Why I have an ironing deficiency
We have a no-ironing policy in our household.
Well, low ironing policy anyway.
Life is much too busy for us nowadays to waste time ironing, other than on clothes that are really, really, really creased.
And even then, it is my wife Katherine who usually gets out the ironing board.
I am quite happy to go into the world looking crumpled. MORE ...
Rebel with a Pause
My computer keyboard has 102 keys and I have no idea what at least 20 of them are supposed to do.
What, for instance, does the Pause button do?
When curiosity got the better of me yesterday and I hit it, nothing at all seemed to happen. It just, well, paused. At first. MORE ...
Coming to drips with Captain Cook
I suppose I should be grateful.
If Yorkshireman James Cook had not caught sight of the south-east tip of Australia from the little ship HMAS Endeavour in 1770, I might not be here.
Or I might have been writing this in French.
Thus, I think of Captain Cook a lot. In English. MORE ...
Why I have to cop it sweet at the zoo
If the zoo I take my son Jack, 5, to next week has orangutans, I could have some explaining to do to my wife Katherine.
You probably know that an orangutan is a large reddish-brown man-like ape who comes from the jungles of Sumatra and Borneo.
But Jack clearly does not. MORE ...
Toasty warm but without the toast
I finally mustered the courage to ask the gas company to send someone to relight the pilot light on our heater the other day. I felt I had to seeing as winter has really set in.
"You want us to do WHAT?" I half-expected the person at the gas company to say when I phoned. "Light your pilot light? What are you: a man or a mouse?" MORE ...
Highway to Hell, putting AC/DC tracks on backs
You have to admire some people, even if you wonder about them. Two men stood on the side of a road morning and afternoon for three days with a placard advertising an AC/DC concert which was held in Canberra a few years ago.
The men agreed to do it in exchange for meeting their idols and, wait for it, getting their autographs immortalised in tattoos on their backs. MORE ...
Itching for the right Christmas tree
Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and happiness. So how come I feel hard done by about our Christmas tree again this year?
I blame myself.
I should have checked the fine print of our marriage vows more closely.
When I told my wife-to-be Katherine that I was fine with omitting the bit that she obey ME, I had no idea that this meant I would have to obey HER when it came to picking Christmas trees. MORE ...
A daddy confronts the Tent Commandments
I am not a happy camper. Heck, I cannot remember ANY good camping experiences. Never, ever.
So why oh why did I agree to take my five-year-old son Jack camping this week? MORE ...
Falling into a booby trap
Dear Quick Perfection,
Thank you for your e-mail offering me bigger, firmer, natural-looking breasts.
I have three questions though:
1. Do the breasts come with a woman on the other end or do I have to have them myself?
2. If they do come accompanied, and I am not completely satisfied with your "amazing" product after 30 days, do I have to return the goods to get my money back? Or could I, say, just return one of them and get half my money back? MORE ...
The whole tooth and nothing but the tooth
I am in trouble with my wife Katherine again. Though this time, thank goodness, I can blame the tooth fairy.
Our son Jack, 6, lost his first tooth on September 30.
Unfortunately for me, Katherine was away for a few days and I was Mr Mom. MORE ...
Bring out the bath-cubes, it's Mother's Day
Life used to be much less stressful when I only had one mother to look after.
When I was five, our lodcal chemist did a roaring trade on cheap and nasty bath-cubes.
They came in two fraqgrances, lavender and rose, but it did not matter which one you picked because I suspect they both smelt the same. MORE .
How much is that scorpion in the window?
Who would go into a pet shop with every intention of buying his kid a loveable dog, capable of returning great affection, and come home with a green, nippy, horrible, potentially lethal scorpion? MORE ...
April Fools Day: The French connection
It has come to my attention that April Fools Day might have had its origins in 16th century France.
This could explain why I wasted four years learning French at high school. It was a joke, right? A load of merde.
I am an "April Fool!" (as well as February, March, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December). Or, as the French might say, "Je suis un Poisson d'Avril!" (et Janvier, Fevrier, Mars, Mai, Juin, Août, Septembre, Octobre, Novembre et Decembre). MORE ...
I do not get it. Why do so many people want to dress up and impersonate Elvis Presley?
A couple of years I wrote that I am the only person I know who has not seen Elvis Presley in a supermarket aisle.
Well, this is still true. MORE ...
Why the three wise men bared their soles
I think the people who formed the logjam at my local shoe shop yesterday will agree that often you do not realise you need new shoes until winter arrives.
Well, it has arrived here in Canberra. It is cold and wet.
And, sure enough, I have discovered that the shoes that served me so well through a hot, dry summer have developed tiny holes in the soles capable of sucking up uncomfortable quantities of icy rainwater, dew and frost droplets as I slosh my way hither and thither. MORE ...
Close shave on the cardiac warpath
I am pretty sure the stream of people who lifted up my hospital gown and looked at my groin over the past few days were all either doctors or nurses.
But I cannot be sure.
For all I know, there was a sign at the door saying: "STEP RIGHT UP, FOLKS, FOR A GIG AT MR MARTIN'S GROIN."
"Very impressive indeed," several of the onlookers said when they took a peek. MORE ...
Slow down, you mow too fast
I am not happy. Someone has put a speed limit sign on our nature strip.
Actually I found it there a couple of years ago but I was reminded of its presence last week when I got our lawnmower out for the first time since autumn. MORE ...
Teats and sweets
Never let it be said that I am a culinary Philistine. I nearly bought my wife Katherine a cow for Christmas.
I didn't. But only because I couldn't bear the thought of trying to conceal it under the Christmas tree. Has anyone here actually ever tried to gift-wrap a cow? MORE ...
Preparing for the second-coming of Bob
I saw God today and spoke to Him.
At least, I thought He was God.
He had long hair and a beard, and was driving one of those little trucks that chuff around multi-storey car parks loading up shopping carts.
I thought He would be wearing a long white gown but He wasn't. He was wearing a navy blue tank top, which showed off His hairy shoulders, and his cap was on backwards but He really did look quite serene despite the fierce heat of the day. MORE ...
Getting the Big A over the Big O
Psst, a chap offered to sell me a pair of Roy Orbison's glasses the other day. I opened an email to find:
I was given a pair of Roy Orbison's glasses in 1982 by Orbison himself, during a concert I produced with him in Atlantic City. He took them off his right off his face and handed them to me because he knew I always liked them and he had several pair. I want $4500.00 for them. MORE ...
The day the magic left my underpants
There comes a time in every man's life when he has to face up to the reality he will never be a super hero.
This penny drops right after the realisation that, just because he has pictures of Superman on his undies, it does not mean he is able to leap tall buildings with a single bound. MORE ...
Skippy, the ambushed kangaroo
Imagine it is the Olympic Games. Eight contestants have lined up in the athletics stadium for the race of their lives.
It has taken years to get here.
Years of sweat and grind and sheer determination. Long days and nights of travel, competition and training.
In just a matter of seconds, though, it will be all over and someone will have the cherished gold medal. MORE ...
Learning to stand on my own two elite feet again
I was not going to say anything about the news I got during my trip to the doctor recently.
Blokes are like that, aren't they?
We're tough. Stoic. Macho.
"Tell me doc. I can take it," I remember saying as my doctor tried to make sense of my file on his new computer system. MORE ...
Secret Men's Business at the barber shop
When I was a cool teenager (in the days when "cool" meant "with it" rather than "excellent"), I took great delight in laughing at my father's haircuts.
He went to a barber shop called Nick and Mario's.
You could have any haircut style you wanted at Nick and Mario's as long as it was short back and sides.MORE ...
Falling off the end of the newspaper world
Claude was the picture of activity as he tap-tap-tapped away on his old Remington typewriter.
The boss was pleased with Claude. He was a real, live old-style newspaper reporter, with a press sign in his hat, and more often than not, a cigarette in his mouth.
Once in a while, Claude paused and chuckled about the ways things had gone. MORE ...
Ripping the top off a six-pack
I am sooooo proud of myself. I just bought a six-pack of toilet paper from the supermarket.
This might not seem like such a big deal to you.
People do it everyday, right? Thousands of people. Hundreds of thousands of people. Millions of people.
But not me. MORE ...
Why I hate surfing at the dump
I don't surf. I can't, on account of an old line dancing injury.
So why, I have been asked by visitors this past week, is there a surfboard in my back yard?
"It's NOT mine," I protest. "Our son Jack brought it home from the recycling centre at the dump." MORE ...
Conjugating the herb to be
"Something has been eating my mint," exclaimed my wife Katherine as she pointed to a worse-for-wear plant in her herb garden.
"Well, it definitely wasn't me," I said. "I don't even like mint." MORE ...
What bugs me most about cooking
"Okay," said my wife Katherine. "Time to add the finishing touches to the cha ca ca chung. Have you got it, John?"
"Got what?" I said, peering into sizzling dish of Vietnamese food.
"The ca chung!" said Katherine. "I bought the fish. I bought the peanuts. I bought the vermicelli, and the chilli, and the shrimp paste, and the mint, and the basil and the coriander. All I asked you to get was the ca chung. WHERE IS IT?" MORE ...
Thou shalt not forget to bring thine P.E. gear
Father's Day is rapidly approaching here in Australia and I just know I am going to be made to pick up litter at my son Jack's school.
Perhaps I am paranoid, but I have good reason to be fearful. MORE ...
Who here can say: "Nhima Djat'pangarri nhima walangwalang"?
Okay, now who can say it three times really fast?
Nice try. But who can say it three times really fast while your head is buried in a pillow at 7 o'clock in the morning at the command of a five-year-old boy who is already wide awake and thinks you should be too. MORE ...
So near and yet so far from Blue Poles
American abstract impressionist painter Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) once said: "When I am in my painting, I'm not aware of what I'm doing."
Um, call me a philistine but I quite frequently look at paintings and wonder if the painter knew what he or she was doing.
I can only admit to being amused when my wife Katherine brought home an abstract expressionalist painting from a garage sale only last weekend. MORE ...
Stairway to sack race heaven
My son Jack, 5, said the other day that it would be nice if he and I did some sack racing together.
I have not been a participant in a sack race for more than 30 years, but I remember the event now. MORE ...
A few words to God about what went down
I remember having to bury a dead cat when I was 12.
I would not have minded terribly except he was not our cat.
We found him expired at our front-door and I swear I had never seen him around before. MORE ...
Olympic dream a thrust away
I knew my subconscious must have had a good reason for allowing me to let my washboard stomach go.
All those custard tarts, Black Forest cakes, cheesecakes, mud cakes, etc, etc, have not been digested in vain. I have decided to make good use of my blancmanche-like tummy by offering Australia my services as a belly dancer in the Olympic Games. MORE ...
Beware the half-cocked Nelson
I have to admit it: I was the one who put a gun into Minister Brendan Nelson's hands.
At least I think it was him.
Heck, it was a long time ago. It was in the mid-1960s and I have lost a lot of brain cells since then. MORE...
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