Monday, July 31, 2006


The Many Thoughts of Roxy, Heroine of 'Eegah'.


Ooh, my boyfriend is singing a song called 'Vicki'. It must be about me. Tee hee hee!


Now he's singing a song called 'Valerie'. It must be about me too. Tee hee hee!


I tell you I saw a giant caveman out on the highway! What, you think I have the intelligence and creativity to make something up?


Daddy, while you're out looking for the caveman, can you buy me a pony?


Hmm, we're going out into the desert to find my missing father. What shall I wear? I know; my swimsuit, a flimsy bathing jacket and silver highheeled sandals!




Let's see, I'm about to be raped by a caveman, so this must be the perfect time for some sub-screwball repartee with my campy father.


Actually, this takes me back to my sorority days.


Gosh, those fourteen years at Barber College really paid off!


Oops, there I go again! Consciousness is for squares!


Do I even have a job?


You know, Tommy, those little robots are right; you do look like a Cabbage Patch Elvis!

Thursday, July 27, 2006


MC Etcher accidentally gives us a glimpse into his private world, where apparently he prefers a firmer, more authoritative hand.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Here's what you're supposed to do... and please do not spoil the fun.

Hit forward, delete my answers and type in your answers. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know INCLUDING the person who sent it to you. The theory is that you will learn a lot of little-known facts about those who know you, like who slept with Jan from Payroll, and where the bodies are stashed .


A) Four jobs I have had in my life:

1. Personal Reality Assistant to Tom Cruise (fired).
2. Anal Probee on alien spacecraft 967-A (outsourced).
3. Mighty Emperor of the Atom People (deposed).
4. MST3K shill (current).

B) Four movies you would watch over and over:

1. Ethan Frome: The Musical!
2. Apocalypse Now, performed by squirrels, field mice and other small woodland creatures.
3. Anything with Uma Thurman before she got all thingy about screen nudity.
4. The Make-out King of Montana.

C) Four places you have lived besides where you live now:

1. In a womb.
2. Above Mr and Mrs Cunningham's garage.
3. Inside your walls.
4. In ancient Carpathia, where I was a humble blacksmith married to Shirley Maclaine.

D) Four TV shows you love to watch:

1. That one with that guy.
2. That other one with that guy, who used to be on that show.
3. That other one with that guy, who used to be on that show, except this one is in Miami.
4. That one with a guy and some robots in space watching bad movies. I can't remember what it's called.

E) Four places you have been on vacation:

1. Funkytown.
2. Paradise, but oddly enough I've never been to me.
3. Rio, but only when my baby smiles at me.
4. Melbourne.

F) Four websites I visit daily/most:

1. Get on the Bandwagon!: A Get on the Blandwagon! tribute site
2. The Daily Cos (warning NSFW lettuce porn)
3. the free email for people who think 'hotmail' sounds a little too risque
4. Charlene Ann Burlap's OMG ORLANDO BLOOM IS TOTALLY HOTT Totally Bitchin' Cool LOL Blog!!!1!

G) Four of my favourite foods:

1. Anything that tastes like chicken.
2. Spiced basalt
3. Stem cells
4. Sugar-coated lies

H) Four places I would rather be right now:

1. In a movie with Uma Thurman before she got all thingy about screen nudity.
2. With Kraxor, the only being who ever truly understood me, back on spacecraft 967-A.
3. At Adam Sandler's house, hitting him about the head with a copy of 'Click'.
4. In Narnia, providing they still have that All-You-Can-Eat Turkish Delight place.

I) Four friends I think will respond:

1. Chip Rockett, Space Pilot of Tomorrow
2. Notorious G.E.R.A.L.D.
3. Puffy, the Anti-Obesity Panda
4. Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

RETURN DIRECTIONS: Now, here's what you're supposed to do... and please do not spoil the fun. Hit forward, delete my answers and type in your answers. Then delete the email, clear your cache, set fire to your computer and flee the country. The theory is that you will learn a lot of interesting new facts about your friends if they're not beating you to a bloody pulp.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Here's an interesting story about a Sydney man making a desperate dash to Lebanon to rescue his wife and child from the midst of a sudden and violent war.

This story has been featured on various TV news programs and in the major newspapers over the last 24 hours. It's a fair human interest story, and the man seems apolitical and sincere, but there's a central disquietening question; how, exactly, did the media become aware of this man's plans?

It's difficult to believe that someone frantic to race across the world to save their nearest and dearest draws up a plan that looks likes this:

1) find passport.
2) get money out of the bank.
3) book airline ticket.
4) organise a press release, send out photographs of wife and child, and pose for photo ops.

I'm not saying that there's anything shady about Mr Abdallah. I'm simply concerned that the mechanics of this story seem to be suspiciously well-oiled, and that the media probably doesn't want us to know anything more. It looks like someone is turning this mercy dash into a PR exercise... and I think we deserve to know who and why.

Pay no attention to the man behind the screen, indeed.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Do not view this video of James T. Kirk and his crew singing the Camelot song from 'Monty Python & The Holy Grail' unless you are in a position to laugh loudly and frequently. Stifling this amount of laughter may cause internal ruptures and death.

An Open Letter to the Citizens of the United States of America

Dear Americans,

I'm writing to you today to talk about humour. Or humor, as you insist on spelling it.

Please don't think that we, the citizens of the rest of the world, don't get your sense of humour. We do, and we love you for it. Mark Twain, the Marx Brothers, Lucille Ball, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Onstad... we get them. We laugh. We relate. Ninety nine percent of the time, when you tell us that something is funny, we'll look at it and agree. This is how you've managed to export Jerry Lewis to France, Woody Allen to Japan, and David Hasselhoff to the Germans*.

However there is an exception, and frankly, given our willingness to laugh with you at everything else you produce, we suspect that this is a problem with your perception of funny, not ours.

Americans, please note. THE. THREE. STOOGES. ARE. NOT. FUNNY.

Why do you laugh? One of them says "wibblewibblewibble", another pokes someone in the eye, and a guy says "Nyuk nyuk nyuk" for some reason. That's more or less it, as far as we can tell. It has a quaint vaudvillian charm, but it generates, if anything, a wry smile, not the gales of laughter and awed reverence with which you greet them. Is there something we've not been told about them? Is there some sort of secret comedic Rosetta Stone which suddenly reveals their true genius, but which is only shown to Americans? Is there something in your water? Is it some sort of hysteria that can be traced back to an intense but otherwise private national trauma circa 1922?

It wouldn't be so bad if it was just The Three Stooges themselves, but this baffling worship saturates every part of your media. Otherwise brilliantly gifted comics will choke up doing homages to these talentless curiosities, and declare themselves unable to match them. Frankly, it's unsettling. It's the equivalent of Alan Greenspan insisting that for really inspired economic leadership, we should be looking to a slightly overripe mandarin he found in his desk drawer.

It's not doing you any favours, America. To continue the Greenspan metaphor, how much would you trust his competency if he started waving a piece of fruit at you and exclaiming, "This mandarin! This mandarin knows! I am but a faint shadow of the mandarin's deep and citric wisdom!"

To be honest, it makes your contributions to global comedy start to look like a freak series of unlikely but serendipitous accidents, and not a continuous output based on a solid understanding of what it means to be funny. It's a flaw, and it's a deep one.

I trust that the American spirit of self-appraisal and innovation will eventually help you get over this strange and abberant fixation. I really do. I have faith in you, America, and I have an optimistic hope that one day you can get past this, consign The Three Stooges to the footnotes of comedic history where they belong, and get back to what's important to all of the residents of planet Earth; international peace, goodwill, and laughing at guys getting whacked in the nuts.



* although admittedly, we're not convinced that the Germans understand that he's meant to be funny.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Over the weekend I bought some paintings from a friend of a friend. I'd seen her work on display at a local cafe, and I'd liked what I'd seen, so I was invited to her house to buy them and at the same time see a wider sample of her output.

Vanessa's work is very striking, filled with rich colour and delicate detail. The pomegranate series is not particularly representative of her style, which runs more to large portraits and symbolic landscapes, with aspects of the stories she wants to tell woven into delicate patterns. I appreciate the fact that she wants to tell stories, making her art a method of communication rather than just pieces of decoration. Nobody needs another meaningless picture of a sailboat on a bay or a quaint cottage at sunset.

pomegranate trio

Three Pomegranates. The artist told me that in her work red often represents feminine tumult. I can only assume that these pomegranates crossed her somehow. Damn their evil and delicious seed-stuffed hearts!

I only intended to get two of them, but when I saw them all together, I couldn't choose between them, so I had to buy three. I figured that I'd only be wracked with second thoughts if I didn't, and the extra cost will be forgotten within a few weeks. I felt like quite the decadent swell: "Oh, I can't decide, so I shall take them all. And I'll buy the couch and your dog too, for they please me."

pomegranate half

pomegranate with twig

Pomegranate with Twig, and Split Pomegranate with Blue Line. Of course since I own them, I can give them any name I darn well like. I shall call this a diptych, and rename it 'The Correction of Identity, Number IV'. That'll confuse people no end. Mwhahahahaha!

Unfortunately, whenever I buy a new painting it necessitates many hours of hauling my other paintings off the walls and rearranging them, so that both the newcomers and the oldtimers hang to their best advantage. The long wall in my living room, which used to display a trio of large, monochromatic works, now features twice as many items in a mixture of monochomes, bright blues and bright reds. The bolts of colour liven the room, so it's all good.

living room long wall july 2006

Monday, July 17, 2006


When you go to a folk concert, you can never be quite sure what you're going to get. You could find yourself lumbered with skinny ferals in handmade hats, playing those bloody drums of theirs, and irritable, lank-haired girls with cheap guitars struggling to find a word that rhymes with 'Halliburton'.

But on Friday night, when I went to see Chloe Hall at the Wannaroo Folk Club on the recommendation of a friend, I had the other side of folk; middle-aged suburban dwellers, mostly with European accents and beards, singing traditional songs about dark-eyed gypsy girls, drinking, doomed love affairs and the intricacies of the feudal system.

I'd been expecting something fairly low key, and I wasn't disappointed. The Folk Club meets in a community hall in one of the interchangable northern suburbs, full of dark 70s brick and noticeboards covered in health program flyers. The crowd, when they'd all eventually arrived, only totalled about twenty five, but they were participants, not an audience. They included a garrulous old man with a white beard who played the bagpipes and tin whistle, a George Lucas doppelganger who played the guitar and sang loudly and lustily, a man who only felt comfortable singing in a hobbit-like waistcoat while holding a pewter ale mug, and a couple of softly spoken women who sang eerie songs centuries older than our city or our nation.

The Club's special guest was Chloe Hall, a Melbourne musician on a nomadic tour around the country playing odd little venues and promoting her most recent album. She was accompanied by cellist James Hazelton, and together they were, frankly, enchanting. The three levels of sound - the deep cello, Chloe's guitar and her high, soft, sweet voice - worked perfectly together. Her songs covered the universal topics of being in love, being out of love, missing absent friends, being together and being alone. I liked it so much I bought two copies of her album in the interval.

The funny thing is that although I'm enjoying the album very much, it's not quite as engaging as the experience of her and James performing, without any sound equipment, in an accoustically-undistinguished community hall. Perhaps this is because of the nature of simple, self-made music. Folk music is, literally, about folk. It is music designed for participation, not consumption. All of the music in that evening, from Chloe and James and from the Club members, was a refreshing tonic from the commercial, mass-produced, slick world beyond the community hall (which appropriately enough shared a car park with a multiplex and a McDonalds). Chloe's album is produced, but the live performance is created. It's special because it can never be recaptured.

It's at times like this that I feel sort of hollow because I can't play an instrument.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Overheard at the cafe...

Old guy: I'd like a flat white, please, with sugar and milk.

Well sir, congratulations on making it halfway into modernity, at least.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I've been sleeping badly over the last few nights, waking up at irregular intervals, and having dreams whose unsettling ambience is only exceeded by their vividness.

However I had a small break last night, when a highly detailed dream about me wandering around my home town suddenly morphed into a big-budget Hong Kong action movie. Yay! Although I know less about martial arts than Miss Piggy, I was somehow involved in a big fight scene which, once the extras were dispatched, revolved around me and a few other guys battling a single female fighter. She had a glove with long blades emerging from each finger, and she fought all of us, at the same time, with this single weapon. In her other hand she held a sheaf of paper, which he positioned under her flashing blades. I noticed that the papers were being speckled with tiny drops of blood, perhaps six or seven each page, and that she appeared to be shuffling them as she fought. But I couldn't work out why she was doing this.

Eventually she seemed to appreciate that there was no way out of this fight, and she surrendered. As is often the case in these action movies, there was no particular animosity; we recognised her as a gifted warrior who just happened to be fighting on the wrong side. Then she handed us the papers.

The little specks of blood were not random marks. They were tiny Chinese characters. In between fending off four attackers with her glove blades, she'd been using the blood she'd drawn with their tips to write on the paper. The characters told the story of how she'd been hired by our enemy, and detailed the rest of his evil scheme. She'd been writing her story at the same time as she fought us.

If she'd focused on just fighting us, there's no way we could have beat her. She was just toying with us the whole time.

"I can't believe this," I remember thinking. "You are just the coolest chick ever!"

Then my alarm went off, and I had to get up and go to work.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Over the weekend I had an amiable idiot living with me.


I was looking after Jasper while my parents, to whom he belongs, were at a conference on the east coast. Considering that he is only 6 months old and full of buoyant puppyish enthusiasm, it's remarkable that over two days he only destroyed three pot plants, knocked over one work of art, and dragged a single dead shrub onto the centre of the living room rug. With a dog, that's the equivalent of having Emily Post as a houseguest.

Considering that I spent a lot of the weekend painting the spare room, he demonstrated a truly heroic display of canine self-control. Preoccupied human kneeling on the floor, freshly-painted walls just waiting to be rubbed against, open tins to stick one's nose in, spills to be stepped in then tracked across the carpet.... from a dog's perspective, the scenario is almost irrestistible. But resist he did, and I'm proud of him.

He distracted himself by sleeping in a sunbeam in the living room, chewing on random bits of stick, and slipping off into the back yard to roll around in the compost pile.


Sweet. Merciful. Crap.

There was a time when the ceremonies surrounding death offered even the most tawdry individual a quiet moment of dignity. But now, apparently, your death and your memory can be just as shallow and tacky as your life!

And somewhere, Jean Teasdale is updating her will.

Friday, July 07, 2006


The suspicious reader could be forgiven for thinking that I am an unpleasable snob when it comes to eating out. The list of establishements I have scorned is long and varied (Valentinos, Terrazza, Milkd, Cafe Bella Rosa), while the ones I've publicly endorsed is short, perhaps even terse (Exomod).

We all know that it's more fun to criticise than to extoll, but I'm mindful of the need for balance. Therefore I really should share my new favourite local cafe, instead of just wallowing in the misery of bad dining experiences.

Ironically enough, Food For Me is right next door to Cafe Bella Rosa, squeezed into a tiny shopfront between that restaurant and a sex shop. There are seats for, at most, ten people inside and another four outside, and the only other piece of furniture is a large bookcase filled with magazines and newspapers. I've had breakfast there every Saturday for the last three weeks straight.

The first time I had french toast, prepared with bread from one of the finest gourmet bakeries in the city, with maple syrup and poached berries... and a couple of strips of crispy bacon. Mmmm... bacon. The second time I opted for eggs and bacon on a fresh bagel, with baked tomatoes and fresh spinach leaves. Mmmm... bagel. The third time I had eggs florentine, which included little florets of smoked salmon, and toasted fruit bread, which was heavy on the fruit and light on the bread, as the best fruit bread generally is. Mmmm... everything. Insert mental image of a Homeresque drooling head tilt here.

The food is wonderful, prepared with skill using good ingredients. But the regular clientele is also superb. They're so delightfully discreet. There are no gaggles of shrieking housewives, no teenaged skanks squawking "Oh my gooooord!" into their mobile phones, no packs of feral children, no businessmen arguing over their espressos. Customers slide in, exchange murmered pleasantries with the staff, then either slide out again or sit down and chat with each other in low, gentle tones. It's always busy but the noise is a calm background burble, not a raucous cacophany.

But the deal has really been sealed by the service. There is, apparently, no one in the world that the staff do not know. Every single person who walks through the door is greeted as if they were an old friend of the family. I'm pretty certain that if a Kalahari Bushman who'd never encountered a white person before stepped up to the counter, they'd cry, "Ah, !Xabbu, how are you? Been keeping well?"

They even remembered me from one week to the next, right down to what I'd ordered, despite the fact that I am a shy, quiet patron not given to memorable antics. Good food served by cheerful people in a peaceful venue - for what more could one ask? My only wishes are that a) there were more Saturdays in the week and b) I had six or seven more stomachs than a currently possess.


Apparently there is a campaign within the Church of England to replace their patron saint, Saint George, with a different one, namely Saint Alban. The reason for this change is that Saint George is strongly associated with The Crusades, and certain members of the clergy are concerned that he is offensive to Muslims.

Let's take a slight pause here, while I beat my head against a wall long enough to destroy the areas of the brain devoted to snark and sarcasm. Ow, ow, ow, ow ow, OW! Ah, that's better.

Erm, guys? THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND ITSELF IS OFFENSIVE TO MUSLIMS. It claims that what the Muslims regard as a mere human prophet was/is the Son of God, which in their eyes is blasphemy. Dicking about with a patron saint and his flag is small change compared to this larger, more fundamental issue.

Let's face it, the only way for the Church of England not to be offensive to Muslims is to disband. Actually, now that I think about it, the only way for the Church of England not to be offensive to ME is to disband. We have a two birds with one stone situation here, guys. Think about it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


I went out to dinner last night with my Bible Study group. I really tried this time to make sure that we went to a decent restaurant. Honestly. When the possibility of Cafe Bella Rosa was raised I argued against it. "It's a cheap-arse crap factory" I said, or at least I said words to that effect, similar in intent but less likely to cause offence. But I was told, in no uncertain terms, that there are a lot of people on tight budgets, and besides, they could get a discount with their Entertainment Books. One was waved at me to prove it.

I folded quickly and helplessly. One cannot argue with the Entertainment Book. The Entertainment Book is a sort of local gastronomic Necromicron; an vile grimoire of vouchers offering discounts at restaurants that no discerning person would eat at without some sort of financial incentive. Those in the Book's clutches gape in slack-jawed amazement if one suggests going somewhere not covered by the Book. "But it's not in the Book," they invariably say, as if this were a bad thing, and thus revealing the true terrible gulf between themselves and those not of the Book.

They all had a copy, and Cafe Bella Rosa was the least of the evils on offer within their infernal pages, so I dutifully turned up last night and hoped for the best.

Cafe Bella Rosa is somewhat like Terrazza, only without the pretensions to fine dining... which, admittedly, constitutes at least 50% of Terrazza's offensiveness. Even on a Wednesday night it was packed with people from all ages and nations, hunched over their massive plates of food or gaily shouting at each other over the noise of music, clattering crockery and other people. I'd comment on the decor, but it was difficult to see any under the wall to wall crush of humanity.

I found my party more by luck than by design, and was eventually allowed to sit, after being chased away from two seats and having the existing seating arrangement explained to me. Apparently some seats at Cafe Bella Rosa are magic, and once claimed should never be surrendered. I didn't know that. Perhaps it's covered in the Book.

The menu at Cafe Bella Rosa consists of pasta with goop, then veal with the same types of goop, then chicken with more of the same types of goop, and then some deep fried fish products. I looked at it and felt despair overwhelming my optimism, like a bulldozer riding over the first freesia of spring.

"Ooh," the people on either side of me cooed. "It all looks so good. What are you having?"

"I don't know yet," I said, which was perfectly true. Everything was so awfully banal. I kept flicking my eyes up and down the list, hoping that I'd missed something enticing. But I hadn't.

"I know what you mean! It's hard to make a decision, isn't it!"

"Yes. Yes it is."

I settled for penne d'angelo, a mixture of chicken, broccoli, pine nuts and mushrooms in a cream sauce over penne pasta. I have to admit that the chicken was very tender, and broccoli was neither over- nor under-cooked. It was an inoffensive rendition of an unremarkable dish. It would have been a good rendition if they'd done something with herbs or spices... perhaps I should have gone home, selected a supple young branch from my rosemary bush, snapped it off, then gone back, forced my way into the kitchen and garrotted the chef with it. That'd learn 'im.

I probably should have done that. It could have been the beginning of a beautiful new career in serial killing...

Junior Policeman: The chef was found by the cleaning staff this morning, sir. He'd been bashed around the head with a chunk of dry, tasteless, mass-produced cake, and then he was impaled on this.

Detective: A vanilla bean pod! Sweet mother of mercy, do you know what this means?

Junior Policeman: Sir?

Detective: It means The Epicurist. The Epicurist has struck again. Heaven help us all!

Enter Inspector.

Inspector: Hello, men. Hmmm... is it just me or does it smell like cookies in here?

But in the end I kept my murderous impulses at bay and just ate my dinner. With the group discount from the Book it was only $14. I need to get a life.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


One of our highest priorities is to ensure your privacy and peace of mind by employing some of the most advanced online security measures in the industry. As part of our continuing commitment to protect your account and to reduce the instance of fraud on our website, we are undertaking a period review of our member accounts

Due to this recent upgrade, you are requested to update your NetBank information by following the link below:

Click here

This is required for us to continue to offer you a safe and risk free environment to send and receive money online and maintain the experience. You have 3 days to enter required information your NetBank account will temporary suspended.

Thank for your Co-operation
Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Please do not reply to this confirmation email as your response will not be received.
Commonwealth Email ID 06EIW24


Dear "Commonwealth Bank",

Well, it's nice to see that you phishers are putting a bit more effort into your product. In the past I've been disappointed by some of your more amateurish emails, but you seem to have been honing your skills, and this current one shows a marked improvement.

You've certainly captured the bureaucratic style... or at least, you've convincingly cut and paste some real bureaucratese from a genuine Commonwealth Bank document. The reference to a 'confirmation email', which your email clearly isn't, suggests that this is the case, but hey, the best forgeries are always based on genuine articles. Kudos to you for your initiative!

I'm also pleased to see that your English is improving. I know it's not your first language, and I'm touched that you're trying to learn its intricacies. Your spelling, in particular, is almost perfect... it looks like someone's learnt how to use their spellchecker! Congratulations.

So, the big questions is, are you ready to fool anyone? And the answer is, good heavens, no! Well, perhaps a few particularly dim-witted Commonwealth Bank clients will fall for it, if they are more than usually gullible and naive. But you still fall short of the necessary attention to detail to really clean up.

For a start, there's grammar. We Westerners don't really learn grammar any more, but we still subconsciously pick up the basics in everyday communication. The missing period at the end of the first paragraph, the nonsensical phrase "maintain the experience", the missing 'you' on 'Thank you', the misplaced capital on 'co-operation'... they're forgivable on their own, but they all add up to give the reader a nagging sense of suspicion. And then, as if to drive your true black-hearted intent home, you completely butcher your final sentence, leaving out, as far as I can tell, a 'the', an 'or' and a 'be', not to mention the use of an adjective when you really wanted an adverb. This is simply not good enough! Even the dullest SMS-reared alliterate vassal of the Commonwealth Bank would not make such mistakes in an official document. Perhaps in five years standards will have dropped that far, but not yet!

And the fact that this email came to my computer while addressed to someone else on our server is something of a dead giveaway. You might want to look into that.

Still, you're on the right track. You've captured the official style, you've worked on your spelling, and you've left out any specific details that would allow a mark to double-check a name or a phone number with the real Commonwealth Bank. I salute you... you're a credit to your vile, greedy, Hell-bound profession.