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Showing posts from September, 2017

The Seven Year Itch.

2010: Playing computer games with your children can be just as valuable as reading to them, an expert claims. ... Jeffrey Brand*, head of media and communications at Bond University ... likens concerns over the effect of computer games to 19th century fears that reading novels was bad for children because it would stop them from playing outdoors. ... And he believes it's only a matter of time before there is a "canon" of classic computer games, just as there is a literary canon of classics by great writers such as Shakespeare, Austen and Dickens. (For 2010's 'computer games' read today's more correct 'hand-held devices'.) 2017: Tech consultants won't tell you, for example, that excessive screen use transforms your child's brain structure, which can result in issues with emotional processing, executive attention, decision making, and cognitive control. They won't tell you that it also may result in a myriad of psychological and physi

The night visitor.

Another cat has appeared. It visits late in the evening when I sit outside on my north-facing porch and gaze across the impatiens and roses and lavender, and the viburnum and photinia beyond them, to the clear horizon. Collarless, it is all-over grey and has a white face and white paws. It prowls up the pathway from the street, and turns left onto the porch and buffets me with its head, just like the last one did. Is history repeating ?

Top five bone-in dishes: #5: veal shanks with gremolata.

Throw half a cup of flour, a teaspoon of salt and the same of pepper into a plastic bag. Now add two veal shanks. Twist the bag closed and shake it to coat the shanks in the seasoned flour. Warm some oil in a heavy pan and sear the shanks. It is difficult to sear a cylindrical shape all over, so roll them around by shaking the pan gently. Remove seared shanks to a baking dish and add to the pan a finely chopped onion, a diced carrot, a diced zucchini, two scored garlic cloves and a splash of stock. Shake the pan, put a lid on it and leave it for three minutes to steam the vegetables. Then tip the whole thing into the baking dish and add a cup of red wine, a tin of diced tomatoes, a tablespoon of tomato puree, a couple of dozen pitted black olives and enough stock to cover. I also empty the rest of the seasoned flour from the plastic bag into the dish to help the fluid thicken. Two hours in the oven should do it. The meat will fall off the bone if you're not careful when removin

If the tree salesman says it grows fast, avoid it.

Another tree gone. I took out the stump on Tuesday. Good riddance. I have a book in my reference library titled Who Planted That Damned Thing! by Graham Calcutt, a gardening landscaper and writer of some note. As you can tell by the title, it is a light-hearted read but it packs a deadly punch. Its subject is the unsuitable shrubs and trees that people put in their gardens - mainly due to gardening fashion - and which landscape gardeners are eventually requested to remove. Calcutt advises his reader, 'Do your homework well, because to have to remove a tree that in five years is already too big, is a futile exercise.' But the book was published in 1985, so it talks about plants that were fashionable in the 1960s and 1970s, and only matured into monsterdom a decade or two later, like pampas grass or gum trees. Sometimes you still see pampas grass the size of a forest on those large blocks in the foothills of the Dandenongs, or giant gum trees in small Fitzroy courtyards. One