Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The space between the stove and the cupboard

I was just making a tuna sandwich, straight from the can onto the bread, and talking with Christine, when a big oily chunk of tuna fell into that dark, narrow space between the stove and the cupboard. That space.

Dang it.

As I bent down and carefully reached my fingers into that narrow space and picked up the chunk, I felt Christine stop. I mean I felt Christine's being jerk to a stop. I wasn't looking in her direction, but I could feel a kind of frozen, prickly silence emanating from her.

I picked up the oily chunk, and turned and dropped it into the trash can. Christine immediately became a non-frozen person again, and said, "OH MY GOD I THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO EAT THAT!"

Christine knows her husband.

The dark space between the stove and the cupboard - it's too narrow for regular broom visits, and gets neglected - who wants to pull out the stove all the time to clean in there? - so with time it gets a serious kind of fetidly dirty. Eating food off the floor? Oh of course. All the time. I'm clumsy. But out of that space? No. Well maybe on the odd day, but not today.

But here's what I came to talk to you about today: There is a place in your head like the space between the stove and the cupboard. It is a dark place, a narrow place, a long neglected place, a fetid place. When you drop a chunk of oily tuna in that place in your head, and you bend down and pick it up, and you eat it—that's how songs are made.

Monday, April 7, 2014


The smileful and alluring Christine talks in her sleep on a fairly regular basis, and I, if I use my most dulcet tones, am sometimes able to join the conversation, with often humorous results.

My favorite part though is telling her softly, "You're so pretty," when she's in this sleepy dreambeing, which makes her pause and give an embarrassed little girl happygiggle.

Everybody should have their Id kissed and petted like this now and again. Asleep and not.

       Christine, Bateman's Bay, NSW, 2010.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Some stories, some of them among those we'd call "the best," are impossible to catch whole. You have to thrust quicker than, in mostly dark, with a stout blade and hope you strike, come back with a cut mess of bones, organ, fur, eye or teeth maybe, liquid stuff - different colors. Put it on a plate and serve it.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

One Comment on Mark Ames' Omidyar-Ukraine Story

Update I and II at end.


I can't be bothered right this second to do back story - so if you don't already know it, you won't get this post.

1. Mark Ames of Pando Daily wrote this (wild bit of speculation- and ugly innuendo-based) story.

2. Adam Colligan—who was involved in a Twitter conversation that is part of what Ames' story is based on—wrote a long reply to the piece in the article's comment section. I wanted to preserve it here.

The nut:
I think it would be advisable next time you want to pull out a statement or two to use as a jumping-off point for an elaborate claim about someone's journalistic integrity, you should take more time to put into practice your own journalistic skills and -- you know -- read what's in front of you.

The comment in its entirety, with bolded paragraph highlighting a somewhat deeper nut:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Song: "You Two Don't Make a Nice Couple"

Happy Valentine's Day:


You two don't make a nice couple
You two are not gonna last
You two are headed for trouble
I suggest you break up fast 
You two don't make a nice couple
You clash like bongos and plaid
I hate to burst your bubble
But seeing you makes me so sad 
A match made in heaven it's not
That arrow was not Cupid's shot
Some hunter perhaps
Who had had too much Pabst
You two the bullseye were not 
You two don't make a nice duo
You do-oh such terrible hurt
To those of us who still are hopeful
There's reason to mingle and flirt 
I know it's hard to admit
You want to believe it so much
It's no fun to be desperate
But you are, it's obvious 
A match made in heaven it's not
Two ships suffering dry rot
Some sailor has gone
And tied one on
He tied you two a slipknot 
Split up now while you're still friends
Enjoy one more night of free sex
Then let this sick fantasy end
Better luck with the next 
Cuz you two don't make a nice couple
You two are not gonna last
You two are headed for trouble
I suggest that you break up fast 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Song Draft: 'Blue Faces'

Just coming in the last couple of days. The chorus I am just in love with; verses are mumbled pre-shadows of what may or may not come; I hear spartan, smoky sax; bass, of course; maybe background vocals/wails/murmurs; Hammond organ? (why not!); and a much smarter lead guitar player (Jeff Stanley?).

Thank you for listening:

Chorus (I'm tuned down 1/2-step): Am - Bm - E7 - D7 - FM7 - E7 - Am - C - Dm - Am

Oh heck, I've got to include this video of Jeff (website) playing lead - taken by his brother, phtographer Peter Stanley.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Pretty Sure CNN's Twitter Account Has Been Hacked

Why do I say that?

Cuz this (click to enlargenate):

Link - which will no doubt be fixed soon - here.

Time right now: 10:04 AM Sydney time; 3:04 PM U.S. West Coast time.

Update: There were more.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Double Drummer Cicada

Holy cats:

Found this beauty at the tide pool here in Collaroy yesterday. It's Thopha saccata, the Double Drummer cicada, native only to a sliver of far eastern, primarily coastal New South Wales and Queensland. (Wikipedia page here.)

They're enormous:

A good deal larger than the cicadas I knew growing up in Buffalo, New York. (Or in Oregon.)

They're also loud. From
One of the loudest of all cicadas, the Double Drummer's high-pitched erratic whine sounds a bit like a bad bagpipe player. When populations are dense, these cicadas are almost unbearable to be near when they sing in unison.
Here's a good article on how cicadas produce their amazing sounds. And a video. And a recording.

In this photo, of our cicada's underside, and still on the subject of sound, you can see where the Double Drummer gets its name:

Do you see those reddish-brown sacs on either side of its abdomen? Those are the Double Drummer's "double drums," as it were. They're the two air sacs all cicadas have and use to amplify the sounds they produce, and while all cicadas have them, they are usually not as large and visible as they are on this variety—hence this one's name.

Also in that belly up photo, you can see the cicada's long, black, tubular mouthparts that it uses to pierce plants in order to feed:
The mouth parts of the cicada are enclosed in a long, thin, beak-like sheath. The sheath (labium) passes backwards from the lower surface of the head between the legs when the insect is not feeding. It contains four fine, needle-like stylets used in feeding.
(Just to note, this cicada appears to have had its butt end eaten off. They normally have a nice pointy end, as seen in the images provided in the links above.)

An interesting note about the Double Drummer, from the link above:
The Double Drummer seems to have a tendency to fly out to sea. Thousands of individuals have been reported as far as 8 km offshore. Their bodies are sometimes washed up on beaches. 
Which may be why I found this guy in the tide pools.

All in all a beautiful bug:

• Here's a good ABC article on Australia's many cicada species.

Note: Thanks to commenter honeyheights below for informing me that this is not a Black Prince cicada. Corrections made accordingly.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

New Song Draft

"Oh, Buffalo."

Used my Mac, and PhotoBooth to get this, and while it's fine on PhotoBooth, during the transfer the video and audio went slightly out of sync. Which drives me nuts. But I redid it three times and I'm not doing it again.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Egg Reside Dried in Stainless Steel Bowl, 11-13

Egss were mixed in a stainless steel bowl. [I had originally written that it was aluminum. Because I'm an idiot, as my wife was happy to point out.] The residue remained in the bowl for twenty-four hours or so. It did this. I do not know why it did this.

A few more:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013



I invented this soup yesterday. It surprised me - and even surprised (the famously fussy) Christine! Give it a go! 

Rating: A +++ This makes a thin-brothed soup with just the right amount of cinnamony sweetness—meaning not too much—combining perfectly with the savory zestiness produced by the tomato, leek, garlic, and cumin, all of this going smashingly well with the carrot pieces. Just very, very good.

Ingredients (for 2)

2 fat cloves garlic
1 fat bunch green onions
1 fat leek
1 big fat carrot
2 tomatoes
1 small carton vegetable stock
Balsamic vinegar
Soy sauce


Heat a few tablespoons of good olive oil in soup pot - good and hot

Chop garlic into very tiny pieces

Chop green onions into smallish pieces, well up into the green

Slice leek into thin slices

Add the above to very hot oil in pot, stir a bit

Chop carrot into big fat pieces

When the garlic, onions, and leek have gone a good bit soft, add carrot chunks, stir

Slice tomatoes into medium size pieces

When carrot has cooked some - 3 to 5 minutes or so - add tomato to pot, stir

Add a healthy splash of vinegar

Add a bit of soy sauce

Throw a good dash of cumin in

Throw a bit of cinnamon in, stir, stir, stir: you are going to want to be able to taste the cinnamon properly, so do not be shy - but don't go crazy, as too much cinnamon = very bad

Slowly add vegetable stock - keep pot noisy and sizzling/bubbling - stirring as you do

Turn heat down and let it cook for a while - and here's an important note: you want the carrots to be pretty firm, but you want them to have soaked up all the goodness of the other ingredients! So use the carrots as a texture-taste tester timer!

Eat, then...victory! 

(We ate it with rice.)