Saturday, December 19, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
A British man’s 27-year obsession with the post-apocalyptic biker movie Mad Max has led to him moving his family from Yorkshire to a tiny town in the middle of the Australian Outback.
Adrian Bennett first saw the iconic Australian film Mad Max and its sequel The Road Warrior, which starred Mel Gibson as a revengeful drifter who wanders the Outback with his police ‘Interceptor’ car and his devoted dog, as a double bill at the cinema when he was a teenager in England in 1982.
Now 45, Mr Bennett has decided to fulfill his dream of living in the same town where the first two movies were made and has moved his wife Linda and two of his sons from their home in Bradford, Yorkshire, to Silverton near Broken Hill on the border of New South Wales and South Australia.
He says he moved to the tiny and remote Outback town, which is located over 800 miles west of Sydney and has a population of just 51 (including the Bennetts), so he can set up a Mad Max museum in his backyard where he can park his custom-made made replica black Interceptor.
“From the opening credits of the first film to the closing credits of Mad Max 2 my jaw was on the floor, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and I was totally hooked,” Mr Bennett told The Times of the moment his obsession began over two decades ago.
He says it was “everything – the costumes, the characters, the location and the vehicles” which attracted him to the film and led him to a life of collecting Mad Max-related memorabilia.
A panel beater and crash repairer by trade, Mr Bennett even created his own version of Max’s Interceptor car in his garage in Bradford after exporting a Ford Falcon Coupe from the US. He spent over £15,000 customising the machine (“after that I stopped counting”), and even more bringing it to Australia with the many other pieces of memorabilia he has amassed over the years, including more vehicles from the film and a vast collection of photographs.
He has even acquired his own blue heeler cattle dog, aptly named Dog, after Max’s own faithful companion in the movie.
The Bennetts first moved from England to Adelaide in South Australia three years ago before finally buying a house in Silverton last month, and are now living off their savings while Mr Bennett begins to plan his museum.
Silverton is often described as a “ghost town” because of its remote location and small population, but is a popular tourist destination with approximately 140,000 visitors each year.
“We have taken a really big risk but I’ve followed my dream, so for me it’s all fallen into place,” said Mr Bennett, adding that his family have been captivated by the arid landscape and local wildlife.
“The other day I woke up and there were a dozen emus passing the back fence ... you wouldn’t get that in Yorkshire,” he said. “It’s just such a big and beautiful place. It doesn’t matter what direction you look in, you still feel like you’re on a film set.”
That's probably because it is a film set. Silverton has been used as the location for dozens of features including Mission: Impossible II and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and is regularly featured in international commercials.
Locals, many of whom were extras or stuntmen in the Mad Max movies and are accustomed to film enthusiasts breezing into town, have welcomed their new British neighbours with open arms.
Publican Chris Fraser, who runs the Silverton Hotel and also has a replica Interceptor car, describes Mr Bennett as a “fair dinkum, wonderful bloke” who lives and breathes Mad Max.
“He’s going to be an asset to the community and to the region bringing his Mad Max museum to town its going to create more tourism for us, the phenomenon of the Mad Max movies just grows every day,” Mr Fraser said.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
It’s summer, and ice cream is in season. Yay!
However, beware: Some jerks will try to ruin your summer with bad ice cream. Like my friend Patty, an amateur chef who makes homemade ice cream. One day, I invited myself over to have some. So here I am, sitting in her kitchen, expecting to pig out on something extraordinary…
Corn ice cream. No lie.
Turns out, Patty gets bored of the tried-and-true chocolates and vanillas and the rest. Which led to me ask Patty why she hated me. She denied it. She’s a liar. But she did admit that there are bad ice creams in the world, stuff even Patty wouldn’t make. And we discussed said flavors. And, well... we hit the Internets and identified the top 10 grossest ice cream flavors in the world.
Yes, the following is by no means a complete catalog. Consider the following list -- which is arranged from least terrible to most insane -- to be a quick outline toward saving your own sanity and sense of taste, providing you with a fighting chance when confronted with something cold and creamy and alien and disgusting.
(And yes, I did try the corn ice cream. It was... interesting. Not my favorite. But compared to what follows, it’s the tastiest treat ever devised!)
10. Parmesan Ice Cream
Are you tired of the same old cheese course to round out your fancy dinner parties? Serve up this salty cheese ice cream and watch your friends never come back to your place to bum a meal. Still, cheese is dairy, unlike the rest of the contenders in this list – therefore, parmesan ice cream, as disturbing as it sounds, bottoms out this list.
9. Salad Ice Cream
Ah yeah! Ice cream with, let’s see… red pepper, orange pepper, cucumber (or is that zucchini?) and cherry tomato! Wonder what the flavor of the ice cream itself is. Actually, no, I really don’t.
8. Chicken-Fried Steak Ice Cream
First clue that this stuff belongs on the top 10 list of grossest ice creams: You make it from the greasy scuzz left behind when you cook up a chicken-fried steak. Never mind that chicken-fried steak itself is pretty gross – now you can have it for dessert! For those of you who enjoy such fare, however, you’re supposed to A) use this ice cream instead of gravy, and then B) gag.
7. Ox Tongue Ice Cream
Yeah, I’m not finding any real information about this one, and had I found a real pic of the actual ice cream, ox tongue may have ranked in the top five. But the concept alone deserves inclusion, as does that cute ox on the packaging. Look at it sticking out its tongue! So cute! So gross!
6. Oyster Ice Cream
Most people blame the Japanese for this one, but apparently the upper classes of colonial America enjoyed it. Think frozen oyster stew. Ew.
5. Fish Ice Cream
We couldn’t find an awesome pic of this ice cream, so here’s the packaging. Apparently it’s a mix of brandy and saury, a salt water fish that’s popular in Japan. “Not Japan!” you exclaim. Yes, it is Japanese. Yes, it sounds not super.
4. Pit Viper Ice Cream
We have no words, except for this: Japanese.
3. Astronaut Ice Cream
Developed for astronauts because NASA hates astronauts, freeze-dried ice cream is solely responsible for every failed space mission ever. It’s a top seller at “science museums.” Science museums. As if those exist. Ha!
Still, as disgusting as Astronaut ice cream is -- and it is extremely disgusting -- two other flavors beat it in the gross-out game through sheer force of will…
2. "Cold Sweat" Ice Cream
AKA, “The Ice Cream From Hell.” Created by some dude in North Carolina who despises you, this stuff is made with three kinds of hot peppers and two kinds of hot sauce, and apparently will burn not just your mouth, but your fingers as well. How bad is it? The creator requires the fools who try it to be legal adults and to sign a waiver. I hate him!
But, for all this foulness, there’s yet one other flavor of ice cream that dominates this list, and it is…
1. Raw Horseflesh Ice Cream
Yep, you read that right. "Basashi” means “raw horse meat.” This noxious concoction is based on a regional Japanese specialty: Raw horse sushi.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wallabies are getting stoned on Tasmania's opium poppy crops and hopping about in circles, authorties say.
Attorney-General Lara Giddings says wallabies have created crop circles of squashed poppies as they increasingly hop in to the fields eating the poppy heads.
That causes them to get high and run around in turns creating crop circles, she told a budget estimates hearing.
"The one interesting bit that I found recently in one of my briefs on the poppy industry was that we have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles," Ms Giddings is quouted in The Mercury newspaper as saying.
"Then they crash. We see crop circles in the poppy industry from wallabies that are high."
Tasmanian Alkaloids field operations manager Rick Rockliff said wildlife and livestock which ate the poppies were known to "act weird" - including deer and sheep in the state's highlands.
"There have been many stories about sheep that have eaten some of the poppies after harvesting and they all walk around in circles," Mr Rockliff told The Mercury.
Tasmania is the world's largest producer of legally grown opium for the pharmaceutical market.
About 500 farmers grow the crop supplying the market with about 50 percent of the world's raw material for morphine and related opiates.
Ms Giddings was answering questions about the security of Tasmania's poppy stocks, which are considered some of the safest in the world.