Sunday, July 29, 2012

Grey, Overweight and Ugly

Spending a lot of time, as I do in my male staff's reverse people smuggling office, it never ceases to amaze me how long he and the ladies spend with their ears glued to the telephone. Once when my male staff put his phone down on the desk I left my green bean momentarily and moseyed over to it in order to discover what is so fascinating about it. Let me tell you, you're not missing much. It was just music with frequent interjections from some woman telling the listen that "Your call is important to us. Thank you for your patience. Please continue to hold, an operator will be with you shortly." Imagine listening to that all day, it would be worse than having a conversation with Badger, or worse still listening to a speech by David Cameron.

Years ago, when my male staff was young and even more stupid than he is now. He smeared black boot polish all over the old style black handset of his boss's phone and then phoned him from his desk opposite. Naturally, the boss picked up the phone after a couple rings.
 "Hello...........hello?" Quizzical expression, shrugs, puts phone down. Picks up vital paperwork. Look of abject horror spreads across his face as he sees black smears on the paperwork which obscures much of the writing. He drops the paperwork and puts his hand to his face. Now he has black hand prints on his face as well as one black ear. Next he pushes himself up from his desk, leaving two hand prints on his desk. He stands there behind his desk, utterly perplexed with his hands resting on his hips - on trousers which will have to be thrown away when he gets home. He scratches his head and immediately starts to look like a Grecian 2000 advertisement. Meanwhile my younger and even more stupid male staff has his head down over his own paperwork, pretending not to notice. This immediately draws suspicion to him because everyone else in the office has been alerted that something might be amiss by the bad language emitted by his boss. Language which grows louder and more obscene each time he touches something. By now, virtually everything within a radius of five metres of my younger even more stupid male staff's boss is plastered with shoe polish and my younger and even more stupid male staff is thinking that perhaps his amusing little prank was not such a great idea after all. He was philosophical about it, he didn't much like the job anyway, but he's never been keen on phones ever since. You'd think that would be quite a handicap for a reverse people smuggler, given the amount of time they seem to spend listening to music and recorded messages on them.

Dame Edna Everage. Or is it my male staff?

Meanwhile my male staff has purchased himself a new pair of prescription sunglasses. The girls who work in his favourite cafe have variously described them as "cool", "groovy" and "trendy". Which is odd since none of them seem to have a white stick or a Labrador. My female staff, Badger and I all think they make him look like Dame Edna Everage. Badger barely manages to stifle a snigger every time he sees him, and whispers "Hello possums" under his breath. Still, all this attention from the ladies has my male staff convinced that he looks like someone called Justin Beaver, and that may be the case if this Justin dude, whoever he is, is middle aged, grey, overweight and as ugly as a rhino's bottom passage. As I understand it Mr Beaver has a little quiff of hair at the front, while my male staff has a number two buzz cut all over - well, not all over exactly, just on his head. Therefore my male staff and I recently entered into negotiations with a view to yours truly being placed on my male staff's head to enhance his Justin Beaver-ness.

There are a few problems to be solved. Firstly I find it hard to sit still for more than two minutes, so unless Mr Beaver has mobile hair, people will probably notice fairly quickly that my male staff is in fact not Justin. They'll certainly notice when I stretch out my legs as I am wont to do, and knock his new sunglasses off with one of my furry feet. The other major problem I envisage is the fact that we cavies have notoriously weak bladders and incredibly prolific bowels. My male staff's solution to this was to shove one tube up my bottom passage and stick another on the end of my.......ahem.......what my female staff calls my "cute little winky". These tubes would then feed into a kind of cavy colostomy bag which he intended to strap to his back under his shirt. Though how he's going to hide the lump has not yet been discussed. Well, there was no way I was going to have anything to do with this hair-brained (excuse the pun) scheme, just so that he could massage his own ego. Firstly, his head is a long way from the ground and I don't like heights. and secondly I'm not at all sure that I want to be seen in the company of someone who looks like a cross between Dame Edna Everage and the hunchback of Notre Dame.

Billy reckons I look like one of those old black phones. Well Billy, do old black phones have beautifully manicured feet? I don' think so.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Great Balls of Fire

Listen up everyone, I have an important announcement. My male staff has taken on a second job. From now on he will be spending four days a week in his reverse people smuggling office. Quite frankly I feel betrayed. I've given him the best years of my life while he's been working from home. I'm there twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. If he needed a piggy cuddle or a chat with an intellectual superior he could turn to me whenever he liked. If he ever felt the need to sweep bush chocolate and straw from the floor I was always happy to oblige, and when he was in need of a wet lap I was there for him.

What thanks do I get? He decides to bugger off to the office, so now I'll only have Badger to talk to and that's a bit like holding a conversation with a train spotter. All he wants to talk about is the best way to keep his bedding tidy or the different ways of colour coding vegetables. When he's not talking about his damned feet of course. There's always Paolo the Budgie, but he's more interested in his mirror than having sensible intercourse with an intelligent cavy. Honestly, I've never met a more narcissistic creature. He spends all day gazing at himself in his mirror, occasionally kissing the glass and frequently singing to his reflection. If you ask me it's not healthy. It's the kind of thing I can imagine my male staff doing in his youth as he dressed up in his lime green suit and cream and brown platform shoes, while preparing to visit the local disco, where he and half a dozen of his spotty, desperate friends would spend all night guzzling warm beer and watching gum chewing girls dance unenthusiastically around a pile of handbags, while the flashing light put them all in danger of having epileptic fits and the million decibel music ensured that they'd spend the last thirty years of their lives saying "eh? " rather a lot.

Now, where was I? Oh yes. An important announcement. Due to the fact that my male staff has abandoned me I will be unable to produce two blog posts a week. This isn't because I'm not capable of being creative without him. It's a simple matter of logistics. You see I tell him what to type and he punches it slowly and inaccurately into the laptop, which actually hasn't rested on his lap since the time he left it there too long and his pubic hair burst into flames. If I hadn't been close at hand to pee on him it could have been quite serious. As it was he received first degree burns and ended up with a willy that looked like a barber's pole, albeit a miniature one. Anyway, my point is that he no longer has time to type out two blog posts a week for me. Naturally I complained that he needs to get his priorities sorted out, but he replied that if he didn't spend more time in the reverse people smuggling shop there would be no more treats for Badger and I. I suggested that he just works there part time - enough to be able to buy my treats and Badger would have to forage for himself. He just gave me that old "I'm disappointed in you." look, the one he'd learned from my female staff, who after twenty three years of marriage to my male staff has perfected it. So, as of this week it looks as though you only have to put up with one weekly blog instead of two. I will get my male staff to post it every Monday. Don't worry too much though, he'll probably get the sack soon and then we'll be back to two per week again.

Now, I don't like to say "I told you so." But I told you so. There has been yet another tragic mass shooting in Colorado. Why is it so easy for nutcases to get hold of weapons in the USA? Why? Do the nutters go to wherever it is you have to go to get a license, say "Can I have a license for an AK47 and a rocket propelled grenade launcher please?" and the guy behind the counter says "Sure, you look dangerously insane. Here you go." Because that's what it looks like from here. Take a quick look at my post from about eighteen months ago. Have no lessons been learned since then? It seems not.

From my position inside my cage surrounded by bush chocolate and discarded vegetables that I'm saving for later it's quite obvious that most of the world is being run for the benefit of big business. Multinational companies are free to wreck the natural environment as long as it produces a few jobs for people in some politician's marginal constituency. That's certainly how it works in Australia. It seems that the United States it's different though. There the gun lobby has just as much power as big business and it seems as though none of the politicians there have the guts to stand up to them and say "THIS IS WRONG". Every country has it's massacres. Norway had one recently, Australia had one a few years ago at Port Arthur, but for Heavens sake! It's a once in a decade thing, not once every couple of months! All this bush chocolate about the right to bear arms being enshrined in the constitution. Big deal. Change it! Our former Prime Minister John Howard may have been nothing but a lying rodent but at least he did something to reduce the amount of firearms in the community after the Port Arthur massacre despite a lot of pressure from his own side of politics.

Some sort of rodent

From here it seems like an awful lot of people are complaining about the cost of so called "Obama Care", but I'm willing to bet a kilo of basil to a bit of Badger's bush chocolate that many of those people are among the strongest defenders of the right to bear arms. It's just sad that they conveniently forget the cost of treating thousands of people every year for gunshot wounds. Every year over 30,000 people die from gunshot wounds in the USA according to Wikipedia and over 260,000 suffer non-fatal wounds. 30,000 deaths! That's the entire population of an Australian city about the size of Tamworth. While 260,000 is about two thirds of the population of Canberra - Australia's capital city. What other nation would put up with that?

I think America may have shot itself in the foot with their gun laws. That's something I would never do.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Don't Blame Me

When it gets close to meal times I like to chew the bars of my cage. This serves both to limber up my teeth for their impending exercise and to remind my staff that I am on the verge of starvation, that my tummy bones are protruding and that I am about to pass out due to malnutrition. If I happen to break a tooth while doing this, who's fault is it? Well, according to the media it must be the fault of the government. If Badger produces a great mountain of bush chocolate (and he frequently does) and then inadvertently treads in it, who's fault is it? Again according to the media it is the government at fault.

The Australian government recently granted less well off families and pensioners an increased level of financial assistance to compensate them for increases in the cost of living due to the so called "Carbon Tax" which isn't a tax at all anyway, as explained in my previous blog post "This Isn't Funny". 

You would think that this would be a good news story, in which case the media wouldn't have mentioned it all. But no, they've managed to link the payment of this assistance to a rise in poker machine profits, saying that much of the money is being spent in casinos and clubs. The link is so tenuous it's laughable, and even if it was true, what is the government supposed to do about it. Imagine the outcry if the government started telling you humans what you can spend your money on. What an insult too. Some politicians and most of the media seem to think that people who don't earn a lot of money or who are on a pension are some sort of lower life form.

Then a few years ago at the height of the GFC (Guinea pig Food Crisis), the Australian government, as part of a financial stimulus package paid companies to install roof insulation in people's homes, thus pumping money into the economy and cutting household heating and cooling bills too. Surely this was a good news story that even the media couldn't sour. Wrong! It started going pear shaped when a few dodgy "entrepreneurs" set up insulation companies just to cash in on the government funds. Naturally these cowboys cut costs, using inferior materials and not properly training their young installers. This resulted in several house fires and the death by electrocution of a couple of the poor kids they'd employed because nobody has taught them that it is a bad idea to punch a staple through a live power cable in someone's roof. This too was the government's fault  and the Prime Minister at the time - Kevin Rudd was practically accused of murder by both the media and the parliamentary opposition. There was hardly a mention of the criminally negligent businessmen whose greed actually caused the deaths.

Then there was the case of a man who spent a night drinking in his local pub, got himself as inebriated as a rodent, then staggered onto the road where he was mashed by a car. Sadly he survived and sued the pub - successfully - for letting him get drunk. Well excuse me pal. If you don't want to get drunk don't go to the pub. Holy bush chocolate! What if he'd got drunk at home, then tottered into the road to be hit by something large and metallic? Who would he have sued then? His wife for buying his beer? The government for granting a license to the bottle shop? Can you humans please start practicing a little personal responsibility.

This means not blaming the road when you drive head on into a truck while overtaking a bus on a blind corner. It means not blaming your travel agent when it rains every day of your holiday when she warned you that it is cheap because it is the wet season. It means not blaming a shark for biting off your leg when you enter their home dressed like a seal. It means not blaming the police for getting caught speeding, and most of all  it means not blaming your guinea pig when he pees on your lap. It was you who put him there after all.

Actually I blame Billy when I get my feet covered in my own poo. Usually it's because I'm not looking where I'm going because I'm in a hurry to avoid being mounted by him.

Monday, July 16, 2012

What Are The Odds?

Have you ever wondered if the television news readers wear anything on their bottom half? No? Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm just a piggy pervert, but I like to think that the men are wearing fishnet stockings, a suspender belt, high heels and a fluffy bunny tail, while the women wear wellington boots and a tutu. By imagining what is lurking behind the newsreaders desk it is possible to negate the bad news that they are reading from their auto-cue. Even if the grim faced newsreader is telling you that Mullah Omar has been elected President of the United States and that henceforth Washington DC will be know as Binladensville and that Disneyland will become a Taliban theme park where Micky will be forced to grow a beard, Minnie will have to don a burqua, and the most thrilling attraction will be the daily stoning to death of Snow White by the Seven Dwarfs after prayers, using a different adulterous Snow White every day of course.. As long as you can imagine the newsreader's odd dress code behind their desk, nothing seems too serious. I guess it's just an extension of being able to imagine your audience naked to alleviate nerves when you are giving a speech. My male staff tried this method once, and it worked quite well until question time. Then................
  "Okay, does anyone have any questions?........Yes, the lady in the front row with the really saggy boobs and grey pubic hair."
Of course if you are giving a speech to a group of nudists that won't work. You'll need to imagine yourself naked and your audience fully clothed.

America's next President?

Anyway, one of these kinkily dressed newsreaders recently told us that there have been five fatal attacks by great white sharks in the last ten months in the waters around the state of Western Australia and that the state government is keen to lift the animal's protection order, not to allow hunting, but to allow fishermen to catch them. The difference being what precisely? Fortunately the protection can't be lifted without consultation with the Federal government, so it is by no means a foregone conclusion that it will happen. On the face of it it seems like just another one of the knee jerk reactions that you humans appear to be addicted too. There is a very good reason that the great white is protected. Like other large sharks it has suffered a catastrophic collapse in numbers worldwide, partly due to human over fishing of their prey species and partly due to the number of large sharks being caught for their fins. The latter would be almost forgivable if the rest of the shark wasn't wasted. But no, you humans catch the shark, slice off it's valuable fin and then throw the shark back into the ocean - usually still alive, in pain and doomed to die horribly.

Greg Norman

Listen to this. Since 1791 there have been eighteen recorded deaths from shark attacks in Western Australian waters. I know what you're thinking, I can hear your brain whirring away, worrying your pretty little human heads that five of those deaths have occurred in the last ten months, but you have to take these figures as an average and certain years will be worse than others. It's still less than one death per decade. Given that Western Australia has a coastline 12,889 kilometres long and a population of two and half million people I think your odds are pretty good that your paddle at the local beach will not end in you being bitten in half by a five metre long shark, which admittedly would ruin your day out. Western Australia also has the fastest growing population of any state in Australia, which could also contribute to the recent spike in shark attacks. There are simply more people in the sea these days.

In any case you are far more likely to be mashed to mincemeat in a car accident.on the way to the beach than to become a tasty snack for a great white when you get there, so why doesn't some politician suggest culling a few cars. Hell's Bells! Even toasters kill more people than sharks worldwide - vicious brutes, toasters. My staff once found a crispy mouse in the bottom of theirs. It didn't stop them having breakfast though. Bee stings, lightning strikes, texting whilst driving, falling out of bed, deer, dogs, ants, American high school football, vending machines and obesity all kill many more people than sharks. So, when your local politician tells you that sharks are dangerous and should be removed from the protected species list, you can tell him that more lives would be saved by banning vending machines or limiting the height of beds.

Watch out! These things'll kill ya.

Finally I'd just like to offer some piggy advice for what it's worth. If you think the official odds of being killed by a shark are too risky at 300,000,000 to 1, then don't go in the ocean. By the way, the chances of being on a plane with a drunk pilot are 115 to 1. The chances of being killed in a plane crash are 355,318 to 1
(2 to 1 on Aeroflot). Now my male staff is worried that he'll be on a plane with a drunk pilot which crashes into the ocean, where he gets eaten by a shark.

(Odds courtesy of Casino Maze.)

I'm worried about my feet. The chances of being hit by something falling from an aircraft are only 10,000,000 to 1. Maybe it's time I started wearing steel capped boots.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Try The Butcher

Every now and again, when the mood takes him, my male staff plucks Badger and I from our cage and places us on a pile of old towels on the front seat of his car for a day at the reverse people smuggling office. He's learned from long and bitter experience that his driving scares the bush chocolate out of us, and other more liquid stuff too. So when the car started to stink of things other than himself he decided to use the towels. Personally I think it's a bit demeaning, but I don't seem to have much of a say in the matter.

The worse thing about it is that we can't see out, so we've no idea what we're about to hit, and rarely does a trip in the car with male staff end without us hitting something - police car, garbage truck, train, and once when we drove to the airport, a Boeing 737.
Boeing 737 after tangling with my male staff's Hyundai Getz at Brisbane airport

It was on the ground I hasten to add, and so was fair game. In my male staff's defence it is quite easy to take a wrong turn at Brisbane airport, perhaps not so easy to get onto the runway, but even then the police wouldn't have minded so much if he'd got clearance from the tower. Of course the other thing we hate about driving anywhere with my male staff is the noise. Firstly it's surprising how much of a racket  a Hyundai Getz makes at one hundred and ten kilometres per hour. I think this is because my male staff forgets that he isn't driving a car with automatic transmission and leaves it in first gear the whole way. Secondly he likes to listen to Parliamentary Question Time on the radio and the language and abuse is appalling. Not so much from the MPs themselves but from my male staff as he yells rude words at the radio.

It's a little better when we finally get to the office as it is full of human females, so he is usually on his best behaviour in case one of them reports back to my female staff. Once there we're are free to run around on the carpet. It's a big office so there are plenty of places to explore and plenty of female toes to nibble, which usually leads to a very satisfying squeal. In fact if we bite the ladies toes in the correct order, their differing squeals can make a recognisable tune. For example - Pat, Pat, Rosemary, Julie, Rosemary, Pat, Gill, Jodie, Jodie, Rosemary, Charlee, Kelly, Kelly, Julie, Pat, Kelly, Kay, Rosemary, Rosemary, Kay, male staff - yields a passable rendition of "The Wind Beneath My Wings".

There are cables to chew too and this activity often elicits further squeals as the lady's computer screen goes blank, followed by a string of very unladylike language which is frequently and quite unjustifiably very uncomplimentary to rodents and also my male staff for introducing us to the office in the first place. "Sucking guinea pigs!" Seems to be a common expression at such times, though it's hard to hear exactly what is been said from floor level. I don't know what they mean. I have never sucked anything in my life. Badger has of course - when he lost his teeth. Here's a little reminder of that episode for newcomers to my blog.

 Anyway, it's their own fault. The trouble with female humans is that they tend to eat the same sort of stuff that we do. This makes under their desks the ideal post lunch foraging spot. Among the screwed up bits of paper and stinky discarded shoes there are often stray bits of lettuce and shredded carrots. Beetroot too if we're really lucky, though when we have the red juice staining the fur around our mouths it can give us a rather bloodthirsty, carnivorous appearance. Still all this adds to the fun when clients come through the door wanting to be reverse smuggled to Bali or Fiji. They probably don't expect to be met by a couple of guinea pigs who for all intents and purposes appear to have recently devoured a wildebeest. Most of the clients are very nice and some even give quite a good foot massage. We often sit on their laps while their smuggling arrangements are being made by either the ladies or or male staff. We do get one or two odd clients and then I tend to sit on my male staff's desk, glaring and rumbling at them, and occasionally flicking bush chocolate in their direction. Some of them are incapable of making a decision about when or where they want to be smuggled. Here's a conversation from a couple of days ago.

Male staff:     "Good morning, please take a seat. How can I help you?"
Large Lady:   "I'd like to have a holiday."
Male staff:      "Excellent. Where do you think you'd like to go?"
Large Lady:   "I think maybe Europe, or Africa, or maybe America, though possibly Asia or Fiji."
Male staff     (Stifling a sigh.) "Okay. What sort of budget do you have?"
Large Lady   "Oh, anything from from a thousand dollars to twenty thousand."
Male staff     "How about a European River cruise? That would be about fifteen thousand with your flights."
Large Lady   "Fifteen thousand! That's far too much! Do you think I'm a millionaire?"
Male staff     (Stifling a slightly less stifled sigh.) Okay. Then let's start with what time of year you'd like to travel."
Large Lady  "Well, any time between April and the end of September would be fine."
Male staff    "Great. The beginning of September is the perfect time to visit Africa."
Large Lady  "Don't be ridiculous. That's far too late. I need a holiday before that."
Male staff     (Barely stifling a sigh at all.) "June is very nice in Fiji and it's very inexpensive."
Large Lady  "Fiji! Why the hell would I want to go to Fiji? Look this is hopeless. Isn't there a more competent travel agent I can talk to?"
Male staff    "Well, you could try the butcher next door. I'm sure he'll tell you where to go."

I'm glad I don't have to wear shoes. I wouldn't want my feet to be as stinky as the ladies' in the office.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


There is a place in Africa to the south of Timbuktu
Where mighty rivers flow across the plain.
Where elephants and antelopes graze under towering peaks,
Whose snows are never melted by the rain.

Forests of acacia trees grow tall and green and straight,
And elegant giraffes feed on their leaves.
There are lions, leopards, hunting dogs, cheetahs and hyenas
And every other predator that breaths.

At the foot of Kilimanjaro with it's cap of gleaming snow,
Parting endless azure heavens like a wedge
There's a hidden copse of verdant trees and waving, wind-blown grass
Where lived a fine young wildebeest called Reg.

His horns were sharp as rapiers, his legs both fleet and strong.
He was swift of though and his stride was long and sure.
He was proud and bold and brave, or at least he thought he was.
He feared not leopard's pounce nor the mighty lion's roar.

Reg was different from the others, he stood out from the crowd.
Most wildebeest fear lives of solitude.
But Reg saw other wildebeest with eyes full of contempt -
Stupid, worthless, ugly beasts, just good for lion food.

The hidden copse was his domain, he'd defend it with his life.
He'd not share the place with any kind of beast.
He'd chase off herds of zebras and charge troops of baboons,
And as for herds of elephants, well, he'd snort at them at least.

Reg was happy in his Eden, till one day a cloud of dust
Rose above the Serengeti like a storm.
Ten thousand head of wildebeest were heading for his copse.
Reg thought a while and soon a plan was born.

Ten thousand head of wildebeests would devour all his grass,
Their dung attract a billion biting flies,
But Reg's plan was well though out, as cunning as can be.
The wildebeests would get a real surprise.

He found a patch of tawny dust and rolled onto his back.
He kicked and squirmed and rolled and finally stood.
Then he draped around his neck some dried out yellow grass.
His reflection in the waterhole was good.

There was just one more thing missing now, he needed larger teeth,
So he looked around to see what he could find.
He found some sharp white pebbles and put them in his mouth,
While the cloud of dust grew closer all the time.

Once more he checked on his reflection, and a lion stared straight back;
A lion with pebble teeth and a dry grass mane.
He gave himself a pebbly grin, pleased with what he saw,
And went to face the herd upon the plain.

The herd were heading for his copse, but young Reg barred the way.
He made a sound which was supposed to be a roar,
And though it came out a rather feeble grunt,
The herd were petrified by what they saw.

A tawny lion stood before them, it's mane blowing in the breeze,
Baring big white teeth and making funny sounds.
Ten thousand wildebeests ground to a halt,
And dust flew as they stopped and turned around.

Reg watched the dust cloud disappear towards the distant hills.
His little copse was safe from dung and flies.
But now the other wildebeests were gone Reg was unaware
That a brand new set of problems would arise.

While Reg watched with satisfaction the wildebeests as they fled,
A pride of lions made themselves at home.
They settled into Reg's copse and laid down on the grass.
Reg too would flee if only he had known.

Happy with a great day's work, Reg was just about to shed his great disguise
When he trod on something hairy, long and lean.
"Ow! That's my tail!" A voice cried out, and much to his dismay
There stood the biggest lion he'd ever seen.

The lion laughed a loud guffaw and called out to his pride.
"There's a lion here who really must be cursed.
He has dreadful teeth, a dusty coat and a mane like old dry grass.
He's as ugly as a wildebeest. Maybe worse."

A lioness said "Never mind the way he looks, he can stay with us.
He'll help us hunt the herds of wildebeests."
Poor Reg just grinned a rather sickly grin.
He could not shed his disguise just yet a least.

So the pride sat down to tea, a wildebeest that they had caught before
And invited Reg to come and eat his fill.
Reg said "Thanks, you're very kind,
But I'm not that hungry. In fact I feel quite ill."

The lioness said "That's a shame, but you'll feel better soon.
We'll look after you. Lions must stick together.
With us around you won't be lonely anymore,
And if you're lucky we might just stay for ever.

Then Reg wished he hadn't chased the wildebeests away.
He wished that he had let them share his home.
If he hadn't been so selfish things wouldn't be so bad.
If only he hadn't wanted to be alone.

The lions gulped and slurped their meal, while Reg just ate some grass.
He dreamed of running off but didn't dare.
The lions winked and smiled at him to make him feel at home,
And Reg smiled back, but wished he was elsewhere.


Monday, July 9, 2012

The Law Is A Jellyfish

In February my male staff's mum went to the Rainbow Bridge. Now we are expecting my female staff's dad to make the same journey any time at all. Poor man, he's had enough. Enough pain, enough frustration, enough confusion, enough indignity. The care home do their best for him. They get him up to eat some breakfast, but then the morphine makes him too tired to do anything else, so he goes back to bed. Once there he just closes his eyes and winces with pain now and again. He has something evil called multiple myeloma. It's a cancer that destroys the bones and their blood cell making capacity. His bones are crumbling, leaching calcium into his system which in turn destroys his liver and kidney function and gives him headaches.

To make matters worse he has pressure sores and Alzheimer's disease. He drifts in and out of lucidity like a ship navigating through banks of thick fog. When the fog lifts and he's not in too much pain he can have perfectly rational conversations, but when the fog moves in he doesn't have a clue. My female staff's mum asked him the other day if he'd like his legs massaged. He always enjoyed a good massage. His reply was "How the hell can I get a massage with all these lions around?" The next day when we were all there with him, female staff, her mum, frantic sister, my male staff, Badger and I - the doctor came in and caught me with a mouthful of one of female staff's dad's grapes. The doctor gave me a disapproving look, which I returned and hurriedly swallowed the grape whole, half choking in the process so that my male staff had to hold me upside down by my back legs and give me a shake. Out popped the grape and rolled towards the doctor's feet just as she took a step forward. There was a loud squelch, which signified that I would have to get myself another grape, but I thought I'd better wait until the doctor left.

My female staff's dad looked up at the doctor. "Who are you?" He asked.
  "I'm Doctor Harvey. I saw you yesterday Ed. Do you remember."
  "Not really. When am I going to peg?" My female staff's dad has always been direct. Dr Harvey seemed momentarily off balance, but she quickly recovered. "Truth is we don't know Ed." She was equally direct, but that was fine. My female staff's dad likes that. "You could pop off from a stroke within the next two minutes or you may live for several more weeks. We've stopped all your medication now accept for the morphine. We'll be able to keep you comfortable with that."
  "That's good." Said my female staff's dad. I like to be comfortable." He smiled weakly and then grimaced again as a spasm of pain bit him. Doctor Harvey chatted with us all for a while and seemed to be on the verge of asking Badger and I to leave due to the the unsanitary nature of our bush chocolate which was piling up on the bedside table next to the bowl of grapes. But then a look of  "Oh what the hell." crossed her face and she left, promising to return to see my female staff's dad as often as she could.

He's a tough man, well accustomed to pain, my female staff's dad. A cattle farmer from the Upper Hunter region of New South Wales, for much of the second half of his life he was dogged by trigeminal neuralgia, which affects the facial nerves and triggers excruciating bolts of sheer agony through the face. It has been said that it is the worst pain imaginable. So when we seem him wincing now, we know something really hurts.

Now listen you humans. If Badger or myself ever get so ill that all we can do is sit in our cages whimpering in pain, with no hope of recovery, my staff are under strict instructions to give us one last really good feed of basil and then take us to the vet to give us a needle that sends us to the Rainbow Bridge. Then my staff can bury us next to our pal Biggles the Budgie under the evodia tree. This is perfectly legal, and yet you can't do something similar for a human, who after all is just another animal. My female staff's dad wants it to end. Those who love him want it to end, but the law says he must suffer. Some say the law is an ass. I disagree. An ass is a loyal, intelligent, stoical creature. I think the law is a jellyfish, mindlessly drifting along, not caring a jot about the innocent victims becoming entangled in it's venomous tentacles.

When I go to the Rainbow Bridge I'm going to donate my feet to scientific research, so that everyone can have feet as perfect as mine.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Trevor Was A Tree Frog

Trevor was a tree frog,
A steady sort of bloke.
He lived in Far North Queensland
And drove a mini-moke.

He worked as a police frog,
Tracing thieves and booty,
But the thing he hated most of all
Was doing traffic duty.

The nasty, smelly petrol fumes
Stung his eyes and made him glum.
It's hard to stop a speeding bus 
With just a sticky tongue.

Mostly though he loved his job,
Though his friends did tease him some,
Because at forty three years old
He still lived with his Mum.

She'd wake him up with tea and toast
Each morning after dawn.
She'd brush his teeth and comb his hair.
She'd even help him yawn.

Whenever his friends teased him
He pretended not to listen.
But big fat tears would fill his eyes,
Run down his cheeks and glisten.

But then one day something occurred
That made his friends applaud.
He was doing traffic duty
And feeling rather bored.

A car shot by at breakneck speed.
Said Trevor "I'll stop his fun."
He opened up his little mouth
And caught it with his tongue.

Now a car is stronger than a frog
And the driver didn't know
That he was speeding through the town
With a cross police frog in tow.

On and on the driver sped,
A crazy, frightening dash
With Trevor clinging to boot
In fear of gravel rash.

At last they stopped at Alice Springs
And Trevor, relieved said "Phew!
I couldn't cross my legs much more.
I really need the loo."

When he returned he felt much better,
But Gosh! Oh dear! and Strewth!
The car was speeding off again
So he jumped onto the roof.

On they drove and darkness fell
With Trevor holding tight.
He though how cross his Mum would be
If he didn't get home that night.

I'll have to stop him somehow.
Thought Trevor with a frown.
So he hopped onto the windscreen
And started sliding down.

The driver got a frightful shock.
He thought he must be dreaming.
A tree frog in a uniform!
His shiny buttons gleaming.

Trevor waved and shouted "STOP!"
And the driver hit the brakes.
"Gosh!" He said. "I'd no idea that frogs could fly,
Any more than snakes."

Through the night air Trevor flew
And landed in the dirt.
Luckily his head struck first
So he wasn't really hurt.

Laying on the car's front seat
There was a large briefcase,
And when the driver stopped the car
It moved at quite a pace.

It smashed straight through the windscreen.
And as the engine ceased to rev.
It bounced once, then twice, then opened
Very close to Trev.

From the case spilled golden coins
And lots of bank notes too.
It slowly dawned on Trevor
Just what he had to do.

The driver was a robber
Fleeing with his loot.
He'd no idea a police frog
Had been clinging to the boot.

Said Trevor, "I'm a police frog,
And you're under arrest.
You'll come quietly with me
If you know what is best."

But the robber said "You can't catch me.
You're nothing but a toad."
He pulled a face, stuck out his tongue
And ran off down the road.

Trevor cried "You're going down!"
They were words he longed to say.
He heard then on the television
Almost every day.

Out shot Trevor's sticky tongue,
The long tongue of the law.
It wrapped around the robber's legs,
Who came crashing to the floor.

The frog was on him in a flash.
He handcuffed the naughty man.
"It's a fair cop." Said the robber.
"This wasn't in my plan".

Now the robber is in prison.
His robbing days are done
And Trevor's friends no longer laugh
When he holds hands with his Mum.

Yes, Trevor is a hero.
He's famed beyond belief,
And all the papers' headlines read

Thursday, July 5, 2012

This Isn't Funny

Let me tell you a story. It's the tale of Tony Rabbit and Julia the red headed rodent. Julia was the leader of a mighty guinea pig nation called Cavyana. Once upon a time.......Oh sod it! You humans would have to be as stupid as your politicians think you are to believe that this is going to be a nice "Watership Down-esque" saga of cuddly animals, so I'll cut the bush chocolate and get to the point.

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised not to introduce a carbon tax just prior to the last general election. My staff believed her and voted for her anyway, even though they thought that a carbon tax was necessary. In the event of course she needed the support of the Australian Greens and a couple of sane conservative independents to hold on to power. While being on the same side of politics as the opposition Liberal/National Party Coalition led by Tony Abbott, they clearly agreed with my staff who thought him to be as unstable as a Japanese nuclear plant. I believe it was the Greens who twisted Julia's arm and told her that if she wanted their support she would have to introduce a carbon tax. Well, that's the way politics works isn't it?

Mr Abbott whinged and whined about Ms Gillard lying to the Australian people and conveniently forgot that he was part of the John Howard government who said that they would not introduce a Good and Services Tax. Which is exactly what he did the next time he was elected. Not to mention all the "core and non-core" promises. According to Mr  Howard and Mr Abbott, "non-core" promises are not promises at all. Mr A also embarked upon a campaign to scare the living bush chocolate out of the great Australian unwashed by telling them that this "carbon tax" would be the end of the world as we know it, and that we might as well start filling in all the mining holes now because the miners producing Australia's current wealth will all go to Greece to mine feta or to Spain to dig sangria wells, thus saving those economies from ruin and buggering ours up completely.

In the event of course, Ms Gillard did NOT introduce a carbon tax. What she introduced was a carbon trading scheme. Australia's worst polluting companies will be charged twenty three dollars per tonne of carbon that they release into the earth's atmosphere. This is no more a tax than speeding fines are a tax on driving. If you don't want to pay then stop polluting. Mr Abbott has managed to convince half the population that they will be paying the tax directly, maybe he believes it himself. The polluting companies will of course pass the cost of their pollution on to the general public, who by and large are being over compensated in the form of substantial tax cuts and extra family allowance benefits.

Now then. If you really want a tax, here is what Mr Abbott is proposing. In the event (God forbid.) that he becomes Prime Minister he will repeal Ms Gillard's carbon trading legislation, take back the tax cuts and family benefits and pay the polluters not to pollute. Trouble is he'll pay them while they are still polluting, so they'll take their own sweet time in reducing the amount of carbon they're pumping out. Where will these funds come from? The Australian taxpayer - to the tune of approximately one thousand three hundred dollars per tax payer per year. To paraphrase that great alleged tax evader Paul Hogan (aka Crocodile Dundee) "That's not a tax. This is a tax." Mr Abbott has always said that Australia should not be the first to introduce a carbon trading scheme. Well get your head out of your budgie smugglers Tony. Several other nations and some states in the USA already have such schemes that are working very well. And in any case even if Australia was the first, as the planet's worst polluter per head of population we have a responsibility to lead the way.

The amount of hatred that Mr Abbott has stirred up against Ms Gillard is as extraordinary as it is personal. Anti-carbon tax protests have horribly offensive, anti-women sentiments scrawled on placards. "Ditch the Witch" is one of the least obnoxious ones that I can recall. She's been called a Marxist, by people who wouldn't know a Marxist if one kicked them up their bottom passage. She's no more a Marxist that John Howard, Tony Blair or George Dubya, though admittedly George probably thinks a Marxist is a fan of Groucho.
Is this man a Groucho Marxist?

The press are not innocent in this either, particularly the Murdoch sector. Like Tony Abbott, they've chosen to ignore all the respected, reputable scientists who warn us that climate change is real, scientists who use long term data and trends to reach their conclusions. Instead they choose to rely on peculiar rants by "Mr Cash for Comments" Alan Jones, the talk-back radio shock jock and the nutty Lord Monckton. Now of course Mr "Climate change is crap" Abbott is putting forward his own climate change policy. Is he admitting that there is a problem and that humans are damaging our environment? Who knows? One of his positions must be a lie. But then it can't be can it? Ms Gillard is the only politician who tells lies.
Lord Monckton. Tony Abbott's chief climate change adviser 

I think the main problem here is that Julia's Australian Labor Party still employs the same PR people who almost lost them the last general election. Who the hell advised her to call the carbon trading scheme a tax?
Look Julia, we have pretty much full employment here in Australia at the moment. Give these fools the sack. They'll soon find a more suitable position - flipping burgers at McDonald's for example. Naturally I will send a copy of this blog post to both Mr Abbott and Ms Gillard, but I don't expect either of them will be interested in the ravings of a fat, furry guinea pig. Even their work experience boys and girls will be too busy emptying wastepaper bins to read it. Still you never know.

Incidentally, it's started already. Brumby's - a major bakery chain here in Australia has been caught telling it's shop managers to bump up the price of bread and to blame to on the carbon tax regardless. To help Mr Abbott here is a further list of things that can be blamed on the carbon tax.

  1. The Christchurch earthquake.
  2. Australia losing the Ashes cricket series.
  3 . Barnaby Joyce
  4. Swine flu
  5. Clive Palmer's waistline.

Clive Palmer's waistline. Caused by the carbon tax? 

Don't say you weren't warmed that this wouldn't be funny.

I think global warming is crap too. My feet are always cold.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Phallus Face

Badger and I have been eating a lot lately. Maybe it's the cool weather, but whatever the reason, my male staff has decided that he needs to get another job to pay for all the extra food we've been getting through. So yesterday he asked me if I'd like to travel down to Brisbane with him to help with a job interview. Well, actually, he didn't so much ask as haul me from my cage and thrust me into his briefcase. Badger decided that he didn't want to come. He said he had to tidy his feet.

It was still dark as we drove to the railway station, me with my head poking out of the briefcase and my male staff nodding off now and again, only waking when he bumped his head on the steering wheel. We parked at the station and my male staff went to turn off the headlights only to find that he had never turned them on in the first place. "I wondered why the other driver were flashing their lights at me." He said. "I though maybe it was a traditional Queensland morning greeting." I don't think he'd ever seen that hour of the morning before.

So we boarded the near empty train just as the sun was rising. I sat on my male staff's shoulder so that I could see out of the windows, most of which had misspelled obscenities crudely scratched into them. The youth of today is nothing if not creative. Our window had a large willy and testostricles etched into it, so that from the outside it must have seemed that my male staff had them tattooed on his face whenever he looked out. No wonder people on the platforms of the stations we passed through all gave us a double take glance. Who wouldn't stare at a man with a phallus tattooed on his face and a large, hairy rodent sitting on his shoulder.

For the first hour or so of the trip we seemed to be in hillbilly country.  Tiny, tumbledown shacks with even more tumbledown cars littering the yards crowded close to the tracks. Tired, down trodden women hung drab washing on rotary washing lines while their toddlers hurled dog poo at each other. Such an idyllic scene. All it needed was a kid with twelve fingers and clear, pale eyes playing a banjo. I'm sure there was one there somewhere. Later the scenery became more interesting. There were pointy mountains and pineapple fields. My male staff told me that some bloke called Captain Cook had named them "The Glasshouse Mountains" because from his ship he thought they looked like the glass factories of England's West Midlands. I think he was pissed. (Captain Cook that is, not my male staff. Not at that hour of the morning anyway.) He'd probably been raiding his crew's rum ration. For the benefit of my American readers "pissed" in this instance means drunk, not cross, though his crew were probably pissed when they found that the Captain had guzzled all their rum. As we approached the city there was graffiti on every wall. It contained the same standard of spelling as the obscenities etched on the train windows, but at least it was colourful, as indeed was the back of my male staff's shirt having had me sitting on his shoulder for two hours. 

The Glasshouse Mountains.
Obviously this isn't the view that Captain Cook had as he didn't have access to a helicopter.
I think they were all booked out for scenic flights over Surfers' Paradise.

Brisbane was scary when we got there. So many humans, no animals and no grass. The humans were rushing about like mad; desperate to get to jobs they probably hated and are desperate to leave again as soon as they get there. We both felt like country bumpkins gazing up at the skyscrapers and trying to avoid being knocked flat by stampeding herds of pedestrians as they charged across roads at the command of a little green man.

Once we reached the address where my male staff was to have his interview I was snatched from his shoulder and crammed back into his briefcase. I did manage to leave a neat pile of sticky bush chocolate behind though. I've been eating a lot of cucumber lately and that always makes it a bit sticky. I had intended to tell him about it, but didn't get the chance. Obviously he couldn't hear my muffled wheeking from inside the briefcase. Not to worry, I thought. Having a pile of rodent dung on your shoulder at an interview is probably less of a disadvantage than turning up with a pierced nose - or a phallus tattooed on one's forehead. Anyway, from what I could hear, the interview seemed to be going quite well. The lady doing the interview must have thought that the pile of bush chocolate was some sort of fashion statement because she didn't comment on it. Finally she asked the two questions my male staff dreads most.
 "What would you say is your greatest strength?" The lady asked. My male staff hates these questions because they are so inane and force the interviewee to either brag or lie.
 "I have a great deal of patience." My male staff replied.
 "And what would you say is your greatest weakness?" I winced. I knew what was coming.
 "I get this dreadful urge to hit people who ask stupid questions." Said my male staff.
I don't think he'll get the job. Not necessarily because of the answer to the lady's last question. but because the CV he fished out of his briefcase and handed to her was rather damp and had several rodent teeth marks perforating it. Still, it was a nice day out.

I'm so glad I stayed at home. I hate having untidy feet. Don't you?