March 9, 2009
I’m following a capybara on Twitter. This one. He’s called Caplin Rous. Would you like a capybara? I would. But I don’t have a swimming pool. Or a blue blanket. Or £2000. Yes, that’s how much it costs to buy the world’s largest rat. And they are large, growing up to four and a half feet long. You can find out more about capybaras here and you can find out more about Caplin Rous here. I hope he doesn’t mind me using his picture.
I loved capybaras when I was a teenager. I frst saw one at the Manchester Museum. Stuffed. The Manchester Museum had floors and floors of stuffed animals. And then when you got to the top floor there were two stuffed alligators. Except they’d then go and move.
In a modern museum this would be done with animatronics. Back then though, these were two live alligators. In a museum! Amongst loads of stuffed things. I like to think they aren’t there anymore. No! I don’t mean dead, given that their average lifespan is 50 years. Maybe just moved outside, or to a zoo. 50 years stuck in a glass case in a dark room at the Manchester Museum is no life. Unless you’re the curator.
I’ve just checked at the Manchester Museum website. They had a new vivarium built in 2000. Phew! But no mention of the alligators. Farewell alligators, wherever you are. Or crocodiles. I don’t know! Who do you think I am? Bloody Lord Richard Attenborough? Ghandi? Johnny Morris?
Back to the capybaras. In South America they are eaten. Rat meat. Except during Lent when the Catholic Church has decreed they can be fish. It’s like the Church just makes these things up. Fish, the Church says, because they swim, and because they are a bit podgy they prefer to mate in water. Surely that could describe any of us.
Don’t eat them. Just follow the adventures of Caplin Rous.
December 31, 2008
Bedtime Stories wins.
December 23, 2008
What’s gone wrong with the world? The day started off sweetly enough with a family trip taking my niece and nephew to see The Tale of Despereaux. And then at the cinema my mother was attacked by that axe-wielding maniac Jason. Of course, when I heard her scream I did what any caring son would do and took a photo. Then I suggested my six year old nephew tackled the nutter. How we laughed when we realised it was just a promotional display stand for a horror film.
If you’re thinking of taking the kids to see The Tale of Desperaux, think again. I’m not being a spoilsport here. I like kids films. But this tale of a mouse and a rat and a kingdom where soup is banished is so drearily worthy it might send you to sleep. Yes, it’s good to be courageous, and yes, we must all learn to forgive, blah blah blah… but please, make us laugh at least once. I liked Dustin Hoffman as the rat, but that was that. Sigourney Weaver as the narrator was so overly sincere and… even for the three year olds… patronising, I longed for her to leave the soundtrack and go off and fight a facehugger.
Some critics have said it’s nice to see a family cartoon that doesn’t rely on “bathroom humour”, and I agree. But this doesn’t rely on any humour at all.
Ok, I feel mean. So I’ve just gone and spoken to my niece and nephew to redress my meanness. Funniest moment? When Despereaux uses his big Dumbo-like ears to fly down to the king. There.
After the film we walked around a pet store and saw a dog being shaved.
November 14, 2008
Mucky Mouse was found right outside my dwelling. The two cats live just a little further up the road. I don’t know if the cats are related, or if they live in the same house. And if I meet one of them in the street and stop for a chat I don’t know if I’m talking to the one on the left or the right. In the street, they are happy to talk, and seem to like a bit of attention. But if they are outside the house when I come across them, they run a mile. Or could it be that one runs and one stays, and I just don’t know which is which. It’s possible that one of these cats killed the mouse. It’s also possible that they then brought it to me as a gift. The fly is just a bystander. Or a mouse-sitter. I like the cats. And I would have liked the mouse. The fly, through no fault of its own, stirs no feelings in me.
November 9, 2008
There’s this thing going on. They’re calling it a Credit Crunch. I don’t know who thought up that term, and heck, I’ve tried my damnedest to find out (ok, a 30 second web search), but it’s a useless and silly term. Crunch should be saved for cereals and cake bars. Cake bars, there’s another one that no one dares own up to coining. So, keep the crunches for cakes and bandicoots please. In the Thirties they called this kind of thing a Great Depression. You know where are you are with words like that. And if we are in some kind of not yet quite great depression, then I can be prepared in advance when I wander into town and find one of my favourite stationers closed down. And in all these years I have always thought of it as Bureau. But, somewhere down the line it became Nemeta. No matter, they’re both closed, both gone.
But if you’re going to go out of business why not try and cheer people up a little by putting a cartoon mouse by the letterbox? This mouse picture has been left by a Cat and a Snail, who I guess worked in the shop. I once left Bureau/Nemeta after waiting ages to get served. If I’d known a snail was slowly on its way, I’d have waited. I also once bought a grubby old Rhodia notebook. The assistant (maybe Cat) wanted me to buy a new, clean, sealed one. But I liked this grubby one, for inside someone had scribbled in pencil “I love you!” I liked that, and I got 50p off. Crunch that, hedge fund hogs!
If you’re going under, try and say farewell in a style that suits your business. It may not help you, but that dopey customer who fails to notice even when a business changes hands (me) may just about raise a bittersweet smile. Right, I’m off to have my Credit Lunch. What’s the chances the cafe down the road will have closed down; two fried eggs stuck to the glass door and a slice of bacon with a downward smile?