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Showing posts from 2007

Germs, Warfare

Zeitgeisters,

Miss Pink is a bit thingo about cockroaches and mice. She doesn’t like them. I don’t mind mice so much, but I do hate filthy cockroaches. Most insects that make their way into my house, are free to do their thing, man, until they start bothering me. Then I find some way to return them to nature, Rex Hunt style (sans the smooching, natch).

But cockroaches must die! The thought of them dragging their filth over my crockery and flatware revolts me. Nonetheless, this doesn’t stop me from being a hypocrite and doing the boy-thing to stir up Miss Pink. I visualise in detail and aloud, mice queuing up to do a whiz into the twin-slot toaster; that kind of hilarity.

Strangely, though, her anti-cockroach and mouse stance – which is actually a by-product of how much she hates the thought of vermin adulterating what she eats – has been taken up by me. I actually have my toaster wrapped in plastic Laura-Palmer-style in order to keep it critter-free. And I took on Miss Pink’s use-by d…

Yours, Mime and Ours

The Mal Fraser kids do "Luck Be A Lady Tonight"
from GUYS AND DOLLS.


Yo Zeities,

As y'all know I heart mime. I have been privileged in my job at Multimedia Dell'Arte to have quite a lot to do with the Spearwood Teatro Della Mimetica, as well as teaching mime and movement to the drama kids at Malcolm Fraser Senior High.

It has come to my attention that not everyone shares my love for the silent art. When the great Marcel Marceau rescued the art of mime and resurrected it for the 20th Century, he was doing the work of a Salk, a Magellan or an Aaron Sorkin.

If you see a little less of me blog-wise in early 2008, it's because I'll be writing a show for a friend's fund raiser - THE NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND MIMES: An Evening of Tap, A Capella and the Mimetic Arts. I've already thought of an opening, an a capella rendition of Billy Joel's WE DIDN'T START THE FIRE while the mime kids represent the peak events of the twentieth century and the tap kids dance …

I Was There For You

Zeitgeisters,

Okay, so FRIENDS is back, like every day at 7pm on Network 10. It was THE show of the 1990s; the one with Ross, Rachel, Chandra, Joanie, Monocle and Femur. Remember the great clothes. The zany hairstyles. And what about all those unforgettable episodes?

Who could not remember The Parking Nazi? Master and Commander of Your Domain? Junior Mints. Twinkies. The time where Chandra dropped his toothbrush in the toilet and wouldn’t kiss his girlfriend? And that other time when Ross married a lesbian and had her baby? And when Mr Carlson from WKRP in Upstate New York invited Joey and his friend Dudley to the bicycle shop after school, only it turned out that Mr Carlson was a Sicko Perv? And then Mrs C broke up with the Fonz and said, “They’re real and they’re spectacular”?

Great moments in television, friends. And every Tuesday night you and your real friends would have a FRIENDS party.And you would wait to see what that scheming bitch Amanda would come up with this time. And if a…

Dinner for 12

Zeitgeisters,

It’s time to take a stand and create a list of a dozen people, living or dead that I would invite to a dinner party. Looking down this guest list, I see that I have a definite bias towards artistic, English speakers. What a shock!

Here goes:


KIM NOVAK - American actress, born 1933, best-known for her role in Hitchcock’s Vertigo.


SOUPY SALES - American comedian and actor, born 1926.


CLARICE CLIFF - English ceramic artist born 1899, died 1972.


VIVIENNE WESTWOOD - English fashion designer, known for her influence on punk. Born 1941.


THEODORE CHIPMUNK - (pictured Right)An Animated American chipmunk. Not Alvin, nor Simon. Born 1958.


ED DEVEREAUX - Australian actor, best known for portraying Ranger Hammond in the Skippy tv series. Born 1925, died 2003.


BARRY BOSTWICK - American actor, singer, agony aunt, polymath, Renaissance man. Born 1945.


ELEANOR ROOSEVELT - author, civil rights campaigner, former First Lady of the United States. Born 1884, died 1962.


GRACE COSSINGTON SMITH - Aus…

Hail Prince Edward Island

Zeitgeisters,
I haven’t written about Prince Edward Island for nearly nine months now, long time readers know that I am fascinated by this Canadian Province known to the world as the setting of Anne of Green Gables. It’s not actually the book that peaks my interest as much as the idea of living somewhere that is really unknown to most people except in one unusual, specific way.

So, I randomly sent an email to a number of folks who live on PEI and asked them what was the best thing about living there. I got about a one quarter response rate (which I think is good) and was about to collate the responses, but these were lost due either to computer error or operator error or the effects of El Nino.

Then, a few days ago, I found the responses neatly stored away in an unexpected place on my hard drive. It’s a true Christmas miracle!

My thanks to all who responded. I appreciate greatly your taking the time to answer an Australian blog written by a semi-fictional character.

So here they are – bett…

The Christmas Box

Zeitgeister(s),

If you have the good fortune to be in Perth, Western Australia, on December the 25th then you could be enjoying temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius (approx 100 degrees Fahrenheit). At some point in this emotionally fraught, tiring day of good cheer, family and over-indulgence, you are likely to sit down in front of the cathode ray tube;and we are here to help our fellow Perthites.

Although on this blog and the accompanying site, we tend to be relentlessly opposed to so-called free-to-air, so-called commercial television, at this time of Peace on Earth and Good Will to All, we believe it best to dial down the curmudgeonly-ness.

So join with us as we point out those Christmas gems that can be dug from the otherwise barren earth of Free To Air telly (commercial and non).

Seven Network

Starting with our friends on the commercial Networks, this year’s undoubted king of the ratings, the Seven Network, has a glittering range of options.

Our attention is peaked at 2.20pm with TAB…

You're Talking Nuts!

Zeitgeisters,

It’s the day before Christmas Eve and some of you, like myself, are enjoying a deserved rest today. Others of you are being exploited by our capitalist system and you’re working like dogs while The Man lights his cigar with a hundred dollar bill. He ‘made’ that money through the sweat of your brow. Rise up brothers and sisters and throw off the chains of your oppression!

Capture the Means of Production!
Overturn the Apparatus of The State!
Destroy the Institutions of the Establishment!

Begin the Glorious Workers’ Revolution and launch an age of peace, prosperity and true Socialist Democracy!

Smash the State!
Smash the State!
Smash the State!

And scene…

My brother and I hit the stores early on Saturday morning to finish our Christmas Shopping. We were done by ten-thirty, apart from two* items. One of these was a bag of assorted nuts, still in their shells. You may recall that we are giving our parents a nutcracker and bowl for Christmas.

Two hours (and coffee and toast) later we…

Super Powers - What The?!

Captain Puce puts down another rebellion
and keeps democracy safe from "the people".


Zeitgeisters,

I was reading another blog (I felt dirty but there you have it), and the blogger mentioned what super powers he had always wanted to have. Other contributors chimed in. (Who needs contributors dammit!? I love being a one-man band with my little obsessions - Barry Bostwick, Interrobangs...I know you're out there people - like the nitrogen that makes up most of the air we breathe - you're out there.)

And suddenly I thought - super powers - PAH! Puerile nonsense. When will we get over the infantile fantasy of having amazing abilities so we can live our lives at some advantage over others?

Who the f*ck needs super f*ckin' powers? Wouldn't it be COOL if we could fly? Wouldn't it be GREAT if we could be invisible? Blah Blah Wah Wah!

Wouldn't it be freakin' great if we could get along with our bloody noisy neighbours and deal with the fact that we hate our f*c…

Zeitgeisters In Trouble

Well Folks,

According to a friend of mine, Dave, I'm committing a German faux pas by calling you Zeitgeisters. Dave, originally from Western Australia, now lives in Zurich and has been learning Swiss-German for the last five years.

He sent the following note, re: my standard blog greeting:

Hi Mr Trivia,

I'm not sure what I'm getting for Xmas but i know what you are getting from me: A mini German lesson (I bet you were not expecting that).# Dave's - Weihnachten Deutsch Lektion 1

It is:
Der Geist (The Ghost/Spirit) singular
Die Geister (The Ghosts/Spirits) plural

Der Zeitgeist (The Time/Age-of Ghost/Spirit) singular
Die Zeitgeister (The Time/Age-of Ghosts/Spirits) plural

So you should start your mails with:

Greetings Zeitgeister,
By putting an "s" at the end you are adding an english conjugation to an already conjugated word.

You could go 1 little step further and say for the Kaiser:

Grüß Zeitgeister,

I hope those special characters show up for you in 8 point Helvetica:
They s…

Ask Mr Trivia Returns!

Heads Up Zeitgeisters!

After a protracted legal battle of fictional proportions, our good buddy Barry Bostwick returns to answer your questions and help with your cares and woes in Ask Mr Trivia.

A Victoria Park Pisces asks Barry what her dream means. Click here to find out more!

Mr Trivia

Mr Bay Blocker

Zeitgeisters,

I was at a servo on Canning Highway earlier this week and as I walked out after paying for my fuel, I had to walk around some d*cksnap who parked his Toyota SUV and trailer right across the front entrance. He managed to effectively block four empty parking spaces - and one of them was the disabled bay.

I watched the driver as I was getting into my car. He was just wandering around, checking out the drinks cabinet. He didn't seem to be in any rush. Parking frontwise in a bay was obviously not an option, because the trailer would have obstructed traffic, but his solution was to inconvenience everyone else.

He had one option, which was to park further away at the side of the servo and inconvenience himself with a walk of perhaps fifteen seconds longer duration.

But I took action, I put a special Mr Trivia curse on him. Without giving too much away, my people are known for their occult powers. I cursed Mr Bay Blocker with having to wait in a queue of no fewer than three …

Samosas 3

Zeitgeisters,

Be careful what you declare in a blog, it could come back at you faster than you think.

Miss Pink and I were at the Woodbridge Tavern in Guildford on Sunday night for a Battle of The Bands Comp. We were there to support Avatar who magnificently took out second place - the outright winners were The Vans.

Just after we arrived, we did a shuffle around a table looking for a place to sit. The table had family, girlfriends, band-member's mates, uni mates and assorted crew seated around it. As we sat in this liminal social space, Miss Pink was offered a samosa or possibly samosi. She declined on our behalf and mentioned that I had blogged on this subject (Christmas samosas). She kinda shouted this over the top of one of the bands, and I hoped this news was being whipped away in a sonic vortex of chords and beats.

Why? Because people have the idea that bloggers are opinionated nerds (I know!). And I need a little less background noise to describe to people the literary-salon…

Christmas Blitz

Zeitgeisters,

My brother and I checked the Yuletide catalogues. We decided that Dad needed a cheese board with cutting arm and that Mum needed assorted teas. Our parents are a little hard to buy for, so we chose these items based on sketchy memories like, "I think Dad sorta likes cheese," and "Mum doesn't absolutely hate tea."

We sped down the freeway to a place called Bull Creek (The Dog Swamp of the southern suburbs.) There we went to an amazing modern edifice designed to enhance and focus the shopping experience - a shopping “centre” I believe it’s called.

We went to a large store which sold homewares, shiny electronic gadgets and useless clutter. This shop was identifiable by a red circular logo resembling a target.

Every other clueless offspring in the vicinity of Leeming-Willetton had the same idea re: the cheese board. The store had therefore had run out. My bro’ and I didn't like the look of the teas. Improvising brilliantly, the sibs decided to buy a …

A Duck and a Scotsman

Zeitgeisters,

I was talking to a work mate Ryan (name changed) the other day and, by way of friendly conversation, I referred to him as a ‘pantsman’ this was part of another longer conversation not suitable for these PG-13 blog entries) .

He insisted that for a few months this year, whenever he typed into his mobile phone, “Come to the Scotsman” (The Flying Scotsman – famed Mount Lawley watering hole) to any of his friends, it would be rendered, thanks to predictive text, “Come to the Pantsman”.

Ryan is a pretty good storyteller and that’s a pretty good story. He also said that Perth, our beloved hometown, would be predictively-rendered “Servy” which is not funny at all, so perhaps he is telling it true.

My own favourite predictive text sentence is “Enjoy the Crispy Duck”.

Thank you, I got a million of them.

Mr Trivia

Porter Reports

Hola Guys,

Mr Trivia, said I could write a little sumpthin’ in this space ‘cos it’s comin’ up to Christmas and all!

I think it’s super-keen and neat how he lets me do stuff that doesn’t cost him nothin’ in time or money! Like when we go to the store he let’s me sit on those little rides – you know the ones made of fibreglass like a little police-car or maybe a horse or sumpthin’. You put a coin in and it moves.

Only Mr Trivia never puts in no money. So I sez, “Why no money in the kiddie ride you cheap bastard?” And he says, “A wooden boy on a plastic horse can only truly seek stillness.” I don’t really get it, but it sounds kinda profound. He says a lot of things like that because he went to hi-falutin’ University back in the 1980s.

Not that I had time for higher education. I was an advertising copywriter in 1985. I also had something to do with inventing that little cord you could buy to hold your sunglasses around your neck. It was my idea to make it day-glo.

And for a while I had…

Champagne For My Real Friends

Zeitgeisters,

I must make mention yet again of Crackbook as Facebook is affectionately known.

Facebook is 2007. It's now. It's today! Yesterday, myspace was Facebook and one day soon Facebook will be a ghost town that even the tumbleweed will avoid. Social Networking. Getting worried about how many Facebook friends one has. An acquaintance of mine pointed out that I didn't have very many Facebook friends. I have 90 plus. Some of my actual friends have 200 plus.

I am happy with my modest group ("Sure, Mr Trivia that's what a no-mates loser would say"). I don't have 90 people whom I would call a friend in real life. My job puts me into contact with many people that I am friendly with and most of them are lovely, witty folks who know way too much about popular culture.

But if you define a friend as someone who will share your woes, lend you money in a pinch and can see through your carefully tailored social costume and yet still accept you, then I don't h…

Secret Santa Etiquette

Zeitgeisters,

At workplaces all over Australia – nay, the world – there will be Secret Santas or Kris Kringels in the coming two weeks; two names for the same quaint workplace ritual. It's where one secretly pick a co-worker's names out of a hat and buy that person a gift - up to a certain agreed upon value. The point is to be creative and buy within the price limit and to not admit it was you who bought the gift for the giftee.

At Media Dell’Arte this year our price limit was doubled from five to ten dollars. Last week we had the Secret Santa exchange at our annual Christmas lunch. In years past, there have been controversial presents that led to recriminations (sometimes lasting a whole twelve months). If the gift is a little vague or inappropriate then that can lead to all kinds of speculation as to the actual meaning of the gift and the identity of the giver. Frankly, I believe this harms workplace relations and cuts into valuable drinking and merriment time.

However, if you …

Samosas 2

Zeitgeisters,

As discussed below, I have some things to say about samosas.

It’s Silly Season; the lead up to Christmas here in the Southern Hemisphere. And for some reason, during this time of public and work gatherings, party hosts wish to serve up samosas. I’ve made the decision that this Christmas period, that I will refuse all samosas and even mini spring rolls. If something is offered up to me on a plate by a waitperson, that item cannot be deep-fried.

If I did consume these oily treats, I would have a hard time making it through this warm Southern Hemisphere Yuletide. So, Anything from a mini-quiche down, I can scoff. (Okay *Miss Pink?)

Merry Christmas!

Mr Trivia

*PS Miss Raspberry Beret has reverted to her name Miss Pink.

Crackbook & Marty

Zeitgeisters,

I‘ve admitted to a minor Facebook addiction in these pages. But if anything will cure that, it’s questionable applications like the “Which Hollywood Director Are You” quiz.

The quiz offers a series of not very challenging questions like “What’s Your Scene? – Bars, Sports, Clubs, Outdoors or Music”; after doing 10 vague multip;e choice questions like these, I hit the submit button, only to receive the news that I was 45% like Martin Scorsese. I was mercifully 0% like Steven Spielberg, but if you’d ever met me, you’d know I am actually NOTHING like the director of Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and The Aviator. Scorsese is the fast-talking, enthusiastic movie expert whose visceral, violent flicks have explored the American male psyche for a generation. Me? I enjoy watching the Gilmore Girls.

If I’m like any of the choices on offer in this quiz, then I bear some resemblance to the nerdly Steven Soderbergh. The slack questions lead to a 2% match with this director, so I could tell…

Samosas

Here....


Zeitgeisters,

Please note that for a few days this entry had no picture and only the enigmatic "here" (as written above). This lead to a mighty outcry from the...ahem..readership and I responded to this in the entry "Samosas 2"

I have left this original entry in this half-baked (or perhaps half-fried)state because like many creative types these days, I am infatuated with the idea of process, build-logs and behind-the-scenes documentation. Let's face it, talking about the how and the why is so much more satisfying than the outcome.

Mona Freakin' Lisa - pah! Leonardo and the Lady - the six part video-diary and process journal of an artist at work. So much more interesting than a tiny painting behind bullet-proof plastic at the Louvre.

Wait? Have I digressed?

Yes.

Mr Trivia

Can Crime Be Cured?

Zeitgeisters,

My fellow Australians, this went out on American wire services yesterday. I stumbled across it again and again.

Thieves Steal 17 Tons of Christmas Ham
Dec 2nd, 2007 | SYDNEY, Australia -- Thieves stole 17.6 tons of ham and bacon from a warehouse and left behind a message busting the owners' chops, police said Monday.

"Thanks," the crooks daubed on a wall of the Zammit Hand and Bacon curers warehouse in suburban Sydney. "Merry Christmas."

Police said the robbery occurred some time between late afternoon Saturday and dawn Sunday.

Owner Anthony Zammit said that when he arrived for work Monday he found a hole in a wall of the building where the thieves appeared to have entered. The stolen meat was worth up to $88,000, he said.

This is how we get noticed by the world, people; strange, Ripley’s-Believe-It-Or-Not style crime stories.

Incidentally the small goods are said to have a street value of over a million dollars when cut with polony or devon. Police ar…

Eavesdropping

Zeitgeisters,

I was at my local video store yesterday and I overheard two brothers, one around 11 and the other about 9 discussing Ben Cousins' “Such Is Life" torso-tattoo. The youngest kid was convinced that it would be much cooler if it said, “Much is Life” His older brother wasn’t so sure. “Much is Life? And the younger kid said, “Yeah – life is much.”

Two girls maybe around fourteen were looking through the range of DVDs. One girl had clearly seen just about all of them, the other seemed like she might be from a religious order of some kind. The conversation drifted over to me at this point.

Girl 1: And the man wants to find this girl and then he finds her.
Girl 2: What about this one?
Girl 1: It’s good. It’s a comedy. What about this?
Girl 2: What is it?
Girl 1: Charlie’s Angels.
Girl 2: What’s it about?
There was a short pause which sounded like, “Come on, Charlie’s Angels!” But she went on patiently,
Girl 1: It’s about girls who are spies. And they have fights, lots of acti…

If Music Be The Food of Love

Hi Zeitgeisters,

I was down at Dingo Fuel South Perth around two this morning. braving the potato pie. Ravi, the console operator, was telling me about his new place in Scarborough, close to the beach etc.

As I was leaving, I noticed two cars in the bays, both with vanity plates. The first was "CRSSXXY" which I took to mean “Car is Sexy” as in “This particular vehicle you are looking at, right now, is sexually attractive to you no matter what your gender, sexuality or fetishistic bent”.

The second plate was the more lyrical and whimsical “ARPEGGIO”. Which sends us straight to the international knowledge dispenser Wikipedia, which says:

In music, an arpeggio is a broken chord where the notes are played or sung in succession rather than simultaneously. The word, like many other musical terms, originates from Italian, in which it means "in the manner of the harp."
If I had a vanity plate it would simply say:ELEVATE.

Elevate the Insignificant

Mr Trivia

Diamond Day

Zeitgeisters,

Apparently our Queen, QE2 – and yes, she’s still our Queen, Australia, until we get the paperwork done; Our Own Dear Queen – and her Significant Other, Prince Phil are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary today.

Listening to News Radio today I was annoyed, but not surprised at the vaguely fawning tone of the reporting. The reporting of such matters in Australia was much more nauseatingly royalist years ago, so some things have improved.

Today we enjoyed audio of the 1948 ceremony. An expert explained how the whole thing was a bit of glamour during a period of post-war austerity; we heard how Australian Girl Guides provided the ingredients for the four tier wedding cake; there was a short interview with the Queen’s own seamstress of the time, how it felt to have her work so prominently displayed on that day sixty years ago; all interesting at a low level.

Then the story went a bit too softheaded as it detailed how enduring was the relationship between The Queen and …

Authenticity

Hey Zeitgeisters,

Yep, well I’ve been away. Touring. Me and Porter (my ventriloquist dummy) were doing some shows in the Northern suburbs of Perth. Warwick. Greenwood. Balcatta. We cooked, man. We did this bit about how Kevin Rudd and John Howard were basically the same guy. It totally killed. Every night.

Okay. Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t go anywhere. I’ve been Facebooking. I was actually a little bit addicted for awhile, but now I’ve got it under control. I think. At first I thought I might have to spend a lengthy period in a Californian rehab facility to pull through, but apparently a couple of weeks is all you need to fix you up. (Yep, its a barely-there Ben Cousins gag.)

So I’ve been wasting time on Facebook when there was important blogging to be done for the war effort. I might spiel in more detail about this insidious data mining tool for the CIA (see my friend Rex’s spiel on the Monopoly Men site) but for now I’d like to share a prize piece of BS I turned up, whilst cruising th…

Ain't Too Proud To Beg

Zeitgeisters,

I was walking out of my cool South Perth pad recently when a fella, probably no older than myself and dressed similarly (think very, very, very casual) was walking past me. I made some room for him on the footpath and suddenly he spoke to me, “Hey mate, can I have fifty cents for the bus?” I smiled and said, no. And he kept on walking.

I get hit on for money, constantly, and occasionally for drugs. If you knew me you’d find the idea of my hooking you up with anything vaguely pharmaceutical pretty damn funny. However, if I saw me, I’d figure I was some stoner that could help me out. I get it.

Clearly I look like some universal easy mark. I’ve got some aura that that says, “Want money now? Ask me how.” Not far from my place, there’s a guy who sits in front of the old telephone exchange building* who always asks me for two dollars. I always say, no.

I don’t want to give people on the streets my money. I have a particular charity that I donate to, monthly, and another that …

ARIAs: On The Red Carpet

Zeitgeisters,

In the old days awards shows were crazed affairs where the liquor ran freely and substances were abused with impunity. Whether it was a Grammys, an Oscars, an Emmys or even a Logies, you could count on a televised awards ceremony to show you something live and embarrassing. Those days, also knows as the 1970s and 1980s, are sadly passed. The commercial imperative, always one of the reasons for an awards show, has become the sole reason they exist.

The televised part of the Australian Rock Industry Awards have become a staid, polite, split-second affair where musicians, usually the least organised of all entertainers, turn up in their finery (many scarves, ascots and cravats this year) and thank EMI should they win. Pah!

The ARIA Red Carpet Special got off to a rousingly ordinary start as ex-Idol Ricki-Lee Coulter stepped out of a limo and began belting out a song. She walked along the miles of carpet and was met with hot dancers of both sexes all oozing plenty of ‘tude. “…

Talk To The Hand

Zeitgeisters,

People are always asking me where I get the ideas for my Ventriloquist act. Usually they are torn from the headlines. Just yesterday I was rehearsing with Porter, my latest dummy. Porter, made of Oregon Pine, takes on the persona of a rebellious teen in the act. I pretend like I’m his dad and I nag him constantly about all manner things; his dress, his appearance, his addiction to Ice.

It’s funny stuff; maybe a little edgy for cruise ships, but perfect for an evening at the Karalee Tavern in Preston Street, Como. Although, they probably won’t have me back there since I cracked the front pane of their new baine marie, but who knew that spilling ice water on a heated sheet of glass could break it? What am, I? Stephen Freakin’ Hawking?

But I digress, back to the act. There are these new tax cuts that government is offering. And we were working something of this nature.

MR TRIVIA: Hey Porter, these new tax cuts look good don’t they?

PORTER: No, they like the desperate promises …

2007 Curmudgeon Awards Announced

The 2007 Curmudegeon Awards were held last night in a glittering event at the bus shelter outside Coles on Angelo Street, South Perth.

The Awards which were established in 2006, recognise the worst and most irritating of several categories arbitrarily made up by the semi-fictional so-called Mr Trivia.

"The Awards were named for a particularly charming trait of mine which is to complain, at length," Mr Trivia explained last night. The word curmudgeon means apparently means a "mean-tempered old man, given to complaint". The word was last in vogue at the court of Queen Victoria in the late 19th Century, if we are to believe the Wikipedia.

Results of the Awards are published here at Mr Trivia's somewhat superfluous site.

Lost Lambs

Zeitgeisters,

You can read something again and again and still have no real idea what it is. I probably first heard about the Whiffenpoof song somewhere in the 1970s from reading Mad magazine. It was a parody version referencing something that is long lost in the mists of my unreliable memory (President Nixon? The films of Burt Reynolds? The Equal Rights Amendment?)

According to the world’s most accurate storehouse of knowledge, the Wikipedia.

The Yale Whiffenpoofs are the oldest collegiate a cappella group in the United States, established in 1909. Best known for "The Whiffenpoof Song," the group comprises senior men who compete in the spring of their junior year for 14 spots. The business manager and musical director of the group, known in Whiff tradition respectively as the "Popocatepetl" and "Pitchpipe" are chosen by members of the previous year's group, although an alumni organization maintains close ties with the group.
Yes, unless you’re a Yali…

Out of 10

Zeitgeisters,

At my work-place, Media Dell’Arte, we like to make lists and rate things. This isn’t our actual job. The sort of work we do attracts people with say, an above average interest in popular culture. My co-worker, Big Red, takes this notion a little further, she is particularly fond of starting the morning by rating her day out of 10. Sometimes others in the immediate vicinity will also give their “Out of 10”.

I think this is a civilised notion and providing you and your co-workers play the game accurately, (no pretending to be a 6 when you’re really a 4), then it can be a handy guide to know who needs to be treated with kid gloves.

About seven weeks ago, I went to see a 9.30pm session of the New Zealand film BLACK SHEEP at the Millenium in Fremantle. I usually like to suss out the trailers before the feature starts, even though these days they do that sneaky thing of interspersing crappy commercials with the coming attractions.

I was so early the slide ads hadn’t started. So, …

House Proud

Zeitgeisters,

Here in Oz, we love a home renovation show. Although their popularity has waned a little in the last few years, there are still new ones getting up like Jamie Durie’s AUSTRALIA’s BEST BACKYARDS, and I saw BURKE’s BACKYARD has returned to Network Nine in the form of one-off specials. Awww.

Because I live in a flat, the closest I get to a water feature is when the upstairs decking leaks onto my courtyard during a heavy rain. So most of the home improvements on these shows aren’t for me. Also imagine what my landlord would say when he discovered his light cream walls were covered with purple flocked wallpaper in an Edwardian pattern. I’ve always craved flocked wallpaper.

The closest I have come to creating anything that expresses my individuality and pride in my dwelling is the way in which I arrange the loose toilet rolls in my bathroom. The photos below reveal a triangular or pyramidical structure. I feel this geometrical tribute harks back to both the Greeks and the Egypti…

We Heart Mime

Zeitgeisters,

As a tribute to the late Marcel Marceau I’ve been engaging in the art of mime at work and in my communications with family and friends. My “Walking Against The Wind” has been roundly panned and I have only received average crits for “Child Loses Balloon, Cries, is Given a Bunch of Balloons By a Kindly Balloon Seller and Floats into the Air”.

So far, ‘Trapped in Bell Jar with Oxygen Rapidly Running Out” has drawn particular acclaim combining as it does those two commedia dell’arte faves “behind a pane of glass” and “asphixiation”.

I’m working up some new material for the fan base: “Man trying to recall ATM number in a timely fashion so he doesn’t piss off those waiting in the queue behind” and one I’m particularly keen on, “I don’t want anyone to know that I just laughed at a gag on TWO AND A HALF MEN.”

Elevate the Insignificant

Mr Trivia

P.S. Apparently TWO AND A HALF MEN has been the top-rating sitcom in the U.S. for the past two seasons. Hmmm.

Knowing Me, Knowing You

Zeitgeisters,

I was watching AUSTRALIAN IDOL with Miss Raspberry Beret. We were disagreeing about IDOL judge Marcia Hines. I was saying, "Why does everyone give Marcia a hard time – look she’s got tears now that whathisname is out of the comp.” Miss RB said Marcia always gets tears. I pointed out that this is exactly the kind of emotion that she watches reality television for. In fact I could imagine Miss RB reacting in exactly that way if she was in Marcia’s place. Miss RB pronounced Marcia to be “the same” show after show and I think perhaps she said, “safe” to boot. Perhaps the neologism “same-f” will cover it.

The great thing about celebrity culture is that we feel free to make pronouncements about the people on screen despite having the most mediated, contrived, manipulated acquaintanceship with them. In RL (The Tract recognises this vintage geek speak for Real Life) we don’t presume to know people so with so little contact.

For example, I see Ravi the Console Operator do…

Man Fills Ice Cube Tray

PERTH: Today a South Perth Man filled his ice cube tray with water. This event was inspired by seeing the item – a white plastic cube tray, approximately 30 cm in length and ten cm in width - sitting in the dishrack. The man, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals from local organised crime figures, was nonetheless pleased with his quick-thinking action. “This way, the next time I need ice in a drink, it will be available,” he said, “I can assure you, nine times out of ten I forget.” Sources close to ice cube tray confirmed the man’s statement and described him variously as ‘forgetful’ and ‘a typical example of the decline of Australian masculinity. Chips Rafferty would be appalled.”