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.
Email: timhtrain - at -

eXTReMe Tracker

Blog Archive