Saturday, August 30, 2008

Comments about unrelated but terribly important matters

Sometimes when I have music playing and I have to leave the house, I leave it on anyway. It's as if I say "amuse yourself while I'm out." I think my house is better for the music being left on. I did it this morning.

I'm going on a prune bender. Prunes are delicious. You should eat them more often. I think I'll have one now. Yum!

Clouds, daffodils, mountains, lovers, children, trees: these have all had things written about them. But what about gutters, nose-picking, scowls, dandruff, swamps, turtles, toads, mud and, yes, even broccoli? Poems about these things are not so popular. Poets have got a lot to answer for.

When I went to work yesterday, it was hardly cold at all, and the sky was a monotonous blue. Then I got in and found M and R saying to one another "Bring on spring! Bring on summer!" Please. It's bad enough that winter's ending without having to think about the coming heat-death. I hate summer.

Smarmy doggerel Saturday


Here I languish, sadly sighing;
My eyes are blue - my hair is gold;
I’m pretty fair - and fairly pretty,
And… twentyish years old.

I am a PRINCESS by profession,
Reigning and ruling is my trade.
But cruel ENCHAUNTER’S prisoned me
In this palace all of jade.

My bed is guarded by a LION
And WARRIORS with axe and mace
To bar the lover who would dare
To take me from this place.

Hark to my song of deadly woe!
Hark to my too, too tragic tale!
I’ve but a lion for company -
(At least I have email.)

And first there came on palfrey white
Bold PRINCE CHARMING, brave Prince Charming,
In gold and glist’ring rubies dight
Fair Prince Charming, most alarming.

Prince Charming galloped to my bed
On horse (as I before have stated)
‘Ere poor Prince Charming began disarming,
The axe fell – CHOP! He was decapitated!

And next there came on stallion green(1)
With smiling mouth, unsmiling eyes,
Prince Charming’s older brother, SMARMING –
He soon met his ill-timed demise…

The Lion that stood before my bed
Devoured him for its first course.
“Bad kitty-cat!” I scolded then –
But only when he ate the horse.

Princes, Paupers, Mossy-coats,
I’ve seen them all, the bloody lot –
All were transfixed, gutted, chopped,
Or met with the garotte.(2)

One day, a FROG hopped on my bed
And sang (or rather croaked) to me
Of magic kisses, wedded blisses,
In kingdoms by the silver sea.

I kissed the frog – and with a BLAM!
He turned into a Prince of Men!
I kissed this Prince once more and – WHAM!
He turned into a frog again.

Female, single, twentyish –
I can provide a photograph.
Looking for love. For friends at least.
For life? Don’t make me freakin’ laugh.

(1)And next there came on stallion green” –
This is, you’ll note, a curious sheen!
Some say this stallion was of faerie.
I say he’d been painted by his equerry.

(2) Or mutilated, rended limb by limb,
Or with explosions set alight,
Or had the heart torn out their chest,
Or – some of them – took flight.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Four playlets

Petty Crime
(A darkened house. Two stealthy figures move rapidly from room to room, rifling the drawers and looking for valuables. Eventually one whispers urgently to the other... )

CRIMINAL ONE: That's all, Joe! All I've found are ten diamonds or less!

CRIMINAL TWO: It's FEWER, you idiot! (Shoots his companion) Don't they teach them ANYTHING these days?

Kitchen Sink Drama
(It's nothing BUT the kitchen sink!)
Two empty kitchen sinks sit by one another, one for washing, one for rinsing.

KITCHEN SINK 1: (In a hard, masculine voice, gushing angry hot water out of the tap while he speaks) Right! That's it! I can't stand it in this house anymore. I'M LEAVING YOU, SHARON!

KITCHEN SINK 2: (With a thin quavering voice) But... but ... I'll be so LONELY!

KITCHEN SINK 1: I don't care. GOODBYE!

KITCHEN SINK 2: (Gushing cold water tearfully from the tap) What did I ever do to deserve this?

(An ant bursts into the nest bearing a large breadcrumb on its back. The eyes of all other ants turn to it. )

ANTICLEUS THE ANT: Fear not, my fellow ants - the Queen and the Nest shall not starve! For I, Anticleus, have found a breadcrumb which shall feed us for many nights! And there's more where that came from!

OTHER ANTS: Hoooooooooooooooooooooo-raaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!

(Just then, a twenty-centimetre meteorite falls out of the sky right on top of the ant nest, blasting it wide open, squashing half of the ants in the process, and tossing the rest of them up in the air. )

ANTICLEUS THE ANT: (Muttering) Looks like I'm not going to get that pay rise after all...

Soap opera
(An empty opera stage. A soap bar comes on stage and proceeds to sing...)

La donna è mobile
Qual piuma al vento,
Muta d'accento — e di pensiero.
Sempre un amabile,
Leggiadro viso,
In pianto o in riso, — è menzognero.
È sempre misero
Chi a lei s'affida,
Chi le confida — mal cauto il cuore!
Pur mai non sentesi
Felice appieno
Chi su quel seno — non liba amore!

(A half-empty box of Omo sitting all alone in the opera stalls bursts into rapturous applause)

Damn! I knew I should have gone in the heats for Australian Idol! That's where all the money is! Arroghe merda!

Reader quiz! Can you spot the spelling mistake?


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Drip drip

Tigtog has a post up called 'Wringing every last drop out of that coverage'. Apparently Channel 7 have been playing footage of the airport as Olympic Australians were coming back, or something. The title is metaphorical. It so very easily could not have been...!


KOCHY: Welcome back to the studio, Channel Seven, your Olympic channel! And what an exciting few weeks we've had with the Beijing Olympics! But it's not over yet. We cut now to our reporter in the Olympic Village in Beijing, Matt Mudge. Are you there Matt?

MATT: Hellooo from Beijing guys! And we've got very exciting news for you today. I'm here, in Olympic Village. All the Australian athletes have gone now, but I've discovered something very exciting. It's a tap that hasn't been turned off quite as hard as it should have by our Olympic athletes, and it may be about to drip!


KOCHY:That's amazing! It could have been touched by one of our own athletes!

MATT: That's right - it could even have been touched by our Angel in the Pool, Stephanie Rice!


KOCHY:And Matt, what are your thoughts when you look upon this tap?

MATT: Well it's just amazing isn't it. It's a very special experience. I feel privileged, no, perhaps blessed would be the better word to put it, just to be here, in this spot, where our Olympic athletes were. It makes me want to be a better man.

KOCHY: Unusual for you Matt. Okay, we're going to quickly cut back to another part of Olympic Village, where another brave Channel Seven reporter has discovered something very interesting indeed!

MATT: Okay. We'll be right here, watching the tap!

KOCHY: Right! Crossing now to Joanna Jumble, who is with us now in another part of the Olympic Village.

JOANNA: Hi there Kochy! And do you know, it's amazing, I have found an Australian sock. It's been left over here by one of our brave, bold athletes!

KOCHY: Wow! That's an amazing find Joanna! Is it - is it smelly?

JOANNA: It's quite odorous. Yes. It is smelly.


KOCHY: And could you describe to us how you're feeling at the moment, Joanna?

JOANNA: Quite... quite emotional, actually. I've just been having some quiet moments with the sock. It's been a hard journey for this sock, but being touched by those holy feet, whoever the feet belonged to...

KOCHY: One of our Aussie heroes, Joanna. There's no other way to put it.

JOANNA: Yes. To think that this sock touched the feet of one of our heroes, well, it's very touching.


KOCHY: That's quite special, Joanna! Let's go to our studio guest now, Dr Karl Kruzelnizcki, to ask for his opinions about the sock. Hi Karl.

KARL: Hi Kochy. How are you?

KOCHY: I feel privileged to have seen the sock. But how about you? Do you believe it is possible to ever know which of our brave athletes wore this special Olympic sock?

KARL: Well now. That's an interesting question. We could of course trace the DNA of the owner, but did you know that each human foot possesses it's own unique smell that we could trace the owner by? All we'd need, really, to find the Olympian who wore that sock would be to give it a good smell.

KOCHY: If only I were there now!

KARL: Yes, Kochy.

KOCHY: I'm incredibly excited! But now, we have to cross back to Matt, who apparently is on the verge of a very important story...

MATT: Yes, Hi Kochy! And it's amazing. I believe the sock may be on the verge of dripping. I BELIEVE THE SOCK MAY BE ON THE VERGE OF DRIPPING!



MATT: All eyes are now on the tap.

(Silence for a while)

KOCHY: Well. It's taking it's time in getting there, isn't it?

MATT: Yes, but if we can just train the cameras in further, I think we'll see...

KOCHY: Oh. I see. We've got a few other stories to read out here.... Earthquake in Russia, kills hundreds... war breaks out in US, possibly world war three... Osama Bin Laden caught, bla bla... whatever, back to the tap. Is there ANYTHING HAPPENING?


MATT: Yes! There is a definite gleam there! If you can see the water just starting to form...


MATT: It's coming... it's coming...





MATT: Well, ignoring the inevitable feelings that I've wasted my life... I feel GREAT, mate! I'm just so glad to have been here for that moment!

KOCHY: Let's replay some footage of all the precious memories we have shared with this wonderful Olympic tap.


MATT: Yes, the tap has dripped, ladies and gentlemen. The tap. has. dripped.

KOCHY: Okay. And Kevin Rudd has just called in with a statement about the tap. He says 'The hearts and minds of all Australians are with this champion little tap that has been touched by our Australian heroes.' Couldn't have put it better myself. We'll be right back. Viewer poll after the break, possibly involving a tap.


If Napoleon did it, why can't I?

What is it with the Australian Greens and far-off visionary gazing?

In a land far distant, Bob Brown sees a swamp beetle with a nose bleed.

Mark Parnell imagines a world with equal rights for all amoebas.

I mean, is it like rigor-mortis or something? Do Greens politicians automatically assume the position once they come to office?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ooh, we're deep today, our Edith

When people talk about 'economic' matters versus 'environmental' concerns, they very rarely use those terms in their broadest sense. Worse still, they assume a narrow definition of those terms and hardly ever bother relating that definition back to their broadest, most general definition. 'Economics' is assumed to be a description of money, industry, and wealth; 'environment' is assumed to be biological events and things that are not man-made.

In fact, from Macquarie come these definitions:
// (say ekuh'nomiks), // (say eekuh-)
noun 1. the science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services, or the material welfare of humankind; political economy.
// (say en'vuyruhnmuhnt), // (say uhn-)
noun 1. the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences.
If 'economic' things are simply anything that can be produced, or distributed, or consumed, then they are simply... anything. And if the environment is just everything that is surrounding, then it is just... everything. Seen in that light, 'environmental' concerns versus 'economic' matters seems a bit different. Anything versus everything; everything versus anything. Is this an argument we want to be having? Is it even an argument?

So why would the people who argue about economic and environmental matters never mention this, especially considering many punters would never bother considering the question of definition in the first place - thereby helping to perpetuate the ignorance of those same punters?

Either they want to control the debate. Or they want to control us.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Animals that work with humans!

#703: Guide dog for the blind drunk

The guide dog for the blind drunk must be a highly-trained and capable canine, able to handle himself in a number of situations. He must be able to find a way to the bar for his drunk, and when the night is done, find a way home again.

Commands he will be expected to learn:
"Left! No, not left, right! Why ish the world s-s-s-shpinning around?"
"Sssshtop! No, go! Wait... ish that a car coming, or did I jusht run into a shhhhhop window?"
"Shhhay, do you come herrrre ofschen?"

The guide dog for the blind drunk will feel comfortable on taxis, trains, buses, and with being the designated driver for the night. It is also desirable that the guide dog for the blind drunk possesses fast-talking skills for when the police pull the car over and ask his owner why the hell a dog's driving the car.

Fillums schmillums

Just for once, I'd like to see a fantasy novel end like this:

At last, the handsome, brave, generous, strong, loving, and glorious Hero Glanksmar faced the vicious, cruel, sadistic, half-demon, snarling, torture-loving Lord Xiangfang on the corpse-strewn battlefield.

"You didn't think you could ever defeat me!" snarled Lord Xiangfang? And without another word, he raised his fearsome, blood-dripping sword Howler and chopped Hero Glanksmar's head off.

Thus began 10,000,000 years of terror and despair. THE END.

At the very least it could end with the hero getting a bad cold. But no, the principal rule of modern fantasy seems to be that things end up happily, and virtue gets rewarded (even if it's unvirtuous). Buffy doesn't die, she just has extended non-living periods before she comes back for the next season opener.

I guess it's probably a way of finding substitute for the reliability of the myths that entertainment used to rely on. The story of Oedipus isn't very nice, the characters aren't very pleasant, and the things they do to one another are rather offputting, but at least we know what happens. In modern fantasy, just because we don't know what's going to happen doesn't mean we don't know what's going to happen. The plots might be more diverse and draw on a larger variety of sources, but we know they're going to end happily. Even - and especially - if that happy ending is going to be extremely unlikely.

So it is with the film Forbidden Kingdom, which I saw this morning. Heck, it's not only the end that's predictable. The routine of cliche starts off much earlier than that, with a dream sequence (cliche!) about warriors fighting on a mountain. The hero wakes up and sees that he has been watching Monkey on television (reference!). He then goes to a Chinese pawn store (derivative!) and is met by a Mr Miyagi-like character (like, you know, Mr Miyagi). When he leaves the store, riding his bike through the slums (cliche!) of some major city, he is surrounded by hoods (you get the point!) and beaten up. Well, after a few more rounds of in jokes and plot twists in completely known expected directions, this kid gets spirited off to another world - a magical world, where dreams and fantasy and wonder are true! And who should he meet but Jackie Chan (well I never! fancy bumping into you here!), a drunk (reference!) who refers to himself as a 'travelling sage'. The kid drops his name - 'Jason Tripitikus' (BOY is that ever a reference), and in a move that surprises no-one, the pair decide to go on a quest. After a brief run in with a roaming mob of soldiers - probably the same roaming mob of soldiers who turn up at successive points in the film in order to get beaten up to prove some dubious point or fulfill some dubious plot convention - the pair are helped to escape by a beautiful, lute-playing woman with a penchant for throwing poisoned darts at people. There's even a horse-chase through a traditional Chinese brothel, to surging Western music... (okay, I'm not sure WHERE that one came from).

This all sounds like a criticism on my part. But it's a criticism that is really only skin deep; you have to take these films on their own terms. Every art-form, from day one, has been riddled with conventions, and they act as sign pointers towards a particular moral or meaning. You can't have art without conventions, any more than you can have art without art. If there is something a little self-conscious, the quality of Monty Python's 'wink-wink-nudge-nudge-know-what-I-mean' character to this film, then that's a problem, but not a big one. I enjoyed the film immensely - it's one of those perfect Sunday films, like Raiders of the Lost Ark or Tales from Earthsea.

In a way it was fitting that the film opened up with a dream sequence, because there was something dream-like about this film - the way that it was constructed in separate set-pieces, with the characters moving between them with very little rhyme or reason. For instance, Jason is hurled off the top of an inner-city building by hoods, and the next thing he knows, he wakes up in a village in rural China. If he seems faintly surprised at this, then he doesn't have time to do much about it, because next thing he knows he is surrounded by a bunch of soldiers (there they are again!) Somewhat illogically, when the adventure all ends, Jason is asked what his wish is, and he says 'I just want to go home', apparently forgetting, for the moment, about the hoods and his newly-made friends in this sort-of-China (or wherever the hell it is. Forbidden Kingdom, apparently.) And there is real art in the way that Jason's early betrayal of his friend who works in the Chinese store (under duress) is mirrored in a later betrayal he undertakes in order to save a friend. Underneath all the conventions and predictable twists and turns and references and cliches, this film has a true heart.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The process of natural rejection

In the space of this last week, I got two rejections from two separate publications. The first annoyed the hell out of me - they'd spent weeks even acknowledging that I had sent through the story, and then when they finally got around to accepting it, it didn't even get through the first round. It was a good story, too. "Slow to receive, quick to reject" - that's what I wrote at the time.

The second rejection came much more slowly; it was from the Sleepers Almanac, and I'd sent the story in almost as an afterthought. It was one of the strangest things I've ever written in my life, basically an obscure joke about a romantic-primitive ballet written by Igor Stravinsky at the beginning of the twentieth century - "The first impressions of a plumber on encountering Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring."

About this story, I wrote at the time of sending in the submission, "I think I'd be more insulted if they accepted than if they rejected it." Which is more or less true. So I was almost chuffed to get the inevitable 'no, thank you' by email.

For reasons unknown to everyone, especially myself, I still like the story. I don't think it's ever going to get published anywhere else, so here for the benefit of you - my best readers - is an excerpt. (The rest of the story is lurking around in my Yahoo 'sent' folder somewhere. I'll get around to retrieving it sometime.) Enjoy. Or, at least, marvel at my weirdness...
The first impressions of a plumber on encountering Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring

A solitary pipe – snaking down the wall – tantalising in its possibilities. Where does this pipe come from? Whither does it go? Is it a pipe for waste water, or no?
We follow it. It darts here and there – with excitement! Around the geometry of the house – there is a tap here – an ancillary pipe there – it becomes bogged down briefly in a clump of grass – but hark! Now it is entangled amidst a gathering network of plumbing.
The plumber rushes on, excited – he sees the pipe emerge again from the tangle – single, solitary, beautiful.
What is the future for this pipe? The plumber does not know. It stretches ever onwards, mystifying, dream-like…

A sudden rush of water amongst the pipes! A low, urgent, thunderous noise can be heard insistently through the plumbing system. A leak springs here – there – and there – and there!
Spanner in hand, the plumber whirls hither, thither, thither – suddenly, in a great rush of water, a leak springs under his feet! The metallic pipes seem to advance upon him – he SCREAMS!

It is a dream of the perfect plumbing system – shining, clad in mystic samite, beautiful, pristine and pure. It curves and loops and bulges in ways too perfect and sensuous to ever be made by man. Its stainless steel gleams with a pure, white light.
The plumber draws towards these pipes in his secret dream, and shyly, lovingly begins to caress them. They sing in sweet angelic tones as he weaves through their tangle of metal – and then, in a sudden shower of milk and gold, they release their fluid!
The plumber collapses back, exhausted, swooning – and a note of doubt enters his mind…

It is a room bare of plumbing. The plumber is filled with a sense of awe, mingled with dread.
He walks to a cupboard – he wrenches the door open – revealing fertile, savage, viridescent: a complex tangle of mouldy pipes from long-forgotten eras.
The plumber leaps from pipe to pipe with his trusty spanner – loosening here – tightening there – sealing elsewhere – suddenly, he is surrounded by a forest of pipes.
Far in the distance, in a remote tangle of plumbing, wink a pair of eyes…

Friday, August 22, 2008

You can't get much smaller than that

Check out the apostrophe here.

This would have to be the smallest association in the world. There's only one of them!

I hope he or she enjoys associating with him or herself - whoever he or she is.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Smoker's voice

His voice sounds like a violin being gently dragged over gravel.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Now he belongs to the ages, again

NEW YORK, Sunday - John F Kennedy, who shocked the world and shot to instant fame in the 1960s by being assassinated, has died, surrounded by friends and family.

Kennedy was by far the oldest surviving of the United States' assassinated presidents. He spent most of the time after his assassination with his family on the west coast, although he did once guest star on an episode of 'Assassinated Presidents - Where Are They Now?' for CBS television.


As every US school child learns in first grade
, JFK's famous predecessor, Abraham Lincoln, felt that his unplanned assassination by John Wilkes Booth was a career high, and indeed, no-one was surprised when he died shortly after his funeral by choking on an overcooked crouton, and sending an already-grieving nation into paroxysms of grief never seen before and since. As a Edwin Stanton noted at the time, "Now he belongs to the ages, again." However, others, paraphrasing Oscar Wilde, might say "Once is bad enough, twice looks like carelessness."

However, Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt, who drowned at sea in the 1970s, went on to lead a very happy life as a bean farmer in the southern highlands of New South Wales, and was later heard to proclaim to friends at family, "My drowning was the best thing to ever happen to me in my political career."

IN OTHER NEWS - Presidential assassination candidate Barack Obama yesterday visited Iowa, canvassing large crowds and delivering rousing speeches in his bid to become the next Assassinated Presidential Elect. Meanwhile, John McCain has been rousing support amongst members of the NRA in the southern states for his own bid for presidential assassination, rallying voters with friendly jokes such as "Go on! Take a shot at me! I won't move!". He is also reported to be seeking the help of experienced campaigner Dick Cheney.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Less-than thrilling adventures with dubious morals, now coming to you in Blogovision!

I wanted a copy of Voyage to Arcturus, by David Lindsay. There were copies all over the internet, but it was hard to find a Melbourne secondhand seller that was offering one at a cheaper price. After browsing on Abebooks, I found several copies that came from a Melbourne seller with their own website. Apparently they were open in Prahran on all days except Sunday and Monday, so Saturday had to be the day to find them.

It took me about three quarters of an hour, and two trains (from Thornbury and Flinders Street) to get to Prahran. I've always found their train station weirdly dislocating, since it's two blocks away from either of the tram-lines in that area, and I'm never sure how to tell which from which. I popped into the pub on the corner opposite the train station, which was just opening, and asked the guy, who was just opening up, "Excuse me, do you know where Carlton Street is? It's got G___ bookshop on it."

The guy had no idea, but he pointed me to the fish and chip cafe across the road, telling me they'd been open for ages and they'd know for certain. I bounded across the street and into the cafe, but they had no idea either. "Try the lane behind the park," the guy said, "I know there's a bookshop there, though I know it's not Carlton Street." I walked another few blocks or so and crossed the park, but the only bookshop I could find there was the ubiquitous adult's bookshop. Not the sort of thing David Lindsay went in for, or myself, I'm afraid. Also, the 'lane behind the park' turned out to be Malvern Street, along which one of the tram lines went.

So I walked another few blocks until I came to one of those small chain supermarkets, halfway between a 7/11 and a Safeways. I went in there and asked the Indian woman behind the counter politely if she would be able to tell me where Carlton Street was. She looked up at another Indian guy standing behind the counter, who looked over at a swarthy moustachioed dude in a Sikh hat, also behind the counter. (It was a big counter). The Sikh guy wordlessly flipped open his mobile phone, punched a few numbers into it, and stood there looking at his phone for a couple of minutes.

After another minute or so of silence he looked up at me and said 'First street on the right after Chapel Street.'

I thanked them and bounded out of the restaurant and down beyond Chapel Street, and after walking around a bit I did indeed succeed in locating Carlton Street, or at least a shabby little cobbled laneway - between the dingy, unpreposessing confines of the 'Prahran Bingo Centre', and another nameless hall - that turned into Carlton Street. Peeping out from behind the end of the lane, I could see the bookshop, with graffiti all over the front, and bars on the windows.

I charged into the bookshop, which was thankfully still open (it was probably about three-thirty by this time). Normally I like to stop and leaf idly through random books in secondhand bookshops, but not this time; I was charged with purpose. The book was extremely hard to find; the whole first floor of this bookshop was mostly special interest books. (There were a whole lot of chess books, and history books, and art books, and poetry books, and so on). I found my way upstairs, where much of the main fiction, the classics, and the science fiction shelves were to be found. However, after looking through the Science Fiction shelves (well stocked with classic magazines and hardbacks), I had still failed to find the book. Although apparently the store had four(!) of them!

I went back down to the guy at the counter and asked him if they could help me, I was looking for a copy of Voyage to Arcturus, by David Lindsay, and if they could find it for me. He punched the name into the computer, and finally - after having the spelling in the title corrected by me - managed in locating not one, but two copies. "There's supposed to be one in this case" he said, gesturing towards a locked glass cabinet and flourishing the keys.

If I felt a little pleased to have a shopkeeper flourish keys to a locked glass cabinet on my behalf, that pleasure soon turned to abject fear when he said, in a casual, offhand manner, "These are ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY DOLLARS!" (Yikes!) We browsed through the case but couldn't find the book. So he went off to another spot in the store, flourishing another set of keys, and returned with their second (or should that be first, and only?) copy of the book, which he handed to me. It was, indeed, David Lindsay's Voyage to Arcturus.

"This," he told me, "Is one hundred dollars." But, because there was a one-third sale on, he was going to knock the price down to a measly sixty-six dollars. (Almost half the one hundred and twenty dollars he was originally thinking of charging me!) I should note, at this point, that there was nothing remarkable about the book - no colour illustrations; it's a bit difficult to find, but certainly not rare (Minotaur Books, apparently, are selling a cheap, newly-published paperback version as part of the SF classics series); and only some two hundred pages.

I apologised and returned the book, saying sixty six dollars was still far too expensive, and that I would have to continue looking around. Perhaps I felt a bit ashamed of making the guy going to all that trouble for nothing, so I had another quick look around the bottom floor of the bookstore - the guy gestured vaguely to the back, saying "There is a whole shelf devoted to the Lindsay family... Norman Lindsay, Joan Lindsay..." I didn't tell him that David Lindsay was British, and it was unlikely that he was directly related to his Australian namesakes.

Since it was just past three-thirty, I decided to walk up Chapel Street to Penny Syber's excellent secondhand bookstore. She had an excellent science fiction bookshelf, and there was just the slightest chance that I'd find Voyage to Arcturus there. I wasn't at all sure that it would be open when I got there (it was the weekend, and the walk was about fifteen minutes). However, when I arrived in Penny's bookstore, I took a look around the science fiction bookshelves, and sure enough, wedged in between Moorcock and Lewis, I found a copy of the book which, on my opening the cover, turned out to be priced just...


I uttered several glad crys and tucking the book under my arm, did a little victory lap of the tightly-packed literature bookshelf, and came up to the queue behind the counter. In another minute, and set back by just ten dollars, I emerged out of the bookstore, with my prize now put away in my bag.

It has a crappy psychedelic illustration on the cover, an introduction by the dubiously-named Galad Elflandsson, and the book is evidently just a cheap 1970s edition - and I look forward to reading it very much. It's not every day when you manage to turn a potential one hundred and twenty dollar buy into a ten dollar buy!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pitchers at an exhibition

The social role of sport is to provide an outlet for intelligent people to behave like brainless people. Everyone knows there’s no intrinsic point in shifting a leather ball from one post to another, no matter how energetic or invested the contest. Nothing is achieved outside the game; no one is wiser or can add a benefit to the world beyond the fury of the struggle.
No-one likes to do business at the back of poorly-lit lanes, full of refuse and trash that the council forgot to pick up, but this is inevitably where shady dark alley business takes place. I was desperate to get in to see the exhibition, but all the tickets were sold out. But I knew where to find someone; I spotted him at the back of that dark alley straight away, lurking in the shadows. I could tell he was my man straight away from the half-manic, half-panicked look on his face, and the menacing way he wore his bow tie. I gulped and went up to him.

Eyes slipped warily over my face. Then he turned and looked at an obscure shady corner on the other side of the alley.
"Well?" he snapped out of the corner of his mouth. "What the hell are you doing here?" Then, after a pause, "You're starting to annoy me."
God, what was I doing? There was a hidden menace in his voice, something that told me I would be in deep trouble if I stuck around much longer. I almost turned to go - but then a low, reverberating roar came from the Art Gallery above our heads, and a cry of "COOOOOOR! LOOK AT THE COMPOSITION ON THAT!" And "A CLASSIC USE OF THE OIL-BASED PAINTING TECHNIQUE!" And I knew I had to get those tickets - I just had to...
"Do you sell tickets?" I finally managed to whimper out.
Again with the slipping eyes and the snap of the mouth. "Nah. Forget it, kid. You can't afford it."
"No!" I yelpled. "Please, sir! I've got enough... enough to pay." With a quivering hand, I drew out a roll of bills from my jacket.
His eyebrows went up slightly. "Listen, kid," he said, finally. "You don't want to get into this exhibition. No-one's getting in tonight." His voice became suddenly much lower and faster, and he looked around as he spoke to make sure no-one else was around. "For this much money, I can get you a real good deal though... a visit to a Fitzroy art gallery. A set of readings by a beatnik poet ... they say he's revolutionised the Alexandrine metre!"
I shook my head mutely.
"Well, what about this?" he said irritably. "Throw in another fifty, and I can get you a subscription to Art Monthly, all the cutting edge analysis and deconstruction of the latest avant-garde developments you could ever wish for. Have you seen the cover of this issue?"
I gasped. I hadn't seen the last issue, but I'd heard of it. The controversy it had created in artistic circles - well, it was tempting. For a few moments, neither of us said anything. Suddenly, another roar from the gallery goers above - "YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAHHHHH!!!!! WAY TO DECONSTRUCT THE POST-SURREALIST GENRE! MAAAAAAAATE!!!!!" - bought me back to my senses.
I shook my head firmly. "No. Here's three hundred. I can give you another three hundred, I can afford it - I'll just write you a cheque..."
He drew back. "Hey - just where did you say you were from, anyway? How can you even afford this?"
"I've ... just got rich parents," I said, faltering. He stared at me in cold silence. "High up... " I admitted. "In... they're in the football business."
His voice was thin, withering. "Listen to me, because I'm only going to say this once. A good kid like you? From a snobby family like that? Kid, you wouldn't ever make it amongst art thugs like that - they'd eat you alive! Do you even know the difference between a Picasso and a Brancusi? Are you able to hold forth in a fight in the bar about the differences between Dadaism and Abstract Expressionism? You wouldn't last a minute!"
I said nothing. I drew the cheque book from my pocket and started to write in it.
He snarled. " I don't want any of your dirty fuckin cheques! Here, here's the damn ticket. Now just give me three hundred and fifty and we'll call it square!" He shoved the ticket in my pocket, took the money off me and began to sink back into the shadows.
"No! Wait!" I cried, desperate. "There was another exhibition opening I wanted to get into tomorrow! What if I can't get tickets to that?"

"Listen, kid," he hissed. "I like you. I can't tell you much, or promise you anything, but for some reason, I trust you. If you want to find me...


Without saying one word more, he receded into the shadowy depths of the doorway.

I turned and walked quickly out of the alley, a cold wind blowing scraps of scum and scungy old newspapers about my feet.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Red Bullshit

Never mind how I heard it, and never mind how I got there, but today, I happened to be listening to talkback radio - from Brisbane no less - and a girl of eighteen years old talking about how she always drank several cans of Red Bull before going to a nightclub, and how people who drank Red Bull were so much better than the poor schmos who drank alcohol at nightclubs. (Alcohol? It's, like, that stuff that gets you drunk and stuff? That makes you go, like, a bad psycho, while Red Bull makes you go a good psycho?)

It put me in mind of a conversation I overheard earlier in the week, on the tram, by a girl seventeen years of age. (Though conversation may be the wrong word here, it implies something a little too - two-sided for this particular talk.) "Alcopops is, like, soooo fattening. Did you know Midoris have as much fat in them as a Krispy Kreme Donut?". Straight afterwards, she hastened to explain: "I don't even drink them, anyway!"

I think we all learned something from that conversation. Myself and the rest of the train, I mean. I still don't know what that something was. I hope I never know.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I give it five stars for the gigantic amoebic plastic bag

If watching people in fedoras flounce around the stage and flap around on inflated blobs of plastic is your thing, then maybe you should get along to the State Theatre to see Land's End. Sometimes, the characters also flop around in the giant inflated blobs of plastic, too, or come out of the giant blobs of plastic, or do significant dances in front of flowing waves of plastic, or catch giant fish which, for no particular reason, fall into their hands.

Land's End is certainly a deep and meaningful show. For instance, at one point, five men dance around the stage wearing large pipes, which is a metaphor for the human condition of people who wear large pipes.

I give the show five stars for the gigantic amoebic plastic bags.

The music wasn't bad either.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Spirit of dumb

Euphemisms I never want to see again:

The Olympic dream
Working families
Mum and dad investors
Change you can believe in
The spirit of Christmas
The Olympic ideal
The spirit of the Olympics.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Take a fillip from Phillip to make Philip

When is a Phillip not a Phillip? That's my pedantic problem for the day. Some Philips are spelled with one 'l', some are spelled with two 'l's, and it's damned hard to see the difference. Port Phillip Council has two 'l's, Philip Ruddock has one 'l'.

It's a little like the difference between 'lama', first name Dalai, and 'llama', the disagreeable beast. As Ogden Nash put it:

The one l lama,
He's a priest;
The two l llama,
He's a beast;
But I will bet
A silk pyjama
There's no such thing as
A three l lllama.

A note that Nash subsequently added to the poem informs us of a letter he received from a reader about an alarm-clock that rings thrice: a 'three alarmer'.

Who wants a silk pyjama anyway?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Respectable scientific analysis of a common problem

I've just come back from the markets where I had been using the shopping trolley from hell. As I wheeled it over the smooth floor, it lurched, at sudden and unpredictable intervals, to the left, sometimes attempting to take out other passengers or small children. In this day and age of computers and the electric light, one would expect the technology of evil shopping trolleys would be well known. Sadly, the problem of evil shopping trolleys persists in today's society. Therefore, as a public service, I have decided to consider the problem here on my blog, and propose some solutions myself.



EXPLANATION 1: The shopping trolley has been taken on a joy ride late at night by drunken staff members, who persistently did wheelies from left-to-right. The trolley is therefore attempting to unspin itself by its own efforts.

SOLUTION: Take the shopping trolley on a right-to-left joy ride until the constant left-lean is taken out of the wheels. (PROBLEM: this may cause the shopping trolley to become spun in the opposite direction, causing similar difficulties for the next customer. ANOTHER PROBLEM: This may interfere with the other customers too.)

EXPLANATION 2: The evil shopping trolley really is from hell, and is doing the evil bidding of Satan by attempting to slaughter all the customers, including yourself.

SOLUTION: Contact your local parish priest and get them to send a sternly worded letter to the minions of hell, asking them to please cease and desist from outsourcing their evil shopping trolleys to the local markets.

EXPLANATION 3: You are in fact in telepathic communion with your evil shopping trolley, and it is attempting to lead you somewhere.

SOLUTION: Let the shopping trolley take you where it wants to, and you may find a waterhole, or gold, etc. (PROBLEM: You may have a slight difficulty if the trolley attempts to take you outside the supermarket. The staff may not look upon your explanation kindly. Try this: "No, really! I'm a scientist!" Running away also sometimes helps.)

EXPLANATION 4: The evil shopping trolley, in its constant lurches to the left, demonstrates its ideological affinity with socialism, communism, or some form of progressive politics.

SOLUTION: Sit down with the shopping trolley, patiently explain to it the difficulties that progressive politicians have with economic management, and the intrusive effect on personal liberties that the implementation of seemingly important progressive initiatives can have. Read several passages from Hayek, Mises, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and so on, in an attempt to rectify its left-ward leanings. (NOTE: There may be a possible link between EXPLANATION 4 and EXPLANATION 2. However, as it is not entirely clear which party Satan votes for, this knotty theological and ideological problem will have to be debated at a later date.)


Of course, a simpler solution would be to get another shopping trolley.

Emission by emission is the leading cause of emissions: ABC

Check out this World Today transcript that I found via Mr Blair:

SIMON LAUDER: Australia's love of a good steak is contributing substantially to climate change. Emission by emission, cattle and sheep are responsible for an estimated 11 per cent of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions.

I would never have guessed that emission could be amongst the leading cause of emissions! Further research into the effect that emissions have on the emission of emissions is undoubtedly called for. Now that the ABC has informed us that emission is the true cause of emission, we can focus on curbing the rate of emission-caused-emissions, as opposed to emissions by car, bus, factory, electricity, coal-burning, oil-burning, gas-burning, and so on.

Although seemingly counter-intuitive, I feel confident that research into emitted emissions and their link to emissions will yield great results for our future prosperity.

I wonder if elsewhere on their website, the ABC inform us about other difficult issues faced by Australia, including a significant increase in the impact whole-body water immersion has had on death by drowning in recent years; the fascinating but unproven link between obesity and national body-weight statistics; the statistically-significant relationship between death and mortality figures in Australia; and the controversial theory that immigration and childbirth make important contributions to the rise in Australia's population.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Historical record of events of pressing concern

Today, I went to a science fiction book meeting and we all had trouble working out how to open an electric door.

Complaints and feedback to the Department of Badness

Dear Department of Badness,

I would like to complain about the administration of badness services to my town (Newcastle). No Government - Federal, State, or Local - has ever bothered to oversee the introduction of new badness infrastructure into our region.

If a Government Department doesn't supervise the decline of civility and raise standards of nastiness, then who will?

Margery, Newcastle

Dear Margery,

Stuff you.

Aaron Piedersen,
Chief Communications Officer,
Federal Department of Badness

Dear Department of Badness,

I think there should be a Department of Badness uniform! That way, we could identify our local Department of Badness officials and speak to them about our concerns whenever we felt like it!

Also: have you considered giving each member of the public a badness allocation, in the form of tickets?

Dirk Ogglesworth, Mount Nebo

Dear Dirk,

Yes yes yes. And I want a fucking pony. Newflash, kid - it's not going to happen.


Aaron Piedersen,
Chief Communications Officer,
Federal Department of Badness

Dear Department of Badness,

Fascist arseholes! You and all you imperialist lackeys, you make me sick! I think I'll go and throw a rock through your windows!

Grotty, Nimbin

Dear Grotty,

Have you ever considered taking up a career with the Federal Department of Badness? There are a number of career openings that would suit you perfectly.

We encourage you to forward this email on to our HR department immediately.

Aaron Piedersen,
Chief Communications Officer,
Federal Department of Badness

Dear Department of Badness,

It's been SIX MONTHS since the election, and not ONE of the badness criteria set by the Rudd Government has been implemented at the local office. Are you here to help us, or what?

Tim, Thornbury

Dear Tim,

Not if we can help it. Dick.

Aaron Piedersen,
Chief Communications Officer,
Federal Department of Badness

Dear Department of Badness,

Whatever happened to 'service with a frown'? Or 'the customer always knows worst'? Judging from the reception I'm getting at the local Department of Badness offices, these old rules that held true when I was working for you sadly no longer are the case.

Joan Prim, South Yarra

Dear Joan,

If there was a letter on my keyboard representing 'çontemptuous sneer', I would be pressing it now.

Aaron Piedersen,
Chief Communications Officer,
Federal Department of Badness

Dear Department of Badness,

I feel depressed, lonely, and suicidal. Help!

Elle, Toongabbie

Dear Elle,

You loser. Happy to help.

Aaron Piedersen,
Chief Communications Officer,
Federal Department of Badness

Dear Department of Badness,

I am appalled at the shocking lack of badness services in my region. My son has from his birth suffered from a physiological deficiency of badness, and it is only with regular badness supplements that we are able to rectify this. However, with the decline of badness services under the previous and present government, we have often had to go without.

Please do something about this immediately.

Yours sincerely, Laura Gudgman, Tooleybuc

Dear Laura Gudgman,

Like we care.

Aaron Piedersen,
Chief Communications Officer,
Federal Department of Badness

Dear Department of Badness,

I would like to make a complaint about the overallocation of swear words to my region's Department of Badness offices. We've got more than we know what to do with!

Ahmal, Northcote

Dear Ahmal,

Stinkface, cuntflaps, fuckbrain, poohead, shit-for-guts, cocksucker, bum, tit, wee. There. That should do.

Aaron Piedersen,
Chief Communications Officer,
Federal Department of Badness

Dear Department of Badness,

Hey! You guys are doing a terrific job! I'd like to personally thank you for giving us new faith in the ability of a government department to deliver badness in an equitable and fair basis to the community!

Janine, Ballarat

Dear Janine,

These are serious allegations that you are making, and the Department of Badness will be beginning an inquiry to look into these charges immediately. There are several reasons why this incident might have occured, and while we cannot provide an answer yet, we would like to here and now offer our complete apologies for the delivery of our services to your community, and thank you for bringing this problem to our attention.

We can only make say that we will work harder in future to ensure that better standards of badness and crapulence are achieved by our department while working with your community.

Aaron Piedersen,
Chief Communications Officer,
Federal Department of Badness

Repression by spoon

Harry Hutton says:

Champion bore Alexander Solzhenitsyn has died.

They made us read his Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich when I was at school. It’s about some gloomy Russian guy in a labour camp in Siberia, who goes on and on about a spoon he hid in his boot. That’s pretty much all that happens. Our English teacher asked what the spoon represented and the class dunderhead said it symbolised the lack of cutlery under Stalin.

Few people realise this, but it's actually very hard to rise up against your oppressors with spoon alone.

It was his mastery of the distribution of spoons that aided Stalin in his tyrannical rise to power. Let us all hope we can learn from this dreadful time.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Whoring Selling Australia

The ads, for which Mr Luhrmann said he was paid "mates' rates", will eschew tourism landmarks. "What we hope to do is convey an emotional experience that is possible from going the extra distance and coming to this unique, special place on the edge of the world," he said.

Tourism Australia and Mr Luhrmann agreed much was riding on the strategy, which is a stopgap until a successor to the derided Where The Bloody Hell Are You? campaign is found.
- Mr Luhrmann is ready for your close-up, Australia

Where the bloody hell are you, mark two (the sequel)
G'day, youse bastards. Kevin Blood here, and I'm about as Australian as the grout on the bum of a merino sheep. And proud of it to boot!

Your host, Kevin Blood.

Now it's come within my purview that some of youse foreigners have been getting all hoity-toity and offended by this 'ere Tourism Australia ad.

Now what the bloody hell's wrong with that?

I thought about this for a bit, and that's when it hit me, like a ruddy great jumbo jet going wildly out of control with a flamin' great hole in its side - it was too subtle for youse bastards! Your miniscule European minds just couldn't comprehend the complicated message we were trying to ram through them.

Well, here in Australia, we've got subtlety comin' out off our arseholes. That's why I've decided to do a new ad for the benefit of you poor slobs on the continent.


We're a sophisticated nation, all right, with just about as much culture as you'd ever wish for. But we always maintain an easy and informal tone with one another. Just check out this ordinary, everyday scene happening in a normal Australia cafe.

(MAN walks up to counter of a suburban cafe)

MAN: (To waitress) G'day Shaz. Can I have a skinny double-shot extra large cappucino, hold the sugar, please?

SHARON: There ya go, Gaz, ya old bastard.

MAN: (Sipping coffee) Tastes just about as exciting as an old boot. Cheers, Shaz!

Of course, it's the rich complexities of the Aussie vernacular that are apt to trick youse continental bastards. If you're thinkin' of comin' to Australia, you might have a bit of trouble at first.

(AMERICAN MAN walks up to counter at same suburban cafe)

AMERICAN MAN: Hey ya, how's it doin'? Can I have a double moccha latte to go please?

SHARON: (Pushing coffee across counter to American Man) There ya go. And I hope ya rot in hell, yankee imperialist bastard!

Don't worry. You'll soon get the hang of it.

(AMERICAN MAN walks up to counter at same suburban cafe)

AMERICAN MAN: Hey ya, how's it doin'? Can I have a double moccha latte to go please?

SHARON: (Pushing coffee across counter to American Man) There ya go. And I hope ya rot in hell, yankee imperialist bastard!

AMERICAN MAN: (Thinks) Hey - screw YOU, asshole! (Laughs raucuously)

It's the little things like that that make the Aussie life the wonder of the southern, northern, eastern, western, or just about any other bloody hemisphere you can think of. And if you don't like it -


Australia might have a little population. But we've got a lot to be proud of! For instance, we're one of the safest countries in the world. Thanks to new laws being brought in by all the state governments, if anyone is caught smoking in public, they're SHOT on SIGHT!

And just in case you're wondering, no. This won't lead to vigilante justice. Thanks to laws introduced by the Howard Government, the only people doing the shooting will be officers of the law or other appointed government representatives. So youse all won't have anything to worry about. Unless you do something wrong. Or do something that someone thinks is wrong. Or do something that someone thinks might seem wrong to someone else. Or...

And if you don't like that -


Another one of the natural advantages of this great country of ours is the wide open spaces we've got. Just have a gander at the natural beauty of my own backyard...

Look at that, ey? Isn't it a beauty? And you can't have none of it. And thanks to the hard work of successive Aussie Governments, even the bits that are public are private, locked away behind fences and bureaucratic red tape.

Anyway, the point is, even in such rich and fecund environments as this, you'll find us Aussies, with our sophisticated cultural understanding.

(The camera swoops in on who else but BARRY HUMPHRIES*, standing atop one of the three sisters - whichever one's available - reading aloud from Rabbie Burns' poem 'Ode tae a haggis'.)

HUMPHRIES: Great chieftain a' the puddin' race;
Aboon them a' ye tak' yair place...

KEVIN BLOOD: (Comes up to Humphries, holding two coffees) G'day Baz. Double shot macchiato, one sugar, extra crema?

HUMPHRIES: That's the one, you scumbag, Kev!

KEVIN: (Sipping meditatively from coffee) And if you don't like it...

BOTH: (Turning to face the camera) THEN PISS ORFF!

Of course, it's not all opera and ballet and Italian coffee with us. Aussies also appreciate the finer things in life - like sport. This beaut little country is home to many fabulous sports, like dwarf tossing, extreme barbecue racing, and barbecue throwing - at dwarfs.

(CAMERA CUTS TO: PAUL HOGAN* and KEV at another barbecue throwing contest)

KEV: Hey Paul - chuck another barbie on the prawn, would ya?

HOGAN: Righto! (Throws barbie)

DWARF: (Off camera) Ow! That hurt!

KEV AND HOGAN: (Laughing) And if you don't like that - THEN PISS ORFF!

So whether you're comin' to Australia for our rich cultural diversity, our friendly ways, or our wide open spaces -

(currently closed to the public, thanks very much) then I've just got one thing to say to you:

(Deal currently under negotiation with Tourism Australia)

*As Jellyfish is wont to say, 'deal pending'.

Headlines from the Identity Theft Times

Identity Theft Times: the newspaper that isn't what it says it is.

Man with multiple personalities complains of identity theft. "I'm 9/13s the man I used to be."

Me, yourself, and her: A victim of identity crime has her first and second person stolen from her.

Opinion column by Ern Malley: "Peter Carey has no right to steal my fabricated identity from me. It may not be much, but it's all I've got!"

The Shakespeare-Marlowe debate settled at last. They both wrote one another's plays!

Three faceless men walk into a bar...

Imposters: the blog for identity criminals!

Anonymous author mistaken for synonymous celebrity by cafe owner. "Their faces looked similar..."

RIGHT, SUNSHINE! I'm nicked! Identity criminal steals policeman's personality, jails himself.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Bigfoot shmigfoot

An 8ft ape-like creature that bears a striking resemblance to the legendary Bigfoot has been sighted in Canada. - The Telegraph
Bigfoot sighting 'preposterous' - Elvis

Cold water has been poured on recent claims of Bigfoot sightings by a prominent group of sceptics, headed by Elvis Presley, and including Harold Holt, Lee Harvey Oswald, Kaspar Hauser, and Ern Malley.

"We have learned that it is prudent not to take such remarkable claims at face value, but to meet them with a reasonable degree of cynicism, y'all" said Presley yesterday, in a statement to the media.

However, a second group of media identities, including the Abominable Snowman, several surviving descendants of Piltdown Man, the poet Ossian, and Bishop Shelby Spong, have defended the sightings of Bigfoot.
"Not only is Elvis dead," points out Mr Snudge, one of the descendants of Piltdown Man, currently living in Williamstown, Victoria, "But anything Ern Malley says should not be taken at face value. Ever since he he fooled the public with the notorious 'McAuley-Stewart' hoax, where Malley fabricated the identities of two farcically anti-modernist poets, he has been discredited."

Controversially, Bishop Shelby Spong has cast doubts on his own credibility, having, in a recent opinion column, not only disproved the existence of Jesus Christ and God, but himself as well. When contacted by this paper, he refused to do an interview, but issued a 'clarification': "I exist on alternate Mondays and Wednesdays, and twice on Saturday, if there's good coffee available."

The controversy only looks set to widen in following days, with the upcoming broadcast of the much-publicised 'Bacon/Shakespeare' debates, in which the two prominent authors settle a number of outstanding issues, including, who wrote what and when; the Bigfoot debate; and the final proof or disproof of the existence of God.

God could not be contacted for comment for this article.

(Thanks Steve!)

Short story

For years, the Colossus bestrode the gates to the great trading city of Rhodes like a really big thing.

Every time the fishmongers and cobblers and grocers and carpenters and shipwrights and tradesmen of Rhodes walked out to do business, they would look up at the impressively large statue and shake their heads and mutter to themselves, "If only there was an expression for something really big bestriding something else. That would be just the ticket to talk about our Colossus. It would really make the city a selling point."

The end

Friday, August 01, 2008

Two poems about clouds

Today, I looked out the window at work over the Docklands and saw the clouds, and seeing the clouds, found myself writing three poems and four playlets, all about clouds.

'Today' is the operative word there.

It's been quiet at work for the past two weeks, and I choose today, Friday, the only busy day for ages, to get inspired. Meh, that's life.

"And stay up there"

When I look
Into the air
I think 'so many
Clouds up there!

'If I rolled
Them into one,
They must weigh

It's jolly nice
They don't all fall
All for one,
Or one for all.'

It's not so bad,
A little rain.
But all at once?
Now that's a pain!

"An Irish groundsman foreesees his death, or rather, he doesn't"

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere below the clouds above.
(I'll say more at a later date.)

(Although, of course, you never know
Perhaps I'll cark it on a plane,
Somewhere above the clouds below!)
Email: timhtrain - at -

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