Thursday, March 11, 2010

Barney in the floating world




Barney is the first owly-cat, indeed the first hypoallergenic hybrid GM pet ever to make it onto the Forbes rich list. As far as social entrepreneurship goes, Barney wrote the book, literally. His game-changing tome will be published next month under the title, Who would have guessed a chain of lookalike bars serving only vodka-based cocktails would be popular in Australia? It will undoubtedly be required reading for all MBAs and Economics PhDs in the future.

A heady alchemy of sheer dumb luck coupled with an eye for exploiting universal character flaws and a fist tighter than Madonna's lips makes Barney the go-to guy for any aspiring business person with no morals and a 25-sigma attitude to credit these days. I have to say that as a motivational speaker, he's definitely up there with Deepak Chopra and Zig Ziglar. If I had to describe his style, I'd say he's Roman Abramovich in the body of Yoda. Actually, it would be easier to say he's Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Unsurprisingly, Barney's inbox has lately burgeoned with invitations to view some of the world's choicest real estate offerings. Chumps as rich as Barney happen along only once in a huckster's lifetime. Dubai World was naturally one of the first to come calling. Barney thinks a flat-earth colony is definitely an idea whose time has come and is preparing to embark on an Emirates First Class flight as I write. I remind him to hang onto his passport and make sure his hip flask is topped up as I tuck him into his luxury Pet-a-porter.

I've suggested he bid for New Zealand. It looks considerably bigger than the real New Zealand and somewhat more tropical. He could well have a future claim on sovereignty. However, as soon as the limo disappeared with Barney snoozing in the boot, I developed niggling reservations and started to do a little research. No matter how successful your pets are, you never lose that maternal instinct to protect them from disastrous business choices.

I find there are islands for sale all over the globe and some of them are very reasonable. I wonder if he wouldn't be better off with something a little cheaper, say Ireland.

There is a surprising number of islands for sale in the USA. The interesting thing is not that they are for sale, what property isn't in the USA right now? No, what astonished me is that there are so many tiny islands parked in the middle of rivers and lakes with charming Cape Cod houses on them. Dolly and Kenny knew of which they spoke. You can get one of these starting at half a million US dollars, or a clean passport and an introduction to Malcolm Gladwell. Fortunately, Barney can supply both.

When he regains consciousness in Dubai in about three days time - I asked for a particularly strong dose of Valium to be administered as I am his designated next of kin - I will email him and suggest he looks at Staten Island. With free transport to Manhattan, (which is no longer for sale - cheers Rupert), this is real estate gold.

If I had Barney's money, I would invest in a floating condo. I adore travel except for the actual travelling part of it. A ship is the Lazy Susan version. The World is a residential cruise ship. It glides from port to port on one fabulously endless itinerary, sort of like The Love Boat, except without all those convoluted pretzel plots. You really couldn't afford one of those unless you had Judge Judy in-situ. Barney has tried to accuse me of hypocrisy - like the apprentice is ever going to better the sorcerer on that one - but I have discovered that The World is owned by the residents. We socialists call that a Co-Op.

I know cruising gets a bit of a bum rap for being environmentally corrosive but it need not be this way. If I were chairperson of The World, which I imagine is a democracy of the highest principles, I would immediately allocate any Germans the prime sun-lounger spots. This would free them up to concentrate on discovering planet-rescuing bio-solutions. I would ban smoking. I have seen Waterworld. I would turn the ship's humidor into a world-class climate change monitoring station. I believe we could probably get around the globe five times on the proceeds of research grants alone.

Anyway, enough about my dreams of building a better world, please offer a prayer tonight to St James of Watson and St Francis of Crick for the safe transit of our intrepid friend Barney. Pray that his booty does not get unduly shieked.