, when you are out and about in PJ. But I wouldn't use it in place of your ISP right now at home. The ISP's speeds are much faster than the cell phone's hot spot. The ISP's speed is also more consistent. A cell phone's speed can and does vary, depending on how much of a signal you can receive at that location. As signal drops, your speeds drop from 4G, to 3G, to 2G and even 1G, although by then you probably dropped whatever you were talking to. This is done to keep your phone from stalling out ( it drops into an endless loop sending and resending the same data packet). I have no idea who your carriers are over there, and what kind of bandwidth they can offer, for how much money. No carriers in the USA offers unlimited data. They will sell you a certain amount then either turn off totally, or slow down (called throttling) or worse, start billing your account. Overages can really rack up a huge bill. Watching video streams like you do will be very costly, or run you out of high speed data very early into your month.

I'm aware of overages and how expensive they can be. Got stung for $600 some years ago and was outraged! These days, my ISP sends an email as well as a message to my phone when I've used half my allocation, and then another reminder when I'm close to the limit. I think it's a government regulation that applies to all carriers/ISPs. But I rarely use any more than about half my 5GB/month which costs about $30. I don't watch vids or movies on line, or download much.

In any case, I won't be buying anything for a while yet... got too much fiscal catching up to do.

Jim mentioned coverage maps. I have the GN 'bible', Camps Australia Wide, which lists all camps in Oz plus their facilities including mobile/internet access. CAW also has a web site that updates info regularlly. There's another web site called Wikicamps that GNs use. So I'll be aware in advance of choosing my next camp site whether I'll have internet access or not, and be able to advise accordingly.

It still seems strange to look through the kitchen window and see Av's house without Av there. The house is a constant reminder. It'll be even stranger when new folks move in.

A bloke was checking out a dinosaur skeleton in a museum one time when an attendant happened to walk past. "Excuse me," the bloke said, "but I was wondering how old this dinosaur is." The attendant replied, "65 million, 12 years and 3 months." The bloke was astonished. "Really?" he said. "That's very interesting. How did you arrive at such a precise age? Carbon dating?" The attendant replied, "Well, sir, when I got this job, they told me that dinosaur was 65 million years old, and I've been here 12 years and 3 months."

From the Beeb: A long-term ceasefire has been agreed between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. The truce, ending seven weeks of fighting that has left more than 2,200 people - mostly Palestinians - dead, was brokered by Egypt and began at 19:00 local time (16:00 GMT). Hamas said the deal represented a "victory for the resistance". Israel is to ease its blockade of Gaza to allow in aid and building materials, Israeli officials said. Wonders will never cease.

Mozilla, a company best known for its Firefox browser, has launched a new low-cost smartphone in India that will retail for 1,999 rupees ($33; £19.90). The phone is only for sale on India's online shopping site, Snapdeal. The Intex Cloud FX runs on Mozilla's Firefox operating system and as such it will be the first low-cost device running that system available in Asia. India's emerging market is regarded as the world's fastest growing for low-cost smartphones. Various emerging markets across Asia are seen by mobile device manufacturers as the key remaining areas for massive growth. "With the launch of Intex Cloud FX, we aim to enable the masses to get smartphone experience at the cost of a feature phone," Mozilla said in a statement.

One of the best-preserved copies of the first Superman comic has sold for $3.2m (£1.9m), a record price for a comic book, according to eBay. Superman made his debut in Action Comics #1, which cost 10 cents in 1938. Only around 50 unrestored originals are thought to have survived, and this was described as the most immaculate.

For urban-transport alternativistas who also thrive on multitasking, nirvana may be at hand with the Halfbike, a think-outside-the-velocipede conveyance that allows users to jog and bike at the same time. The minimalistic machine, essentially a hybrid of a tri-wheeled scooter and a rolling, miniature elliptical machine, sprang from the brainpans of Bulgaria natives Martin Angelov and Mihail Klenov. The two architects are among a vanguard of young entrepreneurs intent on reshaping personal urban transport.

My bank has just introduced a snazzy new credit card feature... locking transactions made at overseas banks or purchases made at overseas stores, as well as cash withdrawals from all ATMs. I can also limit the value of any transaction to an amount I nominate. If my CC details are ever stolen and an attempt is made to use my card overseas or at any ATM anywhere, it's automatically prevented. If I need to unlock the card for a particular purchase or period, I can do it instantly on line. That'll upset the plans of a few hackers.

Here's an interesting short story from a GN about his honeymoon 30 years ago, and his hired caravan that went up in flames.

And here's a bloke who has chosen the GN forum to tell everyone about his clinical depression and anxiety, and how the GN lifestyle helps him handle it.

And that's it for today, boils and goils. Gary

August 26, 2014. Wet, wet, wet... but the ducks aren't complaining. Neither is Stan the Lawn Man cos he just turned up with Sue to do the mowing and trimming. He was supposed to be at a friend's farm helping out with shearing but the rain has stalled proceedings. And now PJ is covered in wet grass clippings. :-/

Mieke is showing off her success in the Pano Awards - two bronze. The gold and silver must have been totally awesome for Mieke's work to win bronze. She's a talented girl for sure... and a hard worker. Check out Quaille Falls and Dove Lake Boatshed.

TX Greg wrote: Hmmm, so right now you're paying for both a mobile hot spot and a mobile phone???

Yeah... it's just a basic $50 phone, not a smartie. Not sure what you mean by hotspot. I use a USB modem. I know there are modems that are not attached to the laptop that create a hotspot for use by multiple wifi devices. Some GNs have mentioned them and use them.

Why couldn't you just keep "Spin" for the web hosting, then search for a good mobile phone carrier and upgrade to a smartphone. I take it you have 4G service over there? With the smartphone you can bluetooth straight to the laptop for your internet connection. The main thing would be to shop around for plans and service coverage. If you can find a plan with unlimited data that would be great too. Most carrier's have deals and deep discounts on the actual smartphone when signing up. And like computers and browsers there are many different types of operating platforms. I went with the Moto X with the Android system...

Roite, so I can ditch the USB modem and use just the smart phone as both a phone and modem? Some GNs use a smart phone tethered to a laptop for internet connection, so I guess the tether uses a USB port. Is there such a thing as a smart phone that creates a hotspot without a tether?

I find the range of smartphones confusing. $500+ sounds expensive to me but, on the other hand, maybe the cheaper ones don't deliver the kind of services I require. Problem is, I don't know what I require. Even the word bluetooth baffles me. What the hell does bluetooth do?

Funny you should mention the Moto X. I just got an email from Kogan for the Moto X at $359.

From the Beeb: Syria's foreign minister has offered to help the US fight the Islamic State (IS) militant group, which has seized swathes of land in Iraq and Syria. Walid Muallem said Syria was "the centre of the international coalition to fight Islamic State". The US has already bombed IS fighters in Iraq and has hinted it would be willing to take action in Syria. Western powers generally shun Syria's government, accusing it of carrying out atrocities in its three-year civil war. How odd! Who is the enemy? Assad or IS? Or both?

Very strange indeed. First the West sides with the rebels against Assad. But now the rebels seem to be controlled by IS. Is Assad now the lesser of two evils?

How Norway has avoided the 'curse of oil'. Hugged by mountains and perched on a stunning coastline of fjords, Bergen, Norway's second-largest city, has picture-postcard views. As the centre of Norway's booming oil and gas industries, it is also a very wealthy place. Yet there are few displays of ostentatious spending - there are no supercars with tinted windows, no designer handbag shops, and no queues of people outside exclusive nightclubs. For while other countries have struck oil and then binged on the revenues, by contrast Norway is continuing to invest its oil and gas money in a giant sovereign wealth fund. The fund, worth about $800bn (£483bn), owns 1% of the entire world's stocks, and is big enough to make every citizen a millionaire in the country's currency, the kroner. In effect, it is a giant savings account.

Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love has been voted the greatest guitar riff of all time by listeners of BBC Radio 2. The rock classic came out top from a list of 100 riffs drawn up by a panel of Radio 2 and 6 Music DJs, critics and record producers. Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns 'N' Roses was second in the poll, with Back In Black (AC/DC) and Smoke On The Water (Deep Purple) the next most popular. Led Zep guitarist Jimmy Page said he was "knocked out" by winning the vote.

Travellers on Qantas and Virgin Australia will be able to use their mobile phones and other electronic devices during flights from today. The new rule applies to international and domestic passengers flying the two Australian airlines. It will affect tablets, e-readers and small game consoles, as well as smartphones. Some airlines in the United States, Europe and New Zealand already allow passengers to keep their phones on during flights. Aircraft are now designed and manufactured so that smartphones and other electronic devices do not interfere with with flights.

Is turning 70 a big deal? NC Art turned seventy so long ago he can't even remember it. It was last century! The last birthday party I had was 30 years ago when I turned 40, and that's only because someone else organized it. I don't make a fuss about birthdays. Should I make a fuss about this one? Nah, methinks not. However, turning 70 is not without its special blessings.

I remember SF Jim saying he was discovering new aches every day in his early 70s, but he still walked Biggs each morning. Biggs was a cocker spaniel who was probably about 90 in human years, with arthritis as well as chronic lethargy. Not a difficult mutt to take walkies. I haven't really noticed any aches yet, but I have noticed certain things take a little longer - such as rising after kneeling, climbing stairs and even walking. And running? Yeah, right.

The best thing about turning 70 is the sense of freedom you get. Finally, you can stop worrying about what other people think, and do as you please. You can speak your mind and it doesn't matter if you're wrong. Wrong schmong. Who gives a damn? You can make controversial statements with blissful abandon because you're officially wise now, and to hell with anyone who dares argue.

You're now three score and ten which is a deliciously valid excuse for leaving your fly undone, wearing odd socks, or pausing mid-sentence with a blank expression. You're no longer judged as harshly as you were when you were younger. People are more than willing to forgive your eccentricities and transgressions. Some even think they're endearing!

No longer are you a slave to fashion or a mortgage or a spiteful boss. You're a senior! You've earned your stripes! You're now a well respected member of society simply because you've turned 70. You've survived all the worries, the stresses, the anxieties, the fears and the pressures that now seem so absurdly trivial in retrospect. You're free at last!

I know you've been worried sick about my blocked shower drain. The plumber with apprentice in tow arrived a little while ago and lifted the grate from the plug hole. Voila! Hanging from the grate was a large knot of wet tangled hair. Ew! The plumber (with interested apprentice looking on) used a pair of narrow pliers to extricate the repulsive looking material which he placed in a plastic bag I handed to the apprentice (who was delighted to be given something to do), and that was it. The grate went back into position, the shower was turned on to test the drain, and all was well again. I could have done it myself but... I rent so the plumber was free.

A long time ago I heard that when coppers start looking like boys, you know you're getting old. It's true. Anna from the dental clinic and I were chatting in a narrow corridor the other day when I suddenly realized just how ridiculously young she looks. She's not, though. She's getting married soon so she's probably mid twenties. So why is it that young people appear to be getting younger rather than me getting older? Buggered if I know.

All I know, dear Breth, is that the next decade will be the best of my life; a great and memorable adventure. And at 70, I think I'm finally mentally equipped to make the most of it. Gary

August 25, 2014. Noice, sunny day and I'm off to the dental clinic shortly. Isn't that exciting? Whoosh! Back again. I asked Andries when the gum might heal and he shrugged, "I don't know... depends on Nature." That's what I expected. My next booking is this Friday, my birthday, and Anna has promised to make a cheesecake for me. Here's the recipe.

My monster bills from the past few months will be paid off in October so I'll be able to plan another mini Odyssey. Hopefully, they'll become a regular occurrence from then on. The fresh air and outdoors might even give Nature a kick-a-long to heal my gum faster - the power of positive thought. Yeah?

Dealing with meals while camping won't be a hassle like it was before the new diet. All I need is cooked meat from the deli and a bunch of vegies which I'll blend and put in containers beforehand. Oats, milk, brown sugar and malt will be fine for brekky and I can make a couple of smoothies in advance. The rest of my stuff comes prepackaged. Re-heating the main meal is simple enough - a plate over a saucepan of simmering water with the saucepan lid on top of the plate. Easy.

From the Beeb: Fighters from Islamic State (IS) have taken control of a key Syrian government airbase, activists say. The Tabqa airbase was the last remaining stronghold of Bashar al-Assad's government in Raqqa province.. State TV confirmed that government forces had "evacuated" the airbase. Days of fighting there have reportedly killed hundreds on both sides. More than 191,000 people have now been killed in the three-year-old Syrian conflict up to April, the UN says. IS, formerly known as Isis, has expanded its reach into large parts of eastern Syria and northern Iraq in recent months. The US has launched limited airstrikes against the group in Iraq but has not targeted them in Syria. Jeez,what a choice... Assad or IS.

Oscar-winning British film director Richard Attenborough has died at the age of 90, his son has said. Lord Attenborough was one of Britain's leading actors, before becoming a highly successful director. In a career that spanned six decades, he appeared in films including Brighton Rock, World War Two prisoner of war thriller The Great Escape and later in dinosaur blockbuster Jurassic Park. As a director he was perhaps best known for Gandhi, which won him two Oscars.

My internet connection is slow again today... slower than usual which means it's virtually dead in its tracks. Accessing websites like the Beeb is impossible. I'm not sure what's going on but I've tried everything - restarting, turning the modem off and on, even reinstalling the software twice. I suspect it's the carrier, Optus, which is what my ISP uses. Most GNs use Telstra for their internet connection because it has the widest reach. Telstra owns the Australian network and leases parts of it to competitors such as Optus and Vodaphone. The coverage by Telstra's competitors is fine in cities but not so good in rural areas like Taree, and non existent in small towns. My mobile phone works okay but the wireless modem doesn't for some reason. It drops out several times a day... and I mean several! It was okay with the Toshiba before its screen died. The trouble started when I switched to the Acer.

Changing carriers will mean changing ISPs. Not sure how that will affect my websites which are hosted by my current ISP. AO is over 1GB already and I certainly don't wanna be uploading all those files, folders and directories again.

Here we are, back in business:  A six-year-old boy was left unhurt after being run over by a driver in China's Shandong Province on Wednesday. The boy was at the side of a driveway when a car drove over him. Nuala McGovern reports.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 has shaken northern California, causing injuries and damage to buildings. The USGS said it struck at 03:20 local time (10:20 GMT) four miles (6km) north-west of the town of American Canyon, at a depth of 6.7 miles. At least 87 people have been taken to hospital in the Napa area, a renowned wine-producing region and tourist area. California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in order to deal with the effects of the quake.

Yes, the new diet. It certainly has brought a bit of joy back to meal times. I actually look forward to meals, even breakfast. In fact, I had breakfast twice this morning hehe. And having separate servings of meat and various veg for dinner means I can enjoy the individual flavors - and taste is important. Is that being philosophical? Whatever it is, it's better than bitching about something I can't change.

Funny how things work out. I had a large tin of malt extract sitting on the kitchen bench for ages wondering how the hell I could use it. Tried it in smoothies but it was too thick to blend, and I couldn't figure out how else to use it. Then came the quick oats and whammo! Problem solved, and what's more I love it with oats. The first can got used up pretty quick and now I'm well into the second.

If it hadn't been for my stint in hospital with pneumonia, and being fed the kind of food I'm having now, I'd still be struggling with my old diet. The only reason I didn't reject the hospital food (like I did after the cancer op in Sydney) was because I was starving! Then I discovered it tasted a lot better than it looked hehe. So there ya go. It was worth putting up with those bossy nurses.

And that's it for today... if I can get this damn modem to connect. Gary

August 24, 2014. With all this talk about cars from the fifties lately, here's a pic I favorited on Red Bubble the other day. Cool, huh? And here's another by the same guy. Wicked stuff.

So you have to wonder if today's cars, restaurants, films, music, iPhones, etc, will become tomorrow's nostalgic icons, treated with the same reverence and affection as those from the 30s through the 60s. Time will tell. I watched a program last night about the resurgence of vinyl recordings. It's not so much about people my age buying them but younger peeps. Maybe it's a fad. One bloke explained that people don't see the value in paying $30 for a CD but they're quite happy to pay $30 for a 12" LP in a large jacket. Meanwhile, I'm happy with my USB sticks.

OH Jim's got the sniffles and has hit the hay to recuperate. Not a well lad is our Jim - coughing, runny nose, sore throat. But he did comment on Waffle and my stint as a radio writer. He sent this link to a story about a Cincinnati ad agency that ran a campaign on radio to assess radio's affectiveness. That was back in '85 but Jim still remembers it.

Just got a Bubble Mail from Mieke after telling her what the story is about my gum and my chances of hitting the road any time soon. She said I'm a strong man... and more philosophical than frustrated. Philosophical, huh? There ya go. I also told her about Bubba and sent her a link to Bubba's pics.

From the Beeb: The murder of a US journalist by an Islamic State militant believed to be from the UK is "an utter betrayal of everything the British people stand for", the foreign secretary has said. Writing in the Sunday Times, Philip Hammond said the government was investing "significant resources" to tackle "a barbaric ideology". This, he added, could threaten Britain. Echoing other government ministers, Mr Hammond said the threat from Syria and Iraq would last a generation. While the security services hunt the man who beheaded American James Foley, the foreign secretary made clear his revulsion that the culprit could be British.

Ukraine is to mark its independence day with a military parade in Kiev as fighting continues in the east. The parade will feature hundreds of marching servicemen and military hardware. Critics say that it is inappropriate when Ukraine is at war. Pro-Russian rebels in the eastern city of Donetsk - the scene of the heaviest fighting - say they will hold their own parade featuring imprisoned soldiers. Bang, bang, you're dead.

Sir Cliff Richard has been interviewed under caution in connection with an alleged historical sexual offence, South Yorkshire Police has said. Sir Cliff voluntarily met officers and was not arrested or charged. It comes after police searched his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, on 14 August as part of their investigation. The veteran pop star denies the alleged offence, saying the claim of an assault at a religious event in Sheffield in 1985 is "completely false". I hope so.

Will Self asks why people laugh at jokes which he doesn't find funny, and whether there's such a thing as the wrong type of humour. Nothing is funny twice - I mean that. In fact, most things that are meant to be funny aren't even funny once, let alone twice. But in that case - I can hear your protests helium-squeaking through the ether - why do people repeat anecdotes, jokes and witticisms with such frequency? Why do we listen to and watch repeats of comedy programmes?

Oh, puh-leeeease! Nothing irritates me more than canned laughter. Frankly, good comedy is an extremely rare commodity these days. Sit coms are churned out like cornflake boxes on a conveyor belt. Dumb plots, rapid-fire, puerile one-liners and, of course, canned laughter. Tragic. Dry wit appeals to me more than guffaw material. And being quietly amused. Hehe.

It's been a quiet day today, ladies and genitals. No... wait a tick... not all that quiet... the shower overflowed cos the drain's blocked. I tried the plunger but whatever the obstruction is, it's stuck, so I'll need a plumber. Bleh. Gary

August 23, 2014. Another weekend already! I was thinking about FL Josh's comment that 'estate' sounds very British. They have estate cars whereas Americans have station wagons. In Oz, a farm or ranch is called a property, so we have property wagons, right? Nope. I vaguely remember some British vehicles here called estate cars but GM and Ford called theirs station wagons, and the latter name stuck. I remember cars being called estate wagons and looked that up finding this: "Station wagon and wagon are the common names in American, Canadian, New Zealand and Australian English, while estate car and estate are common in the rest of the English-speaking world. Both names harken to the car's role as a shuttle, with storage space for baggage, between country estates and train stations.

And now, thanks to the VW Golf, we have hatchbacks which are a great idea, I reckon. A cross between a station wagon and a sedan. Twin cab utilities popular in Oz too... a cross between a sedan and a pickup. PJ is only a single cab but there's a surprising amount of room behind the seat for extra luggage.

Speaking of old English, Captain James Cook went on (from the far southeastern corner of the Australian continent) to chart the east coast of what was then known as New Holland, mapping numerous inlets and bays as he headed north. On 22 August 1770, at Possession Island in Torres Strait, Cook claimed the eastern coast of the continent for Great Britain under the name of New South Wales. The territory he claimed included "the whole eastern coast, from latitude 38 degrees S to this place, latitude 10.5 degrees S, in right of His Majesty King George the Third. This essentially meant just the eastern parts of what are now New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. Cook recorded the following: "Notwithstand[ing] I had in the Name of His Majesty taken possession of several places upon this coast, I now once more hoisted English Coloures and in the Name of His Majesty King George the Third took possession of the whole Eastern Coast by the name New South Wales, together with all the Bays, Harbours Rivers and Islands situate upon the said coast, after which we fired three Volleys of small Arms which were Answered by the like number from the Ship."

I've been in Jimmy Cook's cabin! Well, not quite... a replica... back in 2008 when I went to Port Macquarie to check out HMB Endeavour. A most interesting tour was that one. A most memorable experience... an eighteenth century version of a 21st century space station. If you'd like to read the journal entry, click here.

The pics and journal entry demonstrate the value of recording and documenting an experience so that it can be preserved and shared. Otherwise it becomes a memory, and memories don't exist. For example, prospective tenants inspected Averil's house yesterday. All they saw was a bunch of empty rooms. Nothing about Averil and Kev who lived there for over 20 years. Averil and Kev are memories that exist only in the minds of those who knew them. So that's why documenting the Odyssey is so important to me.

I happened to be handy with a camera after Av's hairdresser had visited the house to give her a perm. As I mentioned a while ago, Av rarely went anywhere but she liked to look presentable.

From the Beeb: A Chinese fighter came perilously close to a US military patrol plane over international waters east of China's Hainan Island, the Pentagon has said. Spokesman John Kirby said that the US had protested to the Chinese military over the mid-air intercept, calling the fighter pilot's actions "unsafe and unprofessional". He said that the Chinese aircraft came within 10 metres of the US Navy plane.

Authorities in New York have denied parole to the man who shot dead musician John Lennon in 1980 for the eighth time. Mark Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life in 1981 after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. Chapman, now 59, shot Lennon four times outside a Manhattan apartment block.

Cryopreservation: ‘I freeze people to cheat death’: Max More will have his brain frozen after he dies, and he’s not alone. Rose Eveleth asks him why he signed up – and how the strange procedure of cryopreserving bodies actually works.

Hmmm. Immortality, I strongly suspect, is something desired exclusively by mortals. Once you cease to exist, nothing matters any more. Nothing. Zilch. The ultimate state of bliss. No desires, no cravings, no fears, no regrets, no nuttin. And no knickers in knots over immortality. Hehe.

Anyone know what a soul looks like? Round, square, oblong? Triangular? Anyone know what color a soul is? I was taught that sin made your soul black, and confession made it white again. But that's politically incorrect these days, which makes me wonder what color God is and what color the Devil is. Anyway, I've been thinking about this a lot... just exactly what does a soul look like. And I figured it out. It's round and gray with lots of dimples.

So what was I saying about the importance of documenting the Odyssey? According to what I've just written, it won't matter when I'm dead. True. Not to me. But it might to my nephews and nieces. Or to other people for whatever reason. And that's basically what we're all here for, right? To contribute something.

FL Josh earns a crust by combing through legal documents and editing them, so I was interested in his opinion of the letter I sent to the local Ford dealership. He invited me to send him a copy which I did via email: I like it. You did an excellent job of raising serious questions about the quality of their work without being offensive and making it where you could never take a vehicle there again. That's a tricky road to walk and you did it very well. Thanks for sharing it with me.

My first attempt at a formal document was when I wrote the contract between the members of my band and me. I figured as their manager, the professional thing to do was to have a contract. Right? So I got busy with my Parker and wrote lots of hithertos and whereupons and aforementioneds and shalls and hereins, which looked pretty flash, I thought. I worked in an office where documents were full of that kinda stuff. A few years later, I worked in radio and progressed to writing advertising copy. All self taught I might add. I learned a lot, though. A helluva lot, especially about brevity and making each and every word count. Not that it's apparent on Waffle but Waffle's a different kettle of fish... except for one thing... don't bore your audience. Or, at least, try not to.

The thing about ads is that they're an intrusion. As a rule, people don't like them. So I tried to make them entertaining, even funny, or at least interesting. Without a doubt, the ads that influenced me the most - ever - were the VW ads produced by Doyle, Dane, Bernbach. Classics, like the 'Lemon' ad.

So how do you create an ad like the Lemon ad on radio? You use words to create the image. This car is a lemon. Sure, it looks shiny and new and perfect just like any other Volkswagen Beetle fresh from the factory but it's not. It's a lemon. And then you go on to tell the story of quality control. The opening line of any radio commercial is crucial. It's the attention grabber. You can't use borders or full pages or large print on radio hehe. Everything depends on that first line.

Yes, all very interesting. I remember waaaaaay back in my early days producing an ad for a chicken shop. Their BBQ'd chickens had a special stuffing, so I used lots of reverb on the ad to simulate the announcer (sounding like Vincent Price) being inside a chicken as he talked about the stuffing and how good it was. "Come with me as I step inside a Smith's barbecued chicken to discover what it is that makes it so irresistibly delicious..."  Hehe. That's the thing about radio... you can create all kinds of 'visual' effects as cheap as chips by using "theater of the mind". A bit of music, a few sound effects, a clever script, and that's it. Oh... and good actors. Come to think of it, that ad would have been most amusing with a David Attenborough voice using botanical names for the herbs and spices.

I reckon I could still run rings around most writers these days. My only problem was being a lousy businessman (not to mention an obstreperous employee). Oh well...

And that's it for this particular Satdee. Time again for the usual. Gary

August 22, 2014. FL Josh wrote: Thanks for the explanation of what an estate agent is. Over here in the States, we call such a person a property manager. "Estate" sounds very British so I can see how your term came to be. Over here, an estate is a very, very large property like what the super wealthy have.

The person who does the inspection is called a property manager but the firm is called a real estate agency. In Oz an estate can be any size. Even Av's possessions, which don't include land or a house, are referred to as her estate.

Okay, I have another question. Here in the States, we drive on the right side of the road, and when we walk down sidewalks, or hallways, or the aisles of stores, we walk to the right. In Oz, you drive on the left, and I am guessing you walk down sidewalks, hallways, store aisles, etc., on the left. Is that correct?

Most of the time but not all, especially at the mall where people congregate in groups to chat, oblivious to those around them. Or window shop and block the path of others. Shoppers with trolleys also tend to ignore order and/or courtesy.

The second and final episode about healthy diet on Catalyst was on telly last night and quoted Hippocrates, "Let medicine by thy food and food be thy medicine." The show featured a young gymnast who, by all appearances, was healthy but his diet of fast, processed food told a completely different story. A blood test showed that he was insulin resistant and in danger of becoming diabetic.

He was offered a healthy diet put together by a nutritionist. He agreed to try it for a month, albeit reluctantly, concerned about taste, and that he would not enjoy his meals. Week one was a struggle, and he complained that he sorely missed his former diet of burgers and fries. But week two was a complete turnaround. He said to the camera as he recorded his daily diary, "Forget what I said last week. I'm really enjoying healthy food now."

By the end of the month, he was happy to maintain his new high-fiber diet. His blood test revealed much healthier levels of insulin. The bad bacteria in his gut had been replaced by good bacteria.

Which led to another story about a woman with chronic diarrhea. She was virtually chained to the loo, unable to leave the house for shopping, walks or other normal activities. But first, researchers dealing with mice, explained why those animals (as well as many others including dogs) are coprophagous. In other words, they eat each other's feces in order to gain the type of bacteria in the gut needed to digest certain foods and maintain good health.

I once caught Kelly #1 about to consume another dog's poo and was absolutely horrified, so she backed off. I thought it was incredibly gross. But little did I realize then due to my pathetic ignorance that she was only following nature's instructions. If I'd taken more care with her diet, she wouldn't have needed to go sniffing around for 'supplements'.

In the case of the woman with chronic diarrhea, a far more palatable method of introducing good bacteria to her ulcerated lower gut was devised. Poo from a healthy human was processed, placed in a large syringe, and injected from the 'other end', about a meter into the intestine. This procedure was performed a number times with the result that the woman is now back to good health and leading a normal life.

So health is largely dependant upon the bugs that live in our gut, which is directly related to diet. To quote Hippocrates again, "Let medicine by thy food and food be thy medicine." Researchers are also confident that the presence of good bacteria in the gut can also treat many other diseases such as asthma, diabetes, emphasema and obesity.

TX Greg wrote: Speaking of your birthday, I was thinking of just HOW many candles we need this year and I found these, hahahahahaha. Think you can blow all those out? :)

Moooooving right along, here's something a tad more salubrious from NC Art: The car show brought a nostalgic tingle. The 39 Chevy sedan was a ringer for my Dad’s last car. The Vacuumatic gear shift was a step before fluid drive and elimination of clutch. The steering post lever would not move swiftly, and resisted all efforts to force it. The 57 Chevy BelAir had me confused about the actual model year … 55, 56 ? Anyway it was a spiffy road machine and very popular.

Cars are like songs... they remind us of a particular time in our lives. It occurred to me the other day when I saw a promo on telly for the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles in Oz, that 1964 was also the year of the EH Holden. I was 20... back when life seemed so much simpler. Or was it? Maybe I have a selective memory.

Anna asked on Monday if I'd heard anything back from Ford after sending the letter of complaint. Nope, not yet. I figure they have no one in their regular employ who's equipped to adequately answer such a tome. It's quite detailed and 2 pages long, and requires much more than a simple response or phone call. I suspect it's been forwarded to their law firm. I also suspect it's caused a ruckus at Ford... perhaps a few 'please explains' from management to the service department. So, we shall wait and see.

From the Beeb: Jihadists holding US journalist James Foley wanted a $132m (£80m) ransom for his release, his employer has said. GlobalPost CEO Philip Balboni said the Islamic State (IS) militants had first demanded money last year. Mr Foley was abducted in November 2012, and a video of his beheading was released by IS earlier this week. The US has begun a formal criminal investigation into Mr Foley's death, with the attorney general warning that the country has a "long memory". Meanwhile, speaking at a press conference on Thursday, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel described IS as an imminent threat and "beyond just a terrorist group". "They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess, they are tremendously well-funded... this is beyond anything that we have seen," he said.

The world's oldest man has been named as Sakari Momoi, who is 111 years old and living in Japan. Mr Momoi was born on 5 February 1903 and was recognised at an official ceremony held by Guinness World Records. It means Japan is now home to the world's oldest man and woman. Claire Brennan reports. My father was born in 1903 but died in 1979.

Russia's consumer watchdog has announced unscheduled checks on McDonald's restaurants across Russia as part of a probe into food standards. The move comes after watchdog Rospotrebnadzor temporarily shut four McDonald's restaurants in Moscow. The actions come amid rising tensions and sanctions between Russia and the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The regulator denied the checks were politically motivated. McDonald's said "top quality" food was its priority. The regulatory agency said: "There are complaints about the quality and safety of the products in fast food restaurant chain McDonald's." BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg said: "The suspicion is that because McDonald's is one of the symbols of America, that's why it's encountering problems now."

A system that allows the exterior of aircraft to "feel" damage or injury in a way similar to human skin is in development by BAE Systems. The British defence contractor said the technology, which works by covering the entire body of a plane with tens of thousands of micro-sensors, is able to detect problems before they occur. The devices could measure wind speed, temperature, strain and movement. One analyst said the innovation could prove useful "far beyond the military".

According to the Earth Policy Institute, a US-based environmental advocacy group, bicycle production quadrupled between 1950 and 2007. During the same period, car production merely doubled. It's a trend that continues to this day, accelerated by rising fuel prices and urban congestion. And during the last 10 years, the bicycle has enjoyed something of a renaissance, thanks to ever-greater availability of lightweight materials, advanced safety and comfort features, and electric-motor-assist systems. Bicycles are becoming more beautiful, too. Small manufacturers, custom shops and independent designers are reinventing the humble two-wheeler with cutting-edge shapes and technologies. Herewith, we pick 10 of our favourites. (Photo: Cykno electric cycle, courtesy of Engeenius)

OH Jim expressed disappointment at his punch line about anchovy flavored eggs (after admitting he suffered a craving for anchovy pizza following a shingles vaccination) being omitted by the cruel and heartless Waffle editor hehe. Yeah, well, them's the breaks, kiddo. Jim is suffering the effects of a cold at the mo and is understandably grumpy. Maybe he could do with a shot of poo up the clacker.

Speaking of healthy, just got a call from my oldest bro. He'll be 84 in October and sounds great. His knees are shot though due to a lifetime of standing - he's a hairdresser and still works one day a week at his daughter's salon. So he's having his knees replaced soon. He wants to play lawn bowls again, and jump back on his bicycle. He's already had cataracts removed from his eyes which are now perfect. So he's doing pretty well for an old geezer. I happened to mention oats and he said he's had oats for breakfast every day, winter and summer, ever since he can remember. He has them with honey and cinnamon. Anyway, it was good to hear from him and to know that he's doing so well as an octogenarian. He and I have similar builds, by the way. The other two bros are taller and heavier... at least the remaining one is. The youngest died a few years ago aged 61. He was a fitness fanatic. I remember him describing our oldest bro as "a bent old man" some years back. Yeah, right.

By the way, I've been lying to you about my first car being a '51 Morris Oxford. I had a car previous to that one, and here's the pic.

That's my younger bro on the left. He was too small to reach the pedals of that car but my parents bought him one for Christmas anyway cos otherwise he would have screamed the house down hehe. He had to "walk" the thing until his legs were long enough to reach the pedals. I still remember driving mine around the backyard, taking great care when reverse parking at the edge of the flower bed to have it exactly parallel to the border. I was fussy like that. Note the hands at the 2 o'clock position on the steering wheel. So there ya go... I've finally owned up.

And now it's time for me to toddle off to telly land... and chicken with veg and gravy. Gotta have gravy. Can't live without my gravy! Gary

August 21, 2014. Noice day, sunny and bright... and spring is just a week or two away. Off to the dentist again this morning. OH Jim asked the other day if there's anything more Andries can do about the exposed bone. Seems not. It's just a matter of doing what he (and Nancy before him) has been doing so far, which seems like forever. I see the specialist in Sydney next month so maybe I'll know more then. Ho hum.

Not sure what to photograph on the next Sydney visit. Maybe I'll get a ferry across to Balmain and check out the Victorian terraces. Balmain began as a tough, working class inner suburb but is now (like Glebe) tres posh. The guy who sold me the house in Glebe back in '78 first took me to Balmain. He drove down a narrow lane towards a property for sale and I asked why we were going in the back way. "This is the front entrance," he said. I told him if that's the best he could do, then forget it. So I ended up buying the house at Glebe. But I'll bet that tiny Balmain property is now worth a fortune as well.

Anyway, here I am 36 years later in Taree with PJ in the drive and a dream of travelling Oz. Who could have guessed? Life is funny like that - fulla surprises. I don't remember anyone asking me as a kid what I wanted to be when I "grew up". I strongly suspect I had no idea. Diddly squat. Always living for the moment, relying on impulse to steer my course. The Odyssey is the only "plan" I've ever had, but even that is not really a plan. Hehe. What's that song? No particular place to go...

I suppose writing a book about my travels and adventures is a goal. Memories are like dandelion seeds scattered to the wind unless they're collated and documented in some kind of permanent form, like a book. But it needs to be a special book; not just a travelogue but a series of interesting observations about people and places; stories that capture and intrigue the imagination, written by a septuagenarian Huckleberry Finn. Yeah... that'll do.

Back from the dentist and Anna has promised to make a cheesecake filling for my 70th birthday. I could do without the birthday fuss but I have to admit the thought of pigging out on cheesecake is too cool to refuse! Mmmm!

From the Beeb: A US secret military mission had tried but failed to free US reporter James Foley and other American hostages in Syria, US officials have said. Their comments come after a video of Foley's beheading by Islamic State (IS) militants appeared on Tuesday. IS said Foley's death was revenge for US air strikes on its fighters in Iraq. US President Barack Obama condemned the killing as "an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world". He compared IS militants, who control large parts of Syria and Iraq to a "cancer" and said the group's ideology was "bankrupt".

Images and videos of James Foley's killing have been circulating on social media, distressing many who see them. A range of voices have emerged calling for positive images and memories to be shared instead. A video released by the Islamic State jihadist group shows the beheading of the US journalist who went missing in Syria in 2012. The footage has been uploaded to Youtube and Facebook, and screenshots are also being posted on Twitter. I have no wish to see it nor any other morbid propaganda from Isis. Remember the man and and the positive things he did.

Following the recent conflict between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza, there have been reports from a number of countries of attacks targeting Jews. But does the evidence support claims that anti-Semitism is on the rise?

I don't often use Waffle to talk about Cody, mainly cos there are many visitors who are unfamiliar with his story. Apart from the dedication of this web site to Cody's memory, his story doesn't relate to the purpose of the Odyssey. However, I think OK Mike's email today is the exception to the rule. For those of you who are unaware, I wrote a book about Cody's life. Following Cody's death in an auto accident in 2001, I wrote a second book that involved one of Cody's best mates, Steve, who had a terrible time dealing with the death of his soul mate as well as drug addiction and other demons. The books are called Green Room and Green Room II. Here's the email that Mike sent today:

Good morning my friend,

Oh boy, where to start?

This afternoon I finished Green Room II, taking more than a few months to absorb Steve's story. I intentionally would put it down for a couple days every couple chapters to let all the information soak in. Upon completion I am thrilled to learn of Steve's, then, victory over many of his demons.

I too lived through a mess much like Steve's and know what it's like losing someone so special, then to slip into oblivion. I sobered up 17 years ago only after everything in my life was gone. People, family, career, home... I mean everything, the loneliness was unbearable which led to me sobering up. Career and home came back, my health hasn't.

Back to your book, thank you for doing such a masterly job at getting Cody's message to paper. In reading II, I quickly noticed how the values Cody possessed became apparent in the lives of those he loved . Steve's sharing of his story added dimension and weight to the first book, answered many questions and transported me into their day to day shenanigans. I truly hope those involved have made peace with one another and continue to share the love and respect that Cody was so free with.

I, through 12 step work, speak and share my story 50 times or more a year, most recently three months ago after completing Green Room. Your book enabled me to speak to a much younger crowd than what's the norm for me. Thank you Gary and bless you.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mike. It's gratifying to know that Green Room and Green Room II resonate so profoundly with readers... not that I have all that many, but there's not been a single negative comment from anyone. More importantly, I'm grateful for the unique opportunity both Cody and Steve provided me in telling me their stories so honestly and earnestly, and often with great humor, so that others could become the beneficiaries. Sometimes I need to be reminded of just how worthwhile it was - and is - to have written those books.

I wasn't familiar with "12 steps" so I did a Google and found the Wikipedia explanation. It's good to know you're involved with such a fine organization and its good work, Mike. And I'm particularly chuffed that you critiqued the books as a person with some authority.  I remember SF Jim, a Lutheran minister who died in 2006, using the word "astonishing" to describe Steve's story as it unfolded. For Steve himself it was also astonishing... he fully expected to be hated by those who read his story in its original serialized form but the opposite happened, and everyone was rooting for him. That's when he began to realize he wasn't alone in his struggle.

So there ya go... another Waffle bites the dust and it's time to step out of my cape and body suit and become plain ol' G again hehe. Telly and dinner await! BTW, OH Jim suggested the orange yolks in free range eggs might be the result of a different breed of chook. Oh dear. He insists that an egg is an egg is an egg, and it's cheaper to buy the cage variety. Eggs are eggs. I don't really care where they are from, as long as they are competitively priced. Marking up "free range" eggs is nothing but a scam. If the chickens are out side, eating bugs all day, they should be cheaper to maintain, since they won't be eating as much chicken feed. Oh, and a deep color yoke could be from the breed of chicken, and not from the food they are fed. The eggs we would eat from my grandparent's farm didn't look or taste any different than the grocery store ones.

I'm outta here. Gary

August 20, 2014. TX Greg wrote: I only found two problems with the Show n Shine... 1: This pic got corrupt on upload and cut off the bottom half...  2: There's NO gawk shots, hahaha  Always neat seeing those old cars :) Thanks, Greg... fixed now. That purple Premier is the same as Tough Titties, except TT was brown with a white roof.

OK Mike wrote: Fantastic job with the " Show and Shine " album , there's always time to stop and gawk at a nice, or as you would say "noice" classic automobile. Sometime in the past you shared a trip into town and documented that day's travels , would this be something you may do again ? I really enjoy following along in videos like that , kind of makes me feel as if I am riding along .

Yep, I intend to shoot more vids once I'm on the the road... or even beforehand on short trips. I also intend to shoot a vid of PJ when set up in a camping spot - inside and out. Time has been getting away from me, and there have been all kinds of interruptions of late. Grrrr.

FL Josh wrote: Compare your pictures of the "EK Holden 1961," front and back, to the 1956 Packard Executive. Incredible likeness.  Meanwhile, OH Jim noted: That EK Holden 1961 looks like a 1955 Bel Air Chevy. I remember you said that the Aussie models run behind the US ones, but 6 years? BTW, where does the name Holden come from? wonder why they just didn't call it a Chevrolet? I was looking for Fords and /or Mustangs. There weren't any there that day?

Well, Jim, if you had over 50% of the local market, would you be in any hurry to change? It was only the arrival of the locally built Ford Falcon in 1960 and the Chrysler Valiant a little later that prompted GM-H to "update". They got caught with their pants down so they based the EK on the 1955 Chevy with modifications. However, the Falcon and Valiant were more modern looking... lower and wider... so GM-H soon kept more up-to-date with Chevy models as they were released in the US, such as the EH Holden.

Remember, GM in England is called Vauxhall, and GM in Germany is called Opel. The name Holden has been around for over a century. It was a saddlery and coach building company during the 19th and early 20th centuries. GM bought Holden to facilitate the building of car bodies for GM products here in Oz. There was talk of building a completely local car but WWII got in the way and it was shelved. The first Holden rolled off the assembly line in 1948. Before GM's involvement, Holden built bodies for Ford and Chrysler as well as GM. As to no Fords at the show and shine, well it wasn't called the GM Show n Shine for nuttin ya know.

And now back to FL Josh before he was rudely interrupted: Here's a video on the life of chickens in a major commercial egg farm where the chickens are caged. Willamette Egg FarmsNot all farms are guilty of breaking the rules, of course, but I've seen under-cover video shot by animal liberationists that shows quite a different story.

What's the difference between a landlady and an estate agent and how do they interrelate?

The landlady/lord owns the property and engages the agent to monitor the property's upkeep and collect the rent (for a fee). When the property becomes vacant, it's also the job of the agent to advertise it for lease and to vet prospective tenants.

BTW, Jim also found out the hard way why refrigerator manufacturers don't recommend defrosting with a screw driver. I had no prob using a screw driver to release chunks of ice from Lindsay's old fridge in the outside laundry. It's an ancient Kelvinator built like a tank and heavy as. We used it as a beer fridge but no one drinks booze here anymore - very occasionally. Anyway, the idea is to loosen the ice, not to dig a fishing hole.

Strawberries were on spesh at the supermarket for just $2 a punnet so I bought two and then pureed them, and spooned a generous dollop or three over my creamed rice. YUM! I was a little hesitant cos I like rice cream on its own but the strawbs enhanced the flavor without overpowering. Nothing like the taste of fresh strawbs. I'll try some on my yoghurt later.

From the Beeb: The Islamic State militant group has released a video online purporting to show the beheading of US journalist James Foley, missing since 2012. The militants said the killing was revenge for US air strikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq. Foley's mother Diane said on Facebook she was proud of her son: "He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people." The White House said if the video was genuine, the US would be "appalled". Which is what IS wants.

Russia's embargo on imported Western food is hitting its own people, as food prices in Moscow shops have jumped by up to 6% in just a week. Moscow officials say frozen fish prices in the capital's major supermarkets have risen by 6%, milk by 5.3% and an average cheese costs 4.4% more than it did before the 7 August ban took effect. Russia has banned imports of those basic foods, as well as meat and many other products, from Western countries, Australia and Japan. It is retaliation for the West's sanctions on Russia over the revolt by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

Egypt's government has called on US authorities to show restraint against protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. It said it was "closely following the escalation of protests" after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman on 9 August. The statement echoes US President Barack Obama's comments during Egypt's crackdown on protesters in 2013. Correspondents say the criticism is unusual since Egypt gets about $1.5bn (£1bn) in aid from the US every year. It's a tit for tat game.

A West Yorkshire company which revamps old Citroen 2CVs has said it is selling increasing numbers of the cars to France. The Bradford firm 2CV City builds and refurbishes the Citroen Dolly, which has not been manufactured since 1990. Owner Tony Shields said he was "ridiculed" by colleagues when he started the business several years ago, but now he says the company is struggling to keep up with demand. OH Jim will be thrilled about that.

Actually, I once watched a show on telly hosted by a Brit who was taking viewers on a tour of classic French gardens. He chose to travel around the country in a little Citroen 2CV because not only was it uniquely French but it was also great fun to drive. I've often heard that about French cars... they're real driver's cars. But I suppose that applies to most European marques.

American sedans, on the other hand, are a different breed altogether. I remember one time watching a bloke maneuvering a '59 Chevy with those large horizontal fins around a grassy paddock that had been turned into a crowded car park for the Old Bar Kombi Festival. The Chevy had effortless power steering and the driver used the palm of his hand to wind the thing from lock to lock. However, it looked something like a Manly Ferry picking its way through a flotilla of dinghies.

My last couple of Valiants were large cars by Australian standards, but I enjoyed driving those. On the other hand I also enjoyed driving my Beetles and one and only Mini. And the Benz, of course. The worst car I ever owned in terms of drive-ability was the VW Kombi. Head winds slowed it to a snail's pace and cross winds threatened to blow it off course. Used to scare the bloody daylights outta me driving across the Harbor Bridge on a windy day.

And PJ? Well, not the most thrilling of chariots but she's a good plodder. And with that I shall bid thee farewell for another day. Hang on... free range eggs... yes, more expensive cos the chooks need much more space. Much more! Gary

August 19, 2014. Well, as they say in the classics, "buggered if I know..." I followed Jalbum's suggestions but still ended up with a 482MB file. So I'll wait for their reply and see what happens. Meanwhile, no album.

However, I have made a page about the injured eagle and the volunteer wildlife carer mentioned yesterday and sent to me by FL Josh. It's a beautiful story.

OH Jim warned me about getting a shingles vaccination. He got one and said it led to a craving for anchovy pizza for a week. Thanks for the warning, Jim... I hate anchovies.

I think "free range" stuff is a great marketing scam. Eggs are eggs. Free range doesn't make them any better. All it does is jack the prices up. I mean, an egg is an egg. They can't do anything to re- invent it. But they can re-market it.

I don't agree, Jim. We are what we eat, and free range chooks get to scratch around outdoors and eat all kinds of bugs and worms, unlike caged chooks that are fed pellets. Cage eggs have pale yellow yolks; free range are more of a bright orange color. Besides, have you seen the condition of those caged birds? It's a terrible life to inflict on any animal.

As to the show and shine, it was a small informal affair - typical country town stuff - nothing fancy like Pebble Beach Concours. But some of the cars were nice. One thing I did notice was the jumping castle. Not a single kid on it... they were all playing on the free slippery slides and swings in the park.

I think I've solved this Jalbum prob. I used a different method to the one Jalbum suggested but still managed to reduce the size of the album from 482MB to 10MB and tested it. Seems to be okay. So now I'm trying to upload it but it's as slow as a wet week with lots of failed connections. Maybe it's because it's around lunch time and every dork and his dog are using mobile devices. Anyway, I'll put the link to the GM Show n Shine here now and hope that it eventually gets posted.

One thing you'll notice about the pics is the weather... typical mid north coast winter hehe. No snow, no ice, no multi-layered clothing. Bit wet and windy today though. Oh well...

I figured once Averil had gone, the estate agent would be chewing the landlady's ear (she owns both this and Av's house next door) about the low rents yadda yadda and sure enough, I received notice today that the rent's going up $20 a week at the end of October. Still pretty cheap but even so... By the way, Av's place is still vacant. And yes, it still seems strange to look out the kitchen window at the house and not see that mop of curly white hair. She rarely went anywhere but regularly had the hairdresser call around to perm her locks.

From the Beeb: The US attorney general is to travel to the riot-hit town of Ferguson, as the federal authorities step up efforts to restore calm after the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager. Eric Holder will go to the town on Wednesday to meet officials in charge of a federal investigation into the killing of Michael Brown on 9 August. President Barack Obama urged the local community to "try to unite each other". Police fired tear gas amid a tense stand-off with protesters.

A man has been killed by a giant saltwater crocodile as he was fishing with his wife in northern Australia. The man, 57, was attacked by the 4.5-metre (15ft) reptile as he waded into the Adelaide River to unsnag his line, south of Darwin. His wife heard a scream and turned around only to see "a tail splashing in the water", officials said. The body was found a few hours later, and the crocodile was shot dead by the police.

Time lapse video of Big Ben: Cleaners have been working on the clock face on the Elizabeth Tower - which was renamed in 2012 to celebrate Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Many people know the landmark as Big Ben - the nickname of the bell in the tower. The clock hands were frozen at 12:00 as four cleaners scaled the clock face.

Stan the Lawn Man just arrived to say he and his wife Sue are off again on another trip... this time he'll be helping out on a farm. He was originally a farmer. Anyway, after all the drama of Av's death, the trips to the local and Sydney hospitals, organizing the funeral, etc, Sue's foster daughter died of a heart attack in Perth a week ago. She was only 46 and was fostered by Sue at just 2 y/o. One of Stan's tennis mates also kicked the bucket the other day. He was 50-something. When it rains it pours, yeah?

It's been one of those days for me... lots of comp probs and connection probs that have driven me balmy. More balmy than normal. Oh... and I eventually managed to upload the GM Show and Shine album after much buggerizing around. I think it's okay. Lemme know if it isn't. Gary

August 18, 2014. Here it is late afternoon and I've just started Waffle. Couldn't park within cooee of the hospital this morning (as usual) so I missed my appointment with the speech therapist. Then I had business in town. After that I made an album of the GM Show n Shine pics but it was over 400MB. Normally the albums are between 5 and 10MB, so something's gone awry with the Jalbum program. I've written to them to ask how I can fix it. Trouble is, I've spent much of the day buggerizing around with the program without success. I HATE that. In any case, I'll have to wait for a response from Jalbum before I can post anything.

Earlier, I had my first appointment with Andries at the dental clinic since being in hospital. According to Andries, being in hospital and away from my normal routine of cleaning and rinsing my mouth didn't do my gum any favors. There's a build-up of dead bone, dangit.

I mentioned Big Country or Country Wide yesterday... must've been thinking of another show on telly. The show I watched is called Landline. Anyway, NC Art saw the story about carrots and, being an old country boy, he knows how to grow them straight: Sow carrot seeds in loose, sandy soil, free of insects which attack root crops. Let sunshine and showers do the rest. NOW THE SECRET IS OUT!

Nothing worse than munching on a gay carrot.

FL Josh posted a wonderful story about a bloke who helped rescue a severely injured baby eagle and managed to save it. The two have become incredibly close friends over more than a decade. It's such a touching and fascinating story, I've decided to make it a permanent page instead of posting it on Waffle where it'll disappear too quickly. I'll do that tomorrow. Meanwhile, you can watch a short video of 'Freedom' the eagle and her pet human.

From the Beeb: US air strikes in support of Iraqi forces' efforts to retake the country's largest dam are aimed at protecting US interests there, President Obama says. The failure of Mosul dam may put US staff and facilities, including the US embassy in Baghdad, at risk, Barack Obama warned Congress in a letter. It comes after the US sent bombers for the first time to help Kurdish forces expel Islamic State (IS) militants. Kurdish officials now say they have near complete control of the dam. If the recapture is confirmed, it will be the biggest reverse for IS since they launched their offensive in Iraq in June.

Matt Grainger has managed to turn his passion for surfing into a profitable business. He owns the only surf school that operates on Manly Beach, in Sydney, Australia. Mr Grainger explains how he went from working as a surf instructor in his school holidays to running a business. Your chance to take a look at Manly Beach.

And speaking of muscles... Were we? Dozen madder. Mine are sore from yesterday, as anticipated, but that didn't stop me from walking a fair distance today in town. In fact, my legs feel a bit stronger. My bugs must be happy. I'm appointment free tomorrow so I'll hopefully be able to sort out a few probs and spend a bit more time Waffling. Gary

August 17, 2014. It's stopped raining (after raining most of the night) but still cloudy, so I'll wait a while to see how things turn out before making a decision to check out the GM Show n Shine. We've had dry, sunny weather for most of the past couple of months but as soon as the car enthusiasts wanna show off their chariots, it decides to rain. They must be really pissed off.

Unlike the farmers, of course. They desperately need the rain. Last night on Landline I watched a story about Oz hemp farmers who rely on exports for most of their products, including hemp seed which is prohibited here by our nanny bureaucrats. Hemp seed bread is popular in Britain and other countries but banned here. Sheesh. It's one of the healthiest seeds you can eat, and makes a nutritious topping for cereals and drinks. The type of hemp farmed here is also extremely low in THC, the drug sought after by smokers of cannibas. But our bureaucrats and politicians are nervous about legalizing it because it might be sending the wrong message. For heaven's sake!

Meanwhile, our walnut farmers are going great guns, investing millions in huge orchards and exporting the nuts all over the world, especially Asia. Walnut trees take 4 years to fruit, so a lot of money needs to be invested before any return. The thing about being at the bottom of the world is that our produce is fresh and in season during the northern hem's lean times.

There was also a story about farming carrots. The growers had a couple of kids over one day and the kids loved getting in amongst the carrots and learning a thing or two about how they're grown and harvested. So the growers decided to have an open day which, to their surprise, attracted 100 visitors. They were expecting maybe a dozen. The next year 200 turned up. So now they have several open days every year and the publicity generated by word of mouth has been extraordinary. The question most asked by visitors is how do you grow straight carrots, but the farmer wouldn't divulge his secret on camera.

I don't have a farming background, and I'm not a gardener, but I do like to watch shows about both those topics. I remember my mother saying she liked watching westerns on telly cos of the scenery. Hehe. Maybe I've inherited her logic.

One thing I am looking forward to on the road is being able to shop at roadside stalls for fresh produce. Stuff you get at the supermarket is often tasteless because it's picked early and refrigerated, which inhibits the natural ripening process. I often hear people say that fruit and veg grown in your own garden tastes soooo much better than supermarket stuff, particularly tomatoes. Eggs are another thing... I buy free range.

FL Josh wrote: I meant to say chickenpox, not smallpox. After you have chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain, then years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles. If you had chickenpox as a child, then you might want to consider getting a shingles vaccine. Like the pneumonia vaccine, one shot lasts a lifetime if gotten after you are 65, whereas the flu vaccines you need every year before the flu season starts, which in the Southern Hemisphere, is May through October. I'm surprised your GP didn't make sure you had all these vaccines earlier. My GP has personally given me the pneumonia and shingles vaccine and has me email him as soon as I get my flu shot each fall.

I sometimes wonder about my GP. But I'll ask him about the shingles vac.

OH Jim asked if the driver of the car in which both he and Cody were killed was drunk. I'm not sure but Steve did say it was travelling at 160km/h. I suspect if it wasn't alcohol then it was drugs, or maybe a combo of the two. When I was Cody's age, no one thought twice about hitching a ride. It's different these days though. Too many loopies. For Cody, however, hitching was a normal part of getting around. I remember wondering why his parents never commented about it.

Cody never regained consciousness, and neither did Averil apparently. According to Sue, Av's last words were "don't forget my walking stick" before her heart stopped in the ambulance. She was revived, and then revived again in hospital but I doubt she was conscious. She was then flown to RNS in Sydney where where she was comatose and kept on life support until her relatives gave permission for it to be turned off. So it seems clean undies and the walking stick were Av's main concerns before lapsing into unconsciousness.

Seems all the rain rained itself out last night and today is sunny and bright. So I'm back from the GM Show n Shine at Cundletown (a mile or two up the old highway) feeling very sore from all the walking and kneeling. The first time I knelt I thought I might not be able to get up again, but I did... and several times thereafter. I'm paying for it now though, and will again tomorrow for sure.

The pics turned out pretty sell - nothing dazzling or award winning but okay. The camera named all of them so I'll have to go back through all the pics and name them again with model year and name. I'll do that later and then make an album tomorrow. So there ya go... the weather forecasters got it wrong and you can bet the organizers of the GM event are thankful for that!

On the way there, a large 4WD tried to change lanes right beside me (on my left). Didn't see me, obviously, even though I was on the driver's side. It was just an inch or two away when he/she swerved back into his/her lane. Frightened the crap outta me! As it turned out, the driver stayed in his/her lane anyway, and then turned left a few hundred meters up the road. So I wouldn't be surprised if the driver's attention was diverted by a mobile phone or other device, causing the vehicle to wander off course. Bloody nitwit.

From the Beeb: Islamic State (IS) militants have been accused of massacring hundreds of people in areas under their control in northern Iraq and eastern Syria. At least 80 members of the Yazidi religious minority are believed to have been killed with women and children abducted in a village in Iraq. IS is also accused of killing 700 tribesmen opposing them in Syria's Deir Ezzor province, over a two-week period. The violence has displaced an estimated 1.2 million people in Iraq alone. And all in the name of Islam.

An overnight curfew has come into effect in Ferguson, the St Louis suburb where a black teenager was shot dead by police last week. Jay Nixon, governor of the US state of Missouri, said it would run from midnight local time (05:00 GMT) until 05:00 (10:00 GMT). The move comes after a week of violent clashes between heavily armed local police and protesters.

A Dutchman honoured by Israel for hiding a Jewish child during World War Two has handed back his medal after six of his relatives were killed in an Israeli air strike on Gaza. Henk Zanoli, 91, wrote to the Israeli embassy in The Hague to say he could no longer hold the honour. He said an Israeli F-16 had destroyed his great-niece's home in Gaza, killing all inside, in the recent offensive. The Israeli embassy has declined to comment on Mr Zanoli's action.

Roite, well the pics are renamed, the cauli's done, the corned beef is done, the potato is done, the green beans are done and I'm done. I'm gonna be as sore as hell tomorrow hehe. Oh well... Gary

August 16, 2014. We wuz tricked, wrote TX Greg: YES we were tricked on the link you posted to OpenOffice which is explained here...  OpenOffice is an Apache product and the correct link is here...  Here is their Wikipedia page...  Gary take a second and remove that link to the bogus site on the August 13th. And maybe you should write a note there (Bogus Link Removed, see August 16th post) Done!

OH Jim wrote: Sorry about the spam from Open Office . I don't remember that from when I downloaded it onto my Mac, about a year ago. Maybe I read what else they want to download, and deselected it. Or maybe you went to a clone site that off loads the malware that way. Either way, I hate it when people try that crap. Skype is another one that does that also. You have to uncheck a box. Glad you figured it out. It is a decent program, once you get past the malware. Downloading to a Mac probably avoided the malware.

And deer are a traffic nuisance, and just not on my driveway. My brother John hit one once with his pick up truck. The truck was totaled, from the collision and going off the road and rolling over into a ditch. He wasn't hurt. Not a scratch. John is lucky that way. Another time, as a teenager, he was out on a date when his car was hit head on by a drunk driver. It was on a city street, and John said he was doing just 40 mph. Neither he nor the date were hurt. The car, an Opel GT was totaled. The drunk was killed. Better him than my brother. That maybe a tough attitude, but the guy was a alcoholic and was driving with a suspended license. It wasn't his first DUI. But it was his last. Sorry for his family, but he was going to kill some innocent people, and almost did.

So deer aren't the only traffic nuisance? I imagine that a helluva lot more totals are caused by humans than deer but I don't hear anyone calling for a people cull. Hehe. Speaking of motoring type vehicles, here's a pic I saw this morning that shows what manufacturing was like before the introduction of the assembly line and robots. Pretty neat pic, yes? Those guys were genuine coach builders.

FL Josh asked if I hadn't already had a flu/pneumonia shot. Nope, the first time I asked it was too late in the day. Then I ended up with pneumonia in hospital. So it wasn't until yesterday that the next opportunity arose. Did you have smallpox as a kid? If so, have you had a shingles vaccination? "28.35 grams of prevention is worth .45 kilograms of cure."

Nope, no smallpox. Chicken pox, yes. All I remember about that was getting a prezzie from my godmother/neighbor Mrs Purcell so I figured being sick wasn't all bad. Mrs Purcell was a pretty sprightly lady, still playing tennis in her 80s. She and her hubby Joe owned a weatherboard house and I remember how Joe would use a blow torch to remove the old paint with a hand scrapper before repainting. Big job! Their front yard was always neatly mowed with precisely formed flower beds around the borders filled with flowering annuals including poppies. I don't think poppies are allowed these days, except in Tasmania (and now parts of Victoria) where they are commercially grown and harvested for medical use. The locations of the farms are kept secret and security is very tight.

Flavored yoghurt in small tubs is quite expensive so yesterday I bought a 2kg tub of plain Greek style and a bottle of caramel topping. The idea is to use it plain in smoothies and caramel flavored in a glass. I'm having a glass now and it's pretty good. Occasionally, berry fruit is on spesh so I could take advantage of that and puree the fruit to flavor the yoghurt. I prefer yoghurt to ice cream cos it's got bite. It's also listed as a high protein food, which surprised me.

Am I becoming a health food freak? Nah... I just like to feed my bacteria well and look after the dear little things. It's the least I can do as a responsible host! And that's the secret... don't think of feeding yourself, think of feeding your bugs. It gives you a whole new perspective.

A Seventh Day Adventist just came to the front door and pressed the bell button. The batteries are flat and have been since we arrived here. When I answered her call, she said, "Oh! I didn't hear the bell!" I agreed, "Neither did I." Hehe. But she wasn't to be distracted from her purpose, so she launched into the usual spiel about having something she'd like to offer me (a free pamphlet) and I said, "Yes, I know." "You know?" she replied. "Yes," I said. So she asked me how I knew and I said, "Because I can tell." Still, she remained determined to finish her spiel so I interrupted and said, "Thanks but no thanks." "Are you sure?" she asked and I replied, "Yes, I'm sure." So she wished me a nice day and toddled off. Taree can be frightfully exciting sometimes.

Back from a little more shopping and some corned beef (silverside). I quite like corned beef with cauli and green beans and.... CHEESE sauce. The cheese sauce I've been having with the tuna/potato comes as a powder (like instant gravy) and is a breeze to make. Works well though, and is sure easier than doing the whole stove top thing with flour, butter, milk and grated cheese. I made too much tuna/potato last time so next time I'll use instant mash and a small can of tuna.

From the Beeb: Militants in northern Iraq have massacred at least 80 men from the Yazidi faith in a village and abducted women and children, reports say. Islamic State (IS) fighters entered Kocho, 45km (30 miles) from Sinjar, on Friday afternoon, reportedly telling men to convert to Islam or die. The group's atrocities against non-Sunni Muslims have shocked the international community into action. IS is nothing but despicable low life.

The family of the black teenager shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri, has appealed for calm after police revealed he was a robbery suspect. CCTV footage appears to show Michael Brown, 18, stealing from a convenience store and intimidating the owner. Mr Brown's family denied their son was "perfect" but criticised what they see as a police attempt to "justify the execution-style murder". The killing sparked days of angry clashes between police and protestors. I suspect many of the protestors don't need much of an excuse to riot.

The Australian PM has warned against Scottish independence, saying it is "hard to see how the world would be helped by an independent Scotland". Those who would like to see the UK break up were "not the friends of justice... [or] freedom", Tony Abbott told the Times while visiting London. He said the nations who would "cheer" the prospect were "not the countries whose company one would like to keep". Voters in Scotland will go to the polls on 18 September.

Producers of Downton Abbey have been left red-faced after a modern plastic bottle appeared in a promotional photo for the costume drama. Perched on a mantelpiece behind Hugh Bonneville and Laura Carmichael, the bottle was spotted by eagle-eyed fans when the image was posted on Instagram. Plastic bottles were not in wide use in the UK until the 1960s - 36 years after the new series of Downton takes place. The image was later removed from Instagram and the ITV press site.

Well, that's a bit like a Roman soldier wearing a wrist watch in Ben Hur. Or a Boeing vapor trail in a John Wayne western.

And now it's time for yours truly to catch a bit of telly and feed the bugs. Hehe. Hopefuly, tomorrow it'll be fine for the GM Show n Shine (unlike today). Gary

August 15, 2014. All hell broke loose yesterday on this comp. Ads popping up everywhere, clicking a link and being redirected to trash, deadly slow internet speed, you name it. So after updating Waffle, I did a scan with Malware which found 112 items. Yow! I strongly suspect they were all downloaded with OpenOffice. Anyway, they're all gone now and everything's back to normal. Except me, of course. I've never been normal.

I watched an interesting science program on telly last night about diet and health. They were talking about all the bugs that live in our intestines and how they control our state of physical and mental health. They said it's not so much a case of a human's colony of bacteria but a case of the bacteria colony's human - as in them owning us. Diet seriously affects the type of bacteria that lives in our gut. There's good and bad bacteria. A diet rich in protein and fiber produces good bacteria which, in turn, keeps our immune system working correctly. A diet of processed convenience food does exactly the opposite and leaves us vulnerable to disease and a premature demise.

Speaking of which, the cheese sauce worked wonders for the tuna/potato and cauli last night. Very noice indeedy deedy.

ZYX (Gerry) wrote: When does your ODDysse begin Just joking. Hope all is well with you. If so, that puts U ahead of the game .

Yes, I suppose it is a game. Let me say that all could be better but it also could be worse. So I just keep pluggin' away and hope for the best.

OH Jim wrote to say the weather in his neck of the woods has been great all summer - windows open and the a/c off most of the time. He mentioned deer that wander into his yard. Oh really? That's cute. People think we have 'roos hopping about all over the place, which does happen in rural areas but generally out of town. The occasional koala will wander into a yard if there's a gum tree, and maybe a goanna or two (and sometimes a snake) but all I've had here is a couple of blue tongue lizards. They're great for keeping snails and slugs in check, and grow to about a foot long. They look menacing but they're all bluff. Kids often keep them as pets.

From the Beeb: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has stepped aside, ending political deadlock in Baghdad as the government struggles against insurgents. He resigned on state TV to make way for Haider al-Abadi, who was asked by Iraq's president to form a government. Mr Maliki had been under intense pressure to make way for Mr Abadi, a deputy speaker of parliament.

State police have taken charge of security in Ferguson after nights of violence, said the Missouri governor. Over the past four nights, heavily armed local police have clashed with protesters angry at the police killing of black teenager Michael Brown. Governor Jay Nixon announced the change after President Barack Obama urged police not to use "excessive force".

Police have searched a Berkshire property belonging to Sir Cliff Richard in relation to an alleged historical sex offence. No arrests have been made and Sir Cliff, 73, who is abroad, said the allegation was "completely false". Police said the allegation involved a boy under 16. The BBC understands it relates to an alleged sexual assault at a 1985 event where US preacher Billy Graham appeared at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. The allegation is believed to have been reported to police recently. Here we go yet again!

Yolo, an acronym for 'you only live once', is among the latest new words added to the Oxford online dictionary. The phrase, along with 'adorbs' - meaning cute or adorable, and 'binge-watch' - which means to avidly watch something - has been added to The website is a catalogue of current definitions of English words as they are used today. Other new inclusions include "tech-savvy" and "clickbait".

A sweaty gym workout is not only good for your health - it could also energise your phone. A tattoo that produces power from perspiration has been unveiled at the American Chemical Society meeting. The biobattery is fuelled by lactate - which is naturally present in sweat after vigorous exercise. It could soon power heart monitors, digital watches and eventually even smartphones, say scientists in California. The dream of "people power"- using the body to charge portable electronic gadgets - has inspired many innovative approaches.

Back from paying a bill at the doc's and hanging around for flu and pneumonia jabs. Then a bit of shopping and back home to claim the Medicare rebate on line. Nope. No can do. It was a home visit so I have to go to the Medicare office and do a bit of form filling. Bugger! Bureaucrats and their damn red tape.

Actually, it was quite warm outdoors today, with lots of peeps in short sleeves. So I did the sensible thing and had a snooze. And now it's late! Stay noice and I'll catchya tomorrow! Gary

August 14, 2014. I heard on radio this morning that the GM Show and Shine is on this Sunday. Should I go? Yes, I should go. I've photographed it before but it's good practice and I haven't been on a shoot for ages.

Francois sent the pic below - "Making your Day".

TX Greg wrote: No, I've never heard of Open Office. I've always had MS Office at home and work, so never when looking. I agree with Jim give it a try. Yeah, you wouldn't have a need for the full suite so just do the "Open Office Writer" for the word docs. And that's exactly what I did this morning. Haven't tried it yet though.

That was a really sad about Robin Williams. I think I've told you this before, but someday you really need to watch his movie "RV"

I've never heard of that movie but I loved the trailer. Yeah... funny stuff. Fortunately, my porta pottie has a detachable cassette which is emptied manually at a dump point. Nothing to go wrong. And there'll only be ME who uses it.

FL Josh wrote: Here is some of the talent competing on America's Got Talent, 2014. 9 year old piano player, Adrian Romoff 

Abigail Baird's Aerial Animation 

Hand balancer Andrey Moraru 

As to you writing letters, doesn't your computer have Notepad? And for your readers who are older than dirt and go way back with computers, how many remember doing things with Edlin???

It probably does have Notepad but why would I use Notepad when I've always used Composer successfully? I used MS Word for books, etc, but Composer for letters and notes. My Toshiba had MS Word but it died. Anyway, dozen madder now. As to Edlin, I do remember using MS-DOS but not Edlin. I bought my first IBM compatible machine in 1991 - a 286. Before that I was using an Amstrad which was a basic wordprocessor compatible only with other Amstrads. Soooo much has changed since then... for the better, I might add.

The tuna thingy was okay last night but a bit dry and dull, so tonight I'll make a cheese sauce and drown it in that. At least I'm getting my weekly dose of fish and Omega 3.

I was reading something about my model Courier ('94) the other day that said that it favored function over form. Hehe. That's another way of saying it's an ugly duckling. Well, it ain't pretty. My model Courier remained relatively unchanged through the '80s and right up to '96 when it underwent a facelift. The engine stayed the same though. But according to owner reports I've read, it's a pretty rugged machine that can take a beating over rough terrain and performs well. One bloke said his Courier pulled a Landcruiser out of a bog one time. So I guess the 'functional' claim is true. I've had a bit of bad luck with mine, as you know, but at least she's pretty sound now, with relatively low mileage and a straight body. By the way, I posted the letter to Ford yesterday so I'm expecting some sort of response in the next week or so.

From the Beeb: A pilot lost control of a passenger plane after his artificial arm became detached as he was coming in to land, an accident report has said. The Flybe flight from Birmingham, with 47 passengers on board, was approaching Belfast City Airport in gusty conditions on 12 February. It landed heavily but no-one was hurt and the plane was not damaged.

Two World War Two Lancasters have flown together for the first time in 50 years. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's aircraft was joined by the only other airworthy example, which had crossed the Atlantic to Lincolnshire. The pair was due to pass over Lincoln cathedral last Friday but the flight was postponed due to bad weather. A series of practice flights near RAF Coningsby will now be performed ahead of a month of events across the UK.

Bernie Steininger, a well-tanned retiree with a laid-back mien, is showing off his white 1985 Volkswagen Vanagon. It is a Westfalia, a pop-top box that is neither recreational vehicle nor minivan. Not a speck of rust is to be seen on Steininger’s example, but the rear windows are covered with stickers, one of which simply declares, “Road Trip!”

Robin Williams: Art out of agony. With hindsight it is easy to see a unifying theme of psychic turmoil in the late actor’s work. He turned his pain into our pleasure, Lisa Schwarzbaum writes.

And now it's hooroo time again... telly and cheese sauce. :) Gary

August 13, 2014. The other day I posted a link to photos of the super moon sent into the Beeb by subscribers. I didn't think any of them were all that impressive. However, this morning I saw Mieke's effort on Red Bubble. Sure enough, she captured a top shot on the beach at Broome, WA, complete with reflection. Click on the pic to enlarge.

Mieke wrote an entry in her journal about receiving a gold medal award from Italy for one of her works. It's her second gold. She's also won many other awards in various international competitions and exhibitions. And it's no surprise. She works hard at her craft - up at all hours to get the right light, and she travels a lot. Like all gold medalists, she earns every accolade she receives. On the journal page, she also posted a video of being happy in Broome where the photo was taken. Well worth a look!

OK Mike wrote: Greetings friend , as I was surfing the web this morning I came across a lad you may care to read about when your not so busy providing us with reading material . The guys name is Foster Huntington and what he has decided to do with his life may interest you . Hope your road to recovery includes a good scenic bypass .

Thanks, Mike. Interesting young bloke but a bit more adventurous than I am. However, we do have certain things in common, including an advertising background. The above link is to an interview with Foster but a link to his main blog is also included there.

OH Jim wrote: Have you ever looked into OPEN OFFICE? (Bogus Link Removed, see August 16th Waffle) It's a complete clone of Microsoft Office. And the price is certainly right... IT'S TOTALLY FREE ! And it works. I use the Mac and the Windows versions and I have no issues. Ask Greg about it. I'm surprised he doesn't know about it. It's been around for years, and it's totally legal to use. Better, just download it and try it. It's the entire Office suite.

There ya go, I've not heard of it but I'd be interested to know what Greg thinks about it. I'm wondering if its Word component is compatible with MS Word. The Office part I can do without.

Jim also commented on the tragic (if not idiotic) death of racing driver Kevin Ward. It made the news here, and it would appear that Tony Stewart will face very serious charges. Jim also mentioned the death of Robin Williams. A panelist on The Drum last night said if he'd only managed to make it through that day's depression, he would still be with us. Back in the mid '80s, Williams visited the Harold Park hotel, which was a 2-minute walk from my little house in Glebe. The Harold Park pub was famous for its comedy store acts and various thespian activities. The place was packed by fans of Williams in anticipation of his arrival (word had spread like wildfire), but the first I heard about it was last night on The Drum! Damn! Glebe was just beginning to become yuppy-fied back in those days. Harold Park, by the way, was a greyhound and trotting track across the road from the pub. The track was closed a few years ago and is now a huge housing estate.

Back from my appointment with the nutritionist, and all went well. She weighed me and I was pleased to see that I've gained almost 3 kgs since I left hospital. Still a long way to go but so far so good. She thinks I'm doing okay but had a few suggestions, like adding cream to scambled eggs to make them easy to swallow. I'll try that. Creamed rice is another thing she suggested, so I had some for lunch. I've always liked that stuff. The house inspection this morning went well too. Some of those property management people are picky as hell but this one breezed in and out with no problem.

From the Beeb: US film and stage actress Lauren Bacall has died at the age of 89. Her Hollywood career spanned seven decades, with a memorable debut aged 19 opposite her future husband, Humphrey Bogart, in To Have and Have Not. More than 50 years later, The Mirror Has Two Faces earned her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination. Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1924, she went on to become one of cinema's biggest stars, best known for her husky voice and smouldering looks.

US President Barack Obama has appealed for calm in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting of a black teenager by police sparked two nights of violence. He described the death on Saturday of Michael Brown as heartbreaking and added: "Remember this young man through reflection and understanding." In two nights of unrest in the St Louis suburb, dozens were arrested, shops looted and tear gas fired by police. On Tuesday night, anger had turned to reflection at a community forum.

Robin Williams was one of many comedians who made people laugh while simultaneously struggling with a personal darkness. Are comics more prone to depression - and if so, why? "It doesn't take a genius to work out that comedians are a little bit nuts." Those were the words of comedian Susan Murray earlier this year, responding to an academic study that suggested comedians had unusual psychological traits linked with psychosis.

Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale pre-auction estimate: $25m. Ford GT40 prototype: $11m. Ferrari 250 GTO: don’t even ask. There is no shortage of high-dollar auction lots to monitor this week in northern California, where the world’s biggest auctioneers have descended on the golf links of the Monterey peninsula. Not to be upstaged by machines dripping provenance from their tailpipes, however, are some lovable outcasts that, with any luck, should find warm, happy homes.

Oh yes, I just remembered... the nutritionist mentioned cheesecake without the crust, so I'll check out recipes for the filling and have that on its own. Should be noice!

Tonight, I'm gonna try a fishcake for toothless oldies. Mash a spud, add a 175g can of tuna and a teaspoon of dried onion flakes, mix through, add butter if necessary, serve with blended cauliflower and beans, top with oodles of white parsely sauce. Sounds okay but the proof will be in the eating.

Well, there ya go, it smells good. I used milk instead of butter cos it helped flake and spread the tuna as well as the onion flakes around the mash. Turned out one spud was just right for 175g of tuna. I'll do the cauli a bit later.

Here's a post on the GN forum by a solo lady and her motorhome Miss Daisy. Here she writes a brief summary of her observations after 10 months on the road. She's currently just north of here.

And so concludes another Waffle. Gary

August 12, 2014. TX Greg wrote in relation to the problem with my Canon printer: WHY did you use Kompozer to write the letter? Kompozer is trying to make a wide screen web page, NOT a letter. Copy and paste to a Word doc and see if that will print.

Ah, well according to Kompozer print setup, the page is formatted to print portrait. As to using Word, the Acer doesn't have Word. However, where there's a will there's a way, roite? I've often written and printed letters using Netscape Composer, so I copied and pasted the letter from Kompozer to Composer and guess what? The pages printed without a hitch. So there ya go, problem solved. But it was the copying and pasting idea that made me think of using Composer, Greg, so you can still take a bow. :) Now I can post the letter to Ford and see what they have to say about the coolant leak and expensive repairs.

OH Jim commented on the authorities in his state (as well as the Feds) getting a little overly zealous: They over regulate and micro-manage everything, including school lunches. They (this time the Feds) regulate what the kids can eat, and not eat. Naturally the kids respond by dumping their food right in the trash, and go hungry. Some districts are telling the Feds to stuff their federal lunch funding and food regulations up their federal asses and are going it on their own. GOOD FOR THEM !!!! At least the kids won't go hungry. You can lead a horse to water...

Sounds like something Michelle Obama may have influenced in an attempt to tackle the obesity problem in the US. Obesity is a prob here too with kids eating too much processed junk. There's a Brit cooking show I watch on telly whose host is into healthy food. But he uses the same marketing techniques as the junk manufacturers - presentation and taste. No one is gonna eat anything that looks unappetizing, especially if they're not keen on it in the first place. So he uses his skill as a chef to create healthy dishes that not only look attractive but also taste delicious. He'll often challenge people, including kids, to try something they normally don't like but cooked or prepared his way And sure enough, they end up becoming converts.

So if you're gonna get school kids to eat what's good for them, you need to do more than make it mandatory. You need to get them to actually like it! Food should be fun, which is something the bureaucrats seem to forget.

On the chef's last program he did a story on bread, and how the modern factory version of our most basic of foods has become loaded with additives and, even worse, tasteless. Next time you buy a loaf from the supermarket, read the ingredients printed on the wrapper.

From the Beeb: US President Barack Obama has said the nomination of Haider al-Abadi as Iraq's prime minister-designate is a "promising step forward". He acknowledged that Iraq had been through "difficult days", and urged its political leaders to work together. Earlier on Monday, Iraq's president asked Mr Abadi to form a new government, snubbing the incumbent Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. Mr Maliki said Mr Abadi's nomination was a "violation of the constitution".

US actor Robin Williams has been found dead, aged 63, in an apparent suicide, California police say. Marin County Police said he was pronounced dead at his home shortly after officials responded to an emergency call around noon local time. Williams was famous for films such as Good Morning Vietnam and Dead Poets Society and won an Oscar for his role in Good Will Hunting. His publicist said he had been "battling severe depression". In the past he had talked, and even joked, about his struggles with alcohol and drugs.

What should we do with disused airports? New terminals are cropping up all over the world at a stratospheric rate– but what happens to the ones that are no longer useful? Jonathan Glancey investigates.

It's toddle off time again. Tomorrow we have a house inspection by the estate agent to see if the joint is falling apart, and then I'm off to an appointment with a nutritionist, which should be interesting. Gary

August 11, 2014. TX Greg wrote: Just a heads up, the GN page is using a java script for that link for the photos and won't let you access it unless you sign in. It might work if you post on the waffle the direct link to the page.

Yes, I was wondering about that. Thanks, Greg. The pics of the 1964 Armstrong 500 are worth looking at, with ordinary cars lifting a front wheel as they hurtle around corners. All good stuff. And John's trip across the Nullarbor and nearby areas is well worth a look too.

The Canon printer still refuses to print the Ford page I wrote regarding the coolant leak. Reinstalled all the software, followed the techie's instructions.. When I click on Kompozer File and then Print, nothing happens. Did a diagnostic and test print. Fine. No problems. Checked connections and printer properties. Fine. No problems. So why can't I print a page? Why doesn't Kompozer recognize the printer? I've emailed the techie again. Ho hum.

Being the product of a total Catholic education ... first grade through to his Bachelor's degree in History from Xavier University, OH Jim found it "funny" about the Apostle's names. Fl Josh has it right about the names, I guess. Incidentally, I checked the original GN post and it was titled 'Mischief or Miracle', which explains the poster's motive. Meanwhile, I remember Jim writing something a while back in relation to fools and idiots being created by God, which thereby excuses them from being deliberately wrong. However, Josh is not one to suffer fools so lightly. When he read the apostle piece, he began his rebuttal with This comment is a wonderful example of just how deep stupid can run in some. Later in his piece, he added: The GN you quoted was not just ignorant, but down-to-the bone stupid.

So it occurred to me that while laws against discrimination cover things like sexual orientation, race, color, religion, disability, etc, they don't cover intellectual capacity. It's okay to label someone an idiot or stupid... apparently. Curious, yes?

From the Beeb: Security forces loyal to Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki have appeared in force in the capital Baghdad after he went on state TV to criticise the president. Mr Maliki is seeking a third term but has faced calls to step down amid the jihadist insurgency in the north. The US, which has urged Iraq to form an inclusive government, issued a statement backing President Fuad Masum.

Australian PM Tony Abbott has voiced strong condemnation after an image emerged showing a boy, reportedly the son of an Australian ex-terror convict, holding a Syrian's severed head. The image was posted on the Twitter account of Khaled Sharrouf, The Australian newspaper reported. Sharrouf, who served time for planning attacks in Australia, has now joined Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria. Mr Abbott said the image showed "just how barbaric" IS militants were. The image shows a young boy - who looks to be of early primary school age - wearing a baseball cap and a blue shirt, using both hands to hold aloft the severed head. Barbaric is right.

Stargazers have been taking images of the spectacular 'supermoon' overnight. The phenomenon means the moon - which is classified as a 'perigee moon' by astronomers - appears bigger and brighter than usual because of its proximity to the earth. Some were lucky enough to also see the Perseid meteor shower which is caused by the Swift-Tuttle comet shedding part of its celestial body and leaving behind a trail of dust. On Twitter, the hashtag #supermoon2014 was trending as people shared their images, while here is a selection sent in to the BBC.

Whether it's called the upward inflection, high-rising terminal or simply "uptalk", the habit of making statements sound like questions is a genuine linguistic mystery, writes Chris Stokel-Walker. The habit of ending statements with a stress that makes them sound a bit like questions is one that winds many people up. Surveys have suggested bosses dislike it. Stephen Fry admitted on the TV show Room 101 that he hated it. Numerous older people have picked up numerous younger people on their use of it. But the question of how even the UK was infected with this speech pattern has never been adequately answered. It's been happening in Oz for years. Weird.

The world's biggest listed winemaker, Australia's Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), has received a second multi-billion-dollar takeover bid for its business. The offer is worth A$3.4bn (£1.88bn; $3.17bn) and has come from an as-yet unnamed global private equity firm. Earlier this month, the US private equity giant KKR launched a renewed bid for the winemaker. TWE owns brands such as Wolf Blass, Rosemount and Lindeman's. It is also behind Australia's most recognised winemaker, Penfolds. And it all started with a few vine cuttings brought here by the early European settlers.

And now NC Art with a note about who wrote the road less travelled by: But I, I took the road less traveled by And that has make all the difference. American poet Robert Frost-- “The Road Less Traveled”

Not sure if that should be make or made... but there ya go. Thanks, Art.

And now it's time to travel the road much travelled by... it's called my evening routine. Hehe. But I am looking forward to dinner. I'm starving! Gary

August 10, 2014. OH Jim is reminiscing again: "YANK TANK"????? Now that's a new one. None of the cars my Dad owned were armored. Nor did they have a downstairs basement or family room w/ wood burning fire place. They were turnpike cruisers, though. But what the heck, gas wasn't even .20 cents/gallon. My 2001 Mustang was $27,000 and that was 13 years ago! My daughter and Zach consider the '68 Mustang a big car. Back then it was a compact LOL. And I bought it in 1970 from my Aunt Mabel for $1,200 !  I never got to drive the '55 Olds. But I did drive its replacement, the 1960 Oldsmobile...once in 1964 and I was 16 and just got my driver's license. Then my Dad got another new car, and I got a used 1961 Chevy Bel-Air, and so on and so forth. Some were dogs, some great cars. I agree that you can't compare different era's cars. My 1968 Mustang drives like a truck compared to my '01 Mustang. Heck, the 2001 V8 Mustang handles not so good... it has heavy steering compared to my 2001 V6 Mustang. I test drove both on the same tight roads. Just goes to show you.

Yes, Yank Tanks - big, clumsy and ostentatious. When I was a kid in the '50s, there were still a lot of pre-war Yank Tanks on the road (my older bro's second car was a '37 Olds) but that changed with the introduction of 'Australia's Own Car', the Holden, which was a scaled down version of GM's Chevrolet with revised suspension. Australia's roads didn't suit big cars. Even now, GM and Ford are about to cease manufacturing in Oz because their cars are too big. The irony is that many people are buying large 4WDs like the Land Cruiser. However, most Aussie drivers prefer something the size of a Toyota Corolla or VW Golf.

I dunno what's gonna happen to the Bathurst 1000, which has become a premier race between Ford and Holden with their V8 Supercars. Both will soon be out of production. Back in 1964 the race was called the Armstrong 500 (miles - it's now 1000 kilometers), and featured regular cars you could buy off the showroom floor - Beetles, Minis, Ford Cortinas, Vauxhalls, Hillmans, Holdens, Valiants, etc. Check out the link to photos of the 1964 race in this thread posted by a GN on the forum.

OK Mike wrote to wish me happy birthday for the big 70, but he's a bit early. I'm 69 till August 29. However he also sent birthday greetings to "the little guy", Wingnut. I suspect the Winger's not so little any more. He has his father's build and according to Cody when he described Wingnut's father compared to what he looked like as a teen, "he has more face to shave". Hehe.

I'm actually putting on some weight... not much, but a couple of kilos. Trouble is, it's almost all going to the same spot, my tummy. Oh well... let's hope it spreads further afield as I eat more FOOD! Speaking of which, OH Jim reckons I should get stuck into icecream. I prefer yoghurt - not as fattening I know, but I like it.

From the Beeb: The US military says it has carried out four new air strikes on militants to defend civilians in northern Iraq. US Central Command said jet fighters and drones had destroyed armoured carriers and a truck that were firing on members of the Yazidi sect. Thousands of civilians fled into the mountains after the Islamic State (IS) overran the town of Sinjar a week ago. This is the third round of US air strikes since they were authorised by President Barack Obama.

A recent BBC Magazine piece on the absence of women on US paper currency prompted readers to suggest which women they thought should be printed on the dollar. Here are some of the best. The article discussed President Barack Obama's recent endorsement of a young girl's idea to put women on US bank notes.

FL Josh wrote: You posted a GN’s comment on how the Bible says Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which is in Palestine, a country filled with people with Islamic last names like Mohammed and Abdul, so how did Jesus manage to find 12 "friends" with Christian names like Matthew and Mark. He also finds it remarkable that they all drank wine!

This comment is a wonderful example of just how deep stupid can run in some. The fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem is irrelevant because he didn't live there, he lived in Nazareth. Jesus didn't pick any Muslim "friends" to be his disciples for two reasons. First, why would Jesus pick a Muslim to be a disciple to spread Christianity? Second, the Muslim invasion of the area Jesus lived in didn't happen until the 7th century, A.D., so there were no Mohammeds or Abduls, only Christians and Jews.

And as for the names of the disciples contained in the Bible, those are the product of two thousand years of translations and are in no way connected to the original names. The earliest records we have of the books of the New Testament, which is where we learn about Jesus, are Greek translations several hundred years after Jesus lived, so they changed names. For example, when the Greeks went to translate Jesus’s name from Hebrew that we would pronounce today as Y ee-sh-oo-ah, the Greeks had no "y" or "sh" sounds in their language, plus male names had to end in s, so they ended up with "ee-ey-SOOS." In early English Bibles, this was taken as "hey-SOOS" and written as "Jesus," but as English evolved, the letter "j" changed from an "ey" sound to the "jay" sound we have today, which give us today’s "Jesus." And as for the fact that Jesus and his disciples drank wine, everyone drank wine back then for sanitation reasons. Until we developed refrigeration, food and drink quickly experienced bacteria growth, and letting beverages ferment was a way to slow down bacteria growth so that beverages could be stored and consumed later. Nowhere in the Bible does it say one shouldn't drink wine. The GN you quoted was not just ignorant, but down-to-the bone stupid. And what’s scary is that as opinionated as he obviously is, he would vote at every election for a candidate chosen using the same stellar thinking that came up with this.

Ignorant and opinionated? Who said anything about the poster agreeing or disagreeing with his post (which I assume was a paste of something he found on the intenet)? I didn't. However, I do take Josh's point that there's a lot of false info about - always has been and always will be. Reminds me of something Churchill once said, "Interesting if true, but interesting anyway."

One of the GN's remarked the other day about the joys of getting lost. She missed a turn somewhere and kept going only to find a wonderful spot where she camped for a few days. Hehe. Back when I first thought of the Odyssey, someone asked me what would happen if I got lost. Lost? How can you get lost on an island continent? If you find yourself facing the ocean, turn around and go back. Other GNs who visited the thread said they'd also missed a turn at times only to discover something new and exciting, adding that the roads less travelled often revealed hidden gems.

Nothing's happening with my Odyssey plans/dreams at the mo cos I'm still paying off my recent debts, which doesn't leave much to play with. Boring! But by mid October I'll be in the clear again. Do you realize that'll be 12 months since my first and last shakedown? Sheesh! Hopefully, there'll be no repeat of busted awnings or major mechanical repairs to screw up my plans again. This has not been a good year, folks.

Oh well, onward Christian soldiers, chin up and all that jazz. If I can survive what life has thrown at me these past few years I suppose I can survive just about anything! Gary

August 9, 2014. And a glorious winter's day it is, sunny and bright... and warm in the sun. Never say that to a farmer though, not during a drought, which is what NSW is suffering at the mo. Many farmers are in dire straits, some relying on charity to put food on the table.

Speaking of food, OH Jim suggests if I can't handle scrambled eggs I should make mashed potato and gravy. He must have missed something in Waffle cos that's exactly what I've been doing. I often mash pumpkin and potato together. The pumpkin is very moist and helps to make the mash nice and smooth, as well as tasty.

I heard an interesting comment about Hungarian Jews on telly last night... A Hungarian Jew is the only person I know who can follow you into a revolving door and come out first.

From the Beeb: The US has conducted its second air-drop of food and water to thousands of Iraqis hiding in mountains from jihadist fighters, the Pentagon says. It came hours after the US launched fresh air strikes against militants from the Islamic State (IS). The group had recently made fresh gains in northern Iraq and is threatening the Kurdish city of Irbil. The US is also piling pressure on Iraqi leaders to form a unity government capable of dealing with the jihadists. What would we do without the Yanks?

The US and UN have condemned the resumption of attacks between Gaza and Israel on Friday, urging both sides to cease hostilities. Israel renewed strikes on Gaza soon after a three-day truce expired, saying it was in response to rocket fire by Hamas, which controls Gaza. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the parties should work towards a "sustainable ceasefire". Yeah, right.

The current Ebola outbreak in Africa is dominating headlines globally. But Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance questions why this - rather than any of the other deadly diseases which exist. He suggests it's because people in the west have forgotten what it is like to deal with an untreatable disease.

Announcing the world’s most expensive anything is a surefire way to attract attention, but when the thing is a $3m motor home, questions arise beyond the obvious “Why?” After all, designers create all manner of prototypes, and mythical potentates from Dubai are always rumoured to be buying them. Yet in this case, the factory is up and running and ready to take your deposit money.

Yeah... well, pardon me if I stick with PJ for a while. Speaking of which, here's a post on the GN forum by John who wrote an article (with pics) about his crossing of the Nullabor and visits to nearby places. Click on the link below his opening comment.

And here's a paste of a comment I found on the GN forum: According to the Bible, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in Palestine, a country full of people called Mohammed, Abdul, Mounir, Aziz, Ashad, Ahmed, Faroukh, Omar, Isha, Musa, Youssouf, Mouloud, etc. And yet he managed to find 12 friends called Matthew, Mark, Peter, John, James, Bartholomew, Phillip, Thomas, Luke, Andrew, Simon and Judas Iscariot - who all drank wine! Don't you think that's a miracle?

Sun's on it's way down and the temp is beginning to plummet, sooooooo it's time for the heater and a bit of telly... and later roast chicken, potato, pumpkin and spinach with lots of chicken gravy. Mmmmm! Gary

August 8, 2014. FL Josh spent 8 hours writing a lengthy 'report' yesterday critiquing my medical condition, and suggesting various checkups and blood tests for possible problems. Well, as it happens, the hospital took blood samples almost every day while I was there, and performed 4 tests a day on blood pressure, oxygen levels and other stats. I figure they should know what I have, have not and should have. Meanwhile, I'm certainly not going to get involved in a to and fro about possibles, probables and potentials. And THAT, let me say, is THAT!

OH Jim wrote: You also can't compare those old Citroens and Renaults to the styling of the Minis. The Mini design is iconic, and the "cab forward" design was years ahead of it's time. I always wanted to drive one, but never have had the chance. To think those rolling French disasters were created in the same era as this one: It's a 1955 Oldsmobile 4-door Holiday 98. My Dad and I bought one at Columbia Oldsmobile, in Cincinnati. I was seven, and it was really cool to be the first kid to ride in it. My Mom and Dad drove it to Miami FL, on two lane roads. According to Google, it's a 1,133 mile trip down I-75, and 16.5 hours. On US-27, which is all they had, it was 23.5 hours and 1,184 miles. We made that trip every summer to visit my Aunt Opel and Uncle Bob. I spent a lot of time in the back seat of that car!

So who's comparing? I've owned and driven lots of cars - Beetles, Chryslers, a Mercedes, a VW Kombi, Holdens, and currently a Ford ute - but I don't compare them. Each has qualities of its own. Cars are like people - individual. Large cars such as the Oldsmobile were rare in Oz, commonly referred to as "Yank Tanks". The only large American import sold in Oz now is the Chrysler 300C (which has had some pretty good reviews).

Jim also suggests I "do" scrambled eggs. Nope, no can do. They're too dry and get stuck in my throat. I have raw eggs in smoothies, which also contain banana, peanut butter, Sustagen, full cream milk, condensed milk, yoghurt and honey. And fruit? I have juice. And, of course, I make my own trifle with jelly (jello), cake and custard. Oh yes... chocolate. 220g blocks of Cadbury dairy milk chocolate were on spesh yesterday at the supermarket, 2 for $7. I suck on chocolate while I'm watching telly.

Francois wrote: Sorry to contradict your french origine: Clampett isn't a french name:  I didn't find any french page at on this name... Sorry to not write often: still very tired since my last surgery in May, very slowly recovering. I wish you the best, recovering soon and finally going away to your odyssey.

Ah well, no Dom Perignon in my Irish blood it seems. Never mind. I still like French cars. And I wish you well in your recovery too, Francois. I know how frustrating it is to have the will but not the ability. What is it they say? The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. At least my Odyssey can be a lazy man's adventure hehe... no battling 3m seas or gale force winds.

Guess who's a new daddy? Andries, the dentist. He's off for a couple of weeks so I'm booked in again on the 18th for a resumption of the irrigation business of my gum, which is feeling a lot better I might say. Maybe my new diet is helping to improve things in the oral orifice department. In about 4 weeks, I'm also due to see the specialist in Sydney so it'll be interesting to learn what he has to say.

From the Beeb: US President Barack Obama says he has authorised air strikes against Islamic militants in northern Iraq, if they threaten US interests or to prevent the slaughter of religious minorities. However, the president said US troops would be not be sent back to Iraq. The US has already made humanitarian air drops to Iraqis under threat from Islamic State (IS) militants.

Here are some of the most stunning space-related pictures captured during the last month – from salad greens to grow on Marsto a portrait of Spain from orbit.

Russia is imposing a "full embargo" on food imports from the EU, US and some other Western countries, in response to sanctions over Ukraine. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said it would include fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports. Australia, Canada and Norway are also affected. Elsewhere, Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Ukraine's freedom and future were "under attack," promising support against Russian "aggression".

Just finished re-installing my Canon printer and all the software. I knew it was gonna be a mammoth task and it was. I'll find out tomorrow if it works or not. Right now I'm gonna call it a day and pig out on chocolate in front of the telly. Hehe. I sound like a couch potato but I'm not. I don't watch all that much telly but I do like The Drum and the News plus a few other science and current affairs programs. Gary

August 7, 2014. OH Jim wrote: I'm sorry to say this, Gary, but .... That Renault 4CV is sure butt ugly. Typical French car styling, I guess. Looks like they stole the trunk design from the VW Beetle. What's with the roof, anyway? Maybe they couldn't make up their minds? it's almost as ugly as the 1955 Citroen DS, which gets the 1955 UMMM... what were they thinking? award. But wait... Citroen is French also. Figures.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There ya go. No accounting for taste and all that. One man's meat is another man's poison... I've always liked the look of that little Renault, as well as the Citroen DS. My mother told me there's a bit of French blood in the family's veins. Her maiden name was Clampett.

Jim wanted to know if we have oatmeal here. I think oatmeal is the same as rolled oats, or quick oats, which is what I've been eating lately. He recommends brown sugar and a dollop of maple syrup. The speech therapist mentioned brown sugar but I've been adding honey, and lately malt. I intend to get some brown sugar so I'll use that as well. And yes, I use full cream milk.

There's an age-old recipe in Oz that goes back to WWI - Anzac biscuits. It uses oats and brown sugar. I've made them myself several times, as did my mother when I was a kid. Very nice too!

Back from a little shopping which included brown sugar. So for my second helping of oats today I added a tblsp of brown sugar and about the same of malt. YUM! Can't wait for the next one!

From the Beeb: Two top Khmer Rouge leaders have been jailed for life after being convicted by Cambodia's UN-backed tribunal of crimes against humanity. Nuon Chea served as Pol Pot's deputy and Khieu Samphan was the Maoist regime's head of state. They are the first top-level leaders to be held accountable for its crimes. Life is not long enough for those assholes.

Even in death, a couple married for nearly 62 years were inseparable. Don and Maxine Simpson from Bakersfield, California, died four hours apart on adjoining beds, holding hands during some of their final hours. Melissa Sloan said her grandmother died first and when her body was removed from the room, her husband followed. "All Don wanted was to be with his beautiful wife. He adored my grandmother, loved her to the end of the earth," she told KERO-TV. He was 90 and she was 87, and they met at a bowling alley in Bakersfield in 1952, getting married in the same year. How touching.

When the Shah of Iran fled Tehran in 1979, the capital city’s flashy cars also sought sanctuary. The social convulsions that sped the Shah’s downfall pushed luxury sedans and sports cars deep underground, if not entirely out of the country. Some vehicles were requisitioned by the revolution’s leaders and sold, while others – including many previously owned by the Shah – would come to moulder in a museum northwest of Tehran. But in a city where oil wealth flows freely among elites, beautiful cars can remain out of sight only for so long.

I stayed up a little later than usual last night to watch a TV program called For The Love of Cars about the restoration of a 1964 Mk1 Mini Cooper S, and what a little gem it was. Shortly after the Suez crises when Britain's oil supplies were seriously threatened, the government commissioned Alec Issigonis to design a car that could travel at 70mph, attain 50mpg, seat four adults and carry a stack of luggage. The result in 1959 was the launch of the Mini, destined to become the biggest selling auto in Britain's history, remaining in production for 41 years.

Issigonis turned traditional auto design on its ear, placing a wheel at each corner of the small sedan, and mounting the engine and transmission east-west instead of the normal north-south, driving the front wheels. The layout provided a stack of room inside the cab. As an unexpected bonus, the "brick" exhibited remarkable handling to boot. In the early '60s, Cooper got hold of the engine, beefed it up, and the little car was soon winning races all over Europe. Each of the Beatles had one, british royalty owned a couple and so did many of the rich and famous. The Mini became a sensation.

I had one briefly in the mid '70s and loved it. It was great fun to drive and had an amazing ratio of power to weight. Its standard 1100cc engine could rocket the thing up steep hills in top gear no problem at all.

TX Greg wrote with some technical advice about reinstalling my Canon printer. Thanks, Greg. What would I do without you? But I didn't do it today... I'm not quite a bundle of energy yet so maybe tomorrow. I need to print my letter of complaint to Ford for the radiator coolant cockup.

Yes, all my recent illnesses of one sort or another have me a little concerned about my suitability healthwise for the Odyssey. Am I kidding myself? Is the Odyssey wishful thinking? That word 'frail' used in the hospital report had a major psychological effect on me, and came as a total shock. Hopefully, if I continue to eat well and improve my efforts to regain weight as well as fitness, I'll be back to normal in a month or two. That's my goal.

BTW, Popeye is getting a look in tonight at dinner time. My green blob will be spinach! One positive aspect of recent events is that I really look forward to meal times now, and my appetite has improved out of sight. Gary

August 6, 2014. When in doubt, read the manual. So that's what I did and my Citizen watch seems to be back in sync with the day/date thingy. The former owner of PJ was a manual keeper... there's a resealable plastic bag in a cupboard full of old manuals going back to the mid '80s for the fridge, stove, a/c, awning, stereo, etc. The Courier also has the original manual in the glove box. Sooooo, never discard your manuals, folks!

Another thing I've discovered about feeding the body proper food is its ability to withstand cold. I've noticed I don't feel the cold at night as much as I did when I was ill. Go figure. My eyesight was blurry during my illness as well, but is now almost back to normal. I've always thought that popping a vitamin pill makes up for poor diet. WRONG! As OH Jim wrote: You said you didn't eat for FOUR DAYS???? Holy shit, Gary. Your glucose levels must have been way low. You're very lucky to not have kicked the bucket.

Hmmm. you're probably right, Jimmy, Jim, Jim. Actually, I read something about glucose levels in an article about the nutritional value of oats which, by the way, have long been rejected by some cultures as being fit only for livestock feed. Hehe. I'm going to try them with a large dollop of malt extract this morning. I love malt flavor, and remember craving malt in milkshakes as a kid.

Yep, the malt works well, and it's chock fulla B group vitamins. I used to use it in smoothies but it was too thick to blend... however it's ideal for stirring through hot rolled oats.

More of those historic photos of autos in various urban situations have been posted on a newsgroup so here's another batch... some quite interesting snapshots of yesteryear.

From the Beeb: US Secretary of State John Kerry has urged Israel and the Palestinians to take advantage of the Gaza truce to move towards broader negotiations. Mr Kerry told the BBC the situation could concentrate minds on the need to negotiate a "two-state solution". A 72-hour humanitarian truce is holding in Gaza, halting a four-week conflict that has claimed more than 1,900 lives.

An Israeli once said, "there will only be peace with the Arabs when the Arabs learn to love their children more than they hate us."

Scientists say they have uncovered a basic process that may help explain why some people's thinking skills decline with age. Research indicates as individuals begin to have difficulties interpreting simple images, their overall intelligence falls too. Psychologists suggest this ability to glean information at a glance may play a critical role in how we deal with more complex tasks. The study appears in Current Biology.

Years ago, the stick shift on a manual sedan was something akin to the length of a giraffe's neck. My old Kombi had one of those. But sports cars had cute little stick shifts that rose just 6" above the transmission tunnel, slightly forward of the driver's hip. Vroom, vroom! The Courier has one of those sporty shifts, and it's a pleasure to drive. Brings out the revhead in me - kinda. So I was interested to read this article from the Beeb - The stick shift: Not dead yet.

And still on the subject of cars, here's my favorite little Frenchie, one of the cutest small cars ever created, in my opinion:

Sooooooo cute! When I was a teen, a mate of mine drove his mother's Dauphine (the model that superseded the 4CV) with me to a camping site at Bendemeer (near Tamworth  NSW) back in 1961 where we spent a couple of weeks. The Dauphine was a nice little car but not as pretty as the 4CV. I've long been an admirer of French cars but never owned (or even driven) one. Yes I have! A friend's Peugeot 505. Great car too.

Actually, I heard on an episode of QI last night on telly that back in the 18th or 19th century, only 20% of the French population spoke French!

Well, it's getting to that time again and I'm starving... really looking forward to roast pork and veg with lots of gravy tonight. OH Jim reckons I should be having two helpings at meal times, and I reckon he's probably right. I weighed myself earlier today and it appears that any weight gain has been slight. Mind you, it's only been a week or so since I've been back home. Gary

August 5, 2014. Off to a late start today - lotsa bits and pieces to take care of again. It only happens when you're recovering from an illness ya know. When you're fulla beans and a picture of health, the phone doesn't ring, no one comes to the door, there aren't any chores and everything runs smoothly. Once you get sick, however, or are on the mend, the whole world suddenly wants to get a hold of you for some reason.

Averil's saga is turning out to be an Agathie Christie novel. I mentioned the possibility of a will the other day, and sure enough it's come to a head. Stan the Lawn Man and his wife Sue visited me this morning, and revealed all the dirty deeds that have been going on. Av's only rellos, her niece and husband from far north QLD (Cairns) spent the past week or so here tidying up the house, etc. I thought they were doing it for Av's sake. Nope, they were making sure they got the rental bond, which has been sitting in an interest bearing deposit for 25 years. Hello? None of Av's personal possessions were of any interest to the niece, not even the rings on Av's finger. Photographs of Av and old Kev were thrown away. All furniture and other belongings were sent to charity.

But here's the really juicy bit. As Stan, Sue, the niece and her hubby were gathered around Av and the life-support equipment at RNS in Sydney, the hubby leaned forward just before the equipment was to be disconnected and asked, "where's the will?" How subtle. Av wasn't even conscious. There was no point in asking.

As it turned out, Av didn't make a will before she died. So the estate will be distributed by her attorney, much of it going in taxes to the government and the remainder to the nearest relative, which is the niece. It's interesting to note that the niece and hubby didn't even appear on the scene until old Kev died. Back then, I was the only one involved with Kev's final years and months, and then his death and subsequent funeral arrangements. No Stan, no Sue, no niece, no hubby, just me.

So it's true, dear Breth. Agatha was right. The smell of a will brings all the hopefuls out of the woodwork hehe. Funnily enough, before Sue and Stan left for their caravan holiday up north a few weeks back, Sue reminded Av to make a will. Av agreed but never got around to it. She was a bit superstitious that way - convinced that as soon as she made a will, she'd fall off the perch. But if she procrastinated, she'd remain alive.

Incidentally, the headstone on Av's grave won't be installed for 3 weeks, so I'll visit then.

From the Beeb: Israel has announced the withdrawal of all of its troops to "defensive positions" outside the Gaza Strip. Lt-Col Peter Lerner told reporters Israeli forces would have left Gaza before a 72-hour truce, scheduled for 08:00 local time (05:00 GMT). Israel claims the main aim of the conflict - to destroy militants' tunnels - has been achieved. Gaza officials say the four-week conflict has killed 1,800 Palestinians. Some 67 Israelis have also died.

A recruitment poster of the stern-eyed Lord Kitchener has become a defining image of World War One. A clever illustrator's psychological trickery has spawned a thousand imitations, writes Adam Eley. It is perhaps history's most famous pointing finger. The image of British war minister Lord Kitchener's index finger unsettlingly aimed at the viewer remains immediately recognisable 100 years after its design. Still regularly copied in advertising, it has also served as a satirical motif in the media and inspired military recruitment campaigns across the globe.

Virtuoso guitar playing has come to define rock ‘n’ roll. Greg Kot looks back at its colourful history. Rock guitar solos? Often they’re overblown, overrated and a waste of precious notes. To those who worship them, I say listen to more jazz – because that’s where the greatest soloists make their living. But the guitar riff? Now we’re talking. That always has been, and in many ways still is, the essence of rock ‘n’ roll – at least of the guitar-bass-drums variety that has thrived since rockers like Chuck Berry showed everyone how it was done. A riff, when done right, can shape a song and often rule it. It’s a brief statement – sometime only a handful of notes or chords – that recurs throughout the arrangement and can become the song’s central hook. Many of the greatest songs of the rock era begin with a riff – The Rolling Stones’ (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water, Aerosmith’s Walk this Way, The Smiths’ How Soon is Now, Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, The Isley Brothers’ Who’s That Lady? And when done that spectacularly, the riff becomes the core of the tune, its most memorable feature when listeners play it back in their head. You can hum a riff or sing it like a melody, and best of all you can rock it on air guitar.

Anna from the dental clinic wrote to remind me of Meals on Wheels (which, in a manner of speaking, is what PJ is) and the need for variety in my diet, lest I should tire of what I'm eating. True. But the stuff I make for myself is a lot cheaper, and I know what I'm getting. Lindsay (and Sue before him) used MOW after I ceased to be their carer. It's good food but it ain't cheap. Thought I would just touch base :) I've been stalking your blog keeping up on the gossip I'm glad you got the flowers and card. I'm also so happy you've decided to gain a few pounds... I've been having some thoughts about your meals etc and if your ever having a bad run etc where you don't have the energy etc why don't you get meals on wheels you'll find you could easily split it into two meals as they are reasonably sized. Just a thought anyway. I'm liking the rolled oats for breaky!! Make sure you keep variety though because you don't want to get sick of the same thing and go off your food again. I like that I get to continue to nag you about food now. I hope you recover soon and I look forward to seeing the new and improved you in a few weeks time when you're feeling better and fattened up a bit.

Thanks again for the flowers and card, Anna. That was very sweet of you and Cherie, and the tulips are still looking good. Yes, fattened. I agree. I can still hear you nagging me about my poor undernourished body needing food to help it return to health - fuel for the immune system. You're right, of course... I just don't like to admit it (as do most blokes when confronted by a waving female finger).

It's a good thing I went to hospital apart from the obvious reasons. I was starving after 4 days at home not eating, so even hospital food looked appetizing. I was also surprised at how I could swallow semi solids such as oats and blended meat and veg. In fact, swallowing semi solids exercised the swallowing mechanism much better than liquid foods had been, and was in itself helping to improve my technique. So now my diet regularly consists of semi solids. Roast pork and veg tonight, with lashings of gravy. Last night I really pigged out on dinner and dessert and felt well and truly stuffed afterwards hehe. Good thing, yes? And about time!

So there it is, dear Breth, another edition of Waffle. Seeyaz tomorrow. Gary

August 4, 2014. And a lovely winter's day it is too, bright and shiny and mild. However, our dry winter and above average temps have brought forward our bushfire season with several fires burning up and down the east coast. Looks like we're in for a pretty savage spring and summer firewise, with lots of dire warnings from the Greens about global warming.

Just threw a bowl of rolled oats down the hatch, and getting pretty good at cooking that stuff now. Nice and creamy. I'm also loving the taste. Maybe my body is telling me something, like EAT. I'll make a second bowl later for lunch. This is becoming a seeeerious addiction!

And here I is at after 4pm and where did the time go? Not sure... a bit of this and a bit of that, plus more shopping for groceries and meds. Some days are like that... lots of little things to do and they eat up the time. Munch, munch, munch.

From the Beeb: Events are taking place to commemorate the centenary of the start of Britain's involvement in World War One. The Prince of Wales and prime minister will be in Glasgow for a national service of commemoration, while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will join world leaders for events in Belgium. Westminster Abbey is hosting a candle-lit vigil service. Lights will be switched off in homes and buildings from Blackpool Tower to Downing Street to mark the war's start. Prime Minister David Cameron said: "A hundred years ago today Britain entered the First World War and we are marking that centenary to honour those who served, to remember those who died, and to ensure that the lessons learnt live with us forever.

Atheists in the US are rallying together, launching a new TV programme and providing support for those who go public with their beliefs. "Sometimes things need to be said, and fights need to be fought even if they are unpopular. To the closeted atheists, you are not alone, and you deserve equality." So goes the rousing speech from the American Atheists president, David Silverman, in the opening moments of the first US television broadcaster dedicated to those who do not believe in God, Atheist TV.

Before the first medal was contested at (the Commonwealth Games) Glasgow 2014, BBC Sport took an in-depth look at the previous six editions of the Commonwealth Games to find out which country had been most successful. Unsurprisingly, the traditional sporting powerhouses of Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Canada joined England and, to a certain extent, the other home nations in the upper echelons of the medals table. But hang on, we thought, isn't this all a bit unfair on the smaller nations? How on earth, for example, is it realistic to compare a tiny Caribbean island with India, for example, when the latter has more than a billion people from which they can select their teams? So we did a lot of number crunching and produced a population-adjusted medals table.

American Idol season seven finalist Michael Johns has died at the age of 35. US TV network Fox and Johns' family released statements confirming the news, with Fox describing Johns as "an incredible talent". No cause of death was given, however Hollywood Reporter said it was due to a blood clot in his ankle. Former American Idol judge Simon Cowell paid tribute on Twitter, calling him "a truly great guy". According to TMZ, the Australian-born singer saw a doctor on Thursday complaining of pain and swelling in his leg after twisting his ankle and was later sent home.

It may seem incongruous to think of discarded rubber car tires as the source of fetching but functional footwear or fashion-forward furniture. But from Kenya to India to Detroit to Sweden, clever and eco-minded niche entrepreneurs are turning one of industrialized society’s most ubiquitous and difficult-to-dispose-of waste products (an estimated 1.5 billion tires are discarded each year worldwide) into weirdly appealing – and super-tough – items with a little bit of, um, soul.

Well, there ya go, the Beeb to the rescue today (unlike yesterday). Oh yes, I forgot to mention, one of my chores today was seeing the speech therapist and swallowing expert for a checkup. She reminded me of how important it is that I maintain a strict exercise regimen to get my throat working properly. However, she is pleased with my progress and diet... and willingness to gain weight. I've gained a couple of kilos during the past week but I really need to gain a helluva lot more than that to be back to normal, which is almost 20 kilos more than I weigh now (40 pounds). Gary

August 3, 2014. Memories are made of this... as the song goes. It's interesting to ponder the meaning of memories, and their precious importance to us. Invisible images, smells, tastes and sounds from our past that lie dormant in our brains until sparked into life once more at the unexpected appearance of something familiar. Like meeting a long-lost friend by chance, and savoring the flood of shared memories that flow as a consequence.

Those thoughts crossed my mind when I read NC Art's comment about house and home this morning: G’day Mate, "It takes a heap of livin’ in a house to make it home…". From a schmaltzy poem by a schmuck American poet sometime in the last century. But he sold a lot of the stuff.

He would. People love schmaltz. When I first moved into the little terrace house in Glebe, it was a house not a home. A house devoid of memories. However, I do fondly recall the familiar smell of Sunday roasts cooked in dripping by old Joan next door - traditional rolled roast of beef and baked vegies at midday. Our kitchens were adjacent, separated by a narrow path and corrugated iron fence, that allowed the rich, tantalizing smell of her cooking to waft across the way, and remind me very much of my mother's Sunday roasts when I was a kid.

I also remember the main reason I decided to buy that little house. It was the old iron Victorian fireplace in the living room and its promise of winter nights spent sitting in front of a cozy fire. A promise of memories to come. And come they did.

So what does PJ promise? The mind boggles. Waterfalls, mountains, deserts, campfires, beaches, forests, lakes, long stretches of open road, winding dusty tracks, conversations with fellow travellers and small-town characters, country pubs - you name it. Just don't mention breakdowns, flat tires or muddy bogs.

OH Jim wrote to remind me to eat, eat, eat and eat some more! Yes, sir! I devoured my 3 colored blobs with gravy last night, which was good, and my rolled oats this morning. I also made a smoothie, and am looking forward to tucking into some port-drenched trifle later.

Steve W tells me he's travelled from Oz to the US, and then from the US to the UK where he and Carol will get hitched in a medieval monastry. I wonder if the wedding coach will be a vintage Bentley or something. Hopefully, Steve remembered to pack his best thongs and stubbies. "And do you Steve take Carol to be your lawful wedded wife?" "Too bloody right, mate. Is the Pope a bloody Catholic or what?"

No news on the Beeb today, folks. Sorry about that. For the next half hour, I'll sit here and twiddle my thumbs. Can you imagine that? The 7 o'clock news theme arrives on telly and the newsreader says there's no news today. Instead, the station will show a re-run of Kojak. "No news?" you ask yourself. "How can this be? How can there not be any news? There's always news!" Yep, there's always news. TV stations religiously put aside half an hour every night for the news... because there WILL be news. Yes? But what if there isn't? What if the world grinds to a halt and nothing happens of any consequence? Like today, for example. I just checked the Beeb and it was all ho hum... same old, same old.

My quartz clock stopped. How's that for news? Good thing I have spare batteries... those button ones. Actually, what's far more newsworthy is my Citizen automatic watch removed from my forearm by hospital staff to make way for a saline drip. Little did they realize (or give a rat's ass) that an automatic watch needs constant movement to keep the damn mechanism ticking. So after a day or so, it stopped. And do you think I can synchronize the day/date thingy with midnight instead of midday again? Not on your sweet Nelly, and I've been trying for days. Grrrrrrr. To add insult to injury, Citizen provides a teensy weensy little knob, bordering on microscopic, to make the necessary adjustments.

Anyway, time for the usual as well as the unusual. Big mouth here offered Lindsay some bacon I had in the fridge so now I have to cook his dinner... bacon, fried eggs and chips. Haven't done that for ages. Then I'll fix my 3 blobs with gravy hehe. Gary

August 2, 2014. I knew a lawyer one time who often described things as 'not insignificant'. Apparently it doesn't necessarily mean 'significant'. So if I described my improvement healthwise since yesterday as 'not insignificant', what would I mean? I dunno either. But I do feel better. It's the good tucker ya know... rolled oats for brekky and rare roast beef and veg for dinner. I ended up with three blobs on the dinner plate... one pinkish, one orangey, and one deep green - roast beef, mashed potato/pumpkin, and beans respectively. The beef and beans had been blended but the different colors helped distinguish one blob from the other, like three flavors of ice cream. Then I heated a pouch of ready-made gravy in the micro and poured it over the heated blobs. The result was impressively tasty and satisfying. In fact, I could feel it doing me good. During the day I also snacked on smoothies, juice and protein drinks.

Speaking of food and weight, OH Jim wrote: Jeez, Gary. 90 POUNDS???? You must look like a WWII POW. You must have scared the crap out of the hospital staff. Don't you weigh yourself? I would love to lose 90 pounds, but even then I would still out weigh you. I am surprised you have enough muscle to muscle around PJ.

Yep, the weight disappeared quite suddenly some time ago after losing all my teeth and I remember being seriously shocked at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, which does look as you describe... a WWII POW. As to muscling around in PJ, I tire quickly but manage. Hopefully, my new diet regimen will sort that out soon.

On the subject of crap, I was seriously constipated the day I landed in hospital. A day or two later, out of desperation, I used the digit extraction method (while sitting on the loo, of course). However, I'd been given a laxative earlier which began to work AFTER the successful digit dig, which probably explains why any weight gain was short lived. In and out like a revolving door. Nasty business that constipation.

I spent a bit of time enjoying the sun's warmth in PJ this morning, and installed my new step stool which works just fine, allowing easy access to the cab over sleeping quarters. It has rubber feet to stop it sliding around too. Bubba says g'day. I tend to call him 'mate' a lot now... getting more familiar hehe. I'm soooooo glad to have found that little bloke in the toy bin at the Salvation Army store. We were destined to meet. He's a gem and unlike any I've seen before. Bubba Unique!

Just finished making another trifle - with strawberry jelly this time (blackcurrant will be next) - so that's more bone-sticking food I'm looking forward to shovelling into the gob. Hearing that word frail to describe me in hospital certainly came as a shock. Frail? Yes, we're talking to you! I've been living in denial, somehow hoping she'll be right, mate, no worries. Procrastination.

Matter of fact, I just cooked another bowl of rolled oats. Used a slightly different method this time and it was a big improvement on this morning's effort. Nice and creamy this time, and tastier, aided by a dollop of honey.

Home brand quick oats cost a bit over a buck for 750g loose in a plastic bag. A box of Kelloggs or other branded breakfast cereal is 3 or 4 times that and fulla sugar! Bleh. My father called oats porridge, and cooked it on the stove top. No microwave back then. I thought it was horrible stuff and refused to eat it. Not now, though. Dunno what's made the difference but I'm very partial to these quick oates indeed! Cheap, filling, tasty and nutritious! And fattening. Hehe.

Ya know those blokes on weight loss ads who hold their old pants out to show how much pot belly they've lost? I can do the same thing, with enough room in the old pants to fit another bloke. Trouble is, I was skinny to begin with.

From the Beeb: A campaign for a baby with Down's Syndrome left with his surrogate Thai mother by an Australian couple has raised over $120,000 (£70,000). The six-month-old boy, named Gammy, also has a congenital heart condition and needs urgent medical treatment. Pattaramon Chanbua was left to care for him after his Australian parents only wanted his healthy twin sister. She was paid $15,000 (£9,000) to be a surrogate for the couple, whose identities remain unknown. A tragic story.

A bill to strengthen the US border with Mexico amid a surge in arrivals from Central America has been passed by the House of Representatives. The $694m (£412m) bill would deploy National Guard troops at the southern border and speed up deportations. President Barack Obama, who asked for $3.7bn, described the Republican package as "extreme" and "unworkable". The bill will not go before the Senate, which was unable to agree a bill itself and is in recess until September. That leaves what many have described as a national crisis unaddressed over the summer months. About 57,000 Central American children have crossed the border since October, many unaccompanied.

I think I'm beginning to understand what the term closure means in relation to death. I keep looking at Av's house through my kitchen window and expecting her to be there. I remind myself of recent events including being flown to Sydney, placed in an induced coma, having life support removed, and the funeral last Tuesday, but I still can't shake the feeling that she might appear at her window at any moment. That's how I often saw her, including the last time... the sun shining on her silver hair as she sat in the front room reading the paper in her favorite spot. So I figure a visit to the grave she shares with Kev will be my closure, given that I missed the funeral because of my hospitalization. Seeing her name engraved on the headstone next to old Kev's will bring it home to me that she is, in fact, gone.

I felt that way about my little house in Glebe for a long, long time... that I could walk back inside and it would be just as it was when I lived there. So when I visited earlier this year and was invited by the new owner to take a look inside, that ended up being my closure. The house is not mine any more, it belongs to someone else, and it's very different (in many respects) to the way I left it. Any feeling of belonging or being inextricably attached vanished that day. It was over. And, as they say, it's time to move on.

So it will be quite a novel experience for me to be living the gypsy life, changing my physical address every few days or so, living in the same "house" but with a different backyard and neighbors. I honestly can't imagine anything more unreal hehe, like living in a dream world - floating untethered - or something like that. I'm certain that it's a lifestyle that needs to be experienced to be properly understood - something not easily explained to others. But I'll give it a shot.

Before I shoot through for the day, here's a link to some amazing pics sent by NC Art... stuff with the 'wow' factor. Gary

August 1, 2014. Horses birthday... whether they like it or not. Mine too in 28 days from now. I'll be relinquishing my sexagenarian status for septuagenarian. Still trailling NC Art though... he reached octogenarian status ages ago. In fact, he wrote overnight: G’day mate, Glad you got out of hospital before the nurses pulled the plug to shut you up. You must be loads better to give us a fine narrative of your recent woes. Keep on plugging along and you’ll be Waltzing Matilda next week. We all missed your sparkling wit and sage observations about this screwy world and its foibles.

Yes, picture the scribes in Heaven, sucking the well-chewed ends of their quills as they desperately try to think of something interesting to write about hehe. Nothing screwy about Heaven. No foibles. Just endless perfection. Makes you wonder about the expression; no news is good news.

For example, here on Earth we often discuss the weather. But if the weather were the same every day - perfect - discussing it would be pointless. No weather reports on telly. No seasons. No g'day. In fact, the word 'weather' wouldn't even exist. Yep, a scribe's lot in Heaven would surely be one of endless frustration.

OH Jim wants to know if we have Meals on Wheels here in Oz. Yep. Lindsay uses it, as did his wife before she died last November. But I'd rather do my own cooking. Apart from anything else, it's cheaper. Jim also commented on GPs these days not getting copies of hospital reports. Mine did. My report said I was not only 'frail' but also 'lethargic'. Thanks very much, and a giant raspberry to you too. What the hell do they expect of a pneumonia patient? They could have added cantankerous as well. Incidentally, you know you're feeling crook when you couldn't give a stuff about using a urine bottle during patient visiting hours, sitting on the loo with a nurse standing beside you, or being totally naked while she showers you. Oh yeah... and I misplaced my willie one time. Instead of in the neck of the bottle, it was outside hehe... and I peed happily away until it dawned on me. Then I had to suffer the whole indignity of sitting naked on a chair while the nurse changed the sheets, made the bed and fitted me with a fresh gown. Oh well...

Jim asked how much I weigh. I figure I was 45kg when I was admitted to hospital, which is about 90 pounds or thereabouts. I'm about 5' 10" tall, so you can imagine. Dunno how much I weigh now but I ate pretty well the past week, and intend to continue that trend.

It's 5 already. Did lots of shopping and then cooking, which I'm still doing. Also had rolled oats for lunch to prove I at least have one thing in common with horses. Seriously, after my breakfasts of oats in hospital, I've become addicted and was really hanging out for a fix (with a dollop of honey) when I got back from shopping. Lindsay came with me to push the trolley and carry everything back inside the house.

Couldn't find a microwave serving dish at the mall with individual sections for meals... only cooking stuff. So I'll settle for an ordinary plate. But I did find something in the homewares shop when I was looking at micro stuff... and that's a folding step stool for use in PJ to climb onto the box (housing the fresh water tank) that leads to the front bed area. My legs can't cope with one big hop so I'll use the step stool to make it two hops. Great little thing for just $8. They had them in blue, orange or pink. I was very tempted to get pink just to be controversial but I settled on blue for boys. Owyagoin mate, no wukkers. Bewdy.

So I'll post this, prepare the rest of my meals (in bulk so it'll be just heat n eat for the next 3 or 4 days) and catch a bit of telly. Sorry I'm Beebless today folks... not enough time in the day to do all the chores I needed to do. I'm also Boobless and Bottomless at the mo but that's another story. Gary


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