A study in Irony

Hi All,

As I alluded to in Wednesdays post this will be Post 1 in a series of gutter posts. If you spend as much time walking dogs as we do you tend to be well versed in gutters and their foibles. If you walk strong dogs you might even get dragged into gutters occasionally and if you live in Tasmania you usually get to see more than your fair share of rubbish laying in these gutters. After Bezials recent attempt to break the world parkour record (and failed epically mind you) I found myself walking Earl myself and pounding the gutters alone. I was on my way home from one of my recent solo ventures when I picked up a coke zero bottle from the gutter as a token prize for Earl when he got home to take his mind off the tastiness of our leather sofas. Up until now we haven’t had too much trouble with Earl and the sofa’s but you never know…better safe than sorry and so if we plant to head out into the garden for an extended period of time (which spring tends to bring out in us…) we like to provide Earl with something other than the cushions of our sofa to exercise his teeth on. Plastic soft drink bottles (yes…here in Australia we call them soft drinks…you may titter now my dear constant American readers…) are one of Earl’s favourite things to while away time left abandoned and alienated from his pack. Bezial is still there but he is usually too busy sulking about his own abandonment to want to play with Earl so keeping Earls mandibles occupied is a reasonable precautionary measure. As I picked up the coke bottle I noticed that it contained an empty snickers bar wrapper. I thought to myself “how ironic that someone was drinking coke zero and in some alternate universe thought that this was going to negate the calories from the snickers bar?!”… I then got to thinking about irony and how it should really be my middle name…”Frances Irony Pimblett”…


This is the coke zero bottle that spawned this post

The irony is that this coke bottle symbolifies so very much that our society is kidding itself about. “If you eat broken Tim-tams (a most delicious chocolate Australian biscuity version of crack cocaine…) and drink them with diet coke you won’t put on any calories… who are we kidding?! The diet industry has us panicking about anything that we put in our mouths…supported by the dieticians and food scientists that constantly elevate foods to “superfood status” and then pull the rug out from under them by finding out that they cause cancer or that rats that ate them had spasms or developed terrible twitching habits. How many people spend a fortune buying “diet” and “lite” versions of foods only to find out that what they are putting in their mouths is ironically packing on the pounds! As I looked at the coke zero bottle in my hand and tried to keep Earl from stealing it from me I noticed the shape of the bottle…subliminal advertising folks! Have you ever looked at a coke zero bottle? It has a waist! It also has little indented lines that give it an even more sylph like appearance…the irony here is that we have just been told that diet products are actually causing people to put on weight. If the bottle I was holding in my hand was any indicator of the truth the anonymous consumer who hurled their bottle out the window and gave me pause for thought had just mixed more than metaphors and had obviously arrived at allowing themselves to eat a snickers bar because they had accompanied it with a diet soft drink. Aside from the chemical cocktail that coke zero contains this person had consumed more than they obviously would have if they had chosen a regular coke OR a snickers and this is where it gets a bit hazy…people who choose “diet” and “lite” and “fat free” equivalents appear to be eating and drinking more because of this implied negation of calories.


Note the “waist” it would give Barbie a run for her money…

Who doesn’t remember Alanis Morissette and her wonderful anthem to “bollocks”…” Ironic”. I swear people have written entire doctoral thesis on this album and the song could more accurately be titled “Sardonic” but it certainly made us sit up and take notice of a woman scorned (and think twice about flaunting your newfound happiness Uncle Joey!). If you have been living under a rock or in a dark cave for the last 40 years here is a Youtube link to Alanis singing her pain ridden angst out of a bad relationship…


I have to say that Alanis certainly had a lot of character back then ;).


Someone is getting impatient with me taking photos of “his” coke bottle!

So many ironies…so little time! One of my own personal ironies is that I am possessed of an adventurous soul that would love to drop everything and race off to Morocco to wander the Moroccan tundra’s (or whatever approximates tundra’s in Morocco) and find my inner narf. I indulge my soul by finding things out…by learning everything that I can and I have completely taken to heart the theory that learning keeps you mentally young. The irony is that my soul might be experimental however it gets regularly squashed by my head that is purely practical and my inner mouse that tends to run scurrying for the nearest hole whenever an adventure is at hand. I love my creature comforts…my bed…my own little box and my happy little mindless routines that help me to feel safe and hurling myself into the unknown holds nothing but terror for at least 2/3rd of my being. The other 1/3rd is going to just have to learn to be happy with this life that I lead because Morocco is nowhere on the horizon.

Coke started out with a special ingredient…cocaine (hence the name). Steve was watching a television program on Drugs and how policing drug sales and use is a futile experiment. It listed all kinds of designer drugs that are actually completely legal and able to be sold and drug dealers are one step ahead of legislation and the police with all kinds of little tweaks to their chemical cocktails that will allow them to be sold Willy-nilly to their enthusiastic audiences of people willing to experiment with their lives. One of them was sold as a plant food and another one was registered as an alloy wheel cleaner…I ask you…people who are willing to ingest something that is designed to clean alloy wheels must be made of different stuff to the rest of us! Who would take a risk like that when it came to their lives?! It would seem that most of Scotland and a goodly percentage of our youth and people living on the poverty line in slums the world over would… that’s who. Why could they care less about their lives? Because their lives are filled with fear, uncertainty, physical, mental and spiritual poverty and they stone cold suck THAT is why. A little bit of chemical happiness is just the ticket because the world is stark and horrible and full of failure and the inability to find a way to succeed…that’s why we have drug problems. The irony in it all is that the jails are full of the poor. There aren’t a lot of wealthy cocaine users languishing in prison cells…the prisons are chock full of people who got caught smoking crack cocaine, making their own chemical cocktails of happiness and it would seem that happiness is more addictive than crack because these people keep taking incredible risks to get that “high” no matter what the cost. The complete irony is that this war is NEVER going to be won until the real reason why people keep turning to drugs is dealt with… when your life sucks…you will find an out…drugs are an out on steroids. Give people back hope… give them back a chance at a life…give them back a home, and a sense of dignity and family, a neighbourhood worth living in…good healthy food and a chance to work and experience how beneficial it can be to have a purpose and the rate of drug usage will fall. I guarantee it :o)


10c is nothing to sniff at when you are a child who has spent their pocket money and the highway is littered with bottles. Supervised groups of children could make a fair bit of money in Tasmania!

Another little irony of the coke bottle is that only 1 of our Australian states and territories has woken up to a fantastic way to keep their roads and highways clear of recyclables. South Australia (home of the Earl) kept bottle deposits and returns long after all of the other states and territories ceased offering money on the return of glass and plastic bottles. I dare say it would be hard to find a discarded glass or plastic bottle in South Australia because 10c is 10c folks and 10 of them is a dollar… collect a carton of them and you are halfway to buying yourself another bottle of soft drink. If you can offer someone a reward at the end of their mindless consumption that results in their hip pocket being a little bit fatter along with an pat on the back and an environmental “tick” for their efforts you are most of the way to eliminating wanton rubbish disposal. I remember when you could return a bottle to the place that you purchased it and you got money. I also remembered that the scouts used to wander the highways with the scout leaders and bottles were a good source of fundraising without having to constantly hassle poor long suffering mum’s for “more cakes please mum”. Fitness and free money…what more could a child want? Maybe the real reason why Australians are getting more obese has nothing to do with junk food and everything to do with how we no longer wander the streets searching for deposit return bottles! It’s a theory…it hasn’t been disproved… There was some talk about using this scheme once more in Tasmania to try to quell the rubbish thrown out of people’s car windows. They mentioned that the 10c return would have to be reflected in a 10c increase in price but who would notice 10c on a bottle of soft drink that already costs $3.00 in most convenience stores? Bring it on I say!


Waiting for permission to get stuck into his coke zero bottle…I sometimes think that Earl gets more pleasure out of the outside of a softdrink bottle than most people get out of the contents 😉

The final irony of the coke bottle is that I will head down into the gutter to pick them up in the first place. People drive past me carrying my collection of soft drink bottles and smile…I can actually feel them thinking “good on her! At least someone is trying to tidy up Australia”… the irony is that I am only collecting these soft drink bottles to feed to my dog to stop him from eating the furniture. I get to bask in the reflected glory of my wonderful deeds when in reality I am just satisfying my own need to still have furniture to sit on at the end of the day. Whatchagonnado eh dear constant readers? Have a great rest of your weekend and normal blog post services will be resumed on Wednesday where we will talk less about irony and a whole lot more about Serendipity Farm :o)


All I have to do is fish out the snickers wrapper and the rest of the bottle is recyclable…Earl obviously doesn’t like coke zero… I think that Earl needs all of the calories that he can get! 😉


Finally we have someone who could snip one of those coke bottles in half in a second with that big beak. A baby yellow tailed black cockatoo who has just been coaxed out of his nest by his parents with the promise of hakea nuts. Steve took this shot just outside our back door today.

24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. brymnsons
    Dec 01, 2012 @ 20:24:10

    Hi Fran, I’m on to your Saturday post so have caught up.
    Remember we are Leos and that is out adventurous side, but we were born
    in the year of the Rabbit, this is why we crave our little safe place 🙂
    I can remember my brothers collecting drink bottles after the movie at the
    drive in. This was a great way to earn their pocket money. Imagine if Earl got
    to drink a bottle of coke zero? I dread to think. Lovely photo of the cockatoo,
    how cute. Not a bite from his beak though, so glad I’m not a nut on a tree 😀


  2. rabidlittlehippy
    Dec 01, 2012 @ 21:40:34

    I read something the other day about where Aspartame, the artificial sweetener used in diet drinks, comes from. It’s poo from E. Coli that has been fed petroleum products! Gross huh. And yes, I’ve also heard that it makes you fat. No irony there right? But eating broken biscuits IS a calorie free way to eat them cos the calories always fall out of the broken ones! 😉 I’ll pass on Tim Tams though (yes, I’m unAustralia and no, I don’t put sauce (ketchup) on my hot chips either).
    As for paid recycling, I think it’s brilliant! I remember helping my dad collect softdrink cans and taking them to be recycled too. Never earned enough to make it worthwhile sadly. Would have been worth it for us kids but it was Dad doing the hard yakka squashing all the cans. I agree though, it’s a shame there isn’t a tangible incentive to recycle. As much as saving the planet is worthy and important and all that (and I recycle purely because of that) but if you wave money under peoples noses, it gets their attention.


  3. tiffany267
    Dec 02, 2012 @ 15:34:12

    Thanks for a brilliantly written blog post. Your combination of impeccably noted ironies is simply beautiful, especially with the illustrations featuring your dog.

    What a shame that we are paying more and more for gasoline (yes…here in the United States we call it gasoline …you may ‘titter’ now my dear foreign blogger…) while simultaneously manufacturing millions of petroleum-based plastic bottles for Coke Zero which will at best become dog toys and at worst sit by the side of the road. I guess no one noticed that we’re running out of petroleum since it’s not a renewable resource. I suppose one day once it’s too late Coke will go back to glass bottles, which incidentally people used to return to the store to be recycled. Earl would have to find a different toy, though.

    Liked and followed.


    • narf77
      Dec 03, 2012 @ 05:19:24

      Thank you for that lovely comment and you just made my 100th follower! That means that Steve has to now make one of his wonderful hand made wooden spoons from native Tasmanian wood that we are going to give away to one commenter over the next couple of weeks. You can comment if you would like to win the spoon…congratulations on being my 100th follower…I feel like I should give you a ticker-tape parade or something 😉


  4. christiok
    Dec 03, 2012 @ 05:53:38

    Wonderful post, Fran! I love Gutter Post 1 and look forward to many others from your walks. And I totally relate about loving being home. I can feel your adventurous spirit wanting to see every place, AND the reality of loving our hobbit holes too much to leave. “Inner narf” LOL 🙂 Keith read this post — I printed it out because he hates to read on the computer and I wanted him to read this one because he LOVES Coke and has recently “quit” for awhile — and he said, “Men basically see women’s waistlines everywhere.” No wonder he loves Coke so. Oh, and congratulations on the 100th follower! (I want that spoon:)


    • narf77
      Dec 03, 2012 @ 06:02:28

      Lol…We owe you a spoon anyway Christi… Steve has been flat out with studies and now the end is just about in sight he has taken some hand selected beautiful Acacia melanoxylon (Blackwood) from the property (so you will be stirring with part of Serendipity Farm) and he will be making 2 spoons :). I will personalise your one specially 🙂


  5. christiok
    Dec 03, 2012 @ 06:10:02

    What fun!!!!!! We are both blown away. THANK YOU! The idea of stirring our hobbit hole porridge with part of Serendipity Farm enchants me.:)


  6. thinkingcowgirl
    Dec 03, 2012 @ 22:18:37

    Oh my, the deeply complicated world of selling (bad) stuff to the hapless consumer. If I was a conspiracist I’d imagine a big round table – we’re not talking noble knights here – where the people sitting round it would be dreaming up new ways to part us from our money. ‘Hahaha!’ they’d say, evilly, ‘let’s tap in to the peoples’ weakest place, their rapacious need and greed, their monkey ways and desperation. Easy peasy. They really are thick aren’t they?’

    Enjoyed this post Fran, thank you. I do remember a time when you could get deposit money back for bottles, but it was A VERY LONG TIME AGO.

    Negotiating the heavy seas of contemporary culture is a hard one – it’s tempting to withdraw totally from any media whatsoever, but then you just become a weirdo! I try to remember what my dad said… ‘All things in moderation.’ We used to think he was a bit boring but I try (note the try!) to live by that now. Including things like butter and lard which are supposedly ‘bad’ for you – but surely in moderation better than all the crap that’s in the tubs where the raw ingredients cost next to nothing and then is sold back to you at the vast expense of a marketing budget. Yep, keep it simple.


    • narf77
      Dec 04, 2012 @ 05:00:12

      Here here! We are starting to walk that very fine line between traipsing the fringes of society and “weirdo” ;). We even contemplated changing “Serendipity Farm” to “The Hermitage”… it would seem like a fitting moniker for our evolving lifestyle and we have always used butter here, olive oil, lard (Steve tells me that it’s the best thing for pastry so who am I to argue with a man from the old country eh? 😉 ) I have another saying that I cling tenaciously to whenever I start to get a bit too “moderated” and that is “Life is TOO short for bad wine”. We only get one altogether short run of it. Who knows what there is on the other side and we may as well drive it like we stole it! 😉


      • thinkingcowgirl
        Dec 04, 2012 @ 05:40:11

        You’d get on with my brother…he lives in Burgundy in France and spends his time quaffing fine wines and eating good food…it’s part of his job to go entertain his passengers (he works on the canals) at a michelin starred restaurant every week.! Someone’s got to do it…sigh

        I’ve been trying to persuade him to start a blog…the Bacchanalian Bargee 🙂

      • narf77
        Dec 04, 2012 @ 05:56:03

        If he does, let us know…I am a reformed foodie and cook and now can only fondle the good stuff (butter, lard etc.) as I cook some for Steve who is altogether too asture for my liking…the man is skinny and can afford to indulge his heart out but runs to the simple… as a vegan I can’t eat the good stuff but I can also fit into a pair of pants that I can haul off a mainstream shelf so for that…I applaud my lifestyle…I can only sniff that pan of bacon and sizzling sunny side ups and inhale that crunchy sourdough toast and close my eyes and absorb the ambiance of that fresh brewed coffee and fantasise about that penniless hippy living in an alternate universe who can indulge herself to the max…she might not live very long but WHAT A LIFE! 😉

    • rabidlittlehippy
      Dec 04, 2012 @ 08:40:57

      I’m reading a book at the moment called Nourishing Traditions which pulls together research, information and recipes and one of the things I’ve learned from there is that these so-called evil fattening, cholesterol causing nasty saturated fats are completely innocent as charged. Butter, lard, coconut oil etc don’t release free radicals when heated which seed and nut oils do and many of the seed and nut oils are rancid and useless by the time they reach us, either because of short shelf lives or due to being heat extracted.
      I’ve decided to eat my butters, lards and coconut oils and I am enjoying every bite of food that modern culture says will kill me. I enjoy my food far too much to try and subsist on the diets I’ve seen my parents and grandparents and in-laws try to stick to and enjoy.


      • narf77
        Dec 04, 2012 @ 10:20:32

        I agree with you about butter, lard etc. BUT the fact is that whatever fat you eat (if you have a genetic disposition to running to seed and filling doorways like I do…cheers genetics!) you have to make sure you are doing enough to stop it from turning into deposits under your skin. I don’t eat butter and lard but I do eat coconut oil but only in moderation…veganism ISN’T the magic weight loss program that a lot of people say it is, I have seen a lot of obese vegans. We eat too much fat for our level of exercise and THAT is what we have to be addressing and getting stuck into the garden etc. is a very good start 🙂

      • thinkingcowgirl
        Dec 04, 2012 @ 10:28:31

        I’ve been hearing recently that the main culprit in weight gain is actually sugar – whether it’s from actual sweet things or an excess of carbohydrate. But as always it’s always about the relationship between what goes in and the energy expended! – I tend towards your disposition Fran, so have to keep an eye on things 🙂

      • narf77
        Dec 04, 2012 @ 14:22:54

        The jury is out on carbs…I, personally think that carbs are just suffering bad press…I remember the Atkins diet when I was a kid…”The new greatest way to lose weight”…dissapeared after a few years and has resurfaced to make some money out of millions of desperate people who have been led to believe that their entire net worth is in direct correlation to their waist size and how much jogging/cycling they do. I say “forgedaboudit!”…I stopped dieting earlier this year after having spent well over 3/4 of my life on some sort of weight loss program. I started eating as much unprocessed food as I wanted to (and I WANT a lot!). I eat predominately carbs and am having no problems keeping off the weight and if I stopped eating the enormous portions that I eat (I eat double what Steve eats) I would lose even more weight. Effortless weight loss, no dieting, a walk a day with the dogs and no more slave to the diet industry…I think that my year of living honestly has been an incredible success! I comiserate with you my dear thinkingcowgirl about having to keep an eye on things. I was once so big my eyes were unable to rotate far enough to keep an eye on myself but now I am a happy “normal” size and could care less about anything other than my health. All I can say is STOP DIETING because that multimillion dollar industry really doesn’t need your life savings and while you are miserably trying to exist on 50g of chicken and a celery stalk you could be living your life 🙂 (do you get the picture that I have a bit of a problem with the diet industry? 😉 )

      • thinkingcowgirl
        Dec 05, 2012 @ 00:36:23

        Haha I’ve never been that committed to dieting, but I try and have 3 good meals a day, making the middle one the largest and the carbyest (?!) plenty of good fats, a few treats and far less alchohol than I used to imbibe with rampant enthusiasm 🙂

      • narf77
        Dec 05, 2012 @ 05:07:07

        Sounds like a good happy medium and a healthy relationship with food. I think that the food police have a lot to answer for in how screwed up (mentally and physically) a lot of people are. I saw an article once where some doctor wanted butter banned in the U.K. and margarine to take its place and Clarissa Dickson-Wright came out and said that she was totally against it because her grandfather had owned and run a margarine manufacturing plant and would NEVER allow any member of his family to eat the stuff! You have to think for yourself whenever you are dealing with big business…it’s not there to do you “a power of good”…it’s there to make someone a profit and edges get cut and in some cases the edges are so blurred you wouldn’t want to contemplate visiting ;). I am the same with the booze…can’t remember my entire 17th year at college…I am sure it was a LOT of fun but I can’t for the life of me remember any of it! (and it wasn’t even in the 60’s so I can’t lay claim to it being cool 😉 )

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Dec 04, 2012 @ 17:19:08

        Yes, I’ve also heard that sugar is a HUGE culprit in weight gain, but as you say, it has to be a balance of in and out. I used to be as lucky as hell cos I could eat literally whatever I wanted and I never gained an ounce (or a gram for the metric bunnies). I even lost 10kg once by eating chocolate for a solid month after breaking up with a boyfriend. Great way t get revenge – drop down to 54kg and flash your skinny arse to the world 😀 but my metabolism alked out one me one gorgeous day whilst I lay by the pool drinking Pina Colada’s, eating Thai curry and soaking up the rays in Phuket and it hasn’t returned since except to visit when I was pregnant. I really have to watch that my intake and output are equal these days which they are cos I still don’t eat as well as I should. The only way I know I can lose weight easily is to get pregnant. After my 3rd I was 5kg lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight although I have a HUGE appetite whilst breastfeeding which is the excuse I am sticking to for the size of my backside now.
        Like you though, I refuse to subscribe to dieting. I enjoy my food and I will NOT give up eating what I enjoy just to be a scrawny chick again. I wouldn’t mind losing a few kg around the middle but I also refuse to exercise to lose it. If I can burn it off in a healthy lifestyle of gardening, cycling into town for shopping, kinder and visiting (that’s the plan anyway) then woo hoo but otherwise I will stay as curvy (not so) lil ol me.

  7. brymnsons
    Dec 04, 2012 @ 22:24:24

    I agree with you all, but my butt still gets rounder and my torso is also… sigh


  8. Allotment adventures with Jean
    Dec 05, 2012 @ 21:26:51

    I have definitely been under a rock because this is the first time I’ve heard the name Alanis Morissette can you believe it. So I clicked on the link. She’s wild. I loved it.
    Interesting information about the coke bottle. I don’t touch the stuff but I know people who get very tetchy when they are running short. Worse than ciggies.


    • narf77
      Dec 06, 2012 @ 05:22:21

      Alanis was from last century Jean…she is now a middle aged woman who had 1 amazing album when she was in her late teens who made a fortune and everyone loved her for a bit. I think I would rather pay my dues for a while, ease into fame and keep going like the Rolling Stones…aren’t they well preserved? 😉


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