Sunday, 31 December 2006

Oh Sydney, my Sydney

Six weeks now until I ship off down to the deep south. Already I'm growing nostalgic for Sydney. This Leichhardt, espresso-sodden, this Parramatta Rd serried with auto dealers, this cat, this tree, this bookshop, this Newtown, this nine-storey library, this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this Sydney. Sigh. Who would've thought I'd grow up to be such a sentimental old bloke?

Friday, 29 December 2006

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?

I've been to the flicks to visit The Queen. With Bernhilde. I've always been a fan of Her Maj's eyebrows and was shocked this afternoon, when I googled "Queen Elizabeth's eyebrows", to learn that the internet has been (until now, my fellow subjects) entirely devoid of the phrase. What, prithee, is the point of having access to four billion websites if none of them explicitly refers to the majesterial eyebrows of one of the world's most un-topiaried living monarchs? I exhort you all to go forth and publish prolifically on this most pressing of topics.

Needless to say, my enthusiasm for a royal eyebrow doesn't extend to an enthusiasm for the institution of monarchy. Quite enough hereditary privilege going around these days without needing to set up a symbol of hereditary privilege and bow down 'n' worship. Just who are these monarchists, anyway? Where do they buy their vegetables? What do they read? Do they turn into corgies when there's a full moon? I do know one, actually. He's a charming young whippersnapper, patrician from his breakfast kippers to his bowtie, with an Anglophilia that seems just another posture in a perfectly sustained and vaguely camp performance piece. But the rest of you, all you willing Commonwealth subjects, where are you? You're a majority (so our constitution would suggest), but with the exception of my kipper-eating friend, I don't believe we've met.

Anyway, this film: well cast; not enough eyebrow action for my liking; most of the audience tittered their way through heavy-handed allusions to royal foibles in a way that implied their personal acquaintance with Club Windsor. Not having perused the appropriate numbers of the Woman's Weekly, I couldn't join in.

Thursday, 28 December 2006

I'm too texty for this ... um ... shirt

I have a brand spanking new mobile telephone. Not just brand spanking new, but my first. Ever. In announcing this (on the world wide web, no less), I'm declaring defeat.

I've been telling myself for years (hey, I've been telling most of you for years) that mobile phone rejection makes me one cool counter-cultural cat. Along with my rampant underarm hair and my organic vegan fairtrade choc-chip cookie recipe, yes, sister, my personal abstinence from mobile phone ownership has been dismantling the empire one foregone text message at a time. Of course, there've been eloquent tirades to accompany my mobile non-ownership. All you've had to do is ask me to text you on arrival and I've explained at length that the mobile phone is one of the most virulent manifestations of an economy predicated on creating a need for things we don't need, on selling us products that require ongoing expenditure, that I reject such an economy, and my carrier pigeons are totally free-range. I am OH SO EDGY, I've told you. No, I do not have a camera in my phone, I have a camera in my camera, I've said. How about (I know this is unorthodox) we decide where we're going to meet right now?

For quite a while you've put up with this. You've even indulged me. But it's become increasingly clear these last few months that you don't celebrate my exultant inner luddite. In short, every time I boast of my phonelessness, your fingers start phantom-texting the word "tosser".

So I have a phone (you'll all be pleased to read). I haven't inserted its batteries yet. I haven't actually signed up for a payment plan (although, after consulting everyone from William Blake scholars to government officials, I've decided it's going to be some kind of prepaid thingy). The truth is, having willfully ignored the whole mobile fandango for fifteen years, I need an adult education course in SMS-as-a-second-language.

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Electric Light Orchestra

Some call it vulgar (here's looking at you, Leo Schofield). Others say it's the reason for Our Leader's reticence to get Australia down and compliant with the Kyoto Protocol. But out in deepest, darkest suburbia, Totally Innocent Christmas Electro-Kitsch is, unashamedly, all the go.

Flaming plum pudding aside, the Parents declined to mark D25 with any unwonted act of illumination. As the better part of their street was festooned from letterbox to gabletop with glowing reindeer, though, we got our fair share of the Christ-vegas experience. Thank G*d.

Starlight twinkling over the peaceful boulevardes of Parentville:

This is why they tell us that Santa is an anagram for Satan:

And here I start fantasising about redecorating my entire house thus:

In fact, why stop with my house? I propose an action group for the complete refurbishment of Sydney's streetscapes. So many lamp-posts, so few glowing reindeer.

Monday, 25 December 2006

A cool yule to y'all

The flaming plum pudding awaits, and it's going to be all I can do to pull myself together after the revelries of last night. Hannanana dropped by from Germany for Heiliger Abend and we all partook of that timeless German tradition of dressing up in blond wigs and eating half a kilo of festive Cadbury.

That's me, in one of my more Mae West moments, and this is half a kilo of festive Cadbury:

And now for the festy Cadbury hangover.

Have a good 'un, my fellow adventurers and reindeer, and beware of metallic objects lurking in the flaming pudding. Indeed, beware of metallic objects lurking anywhere. Far too much lurking metal around these days.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

Pants ahoy!

For all those who've been tuning in on the hour hoping for news of the Great Jeans Wearing of 2006, with considerable sadness I have to report that it's all off. Since those first heady hip-constricting days of early December, the jeans have been growing increasingly roomy. By the 10th, they were old friends, up for anything my legs could throw at them. By the 15th, I could slip the Complete Works of Tolstoy into my waistband. By the 20th, I was receiving tenders from marsupial smugglers, wanting to contract out my pants to sneak a couple of poteroos through customs. Moreover, along with their rapidly increasing capacity, they were growing rather too aromatic for the modern nose, and I feared for the tender young nostrils of my nieces and nephew, forced to inhale their aunt from the other side of the flaming plum pudding.*

I have now washed 'em (the jeans, not the nostrils), and they've shrunk alarmingly (the jeans, not the nostrils), and I'm thinking, in light of forthcoming festivities and the flaming plum pudding, that I'll stick to a toga for the next couple of days.

* which is actually a flaming plum pudding, not a euphemism for a malodorous jeans-related phenomen, or a new breed of lapdog.

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Philately Jones

Dear Mrs I. M. Fair,

Yesterday your Australia Post Stamp Bulletin arrived in our letter box, and I took the liberty of leafing through it. According to Australia Post, 2007 will be the Year of the Pig. It will also be the Year of the Surf Lifesaver. This happy coincidence offers considerable scope for acknowledging pigs' oft ignored feats of altruism and derring-do.

Mrs Fair, I enjoy a good stamp myself - so much so that I intend to name my first born Philately - but don't you think it's time you branched out, started collecting something to really stretch your acquisitive talents? Noah managed TWO of EVERY animal species, that's 23760 ANTS ALONE, more than the total number of stamps released by the Commonwealth of Australia in its 93 years of stamp production.

"But I also collect pictorial postmarks", you'll say. Mrs Fair, it's that kind of lightweight attitude that's keeping this country down. Why be satisfied with pictorial postmarks when you can collect something truly stupendous, like famous walls? The Wailing Wall, the Great Wall of China, Hadrian's Wall, and the bits of widely dispersed rubble formerly known as the Berlin Wall: now that would be a collection I could respect.

Please send a forwarding address and we'll pass your Stamp Bulletin on.



Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Missionary positions

Sydney's inner west converged on Moretti's pizzeria last night to celebrate 29 years of live uncensored Erin (Erin being my gardening novelist housemate, as opposed to Emma, my thespian godmother housemate, Mads, my keeping-it-real at the NSW state govt housemate, and Max, my cat-food-eating and gentleman-about-town housemate, to say nothing of the odd resident snail, with whom there's little risk of confusing Erin).

For reasons that continue to perplex, my plateful of the Moretti's pizzeria experience lagged a good 15 minuti behind everyone else's. I did my best to keep up a steady stream of peerless repartee, but was rendered temporarily dizzy by the combined forces of hunger and vaporised garlic. I have vague recollections of a slick of drool dangling from my chin.

By the time my pizza arrived, I'd drawn up basic plans for converting Mt Vesuvius into an industrial scale, high-efficiency Neapolitan pizza oven. It took the better part of a primavera to recoup my wits. Just as I thought they were recouped, a vision of startlingly eroticised Christmassisity arose before us: three long-haired teenagers, in black spandex and santa hats, gyrating and lip-synching to the electro-funk version of "Joy to the World".

It was Australian Idol meets Rock Eisteddfod meets amateur pole-dancing class (minus the poles), and while I'm never one to look censoriously on an uncoerced adult shoulder-shimmy, unexpected pelvic thrusts are a little disconcerting mid-pizza.

But I haven't lived a life entirely unbesmirched by dubious public performances myself, and as dubious public performances go, this one had an audacious, high-octane tackiness to it that got close to winning me over. They stopped dancing. We applauded. Our lives, all in all, had been enriched by the sight of three young women prancing round the pizzeria in santa hats.

And then they started working the tables. Collecting donations? Selling CDs? Nup. Handing out religious tracts. Christmas is upon us. What is Christmas all about? Jesus. Repent. Believe. Open your hearts to eternal life. Etc.

These kids were missionaries, proselytising pelvis first.

A flick through their website, suggests good, clean fundamentalist fun, but ol' Wikipedia tells us different. The Family, aka The Children of God, has hit Sydney town, bringing their flirty fishing ways and their urban funk dance moves with them.

Hey, if it's ok to use scantily clad maidens to sell ice-cream, or battered chicken legs, or golf clubs, then it's ok to use 'em to sell apocalypticism and the Book of Isaiah.

But still, I feel sullied and peculiar.

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

My vacuum cleaner sucks

But not very well. If you have a spare functional vacuum cleaner and would like to trade for my dog walking services, elementary yodelling lessons, a sizeable collection of used Australian 1988 35c postage stamps, or your very own personalised limerick, sign below. Thanks.

In other news: no. of snail sightings since 9 am yesterday, 0; no. of consecutive days of continuous unwashed jeans wearing, 17; no. of consecutive days of continuous unwashed jeans wearing to go until I beat the official world record, 3789; sleeps til xxxmas, 6.

Monday, 18 December 2006

Alors, les escargots!

Awright, I like a snail as much as the next lady. I like their retracting antlers. I like their stripy shells. I like that in Northumbrian English they're called "pookies" (allegedly). I'm even rather partial to saucy French nature documentaries that set their empassioned hermaphroditic trysts to music. But a snail who spends the better part of sunday evening climbing in through the bathroom window so that s/he can greet me at sunrise from the vantage point of my toilet seat IS A VIOLATION OF THE NATURAL ORDER. No one should separate an underslept woman from her early morning ablutions, and in a creature whose primary contribution to the world is a trail of slime, this kind of behaviour is beyond the pale.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

I am ze Count and I love to count

Fifteen, fifteen wonderful consecutive days of unwashed jeans wearing, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah!

Friday, 15 December 2006

Now, about these damsels in distress

Distressed damsels are hard to come by these days. I myself am very rarely distressed, and that's despite the fact that I can't do handstands. Your typical damsel round these parts carries her own mobile telephone, hanky and emergency flotation device, so would-be distress-alleviators are hard pressed for business.

No one wants to go back to the bad old days of regularly distressed damsels. Far too much valium was consumed; far too few damsels knew how to tie reef knots. Nonetheless, when the phone call came on tuesday night, the phone call of an unmistakeably distressed damsel, I dropped my knitting, grabbed my bag of tricks and rushed out into the night with the gleam of adventure in my eyes, my messianic delusions in full throe.

(That's me, staring danger in the face. As you may notice, I'm not wearing jeans; this was just a practice run danger-staring-into-face-thereof, back in August 2005. I have since grown considerably taller, stopped wearing industrial-strength over-sized blundstones, and now look like Michelle Pfeiffer.)

The phone call was from my friend the Data Entry Clerk, who moved into the 'hood a month ago. While the 'hood affords many delights for an up-and-coming Data Entry Clerk (viz., fancy coffee, lots of buses, interesting young people on bicycles), she had chanced upon a none-too-suitable housemate. It would be unkind to call this housemate the housemate from hell. Or even the housemate from the last chapter of purgatory. But certainly she was the Housemate With Whom No Self-Respecting Data Entry Clerk Could Long Sustain Enclosure in a Confined Space. The incompatibilities were many and various, the Housemate With Whom seemed not to have noticed any of them, and my friend the Data Entry Clerk felt that in the interests of her future will to live it would be best if she gave her notice and began to look around for an alternative habitat.

On tuesday night, the Data Entry Clerk summoned all her gumption and began to speak words of lease termination with the Housemate With Whom. I can vouch for the honour, tact and kindness of this Data Entry Clerk. No bulldozerer over the tender feelings, the abandonment anxieties, or the perhaps precarious finances of the Housemate With Whom is she. Be that as it may, the Housemate With Whom exploded into furious threats, and the gist of them was that the Data Entry Clerk had better get herself and her collection of antique Moroccan ceramics out of the Confined Space pronto.

Enter moi, with my trusty swag of cardboard boxes (amassing in anticipation of Melborneo), my sticky-tape, my driver's license, and my convenient ability to avoid the extra truck-rental levy for under-25-year-olds.

Soon it was wednesday morning. The Housemate With Whom left for gainful employment, the Data Entry Clerk had to take the day off from entering data, I postponed my daily quest for truth and wisdom, and found myself down at Balmain Rentals, signing up as pilot of an alarmingly large rent-a-truck.

A thing or two about me: I am not a natural driver. They sent a letter home in 1989 advising my parents that I needed to stay behind after school for remedial Phys.Ed.. My attempts to get about on two wheels normally end with me and my bicycle entangled in an unseemly knot. I am, as they say in circles I prefer (for obvious reasons) not to frequent, profoundly un-co. Inveterately so. And so I drive infrequently, with considerable anxiety, and only in vehicles with a reliable gravitational centre.

Here I was, then, trying to reassure the Data Entry Clerk that her world was not imploding, unable to locate the handbrake in the alarmingly large rent-a-truck, hoping to channel the spirit of a co person. Somehow, magically, even in the absence of a ouija board, the spirit of that co person came to me. I found the hand-brake (projecting out of the dashboard, just below the steering wheel), we loaded the alarmingly large rent-a-truck with carefully wrapped Moroccan ceramics (with a little assistance from assembled under-25-year-olds and an Aged P.), and the Data Entry Clerk and I sailed up Victoria Rd to her temporary refuge in the bosom of her family. Hereupon, my friend bequeathed me a year's supply of free data entry and a bowl of fried rice. To this very day (Friday), she rejoices that she made her escape and she goes about her data entering with a renewed gusto.

As for the Housemate With Whom, the very next day she fell deeply in love with a croissant vendor, and lived happily ever after. Aw.


Vegetarian, clean-living professional sheep with good sense of humour seeks similar for fun and friendship.

Thursday, 14 December 2006

The Human Jean Gnome Project

Have been too busy wearing my jeans and rescuing damsels in distress* to expand The Life and Opinions of Lexicon Harlot, Gentleperson, but if you happen to be dropping by and you're at a loose end, please complete the following: "On the twelfth day of continuous unwashed jeans wearing, my true love gave to me ..."

* All the thrills and spills of my knight errantry to be relayed just as soon as I've surmounted the hurdle that is thursday. For now, suffice to say that I've become a dab hand with a 2-tonne Hilux truck.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006


N.B.: I am still wearing my jeans. Today is the tenth consecutive day of continuous unwashed jean wearing.

The Hair-Do Index of Eighteenth-Century Cultural Change

I caught myself ranting to the dog again this morning about eyebrow sculpting. The dog is very receptive to these rants. Today I told him that the only good thing about his prime minister was the impressively untamed wilderness said prime minister used to host above his shifty little eyes. "And then," I said, "then, Wilbur you fine young beast, then he went and got them trimmed! Just like he trimmed funding to the ABC, and trimmed a couple of islands from the Australian migration zone, and trimmed off his non-core promises." The trimming of John Howard's eyebrows (are you listening, Wilbur?) is a metaphor for his treatment of our expansive national identity.

Of course, John Howard's eyebrow-trimming is all of a piece with eyebrow sculpting trends in non-participatory democracies the world over. Scarcely a nominally enfranchised eyebrow do I see these days that hasn't been realigned, clipped, or subjected to the full punitive weight of the tweezer. Small government, my foot.

The dog thinks I am mildly obsessive about the things humans do to their various hairinesses, but he blinks indulgently. His own eyebrows consist of seven displaced whiskers and he tends to ignore them.

These discussions Wilbur and I have about prime-ministerial eyebrows are just the froth on the larger cappuccino of my concerns about hair. I've been working recently on my Hair-Do Index of Eighteenth-Century Cultural Change theory. European society during the Enlightenment is characterised chiefly by its fear of chaos (i.e., madness, political radicalism, nature, North American Indians and teenagers' bedrooms). This results in Newtonian astonomy, Linnaean botanical classification, Augustan poetry, etiquetterie, flummery, frippery – and elaborate wigs. Here, for instance, is Marie Antoinette, exemplifying the spirit of the age:

Or Marie Antoinette's terrestrial proxy, Kirsten Dunst, at any rate. That's not Kirsten Dunst's hair, citizens. That is a wig. And like corsetry and conduct manuals, it is part of an attempt to dissociate civilised people from a state of nature.

Enter the Romantics, dauntless advocates of a return to nature. No need to read their poetry, contract their tuberculosis, or speak their German. Just look at their hair ...

Shelley had better things to do with his time than invest in a restyle with complementary macchiato. And besides, this is hair as nature intended it.

The moral to the story: folks with de-natured hair run around advising disaffected peasants to eat cake and find themselves decapitated in untimely fashion; folks who let it all hang out get to go on walking tours of Switzerland and name their goldfish "Ozymandius".

We have been warned.

Sunday, 10 December 2006

pantaloon update

Still wearing my jeans. They now have petrol stains (stupid lawn mower). That is all. You may go.

The pantaloons of doom

It's now seven days since I bought my $20 jeans from the House of Kmart (purveyors of haute couture to the rich and famous). I have worn them each of those seven days and they have finally moulded themselves into a comfortable expanse of denim across the hips. (Where I say "hips", I of course refer to the whole hip-posterior-gluteus-maximus ensemble, which - let's be honest here - is where it's all going on.) All well and good, except that over seven days, these here jeans have also attracted an alarming medley of grass stains, mango stains, ye olde cider stains, hair of dog and dandruff of cat and poo of duck. They need a wash. When they get their wash, they will shrink, and I'll be back to gingerly easing myself into them.

So I'm going to try, in the interests of blood flow to the lower torso, not to wash 'em, for as long as I can possibly hold out. Of course, commentators across the nation will be holding their collective breath. How long can she abstain from jean-washing before her pants threaten to fall off in a pile of rancid tatters or her friends invest in nose-plugs? Will she be able to get through the next week of posho Christmas parties? Can she pass this off as conscientious water conservation in these drought-benighted times?

Watch this space, comrades.

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Bring David Home

I would have spent today at home with my nose to the grindstone, atoning for a week of procrastinatory hedgehog googling, except that my ex-Liberal-Party, lefter-than-thou, Ruddock's-bad-for-my-blood-pressure Dad guilted me into going to the David Hicks demo.

And a good thing, too. There's something for everyone in the Bring David Home campaign. The Socialist Alliance kids can use Hicks' detention as proof that the PM's a fascist. Fine upstanding legal personages can politely discuss habeas corpus with dreadlocked anarchists. For everyone else, it's the first chance to wear Guantanamo Bay orange since the shortlived citrus phase of '95.

So no surprise to find myself standing with a Spartacist vendor on my left and the president of the bar association on my right. A bit more of a surprise, though, to see the NSW police joining in.

That's an orange police escort car, if I'm not mistaken. I have never seen an orange police vehicle before. At the risk of shedding street-cred by the gallon for want of the right and proper cynicism, it does look suspiciously like the NSW police have deliberately turned up in the protest colour du jour. Am I drawing too long a bow in suggesting that the NSW police want to Bring David Home? Gentlemen of the jury, I think not. The NSW police want to Bring David Home, and they won't rest until he gets here.

Likewise, this orange traffic light -

- one of many orange traffic lights visible today to the casual observer - seems close to categorical proof that the Roads and Traffic Authority feels the same way. Bring David Home, says the RTA, and give way to traffic already in the roundabout while you're at it.

Australia's agricultural sector, involved in civil liberties activism for many years, has indicated its complete support for Bringing David Home with the release of this limited edition fruit:

No government which knows where its bread is buttered is going to ignore a clear signal like that.

Friday, 8 December 2006

Opa! Opa!

Out on the town with the Sassy Librarian last week, I bumped into a citoyenne from my old Balkan dance troupe; yea verily, the Balkan dance troupe I unceremoniously dumped in a fit of thesis-writing self-absorption two years ago. "You should come along next week", said she. And instantly I was awash with nostalgia for those heady days, prancing up and down the Ultimo Community Centre hall with my hands in the air, toe-tapping to those good old fashioned Macedonian time signatures (which reminds me, why isn't there more 5/8 and 7/16 around these days? Eminem? Thom Yorke? Paul McCartney? Anybody?), spending the next two days crippled and groaning. Sigh. On the other hand, do I really want to give up all that time? Time that could be spent watching Australian Princess. Or looking up hedgehogs on the internet.

Yargh. It's back to the pro/anti list, the preferred problem-solving device of philosophers and teenage girls' magazines the world over.

Pro: it'd be good preparation for Melborneo. They're notoriously shifty down there; I want to be light on my toes.

Anti: the Balkan bagpipe consists of an eviscerated goat, with some indifferently lengthed wooden tubes stuck into each orifice ( and not to get all bagpipe snooty on Eastern Europe, but there's something to be said for being in tune).

Pro: it'd develop my cultural sympathies with Nikolai, my fictitious Romanian paramour (don't worry, Nikolai; I say fictitious, but you're real to me, and yes, I agree, _Dracula_ is culturally insensitive and orientalist).

Anti: once I'm in the Balkan dance zone I start bouncing up and down at the bus-stop in 7/16 time and humming to myself through my nostrils. There are only so many times I can tell strangers I've had too much pseudoephedrine before they start suspecting I'm (a) lying, (b) in dire need of prayer and detox.

Pro: ok, this one may well clinch matters ...

Was ever there chocolate more wholesome? (No need to answer this one, mesdames; I have personally researched every species of chocolate known to western civilisation.) I met this particular bar at Mitzi & AJ's place a couple of months ago, and I've been emitting an inner glow ever since. In fact, I've started to look increasingly like this child, the old rosy-cheeked, soccer-playing, handy-with-a-chess-board look. If that's what Balkan chocolate can do for you, fancy the effects of a Bulgarian foxtrot.

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Laundress in Leichhardt

News flash: I am currently holding hostage Leichhardt's premier laundress. She dissolves her washing powder to avoid streaks, she uses fancy spray-on stain remover, she separates her coloureds from her whites (if that sounds like some kind of sick municipal policy emanating from the Alabama KKK, please remember we're talking socks and pillow slips here), and she's HERE, IN MY HOUSE, USING MY LAUNDRY!

And now that she's back from the toilet, it's interview time! (WHOOHOO!)

Lexicon: So, Bernhilde, how did a nice girl from the suburbs like you find yourself in a laundry like mine?

Bernhilde: Using my personal GPS.

Lexicon: HAHA! You're very funny! And now for my next question. Ummmmmm...

[Bernhilde leaves desk to check if the current load is still spinning. She's back. Yes, it's still spinning. Investigative journalism at its finest.]

Lexicon: I've just bought myself a new pair of jeans (a twenty schmackeroonie job from Kmart). They're rather snug (I'm that kinda lady). How do you suggest I go about their first wash?

Bernhilde: A snug jean needs a snug wash. Close and cosy as this may sound, it's gonna be a lonely first wash for those hip huggers. They need what we call in laundry circles a "Separate Wash". And there's no finer water for this separate wash than cold water. I'll have you know, dear readers, that my whites are currently undergoing the privation of the first non-hot wash they've had for a long while, thanks to the primitive (but much appreciated) facilities on offer at Chalet Lexicon.

Lexicon: Ah, yes, the primitive facilities at Chalet Lexicon. I'll just go dig myself a hole in the back garden for tonight's excrement, what ho. So, Bernhilde, tell us about your finest laundry experience, dalliances amidst the wondersoap, wondrous feats of stain-removal, washing powder drifting like snow about your enraptured laundressliness.

[Bernhilde has now returned to the laundry to unload her whites and soap up her towels. At this point, I should state that in answering this question she will decline to mention specific brandname laundering products, because, like, we will not be slaves to the corporation.]

Bernhilde: This, right now, has to be one of my top three laundry moments. Bringing it to the people, live. Laundry doesn't get all that much better than this. Although, I ought to mention that the role laundry plays in modern courtship has been severely under-represented in the media. When I say courtship you probably think of coy glances as you unload towels from the drier at the laundromat. Or maybe you've seen someone sexily pull the lint from the filter. What I want to share with you, Dr Harlot, is an anecdote of how my prowess with the suds turned to lurv...

Lexicon: Brace yourselves, readers. This is turning into one saucy post.

Bernhilde: You know what it's like when you fancy a lady/gent/sea anenome. You start acting a bit silly and doing things you don't normally do and before you know it you've dragged your non athletic self along to the side of a hockey field and are feeling a little flustered by the sight of your fanciage in a hockey skirt. Fluster turns to fear when she takes a spill on the turf, but fear turns to rapture as you see her rise, triumphant, from the ground with a bold grass stain the length of her shirt. Enter Bernhilde, Laundress Lothario. She shyly asks, on the way home, whether she might be of assistance in the removal of the grass stain before the next game. Assent makes her giddy, but not nearly as giddy as the bleach fumes as she stands and scrubs and sweats over the basin of hot, hot water.

Lexicon: I'm not sure if I'm old enough to hear this, Bernhilde.

Bernhilde: Sadly, I think you are. One nervous phonecall to advise of the shirt's readiness and the hockey player shows at my door for collection of the prize. I offer the newly white, neatly folded shirt and have a flutter at the hockey player's exclamation of surprise. I offer a cup of tea with assumed nonchalance and am shocked, deeply, by the hockey player's inability to accept. Hockey player's girlfriend is waiting for her in the car outside.

Lexicon: Oh, Bernhilde, I'm sorry. You can't trust these modern hockey playing types. But at least you've still got your laundry basket.

The End.

Stay tuned for next week: Interview with My Friend the Lawn Mowing Man.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Ah, dogs

My finance-maths-genius-friend Rowan sent this to me. It demonstrates, in this order, (a) that finance maths genius friends are worth it, even if they leave you feeling like an innumerate oaf, (b) that when the revolution comes, it won't be the dogs up against the wall, (c) that posh wine should not be consumed in the presence of beagles. No sirree. Unless the beagles get some too.

Ms Muffet and the Coalition of Anarcho-Syndicalist Curd-Eaters

There's something about bagpipes - or perhaps bagpipers - that gives rise to innuendo worthy of a horde of over-informed 12-year-olds,* possibly on Scout camp, but more likely sitting up the back of an introductory class on simultaneous equations, especially under the stimulus of a teacher who foolishly advises these ardent young minds to use their rubbers, or just get on with it (squeal! giggle!). I can't think what. A more family-oriented instrument than a nice set of pipes I'm yet to meet.

Be that as it may, I was living it up with my bagpiping posse last night, and despite my judicious quotation from the Book of Lamentations, the piping fraternity insisted on rewriting the entire canon of English nursery rhymes for re-enactment by Pamela Anderson and a gentleman of her choice. I alluded to the third chapter of Exodus. They persisted with Jack Horner. I suggested prayer and contemplation. They made light work of Little Bo Peep. Eventually this arrant smut was flummoxed by a question that should have been addressed long ago: what in the world is a tuffet?

For years we've all been consenting to a narrative wherein Little Miss Muffet (which, while we're at it, is one of the most demeaning names to cross my path this year) sits on one of these tuffet thingamees, and for years we've never bothered to enquire further. She might have been sitting on a landmine casually abandoned by the Coalition of the Willing, for all we seem to have cared. Fortunately, the lexicographical folk at the Oxford English Dictionary have done our research for us, bless 'em. I present for your edification the following:

1) a tuffet is not a footstool; anyone who says it is has been misled by its use in the nursery rhyme under discussion;

2) in fact, says the OED, a "tuffet" is a "tuft";

3) indeed? say you. But what is a tuft? A tuft, mesdames, is "A bunch (natural or artificial) of small things, usually soft and flexible, as hairs, feathers, etc., fixed or attached at the base."

4) and here is an example: from 1553, "the goddesse ... wearethe a greate long tuffet of heare beefore, and behind hathe not one heare". A spunky coiffure, if ever there was one.

This is good to know, and to avoid future confusion, the rhyme should be rendered thus:

Little Miss Muffet (or Ms Muffet, in this day and age)
Sat on her bunch (natural or artificial) of small things, usually soft and flexible, etc,
Eating her curds and whey (that's tofu, to you)
When down came a spider (eek!)
Who sat down beside 'er,
And frightened Ms Muffet away (to collect a perforated cardboard box, with which to remove the spider to a more mutually satisfactory environment).

* N.B.: nothing against over-informed 12-year-olds. Some of my best friends were once (or are still) over-informed 12-year-olds, etc, etc.

Sunday, 3 December 2006

Various Dinghies competing in the Pan-Pacific Ladder-Climbing Championships

follicle, follicle, all is follicle

I was doing a spot of promenading today, at a beachside suburb that shall remain nameless, when my companion (let's call her the Sassy Librarian) and I had the misfortune to read this in the window of the Ladies' Beauty Emporium: Brazilian (with local anaesthetic) ONLY $45. The Sassy Librarian broke into delighted chuckles. She is from Brisvegas, national capital of Paris-Hiltonality, so is somewhat inured to the concept of depilation so vigorous it requires anaesthetic. I, on the other hand, broke into a cold sweat and began nervously adjusting my underpants.

It's not that I don't think women should have the right to pluck their nether regions. I support that right just as much as I support the right to cosmetic amputation, foot-binding and the use of uranium-based toothpaste. What appals me is that they're expected to pay "only" $45 for the pleasure. Surely parting with their hard-grown pubic hair is sacrifice enough: it's not like it reaches its full lustre overnight; it can take months to cultivate a healthy set of curls. Beauty parlours across the nation are harvesting Australia's Female Pubic Hair (FPH) at a rate of knots – Australia currently leads the world in black market FPH exports – and not only are the primary producers going unrewarded, but they're expected to PAY for their depilation. This kind of economic altruism may be good in the short term for GDP, but ultimately it's going to lead to mass disaffection among primary producers in the FPH sector.

Saturday, 2 December 2006

a root by any other name more fair

Before I begin: three cheers for wireless internet, without which the following paragraph would not be possible.

Leaving my almost indecent ardour for anything that sinks me deeper into the www aside, I do have this to say against wireless: viz., as far as I can tell, EVERYONE pronounces "router" as "rowter". As in, for want of a phonetic alphabet, r-ow-tah. In some of the more grit-and-cactus states of the US, where "route" is pronounced "rowt", this is all well and good. But when even the shark-proof dinky-di Aussie tech-support person at the end of your telephone enquires after your "rowter", you're tempted to get all etymological on his ass and tell him exactly how rooted it is. Hear this, Mr Tech Support Person, any kind of "router" derived from "route" (pronounced "root") should be correspondingly pronounced "rooter". And yes, I may be a pedant, but at least I don't dispense flagrantly useless instructions to innocent maidens trying to set up their internet connections.

(Before I move on, it's worth noting that "router", correctly pronounced, has the added advantage of rhyming with "computer", thus allowing for sardonic couplets on the theme of modern communication systems. Also, of course, when your router is finally devoured from the inside by Sydney cockroaches, you have the dubious pleasure of saying "my router is rooted".)

That is all. I dedicate this discussion to the good people at D-LINK Wireless.