A feather in my cap…tion

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It’s not like you weren’t warned.

Two weeks ago I mentioned an entry of mine in the New Yorker Caption Contest had been announced as one of the three finalists. This in a contest that attracts in excess of 5000 entries from countries around the globe each week.

What I also said at that time was that if the entry went on to actually win, expect to have to suffer me talking about it all over again. And if it didn’t, guaranteed you’d never hear me mention it again.

So here I am talking about it. Again.

Earlier this week when I logged onto the site to check if they’d decided on a winner, you could have knocked me down with a feather when I spotted my name next to the first place flag.

My seven-year old daughter has since taken to calling me ‘Champion’ (as in at the dinner table at night, “What drink would our Champion like?”) and I’m making no effort to correct her.

And only now can the full story of this long-awaited triumph be told.

A little on two years ago I read an article about how famed American film critic Roger Ebert had taken 107 attempts before he finally won the notoriously difficult to win New Yorker Caption Competition. I set out at that time to attempt to match his record but resolved if I had not met with success by the 108th attempt, I would give up.

The caption I sent in two weeks back that has ended up winning this competition was my 105th straight week of submitting an entry. I’m ready to retire now, content I’ve achieved what I set out to do. But I’m gonna pop a few champagne corks before I do.


View live link here

How the mighty have fallen


How does a person go from a once highly decorated NSW police detective to luring, (at the age of 73) a 20-year-old to a Sydney storage unit, murdering him and then dumping the body at sea the next day in waters off Crunulla?

This is the question that author and former police detective himself Duncan McNab sets out to answer in what is his second book on this country’s most infamous and crooked former cop. The answer is delivered across 30 chapters in this book but may be summarised in just one word – ‘incrementally’.

In Australia’s long, inglorious history of bent coppers – going right back to the country’s very first constable James Smith, dismissed by Governor Arthur Phillip for larceny – there has been none more tarnished and synonymous with crime then Roger ‘The Dodger’ Rogerson.

In a notorious career, which included associations with some of Australia’s worst criminals (he famously ventured on speaking tours with professional stand-over man and alleged author Chopper Read), extrajudicial killings, being implicated in various murders and disappearances; countless allegations of threatening behaviour, bribery and drug dealing; and convictions for perverting the course of justice and perjury, he was dismissed from the police force in 1986 and jailed twice.

He is now 76 years of age and began serving a ‘life’ sentence in Sydney’s Long Bay jail in September of last year for the 2014 pre-meditated murder of twenty year old Jamie Gao, that took place inside Rent-A-Space storage shed 803 housed within a deserted industrial estate in the Sydney south-western suburb of Padstow.

Channel 7 has a telemovie co-starring Toni Collette planned for release on the whole sorry, sordid tale later this year.Use



New York New York


He’s something else that Arnie isn’t he?

Coming on all dramatic like that.

But having him as my campaign manager in a contest decided by popular vote has its up side.

Here’s what’s happening.

I maybe, with extra heavy emphasis on the maybe, about to enjoy my 15 minutes of fame.

No, I’m not going on THE VOICE, so that idea can be put to the samurai sword straight away. Although I have watched with interest two fellow Queensland school teachers give it a whirl on the current Seal – Boy George – Kelly Rowland – Delta season.

My turn in the spotlight is way less show biz than that but no less exciting (for me). It’s all about an entry I sent in for the New Yorker Caption Competition. An entry that has been announced as one of the three finalists.

For anyone without a real knowledge and interest in such things that is hardly a thunder-clap announcement. For someone with knowledge and interest in such things that is most definitely a back-slaps-all-round, buttered crumpet slice of news.

The New Yorker Caption Contest runs weekly on-line and is open to anyone aged thirteen or over. It attracts in excess of 5000 entries per week from countries across the globe and is therefore notoriously difficult to win. Renown American film critic Roger Ebert (1942 – 2013) famously won after no less than 107 attempts.

This week’s contest cartoon is pictured below, along with the three finalists – one from California, one from Texas and one mine.


  • “And where was the outrage over Alan’s standing desk?”
  • “Like I’m the first person who’s tried sleeping their way to the top.”
  • “Don’t just stand there. Tuck me in.”

I won’t tell you which is mine.

It’s more fun that way.

What I will say, being a realist, is that in my opinion my entry is not the funniest and therefore doesn’t deserve to win. Which will not, in any way, stop me from hoping it does.

If I do win, (announced next week) expect to have to put up with me spending the next couple of posts positively wallowing in it and talking up how great it is to stand in the winners corner, breathe in the exalted, sweet-smelling air of success etc.

If I don’t win, guaranteed you’ll never hear me mention it again.

Here’s the link, if you’d like to cast your vote for one of the three finalists –

Vote here


Percolating no more


My local coffee shop closed down recently.

In its place now stands a nail salon. Maybe they’ll be a little less snobby.

This was a coffee shop that took itself way too seriously. The coffee was good but by the manner the staff carried on you’d have thought what they served in the cups was an elixir so precious that the barista doubted the customer could be trusted with it.

Their business model included suspiciously eyeing and then ignoring any customer who walked through their doors as if that person were some kind of bare-butted Beverly Hillybilly in-bred.  Dressed in their black noir aprons 30 years after funk/pop group BIG PIG (1985-1991) first coined the fashion, the staff would smile eventually when you went up to order but never with their eyes. It was the smile of a predator to its prey. Fairly predictably the uniform would be accompanied by some kind of goatee beard, a Che-Guevera t-shirt, and an overpowering righteous air. I’m betting a few of them even owned guitars. I’m guessing some may even have grown up down Melbourne way.

In their part-defence, I might offer up the theory that many workers in jobs such as theirs are probably so used to customers taking a superior tone as soon as they walk through the door, that as soon as they come upon someone who might actually bother to preface their order with a ‘G’day’ greeting in a gesture of ‘level playing field’ humanitarian acknowledgement, they’re tempted to think to themselves –  ” The master-servent code may just be on hold here. Time to punch back!”

I remember watching the look of barely disguised disgust spread across the face of a coloured-frame-eyeglasses-wearing female employee when I handed her a loyalty card to stamp that belonged to, and had just been used a minute before, by my bearded mate.

Then there was the time I was greeted by uppity surly face just because my order was a little more ‘complicated’ then they were used to. I mean what part of –

“Triple venti chai tea latte, double-pump, cinnamon dolce soy milk, extra whip, extra shot, then extract that shot, foam on the bottom, with salted-caramel drizzle served at 48.8 degrees celsius” did this person not understand?

Anyways, gone now. All gone.

My new go-to hipster cafe?

Maccas, of course.


PS. Does coffee really taste any better if it’s brewed in a whimsical contraption?