A blog of grumpiness, stilts and skin.

Friday, December 30, 2005

On the road again

This weekend I'm taking a 6 hour spin up the coastal plain to reacquaint myself with HRH Prince Leonard.

On 21 April 1970 Prince Leonard declared independence from Australia, and bestowed the name Hutt River Province on his 75 square kilometre sheep property.

It’s a speck on the map.

But according to the province’s website – yes, the Prince who turned 80 in August is online and retains a royal web master – Hutt River is the second largest nation on the Australian continent.

And I've decided to see the new year in from another nation, so to speak.

The prince is a jovial and peace-loving fellow, who welcomes all comers to his realm. But beneath the benign exterior lurks the steel-trap mind of a bush lawyer who has kept the authorities on the hop for four decades.

These days Hutt River is more a stop for weary travellers than the hotbed of insurgency it was in the early 1970s.

Prince Leonard informs me that, unless there's a late rush, it'll be pretty quiet around the province on new year's eve.

Just me, the Prince, and the flies.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Radio goo goo

Yes, Andy Symonds smacked a magnificent half century in the cricket today.

And yes, Matthew Hayden joined in the action with a few sixes of his own.

And YES, when the Aussies were done with batting, Shane Warne (as usual) got amongst the wickets.

But does the ABC really need to broadcast the radio highlights?

Free entry!

After Australia's commanding performance against South Africa today, it's free entry to the Melbourne Cricket Ground tomorrow.

Anyone want to head over there with me?

Eye of the tiger

In accordance with the 20 year rule, a Goth gang is eyeing off a Motley Crue gang downstairs.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I just realised that last entry may have seemed a little uncharitable to my beloved Perth.

It wasn't meant to be.

The river swells out toward the skyscrapers' foundations like an aquamarine blob across a sheet of fine rice blotting paper. King's Park is a parrot's paradise. And Fremantle, well - historic Fremantle.

But the CBD itself is a renovator's dream.

See 'im? You can eat 'im.

I'm sniffing around for a cheap new tent.

In the early 1980s when my mum did the books for the scout shop in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley, it had all kindsa useful stuff dangling from the ceiling, popping outta draws, and clogging up the fire exits.

With that in mind, I hatched a cunning plan to gauge prices at the expensive places like Mountain Designs and Kathmandu, then wander down to the good ol' scout shop for a homegrown khaki bargain.

Why buy a Lexus when a Landrover will do the trick? Get the picture?

The first part of the plan went without, well, a hitch. (Three yuppy shops down, and three prices of flourescent, arctic-rated tents scribbled furtively in my note pad.)

Then came the 2 kilometre hike up Murray Street in the midday sun to Perth's Scout Shop.

It was closed for the Christmas break.

"Never mind", thought I, "I'll just have a squiz through the window at all their ripper gear".

There were tumbleweeds on the floor.

And the advice of Leigh Kernaghan never seemed so relevant:

If there's a sh!t in the store,
and not much more.
You're living in old crap town.

Latta dee, latta doo ...

Hmm ... What shall I blog about today?

Let's see, I haven't blogged about cricket for a while ...


I'll blog about the immigration consultant who chaperones a brand new Australian past my office three or four times a week, announcing, "Yes. This place is a real rabbit warren!"

Talk about a punchy pitch.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Goanning ... Goanning ... Gone.

I hear Australia's richest man, founder of World Series Cricket, and owner of Channel 9, Kerry Packer, died this morning.

The way the aging rabble of former Test cricketers - who somehow pass themselves off as TV commentators - has been rabbiting on about the Goanna's death would make you think Nelson Mandela had passed away.

Richie, Bill, Tony and Ian have been pestering Australian cricket fans all day with reminders that a special extended Channel 9 news will air tonight to remind us of just how great a bloke Packer was.

I wonder if Channel 9 will do the same when Rupert Murdoch dies?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Aint gonna play Sun City

Leaving aside the irony of the South African cricket team branding elements of the Western Australian cricket fraternity rascist last week, I can confirm there's been no sign of such skullduggery in Melbourne this morning.

No, while we in the sunny West may from time to time be accused of lacking couth, the neo-gothic metropolis of Melbourne is the embodiment of Australian style.

So with pride I can report that when South Africa's Shaun Pollock first took his place in the outfield today, ten thousand Victorians were heard to greet the former captain of the rainbow nation with that good ol' Aussie cheerio: "You are a wanker!".

Mental disintegration

After the 1/2 hour delay, the mind games started early at the MCG, with the Melbourne Cricket Club hiring little Darren Hayes from Savage Garden to sing the South African national anthem.

Advance Australia Fair on the other hand was sung by Lemmy from Motorhead.

Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay?

Controversy at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The pitch was watered late, hasn't dried, and Umpire Steve Bucknor (who is not unknown to this 'blog) has delayed play by 1/2 hour.

Will the world ever be the same?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

And another thing

Another great thing about being 3 hours behind the rest of Australia is that if your head office is 'over east' (as mine once was) it is quite easy to avoid a pesky colleague who's been hounding you to finish that urgent task.

Let's say you get into work at 8am as most Westralians do - nominally to maintain close relations with the east - well, that's 11am eastern time. If you can somehow arrange an hour-long meeting toot sweet, that will take you to midday eastern time - when the easterners commence lunch.

If you know when your irksome eastern states colleague likes to take lunch, all the better. You can leave a message on their landline to prove you've been tryna catch them.

Say they usually duck out for an hour, that takes you to 10am Westralia time - the start of a hairy 2 hour period when you're most likely to be called upon.

However, if you can again arrange a meeting, and periodically excuse yourself to check your emails and messagebank, you'll greatly cut the odds of taking a direct call from the east.

Come midday (WA time) it's 3pm over east. If you lunch for an hour from noon like your slack-bum colleague in the eastern states did, that'll take you through to 4pm eastern time.

By then, if you're unlucky enough to be called before they go home over there, you may well have already completed that wearisome task they were sweating on. If not, just arrange another meeting, and you'll be fine.

Boxing day Test

One of the biggest days on Australia's sporting calendar - Melbourne's boxing day cricket Test - starts tomorrow.

It wouldn't start on new year's day, would it?

Because Westralia is three hours behind Melbourne, I'll get to see the whole day's play live on TV from around 7am.

I reckon this is the closest thing to Nirvana you can get without being Dave Grohl.

Who let the dogs out?

The Christmas fireworks have, at this moment, belatedly started outside.

I love fireworks, but as my nonogenarian nan once said of her suburb in Brisbane: "They have fireworks for a dogfight 'round here."

Grumpy Christmas

Ol' Moonface, Bellows and the dogs next door were packed off to a sleepover yesterday afternoon - which allowed their father, The Cattleman, to stoke up some back yard handywork.

Clink, clink, 'oh, sh!t!', clink, clink. You know the kind of thing.

Yes, The Cattleman is one of these guys who's never so happy as when paving or concreting a natural surface. Or when supervising the assassination of a Cocos palm.

But paving was not all the sneaky bugger was up to.

Imagine my surprise on their return just then, when, glass pressed to the fence, I heard Moonface and Bellows squeal with delight.

Turns out The crafty Cattleman had planned the Cocos's demise to make way for a swimming pool!

Thirty seconds elapsed between squeal and splash. Then squeal returned. Finally, squeal and splash merged into a squelchy cacophony.

Hazel and I are in for a delightfully noisy summer.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The quick and the disorganised

I am pleased to report that after weeks of building up, and with one day of shopping still to go, the crowds at Perth's Carillon food hall are already on the downturn.

Scrooge McGrumpy

I did something most un-Grumpy-like this morning.

I tipped the elderly lady that brings me my cappucino most work days.

Not only does she do this, but she lets me read her Australian and West Australian, so that I can keep you up to date with all the latest from page 17.

But why I really like her is that she calls everybody "Darl'", and has an unrelenting work ethic.

What is it with these working oldies?

I stagger into the cafe half dead about an hour after she's turned on the grinder, and she's telling everyone she meets that she hopes it's gonna be a, "real busy day".

And she doesn't even own the place.

Reminds me of my nan, actually. When I was a little kid, Nan owned a shop on a busy highway south of Sydney.

Her meat rolls used to attract swarms of people, including local royalty - rugby league luminaries like Keith Barnes and Reg Gasnier.

Day-in, day-out, she slaved over the shop's stove. Before I was born, my mum and dad made sandwiches there and worked the counter, and were canny enough to save a deposit for a house out of the experience.

Nan was the unquestioned boss though, and gave everybody the rounds of the kitchen, quite literally.

Even customers were not beyond her ire. "I DON'T CARE IF REG GASNIER HAS TO BE AT THE SCG AT 1 O'CLOCK," she'd be known to scream from kitchen to counter at my old (then young) man. "HE WAITS IN LINE LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE!"

But then the New South Wales government resumed the shop to widen the road that delivered all Nan's business. She moved north and opened another shop in the hinterland behind that pensioner's paradise, The Entrance.

But it wasn't the same.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

White Page Hookup!

Hey, gang!

Just in time for Christmas, here's a ripper new game the whole family can enjoy.

It's called White Page Hookup, and is brought to you by the House of Grumpy.

Here's how you play:

1. Open up the residential phone book of your home town or city;
2. Note the first name, and the last name, that appear in your phone book;
3. Post 'em up here.

It's that easy!

To get you started, here's an example from the Perth White Pages:

P Aagesan of Marmion/CH Zyzowski of Hillarys

Bona fide improvements on this result will be compiled at Grumpy HQ, and promulgated here - thereby bringing a lucky 'A' and a lonely 'Z' from different corners of the globe a little closer together!

As the House of Grumpy is keen to retain a modicum of privacy for these good folk, no streets or phone numbers, please!

So hop to it, now!

You'll find it pleasantly refreshing.

That's White Page Hookup - brought to you by the House of Grumpy.

That name again? White Page Hookup. (House of Grumpy).

Google Ms Jackson, if you're nasty.

I just stumbled across the following list of Google's biggest 'its from 2005:

Most searched "news" (Grumpy parentheses) terms:
1. Janet Jackson
2. Hurricane Katrina
3. tsunami
4. xbox 360
5. Brad Pitt
6. Michael Jackson
7. American Idol
8. Britney Spears
9. Angelina Jolie
10. Harry Potter

Search-terms rising like a rocket since the 2004 rankings:
1 Myspace
2. Ares
3. Baidu
4. wikipedia
5. orkut
6. iTunes
7. Sky News
8. World of Warcraft
9. Green Day
10. Leonardo da Vinci
11. Grumplestiltskin

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Today I didn't even have to use my A.K.

The Sunrise Show. Grant Denyo. Forecast 27.
And Dave Dobbin thought that he had a slice of heaven.
Shower done. Logged on. A comment on my 'blog.
Hazelberry cooked me breakfast with no hog:)

Drove to work. Dissed a jerk. Caught a CAT. Noticed a hippy,
riding down, downtown - in denim dress, make-up and lippy.
Blogged some more. Snore, snore. One for me, one for the cheetah.
Chime, chime. Lunch time. 'I'll take a stroll down to the river'.

Caught a lift. Lunch shift. Skippin' school like Bueller Ferris.
Warm sun. Fun, fun. Smelt the ocean from the Terrace.
Down the hill. Infill. Then a park down by the banks.
Cronulla Aussies in their cossies. Asked me to join 'em. Said, 'no thanks'.

Next field. Ball heeled. A Belmore set was kicking leather.
No riot. No fiot. Separate interests, but together.
On and on, strode to the Swan. The river smelt like Circular Quay.
But it was Perth. New universe? Or just a parallel Sydney?

The Supersnickle sleeps tonight

Our friends from Canberra, Kink and Blanchette, are visiting Perth at present.

They're over here so much that I hope one day they'll forget to go back.

Tonight we'll dine with them by the river as the sun sets, and talk of times past.

A wonderful way to spend an evening. And their jetlagged youngster, Supersnickle, will be in bed at his grandparents'.

Future Squealix

No Dave Faulkner in Northbridge this morning.

Just a shabby, ageing hippy wearing a scout hat and a denim summer dress, and trundling down James Street on his bicycle.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The boy from Bassendean

Is there anything Rolf Harris can't do?

We all know he's great with animals and kiddies, and a wiz with the wobble-board.

And, long before he grew the extra leg, he represented Western Australia as a junior back-stroker.

But Rolf the royal portraitist?

If you haven't seen his painting of Queen Elizabeth II in today's Murdoch press, it's well worth googling.

Liz was seeking a painter of refinement to bring forth her inner warmth. Unable to find one, she gave Rolf the gig.

And the amazing thing is, he succeeded.

Rolf's ebullience bubbles through the portrait's cheesy grin. It's as if he's risen up through the queen's sphincter, poked his arm out through her ear, and whacked his falsies into her gob.

And is that a touch of Van Gogh precision I see in the brushstokes of the queen's turquoise frock?

Well done, Rolf. You've got my Archibald vote.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Is ideology dead?


As ye brush, ye too shall be brushed

Shortly after encountering the great Lillee in the stairwell, we discovered downstairs behind the Prindiville stand a bar that served draught beer - much better than the warm cans they were pushing upstairs.

After procuring three beers, I turned and saw a white Ford LTD rolling up alongside the bar. As the limousine idled up, Kiwi (or was it Rooster? My recollection is somewhat blurred) remarked that its number plate had no numbers - only a coat of arms.

We stared - as if at Lillee.

As the limo' ghosted by in slow motion, its passenger - the governor of Western Australia - flashed us a grin and a vice-regal wave.

A friendly gesture from the head of state, or had we too been given the brush?

Lillee's pounding down like a machine

The Westralian capital of Perth is a bastion of sports greats.

But even in this burrough of bronzed ball-bearers, one champ stands alone. That champion is former Australian fast bowling demon, Dennis Lillee.

So imagine my unbridled delight yesterday when the great man strode into a stairwell where Rooster, Kiwi and I were loitering.

Lillee, whose 1981 world record for most wickets in a calendar year was only broken on Friday, had a quick squiz at the gaped-mouthed yokels before him, then proceeded to skip down the steel stairs as assuredly as he used to sprint up to the WACA wicket.

Past a group of drunks he glided, breaking stride only to acknowledge a, 'You da man!' with a boy scout salute and forthright, "'day mate".

A day at the cricket - 55 dollars. Hotdog and beer - 9 dollars. Lillee brushing a yobbo - priceless.

All day lo-ong, masser got me woikin'

One for masser, one for me.

One for masser, one for me.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

'Cause when it's summer in Australia if you don't like cricket let me tell you it's a real bummer, that.

Rooster, Raffles, Kiwi and I are off to the cricket Test this morning - and a fine day it is to be resting on your can in the Prindiville stand.

Facing south, we will be in a prime position to gauge precisely when 'The Fremantle Doctor', as Tony Greig calls it, is 'in'. (The rest of us call it, 'the sea breeze').

Meanwhile, Hazel is borrowing Rooster and Burp's oldest, Bayleaf, and they're off to see 'Corpse Bride'.

After the epic Kong, Hazel and I flopped outta bed a little late, and are in a bit of a hurry.

Says Hazel, in her none-too-edifying, de-personifying way of late: "If I were to hop onto the computer when we were in a rush, you'd howl the house down".

Yes, Hazel, but I do have a public to consider.

Kong too long

An hour into last night's movie, Hazel and I knew we were in trouble.

Having munched our last kernel of Kong-sized popcorn, and slurped our last slurp of Kong-sized Coke, the great ape was yet to materialise. This as I realised I'd only placated the ravenous parking meter for 90 minutes.

Yes, folks, Kong is long.

And, oh, the brontosaurus scene did drag-on. (boom boom)

I'm not sure if I picked up all the subtext, but I think the moral of the story was that Kong was one very large, very naughty, but also very loveable, balding, ape.

I do wish Hazel would stop calling me 'Kong'.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Monkey business

Hazel and I have succumbed to the hype from Lord Vader and co, and are off to see King Kong tonight.

While we're out, burglar beware! There's a school of hungry piranhas out back that will stalk your every move.

Live cricket score (Day 2)

Test match
Australia v South Africa
Western Australian Cricket Association ground, Perth
Stumps - Day 2

Innings 1:
Australia all out for 258.
South Africa all out for 296
(South Africa's first innings lead, 38 runs)

Innings 2:
Australia 1 wicket for 38 runs

Highlight of the day:
A gritty fightback by Australia, punctuated by Shane Warne's 86th wicket for 2005, which eclipsed the previous world record for a calendar year set by Western Australian speedster, Dennis Lillee, in 1981.

And that bloke that yells, 'Oi-oh!'

It's Hazel's birthday today, and after a swish dinner last night with the Burp, Rooster, Pusher (nee Carrington), and Mr Rooms, today Hazel is frazzling up yummy Thai fish patties for lunch with Bezley and Bloody Ern.

Abacus just called from Canberra, and presents have lobbed in from faraway luminaries like the Mona Lisa and Jessie Mo. Furthermore, my parents - Les Murray and Busy Walker - chimed in with some spondoolies, which Hazel will no doubt squirrel away for crafting equipment.

That she attracts devotion from so many pseudonyms is testimony to Hazel's charms.

Happy birthday, Hazel.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Live cricket score

Don' you worry 'bout the Telstra, you go the Grumpy.

Test match
Australia v South Africa
Western Australian Cricket Association ground, Perth
Stumps, Day 1

Australia all out for 258.

South Africa 0 wicket for 38 runs.

Play (and Grumpy) to recommence tomorrow.

The gravy train

Moonface and Comet know when they're onto a good thing.

They just came back to the porch with more goods for me to look at, incuding: a 'Fantasia' tape that Moonface said she was 'sick of' but 'works fine', a wooden top, and a leaf.

When I said I'd settle with my gorilla swizzle stick (which can apparently, 'be anything you want', but which is in fact, 'a puppet'), they wasted no time enquiring: 'Where's Hazel?'.

Cocos come, Cocos go

The Cocos palm
that did no harm
but oversaw
today's Clone War
is now no more.

Yes, two years since 'the cattle-man' first threatened its demise, the lofty Cocos next door has been rubbed out, by a professional lopper.


Though the suburban Cocos is as close to a cliche as a tree can be, I liked that particular one. So too did the rats and the feral pigeons.

Ones and dimes won't even shine your shoes

Old Moonface, who is the street's (probably the world's) cutest kid, just dropped by to advertise the ten cent sale she and her friend Comet are operating from the tree house.

The two of them rocked up to my door armed with a selection of merchandise, and the best sales pitch I've heard for a while - 'here's some old stuff we don't want anymore'.

Who could resist?

In an attempt to appease the mighty Kong, I unearthed two five cent pieces I had stashed for just such an opportunity, and lashed out on a small paper gorilla that some kid had coloured in and pasted to the end of an ice-block stick.

I don't know what it is, or what it does. But I like it.

Life's great in the western state

Did you know (or care) that back in the day, before people said 'back in the day', instead of calling the Eastern States 'the Eastern States', Western Australians instead called the rest of Australia 't'otherside'.

This was the vernacular when Henry Lawson bivouaced at 't'othersiders' camp' which in the 1890s sprawled along the East Perth reach of the lazy Swan River.

Yep, them were the days.

'Bloody t'othersiders!' has a far nicer ring to it than 'Bloody Eastern Staters!', don't you think?

Everybody Berts sometimes

I can hardly believe my eyes but, after 13 years on air, Bert Newton's 'Good Morning Australia' is, right now, winding up for good.

In fact, over east, in Cronulla, it would have already wound up!

As the credits roll to Dionne Warwick's 'That's what friends are for', just let me say the show is testimony to Bert's endless reservoir of talent.

Only the great man could have drawn the world's longest infommercial out for so long.

Good on you, Bert! I have no doubt you've got something bigger and better lined up - 'Family Feud' isn't it?

I have only one question. What's to become of Belvedere?

Moonface, Bellows, and the gang

I don't want to alarm you, but the word on the street is that King Kong is on his way.

Whispers from the tree house across the fence confirm he can get mighty cranky.

But if you feed him bananas he'll be your friend, like Chewbacca.

Warp speed

Am at home today.

As my life is one endless summer, it's sometimes difficult to remember when everyone else is on holidays.

That is until I sense a disturbance in the force, and race to the front porch to witness Princess Leia's flight from Chewbacca, who is in turn racing down the street with Lord Vader's sabre swooshing at his tail.

Leia is faithfully recreated by the second cutest kid in the street, and runt of its litter, Squealix - who I must say carries his tiara with aplomb.

Although Vader and Chewy are on foot, and Leia miles ahead on scooter, Squealix as usual is the only one of the three that's squealing.

Hey, you!

(the Blog-steady Crew)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Holland, El Salvador, Bucknor

While picking up tonight's dinner, who should I bump into down at Woolworths but Jamaican cricket umpire, Steve Bucknor.

Cutting a fine figure in his beige chino slacks, off-white International Cricket Council polo, and cream Greg Chappell hat, Bucknor will tomorrow add to his world record 102 Test matches.

While waiting to pay for his cashews, portello grapes and slab of water melon, Bucknor said he was looking forward to officiating at Perth's WACA ground when South Africa locks horns with Australia.

Bucknor is the only person to have presided over both a cricket and football international, having refereed Holland vs El Salvador in a world cup football qualifier in 1988.

Double-dumped Damien dumps on dumper

Yesterday's West Australian reported the former fiancee of dumped Australian cricketer, Damien Martyn, has accused him of sex-sledging her at the Subiaco Hotel.

Helen Appleyard dumped Marto after she allegedly found intimate texties to another woman on his mobile phone.

When she approached the former Test batsman, who was propping up the bar at the popular night-spot, he (again allegedly) launched into the following tirade:

"Dump off, dump off, you're a dumper!"

Then, according to Appleyard, Martyn started sledging her friends:

"You can dump off, you're ugly," or, "you're all right, you can stay".

One of Appleyard's friends, Karen Clarke, was so upset she left in tears.

Clarke confirmed the slur, adding she was, "extremely insulted", not because of Marto's disrespect for women in general, but because she was, "a dress size six".

Subiaco gets Legally Blonder by the minute.

: ! /

The BHP-Billiton Christmas party should be a corker.

Just overheard in the lift that they're spending $200/head.

That merger.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Pass the mic'

Well, that's about it for today, folks.

Come back tomorrow. I'll have some sheets for you.

And on your way home remember, if you're driving don't drink. And if you drink, don't drive.

We have not forgotten you.

Back in the day, the grand master used to say:

"You boys headed for the top! And when you get there, don' forget about your ol' mate, Yoda."

Well, Master Yoda, we have some good news and some bad news ...

Time management

The Cheetah pays me a pittance to write stuff for him.

Accordingly, I operate on the basis:

One for the Cheetah. One for me. One for the Cheetah. One for me.

Stocking bank

Where do those cats at the Commonwealth Bank get off issuing a guide advising staff: what colour bras to wear, not to buy cheap stockings, and to keep their nose-hair trimmed?

The first two I'd happily conform with - yes, cheap stockings make one's legs look fat, and those transparent plastic straps they try to pass off in the Myer Miss Store do chaff my shoulders so.

But, as a devout feminist, I will not trim my nose (or ear) hair for anybody.

What jumped-up,misogynist-minded,in-house,think-tank prosecuted this neo-paternalistic diatribe anyway? And when will they realise that this kind of crapola just doesn't cut it any more.

Wake up and smell the coffee. It's the sixties, man!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Reds under the bed

Australia's two largest states by area, Queensland and Western Australia, are fun, sunny kingdoms.

Parochial too.

So much so that as a former banana-bender I've had barneys with native sandgropers over which state is the most partisan. "WA is the most parochial!" claims the sandgroper. "Au contraire, es Queenland!" says I.

That notwithstanding, when visiting a Westralian hamlet for the first time, I always find the following endears me to the locals:

First, I stretch my arms out in an arc parallel to the horizon, as if to embrace the sandy landscape.

Then, I thrust my chin skyward and take a swig of dry western air.

Next - and this is the jooshy bit - I proclaim to anyone within earshot: "One day soon, all this will be known as Western ... Queensland."

Big Took terminated

Anyone who knows who this bloke was would also know he copped a lethal injection earlier today.

Did he deserve it? No. I don't think anybody does.

Did he deserve to be treated any differently to anyone else on death row? Again, no.

The fact Tookie took to writing children's stories after killing four innocent people doesn't make him a good bloke.

As the Governator rhetorically asked today, did Tookie ever renounce the gang-bangin', drug pushing ways of his Crips homies?

On that topic, I see fellow Cripper, and penner of Cop Killer, Ice MF T, continues to mumble his way through Lor and Awder, playing a cop.

I love some of Ice's raps. But his half-arsed acting leaves much to be desired.

Doong, Doong.

Never mind the Pollocks

During our second tour of duty in the land-locked city-state of Canberra, Hazel and I were lucky enough to live within spitting distance of the National Gallery of Australia.

Every month or so I'd pop in, just to renew my acquaintance with Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles. Without fail, as I ogled at the eight flourescent poles suspended in their cerulean cosmos, some codger would shuffle past and say: "I coulda painted that".

"Well, Mr Pension Man," I would think, "aint it a shame your wasted youth is gone."

Which is why I despair at recent carping that Australia's oldest - and I think best - international arts festival has become too high-brow.

Besides the fact it's always been high-brow, the annual Perth International Arts Festival cannot come 'round soon enough for me.

When are these codgers, badgers and bludgers gonna realise that part of the joy of good art is taking the time to unlock its secrets?

Hazel and I have already booked our February tickets to see sax-man Greg Osby, who we heard for the first time on the radio only a couple of weeks back.

And we're gonna enjoy it - whether we like it or not.

Don't be frugal. Click Google.

I see the Google gods have ratified my advertisements, and a damn nice selection they have for you too.

So with Christmas fast approaching, why not reward yourself with a click?

You'll be supporting the multinational that supports the Grumpy man.

You know it makes sense.


One of the big advantages of being married to a saint like Hazelblackberry is that you occasionally get your innermost desires catered for.

I'm talking here folks of my innermost desire to avoid the ca-ching(!) of someone else's cash register.

You see, by virtue of having two Scottish grandfathers, I am averse to transactional outgoings. Some (Hazel) might even say I'm a tad fish-bummed.

So, last night I programmed HBB's most detested Sonny Stitt saxophone solo - the one that sounds like a Morteined mosquito - into our CD alarm, in preparation for my monthly back-yard hair cut.

Sonny woke us on cue at 5:00am, I plugged my set of $24.95 clippers into the socket normally reserved for the goldfish filter, and still brushing sleep from her eyes Hazel started a-buzzing.

The buzzing woke up a dog, which woke a flock of corellas, which in turn woke four hungry seagulls. I heard no partridge and saw no pear tree.

But I am pleased to report that now, free of charge, I am again balder than BA Baracus, and reeeeeeeeady to grrrrrrrrrumble!

Ebony and rivalry

Re the holy war occurring across the continent, in Cronulla:

Oh, man, I don't have too much to say about that. I let my harmonica do the talking.

The next Sharkies vs Bulldogs game at Homebush should be interesting, but.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Grumpy see, Grumpy do

Well, this morning the guy I do most of my work for (I refuse to call him my boss, as that would be too ghastly to contemplate - and anyway, I have lots of other clients - like you, dear reader!) swans in tanned from his latest sojourn overseas.

I, of course, had been downstairs mailing Christmas pressies to Queensland, so reversing his impression of me as a lazy bum was not going to be easy.

On my return, I noticed that the door I had carefully closed behind me was now slightly ajar. Cringe. Snap decision. I'll head the cheetah (as he shall henceforth here be known) off at the pass.

"Happy birthday, Cheetah!" I extolled, grabbing him heartily by the hand and shaking vigorously. "And welcome back to Emerald City!"

Puzzled that I knew it was his birthday, Cheetah traded pleasantries with me until he could re-capture his devilish train of thought.

A drunk railway conductor could have reminded him what train that was, because before long our little interaction had turned down a familiar siding.

"You've been here a while now, Grumpy. How many xs do you produce each day? Y xs, heh? Using my Mumbai physics degree to tally them up, let's see, that's 7y per week, and let's say 30y per month. Hmmm."

Then on cue, the usual advice on what I should be doing, followed by my usual retort, "that is what I'm doing", followed by his well-worn skip out the door and, "I'll be around the office all day, drop back soon".

That was three hours ago. As our office is a 12x9 feet cubicle, I doubt I'll see the sap-sucking bludger for the rest of the day.

Wayne's world

The moon-faced Brisbane shock-jock who throws his two spondoolies' worth into the Sunrise Show every weekday morning ignited a freedom-of-speech outburst at Grumpyhood Mansions earlier today.

The jock said something like: "In snubbing the media the way he always did, Bennett failed to understand we live in a free society with freedom of speech."

"Which", I eruditely flew off the handle, "implies the freedom not to speak!"

Hazelblackberry, who was otherwise detained pealing an avocado-encrusted slice of tomato from our fine jarrah floorboards, rose and turned to me, stunned. Not by the passion of my clarion call, but because the tirade could so easily have blurted from her lips.

"I also have a blog," I added.

"We don't need to read everything you're thinking"

Tell that to Jack Kerouac.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Pryor notice

The coldest start to a Perth summer since records began in 1897 just got a little cooler with the news Richard Pryor is dead.

The comedian will be remembered for making this blogger a little less grumpy, no more so than when the two words - "pil ... low" - tumbled from his exhausted lips.

Any fan of 'Stir Crazy' knows what I mean. RIP Richard.

Bennett like Beckham

While Grumpy be no rap for the coaching skills of Rugby Union's Eddie Jones, hats off to the skeleton with skin - Australian Rugby League's Wayne Bennett - who resigned as national coach last night.

I've been a big fan of Bennett's since he coached my boyhood team, the mighty Southern Suburbs Magpies, from 28 years in the Rugby League wilderness to Brisbane champions in the late 1970s - co-incidentally the last time the Australian Kangaroos lost a series.

(BTW, if anybody wants to purchase a set of autographs of that full Kangaroo side before they left for England and France in 1978, please leave a post and we'll talk turkey.)

Although Bennett presided over the Kangaroos' recent loss of the tri-nations series in England, it should be remembered that with Rugby Union now able to poach League's best backline players the Kangaroos' aura has blurred over recent years.

Moreover, the tri-nations isn't just any series. It's a round-robin championship between the world's three best sides, with the odds of the Kangaroos finally failing significantly higher than in a regular three-Test series between Australia and one other nation.

No, in spite of his taciturn ways, the skeleton has been a great coach for a long, long time.

Long after this copybook smudge is forgotten, the memory of Bennett as super coach of the Queensland Maroons, Brisbane Broncos and (of course) the mighty Magpies will remain.

Why the big number?

Why the '565' in my 'blog header?

Well, that's my highest score in first-class cricket, of course.

Interview with a Scrabble champ

"Look, I know it's a cliche, but I know it's a cliche."

99 problems

Yo. Get used to it, HBB.

The OG's in the MFing house.

But I guess you knew that, as you're making Christmas cards in the next room.

Yeeeees, I will get off the Mac' so you can have a go.

Word up to Big Took.

Bush ingenuity

Look, I know the term 'genius' gets bandied about a lot.

But George Bush is no genius.

Have you seen the little fishies?

Hazelblackberry and I have a fish pond.

It's actually a fish rectangle that the previous owner of our house sawed into our back deck. Every alfresco Perth home should, and for all I know does, have one.

I was out feeding the rectangle's inhabitants today. There's 'Transparent Head', 'Jack White' and 'Toadie' - to name a few of our sixteen gilled golds.

Since throwing 'em into the rectangle 18 months ago, only one has died of natural causes. This depite the fact they have to fin through some pretty thick algae at times.

Two or three of their comrades, including the much-missed 'Gut', have fallen to the tooth of 'al dente' - the marmalade puss from two doors down.

But we no complain. We love a marmadale whuss that so reminds us of majestic Ginge, the nemesis and alter-ego of HBB's battle-hardened grandfather, the Fuhrer.

But here's the catch. Despite our popularity throughout the feline kingdom generally, the dog-bait of our street avoids us like the enteritis. No less than five cats use our yard as a public thoroughfare, but not one of the blighters stops to pass the time of day.

So today, as I sprinkled a flourescent circle of food pellets onto the fishies' meniscus, I was grateful for how they moseyed up to meet my gaze. I hoped the expanding circle looked like fireworks to them.

Pez-flavoured fireworks.

Now for something completely different

Soccer. I'm not a fan.

Or at least I won't be until FIFA:

1. bans goalkeepers; and

2. allows the referee to banish whingers from the pitch.

That said, I was in a pub packed with dribblers when the Socceroos gained entry - for the first time since 1974 - to the world cup.

Oh, the delirium.

Then yesterday, news emerged that we - yes 'we', I'm as keen as the next yobbo for Kewell and Viduka to kick bottom on the verdant pastures of the Aryan motherland - had been drawn to play in the same world cup pool as Brazil.

The undertone throughout last night's SBS World Sports (95% soccer, 4% Gaelic football, 1% other sport) Show was, 'oh, the injustice'.

My two-word response? Random draw.

And anyhow, if we want to win the damn cup, we have to defeat Brazil at some stage. So we may as well get down to it and boot Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo McDonaldinho back to Florianapolis from the tournament getgo.

Also joining the Socceroos in Group F are Eddie Jones's new home of Japan, and 1998 world cup semi-finalists Croatia.

The Croatian media has taken to calling the Socceroos the 'Croatia B' team.

When Eddie said he didn't like his teddy ...

This week's firing of Australian rugby coach Eddie Jones did not go unnoticed at Grumpy HQ.

Eddie inherited a stable ship from master-tactician Rod MacQueen, both at the ACT Brumbies and the Australian Wallabies.

And while Jones managed that talent well for a while - guiding the Brumbies to a southern hemisphere provincial championship before taking over MacQueen's job at the Wallabies - introducing and nurturing new talent was not his forte.

So good luck in Japan, Eddie. I'm sure George Gregan, and one or two other Wallaby old-hands, will miss your patronage and appreciate your scouting a retirement home for them in the land of the rising sun.

Time for giving

Yes, that's right, Hazelblackberry. It is, as you say, time to set the record straight.

That said, I don't see the need for wholesale changes.

A green template here, a google ad' there, and away we go.

And oh, oh yes, HBB, th-thank you for setting the blog up for me.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Watch this space

Original Grumpy, the OG.