Thursday, October 06, 2005

Where's my tax surplus cheque?

Wild Kingdom

I spend the afternoon at the Riverview Zoo in Peterborough, while my Nissan X-Trail has its tonsils tickled.

What else can you do in Pete?

I already own one of everything in CanTire and Home Depot.

And you see one lift lock, you've seen them all.

The Riverview zoo is part of a fine, green waterfront park that winds along the banks of the Otanabee River. It's owned and run by the city's utilities commission.

I would pay my water bills promptly and gladly in Peterborough, which is obviously home to some newer branch of the enlightened Medici family.

What has Hydro One ever done for me? God sneezes, my power goes off. In Pete'burgh, the waterworks runs a zoo. Rock on, PUC.

The great yak is delighted to hear Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are having a baby.

"And thanks to Tom's religious beliefs, it won't even be painful!" I assure him. The yak seems doubtful.

The brown abouti scurries about under pesky spider monkeys. No bigger than a hedgehog, it runs in confused circles like the Canadian electorate.

"Did you know our Liberal masters may send all Canadian taxpayers a cheque?" I ask the sad-eyed rodent. "Our share of the tax surplus, don't you see? They take too much from us, so why not give a tiny portion back! Hooray for the Surplus Allocation Act! Is an election coming? Who knew? Why each cheque might be as much as $133!"

The pot-bellied pig grunts.

"And what a coincidence that Senator Mac Harb--the brightest bulb on the tree--thinks Canadians should be fined for not voting in federal elections!" I laugh. "He suggests $50. And $133 if they don't vote Liberal." We share a fine snort over that.

The zoo's loveable llamas stand in the shade, blinking. It's hot.

When did Ontario turn into sun block country in October?

"Did you hear the latest?" I ask the sweet-faced creatures. "President Bush says he's on a mission from God. Yes! Just like Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd. Bush says God told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. It was divine guidance! God's will. Clouds of cherubim and seraphim! Can I get a big a-men on that?"

The brown llama snorts. There will always be doubters.

"I know," I agree. "I'm sure it wasn't God who lied about the weapons of mass destruction. That would be so unlike Him, wouldn't it? Fibbing like that."

The Riverview zoo cougar paces endlessly, waiting for the humming sound of the little go-carts zoo guys use to bring animals food. I entertain him while we wait.

"God's in his heaven," I assure the zoo's big kitty. "Our government promises Martha Stewart they'll hurry her visa paperwork. Hey, we'd do it for our own criminals, right? Now Martha can row a 676-pound pumpkin across Lake Pesaquid in Nova Scotia this weekend. It will be on all the infotainment sideshows and the news. It's really important."

On a late fall afternoon, golden shadows stretching like fingers across the grounds, Riverview zoo is a lovely place to visit.

Spider monkeys pull each falling leaf into their cage, examine it and file it away.

A plated lizard sleeps, just like they do in Ottawa.

Mountain goats grin, immune to the wired world outside.

Would you really want to live outside the zoo?

Samba George

What is a Brazilian?

It's the number President Bush thinks comes after a trillion.