The Time Has Come (the Walrus said) Archives

Not good enough

To recall why this series is here, go to this original post.

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Who says those Germans are a boring stodgy lot? Not I, when you can have a NAKED WOMAN EXPOSING HERSELF right next to the Emporers grave. Yep, that’s right next to Alexander The Great, and right on top of where his wife is buried. The fact that they didn’t get on is by the by.

Wicked, salacious stuff. Good enough for a German Emporer. Not good enough for Tea Tree Gully.

More bushfires

From a couple of replies to this post about my prediction for the outcomes of the Victorian Bushfires… I started to comment and then decided to turn it into a post.

So firstly, I’m not asking for agreement from anybody. I’m merely making a prediction. We’ll see how it turns out.

Regardless of what readers THINK: Fuel reduction burning does make a difference. It does not prevent bushfires but there is evidence from many studies to show that it leads to a smaller, cooler fire which does less damage and has a faster recovery.

As for the comment about councils butting out. I have some sympathy for the ieda of owning the trees and doing what I like. Where I live I’ve planted hundreds of trees. When I came here it was totally bare – everything here I planted – usually with a damn crowbar to dig the hole. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll cut them down if I want to and councils with significant-tree legislation can go jump.

However, getting councils to complete;y butt-out is not always a solution either. Sometimes they have a role in forcing idiots to clear junk away from their houses!

Here’s an idea:  mandatory house insurance. Instead of it being optional, you must have insurance, and if you don’t the council has the right to set your rates at (say) 10 times normal. The insurance industry would then police the risk and price policies accordingly – if you reduced your risk you get a better price. You can just imagine the insurance companies would have a few guys out doing an actual property inspection before the price was set! A nice market solution with incentives all round.

Right now there is little incentive for a home owner to do anything, the fire events are few and far between. When the devastation comes the loss is huge and may or may not be covered by insurance. A regular jag in the hip pocket on the other hand would force behaviour change by those who need it most. They can live in the bush if they want – so long as they pay according to their bahviour and choices.

Not good enough

To recall why this series is here, go to this original post.

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Strewth! if last weeks smut was not bad enough, another evil smutty NAKED PERSON IN A FOUNTAIN. This one was also good enough for Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. And today it’s good enough for paying guests in the hotel that is now in the Cecilienhof Palace. But not good enough for Tea Tree Gully.

A bushfire prediction

As the dust settles on the Victorian bushfires – for now – I offer this prediction.

This is based on long observation, old memories of the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires in South Australia, the later bushfires that began in the Adelaide Hills Stirling dump, and some of the newspaper reports now coming out.

Specifically, three reports:

- One from an expert on fires and fuel loads, who says that what happened is inevitable because of a refusal by both authorisities (local councils / shires) and people to do controlled fuel-reduction burns

- One about some people who were FINED for clearing scrub from around their house. Who then spent $100K on legal fees to eventually win against their council (who had fined them). Their house survived.

- And one about councils / shires in bushfire prone areas who encourage home owners to plant natives close to their houses.

So here are the predictions:

The Royal Commission will run for about 2 years, and hear much emotional and anguished evidence from many people.

Many experts and tree huggers will pontificate.

Greenies will claim that fuel reduction burning is bad / destroys habitat / hurts animals / damages trees / smells bad / is too difficult.

All of the old, old, well established and practical research and advice about fuel reduction (cool burning) will be dragged out AGAIN.

Many arsonists will be blamed for many of the ills.

The Royal Commission will eventually find that the land management practices of the shires involved were negligent, because of insufficient fuel reduction, poor building standards, poor enforcement of building standards, and in some cases just downrigh stupid practices.

Following this, the legal action will begin. This will run for another 2 to 3 years.

This will take the form of a class action lawsuit brought against the shire in question, which will be bankrupted in order to pay the damages awarded.

The shire / council will collapse and be forced to merge with another adjacent shire/council.

The people on the shire/council which caused the damage, due to their silly, ignorant or uninformed views, will escape with damaged repuations but no personal liability or damages award against them (such being the nature of corporate vs personal responsibility.

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Sound far fetched?

This is the way it’s played out in South Australia several times. Short memories abound.

Warning: Carob is NOT Chocolate

Some of you might be aware that, in a fit of craziness, I started writing an occasional review of chocolate, for Chocablog.

The other day I found some Carob, and though it would be a neat idea to try it and review it.

The editor rejected me!

‘You know the rules’, he said. ‘It has to be chocolate.’

‘Well’, says I, ‘the purveyors of all things Carob claim it is a chocolate substitute, doesn’t that count?’.

‘You know the rules’, said the editor. ‘Publish it on your own blog instead.’

He’s a tough master, our editor.

So here it is.

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Us chocabloggers take our jobs (our calling) very seriously. And every now and again, in the name of science and research, some of us have to take a hit for the whole team.

And so its was, with excitement and trepidation, I found a Carob block the other day. I know, I know, Carob is not chocolate.

But Carob is touted as a chocolate substitute, it seems mainly by those with health, moral, ethical or some other objections to the Real Thing. I’ve been reliably informed that Vegans like Carob because it contains no animal products. Which is bizarre because the only animal product I know of in chocolate is milk, and dark chocolate rarely has any of that. On that the other hand, this Carob block contains “milk solids”. Go figure.

The last time I tried any Carob must be 10 or 15 years ago, and my memories of it were that it was OK but nothing special. Time and technology having moved on, I was quite looking forward to trying this.

So last night I broke open the very simple clear plastic packaging.

The first thing I noticed was the strange feel to it. The surface looks just like a light milk-chocolate, but the feel is slightly greasy / oily. Strange. Perhaps it’s the palm kernel oil that goes into it.

I suppose I should have been warned when it claims “Goodness in every bite”, because from there, things just got worse. Palm Kernal oil notwithstanding.

The mouth-feel is all wrong. There is little melting, it needs to be chewed. The feel is gritty / grainy, as though this is a fine powder suspended in something – which it probably is. The taste… well one of the reasons for trying this was the ginger. Which is there. Sort of.

The flavour, such as it is, is most unlike chocolate. By way of comparison… chocolate flavour (in general, it you let it melt) starts small, rises to a peak, and then gradually fades away. It’s a bit like a mountain. Carob, though, rises slowly and reaches a plateau. And it’s damn hard to make it go away. Eating a handful of dirt will give a similar flavour and mouth feel, but the taste will go away mercifully faster.

I’m really sorry to report that this was just awful. It was so bad I couldn’t manage the two pieces I’d tried – I had to rush off to the bathroom and spit it out, then have a big rinse, then clean teeth with lots of toothpaste. Even that could not remove the taste so a couple of squares of Cadbury Old Gold came to the rescue. Even the following morning, I still think I can taste it.

This review may offend the makers, and the lovers and defenders of Carob. Sorry. But I can’t even in desperation come close to recommend this.

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And a postscript: the neighbours say they like Carob, so we sent it in there. They swapped it for a bag of freshly dug spuds. The following day the informed us it was a lousy trade. We had to make up with a box of Ferrero Rocher.

Seriously – if you want Chocolate, eat chocolate. If you object to animal products, eat dark chocolate. But don’t eat Carob.

Humourless

The Queensland government is most unimpressed because a fake Osama Bin Laden applied for their tourism job.

The full YouTube application can be found here.

Hasn’t it occurred to the Queensland tourism minister? Say nothing and it will go away. Say anything and you get two outcomes:

1. You look like a prat with no sense of humour.
2. You keep the story alive for longer.

Then again, maybe they wanted the publicity.

Not good enough

To recall why this series is here, go to this original post.

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Eaw, ergghhh! There’s a naked form in my fountain!

Good enough for the leaders of the World War 2 Allies at the Cecilienhof Palace, but best off protecting those innocent Australians from smut like this. Not Good Enough for Tea Tree Gully.

Wreaked?!?!

You can wreak havoc.

But the past tense is WREAKED. Which sounds clumsy and horrible. And newsreaders and reporters seem to love using it.

So there I was getting all grumpy, writing a blog post the chastise their incorrect English usage, when I decided to actually check.

Grr!

Imagine my chagrin to find that the past tense of WREAK is in fact WREAKED.

WROUGHT, on the other hand is an archaic past tense of WORK.

In some cases, the thing that WREAKS HAVOC actually WORKS HAVOC, and so a past tense WROUGHT HAVOC is in fact correct. But generally, the past tense is WREAKED.

Which is still ugly sounding, and clumsy.

Donate

In spite of the levity in the post after this (which is scheduled in advance… the Wednesday “not good enough series” is prepared about a month in advance and just dribbles out)…

Following the devastation of the Victorian bushfires, I’d urge the few readers of this blog to please donate something – whatever small amount you can afford – to the Australian Red Cross. So far over 180 people confirmed dead, over 650 houses destroyed, and it’s not over yet. Whole towns are gone, families wiped out, terrible.

So far also, A$13 million in donations has been received. It won’t be enough.

Go here.

Please note that the Red Cross have been overwhelmed and their web site can’t handle the load. If at first you don’t succeed, please try again later.

Please remember for Australians, donations are tax deductible. If by chance anybody from overseas reads this – you can donate as well. It’s just a credit card debit in A$. You might struggle to get an address in but give it a try.

Blink, blink

Like bunnies caught in the headlights… today we have been able to venture outside, blinking in the cloudy day. The first time in 2 weeks where the temperature has been under 33 – and most of those 2 weeks we’ve had 37 to 46 degrees. I think there were two days under 37 (and above 30).

A consequence of the heat is the grapes have ripened a lot earlier than usual. I did a quick sugar test this morning from the poor, pathetic shrivelled things. If it’s possible to ferment out, this should yield a red with 16% alcohol. This is the highest sugar level EVER, and one of the earliest harvests.*

We picked today, a whole 6 1/2 buckets. A simlilar amount had to be dropped on the ground, or just left, because whole bunches are so dried there is no juice left to get. What we picked is now crushed and the juice is hard to find. The fermenter is under half full – and that includes the seeds, pulp and so on. The heat has taken its toll, the berries that looked good had very little juice in them either.

Still, we’ll get the ferment started soon, and might scrape in 4 to 6 bottles this year. In a more normal year, we would make somewhere around 30 bottles per row… this year I donated a row to the birds and a row for ourselves. So much for generosity to the birdies!

(The eye, by the way, seems to be just fine… and must be if I’m out picking grapes and making wine all day).

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* when the sugar level is too high, the little yeasties die before they can ferment all the sugar… the alcohol they make kills them. So making a wine with an alcohol level above about 14% to 15% is very difficult. A few winemakers can get up to about 16% or even a tiny bit higher, but it’s not the norm. So in this case, we’ll probably end up with a red of about 13% or 14% with some residual sweetness.

Cop an eye-full of that!

I’ve been having a jolly spiffing fun time the last few days. What started as a bloodshot and slightly sore eye on Tuesday night had developed to a throbbing, painful and very unpleasant time by Wednesday morning. A trip to the local GP was in order.

The conclusion from this was that I had an ulcer on the eye – or more technically, a Corneal Ulcer. The causes are many and varied – anything from trauma (ie a scratch) to a bacterial, viral, or fungal (urgh!) infection. Corneal ulcers are one of the leading causes of blindness in the developing world.

The GP’s concern meant I’ve been off work for 3 days, spent most of 2 days bored out of my brain with one eye covered, had a swab taken to check for a viral infection – the most common being Herpes – in other words, a cold-sore on the eye. Which it did not turn out to be, but if it had been then an emergency trip to a specialist was in the planning. I’ve been going back to get it checked each day.

Fortunately. it’s been getting smaller each day, and by Sunday I should be off the eye ointment. Which is another exciting thing. Eye ointment. Whoever came up with the idea of that stuff? Truly hideous… why not drops? Of course, putting eye ointment in by oneself makes for an exciting time, usually resulting in great gobs of the stuff spread over half the face. And another thing – all the internal ducts and stuff are connected. After squirting eye ointment in, it runs through and you get the joy and bliss of tasting it for next 1/2 hour.

Not something I can recommend. If you get a choice, steer clear of eye ulcers.

Not good enough

To recall why this series is here, go to this original post.

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Whoa! Male genitalia! Call Kevin Rudd and scream about this causing child abuse!

Oops. Good enough for Berlin. Not Good Enough for Tea Tree Gully.

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