Saturday, September 11, 2010

All things cat

Some families are pet families. Some others, the sad, lonely minority, are not.

We were not a pet family. Sure I had fish, and at one point a rabbit (Mum and Dad, what did happen to Jenni the (male) rabbit?), but I never had a dog, or a guinea pig, or, for shame, a cat, all those perfectly normal pets every child at primary school has.

This absence of furry creatures (barring Jenni the male rabbit) from my life lead, inevitably, to an obsession with such creatures, and so it was that my best friend in year five, Katrina, and I performed 'Mungo Jerry and Rumpletezer' (from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats, of course) for the 1985 talent quest at my primary school. Ahem.

Fast forward to September 2010 and I'm happy to report that quite the opposite is now the case re: furry cat things. I find myself today fairly inundated with cats. Sure they're less in the physical form than the poetic form, but cat-related they are nonetheless.

Here is a marvellous cat poem by the very fine internet poet, Mad Cat Lady:

I have a cat
She is fat

so fat,
she broke my hat
which I'd careless left lying on a mat
and as is commonly known, cats
are much attracted to sitting on mats
and the combination of hat and mat
was too much for the cat
to combat
she squashed my hat flat
its now rather like a hat shaped mat
so sod her if she thinks shes going to be getting any pats
feckin fat cat

Marvellous, Mad Cat Lady! Your poem (and a bottle of shiraz) helped me remember a childhood effort of my own, entitled 'My Neighbour's Cat'. It read:

My neighbour's cat
Is rather fat
For he loves his food.
He's white and black
With a high-arched back
And he gets in a fiery mood

When his owner is late
To bring in a plate
Piled with steamed and smoked fish.
When I come to play
He stalks away
And curls his tail with a swish.

T.S. Eliot's Book of Practical Cats probably comes close, quality-wise, to Maddie and my poems, don't you think? If you too have a cat poem that you feel would be right at home here please do send it to me.

Squib, Ramon, Ms Catast, Words and Wine, I have no doubt you have extraordinary cat poems just waiting for an appreciative audience; that audience is here! That audience is now. Let's hear your feline lines.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Serving suggestion only. Product may not actually look/act/taste/smell like this.

When I was a kid, I loved the serving suggestions on Salada boxes. Growing up in Canberra, I had never seen such exotic things as smoked salmon, asparagus and red onion yet there they all were, laid out for me in all their food-based technicolour glory atop the full range of Salada biscuits.

They were magnificent, those serving suggestions, and far beyond what any actual parent would create for their child, regardless of how much they loved said child. I became convinced, over the course of the eighties, there was nothing you couldn't achieve in life with an olive pinned delicately to a fold of prosciutto, provided that it rested upon a bed of goats cheese and sat atop a Salada and was arranged just so.

What I liked so much about the Salada serving suggestions was that you knew they were the creme de la creme of cracker flavour combinations; they were the Julia Gillard of the biscuit world; they were the best there was.

Knowing this about cracker serving suggestions, when a CD of images for non-verbal communication that I ordered finally arrived today I figured the images chosen for the CD cover were similarly the creme de la creme of non-verbal communication images, representing the best and most complex sentences that can be communicated with such images.

Here is the cover:

If we take the string across the top we have:

Which I take to mean:

"I want, most in this world, to put on my grey t-shirt with the picture of the fusing/exploding atom so that my sweaty back will stop sticking to the vinyl couch I've been sitting on for a large part of this unseasonably warm day so that I may continue playing video games upon my video game system and become the ultimate lord and master of Toggle Quest, which I would like to achieve before my harp lesson with Mr Jeffries at the Con at 4pm."

Cool. That not only makes sense to me but impresses me as a very fine example of just how much can be communicated by such a pictorial communication system.

If we take the string of images across the bottom of the disc cover, we have:

Which I think you would use to say:

"Remember that big storm we had last week? Well the power went down and everything in my freezer was ruined. Thing is, I haven't just got one freezer: I've got two. One of them is a separate extra storage one, which I probably use most at Christmas, and the other one is part of a fridge-freezer combo which is more for everyday food. Anyway, so I found out later that the storm was caused by global warming and you know that Ross Garnaut fellow? Yeah, he lives down the road from this church which is in the same suburb as where that idiot on the bike knocked me off my scooter when he swerved to miss that pothole. Bastard. Anyway, so I was listening to this podcast on the bus of Ross Garnaut and I had my headphones in but seriously, the guy behind me was going on and on about pomegranates, my GOD he wouldn't stop and he was so loud and I couldn't concentrate on the podcast so I listened to it again when I was at yoga."

Again, that not only makes sense to me but is clearly another fine example of the complexity of thought that can be communicated with this system.

Here, now, is a string from the back cover:

I don't think we need to go through this one; it's pretty clear, isn't it? Ahem.

So my finding for today is that there really is no product that can't best be demonstrated with a 'serving suggestion,' an example of the product showing it at its very best. I can't wait to see what the hemorrhoid industry comes up with for their packaging.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

10 Very Good Things About People You Like Very Much Getting Hitched

We went to the wedding of our dear friends, the German and the Dutchman today and it was a freakin' fine affair; you two rock.

And since we're still waiting to hear who will actually govern the country and thus have so cruelly and unnaturally been denied the opportunity of sharing a late-night, post-wedding, pre-Father's day political rant I have chosen what I'm sure you'll agree is the next best thing: a late-night, post-wedding, pre-Father's day list of ten very good things about people who you like very much getting married.

So here we go:

1. You get to see your pals all dressed up/wearing shoes/using serviettes.

2. You get to do a reading as part of the ceremony that starts: "Marriage: why bother?"

3. You get to dance to The Village People and the soundtrack to Grease without appearing mentally unstable.

4. You learn stuff (I had not heard the term 'fluffer' before tonight).

5. You get to eat all the things you bought for the babysitter that she didn't touch.

6. You get to add items to lists that are wholly unrelated to the topic under discussion: I'm very much enjoying The Avett Brothers' albums Emotionalism and I and Love and You at the moment.

7. You get to bail out of a list early if you're too tired to write anything else and just want to post one of those cacky "Let's take a photo of ourselves with my phone, yeah yeah! Because that'll be hilarious" kind of photos:

Mr and Ms Kettle, looking decidedly dishevelled and ready to go home to see what the babysitter didn't eat.

Oh, and if you're wondering whether our 'new' government is sorted out yet, this site will keep you up to date: