Blogs I Like:


Those of you who visit the Cow to read my skeptical take on all things weird and woo might be interested in my new blog Hummadruz. On Hummadruz I’m focussing exclusively on matters of sound & music – my own fields of expertise – and the huge amount of nuttiness that can be found therein. To kick off, I’m taking a look at a phenomenon that’s currently in the news: The West Seattle Hum. The Hum is a strange vibrating buzz that appears in West Seattle from time to time, but has manifested quite significantly over the recent Labor Day holiday.

I hope you’ll come and join the discussion over at Hummadruz. I am always on the lookout for weird and wacky audio phenomenon to examine, so if you have any favourites, be sure to let me know.

Hey! Remember how I told you about the Thrilling Space Adventure competition over at Bearskin Rug? I actually won a blue ribbon! I am totally chuffed – my very first attempt at a cartoony-like comic and someone who is a genius at such things thought it was worthy of a prize. And I didn’t even have to send him a bribe or anything!

Here’s my winning entry. It’s a truly Thrilling Space Adventure.

What’s even better I won a prize – a signed copy of The Superest book. And, along with Kevin’s signature, it has hand-drawn pictures of Mojo.

I am so happy.

Go to Bearskin Rug now and buy stuff.

Joey's Shelf

Corny!

I’m posting this for Colonel Colonel after his recent paean to fresh corn. I suspect it’s very close, if not identical, to his own recipe, but heck, why do you care? You should be out firing up the barbecue!

Ingredients (makes a good sized salad for a half dozen guests):

    • 3 large ears of fresh corn
    • 4 – 6 Roma* tomatoes
    • 1 Spanish (red) onion
    • Half cup of good quality olive oil
    • Salt & pepper

Strip the corn and barbecue it evenly all around over an open flame. Some ‘burnt’ bits are good. Let it cool down enough to handle (with your hands) easily.

While the corn is cooling, chop the onion and tomatoes semi-finely (the bits should be about the same size as a corn kernel. Roughly – we’re going for hearty & rustic here). Now cut the cooked kernels straight off the cobs with a sharp knife (I break the cobs in half first – it makes cutting easier). Mix the kernels and the chopped tomato & onion in a glass or ceramic bowl with the olive oil, and a good amount of salt & pepper. Let it all stand covered (not with plastic wrap! Use a tea-towel or something clothy) at room temperature for at least an hour. (It can be refrigerated, and keeps very well, but don’t serve it cold).

Do not make this salsa with tinned corn kernels. Do not make this salsa with inferior olive oil. Otherwise, improvise away. I prepare the version above specifically to serve with spicy meat or seafood. If you’re intending it as an accompaniment to a milder meal, a good teaspoon of ground chili (or a chopped fresh Thai chili) livens things up. As another variation I sometimes add a half teaspoon of smoked Hungarian paprika…

Bon appétit!

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*I use Roma tomatoes because they tend to be better than most supermarket varieties, but I recommend you use any kind of heritage or home-grown tomatoes if you have them – as fresh as possible.

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Filler

Pay no attention. This is just another filler post.

Safety Craig Plastic Bags


The little Commentary discussion we’ve been having about humour here and at one of my favourite hangs in the blog-o-sphere The Joey Polanski Show over the last couple of days, has prompted me to consider something that I never thought I’d find myself doing on The Cow, and that is attempting to explain something from the point of view of The Cow’s funny bone.

As you know, my mind turns to musing from time to time, about matters big and small, and when I’m not dreaming about helium-filled donuts, concocting perfumes that Satan might wear, or excoriating Scientologists, I sometimes find myself pondering the really BIG questions of the universe. Like ‘What is it that makes us laugh?’

Joey’s post a haff-dozn jokes I wishd I coud take creddit for attracted a whole swag of japes from the Polanski Show cast, most of the gags pretty darn funny, a couple of them brilliantly so, some of them definitely on the long-paddock side of politically correct, and a couple yer usual run-of-the-mill pub jokes. I posted a few of my own favourites but I was reluctant to put up my most favourite, The Bee Joke, because I know from experience that about half the people I tell it to just don’t find it funny. At all.

So I told Joey I’d put it up on The Cow instead, and corral the humour in its own stockyard, so to speak. In the Comments on The Bee Joke, Joey told what I will call The Centurion Joke as a riposte, and, it is (in my mind anyway) exactly in the same vein of humour as The Bee Joke.

I never really feel the need to defend or elaborate on my humour here on The Cow. After all, it is my joint and if you’re here drinking my beer I expect you to laugh at my jokes. Even if it is just out of politeness. Sometimes I know that I really do make you laugh (mostly because you tell me), but very often I don’t have a clue how funny anyone really thinks my writing is*. And since I like The Bee Joke a whole lot, I’m pretty obviously not the best judge of what other people find funny…

Of course, Tetherd Cow Ahead isn’t really meant to a repository for just my sense of humour, but because I find humour one of the most important things in my life it is inevitable that The Cow, being a fairly good representation of my character (I think), will end up with its fair share of gags. And, the current banter at The Polanski Show notwithstanding, mostly I try to keep my shtick as original as I can. In some cases the laugh-quotient has largely been reasonable as far as I can judge (like my ‘God Creates‘ series and my Annunciations), but there has been one notable lead balloon in the Cow Comedy Cavalcade, and yes, those of you who are regulars have spotted it already: ‘Safety Craig‘.

Sadly, no-one really ‘got’ Safety Craig. It may be just the way I told it, but I think probably it’s because the humour in Safety Craig is kinda like The Bee Joke and The Centurion Joke. And like those two gags, I doubt I can really explain Safety Craig, but I’m going to give it a shot:

For a number of years while I was living in Sydney I used to see a handyman truck around my neighbourhood – ‘Jim’s Mowing’ I think was the name of the business. It featured a do-it-yourself low-rent tone dropout picture of Jim and some ‘handpainted’ style text: ‘Jim’s Mowing: Ph: 12 34 2323′ or something. I just used to assume that ‘Jim’ was some local guy who was a bit better organized than your average tradesman.

Well, on moving to Melbourne, I discovered that Jim lives here as well. Only, in these parts Jim has a painting business. And a pet-grooming business, a plumbing business, a fencing business, a roofing business, a tiling business and even a permaculture business. Jim is one busy guy.

As you have guessed, ‘Jim’s’ is a franchise. Only, it’s a franchise that’s trying really hard to not look like a franchise.† Now, when I figured this out, I started to look at all the other businesses around that use these ‘posterized’ generic faces combined with some homely first-name for their logos and I realized that they are all franchises! In a weird and subtle way, the Reverend A, who likes to pride himself on his high quality skepticism and incisive critical thinking had been duped by a ploy so vacuous and insipid that he is almost embarrassed to admit it!‡

And then one day, now alert to all these cleverly constructed ‘cottage industry’ style companies to-ing and fro-ing across suburban Australia (and I have no doubt across the entire entrepreneurial world) I saw a display set up in a mall for ‘Safety Dave‘.

Something went ‘ping’ in my brain.

Now I’m sure that Safety Dave’s products are all worthwhile, just as I’m sure Jim, and Bob, and Carol, and Ted, and Alice, and all those other franchise denominators provide service of fair enough quality. Otherwise they wouldn’t still be in business. But the thing that made me feel slightly unsettled was that ‘Safety Dave’ and all these other friendly chaps and chapesses weren’t actually telling the truth about themselves. Well, not so much not telling the truth as letting the customer think something about them that wasn’t exactly accurate. And Safety Dave was asking us to put our safety in his hands…

Hence the invention of ‘Safety Craig’. The point is, of course, that Safety ‘Craig’ can’t get away with being anonymous, so instead of following the instinct to ‘trust’ him, as we might with ‘Jim’ or ‘Dave’ we must make our brains wary of his advice. And his advice is the kind our parents used to offer when we were kids, and is, on the whole, pretty much good sound advice, if a little annoying. So the contrast between those two things was supposed to be funny.

Like I said. Lead balloon. But now you know.

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*I’m talking about when I’m trying to be funny, of course. I don’t count the possibly numerous occasions on which people have found my serious ponderings mirthful.

†These days Jim’s looks a fair bit more corporate, and the logo a bit more ‘stylish’ as you can see by their website, but it wasn’t always so.

‡And so you see: such is my commitment to The Cow, that I am prepared to endure public ridicule in the service of truth!

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