Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The very long, bewhiskered, sniffly-snuffly nose of the police force

It is a known and established fact that crime-solving in European countries is very different to crime-solving in other parts of the world, and usually involves a dog who subsists on a diet of ham rolls who mostly spends his time cornering shady characters in grimy parks, or grimy characters in shady parks, or grimy parks in shady characters (whichever comes first). The grimy/shady characters usually spend their time kidnapping children or generally leading innocence astray, and it is only thanks to the natural sympathetic qualities of the dog in question that these children are able to be rescued in time. That we know this much is thanks to the many fine television series broadcast from European countries, such as Inspector Rex or Turbo, which have adopted an approach of documentary realism and fidelity to the subject matter, so that their storylines offer a faithful representation of the grim record of crimes and misdemeanours that come out of that continent*. This, as I say is a known and established fact, and ought to be as plain as the nose that has been cut off on the face of your neighbour in order to spite yourself.

But that's not enough - not nearly enough. I have long suspected that we humble Australian viewers are only getting half the story. That is why I would like to propose a follow-up program about European law-and-order, which would of course have a small run of only, oh, twenty years or so. There would be some small differences to the Inspector Rex formula of course. Instead of featuring a big boofy German Shepherd...

... we would get a beautiful, glossy Cocker Spaniel.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the televisual phenomena that is Agent Barkabella! The smartest, sassiest cocker spaniel in the whole Euro-police! She spends her time romping through fields of flowers chasing after felons and villains and felonious villains, with the sunlight shimmering in her glossy black coat. She wouldn't eat ham rolls like Inspector Rex, or anything like that: oh no. She prefers a much more sophisticated fare - fillet mignon, twice a day if you please, Garcon.

I've already got a few scripts lined up:

Agent Barkabella uses her feminine wiles to infiltrate a drug-racket by coyly accepting pats on street corners from suspicious hands. After an initial mistake involving a suspicious hand that actually belongs to a kindly old grandfather who owns a tennis shop, she busts the racket** wide open and finishes the day with her customary meal of fillet mignon, borrowed from the plate of a Frenchman passing by.

It's an ordinary summer's day in Hungary and Agent Barkabella is enjoying a bit of time off when she sees several men with nefarious-looking stubble doing something suspicious at the local bank. She reports back to the local station, only to meet with ridicule, but after obtaining information from a friend of a friend of a person whose bottom she once sniffed, she uncovers full details of the planned bank heist, and with a posse of poodles is able to stop the heist. Outraged, one of the nefariousy-stubbled men grabs a local dramatic device child who happens to be innocently wandering around the last 15 minutes of the show and takes him as a hostage into a nearby meadow - an especially springy and sunshiny meadow that necessitates a large amount of romping. Agent Barkabella corners the two hiding behind a local daisy, and bares her terrible teeth and the child is set free.

While pausing to bury a bone in a local field, Agent Barkabella is shocked to see two children snatching a bag of toupees off a kindly old grandmother, who has been taking them to the local Orphange for Children With No Hair. She immediately leaps into action (her leap taking her through the window of a nearby store which happens to be in her course) and in a great shattering of glass catches the two children as they are handing the bag over to an older, more suspicious looking gentleman, who flees before she can bark at any other police officers to come and help her. The children are taken back to the police office to speak to Barkabella's owner and station commander, who for some reason seems to be noticeably taller, blonder, more buxom, and possessing of more female hormones since the last episode. On questioning the children Barkabella and her commander discover that the children have been seduced from the course of justice by a local criminal ring, and a sting is soon organised to round up the rest of the criminals. The episode concludes with Barkabella trotting off to the local field and finally burying her bone while the children and her commander stand around her and laugh. Ho ho ho, Barkabella!***


I'll be forwarding these and other script details on to some television producers shortly. After all, as I'm sure you will agree, it is high time the contribution of beautiful glossy black cocker spaniels who dine on fillet mignon make to the European police force, and we hear details of the horrifying crimes of toupee theft that take place in that continent.

*Only the names, characters, storylines, soundtrack, script, logical continuity, plausibility, and general air of reality have been changed to protect the innocent.

** The protection racket, I mean, not any tennis rackets that may have been lying around.

***Apparently the first 15 minutes of the show take place in a shopping mall with a meadow and an orphanage and dogs wandering around. What's wrong with that?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


There was once a woman who fell in love with a white-banded shrew. She lived with him for two years, but came to find out that he was cheating on her behind her back.

Later, she went out with a wading bird instead .

Once shy, twice bittern.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Great unfinished songs and stories of the world

'twas the night before Christmas

'twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a rhinoceros
I mean mouse.

No it certainly wasn't rampaging from room to room
Crashing into windows
Turning tables into splinters
Smashing all the cups and saucers
As a rhinoceros would
Like a bull in a china shop,
But we're not talking about the bull,
That was in the next room, sleeping on the sofa,
And the china shop was two doors up,
And we're not talking about that either,
We're talking about the mouse that was not a rhinoceros -
He was as gentle as a lamb in buttercups
Let's just leave the lamb out of it
But, at any rate, the china was put away and therefore safe from its terrible horns or its stampeding hoofs
It was a very strange mouse
In an admittedly increasingly eccentric mutant genetic test laboratory
I mean house.

'twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even the gigantic fire-breathing Tyrannosaurus Rex made out of plaid wool and subsisting entirely on a vegan diet of ethically-slaughtered lettuce leaves, once every Tuesday,
No, even that was asleep.

The stockings were laid by the test tubes of extremely deadly radioactive bacteria with care
Pretend you didn't hear that
The Health and Safety Approved stockings were laid by the test tubes of extremely deadly radioactive bacteria with care
For we knew that St Nicholas soon would be there...

These are the last surviving lines of 19th century poem 'The Night Before Christmas', though newspaper illustrations of the time, involving tableaus of pitched battles amongst gigantic broccoli trees, and a depiction of St Nicholas, eyes agape, fleeing through the snow as he is pursued by a ravening pack of carrots, tell more than enough.

Great gift ideas for Christmas

Want to know what to give this Christmas to the person who not only owns everything, but has done everything else, has been everywhere, and knows everyone? Apart from the flu? Well, why not give them the


Yes, that's right, if you present the PRESENCE OF ABSENCE to this person, they will love and adore you forever, having been suffering from the absence of absence for their entire life. This absent present is cheap, easy, and affordable for even those who are strapped of cash, and what's more, a present of the PRESENCE OF ABSENCE can be granted even while you are absent from the presence of the person who is being presented the absence.

NOTE: Absence is best presented unwrapped, but for those who desire, it also comes in cans.

As for the rest of us, we will just have to satisfy ourselves with presents of absinthe. It has its own satisfactions.

Amusing non-hierarchical inclusive participatory activities for the whole communal unit!

ROCK-ROCK-ROCK - A fun and simple version of the game 'Scissors-Paper-Rock', only there are no losers - because there are no winners! Also, anyone can play - not limited to just two players, as was the case with earlier more discriminatory versions of the game.

Deploy this amusing non-hierarchical inclusive participatory activity in your communal unit today!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Christmas carol for austere times

All together now!

O Christmas tree
O Christmas tree -
How lovely is your branch!
O Christmas tree
O Christmas tree -
It is a quite nice branch!

Your leaf is green -
There's only one -
It looks so lovely in the sun!
O Christmas tree
O Christmas tree -
How lovely is your branch!

The tinsel cost
To much (good grief!)
Instead we'll hang this lettuce leaf!
O Christmas tree
O Christmas tree -
How lovely is your branch!

And yes, by jove, pon my word, and flibbert my gibbert, it's in Badger's Dozen too!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Publicity schmublicity

So anyways, I've got a new zine out - the next issue of Badger's Dozen. I've been putting each copy - there are 40 - together over the last week and a half, basically. "What ho", I thought to myself, "this would be an excellent opportunity to upload the cover and some pictures to the computer using my scanner, and do a blog post based around that."

Only, the scanner doesn't work. "Oh well," I say to myself. "I'll have a look at it when I get home tonight."

So I get home tonight and have a look at it. As far as I can tell, the scanner still doesn't work. "Oh well," I say, "I'll click around in the help menu and see whether I can get it to work that way."

Only, of course, the same problem that seems to be stopping the scanner from scanning seems to be stopping the help menu from, well, helping.

So I click around on the internet and look for help, but whatever help there is seems to be non-existent.

Oh... well.

If you'd seen the picture of the zine, you would have seen that it really was... a zine that had been pictured.

But anyway, it's got this in it, and some of these in it, and this, and poems and stories and cartoons and jokes by a whole bunch of talented folks, including (drum roll, trumpets please) the literary return of Nottlesby, with his rakish anecdotes about life amongst the Deutschlanders. And also a chest of drawers and stuff. Hooray! Publicity, schmublicity - who needs it anyway? (PS, want a copy anyone? Paypal me - timhtrain at, $3 Australian with an address supplied, and I'll get you a copy chop chop! Otherwise you can also get one at Sticky while stocks last... probably stocks will last for a while...) In short give me money Merry Christmas thank you bye!

A meeting of great minds

A meeting of great minds, episode #671: When H G Wells met Orson Welles.

(Scene: a street in a US town. Orson Welles is standing on a street corner idly leafing through a newspaper when H G Wells hobbles up to him)

H G WELLS: Welles?

ORSON WELLES: (Looking up) Welles. Wells?

HGW.: Wells. Welles!

OW: Well well, Wells!

HGW: Well well, Welles!

(Laughter. The two men begin walking along like old friends.)

OW: Well well well well well well well well well well well well well!

HGW: Welles, Wells, Wells, Welles! Well well well well well well well well well!


(Laughter, followed by a pause)

HGW: Well?

OW: Weeeeeell...

HGW: (Taking the other's hand) Welles!

OW: (Sharply withdrawing his hand) Well, Wells, well!

HGW: Welles?

OW: Well! Wells, well! Well well well!

HGW: Well! Well! Well!

(In their passion, both men almost topple into a hole in the ground)

HGW: (Starting back, and pulling Welles back too)... well?

OW: ... Well.

(Raucous laughter)

BOTH: Well well well well well well WELL WELL WELL WELL WELL etc...


Stand by for upcoming episodes of A meeting of great minds, #672, 673, and 674: 'When Yumi met Sumi', 'When Yumi and Sumi met Mimi', and 'The time H G Wells mistook Dame Edith Sitwell for a chair.'

Friday, December 17, 2010


This man is death to spoons.

By training for years, and harnessing the unbelievable powers of his mind, this man has been able to attain the highest summit of human achievement, and bend - even break - spoons at his will. I'd be pretty scared right now. If I was a spoon.

Anyway, I propose a 24 hour channel be devoted to the many achievements of Uri Geller. (Mostly involving spoons). Gellervision, here we come!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A vegetable plot

Perhaps you have been wondering why that ASIO spy has been lurking in your vegetable garden. Well now you know.

You are a cat #2

You are a cat, of course, and you are one of the most beautiful creatures in the colossal, eternal entirety of the universe. Bridget Bardot, Claudia Schiffer, and all that lot, have got nothing on you. Supermodels? Stupermodels, more like! Just look at you, fur rippling and glistening in the waves of wind and sunlight. And keep looking at you. Excellent.

Right over there is a patch of mud and lichen and grass. It looks particularly dirty, smelly, and ugly. This would, naturally, be an excellent spot for you (superdupermodel) to go over and roll around in, showing off the entirety of your beauty to the universe in general.

Hey, I've got another one. As you're rolling around luxuriously in that licheny-muddy-grassy bit, you see a cockroach running by. Why not pick it up in your mouth and walk around with it for a bit? You'd never see a supermodel walking around with a cockroach in their mouths, would you? More fool them. Such actions are an enhancement to your natural elegance and should be displayed, again, to the entire universe.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You are a cat #1

You are a cat. Now, don't argue - you are. And, in the manner of all the furry feline fraternity, you are looking for ways to vex, perplex, and generally toy with the minds of the humans who happen to be near you. How about this:

Said human is preparing to go to work. They have laid out their underpants upon the chair, and said underpants of said human have been spread out in a rather beguiling fashion, waiting for said human to pick up said underpants and put them on their legs. Go up to said underpants, and sit down right on top of them, in an extremely content, comfortable, and serene manner. Said human will stand there with said legs looking at you (yes, said legs have eyes in them) sitting on said underpants.
Of course, you may well wonder what said human has been doing all this time without said underpants. You may indeed inquire as to whether said human has been wearing anything at all around the house. You may, further, ask if said human is some kind of a weirdo or something.

Do not ask any of these questions. You are a cat, remember - and you have more important duties than asking ridiculous questions. Like sitting on said underpants, and looking extremely content, comfortable, and serene. Yes, I know what you are going to say to that, too.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

An ode to the beard

The beard, the beard
Is not to be feared
But rather it ought to be
Lauded, revered,
Applauded, and cheered,
And most rousing speeches
By reverend preachers*
Made to the face on which it's adhered.

'tis true some may find it appalling or weird**
But sensible people will soon be endeared
By a friend or a neighbour who has grown a beard,
And by common acclaim
Those of longstanding fame
With their face in full flower have often appeared -

No you cannot refute,
It's astute being hirsute*** -
You will win wide repute,
And be considered quite cute,

*Or widely-loved teachers
With respectable features.

**Sometimes, alas, it is true that a beard
May be sneered
At, mocked at and jeered
At, and oftentimes leered
At by people who ought to know better but don't.

***So make no apology
But BRAVO! Pogonology!
Don't be chairy or lairy
About being hairy, etc.

Thought for food

Hey, just while I've got you, this whole civet poo coffee thing kind of raises expectations, doesn't it? Every time you go in to the cafe you'll want marmoset vomit latte or the squirrel effluvia special or the decaffeinated rhebus monkey gallstone-o-cino or something. I mean, how can the barista keep up with it all? Think about that while you're drinking your morning coffee, and have a nice day.

UPDATE! - Two pooku:

Expensive cafe:
Gastronomic heights attained
Drinking civet poo.

Snot Black? Crappucino?
Farte? Barfogatto?
Place your order now.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Things continue in much the same way they have always done

I got a link, via Cam, to this New Scientist piece about digital poetry. It's one of those pieces that is about new developments in the poetry world, only the new developments that are talked about aren't exactly new, and were mostly developed years ago.

For instance:
“It's hard to pick any quality that is essential to digital poetry, but there is a set of things and interactivity is one"
Anybody who grew up reading Choose Your Own Adventure Books or their antecedents know that this idea has been around for a while. I've made my own modest contributions to 'interactive' poetry here. (And the existence of the html code for that is good evidence that lots of other people have been doing similar things, I don't want to make any claims of originality for myself.)

Oh, also:
If people don't want to read poetry books, maybe the answer is to send them text messages. That is the idea behind Cell Poems, a journal that publishes via text message. It may sound frivolous, but the journal publishes original works by well-known poets and was honoured with the National Book Foundation's 2010 Innovations in Reading award.
When I first came to Melbourne about six years ago I remember they were advertising on television a 'flirty-poem' service, whereby you would text in the message 'FLIRTY' to a certain number and get a poem back - I even had a few sent to my phone because I had the vague idea of doing a review of them (Yeah, right – Ed.*) Mel and the rest of the Is Not Magazine team had a regular text-message story in their publication, too. Just how many times do you have to innovate with an innovation before it stops being innovative anymore?

But anyway, it’s not just the supposedly-original ideas that are silly, it’s the claims too. They quote the Cell Poems website
Our goal is not to shrink attention spans... we hope to present work that has undergone the duress of revision and come out hard-boiled and striking...
and leave you wondering, how can something have undergone ‘duress’ and come out ‘hard-boiled’ and ‘striking’ at the same time? Why trust the literary judgment of someone who comes up with a clumsy mixed metaphor while talking about the importance of literary revision? I’m sure they publish some good material, but holding them up as exemplars of some fantastically original idea is self-defeating.

They also say, twice:
Digital poets and programs free verse from the page

But despite the criticisms, there is no doubt that digital poets are taking a first shot at answering an important question: what will poetry become now it is freed from the printed page?
Which kind of assumes poems have up until now been limited or imprisoned on the page, though they aren't now and haven't ever been - anymore than a Bach cello suite is trapped in Yo-Yo Ma's cello. Just ask blind poets like Milton or Homer, or listen to a few ballads sung by artists like Steeleye Span or Leonard Cohen. Poetry was first a spoken-and-sung art and has continued that way, so a more realistic claim might be that technology has freed poetry from nothing and done nothing in particular to make it new. Though try that headline out on the media: ‘things continue in much the same way they have always done’. It doesn’t sound quite so inspiring, does it?

People have been claiming their art is new and exciting ever since being new and exciting was the new and exciting thing. The western fondness for novelty has been around since the Enlightenment, I’d guess – but with that fondness comes an increasing susceptibility to claims that something is original when it’s actually not. The analogy we use for this nowadays is ‘reinventing the wheel’, but poetry was never a tool like the wheel and wasn’t invented in the first place. So I think a better analogy is a person saying that they’ve invented this marvellous substance called ‘water’ – you can drink it, you can place it in tubs and bathe in it, if you’ve got lots of it you can swim in it, you can even decorate it with sand and put it in front of your house and turn it (your house, I mean, not the water) into a beachside property! Though in fact water has been there all along.

And so has poetry.

*I’ve no idea who that Ed guy is, he pops up from time to time.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

People believe in thing they have never heard of

For the first time, we have found less than 50 per cent of Australians think climate change is real.

For the first time! Ever! It is indeed interesting that in the 1970s and '60s, before the term 'climate change' had been invented, high percentages of people nevertheless managed to believe in the phenomenon. But I just don't think that's enough. With a little hard work, and some targeted and imaginative public awareness campaigns, and the spirited participation of the media, perhaps we can get even more people in the past to believe in climate change before those people in the past reach the future, which is the present, and it's too late (or possibly too late to be too early). We might, of course, be tempted to ask ourselves, 'how is it that even less people believe in climate change now, long after the concept has been invented, than then, when nobody had heard in it, but kept on believing in it anyway?' We might, indeed, be tempted to see this as failure of our current approach towards publicising matters relating to climate change. But such temptations should be resisted!

Sadly, however, polling of people of previous generations in relation to the existence of Justin Bieber shows that few people in the past know who he is, and even fewer care. People of the past! Strive to be more like us, right now, which I suppose means then, or whenever it was that you are able to make it!

... Since we began polling climate change in 2008, this is the first time we have seen acceptance of climate change slip under 50 per cent.

Oh. Two years? Hmmm...

(Via Tim)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Three of the worst horrors known to man...

Run! Run for the hills!

Many thanks to Alex for taking this video and uploading it.

Rough and fluff

Sometimes, Harriet the cat walks about, in a dignified and graceful fashion, with floor fluff in her whiskers.

Sometimes, I do too. Just found some then.

Maybe I was playing pouncy-pouncy with fluff on the floor last night, and forgot?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Beginninninninninninninngs and endendendendendendendings

It begins in the morning, when you're having Weeties, or Cheerios, or Choco Ricies at home. You might be listening to the radio play some disco, or you might not. After that, perhaps, you call up Mumsy or Daddy-O, who are a hippy and a yuppy, respectively, and have a chat. You walk up the street and use your Amex to get some Coffex at the cafe with your ex. Or possibly even your ex-ex.

But it's when you see the hipster logging on to Napster by the dumpster that the full horror of the situation hits you....

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010


Searching for an appropriate acronym to describe the Australian political system. The choices so far:

b) LOL
c) CBF

Any others?

*Oddly enough, you may not know this one, because I made it up just then. NNEPFML = Not Nearly Enough Penguins For My Liking. I think it works.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Proposals for charity events

Gnuvember - Over the course of November people grow horns and hair and generally start to look more and more like gnus. This is to raise awareness of the plight of wildebeests suffering from clinical depression in today's society.

Ocelbruary - During February, people start to paint themselves all over with spots and live in trees. This is more because spots look rather becoming, but a charity cause can be found, I'm sure.

Wistateruriaday - Every Saturday morning, people go and plant themselves into their garden, like a wisteria, and pour water over their heads, like a wisteria. Then all the wisterias get up and leave the people stuck in the ground and go for a nice walk in the park. This is to raise awareness of the perils of microscopic lichen in our national parks.

Great questions, answered at last

Right, it's time we got things sorted out for once and for all, the only way we can: the democratic way. Votes, please, in comments - I'm using a preferential system of voting, so have your votes from most preferred to least preferred.

1. Does God exist?
a) Yes.
b) No.
c) Elephants!

2. Black holes: what lies beyond?
a) God.
b) Other dimensions ruled over by faster-than-light robots with zap rays.
c) Elephants!

3. 1 + 1 = ?
a) 5.
b) 961.
c) Elephants!

I mean, really. It's time we took this whole thing seriously.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Since it looks like we're going to get a despicably malevolent Coalition Government in Victoria, who will immediately set about doing despicably malevolent things like cutting middle-class taxes and upping the numbers of police, I thought it might be interesting to have a long, nostalgic look back at all the achievements Labor have made for the arts*, in their past 11 years in government. Sadly they don't have any.

In retrospect it seems just about the best thing they did for the arts was have Lynne Kosky as the Arts Minister and the Minister for Transport at the same time. Kosky spent so much time implementing bad policies, giving these bad policies worse publicity, and generally stuffing up the public transport system, that she didn't have any left over to do the same for the arts. Whether this was inspired policy on the part of Bracks, or merely an accidental oversight, we have a lot to be grateful for.

On the other hand, we've also had horrible train poetry, and legal graffiti walls. People are probably too distracted by their MXs to bother with the train poetry, but you've got to wonder who the policy wonk was that came up with the idea of legal graffiti walls. 'Legal' and 'graffiti' are not words you'd want to place in a sentence together, after all. Having a legal graffiti wall is like screwing in an empty bottle into a light socket and then trying to turn it on - it doesn't work that way. The two policies pretty much typify how government has seen the arts in the last few years - give the bastards a wall or two in a public place and they'll be happy.

Then of course there was all that stuff about live music, pubs and clubs, etc. You may remember that Labor decided to deal with crime and alcohol-related violence by making things more difficult for licensed venues, etc. (This was of course in keeping with a general Labor approach of longstanding: if a small minority of people are causing trouble, make things more difficult for everybody. The people causing trouble may or may not stop, but it looks like you're doing something.) All of which may help you to understand the announcement by John Brumby, during the election campaign, of $25 million and an 'Australian Music HQ' for Melbourne. Though I have no idea what an Australian Music HQ is I guess it's something to do with education, which was especially thoughtful of Brumby - providing education for hundreds of talented young people who would not be able to play music anywhere in pubs and clubs which have already been shut down. Oddly most Victorians don't seem to have liked this idea much.

Compared to all this I really don't think the Liberals have done too badly. Ted Baillieu's speculated about Melbourne having a Nuit Blanche Festival where the pubs and clubs and bars and galleries and museums and theatres stay open all night, which is pretty much counter to anything Brumby's come up with - the idea that the arts could involve people partying and having fun! Of course, this would involve getting rid of the restrictions on 24-hour licensed venues. Not that this would be a bad thing.

You've got to give the Liberals and the Nationals time, of course. In a few years they'll come up with some really, nastily horrible stuff, like letting more private hospitals into the state so that less rich people have to use the public system - or something like that. In the meantime I rather like the Coalition policy on the arts. Yes, I actually like the sound of art being about people enjoying themselves and having fun, possibly even making money. I'm sick that way.

*As you will observe the author follows the generally established principle of all opinion writers: began with broad sweeping generalisations and then neatly and elegantly segue to one's own area of interest by means of an unexpected non-sequitur.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Z marks the spot

He always dotted his t’s and crossed his i's, circled his l’s, and capitalised his full stops, and knew all 29 letters of the alphabet. Sadly, when it came to his p’s and q’s, all he could come up with were queasy poos.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When it comes to maths, I've forgotten more than I ever knew

Years ago, I actually studied maths for a while at school and uni. I can't say that I was particularly good at it, but I did rather enjoy it. I found it a wonderfully pointless activity; if someone had pointed out an obvious and simple way to use maths to make breakfast, say, I think I would have been disappointed and given it up immediately.

Not that I was particularly good at it, and I don't remember much of it now anyway- really when I think about maths now it's to remember how much of it I've forgotten. I didn't mind geometry (something about parallel triangles and what happens when AB meets CD via DF and BS but somehow gets confused with LM and PX, causing us all to turn on the telly and watch QA). Calculus was fun (well, I thought the name was fun, and that's all I know about it now), and of course algebra, which was all about saying a + b = a + b was laughably simple (but then so was I). There was integration (not sure), induction (no idea), statistics (nine tenths of the time I have no idea what people were talking about after they said 'nine tenths of the time') and trigonometry (do mathematicians ever run out of triangles? Apparently not). I can tell you a little bit about pi - the ratio of a circles circumference to its diameter, or something like that - and I can tell you a little less about logarithms, which are things that mathematicians use to do something else (I don't know what). To this day, I do know what the square root of two was (and presumably still is) to ten digits, but I can't tell you why.

And then, of course, there is e. I can't really tell you anymore than that, e is just e. I don't know where e comes from, I don't know what you do to get e, I don't know what you do once you get e, I don't know why you would want e in the first place, I certainly don't know what e is equal to. I did know, or at least I think I knew, once. I certainly remember doing a lot of things with it. Maybe even then I didn't care much, really: I just thought e was really cool. Whatever it was, in all its mysterious ineffable numinous intangibility.

So basically this is a blog post about something I once knew a little bit about but know even less about now. They say Socrates, the man who decided that no-one was sure about anything, was the wisest man in the world. Well, when it comes to maths, I think I've forgotten more than I ever knew. Does that make me a genius, or something?


Life without alcohol is like a totter without the teeter.


Witch doctors invent aeroplane that runs on magical chants. They call it the Mumbo Jumbo Jet.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The F word

You say that I'm flippant,
A frivolous floozy,
A flibberty-gibberty
Fool drinking ouzo,
A featherhead fiend
In frou frou and FCUK
Well FYI friend
I don't give a fire truck.

You say I'm a flop
That I'm full of flapdoodle
A flatulent fathead
Not worth one firkytoodle,
A flabby old fizzer,
A frump Fezziwig -
Well FYI, friend,
You can go get a fig.

You say I'm a failure,
A fibber, a faux,
A Facebook-friend only,
A flea-brain for a foe -
Well FYI friend,
You old so-and-so,
What the frick what the frack
What the fudge would you know?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Variations on a theme by Hillaire Belloc

There was a man. His name was Jim.
Although some people called him Jack.
His parents used to call him Mick,
His aunties sometimes called him Will.
To all his friends his name was Geoff,
Except for those who called him Bob,
And those who knew him best as John
At work they called him Belvedere,
And at the club, his name was Tom.

But no one mourned when he was dead.
The papers thought his name was -

Friday, November 19, 2010

A list of made up swear words

Here is a list of made up swear words. Made up swear words are so much more offensive than real ones, don't you think? I've always thought that - well, since this afternoon, at least. Obviously I don't know what they mean, but they must be pretty damn filthy otherwise I would have never bothered making them up. Actually, I don't think anyone knows what they mean - you can't get more offensive than that. You can't say that about most other words, can you? No, you can't.

Festering gruntlenods

Quinching snirtlebums

Case of the squidges

Buttomulous glurpump

Rurpling finnywump

Rampunculian spox-lurchee



Rutile untling

Irk of the banshwater


Olmiferous hunchbuggling.

Disgusting. Now never say any of these words ever again.

Blog post written by a certain cat


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rules to live by

Sometimes free shit is free because it's shit.

How to make things

How to use Einstein's theory of relativity, Darwin's theory of evolution, Grimm's law, and Gramscian Hegemony theory to bake a nice chocolate cake

Einstein's laws of relativity, Darwin's theory of evolution, Grimm's law, and Gramsci's hegemony theory are all revolutionary theories that have changed the world. Chocolate cake is a delicious substance that tastes nice. Now, you can apply the former to make yourself the latter! Doesn't that sound delicious?


- A nationful of supervillains
- An earth-sized planet orbiting a sun-sized star (no, not this one)
- A time-space continuum, about a hundred billion years in duration and several zillion square kilometres in volume
- A Large Hadron Collider, and several large hadrons to collide
- A trusty hammer
- A nail
- A bag of chocolate chips
- A telephone

1. Take the nationful of supervillains, from wherever you get that sort of thing, and put them on the earth-sized planet orbiting the sun-sized star, which you will have placed in a handy position in your own time-space continuum.

2. Apply Darwin's evolutionary theory, which states that in a place with limited resources, species will adapt themselves to take better advantage of those limited resources in the fight for survival. Over the centuries the supervillains will gradually evolve capabilities beyond any normal supervillains.

3. As the supervillains take over the earth-sized planet and discover the secrets of the sciences, put the chocolate chips in the Large Hadron Collider and collide a few hadrons into them.

4. Soon, the supervillains will take over the time-space continuum completely and will exist in a state of perpetual, all-out war with one another, and will use fantastic weapons that cause the time to bend in upon itself and space to curve until it almost collapses in on itself, according to the principles set out by Albert Einstein.

5. Nail the time-space continuum to the wall.

6. Phone to the Cheesecake Shop and order a nice chocolate cake from them instead.



Yesterday morning I heard that Oksana Grigorieva said that she lived with Mel Gibson for months while fearing that he would murder her.

Then I remembered that she was suing Mel for millions of dollars, which put matters neatly into perspective.

Afterwards I read that the entirety of Europe was in an economic decline, and would possibly be so for years, because of their single monetary currency, which placed everything into context.

Then I remembered that because of climate change nobody will be alive in a century anyway, which cast the news into a whole new light.

And then when I was on my lunch break I read that millions of years ago an object of infinite density and mass with the ability to devour whole solar systems was born, which is, or would have been rather grim news for the Earth if it happened to be anywhere near it, and everything fell into place.

Then I saw a shoe. It was quite pleasingly shoe-shaped. It cast the whole putting into perspective thing into a whole new light, and placed that casting into a whole new context, and all the casting-into-new-light and putting-into-perspective and falling-into-place were again put into perspective, and I took a broad view of the relative importance of the whole viewpoint. I mean, they were still bad and shit. But the shoe was shaped like a shoe.

What I mean is it sometimes helps to put the putting into perspective of certain matters neatly into perspective.

UPDATE! - I have no idea if there is a moral to this story, but perhaps if there is it goes something like this:

If Oksana Grigorieva and Mel Gibson collapse into a point of infinite density and suck up the entire European financial system into their naked singularity, and causing the planet to explode and making Tim Flannery worry even more about climate change, don't worry, just don't forget to wear your shoes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Things the whole know should world

I just wrote the following sentence:
"Good Gasp!", I Godded.
Sometimes, I wonder if I carry my enthusiasm for spoonerisms a leetle too far. Other times, I just know.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Plagues, hordes, locusts, cats

We saw the locust invasion, we did. Hordes of them. Well, more like a single grasshopper which is, what, one thousandth of a single horde? Anyway, Harriet and Beatrice jumped on it every time it tried to hop away, and presented its mangled corpse to us later for inspection. I can't tell you how safe I feel now.

If God ever smites us with small native mammals like bilbies, or hordes of endangered birds, I reckon the cats would be pretty pleased with that, too.

From Lieutenants 'arriet and Beatrice of the Anti-Locust Plague Brigade

Well it was just like this, miss,
I was mindin' me own biz, miss,
I was marchin' with me sis, miss,
As a good cat oughter do.
When I saw with me own eye, miss,
Descendin' from the sky, miss,
A dark cloud on the fly, miss -

Well, they landed with a thump, miss,
With a boom and bang and bump, miss,
A battallion on the jump!, miss,
Grass'oppers on the 'op!
Well, I said then to my sis, miss,
"Bloody 'ell! We can't 'ave this!", miss,
'Cos it really was amiss, miss,
And we thought it oughter stop.

So we boxed 'em and we fought 'em, miss,
We chased 'em and we caught 'em, miss,
What a lesson we then taught 'em, miss,
We turned 'em on their ear;
An' if you cry, "I don't believe you!", miss,
We've a present 'ere to leave you, miss,
No, your eyes will not deceive you, miss -

Report written by Lieutenant 'arriet
Co signed by Lieutenant Beatrice.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

How to catch things

A man: go up to his face and inhale deeply.

A cold: go up to his face and inhale deeply.

A mancold: go up to the face of a purple people eater and inhale deeply.

A ball: with your hands.

A football: with Gary Ablett's hands (rest of body not mandatory).

A taxi: with a very large hand.

A train: with extremely large hands, and gloves.

A falling star: with a black hole.

A meteorite that is going to cause colossal devastation to the earth: by consulting the timetable and being at the station a few minutes before it is due to arrive, except on Sunday.

A moment: with a camera.

A tune: with a somewhat unfocused camera, or possibly, a microphone.

A television show on when you are at work: with a mancold, and a television.

A fish: with a net.

An escaped criminal: by digging a criminal-shaped hole and waiting for them to fall in it.

An escaped criminal fish: with luck, they're especially slippery.

A period in history: with a history-shaped hole.

A runaway horse: by going up close to the face of a rugged manly-looking fellow from on the Snowy River and inhaling.

A wolf in sheep's clothing: with a huntsman in tree's clothing.

A nudist: with clothing.

A dwarf: with a giant.

A friend at a difficult moment: with an awkward pause.

A comma: with the hands of a linguistician.

A clause: with a comma.

A phrase: with a slogan.

A sentence: with a full stop.

To the beauteousness of the beautiful one in their beauteous beauty

You’re just like a beautiful sunrise
Except not quite,
There are generally less birds singing when you’re around
And you’re not so bright,
And if a sunrise walked in here
We’d all horribly fry,
But if you walked in here we’d probably be all right -
We wouldn’t even die.
And you have more legs
And more facial hair
And unlike a beautiful sunrise also
You only fill up some not all of the air.
You’re not very fleeting,
You’re slightly less cosmologically significant too
But in all other ways,
(With the exception of some),
I absolutely and utterly wouldn’t hesitate in any way to compare a beautiful sunrise to you.

UPDATE! - Something of an explanation here, if you can read it.

Workers seizing the means and arms and legs and brains and hearts and pancreases of production

I watched the new ABC drama Rake starring Richard Roxburgh. The first episode has Roxburgh’s character defending a ‘famous economist’ who turns out to be a cannibal.

Are you surprised that the economist – a Professor Murray – turns out to be a ‘Friedmanite’? He couldn’t be a Keynesian or Marxist could he?
Dear ABC Board,

Where are the Marxist cannibals on television screens, I ask you? What do you have against Marxist cannibals? Marxist cannibals have thoughts and feelings and hopes and dreams just like the rest of us. Of course their hopes and dreams usually involving feasting on the sweet, sweet flesh of other people while turning their wealth over to large state-owned bodies, but that's no reason for you to ignore them.

I am not of course saying that the ABC should actively advocate on behalf of Marxist cannibals. That would be wrong, for the ABC, as you know, must remain politically unbiased and report all sides of the debate in a fair and balanced manner. I mean, neither you nor I may be Marxist cannibals - (well, maybe you are) - but we should look at least devote some time to examining this subculture. It's the only way we can change things for the better.

I look forward to the day when you rectify this imbalance and shows such as MARXIST CANNIBAL APOCALYPSE and KEYNESIANISM BESTIAL ORGY appear on our television screens.

Food for thought, eh? (No, no, not that sort of food.)


Sunday, November 07, 2010

An interesting point

I have a point to make.

Some of you may not see the point of the point, but others hopefully won't be disappointed at this point.

Here is the point.

Now, I hope you agree, wasn't that an interesting point? You're welcome.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

I'm so tired I could sleep a horse

Sleep! Could there be anything better? It's hard to tell really, because if you are currently enjoying sleep then you aren't really able to say for sure, being asleep at the time. But it's certainly comforting and relaxing, much more comforting and relaxing than not-sleeping, which I suppose isn't always so bad, except if you happen to be not-sleeping at a time when you want to be sleeping. That's not very comforting and relaxing at all.

We must put a lot of work into sleeping. Just think of all the effort you go to to get things right when you are trying to sleep but are not-sleeping. You put your foot at a certain angle to the sheets, and then you put it at a different angle, you place your hands on the sheets and then you try and place them on yourself, you shift your weight to a slightly different position on your hips, you flip the pillow over to get to the cool side, and then five minutes later notice that the cool side has become the hot side, and so you flip it over again, you become hot and stick both arms out of the blankets for ventilation, and then notice that you are cold again and stick the arms under the blankets, and carry on doing this for quite some time, you rearrange your body so as to accommodate the cat that has decided to flop down on the bed beside you, but not in a way that you squash the other cat that is on the other side of you, and by this time you notice that the blankets have become messed and you can't possibly sleep in a bed where your feet keep on poking out the spot in the bottom created by the absence of blankets, and so you jump up and rearrange the blankets. All this is in the first half hour or so of going to bed.

A little later you end up actually going to sleep but only to dream fitfully about the British economy (but have you ever tried to have a non-fitful dream about the British economy?) because that was the article you read just before going to bed, or possibly you dream about pink elephants because that is what everyone is supposed to dream about, or maybe dishwashers wearing frilly underwear, which possibly all culminates in your formation of plans for a new British economic system based around pink elephants on dishwashers while wearing frilly underwear, but you can't know for sure because you weren't concentrating on the details, you were concentrating on trying to get some proper sleep, which you can't really because the blankets have become messed again and your arm is at an incorrect angle. By this point we've probably got up to the 45 minute mark after going to bed, and you've got another seven or so hours to go.

And of course it might be rather helpful if a scientist or philosopher or someone actually calculated the correct angle for your arms to go and the correct position for the blankets and the correct orientation around cats, and the right sort of article to read before going to bed, and so on, and so forth, so you can simply and neatly organise your position in bed and briskly and efficiently start sleeping, but I wonder if it ever will happen. I mean, if sleep is so relaxing and comfortable as everyone keeps saying, you can't really be brisk and efficient about it, can you? You just have to do what feels good at the time. But how do you do what feels good at the time when you can't find anything that feels good enough to make you relaxed and comfy?

It makes you wonder if sleep really exists. Maybe it's a legend invented to torment everyone who is not-sleeping, which is everyone. That would explain why we never remember what sleep actually is like afterwards.

All of which isn't really a way of leading up to this, a poem I wrote a few weeks ago, about sleep. It bears no relationship to my own life apart from the few bits where it does.

Marital serenade

O darling let us go to bed
And let us sleep from A to Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Come darling let us go to bed
And let us sleep from A to Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
A cat will lie upon your head
And in your nose its hairs will shed.

But darling, let us go to bed
And let us sleep from A to Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
A cat will lie upon your head
And in your nose its hairs will shed;
Upon my legs as they are spread
A dog will lay its sleepy head.

Yes darling, let us go to bed
And let us sleep from A to Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
A cat will lie upon your head
And in your nose its hairs will shed;
Upon my legs as they are spread
A dog will lay its sleepy head;
Upon my face a cat will tread
And miaow and miaow until it's fed.

We'll get no rest while we're in bed:
O darling, let's get up instead.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Federal Shadow whatever representing the federal seat of wherever

If you've been watching the pollies on telly - and there's no good reason why you should have been - then you might have noticed Federal Shadow whatever representing the federal seat of wherever, Barnaby Joyce, has taken to referring to his colleagues in the Liberal and National parties by a nickname, easily derived from either their first or last name:

John Cobb, Cobby
Simon Birmingham, Sime or Simo

And so on, you get the idea.

It must be pretty annoying, you'd think, dealing with this sort of thing, day in day out. Certain names would present particular problems to Joyce, though:

Fiona Nash - Nashy?

You'd end up not being sure whether you were talking about a person or a pear. On the other hand,

Bill Heffernan - Heiffer

actually seems quite appropriate.

But some difficulties must be insuperable. What must Barnaby call his dear leader

Tony Abbott -

Abbo? Abba? ABS? Each suggestion is more excruciating than the last. Someone has got to stop Joyce - before it's too late.

Barnaby Joyce, or, as certain very powerful and influential and high-up people like to call him, "Barnaby Joyce".

Thursday, November 04, 2010

In explaining why he would not

In explaining why he would not participate in the discussion that perpetuated a tiresome and meaningless controversy about a particular media celebrity, he unwittingly participated in the discussion that perpetuated a tiresome and meaningless controversy about a particular media celebrity.

Later, he went on to write a series of articles that became a book further elaborating his explanation about why he would not participate in the discussion that perpetuated a tiresome and meaningless controversy about a particular media celebrity, which would ensure that the tiresome and meaningless controversy about that particular media celebrity would continue for some time, possibly until long after that particular media celebrity had died.

Some people theorise that he did this out of spite for the particular media celebrity who he did not, in fact, know.

Whenever people asked him if he could explain his explanation, he would threaten to write a sequel.

He died, one day, when he accidentally took a knife to a spoon fight and was instantly set upon by all the others. Few people attended his funeral.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Very somewhat bigger events of the present day

I went into the city today and I saw:

Horse poo
Frilly dresses
Top hats
Fake moustaches
People in horse costumes

This event wasn't, as you might expect, the Festival of Unicycles Sitting on top of Horses Placed on top of Men and Women, Standing, or the Grand Event of Bagpipes producing Horse Poo and People in Horse Costumes in Frilly dresses, or even the Exceptional Occurrence of Fake Moustaches on Top Hats, and it was certainly not the Gala Performance of Unicycle Playing Bagpiping People in Horse Costumes or the groundbreaking Worldwide Celebration of Horse Poo at which a whole bunch of horses, men, women, frilly dresses, top hats, fake moustaches, unicycles, bagpipes and people in horse costumes also, by the most amazing and unbelievable coincidence you could possibly be brought to believe, simply happened to be in attendance.

No, strangely enough, it was not any of those things. It was simply the smaller event before the somewhat bigger event that happens tomorrow. You know, the somewhat bigger event that is so somewhat bigger that I took two days off work to avoid it, even though it's a public holiday? Yeah, that one.

Um, that's about it really.

An in-depth examination of some problematic issues

Meat-eating! It's a difficult, complex subject, fraught with problems on all sides of the debate. On the one hand, meat tastes so goooood. On the other other hand...and here we get into the problems .

"Eating meat is wrong", say some people. Fair enough. That seems like a simple, uncomplicated, matter-of-fact statement. But what if the meat was made out of marshmallows, such as with the Marshmallow Man as you may have seen on Ghostbusters? Then things get a little more difficult. Let's break it down into pros and cons, shall we?

CON: The Marshmallow Man is fictional. But then, other types of naturally-occurring meat could be made out of marshmallow - who knows?

PRO: The Marshmallow Man is evil, and not eating him could lead to him wreaking untold devastation upon the cities of the world, even if he is fictional.

CON: It would probably be cannibalistic to eat the Marshmallow Man, unless he could be scientifically demonstrated to be actually a different species to homo sapiens. Even then, there would be some doubts. I have no idea what my eight year old nephew eats, though I wouldn't be surprised if it was nothing but marshmallows, and it wouldn't be a good thing to eat him.

CON: Marshmallows aren't particularly healthy. As Christ said, or would have said if he was asked about the subject, "Man cannot live on marshmallows alone."

Also to be taken into account, CON, you may not like marshmallows anyway, and CON, why should innocent marshmallows suffer just for you or me, although, PRO, the marshmallow-man-flesh could easily be substituted for something else, like meringue-bacon or gingerbread-yak-ribs.

But suppose you really do like marshmallows. What, then, if the marshmallows on this putative marshmallow animal were made out of fish? That is another hard question. It is a hard, difficult, morally fraught question that torments modern-day society: 'why did people start inventing marshmallows made out of fish? They taste disgusting!' The answer we are normally given to this question is, 'maybe'. And I'm sure both you and I know what we think about that.

In conclusion, don't eat your nephew. Eat a marshmallow instead, with sauce.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Like coffee without sugar, milk, water, or coffee

"The hymnal didn't have any music in it. It was Presbyterian."

I always did think tuneless and gloomy mumbling was the best method of hymn delivery, anyway.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The lack of all these positrons puts me in a very negative frame of mind

I was reading on Catallaxy the other day that
The Australian Conservation Foundation has hit back, releasing the results of a national poll of some 1500 people that appears to confirm that over three-quarters are in favour of the problems of the Murray-Darling being fixed...
and that (according to the ACF)
New polling shows more than three quarters of Australians (77 per cent) agree that degradation of the Murray-Darling needs to be fixed now...
Blimey. Sounds serious. These people being polled are in favour of problems being fixed, and shortages being rectified. As for that one quarter of people who aren't in favour of a problem being fixed, well, one wonders what they'll do if a problem happens to them? That would be very problematic, indeed.

Then again, most people would probably agree with a survey statement statement that 'there are too many chemicals in our food' or 'we have to stop using chemicals in cleaning products'. (Although of course almost everything is made out of chemicals.) That's all right, it doesn't make them stupid - you don't have to go around carrying a set of dictionary definitions in your head to be considered intelligent - but it would seem to indicate that survey results can sometimes be a little bit, er, misleading.

It makes you wonder what people won't agree to on surveys. I've got one or two surveys of my own in mind, something like...

Do you strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree, strongly disagree with the following statements:

1. There is a shortage of positrons in this section of the universe, and something should be done to rectify this shortage before nothing is done.

2. All religions should be respected, and so there is nothing wrong with the worship of Cthulhu.

3. There is a lack of neutrinos in our galaxy, and we need immediate government funding to rectify this imbalance.

4. Problems are bad, and badness is wrong, so we should all do something random immediately in order to stop this wrong badness from causing problems.

Thank you for your assistance. I look forward to drafting a self-righteous press release and hurling it at every available media source as soon as the results of this survey are back in.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The boot is one of Australia’s proudest traditions

Since everybody’s talking about this issue, I will too. It seems a disgruntled voter took the chance to sink the slipper in to former Prime Minister John Howard yesterday.

He was quickly shoed out of the place by ABC staff.

It seems to me that this so-called shoe-of-arms is a decidedly ambiguous policy. For one thing, it makes him seem like a shoe-off, with no substance. Also, what if he really decides to sock it to the Prime Minister? Is this going to become the stocking-trade of political debate? Then again, it was years ago that John Howard first started talking about flip-flops, and I’d imagine he’s still thinging the same thong now.

While it’s worthwhile trying to raise important is-shoes in innovative ways, one would hope this manner of debate will be es-shoed in future.

UPDATE! A tosser. Another tosser. (Via here and here.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Serene songs of suburbia

Sounds made by the boys next door playing Xbox (and by boys I mean 25 plus year old men):


Some of those sounds were made by the computer. Not that it changes things much.

Cigarette smoking fish

Today the Baron and I saw Gainsbourg, a film about the life of French singer, song-writer, performer, and whatever else, Serge Gainsbourg. It consists of a series of pleasingly arranged sounds and colours, like a jazz piece, and it doesn't really end up going anywhere much, again like a jazz piece. There's an enjoyable animated opening credit sequence, with cigarette-smoking fish - and a series of gigantic puppets toddling around, for no particular reason - and, oh, a supermodel wandering along a corridor wearing a leopard-skin jacket with an Afghan terrier in tow. That supermodel is Brigitte Bardot, or rather an actor playing Brigitte Bardot, and of course a dog actor acting the part of Brigitte Bardot's original dog. Seeing as Brigitte Bardot was famous for looking beautiful and pouting, the actor playing her does her best to do the same thing, and almost nothing but; it's a good performance but I don't know whether she should win any prizes for it. There's also a lot of wallpaper, black satin sheets, and turquoise couches, so much so that when people appear they mostly get in the way: but the nice thing about wallpaper is it never complains about being upstaged, even when it should. Oh, and of course, there's smoking - my God is there smoking, with people wandering around everywhere with ciggies stuck in their mouths, doing not-particularly-interesting-things and making slightly-more-interesting clouds above their heads while they do them.

I don't really know what to say more than that; actually I suspect I could have said a lot less. I enjoyed seeing the film but would have equally enjoyed not seeing it. It was like Sunday afternoon television, at the cinemas on Sunday morning. Fair enough then.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Deep in the ancient primal darkness

Deep in the ancient primal darkness of prehistoric times - don't worry about what we're doing deep in the ancient primal darkness of prehistoric times, that's not the point - anyway, deep in the ancient primal darkness of prehistoric times stalks the primordial cat. It is hunting the prey of all cats, since time immemorial - a nice juicy plateful of Iams, or can of Whiskas, or something like that. Fierce! Vigilant! Unrelenting! does the primordial cat stalks its pathetic prey, as it whimpers in its pitiable weakness and vulnerability.

Somewhere in this barren wilderness, in the ancient primal darkness (et cetera) there sits a chair. It is a very nice chair, as chairs go - with lovely little flowers embroidered over it, and splotches of this and blotches of that. (And don't go asking what a lovely chair like that is doing in prehistoric times. What, you let the plateful of Iams and the can of Whiskas slip by, and now you start asking unhelpful questions?) And also, it has very nice looking comfortable cushions tastefully arranged on it in a way that make it look very inviting. And maybe an antimaccassar.

The primordial cat, savage and sleek, comes to the chair. And sits down upon it.

And here we come to, or rather sit down upon, my point (and my point is of course a metaphor, otherwise it would rather hurt our bottoms, sitting down on it). In this unforgiving Darwinian wilderness, where the struggle for scarce resources and bowls of Iams and all that goes on day after day, night after night, what is this primordial cat doing sitting on this chair? In such a way that the blotches and splotches on its coat coincide so neatly with the splotches and blotches on the upholstery of the chair? Does this not strike you as a design flaw? For if, by some happenstance, in this brutal, horrible, deadly prehistoric landscape the primordial chap should come along, what would there be stopping him from sitting upon that chair (for of course the primordial chap wasn't there when the cat got on the chair, and now can't make out the cat-like blotches from the chair-like splotches) and squashing the cat?

This scenario, I believe, refutes both naive Darwinian evolutionary theory, and Creationist argument-by-design. For by what evolutionary process could Nature have brought her cat, the huntress, up to this point, where it so perfectly camouflages with a chair - when that very ability to camouflage itself renders it helpless when it confronts the substantial posterior of its most deadly enemy? Nor can Christian believers take comfort from this scenario either. What on earth did God put a chair in that barren wilderness for? It's much better in the lounge room.

I take my last words from William Blake, who should have known better than to say he wrote this, 200 years before I was born:

Kitten! Kitten! Burning bright!
In the sofas of the night!
If I were a Whiskas plate,
I'd be in quite a frightened state!

What the dickens! Look, a bum!
Descending from the sky, it comes!
Scatter! Vanish! Run away!
Or someone here will rue the day!

Kitten! Kitten! Burning bright!
In the sofas of the night!
If I were a Whiskas plate,
I'd be in quite a frightened state!
Email: timhtrain - at -

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