Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Or, Calling All Weird-Word Whizbangers!

By Adrian Air-of-Sleet, a pleasure-seeking, mandolin-playing, maroon-hairpiece sort of fellow who enjoys Italian weddings, spelling bees, and the Calgary Stampede

While I was perusing several dog-eared magazines hanging from the racks of a 24-hour convenience store in the middle of a peculiar place named Billy Butts Pond, my enlightenment bulb went off.

Curious as to why this power of positive thinking outage had occurred, I put on my think-and-do cap in order to gain a new perspective on this perplexing problem.

I ascertained from the rather bleak-looking Canadian landscape around me that this ghastly glitch probably had something to do with being shipwrecked on a prominent piece of geography, (affectionately known as “The Rock”). Situated smack dab between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean, the province of “Newfoundland”, (as it's called by folks "from away"), is home to a few fishy characters who reside in odd outposts of humanity such as Ass Hill, Bareneed, and Dildo.

Now I know what it must have been like to live as my Celtic ancestors must have done in the “Dark Ages” ...you know... no flipping access to the Internet, i-pods, and personal digital assistants, not to mention vampire video games and vapid virtual reality TV shows.

With precious little to do while waiting for Godot to show up, I decided to organize and host a "Twisted-Tongue Tournament" for the locals and any aliens who happened to be in the vicinity.

The purpose of the challenge was to light a fire under everyone. Well come to think of it, by asking them to consider pairing animal names with human characteristics in order to give birth to a new set of beasts, we had the makings of party which "Newfies" adore as I found out. (This seemed like a good idea at the time, as there was no zoo let alone any pet-friendly, non-pooping, robotic animals in the blinking place).

So here are a few of the submissions received by the judges:

Bedspring Peeper – a naughty tree toad that refuses to turn into a Prince at midnight

Boo-Hoo Gnu – an ugly, unhappy ungulate that doesn’t stand a hope in hell of retiring to a stud farm thank you very much

Buffelope – a bare essentials, breast-beating beast with no hang-ups about the naked truth (see Scantelope)

– a stout, hopelessly clumsy, winged creature that has difficulty with takeoffs and landings

Bush-Twit – a timid Texan titmouse

Chumpanzee – not your average high-flying jungle bunny

Cramanatee – a gormandizing golf-ball eater that lives in well-manicured lawns full of little holes with flagpoles sticking out

D'orca – a fashion-conscious killer whale

Ficklefish – a two-timing Piscean with an unhealthy attachment disorder

Gemsbloke – a large, young buck with lots of bling bling

Gussy Uppy
– a gold-plated guppy that adds a little sparkle to any boring aquarium tank

Hypopotamus – a short-legged, thick-skinned, under-performing vegetarian with limited bench-pressing abilities

Jokel – An Old World dog with a wicked sense of humor and lots of tricks up his sleeve

Kingflasher – a big name bird whose crests and crowns never quite cover his breast and tail discretely

Mongooser – a flat-witted, feisty-footed, posterior-pinching paramour of unknown origin

Pantelope – a graceful, butt-crack beast that lives in elevators and rides a bike to work

– a toilet-trained, duck-billed devil from Tasmania

– a fleet-of-foot, bare-all buxom beast (whose revealing exploits are chronicled in the best-selling naturist book, “What Really Went On Behind the Scenes in the Garden of Eden”)

Screech fowl – a breath-taking barnyard beast that hasn’t learned when to keep his/her trap shut

Screwupworm – a two-winged whimsical creature that nuzzles in the nostrils of nobodies as lackadaisical larva do, and then promptly engages in some serious botching activities (often with incredibly bewildering if not totally blundering results)

Scuzzard – a dirty, contemptible, shabby-looking vulture with a bad case of halitosis (but good enough to grab the spotlight as the mellow muddle-headed mascot on a u-brew beer label)

Slack Widow – a spiteful, supine, and very venomous Old World Spiderwoman

Springblotch – a clean, youthful, four-footed freak of nature that makes a mess of everything

Swelldish – a pleasant-looking puffer that makes one blush at first glance and then blurt out some silly stuff that one later regrets

Swilldebeest – a swashbuckling species that rarely count its drinks and eats freely, greedily or to excess if given the least opportunity

Titter Sucker – a boisterous bawling bird with a tipsy tongue (commonly found in Canadian wet bars)

Too-Too Titi – a la-di-da little scamp with three redeeming characteristics: a long tail, hairy underarms, and a penchant for communal living

Whopping Crane – a large, white, nearly extinct American bird with a long neck that beats its breast to patriotic tunes, flaps its wings to intimidate scarecrows, and yells “Cowabunga” at the top of its lungs for no apparent reason at at all

Willeye – a good-natured, willing-ready-and-able creature that spends most of its futile life swimming blissfully around in something called "quality-improvement circles"

So, if you end up in a hole-in-the-wall-place and lose your power of positive thinking – don’t forget to organize a titillating twisted-tongue tournament. It’ll do wonders to motivate the mummers, bring out the wonky wordpeckers who inhabit every nook and cranny, not to mention extend a warm welcome to some very odd-ball strangers.


For a bird's eye view of "The Rock" (Newfoundland) and where to find it on a map -- use one of your delightful digits you silly, little ding-a-ling. (Hint: it's the purple spot on the right hand side of the following on-line map of Canada...which is home to beavers, bugs, and the Barenaked Ladies... as opposed to "Newfoundland" which is home to bagpipes, beer, and far too many barnacles. So do check it out: http://listingsca.com/maps.asp

For a whale of a time, check out the wild wildebeests that behold you on a visit to "The Rock" -- http://www.wildlands.com/

Incidentally, the best place to snack on cute-looking cod tongues, visit "Blue on Water" (a boutique downtown hotel and stylish restaurant in the heart of St. John's Newfoundland). http://www.wildlands.com/

And if you can't make it all the way to Nippers Harbour or Lushes Bight on the north coast of "The Rock", high-tail it down to famed George Street in St. John's (dubbed the "booziest block" in Canada). Also, do drop by "O'Reilly's Pub (say hello to owners Brenda O'Reilly and Craig Flynn). http://www.oreillyspub.com/calendarframe.htm

Maybe Flynn will don his floppy fisherman's hat and perform the popular "Screech-In" ceremony for those who "come-from-away". And if you need an official certificate of authenticity to say you've consumed a bit of rum-tiddly-pum, email: themarketingdepartment@nfliquor.com or visit: http://www.nfliquor.com/products/screechstory.asp (for a complete history of SCREECH -- the local liquid asset that leaves one in a light-hearted if not lubricious state of mind ready to the do limbo (at the drop of a wet hat or a wet fish, whichever happens first).

In a nutshell, it goes like this:

"Is you a Newfoundlander Screecher?" -- he asks.

"Indeed I is, me ol cock (my old friend)." -- you reply.

"Long may your big jib draw." -- he says (and we'll keep you guessing on that one!)

Then, what is required is that the guest "from away" munch on a small hunk of baloney, toss back a shot of screech (a local alcoholic beverage that warms the belly fast), and, to seal the deal one must kiss a cod. (It's frozen so it can be presereved for just such occasions). And for the folks who are wondering about whether everyone kisses the same curious-looking cod? It gets washed occasionally with a bit of brine (like any fashionable piece of fishing attire or gear designed by a Newfie).


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