Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I've been filing the first six months postings of this blog.

I find that quite reasonable as I don't trust anything electronic, look at Beta and that fiasco.

I was a lot happier then and it's a good thing I have a blog or I would have forgotten that.

Mother troubles will disappear happiness in a blink.

Yesterday she said I was overdosing her with pills and when was the funeral.

But if the blog is boring my commentors are not.

I have been blest with the best eccentric mob to be seen in blogland.

I love you all and I think that the blog commentor awards should be initiated in 2007.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


I can't remember what I was doing when Camilla was trotted out wearing her first tiara and I missed all the gossip about where it came from but it looked familiar to me. Now at last I've found it.
Queen Mary had it made for the Delhi Durbar when she found out she couldn't take the crown jewells with her to India. It's shown below with a row of very large pear shaped emeralds. Around her neck below a circlet of diamonds, she's wearing the necklace of cabochon emeralds which was given to Diana, who astonished everyone by wearing around her forehead. Below that is a favourite necklace of Queen Elizabeth 11, also emeralds and diamonds with an emerald drop and a marquise diamond cut from the Cullinan.

This is the same tiara but the emeralds have been removed. Unfortunately the photo is not very clear but in the front of the tiara, another two stones cut from the Cullinan diamond are mounted. These were later removed and made into a brooch which the Queen always referred to as 'Granny's chips'. This tiara was last seen on the Queen during her trip to South Africa in 1947. It was on loan from Queen Mary.
As I've said before, wearing a corset had its advantages, one could wear an enormous amount of serious bling before falling on one's face.


From 1882, a two piece trained light Taupe silk crepe and satin two-tone dinner gown with golden silk taffeta trim and train.
The intricate folds at the back of the train are kept in place by a series of tapes which the lady's maid would have tied to create the waterfall effect.

This is the underneath of the train showing the stitched dust ruffle since cleaning as we know it didn't exist. The lace ruffle would have been removed as it got dirty but since this was a special occasion gown it would gone straight from the house into the waiting carriage.
It might not be rocket science but look at the construction of the bodice inside. The pleats and darts in place and beautifully lined. It would have been worn over a whaleboned corset. A lady would have also had small silk pads sewn under the arms of the sleeves to soak up any sweat or more delicately, dewy perspiration, to leave the garment unmarked.

No galloping around in this, no showing the girly bits getting out of the carriage a la Brittany or showing the superhold panties a la Katie Cruise. You couldn't help but be a lady wearing this but knowing me I'd have the soup in the ruffles before you could say elegance.


This is a meteorite and it's covered in regmaglypts, which means thumbprints and I have to be able to work that word into someone's insult at some stage of my life.

Regmaglypts are caused by dynamic air pressure and selective erosion by material melting off the surface of the meteorite on its passage through the atmosphere. A pattern like fingers over wet clay is frequently observed.


I only get the paper on Sunday and there’s not much in it for a laugh except today there was a pile of gold.

The AFL has put forward a proposal that membership of a football club would gain migrant points on their citizenship test. Campbell Rose said that for people to integrate into our society they have to understand the fabric of our community and learn the principles of how Australians lived.

How sweet to think that football could do that. Let’s hope that any future citizens haven’t read about the sex romps, marital break-ups, drunken fights, drunk driving charges and hoon behaviour on interstate flights.

There have been reports that David Beckham has been taking lessons to lower the pitch of his squeaky voice and is studying method acting. Sniggers, loud guffaws and oh, stop my sides are hurting. Good luck to the squirrel hiding inside the Beckham suit.

One in five marriages and relationship breakdowns are being caused by internet sex and affairs. Relationships can develop more quickly due to lowered inhibitions, absent physical cues and details, and the ease of exchanging information.

So I’m on the net telling some bloke that I’m 5 foot 11 inches tall, natural red hair (okay that one’s true) boobs that would put Pamela Anderson to shame but the rest of me looks like Elle and I’ve got the sexual appetite of Alexis Carrington and then I’m going to believe the description the bloke gives me. It pains me to say so but some women are dumb enough to do this.

Good news though, with some Melbourne councils backing same-sex unions. The Melbourne Council is establishing a relationship register to allow gay and lesbian couples to publicly declare their partnerships with town hall ceremonies. Australian Family Association’s Angela Conway said the gay unions plans were particularly annoying, much like her Christian good self. I expected an outburst from Bill Muehlenberg but he was on another page having a go at Muslim students.

La Trobe University has male and female washrooms for muslims only. This is so they can do their ritual washing before prayers as in, washing feet. Something they would do in the other washrooms, using the sinks which led to complaints by non-muslim students. It’s a service provided at most other universities in line with providing chaplains from the major Christian denominations and a Christian Chapel. Very sensible, so shut up Bill, you should be happy that any university student believes in God at all.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


If anyone thinks of deep ocean explorers, the name Robert Ballard immediately comes to mind because of his discovery of the Titanic. (an accident, he was really on a secret mission to find another country's downed submarine).

Dr. Sylvia Earle received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1955 at Florida State University, followed by her Master's degree in botany in 1956 at Duke University. She won scholarships and supported herself by working in college laboratories. Her Master's dissertation was a detailed study of algae in the Gulf of Mexico. She has collected more than 20,000 samples and continues to do so. Her collection shows the changes in algae as their habitat has changed over a period of fifty years.

She married after completing her Master's but still continued her research work on scientific expeditions round the world. She had to balance family and work even descending 100 feet below the sea in the submersible Deep Diver when she was four months pregnant. In later years some of her children worked with her at her company, Deep Ocean Engineering.

In 1966 she received her PhD from Duke University. Her dissertation "Phaeophyta of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico" was unique in being a long and detailed first-hand study of aquatic plant life as she was one of the first researchers to use SCUBA gear to aid in her work. In 1981 Dr. Earle and her former husband, Graham Hawkes, a British-born engineer recognised the limitations of scuba diving. They founded Deep Ocean Technology, Inc. and Deep Ocean Engineering, Inc. They designed and built a submersible called Deep Rover which is still operating today.

In 1970 she led the first team of women to participate in the Tektite project. The scientists lived for weeks at a time in an enclosed habitat fifty feet down on the ocean floor just off the Virgin Islands. This all women group was known as Tektite 11 because to quote Dr. Earle, "The people in charge just couldn't cope with the idea of men and women living together underwater."

After this expedition Dr. Earle went to the Galapagos Islands, the waters off Panama, China, Bahamas and the Indian Ocean. It was in the 1970s when she began to collaborate with undersea photographer, Al Giddings. The record of their voyages following the sperm whales from Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Sth Africa, Bermuda and Alaska became the documentary film, "Gentle Giants of the Pacific".

The image above is a JIM suit, a pressurised one-atmosphere armoured suit. Sylvia Earle was carried by a submersible down to a depth of 1,250 feet in the ocean off the island of Oahu. In a suit like this she walked across the ocean floor at a depth where no-one had ever been before. The only thing connecting her to the submersible was a communication line.

She's an expert on the ecological impact of oil spills, leading research trips to report on the burning of the Kuwaiti oil fields during the Gulf War. She also advised on oil spills from the Exxon Valdez and Mega Borg.

In 1990 she was the first woman to serve as chief scientist of the National Oceanographic and Atmosperic Administration. Time magazine named her their first "Hero for the Planet" in 1998.
She's explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society. She regards the oceans an an important and essential environmental habitat and would like to see changes implemented especially for deep ocean exploration. Of the world's five deep-sea manned submersibles, those that dive to 20,000 feet or more, the US has only one. Her company is working on one to reach 36,000 feet. She influenced the Clinton administration's decision to double the US National Marine Sanctuaries budget. She is still continuing to plan deep ocean expeditions.

I have only written about a small part of her life, I've left out the academic and administration appointments, the lecture tours and the committment to educating humans that underwater research is important to the health of the planet.

When women are good at science they're very very good.

Monday, January 22, 2007


I can lose hours browsing through the National Geographic photo archives and this one caught my eye. It was taken in Newfoundland by Sam Abell who is one of my favourite photographers.

The plant stems have an icy glaze on them which is caused by freezing rain. The Newfoundlanders call this the silver thaw.


Crossing with the lights at a busy intersection can be hairy.

Waiting to cross can be even hairier.

Very large bus which had to be going above the speed limit hit a bump in the road.

I took two or three or even four steps back.

Some part of the speeding bus gouged two tracks along the road surface.

I got showered with sparks. I could smell burning and checked my dress.

About 60 seconds later, a cop car stops at the lights. 60 seconds too bloody late.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I don't usually do links if I can help it because I find I learn better if I write it in my own words but this article 'The trouble with troubled teen programs. How the "boot camp" industry tortures and kills kids' has to be read to be believed. http://www.reason.com/news/show/117088.html

Now I understand how Guantanamo Bay or the Abu Ghraib incidents could happen.

How can a country that makes a profitable industry from beating and abusing its children claim any moral high ground against any other country?

I'd be happy for any passing American to leave a comment about this.

It recalls the worst of the religious children's homes in Australia of the last century. It shouldn't be happening now in a supposedly free society and I hope it isn't happening here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


I usually love my taxi drivers but I've ridden with two this week that shouldn't be on the roads. Well, they can but just not with me in the car.

Sunday's twit couldn't have found his way out of Baghdad with a squadron of tanks. He didn't trust my Melway Map to Upwey but opened his Melway to check that my Melway was right. That's the way he drove, two maps on his lap and his eyes on the map.

Driver home was much better. He even suffered the Big M drive through for pissed sister who needed fries and coke.

Today's little dear was car blind. There were no other cars on the road except his taxi. It's fortunate that I saw the bus coming straight for us. It's fortunate that the other car turning in front of us saw the taxi and stopped. This guy didn't see them, he was shocked to find other people using his road. I always give a tip however small and I figured this driver could put it towards his pre-paid funeral plan.

I (sorry didn't some blogger or other say one shouldn't put 'I' in blog postings, wanker) walked out to the ATM to collect my inadequate welfare bludge to find a little old lady already there. How many times have I said I am a little old lady magnet? She has a shopping trolley in which she is carrying her oxygen bottle which is connected to her nose. She's about 3'6" and looked like a passing burp would knock her flat. She removes from the machine $800 and I know this, why? Because she stood there and counted it. A three year old hoon could have mugged her.
I gently suggested that perhaps next time she could go into the bank and have the girls give her the money even if they do charge $2 or whatever. She said perhaps I was right since it was hard to hold the oxygen and count at the same time.

I swear when I get old, I'm walking out into the desert straight into the sunset unless I come across the Todd River and drown first. (It has water, it rained there today)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I can't believe it's only a few weeks since I was bitching about the freezing cold. I didn't order stinking hot, just warm would have done. It brought it home to me last night how much we owe to the firefighters who have been going non-stop in heat like this. If Howard had any sense he'd make the CFA Australians of the Year because they deserve it. Not only putting out fires but dealing with the injured animals they come across.

Speaking of animals, I have had some strange goings on at night in the trees outside my window. Call me crazy but it sounds like bats. I don't know of any birds that fly at two in the morning and besides it doesn't sound like bird flight. It's a glidey floomp sound accompanied by icky squeaks (could I write scripts or what) that don't sound like birds. Have I ventured out to see the nocturnals? Bite yer bum, I'm no Indianna Jones and I have enough with the huntsman invasion and the cockroaches.

I'm not sure about the cockroaches, well I know what two species of roach looks like but the two I poured out of the bucket yesterday were not familiar. When we had the air conditioner installed they usually put the outflow into the stormwater but I decided that we could use the water on the garden so it collects in a bucket. So do various insects and I hope they just come from the outside and drown, not through the pipes in the wall. The thought that there might be some thriving metropolis between the plaster and the bricks doesn't help me sleep at night.

I could have preserved the bodies but I don't think I really want to know what they are. The blowflies and mozzies have been thin on the ground so far. No earwigs or cicadas but the ants are getting ready for world domination. Not sure what the spiders are thriving on but they are bigger than last year and I didn't need to look up last night and see one walking across the ceiling. That was after I put my glasses on, before I could just make out a moving blur. I had to wait until it was not over the bed before the capture attempt. I hope my watching him made him embarrassed because he took 20 minutes of stalking to find out it was an empty spider thread floating in the breeze not the insect he thought it was.

Don't you just love Summer. When's Autumn?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


"If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older." Tom Stoppard.

Well the two children and one grandchild of a certain old lady stopped carrying their childhood today. We have paid for our day out on Sunday. When we weren't around she started on the Brick Outhouse and for the first time in his life, with his Grandmother, he stood his ground and gave as good as he got.

In one of those peculiar coincidences, we all gave it back today. From now on we look after her welfare but we're not taking insults or manipulation. The children have grown up.

Speaking of children, one of the loveliest sights of Sunday were the Dads carrying their offspring.
From babies to toddlers, they never left them and it wasn't just babysitting duty, these fathers, mostly older, were really enjoying the company of the little ones.

We might be conditioned by biology to reproduce when we're young but there's a lot to be said for mature age parents.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

TODAY I.....

Found out that I still hate cheap gin but love Bombay Sapphire over a twist of lemon and loads of ice.

Found out I love the silence of gum trees.

Found out that one day of gin and silence isn't enough.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


That feels much better. I've been at the cuckoo's nest all day.

I get home, make a nice greek salad to eat in front of the ABC's National Trust house program.

Mother calls from the nest.

"Can you see what I'm doing with the video? It's rewinding and I can't stop it."

"I'm three kilometres away."

"well just tell me what to do." (the temptation, the temptation)

I am mentally in her bedroom, guiding fingers to buttons and getting her fingers off the remote.

"I've got all that but the DVD isn't coming through."

"You just got me to turn off the video and the TV. You didn't say you wanted a DVD to play."

"Get the remote, turn on the power button, the green one in the left hand corner. Push the round button to return to DVD play. Press the play button on the machine, the one with the triangle pointing towards the wall."

"It's playing white lines round and round."

"you've put it back to Video. Undo all the fingering you just did. Have you got a DVD in the machine?"

"Of course, I'm not stupid, just a minute while I check. DVD is in the little square slot thingy."

"Press play, triangle points to the wall."

"Playing now." Clunk goes phone.

I'm seriously thinking of phoning the Vet Clinic to see if I can do a deal with the cat and Mother.
(stupid blogger left this out or maybe I'm getting 'mother disease') All this was not said gently but in a steadily rising crescendo much like Phil Spectre's 'Wall of Noise" so the next time I see one of those disaster movies where the cook/flight attendent/somebody's cat is at the controls of a 747 and there is no shouting from the control tower, a boot is being thrown at the screen.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Did you know that in place of flyspray you can spray a blowfly with Spray Starch?

This is so it can't fly around and annoy you.

The idea being that its wings stiffen up and it can only lie around dying of starvation.

You also don't have Old Timer's or dementia if you can still read.

So if you catch your Mother writing herself little notes like.....the black square thing is a video and the round flat thing is a DVD......then she's only a little nutty because her memory is shot.

She is living proof that a person can survive on apricot jam and toast.

Such are the things my Mother taught me and that's just today.

Monday, January 08, 2007


This is a part of the Amery Ice Shelf called the "Loose Tooth" which began breaking away about 10 years ago. The rifts seen above have been opening up and moving steadily at around 4 to 8 metres a day. In 2005, the same rifts were estimated to be rifting at between 2 and 5 metres a day. There hasn't been a major calving from the shelf since 1962-3.

The fracturing is like earthquake activity, variable and spasmodic. One rift lengthened by almost 200 metres over 4 hours. The rift bursts of activity are not directly triggered by either winds or tides but glaciological stress in the ice shelf.

The ice shelves are the floating extensions of the continental ice sheets and moderate the flow of ice into the sea and scientists expect a 30 by 35 kilometre area to break into the sea in the next few years.

Ice Shelf Research scientists left for Antarctica in December 2006 to study the "Loose Tooth" rifting using Global Positioning System units and seismometers to measure movement and to "listen" to the cracking and snapping of the ice shelf as it moves.

This is a long term collaborative project between the Antarctic Climate Ecosystems Co-Operative Research Centre, the University of Tasmania and the Scripps Institution of ocenaography in California.

The Australian Government chipped in with some loose change, $4.6 million.

The same Government is spending over $19 million on its terrorist hotline.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


I've had a nasty shock this week. I weighed myself, got off the scales, checked that Kirsty Allie hadn't jumped on behind me and weighed again. Dear me, the kilos haven't snuck up on me, they've stampeded and galloped over the top of me. Nearly 6kgs in 10 months, add that to the 5kgs of the year before and I'm halfway back to all weight I lost the year before that. Doesn't time fly when adding up the kilos.

I stress eat. I actually do what every New Age Guru says we should all do, when I eat I'm living in the now with every chomp and chew. Food has a tranquilizing effect on me unfortunately it's sweet food that does the job. I'm not a big eater and yes, I know we've heard that from every fat, obese, morbidly obese person in the world but I am a wrong food eater. I'm also a very slow eater. Other people can go through six courses in the same time as I eat an entree and dessert. I usually eat out of one bowl with one fork and the other hand is holding a book and one eye is on the TV. The diet books say this is a no-no, one should concentrate on every mouthful to the exclusion of everything else. At the rate I eat, I'd be comatose.

I have been trying to be good. We didn't even have a Christmas dinner this year. I'm down to no sugar and a drop of milk in tea which doesn't quite make up for two sugars in coffee or the donut with the coffee. Now I have to bypass the bakery on the way to Mum's. If I buy chocolate, it's very dark with almonds which is extremely hard to scoff the lot. I could steamroll through a box of Lindt between two blinks of an eye. As much as I love a crisp apple and a bitey cheddar, nothing rivals Pavlova loaded with cream and fruit as a calmative.

I could never be bulimic. After years of gallbladder trouble and copious bilious upchucks, I couldn't think of anything worse. I could never be anorexic. Not eating is something I could never be proficient at. Compulsive eating is not what I do either. I don't like overeating and feeling stuffed so eating until a loaf of bread is consumed or a 2 litre carton of icecream isn't me.
What I need a a stress-free life, a calm ordered existence with limited access to anything containing sugar....or fat....or chocolate coated.

Must go now, circus is in town, need new dress, must steal tent.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


This is how 2007 should have started with a frivolous post about who is more delicious. My Welsh stud muffin above or Zoe's Hollywood Hawaiian SNAG below. Wet or dry I don't think we'd knock either of them back. There's my number one resolution for 2007, more pretty men on this blog, preferably undressed but then someone has to think of the children who might wander in so I suppose that I'll have to clothe some of them.

Telstra has fixed the phone lines so now I'm baaaack. I told them it was the possum circus every night but after watching the recycle truck this morning, I'd say that's been doing some damage as well. Anyway I didn't have to pay. Serious blogging can now continue, that's seriously naked men blogging can continue. Give me a week and I'll settle down and maybe do a thinking piece or two but Happy New Year to all for this week.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Not really, it's been utter crap so far. Mama had a massive panic attack yesterday because she went to sleep and lost her glasses. Lucky me, I'm first on the speed dial, unlucky me because there's not a taxi to be had. Luck changes and a neighbour gives me a lift.

I'm still having trouble with the crackling phone and kindly Telstra tested the outside line and joy to me, it's the line inside the house. This will cost me up to and over $100 depending on what has to be done.

If it fixes the crackle and the dial-up connection trouble I'm having then it's worth it. I just won't tell them I'll be paying it off 50 cents a month on the phone bill.

If I don't answer comments or emails blame it on Telstra.