Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Things I did on my holidays, by Timothy H Train

Things I did on my holidays, by Timothy Huw Train - #122: Inflated a TARDIS.

This is a pretty simple thing to do, provided you have one of two things: a) a bike pump b) a very big set of lungs. Dad and I opted for the bike pump. The only worry we had about blowing up this TARDIS was that when we blew it up it might, well, blow up. (Of course, we hadn't thought about how to deal with a scalliwag nephew/grandson who thought it a wonderful lark to pull the plug on this TARDIS. Repeatedly.)

Incidentally, on meeting said nephew, I was shocked - SHOCKED! - to find that he didn't know what a TARDIS was. He hasn't even watched one episode of Doctor Who! Nick, what the hell's going on?

Important political post!

Time for an Important Political Post, folks. You knew it was coming.

As the crisis in the middle east continues to worsen, it is absolutely vital that President-Elect Obama act decisively, and immediately make a vague and non-commital statement about the situation. Once this vague and non-commital statement has been made, it must be swiftly and surely backed up by a series of ambigous and unclear messages by other world leaders, capable of multiple interpretations by the conflicting parties.

It is only through such a unified and misleading response that the conflicting parties will be reconciled in a state of mutual confusion, and that their levels of violence will be changed from unacceptably high to merely highly unacceptable.

Quite right, ladies and gentlemen. Quite right.

Idle Novocastrian notes

Newcastle, the city that may or may not exist
Newcastle is a collection of suburbs making up a slightly bigger suburb. Some of the suburbs are highly subjective - they exist more in the mind than in reality. Alongside the Pacific Highway running into and out of Newcastle is a suburb called 'Hexham'. Just about the only distinguishing features making up the suburb of Hexham is, 1) a McDonalds, and 2) a train station. That's it. I'd Imagine the train station picks up all its business from the McDonalds, and vice versa.

Being driven back from Williamstown Airport to my parents place, we noticed amidst the trees and shrubs, a sign saying that we had entered another suburb, 'Campvale'. Where were the houses? Was this an actual suburb? A place that was going to be a suburb in another five years? A place that was once a suburb? It sure confused the hell out of me.

Another case in point is Newcastle city centre. Most city centres, of course, are places where almost nobody lives but lots of people go to sell and buy things. Newcastle city centre goes one better than this, since almost all of the shops are unoccupied. You don't live there, you don't buy there, and you don't sell there either: it's a work of art! (Also, it's not quite a city centre, either - it's on the waterfront, at the edge of town). Maybe things have worked out like this because Newcastle council believe in helping the disadvantaged - and it's much easier to help the disadvantaged in your city when there's lots of them. Think of the opportunities!

This is probably why some years ago I left Newcastle for the tram-based entertainments of Melbourne. Nevertheless, I still fly back there quite a bit to see the parents and enjoy events like TINA, and so on.

Words my father has attempted to use at scrabble
"That's Dad's scrabble style" I remarked to my parents yesterday over the scrabble boards. "He plays very obscure, hard-to-remember words that earn him almost no points at all." In fact, he played at least one low-scoring, obscure word every game. I started making a list. Here it is:

Roob (according to Dad it's an old carnie cry, whenever there's trouble at the circus tent or something like that - 'Roob, roob, hey roob!')

We let him get away with most of these. Not all, though.

Things the dog tried to eat during my six-day visit
Two tennis balls
Two cockroach baits
The bright yellow napkin I'd been using as a bookmark
The pink frisbee
My smelly black socks
Dad's smelly black socks
My brother's smelly white socks
Something I didn't see in the park (possibly a pinecone?)
An old shirt of mine

Oh yeah, she also tried to herd my nephew, nipped at my feet, and hunted several smaller mostly feathered animals. On Christmas, I took her for a walk in the park, and she hunted, in quick succession, 1) a magpie, 2) a family of ducks 3) an abandoned beer bottle sitting on the ground.

I think she's fantastic!

Trains, mobile. Also, Train's Mobile
Pottering off to Lake Macquarie yesterday with father, mother, and brother, so Dad could get a bit of target practice shooting arrows we noticed really weird stuff going down with my mobile phone. You see, it latches on to the closest reception tower in the area and tells me where I am - or at least it tries to. Going through some of Newcastle's lesser-populated suburbs, it came up with some rather imaginative suggestions as to where we were located. Driving onto the Pacific Highway down to Hexham, it thought we were at the university. When we reached Fennel Bay, it said we were in Fassifern. When we got to Fassifern, it said we were in Toronto. When we reached Toronto, it said that we were in Toronto, but considering its track record at that stage, I think it was just a one-off accident. At a few points while we were driving back from Toronto, it said we were in the mysterious suburb of 'Emergency Signal Only'. That's a funny name for a suburb... And true, it did say we were in Heatherbrae when we drove through Heatherbrae, but by the time we got into Raymond Terrace, it said we were still in Heatherbrae.

Oh, and later in the day, at Williamstown airport, which you would have thought was at Williamstown, it said we were at Salt Ash. Go figure.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Unsolicited dog photographs

I'm just back from Newcastle where I had an absolutely smashing Christmas. I'll say a bit more about that tomorrow, but in the meantime, enjoy these pictures of my parents' dog, Shelty, a rather naughty border collie pup. As you will see, she likes eating things. She likes eating things a lot.

Tomorrow, I will publish a list of things she tried to eat during my six day visit. It will not be a short list.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Naughty Santa

Just what the hell is Santa smoking here? And doesn't he look just a little bit too freaking happy - positively blissful, in fact? Doesn't he know how dangerous smoking is? Why, he could be locked up by the anti-smoking league for daring to smoke in front of children! But then again, maybe it's not tobacco he's smoking. He still looks a bit too fat, though - far too obese to act as a father figure to children the world over. Santa Claus, the health freaks will be on to you, all right!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Words which I use incorrectly

An incomplete list...

Means: of or pertaining to evening.
I use it to mean: slow. 'Oh, that tram's going past in a crepuscular way.'

Means: Of or relating to an uncle, like an uncle.
I use it to mean: Friendly.

Means: Working or acting merely for gain.
I use it to mean: Indiscriminate.

Means: afternoon.
I use it to mean: midday, afternoon, evening, or night.

Means: branch of medical science relating to the functions and diseases peculiar to women, especially those relating to the reproductive organs.
I use it to mean: anything relating to the body.

In general I find that long obscure words are incredibly useful, since most people don't trouble to throw them into a conversation and therefore most people aren't sure what they mean anyway. So when you do throw them into a conversation, their meaning largely depends on their function in the sentence you are saying, and the context.

Not sure how I started using 'afternoon' indiscriminately, though. (Or should I say, not sure how I started being so mercenary with my use of the word 'afternoon'?)

Should I be doing this? No. Will I keep on doing this? Hell, yes.

Ancient people you can relate to

Hattians! The name of an ancient people inhabiting the lands of Hatti in parts of Anatolia. Noted for their wearing of hats whenever possible. And other, less important, but possibly more factual stuff.

Tongue twister

A wobbly wallaby wobbled to Willoughby.

The Christmas that ate Christmas

I had hoped to put up another non-Christmas post before I flew off to Newcastle. But Christmas is so omnipresent at this time of year that it's almost impossible not to talk about something related to it. Like the hideous science-fictional blob that keeps appearing in films that may or may not be named 'The Blob', Christmas has turned into a vast, formless, all-devouring entity that, er, devours all. It's even slipped into the simplest conversations with the random Man/Woman/Non-Gender-Specific Person On The Street, who you should know better than to have conversations with anyway.

- Funny weather for this time of year!
- Yes, I think it'll cool down for Christmas, though.
- It's so busy in Melbourne at Christmas.
- Yes, Christmas is a busy time of the Christmas.
- Are you trying to tell me something, Christmas-head?
- Shove it up your Christmas!
- Hey, Christmas you!

You get the idea. I'm having these conversations all the time.

I was noodling around on Facebook, getting into a debate with Benito about how much of Christmas was pagan and how much was Christian, and bumped into a Christian who didn't celebrate Christmas. (Oliver Cromwell would be proud, I thought.) He was so magnanimous and so compassionate that he appeared to feel responsibility, as a Christian, for all the sins of the crusaders, the inquisition, and various other sins committed in the name of Christianity. That's quite a stock of personal sinning he built up there - I wondered if he was planning to apologise for every individual offence that happened, and on behalf of all his other Christians? (Kevin Rudd would be proud, too. Or maybe ashamed. Or maybe proud of being ashamed. Or ashamed of being proud. Or... etc.)*

Christmas, hey? It's so... Christmassy. Have a very merrily Christmassy Christmas, everyone!

*In case you're reading, hey JM. I'm sure there's more to your views than that, but you sure did sound odd when you said 'as a Christian I do not celebrate Christmas' in Benito's Saturnalia forum post. Me, I'm just a sucker for Christmas pudding and fruit mince pies.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Getting into the spirits, getting into the seasoning

Not only are we coming up to Christmas, but it's almost the 25th of December! And you just know it's that time of the year again when everyone on the streets, in the newspapers, and in the blogs start talking about that time of the year again, and start doing and saying those type of things again that only happen at that time of the year (whatever time it may be).

In order to get into the spirit of the season, it seems it might first be appropriate to get into the spirit of getting into the spirit of the season. I therefore offer for your perusal and edification the following Officially Official Will Type For Food Christmas Checklist.

- Left-winger complaining about Christmas decorations being offensive to non-Christians - CHECK

- Right-wing paper complaining about left-winger complaining about Christmas decorations being offensive to non-Christians - CHECK

- Left-wing blogger complaining about right-wing papers who complain about left-winger complaining about Christmas decorations being offensive to non-Christians - CHECK

- Mainstream media article about the pagan origins of a 'supposedly' 'Christian' 'festival' - CHECK

- Parodies of the carol The 12 Days of Christmas - CHECK - that aren't as good as the original self-parodying parody that the song is - CHECK

- Evangelical Christians eager to remind us about the 'true meaning of Christmas' and Jesus - CHECK

- Agonising over what atheists should do at Christmas - CHECK

- Various bizarre commercial attempts to use Christmas to their own advantage - CHECK

Hooray! Can't you feel the spirit of Christmas yet?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The difference between 'think' and 'tell'

SCENARIO: I am sitting at Coburg train station next to a middle-aged businesswoman reading a book. I am eating a fruit mince pie, with a takeaway cappucino by my side.

TIM: (Thinking) Gosh, I like fruit mince pies. They're really tasty.

Tim lifts the cappucino to his lips, and squeezes the cup a little too much, causing froth to spill out and run down his trouser legs.

TIM: (Speaking aloud) Nothing like a bit of lactate down the leg.

The businesswoman beside Tim laughs uncomfortably.

TIM: (Reminiscing, aloud) Takes me back to my school days.

Following this incident, I reflected to myself that this was an excellent illustration of the difference between 'think' and 'tell', and particularly instructive about those occasions when one confuses what should be 'thought' with what should be 'told'.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Out of Zeit, out of Geist

This year, I didn't see some of the must-see films, and as for some of the avoid-at-all-cost films, I didn't avoid them, at some cost. I began to read some books that were unputtdownable, then put them down; and I took up some books that were untakeupabble. With some books, I found that once I started, I could stop. With others, I stopped them even before I started them.

Guess the zeit will have to continue zeiting the old geist without my help, then.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Aspirational junk food

There are some people who would happily sit in their local fruit energy drink store while they wait for their protein-enhanced organically-boosted oxidiser-charged proton-nullified magnetised-depolyethylinised cup of banana smoothie to be delivered, reading a sheet of laminated paper full of advertisements for gyms that are slightly-too-expensive-for-them-to-afford, and watch as the barista merrily sculpts the tiny grass growing out of a tub on their table top with a pair of nail scissors. I am not one of those people.

Don't get me wrong. I like caffeine as much as the next addict. But bloody hell! Have you seen the amount of fruit drinks they have in cafe fridges? Such a diversity of choice is there that every time I walk into a cafe and gaze upon the panoply on offer, I am overwhelmed by one thought, and one thought alone: 'I like Milo'!

The principle concern of drink manufacturers these days seems to be making their drinks seem accessible, attractive, and available - to wankers. So great is this wanker demographic, that each drink has a label, title, and list of ingredients so arranged as to attract the eyes of these wankers. They probably have textbooks on appealing to the Inner Wanking Powers inherent in every customer. Branding is all important, for wankers. Some names and descriptions of drinks follow, accompanied by a short translation:

This name is so annoying, that if I carry it around I will seem like a witty wanker to other witty wankers who want to seem like witty wankers!

I'm the drink for people who don't want other people to think they drink bottled water and aren't afraid to not admit it!

ORGANIC! _______ [Please insert the terms: 'Lemonade', 'Raspberry', 'Lime' after that title depending on whether it looks yellow, red, green, or mud-coloured]
Organic soft drink - just like normal soft drink, only shit!

I look like ordinary orange juice, apple juice, etc, but I'm tagged a 'smoothie'. I also have weird oxidants and other stuff in me. This seems foolish because I am bought by fools. Why not be another fool and buy me?

Aspirational junk food: it's junk food for people who want to look healthy and happy and virtuous, but don't want to put any actual effort into it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This is not a review

A few days ago I went to a poetry gig in Brunswick, and a little while later I left. Between those two unremarkable events I ran into Geoff Lemon selling copies of his book Sunblind, so I got one for myself.

Flicking through the poems, I found they were written in free verse, which I dislike; and that they were about things like driving and nature, which I'm mostly indifferent to. I summarily concluded that I didn't like the style and I didn't like the ideas, but I did like the poems. This seemed to mean that I disliked everything about the poetry except the poetry. This would never do...

Rereading the book closely, I found a few poems which flabbergasted me. Geoff had an occasional gift for writing free verse that had the easy grace and music of a traditional rhymed poem or structured lyric. (There's only one obvious lyric form in Sunblind, a ghazal.) I was really goggling at the two poems Foxes, and Working in Wood. Like sestinas or villanelles, they seemed to use repeated words to terminate line endings, but unlike sestinas or villanelles, those repeated words didn't seem to be arranged in any specific form. I actually made plenty of marks on my book beside these two poems and stared at them for a good half hour trying to work out if, despite appearances, Geoff was using a specific form.

All very disturbing for me, to come across a modern performance poet who actually seems aware of established poetic forms, and capable enough not to write in them while still producing good poetry. I hadn't thought such a person existed.

I'm not going to go writing free verse or anything, though. I like a good rhyme too much. And I do still wonder why the one exception in Sunblind to Geoff's preference for free verse is a ghazal. (Nowadays, almost the only verse form that most people know of and are able to write in is a Japanese haiku.) Are verse forms only acceptable when they're exotic?

Still, I ended up liking Sunblind after all. Such was my perplexity at this little volume of poems, though, that I still don't think I'm able to write a review of it. And this isn't that review.

You can get a copy of Sunblind by contacting Geoff or maybe Picaro Press.

UPDATE! - Just got feedback (mmmm, feeeeeeeed) from Geoff informing me that Working in Wood is a pantoum. There goes any cred I had with the poetic forms...

All I want for Christmas is my teeth ripped out of my face

Reader, I must confess. I have been a swine, a cad, an utter reprobate, a moral worm, a beast. Up until now, I would have been the sort of person to blithely go on life's way, nary uttering a word in sympathy or compassion for my poor, suffering fellow mortals. Now, not so! I have turned from my paths of wickedness from whence I have straid, never to stray no more.

Up until two days ago, had a person at my workplace happened to become hurt, my response would have been like so:

WORKMATE: OUCH! I stubbed my foot.

TIM: Isn't that a nice cloud!

Now, however, I know better. Who am I to mock a fellow mortal in their pain and suffering? Sympathy, like a healing balm, must be applied liberally. In future, this will be my response.

WORKMATE: OUCH! I stubbed my foot!

TIM: OH MY GOD! WHO'S YOUR NEXT OF KIN? I'll hire the funeral hearse, & co., & co...

And what has caused me to reform? Well, as Dr Johnson once said, "If a man knows he is to be hanged on the morrow, it focuses his mind wonderfully." And so it is with sickness: reader, I ail, I fail, I am poorly. I may not last for much longer. I am, there is no doubt, on the cusp of death. Or, to put it more specifically, my mouth hurts. Or, not to put too fine a point on it, I have a toothache. I think I know what the problem is, too. My wisdom teeth, those villains in the dental world, which, years ago, my dentist told me would have to be removed at some point in my future life - or else!

I am now in my thirty-first year of age, hale and hearty, and with my wisdom teeth still unremoved. Oh, how I wish it had been different! I can see all too clearly what is going to happen. My corrupt teeth will drop, one by one out of my mouth; and then, the corruption and decay will spread to the rest of my mouth will drop off too. Without a mouth, I will be unable to feed. A mouthless zombie, I will wander the world for a few days, before falling, and becoming a dead, decaying corpse in the gutter. A vision of horror? Nay, dear reader: it is merely a sober and sanguine consideration of the circumstances that lie before me. Perhaps readers of the dental profession out there will spot one or two inaccurate details. However, I feel certain that it is, in essence, true.

Anyone know a good dentist?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nasal gazing

A Shakespearean sonnet to the blob of booger that was plucked from my proboscis

I celebrate my snot, and sing my snot
That is from out my nose so timely ripped;
I make a joyful noise unto my snot
And then, I roll into a ball, and flick.
To see the world within a grain of snot!
It is a throne of kings, a paradise!
Hath earth a thing to show more fair than snot?
Is this snot worth my nasal sacrifice?
Is this a booger that I see before me?
Doth mucous from my nose forth greenly drip?
Then out, damn snot! And take thy hanky with thee -
Take out thy snot rag, hand, and let it rip!
But blow, thou nasal winds, and bleach, and blot -
For all is snot, the snot, and nothing but the snot.

AFTERWORD: I actually wrote three of these, but this was the best one. I might do them as a performance piece sometime, which is how I first thought of them - because the best place to pick your nose is on stage, where EVERYONE CAN FREAKING WELL SEE YOU. Obviously.

Ehrm. This being by way of explanation, and all that.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Everyone talks to themselves, don't they?

Leaping out of the front door of the office at the conclusion of work today - as is my wont - a sentence fell into my head, and I just had to say it:

I am the spazmo monkey!

As soon as I said that, it occured to me that all I had to do was add another sentence to that to create a felicitious combination of words and sounds. So I did:

And I dance like a junkie!

I'm a poet, man.

Disclaimer: I am neither a junkie, nor a monkey, nor am I in the least bit spazmo.

Well, okay. Maybe I'm a little spazmo.

Better the Minogue than the Maxogue

Apparently Kylie, the Australian woman most famous for being ordinary, is releasing a perfume: "Sexy Darling", the headline says, is a "seductive new fragrance from Kylie Minogue".

Seductive? How can something with the name of 'Sexy darling' exactly be described as seductive? That's like calling a punch in the face a subtle argument. If 'sexy darling' is seductive, then what other mysterious meanings are there in this lexicon?

Nice tits = subtle flirtation technique

Let's shag = being coy

You have a face like an old boot = affectionate teasing

Let's sing hymns at church together some time = expression of utmost contempt

Sex = pleasant entertainment to be had when encountering slight acquaintances

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Comments with no post...

It's very common to find blog posts with no comments. But how about finding comments with no blog post? That is not quite such an everyday experience.

Now, I have fulfilled this vital need in the blog community. Look right above!

Monday, December 08, 2008


We interrupt this randomly scheduled collection of stochastical unlikelihoods to bring you pictures of oxen!

UPDATE! - Oxtra! Oxtra!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

How to philander, one pat at a time

This morning I went down the street to pat the neighbour's dog. I did it again this afternoon. As a matter of fact, I have to confess I've been patting the neighbour's dog a lot. I did it yesterday, too, and two days before that. The dog, which is a big brown young labrador, is eminently pattable. All you have to do is call him over, and he'll romp up to your hand and readily agree to a pat.

This is a problem. Do my neighbours know that someone in the neighbourhood is patting their dog? In fact, the more that I think about it, the more that this furtive patting seems somehow ilicit - as if I've been sneaking in behind the neighbours pat, and pleasuring their dog while they're looking the other way.

Maybe I shouldn't worry. After all, it's not as if a dog is likely to confess to its owners, "By the way, I'm being patted by someone else." But is it right? Damn it, is it morally correct to be involved in an secretive pat-and-be-patted relationship with an avuncular but, let's admit it, somewhat untrustworthy party of the dogular species? (The brown dog tried to eat my jumper this afternoon. It's almost as if he was more interested in food than relationships of the patterine kind.) And are these pats being taken by the eminently pattable brown dog instead of being directed at some other dog to whom these pats should rightly belong? (I've asked the brown dog, and my pats, but they won't tell.) Or then again, is this brown dog, in the act of patting, making up for a patless pattern on the part of its owners, who should by all rights be patting it?

These are hard questions, and I don't think I'm able to answer them.

I think I'll pop out and give the dog another pat while I think about it. Can I deliver a pat to him on behalf of any bloggers out there?

The tap dancing won me over

This afternoon I've been vegging out watching the Fred Astaire movie Shall We Dance, and all I've got to say is this: today's movies of yesterday are nothing when it comes to yesterday's movies of yesterday. Shall We Dance, you see, is a classic movie that was made before there were any other classic movies to imitate. It's got plenty of iconic film moments and bizarre experiments with sound and visual that later became standard techniques. And when it wants to imitate the classics, it turns to other artforms altogether. As a film it does a great impression of a stage musical, touring ballet, set of gramophone songs, a vaudeville act, a theatrical comedy, and a light comic novel.

Same goes for the principal actors: as an actor, Ginger Rogers does a great impression of a singer, and Fred the actor is really great as a dancer. At the beginning of the movie, Fred does a good imitation of an American with a bad imitation of a Russian doing a passable imitation of a French accent. (No, that's all right, Fred didn't get it either.) And at the end, Ginger reciprocates by imitating a mannequin imitating a French woman imitating a Russian man. (I think).

As anyone with a passing acquaintance of the Fred and Ginger juggernaut would know, as they made more and more films, the plots became entirely superfluous, an excuse to match the pair up, usually romantically. I can almost write the Hollywood promotion lines for their Hollywood characters now, so I will.

He was the great Petrov, a star of the stage, but with a carefree heart! She was a beautiful and famous popular dancer and jazz singer, desired by all - but there was only one man who could win her heart! Shall We Dance, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers!

But the plot, though entirely contrived, is still enjoyable and it has an interesting moral. The newspapers are conned into spreading a story about marriage between Astaire and Rogers. They spend most of the rest of the movie contriving against the papers, and against one another. In the meantime, their managers either contrive against them, against one another, and against the newspaper stories. It makes for some great situational-comedy jokes, an enjoyable confused plot, and a rather creepy set piece at the end, where Fred dances around the stage with a whole bunch of female dancers wearing Ginger Rogers masks, singing 'Who's got the last laugh now?' It's not a very good conclusion (others, such as Wodehouse, were much better at this sort of thing) but it's a very interesting comment on the fickleness of appearances, both in public and private.

The jokes are excellent, and original:

- At one point, for no reason at all (which is a very good reason indeed), Fred starts doing an enthusiastic tap dance to a record player. This is a particularly fusty and useless record player, which keeps on getting stuck in a groove, or finally getting slower and slower (Fred's dance cleverly imitates the music).

- Fred's manager bursts into his room after having read the latest stories about his star, and rouses him, crying, "You're having a baby!" After being informed of the details, Fred declares angrily, "And you're the father!"

- Fred and Ginger discuss how to thwart the papers, with increasing frustration, until Fred declares, "We're the only two people in New York who don't think we're married." "Think?" replies Ginger. "I know we're not." Fred answers, to some consternation, "I'm beginning to have my doubts."

And this is not to mention a weird method of courting involving people marching back and forth in a kind of semi-dance with their dogs, an imaginative set-piece dance with roller skates, and a frustrated citizen turning up at the offices of a random US police station: "I'm in jail for battery, and I want you to get me out. I'm at the Susquehannah Street Jail . . . Susquehannah! Susquehannah - S-U-S-Q-U-Q! Q! You know, the thing you play billiards with . . . Billiards! B-I-L-L-..." The policeman replies: "What is this, a spelling bee?"

All in all, I can think of few better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than watching an Astaire and Rogers movie on the telly. Maybe I'll go on doing just that, then, eh? Pip pip!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Very absent voters

The last-minute rush to vote had one man confused in a Richmond barber shop on Saturday afternoon. As the barber clipped away, the voter suddenly announced that he needed to get to a polling booth to avoid a fine. Asked where he was enrolled, he said: "The City of Melbourne, but that's easy - I'll just walk up the hill to the polling booth here and vote absentee." Told that it was too late because the City of Melbourne's postal voting had closed the night before, the man said: "No, I've voted absentee before, and I'll do it again today."... The Melbourne Times
Well, I have to say, it's about time someone came up with the concept of time-absent voting. How many times have voters been unable to attend historically important elections for reasons ranging from a minor case of the cold, to a slight case of non-existence? Too many, that's what! For far too long, elections have been far too long ago for us to participate in!

My patriotic fellow citizens, of whatever nation you happen to be patriotical citizens of, have you ever said to yourself 'I CAN'T let my vote go to waste. The 6th century BC election for the leadership of Athens is far too important for me NOT to vote in, and damn the slight historical, continental, political, and legislative barriers. Where can I sign up?' I know I have. And, after all, the 2133 AD election of the Armenian Presidency is a VERY important election, and we simply have to vote in it. It is urgent that we make our choice now about whatever urgent choice people will have to make then! It is absolutely vital: the future of something depends on it!

NOW is the time to cast an absentee vote for whatever time that vote should have been cast! Fellow Absent-minded voters, sign up to the Will Type For Food Very-Absentee-Vote Scheme now, and cast your ballot in as many elections as you want to!

Become a time-absent voter. Join yesterday! That's what democracy is all about!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Cat of destruction!

My very esteemed colleague Alexis the Baron this morning posted a picture on her blog of a neighbourhood cat of our acquaintance, Leonard.

She argues that Leonard is here contemplating various acts of virtue, charity, and kindliness to those less fortunate than herself.

But! Never trust a photograph you find on the net! After digging around, I have uncovered a horrible story. It turns out that the above picture of Leonard is a fake. Clever photoshop trickery has been worked on this picture in order to wipe out the eeeeeeevil thought bubble that is forming just above his head.

Finally, I located an undoctored version of the picture. Note the thought bubble:

I am very much afraid to tell the Baron that she is living in close proximity to a feline who harbours psychopathic feelings towards toilet rolls.

In case the Baron is not convinced by this, I would like to further note the entry under Leonard in the Macquarie Dictionary. Read the third definition very carefully...

The Macquarie Dictionary

// (say 'lenuhd)
noun 1. Elmore John, born 1925, US writer of westerns and crime fiction.
2. Ray Charles (`Sugar Ray'), born 1956, US boxer; a world welterweight champion.
3. Feline, born 2006, cat; noted for harbouring psychopathic feelings towards toilet rolls.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Utter flapdoodle!

AAP had a story on my email page today that seemed to be about a certain type of bird being lost at sea. Hmm, I thought, scanning the headline idly - not that creature from the family Sulidae and the genus Sula? And not to forget the monotypic Papasula? I should think, being seabirds, that they are never more at home than when at sea*.

But as it turned out, they meant an entirely different type of boob.

On completely unrelated matters, who isn't fond of families of passerine birds, such as chickadees, not excluding a number of attractive woodland species (some of which tend to join mixed-species feeding flocks when it isn't breeding season)? I know I am. Here's a particularly splendid example of a Great Tit, and I certainly don't mind saying so.

And for the record: this is an absolutely smashing pair of boobs.

*Conversely, you could also say they're never more at sea than when at home.**

**That's for shore!

Creative uses of modern environmental concepts!

Presenting: The Amazing Cholesterol Offset Scheme!

Let's face it, in this modernised word, overconsumption is a big problem - so why not pay us to offset your personal overconsumption of resources onto others?

Here's how our Amazing Cholesterol Offset Scheme works:

1) You eat a nice, juicy, cholesterol-filled chocolate bar:

Fig 1: Chocolate bar

2) Make a note of this in your cholesterol offset form.

3) We offset your overconsumption of the world's cholesterol resources to this kid, and just feed him plenty of cabbage soup instead.

Fig 2: Some kid who's not allowed to eat chocolate.

4) Sit back and watch in satisfaction as the cholesterol consumption figures of other people the world over go down!

Together, we can make a real difference to the cholesterol consumption figures of other people while stuffing our fat faces full of chocolate! Sign up now!

Monday, December 01, 2008

His finest hour

It's not everyday you can say that you get to send emails of cybermen around the office as part of your professional duties, but today, that is what I did.

Okay. It wasn't exactly my finest hour. More my finest second, if anything. But still...
Email: timhtrain - at -

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