Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Review That Is Two Books Wide

I have just finished reading Eva Ibbotson's "Island of the Aunts" and am continuing to read Bob Brown's "Memo for a Saner World". I wish it were the other way around. It is one of life's cruel ironies that the books we enjoy take so little time to read compared to the books we detest.
Let us consider the books alongside one another for a moment:

Island of the AuntsMemo for a Saner World
- Written for Children

- Fictional

- Clearly links the characters actions with consequences
- Written for Green Party members

- A mixture of political propaganda, socialist rhetoric, and half-remembered fact

- Blames abstract entity called 'the market' for just about everything.

Although on the surface the two books may seem identical, this is not really the case. While one book contains a number of insane characters with dysfunctional personalities, who cannot recognise the obvious difference between myth and reality. Eva Ibbotson's book, on the other hand, remains largely free of politicians. One book inspires you with hope and confidence in the resilience of imagination, ingenuity, and the human spirit. By contrast, Bob Brown's book isn't nearly so enjoyable.

Of course, reading these two books concurrently, or nearly concurrently - as I did - can lead to some confusion between the musings of Bob Ibbotson and the reflections of Eva Brown. Let us, for a few moments, indulge in some close analysis of the texts in order to deepen our confusion. "Island of the Bobs", then, opens with a discussion about the blockade of the Franklin River in the 1980s and ends with the appearance of 'The Kraken', a creature who eats John Howard live before setting the world's ecosystem to rights. By contrast, "Memo for a Saner Aunt" opens with three Aunts lilving together on a desert island who decide to kidnap some children. Later, the kidnapped children are set to work helping animals, planting trees, signing petitions, performing sit-down protests in the Tarkine Forest, and interrupting speeches by foreign dignitaries in the Australian Parliament.

In the end, however, it's silly to talk about these books in the second-hand when the books themselves can do just that: speak about themselves, in the second-hand. Let me read you two quotes from the book. I have made a few minor editorial changes for greater clarity:

From Ibbotson's book: or is it Browns?
But he wouldn't put on any clothes. None of them would put on any clothes.
"I'm afraid you must take us as you find us. This is the nudist colony; we believe most strongly that our Creator wants us to keep our bodies open to the air and light.

Long ago I ceased to believe in religious dogma. What I do see is the continual unfolding of the human spirit, or consciousness, and an awareness greater than that in any other creature on earth. The universe, through us, is evolving towards experiencing, understanding and making choices about its future. We are the universe thinking.
In fact, we would be grateful if you too would take off your clothes. It is a rule of the island that no-one who comes here keeps his skin muffled in unhealthy garments.

From Brown's book (or did I mean Ibbotson)?
"Each generation has moved a little closer to being us. We, in turn, will die in order to allow the species evolve through future generations.
That way, we can choose the ones who are suitable," said Aunt Etta. She was the eldest - a tall, bony woman who did fifty press-ups before breakfast and had a small but not at all unpleasant moustache on her upper lip.
"The alternative to death is for you and I never to have existed. Death is life's bargain."

So, as I was saying, despite the superficial difference, deep down these two books share a huge similarity: Eva Ibbotson's "Island of the Aunts" is far, far superior to Bob Brown's "Memo for a Saner World". If you doubt the political, grammatical, or logical nature of my assessment there, just read the books. And by 'the books', plural, I mean 'Eva Ibbotson's books'; she's good. No need to worry so much about the collected musings of Bob Brown.

This book has been read by almost every Green Party member across the country.

This book should be.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Guilt for Every Occasion

Now that Invasion Day is over - or 'Australia Day', if you prefer to use that term, you white, city-dwelling, Howard-worshipping fascist freakbeing, you - don't think that your patriotic duties are over. Why, this Tuesday coming up we have Lusitania Day, in solemn commemoration of the invasion of the gentle Lusitanian culture by the Roman Empire; closely followed by the sorry occasion that is Antioch Day, held in rememberance of the brutal oppression of the people of Antioch by the violent and intolerant Persian regime.

... Not to mention the invasion of Gallia; Visigothic Hispania; Kyushu; Antioch again; Jaffa; Antioch yet again;, Jerusalem (several times); Cyprus; China by the Mongols; Mongolia by the Chinese; Venetian Corfu by the Ottoman Turks; Russia by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; the western Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Sweden; the eastern Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Russia (I'm sure one of them got revenge somewhere); Ethiopia by Adal; Georgians and the Cumans of the Caucasus; the Kuban, Astrakhan, Russia, Ukraine by Mongols; Egypt by the Tunisian Fatimids; and Khwarzim by the Mongols.

There. Did I miss anything?

Anyway, with the amount of invasions going on, it would be un-Australian not to feel sorry for somebody, somewhere, at sometime.

You Monsters.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Let's Talk About Feelings

Feelings, bah! Barely a day goes by without people saying that I should talk about my feelings! Well let me tell you something: I have feelings, and I feel strongly about those feelings, and the way I feel about my feelings is better left unsaid!

A few weeks ago, I went to see Casablanca on the big screen; about halfway through the film when Humphrey Bogart was sitting glowering drunkenly at the wall - a few minutes after running into his One True Love, Ingrid Bergman, in the bar - I experienced a curious sensation in my eyes. It was more or less akin to having slices of fresh garlic being rubbed repeatedly and roughly up and down them. Yeah, that's right - I was getting ready to blub like a baby. But I suppressed those tears, I did! I quashed those emotions with the violence and brutality that has been expected of men! I mean, what right had those feelings to barge into my brain while I was sitting and coolly enjoying the aesthetic experience of a classic Hollywood film? None, that's what!

I'd like to take my feelings outside and show them what for, I would!

Feelings! Faugh!

Sunday, January 28, 2007


"We are all born bonded to nature; that's why we put depictions of flowers and forests, rather than bulldozers or log piles, on our walls." - Bob Brown.

Yeah, yeah Bob. You stick to your flowers and forests, the concrete jungle does me just fine.

I love a concrete jungle,
A land of trams and trains,
Of steel-girded bridges
And brick-lined water mains;

From the suburbs to the suburbs,
From Zone A to Zone B and C,
It is a land of terror aluminium -
The concrete land for me!

Extra! Extra!

Melbourne traveller loses rack during flight home

Ms. K___ S___, Shocked, of Melbourne.

Ms. K___ S___, travelling home after holidaying in northern England, was astonished to find that staff of Untied Airilnes lost her rack mid-flight!
"I had it when I stepped on the plane, but when I stepped off, it was gone!" said Ms. K___ S___, now safe at her Melbourne home, but still astonished.
The loss of her rack was explained by Untied Airilines staff as 'an understandable mix-up'.
"Statistics show that every year, 0.01% of travellers lose their rack, their cleavage, or their figure during the flight home," explained Mr. A. Dubiousfigures, publicity spokesman for Untied Airilnes. "While we regret Ms. S___ loss of rack, we are working hard to find it again, and I'm sure it will be returned to her sooner or later."
But Ms. S___ is not amused. "I don't know how they did it, but they did it," she explains. "They'd better send it back or else!"

A shocking record
Investigations performed by WillTypeForFood demonstrate that of all the airlines, Untied has by far the worst record as regards luggage.

- A respected Sydney doctor was returning to his home with an OBE for a friend at the IGA - but when he arrived at Sydney airport and picked up his luggage, he found that it had turned into an IOU for the IRA!

- Returning from a holiday in Bali, a Queensland resident found that not only his luggage was missing - but also his mind! A spokesperson for Untied baggage handlers, Janine Butterfingers, later said "It's not that surprising. I mean, our staff lose their minds all the time - it's pretty natural, really - so losing someone else's mind was a natural mistake." Two weeks later, the mind was returned to the Queensland resident in perfect working disorder.

- Even more shockingly, an Untied pilot took a wrong turn during a flight to North America, and ended up landing in East Korea after flying over the Specific Ocean. It took several weeks for international rescue to find the country of East Korea, which did not actually exist.

Back at the ranch
However, manager for Untied Airilnes, Mr Dys Lexic, denies all claims of wrongdoing.
"These are natural mistakes." he said in an interview.
"Anyone could make them."
"Now, would you like you tea with one or two cucumbers? And shall I put some cream in your sandwiches, or do you prefer them without?"
Investigations into the airline are continuing.

(With apologies to RC and BC, who have had an unfortunate real-life experience with a similar airline...)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Day Of Australia Explained

Every country has its traditions. The Americans like to lynch one another and cook hominy. In France, the custom is to throw lots of smelly cheese at politicians and burn the occasional car as a kind of afterthought. In this country, once every year, we have a ceremony known as 'Australia Day'. This roughly translates into the Queen's English as 'The Day of Australia', and it commemorates the occasion at the same time last year when we celebrated Australia Day. On Australia Day, we all like to wave sausages around, get drunk, wrap flags around our torsoes, and gently wrap our genitals in underwear-shaped flags. I saw it all on Today Tonight, so it must be true!

Other common customs during Australia Day include standing around with large groups of other people in parks; saying things about 'Invasion Day' and looking sad; and cheerfully extorting your boss out of large amounts of money on the grounds of 'it's a public holiday, maaaaate'.

As for me, I went mostly for the last option, spending most of my holiday pay on upcoming travel expenses - a beanie, and a bag. Tomorrow, I shall be purchasing myself a Fedora. Because I can.

What did you guys do for Australia Day? The lazier, the better, I reckon!

Essence of Duck

Just in time for Duck Friday!

Anybody up for a little snort drink of Quak?

Svotting Up On Svalbard

The Age and the BBC have held a 'What Does The Rest of the World Think About America'? Poll. Participants in the poll - the fair and unbiased sorts that you'd expect to be reading The Age and watching the BBC - have ranked America on their policy towards events such as 'The War in Iraq', 'Global Warming', 'Last Year's War in Lebanon', and 'Iran's Nuclear Program'. Caz writes: 'the results for things that America has done are much the same as for things that America hasn’t done. In the latter camp, we can lump climate change, the war in Lebanon last year, and the Korean and Iranian nuclear programs.'

In a similar spirit, this blog would like to offer up a survey for its own readership. It's the inaugural Svalbard Poll, in which the government of Svalbard will be ranked on its own participation in world affairs.

Of course, you might object that Svalbard is not a real nation at all, it is merely a principality of Norway. Well, that is no excuse for Svalbard to avoid its responsibilities! You might also object that Svalbard has an insiginificant population, with its two cities possessing an estimated population of one and two respectively, and it's entire population coming in at below 40. But we cannot allow them to shirk their duties! It is time for little Svalbard to hold their head high in the global community, in the full knowledge that they have acted responsibly on the world stage!


1) The War in Iraq

What do you think about Svalbard's policy towards the war in Iraq?
Strongly approve
Approve somewhat
Neither approve nor disapprove
Disapprove somewhat
Strongly disapprove
Hey, up until today, I thought Svalbard was a city in Iraq!
Free polls from

2) The Middle East Peace Process

How do you feel about Svalbard's participation in the Middle East peace process?
Strongly approve
Approve somewhat
Neither approve nor disapprove
Disapprove somewhat
Strongly disapprove
I'm not sure, wasn't there a Leunig cartoon about this?
Free polls from

3) Global Warming

How do you rate the performance of Svalbard in regards to Climate Change?
Strongly approve
Approve somewhat
Neither approve nor disapprove
Disapprove somewhat
Strongly disapprove
What does Bob Brown say?
Free polls from

4) The Arts

What do you think about Svalbard's contribution to the arts?
Strongly approve
Approve somewhat
Neither approve nor disapprove
Disapprove somewhat
Strongly disapprove
It is high time that the brutal Svalbard knitting industry, 'Knollywood', stopped monopolising the knitting scene. Give the little players a fair go!
Free polls from

Thank you to all my readers for participating in this survey. I feel confident that we have all made a vital contribution to the betterment of our world and peace in our time.

And stop snickering in the corner, Lichtenstein! You're next!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Abandon Hope, Cast Aside Faith, and Put Your Car Keys In Your Pocket, All Ye Who Enter Here

    IT TOOK more than 1600 years, but the ancient Greek god Zeus has been honoured once again, pagan style, by a tiny group of worshippers at an ancient temple in the heart of Athens ...
    About 200 people attended the ceremony organised by Ellinais, an Athens-based group campaigning to revive ancient religion. The group defied a ban by the Culture Ministry, which had declared the central Athens site off-limits.
    "Our message is world peace and an ecological way of life in which everyone has the right to education," said Kostas Stathopoulos, one of three high priests overseeing the event, which celebrated the nuptials of Zeus with Hera, the goddess of love and marriage ...
    Ellinais, which has 34 official members - mainly middle-aged and elderly academics, lawyers and other professionals - was founded last year. It won a court battle for official recognition of the ancient Greek religion and is demanding approval for its offices to be registered as a place of worship - a move that could allow the group to perform weddings and other duties.
(From Catallaxy.)

SCENE: Utter darkness, except for a strange emanation surrounding HIGH PRIEST VORGOX, centre stage, glowering grimly through the darkness at the audience.

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: (In the tone of one who is gargling through gravel, most easily achieved by giving the actor gravel to eat before the performance - a pair of dentures may be required for this to occur) Brothers of the Abysmal Service, Fraternity of the Dark Rites, Comrades of the Satanic Ritual - let the BLACK MASS BEGIN!

(Lights up on a stage filled full with a crowd of cowled figures massed about HIGH PRIEST VORGOX. One of them sticks up her hand.)

1st PERSON: Wait, wait - you did just say brothers, didn't you?


1st PERSON: Well, what about sisters? You know, Equal Employment Opportunity, EEO, and all that?

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: We don't believe in feminism - because we're EVIL! (Laughs evilly, sound of organ chords from somewhere, causing everyone to look around the Satanic Chambers confusedly.)

1st PERSON: Screw this! (Exiting, muttering common feminist phrases) Misogynists! Reprobates! Nematodes! Troglodytes! Loxolophodonts! (etc, etc.)

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: So, as I said, BROTHERS of the BLACK MASS, let the...

2nd PERSON: Wait, wait... what's all this about a 'black mass'?

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: Well, what of it?

2nd PERSON: Oh, I don't know - just a little matter of the inherent racism in such a term. Wouldn't it be better if it was 'Mass for People of All Creeds, Colours and Ethnicities'? You know? A little sensitivity could take you a long way.

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: Coincidentally, I'd like to take you a long way away, too! GUARDS! (Enter two winged monkeys, or kung fu artists, or whatever the producers have available at the time, who proceed to carry off this 2nd PERSON) Bollocks to your sensitivity, you squirmy little puke-eater! We're Evil! Worshippers of the Infernal Lord! We have nothing to do with your petty concerns! THROW HIM IN THE DUNGEONS!

2nd PERSON: (Screaming as he is dragged off) No! You... you can't do this to me! I'll write to my Federal Member! I... I'll... I'll do an expose on Indymedia! I'll WRITE TO THE AGE! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: Yeah, yeah, tell it to someone who gives a flying fuck. Now - BROTHERS of the BLACK MASS - let the SATANIC RITES ...

3rd PERSON: Woooah, woooah, hang on just a minute. 'Satanic Rites', you say? I thought this was a convention for Anglican Ministers to discuss hymn singing arrangements for...

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: Oh, for Damnation's sake, NO, despite the obvious and ASTOUNDING similarities between the two conventions, this is in fact a meeting of SATANISTS. Got that? SATANISTS!

3rd PERSON: Oh, righty-ho then. Wrong place. Toodle-pip! (Leaves).

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: And for the record, all Baptists, Pentacostals, Catholics, Orthodox worshippers, Coptics, Mormons, Jehovas Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Arians, Gnostics, Muslims of the Shi'ite, Sunni and Sufi variety, Voodoists, Buddhists, Jews, Jains, Hindus, Animists, Worshippers of Odin (pulling out a scroll and reading a list of religions from it that is somewhat longer than this scenario: about five and a half hours longer, to be precise) ... followers of the Ultimate Light, Thetan Enlightened, New Jerusalemites, Zaarians, and members of the Australian Greens, you lot can bugger off now. We're Satanists, not a namby-pamby garden party.

(Everyone but HIGH PRIEST VORGOX and five others exit).

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: Oh. So it's just you guys, is it? Right then. Fair enough. (Mutters) We could have done with a few new recruits. (Aloud) Righty-ho. Let me just read the role. (Pulls out another scroll from within the obviously voluminous folds of his robe.) Zogmar ... Craggax ... Mogyar the 3rd... Xonx and Vakmosh the Crusher, welcome back. (They all nod as he reads their names out. He attempts to fold the scroll back up as a map, fails, then stuffs it back into his robe nevertheless.)

ALL: Hi, boss!

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: Er, right. So, lads - what have we got on the agenda tonight, then?


(CRAGGAX shifts his heels about, MOGYAR the 3rd stares at his feet and coughs)

VAKMOSH THE CRUSHER: Um, boss, we thought you had to tell us what to do.

XONX: Yeah, you, like, called the meeting, being closer to Satan's Infernal Heart ...

ALL: Damned be his name!

XONX: So, you've got to tell US what to do, boss.

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: Yeah. Quite right. (Under his breath) Snitches! (Aloud) So, tonight, we were going to hold a nice little sacrifice. Nothing too difficult. Offer up a soul or two, if possible, to our Dark Lord...

ALL: (In hushed tones of awe) A sacrifice!

VAKMOSH THE CRUSHER: I've got a puppy we can sacrifice! A real cutie!

MOGYARD THE 3rd: Ooh, or I can get us a nice little lamb - very cheap! And still alive!

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: No, no. What are you talking about? The Dark Lord will not be appeased with such unimportant things! No! He requires nothing less than blood and brains: a human soul is his wages! It's got to be a human sacrifice or nothing, boys!

ZOGMAR: Er, right.

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: It's got to be one of you!

VAKMOSH THE CRUSHER: Um... no problem, then. But what's it all in aid of?

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: (Airily) Oh, nothing much. We'll just be asking the Dark Lord to end the Iraq War and bring our troops home ...

ZOGMAR: What in Hell's name are we doing that for, boss?

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: Oh, come on. Don't look so glum - it's All in a Bad Cause! I mean, Satanists we may be, but we certainly don't support George Bush and his Illegal and Immoral war! Now then, to business - I nominate YOU, Vakmosh, to be the sacrificial victim, and YOU, Zogmar, to be the sacrificial, er, victimiser. You can use THIS. (Pulling out a sinister looking knife perfect for victimising purposes from his robe.)

ZOGMAR: Right. (Taking knife.) Hey, wait! Where are you going?

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: Oh, I'll just be watching the telly for a little while. This is strictly between you lads and Satan. Call me when it's over.

CRAGGAX: (Shaking Vakmosh the Crusher's hands) So long, Vakmosh! Nice knowing you! Love to stick around for this wonderful event in your - er - death, but just can't stand the sight of blood. Too icky by half, don't you know! (One by one the others extrictate themselves in a similar fashion until it's just VAKMOSH THE CRUSHER and ZOGMAR left)

ZOGMAR: Okay, Vakmosh (pointing to the table with the knife) if you could just pop up on that table over there, and I'll invoke the Dark Lord, and it will all be over ...

VAKMOSH THE CRUSHER: Oh, all right, then ... ! (Climbs on to table and lies himself down)

ZOGMAR: (Raising the knife far above his head and appearing to go into a trance state) Malleus Maleficarum, Satanus Invocatorium ...



VAKMOSH THE CRUSHER: Just getting comfortable. That's all. Okay then, back to it.

ZOGMAR: (Attempting to get back into trance state) ... invocatorium, preludium, quaaludium, and odium on the melodion...


ZOGMAR: (Wipes sweat from his brow with the knife, discovers he is doing it with the knife, and snaps back to a tense position) WHAT?

VAKMOSH THE CRUSHER: If you're going to kill me... don't be too rough!

ZOGMAR: Okay, okay, Vakky... got it... not too rough! (Returning to trance state) Er ... invocatorium nickelodeon ipso facto ergo demonstradum (Voice has risen to a fever pitch. He is now about to plunge the knife downwards into VAKMOSH'S heart when in bursts HIGH PRIEST VORGOX)

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: Sorry to burst in on you like this, strangely in the manner of a dramatic denoeument! Did everything go well?

ZOGMAR: Er, yes boss. He's nice and dead now!

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: He doesn't look too dead!

VAKMOSH THE CRUSHER: (Who has taken the sacrificial knife off Zogmar and has just blown his nose on it) Yes. Don't you know, I thought it was going to be so hard, but he was kind. He killed me softly.

HIGH PRIEST VORGOX: You mean... (steps up to centre stage)

Strumming my pain with his fingers,
Singing my life with his words,
Killing me softly with his song,
Killing me softly with his song,
Telling my whole life with his words,
Killing me softly with his song ...

(All join hands to sing the chorus)

I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had a style.
And so I came to see him to listen for a while.
And there he was this young boy, a stranger to my eyes.

(The curtain closes on this peaceful, if dramatically complex scene, as the light of a new, happier day dawns in the east, or the west, or wherever the stage lights happened to be located at that particular time)


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Reverse Parturition as it Pertains to the Political Process

Okay, this is what the ABC newsreader just said:

The scene is set for the battle between John Howard and the man who would be Kevin Rudd.

So consider that line for a second:

The scene is set for the battle between John Howard, and the man who would be Kevin Rudd.

Who is this man who would be Kevin Rudd if he isn't Kevin Rudd? Why does he want to be Kevin Rudd? Why would anyone want to be Kevin Rudd? What could conceivably drive a man to become Kevin Rudd? Kevin Rudd, of course, does not have to become himself because he already is himself, but he can hardly help it.

Perhaps the ABC presenter meant:

The scene is set for the battle between John Howard and the man who would be, Kevin Rudd.

The comma has shifted, as has the meaning. Now Kevin Rudd wants to be John Howard, which would stop him from being Kevin Rudd, true, but only by the tactic of becoming an equally boring person, John Howard. If this is the case, one wonders why Kevin Rudd wants to become John Howard when the role of John Howard is already adequately filled by a man who happens to go under the name and identity of John Howard. How, exactly, does Kevin Rudd plan to subsume the identity of John Howard and discard his old identity of Kevin Rudd? Are the two political beings planning secretly to become one political entity, rather like a grotesque process of reverse parturition?

John Howard.

Kevin Rudd.

It's true, you know. They are starting to look like one another.

I'm scared now.

UPDATE! - Come to think of it, the line could even have another interpretation.

The scene is set for the battle between John Howard, and the man who would be, Kevin Rudd.

Maybe it just means that Kevin Rudd is the man who would be without really stating who Kevin Rudd would be. He's a would be would be, if you like, or a would be if he could be. Who knows what Kevin Rudd would be if he could be. John Howard? Dame Edna Everage? Kodos of Mars?

On the news, they also had a story about a man who got half-swallowed by a shark. Only half? Maybe he asked the shark kindly to consider the benefits of veganism, and so disgusted the shark that the carnivorous amphibian spitted him out. Who knows? It's these little existential dilemmas that keep me going.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Manly Things #988: How to Tie a Bow Tie

These really are devilish things.

Dashedly devilish. Sometimes even devilishly dashing!

I got a pair of bow ties a while ago and spent the next couple of months wrestling with the bow ties, trying to perfect the fiendish bow-tie knot in front of the mirror. When the day for my mate Aaron's wedding rolled around late last year, I got in front of the mirror, and tied the bow-tie up - just like that.

The next day, I promptly forgot everything that I had ever learned. But not before I had time to write up this quick Guide to Tying a Bow Tie. Read on at your own risk!

1. The Bow Tie proper is made from two separate parts: the Bow, and the Tie.

2. The Bow comes from the Gentlemen's Outfitters store, you have to do the tie yourself.

3. Drape the Bow Tie over your neck, with one side (a) hanging slightly higher than the other side (b).

4. Loop (b) over, around, under and over (a).

5. No, not that way, cretin! Do it again!

6. Once this is achieved, crimp (a) and attempt to wrangle (b) through the hole at the back of (a).


8. Enjoy an brief five-hour respite over a glass or two of Gin & Tonic (the gentleman's restorative).

9. Repeat steps 1 through 6. Or possibly steps 1 through 8.

10. Realise that you have somehow tied your entire hand up in a hangman's noose instead of a conventional bow tie knot, and if you draw it any tighter, you may break your hand's neck.

11. Obviously hands don't have necks, but you wouldn't want to risk it, would you? Untie the bow tie with your teeth.

12. Of all the blstd stupid thngss, thss hsss gtt to bbb one offff the stupidstgnnnnnnnn!!!!

13. Throw the bow tie in disgust on the floor, and go out and do manly things to reaffirm your masculinity: paint the house, fix the car, go and shoot a leopard, climb Mount Everest, lead a doomed expedition into the Antarctica, take refuge in a cave in the centre of the White Continent and discover a new continent underneath the earth that lives by the light of an inner sun, come out in a volcanic eruption of Mount Etna, end the Dark Threat of Communism, and top it all off by dining on sausages and gravy and beer at your local publican.

14. Repeat steps 1 through 6.


16. Congratulations, we hope you feel proud of yourself. You have wasted your life learning how to tie this blessed thing. Feel free to impart this precious knowledge to succeeding generations.

NEXT WEEK: Tips for sado-masochists - How to Tie your Beaux!

Sunday, January 21, 2007


No, it's just an appundix.


So, bearing in mind my upcoming trip to the other side of the world, I've been trawling the Melbourne haberdashers of late looking for a hat to top my tope and thus shield it from the cold, cold streets of New York. As of yet, my head remains - sadly - hatless. I have received several warnings about the state of my ears by my mother: they could catch frostbite and snap off! You have to wrap up well, Timothy!

In light of my current lack of hats, I've decided to hold an open thread in order to discuss several possibilities for my head:

Option 1: The Bowler Hat

Pros: Bowler Hats are respectable.
Bowler hats are so out of fashion they're in fashion. It's the law of fashion, innit?

Cons: Men who wear bowler hats may suddenly find themselves transmogrified into other dimensions as the butt of a surrealist joke.

Option 2: Wear a false beard, which will cover just as much space as a hat

Pros: I'll blend in with all the beardies easily.

Cons: I could accidentally lop it off in a shaving frenzy.
I don't think the false beard would extend to my ears.

Option 3: Wear a turban.

Pros: It could double up as a towel when I take a shower!

Cons: It would be pretty cold after being out in the winter all day, though, so I don't think I'd want to.
Also, if I had a false beard on that day, people might mistake me for Osama bin Laden.

Option 4: Wear a false mullet in order to appear as a travelling bogan!

Pros: Mullets are so out of fashion, they're in fashion again. See the law of fashion, above.

Cons: Being in fashion is so out of fashion that even though mullets are in fashion again, they're out of fashion again again. It's the circle of life, innit. They would cover my ears nicely, though.

Option 5: Wear a real live mullet on my head as a compromise solution.

Pros: It's original.

If the mullet is live, I might have to go live in a backpacker's hostel in the Hudson River, which would be cold at that time of year.
As headwear goes, it's pretty fishy.

Option 6: Chop off my ears in order to pre-emptively stave off frostbite.

Pros: If I ever turned into Vincent Van Gogh, I wouldn't have to slice off my ears in a fit of pique.

Cons: I don't ever plan on turning into Vincent Van Gogh.

Worst Person Singular

You may or may not have been reading this discussion, but if you have, then let me give you a repeat a quote from it, by Tim Blair:
It's not that blog posts shouldn't contain the word "I"; it's that good writing in general shouldn't. Mishandled use of the "I" makes things read like vain little diary items.
To which Cristy replied:
Many blogs are partly online diaries/journals and so I am not sure why it should be problematic that subjective personal experiences are therefore a strong feature of many blogs. I also strongly disagree with the incredible outdated rule that the word "I" should not be used in good writing. I think that it can be used to good effect in all kinds of writing and that many attempts to avoid its use are clumsy and dishonest.
Well, that's how everything started, anyway. To settle things for once and for all, WillTypeForFood (which for the purposes of this post is using the third-person pronoun, removed) has decided to invite the pronoun 'I' into the blog for an interview. *


Name? I.

Occupation? Pronoun

Tell us about yourself? I am a very important pronoun! I appear in all the most important types of literature: autobiography, dramatic monologue, soliloquies. And unlike all those OTHER pronouns, I am ALWAYS capitalised!

Favourite quote? Oh, but there's so many! There's "I Am What I Am", which is quite true! And then, of course, there is "I am the Egg Man, I am the Egg Man, I am the Walrus," which may or may not be true, but it certainly has a nice ring to it. Oh! There's so many quotes in which I appear! Rosy-lipped maidens and dashing princes swear to one another, "I love you!", and swooning sheep and rams say to one another "I love ewe!" which is much the same thing, I expect.

Favourite Possession? My mirror!

Fun fact about yourself? I am not only a pronoun, but I am also an acronym! I stand for myself in many common shortenings of phrases. 'I.O.U.', for instance! There are not any other pronouns with this singular honour!

Married or single? Not only single, but singular! Let's face it, if I ever got married, then I would turn into a 'we', and that would just be ridiculous!

Do you ever stop talking about yourself? That's not true at all, I never talk about yourself, but I talk about myself quite a lot. As a matter of fact, I once attempted to talk about myself only in the third-person singular for a whole day, and I couldn't do it! I ended up nearly going mad, walking about the streets stuttering at random intervals "I.... I .... I ...." Some people even thought I was a pirate, crying out, "Aye Aye, Cap'n!" It was ridiculous!

That must make it quite difficult sometimes. Yes, it's true, sometimes when I am reading poetry it gets quite difficult. For instance, there's this Shakespeare line that goes:
Shall I compare...
I... I... I'm sorry, I can't do it!

I believe the line is 'Shall I compare Thee to a summer's day'. Ah yes, that's quite right. I'd forgotten about that! Anyway, I managed to alter the poem quite nicely, so now instead of saying... that word, I now say:
Shall I compare me to a summer's day?
I am more lovely and more temperate!
I think that sounds much nicer, yes?

Very pretty. Well, thank you, First-Person Singular: Yes, I thank me very much too. Thank me for having this discussion! I'm only too pleased to help!

*Alternative titles considered: Beware the Is of March, and Egos, Egos, E Just Goes.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Word Nerdery

There was a 'Dictionary of Highly Unusual Words' lying around the office, so I snaffled it to have a look at over the weekend. Compiled by Irwin M. Berent and Rod L. Evans, it's quite a decent little collection of strange word arcana, with a healthy smattering of palindromes, anagrams, acronyms, and puns.

The puns are usually very bad; the entry for 'Lawsuit' reads 'A police officer's uniform'; while the entry for 'Falsehood' reads 'A phony gangster?'. There are curious facts about a number of words: the Dutch town called 'Leeuwarden', according to Berent and Evans, has 'since 1046 ... had 225 different spellings.' There is in fact a whole class of entries about place names. 'Lazbuddie', in Texas, was apparently created from the nicknames of two local rangers, 'D. L. "Laz" Green and A. "Buddie" Shirley." The city 'Florala' is so named, apparently, because it sits on the state line between Florida and Alabama. We also learn that the inhabitants of 'Lawrence, Massachusetts' call themselves Lawrencians, but the inhabitants of 'Lawrence, Kansas' call themselves Lawrentians. I'm glad we got that sorted out, but what would Lawrence of Arabia think?

Another class of words listed in the dictionary concern themselves with the order of vowels or consonants in a word. 'Adenochondrosarcoma' is apparently one of the longest words beginning and ending with 'a'; 'Abstentious' uses all five vowels, which appear once only, in alphabetical order. A personal favourite of mine so far is this entry:

Aceeeffghhiillmmnnoorrssstuv: What twisted logic did the German novelist Christoffel von Grimmelshausen use when he came up with this pseudonym? Actually, it isn't as twisted as it might appear. He simply rearranged all the letters of his name - in alphabetical order!

In a similar vein, we get words like 'Patronessship' and 'Duchessship', which are both distinguished by the three 'S's in a row; the Estonian word jaaaarne (meaning 'the edge of the ice'), which has four consecutive appearances of the same vowel; and the Yugoslavian forename 'Jernej', which 'begins and ends with a J - a rarity!'.

The anagrams are fun; perhaps the most complex example cited is that of the writer Edward Gorey, who produced 15 separate anagrams from his own name. (Read any books by Drew Dogyear, anyone? No? Then perhaps some Regera Dowdy?) The word 'enormity' scrambles to produce 'more tiny'; the word 'float' does so 'aloft'; a 'butterfly' will 'flutter by'; 'dynamite' contains the warning 'I may dent'; and an 'entrail' is apparently 'reliant'.
In a related class of words, the authors ask us to take out a few letters from an existing word, and sometimes to scramble the result. If you take out the 'g' and 'e' from 'fragile', then it is still 'frail'. The word 'butteriness' is apparently constructed on eight other words, the shortest of which is 'bu', and the longest which is 'butterines'. Whatever the hell they are. Oh, and Darlene will be pleased to know that her name rearranges into four other first names: Darleen, Leander, Leandre, and Learned.

Random word facts:
While it is perhaps distressing to hear that the phrase 'Ebro River' means 'River river', being told that the phrase 'Dnieper River' translates to 'River river river' would drive you tautologically insane.

The word 'Queue' is 'the only word in the English language that retains its pronounciation even after the last four letters are dropped'. (That's quite true, you know. I've tried it.)

'Cabbaged' is apparently what's called a 'piano word', composed entirely of letters from the musical scale (A, B, C, D, E, F, G).

The ten most common words in American English, from a 1971 source, were 'It', 'Is', 'to', 'the', 'that', 'you', 'a', 'of', 'in', 'and'.

The word 'pat' is onomatopaeic, and means the same thing if read backwards as it does when it is read forwards, although the words are different.

My favourite entry has to be this, about a word that does not exist but is cited in a number of dictionaries:

Phantomnation: This word has appeared in a number of "legitimate" dictionaries. Webster's once defined it as "appearance, as of a phantom; illusion (obsolete and rare)." Rare! Obsolete! I'll say! In fact, this word is so rare and so obsolete that it may never have been used, except of course in some dictionaries. The first dictionary (or dictionary supplement) to include it was entitled Philology on the English Language, published in 1820 by Richard Paul Jodrell. It seems that Mr. Jodrell tended to combine words without using hyphens. So he misquoted the source of this supposed word, citing the following passage from the Odyssey: "These solemn vows and holy offerings paid/ To all the phantomnations of the dead" (x, 627). In actuality, there was no such solid word as "phantomnations." It was two words: "phantom nations." And you thought dictionaries included words that people used.

There are several words that this dictionary misses out on, though. A few that come to mind: 'Sesquipadalia', a long word which means (more or less) 'long words'; 'Jingo', from the expression 'By Jingo!', one of the few words in the English language that is said to have come from Basque; and 'Uffish', a made up word, to be sure, but a good one.

So there you go.

PALINDROMES PLUS! Before I go, here's just a selection of the palindromes from the dictionary:

Bison bison bison The formal name for the bison.
Ajaja Ajaja A scientific name for the roseate spoonbill, which reads the same no matter which way you read it: last word first, last letter first, or otherwise.
Cardinalis cardinalis cardinalis The scientific name for the bird, cardinal.

So how about it, reader. Got any weird word nerdery to share?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

They're Not Evil, They're Misunderstood

This is a picture of an Auton, a mass murderering store mannequin bent on world domination.

Your first instinct would obviously be to run screaming and hide, quivering, under the bed, but look closer:

The flat, expressionless face; the eyes that register no emotion: this Auton is showing all the classic signs of Autism.

With a little love and attention, and a tolerant education system, it is entirely likely that this mass murderer bent on world domination would have developed into a fully functioning member of your society. He could have been an accountant, a lecturer in mathematics, or just about anything, really! Indeed, there may be many Autons working in your office that have been stopped from attempting murder and world domination at an early age. Or at least stopped from attempting one of them.

Here is another example:

At first, it looks like this creature - a Sontaran - is up to no good: he's probably getting ready to capture and torture some humans as part of a draconian alien experiment. However, after a more unbiased examination, it becomes clear that this Sontaran's evil ways are merely compensation for his deformed features. Look at how fat his face is! He was probably teased at school all the time. I think we all need to feel a little compassion for all the little potato-heads (like this Sontaran must have been) at school. After all, those chubby little chubsters could one day grow up into chubby huge chubsters, bent on capturing and torturing you! A little compassion could go a long way.

Here's an Alzarian Swamp Beast. In the case of this critter, I think it's fairly clear that sublimated sexual desire has led to its vicious, swamp-dwelling ways:

If only he had found someone to kiss and love him, maybe things would have turned out all right.

I mean, would a hug really go astray?

Show a little love, people. It wouldn't hurt you, would it?

UPDATE! - There may be those who object, saying, 'Auton's have expressionless features because they are store mannequins'. Well, obviously, but that doesn't mean that store mannequins can't be autistic, does it? See, this is what I mean - this is exactly the sort of thing that gets misunderstood all the time. Shame on you for even thinking such a thing! If an Auton kills you, don't come running to me for help!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Eponymous Anonymous the Synonymous, Ghost Writer

Or, Discredit Where Discredit Ain't Due

Ghost writers. The PM has one. The Queen has one. Sports stars have one (or maybe several) and rock stars have several (or maybe more). And I have one, too. I tell you of this in the interests of honesty and disclosure.

Not that the ghost writer wrote that sentence above, that was written by me. Nor did they write that sentence I just wrote then, that would be silly. But all the other sentences here have been written by the ghost writer, including this one. (Except for the ones that haven't - Tim).

Why do we use them, ghost writers? I mean, what do they have to recommend them? Apart from their dazzling wit, and all-encompassing knowledge of all fields of literature, the arts, the sciences, and human endeavour in general and in specifics? (The previous sentence was written by my ghost writer - Tim).
I mean, my ghost writer is, frankly, annoying. (The previous sentence was not written by me - Ghost writer.) My ghost writer is often stuck in denial (No I'm not - Ghost writer). He's incredibly rude (Fuck you! - Ghost writer) And, to be quite honest, he lies.
For instance, did you know that (this is my ghost writer speaking - Tim) Tim launched his dazzling literary career on the football field, carrying out feats of Rugby and Derring-Do that brought him to National Fame at a time of Great War? (Neither did I, he's pretty good at lying, isn't he?) Following a sudden excursion up the Khyber in search of his lost innocence (which he had lost during a curious incident involving his Nanny, Olga Hornipolk-Smythe), a lost sock and a lost puppy, he returned after having won the hand in marriage of a Croation heiress, who ...
Okay, okay, enough of that. Have you ever seen a bigger liar in your life? (No I'm not- Ghost writer) [Yes you are - Tim] (Do you want to take it outside? - Ghost writer) [You bet, fuckface - Tim] (Say that again, jerkwad - Ghost writer) [Okay, then ...


A while ago, though, things got even worse - my ghost writer started stalking me. This may all seem wildly improbable, but I tell you this merely in the interests of honesty and disclosure. For a while, he just followed me around in cars, but I really got suspicious when instead of sending me articles and posts for my blog, I started getting death threats. He seemed to have hit on the paranoid idea that I was the ghost writer, and that I had feloniously purloined his identity from him ...


That, of course, is absolutely preposterous. I'd just like to remind 'Tim Train' - if that is his real name - that we already had discussions about this little 'identity problem' of his, and we agreed not to take it any further.


As if that wasn't enough, my ghost writer starting hiring another ghost writer to ghost write the death threats that he was sending me, instead of the articles and posts he was supposed to have ghost written, and he even included the price of the death threats on the bill he charged me every month. Oh, you may scoff and say this is ridiculous, but it all happened to me. I made the connection when I noticed a curious similarity between the style of the death threats he was sending me and the writing on the back of cereal packets.


What a load of bollocks.


So, really, I don't see the point of ghost writers. They're more trouble than they're worth (although considering the amount MY ghost writer charges me, it's possibly he's worth more than his trouble). I suppose what I'm trying to say is, when it comes to a choice between a ghost writer and a case of chronic impetigo, don't choose either: there's nothing a ghost writer can't do that the impetigo can't do better, at a cheaper price.

But when all is said and done, there's nothing a ghost writer can do to you if you want to set down your thoughts in a clear, simple, and concise sen OH I CAN'T, CAN I?

Bloody hell!

A Word is Defined

Quibble (n)

1) Board game played by members of the educated upper-classes. Each player is distributed a number of abstruse grammatical items including hyphens, ems, ens, semi-colons, demi-semicolons, and parenthesis. They then take it in turns to punctuate a sentence in a creative, but appropriate, manner. Extra points are given for each comma they manage to slip in their sentences.

2) Nervous tic developed by players of 1), above, when they see items such as misplaced apostrophes and the like. If left untreated, it can develop into a sudden spasm or the dreaded collywobbles. (For more on this disease, see our entry on 'Feeling sic')

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I Smugged, She Smugged, We Smugged Together

So anyway, we were talking about Enid Blyton, right? Forget minor details like plot, character, scenery, costume, dialogue, exposition, timing, development and argument (so minor that Blyton reuses them in every single book she writes); where the art really comes in is in location. Allow me to demonstrate:

'Well, his father has kindly invited you all to go and stay with him at Smuggler's Top,' said Uncle Quentin.
The children were astonished.
'Smuggler's Top!' said Dick, his fancy caught by the queer name. 'What's Smuggler's Top?'
... 'I'd
love to go to Smuggler's Top,' said Dick ...
'Oh no, no!' cried everyone. 'Let's go to Smuggler's Top!'
Surely old George wasn't going to get in one of her moods and spoil everything! It would be fun to go to Smuggler's Top! ...
'Leave me alone,' she said. 'I want to think. How are we supposed to get to Smuggler's Top?' ...
Aunt Fanny kissed them good-bye. 'I do hope you have a nice time at Smuggler's Top,' she said ...

Their spirits rose as they thought of Sooty and his queerly-named home,
Smuggler's Top.
'Smuggler's Top! It sounds too exciting for words!' said Anne.

(Somehow I think she's lying about that one)

'On to Smuggler's Top!' said Dick, as the car started off again. 'On to Smuggler's Top. I wonder if we shall have any adventures there!'
... 'It does sound a most exciting place,' said George. 'Smuggler's Top on Castaway Hill! Only one road to it!'
'That must be Smuggler's Top, right at the summit,' said Julian, pointing.
They swept into a steep drive, and at last stopped before Smuggler's Top.

Just in case you think this is all getting a bit monotonous, Blyton really starts pulling out the stops in the next few chapters.

'Well - he seems full of secrets,' said Sooty. 'Queer people come here, and they come secretly without anyone knowing. I've seen lights shining in our tower on certain nights, but I don't know who puts them there or why. I've tried to find out, but I can't.'
'Do you think - do you think your father is a smuggler?' said Anne, suddenly.
'I don't think so,' said Sooty. 'We've got one smuggler here, and everyone knows him! ... He's as rich as can be. His name is Barling. No one else would dare to do any smuggling in Castaway, while he does it!'

This is the sort of writing that makes classics, ladies and gentlemen. You would do well to emulate it.

UPDATE! - From the Enid Blyton website:

In The Adventures of the Wishing-Chair (book1), it was written that the wishing-chair has four red wings. Then in the second book, The Wishing-Chair Again, the wing of the wishing-chair was cut off by the Slipperies. Subsequently, Chinky has a spell that makes the chair grow new wings. The colour of the new wings is green and yellow. However, in the last book, More Wishing-Chair Stories, Blyton wrote that the chair's wing was red!

A flying chair with green and yellow wings? Preposterous!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

This Will Have Them Sheiking In The Aisles

Electroconvulsive Sheikh Treatment!

The Sheikh went sub-molecular for this one! As soon as anyone in the mainstream media takes the Sheikh's words 'out of context', the Sheikh Conductor Coil, pictured here, will operate, and deliver a small, but noticeable, Electric Sheikh to the wearer. Now, if only he could convince members of the media to wear the coil...

An entry for Catallaxy.

Sheiken Out of Context

Sheikh Invaders!

It's the attack of the uncovered meat! Right through the 80s, there was a Sheikh Invaders craze, that only ended in the 90s with the introduction of such devices as the Sheikh Box and the Sheiktendo Machine.

An entry for Catallaxy.


The Sheikh Skirt!

Egads! Talk about uncovered meat! The little known Sheikh Skirt entered the fashion market in the early 1960s, but never really took off. No wonder Hilaly looks so glum!
Other creations in the Sheikh fashion label included the Sheikh Spectacles, the Sheikh Slippers, and the Hippyhippysheikh Kaftan.

An entry for Catallaxy.


The Milksheikh!

It's a healthy drink that provides much needed calcium, and at the same time tells your child about how the Jews are the cause of all the wars in the world! It provides a healthy, much-needed dose of anti-semitism for their diet!

An entry for Catallaxy.

Friday, January 12, 2007

It Was Ghastly, Like Being Strangled To Death By Frogs

I picked up a copy of The Financial Review and reeled. It was as if I had been clobbered in the face by Boredom itself, physically assaulted by my own existential horror. The headlines of the paper screamed at me, in the sort of screams that only a mute man could muster,


'Resource'? 'Revenue'? Who the fuck cares?




Any promise that the verb 'Forced' may have had in that headline was instantly negated by the following verb, 'Stand'.
Worst of all was the one holding up the right-hand column:


To hell with this balance!
I was being surrounded by centrists, mobbed by moderates - I needed to breathe!
And things hardly improved in the following pages. The headline, 'Ripper drops shopping from WA basket' showed a little promise until you read the opening:

Acting West Australian Premier Eric Ripper was yesterday ...

And then there was the deadly boring 'Climate, Doha talking points', 'Jobs market boosts consumers' outlook', and 'Business warns Rudd on industry policy'. Who was the idiotic sub-editor who thought it would be a good idea to end headlines with such deathly dull words as 'points', 'outlook', and 'policy', anyway?

But in this most tedious of Australian newspapers, even the most obvious opportunities were passed up:


Jesus. Just - Jesus! Could the headline have been any easier to write?


Who are these zealots for moderation who run this paper, and why do they think that their defiant mumbles will make any difference to the nation at all? Do they deliberately engineer their prose to have this narcoleptic, sleep-inducing effect? And who are the whining, shuffling, simpering business-class who so meekly accept this financial pap masquerading as prose?

There really is only one thing we can do to improve the quality of The Financial Review: it may be expensive, but it is the only way. The market wrap will be presented courtesy of a Page 3 girl, who just happens to be fending off tigers at sabre point at the same time. We'll send the correspondents to the farthest, most dangerous corners of the earth. Financial correspondents will report on finance from Europe at the time of Mongol invasions, and foreign journalists will be taken forward in time to report from Armageddon itself. We need less 'balance', 'certainty', and 'insurance', and more of THIS:




It's the only way, people.

Look! Up in the Sky! Is it Absurd? Is it a Pain? No! It's Superlativeman!

It seems it's All Quotes on the Western Front:

Melbourne based "performing artist", Danielle Freakley, plans to spend the next two and a half years speaking only in stolen quotes, no matter the situation.

To quote or not to quote: that is the question. On the one hand, there's a quote for everything, and everything has its quote. On the other hand, some quotes are just one quote too many.

To quote Caz:

Listening to her trying to place an order for a de-caff, low fat, soya milk, with hazelnut, might be mildly interesting - once.

Hmmm ... "If the frappe fits, I'll wear it?"

Likewise, ordering a large, super supreme, thin and crusty pizza, no capsicum, no olives, lots of anchovies, extra mushrooms and some pineapple.

"I'll have the RIP: Rest In Pizzas?" I suppose you could always say "I'll have an all beef patty, special sauce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun." But when it comes to quotes, everyone wants a piece of the pie: it's a case of glare and glare alike.

Each profession has their quote. Doctors have a cure for what ails you, poisoners have an ale for what cures you, and alcoholics have an ale for what ails you. Farmers reap what they sow; actors weep for the show; knitters both reap what they sow and sew what they reap; and long distance canoe-racers row through the deep, although hopefully they don't seep what they row.

So, taken as a whole, when I consider the positives and negatives of this quoting policy, I take a little from column A and a little from column B, and I think I may say, without fear of permanent contradiction, 'none of the above.'

Then again, Groucho Marx said:

Outside, a dog is a man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read.

I think I'll just quote while he's ahead.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Fabulous Fel has a fantastic name for a new type of poem: Fibs! Fibs are a little like Haiku, except they're based on the Fibbonaci number sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 56, 90, etc ...), in which the amount of syllables in each line is equal to the sum of the syllables in the previous two lines.

Here is a Fib!


To mind you.
Anyone knows that!
Felines are living, holy art.

That's Fel's Fib, in fact.

Here is another, by me!

Sock Fact
Goes missing,
Leaving the other
Sock lonely and melancholic.

Here are some more! (These following Fibs are all mine).

Underpants Fact

Out of
Ten you should
Refrain from wearing
Underpants upon your head. They
Probably won't fit, and it will make your aunties stare.

A Review of James Joyce's Ulysses

A ten
Thousand word

An Autistic View of Architecture

Stairs. I
Like to walk
Up and down stairs. I
Like to count the stairs as I walk
Up and down the stairs. Do you like stairs? Here are some words
That mean 'stairs': 'Doorstep', 'gradation', 'notch', 'rest', 'round', 'step', 'run', 'rung', 'tread'. I like stairs. Stairs are fun.

Reader, Fib me some more! And don't fob me off with a flubbed Fib, or a squib of a Fib!

Fun Activities For Racists!

Good day, racists! This year we've got a wonderful line up of shows, events, and activities for all you neo-nazi anti-semitic apartheid-supporters out there!

The Katwalk Fashion Parade
See the latest in KKK fashion - now our robes are longer and whiter than ever! (Sponsored by KKK-KLEAN! Guaranteed to get your fabrics whiter than white!)

Classic Films
Starting next Saturday, we will be featuring a series of classic film nights. First film is Casablanca. We have made a few minor edits to the production of the original film: Sam is no longer played by a negro, but by Klansman Whitmann; Rick hands Victor and Ilsa over to the Nazis; and the Nazis take over Casablanca. We have made a special print of the film for the occasion: instead of being in black and white, it is now in a purer white and white format. Remember to bring your glasses!

Theatrical Events
This year our focus is on Shakespeare. It has been an established fact amongst clan scholars for decades that Shakespeare did not write any plays at all. They were in fact penned by a literary genius called Cletus from Alabama. A number of the plays of this little known American bard will be performed over the year.

Games Night
Our ever-vigilant Games Masters have excluded all games including black pieces, black balls, or items which are otherwise off-white. The number of games excluded now reaches into the thousands, and include chess, snooker, bowls, and cricket (although we approve of the umpire's costume, the ball is far too red for our liking.) Our most popular event is charades. Don't forget - full Klan uniform or you will be barred at the door!

The Klan debating society intends to hold a number of debates on issues of importance over the year. Our first topic for debate is 'The Question of Israel'. After viewing some stimulating introductory material by Dr Joesseff Goebells, Hezbollah, and Hamas, the floor will be opened to opposing teams. Please, leave your negativity at the door.

Moments Musicale
Music is a universal language that has the power to bring segregationalists of all colours (as long as they're white) together. Our focus this week will be upon Beethoven's symphonies. Contrary to a long-held popular delusion, Beethoven's symphonies were not written by the Hunnish madman at all, but by a little known musical genius called Cletus from Alabama. We will be listening to Cletus 7th and Choral Symphonies tonight, with chorus performed by the Salt Lake City Khoristers.

Painting classes
Ever wanted to learn painting, but never knew where to start? All you need is a brush and a tin of white paint! We'll start small, but by the end of the month, we intend to whitewash the whole town!

I think it's going to be an exciting year!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Suggestion is Ventured

Been reading the eccentrically-inclined blog Nottlesby's Notes lately. Do visit, it's ever so much fun! I'm thinking of starting up a Nottlesby Club - call ourselves The Olde Nottlesbonians, perhaps? No, too gauche. Nottlesbites? Nottlesbys For The Nonce? Nottlesby Across the Nation? Hmm, needs some work.

Of course, we'll need to have a quarterly, focusing on issues of concern, such as Jolly Motoring Adventures across the City, or the Unhappy Lot of the Scrivener. We'll call it - but hang it all, I've got it - The Nottlesballonian! Dash it all, chaps, who's with me? Come all ye faithful Old 'Ballonians, one for all, and all for one, and all that!

'Pon my word, I think this idea has legs, I do! I'll let you know how it goes!

neither a villain nor a cur: a gentleman, sir, a gentleman!

UPDATE! - Let's put it to a vote, then, shall we?

I Move That Nottlesby Is The Most Outstanding Exemplar In The Field of Excellence, Bar None!
Hear, hear!
Quite right!
Jolly good!
I object, sir, I object!
Free polls from

Friday, January 05, 2007

It's Hot

The weather is ridiculously hot, so what am I going to do about it?

Go into town tomorrow and buy several long-sleeved shirts, some heavy trousers, and a jacket, that's what.

You should do the same thing. Actually, you'd be crazy not to do it.

Post in Space

Notice the Notice!
Going to be fiddling around with a Beta template tomorrow, trying to rejig this blog, update the blogroll, bla bla bla. In the meantime thought I'd put a couple of notices up here, a kind of post in lieu of an actual post. Yeah, yeah. It's the end of the working week, I'd like to see you come up with something better. (Though of course if you want to pop into the comments and have a chat about merkins or Mozart or similar, I'm more than happy to oblige.)

Nominations, Schmominations
Despite my misgivings about the Aussie Blog Awards, I've just gone over and made a couple of nominations myself.

Best Victorian blog: Legless In Perpetuum

Best Post on an Australian Blog: A Little Note To My Body.

Best Australian New Blog: Lexicon Harlot.

Best Humourous Australian Blog: Jellyfish Online!

Best Australian Collaborative Blog: Sarsaparilla.

Why not go over there and make a couple yourself?

200% of Statisticians are Always Right
Diogenes pulled up this amusing statistic from the ABC website yesterday:

"In fact if we look at the 10 hottest years for Australia, 15 of those have occurred since 1980, and only two of those hottest years have occurred before 1950," Mr Plummer said.

Depressing, isn't it? I'd shoot myself now, but statistics show that seven out of every four suicides these days result in fatal injury, death, or even more.

Murder with Malaprop Aforethought
Been writing this story about killer androids lately, having a good deal of fun. But I've run into a bit of strife; once the killbots kill somebody and usurp their place, what do they do? I'm finding it a bit difficult giving my killbots motivation. Are there any killbots reading this blog? What do you guys think?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

You Can Take the Alsatian Out Of Alsace, But You Can't Take the Labradoodle out of ... um ...

I was banging away at a transcript of a radio interview the other day, some idiotic radio item from Perth, where a couple of old gits were moaning about the RSPCA, or some such. Anyway, one of the presenters all of a sudden went off on a bizarre tangent of his own. They had previously been talking about Poodles and Labradors, and all of a sudden, the presenter started pulling names out of his hat: "Labradoodles!" he shouted. "Pugoliers!" and "Schnoodles!" were mentioned with impunity.

What the hell was the old guy talking about?

It's a bizarre new fad, it seems, in dog fashion, of crossing strange breeds, one with the other. Labradors meet with Poodles to create 'Labradoodles'. Pugs meet Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to create 'Pugoliers'. Schnauzers and Poodles, taken together, create 'Schnoodles'. How far will this grotesque trend be taken? Will the resultant labradoodles be crossed with beagles to create 'labeagragloodles'? What disgusting combination of constanants would we have to wrangle together when breeding a Schnauzer with a Chihuahua with a Shar-Pei? Clearly, we have to draw the line somewhere.

The Labradoodle: a shocking example of the horrors of cross-breeding.

After extensive research into this subject, taken at great personal risk to my personal safety, I have compiled the following four case histories into the cross-breeding of dogs nowadays, each more damning than the previous.


Dog-eugenecists in the German city of Cologne set out to cross a poodle with a schnauzer to great the now well-known breed, the 'Schnoodle'. They then, controversially, crossed the Schnoodle with a little German girl they had procured for just this experiment whose name was Trudi Apfel. After several attempts at crossing the Schnoodle with Trudi, they succeeded in making Apfel Stroodle, or, in the English translation, "Apple strudel". They then sat down to eat this strudel. Shockingly, since they didn't even have any cream, they decided to have it with yoghurt instead!
(They are currently trying to work out how to remove the crucial 'Sch' gene from the Schnoodle in order to create the perfect Noodle, but they haven't quite got there yet.)

During the 2nd World War, Nazi and Italian scientists collaborated in a secret attempt to breed a kind of 'super dog' by crossing the Schnauzer with the Pointer. They hoped to create a legion of Super Panzers, but they ended up just creating a hopeless breed with no sense of direction that they called 'Schnointers'. The English had a little more success; by crossing Pointers and Greyhounds, they succeeded in creating an elite breed of fast-running Goiters, which were later used to attack the German high command.

By cross-breeding, over successive generations, Maltese, Sussex Spaniels, and Pugs, North Korean scientists, against all expectations, managed to breed a highly specialised race of dogs they called 'Smugs'. Smugs are just like Pugs, except whenever a person tells them to do something, they appear to have a look of idiotic satisfaction on their faces. A few examples from scientific research, with original notations, will suffice:

The PugThe Smug

When petted, and told he was a good dog, the Pug frowned slightly and appeared not to understand.

When petted, and told he was a good dog, the Smug smiled slightly and appeared not to understand.

When shouted at, and told that he should not have eaten the chocolate, the Pug frowned slightly, and appeared not to understand.

When shouted at, and told that he should not have eaten the chocolate, the Smug both appeared not to understand, and yet somehow evinced an aura of quiet satisfaction.

When taken out to run around in the fields, the Pug frowned slightly, and appeared not to understand.

The same thing occurred with the Smug, but he appeared altogether more satisfied about it, so we gave it a kick up the bum.

The dogs involved are currently in counselling.
If you are horrified by that, just wait until you read the next case history.

After years of being tormented by his pet Doberman Pinscher, Mr Doberman attempted to breed the dog with a poodle named Ponto from Toronto, in order to make and patent a Doberman Poncho. He actually succeeded, but then his old Pinscher pinched the poncho, too, which just goes to show, you shouldn't mess with nature, or something. Doberman retired shortly afterwards to a home for the infirm and elderly in Alaska. He suffers greatly from chills, and thinks more and more about that poncho as time goes on.


Ladies and gentlemen, I think the message is clear: when it comes to foxes and terriers, I think we should just leave it at that. No need to start worrying about oodles of labradoodles and legions of pugoliers. That way can only lie madness.
Email: timhtrain - at -

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