Thursday, 26 May 2011

Why are you still here!!!

Raptures past and present...

I have been around for at least three predictions of  'The Rapture' and may live long enough to see a couple more. It seems every generation of Christians wants the big R to happen in their lifetime. But you have to hand it to them. They have unquestioning gullibility and shameless tenacity; a dangerous combination.

They said; “if you wake up to find
the faithful have left you behind,
you’ll know that the rapture
failed to recapture
your devious Atheist mind!”

So what did I find when I woke
this morning and looked for you folk?
You-all are still here,
not in Heaven, I fear
‘Cause the whole stupid thing is a joke!

It’s clear that the Rapture’s a con,
with so many dates come and gone.
It seems that the grand plan
is worth even less than
the paper it’s all written on!

First published in Poetry 24, a news based poetry blog that is well worth a look... well, go on!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Shakespear's Magpie 67.

The Lute Player. (a playlet).
Scene: A banquet.

Cast of Characters (from left)
Mr Beardtrim Ubergutz.
Cyril Toad'stool (waiter)
Monocle Mick (pawnbroker)
Bluebell Bandy (Mick’s transgender friend)
Lute Player (whose name nobody wants to know because he is not a celeb).
Directors note:
All characters are ventriloquists so there is no need for movement.
The Lute Player is still having trouble getting his pinkie to hold down the A in a Bm7.
The plastic fowl should not be eaten.
Act One and Only.
Lute Player: (singing) ‘O Beautiful maiden/ I’ve loved you forever/ Come I beseech thee… ‘ (looks desperate) wait, wait… almost there…
Bluebell: (whisper) Mickey! Hands off! Cyril is watching!
Mick: Who me?
Cyril: Would you like fries with that?
Beardtrim: (aside to audience) All we need now to is a starving university student selling single roses and a bloody photographer!

See Magpie Tales for more inspiring works of art and chicken recipes.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Magpie 66 in the woods

Henry Thoreau.

“A century and a half after its publication, Walden has become such a totem of the back-to-nature, preservationist, anti-business, civil-disobedience mindset, and Thoreau so vivid a protester, so perfect a crank and hermit saint, that the book risks being as revered and unread as the Bible.” John Updike.

Thoreau's Cabin.

His need for stillness understood,
He built his cabin in the wood.
Came to know his furry friends,
Wrote a book to make amends.

Stayed two years, two months, two days,
Learnt to live in simple ways
Cut some wood and grew some greens
Ate some woodchuck in between

Not for him a gramophone,
The internet or mobile phone
No trains or planes or cars to mar
His perfect peace; his Shangri-la.

More stories and poems can be found on Tess's Bookshelf.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Electric town cars

I have been banging on about electric cars for yonks and bemoaning the fact I could not buy one here that was in my budget range, ie, zero to not much. The Zenn is priced at about AuD $10,000.

So, here is the ZENN courtesy of Helen Dehner.
They do not mention running costs, but other electric cars cover the equivalent of 250 MPG or 100+K per litre, ie about 10% of the cost or runnng an equivalent gas car.
Apparantly top speed is limited by legislation(40 KPH), not the car's potential and many do get their controllers modified to the higher speeds (60KPH) permitted in some states of the US.
It will go much faster so why are limits set so low? Conspiracy theories would do well here, so constuct your own!

In Oz, with all energy providers paying for home generated power, in some states paying gross feed-in tariffs, running costs are reduced to zero (after establishmet costs, that we are told are recovered in three to five years), one would be crazy not to consider one as the second car!
For the First Car, I am still hanging out for H/fuel cell cars to hit the streets here. They promise highway speeds, more range than a petrol or diesel car, no battery bank and zero emissions.
Of course the zero emnissions part depends on the source of power to run Electroysers used to generate the H! But even if coal fired or nuclear is the source for now, at least we do get cleaner city air.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Willy Wagtail/Scissors Grinder.

I am not one to believe the spirit of a long lost relative can enter the body of an animal. But this little fellow comes to visit so often, seemingly to deliver a message, I began to wonder.

He/she flies in through an open hatch, sits on my indoor clothes line and scolds me for one long lungful then flits off happily, usually repeating the same message once from the rail then leaves, returning for a repeat performance in a few days or weeks.

When I was a kid, Dad identified the Willy Wagtail and the Scissors Grinder as two species but they are one. We often heard the scissors and Mum would mimic the ‘pretty little creature’ call but I can’t remember hearing the ‘scolding’ calls until now. If you would like to hear Willy scolding and testing his freshly ground scissors, go here and click on the MP3 link.

Of course I have had the camera handy for months but I was never quick enough until a few days ago. Presuming movement would frighten him off, I attempted several times to get a shot from the galley where I sit to write but never quite made it. But when I stood and came closer he seemed to enjoy my proximity and stayed much longer than usual. IXL says he comes for a handout.

Mystery Mendicant Mozzie Muncher.

Rhipidura leucophrys
What delightful bird is this?
Scolding me with tail a-swish
Waiting for a tasty dish?
Sorry Willy; ship’s supplies
Don’t run to grubs and gnats and flies!

(The black wriggly thing hanging down is not a worm or snake, but is my makeshift radio aerial).

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Magpie hot pot recipe No. 65.

St Francis.

St Francis was not a good shot;
A hunter he surely was not.
But game birds a-plenty
He ate. Evidently,
They fluttered right into the pot!

He liked rabbit stoo!
Prompted by serious picture from Magpie Tales.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Bin Laden Afterthought

I read the Horse Whisperer, and occasionally stumble upon a Dog Whisperer on TV and we now have Teenage Children Whisperers and all, but what we really need right now is a “Radical Fundamentalist Religion Whisperer”.

Pic borrowed from London Daily Mail.

Bacchanian Verses

In a literary magazine last week I saw an appeal for six poems to be published on the back label of a series of wine releases. The winery is Coriole Wines and their contact is
Of course the following is unlikely to be what they want, but you know me, I could not resist.
By the way, for those old enough to remember, the doll on the left is Lucy from when TV was black and white and comedy shows were funny!

Coriole Wine Verses.

Larss Drinks.
I oft shared a bottle with Larss;
Who sipped with decorum and class.
But once in the bistro
Was totally pissed, so
He finished up flat on his arse!

Wine Lovers.
Two pickers of fruit to make wine,
Their young hearts began to entwine.
Went frequently missing
For cuddling and kissing,
And more, hidden under a vine!

Truth hurts.
‘In vino veritas’ states
You drink and confess your lewd traits.
But heed this dire warning,
That maybe next morning
You’ll find you have lost all your mates!

There once was a fellow named Fred
Who took half a dozen to bed.
His wife’s main objection
Was lack of erection
So now poor Fred sleeps in the shed!

Pic from I Love Lucy 1950's.

Friday, 6 May 2011


As predicted, we attracted suspicion from members of the most secretive of secretive sects, but were eventually approached by an older gentleman who invited to stand close enough to hear the short eulogy that was delivered to members and their disinterested children by Bill’s son-in-law David. Then shovels were produced and Uncle Bill was returned to the soil that had nurtured him.
Of the immediate family, only dear zany Pam and her clan were still members of the sect. Understandably, she was somewhat overwhelmed by our presence, but despite having known me well and having lived near my sister Dianne in the past, she twice asked us who we were.

Sister Dianne and I made ourselves known to the old lady, who seemed to remember me and was introduced to Sis, born after the schism and with no knowledge of the sect or its members. I can’t say the welcome was a warm one, but on the day she was burying her husband of 75 years, she could have been in a daze of grief. Then again, I detected an impatience with our presence. After all, with family ‘outsiders’ outnumbering those still in captivity at least two to one we must have represented a challenge to their superior morality. Sadly, nobody came from Bill’s brother’s family.

But as predicted, we outsiders got together afterwards in a restaurant, met the generation born since we last met and thoroughly enjoyed each others’ company for a couple of hours. It was worth the trip.

However, I am kicking myself I didn’t take my camera. But as nobody else did either, perhaps photos are taboo now. Who knows what the MOG has declared sinful since his last edict! What I would like to have shown you was the shoes.

With no make-up, jewellery, hair dye and all plainly dressed and sporting a curiously truncated head scarf, the women expressed their vanity through the most expensive and ornate shoes I have ever seen, with bright colours, patent leather shining, bejewelled and with heels! Funny animals, humans.

Shoe borrowed from here.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

My Uncle Bill Chesterfield died yesterday.

He was 97 and I do not remember ever meeting him. He is ‘survived’ by my aunt Malvina (Ray) 99, who I have not seen for sixty years, although I have driven by their house (six hours from here) at least twenty times in the intervening years, and despite invitations to call in, I have gone right by. But I will be going to the funeral tomorrow.

When I was about fourteen, Dad took us to see a Hollywood Musical. Perhaps it was Oklahoma. Dad loved music. He knew it was forbidden to enter a cinema, but maybe because in earlier times his mother had taken him to the ‘flicks’ and to circuses, the church’s ban was not strong enough to stop him. However, we were observed and reported.

Soon after, Dad’s favourite sister Clarissa died from complications following brain surgery.
The family cast about for a reason God had taken her from them and decided her death must have been in retribution for my father’s sins. You might think; “What rubbish!”, but they had a great precedent and you don’t need to be in a wacky far out sect to believe in God’s insistence on human sacrifice. All Christians do.

We were imbued from birth with the myth that “Jesus died for our sins”, so any condemnation of the Order of (Exclusive) Plymouth Brethren and the ever tightening restrictions placed on its members by its (American) leader, their Man Of God (MOG), is to ignore the obvious.

So, we were ‘withdrawn from’. That means being completely cut off from family and friends. All an EB’s friends were expected to come from within the faith, so overnight we were supposed to have been isolated. Luckily, Mum’s family ignored the ban.

On the next Sunday, several car loads of white faced men in black suits arrived at our home demanding that Mum take the Lambs (we children) and leave with them right away, so we would be saved God’s retribution for my father’s sins. Mum’s crying brought Dad running. She wailed her distress and Dad (bless him) picked up a lump of wood and told the rapidly retreating Brethren to vamoose before he cracked their skulls!

Dad loved Mum more than he loved his church and for that was made to suffer the full force of God’s anger. For Dad it was a death sentence. He suffered terribly from that guilt and all the other sins he imagined he must have committed for God to condemn him so cruelly. He died prematurely at 62. Mum suffered too. She lived on without the love of her life for another lonely 35 years. As the Jesuits say, “Give me a child until he is seven…”

So, if I had visited my aunt at her home I would have been offered a cup of tea and a biscuit despite my status as a non-believer. But I knew I would have to say; “Thanks Aunt, but where are your tea and biscuits?” She would have then gleefully delivered God’s word.

You see, one of the MOG’s directives is that no member is to share food or drink with a non member. At the Rapture, when they ‘ascend unto Heaven’, God has warned that he can’t be bothered separating the ‘Wheat from the Tares’. They are terrified that God will throw the whole contaminated mess of the Blessed and Sinners into his ‘fire and brimstone’ landfill.

I would have sat there, not touching one drop or one crumb of her afternoon tea, while she politely asked after my family and what I had been doing. She would have listened while I confessed two divorces and recounted my life as a musician, playing the Devil’s Music (well enough to have hit the top of the professional tree for my ‘fifteen minutes of fame’) or I would have let fly with my condemnation of the self righteous and cruel bastardry they had meted out to my dad and our family.

Frankly I would not have been able to contain my indignation. I would have said something hurtful to that old woman who was more victim than oppressor. So I drove by her street, content to remember the funny and irreverent young woman she had been before she became totally deluded.

Tomorrow we are not permitted to enter the church for the substantive part of the funeral service, but the Blessed have deigned to allow us lesser family members to attend the ‘graveside service’. In the front row will be the devout, the adults glancing at us with pity. Some will condescend to mumble a few platitudes before escaping the dangers of contamination. Their little ones will regard us with curiosity but the lambs will be carefully shepherded to maintain a healthy distance from sources of infection. So why am I going?

There are nineteen first cousins from my dad’s family, all married with offspring. At the last count, over half have been ‘withdrawn from’ so I will be there to support the pariahs, the escapees, the eccentric real people I love dearly and am proud to call family. Then afterwards, I will join them for a sinful drink to celebrate Us, catch up with family news and have a laugh in the non-judgmental ambience of a pub of our choice.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


Baby confused,
mother resentful,
conifers dead.

Train carries
Coal between
Now and Tomorrow.

Visit Magpie Tales for stories and poems prompted by Tess and her SLR.