Thursday, July 31, 2008

If humans were amorphous amoebic watery blobs

If humans were amorphous amoebic watery blobs, would we relax in an Oozy Chair at the end of a long day? Would clocks tell the slime instead of the time? Would we call interesting people 'Drips' instead of applying that description to boring people? Would we, in fact, call our President or Prime Minister the Drip-in-chief? When we saw a friend arriving, would we greet them with the words, 'Here comes blubble!' Would we sing songs to our beloved every time we left one another, beginning with the words 'Parturition is such sweet sorrow...'

If humans were amorphous amoebic watery blobs, things would be a lot different. That's for sure.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Out now from SMACME products

Theirs was a fairytale wedding... and the separation was even better!

Now you have a chance to share in the memories of that beautiful break up with the Charles and Diana Fairytale Separation Tea Set, complete with this gorgeous handmade Separation Tea Towel, sold together as part of the prestigious SMACME catalogue!

This tea-set also includes:

- HIS and HERS tea cups, complete with legal documents proving that they really are his and hers!

- Bone china decorated with many of the most famous scenes from the Royal Separation, so you can relive your favourite moments of end-of-marital tension and barely-concealed anger, again and again and again!

Just call 1800 SMACME and ask to speak to one of our SMACME customer representatives!

Also currently on the SMACME range:
- "Men and women of Australia: IT WAS TIME!" - The Gough Whitlam scrapbook, as only the most embittered hacks and Labor Party communists remember him. (With bonus THE BUDGET THAT WASN'T economic crisis fun pack!)
- "Heath Ledger, as I allegedly knew him" - a memoir from the Friend of a Great Aunt who once met him at a family get together, or something.

Ian Thorpe

Everyone says it about him. Apparently it's a well known fact, and outspoken members of the group that he is a part of sometimes wish to challenge him about it. But how could they know? What on earth has Ian Thorpe been getting up to behind everyone's backs? What implications does this largely unacknowledged part of his life have to do with how he presents himself in public?

I think it's time this famous Australian was honest with the rest of us:

Is this prominent gay male in fact a closet swimmer?

Look closely at the photograph here. It's not only Thorpey we see here - in the background, we see a swimming pool. But what's it doing there? Does his mother know that he's been going to swimming pools in his spare time? What on earth would she have to say about it? Of course, there's nothing wrong with Ian Thorpe getting up to swimming in his spare time. Many people do it. But shouldn't he be honest about his passion for swimming? Otherwise, he may in fact be tacitly encouraging the swimmophobia of some Australians. And we wouldn't want that, now, would we?

Will Type For Food: asking the hard questions, questioning the hard answers.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Zealed the deal

I've just finished bashing out a review for the Australian Book Review competition. It started out with 600 random, pretentious and wildly incoherent words, so I added a few more to pad it out. Then, with wild puritanical zeal, I edited and honed and cut the whole shemozzle down into a readable version.

Then I found that I was some 194 words over the word limit.

I like these words as they are. They're nice words, wise words, witty words; they say what I want them to say, at the elaborate length that I like to say things at. They're - well, not exactly insightful, but I think there's some interest and entertainment in there.

Oh, and there's also this quote by Milhouse Van Houten:

"How could this happen? It started out like Romeo and Juliet, but it ended up in tragedy!"

Listen up, ABR - you don't want to get Milhouse angry, now, do you?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Abstract semiotic concept - This is your life!

*Cue cheesey theme music*

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this show for another exciting episode of 'Abstract semiotic concept - This is your life!' Today we're privileged to welcome to the show a very special guest indeed. He's appeared in all manner of documents, both private and public, and has been in our lives for - well, goodness me, I guess over fifty years now! He's classic, and yet distinctive, and elegant in his simplicity - and so, I'd ask you all to please: make warmly welcome to this show now - THE COURIER FONT!

(Applause and cheers. Courier enters, all smiles and looking just a little bit embarassed)

- Well, golly gee! I didn't think that you'd put on such a show for me, Tim!

That's all right! Only the best for our guests, I always say. Now, you've had a lot of jobs over your life, Courier Font, isn't that right?

- Very true, Tim. But you know what? I don't feel old at all. I think there's plenty of official files I have yet to appear in, and lots of letters left for me to head. I'm not ready to retire just yet!

(Laughing) That's fine, just fine. Anything you especially have your eye on?

- Oh, YES, definitely! I'd really like to branch out into love letters. Can you imagine it? "Dearest Marcia, I am deeply in passionately in love with you - so much so, that I've decide to make it official, and use a monospaced font!"

I can see it right now, Courier. I can't imagine why nobody has ever thought of it before. Well now, Courier, I'd like to take you back to an early time in your life. Way back to the 1950s. Tell me, can you recognise this voice?

"A letter can be just an ordinary messenger, or it can be the courier..."

- (Wrinkling brow) Wait, I know that... I know that...

Let me just play you a little more of it, Courier.

"... which radiates dignity, prestige, and stability.

- Oh my God! Can it be!

That's right Courier. It's Howard Kettler, or, as you might better know him...

- GASP! It's my dear old Dad!

(Howard Kettler bounds into the studio to loud audience applause, and embraces the font he has created. They both cry a little, and are obviously very emotional)

- DAD! It's so good to see you!

HOWARD: And it's so wonderful to see you, son! (Turns to audience, the pride evident on his face) I raised this font from a little tiny baby font into the proud working font he is today!

- (Weeping) This is the happiest day of my life!

Well, Courier Font, you should be proud of what you've achieved so far. But this is not the only person we've got to see you today. Can you guess who we've got to see you next? You'll find him in a lot of files, both official and unofficial. He's especially popular in comic books! He's by nature an unobtrusive fellow, but lends weight to the words of others. Who is he?

- I.... I'm not sure, Tim. I'm sorry. I can't guess.

Well, let's listen a little bit to his voice.

(In a hoarse Jewish accent) I knew that font from a little baby, I did. A little tiddler! And I always knew he'd amount to something big. That's what I said to Howard, on the day he was born, I said, "Howard - you've got a real live one there!"

Well. Can you guess now?

- (Laughing) How could I not recognise that voice, Tim? It's my dear old friend, BOLD!

BOLD: (Shuffling into the cameras amidst raucuous audience laughter and applause) Hey, how are you, nice to see an old fellow like me finally get a little recognition around here, that's what I always say!

- Bold! Bold! It's so nice to see you! When was the last time we worked together again?

BOLD: Ah Courier, my old friend - that would have been on the Fishlinger document! Though we can't speak about that here... that's confidential!

(Both share a laugh amongst themselves)

Tell me, Mr Bold, why are you using such little letters? Our audience can hardly hear you.

BOLD: No! What are you, some sort of a putz? I've got a cold, you idiot! I'm having to struggle to even make my voice this loud!

Oh, sorry.

BOLD: Ah, that's all right, sonny. Say, do you mind if I smoke in here?

That's fine, Bold, that's fine. This blog endorses smoking, passive smoking, and passive aggressive smoking.

BOLD: (Lights up, and then waves his hand in forgiveness) Ah, you'll go far, sonny boy!

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that's it for us today. I'd like you all to thank Courier Font...

- Thank you, thank you, it's been so wonderful meeting up with all my old friends...

And his father, Howard Kettler and his best friend, Mr Bold.

BOLD: (Bowing) Thank you, thank you boys and girls. Do you come here often? Try the veal, it's very nice...

In tomorrow's episode of 'Abstract Semiotic Concept - This is your life!' we'll have yet another prestigious and famous guest that you'll recognise from official documents. Don't forget to tune in then!

(Applause, cheers, Courier, Howard, and Bold all weep copious tears while cheesey theme music plays)

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Well, not really. But that's where this YouTube came from.

I actually feel quite nostalgic looking at this, with the fish and chip store, and the shabby bus, and the Hills Hoist. Pity they missed out on that other cliche, the Chiko Roll. Still, you can't have everything.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The ultimate death match: footballers versus gardeners

Cranky Kennett slams Seven
Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has described Channel Seven's refusal to televise Friday night's blockbuster clash between the Hawks and Geelong live as 'unacceptable'.

...Kennett, speaking on Melbourne radio station SEN on Wednesday morning, said Seven's decision was 'unacceptable'.

"They (Seven) are the ones with the football rights but blow me down we get a sell-out at the MCG - a blockbuster game not only of interest to Geelong and Hawthorn supporters but every lover of the game of the game - and they are saying instead we are going to watch gardening."

Well, it looks like the simmering tensions between footballers and gardeners have finally reached the point of no return. For years, of course, peaceful and law-abiding football citizens have been terrorised on the trains and the trams by the thuggish ways of the gardening supporters, roaming up and down the corridors, and arguing rudely about their favourite flowers. Gangs of Posie-lovers and Petunia-supporters have got into brawls outside the houses of old ladies, and children have been woken up after midnight by snarling chants of "W! I! S! T! E! R! I! A! WISTERIA! YEAH!"; or by drunken gardeners lurching down suburban lanes after fierce bouts of digging and watering, shouting the names of their 15 favourite species of Eucalyptus, skolling a beer after each one.

There are, of course, many unfair advantages that the gardening faction have over footballers. For instance, people are often allowed to have their own garden in their backyard. Footballers do not enjoy a similar privilege with football ovals. True, football ovals do not fit in the average suburban backyard, but this is another example of the bias inherent in our urban planning laws. Actresses often have roses thrown at them. But imagine if you threw a football at them - you'd never hear the end of it! Furthermore, gardening shows are often held in the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton. Football matches, however, are never held there.

It would seem that there are many examples of blatant pro-gardening bias in our current system of governance, aiding and abetting the Gardening Terror on the streets of Melbourne. It is high time this was stopped!


- Write to your local politician about the gardening menace. Speak to them of your concern.

- Agitate for the removal of propaganda such as Gardening Australia from our publically-funded television, and to have them replaced with nice, peaceful shows about footballers thumping one another.

- When you see a person setting up a gardening, watering a tree, or even just mowing a lawn, be brave. Speak to them about your concerns, and reason with them. Ask them, instead of planting a tree, why not turn the place into a football oval? This just might persuade them of your case.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday clerihews

Gregory Peck
Never said 'heck'.
This is sadly, not so,
For Russell Crowe.

K. Fed
Is well read
In marriage dismissals
And breakfast packet epistles.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Had a fire in his belly
From dining excessively on quince:
So he wrote The Prince.

Mick Jagger
Is a prodigal shagger
(Also, a prodigal marrier -
But that's proved no barrier.)

J. Lo
Is so-so
She sings,
And does various other interesting and not-so interesting things.

This is what I get up to with my spare time

Ginger biscuits and milo late at night are awesome.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Paradoxes of the space-timetabular continuum

Today I took a look at my work timetable for the week and discovered that I was scheduled to have a lunch break that began at one-thirty and finished at one o'clock.

In other words, I was scheduled to have a lunch break that was exactly minus thirty minutes long, a break that would end half an hour before the break began.

Quite aside from the fact that this is by far the shortest break that I've ever had in my entire life, I had to wonder at the mechanics. Theoretically, of course, if I travel faster than light, like the apocryphal inhabitant of Bright* -

There was a young lady from Bright
Who could travel faster than light.
She set off one day
In a relative way
And arrived home the previous night.

- I would easily be able to achieve this goal. But this would be rather difficult to achieve by my usual method of perambulation - not to mention exhausting. So, if I was to end work at the alloted time, before beginning my lunch break half an hour later, what would happen to the half-hour in between? Would it simply vanish into its own paradoxical vortex?

It's not all bad. Negative time is, of course, a boon for employers, and I'm surprised they haven't discovered it before. Workers could be allotted negative hours, thereby allowing employees to pay them in negative dollars - which would make their pay packets at the end of the week far less expensive. Workers, too, would benefit from the invention of negative hours, as theoretically, they could end work before they begin it. This would not cause them any financial loss (the money would simply be docked from what they would have earned from those hours if they had been normal). And think of what they might do with all that free time! Look for another job, perhaps....

Anyway. Let's take another look at that timetable, shall we?

You don't suppose they had meant to give me a lunch break beginning at 1.00 and ending at 1.30, do you? Or beginning at 1.30 and ending at 2.00?


Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Couldn't be! That would be just too crazy to even contemplate!

*The less said about the young lady of Ryde and her fatal gastronomic habits, the inhabitant of Aberwystwyth and her saucy encounter with the millers' son, or the nasty little grot from Nantucket, the better.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Conversation overheard in the toilets at the Trades Hall

HIGH-VOICED GUY: What this place really needs is a flute player.

LOW-VOICED GUY: It would really do something for the ambience.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thankfully, no

I can sing a carols, but can Carol sing Timothys?

I can roam the dales all day long, but can Dale roam the Timothys?

I can wear trilbies on my head, but do Trilbys wear Timothys on theirs?

I can put Martins on my feet, but do Martins ever put Timothys on theirs?

I can romp in the clover, but does Clover ever romp in the Timothys?

I can do things in any number of johns, but can John do things in any number of Timothys?

No, no, no, no, no and again no.

These all seem to be, thankfully, quite one-sided arrangements.

Public health announcement

Anorexia is fattening!

It's all in the delivery man

Every Friday afternoon at work, a man comes up the stairs and replaces the chocolates and the chips and the biscuits and the muesli bars in the lolly machine. I secretly envy this man: it must be nice, I think, to be the bringer of so much joy to so many poor and benighted office workers, the deliverer of happiness and light into the land of the wage slaves. That, I think as I bang away at another transcript, is what I want to be when I grow up.

But for all I know, the delivery man might think differently. He might have a bad back from shifting all those boxes of chips, and he might have aching legs, and a dental problem, and an ingrained aversion to chocolate, and a bad cold that he just can't shake off. This delivery man might secretly hate his job, and long to be a transcriber - banging away at another transcript.

I suppose, in a way, we are all delivery men.

Although, in another, more accurate way, I'm not a delivery man at all, I'm just a transcriber banging away at his transcripts every week. Still...

Friday, July 18, 2008

They walk amongst us

I just went into the toilets at work, and while I was there, another guy went into the cubicle next to mine. After I'd done what I needed to do, I got up to wash my hands. Just a bit afterwards, the guy got up too, and left the toilet - without washing his hands.

He's probably out there, right now. And he probably still hasn't washed his hands.

They walk amongst us, these people. Every day. There could be one sitting next to you - right now. You never know...

Gem has a post category called 'Important things the whole world should know'. This is one of those things.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Like a possessed baritone, I can't stop bloody singing it!

Messages. All ads have messages, no matter how subtle they may be. For instance, the promotional material at New Zealand Natural icecream has the message that if you eat their product, you will instantly transform into a slender 20-something girl leaping the bubbling brooks and climbing the snow-topped mountains of New Zealand. The ads for Eclipse chewing gum posted all over the city have a message that if you are an attractive young person, you will stand about wearing a shirt with an inane slogan on it (I don't think the chewing gum really has anything to do with this one). Previews for cars currently screeningg at the movies suggest that when you drive your car, you will for some reason start singing 1970s pop songs that were better left forgotten. It's all about the message.

But the message for a radio advertisement I heard yesterday has got me frankly baffled. The problem with radio advertisements is that you can't hear the commas, but this one is trouble enough with commas. It was a simple jingle, with innocuous words:

One three one
Double oh eight
Silvertop taxis
Why wait.

These words were repeated at higher and higher pitches for what seemed like five or six times. It's simple, eh? But what does it mean? Perhaps it should read:

One three one, double oh eight. Silvertop taxis? Why wait?

(Why bother waiting for Silvertop taxis anyway?)


One three one, double oh eight. Silvertop taxis: why wait?

(People driving Silvertop taxis, why bother waiting for a passenger? They'll never come.)


One three one, double oh eight. Silver? Top taxis! Why? Wait!

(After typing in a phone number: Hello Silver! You have top taxis! I'll tell you why after the break.)

Or again:

Why wait, one three one double oh eight? Silvertop taxis.

(Agent 131008, why are you standing around waiting? Catch the taxi!)

Or again:

One three one double oh eight silvertop! Taxis? Why wait?

(There are one hundred million and thirty-one thousand and eight people with silver hair dye in this city. On a completely unrelated matter, why wait for taxis when you can walk?)

Or again:

Won three! Won double! Oh, ate. Silvertop. Taxis? Why? Weight!

(I won three medals, one for a double event, at the recent track and field. Then I had a meal afterwards, of a fish called silvertop. Then I caught a taxi, because I was feeling a bit heavy.)

Or, then again, perhaps - but this really does seem to be stretching the interpretation into areas that it couldn't possibly go - perhaps the ad meant to say:

Our number is 131 008. We are the company Silvertop Taxis, and we have a speedy and prompt service. Why stand around waiting when you can use us?

Nah, couldn't be.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Benedict gets down wid da homies

Yo, listen up, yo homies at the WYD -
I'm the top o' the pops o' the Dioceses -
I'm bigga than the jiggaz in the White House, too -
You don't know me, homey,
Cos you don't got to know me -
I've got the keys to heaven -
I'm the P-O-P-E!

He's the P, O, P, E,

I got the news for protestants, and atheists, too -
You ain't lookin' for God, but God is lookin' fo you!
Look at you watchez, bitchez, cos yo time is up -
An you don't know me, homey,
Cos you don't got to know me -
I've got the keys to heaven -
I'm the P-O-P-E!

He's the P, O, P, E,

Fornication in this nation, it has got to stop -
For the devil is the Devil, an' he just don't hip-hop
An instead of fame and glory, he's in purgatory -
Yeah, you don't know me, homey,
Cos you don't got to know me -
I've got the keys to heaven -
I'm the P-O-P-E!

He's the P, O, P, E,

I'll blast yo ass to God, or I'll send yo to hell,
I'll cap yo for yo sinnin and make you confess, well
Heard of original sin? I'm the original sinner!
I say that black mass backwards seven times befo' my dinner!
I've done menial and venial and mortal sinnin', too -
Yeah, you don't know me, homey,
Cos you don't got to know me -
I've got the keys to heaven -
I'm the P-O-P-E!

He's the P, O, P, E,

Yo, listen up, yo homies at the WYD -
I'm the top o' the pops o' the Diocese -
I'm bigga than the jiggaz in the White House, too -
You don't know me, homey,
Cos you don't got to know me -
I've got the keys to heaven -
I'm the P-O-P-E!

He's the P, O, P, E,

Saturday, July 12, 2008

And stay up there!

Activists spend night perched up power station chimney

Four Greenpeace activists have spent a cold night sitting on top of a smoke stack at the Swanbank Power Station west of Brisbane.

The activists - protesting against coal-fired electricity - have been on the smoke stack for more than 24 hours after breaking into the power station early yesterday morning.
I think they should stay up there! Word is they were originally threatening not to come down until the Swanbank Power Station was shut down. Well, I'd like to send a message to the protesters right here and now (I'm sure they'll get the message - after all, they had time to put up blog posts and have a few mobile phone interviews with radio presenters). Protesters, the energy future of Australia is much too serious to stop now; you should stay up that power stack until the entire nation - no, the entire world - goes solar! Stay up there forever if need be!

It wouldn't be too difficult to find other reasons for them to stay up there. Why, we need to send out a strong message to the Labor Party that this is not a time to be flirting with nuclear energy, and what better way of sending out that message than for you to stay up that smoke stack? And what about the issue of mulesing? True, it's got nothing to do with Australia's energy future, but it's important, dammit - important enough to keep you guys up the smoke stack, that is!

I think we should send out a strong and appropriate message here and now to these protesters, who are - at least according to one radio interview - getting paid and recompensed by Greenpeace for their 'principled' actions: protesters, stay up that big old smoke stack and show the world how much you care... and we'll show you how much we care, too!

Friday, July 11, 2008

I still don't know

Sitting at the back of the tram, watching out the rear window as the city receded by, I noticed a rack on the wall with pamphlets sticking out. The text at the top of the pamphlets read, 'DID YOU KNOW...'

Maybe if I opened up the pamphlet, it would have answered the implied question with a completely inconsequential statement such as 'I really like buttons!' Or 'Today, I saw a cloud that looked like an elephant!' That would have been quite interesting, actually. Though more likely it would have been a mind-clobberingly-boring set of details about safety on public transport.

Preferring not to sully the good impression the pamphlet had left on me, I got off the tram a couple of stops later without picking one out of the rack, and headed up Normanby Avenue to my home.

Epigrams of the tax office

Better take the tax out of the man than the man out of the tax.


Taketh from the rich to give to the poor. Taketh from the poor to give to the politicians. Do not taketh from the politicians at all - are you crazy, man?


Honour thy father and thy mother. But don't forget to invoice them.


For every act, there is a time; for every town, there is a place; for every man, there is a tax file number, bank account details, serial code, collection of data, and crack investigation team ready.


Be as sly as serpents, and as gentle as serpents.


Everything that lives is holy. But only man produces money.


There is God, there is the Devil, and then there is the Health Department.


Tax the rich man more than he can afford, to give the poor man less than he needs.


A penny saved is a penny earned is a lucrative opportunity for broadening the tax base burned.


Conan, what is the best in life?
To tax the villagers and hear the lamentation of the women.


A vast and bloated bureaucracy is not nearly big enough.


Tax the rich in adversity: they can afford it.
Tax the poor in adversity anyway.


Time is best spent working. Work is best spent earning money. Money is best spent according to the whims of various government departments.


If it moves, tax it. If it stops, tax it. If it drops, tax the hell out of it. Then call for the ambulance, and tax them too. Then tax everything in sight. Then tax everything else.


The taxpayer who sleeps happily in his bed of a night is obviously cheating.


Pay up, or the budget gets it!


Tax is legal. Crime is not.


There is only one thing certain in this life - taxes. Death, on the other hand, is debatable.


Money doesn't make the world go around, but we're working on it.


The Lord giveth, and the tax office taketh away.


Destroy them all!


If you like looting and plundering, you might consider taking up a lucrative career with us!


The GST is AOK at the ATO!


Fairness has nothing to do with it.


Some tax is better than no tax. More tax is better than some tax.


KICS: Keep It Complicated, Stupid!


Thrift is an outdated concept.


Pay up, buster!


He suffered from a common form of madness: he thought he earned money for himself.


Tax is just the cake. The niggling guilt of the taxpayer is the icing, and their consequent life-long anxiety is the cherry on the top.


You don't get what you earn, you get what's left over.


Why do we take from you? Because we're allowed to.


Every morning
Every day
Love your wife
But make her pay.

Tax her up
And tax her down
Tax her here there
All around.

As the boss
Will often say
"Tax them every
Fricking way."

Every morning
Every day
Love your wife
But make her pay.


We are the ones who get to say who needs what, when, and how.


A hidden tax is a secret joy.


The threefold path: tax, tax, and tax again.


The anguish of the poor man who has just had thirty per cent of their pay packet docked for the year is a blessing to the hearts of tax men everywhere.


Basically, we own thirty per cent of your soul.


Technically speaking, money is an artificial concept anyway. So does it really matter how much 'money' we 'take'?


The public service: wasting your money in as inefficient way as possible.


We waste your money so the public service can waste your time. Simple!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Coleridge never had to work for a media monitoring company now, did he!

I just found myself quoting Coleridge as I walked down the corridor:

For he on honeydew hath fed
And drunk the milk of paradise.

I had just got a Cherry Ripe from the sweets machine. And an instant coffee.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Quibs and Bunning Writers Exchange Program #2

The gas bill, written by Shakespeare

Dear citizen - O fair and goodly friend -
Fain were I thy most valued loved offend;
Nay, if fiends of hell, no less, would thee attack -
We'd face them with our swords, and turn 'em back:
Fair friend, my bosom brother, dearest coz -
For thee I'd sell my kingdom and my horse.
So 'tis with grief I must inform thee now,
I am (being bound by antient sacred vow
To represent the _____ Corporation,
A name you hold in highest veneration),
I am, I do repeat, made to ask you
For the sum of ... (let me see now) ... $692.

Willliam Shakespeare, representative of the ______ Corp, gas and electricity.

Of course, dear coz, if payments get behind
I must inform you that you will be fined.

Master Basho's haiku, as written by the author of overdue gas notices

Lotus at evening:
The petals fall slowly. Your
Bill is overdue.

I sigh... sorrowfully.
Failure to pay could result in
Fiscal penalties.

I observe the lark
Singing daily: Alas! If
Only you would pay.

We will be sending
Officers soon to discuss
Your legal options.

Pay up, buster. Or
We will have to prosecute
On this sad evening.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The eternal wisdom of SuperTed

Quotes from SuperTed - the most awesome show in the history of the universe!

SUPERTED: Blithering blancmange, Spotty!


SUPERTED: Oh, what a horrible noise! It's enough to shake me out of my stuffing.


SKELETON: Ooh, tell our fortune, Tex. Go on. Be a devil.

TEX: Sure I will. But first - cross mah pahm with gold.

SKELETON: Oh, Tex. You're so mean and evil!


GYPSY WOMAN: Two black ravens overhead...

SPOTTY: Means it's time to be in bed! Ooh, I don't like this, SuperTed!



SUPERTED: It may be grizzly. It may be grim. But a bear who isn't brave just isn't a bear!


SUPERTED: Pulsating prunes, Spotty!


SPOTTY: Great moons of Spot! They've got SuperTed!


SPOTTY: There's only one way to make sure my spotty pancakes are lighter than air. Cook them in zero gravity!

Ooer! My lovely spotty pancakes!


SUPERTED: Rocketing raspberries!

SPOTTY: By the four moons of Spot!


SPOTTY: It is him! I know it! It's Texas Pete!

SUPERTED: They all look like that in Texas, Spotty.


SKELETON: Ooh look! That terrible Teddy. Tex, you're brilliant!

TEX: Ah suure ahm!


SUPERTED: You stay here. I'll mosey on after Texas Pete as fast as my rocket boots can take me. Adios, Amigo!

UPDATE! - Absolute and utter awesomeness, distilled and purified down to its absolute awesomeilicious essence!

Living in the leaky-styrofoamed lap of luxury

This morning my exclusive second-floor establishment saw the delivery of not one, but two essential items for the modern chap: one combined television-DVD player, and one mattress.

Now, with these items of comfort lying before me, I don't think I have any excuse. It's time to hold an exclusive mattress-television party! Activities include: lazy lying, langurous leaning, lassitudinous lazing, louche lounging on pillows, and lazy loafing on lounges - all while watching daytime television. Preferably Oprah. And maybe repeats of A Country Practice as well. Guests will be entertained with servings of Panne a la Mildew (Italian, for day old toast); cups of tea from the finest bags this side of High Street; and jam, cream and butter scones without the scones. Wearing of day old stubble is encouraged (ladies especially); dramatic recitations from the Herald Sun television guide is compulsory.

Then again, maybe I won't hold that party after all. Do you know how expensive Panne a la Mildew is these days? I wouldn't want anyone else to hog it, after all.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The public transport chronicles, #1001

Drunks, bums, bums on drugs, bums asking for money, aggressive bums beating you up for money - all these things, or a combination of all these things, are a common enough sight on the trains if you travel often enough, late enough at night. But I never expected to get beaten up if I refused to take money off a loud threatening drugged-up guy on the train. It just isn't the way of the world.

Well, I was on the North Melbourne train travelling into Spencer Street Station; it was about a quarter to nine on a Friday night. Requisite Drug Guy was halfway up the passage, shouting loudly at the guys in the seat next to him if 'this was the train to Flinders Street Station'. As if it wasn't; any trains running that way at that time of night went to Flinders Street.

Anyway. The train was pulling into Spencer Street, and I got up to get off. As I did so, I spied on the floor a ten cent coin. Being ever the one to get distracted by shiny things (hey, maybe that's why I read blogs), I bent to pick it up. This immediately got Drug Guy's attention, who walked straight over to where I was.

Me: Oh, I'm sorry, was that yours?

Drug Guy (shouting): It probably was.

Me: Here, take it, I'm getting off.

Drug Guy: No way bro! (Takes his wallet out of his pocket and empties the coins out into his hand) Here, take them!

Me: What? No. I don't need it. Here, you take this.

Drug Guy: No, you give me that ten cents. I'll give you this dollar.

Me: ?????

Drug Guy: No man. I know what it's like! I've been there!

Here the Drug Guy waved the dollar around in a menacing fashion and placed it in my hand. Like a fool, I took it, tried to give it back, found I couldn't, and gave him the ten cents instead experimentally, and watched his hand close over it. Then I got off the train.

It was only a minute after that I figured it out: I'd just had ninety cents forced on me against my will. Forced, I tell you! What the hell kind of situation was this? If the Drug Guy had threatened to beat me up if I didn't take 50 dollars off him, I probably would have taken that, too.

(And felt bad about it afterwards - call me a conservative if you like, but the old system whereby you get beaten up if you don't give up all your money sounds simpler and more sensible to me.)

Anyway, the upshot of it was I stumbled onto the Epping train a few minutes later and who should walk on but - Drug Guy? A weird conversation ensued between us, as if we were best friends. I again repeated my offer to give him the dollar back and he refused. ('Don't tell me you threw it in the bin. I'll be CRAZY if you threw it in the bin!' he said, in an ominous shout*.) For the rest of the voyage he spent the time walking up and down the carriage talking to every one of the passengers loudly, and at one point shouting at a person who just got on, 'Hey! Is this the Epping train?' (He got off when I got off, too. Maybe he was planning to stalk me to my house - and beat me up until I took all his cash.)

What the hell kind of world are we living in? First it was Blanders being forced by his boss to take a holiday, now it's me having cash from strangers forced on me in dubious monetary exchanges. I blame Kevin Rudd!

Anyway. Does anyone want a dollar? Oh, all right then. Ninety cents?

*Of course, this is opposed to his usual tone of voice, which was merely complacent and avuncular shouting with just a casually menacing tinge to it.

The five greatest commas in literary history

Dr Blotpage is author of The 17 Commas of Highly Ineffective People, An Anthology of the Fin-De-Siecle Comma, and The Adventures of ',' on the High Seas. He is almost as widely read amongst scholars of punctuation today as he is ignored by them. Please make him welcome to this blog.

There are those who talk of the timeless beauty, elegance, and dramatic potential inherent within the Shakespearean comma, but I think they're crackers. I prefer the Spenserian comma myself.

Hi, I'm Dr Blotpage. You might remember me from such commas as ',', and ',', as well as ','. They appear, to widespread popular acclaim, from one end of the sentence to the other!

I'm here today to talk about the five greatest commas in literary history. We've had to deal with a wide field, starting with the inception of the comma in western literature from renaissance times through to the present day. Naturally, there's a whole lot of glorious commas that we've had to omit. For instance, the rhetorical brilliance of the Elizabethean/Jacobean comma (who could forget the furiously anachronistic commas in Donne's idiosyncratic Holy Sonnets?) has had to be passed over. Nor have we had time to observe deeply the stark emotionalism of the Greater Romantic Comma, those fierce markings that so set apart the commas of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley from their classical forebears. The radical modern experiments with commas - who could forget that dramatic first comma in T S Eliot's 'The Wasteland'? - here cannot be examined either. Yes, the comma devotee has a lot to appreciate. So let's get right into it!

5. The Austen Comma, from Pride and Prejudice.


This classic comma from Austen's most widely-loved collection of commas, Pride and Prejudice, so neatly and aptly demonstrates the reasons for Austen's fame amongst comma lovers. It implies so much! And yet says so little! In fact, so great is the power of implication in this elegant comma, that if I were to say what it implied, then it's implied powers of implication would be significantly diminished. Consequently, we pass over this beautiful example of the powers of commas to an even greater comma.

4. Boswellian commas, from The Life of Dr Samuel Johnson

As comma afficionados know, the punctilious and witty Boswell produced many of literatures most widely-quoted commas.


Many comma lovers have, of course, objected that Boswell merely acted as a scribe to the generally greater and more prolific producer of the classical comma, Dr Johnson. And it is certainly true that we are indebted to Boswell for preserving for posterity many of Dr Johnson's justly famous commas. However, in this instance, Boswell grandly rises to the challenge of producing a comma that speaks to generations of comma lovers, and does so with both elegance and wit.

3. The Great Germanic Comma, The Collected Scientific Papers of Goethe

For our next comma, we turn to Germany, and the brilliant Man of Letters (and commas) Goethe. Although many of the finest commas of literary history are to be found in that epic book of commas, Faustus, it is not from that text that we draw our comma today. (I might note, in passing, here, that there is currently a significant quarrel between different comma lovers as to the significance of the umlaut in Faustus, and as to whether or not the commas in that poetic drama are not merely an elaborate conceit for the furtherance of the umlaut ideology; we do not propose to deal with this lengthy subject today.) Instead, this comma is drawn from Goethe's collected scientific papers.


In that single comma, does not a sublime new universe of possibility open up before you? It is indeed a grand comma, the comma that seems to encapsulate the dreamings of the romantic comma lovers on the English isle, and suggest new comma perspectives to discover.

2. The Original English comma, Hamlet

Although the science and study of commas was already established by Shakespeare's time, discerning comma lovers should not be surprised that it was up to Shakespeare, in his famous play Hamlet, to show the true potential of the comma. Consider the following fiercely original deployment of the comma in the tragedy:


could any other punctuation mark have so simply, so profoundly, so pathetically expressed Hamlet's tragic indecision? 'Here is an option', the comma seems to say. 'And here is another'. To be, or not to be? This is the comma that sounded down the ages!

1.The Henry Fielding Comma, Tom Jones

The following comma needs no words: its beauty and power are clear from the very first line.


Such a comma! Such wit! Although he never died again rise to the marvellous heights of expression inherent in this comma, Henry Fielding nevertheless continued producing brackets of fine commas, spicing his sentences, until his death. Such noble dedication to the cause of commas is truly to be admired.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Schmuck Friday

Times have not been good for the Great Australian Schmuck. While recent years have seen a resurgence in the numbers of the Putz, the Nebbish, and the Spotted Whooping Noodle of Canberra, the numbers of the much-loved Australian Schmuck have continued to dwindle. While environmentalists are not certain what has caused the population of the Schmuck to continue to fall, there seem to be a number of causes at work. For one thing, the typical habitation of the Schmuck - the university, the public service, or the media - have seen a lift in educational and cultural standards lately, which of course has had a negative effect for numbers of the Schmuck. Although successive Governments continue to do what they can to assist the Schmuck to flourish in ever greater numbers by mismanaging public and private education, and cutting money to valuable educational resources, the Schmuck continues to decline.

It is heartening, then, to know that at least one species of the Great Australian Schmuck has adapted to the modern environment with ease, which may make it easier for future generations of the Schmuck to make a comeback. We are talking, of course, of the Speckled Southern Schmuck, commonly known as the Hugh Mackay.

The Great Australian Schmuck in its natural habitat.

Whether it's through the authoring of dubious opinion columns, the writing of questionable books, or the participation in various media fora, the productions of the Hugh Mackay are many and varied. Ecologists and naturalists have marvelled at mating season when in sight of the Hugh Mackay ruffling its marvellous plumage.

Aside from being an inspiration to Schmucks everywhere, the Hugh Mackay has adopted, as a particular survival strategy, a claim to absolute and Godlike insight into the thought processes of Australian Schmucks all over the country. Observe here this Schmuck's marvellous deployment of an all-inclusive pronoun to describe other Australians:

THE election was one of those remarkable elections where people felt they were not just getting a new government but a new order. They thought this was a Government that was going to, if not perform miracles, then at least do something dramatic to the spirit of the nation.

Or in some previous examples:

How we're feeling about John Howard is therefore a far more pressing issue than how we're feeling about Rudd.


He reinforces our materialism. By conflating politics with economics and by placing emphasis on material prosperity, Howard has encouraged the idea that money is the key to happiness, that share-ownership is a symbol of success and that the rich should be praised and rewarded for being rich.

That, in turn, reinforces our moral laxity, partly because that's the usual result of an over-emphasis on material values. Howard's unwavering commitment to the strategy of "toughing it out" also encourages, by example, our thoroughly human tendency to be self-serving and, when it suits our purposes, dishonest.

If the resilience and survival instinct of the Hugh Mackay species of Schmuck is anything to go by, the future for the Great Australian Schmuck looks bright indeed.

UPDATE! - Does anyone else have inspiring stories about encounters with the many noble species of Schmuck?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Quibs and Bunning Writers Exchange Program #1

The Quibs and Bunning Writers Exchange Program #1: The performance poet and the train timetable guy

The Epping and Hurstbridge train timetable, as written by a performance poet

Hi guys, here's just a few poems I wrote the other night waiting at Flinders Street Station, an experience I think a lot of us have in common. I hope you like them, I think they've got a certain something to them. Excuse me. *Clears throat*

8.15 to Hurstbridge

Eight twelve at the station,
I'm just waiting at the station
With the
And if the train don't come, the train won't come
So I'm waiting at the station
For the wheels to come,
And my frustration at the station,
At the station where we're at, at the station that we're in,
Has made my mind go numb.
(But the steel hums, the wheels run)

Eight-thirteen at the station
(Clitter clatter clitter clatter)
It doesn't matter to me,
Don't you see, we're not free,
(Clitter clatter bitter batter)
Political correctness is just the frustration of our nation
At the train that doesn't -
(Clitter clatter made as hatter)
At the train that won't -
(Clitter clatter clatter shatter fast food makes you fatter clitter clatter what's the matter)
- come.

Eight-fourtee... *Coughs*

Oh, I'm sorry. Lost my place there for a second.

EIGHT-FOURTEEN! And my oration
At the station
Is a statement of frustration
At this whole vast system of negation
(You're the system's sucker, fucker)
(Clitter clatter mad as hatter)
And the patience at the station
Longs for an innovation

This is my commendation.

Eight-fifteen at the station. All on board!

A short poem about my girlfriend, by the guy who does the train timetables


Your red hair in the morning sunlight

You swearing

You telling me off for picking my nose when I thought you weren't looking

You kissing me and making up

The way you move

Watching me watching you drink coffee

Seeing you go to the evening shift at work

Various reminiscences of you
Emotion felt

Highly interested

Fairly interested/slightly offput

Like a puppy whose bone has been taken away

Highly interested/Very highly interested

Relatively interested

A little distracted


Various emotions, swinging from very high interest to medium interest to distraction to sadness, as well as three random thoughts about spaghetti at one point
Time of day








3.00 - 7.00

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Junk food ads for people with eating disorders

A Mars a day helps you blerk, rest and play!

Have a steak. Have a Kit Kat.

Snickers spatters thighs!
Email: timhtrain - at -

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