Thursday, 28 June 2007

Yes and snow

I don't want to overdramatize things, but the fact is that my nexts of kin are teetering on the verge of world domination. Ma & Pa Harlot are currently plotting the agricultural coup of the millennium: nine guava saplings are due to arrive at Chateau Harlot in Bright next week, and mum has already drawn up plans for Harlot & Sons Guava Jelly Enterprises Inc. My father has mastered the internet in a burst of late-onset techno-genius. Wilbur has urinated on every lamp-post in the entire greater Bright region. My brother has supervised. I mention all this by way of explaining why it is very important that I visit Bright regularly. I am a moderating influence. "Wilbur", I say, "Why not save up some of that urine for the guavas? Give the other dogs a chance." "Dad", I say, "What happened to ginger and apple conserve? You used to love ginger and apple conserve." "Brother", I say, "What do you think of all this guava business?"

Knowing, then, that it's my intermittent presence that holds things together (a service I perform not just for the sake of my family, but for the sake of the global jam-manufacturing community), you will look leniently on the fact that while I was "working at home" yesterday, I was in fact, er, working at Bright. You'll think none the less of me when you hear that I decided that my overall productivity would be enhanced by nothing so much as a quick trot up the local knoll (let's call her Mount Buffalo) during my lunch break. And now, with your sympathy guaranteed and my manifest commitment to hard work and family unconvincingly reconciled, I'll get to the point, which is that I SAW SNOW! I saw it, and I sniffed it, and I ate it, and I pranced around in it, and - whaddayaknow? - I even photographed it.

Lovely lovely stuff! It has reaffirmed my enthusiasm for weather, helped reconcile me to the trauma of not living in Sydney, and thoroughly permeated yesterday's shoes. Did I mention the snow? It snowed! On me!

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

The Eponymous Eponym

Have always wondered, when Devonshireans consume Devonshire teas in Devonshire, do they just take "tea"? Does a Cornwallister in Cornwall eating a Cornish pastie just eat a "pastie"? Is Bolognese sauce in Bologne just "sauce"? A Yorkshire pudding in Yorkshire just "pudding"? Butterscotch in Scotland just "butter"? Is TexMex in Texas just "Mex"? And in Mexico just "Tex"? Are Alsatians in Alsace just "ians"?

Monday, 25 June 2007

Hangin' with the hermaphrodites

Many are my passions: beagles, chocolate, chocolate beagles, pumpkin vines that emerge unbidden from the compost heap, otters, the words "elbow", "propinquity", "lapislazuli" and "zebra", Polish folk choral stomping, Charles Darwin, coriander, turquoise millinery, the responsible conservation of toilet paper, epaulettes, Leon Trotsky's pince-nez, lentils, clydesdales, looking up pictures of hedgehogs on the internet, the daily execution of the Sydney Morning Herald crosswords, antique chaises-longues, swimming in the sea with goggles on, and, though this list is by no means exhaustive, analysis of the cultural signification of eyebrow plucking. Many, I say, are my passions. But no passion have I ever entertained so downright yellow as this passion. I bring you - yes I do - my new flame, the banana slug!
Hello, banana slug! Hello, favourite mollusk! Hey ho for your anaesthetic slime! Three cheers for your assistance in the decomposition of California's forest detritus! Hip hip hooray for the way you keep your genitals near your head!

The unsqueamish should go hither; the squeamish should stay away from the West Coast of Amerikay.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Harlot's Moratorium

The expressions "burgeoning womanhood", "inextricably linked", and "bowels of the earth" are now officially vetoed.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Pre-Raphaelite? My foot!

Karen the Ruskinologist reminded me today that some months ago I'd pledged to publish photographic evidence of my Pre-Raphaelite feet. You don't hear nearly enough about Pre-Raphaelite feet these days. Besides which, my foots are poseuses of the most shameless order, and they practically set up the camera themselves. So here are pho-toes, ye nymphes and swaynes, of meine Fuße. Twenty-nine years in the making, and, give or take a few blisters, never a sour moment.

Dante Gabriel, eat your long-toe-painting heart out.

Here my feet share an intimate fireside moment, free from the daily trammel of susan shocks.

Here. on the other hand (ha!), is a lone foot, stark raving stark. Note the Pre-Raphaelite toes. They span whole octaves.

And here, old lefty, six feet tall in his stockinged feet, tries camouflaging with the rug. Hole in hosiery cunningly concealed during the day by boot.

Right. Thank you. That will be all.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

And this weekend's award for best sentence in a first year English essay goes to ...

"Love has travelled down history's timeline like a fleet diesel on its way to an undiscovered territory."

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Lessons for the novice potato hoarder

Storing potatoes in an ornamental configuration on your window sill will turn them green, and thus toxic, in the alkaloid-solanine liver-destroying sense of toxic. Preventative measures include wrapping potatoes in lightproof paper before placing on window sill, painting window panes black, or substituting with cricketballs.

Someone has to ask

I spent several months in the Northern Hemisphere last year, and I saw hundreds of squirrels. Truly, hundreds. I even met a British squirrel eugenicist activist, who picked the wrong person (me) to inform proudly that Her Maj's government had recently legislated in favour of shooting grey American squirrels on the spot, no questions asked, presumption-of-innocence-be-buggered. Grey American squirrels, y'see, are infamously associated with the demise of the red indigenous non-American squirrel. I'm not exactly sure what the causal connection is, whether the grey squirrel buys up all the best real estate, or puts Rufus off his reproducing, or annoys him so much that he packs up shop and tries swimming across the Irish Sea. I'm really not certain, actually, that there is a causal connection. (Indeed, I have a theory that the grey is a scape-squirrel for the transatlantic ill-will generated by a certain war of independence and American substitution of the term "roundabout" for English "gyratory circus".)

So, I saw many a squirrel, but never - ay, here's the rub - never did I see so much as a skerrick of squirrel poo. And not for want of searching. I accept that squirrel poo is smaller, per unit, than, say, elephant poo, but surely it's still visible to the naked eye. I accept that it's probably highly biodegradable (here's hoping, anyway), but not so biodegradable that it vanishes into a puff of microbes upon contact with the earth. I accept that it camouflages pretty nicely, but so does wombat poo and rabbit poo and roo poo, and I've never had trouble seeing them poos. Here's my question - and I'm talking to you, oh coprologists, northern hemispehereans, and other interested parties - whither goeth the squirrel poo? Where do they hide it? What shape is it? I will not rest until someone brings me an answer. Please.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Don't fall in love with musicians!

"Women who fall in love with musicians need therapy. Women who fall in love with drummers are beyond hope."
- Some Blogger's Music Teacher

They're the ones with the lute and the gleam in their eye,
Who tune to B flat and strike up a song.
By the end of the chorus you're smitten as pie
And ready to whistle along.

Oh don’t fall in love with musicians!
They’re married already, ok!
Not even with their stage technicians!
Fa la la la la la la lay!

Though noone's denying they've beautiful souls
Or that harmony is a fine thing
You're snared by the sight of the snare drummer's rolls
While his heart's with the first violin.

Oh don't fall in love with musicians!
Though granted their fingers are quick!
They're wedded to their compositions!
Fa la la la la la la ick!

It don't matter if he plays triangle,
If she plays the Spanish guitar,
Or the latest punk rocking fandangle,
Or the electronic sitar.

Oh don't fall in love with musicians!
They spend their weekends on the stage!
And run off to endless auditions!
Fa la la la la la la age!

The alternatives are oh so num'rous:
There are grocers and bakers galore.
Yoga teachers I've heard are quite hum'rous
And podiatrists have good rapport.

Oh don't fall in love with musicians!
Turn your mind to quite different things!
Like lentils and lotus positions!
Fa la la la la la la ings!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

I'll have an anthology with the lot ... wait! make that a holy tango.

It doesn't matter if you have books to write, markets to research, spleens to transplant, fries to upsize, babies to wrangle, or Wintery zephyrs to suck up your moist nostrils, you must go hither.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Her Majesty's Bath Day

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a reasonably chilly sovereign state. It is slightly less chilly than the Republic of Finland, but considerably more chilly than the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. The relative chilliness of these three states is in large measure owing to their respective distances from the equator, and, in turn, their degree of exposure to infrared radiation from the sun, which is not a sovereign state, despite the fact that, in comparison with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Republic of Finland, and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, it kicks bottom on most criteria, and consequently gets its own way in most geopolitical disputes.

Because the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a reasonably chilly sovereign state, its inhabitants, on average, do not perspire with the same abundance as the average inhabitant of, say, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. It is important to recognise, however, that were an average inhabitant of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to remove to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, she or he would be statistically likely to perspire as prolifically as an average inhabitant of said republic.

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, is the head of state of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis (this author's personal favourite), and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Because she is a dog owner, however, she chiefly resides in the homeland of her dogs, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is a reasonably chilly sovereign state (see above). Consequently, she does not perspire abundantly.

In addition to perspiring very moderately indeed, Her Majesty changes her clothes frequently. Sometimes she changes her clothes as often as five times a day. We are not exactly sure why this is. What we can say with some confidence is that her frequent changes of clothes, and her limited perspiration, result in Her Majesty's being slow to become smelly.

Ultimately, this is why Her Majesty is able to bathe on one day of the year without breaching decorum. We call this day the Queen's Bath Day, and in the Eastern States of Australia, it is always celebrated on a Monday. In Western Australia, the Queen's Bath Day falls a week early. This is possibly related to a deceleration in the rotation of the earth induced by the Bathing of the Queen.

Today, this author observed the Queen's Bath Day by remaining in her pyjamas until 4 pm and altogether eschewing her own ablutions. There is only so much bathwater to go around, after all. On an unrelated note, this author had dinner last night at the Moroccan Soup Bar in North Fitzroy and recommends it with all her heart.

Her Majesty

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Wherein the author learns that her ancestral paradise runneth over with four-stroke

I've got this surname, you see. I don't like to type it here, lest the Australian Secret Intelligence Service plugs the old name into Google and comes up with an incriminating account of my armpits. Let's just say, though, that this surname has oft been coupled with "Davidson" to surprisingly lucrative effect.

So, here we are. Harlot Heaven. Disappointing, to say the least. There I was, thinking that the former things would have passed away, and still I'm wearing the same enormous hat that I've worn almost every day for the past two years.

Look closely, and you'll observe the disconcerting sight of an establishment two doors down called "Inferno". That's a coincidence almost as exciting as Northcote Coles' juxtaposition of Heinz Baked Beans and a rack of novelty whoopee cushions.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Waiter, there's a crick in my neck

The 'Bourne, where eye level just doesn't cut it.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It's sculpture on a stick.


So enraptured is it with fishnet hosiery, Australia's self-styled fashion capital is now immersed in a giant body stocking. Beware the giant renegade leg hair.

I shall name my first-born Finial.

I call this one "Windows Behind the Horse".

Friday, 8 June 2007


The man in the flat upstairs is playing a jaunty 6/8 polka version of "Flower of Scotland" on piano accordion. "F of S", for those who don't move in bagpiping circles, is the Scottish national anthem formerly known as a tear-sodden lament over the Battle of Culloden. Good work, man upstairs. It's time to reclaim the dirge. Sign me up for the polyphonic ringtone version of "When I am laid in earth".

While I'm in galloping curmudgeon mode, I may as well allude to the caprivorous lass beside whom I sat at dinner a couple of nights ago. Upon ordering the mixed goat platter (I kid you not), she turned to me, observed my offensive request for veg curry, and elucidated her contribution to the nation's biodiversity, to wit, personal consumption of as many different species as possible.

I am a vegetarian (and a deodorant-eschewing, sandal-wearing, beagle-fancying one at that). Sometimes I am an obstreperous vegetarian. It is not outside the realms of possibility that I might proselytise on behalf of my beastly brethren at the very moment of my unbeastly brethren's tucking into my beastly brethren at the dinner table. But on the occasion of this lass's tryst with the mixed goat platter, I was doing my best to subdue the inner obstreperist. There were other matters at stake, besides steak, and for once I was content to eat my fancy veg ragout while mixed goat gal ate her mixed goats.

She was not. Intent on converting me back to the paths of carnivorous righteousness, she told me An Hilarious Tale About A Goat, wherein a gentleman schoolfellow of hers was photographed, naked, astride an evidently distressed nanny, for Year 12 scavenger hunt purposes. Ha ha. Ha ha ha. And the RSPCA tried to press charges for buggery, whatever that is. Ha ha ha ha.

By the end of this delectable anecdote I was practically begging for a bowl of minced offal.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Half wit

Went to see Half Nelson down the flicks the other day. It went for two hours. The whole Nelson must be grueling.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Email renvoyé

The unsolicited e-pistles just get classier and classier. Check this one out:

Ceci est un message d'information envoyé par
Le serveur n'a pas pu transmettre votre message
Subject: **SPAM** RE: Lovers package at discount price!
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2007 05:49:49 +0200

Oui. C'est Continental Spam (luncheon meat for the aspiring multi-linguist), a welcome complement to my daily haul of proferred enlargements, bank transactions, university degrees, and please-your-lady-s – in English. Well, sort of English. While spam en Français is a step in the right direction, what I'm really holding out for is gratuitous correspondence in Welsh, or Estonian, or Old Icelandic. Even Middle English would suit me: "Gentyl redere, hast nat thy ladye complainst full sore? Thann buye ye VIAGRA for alles nyghtes plaisir."

N.B. I did not (just in case you were wondering) attempt to ping off an email titled "Lovers package at discount price!", or even "RE: Lovers package at discount price!" Had I been corresponding on the subject of lovers' packages, I promise ye, that there apostrophe would've stood out loud and clear.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Wherein proprietorship of the author's apple is contested

You've heard of cow tipping? The inner city possum, running short on available cows, is honing her tipping prowess on the nearest available placental mammal. Didn't anyone ever tell you not to make passes at citoyennes in glasses?