Friday, December 26, 2008

Bountiful bon bon booty

Exciting times are these! Check out my bon bon haulage. As you can see, these were no skankarse bon bons: these were refined bon bons, from a reputable store with cardboard inserts for structural integrity. The hats, though pointy and slightly thirteenth century, were sparkly gold, and I can't be certain but I think they were scented?

And how about those prizes! All some kind of light-weight, space age, NASA developed metal/silver coated plastic. All fitting prizes and sizes... for Tinkerbell and her Oompaloompah consort sailing around on their teeny weeny sea-worthy plastic ship from my December 22nd bon bon.

When Tinks and her crew arrive we're gonna spend some quality time locking and unlocking the teeny lock, cutting weeny crescents in leftover Christmas paper with the teeny nail clippers, and opening weeny bottles of beer then drinking them from thimbles.

What a way to spend a year; only 364 days to go, peeps.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry thing bits!

A Christmas together with the Muppets... John Denver was a lucky bastard.

Many things are different on Christmas day: the shoppies are closed, the courier-van-race-track street I live on is quiet, and all sorts of foodstuffs are admitted into our houses that wouldn't ordinarily meet food safety standards (like the choko that's coloured brown then pressed into Santa shapes and passed off as chocolate for advent calendars).

But there are many fabulous, non-Christmas-related things that are the same today as they were yesterday and that will be the same again tomorrow: my soft-brained love of the Gilmore Girls, my small son's slightly uneven, parent-inflicted hair cut (sorry matey), and my dream for world peace and all things Obama-related (including merchandise).

So I hope you're enjoying both what's different about today and what's the same.

Peace out.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why Christmas lights are just wrongness

Sorry to so badly and baldly cheat today (busy brain-hurty work day ahead), but in lieu of actual stuff-stuff I thought I'd bring you a quick example (from the SMH) of Why Christmas Makes Ordinarily Good People Go Bad:

"A Melbourne couple have told police they had so many children with them, it took them 14 hours to realise their five-year-old son had been left at a Christmas lights display late at night.

The boy, Alexander, was discovered wandering alone at 11.30pm (AEDT) on Sunday night in a street in Vermont South after his family had gone to look at the lights.

However, it took his parents until lunchtime on Monday to realise he was missing and contact police."


"Each parent thought the other had Alexander in their car for the trip home."


"They've got home and all piled out and the kids have gone straight to bed and they didn't realise anything was amiss until lunchtime today," The Age quoted Sgt Williams as saying."

"[The boy] told police his name was Alexander, but could not tell them his surname or where he lived."

Poor little tiger. He should at least learn his surname so he can fill out those child divorce papers.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Schlocking filler

On a recent expedition to a shopping mall I found what is possibly the naffest Christmas present ever.

This object, brimming with naffness, is a game, and while I'm ordinarily a big fan of games there are some games that by their very nature indicate a level of softness in the brainal region of anyone who plays them. This is one of those soft-serve-brain games.

If only this little game had some of the smarts of Monopoly or even the straight-laced sass of noughts and crosses, but no, this little puppy was sniffing Clag with Connect Four when they were handing out game cred.

So what is this disappointing middle-child of the game world? That's right, folks, it's a delightful and oh-just-so-cute Christmas Conversation Starter game!

I figure the only way to win this game is to try and find a conversation stopper to each of the conversation starters. Shall we have a crack?

1. What's your favourite Christmas tradition? Shooting reindeer, and kittens.

2. Who would you most like to kiss under the mistletoe? L. Ron Hubbard.

3. I'd never laughed as much at Christmas as when... the dog got drunk and wouldn't stop sniffing everyone's groins.

4. My guilty pleasure at Christmas is... getting the dog drunk.

There's also a Love Conversation Starter! I can't wait for Valentine's Day: "If I saw you walking down the street I'd think..."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Deck the halls... with gilded bon bons

You always know that Christmas day is getting really close when you crack your first bon bon for the season.

Bon bons are like the big guns of the whole Christmas shin-dig thingo, and their appearance at table-based festivities means the serious Christmas shenanigans are about to begin.

By law, bon bons cannot be cracked before December 18; pulling out a box of bon bons for a Christmas party on December 2 would be like Napoleon sending in his archers before war has been declared. It's just not right.

In fact, you can tell how close we are to Christmas day by the frequency of bon bon pullage and the quality of said bon bons.

Yesterday (the 19th) I pulled a bon bon that was modestly sized with an inch-high plastic ship (not sea worthy) for a prize. It was pretty much just a toilet roll with some newspaper wrapped around it with some gold stuff stuck on. And the joke? It was a joke entirely suitable to a December 19 bon bon: what clothing does a house wear? Address! Awwww haw haw haw.

The December 19 bon bon is one that comes in a pack of 30 that's been stored on the lower shelves at the $2 shop. It's the little flag bearer that rides out before the army: pretty innocuous in itself but signalling big things to come.

The December 22 bon bons are a slightly different story. It's getting more serious by December 22 because The Day is nearly here, but while December 22 gatherings are Significant, they're not the Big Christmas Cheese itself.

So the December 22 bon bon cracks delightfully and appropriately with the friendliest tug from your neighbour, the little plastic ship is almost sea worthy (with room for Tinkerbell or a very small Oompaloompah), and the word-play of the joke is a tiny step above that of the December 19 joke: what shakes and sits at the bottom of the ocean? A nervous wreck!

The December 22 bon bon is the foot soldier of the bon bon world: hard-working and fearless but not the glittering leader.

The bon bons that come out on Christmas day are often worthy of immediate pre-posthumous memorialisation. They are gigantic, threaded with gold leaf and most often studded with diamonds. They are worth more than the average black market kidney and are delivered by guards in armoured vans just moments before the bon bonage begins.

When you crack one of these babies open it's like Kerry Packer has left the front door to his house wide open and his safes unlocked. The paper hat is so well constructed you could wear it to the cricket, and the prize wouldn't look out of place on a chain around your neck. And the joke? Why did Phil fall off his bike? Because he was a goldfish!

Ok, so no matter what the date or the price, the jokes don't get any better, and hurrah for that!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Once Upon a Time

Dear Learned Judges,

Please find below our entry for The World's Greatest Online Collective Story competition. We humbly submit it is a fine story and trust you will enjoy it.

Yours most humbly, the undersigned:

Leo Tolstoy, Italo Calvino, man bag, Anon, Cormac McCarthy, Kettle
a.k.a The Kettle Collective Story Collective

** A huge thanks to everyone who contributed!

It's Time

[Leo Tolstoy] All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion. Everything had gone wrong in [Kettle] John Howard's household.

[Italo Calvino] Only three months ago one of his sons, Baron Bruno had refused to eat some very palatable snailmeal porridge and then he'd gone to live on the roof, which was COLORBOND® Pale Eucalypt®. He'd yelled, "I'll never come down again!" and so far he'd been true to his word.

[man bag] This was troubling to Baron Howard, who was pretty sure Bastardo Bush wasn't having roof-related issues with his daughters, and knew for a fact (thanks to the webcam he'd hooked up in the White House, when he was, you know, a somebody) that Bush's kidsters happily ate their snailmeal porridge every morning at ground level.

Baron Howard sighed and cursed the day he put the COLOURBOND in. "It's just so damn attractive, is that COLOURBOND® Pale Eucalypt®. If only it was skankarse I wouldn't have lost my son to it. Oh well," he yabbered to Janette, who sat at the kitchen table doing a sudoku, "at least I still have my dignity."

When he left the room Janette had a good old snort to herself, picked up the phone and rang [Anonymous] Blanche D'Apulget. "Oh Blanche," sighed Janette, "I just don't know what to do anymore. I'm just not used to having him around the house. He's sent Bruno up the roof and is sending me round the twist. What does one do with an ousted Prime Minister?"

"Ah," said Blanche, "I know just the thing."

[Cormac McCarthy] "Just cos the rodeo's over, it don't mean yer Johnny can never ride again honey. When you fall off a horse you gotta get right back on again right quick. Now whut you've gotta do is get yer husband Johnny there a game called 'Commander in Chief'. That way he can go pretendin' he's the president of america and boy howdy that's gotta be better than bein' prime minister of whutever yer country's name is. Yer Johnny will feel like he's back in the saddle in no tahm and purtnear all man agin. Now yer've gotta be firm with the boy Bruno, you gotta get yer gun and shoot 'im down cos it's the only way he'll learn whut's good for him. And whun yer done makin' him feel all man Janey darlin' yer should cook him a pumpkin pie. Yeeha!"

[Kettle] With this excellent advice Janette sallied forth to the shops to buy 'Commander in Chief' for her newly-about-the-house man. She was delighted to find an Australian version, gloriously entitled 'Prime Minister: the Big Cheese Down Under'. Rushing home she had just enough time to get the game loaded on the PC before 'The Bold and the Beautiful' started.

Meanwhile, Baron Howard was beavering away in the study, sorting through boxes of papers from his time in office. He lifted boxes here and sorted files there and at last he came to a large box resting precipitously on the edge of a shelf high up in his book case. He nudged it forward, first the right side, then the left, then he nudged again and pulled and lifted and grunted and heaved and what ho! Down came the box in one crashing mess on top of the Baron's head!

Papers and letters fluttered everywhere; a report entitled 'Project Bobbing Apples: The Children Overboard Affair' settled on his right hand while another called 'How to Close a Peak Indigenous Body in 10 Easy Steps' came to a stop on his left thigh. The lid of the box spun on its corner then settled on the Baron's head; 'My Greatest Triumphs,' it read in big, black letters.

Night came and the Baron lay under his papers, out cold on his study floor. He didn't hear the leaves rustle outside his study window; he didn't see the window being raised; and he didn't know someone was climbing into the room with him.

The intruder crept quietly up to Baron Howard, and, settling by his head gently lifted the lid from his face and waved a glossy brochure to and fro over the greying pate. It was Baron Bruno waving the latest COLORBOND® catelogue!

Baron Howard began to stir so Baron Bruno quickly crept back over to the window and hoisted himself up onto the roof and out of sight.

When Baron Howard awoke, he rubbed his foggy head and pulled himself out from under his papers. He stumbled out to the living room and found Janette snoring gently on the couch. He caught sight of 'Prime Minister: The Big Cheese Down Under' set up on the computer and sat down to play.

The night wore on and Baron Howard kept playing. He set up committees and wrote terms of reference and reviewed a few sets of regulations.

Then something extraordinary happened: he opened talks with not-for-profit organisations and called a summit on the environment. He started to feel good! He gave extra funding to AIDS research and released the refugees at Woomera and opened a koala sanctuary in Bankstown. He was on a roll, he liked doing good things, he wanted to do more! He signed the Kyoto Protocol and apologised to the Stolen Generation and started being taken seriously by leaders around the world!

With every good decision the Baron changed a little, a new set of glasses here, a lightening of his hair there, until by the time the sun rose he was no longer the bushy eye-browed sap he'd once been. He was a lean, keen, Kevin machine!

When the clock struck seven Janette yawned and stretched and looked over at the Baron, who sat beaming at the computer, loving his new and improved self. "My my," said Janette when she saw that the Baron had become a Kevinator, "I always was partial to the other side... and blondes."

So they had a happy snog and the Baron promised never to do evil things again. Their son looked on from the skylight, grinning from ear to ear. "COLORBOND® - what a force for good," he marvelled, and started to make his way down from the roof, on a ladder that leant a little to the left, to rejoin the family.

The End.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Just call me 'Sadie'... or not

I had occasion to clean yesterday, and it was less fun than I anticipated. As I shifted piles, dusted, sorted crap, re-shifted the same piles, got tired, then bored, then wished I'd never started, I started thinking about the things I'd rather be doing. The top five were:

1. Not cleaning.
2. Sifting through the 'Work Wanted' column looking for someone to clean up my crap for me.
3. Having my tonsils removed.
4. Eating raw eggs (with or without tonsils).
5. Creating a new library classification system (actually, that could be quite fun).

My day of cleaning also led to the following realisations:

1. Paper is a life-form and multiplies when left alone in warm places out of light.
2. There are no prizes for being the messiest person in the house.
3. The underside of the couch harbours many wonderous things.
4. Moving piles from one room to another doesn't fix the problem.

On the plus side, my day of cleaning led to the following delightful finds:

1. A mountain of bull dog clips.
2. Um, actually that's it on the plus side, just lots of bull dog clips, but that's cool, they're great bull dog clips.

On another note, the second Kettle Collective Story is simmering along beautifully here! So far John Howard's son, Baron Bruno, has climbed onto the COLORBOND® Pale Eucalypt® roof and won't come down following a sticky episode with some snailmeal porridge; Janette is despairing about having John about the house all day so has called Blanche D'Apulget for some advice about dealing with deposed leaders of small to medium Pacific nations; Blanche has suggested Janette do something with computer games and pumpkin pie to fix the situation.

So don't leave us hanging! Won't someone bring this story home! Of course, fame, fortune, public adoration etc guaranteed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Would you like fries with that?

Pic from here.

There are few things more entertaining than the pseudo-science that gets trotted out every spring. Why spring? Because that's when the magical get-ready-for-summer diet stories start to appear.

We've seen them all, year after glorious year on A Current Affair: the Hallelujah diet (follow the Bible's diet principles); the wrong-hand diet (eat with your wrong hand! Your body will be so confused it simply won't know how to eat so won't!); and my personal favourite, the Atkins diet where, let me get this right, you just eat pork crackling?

It's not until a few summers have passed that the side effects of many of these diets hit the news: the Hallelujah diet will see you frequently tossed to the lions; the wrong-hand diet will teach you to be ambidextrous so you'll be twice as efficient at eating; and the Atkins diet will lead to certain and early death.

This year the focus is on carb-free diets. A new study has shown that a diet without carbs makes you dumber. As the SMH reports, "Popular low-carbohydrate diets may slim the waistline but they can also shrink the brain," and that's not something many of us can afford.

So in the interests of public safety I thought I'd put together a list of people who are obviously on a low carb diet and have clearly experienced significant brain-shrinkage and thus need help:

1. Any of the winners of the Darwin Award
2. Helen Demidenko
3. The safety officer at Chernobyl
4. Schapelle Corby
5. Any of the writers on the Home and Away team

If you ever meet any of these people, send them to the nearest trattoria, stat! Or else just throw them to the lions with the Hallelujah crowd.

Monday, December 15, 2008

All I want for Christmas

Sometimes reading the headlines looking for something that is just crying out to be teased is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Ordinarily I hate boganesque, cliched similes, and 'shooting fish in a barrel' would have to be up there with such pearlers as 'like sands through the hour-glass' and 'like a bat out of hell' (which, frankly, has always baffled and slightly frightened me?), but here we are with front pages heavily populated with headline-fish gazing up at me blankly just waiting to be pinioned with my fish-pinioning stick. Oh happy days!

We've got stuff about Baz's Australia and how the tax-payers are footing the bill, we've got the Queen cutting back what with the whole economic crisis thingy (don't you know she insists that the Buckingham Palace lights are turned off when rooms are vacated and left-overs from banquets are reused; how about donating your palace to a women's refuge and your catering budget to, I don't know, a developing country, you crazy lady), and we've got something about twat-heads with trillion-watt Santas on their roofs (my least fave Christmas light is a stop sign that says 'Santa, Stop Here!' Amazing! So clever! Otherwise Santa would have flown right by!).

Anyhoo, so we've got a plethora of nob-heads to poke fun at, but I'm going to leave them all where they are and instead take the happy-happy-joy-joy path straight to Obama. That's right! It's been too long, hasn't it, since we last visited Obama. And now we find him in a computer game.

For all those back-seat presidents out there, now we can all have a crack at being the big cheese. The game is called 'Commander in Chief' and is set to be released in the States on January 20, Obama's inauguration day.

Says Louis-Marie Rocques, the lead designer on the game: "You can put your own political theories into action and see the domestic and international domino effect."

Now I can stop rabbiting on about benevolent dictatorships and philosopher kings and finally take over the world!

My only disappointment is that the game's not out until January 20th; wouldn't it make for a fun New Years Eve?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Movin' right along

It's been a week of endings: some chosen, some not, some good, some less so.

But with the week behind us let's get started on something new! It seems like a fitting time to pen another Kettle Collective Story; I do hope you'll join me.

And looky! Tolstoy's pitching in with the first line (good one, Leo):

"All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion. Everything had gone wrong in [Kettle] John Howard's household...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Really Great Writer

I was really sad to learn this morning that Dorothy Porter, poet, died yesterday.

I can't do her work any justice by talking about it; it's best if she speaks for herself:

Here's an excerpt from her latest verse novel, El Dorado.

Here's Porter's bibliography on wiki.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Woz up?

Thanks for the pic,! Free = cool.

I know this is potentially the World's Most Boring Topic and you may hear a faint 'neigh! neigh!' as I flog this almost dead horse, but text speak really shits me.

Not so much for the purity of the language thang but because it takes me too bloody long to read it.

My marker of an unsuccessful text communication is when I have to lean over to the person sitting next to me on the train and say "I'm so awfully sorry to bother you, but I've just received this very silly message from a very lovely but silly friend and I can't understand a bleedin' word of it. Would you be ever so kind as to tell me what 'ttyl' means?"

Usually said neighbour and the chappy sitting behind us are stumped too. The kid across the aisle suggests 'time to yell loudly' and I throw in 'ten tonne yellow legs' but that doesn't seem to make much sense at all. Half an hour (and several new friends) later we're still no closer to knowing what the heck darn it all means.

So a new study has shown it takes almost a trillion years to read a message in text-speak out loud while it takes only 14 seconds to read a message in 'conventional English'. Frankly I'd rather be creating a new universe or counting blades of grass etc in that trillion years than getting to the nutty core of 'ttyl'.

On the plus side, taking half an hour to read a text may lead to delightful flights of fancy: as Words, Wine, Coffee, Art suggested a few posts ago, 'lol' could easily be 'little old lady'. Throw in a haunted castle, accountant and a set of coloured pencils and we've got a Great Australian Novel. Noice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What ho land ahoy!

I'm loving for free photos. Cheers you share-y internetty people you.

My recent foray into the world of trainspotting has led me to all sorts of fascinating potential hobbies, and has made me wish I'd perhaps done a little more research into the options available before launching myself into the world as a non-practising trainspotter.

The good folk at very neatly classify hobbies into such useful categories as 'Observation and Spotting', 'Historical Re-enactments' and 'Robots'. I can think of no other area of life in which these categories would rub shoulders, can you?

If your penchant is for observation and spotting, why confine yourself to something as mainstream as trainspotting? How about a spot of 'birding' (very usefully translated by for non-spotters out there as 'bird watching')? Or bus spotting? Or cloud watching? Or geyser gazing? Or, gawd love this glorious, choice-filled world we live in: satellite watching.

So my research has led me to gongoozling. And what would a gongoozler spot, dear hobby-heads? Why canals of course. Life on canals. Sure the lack of canals in Australia may mean I'm more of an armchair gongoozler, but what a concept.

So how might a gongoozler fill an afternoon? Why with a close inspection of the operation of locks and alternative devices such as inclined planes, water slopes, and boat lifts with types like the Anderton boat lift, the Falkirk Wheel and the Strepy-Thieu boat lift. Oh mercy, that Strepy-Thieu is a real doozy of a boat lift.

Once you've worn yourself out with all the gongoozling, you can head home and look for the best priced canal photos on eBay, then re-arrange your collection of canal cards, then send a few canal-related emails at your pals in the Canal Card Collectors Circle (affiliated to the Inland Waterways Association).

Then a whole evening on ooh look! The Panama Canal: The Story of How a Jungle Was Conquered and the World Made Smaller, I've been looking for that. Yes yes, let's get one-day shipping.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Put it in your diaries!

Photo by Julie Milberger from this site... which is completely unrelated to this post, and which I haven't read, but which has a cool pic, so cheers, Julie.

I'm very excited to learn that Australia is about to get it's own 24-hour tv station dedicated to politics. I know! I know! I can barely contain my beating fun-stick either!

In a move of striking originality, our station is to be called 'A-SPAN,' which bears a striking similarity to the US's 'C-SPAN,' but with an 'a' out the front instead of a 'c'.

This is about as original as our 'New South Wales'. Seriously, could we be any more descriptive and any less original? So it was like Wales, but in the south and new. Aren't we clever clogs for coming up with that?

So A-SPAN will broadcast speeches an' stuff from a whole bunch of nerdy nation-running type people.

And it will be hilarious, too, if the launch by the nerdy nation-running type person Prime Minister Rudd is anything to go by. Apparently Mr Rudd said Australian question time might pose some challenges for US audiences.

He reportedly mused that Americans would require subtitles for insults such as "scumbag" and "sleazebag" which could be translated into "not a desirable person" and "an even less desirable person".

Ah mercy, the comedy channel had better watch out!

A-SPAN will be available on pay tv from January 20; be there and you'll most definitely be square.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Railfans Anonymous

Cheers to The Beast for the photo.

Have you ever had the realisation that you're half-arsedly obsessed with something but didn't really know it until you look back over the pattern of your life and there it is, over and over again, staring you in the face like a wall-mounted trout?

Having had occasion to visit a few train stations lately, I recently found myself calmly and reasonably (or more accurately: blurting excitedly) to all and sunder: "You-know-I-would-be-quite-happy-doing-this-all-day-get-myself-a-nice-little-clipboard-mark-the-trains-off-the-timetable-quite-satisfying-really-you-know-ticking-things-off-I'm-surprised-there-aren't-more-people-here-where-are-all-the-people?-don't-they-know-there-are-trains-they-could-be-watching-are-they-really-having-coffee/doing-the-laundry/asleep-when-there's-all-this-to-be-enjoying?"

So it appears I'm some kind of newly outed, non-practising nut-bar trainspotter. Who would have known?

I had fairly inauspicious beginnings in terms of trainspotting. My uncle was a rail enthusiast and spent his Sunday afternoons building a large and complicated model train system in his garage. I'm afraid I used to make fun of the poor chappy and throw silly jibes at him that included the words 'grown adult,' 'Thomas the Tank Engine' and 'toot toot!' just loud enough for him to hear over his 3:42 express.

Until my epiphany I would have (and did) make fun of all things rail-related. Until my epiphany I would have (and did) think the Wiki people were having a bit of a guffaw in the 'Railfan' article when they captioned a photo of two people watching a train go by with "Railfans practising their hobby at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin," and another of a hillside of camera-holding people above an empty train track with "Railfan photographers awaiting a special train in Belgium".

But now, post-epiphany, I can only hope someone is there to capture the moment when I see my first Westbound intermodal with blue leader.

I've also got this thing about the postal system, but that's for another confessional.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Jingle balls... up

Now that the inanity of my previous post has receded from my immediate memory (good lawd what was that about?) let's get back to more interesting things: a biffo at a Christmas funpark in London. Hurrah!

So a whole bunch of silly sods paid £30 for entry into what has been charmingly re-named a "Winter Blunderland".

Apparently the funpark was little more than a "glorified car boot sale" with a Nativity scene painted on a billboard, a broken ice-skating rink and huskies tied up outside their kennels in a muddy field. Sounds simply crap-o-riffic to me.

It also sounds like another mighty fine way to part fools from their money. To my list of ways to make money post-economic downturn (including selling moss-scented candles and stealing things off the blind) I can now add Christmas Dream Destroying and Bubble Bursting.

Not to mention Professional Funpark Troublemaker... because that's who the park is blaming for the rucus (yep, seriously).

So there were four-hour waits to see Santa (who then refused to let kids sit on his knee), followed by the punching of said Santa by one angry Dad, then a four-hour wait to pick up a present, followed by the slapping of an elf by one angry Mum. I can't wait for Jerry Springer's erudite analysis of the situation.

Apparently one child had to be comforted after finding a Santa smoking a cigarette outside his grotto. Lucky the kid didn't see the Santa shooting up behind the dumpster.

Don't you love the festive season?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Weird Science

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

This little theory, that a name has no intrinsic connection to the thing it represents (so sweetly articulated by Ms Capulet via the Bardic Big Cheese) is periodically taken out of the cupboard for quiet contemplation but not often held up to rigorous scientific analysis.*

Indeed, in theory a rose would smell as sweet if it were called a 'skanky-arsed-cesspit,' it's just that no-one would get close enough to check it out.

So let's have a peek into the skanky-arsed-cesspit of the Rose/Name/Smelling as Sweetly theory and see if we can't apply some rigorous scientific principles to it.**

Step one in our analysis must be to determine a suitable experimental subject. By happy happenstance I came upon the Chilliwack Progress the other day, a delightful daily out of British Columbia. With its distinctive name and heavily hyperlinked home-page I'm hoping it will prove a fruitful subject for our investigation.

Let us begin, then, by identifying the features of said news site's name. Frankly it's got something of the Homer Simpson about it, don't you think? What with the inclusion of chillies (season eight, episode nine: 'Springfield Chili Cook-Off') and wacking (add an 'h' and you've got season four, episode 20: 'Whacking Day').

So we've got a name connotative of a heavy-set yellow cartoon man who, at a class reunion, won trophies for "most weight gained, most hair lost, most improved odour and person who had travelled the least distance to be there". Excellent.

Let us move on to step two of our rigorous scientific analysis: examining the subject's distinctive features, in this case the Chilliwack Progress's content. For this we need look no further than this list of headlines from the front page (unedited, unfiltered and unsorted), thus:

  • Three more Bigfoot sightings reported
  • NEW!! Collision claims one life
  • Nearly nude teens disrupt high school football game
  • Slain Trail man identified
  • WEB FIRST: Victim in homicide identified
  • Victim was seeking positive changes
  • Thousands more from B.C. cities
  • [Hang in there, we're almost at the end]
  • Abby Police capture four teens and stolen car
  • Plant shuts down production
  • Cyclist in stable condition after Highway 97 collision
  • [Only two more, thank chroist]
  • NEW!! Highway may be open to traffic at noon
  • NEW!! Highway 97 re-opened

I kid you not: CAPITALS and !!! and 'web first' claims all part of the original headlines.

So we need to ask if this content has any intrinsic-type connection with a yellow cartoon man who at a school reunion won awards for most weight gained yadda yadda.

Bigfoot, nearly nude teenagers, Homer Simpson, Chilliwack Progress... I don't know where the name ends and the object begins.

We have thereby debunked the Rose/Name/Smelling as Sweetly theory.

Wow, science is really easy.

* Could this sentence be any longer?
* Scientific principles not actually applied, rigorous or otherwise.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Extra! Extra! Read all about it. Or don't.

My time-wastage through the globe's dailies continues unabated with my eye-rolling at cheese-ball headlines keeping apace, so today I thought I'd bring these two glorious past-times together. "Oh happy day!" I hear you cry. Oh happy day indeed.

So let us not waste precious time-wastage minutes ruminating on the whys and wherefores of headline construction and story placement; let us let the little gems speak for themselves:

1. The New York Times brings us "Obama's choice for U.N. is advocate of strong action against mass killing": um, not so much funny-funny as scary-funny? Against mass killing: good start.

2. The brings us "London Scottish Bank goes into administration" followed swiftly by "Government must rethink bank bail-out". Note to self if were UK Prime Minister: think about rethinks before major balls-ups with major banks.

3. Also on the Tele site: "Warm glow from Coldplay": a contrast worthy of a fifth grader. Imagine! 'Warm' for 'cold'!

4. Ooh ooh from the Tele again: "Christmas tree boss denounces 'toilet brush' artificial versions". Headline aside... there's a British Christmas Tree Growers Association? Cool.

5. The Chilliwack Progress could bring us anything and it would be charming and delightful.

6. But The Sydney Morning Herald takes today's award for pulling this family of punny badness together: "Project gum way: Toothsome Heidi Klum shocks TV host" and yep, you knew it was coming, the caption under the photo reads: "Dental as anything... Heidi Klum shows her extracted teeth on American television".

Wrongness, grossness, and more wrongness. As Jay Leno said: "Any fantasy I had is pretty much over now" ... about Heidi Klum and the world's sub-editors.