Saturday, June 27, 2015

If the Romantics were grumps

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

Well, I soon cleaned that lot up.

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

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

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

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

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

Well, that was a short list.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Emoticon poem

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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Four short stories

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

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

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

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

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

(Or is it?)

Thursday, June 18, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 12, 2015

Printchers, stridulumps, inklejacks, and lunt-takers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- and a word looking for a concept to describe:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 08, 2015

A comfortable poem

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

Comfortable poem no. 3

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

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

Sunday, June 07, 2015

How to do algebra: the creative writing approach

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

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

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

Friday, June 05, 2015

Mansplaining the manspread

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 02, 2015


WE NOW TAKE YOU FORWARD TO THE YEAR 2020 WITH AN IMPORTANT POLITICAL STATEMENT BY EVERY POLITICAL PARTY EVERYWHERE joining the West-East Road with the North-South Line, commuters can then hop off at the Northern Interchange before merging seamlessly with the Cross-City Light Rail. This will allow commuters to arrive in a timely manner at the majestic Southern Car Park, from thence smoothly joining via on-ramp the Southern-East Outer ring, taking them swiftly to their connexion to the West-East Road again. Thus, by travelling around the city in one elegant loop, the circle of perfection will be attained: commuters will be able to travel around and around and around the city without ever getting off, and without ever getting anywhere: the tyranny of destinations will be abolished.

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

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

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

Email: timhtrain - at -

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