Will Type For Food


Friday, July 24, 2015

WTFF news: Councils run out of pointless symbolic gestures to be pointlessly symbolic about

OUR NATION IS IN CRISIS TODAY as local councils have announced that they are almost out of pointless symbolic gestures to be pointlessly symbolic about.

The fears come as the City of Moreland council today announced plans to hold a minute's silence to mark the occasion of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The gesture unintentionally emptied out the local council's stocks of pointless symbolic gestures, causing crisis meetings from concerned citizens groups from Brunswick through to Coburg.

"What on earth will local councils do if they don't have any pointless symbolic gestures to pass their time?" said one concerned citizen. "I am concerned!"

"It's a great idea, one minute's silence, but after we've used up that minute, what are we going to do next?" said another concerned citizen. "I am gripped in anticipated existential angst!"

The discovery of the national shortage in pointless symbolic gestures has sent ripples of concern across Australia, with accusations of profligacy from many of our top economists. "For years we have been overusing our pointless symbolic gestures. I mean, local councils being 'refugee zones' or 'nuclear free areas' or boycotting nations halfway around the world? What does this even mean? What value do they get from it?" said one respected national economist with many degrees to their name. "I am a respected national economist with many degrees to my name".

However, local councils have retaliated against the criticism, claiming they have been recycling many pointless symbolic gestures already. "Why, just yesterday I was at a meeting where we had a welcome to country, an apology to the stolen generations, and up to ten acknowledgements of the original Aboriginal owners of the land - and the recycling was all the more impressive for the fact that not a single Indigenous person was present", said the Mayor of one regional council. "What regional council was I running again?"

Other national economists have suggested that there are still creative solutions to the pointless symbolic gesture crisis. "We don't need to start making meaningful gestures yet", laughed one economist. "Not when we have the crimes of the Romans in Carthage to apologise for!"

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Meanwhile, in the world of commerce...

SCENE: The Prank Store, Lalor. The store owner, Mr PRANKSRUS is standing at the counter as young DONOGOOD and his friends come in.

MR PRANKSRUS: Hello, welcome to The Prank Store, Lalor. How may I help you?

DONOGOOD: (Giggling with companions) Hello! We'd like to buy a prank on.... (bursts into giggles again) Tim and the Baron.

MR PRANKSRUS: Certainly, we are The Prank Store, and we have all sorts of pranks available! Just what sort were you after? High-spirited malarkey? Well-schemed hoaxes? Long-running practical jokes?

DONOGOOD: (Giggling) Well, we were hoping to.... sneak into their backyard at night and put a cow on their roof. (Whole group bursts into uncontrollable laughter).

MR PRANKSRUS: Oh, I'm sorry. We're all out.

DONOGOOD: Really? (Face falls, then he has a sudden thought). Oh.... well, you know. We'd settle for a spot of 'Creeping into their front yard while they're sleeping and performing topiary on their diosma so it looks like a dinosaur when they wake up'. Bit unoriginal out in these suburbs.... but should do the trick.

MR PRANKSRUS: Oh dear, well as you know, that is one of our most popular models. I'm afraid we sold out yesterday morning. We'll have some more in in a week, I can put your name down if I can just....

DONOGOOD: No. (Sighs heavily). That's all right, I suppose we can just go.... and do our homework (someone in group whimpers).

MR PRANKSRUS: No no! I'm sure we can help you! Let me see, let me see - ooh, how about this: I have a nice package deal: 'Waiting until they look the other way and rearranging the statuary in their front yard', combined with 'spray painting one of them a nice pink colour'. Very promising! You'll love it!

DONOGOOD: That's very thoughtful! But I'm afraid they don't have statuary!

MR PRANKSRUS: Yes, yes, I see your problem. This is difficult. Look, we don't have too much else, we are just a start-up - but I could - let me see: yes! We do have this one: 'Wait until it's bin night and then steal a bin from someone else's house and then throw that bin and its contents onto their front driveway'. Neat little trick, quite modest but I'm sure you'll...

DONOGOOD: That's - that's a prank? More like a gaffe!

MR PRANKSRUS: Look, it's not perfect, but it's a good starting package. You'll really get into the prank market after that. Trust me! This is a prank that really says 'We are here to stay!'

DONOGOOD: (Whispers among companions) Won't it.... kind of.... make us look really stupid, um.... arseholes?

MR PRANKSRUS: No! You look like perfectly respectable lads to me! You'll be fine!

DONOGOOD: Okay.... I guess.... (hands over cash)...

MR PRANKSRUS:  Thank you! Enjoy your prank!

DONOGOOD: Thank you, sir! We'll do our best!


Sunday, July 12, 2015


Being a rhyme rap thingy I did at the Dan yesterday for no reason at all really apart from the three minutes of attention I got. The creative macchiato/legato rhyme was suggested by the Baron. (Incidentally, not only does blogger spell check not recognise the coffee names, it also got confused at 'lamington', 'trackydackies' and 'waccybaccy'. Spellcheck, check yourself!) 

Espresso yourself
Cappucino, moccacino, lamington and latte
Frappucino, affogato, muffin with a Smarty
Drop in for a doppio after shopping at the Target
You are all invited to my coffee-drinking party.

Ba-doom-doom-doom ba-da-doom-ba-da-doom.
Ba-doom-doom-doom ba-da-doom.

Like some woof with your doof take your poodle outside
We'd love to take your order and we'll take you for a ride.

Ba-doom-doom-doom ba-da-doom-ba-da-doom.

Like some sugar with your coffee or a hit of nicotine?
There's lightly slightly roasty toasty civet-bottom bean.
I just use these words though I don't know what they mean -
Is that butter on my fruit toast or is that just margarine?

Ba-doom-doom-doom ba-da-doom-ba-da-doom.
Ba-doom-doom-doom ba-da-doom.

Have a spot of piccolo, or a macchiato,
Some drink it furioso, but some are more legato.
Ba-doom-doom-doom ba-da-doom.

We're leafing through The Age though we're wearing trackydackies,
 Hey this skim milk soy chai latte is my morning waccybaccy -
Laughing at the slackers and the tradies and the whackers
Reading Herald Suns drinking coffee at the Maccas.

Ba-doom-doom-doom ba-da-doom-ba-da-doom.
Ba-doom-doom-doom ba-da-doom

Yo yo dude have a go of this Yo Yo
Give your ay a pep, give your day a gogo.

Ba-doom-doom-doom ba-da-doom.
Yo drinking coffee's cool yeah drinking coffee's hip
It's my cappucino crema and my chocolate chip,
Yo let's do lunch my man we'll shoot straight from the hip -
I just can't do it man until I get my coffee hit.

Ba-doom-doom-doom ba-da-doom-ba-da-doom.
Ba-doom-doom-doom ba-da-doom.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Cats on laps 2: The Reckoning

Since the dawn of time, man has longed to become a pillow.

No, wait, go with me on this.

To have sharp feline claws repeatedly kneading his stomach into submission through his cosy jumper. (Convinced yet?) To have a purring predator making itself fiercely comfortably on his very own lap - with those purrs sure to break into growls if the man should dare to move himself in the slightest. And then - luxury of luxuries! - to have the aroma of the tin of Fancy Feast that you fed her two nights ago belched joyously up into your face as you contemplate the ways of fate that have led up to this glorious shining moment of cat sitting.
This is to be
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire and Victory. 
Wait! Come back! I haven't finished yet!

At least get me a cup of coffee while you're up?

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

A comfortable opinion column

You are absolutely right in every way and in whatever opinion you have ever held. Further, you will inevitably be completely and utterly right in every opinion you ever will have: that is the considered opinion of this considered opinion column.

Think of a chair; a big, warm, comfortable chair. This chair is your opinion. You may relax in it. Go on, put your feet up. Notice how soft the cushions are! Of course, it is an extremely stylish and fashionable chair, but also exciting and moderne, for your tastes - being an extension of your opinions - are exceedingly refined and correct, though never subject to the transitory whims of trendsetters. How lovely it is! Utter the righteous sigh of contentment that you alone are able to utter. Ah!

Let us consider the nature of your opinions in all their true factuality and rightful correctness. I do not know what your opinions are (although I instantly accede to them, of course), and maybe you do not either: it is not mere generalities we are concerned with here. This nature of your opinions is threefold: you were right; you are right; you will always be right.

Polls have been performed on your opinions, and it is heartening to see how many people concur that you are in the right. Where polls do not agree with your own opinions, further polling on these polls has shown these polls to be wrong.

Most respectable individuals and highly-learned talking heads have conferred over your opinions and polls of your opinions, and the polls of polls of your opinions, and they have made eloquent disquisitions and delivered wise asseverations to the effect that you are absolutely right in every respect. Furthermore, the comment sections on most, if not all, blogs, taken as a whole, with a few unfortunate exceptions, affirm the serene truth of your reflections.

If only people would agree with you all the time. How agreeable that agreement would be! It is soothing to think of the correctness of your opinions, and to complaisantly acquiesce to their nuances and the subtler filigrees of your deliberations. One wonders why people do not instantly fall into step with them. This world is sometimes a fallen and miserable place.

We live in harsh, disputatious times, in a harsh, disputatious world, a place riven with disagreements, untruths, contradictions, paradoxes, and debates. Few individuals have ever come to agree on much in this bitter, conflicted place. No one person should ever feel complacent in their thoughts and philosophical systems - except you. You may feel utterly complacent in your complacency; for the simple neatness of your elegant opinions are perfectly adequate, for now and all time. How soft they are, how warm and fuzzy and attractive in their features; I should very much like to pat them and stroke them and make them my own!

This is the considered opinion of me, Tim Train, about your opinions.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

If the Romantics were grumps

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills
When suddenly I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodills.

Well, I soon cleaned that lot up.

I met a traveller from an ancient land
And wish he'd bloody well stay there!

In Xanadu did Kublai Kahn
A stately pleasure dome decree.
And all without health and safety regulations! I mean, geeze, it's a wonder we get anything done around here with all these stupid rules. Now that Kahn! There was a ruler who could bung up a city block or too!

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountain's green?
And look at the mess we're all in now! It's just obscene!

Shelley, again
O wild west wind, thou breath of autumn's being -
Who left the bloody window open anyway?

Barrett Browning
How much do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

Well, that was a short list.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Emoticon poem

Emojis are my amanuensis -
For instance, colon-close-parenthesis.
If I like you, then you'll see -
And let's make sure to never be

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Four short stories

Short story number one: a comment on literature.
"What the Dickens!" said the devil.
"What the devil!" said Dickens.

Short story number two: a religious reflection.
The pedant walked into the cathedral and was immediately struck with a sense of or.

Short story number three: cutting edge political analysis.
Once upon a time there was an extremist who said prominent women journalists should be publicly raped. Then ABC gave him a spot on Q&A. Tony Abbott is great!

Short story number four: more cutting edge political analysis.
Once upon a time there was an extremist who said prominent women journalists should be publicly raped. Then ABC gave him a spot on Q&A. Bill Shorten should be PM! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Achievement of the day, memorialised for all time in a blog post

TIM: (After having successfully removed a substantial blockage from the toilet with a stick,which had previously refused to budge in three successive flushes)

(Points with stick)
Yes! Go! Be banished from here, foul fiend from the depths of hell!

(Realises what he is doing, takes stick to the bin, returns inside, etc etc)

(Or is it?)

Thursday, June 18, 2015


We all know what it's like to, as kids, have been the recipient of parental disapproval, to have been banished to one's room or to have been the recipient of a chiding. It is through these stern parental admonishments that we have become the fine upstanding citizens of today, the moral guardians for future generations or, in some cases, politicians. But nothing is perfect.

These admonishments and punishments are every bit as much a part of childhood experience as games and innocence and all that stuff. But thinking about it today, I realised that when it comes to children's television, you only get the good bits. Or, at least a bunch of happy boppy people so decked out in garish primary colours and fluorescent suits with words written on them like WHACKO and EXCELLENT in all capital letters that if there are any bad bits nobody will notice them. (It's worth noting that children have notoriously bad taste and like this kind of crap).

Seriously? No bad bits? It's like the television's there for entertainment or something! That's why it seems imperative for a new phenomenon in children's television: TELEVISION FOR NAUGHTY KIDS. It would be just like normal kids television - all fluoro and primary colours and words like 'Cool!' and 'Awesome!' and stuff like that, except full of punishments. Suggested sequences could include:

- The "And there'll be no cartoon until you eat your spinach" half hour (though I think we can drag this one on for an hour).
- Audience participation segment: kids write "I must not" messages 100 times on a piece of paper and send it in to the people on the show.
- The "Go and stand in the corner with your back to us" show - special segment in which the camera is just directed at a brick wall for half an hour.
- And the "Let's have a think about what you've done", in which hosts will chide kids on the other side of the camera for a variety of sins, some of which the kids may have even committed.

There's heaps more stuff you could have on this innovative children's program, though the more I think about it the general tone we seem to be going for is like an ABC current affairs program, except with more fluoro, etc etc.

Of course, people might be tempted to ask, wouldn't the kids just turn the television off and walk away? But that's the beauty of the proposal: kids have puny hands and parents can easily control the television by the power of the remote control, and there's no reason they couldn't be persuaded to stay in front of this morally uplifting program until it ends.

Come on, folks! I'm sure ABC kids can make room for us! It'll be totally SUPERAWESOMECOOL

Friday, June 12, 2015

Printchers, stridulumps, inklejacks, and lunt-takers

I'll bet you've all been talking about pelmets lately. Why wouldn't you be? "Pelmet", as everyone knows, is that word for "those things that cover curtain tops". Though no-one calls them "curtain top covers", because why would anyone call curtain top covers "curtain top covers" when a perfectly wonderful word like "pelmet" exists?

"Pelmet" is not the only word of that sort we have in English; our language is large and commodious and accommodates words for nose blowers ("handkerchiefs"), personal car parking spaces ("garages"), houses for dogs ("kennels"), and so on and so on and so on. All perfectly lovely words, I'm sure, and we've all had call for them from time to time.

But a revelation struck me the other day when I was looking for the bottle opener: the bottle opener, as everyone knows, even if they don't particularly want to open a bottle at this time, is just called the "bottle opener". It's as if English - which had previously furnished itself with wonderful words such as "pelmet" and "balustrade" and "banister" and "sprocket" - had run out of space, or just couldn't bother anymore, or something. I'm not quite sure why, as bottle openers could have a superb word with a little effort: "Unbeflambulator", perhaps, or "Inklejack". Nor is the bottle opener the only item to have missed out on its own word in English: what about toilet roll holders ("printchers"?)

"Door knob", I confess to being a perfectly lovely literal description of the knobs that you find on doors, so perhaps in cases such as this we will not wish to come up with a word: but what of other important concepts, such as the bits of pillows that slip out of the pillowcasing ("Dilmitties")? Or the bits on long-sleeved shirts that hold your elbows ("sprills")? Veering into the slightly more esoteric, ought we not consider the stripes on zebras ("zilps"?) or the spots on giraffes ("stridulumps"?) Or, for that matter, the satisfied sounds animals make when they go to bed - perhaps cats "uzzle", and dogs "wumper"?

It is certainly not a matter of lack of invention or inattention to specific details: English once had a word for "walking while smoking a pipe" - "lunting" - which sounds so wonderful that I want to get myself a pipe now.

I could go on with more examples of detailed concepts English needs specific words for, but I think you get the idea. I will therefore leave you all with a concept for you to find a word for -

"the sound made when a man meditatively strokes his beard"

- and a word looking for a concept to describe:


Love to hear what everyone's suggestions are! In the meantime, I'm off for a lunt!

The war between those who favour occasional non-chocolate-based desserts and those who are all chocolate chocolate chocolate with a side serving of chocolate-based desserts all the time - a reflective essay

No-one knows when the war began. It seems, however, as if the fierce contention between those who favour truth, beauty, justice, and goodness on the one hand, and chocolate chocolate chocolate and chocolate on the other has been going on forever. Can it ever end? Why is it so difficult to acknowledge that some non-chocolate-based desserts can be just right? Is it your turn to make dessert or mine? It is too pleasant a war to really end.

On the one hand it is certainly true that when we take a general view and survey the broad field of battle of non-chocolate-based desserts and desserts that happen to have an important chocolate component in them, we find many fine chocolate desserts. No-one ever liked a non-chocolate mousse, for example. I yield to no-one in my appreciation of the chocolate cake or the chocolate roll. But those of us in favour of the occasional nice dessert that is made without the inclusion of the disputed chocolate ingredient cannot help but resent how that intruder chocolate rears its head in the most inconvenient of places. Who was the monster who made Hot Cross Buns with chocolate chips instead of fruit? Nothing could be more perfect than the traditional Hot Cross Bun, a sweet and spicy dough with a piquant tang from the raisins and peel. Hot Chocolate Buns are no substitute.

The ubiquity of chocolate is such that it even now advances into the field of savoury foods. Consider, for a moment, the popular Nutella pizza. No word is an oxymoron on its own; oxymorons are typically a two-worded monster; but draw your attention once again to this peculiar tangle of words we have here: "Popular", "Nutella", "Pizza". One can imagine words 1 and 3 co-existing easily; or words 1, and 2; 2 and 3 form an oxymoron all right, but, taken all together, words 1, 2, and 3 form an oxymoron of remarkable moronicalness.

How could this happen? - that the glorious array of desserts - of butterscotch and lemon delicious and icecream and souffle and panacotta and cream puffs and mousse and pudding and pie - has found itself replaced by chocolate and chocolate delicious and chocolate cream and chocolate souffle and chocolate and chocolate and chocolate, with lashings of chocolate doing what chocolate does on the side?  For it is certainly true that chocolate now has become in itself a symbol of all things rich and sensuous and sweet, and when we think dessert we think chocolate and chocolate and chocolate, and it seems altogether likely that the ridiculously chocolate-covered liquorishes and croissants with chocolate custard and chocolate musk sticks and what have you will soon give way to chocolate-covered chocolates, and chocolate things with chocolate in them, and the liquorish and croissant and custard and musk will be dispensed with, casualties in the ongoing war between chocolate and non-chocolate. Meanwhile, the chocolate-propaganda machine will roll on, looking for more things to chocolate over with chocolate; surely already we have attained the reductio ad absurdum, with such items as the chilli-chocolate chop top they sell at the Nova cinema - choc-tops with choc bottoms and chocolate in between!

And it feels a betrayal to even write this, for who can deny that chocolates have their place in the natural order of desserts and treats and snacks? Chocolates at Christmas or birthdays or after dinner or before dinner or at Easter in the form of eggs or cartoon rabbits or whatever are perfectly acceptable, and no-one would wish to deny that it is surely part of the law of nature that we give and receive presents of, and eat chocolates at these times; it is the advance of chocolate into territories not its own that is truly of concern.

We won't stand for this anymore! No, wait - it is truly time to take a stand - (or do I mean a seat)? What I mean to say is, it is truly dessert time, take a seat! Creme caramel for everyone!

Monday, June 08, 2015

A comfortable poem

Comfortable poems.... poems that are a like an old couch: easy, non-troublesome, and with questionable upholstery that has probably all been ripped out at one point by the cats. Well, that's been my project for the last few days, writing a bunch of Comfortable Poems. Here's my latest. It's about what I do when I'm at my most active and energetic:

Comfortable poem no. 3

Morning stretch, a dawning stretch
Rolling over yawning stretch
Not awake still woozy stretch
Shower stretch, jacuzzi stretch,
Stretch before a scratch stretch
Scratch before a stretch stretch 
Front paw of the cat stretch
Angling for a pat stretch
Leaping for your lap stretch
Going for a nap stretch
Field of flowering daisies stretch
Just plain fucking lazy stretch
Ergonomic seating stretch
Bored in workplace meeting stretch
Hey what's on the telly stretch
Rubbing at your belly stretch
Forward stretch behind stretch
Head stretch mind stretch
Why am I here again stretch
Every now and then stretch
I'd argue but instead stretch
Going back to bed stretch.

You'll notice there's at least 25 stretches in there, so that's one for every hour of the day and one spare. There you go, that one's on the house.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

How to do algebra: the creative writing approach

A and B are friends. "If A, then B", says A. "But if B, then not A", contradicts B. "It cannot, B!" cries A in a passion. "It can be", says B, quietly. "Perhaps we can resolve our differences," says A. "If A and B, then C?" "Hm", says B. "Or not C." "Let's see," says A, and they call their friend C, who quickly agrees to come over to resolve their differences. A little later, C walks in, and A begins to fade away. "I cannot, B...." begins A. "I see," says B. "Do you, C?" "Where's A?" says C.

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking, B2?"
"I think I am, B1! But that's not surprising! We have schizophrenia!"
"But which one of us is doing the thinking, and which one of us is the thought, B2?"
"I think I am, B1!"
"So do I, B2!"
"Can we take turns, B1?"
"I don't see why not, B2. Which reminds me...."
BOTH: "It's Xanax Time!"

(Provide the answers on a sheet of clean paper to the usual address, thanks).

Friday, June 05, 2015

Mansplaining the manspread

Now I know you will have all been thinking, "Just what does Tim think about the manspreading problem"? Manspreading, the scourge that is sweeping our civilisation from one side of the train seat to the other! Well, it's certainly keeping me up at night. Just what can we do about it? What does it even mean? Why can't we just do away with the manspread and replace it with something nicer, like a tablespread (jam, anyone? Spot of marmalade?) MANSPREAD MANSPREAD MANSPREAD!

The whole phenomena (phenomenon? I don't even know anymore) is full of mysteries. Are we able to call women manspreaders? What if a manspreader manspreads and takes a picture of himself while doing his manspreading; is it really a manspread, then, or a selfie? If a manspreader manspreads in a train and a social justice warrior is not there to photograph the man in full, er, spread,  does it really happen? What if the carriage is empty? What if the train isn't going anywhere and the manspreader is dead and anyway we were all having dinner at the time? Does that absolve him of his responsibilities?

I don't know! I just don't know! Personally I'm more a 'leaving the bags on the seat next to me' kind of guy, but who knows, if a social justice warrior appeared with their iPhone, I might just feel compelled to manspread in order to give them material for a tweet.

Let us consider this ad. Ostensibly a powerful statement about racism in our society, is it not actually a subtle drama about a man who is nobly abstaining from manspreading, and a social justice warrior who is clearly afraid he will manspread on her at the last moment?

Perhaps it is time to start a campaign. #I'llmanspreadwithyou? Come on, people! If we don't do it Twitter will explode!

Tuesday, June 02, 2015



....by joining the West-East Road with the North-South Line, commuters can then hop off at the Northern Interchange before merging seamlessly with the Cross-City Light Rail. This will allow commuters to arrive in a timely manner at the majestic Southern Car Park, from thence smoothly joining via on-ramp the Southern-East Outer ring, taking them swiftly to their connexion to the West-East Road again. Thus, by travelling around the city in one elegant loop, the circle of perfection will be attained: commuters will be able to travel around and around and around the city without ever getting off, and without ever getting anywhere: the tyranny of destinations will be abolished.

Politics is about connections: connections of on-ramps to highways, adjoining highways to interchanges, interlinking interchanges into inner-city bypasses bypassing bypasses, building bridges over subways over other bridges over tunnels that flow into further networks of fly overs under more bypasses that loop into and out of circuits and under and over courts to form a perfect reef knot. And we couldn't form these connections without our partners, Connexus, Transmate, Urbex, Citiport, Exurb, Roadlink, and Ajointus.

It's through the Connexus hub that we are able to reach the Exurb interchange, whereon the Ajointus bus will swiftly link us via the Roadlink link road to the thriving Transmate central, whence the Urbex will speed us ever onwards, ever onwards. Thanks to these exciting new developments in public-private-public-public-public-private-public-private-private-private-private infrastructure, all jobs will now be conducted on the road while we are speeding at thousands of miles per hour from one form of transport to another. Thus, commuting times will be slashed, and the journey between home and work places will be made even easier with the efficient abolishment of all places of home or work. This will in turn leave plenty more room for houses to be paved over with roads, hubs, links, rails, interchanges, interlinks, carparks, tram stops, bus stations, internodal networks, internetworked nodes, bridges, tunnels, and off ramps.

This is a journey we are going on. We have to move forward to move sideways, up, around, downwards, slight left....


Sunday, May 31, 2015

In praise of grump

Today, I found myself speaking to an overly-cheery attendant at the shop full of overly-cheery attendants. She was the same overly-cheery attendant I found myself talking to some weeks ago about how much I liked to be grumpy, and as I found today, she seemed rather offended with my previous grumpiness. I'm still not sure why. Grumpiness, I find, is a perfectly acceptable position at my local Coles or Woolies - I scowl at the apathetic attendants and they sneer back at me, and we all get along swimmingly. It all seems to me rather suspicious when an overly-cheery attendant strikes up an overly-cheery pose and attempts to be friendly with their customer in an overly-cheery way. Why can't I be allowed to make my emotionless mechanical transaction in the inhuman system of economic rationalism with the downtrodden wage slave and be on my way, I ask?

Anyway, it was all very awkward and embarrassing. She asked me in a stilted and purse-lipped fashion about things, and I found myself having to engage in polite conversation and meaningless chit chat. Though I may like to scowl and growl and harrumph occasionally, I wouldn't actually want people to be offended by it. But then, most people generally are misguided about the whole being grumpy thing, and act as if they had to be happy around other people all the time, and as if they truly thought that acting happy was actually the best way to stay happy. It really is strange.

Because being grumpy really can be quite wonderful. For starters, you get labelled with elegant and felicitious expressions like 'cantankerous', or 'irascible', or 'choleric', or just plain old 'surly'. If you keep it up for long enough, you become a 'grumpy old man', which for grumpy women is especially impressive*. And then there is a rich range of facial and verbal expressions; not just a uniform downturning of the face, but a veritable diapason of scowls and growls and glowers and lours and leers and sneers and harrumphs and flounces. I like to try several of these every day just to keep my grumpiness well exercised.

A few days ago I happened to be reading an article on a website that talked about Important World Affairs in a solemn and sombre voice.  The argument the article took was this: things are bad. The conclusion it came to was this: things are going to get worse. The tone the article took was this: there's nothing we can do about it. Once I finished reading this article, I clicked around on the website and started reading some of the other articles: their argument, conclusion and tone were exactly the same. About this point, I realised I had been reading for quite a while, and I was really rather enjoying it all.  The sense of gloom and grim resignation was quite heartening, and the pithy summation of world affairs one drew from the website - things are bad, things are going to get worse, and there's nothing we can do about it - had a pellucid beauty to it all. On the whole, I think this aphorism sums up the whole of Conservative and right-wing politics. And the whole of Progressive and left-wing politics as well, though the left does seem rather more fond of shouting and rioting and smashing the occasional window. It really is a cheering way to look at the world, if you are sensible and honest enough to give yourself over to grumpiness once in a while.

Besides, who really has the energy to even attempt to be happy all the time? Who settled on the competitive smile as the only acceptable expression in polite society? Being happy seems to be almost as exhausting and self-defeating as having fun, and we all know how bad that is. Sometimes, being grumpy really is nicer.

All this I should have said to the overly-cheery attendant in the shop full of overly-cheery attendants, but of course I did not, settling instead for pleasant banter about nothing of consequence, before slouching off with my goods into the street and harrumphing discontentedly to myself.

It was raining, at least. I suppose that was something.

*Viewers of the ABC or BBC may recall, a few years back, the twin series Grumpy Old Men and Grumpy Old Women. The latter, especially, apparently had difficulties garnering suitable quantities of guests, since they all objected to being called 'Old'. This seems to me to be a superb example of grumpiness at its best, and sets an example we can all emulate. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Question for the entire internet

If you had a room full of alpha males, with a smattering of beta males, the odd omega man and perhaps even one or two epsilon males and thetans, and you organised them all up in the right groups, do you think you'd be able to spell out the complete works of Aristophanes?

Monday, May 18, 2015

The sage of suburbia

The grace of Sydney Road: an 11 pm kebab.

What is the point of trains running on time? You can't rely on a service that is too reliable.

The wealth of Sydney Road: a 12 am baklava.

Never trust a brand name that has too many or too few capital letters. 

The spices of suburbia: a 10 am Freddo.

Normal: making friends with people you have never met before. Harder: making friends with people you never will meet.

Remember to throw out mobile recharge voucher only AFTER you have used it.

Prunes: the gourmand's laxative.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Do you know a shy Tory? Are you so shy about your own Tory leanings that you haven’t outed yourself yet? Mysteriously invisible to polls, this is a species that the left needs to learn to identify.

Rupert Myers, The Guardian: Think you’ve never kissed a shy Tory? You’re almost certainly wrong 

Shy Tory Song
Are they blushing in the bedroom?
Do they hide behind the door?
Do they harbour an opinion
On the undeserving poor?
What colour are their stockings?
Have they ever worn a boater?
Those unassuming non-presuming
Shy Tory voters.

Has a husband or a wife
Ever awkwardly confessed
That Mrs Thatcher's policies,
Though harsh, were for the best?
Does their bedroom conversation
Touch on economic quotas?
Those flirtatiously salaciously
Shy Tory voters.

Do they dream of Union Jacks? 
Is it on their underwear? 
Do they groan about the Whigs
In tones of deep despair? 
Do they Telegraph their news,
Get their views from the Spectator?
Those tantalising self-disguising
Shy Tory voters.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dream literature

Apparently I have an occasional habit of writing literature in my dreams. As it happens, I had two dreams last night, and in the first, I wrote a play: Here it is, in full:
PERKINS: I say, Jenkins!

JENKINS: Well, what is it, Perkins?

PERKINS: I want some words with you, Jenkins!

JENKINS: Well, what is it, Perkins?

PERKINS: Those were the words!

JENKINS: Right then, Perkins!

PERKINS: Good day to you, sir!

In the second, I got told that a drama company wanted a one act play to put on tonight, and I got all excited because I remembered I had one lying around somewhere. At first I tried to write another one but couldn't, then I started searching through my papers for the play. And do you know what happened when I was just about to find it? As they say in the classics:


Monday, May 11, 2015

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Brew problems (™) forum

Welcome to the Brew problems (™) forum. Where we tackle the great Brew problems (™) of our day to help you get a better brew!

Today's problem comes from Agnes, of outer Woop Woop. She writes:

"I was going to do a brew today but the cat is on my lap.

I have no idea how I will overcome this seemingly insuperable difficulty.

I suppose I could put the cat off my lap, but if I did that, the terrorists will win."

Anyone else got a solution for Agnes here?

UPDATE! - Doris from Clonbinane writes: 

"I know how Agnes is feeling. Once I'd put on a 100 L pot of Heavy Scot's Ale on the stove for a final boil and then the cat hopped on my lap! Well, it boiled right down and then evaporated and still the cat didn't hop off. Eventually the house caught on fire, but kitty was purring so what could I do but scratch her behind the ears? Then she got angry at me and jumped off and coughed up a furball in the ashes of the kitchen, and you can imagine it was terrible to sweep up." 

Thanks for that helpful tip, Doris. Keep writing in, brewers!

Friday, May 01, 2015

Smokey the presenter

Years and years ago (said the old man) I used to listen to Jazztrack on ABC Classic FM. Back then it was presented by an old codger with a smokey and laidback voice, kind of like a hippy 40 years after his time. His name, suitably, was Jim McLeod. I guess he got his voice that way by hanging around in the sort of nicotine-fragrant dives you heard jazz in, and presumably smoking a few himself. Voice may be a true mark of character, but cigarettes sure help.

Anyway, now I'm listening to the 3MBS jazz program. It's called The Colours of Jazz and it's presented by a young dude whose name escapes me at the moment. He has a voice that is laidback and kind of.... smokey. What? Is it Jim McLeod all over again?

They're not the only ones, because apparently the conspiracy is wider than that. Years ago I'd also occasionally listen to Adventures in Good Music, presented by a fellow with a voice like an old American uncle, Karl Haas. It was on ABC Classic FM, right in that time slot before Margaret Throsby and Clive Robertson were due to come on and start arguing with one another, if memory serves me correctly. Well, I think I've found this Karl Haas's doppleganger, too - an old American dude. Last name McLaughlin, first name Bill. Kind of sounds like someone's uncle. He presents a show on 3MBS called Exploring Music.  But of course; the titles Discovering Music and Music for Pleasure and so on were all used up, I suppose.

Huh? Is there some requirement that radio presenters of certain types of programs all have the same accents and characteristics? Does every jazz program have to be presented by laidback cool types with smokey voices? Do educational programs in classical music need to be fronted by avuncular American sorts who seem like they'd be just as happy delivering this talk at a piano lesson? Inquiring minds need to know. (Actually they don't).

PS the show's almost ended now and he says his name is something something Groves. Huh? That's not a very smokey name at all.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A real estatement

A poem in real estate, four blocks, with all mod cons

I Love, I Love, I Love
But Jellis Craig's obsessed -
How shall I end this tale? 
L J Hooker, you're the best.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


JK Rowling has been hailed an “inspiration” after she was asked by a young Harry Potter fan why Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore was gay. 

Rowling, 49, revealed Dumbledore's sexuality almost a decade ago in 2007, after the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published...

 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay 

Dumbledore is quietly gay
In a non-flamboyant way.
No use asking for a list
Of all the men that he has kissed -
Of who and what and when was it -
Dumbledore is in the closet.

Maybe J. K. Rowling knows
If he has a string of beaux -
All we have are empty pages,
A mystery throughout the ages.
No answer to our every query -
Dumbledore is gender theory.

The modes of Bell Railway Station

Bell, couchant - a slightly-too-warm late morning in summer. A hot breeze blows from the north. Scattered over the bare concrete of the train station, waiting for the trains, are two or three passengers, here, there. No trains are in sight.

Bell, rampant - a winter afternoon. The city platform is overloaded with Collingwood supporters. The South Morang platform has a solitary Italian grandmother with her wheelie bag. She picks her nose, thoughtfully.

Bell, avec impressionism - Sombre autumn evening sighted through the windows of a slow-moving train. Fluorescent lighting through a patch of drizzle. An atmosphere both magical and squalid.

Bell, avec gritty realism - Near midnight. Temperature around 4 degrees celsius. City platform empty. South Morang platform containing three ticket officers, all with a similar glum expression on their faces. No trains coming.

Bell, avec futurism - midsummer, midday, 40 degrees celsius. Both concrete platforms completely bare. A train, not taking any passengers, rushes past the South Morang platform. On the City platform, a voice over the intercom announces to no-one that the following train will be 15 minutes late. The announcement redounds from the bare black concrete of the platforms onto the bare black concrete of the surrounding car park.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ess Ee Ex

Sex! I wanted to talk about the party, not the act, though it hardly matters, because you know that old rule about how any sentence that with sex will get your attention? Sex! See, it works! We all know the old classic: "SEX! Now that I've got your attention...." Except, okay, it's not that old, and it's not particularly classic either. But anyway, throw in FREE into the same sentence, it doesn't particularly matter where and in another non-specific SEX location if you throw the word SEX in as well then FREE it SEX doesn't SEX matter FREE what happens, those are the SEX FREE only words people will SEX see after.

In fact even when you're doing something specifically anti-sex, so long as the word is in the sentence that's all that people will notice. Once a few years ago I had written an anti-sex poem for a poetry slam, to inspire raging indifference, apathy, and chastity in my listeners. One of the judges marked me down so much that they knocked me out of the running, with their stated reason being: "I like sex." Fair enough, then.

But anyway, back to the point, the point being SEX, the point in addition being PARTY, and the point not in any way at all being FREE, because haven't you heard? The Sex Party is running for politics. And - such is the motivating force of their name alone - that, no matter who else is on the ballot, a large proportion of the electorate will only be able to see the word SEX followed afterwards by the word PARTY, presumably causing visions of Bacchanalian delights to swim before their eyes, causing their pen to descend as if automatically to the box beside this name....

In short, it doesn't really matter what their policies are or who represents them, I suspect by simply having the name they do, the Sex Party have got the vote of a certain proportion of the electorate - lecherous, unchaste, impure souls that they are - stitched up. Some people would probably even vote for Adolf Hitler if he ran for the Sex Party. It is a genius name, a name so simple that only a simpleton like an advertiser could come up with it.

Being something of a simpleton myself, I feel that this theory could be applied successfully to the other main parties in the election. Sex may be one of the primary motivators of people, but it is not the only one. There's also Greed, and Fear, and many others too. And they do say it's a time for renewal in politics, and renewal starts with the name. Behold my suggested brand changes to the major parties:

Australian Labor Party - Malice, Spite and Vengeance Party

Australian Liberals and Australian Nationals - The Coalition of Greed and Fear

Australian Greens - National Envy Party

Between them I believe the major parties could also sew up most, if not all, of the Seven Deadly Sins. At any rate, that's about all I wanted to say, apart from the obvious: sex.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


There's nothing like you spending quality time with the cat, and the cat spending quality time with you, on the couch, listening to music, sipping on a drink, possibly nibbling on a biscuit, all while curled up in a lap. You can't do all of these things yourself, of course, and nor can the cat. Even if you wanted to curl up in your cat's lap, you'd have trouble finding it. (Do cats even have laps? If they do they must be slightly more rare than a giraffe's honk, and a tad less so than the proverbial hen's teeth.) So, this is clearly a collaborative effort between you and the cat, and the radio and the cup of something and the biscuit of something, etc. Possibly, if the cat has disported herself across your lapular environs before you have had time to fetch a drink for yourself, you may have to ask someone else to help you fetch it. But that just shows what a complex, interconnected, social world we live in. Multitasking, it's all about multitasking.

Perhaps you may object you do not have a cat, or you are a cat and do not have a lap, or you do not drink, or you are living on the other side of the world. Well, don't worry. Beatrice the cat and I are here to do it all on your behalf.

Multitasking, my friend. Multitasking.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The stunning new literary movement that's sweeping the room

"What the hell's so good about six word fictions?" I found myself thinking the other day. "Now.... five and a half word fictions... there's a REAL challenge...."

And so I set to work on this bold new literary venture. Which I did by putting my notebook away, hopping on the train, and not writing any for the next week.

Finally I did come up with one, on Bell Station the other night (why are train stations and trains so good for this stuff?) Here it is; hold your breath, ladies and gentlemen...
Help! Stuck in cupboard! Pen run
I didn't stop there either. The following is my favourite:
"Who needs man?" cried the wo.
 Interestingly, it works just as well (stop laughing!) if you substitute the word "men" for "man". Some pernickety-snitch critics might of course interpret this as a careless slackness of my prose style, but I like to think it demonstrates my admirable versatility.

Speaking of admirable versatility, I kept plugging away at my literary inventing for another three or four lines. Some are too execrable to repeat, but then some were too terrible to have even been begun. So I'll show you the former:
Cat meow broken. Just says "ow". 
"Darling!" he cried. "Want a cho"...
And with that impulsive rush for the chocolate bar, I finish this list of five and a half word fictions. THE FIRST EVER IN THE WORLD PROBABLY. It's right up there with the time I invented haiku or singlehandedly engineered the limerick with thin air and a spare rubber band. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chook 1, Chook 2

In just the sort of deplorable story twist that you have come to expect from me and the Baron, we have recently come in possession of two chickens. (Make that two MORE chickens - that's on top of the seven currently wandering around the backyard looking for plants to devastate and vegetation to wreak their terrible fury on). Aforementioned two chickens are destined for the possession of my mother in law; before they came into our possession they were in possession of two friends of ours, after passing out of the possession of other equally mysterious persons who, presumably, found them in a handbag at Victoria Station.

Anyway! I feel we're getting off track here, because the important points to remember are Two + Chickens. They're easy to tell apart, because one of the chooks is sort of brown and the other is sort of black. By common assent, we have decided their names are... their names are.... well, that's just the thing - I still can't quite work out what their names are:

Alison, Caroline
Alice and Caroline
Carol and Alison
Caroline, Alice

Which brings me to the real point of my post: names that sound similar are confusing.

Now aren't you glad you read to this point?

Monday, April 06, 2015

Care scare

Zap! Again there's screaming in the street,
Then sirens. Cops, too late - and all they find's
The tiny pitter-pat of teddy feet;
Another victim of a Care Bear crime. 

 There was a time when love hearts seemed so cool,
And rainbow diamond lasers were in vogue - 
But no-one thinks that anymore at school,
Not since that ghastly day the Bears went rogue. 

Seems each day now someone we know breaks down,
Statistics of the growing Care Bear scare - 
A mounting paranoia grips our town,
As rainbows sizzle through the panicked air. 

So kids! Say no to fluffy toys and other thrills,
And twinkle stars and all those Care Bear lies - 
They may seem nice and pretty, right until
A Care Bear love heart frizzles out your eyes.

I googled 'Care Bear Mug Shot' and would you believe this is the sort of thing that came up. Shudder!
Email: timhtrain - at - yahoo.com.au

eXTReMe Tracker

Blog Archive

About Me

My Photo
Me person. Live in world. Like stuff. Need job. Need BRAINS! (DROOLS IN THE MANNER OF ZOMBIES) Ergggggh ...