A Daily Diatribe by a Pompous Git

Who is that fat bastard? A Sturm's Eye View, Guaranteed Free of Harmful, or Potentially Harmful Chemicals -- but Watch Out for the Ideas! Some of them are Contagious! 

A journal of sorts to record Jonathan Sturm's (and others') thoughts and observations on things worth thinking about. Feedback welcome, but be aware that unless you prominently say you want your communication kept private, I may publish it.

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Monday 26 November 2001

The rain continues. The last time we had rain like this at this time of year was 1984, the very same year that I married She Who Must Be Obeyed and Thomas was conceived. It all seems so very long ago. For me, that was life before computers. I had just commenced a market garden and I was reduced to watching helplessly during the main crop sowing time the soil I had tilled in late winter remain too wet to work. Catharsis came from writing about the issues facing people on the land.


The occurrence video artefacts definitely appear to have decreased in frequency since installing the latest Via 4 in 1. Perhaps it's the order of installing the latest version of the Via drivers after the Matrox video drivers that has helped.


A great laugh here:


From my inbox:

We Canucks had our Thanksgiving closer to harvest time: October 8. This time of year is generally quite miserable, with short days, long night, the first snow of the year well past and the ground white until next spring. Fortunately, yesterday it was 16C, today 11C and no sign of snow!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I'd like to give thanks to you for one of the most interesting sites on the web. Not sure when I found your site but it must be about a year ago and there's been few days I haven't paid a visit.

I wish you well and hope that you'll soon have the Roof Of Steel over your head.

- Robert

Thankyou for your kind words, Robert. The House of Steel looks like being over our heads before Christmas, the major holiday in the Land of Under. Hopefully I will then find more time to devote to this website. I am conscious that it has been a little less interesting of late as the pressure of finishing the house has increased.

Thought for the day:

Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only our own happiness, but that of the world at large. 



Tuesday 27 November 2001

An interesting day working on The House of Steel.

A not so interesting end to the day. I slipped and fell on my face, loosening two front teeth, splitting my lip, and bruising my cheek and chin. I didn't even have the excuse of being drunk!

Thought for the day:

The tendency of an event to occur varies inversely with one's preparation for it.

David Searles


Wednesday 28 November 2001

The strong analgesics I am taking make it difficult to string my thoughts together, never mind strike the appropriate keys on the keyboard. Hopefully, I will return to some semblance of normalcy in the next couple of days.

Thought for the day:

Humour is something that thrives between man's aspirations and his limitations. There is more logic in humour than in anything else. Because, you see, humour is truth.

Victor Borge


Thursday 29 November 2001

I'm not much of a one for commercial pharmaceuticals, much preferring "God's pharmacy": the herbs growing in our garden. Most people don't realise that much of the pharmaceuticals you purchase are extracts of the active ingredients from herbs. By and large, many herbs contain less active ingredient than the corresponding commercial drug, but that may be advantageous. It's harder to overdose for instance. Some believe that the "inactive" ingredients also have a role to play in herbal therapeutics. Whatever, they cost a lot less and if you are growing them, are readily to hand when needed. Much easier than a trip to the shopping centre.

In the case of my damaged face, I have been using comfrey to promote healing of skin and bone and thyme as an antiseptic. Despite the latter, I have a minor infection in my lip that I will shortly treat by chewing on a clove of garlic. The skin and bone healer in comfrey is allantoin, the antiseptic in thyme is thymol and the antibiotic in garlic is alliicin.

Like conventional pharmaceuticals, herbs have side effects, too. For instance, one of the side effects of garlic is a reduced chance of getting cancer or heart disease. Another is that many medicinal herbs are also culinary herbs, the side effect being yummy flavours. My favourite herb, garlic, is also 100% effective in keeping away werewolves!

Christine Haughton, a practising medical herbalist who lives and works in North Yorkshire, England has created a useful and attractive website devoted to herbs. If you visit her site, don't forget to leave a message in her guest book and tell her who sent you. She has put a lot of work into providing some excellent information. 

Thought for the day:

They said, "You have a blue guitar, 
You do not play things as they are."

The man replied, "Things as they are 
Are changed upon the blue guitar." 

Wallace Stevens, "The Man with the Blue Guitar."


Friday 30 November 2001

Today intentionally left blank.


Saturday 1 December 2001

In the morning, I decided to visit my doctor. While Chow is a regular GP, he is decidedly unorthodox when compared to many of his pill-pushing compatriots. His diagnosis confirmed mine -- let Nature take its course and everything will be fine in a week or so.

She Who Must Be Obeyed decided to RTFM that came with our new Swedish Asko washing machine. We chose it because it appears to be a well engineered example of front-loading washing machine technology (lots of stainless steel where plastic is used in rival machines) and it's affordable. We wanted a front-loader because they use less water than top-loading washers and since we harvest our own water, we are conscious of the need to be conservative in its use.

Disappointingly, it has only one water inlet, so it can only use either hot or cold water. Our hot water is essentially heated for free by the wood burning cook stove, so allowing the washer to heat the water with electricity will cost us more money. We will compromise and tee the water supply outlets together to give us control of water temperature.

Under the heading "Disposal" in the manual, we are instructed "When the machine is no longer useful and is to be scrapped it should immediately made unusable". The following paragraphs waffle on about how recyclable all the parts are. If recycling is an issue, why the instruction to render the machine unusable when it's no longer useful to the original purchaser? It makes more sense to us to recycle machinery and other goods by repairing them, or even thinking of new uses. A market gardener friend uses an old top-loading washing machine to remove excess water from freshly washed salad. It's useless for washing clothes, but has a productive use that would be negated by the above advice.


Found in my inbox:


your comment yesterday

"My favourite herb, garlic, is also 100% effective in keeping away werewolves!"

I also believe (not from personal experience mind you, more from a misspent youth watch late night horror movies) that garlic also has an effect on vampires. Although a simple search of the web showed an experimental study by

The Journal of Norwegian Medical Association on the "Protective effect of garlic against Vampires" in 1995 indicates that garlic possibly attracts vampires. I believe that the study was flawed because not having any real vampires they extrapolated results from garlic's effect upon leeches but I may be wrong.

Look after yourself,

Your Sydney Reader

Steve Grady

It seems that Scandinavians think quite differently to Australians! I am looking after myself as assiduously as I am able. Having successfully avoided accidents in the most likely situation, working with dangerous machinery and at dangerous elevations during the last year, it's amusing that I came a cropper in the kitchen!

Thought for the day:

Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.

Leonard Cohen


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Jonathan Sturm 2001


Jonathan Sturm 2001