kidattypewriter

Sunday, September 30, 2007

WTFF Classifieds

Quick brown fox seeks lazy dog to jump over all day, every day as part of a project for the entertainment and education of typists and students of grammar. No time-wasters, please - a previous lazy dog was so lazy that it did not, in fact, bother to turn up for the job. Another lazy dog decided to start jumping over the quick brown fox, which quickly made for an angry quick brown fox and an unemployed lazy dog. Whilst its initiative was appreciated, it's inability to stick to the task at hand was not.

The following candidates are also ruled out:

- Quick dogs
- Brown dogs
- Quick brown dogs
- Jumpy dogs
- Lazy foxes
- Foxy dogs
- Part-time dogs
- Poodles.

Previous experience in Administration is also desirable.

The quick brown fox is an equal opportunity employer. Please reply by the close of business, Monday.

Rhyming couplets with unlikely words

Paul Hindemith once wrote a series of pieces for neglected musical instruments, so I thought I'd do a similar thing here.

Dissent with the dissenters

Is this really antidisestablishmentarianism,
Or just another schism?

Archeological lecture

Some cultures hide their gold away in crypts.
These treasures, for example, are Egypt's.

Random statements

This soda sure is fizzy. Je-
sus loves you. What's a syzygy?

How Tinkerbell died

"Alas, because of cancer of the lymph-
nodes, Fairyland has lost another nymph."

Writer's party

One quips dryly
One hints slyly

One shouts wryly
And one is silent, shyly.

Snirtle of victory

Have you ever seen a mollusc snirtle?
I did, once. A snail outraced a turtle.

An unusual talent

Ms Megan Melson Mudgeykins, (or Megm),
If asked, could cough up large amounts of phlegm.

A polygamist's song of love

I love you two.
Get in the queue.

An important distinction

He's not nudist, he's just nude:
As nudists go, he's just a pseud.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Do you prefer footbrawl or thugby?

My flatmate is a repository for all kinds of AFL knowledge. I was quizzing him about it the other night - there wasn't a breaking development in the game that he wasn't aware of. "Who has just been caught with drugs? Who is Essendon's new coach? What are the names of their players?" He knew it all, but how? He doesn't sit around all day watching and listening to the news. Maybe it's in something he eats?

His condition, whatever it is, is pathological. This morning the only thing he said to me was "Have a happy Grand Final Day" before bounding outside. I naturally decided to mark the event by doing what I do on every weekend, go down the street to get the papers.

The customers in the nail salon of the Coburg Mall were certainly doing good business, so evidently a lot of locals were choosing to celebrate the occasion by having their nails polished, as you do. (Maybe they were getting them polished in club colours.) Several people had club scarfs and cat hats on, and there was a brass band on the other side of the street*. And, to top things off, I had this particularly festive conversation when I bought the papers:

PAPER LADY: I hope you have a nice day today!

TIM: You too!

PAPER LADY: You too!

TIM: You too!

We could have gone on that way all day, although paradoxically, that would have made the day rather boring, not nice at all. The other customers might have got annoyed as well.

I doubt that I'll be able to rise to the depths of depravity in quite as splendiferous a fashion as I did last year, so this will have to do for now.

*Although, to be completely accurate, that brass band hangs around Coburg Mall all the time. I wish they'd go away. You there, with the computer, do you want a brass band? It doesn't matter if you don't have a mall to put them in - you can store them in the cupboard and feed them on dog biscuits.

Consonant cravings

Pardon me, stranger, but could you spare a consonant? I seem to be all out.

It doesn't have to be much. A little 'q', a spare 'v', a smattering of 'l's and 'd's left in comments sure would get me through the day.

Just a little 'b' then?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I go mad with power

Since unlocking the secrets of the internet yesterday, I have become maddened with the power of my discoveries, and am now seeking to change poetry as we know it. Find below, for your amusement or bemusement a personally customisable limerick and a haiku, an instant T S Eliot poem, and several rhyming couplets for the price of one!

Limerick
There was
Who
When asked
replied

Haiku
Spring: the tree laden
With
My heart:

T S Eliot





Couplet

Hello Charlie! Hello Dora!


(Cross-posted here.)

Caution: this jar may contain traces of mastodons

In this video posted on LP, creationists argue that peanut butter disproves the theory of evolution.

"If the theory of evolution is correct," says an important-looking man wearing an important-looking tie, "When energy strikes this jar of peanut butter, it should, occasionally, produce new life. But look! No life! And aren't you glad?"

The LPers can mock all they like, but this is serious. Since accepting the theory of evolution in Australia, we could have put ourselves in grave danger. Millions of households across the nation contain jars of peanut butter, and who knows what new life forms they could be harbouring? You could go to make your kids a peanut butter sandwich for school, and a tiger could leap out at you! Wouldn't you feel silly then? And yet, if you'd accepted the theory of creationism and intelligent design like millions of safety-conscious Americans, you'd be in the clear!


Does your peanut butter contain this? If so, consult your local priest and nutritionist immediately.

Clearly, there are many things in the world that science is unable to explain. Think about that next time you buy a jar of peanut butter - evolutionist!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Review

Caz commented a couple of posts back about my habit of leaving crucial details out when I write film reviews. As it turned out, I missed the rather heavy sarcasm in her comments, but still, it was a good point. So now, as a public service, I thought I'd write the perfect film review. Or, to put it another way, I thought I'd offer my readers a chance to write the perfect film review while I sit back and not write a thing.


The film is examination of . It has , and is now

Starring , who you may remember from such films as , it is perfect for .

Sequels of this film will be coming to your local cinema


Five stars is five stars too many.
Screening in all shithouse good cinemas now.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Watch out! That bustle is out to get you!

A couple of weeks ago I was idly watching an opera in period costume on television when the thought popped into my head, "There's a bustle in this program." I didn't even know what a bustle was, but I was pretty sure it was in the show. It was a pretty disturbing experience - for all I knew, any moment one of the actors could be leaped upon by a slavering bustle (whatever that was) and ravenously torn limb from limb. Though, in fact, I checked later and found out that a bustle was a type of clothing.

Clothing perplexes me. I've put a lot of it on in the past few decades, but I'm still not quite sure what it's all called. (Sometimes, I'm not even sure where it's supposed to go.) Even now, I see names of items of clothing popping up in books and I have no idea what they actually are. What's a dirndl? It sounds like a random series of constonants that are missing two vowels, though, in fact, it's not. A few weeks ago David's internet boon-companion Nottlesby described to me what spatterdashes, or spats were: I promptly forgot. (They're something to do with shoes, although they are not, in fact, shoes.) Cummerbunds sound like something you go gathering in May, like nuts or strawberries. And homburgs sound like a type of regional German food (they are in fact related to the pork-pie hat). In fact, the whole area of hats is fraught with second meanings: Trilbys (a bird?), boaters (ship workers), Yarmulkes (the kid at school who aces the maths homework), beehive (apparently a hat, though why you'd want to have something like that on your head, God only knows), and chupallas (what the hell?). Then there are wimples, which sound like the sort of thing that wimps wear; and snoods - perhaps what snobs wear?

Underwear you'd think would be simple, but not so. There is perilously little difference between a brassiere and a brasserie. I'm sure many native English speakers visiting France have made the mistake of saying, in French,

"I'm just popping into the local underwear for some coffee."

Which, you know, makes some sense of its own.

And then there are farthingales (surely a type of fence?) and pantalettes (pants for hire, perhaps?). When I visited New York in the winter I was advised to get myself some thermal underwear, but the name sounded horribly alarming, as if people wanted me to wear an oven. So I just ended up wearing my trackies under my jeans.

Perhaps one of these days I'll get around to working out what all of these items of clothing are, and wear one wears them exactly. In the meantime, I'll just have to content myself with living in a world wear people gather cummerbunds in May, chase squatters out of their pantalettes, drink coffee out of women's underwear, and fend off ravening bustles at every turn. It's a dangerous world, but we all have to learn to live with it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Our new anti-Donald workplace policy

Got an interesting email at work today...

"Come to the barbecue on Friday!"
it said, "And club Don in colours!"

Well, I don't know who Don is or what he said, but this new 'Clubbing Don' workplace policy did seem to be a little over the top. What, did he swear at the CEO behind his back?

So I looked at the email again. This time it said,

"Come to the barbecue on Friday! And club those who don colours!"

Well, that made better sense. Cudgelling those who failed to wear matching socks or who generally displayed an inadequate knowledge of sartorial colouring rules: who could fail to agree with that?

Then I looked at the email once again.

"Come to the barbecue on Friday! And don club colours!"

A feeling of calm despair and quiet disgust settled upon my soul - similar to, but not exactly the same as, the feeling of quiet despair and calm disgust that had settled upon my soul last Monday. So: this was the real meaning behind the email. It's that time of year again...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It's propaganda, dammit!

I went to see Stardust today.



It's the sort of film that you might describe as, "Like The Princess Bride", if you were a publicist, or a critic, or lazy. But bugger that, publicists and critics should take these films on their own terms. (Lazy people are all right, but).

The plot is something about a star called Yvaine falling to earth and becoming a person, and a kid called Tristan setting out to find some star dust for the girl he loves. Or thinks he loves. But doesn't. (As it turns out, he's actually setting out on a quest to find the girl he loves, who turns out to be Yvaine, though he doesn't know it). You get the picture, it's a simple enough story about love and manhood and all that stuff.

The star is played by Clare Danes, because she's a star - obviously. (Hmmm). Somewhat more disturbingly, Tristan is played by Charlie Cox. (Double hmmm).

There are plenty of nice touches in this, like Robert de Niro as a gay pirate who flies about the sky in a dirigible with the rest of his pirate crew. ('It's all right, captain - we always knew you were a whoopsie!' a member of his team reassures him in one of his later scenes.) Michelle Pfeiffer also does a nice line as head of a coven of three witches, who spend their time cheerfully sacrificing animals and taking out their entrails for divinatory purposes. (None of it is graphic, but it's certainly closer to the feel of traditional fairy tales than you'd normally get from Hollywood).

It would be nice to think that, what with the gay pirate theme and all, Hollywood released this film to coincide with Talk Like a Pirate Day, which is becoming quite the tradition, but according to Wikipedia, it was first released in the US in August. Oh well. All things considered, though, this was a pretty awesome film, and I'd go and see it again at the drop of a hat. And you should too. (Though not before you see it for a first time, obviously.)

Um.... goodnight then!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The nude in art and the art in the nude

Written after a visit to the art gallery

Naked I sleep, and naked I rise;
Naked I eat my toast;
Naked I look through a journal or book,
Naked I fetch the bills in the post.

Nakedly nakedly nakedly naked
Nakedly nakedly nake.

I stride, nakedly, through scenes allegorical,
Nakedly strumming my lute;
I relax nakedly on the stream in my coracle,
Nakedly playing my flute.

Nakedly nakedly nakedly naked
Nakedly nakedly nake.

Naked I lead the troops into war!
Nakedly naked I am in defeat;
And sometimes, for no reason at all, I walk naked
Through the non-naked crowds in the street

Nakedly nakedly nakedly naked
Nakedly nakedly nake.

The great Australian brain shortage

Well, now we are in the twelfth year of the Australian brain drought and there's no end in sight. People have long since ceased to ask, "Do you think we'll have any brains this year?" and "How many brains do we have left?" They have now moved on to stoic acceptance.

It is worth asking again what has led to our current brainless state. We never used to have a problem with brains! There were plenty of brains to go round: brains for all! We saw a fresh flow of new brains into our country every year, and no-one went lacking for brains. Indeed, right through the 50s and 60s, the patriotic cry was: "One man! One brain! One country!" Our brains were our own, and no-one could take them away from us!

However, it's amazing what shortages can be created with a little political will and the money to back them up. Quite soon, shortages started appearing in the nation's brain supply. Little were we to know that these temporary brain shortages would turn out to be a recurring problem in our system of brain management.

The recriminations soon began: "This country never had enough brains to go around!" was the cry of the environmentalists. They maintained that we had exceeded the natural, sustainable amount of brains in this country, and that unless parts of the population started drastically cutting back on their brain use, we would soon be in deep trouble.
Socialists, on the other hand, maintained a rigorous Brain Redistribution policy. For a short time, the Whitlam Government tried to instate a National Brain Rationing Scheme, where brains were taken from the overly intelligent and given to the stupid. "It is greedy and selfish of the intelligent to be thinking so much with their brains, when the stupid people don't get to do any thinking at all!" argued one minister. However, the stupid didn't like being called stupid, and the intelligent weren't too happy about this policy either, and it never got off the ground.
Meanwhile, the right-wing insisted that only those who could pay for brains through their own ghard-earned money deserved them. Still others insisted on opening up the free market in brainns, and privatising the National Brainage schemes set up inn the 1930s and 40s by successive governments.

For a time, we seemed to have brains worked out. The great national shortage of brains reeceded, and while there still weren't quite enough brains to go round, most people had a brain, or at least half a brain to themselves. Sensible management of brains by politicians, combined with the contribution of some private brain providers, seemed to be working. There were sighs of relief all around, and people got back to the business of thinking with what brains they had.

Unfortunately, all was not as it seemed. After ten or so years with the brain supply being more or less stable, we have fallen into the worst brain drought of our history. What has caused this
current brain shortage is certainly up for debate, but the situation has become drastic. The brain levels in all states and territories has become so low that politicians have resorted to drastic measures to curb brain usage. Restrictions on thinking at certain hours of the day have become the norm, and brain users find themselves having to conform to a number of regulations regarding size and type of brain used.

Innovative solutions have been proposed, including the construction of new brain infrastructure for all the states and territories. Our Prime Minister, John Howard, has given it the inspiring title of THE NATIONAL BRAIN DRAIN. This 'drain' would lead to a 'national brain pool', and would be able to be accessed by all Australians, irrespective of background or intelligence.
It remains to be seen whether we can finally make our brain situation stable again, but many are confident that with the good will and devotion of our political leaders, that brains can be restored to their former place of prestige in our nation, and that we can restore our previous
high levels of brains.

However, there are many who doubt this can be achievable. Recent revelations that the brain drought stretches to very high levels, and that in fact many of our most senior politicians have been swearing off brain use for just this reason, have rocked the nation. It might be possible to admire our leaders for their stoic refusal to indulge in even the most basic level of thinking, but can it be safe to run a nation completely without brains? What could the consequences be for the management of our remaining brain stocks if this situation continues?

There are further allegations that the federal Liberal/National Coalition have helped to create the national brain shortage by their unusual dietary habits. It seems certain that, whatever the outcome of these current scandals are, that the great Australian brain shortage will not end anytime soon...



Federal Minister Philip Ruddock (or possibly Tony Abbott, it's hard to tell) refused to comment when questioned regarding allegations that he had contributed to the great Australian brain shortage by eating the brains of his fellow Federal politicians...

Friday, September 21, 2007

The goyim does not know...

Well, I was going to post a YouTube of Jews in Space in honour of Yom Kippur, but then it struck me that it might be disrespectful. Hmmmm...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

How to read backwards, upside down, standing on your head, or standing on someone else's head

I once knew a person who claimed to read magazines by starting at the beginning and stopping at the end. That struck me as strange then and bizarre now; but then, it's true I have a very haphazard way of reading things. It's not as if I'll take up a magazine, starting at the end and stopping at the beginning. But I will skip to favourite sections, read a column here that looks interesting, flick through to catch some of the cartoons, before going to the starting pages to read one or two of the opening news-style articles.

I mean, don't most people read magazines that way, randomly? I find it almost congenitally possible to read magazine articles consecutively. By the time I've put the effort in to read one article, and I turn to the next, I find my eye keeps on sliding off. Maybe there's a version of dyslexia that applies to paragraphs and opinion columns as well, ensuring that a magazine or newspaper will always be read in this way.

The strain is hard enough actually reading a column or an article, anyway. Everybody must skip the occasional sentence or paragraph or table or page or... well, people who skip occasionally will know what I mean. (We've got Sir Walter Scott on our side, by the way: he suggested that readers adopt "The laudable practice of skipping.") Sometimes, I've got to admit, it gets so bad with me that I actually do find myself reading an article backwards. It's not as if I actually set out to do this: I just happen to be glancing over a magazine, and my eye is naturally drawn towards the final paragraph. I will read that, and be drawn to the paragraph before it - partly out of curiosity, to see how the writer had got to that final paragraph. Thus, by gradual degrees, my eye and brain will be drawn through the article, often without having actually made the effort or commitment to read it in the first place.

I'm not sure whether it says more about me or the writers of such articles that I don't notice any difference in quality from reading them this way. But I really would be seriously surprised if other people didn't occasionally find themselves reading like this, anyway.

And reading haphazardly certainly has got something to recommend it. Think of it as a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' style of magazine reading. It would actually save a lot of time when you're reading something like a True Crime magazine or whatever; you could skip past a lot of that superfluous character detail until you get to the real blood and gore. Or something. You could even read the same article in different ways, rating it differently each time. You know: 1) Back to Front (Starts off with a great cliffhanger! Disappointing ending) 2) Skipping every second paragraph (Reads quickly, a little light on the detail).

I suppose you could go on and apply this reading-haphazard method to great works of literature, but you wouldn't want to do it to every book. Imagine what the results could be with Romeo and Juliet:

Never was a tale of more woe
Than that of Juliet and her Romeo
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene!

Though I think you could have a great deal more fun with some of the great modernist writings, which you can arrange any which-way you like and still not know what it means:

riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

Well, that's cruel, but I'm sure a lot of people who read Finnegan's Wake found the book cruel on them as well.

But seriously: reading a novel from start to finish is one thing, but a magazine? Am I the only one who thinks this is crazy talk?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Idea for mystery novel

Blood on Wopping-on-Sea

In the tiny Welsh village of Wopping-on-Sea, one of the villages two living inhabitants, Agnes Grimblegrudge wakes up one morning to discover that her companion, Marlena Olthwaite-Pipes, has been violently murdered.

Who could have committed this dastardly deed? Using her comprehensive knowledge of Agatha Christie's novels, amazing powers of deduction and delusion, she sets out to solve this devastating crime and restore the good faith of all the citizens of Wopping-on-Sea (of whom she now happens to be the only one) in justice.

With plucky confidence in her ability to restore things to rights, Agnes Grimblegrudge sets about investigating the crime scene, before coming to the devastating conclusion: it was those foreigners! Her faith shattered in the new multicultural British way of life, she resigns her membership of the Tory party, arms herself with several guns, and decides from now on to shoot all tourists on sight.

Possible sequels:
The Hounds of Wopping-on-Sea
More Blood on Wopping-on-Sea
Even Morer Blood on Wopping-on-Sea
The Terror of Greater-Wopping-on-Sea-on-the-Wold
The Greater Wopping Pudding Massacre: Amazing Stories of True Crime That Have Been Made Up.

Hello, goodbye, hello

I started emailing and wrote my emails in the same way that I’d written letters all my life - Dear Whoever, How are you? I’m writing to tell you, etc, etc. I waited for the email etiquette sky to fall in, but it didn’t.

Okay, I soon became adept at sending one-line replies to email and in particularly pressurised moments would skip the ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ and not bother to sign my name. But all these years and thousands of emails later, at work I still stick to minimal conventions, even on one-liners, with a ‘hi’ at the beginning of the line and my name at the end (or an initial if time’s tight.) In my own writing mind, I make little distinction between email and letters, except for the rapidity of email.
Hello, hi, hey, g'day, howdy, greetings, and bonjour! It's certainly true that the way you open an email, introduce yourself, greet others, make yourself at home, bid others welcome, bow, exchange compliments, and usher yourself in is important. As for the person reading, are they going to be a Dear Reader, a Dear Mr Reader, a dear Mrs Reader, a Dear Ms Reader, a Mate, a Friend, and on a First Name or a Last Name basis?

You could go on and on with opening flourishes and starting gambits, paying respects and hailing others, and if you were actually writing a letter, you'd better make it brief, terse, short, to the point without being glib, aphoristic without being abrupt, and breviloquent without being brusque. But in an email, you could conceivably carry on all day embracing, curtsying, salaaming, namasting, shaloming, guten taging, bongiorning, nodding, and noticing, not to mention ovating, saluting, salutating, and maybe even ovulating and salivating a bit.

As a matter of fact, there are so many ways of accosting, addressing, welcoming, whistling, high fiving, shaking hands, and making an entree that you could even complete an entire email in this way, making speeches, flagging, nodding and noticing, that before long you find you have nothing else to say. Except for goodbye, cheerio, what-ho, toodle-oo, pip pip, ciao for niao, farewell, adieu, adios, auf wiedersehen, so long, and generally making your swan song, bowing out, vacating, and relinquishing your hold in the conversation. It's generally a depressing part of the conversation, and you might want to continue on for a while with your good daying and heralding and your other methods of greeting just to avoid the painful and sorrowful matter of deserting, discarding the others company, stopping, quitting, and making your valediction.

And why don't you? If you've got this far with your greetings then you might as well carry it on right to the end of your email; and heaven knows that most of the time, people don't have anything substantial to say anyway. The world would be much nicer and happier, and conversation a great deal wittier, if we just contented ourselves with exchanging pleasantries all the time, and even when it came time to leave we did that with a greeting, too. Perhaps it wouldn't lessen the pain of parting, but it certainly would allow us to put a brave face on it.

And on that note, Dear Reader/Friend/Acquaintance/First Name/Last Name/Middle Name/Nickname/Internet Nickname Composed For The Purposes of Anonymyity/Non-gender Specific Person, it's time for me to sign off.

Hello, then!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Convenience caused

Attention passengers.

The train you are currently travelling in does not have any doors.

For those who wish to alight at this station, please do so through the windows, and fall head-first, and at a comfortable pace, towards the platform.

We have tastefully lined every inch of the platform with sharp steel spikes.

Connex apologises for any convenience caused.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

An application for the position of John Laws

Dear John Laws,

It was with great horror, not to mention a sense of deep grief, that I recently heard of your plans to retire from the position of John Laws. You have fulfilled the position of John Laws so well that now you are stepping down from the position of John Laws, people are beginning to ask, 'who will be John Laws now?' I confess that I wept when this question was first asked.
Allow me to be neither the first nor the last to offer you condolences. I suppose it will be a small consolation that you will continue to be John Laws in private.

However, I digress. I am writing to you today, John Laws, because I would like to offer my services to you, to 2GB, and to the Australian Public as the new John Laws.

I believe I have several skills that uniquely qualify me for the position of John Laws. I have attached a copy of my resume, and will further take the opportunity of listing my achievements here in as long winded and detailed a fashion as possible, in order to make clear to you why I am right for the position of John Laws.

- I have been steadily developing a range of controversial opinions on important matters like 'those refugees' and 'bloody communists'.

- I practise saying complementary things about Valvoline every evening in front of the mirror for two hours, and now have developed such an emotional attachment to the product that I weep whenever I think about it. (Frequently, they're so convincing that I rush out the door and buy myself several cans of Valvoline every evening - and I don't even drive).

- I have had my voice surgically altered to be as deep as possible, and practice in further deepening and enriching my tones every day by reading masculine poems like 'Charge of the Light Brigade', and inhaling 'Essence de Domingo', a nasal spray, every morning.

- I also have strong people skills, an ability to learn on the job, and experience in data entry!

- I have been called a 'Jumped-up Philip Adams', a 'wannabee Andrew Bolt', a 'pimple on the buttock of Janet Albrechtsen', and a 'Wen on the inner-nasal passages of John Pilger'. Therefore, I have strong on-the-ground experience as a number of important media identities, and I'm sure I'll take to the position of John Laws easily!

- Finally, as you are a successful radio presenter who also has aspirations to be a bad poet, and as I am an unsuccessful poet with aspirations to be a bad radio presenter, I'm sure the trade of positions will go brilliantly!

My needs are simple, modest, and easily satisfied: I am willing to work at a price of no less than $1000 per controversial opinion, rising to $3000 on the weekend.

Together, I am sure we can introduce John Laws to a new generation of listeners, and carry on the grand old Australian tradition of being John Laws on the public airwaves! And isn't that what we I both want?

Yours sincerely,
John Laws (in waiting)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Belloc, the game show

People who are in the habit of finding clear moral purpose in children's literature have a bit of a problem, since the way the authors have of working morals into children's literature is often so bizarre. Take The Chronicles of Narnia, which is apparently Christian propaganda. C S Lewis gets to his Christian message by the bizarrely roundabout fashion of taking a bunch of children, putting them in a different dimension, getting them to have a tea party with a bunch of beavers, and meeting a talking lion. Christ, the Holy Ghost, or God, are never actually directly mentioned.

It's much the same with Hillaire Belloc's hilarious 'Cautionary Verses', a set of poems that he wrote at various stages of his life that dispatch children to various deaths on spurious reasons. You could interpret some of them as being simple attempts to frighten kids into obeying their parents, if the morals themselves were not so bizarre: "The moral is (it is indeed!)/ You mustn't monkey with the creed." Or, even more hilariously, "Always keep a hold on nurse/For fear of finding something worse." (This last one being a conclusion to a poem about 'Jim, who ran away from his nurse, and was eaten by a lion.' That's probably the funniest cautionary verse Belloc ever wrote, and I won't say anything more about it than that the lion's name is 'Ponto', and you should read it straight away.)

Anyway, I've been reading Belloc for about two years now - I picked up a copy at a market in Federation Square one autumn and opened it up straight away. Other people have said to me from time to time that I have a good memory for poetry; I don't know if it's true - some lines do stick in my mind, but I think this happens to everybody. But those poems were instantly memorisable - utterly simple, astonishingly catchy, and very funny; so much so that I read them again and again.

If I was in a game show like The Einstein Factor or something like that and had to pick a special area of interest, I'd totally bomb if it was in subjects I've studied, like modern music or romantic poetry or something like that. But if my subject area was in the rather specific genre of 'Hillaire Belloc's children's poetry', I'd go brilliantly!

COMPERE: John Vavassour de Quentin Jones - what was he fond of?

TIM: Throwing stones.

COMPERE: Correct. A fault that everyone abhors in little girls is - what?

TIM: Slamming doors!

COMPERE: Correct. And who was given to this furious sport?

TIM: Her name: Rebecca Offendort.

COMPERE: She was a wealthy merchant's daughter. Where did she live?

TIM: In Palace Green, Bayswater.

COMPERE: Correct. What made one gasp and stretch one's eyes?

TIM: Matilda's dreadful lies.

COMPERE: Correct. And what happened when her Aunt attempted to believe Matilda?

TIM: The very effort nearly killed her!

COMPERE: Correct. To slap the meanest and the least of creatures is a sin. But what is worse?

TIM: How much more bad to beat a beast with prickles on its skin!

COMPERE: Correct. Belloc proposed that members of the upper-class liked a certain sound. What was this?

TIM: "Like many of the upper class/He liked the sound of breaking glass."

COMPERE: Correct. What should no-one ever, ever doubt?

TIM: What nobody is sure about.

COMPERE: Correct! Answer this question to win this round, Tim! What is the moral?

TIM: It is indeed!

COMPERE: I'm sorry, we'll need more detail on that.

TIM:
(Sweats a little, mops his brow with a handkerchief, pulls at his collar) Er... er... (Suddenly remembers) You mustn't monkey with the creed!

COMPERE: CORRECT! YOU WIN THIS ROUND!

So, if you learn anything from poetry, learn this much: don't get eaten by lions, don't tell lies or your house will burn down, don't slap a porcupine or your hands will bleed, don't throw stones or your uncle will disinherit you from your will, and certainly never, ever monkey with the creed. The end.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Robert Herrick, goth poet

Julia: a blazon.

My Julia has the blackest lips,
And ears pierced full of paper clips;
Her anorexic hips and waist
With fierce spiked girdles round embraced;
The leather panties that she buys
Would not fit Dames that're half her size;
And lo! Her mouth and teeth emong,
A staple driven through her tongue.
To all who pass her in the night,
She crieth, "What are you thtaring at, you shite?"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The archeology of the species

There comes a time in many a man's life when he gets a sudden, uncontrollable urge to throw everything down, rush out the door, and dig holes in the ground for the rest of his four-score years and ten. He becomes enthused over shards of pottery, cries at the sighting of an outhouse, (circa 1998), and falls over himself in spasms every time he discovers a rare eleventh century relic of a Edwardian-age lawnmower.

I expect it will happen to me in a year or two. In the meantime, I can at least sit back and watch.

Why do they do it, these crazy kids? I've asked this question before, but still haven't found answers. In Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin postulates that species change over time according to the rule of survival of the fittest. In Time Team, a British program playing ABC Tuesdays, and starring (who else) Tony Robinson, an addition to this theory is suggested: that a new species of humans of the palsied and geekish type will take up a new existence under the ground. There they will go from day to day, banging at rocks and speaking to one another in outlandish Yorkshire dialects, complete oblivious to the sunlit lands above them.

The appeal of Time Team is patently obvious: there is no appeal. The participants do dirty work, get excited at rubbish, and end up discovering nothing. Seriously! Here's the one piece of dialogue I remembered from the show last night:

(Voiceover)

TONY ROBINSON: In the first pit, they didn't find anything. In the second pit, they were had high hopes of finding a slag pit, but were disappointed. And in the third pit...

(Cut to Tony Robinson standing in field next to his archeological team)

TONY ROBINSON: Well, did you find anything?

ARCHEOLOGIST DUDE: Nothing interesting, no.

TONY ROBINSON: Oh.

As an insight into the lives of the geekish and palsied (which I am becoming more and more like each day), it's invaluable. As a scientific or education program, it's worth is more questionable. If Schadenfraude is revelling ion another person's pain, then how, exactly, could you describe a person who is revelling in another's freakishness? This is the attraction of Time Team.

Naturally, I'll be returning next week. It's riveting viewing. Or should that be calcifying viewing? Or petrifying?



Say! This looks like a perfectly innocent bit of ground. Let's dig a hole in it!

A blogger dies

I was surprised and sorry today to read that Charles Murton has died.

Is it possible to miss a person you have never met? I think it might be. I'd been a regular reader of Charles' blog, Diogenes Lamp, since some time after its inception. He was a staunch conservative, but not an ideologue - I think he always had an ability to reach out and engage with his readers, if they were interested in dialogue. He loved public transport and old architecture and would write about them eloquently; he had a great wit, and made a habit of collecting mixed metaphors and quotes. Commentor Joe gets it right here, I think, when he says that Charles died before his time.

Thus I
Pass by
And die
As one
Unknown
And gone
I'm made
A shade
And laid
In th'grave
There have
My cave
Wheretell
I dwell
Farewell.

- Robert Herrick

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Self-yelp books

I'm on sick leave today, after having foolishly gone to work yesterday and alternately shivered and sweated my way through the morning. Eventually M. felt so sorry for me that she sent me off on an early-mark, pointing a rifle (but only a small one) at my head and cooing in sympathetic tones, "Get thee hence, blaggard, and take thy noxious fumes with thee!"

So now, I have the internet available at the switch of a button, several books at my side, and a copy of John Adair's masterwork in that rightfully, if not frightfully neglected genre, self-help, open at my side. 'Effective Decision-Making: a guide to thinking for management success' is a boon to a person in any profession. Let's apply some of its tips to some commonplace jobs, shall we?

1. Barbarian


Well, Conan certainly was in something of a fix when he found himself surrounded by the savage Skeletal Hordes of Earl Garlok Garrchnagyar, but after reflecting to himself briefly, he remembered this passage from 'Effective Decision-Making':

Imaginative thinking in action

... When a famous football player is being praised for playing imaginatively, he is not being praised for fantasising in his armchair or writing novels about football. Rather ... he is quick to anticipate, to see and act upon things out of the ordinary. He surprises his opponents and yet is not taken by surprise. He exploits the unexpected and the lack of routine.


By applying imaginative fighting skills to his task of Barbarianhood, Conan was able to escape with little more than a severed hand and a bruised toe. The hand was later restored by the Enchater Princess Marmagudilion, but his toe remains bruised to this day.

2. Lion-taming!



It's man against the King of Beasts in a terrifying tussle that could result in sanguinary death, with the floors flowing with the blood of the lion-tamer! There's many a lion-tamer that has been bettered by his beast-like companions in the circus arena, and none more so than this nameless lion-tamer, who finds himself confronted by several starving carnivores, baying for his blood!

Thankfully, the tamer remembered the following passage in 'Effective Decision-Making'...

Trusting your intuition

If you are now inclined to be more aware and to give more status to intuition in thinking you have already taken the first step towards making better use of it. The next is to learn to trust your intuitive powers. That does not mean always, nor does it mean occasionally, because one cannot generalise about how often you should do it. But you should be prepared to give your intuition the benefit of the doubt...


In this case, the lion-tamer had a sudden intuitive idea that perhaps the best way to distract the lions would be to shout loudly for help while walking to the cage door. However, as it turns out, he should not have used his intuition in this case, as the lions were only driven further into fury and ripped his throat out there and then.

3. Farmer


In many cases, an ordinary job - farmer, for instance - may seem utterly simple and mundane. But it's surprising how circumstances may call on you to make a quick and effective decision, and think your way to management success! For instance, as documented in the film Black Sheep, you might find yourself suddenly the owner of a flock of savage Were-Sheep, one of which is standing on the top of your car baying for your blood. What are you to do in this case?

Developing a range of options

... The word feasible is crucially important because it saves you time. When it comes to scanning options it helps immeasurably if you know what you're looking for.... The first task is to sort out the feasible options from the greater number of possible options... Then you proceed by elimination.


In this case, two of the possible options were shooting a gun through the roof at the Were-Sheep, or driving through the sheep; but both turned out not to be feasible. (In the first case, the bullet would possibly richochet of the roof; in the second case, there were too many sheep to drive through.)

So our farmers therefore chose a third option: sit there and wait to be turned into Were-Sheep. It wasn't a very good option, but later in their existence as half-man, half-sheep, half-wolf (I don't know how that's possible, but it is) they were able to utilise their experience in effective decision-making and become successful owners of independent, organic human-meat factories.

***

As for myself, I made another important and effective-decision just recently: I put a torch to John Adair's book, Effective decision-making, and used it to boil my coffee. I'm sure that, in time, this will turn out to be a stunning, life-changing, and, dare we say, important managerial decision. I mean, making decisions in the workplace is one thing, but coffee is what's really important.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Consumerism is evil! Here, have a newspaper.

Well, it's almost time for The Age Melbourne Fringe Festival. Now, this may sound like just another cynical advertising opportunity for The Age, just like The Age Melbourne Writers' Festival or The Age Melbourne Film Festival or The Age Melbourne Comedy Festival or The Age Melbourne Arts Festival. But let me tell you, just because the title of the festival has The Age in it, we shouldn't dismiss The Age out of hand (the festival is another matter). The Age would never indulge in such cynical marketing ploys in order to put the name The Age in front of every major event in Melbourne. No! The Age is a completely objective and unbiased newspaper, and The Age would certainly never participate in this spectacle of capitalist Consumerism. Certainly, everyone in Melbourne should thank The Age that The Age continues to exist in Melbourne, because if it wasn't for the The Age, then where would Melbourne be? We certainly wouldn't have The Age, and we probably wouldn't have The Age fringe festival either!

PS The Age.

Precisamundly

I was leafing through a copy of Opera-Opera (doesn't everyone?) and noticed that amongst their other features they had an Opera of the Month. What a brilliant concept! Maybe I should have an Opera of the Month on this website too. As a matter of fact, the month wouldn't be the same without an Opera of the Month, though I'm a little worried having an Opera of the Month would take up too much of my time. Maybe I should have a Month of Opera instead? What does everyone think? I could start off with ancient Greek opera and progress through until I've reached German expressionist opera and then stop.

Then again, if I had a Month of Opera, it could get in the way of another planned feature of mine, my Word of the Week. Word of the Week would be just like Word of the Day only weekly, and I think it would slot in quite nicely with another plan I have for this website, to have a Quote for the Fortnight. Then again, maybe that's a bit confusing, and I should just have a Quote for the Fortnight of the Day, or maybe a Day of Quotes of the Fortnight. Hmmm. Have to think about that one a little bit more.

I'm also planning a feature for this website called the Biweekly Annual Month of the Hour, which would be featured every afternoon at the crack of dawn. I'm not sure what my first Biweekly Annual Month of the Hour would be yet, but I'm sure we'll work out something when it comes to it. The way I see it, the Biweekly Annual Month of the Hour would complement nicely an ongoing feature on this website, the Quantum Mechanical Particle of the Nanosecond (at the moment, it's leptons!)

So basically, I've got it all planned out except for mere details, which I'll get to later. In the meantime, I wish you a happy hour of the day, and day of the hour, whatever day of the day of the hour that happens to be.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

This rental life

This morning I blearily stumbled out of bed and down the hall until the kitchen got in my way. Finding that I didn't have enough of my own coffee, I grasped blindly among the plastic tupperware at the top of the fridge until I found my flatmate's bag of year old coffee. Yawning madly, I scraped the mould off the top of the coffee, threw away the coffee, and drank the mould. I know better than to put year-old coffee into my stomach.

Perhaps this may shock you, but if you don't tell my flatmate he won't know. After over a year renting the same place, I've become completely barbaric in my ways. I sleep on sackcloth and ashes at night, though in the past month or so I've had to throw my sackcloth away. Meanwhile, the situation with my books is becoming ridiculous. I've taken to stacking them up in the fridge and the freezer. The other day, I caught my flatmate cutting up a thin stew based on two volumes of Herodotus, having only before finished mopping up the gravy with an original copy of Aristophanes The Wasps. It was only after the strongest denunciations and the fiercest perorations that I was able to persuade him to have it with salt.

All this is by the by, one of the joys of sharehousing. But I have to admit, when my flatmate started grumbling to me the other day about cleaning and bills and a List of Duties that we both had to draw up, I said to myself, "Tim: it's time to move out."
After all, if I'm going to keep paying the bills, I want the pure masochistic thrill of having my last cent wrung out of me by electricity executives and water bureaucrats all to myself.

I'll keep you updated...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

My life, so much better than mycosis

Jolly fine musings on the autobiographical art by the Lexiconiclast:

I was reading this here book about how to write your life. How to write your life retrospectively, that is. I don't bother with books about how to write your life prospectively, as I already happen to be the world's foremost authority on writing my life before it happens. (Not, mind you, in some sort of spooky prophetic time-bending sense; more in the "having imaginary conversations with absent friends/adversaries/gurus, wherein I come across all witty and bilingual and have compliant hair, in the hope that when the moment of embodied colloquy actually falls upon us [me and the friend/adversary/guru], I do not appear to have a mouth full of turnip" sense.)

I happen to indulge in the much-neglected art form of 'writing your life prospectively' quite often. Which is to say that I don't write your life prospectively*, but I do with my own. Repeatedly.

To illustrate, let me give you a few simple scenarios from my day to day life. In order to endanger the innocent, names have been kept the same and details have not been changed.

SCENARIO ONE
TIM GOES DOWN TO THE SHOPS TO BUY TOILET ROLLS

PROSPECTIVELY
Munching my breakfast cereal, perhaps, I contemplate the situation as it will undoubtedly unfold. Striding down the street cheerily, I will be greeted by the sweet carolling of the birds and the cheery waves and smiles of Coburg's quaint but loveable denizens. I will nod and grin and eloquent and witty words of benediction and love will fly freely from my lips as I salute the goodly citizens while entering the shopping centre. Then, I shall walk happily to the shelves, grasp the toilet rolls, stride to the nearest checkout behind which shall stand the Goddess Aphrodite, winsomely radiating beauty and love to all who see her. There will follow a few lines of scintillating dialogue between us (the script details are to be finalised, but I can say at this point that it will be just like William Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights Dream, only better written) after which I will deposit the requisite amount of change at the counter and leave triumphantly.

RETROSPECTIVELY
Stumbling like a wretched vagabond from out of the glaring fluorescent lights of my nearest suburban shopping centre, I shall collapse exhaustedly to the ground before shrieking out in an insane delirium: "Oh GOD! NEVER LET ME GO BACK THERE AGAIN!" With upturned palms, I grasp onto the nearest object, which just happens to be a wedding guest, and I hold him with my glittering eye while relating a long catalogue of the horrors I have just experienced. (I've got the whole thing worked out except for the mere words: suffice to say that it will be similar to Dante's Inferno, only more moving, and like Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, only more imaginative.)

AS IT HAPPENED
There are one or two spots of rain as I leave my house. There's a Coburg weirdo standing in his garden doing nothing. The queues at the shopping centre are a bit long for this time in the morning. When I get to the shelf I'm not sure whether to take home brand toilet paper or something else, and spend some time musing on what my bottom would say on the matter if it could say anything. The kid at the checkout counter spends two minutes trying to cram the toilet paper into a flimsy plastic bag. I need five cents more for exact change and end up having to get the toilet paper out on Eftpos. I pick my nose absent-mindedly. The muzak they are playing on the store radio makes me feel slightly queasy.

SCENARIO TWO
TIM RINGS UP AUSTRALIA POST TO COMPLAIN ABOUT DELIVERY PROBLEMS

PROSPECTIVELY
Leafing through a copy of my two-weeks old New Yorker as I lie in a relaxed manner on the couch, I envision the scene as it is definitely, absolutely and without a doubt going to unfold. After punching an easily-remembered sequence of numbers into the phone, I will almost immediately be put onto an operator to deal with my problem. The conversation will go as follows:

ME: Hello!
OPERATOR: Hello!

It's hard to believe, but the rest of the dialogue, yet to be written down, will be even wittier! After a few diplomatic jokes by me, I will make some respectful yet pointed comments and sharp observations. The operator on the other end will readily agree to my observations, and apologise for the series of ridiculous bureaucratic blunders and appalling oversights that led to this reprehensible lack of service on their part. I will happily forgive them, and look forward to a future free from the blight of magazines that are not delivered on time...

RETROSPECTIVELY
Placing the phone back on the hook, I will collapse to the floor in exhaustion and despair. I will utter no words, but the look on my eye will convey my feelings exactly: more or less the same state of mind Winston was in at the end of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, Joseph K in The Trial, (or perhaps it would be more like Bertie Wooster if Jeeves ever left him. The details are, of course, slight and unimportant.)

AS IT HAPPENED
I press several numbers into the phone. I get onto a robot voice rather than a real one. After pressing several numbers with an increasing presentiment of deja vu, I finally get put onto a real operator. We both swear at one another to see who will hang up first. I pick my nose absent-mindedly. He hangs up.

SCENARIO THREE
TIM COOKS A MEAL

PROSPECTIVELY
I squint at the frying pans and sigh happily as I foresee the repast as it will unfold before me. You remember Volpone's song to Celia?

The heads of parrots, tongue of nightingales,
The brains of peacocks, and of estriches,
Shall be our food; and, could we get the phoenix,
Though nature lost her kind, she were our dish.
If thou hast wisdom, hear me, Celia.
Thy baths shall be the juice of gillyflowers,
Spirit of roses, and of violets,
The milk of unicorns, and panthers' breath
Gathered in bags, and mixed with Cretan wines.
Our drink shall be preparèd gold and amber,
Which we will take until my roof whirl round
With the vertigo; and my dwarf shall dance,
My eunuch sing, my fool make up the antic.
Whilst we, in changèd shapes, act Ovid's tales,
Thou like Europa now, and I like Jove,
Then I like Mars, and thou like Erycine;
So of the rest, till we have quite run through,
And wearied all the fables of the gods.


Well, we'll have none of that crap. My meal will actually taste good.

RETROSPECTIVELY
The ambulance rushes me to the hospital straight after the meal, and I will only be restored to life by the ministrations of forty doctors and seventy-three chefs from top-class Richmond restaurants. But it was a close thing, a very close thing.

AS IT HAPPENED
I discover I have only got two eggs and a glass of five month-old lard in the fridge with a fly in it. The eggs char but apart from that they don't taste too bad.

***

Biography: prospectively, retrospectively and as it happened. Which offers the most realistic and scientific representation of our life? Who can say? But I know which one I'd rather be living...

*Not until I become dictator, that is. Don't tell anyone about my plans, though. The time is not yet ripe.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Gnuts to ewe!

Dale Slamma has an interesting challenge on her blog. She's compiling a list of words that sound like they start with a different letter. Some examples so far include

Aeon
Gnarled
Pseudonym
Xylophone

She's not putting another post up until she gets one word for each letter of the alphabet, a dictionary of wrong words for the right letter (or should that be right words for the wrong letter?) Anyway, I've contributed a few because I just linked her blog yesterday and I'd look silly if she never posted again, wouldn't I? (Don't answer that.) Why don't you go over and see if you can suggest any? I suspect she's going to get caught up on 'F', but we'll see.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Just keep Dexter the bloody friendly robot out of it and I'm happy

As blood to the vampire, as flesh to the werewolf, so are children's game shows to me. They are my morphine, my opaline, my laudanum, my whisky, my nicotine, my crack. I love them. It is for the heady victories, the dazzling falls from grace, the sudden tantrums, the tears, the triumphs that I long. The winner will be heaped in praise! The loser will be cast into the outer darkness!

It is because children treat victory and defeat with the seriousness it deserves: an adult is forced to stand in front of millions of television viewers after the ignominy of losing - losing! - at the Wheel of Fortune or Family Feud, and shrug his or her shoulders. Only a child can truly give vent to their feelings on such an occasion, and allow the full virtues and vices of their natures to come to the fore.

It is perhaps wrong of me to admit this. I’ll get over it.

It all began two years ago with Australia’s Brainiest Kid. The concept was devilishly simple: children from all over the nation cast into the gladiatorial arena in an ultimate blood feud! There could be only one victor! To one would fall worshipful glory; to the other, shame, despite, and ignominy. The victor would feast upon the losers tears and be feted nation-wide; the loser, thrown to the lions!

I was reminded, again, of my addiction two weeks ago when, on The Einstein Factor, children were invited on to talk about their subject areas. Appropriately enough, the subjects chosen ranged from cane toads to children’s literature to Nazi Germany. Tony T caught a bit I didn't:

Bizarre episode of the Einstein Factor last week. In a Smart Kids contest, three youngsters, one boy and two girls, were on deck to strut their stuff. The boy's special subject was Gary Kasparov and he blitzed. Can't remember what the first girl's topic was (TT: Boynton reminds me it was frogs of FNQ, or more accurately after looking it up accurately, Frogs of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. What fool said all girls think about is boys? It's not easy being teen. Teen, green: that's a joke, boy. I keep pitchin' 'em, ya keep missin' 'em.), and anyway, she was a strange zombie child. The second girl must have thought she was on Straya's Top Model the way she kept tossing he hair, but interestingly, her special subject was Adolf Hitler. She did fairly well, but at the end Barry Jones asked her "What text would you recommend as a starting point on Hitler?" To which she replied "Mein Kampf. That way you can see where he's coming from." I'm sure she didn't mean it to come out like that, but what if she did? Either way it stunned Barry, the other two panel members and Peter Berner into an embarrassed silence.

But on that night, the boy’s braces gleamed with the light of victory…

My addiction has reached virtually unmanageable levels in the past couple of days with the show Hotspell on SBS. A spelling bee program! I sat, in equal parts horror and elation, watching children stumble over letters, snaring themselves on syllables, clashing with consonants. When asked to spell ‘Inauspicious’, one contestant replied:

“I-N-I-S-P-I-S-I-O-U-S. Unauspicious!”

Another somehow misinterpreted the word ‘vivacious’ thus:

“P-E-R-V-A-T-I-O-U-S.”

But, horror of horrors! one child was asked to spell ‘Tawny’. He answered:

"T-O-U-R-N-E-Y."

An acceptable spelling - look it up in the dictionary if you don't believe me. He had no way of knowing as the word was not used in a sentence, and no way of asking as it was in the speed round.

Another child, similarly, got caught on the word ‘Cornice’. The child replied, sensibly:

"C-O-R-N-I-C-E."

The presenter was also unable to pronounce himself – ‘Timbre’, properly pronounced ‘taem-be’, was pronounced ‘tim-ber’, causing the child contestant to answer:

"T-I-M-B-E-R."

Terrible! After all, why should one's enjoyment of bloodsport or shows of public humiliation and embarassment be ruined by poor production values or thoughtless presenters? Exactly.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Disgracing you with his presence

WANTED: KNOWN CRIMINAL

Tim T
Alias 'Bow Tie' Man
Alias 'Get Out Of The Way, Idiot'


FOR CRIMES AGAINST FASHION





He is often seen fraternising with Melbourne postboxes:



Or performing perverted acts with various publications:





He has recently been seen discussing philosophy with others on Spring Street:



He may be fraternising with communists.



He is NOT TO BE TRUSTED.





No-one knows why he's taken to walking about the streets of Melbourne in this way. He is quite possibly insane.

If you see him, report it to the authorities and/or run screaming in the opposite direction.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

History Segment! (Again)!

The 19th Century Mobile Telephone

Not many people know this, but there was a time, quite recently, when mobile telephones were not as widespread as they were today. For instance, in the 19th century, mobile telephones were only available to the very rich! This is because the owner of a mobile telephone had to take with them:

A recently invented Alexander Graham Bell telephone



For text messages, a live telegraph and telegraph operator



And a personal trans-Atlantic cable in order to link yourself up to other telegraph users.



It was all most inconvenient, and people who owned a mobile telephone usually put all the telegraph operators and trans-Atlantic cable engineers in a big house in the countryside while they gallivanted about and did their own thing. It was only with the invention of microchip technology in the late 20th century that scientists were able to work out how to shrink the telegraph operators and put them inside the phone itself that the mobile phone, as we know it today, was invented.

So there you go!

Blogging in the Augustan Age

In the Augustan age, as odd as it might seem, the modern internet, as we know of it, did not exist. Rather, blogs were sent to one another in small chunks of html text by a small coterie of in-the-know fops and dandies who were held in suspicion by the greater public. Their favoured method of communication was carrier pigeon.



It was a little slower than dial-up.

Now isn't that interesting?

The era of Nintendo

Before the era of Nintendo, little geeks and nerds the world over had nothing to stimulate them, so they just sat in a corner and cried. Without little electronic buttons to push, their hands would eventually drop off, and they died soon afterwards.



Thankfully, Nintendo ushered in a new era where geek children the world over could happily make a contribution to society by sitting in front of a computer screen and pushing little buttons for hours on end.



And thank heavens for that!
Email: timhtrain - at - yahoo.com.au

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Me person. Live in world. Like stuff. Need job. Need BRAINS! (DROOLS IN THE MANNER OF ZOMBIES) Ergggggh ...