24 August 2011

Things I have learnt

I am first and foremost a man of science, that is why I always carry a magnifying glass.

Number two

I do not like to bleat like a goat.


Most people do not like to wake up early.

You can see below, a picture of Crispin Crispian, the dog who belonged to himself, in his kitchen. I forgot to buy a coffee or even make a pot of tea today, but luckily I do not look like this, even when I wake up.

From Mister Dog
Little Golden Books, 1978
Copyright Western Publishing Company, 1973

Quite the strangest children's book ever written I suspect.

To the beaches of Tripoli (or Misrata)

When a friend tweeted, encouraging me to sign a petition calling for a broad ranging inquiry into Australian media, I realised I had not looked at the news for quite a while and began exploring the biggest issue of the day and pondering the macchinations of the media.

Poetry and photos again soon I promise...

History will be written by the victors or at least those who own the media.

But the proxy war we see via media announcements does not have a zero death count.

Trying to find out what is going on in Libya is undeniably difficult if you live on the other side of the world, don't have a dedicated research team or an intelligence agency at your disposal.

After reading this piece called The Big Gaddafi, I watched some Al-Jazeera Live in an effort to discover what was actually happening. Their broadcast had to make do with 30 seconds worth of footage of 50 or so men in a dark square, ubiquitous AK47's pointed heavenwards, (what happens to all those bullets fired into the air?), chanting, "Allāhu Akbar". It usually does the trick. On five minute repeat. Nobody knows what is going on, amidst endless speculation.

I watch an Al Jazeera reporter roadside in Tripoli, city outskirts, a freeway somewhere, talking live. Everytime a vehicle drives by on the mostly empty road, I flinch, hoping she is not about to be shot. Is she thinking the same? But it looks like normal cars. Towards the end of the broadcast a Toyota utility drives off in the wrong direction, but there are no gunmen in back.

Reporters inside the Rixos Hotel tell what it was like.

Eleven hours or so into "the fall", the Italians are sighted on Al Jazeera Live-Blog.

Monday, August 22, 2011 - 10:27 GMT+3 - Libya

Technical staff for Italian oil giant Eni have arrived in Libya to investigate how quickly they can get oil facilities back up and running, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has said.

"The facilities had been made by Italians, by [oil field services group] Saipem, and therefore it is clear that Eni will play a number one role in the future [in Libya]", Frattini told Italian state TV RAI.


The British PM, such a prize of homogenity I can't even remember his name, Jones or Blithersplatt, is giving a presser, referring continuously to someone called Chairman Jilal. Who? This fellow. Cameron's message to Gaddafi is clearly written on the News Bar: "We control the money."

At last, what I have been seeking, the glory of the internet, the opportunity to read smart-arse reviews on Google Maps of Bab el-Aziziya, the Gaddafi stronghold.

And, Google, why, yes, I am interested in buying a Used Tractor, how could you tell?

Now, a day or so later, talk is Rome will conquer once more. Will Imperator Berlusconi really find redemption in a foreign land, so like conquerors of yore? What happened to all those criminal charges? Surely there is a limit to the amount of botox one face can take? With all the laws overturning laws, surely the next actor/model can't wait to grasp the slippery reins of Italian power. Such intrigue is the Roman way.

With all the weapons that will have dissapeared from Gaddafi's compound, Berlusconi will not be touring the Italian Quarter of Libya in the back of a jeep to receive flowers and kisses from the locals. All the cathedrals there have been converted into mosques anyway.

The (latest) leader of the Rebel Alliance travels to Milan for an audience in the heart of the Empire tomorrow. Star Wars analogy fail. Sigh. Anyway, it is only 2 hours 11 minutes flying time from Benghazi to Milan. And plenty of transport options available.

Under the circumstances, I think a submarine might be safer. Surely Silvio would much prefer to be talking bunga bunga with his old pal, Muammar. So where is the ousted leader? In a hole with a suitcase full of US dollars? South Africa says they have no idea. Do the copywriters at the CIA have the Death section of the Colonel's Wikipedia entry written, ready to update? Does the Prez have his finger on that publish button?

Who knows?

According to the Agency's trusted World Fact Book, the median age in Libya is 24.5 versus 20.9 in Iraq, compared to 37.7 in Australia. There is a reason for this. Note also that Iraq is only a quarter of the size of Libya but has six times the population.

Let us hope that the rhetoric of the West and democracy by imposition lives up to its promise this time.

18 August 2011

Hahndorf Part 2

Here is a restaurant review of the white house provincial kitchen and lounge located on Main Street in Hahndorf. It is a review focussing predominantly on spiders and their webs, so this is one for the true foodies.

We shared a roast field mushroom burger with sage butter. It was really good, the bun being brioche, butter being butter, only with sage, and the mushroom happening to be a fun guy. The coffee was alright, but I can not make a learned judgement, seeing it was nearly cold by the time I came inside from taking photos in the car park.

Our waitress did not complain about slow dancing sans music in the otherwise empty dining room. Arriving early meant we beat the day's traffic, but the fires were not lit. It also meant discovering the glorious decorations in the trees of their yard when we pulled into the carpark.


17 August 2011

Hahndorf Part 1

Kudos to Canberra Connect. Kim from Urban Trees rang me seven days after I called to discuss tree removal in Haig Park. She advised that Pinus Radiata has the status of a weed, but due to the heritage nature of the planting they would replant the same species as removed, in more or less the same positions. (Also, apparently pines are very hard to prune.) There is therefore not a specific plan for the work or the layout of Haig Park generally. An arborist is contracted to perform the job.

No tree survey exists for the location, but there is a Trees Database, probably for the wider region. Unfortunately, it is not accessible to the public, except under Freedom of Information laws or a friendly purposeful request.

Here are some pieces of the park I removed to practise drawing.

Details below from a panel in The South Australian Art Gallery by Wakabayashi Shokei found in the Asian Art Collection.

Ink painting of male strobilus and other features from tree in Hahndorf, South Australia.

Video of pollen being released from the same tree. It is probably microsphoryll containing pollen. I don't know if this applies to the conifer in question, but the female strobilus containing the megaspore or mother cell does appear in the first spring at the end of branches where male strobili are manifest. Their meeting begets megasporophyll and so on.

This would explain the shape of the tree I sat under with four spiders for some time. Of course there were undoubtedly more than four spiders present, but these particular four made my personal accquaintance.

Is not the magnifying glass the greatest instrument of scientific discovery, considering it can be bought for as little as the price of two cans of baked beans?

Conifers are a good subject for ink painting and I got my hands on a roll of rice paper in Adelaide for further practice.

08 August 2011

kha & The Upanishads

One of the Arabic sounds. As well as being written from right to left, the letters of the Arabic alphabet are different depending on where they appear in the word, which I have tried to represent by showing dawn, midday and the evening as well as the meditator who sits alone. An Angel has spread its wings over earth under the full moon. Star Wars appears because we all have our myths.

There is a homeless man in Canberra who sells wooden-spoon-wands decorated with fluorescent texta. He complains that the Jedi differentiated between the dark side and the Light. Prior to this the universe was in accord. Well, you could say there is a little Light, more Light, Infinite Light.

The Upanishads

There the sun shines not,
nor the moon and the stars,
nor the lightning,
let alone this earthly fire.
Only when illumining Light shines,
everything else shines;
the self-revealing Light illumines the entire universe.

Translation by Sri Chinmoy
The Upanishads: The Crown Of India's Soul
Agni Press, 1974
Arabic picture drawn with a quick binding of pine needles from a tree at Yarralumla. At maturity, the pine has twin needles growing from a 1 cm fascicle, needles average 8"-10"/20-25cm. The fascicle has an equivalent articulation to the human shoulder joint, not allowing for any shoulder movement above head height.

Further reading on The Upanishads.

These most bold chants of the supreme-poet-warriors of the Himilaya resonate still with their deep inner discoveries and hold the key to cosmic satisfaction. Within their self-discovery, the convocation of life and death is a Peace-full conversation.

Message to my neighbours

Democracy in action

Waiting to hear back from Canberra Connect about what they are planning for this portion of Haig Park, nearest my abode. Hopefully there is a tree survey that I can look at as I would like to know how to take one. Seeing plans if they exist would be cool.

07 August 2011

I Love Words 1


I feel in all my limbs His boundless Grace;
Within my heart the Truth of life shines white.
The secret heights of God my soul now climbs;
No dole, no sombre pang, no death in my sight.

No mortal days and nights can shake my calm;
A Light above sustains my secret soul.
All doubts with grief are banished from my deeps,
My eyes of light perceive my cherished Goal.

Though in the world, I am above its woe;
I dwell in an ocean of supreme release.
My mind, a core of the One's unmeasured thoughts;
The star-vast welkin hugs my Spirit's peace.

My eternal days are found in speeding time;
I play upon His Flute of rhapsody.
Impossible deeds no more impossible seem;
In birth-chains now shines Immortality.

from My Flute, Agni Press, 1972
Sri Chinmoy

Shakespeare for a Sunday

It is in Act 1, of The Winter's Tale, that Leontes admonishes his companion to,
"Look on me with your welkin eye."
In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 3, Oberon commands the redoubtable Puck, cupid on amphetamines, carnation of chaos:
"Thou seest these lovers seek a place to fight;
Hie therefore, Robin, overcast the night;
The starry welkin cover thou anon
With drooping fog as black as Acheron*,
And lead these testy rivals so astray
As one come not within another's way."
In Richard III, the ever-martial King Richard implores:
"Fight, gentlemen of England! Fight bold yeomen!
Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head!
Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood;
Amaze the welkin with your broken staves!"

Latin Acherōn
Ancient Greek Ἀχέρων
One of the rivers of the underworld, the god of this river, the underworld, especially as the abode of the dead, a river in Epirus.

Plant Life

I thought this was milkweed, that camels eat, but the seeds of milkweed look like this:

(c) 2004 Steven J. Baskauf

So I am fairly sure it is a choko, or Sechium edule, seeing it definitely came off a vine. If so, the fruits must be harvested young to be esculent.

from Curtis Botanical Magazine, London 1917

Very spongiform interior had my subject. The white wings are extremely spry, catching the slightest breath of wind to fly, but I have not seen it travel with a seed.

I am certain a camel would eat whatever it is.

Larch, Haig Park, Seed Transport Mechanism

Plus what I said to the Larch, not the Lark, and the Larch said to me.

A Lark

From The first Ladybird book of BRITISH BIRDS and their nests, 2nd Edition, 1953.