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Vultures with wheels

….and you know what? I bet nobody else gives a shit! But that’s the beauty of a blog; I can write what the hell I like and libel laws aside, I will argue that point to the grave.

I don’t know what’s worse, these tossers (see below) for their inability to park correctly or me for actually giving a shit!

Every fucker used the PEDESTRIAN walkway as their own private parking space
Every fucker used the PEDESTRIAN walkway as their own private parking space
A neighbour passed away a little while ago and the scavengers were present in numbers to pick the bones of his estate. They showed scant respect for anyone else by obstructing the public footpath, preventing pedestrians from walking safely and by parking on resident’s lawns too! How inconsiderate can you get? Not much in my opinion. Does the ‘fair go’ laid back attitude extend so far as to allow neanderthals to act in such a manner?
I could almost accept parking like this from a woman
I could almost accept parking like this from a woman

Navigating a busy street with a push chair and four additional small ones is far from easy at the best of times but when you are forced into the road, instead of the relative safety of the sidewalk, it can be particularly dangerous. My children have no choice but to ride or walk in the road. Are you so fucking thoughtless that you simply park where you feel is ok for you? In a residential area? The mind boggles at the thoughtlessness of, it has to be said, the overwhelming majority of vultures who drove to scavage the leftovers.

Thankfully our suburban road is relatively peaceful and traffic free, other than the obvious aforementioned morons but their ignorant actions speak volumes for the laid back ‘fair go’ attitudes, synonimous with Aussies. If we were located on a more busy public road, the baseball bat would be getting up close and personal with a couple of dick head’s cages.

Aussie ‘fair go’ attitude? More like Aussie ‘couldn’t give a toss’ attitude.

Bloody Woolworths Homeshop!

How in God’s name can you be out of bloody frozen chooks? I mean, it’s not like you have to regularly order limited stock and promote rapid turnover to prevent the produce going fowl (did you see what I did there hmm?). It’s bloody frozen, it’ll keep for months. There really is no excuse to be short of frozen produce in my opinion.

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Safeway Homeshop is Crap….Really.

Online shopping works if it works, if you follow me. My point is that shopping online and having it delivered to my door, is a useful concept and one I’m sure is vital for many. Notwithstanding the obvious benefits to those unable to physically visit a supermarket, the very fact that this mundane chore is removed, is brilliant. Cup of tea in one hand, mouse in the other and not a single jobsworth checking your bags and pockets on your way out, what’s not to like about online shopping?

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Hem

– Australian noun

1. a cut of meat from the heavy-muscled part of a hog’s rear quarter, between hip and hock, usually cured.
2. that part of a hog’s hind leg.
3. the part of the leg back of the knee.

Chocolate-covered bacon & the heart-bursting butty

If there is one food that has the uncanny ability to improve virtually any dish, bacon is it. You only have to look at the humble burger to appreciate what I mean. Add a couple of slices of well-cooked bacon and you can probably justify a visit to Macca’s. A simple pizza takes on a whole other dimension with the introduction of sliced bacon and a BLT sans B is barely a satisfying brunch for a rabbit. Could you imagine a Caesar Salad without bacon or a full English breakfast missing a few slices or streaky porkness?

This incredibly versatile porcine product is practically perfect and probably impossible to better (apologies for the preponderance of p’s). Some might argue that chocolate tastes better but that’s down to personal taste and not a belief I share. One odd fact that might be surprising is that bacon and chocolate are perfect culinary partners.

If resistance to chocolate is a futile challenge and you find the company of a bacon butty titillates the taste buds, then chocolate-covered bacon will arouse the gastric juices of the most discerning gastronome.

Mmmm…..chocolate covered bacon.

With the sweetness of the chocolate (or bitter sweet if using darker chocolate), and the saltiness of the ‘just’ crispy bacon, this seemingly odd couple make a magical marriage.

Chocolate has long been combined with savoury dishes. It is traditionally used in Mexican ‘mole’ dishes and is particularly popular in Spanish Catalan food. The dark, rich flavours combine well with the gamey and more richer recipes.

In fact a small amount of chocolate can add depth and enhance many meals. If you decide to experiment, start with dark chocolate or cocoa powder in dishes such as chilli or spaghetti sauces. Melt a couple of blocks in with your roasting veggies, particularly carrot and parsnip.

For those of you who like to flirt with danger or even just flirt, why not try this artery-busting butty. Many may have already come across it before but without the addition of the chocolate. Often referred to as the ‘Elvis’ due to it’s most famous cholesterol casualty, Elvis Presley, this is probably about as close to Paradise as one can possibly get on Earth.

The ‘Elvis’ – aka the peanut butter, bacon, banana fried butty.

1. Add a knob of salty butter to a suitably sized frying pan on medium heat. Once the butter melts and begins to foam, add the white bread coating both sides with the molten butter until golden brown. You could kid yourself that substituting brown bread would be a healthier option but…

2. Crisp the bacon up in a separate frying pan. You might like to try honey-cured bacon. I personally have used olive oil. Remove and drain on kitchen towel.

3. Spread both slices of golden brown fried bread with crunchy peanut butter. Alternatively, spread one slice with peanut butter and the other with chocolate spread, unless of course you have a ready-made supply of chocolate-covered bacon.

4. Slice or mash up your banana and spread over one slice of fried bread. At this point you might wish to drizzle a little honey over.

5. Place your freshly fried bacon slices on top of the banana and top with the other slice of fried bread.

6. Eat straight away. Enjoy!

A veritable orgasm in your mouth, I think you’ll agree 

An arguably healthier alternative blandwich…

Disclaimer – I take no responsibility for burst arteries, exploding heart valves or indeed any other medical condition that could be attributed to using this recipe.

Boiled Eggs

How do you boil eggs? The answer to this is carefully. What we need to do first of all is memorise a few very important rules. Don’t ever boil eggs that have come straight from the refrigerator, because very cold eggs plunged straight into hot water are likely to crack. Always use a kitchen timer – trying to guess the timing or even remembering to look at your watch can be hazardous. Never over-boil eggs (you won’t if you have a timer) – this is the cardinal sin because the yolks will turn black and the texture will be like rubber. If the eggs are very fresh (less than four days old), allow an extra 30 seconds on each timing.

The perfect boiled egg?
The perfect boiled egg?

 

Always use a small saucepan – eggs with too much space to career about and crash into one another while they cook are likely to crack. Never have the water fast boiling; a gentle simmer is all they need. Remember that eggs have a pocket at their wide end where air collects and, during the boiling, pressure can build up and cause cracking. A simple way to deal with this is to make a pinprick in the rounded end of the shell, which will allow the steam to escape.

Soft-boiled eggs

Obviously, every single one of us has a personal preference as to precisely how we like our eggs cooked. Over the years I have found a method that is both simple and reliable, and the various timings set out here seem to accommodate all tastes. First of all have a small saucepan filled with enough simmering water to cover the eggs by about 1/2 inch (1 cm). Then quickly but gently lower the eggs into the water, one at a time, using a tablespoon. Now switch the timer on and give the eggs exactly 1 minute’s simmering time. Then remove the pan from the heat, put a lid on it and set the timer again, giving the following timings:

6 minutes will produce a soft, fairly liquid yolk and a white that is just set but still quite wobbly.
7 minutes will produce a firmer, more creamy yolk with a white that is competely set.

On the subject of eating soft-boiled eggs, I personally am willing to take the risk. As a general practice, though, it is not advisable to serve these to vulnerable groups, such as very young children, pregnant women, the elderly or anyone weakened by serious illness.

TIP – If you prefer to have the yolk sit more central within the white, gently stir the eggs for a minute or two once in the pan. This gentle spinning will center the yolk.

Welsh Firies Are Geeks Too!

More evidence that ‘the geek shall indeed inherit the Earth’, comes with the news that South Wales Fire & Rescue Service are using big boys toys in their efforts to tackle remote grass fires. With 5,500 emergency calls in one ten day period, the crews can use any help they can get. Assistance comes in the form of an eight-wheeled amphibious vehicle and a mini remote controlled ‘eye in the sky’.

Now, when it comes to rugby, us Welsh are currently the best in the Northern Hemisphere but when it comes to bush fires, the boys here at Bendigo CFA could surely show them a thing or two…

You can read the whole article here.

The Australian Pizza

It would be pure folly to even attempt to explain the train of thought which eventually led to the Australia-shaped pizza but it was fun, if only for me.

I needed an image that I could manipulate, particularly it’s size, without losing quality. I immediately assumed that this was a job for the indomitable Photoshop with which I have little skill and even less patience to learn and so I enquired on a number of graphics-related discussion fora.

Australia shaped pizza
A pizza shaped like Australia! Struth!

The initial response was “make your own” and unsurprisingly, “Pizza Hut” received an honorary mention but eventually, the more mature creative minds offered some useful advice regarding likely candidates and methods for accomplishing the task. However, I would prefer to shave my backside with a blunt, rusty razor and slide down an embankment of nettles on my arse than get to grips with Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro or Corel Draw and not just because I can’t be arsed but more due to the expense involved to use legitimate licensed software.

According to my research, none of the umpteen pizzerias in Bendigo do an Australia-shaped pizza. It would have been simpler to order, photograph and eat. So, even though I [rolleyes]’d at the original, seemingly unhelpful fora replies, I found myself actually making my own rustic pizza. I’m glad I did.

Pizza is incredibly simple to make and there’s no reason why everyone who likes pizza, shouldn’t be able to make their own. In fact, learning to DIY will not only save you money but you’ll appreciate them more as they taste so much nicer than their commercial cousins.

The Dough

2 Cups of plain flour (bread flour if you have it)

3/4 Cup of warm water

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp sugar

2 tbls olive oil

7/8 gms yeast (usually 1 packet)

Sauce and toppings of your choice

Add yeast to warm water.

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add water and yeast mix and the olive oil. Mix and knead into a ball until slightly sticky. Add more flour too sticky or water if too dry. Little olive oil wiped around the bottom part of the bowl. Drop ball of dough in, cover with cellophane wrap and leave somewhere warm to rise.

Once risen by about 50%, remove and flatten on a lightly floured surface. If you can flatten to about 3-5 mm by hand, great. My dough was so elastic that I struggled even with a rolling pin.

Top with the sauce and your preferred toppings. Bake at 2.20 fan assisted, higher for regular.

The result might not look particularly appetizing but my children loved it!

Now, don’t forget that this produced an edible pizza, ultimately for creating the Australia shape. What it certainly has done is inspire me to learn how to make a great pizza and in due course, I will be posting updates using new dough recipes, sauces and methods, while I experiment to find my favourite combo.

There are hundreds of dough variations and a confusing amount of cooking methods but before I even begin, I am going to guess that the winner will be the humble cheese and tomato Margarita. Second place will probably go to a slightly richer calzone with pepperoni.

This is what I am aiming for…

A great looking pizza
The perfect pizza base!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, stay tuned and I will share what I find.

Beware the Butcher of Bendigo

Bendigo dog owners are rightly outraged and more than a little disturbed with the knowledge that a sick, sociopathic miscreant is skulking in the shadows, ready to pounce on their beloved pets. The depraved thug is known to be responsible for the callous and brutal slaughter of at least a dozen local dogs including an entire litter of puppies which were bludgeoned to death.

If the thought of an animal serial killer on the loose does little to stir any compassion, take into consideration the very real links between animal and human violence. Many researchers have found that a history of animal violence indicates a high propensity for interpersonal violence. Put simply, those who abuse animals usually move on to human victims. That said, not all animal abusers become serial killers but most serial killers began their killing ‘career’ with animals.

One of the known warning signs of certain psychopathologies, including antisocial personality disorder, is a history of torturing pets and small animals. According to the New York Times:

“the FBI has found that a history of cruelty to animals is one of the traits that regularly appears in its computer records of serial rapists and murderers, and the standard diagnostic and treatment manual for psychiatric and emotional disorders lists cruelty to animals as a diagnostic criterion for conduct disorders.” and “A survey of psychiatric patients who had repeatedly tortured dogs and cats found all of them had high levels of aggression toward people as well.”

This is a commonly reproduced finding and for this reason, violence (including sexually oriented violence) towards animals, is considered a serious warning sign of potential serious violence towards humans. The following are a few examples:

  • Russell Weston Jr. tortured and killed 12 cats, by burning, cutting their tails, paws and ears off, put toxic chemicals in their eyes, blinding them, forcing them to eat poison, hanging them from trees; the noose loose enough to create a slow and painful death, as the cat/kitten struggles to free itself as the noose gets tighter with each attempt. Later killed 2 police officers at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
  • Jeffery Dahmer loved to dissect animals (he learned this in school). Later he dissected boys and kept their body parts in the refrigerator. He murdered 17 men.
  • Albert De Salvo, the Boston Strangler, would place a dog and cat in a crate with a partition between them. After starving the animals for several days, he would remove the partition and watch them kill each other. He raped and killed 13 women by strangulation. He would often pose the bodies in a shocking manner after their murders.
  • In 1998 in Springfield, Oregon 15-year-old Kip Kinkel set a live cat on fire and dragged the innocent creature through the main street of town. He walked into his high school cafeteria and opened fire on his classmates. Two classmates were killed and 22 others injured, four critically. Later that day, police found his parents shot to death in their home.
  • Edmund Emil Kemper III, who murdered his mother and 7 other women, was known to abuse cats and dogs.
  • Carol Edmund Cole, who murdered 35 people, admitted that his first violent act was strangling a puppy.
  • Eleven-year-old Andrew Golden and 13-year-old Mitchell Johnson tortured and killed dogs. A friend of Golden stated that he shoots dogs all the time with a .22. In 1998, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Golden and Johnson shot and killed four students and one teacher during a fire drill at their school.
  • Richard Allen Davis set numerous cats on fire. He killed all of Polly Klaus’ animals before abducting and murdering Polly Klaus, aged 12, from her bedroom.
  • The 10 year olds Robert Thompson and John Venables, who killed toddler Jamie Bulger had a history of violence towards animals.

Despite the historical recognition of the link between cruelty to animals and violence toward humans, law enforcement agencies, the courts, and social service agencies have, until recently, ignored the well established connection.

  • A survey of pet-owning families with substantiated child abuse and neglect found that animals were abused in 88 percent of homes where child physical abuse was present (DeViney, Dickert, & Lockwood, 1983).
  • A study of women seeking shelter at a safe house showed that 71 percent of those having pets affirmed that their partner had threatened, hurt or killed their companion animals, and 32 percent of mothers reported that their children had hurt or killed their pets (Ascione, 1998).
  • Still another study showed that violent offenders incarcerated in a maximum security prison were significantly more likely than non-violent offenders to have committed childhood acts of cruelty toward pets (Merz-Perez, Heide, & Silverman, 2001).
  • An English researcher found that 83% of families reported for animal abuse also had children listed at high risk of abuse or neglect.

There is also support for the hypothesis that cruelty to animals may be linked to other mental disorders. It can also be an indication that other forms of abuse are also occurring in the home, such as child or spousal abuse. If that wasn’t enough, Schedel-Stupperich (2001) state that some animal abuse incidences have a sexual connotation, and in general, the link between sadistic sexual acts with animals and sadistic practices with humans or lust murders is well known.

Some murderers tortured animals in their childhood, with some of them also practicing bestiality. Ressler et al. (1988) found that 36% of sexual murderers described themselves as having abused animals during childhood, with 46% of them reporting that they had abused animals during adolescence, and that 8 of their sample of 36 sexual murderers showed an interest in zoosexual acts.

So with this in mind, I wonder how Bendigo Police and the local authorities are treating this case? Given the limited intelligence associated with such depraved people, I wouldn’t expect the perpetrator to possess the ability to turn on and use a computer, let alone read this blog.

But should he (and I’m putting money on it being a ‘he’) somehow overcome these debilitating obstacles and find himself reading this……You are obviously deeply disturbed and I would strongly suggest you seek urgent psychiatric help before these cowardly acts escalate into a ‘career’ involving human victims, who incidentally, will most certainly fight back.

Aussie ski lift prices highest in world

Taking a family vacation to the mountains in order to sample the Winter sports on offer, is going to be an expensive choice this season. Skiing has never been the first choice for budget holiday-makers but Europeans should consider themselves fortunate with the price they pay for their lift passes considering the latest survey by the Australian Alpine Club.

Australian ski lift prices are now the highest in the world, according to an annual survey by the Australian Alpine Club. “The inconvenient truth is that Australian ski lift prices are now more expensive than those in even the most exclusive resorts in Europe and North America,” said Australian Alpine Club President Ian Farrow.

The full article can be found here. The World Lift Ticket Price Report 2008 does go some way to put this in perspective, as the above article doesn’t take into account numerous other factors.

Weeeee!
That's me that is!

Nevertheless, skiing is an expensive option in family vacations but should be tried at least once. If you catch the bug, you will certainly find ways to ensure regular trips to the mountains, whether you hock the family heirlooms, hock the children or simply and far less costly, leave your family at home.