The sweet goodness of golden syrup

Living here in the USA I’ve been introduced to many things to put on pancakes: maple syrup, molasses, preserves, and so on. However, it seems that few, if any, in this wonderful country have been exposed to the delights of Tate & Lyle’s Golden Syrup. I grew up with the stuff in South Africa. I still drool as I recall the rich, sweet goodness of it drizzled onto hot pancakes or stirred into thick porridge. Yummy indeed! The reason I mention it is that this year marks the 125th anniversary of its introduction. The Daily Mail has an excellent article

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The trials and tribulations of a householder

Every now and again someone hits the nail on the head. Sometimes it’s screamingly funny. The latest person to make me laugh out loud while nodding my head in understanding and approval is Richard Glover, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald. He bravely tackles the subject of keeping house. A few excerpts to whet your appetite: At home, we’ve just swapped over to the new energy-saving lightbulbs. They’re an amazing piece of technology: every time you turn on a light switch, the room gets darker. Fit the whole house with them and you end up in total darkness. . .

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And you thought 18-wheelers were bad!

In some parts of the world the standard American 18-wheeler heavy truck would be looked upon with disdain. The good people at Dark Roasted Blend (one of the most interesting Web sites I’ve ever discovered) have just published a fascinating post on “monster truck trains“. To whet your appetite, here’s the two-way mammoth from Emirates Truck Factory, which can carry up to 2,290 metric tonnes (over 2,500 US tons) (click for larger image): Then there’s the South African “road train”, which I recall seeing in that country on several occasions as I drove around the highways and byways: See here

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Hairy take-off

Having posted a couple of videos of “interesting” landings, here’s one of a Russian-built Ilyushin 76 jet freighter taking off from an Australian airport. One of the problems with the Il-76 is that it accelerates relatively slowly . . . and when it’s heavily loaded (as this one was, with a full cargo plus fuel for an eleven-hour flight) it’s even more so. The commentary from the Australian controllers filming the take-off is funny and (at one point) rather profane: but given the closeness of the call, that’s not surprising. (If you’re at work you might want to turn your

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Of witches, witch-doctors and the disposal thereof

It may sound strange to Western ears, but belief in witchcraft, the power of witch-doctors and the traffic in muti (medicine, potions, call it what you will) conveying power or warding off evil is rampant across much of the globe. I was reminded of this by a recent outcry in Sweden concerning plans by a music group to stage the burning of a witch as part of their act. Local womens groups are up in arms at the proposal. However, such acts are horrifyingly commonplace all over the world, even today – as are murders committed by alleged witches or

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An historic date in figure-skating

On February 14, 1984, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won the gold medal in pairs ice-skating at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics with their interpretation of Ravel’s “Bolero”. Not only did they gain twelve out of eighteen perfect scores for technical performance, they became the first couple in the history of the sport to obtain nine perfect scores – the maximum possible – for artistic impression. Torvill smiled as the gold medal was hung around her neck and Dean had to fight back tears as he stood on the Olympic podium to receive his award. “Tonight we reached the pinnacle. I

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An unexpected side effect of the War On Drugs

There was a fascinating report in the New Zealand Herald over the past weekend: At first glance, Bluefields in Nicaragua looks like any other rum-soaked, Rastafarian-packed, hammock-infested Caribbean paradise. But Bluefields has a secret. People here don’t have to work. Every week, sometimes every day, 35kg (about 77lb) sacks of cocaine drift in from the sea. The economy of this entire town of 50,000 tranquil souls is addicted to cocaine. Bluefields is a creation of the gods of geography. Located halfway between the cocaine labs of Colombia and the 300 million noses of the United States, Bluefields is ground zero

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Why I love Lolcats

I’m sure many of you know the Lolcats phenomenon (one of the main Web sites is linked in my sidebar). The most recent entry there illustrates perfectly why I find them laugh-out-loud amusing. Cats (particularly kittens) are just so darn cute! In case you’re wondering, yes, I had two cats of my own for some years. Due to a disabling injury a very good friend in California offered them a home when I could no longer keep up with them, and they’re happily ensconced in Ontario, CA right now. They got up to no end of mischief, as illustrated by

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Hypocrisy in action?

As a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution and of the right to keep and bear arms, I find this interesting. It seems that Josh Sugarmann, founder and executive director of the anti-gun Violence Policy Center, also holds a Federal Firearms License – normally held by gun dealers. When I read the rumor online I was sceptical, but a quick check on the ATF’s online verification system proved it to be true. (Click on the image below for a larger, more readable version.) Hmmm . . . so the guy who opposes, and constantly rails against

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