It's winter here, time of short days and long nights spent lounging on couch, or couching on the lounge, or whatever it is you guys call it on the other side of the world.
Check out this black-and-white picture I found on the net. Doesn't the winter just seep out at you?
The longer you look at it, the colder you seem to get.
Pretty soon, all of you folks sweating it out in the northern climes will start feeling as if you're in Australia.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
The Age is much more positive about 'political vision' than I am, presumably because they want a hand in the formation and implementation of that political vision themselves. They've just published an editorial calling on Peter Costello, our PM-in-waiting, to communicate a 'vision' for Australia.
This decade-long tenure may have flattened even the most ambitious of politicians, but the Treasurer has shown remarkable resilience and, with that, something more unusual: a willingness to present a vision of how he sees the nation. There is, of course, a benefit for Mr Costello in putting what satirist Jonathan Swift, in a un-satirical moment, alluded to when he said that vision was "the art of seeing what is invisible to others". It bespeaks leadership. Pronouncing a vision is an effective way for a man waiting in the wings to step onto the stage while the protagonist is still very much in the script and on the stage as well.
It's easy to come up with a quote from history to support your argument, but I was a bit suspicious about this quote from Swift. I originally suspected they had taken him out of context, so I went searching for the original Swift quote online. It turned out to be a hard quote to find: it appears, uncited, on a number of websites.
Wikipedia has a page of Jonathan Swift quotes. It attributes this particular quote to Swift's essay 'Thoughts on Various Subjects'. Which is interesting, because a search of google yields several copies of this essay, but none which contain the quote cited in The Age.
So it would appear that in quoting Jonathan Swift to support their argument, The Age have used a quote does not exist.
If vision is the quality of seeing things that are invisible, then surely stupidity is the quality of believing in things that are non-existent. Or, to put it still another way ...
I see, said the blind man, who did not see at all.
UPDATE! - If anyone can find a copy of the essay that contains the quote, I'm more than happy to be proved wrong.
UPDATE ON THE UPDATE! - Should that be 'proven wrong'?
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
It's been a long journey for the humble smirk since its discovery ...
A smirk packet from the fifties.
THE ORIGINS OF THE SMIRK
The smirk was first discovered by Spanish explorers in the southern Americas. Smirking was an important part of culture for native Americans. They were required to wear smirks for different cultural events, and, from time to time, indulged in recreational smirking as well.
Of course, the Spanish explorers knew nothing about this. They just noticed that the natives had these huge smiles on their faces, and it irritated the hell out of them, so they decided to loot and pillage the place.
However, on their voyage back to Spain, these Spanish explorers frequently found they dreamed of the faces of the conquered native Americans, lips stretched in mysterious, knowing half-grins.
Little did they know, but a small bag of smirks had already been stowed on board by a shiphand.
THE SMIRK IN HISTORY
Soon smirking became an established custom in many lands in Europe. To the Spanish, it was known as 'La Smirquettillo'; to the Italians, 'La Smirquetta'; to the French, 'Le Smirque'. It was only in the 1600s - when the practice of smirking was taken up by the English - that it took on its modern name, and became the humble smirk.
Smirking quickly rose in popularity, and soon, packets of smirks were sold in every marketplace, up and down the land. Different kinds of smirks were developed - from the extra mild (a small, slight twinge of the lips: very popular with women) to the extra wild smirk (lips parted, teeth showing in a kind of animal growl). It was difficult to tell the smirk from ordinary facial expressions if one was not a smirking connoisseur: there was just something knowing and secretive about the expression.
Smirking clubs were established, of which many up-and-coming men became members. Famous smirkers in history include D'Israeli, Theodore Roosevelt, and F.D. Roosevelt*. The practice of smirking, however, was frowned on in female society.
THE SMIRK IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
The smirk became ever more popular; however, in the mid-twentieth century, a number of facts were discovered about the smirk that may dramatically effect its history.
- Firstly, the smirk was addictive: this fact was suspected for centuries, but the addictive qualities of the smirk have now been measured and quantified in the laboratory. (It has since been pointed out that when the doctors performing this research found out about the addictive qualities of the smirk, they were so satisfied with themselves that they could not refrain from handing out a packet of smirks and putting them on, which rather casts doubt on some of their research.)
- Secondly, the smirk was convincingly linked, in a number of scientific studies, to different conditions: among them Lung cancer, respiratory disease, and know-it-all-itis (a rare but fatal condition often affecting politicians).
- Thirdly - and less convincingly, this time - there have been suggestions that smirking leads to other forms of drug abuse, and may exaggerate criminal tendencies in people.
Parents became worried about the effects of smirking on their schoolchildren. One school teacher was quite shocked when she discovered that her Kindergarten class were not, in fact, smiling because they were happy to be in school: they were, in fact, sharing amongst themselves a packet of smirks when she was not looking.
She immediately lobbied the school to do something about what she called the 'rampant smirk abuse' in the school system and 'wipe the smiles off those little brats faces'. In little over a month, she had gained national media attention and formed the Coalition Of Concern About Smirking Students. (COCASS). This anti-smirking lobby group has since had a vast influence on the history of the smirk in the world.
Governments turned against the smirk (although politicians kept smirking on the side): labels were placed on smirking packets, and taxes on smirking companies were raised higher and higher. Gradually, smirking in public places was outlawed, amidst concerns about 'ilicit smirking' (ie, wearing another person's smirk without meaning to), and the danger to public health.
However, to this day, politicians have not succeeded in outlawing smirking completely.
WHERE TO NOW?
It is impossible to predict what will happen to the simple smirk next. Governments may eventually succeed in making smirking illegal, but this may simply increase the ilicit trade in smirking, driving it underground.
At the moment, smirking companies are attempting to invent a range of 'substitute smirks' - with the working name 'Schmucks' - which have the attraction and flair of the classic smirk, but without the health defects. These include the 'Quiet Grin' brand of Schmuck and the 'Subtle Sneer' brand of Schmuck. It remains to be seen whether this will have any effect on smirking overall.
Until then, dear readers, it's ....
(Author exits, lips twitching slightly, mouth covered with hands ...)
UPDATE! - Famous smirks in history and literature!1. The Cheshire Cat smirk - very few people (and certainly not Lewis Carroll himself) knew that, in fact, the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland was not actually grinning: he was smirking.
2. The Sigmund Freud smirk. When journalists asked him why he was always smirking, he replied, 'Sometimes a smirk is just a smirk', and carried on smirking. Just like that.
3. The smirking worker - from a Bulletin cartoon. One of the people in the picture is smirking - but which one?
4. The Smirking Man from The X-Files.
5. The Smirks - a short-lived cartoon sponsored by a smirk company. People were never quite able to work out why the little blue creatures featured had huge grins on their faces ...
* Abraham Lincoln, on the other hand, abstained from both the smirk and from female society.
Now, I don't know about you, but I quite like American comedy in films. When it's done well, it can be done very well indeed. Here's a list of some of the better ones in the last ten years or so. (And I've made no attempt to distinguish 'good, quality films' from 'films that I just liked') I've included two remakes, and there's also a Jim Carrey and another Adam Sandler film in there. There's even - (horror!) - a Julia Roberts flick. See what you think:
- My Best Friend's Wedding
- Ace Ventura, Pet Detective
- Rat Race
- The Producers
- Ten Things I Hate About You
- Deuce Bigolo, Male Gigolo
- Loony Toons: Back in Action
- Big Daddy
- Nurse Betty
A dartboard had been drawn over the top of this family image, with the central ring around the face of the father. Below the dartboard, the caption read (from memory): 'The show Seventh Heaven stands charged with perpetuating disgustingly wholesome American family values. Go for your life.'
Consider that statement for a few seconds. What, exactly, is disgusting about the words 'wholesome', 'American', 'family', and 'values'? Why should they cause so much contempt?
It was probably the first time I had seen such a clear example of this kind of criticism, where the enemy was, specifically, the conservative life: in particular the American conservative life. This back-cover illustration was satire, but it was a curiously baseless satire; it didn't seem to have any reason for attacking other people's conservative lifestyles - but it went ahead and did it anyway.
Maybe I was missing something, but it seems to me that that was a good example of bad editorial judgement in action: the editors for Opus that year were standard Newcastle socialists, who had been involved for years in the Newcastle far-left political scene.
It might have been the same issue of Opus, or it might have been the next issue: but the front cover of the magazine bore some illustrations of world religious figures: there was Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, and Mohammed. Interestingly, this cover provoked a letter of criticism from a Muslim student of Newcastle University, which was immediately followed up by a fulsome apology from the editors, acknowledging their lack of sensitivity to people of other cultures.
So, am I missing something here? Or were the editors simply hypocrites - attacking conservative American culture, which they perceived to be political enemies, and falling over themselves to be sensitive to Muslim culture, which they perceived to be their political allies?
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Fuck, I love winter!
Yesterday, I was sitting in the cafe at lunch when a woman wearing the highest high-heeled shoes I have ever seen tottered through the door, balancing herself against the breeze. I instantly suppressed the urge to go over and give her a tap on the shoulder as a way of verifying my hypothesis that she would wobble and collapse to the floor. For I know that these urges must be suppressed, for the good of civilisation.
But O, how I wanted to ...
UPDATE! - If Paris Hilton falls in a forest, and there's no-one else around to hear it except Nikki Hilton, does she really make a sound?
So, without further ado, I present you the future adventures, not to mention misadventures, of some of the Will-be-famous-one-day-Bloggers:
1. Liberterian Lip ...
Rachel Croucher's future career starts off innocuosly enough. She is given a column in Melbourne University student paper, Farrago, titled 'Rachel's Rants: The Fair and Balanced Views of an Extremist'. And of course, to the Socialist Left in the Melbourne University student union, she is an extremist.
Ms Croucher quickly distinguishes herself by dashing up pellucid essays with provocative titles such as: 'Please Fuck Off, Ferals: A Table Book on Manners'. But it is her thoughtful essay on 1930s politics, 'Franco Wasn't All Bad' that will land her a book deal with Harper Collins (who are run by that evil right-wing bastard Murdoch.) Her travel book - based on a publisher-funded trip she takes to East Germany in 2009 - will be titled 'East Germany: One Communist At a Time', and will catapult her into a multi-million dollar career, although her follow-up book 'Rhineland is Happy and Gay' will puzzle some of her more conservative fans.
2. Large, Luscious Lies
Tim Sterne, who blogs here, here, and here under the pseudonym of - er, Tim Sterne, currently whiles away his time lying to his children and studying for a university degree (two activities which in fact bear disturbing similarities to one another). However, a year after the completion of his university degree, Mr Sterne's name will become known more widely with the release of his small handbook, delightfully entitled: Would Aslan with an Ouzi beat the White Witch with a pair of Nunchuckas? An Unbiased Examination of Facts. The book will have modest success, and is soon followed up by Mr Sterne's modest guidebook on Lying to Your Children: A Delightful Family Sport! (Or, How To Deceive Your Child in 7 Easy Steps) Of course, little does he know, but Sterne's modest collection of encomiums will be shortly trumped by a book written by his own child, How To Deceive Your Adult, in 6 Even Easier Steps (And why it is necessary).
By now, his popularity will be certain, and he will go on to write several comic bestsellers, including Shady Underworld Figures I Haven't Known, and Why Is Lord Kitchener Like a Quiche?
More future biographies to come, including: Metal City, and The Lass from Lustre.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Trees wilfully and maliciously obscure our city views. What innocent first home-owner has not been shocked to find that the sapling they nursed in their garden a few years ago has now suddenly, and terrifyingly, metamorphosed into a gigantic spreading beast, blocking both garden and house from sight?
Such is the rate of spread of the tree species that soon, that great wonder of nature, the modern metropolis, will be completely obscured by trees. It is high time that we did something to protect the city, and it's gentle native inhabitants - the numbat-like accountant, the ferret-like bogan - against the spread of the tree.
Further to this, trees are notoriously dirty: they require mud, grime, soot, and large amounts of soil to live, and harbour large amounts of animal species. By contrast, the noble edifices that make up our public libraries and houses of parliament and homes are made out of pristine, easy-to-clean products such as brick and porcelain; and they only commonly harbour one species, which, though at times uncivilised, are easy to control.
Consider the effects the encroachment of the tree may have on our endangered urban environment if left unchecked:
- In carpentry stores, instead of not being able to see the trees for the wood, we won't be able to see the wood for the trees.
- In art galleries, our view of noble classical pastoral paintings of trees and woodlands and fields will be obscured by actual trees. This will therefore have a deleterious effect on our ability to appreciate and learn from the cultural achievements of our ancestors.
- In parklands, instead of being able to run and play football and let our dogs loose, the way is obscured by growing masses of trees.
Nor is that all. Trees have been linked to a growing number of crimes, including felonious standing-in-the-way of joggers, wilful dropping-of-limbs on little old ladies, careless littering-of-leaves-and-not-picking-them-up-again, and even bag snatching.
Some people may object that trees are brainless and therefore can't help growing where they grow. I disagree: if a man is walking down the street on his way to the shops, it is his human right to be safe from the tree menace. If, say, he trips over a tree limb, then it is the tree's fault, not his: the tree has been growing there for years; it must have had ample warning to move its limbs to somewhere safer. It is simply out of the purest malice that it does not.
Something should be done to protect people against the tree menace on our streets, I say!
Friday, June 23, 2006
I immediately picked up the seat and walked to the door. "Where do you want me to take it?" I asked.
She stared at me dumbly for several seconds, in the process redefining the meaning of 'pregnant pause'.
It's the little things that keep you going.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Faux Maux = 1) Fake moustache.
2) French mouse.
Faux Eaux = Fake orgasm.
Fauxfoe = Fake enemy.
Go with the Flaux = 1) To pretend to be following the crowd.
2)To swim against the stream.
Faux Shaux = Parade of second-hand items masquerading as a designer fashion show. (See also: Flaw Shaux).
Faux Haux = Woman who pretends to be of loose sexual mores in order to become more popular. (See also: naux-hoper)
Faux Beaux = False boyfriend.
Faux Deux = 1) A person pretending to be your twin.
2) Mistaking one object for two.
3) Mistaking a different number for two. ("1+3 = 2?" shouted the Professor. "Never have I seen a better example of the Faux Deux!"
"Faux yaux taux," replied his student, quietly.)
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
- Sieg Heiling Russell in the Hotel Lincoln. Repeatedly. For fun.
- Blogging at length (with some exaggeration for comic purposes) about the rash on my foot.
- Announcing 'My computer jumps about like an epileptic having a fit' to a workmate whose daughter is an epileptic.
- Saying, 'I'm just, um, probably, um, going, er, out ... um ... that is ... and if I get back, it'll be better than if I don't, which ... er ... um ... I'll just holler ... um ... that is ...'. (Note to self: next time, go for: 'I am just going outside, and I may be some time.')
Could be time to read Emily Post's Etiquette.
Monday, June 19, 2006
|Woman Marries Fish!|
In a move set to shock the world, Ms S. T. of London married the love of her life, a 700 pound dolphin.
World leaders may have their own opinions about the growing amount of person-fish marriages, but what do YOU think? We took to the streets to find out!
It's love, Jim - but not as we know it! Flappy, the dolphin, who yesterday married Ms. S.T. in a simple but moving ceremony...
"Good Cod, this is fantastic news! I am so happy for them both!"
- Effie Embula, Fish Likers of the Cotswolds.
"I can't believe I'm herring this! Person and fish are not meant to be together!"
- Tod Umble, Fish Separationist Society
"I hear when they signed the register, a seal and an eel sealed the deal: is this seal/eel spiel the real deal?"
- Andrew Erple, Society for the Investigation of Claims Relating to Seals and Eels.
"Otter nonsense. The mighty Cod (Dory-fried be his name!) has a porpoise for us all, and this is an insult to all believers!"
- Jeffrey de Manx, worshipper at the Watery Church, Port of Melbourne, Australia.
"Sounds like a fishy deal to me."
- John Berton, fish sceptic.
"Sounds more like a dishy feel to me!"
- Irma Harma Wewedigong, Fish Feeling For Sensual Satisfaction Society.
"Hmmph. They've completely pilchard this idea from me. I married Salmon Flushdie ten years ago!"
- Ms Holibon nee Flushdie, Woollongong, Australia.
"I don't mean to be FLIPPER-ant about this!!!, but don't you FIN-d!!!! that they'll both end up feeling GILL-ty!!! after a time?????"
- Simone Armone, Society for Making Bad Puns About Fish
"Does the wish to kiss fish lead us to bliss, or should we dismiss this fish-kissing wish?"
- Peter Piper, a philosophical fisher of Phyrgia.
"Call me a flake, but this news is filleting me with pleasure. Things are just getting batter and batter. And I don't care if you DO come the raw prawn with me - when you're in love, nothing is shrimpossible!"
- Egon Ulch, the Malvern Seafood Shop Frequenter's Subcomittee.
"I hope they have a WHALE of a time!"
- Tom Clinker, well-wisher.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
I fell into the Hotel Lincoln off Queensberry Street, and immediately proceeded to walk around the interior of the building twice, go outside, check the name, while failing to spot the big table of bloggers sitting right in the corner. Not bad considering I'd hardly drunk anything by that time. (I had a work drink thing earlier that night).
I said g'day to some of the folks at the table, and ran into Armaniac at the bar. Later, I fell in with Aaron, and he gave me a run down of the folks attending: Russell, Supermercado Adam, Agentfareevader Adam, and Alex from ...
.... Boho ....
.... .... Alterna ....
.... .... .... hyphen ....
.... .... .... .... whatnot.
Alex from Quasibohoalternacommawherenow? But thankfully, I'd met Alex from ....
.... Boho ....
.... .... Alterna ....
.... .... .... hyphen ....
.... .... .... .... whatnot.
before. So, I waved to her, and slurred in fluent alcoholic,
- Hi, Alex from
.... Boho ....
.... .... Alterna ....
.... .... .... hyphen ....
.... .... .... .... whatnot.
Smashing party, eh, what, my dear girl?
Alex from quasibohoalternahyphenwhatnot merely waved her hand in a ladylike fashion and trilled in a ladylike manner, 'I didn't do Jack-shit'.
Later, I got into a conversation with Helen, and with Jon from Sternezine. I put to him the question - if he had Bill Gates fortune, what would he do with it? I favoured purchasing a symphony orchestra myself; Jon, it turned out, had a fancy that he would like to procure Rhodesia. But it doesn't exist now!, I protested. What I can only describe then as an evil gleam came into Jon's eye, and he growled at me,
"Oh, I'd MAKE it exist!"
Reprimanded thusly, I moved on to talk about other subjects.
There were many more people, and even more beers; a big shout out to Robert - he's one smart cookie. Plus, he bought me a beer.
More people met that night, including whatisname from Torn Curtain, and thingamyjig from Engel's Empire. I'd better not go on, as some of the names have faded from memory. Lovely to meet you all, leave a comment in - er, comments, if you were there!
A typical evil baby.
President Chirac and Prime Minister de Villepin held crisis talks today about the baby problem. "We cannot give in to the demands of these babies," stated Chirac, "whatever the demands these babies are making happen to be." At this point, he pounded the table for emphasis, forgetting that he did not have a table.
What can have caused these babies to turn violent? Several theories are current, including: they are following orders of a shady international conspiracy of toddlers; they are hungry and want a drink; or, they just want their mummies.
But it is clear that something must be done about these babies, and done now.
IN OTHER BABY DEVELOPMENTS:
Canberra, Australia: - Angry babies marched on the Prime Minister's office, demanding immediate change. Although they didn't so much march as crawl. And it's not entirely clear what sort of change they were demanding, as they hadn't learned to talk yet. But they did gurgle quite eloquently. One politician has suggested that their nappies may need changing.
Smigginston, Ohio: - Two naughty babies were found in a movie theatre watching Bride of Chucky without having paid for a ticket. Their parents have been notified.
Dusseldorf, Germany: - A gang of naughty babies called the Terrible Toddlers have successfully annoyed their parents by pissing, pooing, vomiting, bawling, and conspiring to take over the world.
DID YOU KNOW: - In 1926, the Prince of Austria attempted to start WW II by sending the Prime Minister of France a baby. The baby was so cute, that they both agreed to forgive all their differences, and peace was declared.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
BABYEZE (tm) is a tried and tested product of the Huggex Laboratories in Switzerland! It eases your urge to breed and instead creates nice, happy feelings in you*.
But how does this magical BABYEZE (tm) work, I hear you scream? What's the proof? I'm glad you asked. After extensive testing with the latest Baby Models**, Huggex Laboraties have isolated an extremely addictive pheromone - called 'Cuteromonex' - emitted by babies in the presence of females. That's right - poo and piss are not the only things those babies exude! They are in fact highly advanced women-magnets, targeting with deadly accuracy the pleasure centres in the human brain!
That's where BABYEZE (tm) comes in! You see, at the Huggex Laboratories we have perfected a substance which supplies all your 'Cuteromonex' needs, at barely five per cent of the cost of a normal human baby***! That's right - next time you feel the urge to bring forth a squalling bairny into this world, why not go to the chemist instead and procure yourself a bottle of BABYEZE (tm) spray?****
* Any similarity of BABYEZE (tm) to opium is purely coincidental.
** Baby Models graciously supplied by the ACME Baby-Making Corporation, Pty Ltd.
*** Poop and piss sold separately.
****BABYEZE (tm) also comes in arm patches and pill form.
PRINT THIS FORM, FILL OUT THE DETAILS, AND SEND IT WITH CHEQUE OR MONEY ORDER AND RETURN STAMPS TO: HUGGEX INTERNATIONAL LABORATORIES, VON HEURISTIC LANE, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND.
YES! I, _________________, would like to have a bottle or ten of BABYEZE (tm) handy for when those maternal hormones start up! I would like to start off with (please circle appropriate amount):
1 (one) bottle of BABYEZE (tm) ($1,000.00 Australian)
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
"... Are you in love with him?'
'I don't much care for that word,' she said, as if rebuking a foul-mouthed tradesman.
'Because I don't know what it means.'
He gave a quiet yell. 'Oh, don't say that; no, don't say that. It's a word you must often have come across in conversation and literature. Are you going to tell me it sends you flying to the dictionary each time? Of course you're not..."
"... People get themselves all steamed up about whether they're in love or not, and can't work it out, and their decisions go all to pot. It's happening every day. They ought to realise that the love part's perfectly easy; the hard part is the working out, not about love, but about what they're going to do. The difference is that they can get their brains going on that, instead of taking the sound of the word "love" as a signal for switching them off."
Monday, June 12, 2006
This comely wench is only one of many attractive reasons to attend the upcoming Melbourne grogblogging, at which you may or may not drink alcohol-based beverages depending on your personal proclivities. The conversation will be convivial or contemptuous, according to your whims, and you will get your chance to seduce all manner of freaks and geeks during the evening: you will, of course, have to run the risk of the event being blogged about the morning after.
Many issues of various importance or non-importance may or may not be talked about, including: the prodigal Tim Sterne,* and his prodigal inability to turn up to such events; when the revolution comes, will it be right-wing wingnuts or left-wing lunatics up against the wall; and who has the better tits - Britney Spears or Angelina Jolie?
It's needless to say, so I'll type it instead: everyone's invited.
He's a wisecracking duck from another universe, she's a drop-dead gorgeous redhead from Cleveland. Not exactly a match made in heaven, would you think? Well, no, but these two stick together like glue. Switzler is absolutely devoted to her Ducky, and Howard - who staunchly believes that people are 'No damned good' - nevertheless has a soft spot for Beverley.
Weyland Smithers and Monty Burns
Smithers: I love you, sir!
Smithers: I... In those colours! (Aside) Oh, who am I kidding, this was never the right time!
What's the attraction? Burns is nasty, weak, malicious, greedy, stupid, ignorant, sadistic, and ugly to boot; and Weyland Smithers - who knows nuclear physics like other people know, well, old episodes of The Simpsons, and can play a mean ukelele to boot, is absolutely devoted to him. Burns, for his part, neither knows, nor cares.
Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd
This is kind of a hate/love relationship. Normally, the animosity between these two animated characters is intense, but whack Bugs in a frock and put some lipstick on him - and phew, baby! Smell those pheromones!
For his part, Elmer is never less than serious about the whole thing, but Bugs is just in it for the dresses. Tease!
Thank you so much for legislating to have those wonderful pictures put on cigarette packets! I just love getting up in the morning and stumbling down the street to get some milk, only to find - everywhere I turn my head - pictures of cartiligenous cankers and carcinomas, tar-ridden lungs and devotees of the tobacco plant breathing out their last in the hospital bed. I feel grateful to know that you have done this much to contribute to my aesthetic pleasure!
Sarcasm aside, Steve, I must congratulate you on this astute political campaign. You have elevated our awareness of a terrible problem in Australia: the problem of rubbish. Why, if those awful litterbugs didn't drop cigarette packets everywhere, then no-one would have to put up with these pictures! Let me tell you, Steve, the only thing worse than having to put up with the endless cigarette packets filling up the streets of Coburg, it's tolerating the infinite piles of the MX newspaper that those awful litterbugs leave lying around on the trains! There should be a tax on litterbugs, I say! Even better: we should outlaw littering, and then let litterbugs to practice their filthy habit in publically-owned littering rooms, where they don't bother anybody else. After all, if you're going to behave like preening, sanctimonious twats to me, then you should behave the same to the rest of your 'voting public'. Don't you agree?
In conclusion, I would like to considerately supply you with some pictures of rubbish and trash that you might like to use in your next campaign. Hey, it's only fair!
Yours with slobbering gratitude,
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Balranald - the town - consisted of a couple of houses, a hundred-year-old boat ramp on the Murrumbidgee that had decayed into a few planks of wood that nobody had ever bothered fixing or junking, and near our house, a woolshed that no-one had cared to tear up, or do much with. Every month or so a guy named Bob Heddle would pull up in a truck, go into the shed, raise a bit of dust, and leave.
My brothers and I got friendly with Bob. For some reason, we gave him the name 'Wooly Williams', and would run out around his truck shouting that name out. Bob was something of an artist as well as a truck driver; he entered paintings into the local art competitions, and drew cartoons. Once he gave several of these cartoons to us, which we thought was pretty neat.
It might have been when Wooly Williams came around once that we were first introduced to the joys of Joliffe's Outback. It's hard to find much information about these comics - they're that obscure - but I seem to remember that, after having been introduced to Joliffe's Outback, we saw them everywhere. Eric Joliffe, the artist, must have been either senile or dead by the time we were introduced to the comics; the stories seemed to mostly be about the type of Australia that Henry Lawson or Banjo Patterson idealised in their bush ballads. They featured a stock set of characters, including Saltbush Bill, his wife, and various other farm hands and animals. The comics also contained pencil portraits done by Joliffe of various characters he'd met in the countryside; you could tell he was a good artist and draughtsman. Here's a Joliffe's Outback item on eBay at the moment - I sure as hell can't find a date, but you can tell it's pretty old.
So - anyone else remember this?
*If you ever want to get to Hay, just drive down the Hume Highway until you see nothing in particular, and keep on driving. You'll pass Hay at some point, but that's no reason to stop.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
1. We need a ...
2. We had a ...
3. I put it to you that the Prime Minister is a complete ...
4. The Opposition cannot ...
... anymore over this issue;
5. ... and they should stop
6. ... and
7. Furthermore, the Honourable Speaker for So-and-so is an absolute ...
Here's how to play.
1. Lift an innocuous passage from the book of an academic without providing credit:
Sophocles' 'Oedipus Rex' is a play full of incest, amputation of limbs, and violence. It questions the morality of the community at large, and society in general.
2. Pass this passage on to other friends who are studying the same subject. After it has been emailed and re-typed a couple of times, it should look something like this:
Sophocles' 'Oedipus Reeks' is a play full of insects, imputation of limbs, and vile ents. It questions both the community at large, society in general, and morales.
3. Repeat step 2) a couple of times. The results will be interesting:
Oedipus's 'Sophocles Wrecks' is a play with insects and computation of memes, not to mention viol ends. It questions the morale of community in society, and generals at large.
4. Over time, the original passage will evolve into something entirely new, and hopefully more original:
Oedipus Sophocles Wrecks is a general at large. It questions insect society, not to mention the miming of vile ends, and Evo Morales.
5. Hand in this passage to your examiner, and wait for him to grade you.
It's easy, and much more fun than doing any of that pesky research stuff!
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Game of Death is interesting primarily because it's the only Bruce Lee film that doesn't contain Bruce Lee. No, hang on, that's not quite right. It's the only Bruce Lee film where the character Bruce Lee plays is acted by someone else. No, that's not right either ...
You see, apparently during the filming of Game of Death, Bruce Lee died. This created a problem for the other filmmakers; large amounts of money rode on the success or failure of this Bruce Lee film. Such was Bruce Lee's fame, it would have been a guaranteed success - had Lee survived his death. But this was rarely, if ever, going to happen.
The solution? In order to produce a complete Bruce Lee film, in Lee's absence, the filmmakers hired an actor to act the part of Bruce Lee, acting the part of the character, who coincidentally, played the part of an actor. If you're confused, well, the filmmakers were too. They had to edit around the little existing footage they had taken of Bruce Lee, change the plot, the characters, the script - in short, the entire content of the film - in order to make a convincing film.
Point of interest: in the film, Bruce Lee's character has to fake his own death and funeral. Footage of the funeral in the film was actually documentary footage from Bruce Lee's actual funeral. It's not every day you get to see a corpse immortalised on film like that!
Naturally, this film must throw the critics into apoplectic fits. There's a lot to criticise in the film - but where do you start criticising? Do you criticise the actor for not playing the part of Bruce Lee convincingly? Or do you criticise him for not playing the part of Bruce Lee's character successfully? Or do you take issue specifically with his inability to act the part of an actor acting someone else's part? What was that you were saying again? You could end up chasing yourself around in ridiculous circular arguments.
There is, however, one thing we can say about the film with utter certainty: Bruce Lee plays the part of a dead man with absolute conviction. A true star to the end - and beyond!
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Seems to me there are so many - probably meaningless - academic words and phrases out there that you could get a poem or two out of them. Like this ...
Postexistentisemioprelosophism - a 13 week course
1. How Lacan challenges the Liminal
2. A primer in Epistomology.
3. Why Foucalt Un-defines the Criminal.
4. A brief biology of Ontology.
5. Heidegger: His 'ofness' and his 'isness'.
6. Ferdinand Saussure: his semiosis.
7. Kierkegaard: From 'Busyness' to business.
8. Does reading Derrida cause liver cirrhosis?
9. Jung and the 'Universal Feminine'.
10. Pre-postmodernism, and post-premodernism
11. The politics and ideology of Eminem.
12. What caused the Russell/Wittgensteinian schism?
13. Research: your bibliography,
Footnotes, and mythography.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
LOCATION: His right and left foot.
NAME: He calls himself 'Tim'.
Memo to Commander of the Eczema Rash:
At last, I am happy to report that we have found a suitable base for our forces! We have taken up residence in the Host's foot, and are preparing to stake out our territory. I think I can safely say that, at last, we can spread, free and safe, in the knowledge that the Human Host will never be bothered reaching down so far but to scratch us (and, as you know, "to scratch us only makes us stronger!")
Here in the rolling arch, behind the heel, we shall find a home! In these lush pink coigns of land, we may flourish and multiply, in happy symbiosis with the Human Host!
Memo to Commander of the Eczema Rash:
Joy! Oh Joy!
Rash Commander, it is with the utmost pleasure that I report to you the latest developments. Over the past few days, the Eczema troops have made an exciting discovery. Whilst exploring the territory, the troops briefly surmounted the boney protuberance at one end of the valley which we inhabit; coming to the top, they surveyed several natural valleys down which ran fresh rivulets of sweat, and which, furthermore, the Host rubbed and itched from time to time. He calls them "Toes". Commander, then and there, I formed the plan of Colonising these valleys; for they would make a marvellous home for our troops.
Truly, these lush, verdant pastures of pink flesh seem like a paradise. We have even given them a name: they are to be called 'Fleshland'.
Memo to Commander of the Eczema Rash:
O Rash Commander, it seems too good to be true! This 'Fleshland' truly is a blessed paradise!
But let me begin at the beginning, O Commander. I must inform you of a fortuitous event occurring earlier today which bears good tidings for our relationship with the Human Host.
Barely had we woken this morning than the Host proceeded to wrap his feet tightly in nylon garments before housing them in a narrow chamber. Following this, he moved his feet in alternation up and down for several minutes - possibly a whole half-hour.
In other words, O Commander, he "put" on his "socks" and "shoes" and "walked to work"!
I need hardly stress how important this was: the hot, enclosed environment; the sweat, and enzymes that were thereby produced; the bacteria and fungi that gathered - all were highly favourable for the rapid multiplication of the Rash!
Clearly, Commander, the Host loves us! The Host will do anything for us!
I am so happy, I could weep tears of pus! As a matter of fact, I think I will!
Memo to Commander of the Eczema Rash:
Commander, it is a dark day for the Rash! Many of our troops are dead or dying, and hundreds more are in dire straits! We have had to temporarily fall back from our position of advantage.
What happened was this: suddenly, unexpectedly, a monumental pink-and-white object descended on us from the skies, and began to stab at us, repeatedly. The white substance fell from the pink object, and amongst our people. It burned like fire! We suffered infernal torments in this deathly white rain from the heavens! It seemed that our days were numbered!
Finally, the dreadful pink monument ascended into the heavens again, purified of the dreadful White Substance, leaving us to take score of our losses. Looking up at this retreating object of dread, we could not but notice: it was a Finger.
O, Rash Commander, I cannot help feeling the Host will be disappointed in us, though I know not why. We must redouble in vigour, and set forth boldly over all areas of the Host's skin, such that he feels our presence as never before! Only then will the Host be pleased with our effort and industry! Only then will his blessings be with us, then, and forevermore!
Memo to Commander of the Eczema Rash:
Since the dreadful, maleficient Day of the Finger, I am pleased, O Commander, to report that we have more than doubled our forces again, and strengthened our position greatly. From the heel through the rolling valley to the lush lands on the inside of the Host's 'Big Toe', our people stretch; from one side of our Host's feet to the other, we exist.
Life is good, O Commander! The Host loves us, and that is all we need! Praise the Host! Hail the Host! Adore the Host!
Memo to Commander of the Eczema Rash:
A Direful Day! Once again, the Finger dipped in Cream has descended, pointing, on us! Repeatedly, it has fallen, as a Wolf falls on the Fold, with it's White Rain of Death! And this time, it has been dipped in a cream more horrible, more potent, than before; everywhere it falls, it has scarified the landscape, destroying the Rash's marshalled troops, and sent us scattering, laying waste to the Countryside.
The Rash wailed in terror and pain as the finger came on us, again and again: and it was then that one of our troops made a proclamation both terrible and awesome:
"THE FINGER IS THE HOST!"
And the Rash looked upon the Finger, and we saw that it was so!
Clearly, O Commander, we have displeased the Host! Clearly, the Host does this out of Anger! O Forgive us, mighty Host - we are but abject sinners!
Memo to Commander of the Eczema Rash:
Dark days, O Commander: our forces are but few. We have been made to retreat from the verdant lands of pink flesh. Day after day, the Host, with his terrible Finger, renews his attacks upon the Rash. Day after day, the White Cream of Death falls upon us.
We have been weighed and found wanting! The Host hates us - and surely, with good reason! Surely, we have done something to warrant this savage attack! We must have!
It would even be a consolation to believe the words of one of our Philosophers: "There IS no Host: there is only The Rash, alone, in an uncaring universe."
But alas: the terrible Finger spells out a different story ...
Memo to Commander of the Eczema Rash:
Can't stop ... not ... much time ... write ... Rash ... almost extinct ... supplies ... low ... have ordered ... final retreat ...
The future ... of ... The Rash ... in your hands ...
Suggest .... different Host ...
ALL HAIL THE RASH! *Cough* *Hack*
URGENT: DISPATCH FROM COMMANDER OF THE ECZEMA RASH TO MARSHALLED FORCES:
I attach memos from our exploratory forces. Clearly, we are dealing with a malignant Host. We must marshall our forces, and attack!
We shall make him ITCH LIKE HE HAS NEVER ITCHED BEFORE! VIVE LE RASH!
The day dawned dank and dreary; the sun rose sluggishly,
Gleaming greyly like a fluorescent swamp;
It wobbled up one weary step, then fell back to the earth,
Resonating dully with a grimy, gloomy 'glomp.'
The drizzle was depressing, pondered Dougall to himself,
As he descried it with his eyes a-drizzling off the walls;
It formed in little puddles underneath the kitchen table,
And ran in little rivulets through the bedroom and the hall.
And one by one the houses all grew soggy with the drizzle,
And fell in sodden clots of mud, all about the land;
And worker's in the cities fell into the waters,
And soon dissolved to nothing but waving arms and hands.
But Dougall took his dog and he climbed aboard his desktop,
And used it as a raft to float upon the rising tides;
And he floated off to regions man had never yet discovered,
Where the Jabberwocky cavorts, and the danksome Boojum hides.
He wafted into forests that had fallen in the waters,
And had become no more than mounds of mud-and-bog;
He ebbed through mountains, valleys, that had been washed away
And had turned into continents of shadows, whispers, fog.
And the shadows, whispers, fog, and the gloom, the grim, the dampness,
And the never-ending drizzle soaked into Dougall's brain;
'Till he could tell no more if he was awake or dreaming
Of a land of endless shadows, and a universe of rain.
And visions vast and morbid arose before him, wake or dreaming,
And a supernatural horror arose before his craft
- With eyes like gleaming caverns, that went deep and down forever -
And stalked Dougall through his dreams as he drifted with the draft.
And slowly it advanced and surrounded Dougall's craft
And within several hours or days, oped wide it's slav'ring maw;
And Dougall shrieked and flung his dog, a-howling, into the darkness,
Then fell down deep into a swoon, and knew nothing anymore.
And smooth and sly and silky, the darkness sank into his soul,
And Dougall knew then that the Fog had got him after all;
And he felt at last the peace that all the damned must feel
As Charon ferries them across the Styx to eternity in hell.
Dougall wakes - he knows not when - on an island in the waters,
And he spies within the distance the spires of a gleaming city;
He discovers that some people have fed him bread and water
Out of - he knows not what - curiosity or pity.
But now, as he walks the shores alone of this little island city,
He knows that his time is short, for the waters grow in height;
And a freckle of a shadow on his thumb is now eating up his hand,
And the shadow of his dog hunts him through the night.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
As ideas for plays go, Hamlet isn't very good. It's the most undramatic of dramas; a play where the actors get to talk heaps but act little. If you want an explanation, it's a tragedy where the hero - Hamlet - is brought undone by a fatal flaw: procrastination. In other words, Hamlet was a lazy bastard kept on putting things off. Personally, I prefer the rich comedy of King Lear, where the characters get to recite lines like 'Out, vile jelly!' at one another with relish and aplomb before popping one another's eyes out. Amputation does much more for a play than procrastination, it seems to me. Still, Literary Tradition disagrees with me; and Literary Tradition is always right.
Anyway, the thing about famous plays like Hamlet is they get jokes written about them; arcane, bizarre jokes that nobody except a few writers and assorted Shakespeare fans will understand. Laura, the proprietor of the fine literary blog Sarsaparilla - now linked - uncovers one such joke:
The rest of the page is occupied by Letters to the Editor - a virulent, sarcastic screed about letters Christina Rossetti may or may not have written to married men, two dull longwinded alphabetic "poems" attacking the condition of modern poetry, a proto-RWDB slam on the rubbishness of modern universities, a plaintive request for help identifying a story of castaway children on an island, and an apparent joke, about Hamlet, which I have read at least four times and still don't understand the punchline.
What could the joke be? I don't know. Possibly nobody does, since Laura doesn't reveal the contents of the joke on the post, all of which makes me suspicious: maybe that's the joke? Maybe she aims to put us all in a condition similar to Hamlet, unable to decide what the content of this joke about Hamlet could be?
Just how much comic potential does Hamlet have, anyway?
Sundays in the Park with Hamlet
(A minor tragedy, in which nothing happens, by Master William Shakespeare)
SCENE: Hamlet walks into a newspaper store.
Store Owner: Good morning, sir!
Hamlet:Ah, but is it really a good morning, my whey-faced pamphleteer? That, I propose to you, is a moot point - a very moot point indeed.
SO: What can I do for you, sir?
H: Ay, me! Another moot point! Thy point could not be mooter! Thou art a philosopher, I woot, my friend! Truly, though art a rival to Thales of Anixmander himself! What can you do? What can we all do? I wish I knew ... I wish I knew ...
SO: (Cheerfully) So, it was a paper you wanted, then?
H: A paper? A paper, thou say? Ay, for then I would be a papist. Truly, I would pape, pape, pape around town! And this merry muse asketh of me what I dost want! Well, let me tell you ...
12 hours, and many more words, later ...
SO: Sorry to interrupt your soliloquy, sir, but it's closing time.
H: (Stopping mid sentence) Eh? What didst thou say, good verse-vendor?
SO: Were you buying a paper, sir, or leaving?
H: Oh! Voice of doom, voice of destiny! Your words stab at my heart!
H: Very well. Did the Herald Sun have the footy results in it then?
(Takes paper, pays for it, trips on stairs and falls flat on his face in the dust outside as Shopw Owner slams door behind him.)
H: O Tempora, O Mores.
SCENE: Hamlet is sitting at a restaurant table, across from Ophelia.
Ophelia: (Looking over menu) Well - what wouldst thou like, my deary-duck Hamlet?
H: Ah! My fate overtakes me! What wouldst I like, indeed? Will I procrastinate, or delay? O, that the infernal Lord in the high heavens might smite me, kill me, or otherwise, end my very life!
O: Hammy, dear, is something wrong?
H: The agony! Methinks I hear my father whispering to me from across that other bourne, whence none return!
Hamlet's Father: HAMLET OF DENMARK! I'm right here! Make up your mind, son!
H: Begone, foul shade! Begone, malignant conscience! Vanish like the evil vapours into the night! I will have none of thee!
HF: HAMLET! How many times do I have to tell you - I wasn't dead, I was just resting.
H: Oh, alright, Dad. Shut UP! What did you want, then?
HF: I'm not hungry.
SCENE: Hamlet and Yorick stand at a cross-roads.
Yorick: Well, Hamlet, mate, where'd you say this pub was again?
Hamlet: O despair! O horror!
Yorick: Calm down, mate. What's the matter?
Hamlet: I cannot remember!
Yorick: No problem. We'll just walk down this way until ...
Hamlet: But what wouldst the fates do to thou then? Yea, Yorick, it seems to me, even now, that I see thee being run over by a car; or struck down, in the midst of the day, by lightning! As flys are to wanton boys, Yorick, so are we to the Gods: they play us for their sport!
Yorick: Fine! We'll go that way, then!
Hamlet: O, I am filled with a nameless, formless dread! No, friend Yorick - say you will not go! For, as like as not, thou wouldst run into a train whilst crossing the tracks, or catch some foul canker from the airs wafting forth from those garbage receptacles, or ...
Yorick: Alright, mate! We won't do anything! We'll just stand right here! It's safer, isn't it?
Hamlet: Ye Gods in the high heavens! That would be worst of all, for then, for no reason at all, we would be at risk of a sudden stampede of wild elephants that ...
Yorick: Hamlet, mate, buddy, pal, friend - we're not going to die!
Hamlet: (Head in hands) Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well ...
SCENE: An abandoned warehouse. Hamlet dangles by his neck from a hangman's noose, hanging over a vat of boiling Nitrick acid, which is flanked by venomous cobras, rabid wolves, and members of Al Qaeda.
Hamlet: (Placidly) To be, or not to be: that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler ...
Random Stranger: (Bursting in randomly, in the way random strangers have in plays) HAMLET! Why are you dangling by your neck from a hangman's noose over a vat of Nitrick acid, which is flanked by venomous cobras, rabid wolves, and members of Al Qaeda?
Hamlet: (A look of infinite existential despair at the realisation of the essential nihilism of life crosses over his face -any decent actor should be able to do this - then he shouts out his reply) Um ... I'll tell you LATER!
The joke doesn't make sense? No, well, the original didn't, either. Who cares? If it was bad enough for Shakespeare, then it's good enough for me.
Friday, June 02, 2006
They'll teach the kindergarten children a thing or two about cleanliness, and set an excellent example for the budding politicians in your school!
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Feral shuffling up and down train platform with enormous pieces of fur on either foot. Has multi-coloured dreadlocks and is carrying a collection of wires woven together like a cage.
The feral is obviously employed to slide up and down the train platform, acting as a human broom, to sweep up waste and detritus. The dreadlocks on his head are in fact replacement shoes.
Haven't worked out what the wire cage is for yet.
Little old Chinese lady, face closely resembling a shrivelled up prune, wrapped in a bright red shawl, waddling along platform.
Do not be alarmed. She actually is a shrivelled up prune that vaguely resembles a human. Don't feel bad; I almost made the same mistake myself.
Girl wearing green shoes, black stockings, green skirt, shiny tan jacket, and red jumper with large white polka dots.
Do not be alarmed. She is merely a hippy having an acid flashback. Yes, you are in it too.
Smal Asian women who wrap scarfs around their necks that are so huge, they look like they're being sucked down into them.
These woman are clearly devotees of Jung, and are therefore enacting a return to the womb in order to confront their deep-seated psychological fears about motherhood.
Balding men who roam the platform in suits and ties.
These men are office pets. Whistle and wave a toupee at them to attract their attention; then lure them back into the office with sweets or brightly-coloured crisps before securing them to a chair leg with their ties.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
- John Bangsund's Threepenny Planet
- Broken Biro
- Poetry 24
- Superlative scribbles
- Kirstyn McD!
- Rorrim a tsomla almost a mirror
- More Sterne
- Cam the man from the Dan.
- Too hot to Raaaaaaandallllllll!
- Erin's Excellently Everlasting Effervescements!
- Slammy Infamy
- Hail Paco!
- Baron Blandwagon, purveyor of cyberbunnies, hawker of Roger Corman, and Misruler of the Multiverse
- The Bolta. Aiyeeeeee!!!!!
- Bad Apple Audrey
- The cartoon church
- Sir Martinkus
- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
- A hodge podge of hotzeplotz
- THE SLAMMA!
- Jottlesby's nottings, or should that be Nottlesby's jottings?
- The Snarking of the Hunt
- Jazzy Hands
- David of Metal City
- David the Barista
- The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
- Be an Opinion Dominion Minion!
- ... and Fel
- His brilliant career - from whale sushi to crumbed prawn
- Jo Blogs
- Yet another Tim
- Was two peas, now three peas
- ... Still Life - now with extra rotating cats!
- An Amazingly Awesome Australian Ampersand!
- Blink and you'll miss 'er
- Red in the land of the tigers!
- Wire of Vibe
- Chase him, ladies, he's in the cavalry!
- The Non-palindromical Editrix in Germanium
- Old Sterne
- The briefs...
- ... and the brieflets
- The Purple Blog
- Blairville, lair of all that is wicked and perfidious
- The enticingly acronymical CSH
- EXTREEEEEEEME WYNTER!
- Mark of California
- Silent Speaking
- Lexicon the Mexican
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