Tuesday, February 03, 2009

these gooseberried chicaneries

Lieutenant Kaffee (Tom Cruise): "I want the truth!"

Colonel Jessep (Jack Nicholson): "You can't handle the truth!"

Sideshow Bob (Kelsey Grammer): "No truth handler, you ... bah! I deride your truth-handling capabilities!"

Question: when is a kiwifruit not a kiwifruit? Answer: when it's a Chinese gooseberry, that's when! Three mammals agree: the kiwifruit is Son of Fraud. I'll never trust you again, New Zealand!

But sometimes, whether you can handle it or not, the truth goes and smacks you upside the head, anyway. Kinda like two weeks ago, when Dorothee shattered a small part of my world by divulging that a kiwifruit wasn't actually a kiwifruit, but rather a name made up by New Zealanders to better market their tart, green fruit.

My heart didn't want to believe her. But after Wikipedia (a.k.a., The Gospel) corroborated her story - and, quite frankly, such corroboration was necessary given Dorothee's questionable credibility, as evidenced by her liberal definition of the Baltic Sea (yes, we are nerds) - the unthinkable suddenly became the painful truth.

Because felix's daily starfish and waffles is now primarily an online news magazine best known for its hard-hitting, human interest journalism, we have decided to go public and break this exclusive story for all the world to see - and judge! As such, here's tonight's top headline:

Appalled, Captain Cook rolls in grave

So happens, back in the 1950's, some scheming New Zealand fruit marketers renamed the humble Chinese gooseberry to kiwifruit for "export marketing reasons." The specifics of these reasons are not well-documented, but I think we can all safely assume it was a Wellington conspiracy to perpetrate, on the rest of the world, a tangled web of regrettable South Seas deception under the guise of a delicious, nutrient-rich fruit.

Oh, the chicanery! Oh, the abject fraud!

But wait, there's more.

Linda, starfish and waffles' on-location Southern Hemispherian correspondent, has just reported from the South Island that all Chinese gooseberries for sale in the local vicinity haven't even been grown in New Zealand - rather, they have been imported from Italy and the USA.

Dear God ... where do the lies end, New Zealand?!

I feel ill. I think I need to lie down.

Next week: the amazing story behind Felix-brand cat food's rise to become one of Germany's most popular pet foods (Dorothee's cat liked Felix best!), how it became to be re-branded as "Pussi" in Sweden, and why my Scandinavian friends Knut and Nina Louise haven't been able to stop laughing at me for five days.

Editor's Note: in spite of the kiwifruit controversy, starfish and waffles would like to extend a friendly hello to our regular readers in New Zealand (Hi, Christchurch!), who are always good sports about the ribbings we give them from time-to-time.


  1. You've got to watch for those crafty kiwis - they'll steal anything. Crowded House, Phar Lap, Russell Crowe... hang on a second. I might have that mixed up.

  2. First of all, in order to right some of the wrongs we've uncovered, I am heretofore (yes, heretofore) referring to all Kiwis as Chinese gooseberries. Seems fair to me.

    Second, are you trying to tell me that Australia stole Crowded House? Unbelievable. What's next? Pavlova? Where does this end??

    The lying, the stealing ... it's like the Southern hemisphere has been turned upside-down. Oh, haha, look - I made a funny and didn't even know it.

  3. I'll never look at a kiwi the same again

  4. Hi cat food! One question. No. Two. Are Chinese gooseberries nutrient-rich or is that made up too? Moreover. Does this hatred of New Zeeland(ers) have something to do with you not getting the tropical island job?

  5. No Sophie, you'll never look at a Chinese gooseberry the same way again.

    Nina Louise, two answers. One: yes, Chinese gooseberries are vitamin-rich and full of anti-oxidants ... like all BERRIES. Two: the island job people haven't hired anyone yet but come on, everyone knows that me and Peanut have the inside track on the gig. Bonus: we don't hate New Zealand, we just hate their endless fruit lies!

  6. The Man in the Yellow hat06 February, 2009 17:10

    If they're imported from the US and Italy, then what really makes these "Chinese Gooseberies" necesarily "Chinese"?

  7. The Man in the Yellow Hat ... Hey, look, we're not trying to implicate the Chinese here. Quit trying to change the subject! :)