Friday, 26 September 2008

Di-Hydrogen MonOxide - DHMO - the quiet killer

Monsoon frogs, in fact all frogs, do rely on access to that recognised environmental toxicant, DHMO , or dihydrogen monoxide.

It is very common in most tropical regions although less common for a significant part of the year in the monsoonal and mediterrean regions.

Many environmnetal groups rail against the material, citing it as a serious concern, especially when mixed with common pollutants such as sewerage.

More detail is available on the website where a lot of detail is available to enhance your understanding of this substance.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Kerry the Kingfisher is back

We have an itinerant kingfisher who seems to visit our backyard periodically. Not necessarily at anyone time each year, but regularly, at odd times, several times each year.

Seems to enjoy a quiet sit on the Hills Hoist [ that impeccable creature of suburban backyards in Australia when backyards were big enough to have the space] and from which regular visits to grab the odd lawn grub are made.

Lawn grubs seem to be most common in October and November, but our friend has returned earlier than usual. Often spends up to an hour quietly sitting and watching as those smaller insects, worms and so on move around the lawn, swooping periodically to satisfy feeding needs.

Have not ever seen a nest, but ocassionally the pair and smaller offspring have been seen. But the brightly plumed male has strutted his stuff regularly!

We do have a good range of birds seen in the yard and nearby. The sulfur crested cockatoos ensure we never get to eat any five corner fruit......they strip the soft edges and leave the residues on the ground! There are often 4 or 5 birds at a time in the tree, as fruit ripens.

I am sure that a backyard pool provides a great water source in an otherwise dry period.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


Yes, the Dry Season is over.

Tonight, as in right now, it is raining. A good solid shower, and the green tree frogs are croaking big time.

No wonder the green tree frog loooks happy!

On Sunday 21 September, the rain gauge at Darwin Airport had gone 165 days without registering a single rain event. This is the longest spell of rain-free days recorded at Darwin Airport’s official recording site since records began in 1941. The previous longest dry spell was 164 days, from 7 May to 17 October 1976.

The most recent rainfall event recorded at the Darwin site was on 9 April. While Darwin’s dry season is aptly named, its unusual not to get some rain over the period. In fact, Darwin Airport has never recorded a completely dry dry-season, which runs from 1 May to 30 September.

A radio report indicated that at the airport some 3-5 kms south of here, there was a smidgin of rain earlier today, but none here.

Even the dog was distraught, and somewhat confused about this strange wet stuff coming out of the sky.

In the previous longest event, the following pre-wet season was particularly torrid, with lots of hot sticky weather and little follow up rain. And it was awful! Particularly as it was only a year or so after Cyclone Tracey, and many people, including us, were still living in makeshift houses, caravans or similar while rebuilding their own houses.

Hopefully there will be regular follow up showers. They certainly clear the air.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Can Lance Armstrong perform in another Tour de France?

Like him or loathe him, you must admit he has been a performer, and that is Lance Armstrong. Just recently has announced he will attempt to ride le Tour de France in 2009.

As a reasonably active cyclist, a weekend warrior, the monsoon frog has watched and admired his performance in the Tour each year over the past decade. Lots has been said about his illnesses, use or non use of drugs, etc. But do not forget the mind. I remember very clearly watching his eyes on more than one ocassion in the Tour. The eyes of determination! A similar - albeit fleeting - look also seen in the eyes of Michael Phelps, caught by an Australian TV cameraman in the recent Beijing games at the end of a race, before the realisation of achievement kicked in and the eyes turned softer!

Real Champions have that look, even if mostly hidden.

For a great balanced overview about Lance Armstrong, read the following and the comments.

Picture copyright owned by

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Strange Afflictions in Singapore

Most of those in the below 50s age group in Singapore have a strange affliction. Their right hand seems to quiver feverishly, then the fingers agitate rapidly up and down. Often at this point the affliction changes hands.......the left hand does exactly the same thing, while the right stops.

Then both hands rise together, almost irreverently clasped together in a prayerful mode. Their eyes glaze over too. That is, if they can be seen. Often they are focussed downwards.

All of this occurs while moving quite steadily, even at times a little rapidly. And not focussing at all on where they are going or whom they may bump into.

YES........a texter on the move. Mostly women too.

It is a serious hazard in shopping centres, footways, crossing the road, on buses and trains. You name it.

Definitely worse than almost anywhere else in the world.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Timor Leste gets Cane Toads from Australia

Sadly but truly, the dreaded Cane toad has been shipped off to Timor Leste, or to the less erudite – that is East Timor.

Yes, the Australian Army seem to have been the perpetrators, as the believed entry was on Army gear sent over some years ago with the Australian troops sent over there as part of the UN Mission to the country.

That dear cane toad is a known hitchhiker on equipment and vehicles, and travel that way is a well known movement option around Australia, and particularly around the NT.

It seems that a local fish culture farmer has been complaining that the cane toads are eating his young fish. It might seem funny, but in a country that is low on food already, it is really tragic!
A recent news item was quite jocular about the event, and the entry of the pest into the area. IT IS DEADLY SERIOUS.

At least they have a lot of unemployed.....maybe they can form a local toadbusters group. Seriously. Local community toadbusts in the NT are known to have slowed, and seriously reduced cane toad numbers and their movement around the Darwin area.

They are ugly creatures and a menace. Lets hope they succeed in beating the pest.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Travelling OS

The Monsoon Frog is currently renewing acquaintances with the delights of SE Asia. And the usual intricacies of dealing with strange electrical plugs, strange internet cafes, strange hotel business centres [very infrequently] and several time zones.

All the usual fun things. tummy wogs.

More exploits on

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Confusion at Google

I am unsure if Google has joined the Pandora jewelry fad or not.

The new symbol on their web site today has confused me. Is it the new super particle collidor in Switzerland or a new Pandora charm bracelet? One could be forgiven for believing it to be the latter.

Monday, 1 September 2008

The Mango Season

Today marks the official start of the mango season.

A few have been picked, but how good they are is always a question. Too early picking spoils the market for everyone, as sending poor fruit to market usually means buyers get turned off.

While some early varieties are likely to be ready over the next few weeks, major supply is still at least a month away.
Bring it on!