Thursday, 25 June 2009

Celebrating my inordinate belief in the power of the fact

Captain Robert Hunt was the fourth commandant of the convict settlement of Norfolk Island between November 1828 and February 1829. That's not very long.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

On spending the weekend in parentville

They have some amazing widgets, my parents, like the widget that enables their computer to photograph a surly beagle untimely plucked from 'neath his quilt.

It's 10.30. It's a Sunday morning. The valley is a low sea of fog and the hills have their heads in the clouds and everything outside is drippy and wet, and it's the shortest day of the year, and the black cockatoos are screeching like mad spirits, and why would any self-respecting dog be out of bed? I blame myself and my parents' amazing widgets.

My Aged Pa - he of death-defying quadruple-bypass fame - is having a state-of-the-art all-synthetic hip joint installed on Wednesday. It's been on my list of ambitions for a while now, setting up a seniors' nightclub called Hip Joint (this is after I move to Tasmania and change my name to Charlotte), but now that the Aged P. is staring down the prospect of six months swiveling around on crutches, hip replacements aren't looking quite so festive.

Because I was examining a wee thesis yesterday, the Aged P. and I got to discussing the thesis he submitted in 1970 on economic determinants of urban form. I've stolidly resisted reading it for thirty years, but I started on it yesterday evening, and it's excellent, with lines like "the hinterland of today's cities is the whole world".

Monday, 15 June 2009

The immiseration of the rentenproletariat will hasten the revolution

There are two things you should know about me:

1. I have no intention of altering my domestic arrangements in the foreseeable future.
2. I have been perusing the real estate pages over dinner.

Please don't press me for explanations. It's a disgusting habit and I'm thoroughly ashamed of it. It's only a matter of time before I'm checking the uranium prices first thing after breakfast, jabbing off messages to my broker, and saying savage things to the cats when my derivatives go toxic. (I don't do that, rest assured - it's still the garden variety vice of real estate voyeurism for me.)

So my secret's out: I have been perusing the real estate pages over dinner, and lo!, I see that the erstwhile Hôtel Harlot is once more on the rental market - for $230 a week. Those of you who inhabit the cockroachial climes of inner Sydney will of course scoff at my $230 a week. It's barely more than the price of a crushed berry frappe overlooking the jelly blubbers of East Circular Quay. But $230 is some 43.75% more than the $160 per week that I paid for Hôtel Harlot when I first moved Melbournewards 28 months ago. By my calculations (bear in mind that I single-handedly solved Fermat's last theorem before you try to challenge me on this), that's an inflation rate of over 19% per annum.

We can partly attribute this to the fact that folks have only very recently realised that Thornbury is an infallible source of wholemeal spelt pasta. But it's more than that: the world is not a whole 43.75% more aware of the charms of wholemeal spelt pasta. In fact, wholemeal spelt pasta is not particularly charming. You can gussy it up with lots of garlic and olives and jolly sprigs of parsley, but it remains, regardless, righteous, wholesome and cardboardy. My alternative explanation for the 43.75% rent increase is this (bear in mind that I wrote Das Kapital AND The Wealth of Nations before you challenge me here): the filthy capitalist landlord class is putting one over the rentenproletariat. Given the parlous economic times in which we live, and the very amenable interest rates the filthy capitalist landlord class currently enjoys (not me, I signed up for a mortgage at the preposterous fixed rate of 8.75% p.a. [for five years (yes, I know)]), I have to say that the filthy capitalist landlord class is not very nice. Unless it uses its vast obscene wealth to set up shelters for penurious spelt addicts.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Hello blog

Just dropping by from Planet Essay-marking to inform you that I seem to have inadvertantly converted three hundred and twenty-one students to Team Harold Bloom. Who woulda thunk that the youtubification of America's canoniser-in-chief would have the good scholars of tomorrer decrying the political correctitude that has robbed them, robbed them, of the opportunity to read Shakespeare? Nobody reads Shakespeare anymore, it turns out, because the canon-busting femmo-Marxo-anarcho-aesthetic-relativists put all the Riverside editions in a big pile labeled School of Resentment, tossed in a match, and proceeded to toast their organic tofu on little sticks.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


A very big eggplant or a very small fifty cent piece? The epistemic conundra of modern life, courtesy of the Psarakos Veg Emporium.

N.B. My sister took this photo, but it was my local eggplant market.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Architects have all the best words

Wainscot, flange, lintel, cornice, cantilever, weephole, balustrade, sill ... oh my ... quoins.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Amazing rolly rolls and a boxy box.

Leonard was waiting for me this evening at the letterbox. She kept her feet tucked under her middle, and stretched her neck out towards me. "Do something about that itch there below my chin, would you?" she said. "A little to the left. Lower. Lower. No, higher. Purr."

As I had so satisfactorily attended to her chin, Leonard escorted me up the stairs to the lobby door, where I was to perform my useful door-opening function. But just as we reached that Fatal Portal, she remembered. My cats. I'm the one who imported the cats into her spare apartment. Those small ones, with the whiskers. Me. Them.

Leonard looked me in the eyes and hissed like hot iron. Then she scarpered back down the stairs with her hackles on.

While she has elected to spend the first night of Winter outside (outside, Leonard, where there are more cats than your wildest nightmares could possibly concoct, all roaring their terrible meows and lashing their terrible fluffy tails, and this when you could be lounging around my place contracting ringworm and snaffling stray Iams Kitten Growth Formula pellets), back in front of the heater, Harriet and Beatrice are in ecstasies of cardboard, many thanks to their inaugural correspondant, Genevieve the Tucker, who sent not only the superior toilet rolls which you see below

but also this multifunction cardboard box,

excellent for the sitting in, the chewing of, and the enabling of

acts of synchronised felinicity calculated to temporarily distract a human from the violations of corporeal sovereignty entailed in the application of fungicidal ointment to a person's ears.

The beasts of Harlot Heights say Thank you, Genevieve. You're tops.