Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today we have a triple tie for first spot. The winners are Sandy Carlson with Acceptance And Rejection: Two Sides of the Same Coin; Mama Geek with Raindrop Reflections and Carolyn with On Making Babies and how to Talk To God. The other contenders were Mother’s Pride with Hair To Dye For; Maggie May with My Mother; Us in France with Watch Your Ps and Qs; Crystal Jigsaw with Between The Lines; Crazy Cath with It Was Worth Every Bit Of It and Sue Nicholson with Long. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

I’m a stunt double
For Barney Rubble
But I need some more cred
For his close buddy Fred

One-Knight Stand

If It’s A Dinner Date, Just Bring An Armour Plate

Quebec City, Canada, September 2005. Canon EOS 3000.

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Roar Talent

Hoaxers Show Animal Instincts

Hoax calls to Dublin Zoo for Rory Lion and G Raffe are jamming its telephone switchboard. Up to 5000 unsuspecting victims of a practical joke are flooding the phone lines at the Phoenix park attraction. Callers now hear a specially recorded message: "If you are calling to speak to Mr Rory Lion, C Lion, G Raffe or anyone similar please be aware that you are the victim of a hoax message."

FOOTNOTE: What about Anna Condor?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today’s joint winners are San Merideth with Heart’s Destiny: How A Painting Changed My Life and Fat Hairy Bastard with My Grandaddy’s Shotgun. The other contenders were Minnesota Blue with Dibs and Dabs; Suldog with My XM Saturday; Imac with Reflection of all Reflections; Gawdess with Gold Fish; Jo Beaufoix with Beloved; Thalia’s Child with Auburn Sentinels of the North; Big Blue Barn West with Reality Hurts Poetic License with Ageism; Brit Gal In The USA with Handbag of the day - Pocahontas; Willow with Willow Wraith and Camikaos with Travelling Child. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

If you live on the savannah
You won’t need a wedding planner
If you wear a tux and britches
There won’t be any final "hitches".

Night On The Tiles

Up, Up And Away

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

These stairs at Southbank are normally crowded, at any time of day. But when I took this shot, about six weeks ago, the area was unusually deserted. I waited for a couple of office workers to walk through the area before shooting this frame.

There is so much symmetry in this scene, yet so much of it is asymmetrical as well. The first five steps are curved, while the next flight of stairs is straight. The railings embrace three different orientations - straight at the top, angled in the middle section and curved at the bottom.

Even when you look at the tiles and the grouting between them, the parallax factor endows the scene with a certain perspective that is normally impossible to achieve in a field of vision that is only about five or six metres long.

The colours are so strong and so vibrant in what can be "seen" in the shot. Yet it is the unseen elements in this frame that provide such an intriguing reflection of soft, pastel shades in the tiles themselves. The silvery-blue streak is actually the sky, reflected through the glass atrium high above where I was standing.

It's a bit like life - you see so much more when you study it carefully.

The Prints Of Wales

If At First You Don't Secede, Try, Try Again

An English village is holding a referendum on defecting to Wales - for benefits such as free prescriptions and free hospital car parking. Residents of Audlem, Cheshire, nine miles from the Welsh border, have organised an online poll asking villagers whether it is time to break away from England.

FOOTNOTE: Borderline case.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today's winner is Down River Drivel with The Barn. The other contenders were The Ginger Quill with Project Green Take 4; Lime with Magic; David Webb with Thunder And Lightning; A Vision Of Eden with Sky Watch Friday; Craver with Twilight Plus; Jocelyn with Just Sayin'; Blog Princess G with A Long Way From Sicily; The Snooty Primadona with I Was A Boarding School Brat; Shrinky with Alas, Poor Morse; Hilary with Birds of a Feather; John-Michael with Straight Talk; Jamie Dawn with Blog Church Week 24 and Colleen with Childhod Nostalgia. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

According to my pastor
You can earmark Mozart
If it sinks - Disaster
But if it floats - Art

This Contest Rocks

Maybe It Was Picasso's Brew Period

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Let's see how observant you are. Can you guess what I've photographed here? A pile of gravel for roadworks? Crushed rocks, perhaps? A bowl of cereal? Keep looking .... and do leave me a comment saying what you think this is.

Okay, here's your answer. It's a macro shot of a spoonful of coffee, Nescafe Blend 43. I shot this outdoors, using the superb SMC Pentax-DA 1:2.8mm macro lens.

(The Odd Shots concept came from Katney. Say "G'day" to her.)

The Mare The Merrier

For An Opera Singer, That’s The Pits

A Hungarian singer ended up in the orchestra pit after the horse he was sitting on bolted mid-performance. Zoltan Bereczky's mount took off when he broke into song at a musical adaptation of Geza Gardonyi's The Stars of Eger at the national theatre in Szeged, Hungary. The orchestra managed to keep on playing and Bereczky was treated for a sprained shoulder.

FOOTNOTE: Bridle waltz.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pygmalion Auditions, This Way

Some Gardeners Are So Pig-Headed

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

On Wednesday I was driving down Princes Highway when I spotted an unusual sight on a grass verge to my left. It was a lifesize figure (probably fibreglass) of a pig and a lawnmower. But even though I had my camera with me, as I always do, I was in the wrong lane to pull over.

So on Thursday I made sure to slow down and pull over at the right place. To my delight, the pig sported a few additional details, obviously provided by the garden care centre nearby. As you can see, he was wearing a carefully crafted "jacket" made of fake turf. In addition, this being the Australian Rules football season, someone had wrapped a St Kilda Football Club scarf around the animal's neck.

And if you look carefully at his hindquarters, you'll be able to see how good his jacket is. Now look at his hind hooves and you'll see another intriguing detail - good, sturdy, trusty brown boots like those worn by thousands of tradesmen in this country.

I wonder if the lawn-mowing pig is really a subtle advertisement for a sequel to Spike Lee's film Mo Better Blues?

Check out the rules at Camera Critters or go to Misty Dawn.

Weekend Wandering

Please answer today's question on your own blog, any time until next weekend. Just link to this blog (or to this post) so I can follow the progress of the discussion.

The question is: Who was the most important person in your childhood?

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

How d'you call Ghostbusters
Is the question I always ask
As wraiths appear in clusters
For the spirit of the task

The Sunday Roast

The Egel Has Landed

This week's interview is with Bradley Egel,
who writes the blog The Egel Nest.

The first of the standard weekly questions: Why do you blog?

I blog because the world clearly needs more of me. Seriously though, in 2005, I started blogging to keep my family and friends posted on our happenings. It was a great way to quickly share stories and photos. Slowly though, I began to get visitors from outside my circle of family and friends. At first, this was confusing for me. I didn't really understand, though charming, talented, and stunningly interesting, why anyone would want to read my blog. I actually found the answer in my interest in reading other people's blogs.

Over time, I grew attached to my other blog friends and they became attached to the nest. It is the ultimate technological symbiotic relationship. I also love when we see friends or family after long absences from each other and they inform me how they have been keeping up with our family via the blog. This is always such a nice surprise. Furthermore, my Mom and I have always had a wonderful real-life relationship, but I absolutely adore our virtual relationship; the way she supports and critiques my blog...the way she is always commenting and interacting with others on my is just another wonderful part of our already fantastic mother-son relationship.

What's the story behind your blog name?

The Egel Nest was a natural fit. My last name is Egel ... pronounced like the bird "eagle." We have always called our house The Egel Nest. Our answering machine usually states, "You've reached The Egel Nest," and so on. So, it was really an easy choice. I also like the idea that the blog has become a friendly and safe place for friends, family, and blog buddies to come and "kibbitz" (chat). The idea of a nest fits in well with these principles.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

My favorite thing about being a blogger is that I always have somewhere to direct people when they want to know more about me and my family. If someone wants to see recent pictures of our son...go to the blog. If someone wants to read fun stories about our family...go to the blog. If someone is melancholy and downtrodden...we'll cheer you up...go to the blog. I also love being part of a community that understands my issues with blogging whether they are technological or emotional. Bloggers understand bloggers!

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

My advice would be three-fold. 1.) At first many bloggers struggle to gain visitors and/or people leaving comments. The key, I have found, is to regularly visit other peoples' blogs and
you will soon see your traffic pick up dramatically. 2.) Try not to create a blog that is too "busy." I find blogs that are messy and/or chaotic to be quite distracting. This also may slow your blog's load time and this can be frustrating for readers. 3.) Last, but maybe most importantly, don't feel obligated to blog unless you have something you really want to write about. I find people blogging about their blogging frustrations a lot. I don't really understand this. Doesn't this violate some fundamental law of physics? Writing about writer's block? Maybe it is cathartic for some, but for me I find that people who blog for the long haul (people who stick around for more than the first year) write when they feel passionate and enjoy and do other things when they don't feel like blogging.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

Without divulging the source, the most touching blog or series of blogs were from a person chronicling their battle with cancer. They eventually passed away. Perhaps this is an unfair question as I have had so many influential blogs that I have read over time. (Including some right here on Authorblog)!

Thank you for the compliment, Bradley. What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

Although I love tooting my own horn, at least in the privacy of my own home, it is hard to pick one blog that stands out the most. But I think the post I wrote about my Stepfather Bruce, a Vietnam war veteran, would have to be right up there with my finest work. Not because of my writing was an interview after all...but because it made me feel wonderful to share his heroic tales with the blogosphere. You can find this post at Interview For Veterans' Day. Thanks David for this interesting and thought-provoking interview series. I look forward to reading about other bloggers!

Today's Sunday Roast with Bradley is the thirteenth in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.

Home Is Where The Hearth Is

Not When Your Neighbour Steals The Place

A Russian man returned from holiday to find his entire two-storey house had been stolen by a neighbour who took it apart brick by brick and sold all the contents. Only the foundations were left. Police investigating the theft found out that a neighbour had sold the bricks and window frames, and even the kitchen sink.

FOOTNOTE: Mortar-fied.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

He spoke in riddles, he wrote in code
I’ve gone into Windtalker mode
Who knows what Uncle Jasper meant
By his last will and testament

Looking For A Sign

Forget Sightseeing, Let's Go Sign-Seeing

This week's Photo Hunt theme is "unique, funny signs". Yeah, I've shot a few of those in my time. From some very distant parts of the world, using a variety of cameras. So here we go .....

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

April 2005. Gold Coast, Queensland. Canon EOS 3000.

With my background in science and mathematics, I was intrigued by this huge street sign that pointed the way to Infinity. But there were no complicated calculations involved. Infinity is not a suburb, just the name of a nightclub. In order to get the perspective I wanted for this shot, I had to stand on a narrow median strip as puzzled drivers wondered what this crazy tourist was doing. I shot only one frame, because I figured I had nailed it.

May 1999. Juneau, Alaska. Ricoh Instamatic.

I shot this during an unforgettable cruise around the Alaskan ports. The Red Dog Saloon in Juneau has featured on my blog in the past. It has a great atmosphere, plenty of buzz and plenty of humour. This shot, taken in challenging light, shows an interesting piece of signage. The little trap says "Texas Bear Trap" and the huge one says: "Alaska Mouse Trap". In the early days of the Saloon, the owners used to send a donkey down to the wharf to attract tourists. The animal bore a sign that said "Follow my ass to the Red Dog Saloon."

You can read my teetotal guide to Alaskan pubs at Called To The Bar.

August 1999, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. Ricoh Instamatic.

This is probably the most famous piece of signage anywhere in Australia. The highway sign showing camel, wombat and kangaroo contrasts beautifully with the white-grey bitumen and the crisp blue sky. Little did I realise when I did this Outback trip that I would place two chapters of my novel "Vegemite Vindaloo" slap-bang in the middle of this spectacular piece of the country I live in.

September 2006. Albury, New South Wales. Pentax K100D.

Clear blue late-spring sky. Bright red roof. Highly visible yellow signs. Does the one to the left of the TV aerial make sense to you? Does it? Really? Look again. It says "Keep Right, Mate" but the arrow points left. You can catch it at the famous Ettamogah Pub, where it is a famous landmark on the roof of a pub - along with an Aussue ute, or utility vehicle. The photograph below was taken at the same place on a stormy day last month, March 2008, and gives you a better look at the sign, through a 300mm Sigma lens.

It was harder shooting this against the dark clouds, but you can see the other sign more clearly than you can in the earlier shot. Loading Zone? On the rickety tin roof? Yeah, right! But remember - anything's possible in Australia.

September 2006. Albury, New South Wales. Pentax K100D.

This shot of the sign with the fake bullet holes was taken behind the Ettamogah Pub, near the souvenir shop. Just don't fight over it.

September 2005. Bala, Ontario, Canada. Canon EOS 3000.

I actually pulled up to shoot this photograph on a bridge over the beautiful Bala Falls in Muskoka, a region that figures in my forthcoming novel. Looks like just another sign, right? Now look at the image below, which is simply a cropped version of the original.

Despite the sign saying "Danger", there's a bloke on the rocks below the bridge, fishing in a spot he probably frequents all the time.

March 2008. Albury, New South Wales. Pentax K100D.

Remember the Queen in Lewis Carroll's "Alice In Wonderland"? The Queen who said the rule was "Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow but never jam today." This sign greets patrons (and countless tourists) at the Ettamogah Pub. And in case you think of returning the next day for several free cans of icy-cold Aussie-brewed Foster's beer, the sign will thwart you once more. It's always there!

Sermon On The Mounted Bull

The Best, Bar None

Another round and amen! Beer was on tap and a mechanical bull inspired the sermon as a new church held its inaugural service in a Sidney, Ohio bar. The barroom church is an offshoot of Sidney United First Methodist Church. The sermon compared staying on the bar's mechanical bull to learning how to get along in life.

FOOTNOTE: Praise the Lord and pass the ammo notion.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Up the bush in Turramurra
There's a raucous kookaburra
He laughs at those who aren't too sober
Even tour groups from Manitoba

Another Anzac Day Dawns

We Pine For Private Simpson

The pine tree at the Shrine. Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Under the clear blue Melbourne sky, there is a famous monument to one of the bravest men ever to wear an Australian military uniform. His name is Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick and he is enshrined in folklore as "the man with the donkey".

Today is ANZAC Day, a national day of commemoration in Australia and New Zealand to honour those who fought at Gallipoli in 1915, during World War I. The word Anzac is an acronym derived from Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and the solemn day here in Melbourne begins with a dawn service at the Shrine of Remembrance.

Not far from where the bugler sounds the Last Post and the Eternal Flame burns with an audible hiss in the reverent silence, old men with medals on their chests and a quiver on their lips stand to attention and the young children gather to honour the memory of those lost in battle, there is a tree. A pine tree. A historic pine tree. It is grown from the seeds of a pine tree that stood not far from where young men died in that battle.

Under the shade of that tree there is a statue. It shows a man in uniform leading a donkey by a tether. On the donkey is a wounded man. He slumps towards the muleteer, who supports him with his right arm. The man with the donkey is Private Simpson.

He was born in 1892 in England and as a young boy he worked with donkeys at a fair. Later, he joined the merchant navy but jumped ship in Australia in 1914. He then enlisted in the Australian army. Eight months later, as a stretcher bearer with the Australian Imperial Force, he was in the midst of the carnage at Gallipoli.

From the 25th of April onwards, Private Simpson risked his life several times a day to carry wounded soldiers to safety - on the backs of donkeys. On the 19th of May, while traversing Shrapnel Gully with yet another wounded soldier, he was killed by machine gun fire. He was 22 years old.

This morning, as the sun rises over the Shrine, they will utter the words: "They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the evening, we will remember them."

That is our greatest tribute to the Anzacs. We will remember them.

For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch Friday.

ME AND POPPY McGEE: I have a huge appreciation for the way Google incorporates special graphics into the corporate logo on its home page to commemorate special occasions. And yes, I understand that these representations (for instance, the famous Google rendering of Lego) are not commissioned on the basis of "donations" or corporate payments in any way. But if you click on Google today, you'll notice an interesting error. The logo incorporates a poppy, not an Anzac symbol. Yes, the poppy is a generic symbol of wartime homage, but it is specifically connected to 11 November, which is Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. We wear poppies in our lapels on November. Today, Anzac Day, we wear badges to honour the Diggers. There's still time for Google to correct this ....

Window Pain

Did You Spy The Spider?

A five-star hotel in China has dressed its window cleaners as Spider-Man in an effort to avoid disturbing guests. A spokesman for the Shanghai Sheraton Hotel says: "Nobody wants to see a person suddenly appear outside their window, so we thought of dressing them as movie characters.” Many guests have asked to have their photos taken with them.

FOOTNOTE: Spider pic, Spider pic.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Grass Roots Movement

It Ain't Easy Bein' Green In A Drought

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Judging by this shot of fresh green grass in our garden, you wouldn't think this country is still in drought. Melbourne's dams and catchment areas are hovering just above the 30 per cent mark, but the gardens and nature strips of this beautiful city are greener than they were three weeks ago, courtesy the rain we were blessed with just after Easter.

I took this shot a couple of hours ago because I was entranced by the late-evening autumnal light. These blades of grass are less than an inch high, but this SMC Pentax-DA 1:2.8mm macro lens really captures the smallest details with exceptional clarity.

You can actually see the shadows and the delicate variation of light on some blades in this frame. Even though this is only a low-resolution version of the original, you can see the last of the day's sunshine highlighting the delicate "fur" on the sides of a couple of shoots of grass.

This shot is for Anna Carson's Project Green - and when you consider the fact that the newly-mown grass is only the height of an SD memory card, you get some understanding of how good this lens is.

Now here's a question for all of you. Which of these versions do you prefer: the first shot or this one below?

Post Of The Day

Today’s winner is Les Becker wjth Mein Kluben, Mein Kluben. The other contenders were Uncle Joe with Random News And A Little Ditty; Old Man Lincoln with Honey Bee; A Bananna with A Lesson Learned; Thalia’s Child with I Commit; Dot with Butterfly In The Blackberry Patch; Charles Gramlich with Filler Words; Neva with N Is For Name Tags; Jo Beaufoix with Gurgles And A Competition; Quilly with Project Green With Envy; Brit Gal in the USA with Why Didn’t I Think Of This Before?; and Josie with Butterfly Effect. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

My uncle courted nurses
He wrote to them in verses
But he found himself completely stuck
When he met Nurse Worthington-Duck

N Is For Neutral

Ambassadors Outrank Kings And Prime Ministers

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Forget your Hummers, mate. Forget your SUVs, too. The hardiest vehicle in the world has to be the Indian-built Ambassador, modelled on the old Morris Oxford of 1950s English vintage. They were on the Indian roads when I was a kid and - guess what - they're still being manufactured, with the same iconic body shape. One was even shipped out to England and turned into a hippy-style taxi, so I guess they're set to take over the world now.

I learnt how to drive on an Ambassador, or "Amby" as they are fondly referred to. The photograph above was taken of an Ambassador taxi in Calcutta in late 2006. It was completely dark and I had just got out of the cab when I realised the street light cast the vehicle's interior in a beautiful glow. I shot this with the flash off and if you look carefully you'll see the driver's head and the interior glow reflected in the vehicle's roof.

To his eternal credit, one of my brothers decided to teach me how to drive an Ambassador when I was eleven years old. By that time, I had paid close enough attention to know that when you started a stick-shift vehicle, you had to ensure it was in neutral.

Left foot on the clutch, right hand on the wheel, left hand on the gearshift. Make sure it's in neutral. Turn the key.

Simple, when you think about it now. But when you're eleven years old, you have lots of questions.

Like: what happens if you start the car and it looks like it's in neutral but it's not? So my brother showed me. He put it into first gear and started the engine. The car jerked startlingly forward and stalled.

Lesson learned. Always ensure it's in neutral. Never take anything for granted.

He was a great teacher. He was 23, a combat veteran who flew fighter jets. And in his eyes I guess I wasn't just some little tacker who was clamouring to drive - I was worthy of being given the chance.

I guess that says a lot about life as well, doesn't it? We only achieve when we are given the chance to do so, or when we create our own opportunities.

We lived in a huge house with a garden large enough to encompass a cricket pitch, a badminton court and a flower-bed area large enough to dwarf most present-day Australian suburban blocks.

On my first few lessons, my brother showed me how to juggle the daunting logistics of engaging the clutch, selecting the gear and releasing the clutch smoothly while using the accelerator to achieve movement.

After a few lessons, I reckoned I had it licked. So did he. We then moved on to the next phase and he showed me how to drive on a deserted street. I loved it. I revelled in the freedom. After Christmas had come and gone, he had to rejoin his squadron on the other side of the country - and my driving lessons came to an abrupt halt.

Then one afternoon when not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse, I got itchy feet. What's life without a challenge? The grown-ups were asleep, honouring the siesta tradition.

So I helped myself to the car keys, walked out and started it up. You see, our front gate was a tight fit and several experienced drivers had remarked to my Dad that while coming in and making an immediate ninety-degree right-hand turn was a challenge, it got considerably harder on the way out when their reflexes (and probably their eyesight, too) were slightly less sharp after a couple of glasses of Scotch.

So I turned the car around, went smoothly through the gate, drove down the avenue that was (and still is) fringed with palm trees, drove back through the gate, parked the car and put the keys back.

From memory, I didn't keep it a secret when the adults woke up. And from memory, I didn't get into strife either.

But when I think about the episode now, I cannot for the life of me remember how I turned the car around in the narrow lane to re-enter the house. I must have done a three-point turn, which is not a bad feat in an Ambassador with no power steering.

But more importantly, it was a lesson in life. That was the afternoon I learnt you can do anything - if you assess the risks, approach the challenge sensibly and with enough, er, drive.

For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

Porgy And Bless

Bally-Hoo Over Ballet Hoo-Ha

A Russian priest has been tricked into giving a sacred blessing to a strip bar. Father Nickolai blessed the Studio 74 strip club in the city of Chelyabinsk after he was told it was a ballet school. The Orthodox priest claims he had no idea it was a strip club and that he had been tricked by the owners.

FOOTNOTE: Strip join.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today’s winner is Seamus with Parentheses Of The Day. The other contenders were Maggie May with Loneliness; Epijunky with Command And Instruction; Stacey Huston with Devotion; Suldog with 22 Punchlines In Search Of A Playwright; Sandy Carlson with Warming Up For Waterbury; Crazy Cath with Lonely Wandering; Corey with My Worry Wart Must Be Itching; Jennifer H with Turn Left At The Dirt Road; Bruno with When They Say Next Day They Mean It and Medic 61 with Senior Recital. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

My old aunt loved Rembrandt
She revelled in his painting
We all did chant 'No, you can't'
When she spoke of fainting

Wheel Borrow

Finding The Right Balance In Life

Training wheels for junior rollerblades.

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Sledgehammer Whammer

Have A Smashing Morning, Dear

Six English policemen smashed their way into a Bolton house with sledgehammers - to find a school dinner lady having an early-morning cuppa. The drugs squad officers had got the wrong red brick terrace house. "Sorry, love, wrong house", they said. Greater Manchester Police issued a public apology and gave the startled woman a bouquet of flowers as workmen arrived promptly to repair her front window.

FOOTNOTE: Window gleaner.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Green Signal

It Ain't Real Jewellery, But Look At The Sparkles

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

This shot is for Anna Carson's Project Green. This mock necklace was lying on a table at home, so I shot it exactly where it was. It's just a toy, but it gave me vibrant colour as well as great depth of field, while the silver-gold "mock valuable look" provided some great light-halo effects in the immediate background.

Post Of The Day

Today we have joint winners - Kathryn with An Update and Mrs Nesbitt with Going Down. The other contenders were Crystal Jigsaw with Every Child Matters (1); O Mighty Crisis with Duluth, Minnesota versus Manhattan; Michal with Feeling Earthy; Jo Beaufoix with The Good Stuff; Camikaos with In The Quiet; Kimberly with Apparently; Merisi with Meadows of St Marx; Such Simple Pleasures with I Hope The Dog Whisperer Will Be Available; Miss Sniz with the re-post Library Follies; Quill Dancer with Kona Cutie & A Pigeon and Mom Knows Everything with Heads Or Tails. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. You can nominate more than one post. And yes, you can even nominate your own work. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Up the dry red billabong
In the Bungle Bungle
You hear the joyous birdsong
So distant from the jungle


Bucks Fizz (Or is That Fizz Bucks?)

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

I shot this series of photographs on Saturday afternoon. I just thought I'd take some shots of Coco-Cola being poured into a glass and then maybe some images from above the glass, of the Coke swirling among the ice cubes. So I put the SMC Pentax-DA 1:2.8mm Macro on my camera and got the experiment under way.

This first shot (above) was taken while I held a two-litre bottle of Coke in my left hand and poured it into the glass, while shooting the scene by holding the camera in my right hand. Let me tell you that required some co-ordination!

Then I noticed the beautiful colours swirling round the glass so I took this shot while holding the glass outdoors. Again, I held the glass in my left hand and shot with my right.

Then I noticed the iceberg effect (above) in the glass, with one-tenth of this ice cube above the surface of the Coca-Cola and the rest of it below the surface.

But this macro lens is so good that it'll capture crisp images while almost touching the object, so I went in even closer for this shot (above). You can see the effervescence clearly as the bubbles rise - and the lens is still good enough to capture the sheen on the underneath of the ice, as well as the gradations of colour across the liquid.

I quickly realised this was far more fun than shooting boring shots from the top of the glass. Then I saw something that took me back to my senior Science classes in Year 10 and 11, where my physics teacher - a brilliant man - explained the intricacies of surface tension and capillary action. Look at the surface of the Coca-Cola in this shot (above) and you'll see that it appears to be undulating around the ice cubes, a fact recorded with startling clarity by this macro lens.

So of course, I had to go closer for the last shot in this series. Then I rang a good friend of mine, to find out the scientific term for the concave surface of the liquid. Mr T, as I fondly refer to him, had the answer immediately. It's called a "meniscus", he said - and it comes from the Greek word meaning "crescent". The curve is produced by a molecular response to the surface of the glass, as well as the blocks of ice.

Regular visitors to my blog know that I never enhance my photographs in any way. But until now, I've never used a macro lens good enough to shoot a meniscus with this sort of clarity. I guess you'd all agree that this series of shots from the side of the glass was far more rewarding than shooting it from the top, as I had originally intended.

Hard-Boiled Tactics

Who Hatched This Plot?

Children at a Chinese junior school have each been given a pet egg - to encourage them to play less boisterously. Pupils at Jinkangyuan elementary school in Kunming city have been told to keep their eggs with them at all times. The pupil who keeps an egg the longest without breaking it being named the 'Egg Star'.

FOOTNOTE: Coming out of their shell.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today's winner is Hilary, whom I salute for the simple brilliance and innovative presentation of the post Gulls Just Wanna Have Fun. The other contenders were Medic 61 with Lonely; Celebration of Life with Stepping Back In Time To Step Forward; Crazy Cath with Policeman by Ladybird Books; Shashikiran Mullar with First Brush; Shrinky with Things You Should Know Before You Get Pregnant; Classy Chaos with Drinks-Blogs Edition 2; Uncle Joe with My Name Is Uncle Joe And I Am An INFJ; Blue New York, New York & Getting That Accent Right; Blog Princess with Poem of the Day; Whodatdare's Pokah Life with Marvelous Macro; Kostas with The Step and Ladies' Historical Tea Society A Tribute To Molly Brown. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. You can nominate more than one post. And yes, you can even nominate your own work. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

I played three sets of tennis
Without warmin' up or stretchin'
I lost one set to Dennis
And the other two to Gretchen

Ice Spy

Good Things Always Come In Freeze

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Beautiful warm afternoon. Back yard bathed in mellow sunshine. Pour some ice into a glass. Hang on a second, mate. Grab the camera. How about a macro shot or two? Yep, for sure.

Get the 300mm Sigma lens off the camera. Put the new macro lens on, the SMC Pentax-DA 1:2.8mm Macro Limited. Fire off three or four random frames. Like I said, random frames.

Much later, check the shots on the computer screen. Aaaaaaargh, can I kick myself. Why? Let me explain. Like I said, they were random shots to show the ice glinting in the sunlight like crystal shards.

Look closer at the ice block on the left. Look at the edge of the ice block. See the miniature crystal fence forming along the edge? No, you can't really see it here, because these are scaled-down, low-resolution versions of the original shot. So let me give you a closer look ....

Now you can see why I wanted to kick myself. Even though the "crystal fence" on the top edge of the ice block was too small to spot with the naked eye, I should have taken some close-in shots like I normally do. The rare sight was more priceless than a Swarovski beard on a crystal figure of Santa Claus.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to spend the next 24 hours wearing a hand-printed sign that says "Kick Me".

Which is a bit like Roberta Flack's big hit, "Kicking me softly with your song, kicking me softly ....."

(The Odd Shots concept came from Katney. Say "G'day" to her.)