Monday, February 21, 2011

Lorikeets on the Veranda

Sitting at my desk just now, a pair of lorikeets that have judged us easy marks (and who Christine has named Sadie and June) landed on the hand rail of the veranda, just some eight feet from me. One positioned itself directly in front of the open door, cocked its head sideways, one eye focused on me, and screeched. Several times. Loudly. It was, of course, rewarded for this obnoxiousness.

Here's the "Naming of the Lorkeets" video:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

America in Australia

Happy New Years Prawns

If you got it in your mind one day to enter the words "happy new year prawns" into the Google image machine, you would find that this most important and world-changing blog currently owns the first two entries.

I know this because my site meter tells me that someone in Israel googled "happy new years prawns" and ended up here. (It may be a euphemism. I do not know. I swear.)

Anyhoo, someone tell Sneezing Panda: I have conquered the internet. It is mine.

The Kangaroo Claw

This is a photo of a back paw of a kangaroo (via):

Friday, February 18, 2011

My First Blue Bottle Jellyfish Sting

So I was trying to catch beach worms the other day - more on that later - when Christine noticed the delicate tentacles of a dreaded blue bottle jellyfish around my legs.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Changing Middle East -> U.S.

It just occurred to me: If a good chunk of the Middle East makes a dramatic move toward democracy over the next few months or years, the U.S. is going to have to change dramatically, too.

Just saying.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Good god in heaven just listen to the sound of this first. Close your eyes and listen to the first seven seconds. Listen to the announcer shout the name, and go speechless, and listen to what they mean when they say a crowd "explodes." This is a moment that explains why there is such a thing as "sport."

Oh damn, they've taken the video down. You can see it here.

Update: Let's see how long this one lasts:

A few hours. Oh well.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I Should Have Bet on the Packers

Here's a photo of a beer cap from an Australian Carlton Draught beer I opened for the Super Bowl this morning in Sydney:

Here's what Christine found on its underside:


Floods, Cyclone, Now Fire

Perth is burning:

Hundreds of firefighters in Western Australia are working to try to bring under control fires that have been raging across Perth.

400 firefighters have been battling a number of blazes over the past 24 hours.

In the south eastern suburbs of Roleystone and Kelmscott, 35 homes have already been destroyed.

Good God, what's next? Toads?


Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Came to Australia for the Haggis

If you had heard for years and years tales of a dreadful dish made by a strange people far way and then one day you were offered the opportunity to actually taste the dish yourself, the very first time you brought a spoonful of the stuff toward your lips you would have visions of terrifying monsters clawing their way out of your bowels, making wicker baskets of your intestines. The dreadful dish could be called "ice cream": if you had never had it and had been told wicked tales about it, the first bite would be terrifying.

So it was with the haggis.

Friday, February 4, 2011

ABC Digital Dig Music: Joni Mitchell

I've got digital TV for the first time in my life. Lots to see - but very glitchy.  Perhaps just my system.

A cool thing is that they have digital radio channels. Just four or five, but one is ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) Dig Music. They're playing Joni Mitchell's "Chinese Cafe/Unchained Melody" right now. I approve.

Now playing  Pink Floyd "Keep Tallking." Too much.

My Personal Quest for a New Australian Word

So I'm in a local mall the other day when I asked Christine if we were going to the "newsie," short for newsagent—a shop that sells newspapers, magazines, candies, fishing licenses (so I found out) and assorted sundries.

She looked at me like I had just said something really stupid. In Bulgarian.

"It's a newsagent, it's not a "newsie." She said it just like that, all snotty.

Post Cyclone Yasi News has a very good rundown, town by town. Just a few:

Copped the worst of the cyclone as winds of 290km/h belted the town before it was inundated by a 5m storm surge. Up to 210 homes damaged. The town was isolated as fallen trees and debris blocked the road and cut off both sides of the highway.

No treated water or power. Shops in Herbert St sustained damage from wind gusts and the Herbert River peaked at 12m. Cut off as the Bruce Highway is closed by flooding on both sides.

The CBD was inundated by tidal surge. Waves up to 9.5m were recorded at The Strand. Power cut to 85,000 homes. Residents told to boil water after water treatment plan sustained damage.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Venomous Saltwater Catfish

Updated August 29, 2014, below. (Tips on how to treat getting stung.)

July, 2017: Six years later, people are still coming here to tell their saltwater catfish horror stories. (See comments.)


Came across this fella dead at the tide pools yesterday:

It was about 26 inches long. It looked like a catfish: you can clearly see the barbels around the mouth. I never knew there were saltwater catfish, but hey, what do I know?