Plinky asks. I answer. Once a day.

How much television do you watch each week?

I’ll let this recent news article answer that question.

The Australian Government is to market Australian Network Television as the favoured torture method for extracting information from international terrorists.

Recent clinical trials have shown that when matched against traditional favourites such as, electrocution, chinese water torture and the rack, Australian Television provided, not only an increase in total percentage of information extracted, but also significant improvements in the speed with which that information was forthcoming.

Test subjects consisted of the finest and brightest marines from each of the major armed forces around the world. All subjects had been on active duty for a least ten years, serving in some of the most dangerous and inhospitable regions of the world.

Leader researcher, Kyle Sandilands stated:

"Identifying recruits that we considered to be ‘hard-as-nails’ was key to the success of our work. Hard-as-nailers are generally unlikely to give up information; they truly are wonderful secret-keepers."

After initially identifying over one hundred candidates, researchers narrowed the field to twenty-five potential test subjects through three months of rigorous viewing habit examinations, intelligence tests and online voting polls.

After six further weeks of fast-track secret-keeping training, lessons in the art of deception and strategic cover-up advice, the final selection process involved subjects removing money from their wife’s purse intended for that weeks grocery shopping. Candidates were then instructed to purchase as much alcohol as possible and consume it.

Unbeknownst to recruits, footage of their theft had been recorded. Video taps were supplied to all wives involved who were then given the opportunity to mastermind the kidnap of their husband and lead the interrogation. Subjects that successfully denied their involvement in the theft were then invited to join the program.

The research program has been sponsored by all the major Television networks across Australia. One CEO, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that:

"The real key to the effectiveness of Aussie TV as a torture method stems from our rework of international favourites such as Masterchef and Top Gear. The key is to destroy the content and add ‘Australia’ at the end of the program title. A truly original and ground breaking concept."

A research memo leaked this morning reveals that individuals subjected to several episodes of ‘Marry my daughter' suffered uncontrollable urination, excessive flatulence, severe headache, heavy sweating and eye trauma.

However, the training program has been viewed as controversial by some government ministers. Reports claiming that tax payers money will be used to rehabilitate soldiers exiting the program have infuriated leaders of the opposition who would rather see the money ploughed into public services and education.

Gillard replied:

"The continued success of Australia is paramount. We are the only country in the world where our television is able entertain real Australians and simultaneously be utilised as the top method for information extraction amongst the terrorists of the world. 

We must stay the path and be strong. The quality of programming must continue. We shall produce yawn-inducing programs, horribly long news reels and painful reality TV.

We must commit to this cause. No longer are barbecues important. Throw out the shrimps and forget the sandy beaches. We do not need kangaroos.

It is our commitment to awful television that defines what it is to be Australian today.”



Posted at 8:05am and tagged with: news reel, news, tv habits, television, politic, creative writing, writing prompts, plinky, silly, gillard,.

List the top 3 things you want to do before you kick the bucket. 

Personally, I think limiting this to three things is a little restrictive so I’m going to completely ignore it. 

Here’s five rather silly things I would love to do before I die: 

- Build an igloo
Hopefully I wouldn’t have to do this on my own. I’m not expecting this to take place in my back garden so a little company would be nice. 

I’d quite like to go for something fancy, say, along the lines of a three bedroom detached property with sea views. 

I’ve just got to decide if I’d prefer to build it at the top or the bottom of the world. 

- Hand brake turn a car properly
I remember thrashing a friends car around the car park of a local youth club. The cars enormous 1,000cc engine whined under the strain as I showed off my handbrake turns to my giggling friends in the back. 

Little did I know that a handbrake turn is not possible in a front wheel drive. My stunt driver skill simply ended in a stretched handbrake cable. I was whacked with a large repair bill, a slapped wrist and bath full of juvenile mockery from my mates. 

- Grow a beard and leave it for a month
When I was younger I expected that, by the time I was twenty-eight, I’d be able to grow a full on man-beard - all thick and bristly. 

It turns out that even after a week of growth, my chin resembles a dry and baron field in which the unfortunate farmer ran out of grain before he could finished planting. 

When the whiskers come thick and fast, like the Amazon on steroids, I’ll leave the beard for a month and subject the world to it’s ‘Tom-Hanks-in-Castaway wonder’. 

- Spend an hour in a lift
I once read that a university professor paid a load of students to ride lifts all afternoon. The students job was to get in the lift when it was full of people and, instead of doing the usual ‘face-the-door-look-down-and-don’t-say-a-word’, he had them loudly greet everybody with a massive grin. 

'Good morning fellow lift surfers!' 

This sounds like ridiculous fun. I’ll give it some edge though by not getting out of the lift for a whole hour. 

- Join a flash mob
I have some fairly strong views about too many things to mention here. But, if I was so inclined as to express these opinions by way of a mass demonstration, the last thing I would do it is march upon Town Hall and call upon the government to change their ways.

There is not a chance in hell that I would spend my Saturday morning constructing an ugly and meaningless banner from recycled ‘For Sale’ signs and force my children on a thousand mile march that finishes with a pointless TV interview next to an oil drum of burning rubbish. 

Instead, I would join a flash mob

Enough of silly, now to serious. Here’s the top three things I’d love to do before I die: 

The idea is simple. Approach 100 people you have never ever met before. Take their picture. Write their story. 

What an incredible journey this would be. Who would you meet and what would you learn? How would people react as you approached them? Think of the stories. Think of the people. Think how bizarre it would be to suddenly be a little closer to one hundred, interesting, unique and fascinating people. 

Need to grow some balls and get on with this one 

I don’t even know if this can be done. In fact, I have no concept of just how far this is. Obviously, it’s a mighty long way since you can see the wall from space. 

But imagine the challenge. Imagine day one as you gaze along the wall. Imagine the dread and fear, the quiver in your legs and the knot in your stomach. 

This is a real challenge. Imagine losing the fear and drinking in China. Devouring the food (and lots of it), drinking the tea and occasionally sipping on rice wine as the sun drifts down over the wall. 

Need to grow some balls and start organising this one. 

Visit every country. Eat every way there is to eat. Sleep every way there is to sleep. Travel every way path and road and track. Experience every culture there is to experience. See the sunset in every country. Live your life in every place. 

And return back to the start. I told you the world was round. 

Need to grow some balls and make time for this one.


Posted at 7:37pm and tagged with: bucket list, death, igloo, handbrake turn, flash mob, travel, journey, life, story, lift, great wall of china, 100 strangers, the world is round, plinky,.

If tattoos only lasted for one year, would you want one?

Most people want a tattoo. I bet if you’re reading this you’ve always had that little inclination to get inked - just like me. It would be cool wouldn’t it?

'Sick tattoo dude! That's awesome.' Thanks mate.

So why don’t I have a series of tribal markings creeping up my arm; or a spiders web wrapping my thigh; or the names of previous lovers lined up on my shoulder like a flesh covered bed post?

That doesn’t really sound like me, so I could opt for a meaningful quote embedded upon my rib cage; or a flaming Phoenix ascending my back; or have my knuckles topped with ‘love’ and ‘hate’.

But, if I’m not overly keen on those options, there are plenty more: I might chose to display a discreetly hidden barcode behind my shirt collar; or have ‘your name’ tattooed across my behind; or decide that the best option is to have the emblem of my favourite sports team centred on my calf muscle.

The answer is simple. Two reasons:

1. It might look shit

2. My mother would never speak to me again.

I like to think I’m one of those people who doesn’t judge a book by it’s cover. My job involves meeting new people most days and one the most important things I have learned is that ‘first impressions’ can be one of the most flawed pieces of my thinking.

However, when I am subjected to a flabby back displaying a train-wreck tattoo that is not only poorly conceived, but clearly the work of a distracted tattoo artist in the midst of an LSD binge, I become fairly agitated and can’t help but draw some fairly derogatory conclusions about the owner.

Look mate, I came to the beach to enjoy the sun and feel the sand between my toes. I did not wake up this morning and think, Oh my! I can’t wait to stretch out on the beach today and count how many times the word ‘Brenda’ is tattooed across your back. 

Incidentally, who is Brenda? You don’t make it clear. Perhaps, to break up the monotony of a single word (albeit you seemed to have exhausted every type of font available in Microsoft Word), you could add, ‘is my ##insert##’ to change things up a little.

So, there is always the risk that your tattoo will quite simply look shit and you will become the laughing stock of your friends and everyone watching you struggle to squeeze into your boards short behind a beach towel.

Worst still, even if you hit the nail on the head and decide to be etched with the most awesome of tattoos (and lets say that this has been condoned in some form of international ‘who’s got the best tattoo in the word’ internet poll), someone is bound to absolutely and thoroughly despise your beloved arm-art.

Which brings me to my mother.

I am going back to the UK in June. This a fairly long trip. In fact it consists of twenty-thousand kilometres, two flights, inedible pig food, screeching children and perpetual tiredness. Despite the biblical effort necessary to sit still and swill free booze for twenty-four hours, the trip is very much worth the effort. 

But let’s say I were to travel home with a little secret clinging to my arm…

Picture the scene.

The first day is glorious. I am showered with food and love and family fun. ‘I’m so pleased to have you home Eliot. Oh! How I’ve missed you.’

But there is a knot in my stomach.

On my arm is the coolest tattoo EVER. Not only do my friends love it, but Suzie goes weak at the knees every time I pull off my t-shirt. Furthermore, the results of the internet poll are in. Occupants of the world have confirmed that the fine carving residing on my deltoid muscle is by far the coolest on the planet.

I am scared to death though. This bliss can only last until morning. 

The trouble is I need to pass through my mothers bedroom to get to the bathroom. Calm down I hear you say, that doesn’t seem too bad?

You don’t understand. A combination of squeaky floorboards and door hinges on the landing work in harmony and produce an orchestral squeal loud enough to wake her.

So, what?

What’s the first thing you contemplate when you wake up? Any ideas? No? Well most mornings it goes something like this: ‘Man, I need to pee.’

So what? Surely she’ll just wait until your done in the bathroom?

Let me tell you this. My mother understands that everyone has a right to a little privacy and a limitation on embarrassment. But, based upon previous experiences which include: making inappropriate statements about the size of my underwear to shop assistants; and fondly stating on a packed commuter train ‘Eliot, MY how you’ve grown up - I can still remember when you used to wet the bed’; my mother does not extend these two basic human rights to either my brother or myself.

Additionally, my mother also thinks I am still six years old has no qualms about seeing me naked.

Well, why don’t you just lock the door and she can’t come in? Unfortunately, my mother lives on her own which means there is no lock.

She is coming in no matter what.


You know the rest of the story. My mother bursts through the door, enormous grin on here face and screeches ‘Morning, Eliot!’. My hands fly all over the place as I try in vain to cover various bits of my body. Completely unsuccessful, I opt to turn around because allowing my mother to see the ‘back’ is most definitely better than the ‘front’.

As I do, the awesome tat is exposed. She doesn’t say a word. 

Words like disgust and anger and shame do not adequately describe the look which has fallen upon her face. It’s as if I have mistaken her bed for a toilet and that I am insisting she sleep in it for the rest of the week.

She leaves the bathroom. I put my head into the stream of hot water and exhale. Holiday ruined.

So, if tattoos only lasted one year, would I want one? My answer is yes. But there are a few caveats:

1. I must have it in writing that the tattoo will disappear in 365 days.

2. There shall be a mechanism in place to sue the pants of someone if it lasts 366 days.

3. The tattoo shall not look shit.

4. My carvings awesomeness shall be confirmed through an international internet voting poll (or similar, I don’t want to sound too demanding).

5. My mother shall talk to me.

If anyone can fix up number five, I’ll get one tomorrow.

Posted at 12:15am and tagged with: tattoo, mother, shower, worlds worst tattoo, story, plinky,.