Saturday, February 22, 2014

Railway Cat

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy Winter Solstice

(slightly late)

Monday, September 10, 2012

A little Jack Vance...

With a nod of thanks to Christian Morgenstern's "The Pearl Hen"

     The Twk-man counts; one, two, three, four.
     What is he counting, this patient creature
     beside the River Derna?

    He counts with a covetous air
    What to us - not him - seems paltry fare
    his salt; it's exact measure

Picture taken from

Saturday, January 14, 2012

On Shanglestone Strand

Ioconnu (known across Almery as 'The Laughing Magician') had worked one of his most mordant jokes on Cugel. For the second time Cugel had been snatched up, carried north across the Ocean of Sighs, dropped upon that melancholy beach known as Shanglestone Strand.

Jack Vance - 'Cugel's Saga'


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Travel Arrangements

"Continue your business as usual with accommodation program management services, short-term car rental services and travel and related (payment) card services, but do not discuss Phase 2 coordinated procurements with the suppliers of these services."

The first rule of Phase 2 coordinated procurements is: 'you do not talk about Phase 2 coordinated procurements'.

Recursive Bedtime Fail

Every night I'm obliged to provide my daughter with a 'dream seed' - a suggestion of some interesting thoughts she should fall asleep to. This is generally the hardest part of my day.

The other night I was proud to tell the story of a little girl who couldn't think of what to dream about, so she called for a gryphon to come and fly her away to the King of Dreams' palace (plagiarising freely from Neil Gaiman here...), where she went to the great Library of Dreams where every possible dream is kept. She took a book down from the shelf and started reading about a little girl who didn't know what to dream about, who called for a gryphon to come and take her to...

At this point she indignantly said "Dad! Don't make my dreams like philosophy!"

If no one appreciates me I'll just go into the garden and eat worms.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Max and Min the Weather People

Because I work with meteorologists these days, and spend a fair part of my time staring at weather maps and graphs, my mind has turned to a newspaper comic I used to read as a child - Max and Min the Weather People.

This was the rambling and sometimes dreamlike story of Max and Min who lived in the town of Weatherby, and who seemed to have an unspecified psychic connection with the weather. To the very limited extent that I can remember it, this was mostly a pretext for odd semi-plotted dreamlike sequences and some adventurous and somewhat surreal comic layouts. I didn't like it - I was a literal minded kid and it just struck me as stupid and pointless. I suspect I might cut it a bit more slack these days.

Naturally the first thing I did was dig around on the web, expecting to find archived strips and learned articles on comic geek sites - but there's nothing. It actually comes as a bit of a shock to realise there are bits of popular culture which have fallen through the cracks and never made it onto the web.

The tiny bit of information I have comes from "Panel by Panel: An illustrated history of Australian comics" by John Ryan (1979 and thoroughly out of print). All the internet has to say is:

Max Foley:

Late 20th century newspaper cartoonist, illustrator and commercial artist. In 1983 Max Foley was president of the Black and White Artists' Club.

cartoonist, illustrator and commercial artist, has worked mainly as a newspaper artist but also draws political and gag cartoons. His comic strips include Tibby the Lion (ill. Rae, 47), Max and Min: the Weather People (ill. Rae, 48-49) and Cindy (ill. Rae, 51). He was president of the Black and White Artists' Club in 1983.

I'm a bit saddened to see this harmless and inconsequential little strip, which was so much a part of my childhood, has left such a small footprint. I had thought that in a world of collectors, fans and archivists nothing would truly be lost.

The strip ran for 300 issues. Here is the melancholy final episode:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gateway to Another Dimension

"YOUR DOORWAY TO THE WORLD" it said - but something had happened in that world.

Tourists passing through the dimensional portal found not Disneyland-X, Disney's first extra dimensional resort, nor a poolside bar where quaintly costumed crustaceans served drinks with little paper umbrellas, but only a wasteland of tumbled bricks.

Something had gone terribly wrong.