Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Interruptus: the Can Do Campbell Newman tongue twisters

If Can Do can can doo-doo, what would Can Do do? Would Can Do can doo-doo just to show Can Do can can doo-doo? 

Ic Can Do can Can Can, would Can Do Can Can? If Can Do can't Can Can, what will Can Do do? Would Can Do learn Can Can so he could Can Can too? 

If Can Do can Can Can in Cancun would Can Do Can Can in Cancun for you? Would Can Do be cuckoo to Can Can in Cancun? Would you? 

Would Can Do do two twirls in a tutu too?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Amazing diet tips for a well-rounded diet!

No, don't be alarmed everyone! Don't run away! These really are the most amazing diet tips you'll ever read! Just try the wondrouns WILLTYPEFORFOOD tips for a well-rounded diet:

- Hamburgers are good. Circular buns, circular burgers. This is sure to be a well-rounded food!

- Chips may not seem well-rounded. They're more, sort of, rectangular, with pointy ends. But they're made from the spherical potato! That's really well-rounded! So you'll need to eat a lot of that.

- PIZZA. Can't get much rounder than that. And pie. Why else do you think they call the mathematical constant that is the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter pi? (Or if you want to be picky π? Hmmm?)

- And don't forget to drink beer. But only if it's in a circular bottle or glass.

Some more incredibly important well-rounded foods that you don't want to leave out of your well-rounded diet: donuts (two circles for the price of one!), Burger Rings, Cheezels, and CHOCOLATE FRECKLES. (One big circle, lots of little spheroids on them, making for an incredibly well rounded diet.) And pavlova! Certainly pavlova!

Salads, bread, pasta, and other such foods. They are much too polygonal, and not at all likely to lead to a well-rounded diet.

If you are not sure whether the WILLTYPEFORFOOD well-rounded diet is for you, why not try eating A SQUARE MEAL EVERY DAY? Start with Tim Tams - they're pretty rectangular, which is close enough to square. Then try Cadbury chocolate blocks, some cake (but only if it's square), etc, etc, etc...

UPDATE! - Also, if you follow this well-rounded diet faithfully, you are guaranteed to have a well-rounded figure. And let's face it, that's what we all want.

Now let us pause to gaze upon the profundity in rotundity that is G K Chesterton...

Illusive elusive exclusive

The pages of Badger's Dozen are sitting on the table waiting to be stapled together - they make about ten copies in all. Bea just came in and started chewing on the top page.

Normally I sell them for three dollars. But, er, maybe I can put a premium on the one Bea started chewing? Because it's now a rarity, and all that?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Notes from a day of public transport

- Old lady gets on tram wearing purple astro-turf on her head. I'm not sure whether it's a wig, a hat, or a tennis-court.

- Heading back down on the tram to Northcote this evening, a group of about 30 young men - all with near-identical crew-cuts - get on tram. We get off at the same station, and they begin calling to one another, a strange, rhythmical 'Whoop-whoop-whoo Whoop-whoo!' It's like I'm in the jungle!

- Two passengers on the train behind me grumbling at one another about an incident a few stations earlier, where the train got delayed because someone pressed the 'emergency' button because of a minor dispute. They appear very happy to have something to be slightly cranky about. When they stop whinging about that they move easily and conveniently on to other subjects of slight inconvenience, like car-parking.

- Excellent chunder at Lalor station this evening - the second I've seen today in fact. Deposited neatly, several meters away from the entrance to the rain shelter, it is chunky and pleasingly circular - like porridge that has slid in one whole chunk out of the pot.

It's chunderful, in fact.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


The grandly-titled suburb of Reservoir sits on the Epping train line, nestled between the glorious confluence of power lines and warehouses known as Keon Park, and that place that has those markets that are never open when I can get to them, Preston. Most Melburnians pronounce it 'Reser-vore', I pronounce it 'Reser-vwah'. How can we resolve our differences over pronunciation? 

There can be only one solution. I suggest it be re-christened immediately to be known as Reserphwoar!

Star Boor

What really matters in science fiction is lasers, so what do you do when you want to really impress people? Get a bigger laser. And so we come to Star Wars and George Lucas's magnificently deranged conception, the Death Star, a moon-sized piece of metal that shoots death rays at planets. I've come round to the original Star Wars movie lately, for many reasons really. For instance, the way Lucas dumps you in the middle of things by making his first movie in the series Episode Four, or the memorable bar room brawl with some very strange drunkards, and Harrison Ford, or that black robot dude swooping through metal corridors and uttering threats in stentorian tones, or the training scenes with a kind of muppet karate master. My favouritest scene in the entire series probably happens when the heroes get onto the Death Star, and somehow manage to get themselves caught in a trash bin, and find that a gigantic interstellar monster is swimming around in there with them.

The other thing that I like about this episode is the music - John Williams went on to write iconic film scores, but nothing quite so famous as this. That initial sparkle of trumpets right at the start before the main theme kicks in, deliberately reminiscent of the William Tell Overture - or, as some in Lucas's audience would remember, The Lone Ranger theme song. In the minute or so of music that followed there was a kind of brass band reimagining of the William Tell hunt music, and then a deliberate reference to Gustav Holst's The Planet's Suite. All very amusing and thrilling in places.

If Lucas had gone on in this way for the rest of the series - just madly inventing new ideas, taking his characters to new planets - he might have had a whole string of masterpieces, but no. He seemed obsessed with continuity, and in essence has continued to make the same movie ever since. The Death Star gets destroyed at the end of Episode IV, and they just start making it again (it pops up again in Return of the Jedi).  Characters get killed only to reappear as ghosts. Yoda gets crankier as the series progresses. And then, after Lucas winds everything up, he decides to go back and ruin his whole excellent joke that he started things off with by making episodes 1, 2 and 3. Even the music was basically the same; you wonder if Williams really needed to bother for the rest of the series?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

If the super-bombs don't get you, the cigarettes will

Arthur C. Clarke brings the world to an end with an alarming frequency in his stories. I've been reading his book Of Time and Stars which has some seven world-ending, well, ends in about eighteen stories. Mostly he doesn't even bother explaining:

Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out. 

If you've read The Nine Billion Names of God, you'll understand why that line is well-nigh unforgettable. In comparison, the world-ending line in No Morning After is just lame:

"Listen, Bill," they continued. "Our scientists have just discovered that your sun is about to explode."

And then there's:


What sort of bomb could destroy a world? A super-bomb, of course. What is a super-bomb? What does it do? Who gives a rat's arse anyway?

And this line doesn't end a world or even a minor planetoid, but I liked it anyway:

He could even afford the luxury of a cigarette. 

The smoker is wearing a space suit and is standing on a minor moon waiting for someone to pick him up!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Le Hill du Box

Yesterday morning I was looking closely at the operations of my espresso coffee machine. It was really lovely - you turned the knob and soon everything in the room was wreathed in clouds of steam, and the end result was a small amount of coffee being produced in my cup. It's the sort of espresso maker that you might like to boast about as a kind of status symbol of sophistication, but really, I just like it because it's a machine. I like how you just have to plug it in and turn a knob to make it go.

By chance, later that day I happened to be in, of all places, Box Hill Centro, and entirely confused. If only that had something so simple as a button you could press to make it go. Or to make it stop - is there a button to make it stop? - please tell me there's a button that activates a stopping mechanism. Nothing so simple or lovely as a machine, is Box Hill Centro. Rather, it appears to be a multi-spatial-hyper-transport-non-Euclidean-geometrical-postmodern-economic-zones-existence-entity*. Everywhere everyone seemed to be running around buying everything and running into everyone else, which was geospatially inconvenient. People from points  A, B, C, and D were perpetually converging on point E and then suffering the consequences. And I know it's wrong to make sweeping ethnic or racial generalisations, but Box Hill Centro appears to be overrun with Box Hillians. Really, I felt like I was in a foreign country or something.

The key to understanding Box Hill Centro, or what purported to be playing that purpose, was the map of the whole farrago at the entrance. And what a befuddling map that was. Every store was labelled with a number, and beside that number there was also a confusing compass point (North or South, if memory serves me correctly), and when I went walking around looking for the stores I couldn't find them anyway, and also anyway, none of them had the numbers that they had on the map. And plus also anyway, when I went upstairs all of a sudden I found I wasn't in Box Hill Centro anymore I was in....

... a bus station... ? 

... all of which buses seemed to be running from Box Hill Centro to other shopping centres of note. I spotted one going to Doncaster, and another heading off to Chadstone, and I bet there was a Northland one as well. What is it with buses and shopping centres? Has the government (whoever they are, or were, or might be) decided that the purpose of the public transport system should be linking up multi-spatial-hyper-transport-non-Euclidean-geometrical-postmodern-economic-zones-existence-entities with one another? Is there any way of escaping? Can I just press a button? PLEASE TELL ME THERE'S A BUTTON TO MAKE IT STOP....

Ahem. I think I'll go back and make myself another coffee now.

* I could probably turn all of that into an acronym but it would be almost as long, and just as confusing.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ask a rhetorical question

When words and science fail, could art hold the answer to tackling climate change?

In a world full of complex problems, such as pollution, climate change, and the Australian Labor Party, what sort of solutions does art have to offer? Yes. Of course, I often ask myself, as a person, as a concerned citizen, and most importantly, as a poet, how can I make a contribution and find an answer through my work? Sometimes. It is of course becoming increasingly clear that a solution to these problems is needed, but how long will it be before we arrive at this solution? About 27 paces. Yes, but will this be something that I can achieve on my own? Possibly the latter. But isn't it true that all art can do is ask the hard questions, and it is up to the rest of us to ask the answers? Seventeen. My hair was brown at the time. And do we think art can achieve this on its own? Possibly all the other ones. But in the end, what sort of answers can we expect art to ask? Definitely. And that's all we can hope for.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Russians launch first potato into space

They call it Spudnik.

UPDATE! - In other Russian news, French bread rolls were found to be spying for the Russians last night in Paris.

Initially,  the bread rolls refused to take any part in the process. But the Russians buttered them up.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thoughts on rhyming verse

Rhyming? In modern poetry? It ought to be banned, I say!

A poem against rhyming in verse
It's a crime
To rhyme.

Bugger! Actually, rhyming in poems ought to be compulsory! It ought to happen all the time!

A poem in favour of rhyming in verse
Is great.

Crap! I think I'll chuck in this whole poetry thing and take up cabinet making instead.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Need a problem? I can help!

You have a chunk of artisan locally-produced goats milk cheese at the back of your fridge. Of course you do, everyone does. I certainly do. You have a chunk of artisan locally-produced goats milk cheese at the back of your fridge, the sort that you occasionally drag out at sophisticated dinner parties to appall and shock people, just like other guests might discuss their political views, or their sexual predilections, (or, if they are members of the Labor Party, possibly both at once) or their favourite abstract expressionist.

Your chunk of artisan locally-produced goats milk cheese (very impressive, very fancy, and incredibly expensive) has mould on it. Naturally it does, that's the point of cheese after all. But how can you tell whether it's the right sort of mould? That, readers, is the Number One Question. Well never fear, for Tim is here!

Emit rancid odours akin to old socks and armpit hair thrown together in a blender, drip rancorous fens all over the bottom of the fridge, and is it approximately the colour your skin turns when you even think about eating it?
STATUS: Congratulations, your artisan locally-produced goats milk cheese is perfect. You could have it on little crackers with some wine any time. RECOMMENDED VINTAGES: Chateau Plonk, Sauvignon Wank, or that old classic, the bottle of turpentine you found in the shed. 

Attempt to read you some of its poetry the moment you open the fridge door, regularly send off applications for grant money to state and national arts bodies, present you with random petitions about the whales AND emit rancid odours akin to old socks and armpit hair thrown together in a blender, drip rancorous fens all over the bottom of the fridge, while being approximately the colour your skin turns when you even think about eating it?
STATUS: Unfortunately, your artisan locally-produced goats milk cheese has got a little too cultured. However, if you seal it in a zip lock bag, and deliver it to your local Occupy site, they will dispose of it for you.

Another problem successfully dealt with!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Survival of the fittest, Lalor edition

Cat has been outside, wanders in looking for food.
Human decides it is time for cat to stay inside, shuts doors and windows.
Cat eventually goes off to sleep. 

Cat wanders out into the loungeroom again, casting a casual glance over at the door every now and then.
Human tactfully ignores cat and carries on doing what it has been doing.

Cat goes up to door and looks wistfully out.
Human continues to studiously ignore cat. It takes a great deal of effort.

Human goes up to door that cat is staring out of. Happens to cast glance in direction of cat.
Cat immediately begins to stretch, flexing each leg, in a graceful and relaxed fashion.
As if in dream human opens door wide open and let's cat wander out.

My rooster doesn't work

Henry the chick turns out to be a boy. We know this because of many little things - his comb, his wattle, the speed with which he's been developing - but also the fact that one recent morning, Henry started crowing, throwing his head back to the sky with fierce pride and letting loose with his bloodcurdling cries that rang around the village and made everyone grab their pitchforks and reach for their Bibles muttering protective prayers. No. If only his crows had been like that. Rather, they were wretched elongated clucks, lacking several of the requisite syllables to make up the war-cry of the rooster. He's not even sure about the correct time to crow, so that today, instead of shouting loudly at everyone to WAKE UP! HEY! I'M A ROOSTER! I'M A ROOSTER! WAKE UP!, he waited lethargically until three PM in the afternoon before apathetically announcing his masculinity to the world.

Henry, it seems, is a provisional rooster only; a rooster in training. I wouldn't go so far as to say that his cluck is busted but... actually, yes. Yes I would. That would make things so much simpler. If you could just take him in to the rooster mechanics and get his crow fixed up, that would be all handy dandy. A little tuning up, and some recalibration of his speed and gears, and soon we'd have him crowing at the proper time, in the proper way.

Ducks, on the other hand, I'm not sure what their excuse is. They quack all over the place, anytime they like, and a most unmelodious noise it is too - an onomatopoeic rendition of a toad's fart. Excuse me, sir, can you do anything about my duck? It quacks too well.  Can't you bust it's quack for me? Thank you. Thank you so much.


If 'misogyny' is hatred of women, 'misandry' is hatred of men, and 'homophobia' is fear of homosexuals, then what is 'misophobia'? Fear of hatred, hatred of fear, or fear of Miso soup?

UPDATE! - And also, do modern, up-to-date misogynists and misandrists prefer to go by the less offensive title of 'msogynist' and 'msandrist' (as first suggested over here)?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

I stared into the abyss and the abyss stared back into me and said nyer nyer nyer nyer nyer

The other day I was thinking, as you do, about the existential void of meaninglessness, and then started contemplating free verse poetry. There's nothing nicer than contemplating the existential void of meaninglessness; it's just like looking at daisies, only much, much more depressing. And somewhat blacker. (And is it any wonder that free verse poetry should come into these considerations at some point?)

Anyway, soon enough I started taking children into my considerations, too. Is it ever too early for them to learn about the horrifying nothingness at the centre of all life? Technically I suppose children don't have to go to school until five, but that's no reason why parents can't give them a head start in this area. And why not do it through a medium which children naturally relate to, the medium of song and poetry and word play? You don't have to go and read the whole of Eliot's The Waste Land to them. Hearing the Wiggles drone repeatedly, 'Mashed potato, mashed potato' has pretty much the same effect, and is much pithier.

Children's poetry, of course, tends to be full of rhymes and word play which tends to belie and disprove all that meaninglessness and horror and stuff that you want to impress upon them. So that has to be done away with: you really have to get those kids into rhymeless free verse before they know any better. Like my first poem, below: 

Poem 1
Never smile
At an alligator

Themes include: Smiling, alligators.
Actually this one wasn't wholly successful, but I think I hit the mark more in my second attempt:

Poem 2
On top of spaghetti
All covered in cheese
I lost my poor meatball
When somebody caught ebola and the restaurant was shut down and the whole town was put into quarantine and I was in fear for my life.

Themes include: spaghetti, cheese, the unethical slaughtering of animals for the purposes of human sustenance, multiple organ dysfunction syndrome leading to tragic loss of life, and anxiety. 
 For best results sing that one to kids while they're eating their dinner.

Poem 3
One fine day in the middle of the day
Two dead men remained so.
Which was sad for them but not so bad for the maggots.

Themes include: time, death, stasis, the ecosystem.
The following one, I'm afraid to say, had a bit of an uplifting ending:

Poem 4
Roses are red
Violets are blue
You look like a chunder
But you smell okay, I suppose.

Themes include: flowers, spew, the finer points of social discourse.
So on the whole I suppose that one was a bit of a failure. I tried to redeem myself with the last one in this set:

Poem 5
The ants went marching two by two -
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The ants went marching two by two -
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The ants went marching two by two
When one of them stopped to buy stuff off his dealer so he could inject himself with that shot of heroin which he really needed, man -
And they all went marching
Home to get out of the rain.

Themes include: ants, social pressure, the devastation that drugs inflicts upon our society, and climate change.
Actually after hearing a couple of verses of 'The Ants went Marching' I'm pretty sure anyone would want to turn to drugs.

That's just my starting effort. If anyone's got more suggestions on how to impress fresh young minds with the desolate lack of meaning at the heart of all being, do let me know in comments.

After all - it's the only way we'll  turn them into the despairing sociopathic maniacs that we will need to run our future society.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Alpenhorns of faith

The Jehova's Witnesses - those nice young men who wait until you're walking around the house in your underwear before knocking on your door and asking you if you'd like to convert - happened to leave a stray copy of their magazine, Awake!, on the train yesterday and I happened to pick it up. Very charming article about Alpenhorns in the current issue, don't you know.

Anyway, it struck me afterwards that I always seem to be finding stray copies of Jehova's Witness publications lying around on the train. It's almost as if there's a stray copy division in the church, devoted to the organisation of nice young men who go around the trains and the trams and the buses and leave stray copies of their magazine lying around. It seems to be a rather inefficient method of proselytising, all things considered. I mean, come the Great Harvesting of Souls, how many converts will honestly be able to front up to the Creator, and say, 'Well, I picked up a stray copy of Awake! on the train and it really changed my minds about some things?'

They do have nice articles about Alpenhorns, though. 

Monday, March 05, 2012

Cough cough cough cough coffee

As I piled up the remaining coffee grounds, and carefully measured them out so that nothing would be wasted, it occurred to me that I'd seen this sort of measuring out of powder before. Mostly in the movies. Mostly the sort involving criminal activities.

Only when they do it in the movies, the coffee grounds are white. And it's not 'coffee', it's something else that starts with C.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Imaginary friends

ANNA Bligh's most important candidate has been caught out having campaign workers masquerade as legitimate locals.

Ashgrove MP Kate Jones earlier this week used social networking site Twitter to post a photo of herself doorknocking her electorate. In the picture Ms Jones is seen talking to a person on a veranda.

However, an outraged local later contacted Ms Jones's office because it was his front deck but not him in the picture. - The Courier Mail
We all have imaginary friends, and politicians seem to have more imaginary friends than most of us, but this Queensland story seems especially piquant. I remember that I had three imaginary friends when I was a kid. Maybe I could loan one of them to Jones?

This Queensland story was amusing, too:
One column published on 5 January, told readers about "Kurt" and "Hannah". "Kurt", a 28-year-old electrical contractor was reported to have been single for eight months. "Hannah" was a 27-year-old who worked in Emergency Services. The story said "Kurt" had volunteered for the Savvy Setup because "I just moved here in the last few months and don’t really know many people yet, especially females".

But "Kurt" and "Hannah" never went on a date. "Kurt’s" real name is Andrew Mackey. He lives in Brisbane, is 29 years old and works as a driver. He only found out about the "date" when a friend of his in Townsville sent him a photograph of the article.
A fictional story about an invented relationship between two real people with fake names. Not sure if that's some kind of record?

I guess some imaginary friends are more imaginary than you could imagine.

UPDATE! - Both  the right and left of politics have scandals but right-wing scandals tend to be much more entertaining:
CONTROVERSIAL Cairns LNP candidate Gavin King is in hot water again after a female campaign worker was linked to more than a dozen "extreme" groups on a social networking site.

Izzy Gualtieri, a campaign worker for Mr King, "likes" several racist and degrading groups on Facebook including "I didn't steal your land, so why'd you steal my bike", "The awkwardness of Nigeria vs Germany and the scoreboard says Nig-Ger" and "throwing salt water at sluts to keep their crabs fresh".
 I mean, it's all right to pretend that a member of the public likes you, but if you like a facebook page? Then you are DAMNED TO HELL FOR ETERNITY or at least a short-time anyway.

Friday, March 02, 2012

The moo moo blues

Little Boy Blue come blow your horn
Cos the sheep is asleep and the day’s wearin’ on
I’m feeling so bad Little Boy Blue
I’m bad and I’m down I’ve a case of the moos.
Moo mop a loop bam boop
Loop a whim wham whop
Shimmy shimmy sham.

Little Boy Blue come blow your horn
I’ve had enough grass and I don’t mean the lawn
I’m sorry I’m sick I’ve got nothin’ to lose
Little Boy Little Boy I am down with the moos.
Yeah moo hoo hoo hoo
Loopy loopy lam loo
Flimmy flam.

Little Boy Blue come blow your horn
Come toot your flute till the night is near gone
Cos I don’t have a cow man I’m fed up to the teeth
I’m an udderly dog-gone old piece of beef
Play one for me Little Boy a piece of good news
Cos I’m weary and wasted with this case of the moos.
Moo shaka laka lam shammy ham wham
Gabbada gabbada gabbada gabbada whilly wham
Beeble bam.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Ties and Slippers

Dear Sirs and Madames and et ceteras,

As the chosen representative of the noble race of bow ties, I am proud to be addressing you today.  We are a race that hath clothed princes and kings, presidents and prime ministers, archbishops and popes, generals and commanders, professors, lawyers, doctors, philosophers, poets, and others of learning, culture, or influence. It is true, ladies and gentlemen, that I would have you judge us by the company that we keep; but, being inanimate household objects, sometimes we cannot, unfortunately, choose the company that keeps us

Image from The Australian 

Peter Slipper - a vile amateur, sirs, a traitor, an opportunist, chosen as representative of the dignity of parliament in spite of the fact that he has no dignity, none at all. We bow ties do hereby repudiate him, we reject him, we shed our association with him; verily, sirs, we will have nothing whatsoever to do with this wretch.

However, ladies and gentlemen, we are more than pleased to welcome this chap into the fold:

This one's from the SMH.

If anyone needs us, we'll be boozing it up with Harry here at the Parliament House bar.

Sincerely yours,
A Bow Tie
Email: timhtrain - at -

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