Vintage New Farm


If hubby and I were going out for dinner tonight, we'd consider popping over to New Farm ~ home of some of the best café dining in Brisbane ~ and just going where our noses lead us.

This precinct still exists, but the vintage of this painting {lucky I cellared it well} means that Indigo restaurant has long gone and its former location has undergone several transformations, both in name and culinary persuasions. Currently, it's called Dell'Ugo New Farm, and no bottle of Chianti for guessing it's an Italian restaurant. Speaking of which, a little home-made fettucine with alfredo sauce, heavy on the mushrooms, would go down quite nicely right about now. We would opt for an Australian McLaren Vale Shiraz Grenache over an Italian red to take the edge off the cream, more than likely. I'd best be off and help hubby tie on his apron.

Pandering to Watch Obsessions


If I had enough moolah to invest in this Panda timepiece from Cartier's Le Cirque Animalier collection ~ as gorgeous as it is ~ I'd spend it on saving real Pandas. I suspect it would convert to a lot of bamboo. But I'm happy to still appreciate its beauty from afar. Cartier created this special limited edition collection in 2008 {from what I can discover}, with only 50 individually numbered pieces made in each of the three designs, the Tiger and Elephant being the others.

The Panda watch incorporates a few touches of black and white enamel with its 817 brilliant diamonds, 2 emeralds and 104 black sapphires. {Did I say a LOT of bamboo?}

Russell Crowe Wins Over Tights



Poor Russell Crowe. What a brouhaha. So he's been wearing his fat pants again. All for his art, of course. After all, he's had back to back roles where a little extra baggage on the front and rear of the carriage added appropriate weight to his performances.

And yet sometime when no-one was looking, he supposedly crossed the line between attracting admiration for going the whole hog, and accusations of eating the whole hog. For breakfast. Every day.

It seems a bit unfair to me. After all, he has a proven track record for plumping up or trimming down depending on the part. Hark back to The Insider {chunky} followed by Gladiator {hunky}. In those days, he was applauded for his ability and willingness to wax and wane.

"Remarkable!" they cried.

"Bravo!" they cheered, and danced in the streets.

"Here's an Academy Award," they shouted, and genuflected before his portion-controlled greatness.

And so he's at it again. What's wrong with that?

Last year, buoyed by the positive reinforcement of his previous successes {and possibly a little fluid retention}, Russell valiantly won his fight to convert muscle to fat. With the help of his old training gang, the Cheeseburger family, and listening non-stop to his own recording of his 1980s song, "I Want To Be Like Marlon Brando," he stacked on a Whopper 63 pounds for Body of Lies {directed by his good mate from his Gladiator days, Sir Ridley Scott, who decided that for Body of Lies, he wanted two all-beef patties for the price of one.}

As luck would have it, this cuddly physique also worked for Russell's role as a veteran reporter in his newly released movie, State of Play, though Brad Pitt was originally cast. Perhaps in this instance, the part was neatly expanded to suit Russell's girth. Ah, the beauty of a script that wears pants with an elasticised waist.

Ironically, Russell's next project was Robin Hood, also for Sir Ridley Scott. Ask your leading man to stack on weight in haste ~ and repent at leisure, Sir Ridley. Given the choice between a Robin Hood who adds notches to his belt and one who can't do up his belt ~ it seems there was no contest. A photo just released from the Robin Hood set proves that Russell, being the consummate professional he is, has firmly buried his fat pants at the back of his closet again.

Better that than buried up the nose of the next reporter to ask him about his weight loss regime.

And the best news of all? Russell's Robin Hood has eschewed the traditional 100 denier tights in favour of duds that are far more rugged and less likely to snag on Sherwood Forest. And I'm all for it. How about you? Surely some things - no matter how thoroughly buffed and toned - are all the more attractive when left to the imagination?

Brunches Inc.


Autumn outside. If you live up north, Spring outside. Either way, it's a gorgeous time for brunch. Maybe a table set out in the garden. Or a rooftop garden. Or just a rooftop, if you're a bit eccentric and like living dangerously. Why not!

A worn, frayed linen sheet serving as a tablecloth. Perhaps some little old-fashioned milk bottles or jam jars filled with casual handfuls of greenery and flowers plucked from the garden or the local farmers markets. Buttermilk pancakes with caramelised peaches, a little chunk of real, dripping honeycomb and cream. Lots of cream. Teapots covered in funny hand-knitted cosies. Family. Friends. Who's at the top of your invite list? Excuse me while I put the kettle on.

Hold the Billy Bob and Pass the Gravy



Oh, I do wish Miss Mild Manners wasn't still on Easter holidays.

If Billy Bob Thornton's recent behaviour during a Canadian radio interview is anything to go by, I understand why the position of Wife Number Six is still vacant. {I'm sure his aversion to silver flatware, French antiques and his fear of harpsichords have nothing to do with it. And yet he has no issues with that other plucked string instrument, the banjo. There's a warning sign if ever I saw one.}

In the interests of research {snort}, I watched the video of the whole thing. All thirteen minutes and forty seconds of it. Around ten minutes and forty seconds of it consisted of awkward silence, heavy sighs, pursed lips and more eyebrow gesticulation than a Marx Brothers movie, minus the fun. But enough about me.

Billy Bob was there with the other members of his band, The Boxmasters, to promote their latest album and their tour with Willy Nelson and Ray Price. It turns out they were there on the proviso that Billy Bob's movie career would not be talked about. Yes, modest Billy Bob did not want to detract any attention from his fellow band members {whose names don't appear on their website, as far as I could see}. I mean to say, they even named the album Modbilly. Could they have made it any more obvious how low-key he wanted to be?

Unfortunately, radio show host Jian Ghomeshi decided a teensy-weensy mention for 'contextual' purposes would be harmless. After briefly name dropping so his listeners could experience spontaneous penny-dropping, he asked a straight forward question about how long The Boxmasters had been together. I started to wonder if I'd misheard and he had instead asked Billy Bob why he decided to give up directing after he was forced to cut an hour from his adaptation of All the Pretty Horses, because I'd swear Billy Bob snorted and pawed the ground under the table.

Whenever Ghomeshi tried to include Billy Bob in the conversation, he was rewarded with responses that varied from the succinct {"I don't know"} to the off-topically effluent {you don't want to know}. Eventually, an uneasy truce was openly agreed to, after which Billy Bob further unendeared himself to the listening public by saying Canadians were like mashed potatoes without gravy. After all, he said, The Boxmasters "tend to play places where people throw things" - something many Canadian ticket holders were looking forward to doing for the first time in their lives shortly thereafter.

Not surprisingly, The Boxmasters cancelled their remaining shows due to the flu.

Though the Billy Bob camp has pretty much responded to the incident by saying he had no requirement to answer questions since the basic protocol he'd requested had been ignored, I have to wonder why someone whose own official website is called Billybobapalooza and shows a photo of his star on Hollywood Boulevard {number 6801 if you want to go and stamp your hoof on it} would seriously take such offense at a passing mention of his non-musical credentials.

But wait, I'm forgetting - he didn't want to take any attention away from his fellow band members, who looked like they were desperately hoping The Island in Lost would move again and create a keyhole through which they could vanish, go back ten minutes in time and bonk Billy Bob on the head with one of the cymbals from his own drumkit, the one he couldn't be bothered bringing because it was 6 o'clock in the morning and he didn't want to attract any attention to himself.

According to my trusty Wikipedia, Billy Bob said following his movie Bad Santa's success that audiences "like to watch [him] play that kind of guy, and they [casting directors] call [him] up when they need an as5hole."

Billy Bob, I think your phone is ringing.

Fairy Cake Detox Diet


Fairy cakes. That's my philosophy on how to start a gradual detox after Easter. Rather than risk sending the body into some kind of vegetable juice imposed shock, detox gradually via fairy cakes, cupcakes, patty cakes... these contain an ideal ratio of plain cake to sugar-rush content for this purpose.

One of my favourite places for such a detox is the Shingle Inn. This franchise started in the 1930s in Edward St in Brisbane city and was popular with not just the locals, but also American service personnel in WWII. {I hope that doesn't make their cakes high GI?} The fair ladies of the city also went there {wearing gloves, I'm sure} and as they became mothers and grandmothers, took their children along and created generations of fond memories of heavy silver tea and coffee pots, imitation gas light fittings, mock-Tudor timber panelling and booths, and some the best cakes to be found in the city.

Sadly, the original icon was dismantled in 2002 to make way for Queens Plaza. I'm so glad I drew it before then. Everything was photographed, tagged and stored with the intention of rebuilding it as it was, but to date, that hasn't happened. Disappointing as that is, there are a number of newer Shingle Inns around the city and suburbs, and though they'll never replace the original, they do know how to do lovely teas.

Happy Chooks and Honey-Bunnies


The Easter Bunnies have it easy. No wonder this one's tiptoeing on eggshells. Spare a thought for all those chooks, busily providing Easter Eggs and never complaining about the added discomfort of the foil wrapping. And speaking of these dear little animals, the RSPCA {Australia} has made a sweet animated video to help raise awareness for choosing barn-laid or free range eggs. Happy hens, happy eggs, the world's a better place. The Australian Choose Wisely programme is part of the grand plan, encouraging restaurants and cafes to support the cause. You can check out the clip here in less time than it takes to think about boiling an egg. And have a safe and happy Easter.

Hogwarts Pineapple Express



Unfortunately, most of the good potshots have probably been taken by now about one of the stars of the Harry Potter movies allegedly being arrested for possession of ... pot. {In fact, you'll find this post to be rather brief because I'm desperate to finish it before my own title is snaffled.} For instance, such headlines as these are just waiting to happen if they haven't already:
  • Harry Pothead {Definitely taken! Read the full story here.}
  • Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stoned
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Reefers
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Hashkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Acapulco-Gold-Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Hashish
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Doobie Hallows

Nineteen year old actor Jamie Waylett was taking a drive in his Audi with a mate when he was allegedly pulled over by the police after a tip off. After reefing open a door and allegedly finding eight bags of Turner and Hooch in the vehicle, the police locomoted over to his family home and inspected the joint. They allegedly found a hydroponics experiment in his bedroom {apparently a successful one: a skill that could come in handy if he's assigned to the organic kitchen garden in the Big House}. His mother Theresa ~ no, I didn't make that up ~ was no doubt beside herself, though perhaps in possession of a better understanding of the recent inexplicable butter marks left on her cookie recipe pages, and the spike in her electricity bill. {I did make that bit up. Should I say 'allegedly' again?}

Ironically, Jamie Waylett plays the delinquent bully Vincent Crabbe in all six of the Harry Potter films. Could this be another troubling and unfortunate case of method acting gone wrong? Let's hope not. It could just be a storm in a herbal teacup.

Dear Miss Mild Manners, writes Mr Q Tarantino of Hollywood


Deer Miss Mild Manners

Have ewe ever bean in a position where you wrote a script at brake-neck speed so the film could be finished in time for the Carn Film Festival and your spell-check didn't work and you assyoumed Some-Godamm-Won out of all the assistance, editors ~ frick, any old basterd ~ wood pick up the misstake befour it made it rite threw to publicity with the wrong spelling and now I'm stuck with looking like I'm illegitimate? Inglourious Basterds. That's the movie title, not me calling them names. But really, what do I pay all these peeps to do all day? Playing with fake blood spatters and pretending their druggie Ninjas or something? Isn't that what I pay actors four? I guess it could have bean worse. I could have scrawled In Glourious Basturds on the cover of the script instead. Any thoughts as to how I can fix this frickin' mess?


Dear QT

I apologise for being blunt, but frankly, no. The horse has already bolted. The incorrectly spelled writing is on the wall {and very nearly in neon lights}. I would say you're up a creek without a paddle. There's no point crying over spilt milk. And please take this in the spirit with which it is intended, but a bad workman always blames his tools.

One could argue that desperate times call for desperate measures. And perhaps it isn't over until the fat lady sings. {And before those of physical largesse inundate me, this expression merely pays tribute to the excellence of buxom, barrel-lunged opera singers. It is flattery in its highest form.} But in this case, I suggest it's better to let sleeping dogs lie. The current interpretation of your atrocity on the language is that it was a deliberately contrived artifice, some secret for you and you alone to know; dare I say, the uncouth equivalent of a Mona Lisa smile.

Next time, I would caution you to remember, more haste, less speed. Much less speed. And I have a larger bone to pick with you. Unless your movie truly is about illegitimate men, one could argue that including a cuss word in your title, albeit a misspelled one, is far more grave a transgression than incorrect spelling.

But to err is human; to forgive, divine.

Yours with such forgiveness, and wishing you the very best of success ~


Inaugural Pointy-topped Doo-dad Part 2


And not to be forgotten, the ultimate New York Pointy-topped doo-dad: The Chrysler Building on the corner of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue, a gorgeous Art Deco skyscraper. A bit like this, but shiny. Very shiny. Not to mention it also has gargoyles, inspired by hood ornaments and also very shiny. All kinds of wonderful.

Inaugural Pointy-topped Doo-dad

I've discovered quite a penchant for architectural and decorative features I fondly call Pointy-topped doo-dads. Alexa at The Road is Mine is kindly photographing plenty of New York Pointy-topped doo-dads for me and kindred PTDD connoisseurs to appreciate, with links to more supplied by witty and wise blogpal Tall Gary, aka President Linkin. I was feeling a little lazy, letting them do all the hard work, so here's my own ink and watercolour of a fine one on top of The Helmsley Building, pointed out by Tall Gary. More PTDDs to come from time to time. Pointy-topped doo-dad Club Memberships and T-shirts available soon. Maybe even keyrings.
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