Definitely Limericks by Rory Ewins


For a couple of years, D&D
Was no game, but a calling for me:
Rolling dice with ten sides,
Reading handbooks and guides,
And dispatching a kobold or three.

They were cow cockies, which was what gave
Them the nicknames they took to the grave:
Simple rural types, folk
Who were butts of a joke,
In Australia got called Dad and Dave.

Dad and Dave were the main characters from a series of short stories by Queensland author Steele Rudd (Arthur Hoey Davis, 1868–1935), published from 1895 until his death and collected as On Our Selection (1899) and various sequels. The 1920 silent film On Our Selection and the 1932–52 radio series Dad and Dave from Snake Gully made the characters Australian cultural icons; for years, their names were used as a catchword for unsophisticated rural dwellers. The characters last appeared in a 1995 remake of the 1920 film, Dad and Dave: On Our Selection.

Dad and Dave from Snake Gully, a drama
About Dad, an irascible farmer,
And his idiot son,
Made the Thirties more fun,
Every character in it a charmer.

When the youth of today call it dad rock,
They’re saying this music is sad rock,
As in pitiful. Still,
When you’re old, it can thrill;
I for one don’t believe that it’s bad rock.

Dad rock in its simplest sense means any rock music your father likes (or, if you’re a father, that you like), making it an ever-moving target, but it also implies a certain type of rock music: epic, somewhat melancholic, sometimes incorporating orchestral elements, and featuring male vocalists. Older examples include Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and U2; 21st century examples include America’s Bon Iver, The National and Spoon, Australia’s Gang of Youths, and Britain’s Doves, Elbow and Coldplay.

Fenella, she’s thinking, “might plant a
Nice dagger fern... not, I will grant, a
Great plan, as their blades
Sound quite sharp,” which persuades
Her to ask for “a different one, Santa.”

“Ho ho ho! Have this Christmas fern instead, young lady. What’s that? It looks the same? Ho ho ho!”

Your trousers, once suitably baggy,
Are sadly misshapen and saggy.
Your out-of-date shirt
Caused a fashion alert.
The conclusion will hurt: mate, you’re daggy.

I’m an elegant bloke in me Daks,
A pair of elastic-tabbed slacks.
All them blokes wearin’ braces—
Mate, look at their faces!
I reckon in Oz they’ll sell stacks.

As it turned out, the self-supporting trousers invented in the 1930s by the London-based Simpsons of Piccadilly proved so popular that their name became a generic term in Australia, although it doesn’t have the fancy-pants connotations in Oz of the DAKS brand. The term daks has even been incorporated into underdaks (undies or underwear) and trackie daks (tracksuit bottoms or sweatsuit pants), and getting dakked, dacked or daksed in Australia is the equivalent of being pantsed in the US or debagged in the UK.

What’s that metal thing, knobbly and squat?
“EX–TER–MIN–ATE!” Aaaargh, I’ve been shot!
Now my body’s dissolved.
There’s the mystery solved:
It’s a Dalek. Who could have forgot?

Aussie damper’s a rough sorta bread
Made by stockmen, although it’s been said
That some bushrangers, too,
Ate a hunk with their stew:
“Such is loaf”—the last words of our Ned.

When a hot, thirsty Englishman needs
A cold beverage, why not fizzy weeds?
Yes, “weeds” is the word, doc,
As dandelion and burdock
Were the roots of the mead it succeeds.

Since the Middle Ages, the roots of the dandelion and the burdock have been used in Britain to make this traditional beverage: originally a light mead made from the plants’ fermented roots, dandelion and burdock is nowadays a carbonated soft drink, in some cases no longer flavoured by the roots at all. It tastes a bit like sarsaparilla.

She’s a safe and suburbanite stranger
To you, but I’d never exchange ’er.
Stop dissing my missus
As cookies and kisses—
Her byword in bed is still Danger.

I suppose I was mostly to blame
When I suddenly burst into flame.
One shouldn’t aspire
To sit near the fire
When Danger is one’s middle name.

The sight of this noodle can make
An Australian food-lover quake.
Is his heart beating faster
At menacing pasta?
Phoo, silly: this danger’s a snake.

Danger noodle made the Macquarie Dictionary’s 2023 Word of the Year longlist.

At first, marijuana was dank:
Good-quality weed; of top rank.
Sometime later, it seems,
Reddit said it of memes,
Though in doing so meant that they stank.

Dank emerged as a term for sticky, hairy and fragrant marijuana in the early 2000s, and like dope has become an adjective meaning something awesome, of high quality, or cool. In the early 2010s, the term was picked up in such online spaces as Reddit, 4Chan and YouTube and applied to memes, but ironically: a dank meme is a stale or overdone meme, to the point of being comically ironic and therefore cool.

Flash Harry’s mood crashed when his Danny
Got smashed as he drove to see Granny.
“I’ll just grab an Andy.
Oh, ’ere’s one—that’s ’andy.”
The man’s Donald Duck is uncanny.

Hang on, we’ve got a Harry, a Danny, an Andy and a Donald—what’s going on? Well, a Danny, short for Danny Marr (who he? who knows), is a car, especially a flash one, while an Andy McNab is a cab (which is also a Danny, see). Donald Duck is luck, but if you don’t give a Donald Duck it’s... something else. And if your name is Flash Harry, you could well live in the East End of London, like this Cockney geezer.

If your nature is gloomy and darksome,
Be wary of those who are larksome.
The merry and gay
Have a maddening way
Of improving one’s day, which is narksome.

“I’m sorry, darl. Hate to upset you.
Is there anything else I can get you?”
“Dunno.” “Maybe this?”
She leans forward; they kiss.
“If you wanna watch footy, I’ll let you.”

In Australia, darl is an informal short form of darling (as a form of address).

The Beagle once came to its shore,
Although Darwin was absent. It’s more
Than a tourist stop now:
Aussies marvel at how
Darwin lived through three cyclones and war.

The capital of the Northern Territory was founded in 1869 as Palmerston but later renamed Darwin after the wider area, which had been named for the famous scientist in 1839 by the captain of the Beagle on its third voyage. As the smallest and most northerly of Australia’s capital cities, Darwin serves as a tourist gateway for the Top End of the Territory and a link to Southeast Asia. It has been rebuilt three times after cyclones, in 1897, 1937 and 1974, and suffered Japanese air raids in World War II.

The ringmaster’s costume was dashy—
Designed to draw eyes with its splashy
And splendid display—
But not gaudy; no way
Would a flea-circus leader be flashy.

Malicious young swine! Getting plastered
On sacrament wine, when the pastor’d
Shown faith in supplying it,
And now you’re denying it?
Coward! My, my, what a dastard.

When you’re walking at twilight in Tassie, you’re
Inclined to see something quite jazzy. Your
First glimpse could be lots
Of brown fur and white spots,
Or you might hear the growl of a dasyure.

In Tasmania, you’ll see—if you’re lucky—a few different species of dasyures, or dasyurids: members of a family of small carnivorous marsupials native to Australia and New Guinea. Tasmania is home to eastern quolls and tiger quolls, each roughly the size of a domestic cat, with brown fur and white spots; the slightly larger Tasmanian devil, black with a white stripe across its chest, has a distinctive guttural growl. Like many marsupials, dasyures are nocturnal, though often most active at dusk.

There are 71 extant species of dasyurids, across seventeen genera; apart from Tasmanian devils and quolls, the others are different species of antechinus, dunnart, kaluta, kowari, kultarr, marsupial shrew, mulgara, ningaui, phascogale and planigale. Several species across three of these genera are called dasyures, including Woolley’s three-striped dasyure (Myoictis leucera), the speckled dasyure (Neophascogale lorentzi) and the long-nosed dasyure (Murexia naso).

Dasyurids are tiny but mighty:
A little bit feisty and fighty,
With pouches and cute
Little joeys to boot,
And adorable gnashers (they’re bitey).

Most dasyurids, or dasyures, are mouse- or shrew-sized insectivores, although the cat-sized quolls also eat smaller mammals, birds and lizards, and the slightly larger Tasmanian devils, although they mostly eat carrion, have been known to tackle small kangaroos.

If some pee from a tree dribbles durin’
Your time underneath it, ensurin’
Your woolly hat stinks,
Then a quoll has, methinks,
Sprayed your hat: I’d call that dasy-urine.

Quolls are semi-arboreal, so it’s possible that one could pee on you from a great height when you’re wandering in the Tasmanian or mainland Australian bush or jungle, but it’s more likely to be a possum. If it is a quoll, though, its urine will be dasyurine: that is, related to a dasyure or dasyurid, carnivorous marsupials which include quolls.

The digital tape known as DAT
Had its day, but today is old hat.
Though musicians were thrilled,
The home market was killed,
And so DAT, as they say, was soon that.

DAT could create perfect copies of digital sources at better-than-CD quality, making it a target for nervous record companies, but it remained popular within the recording industry throughout the 1990s.

I’m determined that sooner or later
She’ll deem me her number-one dater.
This dearly priced dinner
Denotes me as winner,
Unless she decamps with the waiter.

As a boy, I had only a brother,
So the girl I’ve known best is your mother;
But life has now taught her
That having a daughter
Means sharing my heart with another.

For Isobel.

Davy Crockett hats made from raccoon
Skins appeared on TV; pretty soon,
Every Fifties kid had
One—them caps were a fad—
And more tales featured tails (Daniel Boone).

The five-part serial Davy Crockett, aired on ABC in 1954–55 as part of its Disneyland series, sparked a craze for the coonskin caps worn by actor Fess Parker in his portrayal of the “king of the wild frontier”. Parker donned the caps again in his subsequent portrayal of Daniel Boone. As an adjectival phrase, Davy Crockett has since come to designate frontier clothing in general, but especially these hats.

Though the coo of one pigeon might bore us,
With robins and warblers he’ll floor us.
Together, their cheeps
Awake me and my peeps
When in springtime we hear the dawn chorus.

Other birds comprising the British dawn chorus, at its peak between March and May, are thrushes, blackbirds, collared doves, linnets and cuckoos.

A dawn service—not any old dawn—
Commemorates those who were torn
From this world by a war,
Mainly blokes from before
Most Australians now living were born.

Dawn services are ceremonies held on Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand, as well as in other countries with significant connections to Anzac military service.

The vampire explained to the cop,
“Zat is why I’m outside: I can swap
Night for day. I’m a daywalker.”
“Yeah? You’re a jaywalker,
Buddy. I’m sayin’ to stop.”

Though a beetle or ant may deny it,
A decibel sounds pretty quiet.
But a hundred or more
Will be shaking the floor,

The decibel scale of sound intensity is logarithmic: 10 dB is ten times louder than 0 dB (the threshold of hearing), 20 dB is a hundred times louder, and so on. A whisper is 20 dB, normal conversation around 60 dB, and 100 dB is around the level of a large orchestra or rock concert.

The Digital Compact Cassette—
The (supposedly) best format yet—
Was an out-and-out flop.
Home recorders pressed Stop,
And fast-forwarded it to Forget.

The backwards-compatibility of DCC players with analog compact cassettes suggested that this competitor to MiniDisc and DAT would be a winner, but copy protection, data compression, and the inherent disadvantages of tape-based systems contributed to its failure.

You record, and you mix, and you master
In digital form, so you plaster
DDD on the label
Wherever you’re able,
So sales aren’t a d-d-disaster.

The three-letter SPARS codes on the labels of early CDs indicated whether the recording, mixing and mastering of the disc had been analog (A) or digital (D); all-digital productions were DDD.

DDT was a wonderful thing
For destruction of bugs on the wing,
But a fate worse than arson,
Said bird-watcher Carson,
Was bound to result: Silent Spring.

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