Monday, October 26, 2009

travel bugging me

nearly eighteen months since we travelled overseas for the most amazing trip of my lifetime....geez. I can't help but think we won't be travelling again for a while, so it gets quite difficult seeing some of the good deals that are around at the moment.

Seeing a couple of my friends' blogs (and their recent travels) has inspired me to post a few more images from our European trip last year. I really loved Killarney, and Ireland, in general. I regret a little (a lot) that we didn't get to Scotland: NEXT TIME !!

This sensational river in County Clare had me desperately wishing I had a fishing rod in the back of the hire car. The lovely old mossy bridge shape immediately took my thoughts home to the town of Richmond and its famous convict-designed and built heritage bridge over the Coal River...

The mossy old tree trunk in the Killarney National Park gardens

This is the River Liffey flowing through the centre of old Dublin town, with the "Ha'Penny Bridge" in the foreground The greenish coloured penthouse to the left is owned by members of U2. They hang out there when home . .
The doors of Dublin - just sensational.

Extraordinary curved building designs in Bath, England.

David Gray & just how good are Radiohead - really?

I can't believe it is ten years since David Gray put out White Ladder - what a beautiful disc it is. Love listening in particular to "My Oh My" "Nightblindness" and "Silver Lining", along with the popular cut "Babylon". Tempered, subtle chords with gorgeous changes that sit somewhere between the evening light and your soul. I continue to be amazed at how his Dylanesque vocals get right inside me, each and every time I come back to the tracks. Love it - great stuff.

But on the subject of the post: Radiohead. Just how good are they? It's not hard to find writers saying they are the modern equivalent of The Beatles or The Who for sheer power of influence in the work of those that followed. I have to say I find In Rainbows compellingly weird and sooo turgid in parts - but very difficult to stop listening to. I reckon I must have discovered Radiohead about ten years later than all my colleagues.

Glad that I have...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

RACT Insurance Portraiture Prize winner

"Fin" by Nathan Grey of Lindisfarne, Tasmania has won this year's RACT Insurance Youth Portraiture art prize.

It's a cracker of a painting.

An exhibition of the 33 finalists - all Tasmanian and under 30 years of age - will commence at Devonport Regional Arts Gallery Sept 5-20 and move to the Academy Gallery at the Inveresk campus of UTas in Launceston Sept 25-Oct 12, then onto the Sidespace Gallery Oct 17-31 in Hobart.

check it out - it was a really good exhibition last year.

Monday, July 6, 2009

extraordinary Tasmanian East Coast

This is the extraordinary East Coast of Tasmania (from Binalong Bay, near St Helens).
The orange-coloured lichen on the rocks on this part of the East Coast is a familiar regional visual locator for those who have visited the area.
Our family and friends love it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

wrought iron

This is some wrought-iron gates on a driveway next to the Barefield Inn near Ennis in Ireland, with the light playing some tricks. It rained a lot in Ireland in June last year - the rain had just stopped before I took this was absolutely pouring on the day when we tried to vist the famed Dingle Peninsula and drove through "...the Cork and Kerry mountains" - however we didn't mee t with "Cap'n Farrell, an' the money he was countin'..." etc etc. Whisky in The Jar. As I understand it, Metallica covered the old number (?)
Ah, wonderful Irish stuff sung by Patsy Watchorn/Dubliners - and a ripper version by Thin Lizzy is around. Just brilliant.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

terraces in Dublin

The Georgian terraces in Dublin were, quite simply, extraordinary in their simple beauty.
It was a wonderful city, but a bit on the dirty side, and the people on the rude&arrogant side, as well.
But the Liffey, the wonderful river. Made me want to sing ballads - on the spot.

Paris tunnel

I have been reading Federal Budget papers, portfolio budget statements and a variety of analyses all night, trying to get a good picture of the appropriation bills and what they mean for all of us...
Urgh. It's done my head in.
My brain feels a bit like this shot from last year's trip to Paris; slightly jumbled-up...perhaps an artistic recreation of the kind of frantic imagery rushing past Henri Paul's eyes as he drove that infamous black Merc way over the limit(s).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

1970 in Tasmania

I have just been doing some research into a "snapshot" of the RACT in 1970 - the year the Club moved into the former Dunlop Australia Ltd HQ building on the corner of Murray St and Patrick St (it was 27 February 1970, in fact).

This building has, of course, been recently demolished to make way for a new four storey building that will be completed towards the end of 2010 and will house the RACT's HQ and most of its Hobart operations.

Anyway, I just thought I would post some of this "snapshot of 1970" stuff as I found it relatively amusing here and there:

40 years ago ....

In 1970, RACT Full Club membership was $14.00 with Service Only membership $8.15 for new members.
RACT “Emergency Road Service” patrols were using “mobile radio” in the “Hobart and Launceston Metropolitan areas” only in 1970, with all other areas linked to the service base by telephone only.
The Southern Outlet road linking Hobart and Kingston was opened towards the end of 1969.
A decision to implement a “Demerit Points” system was made in 1970 - having been advocated by the RACT in 1967.
Reflective number plates were introduced with all registrations from April 1970 onwards.
Population of Australia: 12.26 million
Prime Minister of Australia: John Gorton
Premier of Tasmania: Angus Bethune
Pope Paul VI, and Queen Elizabeth together with other members of the Royal Family visited Australia in 1970
Buccaneer took out line honours in the Sydney-Hobart race
Baghdad Note won the Melbourne Cup
Australia was on top in the global tennis world – Margaret Court became only the second woman to win the Grand Slam of tennis and John Newcombe won both the singles and doubles Wimbledon titles.
A big year for airports in Australia – a new International terminal opened in Sydney and Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport was officially opened.
Germaine Greer published her bestseller The Female Eunuch
Big year for comedians too, with popular contemporary funny guys Adam Hills and Dave Hughes born in 1970.
At North Hobart Oval when Tasmania took on Western Australia. West Australian captain and legend Graham 'Polly' Farmer said before the game: "if we can't beat Tasmania, we might as well give the game away". Before 20,000 fans, Tasmania, thanks to a goal with 30 seconds remaining from former St Kilda Premiership player and then-Clarence coach John Bingley, made Farmer eat his words by winning in a two-point thriller
University of Tasmania enrolments were 3,002 in 1970 (just over 20,000 in 2009)
In 1970, Parliament legislated for permanent daylight savings in Tasmania.
And ... the Taroona Marine research laboratories opened.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Vale Peter Wherrett

I have to admit, I was competely unaware that motoring identity Peter Wherrett favoured cross-dressing.

The beautifully-written obituary in the SMH had this eye-ctaching opening par:

PETER WHERRETT, one of Australia's foremost motoring journalists, lived his last few years as a woman in a small community of friends at Lake Macquarie. "This was my last great achievement," he said…

The world certainly is, as the fabulous Carole King put it, "...a wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold/a tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold."

great headline writer at The Australian

This has got to be one of the best headlines of 2009...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Not so much famous for Clint Eastwood's performance, as for the extraordinary soundtrack by Ennio Morricone, is the spaghetti Western thriller The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

One hundred and seventy-nine minutes of it (recent extended version). Man, it went on, and on...dragged a bit here and there, but fascinating nonetheless.

I found Lee Van Cleef as Angel Eyes an utterly compelling character.

Quentin Tarantino has apparently described it as "the best-directed film of all time" - that is interesting coming from him.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Retiring Richie Benaud...

Kerry O'Keefe is an amusing bugger. I went to a breakfast at the Casino a while back where he was the guest speaker, and apart from mercilessly flogging whatever book he had out, he was pretty good. Odd head, up close.

He recently wrote a column about Richie Benaud with some revealing insights into the doyen of cricket commentary (and a couple of shots back from Benaud, as well ...).

I'm not sure the Richie was ever the same after brilliant Billy Birmingham's series of 12th Man impersonations...

O'Keefe writes:

"Over the years there have been some memorable Benaud quotes. One particular favourite during a break in innings was: "Frankly, I would have thought that using the light roller on that pitch would have the same effect as a koala doing a pas de deux.''
Or the commentary with Michael Slater, which went something like this:
Slater: "The bowler thought he was through him, but the batsman has got an inside edge on it and it has just snuck past leg stump.'' Benaud: "Michael, there are a few words ending in `uck' in the English language, but I am pretty sure the bowler wasn't thinking of one starting with `sn'.''

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It was a particularly beautiful morning earlier this week when I joined a bunch of people on the Cartela.
We chugged out of Brooke St Pier, on our way out to greet the huge Queen Victoria cruise liner on its way up the Derwent to rest alongside in Hobart port for the day.
I quickly snapped this overflowing golden sunrise, spilling out from behind the Howrah beaches ...goregous.
The Cunard Line ship was even more massive up close, than I had expected it to be. Incredible.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The wild Cornish coastline

...and while I'm at it, here is the view out to the other side from half-way up the steep track that leads to ruins of the (very old) pre-Viking settlements, and the (later) Tintagel ruin that features in my previous shot.
It was a magical day, weather-wise...quite a climb up a very well-worn track.
The huge swell that wrecked itself on these rocks would have fairly successfully eliminated any threat from the sea to the Cornish earls who called Tintagel home.
As a major King Arthur fan in my youth, this particular visit had all sorts of bells ringing.

The Eye of Tintagel

I can't believe that it's almost a year since my wife and I went to the UK and Paris for the most amazing trip...the kind one could almost describe as the "trip of a lifetime". I was just looking through some shots from our days and nights around the south-west of England and came across this rather special shot of the Cornish coastline...taken through the window of the ruins of Tintagel Castle. It really was, for me, an extraordinary visit, and rated up there with walking around Stonehenge, the raw and wild beauty of the far-famed Ring of Kerry, the pulsating live show at the Moulin Rouge, the peaceful ruins of Fountains Abbey, and the sheer beauty of the English countryside in Dorset and beyond.

Ahhhh...perhaps we'll go back some day, perhaps...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Gran Torino: a grand film indeed

I'm sure many people thought that Clint Eastwood wouldn't be able to top Unforgiven.

I, for one, think he has done so with Gran Torino. What a terrific movie.

It's been a while since I've had a chance to actually watch a film in the cinema; so I took the opportunity to go with my wife and another couple last night.

The young dickheads texting, rattling, chattering, giggling and just outright talking in full voice in the seats right across from me reminded me of some of the reasons why I didn't regularly go to the movies (along with the advertising at the beginning - which seemed to go on for ages!!)

Now, I admit I am a Clint Eastwood fan; but even bias aside, this is a complex piece of work which leaves viewers with a full mix of emotions at the end of the show - and for all the right reasons.

And what a sensational car.

Living End gong

I've got a problem with the term "rockabilly punks" for The Living End - don't get me wrong, I love 'em - just think this sort of terminology unnecessarily pigeonholes the dudes...

Rock act humbled by ARIA

"DESPITE picking up countless awards and accolades in recent years, Melbourne rockabilly punks The Living End were extra thrilled to win the Best Rock Album ARIA Award for their latest record White Noise.
``I think it probably means more now, this many years down the track as a band, than it did when we first started,'' double-bassist Scott Owen said.
``Everyone knows who we are and has an idea what to expect from us now, so to still be able to excite people and for them to put us into a position to win an ARIA feels extremely flattering.
``It feels like we had to work harder now for it than we did when we were just starting out and were a new thing in people's eyes.''

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Murderous Hamster...

Like something directly out of Monty Python...

A blunder in a television report has seen a hamster labelled as a murder suspect.

The TV news reported:

"...The possible suspect Rodney Stanger seen here ... well this is not Rodney Stanger obviously," the newsreader said.
"Well we're going to get his picture. He's currently in a Florida jail accused of murdering his girlfriend."
Mr Stanger is awaiting trial in the slaying of his longtime girlfriend Chrystal A. Morrison, 50, last year,
the Worcester Telegram reports.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Engrish alive and well on the internets

In these uncertain economic times, any export income opportunities would appear even more valuable. Perhaps an opportunity is going begging:

I'm not quite sure who runs LiveLeak news, but it would appear that they are in dire need of something more than a Google translator when putting English-language versions of Chinese news stories on their site.

The yarn Man In Pain After Humping Steel Park Bench gives the reader a rough outline of what is going on (perhaps that's what the video accompanying is all about) but it's hard (fnaar fnaar) not to laugh out loud at the tremedous syntactical constructions such as:

"The bench, features “numerous small holes”. In Xing went. But out he did not emerge."

Wonderful stuff.

And what is it with "park benches" ?? This site loves 'em.

Red tailed hawk resqued after its leg got stuck in a park bench

Waugh weighs in: surprise, surprise, NSW gets his nod

Steve Waugh is probably right in his comments about Philip Hughes and Andrew Symonds - but it's clear Ye Olde New South Wales selection bias is alive and well.
Let's just hope Hilfenhaus gets a guernsey, so we can see what he can really do.

Waught says that Hughes should get the nod:

“Hughes is ready to go. You just get a sense when a player is right to play for Australia. He scored runs when he needed to under pressure last week at Newcastle. He’s a very focused individual.”

If Jaques misses out, he will do so after scoring a century in his last Test innings. Bit stiff I reckon.

wasn't it Brad Hodge who notched a huge score (200 I think?) - and against South Africa in Perth, ironically - but couldn't keep his Test spot.

Strange days indeed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Budgie smuggler busted

Man 'smuggled live pigeons in pants'.

Check out the photos!! hilarious.

Live birds down his pants, eggs, seeds, eggplant (any co-incidence you may ask?) ...what was this dude thinking ?

The Australian reports that: "A Customs spokeswoman said it was not known what the pigeons were intended to be used for, adding the man was expected to be charged on summons with wildlife smuggling offences. "


' ugly old bastard like me'

These are the words that Tom Keneally used to describe himself as he sat for Paul Ryan's entry in this year's Archibald Prize for portraiture.

"Named after J.F.Archibald, co-founder of The Bulletin magazine, it is Australia's oldest and best-known prize for portraiture.
The paintings are supposed to depict a person distinguished in the arts, science, letters or politics. "

Portrait of the artist as man-mountain Jared Owens, The Australian

"The NSW-based artist has depicted Keneally in the form of a mountain in his bid to win Australia's most famous art prize.
"He basically said: 'I don't know why you'd want to paint an ugly old bastard like me', and I said it's because you've got all that character that I want to paint," Ryan said. is you have said it, Tom, as someone famous was reputed to have said once upon a time.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Phelps and THAT bong picture

Michael Phelps admits to smoking cannabis after bong picture is published

This article from The TimesOnline is sub-titled "14-times Olympic gold medal winner caught with cannabis pipe."

The Brit tabloid that broke the biggest sports drug scandal in the world for the forseeable future - News of the World - has its main header screaming What a Dope.

Did he inhale? This ripper image from the News would suggest so - and Phelps later came out and admitted that he had demonstrated "regrettable behaviour" and "bad judgement."

Towards the end of the article, however, the TimesOnline suggests that:

"...The Phelps case has a parallel in Britain where Matt Stevens, the Bath and England rugby union prop forward, faces a two-year ban for taking cocaine..."

It struck me that, as Shakespeare wrote in Much Ado About Nothing, comparisons are odorous.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Government to offer HECS discounts for people who volunteer for community work

a 2020 Summit idea, apparently ...

How on earth would it work ?

Government to offer HECS discounts for people who volunteer for community work

The Australian reports: THE federal Government is planning to offer discounts on HECS debts to university students who undertake volunteer community work.While the full details of the plan are still to be worked out with volunteer groups, a spokeswoman for senator Ursula Stephens, parliamentary secretary for social inclusion and voluntary sector, said the government would soon announce a broad framework for the plan."It is something that will involve a lot of consultation," the spokeswoman said. /...continues

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Seven ill from eating blowfish testicles

When I first saw this headline Seven ill from eating blowfish testicles , as I did my usual early-morning media scan yesterday, I couldn't resist laghing out loud at the sheer funny sound of the story; and yet another example of some of those crazy Japanese people and the nutty stuff (fnaar) that they eat...

A number of other things occurred to me almost immediately:

It's not often we see the word testicles in print; and even rarer in a headline! The sub-editor must have been amused. The article goes on to discuss the "testes" (another rare word in the press) of the blowfish and how the "...testes, known as shirako, are praised as creamy and rich in taste." Ohh eeew, as my daughter(s) would say.

What the hell is a blowfish? (I'm assuming they could be similar to the "toadies" or "puffer fish" that hang around piers and jetties in Australian coastal/estuary waters). Their Japanese name is "fugu" - well, fugu'd if I've ever heard of them.

A brief search reveals a similarly unusual tale about a thirteen-year-old Cambodian lad who had accidently trapped a "puffer fish" in his net whilst fishing last year. Enraged, the wacky little fishie had "attacked the boy's scrotum" when freed, the Sydney Morning Herald had breathlessly reported.
Angry Puffer Fish Goes Nuts

And just while we're on fish testicles in general - has anyone particularly noticed the crown jewels on your average flathead or cocky (or even that?) salmon, as you clean your catch? I'm not sure how many thousands of the poor little beggars I have put to the sword over the years - but can't say I've seen a nutbag on any one of them.

More than likely it's all internal, I 'm guessing...however, many inquisitive childhood post-mortem examinations, searching through the entrails, Oracle-like, of scad mackerel, mullet, flatties - even flounder with their weird setup! - lying naked on the white plastic cleaning board or a pile of newspaper sheets, revealed absolutely nothing that even vaguely resembled testicles!

Perhaps it's just fugu, then, that are more obviously endowed (to their detriment, it would appear). The story goes on to say that "...Fugu, cooked in a cauldron or eaten in raw slices, is appreciated in Japan as a culinary delight, especially in the cold winter months." and "...Blowfish is even called teppou (gun) in western Japan for its famous danger."

Dangerous, indeed - and weird.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tasmania's Clown Doctors Need Help - Now

The Clown Doctors support sick children at the Royal Hobart Hospital and other regional hospital in Tasmania, and rely solely on donations and funding through the registered charity The Humour Foundation (see below).

In Tasmania, the Clown Doctors are fortunate enough to have a "Clown Car" - a 1962 Hillman Minx which as been resprayed and decorated through the U Turn Tasmania program and maintained by volunteers - however they no longer have sufficient funding to cover the running costs of the vehicle and are seeking sponsorships to enable them to retain the use of the car.

They urgently need financial help - if you can help, post.

The Humour Foundation is a national charity established in 1997 to promote the health benefits of humour. Clown Doctors is the core project, and children are the focus. Clown Doctor programs are established in all major children’s hospitals around Australia and some general hospitals and hospices. Clowns have also visited east Timor and Afghanistan. LaughterWorks provides speakers and workshop presenters on humour and health to the health and welfare sector. International research has demonstrated the health benefits of humour.

Initial noodlings

I've started a new blog, inspired by my friend Krispy and his rather fulsome postings at his blog

So, this is it. I'll post more soon.