Saturday, May 31, 2008

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

You can shine your shoes
You can shine your spanners
But you’ll never ever lose
If you have good manners

Tie Spy

Here's A Subject I Don't Often Photograph

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Mate, let me put it this way. There is no diplomatic way of saying this. You try explaining to your work colleagues why you are taking a picture of yourself. Yep, yourself. You know what I mean?

My colleagues are wonderful. They're accustomed to me whipping out my camera and taking shots of skyscapes. They're cool with me taking apparently daft shots of staplers and Scotch tape dispensers. They're unfazed when I swap between my 18-125mm lens or my 300mm lens or even the macro lens I've been using.

Secretly, I reckon they enjoy watching my antics when I have a camera in my hand. It's kinda like the circus has come to town - except that the clown is Mister You Know Who.

But there I was yesterday, sitting at my desk when I remembered that this week's Photo Hunt subject was ourselves. So I got the camera out, held it in my left hand, lined it up exactly as I wanted - and hit the trigger with my left thumb. Great dexterity, hey? You try holding a heavy digital SLR in one hand, as far away from your body as possible - and take a shot pointing back at yourself.

It was a lot harder this way then the last time I posted a photograph of myself. Purely by coincidence, that shot was also taken at work - and I took it on a whim while photographing a sunrise. I think it's a really creative shot and you can tell me what you think of it after you check it out at Always Look On The Bright Side.

But can you please leave a comment here for my colleagues, telling 'em I haven't flipped my lid and become a Narcissist. Tell 'em the only reason I took this shot was for this week's theme. Just in case they think I've become a mirror-kisser.

Now that's a photograph I'd like to see!

Going Help For Leather

No Scandals, Just Sandals

A US shopkeeper has been warned that he could be jailed for his unusual way of dealing with shoplifters. The Colorado off-licence owner told thieves he'd call the police unless they gave him one of their shoes. But police told him his punishment counted as robbery, whereas shoplifting was merely a misdemeanour.

FOOTNOTE: Like Chattanooga shoe shoe?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today’s three-way winners are Lilac Colored Glasses with The Day The Poetry Died; Thoughts From Miller Manor with Under-Estimated and Katherine with Sword Or Shovel, Blade As Spade. The other contenders were Confessions of a Cake Addict with Chapter 7; Joe Beaufoix with This Post May Induce Vomiting; My Five Men with Forks In The Road; Katy Did Not with Mama Will Use Her Own Money At 7-11; Leslie with Sicily; Holly with Personalised Worries; Ramblings Around Texas with Few Clouds Allowed Here; Quintarantino with Just Like An Aquarelle; Irish Daisies with It’s Raining It’s Pouring The Husband Is Snoring; Ida with Sky Watch; The Rocky Mountain Retreat with Storm Brewing Over Mountains; East Gwillimbury Wow with Birchard Parquette and Down River Drivel with Animal Lovers. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

Extra, extra, read all about it: Don't miss Daryl's Almost Famous.

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

History teacher Postlethwaite Brandon
Grew too fond of Moet & Chandon
He arrived in school dishevelled and stubbly
And was fired for being excessively "bubbly".

Sun Spot

Every Photographer Needs A Little Luck

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Sometimes, you just get lucky. You can have a great camera. You can have a great eye for composition. You can have lots of spare capacity on your memory card. You can have plenty of mileage in your rechargeable batteries. You can have great light. You can have great vistas. You can have a great city spread out before you. But it helps to have a little luck.

I shot this sequence yesterday morning, while it was still Wednesday in Europe, Canada and the United States – but it clearly surpasses the other photographs I was ready to post for Sky Watch Friday.

I took an earlier train than normal into the city and watched the greys and pinks and mauves of a classic Melbourne sky. I gritted my teeth when I could not get a shot of the dome of a Coptic church silhouetted against the brilliant dawn. But I didn’t realise that I would soon be richly compensated for my disappointment.

At this stage, I must point out something that my regular readers are aware of - I do not digitally manipulate my images in any way. No Photoshop. No fancy effects. What you see here is exactly what I shoot.

Shortly after 7.30, I crossed the footbridge between Flinders Street Station and Southbank. The clarity of dawn had given way to a narrow band of fog that obscured the light towers of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Then, probably because I’m curious by nature, I looked back over my shoulder – and there was the sun.

But it shone big and ponderous and low on the horizon – and it was shining a ghostly shimmering white, because of the fog.

I had my 18-125 Sigma lens on the camera, but I also had my 300mm lens in the bag as well. But there was no time to waste. I stopped in the middle of the bridge, crossed to the railing and started shooting the scene as commuters rushed past. In the space of two minutes, the sun was obscured. Such a narrow window of opportunity – and I was just in the right place at the right time.

If I had caught my normal train, I would have missed the sight completely. And if I had changed at Richmond as I always do, to get a direct train to Flinders Street instead of staying on the train (because it was crowded) through the entire City Loop, I would have been too early to capture these scenes.

Most importantly, did you actually spot the sun in the first frame? Really? Let me know!

For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch Friday.


Check Paint Charlie

A Swedish woman with a fetish for inanimate objects has revealed she's been married to the Berlin Wall for 29 years. Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer, 54, whose surname means Berlin Wall in German, claimed to have wed the concrete structure in 1979. She said: "The Great Wall of China's attractive, but he's too thick - my husband is sexier."

FOOTNOTE: It’s like talking to a brick wall.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today’s winner is Jennifer Harvey with Room With A View. The other contenders were Quill Dancer with What Is That?; Woman In A Window with En Route; Pandora’s Chest with What I Learned From The Indiana Jones Franchise; Rhea with To Do Or Not To Do; Nicole with A Little News; Ces with One Cent; Jules Stones with What I Remember; The Enduring Spirit with Of Whatever; Abraham Lincoln with Feed Me; Jamie Dawn with Psychic JD Gazed And Saw and Polona with Explorer. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Alas, the antics of Sir Humphrey Bilby
Who went and wrecked his velvet trilby
He did his ambitions terminal harm
Cavorting in the mud at Yasgur’s farm

Shelf Esteem

We'll Drink To That

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

I often get asked "What makes an interesting photograph?" My reply is always the same. Always unwavering. Always consistent. Anything makes an interesting photograph. Yup, anything. To me, the most interesting shots are those that most people would simply walk past.

But it's true. There is art everywhere. Ah, but to photograph it, you have to recognise it first. I guess there is no such thing as a mundane sight. Why? Because you can interpret anything the way you want to. That, more than any other factor, is the true power of photography.

I was walking down a street in Singapore when I noticed these shelves of cold drinks, stacked three deep. I simply waited for the crowd to thin out and as soon as I had the perfect opportunity, with no one walking through my field of vision, I shot this frame.

It attracted my attention not just because of the colours, not just because of the military-like order in which the drinks were stacked. But if you look carefully at the orientation of the colour on the labels, it looks as if there is a wave motion through the entire frame.

It's almost as graceful as a hula demonstration, isn't it?

Lock, Stock And Barren

Here, Mate, Take This For A Spin

A locksmith has managed to open a 159-year-old safe from Oregon that baffled other professional safecrackers and an expert from MIT. In just two and a half hours, Tom Gorham of Longview got the one-ton safe open by spinning the dial and feeling for grooves to get the combination, a technique called manipulation. The safe’s contents won’t be revealed until next month.

FOOTNOTE: Fail safe.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today’s joint winners are Mushy with It’s Never Too Late To Remember A Soldier and Jennifer Harvey with The One Where She Almost Has A Heart Attack. The other contenders were Bruno with I’m A Sick Person; Big Blue Barn West with Cid Heals; Fat Hairy Bastard with Happy Memorial Day, Daddy; Sandpiper’s Place with Learning Independence; The Blue Door with Ten Things Tuesday; Flying Stars with Moments In Mango; John with Odd Shots Monday; Paulie with Odd Shot. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Geometry is all about checking every angle
Harmony is all about avoiding every tangle
Algebra is just the art of sorting out equations
Diplomacy is what you use at family occasions

Kanga Route

Let's Have A Chorus Of Hop Hop Hooray

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Alone Ranger

S Is For Solitude

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

This shot of the Rialto against the Melbourne sky was taken in 2006 - and I guess it’s a good way to depict this week’s theme of solitude. Until Eureka Tower was opened just across the river, the Rialto was the tallest building in Melbourne and this frame of the distinctive building was my way of capturing its lonely splendour against a striking sky.

When I was a cadet journalist in Calcutta, I worked under the editor and author M. J. Akbar, who began editing "Sunday", the national magazine, when he was still in his late twenties. The magazine was slanted to politics, news and current events, a perfect mix for a vibrantly democratic media in the post-Emergency era.

On one memorable occasion, Akbar decreed that the magazine was to be edited, in his absence during a brief overseas trip, by his good friend, the poet and film producer Pritish Nandy who would later move to Bombay/Mumbai to successfully edit The Illustrated Weekly of India. After that success, he moved on to the role of publishing director of the Times of India group before founding Pritish Nandy Communications.

Nandy declared that "Sunday" would be running a cover story on the theme of "loneliness". I blinked. I was surprised, but I was not alone. Every member of the editorial staff seemed puzzled. Why would a magazine, whose readers expected a weekly diet of politics and news, suddenly deal with what seemed to be such an ephemeral subject?

But I was a cadet, remember. And this was a learning curve, remember. Nandy asked the brilliant New Delhi-based photographer Raghu Rai to send him a selection of black-and-white images to go with the cover story.

The upshot? Simple. The magazine's mailbag was overflowing. The cover story touched a chord in the hearts of hundreds of readers from all round the country. I guess that was the day I learnt that there are other things – apart from headlines, deadlines and breaking news – that matter to the readers.

Solitude is an amazing thing. We all crave it sometimes - but we never crave too much of it. So often, in everyday life and in corporate halls, we hear the phrases "give me some space" or "I need time out" or "I’ll get back to you". So many of us seek "our space".

But do we truly revel in being alone? Truly? Probably not, but I'd like to know what you think.

I took this shot (above) in a Montreal park in late 2005. I used a Canon EOS 3000 and it’s interesting, in retrospect, to note that I only shot one frame. Across the street from where I stood was a man on a bench. He sat alone, and whether or not he had a companion elsewhere in the park, I could not tell.

I didn’t want to encroach on his space as he delved into a paper bag containing his lunch. His clothes were well worn but not threadbare. He was unshaven and his hair was long. Like most human beings, he probably had a poignant story to tell. But all I did was frame him on film, enshrined in a cathedral of ancient green trees. Maybe if time wasn’t so tight, I would have said "G’day" and asked him if he was lonely and sat and chatted to him for a while.

Many times since I was blessed by becoming a parent, I have played the card game Uno with my children. Solitude is a fleeting theme in this grand game, where the object is to get rid of all your cards before anyone else, and where the word "Uno" (Italian for "one") must be spoken aoud before playing your final card.

But there are many types of solitude, most of which we do not seek. There is even medical solitude, which I would not wish on anyone. I saw one of my parents ravaged by Alzheimer’s. That’s not solitude. That is loss. Everybody’s loss. And I really mean everybody.

For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today’s joint winners are John with Odd Shots Monday and Musings with Too Old To Hug?. The other contenders were Bee Repartee with Raise Your Hands If You’re Sure; Ibeati with Fly Me To The Moon; Hilary with Sunset Ceremony At RMC; Jenera with Another Instalment; Absolute Vanilla (&Atyllah) with Remembering The Origins; Whittering On with He Knows What He’s Talking About; Epijunky with New Partner, Three Days In; Medic61 with The Bird and Life With Hashi with Where Are Your Bedside Manners?. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

What would happen if Engelbert Humperdinck
Rocked up to a concert clad in hot pink
Please release me, let me go
I don’t want to see him glow

Fall Guy

Do We Always Find The Right Balance?

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

I had a very interesting email from Merisi, whose blog Vienna For Beginners recently achieved the milestone of 50,000 visitors. Merisi had a chuckle at the predicament I described in my Camera Critters post titled Lion Down On The Job Again. I mentioned that I had almost fallen flat on my face in order to get the exact camera angle I wanted while taking a shot in Chinatown, Montreal.

Merisi, who is always very quick on the uptake, asked me if I would care to share any funny experiences on the subject. I have to say I have never completely lost my balance while taking a photograph, but in no particular order a) I constantly walk out in the rain to take interesting shots; b) I once worked under an umbrella in pouring rain in Quebec City; c) I have often been seen lying prone on the grass to take a shot.

But fall on my butt? Nope. Not yet, at any rate. But if and when I do, you’ll be the first to hear about it. Fair dinkum.

However, I had an interesting experience in Montreal in 2005. I was at the World Trade Centre, a fascinating meld of ancient and modern architecture. I wanted to capture a shot of the beautiful reclining statue of Amphitrite, famous in mythology as Poseidon's wife. I was intrigued by how dark the water looked, even though it was broad daylight.

This was because of the roof structure and the height of the surrounds, but the soft, shimmering reflection of the surrounding lighting made the shot irresistible.

I took a few shots with a digital Pentax, but I wanted one final series of shots with my film-based Canon EOS 3000. So, with the camera slung around my neck, I stood up – in brave but foolhardy fashion - on the concrete parapet that surrounds the long, rectangular pool. I took a couple of quick shots, concentrating very hard on maintaining my balance.

But I am six foot three and so I have a fairly high centre of gravity. I also have size eleven feet, so I was very conscious of the fact that I needed to make sure they were firmly planted on the narrow ledge while I worked.

And then I almost came to grief. With my camera still held firmly to my eye, I crabbed sideways in a cautious shuffle to get a better angle and my foot slipped for one brief moment. I was never in danger, because I was literally inching along – but as you can see from this shot (above) my orientation was slightly askew. The camera was slightly off balance when I hit the shutter – so the horizontal orientation of the shot is slightly out of kilter.

It wasn’t until I got back to Melbourne that I realised something very interesting. A group of women office workers can be seen clearly in the windows depicted in the image below. They had obviously been watching me work – and were probably placing bets on how long it would take me to disgrace myself and fall head-first into the water.

Forest Grump

Maybe They Didn’t Want To Go The Whole Hog

A pair of teenage German car thieves had to call police for help after they were cornered by a herd of wild boar. They had abandoned a stolen car and run into thick forest, where they managed to evade the pursuing officers. But when charged by a herd of wild boar, they climbed a tree and had to ring police to rescue them.

FOOTNOTE: Seen but not herd.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today, for the first time, we have a four-way tie for top spot - Merisi with To Market, The Viennese Way; Classy Chaos with Apparently I Belong In The Zoo; Phaedrous with Prom Night and Gone Back South with Sleepy Heads. The other contenders were Sandi McBride with Memorial Day; Windy Corner with Back In The Saddle; Camikaos with Only The Blue In My Eyes; Lilac Coloured Glasses with The Complexity Of Domesticity; Kimberly with Finding Certainty; Daryl with The Great Window Box Plantathon and Michele Rocky Mountain Girl with Damselfly. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

So where d’ya think
The blokes are stronger?
In Merryjink
Or Yarrawonga?

Go With The Flow

Bring On The Tap Dancers

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Any idea what I've photographed here? Does it look like the family silverware needs a bit of spit and polish? Does it look like a mis-shapen Bunsen burner, perhaps? Does it look familiar in any way? Can't quite place it? Not quite sure?

Okay, here's a clue. You've all used one of these at some stage in your life.

The first shot was taken with an 18-125mm lens. I shot this at F8 and 1/60th of a second. I framed it really carefully because I wanted to preserve the orange tones in the background, as well as the glistening silver-like effect all round the periphery.

Then I tried another frame, shooting from exactly the same spot. This time I reversed the focus to give you a different perspective on the scene. Now the object that was in sharp focus in the first shot is simply a translucent blur because of the altered depth of field.

And now you can see quite clearly that I've photographed a row of drinking taps in a school.

(The Odd Shots concept came from Katney. Say "G'day" to her.)

Justice, My Ass

Who’ll Count The Donkey Vote?

A Mexican donkey called Blacky has been freed from jail, where he spent three days for biting and kicking two men near a ranch outside Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of Chiapas state. He was freed after his owner, Mauro Gutierrez, paid a fine and hospital bill for the two injured men.

FOOTNOTE: Beg, steal or burro.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Weekend Wandering

Please answer today's question on your own blog, any time until next weekend. Just link to this blog (or to this post) so I can follow the progress of the discussion.

The question is: Has anyone ever under-estimated your ability?

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

My great-grandmother Julia
Was really so peculiar
She used her umbrella on the train
But wore a homburg in pouring rain

Lion Down On The Job Again

It's Time To Dance A Simba Samba

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

It was late evening, the light had begun to fade, and there was no colour in the sky at all, so it was a bit of a challenge to make these photographs work. It was September 2005 and I was in Montreal, halfway through a ten-day photography assignment for the Canadian Tourism Commission.

These lions are at the entrace to Chinatown and because the light wasn't great, I decided to work with unusual angles instead. I had to work quickly, because the light was degenerating swiftly. As you can see at the mid-point of the first frame (above) a lot of the restaurants already had their streetside lighting on.

I shot these with a Canon EOS 3000, using multi-purpose 400 ASA Kodak film. Lions play such an important part in Chinese culture and as soon as I saw these white concrete lions, I was reminded of the similar ones that guard Chinatown in my home city of Melbourne, which suddenly seemed very far away.

In the second frame (below) I was practically flat on my face trying to get the lion into the frame with a generous view of the overhead archway. I guess it must have been worth all the effort, because if you look carefully, you can see the "twin" lion on the other side of the street.

Like the Eagles used to sing, ya just can't hide your lion eyes!

Check out the rules at Camera Critters or go to Misty Dawn.

The Sunday Roast

Climb Every Mountain? No, Lime Every Mountain

This week's interview is with Michelle,
who writes the blog The House Of Lime.

The first of the standard weekly questions. Why do you blog?

I started mainly to keep in touch with some friends I had made in a trivia chat room when that forum went down the tubes. I also thought it would be a fun and cheap (read 'free') outlet for me. It was more fun than I imagined and I found so many fascinating people out there. I read a wide assortment of blogs and I love the variety of perspectives, the creativity, the humor, and the honesty I find. I have been amazed time and again and I enjoy being able to explore different sides of my own creativity as well.

What's the story behind your blog name?

In Trinidadian slang "to lime" means to hang out with friends. It can be planned or spontaneous but it's always a laid back time perhaps involving food and drink or music and dancing. My name in the trivia room was a reference to that and I became known as "Lime." I started the blog at a time when the trivia forum was dying a slow death partly as a way of keeping in touch with friends from there. Hence, House of Lime was built.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

When I was in college I spent most of my time with the exchange students. I got such an education from being with them. I spent countless hours in the student union center with friends from all over the world, liming together. Blogging gives me a chance to do that in a virtual sense and intersect with so many people from all over the world that I otherwise never would have met and been enriched by.

I've also been so blessed by the support I've received at times when I have really needed it. I'm not generally one of the confess all and blog for the sake of exorcising demons types, though there is nothing wrong with that. However, when I fell off a zipline and demolished my left arm just six months after starting my blog, the outpouring of concern over my involuntary disappearance and the continued support throughout a long rehabilitation both surprised and
touched me. I was amazed that people I'd never met cared that much and went out of their way to encourage me. The sense of community is tremendous.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Don't go crazy looking at stat counters and whether or not you are getting a number of hits that pleases you. Blog what your own passion is and the people who share that will find their way. Some folks will come and go over the course of time because this can be a very transient environment but you'll also find some permanent fixtures and even friends along the way.

Also, the type of environment you cultivate at your blog will be a factor in what kind of people hang around. If you are welcoming and show respect to your readers you'll find that returned to you. I'm not too crazy about the extreme political correctness that is expected in some quarters but I try to be generally respectful. So far I've been fortunate and have not had more than the most fleeting issue with people being nasty.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

Wow, that's a tough one! I don't think I could boil it down to a single post or even a single blog. Brian's blog had a tremendous influence on me and was part of why I started House of Lime for myself after doing a joint blog for merely a month. I was so impressed by not only the way he wrote but what he shared. He was going through some major life changes and blogging about it thoughtfully. At the time he also had a weekly feature on a person of historical significance that I looked forward to so much. He covered a range of topics each week and had an overall positive tone that I aspired to.

The other blog that has impacted me deeply is Phaedrous' Lightning Strikes Twice. He was diagnosed with cancer many years ago and is still fighting it. He has recently been entered in some trials for treatment of his cancer and seems to be responding positively for the time being. This is good news since all other avenues for treatment were exhausted once they proved unsuccessful. He started the blog after his wife was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago.

He has eloquently chronicled the intensity of caring for and watching his beloved die and then adjusting to single fatherhood as he continues his own fight. Through it all he has managed to find joys in life as well. I've said it at my own blog, I will say it here. If anyone can give an honest read of his writings and not come away touched and examining their own life, I dare say that individual lacks both head and heart.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

Gees, that's even harder than the last question! I'm really not good with these superlatives. I think the first one that really revealed a side of me that many people don't grasp was the letter to my birth mother. I have written something like 80 posts on my time in Trinidad, it's culture and people, and how much I loved living there. The hardest one was talking about the dark side we saw when were were robbed at gunpoint in our own home. Those were the two posts I felt the most vulnerable about but I've been blessed by having several others that people have responded to and said were really meaningful to them.

Today's Sunday Roast with Michelle is the seventeenth in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

The skeptic Princess Hortense
Paid no heed to portents
So she lost her royal throne
To an upstart barely grown

Sole Searching

Okay, Mate, Just Come Straight To The Point

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

This week's theme is shoes, so I was wondering if I should post shots of cowboy boots, or soccer boots, or cricket boots, or even a pair of flippers by the pool. Just something unusual. Maybe even a pair of R. M. Williams boots, the quintessential Outback footwear.

Then, while I mulled over the many possibilities, I remembered these shots I took during a 36-hour stopover in Singapore in December.

I was walking through an area popularly known as Little India. The sights and sounds and aromas reminded me instantly of India, the country where I was born and educated. I could hear Bollywood film music, I could smell Indian spices and I could see the brilliant, bright colours of Indian sweets.

Then I spotted this display of ceremonial sandals, called "mojaris". They are very popular in the Punjab, in the country's north. As a child, I would probably not have given them a second glance, because they were such an everyday sight.
But when I have a camera in my hands, nothing is commonplace. So I asked the shopkeeper's permission and I was delighted by the fact that he seemed amazed that anyone would want to photograph footwear.

No, I didn't feel like a heel!

Parrot Trooper

Address Sense

When Yosuke the parrot flew out of his cage and got lost, he did exactly what he had been taught - recite his name and address in order to be reunited with his owner. When the African grey parrot was found in the city of Nagareyama, near Tokyo, he kept repeating, "I'm Mr Yosuke Nakamura." He also gave his full home address, right down to the street number.

FOOTNOTE: Whispering street nothings.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today’s joint winners are those two good buddies, Mushy with My Laugh Times Flashed Before My Eyes and Fat Hairy Bastard with The Woods - Part Three; Tales From The Carpool Lane with A Bedtime Story By Grace, 7; Jennifer H with Hot Doctors Here; Crazy Cath with Royal National Lifeboat Institution; Mother Jones RN with Cell Phones And Bogus ADHD; A Tidings Of Magpies with It Happens Like This By James Tate; Kimmy with What’s A Girl To Do?; Colleen with If I Could Dance On Water; Sandy Kessler with In The Abyss With Sadness; Bart with What Is My Dream; Lane with Finalitea and Quilldancer with V Is For Violin. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

The engineers went out on strike
All but one, a bloke called Mike
He played golf at the country club
And crawled all the way home from the pub

Ice Age

The Photographs Are Cold Comfort

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

So I can be a little bit slow sometimes, okay? But I’m a bloke, and it comes with the territory. So don’t shake your head and click your tongue when I tell you that I missed all the clues yesterday. Yup, every single clue.

It was cold when I got up. Missed clue #1. It was a cloudless sky. Missed clue #2. I could see smoke-vapour billowing gracefully from the roof heating vent of my neighbour across the road. Missed clue #3.

So, clad in my grey suit and my maroon-and-silver tie and nothing warm except my sense of humour, out I strode through the front door – to find both cars covered with ice. Ice? We’re still a week away from winter but yes, it was cold. And yes, the car doors were frozen shut as well.

But an icy Melbourne night means a cloudless Melbourne day and a blue Melbourne sky, so when I got to the station there was a beautiful crystal-clear sky daubed with pink and blue.

I did the right thing and ignored my train so that I could take these shots of the early-morning moon hanging over the station. Which of these four compositions do you like best?

I guess Friday morning is as good a time as any to moon all of you!

For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch Friday.

Fast(er) Food

No Way To Curry Favour

A man desperate for his takeaway smashed his car into an English curry house. The driver put his foot on the wrong pedal and his Mercedes slammed into the front entrance of the Raj Bari in Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees. Police blamed the incident on "driver error" but the man was not arrested.

FOOTNOTE: Mercedes bent.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today’s joint winners are Katy Did Not with And Then All Of His Leg Bones Turned To Jelly and Flowerpot Days with Comings And Goings. The other contenders were Wixy’s Gone Bananas with It Was Fun Being A Baby Boomer Until Now; Holly with Dear Never Everland; Flowerpot Days with Comings And Goings; Chrysalis Dreams with Kill The Blues And Your Pocketbook Too; Ladies’ Historical Tea Society with Hitch-hiking And The Walls Of Jericho; Charli And Me with Gracious Hospitality; Hilary with A Visit With Our Boy; Lavinia Ladyslipper with Montreal Pictorial and Celebration Of Life with Traces Of New Life, Renewing Hope. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Hip-hop celebrity Venables Croad
Strode through THAT crossing at Abbey Road
He hired a cab that was once Don Cheadle’s
But never got mistaken for one of the beadles

Look Sharp

My Journey To The Real Cutting Edge

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

I call this the "arm’s length challenge". If I’m sitting at my desk at work or in my study at home, I simply reach for my camera and photograph a random object that is within reach. This was shot on my desk at work at lunchtime a couple of weeks ago.

I chose the Scotch-tape dispenser as my subject. As you can see, I opted to photograph the miniature teeth on the edge of the moulded plastic dispenser. I shot three frames but I reckon I should have hit the button once more, in search of a slightly sharper image.

No colour. No gimmicks. No razzmatazz. But tell me, does the image make you look twice?

Kitty Flitter

Felines, Nothing More Than Felines

A cartoon character is to become a goodwill tourism ambassador for Japan. Hello Kitty, the world-famous figure, appears on more than 50,000 products and will promote Japan in China and Hong Kong. In March, the Japanese foreign ministry appointed cartoon robo-cat Doraemon as a charm ambassador.

FOOTNOTE: Even Catbury chocolate?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today’s winner is Rachel with The Day The V-Word Nearly Wrecked The Car. The other contenders were Nurse Ratched’s Place with I Haven’t A Thing To Wear; Maggie May with My Dream; Mrs Nesbitt with ABC Wednesday - R; Momma with Another Year Over; Crystal Jigsaw with I Need A Doctor; Merisi with Peonies; A Mask To Hide Behind with Hello Sunshine; Crayons with Creating A Post; Bodge’s Bulletin with Relationships and Petunia with Black Cat. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

He says with pride that he won the rat race
Do you know his name or recognise his face?
He has no soul, he has no grace
He relinquished Life without a trace

Hood Winked

Street Reflection On A Showroom Rolls-Royce

Melbourne, 2007. Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Ugly Betting

Church Wager Was, Um, At Odds With My Nature

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

I can just picture the scene. There I am, genuflecting in front of St Peter at The Utimate Portal Of Immortality, and he’ll be staring disapprovingly at me, clicking his tongue and shaking his head.

St Peter (sternly): You once said the word "arse" in church, during Mass?

Authorblog (stuttering): Er, yes, but can I explain, please?

St Peter (totally ignoring my pitiful attempt to justify such a shocking act of indiscretion): And you once placed a bet in church, during Mass?

Authorblog (ready to make an eloquent appeal to the members of the jury): Er, yes, but can I explain, please?

St Peter will raise his eyes to the heavens. Well, forgive my use of the metaphor, but I guess he won’t actually be raising his eyes to the heavens – for the simple reason that we will be IN heaven. Not to put too fine a point on it, I’ll be there very briefly, just for the interview and no doubt for the banishment that will follow. He’ll be in heaven and I won’t.

St Peter will hand me over to the Patron Saint of Dungeons who will lead me to the Fiery Nether World.

But I’m not kidding. I must explain. So allow me to state my case here …

I was brought up to show respect to all and to show special reverence in church. Some of my earliest memories of reading relate to being able to read the brass commemorative plaques in St Nicholas, the Missions to Seamen church not far from Dumayne Avenue, where I grew up in Calcutta. As I grew up, I became an altar boy in that church and on one memorable Sunday morning I was told I was finally old enough to ring the bells before the service began.

My older brothers and I knelt when we were supposed to kneel, we sang when we were supposed to sing, we stood when we were supposed to stand, we sang hymns when we were supposed to sing hymns and we bowed our heads when we were supposed to bow our heads.

You get the picture, right? I'm not a yobbo who picks his teeth in church.

But last December, while I was briefly in Singapore, an old friend (and former colleague) stated, hand on chest, that the only time he has spluttered with mirth in the silent, hallowed confines of a church was during a wedding of another colleague of ours.

Let's call my Singapore-based friend Mister Northbridge. According to his recollection, he and I were standing (reverently) at the back of the church, waiting to usher the latecomers in as the nuptials began. At that point, Mister Northbridge and I both espied someone we knew rather well. He wasn't someone we fraternised with, either by choice or by necessity.

He was kneeling. Nothing unusual about that. But he had left his pew and was kneeling - very theatrically - in the middle of the aisle of this wonderful church. Not the sort of thing you'd do unless you wanted to draw attention to yourself.

Really draw attention to yourself. And as we watched him, he began to bow, so far that it seemed his nose would touch the cold flagstones and he would completely surrender to every gravitational force known to man.

It was exhibitionism like we'd never seen before and will probably never see again.

According to Mister Northbridge, I put down my hymn book and took out my wallet. According to Mister Northbridge, I pulled out a tenner. According to Mister Northbridge, I gave him the tenner. According to Mister Northbridge, I whispered out of the side of my mouth: "Give ya odds of ten to one the daft pillock falls on his arse.''

I have to say, it's all true. I'm so sorry, St Peter.

It ain' every day you see Kneel Armstrong in church.

For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.