Friday, January 30, 2009

What's in a name?

Research just out from England's Newcastle University suggests that if you want your cow to give more milk, you have to give her a name. Cows with names like Daisy, Gertrude or Buttercup give more milk - up to 284 litres a year more - than no-name cows. While calling for "the personal touch", the study does not say if the actual name itself eg Bruiser, Pig-Face or Jericho could influence milk production (or not).

Monday, January 26, 2009


It makes total sense that a passing spacecraft would stop for a look at the Inauguration activities for President-Elect Barack Obama last week. Why then is there such surprise that a UFO was captured on video over Washington during the ceremonies? The footage I saw, attributed to CNN, shows an object speeding from right to left, in the distance, behind the Washington Monument. Attempts to view the fly-by in slo-mo failed to identify the object as more than a blur.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


We saw "Doubt" (starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman) this afternoon and thought it was excellent. As well as the human characters, there was an additional character - the weather - very reminiscent of the landscape/weather influences in E Annie Proulx's work. The film is dedicated to a Sister Margaret McEnree SC- who was formerly known as Sister James (the name shared, or perhaps of, a Nun in the film). Rating: 4/5 - well worth a look even though others have suggested it is too much like the one-act Pulitzer Prize winning play by author-screenwriter-director John Patrick Shankey from which this work hails. What is in "Doubt" -did he or didn't he; will she or won't she; has she or hasn't she? Much to ponder post-theatre.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Working my way through a backlog of receipts as I do my tax, I chanced upon one dated 14 Jan 2003 for my first digital camera (as funded through the sale of a Palm I had won in a newspaper competition). $529 for the Casio EXS1 - a 1.2MP beauty which is still doing good work with another owner (Hi T!).

Just the ticket

House on the market and not selling? You might want to investigate Traude Daniel's method of "selling" his villa in Austria - it was 1st prize in a raffle he organised. The 9,999 euro99 (approx AU$200) tickets sold out within days - which you might expect for a luxury villa worth euro830,000 (approx AU$1.6 million). Difference between villa value and ticket revenue = euro159,901 (approx AU$316,000) in Traude's favour, leaving a tidy sum left over after expenses - and no worry about buyer finance falling over.

Quotable quotes

In the Movie section of the Daily Telegraph today I found this:
"We both came from [struggling] working-class families - people often don't believe that with me, because I speak nicely - but that is the case." The speaker - Kate Winslet - referring to herself and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Now, I'm not sure but the "struggling" would seem to be an editorial insert for clarification ie all working-class families "struggle" - but who knew this would affect each family member's verbal ability, vocabulary and acumen? Is this a bit of a stretch or is it a recognised phenomenon? More research needed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Goodbye, Will Robinson, Goodbye

Bob May was an integral part of the 1960's TV classic "Lost In Space" but we never knew what he looked like - and even the photo accompanying news of his dealth on the weekend showed him in costume as ... The Robot. He used to joke that he got the job because he fit into the robot suit - which was apparently not that far from the truth: he was on set when someone sent him to Irwin Allen (the show's creator) who told him if he could get into the suit, the job was his. Although he worked on many other shows including "The Time Tunnel" and "McHale's Navy", the Associated Press article I read reported he was particularly fond of his role as The Robot and considered the suit a "home away from home" - and from time to time, on breaks, smoke could be seen coming from the suit which was too cumbersome to remove for short periods.


Police in the US are searching for a shoplifter who allegedly left a store with 6 designer Dooney & Bourke purses shoved down her pants. When she was approached by a guard outside the store, a car pulled up and the woman attempted to get in, but fell out and was run over by the vehicle. She recovered quickly and jumped onto the front of the vehicle, only to fall off and be run over a second time. On the third attempt the woman made it into the vehicle which drove off. Although The Associated Press article didn't say as much, it seems the police may be hopeful of tracking the woman down - based on a description of her, a cheque she dropped at the scene, and the vehicle's registration number.

Big news

Remember the giant keyboard that Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia jumped on in the 1988 film "Big"? Well, if you've harboured a secret hankering to have a go on the Walking Piano built by Remo Saraceni, and you're planning to visit Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum - you can. The couple who bought the 16-foot keyboad after the movie's release are gifting it to the museum and it will be on display from next month. Chopsticks anyone?

Word usage

Doing the crossword today, I am across the clue "Marriageable" - which turned out to be NUBILE. According to the Wordbook (Princeton University) dictionary nubile is an adjective meaning "of girls or women who are eligible to marry". This is not the meaning I had ascribed to "nubile" - I had thought of this as "buxom" - as in healthily plump and vigorous with pleasing curves. But apparently not so either - according to Wordbook, in 1973 nubile was first used in sense of "sexually attractive". As the Readers Digest used to say, and probably still does, "it pays to increase your wordpower".

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Down to earth

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself for more than halving the time it took me to complete the Astraware Fiendish Sudoku of the Day - until I submitted my score online and came back to earth with a resounding thud. I can only aspire to get the most difficult puzzles out by hand in less than a minute!

New Technology

While in Queensland recently, we saw Skype in action with some friends calling relatives in Turkey. It was amazing to see folk we haven't seen in years, on the other side of the world, and to have a guided tour of their Christmas decorations. So today I set myself up as a Skype user - and can't wait to use it myself. I wonder if I know any of the 8,597,949 other people currently online.