It’s Not All About Walmart

Here in Christchurch we have a new cricket oval.

It’s the first new sports facility in a very long time and we (that’s the Kiwi “we” rather than us personally), are co-hosting the cricket world cup that bowls off shortly. As I write, some teams are training hard for an opening massacre on 14th February:


But that’s next year. We continue to be constrained by the carapace of 2014 and I think there’s quite a bit under the shell. There was a huge marketing success when Apple launched iPhone 6 and fleeced many loyal customers:

Apple Product Release 

I quite like Siri, the sassy and strangely seductive sentinel that secretively steers searchers sheep-like towards surreptitious selections and I am used to Siri’s smart-arsed dialogue such as: “Siri, what is the meaning of life?” Response: I can’t answer that now, but give me some time to write a very long play in which nothing happens. Or: “Siri, I’m going to kill myself.” Response: I don’t see any suicide prevention centres. Sorry about that. But when I tried out the new iPhone 6 (make mine a massive), Siri seemed to have taken on a whole new persona that had a Sirious problem with my accent. As a result I inaccurately managed to convey that I was “lack toast and tolerant.” Siri claimed I was “an advocate of whirled peas” and it didn’t bat a virtual eyelash when I allegedly said I “liked to lube degenerates.” (liked to live dangerously).

The marketing fail of the year was, sadly Malaysian Airlines attempt at launching the “Ultimate Bucket List” competition after being involved in two major tragedies that resulted in 537 fatalities. Not content with this blunder, MH decided to compound a cock-up by asking prospective passengers: “Want to go somewhere – but don’t know where?” Probably not the best choice of words given they still don’t know where one of their planes is.

Meanwhile at Walmart:

Meanwhile at Walmart 001

The Chinese New Year galloped into view and the world bridled as the BBC announced this important event to their viewers:

BBC reports Year of The Whores 

School kids around the world saddled up and celebrated the arrival by writing stories such as this 3rd grade student who enthused:

Hores story

Last year we visited “Milburn” (the capital of Victoria), this year we visited the Gold Coast choosing a cool time to visit “Cool ‘n Gutter.” We found Colonel Sanders was living there and that keeping rabbits was an expensive pastime:

Colonel Sanders found alive in Queensland Keeping Rabbits Sign

I noticed that whilst we were on the Gold Coast there was a discussion in the local press about daylight saving. This revealed that not only are Queenslanders up with all the latest theories, but they also shrewdly restrict the more limited and needy members of their society to the suburb aptly called Yorkeys Knob:

Queensland Daylight Saving

Meanwhile at Walmart:

Meanwhile at Walmart 002

Back on the subject of Queensland I noticed that there is a whole community where dogs can live complete lives, receive early education and consume health care as they progress through all of life’s stages. I refer of course to the hairy tail-waggers that inhabit the seaside town of Labrador:

Retriever on the beach

Labrador - teach those puppies well 

Labrador - medical centre

Labrador - keep those teeth working

Labrador - chiropractic centre

Even more remarkable is how these fluffies have managed to shepherd other breeds into delivering their unique lifestyle:

Labrador - another urgent delivery

Meanwhile at Walmart:

Meanwhile at Walmart 003

I became determined to loose weight this year after overhearing sales staff in a clothing store describe me as size “Mark F.” It was sometime later that I realised this was one size up from a Marquee and so I visited my GP for a check-up and he told me not to eat anything fatty. “You mean stuff like pies and chips and chocolate bars?” I asked confidently. “No Fatty, don’t eat anything he replied.” I admitted that I was addicted but his response was: “I know, but don’t call me Ted.” After that I started shopping more carefully when I realised that according to “Serving Suggestions” I was a family of four. My Mexican friends Manual and Gym insist working out is easy and sent me this very encouraging picture:

Manual & Gym show off their 6 packs 

Mexico doesn’t bother too much with road signs, but north of the border the US tends to use either very simple signs:

Stop sign in Montana

Or, lots of very confusing signs:

US confusing road signs

Unlike the Canadians, who north of the next border keep things simple by choosing a name and sticking with it:

Montreal Street Signs

Meanwhile at Walmart:

Meanwhile at Walmart 004

Back in NZ, many of you will be familiar with Keas – the cheeky mountain parrots that are renowned for stealing things. It appears this cheeky female managed to steal a hot date with Homer Simpson:

Kea Hot Date With Homer Simpson

There was a murder trial in South Africa that spawned many crippling jokes; Roses are red violets are glorious, never sneak up on Oscar Pistorius. She didn’t notice Oscar sneaking up on her – it was the silence of the limbs. And the Oscar goes to…Jail. I think anyone making these jokes is just prosthetic but if we thought the trial was long, waiting for sentencing seemed an eternity:

Pistorius Sentenced to 15 Years of Sentencing Hearings   

Meanwhile at Walmart:

Meanwhile at Walmart 006

Just looking out of the window whilst I am writing this in Hanmer Springs:

Elddis Firestorm

I really don’t understand why anyone (other than Jeremy Clarkson) would think “Firestorm” would be a good name for a caravan. But that said I have also seen the following UK manufacturers’ offerings; “Coachman Pastiche”, (how can you have a pastiche of a caravan?), “Hurricane” and “Marauder” (how can a caravan turn into a marauder? What happened to the wife and kids? Oh they were taken off by a caravan called “Marauder”) and the scary “West Star Bedouin Motion” which conjures up some seriously unattractive images for any type of accommodation. From the Netherlands I’ve seen “Kip” and Germany offers Dethleffs and Hobby, but their offering from TEC is the best:

Basel 3

Just popping out to Walmart for some back-to-school essentials:

You had one job - FantaYou had one job - Forks

You had one job - Starawberries

Meanwhile at Walmart 005

 Christmas dinner was a bit of a challenge this year as I wanted to impress with a Masterchef quality meal. For a starter I selected line-caught spam served with slivers of beetroot smoked over an old Ikea bookcase and garnished with a tuile of lichen harvested from the roof of the van. Free-range chipolatas (enrobed in a bacon foam) and sprouts 3 ways (cooked sous-vide of course) provided the confusion-inspired main. For desert, deconstructed mince pies were abundantly available on the van floor after I dropped the tin of constructed mince pies. Shopping for all these ingredients was a considerable undertaking and I made the mistake of putting my electronic devices in the same shopping bag as the vegetables. Have you noticed when you do that your Wii smells of asparagus?

For New Year’s Day I’ve discovered the best ever recipe for Tofu – simply brush with extra virgin olive oil before lightly tossing it in the bin. So I’m considering a mixed grill of Tasered Cat, Enraged Tourist and Terrified Onlooker which comes with real malice and is accompanied by an aggressive Gypsy.

This group? I really have no idea but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them at Walmart selling giant pastry-looking-things with a nasty-brown filling, or perhaps just buying bandages and arm-slings:

I really have no idea  Gruntle

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