Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"Eat your veges - they'll make your teeth grow curly."

The above sentence was one that my Dad uttered regularly to us three kids at the dinner table. It was his silly way of using humour to keep us entertained and willing to listen to his warm-hearted health lectures.

Of course, any authority he might have had was always immediately dispelled by his own behaviour. He'd lean over to Dave and yell out, "Hey, look at that spider in the corner!" and swipe his potatoes, cramming them all at once into his mouth, grinning gleefully. Or he'd create a helluva mess on the tablecloth as he tried to throw peas and pumpkin pieces up into the air and catch them in his mouth. Mum would watch tiredly-but-indulgently on as we kids tried the same trick but much less successfully; beans and carrot rounds bouncing off our noses and onto the carpet. No wonder she chose such luridly-patterned tablecloths.

Our family fitted the country, 1970s traditional mold - mother, father, three children. Mother mostly staying at home, kids at school (two years apart in age) and father the monetary provider and 'real' disciplinarian. In theory at least. Looking back, I realise now that coming home from work to "Smack a few bums and give my wife a few minutes' rest" would have killed him. He tried every tactic before resorting to a sharp slap on the thigh before bath time - it never hurt, but left a bright red mark that served as a powerful visual reminder of my wrong doings that I would sob over whilst slumped in the tepid bubbles.

Instead, he would put on his huge, scary, booming Monster Voice to scare us into learning our lessons. "I'm coming to get you....I'm coming to give you a great, big RUFFFGHHH!" Dave'd nearly wet his jocks with the weird combination of fear and thrill. I, on the other hand, was more terrified of him lurching toward me like a modern day Igor, roaring loudly with his huge bear like hands semi-curled over my head. It was a pretty successful method and one that he really didn't have to use on us very often.

Dad was a high school teacher and often commented to me that he enjoyed his job, especially the friends he made there amongst the staff. He compared it to being back at university surrounded by mates with the same sense of humour and contempt for the office-bound bureaucrats that set the rules without setting foot in the classroom. Many times I accompanied him into the staff room on a Sunday for him to put in place some silly trick or other. Dyeing one jug of milk blue and one red after Norwood won the premiership; writing 'Always Plan Ahea' on one line and the 'd' on the second; spray painting his mate Ken's green tomatoes red; and rigging the communal billiard table.

He also showed me how to view the eclipse in 1974. The day was eerily dark and he opened up the school's lab in order to put together a device that showed us kids how to get a look directly at the phenomenon. He brought me a 50 kilogram bag of wet clay home one night in order to encourage me to continue with my pottery genius as he saw it. I waffled on and on about the wooden stilts that the Wilden kids next door had to play with and he welded me up some metal ones. They worked - sort of - by wedging themselves firmly into the grass and allowing me to stand up on them without holding the bars - even at the age of ten I loved and appreciated his efforts.

Netball was something I had a love-hate relationship with, and he recognised that. As the tall one, I was always goal-keeper, and rather good at it. However no girl likes to be the ever-reaching guard dog all of the time, so he made me my own goal ring to practise on at home. With portability in mind, he set it in an empty wheel filled in with cement. Every time I scored a goal the ball would bounce right off the cement and boing over the garden fence into the orange tree: I would have made a good soccer goalie.

Despite being a father of three, teaching high school kids, coaching basketball and cricket teams, playing golf, volleyball, tennis, cricket, basketball, fishing, windsurfing and bowls, he still had an active interest in pursuing all kinds of things. He studied Arts (English) and dabbled in some Park Ranger courses; got into bird-watching (the feathered kind, he couldn't have been a lecher if he tried) and went to 'Remedial Art' classes run by a friend after school.

By her own admission, Mum wasn't the keenest of cooks and certainly not willing to spend too much time on preparing anything beyond the solid goal of ensuring we were all fed. Therefore, if my father wished to eat squid, crumbed brains, home-pickled onions, salted fish or pureed dried plum, he had to do it himself. Which he did, with a noticeably larger amount of enthusiam to expertise. His quick-fried squid was a triumph but the brains, soggy onions and saliva-sucking fish were not. The plum slice languished on top of the fridge for several years until we contemplated using it to replace the back door mat. Still, at least he gave it a go.

Love of food was nearly the death of him, and I don't mean his penchant for spreading butter as thick as bread on his bread, or cheese as thick as three of his chunky fingers. He was highly allergic to Vegemite which was unknown to me when I was trialling a Chinese/Aussie nightmare One Pot concoction that substituted soy sauce for this spread. His throat closed quicker than a pub door after happy hour yet he wheezed out, "This is really delicious, love" in order to keep my pathetic culinary explorations alive.

He made his own bee hives and set them amongst the gorgeous purple Salvation Jane weeds in local farmers' paddocks and brought home chunks of fresh honeycomb for us to chew endlessly on, the honey long gone from the wax. The honey was the best I've ever tasted, especially smeared on a slice of fresh bread with cream drizzled on top. His landrover smelled permanently of smoke from his bee-hive smoker, and dead bee carcasses decorated his dashboard like sad little sequins. I used to tease him whenever his 'Australasian BeeKeeper' magazine would arrive, "Wow Dad, it's here, it's finally here - why oh why is it only out every two months?"

Only on one occasion did his bee-keeping become a problem. Not for my family necessarily, but for my first boyfriend, Sean. He was nervous enough to be invited over to dinner for the first time to meet his girlfriend's parents - one of whom was his chemistry teacher. That afternoon Dad had been rather savagely set upon by a few dozen worker bees, and his face resembled Elephant Man's after Vegemite inhalation. His left eye was fully closed; the right one had a boiled egg hidden under the lid and his top lip resembled a blow-up mattress. All of us found that our appetites had deserted us, especially Sean. "Sssho, Sshhean," Dad drooled, trying to make him feel welcome. "What univershitty courshe are you shtudying nesxht year?"

By the mid eighties, my folks realised that all three of us were likely to go the the Big Bad City of Adelaide to live and study and a teacher and part-time secretary's salary wasn't likely to stretch that far. Renting some disused glass houses, he partnered with another teacher to grow cucumbers for extra income. All hands were required on deck - mine and Dave's for weeding, Rob's for planting, Dad's and Mum's for whatever - I was too busy whining about my muddy knees and missing out on watching 'Music Express'. It was hard not to get the giggles when I had to polish the cucumbers before packing them. I may have still been an innocent (physically at least), but the motions were spectacularly x-rated. Market gardening also gave Dad an opportunity to educate his teenaged kids about marijuana. Sadly we didn't get to sample any, but sure got to witness a few visits from the police when our neighbouring growers couldn't resist slotting in a few "Electric Spinaches" (Dad's words) amongst their tomato plants. Dad insisted that the police threw old car tyres on the fires when they destroyed the crop to prevent any local Bong-dongs from standing downwind and inhaling the fumes.

When Dad decided to take his long service leave, he really took it. We spent the entire winter in Queensland, caravanning our little hearts out. A year was spent in Aberdeen, Scotland, freezing our butts off and delighting in their indecipherable accents, summer fashion choices and love of offal. Our holiday to Ayers Rock and the Northern Territory wasn't quite as successful: he made me complete my year twelve biology assignment on a card table in the tent and made me pose under a sign out in the middle of nowhere that had been painted over with 'Lesbians Are Everywhere.'

Now he's retired, and is 'only' involved in Probus (I'm too afraid to ask for more details), golf, bowls, various social groups, wood turning, computing, photography, travelling to the Flinders whenever he can, caravanning and being a good grandpa. So, is it surprising that, a man who regularly chooses to wake up before 6am for a round of golf, is likely to be found snoozing before 6pm? And yet, if I dared sneak in and change the channel from cricket to something - anything - more interesting, he'd stir and say, "Hey! I was watching that!"

"How were you watching that if you were asleep?"
"I wasn't asleep, just resting my eyelids."

Can't argue with that. I love you Dad.

Monday, August 21, 2006

My sincerest apologies to Love Chunks

I owe my beloved partner of 13 years, Love Chunks, a huge, heartfelt apology. Truly.

He has recently been through a great deal of lingering pain, discomfort and bloody agony for me. Not for himself, but for me. His sacrifice has made me inordinately grateful and already raises him way up there in my esteem and admiration.

And what do I do to thank him for it? Snore so damned loudly I kick him out of our bed!

LC has been a snorer for most of his life. His nocturnal 'talents' in this regard made him famous throughout his college days and he was even taped by a housemate during his beer-and-pizza flat-sharing stage. On a trip to the snowfields, he was apparently hated by all of them during the wee hours as his sonorous sounds cut through the gyprock walls and into their skulls.

When he and I were an item, it wasn't apparent to me for the first couple of years. Perhaps this blissful ignorance can be explained away by blind/deaf love, total post-horizontal-folk-dancing exhaustion and being a less-stressed and much better sleeper than I am today. Even after a few glasses of wine, his snoring was only intolerable when he slept on his back, tonsils-a-flappin', and this always ceased as soon as he rolled over.

Things got gradually worse on the snoring front when a gentle poke in the back to get him to lie on his side began to be a dozen pokes on the back, getting progressively less gentle as the night wore on. At times I would lie there, wondering just how the hell such a quiet and self-contained man could actually produce such ear-shattering sounds during his peaceful repose.

Wonder soon turned to hate, at least after midnight, as I continued to lie there, crazily contemplating whether sleep deprivation and chronic PMT would be a legitimate excuse for impromptu throat surgery by a spouse with a potato peeler. Unfairly perhaps, I made his 'deficiency' rather public, using it as a convenient conversational stop-gap during stilted dinner parties: "Hey did you know that my Love Chunks can snore like an elephant stuck in a swamp?", or, "LC! Give them your aural impression of a dodgy outboard motor!" Not surprisingly, LC wasn't quite so concerned as I was by the volume and quality of his PM performances.

Soon enough though and he too was concerned about what his snoring was doing to my health and humour. My once michievously twinkling snot-green eyes were now hidden by the shelf of puffy skin hanging down over them in a passable Frankenstein impersonation and unflatteringly purplish bags were lingering like onlookers at a car crash underneath. I had taken to putting the dirty socks in the toilet and sitting on the laundry hamper, and thinking that Sharley Boogers instead of 'barley sugars' and 'Lend me the Pole Hunch, Brase Pole' was acceptable behaviour.

We were living like Queen Liz and Prince Philip in separate bedrooms. Our guestroom was now the sole sleeping environment for LC, who could snuffle and snore away to his hearts' content, safe in the knowledge that a solid brick wall was between us and divorce. Despite his generosity, it didn't feel right, not being together. Sure, we tried to tell ourselves that what difference did it make lying next to each other when we were unconscious, but I missed the sense and warmth of his body with mine, not the least knowing I could suddenly lurch up and hiss "Hey! Did you hear that? That's either a mutant possum or an axe-wielding maniac in our kitchen!" and then sink back down into the warm doona.

Finally it was time for LC to go to an overnight sleep clinic, which he willingly did. The report later described the volume of his sleep songs as 'equating to the sound of a whipper snipper at close range.' The surgery was booked for the next month - removal of the tonsils, insertion of a camera up the schnozz to determine if anything was worth clearing out up there and a closer inspection of the palate to also see if it needed to be sand-blasted.

Unluckily for Love Chunks, but luckily for me, his entire throat got the coat-hanger treatment. Not just his tonsils but - for lack of a medical education - the fleshy curtains at the side of the stage as well. He left hospital the following day, still drugged up, puffy and surprisingly able to talk without any hassle. Swallowing was another matter entirely. The only fluids he could take were those with panadeine dissolved in them, and soup was seen as the culinary equivalent of being forced to traverse a terrain not unlike dragging his butt cheeks along the gibber plains of the Great Stony Desert.

Bless him though, he did not once give me a reproachful, 'I Did This For You, You Mean Old Cow' look, but he came close when I attempted to feed him some steamed rice and veges that were (unintentionally) about as soft as aquarium pebbles. As long as I kept the painkillers up, everything was fine.

Despite his total agony, he still cooked dinner for the three of us every night. I should be ashamed of myself - instead of rushing in and saying "No, Love Chunks sweety-darling-sweety, you must sit down and rest," I thought to myself, Thank God for that or Sapphire'd be eating my three versions of One Pot Meals on regular rotation until the school holidays. Love Chunks' effort sent me a clear message: any pain was worth avoiding the Moronic MillyMoo Menu....

Sadly, this was not the only thing regarding his operation that I'm ashamed of. The end of his throat was scarred white, resembling a fleshy Tunnel of Love yet this moist environment produced an odour that could only be described as Morning Breath Times One Hundred. I know it was not his fault, but that did not help things when he turned to ask me for something selfish (you know, like water, or painkillers or to be led to the toilet), blasting me with breath that could only have brewed in Satan's butt. "Geez LC, you STINK! I am banning you from leaving the house until it goes away - you'll end up killing someone with that!" Need I point out that tact never seems to be listed as one of my key personal qualities, not the ability to stop visibly flinching in repulsion.

This morning, two weeks after his operation, he flew interstate for work. Breath now sweet and socially acceptable; throat able to take solid foods (but sometimes requiring a restorative lie down afterwards) and voice able to withstand a seminar presentation in front of his colleagues.

As for the snoring? Nothing, not one snort or oink. Just the quiet whistling of air rushing through the expressway tunnel of his oesphagus, working like a spasming bike pump at inflating his stomach to a full term pregnancy size.

Last night we cuddled, said 'good night' to each other and rolled over to our opposite sides of the bed to sleep and dream. Eight hours later when the alarm went off to take Dogadoo for a run, I stretched, yawned and clambered out, feeling genuinely refreshed. I looked over, but Love Chunks wasn't there. Seconds later, he staggered into our room, rubbing his eyes, muttering "Was that your alarm? I'd better get into the shower before the taxi arrives."

He didn't look his bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Morning Person best. "What's wrong with ---?"
"You. Your SNORING, in fact. You were out like a light, on your back, fog-horning away as though the entire North Sea Oil Fleet depended on you for their safe harbour!" He stomped off into the bathroom, not caring to hear my response of "Oh dear, errr, that's a bit ironic, isn't it?"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What a load of crumbs, fudge buckets and bunnies

When I was blissfully growing up in a small country town in the 1970s and mid 1980s, I never once heard my mother swear.

Lord knows she had many reasons to, mostly due to us three kids. Our hobbies tended to be whining, teasing and fighting each other. If it wasn't for my brothers, I would not have known how to defend myself from school-yard bullies with well-placed and timely henpecks, dead legs and chinese burns. At home, we regularly flung ourselves furiously at each other: so often that Mum would continue chopping at the vegetables, saying vaguely into the ether, "You should stop that, or somebody might get hurt...." Her strict methodist upbringing continued to work its magic on her and she avoided the easy temptation to let us know just what dreadful little sh**s we really were.

It is only now, being a mother of just one child myself, that I can truly admire her self control. On one fine Saturday after the end of the movie matinee on the telly, David decided that hammering the brick and cement water tank-stand wasn't fulfilling enough and proceeded to smash through the glass in our front door. He may have been small for his age and prone to regular asthma attacks that rendered him allergic to housework and chores, but boy did he run fast when Mum flew out of the house armed with a wooden spoon. Round and round the silver birch tree they went, Dave's eyes nearly popping out of their little sockets with terror and Mum getting angrier and angrier and struggling to keep yelling and hold her breath.

What expletives was she uttering during this burst of free exercise? "Come here you....B-L-E-S-S-E-D LITTLE CHILD" over and over. For many years, I thought 'blessed' was akin to Bloody F***ing Satan Spawn until I finally paid attention in Sunday School and realised it was something that Jesus - and our Minister - used in a nice way.

Like farting in the car on long trips and blaming them on whichever one of us kids was sleeping at the time, my mother had ways of saying very naughty things without ever uttering anything that was officially a curse word. "Ooooh Bunnies" was another frequently used word, normally when she had to unpick some sewing or her little cakes didn't turn out. Following her example, I adopted the word, "Bucko", from Richie Cunningham in 'Happy Days', saying stuff to Robert like, "If you don't stop bragging, Bucko, I'm going to hit you over the head with the Monopoly bank." For some reason, Mum took exception to this, and rushed over to scold me. The act of thwacking Rob over the scone with a hard plastic container that left him crying and paper money fluttering all around the room didn't seem to bother her.

Even our toilet training and subsequent referrals to the subject of ablutions were kept pristine, language wise, if also rather peculiar. My folks swear that these were the words invented by Robert when he was not quite two, and were then used by the family from then on to avoid the very disgusting Wee and Poo words. Are you ready for them - Wettings for wees and Dirties for poos. There are times when I regress and have accidentally said them out loud to my own daughter.

If any of us children ever swore, we showed no loyalty to each other at all, instead rushing to dob to Mum. Until the age of six, the worst swear word in the world that my sheltered little mind could summon up was Stink Pot. I used to lie under my stripey bedsheets and utter it out loud to myself like a mantra, feeling thrillingly sinful.

In desperation, we often resorted to giggling over the potential sounds of innocent words as curses. Orange pith was the source of a great deal of cheap merriment for me. "Hey Dave, can you take the pith off," knowing that he had no real reason to get me into trouble. "Why don't you go jump off the poop deck," another favourite. The delicious word, 'buttocks' was a delight - it was very early abbreviated to "Shift your tocks, turkey."

Mum was still easy to run a few not-so-polite phrases over due to her own ignorance. It was only when she announced that "These broad peans taste poxy" in front of Dad that she realised it was not particularly wise to incorporate her children's words as her own. You see Dad was a high school teacher and there was no buzzword or disrespectful saying that he wasn't already aware of. There were no Shut Ups, Hells, Damns or even a Rack Off. I guess he'd heard enough of that crap (see what I did there?) all day at school and didn't need the 'aural pollution' (his words) at home.

There was one phrase that, in hindsight, was pretty rude, but was allowed to used with gay abandon in our home. My grandmother, a very strict Methodist, non-drinking, church stalwart and always-refined lady, used to say, "Stop fiddle arseing around and get back to work..." Fiddle Arseing? How can that be better than Bugger Off, Bum or Stink Pot?

It remains a mystery to this day. I'm relieved to advise you that my folks have relaxed their language standards a great deal. Sometimes disturbingly so. It still takes quite some getting used to when I hear my mum say indignantly, "That driver is right up my bloody arse," when she's behind the wheel of her commodore, battling the huge 3 car traffic jam down the main street of Victor Harbor. The profanity just doesn't go with the coral red lippy, matching string of beads, silk shirt and rockport loafers. Perhaps that's a good thing: that at the age of 65 she's capable of shocking her daughter instead of the other way 'round.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Fartin' Fridays....

No, this is not a blog 'theme' day, but something I have to endure on a week-in, week-out basis.

Normally, bottom humor is reserved for the males of our species, but not in my house. Love Chunks, a proud male who enjoys burping, the footy and food, is most definitely not a public or proud farter. He uses the modus operandi of the tooth fairy - we're pretty sure it happens, but have never actually seen or experienced it directly ourselves.

My butt-exhaust habits are slightly less pristine, but most likely are more normal (good gracious me: I'm writing about my flatulence!). My method is less Tooth Fairy and more the Tasmanian Tiger - we know that it exists, but anyone who was around to witness it is now crazy, dead or both. Pregnancy was the exception in my case. I merely had to bend over without giving my ever-increasing body five minutes notice and a quick-but-loud 'Parrp!' would erupt. My poor work mates got sick and tired of my weak, "Oh dear, was it worth the two minutes of fun in Malaysia" line after it's seventh uttering during the same meeting. When I was sitting still. If I was ever in the photocopying room loading the second tray with paper they'd stick an 'ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK' sign on the door frame.

Sapphire, unfortunately, has the farting habits of a bogan's 1985 commodore - in your face, frequently loud and very proud. All she's missing is the backwards baseball cap, pounding Doof Doof music and the 'I'm Naked From the Waist Down' bumper sticker on her back.

Despite being raised by two extremely intelligent, kindly, supportive and well-mannered parents, the hidden Benny Hill gene seems to have established itself with about as much delicacy as a moose on a music stand. She may be the brightest in her class and have the ability to read a novel in one sitting but give her the opportunity to blurt out a good butt blast and she's laughing so hard I can't tell where the joyous tears end and the snot trails begin.

I blame my brothers. They clearly had the Benny Hill Fart Gene and it's carried through to their usually adorable seven year old niece. I've mentioned before that younger brother/pest/turkey David would derive endless amusement from letting a ripsnorter off right in my face whilst I was smothered in our huge velvet beanbag watching 'Mork and Mindy'. He and his easily-satisfied cackling laughter were long gone by the time I angrily struggled out of the bag and onto my feet.

He shared a room with me until I was ten, because older - and much stronger - brother Rob wasn't a good sleeper and didn't tolerate Dave's regular nighttime asthma attacks with much sympathy. I merely slept through them, unless he'd still be coming down from the Ventolin high and decide to treat himself - and me, only two metres away - to a few doona lifters and giggles. At that stage of my life, I learned early that farting and boys naturally go together like Ape and S**t.

When these sad scenes of childhood suffering are relayed back to Carly, she laughs in genuine merriment. Or should it be described as wicked delight, because she has a laugh that only emerges when Farts, Fluffs, Pop-offs, Bums, Butts, Snot, Boogers, Poos, Willies and Wees are mentioned, preferably in the same story. It doesn't help when Love Chunks, working on the computer, overhears and adds, "Don't worry Sapphire your Mum isn't innocent. She regularly gives me the pleasure of her Dutch Ovens at night...." Thanks, love.

All very tasteful to discuss, but let's get back to Friday nights. Sapphire's had a busy and eventful week at school and LC and I have had our big weeks at work. If we don't have plans, we tend to flop out on the lounge and feel the lethargy and tiredness attack us from all fronts. This increased state of relaxation clearly tempts Sapphire's sphincter region to let more than a few dozen go. Some of them silent, some noisy but all are decidely deadly to endure.

"For gods' sake Sapphire, stop doing that or you can go and sit in your room!" Even Dogadoo is roused from her sleep at our feet, and stares at Sapphire reproachfully. "See? You know you're being revolting when even the dog is annoyed!"

Sapphire laughs so hard that LC looks at her with concern, wondering if her chocolate milk or even a lung is going to come out of her nose and flop like a caught fish on the coffee table in front of us. "Sapphire," I say quietly, trying another angle, "Do you do these at school?"

"Of course not Mum," she snorts, as if I'm a complete idiot.

"Then why do you do them here at home?"

Again, the 'Mum, You're A Total Mental Pgymy' look in response. "Because I'm at HOME. I can do what I like at home. I spend all day squashing 'em and pushing 'em back up and at home I can let 'em out. It's funny! Plus, I can't help it.....' she trailed off, looking at me with her huge, innocent blue eyes that I forever feel as though I could jump into.

"OK, but do Dad and I ever do it to you?"

"No, but Dad NEVER does them. YOU do them to Dad at nighttime, 'cos he told me," she said, her giggles starting up again. Then a new thought enters her head, and she snaps her head back to me, looking worried. "Mum, you're not going to tell anyone at school, are you?"

Hah, now I've got her! "Well that all depends...... wouldn't the boys in your class think you're really cool and want to see your butt in action?"

Sapphire's face wrestles with the humour of the idea and the sheer horror of its reality. "NO! It would be embarrassing! Josh and Kain do them all the time and us girls just roll our eyes and say how unsophisticated they are."

I pause, remembering that this is what I told her to say when said boys continued to thump her in the arm and run away, hoping she'll chase after them. She'd come home feeling frustrated, asking me why they did it to her all the time. "Oh boys are very unsophisticated creatures," I said. After explaining to her what unsophisticated meant, she took the explanation to heart, and has used it ever since to account for any bit of silly boy behaviour she's endured.

"OK, it would be embarrassing for you, but is it fair for poor Dad and I to have to put up your pop-offs and their terrible stench---"

"Hey Mum, I can't help how they smell. If I could make them smell like our rose toilet spray, I would you know."

It was my turn to laugh. "Fair enough, but you've got to stop playing it up, and you should only do them when you're on your own because it's a bad habit that will soon make you very unpopular. Besides," I added, in what I thought was an added 'load her down with the weight of fairness and dignity' flourish, "When have I ever shoved any of my bad habits in front of you?"

Oh dear, it was too late to retract that last, pompous utternance. "Well," she shot back, with the beginnings of another wicked giggle session, "What about when I hear you blow your nose in the shower; or when you farted as you emptied the bins outside and then it followed you in? No, Mum don't interrupt me - what about when you kiss the dog and then try and kiss me straight after, or those times when Dad can't believe that you still use the big drawer to frisbee the tupperware lids into instead of stacking them; or when you get dressed into your tracksuit and ugg boots after work and don't put your bra back on and when you always------"

"Er, OK Sapphire, you've made your point. Perhaps I'll just move over to the other sofa where I'm closer to the open door...."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

This lovely story brought a tear to my normally dry, cynical little eye

In 1986, Melee Mbembe was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from university. On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air.

The elephant seemed distressed so Mbembe approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot, and found a large thorn deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Mbembe worked the thorn out with his hunting knife, after whichthe elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face theman and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For several tense moments Mbembe stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away. Mbembe never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later he was walking through a zoo with his teenage son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Mbembe and his son Tapu were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Mbembe and lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Mbembe couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. Mbembe summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's legs and swung him wildly back and forth like a rag doll along the railing, killing him.......................

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

Friday, August 04, 2006

News, just out: Tampons are Undignified

Some of you lurkers may have read that I'm sick to death of having a cold that's gone on longer than media attention on a Paris-Hilton ex-shag. The skin directly around my schnozz has worn away to a red callous roughly the shape (and size) of Australia and every eye blink is punctuated with a now-habitual, loud, juicy sniff.

This may all sound like an incredible whinge, but I did feel a bit justified about my self-absorption when a colleague across the campus commented on my continual cold. "MillyMoo, you've been dribbly, snotty and blocked since you started here," and, "I can hear you blowing your elephantine nasal trumpet when I'm out in the carpark!" I may have spiced up her descriptors slightly in the name of artistic license but she made me realise that the sight/sound/produce of my nose was making all of my efforts to appear professional, polite and polished doomed to failure.

Characteristically, I then decided to embrace and celebrate my unavoidable, in-built dagginess and make the most of the Phlegm Factory living in my head.

Shoving two mini test tubes up my nostrils to catch the drips has always seemed like a practical idea, if a little off-putting to my companions or innocent passersby. Letting it run unhampered down my face in a proud-but-putrid display is another option, but it would require far too much social change and acceptance to achieve in a few weeks.

Then Vicki suggested tampons as a replacement for glass tubes. And why not - they're made for absorption and could, if inserted correctly, be quite a decent fit for the 'ol snot pipes. She warmed to her theme when she noticed my interest. "You could hook the strings up to your glasses so that you don't lose them," she suggested.
"Or maybe you could hang tiny hoops and sequins off them as decoration," I replied, crazily pondering a future business winner.

I farewelled Vicki and tried to keep my mind back on my work, but that word TAMPON, kept butting in and out of my already foggy 'It's Late Afternoon and I'm Too Tired To Care' thoughts. Surely, if oversized glasses, bum crack jeans and orange tans have taught us anything, they've taught us that all you need is a wealthy, anorexic, spoilt, cocaine-sniffing Mother of the Year contender to use your product and everyone will want it.

Could Burberry print their trademark tartain plaid on white cotton and get Kate Moss to wear them in her snot slits at their next product launch? Or maybe get a staged 'paparazzo' shot of Sienna Miller lunching with Nicole Richie and Skinny Spice all wearing them with the strings hooked up to their Dolce and Gabbana bug shields?

More importantly, was I prepared to spruik this idea, starting firstly with a photograph of myself wearing them? Oh why not, it was a cheap laugh and a blog idea. I went home, full of beans and asked Love Chunks to take a photo.

I've done lots of things in my thirteen years with him that I thought would shock him but haven't - bungy jumped; dobbed in a bloke right in front of us with oversized luggage attempting to board our plane; thrown a drunk man's shopping bags off at the next bus stop so he'd leave and stop bugging the passengers; got pregnant; got depressed; got well; run lots; got a tattoo.
But this request really shocked him. "No. No. Way. You do NOT need to do that. You just DON'T."
"Oh, it's just for a laugh. I'll crop it so you can't see it's me."
He was adamant. "NO. You don't NEED to do it. Not now, not for this, not for humour, not for your writing, you don't need to."

Maybe that's one of the reasons I love him so much. I may not have the depth, wisdom or creativity to write an article about him that would truly do him justice, but I loved him passionately right at that moment. He was right - he didn't want to do anything that would demean me, and didn't want me to either. Like a L'Oreal shampoo, I was worth more.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

It's Time, it really is.

Mariah's latest Pepsi commercial. Tired, bored sigh.....

Obviously a shy girl who hides behind her voice and only ventures out into the public arena when there's an extremely worthy social issue to highlight...

Tara Reid, one time 'star' of that ground-breaking social-commentary on contemporary youth life, 'American Pie', now looking as though she's got two soggy ones shoved in her bikini.

If she doesn't pack 'em into a full-support underwire soon she'll be able to stand and surf on 'em.

Kimberley Stewart has achieved a great deal in this photo. Yes, you read it right: she has made Target - the cheapest, tattiest, rag-bag clothes chain, purveyer of clothes not likely to last beyond the first wash - look positively elegant beside her.

Also, whatever bra she's using deserves a mention for making so much out of so little; from concave to convex.

Sadly, she's forgotten that Flashdance's Jennifer Beals quite conservatively chose to wear TROUSERS with her baggy grey top, and those boots only make me suspect that there's two cranes out there in the local bird sanctuary that no longer have beaks.

This has been splashed everywhere, but Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock's official wedding were of course entirely predictable but also hilarious

One of my favourite Mothers Of The Year has chosen her usual tasteful clothing option, whilst Kid is glad that his minder is close by. That means he only has to concentrate on drinking his beer, and his paid help has the responsibility of slapping him every thirty seconds or so and hissing, "BREATHE, Kid, don't forget to breathe.'

Meanwhile, Pammy's wondering if her chest is horizontally-inflated enough to rest her glass on without spilling.

Mary-Kate and Ashley (or the other way around, who cares) have several hundred million dollars to spend between them but seem to prefer the 'Unemployed Alcoholic
Actress At Age Eighty' look for 2006.

They are also adopting the Nicole Richie technique of hiding behind 'big' things - hats, glasses, beverages. If they get any thinner those arm bangles will be able to circle their waists. Twice.

When LaLa's not being told off by her movie producer, instantly recovering from 'exhaustion' or changing into her eleventh bikini for the day, she's out on the town at night, busily giving her own physical fireplace (come on, think about it) a good old work-out.

Which leads me to assume that 'ol Firecrotch must have some skills other than acting, er singing and shopping because up close she's scaring me. I've never liked those circus clowns....

OK Janet, OK. We know that you've lost a heap of weight, but have you ever heard of dressing in a casual, relaxed or even elegant style?

The 'I Dream of Jeannie' hair, tranvestite makeup, butter yellow shoulder pads (eek!!), unnaturally sucked-in stomach and slutty slit skirt just makes you look like you're ready for your turn to lip-synch 'I will survive' at the local Tranny Club's Open Mike night and doing a few five dollar favours in the bus shelter on the way home.

By the way, Mariah Carey's wondering when you'll be giving her dress back.

Here's a gal that makes the afore-mentioned Janet Jackson look an earth mother.

Could this women look any more like a cartoon? White hair, buggles sunnies, red texta mouth, minnie-mouse clothes and a rack only $10,000 could get.

Or maybe she's out to find Popeye and give him a good shagging....?

And finally, just to give some hope to us great unwashed ordinary folk, I present to you the bloke that George Michael thought was worth trawling the local park for.

GM may go for designer threads, carefully coiffeured stubble and perma-tan, but he likes his fellas to wear socks with their shorts and possess a paunch you could hide your wallet in.

This is all very cheering news to me. I'll just slip into my baggy-bum trackie daks, stained polar fleece jumper and ugg boots and linger suggestively outside Jude Law's house.....