Monday, February 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Fearless Leader!

If you hadn’t realised, celebrated, jumped in to the air with joy or launched a ballistic missile that crashes in to the sea only 4 minutes after taking off – it’s was the Dear Leader’s 65th birthday on 16, February.
According to his autobiography, this day 65 years ago, Kim Jong Il was born on the sacred mountain of Mount Paektu. His birth, which was foretold by a swallow, was followed by a double rainbow that spread across all of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. What is one to do on such a glorious day as this, well, here’s some suggestions:
The other end of the gun works better fellas

Capitalist pig dog piñata: Here’s a great one that the whole family can play. First you will need to kidnap a western diplomat (hang around the front of any embassy or off license). Tie them up and hang them from a tree, blindfold and spin the designated ‘hitter’ then let them loose. The first player to get the pinata to admit to spying on the Utopian society of North Korea to steal the country’s secret to everlasting happiness is the winner.

Hairspray heaven: Can you emulate Kim Jong-Il’s divine hairstyle. Come on – give it a go!

Some one really needs to tell these guys which end of the gun goes 'bang'.

Hide and seek: No power or lights make this game a little difficult for the seeker, but still a whole lot of fun. Hide in the open sewer or the empty food cabinet – the choices are yours!

You like safari suits too - you're shitting me?

Follow the leader: Not the Dear Leader silly – you should be following Dear Leader's example at all times! March in time with the person in front of you. If you can get a whole neighborhood to march in time down the main street you can call yourself a special term: battalion.

Twister: Can you avoid the landmines, traps and barbed wire around your border – left hand red!!

Bottle rocket launch: Create your own intercontinental ballistic missile. Get an empty milk bottle, fill it with baking soda and simply add water – just like the DPRK’s real missiles. Watch that little sucker go. If you can get your hands on enriched plutonium even better (if you can get your hands on enriched plutonium please contact Wang Cho Fung, DPKR Military Secretly, immediately).

North Korea's Sony Playstation 3 sold like hotcakes

Spot the difference: Which one is Dear Leader and which one is Jim Jones, leader of the Jonestown cult? Which one is a psychotic madman who leads by pretending he's a walking god and rules by cult of celebratory and which one comes from California, I just don’t know – can you pick it?

Well here’s to you ya crazy little fucker, have a happy birthday. So with that, ladies and gents, please be up standing for the North Korean national anthem – Pride of Songun (and please actually listen to it and tell me it’s not a blatant If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!).

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Y-Files: The making of a literary god!

Many, many moons ago when Bart was just a little pup, well smaller than now, I wrote a book. Yes ladies and gentleman, I have been published before.

As a 6-year old I wrote a short little novel called: Bubblegum. The premise of the book was that Mum never let me chew bubblegum, so one day I found 20 cents and went and bought Grape Hubba Bubba - the finest flavour of the day. Anyway, Mum and Dad found out and punished me for buying bubblegum. So with that, I ended the story with: 'so now I buy ice cream instead'. Pure literary gold if I may. Bubblegum had a print of ten copies and sat loud and proud in Cockatoo Primary School's library. This is where my journey began...

Flash forward to 2000 when I started what was affectionately known as 'A Prince among Frogs - Bart's tour of France'. This was several emails that described my quick little sojourn through the land of Gaul. It was my first attempt at travel writing after reading my mother's 300-odd page compilations of letters sent back to her mother describing our years living in Pakistan. While only brief it did contain such clangers as:

"Went to a bar in Paris last night and was amazed by how you crack on to girls. Guys would just walk up, grab and girls and take them back to their table. If she refused, well it was no hard feelings. Trust me to try it with the only Aussie in the whole bar and get shot down with: 'fuck off mate'."
"Here's a great way to start an email. Got chased by a transvestite in Pigale today. I refused to accept his/her offer and he/she got offended and chased me for ten minutes."

But it wasn't until the USA that the fun started. All this waffling for the past few paragraphs is really to simply introduce you to the second installment of my travel writings. When living in States, the town I was staying in was not really the smartest or least inbred areas of the world, they were in a way, yokels. They made me laugh till my nose bled or I fell in to a puddle and tried to drown myself to ease the hysterical pain.

As the ski lift to the top of the mountain took a good ten minutes to get there, I used to carry a notebook with me in my snowboarding backpack and spend the time writing down the stories, comments and actions of the locals. After looking through my parent's attic when in Aus, I stumbled across the notebook that had about four of the 12 editions. So people, I give you: 'The Yokel Files!" As a caveat though, if you're not interested in reading this don't. I really don't give two shits when I get emails saying it's too long or not as entertaining as the last blog update. I write these for me as well as I enjoy writing, so if you get bored move on and keep it to yourself. Enjoy.

Webster's define a yokel as... - Volume 3

What is a yokel? Is it a noun: Cletus the slack jawed yokel? Is it an adjective: he was acting yokely? To answer these questions, we must first get in to a yokel's head. Marrying relatives for example. Many species in the animal kingdom - and certain parts of Europe - breed with siblings, and this isn't considered strange at all. Why can't yokels? I put it to you that they are jealous. In fact, yokels are so jealous of many of God's little creatures about this acceptable inbreeding that they scrape their carcasses off highways and serve them up for dinner to Billy Bob and his fifteen year old bride (also his cousin) in the vain hope that by eating the animal they may get its powers. This may sound like I'm experiencing a bad trip or something, but remember, I'm thinking like a yokel. Also, the more inbreeding and 'pure' an animal is, isn't it referred as purebred and more highly prized. Does this mean yokels are highly prized pure breeds? Well, at least we have been able to ascertain what a yokel is. It's a noun:
Bart's Dictionary: Yokel (noun) one of low intelligence, hygiene and general social skills.

At last we are getting somewhere. But let's move on. We have new editions to the Yokel Files; 73 actually. It's called the 300 CLUB! The 300 club is a marvel of human endurance, a testament to man's sporting skill (and 4 women) and stamina. Visible from space and should be recognized as a wonder of the world, the 300 club sits at the Cove Bowling Alley in Great Barrington and is a wall dedicated to the skillful 73 that put their hands up to be counted as heroes in the honourable game of bowling. These people are the ones who bowled a perfect game - 300. There are mullets, guts, comb overs and patchy facial hair all in the convenience of one wall. There's Booby Ray, Billy Bob and Peggy Sue all looking at over the lanes with toothless proud grins and well wrinkled flannel faces - it truly is an eyesore. But not as bad as Joe. Joe runs the bowling alley. Joe has bitch tits. And a front bum. Not in the colloquial Aussie slang, but is so large that his gut parts in the middle and hangs down far below his crutch. Guaranteed he can be seen from space.

I was introduced to this Mecca by Jesse. Jesse is an abnormality. He is a normal guy that wants to be a yokel. He has heard of the Yokel Files, and wants in so bad he wore flannel pajama bottoms and boots to Boggies (local pub) just to prove that he warranted a mention. I think I have found my first groupie. I know he won't be my last. So Jess, here is an honoury mention. But Jesse has a bad habit of not being able to handle his booze and passing out in shower stalls. Do I want this type of person stalking me and looking through my underwear drawer? I'd prefer to be in bat country.
The Yokel Files grow and grow. I blame the amount of material available for comment. Yesterday I went to K-Mart. There is a sign in front of the store saying:

"No propane cylinders allowed in the store."

For them to put up that sign means that people have had to try it before! Or the shotgun cabinet that was half price because the lock on it was broken (anyone seeing an episode of ER brewing here???).

Or, as the photo attached shows, you can't drink in a local bar with out being hit by a flying beer bottle - even when you are on the other side of the room and have nothing to do with the fight about to start!
The Yokel Strikes Back - Volume 7
What makes the modern day yokel? Is it that your ex-wife married your cousin, as is the case for Barney the car park attendant, or is it because you lived under the Brooklyn Bridge for 15 years and now flip burgers in one of the lodges (but with such skill and glamour that you need to tell everybody that is in earshot of your pattie rotating finesse)?

Our story continues on through the haunts of Great Barrington, with more material than I thought possible. You have no idea of the amount of information that can be gathered around here with such a simple question as: 'why don't you brush your teeth'. Let's introduce the new members of the Yokel Files.

Michael, as previously mentioned, works on the grill in the upper lodge and was an alcho living under the Brooklyn Bridge for 15 years. This was discovered after we were talking over lunch about how the party the night before had been so large that a keg had been polished off before midnight. So speaking about how much we enjoyed drinking, Michael piped up with: 'not when you live under the Brooklyn Bridge for 15 years'. Interesting. If that doesn't amuse you, the alcohol abuse have left him with these large protruding eyes as if someone has stuffed a pump up his arse and set it to fill a Zeppelin.

Barney is a car park attendant. His wife separated from him and married his cousin. You have to question someone's mental state when they feel the need to tell you this in the first five minutes of meeting you.

Dave and Richard are lifties. Richard loves his lift. Rumour has it some nights he gets dressed up in a navy uniform, goes down the life and sings 'you've lost that loving feeling'. Dave doesn't share this obsession, but he is obsessive in other areas. He lays out his lunch like Rainman. Drink - left middle, apple - always bottom right, chili - dead centre, and so on. Once he has finished lunch he then removes a piece of floss from his wallet, uses it, rinses it, then puts it back in the wallet for the next day. But at least he has teeth to floss, which brings me to Norbert.

Norbert has three teeth and a lisp so bad and powerful that I think the force of it is what knocked out his other teeth.
To add to my case, I'm writing this email from the notes that I scribed on to the back on a Dunkin' Donuts box - yyyyeeehhhhaaaaa!

What I can't understand is that there are normal people here. Sue, Brian, Rusty, Lisa, the list goes on. But with every normal person, I find three strange ones. There is no middle ground, there is no normal with a touch of yokel, there is no median and, like the email title suggests, there is no balance in the yokel force!

Corey - normal?

Divisions of Yokelism - Volume 11

The definition of a yokel has been determined, but now I throw you a curve ball. One thing that confused me when defining a yokel was that they are so varied. Then I was pointed in the right direction by our own yokel try hard, Jesse. The yokel may take many forms.
Hick: A hick is generally the lowest of the yokels. A hick tends to not leave their town due to no interest in the outside world or that they think 'thems city folk don't thunk like us'. Cory is a hick. Cory works on the lifts at Great Barrington and is not happy at the moment. The owner of the Cove Bowling Alley won't let him get drunk and then drive his truck around in the swamp behind the establishment. Cory's crushed. Cory's mates aren't the smartest either. Brian, one such friend, made up a lie that his girlfriend was hitting him so that he could take out a restraining order. Why you ask - he wanted to have a boy's weekend and couldn't get her to go to her mother's. Actually, I kind of like that one. This couple is now pregnant by the way. I'm sure the two packs of cigarettes and half bottle of vodka a day is doing great things. Maybe that is how a yokel is created. A lack of oxygen and amniotic fluids that are 95% proof and 'yee ha' we have a Billy Bob.
Red Neck: Where hicks never leave town, red necks don't leave and refuse to associate with strangers. They can usually be found driving a pickup with a confederate flag (even if they ain't from the South), and guaranteed there is a photo of Chuck Norris in there car somewhere.
Common White Trash: These people are deceptive. Yokel in appearance, they are cagey beasts. Dennis for example (or Ferret Man as I have labeled him) looks yokely, with a thin moustache, pointy face and grey leather jacket with 4 inch lapels, but he's tricky. He often tells us that he is a wealthy playwright that works at the ski resort to be closer to the snow, but then disappear in to phone booths searching for change. They are yokels, but with sense of the socio-economic order of things.
A special mention has to go to the lady that called up Albany radio when the question of what did you get that special someone for Valentine's Day. Her response: "An annual year's subscription to Gas Engine Magazine." Annual yearly - good work yokel.

Goodbye, Farewell, Good Luck - Volume 14

Well as I look at a 20 hour plane trip, I pose myself the question, if yokels hate traveling so much their traits must be genetic. I know that yokels' bathing and dining habits are probably learned (Bill Bob knows that he can't have squirrel for desert until he has his weekly bath in the lake, for example). So in yokel life, how much is nature and how much is nurture?

Would the child stand a chance of becoming slightly normal if removed from yokelville? Alas, you never see a yokel breeding with someone who isn't a blood relative, so with this I pose that genetics create the yokel. All the genetic flaws of the family are passed down into one child (purebreed), who coincidently enough will breed with the second child, producing a yokel to the power of two. Therefore, yokelism can be mathematically measured:

With Y representing Yokel and S representing social undesirability:

S (Y+Y) = SY2

Hence, two undesirable yokels breed and produce a yokel who is twice as undesirable and the parents. This means over time yokels are getting worse. Scary thought I know, but when you actually see them it's worse. These second generation yokels (the squared yokels) are a step back on the evolutionary chart. One such yokel is Noah. He went to jail while we were on the mountain for assault with a deadly weapon. The lady at Dunkin' Donuts wouldn't serve him as he was drunk and abusive. So he ram raided it: SY2!

So after several months, countless yokels and probably not that many laughs, the Y-Files have come to a close. And in the words of that great yokel equalizer, Jerry Springer: "Be good to yourselves, and each other."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Australia vs Denmark

What a fucking farce! Two disallowed goals and a goal keeper who loved gravity so much that he decided not to jump, move, flinch, fart or blink when the ball shot past him on three seperate occassions. Fair enough the last one was a bit tricky, but bugger me with a rubber hose, you could of at least jumped for the other two. I could have stopped them from my seat - and I had a burger in my hand. Mind you though, it was one of the best burgers I think I've had.

So on Tuesday off I went to watch Australia play Denmark at Loftus Road, Shepards Bush.

Australia vs Denmark

So with ticket in hand I went to the game acting just like Princess Mary (broke and looking for someone with a black AMEX). Unfortunetly, the only prince I spied was the three blokes behind me who entertained us all night, as the game was shit. I'm not even going to talk about the lack of communication, poor refeering calls (mainly touch judge - or is it line in football), -1 degree weather or the score line of 3-1 to the Danes. Although people at the bar refusing to drink Carlsberg at half time as it was a Danish been made me chuckle.

However Barnesy sang the national anthem, so that was good. He should have been the goalkeeper. He would have thrown bottles of scotch at the Danes and stopped them.

And then my pain was compounded when I saw this in the morning. Don't worry Guus, we'll have you back. I'm sure we'll get the boys back from Iraq too defend you if the Dutch want to fight about it!!!!

There's was only one thing to do after a defeat like this, go and hide in my favourite street:

But at least it snowed this morning, so I spent my unemployed morning make snow angels.

Ladies and gentlemen, your flight is ready for boarding

On 17 December, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first ‘heavier-than-air’ human flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Orville Wright was heard to say: “We came down here for wind and sand, and we have got them." This was recorded rather than Wilbur’s: “This is going to shit all over Fred’s (the lesser known brother) chrisy present to Mum.”

Thus began the joy of flight.

Four days later, in Hand-felt-upon-bum, Hertfordshire, God invented Cecil and Gladus Smith.

Thus began the pain of flight.

Six days later, Lucifer invented Samsonite ‘rolling bags’.
Thus began the pain of checking in.

This combination is the real terrorism threat. I remember once I got on a plane from Boston to LA and over the intercom a message sounded: “Could these people please come to the check in desk for random searches? Mohammed Alzaha, Naheem Poojesi, Bartholomew Nash, Altaq….”, damn it, I was the random Anglo Saxon. Why none of these measures for old people? Maybe not a random search, but a quick 10 minute tutorial!

Now this is a belated rant, but I have been busy with other things, so it’s taken a while. Why, like a super market check in, do I get trapped behind these old farts? And I don’t mean to generalise, but it's the older person who has no idea what is going on in check in. Yes, you need a passport. No, if it says you can only bring in 4 litres of alcohol that is all you can bring in. Just because you are an octogenarian does not mean you have special entitlements other that riding on the bus for free. Any fucker can live to 80 with the right diet and exercise – live to 80 smoking, drinking, watching TV and refusing to floss – then I’ll be impressed.

What gets me is that many of the older generation wait to be asked something. They get to passport control and stare blankly into customs eyes waiting for the request. I think it’s because they want to tell as story. “My passport? Well I remember when they were called papers and they cost a shilling at the local…”.

Now I usually have time for our ancestors – they are the only ones who will listen to my stories. You should see me in a retirement home; it’s like story ping pong. I keep them going until they can’t take anymore and I win – or I stand on their colostomy bag if they are proving a challenge. Either way, I win.

But anyway, enough of my complaining. That’s the last long haul flight I have to do for a while so that’s it for me. However I will miss the Dubai-London flight. What a great flight! On one leg I got the pleasure of meeting Noha and hearing all the funny stories that go on behind closed doors at Emirates (and hopefully have a couch to stay on and a tour guide if I’m ever in the UAE – Noha??) and on the flight back I met South African Betina who came out with everyone that night for Australia Day, and managed to get me free drinks from guys all night (you’ve got competition Cat!).

Although the flights are always okay, it’s the check in and customs that really is the killer. Dubai tends to be okay, as does flying a Middle Eastern airline as they don’t have a need to do those random people searches like the US airlines. Hence, I was surprised when I heard: “Could these people please come to the check in desk for random tutorials – Florence Jones, Cecil and Gladus Smith, Bartholomew Nash,” Oh for fucks sake – token youngster!!!!!!

Now, introducing a new feature! Bookmark it, add it to your favourites, make it your start up page, tattoo it across your damn forehead, because now you can also see all the travel photos and videos on one handy site

Ladies and gents in London – be afraid!