Five Great Blues Guitar Players

The following are some of the most influential guitar players in my life. Unfortunately they are all dead. Musicians either die from drugs or transport accidents which is a down right shame for all of us. I hope you enjoy this cross section.


1. Jeff Healey

Jeff lost his vision to retinoblastoma and died from lung cancer in 2008. The guy was a guitar genius and here is a version of a popular song that highlights some of his skills.

Jeff Healey – Roadhouse Blues

2. Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie was killed when his helicopter crashed and was probably at the height of his career. This song I have picked is my absolute favourite.

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Pride and Joy

3. Rory Gallagher

Wow, this guy had it. Whatever it is Rory just had IT. Died following complications from a liver transplant, shame on you Gordon.

Rory Gallagher – Messin with the Kid

4. Gary Moore

Gary captivated me by his smoothness on the guitar. I rate him with Carlos Santana and Larry Carlton. Yes, you may want to have heard Still Got the Blues but this version of Red House shows all of Gary’s skills. Died from a heart attack in his sleep aged 58.

Gary Moore – Red House

5. Roy Buchanan

Unbelievable player that didn’t get the commercial success he deserved. Committed suicide in 1988. This song is by Tyrone Davis and was a big hit in 1969.

Roy Buchanan – Can  I Change My Mind




Aptitude Test for Admission to Nursing

Nurses then


Once upon a time to be a nurse all you needed to do was look good in a veil. Well, no more. Along came us purse carrying nancy boys that didn’t wear veils and changed everything.

Below is the test that modern day nurses must pass to enter the honorable profession.

Aptitude Test for Admission to Nursing

This test has been complied to assess candidates.


Instructions: Read each question carefully. Answer all questions, omitting none. Time limit is 4 hours. Begin immediately.

History: Describe the history of the papacy from its origins to the present day, concentrating especially but not exclusively on its social, political, economic, religious and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America and Africa. Be brief, concise and specific. Minimum 1400 words.

Medicine: You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze and a bottle of Scotch. Remove your appendix. Do not suture your work till it has been inspected. Maximum time 15 minutes.

Public Speaking: 2,500 riot crazed unionists are storming the classroom. Calm them. You may use any language except Latin or Greek. Time limit 5 minutes.

Biology: Create life. Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture if this form of life had developed 500 million years earlier with special attention to its probable effect on the Westminster parliamentary system. Prove your thesis. Minimum 10,000 words.

Music: Write a piano concerto. Orchestrate and perform it with flute and drum. You will find a piano under your seat. Time limit 12 minutes.

The fantasy nurse
The fantasy nurse

Psychology: Based on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability, degree of adjustment and repressed frustrations of each of the following, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Ramsey II, Gregory of Nicea, Hammurabi. Support your evaluation with quotations from each man’s work making appropriate references. It is not necessary to translate. Minimum 1200 words.

Sociology: Estimate the sociological problems which might accompany the end of the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory. Minimum 500 words, experiment time 10 minutes.

Engineering: The disassembled parts of a high powered rifle have been placed in a box on your desk. You will find an instruction manual printed in Swahili. In ten minutes, a hungry Bengal tiger will be admitted to the room. Take whatever action you feel appropriate. Be prepared to justify your decision. Time limit 9 minutes.

Economics: Develop a realistic plan for refinancing the national debt. Trace the possible effects of your plan in the following areas, cubism, Donast controversy and the wave theory of light. Outline a method for preventing these effects. Criticise this method from your point of view as demonstrated in your answer to the last question. Minimum 900 words.

Political Science: There is a red telephone on the desk beside you. Start World War III. Report at length on its sociopolitical effects if any. Time limit 2 minutes, minimum 25 words.

Epistemology: Take a position for or against truth. Prove the validity of your position. Minimum 500 words.

Physics: Explain the nature of matter. Include in your answer an evaluation of the impact of the development of mathematics on science. Minimum 7500 words.

Philosophy: Sketch the development of human thought, estimate its significance. Compare with the development of any other thought. Minimum 300 words.

General knowledge: Describe in detail. Be objective and specific. Minimum 600 words.

Today's real nurses
Today’s real nurses

Phew, no smoko or cigarette break. Are we nurses tough or what?

The Tail of God 3

Pic by Warrigal
Pic by Warrigal


Just a recap, my name is Gordon O’Donnell. I am scientist from another dimension and me and a couple of class mates accidentally created the universe. Our teachers have sent us here to study for our degrees and I am heading for the planet Earth in the galaxy know as the Milky Way. My task so far is to create a monetary system, teach everyone in the galaxy to speak English but more importantly teach them cricket.

“C’mon Gordon” says Viv. Viv is my SNAP (Space Normalisation Adaptation Process) Coordinator, oh, in case you forgot, space an acronyms go hand in hand. Damn. “We are heading up to the bio so I can show you where you will be living till Earth is ready for you” Viv informs.

“What’s a bio Viv?” I ask as I glance around my beautiful cabin, a book list to die for, my own cook and a bar that never runs out.

“With long distance space travel you need to live in a biosphere otherwise you will go mad or in your case, madder” laughs Viv.

“Do you think I’m mad Viv?” I question.

“No, not so far anyway Gordon but you will eventually live in Inner Cyberia at the Rectory of the Church of St. Generic Brand with Bishop Bishop, Father O’Way and Belinda the housekeeper. Most of the time this lot are found drinking at the Window Dressers Arms Pig and Whistle affectionately know as The Pigs Arms. A stoic bunch of drinkers are always there and they are going to test you out. You need to know how to respond to fit in.” says Viv.

I find I cannot speak. Never in my wildest dreams could I have ever imagined such a scenario. We jump in an elevator and after a few minutes the lift door opens and we are in the main street of some sort of village. A mixture of housing surrounds and I can see a hotel, café and a few shops. People are moving around the streets.

“C’mon Gordon, I show you your house” instructs Viv and we walk a very short distance to a beautiful bungalow style house that over looks the beach.

“Wow this is fantastic” I mutter out loud, more really thinking about my surroundings than making any intelligent comment.

“Fair dinkum Gordon, anyone that doesn’t like this is a few kangaroos short in the top paddock” says Viv. Viv reads my face in an instance. “Fair dinkum means is that right and a few kangaroos short in the top paddock means that if you didn’t like this then you must be a mad” Viv informs with that irrepressible smile.

“This bio is the beach side village with fishing harbour, point break for surf and foothills at the rear and cricket oval in the centre of town. There are about 50 droids here who will create the atmosphere so it seems as if you are having a normal existence plus a four team cricket comp. The central computer has set the weather to replicate your birth planet and is fairly similar to Earth, you know day night, summer winter.” Viv states as this is all fairly ordinary.

Me, I’m overwhelmed. This amazing house with wrap round verandas that take in all possible views. A village, here in space, fair dinkum, hey its working, maybe I can settle into Earth after all.

“Come on Gordon, lets hit the pub for a couple of frothy’s, beers, before tea, dinner” says Viv, teaching as she goes along.

We enter the pub. A magnificent low lying building with a grand bar and a dining room to one side. Several droids are sitting at tables talking about the weather and some at the bar like they are propping the place up and watching sport on the screen.

We perch on a couple of stools at the bar and are approached by the barman. “Gerard, this is Gordon” says Viv. We shake hands, a custom I’m not quite used to yet.

“What will it be Gordy, we have Trotters Ale or Trotters Ale” informs Gerard.

“Make that two” says Viv. I’ve been drinking this Trotters Ale since coming on board and I must admit I really like it now although it did take some time. “So for tea Gordon it’s Bat Shit on toast or Kanck’s gizzard sandwiches?” smiles Viv.

My jaw drops and the bar erupts in laughter, hmm, Inner Cyberians, a tricky lot.

We enjoy a few more ales and I’m feeling quite relaxed but there is something that has been puzzling me. “ Viv” I explore, treading carefully, afraid to be thought of as mad “ Look in the last episode someone spoke to me about getting on with it, I thing the name was Hung”

“ Oh, Hung” reveals Viv, full of knowledge “ Hung’s the author of this story. Look see that screen over there, and how you can see a faint image of a person typing at the keyboard, well that’s Hung”

“ Author, story, you mean I’m not real but simply a fictitious character.” I blurt confused as to what’s going on.

“ Of course you are real Gordon. Everyone that reads this story knows you created the universe and this website has over 450,000 hits so mate you are very real” asserts Viv.

“ But he spoke to me” again my anxiety rising.

“ And yeah, you can speak to him any time but it must be inside closed brackets like this []. If you don’t like something or have a suggestion on the story just type you request inside closed brackets and Hung will talk to you” says Viv. “ Here I’ll show you”

[Hey Hung, great gag about the bat shit on toast]
[Thanks Viv. Gordon may need some sedation later till he understands]
[Yeah, he’s a bit wet behind the ears but I think we can work with him, I mean he likes beer for starters]
[Hung, Gordon here, am I real?]
[As real as anything else in this universe. Don’t worry, any concerns just talk to me. My closed brackets are always open to you.]

Hungs Wide World of Shorts

Pic by Warrigal
Pic by Warrigal

Lillie approaches from the Vulture Street End, Boycott pads up, its bowled him, Boycott’s off stump knocked out of the ground, no shot offered, can you believe that……”, the lounge room roars into action, grown men cry, dogs bark, people flood the street tossing hats in the air rejoicing, backs are slapped, beers are poured, babies are conceived, this is summer this is cricket, this is heaven, their best batsman bowled without offering a shot, life doesn’t get any better than this, ah yes, cricket where the only thing better than cricket is more cricket.

Yes cricket, the one true national game. Forget your football codes cricket is life and life is cricket. Understanding cricket is easy. Get more runs then they do, simple. Nothin’ too hard bout that. And yes the culture, the joy, the atmosphere, its quasi-religious and coming from an atheist that’s saying something.

As a kid growing up in Wollongong all my mates played cricket and for me batting, bowling or fielding I couldn’t care less, just playing the game was all I needed. Weekends were cricket in the juniors Saturday morning, Grade in the afternoon. Sunday morning surf then when the nor’easter came in cricket in the park with me mates. Mum had to come and get me for tea as the sun had set ages ago. She’d call out from the street “Mark, get home, it’s as black as, tea’s on the table, how can you see that ball anyhow?”, “But Mum, a century beckons”, I always wondered why mum called me Mark when my name’s Hung, anyway some thing’s are a mystery.

My Dad, an Englishman tolerating us colonials, would get the bus to the bottom of Bulli Pass then from the roadside would hold up a sign “SCG”,

Pic by Warrigal
Pic by Warrigal

someone would always pull over and give him a lift. I was too young to go along at first but then my initiation came, the SCG, the hallowed turf, the smell of the freshly cut grass, the crowd, the banter between the Poms and the Aussies, always witty, never violent or abusive and supporters of both sides could sit together and barrack for their team. Mum would pack ham and mustard sandwiches and Dad would shout an ice cream, bliss.

Then as a young man going to the test with my mates, eskies full of beer, pies and hotdogs, hot chips and seagulls. Doug Walters would stride out and the crowd would erupt, “Dougie, Dougie” we’d chant. If he got a boundary the noise was deafening, all of us would rise as one, “You bewdy”. Then tragedy, Dougie caught in the covers, “Poms can’t field, how’d they catch that “.

Then as I aged a bit more and the Hill disappeared and my brother-in-law, Brad, and I would sit in the stands. One birthday, which falls in January, somewhere between the 4th and the 6th, hint hint, we went to the SCG and watched India play, Azzarudin, mate, me and Brad wanted to make him an honorary Aussie, he was brilliant. But it was against the Poms that was best, the old dart, the mother country, those were the days.

Tutu and I moved to Adelaide in the eighties and loved it. 15 minutes to the oval, no rain, 5 days of heaven. Saw the mighty West Indies, Adam Gilchrist, V.V.S Laxman, Wasim Akram and the graceful Brian Lara. In the first few years here, Tutu would bring books to the game to read but it gets hot in summer, 40 plus, so now she drops me at the Oval and goes on a spending spree on my credit card, I mean am I a winner or what.

So for those that don’t understand cricket, don’t worry. Just pretend you like it or compromise like Tutu and read a book, enjoy the fresh air, the sun, the community, being as one with total strangers, the total boredom, applauding your opponent for good play, all of these things are cricket and oh yes check the scoreboard occasionally.

Chris Gregory’s Chicken

bbq chicken
Pic courtesy

Here’s a conversation I had many years ago with a blogger by the name of Chris Gregory. He sent me this email about how he prepared chicken, a meat I love.


“I meant brine it to make it kosher. To be kosher the meat can’t have any blood in it, so they put the butchered meat in a salt water solution to make sure.

Okay. Cell walls are permeable, so you put the meat in the salt water, the moisture in the cells is wicked out. But because the meat is immersed in water, the solution maintains equilibrium, and moisture flows back into the cells, until everything is as moist and saturated as it can possibly be. Then, when you take it out of the brine, the moisture is locked in there, making the flesh as moist as it can be.

The other advantage of this is that you can infuse the meat with flavors by just putting stuff in the brine, like pepper, pineapple juice, ginger, whatever. It helps preserve the meat as well, and it means it’s already seasoned. And very, very succulent. It only really makes sense to do this to poultry and pork (fish are better dry cured, usually). But it really improves poultry and pork, which is bred to be way too lean these days and dries out easily.

I’d cut a chicken in half then put each half in a separate ziplock bag with a third of a cup of salt (kosher salt if you can get it, but preferably something with no caking agent) and a quarter of a cup of brown sugar. Fill with water, then put the bags in the fridge overnight. You could also use orange juice or pineapple juice instead of water, but reduce the sugar. Whole peppercorns are good too.

Next day wash them off then let them air dry on a rack. Brush with oil and season just before cooking. I’d smoke them, but a charcoal BBQ like a Weber will also do a good job. Or cook them in an oven the usual way.”

The ABC of Cricket


By Voice

As a young woman, the realization that in order to prosper in the workforce I needed to be able to talk about cricket came as a huge relief.

If you knew the extent of my lack of interest in the sport of cricket spectating, you might find this puzzling.  It’s hard to pinpoint the cause of this militant lack of interest. It might be a female thing; it might be a reaction to my father’s seasonal lack of availability, or to his one-eyed barracking. My father was your archetypal one-sided sports fanatic.  It was quite late in my childhood that I fully understood the role of the other team on the ground. Until then, listening to my father’s exclamations during the endless TV broadcasts, I thought the members of his team were the only actual players, battling blind umpires, unfavourable weather, or worse, the occasional unforced error, in an effort to claim their rightful title of match winner.

In any case, this early disaffection with the game of cricket was only reinforced as a University student, where endless discussion of cricket scores was lumped together in my mind with endless discussions about cars as uncouth “engineer’s talk”.

Fast forward a few years, and the burning ambition to be able to pay for food and rent found me working for a manufacturing company in a largely engineer dominated IT department.  As the cricket season commenced I reflexively turned off whenever the inevitable discussions started. But I couldn’t help noticing that I was spending a lot of time talking to myself, and this was highlighted during a period of relative inactivity for my group, when half the day was spent arguing  about cricket (and the other half perfecting the giant paper ball). It became painfully obvious at a farewell for one of our group, where the others bonded with management over a cricket discussion while I found myself a lonely outsider, that something needed to be done.

So I decided to bite the bullet and follow the cricket. I shamelessly enlisted the aid of a co-worker who had both demonstrated some knowledge of cricket and shown some interest in my company (no doubt confirming in the mind of many engineers reading this piece the dastardly use of feminine wiles by their female colleagues.) Over a coffee break I confessed the reluctance of my resignation to spending endless weekend hours watching cricket on the tele, half-expecting him to recoil in horror. It took me a while to realize the significance of his counter-confession that some weekends he himself had to miss the cricket and that on those occasions he just checked the score intermittently, but was still able to hold his own at work on Monday. Imagine my relief and delight when I realized it wasn’t strictly necessary to know about the cricket. All I needed to be able to do was to talk about it.

Riffing together we came up with the phrase “at one stage there…” as in “at one stage there Australia was 3 for 103” or “at one stage there Warne was 54 not out”. All that was needed was to check the scoreboard once during the cricket broadcast!

The day before the next lunchtime gathering I searched the newspaper for the cricket news. I arrived at work the next day with a few facts printed on the palm of my hand. After everybody had eaten enough to satisfy hunger, and the conversation turned to cricket, I surreptitiously glanced at my hand and announced “At one stage there Australia was 2 for 75.” This was greeted by a number of wise comments, and I was part of the group. Emboldened by this success, I further announced “At one stage there Steve Waugh was 75 not out.” This was met by a puzzled silence and I found myself on the outside once again. Later my ally explained to me that the correct pronunciation of  Waugh is “Waw”. Never having really listened to a cricket broadcast, I had somehow come up with the idea that it was pronounced “woe”. Since at that time Steve (or  Mark?) Waugh was captain of the Australian cricket team, this was a major blunder.

My second big effort was Christmas drinks at the pub, where I arrived unprepared but was thrilled to hear the cricket news being announced on TV, and immediately memorized the first piece of information. Later I proudly announced my hastily memorized factoid, and once again it was well received. Then somebody asked me “Who won?”  Unfortunately I had been so engrossed in memorizing that I had omitted to note this apparently important detail, and my face fell. An employee with all the social grace of, well, a young engineer working in IT, piped up “You can’t be very interested in the cricket if you don’t know who won.” The members of my immediate group, who by this time were in on the joke, were in stitches. I decided to own up rather than look a total moron, and by that time everybody had drunk enough to take it well.

Boxing Day 2008, and a couple I haven’t met yet are the hosts for the post-Christmas neighbours gathering.  The husband greets us at the door with “I was just watching the cricket”.  I have a moment’s panic; since I’ve been working at a small non-cricket oriented company the start of the cricket season has passed unnoticed. But through those earlier years of intensive training in cricket conversation I manage to avoid the crimes of appearing uninterested or asking who’s winning.  I settle on asking the score, and the moment passes safely.

Thankful for this reminder, and with job interviews pending, I search the web and find the ABC.Net cricket page. There I discover an invaluable innovation, the Live Game Log.  The first log entry is a summary of the state of play at the commencement of the day, and the follow-up entries are brief over by over summaries logged in real time. All the information needed to contribute to a cricket conversation available at your fingertips. At one stage there Kallis was not out for 26.

First Published:


The Minty Wrapper

more minties 2When I was young boy I was walking down the street a station wagon drove past. The window was open and someone was waving to another car and let a minty wrapper go. I picked it up and when inside to tell Mum and Dad. Now my parents were very serious people, mum starting crying “Environmentally devastated” said Dad.

Dad called a meeting in the town hall and a decision was made to send a small delegation to government house to protest. So Dad got out the Zephyr and we drove down to the big smoke.

The funny thing was that as we got closer to the city signs kept popping up on the side of the road like “Down with minty wrappers” and “Polluters die”. Somehow people knew about our protest, bush telegraph I suppose.

When we got to the main square a good size crowd had gathered. A man with a megaphone stood on a crate “Wadda we want, biodegradable minty wrappers, when do we want ‘em, now”. The crowd roared the chant back and more people poured into the square. People were yelling and rattling the gate of government house and yelling abuse at the guards. Riot police entered the square and protesters threw rocks and fire bombs. The police charged at Dad but he stood his ground, the copper said “look mate we all want biodegradable minty wrappers but no protest allowed without permit number 1068B”. The crowd surged behind Dad, now in the tens of thousands.

SAS troops piled into to the square discharging weapons into the air, cars were being turned over and set alight, “No more minty wrappers, down with wrappers” they yelled. Fighting was erupting all over the place, there were over a hundred thousand people now and machine gun fire sounded in the distance. Tanks were rolling into the square.

Suddenly a trumpet sounded the loudest sound imaginable. Everyone stopped in their tracks and looked to the sky. Anminty wrapper enormous cloud enveloped the square. The trumpet played one more note piercing ear drums and flattening any resistance. The crowd, police and troops all stopped and all eyes were fixed on the sky. The cloud opens and a figure appears that resembles a man with one of those flat caps. “Listen up” the creature says “haven’t got long Z Cars is about to start” he grumbles “God here or Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, Jehovah whatever just don’t call me late for dinner, get it, my real name is Gordon, Gordon O’Donnell, get it GOD, boy, you lot need to get out more”.

The crowd is stunned into silence, troops and police alike lay down their weapons.  “Look” the creature says “It’s 1966 your time and biodegradable wrappers aren’t ready yet but they will come, it won’t be long. Computers will be the size of a pocket watch and a man will walk on the moon”. A man to my left yells “He’s a fake, a computer the size of a watch, man on the moon, he talks in tongues”. God points his  index finger at the man and the man vaporizes and God shrugs his shoulders “Look, it will happen, a time will come when almost every home will have a computer and they will all talk to each other via the telephone, I will contact you when this happens, look to the ABC, my name will be Emmjay, any questions?” “God, what will become of us, what’s the meaning to life?” “Life, well, a writer will appear and give you the answer, 42 but no one will take him seriously. Look I can read your minds, sorry no cash or winning numbers and with football don’t worry everyone will continue to hate Manly” I thought to myself, I guess some things won’t change. “Is their life in the universe besides Earth, of course, but not as you know it Jim, anyway enough now. I am now going to make you all forget what’s happened. I want you to stop fighting and go home”.

more mintiesWhen I was young boy I was walking down the street a station wagon drove past. The window was open and someone was waving to another car and let a minty wrapper go. I picked it up and when inside to tell Mum and Dad. My parents looked at each other and as their eyes met a meteor burned up in the stratosphere causing a bright trail across the sky, “Be a good boy Hung and put it in the bin” said mum, Dad smiled, the dog yawned. Life’s a funny thing sometimes.