Hey there and welcome to the BigAppleSchool podcast. My name is Sam.
And today’ we’re gonna ask what’s the craic about…
Animals! So let’s do some sounds. What can you do?
Here’s your horse. Can you do the chicken?
I can’t, can you? I think I can’t do it nicer.
I haven’t seen that many chickens recently. I’m eating too many of them.
Listen to this, listen to this.
Go ahead. Oh, that’s good!
I don’t know how sheep are…
It sounds like a desperate kind of sheep. Anyway. Let’s get on with this.
What are we gonna talk about? What are we gonna ask about?
Well… The first thing I have, the first question I have for you… Stop interrupting me!
Let’s get on with this. Here’s my first question.
Yeah I know. How do you feel about animals?
You know, I love animals, actually. Both eating them. No, I do love animals. I also enjoy eating meat, unfortunately for animals. But I really do love animals, I do.
I had a soft spot for a woman, you know once. And it was a bog. There’s a joke, Ken. That a guy has a soft spot for his wife, it’s a bog in a county, you know, out in the countryside, where he’s gonna put her. You get one of me. It’s a kind of sad…
How do you feel about animals?
Oh my god, I’m a huge animal lover. I’m a big fan of animals. I do watch a lot of animal videos online, and I follow this particular series about animals. It’s on Animal planet, it’s called Too cute series.
It’s about, you know, baby animals growing up and, you know, seeing their progress each week, how they crawl, walk and then progress to running, and what things they can do.
That sounds interesting. I do enjoy a good documentary. I don’t watch them every day, but when I do get a good documentary, I love documentaries about sea life, actually.
Maybe even more than animal life on a planet, you know what I mean, on earth. But I enjoy, I mean, I enjoy both animals and… I think a documentary about sea life, cause it’s just like another world.
Well, yeah, it’s a different world.
The sea… But there’s always something fascinating about animals. Wow, you know. That’s unique. And you know I love science, right? I do love biology, and so…
And that’s why we both love animals.
The study of the life, you know. The circle of life.
I do hope that the listeners right now are, you know, having a good time listening to you.
If they’re some of my students, they know that I break in a song whenever I feel like it.
I don’t know. I think that everyone would like to shut up.
Of course, because you’re the teacher, so I won’t say that to you straight in your face.
No, they won’t. But I don’t prolong it too much I think. That’s okay.
Now, apart from animal planet I used to watch a lot of, you know, National Geographic shows of course, programs that are centered on animals. Oh my god, African animals – wildebeest, of course, hyenas, lions.
I know that in the animal world it can be cruel sometimes because you can be eaten by lion, but I don’t know, there’s just something about animal life that fascinates me. Even though it might be gross for some people to see an animal, you know, eaten alive, but for me this is science and I appreciate it for what it is.
This is what we call more of a curiosity, you know.
Wow, that snake is enjoying that meal or whatever.
Yeah I know. And you know, sibling rivalry among nestlings when for example, there’s this, you know, young birds, they sometimes kick their… not brothers or sisters, but others nestling out of the nest.
Why not brothers and sisters?
Well, okay, why not? I was just, you know, pushing them away from humans. Anyway, so they would kick some of the nestlings out and I think that’s so cruel but that’s how life works.
Do you have brothers or sisters?
I am an only child. Well, technically…
So this is why you think that’s cruel. I have two brothers and I love them, they’re great, don’t tell them I said that. But they’re great, but kicking your brothers is why you’re born, it’s why you have brothers. It’s your duty as a brother.
I’m sad, Ken, that you didn’t get to learn about that. It’s another way you can study life.
I grew up with my cousins though. So they were like my brothers.
Didn’t they ever kick you out of the nest?
Well, fortunately, no. Anyway. I’m getting out of topic.
Do you have a pet? It’s what I should ask now, right?
Right. Pets. You know, when I was growing up, I spent some time of my childhood in a village and we had cats, we had dogs. At one point I had a turtle and a hamster and a rabbit. And you know…
Turtle? Let me digest that. Turtle? Hamster, a rabbit?
How did they? Did they meet each other?
At different times, not all together.
Not at the same time. Not like a superhero team?
No. As I’ve already mentioned, I grew up with my cousins, so, you know, other boys. And then… The interesting thing that we used to do when we were young, when we were kids – every time our dog gave birth to a litter of puppies…
We would, you know, divide the puppies amongst ourselves, and we would do rock-paper-scissors to, you know, decide, which puppy goes to whom. And it was always fun to do it. And I was just lucky because I always won, so I had to pick first, and of course…
The biggest, the strongest.
The biggest, and the most beautiful. And the cutest. Of course.
Not the wrong of the litter.
Yeah, of course. The same goes with our cats. We did the same thing so we got to decide among ourselves. Well…
I wonder what the cats’ mom thought about all that.
‘What are they doing? So why are getting the kittens?’
Imagine it’s like if you’re going to the jungle and these people are doing some strange ritual. A the rock-paper-scissors ritual.
I have to sat though that we really took care of them. I treated all my sort of babies well. Well fed, played with them, gave them toys. It was a fun time in my life. What about you? What pets did you have?
We have, always had dogs in my family. It started when I was a wee boy. And I was quite young and I was like ‘mom! Mom! Let’s get a pet rabbit!’ And I don’t know why – I must’ve seen something on TV, cause I was always glued to the TV as a wee boy.
I mean, the weather, as you know, in Northern Ireland, rains a lot, so I was like TV was my favorite thing. And on the TV, I guess I must’ve seen something about the rabbit, so I was like ‘Mom! Let’s get a rabbit!’ And she’s like ‘No!’
Because my dad had a rabbit and now I agree with her – it’s like rabbits don’t do anything. And that’s true. Because my older brother had, not long ago, had a pet rabbit, and it doesn’t do anything. Except what it does do, what rabbits are very good at, you know, poop poop.
Maybe something else as well but we won’t talk about that. Rabbits just sit there in a hutch or cage, and they don’t really do very much.
Yeah. I mean, you can eventually love them, sure, but it’s not quite the same as it is with a dog, and I can tell you that I call myself a dog person, you know. I’m a dog lover.
Were you a dog whisperer? Did you talk to your dog?
Sure, talk to your dog. Not like about life or anything, but talk to your dog a little bit, you know, commented things. Tell her or him if they’re bad or good.
I have a question though. Who got to choose which name to give to your dogs?
My mom chose. We were very young. My older brother and I were still very young when we first had a dog, and my mom chose it. Bony.
Bony? Tyler? Is it the same name?
She wasn’t around at that time. It wasn’t as in Bony Tyler, but that name, yeah, it’s like… Bony is used quite a lot in Scotland, because it’s slang, I guess, meaning friendly, beautiful kinda thing. Lovely bright pup. Except when you say you have bony eyes, which means bright, beautiful, colorful, nice eyes.
That’s why she got the idea of naming her.
I never checked with her, so… And then we had Sam after that.
That was my younger brother… younger brother was about. I don’t know why he was asked to choose the name but he called… It was a female dog, a girl dog if you want to use that word. And her full name is Samantha. I think he just did it to kind of make fun of me. Didn’t know. But it was like Sam. Lot’s of cool comments.
Sounds weird. Like ‘Sam, come here! Sit!’ And then you react ‘What?’
No, my family called me Samuel, so there was never a problem differentiating at home. But when someone called, often my friends would call me Sam. When someone called ‘Is Sam there?’, my brothers were like hehehe, laughing.
Why are they calling to the dog? Why do they want tot talk to our dog? And now… The first one, by the way, was black and white cocker spaniel, a small spaniel. And the second one was Bichon frise. But she’s pure bred animal that came originally from poodle and a Maltese.
No, it’s a new breed from these two breeds. So it’s not a mixture dog actually, but a pure bred animal, but it originally came from these two breeds. And if you just see a white fluffy toy – it’s based on those dogs. Our Sam was that kind of dog and then we have now Poppy. Poppy is a type of flower, and it’s our dog now. She’s great.
You know what? At the moment I don’t have any pets, but I guess at my old age I’d like to have dogs and cats at home. For dogs – definitely I would love to have a pug, Labrador, akita, you know that Japanese breed, a French bulldog, corgis, you know corgis? They’re cute dogs. I’m just saying.
They’re not bad. The queen loves them. I can’t say I love them, but I mean, they’re okay, not bad. I’m a lover of dogs in general.
I really wanted to get a cat in our house. But my mom prefers dogs and there was.. I say never, but there was a visitor who came with a cat. And the cats ended up in the roof space, you know, above the house, in this storage area.
And I thought – at this time I was toying with the idea, I was still school age I was toying with the idea of being a vet. And I thought ‘right, I’m good with animals’, cause, you know, I’m great with our dog. I can get a cat out of the roof space. And that cat saw me, didn’t really know me, it just put out its claws and, you know, it was terrified up there in the roof space, and it didn’t know me.
And I was just trying to lift this cat gently. I was being aggressive, I lifted the cat gently and the cat was like ffff, you know. And dug its claws into me. And I was like ‘right’.
Were you traumatized by that?.
This was really my first experience with cats even though I was, I don’t know, maybe 10-11. And I was like ‘right, I don’t like cats anymore’.
No, now… I mean, now I appreciate cats much more. But I think each cat has its own unique personality.
Much more unique, much more different from each other than dogs are.
And you have to work for their attention, it’s not like dogs. You know, they follow you around. Cats – they will choose if they like you or not. And that’s what I like about them.
They’re very… I mean, they’re so different. My older brother has had three cats. I think he’s two now, and each one of them is different. And they do kinda hang out with each other a bit, each one of them is rude.
One is friendly, the other one is not, it doesn’t want to know you, you know. You want to pet one, the other is like ‘okay, you’re here, I’m gone’. They’re all really different and it’s interesting to get to know a cat, I think. Would be, if I ever did.
You know, while you were talking, I suddenly remember a particular, you know, a moment way back in, you know, my childhood years. Oh my god, you won’t believe this and I’m sure our listeners right now, they’re gonna laugh their head off. There was a time when I was looking for our cat.
Do you think they misunderstood. Laugh your head off.
Anyway. I was looking for our cat one day and then I was like ‘mimimi’, because that’s how we call our cats. And you know what? As I was looking for him I could hear our neighbor, one of them, a child, you know, same age as I was, he said ‘Oh my god, where’s our fish?’
You know, the dried fish it was supposed to be dinner. And he was like ‘The fish? Oh my god, where’s the fish?’ A few minutes later I saw my cat with the fish, and I thought ‘Oh my god, what should I do?’ I asked my grandmother ‘Should I tell our neighbor that our cat has, you know, their fish?’ And then my grandmother told me ‘No no no no, you don’t want to cause any trouble, just…’
It’s all between them and the cat. It’s their business.
So you know, I kept my mouth shut and I just thought…
You don’t want them to hit you. That reminds me – once my mom… Not very long ago, it doesn’t seem, my mom left me an oven on and she cooked meatballs. And she left it on, she left it open. And the meatballs were cooked, she left it open, this was for our dinner this evening.
And then all was great except the dog was there. And dog was left alone. And you know, the dog thought ‘oh dinner for me!’ And the dog ate the meatballs from the oven. It wasn’t, it cooled down at this stage, the dog didn’t get hurt. The dog had a great time. And actually, I think it was our first dog.
Bony got managed to jump from a kitchen chair onto the kitchen worktop where we had a chicken sitting, cooked as well.
He ate most of it. Most of the chicken. He ate most of the…
You wanna say another word, kitten!
He ate most of the kitten, he ate most of the chicken and managed to… I think he also pushed down the plate, or the casserole dish, broke the dish as well.
Of course it was awful. My parents – how could they discipline him? A dog wants to eat! And you yourself if you were left alone with a big kitchen – nobody told you you shouldn’t eat it.
I would’ve done the same.
Nobody told you that oh, by the way, Bony, you can’t eat that chicken. It was kinda our fault for leaving the chair. Dogs would be dogs.
They will always be dogs.
I appreciate it. They’re loyal, rugged, they can learn, okay, they’re not the smartest animal. They can be quite intelligent, they learn over time and get to understand. I’ve been told that they’re about as intelligent as a two year-old child.
So, I mean, in their own lifetime they get to know you and your routine, understand what you’re saying. They understand the voice patterns, so it’s great. I think they’re great. They’re good company.
And I would say that they seem to have this emotional connection, sort of, with people – that’s why I love dogs as well.
You get home from work or from uni or whatever, school, and they’re jumping up on you, they’re so glad to see you, welcoming you. That’s perfect.
Unlike some cats, like ‘oh, so you’re back home. So, where’s my food? It’s time for you to feed me now’. No disrespect of cats out there who’s listening.
It’s time for you to serve me some food.
Ken, I have a question for you.
We’ve talked a lot about domestic animals. What about wild animals? What do you think about them? So, you’ll talk through wild animals and a little bit of why.
I’d say, the panda, tiger and lemurs – come on, pandas, everybody loves pandas! They’re cute!
Yeah, I guess that’s an old meme. Pandas – okay.
Tigers as well, because, I don’t know, I love their stripes and they’re just beautiful animals.
Yeah, they’re majestic. Lemurs because they’re so cute, their eyes, you know, like me. And you know, I love Madagascar, because that, you know, film, made me love lemurs. King Julian, you’ve seen the film, right? He’s so hilarious! He just made me love lemurs. What about you?
I guess it’s strange for people. I find it strange why anyone would be afraid of bats. Or be creeped out by bats. I mean, some of them aren’t the most beautiful, they’ve lots of different varieties of bats.
Plus different faces. Some of them are super cute, and some of them are not so really in the looks department. But they’re so fascinating to me! Since I first saw them out of my window when I was a teenager or shortly before it, in the summer, flying about. They’re so amazing to watch! Just literally acrobatic!
They are literally acrobatic.
Their wing is much more bendable if you like than a bird’s wing. So more flexible.
They’re chasing, the ones in Northern Ireland are chasing bugs. So they’re going crazy catching these bugs. Very energetic, very fast. I mean, it’s just amazing. So many interesting things I could tell about bats or I’ve learned about bats. Wolves.
I guess because of the dogs, I’m such a lover of dogs. And wolf is like the supreme dog, right?
And something a little bit mysterious about them, at least in culture. So I’m a lover of wolves. And otters.
Oh that’s an interesting fact!
Actually it’s kinda difficult to pick the third one. I say otters cause they’re like… they’re cute. They can swim and go on land.
I guess they are. I haven’t had a lot of experience. Seeing them in zoos and places.
They’re very sociable animals. Amongst themselves.
I guess all three that I’ve picked are mammals.
And I did also write down frogs and turtles. And that’s kinda cheating cause we asked for three.
Ninja turtles – I loved them when I was a boy. I think that’s the obvious side of things that’s interesting to me as well. I mean, that’s why I picked otters. Frogs and turtles the same.
I kinda like frogs too. Now, are there any animals or insects, bugs that scare you?
When I was a kid, I really didn’t like spiders.
Well, I’m not very surprised.
I’m still not comfortable with bigger spiders. But now I’m not so afraid or anything. But when I was a boy, we had a shed in our back garden. It was kinda like the domain of the spider, and there were lots of, I don’t wanna say small, but they weren’t huge spiders there.
But there were some that I would’ve classed huge as a boy. And I was like creeped out. I was drawn to the shed for just to explore, you know, I’m an explorer, right. But I didn’t want to get in contact with these spiders – they were always kinda keeping me in the middle of the room. Don’t go into the corners.
That’s interesting though, because in my youth, when I was a young boy, I really loved spiders. I would catch them, you know, my friends and I would look around, you know, we would go from house to house just to catch some spiders. And we would put them at each end of a broomstick, you know, piece of broomstick, so that they would fight each other.
Yeah, exactly! And it was, I don’t know, it was always fun to do it!
They do! And you know, eventually one overpowers the other and then the victim, or the loser gets to be wrapped.
Yes. And then gets eaten by the other one, by the winner.
What kind of childhood did you have?
Well I grew up in the village, I told you, before I moved to Manila.
I never even had the idea in my mind to pitch two spiders against each other. I was too busy stepping back. One guy in my class in school would’ve run. I prided myself, is that right? In not running, but I wouldn’t go near it. I would back away slowly.
I have to say though, now as an adult I wouldn’t want, you know, spiders crawling on my palm or my hands. Cause, I don’t know, it feels, you know, it crawls. I don’t know what I was thinking when I was a boy, I didn’t mind, I was, you know…
I guess I’m in the same way, I liked fishing when I was a teenager. And I would put a worm on a hook and I don’t think I can do that now. I know you might say what a wuss, but the whole idea of this poor…
I’m would be thinking what’s gonna happen to this worm. I probably could do it, I just don’t have the desire to do that and to fish. Are you afraid of snakes?
You know, snakes – no, I’m not.
It’s another thing that I’m not quite sure why people are afraid of snakes, like creeped out by snakes. I know there’s a good reason why they’re afraid of like the teeth, the venom and all that. Fangs. I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of snakes. I do know a good good friend of mine is terrified.
Terrified. In Northern Ireland there are no snakes, but he and I were both in Australia and he was… I think he was on alert for the snakes. I mean, I was… It was sorta in my mind that I should be careful, although it was winter time for them.
It was in my mind that I should be careful and watch my steps, cause they can be dangerous, you need to get and antivac, but I cannot say I’m afraid, I’m afraid of snakes. I saw a snake in the Novosibirsk zoo, a few snakes.
Recently I was looking at their skin, their scales, whatever, and they’re so… It’s so beautiful, so detailed, the colors and the shade of their skin – it’s amazing! I just… Again, even today, I respect spiders, they are amazing.
I’ll never say they’re beautiful, I mean, at least not in the way traditional sense, but they are so amazing. If I remember correctly, there’s something about their silk that is extremely strong. Maybe even…
Yeah, I know. I’ve read about it.
Per square centimeter… Stronger than steel. I’ve heard about this. It’s amazing when you think about it. It comes out of their bum, effectively. It’s really an amazing stuff. Anything else we wanna talk about?
Well, just very quickly – I’m scared of cockroaches. In the Philippines they’re big, friendly and happy, flying around.
Yes. And I remember one time when I was preparing for an exam the following day. However, at night I had my light on, so I was studying. And I didn’t notice that the windows were open and it was raining, and you know, one by one they were coming.
and I was like ‘Oh my god!’ No! Guess what? I stopped my preparation and instead I decided… I turned off the lights, you know, went to bed because I was too scared.
Oh no. In Northern Ireland I don’t think we have cockroaches. We have beetles and other insects. But nothing big, nothing huge. It’s just too cold, too wet-cold kinda, not super cold to have them.
And the first experience I had with them was just here. They’re not so big here, not so bad, not so terrible. Don’t enjoy them, like I wouldn’t want them around. But yeah. Flying cockroaches! Wow!
Okay. Well we’ll call it a wrap. Outro?
We have talked about our different love of animals, our… how do we say? Our mutual love of animals. We love dogs and cats, especially.
And some other wild animals.
Wild animals. And we’ve had a bit of experience growing up with pets.
And I hope that all our listeners love animals.
I’m sure a lot of them, yes. And if they don’t love to spend time with them, maybe they love to eat.
Anyway, that’s for today’s What’s the craic.
That was the craic about animals!