The Real Stuart Little

I have all manner of interesting and intelligent things that I really want to share with you. In fact, if I got organised I could probably pre-write about a month’s worth of posts. The thing is, there really isn’t anything quite as urgent as me sharing another cute animal video with you, because everyone needs to see a mouse playing basketball today.

Belated Explanation

So, I actually wrote a post explaining that I was going away for two weeks, but I didn’t post it. Well, I did…I just forgot to hit “Publish”, so it didn’t post to the blog. But, let’s not get technical. Suffice to say, I was away for two weeks. I was on holidays! Although, to be honest, it wasn’t much of a holiday. Lots of driving, and visiting, and the like. But it was at the beach.

This was my view every morning while I ate my breakfast:

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Not bad, eh? I probably shouldn’t rub it in by telling you we stayed for free. My brother has an incredibly nice (incredibly wealthy) friend, who kindly donated two weeks’ stay in his rental property to my parents, and I got to tag along to keep them company.

Anyway, I’ll stop bragging. Tomorrow I’ll be back with regularly scheduled programming. And probably some ranty guff as well.

 

A Prickly Patch

A couple days ago, this little dude showed up on our doorstep:

Prickles

The picture isn’t great, because the crazy bugger just won’t sit still for even a second, but he was absolutely covered in prickles, and smelled pretty darn rank. He had no collar, and didn’t seem anxious to get home, so we gave him some water and tied him under a tree for a bit. When the day cooled off, we took him for a wander, knocking on doors and following any leads we could get to find his owner. No luck, and the day over, we left a note at the local store and set him up a bed for the night.

A trip to the vet the next morning was less than successful—he wasn’t micro-chipped, so tracking his owner that way wouldn’t work. We decided to try the old-fashioned way, plastering posters around the neighbourhood, and placing notices on a couple of local lost and found noticeboards.

Meanwhile, I was starting to feel really sorry for the poor little guy. Covered in so many prickles, and with a coat that had seen better days, I decided it was time he had a haircut.Two hours later, and with the help of my cousin, Chica, a pair of scissors, dog clippers, and lots of puppy treats, he had been bathed and given a very bad haircut. But at least there was no more prickles.

While I was cutting, I realised just how matted and shabby his coat was, and by the end it was clear he was also a lot skinnier than we’d first assumed. He also has a habit of flinching when we reach to pat him. I started to think either he’d been homeless for a while and got in some strife, or maybe he’d hit the road on purpose, searching for a better life. I don’t want to doubt his owner’s love, so I’m still hoping someone claims him. I also don’t want to have to take him to the pounds, as I know even the cutest dogs have a ticking clock next to their name.

He’s been temporarily christened Prickle, although I did put in a bid for Captain Humpalot, because he’s right at that age where everything is sexy, especially my poor Bonnie dog. She’s certainly not his biggest fan, but they are working out their issues…slowly. My dad, on the other hand, has taken a strange liking to him, and has decreed if his owner isn’t found, he’ll stay here. I’m not sure what I’m rooting for (no pun intended), but I do think he’s mighty cute, and I’d hate to see him on death row.

To be continued…

Frustration and Sadness.

I had some sad news this afternoon. One of my very best and oldest friends, Kaos, rang me to tell me her mother is being placed in palliative care. She was diagnosed with Leukaemia almost exactly two years ago, and has run the gamut of treatment—radium, chemo, a bone marrow transplant, and blood transfusions. Unfortunately, while each initially seemed to work, eventually the cancer won out. The latest treatment, the blood transfusions were given the thumbs down over the weekend. The doctors have suggested she may have as little as two weeks.

When I got off the phone, I cried. I cried for myself, but I also cried for Kaos. Since primary school we have been each other’s sidekicks, always there when the other called. Living in Brisbane throughout uni, there were many midnight phone calls and a lot of early morning ice-cream philosophising. When I called, she was there, and when she did, I reciprocated.

Today, I couldn’t do that. As much as I wanted to it would have been stupid to get in the car and drive the two hours simply for a twenty minute chat. And yet, it hurts me so much that I can’t. More than anything I want to be there for her when she inevitably can’t sleep. When she wakes up crying because the waves of misery hit. She has a husband. He is wonderful, and he is absolutely there for her, I have no doubt about that. But, I know sometimes you just need a best friend. And when she does, I just wish so much I could be there for her.

 

Bad Broadcasting

Today, being the first Tuesday in November, it was Melbourne Cup Day here is Australia. Touted as The Race that Stops a Nation, the Melbourne Cup is easily one of the biggest sporting events on the Australian calendar, with the state of Victoria given a public holiday, and the rest of the nation really not working very hard from about 1:30 onwards.

Our family, like so many others, pore over the racing pages, and become experts on betting for the day. We each have a small flutter, and stop to watch the race if we can. Having always been a horse-lover, I drool over the gleaming coats and rippling muscles of the horses,  taking in the beauty of the animals stretched in full gallop. My mother and I make judgements on the incredible (but not always in a good way) fashions and styles. My father grumps around complaining about how stupid it is…and then sits, glued to the TV for hours. We wait, we watch, we commiserate each other—because we really aren’t the experts on racing we think we are—and we watch the presentations before going back to our day.

This year would have been no different, and I had not planned on posting about the Cup at all, until I found out the fate of one of the horses. Halfway through the race French horse, Verema, fell back after snapping the cannon bone in her leg. Later, while the stable of winning mare, Fiorente celebrated, Verema was euthanised.

Now, while I’m sad that a horse died as a result of the race, and while I am passionately against the fact that they whip the horses, I’m not going to rant about how horse racing is dangerous and inhumane. As someone who willing supported the race by having a punt, it would be incredibly hypocritical of me. What I want to mention however, is the poor way in which Channel 7, the race broadcaster, handled the situation.

The winning stable was paraded across the screen and interviewed again and again, shots of the victorious moment were replayed at least a half-dozen times, and the winning jockey was even shown on screen during an interview, riding past the ominous green screens that go up after an accident on track. However, at no time during the hour of coverage we watched post-race, was it mentioned that one of the horses had not only not finished, but had been euthanised due to injury. For many across the nation (and around the world), the first news of Verema’s death was through social media, with both Twitter and Facebook in uproar at the lack of acknowledgement.

Understandably, Verema’s stable was incredibly upset at having to euthanise the horse. And, just as with the death of a family pet, the death of these horses for trainers, strappers, and all others involved in their care is a very personal and private affair. However, purely out of respect to the horse and her stable, it would have been prudent for the broadcaster to at least make mention of the situation that had occurred, particularly with it clearly being so visible within the live coverage. A simple aside would have been all that was needed to do justice to the effort and energy put in by all involved with Verema’s racing and care.

While I understand the argument that children may be watching the race, that seems a bogus excuse. Many of those same children watch the news at night with their parents, hearing and viewing much more damaging and violent things. To me, not making mention of the incident at all is not only an affront to the injured horse and her stable, but to the whole field. It makes it very clear that for Channel 7 the broadcast of the Cup is not about the race itself, but about the money to be made, and (to be blunt) the arses to kiss to ensure their hold on coverage for the following year. It shows disrespect to the racing community as a whole, as well as the Australian public, by assuming that the only thing of interest is the race victor. A disappointing view from one of our country’s leading broadcasters, and a sad ending for a valiant athlete.

RIP Varema.