Sunday, May 31, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

When Drake took on the Spanish Armada
There wasn’t a lot left in his larder
A lettuce, two carrots and half a pumpkin
Just as well his opponent was no country bumpkin

Dog Day Afternoon

It Ain't Over Till It's Rover

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

I reckon animals with droopy eyelids are irresistible. So when I saw this one, I had to get out my camera and shoot a close-up immediately.

No, he's not a real dog, but he still looks like he has personality. And yes, he has a woof over his head.

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

The Sunday Roast

Book Now, For Breakfast At Tiffany's

This week's interview is with Tiffany Norris,
who writes the blog Considering All Things Literary.

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

I started blogging because my husband talked me into it! But now I blog to share what I think about what I read and about what's going on in the library world and also to hear what others think about these things. I also have an "off the record" blog that I use just to keep up with family and friends, post photos and talk about not-so-literary things.

What’s the story behind your blog name?

I'm a big public radio fan, and All Things Considered is one of my favorite shows. So I kind of twisted the name around and came up with Considering All Things Literary.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

Having an outlet to share my thoughts and, of course, connecting with others who have similar interests.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Remember that your blog is not your diary! Be very careful when posting anything concerning your job, and I would even say to show some restraint when talking about personal matters, depending on the type of blog and your audience. Of course, your potential audience is anyone with Internet access, so I would just say to keep that in mind.

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

So hard to say! Let Evening Come from Bookconscious, just because it introduced me to what is now one of my favorite poems. Also, Maggie's Dead Mule Contest post was hilarious and illustrates why I really enjoy her Southern Reading Challenge every summer. And I always love Katy Did Not's birthday tributes to her children. Gracious, there are probably hundreds more.

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

Again, hard to say, but one of the more recent that jumps to mind is a book review of Making Waves by Cassandra King. I was reading it when my grandmother passed away, and there were a lot of things in the book that reminded me of her and my home, and it just became a very special review to do.

Today's Sunday Roast with Tiffany is the 70th in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.

Hole Hearted

And Probably Half-Hearted As Well

Council workmen in Britain filled in only half of three huge potholes - as the other halves were not on council land. After the contractors left, residents were astonished to see that three of the potholes had been filled in only halfway across - because the boundary between the council land and housing association land runs straight through the holes.

FOOTNOTE: Land ahoy.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Is that anything that rhymes
With Aspen, Colorado?
D'you know how many times
I've had to holler Bardot?

Brought To Book

The Story Behind The Novel

The MCG, in Melbourne, is where the novel begins and ends.

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

In December 2006, a beautiful woman walked into the Oxford Bookstore on Park Street, Calcutta. She was on a very brief visit to the Indian city and she wanted six copies of my novel Vegemite Vindaloo, which was No.2 on the store’s bestseller list at the time. One of the staff offered her a signed copy of the book, but she declined with a smile.

A few hours later, she rang me at home in Melbourne to explain why she had refused a signed book. I understood perfectly.

The novel is a tale of many journeys - journeys of distance, journeys of personal growth, journeys of the soul. On the surface, it is a story of how a well-to-do Anglo-Indian family, with a son of their own, gradually open their hearts to the infant son of the woman who, through an unusual series of events, has become their servant. But beyond that simplistic explanation, it is a tale of pride on the one hand and prejudice on the other.

I made a significant journey of my own in writing Vegemite Vindaloo. It began to take shape in 1993, but after writing four chapters I lost impetus and put it aside until my eldest daughter persuaded me to return to the manuscript in 1999. I did, briefly, and then the pressure of my journalism career pushed it into the background again.

Late in 2003, when Ravi Singh at Penguin looked at the half-written version and expressed interest in the unusual theme (and the fact that the synopsis I gave him was just three sentences) I picked it up once more.

This time I wrote with intent. Come what may, I knew I would finish it.

Ravi liked what he saw. In September 2004 I had a publishing contract.

This unique act of hand dexterity by bus conductors is described.

Do you have to be a Calcuttan to warm to the theme of Vegemite Vindaloo? No. Do you have to be Anglo-Indian to enjoy the tapestry of the story? No. Do you have to be a migrant to appreciate it? No. Of the many encouraging reviews in the media, even before the novel began to hit the bestseller lists, it was Portugal-based Terry Fletcher who published a glowing critique, with the telling headline "Wizard From Oz".

Will it bring an occasional tear to your eye? Perhaps. Will it make you laugh? Probably. Is it a true picture of life? Absobloodylutely.

Apart from the multicultural flavour of Vegemite Vindaloo as it traverses rural Bihar, bustling Calcutta, pastoral Melbourne and the stark Australian outback, there is a decidedly international element to the manner in which it was written.

While 90 per cent of it was written on one of the Hewlett-Packard computers in my study at home in Melbourne, one segment was written aboard a flight to Hong Kong; another in the Yukon in northern Canada; a portion materialized on a cruise ship in Alaska; and one key chapter, fittingly enough, during a holiday in Calcutta.

The women in the novel are the strongest characters. Zarina, the servant woman, finds a resolute voice when her husband Ismail, in maudlin mood, turns spitefully to drink instead of trying to solve the problem of their sudden displacement.

Hilary Cooper, initially resistant to her husband Steve’s unconditional affection for the servant’s infant, Azam, is the one who bridles at his suggestion that they turn their backs on the child as they prepare to migrate. Bertha Cooper, Steve’s mother, is forged of pure steel – she kills a cobra in one chapter and thwarts a curse in another.

The Howrah precinct, bridge and the Hooghly River are key elements.

Authors do not have favoured characters. But there is one character, the simple grandmother who lives in Betulnagar, a Calcutta slum, who commands the men of the area to listen to her. She announces her hopes and dreams for her newborn grandson and when the males question her logic, she explains how the child will slip the bonds of seemingly inescapable poverty.

And what of the men in the novel? Sailen Nath Banerji, the little slum boy who becomes a senior pilot, philanderer and a power player in a national airline, seems keen to interfere in the Coopers’ personal decisions. Yet he turns out to be a modern Solomon in a stalemate over how the prestigious Airlines Club will farewell the Coopers. His salutation to them, delivered on the shore of a lake at the Alipore Zoo, is endowed with the uncanny voice of prophecy.

Steve Cooper himself starts out as a man of uncommon depth and compassion, but when stripped of his comfort zone and forced into unfamiliar circumstances, his severely misplaced pride threatens to become his Achilles heel.

Ismail, too, seems to be a pillar of strength until he comes undone in the challenging surroundings of Calcutta. Later, as a last-minute battle of emotions ensues when the Coopers are about to leave India, it is Ismail, seemingly against all odds, who becomes the eloquent voice of reason.

There are, however, two interlopers. The laconic Wally Bennett and the rakishly handsome Frank Walker, the double act from Jindaroo Creek, were only supposed to be passers-by, but they took over my consciousness as they became the basis for two sizeable chapters of comic relief.

Jindaroo Creek might be a fictional bush outpost, but its surrounding geography is as real as it gets – the sand dunes, the sheer Bunda cliffs and the calving southern right whales are all intricately linked to the Eyre Peninsula in coastal South Australia. To see the pictorial and literary links between real life and Jindaroo Creek, visit Dirty Fokker and judge the beautiful surroundings for yourself.

Aussie Rules Football links the two countries in the tale.

The real challenge in writing this novel was in finding authentic voices for two very different countries that share very little, apart from the Indian Ocean that caresses the shores of both nations. Steve and Hilary Cooper speak as Anglo-Indians speak; Wally and Frank embody the dry humour of a sunburnt continent.

There was another challenge. Could I write a novel where readers would get to the last three pages and wonder how on earth this story could possibly reach a logical conclusion? Moreover, could I write a novel where readers would get to the last sentence and immediately turn back to the first chapter to rediscover the little clues they had missed?

Judging by the 2006 bestseller lists and the emails and phone calls I received from all round the world from readers who did just that, it seems I succeeded to a large extent.

Oh, but if you’re wondering about the beautiful woman who didn’t want an autographed copy of the book, you needn’t worry. She actually went back to the bookstore to explain why she didn’t take up their kind offer.

You don’t need an autographed copy when you’re married to the author.

Visit TNChick's Photo Hunt. Today's theme: "Books''.

Blonde Ambition

The Real Cure For The Global Financial Crisis

An association of blonde women in Latvia says it hopes to dispel some of the Baltic state's economic gloom with a parade and ball in the capital, Riga, this weekend. Organisers are hoping to field 500 fair-haired women for events that will include a concert, a fashion show and "blonde golf".

FOOTNOTE: Riga mortis.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Post Of The Day

Today's joint winners are Katherine with In Idaho They Are A Little More Free and Kathleen with Grawdj. The other top contenders were Corey with I Know How To Spell Silhouette; The White House with Holy Migration, Batman; Maugeritaville with Not-So-Special Day Class; Travis with A Few Thoughts; Dot with Screven, Georgia; Your EG Tour Guide with Red Sky; Butternut Squash with God In A Cornfield; C. Michael Cox with Question Of The Day; Endangered Coffee with This Is Probably A Good Indication and An Officer And A Garbage Can with No Vende Aqui. 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 ....

For my RedBubble photography, go here, or click the sidebar link.

Seeing The Light

I Think I Just Reached My Brake Point

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

I guess you could call this my light-bulb moment. There I was, walking down Flinders Street with my camera around my neck, when I looked up.

One day someone is going to fit me with a sound effect borrowed from the screeching brakes employed by the old cartoons – because that’s exactly what happens when I have a camera in my hand. You just have to stop every time something catches your eye, which in my case is fairly often.

Because I was only a few steps away from St Paul’s Cathedral, I thought this light was actually on their property. But it wasn’t. It was attached to the exterior wall of the Meridian International School.

You know what really and truly caught my attention? Not so much the light globe itself, but the delicate craftsmanship on the old metal casing. And if you look carefully, you can even see the manufacturer's mark on each segment of the glass casing.

Visit MamaGeek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

The problem with Caligula
Turned out to be his fibula
It wasn’t his heart and it wasn’t his liver
But simply the fever that caused him to shiver

Take It At Faith Value

A Judicious Mix Of Old And New

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

We’ve had some strange weather in the last week, highly unseasonal for the last week of the Australian autumn. We’ve had some heavy fogs and comparatively warm nights with no frost, but once the fog has burned away, we’ve had cloudless days with temperatures about five degrees above normal.

This shot was taken about 11.30 in the morning last Friday, as I walked across the pedestrian footbridge that connects Southbank to the central business district. The fog had pretty much gone, but there was a slight haze in the sky.

Naturally I had to stop and find a way to portray it. The beautiful steeple of St Paul’s Cathedral, a prominent landmark across the river on Flinders Street, was what I chose. By composing a tight frame, I was able to get the steeple as an interesting counterpoint to two office buildings just behind it.

You can have a great city, you can have reliable commerce, you can have wonderful landmarks, but if you don’t have faith, there is something crucial missing. Works in every aspect of life, don’t you think?

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


Last One Out Is A Rotten Egg

A California call centre had to be evacuated and a seven people taken to hospital - after a bid to clear the office fridge. The stench of rotting food was so bad that firefighters had to clear the building. But the worker who cleaned the refrigerator didn't need any treatment - as she can't smell because of allergies.

FOOTNOTE: Stench warfare.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Post Of The Day

Today's joint winners are Mr Nighttime with I Am Sam and Willow Manor with Shards. The other top contenders were Lizzy Frizzfrock with If I Can’t Go To Heaven; Shadow with Suitcase; Mystically Enhanced with Letting Go; Moannie with Weeds Are Flowers Too; Ruth with The Bridal Wreath; DutchBaby with San Francisco Decorator Showcase and Postcards and Coasters with Do You Wear Your Red, White And Blue. 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 ....

For my RedBubble photography, go here, or click the sidebar link.

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

When he went bush near Cocklebiddy
You say he bogged his Holden, did he?
He avoided the camel but hit a stump
And swore as the oil leaked from the sump

Open Sesame

Bright As A Button

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

You think I’ve gone mad, don’t you? You think I’ve finally flipped my lid? You think I’ve forgotten how to use a camera, right?

You think this can’t possibly be a door. Ah, but it is. And not just any door.

This, dear readers, is the inside view of the driver’s door of a Rolls-Royce Phantom. I shot this a couple of years ago and it shows (see image below) the buttons for the power windows.

It’s a pity that James Bond never drove one of these. If he had, I’m sure Q would have included a lot more gizmos, switches and buttons.

For earlier posts in this series, check out The Doors Archive.

Special Delivery

Stork's Chorus: Let It Beak, Let It Beak

A stork with a damaged beak has been given a new, artificial one thanks to experts at a bird hospital in Hungary. Tamas Kothay, a specialist in dental prostheses, built a new top beak out of synthetic resin. If the bird makes a full recovery it will be released back into the wild.

FOOTNOTE: Gregory pecks.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Post Of The Day

Today's winner is Travelling But Not In Love with Left To My Own Devices. The other top contenders were Sniffles And Smiles with The Mother Of Invention Dons Pink; Airplane Jayne with Freeflying Or Falling; Daryl with Monochrome Monday; Fireblossom with Cheetah Girl And Bird Girl; Loud Silence with Pride; SpacedLaw with Dazibao - The Daughter; Sarah Lulu with I Know What Balanced Is; Butler And Bagman with Sand Sculpture Day At The Beach and Fat, Frumpy And Fifty with A Day In the Life. 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 ....

For my RedBubble photography, go here, or click the sidebar link.

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

The infant O’Reilly
Was bubbly and smiley
But the midwife, Miss Hurley
Was cranky and surly

S Is For Skeleton Key

Key Sera Sera

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

(All images shot at Mark's Service Depot, Southbank, Melbourne)

When I was very little, a friend of mine had an older brother called John (I’ve changed his name for obvious reasons) who was really handy with "useful" aspects of life. If you wanted to know which part of a radio did what, John knew the answer. If you wanted to know stuff about electricity, John knew the answer.

Then came the day he decided to push the boundaries a little but further than he should have. He reckoned he knew how to drive. That was a dangerous assumption, and it was also (as you’ll see) an erroneous assumption.

Back then, his father had a company car with manual transmission (stick shift, as they’re commonly called) and John reckoned it was fair game. He had watched it being driven and figured he had the accelerator-clutch-gear equation sorted out.

There were three problems. He was too young to drive. He had never actually been given permission to drive. And finally, he knew he would never be given permission to take the car keys.

So, being the handy teenager that he was, he decided to circumvent the last problem. He announced he was going to make a skeleton key. And make a skeleton key he did. I’m not sure how he did it, but it must have been an amazing feat because he didn’t exactly have access to a whole tool shed.

Then at dusk one evening his youngest brother and I heard a frightful impact. John had put the skeleton key in the ignition, started up the car but reversed it too far and slammed into broad steps. The steps, alas, were made of concrete and the back of the car now resembled a concertina.

John sprinted away from the scene and locked himself in the bathroom but his father didn’t take long to work out what had happened.

Fast forward many years …. John’s wife emailed me from England to ask if I could give her any embarrassing stories about her husband, so she could shared them at his impending 50th birthday. I sat down and wrote a long and detailed reply, telling her about The Evening Of The Skeleton Key.

No point keeping skeletons in John’s closet.

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

Dorset Corset

Maybe He Really Is The Ant’s Pants

Police have warned a footballer not to run through a British seaside town in his underpants after hearing how he lost a bet. Swanage Town and Herston striker Jamie Holland lost the bet that he would be the season's top goal scorer - and was supposed to be to jog through the Dorset resort in his underwear.

FOOTNOTE: Und(i)eterred.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Post Of The Day

Today's joint winners are Natalie with Alone and Jennifer Harvey with What We Take. The other top contenders were What I Should Have Said with One Day Down; Pseudonymous High School Teacher with Spin Cycle; Hope Radio with Plot Of Ground; Hilary with Come Walk With Me; Mick On The Road with R Is For Rock, Rain And Radio Ratbag; Merisi with Life In The Slow Lane and A Brush With Color with You Can Learn Many Things From Children. 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 ....

For my RedBubble photography, go here, or click the sidebar link.

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Did they use a lariat on Ben Hur’s chariot?
And do you remember the spy called Harriet?
Why didn’t Easy Rider feature a Honda?
And was Nemo really A Fish Called Wander?

The Magic Of Spangles

Yes, You Can Shoot The Shimmering Water

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

I’ve never been a tripod sort of guy. Yes, there are many good reasons for using one, especially in low light, in darkness and when using long exposure times. But I have to admit, for a bloke who does a fair amount of low-light shooting, I haven’t felt a pressing need for one.

The only time I’ve come close to acknowledging it would be handy to have a tripod was on New Year’s Eve a few months ago. There were thousands of families (some official estimates put the figure at more than 100,000 people) on both banks of the Yarra to watch the fireworks, a great Melbourne tradition.

Complete darkness only cloaked the city at about 9.30, because December is a summer month for us topsy-turvy Australians. And shortly after, I walked down past the river bank to see what the crowds were like. That’s when I noticed the lights reflected in the rippling surface of the river. I took a couple of shots, but they weren’t great.

I was about to move on when a boat went slowly up the river towards the city centre. Of course, its wake created more movement across the surface and that started me thinking. Yes, I could find a handy post or railing and steady the camera to get the shot I wanted. Or I could go the other way instead ....

I could embrace the shimmering river and set a slower shutter speed to emphasise the movement and colour across the water. The results are fairly interesting, because the red and gold patterns look like spiral spangles. Just goes to show – never be afraid to experiment or to think outside the square.

Visit the creative team behind That's My World Tuesday.

Mayor The Force Be With You

You Scratch My Back And I’ll ...

A Croatian politician has been swept to power after promising voters he would rip them off at every opportunity. Despite using the slogan "All for me - nothing for you", Josko Risa was voted in as mayor of Prolozac. "I just told them the truth. This town will be like my family business. If I get a little something, so do they," he explained.

FOOTNOTE: Ripped off.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Post Of The Day

Today's joint winners are Woman In A Window with Do Bushes Have Feet? and Laura Jane Williams with Greener Grass. The other top contenders were Sandi McBride with The Letter Home; The Writer's Porch with It Was A Good Day; La Belette Rouge with QuackADoodleDoo; PPLongstocking with My Boyfriend Went To Morocco ...; Sandy Carlson with Six Things That Make Me Happy; Guy D with I Guess ... and Melange with A Better World Through Chemistry. 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 ....

For my RedBubble photography, go here, or click the sidebar link.

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Pruning your roses in the middle of winter
Ensures that the stems will never splinter
Cut the stems cleanly and on a sharp angle
And the buds that bloom will never tangle

You Calling Me A Basket Case?

Hang On, They're Petunias

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Last July we were on a family holiday in Malaysia, a part of the world I'd never visited before although I have made several visits to neighbouring Singapore. The result was that the clan had a great two-part holiday, on the island of Langkawi where time stood still, and then in Kuala Lumpur where there were too many photographs to be taken, so I couldn't stand still.

This was taken on the main road, just outside our hotel, the Shangri-La, as we walked to the monorail shortly after checking in. I was determined to get as close to the kerb as possible (within the bounds of safety, of course) to take this shot, because I wanted to frame the white petunias with the blue-and-white sign. Yes, it is a taxi bay.

They really do things in style in KL. If you want a taxi, you don't have to stand there windmilling your arms as the traffic flies past you. You just walk to a taxi bay, clearly designated and prominently marked - and hey presto, it all happens as if by magic. And if you do have to wait a minute or two, you have beautiful flowers to gaze at in the interim.

Visit Luiz Santilli Jr for the home of Today's Flowers.

Scrap Mettle

Recline And Fall Of The British Empire

Police believe thieves stole "Reclining Figure", a £3 million Henry Moore sculpture - then melted it down and sold it for £1,500. In December 2005, it took thieves only 10 minutes using a stolen crane-equipped flatbed Mercedes truck to carry it away.

FOOTNOTE: Ivy is blossoming.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

If you build a hut
In Derrimut
It costs twice as much
As the Rann of Kutch

Bridle Waltz

It's The Pre-Race Favourite

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

You know when you have one of those lightbulb moments, when something throws a switch and a little light illuminates your brain? I’ve often driven past this Melbourne landmark and it suddenly struck me that it would be perfect for this week’s representation of Camera Critters.

The horse that stands proud and tall above this old store has obviously been there for years. The shop is called Horse Torque And Lollies and I just thought it took its name from nearby Caulfield racecourse.

But then I did a little reading around the subject and found out that I was wrong. In its earliest guise, the place sold a wide variety of equine products and – judging by its location – must have done a roaring trade.

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

The Sunday Roast

Another Oscar For Suldog Millionaire

This week's interview is with Jim,
who writes the blog Suldog.

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

Insatiable ego. I’ve always had a very high opinion of myself, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, so I figured everybody in the world would love reading whatever I typed.

Amazingly enough, while making statements such as the above, I’ve received very little in the way of flames. The folks who comment over at my place are almost uniformly kind and complimentary. That’s very nice of them, but, if they had any brains at all, they would have figured out that I’d have dried up and blown away upon receiving even one or two nasties. They could have done the populace at large a huge favor by manning up and throwing out a few insults.

If they had done so, I would have gone to bother someone else with my next hare-brained scheme; perhaps starting my own church or acting in pornos. As it stands now, my ego has been blown up to such mammoth proportions, there’s little likelihood I’ll stop writing. That’s too bad for the world, but I’m OK with it.

What’s the story behind your blog name?

I wish there was one."Suldog" is just a nickname I picked up years ago. My last name is Sullivan. Well, almost everybody at this one place where I worked ended up being called something-dog - Charlie-dog, Dave-dog, Fitz-dog, whatever. I’m not sure how it started, but it did, and since I was already nicknamed Sully, I became Suldog. For whatever reason, it seemed to fit me more than most, and it’s followed me around ever since. Exciting, eh?

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

Seriously? The people you meet (not that you truly "meet" too many of them, but you know what I mean.)

I’ve developed many fine virtual friendships, and had the pleasure of physically getting together with a couple of the nicer folks. There are so many interesting life stories out there in the blogging universe!

(Really, I think that everybody has an interesting life story, but some just know how to put their story into words in more entertaining ways.)

The anonymity of blogging helps some folks, of course, but I’m one of those bloggers who doesn’t give a damn if everybody knows my real name or where I live. When I write, I assume that at least one person in my audience will have done the same stupid thing I’m willing to reveal that day. From the comments I’ve received, that appears to be the case. And it also appears that those people are exceedingly glad to find out that they’re not the only ones, so I guess I’m performing a public service of sorts when I admit to past indiscretions.

Anyway, my life is an open book. I figure that if someone really wants to dig up some dirt on me, they can. Therefore, I’m happy to save them the trouble. I figure if I write about it first, nobody can ever accuse me of hypocrisy. If you criticize me about any of it, though, I’ll jump on you with both feet. Everybody has things they’ve done that fall short of perfection and I’ll carve you a new one if you seriously think you can get away with being holier-than-thou in my presence.

I don’t know if that answered the question or was just a long-winded self-serving rant, but it’ll have to do.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Post naked photos of yourself, if you’re a woman! If you’re the shy type, and aren’t sure about this advice, feel free to send the photos to me first for an unbiased editorial critique.

Aside from that? Be yourself, whatever that may be. If you have odd quirks, bring ‘em out into the open. If you have a style with which an English professor might find fault, don’t let it keep you awake at night. It’s your blog, not the professor’s. So long as you make yourself clearly understood, it’s all good.

(Despite the above advice, though, I’d suggest that you learn to spell. Style is one thing, ignorance another. You’ll lose many readers if you don’t know how to spell the second word in this sentence.)

Above all, have fun. There are very few folks getting rich from this. I’m certainly not one of them, so if you send me ten dollars – and, perhaps, those naked photos - I’ll be glad to give you more advice.

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

It was by Magazine Man. I’ve got his link on my sidebar listed under the heading "The Best Writer On The Internet", and I’ve never been given reason to back down from that statement. He’s brilliant. There are some truly good writers out there – you among them, of course – but I have yet to read anything by him that wasn’t utterly captivating.

Anyway, his parents died in a highway accident a bit over a year ago. They were on their way to visit he and his family at the time. He had written about them both, at length, previous to the accident, showing them to be interesting and lovable people, with faults in their pasts, to be sure, but that just made them more endearing in the present. I (and his other readers) felt a relationship to these good people, via his marvelous writing, so when he posted concerning their tragic deaths, it just sucked the breath right out of me. My stomach churned almost as much as it had upon hearing of the death of some of my own loved ones. That’s how good his writing is.

(To clarify: That single post, about them dying, wasn’t his greatest piece, but as a hideous denouement to all that had preceded it, it was as powerful an emotional response as has ever been dragged out of me by a blog.)

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

A Day (Five Of Them, Actually – All Saturdays) In The Life, which is basically my life story, condensed. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, so if your readers go to my place, read it, and aren’t impressed? They may as well leave, since it isn’t likely they’ll find anything better if they stay.

Thanks for the opportunity to display my arrogant, ignorant, bloviating self, David. If you enjoyed reading this half as much as I did writing it, then you’re 50 per cent as happy as I was.

Today's Sunday Roast with Jim, aka Suldog, is the 69th in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.

Wistful Wisteria

A Change Is As Good As A Halliday

A stunning 100-year-old wisteria on a house in Dorset is attracting visitors from all over Britain. Alison Halliday is celebrating a bumper crop of the flowers covering her home. With blossoms measuring four feet long, experts think they might be the biggest in the country.

FOOTNOTE: Orlando’s bloom.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

He told us he felt like such an ass
He shouldn’t have tried the laughing gas
After just three whiffs of nitrous oxide
He was giggling fit to split his side

Airing My Dirty Linen

My Laundry Travelled Seven Thousand Kilometres

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Did I ever tell you about the day my laundry went overseas? Yup, that's right. Overseas. As in, from one country to another. And then back again. The incident has never been forgotten by my closest friends, who still hassle me about it, quite understandably.

So please allow me to set the record straight. I was in my early twenties and was spending a ten-day break in a city that was a couple of hours' flying time away from where I lived. I was visiting my girlfriend at the time and, because I was well brought up and lived a disciplined life during my boarding school years, I had my priorities right.

One of those priorities was getting my laundry done. You know what it’s like when you’re on holiday, right? So there I was, doing the right thing and getting all my dirty clothes together, when my girlfriend told me not to worry.

You see, she was a flight attendant with an international airline and was about to fly out for a couple of days. She said all I had to do was bundle my dirty clothes into a plastic garbage bag, put it into her suitcase, and she would take it on her trip and bring it back, freshly laundered.

Sounded good to me. So I did as I was told, sealed the bag and put it into the suitcase. Two days later, my girlfriend returned from her quick trip and, hey presto, I had freshly pressed shirts, jeans, you name it.

My closest friends were very impressed. Not just because my girlfriend had broken new ground, but because my clothes – and there is no subtle way to put this – had gone overseas dirty and come back clean.

PS: Did my girlfriend and I get married? Of course we did. She's the very beautiful, very intelligent and very resourceful Mrs Authorblog.

Visit TNChick's Photo Hunt. Today's theme: "Plastic''.

Too Many C(r)ooks Spoil The Broth

He Wanted More Bank For His Bucks

Police are hunting a crook who got clean away with more than £10,000 after robbing a bank while dressed as a little old lady. More than 100 police officers took part in a chaotic city-wide search for the bandit - and arrested five real-life old ladies as suspects before letting them go.

FOOTNOTE: What a heel.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Post Of The Day

Today's winner is The Girl From Cherry Blossom Street with Between The Moon And New York City. The other top contenders were Full-On Mommy with Land Mines; Rikkij with Coots; Nan with Extreme Adventurers, Last Day; Busy Bee Suz with Googleish; Granny Mountain with Growing Up Gosling; Northern Michigan Experience with Sweet Female Grosbeak; Ocala Daily Photo with Countryside Presbyterian Church; Woman In A Window with My Box and A Fanciful Twist with A Party, A Party. 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 ....

For my RedBubble photography, go here, or click the sidebar link.

All Hands On Deck

Michael Rowed The Boat Ashore

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Maybe the captain of this vessel found himself in the doldrums. No, look carefully at the image and you’ll see that this was not shot in some exotic marina, or some lagoon in the Caribbean. It was shot on a city street.

Yes, you read that correctly. On a city street.

We were in Kuala Lumpur last July and decided to walk from our hotel, the Shangri-La, to the nearby Petronas Towers. As always, I was lagging several yards behind the rest of the family because I kept stopping to take shots of objects or sights that caught my eye.

This boat is just a great advertisement for a local restaurant. Don’t worry, there won’t be a mutiny on the bountiful.

Visit MamaGeek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Mrs Heaney
Cooked tortellini
But her pasta sauce
Once killed a horse

A Touch Of Silver

Clouds Cloak A Goulburn Roof With Magic

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Sometimes mundane sights are rendered, by Nature, into beautiful settings that only last a few minutes. Thus, a simple tin roof takes on the fleeting look of corrugated silver.

I shot this through the window of my vehicle as I sat in a parking bay in Goulburn, in country New South Wales. To my mind, the scene looked like a painted stage backdrop, solely because of the cloud cover and the quality of the afternoon sun.

I sat there for a few seconds, wondering whether it was worth the effort of getting out, opening the boot/ trunk and rummaging for my camera among the many bags that were packed in there. The simple answer was yes. Of course it was worth it.

Because I spent my teenage years in a wonderful boarding school in the Himalayas, I spent a lot of contemplative time observing the subtle changes of light across some of the most stunning landscapes you could ever hope to see. In this case, I knew that the quality of light would change fairly quickly.

Four days later, we were back in Goulburn as we drove home from Sydney to Melbourne. I parked in exactly the same spot to assess the view from precisely the same angle. This time, it was just a plain tin roof under a sky that did not have any of the silvery magic from the previous visit.

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

Stepless In Seattle

It Ill Behooves Them

A Seattle designer has come up with the ultimate gadget for people who would like to be taller and more graceful - horse leg extensions. They're made of steel, cable, foam, and rigid plastic cost just £500 a pair - or £665 for spring loaded hooves for those requiring a little extra bounce.

FOOTNOTE: Yay or neigh.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Post Of The Day

Today's winner is Braja with Healing. The other top contenders were Maria-Therese with The Butterfly Whisperer; Mick On The Road with Underground And Under The Influence; Kathy B with That’s Just The Tip Of The Iceberg; Tumblewords with Road First Travelled; Dishing With Debbie with Better Than Crackerjacks; Lord Of The Wings with Return To King Eddy; Teena In Toronto with Movie Manners; In Search Of The Good Life with Why Less Is More; Turkish Delight with Paranoia? Just Keep Taking The Pills and Not Drowning But Waving with Happy Birthday To You. 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 ....

For my RedBubble photography, go here, or click the sidebar link.

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Grandma’s roast
Is in the post
But she’s sending the gravy
Through the merchant navy

Don't Dampen Your Spirit

Closed Encounters Of The Third Kind

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

These were not the easiest shots to take, because I had the sun coming strongly at my lens from about thirty degrees to my left. But a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do, right? So I cupped my left hand around my lens hood and did the best I could do in the circumstances.

It’s a great door, isn’t it? Double door, really. Wooden surface. Painted yellow. Great stonemasonry surrounding it. But what sort of door is it? And how do you get to it?

Here’s an interesting piece of information. You can’t just walk up to it. Not so easy, mate. Why? You want to know why? Here’s why ….

It’s got about 10 metres of water in front of it. But yes, there is access. Let me explain. This is part of a side wall at a major Melbourne swimming centre with four pools. This is one of the smallest pools and yes, there is a walkway leading to the yellow door, but you can barely see it because of the angle of these shots.

It’s simply a door that leads to a storage area. But someone with a flair for design has endowed it with a special character all of its own. The aquatic mural is, of course, painted. And the stonemasonry? Yep, that’s painted on the wall as well.

For earlier posts in this series, check out The Doors Archive.