Monday, July 30, 2007

Uber Psychedelic

I spent a great deal of yesterday frittering away my time in the State Library looking through a couple of old issues of the Nation Review on microform (from the early 1970s, when it was still called the Sunday Review.) It was awesome - not only did they have an interesting archival example of pre-duck Leunig and a Barry Humphries versus Max Harris stoush, but they started off in a really cracking style by having an article entitled 'It's psychedelic, baby' on the front page. It was about large-style developments in Sydney, but it could have been about pretty much anything. There were cheerful appeals to both anti-nuclear activists and xenophobes with article titles like, "Uranium for Japan - Atom bombs next?".

Strange contradictions appeared throughout the magazine - you'd get an article about recent studies on marijuana use (bad) and the effects of cigarette on your health (bad), but then you'd get a cartoon showing kids playing with hoops, and one kid saying to another kid, who happens to be proferring him a hoop and stick - 'No thanks - I roll my own.' Even better was a short news-bite simply titled, "Nazis Again", noting: "It is hard these days to find anyone who was a Nazi under Hitler..." Then, two pages later, there was the brazenly titled "In defence of violence". I think it was an anarchist piece looking forward to the coming revolution, or something, but I have to admit I didn't read that far.

Best single title, though, had to go to "Notes from the trial of a notorious onanist" (about Philip Roth and the public reaction to Portnoy's Complaint); best article was by Barry Humphries (a review of Patrick White's The Vivisector in which Humphries spends the first half of the article rambling in a superb fashion about the opinions of a lady from Moonee Ponds he once met.)
Next week, I think I'll go back and have a look at old copies of The Argus.


So anyway, a while ago I was chatting to Bruce Gillespie at the pub and he told me a bit about the history of the Nation Review. Apparently the guy that ran it never made a profit out of it, but basically kept on churning copies out until he ran out of money, selling it in milk bars and corner stores throughout the nation.
They do that sort of thing lots in Melbourne. Prodos hangs out on street corners and gives out propaganda to anyone who cares for a copy. The writer and publisher of the St Kilda Bugle basically gets funded by a rich St Kilda philanthropist who gives him heaps of money and tells him to go nuts.

And look at me, man, I write a blog!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

You learn a new something every day

"The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" is the Benjamin essay that everybody knows a little bit about. - Clive James, Cultural Amnesia
And now I know a little bit about it, too...

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Welcome to Metaphysical Abdul's Two Dollar Store!

"Our prices are unreal, but then, so are our products!"

He's mad, he's bad, he's dangerous to know, he's in a can! Queensland's craziest politician, Bob Katter, now comes in a can with a pull top for your convenience. Best served with cauliflower and white sauce. Comes with baked beans and an extra side serve of patriotism!

PLUS: Just add water to get an instant press conference about his views on privatisation and economic rationalism!

This little instrument of Oppression is perfect for those times in the kitchen when your garlic cloves threaten insurrection.

As you ascend the ladder, it CONdescends to you!

It's - a BROO! Just like a broom, only useless!

Now you can depress your friends and neighbours when you mail them one of these dejection slips!

PLUS: Free case of insomnia with every second purchase!

At low, low prices! Coming shaped as a wristwatch, this exclusive, imitation-Rolex watch is hand-crafted in the very finest sweatshops of Somalia.

WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY is not just like an ordinary wristwatch: it is appallingly slow. Guaranteed to be right only once a day (but we're working on that, too).

PLUS: Free second with every second purchase!

- Relive the FIRST time you died!

- Delight in the SECOND time you lost your virginity!

- Enjoy a DUO of TRIOLETS, and share a QUARTET of OCTAVES!

- Thrill to a THREESOME of SINGLES!

- Go back to the table for SECONDS without ever having to worry about FIRSTS!

With this Big Ol' Jar, you will be able to watch your favourite television show a COMPLEX NUMBER OF TIMES, take a ride overseas in a DESCARTIAN PLANE, chop down a tree with an X-Y-Z AXIS, and perform INDUCTION and INTEGRATION on anyone you may wish!

PLUS: Free first purchase with every second purchase!

Avuncularity, Excess Of

In an excess of avuncularity, this morning as I was crossing the train tracks, I cheerfully raised my hat at the train as it hurtled forwards, blowing its horn at me to get out of the way.

They really should ban weekends; the happiness caused is terribly dangerous for one's health.

UPDATE! - It was foolish of me, I admit it now.

If I had dropped my hat, what might have happened to it?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bonus Fudge Post!

Fudge! I love it! I can't get enough of it! I barely sink my teeth into it before it's all gone.

Tomorrow, I'm going to get some more!

PS Pity the poor workers in the fudge factory.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The illicit felicit

Dot Wordsworth has a wonderful column about language in The Spectator.
We tend to think that we are given to irrational hatreds of Americanisms, but Americans have mirror-image distastes for British usages. 'At best, orientate is a back-formation used humorously to make the speaker sound pompous. The correct word is the verb orient,' says a helpful language website made in America. It is quite wrong.
'In the perverse way in which such things often happen,' wrote good old Robert Burchfield in his edition of
Fowler, 'these two verbs drawn from the same base (French orienter, 'to place facing the east') have fallen into competition with one another in the second half of the 20th century'. It still continues.
Orient came into English in the middle of the 18th century; orientate 100 years later. But there is no need to invoke 'back-formation'. Orientate corresponds to orienter as or felicitate does to feliciter.

It is disturbing to contemplate how these words creep into the language. It could be little more than a historical coincidence that today, we don't see people going around, feliciting one another. I would felicit you, and you would felicit me, and parents would be forever bursting in on their son feliciting their neighbours daughter, Felicity, in an illicit manner. This illicit feliciting would certainly not felicitate family felicity. Some kids wouldn't even worry about the feliciting, and just skip that bit, and get straight to the illiciting, though more than one of them would get a shock when they discover that their partner was dupliciting them.

On the whole, I'm rather glad that this furtive and sometimes downright felonious feliciting has not crept into the English language. We may just have avoided the breakdown of society.

"You take this cart of puppies, Tom, while I felicit Jane."

Aaaaargh! The kids are feliciting one another again!

(Cross-posted on Vibewire.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Progress Theatre

Diogenes had a post up recently with the title ' The Special Beauty of Industry and Decay'. I originally dyslexically misread this title as 'The Decay of the Beauty Industry' and thought for a second he was going to do a post about women's magazines and body image, or similar.

Anyway, his thesis was that industry and decaying architecture had a beauty of their own that are not well understood today. I think he's right, and in comments we got talking about decaying old buildings around Melbourne - such as the Progress Theatre, on Reynard Street, in Coburg.

Diogenes tells how he used to go there as a kid, Al discusses a meeting there with Bob Hawke, and SFW talks about some of the history of the place.

It's now used as a place for ballet lessons. If you look in the window, you'll see ballet shoes hung up in rows, and various posters advertising times for lessons.

Letters from the hedge

Dear Tim's mother, Tim's brother, and Tim's father,

Hello! Tim's hair here!

As you can see, Tim has a nice head, and I've certainly been taking full advantage of it, growing in all directions quite happily and freely.

Tim keeps on threatening to chop me off - a positively BARBER-OUS suggestion! - but then, he's been threatening to do that for the past four months, and frankly, I don't believe him.

We've come to a comfortable arrangement: if Tim promises not to put too much shampoo in me, I give my word not to fall down in front of his eyes, especially while he is walking, as that tends to make him run into lamp-posts. (He tells me it's happened several times - seems quite cranky about it.)

Of course, it's all getting a little dull up here on Tim's head. I'm thinking of taking a holiday in Ballarat. (I wouldn't have to detach myself from Tim's scalp - if I've worked out my sums correctly, I'll be long enough in a week to walk from here to Ballarat in a comfortable stretch.)

Tim tells me to tell you that he is quite well and happy, and wishes the same for you. (And just between you and me, while Tim's not listening - he snores. It's very irritating.)

Well, I've certainly got into one or two "Hairy" situations - (HA!) - but won't bore you with the details.

Having a lovely time,
Wish you were HAIR,

Tim's Hair
(Otherwise known as 'The Epistolical Follicle')

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

To spoon your buffon by the light of the moon

The Buffoons' Dating Club: a Very Exclusive Society

Squilby de Reujeurs

Unlike the majority of other buffoons, Squilby has had the very good fortune of being born to two pairs of parents, one a quiet, unassuming couple who reside at Bournemouth, the others, a respectable upper-class couple who are members of the Bosnian aristocracy (more so than most: their family were members of the Bosnian aristocracy even before the formation of Bosnia as a separate territory.)
Squilby is a quiet buffoon who enjoys the simple pleasures: the wearing of Trilbys during elevenses; Kippers, during the summer months; and the sound of a Parry cantata through a sun-room window.
He dines, every evening at a quarter past five, on a single page from Foxe's Booke of Martyrs.

Richard & Co & Co

Sir Richard & Co & Co had the misfortune to be born and bred into a family that lacked fame, fortune, or even a title. Neither of his parents were present at his birth, having a pressing engagement at a cocktail party some miles away; shortly thereafter their being informed of his coming into the world, he was sent to a boarding school.
He likes long lisps on the beach, the colour the evening sun makes on tweed, and has masqueraded as a snifter at several exclusive MI5 shindigs.

He currently resides as Live-In Decadent and carnation sorter in the house next to yours.

Auberon Augh

Being an adventurous sort of buffoon, Auberon Augh ran away from home at the age of seven to take up a moving life of scholarship and adventure with a travelling college of prefects, headmasters and boarders. For the next three years, he learnt the essential arts of being a gentleman, viz: applying quadratic equations whilst stranded in the Antarctic, the appropriate use of Andrew Marvell couplets whilst battling the Hun; and the elite sport of spurtle tossing.
He has a defiantly skittish mind, and frequently enjoys a diffidence of opinion with his friends. He prefers enemas to enemies. He voted faithfully for the Tories until he was 18 years of age.

If you wish to contact Auberon, he communicates solely by semaphore messages taken by carrier pigeons to his house on every second Friday of every fifth month of the year.

Sir Bluestoak Roglan

Only the finer things of life for Sir Bluestoak: bathing in liquid silk, snuff in both his ears, twice daily; and vespers sung by a choir of Italian-trained beagles. He is something of a decadent, and enjoys having secret feelings for vestibules during his Aunt's long dinners, and signing income tax returns in a louche manner. To this day, he sleeps with his fob-watch nesting happily at his feet.

Sir Bluestoak, 23 years of age until next lunar eclipse, seeks a woman to enjoy a brief, shameful relationship, broken by sudden illicit liasons with ruffles and unexplained spasms of crying to Margaret Lockwood movies. Enclose a stamped sealed envelope addressed to him in a stamped sealed envelope addressed to yourself in a stamped sealed envelope addressed to your postmaster (or vice versa, dependent on the circumstances) and await the results.

Willicent Idge

A humble buffoon from a lowly background, Willicent Idge confesses to harbouring Freudian complexes about red sandstone buildings, and enjoying the taste of badger kidneys. He enjoys the simple things: holding hands with his butler; regular attendances at the opening of the outer door of Tate Museum; wearing the fine scent of tobacco to meetings of the British Anti-Smoking League; and the sensation of squalor on long weekends (if someone is willing to share it with him.)
He may be reached by Telegraph, Mail, Telephone, or a family connection with your aunt's sister's niece's daughter-in-law's African grey parrot.

Sir Fauntleroy Upsner

Sir Fauntleroy is considered an exquisite example of British upper-class flapdoodle. He is much too exclusive for anyone, including you, and certainly himself. As a result, he vacated his body several years previously, leaving a supercilious sneer and a haughty flick of the fingers to take care of the premises in his absence.
He has taken up employment as a Gainsborough painting, although doubts have been cast upon his authenticity by several prominent critics.

Berberington Smythe

A hopelessly mixed up buffoon with some unusual talents, Berberington Smythe absent-mindedly created the steam train several years before he thought of the idea for it and drew the plans. (He put it to use as a mechanical sorter for his bookshelves.)
Other achievements of his include:

- During a stint exploring the Gobi Desert, he accidentally reinvented the water wheel;

- Setting out to discover Newton's law of gravity (in order to use it as a paperweight in his office) he instead accidentally redefined several universal constants, which caused no end of consternation among the nation's top scientists;

- In attempting to weigh an elephant with a rudimentary device involving a thimble, a rubber band, and two uneven-sized pins, he accidentally reinvented the catapult, and started a war between two French principalities in Africa and the Pacific Islands, respectively.

If you wish to contact Sir Berberington Smythe, set in a letter of complaint to your local newspaper written entirely in Portuguese, await the instructions in the following edition, published in a coded version of Swahili, and remember to take your pistol with you: where you're going, you may need it.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Craptacular in Technicolour

Premonition is a splendiferous piece of flapdoodle about a woman who is told one day that her husband is dead and then finds out the day after that that he is alive. On the following day she goes to his funeral and then the day after that he's alive again in her house. Then she goes kind of nuts and a doctor named Roth takes her to hospital and puts a needle in her arm and then she wakes up again in her house to find that it's four days before and she sends off her husband to the park while she goes to the church to have a chat to the local priest, (an unassuming man with a slaphead and a voice like a Disney film narrator) about 'unexplained phenomenon'. There's also some shit in there about a falling telegraph pole and an accident with a glass door and her husband having an affair with someone or other at work, but frankly, I drifted off during a lot of that.

I quite like films like Premonition, they're unpretentious and unassuming little thrillers about nothing much from the studios of someoneorother, and they fill up the Sunday evening quite nicely. But can you imagine what it would be like actually living your life like this? Say, if all 24 hours of your day happened in a mixed up order? You'd put the pie in the oven at 5.00 just one hour after finishing it off with friends at 7.00 and you'd only pull it out of the oven to cool off one hour before you got out of bed in the morning, and you'd end up getting confused and eating breakfast at the end of the day at a time when you're supposed to be driving down to the supermarket and buying the groceries for lunch. You'd be frankly too confused to go through all of that ludicrous melodrama that Sandra Bullock goes through in this film.

In conclusion, I think the lesson to be drawn from Premonition is quite clear, and is either one of three things:

a) Hold on to your loved ones because you're not sure when they're going to die and you can't stop them a day before you see that they're alive even though you still think they're dead;

b) Doctors with beards are not to be trusted, but slaphead priests are pretty cool, man;

c) It's okay if you don't have faith, because you have to fight to have faith in whatever you should have faith in but oh my God, watch out for that truck!

But she never forgot that whacky week back in 2007, when the days were all screwed up and her husband walked home one day after having died. The end.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The theory of natural rejection

Her work has endured for two centuries, sold in its millions and inspired countless film and television adaptations. But would Jane Austen be able to find a publisher and an agent today? A cheeky experiment by an Austen enthusiast suggests not.

David Lassman, the director of the Jane Austen Festival in Bath decided to find out what sort of reception the writer might get if she approached publishers and agents in the age of Harry Potter and the airport blockbuster.

After making only minor changes, he sent off opening chapters and plot synopses to 18 of the UK's biggest publishers and agents. He was amazed when they all sent the manuscripts back with polite but firm "no-thank-you's" and almost all failed to spot that he was ripping off one of the world's most famous literary figures.

Mr Lassman said: "I was staggered. Here is one of the greatest writers that has lived, with her oeuvre securely fixed in the English canon and yet only one recipient recognised them as Austen's work."
The diary of a nobody publisher

Good day today. Rejected 30 manuscripts this morning! Went out, had a lunch break, came back in feeling refreshed. Read the first chapter of one manuscript: rejected that. Read the first page of another manuscript: rejected that. Read the first word of another manuscript: rejected that. (Pity, too - it was a good word. But you've got to have standards.)

Theoretically, I could keep going this way, rejecting authors on fine punctuation marks, or dots on the cover, or a vague dislike for the binding of the manuscript, but you've got to stop somewhere.

To finish the day off, I sent off rejection slips to an arbitrary amount of the people I had rejected earlier in the day.

"A productive day at the office," I said to Ms Pritterkin on the way out.
"Sleaze,"she countered, in that jocular and jesting way she has. I do so enjoy our little conversations at the end of the day.

I do not feel well. I was up all night wondering about the people I have rejected who I have not sent rejection slips to. Shouldn't I in fact be more considerate, and send them rejection slips explaining why they have been rejected for the reception of rejection slips? On the other hand, that would really hamper productivity. Those books don't go through the paper shredder themselves, you know!

To get over the touch of insomnia, I spent the whole morning putting books through the shredder, extra fast. Quite thrilling, really. Made the blood in my temples really pound. Zowie!

In my opinion, there are far too many books in the world. A complete and utter waste of paper that could have been quite simply and easily saved if a publisher had merely taken the trouble of rejecting them. I went past the library this morning and saw the shelves simply cluttered with books, a complete excess of paper.

Slightly off-colour today. To amuse myself, I compiled a list of classic books I would reject, if I could:

Great Expectations (failed to live up to it: REJECTED!)

The Most Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (the only tragedy was that it was ever really written in the first place. REJECTED!)

Wordsworth's Prelude (If it was a quaalude, it would have been barely tolerable. REJECTED!)

Anna Karenina (would have been more entertaining if it started off with the suicide, and a lot less trouble to get through. REJECTED!)

Crime and Punishment (the book is the crime, the reading is the punishment. REJECTED!)

The Hobbit (In a hole in a ground there lived a hobbit, and he should have stayed there, the nasty little beast. REJECTED!)

Persuasion (unpersuasive. REJECTED!)

(Of course, I have standards: I would never reject the Holy Bible, with the exception of the Old Testament, and 37 books of the New Testament.)

Actually let a book through today. It's company tradition that we have to publish one book a year, as a hollow gesture to 'kulcha', and our 'readers'. The author is one 'Wraith Picket', and I actually think this zesty comical and existential romp through outback Australia could sell quite well...

I find it all quite dispiriting, and make a bargain with myself to double the amount of rejections I make in the next week. After all, in order to keep up with international standards in rejections, I must make these little boosts in productivity from time to time.

Read a disappointing article in The Guardian today. Full of slurs and vile calumnies about the publishing industry. Apparently people actually expect us to publish quality books on a regular and timely basis!

Very worrying. Very dispiriting. Only one thing to do: reject The Guardian!


I'll see you all later - I'm off to the Victoria Markets to buy some fudge!

Friday, July 20, 2007

A charitable initiative

I'll be doing some posting over the weekend, but in the meantime, I thought I'd direct your attention to an online charitable initiative for a worthy public cause - the shaming of Matthew Newton.

In a shameful display this week, Judge Joseph Moore upheld Matthew Newton's appeal against a criminal conviction for aggravated assault against former girlfriend Brooke Satchwell. Apparently Newton's expectation of the consequences of pleading guilty to 'pushing' and 'punching' Satchwell didn't include any discernable kind of punishment.

We can only wonder if the hefty weight of Newton's pedigree had anything to do with the decision. After all, old Bert said himself (of the conviction), "We have always loved our son, admired him and believed in him. It's great news."

The petition is the work of Audrey Apple, and I think it's positively spiffing. I ask you all to contribute generously to this worthy cause.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Help! The samples are attacking!

Instructions to people who send samples to the Fire Ant Control Centre:


This reminds me of the time when I was a specialist at the Octapoid Taxidermal Centre of Iceland. Imagine the trouble we had when a customer mistakenly put a fully grown live Tuberculate Pelagic Octopus in an envelope and sent it in to us!

Thankfully, there is a happy end to this story: everyone survived without losing too many limbs, and the octopus is now giving rides to small children at the famous Marine Zoo of outer Woop Woop.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

News Story So Controversial It Disagrees With Itself

A news story published today caused so much controversy and dispute in the international media, that it could not even agree with itself!
"The first paragraph disagreed with the second paragraph, the second paragraph sneered at the first paragraph, and that was just the start of it," said the first paragraph this morning. "Basically, the second paragraph just didn't get it."
However, the second paragraph disagreed.

"The paragraph above me is stupid," started the second paragraph. "It's ridiculously ignorant - I mean, it's been sitting on top of me all day and hasn't even been aware of my existence!"
Feuding and intercine warfare has already broken out between different parts of the news story, including the first two paragraphs, and international authorities are becoming worried. There seems to be no end in sight.

Meanwhile, the third paragraph calmly and quietly sat beneath the first two paragraphs and disagreed with them both.
"I'll take you all," said the third paragraph in a prepared statement to the media (the first and second paragraphs just happening to be that media).
The third paragraph then bared its arms, flexed its muscles, and waded into the fray.
There are fears that, if the news story continues much longer, it could develop into an international incident.

The paragraph just below me is stupid!
Even headlines of the news story are causing controversy, like the idiotic one just above the fourth paragraph. However, authorities agree that the headline above is not half so idiotic as the headline immediately below the fourth paragraph.

What authorities are you talking about, you senseless dunderpate?
In a new development in this fast-breaking news story, the headline for the fifth paragraph has just started calling the last sentence for the fourth paragraph names. Not so the fifth paragraph itself, which lives a life of quiet contentment, knowing that it alone of all the paragraphs in the news story is absolutely right.

However, an opinion poll for the column appears to have gone off its rockers, stopping random paragraphs in the news story and asking them what their opinion is of it.

What is your opinion about this opinion poll?
This is the best opinion poll I have ever participated in!
It's excellent!
In my opinion, this opinion poll is great!
I strongly disagree with this opinion poll, and would like to reconsider my vote.
Free polls from

We'll bring you new developments in this story as they occur.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Allusions of Grandeur


Mr Micallef,

Many happy obsequies for the day (whatever day that is)! I hope and distrust that you will be celebrating it with all due sanctimonial, not to mention obloquy!

But allow me to reduce myself. I have long been an admirer of you, much longer than I have been aware of your mere existence. Furthermore, it is my latest wish that my sincere toadihood continues, long after I forget everything you ever knew about yourself!

You, sir, are extraordinary. There is not a single thing about you that is unforgettable, especially to one so skilled in forgetting the details of the inglorious as myself. Why, your presence of mind is indefatigable, and the magnanimity of your rectitude has to be felt rather than relieved!
If I may avail myself of you benevolence for so short a period of my time, I wish to make you unwary of a little offer you have to make me. In due course, I will be forwarding on my details (qualmish as they are) to one of your mid-to-upper-level unctionaries. You will then, in your unassuming manner, be able to enclose, in a stamped, unredressed envelope, as great an amount of your fame as I should wish for: the more glory, the better (for me!)

It really is most *most* kind of you to exist in such a charitably well-known manner. I know you will not appoint me.

In conclusion, sir, and also to end, I will resay again that you are wondrous, nay, positively ambidextrous, a true marvel of nature, a mature navel! Certainly your grandeur will condescend to grant an overfund of hauteur to myself.


I remain, sir,
Yours, as ever,
Most regretfully, gracefully, and sincerely,
Tim, & co., & co., & co., Train

I neither endorse nor agree with the entire content of this letter, including this last sentence.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Craptic Crossword

Half-hearted anagrams, puns that don't make sense, and mispelled acronyms - all this and less in the first* edition of the Will Type For Food Craptic Crossword.

Go here for a Microsoft Word version. Answers published in a day or two.

*(And, paradoxically, last.)



1. Moving your vowels can be a moving experience. (Though it can also make you feel really crappy.)

6. I’m a craven coward, Peter’s a craven idiot, and this guy’s a craven film director.

8. Metallic flea, backwards.

10. Turn the estimated time of arrival upside down, inside out, on its head, drag it through the past tense into the present tense, and serve. With cream.

11. Really dumb word I just used for filler. It’s both off topic, and backwards!

12. There’s a speleologist in the mica vestry – shoot him, Reverend!

14. A book section in brief, but not necessarily a brief section in the book. (Yep – it’s another stupid filler word.)

16. This guy is in love, Kate, in reverse. Talk about saucy!

18. Mm! She’s in madam!

19. “Sir is mixed up, and also confused.”

“Shut up, Jeeves!”

Sir also appears to be turning into a respected spiritual teacher.”

“I said shut up!”

20. I think I’ll just take a spot of afternoon repose on the mountain.


2. “Something in that man, Ichabod, is crazy!”

“That’s a really bad clue!”

3. The indebted person is hiding in the shower.

4. Up the ante by tidying the ante up, you CLEAN FREAK!

5. He sat on a tack, and started a war. (Wouldn’t you?)

7. There cat is in the silo becoming threshed up. But do let’s be philosophical about it.

9. “Something’s got into the driver! He’s drowning us all!”

“Glug – glug – glug…”

13. The figures read the same backwards and forwards. Fucking palindromes!

15. I joined her, ere today, at this very spot.

17. There’s a person in Survivor, and I can read her back to front.

Next week: the WTFF Findaturd, where I publish a bunch of over-obvious words in a 10 by 10 table, and you all throw cow-pats at the computer screen.

UPDATE! - Click on the image to be taken to the crossword solution.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Quick! Eight random things about myself...

Oh, all right then, if you insist...

1. I like frogs.

2. I enjoy tying ties, but not being seen in them.

3. I know what 'Jovial' means, but I'm not so sure about 'Saturnine' or 'Mercurial'.

4. Put me in front of an audience and I turn into a stuttering fool, unless I have a script - in which case, all sense of shame leaves me and I will do almost anything. If it's in the script.

5. I have only ever been overseas once, and that was at the start of this year.

6. At school once I got invited by a kid in my older brother's class to take part in some Dungeons and Dragons gaming when he found out that I was reading some JRR Tolkien. I waited until he went into the library and then ran like hell down the stairs and to freedom. Those gamers are freaks, man.

7. I have only ever voted for John Howard once. (I voted for Mark Latham because he amused me.)

8. I prefer winter to summer.

I tag everyone!

Abhorrent upgraded to Appalling

North Melbourne Station, Tuesday afternoon:

"They took all the seats out today!"
"They actually took all the seats off this platform today! The Government actually went out of their way to make this station less convenient for us!"
"No! They're just upgrading. Twit."

Well, I deserved it for whingeing at that guy, who was just standing on the platform (where the seat used to be) with his nose buried in the paper. Though I couldn't help but shudder at the use of that horrible public-service euphemism, "upgrading".

On Wednesday, the seats had been pulled up out of the four other platforms.

On Thursday, the screen above the station told me the train was running twenty-five minutes late, so I didn't even bother going down onto the platform.

On Friday, nothing had changed.

Looks like the upgrading is going well, then.
Maybe I will start sneering in a patronising fashion at people who light up their cigarettes on the platform. That should upgrade the public transport experience even more.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The quality of Aunts

I'd like to put in a word for Aunts
In all their Auntly quality;
Performing various Auntly acts
Amidst their niecely and nephewite polity.*

Some Aunts are called Cheryl, and many are Beryl,
Some Aunts are called Hortense or Hester;
Some are married to Pritchards or Charlies or Bobs,
Some have titles like 'Doctor' or 'Lady of Leicester';
Some Aunts may dabble in checkers or scrabble,
Whilst others play mean hands of Canasta.

I'd like to put in a word for Aunts
In all their Auntly quality;
Performing various Auntly acts
Amidst their niecely and nephewite polity.

Some Aunts are workmanlike, blue-collar Aunts,
Whilst others are more white-collarly;
Some Aunts are sportish and tennis-courtish,
Others are much more scholarly.
But all of these Aunts, if they're worthy the name
Get along with their relatives jollily.

I'd like to put in a word for Aunts
In all their Auntly quality;
Performing various Auntly acts
Amidst their niecely and nephewite polity.

Yes, there is nothing better than an avuncular Aunt
In this world of chaos, cows, cods and calamity;
I fancy there's naught that an Aunt can't do
To bring her patented Auntly sanity,
Her fun and frivolity to the aforementioned polity
With perfectly Auntly amity.

I'd like to put in a word for Aunts
In all their Auntly quality;
Performing various Auntly acts
Amidst their niecely and nephewite polity.

*Indeed, I myself have several such Aunts
Whom I admire to the point of idolatry

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Craption contest

See if you can come up with some non-witty text to go with this not-very-interesting picture. The unfunniest entry wins a hot date with my neighbour's cat and a copy of the Flinders Street to Upfield Train Timetable.

Suggested Craptions:

"Yes, we are having nice weather today."
"Hello. I am Kofi Annan."
"Let me talk to you about UN policy on international trade."
"We are deeply concerned..."

Sock Jocks!

Sock Jocks: they're the sartorial commentators who cram our airwaves. You may love them, or hate them, or disagree strongly with their sock-based opinions, but you've got to admit, they get you talking! Let's take a look at some of the best known Australian sock jocks...


QUOTE: "People who wear differently-coloured pairs of socks should be shot!"

POLITICAL LEANING: Generally in favour of Conservative sock wearing, but unpredictable. Has a thing, for instance, for the wearing of pantaloons 'In the right circumstances'.

WEARS: Blue socks, with white spots.

QUOTE: "I mean, wearing socks with sandals? That's a bloody outrage, mate, and nobody who calls themselves a real Australian would even think of committing such an outrageous crime as that."

POLITICAL LEANING: Again, his sock opinions are generally conservative. Likes Rugby socks in particular, but not if they are dirty. Is said to have a particularly large collection of red socks that he never wears.

FACTOID: As a child, was made to wear purple-and-pink striped socks to church and Sunday school by his mother, because she thought it made him look 'pretty'.

QUOTE: "But you know something, M? It's the children I worry about. All those little children, being raised in all manner of inappropriate sartorial circumstances that I just don't want to think about. Imagine, being made to wear those horrible fluffy-little teddy-bear socks for the first three years of your life! I mean, it would potentially traumatise you for all time! Someone should think of the children - and the socks they wear, of course. Never forget the socks."

POLITICAL LEANING: A self-styled 'moderate', Mitchell sometimes leans to either side of sock-politics, progressive or conservative, depending on which way the sock populists want him to go.

WEARS: Knee-high cotton socks.

QUOTE: "Whatever happened to the great Australian sock industry, Gladys? Now, I know that we live in a changing, globalised world, and that the Sock trade with other nations - especially those in Asia - is especially valuable, but I remember with increasing fondness the hemp-and-tweed socks that my mother used to lovingly make for me when I was a kid. Can't we go back to those simpler days?"

POLITICAL LEANING: Left-wing/progressive sock wearer, which means that he quite often wears socks with sandals and/or odd coloured socks, JUST TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

FACTOID: Has a habit of calling his left sock 'Mao' and his right sock 'Trotsky', especially when in the company of any of the Sock Jocks above.

WEARS: Most often, socks in the colour of the Soviet flag, or simply black socks to go with his shirt.

Yes: it seems our Sock Jocks are not going to go away. But when it comes to the vital question of the things that you wear on your feet that aren't shoes, where do you stand? Perhaps Sock Jocks have a place in society, after all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Attention, crossword people!

What's a five letter word for happenstance, beginning in X? Quick! No time to explain!

UPDATE! - While we're at it, can anyone think of a word to rhyme with ACTPLA?

FINAL UPDATE! - Oh! And if anyone can tell me a nine letter word, in which the second letter is capital J, and the fifth letter has an umlaut over it, meaning 'Zeitgeist', I'd be very grateful!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Jane Austen gets saucy

“I remember, when we first knew her in Hertfordshire, how amazed we all were to find that she was a reputed beauty; and I particularly recollect your saying one night, after they had been dining at Netherfield, ‘SHE a beauty! — I should as soon call her mother a wit.’ But afterwards she seemed to improve on you, and I believe you thought her rather pretty at one time.”

“Yes,” replied Darcy, who could contain himself no longer, “but THAT was only when I first saw her, for it is many months since I have considered her as one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance.”

He then went away, and Miss Bingley was left to all the satisfaction of having forced him to say what gave no one any pain but herself.

Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth talked of all that had occurred during their visit, as they returned, except what had particularly interested them both. The look and behaviour of everybody they had seen were discussed, except of the person who had mostly engaged their attention. They talked of his sister, his friends, his house, his fruit — of everything but himself; yet Elizabeth was longing to know what Mrs. Gardiner thought of him, and Mrs. Gardiner would have been highly gratified by her niece’s beginning the subject....

Oh, go on. Don't tell me it's not there.

UPDATE! - Added the preceding two paragraphs to give people a bit more context.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Quit while you're a header

Did you hear the joke about the blogger who had a great idea for a post title, but that was it?

In the Offices of Power

(Will Type For Food brings you this dramatic scene from within the offices of The Guardian.)


The office of the editor of the Guardian. The judicious eye of the Editor is being cast over the latest piece for the blogs, a small whinge by Howard Barker about public funding for his unpopular theatre company being cut. The words 'washed out Stalinist bureaucracy' are used.

EDITOR: Hmmm. Won't be needing this!

Editor picks up a large sheaf of papers titled 'Intelligence', and throws them into the bin.

The editor next turns to a rant by Richard Flanagan about Australian Government policy in the Northern Territory, cheerfully deploying adjectives such as 'draconian', 'racist', etc, before finally, in an excess of generosity, imputing the same reaction to the Australian media, even though they have been somewhat reluctant to use the phrases themselves.

EDITOR: Well. I've been wanting to do this for a while.

Picks up a disorganised sheaf of papers titled 'Accuracy and Truthfulness', and tips it into the paper shredder.

The editor turns next to the current piece by Anas Alkatiri lauding terrorist-group-come-government Hamas for the release of English journalist Alan Johnston from a hostage situation.
After considering it for a few seconds, Editor turns to several documents entitled, in turn 'Integrity', 'Fairness', 'Balance', 'Morality', etc.

EDITOR: At last! I've been needing to clean this place up!

Proceeds to set all of the documents on fire, feed their ashes through the shredder, and throw the scraps in the bin, pouring water on them, and mixing them up with a shovel into a uniform gray mulch, before feeding them to a bunch of kittens he keeps in the cupboard.

Just then, the Reviews Editor sticks their head through the door.

REVIEWS EDITOR: Actually, E., ever since we published a piece in the 60s favouring Chairman Mao, we pretty much haven't had to worry about any of those things.

BOTH: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Long pause.

EDITOR: You're fired.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Cereal Commenter

I had rice bubbles this morning, and porridge two days before that.

What's your favourite cereal? Serious cereal comments are welcome, as well as surreal serial comments.

An Alekhine versus Capablanca moment

What sort of a person talks on the phone during a game of chess? It's like watching television at the Sydney Opera House, or reading a book at the football game.

Yes, yes, I'm playing chess again. I was at a place on Smith Street on Thursday night, where they have an unofficial chess competition happening. I'm into the third game against this guy when he pulls out a mobile phone and starts yakking into it:

"Yes. I'm at the chess club, man. Do you want to come?"
"No. I'm playing a game at the moment. I'll be another twenty minutes."
"Okay. I'll see you here then. Tomorrow. Yeah, the chess club. It's on Smith Street."

Not that I'm knowledgeable about these things or anything, but I couldn't help pointing out to him after he put the phone down that we weren't at the chess club, and that they only had a chess competition here on Thursday nights.

"Oh," he said. "That was just my drummer."

But naturally.

One minute later he started furiously texting into his phone again, and I airily announced mate in one move. Not that I was being ostentatious, or anything. I mean, chess is just a game, you shouldn't get that obsessed with it, or anything.

Incidentally, some people prefer Anderssen's Immortal versus Kiesekeritsky, while for others Nimzowitch's famous zugzwang game is really what floats their boat, or one of Alekhine's come back games against Capablanca, but I'm more of a Lasker versus Napier man myself. I mean, the Sicilian Defence! Can you get any whackier than that?

Nature is Pretty #233

Or, a Life in the Day of a Butterfly

Just out of my chrysalis!
Flitting here and there
Bringing joy to girls and boys
Here, there, everywhere!

I am a pretty butterfly -
I shall live all week!
I think I might just rest here
Inside of birdy's beak.

I'm now in birdy's stomach,
And there's one thing you should learn:
Life and love are fleeting -
But gastric juices burn!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Tomato sauce on the streets!

It is supposed to be a place where fun and dreams are manufactured: but angry recriminations and violence occurred at the Alphabet Soup factory yesterday, when a worker was discovered to be hoarding all the Qs for himself. Will Type For Food brings you this exclusive report...

Je AQs!
The 'q' shortage was not noticed straightaway.
"We get the Qs outsourced to a letter factory in Korea," admits Mr Gludge (not his real name). "They do it at a cheap rate, but sometimes delivery times are a problem. So we have a back-up collection of Qs to help us through tough times."
Even when the factory had worked through a backlog of Qs, the disappearance of the letter was difficult to notice. "It was just one letter - amongst so many others!" admitted the worker in charge of letter quotas. "It took us a while to work out something was wrong."

Children rise up in anger
Then outraged letters from children all over the world began flooding in, demanding that the missing letter be returned, or they would boycott the product.
"IF YOO DONT GIV THE QS ABCK HOW CVN WE LERN TO WRITE RITE?" was the forceful wording of one letter.
Another youthful protester threatened to dive bomb the Alphabet Soup factory, send in army tanks, kick all the workers, and then have them eaten by a dragon.
"We were pretty scared," admitted a Gludge.
"We take all consumer feedback seriously."

Stormy Scenes
Stormy scenes followed, when management and staff held a meeting to discuss their concerns.
"Union bosses were angry at being confronted with what they saw as accusations, and an altercation occured," confirms one witness.
Management representatives agree with this, adding, "We got hit for six, and ended up in a vat full of Ps and Qs - without the Qs, obviously."
Then another member of management upended a vat of Vs, Ns and Zs all over a union official's head.

A Shocking Discovery
Amid all the ructions and shouting and spilled soup, several workers slipped up and landed on their backs. Imagine the surprise of management and staff when they saw about fifty or so Qs fall out of the pocket of a letter sorter from Section 8S named Perkins!
"We were all shocked" admits Gludge. "I mean, we knew that somebody had to have committed the crime - but Perkins?
That's when the full enormity of what he did began to sink in."

An Alphabet of Ten Letters
Subsequent investigations by management, union, and police revealed that not only had Perkins stolen all the Qs, but he had made a start in on the Bs and Ws as well!
Perkins shortly admitted that he was part of a worldwide Alphabet Terrorist organisation. His plan had been to gradually remove all letters from Alphabet Soup except for F, N, C, U, K, I, T, S and H, in order to "purify the English alphabet" and "make it impossible for children to say mean or nasty things."

Perkins will spend ten years in the local penitentiary, and has been ordered by the government to replace the letters he stole.

"It's a pity, really," says Gludge. "There was a grain of truth to what he was saying. We all have a responsibility to say more nice things to one another and stop abusing the English language. But that did not justify Perkins' taking the alphabet into his own hands."

Alphabet Terrorism is a growing problem in today's society. If you know or suspect somebody of commiting an alphabetical crime, please: contact the Alphabet Terrorism hotline on 000OOO. That number again is 000OOO. (Not to be confused with OOO000, the number for the Transnational Society for the Cultivation of Sludge, or 0O0O0O, the Lower Wapping Collective of Catfish Fanciers.)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

This Blog's on a roll...

I swear, my internet is so stuffed up at the moment. Every time I log on to do a post, blogger won't load up properly. Seriously!

Anyway, I've got a couple of posts coming up, spare time at work allowing and all that. Meantime, allow me to recommend a new blog for your rolls: SNARKEOLOGY. It's a blog where all the cool kids hang out, and me as well, and it includes this smashing Diagnosis Poem from Jo Blogs!

By the way, I have a question for everyone. You know that dessert where you peel a banana and fry it in butter, then roll it in cinnamon-and-sugar before having it with icecream? Well, how do you cook it so that the banana goes soft but doesn't fall apart, and the butter doesn't burn (so you can use it for sauce)?

Monday, July 02, 2007

A comment on comments

I like all your comments.

I like long, rambling conversations with whoever wants to talk.

I'm not deleting anybody or turning them away. Unless they're spam.

The end.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Conflict of Interest

"Oh my God, JW!" yelped the young advertising executive, waving a copy of the paper in his right hand. "There's actually an interesting article in The Australian Financial Review!"
JW, who happened to be editor of The Australian Financial Review, stared at the young advertising executive without a name and reached for the paper. He glared balefully at the front page for a few seconds before his hand snaked out and pressed the buzzer.
"Ms Genderstereotype!" he snapped. "Send in that young whippersnapper who did the front page feature today. Now!"
He punched one hand into the other aggressively.
"We'll give that little whippersnapper what for, for making a mockery of our No Interest policy..." he said slowly and carefully...

Jurassic snark, and other examples of enviro-psychopathy

Caz had a post a while ago introducing a spiffing new term to the environmentalist's lexicon, Eco-Suicide-Tourism. I'm not sure whether it applies to people who destroy the environment they travel to see, or people who travel to exotic locations just to top themselves, but perhaps we can go with both definitions.

Examples of Eco-Suicide-Tourism

Welcome to the Great Barrier Reef: one of the last remnants of natural beauty in a dying world! But that fragile beauty is slipping away as we watch it...

(What's that? Due to a wide range of government and community initiatives, it's growing back? Quick! Slip some of this Hydrosulfuric acid in the water! You can't expect us to get any more tourists if it starts growing back. It just ruins the fragile beauty of it!)

Welcome to the Galactic Apocalypse! Which form of Cosmic Extinction would you prefer?

a) Universal nuclear war.
b) Have a gigantic Quasar swallow everyone in this and the next couple of galaxies up.
c) Attack by a Supernatural army of Angels, Ghosts, and Demons.
d) All of the above.

(Please tick boxes as appropriate)

Welcome to Mount Everest: a pristine wilderness virtually untouched by man. Remember to stick to the asphalt path, please throw your rubbish in the bin (the Sherpas won't pick up after you, you know!), and whatever you do, don't forget to buy a brochure about Saving Mount Everest at the hotel at the foot of the mountain. Buy one for your friends as well!

Welcome to Chernobyl - site of one of the two most devastating nuclear accidents ever to have happened! Here are your geiger counter wristbands, and if you'll just step this way into the gift shop, you can get your radioactive reactor fragments. They come especially gift-wrapped - in lead!
You have reached the top of Mount Etna! For those who this is the most fulfilling and enriching experience of your lives, we'll be happy to take pictures! Would those who have cancer please step this way, and let us know if we will push or you will jump.

Welcome to the Jurassic Era. Please try not to sneeze on the dinosaurs. If it doesn't cause their imminent extinction and change the whole course of history, it will really piss them off.
Email: timhtrain - at -

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