Friday, October 27, 2006

'Orchy' receives refreshment

FEW products manage to claim such a place in the thinking of consumers that a brand name becomes part of the language.
For many years "Orchy" was the Aussie word for orange juice.
The juice that left a Redlands processing plant seeped deeply into the nation’s culture.
Its profile dropped over time due to reduced activity in the marketplace but Orchy is now getting back on the lips of thirsty Australians, thanks to a family from Mudgee, New South Wales.
The Etheringtons, with a 25-year-long heritage in fruit processing through their company, Bevco, bought Orchy and its Thornlands plant in 2004. (Image from

MANAGING director Larry Etherington and his director-sons, David and Scott, now run a two-state operation with 90 employees and a commitment to keep growing as a truly Australian identity in a climate of foreign influence in the food product sector.
The trio is also determined that Orchy will continue as a hallmark of the Redlands.
The Etheringtons looked at all the options after they bought Orchy and decided to remain in Redlands and keep the things that Orchy has always stood for – quality and Australian ownership.
"Our Orchy team are fantastic and do a great job,” David says.
“They bring significant skills and experience to the Bevco business.
"We've made a significant capital investment to ensure the production facility is up to speed and running efficiently.
"Our plans are to grow the brand and business through continued investment and the assistance of our great team.”

ABOUT 20 people applied recently for two new positions as production workers at the Kinross Road plant, after recruitment through our Classifieds.
David says the mission to regain Orchy’s former market profile is a challenge that he looks forward to.
Research shows that Australians aged over 30 are still likely to use "Orchy" as their name for that orange thirst quencher, leaving lots of scope for coordinated marketing through various population sectors.
The plant’s 100% juice products include not only orange juice in a star role but also pineapple, blackcurrant, apple, mango and passionfruit, which has long been Orchy’s best seller.
It also produces a range of fruit drinks, spring water and other ancillary lines.
Most of the fruit comes from Narromine and Griffith in New South Wales and Mackay in Queensland, thankfully without critical shortages from the drought.
(This column has appeared in the Rural Press newspaper, The Redland Times, Cleveland, Queensland, Australia).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A day in the life of a guitar

THE picture shows what may be one of the world’s rarest guitar brands. A Google search today for the name, "ColTone", returned only one guitar reference. It was for "original 60s ColTone bass guitar" at $59.
The item has since been removed from ebay, so a research stream ran dry.
My ColTone two-pickup solid came from a garage sale just a few years ago.
The vendor, who looked to be in his 50s, said he had owned it since he was a kid.
The guitar is similar to my first electric, an Ibanez two-pickup solid, which I bought, also in the 1960s, through classified advertising in the Launceston Examiner.
The full story appears on my new blog, adayinthelifeofaguitar.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tennis court heads for 'white light'

WHEN rat-race refugee Helen Van Bladeren arrived in the Redlands about 15 years ago, she had no idea she would eventually be responsible for demolition of a tennis court.
With a mission to bring up two daughters well away from Sydney’s social pressures, Helen was more interested in mothering than looking into the future.
This is not unusual but Helen may be expected to do a little crystal-ball gazing. She is a clairvoyant but does not read the future.
Her gift is relating messages from those who have "passed over".
That’s about it: No promises, no predictions, just the comfort of contact, which Helen says helps many in grief’s grip.
The term, "passed over", means the deceased are in a peaceful state that Helen defines as "white light". The opposite is "earthbound" for those who have not reached the light. Helen has no contact with them.
She first knew of her gift when about five years old.
"I used to see spirits and talk in other languages," she says. "I remember getting into trouble for not talking properly.
"But there is none of that now. I have a counselling-like approach. To me, it is like a thought pattern and I relate that back to the people."
The tennis court features here because it is on a Boundary Road, Thornlands, property where Helen operates The Redlands Creative Centre to focus on natural healing.
She looked into hiring out the court but found insurance costs were too high. Callers swamped her last year after she offered "free tennis court" through our Classifieds.
Helen was then occupied planning the centre’s expansion and missed the opportunity to see the synthetic surface worth thousands of dollars grow legs and walk away.
Again, the court’s days are numbered, with a tea house and outlet for herbs and natural products planned for the site. Watch the Times and Bulletin Classifieds for the court offer.
In our Natural Therapies column, Helen has announced the centre "makeover", offering studio space for photography, yoga, pilates, personal training, workshops and seminars, and rooms for acupuncture, massage, reiki, reflexology, chinese medicine, counselling and psychology.
A fashion party plan is also getting under way.
More stories on

(This column appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Community finds a focus

The wonders of the internet … The April 9 post recalling Classie Corner’s attempt to find the best "stayer" in the secondhand fridge market – in other words, the most dependable – found its way on to a site called .
Every so often I do a search to see who is using the copy and how, and get some interesting results. It is really amazing to sit here on an island in beautiful Moreton Bay and create interest in Classie Corner from as far as Europe.
The concept of blogging about the marvellous community of classified advertising has also created a lot of interest in the United States.
Links I have posted on the US free sites are used quite regularly, according to the usage reports they send.

IT was also satisfying to see the Google Ad links for my last post relate to classified advertising rather than the many subjects that Classie Corner touches.
The marvellous community of classified advertising indeed is on a high plane with me blogging for such an assortment of interests.
This must be a career highlight for any journalist. After reporting from three state parliaments, courts of all levels up to Supreme, 23 local councils in three States, murders, floods, fires ... Nothing surely could match the credits that appears at the right of this page.
What the hell, just have a look yourself. Over the next day or so I will post a great little story fresh from the marvellous community.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Just mouthing off about the Classies

NOTHING gives me more pleasure than writing about the marvellous community of classified advertising.
Well, maybe one or two other activities are "up there" on my grinometer.
The grinometer is a handy tool in the cut and thrust of the modern culture of political correctness.
It works not only internally on movement of the mixed muscles that operate the smooth tissue around the mouth but also gives a barometer-like measure of lip pressure within range of two optical scanners.
The probabilities range from genuine humour in all its teeth-flashing glory to the dark clouds of sarcasm and upward pressure on the cheek tissue.
Intermediary categories include irony, courtesy and drunk as a skunk.
However, operators need a high level of training – a lifetime, in fact – to distinguish between the visual subtleties of, say, a "saw-you-coming" putdown and a "pleased-to-meet-you" uplift.
That is why the grinometer comes with a full range of optional accessories, including:

Flexible rubber-look stereo audio pick-ups with a swivelling capacity in selected models;
Multi-function sound card hooked to two in-ports and output device with variable volume and tone;
Five-digit sensor to test handshakes; and
Olfactory sensor for use in difficult cases.
The grinometer connects to any standard CPU but requires minimum specifications such as sense of humor and healthy scepticism.
Which all leads to promise more humour on this site in future. Today, the image file, below, reflects on the importance of classified advertising in people’s lives. Click on the image then use the expand button to get a readable size.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Urban water savers, Part 2

THE drought is worsening. Water sources are running dry over much of the Australian continent. The rural sector, long accustomed to coping with drought, is running scared.
A report this week in the Rural Press newspaper,
Queensland Country Life, said the record numbers of sheep through Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre was solid evidence of the drought’s severity.
The centre continued to set record yardings as farmers offloaded stock rather than feed them through another dry summer. The weekly record stood at 67,000 after a massive six-week sell-off.
In the urban context, we are told virtually every day this region, south-east Queensland, is on the brink of a catastrophic water shortage. Politicians, planners, scientists and experts from many disciplines are looking for solutions.
A few weeks ago
Classie Corner presented the first of a series on home water savers from the marvellous community of classified advertising.
Today, part two, also comes from the
Redland Times, another Rural Press title. Water watchers aside, media watchers may note the report in The Australian today about some interesting activity in Rural Press shares. I hope the buyer is not the Irish invader.
Now, back to water …

THE warnings about south-east Queensland’s dwindling water supply prompted retired plumber Norm Thompson to use a bore he had left idle since he moved to his Victoria Point home about two decades ago.
Now, after recommisioning the bore that "came with" the Colburn Avenue address, Norm admits he should have bought a pump many years earlier.
"The water tastes good," he says. "I sent it to a laboratory to be tested, and it’s good to drink or do whatever you want with it.
"I don’t know why more people around here don’t have bores. There’s a hell of a lot of water down there. Right here, there’s about two metres of it, about 10 metres down."
The hook-up was not all plain sailing, however, for even an old hand with pipes and pumps.
A few months ago, Norm, 68, bought privately a pump that the vendor assured him suited the task but expert advice later was that the pump was unsuitable for depths greater than seven metres.
Norm bought another. That is why our Classifieds featured a four-impeller Pump Easy unit, "as new with manual" for $350.
The lack of response to the For Sale notice has puzzled Norm in view of the continuing publicity for the drought.
He received only a few calls during three weeks of advertising, even though he says the price is several hundred dollars cheaper than that of a new pump.
Norm says his bore, which was sunk about 45 years ago, is a reminder of the recently "suburbanised" area’s rural heritage.
"It was all paddocks and bush around here," he says. "You would never have thought we’d have two Woolworths and a picture theatre down the road."
"But it’s not all bad. I use the facilities and I reckon they’re fantastic."
Pending the opening of the new Victoria Point cinemas, went to Loganholme this week to see the new Aussie flick, Kenny.
" Kenny is a plumber – he puts in portable toilets for the Melbourne Cup, shows and that sort of thing," Norm says. "It’s hilarious, especially if you are a plumber, I guess."
Norm, by the way, helped about 15 years ago to found the social golf club, The Hackers, on the nine-hole Coochiemudlo course.
He had a break from the administration after serving in most positions but he says he is now starting to get involved again and playing off a handicap of 16.

Classie Corner readers or indeed any classified advertising users with home water-saving products or ideas are welcome to send me a report for publication on this website. Use as many words as you wish and cap off the package with a low-load Jpeg, even if it is of just your own face. Even bores are allowed to take advantage of this free offer.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bayside welcomes mum, daughter

CLEVELAND on beautiful Moreton Bay (picture from triumphed over some choice mediterranean addresses after Aussie ex-pat Beverly Dowell looked for a change from her longterm UK base.
"I looked at a map, thought that would be nice and here we are," she said.
A compelling family reason, however, was the ultimate decider of Beverly's new home.
"My mum went into a nursing home and I came here to live with her and look after her," Beverly said.
"I am fortunate to be able to do it and we rub along well together.
"She's much happier now."
Her mum, Charlotte Torvell, is Queensland born but, like Beverly, is new to the Redlands.
Beverly grew up in Sydney. In 1972 she headed for the United States where she lived for six years before crossing the Atlantic.
The United Kingdom was her base for 27 years and she developed a deep love of European culture and antiques.
Meanwhile, most of her family were "drifting up to Queensland".
Beverly enjoyed time in Italy and France, but her antique focus stayed British to the core.
She studied English antiques from the 16th to 20th centuries at Cambridge University.
"Down under" for the past year, she undoubtedly misses the connection with such a long heritage.
However, she is pleased to have found a pleasant area near the ocean, a major criterion during her map gazing.
Has she had any disappointments with Cleveland?
"None. It's nice to be back in the sunshine and I can see my nephews and neices growing up and I did miss that."
Beverly, however, has become a television "culture vulture" who enjoys watching the news in other languages.
She can even list the daily foreign bulletins in order - Italian, German, Spanish and French - and she surprises herself by understanding "little bits".
"There is such a great mixture in Europe," she said.
"I miss a lot of it."
In the UK last year, Beverly bought a complete Italian language course to prepare for a possible shift to Italy.
She decided a few weeks ago to advertise the Linguaphone course for sale at $125, citing the new value at $300.
"It has everything you need – tapes, videos and text books – and has never been used," she said.
"I thought that I should allow someone to get some use of it."
(This column has appeared in the Redland Times, Queensland, Australia).

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

THE image of spooks from government, quasi-government and all sorts of private agencies tickling the search engines in a twist on George Orwell's vision in Nineteen-Eighty-Four (Classie Corner, September 23) has prompted an interesting analysis.
My post told how an insurance company had opened an official investigation into the affairs of a northern New South Wales man after finding his name on this site in a column from the Classie Corner archives. publisher Lee Shipley, a veteran of the Australian IT industry, boils down the issues to trust and the responsibilities of governments to protect the privacy of individuals.

THE search problem. Remember that every commercial aircraft design is based on a military project. What you see in Google today is declassified top-secret military or espionage software that was being used a decade or more ago.

Try the word "echelon" in the search engines and see what you get -- lots of conspiracy theory but it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

THE Wikipedia entry gives a level-headed assessment. The hardware and software for putting together the electronic transmission of all kinds into a surveillance whole is possible but the incompetence of most spy organisations is breathtaking.
How exactly did, with all the sophisticated gear that they had, did the twin towers occur? Incompetence at every level.
1984 is technically feasible but not practical: Our spies always look for the wrong things in the wrong places.
The US counter intelligence people were looking for Reds not Jihadists. Churchill was more worried about the Reds than Hitler between the two World Wars.
The stance should never be "I have not done anything wrong and so have nothing to fear." Instead we should be asking what right do others, particularly corporations or governments, have to pry and then accuse. How can you possibly know what may or may not be considered wrong at any one time?
We have principles, now being flouted by Government, about retrospective laws. We have privacy legislation that is regularly being ignored by companies.
"Man, proud man, drest in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he's most assur d..."

FROM this we need protection in the same way as we need protection from burglars, rapists or loonies carrying AK47s.
Granted the potential of much of the software available now for surveillance we have much to fear from those driven by greed. But the answer is not in banning such software but in disciplining those who would us it against us.
Insurance companies need to be halted by statutes of limitation, police prevented from having the automatic right to listen to all conversations without warrants, tax information not given out to private companies, spammers threatened with prosecution and ... You see what I mean.

THE key resource that has enabled us to build our civilisation has not been, as many think, capital.
It is trust. Insurance companies, for example, only exist because enough people trust them to pay out if something goes wrong.
Lloyds famed acceptance of its liabilities for the loss of a vessel after only a verbal agreement had an enormous impact in creating the insurance market in the UK.
Every day we need trust and take account of its value. A camera, for example, can command a better price if it carries an Australian warranty.
We cross bridges, fly in aeroplanes and buy kilos of peanuts by trust. That is civilisation --
where trust is high, where people live without fear, where we work together in free association we thrive.
Trust, not God, enables modern large-scale government to stay in power.
Despite protestations to the contrary, we trust our politicians to do the right thing.
My observation during the last state election in Queensland is that the majority of voters in my own electorate elected the candidate they believed they could most trust.

WHAT the pollies have to decide is how to maintain that trust. Not just in themselves but in the society as a whole.
Otherwise civil disobedience will rise above the normal dull roar of criminal activity and see wide spread break down in order.
If you rent a house, an important clause in the contract is that you will have "quiet enjoyment". This means that you will not be subject to spot checks without notice or be watched.
Humans just do not thrive otherwise so we build it into basic principles and laws of our country. But we have not yet learned how to contain the new technologies.
Steps have been made in the right direction. The privacy legislation enacted a few years ago were a good attempt.
The anti-spam legislation and faltering attempts to rein in the use of mailing lists are slowly starting to bite. And this just goes to remind us how difficult and fragile this trust may be.

FOOTNOTE: The full Shakespearean quotation is :"Man, proud man, drest in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he's most assur d, glassy essence, like an angry ape, plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven, as make the angels weep." Measure for Measure, Act 2, Scene 2.
NEXT: Back to the marvellous community of classified advertising.