The Goats of Madang

Posted in Mixed Nuts on March 13th, 2008 by MadDog
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When we moved to Madang in 1981 we lived in the LUSHIP compound near where we are now. There was a Billy goat that roamed around like he owned the place. He didn’t last long because people were always complaining that he ate their flowers. It was true. There wasn’t a flower in sight. I think they finally ate him. I don’t imagine he tasted very good, but he had a magnificent beard.

I haven’t seen any goats around Madang for years. Now, however, there is a family of goats living with the folks at the corner of the Airport Road and the JANT Road. Here’s a picture of the Nanny goat and her two little kids goatlets (can’t remember what baby goats are properly called) [thanks for the vocabulary help, Peter Donelly]

Mom and Babies

There’s also a Billy goat in the family (obviously). He wasn’t around, so I didn’t get a photo of him – maybe later.

Though these children and their lovely goat-guests are in peril from the Alien Ant Body Snatchers in my garden, I’m keeping an eye out for them. Goats are like coal mine canaries when it comes to aliens. As long as the goats are not mysteriously disappearing, then all is well.

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Bizarre Pétanque Finish

Posted in Sports on March 12th, 2008 by MadDog
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It’s a strange game; Pétanque. We play it after lunch at the beach. It makes me feel so … so … continental. We’ve had, on occasion, six nationalities between the two teams. When the social lubrication has reached its optimal level, out come the boules. We usually play rusty boules versus shiny. But, first comes the lunch. Here’s Mike and Pascal and Rich preparing the victuals.  Mike appears to be supervising. Rich needs a good feed.

Lunch at the beach

As a Yank, I’m allowed no closer than three meters to the barbie. On special occasions I’m allowed to help build the fire.

Hmmm, yes, we were talking about Pétanque. See, we don’t really do it properly. Actually we play Bush Pétanque (nothing to do with George). It’s much more interesting. I threw the jack right up against the back of the beach house and it got caught between some ancient roots. Anyway, after everyone had expended their boules, here’s how they ended up.

Petanque boules huddled together

Isn’t that fascinating? Aren’t you just so happy that you checked my blog today? Otherwise you would never have seen such an amazing sight. Now get back to work before your boss catches you.

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Stingray Panic

Posted in Under the Sea on March 9th, 2008 by MadDog
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We went out for a dive yesterday on the Henry Leith just west of Wongat Island.  We always like to start out by going around the ship on the bottom to look for stingrays.  We found several yesterday.  Here’s one – a Blue-Spotted Stingray (Dasyatis kuhlii). (click on it for a bigger view)

Blue-Spotted Stingray

It’s a poor shot, technically.  But photography is not always about technique.  Sometimes dumb luck saves you.  I thought I had blown this shot by getting too close (and I just couldn’t hold my breath any longer).  As luck would have it, when the ray jumped up my hand slipped on my canera just as I was backing (quickly) away from the critter and my finger twitched on the trigger.  The resulting photo gives the impression of speed – they can move very quickly.  All the more reason to be cautious when getting too close.  One needs to remember that the pointy end is whipping around even faster.

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What Happens When Your Tongue Is Just Too Big for Your Mouth?

Posted in Humor, Mixed Nuts, Opinions on March 5th, 2008 by MadDog
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I’ve noticed that dogs often have this condition. My dog Sheba is afflicted by this malady. Poor thing – she seems not to notice. The moist pink floppy item just lolls out dripping fragrant mackerel-scented doggie slobber all over the place while she is blissfully ignorant of the messy situation. If only humans could be so innocently unaware of our oh-so-obvious design defects. Here’s Sheba letting it dry out a little:

My dog Sheeba

Yes . . . anyway – quite a few humans suffer from this affliction. It is not commonly known that the President of the U. S. of A. is a sufferer. Though photographs are understandably rare, I managed to filch this one from a secret government web site to which only I have access (wink, wink, nod, nod). Here is the sad truth:

President Bush’s little tongue problem

It’s no small wonder that President George II gets so fidgety. He’s probably in constant consternation concerning what improbable, out-of-order protuberance might slip out of his otherwise-quite-reasonable mouth. And this is before he even starts to worry about what he might say!

I myself have been tortured by this socially awkward syndrome for some years – ever since my head started shrinking sometime in 1967 (it is now approximately one-half its former size). For some brilliantly bizarre reason, my tongue has not become similarly diminutive. I try to keep it under control, but it does occasionally protrude inelegantly. Here I am in an embarrassing moment. (Look away NOW if you are easily frightened.)

MadDog’s tongue slips out

So, as we go about our business today, let us keep in mind those less fortunate members of our fellow fauna who are unable to control their tongues.

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In My Garden #4 – Shiny Happy Chilies Holding Hands

Posted in Humor, My Garden on March 4th, 2008 by MadDog
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As I was going to the car, I saw these cute little chilies just shaking off the morning dew.  Had to run back into the house to get my camera.  Here they are:

Happy Chilies

As I was taking the photo, the R.E.M. song Shiny Happy People started relentlessly humming in my brain. (Yes, it’s a strange and wonderful place in there – I hope I don’t have to relocate anytime soon.) So, without further elaboration, here’s an homage to R.E.M. for making me feel good this morning (with apologies to the songwriter).

Shiny happy chilies laughing
Meet me in the bush
Chilies chilies
Throw your love around
Love me love me
Take it into town
Happy happy
Put it in the ground
Where the chilies grow
Gold and crimson shine

Odly enough, the title of the song came from a Chinese propaganda poster. The song appeared in Michael Moore‘s anti-war film Fahrenheit 9/11 during footage of George H.W. Bush visiting the Saud family.

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