Saturday, October 29, 2005

Springtime for Hitler

Tuesday night saw me going to see Mel Brooks Aussie version of "The Producers" at the Lyric theatre in Downtown Sydney. It was the last week of the Australian production and seats were sold out months ago.

I've been a fan of Brooks for some time and have wanted to see the movie for a while but it wasn't available on DVD downunder. Now it is.... so I'll suppose I'll have to get it someday. I have a copy of the book, the 2,000 year old man and saw Blazing Saddles more times than I can remember. Get Smart is one of my favourite TV shows using a lot of the old vaudeville gags and bringing them to the small screen.

There was also a Canadian friend of mine who outlined the story for me and sang a few bars of "Spring time for Hitler in Germany, Winter for Poland and France." which on the surface sounds a little sinister but when you know the full story it is hilarious.I was sold.

Veteran Aussie showman Reg Livermore played Max Bialistock and stole the show, Tom Burlinson played Bloom and stole the show, Tony Sheldon played the gay director Roger deBris and stole the show, his assistant Carmen Ghia played by Grant Piro stole the show, , Bert Newton playing Franz Liebkind stole the show and the wonderful Chloe Dallimore playing Ulla was also a show stealer. What a cast! I actually read a few reviews and all the above actors are said to have "Stolen the show."..... which says something about the casting agents I suppose, it's the best ensemble I've seen since a Tarantino movie. Brooks actually cast Livermore and Burlinson, and what a great choice they were.

Just a note for the Aussies, Bert Newton (who is sort of similar to Johnny Carson down here) was unrecognizable as "Bert", he was that good. He WAS Franz Liebman the Nazi sympathiser, sitting on his roof with his pigeons sporting swastika armbands.

The songs were outrageous, the song and dance numbers including a German finale, complete with frauliens parading down glittering stairs with giant bratwursts, beer-steins and pretzels...... high kicking SS brownshirts and an ice blond baritone singing "Springtime for Hitler" were over the top. A camp Hitler shrugging and mincing around suggestively makes one believe that laughter sometimes is the best weapon against despots. Along the same lines I saw a doco on Charlie chaplin with a few clips from his fil "The Great Dictator" which used a similar theme.

An ensemble of "grannies" tap dancing with walking frames was clever.

Too many highlights to list.

It was a fabulous show and no doubt will be a feature musical of amateur companies for years to come. And in true showbiz fashion Brooks sells the schtick, "Most awarded show ever!"

I'm wondering when a similar show about the current Bush clan will surface?

Sydney Harbour Bridge at Night Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Centrepoint Eclipse Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 24, 2005

Hotter than Satan's Underpants.

Hot as hell Posted by Picasa

One of the MAJOR problems I had with my old wisdom teeth was that if ever I had some seriously hot chilli, my now long gone wisdom teeth would be in pain for some time afterwards. (We're talking hours here) The capsaicin molecules from the chillies decided to recact with some rather tender nerves. It was getting so bad, that even mild capsaicin foods such as tomato sauce (ketchup) were reacting with them.

As one woman told me, "Toothaches are worse than labour pain.", so introducing chilli like chemicals to the area was just plain DUMB. My diet became blander as I went cold turkey on my regular chilli fix.

So the chilli took a break for a bit. Occasionally I forgot..... then last week I came across the above Chilli Sauce from an Indonesian woman at work. Cap Ibu Jari Jempol, I had a little bit........... deciding to put up with a mild bit of pain. I promptly ordered a bottle from her and tried it out today.

It was superb, my eyes were streaming, my nose ran, my mouth was on fire and the red hot Indonesian mixture warmed my belly. FANTASTIC! You can tell a true chilli head..... they're the one who get a little more food if there is any sauce left over.

I had a hunt around on the web for some other chilli sauces including Harry's sponsor Professor Phardtpounders Colon Cleaner Hot Sauce. And came across this site

It includes such sauces as Acid Rain, Anal Agony, Black Mamba, Satan's Blood Chilli Extract, etc etc

The best one isn't even a sauce but a vial of pure capsaicin powder, done up in a beautiful little bottle.

Never before offered - This Blair's collector's reserve bottle contains 16 million Scoville Units of Pure Capsicum. The tiny 1ml vial inside contains pure capsicum crystals, hottest element known to man. Nothing in the world could get hotter then this 16 Million Reserve. Be among the few to get one of these limited edition bottles. No more the 999 of Blair's 16 Million Reserve will be produced. Still don't think it's hot? Check out the 16 Million Reserve product review on

And a hint with chilli, if it gets too hot don't drink water. It doesn't dissolve the capsaicin molecules, they are insoluble in H2O. Try something with alcohol or fat (milk or a yogurt lassi) which will take those capsaicin things away in an alcohol or fat solution and leave your palate clear for the next wave of chilli.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Earley Edition Online

Earley Edition Online

No it's not a typo.... it's his name. I'll bookmark Mr Earley as time permits. His blog is sort of similar to mine...... but better. He's 10 years younger, photographs flowers instead of birds, is an actual journo (or journo to be) and blogs more than a couple of subjects a day and keeps them short (which is good blogging form.

Good stuff.

Industrial Relations Propaganda

I was reading Phil Gome's new home at Larvatus Prodeo this morning and he written an article pricing the current Australian Government's Industrial Relations advertising blitz $15 million dollars in two weeks..

That's a lot of moolah. Estimates are that it will blow out to $100 million all up, which works out to around $5 for every man, woman and child. A lot of dough, which is esentially political propaganda. It seems as if the Government needs to convince the population at large that those on the lower end of the scale are underpaid.

I'll get a photo of the current batch of enthralling ads a little later today. Again, it is using the tired but effective Howard spin of "Stronger and more secure". I don't think this one is going to be as easy as throwing $100 million to convince the hearts, minds and actions of Australians at large. But there again it could be as Phil Gomes puts it a "blunt instrument" used to bludgeon the Australian opinion to one of complete apathy over time. Familiarity breeds contempt.

Then there's this from the Australian Council of Trade Unions website which is a transcipt from one of the poor buggers appearing the advertising blitz. Apparently he thought he was doing a "Worksafe training video or something". Turns out he was paid $13 for his efforts and actors were in the majority of the shoot, he was bullshitted by his employer regarding the purpose of the filming. And turns out the employer ended up with a tidy little earner for his role in the Howard propaganda campaign.

Which is is how I kinda feel how this IR legislation is going to play out.The guys on the shop floor getting pittance and the owners of the business... cashing in.

EDIT UPDATE: I was listening to Chris and Craig on Triple J today and they came to the same conclusion. Apparently as of today 26th of October the Work Choices propaganda budget has blown out to $40 million, letting us know that this Industrial Relations legislation isn't really going to change anything. So the point is as they said, "Why spend 40 million telling us everything is still going to be the same?".

I smell a rat!

Here's the interview from the Nine Networks a current affair. Actors were paid up to $6000 for the filming of the Industrial Relations propaganda ads, this poor schmuck got $13 and hour for his efforts. Welcome to the brave new world of the Australian Workplace Agreement(AWA).

CAMERON - it annoys me the image is used without knowing what for as such - when it's going to be on TV every five minutes, every ad break, it's pretty full on
FROM ADS - "with work choices"
Voice Over - He's the star of a multi million dollar ad campaign... but Cameron Meadows says he had no idea..
FROM ADS - to find out the facts..
REPORTER - what did the boss tell you about all this?
CAMERON - he told me to get the work shop ready because there is a crew coming in to film stuff for work safe - but it isn't even, it's not work safe is it ?
FROM ADS - it's called workchoices
CAMERON - mates start calling saying you are on TV and I didn't even know it was going on to TV ..
REPORTER - so you had no idea it was going to be on television?
CAMERON - no not at all
REPORTER - did you know it was part of a government advertising campaign?
CAMERON - Nothing to do with the government - I thought it was a work safe video or something, yeah
VOICE OVER - These scenes were filmed at Calbah Industries in Melbourne where, until last week, Cameron worked as a welder.
CAMERON - four of us from work are in that shot there all the rest are actors
REPORTER - they are all actors?
CAMERON - they're all actors
REPORTER - and did you get paid?
CAMERON - 13 bucks I think I got for it
REPORTER - 13 bucks?
REPORTER - how do you work that out?
CAMERON - 2 hours overtime and then take tax out I ended up getting 13 bucks clear
REPORTER - 13 dollars for ..
CAMERON - For my face being all over the telly yeah..
REPORTER - how do you feel about it?
CAMERON - Oh a bit used
CHESTER - which ad ?
REPORTER - the ad?
CHESTER - the ads on telly, I've hardly seen any of them
VOICE OVER - Chester Baker is the boss at Calbah..
REPORTER - these guys thought it was work safety video ?
CHESTER - I thought it was a work safety video
DARREN - I just thought the government was full of it..
FROM AD - and for people working under awards your wages and specified conditions like penalty rates and long service leave will be protected by law
DARREN - we didn't get penalty rates, didn't get leave loading
VOICE OVER - Darren Byrne quit Calbah a month ago...
DARREN - and the award states you are entitled to penalty rates and I was full time there for 6 months and every hour I worked over 36 hours was just a flat rate
CAMERON - I've been there for nearly 3 years, just under 3 years, penalty rates, what are penalty rates ?
REPORTER - do you pay penalty rates?
CHESTER - I pay with my guys an agreed wage
VOICE OVER - Chester Baker says he pays his workers above the award ... but he won't say how much he was paid for the filming of the commercial..
CHESTER - if it's a good cause shouldn't we be doing this sort of thing for free
REPORTER - you didn't do it for free
CHESTER - no but shouldn't we
REPORTER - you did not do it for free
CHESTER - no I didn't, I didn't
DARREN -the boss cleaned up
REPORTER - do you know how much he got?
DARREN - I have heard a rumour
REPORTER - come on mate what is the rumour?
DARREN - apparently he got 2 and a half for location and another 5 grand on top of that
REPORTER - why did you leave the company?
CAMERON - nothing to do with the company at all really I just got offered a better position, more money and overtime rates, ha.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Shrub, Timber and Rust Posted by Picasa

Tractor Detail Posted by Picasa

Rusted Headlight and Engine Bay Posted by Picasa

Rusty Cabin Posted by Picasa

Old tow truck Posted by Picasa

Bells Line of Road 2 Posted by Picasa

Bells Line of road Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Only in America Dept.

Only in America? Posted by Picasa

Photo of a billboard snapped by The Angry Sicilian.

Is it for a born again Christian Car yard?. An ad for a Christian radio station or perhaps just some group who thought he'd spread the godly word?


It's for a guy called Thomas M Reynolds Congressman for the state of New York.

His old website is down...... go figure!

Bells Line of Road Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 17, 2005


You too can vote! Posted by Picasa

I've got a poll going and it has a bug and.....I'm outta time.

Will fix it shortly.

Edit: Fixed now. The results are posted once you vote. If you clear your cookies, you can vote MANY times and skew the results in whatever way you like. Come to think of it, the poll would work rather well in the USA elections........Consider it a pseudo-Diebold voting machine.

Once were warriors.

Galaga Posted by Picasa

In the late '90's, I had a copy of MAME which is an arcade game emulator where you can load up all your favourite arcade games and play them for free. Whilst I was recovering from the dental surgery, I decided to give it a crack again and see if I was still capable of handling the arcane dark arts required to piece the whole deal together.

A little history on MAME which I had fairly early on in the piece.

On December 24th, 1996, Nicola Salmoria began working on his single hardware emulators (for example Multi-Pac), which he merged into one program during January 1997. He named the accomplishment by the name of Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, or MAME for short (pronounced as the word 'maim' in English, other languages may differ).

The first official release was MAME 0.1, which was released on the evening of February 5th, 1997 (23:32 +0100). Using a modular and portable driver oriented architecture with an open source philosophy, it soon grew into immense proportions. The current version recognizes almost six thousand ROM sets. Because MAME releases happen whenever they are ready, at one point the wait between new versions was almost 4 months. To help the agony of the users, a public beta system was used, with a beta release happening every 2-3 weeks on an average. However, now the beta designation has been removed in favor of a good old 0.xx version number. Also a work-in-progress -page exists, if you really want to know the latest information.

Even though MAME allows people to enjoy the long-lost arcade games and even some newer ones, the main purpose of the project is to document the hardware (and software) of the arcade games. There are already many dead arcade boards, whose function has been brought to life in MAME. Being able to play the games is just a nice side-effect. The huge success of MAME would not be possible without the talent of the programmers who joined to form the MAME team. At the moment, there are about 100 people on the team, but there is a large number of contributors outside the team too. Aaron Giles is the current coordinator of the project.

It used to be the case that you loaded the basic MAME binary file and then added some applications over the top of it hopefully ending up with a slick windows operating system. There were conflicts, bugs and heartbreak all around as things that were supposed to match DIDN'T. If you managed that step, it was a case of locating the ROM (like a game cartidge) for the particular game. It took AGES to sort out the open source shamozzle out (one of the reasons I don't use Linux.... it's way too finicky).

Anyway, there's a ready to use version of MAME out there, WIN32 (seen here as which I located. It was then a matter of purchasing* some ROM files to load up on the emulator. Unzip the ROMS to the correct directory and in no time you're playing arcade games for FREE..... well sort of.

My particular favourite has been Galaga. Memories came flooding back of battling the upright arcade machine as it devoured my twenty cent pieces like candy in my teenage years. Galaga is particularly challenging and yet with a little practise you could make your twenty cent piece last the best part of an afternoon. The game starts off easily and then gets more challenging as you go along. The bombs increase in number and kamikazee dive bombers increase in their ferocity. Every three or so screens, you get a "Challenging Stage" where you try to shoot 40 out of 40 craft and get big bonuses (10,000)for getting them all.

There are techniques with Galaga. Newbies hide in the corner which is useful in the first couple of stages but doesn't work later on when the bombs rain down. There's the "Galaga shuffle" which more experienced users utilise, where you stay in one position and then quickly move away as the enemy craft drop bombs to the position where your gunship once was. There's the technique of letting your ship get captured early on so that you can capture it back and then have TWO guns for even more fire power. There is the bezerker technique and then there the "cool and reserved" technique, I tend for a bit of a mish-mash , staying in the middle to draw the enemy craft out, firing like a madman, the white of my eyes matching the crazy madman's laughter.

A friend and I have been having a "Galaga Challenge" over the past few days. I loaded her computer up with it and it has become a little bit of an obsession. Her kids approaching their teenage years have been bitten by the bug and can't believe that we had "Such cool games in the old days."!

The person with the highest score in the Galaga Challange is getting the kudos and the glory. Yesterday I got a text message on my cellphone.
91190....will i leave computer on 4 U 2 c?......HOT!!!

So I suppose I'll have to brush up on my skills....the gauntlet has been thrown down..... my best to date is around 61,000.

There are a couple of other games I've been playing, Moon Cresta, ( learnt whilst on a cricket camp at a ten-pin bowling alley when I was 12).... Bank Panic ( A western shoot em up quickdraw sorta thing... which I honed my skills on at an outback South Australian pub in my late teens) and one of my favourites which is more a strategy game QIX (Played at university).

Galaga I used to play when visiting a friend in a small country town, the raucous Galaga machine sat in the corner of a takeaway. He was a wizard getting regular 100,000 scores without raising a sweat. I become "average" after awhile. A LOT of my hard earned coin went through this thing.

My friend here, had the same recollections when I pulled up the Phoenix game. "I used to play that at the Northmead recreation centre when I was doing my athletics training.", she said..... and she diidn't even SEE the game, the SOUNDS brought back those memories.

Therein lies the mystique, these games tend to make you go through some sort of nostalgia, there seemed to be a sense of "happiness" whilst playing these things. Nostalgia IMHO is history viewed through rose coloured glasses, which necessarily isn't a bad thing.

Terrific fun.

*DISCLAIMER. The ROMS are copyrighted and therefore not to be downloaded, you have to purchase them. After all, the evil Taito and MIDWAY corporations having fleeced you as teenagers for your money all those years ago, reckon they're due for a double dose in your autumn years!

Red Browed Finch

Red Browed Finch Posted by Picasa

I finally got a decent photo of a Red Browed Finch. Difficult birds to photograph without a hide. This one was taken from my sliding glass door, the finch was sitting on my balconey rail.

The resolution isn't the best with this as I used the 10x zoom to the max, these small birds are rather flitty and nervous. Getting one to stand still can be difficult!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I look like this guy......

Godfather Posted by Picasa

I had my bottom impacted wisdom teeth removed yesterday, no more toothaches, just a swollen jaw on one side and no more dull thud on the other. It feels better already.

My dentist took one look at them and said "Oral Surgeon"..... a month later and the horrible things that were once my wisdom teeth are no longer residing in my skull.

I wasn't too worried about having them out, rather they were to be removed
using a "hypnotic sedative" which was going to take my memory of the whole thing away whilst at the same stage being conscious. The "taking the memory" aspect of the whole deal was something I wasn't 100% comfortable with.

That and it being introduced via an intravenous injection, needles I'm OK with but when they start sticking IV needles directly into veins I can tend to feint. Big guys tend to be rather woosey like this.

I was to take a "responsible adult" along with me as I WASN'T to drive home. Another one of the side effects of the sedative were that of "erotic hallucinations" which apparently have landed more than a few oral surgeons in trouble.... a witness was required to be present.

So, the oral surgeon was running a bit late due to "an emergency" which could have meant he slept in, or had a hangover or actually did have an emergency on his plate. I really wanted to get it over with. Surgery started at 12pm.....

I handed over the money for the removal of the wisdom teeth and proceeded to the dentist's chair. A male nurse took my blood pressure which was good, put a thing on my finger which detected my oxygen content 99% which was also good and measured my heart beat. I had a bit of fun raising and lowering my heart, they looked at the machine a couple of times in mild alarm as I varied it from 62 to 80 beats a minute.

A quick look at my x-rays and then a quick look down my mouth. I was then told the sedative was to be administered and I'd feel a scratch. A rather strange brightly coloured tourniquet was applied. It was similar to the white one here and was rather strange.

Then I felt the scratch, I gasped, then the surgeon applied some tape to hold down the IV tube, then I watched as the sedative was administered via syringe.

Then the torniquet was released, then I went BLANK.

I remember about four things

(1) A white cloth with an opening for my mouth being placed on my face
(2)Some tugging on tooth number one
(3)Some tugging on tooth number two
(4) A conversation about the male nurse's career moves.

Then I "woke up" despite being conscious.... or my memory sort of returned. It was 1pm and it felt like about 12:02 pm........ although an hour had passed. an hour of my life had disappeared!

I stood up out of the chair, then promptly plopped myself back down in it. I was then helped out and shambled out to the waiting room where "responsible adult" was waiting for me. My eyes were swollen red, my smile was from ear to ear and my steps were an almost stagger. Then with an ever so slow gait, responsible adult led me out the back door to the car. Responsible adult's theory was that the surgery staff didn't want to risk future patients fleeing in terror at the sight of what had been done to me. I was a stumbling mess like something out of a Boris Karloff movie from the 30's a couple of bolts through the neck would have suited me admirably.

I proceeded to the driver's side of the car and in some confusion was led gently to the other side. In a state of incoherence I sat in the seat and attempted to fit the seat belt which I did manage to figure out after a few attempts.

Then I started babbling and babbling and babbling.

I described to reponsible adult how I felt and what I could remember about the operation. I described to reponsible adult how they used a brightly coloured torniquet, I described how I felt EXACTLY the same as before the operation and in all probablity was probably aware enough to drive....... but it probably wouldn't be a good idea. How my lips felt numb, how my whole FACE felt numb, the colour of the walls and most of all how GOOD I felt.

Apparently I continued reiterating and repeating these highly intelligent pieces of observation incoherently for around fifteen minutes as we drove up the mountains towards home, responsible adult laughing all the way. I thought the laughter was at my highly witty and intelligent discourse but apparently it was directed at my resemblance to responsible adult's cockatiel parrot. I can't remember the trip back except for a quick stop at the chemist(drug store) to get some codeine, antibiotics and peroxide. I asked for some ice-cream and proceeded to dribble most of it down my shirt via numbed lips.

Next thing I knew I was on the couch and the ice cream was in the freezer. Responsible adult then went up to the store for groceries. I thought in the meantime, it would be a good idea to boil up some potatoes while I was alone. I had forgotten the "DO NOT COOK" directive on the "Things you should not do 24 hours after sedative surgey" fact-sheet.

Sharp knives, tungsten potato peelers and boiling water were thrown about with reckless and carefree abandon. Responsible adult returned half an hour later to a rather happy patient half asleep on the couch, a variety of cutting utensils spread about the kitchen and a pot of boiling potatoes on the stove.

My first post-op meal was that of the pie floater, a rather delicious South Australian delicacy made by placing a meat pie upside down in thick pea soup until it is soggy and covering it with tomato sauce (ketchup). It was soft and soggy just as the doctor ordered. Some ended up in my mouth and some on my shirt.

The rest of the night was a bit of a blur, time had become distorted.

This morning I woke up and inspected the surgeons work. A multitude of stitches and two gaping holes where the rogue wisdom teeth once resided. My jaw has swollen out like Brando's, the codeine has taken the edge off the pain leaving a dull thud, it hurts but it's a GOOD hurt, the area feels much better.

I can only remember a bit of the surgery taking place and can't remember much of yesterday. Most of the post op experience was related to me via responsible adult who regarded the whole ordeal as highly amusing. I can't believe I actually thought I could drive..... which is still a bit of a worry.

I wonder if you can get six-packs of that sedative stuff?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Where to attack next?

Where to attack next Posted by Picasa

The satirical CNNN team from Australia hit the streets of the USA and posed the question, "Who should the USA attack next?"

Respondents were then asked to place a pin where the country was located on the globe. It didn't help that Australia was marked as "Iran".

via Signs of the Times

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I'm looking for a word.

I'm looking for a single word that describes a person behind the scenes who runs things, whilst another is SEEN or BELIEVED to be doing the leadership thing. I can't recall a word for this and fruitless searches on the god-that-is-Google hasn't come up with anything.

Puppeteer or "master of puppets" could be one...... but I think I can do better, "wizard behind the curtain" and "working behind the scenes" are a couple of phrases. But I'm yet to remember yet alone find a single word to describe such a person.

Any ideas?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Tetricus goes a protesting

Tetricus goes a protesting Posted by Picasa

Tetricus at the Angry Sicilian has taken a slew of photos at the recent DC peace rally. He didn't get arrested but had his credit card magnetic strips wiped through the airport security systems.

Young people protesting along with some older folks...... I've got a sort of warm and fuzzy feeling.

Skip Williamson

Skip Williamson.... doesn't he look so Californian?  Posted by Picasa

Skip sent me an email which originally I thought was spam but on closer inspection appears to be kosher. I went around and took a look at his website, he may have picked up on mine after I did a piece on Robert Crumb. So I emailed him back letting him know I'd link upon my return.

I can't copy and paste any of his comments as it appears his pages are one great big long gif file..... weird. You'll need a thick broadband pipeline to appreciate this.

Anyway take a look, he's got some great artwork and a couple of interesting articles from his time as an illustrator during the hedonistic 70's.


Bourbonbird is defeated by the IKEA shelving unit from hell.

Good luck Rinna!

Mopping Up

Sleepy's sister's bistro in New Orleans Posted by Picasa

Sometimes via the wonders of the blogosphere you come across someone who knows someone who can give you a story from a hotspot about whats REALLY happening.

Sleepy's (who was once a good ol' Noo Orleeans boy) sister owns a New Orleans bistro Cafe Degas and has some photos of the flood damage.

It looks manageable, although I'm thinking "electrical damage". And it also looks as if those "looters" missed all that fine wine behind the bar!

Bar Posted by Picasa