open text

31 October 2006 at 08:20

hallo E.N.T.

Tenuous title, I know.

While growing up I didn't often see the humorous side of my father, mainly because of the hostilities between us. But towards the end of his life we called a ceasefire, and I visited him at his wee island cottage.

Every evening he went out to the pub, while I would stay at his place until he returned after closing time. On Halloween, he disappeared to the pub as usual. Late that night, I was sitting watching TV when the electricity suddenly went off, the door opened slowly, and a turnip lantern appeared in the doorway, going "woooo" and swaying unsteadily in mid-air.



In some countries I believe it would have been a hollowed-out pumpkin, but in Scotland the tradition is to use a turnip instead. Cheaper too. You put a candle inside, and the light shines out through the eyes and mouth.

I enjoyed my father's little joke, and next day I insisted we take some photos.








My father didn't live long enough to see all the 3-letter qualifications after my name. Rob McJ, H.N.T., O.C.D., N.P.D. and R.D.D.


This is a freelance Taoist blog.
Every true story contains a wee lie.
And every lie contains a grain of truth.

Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

I'll have to switch to turnips if they're cheaper. There's always next year.  

~

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! The top photie is a beaut! How did you get his head to go like like? Was it in the pickle barrel for a while? Did you chop it off when he was alive, or did you wait till he passed away? In any case, he still bears a striking resemblance to how you look now. It's uncanny! I hope this helps! Hotboy  

~

Blogger Lil Bit said...

Great pix, Mr. Taoist. ;)
Guess who's back... & throwing a Masquerade Party... and you're invited! =)

Happy Halloween!  

~

Anonymous alastair said...

Happy Halloween from the land of the tumshie  

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Blogger Lee Ann said...

I have some of those same letters after my name Rob!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN...
LOVE YA,
LEE ANN
 

~

Blogger keda said...

i do love that picture!

though i'm having slighyly spooky deja vu ;)  

~

Blogger ion said...

Have any idea how laborious and dangerous it is to hollow out a neep? Pumpkins are born hollow, making the task so much easier. I bet Hallowe'en neeps put as many people in hospital as Bonfire Night.  

~

Blogger Suze said...

Great post and the images are wonderful. We also use turnips, they smell awful when you burn the candle inside them.

Happy HNT sweetie ;)  

~

Post a Comment

27 October 2006 at 13:59

still a fortunate creature

Blogger is up again today after they shut it down on Thursday in response to a hack attack. Some people are saying it was cyberterrorism. Could it have been the fundamentalist Hotbollah trying to sabotage another HNT Thursday?

The blogger people say there was no damage was done, though someone seems to have stolen my password and left another insulting comment in my name at hotboy's place.



Just found out that a dear person I used to know back in Jocko-land has got the big C. Meanwhile, my physio lady here with the brain cancer is just surviving. And the annual Xmas party this year will be the poorer without the presence of one of Australia's most famous (famous in Australia) living playrights, because, well, he's no longer living either. What a fortunate creature I am to be alive and well, 21 years after I had the big C.

If you or someone you know is ever offered radio-so-called-therapy for cancer, my advice is to read the medical literature very carefully. Find out if there's any evidence of its effect on the particular variant of cancer that you're looking at. Remember, cancer isn't a single disease, but a mixed bag of wildly different cellular types, each responding very differently to the various treatment options.

In my own case, a visit to the medical school library revealed that radiation was known to have little or no effect on my type of cancer. When I questioned the docs, they admitted this but explained they were giving me extra blasts, just to see if it would help.



Nowadays, I'm left with the fallout (metaphorically) from the radiation. E.g. root canal dentistry becomes complicated, because radiation makes the root canals fill themselves up with calcium, thus hiding themselves from the dentist.



Next week I'm being referred to a specialist dentist who works with a microscope to find and drill out the canals.



The cost for two hours' treatment is upwards of $2000 (about 800 quid). This is why I have no money to buy beer, and have to brew my own.

I'm blogging this just to remind people there's a big downside to most treatment. We tend to overlook that when there's a medical panic going on. I sometimes wish I had been more assertive with the docs at the time. But I did challenge them on one thing - they were planning to fry my thymus gland as well.


The thymus is the control centre of the immune system. So I asked them why they were trying to kill it off. The next day they agreed to shield it with lead so it wouldn't be blasted after all. If only this book had existed back then:




Yet I feel fortunate to be alive, and to have had 21 extra years (so far), while other poor basturns are dropping like flies around me.

Blogger ion said...

Wise words- some doctors are so keen to eliminate the disease, that the patient dies. Good wishes to your ill friends.  

~

Blogger Lee Ann said...

Take care of yourself sweetie!
Have a wonderful weekend!
~xo  

~

Blogger Gyrobo said...

Why does that news article say the year is 2002?

I don't think it's a simple mislabeling, as the article also underestimates the total number of bloggers by several million.

This article is, like, totally old.  

~

Blogger Menzies Milngavie III said...

I say!

Isn't a 'hack attack' what one gets after the first few Capstan full strength of the day? Which, given the thrust of the rest of your post, is sadly appropriate.

Abdul came to the wicket with a cigarette in his mouth last week at practice.

I put a short quick one past his nose. That soon put a stop to that.

Doviko assures me that Marzipan requires cane sugar.

MM III  

~

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! 800 quid for 2 hours? Who are they kidding! You can get a perfectly good set of gnashers off the mortuary attendants for much less than that. The domestic bliss's sister is a cancer consultant. I've told her as soon as I get the black spot I want to take to the hut with unlimited supplies of hard drugs, a bottle of brandy and a revolver! It's great being three years overdue already. Hope this helps! Hotboy  

~

Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

I've had the big "C" myself. The doc scared the shit out of me, the "you might have six months to live" speech. That was six years ago, and I'm cancer free now, thanks to a small surgical procedure.  

~

Blogger keda said...

ugh. comment challenged.

i have sideways running roots apparently. i think all my dentist are just crap though personaly and are just trying to put the blame on me.

glad you are fortunate babe.

that makes us so too :)  

~

Blogger Gareth said...

I didn't know anything about that hack attack until now because I was at a wedding on Thursday - darn it, I always miss the good things lol.

So you are looking for someone to fill the G-spot ;) ^^^^^  

~

Post a Comment

25 October 2006 at 16:36

i'm a blockhead

German marzipan comes in big blocks, about the size and weight of a gold bar, and coated in dark chocolate.

It's impossible to buy German marzipan here, so I'm going to make my own, by adapting this recipe:

European-Style Marzipan
1 cup blanched whole almonds
1 1/3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or rose water
2 tablespoons water
1 slightly beaten egg white


The recipe specifies nearly 4 cups sugar to 1 cup almonds. That can't be right. I'd rather hang on to my teeth.

If anyone has any experience, I could use come tips. I thought I would use rice malt instead of sugar, and I'll cut out the egg. If it's any good (and how could any marzipan not be?) I'll blog it.

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! That's just a big lump of sugar! Marzipan smells like dynamite (it's in my book Bomber!). Try carrying it onto the plane the next time you fly off the Unheard of Island. If you only get wounded, you can claim compen. That would help! Hotboy  

~

Blogger keda said...

and why are they trying to hide the amount of sugar by dividing it into 2 lines?? sneeky buggers.

i've never been a huge fan of our bright yellow marzipan.

but here in turkland they make incredible stuff!! it's coarse in texture, comes in little bite sized lups and is made of either almonds or (my favourite) pistachio. absolutely gorgeous and a delicacy priced to prove it.

soooo, i don't have a recipe on me right now, but i'll ask around and see if i can drum one up.
for me as much as you :)  

~

Blogger robmcj said...

Hotters - how do you know what dynamite smells like? I'm passing your blog address to the Office Of UnHeard Homeland Security.

keda - pistachio marzipan! Why didn't I think of that?

BTW, congrats re the Nobel Prize for your novelist guy.  

~

Post a Comment

24 October 2006 at 09:22

only 20 more places on the team

I have just noticed that this blog's core support team is clustered in the middle of the alphabet:

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H - Hotboy
I - Ion
J - robmcJ 1
K - Keda
L - Lee Ann
M - Menzies
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

1 - Because the world has to balance up, everything is reversed here in the southern hemisphere - Christmas is in summer, water goes down the plug-hole in reverse, and of course initials start from the back of the name.



How balanced is that? The odds against the names clustering in the centre are about the same as the chances of winning the lottery. Of course I'd rather have the money, but the suppport team is good too.

With the aim of extending in either direction, I am now advertising for people to fill the G-spot and the N-spot. There used to be an N, someone called Neotropism, but something happened to him back in May. I hope he's alright. He lives in Scotland so he may have been stabbed.

Blogger Eric said...

How about an E?  

~

Blogger robmcj said...

Eric, yet again I owe you an apology. Can you rustle up an F and a G to preserve the sequence?  

~

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Zeig! You need an Xavier! Do you know any Spango? I know the word for tomato and that's about it. You could lurk around the cross dressing Spanish blogs. Jimenez! Not many folk have got a Jimenez! Paraquayan blogs are bound to produce another Adolf or two! Hope this helps. Hotboy  

~

Blogger ion said...

My real forename initial is H. Hope that doesn't upset the balance or induce competition with Hotboy. Your antipodean explanation for J is already rather shaky, I fear.  

~

Blogger Eric said...

When I visit Open Text, Heather is usually logged on the Blogger... You and Hotboy are regular reads.  

~

Blogger Lee Ann said...

If it helps...you can spread my name out... use an L and an A!
;)  

~

Blogger robmcj said...

Hotbolla! Would you change your name to Xenophobier? That would give Heather or maybe Ion access to your H-spot. The G-spot is still free.

Ion - Hotboy's moving on.

Eric, I'm flattered, though puzzled why anyone would want to read this stuff. Please say hi to Heather, maybe ask her if she's willing to change her name by just one letter, to Nether or Gather.

Lee Ann - I do love it when you talk dirty. Yes, If Lelly ever turns up again, I'll pass on your kind offer to move.  

~

Post a Comment

19 October 2006 at 02:15

HNT video evaporation

This week's HNT is another in my occasional series of educational videos. I hope you find it helpful.

Evaporation Video.



HNT_1

If you missed previous HNTs, you can access all the old half baked thursday posts here.

Blogger Regal said...

very entertaining - HHNT  

~

Blogger keda said...

hmmm yes. full of hot air. just where we like you ;)

i'll have to use that techinque on the littlets.

kids make a mess.
mess is gooood.
until its kiddies bedtime.
and then we need to tidy.
or warm air rises.
and explodes out of mummies mouth.

or something like that...

happy hnt babe.  

~

Blogger Suze said...

I find myself wondering how you behave in the bedroom. Do you tap the headboard?

Happy HNT sweetie ;)  

~

Blogger Bekah said...

Happy HNT!  

~

Blogger Wenchy said...

:) Happy HNT!  

~

Blogger M G said...

hmmm....

lmao @ suze...

HHNT  

~

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! Get your kit off the next time! And get on the lederhosen! A few jumps and kicks from your cross dressing friends and you could clean up! More nudity would definitely help! Hotboy  

~

Blogger Schadeboy said...

This is a warning that I'm about to ask a stupid question.

And that is, is that you in the video?

If asking that makes me appear stupid, then I retract it. If it turns out that it's a question that others are also wondering, then I don't.

Happy HNT.  

~

Blogger Spitfire said...

okay between the accent and suze's pervy remarks I am both completely turned on and that video was hysterical...

lol @ keda too

THAT was very entertaining.

HHNT!!!  

~

Blogger ion said...

That's how they taught us German-

Der die das die
Den die das die
Des der des den
Dem des den dem


It stuck!  

~

Blogger robmcj said...

keda, ion - you've got the idea, now spread the word

suze - yes, I do like to bang something in bed. Doesn't everyone?

schade - fair question, yes it is, it obviously needed clarifying, thanks for asking

spitters - it's nice to be appreciated. Don't you find?  

~

Blogger SeaRabbit said...

Suze.. no... he is tapping the butt dear... lololol... Sorry, I couldn't resist...
Very nice concept, the video thing... and quite educational, indeed... ;-))
Happy HNT!  

~

Blogger LEE ANN said...

Sorry I am late cutie!
Happy HNT!
~xo  

~

Blogger Menzies Milngavie III said...

I say!

Is it mute, have I drunk so much I've gone deaf, or has Doviko tampered with the volume settings on this PC?

If the answer is that it's mute, then is one supposed to sing the words in the captions to the song "Barmy Army"?

MM III  

~

Blogger Lee Ann said...

I finally got to see the video (cannot view it from work).
You have a great voice! I *bang* think *bang* I *bang* learned *bang* the *bang* lesson *bang*!

Nice place you have there too Rob!

Have a great weekend!
~xo
Lee Ann  

~

Post a Comment

14 October 2006 at 08:21

back to k-mart class

Back in the UnHeard Of Islands now, I can at last reveal that my fear of flying and terrorism was just a pretence, a mere blogo-dramatic device. And even if the plane had been bombed or rocketed, what a way to go! In a reclining massage chair, with umpteen fair Austrian damsels bringing 6-course meals and waves of fine wines.

On arrival at McDonald Island International Airport, the customs folk did a full baggage search and X-ray. I was able to convince them that the bottles of cloudy liquid really were a form of beer. Otherwise they were going to force me to open a weissbier and drink it to prove what it was. That would have been a waste - beer on top of multiple wines is a no-no.

At home, the beloved partner had prepared a selection of dips and nibbles almost to business class standard. But now it's back to my normal life in K-mart class. What a fortunate creature I was! With the support of ion, keda, lee ann (ed), and menzies, I managed to foil the hotbolla militia.

I brought back a souvenir for Lee Ann, as a thank you for her support.

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Zeig! But what were you doing in Poland? Is the medal a piece of Nazi memorabilia? And did you spend any evenings in the slammer for goosestepping around your former bunker? That would have helped! Hotboy p.s. Scotland is now full of Polish people. Is that because of you?  

~

Blogger ion said...

I never believed you were scared anyway. After all, how on earth could one live in the Heard Islands without flying....  

~

Blogger hotboy said...

Ion: Backstroke! Hotboy  

~

Blogger Lee Ann said...

I might not be as afraid of flying if the flight was as nice as yours.
Thank you for the lovely souvenir...So so sweet of you!
I will be here for your support any time!
...and you ARE a fortunate creature! ;)  

~

Post a Comment

12 October 2006 at 21:32

das last post

The flight back to the UnHeard Of Islands today is of course on 12th October, the favourite suicide bombing day amongst South East Asian islamists. They've twice done suicide bombings on Oct 12th, including the Bali bombings.

I have survived as far as Kuala Lumpur, and I land home tomorrow on Friday 13th. What could possibly go wrong now?

Note to Lee Ann - please publish this posthumously if I don't make it. Thanks.

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! Smart move not giving any forewarning of the imminent return to the islands. Forestalled my landing craft, das boat! Hope you land safely. Have they got the old 78s with the Deutsche Land Uber Alles on and waiting for you? That would definitely help! Hotboy  

~

Blogger Lee Ann said...

I expect you are there! I do appreciate the opportunity of being the co-captain of your blog while you were gone. It truly was an honor.
Do we get to see more pictures?

Welcome back my dear friend!
~xo  

~

Blogger Menzies Milngavie III said...

I say!

I'm surprised you didn't wait until Friday the 13th to travel.

Safe journey.

MM III  

~

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Post a Comment

11 October 2006 at 16:47

das Lichterfelde

Yesterday, while walking through Lichterfelde in Berlin admiring the architecture of the old Art Deco houses, I felt a glowing sense of being at home, of wanting to live here. When I phoned the aunt last night, she told me that my great grandfather had lived in Lichterfelde, perhaps in one of those very houses I had seen.

So I asked for the address where my great grandfather used to live, and today I went back to Lichterfelde again, to find and photograph his old house. Like most of my plans, it started out well, before going off the rails. I got out of the S-Bahn at the beautifully restored station:



Then I found the street where he used to live, full of grand old villas like this one:



But at his actual address, the house had long ago been knocked down and replaced with flats.

So then I went in search of his last known address, a block of flats near the station. Alas, the ground where that building had stood, was now an S-Bahn railway line.

But of course everything balances up in the end, and I had one bit of luck! I stumbled upon a truly historic building, an old barracks. It started out as a Prussian officers' quarters in the 1800s. Goering was trained there, and it became an SS HQ during the Third Reich.



On June 30, 1934, the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler murdered Ernst Rohm and began to eliminate Rohm's anti-capitalist SA forces, replacing the old Nazi party brownshirts with Heinrich Himmler's SS. An SS firing squad operated at the Lichterfelde Barracks. Shots rang out every twenty minutes like clockwork as SA men were put before the wall, followed by the command: "By order of the FĂĽhrer. Aim. Fire!"

After the war the building became the main American army barracks, and now that the US military has gone elsewhere, it has been turned into the Archives of the East German Secret Police (STASI). So people who used to live in East Germany can now go there to look up their own data, and find out who was spying on them or informing on them.

So it's a building that has seen some historic changes. One day it may even be reborn as an Al Qaeda training centre.

The surprisingly friendly security guys told me I could have lunch in the canteen. I ate my sausage and sauerkraut sitting outdoors at a table with a view of where the SS firing-squad shot the SA leaders.

It was a nice lunch, but someone should really tell the sadistic basturn working on the cash desk that the SS has been disbanded. She was unnecessarily mean-spirited. Sadly, I didn't think of my SS retort until much later.

Sources acknowledged.

Blogger ion said...

She on the cash-desk was probably from the other (Stasi) side. Meanwhile, if you're inheriting the palace at Potsdam, good on yer. They have some smashing magnolias in the inner garden.  

~

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! What a brilliant post! The big red building ...Oh, how evocative of the old days! Ernst and the dressing up in ladies underwear. Those were the days! I'll bump off your aunts at no cost! Just give me a hut near that old red building and I'll salute and goosestep every time you come in the room. That should help! Hotboy  

~

Blogger Menzies Milngavie III said...

I say!

Wonderful snaps.

MM III  

~

Post a Comment

at 06:50

das hush hush secret mission

Not only is tomorrow my last day in Bunkerland (possibly even my last day ever), tomorrow promises to be a very special day in my life for another reason.

I know I risk seeming to channel Menzies when I tell you that it's all hush-hush, but I can't say any more right now. Still, I can tell you that tomorrow will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, and I've spent most of this evening planning it, using several old maps and photos of Berlin.

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! I was only half joking about doing in your aunties! Don't do it yourself! What a cheapskate! Fifty fifty and you're as free as a bird! The maps won't help once they get the bloodhounds out! They won't! Hotboy  

~

Post a Comment

10 October 2006 at 03:12

das country house at potsdam

This is a freelance Taoist blog.
Every true story contains a wee lie.
And every lie contains a grain of truth.

This is one of the houses that my aunt is planning to leave me in her will. Now do you see why I tolerate her and even visit her?





PS A big hug to anyone who's reading this on her birthday.

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! Nice pad! I've got the cricket bat packed. Just tell me where she stays and hide under the bedcovers when you hear the thumps. I'll make it quick. That should help! Hotboy  

~

Blogger keda said...

fine, i'll come too if pos :) but i am not bloody writing her eulogy.  

~

Blogger Lee Ann said...

Wow, that is beautiful!
I don't blame you one bit!  

~

Blogger robmcj said...

HB - I appreciate the gesture, especially as you don't even like cricket.

keda - wake me up when it's finished.

lee ann - you're invited to the housewarming  

~

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Zeig! Is that the house where they held the conference in 1945? I bet it was! I'm surprised your aunties didn't poison the lot of them! It probably helped if they had a good war. Were they on the ack ack guns? Hotboy  

~

Post a Comment

05 October 2006 at 23:26

das holocaust memorial HNT

There's a new holocaust memorial near the new German parliament. But not everyone approves. I think the hundreds of concrete blocks are supposed to signify the murdered millions, but my friends object to its anonymity. It could represent any mass murder anywhere. They would have preferred a memorial that spells out "this thing happened here, it grew out of our culture." And I agree with them. This memorial is like a giant playground. Whereas a visit to the concentration camp near Berlin is appalling, as it should be.










HNT_1

If you missed previous HNTs, you can access all the old half baked thursday posts here.

Blogger Suze said...

I agree, it should be more representative of the atrocities which took place.

A very thought provoking post...

Happy HNT sweetie ;)  

~

Blogger keda said...

yes true... that place actually looks like fun!

as suze said a good thought provoking post.

oh well, at least you get to go back and spend time with the family again soon... that'll put a damper on the day.

happy hnt sweetie.  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! Those concrete blocks could represent a lot of concrete blocks. Do kids play at jumping around in them? If they don't, what a complete waste of space! One giant block covered in stars for all the folk who got snuffed would have been much better. Anything would be. The stuffed old guy in the photie doesn't even look Jewish! That would have helped. Hotboy  

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Blogger Lee Ann said...

Yes, I agree Rob.
Those are great photos.
Thank you for sharing.
Happy HNT!
~xo  

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02 October 2006 at 22:46

das status report

STATUS REPORT.

Weight gain - 1 kilogram. Not a lot when you think of all the sausages, cake, and full-fat cheese.

Serotonin levels - high. Possibly too high. Yesterday I told a 75 year old woman she had a nice bum.

Stress and rage levels - still within the law. Not homicidal.

Bathroom taps - shiny and clean.

Bathroom sink - I left some slight water drops on the porcelain yesterday, but there was no inspection that day and I got away with it.

Jaw muscles - sore, from all the clenching and from speaking German for two weeks - all that spitting and throat-clearing.

Sleep stats - getting about 12 hours every day. It's the only way to get some time to yourself. After lunch I yawn theatrically and take a nap for a couple of hours. At night I go to bed early. I awake at about 5, but fake sleep till 8. I daren't turn on the light, or the door would fly open and the interrogations begin. I forgot to tell you, all the bedroom doors are glass, so even wanking is off the menu.

Only six more days to go, then I'll hit the bunker again.

What a fortunate creature I'll be!

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! Let's hope the 75 year old with the nice bum had it clothed at the time, but with the glass doors in the bedroom, etc., who knows? It's when you start fancying the mannequins in the shop windows that you know you're in trouble. Try some Paulaner weissbier. That would help! Hotboy  

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Blogger Lee Ann said...

Wow, eating and sleeping...good!
So, you speak German? How cool.
Glass bedroom doors? That is interesting! hmmmmm

Just think how beautiful you are becoming with all that beauty sleep!  

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Blogger ion said...

The Teutons must've seen those little plaques in the aeroplane toilets asking you to wipe down the bowl 'as a courtesy to the next user'. Rather worrying that it's taken so far, but the sleeping sounds very healthy.  

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Blogger Lelly said...

Your HNT is a swizz, Rob!  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Zeig! Actually, not a promising post. I'll get the creekit bat from Brian Wilson and kill them both for a small fee. Why can't you put your head into ra bliss, far less ra ecstasy? Maybe wasting your time being a flatheid. But just pay for the flights and the two wee houses of your inheritance can be yours! Soon. This will help. Hotboy. I assume these josephines don't meditate either. Dearie me!  

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