More information than you asked for…

Consider this:


Indeed that has long been my approach. Unlike some I have known I do rather avoid this: in fact I swear I have chundered no more than ten times in the last forty years. Last night was my first in The Gong – so it’s been a chunder-free zone here at The Bates Motel for four years. Until last night of course.

Food poisoning. Alas and alack! The time frame suggests it may be salmonella – or so Dr Internet suggests. Just a shame the rather spectacular chunder didn’t erupt until 4.30 am. And a blessed relief it was when it did.

I’ll go with Dr Internet’s advice for the time being. “If symptoms persist…etc” I will head for the live version.

As for the word, we do tend to think of it as Australian, but maybe it isn’t. “1920-25; orig. variously explained; perhaps ultimately an expressive formation akin to dial. (mainly N England) chunder grumble, complain…” Here is another discussion on World Wide Words:

Barry Humphries certainly popularised chunder, but be reassured that he didn’t invent it. The first recorded use is actually in the 1950 novel A Town Like Alice, by Nevil Shute. Mr Humphries himself mentioned the “watch under” story in an article in the Times Literary Supplement in 1965. He believed it, but — like you — I treat it with the very greatest suspicion, as it sounds like a classic bit of folk etymology.

The writer of the TLS article recorded that he remembered it as being common in the mid 1950s in “Victoria’s more expensive public schools”. Others have suggested that it was actually World War Two military slang.

But the most common explanation is persuasive, though it is a little tentative because it is based on anecdotal associations rather than hard evidence. It is said that it comes from a series of advertisements for Blyth and Platt’s Cobra boot polish. These appeared in the Bulletin newspaper in Sydney from 1909 on, originally drawn by the well-known Australian artist Norman Lindsay. The ads featured a character named Chunder Loo of Akim Foo and were popular enough that Norman’s brother, Lionel Lindsay, wrote and illustrated The Adventures of Chunder Loo for Blyth and Platt in 1916. The character’s name became a nickname in World War One (sometimes abbreviated to Chunder), which is where the idea of a military link may have originated…


I do trust this post has diverted you rather than offering too much information. And as for me: so far so good. Oh yes: I will be informing the probable source of the affliction in due course.


Winter by the sea – 6 – and an update — Wollongong

More from last Wednesday late afternoon, around the Football Stadium and Steelers Club.




Tuesday 17 June

Our region does have its problems: Illawarra ranked fifth for youth unemployment: report.

In 2014, 18.4 per cent of Illawarra young people aged 15 to 24 were unemployed, which was well above the national average of 12.6 per cent.

Only North West Tasmania, Far North Queensland, West Moreton in South East Queensland and Far North and West South Australia had higher youth unemployment.

ALGA president Felicity-Ann Lewis said local government areas needed to create opportunities for young people by pursuing education, training and employment pathways that capitalised on their region’s strengths.

Other employment figures in the report showed the healthcare and social assistance industry overtook retail as the region’s largest industry, employing 16,937 Illawarra residents.

Retail trade dropped to second place, employing 15,933 people, followed by education and training and the construction industry.

And despite a rapid decline in the past decade, manufacturing remained one of the Illawarra’s biggest industries.

The report also showed the Illawarra’s reliance on social security was above average, with more people receiving disability support, parenting payments and youth allowance than the Australian average.

In better news, average Illawarra wealth per household was up by $71,000 since 2013 – reaching $669,000 based on 2012 house prices.

Debt levels compared to earnings were also lower than last year, with the household debt to gross income ratio down to 1.38 from 1.46 in 2013…

“Other employment figures in the report showed the healthcare and social assistance industry overtook retail as the region’s largest industry, employing 16,937 Illawarra residents.” You would think that may well be causally linked to the high unemployment figures and above average access to social security payments.

Meanwhile I, a poor pensioner myself, enjoyed a winter warmer, a read, some wine and conversation at City Diggers yesterday.


I was reading the fascinating June 2014 issue of New Internationalist, mainly devoted to the survival of minority languages.


Click to enlarge

I was also (thus far unsuccessfully) trying the Mungo MacCallum cryptic crossword in The Saturday Paper. I usually solve them eventually. Apparently Gerard Henderson, who thus now has a fresh hate object, finds The Saturday Paper boring. I can’t quote him exactly as that would mean giving money to Rupert Murdoch, but all I can say is GH must be easily bored. For example, this two parter, while far from pleasant, is one of the more powerful pieces of journalism I have read lately.

See Martin McKenzie-Murray, Catching teenage baby murderer Harley Hicks.

Evil lived unchallenged on Green Street, in a small house jammed with teenagers, an ex-con and a baby. Their number was swollen daily by friends chasing cones or crystal meth. There were three dogs roaming inside and out, and the occupants slept on couches or loose mattresses. This is what freedom looked like: a crowded rental, organised around drugs and the telly…

Pinned above the front door of Green Street was an Australian flag, and rusting near it on the driveway an abandoned car that had been converted into a sort of garbage bin – a place to dump the miscellanea of a house like this. The material shabbiness of the place matched the interior lives of its occupants. Ash would later say: “Their house was just trashed. There was just shit everywhere. There’s just too many people … You barely breathe in that house, let alone move around.” 

We don’t know what was centrally important to the individuals of Green Street, other than the shared fact of having a place in which to be idle. For existential sustenance, Marty had Zali. Pragmatically, Damo had his parole home, however jeopardised by the drug sessions. Harley, though, wasn’t much interested in being a father figure to Marty’s kid. He was gone for long periods, either to score or burglarise homes. The putrid spectre that hung over Green Street was that the question of what was centrally important was either obscured by, or found in, their carnival of petty crime and drugged devotion to computer games. They knew little about each other; knew or cared less that their house was a Petri dish for evil. Their importance to each other was largely subconscious – to validate each other’s long drift…

Boring? No way. And a blessed contrast to that terminally non-newspaper rag The Daily Telegraph, which I occasionally read for free at Diggers. It never takes long.

Yes, I look slightly less like Santa…


Jim Belshaw beat me on this one this morning, sneakily posting before I had even had my morning coffee at the Yum Yum Cafe. But yes, it seems The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013 is… SELFIE and furthermore it seems it originated in Australia in 2002. The citation:

2002 ABC Online (forum posting) 13 Sept.

“Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer [sic] and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”

The Oxford Academic Facebook Page suggests this from NASA may be a good illustration.


But of course one of the most famous selfies recently in Australia was during the swan song (no pun intended) of Kevin Rudd:


Possibly my most elaborate selfie has been this from June 2012:


Of with by at in and other prepositional things

I did a double-take when I read Wallabies defeat to the British and Irish Lions was devastating, says James Horwill just now – and not at the outcome of the game, but rather, thinks I, ought that not to be “defeat by the British and Irish Lions”? (I did a double-take over Brazilian mob decapitates soccer referee who fatally stabbed player too, but for rather different reasons. Or should that be “double-take about”?)


One that irritates me and seems to be getting more common is “bored of”.  As a source of puns it has been around for some time.


But whatever happened to “bored with” or “bored by”?

See Bored by, of, or with?

…bored of, is more recent than the other two and it’s become extremely common. In fact, the Oxford English Corpus contains almost twice as many instances of bored of than bored by. It represents a perfectly logical development of the language, and was probably formed on the pattern of expressions such as tired of or weary of. Nevertheless, some people dislike it and it’s not fully accepted in standard English. It’s best to avoid using it in formal writing.