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Roadside memorials of southern California: Father J. J. Crowley, the ‘desert padre’

While returning from a publicity trip to San Francisco in Sept. 1940, Fr. Crowley struck a steer that had wandered onto the highway. His car was forced into the path of an oncoming truck, and he was killed instantly.

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Motel. El Centro, Imperial Valley, California

I spent three nights in the Rodeway Inn & Suites in El Centro in the southern Imperial Valley last week. This sign was the best thing I saw there …

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Snake of the Week: Great Basin Gopher Snake

Alerted to danger, the snake coils up, vibrates its tail and hisses a warning. The Gopher snake can also spread and flatten its head, thereby resembling a rattler even more. An unsure predator mistakes this behavior and the somewhat triangular head of the Gopher snake for a rattlesnake and backs off from its pursuit.”

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Is this the cheapest hotel deal in the country? Elliott Hotel, NT.

A bargain at $45 bucks a night! The rooms at the Elliott Hotel might be a little rustic, but they are the cheapest beds in a town that the Territory, time, Tripadvisor, Trivago and the rest of the country forgot.

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Getting hot, sweaty and happy at the Rayella Band album launch at Elliott, NT

Mark Raymond is a deserved legend in these parts. He is an ex-copper and lead singer of the great and sadly retired Kulumindini Band, who made three great albums (one with the best title – “You’re Not Useless” – I’ve heard in a while) in the late eighties and mid-nineties. Kulumindini gave us a long “tuning-up-song” intro and then launched into their greatest hits and more. The crowd, as they say, went wild.

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The loudest bird in the world? The Blue-winged Kookaburra, Dacelo leachii

These guys just don’t give a shit, and have a great time doing it. I don’t know if this species is the loudest bird in the world but I reckon even the FA-18s from the nearby Tindal RAAF base would be hard-pressed to cut through the Blue-winged Kookaburra’s cacophonous clatter at close quarters.

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Rayella – angels whisper in my ear and send shivers up my spine

Ear-worm of the week: The song that has been on high rotation in my head for the past two weeks is the first track on Rayella’s eponymous debut album, “Wrong Kind of Man”, a love-gone-so-wrong-but-feels-oh-so-right kind of tale.

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Paul Kelly and the Merri Soul Sessions – Darwin, 10 February 2015

Paul Kelly and his fellow Merri Soul Sessions collaborators – including Dan Sultan, Clairy Browne, Kira Puru, Vika Bull and Linda Bull as well as his long-serving touring band rolled into Darwin for the last but one of their current tour.

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What to do with that leftover bottle of cheap champagne …

Welcome to the worst day of your life. The bottle-o is closed and all you have left is some cheap champagne that Aunt Betty left behind after one of her rare visits yesterday/last week/month/year and that no-one has dared to drink because it was crap. What to do? First, get a mango, then …

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A waterspout for Christmas …

A waterspout off Darwin, December 2014. Waterspouts can be dangerous for boaters and shoreline locations but are no threat farther inland since they collapse soon after they move onshore.

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