Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reflections on the propensities towards vice and virtue in the world of chickens

By the Reverend H. Bugle-Cumberpatch
Why, people of a contemplative turn
Doth envy rage within the chicken soul? 
If Chicken A spies Chicken B with worm,
Why doth Chook A completely lose control? 

Observe a platter o'erspread with grain -
A fulsome feast for four of chicken brood.
Yet Chicken A will peck with might and main
At all who venture near her wealth of food. 

Yet many seeds, and many more, will show
That MAN will tender thus to all her flock;
She lives in bounty, but she does not know,
And all day looks for slaters under rock. 

Why, fair GRISELDA? Thyself the question begs
Before you goeth off to lay your eggs?

Observe the beauty of maternal bliss -
A mother chicken wanders with her brood,
Drops tidbits with her beak - a chicken kiss - 
And clucks with tender soft solicitude. 

Behold the simple glories of their days - 
They wander through the luscious growths of grass,
New buds to bite, new dirt to dig, new ways
Through  which to peck, prune, preen, pry, prod and pass.

They wander wondering from early morn,
With whirrs and clucks they their CREATOR sing.
When it grows dark, then, mother takes newborn
And shelters them beneath her spreading wing. 

And so, fair DAISY - HENRY fairer still,
I would make this example to mine will. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Your complete guide to the Labor leadership spill

You will have all heard by now that the Federal Labor Party is having a leadership spill to be concluded in the next few days. But what is a spill and what does this mean for the rest of us? Most importantly, what implications could it have for Australia and the world at large? This guide should help you answer any questions you have about the historical events taking place in our capital city.

What is it? 
Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister of Australia, was drinking a cup of tea the other day, and accidentally slopped some of the tea out of the cup. This created a major geopolitical-meterological vortex, and it dripped all over the table. This event was what was to become known as the leadership spill, or simply, the spill.

What happened?
Within minutes, Prime Minister Gillard's office had prepared memos informing all elected Ministers and Senators in the Federal Labor Party of this event, and informing them that Gillard intended to take charge of this situation before it got out of hand. On hearing about this developing situation, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called a press conference in the US in which he informed the media that he intended to take charge of the situation, that he had a squeegee and everything, and that he was the most fit person to mop up the tea before it fell onto the floor.

The situation develops
After Kevin Rudd's declaration, the Australian Labor Party, the most important political body in the country, immediately set about deciding what they were going to do. Some members immediately threw their support behind Prime Minister Gillard as the person most capable of dealing with the cup of tea, others announced their support for Kevin Rudd. A few deliberated and began a process of extensive consultation with their staff and supporters in order to help them work out how best to deal with this complex state of affairs.

As it stands
By Monday, the Labor Party will, in all likelihood, have decided who best to take charge of the upended cup of tea. The situation is tense but we need not worry. The Labor Party is the largest political party in Australia, and almost all of the Ministers in the federal branch have spent their entire life in politics, and so  have extensive experience in dealing with cups of tea that have gone awry.

How will the situation change
Currently, the spill is in a stable condition, having spread over most of the table. The room in which Gillard was drinking tea has been secured until the situation is resolved one way or another. A little tea remains in the cup but it has gone cold and will be used to water the office plants once matters have been decided. Two important policy papers remain on the table, including one on ending child poverty, and another on attaining world peace, but they will be dealt with once the spill has been cleaned. And besides, they haven't been wet too much by the spill.

Don't worry. The nation, and the world, is in good hands. Or will be, as soon as this matter is decided for once and for all. Or possibly for the next couple of months. Maybe. Sort of.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Build a better quokka


PLAN: to genetically engineer a better version of the quokka.

It will be called the quikka.

By breeding a small, herbivorous macropod that eats vegetables slightly more rapidly than it would have done otherwise, my path to world supremacy will be virtually assured. Watch out, everyone, here I come!

UPDATE! - A quokkadile - a quokka crossed with a crocodile. The most fearsome creature known to small, ground-hugging shrubs.

A quakka - a quokka crossed with a duck.

Also working on a plan to cross a quokka, duck, and frog in order to breed a creature that will shock librarians all over the world. Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the fukka.

Not a quikka.

Variations, Iterations, Deviations

Variations on the air of 'I see, said the blind man, who did not see at all'

I see, said the deaf man, who did not hear at all.

I hear you, said the mute man, who had learning disabilities.

I can handle this, said the dead man, who also had a cold.

I am drunk, said the junkie, who was stoned.

I am sober, said the sober man, who was a dog.

No idea, said the man, when he saw a deer in the forest with no tail.

I understand, said the man with no hands, who was resting on the chair.

I am lying in the bath, said the man who was in the garden, standing.  But then, he was always lying. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blog strip tease

Okay, first up I am drawing my jumper off. Got it?

And then I swing it around my head in curling, sensuous hoops, and then toss it onto the piano.

Right. Now, I am slowly unbuttoning my shirt.

Button by button.

Fine. Now, I'll let that hang loose, and I'll do some turns around the pole here*, and unloosen the laces on my shoes.

Good, now I can kick them off.

Now the music will be slowing down a bit. I'm taking off my socks. They're long socks, so I spend quite some time drawing them off, in a suitably alluring fashion. Like this. See? Great.

Okay, soooo, now we've reached the point where I unzip my trousers. Done.

Now I'm gracefully sliding them off my legs. There.

So, you can see I'm just standing here - well, because I'm writing this blog post, sitting here - in just my undone shirt and my underpants.

Oh, sorry, they're boxers.

Anyway, now I'm taking my shirt off - see? And I'm swinging it around my head.

And there, I let it slip, right behind the couch.

Now I'm sliding off my boxers...


And you should be able to see now that I am a Swedish Landrace milking goat.

That'll be 100 bucks, please.

*Well, the table leg.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thought for the day...

... on genital surgery.

You've got to have balls to lose your nuts, but you've got to be nuts to lose your balls.

Domestic scenario

Person lies down in lovely warm bath. Lovely warm bath is lovely.

Cat comes along and, to be companionable, lies down on lovely green bath mat. Lovely green bath mat really is all that.

Lovely warm bath has become slightly-less-lovely, slightly more lukewarm. Person stands up to get out of bath. Sees that cat is spread out all over lovely green bath mat.

Person looks at cat.

Cat looks at person.

Five hours later...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You can't trust anyone these days

You lie, Scrabble. You tell damnable lies.

A poem for St Valentine's Day

O chocolate
I love you
And I will eat you.

For in this way love has always been expressed
For does not the female spider eat the male spider after copulation as a sign of love
For does not the female praying mantis eat the male after copulation as a sign of love in certain laboratory conditions
For does not the German internet psychopath too wish to eat you or me due to their depraved condition, which could in a liberal postmodern world perhaps be interpreted as a sign of love
For this is the way of love
For A goes with B
For chocolate goes with man
For as the old saying goes, This goes with that at Sussan

It's finger-lickin' good.

O chocolate
I love you
And I will eat you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rock poetry in your underpants

You may not have heard it, but on Sunday the incredibly important news was broken that incredibly rich person Gina Rinehart was writing poetry. Look, that's fine. We all make mistakes, nobody is perfect, and don't worry about it, because Rinehart certainly isn't. She's had her poem set in stone and placed outside the Coventry Square Markets in Morley. (I'm sure it's just the place for it.)

This wouldn't be the first time filthy rich bastards have set pen to paper to express their feelings - a recent issue of the AFR magazine broke the news that Wotif founder, multi-millionaire donor to the Greens and The Global Mail, and all-round nice guy Graeme Wood was one of several poetry-writing CEOs. (Inexplicably this story does not seem to have been circulated around the internet quite as zealously as that about Hancock, but all this by the by.)

Anyway, this all lead to Geoff Lemon's amusing rebuke in Crikey, who says, in part:
Our Future (the full ode below) attempts a noble challenge: the rendering of economic theory and politico-economic ideology into stirring verse. Some call it impossible to include phrases such as “special economic zones” in a fluid and aesthetically pleasing poem. Those people are right. But Rinehart doesn’t let that stop her. If it doesn’t fit, she’ll shoehorn the bastard in there anyway.
That's a good point, but on the other hand, what's wrong with the phrase 'special economic zones' anyway? It could fit neatly in any iambic verse with four feet or more, and it ends with an easy-to-rhyme-with word. What's more, by taking these seven syllables, initiating some relatively simple textual and semiotic analysis, applying the correct quadratical equations on a five dimensional space-time graph, putting the resultant linguisto-heuristical-mathematical algorithm into a Large Hadron Collider nearby*, and then separating the whites from the yolks, we come up with the following interesting historical material, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that a number of famous poets have at one stage considered using that very phrase in their works. Or, at least, would have if given any encouragement:
I met a traveller from an ancient land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Within the special economic zones - Shelley, Ozymandias

I think we are in a rat's alley
Or special economic zones - T S Eliot, The Wasteland

It is an ancient mariner
From special economic zones - S T Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

My heart aches and a drowsy numbness pains
My special economic zones. - John Keats, Ode to a Nightingale

Whan that Aprille, with hise shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
Somethinge somethinge somethinge somethinge crones
Within hirre special economic zones. - Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
See what I mean? Couldn't find a better phrase for poetry. Indeed, it is rather like that useful term 'in your underpants' which can simply be tacked on to the end of every sentence in a more or less meaningful fashion. Not to mention that another item to which the term 'special economic zones' might be applied euphemistically could be found in your underpants, or mine too, come to think of it. ButifyoustayoutofmineI'lldefinitelystayoutofyoursthankyouverymuch.

*Everyone should have one. They're great for the vacuuming.

We are all lying in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the cars

Men get creative with grammar when they want to impress fertile women

Men who find themselves in the company of fertile women are more likely to make creative attempts at sentence structure to signify their mating fitness, a study has found.

The Conversation

Simon was sitting on the train as it pulled into Thomastown Station when in walked a tall, lissom, shimmering, beauteous woman of dreams and mystery who happened to be known as Izabel Goulart, and sat down opposite him. And did I mention the train was otherwise empty? The train was otherwise empty.

"Morning good!" gulped Simon. "Having be I you hope trip nice a, day certainly it nice is, yes/no is questionish? Certainty the day beweathered is of glory!"

The passenger smiled and nodded agreeably and made polite conversation with Simon as the train continued on its way.

Soon, the train pulled into Reservoir, and onto the otherwise empty carriage (otherwise empty other than Simon and Izabel Goulart, that is), hopped Simon's father. Simon's father was 98 years old, had a face like a camel's bottom, burped habitually, was incontinent by choice, and smelled like rancid cheese. He sat down next to Simon and the three people smiled agreeably at one another.

"Going it how's dad hi?" asked Simon. "Shopping going you were, Reser-vore at you seeing surprise a certainly it's?"

Simon's father scowled. "Idiot boy you!" he cried. "Reser-voir pronounced is it, not Reser-vore!"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Moments of great, er... moment

I don't understand how you can all keep talking at a time like this as if nothing special was happening when Gina Rinehart is writing poetry.

Shut up! Don't you realise how important this moment in time is? Shut up! Especially you up the back!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Black is back

Black is the new black!

Out with the old black, in with the new black, or in this case the old black, which is the new new black, and it's back!

Yes, the new new black is the old black, and it's not brown.

Oh no!

Brown's going down!

Brown was the new black when the new old black was the new black, and the old new black wasn't even!

Can you imagine?

It's time to paint the town black, because red was the old black when the old black was even older!

Yes, black is back in the black, it's back in the books, in the black books that are black because black is back!

Black! It's back!

(Thoughts and comments welcome.)

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Highly arugula spelling

All of a sudden around the cafes I've started seeing these boxes and chalkboards and menus with the word 'roquette' on them instead of 'rocket'.

'Roquette'? Macquarie has the spelling 'rocket'. So does Etymology Online.

I mean, you wouldn't put astronauts in a roquette, would you? You don't play tennis with a raquette, and you don't put choquelette in your poquette, you don't go shopping with a doquette, put plugs into a soquette, make a fence with piquettes, grow old get riquettes, and or go up to a door and knoque it. And sure, you can play croquet but most prefer cricket.

Roquette? Really? Fuque itte!

Sunday, February 05, 2012


This blog is always tackling the big issues, and by big I mean huge and by huge I mean titanic and by titanic I mean this post will be about dogs fetching sticks. Dogs fetch sticks, did you know that? It's pretty cool. Here are my extensive observations about the stick-fetching styles of four dogs of my acquaintance. (The two middle B dogs, sadly, have passed on).

Char - Barks at you when you pick up a stick and get ready to throw it. Runs around and around in excited circles. Lollops off after the stick, starts running back with it and then after running for a metre or two sits down with the stick and starts gnawing on it before suddenly getting bored with it, dropping it, and looking up at you expectantly, waiting for you to run after it and fetch it yourself so you can throw it and start the cycle anew.

Bella - Rockets around the garden after a stick once thrown. Never once bothers bringing it back, but instead prefers to run around the garden while you chase after her like a lunatic, waving your arms. If you manage to get the stick, she won't let go. Rather, she will make a noise like a chainsaw while you wrestle with her for the precious object. Easily fooled by that old trick of pretending to throw the stick in one direction and then throwing it in the opposite one.

Boots - Enjoys stick game so much that he will pick up any old twig, or stick, or tree branch, or medium-sized tree in his jaws and prance around the garden with it and lay it before your feet. Is also of the sort that is inclined to keep the stick once thrown rather than give it back, but will get bored with this after a while and nudge you with the stick, and sometimes drop it at your feet while waiting for you to pick it up. (Sometimes, too, he will grab it up again before you pick it up thus continuing the game.) Once he has the stick, it's very hard to wrestle it off him.

Wilbur - you throw a stick, he ignores it, and instead goes for the bar of chocolate sitting in your pants pockets. He is a beagle after all.

Bloggers, on the other hand, don't go in much for the stick game at all. They much prefer schtick.

NOTE: Readers are invited to submit their own dogs' version of the stick game in comments.

Sitting under chairs is the new black

If I was a cat, I'd sit under the chair too.

Train tunnels, notepads, and apple cores

I was writing on some paper the other day as I sat on the train leaving the city to head back to Lalor. As the train went through the tunnel, I thought:

"Hmm, the signal's going to cut out soon, better stop the writing before then."

Huh? Paper is like a mobile phone? Then I remembered that I had an apple core in one of the pockets of my bag too. Would the signal to the apple core cut out, too? And what would happen then? I was about to find out...

The next chapter but one

You frequently come across examples of people attributing the right quotation to the wrong person, or the wrong quotation to the right person, but have you ever heard of the wrong quotation being attributed to the wrong person in the wrong language? Now, thanks to my poor memory of an anecdote I read years ago about some French writer or other, you will be able to say that you have. The story goes that someone asked this writer - I've no idea who, so we'll just call him Rimbaud for the purposes of being wrong - why he never wrote a novel. Rimbaud's reply: "Because, at some point, I would have to write a sentence like, 'He walked across the room and opened the door'". What a great insight! Pity I don't know French, couldn't remember the quotation, and had no idea who the author was.

Anyway, at the moment I'm reading a book which, it seems, is almost entirely like that sentence (or whoever the hell Rimbaud happened to be when he was not being, er, Rimbaud). It's Laurence Sterne's The life and opinions of Tristram Shandy, gentleman. This novel is veritably epic in the way it treats the matter of a door being opened - certainly it's as long as an epic. It's divided up into volumes, each about 60 pages or so, and so far (I'm in the middle of the third volume) it seems to have been exclusively devoted to a bunch of chaps standing around in a room together. Particularly idiotic chaps, too, who you wouldn't want to be in a room together with. Tristram Shandy hasn't even been born yet (I'm told you get to know him a bit better in the fourth volume).

It's amazing how Sterne gets away with this though; he has a genius at not getting to the point. In volume three, he throws in the preface (seemingly for no reason at all); a few chapters before or after (it's all a kind of blur) he devotes all his time to cursing another character, which is done in the most effective manner possible (through a five page Latin curse written by a pious Roman Catholic sort). The copious footnotes in this Penguin edition, rather unhelpfully, attempt to explain Sterne's point (which is of course exactly contrary to the point Sterne didn't make, because he never got to it).

Of course, there's only so much not getting to the point you can read in one go, so at various junctures I've been avoiding reading Sterne, quite strenuously. I'm getting quite used to avoiding reading books, as you may be aware, having practiced this previously with Dickens and Smollett. In the case of Sterne, I rather think it adds to the dramatic tension (such as it is) and natural structure by putting off the point that has already been put off even further, before picking up the book at the point that you put the point off in order to allow Sterne to continue putting it off. See my point?

Anyway, having begun this post with the wrong quotation, in the wrong language, by the wrong person, I'm happy to conclude it now with the right quotation, in the right language, from the right person - it's the finest example, so far, I have found of Sterne at his majestically irreverent best:
Dr. Slop drew up his mouth, and was just beginning to return my uncle Toby the compliment of his Whu-u-u-- or interjectional whistle, -- when the door hastily opening in the next chapter but one - put an end to the affair.
It opens 'hastily' in the 'next chapter but one'! Take that, Rimbaud, and your hypothetical door-opening dude. That's the way to open a door in a book!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Zen soccer hooliganism

Next time you're at a soccer match, why not start up a one-person Mexican wave?
Email: timhtrain - at -

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