Semaphore or metaphor?

Some people get very excited about changing the Australian flag. A person has to have a hobby, I suppose. Unfortunately most alternative designs offered look remarkably like cheap tea towels. Recently the string (lanyard? halyard?) on the Heidelberg Town Hall flagpole snapped and presented us with a tubular flag. Now that is an idea for a flag. It gave enigmatic flashes of bright red against a raggedy dark blue ground. In heraldic terms, I believe it would be called a blazon flatulent.

Thank you to my brother for the title to this post, which I promptly stole from him.

A gutter more decorative than usual

This orange flower confers a grace note on my favourite local gutter. It also posed a challenge for me to tame cadmium orange oil paint. I was told to use red to darken this paint, yellow to lighten it, and burnt umber to create shadows on it. I did. It came up good enough to eat, but I think I have enough cadmium in my diet already, so I passed.

Had a false start trying to use titanium white to lighten the orange cadmium – that emphatically did not work.

Le Hibou et la Poussiquette

Hibou et Minou allerent a la mer
Dans une barque peinte en jaune-canari;
Ils prirent du miel roux et beaucoup de sous
Enroules dans une lettre de credit.
Le hibou contemplait les astres du ciel,
En chantait, en grattant sa guitare,
“O Minou cherie, o minou ma belle,
O Poussiquette, comme tu es rare,
Es rare,
Es rare!
O Poussiquette, comme tu es rare!”

Francis Steegmuller

A rowing blade lifted, dripping, from a river (not the sea, alas).

Mondrian? No, Reuben Kincaid

This pattern is from the side of a school bus painted by Shirley Jones and her scrappy garage band of children in the Partridge Family. They painted the bus before driving from Ohio to Los Angeles with stars in their eyes and space in their heads.

I am no art historian, but I strongly suspect that one Piet Mondrian must have been a regular viewer of the Partridge Family. I cannot believe the Larousse Encyclopaedia of Modern Art nowhere refers to this, to me, fairly obvious influence.

Some prefer vinegar

These old old bottles outlived the brain and nerve tonic, pomade, gin, molasses, sarsparilla, and cod liver oil that once gave them meaning. Come to think of it, they outlived the people who made those things. One of them outlived the Corio Whisky distillery in Geelong from which it rolled out the door. Whisky made in 1940s Geelong?! Just looking at the long-empty bottle gave me a headache.

Why were vinegar bottles so big back then? What did they do with it all?

Caliginous but not altogether inspissated

A simple joy when driving east from Melbourne on a hot day is to watch cumulus clouds boil up quickly from nowhere. The most humdrum of suburbs can be improved when it is capped by a topless tower of condensed water vapour. I have seen big mountains, and these clouds are equally impressive. If only they lasted longer than five minutes, they might become quite the tourist drawcard for, say, Kilsyth, Croydon or Kalorama.

Going to school with the neon tetra

Neon tetras are tiny blue-and-red glints seen in deep green fish tanks. Presumably their brains are correspondingly tiny. But they know enough to know they need friends; as shoaling fish, they become stressed if they are not surrounded by at least 15 or so companions.

I have recently been reminded of the deep joy of seeing friends after being separated for too long. It only took a pandemic to remind me. I should have listened to the neon tetras.

Time to polish the turd

I am yet to be convinced that the calendar clicking over to 1 January will solve all of the problems of late stage capitalism. However, friends, I do wish you happy times in the New Year, at a time when happy times have been in short supply.

This is a picture of a Japanese lucky golden turd money box. I know nothing of the genius who invented these (I am sure Dr Google can give you the full details), but I wanted my last posting for 2020 to be suitably festive. And this could not be more festive … or more suitable.