Thursday, December 31, 2009

 2010... bring it to birth....

Nachts, wenn Dracula erwacht.  To a young reader, the original story of Dracula was terrifying stuff. No lust was involved only sheer horror from this gothic tale written a hundred years ago by an Irishman, Bram Stoker.
Over the years the story has inspired film makers, the first,  Nosferatu, was directed by Mrs Stoker.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fox and fine feathers by Narelle Oliver.
Often a child's story book will 'get you in' and this one is a nice example. Zoom far into a dim rainforest and adjust the perceptions to spy on the secrets there. Be lured into the muted understory by the dense, intricate illustrations.
  The author has used linocuts, pencils and pastels to create the singular artwork for a tale about the ground-nesting birdlife and their forest habitat. A little drama reveals the antics and the characteristics of the birdlife while a fox is lurking nearby ready for action.
  The artwork is realistic and full of character and the opus concludes with notes about the east coast rainforest and alludes to the European Red Fox as a big menace to native wildlife. 

Omnibus Books an imprint of Scholastic Australia Pty Ltd. First published in 2009. Fox and fine feathers by Narelle Oliver. Cover design: Peter Campbell, CampbellBarnett 2009.
Financil assistance from the Queensland Government.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wicked Camper. Laughing Kookaburra (feathered friend).
He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A bizarre Christmas decoration in Newcastle.
Nevertheless, it is a reminder that the orangutans could be extinct within fifty years and more about them can be seen tonight on the ABC1 TV  when Joanne Lumley meets the amazing, cheeky orangutans in Borneo.
The animals are also found in North Sumatera, Indonesia, where some rescue services operate such as that beside the river at picturesque Bukit Lewang.
Loss of the animal's jungle playground and food source makes for insurmountable difficulties.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

White Christmas: Bing Crosby. Came across some old seventy-eights.
Decca record in a Brunswick 'sleeve' and the Road to Morocco photo

Monday, December 21, 2009

High achievement pays off. The University of Newcastle Chamber Choir conducted by Philip Matthias is simply the best and was heard in their first Christmas recital last night. Every song was notable and perhaps the earlier numbers were most worthy of comment but Christus est stella matutina, Alleluia was outstandingly beautifully done.
Over the decade the ambitious choir has won popular contests and awards and has toured overseas and the hubris must have spurred them on. The conductor is at the heart of their success I would think.

The best in any establishment has to come from the top, I've decided, be it group, institution or whatever. Not hierarchial yet still have influence from the top. Managers need to have some involvement in day to day core activities and lead the way in a practical manner. It means more than a mission statement. Staff are professionals often times, yet can still be led to aspire to be competent, yea, even to excel.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Direct Action dried up the metaphorical 'river' of coal flowing to the world's largest coal export port of Newcastle, all this morning when protestors took a stand in front and on top of the coal train near Sandgate.
A protest,  Time For Action, according to the protest sign, was organized by Rising Tide.
You could have done something great 

I hardly ever dream of a White Christmas!
Newcastle Ocean Baths yesterday.

Sainthood is powering ahead for Mary MacKillop and will be a first for this country.
In North Sydney, a chapel with her tomb has become a centre dedicated to her cause. A pink rose bearing her name was among the merchandising in an area set aside for a museum, cafe and shop.
Another glimps into the life of the Sisters of Saint Joseph is lighthearted and depicts them as a musical trio.

In the Hunter valley, the 'brown' sisters of Saint Joseph (of Mary MacKillop) were probably less numerous than the Lochinvar Sisters of Saint Joseph who had grown along different lines from after their shared beginnings as I understand.

Did the 'brown' sisters run schools that were achievement 'driven' which I heard was very important in some schools. Achievement and high expectations are hard wired in many people but it is not an aspect that I recall about my schooling and hence continue to find it a confusing issue.

The entrance to the Museum and facilities.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

This is a great set of lights which to me stand out among the magical Christmas lights at Hunter Valley Gardens. Visit the link.
The gardens are in the commodified Hunter valley vineyard province where it is just possible to need to be reminded you are still in this country. It is all so 'nice' and generic. The H V gardens can validly boast  a quality product - traditional, establishment and conservative at that.
The gardens are part of the Roche group who are into business and commerce and up-market residential waterfront developments. Around here they have Tempus Two Winery, Harrigans Irish Pub and Morriset Mega Markets. Roche have moved on from the Nutrimetrics Organization, which was once theirs according to their web site.
Events happen in the vineyards and people travel some distance to attend. I had been thinking how closer easier options are found in the existing entertainment venues and wedding venues, handy to our homebase but the fashion is to bring that element of the expedition to our weddings, parties and anything.

Friday, December 18, 2009

'In the cactus'
Copenhagen Update on these sites:   Sbs Television World News Australia. 
Green tv video blog.
United Nations.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation Portal. 

Maison Desobry ....Maitre Biscuitier....The finest Belgium biscuits with character...more biscuits, in a biscuit tin, for Christmas!

Cactus lights from Hunter Valley Gardens

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tweedle Dum at the Mad hatters Tea Party. Who will get a fair share? Who will benefit from Copenhagen?
(Part of the quaint nursery rhyme circut after dark in the Hunter Gardens)

After the Climate Change Prayer Vigils in the Catholic church Tighes Hill.

Climate Action Newcastle has a site here.
We seek that wisdom will prevail at the Copenhagen Summit.
Church going could be seen as very retro behaviour. Only a real subversive would dare fly in the face of public opinion in that way!    

Nearly every tiny child in Newcastle saw the Wiggles in concert today at the Entertainment centre.
While they have a captive audience, to their credit, the Wiggles promote exercise and healthy eating in some of their action songs and the show is fast paced to suit the tiny tots and all that action in heat wave conditions, phew!  The sight of all those children was life affirming!
For the future, support wisdom about climate change.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The key staff in an organization are the cleaners!  These were on night shift at the building society. Research from the UK, finds that the CEOs are outdone by the cleaners. What's new? Even Obama is putting pressure on the financial CEOs. What are his chances?

Sanitized consumers would be shocked by the book from Mary Ruebush: Why Dirt Is Good. 5 ways to make germs your friends. This writer is an American professional into immunology, infections and microbiology. Her thesis is that our immune system gets better and stronger the more it is used and needs exposure to dirt and germs from a young age.
Also, low level anti-bacterial products kill off  weak strains and an advance of potentially deadlier resistant bacteria is possible when our lives become awash with anti-bacterial commodities.
The more you use anti-bacterial soap, the more deadly the bacteria get and the less effective that soap is.
Hence, soap and water is the recommendation and wash the hands for 20 seconds. 

Copenhagen Update on these sites:   Sbs Television World News Australia. 
Green tv video blog.
United Nations.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation Portal. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Muster Point landmark, is a tribute to steel industry workers and has a cat and a pigeon at the window of the workshop.

The Rainbow Bridge Story, a piece from the RSPCA Animal Shelter is mailed to animal owners after the demise of their pet.  Outrageous schmalz but it brings a tear to the eye when the pet is your own.  
Save the tears and act now to foster conservation and halt the loss of endangered species.

A new water main is installed via lots of little excavations. Is cool clear water our most precious asset?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Newcastle Weekends: Dining or sailing at the Belmont Sailing Club.

                                                                                            Getting married.
                                                                                                                                                                          Choral singing.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Panda Bears, from China, once visited Sydney's Toronga Zoo now it is Adelaide's turn (for a long term stay). Our family was delighted to see all the animals at the zoo..
Conservation of nature - that's the challenge.
A sustainable, yet an enjoyable, lifestyle is a key to conservation.

Copenhagen UN Summit  COP 15
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Newcastle Ocean Baths had new lighting switched on last night and highlights the recent face-lift. It works well and is not 'over the top'.
Festive lighting is irresistible but now this use of energy is questioned by me, at least, energy saving (!) technology is best used. The baths themselves lie almost in eerie darkness and is its own sensation but not so good for the swimmer. 

Compare this to the flooding shown here last week. The baths were emptied for cleaning. Cleaning: that's only 'a lick and a promise'!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More biscuits for the silly season. Italian this time. Panettone is fairly well known and sold in festive boxes. It is not easy to find any significant Christmas food that is a tradition that began in Australia. So do we have the best from everywhere?

What's in the mystery package? Probably a conventional biscuit with a twist.  The surprise factor leads me to try out imported food products. It is not as though ours are inferior to the import, just a little different ....  Le Stelle erano molto distanti l'luna dall'altra ....e nonostante ciascuna si sforzasse....per brillare il piu possibile, non riuscivano ad illuminare nulla....... 

Shortbread is part of Christmas fare. From Scotland, check out the evocative tartan and hint of the highlands aimed to resonate with something deep even so this example looks more upmarket than is usual.
Home-made shortbread is very melt-in-the-mouth. Is true shortbread very-very 'short' and loaded with butter?  Or is it true as less short, lots of butter, but with more character, for example, with rice flour?

Along with tradition, isn't Scotland associated with innovation and edgy stuff?

Dreaming of an Aussie Christmas?  Christmas Bush.  Gum leaves. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Alice....Wonderland....Mad Hatter's Tea Party....Mad as a hatter about climate change issues.....Copenhagen Summit....

Copenhagen Update on these sites:   Sbs Television World News Australia. 
Green tv video blog.
United Nations.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation Portal. 

Pictured at Hunter Valley Gardens. 10/6 is the price of a hat. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Doctor's surgery I attend in the old CBD is nearby this scene. The Swine Flu (H1N1) vaccination is available and I can attest is painless and is free. Be prepared! - they say.
Also, a whooping cough (pertussis) booster is recommended (as a three in one) for adults in contact with newborns (and for other benefits).

Above, Wolf Street Newcastle in casual Street 'art' fantasy. The streets behind the old CBD are very steep.
The actual buildings on the right match each other. Amazing, considering it is unlikely they were ever owned by the same entity.
The corner building with the glass tiles has sat there seemingly very silent and inactive since the beginning of time but is it a vital link in communications?  David Jones Department Store side entrance is in the nearer building.

Copenhagen UN Summit  COP 15
Visit Show Your Vote via Google here

Visit Earth Hour and vote here 
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