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Friday Photos

I’ve been rather busy this week and haven’t managed to get anywhere to actually take photos so instead I’m giving you this little gem I picked up at my local bookshop.

Summer Reading GuideGraeme Simsion was giving us a few words on the radio last night, even answering questions. I heard a couple of people thanking him for talking about autism in his books. And here he is on the front cover!

The books that drew my attention:

The Never, Um, Ever Ending Story by Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum about his life and the most popular music programme, Countdown.

The Imaginery by A. F. Harrold, this entry also had a Q&A.

The Beach They Called Gallipoli by Jackie French & Bruce Whatley (illus). French is a fabulous author and I fully recommend anything historical she’s written.

The Beatles Lyrics including context for each song.

I’ve highlighted some of these books but there are many more excellent ones listed. Why not go to your nearest independent bookshop and buy some reading for Easter. If you don’t have a bookshop nearby then buying online is acceptable and that’s why I’ve linked to Booktopia for these books. Edit: Actually I’m lying and that’s because the website won’t let me in to give you links to Booktopia.


P is for John T Phillifent

Researching which author to showcase is always an interesting exercise. Today it meant looking through some of my pulp fiction magazines and finding three possible names: Lawrence A Perkins; Arthur Porges and; John T Phillifent. I eventually settled on Phillifent and has authored three of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. books so I was able to take a photo of those three books for you.

Frederick Pohl, himself a celebrated science fiction author, credits Phillifent with a comprehensive definition of science fiction and you don’t get much better than having Pohl think you’re wonderful.

Phillifent has had numerous short stories and novels published under his own name and a large number published under his pen name of Arthur Rackham.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. by John T. Phillifent

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. by John T. Phillifent

I’m going to digress before I sign off for today. If you look carefully at the front covers of the books in the photo and age the men in your mind you might possibly recognise them. I did a google and discovered they’re in the middle of a remake with Hugh Grant as Mr Waverly, the mind boggles and I’m sure it won’t be anywhere near as good as the TV series from the 1960s.

So, you’re looking at Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, who have recently appeared in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and NCIS respectively. Awesome work!


We discussed slang in English Language yesterday and I found it so interesting I decided I had to write about it.

Slang is something that’s really hard to define. I know there are definitions in dictionaries and you can google the word and come up with many definitions some of which actually agree with each other. We tossed the word around for a while and came up with some thoughts.

It’s colloquial and non-standard language (you can have slang in many languages but I’ll stick to English from here on in). I think another definition is needed here. ‘Non-standard’ is the opposite of ‘standard’ and maybe ‘informal English’ is a better way of describing it and it is often described as the opposite of ‘formal English’. Informal English has contractions such as ‘isn’t’ or ‘hasn’t’, it has ellipses or compound words.

Definition of slang from Living Lingo by Kate Burridge, Debbie de Laps and Michael Clyne

Definition of slang from Living Lingo by Kate Burridge, Debbie de Laps and Michael Clyne

Slang is transient and can be gone as quickly as it came. When POWs returned to America from the Vietnam War they were issued with a list of 86 new slang words to help them reintegrate into society, by the time the list was printed and issued many of them had gone out of use again. In five years words had come and gone!

Slang is often location specific and we have a lot of slang in Australia. Although we don’t appear to have more slang than any other country we seem to be proud of it. If you go to the Department of Immigration website you can find a document which has a page on Australian slang, it should be on page 36. The entry I want to point out is ‘bring a plate’, this means to bring a plate with some food to share for some kind of celebration, so many people don’t realise and just bring an empty plate.

One of the words that came up in class was ‘grouse’. They were saying it was a new word, I shook my head and told them I was using it in the 1970s. Yesterday I proved I’m older than the rest of the class and my teacher, can’t think why I did that.

Some examples of slang from the same book as before.

Some examples of slang from the same book as before. I almost embarrassed myself again by asking about ‘thang’ but it seems this list has been collated from several different additions to the dictionary so ‘thang’ must have been added some time ago.

Here are some functions of colloquial language

  • Rapport
  • Humour
  • Approachability
  • Solidarity
  • Intimacy
  • Familiarity

The last three indicate friendship with shared context and values. You’ll notice new immigrants try to use slang as soon as they can to try and fit in with the culture, they will almost certainly keep the rest of their culture but the slang will creep in quickly.

And that’s enough of that lecture.

Sea of Many Returns – Arnold Zable

Sea of Many Returns by Arnold Zable

Sea of Many Returns by Arnold Zable

As with all of Zable’s books I was moved, not moved to the point of tears but still moved. Sea of Many Returns is a great book about immigration and return from and to Melbourne and Ithaca.

This book looks at Xanthe as she goes to Ithaca, the land of her ancestors and retraces their steps, their stories and recounts their stories and her own. It looks at her father and grandfather as they travel to Australia and their travails as they travel around Australia finally coming to rest in Melbourne. We see how Australians have treated Greek immigrants during WWI (not well) and how homesickness hits.

What I loved about this book?

Just about everything. The writing is Zable’s usual, excellent. He is a sensitive writer and ensure the reader understands the culture he’s writing about as if we were within that culture. He uses words in Greek but then translates them.

Learning about the Greek culture in Ithaca. I felt the cycle of the seasons as people worked their way through gathering food, pruning olive trees and making things. The amount of work they do makes me feel I do absolutely nothing. I loved learning about Ithaca and the yearning many men have for the sea and when they’re on the sea the yearning they have for Ithaca.

I have a better understanding of what it must have been like to have been a Greek immigrant during WWI. They had a very hard time, if they had shops then those shops were looted and they were very lucky to escape with their bodies undamaged.

One thing I’ll be doing tomorrow after class is to wander past Capitol Theatre in Swanston Street. One of the characters narrates part of the creation of this historic building. The architecture was designed by Walter Burley Griffin and his wife Marion Mahoney Griffin, Burley Griffin designed Canberra, our nation’s capital so it was very exciting to actually see him depicted in a book.

What I didn’t like about this book?

Not enough detail in so many places. It leaves the way open to so many spin offs in order to explain in much greater detail. I’d love more about Mentor moving to Melbourne, much more about Fotini moving to Melbourne and her troubles. That would include much more detail of the troubles the Greeks had here during WWI, they were treated very shabbily as Australians had little sensitivity about foreigners and which part of the world they’d come from (not much has changed as this insensitivity still exists and I promise I won’t name any prominent politicians showing these traits).

Do I recommend this book?

Yes, but then I recommend every book by Zable. This is the first book of his that hasn’t generated tears but it was still incredibly moving. Zable is a master storyteller and has the ability to recreate worlds and show us what they must have been. Here is his book available for sale at Booktopia.

Friday Photos

Only two photos for you this week, it’s been an interesting week and I haven’t been many places to get anything appropriate.

Genderless Gingerbread

This captured my attention. Organic Genderless Gingerbread Figures. Not Gingerbread Men but Genderless and Figures. Just awesome. You can buy them at TOFWD, their coffee is reasonable.


I shouldn’t make fun of people’s spelling, most especially when I suspect English is not their first language but this really caught my eye. I like how they’re open from 7am too.


O is for Fitz-James O’Brien

Who? I hear you say, and well you might. Fitz-James O’Brien seems to be a rather obscure author to me but according to all sources he’s considered a forerunner to modern science fiction, born in 1828 and dying in 1862 it puts him well before Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. I found him in the Webster’s Dictionary of American Authors as well as Wikipedia and found various sources of ebooks. If you do a quick search you’ll be able to read his works online, but I will give you links to buy three works as they look really good.

O’Brien was born in County Cork, Ireland with the first name of Michael but his family moved to Limerick when he was young, strangely enough he went with them. When he moved to the United States in 1952 he changed his first name to Fitz-James.

He wrote for a number of periodicals including Harper’s Magazine, Vanity Fair and the Atlantic Monthly. It was to the Atlantic Monthly he sent The Diamond Lens and The Wonder Smith. What Was It seems to have short stories with everything in speculative fiction except for science fiction.

As he had robots in his texts I do wonder how much influence he had on Isaac Asimov. I have done a little googling to try and check my theory but I think I’d something rather more detailed than the articles I found.

Brain inactive

Not sure what the problem is today but my brain seems to have shut down. I’m able to concentrate on games, reading books and painting but nothing else. Searching for something to say today just isn’t working as I can’t seem to comprehend much of what I’m reading to be able to comment about it. So, all you’re going to get today is a couple of links and you can do the reading and make the comment yourself. It’s a DIY blog day today.

London Book Fair to follow publishing Around the World in 8 hours

Publishers bypass literary agents to discover bestseller talent

Harlequin Has Closed Author Solutions Front Company DellArte Press although I did enjoy reading the third paragraph of this article.

Rowan Atkinson to play Jules Maigret in two ITV films

Aboriginal Place Names

I’ve been considering doing some research about some of the suburb names in Melbourne, more specifically those that sound Aboriginal such as ‘Murrumbeena’ with a view to scribbling a few words about them. It’s obviously been of some interest to me in the past as a few days ago I found a book on my shelf.

Aboriginal Place Names of South East Australia and their meanings by Aldo Massola

Aboriginal Place Names of South East Australia and their meanings by Aldo Massola

Aboriginal Place Names of South-East Australia and Their Meanings by Aldo Massola has library stamps from the now-defunct Moorleigh High School library, it was the room opposite the Moorabbin Toy Library when I belonged to it, the books were all going to be thrown into the tip so a number of us used to browse and pick up good titles, I picked this one up as a title of interest and haven’t looked at it since – give me a break, it’s only been about 20 years. Moorleigh High School was closed down during the Kennett Government and repurposed to house a number of different organisations including the Moorabbin Toy Library and U3A (University of the Third Age, a learning institution for people over the age of 55, could be a while before I get there as I’m only 18). The library was one of the last rooms to be decommissioned, I do wish I’d picked up more books.

Anyway, two entries from the book.

Murrumbeena – after name of native policeman Murrum Murrumbeen, who used to camp there: moss growing on water


Lake Wendouree: Wendaaree, be off, or off you go

I’m finding it challenging to find more than a couple of copies of this book for sale despite Massola being such an important person in his field. He rearranged collections at the National Museum of Victoria, some parts to his own home, and rediscovered some invaluable Oenpelli bark paintings that were being used as trestle tables.

If you’re interested in this topic you should also look at A. W. Reed as he was also an important researcher. I have a couple of Reed’s books on Aboriginal Myths and Legends which I’ve lent to a friend. Here’s Reed’s book on Aboriginal Place Names, Reed hasn’t contented himself with south-east Australia but instead has place names from all over Australia. I firmly recommend any of Reed’s books, absolutely fascinating.

I can’t finish these thoughts without mentioning the Koolin people. They are the Aboriginal people of the south-east region, traditional caretakers of this land and as such I’ve taken the liberty of thanking them on the right hand side of this blog. We were at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl Free Concert on Saturday and they acknowledged the Koolin people but I don’t like the word ‘acknowledge’ as in this case it doesn’t cover all that I feel about the Koolin people and how they cared for this land before white man came here. ‘Thanking’ them goes somewhat further but it’s still rather inadequate.

Friday Photos

Majorca Building

Sometimes one should be a tourist in your own city. I was walking Degraves Street between classes getting food or coffee (possibly both) when I saw someone taking a photo of this building, when I looked up I understood. It’s the Majorca Building built by Harry Norris and only a few doors down from where Grandpa had his warehouse, he was part of the rag trade. If you look carefully on the right you’ll see the building where I’m studying, the label is CAE or Council for Adult Education…apparently I’m an adult.

Mother Goose Birdhouse

Here I am, in Werribee enjoying the music of the market when I found a couple of interesting things. Some people would call them upcycled treasures and others would be horrified at the desecration of the book. You can probably get them through Dave as his other half makes them.

Swan Lake Birdhouse

Just giving you another look at a birdhouse. I’m actually quite taken by this one.


N is for Grant Naylor

Yes, I know this is Doug Naylor and Rob Grant, just deal with it. This writing duo write well separately but together they are dynamite. The Robert Llewellyn who played Kryten in Red Dwarf complained about the writing and how challenging it was to memorise as it was

so unique and so free of cliches that a long Kryten speech is very hard to learn.

When I have learned other people’s scripts, I have found there is usually a turn of phrase or a sentence structure that you recognize and you already have at your disposal. It’s therefore fairly easy to learn as you almost know it already, you only have to memorize it in order.

With Kryten talk, this is never the case. Rob and Doug will never use a hackneyed turn of phrase, they always come up with new ways of saying something.

a nice illustration from Robert Llewellyn’s autobiography The Man in the Rubber Mask. You know he married an Australian woman – Llewellyn, not Grant or Naylor.

I first came across Red Dwarf on TV when the kids were young and on their way to bed. The TV was on, I was walking past and there’s this strange show I didn’t get. Then comes season III and the screen showed some extremely strange stuff, I’m sitting there going ‘how did they do that?’ The episode was called Backwards and it needs to be seen to be believed before I knew I was a regular watcher eventually buying all the DVDs and books. The photos show what I have on hand, I seem to be missing some books as I’ve lent them out and they’ve not been boomerangs.


Three Red Dwarf books. All brilliant and although similar to the TV series as they have a similar idea and plot they are completely different. They are all well worth reading.


All the DVDs. If you look at Season IV you’ll find the characters doing a live cooking show, in character. I got asthma from laughing so much…tears rolling down my face. Beat the Geek is a Red Dwarf game signed by Norman Lovatt but it’s not mine.

Llewellyn and Charles

The Man in the Rubber Mask by Robert Llewellyn details his time on the Red Dwarf set and how hard it was to be fitted into his costume. The Log by Craig Charles is a bit bizarre and fits his character on Red Dwarf to a tee.


Buying time. Booktopia has Last Human for sale. Be careful when searching for Red Dwarf on Booktopia (or anywhere else) as you’ll get lots of hits, many of them scientific. The Man in the Rubber Mask, he’s written some other stuff but this is the best. Angus and Robertson have the whole set of DVDs, borrow from the video shop before buying the whole lot just in case you don’t like them. Angus and Robertson also have Fat by Rob Grant, a futuristic look at losing weight, I didn’t bring it off the shelf but I do have it, intriguing and thought provoking.

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Thank You
I want to thank the Koolin people who have been guardians and caretakers of the area I live in for many thousands of years.