Friday, August 29, 2008

Photo Hunt: Beautiful

Granny's Birthday Flowers for Elizabeth earlier in the week and photos of the kids.

Some lillies unusual irises (thanks JMB) in a garden near where I was walking Spotty this morning.

We have so many beautiful things in our lives. These are just a few. Of course I would be remiss not to mention my lovely wife who had a birthday this week.

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Where Was I Meme

Robert F.Image via Wikipedia Doctor Vee has suggested I provide some personal history. Big Rab also. Here goes.

Princess Diana’s death - 31 August 1997

I was in a coffee shop in St Kilda on a very clear sunny winter afternoon, during my first trip to Australia, having a break during my look around Melbourne. The television cut away from whatever they were covering to tell the sad story. The whole place went quiet as the customers glued themselves to the unfortunate story

Margaret Thatcher’s resignation - 22 November 1990

She resigned? I was very oblivious to UK politics, living in Washington DC. I have no real memory of the event other than she was no longer PM. Many Americans couldn’t quite believe it. I mean Britain was not Britain without Mrs T in their minds.

Attack on the Twin Towers - 11 September 2001

We were living in Sacramento California and did not have a television. It was early in the morning and our neighbour knocked on our door, realising that we did not have a television to invite us to come and watch the reruns at their house. The last time that I went anywhere to watch a rerun of a news event was the Moon landing, when my dad drove around to the local farm to watch it. I had no idea at the time the impact of flying planes into large buildings would have such a big effect on our lives. It directly led to us not being able to live in America and luckily for us to end up in Australia. We had the television on in the office, crap reception and all, all day. The sense of shock and bewilderment amongst my american colleagues was palpable. Talk about a life/ world changing moment. I went to the top of the Twin Towers with my brother and his wife when they visited in the early 1990s. One of my American relatives worked in the building. The logistics of getting up were complicated by all the different lifts that you needed to catch to get to different floors.

England’s World Cup Semi Final v Germany in - 4 July 1990

No idea. Likely on the mall in Washington DC celebrating the national birthday. They had very spectacular fireworks, which were very good to watch from the Virginia side, based on my years living there.Anybody who has lived in America will know that they only sports that are covered are Grid Iron, Baseball, Ice Hockey and Basketball. Everything else is irrelevant.

President Kennedy’s Assassination - 22 November 1963

Althouth I was alive, four year olds don’t really care about that stuff. I have been to his grave at Arlington Cemetary. The never ending flame is Very moving. His influence on us life and politics lives on. I lived next door to a retired journalist in Washington DC. He told me it was the most significant story during his long journalistic career. He had been in the room when Bobby Kennedy was shot and called his story in from a pay phone. They held the press until his story had been filed. The other interesting story was that he was part of was being part of the press group that went with Nixon to China. He had some great photographs.

And there the meme stops.
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Raising of the Bar

US Senator Barack Obama campaigning in New Ham...Image via Wikipedia With America about to say ta ta to their most incompetent leader ever and one of the most dreadful leaders of any country ever, I am mindboggled every time I hear comments along the lines of people questioning the competence of Barack Obama to be President.

Perhaps they judge that he is just not up to waging war with tin pot dictators.

Since when was the bar raised? Anyone would be more competent. My dog.....

That's all.
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Happy Birthday Elizabeth

This is one of my favourites from here early years before I knew her. She recently scanned in all the photographs that she could find. I was amazed how many there were and so many in colour. I have hardly any in colour until I was about 10. Our Box Brownie was put to fairly regular use, but you could only take 8 in a roll so shots were very selective.

We had a little party last night, which the kids were very keen to organise the night before. Last night they just wanted to play on the computer, watch the television and hang out with mum. The social organiser had to do all the cooking and dusting. They did eat some cake, which was decorated pancakes in the shape of her age, and sing Happy Birthday at least. We had a party earlier at Granny's on the weekend. Perhaps they were partied out.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stop Press I'm Fired

Not the Headline you would anticipate writing when you got up in the morning.

The Age's editor-in-chief, Andrew Jaspan, has been removed from his position less than 24 hours after the newspaper's owner, Fairfax Media, announced 550 job losses.

I like the Age. It is definitely the best web based news source in Australia. Hope the axe wielding doesn't impact the quality.

Tough love for the former editor of the Sunday Herald.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

English Cottage Gardens Passe in Adelaide

With the continuing drought in Australia and particularly in South Australia, the whole idea of garden design and the commercial gardening industry as a whole has been thrown on its head. Whole nursery, garden maintenance, lawn supply and servicing and irrigation businesses have been ruined by a move away from water intensive gardening, so popular when I first came to Adelaide six years ago.

During my years of looking after the kids I had the time to put whatever I fancied in the ground and water it until it grew. Our water bill was outrageous and prompted me to learn more about water wise plants. By the time I left we had a better balance of plants, many of whom came with us and will be planted in our much more sunny and hot garden.

Arid gardens were relatively unusual then, but increasingly popular now as people neglect their gardens during water restrictions, allowing lawns to die and if they can afford it, transform them into mulch covered pebble oasis, succulent corner and native nirvana.

We used to have a lawn at the front. We have dug it up and plan to do something that requires very little watering.

That said, we did inherit a pool when we bought the house. I had no idea just how much water it used during hot weather. We drain it on to the lawn when we backwash, but it is a bit of an indulgence in dry times.

Like many people our rainwater tank is much too small and only full during the wet season. We would have to make a huge investment to get enough rainwater storage to make a difference. We have investigated grey water disposal, but the logistics and cost are a bit prohibitive.

We visited Granny on the weekend. She lives in very nice Normanville near the sea and has put pebbles down instead of a lawn and grows drought tolerant plants in her patio at the back. This trend, downsizing outside space to cut down on water use and to fit in with busy lives that don't go together with intensive gardening is bound to continue.

So we will work to limit our water intensive plantings and go with the (limited) flow.

More worrying, where are the next generation of Aussie Backyard Cricketers going to learn their craft? The cactus patch?
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rights to 2012 Olympic Football Team Sold

With the Celts refusing to cooperate, the 2012 Olympics Organisers have cut their losses and sold off the rights to the British Football team to a consortium headed by Becks.

"We just felt that it would be too difficult and we have a lot of sponsorship to sell to cover our costs and British Football Teams with Becks and Posh and their kids is guaranteed to sell, a spokesman said.

Part of the deal will give Becks the automatic overage spot and guaranteed spots for Posh and the kids.

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Burqua Beauty Pageant

With the proposed Nun Beauty Pageant underway, Muslims are set to hold a Burgua Beauty Pageant.

Father Rungi stressed that nuns were not being invited to parade in bathing suits, saying it will be up to them whether they pose with the traditional veil or with their heads uncovered.

Judging criteria for the burgua beautys are being vigorously debated.

Murray Mints won Ashes in 2005

Marcus Trescothick spills the beans on Englands clever tricks and secret plans to thwart the all conquering Aussies in 2005.

England batsman Marcus Trescothick claims in his recently released autobiography that it was his job to shine the ball and he sucked a special brand of mints for the purpose. Trescothick admits in the book he even experimented until he found the right brand of mint.

"I had a go at Murray Mints and found they worked a treat.''

Obviously they don't sell them in Australia if their trip last year is anything to go by.

And Marcus, he looked like such a nice boy.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Murder Tipped to Be Demonstration Olympic Sport in 2012

London Mayor Boris Johnson waves the flag for 2012
The London Olympic Organisers are not looking so hot with a really crap show in Peking and Myra Hindley, the Moors Murderer, showcased at the Ra Ra UK event afterwards with Da Mayor and Gordon the Grumpy Celt on stage.

At least we won the Brag Rights with the Former British Empire topping the table.

Sucked in Commies.

Thanks Mr Eugenides.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Photo Hunt: Wrinkled

A wrinkled geomorphic landform called the Sugar Loaf from Hallett Cove Conservation Park, south of Adelaide and close to where we live. Ryan went with his Joey Scout mob to take a look. There is a lot to see and understand in a relatively small area, with international significance for those that are interested in those sorts of things. This small area reminded me of The Badlands National Park in South Dakota, which I visited over ten years ago.

It is funny to think of Adelaide having been under ice. We could use some of that now as a water source. Hopefully I wont be as wrinkled as this, later in life.

The Secret to Michael Phelps Success

From The Onion

ORLANDO—Fourteen-time Olympic gold medalist and SeaWorld main attraction Michael Phelps returned to his seven-million-gallon water tank Wednesday to resume his normal schedule of performing in six shows a day for marine park crowds every day of the week.
Phelps, the 6'4", 200-pound aquatic mammal, and the first ever SeaWorld swimmer to be raised in captivity by foster swimmers (Mark Spitz and Dara Torres), was recaptured by trainer Bob Bowman in a hoop net baited with an entire Dutch apple pie following Phelps' final Olympic event last Sunday.
My former company designed the waste management system for all the aquatic systems at Sea World. I wonder if they factored in human poo. 

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Talk to the Animals Gone Mad

I have always liked penguins from my school trips to Edinburgh Zoo as a child. They are interesting fairly self contained animals and the humiliation of having humans watch them eat their tea didn't seem to phase them. This penguin seems very graceful as he is knighted by the Norwegians. Pretty silly, but then there are lots of those that have been awarded that are less deserving than Nils, who seems to have earned his by his nationality and loyalty to his countrymen.

I was always intrigued by Dr Doolittle when I was a kid. It was such a great idea that some humans could talk to animals. I wonder what animals really think of that. With the sad story of Colin the baby whale reaching its inevitable conclusion in Sydney Harbour, despite the best efforts of animal lovers to work out the formula for whale milk and plans to mix it up in a fuel supply teat,  it is encouraging to see a more uplifting animal story getting some coverage. It would make me proud to be a penguin.  Arise Sir Nils. Now flap your wings, go for a swim, eat some fish like a good boy.

On the other hand, I am sorry my name is associated with such a sad event. I'll get over it I think. What is it with humans and animals?

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Unlikely Events. An Occassional Series


I wonder if they bought him a return ticket. Have a nice holiday and don't hurry back.

In other sporting and soldiering related comments, Chicken Yogurt points out that he has that one right.

Perhaps he will be invited back. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kids Gambling Den

The kids came home one night last week and disappeared, which they do most days. I just assumed that they were playing in their rooms. Turns out that they had set up a gambling cubby in the toilet. They were in there for over an hour. They have always loved small spaces like big boxes and cupboards for their games.

They love card games now, although they sometimes get a bit heated, with accusations of cheating and high skuldugary. Hannah is very competitive, often changing the rules mid hand. Ryan is very quick to pick to complain about her tactics. Screaming is an almost inevitable consequence of their games at some point.

Glad there are no guns in the house.
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Seasons of the Day



Winter is a great season for photographing the sky here in Adelaide. The morning and evening colours are stunning and this weeks full moon was very dramatic as it rose over the Adelaide Hills.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Braveheart versus The Ego and Friends

Fleur-de-lisImage via Wikipedia The Scottish Nation stands as one as the Scottish Cricket Team takes on the Auld Enemy for the first time in a Cricket One Day International in Edinburgh. As always, the weather looks like it will be the winner.

Scotland are good at this, with an honorable rain assisted no score draw against the Indians in the Twenty20 World Cup in Durban and in a One Day International against the Aussies in Edinburgh in 2005, notable examples of the fortuitous intervention of the elements and a lot better than the humiliations of the like of Argentina 1978. Better an honourable rain assisted draw than a shellacking I say.

That said, I was intrigued by the weather in Adelaide, mid winter and Scotland mid summer.

Come on Down. At least we can count on playing cricket in the summer.

See what I mean.

10.45am So we were meant to get underway at 10.45am, but obviously this isn't going to happen. There's more chance of a nuclear-free world than getting any play here at the Grange. But we have some parachutists landing on the ground - I presume they're part of the entertainment and not part of a foreign coup to overthrow the country - and plumes of orange smoke drift across the ground. More news when we get it.

10.40am We have news: it's still raining, and a little harder too. Super bagpipes, though. There's a thought, however vain, that it might clear up at 1.00pm for a brief while. So it's not a complete washout just yet.

10.30am The rain's falling I'm afraid, and more covers are being dragged onto the pitch. This is not good news at all - the clouds are heavy and dark, and it looks thoroughly miserable.
 Catch more commentators misery here.

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Australia in Olympic Funk

I wonder if the Brits will blame Gordon and NuLabour for this one?

Reading the press here you would have no idea that there were skirmishes in Central Europe. Certainly no coverage of the Brits winning the Olympic Medal Bragging Rights.

There is a certain tone of entitlement being denied in the way the story is being covered, especially with "drug cheats" beating out the Aussie Golden Boy and Aussie swimming coaches selling their secret swimming training plans for mega bucks to the Chinese who put them to work pushing the Aussie swimmer down to bronze. Greedy bastard is the tone of the article.

Get over it. It is just sport.

And if all else fails, there is always humour.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Koala Watch

Our neighbourhood koala has moved on, presumably growing tired of being attacked by Magpies, stalked by the neighbours huge dog and in search of better eucalyptus. The koala got sweet revenge on the dog from time to time by peeing and pooing on him. When it was in the tree initially I saw it being attacked by Magpies for daring to try to share their space. Very noisy and aggressive, Magpies.

After a great deal of caffuffle and commotion, the koala took off just like this one, complete with a baby on its back. Very dramatic. I didn't get to capture that moment, but this series of photographs from The Telegraph are great.
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Gilding the Olympics China Style

With all the unfolding evidence of fakery in the Opening Ceremony in Peking, on the one hand, we need to remember that it is entertainment and theatre/spectacle that people are watching. On the other hand and more sinisterly, there is the superiority complex that would allow such deception to be allowed. Having lived in Singapore for many years, none of this surprises me.

The organisers of London 2012 are already at work test marketing themes for the opening ceremony to ensure that these kinds of issues don't arise.

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