Tuesday, May 28, 2013

And The Winner Is..........

And the Oscar for the best guinea pig eating a lettuce goes to ........... Billy The Pig

Monday, May 27, 2013

What If?

We guinea pigs are great philosophers. Humans think we are just little furry bush chocolate factories. The vegetables, hay and pellets go into the sharp end where the eyes are and in a matter of hours are transformed into tiny glossy brown sausages that pop out of the end where most animals keep their tail. However, while all this is going on inside us we have plenty of time for thinking.
 "And just what do you guinea pigs think about? I hear you ask.
 "Mind your own business." I hear Badger reply, but then Badger has always been a very private individual. He cherishes his privacy above all other things, apart from his feet and basil that is. In fact he's so protective of his privacy that he even keeps his address secret from himself in case he accidentally tells someone. If that happens he's convinced he'll have paparazzi cameras shoved through the bars of his cage at all hours.

Personally I am only too happy to share my thoughts with lesser beings like humans in the hope that they might learn something and will eventually strive to be a more civilised species. Mostly I sit and ponder "What if?" For example. What if Adolf Hitler's dad had worn a condom? There probably would have been no World War Two, and apart from circumventing the holocaust in which six million innocent Jews died horrible, barbaric deaths at the hands of Nazi thugs, the lack of a Second World War may have had other positive results too.

For example, Jews from all over the world would not have been so keen to travel to Palestine to build a Zionist state. The colonial British rulers would not have been in a considerably weakened state and could have prevented the hundreds of thousand of illegal Jewish immigrants from entering. Many of  whom had no link to Palestine whatsoever, other than the fact that they were Jewish. A war of independence then ensued and many young Jews became terrorists in the fight against their British rulers. But remember that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and these days the word "terrorist" is most often associated with the Palestinian cause.

Meanwhile the Palestinians themselves were being marginalised and pushed out of mainstream society into what I suppose can be called ghettos along the West bank of the River Jordan and the Gaza Strip and the new Israelis acquired more and more of their land by both fair means and foul, as in fact they continue to do to this day.

Then in May 1948 the British, in a frightful huff buggered off home with their bat and ball and left the Arabs and the Jews to fight it out for themselves. A fight which for all intents and purposes continues to this day, though it is a little one-sided. The Israelis have sophisticated modern weaponry and the Palestinians have dodgy rockets that are more likely to kill the firer than the target.

Later, despotic leaders of neighbouring Arab states made huge tactical errors in declaring their intention to destroy Israel. As just an average guinea pig I can only imagine that these declarations were aimed primarily at their domestic audiences, for their own people were downtrodden, brutalised and pretty much without hope. That always spells danger for others as conscience-free dictators try to distract their citizens from their own dire plight with rhetoric and in some cases ill thought out action such as the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and the Six Day War in 1967, when forces from Syria and Egypt tried and failed miserably to invade Israel.  Actually I'm not surprised they failed, even as late as the early 1980s the Egyptian army was pathetically under equipped. My female staff and the rest of her group of overland travellers were arrested on the Egyptian side of the border with Sudan when their truck got lost and crossed the border at the wrong spot.  Suddenly they found themselves surrounded by a platoon of men in pyjamas and thongs. (Here I should point out that thongs in Australia are what other (normal) people call flip flops. My female staff was not arrested by a man wearing skimpy underwear. Not visibly anyway. Maybe he was wearing them under his pyjamas.) My point is that this was the Egyptian army. They had no uniforms and no boots. They had rifles, but who knows if they had any ammunition. Luckily my female staff and her friends didn't find out.

They were taken to a guard house and kept there under arrest over night. The next day an officer arrived wearing cleaner pyjamas than the rest of the platoon and the group leader explained why they had crossed the border in the wrong place. The officer asked where they were heading and the group leader told him they were going to see the ruins at Abu Simbel. Obligingly the officer offered to take them, which he did and my female staff's tour group were escorted around the ruins by a group of men in striped pyjamas who were dragging their rifles through the desert sand in a bored to tears sort of way. Why am I telling you this? To demonstrate that the Egyptian Army could not organise an orgy in a brothel let alone successfully invade a better equipped nation.

Now, I've never really understood America's uneven handed approach to Middle East politics. Actually, that's not really true. At least, I have my own theory as to why America favours Israel so strongly. There are two reasons. Number one is the obvious fact that there are a lot of wealthy Jewish people in the USA and wealth means lobbying power. Which is also why someone as obviously insane as my male staff can enter any old Texas gun show wearing a "LEE HARVEY OSWALD WAS A JOLLY GOOD CHAP" tee-shirt and a "TIMOTHY MCVEIGH RULES" baseball cap, say "Wibble!" to the security staff and still walk out with a Glock stuffed down the front of his trousers. Secondly - guilt. America felt such guilt at entering World War Two more than two years late, and even then primarily because she was attacked herself rather than any concern over what was happening on the rest of the planet.

That guilt, the feeling that perhaps they could and should have done more to prevent Hitler wiping out six million Jews has since led them to favour Israel's cause over that of the Palestinians' for many years. May I also remind you that America has not always taken such a dim view of terrorists either. Remember the Irish Republican Army and how many innocent people they killed? Well, without the flow of Irish American money the IRA too would have been running around in pyjamas and thongs. Not pleasant on a January morning in Belfast. Successive American governments did very little to try to stem the flow of money and arms to these thugs.

So, what has all this got to do with Adolf Hitler's dad failing to put a bit of rubber on his todger?
If he'd just gone down to the chemist shop that day and picked up a packet of three there would have been no Adolf Hitler. No Adolf Hitler means no Second World War. No Second World War means no Holocaust. No holocaust means no great influx of illegal immigrants to Palestine and less chance of conflict there. No holocaust also mean no collective American and allied guilt. No guilt means a more even handed approach to Middle Eastern politics. A more even handed approach means less resentment against Western nations from Arab states and that in turn means less of an Islamist terror threat. Maybe there would have been no 9/11, no 7/7 London bombings, no Iraq war, no need to occupy Afghanistan and finally, most poignantly perhaps. Drummer Lee Rigby's little daughter might have grown up to know her Daddy.

Oh and by the way, if those cowardly lowlife scumbags who ran down and hacked Drummer Rigby to death think they will be met in heaven by seventy two virgins when they eventually pop their newly converted Islamic clogs I'm afraid they are in for a nasty shock. My in depth guinea pig research (a dream) has revealed that the nice folk who translated the Koran to English  made a very unfortunate error. Seventy two virgins should read seventy two viragos -  a loud, violent, and ill-tempered woman; scold; shrew. And these chicks are pretty pissed off about the way male dominated Islamic societies have treated women over the years, and they just can't wait to meet these heroes.

I bet Mr Hitler had bunions, corns, athletes foot, planter warts and ingrown toenails. No wonder he invaded Poland. I would have done the same thing.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Back To The Vet

I humbly plead for forgiveness for the late posting of this week's blog. Actually that's not quite what I mean. In reality I don't give a piece of rat's bush chocolate, so lets not pretend. Anyway, the reason for the tardy publication of my latest masterpiece is that I had to go to Brisbane with my male staff this morning. My right front foot has got rabies or something. Badger, our resident foot expert was worried that it might be contagious, so my staff made an appointment with the guinea pig specialist vet. I was loaded into my travelling cage with enough water, vegetables and pellets to keep a hippopotamus going for a week and off we went, following the strident instructions from the lady who lives in the GPS.

The worst thing about long drives with my male staff is not the erratic driving. After a while one gets used to bouncing across fields and median strips, and watching pedestrians dive for cover certainly helps to pass the time. (Old ladies carrying heavy bags of shopping are particularly entertaining.) No,  worse than that is his choice of music. There is only so much Jimmy Osmond, The Partridge Family and the Nolan Sisters that a guinea pig can take without going insane. But even that is not the worst thing. The very worst thing is his penchant for "singing" along. It sounds a lot like Badger when he got his testostricles caught in his cage door.

Now and again he feels like some heavy metal, so he slips in his Carpenters CD and does the whole head-banging Bohemian Rhapsody scene from the movie Wayne's World, but it's just not the same to  "Goodbye To Love" especially without the long hair. In fact he has a rather grey number two buzz cut. Consequently, other drivers witnessing this display tend to think the bloke in the little yellow Hyundai Getz is having an epileptic fit and swerve violently across the road to avoid him.

My female staff's choice of music is no better either. Car rides with her are plagued with Arabic belly dance music. Her favourite artist is someone called Hassan Norfulnoys which apparently translates to English as " He who screams like a thousand demented shaitans at the gates of hell." The last time my female staff drove me to the vet I told her that I would rather get out and walk the one hundred and twenty kilometres home from Brisbane rather than listen to that awful racket for another hour and a half, but I guess all she heard was "Wheek wheek wheek wheek mutter mutter rumble wheek." So I just had to sit there with a piece of carrot in each ear to block out the noise.

Anyway, it turns out that my foot doesn't have rabies, just a callous on one of my paw pads that's making me limp. When I say it's making me limp I don't mean that I have gone all flaccid. Don't worry girls I'm still the same old virile Billy, scourge of the girly pigs - well, scourge of Badger anyway, but let's not go there. I just want to make sure all my friends know that I am one hundred percent fine, well ninety nine point nine percent at least; I could always get a little better if my staff administered more basil.

Auntie Vanessa the vet was explaining to my male staff that they are going to try new microchip technology for small animals, birds and reptiles so that if they get lost and then found by someone their owner can be traced. It's a great idea, but Auntie Vanessa said that she was trialling the new microchip on one of the vet nurses. My male staff thought for a moment and said, "That's brilliant. You'll be able to tell if she's in the pub when she's called in sick, or having a sly cigarette out the back. I'm not sure the people at Civil Liberties would approve though, and what about her union?" Auntie Vanessa looked at him as though he was some sort of alien. I've often wondered about that myself.
 "No," she said, "I mean we're trying it on her bearded dragon." For a moment I thought she was talking about the security officer my male staff encountered last week at our local airport while meeting my female staff, by no, apparently a bearded dragon is some sort of lizard.

This is just an absolute nightmare. I'm sharing a house with a guinea pig who has a foot problem. What if I catch foot rabies too? I think I'd better get Billy's staff to insure my feet.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Boys' Weekend

On Monday afternoon my male staff took Badger and myself to pick up my female staff from our local airport. She was flying in from Sydney. Now I have no idea who Sydney is, but I thought it was damned decent of my male staff to collect her from the airport after she's spent the whole weekend with him. My male staff is obviously more broad minded than I formerly gave him credit for.

Anyway, once we'd parked the car by gently rolling it into the back of a Bentley, my male staff carried us towards the terminal building. This is of course another example of why humans should not be allowed to name things. Lets face it, calling it a terminal building is not exactly going to encourage people with a fear of flying to go there is it? Once inside we all had to go through the security screening process. My male staff was concerned that Badger and I would not be allowed through. The big sign saying "NO ANIMALS OR BIRDS PERMITTED BEYOND THIS POINT" may have influenced his thinking. So, we were placed in a big plastic tray along with my male staff's (empty) wallet, his bunch of keys and his cell phone and were requested to sit still and keep quiet.
He then covered us with his jacket and were instructed not to peep out unto he picked us up again.

Apparently we were on some sort of conveyor belt and it was all rather good fun. I couldn't resist a quick look, so I shuffled down one of the sleeves of my male staff's jacket and peered out. It seemed we were about to enter a tunnel of some sort along with a dozen or more other plastic trays containing a variety of things. I wondered how many other people were concealing their guinea pigs under the jackets neatly folded on the trays, or perhaps in the ladies handbags. As it happens there was a bit of a log-jam going into the tunnel so we had come to a halt just long enough to watch my male staff going through an archway with flashing lights, attended by a stern looking Mike Tyson lookalike woman in a blue uniform. The archway made a funny bleeping noise as my male staff went through it and the Mike Tyson lookalike woman eyed my male staff suspiciously as though he had just passed bottom wind. She pointed to his belt buckle. "Take of your belt and go through again please sir." By the tone of her voice the word "sir" clearly meant "you slimy piece of crap" in this case.

My male staff dutifully removed his belt and his trousers dutifully fell to his ankles. In his anxiety about what was happening to Badger and I he'd obviously forgotten to keep hold of his trousers and now he stood in front of an airport full of people in a mildly compromising position wearing just his Batman underpants, a pair of holey socks and his best shocking pink "I LUV GUINEA PIGS" tee-shirt. The last thing I saw as I disappeared into the tunnel was a picture of Batman on one of his buttocks and Robin on the other. A speech bubble was issuing from Robin's mouth. "Holy Y-Fronts Batman!" Around the front, at the business end was the Bat-Signal, brightly lit against the sky above Gotham City.

The picture on the front of my male staff's underpants.

After a moment or two our tray emerged from the other end of the tunnel and from my vantage point inside my male staff's jacket sleeve I could see the Mike Tyson lookalike woman eyeing my male staff up and down with a look that somehow combined contempt and pity. She indicated that he should pull up his trousers and put his belt back on before he put anyone off their coffee and cake at the cafe. As it happens these events were rather fortuitous because it created quite a distraction and the Mike Tyson lookalike's colleagues who were supposed to be keeping a sharp eye on what was going through the tunnel failed to notice Badger and I.  My male staff heaved his trousers up to where they should be and re-threaded his belt. He then picked up his wallet, keys and cell phone, before scooping up his jacket, making sure he was holding Badger and I too. Glancing back at the plastic tray I was surprised and somewhat impressed at the amount of bush chocolate we had left behind. There were several dozen little brown pellets there, rolling around. (Well we had been a trifle nervous.)

My male staff was just walking away, carrying us still wrapped in his jacket when he heard the strident voice of the Mike Tyson lookalike woman behind him. "Oi! Batman. What's this?" She was holding up the tray full of bush chocolate. "Oh sorry." said my male staff. "My bag of chocolate raisins must have burst." She grunted, poured the bush chocolate from the tray into her hand and crammed them into her mouth. My male staff didn't hang around to see whether or not she enjoyed them, but quickly mingled with the crowd.

The drive home was a little nerve wracking too because neither my male staff, Badger or I could remember whether or not we had cleaned everything up after our boys' weekend. There had been bedding, straw and bush chocolate all over the floor, and that was just my male staff''s room. In the lounge there were stacks of pizza boxes and empty beer cans strewn hither and thither. My male staff had allowed us to watch piggy porn too. Nothing too hard core, just pictures of hairless guinea pigs.
Phwoar!!!! What a babe!

Eventually we reached home and much to our relief, as we entered the house we saw that we had indeed remembered to clean everything up. The place was spotless.  Then my female staff walked over to Paolo the budgie's cage. "Hello Paolo. Who's a beautiful blue boy then?" Paolo hopped along his perch and fixed my female staff with a beady eye. "Cheeeeeeeeeep! Cheeeeeeeeeep!' he said. "Let's all pee in the kitchen sink."

Once again I'm struggling to link any of this to my feet, and frankly I resent being put under pressure every single week to come up with something witty to say about what is a very serious topic.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Grass Is Greener (Part 2)

Now then, where was I? Ah yes I was boring you to tears with the adventures of my male staff's youth. In other words it's an ancient history lesson. In case you need to be reminded of the story so far, here's a link to "The Grass is Greener (Part 1)".

Last week we left my male staff as he flew from Gibraltar to London to take part in four professional soccer club trials. Three of the four rejected him but the fourth invited him back for another trial because they couldn't believe how bad he was the first time. In the end they too rejected him - for just one reason. He was crap. Sure he had a right foot shot that could burst the net from forty five yards out and plough into the crowd, killing several people and denting the crush barriers, but that isn't enough. Professional soccer teams expect you to have talent, skill, dedication and a low blood alcohol level and my male staff had none of these.

So now he was at a loose end, and not wanting to return to Gibraltar as a failure he found a job in an early skateboard factory in Staines. Staines is world famous. When you see TV adverts saying "GET RID OF UNSIGHTLY STAINES" This is the place they are talking about. A few months dragged by and my male staff's parents returned to the UK, probably to make sure that my male staff wasn't misbehaving. He was of course, but what they didn't know didn't hurt them. He soon became tired of the skateboard job and all the injuries he received from trying to ride them in the factory. He was crap at that too. Finally he got together with his friend Andy and they decided to go to Gibraltar together to make their fortune busking. Andy was shortsighted and wore round wire framed John Lennon glasses and and permanently had half a roll-up cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. Most of the time he was unshaven and was what my male staff's mum called "a scruffy little bugger." And yet he was lucky with women and I think my male staff was hoping some of that luck might rub off on him.

Andy could play the guitar. That is he could play the riff from Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" and he said he'd teach my male staff to play. Neither of them could sing a note. In fact they had about as much talent between them as Milli Vanilli. That didn't dampen their youthful optimism though. Neither did the fact that they had virtually no money. They'd get to Gibraltar by hitchhiking - once they reached France. That was the plan in any case.  My male staff purchased a cheap and nasty guitar and he and Andy pooled their meagre funds to buy a tent. Then on mild dewy morning in June 1979 they boarded an early train for Victoria station in London. From there they boarded a bus to Newhaven, where they spent the rest of the day in pub while they waited for the night ferry to Dieppe in France.

They sat on the deck of the ferry as it forged across a calm English Channel on that balmy summer night. Andy tried to teach my male staff a few guitar chords much to the discomfort of the other passengers, some of whom dived overboard rather than have to listen to my male staff murdering "My Sweet Lord" over and over again. It was still dark when they arrived in Dieppe. They had intended to hitchhike south from there, but where to start? There was a train for Paris due to leave, so they boarded that and vowed to hitchhike from there instead. Once in Paris they looked at the traffic, looked each other and thought "How the hell do we find a way out of this place?" So much for hitchhiking. They piled onto a Metro train jabbing people with their guitars and apologising in French. At least they thought they were apologising. What they said having poked some poor commuter in the groin was "Merde Monsewer". A so called friend of Andy's had told him that "Merde" was the sincerest form of French apology. At Gare de Lyon they bought tickets for a train to
Hendaye on the Spanish border in the shadow of the "Pair 'o' knees Mountains". They crossed the border into Spain and caught a bus to Irun. "We'll hitchhike from there." they said, and to be fair they really did try this time. They found the road that lead south towards the town of Burgos.

So, they set off along the road up into the gloomy, oppressive "Pair 'o' knees Mountains" They walked, then stuck out their thumbs, and they walked some more, deeper and deeper into the mountains. Nobody stopped for them. In fact people glared at them with open hostility. It turns out that there were daily bombings and shootings being carried out in the area by Basque separatist gorillas. My male staff, never the sharpest knife in the drawer at the best of times was disappointed that he didn't see any of these gorillas. In fact the only primates he saw were humans until his emotional reunion with Angela (see part 1) when he finally reached Gibraltar. Anyway, these adverse security conditions were not conducive to successful hitchhiking and having walked several miles through the drizzly mountains they camped in low spirits near a river as night fell.

It rained all night and was still raining in the morning when my male staff crawled bleary-eyed on hands and knees from the tent and put his right hand in pancake of wet bush chocolate. The culprit - a cow, eyed him suspiciously with big brown eyes from a few yards away. Our heroes packed up the tent and trudged across the sodden grass back to the road where they stood in the drizzle and got glared at by several drivers before Andy said "Sod this! Let's go back to Irun and get a train."

It took them until midday to get back to Irun station where though bought two tickets on the night train to Madrid. They went into the depressing little town and purchased a bottle of red wine for something like four trillion pesetas (thirty pence) and some stale lemon biscuits which they scoffed on the platform while they waited for the train.

It was a bright, clear morning when they pulled into Madrid. My male staff was famished so while Andy was pointing Percy at the porcelain he ordered a whitebait roll at a food stall. The guy at the stall sliced the bread roll and his finger at the same time. Bright red blood pumped from the gash over my male staff's roll, but that didn't stop the Spaniard slathering it with butter, filling it with whitebait and handing it to my male staff who took it, not trusting the quality of his Spanish to complain. One end of the roll looked as though it had been generously dipped in tomato ketchup. He was so hungry that he ate it anyway, apart from the blood soaked bit. He gave that to Andy. My male staff always looks after his friends.

So, another big city. "Why don't we just get the train all the way to Alegeciras?" They suggested simultaneously, and that's how Andy and my male staff managed to hitchhike all the way from London to southern Spain without once getting into a car. That has to be some sort of record. Anyway, once in Algecrias our gallant duo could see Gibraltar just a few miles across the bay. But the border was still closed, so they had to get the ferry to Tangier. Once there they were immediately accosted by a nice man in a dirty djellaba who told them that his brother would change some money for them as they had to have Moroccan dirhams to purchase their ferry tickets to Gibraltar. Naturally the money changer also had a carpet shop and he and his three employees put the hard word on the two travellers to buy a rug each. Just what they needed. It was quite intimidating for two naive lads who were convinced that they were about to be robbed and murdered. They weren't of course, but my male staff was persuaded to swap his cheap and nasty guitar for a genuine camel leather passport wallet. This was no bad thing because he was more likely to produce a recognisable tune from the passport wallet.

So near and yet so far. Gibraltar from Algeciras.
Later that night the friends arrived in Gibraltar, their funds drastically depleted by all the train travel and with only one guitar between them. Less than a week later they had no money left at all and no job. They checked out of their cheap hotel and slept on Eastern Beach where their rumbling stomachs kept a large guard dog at the nearest beach bar awake and in turn his barking prevented my male staff and Andy from sleeping. It was a truly wretched time. They wandered the hot summer streets looking for work. Andy had by this time run out of tobacco for his roll-ups and was scavenging in the gutters for partially smoked cigarette butts. Their only food were the fresh figs they picked from the trees that lined some of the streets. They may have been hungry, but at least their bowels were regular.

Eventually they found a job in an armed forces supply store at the Royal Navy dockyard and they moved into a workers hostel. Things were looking up, but again my male staff got the idea into his head that he might be better off elsewhere - specifically Britain. Then on the same day that my male staff watched (with tears in his eyes) the great aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal steam from Gibraltar, banners flying, crew lined up smartly on deck and band playing on her final voyage to the scrap yard, there came news that the Royal Air Force owed my male staff three hundred pounds from his previous employment in Gibraltar. It was enough to fly them both back to London. Andy decided to stay as he'd by now got a taste for second hand cigarettes. Two days later my male staff was back in Britain, wondering if he would be better off elsewhere.


Hitchhiking all the way to Gibraltar without once stepping into a car. Quite a feet eh? Get it? Feet.....feat. Get it? Get it? Oh, please yourselves. You know what the best thing about "The Grass Is Greener Part 2" is? There's no part 3.