I had thought it might be the most amusing news story of the year once lederhosen pointed it out: West Australian Opposition leader Tony Buswell was through the mysteries of fate in such a place that he had say there was ``absolutely no substance'' to reports he had done something inappropriate to a quokka. An article in The Age had his simple denial to the rumors (``No'') or where they might come from (``I have absolutely no idea about these stories of quokkas on Rottnest [ Island ]''). In a festival of outstanding quotes he said, ``You know I've had a robust past and there may be elements that have proved offensive to people. ... I don't shy away from that at all, but I'm not aware that I've caused any offence to a quokka.'' I still hope that that proves to be the quote by which 2008 is historically remembered.
Alas, which it appears Buswell has had an interesting past -- he's cited as having previously admitted to sniffing the chair of a former colleague -- he doesn't appear to have one anything of note with a quokka. A report in the Daily Telegraph, which I think is of Sydney, but online newspapers like making it hard to guess just where they're from, says that the rumor -- that he ``played soccer with a quokka'' -- was just made up by a blogger who's since admitted he was making it all up. The quotes stand, of course, but the whole event becomes less exciting knowing that it was a synthesized absurdity.
Unfortunately none of the reports I've seen have explained the chair-sniffing incident, which just has to have a story behind it. Buswell has, however, been accused of grabbing the testicles of MP Murray Cowper, which is apparently known in slang as ``squirrel-gripping''. I had never heard this expression before but now I'm left with the question of whether ``playing soccer with a quokka'' does not in fact have anything to do with football. I really don't want to know what was meant.
Still, while Mr Buswell does seem to have some minor behavior quirks in that he's acting like the disguised alien in high government office in every New Doctor Who episode, what really impressed me is how much better silly Australian scandals are than those in the United States. Here we're stuck trying to put something together with the nutcase set claiming Senator Obama must be the Antichrist what with his deviously using charisma on unsuspecting masses. Get back to me with a juicy tale of Connecticut Governor M Jodi Rell and the okapi.
Trivia: The first commission to investigate the Leaning Tower of Pisa's tilt convened in 1298. Source: Tilt: A Skewed History of the Tower of Pisa, Nicholas Shrady.
Currently Reading: The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics, Alan Schwarz.