Monday, November 26, 2007

The great short shortage

Today, I went to buy some shorts. There are people who say I should not have done it, and that they are a needless expense, but those people are mostly nudists.

UPDATE! - After rectifying this shortage of shorts by shopping for shorts at the short shop, I am wondering if I should shop for shirts at the shirt shop, or if shirt-shopping at the shop for shirts is a task I should shirk. Also, I am not sure that I am as short of shirts as I was short of shorts.

And please don't get shirty.

Pustules of purple Jenkins-shaped fungus

I've been sneezing a lot at work lately. Maybe it's because I've got a cold, though it could also be because Jenkins in administration is pollinating. One sign could be the fine haze of white mist that surrounds him when he goes to the photocopier.

If I get pustules of purple Jenkins-shaped fungus forming over my body in the next couple of days, I'll let you know. Thank you for your time.

The person I'm not, and you probably aren't either

People say you should be happy with what you are, but I think that's crazy talk. It's much easier to be happy with what you aren't. Take me, for instance: I'm not Saddam Hussein, and I couldn't be happier. See how I did that? I'm also not John Howard, and I'm cheerful about that; I'm not Adolf Hitler, and I'm over the moon about that; and I'm certainly not Richard Culvers-Jenkins, a man who you have never heard of, possibly because he isn't - and I'm absolutely ecstatic about that.

As a matter of fact, you could take this theory further. Not only should you be happy with the way that you aren't, but you should also be happy with the way that you weren't and the way that you won't be. That way, you get three for the price of one. You could also add to that list feeling positive about the way that you haven't been, being upbeat about the way that you will not be, and feeling relatively good about the way that you mightn't be, but let's not get too confusing here.

That way, whatever achievements you don't achieve tomorrow, and whatever mistakes you did not make yesterday, you can feel happy about it. And isn't that what we all want?

And remember: today is the first day in the rest of the life of the person you aren't (and possibly who he or she isn't, either). The end.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A street map for getting lost, and how to get the train ticket back again

Once I gave someone directions to the Melbourne Town Hall on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Bourke Street. Although, as it turns out, the Melbourne Town Hall is a block away, on the corner of Swanston Street and Collins Street: I had accidentally given them directions to the Melbourne old post office.

Though I have to wonder: did I give them the wrong directions to the right place, or did I give them the right directions to the wrong place? In such circumstances, I'm tempted to act a little like W C Fields does, in the film International House, when he attempts to fly to Kansas City and ends up in China. "I'm not lost! Kansas City is lost!" he cries, and helps himself to some nearby liquor. If I was in an expansive mood, I could claim that I wasn't the one who was mistaken, merely everyone who had built the GPO and the Town Hall, named the streets, compiled the street directories, (and so on).

And you have to wonder. This is a city where even the trains will lie to you: "We are now approaching Richmond Station!" the train will say, with all the confidence of brainless idiocy. You might be approaching Anstey, or Flinders Street, or Camberwell, or Dandenong, or Box Hill, or you might even be approaching Richmond: (they get it right once in a while, despite all their efforts to the contrary). Occasionally, you find yourself on a train that announces the stations you will get to in a couple of stops, but not the station you are arriving at now. "You are now approaching Flemington Bridge!" the train chirps in your ear, as you stop at Jewell. "Now approaching Macaulay Station!" the announcement will be, as you stop, most decidedly, at Royal Park Station. When the train actually does pull into Flemington Bridge, the announcement will be: "You are now approaching North Melbourne Station!"

But then, it's easy to get confused with the train stations; after all, we have a Richmond Station, a North Richmond Station, an East Richmond Station, and a West Richmond Station, but no South Richmond. What happened to it? Does this mean that South Richmond does not exist? That be a little like a man with an amputated left-hand saying that the direction 'left' does not exist. But where did it go? You can't lose a part of a suburb just like that. Has it been temporarily misplaced? Will it one day appear back into fully functional existence, a train station where previously there had been none?

Once, tantalisingly, I took a trip on the Upfield line into the city, only to be informed as we wound our way slowly down that track, "You are now approaching North..." The train never completed its message. It was probably referring to North Melbourne, but with that level of ambiguity, it could also have meant Northcote; North Richmond would fall into its list of possibilities, as would North Brighton, or even North Williamstown. Maybe we were even, amazingly, approaching the abstract concept of 'North' itself, that mystical place that lies somewhere to the north of the north pole. You can never tell with Melbourne public transport...

Melbourne's streets are, as someone once said to me, 'deceptively straight', and Melbourne's suburbs are equally guilefully named. We have suburbs named Fitzroy, and Brunswick, and St Kilda, and we have a Fitzroy Street, a Brunswick Street, and a St Kilda Road. But Fitzroy Street runs through St Kilda, and Brunswick Street runs through Fitzroy, and St Kilda road runs through neither (well, to be fair, it touches on the outskirts of St Kilda at one point*). Brunswick even boasts a Sydney Road.

Anyway, the possibilities for confusion here are obvious, and epic: it would be easy to direct someone mistakenly to the Brunswick Street, on the corner of Sydney Road and Fitzroy, or to St Kilda Street, on the corner of Fitzroy Road and Brunswick, or even to Brunswick Road on the corner of Coburg and Sydney. Nothing would be stranger than to find the city of Sydney nestled in one of the suburbs of Melbourne, but I wouldn't put it past my city...

All of which is to say, I guess, that I should never be trusted to give directions. If I ever end up giving you directions to a location in Melbourne (or elsewhere), just do something different, and you'll probably end up in the right place.

Take it from me.

*Be quiet, pedants! For the purposes of this post it does!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My day so far, as a conceptual free-verse poem























h... ooooooooooooooooooooooh, wait.


Still hot.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Don't hedgehog your bets, and other helpful advice

At work the other day, somebody was saying, "A. has been badgering B. all week, so B called A back...". Although they probably meant that B was being persistently annoyed by A all week, I immediately had an image of A hurling live badgers at B until they got a response. And let's face it, throwing badgers at someone would be annoying. (Not just for the badgers - for the people, too)

I then got thinking about other phrases like this. If you or I are described as being 'dogged by rumours', it could either mean that

a) we are annoyed by stubborn rumours,

or b) that those rumours have actually turned us into a dog.

Although, in the case of b), to be entirely accurate, you would have to say that you or I have been "Beagled by persistent rumours", or "Poodled by persistent rumours," or "Chihuahuaed by persistent rumours," or even "Braque du Bourbonnaised by persistent rumours."

When we 'beaver away' at something, this is commonly understood as applying ourselves to a task with thoroughness and hard work. Though it could mean that we are simply giving birth to beavers while supposedly applying ourselves to the task. "How is the photocopying going, Fred?" someone would ask. "Oh, I'm beavering away," Fred would say as another beaver wriggles out of his shirt. Or, as was recently pointed out to me, you can 'squirrel something away' as well: meaning that you either store it away or put it in charge of an official at the local Squirrel Bank.

And so it goes. People who sell things in the street are sometimes described as 'hawking their wares' (turning them into hawks?) Cowardly people are 'chickens', though I'm not sure how many develop feathers and lay eggs. People who gloat are 'crowing', so it's good to encourage others not to crow too much: otherwise they might turn into one.

And who knows? Maybe there was a time in the development of the English language when burghers in various villages and hamlets and homesteads would throw badgers at one another, or go about beagling or chihuahuaing their friends, or spontaneously give birth to beavers. It's undoubtedly something for the etymologists out there to look into.

Though I wouldn't hedge, or even hedgehog, my bets on it - the currency would have an annoying habit of crawling away (or possibly sprouting foliage.)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Concrete poetry

On concrete architecture

Many fine buildings
Are constructed from concrete.
Some are in Russia.

Beauty and concrete

Concrete, that sublime
Mix of cement and pebbles:
It makes my heart sing.

My favourite bit

My favourite bit
Is the bit where they put the
Pebbles in it.

That sweet word

When you say 'Concrete',
That sweet word, I want to dance
And sing hymns of praise.

Concrete has some slight drawbacks

Once, my car got caught
In wet concrete. But that was
More my fault than its.

A heartfelt wish

I would like to make
My bed out of concrete, with
Slag for a blanket.

Need I say anything more?

Concrete. Concrete. Con-
crete. Concrete. Concrete. Concrete.
Concrete. Concrete. *Sighs*

101 Poems About Concrete, published by Harper and Snellsbury, is available in all construction poetry vendories now. The above poems, 'The concrete haiku', were written by labourer Bob Slugdman, who earned minor infamy for his much-publicised and controversial 'The Love Sonnets of a Brick'. They will be published in serial form on this blog on the 31st of this month.

Friday, November 16, 2007

McCrappy Day

Bad morning, everyone. I'm at work - just got here at two minutes to seven. First thing I know, I'm greeted by the leering visages of the Channel Nine morning show presenters and their fatuous quizzes. This morning, apparently, they are asking their viewers,

What is your favourite piece of useless information?

Useless information? Feck off!

I can't wait for lunch. Then I'm going to slouch off up the street with my copy of Tory magazine The Spectator and weep at the downfall of western civilisation.

I'm not even in a bad mood - it just feels good to sound cranky. I hope you all have a day as good as mine, if not even worse!

Thursday, November 15, 2007




When -

However (


And then:

All of a sudden;

So -

The end.

(Part of a long-running serial. Second episode coming soon - as soon as I get a thousand pounds of chocolate in my post box, that is.)

Important breaking news of importance

Well, it's been several weeks, but finally the big media are starting to ask the serious questions in this election campaign:
Howard reveals secret of walk

Prime Minister John Howard has revealed the secret of his regular morning walks, telling an FM radio crew: "You just put one foot after the other".

"It's very, very simple. Anybody can do it," Mr Howard told the DJs, who became the latest to gatecrash his pre-breakfast exercise.
Hopefully, in days to come we will get down to brass-tacks analysis of John Howard's controversial 'one foot after the other' policy, with a focus on the ramifications of this policy for the future of Australia. We can expect, too, to see Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd come out with a similar-but-different Labor Party Walking policy, focusing on 'letting one's left and right feet alternately fall to the ground.'

On the one hand, it is true that John Howard has a tried-and-true walking policy, tested through several elections. On the other hand, it may be that we can not let him go on walking as he always has, or who knows what he might walk into? The country's future is at stake here.

However, as a wise man once said, "In the land of the blind, the one-legged man has one leg." Or, to put it another way, "If you want to walk the talk, then don't forget to put your shoes on." And I think that just sums it up nicely, don't you?*

UPDATE! - I just asked my flatmate the following question: "If John Howard came and did your dishes and your ironing, would you vote for him?"

He laughed and seemed uncertain, which gives some indication as to how uncertain the results of this election still are!

*Don't answer that.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Morish sentences

1. You have reached the end, go ahead.

2. To say I am indifferent would be an exaggeration.

3. These underpants are growing on me - I think they're still alive.

4. Some people say a lot with a little, he says a little with a lot.

5. Do exoskeletons have underwear?

6. Climacterix, meet Asterix.

7. Better out than inverterbrate.

8. Quod erat demonstrandum, reductio ad absurdum or vice versa?

9. I don't go in for abstinence, it's addictive.

10. Tomorrow never comes, yesterday is late, lunchtime is all-too-infrequent, and eleven o'clock never seems to go away.

11. Mr Crowe, for your next role, we would like you to play a Thinly Veiled Portrait of yourself.

12. "I wish I could say the same for you," I said to myself.

13. I never thought it was possible, but those underpants are an overstatement.

14. Sorry to convenience you, I'll be sure to disorder things more thoughtfully next time.

15. Vice, meet versa.

16. Dr Zandig pointed the gun at him, and everything came to an abrupt.

17. She was so coy that even her unconsciousness wore underpants.

18. I am known by many names: two, to be precise; three, to be exact; four to exaggerate.

19. So, you say you're God, hey?

20. For viol crimes against fiddling, he died, strung out on his own dischord...

21. Once you have reached the beginning, please stop.

Not good, not advice

Are you sitting uncomfortably? Good. Then we'll begin.

Well, we're approaching Schoolies time again - yes, that time of year when thousands of school children, from right across the nation, happy and jubiliant after having finally conquered their end of year exams, flock to the Gold Coast in order to get pissed, wasted, blasted off their heads, high, trippy, stoned, coked, snowed, or spaced in a completely responsible and adult fashion. Yes, it's certainly an exciting time in your life when you have finished school, and made even more exciting by the incredible stress that you've been through in the past year, as well as the fact that you've probably already become fixed, baked, bombed, totalled, tripped out, smashed, plastered, or ripped in order to get into the cheerful atmosphere of fun and frivolity that Schoolies has always been associated with.

But apart from getting zonked, zoned out, smashed, dazed, stonkered, blind, charged, narked, unconscious, delirious, potted, psyched, hyped, or junked up, you'll also be finding that you'll have to make some important choices, and those important choices will have to be the right ones, otherwise there's a strong possibility that they may be the wrong ones. I mean, sure, you're there to have some fun, and maybe make some friends, and certainly, as responsible and caring adults it's okay to hug, kiss, fondle, grope a bit, pash, go down, go up, go around, go to bed, go behind, on top, below, sitting, standing, kneeling, spooning, piledriving, or leapfrogging, but only if you have a condom on (you can get one from your teacher, though before you do that, stop and think - it might be a better idea to get several): and more importantly, only if you respect one another in the morning.

And after all, it's important to realise that your actions have decisions. So as the Schoolies make their way through the Gold Coast, you'll have to try to remember a few important rules:
Vomit thoughtfully, with all due respect to the people you may be vomiting near, besides, above, below, around or onto.

Drugs can be dangerous, so it's important, if through no fault of your own, you or your friends get stoned, zonked, wasted, shitfaced (etc, etc), do so in a moderate, adult-like and considerate fashion, so that you have one or two brain cells left over for the morning.

Remember, other people on the Gold Coast may be trying to peacefully live their lives, so if you must run riot, vandalise, smash cars, public monuments, statues, or town halls, or put graffiti on walls, in halls, on famous works of art, hoot like hooligans, shout, sing football songs, throw rocks, or just smash stuff with bricks, do so in a loving, creative, sensitive, cultured and peaceful way that emphasises your commitment to civil society, and in such a way earn your fellow citizens' respect.

Think before you urinate, and then urinate.

Importantly, don't smash stuff up and burn it unless the fumes aren't toxic.

And of course, as in all such events, there will be a mean-minded and nasty few people who try to take advantage of the circumstances and join in the celebrations even though they are not schoolies, so don't be afraid to dob these people into the police. Of course, others will simply have been doing year 12 for the last 20 years after having blown their brains out at every schoolies celebration. These people are fine and upstanding citizens and worth getting to know, as they probably have a wealth of worldy knowledge (and other things) to share with you.
So basically, Schoolies are the end of an important period of your life, but they're also the start of other important periods of your life. Some people at Schoolies will go on to university, a place of learning and knowledge and culture where people gather in bars and clubs and get stoned, zonked, pissed, stonkered, blasted, wasted, tripped out, happy, high, or smashed, as well as kiss, hug, fondle, grope, go down, go up, go around, in small friendly groups of ten or twenty at a time. Others will enter the university of life, and find a job which pays respectable wages that barely enable them to pay off rent while maintaining a happy and productive party lifestyle in which they get pissed, wasted, bombed, baked, blissed, while making boning, schtupping, copulating, fooling around, getting caught in flagrante delicto, making the beast with two backs, mateing, procreating, and so on.

Schoolies, in other words, is a time for choices. It's a time for respect. It's a time for growing up . And learning. And loving. It's a time for breaking out. It's a time to challenge conventions. It's a time for self-esteem. A time for fluffy bunnies. It's a time for... (sorry, I got carried away there.) And remember, even though there are some strange weirdos who choose not to go to Schoolies, and stay at home, and read books, or study, or get ready for uni, it's a valid lifestyle choice, and one to be understood with compassion and empathy while you carry on with zonking your brains out and getting wasted and coupling up and... (etc, etc)

And finally, in the words of your parents who care for you and love you (and probably pour craploads of money into your account to fund your natural youthful ebullience), "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye".

So don't lose an eye.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The bookshelfless

My first bookshelf in Melbourne was mostly books without shelf. I just put the books on the floor, that little known item of the house we mostly use to walk on. It served the purpose well, apart from the fact that books started spreading about everywhere and tripping everyone up as they came and went.

My second bookshelf I got just a few weeks ago, from IKEA. It hung together, in a sense, but more importantly, it had actual shelves for the purpose of shelving the books. Up they went, in no particular order, and they stayed there, more or less. The bookshelf seemed to serve its purpose adequately, albeit with a somewhat curious habit of creaking when the north wind blew, and growling at odd hours of the night*.

Today, I got about to the task of reshelving the books, sorting them in alphabetical order according to author. It's a habit I got into in Newcastle, principally because it allowed me to file the Bible away under G, for 'God' . As I was putting the books up this afternoon, all of a sudden, I found the shelves developing a rather alarming proclivity to display floor-like tendencies. That is, they all tended to fall towards the floor, presumably for the purpose of becoming one with the floor.

It's disturbing to think what would happen if the floor suddenly thought it was the ground, or the ceiling suddenly thought it was the walls, or the walls suddenly thought they were both. One tends to assume that common household items like floor and walls and shelves stay where they are and serve a single purpose. Maybe I encouraged the bookshelf to develop it's floorwards tendencies by my original habit of doubling up my floor as my bookshelf, but I ask you! Is it really too much to get a bookshelf from IKEA and expect it to stay that way?

It really does make you wonder whether it's better to have a bookshelf entirely without shelves, or maybe a shelf entirely without books: a bookshelfless or a booklessshelf. (Either way seems a little pointless.)

Anyway, in the process of restacking my books and my shelfs (which I for the moment did eventually get done), I racked up some interesting statistics:

- An impressive collection of works by S J Perelman, got over the period of little more than two years, and including one almost-impossible-to-procure edition of a Perelman musical written in collaboration with Ogden Nash**;

- Two editions of Hillaire Belloc's 'Cautionary Verses', one with illustrations by Belloc himself, the other with illustrations by Quentin Blake.

- A decent collection of James Thurber books - but by no means large enough.

- Two books by Flann O'Brien, which may have to be remedied (by which I mean, I need to get more, not that I need to give the books medicine).

- A growing collection of Raymond Chandler mysteries. (I would get more but for the fact that Chandler died before he could write many more of them.)

- A decent collection of works by C S Lewis, omitting some of his most tedious Christian apologetics.

- Poetry by Edmund Spencer, Wystan Hugh Auden, Langston Hughes, Wendy Cope, Walter de la Mare, Sophie Hannah, Edward Lear, and others.

- A growing collection of 'New Yorker' magazines, and assorted issues of ' The Spectator', 'Viz', and 'The Bulletin'.

- Various zines.

All in all, not bad for three years without shelves but by no means without books.

*Which is cool, because everyone knows if something like a bookshelf falls on you in your bed, you don't die, you just get all flattened out, like Flat Stanley. Which is cool.

**They really do look natty, what with their 50s and 60s covers and fonts. Plus, two have illustrations by Al Hirschfield. Do I sound like a wanker yet?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

This is not a word game

Prime Minister John Howard has accused Labor of playing word games over whether he should apologise for this week's interest rate rise. - The Age
Well, I for one am glad that the playing of word games by our Federal Politicians has finally been exposed for everyone to know about it. The corruption of word games has reached endemic levels, and it's not clear what, if anything, we can do to stop it.

When questioned on the Prime Minister's charge of 'word games', Mr Rudd stated: "For the record, I am no cunning linguist, but nor is the Prime Minister a master debater. This is just another one of his cunning stunts, but so is he - and spooner or later, he will be found out."
Recent examples of the playing of word games include the frequent use of 'Animal, Vegetable or Mineral' by Federal Shadow Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett, when questioned on Labor's policy for the environment.

Meanwhile, upon appearing at a recent debate between the Industrial Relations Minister, Joe Hockey, and the Shadow Industrial Relations Minister, Julia Gillard, Abbott delivered a series of anagrams upon Julia Gillard's name that he had been working on.

"Did you know that JULIA GILLARD rearranges to LAUD JAIL GIRL? No? How about DUAL JAR GILL I, LARD JAIL LUG I, DIAL RAJ GULL I, or even A JAG LURID ILL? No? Well, it just goes to show why the Coalition's Industrial Relations Policy is better than Labor's" said Hockey. "Thank you very much."

Horrifyingly, when asked to comment on the rise of word games in politics, Mr Howard and Mr Rudd failed to comment, as they were locked in 'tightly fought' games of Scrabble with their respective members of staff, apart from saying that 'The next game of Scrabble will be hard fought, and a close match...'

It is possible that the playing of word games by our Federal Politicians may finally be reaching a crisis point: upon attending a launch of a school for blind children recently, Tony Abbott offered to play 'I Spy, with My Little Eye' with several of the children present. Not realising his mistake instantly, he even began to offer them a game of Pictionary, but pulled himself up at the last minute.

However, we may also be on the verge of a new era of decadence. If proposals by prominent members of the Labor Cabinet are acted upon, we would see Labor policy in future released as a Findaword, allowing people to pick out only the policies which they find popular, and leave the rest.

Only time will tell...

Friday, November 09, 2007

noitnetta ot gnidnatS

On my way from work yesterday I noticed a statue of a soldier standing to attention horizontally in the back of a ute. It was there again this morning, still standing to attention horizontally. Standing to attention horizontally for the term of your natural statue life seems a rather sad fate. Why not standing at ease horizontally, or lying to inattention? If the soldier is not careful, he'll graduate from standing to attention horizontally to standing to attention upside down, which nobody wants.

I thank obsessively. Which is to say, I found myself today sending a lot of emails to work contacts using the term

thanks very much guys!

How many times can you thank somebody in the same way before it doesn't mean anything? You can go 'thanks heaps' or 'thanks a lot' or 'thanks a million' or 'thanks a bunch' or just 'thanks'. You can say 'thanks awfully', but how do you thank someone in an awful fashion, and wouldn't that be rather awful for all concerned? You can offer 'thanks terribly' or 'thanks frightfully', but wouldn't thanking somebody frightfully involve a ghost? Could somebody help me with this frightful dilemma? Thanks frightfully, guys...

Apparently someone from work today was resigning. 'She will be sadly missed' said the email.

'Sadly missed'? Maybe she had an office nemesis, which would suggest that, instead of being sadly missed, she would be happily missed. If she had left because of coming into a small fortune, she would be enviously missed, or perhaps even green-with-enviously missed. If she left owing other people money, she would be angrily missed; and if she left with someone else's boyfriend, she would be furiously missed.

Though in the case of myself and most other people at the office, we didn't so much know her, but had encountered her at the office occasionally, and although we are aware of her physical absence, it doesn't affect us much either way. So really, she will be indifferently missed.

Bet the soldier is still standing to attention in that ute now.

Stupid soldier.

... and then I did the Thesaurus...

I've been playing charades. Charades is a game where one player imitates a famous book or a movie or a famous person or a famous person's dog, and the other players imitate interest. When one of the other players guesses what book or movie or person or dog you are imitating, you swap, so they get their turn to imitate somebody, and you get your turn to imitate interest*.

Say, for instance, you were to imitate Hemingway's famous book A Farewell to Arms. One way to do this would be to have your arms drop off.
"Oh my God, your arms have dropped off!" will shout one person.
"Get a doctor!" shouts another person.
"Hemingway!" shouts a third. "A Farewell to Arms! Good one, old bean!"
There is, however, a slight danger that one of the other players could mistake your gambit and think you're imitating the medical textbook, 'So - you've lost an arm', or that famous marital handbook, 'Marriage: is it worth losing an arm and a leg for?'** And then, what have you got, but a ruined game of charades and a pair of arms in the wrong place?

Some titles present quite a challenge to the ordinary charades player. For instance, if you were given the book The Old Man and the Sea, you would first imitate an old man and a sea, and then you would imitate a a definite and an indefinite article, and then the other players would imitate losing interest (easier than imitating interest). Then again, if a player is given George Orwell's 1984, all they have to do is imitate the number 1984, (or the number one, one thousand nine hundred and eighty four times), and the title will be easily guessed.

Once I was playing charades with a person who was given the title Oxford Modern English Dictionary to imitate. In turn he took on the character of a famous English college, something Modern (I'm not sure what, I think it was by Dali), an English man, and you don't want to know what he did for the word 'Dictionary'. Later, he was given An Illustrated History of the Great Wall of China, and he did give a performance as a Chinese-speaking wall, but it wasn't that great - and so he had to sit down.
On another occasion, he attempted to convey to us (through a series of tableaus involving money and facial expressions) Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. But we mistook 'Sensibility' for 'Sentimentality', and so he failed there, too.

This same person once gave the single most bravura performance I have ever seen: he was given the book title A Children's Alphabet, and proceeded to successfully imitate every single letter in the alphabet in succession, only to get transfixed on the lower-case 'v'. By this time, however, every other player had become bored and were doing quite a successful imitation of Raymond Chandler's first novel.

On the whole, I don't think charades has too much to recommend it, but it's still an enjoyable game. I'd play it again, but whenever I suggest it to others, people suddenly seem to have a sudden, inexplicable interest in the sport of lawn bowls. Such is life.

*Imitating interest is not as easy as it doesn't look, that's all I can say.

** A mistake often made by dyslexic people, and quite dangerous too - as it often doesn't leave me with a leg to stand on.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Exchange of unpleasantries

Go forth and stultify.

Live short, and don't prosper.

Spank you very much.

How wonderful to leave you at last.

Nice to eat you.

Your reputation precedes you, as does your smell, by approximately 20 metres.

I the opposite of love you.

What a good boy you aren't.

O what a horrible morning,
O what a terrible day,
O what a vomitous feeling -
I wish you'd just go away.

When they write the book of your life, I'd buy it - mainly to enjoy the ending.

Come in, come in. Cup of tea? One lump of poison, or two?

Monday, November 05, 2007

More sentences

1. I was about to interrupt, before I was interrupted...

2. "I prefer neurotica to erotica," she sighed, gazing into his eyes in search of an incipient trauma.

3. I am second place getter in a second place getter competition!

4. That was a nice mistake, let's make another.

5. Don't say it: the sentence is longer than your mouth.

6. These shoes are appallingly useless: they have a hole in the top big enough to put my foot through!

7. A pleasure to eloquise with you, my loquacent friend.

8. Animal, vegetable, mineral, or me?

9. If you go fishing for compliments, the compliments you get are fishy.

10. I ate the original can of Campbell's soup.

11. In the beginning was the sonnet: the sequence that followed was just a bloody rip-off.

12. Dies irae, dies illa, solvet saeclum in favilla, teste David, cum Sibylla, and did I mention I bloody well hate spring?

13. Life-threatening medical syndrome in search of a doctor to be named after: contact via email.

What your trousers say about you (behind your back)

I don't know much about clothes and clothes don't know much about me. (Then again, I'm that stupid that I often find nudity ambiguous.) But after a recent conversation, I've started to notice something strange: the amount of clothes with oddly descriptive names, with an emphasis on the odd.

Now, don't go on at me, please: it's not just things like 'underwear' (that you wear under other clothes), or 'dresses', (so called because you dress in them). There's a whole class of other items of clothing with stranger names.

Witness, for instance, the 'jumper': a type of dress that you jump up and down in, like a trampoline. Also: 'sweaters', which are actually items of clothing that perspire whenever you walk into the room. 'Saucy Underwear' are underpants with a wide variety of chutneys and mayonaisses in them; 'pantaloons', on the other hand, are pants with an idiot in either trouser leg. (And 'Pom Poms', obviously, are a pair of British citizens who sit on your head.)

There are 'rings': jewellery that you put on your fingers that perform phone calls. There are 'pants' - things that you put on your legs that make a noise like a dog. 'Singlets', obviously, are what you wear when you don't have a boyfriend or girlfriend to pair up with; and 'doublets' are what you put on when you find one. 'T-shirts' - as my father's recent missive undoubtedly indicates - are actually 'tea shirts', clothes that you wear, either when drinking ceylon tea or eating dinner.

Some types of clothes appear to perform useful household functions. There are 'sweeping necklines', which are necklines on your dress that sweep up the dust from the corners of the room with a broom and deposit it in the bin; and there are 'plunging necklines', which are necklines that take to the sink or the toilet with a plunger in order to clean the pipes out. Clearly, 'knickers' are lacy underwear that thieves put on before going out to steal rare diamonds from the museum. They don't wear anything else except, perhaps, 'sneakers', to facilitate their sneaking. Private investigators would wear a 'watch' frequently, since not only would it tell the time, but it would keep an eye on their suspects as well. 'Holey socks' - or, to put it more accurately, 'holy socks' - on the other hand, are only worn on Sundays, and the wearing of them makes one closer to the Holy Lord.

It's pretty obvious from all these names that clothes have plenty of hitherto undiscovered social purposes and powers, and that if only we donned our sweeping necklines when doing housework, or our saucy underwear when dining, then things would go fine. You wouldn't want to get confused, though. After putting on their knickers (to knick things), thieves would have to be careful not to put on a pair of 'slippers' on their feet (since they would be sure to slip up). 'Saucy underwear' would clearly be fine at a dinner party, but would be rather more difficult to use in the bedroom when making love. And it's unclear when your 'pantaloons' - your twin pair of idiots in either trouser leg - would be socially useful. (Perhaps never).

However, it's clear that a plumber can't go far wrong in wearing a 'plunging neckline', just as a cleaner would never go wrong in wearing a 'sweeping neckline'. It's all a matter of context.

So please don't get shirty with me and sock me in the face - I'm just reporting the facts!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Socks! Socks! Socks!

Would you trust a man who wears socks like this?

Plenty more socks where these came from, in the latest Will Type For Food periodically periodical periodical.

Yes, that's right - I've got a new zine out! The Coburg Sock Lovers Quarterly, containing the best and the worst (but mostly the worst) of this blog, plus with bonus crap, including a Sock Crossword, a page of Sock Facts, the Sock of the Month, an opinion column by a radish, and a Nazi Gerbil. Coming soon, to a post office box near you!

Think you might be interested in this publication? Write to me, at

timhtrain at

Alternatively, you could just run screaming for the hills. Whatever makes you happy...

A disquisition concerning eggs

This is an egg:

Eggs are commonly produced out of the bums of chickens, or, in the technical parlance of the egg industry, 'the bums of chickens'.

Typically, eggs are small in size and ovular in shape. This is because chickens bums are small in size and ovular in shape, and so it all fits nicely. It wouldn't make much sense for a chicken with an ovular bum to lay a cubic egg, would it? However, if God ever invented a geometrical species of bird with a square bum, we might expect to see cubic eggs being laid. (Similarly, a triangular-bottomed bird would lay pyramidical eggs; and it is just possible that a bird with a perfectly circular bottom might lay perfectly cylindrical eggs.)

It is not known what thoughts go through the chicken's head as it lays the egg. This is because very few thoughts go through a chicken's head at the best of times, and they never know what they are thinking anyway - so how could we have any chance of doing better?

Eggs, therefore, are an extempore production by the chicken - an incidental production of their chicken-ness. The chicken does not sit down and think 'I am going to lay an egg'. Rather, it turns its mind to other chicken matters and clucks in an ovular manner*. Then, a feeling of utter satisfaction comes across the chicken, and the egg is produced. (If this is pointed out to the chicken, it will be faintly surprised.)

After this, the chicken is free to go off and perform other chicken activities, like pecking at seed, or standing and clucking in an aimless fashion for 19 hours or so.

It is not known how eggs first came about. One theory goes that at the dawn of time, a God-Chicken first laid the Primal Egg, from which the entire race of chickens were produced. However, this theory is disputed by another scientific school, who maintain that the God-Chicken itself came from an Uber-Egg. A third theory holds that in the beginning was Eggs Benedict, then Benedict went home and all that were left were eggs.

In other egg-related facts, my fridge used to have an egg in it, but I ate it.

Thank you for your time.

*'...clucks in an ovular manner': this helps to add to the ovular nature of the egg.
Email: timhtrain - at -

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