The Panda and the Snail

I am going to shock you now.  Forget ejaculations – Mark thinks that giant pandas should not be conserved.  He thinks they’re crap and ought to die out; and that we should preserve snails instead.  So, meanwhile, as Noah counts the animals – or while the zoos count theirs, since today is apparently the day when they do that – here’s a heartwarming story about a dog.

Our dog was called Bramber after the village in Sussex where our parents had their honeymoon * and he was a very intelligent animal.  He was generally well-trained, and though allowed in the lounge he was not permitted to lie on the rug in front of the fire, due to the impossibility of extricating his hairs from its weave  (or the woof from the weft, LOL).  However, being an intelligent animal, he knew when we weren’t paying attention and so chose those moments to creep silently, invisibly, closer and closer to the cosy red rug.  On a good evening he could get his nose and two front paws on there, and if we were watching, say, Dad’s Army, he could get his entire length ensconced in front of the fire before anyone noticed.  Someone eventually would, though, and would shout ‘Back!’,with quivering finger consigning him to the outer darkness of the grey carpet.   Perhaps, though, he was eventually heading for the window so he could feature in a song… for I learned today that the singer of ‘both ‘The Tennessee Waltz’ and ‘How Much is that Doggie in the Window?’ has died.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ek3eCbfqp0

Now, whilst the former can be corny, in the right hands (or glands, ha ha) it can be very moving.  Leonard Cohen has done a version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5SZvkZI3eg

but the latter is pure crap, no matter who does it.  Hard to believe the same person did both, but there you are.

And finally…

Can Someone Please Direct Me to the Moral High Ground?

Nope, there is no moral high ground left now; not in the latest spat between us and Argentina over the Falkland Islands.  Thank god, there seems to be no appetite for another bloody war (sorry, conflict) over this, and whilst it appears that the islanders wish to remain a part of the UK (there’s a referendum later this year) the population would undoubtedly be very different had we not colonised the islands in Victorian times.  The significance of owning these few tufts of grass is clearly strategic rather than moral, though Prime Ministers (most notably, Thatcher) have pretended it was to do with the population, though this numbers less than 3000.  So let’s be honest here.  Is it the oil?  Or is it the harbour facilities for shipping?  Or is it – could it be? – the proximity to the Antarctic?  Whatever it is, it isn’t the islanders or the few tufts of grass that compose the islands.

There might still have been a moral argument in the Thatcher days, since we were then a democracy and Argentina a fascist dictatorship, but there is now a democratic government (however flawed) in Buenos Aires, so that flag won’t fly.  But please, please, God, let’s not have another bloody war about it.

Anyway, should you wish to check out the history of the Falkland Islands, there’s some here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Falkland_Islands

Kirk out

*I was thinking that nowadays people – including us – honeymoon in more exotic locations, but I’m sure theirs didn’t involve hitch-hiking 1000 miles with a whole roomful of furniture.

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4 Comments

Filed under friends and family, music, politics, radio, The madness of Mark

4 responses to “The Panda and the Snail

  1. I’m inclined to side with Mark re Giant Pandas. Huge amounts of resources are used in trying to conserve what is a very badly evolved animal. It’s going to be a huge uphill struggle forever. People favour the cute, when there are so many many other animals that need conserving, snails yes, but many other invertebrates and amphibians. It is amphibians that suffer the most from climate change. Just because something is cute should not mean vast resources should be diverted to preserve it above so many other creatures that are not ‘cute’ and are not mammals. Tapirs are endangered and yet get nothing like the same money thrown at them that Giant Pandas do. I think that’s purely down to the fact that they’re not fluffy.

  2. My daughter has the same debate about pandas on her ecology and conservation course … apparently they are in an evolutionary dead end and they just can’t be bothered to reproduce, even in the wild. I guess it’s just thought of as sad because they are large and cuddly, species die out all the time when they have no further function in the ecosystem, we just do’t notice most of them because they are small or ugly.

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