Tags: nick possum

28 Apr 2006, Comments Off on Cucumbers and the art of Motorcycle maintenance

Cucumbers and the art of Motorcycle maintenance

Author: Helen

Nick Possum sent me a link:

Check out this crazy-mad Ukrainian girl’s website.
She’s into fast motorbikes and riding through Chernobyl. Also digging up relics from the vast grizzly WWII battlefields that she grew up amongst …
and visiting people in gaol.
Lots of great pics and downloadable movies.

Image from http://www.elenafilatova.com/
On the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, I find myself getting depressed that the push is on to sell yellowcake to China. I don’t much care, to be honest, whether the intended purpose is for nuclear weapons or “peaceful” purposes. To me, it makes little difference, because – sorry to quote myself, but I’m lazy-

U-235 has a half-life of approximately 700-713 million years
U-238 has a half-life of approximately 4 billion years plus.
Plutonium is relatively benign with a mere 24,000 years.

Compared with:

Roman empire: 5th century BC to 5th century AD: About 1000 years
Byzantine Empire: 4th century AD to 13th century AD: About 900 years
Mayan empire: 4th to 16th century: About 1200 years
Imperial China (from Qin dynasty): 3rd century to 20th century: About 1700 years
Kingdoms of ancient Egypt: (Click here for a breakdown) about 3100 BC to 4th century AD: 3500 years, and as with China, weíre cheating by including
multiple periods, kingdoms and dynasties, so these periods, while the longest, are hardly stable.
British empire: Approximately 1700 to 1980s/1990s: A mere 300 years, being generous

Compare and contrast:

Engineered systems which have remained completely error free (including transport accidents, terrorism and sabotage) for at least the span of the British empire (the shortest example above): 0

Anyway, Elena is considerably more fun:

It is hard to find mechanic who does not drink. Sometimes, when they repair your engine they leave tools inside. Once while adjusting valve clearance on his car, my neighbour discovered a rotting cucumber under the valve cover.
We were amazed. There is no other way for a vegetable to get inside an engine, unless it was bolted down in there by some drunken mechanic. Perhaps it was a misplaced snack – but better than leaving a beer bottle in compression chamber!

Now go here for a haunting photoessay on Chernobyl.

Safe riding, Elena.

12 Dec 2005, Comments Off on Sedition Stamp update

Sedition Stamp update

Author: Helen

Here’s an update of the Sedition stamp (in two sizes) now the anti-terrorism bill has been passed, courtesy of Nick Possum.



Nick would like you to use it wisely and often.

28 Nov 2005, Comments Off on Something from Nick Possum

Something from Nick Possum

Author: Helen

You might have noticed that in the previous post I was putting shit on Her Majesty’s government. This will soon be classed as sedition, and I will be preemptively put in the slammer. (I’m trying to imagine what Australia will look like once there are more people in jail than on the outside.)

You might have also noticed the very fine graphic. Here it is again:


The .gif is from Nick Possum of Werrong Lane, private eye and seditionist extraordinaire, who invites you and any other bloggers to nick it from this website and put it on your blog. Once the new “anti-terror” laws go through, as they will, he’ll put out a new one with “proposed” removed.

Here’s a smaller version, suitable for sidebars.


Put it on your seditious blogs now.

Update 29/11: Originals replaced with (even) sharper versions.

30 Aug 2004, Comments (0)

What I’m reading

Author: Helen

Warning: this goes back a while. If you demand up to dateness of your bloggers, you’ll be sadly disappointed here. It’s quality, quality I tell you (unless the so-bad-it’s-good element gets a look in}.

One of the high points of my blog reading in the last few months has been the return of Don Arthur. He has made his new blogger site look absolutely tasteful, something I never achieved. At the moment he’s gazumphed me by blogging a topic I was going to write about, damn him, which I still will do in my tardy and blogsluttish fashion, but I might cut a few corners by linking to his piece. He even uses the reference (to Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickeled and Dimed) which I was going to use. So did Terry Lane last sunday. There has to be a plot here somewhere.

Barista has come up with perhaps my Best Quote on the Internet for 2004 (2003 was Nick Possum), with this:

Confrontational journalism on teev often looks like an over-excited chook trying to argue with a lawnmower. There’s a lot of pecking but the machine just trundles back and forth, back and forth.

Or, at our place, an over-excited kelpie cross trying to argue with a lawnmower… Yes it’s the time of year where we get out in the garden, Irritate the Dog and Neglect Our Blog.

There’s no shortage of great quotes at Fafblog. Here is their attempt to answer the question: who has more rights, an “enemy combatant” in Guantanamo bay, or a Pepsi machine?

An enemy combatant in Guantanamo Bay is confined to a 2.4 by 1.8 meter wire mesh cell.
* A Pepsi machine is immobile.
* Advantage: Arab!
* An enemy combatant has the right to file a habeas corpus petition but no access to legal counsel to prepare those petitions.
* A Pepsi machine might have the legal right to file a habeas corpus petition if it were ever in some situation that yknow, required a Pepsi machine to file a habeas corpus petition. But it lacks the cognitive functions necessary to decide to file that petition.
* Advantage: Kind of a wash!

If you’re also a fan of Fafnir, the Medium Lobster, and Giblets, I suggest you read this post by Brad DeLong.

Meanwhile, back in Australia, the Governor-General has been frightening the kiddies, causing cows to give sour milk and hens to stop laying all over the colony with pictures like this. “There should be a warning on the masthead” (prolific commenter Glenn Condell).

Although interrupted by the pressure of work, such as a visit by the PM to announce an October 9 election, the G-G has also helped another blogger out with a bit of a plagiarism problem. (Girl fight! Girl fight!) I’m not above a bit of schadenfreude myself, and while I prefer the niceness of lefty bloggers, it’s satisfying when someone who badly needs it gets their arse thoroughly kicked. Only in a cyber-sense, of course.

Gianna has been on a roll, e.g. this corker of a post about the Tradesmen problem. You just can’t get good help these days. A question: if the roles had been reversed, would he have come out of it with a reputation as the pool guy – or the town bike? ah, the good ol’ double standard.

And… corblimey, Nick Possum’s employing a human.

And that’s not including a lot of other fine blogs I read. And that is why, despite the dog’s heroic efforts to save us from the lawnmower, the garden is generally in a shocking state.

Flag-saluting is not one of my preferred ways to get my kids to show their love of country – particularly when they have to be bullied into it.

Some people, too, object to the bit in the top left hand corner, reminding us that we’re still an outpost of Empire, although I’d contend that we’re more an outpost of George’s empire than Liz’s.

Me, I can’t help but love living in a country that has a bird called the Spangled Drongo.

Spangled Drongo for national symbol!

(Thanks to Nick Possum for the image.)

31 May 2004, Comments (0)

Possum Magic

Author: Helen

Holy sheeit! Look at the size of this…

The Cast Iron Balcony has been given a prominent position in Nick Possum’s Werrong Lane Newsagency. Nick Possum’s site, Whispers from the Mean Streets, has been boosted by his latest piece on Nick Berg being picked up by Richard Neville. Although I’m currently underwhelmed by Neville, for the same reason as John Quiggin is pissed off with him, apparently it has done wonders for the traffic.

Thanks for the link, Nick. I feel “humbled”: Media speak for swollen head. I’ll be over it soon, promise. Just one suggestion– Instead of one great big graphic link to the Cast Iron Balcony, reduce it to thumbnail size and put on more blog links. Have a Blog section.

Just a bit of Cast Iron Background here for people who aren’t from Melbourne, or perhaps even Australia. The name of this blog was based on the writer Hal Porter’s autobiography, The Watcher on the Cast Iron Balcony. The first few years of Porter’s life were spent in a typical Victorian terrace house in Bellair street, Kensington. Which had, as they all have– (except the ones with the mad 1970s Landlord) — beautiful ornate cast iron balconies. People like me, on the cusp of Baby Boomer and Gen X, were lucky enough to be able to rent such places as share houses in the 1970s and 80s before our housing market went feral, so we have had the rich soul nourishment of high ceilings, moulded archways and halls wide enough to prop bikes in.

I gave the URL of this blog to my friend Frank, remembering he grew up in Kensington himself. Turns out he lived in Bellair street, too. He went back there to have a look recently, and spotted another famous Australian icon, Barry O. Jones, watching from his Cast Iron Balcony. (There you see, great minds, etcetera.) Frank asked Barry where the original Porter house was. Unfortunately, it has been demolished. A kindergarten stands on that site now. Well, better than a MacDonald’s.

As Salam Pax said,

I think I can tell after this experience what, for me, the difference between a journalist and a blogger is. A journalist has to actively run after things, a blogger just watches and takes things as they come.

Like someone who sits and watches from a cast iron balcony.