A lifetime ago, before irate parents could call their favourite radio stations at the drop of a hat (more on this later) I worked as a Kindergarten Assistant.
Even back then, some of the children mocked their peers because whereas they “had a wardrobe bursting at the seams”, the latter “always wore the same clothes”.
Then came the decision that children, even at pre-school age, would wear uniforms. Ironically, the parents of the Clothes Show gang were the first ones to call the radio stations to complain about the “extra expense” they were going to be put through.
Alas, for some of them, the real reason was that their perfect little angels would not be able to preen any longer because they would look “the same as the others” as one of them succinctly put it in a rant outside the school gates. “Children are individuals!” she said “so why are they being treated as if they were in the Army? If they don’t wear their nice clothes to school, when can they wear them?”
Many people would remember the story with references to the Young Pioneer Movement, which has hitherto free-spirited children having to wear a uniform (like that of their teacher) and being given sweets sent by the “Great Leader” – after prayers to God delivered nothing.
The reason that I do not like uniforms is that most of them they tend to be drab… and some of them are also ugly, itchy, and badly-designed… such as summer shirts for girls that are so flimsy that a waistcoat made from the same fabric as the skirt, guaranteed to keep the heat in, has to be worn.
Or how about socks in school colours that do not have turned-over tops, such that they slide down the legs as the child walks?
There are schools that go for distinctive, expensive uniforms as a touch of class. For reasons of their own, they even forbid parents who are excellent seamstresses to sew their children’s’ blazers.
For others, the reason is more practical. It is much easier to do a headcount of children wearing a bright yellow polo-shirt during a school outing, than it would be had they been wearing white shirts…exactly like those of four other schools in the same place on a school outing.
Many children who watch television shows depicting foreign schools complain that their peers in the equivalent of Saved By the Bell, Fame, Beverly Hills 90210, Smallville and The O.C. can get away with, literally, everything. Making a uniform mandatory would probably make the series less interesting, since the clothing of the students in these shows reflects their characters, anyway.
They fail to realise that what is depicted on the screen is not ”the truth” – surely no self-respecting head of School would allow bare midriffs, spaghetti straps and painted-on cycling shorts, or other provocative clothing.
This is not a case of a Head of School ripping loose hems of skirts that are too short, or making students go to the toilets to remove tights worn underneath knee-socks to fight the cold if they were not “exactly” flesh-coloured.
Wearing a uniform is part of the praxis of religious orders, the armed forces, and other groups that want to present a depiction of “organisation” and “discipline” to the world. This is only a part of what school uniforms represent, however.
Some of us resent the fact that uniforms may only be bought from selected outlets or from the schools themselves – especially if they are not made of good0-ality fabric and the only thing differentiating them from non-branded items is s logo that is sometimes just sewn on.
And yet, they solve the perennial what-shall-I-wear today problem, as well as indicating that a child is a part of a group with an innate sense of decorum and order.
It is a moot point whether a fail-safe dress code – no branded clothing, no jeans, no tracksuits, no visible cleavage, no stretch fabrics, covered shoulders, shorts up to the knees, no slogans of any kind (even religious ones) on t-shirts or sweater, no hoodies, no low-waisted trousers that expose underwear – would work.
It goes without saying that make-up, jewellery and piercings and non-sensible shoes will be forbidden, too.
There will always be that difference in how many different items of a type one has, and what quality they are, and whether they are new or obviously hand-me-downs. And there will always be students who assume that fashion shows and beauty contests are part and parcel of the educational system.
Ironically schools that boast they are progressive are all to ready allow children not to wear uniforms, just to prove their point, whereas the Malta Union of Teachers, in a memorandum to the political parties, has actually asked whether it is time to abolish them.
And then we have those who believe that the very wearing of a uniform is conducive to learning, because “a child in casual clothes is not in the right frame of mind to learn”. It is one less thing to worry about for school administrations. Alas, however, a uniform will not stop bullying.
One assumes that by the time the child is in tertiary education, his mind-set will be different.
At least, one hopes it will.

Death Watch

I had written two posts mentioning suicide.
I had hoped never to write another one.
But the recent sorry excuse for reportage – a pathetic hotchpotch of biased comments with concerted, subtle, yet vicious splotches of slut-shaming and vindictive, malicious comments and misinformation following articles, allowed to stand by newspaper editors who ought to know better, has put paid to that hope.
I may be wrong, but it seems to me that some murders and suicides that happen locally get more column space and extensive audio-visual media coverage than others. As a corollary, there is a national discussion by self-styled experts about whys and wherefores.
The media relies on the fact that its audience laps up inaccurate, oversimplified and potentially dangerous, sensationalised reports. I was perturbed at the words and out-of-context sound-bites dug out from statements.
In other sections of the press, we are told that bullying leads to suicide. However, nowhere have I seen it stated that mental manipulation, whether or not it is Gaslighting, may lead to a similar end for the victim. Neither have I seen links to helplines, except once, just in case copycat suicides are in the offing.
I am told that ‘journalists’, whatever that term means these days, have to stuck to fact and not offer opinion – that is the domain of bloggers and / or opinionated bitches like myself, and, apparently, the people who regularly trawl the virtual news-sites to leave their insidious, warped points of view for our delectation.
It is not easy to ‘know everything’ about something that happens. And yet, multifaceted issues are fed to us in drips and drabs, in a seemingly logical manner, in a bid to sway our judgements and mould our conclusions to match the agendas of those who have something to hide.
At this point, I have to ask many, many questions. If you knew your friend was shoplifting or doing drugs, or riding his motorcycle hell for leather without a crash helmet, would you shop him? Or would you not want to get involved, lest you be tarred with the same brush by ‘ignorant adults’?
If you assume it’s just a phase, or that it is not your business… would you, then, hide the fact that he was having sex with minor? If you thought he was a megalomaniac, or sociopath, psychopath, or any other kind of –path, whether or not he had a history of underlying mental illness would you seek help, or would you cover for him because “that is what friends do”, while secretly envying his stud-luck with the girls?
Because of course, there is only one thing worse for a girl than to be called a slut – and that’s to be called a prude. Still, alas, when a man and a child have sex, the man gets high-fives, but the girl loses respectability. Even when he, shudder, shock horror, expresses trepidation that he will be branded a paedophile.
If, on the other hand, someone told you that all of the above could precipitate a death because the person involved fell into an “at-risk category”…would you change your mind? Or would you shrug and say “shit happens?” ignoring the fact that the warning signs were there all the time?
If you had an acquaintance who always seemed sad, would you approach her? Now let’s take this point farther. If you had a friend who self-harmed because she was lonely, and felt excluded, would you ‘do something about it’, or would you assume she was showing off, or worse, that she was ‘in good hands’ because someone else had her back. Is it really possible for just one person to have anybody’s back, in these circumstances? Nobody in a position to do so has yet explained that suicide is not an automatic response to feelings of rejection, depression, anxiety, despair, and isolation.
The non-sheep of us have been hauled over the coals for pointing out that you do not fall from a height without breaking a limb or four; that you do not even consider the possibility of a suicide attempt failing; that you do not keep a kid out at night of you know she is listed as missing; that sexts of minors constitute child pornography; that a person’s Facebook wall is not usually removed by anyone except himself… and this cannot be done when you do not have access to it.
I chided a journalist for treating the death of Lisa Marie so flippantly and histrionically, and asked him whether he would have extracted the same quotes from a social site, had she been his little sister. He did not reply.
As part of the research for this article, I clicked a random photograph on “See who’s here” on Ask.fm. Just for the record, there is no need to have an account with the site, to do this. The very first, and only, ‘conversation’ I saw was “il-hara kemm nobodok / mur aqbez / omgzz / suwisajd”.
Is it possible that this kind of activity is ‘fun’? Healthy, and psychologically sound, it certainly is not.
Gossip feeds the voracious appetitive of idle minds; note the hullaballoo about L’Wren and Peaches Geldof, which may not, after all, have been a suicide but due to an extreme diet.
This spawns the disgusting phenomenon of writing schlock – in error-riddled English – to attract audiences.

Bite Your Tongue

My sister Carmen has been dead nearly 40 years – and, as I found out this morning, some would still like to know the cause of her demise. As of my reply would make any difference to their own lives, other than that of satisfying their curiosity.
I remember one particular incident when, on my way home, I was stopped in the street by a perfect stranger. She asked “Is your sister all right?” and I replied, as was truly the case, that she was at home, resting.
“Oh, that’s good,” this woman said. “Everyone is saying she is at death’s door.”
I froze, tongue-tied. As soon as I turned the corner, I threw up.
Whenever I mention this incident, the person to whom I am talking promptly relates a similar story; whether the incident involves their own sickness, or the medical condition or terminal illness of one of their loved ones.
With this in mind, I thought I’d not allow this nosey question to have been made in vain.
I contacted some like-minded friends, with whom I’m blessed, and together we compiled a list the précis is “if you keep your trap shut we’ll all think you’re a better person”.
1. If you notice that suddenly someone is much fatter, or thinner, than he used to be, do not make comments – unless he specifically tells you he intended to gain or lose weight. Never ask whether a woman is pregnant, or whether anyone is on a diet. There are diseases, as well as medications for them, that affect weight.
2. The same advice applies if you notice that someone’s hair is falling out, or that his skin colour is not healthy-looking. It is not sweet to make life bitter for others.
3. Do not mention illnesses and diseases, so that a person will open up about his. And if he does, do not trivialise it.
4. If someone tell you he is very ill, do not say “it happens”. If you are willing to help, make your offer immediately but do not tell a person not to die on you just yet.
5. Do not try to be fickle or jovial; unless this is the cue being given out by the sick person. On no account say “we all have to die”.
6. It is incredible, but there are actually people who ask “How long do you gave left?” Death does not come only through a terminal disease. Nobody, and nobody, I repeat, knows exactly how far how much longer he will live.
7. “What do I tell people who ask after you?” means that you will tell everyone a person is ill.
8. Refrain from mentioning anyone you know who had the same disease, even more so if they died young. And if the disease is cancer, do not count the family members who have died of it, on your fingers.
9. If an ill person tells you he is going on holiday, or shave off his hair, or going on holiday, ‘while the going is good’, do not be tempted to ask the person to think twice.
10. Do not tell a person you will go and see him in hospital; this assumes both that he will be bed-bound, and that he has pleasure in your company. Avoid the words jaħassra and miskina.

(Loose translation of http://www.inewsmalta.com/dart/20140419-li-gem-ilsienek )


Hey! Roughton!

He started. He was alone; yet he could have sworn that somebody had addressed him by his surname. On the other hand—he knew that had been on the point of dozing off. So it could have been a mouse scrabbling across the parquet.

What does a girl have to do to get noticed around here?

This time he was sure he’d heard correctly. The voice came from the portrait of Margaret Wilson, who was usually referred to as “The Martyr of Solway”.

That was the first time it had happened.

His was no ordinary job. It was a unique concept. A museum dedicated solely to portraits.

What he had not bargained for was that the portraits . . . talked! Talked, did I say? Well, actually, It was more like a zillion vibrations, reverberating through his brain.

Soon he learned how to discern what they intended to communicate, so they lowered their tone. In time, the portraits didn’t even whisper; he just heard them inside his head.

Van Gogh coughed, a grimace on his cadaverous face. It’s only humans here, isn’t it? We could do with a couple of Louis Wain’s cats. They would keep away the mice.

Napoleon snorted. Cats! Bleurg. Why not horses? Mine—Désirée, not Marengo or Vizir or any other one of them—Babieca, Dhūljānāh, Matsukaze, Bucephalus, Shadowless . . .

Why not write a book and make money out of all this? He would camouflage it as fiction—and sell it in the foyer.

And he did.

Dinja Għalija – Deni ta’ Żiemel


Mar 17, 2013 12:53

€2,000. U iva. Kemm tara mnejn se tikseb żiemel ieħor, u erġa’ ġib ruħek ta’ manigold ma’ kreatura li qed tqallgħek il-flus. Forsi mhux il-ħafna għax m’għadux moda daqskemm kien, il-karozzin…. Imma nsomma, xi ħaġa ddaħħal fil-but, għax kieku… kont tmur issib xogħol ieħor… jekk int kapaċi.
Ja ġifa. Bir-ragħwa ħierġa minn ħalqek, tballat kemm tiflaħ bl-addoċċ fuq ħolqien bħalek – annimal li bla ma jistħoqqlu, kien fdat f’idejk biex tieħu ħsiebu u tindokrah.
Ma jmissekx tistħi? Ma tafx li kieku kien kattiv bħalek – u kieku kien f’saħtu – daqqa biż-żewġ mingħandu kienet tħallik hemm, tal-kolp?
€2,000. Irringrazzja lill-Mulej – jekk bl-aġir moqżież tiegħek tista’ tgħid li temmen fiH – li ma kontx jien li qtajtlek is-sentenza. Għax kieku mal-multa kont inżid naqra ta’ penitenza ċkejkna… ġimgħa (biex ma nqażżiżiex u ngħid xahar), xogħol iebes fuq barra, xemx u xita, fuq ħobż xott biss, u ftit li xejn ilma… kemm kemm biex idduq ftit minn dak li ġiegħelt liż-żiemel jgħaddi minnu.

The Grief of Life


Sobbing through the night
Tiny slave girl, working hard
Bought for a pittance.

Party till you drop;
Drink, drugs, sex are all you have
Your life is empty.

A child on crutches,
Soldiers bleeding, houses bombed…
Images of war.

Photograph album;
Children in an orphanage;
Who’ll be adopted?

Hush don’t fuss and fret
Mother has new lover now;
Baby’s needs come last.

Turned out of the house;
Dad’s new girlfriend’s just moved in;
She will not share him.

Wife stays, though she knows
The other woman’s pregnant,
With her husband’s child.

Screaming in silence;
Sold her soul for wealth and fame…
Poor little rich girl.

Caught in the middle,
Bitter feud between parents;
Being made to choose.

Guests did not turn up;
Birthday party that fell flat;
Nobody loves her.

Dirty clothes on chairs;
Unwashed plates piled in the sink;
Scenes of loneliness.

I Am The Hunchback In the Park

Yesteryear’s park is today’s Social Sites. I sit, alone, in the crowd. Between my screen and my chair. Inside my room Away from the rest of the family. Under the same roof.
I Am The Hunchback In the Park.
Fast food. Take-away pizza. Hissing my name through the letter-box: Mister, Mister. Slurping cola from a covered cup, through a straw Nestled between the melting ice-cubes. Delivered within fifteen minutes Because sixteen would make it free.
I know everyone. I am friends with no one. Not alone, but lonely yet. Today’s Hunchback In the Park. Careless cruelty isolates me.
People taunt me, because I am not perfect. Therefore, I close my account on Friendation – And open another one Under a new identity. And await the friending requests To roll in for my new flawless persona. It does not pay to be sincere. Till they do I conjure up new friends. Perfect ones. Surreal ones.
I Am The Hunchback In the Park.
Moreover, sinister people pretend they are Who they are not And hide Who they are. Reality and imagination meet and intertwine. I may as well be a broken statue in the graveyard Or a nameless tramp under a bridge.
Age, gender, race, orientation, looks… Who knows? Who cares? I am the nameless hunchback in the park. I am the nameless person in front of the laptop.

Beware of the Message!

Teens tend to call anyone they meet on-line a “friend”.
More than enough has been said about the perils of this – how the lovely young lady who is so keen to help your daughter with her Italian homework is really an aging, balding, Macintosh-clad Lothario who would be grooming her for online exploitation.
Today, however, we will be focusing on another facet of “friendships” – the ones where contacts have their accounts hi-jacked by third parties, who then go on to ask your children for money, while pretending they have found themselves in dire circumstances.
The other day, a friend of mine had barely left my house, when I received an e-mail purportedly from her.
My Dear Tanja (and she had never addressed me like this before!)
I really hope you get this fast. Am in a really bad and terrible state right now, I traveled with my family to Manila Philippines for Holiday and Tour but unfortunately we misplaced our wallet and cell phones on our way back to the hotel we lodge in after we went for sight seeing. The wallet contained all the valuables we had. Now, our passport is in custody of the hotel management pending when we make payment.
I am sorry if i am inconveniencing you, but i have only very few people to run to now. i will be indeed very grateful if i can get a loan of $2,000 from you. this will enable me sort our hotel bills and take a cab to the Airport. I will really appreciate whatever you can afford in assisting me with. I promise to refund it in full as soon as I return. let me know if you can be of any assistance. Please, let me know soonest.
This particular friend and I have been buddies since we were in single number ages; I know that her English is perfect. Besides, since we live in Europe, we use British English – and this e-mail was in American English.
It was clear that whoever had hijacked her e-mail address book was sending long-shots haphazardly. They could not have known that we are “real life” friends and not merely “virtual” ones.
It got weirder from there.
On spec, I shot back an e-mail saying “I am worried. Call Me”, using a shortened form of her name that she absolutely hates. I waited.
Quick as a flash, the reply came back. Sure enough, it was signed as though by her, with the moniker she detested.
Am so glad you replied back,I can’t call or receive calls here because the hotel management would not allow me have access to any of their phone facility which is the reason why i need you to help me,You can have it wired to my name via any Western Union Outlet around you….. I’ll have to show my passport as ID to pick it up here and i promise to pay you back as soon as I get back home hopefully today.
Again, I noted that the syntax and spelling left much to be desired; and besides, there was also a different return e-mail address from the one in the previous e-mail. This, of course, would ensure that any monies would get directly to the perpetrator of the scam, even if the real owner of the original address would meanwhile have twigged about the potential swindle.
There followed the person’s name and address (which I was supposed to know anyway) and an address, with the ‘order’:
Here is my info where you will wire the money to:
The address, for what it’s worth, was:
Block 26 st Joseph Village Trece Materez
Manila Philippines
Out of curiosity, I put this in a search engine, and it came up, with a slightly different spelling as a House for Sale, as is often the case. Nobody would be living in this vacant property, so it would be relatively easy to crack open the letter box and steal the mail… hopefully, a handful of cheques-in-the-post if enough people decided to cough up without verifying whether the original mail was genuine!
There was even more. Of course.
As soon as it has been done, kindly get back to me with the western union confirmation number… Let me know if you are heading to the Western Union outlet now…
Oh, yes. These people did not even know that I live in a different time zone, and that it was around midnight when they asked me to inform them whether I was headed out the door.
Meanwhile, I called my friend and told her to change all her e-mail addresses and social sites passwords, which she immediately did.
I found it amusing that after she had told me they needed money to get home, she was apparently suddenly in the black again, with enough cash to return home and pay me back as soon as she got there. So, I ask myself, why was it that she was not allowed to access her own bank accounts if she had the money to pay off whatever debts she had incurred in her place of lodging?
The plot behind this dodge was a sieve.
I have been told that such letters, when formulated to be addressed to teens, will contain slang words and expressions such as “Mom’ll kill me”, to make them sound more authentic.
Please warn your teens that sob stories like these are barefaced lies, meant to skim money off them with no chance of redress.

Welcome to Nirvana

I cannot tell the difference between American politicians in red soccer gear and those in blue baseball gear. Besides, I am apolitical, so I take whatever they say at face value, not because they belong to this persuasion or the other party.
All I can say is that since America is a little larger than Malta, they have ample opportunities to learn from us, and then, perhaps inevitably since they are politicians, expound upon ‘our’ mistakes and pepper them with Americanisms.
We all know what happens when you pass something through non-human translators, and then render it back to its original language. The chances are that it’s the same when Maltese politicians look at the result of their original actions, and try to shrink them back to Maltese dimensions.
Let us therefore, just in time for the Local Council Elections campaign, examine the wonderful opportunities that are simply waiting to be set into motion locally.
Random Example # 1: Anthony Federico showed off his knowledge of idiom and used the expression “Chink in the armor”. The only snag is that he used it in connection with New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, who is, in fact, Chinese.
Federico said he did not make the connection; and yet the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) fired him because the connection was deemed racist and derogatory.
Since foreigners playing for Maltese teams locally tend to be African or European, rather than Chinese, our witty politicos will have to think, instead, of all the place-names in Malta which can be used in both English and Maltese puns. At a pinch, there are also idioms that mention specific towns and villages that could be used to great effect.
Random Example #2: Newt Gingrich took his foot out of his mouth long enough to state “…If the NAACP [ National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] invites me, I’ll go to their convention and talk about why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.” Here, it is being assumed that only black people rely on food stamps. Rather as if, in Malta, only black people are irregular immigrants.
Black people in Malta tend to be refugees and, according to so me,  we are fully aware of their plans to take over the nation and get voted into Parliament and then… what? But we can also have another take on this story and focus the spotlight on single parents – or rather, single mothers, instead. Are they not the only people who play the welfare system locally? After all, we all know, don’t we, that in this fair land, there are no single mothers who work diligently to provide their offspring with money that comes out of a pay check from a white-collar job, do we not? And no ex-husband ever leaves his job and files for  bankruptcy or goes on Unemployment Benefit so as not to be able to afford alimony. And I am the Queen of Sheba.
Random Example #3: A “Food Police Officer” decides that a child’s brown paper bag lunch is “a fail”. She is told (yes, told) that she must eat chicken nuggets (MRM? So what?) to bring the meal up to scratch. Now when an adult says that your mother did something wrong, it is already something terrible. But this incident is also about how a brown bread turkey-and-cheese sandwich, a banana, and a few crisps, and a carton of apple juice did not qualify as a healthy lunch.
Jani Kozlowski, the fiscal and statutory policy manager for the Division of Child Development, said that in fact, the lunch would have covered the protein, grain and dairy regulations obtaining in the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; it is stipulated that a meal must include a vegetable or a fruit, and not necessarily both.

Did I mention that parents would have to pay for anything the child is given? So, let’s all give out schoolchildren ‘healthy’ breakfasts. Sugar-laden cereal, colourful milkshakes, and prepared fruit salad in corn syrup ought to suffice. Wait. This has already happened once or twice; but it’s not polite to look a gift horse in the mouth, is it?
Random Example #4: Women are sometimes careless about their (sexual) health, and forgo visits to the clinic. Not because it’s a question of time, or money, but because they just cannot be bothered to check out every single pain or discharge. And besides, random partners make for more UTIs and STDs and unwanted pregnancies. The solution is simple: just mandate that everyone is covered for everything – mammograms, gestational diabetes, birth control, breast-feeding support, smear tests, HPV shots,  and even, if needs must – because “accidents happen” – all FDA approved birth control methods, which include “the morning-after pill”.
Oh, joy. As a corollary, this would, by some marvellous reckoning of logic, (eventually) do away with the other type of spongers and scroungers; deadbeat dads who never give their partner enough money to get by, let alone have something extra for health checks.

So what if some types of birth control methods are known to trigger certain conditions? So what if certain strata of the population do not use contraception because their lifestyle makes it unnecessary? Like the aforementioned sugar- and fat- and additive-laden breakfasts, it’s “free”.
Or is there no such thing as a free lunch?

Santa’s Blog 6

Friday, December 11, 2009, 10:27 by
Santa Claus
She caught me practicing in front of the mirror. I am going to be the star turn at… (Ah! that would be an unpaid advertisement…). But the Missus says that my career as a stand-up comic is over before it’s begun.
I don’t agree. These’ll sleigh them for sure and all:
What do reindeer have that no other animals have? Baby reindeer. What do the reindeer sing to Father Christmas? Freeze a jolly good fellow. What does Santa get at Christmas? Santapplause. Who delivers presents to baby sharks at Christmas? Santa Jaws! Why does Father Christmas have three gardens? So he can ho ho ho. How do you make a slow reindeer fast? Don’t feed it. What do they call Santa Claus in Australia? Sandy Claus. Why did Rudolph wear sunglasses at the beach? He didn’t want to be recognised. Why do reindeer have fur coats? Because they would look silly in Macintoshes. What do you call a reformed burglar? Saint Nick.
She said I sound silly. Well, frankly I would rather sound silly than look it. Not that I mean anything by that, of course, but, for example, let us imagine someone who likes to cook, well, stuff.
Today, this person who shall not be named decided that breakfast for us would be something called supoesi. It sounds like some kind of exotic soup, the word does, and that is exactly what it is supposed to be. A hot soup that is traditionally eaten for breakfast in Samoa, made from coconut cream and pawpaw (did I tell you that They sent us a box of tins of coconut cream that are nearing their expiry date?).
Instead of cereal, this morning we had fausi – traditionally it’s made from dasheen, but tell me where we are getting it at this time of the year. So she made it from pumpkin… and, you guessed it, served it with a caramelised coconut cream sauce. You lick your fingers after you eat it not because it’s good, but because it’s sweet and sticky. This is one experiment I did not like.
Nothing silly about cooking Samoan food, you might say. Oh no. But imagine wearing a lava-lava in winter. To get into the spirit, she says. I would have thought we ought to be getting into the Christmas Spirit, actually, not be South Sea spectres. Think pareo. Think sarong. Think gooseflesh.
At this point, I recalled the Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner? of The Simpsons – the one where Homer is a restaurant critic with Lisa as his ghost-writer. The French chef concocts an éclair dripping with chocolate so dark that light cannot escape. It has over one million calories, 25 pounds of butter per square inch… and a dash of poison. The dénouement is that he didn’t eat it after all because someone told him it was low-fat.
I guess I must thank my lucky stars that she didn’t go the whole hog – or rather, the less delectable portions of the sea slug. The drink, called Sea for some obscure reason, is made from the innards of this creature. If push came to shove, I’d rather have Kava, made from the ground roots of pepper plants… with a mild tranquilising effect.