Tiny Pineapple

ananas comosus (L.) minimus

Second Only to the Big Banana

When Australia’s Big Pineapple went on the market this past summer, the article about the sale in The Sydney Morning Herald, began with the following:

“One of Australia’s best-loved ‘big things’ — the Big Pineapple — is on the market and could soon fall victim to progress.

“Residential developers are expected to snap up the 34-year-old tourist attraction which, in addition to the giant fruit, features 80 hectares of prime real estate on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland.

“The Big Pineapple agricultural tourist attraction is one of Australia’s oldest ‘big things’, second only to the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.”

The Big Banana
The Big Banana

As soon as I read the phrase, “second only to the Big Banana,” I knew that my life wouldn’t be complete until I’d found a postcard depicting this most massive of fruits. And, wouldn’t you know, I chanced upon an auction on eBay that featured not only the postcard on the right, but this postcard of the Big Pineapple as well. $2.50 really can buy happiness.

Both postcards are stunning examples of using of natural photographic color and careful composition to draw the viewer into the scene. As for the herbaceous lettering in the foreground of the Big Banana postcard, wasn’t “Itors Velco” the Swedish next-door neighbor of Trespassers Will in the Hundred Acre Wood?

And for those of you who would like to know even more about the Big Banana…

Additional Reading

  • The Big Banana Web site

    “This 40 year old giant structure modeled on a prize winning banana is probably the most photographed object in Australia. At any time of the day cameras are clicking away — individuals, couples, honeymooners, small groups, families, whole coach loads of people — all recording their visit to The Big Banana. Many are returning with children and grandchildren to continue a family tradition. Frequently the comment has been; ‘The Big Banana is not as big as I remember’. Well, it is still 11 metres long, 5 metres high, and 2.4 metres wide but the surrounding developments have lessened its impact.”

    (“The Big Banana is not as big as I remember?” That’s just what every honeymooning male want’s to hear, isn’t it?)

  • Australian Big Things

    Where you can see a list of all 146 “Big Things” in Australia and learn that Queensland has the highest density of “Big Things,” with 11.87 “Big Things” per million capita. (A factoid sure to impress your next date.)

  • Wikipedia: Australia’s Big Things

    To qualify as a “Big Thing”, a structure must obey the following “formula”:

    • At least twice the size of the object it represents.
    • At least twice human size.
    • Dominant and accessible.
    • Lifelike quality of construction.
    • Enterprising and/or locally representative.


Hilary Duff’s new music video is in heavy rotation on the Disney Channel right now and Zoë is quite a fan. As she and the other girls were downstairs singing along (very loudly), I found myself upstairs in the kitchen with my sister Jenny trying to defend the rather indefensible position that Ms. Duff’s Metamorphosis was one of the finest pop albums of 2003. To take some of the heat off me, I brought up the subject of Hilary’s new (and rather unfortunate) porcelain veneers.

Hilary Duff's Venereal Denistry

I was trying to find just the right word to describe what was wrong with them. But as I fished around, all I could come up with was:

“They’re just so…so…veneereal.”

As in:

Veneereal Dentistry (VD)
(ve·’ne·re·al ‘den·tist·ry) When an irresponsible practitioner of the dental arts applies large, obvious porcelain veneers over the perfectly good teeth of a poor, unsuspecting starlet. Symptoms include “horse teeth,” pronounced overbite, and difficulty in closing their mouth completely due to the increased surface area.

Dear Veer: Britney Called. She Wants Her Shirt Back…

Veer Sofa T-Shirt

As a counterpoint to 100% Customer Satisfaction (which is, quite ironically, the #1 result on Google for that particular phrase right now), I’d like to share with you an example of exemplary customer service that I’ve experienced recently. I do this somewhat hesitantly, because I wouldn’t want establishments to be taken advantage of once people find out how accommodating they can be. But I think it’s important to recognize the companies (and, perhaps more importantly, the people) that get it right…without resorting to bloodshed.

So tonight I’d like to start with an email exchange that took place recently between me and the good folks at Veer.

To: Service at Veer
From: Grettir Asmundarson
Subject: Britney called. She wants her shirt back…

I recently purchased a T-shirt from you folks:

I called before I ordered to ask about sizing/shrinkage and after talking with a sales rep I ended up ordering a medium. I have a 38″ chest, so I’m on the low end of the medium range, but I wanted to leave enough room for shrinkage. When the shirt arrived, I tried it on and I was pretty sure that after it was washed it would be the perfect size. However, after washing the shirt in cold and drying it on low (which is even more cautious than the tag recommends), I now have a fantastic, fitted belly shirt that any adolescent girl would love. Unfortunately, I’m not an adolescent girl.

I’ve honestly never seen a T-shirt shrink that much in my life. And while it makes me feel quite manly and muscly to wear something so tight and fitted, I’m not sure the general public should be subjected to my bare midriff on a regular basis.

So, how can I go about arranging for a return/exchange? Or can I not return/exchange it because I’ve already washed it? Anyway, any help you can give would be appreciated…


To: Grettir Asmundarson
From: Service at Veer
Subject: Re: Britney called. She wants her shirt back…

Hello Grettir,

Thank you for your email and your wonderful sense of humor in the face of such shrinkage!!

We are very sorry that this happened with your product. To be honest, we haven’t heard of such severe shrinking happening with other men’s medium shirts we’ve sold, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen!

Of course we’d like to replace it for you, but my concern is that the replacement may have the same thing happen. Here are a few options for you to choose from:

  1. We can send you a replacement Veer Sofa shirt (would you like to try an even larger size to start?)
  2. We can send you a replacement t-shirt, perhaps in a different style.
  3. We can call it a day and simply refund you for the shirt rather than take the chance the replacement may shrink as well.

Let me know how you’d like to proceed and I’ll make sure it gets done for you today.

Thanks again for your feedback and for being a good sport in the face of bare midriffs — We appreciate it!

Kind Regards,

Customer Service Sales & Support
Visual Elements for Creatives

To: Service at Veer
From: Grettir Asmundarson
Subject: Re: Britney called. She wants her shirt back…

Yes, it is difficult to put on a brave face in the face of shrinkage, but I’m holding up OK. And after getting the opinion of a few of my more fashion-sense-enabled colleagues, they informed me that while it did shrink more than one would expect, referring to it as a “belly shirt” was probably overstating things. (I don’t know, though. I’ve only got about 1/2″ of clearance and if I so much as inhale there is definite ab-age.) And they felt that a Large would probably be sufficiently long. Even if it shrank as much as the Medium, it would probably still give me an additional inch of modesty-assuring fabric below my waistline.

So, I think I’d just like to arrange to exchange my Medium for a Large, if that’s possible.

To: Grettir Asmundarson
From: Service at Veer
Subject: Re: Britney called. She wants her shirt back…

For you?

Of course! 😉

Look for a large Men’s Sofa t-shirt coming your way soon.

And if you know anyone with a slightly shorter torso that you can donate the shrunken shirt to, feel free! (But don’t make fun of them — that’s just mean.) Or if you ever want to show your midriff off around the house or at the gym…go for it!

Cheers, and have a great day,

Customer Service Sales & Support
Visual Elements for Creatives

Two days later I received not only a large, men’s Sofa T-shirt, but a Veer Logo Beanie and a Veer 2005 Calendar Planner, too. And shortly thereafter they added a small note below the T-shirt sizing chart:

* Women’s tees are shape-fitting girly sizes. Men’s sizes are snug-fitting too. You may wish to order one size larger than usual.

Well, as far as I’m concerned, Elescia deserves a big, fat kiss and/or raise (depending on Veer’s workplace sexual harassment and/or compensation policies) and a title change to Supreme Goddess of Customer Service and/or Liaison to the National Organization for the Abolition of Belly Shirts (NO-ABS).

Note: Like the shirt? Download the desktop wallpaper. It’s called “Relax” and it’s about 3/4 of the way down on the left.