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Around the traps with your mate, Joe Chip

Feeding rainbow lorikeets

Your mate extends the international socialist hand of friendship to multi-coloured comrades escaping the rain

As your mate says, don’t feed wild birds.

Most inspiring comment:  “Never in the field of human endeavour has so much been misguided by such sumptuous evocations of impossibly marxy laddies – it really is that good.”  Thank you!

Most blush inducing comment:  “I cast my eye around the mymatejoechip empire, and it occurs to me that I may, just may, be very slightly in love with him. it. you. choose a pronoun, I’m not picky.”


Like all Australians, your mate aspires to come second if not third in everything in life, and therefore he won’t give quite the attention to this post, in case it causes it to come first.  Close enough was good enough for the early settlers, and who am I to argue with people whose arms were ten times the size of my thighs?

Your mate has been very busy in charitable activities, as pictured above, feeding the starving masses, and was repaid by being pooped on, and expected no more.  On the bird front, we have had another owl visitor, a southern boobook, easily identified by its call, but no picture as it was only barely glimpsed at 5am the other day.  In another charitable activity, he was forced to watch Carnage and has vowed to seek revenge on Jody Foster’s character, or at least Jody Foster, who was as annoying as someone who narrates their blog in the third person.

Over at “You are what you eat“, things have been quiet.  I had a draft blog about taste testing bullets in preparation, but as we all know there was another massacre, and your mate left it at a few lines which no one will read.  I am a very imperfect person living in an imperfect country.  We have many failings, and this is what causes me not to just make smart arse comments about other countries, whether they be Syria or New Zeelund*.  However, you know how people laugh at North Korea and the devotion to whichever Great Leader is in power at any given time?  You know how we cannot understand how people can be like that?  For the very very little that my opinion is worth, that’s the reaction I have to the American gun fetish that simply accepts that every now and then a couple of dozen people are massacred, on top of the daily slaughter.  (Feel free to point out the failings of Austria, I will no doubt agree with your analysis.)

The revolution has not yet come to completion, due to the failure of my comrade Edgar Edgarberger to buy the lottery tickets that will ultimately fund the uprising.  I have given some tips on books to read to pass the time until the socialist utopia is established (I understand from reading other posts that “Obama-care” has rendered the US a communist state, so that is a positive move).  I have no editing power over at that site, and neglected to include Adam Roberts in my list of contemporary writers who keep referencing revolutionary themes.  “Yellow Blue Tibia” is a demented novel in a post Chernobyl setting which somehow posits a connection between Soviet science fiction and an alien invasion which both has and has not occurred.  “New Model Army” has private armies being established through social media, composed almost of weekend soldiers who regularly defeat the standing armies of nation states and then melt back to their homes and day jobs.  The recent “By Light Alone” has a world where hunger has been removed by genetically engineering the body so that we photosynthesise through our hair.  Yes, you guessed it, it made everything worse, and the masses are on the rise, at least if its a sunny day.  (Please comment on the site and ask Edgar where the hell he is.  I am not clever enough to know whether it is ironic that he is unable to blog because of work commitments.)

Your mate is nothing if not a bad artist.  At Poetry and Paranoia, he has blogged “Loving the Alien” in memory of Ray Bradbury;  commented on “Jehovah’s Witnesses” (and I must insert an errata here – I thought I had to apologise to the JWs for accusations of laziness because they don’t bother me anymore, as I discovered a Watch Tower on my desk – I later found that someone else thought it would be amusing to deliver it for them, so I withdraw my apologies they are lazy, and Jehovah will not be happy with them (nor with me, no doubt)); posted the lyrics of the soon to be number one hit, “Albino Girl“; and drew tears with “The Polygamist’s Lament“, noting that three is the loneliest number, its one too many to rhumba.

And if you missed my post below, and are interested in noir, crime, thrillers, that sort of thing, you may be interested in purchasing “SAD JINGO” by fellow blogger Ron Dionne, one of our fellow bloggers, because it is good and it is cheap.

Thank you for any attention you paid to my rant.  As a reward, here is a picture of a grey butcherbird.  It is a caroling bird, and I am awoken by its beautiful song most mornings.  It gets its name from its predatory behaviour and its habit of storing the carcasses of small birds in the forks of branches, either for later consumption or as some sort of hobby.  It would not deign to eat from my hand, but they will zoom through the air and pluck from gravity’s grasp any bread or meat tidbits I throw them.  Nice.

Grey Butcher Bird

I’ll start with the bread …

* I liked the Kiwi commentator who announced that the Australian Olympic team had changed its colours to green and silver (previously green and gold).  And Australians who have been annoyed by the Commo Bank ads during the Games broadcasts will like the internet comment “so the ‘T’ was right after all!” – I’d attribute if I knew where it came from, but I love it!

The Crimson Pimpernel

Crimson Rosella

There we go, as promised in various places, if you don’t like the words, at least there is a bird to look at.

Your mate really has no business blogging when there are so many other calls on his time, such as hiding from creditors and looking at birds, but he cannot let you down.

Looking around the Joe Chippish traps, a message has got through from Glossolalia, though it is hard to understand.  I suspect evil Trevor has been up to something.  In honour of Valentine’s Day, the Joe Chip laboratories have conducted an in depth analysis of love (scientific name: LERV), to see what its all about, Alfie.  You may be surprised at our results.  Or you may not.

Continuing with the romantic theme, you may be intrigued by the strange attraction your mate has to the Australian billionaire, Gina Rinehart, and the question he asks: does she have ninjas?

In the poetic realms, we consider the effect of the cryptid creature, the numb-bat, and those who seek its bite to remove all feeling, and why light is a bad thing.  (Who is this “we”, Joe?  I don’t know, you tell me, Joe.)

This week’s shout out goes to Osteoarch, who is a freelance osteoarchaeologist, and how cool is that?  Most interesting job description I’ve come across in a while, and she gets to wear a white coat in her pictures, which I don’t.  Check out her site.

Just finished “Embassytown” by China Mieville, the bestselling communist fantasist.  He continues with an obsession about religion.  In earlier books such as “Perdido Street Station” he wrote of demons, though they were throughgoing materialists, existing on the physical plane.  In “Kraken” he was a bit more direct, depicting a London populated by members of thousands of obscure and generally warring sects.  He has a respectful Marxist approach to religion – he does not believe a word of it, but acknowledges it as a real and continuing part of human existence.  While a complete sceptic, he does not take the dismissive approach of a Dawkins or Hitchens, no doubt in part stemming from his Marxism, in that religion cannot be reasoned away until the material conditions of humanity change and the contradictions inherent in the capitalist system are resolved and the state withers away and so on – he has his own apocalyptic agenda whether he realises it or not.  I don’t know that too many religious believers would see themselves reflected in “Kraken”, though perhaps their detractors would.  yes, they can be evil, intolerant, scheming, whatever, but they can also be loyal, devoted, selfless and self sacrificing – in other words, human.  However, religion is reduced to subscribing to an arbitrary series of postulates (unlike, say, Marxism).

Here, the theological concerns are definitely non-theistic.  In “Embassytown”, humanity is confronted with a pre-lapsarian world, with creatures who cannot lie.  This is no “Case of Conscience” James Blish world – they are not innocents – they scheme, they kill, they profit.  However, for purely Darwinian reasons, they cannot lie.  Humanity then introduces the serpent into their world.

It is all very interesting, however for all the discussion in reviews of the cleverness in its discussion of language and so on, it still felt arbitrary.  This thing happens because these creatures happen to do this when this other thing happens.  Hardly a criticism, I know, isn’t that a description of life, however I don’t know that it is justified to raise the discussion of the book as high as it has gone in some circles.  It is one of the slimmest of his books (his books are getting a lot shorter than when he started, whether that is a good thing depends upon how much you were enjoying them), but frankly I thought it could have been a lot thinner.

There are many excellent science fiction touches.  I enjoyed the Turing machine, however it left me feeling a bit stupid – its role just drops off, and I  was left thinking that I must have missed something obvious about it and its inability to adapt.  Perhaps there was a comment in there about Turing machines being a test of whether humans are conscious independent sentient beings that I missed in reading it on my daily commute.  The stuff about interstellar travel on the immer and floaking are fairly lovely for those who enjoy sf.  Philip K Dick when interviewed  said that the pleasures of reading AE van Vogt for him included that they hinted at things unseen.  There are plenty of hints in this book – interdimensional lighthouses built in the immer – leading to the irony of the narrator, existing in a world so exotic to us, being led by the human instinct to leave her humdrum existence behind and strike off into even further beyond.  Whatever we reach, there is always something further.  However, while I enjoyed these aspects, to me they were a little bit of a cheat.  When I was elbowing my way into the novel, trying to settle in and get comfortable, there was a scene of a ship returning from the immer that was insufficiently quarantined.  Suddenly, something breaks out, and reality begins to be converted into the stuff of the creature.  A monster from the true beyond, something strange, a great weird moment.  I thought this was a hint of the crisis to come, of the crux of the novel.  No, it was mostly a throw away scene.  *Sigh*

An intriguing premise, some lovely dollops of weird, but in terms of playing with words and their manifestation, I preferred the playfulness of Steven Hall’s “The Raw Shark Texts”.  Perhaps I am shallow.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Your mate loves youse all!

Mooning about

who would have thought

Rainbow lorikeet with moon

Your mate is nothing if not judgmental, quick to use national stereotypes to avoid thinking.  For example, Germany = militarism; USA = conspiracy theories; North Korea = fun times; Russia = a desperate fight to return to democracy; Australia = interesting animals.  And the most interesting of all animals are the cryptids, the subjects of cryptozoology.  Australia has plenty of them – phantom panthers, bunyips, yowies, and most intriguing of them all, the womb-bats.  I hope to provide photographs soon.  In the meantime, you can click on a link and learn all about them here.  Society has had to develop to accommodate these cute animals, and your mate has provided some advice regarding etiquette here.  It is very important not to confuse them with the savage, woman biting wombat, so for your own safety and edification, you must read this now.

Speaking about things strange and fortean, your mate had a very interesting discussion here about UFOs with partialsceptic.  Partial sceptic suggested most ufos can be explained by the weather.  Your mate challenged him on that, forcefully putting the point that it is unlikely weather could build advanced craft to fly around space in.

Meanwhile, in preparation for the coming world revolution, your mate has provided a list of topics you are not allowed to think about here.  It is very important that you read this, otherwise how will you know whether your thoughts are appropriate and you need to report for re-education?

Your mate hopes you have a very good week.

It can’t be cliched if its not a gum tree …

waiting for snakes

kookaburra sits in the frangipani doesn't have the same ring

hctrees is a poet.  Your mate is not.  That however has not prevent him posting poems on such classical topics as colonic irrigation, eyes falling out, and the colour blue, here.  You have been warned.

After a quiet period, more has been revealed about Trevor’s domination of Glossolalia, where your mate is unable to maintain relationships with anything human.  These fictions are a distraction from the fiction your mate is supposed to be writing.  Ron Dionne is refusing to be distracted and will be publishing soon.

Continuing on with colonic irrigation (and why wouldn’t we?), your mate has established that it does not taste like chicken here.  Check out his salad, a lot of work went into it.

Is it possible that the Russian spring will mean that for the first time in 22 years, free elections will be held and democratic freedoms returned to the Soviet I mean Russian people.  In-depth analysis here.

Good reads: “Thought Crimes” by Tim Richards; “Mirage Men” by Mark Pilkington; “Best New Horror Vol 22” ed Stephen Jones; “On Evil” by Terry Eagleton.

This week with Joe …

Your prophet and scientist, Joe Chip, has been very concerned with the effects of genetic engineering this week.  In “Not Trevor“, he looked at how the perception of Huxley’s “Brave New World” has changed from dystopia to utopia in recent years, and at the development of a genetic engineering facility in his own home town.

In “You are what you eat“, he moves on from an examination of fire as a traditional foodstuff, to plans that are afoot to introduce insect genes into farmyard animals, to improve breeding and meat production.

Over at the 6th Proletarian Lotto Anarcho-syndicate, Joe is looking for a missing friend, and wondering whether that is an indication they may actually have won the lottery … hmm.  Has anybody seen Comrade Edgaredgarberger?

Joe loves your comments.  Perhaps he gave some to you, just to help you out.

Put your money on … COMINTERN

The overthrowing of capitalism and withering away of the state may be historically inevitable, but despite Karl Marx appearing to us in the mayonnaise on a fillet of fish at McDonalds and promising that we would win the lottery, nothing has happened.  We steadily progressed, each week scoring another number, then this week, zippo.  Comrade Edgaredgarberger muses on the fate of the leader of the first Hungarian Soviet in a zippy one liner; he rants about the 2000 Olympics being held in the city of Auburn, not Sydney; craps on about some other stuff; while your mate, mymatejoechip gets all prophetic and throws a jeremiad at ya, after hinting at the reasons for the downfall of the 5th proletarian anarc0-lottery-syndicate.  With the next global financial crisis only 15 seconds away, who could not be excited about reading all about it right here?  Please.  It makes Comrade Edgaredgarberger happy.

Questions that must be answered

Q:  What is the last thing some people see?

A:  The eye poker.

Unanswered questions:

Does anyone know the relationship between the eye poker and the finger of death?

Why don’t they hire decent science fiction writers for Dr Who?  Yes, there is the exception, like Neil Gaiman, and yes, Steven Moffatt has written good episodes, but … Kim Newman is asking whether we are back to 1977 already, when after 14 years the first run fizzled.

How did Connie Willis win the Nebula and the Hugo for Blackout / All Clear?  I’ve read reviews, they say “SOMETHING HAPPENS”, but I’m up to page 380 and its only just got a little bit interesting … in bits.  Time travelling historians … may have … changed time … perhaps … changed their FUTURE … and … now they are …  are they … stuck?  “Something happens”?  Its a science fiction book, and much as I like to see genre rules challenged, I expect something to bloody well happen in a science fiction book.

Is there a communist in the White House?  If so, how lonely are they?  I thought there was some sort of internet joke going on, like “Where’s Wally/Waldo?”, with a picture of Lenin somewhere in the West Wing, but thick as I am, it eventually filtered through that the bloggers are blogging well serious.  Someone should find a communist somewhere and show them off, take them around to schools, so that people can see what a communist really looks like (something  like the Hamburglar, or perhaps the Iron Chef, if memory serves me right), and not become confused with … I don’t know, someone trying to give capitalism a vaguely human face, and failing miserably.

(The writer is obviously a little bit cranky today.  It will pass.)


For a limited time only (until he is overwhelmed with spam), your mate Joe Chip is on Facebook.  My nom-de-blog would be very happy to make friends with your pseudonym.  My only friend is Edgaredgarberger, so please rescue me before I fall into despair-o.

Just click here.