Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Lines written on the back of an aeroplane vomit bag

Fair Phyllis had one chocolate frog.
Fair Phyllis had one more. 
Fair Phyllis had one for the road.
Another. That makes four. 

Loe Phyllis!, cried her Romulet,
Where are the chocolate Freddos? 
For I your swain have laboured long
At lambing in the meadows. 

Fair Phyllis wiped her rosebud lips
And kissed him, one, two, three.
O! Reader! Learn the moral well!
Whatever that may be. 

Merry Christmas everyone. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ding dong swan song sung

For the past few weeks I've been a recipient of issues of The Spectator, which has an especially good writing competition in each issue. The challenges vary, sometimes requiring poetry and sometimes prose. I've even ventured to offer one or two poems for the competition, but so far I've been pipped by the regulars - in particular one old bloke called Basil Ransom-Davies gets my goat.

The poetry in the latest competition (by latest, I mean dating to the 8 December edition - delivery has been rather tardy of late) happens to be about ash dieback, a fungal disease affecting the growths of ash trees in England. The results have been... well, let me just show you:

The winner kicks things off with a dignified lament in iambic pentameter:
Too large for our imaginings, those bare
And hollowed landscapes where the ash once stood...

But things become a little strange with the second published entry, to me sounding like a sombre, slightly maudlin Anglican service -
Let us have faith that nature will sustain
Their spirit until ash trees live again. 
The third is queerer still, a bizarre lament - 'vintage Stratocaster', whatever that is, rhymes with 'disaster', and 'pliant wood' with the clunkish 'fungal blight where hardy trees have stood'. And the conclusion! Oh for the love of....
The willow tree has not yet taken sick 
So playing for the Ashes can go on.

Well that's all right then. And, after that, come the imitation Betjemans and try-hard Thomas Hardys, with 'swan song' rhyming with 'song sung', or should that be 'sing song' or maybe 'ning nong' or quite possibly 'ping pong'. I do like
We watched the helicopters whirling
In those summer yesteryears,
And heard the leaves uncurling, furling,
Turning into tiny spears....
But really, all of it is summed up with the trite joke in the last poem
I grieve, and yet my spirits rise - 
My elegy may wine a prize.
I think I've never seen an ash
As lovely as a wad of cash.
Crikey. I hope the Speccy poetry comp. never tries a serious subject again...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My super-reliable guide to everything about everything

I am toying with the idea of writing a Guide to Everything about Everything. It will be like those booklets that you get with your brand new computer, your brand new phone, your brand new coffee machine, and your brand new everything else, except that you will be able to understand it. It might even work. None of that 'insert item N into socket F3' crap; it will be full of practical tips such as the following:

1. Go up to television.
2. Thump it.
3. If television does not work, thump it again, harder.
4. Repeat until television works.

This particular method, perfected over many years of practical experience in the televisual watching trade, has served me well many a time. It will be fully fleshed out with details:

1. If your television is getting a bad signal maybe it is because someone is standing in the room interrupting the flow of the television signal. It's like feng shui, or something like that. Anyway, get them to stand in a different part of the room and the television reception should clear up nicely. If necessary, get the person to remain in that position for as long as your show is on.

Essentially, my position is that the professional booklets distributed to aid users of these products needlessly complicate matters. If your phone isn't working, why worry about connections and circuitry and chargers and stuff like that when really, all you need to do to make the phone work is shout at it? That's all right, that question was rhetorical ,which means you don't have to answer that. And so what if a particular key on the keyboard of your computer isn't working? You just have to press it harder. And harder. And harder. And even harder, until it keeps working, or until your computer explodes, and don't worry, that hardly ever happens.

Other methods include:
- Firmly staring at something until it feels so ashamed of itself that it does the right thing.
- Jiggling something about/throwing it at the wall/chucking it up and down to make it work.
- Throwing objects at it. 

If, after all these comprehensive and focused efforts, your television still doesn't work, I have an alternative to my alternative: take the screen out of the television, gut the circuitry out of it, put a pot plant in there with some string hanging off it, put the cat in there too - and I guarantee you, you won't even want to change channels all night. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kulcha Korner

Alan Ginsberg's long poem Howl, shocked and thrilled audiences when it was first published. However, his follow up poem to Howl is less well known. In spite of the fact it is only three lines long and was in fact just a dinner party invitation:

We would love for you to come. 
It's been so long since we have seen you,
And we are so looking forward to it.    

Also little remembered today are Ginsberg's Grumble, Hoot, Snore, and Triple Snuffle.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Home handy tips from Tim

Today, I learned that, if you can't screw the door for the hen coop to the table, why not nail it instead? You can get them to go in quite a long way with only a few hammer blows, and if they're bigger than the screws you're using, then you really have no excuse

Next, I will attempt to tile the television screen, and stick the fridge to the ceiling with Blu Tac. Home DIY is fun! 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


FORMER Labor leader Kevin Rudd says the party is 'sick' and urgently needs reform. 

 Mr Rudd, now a backbencher, was responding to a call from ALP stalwart John Faulkner calling for greater accountability and a lesser role for factions. 

''There's something sick which needs to be healed,'' Mr Rudd said during a radio interview today. 

Power should be taken away from the ''effectively unelected factional faceless men'' and given to rank-and-file members, Mr Rudd said.
- Kevin Rudd says the Labor Party is 'sick', The Daily Telegraph

 Fighting has broken out in the Labor Party today between the Faction Calling For An End to Factions and the Faction Calling for an end to the Faction Calling for an End to Factions.

Meanwhile, the Faction Not Sure on Whether There Should be an End to Factions has called for an end to factional infighting amongst the factions about whether to have factions.

However, it is gradually becoming less and less clear, with the fight between the Faction Calling for An End to Factions, the Faction Calling for an End to the Faction Calling for an End to Factions, the Faction Calling for an end to Fighting Between the Factions, the Fight over Factions Fighting, the Faction Calling for more Fighting Between the Factions, and the Fight over the Faction Calling less Fighting Between the Factions, just who will end up winning, or just what it's all about really.

In the end, one thing is clear: factions are good, and we all need more factions, and factions fighting between factions, and fighting between factions fighting with other factions, and factions fighting factions fighting factions fighting factions. Except for the Faction Calling for an End to Factions. They're just crazy.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Paragraph in a job application

Have demonstrable skills in sitting in an ergonomically-appropriate manner while cat sits in lap for extended periods of time, and performing advanced tai chi manouevres in order to ensure both cat and self remain comfortable while self keeps drafting job applications on the computer. Also, experience in multiskilling.
Email: timhtrain - at -

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