Sunday, June 30, 2013

Show Business For Ugly People

Yesterday my staff went into a shop called "Gelignite Jack's". I've been in there myself. It's the kind of shop that sells cheap and nasty crap. Anything from garden stakes that snap the moment you try to shove them into the ground to 52 inch Cambodian made plasma TV sets that sell for about $9.95. You get the idea. It's really good quality stuff. My male staff once came home from Gelignite Jack's with a set of "Quality Engineered Precision Screwdrivers" and when he opened the pack it listed the items in "approximate sizes". So much for precision. He was absolutely outraged and threatened to take the screwdrivers back to the shop and give the proprietor a piece of his mind. (Not that he has much to spare to be giving to anyone.) Just two things changed his mind. Firstly, as my female staff pointed out, one can't expect perfection when the set of twelve screwdrivers only cost $1.99, and secondly the lady who owned the store is bigger than he is, and he's six feet two inches and weighs ninety five kilogrammes.

This time they came home from the shop toting a bright orange mini-life raft. That's what it looks like to me at any rate. It's just like one of those inflatable rafts that the Royal Air Force used during World War Two. You know, the type that Squadron Leader Blenkingsop-Smyth might have spent a week in, bobbing up and down in the North Sea with only his prodigious handlebar moustache for company having had his Spitfire shot from under him by the dastardly Hun. However, they told Badger and I that they had bought us a nice cosy bed to nap in if we get tired while we are having our daily exercise on the living room floor. Badger took one look at it and ran wheeking at the top of his voice under Paolo the budgie's cage, where he stayed for half an hour, peering out now and again to check if the nasty thing was still there. I don't think orange is his favourite colour. In the end he was lured into it by with a large bunch of coriander, but even then he just grabbed the coriander and ran with it back to his hiding place under the budgie cage.

As for myself, I am totally indifferent to it. Mostly I just ignore it. As long as it leaves me alone I give it the same courtesy. I did give it a bit of a chew and I have to report that it really didn't taste that good. I wonder if old Squadron Leader Blenkingsop-Smyth had a nibble on his when he got a bit hungry. I hope he resisted the temptation otherwise he might have discovered just how cold and unpleasant a dip in the North Sea can be in February - in August too for that matter. Anyway, I've pooped in it now, so all is well - the life raft/bed I mean, not the North Sea. That's what Squadron Leader Blenkingsop-Smythe would have had to do.

Me in the new life raft with my emergency supplies.
 
 
Well, those of you who have the misfortune to live somewhere other than Australia where it is sunny and warm every day, it never rains, kangaroos drive taxis and supermarkets pay you to take food away, you may have heard that we have changed Prime Minister again, and once again it was without an election. If you don't live in Australia you may be forgiven for not caring. Let's face it, a fair percentage of Aussies couldn't give a handful of rats' bush chocolate either. Anyway, Kevin Rudd is back in charge again three years after Julia Gillard stabbed him in the back and pinched his job.
 
This time it was Kevin wielding the knife and Julia staggering from the party room dripping blood all over the newly polished floor of Parliament House. In a way it's a shame, Julia was doing a pretty good job under very difficult circumstances in a hung parliament. (My male staff says it is a "well hung parliament" because the place is full of huge pricks, but I have no idea what he means.) In any case Julia managed to get a lot of good legislation through, so she must have been a pretty good negotiator. Sadly though, when it came to the general population she had all the communication skills of a cauliflower. Her polling was so bad that had she gone to the general election as leader, the Labor Party would have been able to have their party meetings around a small breakfast table.
 
As far as Kevin Rudd goes, most of his own party can't stand him and yet he is very popular with the public. The polls have already shown a bounce in the Labor Party's support, so much so that they may even have to buy a fold out dinner table to have their meetings around. Well, the good news is that it looks as though Tony "The Mad Monk" Abbott - the leader of the Liberal opposition party is now less certain to get the job of Prime Minister and that can only be a good thing for the dignity of all Australians. For some reason they don't let guinea pigs vote in Australia, (Rodents obviously have the vote in the USA and Britain otherwise George Dubya Bush and David Cameron would never have been elected.) but I could never, ever vote for someone who wears as much Lycra as Tony Abbott.
 
Mr Abbott always has a bread roll and a banana for lunch when out bike riding.
Heaven knows where he keeps it.
 
Anyway, with all the to-ing and fro-ing in parliament these days it's easy to see that there is truth in that old adage. "Politics is just show business for ugly people."
 
BADGER'S FOOTNOTE.
It's all very well putting me in the life raft, but now I'm terrified of getting out of it in case I get my feet wet.
 




Sunday, June 23, 2013

Clackers

It's Sunday night and there's a huge moon. No, my male staff hasn't dropped has pants.....again. I'm talking about the real moon. Apparently it's so large because it is the closest it has been to earth since the last time it was pretty close. Earlier I thought Badger was howling at it and I began to get a little worried that he might be turning into a werepiggy, but it turned out he'd just dragged his testostricles through his water bowl and the water therein was rather chilly. My female staff had to drag him from his cage and dry them off with a hairdryer. It was all rather entertaining. As the hairdryer blasted warm air at his nether regions his testostricles got into a sort of hypnotic swaying rhythm so that they looked and sounded like a set of clackers, not unlike the one's below, except they're black not red obviously.

My male staff remembers these horrible things when they first became a craze in the early nineteen seventies. Even back then they had a tendency to explode unexpectedly causing horrendous shrapnel wounds to anyone within twenty metres or so. And yet as we know, humans rarely learn from their mistakes and only recently they made a comeback, causing more casualties. It is rumoured that a Taliban suicide bomber tried to use a set of clackers in a raid on an Afghan government building and was only discovered when he caught his thumb between his balls (so to speak). His screams of pain alerted the security guards who were quick to arrest him and he was thrown into a cell where Hanson's "MMMBop" was playing on a continuous loop at high volume. Serves him right. Eventually he confessed and Toys R Us are now being investigated under suspicion of supplying arms to enemy combatants.

It hasn't escaped my attention that humans have a penchant for stupid and pointless fads. The yo yo for instance is a wonderful example of pointlessness. My male staff knocked his two front teeth out with his when he was a kid. It was a move that thereafter was named "The Orthodontist" and was very popular amongst skilled yo yo-ers until the safer "Walking The Dog" manoeuvre was invented by Carrie Abandayd. Tragically this trick was also banned when Carrie's yo yo killed a passing Chihuahua.

Another human fad, the usefulness of which completely passes me by is holidays, or vacations if you happen to have the misfortune to live on the wrong side of the Pacific Ocean. How peculiar that people scrimp and save and go without so that they can afford a trip to somewhere exotic and then don't bother researching their destination. The British used to be masters of this, complaining that in Spain all they could get to eat was "foreign muck" and that they couldn't get a good British meal of  curry and chips anywhere. The stupid locals all drive on the wrong side of the road, only speak Spanish and it's always too hot. Aussies are no better. Instead of trying to learn the local language they'd rather teach Balinese or Thai hotel porters and waiters Australian slang and then tell them it means something entirely different. Hence these days if you should arrive at your Kuta Beach resort in Bali to be greeted with "G'day. Fancy a root" from the doorman you should be neither surprised nor offended. It's just that some drunk Aussie has told them that "G'day. Fancy a root?" is the most respectful form of greeting in Australia.

No doubt this holiday/vacation fad will pass as they all do when you humans find out that it is harmful to your health and that sunburn and "Bali belly" are not as much fun as you first thought.
Meanwhile the Australian Tourist Authority is doing it's bit to deter tourists by employing my male staff on their on-line help desk. My regular readers may already know that my male staff has a low tolerance threshold for stupid questions. (Though it has to be said that he's not averse to asking them himself. Asking Badger and I "Are you hungry?" being a prime example.)

So far he's doing a great job deterring visitors to Australia, although some of his "clients" are probably dumb enough to take him seriously. Would you like some examples?

Q: Does  it ever get windy in Australia ? I have never seen it  rain on TV, how do the plants grow?  ( UK). 
A: We  import all plants fully grown, and then just sit around  watching them die. 
   __________________________________________________

Q: 
Will  I be able to see kangaroos in the street?  ( USA) 
A: Depends how  much you've been drinking.
__________________________________________________

Q: 
I  want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks?  ( Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles. Take lots of water. 
__________________________________________________

Q: 
Are  there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia? Can you  send me a list of them in Brisbane , Cairns , Townsville  and Hervey Bay ? (  UK) 
A: What did your last slave die of?
__________________________________________________

Q: 
Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia ? ( USA) 
A: A-fri-ca is  the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe  .
Aus-tra-lia is that big  island in the middle of the Pacific which does not  ...
Oh, forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, Sydney. Come naked.
__________________________________________________

Q: 
Which  direction is North in Australia ?  ( USA) 
A: Face south, and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here  and we'll send the rest of the directions. 
_________________________________________________

Q: 
Can I bring cutlery into Australia ?  ( UK) 
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we  do.
__________________________________________________

Q:  
Can  you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule?  ( USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is  that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is  ...  
Oh, forget  it.  Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, Sydney straight after the hippo races. Come naked.
   __________________________________________________

Q: 
Can I wear high heels in Australia ?  ( UK) 
A: You are a male British politician, right?
__________________________________________________

Q: 
Are  there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? ( Germany) 
A: No, we are a  peaceful civilization of vegan hunter gatherers. Milk is illegal.
   __________________________________________________

Q:  
Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (  USA) 
A: Rattlesnakes  live in A-meri-ca, which is where YOU come from. All  Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely  handled, and make good  pets.
   __________________________________________________ 

Q: 
I  have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but  I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. ( USA) 
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of  gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. 
You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.
   __________________________________________________
  
Q: 
Do  you celebrate Christmas in Australia ?  ( France) 
A: Only at  Christmas.
   __________________________________________________
  
Q: 
Will I be able to speak English most places I go?  ( USA) 
A: Yes, but  you'll have to learn it  first. 
BADGER'S FOOTNOTE
I didn't howl at all. I merely expressed mild shock that my feet were wet. I've told Billy a trillion times not to exaggerate.



Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Phantom Kitten

This week I took my male staff to a sighky  psichi  sykayatr  saichaiatr shrink. He's been having more than the usual problems with depression and anxiety lately so his regular quack told him to make an appointment with the shrink to review his medication. Well, goodness me, there must be an awful lot of other loonies out there because my male staff had to wait three weeks for an appointment. So anyway we sat there in the waiting room with all the other mad people and I was quite amazed to find that I was the only guinea pig there, although there was one person there who thought he was a Muscovy duck. Another thought he was a pair of curtains. I told him to pull himself together. Yet another poor fellow was convinced that he was a wigwam one minute and a marquee the next. I told him not to worry, he was just two tents. See, who needs to spend half their life at university just to be a shrink. Even a guinea pig can do it.

 At last the savage looking receptionist peered over her horn rimmed spectacles disapprovingly at my male staff and I and said. "Doctor Phlegm will see you now." I climbed up to my male staff's shoulder as he stood and was ushered into Doctor Phlegm's room. The receptionist said "You can't take that filthy animal in there." I sniffed at her and said "He's not filthy. I know for a fact he had a shower just a fortnight ago." She seemed not to hear and anyway by that time we were in the good Doctor's room. For someone who is used to dealing with lunatics I was surprised to see a shocked expression spread across his bearded features when he saw us. (Why do all shrinks seem to have beards? Even the female ones. Is it so that you can't see them laughing at you?) Then I realised that he thought my male staff had two heads (remember I was sitting on his shoulder). There was a handsome, beautifully groomed head with big white teeth, a perfectly formed nose and lovely soft brown eyes, and then there was the other head belonging to my male staff.

 "Errrrmm. Please sit down." said Doctor Phlegm, pointing to a very comfy looking chair in the corner of the small room. My male staff obeyed and moved me to his lap. "Do you take your kitten everywhere with you?" the Doctor asked. Kitten! I glared at him.
 "No." Said my male staff. I don't have a kitten."
 "I see," said the Doctor squinting suspiciously. I could see what he was thinking. "You don't have a kitten?"
 "Nope." Said my male staff. "Never had one."
 "So.........this kitten you've never had.............." He seemed unsure of what to say. "Do you ever feel that you sense the presence of a kitten?" I shuffled around on my male staff's lap to try and get a little more comfortable.
 "I'm really not sure what you mean." Answered my male staff.
 "Well, for example, do you ever feel something moving in your lap?"
My male staff stroked my fur. "Well......I suppose......I mean I don't really have any sexual dysfunction if that's what you mean." Except you never get any, I thought, but didn't say anything.
 Doctor Phlegm continued. "And.....errrm....do you ever hear meowing noises or purring?"
 "Not really." Replied my male staff. "Although my wife stomach sometimes sounds a bit like that when she's hungry. I really don't see what any of this has got to do with my depression though."
Doctor Phlegm crossed his legs and scratched his beard thoughtfully. "Well," he said. "occasionally people with depression have bad concentration and poor memory."
 "There's nothing wrong with my memory Doctor Saliva." Said my male staff, a trifle sharply and I'm pretty sure I'd know if I had a kitten."
Doctor Phlegm snorted. "I'm not so sure," he said. "Sometimes the brain can become very disturbed at times of stress. Anyway, it's Phlegm."
 "What is?"
 "My name. It's Doctor Phlegm. You called me Doctor Saliva. You see. Your memory is playing tricks on you."
 "Don't be ridiculous, and I'm one hundred percent certain that I don't have a kitten." He stood up, once again transferring me to his shoulder. "Now if you'll excuse me I'll go back to my GP and ask him to refer me to someone else...........someone not so obsessed with phantom kittens. Good day to you sir" He said huffily. As we walked out I wished I could meow, but instead I just wheeked and deposited a healthy pile of bush chocolate on his carpet.

Anyway, the outcome of all this was that my male staff decided that he didn't need new, stronger medication after all. As he thought about it while we drove home he realised that he was not as insane as he'd first thought, and that there were many people out there much madder than him - Doctor Saliva for example.

BADGER'S FOOTNOTE
Can you believe it? Some people think I should visit an animal shrink because I might be obsessed with my feet. Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous? Now, where did I put my nail polish?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Russell Crowe and Charlton Heston

Most Saturday mornings my staff, my female staff's mum and I can be found at one of the pavement tables at The Mulberry Cafe in Cooroy. Badger prefers not to join us, he likes to spend Saturdays doing his toenails. I sit on either of my staff's lap while they slurp their skinny soy decaffeinated, gluten free, lactose free lattes and guzzles their muffins. I have long since become accustomed to the attention I receive from passing pedestrians and the people who come out of nearby shops to gawp at me and make suggestions as to what sort of creature I might be.
 "It could be a mongoose." One of them might whisper.
 "Nah, it's a rabbit." Says another.
Somebody else comes up with "It's obviously some sort of possum."
None of this worries me now that I am older and wiser, certainly wiser than most of the residents of Cooroy at least. There was a time when I would get quite offended if someone accused me of being a deformed kitten or a fat ferret, but not any more. Such remarks are water off a duck's back to me these days, though I do reserve the right to bite people who peer down at me, stroke my nose and proclaim to my staff  "Wow! That's one hell of a rat you've got there." There's only so much even a laid back sort of piggy such as yours truly can take.

My favourite part of these Saturday morning excursions are the conversation that take place between my female staff's mum and Sharon, the proprietor of the Mulberry Cafe. My female staff's mum is a very fit eighty-four year old and Sharon is a lovely friendly, jovial lady of indeterminate age, though I suspect she is younger than my staff. Both are delightfully vague. Although my female staff's mum can remember what colour knickers she wore on March the 14th 1951 or whether she had a pork or beef sausage for breakfast on the first day of World War Two, she struggles to remember what day it is today or where she parked her car, or even if she drove the car for that matter. I'm told that this is common among older humans and I have even noticed that my staff are heading the same way lately. I'm not sure what Sharon's excuse is though, being the youngest of all of them. Anyway, when she has time she comes out of the cafe kitchen and joins us at our table. The conversations are always memorable. Here's the latest episode from this Saturday.

 "Did you see that thing on telly last night?" She'll say to my female staff's mum.
 "Not sure. What thing was that?"
 "You know, that thing with wassisname in it....and that woman who was in the other thing."
 "I don't think I know who you mean."
 Yes you do. You know.....the bloke with the funny ears. He was also in that thing that used to be on Monday nights."
 "Oh yes, I know who you mean. What was his name again? Walter Pigeon, wasn't it?
 "No, Russell Crowe. That's who I meant."



 "Ah yes. I knew it was some sort of bird. I hate crows anyway. Have you seen what they do to new born lambs?" Sharon's face takes on a puzzled, surprised expression at this unexpected twist to the conversation.
 "No......anyway, "says Sharon," where was I?
 "Walter Pigeon," suggests my female staff's mum helpfully.
 "No, I was talking about the TV show I saw last night with Russel Crowe."
 "You were watching TV with Russel Crowe? Is he a friend of your husband? It must be nice to have people like that come around now and again. I don't like him much though. Didn't he hit someone with a phone once?"
 "Who? My husband?"
 "No, not your husband. I'm talking about Walter Pigeon. He hit someone with a phone."
 "You mean Russell Crowe."
 "That's what I said."
By this time my staff's eyes are beginning to glaze over, but my female staff's mum and Sharon are only just getting warmed up. My head is turning from one to the other as though I'm watching a tennis match.
 "I think I did see that programme last night come to think of it." Said my female staff's mum. "Was it that movie about radiators?"
Sharon looked puzzled again for a moment. "Oh, you mean gladiators?"
 "Yes. That's what I said. You really should pay more attention dear. Actually I don't think it was Walter Pigeon or Russell Crowe. I think it was Charlton Athletic."
 Sharon frowned. "I think you'll find Charlton Athletic is an English football club. You must mean Charlton Heston."


 "No, he died years ago. He couldn't have been at your place watching telly."
 "I didn't say any anyone was watching telly with me, especially not Charlton Athletic. Gah! I mean Charlton Heston."  My male staff was rubbing his temples and complaining that he was getting a headache. Then the regular crowd of MAMILs (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) turned up at the cafe and were busily propping their bicycles against the wall and unstrapping their enormous tear drop shaped crash helmets.
 "Time to go." Said my male staff, draining his coffee.
 "Damn!" I thought. It looked as though the MAMILs each had a French bean and a couple of small Brussels sprouts shoved down the front of their pants and I was optimistic that they might be persuaded to share them with a cute, hairy rodent. However, it wasn't to be, I was whisked away before I could start nibbling at things.

BADGER'S FOOTNOTE
I'm so glad that I stay at home while the rest of them go off to the cafe. My feet are aching just thinking about about having to listen to Billy's female staff's mum and Sharon.  It's bad enough that she calls me "Skunk" whenever she comes to visit. Time after time I've said, "No, it's Badger." But I suppose all she hears is "wheek wheek rumble putter wheek!"


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Un-cooperative Piggy

My vet said she wanted a movie of me running to check my limp but I didn't really feel like co-operating, so this is all she's going to get.

video

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bad News Is Good News

Just a couple of days ago Badger and I were shredding one of my male staff's favourite childhood books. He'd foolishly left it laying around on the living room floor while we were out foraging. I can't remember what the book was called, but it was I believe, a compilation of short murder mystery stories by a bloke called Alfred Hitchcock. Badger was just about to shred the final story in the book when something interesting caught my eye, and I'm not talking about Badger's butt. Not this time anyway. No, it was a sentence in the book.

 "It was mice........." It read. These apparently were the final words of a murder victim in the USA to the person who was unfortunate enough to discover him.
 "How typical of humans." I remarked to Badger, who was a bit cross because I'd stopped him from shredding the page in question. The bloke is sitting there in his armchair with his throat slit from ear to ear, blood congealing around his feet and making a hell of a mess on the carpet, and what does he do with his dying, gurgling breath? He blames his demise on rodents. Now I'm quite a large, powerful specimen as rodents go, but I think I'd struggle to overpower and cut the throat of an adult human, so how is a psychopathic mouse going to manage? Does it crawl up the dude's leg clutching an open razor blade between clenched teeth, then deftly transfer the blade to his tiny paw when he reaches the man's shoulder before drawing it across his victims throat? And what about motive? Perhaps the victim caught the killer's wife in a trap. Revenge!

I read on, holding Badger back with a paw in his face, making sure I kept my digits away from those gnashing teeth. I really didn't need another visit to the vet. Anyway, it turned out that the victim was an Englishman in America and his killer was his own lawyer. Actually, slitting the poor man's throat was unnecessarily messy, when he could just as easily have killed his victim with shock just by sending him a bill. What confused the poor American chap who found him was that the dying Englishman was trying to say "It was my solicitor," but he was cut off in his prime so to speak and only managed "It was mice........." before breathing his last. Being in America, what he should have tried to say is "It was my lawyer." If only he'd remembered where he was the police wouldn't have had to waste hours of their time searching for a killer mouse clutching a blood stained cut-throat razor. Yet another example of Britain and the United States being divided by a common language.

And now for something completely unrelated.  It's no wonder my male staff suffers from depression, he keeps watching the TV news. It's a miracle that every single human on the planet hasn't gone loopy in the same way. His biggest mistake is watching and (worse still) listening to the financial analyst. These guys are determined to talk Australia into a major recession. I think this is because they are worried that we have one of the strongest economies on the planet at the moment and we just don't fit in with other less fortunate nations like Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. Few nations have a triple A credit rating. Australia does, and yet these financial gurus keep trying to drag us down, and won't be happy until we are much further down the alphabet. It's as if they think we might be getting too big for our national boots. Maybe it's another incarnation of our cultural cringe. The finest exponent of this is ABC News' Financial Editor, Alan Kohler. This is the kind of thing he comes up with.
 "You can see from the graph behind me that Australia's economy has been growing steadily over the last six years despite the GFC, but now as you can see, last month's growth was point zero zero one percent less than the previous month. This could be the start of a great depression, worse than the one we experience in the nineteen thirties. And the news is no better on the employment front either. The merchant bank Pompous-Smirk has revealed that in it's latest survey, although more than ninety thousand jobs were added last month, the Brussels sprout jam manufacturer Stenchfart Pty Ltd may be forced to close its factory at Pong near Adelaide with the loss of almost seven jobs because of government anti-greenhouse gas legislation." And so on and so forth. It's as if there is never, ever any good news. Well, there you are. I suppose the only good news for TV and newspapers is bad news

Brussels sprouts. The only food every to be banned under the Geneva Convention. It's a little known fact that this is what the allies were looking for in Iraq when searching for Saddam's chemical weapons stash.

BADGER'S FOOTNOTE
I really wish Billy wouldn't put his paw in my face like that. His feet always smell of bush chocolate.