The next world event

Posted by jerry on July 8th, 2004 — Posted in Journal, Writing

Someone got wrapped up talking about “after 9/11, what’s the next big world event?” And he was thinking of all these negative things… so I said: “what if the next big thing were POSITIVE?” and in quick succession came up with three:

1. next big world event: viral song gets loose from the Eurovision song contest and gets stuck in 400 million heads at once. Police called to ensure massed joggers crossing the Brooklyn bridge don’t jog in synch with each other…

2. crazed moped riders swarm onto the freeways making a mockery of speed limits…

3. Bio-terrorists release a cure for the common cold – western
economies stagger under the weight of increased productivity…

Of course we all know that the next big world event will be the Olympic Games in Athens – May this one be just about sports and spectacle


The Lost Army of King Cambyses

Posted by jerry on July 7th, 2004 — Posted in History, Journal, Travel

Herodotus writes of the disappearance of some 10,000 members of the Persian Army in the Western Sahara around 2,500 years ago. According to Herodotus a fierce sandstorm engulfed the army and they disappeared without trace.

I was drawn to this story by a TV program on the ABC last night called “The Lost Army of King Cambyses” It would seem that three years ago an Egyptian archaeologist named Aly Barakat found ancient arrowheads and a dagger in an isolated spot near Siwa. The arrow heads and dagger were consistent with ancient Persian design – yielding the tantalising possibility that the remains of the lost army might be nearby.

The story remained tantalising, however, but there were plausible explanations as to why it is reasonably likely that the remains of straggler groups from the army might yet be uncovered. The arrowheads, and some human remains were found near the oasis town of Siwa, which appears to be the site to which hey were heading when they ran out of luck – and food – and water.

Other campaigns of King Cambyses suggest that logistics was not his strong point – as his aborted attack on Ethiopia proved. So it is reasonable that, in an effort to travel light and fast, the Persians carried insufficient supplies – sacrificing logistics for mobility, perhaps hoping to find provisions along the way. (source:

The Western Sahara is forbidding country, and with food running short it is likely that the troops first ate the pack animals and then perhaps started on each other – driven progressively mad by thirst and hunger. Fatigued and confused and with little sense of where they were heading, it is likely they began to split into smaller groups, and then were overwhelmed with a ferocious sand storm.

Groups may have huddled close to the base of the great butte formations in a last effort to find shelter, and there became buried. However they died, it was almost certainly not as a massed army – not with a bang but a whimper.

But the finding of a dagger and some arrow heads lends weight to the view that Herodotus was not so unreliable an historian as some would suppose. He almost certainly relied on dubious sources such as travelers which may or may not have been corroborated by independent multiple sources, but it now appears that – in the case of the disappearance of Cambyses’ army – the source had some credibility.

A fascinating, if tragic story.
Download Herodotus’ history of Egypt from project Gutenberg here


More recording

Posted by jerry on July 5th, 2004 — Posted in Journal, Music

More recording
Yes I have neglected my blog over the past two nights! But it’s all in a good cause – honest!

We have been recording more tracks – this time of some Scottish tunes:

  • Athol Highlanders’ March
  • Stirling Castle – a lovely strathspey
  • Redhaired Boy, Merry Blacksmith, Mason’s Apron (reels)
  • Gay Gordons, 79ths Farewell to Gibraltar (marches)
  • Dashing White Sergeant, Scarter Glen, Staten Island (polkas/reels)

So it’s been a bit busy lately – still need to add guitars and bass on most of them and do some post production. But I’d have to say that the Tracktion software i’m using is great – very easy to use and intuitive for the amount of information it displays. I highly recommend it. The software works great on my four-year-old iMac dv – even though it does sometimes push the CPU limits a bit in the post-production phase.

Anyhow I’m learning heaps and enjoying it thoroughly!


Recipe: Gluten free scones

Posted by jerry on July 2nd, 2004 — Posted in Journal, Recipes

Has someone thrown you a challenge by saying they love scones, but are gluten intolerant? This recipe will be no good if you are sensitive to eggs and milk, but will produce lovely gluten free scones. And here’s how to make them:

Gluten Free Scones


1 x cup rice flour
1 x cup cornflour (ensure it is 100 percent maize and certified gluten free)
1 x teaspoon gluten free baking soda
1/2 x teaspoon guar gum
2 x generous table spoons margarine
4 x tablespoons castor sugar (or three of castor sugar and one of brown sugar)
2 x eggs
1 x tablespoons milk

1 x oven
1 x baking tray
1 x bowl with electric mixer (with beaters and dough hooks)
1 x sheet baking paper
1 x flour sifter
1 x round pastry cutter


Prepare a baking tray with baking paper, and pre heat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade
Sift the flours, baking soda, and guar gum into a bowl using a sifter that is scrupulously clean or that has not seen wheat flour.

Add the margarine and beat with the beaters until the mix resembles bread crumbs
Add the sugar and mix well. Remove the beaters and insert dough hooks into the mixer.
Add the two eggs and the milk and mix with the dough hooks until the mix has a satin sheen and is elastic. Add more cornflour if the mix is too sticky, or more milk if the mix is too dry.

Turn the mix out onto a bench top or clean board floured with cornflour. Knead lightly and pat down to a about one and a half inches and cut rounds with a pastry cutter dipped in cornflour and place onto the baking sheet.

Lightly brush a little milk on the tops of each of the scones, then place the tray in the top shelf of the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.

By the time I took this photo there were only two left!

Fresh Scones


Buena Vista Social Club comes to Canberra Australia

Posted by jerry on June 30th, 2004 — Posted in Journal, Music

Monday 28 June 2004: Canberra Australia – It was an amazing concert, full of rhythm, dance and Cuban barrio atmosphere (cigars and all!) I had not intended to go, but a friend who was keen to seen them after seeing the video of the Buena Vista Social Club, then caught the flu, and asked if I would like to take her place at the concert. I agreed immediately – I too had seen the documentary of their return to fame. This is about a group of musicians from the 30s/40s whose ambition was one day to play at Carnegie Hall in the US. Cuban jazz musician Ry Cooder heard about them and set about making their dream come true – and these guys, aged between 70 and 90 finally had their big night – but that was just the start of a huge revival – and they are still touring!

Yes there are a mix of younger musicians and dancers, but there is real charm and style in the original performers – still so full of life – playing and salsa-ing the night away. It was truly spectacular – and well worth seeing if they are in your area 🙂