Will Type For Food



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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Grumpy Noll and the case of the flying tinny

For those of you not as au fait with the trending events, current occurrences, and occurring trends of the present day, let me bring you up to speed. It seems young Australian balladist and bon vivant Mr Shannon Noll has been caught in something of a contretemps recently, when a member of his audience happened to give vent to his oppobrium and let fling forth from his hands a missile which had previously happened to contain a beverage of the genera ale. As if that was not bad enough, Mr Noll did then give forth to his contempt, vilipending the malefactor in terms most severe, demanding that they  put an end to their grievances on stage in a manly show of strength and pugilism, and extending his contumely and umbrage to touch on certain other members of that personage's family.

Now, Mr Noll does certainly seem to have overstepped the conversational bounds of gentlemanly conduct here. No doubt about it. But what I am wondering is - what sort of beer was it? The empty can of which was hurled on stage? VB? Four X? Tooheys? Not that I'm saying it makes a difference, mind, but still, such details matter....

It is nevertheless a well known fact that the timely application of a tin that had previously contained a fermented beverage of barley and hops can be utilised when all other heckles fail. Can you imagine the rage with which a certain performing hipster might vent themselves if, say, a malodorous person with venomous intent had decided to fling a half-drunken can of craft beer, say, a Moon Dog Black Lung, on stage? Good heavens, you larrikin layabout - do you have no appreciation for such a heavenly balance of dark malted barleys? If such a thing were to happen, well, the performing hipster might remonstrate with the heckler most sternly, comparing beard length, and even threatening to write a non-complimentary zine about him.

But it is also true that empty beer cans are hardly the worst punishment that can befall a speaker or singer. Why, I hear at conservative political gatherings,  they fling whole teapots at you. Fine bone china and the works. Oh, the brewmanity!

Monday, July 09, 2018

Ut the el are you talking about, you ef wit?

Ut, adit, ob, etaerio - I think we can all agree that these are all incredibly important concepts, as they allow us all to win important points in Scrabble. But what do they actually mean? What am I, Einstein, or something? Well, yes, actually, and I'm going to tell you exactly what they mean now.

UT - a very small utterance.

ADIT - To edit an ad.

OB - Thing that gives birth to little obs.

TALIONS - Plural of talion, 'thing that is a talion; thing that has the property of being a talion'.

EUOI - Second-person informal pronoun for an oik. As in, "Hey, euoi!"

ETAERIO - Those weird test charts of letters they make you read when you go to the optometrist.

JUPON - The state of wearing a JUP. Opposite of JUPOFF. 


Wednesday, July 04, 2018

What's wrong with tall men anyway?

Not all men!
No tall men!
On mall ten!
Non mallet!
Mall net on!
Loan ten, ML!
Anent moll!

- from Songs and Sonnets of the MRAs.

 UPDATE! - Interestingly, if you rearrange the letters of 'David Leyonhjelm' you come up with the words 'what an utter twonk.'

Monday, July 02, 2018

Sextual Healing

Art of Safe Sexting to teach Victorian schoolgirls how to safely send ‘sexy snaps’

SCHOOLGIRLS as young as 12 will be taught how to safely send “sexy snaps” via texts and social media, including cropping out their heads in nude images.
Look, I know it may seem strange to some, this prospect of teachers going about the classroom teaching students how to put condoms on their iPhones and investigating how to administer contraceptives to their laptops, but what alternative do they have? Once a kid takes a nude selfie and texts it off, it's out there in the world. And that nude selfie is going to meet other nude selfies, and soon enough those nude selfies are going to do what nude selfies do with one another, and they're going to have nude baby selfies. Just like Tamagotchis, only small and pink and doing lots of nude baby selfie poos all over the place and.... okay, I have no idea what Tamagotchis actually look like, but that's not the point! LISTEN UP!

This is serious. Because the other problem is sextually transmissible diseases. Do you have any idea what it's like when you're iPhone gets gonnorhea? My friend's phone got that once, and... stop tittering up the back! My friend's phone got that once, and it started doing revolting mucal discharges all over the place. It got incredibly itchy, and so it started buzzing at random intervals to scratch itself. It was all incredibly embarrassing, and it was all because it had been sending nude selfies without adequate protection!

Safe sext, kids. It's a thing. Get onto it.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Here's a disgusting and potentially toxic thing! Let's eat it!

They have spirulina in Smarties. Did you know they have spirulina in Smarties? I was contemplating this surprising news yesterday shortly after having discovered, along with the Baron, a slime mould growing in our community garden. (By the way, don't slime moulds strike you as having something of a split personality disorder? Are they not sure whether they want to be a slime or a mould? Make up your tiny microbial mind, Gunkypoos!) Like, I would have expected there to be a little vegetable (wheat, sugar) and a little animal (milk) in my Smarties: but a blue-green algae? Really?

(And while we're talking about split personality disorder, what's that blue-green algae all about?)

But anyway, it all got me thinking - if I can munch my way through a packet of sweets with animal, vegetable, and cyanobacteria in it, what's to stop me throwing some other oddities in it? Mushrooms, yeast, fungi generally, yes - all these have been done before. But - and I think you see where I'm going with this - what about edible slime moulds?

The internet, an amazingly authoritative source for credulous people all over the world, was, it turns out, surprisingly silent on this matter. Our old friend, Dog Vomit Slime Mould (these names, they just seem to exacerbate the split personality disorder) did appear in a couple of web searches: it's kind of the rock star of the slime mould world, it seems. This newspaper article suggests that you can eat Dog Vomit Slime Mould (though considering DVSM was so named because it looked like dog vomit, how would you ever be able to tell if you were eating the right thing until, well, you had eaten it?). Though a few more web searches seemed to imply that aforesaid newspaper article writer was getting his slime moulds confused. (The last thing the discerning slime mould gastronome wants to do is to get his flavours mixed up like that.)  It turns out there is another, distinct slime mould which people will sometimes eat in South America called Caca de Luna ("Vomit of the Moon" - do you see the emerging theme here?) which you could, if you were culinarily so inclined, prepare as a tapas.

Slime moulds are all very well. But what about mosses and lichens? I've got my omnivore on now, so I want to get a slice of a juicy moss and a soupcon of delicious lichen. As it turns out, there's always Icelandic moss, which is, (confusingly) not a moss but a lichen. Hey! Yeah! I made a beer out of Icelandic moss once and I totally didn't die!

As it turns out, almost all of the edible mosses turn out to be lichens, and the edible mosses that don't turn out to be lichens may not exist at all. But on the other hand, I'm not sure what on earth lichens or mosses are anyway, so maybe that's enough confusion for one day.

Fig 1: Potentially delicious! 

No, you can't have any Smarties. I ate them all.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Square triangles

Thirty six is a square number that is also a triangular number. I don't understand what that means obviously, because I'm not a mathematician, but I'm sure it's very important, especially for our purposes here, because it means, in certain circumstances, squares can be triangles. Thanks, mathematics!

In order to do important research for this important post, I typed in 'square triangle numbers' to Google, a search which I highly recommend everyone does. Not that you'll see much of interest - just a list of numbers. But it's just particularly pleasingly to type in that rather non-sequiturial sequence of words into the search box and see what comes up. It's like hammering a square peg into a round hole, except, of course, the round hole is a triangle and the hole is not a hole, it's just an abstract Platonic concept outside of time and space. (This all reminds me of the time I said to the Baron, "how many holes does a donut have?" and she retaliated with, "what are holes even?", and I said - but NO, we definitely want to go down that rabbit triangle again.)

It must be rather pleasing to be a mathematician, going about, showing that squares are triangles, really, in effect squaring the rhetorical circle, and.... hang on. Mathematically, it turns out, not only can circular numbers be square numbers. But.... 

Automorphic number. In mathematics an automorphic number (sometimes referred to as a circular number) is a number whose square "ends" in the same digits as the number itself.

So circles HAVE TO BE squares. Not only that, but - circular numbers can sometimes be triangular numbers as well as squares (our old friend thirty six is one - six squared!). Whew! I certainly hope the mathematician who decided that gets to go home and eat their four square meals a day. Except that would be sixteen meals and they would die of indigestion, which might not be quite so good for their health. But apart from that I have almost no problem with the concept.

So, to conclude, squares are triangles except when they are circles. And sometimes, they are all three at once. Mathematics, hey? If you can't count on numbers, then....

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Lofita

I have just learned a most edifying etymological fact: 'Lord' comes originally from the Old English 'Hlafweard': 'One who guards the loaves'. 'Lady', similarly, comes from 'hlæfdige': 'one who kneads loaves'. But most piquantly, for me, this prototypical Lord and Lady are paired with a household servant, one 'hlafæta': 'one who eats loaves'. She is - in modern English - Loafeater.

What an inspiring figure she cuts, too, back in the swirling mists of time (if you want to create a bit of atmosphere at this point, maybe drag the stage smoke machine out) this Lofita. Let us leave aside this Lord and this Lady for instant, and go to the servants chambers where this primordial Lofita takes her place.

She is of an ancient tribe, is Lofita, a fearsome and savage tribe that has roamed the plains of the northern countries for generations; for so long that the generations have become myth and the myth has become, for her, truth, a tale full of horrifying Gods and Goddesses and wonders and terrors. Lofita is not herself without nobility: many generations afterward, her scions will become a ferocious tribe of Scots, who will be busily at war with her other Scions, a merciless clan of cave-dwelling people who are half-Pict, half-Saxon. The coming of Christianity is still in the unimaginably far future. Lofita, sitting in the darkness here, does not bat an eyelid at the odd human sacrifice here or there. As a matter of fact she is particularly looking forward to the upcoming offering to Wodan next week; with Hlafweard wielding the axe (or whatever primordial weapon the primordial Lord is expected to wield) it promises to be especially bloody.

But what really gets Lofita is bread. Oh, she loves the stuff! Look at her now! She grabs a hunk of stale leftover bread from two days ago and crams it in her mouth - mm, crunchy! It is not for want of food, either: the spring has been good and some Phoenicians (or Etruscans or Bombalians or some other such nonsense) have brought this wondrous new creature over to Lofita's lands in the early spring - its conversation is somewhat limited ('cluck cluck cluck') but it is fat and delicious and will doubtless help to keep the house warm in winter. No, Lofita just loves bread. She grabs a fresh loaf and crams it into her mouth; that will keep her occupied for a few minutes. Just then old fat Loafguard from the other room calls out -

"Lofita! Hast thou finished that primordial tapestry yet?"

No, of course she hath not, but Lofita, being sharp of mind, quickly calls out an excuse - "No, the primordial chook hath crapped upon it and I must needs clean it off" - or she thinks she calls out an excuse. To Loafguard it sounds more like "Mm th mm-mm-oo-mm-al mm-mmm-mmmmmmmmmf!"

That Lofita! Always slacking off on duty!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Bees are terrifying

Among all the books about beekeeping you can find out there, I feel one point isn't stressed enough: bees are fucking terrifying. It's a difficult point to get your head around, but an important one: would you invite bees to a dinner party? No, because they're fucking terrifying. Would you let them do babysitting for you? Again, no. Terrifying. But here I am in my suburban house with a suburban backyard with a box full of terrifying insects of murderous death a mere five metres or so from here. It's insane. I'm insane. How did things get to this point?

I really feel there could be room in the marketplace for a practical beekeeping book based on this theme, motivating and inspiring new beekeepers in their hobby. This prospective book could cover the practicalities and the history of beekeeping, covering the terrifyingness of bees in comprehensive detail.

Considering the science of the matter, for instance, I find that bees are insects, that glamorous movie star of the animal kingdom. Let's review a few of the films that insects have appeared in: The Fly, in which a man turns into a disgusting and horrifying gigantic beast. The Swarm, in which killer bees go about being bees that kill. On the other hand, who trusts Hollywood? Let's consider literature instead: there's Kafka's Metamorphosis, in which a man turns into a cockroach, to his own terror and disgust.

Literature gives us the example of many famous beekeepers whom we can emulate. One such was Sylvia Plath, who wrote an excited poem about first receiving bees, containing such resonant lines as

I would say it was the coffin of a midget

Or

I lay my ear to furious Latin. 
I am not a Caesar. 
I have simply ordered a box of maniacs. 
They can be sent back. 
They can die, I need feed them nothing, I am the owner. 

I wonder how hungry they are. 
I wonder if they would forget me 
If I just undid the locks and stood back and turned into a tree. 
There is the laburnum, its blond colonnades, 
And the petticoats of the cherry.

Sylvia Plath was also insane and killed herself shortly thereafter.

And we haven't even considered the basics of bee sex (violent, and explosive, resulting in the deaths of several drones and one lifelong egg laying slave), the stinging mechanism (kamikaze warfare by bloodthirsty warriors who would be quite satisfied by your death), and so much more.

In conclusion, Bees Are Fucking Terrifying Creatures of Slaughter And Death or maybe it's just that me and the Baron recently did a honey harvest and are still traumatised by it. Who knows.

Image result for bee
Fig 1: Cthulhu in insect form 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Citizen Train

The Baron being in Sydney, and the cats being otherwise engaged, I hied me off this afternoon to see a film. There's nothing like a film to be alone in company, as the old saying goes*, though on the other hand, there's nothing like a film for being alone in aloneness either. Which is to say, when I got there, there was absolutely no-one in my theatre at all.

I was so surprised that I had to go back and ask the staff to check if I'd got the theatre right after all. (I had). Not that I was ungratified: to see a film, alone, in an empty auditorium, has long been a life goal of mine. I almost managed it, too, about ten years ago in a cinema in the middle of Melbourne, though another bunch of people showed up halfway through the previews, which I was rather miffed by. (That cinema later closed, which just goes to show, you should never let people into a theatre that has only got Tim in it.) I had better luck this time, as I sat through the previews completely on my own, but of course it did make me rather anxious. What if I didn't want to see a film on my own after all? It felt a little over-grandiose, sitting there in that huge auditorium, having the film screening in front of me.

And then there was the matter of chairs: ludicrously, the cinema staff had made me select my seating - in what I soon had come to discover was a completely empty theatre. I felt no such compunction for sitting in my selected seating: but then, what if someone did waltz in in the middle of the film and demand me to move out of their seat? Worse still - what if, when I left, I found I had been sitting in my selected seat after all?

It was all very awkward, perhaps made more awkward by the fact that, on reflection, it wasn't particularly awkward at all. I just sat in whatever damned chair I was sitting in and enjoyed the spectacle. I wish I could say I did something more interesting, like stripped back to my undies and did a little dance in the empty auditorium, but nope. I just sat there.

This is not a film review. This is not even really a blog post. This is just an idle passing note to note the idle passing afternoon when I sat in a cinema watching a film all on my own. The film was good. I totally recommend it. You should totally go and see this film.


*I don't know if anyone actually said this about films, but it seems like something someone might have said about films, so in it goes. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Honest to badness

Saw a cafe called 'Honest Food' the other day. What would that look like if it were actually accurate, I wondered?

This poached egg with sumac on wholegrain toast says, "I don't think you should keep on seeing Brad."


This light arugula and fetta salad tossed with a fresh vinaigrette says "You don't look good in that dress."


This organic-fair-trade-light-almond-and-soy-medium latte says, "You're running away from your marital problems. I think you should see a counsellor."


This paleo-wrap with a pomegranate sauce says "Paleo is bullshit."


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Thoughts on the death of Stephen Hawking

We shouldn't be so shocked. He was both 76 years of age and possessor of a crippling condition for which the median time of death after diagnosis is three to five years. When Hawking was first diagnosed with MND he was told just this, that he could expect to be dead within five years. The fact that he lived for several decades more is remarkable in itself.

The truth is that his massive fame and all that derived from it was in large part due to this crippling disease. His runaway success, the book A Short History of Time, surely owed part of its success to the fact that the writer was a remarkable person, who had written a befuddlingly brilliant book while being hardly able to move at all. (People used to joke it was the one book you had in your house that sat on your shelf being entirely unread). Perhaps the book did become a success because people recognised Hawking as an old type, the adorable cerebral dweeb who was simultaneously smarter and less physically capable than anyone else in the class. Or rather: they saw him as a crippled prophet, like blind Homer or Milton, or mad Blake sitting in the tree singing to the angels. Hawking in his own way surely encouraged this with some of his more oracular utterances - "Then we shall truly know the mind of God." Which is perhaps why he became so crankily atheistic in response in his later years. He started appearing as a presenter on science shows, even in a very funny interview with John Oliver - just imagine the mechanics of setting that up. But at the end, if his celebrity was in large part derived from his crippling disease, it was a crippling disease he at no point chose and which he would have surely exchanged for a quiet life if he had been given the choice.

He was certainly not perfect. If people admire his contributions to science and his resilience in the face of the advance of his own MND, the biography of his ex-wife apparently tells quite a different story. Hawking wanted her to neglect her career for the benefit of his own, which she did: they divorced in 1990. But this, too, was surely in large part a side-effect of the all-encompassing beast that is MND; the need for care becomes constant as the body deteriorates, and home care - still a shoddy affair in the 2000s - must have been close enough to be non-existent in the '60s and '70s.

This quote by Hawking seems an apposite one to end on:

Hawking was asked what inspires him to keep going, to which he replied: ‘My expectations when I turned 21 were reduced to zero. In this situation it was important to appreciate what I did have.’ He went on to explain that he has been ‘fortunate in almost everything else’ and especially to work in theoretical physics at such an exciting time. ‘It’s important not to get angry,’ he said. ‘You can lose all hope if you can’t laugh at yourself and at life.’

Image result for stephen hawking

Saturday, February 24, 2018

WTF News: Hipster scientists discover a way of making vegetables out of meat

HIPSTER SCIENTISTS DISCOVER A WAY OF MAKING VEGETABLES OUT OF MEAT

From deep in the hipster laboratories of Hipsterville today comes exciting news: hipsters have discovered a way of synthesising vegetables out of meat.

"This important discovery could soon make it possible for us to have an all meat diet," says Hipster McHipsters, chief scientist at the hipster laboratories.

Although the meat-made vegetables only currently come in the form of bacon-lettuce and pork-kale, the hipster scientists soon hope to develop bacon-tomato, thus giving the world the first BLT made solely out of bacon.

Activist group Bro Central hailed this development in cruelty-free food, saying, "No longger will bros have to suffer eating vegetable-based vegetables. Soon, we will all be able to make the transition to a true carnivorous diet! This shows the whole world a better way is possible."

"Except, you know, for the animals", clarified the Head Bro.

Friday, February 16, 2018

In order to clarify matters

In order to clarify matters, here are my preferred pronouns:

Obnoxious old fart (2nd person)
Cantankerous antique bag full of wrinkles (3rd person)
Discarded toe-nail in a sack of pus (2nd person reflexive)
Malodorous hirpling excrescences (2nd person plural)
Grasping grizzling glabulous gnome (possessive)
I, me, my (1st person)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

SWOON! It's Valentine's Day poetry time!

Translations of old love poems into modern terminology

My love is like an earnings sheet
In profit after tax;
My love is like an office that's
Productive to the max.
If I chart out, my fiscal love,
How deep in love am I,
You'll find a healthy balance sheet
At least til EOFY.

- Robert Burns, 'A Red, Red Rose'.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A digression concerning cats

Now don't get me wrong. I think cats have many important duties to perform for this nation, such as getting you to open the door in the middle of winter and then sitting in it and neither going in nor out so you can't close the door while the cold winds sweep through your house. Or catching a mouse and then eating half of it and dropping the other half in your slipper for you to stand on. Or vomiting a furball on your feet while you are in bed just because.

But: it occurred to me yesterday - and I have never once altered my opinion since - that cats should not be Prime Ministers. No, there is no use arguing with me otherwise. I am convinced on this.

Oh, it would all start so innocently:

MEMBER OF THE OPPOSITION: And so, Mr Speaker, I am convinced that I must therefore argue against the government's policy that the door should remain open at all times. I therefore...

CAT PRIME MINISTER: (Stands up) Miaow!

MEMBER OF THE OPPOSITION: I therefore say that...

CAT PRIME MINISTER: MIAOW!

MEMBER OF THE OPPOSITION: Oh all right, I can't argue with that. (Opens door). 

But then, it would quickly turn into a nightmarish dystopia:

MEMBER OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr Speaker, there is no way I can support the position the Prime Minister and his party are arguing today, that we should declare war on all midgets, make sexism compulsory in all schools, and leave the door open at the one time! It is simply...

CAT PRIME MINISTER: (Stands up) Miaow!

MEMBER OF THE OPPOSITION: I therefore...

CAT PRIME MINISTER: MIAOW!

MEMBER OF THE OPPOSITION: I...

CAT PRIME MINISTER: MIAOW! 

MEMBER OF THE OPPOSITION: I... er.... I...

CAT PRIME MINISTER: Miaaaaaaaaaaaaow!

MEMBER OF THE OPPOSITION: Oh, all right, have it your way. (War is declared on all midgets, sexism made compulsory in all schools, and door pushed open). 

In conclusion, the end.

(What do you mean, get out more? I get out quite enough, thanks very much. I get out as often as I want to. And my cats agree with me.)

Friday, February 02, 2018

Abolish emotions to stop this nonsense from happening

Birds of a feather may flock together, but United Airlines recently shot down one traveler’s request to bring her emotional support peacock on a flight departing Newark Liberty International Airport. Woman denied emotional support peacock on United flight.

Well I say all this emotional support nonsense has got to stop. What next? Emotional support humans?

***


(SCENE: A busy airport. A long queue of people are filing on to the plane, giving their tickets to the HOSTESS to scan in. MS SPLODGER and her HUMAN approach.) 

HOSTESS: (Absent-mindedly). Ticket, please! (Takes ticket). Wait a minute. What's that you've got with you?

MS SPLODGER: Oh, this? (Indicates HUMAN). I hope you don't mind. That's just my Emotional Support Human.

HOSTESS: What?

MS SPLODGER: Don't worry! It's quite tame, and native to this area! There's a little colony of humans not far from here.

HOSTESS: I'm sorry. We have a strict rule. No animals on this flight.

MS SPLODGER: Oh, I simply can't travel without my human! I get terribly anxious. (Pats it behind ears.) 

HUMAN: (Begins making noises) I will be ready to produce the reports by Monday! I love the sunshine but am depressed by the rain. How awesome is healthy eating? Lets action that after our meeting!

MS SPLODGER: Look! (Giggles). It's so cute. It's like the sounds it makes almost mean something!

HOSTESS: That's lovely, Ms Splodger, but we really can't. Some of other passengers might have allergies.

HUMAN: I really like having a beer with my mates!

MS SPLODGER: (Face falls). What am I supposed to do with it? It's domesticated! I can't just leave it out in the wild.

HOSTESS: Do you have someone who can take care of it until you get back?

MS SPLODGER: Oh, my uncle I suppose, but really...

HOSTESS: (Voice lowering) Look, I'm really not supposed to do this, but we have a seat ready on the next flight. I'll arrange for you to have it. It's in an hour so it won't set you back too much. Your human is adorable, but we can't have it weeing on the floor of the plane. The company won't allow it. Can you get your uncle to come in and take care of it?

HUMAN: I often vote for the Greens in Parliament!

MS SPLODGER: (Crestfallen) I suppose so. (Takes ticket off hostess and leaves with HUMAN). 

HUMAN: Hard work is the key to success! Let's watch I'm a Celebrity on television tonight! Do you like coffee? (etc etc). 

(The HOSTESS is now approached by an ELEPHANT in an ant suit and an ANT in an elephant suit.) 

HOSTESS: (Takes tickets from them, scans them in and gives them back). Thank you.... enjoy your flight!

(ANT makes lame imitation elephant noise and ELEPHANT makes a far-too-loud ant noise in response). 

FIN


Fig 1: A 'human'. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

A tale of two Australias

Seeing as Australia Day is coming up in a week or so I thought I'd set out in a neat dialogue form basically all the arguments everyone will be repeating over the next few days anyway. Never let me say that I don't keep my readers ahead of the curve. 

A TALE OF TWO AUSTRALIAS - A DRAMATIC DIALOGUE

GENERIC AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN:
Happy Australia Day, mate!

THE INTERNET:
- OMFG! How offensive! To say such things about Invasion Day!
- Well, I'm offended by your offence!
- You right-wing piece of sh.. .
- No! It should be called Survival Day out of respect for Indigenous people!
- You're both wrong! I love Australia and we have to keep Australia Day just as it is! Otherwise you're basically supporting hijabs for kangaroos and halal Vegemite sandwiches!
- How could you say such things! Celebration at a time like this! It's highly hurtful to all the Indigenous people I know!
- YOU LIE! I totally know an Indigenous person too, or at least I met a guy once at a pub, and they totally don't want the date changed because it would be just more patronising bullshit coming from whitey!
- Wrong! It will only be patronising if we don't move the date! Let's find an Indigenous person and ask them!
- Don't look at me, I'm staying out of this conversation.
- I'm so ashamed of this country!
- I'm even more ashamed!
- I'm the most ashamed! We have nothing to celebrate! Why have Australia Day at all? I'm so sick of patriotism!
- If you don't like it, why don't you le...
- RACISM.
- No, you're racist!
- You have no idea what racism is, you lower-case illiterate inbred...
- Seriously, if you think we're all invaders and this is still Aboriginal land, isn't it racist for you NOT to leave?
- Shut up! We all have to come together as a country, not engage in this divisive...
- Come together and celebrate Australia Day, perhaps?
- No! That's racist too!
- Unless Indigenous people are celebrating.
- That's kind of a grey area.... anyway, if we joined in their celebrations, wouldn't we be appropriating their culture?
- We can solve everyone's problems always everywhere by moving Australia Day to May 8...
- January 1st....
- July 30...
- MAY EIGHT!
- Everyone knows Australia Day has been celebrated on 26 January since the dawn of time, it says so right here in the Bible!
- ARRRRRRRGH MORE HETEROCISSEXISTPATRIARCHIALNEOCOLONIALISTHEGEMONICALRACISM!

GENERIC AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN:
*Stands about with friends at a barbecue basically having a really nice time*

THE INTERNET:
*War.*

Friday, December 22, 2017

We three kings can't orientate: a Christmas carol

We three kings can't orientate

We three kings are rather lost
Wandering from coast to coast -
Westward leading still proceeding
We three kings are rather lost.

We three kings can't work it out
Turn the map around, about -
Westward wending, southward sending,
North and left and upwards tending -
We three kings can't work it out.

We three kings are in despair
Neither here and neither there.
High and low and near and far -
We found the star, we lost the star -
Perhaps we should have gone by car -
We three kings are in despair.

We three kings still bumble on
Fumble flap and stumble on -
Now with footsteps not so fast
As our footsteps in the past
Somehow we'll find the Christ at last
Though this whole trip has been disast...
We three kings still bumble on.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Notes instead of cleaning Notes while cleaning

Just empty the dust pan on the ground outside. It can only improve the appearance.

Cleaning really makes you notice all the bits so little nobody would notice unless they were actually cleaning. So be sure to leave a few discreet little piles of dust here and there, otherwise people coming home won't be able to notice. 

The leftover bits of dust  are there for contrast, to set off the swept up portions. It's just like a painting. Light and shade...

The bits under things are a carefully balanced ecosystem, and ought not be disturbed. Under the mat. Under the fridge. Under the bed. Under the pants. Under the roof.

Refuse has magical properties, and will form the most amazing shapes when left to its own devices: naval lint and slut's wool.

You don't clean because of what others will think. You clean because of what you think others will think. The others, meanwhile, are cleaning because of what they think you will think.

Arrange to have plenty of friends accidentally drop in while you are cleaning. It's rude to clean while friends are round, so you won't have to do any more cleaning. Plus it's nice to have friends round.

Once you start cleaning it can be hard to stop cleaning. This problem has an obvious solution.

House mess is a carefully ordered type of chaos that allows us to know where everything is. Cleaning is our way of losing everything all over again.

Nobody bothers tidying the majestic forest, and look how popular that is.

An object that has been dropped on the floor in a few weeks actually becomes the floor. No-one knows quite how this mysterious process happens.

What happens under the bed stays under the bed.

The bits under the cushions of sofas have powerful progenitive properties. If left to their own devices, they will eventually yield untold riches.

It is much easier to mess a tidy room than to tidy a messy room.  In fact, even if left entirely on its own, a room will gradually fill with dust and mess itself.

A sublime mountain range is just a mess a few million years on. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Youse can all use this

An additional verse to Gerard Nolste Trenité's poem about English spelling, accurately entitled The Chaos. You can read the original poem here.

Additional verse to The Chaos

What shall I say to you of youse,
A use which some don't like to use? 
Some find it gross, I find it grouse,
And often use it round my house. 
But please don't ask me to espouse
Upon the wherefores, whys or hows. 
(Australians use it - not the US - 
Land of St Louis - or St Louis!)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Boo hoo brouhaha

I don't know what it was exactly, but between the one millionth time the video of Penny Wong crying popped up in my feed and the one million and oneth time the video of Penny Wong crying popped up in my feed, something snapped. What is it with the news media and the news media audience and pictures of politicians crying? But then again, it's a confusing issue. On the one hand, I think my life would be greatly improved if I never saw a politician crying again. On the other hand, who's to say what benefits could come to all of us if our feed was full of all politicians crying, all the time? It certainly wouldn't be any worse than what the media is full of at the moment (and the media is certainly full of it). 

Everyone cries, of course, and politicians cry too. Bob Hawke cried. Kevin Rudd cried. And now Penny Wong cried, too, when the results of the plebiscite rolled in and it became clear the 'yes' side had won the same sex marriage plebiscite. And she just happened to be standing in  front of the camera and the camera just happened to be recording her and the ABC just happened to take that footage and post it up on the internet as a news story (HEADLINE: politician's eye glands still in working order) and thousands of Australians just happened to watch it with such regularity that it just happened to appear in my feed again and again and again.

Humans are generally sympathetic sorts, of course, and there is just something about a video of Penny Wong crying that makes others cry. It's probably something to do with her being a likable politician who obviously has feelings and emotions like normal  people. Though why those normal  people would want to click on a video of Penny Wong crying for a second, third, fourth, or one millionth time is another question entirely. Sometimes normal people aren't very normal at all.

Maybe, in future, just as sitcoms get made with a laughter track, soap operas will get made with  a weeping track made principally of the sound of  Penny Wong crying, and played every time a break up or a death happens, so normal people might be able to sympathise in that way normal  people do and maybe even cry the tears of normal people as they do every time that recording of Penny Wong crying is played.

Not that I'm saying Penny Wong should cry full time. Don't be sad, Penny! Australia is a thriving modern nation with great economic prospects and a fantastic manufacturing sector! And you only need to do it once!   

Why... why are you looking at me that way, Penny Wong? I.... I didn't mean to. But the mainstream media made me do it! No, no... really! Ayieeeeeeeeeeeeee! 

Monday, November 06, 2017

Gritty realism

Last week the exercise in German class was to sit and watch a video of a mountain and then come up with adjectives about it. The mountain was doing that thing it is that mountains do: not very much. In due course we had come up with a series of not particularly  original adjectives which the teacher was dutifully placing up on the board: "Hoch" ("high"), "neblig" ("misty"), "großartig" ("great, sublime").... at around this point I ventured: "Vielleicht es ist ein bisschen langweilig" ("Maybe it's a little boring").. The teacher laughed at this, said "Nein", and refused to write anything of the sort on the board: "Ja, langweilig", I cried, rallying to the course: "Es ist groß und grau und dreckig: langweilig!" (Big, grey, dirty).

And, come on, I was right: mountains are indisputably big, mostly a dull grey, and undeniably dirty: they are *literally* dirt. Big collections of rocks remain rocks, no matter how highly they may elevate themselves.

But people really do get over-excited about their big rocks. Just the other day the traditional owners of Uluru - that's the big red rock in the middle of  the desert, for anyone from other lands - decided to ban people from walking on top of their rock. Fair enough, it's their large stony object and they can do what they want with it, I guess. But the outrage! The anger! The cranky tweets and Facebook posts! Australians, it seems, really take their big rocks - and their right to walk over their big rocks - personally! What does it say over the state of a nation where one of their most beloved national icons is a gigantic rock in the middle of the desert? Mind you, we do have one over the United States. They get excited about a big hole in the middle of their desert.

What do people love about such masses of dirt, anyway? I suppose I shouldn't seem too dismissive of big rocks and hills and the like. Let's be exact and precise in our language here: a mountain is an exaggeration of dirt: there really is a lot of it. "A presence to glop at", as Auden wrote about that gigantic sphere of dirt and stuff in our sky. When Edmund Hillary learned of Everest, that gigantic collection of dirt in the Himalayas, his instinct was to climb it, too (this seems to be a common theme - getting on top of exaggerations of dirt, and then getting down to the other side). After he actually achieved this feat, one particular party - I'm not sure whether they were struck by a sudden fit of intelligence or a sudden fit of stupidity - asked Hillary why. Hillary's response was singularly unforthcoming: "Because it was there".

Well, they are there, after all, these hills and mountains and rocks and things, and they might as well earn their keep, which is why I suppose people do make such a song and dance about them. Tourism, photo opportunities, exciting travel opportunities (travelling to the mountain, travelling up the mountain, travelling down the other side of the mountain, travelling back home from the mountain again*) - not particularly meaningful, you might say. But who cares about giving meaning and substance to your life when you've got the basis for a national economy instead? Perhaps these big rocks have something to them after all.

Mind you, when we were in New Zealand in February, Lexi and I took a trip by train to Chateau Tongariro, right up next to the famous Mt Ruapehu. There was a train packed full of people, with a viewing platform where everyone could see its sublime peaks and its noble vistas. All the way there and all the way back, our sight of the mountain was occluded by large swathings of clouds and mists and the like. None of us got to see this wonder of nature at all. It was great. I even got a poem out of it:

Ruapehu! So bigly and profound! 
We've come to see your stately scenery! 
Though swathed in mystic mists, down to the ground
You truly are a sight we'll never see. 

 I wrote ten more lines of this, but you see where I'm going.

Not that I really have anything against rocks. They're all right, I suppose. I just guess I get annoyed when the big ones detract attention from the other ones, really. Why does that mountain range get all the glory? What about this majestic pebble? This sublime range of grit? That glorious garden full of urbanite a couple of blocks away? Where's the tourist industry and travellers and sightseers and chalets and Almhütten for that, hey? No! I didn't think so! 

*Or, if you are talking about Uluru, travelling to the mountain, not being able to travel up the mountain, not being able to travel down the mountain, travelling home from the mountain again, writing an outraged Tweet about it all, creating a mini-apocalypse of outraged Tweets in reply, having a hot chocolate and Ginger Nut biscuit and going to bed.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

List I found in my notebook

Useful useless jobs

Maker of zips for fake pockets
Church gargoyle feeder
Umlaut weigher
Pre-ripper of invisible jeans
Snark breeder
Walker of trolls
Maker of pockets for fake zips
Reverse stripper

*Note: I heard the first two in various places, I'm not quite sure where. The rest I made up. 

Thursday, October 05, 2017

A users guide to awkward hugs


Hugs are always awkward. In fact that's probably what hugs were invented for, cheap and efficient awkwardness on a global scale. There are some people who claim that hugs are for being comfy and feeling loved, but those people are in denial. How long is this comfy hug supposed to go on for? Is a feeling loved hug maximised if I place my arms here, or move them there? What if the second person in the comfy loving hug has entirely different feelings about the correct position and duration of the comfy loving hug than the first person in the comfy loving hug? There could be an argument about it. There could be a huge fight. Marriages have split up over less! It's all incredibly awkward, which takes us back to my initial point about hugs being always awkward. They just are, as I have just irrefutably proved.

But by far the most awkward hugs of all are awkward hugs. You might think this is tautological, and you'd be right. Awkwardly awkward hugs are the hugs that put the 'logical' into 'tautology'. You might argue that 'tautology' doesn't have 'logical' in it, and again it seems you would be right. It's all very awkward, and we're only *talking* about hugs, which really proves just how awkward they can be if we can come to such an embarrassing impasse without actually hugging.

So, it seems we need a users guide to awkward hugs. And here it is. Take it from me. I know about awkward hugs all right. I'm an expert. Nobody hugs more awkwardly than me.

1) Embarrassing embraces with people you've just met. 

2) Peremptory smooshes with people you'll never see again. 
If you do 1) right, it becomes 2) anyway.

3) Awkward hugs with awkward kisses. 
How do you do these things again? Peck on the cheek? Right hand cheek, left hand cheek? And quick, right? Just how quick?

4) Surprise hugs in the middle of a party from a drunk person. 
These are difficult. I find that awkward hugs works best if you really prepare for them, anticipate every aspect of their awkwardness for weeks, and then blunderingly get the whole thing wrong anyway, but surprise hugs in the middle of a party from a drunk person can be pretty awful too. Try and arrange for it to be a) in a surprisingly awkward location b) stationed in front of a large audience of people who will ask you awkward questions about it afterwards (eg your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband) b) surprisingly, well, surprising.

5) Bear hugs from a bear. 
Very awkward, these.

6) Awkward hugs with awkward kisses from a bear. 
 You hardly even know one another, and already one of the party is bear. Ho ho ho ho ho.

7) Gawky side hugs.
Are you being not affectionate enough, or too affectionate? Should you be side hugging from the other side? These hugs create more questions than answers.

8) Manly manhugs with one of the participants being a dweeb and the dweeb is you. 

9) Cold emotionless distant formal hugs. 
Because emotion is evil and must be crushed.

10) Hugs for comfort where neither party is comfortable but maintain the illusion of comfort and safety to keep the other person feeling comfortable and safe. 
With a bear.

11) Awkwardly hugging someone with parasites. 

12) Passive aggressive hugging. 
I mean, often nobody's enjoying it. But sometimes it's got to be done.

SEE ALSO: Awkward sex hugs, awkward spooning where one of the partners is subtly out of position making the other spooner uncomfortable, awkward sex hugs with your partner, one cat, two dogs, and a goat. Not that I know anything about those ones. And the goats not talking either. 

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Misinterpreted misinterpretations of words that do not mean what they mean

Oy you lot, drop what you're doing! I can't believe we didn't start talking about Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken five minutes ago! Is it up to me to start all the discussions about the completely random pointless trains of thought which I came up with for no reason at all and which I'm talking about no for even less reason? You're just lazy, that's what you are!

Anyway, everyone is wrong! This is a poem that has not just been misinterpreted, it's a poem where everyone's interpretation of the misinterpretation is a misinterpretation! (Except for me, of course.)


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Got that?

- Okay, so ... it goes something like this. People commonly misinterpret this poem as if it was about a person choosing between two roads and then realising how that choice 'has made all the difference' later in their life. Seems simple enough, right?

- Ah, but, a second set of people claim. The poem's not really about that at all! It's about how there actually was no difference between the two choices! They point out how Frost describes the roads as being 'really about the same' and that 'both that morning equally lay'. There, you see, they claim, Frost is actually taking the piss out of this guy speaking, who says that the choice he made was actually important. The speaker is actually trying to make out a difference where there is none.

- Is not, say the first.

- Is too, say the second.

But - and here is the nub that the misinterpreters of the misinterpretation miss out on - it's not as if the speaker is relating the events as they happen to him. It's a past tense poem and could be relating events that happened years, even decades ago. So when the speaker says of his choice 'that has made all the difference', he may well be referring to knowledge he has gained since the events relayed in the poem. It is true that he says that 'I kept the first for another day/Yet knowing how way leads on to way,/I doubted if I should ever come back' - implying that he can't really know if taking the other track would have made a difference. But maybe he did? It doesn't say either way in the poem.

And it's not as if it's a purely physical poem, is it? The point the most first set of misinterpreters pick up on - sometimes - that the second set of misinterpreters don't is that it's a bit of a metaphor, really. The two roads mightn't even be real. They might just represent a choice the speaker made in their life. And though you can't ever return back to that point in your life where you were able to make that choice - 'knowing that way leads on to way', and all that - you might very well be able to discern the effects of those choices. And even if you make the simplest, most literal translation of all these lines - the poem actually is about a traveller in the woods making a choice that will affect his later life (and he is described as a 'traveller', and not just a 'sightseer' or something else, so it seems implicit he is making a journey of some import), it's pretty clear that making a choice between roads may make a difference in one's later life.

Wrong wrong wrong! You're all wrong! And citing the genesis of the poem - apparently Robert Frost wrote it for his friend, fellow poet Edward Thomas, who was apparently always regretting not taking certain roads in his walks with Frost - doesn't help much either, because it doesn't necessarily matter what the poet means to mean, since the poem means something entirely different from the meaning that poet means to mean anyway.

Right. Any objections? Good! Class dismissed!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Pub tongue twister....

Pub tongue twister - if you can recite it perfectly, then you clearly haven't had enough to drink.


The bald bard bawled
By the bad bard's bar
For the bald bard had brawled
With the bored bawd's bra*,
Til the big broad barman 
Barred the bard from the bar
So the bald bard bawled
By the.... blah blah blah blah. 

*Consensually. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

The most lamentable tragedy of Marcel Marceau

SCENE: A doctor's office. The DOCTOR is sitting at the desk going through his notes. In through the door comes MARCEL MARCEAU. 

DOCTOR: Yes. Good morning, Mr Marceau. I'm glad you've come to see me. I've been looking at your test results and they're not good. Not good at all, I'm afraid. 

MARCEL MARCEAU: (Says nothing). 

DOCTOR: And - yes, well. I think you'd better get comfortable and prepare yourself for what I've got to say. 

MARCEL MARCEAU: (Says nothing). 

DOCTOR: You see, Mr Marceau.... ahem.... I'm afraid you've got gesticular cancer. 

MARCEL MARCEAU: 




DOCTOR: Hm. Clearly it's already entered the terminal stage. 

FIN

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Clearly learning about grammar in my German classes has driven me mad

Seeking for pluperfection

Had I the hat that I had had 
When I had had a hat 
Ah! Then the hat that I had had
Would have to have been that! 

And if the hat that I had had 
Had had a band of red
Then oft that hat that I had had
Had sat upon my head. 

Alas! The hat that I had had 
Had had a band although
The band the hat that I had had 
Had had had faded so. 

No more the hat I had to have 
Was mad to have and glad - 
I threw away that sad old hat 
The hat I had had had. 

If the reader so desires, they can find the right places to put the commas in amongst all those 'hads'. 

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Not that I'm saying the world's going to explode if I don't answer this question, but you know, it probably will.

Right, world, listen up. You've kept us waiting too long and we all demand the answer to this question:

What on earth do homeschoolers who homeschool their kids call, you know, homework?

HOW CAN WE GO ON LIVING THIS EXISTENCE WITHOUT AN ANSWER TO THIS VITAL QUESTION?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

An ohhhhhhhhhd

A few years ago the venerable institution going by the venerable name of Slamalamadingdong held an 'Anything Goes' poetry slam at their then venue of Trades Hall. Timing, as they say, is an indispensable element in many things - comedy, poetry, and outrageous distastefulness. So I hit on the idea of writing a love poem to the then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and performing it at the slam. The worthy politician  who goes by that name has his advantages and disadvantages as a representative of Australia on the world stage, but his value in shocking and outraging people in the Melbourne Trades Hall is inestimable.

The years roll by. Tony Abbott is no longer Opposition Leader, no longer Prime Minister. The actual Prime Minister and Opposition Leader inspire nothing like the visceral shock and outrage and disgust that Mr Abbott seemingly was able to muster by simply turning to the camera and uttering a three syllable phrase - "Stop the boats!" Why, then, do I share with you now my Ode to Tony Abbott? For this very simple reason: I never actually got around to performing or writing it at the time of the Anything Goes slam. Timing is an indispensable element, in procrastination as in other things. 

An ode to Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott Tony Abbott 
Politician on a mission as you lead the coalition 
Pounding out the heaving bosom of the ocean 
While the water swells to meet you and the shoreline comes to greet you 
And the very planet shakes with the commotion. 
Tony Abbott Tony Abbott
With your roadways to tomorrow, pure, without sorrow, 
Clean cutting lines of asphalt and precision - 
And at night the luminescence of the neon fluorescence 
To sanctify your technocratic vision. 
Tony Abbott Tony Abbott
Warrior for the nation as we shout with acclamation 
And our voices mingle, passionate in praise - 
May our military munitions flower in perfervid fission 
And pay their tribute to you in a torrid blaze. 
Tony Abbott Tony Abbott 
Do you hear the metal ringing and the infrastructure singing
As the factories whisper out the Abbott story - 
And the smokestacks stand and shiver till with wonder they deliver
Clouds of radiant black effulgence for your glory! 
Tony Abbott Tony Abbott TONY ABBOTT. 
Email: timhtrain - at - yahoo.com.au

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