08 December 2006

For my days are vanishing like smoke

The Sydney rail network, c. 1966.

17 October 2006

As when a hungry man dreams, and, behold, he eats

Hidely-ho, Vomerinos. This was my favourite unbaked cheesecake recipe as a lad. It has a velvety smooth texture, looks peachy and strikes the perfect effort : reward ratio.
I've been looking for that tea set for many a long year. You will too after one bite.


* Substitute blood orange juice for apricot nectar. Add a little more gelatine / arrowroot to compensate for the thinner consistency.
* Wheaten ('digestive') biscuits are a worthy alternative to the sugary ('Nice') ones.
* The biscuits should be crushed to the consistency of breadcrumbs.
* I freeze the base for 1 hour. It's wacky but it works. Either way,
ensure that the base has set before you add the filling, or hilarity will not ensue.
* Adding rum to the glaze is extremely optional.

Difficulty rating: achievable by intelligent 6-year-olds.

Yum factor:

12 October 2006

A sort of first-fruits

We're back from our 4-day holiday in the mountains. The highlight was the cottage garden, which furnished lemons and flowers aplenty. It was just the right location for a lolly treasure hunt. We also proved that it is possible to squirt too much bubble bath into a spa, whence emerged two fluffy white Ewoks (or happy Wampas).

Here's what the Berrykins listened to in the car...

The Sesame Street Fairy Tale Album
A sweet collection of stories released on LP in 1977, these capture the attention of adults and kidlets alike. The humour is engaging, warm and just occasionally absurdist. Cookie Monster was yet to diversify his diet, The Count was irresistably maniacal, and Elmo missed the casting call. Natura abhorret a vacuo. Anyhow, we'll be playing it on many trips to come.


07 October 2006

Time and chance happen to them all

Courtesy of the good folk at the Usenet group rec.puzzles...

You are asked to choose one of three closed doors, behind one of which there is a prize. The other two doors hide goats. Once you have made your selection, I will open one of the remaining doors, demonstrating that it does not contain the prize. I will then ask you if you'd like to swap to the other unopened door, or stay with your first choice. Does it matter if you switch?

Bear this in mind...
a) I know where the prize is
b) After you have picked one, I will always show you one of the other doors which bears goat
c) I will always offer a switch, regardless of whether you have picked the prize or a goat.

The probability that you win when you switch equals the a-priori probability that you guessed incorrectly in the first place: 2/3.

In other words...
The person who always stays put wins only if his initial choice is correct, which has a probability of 1/3.
The person who always swaps wins only if his initial choice is incorrect, which has a probability of 2/3.

And again...
Imagine that instead of three doors you'd started with one million, one with a prize and the rest with goats. You select a door, and your odds of getting the prize are 1 in a million. The chances are 999999/1000000 that the prize is behind one of the other doors.
Now I open 999998 of the other doors and show you goats every time. Remember, the odds are 999999/1000000 that the prize is behind one of those doors, and I have eliminated 999998 of them for you.
Your chosen door still has a 1/1000000 chance of bearing the prize, and all the rest of the probability has now been concentrated in the one remaining door. Would you switch?


06 October 2006

There can be neither slave nor freeman

14 October is the anniversary of Saint Callistus I, the 16th Pope, who died in about 222. Our knowledge of Callistus comes from the writings of his arch-enemy, St Hippolytus of Rome. As a young Christian slave, Callistus was put in charge of a bank, lost the money, fled from Rome, was caught on board a ship, jumped overboard to escape, was recaptured and taken back to his master. Sentenced to grinding at the mill, released, re-arrested for fighting at a synagogue collecting debts from Jews, sent to the tin mines of Sardinia, pardoned, appointed in charge of the Christian cemetery, ordained by St Zephyrinus as a deacon, elected pope at the death of St Zephyrinus in 217.

Denounced by St Hippolytus, the first anti-pope, for his kindness and leniency. St Hippolytus was the losing candidate for the Patriarchy of the West, and this seems to have coloured his writings. St Callistus was noted for mercy to repentant sinners, equality among brethren regardless of economic status, and allowing the ordination of men who had been married more than once. He is the patron of cemetery workers.


Come now, I will test you with mirth

As pundits from Punjab to Pooncarrie prepare for the provenient Ashes programme, we offer a statistical snapshot of all Tests at the Sydney Cricket Ground. This venue analysis is amassed from the incalculable resources of the Vomer sports database.

SCG 1876-2006
Matches: 94
Avge 1st innings score: 308
Avge 2nd innings score: 301
Avge runs per match: 987
Avge runs per wicket: 29.8
50s: 384
100s: 135
200s: 13
5WI: 139
10WM: 27
Highest total: 7d-705 by India, Jan 2004 #
Lowest total: 42, Aus v Eng, Feb 1888
Highest successful run chase: 2/288, Aus v SAf, Jan 2006

# This was S Waugh's final match, and a fitting end to a series that confirmed the
august status of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Following tradition in matches that I attend, the touring side played in a statistically contrariwise fashion, and an opposition player (this time Tendulkar) rediscovered the magic. Kumble's 8/141 was the 4th best innings bowling performance, and Tendulkar's 241* the 5th highest knock, in all tests at the SCG.
Magilla's match figures were 0/211, Bracks returned 0/133, and The Kat chimed in with 0/84.
And as Steve said, "it
remains to be seen whether Ricky Ponting and his men will realise my unfinished dream of beating India in India."

05 October 2006

The Queen of the South will stand up against the people

"There's a storm coming in."
"From what direction?"
"The North."

In this inaugural post on
Extreme Points of the World, we visit the Royal Domain of the Penguin. The first image is of the barbershop Ceremonial South Pole. Below that is pictured the Geographical South Pole, which is located at 90° South, a few hundred feet from its photogenic cousin. The real pole (GSP) is constantly moving as the snow and ice shift around. Its exact position is remeasured every year and a new placemarker is posted on 1 January.

04 October 2006

And he multiplies words without knowledge

The question, for mantra-like iteration as you shuffle dazedly through gouty shopping centres and misbegotten websites, is as the hookah-numbed Caterpillar from Wonderland asks... "Who are you?".
As you may infer from that counter down at the bottom, we've been flooded at Vomer Central with emails asking that very question. These images should mollify your ravenous curiosity.

My favourite beach (not saying which)

My place of employment

My hometown

My street (minus the yellow car)

The idle has no game to roast

OK all you game-of-the-weekers, here's the latest mind-numbing diversion. Now you too can fall victim to its inscrutable allure. I'm up to level 16. The challenge is yours alone.

dragThe Dot

So does a little folly outweigh wisdom

In the lower echelons of Swedish soccer, IFK Strömstad finished in second place and will be promoted next season. It went right down to the wire, as in the final round Slättens IK, the plucky protagonists from Lysekil, were still in the hunt for the coveted #2 position. Joining IFK in Division 4 Bohuslän/Dalsland next year are the form team of the comp, Hogstorp/Skredsvik. Parenthetically, the 'Hogs' (as they are affectionately known) lost 3 games to our 2, and the head-to-head clashes were split one apiece.

Bohuslän Division 5

03 October 2006

Now the earth was a formless void

We shall not tamely submit to the unpredictable whims of the unlearned and the unlettered.

It's an underdog. Arguably the second most important bone of the facial skeleton. But its place in folklore has been annexed by luminous contemporaries such as Mandible and, less dramatically, Maxilla.
Now, a web page that restores Vomer to its rightful place on the dais of public acclaim. Let this be a refuge for organs, cell types and diseases that have been subjugated, ill-defined, overlooked or misconstrued.

Also expect edicts on:
Anatomical pathology
Sub-Antarctic islands and other Destinations Of Interest
Old-time radio
Swedish films of blinding cinematic purity
Clocks without hands

From the reviewers...
"A massive crystalline prism text that refracts the central concerns of a forty-year oeuvre" - Ford

"Yet there is no body of work of its calibre and integrity since Le Rayon vert" - Truffaut, protesting at my two decades of critical obscurity prior to The Vomer.

A fitting coda to his idiosyncratic aesthetic trajectories, played out amid clean modernist designs" - Tarkovsky