April 27, 2004

Fowl play

Do birds laugh? We don’t know, but their antics certainly make us humans laugh.

Purple Swamp Hens are among the best bird comedians in Australia. They walk with a deliberate and measured stride, much like a stooped man walking, hands behind his back. They could be understudies of Groucho Marx. Their feathered costumes include a “snow white under tail-covert” which looks much like frilly underwear.

When we visit the ponds of Centennial Park, Purple Swamp Hens often run to meet us, expecting crumbs. They gobble small bits of bread, but larger chunks are held with the claws of one leg, raised to the mouth and eaten bite by bite. After they have dined, they do a measured walk around us, expecting more crumbs. And if there is no more bread forthcoming, they walk off in a huff, flouting their white underwear.

And they squabble among themselves sometimes. Hens of pond A are not welcome in pond B. But when pond B hens spy bread, they fly over, and much squawking and fluttering results. Bread is forgotten till victory in a just war is achieved.

And animosities are remembered. Recently we observed a fight that went on over several days. Daphne photographed a dramatic record of social conflict!

Click on the image to enlarge

Click on the image to enlarge

Posted by Dominic Gonzalvez at 10:45 PM

April 13, 2004

Talking Clock

Proudly showing off his new apartment to a couple of friends late one night, the drunk led the way to his bedroom where there was a big brass gong.

"What's that big brass gong for?" one of the guests asked.
"It's not a gong. It's a talking clock" the drunk replied.
"A talking clock? Seriously?" asked his astonished friend.
"Yup," replied the drunk.
"How does it work?" the second guest asked, squinting at it.
"Watch" the man said. He picked up a hammer, gave the gong an ear shattering pound and stepped back.

The three stood looking at one another for a moment.
Suddenly, someone on the other side of the wall screamed
"For God sake, you idiot ... it's ten past three in the morning!"

Posted by Dominic Gonzalvez at 01:02 AM

April 09, 2004

An Irish Tale

An Irishman moves into a tiny hamlet in County Kerry, walks into the pub and promptly orders three beers. The bartender raises his eyebrows, but serves the man three beers, which he drinks quietly at a table, alone. An hour later, the man has finished the three beers and orders three more. This happens yet again. The next evening the man again orders and drinks three beers at a time, several times. Soon the entire town is whispering about the Man Who Orders Three Beers. Finally, a week later, the bartender broaches the subject on behalf of the town."I don't mean to pry, but folks around here are wondering why you always order three beers?"

"Tis odd, isn't it?" the man replies, "You see, I have two brothers, and one went to America, and the other to Australia. We promised each other that we would always order an extra two beers whenever we drank as a way of keeping up the family bond."

The bartender and the whole town was pleased with this answer, and soon the Man Who Orders Three Beers became a local celebrity and source of pride to the hamlet, even to the extent that out-of-towners would come to watch him drink.Then, one day, the man comes in and orders only two beers. The bartender pours them with a heavy heart. This continues for the rest of the evening: he orders only two beers. The word flies around town.Prayers are offered for the soul of one of the brothers.

The next day, the bartender says to the man, "Folks around here, me first of all, want to offer condolences to you for the death of your brother. You know -- the two beers and all..."

The man ponders this for a moment, then replies, "You'll be happy to hear that my two brothers are alive and well. It's just that I, meself, have decided to give up drinking for Lent."

Posted by Greg Stone at 07:32 AM