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Confessions of a finger-lickin’ fool

chicken unhappy

This is me on the walking tour with a chicken. She’s unhappy, because after the tour she suspects I’m going to fry her and eat her. Everyone knows, penguins love chicken.

HOW good is fried chicken? It’s delicious. More importantly, it’ll never leave me.

When I awaken after a big night, smelling like a nightclub floor, with breath that could knock out a football team and looking like the warning label of a cigarette packet, fried chicken is always there.

There’s no awkward morning banter required with fried chicken and it never disappoints.

There’s no rules to follow with fried chicken. No need to wait three days before calling. And it always hands out the right phone number, which is no number because you know it’s always home. And waiting. Just for you.

Sure, it maybe served by disinterested teenagers or jaded adults who missed out on jobs at supposedly more reputable fast food chains. But to them I say: “Don’t you dare be ashamed! Don’t avert your gaze with disinterest and disgrace when you tell me it’ll be a five minute wait for my fries, that you’ve run out of wings or there’s no more potato and gravy. Stand proud you wondrous purveyors of the golden bird! As long as there’s fried chicken, right here you will always have one super-satisfied customer.”

This is my car.

This is my car.

Once in line at a certain store, the gentleman in front of me was told it would be a 43-minute wait for a full roasted

chicken. He huffed and he puffed and then he blew straight out of there devoid of any chicken, and completely unaware that all the fault was his.

The roasted disappointment is an arrogant bird, believing that it can keep people waiting just because it’s healthier. He should’ve switched his order to a bucket of fried brilliance.

As I did and was out of there barely a minute behind him, into my car where I waited the seven minutes for my nuggets and during which time I devoured three pieces.

It’s not just the skin I crave, it’s the full package that completes my fantasy. In my mind, no meal is a proper meal unless you can look down on the bones, grit and assorted remains, and feel that sense of satisfaction that only comes after devouring an entire chicken.

Afterwards I may feel terrible. It happens rarely but, honestly, while I pine for the golden bird especially after a big night, at times of turmoil, or simply just as a Tuesday treat, it doesn’t always dance with joy through my digestive system.

Chicken VW Art Car

And this is the car I’m going to eat for dinner.

Indeed, at times the fried folly flies through me faster than a very fast train through a very short tunnel. Never, however, do I ever blame the chicken, as I know that another satisfying experience is only a nugget, wing or drumstick away.

Also, never quiz me on what chicken salt is or how it’s made or what it’s made of, but please don’t stop pouring it over those crispy chips, turning them into potato perfection.

To those who say that too much fried chicken may kill you, well too much of anything will kill you.

At least if you die by the fried bird, you’ll die happy and your cremated corpse will both smell and taste delicious.

This article first appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-confessions-of-a-fingerlickin-fool/story-fnihsr9v-1227037700352

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

Like him on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/xaviertoby

Follow him on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/xaviertoby

He’s on Instagram right here: http://instagram.com/xaviertoby

His debut non-fiction book, ‘Mining My Own Business’ is available now

http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/collections/xavier-toby/products/mining-my-own-business

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Hit the reality check button on your remote

meme-reality-TVWE’RE told reality TV is reality, but it’s as scripted and manufactured as any episode of True Blood or Game of Thrones or Mad Men. Except nowhere near as good. Those shows have vampires, swords and far better looking people. Watch them instead.

Also, each reality TV series has exactly the same storyline. A group of people have a dream: chef, renovator, singer, husband, wife, losing weight etc.

Challenges, eliminations and other annoying contestants provide obstacles to that dream. Further drama is imposed by judges and rules.

The dream often isn’t even that hard to achieve. You want to be a chef? Get a job as an apprentice chef. Lose weight? Eat less and exercise more. Renovate a house? Buy a run-down one and get started.

What people on reality TV really want is attention. Don’t give it to them. Save it for people who deserve it. Like pop stars, sportspeople and serial killers.

To make an episode of reality TV, they record hours of footage over several days from multiple angles and then pick out anything that could be a disaster, argument or crisis. Rarely is there more than one. Often there aren’t any and they must be invented.

Next, this seemingly major event is used to structure the episode. The editors trawl the footage for facial expressions, comments and body language that might look interesting. They take things out of context if required, to make the most of this perceived pivotal event, which was probably barely noticed in filming.

Teasers and previews of the event are replayed continuously. Through commercials, social media ads, TV news stories and in newspapers, along with constant clips played during the episode itself.

What’s promised is a true game changer, something that alters everything that can’t be missed, and after which nothing will be the same. When it’s finally revealed during the last minutes of the episode, it is always utterly underwhelming.

Afterwards there is another promise of an unbelievable secret or crisis, to be unveiled next week, and which always turns out to be similarly disappointing.

If these shows had to match the enthusiasm they have for what is going to be revealed to what actually happens, the only thing they’d be allowed to show on the adverts is a shrug, and the presenters would be replaced by mannequins.

Reality TV preys on our need to know. Deal or No Deal is a game show that does this so well it does not even need questions. Thus it eliminates the need for the audience to do any thinking at all.

Again and again reality TV is the pretty blonde, showing us a case with a number and asking: “Do you want to know what’s inside?” We keep coming back. Instead of holding on for another disappointing reveal we should be asking ourselves: “Who cares?”

I’ve found something far superior to reality TV. It’s very similar but you’re the star, and every plot line revolves around you.

It’s called reality.

You do need to get out and interact with other people and all that is a little intimidating at first but stick with it. You won’t regret it, I promise.

This article first appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail:

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-hit-the-reality-check-button-on-your-remote/story-fnihsr9v-1227015761623

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

His debut non-fiction book, ‘Mining My Own Business’ is available now.

http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/books-and-authors/book/mining-my-own-business/

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Wedded to the idea of marriage equality

Wedding MemeI THINK I’m broken. So many people are convinced that they’re essential, but I just don’t get weddings.

My mum’s advice? “Just elope. Whatever money we were going to give you for the wedding, spend it on the honeymoon. Actually, do whatever you want. By the time you finally get married, we’ll be lucky if we have any money left. Ha ha ha.”

A few of my friends have done their weddings well. A tent on the family farm, an uncle cooking a spit roast, serve yourself beer and wine, drive home or pitch a tent – it’s your choice – and the oldies get a bed in the house.

I wouldn’t even go that far. Yet most of my friends and family have gone completely out of control.

You know that round-the-world trip you’ve always dreamt about? That home deposit? Those kids you wanted to have in the next five years? Forget all that. Instead, why not blow all that money on extended family you rarely see, workmates you barely tolerate and friends you’ll hardly see again after the ceremony?

Then there’s the preparation. People stressing for months about making everything perfect.

It’s the weddings where things go wrong that are the most memorable. The band plays the wrong song for the bridal waltz, two family factions get into an ineffectual brawl, or the dessert never arrives. (Nobody ever eats dessert at a wedding so if you get out of paying for it, that’s actually a big win.)

Next there’s all that thought and effort that goes into making your wedding special. From countless options you need to select the flowers, invitations, suits, dresses, your spouse, napkin rings and on and on.

If you really want to make your wedding memorable, you need to get creative. Instead of formal, semi-formal or full-on formal, make it fancy dress. Everyone comes as their favourite cartoon character, something to do with the first letter of their name, or their own interpretation of a porn star robot from the future.

Better yet, tie the knot while skydiving, in a shark tank, or while on fire. Or fire the bride out of a cannon and into the groom. Nobody would forget that. Anything but walking down the aisle and just standing there.

For the reception, instead of holding your own with all that cost, why not just crash another party? Who’s going to knock back a newly married couple? Better yet, just arrive at a bowling alley, restaurant, or football game. The drinks and food would be cheaper and it wouldn’t matter if you wrecked the place.

Or how about we ban weddings entirely? Still have a party sure, but no ceremony and no more marriage. I support gay marriage and in Australia we’re moving so slowly on that one that I think we should take marriage away from everyone.

It’s that old schoolyard rule – if you don’t let everybody play, then nobody is allowed to play and I’m taking that ball and locking it in a cupboard. Not the closet, the cupboard.

There are obviously some legal issues with all this, but I’ll leave those to the legal people. I’m an ideas man, I can’t do everything.

This article first appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail:

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-wedded-to-idea-of-marriage-equality/story-fnihsr9v-1226991421213?nk=e82d8ef708f0d3fdb5cd6f41292573e1

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

His debut non-fiction book, ‘Mining My Own Business’ is available now.

http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/books-and-authors/book/mining-my-own-business/

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You can’t call your baby “Ahmiracle” – it’s not a real name

Baby Meme northwestA SCHOOLTEACHER friend of mine had a student named Kylie. In an effort to be original, the parents had spelt it Kyleigh.

In an act of defiance, my friend made a point of spelling her name Kylie on the young girl’s report card.

At the parent-teacher evening, the girl’s parents walked up to my friend, shoved the report card in his face and said, “Look here! It says Kylie. That’s not how you spell our daughter’s name.”

He stared back at them and said, “I think you’ll find that it is.”

Misspelling your child’s name does not make them original, special or destined for greatness. All they become destined for is a life full of correcting people who try to spell their name the accepted way.

A person’s name is an arbitrary tag attached to them before anyone knows anything about them.

Perhaps in order to pick more appropriate names, a person’s 21st birthday should be celebrated with a “name day”, where a name is bestowed based on what sort of person they are.

It’d force people to lead a more productive childhood, for fear of ending up with a name like Idiot, Moron or Fabian.

A “different” name does not make a person special or different. Those are qualities earned through hard work and dedication, and it makes no difference if that person is named Mary, Seven or Rysk.

If you wish to invent a new name, there should be a board that adjudicates whether or not to put that name into the name dictionary.

If it’s a “no” then you need to pick another name. If you refuse, one will be chosen for you.

In Texas, a child was called “Messiah”. This went to court and the judge said “No. Your child is now called Martin. (Slams down gavel.) Done. Next.”

There should definitely be a lot more of this.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where these are all the official names of actual humans: Lucifer, Anal, V8, #16 Bus Shelter, Chardonnay, Audio Science, Pilot Inspektor, Ahmiracle, Shady, Younique, Burger, Thin & Taco BM Monster.

More popular than ever seem to be the names that are just regular words.

Celebrities seem to be mad for this. Recently we’ve had Apple, North West, Blue Ivy and Brooklyn.

That last one apparently came about because that’s where Posh and Becks conceived the kid. Even if that’s true, well that’s information you shouldn’t share with anyone ever.

It’s also horrifying to contemplate what would happen if that trend caught on. The world would be flooded with names such as Back Alley, Spare Bedroom and Disabled Toilet.

Apparently, Brisbane came close to being called Edinglassie. There’s speculation that came from an old Scots word or it was a combination of the Scottish cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Either way people thought it was a shocker, which forced the authorities to pick another name and so it was named after the then governor of Sydney, Thomas Brisbane.

That’s a cracking idea. If someone chooses to give their child an awful name, we as a society could just decide we’re not using it.

“Sorry mate, that’s not a people name. Try again.”

This article first appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail:

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-some-parents-are-awful-with-names/story-fnihsr9v-1226960332052

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

His debut non-fiction book, ‘Mining My Own Business’ is available now.

http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/books-and-authors/book/mining-my-own-business/

 

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I feel bad, but I just don’t care about the FIFA World Cup. Here’s why…

World Cup Meme_3I FEEL terrible and I want to care, but when it comes to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, I just don’t.

It’s the biggest sporting event in the world, billions worldwide will be watching, and it only happens every four years. I know all this.

Still, I’d rather watch a replay of the Collingwood versus Carlton game from 1972.

Don’t bother looking it up, that’s not a particularly special game. It’s not a final, and I don’t even like either of those teams.

Other things I’d rather do include watching MasterChef after being told who’s won, selling child sponsorships on the street and watching a blank screen. Seriously.

During a final of the 2010 World Cup, my television stopped working, and while staring at the blank screen and contemplating what pizza I was going order for home delivery, I realised I was enjoying myself more than watching the actual game.World Cup Meme_4

It’s not that I haven’t had a go. Last World Cup I actually set my alarm, woke up at stupid o’clock, went around to a friend’s house and tried to watch one of Australia’s games in a room full of rowdy and drunk soccer fans. I fell asleep.

In 2006 my Dad and I watched most of the games. For seldom longer than five minutes, before changing the channel to reruns of M*A*S*H.

So many people I know are so very excited about the World Cup, and I understand why. Every moment on the morning and nightly news, I’m being told that the whole world is very excited and it’s all very exciting.

It seems that with soccer, all the excitement comes in the form of anticipation, and nobody seems that bothered about the actual games. Because they’re not at all exciting.

Worst of all, I really want to be excited. I was picked on for years at high school, so I know what it feels like to be on the outer, but I just can’t stand it.

Far less than not caring, I actively dislike soccer. I think it’s after so many round ball disappointments, I’ve developed some sort of programmed response, so whenever I hear ‘World Cup’ I just feel repulsed.

Phrases with the same effect on me include: ‘Lara Bingle’, ‘we’re out of fried chicken’, ‘insufficient funds’, ‘no more drinks’ and ‘Ben Affleck will be the next Batman’.

Also, don’t forget that FIFA is a corrupt organisation, full of self-important wankers.

‘No, we did not take any bribes,’ the FIFA officials told the world, and promptly awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Then got into their brand new gold-plated cars, to drive off to their diamond encrusted castles in the sky, where they whiled away the afternoon throwing sapphire sticks for their ruby dogs.

World Cup Meme_1Then there is just so much to dislike about the game itself.

I mean, use your hands. Opposable thumbs were one of the main reasons we evolved into humans, along with our brains, so how can a game be called skilful and beautiful if the players refuse to use either?

I’ve been reared on AFL and NRL. Where blokes routinely get their heads knocked off, only to calmly put them back on and continue.

Okay maybe not, but players are often concussed, and refuse to leave the field. They break bones and wreck knees, then limp to the bench. While soccer players are hit in the cheek by a particularly strong breeze, and fall to the ground like they’ve been shot. With an elephant gun.

World Cup play is often extremely defensive, as everyone is terrified of losing, thus rendering it even more unwatchable.

f I wanted to witness a bunch of overpaid airheads obsessed with themselves nonchalantly kicking around a ball for 90 minutes, I’d give the Real Housewives of Melbourne a tennis ball, and tell them there was a diamond inside.

Also, it’s the referee who decides when the game ends using his wristwatch. Yep. The biggest sporting event in the world, and nobody can afford to pay a separate timekeeper.

One thing I dislike even more than soccer are people who complain about something without offering a solution.

So here’s how to make the World Cup more watchable: get rid of the offside rule, allow tackling with arms, and let everyone use their hands. Done.

Okay, now to fix the Winter Olympics. Tip one: make every event ice hockey and replace the puck with Joe Hockey.

This article first appeared on news.com.au:

http://www.news.com.au/sport/football/fifa-world-cup-2014-in-brazil-is-very-exciting-for-many-but-not-for-this-grumpy-australian/story-fndkzvnd-1226952572498

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

Performing in Melbourne at The Butterfly Club Tue June 17 & Wed June 18 at 8pm.

http://www.thebutterflyclub.com/show/xavier-toby-mining-my-own-business

His debut non-fiction book, ‘Mining My Own Business’ is available now.

http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/books-and-authors/book/mining-my-own-business/

World Cup Meme_2

 

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