Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Blank Post For Your Convenience

Caz comments in comments, "Does this mean that your posts are never really published? In fact, your entire blog has yet to appear on the Internet? Now I won't feel the need to cover the screen in plain brown paper so that nobody can see when I am visiting your (non) blog."

I'm glad you told me, Caz. I'd like to put this following post up for all readers of this blog who feel obliged, from time to time, to cover it with brown paper. It's a blank post. Feel free to write recipes in it in felt-tipped pen, or simply gaze upon it for hours on end contemplating the meaning of existence.

... don't say I never did anything nice for you.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Some Excuses You Might Like To Give Your School Teacher For Not Completing Your Homework

1. I tripped on the stairs to my house and when I got up again I found I had Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. I just couldn't finish my homework! Every time I reached into my bag to get it, the image of those stairs welled up in my mind, and I was so afraid!

2. 'Homework', so called is an outdated term implying a bourgeoise nineteenth-century capitalist/worker dichotomy. We don't have to be bound by these archaic paradigms anymore!

3. I was going into my bedroom to get a pen to do my homework, but then I realised: in order to go into my bedroom, I am first going to have to walk half of the way to the bedroom; and in order to walk half of the way to the bedroom, I'm going to have to walk half of that distance again, and again, and again, and so on, into infinity. I realised that this was an impossible task, and that motion did not really exist.

So I went into the loungeroom and watched a cartoon instead.

4. I am religious. I am allowed to do homework on any day that is not Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Oh, and Thursday is ruled out as well. All the other days are fine.

5. Tragically, I was struck down with Alzheimer's Disease at an early age, and couldn't remember to do my homework. I trust that you will recognise and support my disability in the difficult months and years to come.

6. An anomaly in the space-time continuum caused a black hole to open up just under my desk as I was finishing my report on quasars. I was barely able to escape, but my homework, alas, was lost. Lost, I tell you!

7. Let us examine what you mean by 'Homework'. If by 'Homework' you mean 'Work' done at 'Home', then we must ask two more questions: what is 'work', and what is 'home'? 'Work' I take as meaning a 'physical labour', and 'home' as meaning 'a place of residence'. I will consider each of these terms one by one ... (etc, etc)

8. The dog ate my homework and before I could retrieve it a family of starving North Koreans ate my dog.

9. I couldn't do my homework. I was getting a brain transplant at the time because my oedipus complex wasn't working properly.

10. I didn't do my homework because I'm going on strike. I refuse to work until I am paid a reasonable wage!

Tomorrow Sometimes Comes

We all know that tomorrow never comes, but today always does. But is that true? Yes. Or is it? Who knows.
On the one hand, when yesterday is today, today is tomorrow; but on the other hand, by the time today becomes yesterday, tomorrow becomes today. I think.
Then again, if tomorrow becomes today, then how come there is still a tomorrow for today? Hmm?

I can see only one solution to this: we make a new day of the week and call it Tomorrow. It would come after Thursday and before Friday. This would mean that, absolutely and unequivocally, Tomorrow would come, and thus end our confusion.
So, on Thursday, Tomorrow would be tomorrow, and the day after, Tomorrow would be today; and things would be much simpler. I think.
Then again, on Friday, Tomorrow would be both yesterday and Saturday; and on Wednesday, Tomorrow would be the day after tomorrow. I think.

Wait ... let me get a pen ...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Organs for All

Well, Organ Donation Week has come to an end now, but that's no reason to stop. Here's a couple of organs I'd like to donate to others:

For Rachy, a Moog synthesiser, complete with electrocuted German-dude:

For Dave, a Devo-style mini-synthesizer.

For Nails, a gigantic medieval pipe-organ. It also comes with some serfs pumping away at the bellows. Just remember to feed them some gruel now and then!

For Jelly, a Hammond Organ - very classy!

And ... what's that? It's the other type of organ you're supposed to donate? Bah! And it took me so long to stuff these organs in their envelopes ...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Attack of the Cliches

Reading an interesting book at the moment. It's about a young girl who leaves London to stay in the countryside with her kindly but strict grandmother. She's living in a castle, and she meets a servant called 'Lockett' who is superstitious, rough as nails, who advises her to 'not ask too many questions'. In the gardens, she meets with a group of mysterious children who advise her to venture into the dungeons to seek what she finds, before vanishing into the mists. Late that night she goes in to the dungeons and discovers a mysterious creature known as 'Dal Ek' holding court in the dungeons. But who is behind it all? She discovers an ever greater web of conspiracy, controlled by the mysterious 'Doctor Proctor', a local figure. As the plot draws towards an inexorable climax, it becomes clear that Proctor himself is just a pawn in an age-old blood plot by forces far greater than she could have ever comprehended, who were first summoned to this earth by a small blood sacrifice in the nineteenth century to a minor Egyptian deity by a local Anglican Vicar who had begun to doubt the existence of the Lord. It seems that this incident - trivial of itself - may have triggered the End of Life on Earth as we Know it, or the imminent explosion of the Universe Itself: whichever comes first. Then the holidays come to an end, and she has to go home.

One thing is for sure: the butler had something to do with it.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I Am An Intellectual


This is a photo of me. I'm Peter Craven, intellectual. Do you want to find out more about me? Yes you do. So good of you to ask. Click on my wonderful picture there to find out more about me, Peter Craven, intellectual.

Three Generic Ethnic Stereotypes Walked Into A Bar

I'm really, really bad at telling jokes, which is a problem, because I also really, really love telling jokes. Where the conventional method of telling a joke usually consists of a person telling a story and then finishing it with a punchline, my method is more like me telling a story badly, and then finishing it by getting in the way of someone else's punchline. I get all the times, dates, names of characters, setting, and order in which they arrive confused, making for a very oddly-ordered joke. So, for instance, where a normal person will tell a joke in this order:

a) Introduce characters
b) Tell the story, omitting no crucial detail
c) Tell funny ending to story.
d) Be recipient of warm laughter and applause.

Here is my way of telling the joke.

a) Forget to introduce the characters
b) Tell the story
c) Forget to tell crucial detail
d) Remember to introduce characters
e) Tell funny ending to story
f) Remember to tell crucial detail
g) Be recipient of scorn and oppobrium.

The funny thing about my desperate unfunniness is how easy it is to tell the joke in the right way. Being funny is for most people something that gets easier after a few drinks. For me, my inability to jest stays the same, no matter how much I have drunk.

The other thing I do, of course, is get my jokes confused. I'll start off telling a wonderfully entertaining story about Dorothy Porter, get her mixed up with Peter Porter, and end up telling an anecdote about Oscar Wilde instead.
The pity of it all is that I like to tell weird jokes anyway. And the weird thing about telling weird jokes is how they, just as much as any other, rely on timing and structure to be funny weird, and not just weird weird.

'A duck walks into a grocery.
'Got any bread?' says the duck.
'No', says the grocer.
'Got any bread?' says the duck.
'No," says the grocer.
"Got any bread?' says the duck.
"no," says the grocer. "And if you don't fucking shut up, I'll nail your bill to the counter!"
"Got any nails?" says the duck.
"No," says the grocer.
"Got any bread?" says the duck.

Other jokes in my repertoire include a charming story about a big brown bear; two friends and an awful smell in the church; something that is just up the stair, round the corner, through the corridor; and a fable about a chicken who reads books.
Then again, maybe I can solve all of these problems by inventing a new category of joke: the unfunny weird joke. Whereas the normal joke is designed to inspire merriment and jollity in a company, the unfunny weird joke is designed to make people feel suicidally depressed. As such, it could be of great therapeutic use in an asylum for over-optimists, or even a euthanasia ward ....

Why did the chicken cross the road?
It was either that or not cross the road.

Two legs walked into a pair of pants and stayed there.

Three generic ethnic stereotypes were at a place doing an activity.
"Oh," said the first generic ethnic stereotype. "Something"
"Oh," said the second generic ethnic stereotype. "Something better."
"Oh," said the third generic ethnic stereotype. "Something witty!"

What takes longer to screw in a lightbulb, a tonne of bricks, or a tonne of feathers?

Why did the chicken?
Because the duck. *

What's the latest Irish invention?
The oxy-acetylyne torch.

What's the difference between a pen and a dog?
One is used for writing, and the other is a mammal.

'Knock knock'
'Who's there?'
'John who?'

'Knock knock.'
'Who's there?'
'Arthur who?'
'Arthur Jones. I'm here about the dead cat in the toilet?'
'Oh, come in!'

A guy walks into a bar. "Ouch," he says.


With these jokes, I could make millions! Millions of enemies, that is.

*This joke was actually told to me as a kid, as an example of 'zen comedy'. It has since become one of my very favourites.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Captain Sanctimony

I saw something today that took me back:

... a Captain Planet magazine.

'Captain Planet and the Planeteers', a TV show airing in the early 1990s on American and Australian television, should probably have been renamed 'Captain Sanctimony and the Gormless Gits'. Plot-wise, the show was about five 'special young people' who were out to save the world from environmental catastrophe, with the help of a magical blue guy in superhero underwear (Captain Planet). The young people were said to be 'from all continents of the world', though in fact the Australian continent was somehow missed out. As for the 'special young people', they were actually generic ethnic stereotypes - the pragmatic blonde Eastern European girl (Linka), the fast-talking American lad (Wheeler), the fun-loving Asian girl (Gi), the shy but gentle young native South American (Kwami) and the boisterous African (Ma-Ti). Gi was kind of hot, but she had the disadvantage of being named after a type of Indian butter. The Earth was personified by a bland brown lady in wafty pink gowns called Gaia who was always moaning about some environmental disaster or other, and the environmental disasters were always caused by one of several standard villains with names like 'Looten Plunder'. And of course there was Captain Planet. I'm still not sure where he fitted in, except that he was always the guy that saved the day.

So basically, it was environmental propaganda. The 'evil' of environmental destruction and the 'goodness' of saving the planet were explained simplistically by the help of an over-obvious plot and representative caricatures. The whole idea - which was probably contrived in a North American or Canadian studio as a means of conveying 'environmental awareness' to children - started to come apart at the seams when the 'how' was explained. For instance, 'how' was Captain Planet always there to save the world? Apparently, it was because of the 'five special rings' given to 'five special young people' representing the 'powers of the earth', or something. These rings were able to zap people with colourful beams of light, and stuff, and also do really awesome things like make waves or tornados; so I guess they were kind of magic rings. And the beams could occasionally combine, at which point Captain Planet would somehow materialise out of the earth, or the ocean, or the air, or somewhere like that, with the grammatically ridiculous sentence, 'By your special powers combined, I am Captain Planet!'
Captain Planet was a shit. He had a smarmy American accent: not a real American accent, like a rolling Missouri drawl or a sharp Bronx twang, but the sort that lobotomised news presenters are trained to use*. He was always doing goody-goody things like cleaning up junk and litter and stopping bad guys from doing polluting, and stuff like that. More often than not, this required a bit of biff; and he always smiled and cracked jokes while doing this, as if he were very pleased with himself. Ever heard the expression 'too good to be true'? Well, Captain Planet was neither good nor true; he was an arrogant, smarmy bastard. And he had blue skin.

Captain Planet's best enemy was a guy called 'Captain Pollution'. Captain Pollution was really cool. As his name suggests, he was the absolute opposite of Captain Planet. Except he came out of five magic rings too, although these magic rings were 'polluting' magic rings. Captain Pollution had the slogan 'By your five polluting powers combined, I am Captain PoLUUUUUUUtion!'. It was a witty reference to Captain Planet's slogan, you see. Or at least as close as this show came to wit. Anyway, one cool thing about Captain Pollution was the way he spoke. He made it clear from the start that polluting was his job, and he absolutely and utterly loved his job. He was perfect; his accent was a mixture of melodramatic bad-guy growl, obnoxious schoolboy mocking, and Californian surfer. He had personality, and he actually believed in something. True, it was something bad and nasty and evil, like destroying the planet earth, but it was one thing more than Captain Planet believed in. Captain Planet was all pose; Pollution was real. Plus, Captain Pollution was the only guy who was ever able to kick Captain Planet's arse. Which he did twice, thanks to the efforts of the polluting villains and the scriptwriters (who by the end of the second season must have been running out of ideas anyway.)

So there you go; Captain Planet and the Planeteers, one of the shittier shows to burst onto Australian television screens. I wouldn't mind seeing a spin-off, though: maybe a sitcom called 'Captain Pollution in Hawaii', or 'Captain Pollution Does Something Bad', or something like that.

*Sorry to American readers if I got this bit about accents wrong; I actually don't know a great deal about American accents, so I'm only going on my very brief experience with Americans I've met and TV shows.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Infinite Monkeys Giude to 'Writing'

You know, I used to believe that I was writing this things myself. But according to a comment I read on Legless In Perpetuum, I'm not me at all, I'm actually just infinite monkeys typing away at infinite typewriters. Or laptops, as the case may be. Possibly an infinite amount of monkeys who have been fed with an infinite amount of LSD - I'm not sure about that bit.

But you can't refute the logic. I mean, really: the spelling mistakes, the erratic posts, the random, emotional outpourings, the occasional shocking outbursts of eloquence? I can't be a real writer at all; the only real explanation are those bloody monkeys.
And the little fuckers, having stolen my artistic integrity away with a few strokes of the keyboard, aren't going to be happy to stop just there. Oh no. In a flailing of the fingers, my name is reduced to eight letters and a blank space. In a slip of the wrist, my history disappears into cyberspace, leaving behind an empty screen. The ciphers of my life - dates, names, words - become meaningless symbols standing in the place of other meaningless symbols. Thousands of digitalised pixels vanish into nothingness.
I can't even yell at the fucking monkeys for doing this. 'I' don't exist any more. It is as if I had never been ...


But, you know, it's rather liberating becoming a bunch of infinite monkeys. I can get away with things that I never could have otherwise. Like type in a bunch of swear words for no reason at all:

Pootit cock wee bumface cunt shit piddle bum bum bum bum bum

Or I can just type in random strings of symbols:

fgdeaendfdsxvgndn thyj trghjews yher ytj erg rthy erh srg eryyjusat wqytyjaq ytkipo'edjri.ADQYTU, r trj qwrhyuqr efgtj q

And if elephants can be painters - why can't I write?


Speaking as one bunch of infinite monkeys to another, I cannot overstress the importance of correct mispelling. It is vital that you are accurate in your inaccuracies: after all, you don't want to be mistaken for a real person writing real things:

Here is just one quote illustrative of the wrong and the right way to mispell things:

"Butter my heart, three-parsoned Cod ..."

"Batter my heart, three-personed God ..."
Infinite monkey Donne

If you're not careful, you could mispell an entire passage incorrectly, and find you've typed something profound and meaningful in instead:

"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterday's have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

Infinite monkey Shakespeare.


Here are just some of the masterpieces that have been produced by us here at Infinite Monkeys (tm):

The Sillyad
The Oddity.
The Muttermorphoses
The Shitiricon
The Bhagavad Litre
A Tail of Too Cities
The Furry Queen
The Ponciad
Intern Flabby
The Roam of the Uncient Meeriner
Catch 23

With these great works for inspiration, I'm sure your future as a bunch of Infinite Monkeys will be bright indeed.

Fresh Organs

Did you know that it's National Organ Donor Awareness Week? Me neither, but apparently is. The only organ I'm looking for at the moment is a Hammond, or possibly a medieval-style pipe organ (with serfs operating the bellows), but no. Apparently the only organs going at the moment are things like hearts, brains, lungs, that sort of thing.

Well, here's a song that the organisers of the week might like to use in their publicity campaign ...

A Little Piece of You

There's a piece of you in me, my dear,
So we'll never ever part;
I had the operation yesterday at three, my dear,
And you gave to me your heart.
My old one was worn out, you see, my dear,
And I needed one brand new;
Then you ran into me, my dear,
And I knew my search was through.

You were jogging down the street, my dear,
When you hit my wheelchair,
And fell and banged your head upon concrete, my dear,
And lay unconscious there;
I had the doctors lay you on the seat, my dear,
And, though lacking the sedation,
They performed a marvellous feat, my dear -
And executed the operation ....

There's more, but my memory just won't give it up. I think I need a brain transplant ...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ask Doctor Ovid

Taken from the pages of the Ancient Times Weekly (Ancientus Timus Weekus)


Dating tips and relationship advice for Ancient Romans.

Dear Dr Ovid,

There's this girl I really like, and I really, really want to ask her out. But I'm not sure how I should appear to her. I'm thinking I'll either turn up as a bull, or as a swan. What do you reckon?

Passionately yours,

Dear Jupiter,

Thank you for your letter. You do have a very interesting problem there, and there are several things I'd like to say to you.
On the one hand, have you ever considered why you think the girls will be attracted to you if you turn up as an animal? Perhaps you need to consult a psychiatrist.
On the other hand, what girl WOULDN'T be turned on by a guy who could turn into a bull? Think about those horns! And did I ever tell you about Pasiphae and her lover? Whew - b-a-b-y! Talk about Animal House!
And on the other hand (yes, I have three hands), I say turn up to her as a swan. Definitely. Swans are so in nowadays, and all the girls love it. Plus, think of that hot feather-on-skin action! Yeah, baby, yeah!

Yours seriously,
Dr Ovid.

Dear Dr Ovid,

What's the best way to get a girl to have sex with you? Should you rush upon her in the middle of a field, or should you turn her into a tree until she agrees to?

Yours ponderfully,

Dear Apollo,

Good question. I say, a little from column A, and a little from column B.

Thanks for writing in.
Dr Ovid.

Dear Dr Ovid,

And while we're on the subject, there's another chick I know. I reckon I should turn up to her as a shower of gold. She's really going to get turned on by that.
Am I right or am I right?*

*And remember, kiddo, I am the father of all the Gods, so I AM right.

Dear Jupiter,

Thanks for writing in again. You're so right! Those chicks dig cash! I knew another God - a minor NYC deity - who turned up at the house of the girl he loved as a gigantic zirconium diamond, and they got married, just like that! Only, the marriage didn't last, because he eventually turned into bounced cheque, and that would never have lasted.

Obsequiously yours,
Dr Ovid.

Dear Dr Ovid,

That husband of mine! I never know where he is! Day and night, he's chasing after girls! And he just insists on turning up at their houses as a bull or a swan, I'll never know why! And then when I turn those bitches into things like pretty little fountains or useful pieces of cutlery he gets all upset and cries and asks me why did you have to do that woman? I ask you! And no thanks do I get! I make sure he is fed and clothed and he barely ever has the decency to give me satisfaction! It's gotten so bad that we only go to bed once every day! I am sooooooooo angry with him right now!

Angrily yours,

Dear Juno,

I can see your marriage is going through a rough patch at the moment. Have you considered seeing a marriage counsellor? You really need to talk your problems over with your husband. Remember, a successful marriage requires work!
Also, you are going to have to start setting boundaries. Perhaps you two could sit down and draw up a timetable for the day, setting aside four hours every day for the marriage.
It is a good thing you came to me for help. You could have just saved your relationship. Remember: today is the first day for the rest of your eternal life!

Yours pithily,
Dr Ovid.

Dear Dr Ovid,

I am one hot babe! I am so hot and sexy that I can't bear to think of anybody else coming near me! Ew! Like, there was this one chick? I think her name was Echo or something? And (naturally) she thought I was really beautiful ('cos I am) and she came up to me, and she's all, like, 'Narcissus, you're so great! Let's have sex!'
Ugly bitch. I got rid of her. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll just sit here and look at my reflection for the next billion years.

Yours beautifully,

PS You're ugly, man! Get out of my reflection!

Dear Narcissus,

Thank you for your thoughtful letter. And congratulations! Self-love is so twenty-first century, and it's not even the first century at the moment! You're, like, two thousand years ahead of your time!
Perhaps you could write about yourself in a memoir? I'm telling you, N, it may not sell now, but in two thousand years time, it'll be selling like hot cakes!

Uglily yours,
Dr Ovid.

Dear Dr Ovid,

You know, I've been thinking, this habit we Gods have of rushing up to women in the middle of the field and having sex with them, maybe it's an archaic relic of an ancient, barbarous age when a privileged minority ruled over the oppressed masses? I mean, okay, sure - we are living in an ancient and barbarous age when a privileged minority rules over the oppressed masses, but don't you think we should treat women with a bit more respect?

Yours thoughtfully,

Dear Bacchus,

Lay off that wine, man! It makes you say some really weird things! Stick to the waccy-baccy, I say; it never did the muses any harm.
Plus, you want to be careful with those women. Those women are evil, Bacchus, old boy. Did I ever tell you about Medea? Whew! WHAT. A. BEYATCH!

Yours dismissively,
Dr Ovid.

Dear Dr Ovid,

One day my husband went outside to have a walk and he walked back in and she was my wife! What a to-do!

Mrs Tiresias (I think).

Dear Mrs Tiresias,

Thank you for your nice letter. Marriage and sex-changes are indeed a touchy subject nowadays, aren't they? It raises some interesting dilemmas. If your husband turns into a woman, does she become your wife? Or does she stay your husband? And if so, what does that make you? Also, are you obliged to go for a walk and turn into the husband of your wife (who used to be your husband, when you were a wife)? Or can you really be husband and husband or wife and wife (instead of husband and wife)? Just thinking about it makes my head spin. I don't know, it all depends, really, on how strongly you feel about marriage. Are you religious? Perhaps you could consider a civil union instead?

Confusedly yours,
Dr Ovid.

Dear Dr Ovid,

It's alright. She just walked out the door and turned back into my husband. Phew. (Though I'm a little bit worried that he might do it all over again tomorrow ...)

Mrs Tiresias.

Dear Dr Ovid,

Me and my wife Philemon have lived here for all our life. All our life, young man. Yes. And we've never wanted for anything! No. We haven't been rich, but we've made do. For instance, in the winter months, a rudimentary gruel can be made from the dag from a sheep's tail and yellow snow. Yes. Oh, you may turn your nose up at it, young man, but it was considered quite the thing in its day. And Philemon's teeth may have dropped out thirty years ago, but in her day, she was considered quite the looker! So don't you turn up your nose! Yes. Then one morning we woke up and found that we had turned into trees. Imagine that. Yes!


Dear Mr Baucis,

What an uplifting story, old man.

Dr Ovid.

Dear Dr Ovid,

Hast du die zeit?


Dear Wotan,

What crazy whacked out tongue of Indo-European derivation are you talking? Take my advice and drop it, you barbarian! Learn to speak a proper civilized tongue, like Latin, or at least Ancient Greek. Those barbarian Germanic languages will never catch on, let me tell you.

Aggrievedly yours,
Dr Ovid.

Dear Dr Ovid,

Should I eat my own children?

Ravenously yours,

Dear Kronos,

Only if you use dental floss.

Dr Ovid.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Religious Post. No, Really!

And Jesus wept.

"What is the matter, Lord?" said Mark.
"Have you trodden on a rock or something?" said Peter.
"No, no," said John. "No rocks here. I've been looking hard. My sight is as keen as an eagle!"

"It is nothing," said Jesus.

"We can tell it is something." said Peter.
And verily, the Lord did seem rather sad.

"I weep," said the Christ, "for the pain in the world."
"Pain?" laughed John. "Cheer up, Lord! The sun is shining! The birds are singing! It's a beautiful day!"
"I weep," said the Christ, "for all the wars that have ever been fought and ever will be fought."
"War?" scofed Peter. "We live in a time of peace and of plenty. You don't see any of us taking up swords, do you? The only wars going on at the moment are against unimportant Indo-European peoples like the Celts and the Germans, and you can hardly expect them to give us much trouble, can you?"
"I weep," said the Christ, "For all the sins of the world."
Peter looked at John. "He could have a point there. Why, just yesterday, I saw him ogling Ma..."
"No, no," broke in Mark. "I'm sorry, guys, to be such a doubting Thomas ..."
"Hey!" said Thomas.
"Sorry, Thomas," said Mark. "But anyway, sin doesn't exist. Trust me. They've been doing lots of medical experiments on this in Rome, and the latest scientific tablets all agree: sin doesn't exist at all."
"But Mark ..." began John.
"No. I know your real problem, Lord," continued Mark. "You're depressed! You're clinically depressed!"

But Jesus only heaved a sigh and said nothing.

"I mean, it all fits," said Mark. "The sudden mood swings, the weeping for no reason. I knew this one legionary, Povrus Anecdotus, who had just the same problem."
"Really?" said Peter.
"Yes!" said Mark. "Don't worry, Lord. There's nothing wrong with you. And once you know there's nothing wrong with you, then you can be all right again!"
"What can we do to help?" said John.
"Be supportive," said Mark. "Lord, it's okay. We support you in your depression. You be sad for as long as you like."
"Is there any medication he can take?"
"Maybe," said Mark. "The latest research indicates that there are a number of anti-depressants out on the market - there's a rather good chemists at Lake Galilee, I hear - and if they are taken in moderation, ythey could make a distance. For instance, there's an interesting one just come out from Britain. It's called tea."

And the disciples fussed and bothered. And Christ looked upon them. Then he lifted his hand and smited them all with boils and they had to take to bed for a week.

"Jesus," said Jesus. "What a bunch of fuckwits."

Leftism Is Dangerous!

I'd met Mr Lefty briefly at a grogblogging and had a few minor arguments with him at his website. I can't say I agree with much he says - I'm an enthusiastic free market advocate, he favours some kind of variant of socialism where the free-market is allowed to exist, but feeds into a large public sector. Actually, the thing most irritating about his blog is the title - 'Anonymous Lefty'. A lot of blogs are political, but there aren't many blogs that go so far as defining their whole reason for being as political (not to mention aligning themselves with a particular type of politics).

But I hadn't thought there was anything particularly wrong with his blog - until today.

This is a screenshot from Lefty's website this afternoon. Note the google ads along the right hand side. Judging from the content of three out of four of the ads there, Mr Lefty is driving his readers to commit suicide!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Word of Advice

Today, I went down Brunswick Street and looked into several bookstores and music stores. Amongst other things, I noticed several people wearing their hats while indoors. If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be this: do not wear your hat while indoors. It is a practice that is mad, bad, and dangerous. Indeed, wearing your hat while indoors is like communism: so very, very wrong. Also, it's rude.

Reader, I beg of you: if you have an item of haberdashery, topiery, a headpiece, helmet, crown, or tiara upon your dome, please be so good as to doff it before entering indoors.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Parents Are More Fun Than Babies!

Somehow, my mother manages to call me, every week, at the most inappropriate times. To head this off, I occasionally pick some inappropriate times for her, and call her then. Which is what I did earlier today. I set all the bowls on the stove and turned everything up to full heat then let it burn away while I called my parents.

Here's part of our conversation ...

Tim: So, anyway, Mum, can you send down two books for me?

Mum: Okay.

T: The Bible and the Q'uran.

M: What? What do you want those for?

T: Well, I'm going to convert, obviously, but I'm not sure which religion to pick yet. What do you think? Christian or Muslim?

M: ....

T: Can you mail them down?

M: Where are they?

T: In my old room, on the bookshelf behind the door.

M: Well ...

T: They're really easy to find. Go in there, and you'll find the books are listed in alphabetical order. The Bible and Q'uran are there under G.

M: G?

T: For 'God', obviously.

M: Oh! Are they really?

T: Didn't you know? I've shown you before. They're in the bit with all the novels and fictional works.

M: I don't know, Tim.

T: No, seriously. I'm going to convert, I really am. I guess I've got a couple of choices. Catholic or Protestant, Sunni or Shi'ite. What do you think? What sounds better?

M: Just go into a secondhand bookstore in Melbourne and buy a new copy ...

T: But why would I do that? I've got the books there. Besides, I'm not going to spend more money on the Q'uran when I've already bought it once.

M: It will cost too much to send them down. What do you want them for? Are you going to write something?

T: Mum! Those books are family heirlooms! It would be wrong to buy new ones!

M: ...

T: ...

M: So how's the weather down there?

T: Oh, fine, fine.

Parents are more fun than babies, they really are.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What Rhymes With Eldritch?

Lovecraft is indeed excellent for expanding one's vocabulary, though not, I can only surmise, particularly good for helping one to make up one's mind - James P. Wall.

I don't know about Lovecraft. I read a few books of his when I was in Uni, and I never quite got it. Full of histrionic characters discovering things of dread import before turning into shrieking lunatics. Nice words, though: 'palanquin', 'eldritch', 'eidolon', 'calamander', 'Pnakotic' ...

On the other hand, after reading a few books by Lovecraft, I was able to write the following pisstake. So there you have it. It was Lovecraft, the bastard, who first got me writing poetry. He is to blame ...!

I lingered down the lonely lane
And came along an ancient fane
Regarded by a fearsome bane -
A sleeping salamander.
Yea - 'twas a Doric shack, essayed
In onyx, ivory and jade:
Of alabastar was it made -
And tipped in calamander.

And down the dank and dusky ways
The deserted paths, the shadow maze -
There crept the silent bloody rays
Of the setting sun!
Then - out of that evening red,
Arose a shape of fear - of dread -
It was not real - nor live - nor dead:
An eldritch eidolon!

And while I gaped, it spoke in moans
Like rusty buckets filled with bones
And in these most malicious tones
It told it's tale to me!
My heart was gripped with morbid fear
As this ancient, undead beast drew near:
I saw its withered hands so sere -
And yet - I could not flee!

It spoke of demon hordes and dragon herds,
Of Gugs and Leng and Shantak birds,
Of 'Yog Soggoth' in awesome words
Three syllables or four;
Then told of hieroglyphic scripts,
Found in cyclopaean crypts
And Pnakotic manuscripts:
In words - six syllables or more!

I could not help! I could not stay!
And so I chose to swoon away -
Till I awoke the following day -
To greet the roseate dawn:
And now, like to an awful bore,
I roam the world with my new lore -
And tell my tale to all, before,
I die - and I am gone!

(I wrote this at uni and subsequently lost most of it; so I've had to recreate it from memory)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Fog Blog

The Fog is a pleasant summer film about death, destruction, revenge, plague, and treachery. It contains several scenes with sadistic intent, several brutal death scenes, one scene which should deter you from doing the dishes forever, and one scene implying necrophilia.

The best actor in The Fog is the fog. Brought to you courtesy of CGI effects and a steam machine, the fog covers a small island community with murderous intent, and works its way through the town, wreaking havoc and slaughter wherever it goes. And, while it might be a little unfair to compare the abilities of Hollywood actors to the abilities of Hollywood CGI departments, I might single out Adrian Hough (who plays Father Malone), mostly because he dies in the film. Before he dies, he brings to the role hystrionic denial, followed by drunken despair, followed by stoic acceptance of his fate. Now that's the way a Christian should die (and isn't dying a big part of what being a Christian is all about)? Maggie Grace - playing lead female role Elizabeth - is also pretty good. Key scenes with her involve her wandering about the beach in her underwear (for no particular reason) and her snogging a corpse.

All in all, The Fog is an enjoyable film, suitable for freaks, deviants, chronic masturbators, sado-masochists, psychopathic serial killers, and your mum.

Go on. Take your mum to see it. You know you want to.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Writing a Book Review For The Age

I never read a book before previewing it. It prejudices a man so. - Sydney Smith

The best way to write your review is by not writing your review. Start off with a quote from someone else (preferably dead and/or famous), continue by fleshing out your review with several quotes from the book you are reviewing, and add one or two paragraphs of generic argument (use lots of big and impressive words such as 'sesquipadalia', 'quaquaversal', and 'stentorian', as a way of saying "This is a big and important book and I am using big and important words because I have read it. If you want to be a big and important person, you should read it to.") Finally, conclude your book review by quoting somebody else entirely. For instance, you could quote me: "This is a vital and necessary work for the bourgeoisse classes." Not a bad quote, isn't it? It'll certainly impress the editors.

Of course, you shouldn't just quote from other people. Use the dictionary, as well. The editor will be unlikely to publish your review unless it is fleshed out with several very exciting nouns and adjectives. These words will mark the key emotional points of your review. It doesn't matter what they mean, so much: they just have to have a lot of consonants and syllables in them.
Start your review 'rambunctiously'. Mention the 'vigour' and 'high-spiritedness' of the author's prose. Continue your review by 'stepping back through the looking glass' into the world of the author's childhood, to discover the 'subconscious' and 'cthonic forces' which compel the author. Relate the 'infernal torments' of their childhood (it won't be necessary to read a biography of the author to do this, just read a gossip column in Woman's Weekly, and substitute the author's name for the name of someone else who figures heavily in the column.)
Remember, it's hardly necessary to do 'research' about the author before writing the review, just as it isn't necessary to read the book. If you spent all your time reading books, how do you think you'd get any work done?
Continue in an 'eager' manner, looking 'wryly' back on the author's past achievements. (In other words, make them up).

At this point, your readers may be getting just a little bored. Stun them with a sudden series of references to academic writers who have written essays referring to other academic writers who have written essays referring to other academic writers who have written essays which may or may not have a bearing upon the book you are reviewing. Anyway, it makes you sound clever. If you like, do this at several other points during your review. If it made you look clever once, it will make you look twice as clever the second time. And looking clever is what writing book reviews is all about.

Conclude in a 'sublime manner', noting the author's 'newly-found religiosity', and their 'finely-honed, coruscating prose' . Perhaps throw in an impressive metaphor or two, about how 'reading so-and-so is like having the mindless corpse of Mata Hari rise from his grave and gorge on your brain', or some such nonsense. After all, writing reviews isn't about making sense.

Once you have done all this, run the spell check through it, and send it off to the editor. He's sure to publish you.

Cross posted on Intersecting Lines.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Poem Intended To Irritate Dumb Folksingers

This is a piece I wrote today, for no reason at all other than to take the piss out of dumb folksingers. It's for Rachy, who's recently had an encounter of the pneumatic kind. Take care of it, Rachel. Only, don't go all gooey and gushy on me, otherwise I might have to take it back. Gooeiness and gushiness aren't good for the lungs, you know.

Folksinger, folksinger,
Sing me a song,
And make it long, sweet and tender,
But especially long.
And the hairy-lipped lesbians
Will frolic and caper
Through the grass with their wine-casks
And Sunday Age papers.

Folksinger, folksinger,
Croon me a tune,
And it won't have to rhyme
Or be in tune.
Throw in 'heart ache' and 'heart break'
Some 'tears' and some 'fears'
And a 'long lonely highway'
That 'runs through the years'.

Folksinger, folksinger,
Tell me a story
About Union Power and stuff
And working-class glory;
Denounce that Evil John Howard
And his IR Legislation
Which (though you're not quite sure how)
Is ruining our nation.

Folksinger, folksinger,
Sing me a song,
And make it long, sweet and tender,
But especially long.
You will live for all time
To be played on eternal repeat
On Your ABC ...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Question Answered

Question: If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, how many pecks of pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?

If the percent of pickled peppers that Peter picked was proportional to Pamelas, then probably the pick of pecks came up to seven pecks. But personally, I prefer the proposal that is printed in the prologema to Polly Piggins "Pepperbook", that is:
'Peter Piper was a prick. And the pepper-picking skills of pricks like Peter Piper are pretty bloody petty."
Now Mr Piper's proponents (who are many) may suggest that:
"Polly Piggins is a prig, who, because she can't pick pickled peppers, printed propaganda in her "Pepperbook" about her pepper-picking betters - like poor old Peter Piper - just to make a pretty penny."
But Penelope Pugh Pippins*, pepperologist at Pisa, proposes in her panegyric to all pepper-picking people:
"It takes a prig to know a prick, and takes a prick to know a prig. And as Peter Piper told me: 'Polly Piggins is a PALTRY PRIG!', then without hesitation, I say, Peter: you're a prick."
In conclusion: Peter Piper was a fucking prick who couldn't pick one pickled pepper if he tried.

(In my next essay, I will approach the controversy of Thomas A Tattamus and those two tall Ts. One topic you may care to debate amongst the comments: What on earth is a tup?)

UPDATE! - If you are interested in investigating this subject further, please consult the following organisations:

Practical Pepperage (the PP)

Practically Perfect Pepper Pickers International (the PPPPI, not to be confused with the Perfectly Practical International Pepper Pickers)

Patrick, Perpugilliam, and Petronella, Pepper People, Specialising in Potted Purple Pickled Peppers (PPPPPSPPPP)

*Who is a pretty Penny.

At Night I Think Of Mary Jane

At night, I think of Mary Jane, while swilling down glasses of wine, turpentine, acid ... it doesn't matter to me, it all tastes the same. And as I gaze out across the futile sea, images of that fateful day once again come to me. I wonder, too, what she did with Chase; and I am a little curious as to why she was so passionate about socks. And I especially wonder what she does with my finger ...

Mary Jane, Mary Jane, Mary Jane - her name echoes through my head like a curse. It seems that I am doomed to remember her - forever ...
Email: timhtrain - at -

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