Monday, October 29, 2012

Smokin' It In The Mountains

A RELATIVELY SHORT drive and no more than four dozen speed cameras from Melbourne’s CBD, the Dandenong  Ranges rise not majestically and to great no height. The roads up that way are narrow and winding and the loudest locals are determined to keep them that way, an activism many of their neighbours are likely to regret when Victoria’s current wet spell runs its course, the next drought begins and the hills go up in flames, as they have done quite often. Many people will die attempting to escape, but until then there are attractions aplenty. Puffing Billy and a pedal-boat ride at Emerald Lake make for a pleasant outing. There is an excellent pie shop in Sassafras. And, for night owls and devotees of the special mushrooms that sprout beneath the hills’ pine trees, the view of Melbourne’s illuminated plain from atop Mt Dandenong can be quite the eyeful.


Now the Dandenongs have another spectacle to offer, albeit of considerably lower wattage. In the village of Tecoma, public spirited sorts are out in force to stop the construction of a McDonald’s they believe will ruin the sylvan charm of their ostentatiously organic and sustainable hamlet – sustainable until those fires come, but that will be another story. So far their efforts have come to nought. Planning authorities have rejected their pleas and the local council has declined to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court, which leaves whining and posing as the last remaining weapons in the gentle mountain folks’ arsenal of obstructions. Neither is proving potent and desperation is mounting to a comical degree.

The activists have occupied the site and set up a Facebook page which may be the funniest thing anyone has seen since Cathy Emerson came home one afternoon and caught the glimpse of a large, pale bottom vanishing over the bedroom’s windowsill. One anti-Macca sort had this to say:
Hi people, the woman keepers of the Garden have asked put the call out for a share dinner tonight ( 5pm on.. Sunday) at the garden. To bring love and presence celebrate the garden being blessed by Murrundindi elder this morning & to show support
Well that should settle the hash of McDonalds, which the Age this morning chose to describe as “the multinational” – a tag that, while true, overlooks the fact that the eatery will most likely be operated by an Australian franchisee employing Australian burger flippers. But again, the incidence of willful ignorance and loaded language in the pages of the Age is another story.

Tecoma's real source of excitement over the weekend – one of them – was that much-anticipated blessing by a genuine, bona fide Aborigine. The prospect certainly fluffed up Age reporter Benhamin Millar’s sense of awe and spirituality.

Murrundindi, the Wurundjeri Nation headman, visited the protest site in Tecoma today to add his voice to the outcry over the arrival of the fast-food giant.

He said the proposal was an affront to the memory of his ancestors.

"The people up here are connected to the spirit of the land. McDonald's is going to take in junk food and spoil the views of the mountains and the valleys."

It was fortunate the visiting Murrindindi, who walloped the Ham Burglar with a full-blown-smoking ceremony, was wearing a fur coat, as it made it possible to tell him apart from the hippies and their sprout-fed progeny.


Here’s a closer view of the McExorcism.... 

... snapped, presumably, at the moment when the demonic Apple Turnover was pointed toward lower altitudes, where the bogans live and streets are fouled by the stench of Subway shops:
Monique Saunders: Subway also in Monbulk, they sneak in as they can slip into any shop. But subway is just as bad. Promoting they are healthy food when nothing is fresh. You only have to come within 20 metres of a shop before you can smell their disgusting food.
 The Big Smoko-o was one of the weekend’s notable events in Tecoma. The other was the handiwork of some outsiders who slipped into town late at night and set fire to the protesters’ tent. According to the Age, this comment appeared on a Facebook page set up by a rival group of McDonald’s fanciers:
“We are pro-anything that upsets you hippies. So burn garden, burn!"
How can be people be so inconsiderate?

61 comments:

  1. The Old and Unimproved DaveOctober 29, 2012 at 4:38 AM

    That Maccas would play hob with the town's eateries. The ones next to the race track. Cos they're all winners on the hot-plate.

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  2. Professor,

    This deserves a wider audience - The Ballad of Tecoma, by Brian Baker (with appropriate head tilt):

    http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_14938577

    The man is a genius - who would have thought to rhyme "outrageous" with "Dandenong Ranges"?

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  3. What sort of gown is that white bloke wearing? Looks like a lot of brown cats lost their pelts for this clown to parade around in.

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    1. I bet the old codger never killed a possum in his life. I bet the fur coat came from New Zealand. I bet the old codger got well paid for his enthralling go-go. I bet he felt like a dick-head.I also bet he doesn't live in a bark lean-to. I bet MacDonalds comes to Tecoma. I bet all the locals enjoy!

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  4. This is getting a bit like Tim Blair's blog, where the ownner expresses the "correct" opinion in his opener, and the regular posters are all expected to chime in their agreement.
    I despise MacDonalds and I admire the Dandenong locals who are taking a stand against their ghastly product.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, David, you've accidentally come to the wrong address. We taxpayers are magnanimously paying for a protest website, The Drum, specially designed for hippies and communist anti-civilisationists like you as part of the $1 billion package we were never consulted about financing for the ABC.

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    2. I despise MacDonalds too, but I don't want it banned.

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    3. Despise is a very strong word DB. Which part of a company employing so many Australians, giving young people a work ethic which future employers like, provides accommodation for the relatives of young cancer sufferers [Ronald McDonald House] is it that has raised such strong emotion? Taking a stand is everyone's right. One just have to realise that "taking a stand" requires a certain rational approach to appeal to people who are sick of pretentious twoddle - and that includes some bloke in a possum robe pointing his finger at a smoky fire. This site does not require agreement with the Bunyip and he will publish dissenting opinions - mine included. If you don't like it here you can trot off to the Drum and other rather blinkered green/socialist/anti-rational thought sites.

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    4. The Professor is a patriot. He is rarely wrong and even if he was, his way with words makes the story interesting none the less.
      I enjoy the odd McBurger from time to time (Fillet o fish for me). I don't live in the Dandenongs, so don't really care if a McDonalds goes up or not.
      I do care that businesses be allowed to open, employ people, generate wealth and opportunities, so as far as I'm concerned - "let them eat burgers".

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    5. It is puerile and illogical to say you "despise McDonalds". What has it done to you exactly to earn that? No explanation? I suspect it is because it's American. In any case there are lots of other take-aways in Tecoma so do you "despise" them too?

      I have recently returned from Europe where I have seen McDonalds franchises in Budapest, Cologne, Bern, etc. These blend in with their surroundings with small, discrete signage. The same can be achieved here.

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  5. David Black, you are too po-faced. God knows, in the current state of politics we need to find occasions to have a laugh at politicians. More power to the Prof and Tim Blair.

    If you don;t like the Prof's take on things, find a blog that is more congenial. Or, just make your point without the personal attacks. (And if you read the Prof's blog, you will see that some regulars do dispute with one another and the Prof.)

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  6. ... so if I don't like MacDonalds junk food, I'm a hippie and a communist anti-civilizationist.

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    Replies
    1. err, I don't think so. You can still be a hippie, communist and anti-civilisationalist [sic] and still like McDonalds - I think? ;-)

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    2. No, but the fact you want it banned makes you a typical bloody wowser!

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    3. No, you are only a hippie, a communist and anti-civilizationist if you are determined to stop them being able to trade. It's not compulsory to buy their products, like their products or work there.

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    4. Difference between you and the rest of Australia outside of the lunatic fringe is that we don't want to bulldoze them into the sea. I can't remember the last time I ate Maccas -- it's hideous junk. If there aren't enough people in and around Tecoma who don't want to buy Macca's, the local franchise will close. It's a radical concept called the market.

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    5. Correct.

      And I'm glad we got that sorted out.

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    6. No.. but if I said 'I despise hippies' and wanted them banned, along with their tofu.. would you have a problem with it?

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    7. Saw a lot of empty Mickey D wrappers around Occupy Sydney. (They still have a midden in Martin Place btw.)

      So you can be a part of the lunar fringe and still like Macca's, going by that evidence.

      I personally prefer the internet to Maccas. You still hear the creeps bleating but you don't have to smell them.

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  7. The kids look decidedly bored with the whole thing.
    I'm betting the feral parents have pumped Murrumbidgee's tyres up to the point where the kids were expecting an amalgam of Harry Potter and Spiderman.
    All they got was some old guy in a moth-eaten possum coat and the smell of smouldering eucalyptus and recently ingested McWilliams Port.

    The Irish Lion

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    Replies
    1. Their parents mentioned "McDonald's" and they started wondering what prize was going to be in their happy meal...

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  8. The Old and Unimproved DaveOctober 29, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Any similarity in Tecoma's name to a certain infamous bridge is entirely coincidental.

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    Replies
    1. Do you mean Tallahatchie?

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    2. I would think so OUD, the name "Tacoma" only sounds the same. I always loved Galloping Gertie and, once was, I never tired of seeing it referred to in engineering classes.

      The grim back-story sours all that now. "Tubby" the Cocker Spaniel was left out on the bridge. The wretched creature remained steadfastly in the car, too terrified to cooperate with rescue attempts. He bit his would be savoir and fell to his death when the structure eventually failed. His remains were never found. Sad huh?

      Delete
    3. The Old and Unimproved DaveOctober 29, 2012 at 8:06 PM

      Once gets the impression that much the same thing would happen if the SAS were sent in to rescue an ABC or Fairfax journalist.

      Delete
  9. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.October 29, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Yes, Tom. Off with you now, David Black. Open your own mung bean shop if you feel so strongly about nutritional issues. On second thoughts, didn't rancid mung beans kill quite a few people not too long ago? I seem to remember something in the news about that. Now that would liven up those Facebook pages a treat.

    Prof, I am up in Sydney for 5 days and probably will see the inside of a Macca's or two during my stay, with some little ones in tow. Regrettably, too busy to be online much.

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  10. PhillipGeorge(c)2012October 29, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Tom - I think you missed the point. Local and grass roots protesters think their suburb is being buggered by another eye sore.
    Think it through. Safeways and Coles in places like Rosebud, Rye and Sorrento spoiled those once semi rustic seaside retreats. The local and small businesses suffered. And a little bit more semi original culture sunk forever.
    We now get Halloween, children have started calling biscuits cookies, next they'll start insisting on a prom. and cheer leaders, or organ/carousel music at 20/ 20 games when a bowler comes in to pitch.
    Moreover, when you swallow a grand 'multinational' delusion consequences come with it.
    Grass roots and local protesters at the Wonthaggi Desal plant might have saved us all a genuine fortune/ a f__king huge fortune that will cripple a generation contractually and mean we do not "need" another artificial lake.

    Right now the delusion of CO2 is costing you big time. Little voices trying to be heard should sometimes attract a massive response. When they don't, everyone is a loser.

    Right now Victoria has about 800 years of coal reserves to supply its own cheap energy demands. We cannot burn it at any sort of accelerated rate though because that would offend Gaia - on whose face I happily metaphorically defecate.

    The professor has broached a truly hard topic with maccas V puffing billy.

    Puffing Billy embodies the industrial revolution, Queen Victoria and beautifully built public assets. Maccas more embodies quick bucks, junk instant food, rap music generations, graffiti everywhere, phone boxes without weather or sound protection, and every bus stop vandalized with broken glass.

    The Prof could hardly have touched a harder subject, though I think he thinks he got protesters measurements.

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    Replies
    1. I agree with you about the Bible. It is full of useful and inspired revelations…

      “and with their hands they will pick up serpents, and if they drink anything deadly it will not hurt them at all. They will lay their hands upon sick persons, and these will become well.”
      Mark 16:18

      And this made it in to the “Inspired” King James Bible...so it must be true!!!

      The best cure against a deadly snake bite is righteousness! Who knew?

      Delete
  11. Heavens, Bunyip, I was just starting my oats when I read of the, "large, pale bottom vanishing over the bedroom's windowsill". Surely this would count as an eclipse of the sun by the moon and be noted in astronomical records?

    Anyway, the oats have gone cold but I may recover an appetite by this evening.

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  12. David Black omitted to mention that the same bunch of smoke sniffing drongos who profess to be so worried about the appearance of their environment are the same crowd who would have industrial wind turbines turn our lovely landscapes into land-skips.

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  13. Remember when lefties would support jobs for youngsters and affordable takeaway food for the underprivileged? Now the left, with its snobbery, wowserism, bigotry and occupation of the high moral ground, resembles nothing so much as the 1950s middle-class protestant class. Full of hate and hypocrisy.

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    Replies
    1. I hadn't thought of people of the left like that. What an amazing assessment.

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  14. The fur coat is useful. It draws away attention from the transparent body beneath it.
    -----------
    I wouldn't worry about the Hamburglar...he doesn't still from vegans.

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  15. Whoa there Anon at 9.56. I was raised in "a 1950s (lower) middle-class protestant class", and "hate and hypocricy" was not part of the fare. My parents were too busy raising 5 kids. Of course, at many levels in society there was a divide between Catholics and 'Protestants' ( the latter being very diverse), and between these groups and Jews. It is one of the great achievements of that qunitessential 1950s man, R G Menzies that he began to provide state-aid to the Catholic schools, the precursor I think breaking down these divides. Sure, there was hate and hypocrisy, but it was not endemic and for my generation did not obstruct friendships at all levels.

    On the subject of education, there was a nice moment on an ABC talk show when the female Finnish education expert explained that the reason why the Finns did so well on this front was that it had a strong Protestant tradition. Even over the ether, one could sense that the ABC person was dumbstruck, and the topic was not explored.

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  16. I had a read (a short one, mind) of the Facebook page dedicated to this... very, very funny stuff.

    Of note, though... the majority of people "supporting" (by supporting, we now mean they clicked "like") are schoolkids.
    The odd muso trying to pick up undergrads, some aging ex-Brunswick, tree-change types and not a lot else really.

    I'll show my support for this establishment when it arrives by visiting during my occasional ride through the mountains on my overly loud and overly fast sports bike (yes, it's red, and it's loud) - at all other times, I'll be sure to park my CO2 emitting 6.2 litre V8 within clear view of any locals... the only decision will be to switch the bi-modal exhaust between "loud" and very loud". I'll decide this on a case by case basis ;-)

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    Replies
    1. What happened to 'earshattering'?

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  17. Hmm, makes me wonder how many of their gardens are replete with "tomato" plants,aka "what are they smoking?" and do they wear sandals made of hemp,as surely they don't believe in killing cows for their skin or for Macca's hamburger processes!?

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  18. Tecoma doesn't have a monopoly on anti-McDonalds morons.Recently they applied to open an outlet on Parramatta Road in Haberfield,a suburb that suffers from an a serious infestation of yuppie scum.To the great consternation of the yuppsters the Court granted an approval.Their opposition was supposedly based on the amount of traffic that the business would generate and had nothing to do with hatred of all things American.Given that Parramatta road is already probably the busiest road in Sydney,the Judge found their argument unconvincing.The fact that the site has been a car-yard for about 60 years didn't help either.

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  19. Murrundindi looks like he's seen ghost. He's gone quite pale.

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  20. It's just snobbery.

    A burger is just a hot beef sandwidch, for goodness sake. If you don't like it, don't buy it.

    There, wasn't too difficult was it?

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  21. Come on Prof, cut them a bit of slack! For the luvvies in doesn't get much better than this. What more can one ask for? An American multinational to vilify, an "Aboriginal" elder (may not look like one but he'll do), a smoking ceremony, an opportunity to all get together and sing kumbaya. Wow! Surprised though that the Greens weren't around to express their outrage.

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  22. Hippies vs. Mickey D's, can't they both lose?

    The only positive to come out of it is this hilarious article.

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  23. Hey PhillipGeorge.
    I must admit my weapon of choice is often the long-bow but I think you are in the gold medal position in drawing the long-bow.

    Try as I might, I am finding it difficult to see the causal link between Ronny MacDonald and decline of civilization, manifesting itself in the form of graffiti, vandalised bus shelters and the poor design of Telstra hardware

    The Irish Lion

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    Replies
    1. PhillipGeorge(c)2012October 29, 2012 at 10:07 PM

      Circumlocutory:

      homogenized pasteurized hegemony denatured devitalized mass marketed sugar coated ADHD obesity and diabetes on a sesame seed bun; all advertised with wifi, sponsored blipverts flashing at 60 Hz.

      its a blog - I expect you to fill in the gaps.

      The center of every culture is religion. Its a package deal. The secularist is in the center of his own delusion. Just try to discuss a dam or power plant or vandal proof telephone box and see where it takes you.

      You are paying big dollars right now for another man's religion. Cradle to the grave "rights" are all predicated on one's religious paradigm.


      Delete
    2. PGc2012...life expectancy before modern medicine was not very long...something as simple as wisdom teeth could kill you. There were no antibiotics.

      Most of the most absurd quack cures and snake oils came from men of religion... back in the middle ages when the hocus pocus, faith healers had credibility.

      When Anesthesia was first used in America, one of the proponent was lynched for witchcraft.

      I'm all for people having their private faiths...but there is no need to be smug about it.

      Delete
    3. PhillipGeorge(c)2012October 30, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      .life expectancy before modern medicine was not very long....

      untrue. How did Neanderthals get those big brow ridges?
      having dismissed the antediluvian hyperbaric atmosphere as mythology there isn't much point in discussing your other pre-suppositional biases.

      meanwhile you're paying through your own teeth for sugar in everything. Most natives on native diets have perfect teeth. Moreover with your religion ensconced you are paying for other men's abortions or paying for their abandoned children's everything. Religion through and through - but you want to call it something else.

      Delete
    4. I'm all for abortion on demand for those stupid enough to try...it's natural selection in action. Let them kill their own progeny.

      Wisdom teeth is genetic.

      Delete
    5. PhillipGeorge(c)2012October 30, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      thanks for the teeth lead, I'll look that up.

      Delete
  24. Professor,

    I don't visit Melbourne frequently these days, but I did take the narrow winding road to Sassafras on my last visit. My thoughts at the time were the same as yours, how do you evacuate a large population via such a roadway, and how would you get large fire trucks up there at the same time.

    I feel sorry for those unfortunate hippie children, they look so bored. I'd wager that they will be the first customers into Maccas when they open for business.

    Agree that the view of Melbourne from Mt. Dandenong is quite impressive. Melbourne looks best from a distance.

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  25. I hope that "large, pale bottom vanishing over the bedroom’s windowsill" was wearing yo-yo smugglers!

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  26. I have Maccas about once a decade these days. The last time was in August on a 2 day stopover in Singapore. It made a lovely change from chicken-and-rice, pork-and-rice, beef-and-rice, &c. Plus free wifi!

    As for those sensitive aesthetes who complain about Macca's architecture:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/digibron/5198369185/

    There's nothing special about Tecoma so the store will be in keeping with the local style: qv the fish-and-chip shop, TAB, petrol station, &c.

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  27. Who de whitefella inde furcoat ? An what he smokin it makin him proper sillyfella !

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  28. I remember once being in a developing country and hearing a tourist tut tut to a local about the evil of a Mc Donalds about to be set up. The local reminded her of two points 1. she had Mc Donalds in her country, why was it that poor people shouldn't have access to the same things that she took for granted, 2. it meant jobs and thus money flowing to families.

    I suspect there are some in the community who wont mind a job, whilst others, who tend to their tofu herd, wont.

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  29. Subway's can be smelt from a distance away because they have their own bread ovens cooking the very bread which your roll is made from. Still not fresh enough for hippies who I must imagine want the flour stuffed down their throat.

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  30. Unfortunately we've come a long way since this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDfP2-TIUMY

    and all downwards by the look of it.

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  31. Hey Bunyip, who's the old white bloke in the fur coat? One of Bobby Brown's slack-sphinctered compadres?

    Somehow, I suspect my friends in the Wakawaka mob may point and scoff at this 'aborigine' and his pretentious patronising.

    Mk50
    Brisbane

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  32. Where's Eric Cartman when you need him?

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    Replies
    1. He's busy chowing down at McDonalds. Where else do you think would you find him?

      Delete
  33. has there ever been a really successful Worldwide, lentil soup, tofu burger chain? One that that is always crowded, wildly popular, like McD's, or KFC?
    Just asking.

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  34. mojo, Unrepentant YankOctober 30, 2012 at 7:19 AM

    As somebody once said, you'll never meet an intelligent species of herbivores - after all, how smart do you have to be to sneak up on a plant?

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  35. The Noble Savage has no truck with burgers.

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