Queen Elizabeth II

Jubilee-joobity-do

This is a special time for a special lady and the entire world is sitting up and taking notice, like a well-meaning but half-witted poodle.

It’s Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, and in New Zealand, everybody gets a three-day-weekend, as we also happen to be commemorating the monarch’s 86th birthday. Everybody wins. I get to sleep late, England gets to enjoy the illusion of its own significance, and the Queen gets to look back on another year of opulent sloth.

If I’m coming off as harsh, it’s only because I’m jealous. Most unemployed, inbred, octogenarian people with dumb accents spend their birthdays like any other day. By spitting tobacco juice out of their toothless gobs onto the heads of the grandchildren eating dirt in front of the porch and don’t even notice anyway. Oh, no. Not the Queen. That’s not her scene. No, Queen Elizabeth gets something special. A thousand-vessel flotilla up the Thames, including a waka.

I’m sorry. I guess I just don’t understand the royal prerogative. In America, we don’t have a person who inherits the mantle of statehood by dint of genetic composition; who earns, simply from having been born, the deference of a nation, and the power to rule it supremely, for life. In America, anybody can be a douchebag.

And most of us are. It is no glowing, jingoistic hyperbole, but a simple, historic fact the Declaration of Independence civilly GUARANTEES an individual’s inalienable right to being a douchebag, specifically in the pursuit of happiness. America has come through with flying colours, as far as I’m concerned, in the protection of THIS, OUR PREMIER among several DOUCHEBAG FREEDOMS. From slavery, to the Vietnam War, to American Idol, what happiness could be greater than the joy we take in the suffering of others? That’s why America rebelled in the first place: why should the Royal Family have all the Schadenfreude?

New Zealand never broke with the mother country the way America did. So it’s easy to understand why some Kiwis look to the throne with Britannic pride. She’s still Queen Regnant here, albeit more figurehead than executive, and the visit she made to New Zealand 60 years ago still makes the odd person stop in the middle of the street and break out in tears remembering the occasion. In fact, I had an experience the other day when I found this strange rock in the alley by our flat.

One of our neighbors told us that it was a coprolite. I was suddenly excited by my discovery. It touched my imagination. What ancient creature could possibly have generated this fossilized piece of crap? The neighbor, however, explained that it was not from any dinosaur, but it was from 1953, when the Queen paid a royal visit to the region, shitting everywhere she went, including New Zealand.

According to my neighbor, Elizabeth had tried to hold it in for as long as possible, so as not to have to use a toilet that someone else might have used. But two months is a long time, even for a royal sphincter. Also, Elizabeth was constantly being fed. And though she spat into a napkin as much of the food as she could without anyone seeing, it was obvious to her staff that she must evacuate her royal person, or die. Or die trying. They conferred, and seeing the royal doctor’s wisdom, she decided to shit as soon as she landed in Auckland. Her one caveat was that she still refused to sit on strange toilets, and when given the choice of having a new toilet manufactured for the occasion, or shit standing up, the queen chose the latter.

Whenever Elizabeth stopped to address a crowd, she would take that opportunity to shit and be adored by her subjects at the same time. My neighbor said some observant Aucklanders noticed and collected them as souvenirs of the royal visit.

“That’s amazing,” I said. “But how in the world did the Queen’s shit get fossilized in 60 years?”

My neighbor seemed perplexed.

“What do you mean ‘fossilised'” he said. “It came out that way.”

Still, Elizabeth’s reign is impressive. She’s spent more time doing nothing than any other monarch in British History, besides her great, great grandmother, Victoria, who celebrated her60th year of indolence in 1897. Considering this historic achievement, I think now’s a good time to write about my recent trip to Martha’s Backyard.

The last time I visited this emporium of American brands was a little more than two years ago, before it moved to Harvey Norman Plaza.

If you haven’t been there since the relocation, the new spot is a vast improvement. In the first place, it’s bigger, with wider aisles to accommodate the ample American ass. There are far more products in stock, apparently more staff who pay attention to inventory, and generally a superior, easier shopping experience than the last place. Best of all, it occupies a dominant corner of a soulless, suburban shopping center, with plenty of parking, which should satisfy many Americans’ nostalgia for the Old Country.

Actually, I got to Martha’s Backyard a little early the Saturday I went, so it was helpful to have a few other shops nearby to visit. I bought a rain jacket from a store where everything is made out of rubber, except the rubbers.

The day I went, I bought two jars of Vlasic pickles (Kiwis look at you funny when you mention savory pickles), a box of Cheerios, a box of Triscuits, some Mexican hot sauce, and something else, all of which I mixed into a bowl and dipped in a fat-fryer.

I didn’t get any Pop Tarts, but there is something at Martha’s Backyard for everybody. Even if you’re not from America. The day I went, I heard quite a few Kiwi accents talking about how they remembered this or that thing from when they’d visited the States. But even those who’ve never left New Zealand can find something in New Zealand to like.

There’s even an aisle that I think Bishop Brian Tamaki of the Destiny Church might be interested in.

Now that I look at these pictures again and think about the significance of the Diamond Jubilee, I’m compelled to make an observation.

The queen might have been big here 60 years ago, but with America’s cultural domination, political influence, and bullying of the local judiciary, as illustrated by the Megaupload case, I have just one thing to say to Her Majesty on behalf of America. Hands off, lady. New Zealand’s our bitch now.

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Three Tramps in Mud Time

The New Zealand government long ago recognized the potential for boredom in this, the Levittown of the South Pacific.

Consequently, it invented many novel holidays in the hope of making it seem as if there was a lot to do here and plenty of good reasons to do it.

Last Monday, for example, we celebrated the Queen’s Birthday. Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday? A holiday? Give me a break. Why should we get the day off just because some random horse-toothed transvestite turns 84?

New Zealanders don’t seem to mind. In fact, Kiwi workers are happy to be entitled to four weeks of paid vacation and paid holidays every fricking year.

That’s what you would expect from a commie-type situation like we got down here. Back in the world’s scariest democracy, most workers would be grateful for 20 minutes annual toilet-leave. Which is exactly how it should be. As Jesus always used to say, “If you’re looking for a handout, you’re in the wrong part of town.”

I have to admit, returning to the subject at hand, that it’s not really boring here. There’s plenty to do in New Zealand. Three things, to be precise. You can go for a walk and I forget the other two.

That’s what Jacquie and I wanted to do at the end of May. Forget. We went to Tairua. It had been a week since our last holiday. We were burned-out, exhausted from so much looking forward to our next holiday. It stayed sunny in Tairua long enough for us to unload the car. Then it rained for two days.

Heavy downpours caused the stream behind our bach to inundate the flood plain where cows sometimes graze. Not this time, but sometimes.

The water took five or six hours to drain into the Pacific overnight. No cows were injured in the incident.

We feared we might have to spend the entire week stuck inside, talking to each other. Maybe that’s the punishment we deserved for our hubris, for not expecting foul weather. After all, late autumn in the central north island tends to be rainy and chilly. Then we heard that the stream only breaks its banks once a year and we counted ourselves lucky to have picked the right week for this patently exciting event. Perhaps as a bonus we would also contract Dysentery.

But things returned to normal by the third morning. The weather turned warm and fine.

There's got to be a morning after/as long as there was a night before/All our holidays have been disasters/with a fitting movie score. (From The Poseidon Adventure theme.)

Thank goodness the flood spared our bach.

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky by noon and we could clearly see the distant mountains.

“It’s exactly like being in New York City,” I said.

“How do you mean?” Jacquie said.

“Look at those mountains and close your eyes.”

“Ok.”

“Now imagine that instead of mountains, there are buildings, and instead of lush vegetation, there are people.”

“Ok.”

“Now also imagine that you aren’t bored. You see? It’s just like being in New York City.”

The sun was busy warming the land. We could go on some hikes after all, further conversation averted! The only bummer was that the tracks would be muddy and we didn’t want to get our hiking shoes all mucked up. So instead of hiking we decided to take a tour of typical New Zealand baches around Tairua.

This bach belongs to NZ's eleventh wealthiest man. Locals say he's a refrigerator magnate.

This bach sits on 2,000 square meters of protected bush. A chastity belt marks its boundaries.

This is a tree house.

The next day we visited Broken Hills, a public park and the site of gold mines long defunct.

The day after that, we went to  Cathedral Cove.

The awesome Cathedral Cove. The nearby beach was covered in dried-out British tourists who would soon return to sea, carried out on the next tide.

Along the beach at Cathedral Cove. (Photo by Jacquie Matthews)

Cathedral Cove returned to its pristine state once the tide had swept away the last of the desiccated whinging poms. (Photo by Jacquie Matthews.)

A local entertainer used his hands and reflected sunlight to dazzle us with a free shadow puppet show. Here his intricate fingers create the illusion of a tree's silhouette. (Photo by Jacquie Matthews)

On the way back to the car from Cathedral Cove, we came across the remnants of an ancient Smurf Village.

If this is Amanita Muscaria, we're in trouble.

“Jacquie,” I said. “Look at that mushroom.”

“It’s beautiful.”

“Whatever you do, don’t eat it. It could be poisonous.”

“You’re not the boss of me.”

"Deeee-lish."

Seven minutes later…

"Are you feeling ok, honey?"

"Are you feeling. Ok, honey?"

"For your information, if you think you smell cow manure, it's probably just your upper lip. Just saying."

Seven hours later…

"That was incredibly dull."

And so our “adventure” came to a close. But the everlasting search for excitement continued. When we returned to Auckland we drove straight to the SPCA and adopted a cat.

His name is Sunny. He’s about one year old. That’s all for now. Later.