Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dodging dust and three-corner jacks

Helen and I were reminiscing over lunch today about the experiences of growing up in small Aussie country towns. The entire social life of the families revolved around playing sport: good old AFL or netball in winter and tennis or cricket in summer.

If you were too young, too old or too hopeless to play sport it still wasn't possible to escape it. You were instead required to offer your services in the club canteen, make the afternoon tea, be an umpire, run a meat-tray raffle or be a dedicated spectator either sitting in your warm car watching the footy or in your folding lazy-boy chair under a shady pine tree keeping an eye on the cricket game. Any person who did not play any sport at any time of year who wasn't clearly physically incapacitated or mentally unstable was considered a 'weirdo'. How could sport not be a major part of their lives, the rest of the townsfolk would wonder.

I dutifully played netball until university. Then I was in the big, bad city of Adelaide and didn't feel as though I needed the bitchy, pointless game of throw-catch-stop-start-throw to have a humming social life. I'd had enough of being the tallest player which always equated to being Goal Keeper: a thankless and boring task with only one third of the court to run around in and wearing a pleated skirt that would blow up in the freezing winds and give the local bogan boys something to snigger about.

Tennis, however, was my game. From my first coaching lessons at age eleven (and first inter-primary school relationship - with Steven from Murray Bridge North Primary and me, from Murray Bridge South), I loved it. A few years went by between formal coaching and of bashing the ball against the back wall of the house or with my brothers on our quiet, gutterless street which sufficed until I was fourteen and ready to join the local church tennis club.
It was intoxicating, especially being able to play a doubles match, a set of singles and mixed doubles all before lunch. I was fairly reasonable at it and for this I thank my two brothers. They taught me many things - not the least to give a good dead-leg, hen-peck and fart-in-the-face - but playing after-tea tennis with me in the long summer months was brilliant. Both of them were fiercely competitive, especially Rob who was (still is in fact) two years older than me.
His tongue-out, steely-eyed, battle-to-the-death determination inspired me also to put my face and elbows on the bitumen surfaced line in order to reach that fuzzy yellow ball at any cost. I once beat a boy a year older than me - he was 16 and I was 15 - and in his anger and humiliation he hurled his racquet over the net at me. It was pretty damn flattering actually.
By sixteen I was in the adult competition, and the games were played from 1pm in the afternoon until sometimes 8pm that night. There were no heat rules then - if it was 43C, then it was 43C and you still went out to play but with a wet rag tied around the neck and two willow drink coolers instead of one. Despite having the skin of an English rose with matching fluoro-tubes for legs, I was lucky enough to be able to stand the heat and often the only way to victory was to be the player standing and not in a dead faint from heat stroke.
What wasn't so much fun was being the team captain. Not surprisingly, a few more team members than usual used to ring in 'crook' on days that were above 38C and, again not surprisingly, anyone listed as a 'reserve player' weren't exactly overjoyed to be asked to fill in for them. "Errr..... (long pause)... errr.....I can't mate; I have a bone in me leg..."
As you can see from this picture of Murray Mallee scrub, the country courts we visited and played at were not the most hospitable of places. Well, not in appearance at least: the players were all good old sticks but if you happened to get a bit carried away and hit a ball over the fence, it was likely to land in a sheep paddock or scrub and get covered in three corner jacks.
These evil little prickles were in plague proportions and studded the balls like randy cloves on a pickled egg. They took ages to pick out and you normally scored a few in the pom-pom hanging over your ankle socks as well. Dad once put a few in a matchbox and gave them to a mate, telling him that some baby Thorny Devil lizards were inside.
My mother had the foresight to see the impending dangers of sunburn, so I was always slathered in fifteen plus sunscreen, the highest 'factor' legally allowed back in 1984. When a dry northerly wind blew, I'd get double the sun protection when the red dust would land on the lotion and cover me with nature's version of cocoa on a truffle. I'd go home that night with white crow's feet around my eyes and only my teeth a cleaner colour than the rest of me.
In addition to the heat, prickles, dust and the fetching scenery were the flies. Big, buzzy blowies that would never rack off no matter how angrily you waved your hands around your face: no, these buggers were so starved of food and moisture they'd intensify their attempts to land on human flesh and aim straight for the mouth, nostrils or tear ducts. This would lead to more angry arm and hand waving by the owner of the moist body parts but the flies would buzz even more insistently and start crawling slowly - almost insolently - over your lips and into the ears. Take my word for it: these tiny little insects have the power to make a person insane.
In fact one day I was called upon to umpire a mens' doubles match. These were my least favourite because blokes tended to take it all extremely seriously and this required more alertness than my usual, "Oh yeah, I think that shot was OK Michelle.... 'that alright with you, Shaz?" On and on and on the rally went and just as Trevor volleyed a winner, a blowie chose that moment to fly right up my nose. (If you've seen my honker you'll realise that it's not a difficult thing to do - people have asked what price I'd charge if it was rented out as a warehouse). Not only that, but Malcolm wasn't so certain that Trevor's shot had landed in: "Well, MillyMoo - is it out or is it in?"
I was too busy staggering around with an infernal beast ticklishly crawling it's germ-infested way up my nasal passage and hearing an infernal buzzing sound bouncing around like ECT therapy in my head. "Oooh ack, arck arrrgh!" was my response. By this time Trevor, Malcolm, Dennis and Wayne strolled up to the net and stood there rearranging themselves whilst they stared at me. "Arck arck arck!" Somehow the fly had maneouvred its way through my nasal S-bend and ended up finding its escape route via my mouth. "Ooooh yuck - where's some water?"
~~ pause ~~ Malcolm asked again, in a slightly annoyed tone: "Well, what was it - IN or OUT?"
I might have only been a teenager but their lack of sympathy was annoying. "Well Trev, the fly was in and now it's out. Toss a bloody coin and work it out yourselves." As I flounced back to the wooden benches, I'm sure I heard one of the fellas mutter something about a 'PMS princess' but I was too busy sneezing and gagging to care.
"Hey Dorothy - can I have a slurp of your red cordial?"

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wince-inducing Words

There are some words in the English/Aussie language that I really dislike. Words that I avoid using myself and that invariably cause me to shudder if someone else uses them in my company. For your own edification, these shockers include:

Frock - generally used by Australian women older than sixty. Means a 'dress', normally made of 100% nylon, multi-patterned and with the sex appeal of Maggie Thatcher wearing nipple clamps. If anyone your age looks you up and down and says, "Gee, I love your frock," they're not being nice: feel free to give them a short, sharp 'henpeck' (dong on the forehead with your fist closed except your middle knuckle) and swan off - at least as well as you can do in a dress that sets off electric sparks when you sashay on carpet.

Slacks - used by the frock-wearing crowd to describe pants or trousers. If someone has bought themselves a "new pair of slacks" you can very safely assume that they have an elasticated waistband for comfort which also leads to what I'll call "Pucker Bum" - the puffy, willy-shape that females get when they sit down; looking for all the world like they've excited themselves by wearing such alluring slacks.

Blouse - We are not French - it's a SHIRT for the sake-of-all-that's-good-and-chocolate-covered. Blouse doesn't make the purchaser or wearer sound posh either - just old and out of it.

Flip Flops - this is what the Poms call our national footwear, known here in Oz as 'thongs'. *Sigh* no not the 'up yer arse' undie type, but the rubber type you wear on your feet. And yes, like the ugg boot, they have never gone out of fashion here. Besides, 'flip flops' sounds more to me like the result of a beachful of British tourists collectively unbuttoning the buttons on their slacks to let their guts out.....

Cardigan - This word and the actual item of clothing immediately conjures up images of spinsters, librarians, nerds (perhaps all three). Even so-called fashionable cardigans give me the shudders - no-one looks sexy in a cardigan. No one.

Phlegm - a word that manages to sound even less attractive than the disgusting item itself. Either that or it's the nickname of your mate down the street who is trying to get over being christened Jasper Cecil Gaylord. I do occasionally use it, but only as an insult: "Put your indicator on, you &^%$ing Phlegm Bag!"

Penis - a clinical, soul less word that like phlegm makes the appendage sound even uglier than it actually is. Which is quite an achievement.

Prick - hate it, hate it! I hate it even an an insult!

Scrotum - why is it that our medical ancestors had to label our fun parts with such un-fun and uninviting names? If it was to help control our lusts and population growth, they failed miserably. Having said that, it certainly hasn't featured as background wallpaper for Microsoft windows, or as the standard wrapping paper pattern.

Mole - not the cute little underground chaps that like to ruin British lawns and feature in kids' books, but the Australian insult used to describe a girl who is either a bitch or a tad on the 'over-friendly' side. Perhaps she should date a 'prick' - then they could both rack off and get out of my life forever.

Puce - admittedly it's actually perfect because it's such a butt-ugly word to describe such a butt-ugly colour. Clothing nightmare - a puce pair of slacks matched with a cardigan only a mole would wear....

De-Facto - this was once a word used quite appropriately to describe a committed couple living together but eschewing the traditional notion of marriage. Sadly, now it tends to feature in news bulletins as: "A woman was found strangled in her housing trust unit in the northern suburbs by her neighbour tonight. Her de-facto husband is now in police custody assisting them with their enquiries. During the removal of the body, a large amount of hydroponic equipment and firearms were also located....."

Basically - the word favoured by the clueless (usually first year uni students) to persuade the old and cynical (uni graduates twenty years previously) that they're intelligent and, like, basically, can, like, basically boil things down, like to the basic issue... A word to all over-users of this word: Like, you can Basically Bugger Off.

Offal - Awful Offal. Why anyone who isn't starving to death and for whom a bowel movement was something they had for Christmas would choose to eat offal totally escapes me. Kidneys stink and pollute the steak or whatever other meat by-product they're stewing in and liver is NOT disguised by bacon. As for crumbed brains, I'd rather chew a chimpanzee's arse cheek.

Sustainable - I am sick to death of this word - it has gone way beyond any environmental meaning and is now used by Human Resources Retards to describe 'sustainable employment options', or PR ponces to sell any kind of manufacturing that closes down local factories and instead meander off to Mumbai to embrace globalisation and remain 'sustainable'. Just spread it on a mattress and cram it up my right nostril, will you?

Brick Veneer - cheap, shoddy, soul less homes dating from the 1970s onwards who are constructed with only one layer of brick and the inner walls of 'veneer'; thus making it possible to hear your brother drop-bombing a couple of picnic bars down the s-bend in the bathroom four rooms away. Hot in summer and freezing in winter, these shockers gulp up electricity and have structural frames that have a 'lifetime' of 20 years. Add the aluminium windows, total lack of eaves and rendering that reveals cracks and the original brickwork underneath a month later, and you have a Brick Venereal. Be safe and avoid buying or renting one at all costs.

Crazy Bargains - these two words should really say 'Crappy Cons'. Why on earth would you ever open up a Persian rug store - they seem to be going out of business and slashing the prices by up to 99% each week here in Oz; not to mention Mr Bankrupt's dodgy seconds underwear store; Repossessed office furniture and any shop with 'Cheap', '$2', 'Chips', 'Warehouse' and 'Superstore' in large letters. Unless you want a plastic dream catcher or novelty cigarette lighter, get the frock out there as fast as your thongs will carry you.

Brave - a word over-used by lazy journalists to elicit sympathy from the 6:30pm 'current day tonight affair tabloid news' watchers in items about kids with ailments, diseases or birth defects. Said 'brave' kid has to be under the age of 18 and just, well, suffer from something. Even if they're chucking a tantrum, spanking the cat or screaming in agony, they will invariably be labelled something like, "Brave Little Ebony Continues Her Fight Against....' whatever. Once you're over 19, you'll feature on the same show or newspaper as a dole bludger or potential Jim Rose Circus employee.

The worst seven words in a sentence ever = 'We have no chocolate in the house'

"Hey Darlin' take your frock off - I've got a pressie for you hidden in me slacks!"

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Boy am I glad to be an unknown Dag

No Britney for a while - see my previous post. She needs a good rest. Cheer up though, there are still heaps of other Mental Pgymies known as 'stars' for us to gawp and giggle at.

I never quite understood why Vince Vaughn became a star even after sitting through his 'breakthrough' movie 'Swingers' and marvelling at just how young and slim he was.
A bit later I read that his parents are reasonably well off and involved in the entertainment industry, so at least getting a part in Swingers made sense.

These days however, he's more famous for being Jennifer Aniston's ex man-bag and for rather successfully impersonating a puffer fish. He's only 36 years old for godssakes yet looks as though he could be Oliver Reed's brother. A bath and some cucumber slices for the old eye bags wouldn't go astray VV, or a good squirt or seven of Rexona - we can smell your rancid BO-ness from over here.

Shaz is always fond of reminding us that she's a MENSA member yet still believes that we need to see her wearing not much other than a couple of sequins and some freshly-injected botox at various openings (social and physical). It is to be hoped that she also uses her much-mentioned mental capacities to remember that she also has a couple - no, three - children to look after.

Here she is paying for lunch, looking like a too-old, too thin 48 year old girl from what us South Australians call 'The Northern Suburbs' - the places where "Fathers Day" personifies thetrue definition of confusion.

Video killed the radio star....video killed the radio star....

Remember the Buggles? Did Nicole push the lead singer off his zimmer frame and steal his glasses?

Pamela Anderson - like Shazza above, but even more so - is a classic example of putting her best tit forward to further her 'career'. This human cartoon would look right at home at Tea Tree Plaza on child support day - rushing in to the Smoke Shop, shoving chips down her kids' throats to shut them up so that she can buy those square stick-on-nails from the chemist.

She's going to be FORTY soon....!!! At least her rack will be a handy place to store her dentures on without having to bend over and find them in the glass beside her bed....

Ohhh, so that's where my vacuum cleaner dust bag has run off to!

Could Christina Aguilera be any more orange?

Finally, we find good old Gwen, wearing some sensible, sturdy, suitable-for-outdoors walking shoes that are just right for that busy Mum on the go.

Many's the time I've dashed to the bus stop in stilettos such as these, praising them for their comfort, practicality and inner sole support.

*Sigh* if only someone other than Jodie Foster would turn up at a public event wearing something on their feet that you can actually stand - let alone walk - in without involuntarily farting, shattering a vertebrae and falling flat on your face. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, February 19, 2007

I feel sorry for her, I really do

Rather than republish the all-too-available-to-download sad and sordid photographs of Britney Spears leaving rehab; gleefully shaving her own hair after the owner of the salon refused to do it; getting a couple of tattoos and looking straight at the papparazzi with a vacant expression and charcoal-rimmed eyes I'll say this: Get Well, little girl.

The poor thing has been working since she was, I dunno - eight? Eleven? Thirteen, on Disney? When she sprang to mainstream attention she was tarted up like a Lolita-lovin' schoolgirl at age seventeen, gyrating to 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' and supposedly keeping hold of her virginity. Neither of those personas were likely to see her safely through to adulthood or a grounded lifestyle and, sadly, she has shown that such predictions are rarely wrong. Why any of us thought she'd be able to cope with fame, money, attention, fair-weather friends, gold-diggers, drug dealers and useless bodyguards when folk like Lindsay Lohan, Anna Nicole-Smith, Nicole Richie et al couldn't is beyond me. None of them could lay claim to being Mental giants, yet we (including me) derived more entertainment from their extra-curricular activities and gaffes then their official works.

What puzzles me is that celebrities who have so many hangers-on and assistance including nannies, PAs, publicists, stylists, drivers, housekeepers, bodyguards, media coaches, dieticians, trainers, gardeners and the like are not helped. Not really - not helped in the way that they overly-pampered, too readily indulged and are allowed to literally trash their health, sanity and money away whilst ruining their health and minds.

Here's hoping she doesn't require the level of acunpuncture pictured here, or ends up submitting herself to a deranged 'Lookin' Good For Jesus' kind of re-birth. It's a sad day when Fed-Ex looks the classier and more functional, together and reliable parent of the two.....

As my Mum would say, Britney needs to get away from it all, have a good rest and hang around people who actually, truly care for her.

I will add my ten cents' worth and include a full-on de-tox, some gentle eye-make-up remover and the kind of baby and childcare classes us unwashed folk are forced to go to when we give birth.

Then she should fire everyone around her and seek help from a trained psychiatrist, a dietician, personal trainer and a tasteful stylist.

Finally, she should then disappear to a place that offers the conveniences of modern life but without the Hollywood hype, papparazzi or illegal substances. Sweden, New Zealand or Antarctica could be options.... Perhaps even here in Adelaide: city of churches, chocolate and an multiple murderers.... she wouldn't stand out at all up in Salisbury....

Friday, February 16, 2007

Things seven year old Sapphire learns me good

Actually, she'd never say it like that. She would try to frown- except she hasn't got any lines there, just a faint shadowy spot above each blonde eyebrow, and scold me with, "Mum, say it properly. You're just being silly."

After a fair while (Aussie-speak for long, ages, yonks) in blogland, I realised that I haven't featured an article on Sapphire - the apple of my eye, fruit of the womb and the reason I walked like an arthritic cowboy for a full six weeks after her 29 hour labour....

A couple of nights ago, as she was luxuriating in her bubble-bath in her precious window of Me-Time between After School Care and dinner, I sat on the soggy bathmat on the floor beside her and asked her a heap of questions. Here's an edited version of her observations, answers and views from the seven-and-three-quarters years of experience she's had so far.

What I've taught my Mum, MillyMoo:
* What head lice are, what they look like and that no fancy comb or shampoo is going to get rid of the eggs they hatch. Instead I have to stand under a light while Mum pulls at bits of my hair. It is very boring and annoying.
* Knitting - finger knitting and real knitting. She really likes doing it and even made a big scarf in the Adelaide Crows' team colours. Dad isn't going to have to wear it though - it will be one long stripey bit in the camping blanket that she's knitting. Dad once said that knitting might make her stop eating so much chocolate, but I think Mum just uses the knitting to hide the chocolates in her lap.
* If someone annoys you, don't kick them in the pants or hide their notebooks or do any other mean stuff. Just tell the teacher that you don't like what they're doing. For you, Mum, you'll just have to tell Dad and go off and count to ten.
* You don't need to hang around with the people who are trying to be cool, because they're not all that nice, those cool ones. They waste their time being cool and say 'Get lost' and use lots of swear words.

Her favourite things
Book: The Worst Witch series. I have borrowed and read them all from the school library. And Clarice Bean ones - she makes me laugh out loud.
Song: The one that Mum said she used to like when she was young. "Heaven" by DJ Sammy. (it was by Bryan Adams, originally, in 1995 - MillyMoo)
Movie: Lassie (at home on DVD). At the cinema - Flushed Away and Night At The Museum
Foods: Dad's tortellini, spaghetti bolognese, pizza, Chinese food, Yum Cha. Also cooked carrots, stir-fried vegetables mixed in together and zucchini. If I'm forced to eat salad, I'll have cucumber without making a fuss about it.
Animal: ring-tailed possum or a dog.

What she likes about Dad - aka Love Chunks
He always makes me laugh, does fun things with me like taking me to the Beach House fun place, the swimming pool and cafes. He cooks good food - even better than the cafes we go to and he is always enthusiastic about the things I make or do because he wants to try and make me feel good on purpose.

What she thinks Dad does for a living
He's a meteorologist at the weather bureau. He measures, um, is it something about the clouds or does he organise the satellites?

The house she lives in
It's a small house so it hasn't got too many rooms to get lost in, plus it means we have room for a nice big garden. The kitchen is not a scrappy room any more and I have a lot of space in my bedroom to play cards and jump around.

Grandma and Grandpa
My Grandma is always doing something exciting and always going to special places that are only meant for adults but she takes me too. In Grandma's playroom we make and put toy bags together for poor kids and sell them at her Lifeline shop.
Grandpa is very funny. Even when he's watching the cricket, he finds time to make jokes along the way. He also talks for me if there are lots of people I am shy and speechless.

Her pet dog, Dogadoo
I like her because when she knows that someone is scared of dogs, she doesn't rush at them. I like throwing the tennis ball to her. She licks my hand for me to throw it again. Sometimes she stops and has a drink along the way. Even though she did a poo in my bedroom and then one in the loungeroom that I accidentally put my hand into - she's still the best dog in the world because she's cute and pretends to be a tough guard dog. That's what I like about her: she tries to be our guard dog and just wants to love us.

What is on Sapphire's Non-Lotto-Winning, Realistic Wishlist
A little packet of Skittles
A packet of real crystals or a Tamagotchi version three, or four....
Viva Pinata computer game
Stained glass angel - one that stands up.

Finally, her thoughts on her mum, aka MillyMoo
She is always doing something funny like cracking up jokes, talking together with me or doing something sporty. She is always determined to not eat so much chocolate even though it's her favourite food. She takes me roller-blading even if it's boring sitting there watching me and runs to keep fit. (note: one of the clasps on my blades broke, so the shop is waiting for another of the same pair to come in. This process is slower than if I swam over to Taiwan with one hand, made the pair myself and swam back with just the power of my earlobes - MillyMoo)

So there you go.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Perfect Morning Tea for a South Aussie

Today I was lucky enough to save a heavenly hunk (yes, because I asked for seconds) of Ali's Baci chocolate birthday cake AND inhaled a scrumptious slice of Jessie's almond lemon and lime cake.

Both were superb. If Hitler was in any way sane, he might have actually achieved his twisted aim of world domination by declaring these two cakes - The Chocolate Stand Out and The Coeliac Delight - as the "Aryan Race" winners of their kind. Thankfully, my colleagues agreed, albeit silently due to their focus on scoffing the dream morning teas and slurping their coffees. )Any food that produces total silence whilst being imbibed is either due to ecstasy or death and I've yet to witness the latter).

On a much more regular level, the morning tea depicted in the photo above is my ideal. If you're not from South Australia, then I'm sorry for you, but I will at least try to describe this magnificent mini-meal.

Farmers Union Iced Coffee (FUIC)
Because of this 600ml carton of anti-osteo, pro-pleasured delight here, it is with great pride that I can inform you that South Australia has the largest milk consumption per head in the entire world. Farmers Union Iced Coffee is the reason for that sensational statistic - it is a beverage - nay, nectar - that we drink practically from birth. I recall drinking it during recess in Year One and was in love from the first mouthful. Tradesman buy it for breakfast, lunch and smoko. Even a plumbing mate's Blue Heeler gets one with a pie for his lunch on the back of the ute for being a good dog. It's what I want served at my funeral and - here at least - means more to us emotionally, physically and psychologically than any world-winning red wine medal can.

Why no government or financial wizard hasn't yet funded a study comparing us South Aussie FUIC drinkers' near-zero incidence of osteo compared to - well, pretty well anywhere else - is beyond me. The 'secret' is so obvious!

There is, unfortunately a sad side to this phenomenon. Despite FUIC telling us that it's 'Reduced Fat Iced Coffee', it has nearly 3g of fat per 100ml, or roughly 18g of fat per drink. Now that's more than one Mars Bar and I sure as hell ain't going to waste my precious fat intake on a mere drink.

Hence the introduction of FU 'Feel Good Iced' Coffee. Slightly thinner in texture, but same great taste, calcium content and release of endorphins. At $2.90 it is cheaper than a cappuccino and a more nutritious way to take a break and end up with a gut-load of goodness.

When the FUIC Feel Good is paired with a Vili's Custard Tart (at $2.50) you are now setting foot into tastebud paradise. The firm, cool, short-bready texture of the pastry; the creaminess of the egg custard and the final flavour fart of the nutmeg all combine to equal absolute eating bliss with its perfect combination of taste, texture and titillations.

All you need to complete the experience is a paper to read whilst sucking down the calcium and licking the custard from your fingers. Anything but the local paper - The Advertiser - is worthwhile. Even the suburban freebie, 'The Messenger' at least has articles written by mostly-literate local people who weren't invited to Lleyton Hewitt's wedding and don't run a radio show based on their 'work' on Big Brother.

Or, head for more cerebral territory and shout yourself a copy of Melbourne's 'The Age'. This is a broadsheet made to be savored and lingered over: sniff in the ink as you sniff the nutmeg on the tart and take in a deep breath as you turn over the page with as much gusto as you bung the straw in the enticing, light brown waters of your FUIC Feel Good.

These are not hollow words, my friend, but my gift to you. You may not have a Valentine today, but fear not - instead you have been given something to find, obtain and inhale that is far greater than an itchy white teddy bear made in China with "I Wuv U" stitched on the front and some droppy long stemmed roses with no smell delivered to you by a grumpy guy in a white minivan with halitosis and BO problems.

The heavenly trio. The Power of Three. Forever and ever, amen.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Clothing Clods
Shitney never ever fails to amaze and dismay me at the same time: Dismaze - a new word. "To view someone with a great deal of money at resources at their fingertips, yet feel completely disgusted anew each time you see them and the situations and clothing they appear in by their own choice."

This photograph is a perfect example. Sweaty hair, smudged mascara ala the tarts of my year ten class, slutty $5 tank top, puffin' on a ciggie and revealing her whale tail - ie the top of her G-string.

Whilst it's comforting that she is in fact wearing undergarments, it is extremely disturbing to notice that someone else is actually grabbing her,,,erm.... (this is very hard to write, as an Australian) 'thong.'

Is Shitney-Brains so out of it she doesn't notice, or is it her assistant just making sure that the cleaning bloke doesn't try and park his bicycle in there when he arrives...

I know this ghoul is called Zooey Deschanel, poor thing. Why do Yanks give their children such teeth-grindingly crap-shocking names? Is she the niece of Swoosie Kurtz or cousin of Dweezil Zappa??

Monstrous moniker aside, for some reason Zoobie gets lots of acting work and praise even though, for my money, she displays all the dramatic range of an over-botoxed buttock.

This outfit doesn't help - eye make-up quite obviously applied with a kitchen wipe, my nanna's debutante frock, her often-selected black pantihose and Minnie Mouse is screaming to have her shoes back.

This is just a photoshop bit of fun I've flogged from somewhere much more techno-savvy and witty than I am, but it gave me a chuckle.

The saddest thing about it is that, Mattris and Sticky Hilton will probably end up wearing the designer versions of these some stage in the not-too-distant future, and not be able to spell - let alone comprehend - the terms 'personification' and/or 'irony.'

Ah yes, dear little Looseknees Lowdown - the only human being allowed to treat the potentially life-saving services of a rehab 'lock in' as though it was a cellophane saloon door.

Also, the only diva known to modern magazine meatheads as the 'child' (if her mother is to be believed) or 'adequite' adult (as L2's own blackberry skills attest) who won't turn up for work if the room temperature is above her own IQ yet is always prepared to make at least 10 trips to the coffee shop to pick up her own gallon-sized caffeine hit.

"....and I'm wanted.....Red Or Alive....."

Blistery Flamba-ora - the human roasted tomato with a face suspiciously like Mickey Rourke's.....

Denise, did you at least baste him every two hours before flipping him over?

Mattriss is obviously on her way to visit Grandma which is why her labia's been sensibly folded under her butt flaps and stapled to her back underneath the sensible black cardie to keep it out of sight and Stickole is her nanna's crocheted sofa slip (albeit a very slim one).

I'm not sure why my good friend Bill got snapped at the Midsumma Gay Festival dressed up as a satin booger, but he did, I'm sure of it.

Otherwise, this has to be Fergie (the one who's in one of the most excremental 'music group' in the world, not the toe-suckee Do-Me 'duchess'), who makes Martina Navratoliva look like Carol Brady.

If her hair was yanked back any tighter she'd be fighting off Joan Rivers for her plastic surgeon's business card.

Could Messica be any more manufactured in her continual efforts at over-acting, stupid monkey faces made to the papparazzi? Who applied her eye-make up, Zooey Deschanel??

How come she wiped yoghurt under her left boob - doesn't her Assistant have moist baby cloths on hand, or bibs at the very least?

Is she about to crouch even lower and 'drop off a John Howard' on the pavement? Or, worse still, rummage in her testicle-skin from-an-endangered-bluewhale handbag and ~~shudder~~ hand out her latest CD?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sapphire's Sinister Scene

Christmas is now a dim, best-forgotten (for most of us) memory - especially seeing as our local Coles supermarket had Hot Cross Buns for sale on New Years' Day - but Sapphire recently downloaded her photos, and her improvised homage to the nativity scene caught my eye.

And not in an 'Awww, that's so sweet', way but in an 'Err, oh dear that's a bit unfortunate' kind of way instead.

Whilst it's nice to see that Mary will avoid being stoned to death by horrified locals due to just having given birth to a bastard because of the many protective layers of clothing she has on, she hasn't extended the same courtesy to the baby.

He, poor sod, is resting on some paper, presumably straw, and for some reason Sapphire has seen fit to draw a little goatee on him as well. Who knew that the infant was such a hairy one?

However it is Joseph that concerns me a great deal more. He's fashioned himself a kind of batwing, blousey top that wouldn't look out of place in a 1982 'Flock of Seagulls' video, but isn't wearing any trousers or underwear. Sure, this particular Joseph only has a plastic mound and swivelling leg joints to show the world, but it still disturbs me. He looks as though he would much prefer sashaying his merry way to Mardi Gras than hanging around a potentially-stoned Mary awaiting the so-called Three Wise Men who lose their way, miss the birth by several days and provide useless gifts.

The donkey appears to have a much closer relationship with Joseph than biblical texts ever hinted at, despite it bearing the weight of a heavily pregnant Mary for the lengthy journey to Bethlehem. Far be it for me to dare suggest anything as sordid as bestiality, but its head is much too close to Jo Joe's bare butt for my comfort.

However this sick little scene did end up being dealt with in a way that the original tablet engravers of the old Testament would approve of: a huge, orange dog with an inquisitive tongue gallumphed over to investigate and ended up knocking Jo over with her tail, inhaling the handerchief, slurping Mary's face, blowing Jesus out of his manger and running off with the donkey in her mouth. Not unlike a great flood crossed with the raw power of Godzilla but set in late 2006.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Karate Kweens

Late last year, Sapphire and I started karate lessons together. As a mother-daughter bonding exercise, karate was selected because neither of knew anything about it, it involved both mental and physical discipline and we got to wear some really cool pyjamas (see left).

Since that photo was taken, we've progressed so incredibly far that our once-pristine white belts now have a yellow tip on them - the very first step up the long ladder to black belted one-ness. I think I was more excited than Sapphire when they were presented to us and decided to ignore the fact that the tip was just a strip of yellow electrical tape stuck on by Mark Sensei five minutes earlier.

At this stage, it remains unclear as to whether Sapphire regards me as an equal in terms of learning something new. Our class is populated with about 5 other seven year olds, 3 ten year olds and then twenty adults ranging from 20 to 55. In true karate Dojo style, we are required to line up in terms of rank, so I must scuttle around the blacks, browns, blues, reds, oranges and fully-fledged yellows and stand right at the end of the line, a big old chunky pelican standing amongst the smaller, younger seagull chicks.

Not that it embarasses me because I too am a beginner and it's a real delight standing next to my child and seeing her listen, concentrate and - quite often - loudly whisper to me that "You're not doing it right, Mum."

At this stage we haven't done many official karate moves yet because I think the sensei (head honcho guy in the black belt and black pants) wants to wear down the energy of the kids before inflicting any head-shrinking chop-suey psycho-babble on them. As such, the lessons tend to focus on Army-style exercises in the local girls' school gymnasium - sit-ups, push-ups, laps around the basketball court, skipping and .........burpees.

Do you remember burpees? If not, this is my bumbling effort to describe them:
Stand up;
Then squat down and throw both your legs out behind you;
Try not to snap your back in half and keep your arms in a push-up position;
Half jump and bring your legs back under your bum in a squat; then
Jump up to standing position again.

Do it all over again ten times, in Japanese.

These were obviously designed by some satan-worshipping, sun-struck colonel from the French Foreign Legion and have absolutely no physical or mental benefit whatsoever. They merely leave the person in distress with a sore back, crippled toes and the sad realisation that they're about as coordinated as Stevie Wonder in a bubble catching competition. Add the fact that we're wearing 1000-cotton thread count Yoda outfits several sizes too large which makes any form of vigorous exercise about as easy as ordering a salad in the Lindt Cafe.

But wait, there's more. Forcing your body into such ridiculous movements in one-second counts means that you leave yourself open - so to speak - to bum rumbles that tend to explode out as a short, sharp 'TOOT' each and every time. At least they do for me. Thank God I'm down the end of the line away from all of the other grown ups, because even though the kids can still hear my 'efforts' it genuinely amuses them and they're too busy wasting their remaining breath giggling to dob on me to Peter Sensei.

Feeling like a white-sheeted Pied Piper, the children tend to gravitate towards me at break/drinks time, expecting me to somehow entertainingly fart at will or turn into a clown who can dextrously make poodles out of the balloons hidden in my long, baggy sleeves. The adults shy away from me, clearly relieved that I've naturally taken on the role of 'Comic Relief' and therefore they don't have to acknowledge or approach their own kids until home time.

When we're in the second half hour of the lesson, we do get to try out a few basic moves, but, even after hearing the phrases up to a dozen times now, I still have to surreptitiously copy everyone else as they get into their samurai stance/round-house kicks/groin punches. After a few minutes of these, the kids start to look at me eagerly, ready for their next round of arty arse entertainment. Sure enough, the sensei asks us to count to ten in Japanese and do ten high kicks on each side - and yep, that's twenty 'TOOTs!' that fire out of me like a stun gun, leaving the kids in stitches and the Senseis and adult participants perplexed. They see no evidence of me acting like the fool or saying anything particularly hilarious, yet can clearly see all their kids - the under-five footers surrounding me - convulsing themselves with laughter as they point directly at me. All I can do is smile sheepishly and wave.

One small positive note is that my regular runs with Dogadoo have enabled me to stay pretty fit despite my chubbo exterior. This can tend to surprise some of the more advanced brown and black belted adults in the class - how the hell does Sapphire's Mum keep up the laps around the basketball courts and the pepper skipping on the rope?

Any smugness that might dare overtake me is soon eradicated when I am asked to show the teacher the first kata. This can be described as the first choreographed set of moves that a beginner karate kween like Sapphire and myself need to be able to do successfully before our waists are encircled in yellow. Sapph got the moves down pat after the first class, whereas I stumble around like a drunk in the dark trying to avoid smacking her shins into the coffee table; all confused twists and turns with usually a topple-over at the end.

This is when my Comic Relief role changes to the 'Thank God That's Not ME' person for everyone in the class. Even when I've tried to practise Kata One at home I end up punching the cedar blinds, stepping on Dogadoo's beanbag and yelling out "OI!" in my native Aussie style at the Jane Austen paperbacks on our third bookshelf. There just isn't the space to try out the letter 'H' shaped fightin' footwork in our loungeroom, so each lesson finds me just as hopeless as the previous one. Even my midget admirers have given up trying to help me but instead stand there shaking their heads with a patronising, "If only she'd apply herself" expression on their cheeky little faces.

Oh well, it might be a while before I'll be walking over and bowing to the Sensei as he hands me a yellow belt with Sapphire, now fifteen years old in brown, looking on with shame and a tiny tinge of pride at her clearly retarded parent.

Wax On, Wax Off; but of course I don't have time or the energy to explain what that means to my little arse-end admirers.