'THE MEANING OF EXISTENCE (AND OTHER SHORT STORIES)' is available for purchase! Just follow the link for an on-line shopping experience that will surely blow your mind.  Upon request, Stuart will sign your copy, either with his name or that of somebody else selected by you.  The book was launched on 28 November 2011 at the Wheeler Centre and is now orbiting the third sun of Jupiter.   In doing so, it has become the first collection of short stories to reach a major cellestial body since Max Walker's 'How to Puzzle a Python' was smuggled on board the Soyuz TM-4 Mir Space Station by one of the cosmonauts.  Also, the first chapter of Stuart's upcoming novel 'GOODSIR' is available in a newly released anthology.  It can be downloaded for free from Amazon by using the following address: http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Novel-Anthology-2012-ebook/dp/B009YNMPPW  Frankly, it would be cheap at half the price.

Captain Tightpants and the Exploding Casserole of Death

With the benefit of hindsight, I am not proud of my behaviour. Frankly, I could have been more compassionate, more sympathetic. But in your late teens and early twenties, ‘nuance’ is something of a stranger and every emotion is extreme. I was no different in this regard. It was these traits together whether a lack of guile that can only be described as ‘spectacular’ that made me a truly lousy housemate.

Fozzie, Fozzie, Fozzie; Oi, Oi, Oi

There’s no other way of saying it: everything has changed. It’s not a case of a few cushions here or a stick of furniture there; life has altered in a manner that is far more fundamental. Instead of our old life where we did what we wanted when we wanted, we are now in a perpetual state of readiness, in which are spring-loaded to leap to attention in an instant. For the ranks of our household have swollen from two to three after the arrival of our dog. Already I have been asked what having a puppy has been like. I answer that it’s a lot like having a demanding houseguest, albeit one who’s spectacularly incontinent.

An Open Letter to Tucker Carlson of ‘Fox and Friends’

You have some nerve, mister. When I first heard you’d said Australia ‘has no freedom’, my first instinct was to call emergency services; that’s how convinced I was that your pants were on fire. What possessed you! (I’d like to think is was the ghost of Ethel Merman, in which case it wouldn’t have been something you said so much as sang whilst wearing a pair of fishnets. That’s just a personal preference, of course.) I understand you made this somewhat astonishing claim whilst debating gun control. Maybe it something you said in the heat of the moment – if your trousers were ablaze, the heat of the moment would have been pretty intense.

Straight Outta Tyabb

How could I possibly refuse? My brother went right to the point – was I interested in seeing ‘Straight Outta Compton’ with he, his wife and one of my nephews on Friday night? But of course I was. Whilst my appearance may suggest otherwise, at heart I remain a gangsta rapper, ready to bring the rhyme in a microphone fight at nary a moment’s notice. Granted, there are very few gangsta rappers who would use a word like ‘nary’ but there’s no harm in trying.

Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti

Imagine this: aliens land and take you hostage. Spirited away to their spacecraft, you are then dragged to meet their leader; a vile green beast with a glistening fang and one gigantic blinking eye, and are told that you must sum up all the achievements of Western Civilization in a single word or you will either be vapourised by their laser or, worse, forced to become a contestant on Family Feud. Under these heightened circumstances, what word do you choose to try and save your skin? Something naff like ‘hope’ or stomach-churningly turgid as ‘love’? There’s no way an alien leader is going to swallow that. The answer is simple. The word that best describes all of Western Civilization is as follows: Awopbopaloobopalopbamboom.

Apology to one angry dude (wherever he may be)

I’m sorry. Truly. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I’d be the source of such heart-felt angst and misery. It was not my intention. The mere knowledge that I have caused such gut-churning anguish is something over which I am truly remorseful and more than a little embarrassed. It was never meant to turn out this way. I was simply driving along the river towards work. Then I saw you, helmet on, pedalling your heart out. You were doing such a wonderful job. Who could have known that soon you would be shaking your fist at the heavens because of me?

Tips for Surviving a Public Transport Strike

‘Plan your journey’. This advice flashed at me as I set off for work on Friday. In big urgent letters, the sign warned of the impending train strike whilst also offering sage counsel as how to best respond to the imminent crisis. But of course! Plainly, my preferred approach of not planning my journey would no longer suffice. Stepping outside my front door and letting anarchy ensue simple does not cut the mustard in these strike-plagued times. A different approach is called for.

Great Wardrobe Malfunctions of History

I felt sorry for him. As he stood in the doorway for the 7.34 limited express from Frankston to Flinders Street, the young man was acutely aware of the gargantuan error he had made. Although it was next to freezing, he chose to hold his jacket rather than wear it. The reason was simple: in the early morning haste to get ready, he had taken a jacket (blue) that did not match his trousers (black). Had he worn them together, he would have looked like a dimly lit Neenish tart. It’s one of the hazards of getting dressed in the dark.

The Ties That Bind

It’s hard to be ‘the one’. Fate can play some pretty nasty pranks from time to time and, without really meaning to, you might find yourself being held responsible for an absolute disaster. No one wants to be the person who undoes a good idea. There’s not a soul on this earth who deliberately sets out to be the one that sinks the ship whilst simultaneously slaying the golden goose. It was a decade before they could make another Batman after George Clooney was done with him. Poor George. It wasn’t his fault the whole thing stunk like a week-old trout in the sun. He was simply in the wrong place in the wrong time.

The Art of Selling Things

Clearly, anything is now possible. News that Jimmy Barnes has been awarded his own ice cream flavour has completely knocked me sideways and caused me to question everything I once believed. The decision to give Jimmy his own variety is, of course, highly inappropriate for a number of reasons, not least of which the fact that the ice cream in question is a Peters’ ‘Drumstick’ and, to the very best of my knowledge, Jimmy couldn’t do a para-diddle if his life depended on it. Don’t get me wrong; Jimmy is great and deserves to be honoured. I’m just not sure that an ice cream – as tasty and delicious as it may be – is quite the way to do it.

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