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Americans don’t spell like I do. Where I write “colour”, they write “color”. Where I write “dialogue”, they write “dialog”. Sometimes it feels like they’re doing it just to mess with me. They Americanise the word “Anglicise”. They spell “kilometre” differently and they don’t even use the damn things. What is America’s problem?

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Paying for entertainment: Somebody has to do it

The moment I saw the badgers, I knew Tony was a dead man. I shouldn’t have known. It should have been a surprise. But that’s the problem with missing the original broadcast of a television show. The longer you wait to watch it, the greater the chance that something or someone is going to come along and spoil it for you. Glance at the wrong newspaper, overhear the wrong conversation, go anywhere near the internet and the season finale of Breaking Badgers is ruined.

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Jumping the queue for toffee apples

In a baffling moment of collective electoral insanity, the Australian voting public installs certified maniac Mad Jack McFadden as its leader. McFadden embarks upon a series of grossly irresponsible economic gambles, all of which miraculously pay off, ushering in a golden age of national prosperity. Flying high on the winds of public opinion, he calls a constitutional referendum and uses a cleverly worded proposition to trick the nation into granting him absolute and interminable power.

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Going to the toilet for 3 year olds, in 56 simple steps

Going to the toilet for 3 year olds, in 56 simple steps:

 

  1. Tell Daddy that you need to go to the toilet.
  2. Ignore Daddy’s suggestion that you can go to the toilet by yourself because you’re a big girl now and you don’t need Daddy to help you any more.
  3. Tell Daddy that you REALLY need to go to the toilet.
  4. Ignore Daddy’s request that you try to hold on until the end of Daddy’s very important football game.
  5. Tall Daddy that you REALLY need to go to the toilet NOW.
  6. Ignore Daddy’s attitude as he gets up from the couch.
  7. Walk up three steps.
  8. Stop.
  9. Tell Daddy that your pants are too long.
  10. Ignore Daddy’s claim that your pants aren’t too long.
  11. Sit down on the step and try, unsuccessfully, to roll up the legs of your pants.
  12. Ignore Daddy’s offer of help.
  13. Ignore Daddy’s offer of help.
  14. Ignore Daddy’s offer of help.
  15. Decline Daddy’s offer of help.
  16. Try, unsuccessfully, to roll up the legs of your pants again.
  17. Ask Daddy for help.
  18. Squirm uncontrollably while Daddy tries to help.
  19. Recall the koala that you saw at the zoo last week.
  20. Start to crawl up the remainder of the stairs very, very slowly, just like the koala that you saw at the zoo last week.
  21. Ignore Daddy’s question about what you’re doing.
  22. Ignore Daddy’s request that you walk up the stairs properly like a big girl.
  23. Ignore Daddy’s threat that you’re going to be in very big trouble if you aren’t walking up the stairs properly like a big girl by the count of three.
  24. Ignore Daddy’s count of one.
  25. Ignore Daddy’s count of two.
  26. Ignore Daddy’s count of two and a half.
  27. Right at the moment that Daddy says “three”, spring to your feet and start walking up the stairs properly like a big girl.
  28. Ignore Daddy’s claim that that was close.
  29. Tell Daddy that koalas eat leaves.
  30. Proceed to the bathroom.
  31. Stop in the doorway and tell Daddy that boys stand up for wees and sit down for poos.
  32. Ignore Daddy’s request that you go to the toilet.
  33. Tell Daddy that girls sit down for wees and poos.
  34. Ignore Daddy’s request that you please go to the toilet.
  35. Tell Daddy that boys have a willy.
  36. Ignore Daddy’s request that you please, for the love of God, just go the toilet.
  37. Ask Daddy what girls have.
  38. Bask in Daddy’s discomfort.
  39. Get on the toilet.
  40. Ask Daddy to leave the bathroom.
  41. Wait for 30 seconds after Daddy leaves the bathroom.
  42. Tell Daddy that you don’t need to go anymore.
  43. Ignore the steam coming out of Daddy’s ears.
  44. Leave the bathroom and start walking down the stairs.
  45. Stop at the half way point and launch into a heart-felt rendition of “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”
  46. Ignore Daddy’s request that you keep moving.
  47. Ignore Daddy’s warning that if you don’t keep moving, he’s going to walk down the stairs without you.
  48. Stay behind, singing “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” in an increasingly defiant tone, as Daddy walks down the stairs without you.
  49. Wait until it sounds like Daddy has gotten himself comfortable on the couch.
  50. Scream at the top of your lungs about being abandoned.
  51. Wait for Daddy to come storming up the stairs, scoop you up, march you back downstairs and put you in the naughty corner.
  52. Serve your time.
  53. Tell Daddy that you understand whatever stupid parent thing it is that he claims you’ve done wrong.
  54. Apologise in a manner that is as insincere as is humanly possible without quite being disrespectful enough to justify additional time in the naughty corner.
  55. Wait for Daddy to get comfortable on the couch again.
  56. Tell Daddy that you need to go to the toilet.

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The revolution will begin with a waddle

Why did the duck cross the road? That’s a trick question, of course. Ducks don’t cross the road. They stand in the middle and laugh at us as we all slow down to avoid them and some of us miss our trains.

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How to be Santa: A father’s guide to Father Christmas

My very first Christmas as a father was a walk in the parenting park. My newborn daughter was far too young to understand anything that was happening. She was still trying to work out how to operate her fingers.

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High beams: Innocent oversight or crime against humanity?

I’m a human being, and like all human beings, I sometimes do unpleasant things to other human beings. Sometimes I talk about people behind their backs, sometimes I pretend I didn’t see the person running for the elevator, sometimes I leave a little bit of milk in the bottle so I don’t have to be the one to rinse and recycle. And sometimes – just sometimes – I leave my headlights on high beam.

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Fixing the Olympics

If the top 10 female swimmers at the 2012 London Olympics all belonged to the same country, they would have added a combined total of 15 gold medals to that country’s medal tally. If the top 10 female archers at the 2012 London Olympics all belonged to the same country, they would have added a combined total of 2 gold medals to that country’s medal tally. Doesn’t really seem fair, does it?

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Why do we keep books?

I read James Joyce’s Ulysses once. It wasn’t easy but I got the job done. Did I understand it? Of course not. Nobody understands Ulysses, and anybody who tells you they did is lying. But I knew what a lot of the words in it meant and I’m pretty sure I looked at them in the author’s intended order, and if that’s not reading then I’ll eat my cat. Understanding be damned.

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Write like there’s nobody reading over your shoulder

I spend two and a half hours each day sitting on a train as I commute to and from my place of employment. For an aspiring writer with a full-time day job and the demands of a bustling young family awaiting him at home, those two and a half hours are a godsend. At least they would be if I used them wisely. Aside from the usual opportunities for procrastination that the exciting new world of digital media provides, there’s one thing that stops me from being as productive as I should be with this wonderful, godsent train time of mine. I really don’t like people reading over my shoulder.

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