Monday, January 30, 2006


To: All Staff

From: Management


It has come the attention of Management that several examples of unprofessional behaviour have been demonstrated in the office of late. While it is true that much of this behaviour might be classed as ‘involuntary’, it is nevertheless unacceptable. We are a quality company proactively pursuing excellence in customer service, and do not consider these activities to be part of a ‘best practice’ mentality. With this in mind, please be aware of the company’s policy on the following:

1. Slouching

The company has spent considerable amounts of money on ergonomic chairs covered in eye-catching fabrics, in order to encourage good employee posture. However the way some of you slump over your desks, one would think you were Muppets who’d had the hand suddenly ripped from your arses. The company requires employees to exercise good posture, displaying that alert, straight-backed demeanour favoured by ceremonial guards, meerkats and electrocution victims the world over.

2. Yawning

The company appreciates that staring at a spreadsheet for eight hours is about as exciting as an Andy Warhol film. However, yawning is not a professional activity and must be eliminated from all workstations. To this end, the company is enacting a program of Pavlovian behaviour modification, in which any employee found yawning will have his or her lips stapled together. Actually, that’s not really Pavlovian, is it? Well, as long as it works.

3. Blushing

It has been noted on several occasions that employees have been blushing during meetings with clients. For example, this has been occurring while promising that the paper work that we shredded last week is in the mail, or protesting that we never knew that our sweatshops in Asia even existed, or claiming that the brake pads we make from stale tofu aren’t made of stale tofu. This blushing is clearly a breach of our Code of Conduct statement, and frankly demonstrates a narrow definition of morality that will be remembered come performance review time.

4. Sweating

Despite the recent upgrades to the air-conditioning system, we have noticed staff in the Accounting Department sweating. This unprofessional behaviour has been occurring during interviews with auditors, representatives of the FBI, and various swarthy men in dark suits and too much gold jewellery. If employees cannot keep their personal fluids in their bodies, the company reserves the right to take on the responsibility, and we would remind staff that our trials with freeze-drying recalcitrant employees from Sales have proven very successful.

5. Weeping

Weeping is not an acceptable practice in any part of the building. While the company understands that the soul-destroying nature of your work and the cold depravity of the corporate machine invariably drive you to tears, crying does not enhance the professional, quality image we are trying to project. Nor, for that matter, does wailing, or gnashing of teeth, or rending of garments. Management has decided to tackle this weeping head-on, and is forthwith issuing every employee with a ceramic beverage mug bearing the slogan, “You don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps!” That should cheer you all up.

Please be advised that the behaviours listed above are hereby banned within the company offices. We require you to have a neat, friendly, ‘can-do’ attitude at all times, and we are prepared to sacrifice your children to Cthlnagog, the dark and bloodthirsty god of business, if you don’t.

That is all.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


FAQs about 'Women of the Prehistoric Planet'

Where were the women?

It's just a title. Get over it.

What was the deal with Lt. Bradley?

Bradley was supposedly the ship's Chief Engineer, a job he was presumably offered after his position as ship's Bad Borsch-Belt Comedian was abolished in the last round of budget cuts. If his wacky antics and superannuated gags (twenty years out of date even in 1966) don't have you rolling in the aisles... then good for you.

Seriously; where were the women? It was called 'Women of the Prehistoric Planet' but the men outnumbered the women by about five to one!

Well duh! Nobody's going to pay good money to see a movie called 'Men of the Prehistoric Planet', are they?

Why is the Admiral so incoherent?

As anyone who has seen Marlon Brando in 'Superman' or Dustin Hoffman in 'Death of a Salesman' will know, incoherent mumbling is a sign of great acting. Thus judging by his slurred monologues, Wendell Corey was obviously a great actor. How else would he have landed the roles in the big movies such as 'The Astro-Zombies', 'Cyborg 2087' and 'Man-Eater of Kumaon'?

It's also been suggested that he didn't walk onto set without marinating for three hours in bourbon first, but that's just scurrilous gossip.

When the explorers came to the pond of boiling acid, why did they cross it on the wobbly log, rather than just walking around the edge, which was about two metres to their left?

My theory is that in the mid-1960s everybody was short-sighted, and thus the film crew assumed that no one in the audience would be able to see far enough into the background to notice the convenient path around the pond.

The only other explanation is that the scriptwriter really, really wanted to have a man-falling-into-pond-of-boiling-acid scene, and wasn't about to let logic get in his way.

Hey! John Agar's in it!

That's not a question, but yes. I suspect that all movie studios in the 1950s and 60s were contractually obliged to hire John Agar if they were making a sci-fi movie with a budget less than the value of the loose change under Roger Corman's couch cushions.

Why did they leave Tang and Linda behind when they left the planet?

There's no logical reason. It was just in the script. Also after eighteen years of running around the prehistoric planet in a skimpy leather tunic, Tang balked at the ship's regulations about wearing pants.

So the prehistoric planet was actually Earth?

Apparently. In the final seconds of the movie, Admiral Mumbles gains coherence long enough to wish Tang and Linda well and announce that the planet will henceforth be named 'Earth', presumably because it's a giant dirtball. So it turns out that these are actually aliens in our past, not humans in our future!

It also means that the human race was descended from a guy named after a revolting powdered drink mix. Yay us.

I still don't see why it was called 'Women of the Prehistoric Planet' when there was only one woman left behind on it.

But the human race evolved from that one woman. Thus the women of the prehistoric planet could be said to include Paris Hilton, Anna Nicole Smith, Germaine Greer and Australian Greens senator Kerry Nettle.

Gee, thanks.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Over the weekend I decided to splurge and pick up that expensive and not entirely practical table I'd seen in the antique store.

plane table cropped

I did need a table for this end of the couch. So it's not really a completely frivolous purchase!

It's very cool, and way too stylish for the likes of me, but having discussed its provenance with the shop owner my inner historian tut-tuts about it. It was originally an ashtray table, circa 1935, but as smoking has fallen out of favour demand for such items has dwindled. So the shop owner took the ashtray off, and replaced it with a piece of contemporous trench art that he'd acquired at auction. The two are from roughly the same era, and they look good together, but they don't technically belong.

plane table detail

Not many coffee tables come with their own kamikaze attacks!

I guess all that does is make it a historical art object rather than a proper antique. And in 100 years' time, the fact that it was cobbled together in 2006 will only add to the rich tapestry of its heritage, like having bakelite light switches in a 19th century house.

Monday, January 23, 2006


"Short flabby 37yo Single White Male, dresses well, talks posh, has own scooter and teeth, seeks cashed up benefactor for 'assistance'. Will do whatever it takes to make enough money to buy lifesized plastic replica of puppet from obscure foreign cable TV show."


At a party on Saturday night I bumped into a bloke I haven’t seen for a year or so. If I wasn’t actually happy to see him, I was at least ambivalent. It was good to know that he was still alive and not horribly disfigured or anything. He came over to where I was sitting, perched on a little stone wall around an ornamental fish pond, and we started chatting. At first I felt nothing but the mildly warm glow of familiarity, but I should have been warned by the fact that the people around me bolted, or became fascinated by the canapés, or spontaneously faked their own deaths to avoid him.

I discovered that his neighbour had once worked for my father, and that his housemate’s mother was about to undergo chemotherapy, and that he’d just taken a holiday on the east coast. Nothing particularly interesting, but all in all pretty harmless stuff. However, as the conversation progressed, it slowly dawned on me that I wasn’t actually saying anything, other than “uh-huh.”

It turned out that over the course of the last year or so, I’d completely forgotten just how skilfully this bloke manages to combine extreme dullness with conversational monopoly.

To make matters worse, I’m on a diet, and thus was not allowed the sweet, soothing comfort of booze in my hour of need. I had to content myself with a nearby bottle of Coke Zero, thus sustaining aspartame poisoning sufficient to kill me, and a caffeine buzz strong enough to bring me back to life again.

The thing about a boring conversation monopolist is that actually stopping their raging torrent is not an option, unless you’re iron-willed and disciplined enough to be horrendously rude. The best you can hope for is to channel the flow. At a certain point, I suddenly sensed that we’d reached the periphery of one of this bloke’s favourite topics. I looked him in the eye. We both knew what was to come. We stood, like 19th century explorers, before a vast prairie of tedium. Once we entered there was no guarantee that we would ever leave.

I realised I had to act, before we were lost forever in those endless, sun-baked, monotonous plains. Thinking fast, I interrupted his current monologue with a question about a different area of his life, cleverly worded, if I do say so myself, to seem like a logical extension of what he was saying.

He actually faltered, for the first time in twenty minutes. This from a bloke who had earlier had a coughing fit and still managed to keep talking throughout. The broad meadows of stupefying anecdotes lay before him, tantalisingly within reach, but he couldn’t just ignore the question, and after all, it still offered him an opportunity to talk about himself. He changed mental gears with an almost discernable crunch, and answered my question in such a way that it segued into a long, dull personal tale.

But I’d done it. I was still bored, but at least I would live to see another day. And a little while later I had my chance, as the host interrupted us with a platter of won tons, and I managed to feign diphtheria and make my escape.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


What do you get if you put Mamie van Doren, Paul Anka, The Platters, Mel Torme, the useless sons of a handful of Depression-era comedians and the cinematic sub-genre of "Girls Gone Bad" into a blender and hit the 'frappe' button? That's right; the end of civilisation as we know it! Or, if it happens to be 1959, 'Girls Town'!

Mamie van Doren, sporting enough peroxide to bleach a mammoth, is accused of the murder of Chip, scion of a wealthy local family. There's no evidence against her, but this is the 1950s, when looking like a cheap tramp meant that you were probably guilty of everything going.

So Mamie is collected by Mother Veronica, x-treme nun, and taken off to Girls Town, which oddly enough resembles a small but expensive Ivy League college. Mother Veronica is a feisty but kindly old Catholic penguin, and treats Mamie with gentleness and patience, which is more than can be said for the other girls, who are either evil, bat-shit crazy or, in one unfortunate case, sporting an extra chromosome. Yikes! Poor Mamie soon finds out that Girls Town isn't all giggling, pillow fights, doing each other's hair and talking about boys.

Mamie needs a friend, so she takes Serafina, who falls into the 'bat-shit crazy' category, under her wing. Serafina is in love with Paul Anka, who, by using every ounce of his acting ability in his first motion picture role, plays a singing teen heartthrob named Jimmy. Paul Anka tries to be nice and let Serafina down gently, but her love is of the weird, obsessive, bunny-boiling kind, and frankly I doubt she'll be satisfied until she's made couch cushions out of his skin.

Because he's so nice, Paul Anka agrees to help the girls prove that Mamie is innocent, which mainly involves him running errands in his car. Perhaps to compensate for only being 5'5", Paul Anka gets about in the largest car ever built by human hands. It has two doors, no roof, and its own postcode. Each one of its tail fins contains more steel than an entire Honda Civic, and poor little Paul Anka rattles around in it like a lost button in a tumble dryer.

Meanwhile, there's a single witness to Chip's death, and that's wealthy young buck Mel Torme. He's a cad, but as he drives a gorgeous Jaguar XK-120 roadster, it's very difficult to hate him. It's hard to say exactly what Mel Torme is supposed to be; he seems to act like a teenager, but he was 34 years old at the time of filming, and looked about 50 for most of his life, what with his sparse hair and a chin that seems to be attempting to recede into the back of his throat. Maybe he was supposed to be somebody's Dad standing in for his delinquent son while the latter was at reform school? Who knows?

It eventually transpires that Mamie's kid sister, another good time girl with an overdeveloped relationship with the peroxide bottle, was the one Mel Torme saw with Chip on the night he died. It further transpires that Chip's death was an accident. Mamie is vindicated, as long as she can persuade Mel to testify in her defence. Mel is reluctant, but he caves as soon as he realises that she's backed up by nuns, a schoolgirl who knows judo, Paul Anka, and the pomade in Paul Anka's hair (which weighs more than he does, thus technically making it an independent entity).

The film ends with a wiser, more accepting Mamie leaving Girls Town and heading off into her future with her sister and Paul Anka in his Cadillac Brontosaurus. The closing credits kick in before the inevitable scene of a jealousy-crazed Serafina taking them all out with a sniper rifle from the Girls Town bell tower.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I realise that I do a lot of moaning and snarking in this blog, so I occasionally like to leaven all that negativity with something unabashedly positive.

So, on the weekend I went to the greengrocer's, and I found them selling sweet, juicy, fragrant mangoes for less than a dollar each. Naturally I bought seven. When I got them home I left them on the kitchen bench for a few hours, and soon the whole house was filled with their wonderful, sultry scent.

Since then I've been having one each evening after dinner. I slice off the sides with a sharp knife, then score them and push them inside out, so that the amber-golden flesh pops up in perfect little cubes. They are so tender and ripe that all it takes to separate the flesh from the skin is the tip of my tongue.

Then follows MANGO BLISS!

I can see why people get so worked up about them.


Being male, I have very little knowledge about the Semiotics of the Handbag, and as such I know that I should never buy one as a gift for female relatives and friends. It's inevitable that I would buy something that I considered quite nice, only to have it regarded with horror and scorn by the recipient. It is the nature of things. That's why my sisters got kitchenware for Christmas.

But even from my lowly male state, I know enough to understand why a friend in Melbourne went into conniptions when she received this from her sister.

the bag

I can put it no better than she put it herself: "It looks like the sort of thing an eight year old would buy for a transvestite."

Monday, January 16, 2006


Get On The Blandwagon! has been nominated for the 2006 Australian Blog Awards (Western Australian subcatagory). I've checked out the competition, and I think I can take 'em... especially since at least two of them have been discontinued. Go now and vote for me! If I do not have the approval of anonymous strangers then I have NOTHING!

My most serious rivals are Karen Cheng and Yobbo, both of whom write better than me and have more interesting things to say. This could be a problem, but not an insurmountable one. I am currently placing landmines outside the former's house, and posting the latter a selection of PETA commercials in the hope of causing his brain to explode. That should even up the old playing field.

But even if I don't win, I can rest comfortably in the knowledge that if there was a subcatagory for Best Blog Featuring Reviews Of Ten Year Old Cult TV Shows That Almost No One In This Country Has Seen, I'd be a shoe-in.


It can be difficult sometimes to keep track of what constitutes highbrow and lowbrow. On the one hand, it is possible to become so highly refined and elevated that things become lowbrow merely by virtue of the fact that Jerry Bruckheimer has heard of them. On the other hand, it is possible to become so vulgar and debased that you consider wearing shoes to be a snobby affectation.

I’m grateful, therefore, to the person who invented the term ‘middlebrow’, which helps to create a pivot point between low and high. If you want some examples from this part of the cultural spectrum; il Divo is middlebrow. Swooning over Mr Darcy (as played by Colin Firth) is middlebrow. Going to a Three Tenors concert is middlebrow. Joining a book club is middlebrow. And doing what I did on Saturday night – attending Shakespeare in the Park – is about as middlebrow as it is possible to get.

It was The Twelfth Night, one of Shakespeare’s romantic comedies. It’s a logical choice; after all, no one wants to see Richard III or Coriolanus on a pleasant summer evening, having just glutted oneself on brie and chardonnay. One wants amusing misunderstanding, pratfalls and madcap schemes. Put simply, one wants, if it is at all possible, When William Met Sally.

The show started with an “acknowledgment” of the Noongar people who used to live in the area, which appears to be quite the wank du jour amongst the enlightened classes. Personally I think it’s the racial equivalent of thinking yourself virtuous for giving your cleaning lady a $20 bonus at Christmas, and wish the patronising dickwads would hurry up and get over it. But that’s probably just me.

After that, it was an amusing enough show. You can’t ruin Shakespeare, but as the Deckchair Theatre demonstrated, you can bang out a fairly ham-fisted rendition of it. I wondered what the Noongar-worshipping thespians thought of their contented, picnic-stuffed, middle-class audience, as they raced through the script as if there was somewhere they all needed to be by 10.30pm. The actor playing Sir Toby Belch, ironically last seen doing anti drink-driving TV commercials for the state government, seemed to pay a little more attention to his plum role, but even then, when he played up his asides and ad libs to the audience, he directed them at the corporate seats, where sat executives and guests of the theatre company’s sponsors. Like Sir Toby, he knew the source of his daily bread and wine.

Besides attracting an audience whom you believe to be bovine suburbanites, there are other risks when performing outdoors. The acoustics aren’t very good, leaves blow onto the stage, and there’s always a danger of kamikaze kookaburras. However, that doesn’t excuse telegraphing jokes and overacting like you’re auditioning for a guest spot on a bad British sitcom. There were some nice touches, such as the initial shipwreck being represented by a picture of an ocean liner slowly falling off a wall like a two-dimensional Titanic, but they tended to be lost in the overall mood of, well, sleaze. And there was plenty of sleaze.

Like all of Shakespeare’s comedies, Twelfth Night can easily be played as a bawdy farce, but these people seemed intent on making it into a smutty teen sex comedy, complete with a whip-cracking leather queen who could have been a live action version of South Park’s Mr Slave. Ha ha ha, there’s a gay oral sex visual gag! Ho ho ho, there’s a masturbation joke! Hee hee hee, Malvolio is wearing bondage gear and undergoing prison rape! Ooh, such saucy fun!

Bawdiness is finding robust humour in the inherently ridiculous aspects of sex. Smuttiness is sniggering at something you think you shouldn’t. There’s a difference, people. Having seen this version of Twelfth Night, I’m uncomfortably reminded of this article on the pornification of public space.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Occasionally the boys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 manage to turn up a film so transcendently bad that even their stellar riffing can't make it interesting. One such film is 1956's 'Fire Maidens of Outer Space'.

You'd think that a film with a title like 'Fire Maidens of Outer Space' would be sort of fun. You'd think that a film with nubile 50s lovelies running about in very short skirts would at least hold some interest. You'd think that a film about sturdy American men in rockets discovering the lost city of Atlantis on another planet would provide some opportunities for action. But you'd be wrong.

So what exactly was the problem with 'Fire Maidens of Outer Space'? Actually there were five elements which contributed to its overall craptacularity:

The Sitting

To be fair, there was more than just sitting. There was also standing. Long, long shots of people sitting, or standing, in small clusters. Sometimes the shots were static. Sometimes the camera would slowly pan across them, then pause, and slowly pan back again. Sometimes they had dialogue and sometimes they didn't, although the script was so mind-bogglingly inane that it didn't really make any difference whether they were speaking or not.

The Music

When Alexander Borodin composed his Polovtsian Dances in 1869, he could not have suspected that they would be developed into the hit 1953 musical 'Kismet', nor that one of these reworked dances, now entitled 'Stranger in Paradise', would go on to become a well-loved popular song. Nor, in his wildest dreams, would he ever have imagined that it would be played about seven thousand freakin' times at completely inappropriate moments in a bad film about treacherous, sex-starved hussies on the thirteenth moon of Jupiter.

This is why Borodin didn't go insane.

The Dancing

The Fire Maidens were all obviously cast from Miss Clara Fenway's School of Beauty, Deportment & Dance, just off the interstate outside Boise, Idaho. They had a few dance scenes (usually to 'Stranger in Paradise') where, slightly out of step with each other, they would do their darndest to pad this unholy mess of a film out to the required 80 minutes. What a bunch of troopers.

The Walking

See: The Sitting. Only with motion.

The Completely Lame-Arsed Monster

As usual, it's a man in a suit. Or, to be more specific, a man in a black skivvy and dress pants, wearing the cheapest latex mask he could find. Bullets do not harm him, but as he never does anything more threatening than stand on the periphery of scenes going "Gaaaarrgg!" or occasionally man-handle a blonde, there's not all that much need to shoot him anyway.

Of course this being the 1950s they do shoot him, at every opportunity, but you get the impression that they're just going through the motions.


Last night I watched television, made dinner, cleaned the kitchen and finished reading the...

Wait a minute. That's exactly what I did on Monday night! Sweet merciful crap! My life has become a recursive loop of eating, cleaning, watching TV and finishing half-read novels! It's like something out of a bad episode of Dr Who... which is ironic, since I was watching bad episodes of Dr Who at the time!

At least the novel was better on this occasion. I finished the last 120 pages of 'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay' by Michael Chabon, which was lent to me many, many months ago by someone at my office.

Far better writers than I have reviewed the book, so I won't go into the intricacies of the plot here. Suffice to say that it's about two Jewish cousins, one an artist, the other a writer, who join forces to take part in the great New York comic book industry boom of the 1930s and 40s. Along the way they encounter Nazis, Orson Wells, the Empire State Building, an aircraft made of dog skins, surrealists, the Golem and too much more to mention.

The odd thing about my particular reading of the novel was that I put it down for a couple of months three quarters of the way through, just as the story's mood was turning. So when I picked it up, the comic elements of the first part were mostly forgotten and I found myself affected by its air of melancholy.The first three quarters of the novel tell of people striding into rooms declaring their outrageous intentions, then popping off to hobnob with movie stars and celebrities, then miraculously surviving disasters on little more than luck and coincidence. The last quarter, on the other hand, has people lying in beds staring at ceilings, or keeping themselves busy because any reflection would break their stoicism and lead to heartache. The last quarter is about loss, sacrifice and the soft, nagging fear that any innovative action on your part would break your world.

In the very end, hope appears in the distance for the three principal characters, which makes the story melancholy rather than just depressing. However it's the "I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow" hope, not the "O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come" hope, but I suppose it's better than nothing.

It made me sort of mopey. When I finished it I found myself tottering around the house at midnight, reflecting on the inadequacies of my own life, such as the fact that my DVD player is wearing out and refusing to play some of my dodgier Mystery Science Theatre 3000 episodes. O, the cruel hands of Fate.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


The suburb of Victoria Park, through which I commute every day, has been staggering towards gentrification for a while now. Unlike some suburbs, which go from International Roast to skinny soy latte in the space of ten years, ‘Vic Park’ is enduring a far longer and more arduous transition. This is possibly because it existed for so long as a bastion of protetarian interests, being a local centre for motorcycle parts suppliers, semi-legitimate used car dealerships, pubs, brothels, tattoo parlours and fortress-like pawn shops. The original inhabitants don’t seem at all willing to give it up.

But being only a stone’s throw from the city centre, crammed full of charming hundred year old cottages, and partly set on a hill with commanding views of the city and the river, gentrification is inevitable.

The latest front in the war for Vic Park is the Broken Hill Hotel, a turn of the century pub smack bang in the middle of the most upmarket area. It underwent renovations last year, replacing the old cheap, worn out, garish furnishings with the latest expensive, pristine examples of modernist restraint, so I decided to check it out the other day with my friend the interior designer.

Oddly enough, the process of renovation seems to have augmented the original set of obnoxious boofheads with a higher class of obnoxious boofhead. Basically the same, but with hair gel and more expensive shirts. It’s an uncomfortable mix – the boguns, labourers and semi-homeless lowlifes, and the fashion-conscious office workers, self-employed professionals and design groupies (like me), who are attracted to renovated pubs like blondes to a lottery winner.

There was also a surprising number of fiftysomething women – the office staff from the car dealerships and plumbing supply businesses, probably – but very few younger women, other than the barmaids. Maybe all the labourers, with their raucous swearing and threatening tattoos, roosting on the new terraces like squat, proprietary birds, made them nervous. Maybe it’s just that, like the New South Wales mining town from which it takes its name, the Broken Hill Hotel has a long history of being the sort of place where young women don’t venture alone.

In due course everything should work out. The sleek barstools, polished concrete and designer light fittings will niggle at the old guard, whispering, “This place is no longer yours. You don’t belong,” until, in dribs and drabs, they move on to the outer suburban taverns.

And if that doesn’t work, of course, the premium-priced beers should get rid of them.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


On the way to work this morning I was briefly behind a shiny Holden SS ute, the sort of pristine muscle car that never carries any cargo larger than a bottle of Jim Beam, and never experiences a dirt road unless it hits a particularly well-developed pothole. They can be seen all the time on the streets of Perth, usually driven by very young tradesmen who have suddenly started earning serious money, or middle-aged managers whose mid-life crises have taken a rather tragic turn.

However there were two things about this car which, taken together, made it stand out:

1) It had a pale grey Apple logo in the rear window

2) It was painted a gleaming, flawless white.

Sweet merciful crap, I thought. It's an iUte.

Maybe it's just me, but the idea of a nerd muscle car is deeply, deeply disturbing.


Last night I watched television, made dinner, cleaned the kitchen and finished reading the latest Harry Potter novel ("Harry Potter and the Absence of Plot").

That's it. Six hours and nothing to show for it but clean benchtops, a slightly firmer hatred of Bonnie Langford, and the certain knowledge that Top Gear's People Carrier Racing is the coolest motor sport ever.

Could I possibly have achieved less?

Monday, January 09, 2006


I just wandered past the desk of one of our secretaries, who had wrapped herself in a red woollen shawl to combat our very effective air conditioning.

"What's in the basket?" I asked her.

She looked up, confused. "What? What basket?"

"The one you're taking to grandma's house."

Note to self: do not mock women who have a) good aim and b) a hole punch within easy reach.


Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities links to what is without a doubt the best blonde joke ever.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Yesterday I received a late Christmas present from a friend who apparently understands me far, far too well.


X-RAY SPECS! Or rather X-RAY GOGS, presumably because X-RAY SPEC technology is copyrighted and jealously guarded by the good people at Acme Fraudulent Novelties.

As you can see from the packaging, X-RAY GOGS not only give you the power of X-ray vision, but also make you look like Dick York. Or Dick Sargent. One of the two, anyway.


And why would one need X-ray vision?


Busty but nervous brunettes, that's why! The whole point of X-ray glasses is to surreptitiously look through the clothes of attractive ladies, and so it has been ever since Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen perved on Marie Curie through her white lab coat and bakelite corsetry in 1895.

Given that fact, the design of these particular X-ray glasses leaves something to be desired. Frankly, having the words X-RAY GOGS spelled out in large letters across the lenses rather gives the game away. If an attractive lady notices you staring at her and salivating while wearing ordinary-looking glasses, she may simply assume that you are just a drooling halfwit and go about her business. However, if she sees you staring at her and salivating while wearing glasses clearly labelled X-RAY GOGS, she will no doubt conclude that you are a colossal pervert and contact the authorities. And who needs that kind of grief?

However, in the name of science, I was willing to risk legal proceedings and give these glasses a try. I put them on, and this is what I saw:


No one, in the history of human eyesight, ever bought X-ray glasses to look at hand bones. However this is merely misdirection, not outright fraud. I decided to humour them and do as they suggested.

Dim cardboard. Blurriness. The great white rectangle of my office's fluorescent light. A vague shape that was either my spread hand or a spider crawling across the lenses. Then I noticed that I could in fact sort of see darker bits of red in the middles of my fingers, and lighter bits of red on the sides. Wow! It really works! Time to find a busty but nervous brunette!

Although it's funny how X-ray vision looks a lot like an optical illusion utilising the principle of diffraction and the stereoscopic nature of human vision.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


'The Mighty Peking Man' was created in 1977 by the infamous Shaw Brothers, makers of Z-grade Hong Kong action movies, to capitalise on the hoopla surrounding the Dino De Laurentis remake of 'King Kong'. Like 'King Kong', 'The Mighty Peking Man' has a giant ape monster living like a king in his native land, worshipped and feared by the natives, who is taken by ship to the city, where he runs amok, climbs a skyscraper, batts at annoying aircraft, then falls to his death.

But if anyone was interested in that sort of thing, they'd see 'King Kong', not a dodgy Cantonese version with all the special effects expertise of an episode of The Muppet Show. The Shaw Brothers were canny enough to realise that they needed something special to make their movie stand out.

evelyn kraft

Enter Evelyn Kraft, hot blonde Swiss bikini babe, who plays Samantha, coincidentally also a hot blonde Swiss bikini babe. Lost in the jungle as a small child following a plane crash, Samantha was befriended and protected by Mighty Peking Man, and now spends her days capering about in a chamois bikini and full make-up. Her curious access to cosmetics suggests that either Avon Ladies have penetrated further into the jungle than previously suspected, or the plane crash from which Samantha was the sole survivor had been chartered by Mary Kay executives on their way to a convention. The poor girl probably survived for fifteen years on nothing but little packets of peanuts and four thousand non-toxic Tahitian Sunset lipsticks.

I was also moved to wonder where Samantha got her chamois bikini from, not to mention the animal skins that decorated her cave. Was there a tannery hidden just over the mountain, or did she synthesise her own tanning chemicals from nail polish remover, cold cream and Calvin Klein's Obsession?

But logic be damned - hot blonde Swiss bikini babes are only inserted into movies for one reason. Or, rather, two reasons. And thanks to structural deficiencies in her chamois bikini, Samantha's left reason decided to make its presence known on more than one occasion. It's difficult to believe that in her slow-motion-frolic-across-the-hillside scene, the editors didn't notice that her costume was proving itself incapable of keeping her under wraps. Or, for that matter, in the lean-in-the-car-window scene.

In fact, the editors probably did notice. They probably noticed a lot. And then they smiled.

However there's a lot more to 'The Mighty Peking Man' than Evelyn Kraft running around in a near-perpetual wardrobe malfunction. There are also the scenes of her dry humping a palm tree, eating an AFL football, and squirming petulantly when she's forced into something other than her chamois bikini - in this case a classy black leather and snakeskin micromini and bustier combination - because it's apparently better to look like a cheap hooker than a jungle girl.

Oh, and there's also a hero, a villain, a leopard who's been stripped of his dignity, and the most tentative elephant stampede ever filmed. But none of them wear chamois bikinis, so who the hell cares?