Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Life, but not as we know it

A visiting scientist claims to have created an artificial life form.

“You mean like the replicants in Blade Runner?” I ask.

“Er no,” he replies sheepishly. “We’ve constructed the complete genome for a bacterium. The next stage is to manufacture a host cell for it.”

I try not to show disappointment. A microbe wriggling at the bottom of a test tube doesn’t sound very impressive, but just think of the applications – an exciting new disease, perhaps, or a food supplement that helps you pass wind.

“Excellent work!” I exclaim. “Things should progress quickly once you’ve notched up your first bacterium. Insects within a year, mammals within two and your own personal manservant shortly afterwards. Dr Frankenstein will be a fool to you!”

He mumbles something into his beard and I make my apologies and leave. He can discuss the finer points of his breakthrough with the other guests.

Now that I think of it, the replicants in Blade Runner weren’t that great anyway. They did enjoy a few years of life in the fast lane, but where was their spiritual contentment? No wonder they ran amok when confronted with their own mortality. One thing I never understood was why they were made indistinguishable from normal humans. All that time and energy spent hunting them down could have been saved by the simple expedient of giving them an extra nostril or pointy ears. I’m not saying that the boffin who designed them deserved to have his head twisted 180 degrees by one of his own creations, but there was an element of poetic justice in the manner of his demise.

Speaking of pointy ears, did I tell you about the time that Leonard Nimoy visited the safari camp? No? Well I’d better fill you in now then. The entire tour party consisted of Mr Nimoy and his entourage, so he didn’t have to hobnob with strangers. Before you accuse him of being snooty, just imagine what it must be like to go through life with people constantly addressing you as Spock. He must have been sick to death of getting the four-finger V-sign or being asked to pinch someone’s mother-in-law in the neck. We were under strict instructions not to mention anything to do with Star Trek unless Mr Nimoy first brought up the subject. Fortunately, he did bring it up in a passing reference to Nichelle Nichols’ underwear. This allowed me to slip in the following pertinent question:

“How do you explain the popularity of Spock, Mr Nimoy?”

He raised one eyebrow in the style of the great Vulcan logician before answering. “Mr Bananas,” he said slowly, “Spock was so square that he was cool.”

I nodded silently as if I understood his enigmatic assertion. Weeks later, after much pondering, I saw it as possibly the most profound remark ever made by an actor who played an alien in a science fiction show. Of course he was right! My mind went back to an episode of Star Trek in which a bunch of space beatniks hang out in the Enterprise, annoying the crew with their foolish antics. When Captain Kirk tries to lay down a few house rules, they shout him down with cries of “Herbert! Herbert!”. They even compose an insulting rock ballad about him – if memory serves, the first line of the song went something like this:

Big Daddy Kirk’s got a burr up his ass
(Twang-twang p’twang-twang-twang)

But when Spock comes along, they revere him as a deep guru figure, listening in rapt devotion as he strums a soulful tune on his Vulcan banjo. You can bet those hippie chicks would have been queuing up for a night of pointy-eared lurve if Spock had been remotely interested.

I was so impressed by Mr Nimoy’s insight that I related this anecdote at the Annual Simian Convention.

“So square that he was cool!” cried a cheeky monkey. “Isn’t that the secret of your appeal, GB?”

I couldn’t make up my mind whether this was a compliment or an insult, so I gave the monkey a coconut and tied a knot in his tail at the same time.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Courting trouble

A tourist asks me what my greatest fear is. I reply that I live in dread of being sued for damages. At least being eaten by a predator is over fairly quickly. These legal disputes can drag on for ever while rapacious lawyers feed on your liquid assets like leeches. Thankfully, no one would waste time pressing a suit against me in the Congo, because the chief justice of the supreme court is pretty much in my pocket. I’ve been in his good books ever since he sent his wife to us for a rigorous programme of jungle aerobics. The exercises we made her do had the benign side-effect of tightening up her coochie, which reputedly put a permanent smile on the old bugger’s face.

This ugly business of suing people first came to my notice in England, when I was employed by the circus. I read about an actress winning a tidy sum from a newspaper which wrote she had “a big bum”. I was horrified by this. I must have said the same thing about at least a dozen women – and meant it as a compliment more often than not. When I mentioned this ignoble occurrence to a clown, he opened his mouth and licked his teeth like a lizard. “The English libel laws are like cunnilingus,” he quipped, “one slip of the tongue and you’re in the shit.”

Libel is less of a worry in America because their constitution permits you to talk utter crap to anyone who’ll listen. What you have to worry about there is people claiming – on the flimsiest evidence – that you are responsible for some mishap they suffered. I almost fell foul of this custom when touring there with the circus. We had just finished a show in New York and I decided to spend my day-off watching a baseball match at Shea Stadium. As I hurried to the ticket office, I accidentally bumped into an enormously fat woman who had crossed my path. Luckily, I managed to check myself sufficiently to avoid knocking her over, but she did wobble a fair bit. She was being escorted by an equally gross and exceptionally evil-looking fellow, whom I took to be her husband.

“Watch where yer goin’ yer big hairy baboon!” he snarled.

“Are you addressing me or your wife?” I asked in reply, seeking clarity on the facts before commenting on his outburst.

This perfectly straightforward question caused him to swing his fist wildly at me. Fortunately, I managed to intercept the blow with my head, which caused him to drop to his knees and bleat like an injured moose, clutching his hand in agony. It turned out that he’d broken several bones, but he could hardly blame me for that. Or so I thought. A month later, when we were giving a show in San Francisco, a letter was delivered to us by courier. It was from a legal firm representing the man and presented a list of grossly-inflated compensation demands. These items included medical expenses, emotional distress, post-traumatic stress counselling, loss of earnings and cosmetic surgery (for both the man and his wife).

The ringmaster wanted to take legal advice, but I argued strongly against it. I told him to leave the matter in my hands and let me bear the consequences. All I did was return the letter to sender after writing the following sentence at the bottom with a fountain pen:

The demands made in this communication are frivolous and without merit.

I never found out what the denouement was, because we left the country a week later. As a precaution, however, I arranged for all my US assets to be transferred to Dr Whipsnade’s name.

These wretched lawsuits seem to get sillier and sillier. The latest one that made me want to thump my chest was a claim for $6 million by an exhibitionist street performer who calls himself “The Naked Cowboy”. He alleges trademark infringement by a maker of confectionaries that used the nude cowpoke motif in an advertisement. This is preposterous. If a man can copyright stripping off his clothes and putting on a cowboy hat, the law is an ass with carrot up its backside. How I wish someone would find an old photo of Wyatt Earp in the buff to prove that this bare-bodied busker was not the originator of his cockamamie modus operandi. The living descendants of Mr Earp could then sue Billy the Nekkid for the very transgression he accuses others of. “Let every poisonous snake enjoy a dose of its own venom,” as we say in the jungle.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

The seven year itch

From time to time, I get e-mails from influential humans who happen to have stumbled upon this blog. The latest VIP to penetrate my inbox was Frau Gabriele Pauli, a German politician with fiery red hair and a well-proportioned bust. She wants me to endorse her proposal for term-limited marriages. Her idea is that after seven years of conjugal togetherness, a human couple should automatically be decoupled unless they agree to renew their vows. For some reason, she thinks I ought to approve of such a custom. I don’t know why. There is no pressing demand for fixed-term marriages in my part of the jungle and we couldn’t really care what humans do. People have the strangest ideas about gorillas.

It may be worth supporting her campaign anyway, so she owes me a favour. Mutual back-scratching is a universal feature of primate culture. Who knows when a German woman might be useful to a gorilla? Stranger things have happened. But before committing to the cause, I’d like to know more about Frau Pauli’s domestic arrangements. Frankly, I smell a rat. Humans have a habit of advocating policies for the common good when they’re really trying to make life easier for themselves. I shall begin by carefully examining her published photos. One thing I learned in the circus was how to read a woman’s body language. I have a feeling she might be one of those insatiable femme fatales who wears out a husband after a few years of incessant coupling – like the infamous redback spider that sucks the juice from her mate before kicking his empty carcass into the nearest ant hole.

There are more charitable interpretations, of course. The fact that she wants the standard marital term to be seven years looks significant. Why the number 7? Do you remember the biblical story where Joseph got into Pharaoh’s good books by interpreting his dream about seven fat cows and seven lean cows? Maybe Frau Pauli is plagued by similar visions. In her case, the dream might speak to a woman’s fear of turning into a fat cow after seven years of marriage and being left by her husband for a thin woman (the lean cow). Allowing the marriage to lapse naturally would be infinitely less humiliating for the overweight spouse than being callously dumped in favour of a slim chick. Yet if this were so, why wouldn’t she be campaigning for wives to stop getting fat in the first place?

One can speculate about these theories until the hairs on one’s chin are loaded with static electricity. Who really knows what Frau Pauli’s ulterior motive is? What's perfectly clear is that you won’t get a straight answer from a politician who’s involved in chicanery. If I confront her with my suspicions, she is bound to have some pat answer that rationalises her proposal and presents it as the best thing since pickled onions. All of which leads me to the conclusion that I should steer well clear of this Teutonic dame and her über-radical ideas. It is hereby forbidden for the gorilla to give succour to the flame-haired valkyrie blowing fanfares on her horn. So speaketh the Japing Ape, Patriarch of the House of Bananas.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pamela in Paris

A French tourist excitedly informs me that Pamela Anderson will be performing at Le Crazy Horse, a famous cabaret club in Paris.

“Mr Bananas, you must come! There is no charge for Pamela’s friends! She will be thrilled to see you!”

“Thank you, Gaston, but I imagine she’ll be thrilled enough without me pouting at her from the audience.”

“Are you sure?” he asks. “She will be performing the striptease to the famous Harley Davidson.”

“My oh my!” I exclaim. “A spectacle to dazzle Paris, Gaston. However where Pamela’s body is concerned, that which I have already seen is indelibly etched in my memory; and that which I have not, I am content to leave to my imagination.”

He shrugs his shoulders with a Gallic purse of the lips and leaves me to ponder this remarkable event. I certainly don’t disapprove of Pamela displaying her wares in Paris and marvel at the ingenuity of bringing a Harley Davidson into the act. I hope they start up the engine as she approaches the climax of her exotic gyrations. To have that mighty beast throbbing between her legs should draw attention away from her over-hyped balloons to her under-hyped undercarriage.

The episode of Baywatch in which Pamela first appeared was one that I watched with my friend Smacker Ramrod, the circus vet.

“I wouldn’t mind some of that,” mused Smacker as he stared at the bosomy starlet, then at the peak of her carnal magnetism.

“I’m no expert on these matters, Smacker, but wouldn’t you say that her airbags have been artificially inflated?” I suggested tentatively.

“I know that!” cried Smacker indignantly. “I was looking downstairs! I’d like to tuck into those thighs with mayonnaise and a side salad!”

Ever since that exchange, I have always thought of Pamela as a woman for the leg-and-rump man – a prime example of “white meat on the drumstick”, as the connoisseurs put it.

It's a real pity that Pamela’s acting career didn’t take off after that promising start. I would have cast her as a German slave girl in a sword-and-sandals epic set in ancient Rome. Her character would pine for Butch Hermann, a childhood sweetheart from the Black Forest, presently having his Teutonic torso oiled and scraped in gladiator school. Picture the scene as she is freed by her kindly Roman master to seek out her true love:

“I wish for every Roman a heart like yours!” she says in tearful gratitude.

“And I wish for every Roman matron a bottom like yours!” he replies waggishly.

In the amphitheatre finale, Butch Hermann (the German) would be locked in mortal combat with Fista Lesbia (the emperor’s iron-pumping sister). After an hour of pulsating action, Hermann has Fista at his mercy, his sword primed for the coup de grâce.

“I cannot slay the woman I love!” he bellows. “Let me return to the Black Forest with Fista as my queen, there to renounce the Roman oyster for the German sausage!”

He helps his opponent to her feet and clasps his manly hands on her manly shoulders.

“No!” shrieks Pamela from the Vestal Virgin box. “I am your rightful queen, Hermann! You pledged me your love when I showed you my secret treasure in the glades of Krakstein!”

The crowd gasps and murmurs as Hermann stares wide-eyed at his long lost flame.

“Let us both accompany the valiant Hermann!” cries Fista, gazing at Pamela with tender eyes. “For as we say in the Pinkus Campus, ‘two queens are better than one’!”

The crowd goes wild with joy and the emperor declares three days of orgies.

The absence of roles like this probably explains why Pamela is now straddling motorbikes in Parisian night clubs. It’s a bit of an anticlimax really. The French are certainly inventive at titillation, but the striptease is obviously running out of steam as a sensual art form. There simply isn’t enough mystery left in a woman’s body for nudity to be a thrill anymore. Men might still pay top dollar for novelty acts – like a lady newsreader getting her kit off for the first time – but a woman who has bared all is just another chicken in the meat market. The way forward for the sex goddess is to keep her naughty bits covered and work on her acting skills. Authentic facial expressions and noises are what the voyeurs of tomorrow will be after.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

A nun defiled

Shocking news of a man who broke into a church to view the pornography on a nun’s computer. I hope they throw the book at this sacrilegious scoundrel. Fingering a nun’s keyboard with profane intent is a serious desecration. As for the images on her hard drive, he who ogles them with lustful eyes has surely committed a mortal sin. The fact that the man was a worshipper at the church does not excuse his behaviour in the slightest. “Sharing a nun’s pornography is no different from sharing her bed,” said Pope Alexander IV, who did both.

Security must have been lax to allow this impious fiend to enter the church and click on the holy sister’s mouse. If they can’t afford a burglar alarm, they should at least hire a couple of Rhesus monkeys to swing from the rafters. Those nosey simians would have screeched their lungs off at the intruder, pissing on his head for good measure. The puzzling question is how the man knew there was porn on the PC. Could there be a corrupt priest selling secrets from the confession box on eBay? More likely, the source was the nuns themselves. I expect the man followed them into a pub and listened to their gossip from a nearby table. Get a couple of drinks inside a nun and the contents of her desktop device will be common knowledge.

It goes without saying that there are valid spiritual reasons for a nun to download pornography. How else could she keep a watchful eye on the latest wicked vices that Satan has nurtured in the licentious loins of the faithless fornicators? She is clearly entitled to know what she has renounced in dedicating herself to holy service. In addition, it’s never a bad idea to remind the Man Upstairs of the sacrifices being made by His followers on Earth. God is obviously not the sort of bloke to take his servants for granted, but what with one thing and another he may have overlooked all the abstinence that’s going on in His name. The occasional gentle reminder at prayer time surely wouldn’t go amiss.

I’m proud to say that I always took a firm line on pornography in the circus. I would never work with clowns or dwarves who stared at pictures of naked women before entering the ring. A gorilla does not want to manhandle distracted fellows who are confused about the job in hand. The best male performers avoided porn altogether, correctly viewing it as a pastime that would sap their energy and enfeeble their minds. They preferred to satisfy their urges by mating with ugly women, so they only had sex when they really needed it and never had to work too hard to get it. As for the female artistes, looking at porn did them no harm because their energy was effectively unsappable.

My own policy on pornography is quite simple: I will never download it myself, but will review, out of courtesy, any short clips that are forwarded to me. By such means I have accumulated a fair collection over the years. (If you are thinking of sending me a snippet, please note that I don’t have the patience to look at anything longer than a minute.) The latest porn fetish seems to be “female ejaculation”, an ability evidently possessed by a relatively small number of women. I just hope that ladies who lack this particular skill don’t believe their orgasms are somehow “inferior” to the squirters. There’s a lot more to sexual fulfilment than making your cha-cha behave like a water pistol.

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