Monday, October 31, 2011

How to answer back to a chicken

Now I know that animal sounds are merely a series of instinctual responses which they are in the habit of making thanks to millions of years of evolution, but on the other hand, OUR CAT JUST SPOKE TO OUR CHICKENS.

Here's how it happened: Bea the cat was passing one way by Griselda the chicken when Griselda thoughtfully said, 'cluck'. Bea turned her head, and replied instantly: 'meow'. And then continued on in just the direction she was going.

I don't know about you, but that strikes me as a particularly convincing argument on Bea's part.

This series of instinctual responses of the sort belonging to a member of the primate species has been brought to you courtesy of my keyboard, the internet, and a morning off work.

What is your whichword?

Who is Zooey Deschanel? What is Ryan Gosling? I just realised, with a sudden jolt, that I have no idea what the hell any of you people are talking about.

But then again, I realise that with a sudden jolt every day about this time. And last time I admitted to it, everybody laughed at me.

UPDATE! - Actual conversation actually had with the Baron:

ME: Who is Ryan Gosling anyway?

BARON: He's an actor.

ME: Who has he played?


ME: Er, what sort?

BARON: Young men.

This all leads me back to my original question: who or what is Ryan Gosling, anyway?

Sunday, October 30, 2011


The Queen has been pootling everywhere about Australia in the last couple of days, wearing hats, waving hands, and generally being present in the moment in that quietly satisfied way she seems to have. As she's gone here and there she's been giving journalists plenty of opportunity to get fussed about politicians causing perceived breaches of protocol by either doing or not doing some very small but important or unimportant thing in the royal presence of her royal person, although of course the journalists are neither sure what the breach nor what the protocol is; she's caught a royal tram for a couple of blocks, making me wonder if she used a royal Metcard or a royal Myki*; and she's attended CHOGM, whatever and wherever that is.

By an odd coincidence, just as the Queen has been pootling all over Australia in the past week, so have our cats, Harriet and Bea, been pootling all over our backyard, jumping over fences, popping their head in the door to make sure it's still open (and that it's still letting in the cold air) and trotting off to jump over other fences, and generally being present in the moment in that quietly satisfied way they seem to have. Do you see where I'm going here? It seems to me that the position of the Queen and my two cats could very easily be reversed, and such a solution, once it has suggested itself to us, cannot easily be denied, as it would provide a good deal of variety and excitement for all concerned.

To that end, I have drawn up this revised itinerary for the Royal Persons and also for the Queen... I mean my cats.

- Toddling up and down and round the backyard, occasionally crouching down in a corner and opening the royal mouth to see if any pigeons will accidentally fly in.
- getting the royal bangers and mash from the royal bowl on the floor.
- more generally backyard exercises, popping in and out of the house, maybe climbing onto the roof once or twice via the water tank.
- climbing all over my keyboard while I am typing, and creating the neologism 'ZASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSss!' by accidentally tripping over some of the keys.
- rest of the day - sitting in a box and quietly meditating upon future royal duties.

- Receiving the general applause and acclaim of crowds.
- Catching the Feline Tram up St Kilda Road, chasing one another up and down the tram and hiding behind the seats until it's time to get off.
- Opening the new Royal Children's Hospital, mostly by chasing the ribbon around the room for 20 frenzied minutes and then curling up on one of the new chairs and sleeping.
- Catching the plane to CHOGM, sniffing under the seats of all the participants and playing with everyone's shoelaces.

Of course there will be a great deal there to get used to but in time I'm sure the cats will come to understand their new duties and perform them with alacrity. In the end this being a royal thing seems to boil down to posing for appropriate photo opportunities, and I know our cats do that VERY well. So it shouldn't be too hard for them. What do you think?

The Queen. She may rule over entire nations, but is she up to the rigorous standards of box sitting and biscuit eating that our cats have set?

UPDATE! - Bea is in my lap - again. Not only is this not on the itinerary, but I can't very well do anything on my own itinerary either. Bung goes that plan.

Then again I suppose if the Queen were sitting in my lap in the way Bea is that would be a rather sizable breach of protocol. (I'd better check with an authority on that one, though, just to make sure.)

*That's not the only thing I wondered about the royal tram. Other questions that arose before my mind when told about this mode of conveyance: what if they accidentally caught the wrong tram and ended up in Box Hill? Did the ticket inspectors get on? Were there the customary Melbourne Drunks On The Tram, and did they stick to protocol by offering the royal persons a swig from whatever it was they were carrying with them, etc etc etc.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Flabulous fashion

Just read in the paper last night that they’re having a strict dress code at the Melbourne Cup this year, and anyone wearing short skirts, jump suits, or other designer clothes that infringe the Cup dress code won’t be allowed in.

It’s all right though! So long as you wear a plastic feather in your hair, have stratospherically-high heels, have a bottle of champagne superglued to your right hand, and a polyester tie flecked with polymesmeric body fluids, you’ll fit right in. (Designer polymesmeric vomit available on request).

And remember everyone! The Melbourne Cup is the fashion event of the year – so start working on your graceful inebriated lurching on and off (and around and into and on top of) public transport now.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A case of hit and rennet

The Global Retail Theft Barometer 2011 has found that cheese is the most stolen food item in the world, based on a survey of 1,187 retailers in 43 countries. - Caz

Who filched the fetta
Creamed the cream cheese from the shelf,
Who's on the lam with Edam,
Added parma to their pelf?

Who wangled all the Singles,
Put their finger in the Swiss,
Took a motza Mozzarella
Ere we knew what was amiss?

Who touched the Dutch,
Took the camemberts and bries,
Lock, stock and bocconcini
Without so much as please?

There's a lack amongst the lactose
Now the Gorgonzola's gone,
Some rotter took Ricotta
And the Philly's all forlorn -

Who took the cheese?
What could have caused this crime?
Can we put it down to culture,
Or was it just - enzyme?

UPDATE! - How good are the photos on the Global Retail Theft Barometer page, by the way? Well-groomed ladies, the same sort you'd normally see advertising the virtues of some product in a shopping catalogue, looking furtive and slipping stolen items into their bags.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Solemn Sunday soliloquy

If someone were to ask me today, 'Tim, what's on your mind?' I would unhesitatingly reply, 'buttons'. Do you know how many buttons there are in the world today? Lots. There is a plethora of buttons, a preponderance of knobs, a multiplicity of widgets and bits and switches and keys and what-nots which you can press in order to send countless electronic signals flying all over the place at light speed, telling this to open, that to close, the other thing to light up, rotate, turn, twist, spin, or do something else altogether.

Is there at some point a limit that we are going to reach, a set quota of buttons beyond which the human race cannot go, a moment of 'peak button' after which we will run out of new buttons to create? You'd think so, wouldn't you, but then again, no. For even as we speak, I've no doubt new buttons for new purposes are being created, buttons created in response to the ever-growing need for buttons, pleasing round metallic things to be pressed by fingers which long to press pleasing round metallic things. They've even started putting virtual buttons on computers, virtual buttons which you have to press other buttons on your keyboard in order to get to, before moving a symbolic finger over the top of them, in order to have the pleasure of pressing the real button which in turn operates the symbolic finger which causes the virtual button to be pressed, virtually. If you ever explained this to someone from 50 years ago, they would think you were mad; they would wonder why anyone should do such a thing. But we do this sort of thing these days with alarming regularity.

Buttons! What is the point of them? Things have got to the point these days where you will press a button even if you don't expect it to do anything; sometimes you will just press a button for fun: sometimes you will do it and not even know why you are doing it. I was on the train the other day and a wriggling young lad of no more than two years old gave the big, friendly red button on the carriage a hearty press; in due course, a kindly old gentleman rang through to find out what perfidy was being perpetrated and I had to explain to him what had happened. And yet I do not blame the child; while I am standing at a street corner I will press the traffic light button repeatedly in order to make it go green faster. At a train station I can barely refrain from pressing the green button in order to hear a friendly voice inform me just when, exactly, the train is coming - indeed, I notice a good deal of my fellow passengers press that button anyway, even though the train timetable is right next to them, even if they have just been looking at it. And, as anyone who reads any books or looks at any television knows, big red buttons - especially big red buttons which have signs next to them saying DO NOT PRESS THIS BIG RED BUTTON - are there to be pressed.

There is something Freudian about all of this; buttons were invented for a reason, sure, but this has to be different from the reason for which, er, we invented buttons. What are these shiny steel protuberances, these painted pustules, these plump proliferating steel implements really, but symbols; what on earth could that bright, shiny red button be to the extended finger of the child, reaching closer, ever closer, but a voluptuous object of sensual longing, beckoning to the finger to press it, just press it, to keep on pressing it, until...

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you buttons.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Occupy Lalor

Beatrice the cat is in my lap. Can't go anywhere. Can't do anything. Help.

I made the mixture for some Chelsea Buns about two hours ago and it should be just about ready to roll out, add sultanas, and put in the oven right about now. But it's four metres away and the cat is in my lap.

About two minutes ago I felt a bit itchy but I couldn't scratch the bit that was itchy. The cat is in my lap.

If a door to door chocolate cake came and offered me a bite, I'd really like to take it up on that opportunity. But I won't and I can't. The door is two metres behind me. And the cat is in my lap.

I am starting to really need to go to the toilet. But the cat is in my lap.


UPDATE! - Now the cat is sitting on the Baron's lap and the laptop is sitting on my lap. FREEDOM.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Charitable announcement

My brother Lachlan will be cycling from Echuca to Mildura on November 5/6 next month and is looking for sponsors. It's part of a cash-raising effort for the Anglicare program Peaceful Warriors, which he also volunteers for, a group that provides role models for boys from socially-disadvantaged backgrounds. I'm not sure what exactly the costs are going to but the program has a few paid workers, and have to fund regular activities and ongoing running costs. They've set a high target, of $60,000, but they've already raised over $5000 in donations.

For a while there I was trying to get them to rustle up donations with the catchy title, 'PAY UP OR THE LITTLE BUMS GET IT!' For some reason no-one seemed to be interested in that idea. Oh well.

You can support by going here and making a donation. If you like, maybe liven up proceedings by calling yourself Voldemort, or Gaknor, Stealer of Souls while making a donation. That should cause a few head scratchings.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dihydrogen monoxide, on the rocks

I have a secret, and of course I can't tell you this secret because then it won't be one, apart from the fact that my secret is I secretly admire smokers. It could be the cool sophistication, the suave manner they have while knowingly doing something that all the right people see as something that is really rather wrong. If it annoys Nicola Roxon, it can't be all that bad. It could also be the fact that they have cigarette breaks during work. How good is that? I just get a lunch break, but they get a break every half hour or so.

I'd take up smoking myself, but I might get in trouble, so I won't. No, it seems I will have to admire smokers from afar - just as one admires extremely glamorous movie stars committing reprehensible acts of gratuitous violence to one another on the big screen, or rather eloquent professors of linguistics committing a stream of offensive expletives live to air on the radio, or particularly naughty children making melodious farting sounds in front of the teacher, or other examples of people doing really rather wrong things in front of exactly the right people.

But why should smokers have all the fun as well as the lung disease? I want my cigarette breaks as well. So from now on at work I might start taking regular 'oxygen breaks' - right while I'm in the middle of doing some extremely important and vital task that can't just be dropped, of course, just to add to the piquancy of the occasion. I'll go outside, and stride up and down on the footpath with my hands behind my back, surveying the scene with a contemplative gaze, and if any manager or head or boss (there's a lot of them where I work, I can never quite work out which is who or who is what) asks just what the hell I'm doing, I'll tell them.

And smoking jackets: what ever happened to them? No matter; from now on I think I'll adopt a billowing, velveteen jacket for my oxygen breaks. A plush oxygen jacket is just the thing needed to lend an air of louche sophistication to an activity that might otherwise be seen as, say, Tim not working. It would make the whole thing that much more eventful, adding just a touch of moment to the - well, the moment. And then there are smoking rooms and smoking cars and smoking parties... the list goes on and on. I suppose we have the equivalent of a lot of those already, and a lot of these simple pleasures have been taken from smokers by the government, so maybe I don't need all of those things.

Then again, if I keep up with this oxygen kick, where will it lead me? It mightn't be long before I sashay into bars and rasp out at the barman, 'Dihydrogen monoxide, mate - on the rocks'. Or buying magazines in greasy out-of-town petrol stations and ogling lovely pictures of gardens taken by friendly old grannies with names like Mavis or Doris (the grannies have the names, I mean, not the gardens). And - dare I mention the word - 'weed'? Yes, I'll probably start pulling up the weeds in my back garden in a short while.

After I take up oxygen, my life could quickly become an out of control spiral into endless hedonistic and decadent pleasures. Who knows? I can't wait to see.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Proposed additional working groups and working additional proposals

I noticed that the Occupy Sydney team have put together a modest list of 11 proposed working groups and eight different committees. Just what the exact difference between working groups and committees is is unclear to me, but this one is my particular favourite:
Social Networking working group
Hopefully, the Social Networking working group will begin working at Networking straight away, so they can get the Social Networking working for all other networking working groups. It would indeed be a pity if networking between all the networking working groups was not working due to the fact that the networking of the Networking working group was also not working (possibly due to them not working). It would indeed be a real bummer.

Aside from the 11 proposed working groups and the eight different committees, I see that, quite delightfully, they also have six additional proposed working groups (propositionally proposed working groups?) I have no idea what the difference is between a proposed working group and these propositionally proposed working groups, either, but there you go.

Anyway, what's your favourite working group? I'm quite fond of the Comfort Committee, but maybe you have a different one. LET ME KNOW ON THIS VITAL MATTER IN COMMENTS.

Friday, October 14, 2011

How to pose for a philosopher

Wear your clothes paradoxically and give them something to think about.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Oh my goodness! I just realised that two days ago it was 11:11 11/10/11!* Time to write a poem in commemoration of it.

Let's fondly remember the moment that was a few moments before the one that we're currently in,
Let's gladly look back to our former backlooking to time before time and sit back with a satisfied grin,
Yes those times were the days and those days were the times and I thought at the time that I'm glad to be living within it,
Though now I look back upon all those days I find that I'm glad that they didn't last over a... minute.

Still that was the time to be young or at least a bit younger than those who were probably older than me -
A time so much better or at least a bit later than the previous times like, say, Sunday at quarter to three.

- In Memory, 11:11 11/10/11

*Not strictly true. I realised two days ago that two days ago it was such a time. Though it wasn't two days ago then. Er... carry on then.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An explanation of some trends in modern poetry

Beat - an urban poet of the US in the '60s and '70s.

Minim - a disappointed beat poet in the '80s.

Crotchet - what happens to a beat poet in the '90s when they become old and cranky.

Semi-quaver - An imitation beat poet of 2000-2010 who subsists mainly on a diet of lettuce leafs, world music, and tears.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hairy incidents

This morning I was munching down my coffee and chewing on my toast - no, wait, I was drinking down my toast and sipping on my coffee - no, I was doing both of the above and all three of the latter... ANYWAY: I was sitting with my coffee and toast on the couch clicking away on the internet. The toast, I should mention, had marmalade on it.

As I munched and sipped and clicked, I started noticing something out of the left-hand corner of my left eye. I moved my eye this way, and it disappeared. I moved my eye the other way, it seemed to come back. It was rather bright, and I concluded maybe a bit of marmalade had slipped into my moustache.

Now although I love Roald Dahl's books I have no particular wish to be like Mr Twit, who would catch food in his beard and days, weeks, and sometimes months later pluck it out again and munch thoughtfully upon it to see if it had got any tastier. So as you can imagine I immediately reached up to try to pluck out this bit of marmalade. Nothing doing; it didn't seem to be in my moustache at all. It was, in fact, somewhere else in my field of vision entirely. I thought maybe it might be a bit of marmalade on the plate and continued clicking and sipping and munching.

Trouble is, it wasn't on the plate, and it wouldn't go out of my field of vision. I moved my head this way and that and contorted my eye upwards and downwards in an attempt to get a better view of it. At the same time I started to worry at my beard with both of my hands (I suppose I looked a little strange) insistently. Finally, I produced the object in question: a small fluoro green one-third of a price tag off the back of a book: it had been dangling for - who knows how long, really? - off an obscure quadrant of my beard. I have no idea how that got there.


Lalor, I suppose, must previously have been populated by fairies, for the washing line hanging out the back of our house from the north-facing wall is over a head-length lower than me. Every time I go to hang out the washing, I have to poke my head up through the middle of the line, which neatly bisects my head from my body - I feel rather like I'm sticking my head into a horizontal guillotine. Considering a washing line should really be a comfortable distance above your head in order to allow you to lift and lower your arms without too much effort, and in order to minimise the risk of pegs and clothes getting in your face, I can only conclude that the quaint sylvan race who previously inhabited this suburb must have been very titchy indeed.

Well just earlier today I was hanging out the washing, which basically means I was sticking my head in and out of this horizontal guillotine repeatedly. I did most of the shirts and the pants, and then had got to the socks and underpants. As I was hanging these out, I heard a neat snip from behind, and as I lowered my head and went back to the basket, I felt a small but insistent tugging at the nape of my neck.

I grasped around there for a bit with my hands and found that a plastic clothes peg had neatly detached itself from the washing line (all by itself) and was now hanging happily from the hairs at the nape of my neck.

It was yet another hairy incident.

Sunday, October 09, 2011


"There is no frigate like a book."
That's Dickinson -- ya dig it?
Although some books -- I must admit --
Just make me shout -- 'ah -- frig it.'

UPDATE! - Now with extra dash, a la Dickinson.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Of tweed and tears

I thought I'd have a go at creating romance novel covers for well-known works of literature. And also some... less well known.

Jane Eyre

Pride and Prejudice

Badger's Dozen

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


The best chunder I ever saw was a bright pink one, splattered neatly onto one of the steps of the Flinders Street railway station, underneath the clocks. Of course I have no way of knowing if that was an actual chunder, and not just a Jackson Pollock inspired abstract expression of bodily fluids, tinctured with the best paint colourings and raspberry cordial available, but then that's what makes living in Melbourne so cool and edgy and sophisticated, isn't it?

My mind drifted back to that when I saw this article in the Herald Sun this morning:
CITY streets are on the nose: tests reveal many of them smell as bad as a farmyard.

The shocking findings have prompted a disgusted Melborune[sic] Lord Mayor Robert Doyle to demand urinating revellers clean up their act.

International-standard tests conducted exclusively for the Herald Sun Public Defender have found urine, garbage and even the smell of sewage is turning streets and laneways rancid.

The results come barely a month after Melbourne was named the world's most liveable city.
They were talking about this on radio this morning, too, and someone suggested that they use CCTV to put a 'name and shame' file of offenders on the web.

CCTV, you say?

More like Wee Wee TV.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, I'll be here all night.

UPDATE! - If such a CCTV policy were put into place in NZ, of course, it would be Kiwiweeweetv, or possibly Iwiweeweetv.

I know what I mean but do I understand?

I clicked on the YouTube to show me the invisibility cloak, but I couldn't see it.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Adjective Anderson

The happy news that Angry Anderson is joining the National Party left me wondering earlier today about the many possible speech openers he could use involving his name. It is not often that you find such a useful political adjective, ready to go, in a politician's first name.

Hello, I'm angry, and my name is also Angry!

Hello, I'm Angry! Twice!

It's good to be with you, I'm Angry, and I'm happy today to announce...

I'm Angry, and I'm absolutely andersoned to be with you...

Actually, now that I think about it I have no idea who Angry Anderson is. My response when told about him, as is my response when told about other celebrities who absolutely everyone and anyone knows, is: 'who'? But I'll tell you this: I may have no idea who he is, but I know what he is:


Saturday, October 01, 2011

Word things

Today I am going to read this at the Dan in a pathetically cryptic attempt to annoy the hordes of Collingwood supporters who will be too drunk and shouty to hear a syllabub of it anyway. I call it a word poem, in that it is like a sound poem, a found poem, an alphabet poem, or a nice poem, except that it is made out of words.


Cankers rankle mouldy manky
Ruthless toothless old and cranky
Gunk and skanky lice and flies -
Cats eat Pies.

McGuire liar pants on fire
Groin conjoin the highest buyer
Hanky panky chunky thighs -
Also, Cats eat Pies.

Tinkle winkle little pinky
Rabies babies farting stinky
Dingle mingle single sighs
Plus, Cats eat Pies.

Colostrum nostrum boozy bash
Casino funny money cash
Soiling sweated shifty eyes
Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats eat Pies.

UPDATE! - Enough said!
Email: timhtrain - at -

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