Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Porpoises Are Not The Only Fruit

I checked my hotmail account first thing this morning before I even got out of bed (because I am addicted to the internet in a perfectly healthy, natural way, despite what Other Half says) to find that I had an email from Twitter informing me that Santa was following me. Naturally, this disturbed me a little - after all, my friends and I have been playing the Muff Game for days on Twitter using the hashtag #muffgame and I'm not sure how favourably Santa would look on that, or what kind of disturbing presents he might now consider getting me for Christmas. I was even more startled to find that it wasn't the Real Santa but rather a Kinky Santa, whose profile made some rather alarming suggestions towards naughty/nice boys and girls that I am sure were not euphemisms. 
There are a lot of bots going around on Twitter. I only sent a couple of tweets related to the idea of food bras for special seasonal occasions (which I still believe is a winner, and if I could be bothered I would take it on Dragon's Den and blow their minds) before I was inundated with spam followers wondering whether I would like to follow their lingerie-related tweets. This made me wonder - in an awful Carrie Bradshaw monologue voiceover way that I do apologise for - what other junk have I found on the internet that I could talk about? 
Now, I had two different blog posts half-written yesterday. I discarded one of them in favour of Round Three, because everyone loves those endearing and whimsical conversations Other Half and I have, but today I will have another stab at the post I initially wanted to write. It's very odd, so bear with me.

Firstly, this story, which I have revisited time and again. It never gets any less funny or tragic, and that, I think you'll agree, it a mark of a true Fail. It begins, like so many fairytales, with a lady baking a cake. She had intended to enter the cake in a competition and so she spent some time on it before sending it away to be judged. Some time later, a letter arrived informing her that she had won second place. What joy! How wonderful! Her delight was overshadowed, however, by the discovery that she was the only person to have entered. No, don't doubt yourself, you read that correctly - she was the only entrant and she still got second place. That's some harsh judging. For realz. 
For example, if you ran a 100 metre race, and you were the only competitor for whatever reasons, you would have to win. Those are the rules. The judges would not be able to disqualify you on account of being too tall, or running like a drunken badger, or anything like that, because that's just not cricket. Or running. Apparently the noble art of cake baking is held to a much higher standard.

If you would like to read the actual story and verify that I am not just making this up for fun, please visit the link. (

If I were to make a last note on this mindboggling article, it would be to point out that the newspaper interviewed a woman from the organising committee, who herself felt the sting of cakefailure years previously, when she entered some scones into a competition and got third place. Again, this woman was the only entrant. It is the ultimate irony. Or perhaps the ultimate spite. We may never know.

This leads me to Dick van Dyke (you may not instantly see the connection, but I'm sure it will come to you in time). We know him. We respect him as an actor. He danced with animated animals in Mary Poppins in scenes that charmed me as a child and still charm me to this day. But if you'd asked me a few years ago what the most unlikely story involving Dick Van Dyke might be, I don't think even my surreal mind could have constructed this entirely genuine story of a daring rescue. I'll summarise briefly. 84 year old Van Dyke was surfboarding (already, I'm impressed, I can barely walk a mile without breaking a sweat. But this guy?) when he fell asleep and was pushed by the tide further out to sea. He woke up surrounded by fins and intially panicked (as you would, understandably) before realising that the creatures were porpoises, not sharks. The friendly animals pushed Van Dyke back to land before disappearing back into the sea. Possibly the most incredible thing I have ever heard.

The Guardian article on this astounding incident makes a rather snide comment that the porpoises were "unavailable for comment". Firstly, do you speak Porpoise, Guardian? If not, how rude and frankly specie-ist of you to expect the porpoises to speak one of our languages. You sound like the Telegraph. You embarrass us all. Secondly, I'd logically expect the porpoises to release a mass statement, rather than release individual comments. They are group animals after all. And considering point one - the obvious language barrier - perhaps they did have a meeting and their most important official porpoises made a couple of speeches, but we just thought they were squeaking and honking and flipping about in the water? Shame on you. Ultimate respect to the porpoises.

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