Monday, October 31, 2005

Australia Postmodern

In the Australia Post office, desks and people were scattered over the floor haphazardly. A girl stood in one corner looking over various envelopes. Gone are the days when envelopes are used to put things in and send somewhere. Now, they have targeted audiences and specific purposes. The girl stood there for about five minutes, looking for an ordinary envelope.

Walking through the office, by the pens and CDs and folders and pamphlets and documents and important-looking stuff was a little like walking through a maze. Try as I might, I just couldn't find what I was looking for: an electoral enrolment form, and a passport application form. Maybe one of these days you'll need to have a passport to find the passport application form.

I couldn't even find a queue. Australia Post had dispensed with such bourgeoise traditional notions as 'queues' and 'customer service', it seemed. Instead, customers were made to stand about in abstract patterns, as if they were mimes doing an imitation of the Mandelbrot set. At least the girl in front of me had a nice arse.

Later, I left.

Australia Post: Making it Even Harder for You To Find Nothing At All.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Natalia's Head Bang

No, really, I am writing a novel, because I can, and I'm posting it on blogger, because I'm mad. Here's a poem I'm going to use somewhere in it, about one of my characters. While I'm typing it up, go there and read the latest installment in my, er, masterpiece.
Natalia the beautiful!
Natalia the fair!
Natalia has ostriches
A-nesting in her hair!

She's a bad-ass! Yeah!
She's a bad-ass!

Natalia the elegant!
Natalia the svelte!
Part Indian, Part Eudaemonian,
Part Dravidian, part Celt!

She's a bad-ass! Yeah!
She's a bad-ass!

Natalia is tricky!
For once she used a chair
In a very cunning fashion
To entrap a grizzly bear!

She's a bad-ass! Yeah!
She's a bad-ass!

Natalia is naughty!
Natalia is mean!
For once she called Professor Galt
A silly old has-been!

She's a bad-ass! Yeah!
She's a bad-ass!

Natalia is horrible!
Natalia doesn't care!
She likes to look at antelopes
In women's underwear!

She's a bad-ass! Yeah!
She's a bad-ass!

Natalia can't remember
What Natalia can't forget!
So once she left her carrots out
And they got very wet!

She's a bad-ass! Yeah!
She's a bad-ass!

If you should meet Natalia,
Then you should be aware
That she is very partial
To eating fish with camembert!

She's a bad-ass! Yeah!
She's a bad-ass!

Natalia is pretty scary,
Let me tell you now!
For she once read Euclid's Theorems
To a rather restless cow!

She's a bad-ass! Yeah!
She's a bad-ass!

Natalia once kissed me
On a most amusing dare!
My heart beat twice as fast that day
And I had to take some air!

She's a bad-ass! Yeah!
She's a bad-ass!

Natalia is wonderful!
Natalia is great!
Though once she and a rabbit
Went out upon a date!

She's a bad-ass! Yeah!
She's a bad-ass!

Natalia is jolly good!
She's more nice than you can bear!
She's a very natty dresser!
Her stockings have such flair!
Natalia the beautiful!
Natalia the fair!

She's a bad-ass! Yeah!
She's a bad-ass!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Not-quite-great Moments in Science

An Eating of Minds

Still Lifes: could anything be stupider?

You want to eat the fruit, and yet you cannot. Imagine if I gave you a book I had written and told you to eat it. You wouldn't do that, now, would you? But artists who paint still lifes expect us to look at them and not want to eat the fruit. Artists are stupid.

I recommend that they paint pictures of nice indigestible things. Like boxes.

Or bottles of cyanide.

To A Pair of Shoes

I know I've neglected you, shoes. I know you do the best job you can and provide a safe and happy home for my feet. I really appreciate what you've done over the months that we've known each other, truly.

But then you started leaking. Really, shoes, that was most ungentlemanly of you. The clumps on the end of my legs that I refer to as 'feet' are not particularly fastidious, as a rule, but they don't particularly appreciate a moist climate.

And of late, shoes, I have noted various biological odours emanating from within your warm and spacious caverns. This is something that my feet are most picky about. At the beginning of each working day, they do not look forward to the prospect of probing into your nether regions, especially when said nether regions have become a haven for a whole host of other organisms. Let's be reasonable about this. Imagine if, at some point in the future, one of my feet were to invite a particular lady foot home for dinner and a spot of "the delicious act": how would she react to such an environment.

We've been through a lot, shoes, you and I. Mud puddles, for instance. Walks from Brunswick through to Coburg and Fitzroy. Streets and parks in both Newcastle and Melbourne. But I'm afraid we're going to have to part ways. I have found a more capacious home for my feet, and I'm afraid we're going to be moving there at the first opportunity. From now on, you will be employed in the more informal capacity of mantlepiece sculpture or flowerpot.

I'm sorry, shoes. It's not that I don't like you, it's just that I ... I mean, you ... I mean ...


By The Way

I'm writing a novel.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Post For People With High Self Esteem

But then again, maybe you shouldn't. After all, you're not really that brilliant. And let's face it: people will laugh at you. They always do.


The first time I saw Inspector Rex, the show ended with him chasing down a criminal in a park. The appeal was simple and obvious. Rex was a big mean scary looking German Shepherd and you wanted to see him catch that criminal. Catch him Rex, catch him!!!

Inspector Rex - Kommissar Rex in the German (a much better title) could be boring. Some shows had Rex doing stupid little doggy tricks, like shaking peoples hands, or moving sticks about from one spot to another. Cute, but you can't sustain a show that is screened right across Europe and in Australia on that basis. What is interesting is the blood, the violence, and murder - and the German Shepherd on the side of law and order.

The best shows always have something slightly twisted about them. The killers make interesting case studies, with mother complexes and obsessive compulsive disorders, and paranoiac delusions aplenty. It's difficult to say which are the better of the Rex shows - the earlier ones, with Moser (the dashing detective with an eye for the ladies), or the later ones (where the romance between ever-so-sexy Niki and her male sidekick is positively sizzling*).

I tuned in tonight. It was good; it could have been great. A guy who owns a candy-shop catches a little girl and murders her. Or does he really? Is he covering up for someone? His wife?
The plot twists and turns quite effectively, but what does Rex do through all of this? Nothing. The most he has to do is bark and shift a seat off the top of a kid after a staircase has fallen on him.
I long for the days when Rex chased swarthy, felonious-looking men through shady city parks. Those were good times...

Ah, Rex. What is your secret? The almost-excellent production values, the mostly-quirky plot, the relatively-capable acting, the rather-clever scripting?


*Hey, he lays her in the first episode, how much more sizzling can you get?

Post For People With Low Self Esteem


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Five Pieces for Arnold Schoenberg

1. Yesterday I got Arnold Schoenberg's Five Orchestral Pieces on CD. The music was conducted by Simon Rattle.

"Rattle's lyricism is tender and poignant,"

reads the description on the back of the CD.

"... with a fine balance between voluptuousness and real tenderness. Rattle caresses the Violins and fondles the Celeste and brings the wind section to a climax of melodious moaning. Then he bends the orchestra over the back of the podium and ..."

Okay. I made some of that up.

2. When he wrote the music, Arnold Schoenberg was facing a bleak, modernistic world of anarchy and chaos, stripped of faith, morality, order, and meaning. Nowadays, little old ladies listen to it mostly because it is nice and soothing.
I'm not sure which interpretation I prefer. Niceness and soothingness or bleakness and meaninglessness? They sound like pretty much the same thing.

3. Speaking of bleakness and meaninglessness, I was at Parliament station yesterday. It's not something I do very often, and yesterday I discovered why. It's so boring. You get off the train, and walk to the escalator, and then stand on the escalator for what seems like hours on end. You look at the walls, at the ceiling, at the other escalators, at the passengers, and then you realise that the ceiling is more interesting.
People stand about on the escalators in deathly silence. They stare, mostly at the backs of their eyes. T. S. Eliot, or Dante, or somebody comes to mind:

So many,
I had not thought death had undone so many ...

On the whole, I think the trip out of Parliament Station could be made much more exciting if, instead of sliding onto the floor, the escalator had terminated in a gaping black chasm of nothingness. I only hope that, as I slid into the void, I would have the presence of mind to shout, like the man in The Simpsons, "I REGRET NOTHING!", before the blackness swallowed me whole.

4. All this stuff about gaping black holes of nothingness reminds me, did I ever tell you about my work?

5. Hey, look! It's a kitten hiding beneath a dandelion!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Satirising the Satirists

It's time to play 'Ridicule the Government By Posting A Letter With All The Meaningful Bits Left Out Of It' by Name Suppressed, of ACT!
I would like to comment on Australia's role in [ Censored by Australian Government, probable seditious comment] and our relationship with [ Censored by Australian Government, probable seditious comment] will probably fail.

If Australia is to [ Censored by Australian Government, probable seditious comment] with no [ Censored by Australian Government, probable seditious comment] of the world.

The other side of the equation, is of course, [ Censored by Australian Government, probable seditious comment] without exception then the [ Censored by Australian Government, probable seditious comment] allowing no [ Censored by Australian Government, probable seditious comment] by law!
Name Suppressed (Peter Willmott, Dickson, ACT)

Gosh, what fun. And now it's time to play 'Ridicule the Person Ridiculing the Government By Substituting Random Phrases For All The Bits That Had The Meaningful Bits Left Out Of It'!*
I would like to comment on Australia's role in The Inaugural Spaghetti Eating Competition and our relationship with The Judging Committee of this most important competition. Although they we have set ourselves high spaghetti eating standards, we will probably fail.

If Australia is to eat spaghetti with no thought of the digestive consequences it could mean the end, not just of our Intestinal tracts as we know it, but of the International Spaghetti Eating Competition, and even of the world.

The other side of the equation, is of course, spaghetti is so tasty and delicious, especially with a little grated parmesan cheese and a side serving of garlic bread. But if we eat spaghetti without exception then the international organisation of Rigattoni, Ravioli, and Other Non Spaghetti-related Pastas (RRONSP) may sue allowing no alternative than to defend our God-given spaghetti-eating rights by law!

Excellent. I think I should try and get a job as an official government propagandist.
*Hey, it's all I could come up with at 11.30 at night.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A Letter To Women

Dear Women of the World,

Greetings! We are a secret*Philanthropical International Organisation devoted to subjugating and oppressing you! We are known as - wait for it - The Patriarchy! You can find us in the phone book, listed under 'P', or in the yellow pages, listed under 'M' (for Misogynist).
That's right! We are the ones responsible for negative portrayals of women in the media! We are the ones who are impeding the advancement of women into politics! And we are the ones who are responsible for the objectification of women, and the relegation of them to domestic household roles! Aren't we clever?

But lately, we've been noticing a drop off in the levels of service we have been providing to your gender and to the community in general. Try as we might, we just haven't been able to oppress you as much as we'd like.
Therefore we'd like to ask you some quick questions:

1. Have you any comments about the activities of the Patriarchy in your town/city/state?

2. Can you think of any new and original ways in which the Patriarchy can oppress and objectify you?

3. How would you rate our current levels of oppression:

a) Very good
b) Good
c) Fair
d) Not good at all
e) Very bad.

We look forward to your responses! Please hand them into your husbands and they will deliver them on to us!
You Know Who

*So promise not to tell anyone about us, cross your heart and hope to die!

UPDATE! You won't believe what just happened! A beautiful young woman just burst into my house and swept a motorcycle helmet off her head to reveal long, lustrous golden-brown locks of hair. I gazed in awe as she flung her head back and the sun rippled through her hair. I was on the verge of asking her if she used Pantene Pro-V when she then slapped me twice about the face and tied me into the chair with a whip. Then she threatened to castrate me if I did not write this post! It's TRUE!
I was forced to do it, forced to, I tell you!

Do You Have Your Devices Plugged In?

I think this was meant to be an interview with Margaret Atwood, but by slow degrees, it turns into something much more gruesome - and hilarious. I haven't read a word by Atwood, but if this interview is anything to go by, she must be freaking brilliant. I found it via a link on 'Blink and You'll Miss It.' Enjoy.

Matthew Fox: I encountered it in a Victorian literature class at Concordia. I really was struck by the way that "Great Aunts," your essay, reminded me of the end of The Mill on the Floss. There's a chapter where an aunt - very much unlike your own aunts, but an aunt nonetheless - turns around from being judgemental in order to support the central character. Like that, the message I got from your essay was that you were getting acceptance from a place called "home." Do you look for that sort of thing now? Where's home now?

Margaret Atwood: I'm too old for that.

MF: You're too old?

MA: How old are you?

MF: Twenty-seven.

MA: Well, just wait.

MF: Okay.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Memo to the Busker on the Corner of Swanston Street and Flinders Street

Good afternoon, young man. Every day I catch the 109 tram from work to the city, then walk two blocks to Flinders Street station. As I reach Flinders Street, I am greeted with your dulcet tones wafting through the evening air.
Now, it is not that I am unimpressed with your enterprise or work ethic. Please understand that I have nothing against you personally, and that I'm sure you have a very nice family. However, I am not altogether sure that you have fully grasped the concept of 'Music', as it is commonly known.

Certainly, you have learned the dominant-tonic chord progression well, and play this chord progression on your guitar all the fucking time as frequently as possible. I am sorry to be the one to break this to you, young man, but being able to play this chord progression does not, per se, make you a musician. Why not throw in a subdominant chord every now and then? Or how about a diminished seventh? Go on, be a rebel.

Nor is that all, I am afraid. Dare I mention the singing? I'm afraid I'm going to have to. I am more than happy to appreciate the many and varied musical uses of the human voice, from the lusty roar of the heavy metal singer to the subdued and pious chanting of the Gregorian Monk.
However, I am afraid that your 'singing', as you might like to call it, just doesn't cut it. There exists a very clear distinction between 'singing' and 'shouting', and I am afraid your voice, very clearly, falls into the latter category.

Finally, I must take particular issue with the words of your song. I understand that you may have had a hard life, and that you have an angry social message to deliver to the masses. Perhaps you think you are delivering a powerful prophetic message against the cold, hard modern world of capitalism.
Nevertheless, I fear that the word 'Fuck' is sadly lacking in melodious qualities; and that repeated use of the aforementioned word does not add to your song in any way.
Perhaps you feel that singing,

All coppers are fucked,
Fuck, coppers, fuck ...

is a cathartic exercise. However, I do feel that if you wish to advance in the musical arts, and add something to the rich store of musical treasures which have been given to us by the likes of Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Bach, Brahms, Schubert, Stravinsky, and many, many others, then you must try to be a little less liberal with the swear words.

I am aware of a song by Frank Zappa which goes this way:

My guitar wants to kill your mama,
My guitar wants to kill your mama,
My guitar wants to burn your dad,
I get real mean when it makes me mad.

I must congratulate you, young man, for striving to live up to the words of past masters like Zappa in such a forthright and aggressive manner. Nevertheless, after being forced into your company for the past few months as part of my daily transport schedule, I must inform you that music may not be the career for you. Perhaps you should take up other, more innocent, pursuits common to those of your age, such as spray painting walls, or stealing trams and going for joy rides.
Actually, I am willing to pay you if you do not sing like you have in the past. Indeed, I am willing to pay anybody on the streets if they do not sing like you have in the past. Although I realise this may be a rather expensive exercise, I do feel that it may be necessary for the future of music as an art.
Also, I won't get so bloody annoyed every time I head home from work.

Looking forward to not hearing you in the future,

Enema Of The State

Hope I'm not bumming you out with all of this. But, you know: colons are important ...

Hare To The Throne

Sorry to rabbit on about this, but I've got nothin' else to do ...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Roll Model

Because we all need a roll model to look up to.

The Dietary Habits of Young Males

To celebrate the fact that I have just eaten a whole bag of chocolate eclairs, I shall drink a beer.

That is all.

I'm As Slightly Miffed as Hell and I'm Not Going to Take It Indefinitely

Dear Mr Howard,

Greetings. I am the representative for the SLIGHTLY MIFFED SOCIETY, a progressive goup with the dedicated aim of DOING THINGS and DOING THEM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, unless it is better not to do them.

Recently, we performed a survey on a subject we have been hearing a lot about lately: TERRORISM. That's right, terrorism.
Responses amongst the SLIGHTLY MIFFED SOCIETY were quite wide. They ranged from Vague Unease, through to Slight Anxiety, Mild Dislike, Not Quite Rightness, and a General Feeling of Dissatisfaction That Was Neither Here Nor There. We felt Slightly Better after sitting down and having a nice cup of tea, but only just.

Terrorism, we all felt, was something that was Not Very Nice, and that We'd All Be Very Much Happier If It Just Went Away.

In conclusion, Mr Howard, we DEMAND that you do something about our Slight Concern and you do it right now. Furthermore, we INSIST that you think, and think DECISIVELY, about doing something about terrorism.

Thank you.
Add to Address Book

PM Email: your message has been received

Your email to the Prime Minister has been received.

If you have supplied a postal address, a reply may be sent to you via
Australia Post. Your message may also be forwarded to other Federal
Ministers for their consideration.

Thank you.

18 Pointless Things People Do

1. Wear sunglasses at night.

2. Have a Chinese tattoo on their neck/thigh/breast, even though they do not understand one word of Chinese.

3. Vote for the Greens.

4. Call a number repeatedly but leave no message on the answering machine.

5. Own an answering machine but never listen to it.

6. Have a piano in their house while only knowing how to play the crumhorn.

7. Make facial expressions while talking on the phone and leaving messages on an answering machine that people never listen to.

8. Wear purple underwear even though they are a nuns.

9. Sit on public transport with hundreds of other people, yet never say a word to break the funereal silence.

10. Have a third hand but hide it from sight.

11. Have three dicks but only use two.

12. Attempt to train a wombat in steeple-chasing.

13. Write something that does not rhyme, scan, or have any lines, and call it poetry.

14. Write a suicide letter and not kill themselves.

15. Write a long essay about how they are going to kill the President of America and then not go through with it because they are an Australian.

16. Attempt to masturbate a dead rhinoceros.

17. Use apostrophes with felonious intent.

18. Grow broccoli.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Four Stages of Drunkeness

Stage 1: Diagnosis
You remember everything you say to others perfectly well, and are happy to stand by it afterwards.

Stage 1: Cure
You're not drunk, you're just faking it. Have another drink.

Stage 2: Diagnosis
You remember everything you say to others perfectly well, and wish you had said something else.

Stage 2: Cure
Drinking is an excellent way to forget.

Stage 3: Diagnosis
You do not remember everything you say very well, and you wish the others wouldn't repeat it to you afterwards.

Stage 3: Cure
The only solution is to get them drunk. Lead by example, have a beer.

Stage 4: Diagnosis
Not only do you not remember things you say very well, but you are even worse at remembering things you never said, but which others talk about afterwards.

Stage 4: Cure
There seems nothing else to do: drink again. Go on, it will help you work out a solution.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Saga of Ratatosk

The most charming character in world mythology is Ratatosk, the squirrel who runs up and down the World Ash, Ygdrassil, carrying insults between Nidhog, the dragon at the bottom, and the Eagle at the top.

It's high time he had his saga written down.



Ratatosk the Squirrel lived on a bough of Ygdrassil, the World Ash, that was neither near the top or the bottom. He was the son of Siegmund, the son of Olaf, the son of Ivan-the-not-so-Terrible, who was said to have been able to carry more than ten acorns at a time and who had lost his left front paw in a fight against the moles of Trondheim.

Ratatosk had a glossy brown coat, bright eyes, quick ears and a sharp tongue. He was famed amongst the squirrels for his wit and poetry.


Now we turn our attention to a bough, lower down upon Ygdrassil. It was here that Fair Annabelle the Squirrel lived. She was the daughter of Fluffnir, the son of Njal, the son of Gruffin who took Fat Cloffin the squirrel for his wife. Fair Annabelle was lively and had a face like a rat, which was attractive for a squirrel.


Now we turn our attention to Nidhog the Dragon, who dwelt at the bottom of the World Ash and ate babies for his breakfast. He was the son of nobody and the father of nobody, for dragons are neither born nor do they give birth; they just are.

In the morning when the dew was wet upon the bark of Ygdrassil and the sun shone weakly through the foliage of the tree, Nidhog extended his scaly neck out of his cave and sniffed at the air.


Nidhog spied Ratatosk creeping along a nearby branch with one of his four eyes. "RRRRATATOSK the SQUIRRRRREL," he rumbled, "Come closer!"

"Oh no, my Lord Nidhog," replied Ratatosk, "For as the rune says, 'A squirrel knows how to keep his place.'"

"But I would just like to eat ... er, meet you!" replied Nidhog.

"Has your lordship not had his fill of babies this morning?" asked Ratatosk.

"Don't answer back!" roared Nidhog. "It's not easy being a dragon, you know!"

"It is said," continued Ratatosk, "That you desired to see me."

"Yes," rumbled Nidhog, "I have a little message that I would like you to take."

"A wise squirrel," replied Ratatosk, "Does not share secrets with just anyone."

"You will do my bidding!" roared Nidhog.

"The truth is, my Lord," said Ratatosk, "I am a little hungry myself. I would not want to carry a message on an empty stomach."

Nidhog looked Ratatosk in the eye.

"You may have three fine brown acorns from my store if you will hear my message,"

"And who is this message for?" asked Ratatosk.

"For the eagle who lives on the topmost bough of Ygdrassil."

Ratatosk dared to run some way down the bark of the tree.

"What is your message, my Lord?" enquired Ratatosk.

Nidhog opened his mouth and Ratatosk had to dance quickly up the tree to save his tail hairs from being singed.

"Come back, little squirrel," pleaded Nidhog. "I did not mean to singe your tail hairs."

"Oh no, Mr Nidhog," said Ratatosk, "For you have four eyes and ten stomachs, but I have only one tail."

"I will give you three more fine brown acorns from my store," said Nidhog, stretching his neck in a wheedling fashion.

So Ratatosk came back down the tree and listened, very carefully, to Nidhog's message.


As Ratatosk run back up the trunk, the sun rose high and shone strongly, and he grew exceedingly thirsty. He stopped to rest and refresh himself at an inn in the side of Ygdrassil. Three mice were sitting at a table there, and they grew silent and their faces drew closed as Ratatosk approached them.

Then Ratatosk placed two acorns upon the table and the mice smiled and slapped him on the back and offered him a hollow dogs tooth full of mead. Then many sagas were told and Eddas sung and it was not for some time that Ratatosk left.

As he stood in the doorway, he looked at the three mice, and said:

Three mice,
One squirrel,
Two acorns,
And much talk -
And who is the poorer?

Then he ran on up the tree.


The sun hid his face behind a cloud and the rain bit into Ratatosk's fine fur coat as he ran on up the tree.

Then he came to the bough of Fair Annabelle the Squirrel, and the sun came out and the rain dried from his coat.

Ratatosk was received pleasantly and he offered three more acorns as payment and he stayed for many minutes. Then Fluffnir, the father of Fair Annabelle, approached.

"Far away, in a bough to the southern side of Ygdrassil, there are three cats," he said.

"They have destroyed many of our family, and now the Squirrels are preparing for war."

Ratatosk agreed to go with Fluffnir. He bade farewell to Fair Annabelle and her mother, Ragin the Worried.


For several hours, Ratatosk fought alongside his brother squirrels against the mighty cats Loudroarer, Sharpclaw, and Fang. Many of them fell, and the cats bore burning brands amongst their camp.

The sky was heavy with cinders and the day grew grey.

Fluffnir was fallen, alongside gentle Sigurd son of Siegmund Squirrel and Bargun of the Red Coat.

Then Ratatosk stood amongst the fields of fire, and he said:

I saw the best squirrels of my generation dragged starving, hysterical, naked,
Fluffnir, Fluffnir, wherefore art thou, Fluffnir?
Won't somebody please think of the acorns?

Which was quite good, for a squirrel.


Now we turn our attention to the top of the tree, where lived Margle the Eagle. He was the son of Gargle, the son of Gan, the son of Grun, the son of Talon the Savage.

He held court at the top of the tree, and had one eye. Nobody knew where he had lost the other one, probably not even him.

With this one eye he surveyed all that went on in the world below.


Ratatosk ran onwards, up the trunk of Ygdrassil, the World Ash that always was and always will be. Then he came upon an ant. The ant was sitting upon a twig sticking out from Ygdrassil, and looking up towards a higher branch. Sap was slowly seeping along this branch and some day, it would form into a droplet and fall downwards.

"Then I will have some food to bring to my Mistress, the Queen of the Ants," explained the Ant.

"How long have you been sitting here?" enquired Ratatosk.

"My father was sitting here before me, and his father before him, and his father before him," replied the Ant. "We perform a sacred office, known, as The Keeper of the Sap."

Then Ratatosk wished the Ant good luck and ran on up the slope.


When the eagle saw Ratatosk running up the slope, he was overjoyed, for he had not eaten that day.

Ratatosk peeked above the leafy branches of Ygdrassil. They were high, higher than anything else in this world, higher than the sky, even. And as he looked above, snow fell upon his small squirrel's crown.

Margle screeched and flew towards Ratatosk, but not before Ratatosk guessed what he was about and darted away to a far branch.

"Good afternoon, Margle, son of Gargle, son of Gan!" squeaked Ratatosk. "I bear you good news!"

"I don't want to hear any good news. I want to eat!" squawked Margle, and made another grab for Ratatosk. But Ratatosk was too quick for him. He ran hither and thither along the trunk, evading the eagle's talons.

"Oh, come closer, Ratatosk," crooned the eagle, "For you must, if you want to tell me something. I'm hard of hearing, you know."

Ratatosk stepped carefully out on to the topmost branch of the tree, and walked gracefully towards Margle.

"Now," chirped Margle the Eagle, "What is it you want to say, little squirrel?"

Then Ratatosk looked Margle in the single eye, and told him.

And as Ratatosk told him, Margle looked melancholy, then sad, then angry, then horrified, then terrified, then indifferent, then offended.

"And that," gasped Margle, "Is that?"

"And that," finished Ratatosk, "Is what your dear friend Nidhog wants me to tell you."

"That's … quite an insult," said Margle. "Where on earth could he have come up with that?"

"I wouldn't know," smirked Ratatosk.

"Well," said Margle, "I have something to tell him. Come closer, little squirrel."

And Ratatosk indeed edged closer, until the Eagle sat side by side with the squirrel. Margle leant down and whispered in Ratatosk's ear.

Then, just when Ratatosk blinked, Margle whipped out his talon and scooped a quivering Ratatosk towards his gaping beak.

Thinking quickly, Ratatosk grabbed the acorn from his paws, and hurled it into Margle's eye. The eagle instantly let Ratatosk go, and flapped about, screeching, "AWWWWWWK! I'm BLINDED! I'm BLINDED! ARRRRRRK!"

"Sorry, My Lord," replied Ratatosk, "But I have a message to take back to your friend Nidhog ... and you wouldn't want him not to hear it, now, would you?"

And with that he scurried down, down, down through the white tops of Ygdrassil, and into the green foliage below.


As night drew on, Ratatosk came to the home of Fair Annabelle. He was received warmly, and soon he approached the mother Ragin the Worried, mother of Fair Annabelle, and asked whether she would agree to his becoming her son in law.

"I would agree to that," replied Ragin the Worried, "If my daughter would."

Fair Annabelle replied that she thought it sounded like a good bargain. And so they were married.

Although, as luck would have it, it turns out that Ratatosk and Fair Annabelle had already married on the previous night. But they were just squirrels, and couldn't be expected to remember that.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Boring Personal Crap

Got a phone call from Mum today. She's wondering what present to get my brother for his birthday. My brother, unfortunately, has an appalling taste in music, his favourites being musicians like Delta Goodrem and Hilary Duff. Mum was wondering if she should get him one of those.

He also has an odd taste in present-giving. Once he gave Mum a singing plastic fish as a present, and he got into a habit of buying the Guinness Book of Records and giving it to me as a Christmas present. But I'm a sly devil; I tricked him last year, and bought the Book of Records for him as a birthday present before he could get it for me as a Christmas present.

Then again, the other thing about my brother is he is an absolute nutter when it comes to alien-conspiracy-tin-foil-hat-theories. He has a whole bookshelf stacked with books by self-styled Ufologists, and he will read them obsessively. Mum tells me, quite sensibly, that she wants to get him off this stuff. Good luck to her.

Wait a minute ... I've got it! The perfect present for my brother would be:


I'm heading out just now to get a copy before they sell out. Gosh, this year, I'm going to be the BEST BROTHER EVER!

Preposition of the Day!

The Preposition of the Day is 'At'.

What's your favourite preposition?

A Word of Warning

Do not attempt to train your goldfish in the finer nuances of traditional Japanese origami. It can only end in tears.

UPDATE: It is also inadvisable to teach your wombat to jump the hurdles; they are much too lazy for that.

However, if you wish your carrot to learn Ancient Sumerian Poetry, go right ahead. I know from experience that the time you spend with your carrot will be rich, rewarding, and fulfilling for the soul.

Hoob Propaganda

This morning I stumbled out of bed and lurched down the hallway towards the shower. I don't know why, but the floor kept on swaying back and forth and up and down. It's not as if it had been drinking on the previous day, or anything.
After I had the shower I got out the cereal and took it into the loungeroom and switched on the television.

There, on the television, was a Hoob:

Not being in the mood for Hoobs, particularly, I switched the television over to the next channel. And there was the freaking Hoob again!

I started getting twitchy. Was I hallucinating? Was I stuck in some kind of weird time loop, watching the Hoobs over and over again? Or, maybe ... where the Hoobs TAKING OVER ALL THE TELEVISION STATIONS? I flicked the dial back to the first station which, I thought, should have been SBS. What you get on SBS normally are Serbs and Croats shouting at one another, or naked French ladies. That is the way of the world. That is the way things should be. You do NOT expect to see Hoobs broadcasting out to the world.

Now, maybe you think I'm being paranoid. Maybe you might reply that my flatmate had, for some reason or other, changed the channel settings, or something like that. Maybe you're one of those people who think the Hoobs are just cute and cuddly fictional-critters that I shouldn't get too worked up about. But so what if I'm paranoid? Remember the paranoiacs first dictum: just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean everyone's not out to get me?

I would like to make it quite clear that I do not support the Hoobal domination of our television networks. I would like anti-Hoobal legislation to be passed immediately in the parliament and for all Hoobs to be deported from our country immediately as a matter of urgency. For too long, we have allowed Hoobal elements of our society to plot and plan ways to subvert our basic freedoms, and we must do something about it now. And I want everyone to know that I, for one, do NOT support our new Hoobal overlords.

Oh well. At least it wasn't the Boo Bah.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

News Break

The debate over global warming is heating up.
A recent study performed by the Avatar Briefs Institute of Piratologistic Research has shown that there is a clear relationship between global temperature and the amount of pirates on the high seas.
Caz, spokespirate and chief scientist for the institute, is calling for "vigorous implementation of pirate apprenticeship schemes in all parts of the world, but most particularly focused in first world developed countries" to address the global warming problem.
John Howard, Tony Blair, and George Bush have all stated that "they will look closely at the study".

However, the study has come in for heavy criticism from some experts, especially the Ned Kelly Establishment of Higher Bushrangerism, who claim that the study relies on flawed research.
"Isn't it time we moved on from this type of 'research', so called?" said their spokesperson, Arthur 'Thunderbolt' Timplebum. "We no longer live in the bad-old days, when pirates and buccaneers ruled the high seas."
The Kelly Establishment have completed an alternative study. They claim that it proves that there is "a proportional relationship between the number of bushrangers on our streets" and global warming. They are calling for immediate international protocols to encourage the growth in the bushranger sector. They are petitioning the UN for an immediate increase in the amount of bushrangers, as a matter of international urgency.
They have already won the endorsement of several high-profile individuals, including Gough Whitlam and Tim Flannery.

*Diagram from the study released by the Avatar Briefs Institute.

Letters from the Hedge

"Dear Mum and Dad,
Well, here I am in Mell Bourne, and it's a lovely city. Here is a photograph of one of the great natural sights which I found in St Kilda*. The locals call it a 'brick'. Slowly, I am learning the language of these shy but intelligent people. Maybe one of these days, they will accept me as one of their own... "

Well, my parents are back in Australia, after their whirlwind tour of the more obscure corners of the world. I've received several postcards from them, including - most bizarrely - one from Dad with a picture of two elephants making elephanty-sex, with Slovenian slogans written above them. I've no idea what the fuck he was trying to tell me there.
For a while there, they seemed to be having the time of their lives - not to mention their life insurance, which I think they sold to finance this trip.

Anyway, after receiving all these postcards from them, I think it would be remiss of me not to return the favour. I'm going to get myself a camera, and take pictures of some of the most ordinary, unexciting sites around Melbourne, and send them in to my parents like postcards. Some ideas so far:

Here is a picture of a local store, called 'Wool Worths'. I don't know why, but somehow it seems rather familiar ...

I had a nice trip yesterday. I slipped on a banana peel and fell onto the pavement. Here is a picture of the banana peel, which I kept as a memento. Isn't it beautiful?

If you can suggest any Melbourne vomitoriums or trash-heaps that I can take a picture of, leave a note in comments.

*Okay, I didn't really find it in St Kilda, I found it on the net. I was just using a common literary technique, known as 'lying'. And you didn't even know, you fools! Bwahahahaha!

Geek-related News

Judit Polgar has become the new geek pin-up.

The geek grrrrrrrrrrrrrl herself!

She is the first woman ever to compete in a world chess championship.

I'm very excited at this news. I'm having fantasies involving myself and Judit's cerebral cortex even as I type. Oh baby. Excuse me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pretty Words

Hello. My name is Adam.
I have Tourettes SynFUCK!SHIT!CUNT!drome, which
Makes me shout and SUCKMYFUCKINGARSE! a lot:
It is a real bitch.

Like, once, I went to ask this girl
Out upon a date:
Tomorrow night at eight?"

She stared at me quite strangely,
Said, "Are you making fun?"
I instantly replied, "Oh no!
It's just that I've got AXEBLOOYMURDERDGUN!"

She clapped her hands together,
And, "Oh!" she said, "Me too!"
Ever since I POO!TIT!COCK!WEE!
And to think I never knew!"

So next year we got married.
And we'll never ever part -
Because - you know what our secret is?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Sunday Seven

Time for a quiz!

1) Is swearing grammatically acceptable?

2) Why do people make facial expressions and gestures when they're talking on the phone?

3) Is Evil Pundit really evil, or would a better name for his blog be "The-Guy-Who-Uses-the-Term-Evil-Ironically-Even-Though-He-Is,-In-Fact,-Only-Slightly-Naughty Pundit"?

4) Should we blame the patriarchy for the patriarchy, or is that the zionists fault?

5) A train is travelling towards Sydney at 100 km an hour. A train is travelling on the opposite track towards Melbourne at 123 km an hour. Given a random point, 'f', at which the two trains will pass one another, then:
a) Should you order pizza for dinner?
b) Why?

6) Am I really 'TimT', or were you guys just fooling me all along?

And finally,

7) Just what is the difference between a duck?

Hand in your answers, please, at the end of the class.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Ways To Make The World A More Perfect Place #8

... aedi RETTEB a evah uoy fi ees ot ekil d'I dnA. haey hO. haeY. dluow ti erus m'I tub, retteb dlrow eht ekam dluow siht yhw wonk t'nod I .sdrawkcab daer dna sdaeh rieht no dnats ot nrael dluow ydobyrevE

In Flagrante Depicto

Darlene tells it like it is:

Just because journalists sit around all day yakking about whether Tony Abbott is sleeping with Julia Gillard, doesn't mean the rest of us share their "two old ladies chatting over the fence" view of the world.


Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard are sleeping with one another? How come nobody told us?! Clearly there must be an investigation. This is FRONT PAGE NEWS. There must be interviews and hard-hitting analysis and an examination of the socio-economic significance of this event. I DEMAND AN INQUIRY! This must go all the way to the top. Nobody is guilt-free here! The world is a changed place, and the failures of the Howard Government have to be exposed for all to see. SOMEONE MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. And I know who that someone is. It's George Bush! You bastard, YOU KILLED THEM ALL!

Ladies and gentlemen, clearly, it's all about oil. Oil, and right-wing aliens. I blame the military-industrial complex.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Ways To Make The World A More Perfect Place #7

Watches should only ever show one time on them. To avoid confusion, the time would be agreed on internationally in a set of United Nations conferences, in which everyone would settle on the time 6.42 pm*. That way, although the watches wouldn't be accurate, they would be right at least once a day, and it would be easier to remember what they said.
This would make things altogether simpler for people to agree upon times to meet, and even though they might end up turning up for meetings at wildly different hours of the day or night, it would be nobodies fault.
Most important of all, because watches weren't running anymore, they would avoid contributing to the imminent heat-death of the universe, and in these environmentally-troubled times, that has to be a good thing.

*Because it's after most people's work times. Well, most SENSIBLE people, that is ...

A Poetical Summary of The Lord Of The Rings

1. The Fellowship of the Ring

An evil and not-very-nice-guy called Sauron
Shows that he isn't an absolute moron
By making an invisibility ring.
Some guy called Frodo gets hold of the thing,
Then along comes an old guy with a beard
Called Gandalf, and some other weird
Things that look like they were made by Jim Henson,
And a tall guy who looks like Viggo Mortennsen.
For a while everyone is happy,
Then Sauron gets crappy.

Sauron is dictator of a country called Mordor,
Which he keeps in a state of War and Disorder.
He decides to kill everyone,
Which they don't think sounds like fun.
So Gandalf and Frodo and all those other things
Decide that they have to get rid of the ring
By throwing it into a Really Big Hole
In the middle of Mordor, full of burning coal.

They all agree this sounds like a grand idea,
So they all drink a beer.

2. The Two Towers

Everyone is cold and not very well fed,
And the old guy called Gandalf turns out to be dead.

Frodo walks Frodo walks Frodo walks Frodo walks
Frodo walks Frodo walks Frodo walks Frodo walks
Frodo walks Frodo walks Frodo walks Frodo walks
Then is captured by orcs.

Meanwhile, a bunch of guys in the woods meet a talking tree
Who knows some poetry
And all go to make sure this naughty wizard called Saruman gets caught,
Along with Gandalf, who turns out to be less dead than everyone thought.
There's a jolly big battle and some people die
(But they're just small fry).

Frodo escapes from the Orcs but then
Is captured again
By a rather thirsty spider
Who wants to have some hobbit blood inside her,
And it's only thanks to his friend Sam
That he doesn't get turned into hobbit jam.

3. The Return of the King

The sun disappears, day turns into night
And there's a rather big fight.
Things look pretty bad,
And Pippin is sad.
It seems like Frodo is in danger of losing his soul,
So he throws his ring into the bloody big hole.
Then sun appears again, night turns into day,
And Sauron just kind of goes away.
Then everyone joins hands and they all sing a song
About, wouldn't-it-be-nice-if-we-all-got-along?
Then they all drink an ale,
And that's the end of the tale.


I'm thinking about reading this at the Pub Poets meet Saturday week in Carlton... anyone interested in coming?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Emoticon Decoded

You know what really annoys me? That little emoticon guy! Yeah, him! I mean, where does he get off with all his fake smiles and laughs? You just can't trust him. You never know what's really on his mind. It's like with all those annoying people who laugh all the time - you just know that they wouldn't be laughing if they weren't secretly hysterical manic psychotic depressive schizophrenics.
I reckon that little emoticon guy is evil. Yeah. Yeah, he's got an agenda alright, a twisted, nasty little agenda that involves lots of obscene and violent things. You just have to go beneath that smarmy grin, and find out what's REALLY going on ...

Fantasising about sex.

Subtly farting in a crowded elevator.

I want to kill them all.

Fantasising about sex with someone who is subtly farting in a crowded elevator.

I have just had my eyes removed with a blunt knife.

Fantasising about sex with a murderer who is subtly farting in a crowded elevator.

I am undergoing surgery to become a goat.

I am carrying an LSD bomb behind my false teeth. If you make me laugh, it will explode.

I am secretly being sodomised by a Satanist and am amused that not one of you know.

Sleeping in a bathtub of solidified green jelly and dreaming about making love to Gwyneth Paltrow.

They must all be punished.

Ladies and gentlemen, the reign of terror by the smiley guy has gone on for too long. HE MUST BE STOPPED.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Make Room

Some recent additions to my blogroll:

Rachel, Zembla, Ranting Misha, a Bogan from Hell, a tasty Muffin, a talking ape, Nails, Sternezine, Lighter Fluid, and the enigmatically named What's The Difference Between a Duck?

So make some room for them, and ... HEY! You two, stop squabbling! There's plenty of blogroll left! And you, miss - yes, you! Keep your sassy wit to yourself! Stop picking your nose, young man! And you, yes, you, the gorilla - stop flashing your buttocks at the bogan. We'll have none of that here! IF THERE'S ANY MORE TROUBLE OUT OF ANY OF YOU, THEN I'M GOING TO HAVE TO SEND YOU TO THE NAUGHTY CORNER ...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Ways To Amuse Yourself #2

1. Go and find yourself a pride of lions. It shouldn't be too hard.

2. Go up to the largest male in the pack.

3. Shout 'boo', very loudly, in their face.

4. Watching them run away from you in fear will provide hours of merriment.

Don't worry, they won't eat you unless they're hungry.
(Inspired by Gorilla Bananas excellent suggestion.)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Fable of the Hornet and the Woman

WARNING: If you have a sting in your tail, then this tale may sting.

Once upon a time, there was a hornet called Max. He was an exceptionally fine hornet, with a bold black and gold coat, and he was very well respected in the hornet community. But one day, he fell in love with a woman, and he became all undone.
It happened this way: Max was flying from his nest one day, doing hornetly things, when he happened to espy the woman coming from her house. He thought that she was the most beautiful human that he had ever seen, and he instantly fell in love with her. The woman, whose name was Sharon, had no idea that Max had fallen in love with her; which is a pity, because, being a hornet, Max was unable to tell her.

Max became moody and depressed, continually meditating upon this woman and how he could win her heart. "If only," he sighed to himself, "I could tell her how much she means to me!"
Being a naturally resourceful and intelligent hornet, Max found plenty of opportunities to bump into Sharon. Every morning, he would fly along, as if he were going to the hornet shops or just out to catch the air, and, quite coincidentally, meet her going in the other direction.
Unfortunately, she became sorely vexed at this, and before Max was able to wave at her, or grow vocal chords so that he could speak, she would wave her arms in the air and shout, 'Shoo! Ugh! Get out of my way, you bastard!'

Next, Max attempted to get in touch with her when she was in a more meditative mood, and took to sitting around her bedroom every evening. At 10.30 every night, she would go to bed, and Max would instantly buzz up to her pillow and attempt to wrap his hornetly hands around her nose, and exude pheromones into her nose, saying how much he loved her, and how he only wanted to be with her and to hold her.
Sadly, she quickly became even more annoyed at this than at Max's previous efforts, and started spraying her bedroom every night with Mortein.

Things came to a head one day in the hornet cafe where Max gathered occasionally to be with his hornet friends. Being hornets, they could not talk to one another, but they could dance, which they found was an exceedingly effective means of communication. When Max met with his friend hornets, he could not help himself any longer, but danced his hornetly heart out, telling them of the love he harboured for this woman, and how he desired to marry her and live with her for ever and ever.

Naturally, his friends were quite concerned at this. Phil, the Philosopher hornet got up after Max, and attempted to dissuade Max from this. "For," he said, "Hornets and humans were never meant to be together!"
But pirouette as he might, he could not discourage Max.
"Alas," sighed Max, "All I want to do is to be near to her, and to hold her!"

Next, up stood Max's friend, Steven the Scientist hornet. He argued long and persuasively that evolution had equipped humans and hornets to never be together; and that, indeed, hornets had not developed the necessary limbs and appendages to hold a human effectively.
But Max remained adamant. And so his friends, seeing that they could not discourage Max, decided that he must find some way of communicating his love to the woman.
Finally, Steve concocted a workable scheme.
"Every evening," he told Max, "this woman goes into her bathroom and has a shower. Then is the time to tell her. You merely have to take up the shampoo bottle, and spray the shampoo upon the wall of the shower, and write her a love letter. The hot air of the shower will turn the shampoo instantly into foam, which will suit your purpose quite well."
Max and Phil agreed that this was an excellent idea, and they settled upon this as a plan.

The next night, things happened exactly as Steve had said they would. Sharon came home from work, and immediately went into the shower stall and turned on the shower. Max, bold as ever, flew into the shower, careful that not a drop of that scalding water should touch his hornet coat, for then, he would surely die.
With great difficulty, he flew down to where the shampoo bottle was placed. Taking it up, he began to write upon the wall of the shower. It was very hard, as his muscles were only hornet sized, and not dragonfly-sized, but after a little while he began to get the hang of it.
Max was so engrossed in his task that he did not notice that the shower had been turned off. The letters:

i LOve yuo, SharoN. Would, you liev with em an

Had been spray painted upon the wall of the shower, and he was already exhausted, but he determined to press on.
Sadly, there was so much smoke in the shower that Sharon could not see any of this, but she certainly could hear him buzzing around in the shower with her.
"ARRRRGH!" she screamed. "It's you! Fuck off!"
And she began flailing around with her hands and arms and Max was squashed flat against the wall of the shower and he died.

However, years later, Max was reincarnated as an elephant, and he sat on Sharon and squashed her flat in turn. And he was very happy.

MORAL: It's not good to dwell upon your problems. But sometimes, if you sit on them for a while, they will just go away.


(For James Thurber)

Eleven Answers to the Question, "Does My Bum Look Big In This"?

1. Yes.

2. No.

3. Might I remind you, my dear, that we are nudists. Consequently, your bottom is not in anything.

4. No, I think that skirt brings out all of your four buttocks perfectly.

5. I am unable to answer that question. Last month you caught me ogling Betty Squire's breasts, and superglued my eyes shut. I have been unable to see ever since.

6. You forget, love, that as a result of a rare tropical disease you contracted in our travel to Burma, your bottom spontaneously dropped away from your body last week, so it neither looks too big nor too small.

7. Please wait a minute whilst I call up your gay friend Ken and consult him for an answer.

8. Your bottom looks perfect, and I love the way it distracts the attention from your two noses.

9. While you were sleeping last night, I took the liberty of performing extremely dangerous experimental medical surgery on your buttocks, with the help of Dr. Goerins Home Surgery for Begginers. Now I am pleased to say that you actually have a pair of eyes in your posterior. Therefore, if you would just open those two eyes and look in the mirror, you will be able to answer the question yourself.

10. Oh, you look absolutely gorgeous in that, but don't you think that other dress matches your shoes perfectly?

11. Can I go now?

Saturday, October 01, 2005


The band formerly known as Franz Ferdinand.

Ranty Rant Rant

Worst line of poetry I've ever heard:

I feel the romantic presence of the now.

Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather, if that feather was attached to a sack of concrete blocks. A poet talking about their feelings? That never happens. As you know, poets are delicate, sensitive beings and the one thing we can never hear enough about is exactly how delicate and sensitive they are.

One is struck by the care with which this line has been crafted: "I", "feel", "romantic", "presence", "now". Ah, there are five of my most favourite words in the English language, apart from all the other ones. It's genius, really - the poet starts by talking about themselves, and it just keeps on getting worse.
It's also striking how pointless these words seem when put together in this combination. They don't mean anything. How can "the now" ever be "romantic"? Why the fuck talk about "the now", anyway, when it's just a pretentious way of saying "this present moment"? Since there is no obvious scansion or rythmn in the line, the only reason I can see for this is that the poet wanted to avoid looking like a fool by saying, "I feel the romantic presence of this present moment."

Even the prepositions are degraded by inclusion. "The" and "of" are fine words on their own, but in this sentence, they become absolutely toxic. It's only a matter of time before some idiot poet comes along and writes a poem that is made completely out of prepositions. Perhaps it's already happened.

But let's end on a positive note. This line of poetry, I feel, could be improved by a simple edit. Replace the words "I", "Feel", "The", "Romantic", "Presence", "Of", "The", "Now" with eight other words. Any other words. Then again, they could simply be edited out altogether. Silence is golden, my fellow poet. Silence is golden.

Feel free to suggest alternative ways of editing this line in comments. Or maybe leave some poetry of your own. Go on, don't be shy.
Email: timhtrain - at -

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