Category Archives: Things that make me laugh

My new best friends on podcast

I’m really enjoying Chat10Looks3, a podcast put together by Leigh Sales and Annabelle Crabbe.  You can subscribe on I-tunes or download them from their website at   It’s worth downloading them all and listening from the beginning because there’s quite a few in-jokes.


They rabbit on about the books they’ve read, films they’ve seen, a little bit of current affairs and politics, favourite recipes and -yes- they cook cakes and biscuits for each other. Podcasts are often interrupted by their children coming to the door, the sound of them eating their delicious gifts to each other and bursts of laughter.  It’s like sitting beside two uproariously funny girlfriends having a coffee.

It was through Chat10Looks3 that I heard about a fantastic podcast called The Living Room by Diane Weipert


What a podcast! Within 30 I found myself recoiling in disgust at the narrator’s voyeurism, sobbing at the sadness of what she saw, and wondering if, by making this podcast, she has committed an even more egregious betrayal.   It’s one of the best podcasts I’ve listened to- see if you agree.

Oven poached teeth

I had to go to the dentist this morning for a 9.00 a.m. appointment.  I had originally thought that at least I wouldn’t have to wait for long, but then I started to wonder if maybe I would have a longer wait than anticipated.  Why? Because in my mind’s eye I can see hordes of Sunday Age readers, all sitting desperately in dentists’ waiting rooms, with their teeth clamped shut.

I blame Guy Grossi’s oven poached pears, featured in yesterday’s Sunday Age.


Beurre bosc pears?- check.  Cinnamon stick?- check.  Star anise?- no, but  I bought some. In went the pears to cook in the saucepan for 20 minutes or until the pears were just tender.  Well, it was a good 30 minutes before I could persuade myself that perhaps they were slightly more tender than when I put them in half an hour earlier.  Into the oven, 40 minutes, 50 minutes, 1 hr 15 minutes- ye gods, they still looked like albino walruses wallowing in barely coloured syrup and as hard as rocks.  So, in desperation, back onto the stovetop to somehow make them “caramelized and sticky.”

Well, that worked.  So well that once they hit the bowls, they clamped immediately onto the bottom, only to be shifted by multiple applications of boiling water and soaking over night.  “Mmmm” we said, taking a mouthful of pear, only to realize that the caramel set like cement between our teeth.  “Mmmm” was all we could say, really. That, or “mmnnnngggttttsssshhhh”.

You can keep your oven-poached pears Mr Grossi.  Dentists throughout Melbourne and Sydney (and anywhere else the Sunday Life is published) thank you.  I don’t.

Red faces

I never cease to be amazed by the search terms that bring people to this blog, and I often laugh at the bemusement they must feel when they realize what’s here.  So, given that much of my readership has arrived in unusual ways, I may as well share with my diverse readership (such as it is) some beauty tips! Those of you who know me will probably snort with derision- as indeed I do myself.

This little thought bubble was generated by an earnest discussion I had with my 60+ male doctor this week as we sat down together and discussed beauty regimes at night.  Not quite- I was there for yet another prescription to treat roseacea.  I developed this about eight years ago, at a time when my health was rather precarious and changeable.  I’m not sure whether the two are linked, or whether it was just moving into middle age where one’s body seems to be following its own secret instruction sheet.  Anyway, roseacea I have, and antibiotics keep it under control, necessitating far more frequent visits to the doctor than I’ve ever had to have for anything else.

On for a bit of a chat, which my doctor often is, he said that he’d developed roseacea himself last year and decided to do his own research on it.  He found research that linked a skin mite to roseacea.

Here it is climbing across your skin.

Eeuggh! are you scratching yet?

Anyway, he had treated himself with scabies treatment but had also been looking at sunscreen- and this is where I stopped shuddering and started listening because I’ve also noticed the beneficial effects of sunscreen on roseacea.  I became severely sunburnt on the face over Christmas, even though I had a hat on and was sitting in the shade.  Then I recalled my dermatologist muttering something about the sun and remembered that the antibiotics I take have a fluorescent sticker plastered on them warning of sun damage while taking them. The next day I plastered myself liberally with sunscreen and ended up with a magnificent outbreak of roseacea a few days later.  So onto the Googly I went and found that sunscreens with zinc were beneficial, as long as they were removed carefully at night.  So, I’ve been using Ego Sunsense Daily Face (with matte tint and under $20 for 200 ml!!!) and Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser (for $10.00 for 200 ml- don’t tell me that I don’t PAY for my beauty!) at night.  My doctor, meanwhile has gone the Ego QV route with good old Country Life soap at night (he obviously pays even less for his beauty!)

What has surprised me is that my skin has cleared up so well- it’s no longer dry and stinging- that I think I MAY even be able to ease off the antibiotics, which would be a VERY GOOD THING. If nothing else, I wouldn’t have to sit there so often having beauty chats with my doctor.

And meanwhile, continuing the downward theme of this blog, you’ll just have to wait until next Saturday for my best household hint ever.

Tim Minchin vs The MSO

I’ve written of my admiration for Tim Minchin previously, and on Saturday night as a birthday/Christmas gift from my daughter we toddled off to the Palais to see his new show Tim Minchin Vs The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

It was a curiously named event because there was no ‘versus’ towards the MSO at all. But against organized religion and hypocrisy, yes, as you’d expect in a Tim Minchin show (in fact, I wonder if the MSO subscribers who’d opted for this knew exactly what they were letting themselves in for!)  I’m not really sure what the MSO was there for, except as an indulgence- a fact  which Minchin readily admitted.

The show itself was a combination of old stuff and new material that I hadn’t heard before.  I found listening to unfamiliar songs in a large venue with such a strong orchestral backing a bit challenging. But for his earlier material that I have loved and watched several times on video, it was an indulgence for me, too,  to sit back and hear a slightly different but still recognizable rendition of his witty, wicked lyrics.

A well-deserved  standing ovation at the end, after leaving us with my two favourite songs-

Perfect and

White Wine in the Sun

Ah! I’m so vicariously proud of the lad! How lucky am I to have seen him again.

I can see it all…

I shouldn’t laugh.  It’s a serious matter, especially for the victim. But nonetheless…

Crime stopper reports are not often known for their evocative descriptions, but somehow I can see this whole scenario unfolding before my eyes and I think I’ve seen the perpetrators before….


Police are hunting a couple who them say deliberately ran over a man because his dogs were barking.

The man was sitting on a planter box outside a supermarket in Vines Road, Hamlyn Heights, a suburb of Geelong, when he got into an argument with a man and a woman about his two dogs.

The couple got into their silver Ford sedan and drove at the man, who sustained serious injuries when he bounced off the car bonnet and hit the road.

Police are looking for an obese man with a grey beard who was wearing a windcheater

The woman, also described as obese, was wearing a floral dress with glasses.



At our bookgroup (i.e. the Ladies Who Say Oooh)  last month we were talking about comedy in books.  The book we were reading, “Two Caravans”,  was billed as humourous, but I really didn’t find it very funny at all.  I commented that there are very few books that I have actually laughed out loud at.  Two that do come to mind are Clive James’ “Unreliable Memoirs” and Denise Scott’s “All that Happened at Number 26“- both of which had me laughing out loud, almost to the point of tears. We dourly vowed that we’d monitor our laughing at books for the rest of the year- a resolution that’s almost certain to deaden any mirth at all for the remainder of 2011!

I don’t think of myself as a humourless person, but I just don’t seem to do it very often when I’m reading.  Perhaps I do- it will be interesting to see.  I laugh at television and in movies, although come to think of it,  I rarely choose to go to a ‘funny movie’.  I think that I often laugh during conversations, and I quite enjoy listening to radio comedy.  I’m really looking forward to seeing Tim Minchin in a fortnight or so, but I think he’s one of the few comedians that I’ve actually seen live.  Of course, there’s laughing and laughing- can I categorize it?  Surely this is a truly kill-joy endeavour…

1.The little sub-vocalized ‘hmmph’ with a raising of the shoulders

2. Breaking into a smile with a little chuckle

3. Laughing out loud- head thrown back, shoulders shaking

4. Extended laughing out loud, perhaps with tears! or perish the thought- a little snort!- subsiding into chuckles then bursting out again.

And I often laugh at watching other people laugh.


I’m Me

The Odd Spot in the paper today

A man has robbed more than a dozen AT&T stores in South Florida. His victims have all described him as having a tattoo on his forehead that says, “I’m Me”.

Well, this guy must be either very clever or very stupid.

Clever if he used a removable tattoo that would distract his victims from noticing anything else about him. “I must remember this” they’d think “he has a tattoo on his forehead saying ‘I’m Me’.” Eye colour? Dunno.  Shape of face? Dunno. Nose shape? Dunno.  But he does have a tattoo that says “I’m Me”.  He no doubt scrubs it off as soon as he gets away.

Stupid, stupid, stupid though, if it’s permanent.  Then I find myself wondering- is it written in mirror writing so that it looks the right way to him when he sees himself in the mirror? (which is, after all, the main way any of us see ourselves). [A further aside- do they really think that drivers won’t recognize the white van with red stripes, siren and flashing red and blue lights as an ambulance unless they write ‘ecnalubma’ on the front backwards so that it can be read in the rear-view mirror?]

But back to our robber- is the “I’m Me”  for him to remind himself who he is, or is it for the people outside as a statement of identity?

Ah, footy!

Simon says “Hands on Heads!”

What a beautiful game! We didn’t lose! And we get to do it all again next week!

Things that make me laugh #1 for 2010

Could I really be so humourless that it’s taken me until the end of May to find something to make me laugh?

Actually, I saw this back in March.

The entry wasn’t the only thing concealed.  And not much “watching” going on here, I suspect.

You’ll be pleased to know that the tree has since been pruned.

Feeling patriotic?

Look at what you can buy at Aldi this week.

If you feel the need to wrap yourself in the flag- then this is for you! It’s a Body Cape Flag

Here’s the caption:

  • with sleeves for easy wearing
  • lightweight
  • choose from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or England

So, if you’re heading down to Cronulla or feel like a bit of Commonwealth rivalry, with the handy sleeve feature  there’s no need to clutch the flag around you to stop it falling off.  Both your hands are now unencumbered so let the flag fly free!

Actually, have I told you yet that I own the flag? Well, not me- my family.  And not really. In a book called Flag and Nation, Elizabeth Kwan writes about the 1901 Commonwealth government competition to design the flag. The judges chose a similar design submitted separately by five entrants: Annie Dorrington from Perth, Ivor Evans and Egbert Nuttall of Melbourne, Leslie Hawkins of Sydney and William Stevens of Auckland.  So that was the real flag.   But there were complaints that the Commonwealth star was too big in the winning design, and besides,  William Lumley of Melbourne had submitted another design (that looks pretty much the same to me)  that foreshadowed the white ensign that would be chosen by the Royal Australian navy 60 years later.   And that William Lumley is my great-grandfather!!!

Kwan writes:

William Lumley’s design for the 1901 flag competition foreshadowed the Australian white ensign of 1967. His modified design, filling the large ’empty’ Commonwealth Star flew at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 2 January 1902 for the England-Australia Test. (p.23)

Ah, but did he?? A Nation’s Imagination: Australia’s Copyright Records has this listing:

W H Lumley, drawings (red, white and blue) for an Australian
Federal flag, 1901

Lumley registered his designs in each colony. They are
sketches of the winning flag design rendered on red, white
and blue grounds. Lumley was not one of the competition
winners but a ‘Business Broker‘ for Mr W G Lampard. (p.66)

Lampard? Who’s Lampard? Is my great-grandfather (gulp!) a plagiarist or appropriator? Should an aspiring historian confess to such a forebear?  I must admit that ‘business broker’ makes sense as the family has spawned several entrepreneurs and businessmen- a gene that skipped over me, I’m afraid.  And to be fair, there was absolutely no family lore at all about the flag design which one might have expected had there been an overlooked flag-designer in the family.  When Elizabeth Kwan contacted the family about it, it was certainly news to us.

But, never one to let the facts stand in the way of a good story (and an aspiring historian certainly shouldn’t confess to that!) as the great grand-daughter of the man who probably submitted the designs on another’s behalf,  I think I’m close enough to owning the flag.  The 1902 Test Cricket match seals it.  Therefore, I think that I’m entitled to a cut of the – let’s see…- $4.99 purchase price.  I’ll let you know how I spend the millions in royalties.