Thursday, June 30, 2005

Patriarchy 101

I've just discovered that I am not a member of a worldwide organisation with the conscious aim of subjugating women. Twisty writes:

I'd forgotten for a moment that feminists are required to waste at least half of their waking hours reassuring skittish fans of the status quo that we aren't man-hating nutjob conspiracy-theorists.

I don't know. I'm rather fond of the idea of instantly becoming a member of the Patriarchy (tm) simply by being a man. It's kind of like Darth Vader receiving an award for nastiness:

Caller: Hello, is that Lord Vader on the line?

Vader: Yes, it is.

Caller: Hi, this is the Secretary of the Intergalactic Supervillainy association, and we have some good news for you!

Vader: Oh! Really?

Caller: Yes, we've decided to award you a lifetime membership for achievement in the fields of Intergalactic Supervillainy, Devotion to the Dark Side, and Heavy Breathing.

Vader: *Sniff*. I never knew you cared!

Then again, maybe this just means I have to try harder. I mean, I am a fan of the status quo and all, if by the status quo you mean Western society and culture as it is today. I'm not sure if that's enough, though. Let's just review my position on feminist matters:

- Men are far more likely to commit sexual assault or attack women than women are men. This is a bad thing.

- The assumption of some people, including some people in positions of power, seems to be that women should stay in the home and out of the workplace. This is a bad thing.

- Women have won important freedoms in the past thirty years, such as abortion rights. This is a good thing.

Hmm, that's all a little politically correct. On the other hand:

- Women tend to be paid less than men. This reflects the fact that they choose to work different hours than men and choose to work in different professions to men. This reflects their freedom to choose in our capitalist society. This is a good thing.

- Some women's movements believe that the way to achieve greater representation of women in some professions, such as politics, is by requiring that a certain percentage of people in that organisation have to be women. This is patronising to the women involved, and damaging to the organisation involved. This is a bad thing.

I'm getting there, but I may have to do a little study. If anyone wants me, I'll be browsing the website Men Are Better Than Women. "Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them". I'll be a member of the patriarchy yet!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Happy Endings

Who would have known that a story called 'Spot Gets Neutered' would turn out to have such a gruesome ending? Unfortunately, that's just the way things happened.

But don't worry. Everything turned out happily in the end.

Spot's mother, Sally, lived to a ripe old age, and was visited by Spot every Saturday.
Colin Cat wrote a book about his experiences, and became rich and famous, all over the world.
Peter the Paranoid Parrot was brought one day in a pet shop by a man who suffered from the delusion that birds talked to him. The two discovered that they shared much in common, and became firm friends.
Maddie Mouse may have had an untimely end, but at least she gave Spot indigestion.
The Vet found out that the reason he was laughing so much was because he had left the laughing gas on in his surgery. He turned it off and immediately collapsed in hysterical sobs on the floor. "This is the happiest day of my life!" he sobbed, before dying of a massive heart attack.
Daisy the Dog got over her rejection by Spot, and made it her ambition to become the First Dog on the Moon. She studied hard, got good grades at school, went to a reputable Canine College, and eventually her childhood dream became true.

And Spot became a leading Countertenor, yapping all around the world before audiences of millions. He performed pieces by such famous composers as George Frideric Houndel, Johann Sebastian Bark, Woofgang Amadeus Mozart, and Beagle Stravinsky. He was loved by all.

UPDATE - For more dog-related goodness, read this lovely tale about cosmetic treatment, dog style, on Metal City.

UPDATE ON THE UPDATE - First time readers might be a little surprised that 'things can turn out happily in the end' after a 'gruesome ending'. But there it is.

Questions Asked

All streets may have a beginning and an end, but which one is the beginning and which one is the end? Why are oranges called 'oranges', but lemons not called 'yellows'? Who was Betsy and why do we continually wish her the 'heavens'? And exactly how much wood could a Woodchuck chuck, if, and only if, the circumstances arose in which this hypothetical Woodchuck could chuck wood?

We all say these things, but we very rarely stop to consider what we mean by them. Well, I'm putting the questions out there. Anyone got any answers?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

My Children's Book

I am currently in the process of writing a picture book. Here's how it goes so far...


One morning Spot gets out of bed.
"Good morning, Spot," says Matthew Mouse.
Spot eats him.

This is Spot.

2. Spot then rolls in a mud puddle for ten minutes. Afterwards, he feels all lovely and stinky.

3. "Good morning, Spot," says Sally. "Look what I've just found! A half-empty can of processed gristle and bone!"
"It looks like a dogs breakfast!" says Spot.

4. They eat it.

5. "Get your clothes on, Spot," says Sally. "We're going somewhere very special today."
"But dogs don't wear clothes," says Spot.
"Good point!" says Sally. They roll in a dead fish instead.

6. Spot goes with Sally to a place called 'The Vet'. There he meets many funny people, like:

Welcome to The Vet!

Peter the Paranoid Parrot (who has schizophrenia, and suffers from the delusion that humans talk to him)
Colin Cat (who was, tragically, born with two heads - he's here today for a a 'decapitation')
Maddie Mouse, who is going to get her tubes tied.

7. "Good morning, Spot," says Maddie. "Have you seen my baby Matthew lately? I'm so worried."
Spot feels embarassed, so he eats Maddie too.

8. It is cold and lonely in here. Then the assistant comes up and gives Spot a booklet. It's called:


That cheers him right up.

9. It has lots of funny pictures and talks a lot about correct breeding practice.
Spot wonders whether the operation will make him like his Uncle Rover, who wears a bitches collar and is married to Sally's brother.
Spot likes Uncle Rover.

10. Spot goes in to meet The Vet.
He is a big man carrying a blood-bespattered axe.
He smiles and laughs a lot.
"Good morning, Spot," laughs the vet. "Is this your first time?"
He laughs some more.

11. Afterwards the vet gives him his balls in a jar and laughs.
Spot sniffs at them. Then he eats them.
The vet laughs. Spot laughs. They both laugh. What fun!

12. That afternoon, Spot meets Daisy Dog.

Daisy the Dog

"Hello, Spot!" says Daisy. "Would you like to get married?"

13. "Go away!" says Spot. "I don't speak to bitches!"

So, um - what do you think?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

It's a Ponderful Life

What a great word 'ponder' is. And what a great thing it is to do! Einstein pondered on the theory of relativity. Douglas Adams pondered about the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything. Mums all around the world ponder what they're going to cook for dinner. Wordsworth 'pondered in a lonely field', and pirates loot and ponder to their hearts content.

And me? I ponder on the ponderer and the pondered on in this particular poetic pondering...


It's a dreadful thing to have your website nearly overwhelmed by spam. But in the eternal battle of man against Spam, let's pause to remember those simpler, halycon days when spam made a wholesome meal for all the family...

(Takes a deep breath)

Spam, spam, spam, spam,
Spam, spam, spam, spam,
Spam, spam, spam, spam,
Spam, spam, spam, spam,

Spam, spam, spam, spam,
Spam, spam, spam, spam,
Spam, spam, spam, spam,
Spam, spam, spam, spam,
Lovely spam,

Wonderful spam,
Spam, spam, spam, spam,
Spam, spam, spam, spam,
Spam, spam, spam, spam,
Spam, spam, spam, spam,
Lovely spam,

Wonderful spam

Lovely spam,

Wonderful spam
Spam, spam, spam, spam,
Spam, spam, spam, spam,
Spam, spam, spam, spam,
Spam, spam, spam, spam,

Online Pharmacies!
Party Poker!
Hot Chicks!

AAAAAAAAAAAARGGGGGGGGGGGGGH!!! There's no getting away from it!

Compassion - Just So Twentieth Century

After being captured by terrorists, beaten, having his life held to ransom over a period of several weeks, and witnessing the deaths of several of his fellow captives, Douglas Woods is free. Free! And not only that, but he seems relatively healthy. He entered the press conference in Canberra on Tuesday singing, he made jokes, and on leaving, shouted "Go on the Cats - eat them alive!"

Astonishingly, some Australians have reacted to this news with sneers, glib ideological responses, and even insults.

Journalist Tracee Hutchinson writes:

The hostage revealed himself to have none of the grace or dignity dished out to his brothers and looked like a blustering buffoon at his airport news conference ...

Remember, this is about a man who had a week ago still been held captive by terrorists. I think ordinary people would be prepared to forgive Woods for the supposed lack of 'grace' or 'dignity'.

The Australian Greens and the Australian Labor Party have tried to impose a price on Woods' freedom:

THE Federal Opposition last night called on freed Australian hostage Douglas Wood to consider repaying taxpayers for his rescue mission from proceeds of thesale of his story to a television network. The Greens said he should donate the proceeds to Iraqi charities such as those looking after war orphans.

Woods is under no such obligation. He is a free man, in a free country, and can do what he likes with the money that he earns. End of story.

Dennis Whelan, writing in to The Age, strikes a similar note:
Wouldn't it be nice if Douglas Wood donated the reputedly large sum of money he is being paid for telling his story to Sheikh Taj al-Din al-Hilali, a man given little credit but who tried to negotiate the release of other hostages in Iraq? I have no doubt that their families are experiencing just as much pain, fear and suffering as the Wood family. But then again, that isn't the American way, is it?

Actually, letter writers to The SMH and The Age have used the news of Woods' freedom largely as an excuse to make bad puns and bad arguments about their usual ideological hobby-horses.

The Sheik himself - mentioned in the letter above - has continued to seek publicity and adulation for his role in the whole affair.

When the Australian team in Baghdad received an electronic data “memorystick” on May 29 intended to prove that Douglas Wood was still alive, they believed it contained important clues to his whereabouts. “Hello,” it began,“This is Douglas Wood in Baghdad.” Wood related contemporary accounts of Middle East news, including the decision by Muslim Sunnis to close their main mosque in Baghdad. “The Sunni Mosque,” Wood emphasised.

The Sunni Mosque is a landmark in the Al-Adhamiya district of Baghdad. Was this a veiled pointer to where he was being held? The Australian diplomatic, police and military team decided to keep the message secret.

But within a few days, the mufti Sheik el-Din Al Hilaly, spiritual leader to some of Australia’s Muslims, who had travelled to Baghdad with great fanfare declaring he would try to obtain the release of Wood, claimed he had seen Wood “eye-to-eye”. A day later, he clarified that he had seen him only on a video. The Australian team at the Baghdad embassy was furious. The mufti had blown their secret.

Moreover, he claimed he had passed the video on to the embassy. Considering the team at the embassy had shown it to him in the first place, it seemed evidence of grandstanding, and dangerous grandstanding at that. He had lost their trust.

Woods' response when asked of the Sheik's involvement? "Never heard of him".

Woods' accurate and concise description of his captors - as 'arseholes' - prompted the following response from occasional blog commentator Glen Condell, who seems to resent the fact that Woods is a businessman who doesn't offer his services for free:

Douglas Wood seems a right arsehole.

Ten Douglas Woods aren’t worth just one innocent Iraqi child murdered by the shock and awe designed to make Iraq safe for the Woods of this world, the bignoting skimmers and main chancers and spivs, profiteering from the exploitation of an expendable population, the untermenschen.’

I’ll bet his captors regret not clipping him when they had the chance.


Australians are constantly reminded to give aid to those people who are most vulnerable, and to help them into a better, more secure life.

Who could be more vulnerable than a sixty year old man captured by terrorists? But some people seem to have missed this.

Monday, June 20, 2005


So, what do you do once you're memed? This whole meming thing is a little unoriginal, really - I mean, you always end up answering the questions that somebody else has asked. I think it's time to turn it on it's head. From now on, whenever I get a meme from someone, I think I'll send this in to them, and ask them to fill out the questions. (Get it? The answers are the questions!)...

18 Answers to 18 Questions that Haven't Been Asked Yet

1. No.

2. Yes.

3. Probably.

4. Abject terror, absolute horror, extreme disgust, and curiousity.

5. Bob Hawke, Bob Menzies, and a vibrator.

6. 672.

7. Every day. Sometimes several times a day. Usually all day.

8. Of course not! What kind of a sick fuck do you take me for?

9. If you insist.

10. Black lingerie.

11. Black coffee.

12. No.

13. Yes.

14. If the answer to that is yes, then no.

15. Elephants and LSD.

16. Cabbages and upholstery.

17. Yes, I am.

18. DEATH.

But hang on a second. That leaves me still answering the questions, and never getting a chance to acutally ask any questions of my own. CRAP! I HATE memes!

Meme 2

Memes, memes, memes - everywhere I look are memes. You can't get away from them. The memes will eat me alive. Awwwwgh! Memes, memes, memes....

I've been memed again, this time, by Gem...

Total number of books I've owned

Lots. And you can't have any.

The last book I bought

Does the April edition of Viz comics (which arrives in Australia mid-June) count? If so, that.

The last book I read

Collected Prose or Selected Works by Woody Allen. (I can't remember the title)

Five books that mean something to me

Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
Cryptozoic, Brian Aldiss
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin
The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich Hayek.

Tag five people and request they fill this out on their blogs

Red, Daisy, Pink Lemonade Diva, Chasrover, and Talbo. I'm sorry people, I really am - THE MEME MADE ME DO IT!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

To All Stuff

From: Chief Mangler

To: All Stuff

It has been bought to my detention that certain sectors of our organization are suffering from chronic understuffing. This problem is urgent, and must be addressed in the near future.

As I'm sure you all no, stuffing shortages effect all areas of our business, and result in a large amount of indeficiencies in the cervixes we have on offer.

Please redress this problem immediately or, if that is not passable, straight away.


From: Chief Mangler

To: All Stuff

I sea that my call for detention to be bought to our chromic understuffing problem has resulted in a knew problem: overstuffing.

Let me sea if I can understand this, in seven easy-to-explain terms:

a) Chromic understuffing results in large, often chromic, shortages of people.

b) This causes large indeficiencies in cervixes.

c) The affect of all this is less income.

d) Overstuffing, on the other hand, leads two too to large amounts of people.

e) Consequently, we are made to pay Moore money which could otherwise have been spent on cervixes

f) Again effecting our income.

You sea? We dont want two be overstuffed, any less than we want two be understuffed. We just want to be stuffed. GET IT?


From: Chief Mangler

To: All Stuff

All write, I admit it. Several of our stuff have reshined in the past day. Though, I like to think of it as knot so much 'reshining' as 'early retyrement.'

Now I no a lot of you will be feeling extremely down, very sad, and rather depressed. But please, dont let this effect your moral. On the other hand, look on the bright side: our problems with chromic overstuffing will now, by gradual excrement, be rectified, quiet shortly.


From: Chief Mangler

To: All Stuff

Know what's this I here about stuff receiving wrong massages from Manglerment? In factually, I have even herd sum off you talk about our 'Orifice Communication Problem.'

Let me make this quite clear:


We may have communication difficulties, yes. We have communication quibbles, and we have communication qualms. But two the person who thanks that our current difficulties remount two a problem - two him, I say:

"There's no YOU in Communication!"

I also thank that all this torque about "Communication Problems" is an attempt two distract our detention from our Chromic Stuffing problem.

Witch brings me too my next point. Our problem with Chromic Over and Understuffing are now solved. Combatulations! We are know completely and utterly STUFFED!


Monday, June 13, 2005

Underwear of the Mighty

There is one single cause linking all the great events of history - the underwear which mighty historical rulers were wearing. Here is a brief history of the Underwear of the Mighty!

Margaret Thatcher

She's wearing red knickers with fishnet stockings.

Julius Caesar

Caesar found that purple silk briefs were just the thing to wear when subjugating the Britons.

Joan de Arc

Joan de Arc is wearing a cast-iron breastplate and a G-string made out of the finest ivory.

Napoleon Buonaparte

The secret of this great military conqueror? He's not WEARING any underwear!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Your Underwear

I think you'll agree with me that your underwear is a very important - dare I say, vital - issue to the future of our people and the world. That's why Will Type For Food is pleased to publish a new series of political speeches about your underwear*. The first is from Michael Howard, leader of the Tory party in Great Britain.
As government has got bigger and more centralised, people feel a
growing sense of helplessness. They have come to believe that the problems we
face are like the British weather - something you complain about but are
powerless to change.

I don't accept that for a moment. Poor public services
and ever increasing pantylines are not inevitable.
Britain can do better. We can have good local services and lower
. We simply have to change direction.

First, we must reform our public services so that underpantswearers get value for their lingerie. Conservatives
will give choice to parents and patients. Choice drives up standards in every
field of human endeavour. It is monopoly run by bureaucrats that is their enemy.
And Conservatives will give power to local professionals - teachers, doctors and
nurses. They know better than bureaucrats in Whitehall how to provide good local
Reform is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end. And that
end is better services for people: cleaner hospitals, school discipline, and a greater range in stockings and briefs for all!

.... (And) we need lower underwear. Low underwear economies are the most successful economies.
But when people wear less underwear you also have a
more cohesive society because we do more not just for ourselves, but for our

*Speeches may not be entirely accurate.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

When The Russell Crowes

It must be hard being Russell Crowe. After all, most of his time, he isn't Russell Crowe at all, he is:

a) An Australian success story
b) A Hollywood celebrity
c) A person pretending to be someone else (ie, an actor).

Obviously, after his latest little spat with a clerk in a hotel lobby, Russell is finding it all a little bit - difficult. But imagine what it's like for the police interviewing him...

Detective: Mr Crowe, could you state your full name and address, please?

Russell: Russell Maximus Decimus Meridius The Gladiator John Forbes Nash Bud White Hando Sid Jeffrey Wigan Crowe of Sydney, Ancient Rome, Australia, The Arena, Ohio, Los Angeles, Hollywood, The World, The Galaxy, The Universe.

D: Uh - huh. And how do you spell that?

R: R-U-S-S-E-L-L-C-R-O-W-E.

D: Now, er, Russell, I put it to you that on the morning in the question, you took the phone to the front lobby of the hotel and you threw it at the witness...

R: THE GLADIATOR does not have to listen to these accusations! THE GLADIATOR can not be beaten! THE GLADIATOR...

D: Did you or did you not throw the phone?

R: Well, picking up the handset, I proceeded to project it across the room at a mean velocity of 10 metres per second, in a parabolic arc, so that it landed...

D: Mr. Crowe?

R: Er, yes. Yes I did.

Don't blame him, people of the world. He's from Australia. We're descended from convicts, and over here in Australia, crime is not only legal, it's compulsory. At least, I think it is. I don't really know much about history.

Now, where was I again?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Meme 1

This is accurate to when I wrote it, about a week-and-a-half ago. More memes coming up...

David has passed on to me a meme, a figment of virtual life that is passed from internet user to internet user and that contains in itself the conditions that ensure it will continue to be passed on. This one is about books.

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?

The Fairy Queen, by Edmund Spenser. A masterpiece by anyone's reckoning, and one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. It is an Arthurian Romance, a medieval allegory, an early work of fantasy, a seminal work of renaissance England. Spenser never finished it, but it feels complete. Every book - every verse - every word - no, ever letter Spenser wrote is perfect and whole in itself.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

All of them, because you get to imagine what they look like, what they act like, and what they're like in ... do I have to go on?

The last book you bought was?

Probably the Calvino book, mentioned below. Failing that, Planet of No Return, by Poul Anderson - a tightly plotted traditional sci-fi adventure story where the villain turns out to be a know-it-all sociologist.

The last book you read was?

If On A Winter's Night a Traveller, by Italo Calvino. A book that is written about a reader who opens up a book by a writer but is unable to finish the book. In the ensuing novel, he goes in search of the same book but only ends up reading the beginnings of successive novels.

A stunningly self-referential, self-obsessed, witty, entertaining, and frustrating book.

Five books you would take to a desert island?

The CEO of the Sofa, by P.J. O'Rourke - his best book. And even in his worst, he can be funny.

Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

The Bible, for Ecclesiasticus. "Be wise but not too wise. Why shouldst thou destroy thyself?"

The Collected Plays of Aristophanes. He a funny guy. It's only when I get to the island that I discover I've taken the original Greek version, and not the translation.

Finnegans Wake, the hardback edition. I'm going to need something to knock the coconuts open with.

Who are you passing this stick onto and why?

S.J., who may begin blogging soon or in the not-too-distant future!


So yeah. I don't know about these meme things, really. Someone asks the questions, then everyone else spends their time answering them. I don't know any of the answers, and I'm not sure about the questions. That gives me an idea...

Monday, June 06, 2005

Snode Sounds Like a Rather Good Title For a Poem, Actually

I never knew that my 'How Not To Be a Poet' rules published the other night could be applied with such devastatingly hilarious results, but they have. Well, I've composed the following short poem - where the rhymes are made of words/sounds that are exactly the same, but mean different things.

There was a girl -
Her name was Red
Her hair* was long -
Her hair was red.

She had a blog.
And could she write!
Oh, yes she could -
She could alright!

And then one day,
To her surprise
She woke to find
She'd won

And a happy first birthday (and a little bit) to Red's blog!

*Pointless speculation. For all I know, her hair might just be a little longer than Kojaks.**
** Then again, she could be like Rapunzel. The point is, I don't know.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Lip is Hip

Hawthorn Zine fair
Saturday - be there!

Nonspiracy Theory

Late one night in a concrete bunker buried 2 kilometres under the earth, a Zionist, a member of the FBI, a top agent in the World Bank, and the President of the United States met together. Here is a written record of their conversation.

- Afternoon, everyone.
- Howdy.
- Fancy meeting you all here!
- Oy vey.
- Nice weather we're having today.
- Yes, very nice.
- Lovely.
- Oy vey!
- Anyway, gotta run. Have to go and sign a sheet of paper.
- Yes, I as well have ... Very Important Things To Do.
- Yes ... see ya.
- Oy vey!

Quick, everyone! We've got to warn the people about this - this - this terrifying Nonspiracy before - before - something terrifying happens!

How To Be A Poet

Saw some poetry readings on Channel 31 last night. Is that all it takes to be a poet? Get up there, spout some touchy-feely guff about life and love in the city, shout a bit, say one or two swear words, and step down?
I was profoundly underwhelmed by the whole thing. Here, at random, are some thoughts I had after the event:

1) Don't use metaphors like 'An all-too black night'. What else is the night going to be? White? Green? Purple? Of course the night is black, that's the colour things get when you take the sun away.
And isn't it racist to use metaphors like this, anyway?

2) The word 'Frangipani' should be banned from all poems. It's not romantic, it's just annoying.

3) No poet should ever write about themselves.

4) No poet should ever write about self-obsession, artists with creative difficulties, or artists in general. This is just another way for them to write about themselves. There is nothing more pathetic than a self-obsessed poet writing about self-obsession as a subtle way of referring to themselves.
It's not subtle, it's not interesting, and it tells us more about the 'writer' than they have ever wanted or tried to tell us.

5) Say your poems, don't read them out. Remember:
- Meaningful pauses are never meaningful
- End your sentences, don't leave them hanging in the air
- You're not dictating to children
- You're not a child yourself, so don't act like you're standing up in class stumbling over 'Dick likes Jane - see Jane run!' for the first time.

6) I'm not very impressed by your rhymes. Here's an exercise. Write down as many rhymes as you can think of for the following words...


Then come back and write some more poems.

7) Quit talking about how depressed you are, how you have a poor view of life, etc, etc. Cheer up! Life's not that bad.

8) Even better yet, give up poetry, and take up something interesting. Like bricklaying.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Pie Poll!

Hi. A bit boring around here, don't you think? Yes... maybe it's time for


You are a Very Important Right-Wing Political Commentator. Prime Ministers and Presidents shake with fear when they read your column every Saturday. What sort of food would you like leftist protesters to hit you in the face with?

a) Cream Pie!
b) Pancakes with maple syrup!
c) Omelettes with a garnish of parsley, and red wine!
d) Spaghetti a la Cacciatori!

Go the sidebar, and vote as often as you'd like!
All the results will be plotted on a - ba-doom tish - Pie Chart!
Email: timhtrain - at -

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