Thursday, 19 May 2005

The blade gleams Silver as it flashes out of the deep shadow ...

An Ennio Morricone~Dario Argento Trilogy
Morricone, Ennio
Price: $16.95
Audio CD
Product Description
Includes music from: "The Bird with the Crystal Plumage", "The Cat O' Nine Tailes" [sic], "Four Flies on Grey Velvet" and an Interview between Dario Argento, the Maestro of Horror, and Claudio Fuinao about the trilogy.
16 Track total (Including Interview)

Footlight Store: 113 East 12th St. NY, NY 10003 ( )

Welcome to A Fistful of Dario: The Dark Cinema of Dario Argento, my tribute/homage web page

Cinequest Tribute - Dario Argento: Master of the Macabre

Alan Jones, International Film Journalist
Dario Argento
(Alan reports all things Argento related on the Dario website
run by Nick Dawe)

Dario Argento: Master of Horror

Dario Argento: Master of the Macabre
Quentin Tarantino adores him. Clive Barker wants to be him. And John Carpenter directed 'Halloween' in homage to his work.

Master of Colors

Wednesday, 18 May 2005

Schapelle - Not Only in America

We all used to say "only in America".
There was a story linked to the particle (April 14, 2005) involving a camel suit which an airport baggage-handler took out of a travellers' bag and wore out on the tarmac. (Tho' this didn't wear it out. <g>)

It was about a young woman in a group travelling from Australia to Bali in whose unlocked bulky sports bag a large bag of marijuana was found. This is a capital (firing squad) offence in Indonesia. She is claiming it was -- unknown to her -- put into her bag as part of an ongoing arrangment to smuggle goods between domestic airports, and that it had missed being taken out. There is at least one report of a man who phoned the consul in Bali having found a bag of grass in his luggage on arrival at his hotel and being advised to quickly dispose of it and not report it.

The whole thing has blown up into an incredible scene, rather along the lines of The Big Carnival (aka Ace in the Hole). Maybe it could be pitched as "OJ Case meets Elian on the Midnight Express"? It has ramified into some serious matters involving home affairs (like the extent of corruption in airport staff, with a cocaine smuggling ring just arrested and many passengers reporting they lost valuables from their cases in transit), international incidents (e.g., interfering in overseas criminal trials, death threats to Indonesian diplomats in Australia, groups at the court picketing in favour of the death sentence), websites, petitions, T-shirts, songs being written, etc, etc, while a rich businessman has taken up her cause. The judicial systems are fairly different so there's a lot of room for confusion, and also the rules about the kind of media coverage and the legality of commenting on sub judice cases seems closer to the US free-for-all than the usual Australian restrictions. It just goes on ... (This is the latest Schapelle Corby)

And for all the non-usians out there who get slightly irritated by references to obscure US personalities, here's 100 Aussie names you can throw around to confuse them (I've heard of nearly all of them, tho I don't know anything more than that about quite a few). Meanwhile usians & other non-Ozzies can make yourselves sound familiar with Oz affairs, if you so wish. Impress your friends! Break the ice at parties!! Readers' Digest Australian Trust Survey

Sunday, 15 May 2005

Crafty Stuff

Hehehe - I like the way humans work by rubbing stuff together until they get a spark:

More Disintermediation
Online Shopping - Buy All Our Products Directly from India - Free Shipping
for our International Buyers
We offer several payment options, accept all major currencies as payment modes and ship to all countries of the world. Should you face any difficulty in ordering, please feel free to send us an email.

A group of Bosnian refugee ladies who make socks, slippers and rugs in America. They survive on the income they make in knitting these things.

Yet another fibre alternative. Well, I could make a joke about fibbers, but it'd be nasty.
Banana Silk fibber yarn is made from the fibber of the banana tree. The fibber is refined, processed and skeined in Nepal by women. Banana trees are renewable, sustainable and produce environmentally friendly by-products. Only the decaying outer layers of the trees (aged bark) are harvested and soaked under water to quicken the natural process. When all of the chlorophyll structures are dissolved, the cellulose fibbers remain. They are extracted, washed and crushed by hand to make it suitable for spinning into banana yarn.
To make our banana fibber yarn vibrant, brilliant, and saturated with colour, the yarn is hand-dyed. Women's groups in Nepal carefully make each yarn skein. They come in 100 and 200 gram skeins. 200 grams contain about 135 yards. We currently offer 9 different colours of banana fibber yarn.

Thursday, 12 May 2005

Some Sydney Stuff; Good Example or Horrible Warning

Sydney from the air in the early 60's
31 May 2005
An aerial view of Sydney taken in the early '60s. With fly-pasts of Gladesville, the unfinished Opera House, Maroubra, Coogee and Bondi beaches, through to Watsons Bay and the North Shore.

Some Links to info on the Strand Arcade, Sydney, a restored 19th century retail site.

Catherine Aird
Pseudonym of Kinn Hamilton McIntosh. She was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. She is the creator of Inspector Sloan, CID department head in West Calleshire, England
Catherine Aird is the author of more than twenty crime novels and story collections, most of which feature Detective Chief Inspector C. D. Sloan. She holds an honorary M. A. from the University of Kent and was made an M.B.E. Her other works include Amendment of Life (St. Martin's Minotaur, 2003) and Little Knell (St. Martin's Minotaur, 2001). She lives in England.
His Burial Too
Ms. Aird's version of a "locked-room" mystery is an intriguing one. Her dry wit and intelligent writing make it an excellent example of thie genre. Not only that, but the book in its entirety takes place during the space of one day. It can't get much tighter than that. It all begins when an arm is seen amongst several tons of broken plaster in a locked church bell tower ... But its her characters that make the story so special - the enigmatic Sloane, the bumbling Sergeant Crosby and the colourful Superintendent Leeyes. Ms Aird is a master craftsman of the the cozy mystery formula.
Published Bantam; 1973 Reissue 1986 ISBN: 0553139495. 1st Bantam Printing

A collection of snarky literary criticism, comments, and fiction. Where else can you find Jean Baudrillard and cat snot in the same post? Nowhere, I'd bet.

Wednesday, 11 May 2005

Los Alamos blog & assorted links

Possibly amusing caption contest obsidian_wings/2005/04/contest.html

Free Online Graph/Grid Paper PDFs
Includes Dots (Like normal graph paper - but with dots instead of lines); Hexagonal; Celtic Knotwork Graph Paper [?!? Wow] ; Asymmetric (Asymmetric graph paper is typically used for knitting patterns. Knit stitches are wider than they are tall. You can set your own width to height ratio.) and Multi-Width.

Struggle for Atomic Facts

More Atomism

Blogs seem to be everywhere. But this one is unusual, in that the Los Alamos National Laboratory, isolated in the mountains of New Mexico, has a long history of maintaining the highest level of federal secrecy.

The blog ( went public in January and since then has registered more than 100,000 visits, with more than half a million pages viewed and more than 5,000 comments. Discussions run on a variety of topics, from the sanctity of retirement benefits to the likely identity of the next contractor who will run Los Alamos.

Since most messages are anonymous, there is no way to know how many laboratory employees contribute to the blog. Even so, from the sheer volume, detail and differing styles of the messages, the number is clearly many more than a handful. The language, often studded with obscure acronyms, suggests that the authors have a deep knowledge of the laboratory's exotic culture.

[Current news is about a death, see story at news/13584.html which details another nasty incident, recalling blog/Raspberry_Jam_Lost ]

: The LANL blog has been moved to its final resting place, at ~roberts/ lanl-the-real-story
LANS officially assumed the LANL contract June 1, 2006. This blog shuts down July 1.

Friday, June 30, 2006
Last Post
This is the last post to LANL, The Real Story . 869,847 visitors, 3,274,719 page views as of today.

This blog will remain on-line for some as yet undetermined period, but I have turned off the ability to comment on existing posts, and there will be no more submissions accepted. The Los Alamos Historical Society has requested that I burn a copy of the blog to DVD so that they could archive it, and I will do this. In addition, I may install a stand-alone version of the blog on computer at the Los Alamos Museum where visitors will be allowed to browse a "live" copy of LTRS, but not make any modifications to it.

Tuesday, 10 May 2005

By kayak from Germany to Australia

[Full story not included here - see at URLs.]
from the NSW Sea Kayaker Magazine Edition 50
Oskar Speck's Epic Journey From Germany to Australia
Reprinted with the kind permission of Australasian POST magazine
Incredible Journey
by Oskar Speck
As told to Duncan Thompson

Mr Oskar Spec, citizen of Hamburg, Germany, introduced the kayak to us in 1939.
He paddled it here — alone!

For seven years he paddled it, from Ulm on the Danube, to Australia, skirting the wrath of great seas and oceans, slipping from island to island, in a craft never designed for the sea.

That you did not hear of his arrival was either his fault nor yours.

For Speck chose a wrong period in world history for his amazing voyage — 30,000 miles in a frail frame-and-canvas canoe. For the kayak, the longest way round hugging the coastlines of the world is the only way home.

Germany was at peace (and in poverty) when Speck left Ulm in 1932.

Seven years later, in September 1939, he coaxed his kayak through the surf and on to the beach at Saibai, an island 60 or 70 miles north from Thursday Island. Officially, Saibai is Australia proper. At his bow, often smothered in the flying surf, fluttered the tiny Swastika which he had brought from Germany with him.

Three Australian police were waiting for him to berth his kayak. If this was the
German invasion, these cops could handle it. “Well done, feller!” they said, shaking his hand warmly. “You’ve made it — Germany to Australia in THAT. But now we’ve got a piece of bad news for you. You are an enemy alien. We are going to intern you.”

They did just that.

Speck went behind barbed wire at Tatura, Victoria ... Censorship clamped down on
the story of his voyage.

So that is why you have never heard of Oskar Speck.

Thursday, 5 May 2005

Bolkein & Beyond

From The Green Man:
Martins lopsided view of the film is that he thought was excellent but would have been so much better as a musical...
Pearson has taken some of the better parts and assembled a CD that he is counting on to make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. The said CD is entitled "The Unfinished Spelling Errors of Bolkien, being a three part musical synopsis of book and file LOTR."
It is a collection of songs, ( MP3 sample: and narrative (MP3 sample:

You can contact Martin Pearson by email on or by snail mail at
Martin Pearson
PO Box 2373
Richmond South 3121
It costs $40 for the double CD. That is in Australian dollars which is
probably about 75c US
[ahem - I think he means $AU1 is about $US0.75, not that $40 is. It has sometimes felt that way, tho'. The UK pound is still quite daunting.]

... and related to another book recently adapted for film:
The Hitchhiker's Guide to Douglas Adams
Friends and colleagues remember the man behind the Guide

[includes] "A much better tribute to Douglas is the new, final radio series ( based on the fourth and fifth Hitchhiker books. The reason those books don't work very well is because they were rushed so there is almost no editing. Douglas needed a good editor or producer to make his work really shine and what Dirk Maggs has done with these final eight scripts is extraordinary and exactly what an editor would have done with the books had there been time.'

(Art imitates Life imitates Art? Or should that be Life imitates Art imitates Life? An Eternal Golden Braid.) Another in the world of stranger-than-fiction obituaries. Operatic-exit-for-polisher-of-despots-sullied-images/ 2005/05/04/1115092565949.html 2005/05/04/1115092565949.html(Text-only)

Being Fractal

(See at a fine piece from an excellent site.)

... which brings me to:
Sierpinski Sieve
A fractal described by Sierpinski in 1915 and appearing in Italian art from the 13th century (Wolfram 2002, p. 43). It is also called the Sierpinski gasket or Sierpinski triangle ... Surprisingly, elementary cellular automaton rule 90 also produces the Sierpinski sieve (Wolfram 2002, p. 870).
Sierpinski Carpet
A fractal which is constructed analogously to the Sierpinski sieve, but using squares instead of triangles.

See also:
Lindenmayer System, Pascal's Triangle, Rule 90, Sierpinski Arrowhead Curve, Sierpinski Carpet, Tetrix

Wolfram, S. A New Kind of Science. Champaign, IL: Wolfram Media, pp. 870, 931-932, 2002.

Online banking fees for the five major Australian banks:
(This needs to be put into a table, sorry will have to wait)
Bank Account: Transaction; Inquiry; BPAY
ANZ Transact: nil; nil; nil
ANZ Access Advantage: nil; nil; nil
ANZ Equity Manager: nil; nil; nil
Commonwealth Streamline: 30c; nil; 30c
National Passbook: 20c; 20c; 20c
National Smart Access: nil; nil; nil
National Smart Direct: nil; nil; nil
National Tertiary Student: 20c; 20c; 20c
St George Freedom: nil; nil; nil
Westpac Classic: 25 cents; nil; 25 cents
Westpac Classic Plus: 25 cents; nil; 25 cents

Commonwealth's online transaction fee to rise to 50 cents on July 1.

Source: The Australian Consumers Association's

Cheering you up a bit, perhaps, this eBay store:
'Twas early in the morning upon the fifth of May
When seven police surrounded him as fast asleep he lay.
Bill Dargin he was chosen to shoot the outlaw dead
The troopers then fired madly, and filled him full of lead
They rolled him in a blanket and strapped him to his prad
And led him through the streets of Forbes to show the prize they had.
$nbsp;$nbsp;$nbsp;$nbsp;$nbsp;$nbsp;The Streets of Forbes

Wednesday, 4 May 2005

Some Kind of Courage

Sign-language interpreter told `the truth' on state TV about Ukraine's election
By Nora Boustany
The Washington Post
Posted May 1 2005

Dmytruk, 48, made sign language her vocation and today interprets for Ukraine's state-run television.
Her face and hands appear in a little box at the bottom of the screen as she sends out the news on the mid-morning and early afternoon telecasts to the hearing-impaired.
During the tense days of Ukraine's presidential elections last year, Dmytruk staged a silent but bold protest, informing deaf Ukrainians that official results from the Nov. 21 runoff were fraudulent.
Her act of courage further emboldened protests that grew until a new election was held and the opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, was declared the winner.
... "After every broadcast I had to render in sign language, I felt dirty. I wanted to wash my hands."
The opposition had no access to the state-run media, but Dmytruk was in a special position as a television interpreter to get their message out.
On Nov. 25, she walked into her studio for the 11 a.m. broadcast ... The newscaster read the officially scripted text about the results of the election, and Dmytruk signed along. But then, ... In her own daring protest, she signed: "I am addressing everybody who is deaf in the Ukraine. Our president is Victor Yushchenko. Do not trust the results of the central election committee. They are all lies. ... And I am very ashamed to translate such lies to you. Maybe you will see me again," she concluded, hinting at what fate might await her. She then continued signing the rest of officially scripted news.

Monday, 2 May 2005

The Zen of Computers

A classic collection for possible use in a sig-file, rotating blog header, or something similar.
In Japan, they have replaced the impersonal and unhelpful Microsoft error messages with their own Japanese haiku poetry, each only 17 syllables, 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, 5 in the third.

Your file was so big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

The Web site you seek
Can not be located but
Countless more exist.

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

ABORTED effort:
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.

Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

First snow, then silence.
This thousand dollar screen dies
So beautifully.

With searching comes loss
And the presence of absence:
"My Novel" not found.

The Tao that is seen
Is not the true Tao - until
You bring fresh toner.

Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.

A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.

You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.

Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.

Having been erased,
The document you're seeking
Must now be retyped.

Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.