Thursday, December 31, 2015

My new year's resolution

To open a twitter account and make only one tweet of one character's length, consisting of an obsolete punctuation mark, and a spelling mistake.

Happy new year.

Curses! Spoiled again!

A couple of weeks ago I was having a chat with some folks around the topic of movie spoilers. One guy was saying he hated spoilers, did everything he could to avoid them; another was saying she didn't mind spoilers at all actually, no problem with them. My position was slightly different: hey, sometimes spoilers are the only good thing about a movie; I will actively go out of my way to avoid a movie and read the spoilers instead. Case in point, the upcoming Batman vs Superman movie, or even more case in point, the never-ending series of Star Wars sequels.

These films present me with a curious paradox: I see the previews, I read about everyone else's excitement, and as a result I get all excited myself and want to know how they end. But I find I have no desire, nonetheless, to see the films. That would be a waste of precious hours in my life; the carpe diem poets advise man to seize the day, to Gather ye rosebuds while ye may/ old time is still a-flying - not Go to a bloody movie theatre for two hours and sit through another tedious collection of special effects just so you know how it all ends. You don't actually have to endure your way through to the end of Star Wars episode 1-3 and Darth Vader/Anakin's hilariously anti-climactic "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" to realise that, aside from filling in a few plot details that people could probably guess anyway, the films are devoid of any artistic interest whatsoever. In fact, Star Wars Episode Whogivesa or Batman vs Superman are hardly movies at all; they are plot twists mistaking themselves for movies.

So to the plot summary on the Wikipedia page I go, then. My favourite part of the plot summary would have to be.... I'm not sure, but my least favourite part would have to be the fact that they've (oh come ON don't tell me you didn't know I was going to include some spoilers in this post) INVENTED ANOTHER BLOODY DEATH STAR FOR THE FILM, I mean it may just be a plot twist mistaking itself for a proper cinematic experience but the least it could be is a NEW damned plot twist. (It's not even original in its unoriginality; Lucas reinvented the Death Star in Return of the Jedi). The most amusing would have to be the fact that evil kid Ren/Ben whatever appears to be having ongoing chats with his dead Dark Side mentor Darth Vader. (Not sure about this last part - they keep on fidding with the Wiki plot summary).

It would be amusing to go on in this way and review the plot summaries of all the crappy films that I don't want to see but want to know the ending too, like Batman vs Superman, but its plot synopsis is still too coy because the stupid non-film hasn't come out yet. I'm guessing neither of them wins. So there goes my career as a Wikipedia plot summary reviewer, then.

Oh, by the way, SPOILERS! This blog post contains SPOILERS! Did I do that right guys?

Monday, December 28, 2015


We were talking of farts, Thassalius, Quintalian and I, since it was not possible to do the reverse, and anyway, it is our custom to deliberate upon important matters before puffing contentedly on our evening pipes.

"I maintain," said Quintalian, "that farting is a way of marking territory by humans, just as animals mark their territory by means of odour. Observe, for instance, the dog, thoughtfully leaving his or her essence upon a tree, so that other dogs may KNOW they hath been there. Consider, too, the ways of the bee; who, in swarming season, is guided by the scents of the scouts who have gone before her, and thereby establishes a safe new hive for her sisters and brothers. So, too, we may draw an analogy with the human animal, whereby they, in their natural environment - such as the desk at their office, for instance, or the elevator they are sharing with their boss - mark their territory, perhaps unconsciously, by releasing a smell, a natural pheromone, into the environment, that will prove attractive to their family, and repellent to their enemies."

"A judicious observation, Quintalian", said I. "It is certainly true that my own farts frequently smell pleasant, whereas those of my enemies - who are many - or those who do not know me - who are sadly more numerous still - are abhorrent to my organs of olfactory apprehension. And yet, I find that the universal social contract is to deplore the practice of flatulence, wherever it may occur. What sayest thou, Thassalius?"

"It is certainly not a practice that I find to be impolite", murmured Thassalius. "For, wherein do true manners lie? In not giving offence to our neighbour, our friend, by giving false witness unto them - or, in being generous to them in their needs, and courteous to them in their wishes. But I find the practice of farting plays no part in this; for what one man finds disturbing, the other finds no trouble with; and what is of so little consequence can give no real offence. 'Tis but a bubble, Sir!"

"It would indeed prove to be a fit subject for an ESSAY, PAPER, or DISQUISITION, Thassalius," I said.

"Perhaps we may look forward to it further in your own productions, Palpatius", put in Quintalian. "I, for one, find it easier to avoid giving even the appearance of offence to my fellow humans; I wait until I am out of their company before letting NATURE take the air."

(It struck me hereabouts, of course, that whereas humans may make a great show of taking offence, other animals, more sensitive to the aromas around them, may already be well aware of the digestive productions of HOMO SAPIENS. Would not, say, bees regard the gaseous emissions of humans in a benevolent light, as one of the many fragrances of NATURE, just as humans regarded their own hive smell as an example of the universal goodness? If I had had more time to frame these thoughts into words I may well have said them to Quintalian, but here Thassalius came in with another striking thought.)

"Indeed," cried Thassalius, "I frequently regard the farts of others as a compliment. For what more simple way could there be to make expression of your comradely trust and the familial bond than to give way to an expression of wind in the company of others?"

"How true!" I enthused. "Thassalius, thou hast made a great discovery! And, paradoxically, does not one find even amongst the most frivolous of companions - school boys and the like - a desire to bond through their mutual flatulence, even by producing the odour that will be the most repugnant of sensation to one another? But who knows where this laudable desire for mutual betterment may lead them? Through their dedication to finding the most potent herbs, the most odiferous saps, the most productive of the plants and beans, that they may not - unbidden - make a Great Scientific Discovery?"

This being said, the three of us, done with our deliberating and asseverating and cogitating, drew out our pipes as one, and let the clouds wreathe up around us and ascend into the heavens above.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas doggerel #2

I am a sexy Santa in my sexy Santa suit
I looked me in the mirror and I thought I looked quite cute
I hop into your stockings girls every year or so
Some like it when I do that but some say I'm just a 

Christmas doggerel

Doggerel. An ancient verse form. It's just like a villanelle. Written by a dog.

Dear Santa Claus
My Christmas wish
Is nothing more
Than an old dead fish. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Twelve Days of why do we even call it Christmas Christ was just a myth and he wasn't even born then and anyway it's actually a pagan festival but it's all about consumption and greed and white colonialism in the context of late capitalism really please pass the pudding

Time for a Christmas sing along, kids! You know the tune! It's that old favourite

The Twelve Days of why do we even call it Christmas Christ was just a myth and he wasn't even born then and anyway it's actually a pagan festival but it's all about consumption and greed and white colonialism in the context of late capitalism really please pass the pudding

On the first day of why do we even call it Christmas Christ was just a myth and he wasn't even born then and anyway it's actually a pagan festival but it's all about consumption and greed and white colonialism in the context of late capitalism really please pass the pudding 
My true love sent to me 
A greeting card.

On the second day... 
A pair of socks 
And a greeting card.

On the third day... 
Three feelings of warmth and tenderness with work friends 
A pair of socks 
And a greeting card.

On the fourth day... 
Four long lost family members 
Three feelings of warmth and tenderness with work friends 
A pair of socks 
And a greeting card.

On the fifth day... 
Five gorgeous renaissance portrayals of the Nativity
Four long lost family members 
Three feelings of warmth and tenderness with work friends 
A pair of socks 
And a greeting card.

On the sixth day... 
Six relaxing days on the beach 
Five gorgeous renaissance portrayals of the Nativity
Four long lost family members 
Three feelings of warmth and tenderness with work friends 
A pair of socks 
And a greeting card.

On the seventh day... 
Seven wonderful craft beers at the Christmas party with friends 
Six relaxing days on the beach 
Five gorgeous renaissance portrayals of the Nativity
Four long lost family members 
Three feelings of warmth and tenderness with work friends 
A pair of socks 
And a greeting card.

On the eighth day... 
Eight lovely colours on that gift shirt your mother gave to you 
Seven wonderful craft beers at the Christmas party with friends 
Six relaxing days on the beach 
Five gorgeous renaissance portrayals of the Nativity
Four long lost family members 
Three feelings of warmth and tenderness with work friends 
A pair of socks 
And a greeting card.

On the ninth day... 
Nine delightful chocolate fudges 
Eight lovely colours on that gift shirt your mother gave to you 
Seven wonderful craft beers at the Christmas party with friends 
Six relaxing days on the beach 
Five gorgeous renaissance portrayals of the Nativity 
Four long lost family members 
Three feelings of warmth and tenderness with work friends 
A pair of socks 
And a greeting card.

On the tenth day... 
A ten day holiday in France 
Nine delightful chocolate fudges 
Eight lovely colours on that gift shirt your mother gave to you 
Seven wonderful craft beers at the Christmas party with friends 
Six relaxing days on the beach 
Five gorgeous renaissance portrayals of the Nativity
Four long lost family members 
Three feelings of warmth and tenderness with work friends 
A pair of socks 
And a greeting card.

On the eleventh day... 
A 11.30 in the morning sleep in 
A ten day holiday in France 
Nine delightful chocolate fudges 
Eight lovely colours on that gift shirt your mother gave to you 
Seven wonderful craft beers at the Christmas party with friends 
Six relaxing days on the beach 
Five gorgeous renaissance portrayals of the Nativity
Four long lost family members 
Three feelings of warmth and tenderness with work friends 
A pair of socks 
And a greeting card.

On the twelfth day... 
Twelve people who you love and adore and only want the best for and who really make you laugh at a glorious Christmas lunch 
A 11.30 in the morning sleep in 
A ten day holiday in France 
Nine delightful chocolate fudges 
Eight lovely colours on that gift shirt your mother gave to you 
Seven wonderful craft beers at the Christmas party with friends 
Six relaxing days on the beach 
Five gorgeous renaissance portrayals of the Nativity
Four long lost family members 
Three feelings of warmth and tenderness with work friends 
A pair of socks 
And a greeting card.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

NASA launches first Creme Caramel into space after holding a dinner party and accidentally stuffing up the dessert course

NASA has launched the first creme caramel into space after holding a dinner party and accidentally stuffing up the dessert course.

"The initial stages were promising," said NASA spokesman John Spokesman, "But then it stuffed up in the oven when water bubbled into the pot, ruining the custard mixture. But the launch itself went really, really well, and our dinner party guests made a makeshift dessert on the spot by toasting marshmallows in the blast of the rockets".

The creme caramel, currently rocketing past the moon, carries with it a capsule with messages for any potential alien species it may encounter, such as "never make this bloody thing!" and "It's not worth the bother!"

Saturday, December 12, 2015


I didn't make it to the Dan today (insert suitably melancholy emoticon here) but I did just perform this impromptu poem:

Now I have to do my business in my business-doing place.
Now I am doing my business. This is my business-doing face*.
Now I have taken my business out of the business case.
Now I have done my business in the business-doing place.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Or should that be Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww?

*What's the emoticon for that, do you reckon? 

May your day be nourished and fructified by the presence of this ASCII sperm made out of commas

It has come to my attention that a search of the internet for an ASCII sperm image made out of commas will be unsuccessful. This is my attempt to rectify this gap in our cultural capital.

Behold : the ASCII comma sperm.

Monday, November 30, 2015

In the beginning was the code

Are selfies really real?
Who's the I behind the Pod?
What's the G in OMG?
Is it Gosh or is it God?

Do we float in cyberspace,
Random bits and bytes and blogs,
Are we acronyms and coding
Amidst pics of cats and dogs?

As we peer into your Facebook,
What's the status to your Status?
Has it gone the way of MySpace?
Do you know but won't update us?

In the far far distant future,
Our accounts long since deleted,
Will someone leave a comment?
Will we be (perhaps) retweeted?

We are pixels built on pixels,
But still I hear the call
To find that perfect YouTube
That will explain it all.

On this day in history....

This day, 30 November 2015, marks the 100th anniversary of the official passing of the Women's Mansplaination Act in Australian Parliament. This important bill gave women everywhere the right to listen to men giving fulsome explanations of things they already knew. Isn't history great?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Rumours that Malcolm Turnbull is actually drinking cocktails of artistic tears out of a golden diamond-encrusted beaker have been unsubstantiated

WTFF News - Australian Government announces the creation of a new fund of artistic tears
The Australian Government has announced the creation of a new fund of artists' tears, in an attempt to boost their support amongst the artistic community

"The National Endowment of Artistic Grief, or NEAG, will revitalise the artistic community, providing them with plentiful supply of delicious grief, torment, agony, and pain for the years ahead", said Mr Turnbull in a statement yesterday, adding that "this precious chalice of depression, desolation and despair showed that the Coalition government was the true friend of artists in Australia."

However, Bill Shorten hit back this morning, claiming that "this fresh supply of artistic tears is taking away from the pre-existing Australian Foundation of Artistic Sadness, and proves that once again the conservatives are ripping off valuable artists." He added: "If elected, a Labor Government will ensure all Artistic Tear stocks are returned to AFAS, along with the addition of fresh grants of sadness for our long-suffering artists."

The statements by Turnbull and Shorten were met with dismay by the artistic community, with artistic leaders sobbing plentifully when asked for responses to the new National Endowment of Artistic Grief policy.

"It's not enough!" claimed one artist.
"It's just too much!" claimed another.
A third artist asked for handkerchiefs.
A fourth artist said: "These are not true Australian tears. I have it on good authority that these tears were made in European sweatshops by underpaid artists. Why aren't we paying Australian artists to cry on our behalf?" before bursting into presumably demonstrative tears.

Rumours that Malcolm Turnbull is actually drinking cocktails of artistic tears out of a golden diamond-encrusted beaker have been unsubstantiated at time of going to press.

However, when contacted by the media, he did make slobbering sounds while licking his lips.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


One iott or one tytle of the lawe shall not scape. - Matthew 5:18, the Tindale Bible 
"I like the idea of a whole class devoted to dots", I said in my German class the other day. Everyone laughed; they all thought I was joking. (I usually am). Actually, I was being serious. (I usually am. It's possible to be both).

It often comes down to a matter of the little dots and spots around the letters and numbers, I find. Every alphabet must have a use for those teeny-weeny dots that hover above or under or around the other letters, whether they be a full stop or an accent or a dash between the letters or those familiar spots hanging above the lower case 'i' and the lower case 'j'. 'Tittle' is the lovely technical term for these dots. What business do they have, defying gravity above their letters, anyway? (What business do I have, for that matter, thinking of the letters as standing upright? Books are often meant to be held more horizontally - surely the letters are depicted as horizontal?) And then there are the little dots below the question mark and the exclamation mark - ought we to expect them to fall away or to one day be helplessly crushed beneath the weight of the respective marks as gravity asserts itself?

It is possible to derive an endless amount of amusement from a couple of little dots on a page or a screen; however, the Germans seem to do it better than most of us. Not only do they have all the usual full stops and hyphens and tittles, but they have the semi-inverse colon, better known to you and me as the umlaut. You know, those two little dots above most of the vowels. My enthusiasm for umlauts is immoderate in the extreme, even though I cannot ever quite remember when to put them in*; however, it's in the matter of numbers that they manage to really confuse everyone.

Whereas we would signify a decimal place with a sensible dot (period, full stop, tittle-without-a-letter-to-bother-it, or, in German, punkt), the practice in die Deutschland is to pop in a comma in that same spot. Meanwhile, in the middle of a long number, where we would tend to place in a comma before every three digits for clarity, the Germans mostly don't bother - either spacing the digits apart, or putting in a - well, I'm afraid to say, a punkt. Got that? So where we use a full stop, the Germans use a comma, and where we use a comma, the Germans use a space or a full stop. Oh, and another substitute I hadn't been aware of: our symbol for division - '÷' - which Google informs me is known as 'the obelus' - is replaced, in German, by a colon (or a retrograde umlaut, or a retrograde-semi-inverse-colon**).

Full stops! Commas! Umlauts! Colons! Periods! What with all these blots and blobs and dots and dashes splotting and clashing into one another, it's a wonder we don't see them getting into one another's way and the punkts start groping the tittles and an asterisk and obelus get into the magic potion again and begin causing merry havoc in the marginalia. Anyway, that's about all I wanted to say, but while we're on the subject of dots and dashes and punctuation, can I just put in a word for spotty animals? There's nothing nicer than a well-punctuated animal, I find, and did you know, it's not just spotty coats many animals have; both our cats have a dot in the roof of their mouth. Occasionally when they yawn I see it, and I can't help but murmur to myself: "Hmm, yes. Good punkt. Very good punkt indeed."

*I suppose I could just start off by putting a couple of umlauts at the top of the page and letting the letters come in later. 

**I may have made some of these terms up, but they are totally accurate. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

College students denounce college as cultural appropriation

YALE, MONDAY: College students in the US have denounced college as cultural appropriation, taking to the streets to protest against themselves.

"We hereby call on ourselves to denounce ourselves for appropriating this ancient Latvian tradition and thus perpetuating systemic racism," said the spokesman for the students, before the protesters renounced college immediately.

The protesters went on to protest thought as cultural appropriation, and when asked how exactly it was cultural appropriation, they replied, "I don't know, I gave up thinking ages ago."

Friday, November 20, 2015

An argument against self-expression

An argument against self-expression
It's time for keeping out of touch.
It's time for saying less. 
To say too little, not too much - 
Repress, repress, repress. 

"Let's talk about it." Or: let's not. 
Besides, I must confess
I'm never sure what feeling's what - 
Repress, repress, repress. 

Don't talk. You'll give too much away.
Let other people guess - 
You think too deep for words, they'll say - 
Repress, repress, repress. 

Maintain your peace. Be almost still,
A gentle soft caress
Of fair winds on a distant hill - 


Maddy Prior.

Prior Maddy.

Maddy, priory.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Etiquette for dogs

Big dogs: when sniffing a little dog's bum, allow a grace period so the little dog has time to swirl around and give your own bum the appreciation it deserves.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Contra Star Wars

Oh, sod off with your Dark Side and your Light Saber and your Yoda says something profound with customary mixed up syntax. Sod off with your epic mythologising of deep import and your important myths of epic significance and your storm-bloody-troopers. Whatever happened to Star Wars: the missing years? EPISODE  1003: Luke Has A Really Bad Cold And Uses The Force To Make A Cup Of Coffee Because He Can't Be Arsed Getting Out Of Bed. EPISODE 2406: A Stormtrooper Is Really Pissed Off Because He Hears This Persistent John Williams Theme In His Ears Every Time He Marches Down The Corridors Of His Imperial Craft To Go To The Toilet. EPISODE 991: That Alien Jazz Band That Plays That One Time Are Invited To Play A Set On A New Death Star That Has Just Been Opened As A Tourist Resort But They Have To Turn It Down Because They Have To See The Doctor On That Date.  No, I have no interest in seeing the latest episode in which the Empire Strikes Back Yet Again and things will probably all end alright anyway. Yes, I'll probably end up seeing the stupid thing anyway. Baaaaaarghh!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A medicament predicament

Just how do you make a chicken eat medicine*? Normally it's easy to feed a chicken; they eat anything. Though strangely, an exception to this rule develops when you feed them medicine: they won't eat that. It's not that they dislike the taste of the medicine - they'll take a few pecks and then leave it aside.

So, you mix the medicine in with anything. All of a sudden, the chicken develops another strange aversion: they'll eat anything they're not supposed to eat.

A solution presents itself: why not mix the medicine in with anything they're not supposed to eat? There's plenty of that around the house, from cat biscuits through to bowls of breakfast porridge. So you mix the medicine in with that. And then, contrarily, the chicken will develop a taste for anything that happens to be beside anything they're not supposed to eat. (Perhaps it is terrified by the paradox of being presented with anything they're not supposed to eat and then being allowed to eat it.)

Then, another possibility arises: company! There's nothing that excites a chicken to eat better than the company of others. In that company, the chicken will quickly scramble to eat as much as it can, excited in greed by the rapacity of its friends, and envious of any small crumb that should make its way down their beak. So, you call all the chickens to the back door, and turn the chicken out with its flock and lay down the medicine there. A fluster of feathers descends upon the food and you observe the results with pleasure. Surely, now the chook will digest its prescribed elixir! And with dismay you watch every chook but the chook you want to eat the medicine, actually eat the medicine.

I ask you. Chickens. They're almost as contrary as bloggers.

*It's just a calcium supplement to ensure sturdy eggs, chicken lovers! Nothing to worry about! 

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Adamite mystery

Researchers create blackest material ever made (—A team of researchers at King Abdulla University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia has made the blackest material ever created by human beings.
It doesn't say in the story, but the blackest material ever made has an Antipodean link: it came from the fibres of the clothes of our very own Phillip Adams.

It has long been known that the monochromatic vests of the mellifluous radio presenter and newspaper writer suck all light, heat, and hope into their gravitational vortex. They are woven together from the finest strands made out of the sorrows of true devotees to the Socialist cause, and have been studied for years by scientists as one of the great wonders of nature. Astrophysicists have expressed especial interest in the inklike nature of Adams' clothing, as they seem to display a rare local case of the galactic phenomena known as 'Black Holes'; however, it is feared that if anyone got too close to them, they might go beyond the Event Horizon and be sucked into their naked singularity, and no-one wants that. It is rumoured that this is how Harold Holt got lost.

At any rate, Adams' stygian garments are a true wonder of nature and a site of national beauty, right up there with that big hole in the ground they made a horror film about once, and the medium-sized rock where that film about the schoolgirls disappearing happened, and that largish-sized desert in the middle of it all where those two explorers died. Advance Australia Obsidian!

Do not look into his eyes, or all is lost.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hi-tech home employment

In my house, I have two cardboard boxes in two separate rooms. Occasionally, I will scribble something on a piece of paper and put it in one box. Then, I will rush into the other room, take a piece of paper out of the second box, and scribble the same thing on that.

I like to call these boxes my Faux Machines.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The adventures of Frau Umlaut and the bad case of diaresis

It's the first night of German language classes, and we are all about to learn the two principal grammatical cases of the language, the Awkward, and the Incorrect. The basic set up is this: a bunch of students sit in the room and wonder who the hell everyone else is and why are they here again; and then they get up and attempt to communicate this to one another in a language that nobody understands at all.

There is a teacher who, for the purposes of this blog post, I will call Frau Umlaut. Her part is simple: she just stands up there and introduces the topic for the day in the aforementioned language, which, as also aforementioned, nobody understands. Sometimes she compliments or criticises students in the same language, but how could we tell which is which? And there is a football (why a football?) which we all toss around in a big circle, and take turns introducing ourselves while we hold it. Hello, I am called good! My name is Melbourne, and I live in Tim! And you?

That was three weeks ago. (See? in the past but I was talking in the present tense - I totally do know grammar!). But by far my favourite moment in German classes happened two weeks ago, when, at the end of another exercise in the Awkward and Incorrect cases, another student who I'll call Ess-Tset and I passed accidentally into the third important German case - Just Plain Confused. After exchanging as much irrelevant and pointless information we could in a language neither of us really could understand, Ess-Tset cast around for the right words: "Many bitte!" Which translates to: "Much please!" Though, thinking about it at the time, I realised the German word for thanks had gone right out of my mind, too. (Danke. It's Danke.)

Now, if you'll excuse me - I have a bad case of diaeresis and I have to go to the toilet.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Lines written after seeing a headline in a local newspaper

Action group wants facts! 
Facts group wants action. 
Faction calls for tax. 
Group wants satisfaction. 

Action Faction acts. 
Hot Faction-Faction action! 
Who wants action facts? 
The Faction-Faction-Faction. 

Action group wants fiction! 
Faction acts on group. 
Group wants facts on faction. 
Faction head goes floop

Sunday, October 11, 2015

An essay demonstrating that cake is better than biscuits

Cake is better than biscuits. I maintain this, having had extensive experience eating both cake and biscuits, singly and alongside one another for comparative effect. Despite the obvious truth of this maxim, it is but poorly understood in Society At Large. In what follows, I wish to offer a small corrective to this vast general ignorance, in the form of an extensive essay to demonstrate the verifiable and undeniable nature of the proposition that 'cake is better than biscuits'. I will do so PHYSICALLY, taking into account all the dimensions and durations and capacities and velocities and what not; I will do so SYMBOLOGICALLY, with reference to star charts and gematria and so on; and I will do so SUBJECTIVELY, drawing on my own extensive experience. You're welcome.

The superiority of cake over biscuits is clearly demonstrable when we consider that a cake is typically far larger than a biscuit. We may consider its heft, and we may contemplate its satisfying weight, as we hold it in our hand prior to eating it. Such consideration excites the desire and thus, when we actually do eat cake, our pleasure is all the greater. Of course, we may consider a biscuit in the same way too, but there is much less of it for us to appreciate, and therefore, the appreciation when it goes into our mouth is much less.

Biscuits, of course, ought to be appreciated not as one phenomenon, but en masse; here, however, they present us with another difficulty. Though we may have many biscuits, they all taste the same. Cake, however, is a much more variable phenomenon: one rarely has two cakes the same in the house. Therefore, though there are less cakes, typically, than biscuits, they regularly excite the palate with a wide array of flavours, and impress us with their differential nature.

Also, cakes are soft and cuddly, whereas biscuits are much harder and less susceptible to cuddling.*

Cake, unlike biscuits, is typically round. Biscuits often aspire to a round shape but have this Platonic roundness regularly interfered by crumbly bits and splodges and the like, as they are not often made in a mould. Cakes, as they more closely approximate the geometric symbol of perfection, are clearly better than biscuits in this respect.

It is also obvious that cake is the crowning glory of many parties; whereas no party yet concluded with the triumphant and grandiose arrival of a plateful of biscuits. As the saying goes, the cherry on top of the table with the icing on top of it is the cake, and that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

Cake is also a greater phenomenon than biscuits for a very simple, undeniable reason: I am eating cake right now, and not biscuits. It is a truth universally acknowledged that the cake of Right Now is better than the biscuits of Whenever The Hell I'm Going To Make Them Next. As this is so obvious and undeniable, no further argument need be entered into here.

In conclusion, cake is better than something something something OM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM.

*Not that one regularly cuddles cakes or biscuits, but this ought to be set down here as a favour to those who are considering cuddling various items of food. 

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

How to debate hypothetical vegans

Earlier today, down at the shops, just as I was simultaneously buying an ice cream (Cornetto, thanks for asking) and planning a daredevil escape from the environmentalists walking up and down the street carrying clipboards (crossing the road while they were looking the other way), a devious plan struck me.

The plan was this: I would buy one of the environmentalists - an ice cream.

No no, hear me out! The conversation, as I imagined it in my head, would take place something like this:

ENVIRONMENTALIST: Hi, can I speak to you for just a min.... 

TIM: Would you like an ice cream? 

A devastating counter-attack, I think you'll agree. Of course, being environmentalists, I realised as I thought about this stratagem, they would probably have to say...

ENVIRONMENTALIST: Oh no thanks, I'm vegan. But how lovely of you to ask! 


Brilliant, c'est non? But things were about to get very hairy, I realised, in this hypothetical situation:

ENVIRONMENTALIST: Great anyway so on this pamphlet I have here....

But don't worry! My defence is rock solid!


But then, as I was thinking about this pleasing scenario, it suddenly struck me that maybe my planning and scheming was all wrong. What if the environmentalist actually did want the ice cream? And stood there - eating it - in front of me?** True - they wouldn't be able to talk to me anymore about whatever it is they were talking about. But they would be eating my ice cream!

Outwitted by hypothetical non-vegan environmentalists. Well, that was a first.

So in the end I just bought one fucking ice cream and nicked across the fucking road while they were looking the other way.

*cf Psalm 23, v. 5: "Thou preparedest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.... my cup runneth over". 
**Psalm 23, v. 5 again! 

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Sunday poem

Half a league, half a league, 
Half a league backwards,
Boldly they rode and well
Out of the jaws of hell,
Stormed back from shot and shell,
Floundered and blundered,
Ours not to do or - no,
Maybe we will not go,
See you - next year or so,
Rode the five hundred. 

- from the Discharge of the Light Brigade, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Lines about the Grand Final that don't go anywhere in particular...

It's AFL Grand Final time and I haven't been this excited since Phar Lap won the Ashes against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

But we'll get to Tiddlywinks in a moment.

Football! The game that turns the champions into men! Or occasionally women, depending on their gender preferences.

The three stages of football: someone's going to win! Someone's winning! Someone has won!

(But lining up for a big kick - do footballers ever get an itchy nose?)

The end (told you I wasn't going anywhere in particular).

Saturday, September 26, 2015

How can it bee: an existential dilemma

From time to time I have attempted to upload pictures of our bees to the internet, though not with much success. This has caused something of an existential dilemma on my part: if a picture of something doesn't appear on the net, does it actually exist? What would humans be if you took all the selfies away from them? Well, the same thing happens with bees. So people would be forgiven for being justifiably suspicious of our claims to have bees. This, then, is an attempt to rectify that dilemma.

Here is an unconvincing picture of a guard bee that was hanging around the kitchen window and which you probably won't notice anyway because of the cow in the background. For short, let's just call it 'Unconvincing picture of a bee'.

Unconvincing picture of a bee

As if that wasn't convincing enough, this one time, I got stung in the forehead, and it was totally from our own bees and not from some other bee or wasp or anything like that. Here is a picture of what I looked like after I got stung although it doesn't actually have any bee in it. For short, I call it 'Picture that doesn't actually have a bee in it'.

Picture that doesn't actually have a bee in it

And, to wrap things up, here is a generic stock photo image of a a bee hive that no-one uses anymore. I call it 'Skep', because that's what it is. We certainly don't use skeps at our house, but I've just thrown it in there anyway to make my case more thorough and logically consistent. Also, it looks nice.


Friday, September 25, 2015

The daily grump, or, a finely detailed discussion of all the things I am grumpy about, part #1,000,000,001

Public art: I have decided that I do not like it very much, and, what's worse, I find that I am having more and more opportunities for not liking it very much, at great length, everywhere I turn, which makes me like it even less.

Politicians, at the best of times, are the sort of people who get excited about paving footpaths deep into the heart of the majestic wilderness, setting fences up, and generally plonking gigantic roadways and tollways and bridges here, there, and everywhere. So much so that it is getting that we can't see the footpaths for the fences for the roadways for the tollways for the bridges, much less the majestic wilderness that is allegedly there in the first place. This would all be quite quaint and charming in its own way, and after all, if you don't find a place in politics for these sort of people, where would they go?

Unfortunately, lately politicians seem to have developed taste and culture; and now, instead of getting excited about slabs of concrete or chunks of asphalt, they are developing an alarming amount of enthusiasm for paying excessive amounts of money for art. Not their own art, of course, and nor is it their own money, naturally: that would encourage unnecessary feelings of frugality and thriftiness, which are highly disadvantageous to a political career.

And what sort of art do they like to spend excessive amounts of money on, these people who previously exercised their talents in spending excessive amounts of money on slabs of concrete and chunks of asphalt? Huge art, horrible art, art both hugely horrible and horribly huge so that you can't help but notice it being horribly huge wherever you turn. Oh look, it's a gigantic fucking silver gnome. Oh yeah, there's that arse ugly fake hotel. How about that! And what is most infuriating about all of this is not the expense, or the ugliness, or the cheap attention-grabbing nature of it all, or even the hugeness, it is the inescapable impression that one is being imposed upon, that your own artistic tastes don't matter, that it has all been settled and decided for you by people with more - well, not more taste than your own, certainly, and not necessarily more intelligence than you, either, but certainly more money than you. Oh, they've got bucketloads of that last one. And look, here's some culture, so you don't have to worry about it. There you go, you slobs, have as much culture as you can take!

It is all of a piece with that other common view about people who inhabit the suburbs, that they are an undiscerning mass who generally will do everything they can to avoid culture. But that was never true, not really, since every occasion a person in the suburbs spends not going out to a night in the theatre or visiting the local art gallery or looking fashionable in the company of other fashionable people on Brunswick Street or Sydney Road, they might just be spending quietly at home reading a book or watching the telly or having a party with friends. But no, the assumption seems to be that these people must have culture, the right sort of culture, whether they like it or not, and, oh look, there's another vomit-coloured and turd-shaped statue of Brobdingnagian proportions being erected in the oval behind your house, obstructing your view, grabbing your attention, just when you thought they really were going to let you get away with standing around idly in the backyard admiring clouds.... Will anyone save us from this sudden discovery of taste and culture on the part of politicians?


Thanks to a rather surprising coincidence of events and happenstance, I recently, in the course of two days, came into the possession of three (or possibly four*) student journals from two separate universities (Melbourne and La Trobe). As you may know, I am frequently in the habit of reading such literature in my ongoing quest for more things to be grumpy about, so I eagerly leapt upon these latest publications. 

The results were lamentably free of poor writing, reprehensibly well written; barely a howler here or a mistake there to get outraged about. I was thrown into such desperate straits that The Grump had almost decided to get grumpy about a lack of things to get grumpy about (it's been known to happen before). It was only at the last minute that I was saved from this by noticing the apparently ubiquitous label above articles: "Trigger warning" - often substituting any actual introduction or editorial note. "Trigger warnings" were common to both publications from Melbourne and La Trobe. suggesting that it's not only in these two publications that one might find such stuff. 

It is curious to observe how infantile trends that seem to begin in student culture in the United States make their way rapidly to Australia. Just why we should feel compelled to imitate this latest catchphrase (there've been a few come and go since I was at uni) is beyond me. Australian students, take a stand, be patriotic - let us independently come up with our own twaddle, free of this American nonsense! Trust me, I'm a grump! 

*There is a certain amount of quantum uncertainty about such things in my universe. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Notes towards a doughnut re-education camp

- Geometry: the holes in doughnuts - ideal dimensions of - taste compared to holes in Cheezels - advanced geometry - whether you can fit a camel through - Mobius doughnuts.

- The inferiority of Krispy Kreme and Woolworths doughnuts - being fed boxes of said doughnuts while tied down in a chair and Beethoven's ninth is played to you repeatedly.

- The Sisyphus test - can you roll a gigantic doughnuts up a hill before eating it? - catching doughnuts in your mouth.

- spelling - doughnuts or donuts? - kronuts or kroughnuts? - the inferiority of Nutella to jam - the inferiority of icing to cinnamon sugar.

- variants - Cheezels: savoury doughnuts or chips? - what to do with Spanish doughnuts - ideal heat of doughnut - various taste testings.

- more taste testings.

- more taste testings just to be sure.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Because food is evil and must be punished

Doctors' kitchen knives ban call 
A&E doctors are calling for a ban on long pointed kitchen knives to reduce deaths from stabbing. A team from West Middlesex University Hospital said violent crime is on the increase - and kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings...The researchers said there was no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available at all. 
 They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen. 

Put down the knife, sir, and step slowly away from the onion

 I know this article is a decade old, but the pursuit of truth and outrage and scandal is timeless. So, in the spirit of freedom and all things good and pure, I'd like to take a nostalgic look back at all the other items the nanny state (accursed be its putrid ways!) has banned us from using in the kitchen.

Gone are the days when you could just rocket blast a piece of steak or a delicate bit of blanc monge into submission. Sure, there are egg beaters and such like, but the results are just not the same without that beautiful smell of metal and military explosives, are they?

No no, boys, the souffle is that way! 
Thanks, nanny state!

Demonic-slaying axe
There once was a time when you could cheerfully spend a hard day's work spifflicating demons on your sturdy axe before returning home and hewing some honest lumps of bread off with the same axe to have yourself a soothing peanut butter sandwich. Not any more. "Demonic-slaying axes should only be used by approved and licensed slaying authorities", they say. I ask you. Where are we going to find someone like that when we want a sandwich?

"Make me a sandwich! Please?"

And sure, the bench would usually get hewn into splinters when you did cut another chunk of bread, but it was worth it!

Medieval mace
Oh, I can't even prepare the salad dressing with a medieval mace anymore, can I? This is just too much! Actually, I kind of agree with this one: it's much to difficult to whip a mayonnaise into shape with a medieval ball-and-chain concoction: the Luger is so much more efficient for the modern chef.

What do you prefer? This traditional kitchen implement or the more modern-style Luger? Write in, please, enclosing  a cheque for $1 million to the usual address! 

Monday, September 07, 2015

A spring song

Grey clouds and mizzle - 
An appropriately sober
Dose of springtime drizzle
I hope lasts through October. 

Enough that bees and flowers
Enjoy their youthful fling - 
But without springtime showers,
They will not bear a thing. 

We'll have more weeks of boggy
Sodden gloom to trudge through yet: 
So thank God for the soggy
And for the rain and wet. 

Friday, September 04, 2015

My first tweet

Why join Twitter when you can do it in the more traditional manner?


Tuesday, September 01, 2015

This is a true story dude it happened to a friend of a friend of a friend of mine in a 7/11 far far away

I was Jason on a city corner one morning - at least, people assumed I was, and who am I to deny them? "You Jason?" they asked. "You Jason? You Jason? You Jason?"

"Nah," I said. "Emma Chisett!"

"You've had a sex change?" said one of them. "That's alright, a lot of us have. You see Mike Hunt over there?"

Of course, I had to look. I find Mike Hunt in the strangest of places. Anyway, things were going along like this for a while, when who should come around the corner but Laura Norder?

"Laura!" we all said. "Long time no see! We haven't done anything, honest!"

"There's no time for that now!" said Laura. "I'm looking for Wayne Kerr - he's pretty big, you know. Looking for a big, gigantic, large Wayne Kerr. You seen him?"

"Is he with Mr Bates?" someone suggested.

Just then, I heard a Russell in the trees. I don't know why, it's just that Russell is always climbing the fucking things. "Get out of the bloody tree, Russell!" I shouted.

"Fuck you!" said Russell, which is just like him.

Laura explained, turned out Wayne had been a Robin up and down the neighbourhood. He drove Alexis round the bend, and then got involved in a big con job stealing people's credit card details.

"Con job?" said Mike. "Con Staralambous?"

"Nope," said Laura. "Even worse. Con Clusion."

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


To give four cheers.

Three thumbs up!

To have a smile bigger than your face.

Being over the blue moon.

To give a hearty sphere of applause.


Cheering louder than yourself.

Not just showing up, showing off.

Applauding longer than yourself.

To raise the roof through the glass ceiling.

To bring the house down before setting it on fire.

To be the scream of the crop.


FACT! Jeremy Corbyn's jumper is knitted out of the beards of the proletariat!

FACT! In the coming Corbyntopia, there will be a tax on all non-bearded men, with the funds to go to working class women to aid them in their quest for beard reassignment!

FACT! An anagram of Jeremy Corbyn's name is Mereby Jorcyn, which in Rwanda-Rundi roughly translates to "My rhinoceros is on fire!"

FACT! If all the Jeremy Corbyns of the world were laid end to end, from London to Paris, his wife would say, "What are you doing, Jeremy?"


FACT! There are no more facts!

Vote for beard! Beard will help you! 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Pogonological prognostications

Far be it from me to enter into the more abstruse points of style or fashion blogging, but on one occasion a little while ago I heard the possibly beard related feedback that I "looked like I had just slept under a bridge". As you can imagine, this put my beard more than a little out of joint: I was going more for the "looked like an internet troll who hadn't been out of the basement to wash for five months" look, or possibly some "absolutely batshit insane street poetry" chic. But whatever, "just slept under the bridge" look doesn't sound all that different, really. And who knows, perhaps sleeping under bridges is going to become the next big thing?

Fashion is a puzzling thing at the best of times, and beard fashion even more puzzling: one day, beards are in fashion; the next day, beards are out again; the day after, gentlemen's beards are still out of fashion, ladybeards, however, are making a stunning come back. I noticed walking along Alexandra Parade yesterday that Gillette Razors were attempting to stage a little coup with their latest advertising campaign: they invited people to stage a 'hipstervention' for bearded friends. Times are tough in razor land, it seems, with beards being resolutely attached to their hipsters (it would be kind of disturbing if they weren't and just went roaming around on their own, really).

I am kind of ambivalent about this whole thing: my current beard preceded, if not hipsterdom itself, certainly my discovery of hipsterdom. At some point someone expressed a wish that I grow a beard, at about the same point that I began expressing the beard myself. It didn't take much effort, after all.

Beards, for Gillette, et al, are a problem: they just kind of take care of themselves. If you let them, they will pretty much develop their own shape and form, and require little to no bother on the part of the wearer. Many beards develop a natural fork in them. Hairs in a beard, curiously, will tend to tumble down to the one height, as if they had been using a ruler and squared themselves off at that point. And they have a texture quite unlike any other hair on the body: the hairs get all mixed up and form a dense map and are rather - sproingy. For this last reason, beards are extremely useful for putting objects in, which can then be removed at parties or to impress small humans and irritate adults, at the beard owners leisure.  And they are a natural opportunity for chaps such as myself to express our natural sympathies with the animal world; ie, my cats have whiskers, which please me greatly. Why can't I return the favour?

The trend for beards won't last, of course. Gillette are just opportunistically trying to cash in on the end of a fashion and looking at the - er - cutting edge of the next one. Thinking about the manscaping trends of the nineties and noughties, one dreads to think what will next be expected of us chaps. On the whole, when it comes to the question of whether to cut off bits of myself or keep them, I fall in favour of the latter proposition. In the meantime, I will continue to manifest my hirsuteness in all companies, whether I sleep under bridges or not.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

An understated person

I can't hear you over my thoughts!

Too understated  to be a whisper.

Ferociously in between.

A surprising distraction from my distraction.

Even quieter than your audience.

Making less of yourself.

I like you most of some.

Unassumingly unassuming,

Monday, August 17, 2015

Allusions of grandeur

Well, my entry for the latest Speckled Potato poetry competition (write a poem from a cranky pet to its owner) wasn't accepted, so now it is free! Free! Gloriously free! Here it is now, and, as they say in the classics: don't worry, this will all be over in a moment.

Frae a mouse
Gigantic honking human bastard
In whose perfumes the room is blasted,
Your southern winds for years have lasted - 
Cutting cheeses? 
Would it were so, I'd have breakfasted
On your breezes. 

Your odours are beyond proportion - 
Is this some form of pet extortion? -
Think of my snout and its small portion
Ere you let fly - 
Pray, Sir, to exercise more caution, 
Or I die! 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Seasonable seasoning and reasonable reasoning

Words sometimes make me think of Max Bialystock's encouraging phrase to Leo Bloom: "Kid! There's more to you than there is to you!" Same with words: even when you can't use them, you can use them. Just this morning I burst out into the back garden at 7 o'clock to let the chooks out, I ran smack bang into a pleasingly absurd phrase: "It gets early so early these days". On one hand, it makes no sense at all; on the other hand, you know what I mean!

This phrase pleased me so much that I came up with a list of iterations on the same theme:

End of winter: It gets early so early these days!

Beginning of winter: It gets early so late these days!

Daylight saving: It gets late so late these days!

Return to standard time: It gets late so early these days!

Jetlag: It's too early to be too late over here, even though it's not too late to be late back home.

Long story old man, but let's finish it this way: some people say words aren't any good at all. But they really speak to me!

Friday, August 07, 2015

Priority haiku #2, 3, 4

Just put down the haiku and step away from the computer, Tim! It's not worth it! 

I should be working.
Moving cat from lap to chair,
I get lunch instead.

Back on lap again.
I surf the net for cat pics.
Real cat purrs, content.

Lap starting to hurt.
Work almost due. Cat sleeping.
Well, this is awkward.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

A haiku about priorities

Cat purring on lap.
There is a knock at the door. 
Cat purring on lap.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Poetry yay!

Fearsome and fretful fates, miserable misfortunes, and alliteration

IT'S OFFICIAL - important sociological studies conclude that the worst names to call your child are Penelope or Matilda.

These children, the study says, are amongst those most likely to become involved in blackhearted blackguardry, deadly double dealings, fearsome and fretful fates, miserable misfortunes, and alliteration.

In the words of the study:

The miserable Matilda heaved back her sobs, as the pirate captain, who had vowed to make her his bride, hurled her into the vault. Were she not bound and gagged, she would be able to tell him the terrible truth, the salacious secret that would surely release her from her pitiful plight - that he was her long lost son! 

Later in the study's conclusion, we find out that Penelope fares even worse:

O, wretched, wretched, wretched world, sobbed Penelope!  For had not she, just now, discovered that her one true beloved, the dashing and daring Sigmundo, had been entombed by his rival suitor for her affections, the palsied, pox-ridden, and putrefyingly repugnant Petruccio? And yet, she dare not speak - for the very life of her mother depended on her silence! 

On the other hand, as the study points out, it's quite fine to call your child Bumface or Scrotumfeatures. So there is that.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Scruffy and the Wind

Scruffy and the Wind: a two person dialogue in which only one person speaks


WIND - a jerk. 

SCRUFFY - a local feline urchin.


SCRUFFY: *Stands about in the garden in the middle of the howling wind scratching himself just generally not giving a shit*.


Friday, July 24, 2015

WTFF news: Councils run out of pointless symbolic gestures to be pointlessly symbolic about

OUR NATION IS IN CRISIS TODAY as local councils have announced that they are almost out of pointless symbolic gestures to be pointlessly symbolic about.

The fears come as the City of Moreland council today announced plans to hold a minute's silence to mark the occasion of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The gesture unintentionally emptied out the local council's stocks of pointless symbolic gestures, causing crisis meetings from concerned citizens groups from Brunswick through to Coburg.

"What on earth will local councils do if they don't have any pointless symbolic gestures to pass their time?" said one concerned citizen. "I am concerned!"

"It's a great idea, one minute's silence, but after we've used up that minute, what are we going to do next?" said another concerned citizen. "I am gripped in anticipated existential angst!"

The discovery of the national shortage in pointless symbolic gestures has sent ripples of concern across Australia, with accusations of profligacy from many of our top economists. "For years we have been overusing our pointless symbolic gestures. I mean, local councils being 'refugee zones' or 'nuclear free areas' or boycotting nations halfway around the world? What does this even mean? What value do they get from it?" said one respected national economist with many degrees to their name. "I am a respected national economist with many degrees to my name".

However, local councils have retaliated against the criticism, claiming they have been recycling many pointless symbolic gestures already. "Why, just yesterday I was at a meeting where we had a welcome to country, an apology to the stolen generations, and up to ten acknowledgements of the original Aboriginal owners of the land - and the recycling was all the more impressive for the fact that not a single Indigenous person was present", said the Mayor of one regional council. "What regional council was I running again?"

Other national economists have suggested that there are still creative solutions to the pointless symbolic gesture crisis. "We don't need to start making meaningful gestures yet", laughed one economist. "Not when we have the crimes of the Romans in Carthage to apologise for!"
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