Thursday, December 15, 2005

What will be on my turntable on Christmas Day? 

Well, the turntable in the microwave will probably have a turkey and some roast vegetables on it, but right now I'm talking record turntables. Or CDs.

Jaden Kale has 'tagged' me with the Christmas music 'meme'. I do like a good questionnaire and I PARTICULARLY like music and I ESPECIALLY like Christmas, so I got into this with great alacrity, which is not what I usually get into things with.

Good King Wenceslaus.
All my childhood Christmases occured during summer heatwaves in a sunburned land characterised by wildfire, burning northerly winds and duststorms. So all those songs about cold and snow and fir trees and medieval kings fascinated me and took me away into a faraway land. Here is a song written in 1853 in Britain by an Anglican minister about a duke who gave to the poor in Bohemia a thousand years earlier, to teach children about the virtue of generosity in celebrating the birth of a Jewish child in Bethlehem another thousand years earlier - listened to by a marvelling child in twentieth century Australia. Like a beautiful woven gown circling the world with goodwill down the ages, this song says something about Christmas. And about goodwill to all men. Listen up, bad world.

O Come All Ye Faithful.
As a child I used to think it was O Calm All Ye Faithful and I would think to myself Why are they telling everybody to relax? Maybe it's because tomorrow is Christmas and everyone is getting WAY too excited! Like me!

Silent Night.
This is (a) the most recorded song in history; (b) the most famous of all the Christmas hymns and (c) exists because of a broken organ in a little parish in the little alpine village of Oberndorf in 1818. The priest, Father Mohr asked his friend, Dr Gruber to compose some words for a poem to be sung with accompanying guitar because the organ had broken down. Dr Gruber did so in time for midnight mass. For me, the gentle lilt and simple melody of Silent Night is quintessentially Austrian.

Away in a Manger
Just because it is a sweet song, poignant, naive and beautiful. Children love it and it was the first Christmas song I learned, as far as I can remember.

Ave Maria sung by Kiri Te Kanawa.
Find a copy of this, settle back on Christmas Eve, put the kids to bed, put the dog out, turn off the TV, turn off everything else, disable the front door bell, take the phone off the hook, turn down the lights and listen. If tears of joy are not running down your cheeks by the end, then you've already died and gone to heaven. On second thoughts, let the dog stay inside and listen with you.


Now it's my turn to 'tag' Mary, Book Kitten, Boo, Ian T., Filegirl and Prestbury.

I hope that:
(a) you are not offended if I tagged you, and
(b) you are not offended if I have not tagged you.

I love all of you anyway.

Especially at Christmas.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

This is fun. Uh, oh. 

Yesterday Uluru, tomorrow the world. (See two posts down - Earth google.)

But today, we'll visit one of my favourite places, the Murray River - the water of which flows from the Australian high country and then winds its way down towards South Australia through endless vibrant landscapes with the kind of light that is seen nowhere else in the world, past endless River Red Gums, beneath red cliffs, alongside camping grounds that are thousands of years old and hold the bones and shells of a million dinners under bright moonlight. (I've camped by it myself and watched a moon rising like a giant white luminous plate and I will never forget it.)

OK, now let's go. Key 'Murray River Australia' into Earth Google.



It's locking onto where? That's nowhere near Australia. We're in the middle of North America. It looks like ... Kansas City.

Zoom in. It looks like a new suburb, all curly courts and unfinished houses.

We're lost, Toto.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Another day, another moron goes to the zoo; gets finger bitten off; calls for more safety; zoo installs electric fences to shock lions. 

Can you believe this?

Just because some idiot woman stuck her stupid hand near the lion, the zoo has caved in and installed electric fences inside the enclosure which will shock the lions (just an 'unpleasant buzzing sensation', said the zoo).

A letter writer in the same paper says the electric fence should be on the outside of the lion's enclosure. Proving that there are still some sane people in the world.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Monday, December 12, 2005

Good morning, passengers. 

You're flying Google Earth.

Right now we're taking off for Uluru, Australia.

And there it is, right down there, looking different, of course, to its usual photographed profile.

Now let's zoom in a little. We're still looking directly down on it, so now let's tilt it so we can see its imposing profile against the horizon.

Now, holding the tilt, we circle it to see it from all its angles.


Now let's fly across the landscape towards Alice Springs. Moving nice and slow, like the Flying Doctor on a rescue mission. We could cruise around Australia all day like this because it is just an amazing experience. But we'd probably run out of fuel.

What a magnificent landscape. Vast. Empty. Red. Barren. Beautiful.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Scientists link small brain and large testes. 

I'm totally stupid.

Just saying.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Two things I want to know. 

1. Who had the very first blog in the whole world? And what was their first post about?

2. Who made the very first comment on someone's blog? And what did they say?

Well, I guess that's four things. But I really want to know. Any ideas?

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Tale of Mr Hibbertopterus. 

Mr Hibbertopterus the giant scorpion slowly and carefully picked his way across the sand one cold, windy afternoon, minding his own business.

He'd been out gathering food (he was more of a gatherer than a hunter) to bring home to Mrs Hibbertopterus and the little Hibbertopteruses (-i?) and was looking forward to a nice smoky Scotch, maybe a Laphroaig, maybe a Bruichladdich, maybe something he could pronounce, in front of a roaring fire after dinner.

Mr Hibbertopterus was a gentle, unassuming creature, not given to stinging anyone at all. His home was near the cold waters of the stark Scottish coast and he spent his days trawling for small worms, bugs and other creatures of the sea. He was, after all, five feet long - nearly the size of a man (which, in those days, was a purely hypothetical comparison) - and so he needed to eat quite a lot of worms and bugs in order to keep up his strength.

This afternoon he was feeling particularly satisfied with life. He had had his fill of worms and now he was bringing home a bag full of tender sea creatures for his family to enjoy.

Mr Hibbertopterus had almost finished crossing the sand and was about to enter the water when BANG! suddenly a huge asteroid wiped out the entire surface of the earth.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why don't people throw out ballpoint pens that no longer work? 


I've been thinking about this and I have several theories why they end up back in the drawer.

Theory 1. A ballpoint pen that has run out of ink doesn't look broken and people only throw out things that look broken.

Theory 2. They think it hasn't really run out of ink, that it's the paper's fault, like it's waxy or something.

Theory 3. My most compelling theory. People are lazy and the waste bin is too far away.

There's a thesis in this. Maybe a book.

Where's my pen?

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

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