Wednesday, December 21, 2005

One of our penguins is missing

For the past two days the radio and TV news bulletins have been dominated by the shocking and tragic news that a baby penguin has been stolen from a zoo on the Isle of Wight, according to the bulletins the baby penguin will die unless its returned to its parents, who incidently are also penguins.

This issue raises important questions that remain unanswered, mainly because no-one has the balls to stand up and ask them,

I will now ask them...

1. Why do TV and radio news people seem to think that the British public should be saturated with this sort of news item? On a day when gay "weddings" become legal, a suspect for the failed bombings of the 21/7 is arrested, and the Saddam Hussein trial has recommenced, all of the British media outlets are busy focusing their mock horror that the baby penguin will die if it is not fed soon.

We now learn that the penguin has a name, Toga, and its parents are called Kayala and Oscar, presumably some journo has interviewed the parents at length as we also learn that they are "pining for their baby" and have not eaten since it was stolen on saturday, a penguin keeper at the zoo tearfully pleaded "please return Toga to his mother for his first xmas, because if you don't, then it won't be" (quote from the Daily Mail). Its all good stuff.

I cannot help but cynically note that in the build-up to xmas this story has an ideal "awww" factor rating around the 98% mark, and will I be surprised when the absent young penguin turns up safe and well on xmas eve - no I won't be surprised. Even more cynically I note that the latest film release at the cinema is "March of the Penguins", a film which features, erm, well, penguins marching - any connection there then ???

2. Just how easy would it be to catch a penguin from inside its pen ? All of the penguins I have seen in zoos live in concrete enclosures with the concrete painted white to trick the penguin into thinking that its really back home in the Antarctic, they shit on the white concrete a lot and it all looks very slippery, which if course helps the penguin to think its standing on ice and not concrete, in fact if the concrete could be made to be cold all the time then the illusion would be complete.

So who would willingly go into a shitty, slippery, cold and wet enclosure just to nick a baby penguin?

Presumably some sort of mad deranged parent who has been insanely pressurized by their children to get them a penguin for xmas, I can just imagine the scene now ...

"What do you want santa to bring you for xmas darling ?"
"A penguin"
"Are you sure ?"
(turns to husband)
"She wants a penguin"
"I'll pop down the zoo tomorrow, they might have some"

Yes, it would happen just like that, the penguin will now be wrapped up in foil xmas printed wrapping paper with a red bow around it, waiting under the tree for the child to open on xmas day, by which time it will be dead and the nation will be weeping and wailing onto its xmas turkey dinner while a newsreader announces to the nation that there is no news on the missing penguin baby and it must surely be dead by now.

3. What games do you play with a penguin, whether live or dead ?

How would any sane parent think that having a penguin in the house would be of educational or emotional value to a child ?

Penguins eat dead fish, well actually they don't, they eat live fish in the wild but its easier for the zoos to feed them dead fish, they shit a lot and they swim a lot and they quack occasionally, not like a duck quacks but a more raucous penguin quack, the zoo people in the daily Mail article said that they bray not quack, but that is quite ridiculous as everyone knows that its donkeys that bray.

So there we have it, this country now holds its breath while the news media broadcast at half hourly intervals, the penguins days are apparently numbered but I confidently predict that we will be rejoicing by xmas eve.

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