Monday, January 30, 2006

Cheaper By The Dozen 2

by guest reviewer Wilson, the Limey

Me muvver and me bruvver and me bruvver's gooseberry puddin' all being guests of Her Majesty, somebody hat to take me little niece to the fucking pitchers and that somebody was fucking me, wasn't it? I asked her what she wanted to see and the little dustbin lid was all "Let's go see Cheaper By The Fucking Dozen 2". I went up to the did-you-mount-her and got us a couple o' Jiminee Crickets, a box of Chinaman's horn and a fucking jumbo missing link and we settled in for a bit of good clean fucking entertainment, right?

Decent movie? Fucking shambles more like. Some old geezer and his love-and-kisses take their pack of vendor bids to some fucking lake and hilarity or sumfin ensues. Load of old cobblers, if you ask me, not that you fucking did, right? Casting was atrocious. Steve Martin? What's wrong with Bob Hoskins? Or me old mate, Terence fucking Stamp, for that matter?

About half way through, this geezer comes in waving a front porch in me mince pies and telling me to get me plates off the seat in front. Bugger just stood there, staring at me. I don't like people staring at me. Bad fings tend to happen to people what stare at me. Pimples. Split ends. Ingrown fucking toenail. I told this bloke to watch it or I'd shove a bottle up his Khyber Pass. He said, "What's a boh'all?" I said, it's a glottal fucking stop, innit? He said, "What's a gloh'al fucking stop?" I jumped up and I was just gunna kick the sod in the Albert Halls when me niece grabbed me arm. "Let's just fuckin' go, orright?" she says, and like escorts me from the theatre.

Outside, this other geezer comes up wiv two fucking security men and says, "Sir, I'll have to ask you to leave the shopping centre." I told him nah, I'm right, just fuck off orright and we'll go and get some coffee and doughnuts. Next fing I know, the two security geezers have grabbed me by me lucky charms and are dragging me off the fucking premises! I said, "Oi, fuck right off wiv that ya cunts!" but they didn't seem to unnerstand the Queen's fucking English, right, so I had to resort to the international language of smashing people's fucking skulls together. I grabbed me niece and scampered, quick fucking smart.

After we outran the space hoppers, I dropped me niece back at her foster parent's cat and mouse. They said, "Wilson me old mate, how about taking little Jemima to see King Kong next week?" Sure fing, I told 'em, then drove back to the shopping centre to get my revenge. I'm not a vengeful guy, normally, but it's the principle of the fing, innit? You scratch my back, I'll fucking punch out your eyes. Just like in the fucking Bible. Amen.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Shorts & Twirlies

There's been stuff happening, but not enough for a proper post:
  • If you hadn't noticed, it has been extremely hot for the last month. Is this a symptom of global warming, or just a sign that God hates us and can't wait until we die to get us on the cooker?
  • Working in this sort of weather, particularly in an uncooled (not to mention uncool) workplace, should be outlawed. It does funny things to your brain, not to mention your boxer shorts. A warning to any co-workers reading this: tomorrow at work, I may go nude.
  • Sterne failed to win anything at the blog awards. I actually forgot to vote, the whole thing having completely slipped my mind soon after the initial nomination period. Oh well, I don't think it matters. Congrats to the winners, including Sterne reader Lucy Tartan! (If I can't have the real thing I'll be happy with some reflected glory.)
  • Contrary to rumour (i.e. the one I started), my other blog, Intersecting Lines, will not be shutting up shop. Instead, I have taken on another team member, who is probably sitting at home right now regretting his offer to contribute.
  • Speaking of blogs, how about this debate over which is funnier, the right or the left? Going by the evidence of the last few days, the ratio of funny to dull, self-important and tedious is about the same on both sides. Worst blog debate ever.
  • Meanwhile, at work I've been forced to listen to 3AW. (This seems to be the standard work station, along with Triple M. We sometimes listen to Mix, but I always turn it off. I don't like Irish music.) It's fascinating stuff, and deserving of a post of its own, but one thing I will mention now is the way 3AW helps you feel connected to a real community. A real community of utter dickheads, sure, but still a community. Today, for example, one guy rang up to reveal the shocking news that there was a garbage truck on fire near his place in Clayton. Like - wow! Thanks for sharing, dude! They just don't do that kind of local-minutiae-treated-as-genuine-news on other stations. I was just going to ring up and let them know there'd been a huge series of nuclear explosions overhead about eight and a half light years away when they played an ad for the Neil Mitchell show (it's like porno: all moaning and no substance) and I had to go and throw up for an hour or two.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I Know Where You Live #7

"And this also", said Marlow suddenly, "has been one of the dark places of the earth."
-Conrad

"No light, only darkness visible."
-Milton

"I'd rather lick a turd than stay here a minute longer."
-Jon

Though it is a fact little known among students of literature, each of these immortal lines was conceived as the author gazed Cortez-like (sans wacky helmet and pantaloons) out over the wastes of Caroline Springs.

For those few not familiar with the unendearingly earnest and enthusiastic TV advertisements in which spit-polished bogans, young married types and nervous yuppies espouse the many charms of their chosen suburb in the hope, misery loving company, that you too will move there, Caroline Springs is a community carefully planned as a utopian escape from the hustle and bustle of city living – cheap, clean, safe. Or so say the ads. Like every utopia from Eden on down however, Caroline Springs was doomed from the start to go horribly wrong, and the reality soon puts the lie to the marketing campaign (everything else you see on TV is, of course, completely true, though).

It is unfortunate people have forgotten that ‘Caroline Springs’ was in fact originally not a name but a warning placed on maps, cautioning unwary travellers against a surprisingly athletic madwoman who had escaped from a Melbourne asylum in 1892, and had been lurking in the area ever since. If they’d remembered, they may have had some idea of what to expect before they moved there; Caroline is sadly long gone, but her legacy of unwelcome surprises remains.

On approaching the suburb, one notices two things in quick succession: firstly, that it is indeed spaciously laid out, leafy and green, but only on the side of the highway used for sales brochures. The other side comprises acre after acre of scrubby, marshy back-lot, utilised largely for the purposes of dumping soiled mattresses, knackered shopping trolleys and angrily torn-up brochures. The second thing sure to strike you is the utterly soulless quality of the place – vapid Mc-mansions devoid of thoughtful design or liveability, mindlessly neat fences and roads, dull, boring gardens consisting mainly of well-kempt lawn, and an air of emptiness pervading even the most populous districts…Caroline Springs is the Stepford Wives of suburbs, and though some of us may have a soft spot for submissive, zombie-like traits in women, in suburbs it makes me want to puke.

‘But surely,’ you who viewed the TV ads with simple-minded longing say, ‘there is something to recommend about the place – the beautiful lake, the much-vaunted mall, the friendly families?’ Lies, lies and damn lies, I tell you. There’s a good reason why the ads never show people fishing, boating or swimming in the picturesque lake that is supposedly Caroline Springs’ biggest draw card: it’s two feet deep and consists mainly of stormwater (and, not to be slanderous, but presumably flesh-eating bacteria as well). The mall is the same as you’ll find in every hick outer suburb, all two dollar shops whose stock is of a fifty cent quality; perfect for outfitting your lovely new home in the latest bogan accoutrements. And the people… have you ever wondered about the sort of people who, when asked to sum up their suburb can find no better adjective than ‘ace’? Plus, the friendliness is mandatory. Seriously. In keeping with an Edenic lifestyle (to stretch my earlier analogy further than I really should), the Caroline Springs residents committee enforces a series of possibly senseless and definitely unjust bylaws which actively impose good neighbour policies; if you act impolitely, park your car on the street, have an overgrown garden, own loud kids, refuse to say ‘ace’ for the cameras and have the general air of a poor person, then you can consider your bags packed.

Listen: save yourself some trouble. Time spent in Caroline Springs is like dining on cardboard soaked in piss – you can survive the experience, but are you sure you want to? Let’s face it, the place is no Broadmeadows.

Caroline Springs: zero licked turds out of five.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Birthday Blog

One year ago today, a fresh-faced young man sat down at his computer and started a blog. Friends, that blog was Sterne, and that young man is as surprised as anybody that it is still going. (Please note that that young man will now cease to refer to himself in the third person for the remainder of this post.)

Equally surprising is how popular Sterne has become. Yes, our readership is puny compared to that of many other blogs, but it is also regular, not to mention frequently supportive of our efforts. Years ago, when Jon and I produced zines at the rate of two or three a year, we could expect our alcholic ravings to reach fifty, maybe one hundred people per issue - a figure roughly equivalent to Sterne's daily hit count. In addition, where zine-making tends to be an isolated, drawn out process, blogging is immediate, feedback is regular, and best of all you don't have to traipse around town conning shopkeepers into stocking your product. Simply, blogging beats the hell out of zine-making on every level.

Anyway, I don't want to ramble on too much, but I - and I'm sure Jon, too - would like to thank everybody who reads and/or links to Sterne. I'd also like to thank all the bloggers on our blogroll for providing so much free entertainment. Personal thanks go to Jon for doing his thing, and to Lady Sterne for tolerating the hours I spend writing this shit, and my constant refrain of "I'll just go and check the blog."

Cheers.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Ringo Starr Publishes Pro-Capitalism, Pro-Ringo Children's Book

Hard on the heals of Paul McCartney's anti-capitalist kid's book, High in the Clouds, McCartney's former band-mate Ringo Starr has published his own children's book.

Starr says his book, titled Give Uncle Ringo Your Money, Now! came to him in a dream.

"I dreamed I was sitting at me desk writing some rubbish kiddie book, and all this money started falling from the sky. When I woke up, I immediately began writing. I expect the money at any moment now. That's why I brought me umbrella."

Give Uncle Ringo Your Money, Now! tells the heartwarming story of Bingo, the runt of a litter of four puppies who, while lacking the talent of his brothers, succeeds in winning the heart of his owner, Uncle Ringo, by performing unbecoming tricks for money.

According to Starr, the book is "a parable for the age - or at least for my old age. It's got puppies, tricks, and somebody called Ringo getting a shitload of money for doing bugger all. The only problem is, now I have to think of a new title for my forthcoming autobiography."

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Review: Old School, Tobias Wolff

Private boarding schools, as depicted in English and American literature, tend to have a humbling effect on this particular state-school-educated reader. They seem such wordly establishments, training grounds for leaders (and, presumably, buggerers) of men. The students all have fluent Latin and while away their spare time discussing philosophy and joining mutual masturbation clubs, at an age at which I was still struggling with the English language and masturbating myself. The teachers (or "masters") tend to be grumpy and aloof, but there is always one who occasionally allows his stern facade to fall away in order to impart some pearl of wisdom to his charges. Secret societies, rugger, corporal punishment, demerit points, poetry competitions, perving on the headmaster's wife, communal dining, the occasional suicide - private boarding schools have got it all. If I ever have a son, I'm shipping him straight off to a boy's school with a copy of Decline and Fall tucked under his arm. If he comes home without a first in classics and at least one sexually transmitted disease, he's out of the family.

In contrast to many examples of the genre, Tobias Wolff's Old School is a rather genteel, even pastoral, account of a New England prep school. For many of the school's students, literature is an abiding obsession, fuelled by the frequent visits made to the school by famous writers. In the lead up to these events, a writing competition is held amongst the sixth formers, the winner receiving a private audience with the visiting author. Old School is a fictional memoir of one particular school year in the early sixties, and the consequences the narrator's literary aspirations have for both himself, and the eponymous institution.

It might not sound like a page-turner, but in fact Old School is one of those books that you can tear through in an afternoon with some satisfaction. Wolff utilises nostalgia as an ambiguous device, the narrator clothing his school days in all the sun-dappled warmth we might expect from such reminiscence, but also recognising the romanticising tendencies of memory, and of his own youthful self. The cloistered, white-bread world of the school is poised to implode under the impact of social upheaval. Paralleling this, the narrator, through an error of judgement, is forced to engage with the wider world, and ultimately becomes a respected writer. The school embodies a "yearning for a chivalric world apart from the din of scandal and cheap dispute, the hustles and schemes of modernity itself". But you can't shut the world out for long, and neither should you, not entirely. Especially if you wish to write.

Old School is a pleasant, undemanding book about the way people construct public selves, while allowing themselves to believe other's self-constructions. As Old School's narrator discovers, literature tends to be, at least partly, a form of propaganda for the writer's conscience. Yet while literature may not be the whole truth, it is part of the truth, and, if it comes with talent attached, that is sometimes good enough.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

On Squid, And A Small Matter Of Etiquette

Below the thunders of the upper deep, far, far beneath in the abysmal sea, the Kraken sleepth, wrote Tennyson, proving the beardy twerp a liar who should have stuck to penning moralistic tripe about Arthurian maidens in the hopes of getting a hand up Queen Victoria’s petticoats. Kraken, sea monster, leviathan, whatever you call it, I am here to tell you that the giant squid is this: rubbish.

There are two squid residing in Melbourne at present, one at the museum and another at the aquarium – which, incidentally, has sparked off some fairly vituperative competition between the two institutions (ain’t nothin’ like a nerd fight). But although the two exhibits may vary in presentation (‘Monsters of the Deep’ exploit-o-rama vs. educational diorama; frozen in ice vs. floating in alcohol) both squid retain one important feature in common, this being that they are shit.

I grew up on tales and B-grade movies about vast aquatic monstrosities a’wrassling with submarines; about sailors cowering on the decks of their comparatively tiny ships for fear of the be-tentacled hell-beast looming over them, wondering if they would ever see shore, mother, and a good solid buggering down by the docks ever again. These robust boyhood fantasies have been ruined by the reality of what I saw in the museum last week. It turns out that ‘giant’ is a misnomer that might be best replaced with ‘sort of big, I suppose’. The squid are actually about five feet long, in the body at least, and instead of being able to take down entire ships could probably do no worse than give you a nasty nip. Sure, the tentacles grow to about 15 or 20 feet (What do I look like, a frikkin’ marine biologist? If you want an exact length, go and find an encyclopaedia), but these had rotted down to stubs. You can see more horrific things in the meat cabinet at your local butchers, provided your butcher, like mine, has a healthy attitude about what is and isn’t edible.

In order to distract from how dull the actual creature is, there is a giant TV screen above the not-so-giant squid, which plays a fairly interesting record of how the carcass was prepared for display. Now, the squid’s beak had already deliquesced, and it’s remaining mouth looks, well…distinctly vaginal. Repeatedly on the video scientists shoved their hands inside the beast’s slimey maw. And here is a small but significant tip for if you should decide to visit the museum: when surrounded by dozens of small children, and upon meeting one of your girlfriend’s best friends for the first time, who works at the museum and who has let you in for free, and who is giving you a tour, it is vitally important not to let your otherwise Wildean wit fall by the wayside for a spilt second while watching this video, and announce in a loud voice to all and sundry, “Wow, it’s ages since I’ve seen a good squid fisting”.

Deep apologies to all those parents whose children got more of an education than they bargained for.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Picking Scabs

Here's an anthropological experiment you can try at home. It's not quite as interesting as shacking up with a tribe of cannibals for six months, but it has its merits. And it's actually more an andropological experiment, because the behaviour involved is very much a male thing. The experiment goes like this:

Grab some junk, any junk, the more broken, sun-brittle and smelly the better. Put it on your nature strip. Wait twenty minutes. Soon, they will arrive. Observe.

By they I mean of course the hard rubbish scabs, attracted by the pheremones released by the blistered plastic and rotting wood of massed suburban detritus. You'll recognise them by a) the hungry look in their eyes; b) their beaten-up old cars; and c) the fact that they are standing on your nature strip examining the scorched shell of your old Atari with preternatural enthusiasm. Watching these consumer-item-ghouls is fascinating, and instructive. For one thing, you'll learn that nutters don't only come out at night.

Distantly related to garage sale obsessives and swap meet desperadoes, hard rubbish scabs are nonetheless a breed apart, placed on earth to get something for nothing, even if that something is eighteen years old, completely knackered, and never worked in the first place. Other people's trash is their... well, trash, and they'll grab what they can, when they can, regardless of actual value. I mentioned their hungry eyes: you notice them as soon as they swing into your street, cruising at kidnapper speed, their wide, blood-shot eyes scanning the nature strips. These are desperate men: junkies. If you must put out hard rubbish, I suggest you do it during daylight hours, and never alone. You never know when a scab is going to turn up and steal all that stuff you don't want anymore.

Perhaps it is due to the pleasant weather, but the scabs are out in force this hard rubbish season. You can't turn a corner in my neighbourhood without confronting several middle-aged ute owners, poring over the discarded furniture and knick-knacks on display. This afternoon, I put an old electric guitar on our pile, and watched as it was enthusiastically snapped up within ten minutes by a guy who looked the type to take it home and play the chorus lick from "Sultans of Swing" before going out to murder young children. In fact, I'm having a hard time maintaining a genuine rubbish pile on the nature strip. No sooner is the stuff dragged out there than somebody is winching it into the back of the Landcruiser. The question is: what the fuck are they doing with it all? Feeding it to their ugly dogs? (Ugly-dog-ownership being another characteristic of the hard rubbish scab.) I suspect the stuff hangs around their backyards and spare rooms for a couple of years, before being put out for hard rubbish collection. And so the cycle of life continues.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Review: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

This morning, Lady Sterne and I took my seven-year-old daughter, Asala, to see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The following dialogue is based on our subsequent conversations about the film. Lady Sterne's part has been combined with my own, so as to steal her best lines.

Tim: Well, that sucked. Poor pacing, mediocre acting, pedestrian direction. What did you think, sweetie?

Asala: I like the lion. He was so fluffy!

T: He was also fat. Lions, especially allegorical lions, are supposed to have barrel chests, but extending it all the way to his groin was a big mistake. He looked like a sanctimonious beer keg on legs.

A: He was so cute! I love him.

T: I didn't hate him as much as I hated everything else in the film, but I still hated him.

A: That's mean!

T: Tell it to Aslan, toots. After all, he is your boyfriend! [Howls obnoxiously.]

A: ... [Scowls.]

T: I think a better film would have been The Lion and the Witch in the Wardrobe. Just Aslan and the witch locked in a wardrobe for two hours. Armed with uzis.

A: ... [Scowls; looks incredulous.]

T: To be honest, I was shocked by how bad it all was. Even leaving aside the dull characters and rehashed fantasy setting, the extempore plotting is risible in the extreme. Frankly, it's a big shit stew.

A: You said that word!

T: What word?

A: The s-word.

T: Stew?

A: No. The naughty word!

T: Shit? That's only naughty if you say it.

A: ... [Resumes scowling.]

T: As for the much-vaunted Christian allegory, I was very disappointed. Pretty tame stuff, really, and certainly incomprehensible to those without a religious upbringing.

A: Why did the lady kill the lion? And why did lion come back to life and kill the lady?

T: Well, Aslan is meant to be Jesus, and the allegory demands that he die for somebody's sins, in this case Edmund, who represents fallibility. Then Aslan is reborn, just like Jesus, and tears the witch's face off with his enormous feline jaws - just like Jesus.

A: Daddy, what's a Jesus?

T: See, you are exactly the kind of child C.S. Lewis had in mind. The Narnia books were a stealth assault on secular children, the idea being to plant a particular schema in their heads so that later on, when exposed to the non-allegorical Christian story, they would be more receptive. I bet in fifteen years you will have run off to join a sect of doctrinaire Christians. Any money.

A: I bet I won't.

T: Bet you will.

A: Won't.

T: Will.

A and T: Won't!

T: Jinx! You can't talk until I say your name!

A: ...

T: I suppose the film offers another kind of test for potential Christians. If you can sit through two hours of that crap without wanting to throw up, then church should be a breeze.

A: Daddy, what's for dinner?

T: Lion steaks. Big juicy pieces of Aslan, marinaded in faun droppings then slowly grilled over the burning corpses of the insufferable Pevensie children.

A: Daddy! You're disgusting!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Let's All Party Like It's 9,999 + 1

Have you people nothing better to do? As of today, for reasons beyond my ken, Sterne has passed 10,000 hits, and has managed to do this in just under a year. How? Why? Surely it can’t all be me refreshing the browser every few minutes to check for comments. It both mystifies and gratifies Tim and myself that people keep coming back to read the nonsense we irregularly foist upon your internets.

Though we’ve come a long way, this milestone marks a turning point for us. Starting next week, we are proud to announce that we will be taking Sterne in a whole new direction. 10,000 is pretty good, but we feel we can do better; there are demographics out there in blog-land we’re just not reaching. So: as of Monday, no more sass-mouth, no more silly attempts at satire or ranting at societal idiocy . No – we’re going to concentrate on something more honest, more artistic, truer to the spirit of the electronic age.

That’s right, we’re going to start posting nude photos of ourselves. Those of you who enjoy looking at skinny, frighteningly pale flesh are in for a real treat. The rest of you might want to invest in some sort of nausea medication. However, I think you’ll particularly appreciate the explicit yet tasteful series I’ve titled “Boy Parts or Bratwurst?”.

Many, many thanks are due to our regular readers/commenters/gluttons for punishment, who’ve put us over the 10k mark; and cheers, too, to those lucky few who’ve stumbled across us by accident in the course of their day; and our deepest gratitude also to the person who keeps typing “caressing nipples” into his search engine in order to find us. Keep coming back, y'all. Seriously, if you don't, we'll hunt you down like dogs.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Where Are They Now (And Why Should We Care)?

Far off in the distant past, your faithful correspondant graduated from the renowned Koonung Secondary College - a byword wherever shit-box educational facilities are discussed and then laughed at. Despite recently coming under consideration as a useful site for dumping nuclear waste, Koonung SC was at one time known as a school for Achievers: a factory dedicated to churning out young men and women who would raise the bar for as all. Winners, every one.

It was the graduating class of '96 that epitomised this drive to succeed. We knew deep in our hearts and bladders that we were each and every one of us destined for greatness. That you, the plebian masses, might learn from our dazzling example, here now is a representative sample of this collection of princes. Names have been altered to protect the identities of those concerned - or, more accurately, to protect me from the just wrath of those concerned. Not that I'm particularly worried, given the level of literacy among most Koonung alumni is roughly equivalent to, say, that of the average chair.

Gaze up at the dizzying heights to which they've risen:

Samuel Alldred - became a professional wrestler on the rural Victorian circuit. Originally a hero, performing under the Dirk Diggler-ishly pathetic pseudonym 'Sammy Cool', he has recently become a bad guy, and on the weekends while beating people over the back of the head with a folding chair, he goes by the appellation 'Sammy Frost'. Fear him, in his leather jacket and spandex pants.

Violet Liddell and Sally Hammock - no-one gets anywhere without setting targets; armed with this knowledge, the enterprising pair came up with a bold mission statement - to sleep with the entire Essendon football team within as short a space of time as possible. Evenings spent hanging about in the car park after training sessions proved not to be in vain. It's always a pleasure to see people achieve their goals while still young.

Simon Lulovski - A celebrated Elvis impersonator, Simon is currently doing a 7-10 stretch for stabbing the man who tried to steal his woman (said woman once smashed Simon's guitar over his head during a particularly eventful lunch break).

Malcolm von Kolken - after trying his hand at being, respectively, a shelf-stacker at Safeways, an army washout, and a born-again Christian, Malcolm has now opted to spend most of his time locked in his room, rocking backwards and forwards, occassionally looking under his bed for the microphones the government is using to spy on him. Claims, in all seriousness, to be the Anti-Christ, and to have caused the Sept 11 bombings with his mind.

Pat Kostopopolous - recently bought a jacuzzi shaped like a heart for his en-suite. A man of taste.

Manny Smiggins - after repeatedly flunking out of the Victorian Police Academy due to a volatile temper and a psychotic streak wider than the Shane Warne's waistline, Manny has become a security guard at an inner city convenience store. Says Manny, "I live for the days when I get to beat five kinds of fuck out of homeless junkies who come in the shop."

Morgan Gaddic - grew a second arsehole. Really.

LeMarr O'Barrett - stole Malcolm von Kolken's car after a falling out (possibly over whether Alf Stewart on Home and Away was the mouthpiece of Satan). Drove it to Frankston pier, took a shit in the passenger seat, and rolled the car into the water. Possibly the most disgusting man alive today, and certainly the greasiest.

Jon and Tim - became bloggists.

The class of '96: reaching for the stars.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Self-Promotion

You may or may not care that I have another blog called Intersecting Lines. It is mostly about books. If you don't like books, I recommend you stay away.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Heavy Petting

Premium pet food manufacturers make a pretty penny targeting pets with special health needs. If Rover breaks out in spots, or Miss Claws develops plaque on her teeth from eating too many possum livers, you can head along to your local pet emporium and pick up some Sensitive Skin or Oral Care formula dry food that will solve the problem in a cost-effective, not to mention tasty, manner. In a Sterne exclusive, we are pleased to reveal the next generation of specialist pet foods, each designed to quickly relieve your pet of its annoying symptoms and you of your hard-earned cash.

Hurt Feelings - Is your dog feeling neglected? Hurt Feelings formula is guaranteed to cure the doggy doldrums and have your pet back to his annoying self in no time. The patented combination of premium chicken giblets and pure ground ecstacy tablets will give your dog a feeling of contentment and general happiness that ordinary dog feed simply cannot provide. Also available in Marijuana Moggy flavour, for the layabout, stoner cat in your life.

Crap Owner - Studies suggest that as many as six in ten Australian pets have a crap owner. If you don't have time to actively neglect your special friend, Crap Owner formula is here to provide - or, rather, to not provide - everything your dog needs. Comprised largely of sawdust, playdough and dried table sweepings, Crap Owner does everything except not walk your dog for you!

Misplaced Maternal Affection - Has your dog recently featured in a "cute" story on a commercial news broadcast, having "adopted" a bunch of ducklings or something equally as incongruous? If so, Misplaced Maternal Affection will assist your dog in its unlikely role by triggering its mammary glands, allowing it to feed its peculiar progeny.* If you haven't experienced the joy of watching your dog suckling a farrow of piglets, Misplaced Maternal Affection formula is for you!

* Mammary gland function triggered only in female dogs. Male dogs will simply suffer from tumescence of the chest, resulting in unwillingness to run in public without a shirt.

Stupid Haircut - Ideal for French poodles, standard schnauzers and other effete, pampered breeds, Stupid Haircut allays the trauma of receiving a ridiculous hair-do by pumping your dog's body full of synthetic endorphins and twelve different types of alcohol. Don't let the absurd pom-poms adorning your dog's tail prevent it from enjoying a full and satisfying life - one bowl of Stupid Haircut formula, and Fido won't care if you start plaiting his whiskers and calling him Zsa Zsa!

Hump Hungry - Nothing could be more embarrassing than having your pet rub guests up the wrong way, but if your dog like legs, and knows how to use them, Hump Hungry may be just what you're looking for. This special formulation - available in Chicken 'n' Gravy and Toasted Hog Chunk flavours - acts immediately to chemically castrate your dog, removing all trace of his sexual urges, and often his entire personality. When you really should have bought a cheap concrete statue of a dog instead of the real thing, Hump Hungry is the only solution!*

* Also available in Hump Hungry Lite, for owners who enjoy the amorous attention of their pets, but wish to temporarily restrain them. The sick fucks.

With thanks to Kate, ideas-woman and pet food-seller extraordinaire.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Upgrade To Make Mall Look Crap In Entirely Different Way

Shitehorse Council has announced that a multi-million dollar revamp of Pox Hill shopping mall will transform it from an outdated, run-down dump into a run-down dump for the twenty-first century.

Council spokeswoman Brenda Spiggot said that the renovations scheduled for the next twelve months were designed to superficially alter the mall's appearance, while maintaining all its inherent unpleasantness.

"The mall is in desperate need of an update," Ms. Spiggot told Sterne. "However, we don't want to ruin its unique ambience and scare away the punters. By whom I mean derelicts, drug dealers and unemployed drunks. Also, the drug-fucked couples screaming accusations at one another about who spent the dole money on smack. They were one of our key demographic concerns."

Council approved funding after considering a range of proposals for the site. In a full council vote, the proposal for a general upgrade beat out the popular strategic nuclear strike option by a slim margin. Ms. Spiggot said that, while every expense had been spared in planning the renovations, council is confident that people will appreciate the mall's new look.

"The renovations will bring the mall into at least the mid-nineties, aesthetically-speaking, and will certainly make it a brighter, friendlier place to visit, at least until it falls into neglect and starts looking all shitty and dirty again.

"We have however been careful not to tamper with the essence of the place, the things that make it the premier pedestrian mall in Pox Hill. Features like the giant puddle of spit, the prostitute loading zone, and the crazy-old-drunk-wrangling yard will be kept. In addition, new, dimmer lights will make the mall at least three times as hazardous to enter at night. It is our hope that Pox Hill's mall will become a place to avoid for people from all over Australia, if not the world."

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Winged Victory of Whatsisface

Steven Bradbury's gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics was worth a chuckle and a wry shake of the head, but didn't really warrant the four years of minor celebrity that Bradbury has subsequently enjoyed. Sure, people still talk about similar freak events in recent sporting history, like Glenn McGrath's half century and Fatty's fucking catch, but at least these were discernable achievements that weren't predicated on the incompetence of others. Bradbury's claim to fame is that he managed to stay on his feet while his competitors got a bad case of ice rash. His gold medal was less for speed skating than it was for being able to stay upright for extended periods. A certificate of participation would have been a more appropriate prize.

Surely whatever non-material value winning has comes from a sense of achievement, in terms of effort spent, and competition met. Bradbury may have put in the effort, but his competition ceased to exist at key moments in his progression to the podium. Honouring him is like honouring Grant Hackett if on the last turn of the 1500 metres his opponents sank to the bottom of the pool and turned blue. Australians proudly (and hypocritically) scorn the American ethos of victory at any cost, yet the "any victory is a good victory" mindset that has elevated Bradbury is equally perverse. Steven Bradbury ought to have joined Australia's serried ranks of honourable also-rans, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Wayne Arthurs and that guy Warnie/Joe the cameraman reckoned couldn't bowl or throw. Instead, fate thrust him into the spotlight as a winner who is also a loser who is also a winner. Bradbury's position is unnatural, an aberration, and I for one cringe whenever he appears on tv.

It doesn't help that he looks like Sonic the Hedgehog with a paunch. It helps less that he is apparently so smug about his success. Check out his performance in the new series of ads promoting Seven's coverage of this year's Winter Olympics. (The prospect of a Winter Olympics and a Commonwealth Games all in the one year makes me look back on the manifold horrors of 2005 with fond nostalgia.) These obnoxious slices of twaddle feature Bradbury making last-minute, come-from-behind victories in the game of life1. One ad sees shoppers vying for the attention of a checkout chick who is just starting her shift. Suddenly, Bradbury sweeps in and plonks his stuff down on the counter, his face apparently suffering some kind of torsion after four years of dining out on his "win" that causes him to smirk in a most disturbing manner. I'm telling you, when you see this ad you will want to punch Steven Bradbury in the knob!

What is Steven Bradbury for? What good is he to anyone? He can't skate, he can't act, he can't appear on tv without making thousands of people want to punch him in the knob. He doesn't know what's going to happen in the next series of Lost2. He doesn't even make a good subject for a vitriolic blog post. I hate to say it, but I hope he dies4.

Notes:

1. This is of course the metaphorical game of life, not the semi-popular Milton Bradley board game, which Bradbury would only be capable of winning if all the other player's tokens melted on the first go.
2. I do. The island turns out to be an enormous cruiseship that wanders the world's oceans seeking first-class acts for its nightly floorshow. The final scene of the final episode features the bald guy, the fat guy, and the guy from Party of Five in a bubble bath. The bald guy lights a cigar, looks at somebody over his shoulder and says, "Simon - the Carribean." Fade to black3.
3. Yes, Jon, I'm stealing/ruining all your jokes.
4. Not really.

The Breast Wing


















I just wanted to get in first with that joke. Thank you, and goodnight.