Sunday, February 25, 2007

Aussie Fauna

Australians aren't too good with words. For some inexplicable reason they call raisins "saltanas" have words like "arvo" and "mozzie" and a neighborhood called Woolloomooloo. That is just ridiculous. Silly Aussies. Whoever made up the animal names is a hero though. I hope they are one of the mysterious not famous guys on the money.

not quite as bad as pandas and manatees, but right up there. How good of an idea would it be for a person to eat exclusively cannabis leaves? I guess you'd always be high, but the lack of nutrients is not at all healthy. If you get some fruits, vegetables, and protein along with the marijuana then you have a drug problem/addiction. If all you eat are cannabis leaves, you are an idiot. You can't just eat cannabis all day long. Nor can you be on a strict diet of coca leaves, tobacco leaves, or eucalyptus leaves.

see wallabies below

these are the good kangaroos. Small enough to be cute and active enough to be interesting. Big Kangaroos are like other big herbivore without natural predators. Moose, buffalo, and yaks are dumb and boring too. Kangaroos are best in cartoon form; real ones are only good at being roadkill. Taste good though. 33 grams of protein to every 1 of fat. Wallabies should be in zoos and kangaroos should be livestock.

No animal is closer affiliated with a verb and object than dingo, eat, and baby. Just not exotic enough to live up to my expectations. Maybe if they were blue or had horns or something, but as dogs with large perky ears they are a real letdown. Easily the most disappointing animal in Australia. Hyenas are the wild dog thing that are most conducive to devouring human infants and deserve the reputation given to dingos. The word "dingo" implies a whimsical creature that elicits laughter. These guys fail to live up to the hype. It's like someone named He-Man Thor Terminator who is a meek and timid little man. Big thumbs down on the dingos

Tasmanian Devils
slightly more ferocious than a chihuahua. So much anger and frustration in these little guys. You just wanna tickle their bellies and baby talk them "who's a wittle devil? who's the wittle devil? Yes it's you. Yes it is. You're the wittle devil. Yes you are. Ah yes you are"

they seem pretty cool. The two I saw were just sleeping, but they are really big and look like pretty chill animals. I'm willing to vouch for 'em

sooooo overrated. Being a large flightless bird is cool, but only if you are the largest and flightlessest bird around. Ostriches win because they don't have any competition. Emus are kinda like JV ostriches, which is fine. On the seal with a kangaroo, that's cool. Australian and iconic. Until you realize that THERE ARE BETTER BIRDS IN AUSTRALIA!!!! Emus are kinda big and sorta brown. Little tiny heads with a pea brain and no personality. Pretty much the most generic bird around. Size is the only thing they got going for 'em. 'Cept there are bigger birds in Australia. Emus have a fantastic PR department. Whoever has been doing their marketing is a genius, but the gig is up. Emus aren't that cool and I'm telling the world. Here are Australia's true all star birds:

awesome. Big and ugly and colorful. Everything that a zoo bird should be. We saw 'em being fed and the lady threw a mouse that the jabiru caught in its mouth. Let's see an emu do that.

Southern Cassowary
YES!!! The biggest, ugliest, and most bizarre bird they got. A dinosaur mohawk bone thing and a gross turkey neck. These birds are in motorcycle gangs and have tattoos. So hardcore. Eagles and hawks can be majestic all they like; a Southern Cassowary would destroy them. Ostriches outweigh Southern Cassowary and are a lot more famous, but they wouldn't mess with these guys either. Gotta love penguins, peacocks, and hummingbirds, but Southern Cassowary are the best at being big and scary. They are the bird you would least like to run into in a dark alley.

winner!!!! Pictures don't do 'em justice, but these little guys are hilarious. Pygmy hippos are still number one, but if I ever become an eccentric billionaire I'm for sure having echidnas in with the prairie dogs.

Best story goes to the platypus. The aborigines never hunted them because of this legend:

The animals were gearing up to have a big versus. The birds went to persuade platypus to join their team. “C’mon, you got a beak and you lay eggs, you’re one of us,” they argues. “Uh, lemme think about it” was platypus’s reply. A few days later the mammals approached platypus. “Fur and mammary glands make you one of us,” they said. “Uh, I need a few days to think it over” platypus responded. Not long after, the fish came to call. “hey, you swim real nice and do all kinds of stuff underwater, hunting playing, and what not. We’d be honored if you joined our side.” “uh, yeah maybe. I’ll get back to you on that.” Platypus consulted with fellow monotreme echidna as to what side should be joined. Echidna advised platypus to call together representatives from the three warring factions and announce the decision before the assembled species. Platypus put out word that a decision had been reached, and asked that a ceasefire be declared so everyone could be present for the announcement.

The press conference was well attended, with each party confident platypus had chosen to join their team. “Brothers and sisters,” platypus began “the birds with whom I share egg laying and beak having, the mammals who share my fur and milk producing capabilities, and the fish who share my love for the water, you are all my brothers and sisters. As such, I cannot choose amongst you, for we are all children of the great gods.” No doubt aboriginal diplomats loved telling this tale whenever their Capulets and Montagues began fussing and fueding.

Now I don’t know what happened with the animal war or why so much effort was put into platypus recruitment, but points for whoever made up that story.

Monday, February 19, 2007

good on ya, mate

I reckon travel agents are 'bout as useful as dog psychologists. Perhaps back before Al Gore invented the Information Superhighway they were like milkmen or the guy who delivered coal to your house. Granted I'm smarter than the average bear, but still. I flew DC to Honolulu, Honolulu to Sydney, Sydney to Melbourne, and Melbourne to Bali all for $600. Someone should put me in charge of something.

Australia is so American they have an Outback Steakhouse in Sydney. That doesn't even make any sense. Other than driving on the wrong side and having stupid accents, Australia is the least foreign of any foreign country (Canadia doesn't count). They do need to change the flag and the money though, why would you have someone else's monarch on your currency? Commonwealth, schmommonwealth.

The Australian national dish right now is kebabs, but I'm working on it. I'm up to Vegemite marinated Kangaroo on the barbie. I'll keep everyone posted on further developments. Speaking of Vegemite, how 'bout this Vegemite lore? In the early days, the Aussie upstart was competing against Marmite from England. Marmite was king of nasty tasting yeast spreads, but the Southern Hemisphere geniuses named their product Parmite in one of the greatest marketing campaigns ever. Ever. their slogan:

"Marmite, but Parwill"

get it?!?!?! get it?!?!?!? Ma might, but Pa will. That won Australia their first Nobel Prize in Literature.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

notes from the Aloha State

I love restaurants with dingy bathrooms and black & white autographed celebrity photos on the walls. Carnegie Deli in New York, Gino's in Philly, and Ono Hawaiian Foods in Oahu. Mostly beauty pageant winners and football players (Hawaii is a great place for football players to come from), but A-listers included: Sulu from Star Trek, that dude who throws his hat from the James Bond movie, and Chuck Norris. I don't know if Chuck Norris is really Hawaiian, but still. Any restaurant Chuck Norris approves of is alright in my book.

. . .

over my Loco Moco plate lunch at L&L ( ) I continued to research my Hawaiian Livability Project. Apartments are comparable to DC ($800-$1400 for studios/one bedrooms) and group/roommate things are cheaper ($400-$800 per month). Food and rent are covered. And these statistics are based upon national chain grocery stores and newspaper classifieds, if local ethnic markets and craigslist type things are consulted no doubt cost would decrease even further. There are an infinite number of lazy $8-14 an hour jobs and plenty of decent paying ones in bars/restaurants/hotels/tourism. Basically, if you are anything less than completely satisfied with your current lifestyle, sell your car, quit your job, and buy a one way ticket to Honolulu. I'm serious. If you're a US citizen and you've got 2 grand (which you should after selling your car/getting back your security deposit) that'll cover the plane ticket and start up costs. Somebody should give me a reality show called "Give Me A Better Life: Hawaii" where I take 24 year old Dairy Queen employees from South Dakota and within 6 months have them wooing well-heeled Japanese tourists in Waikiki.

. . .

It had been onshore for the past several days, but rumor had it that today should be better. Even if it's not in the morning, by afternoon it should glass over around 4. This was coming from a dude from the Big Island who had been at North Shore for three months now, so all the Aussie surfers listened astutely. Surfers are good at imparting wisdom upon one another and in just one night I learned of the difference in clothing necessary between surfing in 11 v. 10 degree water (this is in Cromwell mind you) and the wave conditions in the desert north of Perth. Being that the surf had been atypically less than stellar since any of the guys in my cabin had arrived, plans were made to be up at 6am and therefore very little drugs or alcohol were consumed.

I could care less about the surfing though, 'cause I was going to watch my first Super Bowl since Korea 5 years ago. Woke up at 4am to watch pregame stuff, had a class from 7-8:30 where I taught about alcohol purchases, the drop in the crime rate, and the cultural impact of Super Bowl advertisements campaigns. Made it back to my apartment for the end of the game. AFKN doesn't show commercials though, so instead of the Budweiser frogs I got the Green Berets song and ROK commander advising against drinking and driving. The lack of US military presence in South America caused me to miss XXXVII (Brazil), XXXVIII (Peru or Bolivia) and XXXIX (Brazil again). Last year attended a Super Bowl party in Virginia, but my patriotic consumption of booze resulted in me passing out by game time. This year I assembled a selection of the weirdest food Hawaii had to offer: Marlin Jerky, Li Hing Watermelon, Li Hing Ginger, Udong with Steamed Fishcakes, and Poi. Stayed conscious for Prince, but 1.5 liters of vodka precluded me from witnessing Kevin Federline.