Saturday, 25 September 2010

Famous Bananaphile #1 - Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker was born in St Louis Missouri on June 3rd 1906. From humble beginnings she rocketed to stardom during the mid 1920’s when she captivated all Paris by dancing the Charleston dressed in nothing but a skirt made of bananas!

Clearly a bananaphile, she had a pet chimpanzee called Ethel, and a pet leopard called Chiquita! With the fortune she earned by dancing, she later bought a chateau in Dordogne where she adopted twelve children of different races and creeds.

Rumour has it that during the height of her fame, she received close to 1,500 marriage proposals! So, if you want to attract the gentlemen, a banana-skirt might be a worthwhile addition to your wardrobe … just don’t wear it near any gorillas!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Banana shoe-shine!
The inside of a banana peel contains the finest lubricant known to man ... and it’s excellent for polishing leather shoes! Not only will it give them a superior shine, but its natural oils treat the leather, so your shoes will last longer too

Next time you have a banana for breakfast, don’t just throw the skin away. Wipe it over your shoes and then buff them with a soft cloth. It’s environmentally friendly, saves money, and your shoes will look great!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Stringy bits ... why, why, why?
Have you ever wondered what those annoying little stringy bits on a banana are called? Okay, probably not ... but I bet you’ve often wondered what they’re for!

Well, here’s the answer: the strings are called “phloem bundles” (it’s pronounced flom). They are an essential part of the system that carries nutrition to every part of the banana. Think of that next time you pick them off and lay them on the side of your plate!

Fascinating, or what? Now go forth and share a banana with a friend – and stun them with your in-depth bananaphile wisdom!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Bananaphile or Bananaphobe - Which?
I’ve heard it said that humans can be divided into two groups: those that love bananas, (known as bananaphiles) and those that hate them, (bananaphobes).

Actually this isn’t strictly true. A true Bananaphile, (someone who eats several bunches of bananas daily, collects banana-related memorabilia, dreams about bananas, and even dresses in delicious-looking banana-yellow clothing), is probably quite rare.
(A group of Victorian bananaphiles eating their bananas!) *
A Bananaphobe, (someone with a strong dislike of bananas, or a morbid fear of being attack by an angry banana wielding a rusty spoon) is, quite possibly, rarer still.

(A still from the film "Bananaphobia")

Most people are bananambivalents ... they don’t really care one way or the other. Gorillas aren’t like that. Gorillas can be divided into one group only: those that love bananas, and ... well, that’s it!

As for you humans – you CAN be divided into two groups: those that think people can be divided into two groups, and those that don't!

*Top photo Courtesy of the Washington Banana Museum.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

How to Flambé a Banana!

1) Melt 25g of butter in a large frying pan on a medium heat.
2) Add 2 bananas, (thickly sliced) and cook for about two minutes, turning the slices occasionally.
3) Add 25g of muscavado sugar and stir until lightly caramelised. Then add 2 tbsp of dark rum and allow to bubble.
4) Carefully ignite mixture with burning taper or match. Once the flames have subsided, serve bananas with ice cream.

How NOT to Flambé a Banana

1) Hold banana.
2) Drink large quantity of rum.
3) Ignite self … (very, VERY bad idea!)

Photo courtesy of the International Banana Club.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Bananas - Delicious but Deadly!

Delicious but deadly! That’s bananas for you. Statistics prove it: More people are killed each year by slipping on a banana skin than from shark attacks and ingrown toenails combined!

Here are the top ten places you should absolutely NEVER drop your banana skin!

1) At the top of a flight of stairs.
2) Outside a store selling crystal goblets.
3) At the exit of a maternity ward.
4) On the rim of an active volcano.
5) Ahead of two men carrying a piano.
6) Beside an open sewer in a heat wave.
7) In front of a pyramid of monkeys on a unicycle.
8) Two steps ahead of an enormously fat woman walking a very tiny poodle.
9) Near to an open grave.
10) Behind someone who has just built a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa entirely out of matchsticks.

Okay, I know they’re biodegradable, but remember ... a good gorilla always disposes of their banana skins safely.

*Picture courtesy of the Washington Banana Museum.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Bananas Don't Grow on Trees!

What? Of course they do!

Well, erm ... no actually, they don’t. The banana ‘tree’ might look like a tree, but herb would be a far more accurate description - the world’s largest herb, in fact!

The banana ‘bunch’ grows on a stalk out of the ground. Okay, it’s a pretty big stalk, (growing up to 9 metres in height), but it’s still just a stalk, and is formed out of the lower ends of all the leaves overlapping each other.

Real trees have woody trunks, and, after bearing fruit, survive for another season, then another, and so-on – year after year. But the banana plant only bears fruit for a single season, then dies. However, it leaves an underground ‘stem’ which grows into a new banana plant the following season. Phew!!!

Friday, 25 June 2010

How Do You Peel Yours?

Bananas are unique, in that their skins are so protective, yet easily and conveniently removed without a knife or peeler. But how do you peel yours?
We gorillas tend to bite the banana in the middle of the convex curve (where a knuckle would be on a finger) then tear or break them open.

99.9% of humans peel their bananas from the stem down, and hold them by the stump as they eat them. This seems the most logical and efficient way to peel them, and most people never think of trying any alternate methods.

However, here's the interesting thing: most chimpanzees and monkeys peel their bananas the opposite way round. They pinch the stump (bottom of the banana) and tear it open. Why? It might be because this enables them to eat bananas that are still attached to a bunch or tree, but as they often peel picked bananas the same way, this isn’t conclusive. Some humans who have opted for this method, (aping the chimps), claim that peeling in this direction more efficiently removes the stringy bits, but my experiments haven’t proved this to be the case.

Next time you peel a banana, why not try the “Chimp” method and see if you think it works any better. Be sure to let me know!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Bananas at Wimbledon!
Have you ever seen tennis players munching bananas between games? It isn’t because they forgot their lunch – no, it’s because they know that bananas are the greatest energy providers ever.

While spectators may prefer the traditional strawberries and cream – during the world famous Wimbledon Tennis Tournament, around 800 bananas are eaten by competitors each day.
Tim Henman and Jennifer Capriati munching their bananas.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Using my Computer

This seems like a good place to start; after all, your average primate doesn’t usually carry a laptop!

Some years ago, primatologists discovered that gorillas communicate using a complex vocabulary of both sounds and gestures ... whereas captive gorillas had already noticed that about humans some decades earlier!

Since then, several primates, (gorillas, chimps and orang-utans mostly), have been taught ASL (American Sign Language), some amassing a vocabulary of several hundred words. However, I learnt to communicate by pointing to symbols on a pictogram board. As my vocabulary grew, the pictograms were stored in a specially adapted gorilla-proof computer, divided into various menus, all accessible via a huge touch-sensitive screen.

A clever human then designed a computer program capable of converting any pictograms I choose into audible words. Since then, technology has advanced so much that my primitive messages can now be converted into typed words, (automatically adjusting grammar and syntax), virtually allowing me to type like anyone else.

If you leave a comment, my PC is also programmed to convert on-screen text into the picture symbols I can easily read ... so please be sure to say HELLO!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Hello Humans!

Hello! My name is Eliza. I am an eight year-old mountain gorilla living in the far north of Scotland.
‘What?’ I hear you ask. ‘Where in Scotland?’ ... ‘How did a gorilla learn to use a computer?’ ... and ‘Why are you writing a journal?’
Fear not ... I will explain everything in my forthcoming journal entries. I will relate my fascinating history, reveal my innermost simian thoughts, and drive you crazy with my number one passion in life: BANANAS, BANANAS and more BANANAS!