Wednesday, December 31, 2003

nu yr

According to the Age 35 million text messages will be sent tonight.

With many texters in places where it will be hard to hear a phone ring, never mind hold a phone conversation, some are predicting the volume of text messages could eclipse voice calls for the first time

Hope the thumb tribes hold off the bubLE before sending the =:) nu yr.
boynton herself will be watching the bubLE and the beer, which apparently looks like this under the mircroscope:

This is Fosters, although we ususally prefer VB, but all the oz beers look rather striking. (via Fragments from Floyd)

and if you soberly strip it from the christmas, this is how you say =:) nu yr in languages other than txt (via fait accompli)

Comments: nu yr

Oooh that does look delicious. Rather Aztec-ish, don't you think?
Posted by fredf at January 1, 2004 05:28 AM

Yes - quite pleasant, Fred, whereas the VB looked a bit err...dazzling. Amazing how painterly they are. My favourirte of the aust. beers (as art) is probably Castlemaine XXXX
Posted by boynton at January 1, 2004 12:25 PM

Tuesday, December 30, 2003


Literary Figures from the Souvenir and Commemorative Spoon Museum (via Plep)

After a while reading through the spoon-laden index the mind almost swoons. Soon everything is a spoon. Never mind the poetry of moon landing spoon, there are bridge spoons, claret spoons and cactus spoons. Though possibly boynton's favourite would have to be the mystery spoon.


Life in The Present alerted me to this stunning online SLV exhibition Who was Eric Thake
boynton knew of this image, but little else, and has enjoyed exploring this site
Especially this wonderful map in the Melbourne memories section.

For Eric Thake, the 'day before yesterday' was not an exercise in sterile nostalgia, but always an act of affectionate re-creation. This is nowhere more evident than in the map he made of the Melbourne suburban neighbourhood in which he grew up in the 1920s and 30s. Then known as Auburn, and today as Hawthorn, it was still a place where cows grazed.

Cherished memories pursue each other in and out of the snakes-and-ladders grid of suburban streets

Comments: thake

I liked this: "when Thake was interviewed late in life, he was asked if he might have been more prolific without the constraint of a full-time job. With a typically ironic deflection, he replied, 'I might have done more: I might have mowed the lawn more'."

What honesty!
Posted by wen at December 30, 2003 09:52 PM

parkinson's law of the jungle (or garden) I guess.
Posted by boynton at December 30, 2003 10:03 PM

Fascinating stuff on Thake, thanks. Let's hope the word spreads. And thanks for your diverse posts over the course of the year.
Posted by murray smith at December 31, 2003 05:27 PM

Thake sure was a find for me.
Then coincidentally last night I was reading an old dry Council history of this suburb when I came across the name of Eric Thake as being one of the municipality's artists. He lived a few blocks away from where I'm sitting.

Happy New Year.
Posted by boynton at December 31, 2003 06:36 PM

auto nag

Still getting over the talking trivet thing, the futuristic world of the multi-tasking, ambient environment where your inanimates all suddenly dialogue with you ready or not.
Now - on Collision Detection I read about the nagging car - or Vehicle with on-board dieters' weight progress that auto weighs you and auto nags you about weight gain and dietry choices. (Well err that is - can possibly suggest a diet choice routine enabling said dieter to choose a diet plan from a plurality of diet plans stored in said memory)

Would drive you up the wall and literally through the drive-through at Maccas just to get it off your case. You can't even out-smart the vehicle with clever use of clothing:
To compensate for different clothing and footwear which might contribute to false reading, the system dialogues with the individual with respect to clothing and footwear

Collision Detection also links to the patent where the objective is explained:

It is the principal object of the present invention to expand the utility of a motor vehicle, especially a passenger vehicle such as an automobile, a van and even a boat, so that the time spent in the vehicle can be utilized more efficiently and the interaction of the vehicle with the driver and/or passenger can be improved.

Unless my car, van and boat can add a bit of tact or even a judicious white lie into their system, don't think we'll be travelling together fellas. Thanks for the said memory, car. For the interaction, van. Sorry boat, but it's over.

Comments: auto nag

Your version of Auto-nag would more closely resemble Snow White's Stepmother's vanity mirror.
Ms B: How old do you really think I look?
Auto Nag: Not a day over 29...honestly
Posted by Nora at December 30, 2003 04:09 PM

Sorry where's the vanity?
I'd take the mirror at face value, Nora. ;)
Posted by boynton at December 30, 2003 04:47 PM
Posted by Sedgwick at December 30, 2003 04:52 PM

heh heh...
and, perhaps related, happened to have just read this shocking story earlier today:

"A beloved artifact of children's television history was stolen this month when thieves attacked former "Romper Room" host Mary Ann King in the parking lot of a Hometown Buffet in the City of Industry and sped off with the hand mirror."

via diversionz
Posted by boynton at December 30, 2003 06:00 PM

Tell me, tell me, tell me it's not true... I'm still waiting for her to say "and I can see you, too, Wendy." Oh - if only mum had called me Sally or Susan or Judy or Jane (even Michael or David or Peter) . The mirror always seemed to see them....
Posted by wen at December 30, 2003 06:20 PM

Yes yes it's true, and both my sister Wendy and I waited patiently too "in VAIN"
According to the article, Miss Mary took to carrying the mirror around with her to prevent
scenes with adults still carrying their disappointment:

"Ever since then, people would recognize me and say, 'You never said my name.' I started carrying the mirror around with me so I could say their name," she said."
Posted by boynton at December 30, 2003 06:29 PM

As an early doors "househusband" (I soon learnt how right women were/are to abhor the term "housewife") my daughter's Romper Room hostess was Miss Helena (definitely related to I Clavdivs' third missus), the Ilsa Koch of the posture baskets.

And I'm not saying that the in-studio bright as buttons, Tullo/Treloar outfitted kiddies were vetted, but when asked what they got for their birthdays there seemed to be a disproportionate number of trips to Disneyland and time-share apartments on the North Shore given as presents to 4 year olds.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 30, 2003 06:53 PM

THAT Sister Wendy!?

OMG! Well, hers actually. I still worship graven Pop Idols ... I'm that sort of Guy.

(Slinks off slithy toved and shamefaced, tail between legs and cloven hooves.)
Posted by Sedgwick at December 31, 2003 07:38 AM

That was a smasher Boynton. The vehicle weighing our bums of course is the very reason why they swell in the first place. what would a talking bicycle say: keep it up keep it up keep it up well done!!! breathe deep enjoy the sky breathe deep enjoy the sky..
Posted by david at December 31, 2003 03:14 PM

Yes bicycles are certainly much more companionable in my experience.
One of my resolutions: more revolutions in '04.
Posted by boynton at December 31, 2003 03:35 PM

Monday, December 29, 2003

alan bates

and sad to read on the agblog of the death of Alan Bates.
So many great performances, but one I remember watching with a twinge of the cringe was his broken down playwright in Simon Gray's Unnatural Pursuits struggling to finish a never ending play.

update: on the same site, Bates reading W.E. Henley's Invictus

Comments: alan bates

"Unnatural Pursuits" ... I'm with you on that one Ms. B.

Hope Mr. Finney is looking after his health, his work load might be expected to increase now.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 29, 2003 08:21 PM

Writing, like blogging, is an U.P.
(Haven't quite got to the stage of writerly chaos displayed by Bates' character in this film I hasten to add, but the depiction of directors alone was enough to make one wince)
Mr Finney is very very fine, but I'm with the poll that voted Mr Bates as one of the world's most sexiest. Maybe Mr (Ciaran) Hinds is a contender.
Posted by boynton at December 29, 2003 10:24 PM

java jive

Last time I checked it was 2 days 59 hours 3567 minutes 214038 seconds Melbourne time to 04.
There is a live updated applet version of the global countdown here (via the presurfer)...apparently...which boynton can't see as we haven't enabled java in the browser.
Only so much time to worry about parties and fireworks and resolutions.
I may be spending some time around some scientists, which may augur well if they've read the current edition of New Scientist.
A FORMULA to host the perfect party this festive season has been unveiled by two scientists. (via diversionz)
Alas the science seems to be pretty old stuff like table placement, spillage strategies and disguising instant coffee with the smell of roasting beans - which is your quintessential way of not enabling java.
Personally I'd better pace the fizz and heed this bit of bizarre science:
Not making a date with any of the first nine acquaintances you meet is a key feature of the formula.

Comments: java jive

So Ms B, you wont be repeating LAST year's NYE 'festivities'?
Posted by Nora at December 29, 2003 02:30 PM

think you forgot the wink there, Nora.
Apparently that's blogspeak for allegedly.
Posted by boynton at December 29, 2003 02:37 PM

you wonder why so many of them haven't got girlfriends? Girlfriends understand coffee.
Posted by David at December 29, 2003 08:07 PM

maybe if coffee is chemistry, or conversely less a science than an art?

either way this is probably the social mix produced by following the formula religiously:

might drive one to 'carpet wine'.
Posted by boynton at December 29, 2003 10:39 PM

Nothing like a cleansing jereboam of Chateau Shagpile.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 30, 2003 05:57 AM

Realise the 'carpet wine' bit came from another link to the article here:

re using white wine on red wine stains:

'Collect the white wine dregs when the guests have left and keep them for next time in a bottle labelled "carpet wine",' says Mr Eastaway.

Might work on the stains, but could be dangerous I'd suggest. Especially if the party was a dud, and the 10th guest was not worth the wait. ;)

Posted by boynton at December 30, 2003 01:18 PM

I will use other than Borax as advised by the doyeness of household stain removal techniques, Saint Martha Gardner. I have found that it will remove anything ... from stains on escutcheons to numbers on car engine blocks.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 30, 2003 01:30 PM

"nothing other" (Sorry Blessed Martha.)
Posted by Sedgwick at December 30, 2003 01:31 PM

combo of soda water and bicarb has always worked miracles for me.
Posted by boynton at December 30, 2003 01:32 PM


The genius of O'Neill Tony Kushner

(via Jerz's Literacy weblog)

Comments: o'neill

Dat's nice..
Posted by david at December 29, 2003 06:26 PM

"He gave up heavy drinking early on and was mostly abstemious, disciplined; he exercised."

And I went to the gym today.

The TLS, isn't that where Insane Adams steals his copy from?
Posted by Tony.T at December 29, 2003 07:50 PM

yep- great article about a great writer. Too good to extract a quote from. Of course this is another reason to blog that eluded me the other day when trying to rationalise it. Coming across articles like that.

an impressive second paragraph there, T.
I had a workout with Flo who did 6 warm-up somersaults by the gate before I decided to retreat.
TLS? I thought it was some leisure senter in Toongabbie. Or maybe the squash courts?
Posted by boynton at December 29, 2003 11:19 PM

Not too. The gym's on this floor, about twenty feet away.

Toodyay Ludo Society.
Posted by Tony.T at December 30, 2003 12:24 PM

Terrifying Lustful Sedgwick. (Well, I am after all this time, having taken all those supplements from those literary types.)
Posted by Sedgwick at December 30, 2003 01:35 PM

Tony Loses Socks.
Posted by Tony.T at December 30, 2003 03:53 PM

the lesson summarised:

the laundry supplieth -

the laundry stealeth.

tumble-dried lost souls

- the left sock
Posted by boynton at December 30, 2003 04:42 PM

whoops - last comment WAS by boynton btw.
Posted by boynton at December 30, 2003 05:52 PM

Sunday, December 28, 2003


Nora, being C of E (Christmas and Easter) went to her local C midnight mass and reports that the word apparently is currently big in Anglican sermon terminology, eg Son of God apparently or born in Bethlehem apparently. Perhaps it is the clerical equivalent of the legal allegedly.

possibly not related (via making light)

Comments: apparently

*Be appropriately attired for clergy conferences & conventions, yet, also able to "skip out" to golf and fish without changing clothes...

Apparently you can be a super-minister without a phone-booth these days.
Posted by wen at December 29, 2003 06:31 AM

But is a cleric allowed to fish unofficially?
Posted by boynton at December 29, 2003 10:45 AM

Fishing by clerics is automatically official. The Bible made it so. Love the Old Lutherans - are they serious or not? Are they really advocating the baseball cap as modern dog collar? But then the jewellery is serious... and I always thought the Lutherans were too stolid for self-mockery.

Interesting about the "apparently." Why did I cease being a Christian - I was raised as a dutiful little Anglican? Because I didn't believe it. And I thought that all that reciting of the Creed on cold mornings in an empty church actually suggested you had to believe to belong. Otherwise the whole damn exercise is just silly, as well as tedious.

Admittedly the virgin birth is not a core promise, but the Son of God in the Trinity is. It's part of the crucifixion story. Allegedly, apparently and most probably this stuff is no longer necessary to being an official in the Anglican church. Where's the spunk? They used to set fire to each other over issues like this. Namby pamby crepuscular damp mossy faded beige little house mites of faithless equivocation.

Mind you, if they weren't shuffling around in old nighties arguing over whether the incense made you believe in the Pope, they would be off being mirthless in public places and probably getting into politics..

Right, compose myself. Stabbed into my dorsal root ganglia there. Anything with fur eats me when I am dead, shoot it immediately. Lure me into a phone booth and tape the door shut.
Posted by david at December 29, 2003 01:21 PM

Well - here I am born a Methodist, educated at an Anglican school (where I first heard the ho-lee, ho-lee, ho-lee) and used to go out with a Lutheran, and he was neither stolid nor averse to self-mockery. He was obviously unorthodox.
Isn't this 'doubtfulness' almost offical C of E line now, from the top? (well as top as it gets here on earth). Guess it's the line that faith and doubt are an eternal duality.
I think the Uniting Church embraced doubt and divested certain core promises a long time ago.

Serioulsy, I read Spong a while ago - and while his radical approach is confronting, shaking the foundations (as Paul Tillich might have said) it makes 'sense' to me.

Still find the baseball cap a bit scary, though.
If that's Contemporary Worship I might have to go all 'primitive methodist' in 04.
Posted by boynton at December 29, 2003 01:39 PM

Better is "allegedly".
Posted by Tony.T at December 29, 2003 07:44 PM

Babbling in tongues does it for me. (It doesn't show does it?)
Posted by Sedgwick at December 29, 2003 08:04 PM

Babbling in trousers does it for me. It shows in the post above... ranting, I have to stop ranting... Pith is all. The trouble is, I just get into the groove. It happens while I am avoiding the first nine guests. Alan Bates's characters never did this sort of thing.
Posted by David at December 29, 2003 08:10 PM

philosphy quote of the day: Today's date: 29 Dec 2003

Can one be a saint if God does not exist? That is the only concrete problem I know of today.

Albert Camus
--The Plague

hoooeeeee - prickles up the spine... coINcidence..
Posted by David at December 29, 2003 08:30 PM

Tony: au contraire- better is absoloute. Strictly Ribena, the better bubbly can wait.

Maybe the lark's tongues did do you in afterall, Mr S. I wouldn't ever babble with the rabble myself (unless there was bubbly involved)

both babble and pith have merit, david. A good rant is always welcome. Actually I think Bates' character in U.Pursuits was inclined to babble and rant and yell abuse in the back row of the theatre, getting himself banned from rehearsals etc.
That quote is quite a coincidence. (Or "Serendipity" - as we bloggers prefer). Another redeeming characteristic of blogging I have found. (or chanced upon)
The power (and magic) of associative thought.
Posted by boynton at December 29, 2003 11:34 PM

absoloute? French vodka?
Posted by Tony.T at December 30, 2003 12:26 PM

whoops/whoups - a tad freudian with the extra "0h". (as in Oh really?) Maybe that pledge is a bit of a plodge afterall. Still, will solemnly try to stay on the devondale and ribena
Posted by boynton at December 30, 2003 12:56 PM

bathing boxes

thanks to Gary for finding the Age article on the Brighton Beach bathing boxes.

The bathing boxes feature in bridal snaps all over Melbourne. They have made the cover of the telephone directory, been used as the backdrop for happy snaps with Australian Open tennis champions, and feature in tourist brochures and on internet sites. A fellow called Mark Hollow could have had no idea what he was starting when he erected what is believed to have been the first Brighton bathing box in 1862. Showing commendable initiative, he did so without permission from local authorities.

sundaydriving round the bay recently, I was rather taken by the shacks on the other side of the tracks. This unknown stretch of coastal dwelling seemed foreign and we grasped for analogies from other lands. I suggested Cornwall, but it possibly had more of the Florida about it.

Comments: bathing boxes

I'm more impressed by the patchwork quilt revealed by the aerial shot.
Posted by Tony.T at December 28, 2003 06:22 PM

Bird's eye.
certainly more cauliflowers than caulfield.

funny when I was travelling through these unseen fields, had a sense that it was like North By Northwest.
It was more than just the shadow of a light plane crossing the road as it turns out.
Posted by boynton at December 28, 2003 07:16 PM

I think eye spied a pumpkin. Errr, another time. Doesn't leave much room for coastal wetlowlands or even lowwetlands.
Posted by Tony.T at December 29, 2003 07:42 PM


Didn't mean to take so much time out from the blog. Unlike half of Melbourne and most of this suburb, I am not at the beach or in some exotic location. Just puddinged-out in the long string of Boxing days leading up to new year's eve.
At Xmas up at X, I caught up with books. There was no computer.
To cope with cold turkey I surfed the library. I took six volumes down at once, balanced them precariously on the arm of a chair, and skimmed at whim through my random and eclectic selection of history, biography and curio. A whim is a virtual hyperlink. Alas I could not steal The Boys Own Conjuring Book with its wonderful pictures of sleight of hand to scan. Legerdemain.
I watched the cricket but was a bit distracted by the regional TV ads for windscreens, and was never in the room for a wicket.
Had a slight moment of existential-crisis, when a cynical fellow delivered the what's the point of blogging? question, and off-line it can knock you for six. Slowly easing back into the game. Arriving back late at night I found I could handle the chronicle post but could not follow up the links as normal. It's the time for lightweight papers with puzzles and quizzes and years in review.

Comments: log

I hope you biffed this cynical fellow on the side of the head with The Boys Own Conjuring Book.

Seriously though, I get it too. I am supposed to be doing other things. People rely on me.
All I can say is that we are participating in the evolution of an art and cultural form which is growing and transforming before our very eyes.

And that's a magic opportunity. Oh, and I love reading your blog. You give other people pleasure.

Thedge, we need a joke, right NOW.
Posted by david at December 28, 2003 02:13 PM

Six volumes at once? Yeah? So? I always do that...sometimes 7 or 8. Skim through the pile...okay sometimes I start snoozing by about number 3 or 4. A typical collection might include: an old 'James Herriot', a Barry Humphries autobiography, Peanuts circa 1970, 'Joyous Season' by Patrick Dennis (Aunty Mame)etc. I didn't say it was high brow literature!
Posted by Nora at December 28, 2003 03:01 PM

alas - couldn't biff nor conjure an adequate response. Wish I had had your phrase tucked up my sleeve - must commit "we are participating in the evolution of an art and cultural form which is growing and transforming before our very eyes" to memory. Suddenly it seemed like I was defending a ham radio/chatroom/pen-pal enterprise with the same audience figures as any old message-in-a-bottle might expect. Funny - it seems much the same impulse to publish here, as to write for another medium. In that seizure of doubt, I forgot all the other reasons, namely the good bloggers. You get back and check into Wood S Lot, for example, and pause for breath. Barista is blogging up a storm too, I notice.

Nora - it's slightly reassuring to hear that the non-blogger indulges in this habit too.
btw my books included: an autobiog by an obscure melb writer circa 1960 that covered a bit of Melb history of the 30's, biog of The Boyds, 100 years of AFL football, Dunderdale's Book of The Bush, a good history of Victorian homesteads/houses and the book of conjuring.
As I said to the librarian: I could easily have a reading holiday up here.

Posted by boynton at December 28, 2003 03:38 PM

I've asked myself that "what's the point of blogging" question rather a lot lately...
Posted by James Russell at December 28, 2003 04:55 PM

maybe every blogger should be forced to have a hiatus every so often - maybe that's the point of Blogger.
There's certainly a sense of happy delusion when one is ensconced in the community, the enchantment, that can be broken with a simple query from a non-blogger.
So perhaps such questioning - or reflection - is healthy, James?
As long as good blogs like Hot Buttered Death keep going, we're happy.
Posted by boynton at December 28, 2003 05:40 PM

"Thedge, we need a joke, right NOW."

O.K. Be it on your own head.

(I apologise ... I'm still on a stomach pump and an aggressive colonic irrigation regime after my mother's mother of all 89 course Xmas dinners. (The last plate of lark's tongues did me in.)
Posted by Sedgwick at December 28, 2003 05:43 PM

... O.K. you do deserve much better. Here's one from a cartooning Brit mate of mine.

He virtually lives here
Posted by Sedgwick at December 28, 2003 05:55 PM

your first joke had me all tense and weepy and on edge, Sedge, about my inability to think up a reply. Your second offering is so analogous to the blogosphere (by bathyspehere)that any floundering blogger indulging a bit of stilted reflection or self-doubt might be inclined to simply pike NOW.

ps My brother made an impressive 'last-minute Christmas Cake' that almost did me in. Is there a last-minute lark's tongues?
Posted by boynton at December 28, 2003 07:36 PM

Thursday, December 25, 2003


a christmas message from Victoria street:

may happity and happy hocks be with you.

Comments: happity

hope you're having a merrity christmas yourself, Miss B.
best regards from a happy hocker!
Posted by Gianna at December 25, 2003 08:18 PM

(perhaps i should rephrase that...)
Posted by Gianna at December 25, 2003 08:19 PM

That fortune cat sounds like a good creature to me. May the New Year bring her into all our lives.
Posted by david at December 25, 2003 11:58 PM

Hock on, B!
Posted by Tony.T at December 26, 2003 08:03 PM

thank you Kindly G, twas very happity.
Hope your hocks are happy too.

and that our stocks purr along , David.

around the clock, T.
with dogs n chocs.

Posted by boynton at December 27, 2003 06:39 PM

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

mrs muir

It was sad to read of the death of Hope Lange. Used to love the Ghost and Mrs Muir TV show as a child, and have been half looking for a sixties styled Gull Cottage in which to elegantly type stories dressed in a mini skirt with a resident ghostly sea Captain ever since. All I seem to have scored so far is the fractious terrier.

The Ghost and Mrs Muir Multimedia Collection - includes screen captures and sound files.
The ghost and Mrs Muir Barbie Theater

Comments: mrs muir

Hope Lange ... Selena Cross, Peyton Place ... names from my first sweaty sortie into "naughty books".

The phrase "milk white breast" (I think the words "moonlight" and "exposed" might have appeared on the same page. My fevered recollection is foggy.) was indelibly etched on my barely pubescent retina.

Oh for those lazy, hazy days of innocent erotica.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 24, 2003 07:57 AM

I was watching Turner Movie Classics last night and they had their yearly "In Memorium" short film, it was crushing. Alot of my favorite performers where on that list.
Posted by michelle at December 24, 2003 04:11 PM

Well Mr S - Captain Gregg (with Rex or Edward) is a rather dashing character. The great unrequited. I submit the sound files here as evidence. (eg "and on behalf of my century...")

I know, Michelle. It's the procession of compressed mortality within the those memorium lists that crushes.
Posted by boynton at December 24, 2003 09:23 PM


deep in christmas rush shopping, the most common phrase overheard by boynton was "that'll do"

- How about this? Think she'll like this?
- Well you know... she likes aromatherapy.
- Oh well. That'll do.

Related to impulse buying, the christmas compulsion buy is characterised by the shrug.

Comments: thistledo

"That'll do" ... round these usually relates to a tin of Dutch Shortbreads* and the accompanying thought, "Just in case they've got something for us".

*(a) Are these ever purchased outside the month of December?

(b) Does anyone actually eat these artery cloggers?
Posted by Sedgwick at December 24, 2003 08:13 AM

grabbing a box of biscuits this Xmas has turned out to be a bad idea - Belgian biccies are just EVERYWHERE and cheap so the present is so obviously cut rate..

i was so happy when i found a box of 100 tea candles at the south melbourne professional chef shop - heaven on a forged german stick for me - for eight dollars. almost as good as ikea.

Enjoy your Christmas.
Posted by David at December 24, 2003 10:25 AM

I think it's as often said in resignation as weary indifference; no matter how much thought we put into our Christmas lists, sooner or later we always come to at least one "that'll do".
Posted by Gummo Trotsky at December 24, 2003 02:14 PM

Love your extra clause there, Sedge.
I had a theory that there was one box of after-dinner mints circulating through Melbourne as the token present for dinner party host, perhaps it's the same for these contingency christmas presents. Researchers should track a tin of Dutch Shortbreads.

David - you almost got me voyaging South for that marvelllous find. I can't do Ikea at the best of times - now would be even more santaclaustrophobic.

Gummo - especially on a hot day in high street, when the madness starts to set in.
Posted by boynton at December 24, 2003 09:36 PM

Ms B,

A hot day in the high street is usually the time when the opposite impulse sets in, and you go wildly over-budget on something totally inappropriate (such as a bottle of Chanel Number 5 for a bed-ridden seventy year old maiden aunt), just to get things over and done with.
Posted by Gummo Trotsky at December 24, 2003 10:05 PM

I'm sure all aunts everywhere are wondering how to get onto Gummo's last-minute what-the-hell gift list.

Shortbread never smelled so sweet.
Posted by boynton at December 24, 2003 11:44 PM

Monday, December 22, 2003

animal vegetable

quiet round these parts at the moment.

except at dawn, when a chirping has woken me for the past couple of months. I had thought it was some sort of underground creature, but it may well be a common old pigeon. This revelation will cost me. A cricket/cicada can be acommodated into garden ambience at a pinch, a coo of a pigeon will soon sound noisy like a car revving or a basketball bounce or a dog bark.

meanwhile the edible greens are inaudible. Unlike the vegetables in this orchestra.

The first viennese vegetable orchestra consists exclusively of vegetable-based instruments, although where necessary, additional kitchen utensils such as knives or mixers are employed. this creates an autonomous and totally novel type of sound which cannot be achieved with conventional musical instruments...
after the concert, the stage is left to the cooks who then work the instruments into a tasty vegetable soup which the audience and musicians consume together. the concert's audience thereby has the possibility of once again enjoying what they have just heard, examining any remaining instruments more closely and conversing with the musicians.

(via bifurcated rivets)

more samples here


Comments: animal vegetable

We have birds waking us up before dawn every day here. I am now approaching the point where buying a gun to kill each and every last goddamn bird in this street just so I can get some uninterrupted sleep during the night is not only an attractive option but an unavoidable one...
Posted by James Russell at December 22, 2003 03:06 PM

Besides, they are nasty migrant mynah birds probably. Or pigeons - coo coo cooo etc etc etc etc.. And what are they saying? mine mine mine mine mine mine..
Posted by David at December 22, 2003 04:11 PM

I have nothing to say.
Posted by Tony.T at December 23, 2003 04:22 PM

I'm not yet moved to violence. Working on my tolerance. But then we're only talking the one pigeon. The one prima donna ehibitionist early bird pigeon. Or mysterious subterranean garden spirit, whatever.
Posted by boynton at December 24, 2003 09:41 PM

But then we're only talking the one pigeon.

It only takes one to start with :)
Posted by James Russell at December 25, 2003 12:16 AM

Friday, December 19, 2003

local lights

Victoria's best Christmas lights.
(proof that the christmas lights display bug has spread from Ivanhoe through the suburbs of Melbourne to the back pages of the Melways and beyond)

We heard one displayer rationalise the not inconsiderable capital outlay involved:
Oh well....Christmas is for giving. (But we heard it as Christmas is Forgiving.)

boynton is actually not as cynical as may appear and may soon be consulting her melways and chauffeurs in the pre-christmas rush to illumination.

and I could forgive christmas and anyone anything who sent me a card like this - (think I saw it last year but I can never tire of that "loading" image) (via the Presurfer)

Comments: local lights

Thanks B. We've now watched that card three times. Once for Nell.Then for Will. & then, of course for Hugo who really fancies a snow companion for christmas. Ah well - he'll have to settle for a bone. Not much chance of snow, methinks.
Posted by wen at December 21, 2003 03:26 PM

card watching.
How peculiar.
Posted by wen at December 21, 2003 03:34 PM

Some cards are worth their weight in watch.
Posted by boynton at December 22, 2003 02:24 PM

Awe and then some!
Posted by loren at December 22, 2003 03:26 PM


further to the trivet thread -

"Food scientists at the UK's University of Leeds have developed a formula for making the perfect piece of toast...The equation - which details butter and toast temperature - took three months and cost £10,000 to develop" BBC news
(via diversionz)

Comments: toast

Here's to you Miss b, and a very Merry Christmas and all :)

Oh, that sort of toast? Nevermind, the greeting remains.
Posted by Scott Wickstein at December 20, 2003 07:12 PM

Is there a variable for different types of bread?
Posted by Tony.T at December 20, 2003 07:56 PM

Cheers Scott. Maybe the C stands for Champagne and the P stands for ...boynton.
60 x c = poorly b. I'll drink to that, and merry christmas to you.

T - never grill me about mathematics. Alas, at school I was loafin' when I should have been
Posted by boynton at December 22, 2003 02:21 PM


Uh oh. Almost time to hit the road and face the christmas rush


(From The Bill - a gallery of Vaudeville images at LOC's Bob hope and American variety via things)
see also:
Elsie Janis "Sweetheart of the Doughboys"
Anti Rag-Time Girl words and music by Elsie Janis
Give me The Moonlight a 78 rpm sample
Speeding sweethearts of the Silver Screen

Comments: elsie

Or Penny Pitstop in the Cup That Vander Built.
Posted by Tony.T at December 19, 2003 01:30 PM

That was dumb.
Posted by Tony.T at December 19, 2003 01:31 PM

Dumb as in Silent as in speeding moviestars of the dumb era?
Should have added the disclaimer: bears no resemblance to boynton, nor a chauffer we know.
Though I think she looks a bit like the latter
Posted by boynton at December 19, 2003 02:33 PM

Vander as in Harry as in Elsie Easybeat with Friday on My Mind?
Posted by boynton at December 19, 2003 05:22 PM

Thursday, December 18, 2003

theatre ettiquette

Mind your theater manners
Theater is not the place for free-form dialogue of any kind, but for some reason, theatergoing couples seem to believe that when they giggle and coo or offer running commentary on a performance, their love alone must create some sort of soundproof force field akin to a hyperbaric chamber. Sorry, lovebirds, but everyone around you hears your every amorous word.
(via Scrubbles)

In a similar cell-phone centric article, bad theatre behaviour is looked at in a wider social context, the old shortened attention span and the newer plague: fear of commitment.
Aside from the growing lack of attention span in this country, there is another equally appalling trend. These are the people who can't seem to derive enjoyment from anything they see. I'm convinced they do this because they don't feel they can afford to give part of themselves to the event at hand. I think that's another negative result of the Internet and TV culture. These days, people are used to being able to walk away from what they are viewing, and so are unable to fully invest themselves in it. Because of the fact that people are becoming less and less accustomed to being involved in anything, a certain amount of fear ensues.
Theatre Etiquette Gone but Not Forgotten

I know that the MTC program note warns patrons about the decibel range of a cough both muffled and unmuffled, which might be enough to add fear of coughing to the ennui of Net-head fear of commitment.
Meanwhile Perth's Black Swan Theatre company has a nice take on the don't list:
It is nice to clap! Feel free to stand up at the end of the show, clapping wildly and calling ‘bravo, bravo’. This is good and will make you very popular with the actors"

and adds a list of folkloric practices never observed by boynton.


In a fascinating post, Barista has gathered an impressive collection of links to various humanoid research projects and things that think from beads and toy animals to kitchenware.
Like David, I am rather taken with the Talking Trivet.
This project allows an oven mitt to understand the cooking environment. The Talking Trivet uses a thermoresistor to sense the temperature of foods and containers which it touches. It then can remark verbally on these temperatures. For example, it exclaims "FIRE!" when it comes in contact with a surface over 600 degrees; or it can inform you that the food "Needs rewarming." or affirms that your meal is "Hot and ready to eat!".
In addition, it sets an automatic timer for cooking based on the temperature of the oven. Therefore, when it detects a 275-degree oven, it exclaims "The food should be checked in 40 minutes.", whereas when it detects a 500-degree oven, the trivet recommends that "The food should be tested in 10 minutes".

The trivet's tendency to exclaim makes me feel s/he would be a rather edgy presence in the kitchen, dare we say a little unstable? Perhaps it will soon be babbling trivet, or will start channelling Blanche DuBois and scream FIRE! when the temperature is nowhere near 600 degrees. It would certainly make for very anxious cooking. Maybe the trivet could hook up with these extras and just go off and workshop a few scenes quietly in the corner.

Comments: trivet

My family had one of those new fangled contraptions way back when. A tool that well may have been separated at birth from its cousin, the Blanche DuBois babbling trivet.

It was a very excellent toasting fork made from left over fencing wire. My mother, the designated toaster, used to lean forward to the coals (preset Regulo 4) in the open fireplace with a doorstop of bread carefully impaled on the fork.

When browned nicely on both sides a half doorstop of freshly churned butter was taken from the ice chest (in later years it would be replaced by the latest in kero fridges) and spread as a pillow upon which was lain down a sweet head of melon and passionfruit jam.

Never once did our toast have to be scraped of black burnings. The fork warned. The fork spoke. Well, rather it channelled itself through my mother. When I heard "Buggery bloody hot handle!" in a voice that I didn't recognise as my mother's I knew that the message had travelled up the wire from 'the other side' warning her that it was "Danger Will Robinson ... Cinder Zone!"

(At times of extreme danger the fork would cause my mother's head to spin and projectile vomiting sometimes ensued.)

During the weeks when my mother was away in hospital ... she's O.K. now and to look at her hands now you'd never know she'd had the skin grafts ... I reluctantly had to stay with the Gleesons on the neighbouring farm. They used asbestos gloves that blocked the fork warnings and I had to suffer marmalade smeared charcoal nuggets for breakfast.

I've lately heard from my mother that the Gleesons seem to have mastered the art of toasting. I suspect that it is an art that they have acquired by omission rather by commission. Apparently the Rawleigh's man who used to supply them with their asbestos gloves died of some mysterious ailment.

My mother mentioned that Mrs Gleeson herself "was looking a bit peaky like" when she saw her last week at the "The Friends of the Wheat Silo" Christmas party.

Posted by Sedgwick at December 18, 2003 03:51 PM

LOL, Mr S.
We had a humble Jaffle iron ourselves, who was either your typical Aussie taciturn type, or who might occasionally and capriciously speak with forked tongue. 'She's apples' meaning "she's cinders" and voila: here's your carcinogens.Tough.

And better the Rawleigh's man, supplier of asbestos gloves, dying of a mysterious ailment than a mysterious element, I'd say. boom boom.
Posted by boynton at December 18, 2003 04:14 PM

We have a jaffle iron ... somewhere in the darkest reaches of hardware section of the cupboard.

Debate still rages in the Sedgwick household as to whether we made the right choice. A square one (for which she made a persuasive argument but upon which she was overruled) or a round one (my preference and final decision, citing traditional jaffle family values).

Posted by Sedgwick at December 18, 2003 04:27 PM

round. yes. round. like the banana bits inside, with the sugar and cinnamon..

but then, TRUE AUTHENTICITY has disappeared even here because the jaffle iron has become the toasted sandwich machine, which is highly mysterious inside and lacks all capacity for triveting about temperature or doneness..

can we invent this derivation:
trivet (verb); to trivet -the cry of a talking machine issueing instructions to the user, esp. in the kitchen or luxury car.

hence: to trive.. I wonder what that should mean?
Posted by David at December 18, 2003 04:37 PM

With Jaffles: Round = Best. Hence all the square dumpees in the shelves at the salvos.

to trive?
the cry of a talking machine issueing instructions to itself, esp. in the kitchen or luxury car.
as in the tertiary stage of domestic obsolesence

(nb - this is not very good I know. Suggested just to get the trivet triving.)
Posted by boynton at December 18, 2003 04:51 PM

A matter of utmost trivia ...

We have a toasted sandwich machine too ... sorry but we are unconscionably effluent. (©Someone else.) Rarely used and when so only with, and call me a gourmand if you must, baked beans filling. I am much put off by the product of this godless usurper of the one, true and indivisible (O.K. it's a bit divisible)jaffle iron. Looks far too much like a giant flattened and toasted witchetty grub.

Having said that, it has been mentioned in hushed despatches that my mother is giving us one of those sandwich/focaccia presses for Christmas. Oh well, guess it has to be better than the burnt orange electric pizza maker of '87 and the mission brown crockpot of '93.

I think I might take off the rest of the day to do me a spot of huntin' down and smokin' out bits of used fencing wire.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 18, 2003 05:04 PM

I may not covet a trivet, but I might be effin impressed by a foccacia press. (as long as it was mute. I suspect such a thing might speak rather coarsely)

and funny you should mention "Trivia"
I was just wondering whether "To trive" had anything to do with the sport of pub Trivia, of which we have been known to play.
Trive - to take a dive, to be burnt at Trivia.
(I trived last night as it turned out)
Posted by boynton at December 18, 2003 05:40 PM

As it so happened I was deadline triving yesterday.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 18, 2003 05:58 PM

Si! Correcto! That is absoloutely spot on!
Suspect you must have had a spy triving where we trove, or the feral eye has great divining power.
Posted by boynton at December 18, 2003 06:37 PM

The divination skills of the omniscient Feral Eye can be put down to a special length of fencing wire I picked up in a paddock outside of Lourdes.

(Consequential rumours of my stigmata were grievously exaggerated, said bit of wire had a nasty jagged edge.)
Posted by Sedgwick at December 18, 2003 06:49 PM

I leave here. I mingle with the real world.

I come back stiff from my bicycle. Alcohol has intervened, just a bit..

And what do I find?

Sheer delight.. sheer delight..
Posted by David at December 19, 2003 01:48 AM

That'll learn ya. Leaving, foolishly mingling with the real world ... and on a bicycle! That way madness lies.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 19, 2003 07:21 AM

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

poetry blogging

Love these photo/poem posts at p/p (via things)

and there's some wonderful words by Nick Piombino on blogging and poetry at fait accompli
Walter Benjamin's *Arcades Project* and Blogging:

Blogs also give the poet places to exhibit
themselves as demanded by Baudelaire and
Benjamin above. Again, the blogged "place"
happily offers the writer some truly deserved
and needed privacy. You are in the town
square but behind a curtain (a screen).
Unquestionably blogland is a marketplace
but a quaint one in which all the products
are free, and can be copied and exchanged
and interchanged at will

lots of Lorine Niedecker links at Wood s lot

(though still can't find an online: Will you write me a Christmas poem? which I read in a thick anthology a few years back. Can only find this line:
What a scandal Christmas What a scandle Christmas is, a red stick-up to a lily)

Comments: poetry blogging

Quick remarks.
It is a marketpalce. Blogging is not free. Mine cost quite a lot to run in terms of domain name, hosting and metering traffic. Not to mention the tech support that needs to be bought in when you move beyond the basic blog.

Often they are more like stalls in the marketplace advertising their wares, than forums in the agora or private journals.

Thus the market bit.

But what is produced is not 'product' as Nick assumes. Blogs are also forums in the public domain. The forum bit comes from the conversation in the public domain, even if the conversation is a bit thin at times.

Blogs are oppositional to the market.That is their strength.

However, blogs are stalls/forums/journals that are located in cyper space. This space is disconnected from the places that we bodily inhabit. Not that many blogs explore place.
Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at December 17, 2003 05:51 PM

oh, I forgot to say.

those photos/poems are excellent.

What a find.

is not the weblog a truely wonderful medium?
Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at December 17, 2003 05:59 PM

True - blogging is not free but:
a) blogspot is pretty close
b) most writers have already invested in the hardware and running costs of computers. Blogging is a bonus. (or...vast writerly debt trap ;) )
C) guess ecologically blogging and the blogosphere leaves its own footprint...

I think I may have grossly misrepresented Nick here by using only that quotation. In his post and particularly in this later one on Benjamin, he would seem to be in agreement with your `blogging as oppositional to the market'

(the archives seem slow at the moment, but if you scoll down from today you'll find it)

This is particulary so in the way that blogging decenters information and also priviliges the fleeting and ephemeral. eg

"the function of
commodity processes has
overwhelmed the perceptual
apparatus. Benjamin would
have loved the way a blogger
could move much so quickly
through informational time
and space as to outmaneuver
the one hypnotic materialistic
drone of information expressly
created for mass consumption..."

I think the use of marketplace here is to be read in the context of poetry. Blogging would seem to offer stall, exhibition space and cafe forum to a literary activity that has probably been sometimes fractured, sporadic and isolated?

And yes - the internet is indeed a good thing when it throws such links as p/p our way. Thanks be to the serious sifters and finders.
Posted by boynton at December 17, 2003 06:33 PM

"Thanks be to the serious sifters and finders."

Take a wee bow yerself Ms. B.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 17, 2003 07:46 PM

Thank ye - but when you see the Serious sifting, we be very wee comparitively.
Posted by boynton at December 18, 2003 02:02 PM

bah humbug

when I visited the Boulevard christmas lights last year I had a sense that some residents would be feeling trapped inside their homes illuminated by mandatory custom. You would often catch a glimpse of shadowy figures creeping around the darkened kitchens, creating in this spectator an uneasy feeling of zoo-voyeurism. The background show like a display of shy nocturnals who make the odd appearance in their customised enclosures.
The darker side of the lights display was noted by the Sunday Age Residents prisoners of lesser lights
In the thick of the heat wave of high thirties, boynton may give it a miss this year, fearing heat wave ruffians and reluctant boulevardiers.

Had better watch the bah humbug factor however, as Nora has recently debunked another misty christmassy myth I noted last year, about the man who impersonated santa in both looks and spirit inside the local service station. He was there the other day, and not quite so genial apparently, fair enough, but when Nora expressed mild unease at purchasing something not very 'green', he said bah haumbug. He used to work for the Council and all the papers put out for recycling were simply dumped. Ha. Have a nice day.

and on the bah humbug one note samba santa special line, the annual: Ugly Christmas Lights (via J walk)

Fear not, boynton will lighten up soon.

Comments: bah humbug

Ivanhoitis has infected downtown and (mainly) uptown Strathmore over the past few years.

Thankfully Christmas lights and tableaux are for Christmas and not for life but, at the risk of sounding Scrooge-like, some people are in dire need of a life.

Fear the simple days of my mum whipping up a bowl of water and Rinso powder with the trusty manual egg beater to make 'snow' for the Christmas tree untimely ripped from the windbreak in Woolshed Paddock 2 are gone forever.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 17, 2003 08:33 PM

It's certainly epidemic. Christmas-light-creep is spreading everywhere, more each year. Perhaps though it's the only hope for Ivanhoe - takes the heat off it. More is always less.
I think I may have written some comments along these lines at my post last year which have been wiped by HaloScan. (Just like Christmas, everything gets recycled.) But I think I mentioned that for me the best lights are to be seen up in the country - say Castlemaine - free of the city light pollution and with some lovely hilly vistas.
Posted by boynton at December 18, 2003 01:35 PM

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


Was about to link to I am Spam. Spam I am as seen on Twists and Turns but following the suggested link to the Seuss Parody site found a hamlet link. Hamlet and beetles fan I am.

from Fox in Socks, Prince of Denmark
FOX: So much for this sir, now shall you see the other.
Bear witness to such talk as follows of tweetle beetles -


What dost thou know of tweetle beetles?
Well, when tweetle beetles fare to cudgel brains

More Hamlet is to be had here:
The Most Lamentable and Excellent Text Adventure of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. By Robin Johnson
(via Jerz's Literacy Weblog)

(Related: more hamlets)

Comments: amlet

Fox in Socks rocks boy on rock. Next eats lox. For dessert? Chocs.
Posted by Pithy at December 16, 2003 11:25 PM

"KNOX: My lord Fox, oh this goo is rank,
It smells to heaven; it hath the primal
Eldest curse upon't. Say it can I not,
Though inclination be sharp as will,
I stand in pause where I shall first chew."

stacks of chocs in bricks for docs, sir.
In Xmas shock, though inclination be sharp as will, D shall detox.
Posted by boynton at December 17, 2003 11:40 AM

hand knits

Hand Knits for Young Moderns (via J walk)

Experience the magic of heavy knit fabric with your own eyes!

boynton is still recovering from viewing this rather inspirational gallery that puts our own modest collection of foxed and scratched and creased leaflets to shame. And many great sidelinks to explore at Houseplant Picture Studio

Comments: hand knits

Unfortunately, the guy whose site this is happens to be a selfish and exploitative person. He has nearly single-handedly ruined's LINKAPALOOZA wherein people can post interesting links, but cannot re-post the same link over and over. Benbenek (Houseplant) refuses to comply with this reasonable limitation and posts hundreds of links to his own site on a monthly basis. It is a sad abuse of a very generous site feature. This is not to say that Benbenek's stuff is completely without merit; he occasionally presents some valuable stuff. He's just selfish and often mean-spirited (even though he tries to pose as a thoughtful and mellow human being). Your actions indicate otherwise, Mr. Benbenek.
Posted by Lucky Lindy at December 19, 2003 07:59 AM

This houseplant 'studio' person posts links around the www to his syte on a daily, perhaps hourly, basis. He posts no interesting original items, only snatch and grabs. His OCD posts are spreading to other sytes like a virus. Please warn webmasters where his drek is noticed...........
Posted by GH at December 19, 2003 09:36 AM

Sorry to hear this.
'This blogger' merely did what she always does - sees something retro, links and credits.
Then, if time permits, have a look around the site.
As a small-time collector of old brochures, I was smitten with the knitten. But am sorry to hear about the background, and my part in linking to a site that flaunts the rules.
Posted by boynton at December 19, 2003 04:09 PM

operatic dogs

Photos of Opera Stars and their pets. (via Quiddity)
(Most sensibly favour a small dog to carry, but of the toy varieties this one seems to be the lowest maintenance.)

Monday, December 15, 2003

christmas at war

Christmas at War Experiences from the First and Second World Wars

(via the Battle of Britain link on life in the present)

scott moves

Scott Wickstein, our most generous Uber host, has moved his personal blog back to blogger while his tenants happily blog and clog up server space (in this case blogging dogs and frogs and beatles.) Half tempted to move back to the land of easier template tweaking, to free up a bit of the css driven space for the landlord.

Comments: scott moves

No no - stay. I thought we were (sob!) uberblogsisters.
Posted by wen at December 15, 2003 09:38 PM

Ja - die schwestern uber, uber alles.

Ah well - guess I've just been avoiding getting reacquainted with the the great css table mysteries, which is why I've left this style sheet pretty plain and white.It's embarrassing.

I never take the comment reliability for granted though. Nor the kindness of our host.
Posted by boynton at December 16, 2003 12:14 AM

Nah, stay put Miss b. Most of the server space is getting chewed up by, the tenants are proving to be a lot less demanding then the host.

Anyway, I like the way you have the page set up. I think it's quite elegant.
Posted by Scott Wickstein at December 16, 2003 12:18 AM

i agree with scott that miss boynton's design is very easy on the eye.

btw, i'm not going to say anything about anyone's backward migrations from MT to Blogger...hehehe.
Posted by Gianna at December 16, 2003 06:41 AM

Given the bagging you got Ms G. and given you are too well mannered (or is it the sanguine pregnant glow?) to gloat, I am tempted to say but two words on your behalf ... "asylum seekers".
Posted by Sedgwick at December 16, 2003 07:54 AM

Just didn't expect the host to be the exile.
I think Gianna's a trend setter from way back

thanks for your feedback on my lack of a table
(design wise). Elegant is fine by me. (I was thinking big bad font myself)
Posted by boynton at December 16, 2003 11:40 AM

Some of the people praising this site themselves are trapped inside white letters on a grey background.

So an elegant pale grey on white is a bit like a visitation from the Celestial City.

Mine of course looks like a huge pallid bowl of old custard; when I can work out how to add some kind of puckering effect to the surface, like skin, the illusion will be complete. A prune or two poking through a corner will help as well.

The impression I get is that Movable Type is particularly efficacious for someone who is fond of Bach and suchlike civilities.

The one thing I covet about the Troppo site is the whiffle on the snout of the armadillo. That is very fine.
Posted by David at December 17, 2003 03:43 PM

No David - all elegance is quite accidental, and the grey often strikes me as rather pallid IMH(pale)O - whereas I think your custard is not at all pallid, but rather cool. It needeth neither prunes nor puckering. But yes that's one mighty fine whiffle animating away over at Troppo.
Posted by boynton at December 17, 2003 03:54 PM

whoops - think I was whooshed. Didn't read closely enough and didn't quite get the sense of the prunes and puckering first time round. ;)
Still think the so-called 'old custard' is cool and chic. A good looking rather stealable design.
Posted by boynton at December 17, 2003 05:58 PM

trees and bach

What took me to the evil borders listening consoles in a store opposite a superior local bookshop was a search for more Bach, realising I was suffering some domestic deficiency. Still thinking of El Grande, through soul food cafe I had chanced upon this beautiful post by Cassandra - Requiem for a tree (with its own reference to Bach)

I think I first read this among the forest of thought at Ecotone's Trees and Place

Meanwhile from the links to midi files at the J.S. Bach Home Page I've been listening to these

Comments: trees and bach

Is borders evil? Who knew?
Posted by Scott Wickstein at December 16, 2003 02:13 AM

Up at Carlton, anyway, where the global vs. local
contenders are pitched on opposite sides of the street.
Though a lefty friend of a righty friend was once explaining to me why he shopped at the mutli-national book store. Something about Publishing rights I recall, in pub legalese. Red wine was being imbibed at the time.
Posted by boynton at December 16, 2003 11:29 AM

Red wine?

I shop at borders because it's civillised. And it has a huge history section.
Posted by Scott Wickstein at December 17, 2003 12:16 AM

I shop at Book City, Puckle St. because I can go to the remainder table and for 50c pick up biographies of former Oz pollies a week after their publication. (Autobiographies a mere 25c, the day after their release.)

Mind you I still feel short changed.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 17, 2003 06:11 AM

Yes red wine sans bubbles. Maybe even South Australian.
The bigger borders store is good for a browse - the history is indeed bountiful. (Not to mention the 'animals/dogs/general' or 'collecting' sections, or even the Lounge music. That covers everything, doesn't it?) The Poetry is pretty good too. So I window read and window listen.
This may be bad.

And I used to like Book City myself, Sedgwick, in the early days, when you could take half a kilo of biogs and a kilo of fiction up to the weighing station. I thought it had folded, and I generally opt for the 50 cent specials at the Salvos instead, where you can still pick up "Afternoon Light" or "The colt from Kooyong" or even Dame Zara's "Harry and Me" for a gold coin.
Posted by boynton at December 17, 2003 02:26 PM

Sunday, December 14, 2003

naked nerd

We were listening to Let it Be naked last night.

That is, of course, we in the royal sense of the word, and naked as in despectorized. Unlike a lot of the critics I loved what I heard. Sounds better. I was quite happily boppin along to fresh beatles in borders in full anorak nerditude in headphones.

Comments: naked nerd

Eh. The problem I have with the album is that however they choose to present it, they can't disguise the fact that it was, really, the sound of only one person giving a shit about what they were doing. They basically didn't have much good material to start with, and presenting it minus the Spector touches doesn't really make it better for my money. Also, I'm bothered by the impression the hype around the album gives that this is the album as the Beatles originally wanted it, when it is, frankly, nothing of the sort.
Posted by James Russell at December 14, 2003 05:26 PM

In the meantime, Phil has despectorised himself to the point where the uberromantic is now defending himself in that squalid mess of murder he has got himself into.

I've never been much of a beatles fan. But the actual song Let It Be was just perfect not only for the end of the band, but of an era as it evolved into .. too hard to describe. Where is my Hunter Thompson channelling mantra when I need it?
Posted by David at December 14, 2003 11:54 PM

It's great, isn't it? I like it better the more I play it. I was put off by it at first (as I think some critics were) because the songs didn't sound exactly like I'd heard them a million times before. But it grows on you. It sounds "live" (even if that's partly an illusion), and therefore imperfect, but I like that.
Posted by MG at December 15, 2003 05:40 AM

Eh, James. The Rutles have been so anthologized, revisioned and remixed that it's hard for anyone (even the players themselves)to sort out the authentic truth from the dreaming anymore. That is - I don't know how a punter can conclude anything about what was going on with the Beatles at the time. I think the best source is a book like The recording Sessions - where you see that even at the height of the full on war zone or dug-in trench warfare, individual sessions were quite amicable, animated, creative.
I can't agree that there was only one heart involved in LIB, or that the material isn't worthy of an album. Haven't read enough of the hype or even the speil about the original feel, so wouldn't know about that.
- but because I'm a beatle-tragic - another childhood sentimental nostalgic thing really -
like MG, I'm happy just to listen to a new take on old sounds. My expectations were low, and I was relatively unattached to those songs, but I think it sounds better. And yep - it does have a live feel. Got to stop sampling at borders and buy it now.
Posted by boynton at December 15, 2003 03:14 PM

Ah, yes, another reason why I'm not buying the CD: it's copy-controlled. Even if I did like the album I'd still just settle for mp3s of it. (And yes, I know the copy-control can be circumvented, but I don't see any point in encouraging EMI...)
Posted by James Russell at December 15, 2003 05:12 PM

Thought the film was better than the record myself.
Honestly folks, Yoko Ono did better work than this.
Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at December 16, 2003 10:02 AM

Saturday, December 13, 2003

auto text

Twists and Turns linked to Visual Poetry which translates any text into a series of images by looking up the words on Google image search and projecting the most relevant results as a slide show. On the same site I found the Google talk more amusing. A virtual version of the game we used to play many times a week at drama school.

Another text generator here. Tired of using Lorem Ipsum for dummy text in your latest masterpiece (via the Ultimate Insult)

meanwhile boynton's own google talk is saying cold water regime and temperance

Friday, December 12, 2003


that old thing, that redeeming thing about the web and blogging is that you can be idly searching for Icpota and google will direct you to this wonderful sample chapter of The Facing Island. Jan Basset's memoir crosses certain paths, from Ventnor and The Nobbies kiosk to the Tooradin fish and chip shop (where the boynton family would often stop en route to the island). There are other connections, and the sample chapter of memories and place is enough to make boynton want to seek out the book.

Another good read today on a related theme was Letters by Heather Puttock at things magazine
It is a strange sensation holding a received letter and hurtling back to the physical and psychological space in which one's original letter was written.
(via things)

Comments: serendipity

Heather's post is really sweet. It makes me wonder how much a blog can have the same function. Part of the point for me is that I am writing both to "real" friends, to comrades in the blogosphere who delight me, and to strangers.

There is now a true "me" on the internet. Which of course is me and not me. It's not the me that turns up for work, but it is, with a kind of zen flick that generates an intense truth, the me that is the writer..

The puttock, by the way, is a large soft ball used to play
Camel Golf, a game which has the same relationship to golf that polo has to hockey. The ball is squishy and dimpled like the buttocks of elderly politicians.

I just couldn't stop myself.
Posted by David at December 13, 2003 03:28 PM

I guess playing to the audience, you don't think of the strangers.
It's disturbing but more and more with the archived self, I'm looking for such revelations as "it was 32 degrees today". Mundane weather seems to locate the time and place.
Expect more weather posts in the future. ;)

Camel Golf sounds inriguing. Adding an extra cantakerous factor into a capricious game is admirable.
I think they should add reclacitrant animals to other sports. Shetland Pony Cricket or Goat Petanque, perhaps.
Posted by boynton at December 14, 2003 01:13 PM

Odd that you should mention two of my favorite sports. My weekend is one Sky Channel sportsfest after another.

Llama Llacrosse.
Piranha Pool.
Goose Dressage.
Hare Curling.
Dingo Fencing.
Crocodile Twister. (Sadly,only a demonstration sport in the upcoming Olympics.)

"Fluff up the beanbag for us could ya luv and bring us another VB ... and bowl of salt and vinegars'd be good."

Posted by Sedgwick at December 14, 2003 03:52 PM

Let It Be ..... for God's sake, I'm laughing too much. I'm off to Fish Creek for a whole two days and now I don't want to leave the internet...
Posted by David at December 14, 2003 11:57 PM

Goose Dressage.

I think it's got legs.

You can sign me up for a satellite dish on the spot.

Posted by boynton at December 15, 2003 07:21 PM

el grande

Australia's largest tree is dead, killed by its Tasmanian Government custodians in a mistake likened to the Louvre destroying the Mona Lisa. (The Age)

see also Junk for Code's Landscape as natural resource

Comments: el grande

Nice way of representing the obligations of Forestry Tasmania to the ecology of the landscape.
Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at December 14, 2003 10:20 AM

linked loosely under tree and/or mismanagement.

the two are connected here
Posted by boynton at December 14, 2003 01:28 PM

moon is a toon

Looked out the window last night and gasped. The big yellow moon hung low over the middle suburbs and looked almost too full on to believe. So close-up there seemed to be some sort of face, and it suddenly seemed familiar. Who was it - which pop culture cartoon character had suddenly superimposed itself on her imagination? Johnnie Walker? Dandy Hams? Icpota? Who is that man with the moonface and the small white moustache and the top hat and tails? boynton mused. Luckily her housemate swiftly summoned the answer...

(Related: earlier musings on the moon when things weren't quite so corporate, and the bloggin was easy)

Comments: moon is a toon

That's the thing about being a Boynton. She is free to be a person. Whereas an I is kind of stuck with the thing..

Thedge, I dare you to make sense of that.
Posted by David at December 12, 2003 06:52 PM

Obscurantism is the first, last and only refuge of those who think outside the square and level playing field whilst pushing the envelope.

That way lunacy lies. (I know, I've seen the polygraph print out.)

Seen you and raised you a monkey.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 12, 2003 07:31 PM

I can't find a button to type backwards...
Posted by David at December 12, 2003 09:33 PM

oh...having scanned the text "close-up" I have now added a missing hyphen. This may make it read a tad less obscure.
Posted by boynton at December 12, 2003 10:30 PM

Ah yes, "Boynton the Obscure", one of the finest hyphenically challenged novels that Thomas never quite got around to writing.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 13, 2003 06:46 AM

Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians.
Posted by Martin Nancy at February 28, 2004 10:17 AM

Thursday, December 11, 2003


Munch's Scream is explained in terms of natural phenomenon. (via Follow Me Here)

Since 1893, when "The Scream" was rendered, various art historians have speculated about the nature of that event, and when it occurred. Now Dr. Donald Olson, an astronomer at Texas State University, and colleagues say these experts have overlooked an earth-shaking fact.
In the February 2004 issue of Sky & Telescope, the Texas group asserts that "The Scream" was the direct consequence of a cataclysm half a world away from Norway: the volcanic explosion on the Indonesian island of Krakatoa.

But to explain the painting in this way - or even to locate the historical reality seems to diminish its meaning. I prefer the earlier finding of Thomas M. Messer, who "suggested that the vivid sky in "The Scream" might simply be "visualizations of sound waves" or "externalizations of force and energy." Or this psychological reading: where the Scream is emotionally and stylistically the epitome of expressionist art with its gestural intensity and representational exaggeration of the landscape which mirror the inner nervous tension of the soul.

I notice that Van Gogh's Starry Night has been given the same sort of astronomical analysis
Wonder what sort of natural phenomena inspired Magritte?

Comments: rationale

the sky rained suited men smoking pipes.. it is not possible for an artist to be imaginative, after all, is it?

Here's a fact about Munch. I went to the Museum in Oslo. Hundreds and hundreds of prints of the same image with subtly different colour schemes. He didnt need naturalistic inspiration - he was a sophisticated experimenter into the psychological effects of colour.
Posted by David at December 11, 2003 07:23 PM

Hmm... I could buy that Krakatoa explanation more easily had the picture not been made ten years after that event. As the man says at the end of the piece, if Krakatoa was the shaping event, why did he take so long to commit it to canvas? Although I suppose the same could be said of any creative artist who carries an image like that with them for years before making use of it.
Posted by James Russell at December 11, 2003 07:26 PM

"the Scream is emotionally and stylistically the epitome of expressionist art with its gestural intensity and representational exaggeration of the landscape which mirror the inner nervous tension of the soul."

I tend to see it a graphic example of "Munchey see, Munchey do."

More slinking off very shamefaced in order mefinks.

(BTW. Ms B., Josh of Joshings has contacted mothership.)
Posted by Sedgwick at December 11, 2003 09:17 PM

Whatever the answer, Dr. Olson is barely able to contain his enthusiasm. "What's most rewarding," he says, "is that we are the first to have made the connection between one of the world's most famous paintings and one of the world's greatest disasters."
"What's most rewarding ... is that we are the first" !!!

First, but was it a P.B. my fine ten gallon hatted Doctor?

"to have made the connection" Tenuous? Coincidence? Serendipity? Cobblers?

Lock up your daughters the philistines are at the gates.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 11, 2003 09:30 PM

Yep I think the truth lies in the paintings.

Best just to wander slowly around the Oslo gallery unmediated by biography or geography.
Posted by boynton at December 12, 2003 11:27 AM

"I think the truth lies in the paintings."

I've just reread that sentence ... "the truth lies".

Ms B. you have placed the proposition of art as a deception on the agenda. Ms B. you have opened a can of deeply philosophical wriggly worms.

Was Kasimir Malevitch's magnum opus merely a white lie twice told?

Forgive her. She knows not what she has done.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 12, 2003 07:50 PM

au contraire, Sir S.
she chose those words with especial care this oh- so-slow morn. Let the worms wriggle free.
Posted by boynton at December 12, 2003 07:54 PM

If the truth does not lie in the painting as a work of art) where else would it lie?

Up in heaven? That way lies the path of Platonism

Art, too, partakes of enlightenment.

On the other hand the truth content expressed by painting needs to be dug out.

What is not mentioned in the comments about Munch's The Scream is that the possibility that this work of art speaks for what is hidden behind the veil---suffering.
Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at December 16, 2003 10:16 AM

Forgive me Gary, I was being flippant.
The "lies" side of the flippant equation was a dig at the scientific explanation industry , which will only produce (useful) marginalia but not meaning?
Art will be dug out, by our greater diggers, though there are times when I think it may be best just to go to the gallery and look.
Oslo would be good, but I'll settle for the NGV blockbuster tour I guess.
and yes - for me, suffering is the key.
Posted by boynton at December 16, 2003 12:03 PM

reverse look

OneLook's reverse dictionary lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a few words, a sentence, a question, or even just a single word
(via Jerz's Literacy Weblog)
This looks very useful for those dumb days like today when the brain is lumbering, and the tip of the tongue is an elusive concept. boynton tried the suggested question Who is Big Bird's Friend on Sesame Street? and was dazzled by the possible answers, suspecting it was number 17 - the Carnegie Foundation.
She then pondered Who is boynton's friend? and was honoured to see J. B Priestley at the top of the list.

Comments: reverse look

Oh, ye Gods and little fishes! You HAVE woken the Gods and their minnows.

"Ernst Franz Sedgwick Hanfstängl (Munich, February 2, 1887 - November 6, 1975) was a friend of Adolf Hitler and Franklin Delano Roosevelt."

Eclectic in his friendships was old Uncle Hanfstängl. Pity those two couldn't have been a touch matier.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 11, 2003 03:59 PM

Namedropping again, Miss b?
Posted by Scott Wickstein at December 12, 2003 12:35 AM

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

long way

The phone rang.

Is that x?
No - I think you may have the wrong number.
Is that Australia?
That's a long way to get a wrong number, isn't it.

said the voice and hung up.

Comments: long way

I put it down to global warming myself.

Extreme weather conditions means disorientated people;

Disorientated people means communication problems;

Federal Parliament is a living example of communication problems;

miscommunication means being unable to connect;

Therefore, people dial the wrong numbers.

We do it all the time without even knowing it.

That is why nothing seems to work anymore.
Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at December 10, 2003 07:53 PM

Wouldn' ov happened if my Mrs Maclean had been at her switchboard macramaniacally arranging the cords, plugs and sockets.

Sadly she passed over many moons ago. However she's still keeping her nimble hand in.

"Miss d'Arc? O.K. Hold the line a mo, putting you through to Ms. Shirley MacLaine right now."
Posted by Sedgwick at December 10, 2003 08:51 PM

"What time is it there? What's the weather like?"
Posted by Nora at December 11, 2003 12:14 AM

Australia? That's a nice name. He/She may need a very big phone.
Posted by Tony.T at December 11, 2003 11:28 AM

Australia Heavenly Hirani Tiger Speck Wildhorse Lilly Peaches Honeyblossom Keypsiia Blue Daydreamer to give the full christened name.

Doubt me?
Posted by Sedgwick at December 11, 2003 12:03 PM

Ms. B. you must have woken the Gods. I haven't had a wrong number call for months and months. Just had one. It was so disappointingly prosaic.

Posted by Sedgwick at December 11, 2003 01:36 PM

Or maybe Gary's theory is right, Mr. S.
and global warming means global wrong-numbering.

and I'm half thinking of answering the phone with the new greeting:
Hello, this is Australia speaking...

(still prefer my last wrong number of july 22 though...)

Posted by boynton at December 11, 2003 02:01 PM

old trees

Just about to put up the Christmas tree. It's a small, plastic species that fitted the tiny scale of my old dwelling, (even then seeming to overcrowd things) but will look odd transplanted in this roomy space of high ceilings and empty corners. It has always been rather unstable, and has a tendency to slowly fall across the room, almost with a sigh. Overburdened. It will be rather sad as I bought it in the first year of Doug. As a six month old puppy he watched transfixed as each decoration was placed on each fake branch, and then later ate his way through the chocolate baubles as soon as I left the house. He's watched the ritual closely each year since, but I suspect this may be the last. I think next year will be a time for new trees.

Meanwhile there's a great post on sinister santas at Giornale Nuovo
it’s hard for those of us here carrying Anglo-American cultural baggage not to look at some of the tomtar on display in the shop windows, and think, with a faint shiver, those are some creepy-looking Santas
(Must say however, I like the idea of a Christmas goat...)

Comments: old trees

Once upon a time, a sort of friend of mine at university was making some money at Christmas by selling stolen Christmas trees. One morning he wandered towards a state forest trailing his axe when he found a safe in the middle of a paddock.

On his way home, his car stuffed with kidnapped trees, he stopped at a police station to tell them about the safe. As you would. They arrested him for stealing trees.

True dinks.
Posted by David at December 11, 2003 12:20 AM

Isn't there an old saying about not seeing the safe for the trees?

Back when I was a wee lad in Ararat ...

Bugger! Can't think of any Aesopian at all about that cautionary tale.

Like the trees, I'm stumped.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 11, 2003 07:12 AM

"anythink Aesopian" is what I meant.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 11, 2003 07:15 AM

B, once again proving conclusively why you're a better writer than the rest of us keyboard thumpers.
Posted by Tony.T at December 11, 2003 11:31 AM

Posted by Tony.T at December 11, 2003 11:32 AM

Fort so.

(Memember the Alamo!)
Posted by Sedgwick at December 11, 2003 11:39 AM

your web site is like many others that do not help people find their info.
Posted by see at March 23, 2004 01:47 AM

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

then again

Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable (via sonicpling)

Comments: then again

The modern orbs that fill shops and offend mine senses are neither vegetable or fruit, neither fish nor fowl.

Foul Frankenstein's monsters non deliciosa, high raddled in hue, pale beiged in taste, stiff starched in texture, full flatlined in perfume ... signifying nothing.

Where are the tomatoes of yesteryear? Those soft, yeilding, fecund, hot-flushed fleshpots. Where have all those tomatoes gone. Long time passing. Gone to backyards every one.

Posted by Sedgwick at December 9, 2003 03:51 PM

Insert 'n' in appropriate spot ... or not. Either one nor the other will do.

[slinks off stage left, silly goose-like]
Posted by Sedgwick at December 9, 2003 04:28 PM

Yes indeed the old tomatoes of seasons past have certainly gone west. Or nor nor west.
(always wanted to use that phrase - and hadn't even spotted the missing n.)
Guess all good Melburnians can only sigh and soberly plant their own on Cup Day.
Posted by boynton at December 9, 2003 04:41 PM

Good to have that confirmed. Zucchini's cheaper than apples at the moment - that should fill the spot as healthy lunchbox treat. And maybe a chilli for recess.

Sedgwick - the little 'uns are always yummy - tho' expensive (tho still best from backyard - absolutely best when they're surprises from the compost.

Now: tom-ar- to or tom-ay-to, B?
Posted by wen at December 9, 2003 04:41 PM

Ho -you have to ask ;)
tom ARRRR toe...
however tomargh-ay-oh-blecchhhh is quite acceptable too.
Posted by boynton at December 9, 2003 04:47 PM

Oh - we have that same tomato-planting rule here, Boynton. First year I tried to get around it by planting them in tubs & moving them inside at night. Didn't help. Frost in December got 'em all anyway. (this was back in the days when we only had two school-aged children & gardening was a possibility. Now we rely on those amazingly resistant self-seeders - probably a metaphor there somewhere)
Posted by wen at December 9, 2003 04:50 PM

Tomato pronunniation question I will leave to my olders, betters and wisers, HOWEVER ...

Is it just me but do others get bemused by our American idiot half cousins and their odd dealings with (or personal use of) the "herb".

"Urb", and emphatically "Urb". Strange faux francophilia? I don't think it's regional, think every A'merkin I've heard pronunns it so.

Genuine enquiry ... where DOES that come from?
Posted by Sedgwick at December 9, 2003 04:54 PM

Perhaps English speakers pronounced it thataways originally - & hence at American colonisation - it does come from Old French according to my oxford.
Posted by wen at December 9, 2003 05:00 PM

I thought you were heading that way, Sedgwick, with your talk of orbs.
Not sure myself. Is it that same 'uman weakness?

Perhaps some of the mericans who read here may weigh in.

btw my grandfather (a landscape gardener) was a Herb. Always an Herb, never erb
Posted by boynton at December 9, 2003 05:10 PM

Thoughters much. Irony, given the rapid and rapacious colonisation of the Engalish (sic) language by the A'merkins that they retain what sounds very much like an affectation.

My favorite affectation was by the Poms in that period of the deliberate dropping of the "g".
Posted by Sedgwick at December 9, 2003 05:17 PM

Oh - it is orbs. I thought Sedgwick was talking about 'norbs' meself. Or is that 'gnorbs'? No, can't be rite.
Posted by wen at December 9, 2003 07:47 PM

"In Modern English, h is usually pronounced in native English words such as happy and hot and, because of the influence of writing, in most words borrowed from French, such as haste and hostel. In a few other words borrowed from French the h has remained silent, as in honor, honest, hour, and heir. And in another small group of French loan words, including herb, humble, human, and humor, the h may or may not be pronounced depending on the dialect of English."

From 'ere:
Posted by wen at December 9, 2003 08:02 PM

As in that great american runner erb helliot..

"From Webster's Unabridged, 1953 edition:
> " The historical pronunciation is urb [short u sound], which still
> in the best usage in the United States, although hurbs is also used. In
> England hurb has been use since about 1800, an now apparently prevails in
> the best usage."

hence, for americans, the sentence goes "an herb".. mind you, we have "an historic occasion" and "an hotel"..

Even the wonderfully demented pedants at ask a linguist dont know..

so, not a lot of help from google. or should i say goigle.

ps - pom is most likely to come from pomegranate, which is rhyming slang for immigranate or immigrant... apparently the Americans went to Jimmy Grant the same way..
Posted by David at December 9, 2003 08:12 PM

ps - the tomarto is the Universe's way of telling us to get out into the garden and do something useful for ourselves.

us, we have a little flat..
Posted by David at December 9, 2003 08:13 PM

Sadly, no room at this inn for the endangered succulent tomarto. 'Twould mean fewer broad beans. (Hort: Manna of the Gods.)
Posted by Sedgwick at December 10, 2003 07:54 AM

well the miriam webster says:

But in fairness they do give two versions of both erb and tomato:

"Pronunciation: t&-'mA-(")tO; chiefly British, eastern New England, northeastern Virginia, and sometimes elsewhere in cultivated speech -'m[a']- or -'mä-; chiefly Northern -'ma-"

I'm not space challenged here but rather horticulturally so - (didn't get the family green thumb). Best just to get out there and cultivate my speech.

ps - to my ear, or earphone, the american 'culivated' tomarto still doesn't sound quite the same as ours, finishing with more d than t?
Posted by boynt'n at December 10, 2003 01:14 PM

It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.
Posted by Bradford Evonne Lack at February 28, 2004 01:05 AM