Archive for the ‘I found this’ Category


First course in humour

November 16, 2011

When I was a kid, the family bookshelf reflected the eclectic tastes and lives of my parents. In a low pine bookshelf and a tall Ikea bookshelf, standing side by side in the cork-floored sunroom (remember when houses had sunrooms?), I recall Ian Fleming novels, a copy of The Lord of the Rings that I tried to read several times before declaring it and its ilk annoying and ridiculous pap – an opinion I still hold. There was an illustrated hardback called The Bull Pen that Mum had bought for Dad, full of terrible puns, such as a foul-tempered drawing of a bull titled ‘IRASCIBULL’. I still chuckle when I see it in op shops. We had the full set of supermarket encyclopaedias, superficially handsome World Books in navy with gold lettering, that Dad thought we should read endlessly. We didn’t. He also went nuts at a kid’s book fair once and bought a whole library of children’s reference books which were awesome – drawings of people in their mediaeval lives, cross-section of cells, books on how the Earth formed. Mum’s 1970s social work texts peppered the shelves and revisited the title (but not the contents) of I’m OK, You’re OK many times, trying to work out what that meant. There was a slim tome with lots of diagrams of exercising moustached Canadian air force men claiming one could be top-fit with just a handful of vigorous exercises in your terry-toweling tracksuit.

I started early on the classics from this shelf – Jane Eyre, Tess of the D’Urbevilles, A Christmas Carol. I still have the mangy copy of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass with the name of Dad’s first love written in biro inside the cover. She died unexpectedly, very young, and I know nothing about her but her name. Dad’s other contributions were some racy novels that were very informative; I expect the rather surprising Erotic Art of Pompeii was his, too, and I pretended that I’d never noticed it.

There was one book on the shelf that had my brother and me in stitches. It was Dad’s Latin textbook from his brutal Christian Brothers school. Originally titled ‘LATIN FOR TODAY: First Course’, it was otherwise a very dull bunch of words in a dead language about Marculius and Jerrianus (or whatever) within a ratty avocado green cloth cover. The bit that tickled our juvenile fancies was the modification effected upon the cover by our young father. With a few pen strokes, and some dedicated replication of the title’s serifs, he’d turned it into ‘EATING FOR TODAY: First Course Eggs and Bacon’.

That is one of the formative jokes of my young life. It still tickles my fancy.

Last week I spotted a book in an op shop that, while without the highbrow sophistication of Dad’s joke, was surely forged in the same fire.


What did I do to deserve this?

April 5, 2011

It might be theft of council property but I feel it’s snubbing the hard rubbish gods NOT to take a box of 62 (sixty-two! Two and sixty!) flippin’ awesome jazz and blues records when they are offered to you early one morning.

Given my slavish devotion to the Gods o’ Junk, who am I to reject such benevolence? Besides, Herbie Mann looks like he’d slit my throat if I’m not suitably thankful.


Mmmmm, yummy.

February 1, 2011

Did you know about Lissy’s excellent blog, The Hungry Ataxophile, in which she details one woman’s journey to cook from each and every one of her 311 cookbooks this year to justify their existence to her cruel, judgemental husband?

Well, Lissy put out an open call for people to give her more cookbooks. So when in the wild, wild west of Melbourne, I stumbled across this little BEE-YOOTY, I had to procure it for her.

As if the cover’s face collaged from meat, fish and pickles in homage to Arcimboldo is not enough to convince you of the book’s true and rightful place in her cookbook collection, behold these lurid photos of Goose Liver (cold) and Fisherman’s Soup:

Doesn’t that just make you want to go out and strangle a goose for its tasty cold liver? And milk a fisherman for his soup?

To stomp all over my triumph, the Curmudgeon quietly observed that Lissy’s fella is of the vegetarian persuasion. So perhaps he will not covet the Jellied Carp, Pickled Scraps of Suckling-Pig or Pancakes with Calf’s Brains but will choose instead Asparagus in the Hungarian Way (Hungarian Way = breadcrumbs, sour cream, butter and paprika), Stuffed Kohlrabi or Cooked Lettuce.

I can’t wait to deliver this tome into her hands next week. Ooooh! Boiled Paste with Curd Cheese!


As if childhood wasn’t scary enough

January 15, 2011

If you want to create your very own zombie dolls to terrify the bejeebus out of small people, you can buy this pattern.

You know, it’s not just the eyes. I don’t like the way Annie’s hair is marching down her forehead, like it’s an advancing army of hair. Perhaps it’s a before/after picture?


Antique collecting

January 4, 2011

People throw out the most amazing things in hard rubbish.

I’m pretty sure this is Chippendale. The workmanship, the quality of the timber… it’s unmistakeable, really. And with a little bit of polish, the rich mahogany grain was as-new again, as dark and lustrous as the day it was felled in Honduras perhaps 200 years ago.

Befitting its proud heritage, I’m going to keep records in it. And pop my priceless Ming vase collection on top.


Much better than working

November 3, 2010

Ben’s right about those baby dolls.

Friend of mine mentioned he wasn’t working on the Monday before Cup Day because he was going junk shop trawling. Suddenly, I had a reason to take a day’s leave, too. We scoured the whole town for seven hours, people. Bliss.

He bought much-needed furniture for his new empty house. I bought more surplus junk for my already packed-to-rafters house. Both of us were contented. But the op shop with the baby doll hoard up top was disconcerting.


Another reason why you should be wary of hard rubbish rugs

May 20, 2010

Remember Lesson One, people? About the rugs?

Well hold onto your hats, here’s lesson two.

See this rug? I hauled it home a few mornings ago after a cursory inspection for cleanth (which it passed). Some would say you should avoid it because it has headache-inducing optical trickiness. Some would say to avoid it because it’s 3 metres by 4 metres and possibly too large for any room anywhere in inner city Melbourne. Squid had another reason; and she didn’t say anything at all. Well, not with her mouth, anyway.

After I moved all the furniture to make room for this woven behemoth (all the while with a Curmudgeon soundtrack running: “Lady, I’m not sure this will work. It’s so…. too much.”) and brought it in for a vacuuming it would never forget. Squid came over to inspect. And sniff. And sniff some more. Gave it a canine vacuuming, if you will. Then without further ado, squatted down and pissed on it.

She is exquisitely house-trained, people, so I saw this as a statement that could not be ignored. Rolled it up and chucked it outside. I figure some dog did something similar on it, perhaps repeatedly, and she thought it the best way to let me know.