For The Love of God – Enough With The Bloody Trivia?!

Like a bad movie franchise (think Saw 2 onwards) we’re back with another round of trivial trash, beginning with:

Of Licking Toads and Elbows.

The vast majority of the population cannot lick their elbows.

Pause whilst the reader attempts the impossible.

What many people don’t know is that elbow skin is actually toxic. There is a tiny gland in your lateral epicondyle that exudes a mild narcotic when stimulated. The drug, called Imtal Kingru Bish (or IKB for short) was first discovered by long-tongued hippies in the late 1970’s and is a form of bufotoxin similar to that found in the skin of the Colorado River Bullfrog and the Australian Cane Toad.

The ingestion of this type of hallucinogenic tryptamine has been known to cause psychedelic episodes leading to a voyage on a Yellow Submarine, a Magic Carpet Ride, sleepovers in Itchycoo Park or a Misty Mountain Hop. Those that imbibed too much often experienced a dangerous encounter with Hoppity Hooper and to this day cannot stand the sight of poor Kermit.

Coined the Peace Frog by the Lizard King, overdosed users were left as Thick as a Brick. Even renowned astronaut Major Tom, struggled with the fact that planet Earth was blue and there was nothing he could do.

Eventually the authorities banned the partaking of polliwog potion and less conventional methods, such as smoking banana skins, was attempted by the drug crazed desperados still waiting for the epic song ‘In a Gadda Da Vida’ to finish.

Then in 1978, notable walrus and occasional eggman, Philbert Q TieDye discovered the fun of IKB whilst slurping hummous off his elbow. Endowed with an unusually large sixteen centimetre proboscis, Philbert quickly decided that ‘elbow grease’ was good for business. Unfortunately for the Q-man the psychedelic effects of IKB only works on the person who produces the hallucinogen. So, after a string of beatings from Mellow Yellow fans whom Phil had tried to convert with a sample ‘suck on his wenis,’ he eventually gave up and spent his remaining days wandering the rooms of the Hotel California, frequently checking out, but never able to leave.

Many other unhappy discoveries began to pepper the free-love landscape as other long-tongued larrikins locked lips with their funny bones. Gorging on the ginglymis resulted in a succession of poorly acted Police Academy movies, an achy breaky heart, the Macarena, too many Baldwins and The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.

Although it is sometimes called the ‘funny bone’, hitting the humerus is no laughing matter. So, even if you do have a Gene Simmons sized appendage, please do not try this at home.

Shark Tales.

It’s a known fact that sharks close their eyes when they come in for the kill. With their other senses heightened to the extreme, eyesight becomes superfluous and the soulless black orbs roll back into the sockets as the intoxicating aroma of severed flesh and gushing blood fills the boiling sea.

Ron and Valerie Taylor have spent years documenting this phenomenon, whilst remaining ‘in love’ with the shark. However, Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfus character in the movie Jaws) described the creature best.

“[Sharks are] an eating machine that is a miracle of evolution. It swims and eats and makes little baby sharks, that’s all.”

Unlike our friend the crocodile, sharks don’t cry when they bite you. The only reason they shut their eyes is so that they don’t end up with a piece of your rib cage lodged in the iris.

Do not be fooled by their names.

A Grey Nurse is not going to Dettol your detached limb.

A Hammer Head will not help you repair the hull of your boat.

Bull sharks don’t lie.

Gummy sharks have teeth.

And the only thing great about a Great White is the size of its gaping maw and its insatiable appetite.

They are the alpha predator of the ocean, and you are the side-serving of fries in the buffet of life.

Admit it, you’re hooked. You want more trivia? Well we got more trivia. Check out the following posts:

Interesting Trivia?! 

More Interesting Trivia?!

Even More Interesting Trivia?!

Happy Christmas – War is Over

In 1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono rented twenty-two billboards across eleven different cities and posted a simple message, “WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It) Happy Christmas from John and Yoko.”

The message became a song in 1971 which began with the following words whispered by Yoko and then John, “Happy Christmas, Kyoko” and “Happy Christmas, Julian”. John and Yoko are wishing their children a Happy Christmas. People have mistakenly thought that they were whispering greetings to each other.

The song was recorded October 1971 and released December 1971 originally a protest against the war in Vietnam, but it is now seen as a message of hope from the murdered Beatle that the people of the world could put aside their differences and live in peace. Whatever your personal feelings are about John and Yoko you have to agree that the theme is pertinent to all of us, “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let’s hope it’s a good one without any tears.”

Strawberry Fields Forever

I was lucky enough to grow up as a child of the seventies. I say lucky because I was too young to worry about Vietnam. I was too young to experience that horrendous ‘come down’ from the drugged up love fest of the previous decade. And I had absolutely no idea who Charles Manson was.

Oh sure I got to wear flared hand-me-downs and leftover tie-dye; and yes we had Gough Whitlam’s ignominious exit from Parliament, Watergate, oil embargoes and nuclear disasters, but by and large it was a blissfully ignorant time of my life. The Big Mac arrived with its two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickled onions on a sesame seed bun (my mum had to sing the song in a restaurant one evening so my sister and I could win free t-shirts). Earth Day introduced the hippy concept of environmentalism to the mainstream population. ABBA seemed to be on everybody’s playlist and Evil Knievel was leaping over cars, buses and the Grand Canyon.

Music during the Seventies was cool – mostly.

Ok, before we go any further I am NOT referring to disco with my previous statement. Saturday Night Fever may have been an iconic movie that launched the career of John Travolta but no one should ever have to wear pants that tight. And don’t get me started on Hot Chocolate. There’s no way that Heaven was in the backseat of that guy’s Cadillac.

Lets start again. Apart from Disco, music in the seventies was pretty cool.

Except for Chuck Berry’s 1972 monstrosity – ‘My Ding A Ling‘ (what was he thinking?). Oh and that ridiculous song ‘Hooked on a Feeling‘ with the unforgettable Ooga-Chooga lyrics. Actually that Carpenters song ‘Calling Occupants’ (or octopus as my sister misinterpreted) was pretty awful too. Also, why was Michael Jackson singing about a rat and was Chuck E really in love with Rikki Lee Jones? And don’t get me started on the Osmonds, Leif Garret or either of the Cassidy’s.

Ok, third time lucky. Music in the seventies was rubbish with a few notable exceptions.

Kiss was made for loving you, Stevie Wonder was superstitious, Alice Cooper welcomed you to his nightmare, Supertramp was logical, Pilot were magic and Pink Floyd finished the decade comfortably numb. My parents had an eclectic taste in music with vinyl as far as the eye could see. From the big brassy voices of Bette Midler and Barbara Streisand through to Neil Diamond, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.

At meal times my father would select one of his favourite albums to listen to as we shared the family meal. Hot August Night got a fair amount of airplay, as did Billy Joel’s Piano Man, the Eagles and the Doobie Brothers. But it was dad’s collection of albums by Wings that lead me to discover the Beatles and the music of Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

Abbey Road had me hooked from the moment I heard it. Soft lyrics, driving guitars, and melodies that didn’t always end with the one song but often carried over into the next. As a six-year-old boy I was fascinated by the sick and twisted Maxwell with his silver hammer, and what child didn’t want to live in the Octopuses Garden? Let It Be, the White Album and Sergeant Peppers all became regular dinner music until the rest of the family decided that enough was enough. I was given my first tape recorder that year for my birthday and promptly taped every Beatles, Wings and John Lennon album I could find.

By age nine ‘Hey Jude’ had become my favourite song of all time and still is today. I actually took Jude for my confirmation name. He is the Patron Saint of Lost Causes – kind of ironic huh 🙂

I began to read everything I could about the Fab Four, which was rather difficult and a little bit expensive without the Internet. My mother hired ‘A Hard Days Night’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’ from the local video store for me and I actually found some books in the school library. I bought albums from Wings and the Plastic Ono Band with the money I made finding and selling lost golf balls and I made sure that at least one of my tapes got played in the car on those long family vacations.

Band on the Run‘ by Wings became one of my favourites alongside Lennon’s ‘Imagine‘. There is a line in the title track of McCartney’s album where a backing vocalist sings the words ‘…if we ever get out of here’. As a child I always thought that this was John Lennon doing a guest spot on the record, although I had a lot of trouble convincing anyone else. (Have a listen and see what you think – it happens right before the instrumental that precedes the line, ‘and the rain exploded with a mighty crash’).

Recently I listened to a copy of the bootleg album ‘A Toot and a Snore in ’74’. This is the only known recording session since the breakup of The Beatles where John Lennon and Paul McCartney played together and frankly – its pretty bad. The point is, this recording was made in March 1974. ‘Band on the Run‘ was released in December 1973. Obviously the pair were at least cordial with each other so why couldn’t it have been Lennon on backing vocals?

Ok enough conspiracy theory and wishful thinking 🙂

Being young and innocent (yes I was once) I really didn’t notice, and definitely didn’t pay any attention to, the troubles that surrounded my heroes. I’m sure that the breakup of the Beatles empire was a less than savoury experience for all concerned but the only question on my mind at the time was, when will the Beatles be getting back together?

Then it happened.

I still have a vivid recollection of that horrible morning when my whole world came crashing down. It was five days before my twelfth birthday and I was getting dressed for school whilst listening to 2SM. The headlines were announced as a lead in to the full news broadcast and I did a double take when the words ‘Lennon’ and ‘pronounced dead on arrival’ were mentioned in the same sentence. The reporter stated rather matter-of-factly that Mark David Chapman had shot John four times in the back and chest at approximately 10:55pm on Monday 8th December 1980 as he walked from his limousine to the entrance of the apartment building, where he lived with his wife Yoko and son Sean. I’d missed the news on television the night before and so I was unaware of the catastrophe until the next morning, Wednesday 10th December 1980.

The big, tough almost twelve year old sat on his bed and burst into tears.

I don’t know how long I wept. I only remember stopping when the call to ‘hurry up or you’ll be late’ came from downstairs. Then I began to feel stupid, big boys aren’t supposed to cry after all. I managed to mask my misery from mum and dad during breakfast and then sat silently in the back of the car on the way to school, secretly afraid of what my friends would think.

I walked stoically onto the playground that morning, doing my best to conceal my grief, and was surprised to find that I was not the only one who was hurting. Some kids were angry, others did their best to fight back the tears, but throughout the day we all spoke about what this tragedy meant to us and we realised that we weren’t alone in our sadness.

On the news that night I watched the throngs of sobbing fans gather in Central Park and around the Dakota Building where John had lived. They were holding hands, flowers and candles. Some were singing, some were crying but all of them were united in their feelings of loss and sorrow. It was an outpouring of grief the world hadn’t seen since Elvis passed away three years earlier, and wouldn’t see again until Lady Diana Spencer was killed in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris, 1997.

There is a definite healing power that comes with sharing your anguish openly with others. I coped with the loss of my idol privately but never forgot the experience. So when Steve Irwin died in 2006 I knew what my own children would be going through and I was able to be there for them.

Thirty years later I still get a lot of joy listening to the Fab Four and their solo albums. ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ does the rounds in my house during December along with ‘Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time’. ‘Band on the Run’, ‘Watching the Wheels’, ‘Mull of Kintyre’, ‘All Those Years Ago’ and ‘Jealous Guy’ are classic solo songs that frequently pop up on my iPod, along with dozens of Beatles tunes including John’s hauntingly beautiful ‘In My Life‘ from the ‘Rubber Soul‘ album.

But it is ‘Imagine’, with its simplistic view for a world united in peace, love and happiness, that will often bring a little tear to the corner of my eye.