Thursday, December 28, 2006

Car No Go

am sitting waiting for roadside assistance. When leaving my brother's place last night (after a wonderful post-Xmas celebration) the car was hesitant to start, and this morning when we were about to set off to visit Sooz's Dad, it simply refused to go. Thank goodness for roadside assistance organisations - and keeping one's membership up to date.
The good news is that the expected 90 minute wait was about 20, and the wait while Vaughan (the previously unnamed patrol-man) procured a new battery for the car, was even shorter! The even better news is that the alternator is AOK, so it was just a dud battery - 3 years and 2 days after the last one - which tells you that their records are fairly wonderful because he was the one who told me!

Oversized and on the road

On the drive up, we came across a few oversized cargo loads - and it was amazing that they could actually get some of them over the bridges we traversed. Perhaps the biggest was the house - cut in two - making its way down the highway. It seemed that the bigger the load - the further ahead went the lead car - sometimes to block traffic coming in the other direction so the load could be taken onto the other side of the road - definitely making it easier in some places where the bridge on the road north was enclosed, but in the other direction was open.
And just so we can share the view from the vehicle, here's what it looked like in front of us. If you look at the bridge, you can see another wide load!


It may have been because people were more receptive to reading about drinks at the post-Christmas dinner table, but at one stage someone noticed this on the back of a beverage bottle. And to think there are people making a living out of doing this!

Titanic - The Musical

I read in one of the papers while I was in holiday (not sure which one, I was reading 4 a day at one stage there) that Titanic … The Musical has sunk. Maybe it will have a revival in a few years time for the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.

Christmas lights

While we were in Toowoomba, we took Mum and Dad for our annual pilgrimage of the Christmas lights. There were some spectacular ones this year - including one in Wagga Street with a carousel with the three wise men, television sets for raising awareness for donations to charity, lights depicting moving trains and Christmas puddings - and a fake chimney on the roof complete with man in Santa Claus suit. Truly wonderful. I would be able to provide more details but I was the one who was driving at the time - Dad was unable to get out of the vehicle and the streets weren't wide enough to stop - so we did a crawl by through vehicular and pedestrian traffic. In another part of town, where several houses in the same street had turned their hands to exterior illumination, there were children in Santa suits handing out candy canes - which were put to good use in decorating Mum and Dad's yukka cum Christmas tree.


We are on "the great trip north" … with stops to see family and friends. We are roughly half-way - ie almost on our way back - distance-wise at least. We have seen many things so far on our trip including cows, Christmas lights … and there were other things - like the huge bottle of Bundaberg Rum, and cows … and some calves.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Just the shot

We had a coffee in a little cafe in Grafton on Saturday afternoon (as part of the great trip north) and when I asked for my usual (a large flat white weak very hot), it came as a mug of hot milk with a small jug of coffee on the side. That way I could make it to the exact strength I required. What a good idea. I told them so and said that lot of people didn't like it that way - they'd rather just get their coffee pre-made.

Happy Birthday Lizzie!!!

We have been thinking of you ... and hope you had a wonderful day.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bright idea

If I put my mind to it, I could probably be quite a naughty person. As I was parking the car across the road from Sydney University (we're going to Carolfest there tonight), I noticed I was quite near to the speed camera pointing along Parramatta Road. By quite near, I mean next to, and at roughly the same level (the street where I park is slightly elevated). It occurred to me in a moment of inspiration that I could probably set myself up near the camera with my own camera - and just "flash" passing drivers to make them think they had been "caught" speeding. After I stopped laughing, I realised that it would actually be a fairly terrible thing to do - and it wouldn't work during the daytime unless one had a pretty strong flash. Can't help wondering how effective it would be at night though. *Scratches chin thoughtfully*.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lime on the line

I should have posted the photograph of this new Mercedes Benz maxi cab last week - when I caught it from Summer Hill to Marrickville. At that stage it was 8 days old ... and a magnificient ride to boot. It is part of Sydney's newest taxi fleet, which was officially launched this week by Macquarie Bank.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Real-life TV

What do Erik Estrada (remember him from CHiPs?), La Toya Jackson, son-of-Ozzy Jack Osbourne, pro wrestler Trish Stratus and Jackass star Jason Acuna have in common. If you suggested something to do with the police you might be right - depending on which side of the badge you thought they'd be on. They are the five "celebrities" who will be featured on the CBS reality series Armed and Famous, as they train to become police officers in Muncie, Ind., reports Variety. I'm not quite sure how this gets to be called "reality", or whether it will make good "television" but I think I'm glad that I'm not planning a visit to Indiana in the near future.

Please explain

No wonder some call it the Silly Season ... "Jesus is the rizzle for the sizzle" seems to lack all reason!

Christmas lights

This the season to be jolly ... and for exterior illumination and decoration! First up ... Deb and Paul's ... great showing - and a wonderful outing for the experiment dish Black Forest Trifle (mmmm).

And then ... the others - a house around the corner from theirs, then street decorations in Martin Plaza/Place (can never remember what it's called) and the illuminated facade of Sydney Town Hall.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Flying first

After dying on a British Airways flight from Heathrow to Boston recently, a business class passenger was strapped into a semi-reclining seat in first class for the rest of the flight. It's a hell of a way to get an upgrade.

Xmas tree pictures

The Christmas Tree at the QVB in Sydney is huge - and really quite difficult to get a picture of.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


... although "unlikely" could also apply. A woman who had been missing for two weeks was found - wedged upside down behind a bookcase in her room, in the house she shared with her family. It was feared that she had been abducted, and she was only found after her sister noticed a foot protruding from behind the 6 ft book case. It appears that she became trapped while reaching behind the shelf perhaps to adjust a television cord. The woman was apparently quite petite which could explain why she was unable to free herself. It seems the cause of death was suffocation.

Nature's own

Also at Bateau Bay, while going to visit Sooz's Dad, and being unable to find a spot in the car park, I took the car a bit further up the road - and on the walk back, found a nest which had fallen from a tree. Not sure what happened to the owners - but there didn't appear to be any broken eggs in the immediate vicinity - but given how light the hair/twig/fluff construction was, it could have blown in from some distance away. (If you type "fluff" as "flugg" it really makes it sound quite different, doesn't it?) (In fact, now that the Cole Report has been released and the Australian Wheat Board has come out not exactly smelling of roses, the name Flugge takes on a different meaning!)

More Xmas

At 10:15 yesterday morning, at the Bateau Bay, I heard my first Christmas carol in a shopping centre for the year. I'm not sure if Xmas has come earlier this year, or if I am just more aware of it. Only 27 big sleeps to go now.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Career choice

We currently have colleagues from Singapore visiting, one of whom recently married. She is keen to let people know her husband's profession - treasure hunter. Of course, you could also say that he's a marine archaeologist but "treasure hunter" seems so much more fun, daring and swashbuckling! ... and romantic. At their wedding, he said that she was the greatest treasure he had ever found.

For the ladies

The small Brazilian town of Novo Santo Antonio has started to distribute Viagara to its elderly citizens - reportedly spicing up the sex lives of dozens of local residents. Of course, it has had an unwanted side effect - some of the men have started sleeping with people other than their wives. In a bid to keep it all in the family, it looks like men signing up for the program may now have their Viagara distributed to their wives - who can then slip into a something a little more comfortable - and slip them a little something - when they're in the mood. The Reuters report quoted the Mayor of Nova Santo Antonio as saying that since the "Pinto Alegre" ("Happy Penis") program started, the elderly population has been "much happier".

The cost of love

A man wanted for a double homicide in Arkansas was arrested on the weekend in Wisconsin after he posted his name, picture and address on an online dating Web site. This wouldn't have been so critical but for that he was also featured on television's America's Most Wanted. So Calvin A. Bennett, 26, has been charged with two counts of murder in the killings of Pierce Odell, 79, and his wife, Mary, 78, who were found shot to death late last month. Authorities said Bennett had confessed to killing the Odells during a botched burglary. One of the messages on Bennett's Web posting said he "liked to cuddle." (Reuters Limited)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


A thief who swallowed a ring he stole from a jeweller's window display developed acute abdominal pains during questioning by police. They had apprehended him with an empty box soon after the theft but he said there had been no ring in it. Not so insisted the jeweller - hence the questioning. The thief was rushed to hospital with suspected appendicitus but irstead of an inflamed organ, doctors found the ring ... and removed it with pincers on a stomach tube. The odd thing was that there was no medical reason for the pain. Guilt perhaps? Or maybe he just doesn't have the stomach for this line of business.
And speaking of lines ... there has been a rash of releases of new gaming consoles leading to long-ish lines of want-to-be buyers outside participating outlets. So imagine the surprise when one such line was held up by armed robbers!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Happy Holidays

Welcome to Monday 20 November. When phoning the local council to arrange a waste pick-up this morning, I was greeted with Muzak to the tune of Deck the Halls and a message wishing me and my family the best for the holiday season and the New Year.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sculpture by the Sea

Well, at 7am this morning we were at Bondi Beach and about to set off to view Sculpture by the Sea. We had left it to the last day and were hoping to beat the others who wanted to get in before it was gone. Now if only we'd picked up one of the little books that told us what each of the pieces was ... but we had a go at guessing some!

Less is more ...

Dog's life ...

Wooden heart

Some boats (actually the first two shots are the same boat ...)

and the rest ...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Numbers up

A poll back in August in the US showed that more Americans could name the Three Stooges than their three branches of Government. 74% could correctly name Larry Moe and Curly, while only 42% could identify Executive, Judicial and Legislative. In the same poll, one quarter of Americans could name 2 members of the Supreme Court while three-quarters could name 2 of Snow White's Seven Dwarfs. (NPR 15/8/06)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Personal ad space

On the bus this morning one of the regulars was wearing something new ... a flashing sign - a single line LED digital display - the whole thing about the size of a credit card - just slightly longer, and not quite as wide. It was displaying the message (over and over and over and over again) "starts Dec 1st" although really it was the other way around, starting with the www bit - but every time I try to write it that way here, it turns into a web link (that doesn't work).
It's an interesting concept - for personal advertising and, well, personal advertising. If you've a mind to, visit the site and you'll see what I mean.

Unnatural use of a Palm

Just when you thought you'd seen everything - Palm being used for all manner of wonderful things including delivery confirmations, restaurant order taking - along comes the unkindest cut of all ... Palm being used for writing traffic citations (or, as we know it here in Australia, parking tickets). I guess it was only a matter of time but how could something with so many good points be used for something so ... so ... mercenary!

Monday, November 13, 2006

In the pink ...

... which is a huge difference from Jennifer's normal "black on black" wardrobe - except for the previous only exception - a denim jacket. But now, today, she is wearing ... colour! (She allowed me to take this photograph as proof of this momentous occasion!)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Not snake charming

If you want to take the Bible literally, you could try following Mark 16:17-18 which talks about "them that believe" and how they should be able to "take up serpents" without being harmed. I'm not sure that the snake handling churches test believers with "drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them" although that could explain what happened at a church in the US last year when the liquid refreshments were poisoned. But back to serpent handling ... and even though it is illegal in many areas in the US, included Kentucky, it's still happening. And it may have claimed a victim earlier this week. Linda Long, 48, was bitten Sunday at East London Holiness Church (London, KY), where neighbors said the reptiles are handled as part of religious services, according to The Lexington Herald-Leader. Long died four hours after being bitten. So, was she one of "them that believe". I can't imagine that she would have picked up the snake if she didn't think she was - and if she didn't, and someone forced the snake on her - would that constitute some form of manslaughter or homicide?

Massaging - the truth.

Massages can be dangerous. A current affairs program recently told of a young woman who was seriously injured while being given a massage at work. She had become either a paraplegic or quadriplegic (I only saw the teaser, so don't know the full details). The other person who knows the danger of massages must be the US Pastor Haggard who is currently spending time away from his flock for his extracurricular activities with a man who allegedly supplied him with drugs and other services. Pastor Haggard says that all he was really doing was getting a massage. (The explanation may have changed since that report came out.)

Seeing things

People see different things - ever if they are ostensibly looking at the same thing: that is apparently why the Police prefer to have one witness only to an event. rather than several. We've all heard of experiments were psychology students watch a video and are told to watch for something - and are so busy concentrating on that, they don't notice the gorilla. We all have selective attention - and filtering! Hopefully I will never be called on to be a witness. I know my powers of observation and/or recall are, well, challenged.

Project Management

I was chatting with an acquaintance the other day about a past project- and she said, matter-of-factly, that it had been the reason for her daughter's birth. She fell pregnant rather than work on a project she knew was going to be horrendous ... and she hadn't been wrong! Apparently, years later they still. talk about how much that project failed. I wonder how many people do that - manage (manipulate is probably too strong a word) their way out of troublesome projects.

Day out

I decided to go gadget looking today - at an electronic outlet at Auburn, 30-40 minutes drive from home. Imagine my surprise then when l arrived to find that even though I was there, it no longer was. How could this have happened in the two years since I was last there? But I did have a look through two of the stores now on the site - office stationery - and electrical appliances. But it just wasn't the same - but it was substantially cheaper i.e. I didn't buy anything!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mobile phone calls up in the air

It seems that the stories we've been told about cell phones interfering with aircraft navigation equipment may not be entirely true. Otherwise, why would Emirates be looking to introduce calls on their planes in the new year? You won't be able to use your phone while the plane is landing, taking off, or ascending or descending during flight - but once above 6850m (or 20,000ft) and steady - you'll be good to go. But will they have a special section for people wishing to use their phones mid-flight and loudly proclaim "I'm on the plane …"? And will there be a rule about the type and volume of ringtones that are allowed in-flight? And - if you flush someone's mobile phone down an aircraft toilet - will it be able to be retrieved, and if so, will it still work. (This is assuming the stories of toilet waste from planes being ejected, frozen, is not true. If it is … looks like someone on the ground might get a big surprise ... and a phone!)

AIDS aids

A South African company has developed a new tool in the fight against AIDS (and other sexually transmitted diseases). It's a condom that can be put on quickly - straight from the packaging without unwrapping, in about 3 seconds. The time it normally takes to find, unpack, etc. etc. a condom is often cited as the reason for not taking the precaution of donning one. Hopefully the Pronto Condom will help increase rates of use - and lead to a decrease in STIs.

Dead Democrat beats Living Republican

I read on the web (an odd news site somewhere) that in one of the seats recently contested in the American elections, a woman who had died two months before the ballot - too near it to be removed from the proceedings - actually polled better than the Republican candidate in that electorate. If it is true, no doubt there will be jokes doing the rounds about it in due course. If it's not true, some people will no doubt think that it should be. (Does the name Marie Steichen ring a bell?)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Watch This Space

This is old news now, but recently the US moved to adopt a tough new space policy - designed to stop any country from using space for purposes hostile to the US. It didn't say if they would return the courtesy. But it did suggest that it wouldn't use weapons to deny its "adversaries" access to space. Wonder if they're referring to military or commercial adversaries. If you're interested in finding out more, the BBC report carries a link to the report.


Reuters recently carried the story of a Viennese man who cut off his ring finger and presented it, with his wedding band still on it, to his ex-wife after an acrimonious divorce. After being charged with dangerous harassment and assault, he told a preliminary hearing he did not regret having cut off the finger and had chosen deliberately not to reattach it. "It was an act of breaking free," the man was quoted as saying. He did not miss his finger, could work well without it and did not plan on getting married again anyway, he said.

The eyes have it

... or more to the point, it seems that the eyes may help make sure you don't take it unless it's yours. The feeling of being watched makes people act more honestly, even if the eyes are not real, a study from the Newcastle University (UK) suggests. They tested this by monitoring whether people put money in an "honesty box" to pay for drinks in a canteen. If a poster above the box was a pair of eyes, people were more likely to be "honest" than if the poster was of flowers. The experiment was conducted with an existing "honesty box" and there was no mention in the BBC report I read if the same individuals changed their behaviour based on the poster. In fact, it seems that no-one was actually watching and taking notes of the experiment. As the BBC report said: "At the end of every week, the researchers calculated the total amount of money collected and the amount of drink likely to have been consumed."

Subway in the news

Did a woman really find part of a human finger in a Subway sandwich? Or is it a hoax like the one that cost the Wendys chain $2.5 million last year after a woman conspired with her husband to use his workmate's finger - severed in a workplace accident and surrendered in lieu of a debt - in the extortion bid. Investigations are now underway with the Subway claim. Hopefully it won't have customers asking them to amend their slogan from "Eat Fresh" to "Eat Flesh".

Harsh punishment?

A crew from an entertainment network recently trespassed in the grounds of Brad Pitt's Hollywood home. A statement from E! Networks said it had not authorised "anyone working on its programme to improperly intrude onto private property". The report then went on to say that the individuals involved had been "terminated". Well, that might seem a bit harsh - but it might teach the other papparazi a lesson.

Cat on a ....

treadmill. Really. Lots of them. Visit the Wired story to see footage of these amazing feets.

Boy Humour

At breakfast at our favourite cafe the other morning we were within earshot of two couples and their children. The men were chatting - and one of them started talking about his work in the building trade ... and how one of their team had found a dead rat in a roof, only a few months dead and "still juicy" ... so they put it in some guy's desk. Pretty funny he thought. Almost as funny as when they raised a place on stumps and instead of putting the usual keys there, put a mousetrap there, primed and ready to go - and then sent one of the guys to check for the keys. Well, that was also enough to have them laughing. It's certainly got me thinking about boy humour and how different it can be.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Clear vision

The US has decided to risk a mission to fix the Hubble space telescope. And it is not without risk … a great deal of risk. You'd have to be really pleased to be one of the astronauts chosen - although it seems they have done it before and are being re-formed for the mission. So what's the risk? If something goes wrong with the Shuttle, they are too far away from the Space Station to take refuge there. So, to minimise the risks, there will be a second Shuttle on standby to mount a rescue mission if required. I hadn't realised that the Hubble is actually in orbit and will one day come crashing back to Earth.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

All at sea

Ellen Walker's ashes have been scattered in the Atlantic Ocean ... 92 years after she was conceived on board the Titanic. Her father, Henry Morley, died in the sinking leaving behind a wife - as well as Ellen's mother, Kate Phillips. (The already married) Henry and Kate were eloping and traveling under the assumed names Mr and Mrs Marshall. Their story is said to have inspired the blockbuster film Titanic.
And speaking of the Titanic, the year the movie was produced, one of the more popular Halloween costumes was "frozen victims". Which may or may not be more tasteful than one of the costumes doing the rounds this year - a bloody stingray barb attached to a khaki shirt - in memory of Steve Irwin. Not sure whether costumers or the folk at South Park thought of it first - because a recent episode of that show had Steve Irwin (complete with stingray) attending a party in Hell. Is it bad taste or a way of people to help people cope with grief? The jury may still be out on this one.

The Frugals

Have you heard of "The Frugals"? Could sound a bit like a new children's show complete with large primary-coloured oddities. In actuality, it's a new movement which seeks to improve on "reduce, reuse, recycle" by not buying anything new. There are about 1500 self-avowed Frugals currently in the US - which seems to be where the movement started. Would you be able to meet the challenge? I'm not sure I would. Ah to be cursed with a love of technology and gadgets! Of course, being a Frugal would not mean that you couldn't have these things - it would just mean you had to be creative about how you acquired them - you could borrow or trade, find, get review samples - there are probably a whole lot of ways you could do it. A woman being interviewed on the Chris Evans show said she had spent some ridiculously small amount of money on "new" things - but it was actually very impressive. The family had embraced trading in a big way- for example, they trade eggs for tea bags. I can feel an exchange economy coming on.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

That's entertainment?

If you're planning to see Saw III, be prepared for more fright than you may be able to handle. Several UK moviegoers have fainted, and at least five (including one who had to be hospitalised) have needed to be treated for adverse reaction to torture scenes. There have also been reports of people running screaming from cinemas. Now, you know, that won't be me. I haven't seen either of the first two Saw movies because the premise of people being captured and tortured just doesn't seem like entertainment to me.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

You are feeling sleepy ...

Apparently you can't do stage hypnosis and be a hypnotherapist in the UK. It would be a hard choice to make: whether to help someone stop smoking - or make them act like a chicken.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 latest

The mouth of an average vegetarian contains about twice the odor-causing bacteria than that of a non-vegetarian.
While this may or not be true, certainly their emissions seem to be very "fruity"!


How scary would it be if one of the so-called rogue nations went nuclear AND postal at the same time?


Pelican ... its beak holds more than its belly can - which isn't exactly true - just ask visitors to London's Hyde Park last week who watched in horror as one of the resident pelicans scooped up and devoured a passing pigeon. The pigeon went down flapping and fighting - but went down nevertheless.

Workplace safety

Go-Go girls in Bangkok are to get training in classical dance to help prevent pole-swinging strains and other gyration injuries. (It didn't say whether they would be padding the Poles .... which are getting swung - sorry - bad joke.)

Face Off On

British surgeons have been given the go-ahead to do the first full-face transplant. But which of the 60-odd people waiting will be chosen as the first? As well as tissue matching, they have to make sure there is a match for skin tone, texture and hair colour. But what if the transplant doesn't take? But where would people get the donor material for face transplants? It reminds me of bad detective fiction where the villain on the run would have their face re-made so no-one would recognise them. I'm sure this isn't the same - but imagine if people were able to get face transplants to conceal their identity - although apparently when you get a full face transplant, it's just the skin you're getting - not all the bone structure e and other characteristics which make you look like you. You might get gangs roaming the country for face donors - beating them up to convince them to go with them - and the head gangmember saying "not the face ... not the face!".
Eye lash transplants are also available now. But wouldn't it be awful if the surgeons mistakenly put eye BROW hairs in instead of eyelash hairs. And wouldn't it be worse if the donor were someone like Bob Menzies (owner of incredibly bushy eyebrows while he was alive).

Cleaning up

What's $405,000 dividied by $494 - because if you can work that out, you can work out how many hours worth of naked cleaner Michael Lee had at the expense of the firm where he worked as a financial director. Not that they realised - but once Michael had drained his own bank account paying for the "call girl" to dust and vacuum wearing only rubber gloves - he couldn't give her up. And he had already spent $197,000 via credit card (after his own $49,000). He gave himself up to local police when his conscience got the better of him. One of his neighbours seemed most surprised that even though Michael was paying top dollar for his cleaner, his place was absolutely filthy.
I wonder how many times a week she visited. (My calculator suggests nearly 820 hours of service for his employer's $404k - hopefully it made him a happy person around the office!)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Christmas comes early

Well, there you have it. Proof that Christmas is getting earlier each year. These snaps are from Sydney's Queen Victoria Building where it was reported that "many trucks arrived and about 100 men" put up the Christmas Tree and sundry decorations overnight. The tree is massive and goes all the way to the top of the building! Well worth a look if you're about ... but no need to rush - at this rate it's going to be there for at least two months - that would also be a sixth of the year, in excess of 60 days - you get the picture!

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Urawaza Way

I am on the search for more information about Urawaza - secret tips for solving life's little problems - like how to make a band-aid stay on your finger, how to improve your bowling game and how to extend your reach to help touch your toes. I found out about Urawaza through a Wired article - but I want more. I went to YouTube but it seems all the Urawaza clips have been pulled because they infringed copyright. Drat. At this rate I may have to move to Japan so I can watch the Urawaza show on television there - and see the tips tried in real time in front of a live studio audience. (Yes, I know, not point doing it in front of a dead one!)


What do you do in the shower - how long does it take - and how much water does it waste? With Australia in the grip of a continuing drought, the thoughts of many are turning to water conservation - and how better to conserve water than by studying people's shower habits? Apparently locals here in Sydney are wasting water by singing, day-dreaming and playing with toys rather than concentrating on washing. They're also shaving legs, shaving faces, washing hair and cleaning teeth - good grief! What else will people think to do in the shower? The most amazing thing - besides that Sydney water authorities are distributing thousands of shower timers - was that all these other activities seemed to take about 8 minutes each. It's made me determined to see how long my showers are - in minutes as opposed to "half the hot water" (we have a very small hot water system).

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Living on the edge

What are the riskiest words you can enter into a search engine - forgetting for a moment what they might be from a national security point of view -surely someone, somewhere, must be watching for that. But I digress - the most riskiest words you can use are "free screensavers". Nearly two-thirds of sites returned by such a search are problematic for users - exposing them to spam, spyware and other dangerous downloads. And, beware, apparently the sponsored results are high on the list of offenders.
(Not sure where I pulled this from - but it's got a date of 060514 in my notes.)

Haunted house

Planning a trip to New York before Halloween and want to face your deepest, darkest fear ... well, there's now a way. Tim Haskell, an off-Broadway producer, has set up an interactive haunted houses in each of NY City's five boroughs. But the question is - do the 13 phobic obsessions he identified by polling New Yorkers translate to the rest of the world? And would they pay to go into a room to confront those fears? Especially if they knew there were actors in there to stalk and terrorize them? Apparently - since 22,000 visited one haunted house he set up last year. Tickets are available on the web (turn your computer sound down first though) but you'd best hurry if you want to go - the houses close on 2 November - which, incidentally, is the same date that Sculpture by the Sea opens in Sydney.
So, what are those phobic obsessions? Haskell said his survey found that most people were afraid of roughly the same 13 things, such as drowning, clowns, rats or cockroaches, as well as heights and closed-in spaces. Guess a visit the house is necessary to find out what the other seven are! But be warned, the added theatrical elements reportedly make this a more intense experience than your usual haunted house - making it too extreme for some - and I know if I went I'd be one of those that had a physical reaction - heralding a need for dry and/or clean underwear! I went to a haunted house at the Royal Easter Show a few years ago, and was absolutely terrified at the thought of walking 10 paces through a pitch black corridor. But we still do it don't we? It seems part of us loves a good scare - probably because it feels so good when it stops.


And did you hear the news from EuroDisney about some of the employees, dressed in their character costumes, having what has been billed as a "Mouse Orgy" in video of the incident which has found its way on to the net. Management was not impressed and there is talk of disciplinary action against the employees. Seems that before facing the paying customers for the day, some of the "characters" had a bit of a play around - pretending to be engaged in "affairs of the heart" - although by all reports, the activities may have been more sexual than romantic in nature. I thought about going to the web to have a look and ran into a dilemma. Could the video be construed in any way to be pornography? What is pornography? According to the SlovoEd dictionary, pornography is:
1) the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
2) material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
3) the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction.
So what was the intention of the players? Was it the same as the person/s who posted the video to the web? And does the intent of the downloader figure in the equation. Can you be arrested for downloading pornography if you are not doing so for sexual gratification? I'm not sure what else you would be downloading this material for but there may be a set of circumstances which could prevail eg if you did not know what you were downloading or ... well, I don't know, okay ... but perhaps it could happen! So, to cut a long story short, in the end, I decided not to download "Mouse Orgy" and somehow I don't think my life is any the poor because of it.

Hanging by a thread

You just never know what information is going to fall into your hands (or your ears) when you're listening to podcasts. Thanks to the BBC's Chris Evans, I now know that tiger slugs have an interesting way of ensuring their sexual partners don't do it with other slugs. Heavens, it also means that they don't do it with them again either - but there may be bigger things at play here.
Tiger slugs mate by hanging from threads in trees. While theyre hanging there, their sexual organs, which apparently are longer than they are, are released and mating takes place. Afterwards, one of the slugs bites off the other's reproductive organ and eats it - meaning they are well-placed to get on with the reproducton. The other slug probably just wanders off somewhere - not sure if their bits are going to grow back at all. It's interesting what the animal kingdom has worked out to keep some species going, isnt it?

Six Flags

When I was in Kentucky earlier this year, from a distance I saw a Six Flags theme park. If I hadn't, I may not have noticed two references to Six Flags in the news recently.
First off, the chain is looking to impose dress and behaviour codes so they can return the parks to families - discouraging anti-social behaviour like people taking their shirts and shoes off, clothes bearing profanities, and rude and offensive behaviour. There was no mention of keeping character actors from doing pretend boinking.
While this may be good for their flagging business, I'm not sure how it fits in with the piece of news - around Friday 13th - where the Six Flags parks at Valencia was offering guests the opportunity to take themselves and three friends to the front of some ride queues if they ate a live cockroach. There was apparently no shortage of takers with four dozen consumed in an hour at one point.
When I first heard of this it was on a podcast and I thought it was that if you caught a cockroach you could jump to the front of the queue. It seemed like an interesting proposition - but curious - did they have a cockroach problem they were hoping to quell?
I can remember having only seen one person eat a live cockroach (no, haven't seen anyone eat a dead one - people don't seem to do they? Even on Fear Factor it's live ones). But back to the coackroach eater. His name was Mark Everingham and it was a big'un. I'm not sure if my revulsion was in any way lessened by his bravado in actually biting the cockroach in half (we heard the shell crack) and chewing thoroughly before swallowing.
The Six Flags park also had a cockroach eating competiton - with prizes available if you ate 13 Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches in 13 minutes.
Of course, I remain curious about from whence came the cockroaches for guest eating - and whether different species of cockroaches have different flavours.

Reference point

Citizendium ... well the name's not quite as catchy as Wikipedia but its founder hopes the experts (experienced editors and subject authorities) vetting user submissions will give it the edge over the more well-known online reference site. Although not mentioned by name in the report I read, it did say that Citizendium's founder was a co-founder of Wikipedia. A test version of the new site is due to be launched in California presently but because of bandwidth issues, it won't be available to the general public. Offers of help can be lodged through their site.

Friday, October 20, 2006


The Sydney Morning Herald has a reader submission column called Heckler where it invites people to write in with 450 words (previously 650 words) about whatever makes their blood boil. I sent this off earlier this week - and have had no response - so it wasn't what they were looking for ... but it seems a shame not to share it.

Readers ... 450 words - hang on … what kind of inadequate non-rant producing limit is that? Why would I use this as a reason to put pen to paper to vent my spleen instead of merely going off at drivers cutting in on me, people walking too slowly, too long queues, people who push in, people with annoying, stupid mobile phone ring tones, people who put recycling in the rubbish bin and rubbish in the recycling, people who dump their rubbish near the bins, thugs who regularly smash the glass at the bus stop, and people who don't keep the security doors closed. And people who aren’t nice to each other – and don’t pick up after themselves, their kids or their pets. (What do you mean don't bang so hard on the keyboard … can't you see I'm busy here.) And don't push in front of me at the lift, the lights, getting onto the bus, getting off the bus, getting the newspaper, crossing at the lights (if the little man isn't green, I'm not going anywhere!) and certainly don't blow smoke into my face. There's a reason I stand downwind of you - and for all of our sakes, don't forget that you discovered deodorant last summer. And no, I don't want to listen to any of your conversations "on the bus" - who cares if you're on the bus - they know you're not home because they would have rung you there. And don't be the bus driver who sails past the stop where I've agreed to meet my partner and am carrying a backpack, two picnic chairs, and 10” x 12” photo enlargements in nothing more protective than a bubble-wrap envelope. And certainly after I catch an express bus to get in front of you - and then get on and ask you why you didn't stop - don't sit there and lie to me and tell me that you did stop - and then, don't tell me to lodge a complaint if I'm not happy - because you know that's exactly what I'm going to do.
[Draws breath] I guess 450 words isn't such a bad limit after all. They say you can't maintain rage for long - but it's been a few months now, and if my partner's right (and it is hormonal) it will be a while yet. Of course, it could be because of violent US TV shows - as suggested by a senior magistrate in a road rage case this week. If that’s the case, with my reliance on television for relaxation, I may never get out of this vicious cycle!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Dream

The Channel 9 television network in Sydney has just been sold for nearly $5 billion. I can't imagine how much money that is. Or what you could do with it - beside perhaps buy some art - although not Picasso's La Reve (The Dream) that owner Steve Wynne "elbowed" recently, putting a small hole in the canvas. The painting had apparently just been sold for $US139 million, but Mr Wynne (the one with the errant elbow - possibly due to poor peripheral vision) decided to release the buyer from the contract, and to have the painting repaired and keep it instead. Can't imagine what they must have felt when they heard the tear. The Age carried a report on the incident, and a pic of the painting.

Dress code

There's been a bit of press in the last few days about enforcing dress conditions - but it's not at a club or something semi-sensible - it's on religious lines. An airline worker has been told she has to wear her crucifix (cross) under her clothes - and Muslim women are under pressure not to wear their head gear. As a woman being interviewed on the BBC World Today Select program reasoned - really what does it matter what anybody wears as long as it isn't a bomb strapped to their chest.

Almost ...

If you were planning a carjack, you would think you'd be confident of your ability to actually drive the vehicle. Well, that seems not to be the reasoning of a woman in Sydney who recently flagged down a vehicle, "helped" the driver out, and jumped in to drive away - only to find out that it had a manual transmission and she didn't know how to drive it. Not the world's best plan. The woman was apprehended by passers-by.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A roundabout approach

According to a report from the BBC, a study about to be published in the Lancet suggests that ... an estimated 655,000 Iraqis have died since 2003 who might still be alive but for the US-led invasion. The study, conducted by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHBSPH) estimate that the mortality rates have more than doubled since the invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein, causing an average of 500 deaths a day. President Bush has already come out discrediting the report - saying that while the loss of civilian life causes him grief "Six-hundred thousand or whatever they guessed at is just... it's not credible." In the past, Mr Bush has put the civilian death toll in Iraq at 30,000 - and other independent reports such as Iraq Body Count's figure of 44-49,000 civilian deaths, based on media reports. The JHBSPH relies on a "cluster" method - and this originally showed that 100,000 had died in the first year of the invasion. If their reckoning holds true - it suggests that the death rate has increased to 250,000 per annum. Which suggests that the whole notion of introducing democracy to Iraq could be a moot point if they a) kept the occupation going long enough and b) increased their kill rate. Hmmm.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Weapons control

A 13-year-old student wearing a mask and a long, black (or green) trenchcoat fired a Mac-90 (replica of an AK-47) into the ceiling at his school earlier this week. When confronted by other students and administrators he told them "please don't make me do this." The action happened about 10 minutes before school was due to start - and as well as the weapon, he had a note saying he had planted a bomb in the school - as well as detailed plans for an explosive device, and of the school. The lad was arrested, and no device was found.

The question is - where did he get the gun? Apparently from his parents, who kept the weapon in a safe at home. How big must that safe be - and I guess you can't really call it a "safe" anymore since the lad now has the combination. And why did his parents have the Mac-90? Well, according to one local official "it is not uncommon for people in the area to own assault weapons".

Hmmm - makes you wonder doesn’t it - but certainly not about the number of shootings at US schools - which may or may not be on the increase if the reaction to the latest shootings is to have the US Government consider adding more security - rather than looking at gun control laws.

But at least there is a major distraction now … where did North Korea manage to get nuclear technology? And how do you stop them testing it (again) or using it should they ever be invaded - or if they get bolshi!

Barbed comments

Not sure if this is true or not - but listening to Dr Karl's program on podcast the other day, he said that of the two recorded stingray barbs to people's bodies in Australia, both had hit their victims in the heart. Dr Karl posited that this could be something to do with electricity in the body - almost as if the stingray detected and aimed for the electrical field. He cited the cases of a swimmer at Coogee - and Steve Irwin.

StarTrekking ...

A model of the StarShip Enterprise, possibly used in the title sequences of StarTrek: The Next Generation or possibly the Original Series (reports vary), sold at auction for $774,000 (AUD) the other day. In fact, there seemed to be more money than sense at the Christie's auction of StarTrek memorabilia with the lots going for many more times the reserves. Good thing I wasn't there - I might have wanted to walk away with Captain Kirk's chair, or a scale model of something from the show - maybe even Mr Chekov's plastic console.

I'll just have to make do with the "Verses" - episodes fans make themselves because they cannot bear to be without the series in one of its incarnations (and there have been a few). So sit down with the computer, and a broadband connection and check out what's on offer (links courtesy of the NY Times): the Scottish production at; the Los Angeles based, exploring gay themes as well as the Universe, the Texan, or perhaps the "online community theater" offering Or maybe you’d like to follow the other 30 million downloads at - which is now so popular it has scored Mr Chekov (Walter Koenig) as a guest star. Live long and prosper!


Some of the cars in the neighbourhood had their windows smashed last Thursday night. As I waited at the bus stop the next morning, Christine and John her husband came out and surveyed the damage to their car. He shook his head and said - you know, I didn't want to park it there last night - it was just that the other car was in my usual spot (around the corner) - and then - I almost put it in the yard.

Have you ever had the feeling that you should or shouldn't do something - and then regret that you didn't act on your original impulse? Or is this the universe's way of preparing us for when less-than-good-things happen. I remember feeling like that before our house was broken into a few years back. It was almost a relief when it finally happened - and it certainly wasn't the shock it could have been - awful yes, but not a shock.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A kiss is just ... a hiss

Some people will do the strangest things to set a new world record. Take Thai snake charmer Khum Chaibuddee who today won the title of "Dangerous Kisses" by kissing 19 king cobras in under an hour. The previous best was 11 venomous snakes (set in 1999 by American Gordon Cates). Khum Chai-buddee has been working with king cobras for 12 years in his village Koke Sa-gna - and has been bitten only three times in his life. But his world record bid has also set the stage for a growth in the tourism industry in the area.
According to the Bangkok Post, Koke Sa-nga is Thailand's only known village where most of the 140 households breed or keep cobras as a pastime or a means of making a living. The village has previously become a tourist stopover following documentaries which showed snakes coiling around the residents during their leisure time. Which should have been good news - except the fortune this should have afforded the previously impoverished area was constricted by the division of the village into two factions - each claiming to be the original Koke Sa-nga snake charmers. Eventually the government stepped in to patch the rift - seeing that it was possible to increase income in the area - from 3 million baht from donations and souvenir sales for each of the factions - to over 20 million baht a year. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has commissioned Khon Kaen University's faculty of architecture to design a larger stage for the snake show and king cobra exhibition centre under one roof. The village (47 km from Khon Kaen) may also be developed into Asia's largest living king cobra museum and study centre, which will also include the cultivation of indigenous herbs used to cure snake bites.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Wired tip

People are sometime scritical of the information contained on the internet - but here's something which may be of interest:
Not that you'd ever need to do it, but if you had to disarm an atomic bomb, wouldn't you like to be prepared? By Patrick Di Justo from Wired magazine.
The article takes you through the key steps: disconnecting the battery; removing the neutron trigger; removing the conventional explosive; and separating the U-235 masses (that would be the uranium) - in slightly more detail than this.
Lastly, the article notes: If these tips don't work,
give us a call and let us know what we got wrong.


Don't know whether you've noticed that the price of petrol at the bowser has started to drop a little lately. Well, - if you haven't, the NY Times reports that OPEC has - and is considering cutting its production to stem the recent steep decline in oil prices. Let's hope an alternative is in the offing somewhere!

Terrorist act?

I had not heard of the Westboro Baptist Church before today - and I think I preferred it that way. Numerous stories about this religious group of approximately 150 members (80% of them related) populated the US press today after they had threatened to picket the funerals of the 5 Amish school girls killed earlier this week by "milkman turned madman" (so dubbed by ABC News Nightline). The Westboros make it a practice to picket - 6 per day, 15 on Sunday - and have started picketing funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq. As far as I can tell from the reports I've read (and I absolutely refused to go to their website), their message is that everyone but them is evil - and includes that "God hates America" (as they have reportedly paraded on the streets of Baghdad before the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime); and that "God hates fags". When bad things happen - it's God's will at work - punishing all and sundry (except them) for moral turpitude.
The main gist of today's media was that the Westboros had agreed not to picket the Amish funerals in exchange for airtime on national media. As one source said that it seemed an awful lot like negotating with terrorists!
I'm not sure if it is encouraging or not that there are groups out there - eg the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club in this instance - who were prepared to shield the Amish (and the world generally) from the Westboros - especially if the moves by various legislatures throughout the States, eg Indiana, to make it a felony to protest within 500 ft of a funeral are not successful. Somehow 500 ft doesn't seem like nearly far enough.


It's probably just a coincidence - but is there any reason that condoms and pregnancy tests are next to each other on pharmacy shelves? (If prescriptions were filled immediately, chances are I would not have noticed this!)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday night in town

This evening we went along to Hyde Park for the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Month Night Noodle markets. This is where a bunch of restaurants set up their stalls and offer a selection of culinary delights to enthrall the public. It was good food and a wonderful thing to do on a cool Spring evening. And after our meal, we went for a wander through the nearby art&about display at Hyde Park North - Sydney Life. The winner of this competition - prize $10k - was supposed to be announced today but we didn't see a winner's notice on any of the pics.
Update: Fixed link to art&about.

Stem cell research

Scientists are working on stem cell research again - this time by combining human cells with a rabbit egg. The hope is that this will allow scientists to perfect stem cell creation techniques without using human eggs. "Human eggs" is a matter of semantics though because they will be 99.9 per cent human and 0.1 per cent rabbit (or cow). Imagine if the fertilized eggs were allowed to grow to maturity: there would be people with their own rabbit's foot. How lucky is that?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Good news and bad news

There is so much non-good news around at present that it's a bit hard not to get infected by it. And even good news has its reciprocal - like the executive jet that landed safely in Brazil last week after a midair collision. The collision happened at 37,000 feet - with a new Boeing 737-800 (taken delivery of by airline Gol less than a month before) which crashed with the loss of 155 lives. The big question - after how did the collision happen - was, why wasn't it the smaller executive jet that crashed?

Sending it back?

Have you ever sent a meal back in a restaurant? I'm watching Jamie's Kitchen in Australia and they're talking about pressure in the kitchen - and one of those pressures is people sending meals back. I could have sent my lunch back yesterday (there was lettuce on my sandwich) but didn't. And now I'm trying to remember if I ever have. I know I've sent coffee back (not hot enough, too strong) but I can't remember doing it with a meal. Not that there haven't been complaints about meals: at Bilson's some years ago "this duck's not cooked" and at lunch yesterday "there's lettuce on this sandwich - I didn't ask for lettuce". It would be easier if I didn't have such an "iffy" stomach - but it often takes me some time to decide on what I'm going to have and as long as something resembling that arrives - I'm usually happy enough.

An Independent Source

I know it seems as though I might have run out of things to blog about because I haven't made an entry for a few days - so it's thanks to Deb for advice about the man who killed himself by picking his nose. Deb advised that what started as an innocent pick caused a nosebleed that could not be staunched. By the time the ambulance arrived the man had suffered major blood loss and a heart attack ... and he died before they could get him to the hospital. At this point. I would like to offer a source other than Deb, but since she made it up - I can't! But it just goes to show how much she cares about blog content! Thanks Deb.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bargain bin

I visited OfficeWorks today and had a look through their clearance bin - following Michael's example of yesterday where he found a(n) 128MB XD card for $10. I scored too - a 1GB card for $38.72. It had been returned as it was labelled 2GB and when the previous purchaser tried to use it - it came up as 1GB - but it's big enough for me. (Well, now that I have 3 x 1GB cards, it is.)

Jericho Junkie

Against my better judgment, I have allowed myself to be sucked into watching a new series - Jericho. It's on at 8.30pm on a Thursday evening - and it has been on two weeks now. But I haven't watched either of the tapings I've done - instead, I find that late at night, just as I'm about to go to turn off the television and go to bed, the "coming up next" announces an encore performance of … Jericho. So, I sit up for the next hour and watch it - and think - no, it's far too manipulative, turn it off and go to bed. But I am mesmerised, unable to move - and the next thing I know the closing credits are rolling - and I'm vowing not to get caught again. (That being said, I don't think it was any worse the second week - at least the escaped convicts seem to be out of the running now, and we know that there have been nuclear explosions in a number of US cities.)


Well, any of the mnemonics you've used to remember the names of the planets of our solar system are out of date. Pluto has now been relegated as "not a planet" and renamed as a number - 134340. And how is this so? Here's an except from the Wikipedia entry:

In August of 2006 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefined the term "planet", and classified Pluto, Ceres, and Eris as dwarf planets. Pluto is also classified as the prototype of a family of trans-Neptunian objects. After the reclassification, Pluto was added to the list of minor planets and given the number 134340.

Somehow, it's just not the same. (Not that it's likely to bother me given I didn't get it right in the title - where's Saturn?)

Saturday, September 30, 2006


Aaargh - and it's not even talk like a pirate day. I've taken to listening to and watching podcasts - and am becoming increasingly annoyed at a disturbing new trend ... advertising. Sponsorship messages weren't too bad - "this program brought to you by ..." type of thing. But I don't know how many more times I can take the GridIron Gang trailer - or the latest IBM innovation message. I've started to fast-forward through them - and I am getting better at it - but advertisers please be aware - it's okay the first couple of times then it just becomes increasingly more annoying! Yes I know that all brand recognition should be good but it's not ... okay!
Update: I decided to give some feedback to CNN about its video podcast "In Case You Missed It" which used to be a quite manageable about-2-minutes - and still is, except for the more-than-2-minutes sponsorship program about Ford - some at the beginning of the pod - and the full one at the end. The message suggests you can choose to view the full Ford program - which you can - except you've already downloaded it. It might have been okay if it was only over the course of a week or on alternate days but it seems to be constant. I've reached saturation point now - and am about to unsubscribe to what was otherwise a great podcast - but when the associated sponsorship is longer than the pod ... well, it might work in the US, but not for me. So I've sent them an email to let them know - cause I decided there was a good chance they don't read my blog.

Remember the Segway

Seems that the manufacturers of the Segway just cannot win. Despite recent announcements of the launch of two new models of the Segway Personal Transporter, there is now an active recall of all 23,500 of them. A software glitch has been found that makes the wheels unexpectly reverse direction, throwing off the rider! The good news is that the problem should be able to be fixed with a software upgrade.
According to a Wired report this is the second time the scooters have been recalled since they first went on sale in 2002. In 2003 the first 6,000 devices sold were recalled - again the problem was that riders were likely to fall off - but this time it was when the battery depleted.
Hopefully this won't affect those planning to take a Segway tour of San Francisco.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Vale Margaret

If you look up "on this day" on the internet for 24 September you should, but won't, find the passing of Margaret White who finally succumbed to the cancer she had battled for the last several years. She was "seen off" at 2.15 on Sunday morning by her friends and her cousin who had cared for at home before her hospitalisation early last week. They were all with her as she took her final breath - sorry to lose her but glad she was no longer in pain and trapped in a body that had failed her. Margaret was a special woman who did much to make the world a better place. She will be greatly missed. Vale Margaret.


Thanks to The Daily Telegraph's article on designer handbag thieves, I feel like a target. Yes, I know there are probably lots of others who carry around heaps of stuff with them - but my little backpack doesn't look like it holds a laptop, Palm, smart phone etc etc etc. And even though the stuff is insured (it all is now) I'd hate for it to be taken from me - especially just because the paper decided to run an item and pic saying that thieves could be looking at a $6,000 haul! Of course the illustration they used was for a designer handbag (itself worth a dollar or two) - makeup, coin purse ($200+), iPod, camera ... the list went on - it was a pretty big handbag!

Replacement Palm

My newish Palm LifeDrive stopped working last weekend - wouldn't even turn on. So I rang Palm to arrange a replacement - and of course we went through the general "have you tried this, have you tried that" and finally they gave me a replacement number and the process started.
The process is supposed to go like this:
  1. Get the replacement number from Palm.
  2. Send in your Palm - with this number - to their drop-off centre.
  3. They will send you an email saying that the Palm has been received.
  4. Receipt of the Palm starts the process for a replacement to be couriered to you.
  5. You receive the Palm and rejoice in having it back.
Well, I sent the Palm off on Monday afternoon - and I didn't hear a word until 10:15am on Wednesday morning when the replacement Palm arrived. A couple of hours later I received an email telling me it had been despatched, and the next day I received an email telling me they had received my old unit.
Great work Palm!! I don't give a jot about the comms as long as I have the LifeDrive.

And Kovko makes two

The Daily Telegraph had an item the other day about Private Jake Kovko's death in Iraq on 21 April this year from an injury sustained from his own pistol. Their point was that this was not the first time such an incident has happened. They told of another serviceman, Trevor Petith, in Vietnam - who on 21 April 1985 also died from an injury sustained from his own weapon. 21 years to the day.
I did some quick research (read "google") on Petith and although he is mentioned on a couple of sites, it doesn't say what happened to him - just that his holidays had been cancelled and that was the last time his family saw him alive - and that his homecoming was sad.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Eye=popping ...

Kim Goodman of Chicago has a rare gift - the ability to "pop her eyeballs to an extrusion of 11mm" - making her the current world's record holder. So how do you find out you can do this? For her, it was apparently after she had been hit in the head with a hockey stick. Now she can do it at will - and when she yawns. In the couple of items I read, I couldn't find a reference to whether she had been able to harness her skill to a "useful" purpose - as had Brazilian Claudio Pinto (7 mm) who until recently had a job scaring visitors in a haunted house. It's unclear whether he chose to leave or if he was laid off - and it wasn't mentioned if it was the eye-popping that was the scaring tool - or whether he would just leap out of the dark and yell "boo" - if someone did that to me, having their eyes popping wouldn't help the effect - because mine would be covered, closed or being carried away by my fleeing body! But, I have to admit, the picture of Mr Pinto doing his thing is pretty amazing! (I only included a link to the pics of both Kim and Carlo here so you can look only if you want to: Carlo's is more "graphic").

Monday, September 18, 2006

Marrickville Festival

We took time out yesterday to take a walk up and down Marrickville Road to enjoy the Marrickville Festival. It was fun - and there were some great stalls for Sydney Council (thanks for the water bottle and squeezy ball) and MGM (Marrickville Galleries & Museums).
It was a lovely sunny day for the event - and it was nice seeing so many people out and about in the local community.