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Showing posts from 2016

Pikachu

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It was a big storm a couple of days ago; with wild wind.
The next day I surveyed the damage in the backyard.
Several of my prized pine cones from the Queensland Kauri Pine tree were lying on the ground.
Whilst holding one of the cones and contemplating what size it might have become, I felt a tugging at my trousers and looked down and was surprised to find a Pikachu Pokemon; they are still in the area.
They're tough critters and being somewhat annoyed, I  considered dropping the heavy pine cone on Pikachu.

Wet legs @ Goodwood 🐳

I spent late afternoon at the Capri Theatre @ Goodwood.
I thought that I was going to see Star Wars, but it was Red Dog (rating 3/5).
When emerging onto Goodwood Road @ 6pm all was quiet, no cars; just lots of Police and SES vehicles. A burst water main opposite Goodwood Library had shut down the street.
David Pisoni MP, Shadow Minister for Burst Water Pipes was there watching the gusher.
Minister Ian Hunter had been there; getting his cardboard legs wet in the torrent.
I spoke to a local resident and expressed my opinion that the Government should replace the water mains pipes before that strip of Goodwood Road is resurfaced in 6 months. It just makes sense; plain common sense.
To fix the ageing water pipe infrastructure, the Government must invest say $50m a year over 30 years to reduce the number of burst mains. Ageing infrastructure must be replaced along entire streets rather than ad hoc repairs.
Full marks to David Pisoni for seemingly attending every burst pipe in the Adelaide …

Best ever ✅

Last Christmas I blog boasted about my stuffing for the chicken. It was the best ever, until this year.
Here's a link to my blog in 2015.
Last year the stuffing earnt a Gold Medal; awarded by the family.
This year I was awarded a Trophy (and 3 Golds).
What made it just that bit more special?
For the first time I added these extra ingredients:

Fresh, new season home grown garlicHome grown native bush tomatoesHome dried apricotsHome dried cherries (yum)
It was made with love and I enjoyed 2 glasses of sparkling red during the preparation 🍷🍷
I'm so excited about the Trophy.

Enjoy the closing days of 2016.
Cheers 😊



Unley protests high-rise

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It was a huge night of protest at last night's public meeting to receive submissions on the Unley Central Precinct Development Plan Amendment (DPA).
There were in excess of 100 residents and most expressed their opposition to the proposed DPA that would allow medium to high- rise development in central Unley. In particular, there was absolute opposition to high-rise development at the Civic Centre; development that would tower over the Town Hall, Library and Church.
There were strong sentiments of 'make this an election issue'.
As the night progressed the opposition became more vocal.
Even Mayor Lachlan Clyne joined in; by giving a lengthy lecture to the protestors on the merit of the proposal and the process. That didn't, shall we say, go down very well.
Here's a brief snippet ...
I remain opposed to the high-rise development at the Civic Centre.
That can only happen if the draft DPA is approved by Council and sent to the Minister for Planning.

If Council seriously…

Council goes Bananas 🍌🍌🍌

Remember the story about the 11 streets up on the Sunshine Coast (Qld) that had wonderfully beautiful and bountiful street gardens; where fresh fruit and vegetables were shared by the community.
Now the local Council has stepped in and got bureaucratic.
Council insists that residents get permits and $20m public liability insurance.

This doesn't happen in Unley where there is a growing number of fruit trees on the street and garden verges are encouraged.

Read the story ...

Goodwood Food Trucks 🍔🍺

The food trucks are coming in huge numbers to Goodwood.
Starting next year the initiative (known as the Food Truck Movement) will see dozens of food trucks setup inside Goydner Plaza (at the Showground) on Thursday to Sunday, 11am to midnight. This will be a weekly event. A liquor licence will help to lure people to consume the burgers.
Goydner Plaza holds 800 people so it will be huge.
The plan is to have live music or family-themed days with children’s activities.
No Council permit or licence is required.

It will be great to pop in late at night for that burger or other food truck delight on the way home from a big night out; at a time when other food joints are closed.

This initiative has happened due to the State Government recently declaring that there be no limit to food trucks.

Read the story ...

Bum art

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The Bum is much talked about, much loved and a frequent subject for artists.
As artists say, 'if you can get the bum right then the rest of the body will just flow'.
From a young age our fascination of the bum is fixed. There are bum jokes and bum stories; a kid's delight.
As we get older there is a different fascination in the bum.

I would not normally share such thoughts, but in my email inbox I received the following.
It's an invitation to the launch of OBUM.
It should be a good night.
A bit of a bummer that I have another commitment that night.

Dear friends and fellow travelers. You are invited to the opening of OBUM! OBUM! is Deborah Baldassi's celebration of something which we would all rather put behind us - our bottoms.It includes  classic bottoms, the quirky bottoms of the Acrobutts, Burlesque Bumbushkas and the presidential posteriors of Barrack OBuma and Donald tRUMP. A classic bum and a Burlesque Bumbushka are attached to whet your appetite. You can see …

Tinder love ❤️

Dating and meeting people for love is not what it used to be.
The Tinder dating app is the common way to hook up these days. Actually, it's not a dating app; rather, it's a sex app; just a hook-up for a brief sexual encounter. It's rare that Tinder encounters progress to companionship and love.

In the early days of Tinder, you simply ticked male or female; nothing more.
Now, Tinder offers many choices to express your preference. In fact, there are a staggering 37 gender options. They say that it enables a fuller inclusion.

Just watch out that you don't tick the wrong box 😍😍😍

More about this from a media report ...

THE world is a much more complicated place than it used to be — and notorious dating app Tinder has made a major overhaul to its platform to reflect that growing complexity.

The online matchmaking app has launched a new update that gives users the ability to choose between 37 different genders.

Previously, users could only pick between male and female.

The…

Table Tennis Tarts

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Went to Bonjour Adelaide @ Unley today.
Bought  a tray of lemon tarts (aka. Tarts de Citron).
9 for $20. A good buy.
Tangy on the tongue. Excellent. Dessert tonight.
Dawdled along to ETSY on Oxford Street. So many people and I needed to take a break.
So I laid the tarts on the ping pong table @ the Civic Centre.
Here's a photo ...



Bonjour Adelaide

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Fantastic last night at Bonjour Adelaide in Unley. Lots of people, having fun.
The caption to this photo is:
"Bob, you're my best girlfriend on Council" ... Unley Councillor Jennie Boisvert.

Unley Civic Centre plan

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On Monday 14 November 2016 Unley Council endorsed the proposal to re-develop the Unley Civic Centre. Approval was given for the proposal to proceed.
The vote was 8 vs. 2 in favour. Those absent were Councillor Mike Hudson, Councillor Rob Sangster and Mayor Lachlan Clyne. Those voting against were Councillor Bob Schnell and Councillor Michael Hewitson.
At the meeting I gave 2 reasons for my decision viz. 1) The issue of the nature of public consultation and its timing. During the consultation there will not be any scale model of what will be built. Residents will not be able to easily visualise the proposed outcome. They will just have opportunity to reflect on the allowable heights (along the 4 street frontages) dictated by the DPA and the mandatory requirements imposed by Council eg. retaining the Museum cottage, retaining a Village Green, street trees, greenery within the envelope, underground carparks etc. I have real doubt that residents will be able to consider all of the criteri…

Mad Hatter

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I recently attended The Mad Hatter's Twilight Festival held in Quadrant Mall. A fun night with pop-up stalls. A good example of place activation. The place really came alive.
Here I am pictured with The Mad Hatter. He was quite a character; literally quite mad. I was part of a group and the Mad Hatter led us through the streets, winding through lanes and into Quadrant Mall.
The Mad Hatter is the one in costume

Letter to media 09/11/2016

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Here's a letter to the editor, published on 09 November 2016 ...

It was interesting to read (EC Messenger, 'Bushfire threat to residents', 26 Oct) that anti-dam activist Ron Bellchambers wants urgent repair to an upper Brownhill Creek bridge damaged by recent flooding. The damage means that heavy CFS trucks can't get through to fight fires. May I suggest that had Ron supported the recommended proposal for a dam he would not now have his dilemma (in his locality).
It's not too late to review what is the best engineering solution to remediate flooding.


Edible Unley

Here's a fantastic story of residents banding together and planting fruit trees on the verge.
The creation of an edible streetscape.
The fruit is shared, even with those just passing by.

Read the story

Should we promote this idea in Unley?
I like the idea of bringing together pockets of the community; to share in a common cause.

Unley Sky High

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There has been lot of quick response from residents about Unley Council's proposed redevelopment of the Civic Centre.

Councillor Don Palmer has done an excellent blog. Read it here ...

My opinion can be seen in my comment to Don's blog.
Here's what I wrote ...

Don, I am getting similar outrage from residents.
A few in the community are stirring the pot and distributing inaccurate leaflets.
There is no real understanding of what might happen and inaccuracy in the media doesn’t help.
When it comes to a decision as to what might be built, it will need to reflect Council’s obligation to be a good corporate citizen with a development that is in harmony with its environment. That would necessitate lower ‘towers’, lots of trees, lots of underground carparks (200+) etc. This development in harmony with its environment may in fact mean that the development is not cost effective and may deter finance and developer partners.
Time will tell.
In the meantime we will continue to get flack fro…

Letter to media 02/11/2016

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Here's a letter to the editor, published on 02 November 2016 ...

I respond to Tia Cherry's letter (Eastern Courier Messenger, 19 October) regarding cyclists and hi-vis vests. I agree that cyclists should be encouraged to be highly visible. It is their choice and responsibility. The State Government has announced that it will not enforce mandatory hi-vis vests. No Council can mandate hi-vis vests. I urge all cyclists to wear a vest, especially in bad weather. Be seen and be safe.

Men in Unley

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On her blog Councillor Jennie Boisvert voices her displeasure with the gender imbalance of Unley Council. Further, she talks of the ageing men on Council.
Quite an astute observation. Yes, there is a gender imbalance and the women and men are mostly ageing.
I agree with her that Council would be richer for having younger women and men; and more women. 50:50 would be ideal.
At the next election in 2018 I am prepared to encourage and mentor younger female and male candidates.

Here's what Jennie wrote ...

God's coffee ☕️

When Dr Karl makes a statement, we sit up and listen and accept it as the gospel. We accept it as fact. He explains the complexities in nature so simply and in an entertaining manner.
Recently Dr Karl Kruszelnicki proposed that the magic of coffee and chocolate could prove the existence of God.
He claimed that the very similar chemical properties of coffee and chocolate and the way they complement each other, is proof that God exists.
“Caffeine is remarkably similar to the stuff that makes chocolate so wonderful,” he says. “It’s led to a deep and philosophical insight.”
He explained that the chemical in caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, which closes your blood vessels; whereas the chemical in chocolate is a vasodilator that opens up the blood vessels.

So if you're worried about the harm of drinking too much coffee, have a few pieces of chocolate. If you're a purist, then ensure it's an espresso and dark chocolate.

Read more here ...

A rough week ☕️

I've had a bit of a rough week or so.
My home espresso coffee machine had to go in for repair; it had a bit of a leak.
It had done just over 3 years, making about 10 coffees a day; that's about 11,000 coffees.
That's about 220,000 beans I ground.
Fortunately I had a backup Nespresso capsule machine (used when I travel).
That was better than instant coffee, but even the top quality capsules only rate a maximum of 6/10 compared with 10/10 for an espresso using quality coffee beans.
I collected the machine today and life is back to normal.
I'm just a bit twitchy from the quick succession of a few short blacks whilst I calibrated and reset the settings to my preferences. ☕️☕️☕️

Art @ Wayville

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Recently I attended the launch of sculptural art at Resthaven @ Wayville.
Absolutely fantastic.
Unley Mayor Lachlan Clyne was there.
We sat on the bench to enjoy the morning sun, contemplate the artwork and to reflect on the future.



Unley Footpaths ♿️

Unley Council has a dilemma when considering replacement of footpaths; as seen at the recent Council Meeting.
In 2011 Council endorsed a program to replace the bitumen footpaths with 1.2m wide brick paving. This reduced width was a significant cost saving measure.
In 2015 Council endorsed its Active Ageing Strategy to ensure accessibility for everyone.
In September 2016 Council endorsed its Environmental Sustainability Strategy which in part seeks to ensure that there is an increase in the tree canopy of the street trees.

In October 2016 Council considered what to do in 7 streets that are scheduled for new brick paving. The dilemma is whether or not to remove some trees and widen the footpath or retain trees and leave existing squeeze points.
Consideration was given to a desired width of 1.8 with a minimum width of 1.5m.
A modern gopher/scooter requires a gap 78cm (most are 75cm wide).
The idea of having room for 2 gophers to pass was considered unreasonable; as was 2 prams and as for…

Kids must swim 🏊

The number of people who drown each year is totally unacceptable; especially very young kids in home pools.
Years ago, kids were taught how to swim at school.
It was part of our culture; learning to swim.
That culture needs to be restored.
So, get your kids booked in a learn to swim program this summer.

In Adelaide, the SA Water VACSWIM PROGRAM runs from December 2016 to January 2017. Kids will learn water awareness, safety, confidence and skills.
For more information and bookings visit vacswimsa.com.au

It's a must for every kid.

Green Mango Chutney 🌶

I was shopping at my local favourite Indian grocer, buying rice and papadams.
The owner is actually Pakastani; a lovely woman.
We chat about recipes, ingredients and share cooking experiences.
I spotted some long green mangoes and asked what to do with them; why do people buy green mangoes?
She explained that they are best used to make a green mango chutney called 'Kairi Ki'.
I asked for the recipe and she explained in detail and I asked her to write it down.
Her mother (out here on holiday for 6 months) was delighted by my interest and helped with describing the ingredients and qualitities; there was lots of gesturing to help me understand.
Both women were delighted by my enthusiasm to create a Pakistani dish.
I went home and made the Kairi Ki chutney to have with the curry I had planned.

Here's the recipe ...

Green Mango Chutney (Kairi Ki)
3 green mangoes
a big handful of fresh mint (just the leaves)
a few hot green chillies (optional, but a must for me)
1 teaspoon of su…

Letter to media 07/10/2016

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Here's a letter to the editor, published on 07 October 2016 ...

The recent power outage took us back to basics.
It was candles and cardigans and board-games with the family.
Now there is a political witch-hunt.
That must cease and we need to urgently progress an upgrade of the SA power supply and network.

Blue Sue

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What a fantastic interview with Sue Dewing, CEO of Sturt Football Club.
She was the driving force behind the glorious Double Blues SANFL Premiership in 2016.
Well done Sue !!
A fantastic turn-around for the club.

Here's the interview ...

http://online.isentialink.com/adelaidenow.com.au/2016/10/02/203091cd-af51-4a75-ab4f-c85198e8fd05.html


Chastised Councillors

Recently I spoke in the media (via a letter) about a crazy idea proposed by West Torrens Council. If Unley Council had proposed such, I would have been equally unkind.
The letter was published.
Then I received an email from the Acting Mayor of West Torrens. He was a bit upset by my comments and I replied appropriately. I mentioned about 'flogging a dead horse'.

And then I felt vindicated.
West Torrens Mayor John Trainer returned from leave and found all of the stuff that 'his' Council had been up to.
According to the media, he chastised his own council for approving several “rubbish” resolutions to raise with the Local Government Association, including:
that cyclists should wear high visibility gear;
that conductors should be reintroduced on buses; and
that election signs on stobie poles should be abolished; and
... probably a few more.
The Councillors at West Torrens had been busy, hard at it, whilst the Mayor was away.
The Mayor told the Council that he was concerned…

Nuclear Storage SA

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The debate has commenced on the proposal to store high level nuclear waste deep underground in the far north of South Australia.
It will gain momentum over the next 12 months.
The economic benefit to SA is huge.
The risk seems to be contained.
The people will decide in 1-2 years.
It needs to be a well informed and educated decision.

The recent issue of Resourcing SA has an excellent article on the subject by Ms Kyra Reznikov who has toured nuclear storage facilities across the globe.
The bottom line will be if the people of SA fully understand the storage process and the associated risk; of the waste buried 500m.
To put the risk into perspective, Reznikov examines a storage facility under construction in Finland. In the worst case scenario, if the steel/copper canister containing the nuclear waste rods is defective ... then if a person stood on the ground above the facility for one year then they would be exposed to the equivalent of one tenth of a banana! Yes, bananas (and some other…

Koala KISS

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Koalas are cute and cuddly love a cuddle.
Actually, they will tolerate a cuddle, but they do dislike people.
However, in times of stress like fire, floods and heatwave they tolerate being helped; especially getting a drink from bowl or a water bottle; they will sit next to you, clasp the bottle and take a drink.
They are one of the few Australian native animals that can't be domesticated. After being rescued and cared for, even for months, when released back into the bush they take off up a tree and don't look back.

During tough times, we need to rescue them and look after them until it is time to release them. It's important to know just what to do.

An organisation called Fauna Rescue Team (telephone 08-72260017) has released a document on what to do; and what not to do. The document is called Koala Important Summer Survival (KISS).
There are several important KISS tips:
Water. Definitely Yes, they do need a drink; preferably from a shallow tray.
Swimming Pools. They can’t …

Letter to media 28/09/2016

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Here's a letter to the editor, published on 28 September 2016 ...

A crazy and impractical idea of West Torrens Council that cyclists wear hi-vis clothing.
I'm surprised that the Council didn't go further and seek to have grey and dark cars marked with hi-vis stripes to enhance visibility.
An example of a Council wasting its breath on an issue that can't be achieved and doesn't match community expectations.

SA speak posh

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I was interested to find an article claiming that most South Australians speak posh; compared with the rest of Australians.

There is Adelaide English and 3 regional varieties of English; Eyre and Yorke Peninsula English, South East South Australia English and Northern South Australia English.

Also, due to the prevalence of the South Australian long a, the South Australian accent appears to be closer to a cultivated and posh sound compared with dialects in other Australian States.

It seems that we're a posh mob (in SA).

Have a read. Here's the link ...
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Australian_English

Letter to media 14/09/2016

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Here's a letter to the editor, published on 14 September 2016 ...

During last week's Royal Adelaide Show, parking in adjacent Unley suburbs was a total mess.
Local traffic was heavy and slow. Why don't more people catch public transport to the Show?
The cost of fares for single tickets is a big expense for families.
A simple solution would be if the SA Government provided free public transport for people with prepaid tickets to the Show.

Bill's man Sam

So, Senator Sam Dastyari has resigned from the Labor front bench. It all came a week too late; it should have happened on day one.
He had been a captain's pick by Bill Shorten; against the wishes of the party.
(From memory, Sam was vote #27 of 28 for the front bench as voted by Labor colleagues.)
It went horribly wrong and Bill stuck by his man.
Bill had described him as a junior member of the front bench who would be demoted and he would learn through the experience and over time be rehabilitated.
Sam was not a junior; he was Bill's pick as Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate. He was not a junior given the role.

Anyway, it's all over. The first scalp of the new parliament.

On reflection, Bill Shorten should have acted immediately and sacked Sam on day one. Bill and Labor lost credibility by taking the stance that Sam would over time be returned after a stint of say 12 months on the back bench. They just don't get it; for political credibility, Sam must never …

Letter to media 07/09/2016

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Here's a letter to the editor, published on 07 September 2016 ...

Buy localEastern Courier Messenger, Adelaide 07 Sep 2016General News - page 14 - 64 words - ID 652882143 - Photo: No - Type: News Item - Size: 81.00cm2
I SUPPORT Messenger Community News's campaign to shop and buy local.

It may mean paying a small amount more, but it means helping local producers on farms and in factories survive.

It means keeping and growing jobs in SA.

Unley Council and all councils across the State must pursue a policy to buy local. It's just common sense.

BOB SCHNELL, Councillor, Unley Council

Pay my gas bill

Until recently, I accepted Senator Sam Dastyari as a loveable rogue; a stunt player who does get his message across; someone you love or dislike; actually, it was hard to dislike him.
However, the latest saga of Sam getting the Chinese Government (via a proxy company) to pay his travel bill is the last straw. That was totally unacceptable; especially when it became known as a cash for comment issue with Senator Sam allegedly supporting China's claim of sovereign right to islands in the South China Sea.
Senator Sam you have blown what might have been a glorious career.
Yet, I am sure that you will hang in there and the Labor Party won't hang you out to dry. Bill Shorten should have demoted you last week. I am sure that you will become a thorn in his side come the next Federal Election.

Now to my personal problem.
I've just received my quarterly winter gas bill; a whopping $605.96.
The trouble is I've blown my budget, spending too much on Coonawarra reds, local SA gin an…

Lost Tribe Wombat

Last weekend I did my annual trip up to Andamooka; up in the Outback in the far north of South Australia.
It's a time to get away and relax without a worry in the world in the bush.
Of course I spent time noodling for opals. I found rock with nice traces of blue opal, but didn't find that special and elusive large solid opal. There's always next year.
But I did find (or see) a lone wombat near Andamooka.
Before leaving Adelaide I had seen media reports about a Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat that had been seen and photographed on the plains on the road between Andamooka and Roxby Downs. It had caused a bit of a stir because no wombat had been sighted in the area for about 40-50 years. Wombats have been known to live for up to 50 years.
So, one day, late in the day (before beer time) I drove from Andamooka, passed the migratory black swans on a small lake and about half way to Roxby I spotted the wombat. He was on the plain, off to the right 100-200 metres away. A further 300 m…

Marree Man

This time with no mystery, the Marree Man had returned.
He has be re-etched on the desert soil.
The old outline has been freshened by a grader that cut 10cm into the soil.
It took 3 days and was done by local identities.

Marree Man is 4.2km tall with a 28km outline on the southeastern edge of Lake Eyre.

Long may he live and help to make the outback alive.

Tip: it's best seen from the air 😉

The Old Double Blues

A fantastic and huge plug for Sturt Football Club in today's Advertiser newspaper.
The plug is for the book 'The Old Double Blues - Celebrating the men of Sturt', written by Sturt tragic supporter Angel Fernandez.
It's nearly 700 pages and was compiled by oral interviews over the past five years.

The history of the club spans seven decades.

History spans from 1950s club stalwarts Wally May, Tony Goodchild, Dennis Rattigan, Bill Kutcher, Bob Marshall and Gus Hunter, to Brant Chambers, Greg Whittlesea, Brodie Atkinson, Damian Squire, Tim Weatherald and Jade Sheedy, and includes club legends such as Rick Davies, Paul Bagshaw and Peter Motley.

Contact the Sturt FC to get a copy.

Link to Sturt FC

Aussie Gold Rio 2016

The Olympics at Rio 2016 just doesn't have the usual Olympic buzz.
In fact, it seems to be a bit of a fizzer; just like the green slime (or whatever it was) it the swimming pool.
Maybe it's just me, but I doubt it.
People are not stopping work or dedicating time to watch events; like we used to.
The Olympics is all about the gathering of the greats from every country, in a quest of a win for their country.
Huge money is spent on nurturing and training athletes. I hear that $40m was spent just on our swimming team.
Results for Australia (so far) have not been great; way below expectations.
The reason for writing this is my annoyance at the expectations of success in certain events; and it didn't happen. He/She was a favourite, a certainty; and a win was just a formality; and it didn't happen. Shock when a perceived low chance SA swimmer Kyle Chalmers blitzed the pool and won Gold.
That's what the Olympics is all about ... a gathering of talented athletes and the bes…

Time to go LED

Shave heaps off your electricity bill by replacing old lights with warm white LEDs.
I've completed the switch from incandescent to fluro to LED.
I was tired of the lag time and warm up time with fluros.
They're still pricey, but they have a long life; and the payback time is quick.
It's nice to again have instant light.

A final tip: if the light switch has a dimmer, then you must get an LED that is dimmer compliant. I discovered this the hard way. They don't cost much more.

Here's a link to more information

Empirical data

The ABC Q&A session this week was riveting; good viewing with a science theme.
Newly elected One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts provided amusement and embarrassment (at his expense) by his scepticism of climate change; and his dismissal of everything through a lack of 'empirical evidence'.
The loveable Professor Brian Cox nearly wet himself at the encounter. He produced trend graphs for CO2 and temperature and talked about the scientific process for modelling and generating forecasts. All to no avail; Malcolm Roberts dismissed the Professor by citing corrupt and manipulated climate data and a lack of 'empirical evidence'. There seems to be a world wide manipulation of climate change data to benefit the big banks who want to trade in emission credits and make a huge profit ... according to Roberts.
It was a real hoot.
Oh, and by the way, when quizzed by Cox, Roberts did (to his credit) state that he did believe in the lunar landings. There are people out there (incl…

Council conflict

The issue of conflict of interest for Councillors (and Mayors) across SA is an absolute mess. Yes, conflict is a serious issue that needed to be dealt with; but it should have been done professionally and with input from members of the Local Government sector. The final solution (of what we now have to work with) should have been broadly reviewed by Councils before implementation.
I feel that the Minister for Local Government has been seriously let down by public servants who drafted the the conflict of interest provisions. The people who drafted it had absolutely no practical knowledge of how Councils operate procedurally. It's like getting a plumber to re-wire the electrical cables at home.
The Minister (who is a former Councillor) is sympathetic and understanding and I have been informed that all the problems will be resolved by changes to the regulations. That's a messy solution, but it's the only way to fix it.

This whole mess will take months to resolve.
Meanwhile we…

Letter to media 14/08/2016

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Here's a letter to the editor, published on 14 August 2016 ...

When the time comes to resurface King William Road in Unley, if the decision is to use asphalt (rather than brick paving) then I have a vision that we use a coloured asphalt rather than boring black. A brown or tangerine colour would be nice. At intersections the asphalt could have a brick paving pattern in-laid to create a ripple sound and promote awareness. It must be a colour other than black. I suggest that there be a survey of locals to determine the colour. It would look fantastic and help to revitalise the road and precinct.

Councillor Bob Schnell
Goodwood Ward, City of Unley

Letter to media 01/08/2016

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Here's a letter to the editor, published on 01 August 2016.

The Census crept up on us without much warning and with zero education about the process. There is lots of hysteria and concern about online privacy issues. Yet, only a few weeks back people were agitating for online voting at the Federal election. You can't have it both ways. People need to understand that paper forms get scanned and the details are stored electronically. I have confidence in the integrity of the stored data - unless it is stored in an offshore Cloud database.

Councillor Bob Schnell
Goodwood Ward, City of Unley

Extended warranty scam

The other day I went to buy a new iron, you know the type used to press shirts and trousers etc. When finalising the sale I was asked if I wanted to buy extended warranty.
I said no.
It's all a scam and you rarely get any real value for this 'extra protection'.
It was a modest amount for the iron, but it can be a huge extra amount when buying a higher priced TV or a car. The salesperson pushes you hard, because they (and their company) get a cut on the sale ie. they get a commission.
Avoid the temptation and don't get sucked in; it doesn't make economic sense.

Here are some finer details about extended warranty from an official consumer protection source ...

The salesperson may offer to sell you an extended warranty or care package when you purchase goods such as a new computer, television or fitness tracker. But sometimes paying extra for an extended warranty doesn’t actually give you anything extra.
If a manufacturer’s warranty is only for 12 months the retailer …

Chinese power bid

Thank heavens the Federal Treasurer blocked a Chinese State company from a take-over bid for AusGrid, the NSW electricity grid. It's one matter allowing Chinese nationals to buy Aussie homes; it's another matter to allow a massive economic invasion. Actually there were two Chinese companies bidding.
The reason cited for the rejection was based on national security advice; and thus the reason could not be stated; a nice response.
A sensible decision.
And it's all a one way street with Chinese investment in Australia; using the artificially (State) priced Chinese yuan to buy up premium stock in the rest of the world. How tolerant is the Chinese State Government to foreign investment in their country. How often do we hear of ex-pats buying houses in China? We've heard of sad cases of when foreigners are economically successful in China and the State fights back to cripple them and facilitate a State takeover.
We as a nation need to be vigilant and continue to oppose signi…

Salmonella childbirth pain

I've never had serious food poisoning or given birth, but I understand that both have some discomfort.

Recently there was a case of salmonella food poisoning that affected 32 people who had a buffet breakfast at a big hotel on North Terrace, Adelaide. I understand that it was the eggs.

One of the women affected described her ordeal of week-long pain as worse than childbirth. The pains of childbirth over one week would have been horrendous. It puts salmonella food poisoning into perspective.

Twelve Apostles

I was up at Stone Hut in the mid north of SA. I was on the way to Quorn at the start of the Flinders Ranges and I'd pulled in for a pie (or two). The pies there are the best in the State. You simply can't drive past.
Anyway, in the outdoor dining area (under some grape vines) I saw a large group of reasonably friendly birds of a type that I didn't recognise. They were munching on bird seed that the pie lady had put out to feed the birds and to entertain the pie eaters; even in the rain. And they were friendly and loved some stroking down the back; and a tickle under the chin.
I asked about the birds and pie lady said that they were called Apostles; named after the Biblical Twelve Apostles; because they usually hang out together in large groups of usually twelve. They are very social groups and have a sense of family.
And they love hanging around with people; probably to get some tidbits.
Amazing that I hadn't encountered Apostles before.
They were entertaining to watch…

Busted by Krispy Kremes

Don't eat Krispy Kremes!
They taste so wonderful, but they are almost 100% sugar; just totally bad for you.
They're not a real donut; just a huge sugar hit.

They're so bad, you can get busted by the cops for eating them.

Read the story ...

Solar battery

Recently I had a solar system installed.
The cost of electricity just keeps on going up; so it was time.
I did the sums and payback will be 4-5 years; maybe less with future higher electricity cost (especially in SA).
Choosing the vendor and installer was pursued over 2 weeks.
I listened to the lies and fantasy forecasts and then made a decision on who I felt was best; and then negotiated a bit of a discount.

I had my heart set on also installing a battery system eg. the Tesla 6.4kWh battery.
No matter the brand, a battery just does not make financial sense; not yet.
In the case of the Tesla, it would have cost ~ $10k with a warranty and effective life of 10 years and only provided $6k savings ie. over 10 years I would have lost $4k and the batteries would need to be replaced to give another 10 years life.

The cost of batteries is reducing by 14% pa so by my reckoning, adding a battery (with more capacity) will be a better financial proposition in about 3 years.

If you want a chat abo…

Female women

Just love them. Those live bloopers.
Heard it this morning on the ABC news, talking about federal politics and the makeup of the front bench (Liberal and Labor). There's always talk about how many women.
The female commentator spoke of the number of 'female women'.
I know that they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and ability (much like male men), but they are all female; just female. We can understand simple gender terms.

Bung Fritz

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I grew up on bung fritz.
You grew up on bung fritz.
We all grew up on bung fritz.
We started with that free slice given at the butcher shop. Even today, all kids get offered a slice at the local butcher shop. It's an Aussie tradition.

Today, with all the other choices of salami, mettwurst and other continental meats, it's a nice change to enjoy our South Australian traditional bung fritz. It's a simple pleasure; best enjoyed as a thick sandwich.

How to make a bung fritz sandwich:
Fresh white bread with butter
Lots of good quality tomato sauce
Thick slices of bung fritz; and yes, remove the orange skin
Squeeze together until the sauce just oozes out
If you want, try adding mustard and cracked black pepper
Yum 😋

What's in bung fritz? How's it made?
Well I had a friend who visited a fritz factory and she said that if you saw how it was made you would never eat. I avoided a visit to the factory; I didn't want to kill off one of my pleasures.
How to make bung fritz…

Powerless Port Augusta

I'm absolutely staggered that there is now surprise at the drastic increase in the cost of electricity immediately following the shut down of the brown coal fired power station at Port Augusta; in the far north of South Australia.
You can't shut down a 544MW power station and expect no impact.
That's what happened; and we knew a year+ in advance of the shutdown.
Industry is taking a bit hit with double/triple costs per day.
The Government is surprised.
The State Treasurer is surprised.
It's all a big surprise.

In fact, I'm surprised; I'm surprised that the outcome was not foreseen.
Average Joe (or Judy) in street could tell you that you simply can't shut down a power station without having a reliable backup source of power. It's like running out of petrol in your car and not having a jerry-can of petrol in the boot.

The other power generators in the State simply can't meet 100% of demand and we'll be reliant on wonky grid links to the eastern st…

Eggplant fritters yum

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Eggplants; one of the most versatile fruit in the garden (and no it's not a vegetable).
If I were a vegetarian then it would be at the top of the list with field mushrooms.
As a meat eater, the eggplant is at the top of my list as an accompaniment; an accessory to meat.
Cook it Afghan style and you're in heaven.

There's so much you can do with eggplant.
A recent discovery (and joy) was thinly sliced eggplant fritters.
As a meal or snack whilst watching State of Origin rugby or as a side dish with red meat.

Give it a try 😍

Here's the recipe

Lost Dutch tribe

An amazing tale with supposed credibility.
Remember the Bush Tucker Man, Les Hiddins.
He has an ongoing pursuit to find evidence that survivors of a Dutch shipwreck off Western Australia trekked half way across Australia and colonised Palmer River, 300km SSW of Alice Springs. The colony is claimed to exist between 1708-1832; started before British colonisation of Australia. DNA testing will try to confirm links between local Aboriginals and family descendants related to those onboard that doomed Dutch ship; back in early 1700.
The search for evidence in Central Australia is winding up due to weather and will recommence next year.
An amazing tale ... and wouldn't it be nice if it ended up being true 🤔

For more details ...
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/inquirer/bush-tucker-man-les-hiddins-great-dutch-adventure/news-story/b122ba9491e73aa7d4d2f8e0c8866b9b

Governor-General absent

I have the greatest respect for the role of the Governor-General of Australia and the incumbent Peter Cosgrove, but ...
I'm staggered that the GG is away overseas in France to represent Australia (as Head of State) at a ceremony to celebrate the French National Day which commemorates the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789.
I'm only staggered by the fact that back home in Australia we have had a Federal election (and that date was known for 2 months) and now that we have a result we have no GG to swear in the Prime Minister and his Ministers.
Rather bad timing. In fact I would say rather poor etiquette.
We do have a Lieutenant GG don't we? Like most Australians I have no idea who that person is, but surely the Deputy could either have gone to France (instead of the GG) or performed the swearing in process (in the absence of the GG).
Then again, I'm only guessing at protocols and who can do what in the absence of the GG.
What I do know is that with the known date o…

Pokemon GO

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Last Wednesday I attended the launch of Pokemon Go in Unley; actually in Everard Park. Downloaded to my son's phone. After just a few days, Pokemon Go has become a killer app. It's being used by kids, youth, young men and women, older men and women and Mums and Dads. It's wild; totally sick. There are virtual Pokemons everywhere. They hang out at Pokestops and do battle at a Gym. Typically they can be found at parks, schools, community centres, historical locations, public swimming pools, libraries, ... everywhere; even in the home and in the backyard. One was seen perching on my shoulder. I even felt it. On the positive side it gets people out and about, wandering the streets looking for them and doing battle at a Gym. On the negative side, people are driving around, parking in front of Pokestops and on street corners; in dangerous locations. This app will cause accidents. My whole family (except for me) are into it; it's become totally obsessive. I'm fighting the…

Charles Street trees

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I have received questions from residents about street trees and the process for their replacement when they become end of life, unhealthy or are severely damaging infrastructure eg. the kerb, footpath and underground services. In particular, concerns are being raised by residents in Charles Street, Forestville. The street (particularly the southern end) is bird city with the big native gums full of bird attracting blossom.
I put some questions to Unley Council and here are the responses (with my minor edit). Hopefully this will help to provide clarity.
Question: Is there a reference on the website about the selection of street trees? Answer: No. Most streets have a nominated preferred replacement species which is based on the dominant species in the street.
Question: Does Council offer residents a choice and take a vote in the street? (Like what used to happen several years ago.) Answer: This only occurs when we undertake a detailed review of a street as part of a streetscape program ie. …

Aussie election 2016

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A dog's breakfast is the best description for the outcome of our voting at the Federal election.
My reflections are:

The seats won/lost are up and down on a daily basis.
At one stage it looked like Labor might just win; certainly with the help of a handful of independents. Now it looks like the Coalition might just get there; but they will need a few independents to make life comfortable.
It's not an outcome that we wanted when we voted.
Wouldn't it be ideal if the best of Labor, the best of Liberal, the best of the Nationals and a handful of independents banded together to form a government that truly represented Australia? It would, but the obstacle of politics would get in the way.
Whoever gets up, it will be difficult to implement many of their election campaign promises; especially the Liberal promises. A lot of big ideas will be watered down; and then watered down further by a diverse Senate.
The new government will just wander along winding paths, achieving little o…