Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'll take miscellaneous

When I took my trip over to the US a couple of years back I found that I was asked two types of questions, over and over. The first was: "Why did you come here?" or "what are you doing over here?" The second was: "Oh my God, are you English?" Or: "Oh my God, are you British?" And, a few times: "Oh my God! Are you Irish?" And on one occasion, I remember, the two questions merged, resulting in the following memorable conversation. It happened while I was standing in a queue for theatre tickets in New York:

WOMAN: Oh my God, are you English? What did you come over here for, you have such wonderful theatre over there!

ME: No, I'm Australian actually.

WOMAN: Oh. I see.

ME: No, no, we have theatre in Australia too! It's a recent invention!

And that was the end of the conversation, and the relationship, too, for that matter.

The reason why I mention this all now is owing to the discussion about a side issue raised in the course of a political post by one of my favourite US bloggers, Paco - because in attempting an Australian accent (in the title) Paco may have unintentionally come up with something far closer to 19th century cockney. It is, I think, an example of a curious linguistic effect caused by the long separation of the US and the UK from one another, and Australia from both. We share the same language, pronounce the same language differently, and hear our different pronunciations of the same language differently again. "Two countries divided by a common language" doesn't quite cover it anymore, especially when you throw into the mix other Anglosphere countries such as New Zealand and South Africa and Canada.

The thing is, as I discovered, being in possession of an accent that sounds like an Australian accent to Australian ears is entirely different to being in possession of an accent that sounds like an Australian accent to American ears. And, for that matter, an accent that sounds like an English accent to English ears may not be the same thing as an accent that sounds like an English accent to American ears, or an accent that sounds like an English accent to Australian ears; and while a US listener may be able to perfectly identify where a US accent comes from, a listener from Australia may not even be able to tell with any certainty whether it comes from Canada or Texas.

Certainly not me. I might be an Australian but I can't even remember sometimes whether I'm supposed to say 'napkin' or 'serviette'; I don't know anymore whether you say 'prawn' or 'shrimp'; and I sure as hell don't understand what the difference is between a 'state' and a 'territory'. Give me a few more years and I'll start calling utes 'lorries' and get confused about that, too. When it comes to identifying US accents, hey, I'll have a go at identifying them, but you won't get me much further than saying 'it's from the north' or 'it's from the south' or 'um, is he/she from New York?'

But remember, this is all coming from a person, me, who probably thinks that Idaho is a city in Florida, Ulysses S. Grant got his middle name because his parents were admirers of Harry S. Truman, Harrison Ford is one of the presidents of the US, that Abraham Lincoln settled Salt Lake City before being shot by Edward Kennedy, that Teddy Roosevelt wrote the bill of independence after winning the civil war against General Custer at Lexington Green, and that there are 57 US states, including South Carolina, North Carolina, West Carolina, and Nor-nor-east Virginia. Just as you, a person from the US (except those of you who are not) probably think (unless you do not) that Sydney is the capital city of Australia, that Canberra is the name of the island separate to the mainland, that Tasmania is the name for a type of insanity developed by overseas travellers isolated in the Australian outback, that Julia Gillard is Australia's first elected woman president, or that Melbourne is the capital city of the eastern state of Victoria (okay, that last one is just too ridiculous to believe).

Why should somebody from the US trust a judgement about their accent coming from me? Why should I necessarily expect their judgements about my accent to be any better - or worse? Is it any wonder that the way I hear how they say what they say, whenever they say it, is vastly different to the way they hear how they say what they say, whenever they say it?
Australian accents sound like English accents to Americans. American accents probably sound Canadian to the English. The Canadians sound just a little bit English to Australians. The English probably think the Canadians sound like a cross between South Africans and New Zealanders. And God knows what the Canadians think of all this. (I assume they're too busy fighting off the hordes of savage caribou to be reading this blog.) And when - dear God - we try and imitate one another we often end up sounding like a parody of a send up of a satire of a second-hand imitation of someone else entirely.

It doesn't help - or perhaps it does - that our national stereotypes abroad are so very very different to those national stereotypes at home. Folks from the US and the UK sometimes seem to think that an ordinary day in the life of an Australian involves swimming through a raging torrent while fighting off starving crocodiles, dodging the attacks of a variety of venomous snakes, jellyfish, marsupials, lizards, and hummingbirds, before arriving at home to have a lamb chop for dinner, with meat pie for dessert. Well none of that is true, except for the crocodiles bit, and most of them are tame now anyway. Given the popularisation on the telly of weirdos and whackos like Crocodile Dundee or the Crocodile Hunter, it's no surprise that nobody recognised me as an Australian when I was holidaying overseas. Quite aside from anything else, where was my knife?

It was ever thus. Some 500-and-a-bit years ago when Christopher Columbus took a trip over the seas and found the Indians over there, he mistook them for, well, Indians. Maybe if he'd carried on to India he would have mistaken the Indians for Egyptians, or Chaldeans, or Sumerians, or Akkadians, or some other, wilder variant of humanity. It is pleasant and, on the whole, rather complimentary to realise that, as an Australian, you are seen by many Americans as some other exotic species of humanity, be it English, Irish, South African, or miscellaneous. To realise that one person from one nation can actually seem like several people from several nations, depending on who they are talking to, makes the world seem wider, more strange, and more wonderful than it has hitherto appeared.

What I am saying - well, I don't know what I am saying, but I guess what I am saying is that, in this atmosphere of mutual misunderestimation, and incomprehensions arising out of failed attempts to clear up past misinterpretations of certain international preconceptions that had arisen previously, an international environment of tolerance and mutual respect has developed. And isn't that nice.

I can’t believe it took me five years to invent this pun.


Now give me another five years and I might be able to tell you why I felt an urge to share it with you all.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Using it in a sentence

"Prosaic language cannot convey the experience."


The axe-wielding maniac had a very prosaic howl.


The box that contained the rare blood-sucking butterfly looked very grey and prosaic.


The boring poems written by the boring poet were very prosaic.



"What a prosaic bark you have, Lassie," said Grandfather McGurrity, and patted the pretty dog on its pretty little head.


The highly intelligent professor, who had made it her life's work to study the conduits, sewers, and drainage systems of cities and towns all over the world, at various points in human history, the ditch water was not prosaic at all. It was highly poetic, in fact, and caused a deep spiritual yearning to awaken within her soul.

To everyone else, however, the ditch water was very prosaic. The ditch water was, to employ a term, as dull as ditch water. Indeed, to some of them, the ditch water was even more dull than ditch water. You can't get more prosaic than that.


The books that were given to the class of very talented music students were rather prosaic. Consequently, when exam time came, they all failed.


It was then that the nightingale decided that it was rather prosaic singing the same song, night after night. It entered law school the day after and became a barrister in a top legal firm, and never sang again.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Not feeling very positronic about all this

I got this from Steve, who got it from Nature, who got it from scientists who should have really known better.
To demonstrate special relativity, which says that time slows down for moving objects, the researchers jolted the single atom in their optical clock so that it oscillated at relative speeds of less than 10 metres per second.
Jolting and jiggling atoms, twitching neutrons, wiggling photons, bouncing light waves - don't these scientists ever leave those poor little atoms and quarks and leptons alone? Do they think they have a right to go around batting and banging items of indeterminate mass and velocity all over the place? It's a disgrace. Granted, all these little hadrons and leptons and quarks and positrons and what-not are too small, and in some cases too theoretical, to see, but what if some guy put those little things there for a reason? I know how I'd feel if a particular sub-atomic particle in my possession was being poked and prodded by interfering scientists, and the feeling that I would be feeling would not be a good feeling at all.

And I don't even want to give those theoretical physicists, with their particle accelerators, and hadron colliders (oh! oh! oh! how'd you feel if I collided into YOUR hadron one of these days, bastards!) the privilege of being talked about. Those hooligans of the physicist profession, spending all their days whizzing those teensy-tiny particles, that don't know any better, around at massive speeds, and smashing them into things! It's horrible, I tell you.

Let's face it, one of these days, those scientists will run out of particles to poke and prod and pull and jiggle and jolt and jump and bounce and bang and flick and oscillate and stimulate and tittilate and irritate, and then what will we do? Because we're made out of those particles, probably we'll be oscillating all over the place at various frequencies. And no-one wants that. This day will be billions upon billions of years in the future, of course - so I'd better put the tea on before it happens.

Scientists! Bunch of rapscallions, I tell you!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Proposal for a new AFL team

So after this whole football Grand Penultimate today, with Collingwood being the team everyone loves to hate, and the Saints being the team everyone hates to love, I thought I'd propose a new football team. A team for the times. A team for the mystifying, baffling, pointless, directionless times we all live in. The team that everyone doesn't care about not caring about.

Name of team
North-South-East-Western Globules

Grey and beige.

Undecided, of course, though maybe Eden-Monaro is the place for them, since that lot are permanently undecided.

Team song
CHORUS: Carn! Carn! The grey and the beige!
Maintain your ineffectual rage!
Fight fight fight! War war war!
And win a devastating draw!

VERSE: Hey, is there anything else on the telly man?
No, I don't care if we are at the stadium, seriously, change channels.

CHORUS: Carn! Carn! etc.

Team food
Cinnamon donuts, with a hole so big that there's no donut left over.

Possible chants

Like, you know, whatever.


It's never too late!

Team philosophy
It doesn't matter if you draw or lose, what matters is how indifferently you play the game.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Have you ever...

... typed 'poolitician' into the computer accidentally and been tempted to not change the spelling at all?

UPDATE! - 'Pooet' is a good one too.

For no reason at all

The poys! the poys!

Will they doy
Or will they floy?
We'll find out
Boy and boy.

Either woy
After todoy
Some team will be
So very goy.

How to tell a St from a St.

Don't pray to a St
Just use your ft.
And show some restrt
Don't walk on a St.

You may have no idea what I am talking about. If it's any consolation, I have even less. Thus I consider it a credit to my talent for journalistic research to have produced such eloquent results from such a paucity of material.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Proposed advertising campaigns for somewhat obscure or offputting products

Here is a song I wrote about suet. I can see it spearheading a national ad campaign championing the virtues of this fatty fat that comes from around an animal's loins and kidneys. Now I think I'll just sit back and wait for the ad dollars to roll in...

Making pudding?
Have a cruet?
Want to glue it?
I know
Why not
Try some

You won't rue it!
Have some suet!
Do it! Do it! Do it! Suet!

Have you tried it?
I intuit
That the suet
Was quite helpful
Yes I knew it!

You won't rue it!
Have some suet!
Do it! Do it! Do it! Suet!

Or an appropriate vegetarian substitute.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Now let me tell you a small story about one of my cats

I dedicate this entire poem to Mitzi G Burger, who was there the whole time.


I sing now of a certain cat,
With coat of grey and four white socks,
Oft running round our little flat,
And in and out of every box,
And chewing on the old straw hat,
And even in MILADY’S frocks,

Hight HARRIET. She loves to pace
Alone along the street and then
With sister BEATRICE to chase
The neighbour’s chickens in their pen,
To right around the garden race,
Then through the window home again.

Whereat regaled with cuts of meat
Both sisters then with pleasure dine;
She cleans her coat, and all four feet,
She licks her tail back into line,
And after this she finds a seat,
And with a sigh she does recline.

Alas! Ambition pricks the breast
Of man and beast, of friend and foe.
A home for cats is comfiest -
THIS cat would on adventures go,
And keep her HUMANS from their rest,
The truth of which you soon shall know.

For once when dusk drew down the sky
She heard Adventure’s miaowing call,
And with a soft and swift goodbye
She silent stole into the hall,
With questing heart and roaming eye -
And did not come back home AT ALL!

Unknowing did her HUMANS wait
For HARRIET to homewards come,
Hoping, yearning, praying late
That HARRIET would cease her run -
For what is fun at one to eight
Is not so much at EIGHT TO ONE.

What nervous thoughts her HUMANS nursed
- O how and why and what and where -
They thought their anxious hearts would burst,
They searched the street, they searched the stair,
They hoped the best, they feared the worst -
They could not find her anywhere.

At last the HUMANS homewards drew -
And let us leave them fretting there,
Their brains beset with thoughts of rue,
And hearts bewrayed with woeful care,
While we our heroine pursue
Who vanished has into thin air.

Now just imagine you’re a cat
With things to see and things to do;
You wonder where the action’s at.
A doorway opens – just for you -
The doorway to another flat,
Containing vistas fresh and new…

For this, it can be now disclosed,
Is what occurred to HARRIET;
And though the door behind her closed,
She was on exploration set!
Each object in the flat was nosed -
It was her best adventure yet!

And while her HUMANS wailed and wept
And wondered why she ran away,
Why, HARRIET round the lounge room crept,
And clawed a couch or two in play,
From chair to stool to bench she leapt,
Past pots and pans in bright array.

Her HUMANS’ thoughts were doom and gloom;
They wondered where their cat could be,
But HARRIET went from room to room,
Exploring to the nth degree
The cupboard where was held the broom,
The jars of raisin and split pea,

And not forgetting to survey
The fruit bowl by the table head,
The line of bills laid out to pay
From black and white to in the red -
And finally, in bold assay
She leapt and curled up on the bed.

In restless sleep and sleepless rest
In bed the HUMANS tossed and turned;
In fitful dreams their pillows pressed,
In nervous agonies they burned;
They made their blankets very messed.
They twitched. They woke at thumps. They yearned.

Through bathroom window open wide
Still BEATRICE her sister sought,
On midnight missions went outside,
But bringing back a strict report,
She found, it cannot be denied,
No evidence of sister. Naught.

The Zephyrs blew fresh show’rs of dew,
AURORA painted o’er the skies,
While bright-eyed, shining, silver-hued,
Did dainty HARRIET arise;
And so arose her HUMANS too,
With blinking, blotched and bleary eyes.

Now HARRIET stands behind the door,
And wishes much to be let out -
A game before is now a chore:
While in the streets her HUMANS shout,
They call her name in vain once more
And just when everything’s in doubt -

Who should come up the stairs but – GLEN,
Who spent the night upon the town,
And only came back home just then?
He turned the lock and handle round,
He opened up his door again,
And HARRIET with joyous bound,

With jubilant and joyful sound,
Leapt straight across the hall to home.
A kitten lost! A kitten found!
Her HUMANS sang, made gleeful poems,
And gave her biscuits (half a pound)
And asked her NEVER MORE TO ROAM.

Yes, everyone was quite relieved -
How many pats, how many kisses,
How many strokes she then received,
From HUMANS and from BEATRICES -
On count they would not be believed:
How full this day of joy and bliss is!


A moral now can be proposed:
Unerring is a cat’s direction,
But sometimes they are indisposed,
Evading everyone’s detection.
They will come back, it is supposed,
If home's a place of much affection.

(This is a true story. Harriet really did go missing for a night last week, and it turned out that she was in the neighbour's flat. I wasn't there at the time H. first went into the hall, and Mitzi Burger was with us while we went searching the streets in the morning, but essential details are correct.

No animals were harmed in the making of this poem.)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reasonable and logical

Harriet is quite reasonable and logical. For instance, she has spent the past half hour going outside through the window, deciding that she doesn't want to go outside at all, and then coming inside through the window again. When we concluded that charade by closing the window, she did the only reasonable and logical thing you could do in such circumstances: she lay on the floor with all four legs cocked up in the air. All very reasonable and logical.*

Now if only someone could explain to me the reason and logic behind it.

*Please note, Harriet is a cat. You wouldn't find a person going in and out of the window for no reason at all, would you? And they wouldn't lie on the floor with all four legs cocked up in the air either. No, they'd prefer to do it on the bed.**

**If there is one thing you learn from this blog, it's this: people are not cats.

Attention vegetarians

They serve a lentil-based dessert at the Tibetan Yak restaurant, in High Street, Northcote. Soon your fiendish dreams for world domination will come true and every single food source in the world will be made out of lentils.

Q: What's the vegetarian version of a meatlovers pizza?

A: A beet-lovers pizza!

I invented that joke on Wednesday and managed to get a half smile from the half mouth of half of one of the people with me. But maybe that was only because they were being kind and it was my birthday.

UPDATE UPDATE! - Also spotted in Northcote last night, a place selling a 'beef-veggie-burger'. Nice one vegetarians but what's the point if the beef is not made out of lentils? Try harder next time!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bush poetry, maaaaaate

It's tough to be out bush
Where the tofu shops are rare -
And you can't buy a latte
Though you've looked everywhere.

Yeah, they make us rough and rugged
On the wild open ranges,
Us hobby-farming hippies,
And us gardening tree-changers.

For the bushman's life is hard!
And you cannot buy light beer!
And the cafe closes weekends -
Yeah, it's really mean out here!

And the shops are 50 k's away
You have to go by car -
All that CO2 pollution -
And they ain't got no caviar.

And the timetables for the buses
And the trains are bloody frightful.
Yeah, it's tough to be out bush -
But the scenery's just delightful!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Recorded for posterity, or whatever comes after that...

"Ah. A toy racoon. Ooh. A handbag in the shape of a cassette..."

One liners inspired by Etsy.

UPDATE! - "Ooh! A cupcake in the shape of an acorn."

"Hmmm! A mini-Trilby for budgerigars."

Please add your own in comments.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Whatever floats your boat into a particular port in a storm is my cup of tea

Tumultuous torrents rush down
It boils it broils it bounds
From rim to rim
With waves fierce and grim
While scalding hot steam rises round –

A flood of white horror comes crashing
And clashing and splashing and bashing
Into the molten ocean
With torrid motion
Then a hail of white stones begins dashing…

Go swim in the rivers or seas
While it’s raining and 40 degrees
Go paddling, floating,
Or rafting or boating
But a storm in a teacup is hardly a storm in a teacup to me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Off your facebook

On Facebook, which is neither a face nor a book, where you make friends with people who are not friends, and attend events that are not events, I recently liked something that I did not like. I would tell you more about it but I don't want to offend any of the friends who are not my friends.

So maybe I'll just go and throw a cow at the Baron instead. Not the Facebook sort either. A real one.


Aren't computers marvellous? Literally thousands of impressive applications on them that you don't know about*, and would have no idea how to operate if you did know about them, and wouldn't want to use if you did know how to operate them: they're absolutely throbbing with unlocked sensuous potential, I'm sure you'll agree.

Want to unlock that sensuous potential and enter the wild technological vortex of the future? Yes? I'll tell you anyway.

Get a cat. Any cat will do. Cats have a natural affinity with computers: they sit on them a lot. You wouldn't sit on something you didn't have an affinity to, would you? One of our cats, Beatrice, sat on my computer this morning, and within mere seconds had opened up a window that I hadn't wanted opened, to a website that I wasn't particularly interested in, containing a subject that I didn't bother reading about, opened up a sidebar that I had no idea about to the window that I was already working in, and concluded the proceedings by bringing up another little window asking me what I'd like to save (though I hadn't done anything worth saving anyway). And then, to conclude proceedings even more, just... kind of... stayed sitting there while I patted her.

Alternatively, throw out your computer and just get a cat. It makes things much easier.

Beatrice, thankfully not unlocking the throbbing sensuous potential of the toilet.

*They've got to be impressive if you don't know about them.**

** I don't know if that's a compliment or not, it was meant to be.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An open and heartfelt letter

To the Person Who Left the Chocolate Bar Sitting All Alone On Top Of The Sweets Machine At Work For Several Hours, Not Once Coming Back To It,

Just who do you think you are, hmmm? What did chocolate ever do to you that caused you to abandon it in so cruel, so unjustifiable a fashion? Did you think the chocolate bar looked at you in the wrong way or something? You ought to be ashamed of yourself! Chocolate never hates. Chocolate loves. Chocolate is kind and witty and humorous and entirely pleasurable company, and it is very tasty too. I'm taking this chocolate bar out of your hands and you're never getting it back. It's coming to a loving home where it will be welcomed for its natural talents and its innate chocolatiness and its inborn ability to be eaten and appreciated by all and sundry. Don't worry, chocolate. You're safe now. Yum.

As for you, you person who abandoned this chocolate, perhaps you can think about what you've done.

Sincerely, Tim

Friday, September 10, 2010

Proverbs, antiverbs

Broken Biro has this list of proverbs from all around the world. Things like, 'the trunk of the elephant is longer than the beak of the goose, but the feather of the goose in the trunk of the elephant is like the bottom of the rhinoceros in the face of the monkey,' or 'the three fingered goatherd has the oversized carrot of tranquility in his top-right-hand coat pocket, right next to the racing form.' (More or less.) Well, I looked at the proverbs -

'Every hill has its leopard.'
Bahaya proverb

'Who takes a hut, also takes the rats and cockroaches.
Ntomba proverb.

'Do not grab your heel until the ant has bitten you.'
Ekonda proverb.

And I attempted my own:

The tree is very leafy.
Australian proverb

As you know, making up boring proverbs is a great Australian tradition, performed by me since the dawn of time (by which I mean this morning.) So here are a few more ancient proverbs:

The cat is very furry.
Mgomba proverb

The coffee cup is rather empty.
Yambala proverb

He who attempts to blow his nose produces snot.
Ignocious proverb

The rain is particularly wet and watery.
Tsk-blgn proverb

The two-legged chicken stands firmly on its second, and first, leg.
Proverbial proverb

He who carries a handful of eggs is going to make an omelette.
French-Ungolan proverb

I hope you enjoy this timeless wisdom. (You'd better enjoy it, it took me literally minutes to come up with it.)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

A nice picture of a bit of a truck

You might remember a few months ago the Baron and myself went on a grand three-day hike from Wangaratta to Bright, covering about 30 kilometres every day.

Now, there are pictures! Here, for instance, is an attractive image of a bit of a truck, surrounded by some countryside.

We should have more attractive bits of trucks scattered about our countryside. It would really pull in the tourists.


One night, American philosopher William James sat up in bed and wrote this poem:

Hogamous higamous
Men are polygamous
Higamous hogamous
Women monogamous.

Which is funny, because one day several decades later American poet Dorothy Parker wrote:

Hogamous higamous
Men are polygamous
Higamous hogamous
Women monogamous.

So who really wrote this hogamous higamous polygamous monogamous poem? The eponymous William James or the eponymous Dorothy Parker? Or was the poem synonymous? Did they both write it? Or did no-one really write it, thus making its authorship anonymous? Was it just, kind of, you know, out there?

Minimonous monomonous
Some poets are eponymous
Monomonous minimonous
Some are synonymous
Minimonous monomonous
And then some are anonymous
Monomonous minimonous
While others are just plain ignominious.

Let's hope that whoever writes the poem, however they write it, whenever they write it, and whatever the poem that they write is, does a good job of it - because if not it would be an abomination. And that would be abominous.


Bottomus nottomus
Straights are monotonous.
Nottomus bottomous
Gays are lobotomous.
Bugger the lottomus -
Try Love Hippopotamus.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A nightmare scenario

Just saw this headline:

Bird flu jumps to pigs

Headlines I'd like to see:

Bird flu jumps to pigs from 'flying pig' sub-species

Horse flu jumps to pigs via birds, does a run round the track a few times, then back to horses again

Man flu crosses species barrier!

Okay, that last one is a bit improbable. But just imagine if it did! That would be a nightmare scenario.

Masterchef spin offs

Big Meringue Theory - the tale of two hyper-talented young cooking students who compete to win the affections of an attractive theoretical physicist who lives just next door...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Labor loses election, stays in government

Julia Gillard: unelected Prime Minister of Australia. Twice.

Zsa Zsas in my eyes...

An ode to Zsa Zsa Gabor

The wistful wind whispers, it whispers a name,
It murmurs a rumour, a rumour of fame,
It carries it here like a dream from afar,
And that name the wind whispers – that name is Zsa Zsa.

When you first arrived, Zsa Zsa, in your tutu,
The gents all went gaga, the ladies went goo-goo,
Yes your magic, your mojo, your jubilant juju
Had the suitors all lined up crying ‘me’ and ‘me too!’
- There was even some talk of the drummer from U2 -
For you O for you the whole planet went cuckoo
O Zsa Zsa O Zsa Zsa Gabor.

And the fashion the frocks the frou frou the ricrac
The high necks the low necks the notions the knick-knacks
With the tszujed-up zigzag and sequins as well
By Fifi and Mimi and Coco Chanel –
How much more we adored you O Zsa Zsa Gabor.

When they played on the tom-toms and you danced to the cha-cha
When you shook your pink pompoms with voom and with va va
When you boogied your woogie with Princes and Rajas
And they looked up and cried ‘could it be – ZSA ZSA!’
And then they were then they were sure, O Zsa Zsa Gabor.

And the papers all prattled they babbled their blah blah
With their yadda yadda, their so so, their pish posh, their ha-ha,
But I didn’t care what they said, I cried ‘la la’
For to me you were always the ultimate star
I love you I love you galore O Zsa Zsa Gabor.

May you live forever O wondrous Zsa Zsa
May you feast on bananas and chocolate rum babas
And Turkish delight and baklava and more
And Kit Kats and Tic Tacs and Picnics galore,
O lovely, so lovely Ms Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Monday, September 06, 2010

News you can rely on

Australian chi shortages at record low levels
The flow of Chi through all Australian states and territories is at dangerously low levels, according to latest indications from experts. Measurements of this unquantifiable, invisible, unsmellable, untouchable, tasteless, noiseless, substanceless substance inherent in all things indicate that for the tenth year in a row less Chi has come into Australia than has gone out. If shortages of this intangible undefinable substance continues, it is feared they could have incomprehensible consequences in the future, with horrific, though of course utterly unknowable, impacts on the lives of Australians.

In the words of one expert in the area of Chi expertise, "this would be bad."

Chi as it is meant to look. Though of course you can't see it here, it's busy being all translucent and unknowable and stuff, but in a healthy way.

"At this time of historic Chi shortages, all levels of government are working together to achieve a solution, and put yin back in the correct balance with yang, whatever that is," said the PM today, whoever they are.

Across all states and territories, households and businesses are being urged to restrict their personal karma expenditures, whatever they are, and gradually make cut backs in their personal chakra intakes and outtakes, however that is to be achieved, by whichever means necessary.

Valda, Psychic and Chi consultant for the government of former Prime Minister John Howard, argues that there has been a lack of investment in critical Chi infrastructure, thus obstructing the flow of the vital substance, in all its indomitable ineffability. "This has been a mistake by governments of all levels for years". Valda suggests a Chi Department set aside to facilitate the flow of Chi, in which various public servants meditate on the oneness of all things and the thingness of all sensation, put out expensive reports consisting of the word 'Om', and "just sort of send out good vibes, state by state", in order to restore the national spiritual balance.

Diagram of chi as it looks in Australia. Still invisible and unknowable but much, much worse.

Other suggestions improve:
- A whale for every schoolchild
- A gigantic incense stick to be burnt in the national capital, sending out its fumes of calm and serenity across the nation
- Taxes raised in some area or other to improve Chi development somehow or other.
- Couches and cushions in the northern end of Australia to be, sort of, shifted about so the year inflow and outflow of Chi is not restricted, and Australian feng shui can be improved.

Whither chi?
"If these infrastructure developments are undertaken", says Valda, "then I am sure we will notice improvements in nationwide Chi flow, though of course as Chi is all ineffable intangibility we won't really notice them and be sure about them at all, but things will be better."

Could movement of a couch in the Northern Territory impeding feng shui dramatically improve our nation-wide Chi flow?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A good day in my books is a day in my good books

This morning, I forgot to turn the heater off before leaving for work. So theoretically, the house and all its contents could have burnt down in a fire of devastating proportions. That would have not been a positive development.

On the other hand, I did remember to put my pants on. This was, undoubtedly, a positive development. Any day on which I remember to put my pants on before leaving the house is a good day in my books. So, even if the house did collapse in itself on flames, at the very least, I would have been appropriately attired for the occasion.

Let this be a lesson to you: if your house is going to explode in a horrifying fiery apocalypse, always remember to put your pants on first. And possibly a nice hat, if you have time.

Three headlines looking for a column

Match fixing? Asif.

Salman queer fish.

Butt head.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A limerick about Ned, and other disappointing pieces

A limerick about Ned
There once was a fellow called Ned
But alas and alack! He is dead!
So his verse never finished.
It was rather diminished.

A second disappointing limerick
There once was a woman called - what?
Do you know her name? I've forgot.
Nup. I can't recall
What she did at all,
Which screws this poem up quite a lot.

The disappointment never stops
There once was a fellow called John
Who needed to go to the john.
Which in the circumstances was quite reasonable, really.

Continuing disappointment
I once knew this woman called Elle
Whose legs one day suddenly fell
Off under a lorry,
Which made her quite sorry -
And you, I am sure, are as well.
Email: timhtrain - at -

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