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By pete — 2 years ago
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WWP: Internet Issues & Vocab Builder Videos
Guys! What’s going on? What’s going on? Welcome to this episode of Walking With Pete.
Man, I got so impatient about starting that I’ve actually started the video before I have even crossed the path, crossed the road and gotten into the park. So, (I’ve) just got to watch for the traffic, make sure I don’t get hit by some cars. This might take a while. It’s obviously sunset. I’ll try and keep the camera looking at me without giving you guys some glare like that for the entire episode. I’ll do my best. Anyway, maybe… no, I won’t be sneaky. I better wait. I’ve got to behave, be a good boy.
So, anyway, what can I talk about while I’m waiting for the fricken traffic to pass? It’s been a pretty frustrating week/weekend. You guys probably have noticed that the website’s been down, that’S BEEN DRIVING ME NUTS, driving me crazy. So, TO BE DRIVING YOU NUTS means to be… NUTS as in crazy, as in mad, not as in the food, you know, a nut like a seed, which is also a slang term for a man’s genitals, the two of the… we’ll just say it, testicles. You can use the word NUTS to mean testicles in English.
Anyway, TO DRIVE YOU NUTS, TO GO NUTS, TO BE NUTS, when you’re describing someone as BEING NUTS it’s more that they’re crazy, they’re mentally unstable, they’re insane. So, that’s what’S BEEN DRIVING ME NUTS, the website. You guys will probably have all known what was going on with that, but for those who don’t the website was down for several days, and I guess I’ll just give you the entire story, ‘cause I can go over some expressions to describe what I’m about to do. And I’m about TO HAVE A BITCH TO you guys, TO HAVE A BITCH. If I HAVE A BITCH it means that I complain, I whinge, I moan about something, I tell you something that’s been irritating me, I complain, I try and GET IT OFF MY CHEST. GET IT OFF MY CHEST is just sort of get it out there and, you know, unburden myself so that it’s no longer something that I’m stressed about. Anyway, I want TO HAVE A BITCH and GET this issue OFF MY CHEST, unburden myself, tell you guys about what happened. So, the website was down. That WAS DRIVING ME NUTS because I couldn’t work out what was wrong at first.
So, at first I thought, “Ok, I’ve done something. I’ve stuffed something up.”, I was looking online but (I) couldn’t work out what it was. So, I contacted my host, and the host is the person (company*) who has the data for the website. So, that’s what’s, you know, they’re the one (ones*) who housed the entire website on their own servers, on their hard-drives, wherever they are. And I was using a company called Arvixe. And I don’t mind telling you this, guys, because any of you guys listening out there I really suggest that you do not use this company in the future. Don’t use Arvixe.
Anyway, I tried to contact them 5 times, count it 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 times. I got onto some people, I don’t even know where they were, but they were definitely not in American where I think the company is based out of, and they were somewhat useless, because their support system is an online chat, and each time they were telling me the problem was on my end and telling me, I guess I don’t really want to bog you guys down in the real… the small details, but that I had to go onto my website and change something, and refresh it, because that was the problem that the website wasn’t communicating, whatever. I won’t go into it. But I kept doing that 3 or 4 times I tried. The first time the guy said he sorted it out and that it was all fixed and then the second to fifth time I tried fixing it myself each time TO NO AVAIL. TO NO AVAIL meaning it didn’t achieve anything, it didn’t work, it was pointless, it was useless, nothing changed. So, I tried TO NO AVAIL to do all of that.
Anyway, I got incredibly pissed off, because the problem wasn’t resolving and I felt embarrassed, I wanted the website to be there for you guys, and I know how frustrating it is when something that you’re passionate about is not there for you to use. And obviously I’m here to help you guys out. I want to be there for you guys. And so, that was frustrating me after two or three days of trying to get that fixed.
So, ultimately, I decided, F them, fuck them, and I decided after the fifth time to just move my website to a new host. And, again, that was a massive headache, and a headache is something that’s a pain, it’s a problem, it’s not literally a head ache in the fact that you’ve got an ache in your head, but it’s that sort of non-literal sense of driving you nuts, of giving you a headache because it’s so complicated, it’s such a pain in the arse to try and sort out.
So, I tried to move the website across to a new host and that was somewhat less painless, less painful* I want to say, that was less painful because it was painless than I was expecting. So, I was really happy that that was so easy to sort out. And, yeah, I moved the website across. I put that on the new host, and this time they’re someone in Australia, someone in Melbourne. So, that’s obviously going to make things a lot more easy, and I simply emailed them, to be honest, and within 2 (or) 3 hours the website was up. So, now it’s back. There you go. Problem sorted. Crisis averted. But, what a pain in the arse, what a headache, and I’m glad I had that little BITCH, I’m glad I WAS BITCHING TO you guys and GETTING IT OFF MY CHEST.
But yeah, first and foremost I just want to apologise for the inconvenience. I know that it was probably, or most definitely, frustrating any of you guys who like listening to the podcast whilst also reading the transcripts, because you wouldn’t have obviously had access to the transcripts on the website unless you had downloaded these already. So, yeah, I’m sorry about that guys. I’m sorry it took a few days to organise and sort out, but fortunately it’s back. Let me know if you have any issues, because, yeah, I’m just horrified that it’s not going to be there for you guys. I can see it, I can see it on my phone, I can see it on my computer. So, it seems to be all good, but let me know if there’s any issues if you’re checking this straight after I put this up online for you guys.
Alright, so that was the first sort of order of the day, (it) was to just go over that and touch base with where we’re at for that. (I’m) trying to think what else we were going to talk about, I’ve got another… there was another subject, there was another topic. Oh! I started a new idea for a series of videos that I want to put on YouTube to try and help you guys expand your vocabulary, and to try and help you learn numerous different synonyms, and a synonym is a word that means the same as another word.
So, for instance, in the video that I did today, this is the perfect example, I taught you guys probably 10 or more different ways of saying “a lot of” or “lots of”. So, “a lot of”, “a lot of” things, that’s the singular version, “a lot of” things, or “lots of” things, the plural version.
And so, I guess, I wanted to talk to you guys about this. This is an idea I’ve been having rolling around in my head for a little while now, and I guess the main reason that I have decided to try and do this is because A. no one else seems to have done this really online, and B. it’s the kind of thing that I would really like to have in the languages that I’m learning.
Anyway, I should probably tell you what the basic idea is. The basic idea is to first and foremost tell you, show you, say to you as many different synonyms for a certain sentence of a certain word that I can think of. So, in this example today I said numerous different synonyms for “a lot of” such as “a great deal of”, “a bunch of”, “a ton of”, “a shitload of”, “a load of”, “a head of”, “a stack of”. So, there’s all those different kinds of synonyms, and I’ve put it together in a lesson where there’s a few different substitution exercises. So, first I get you to turn the sentence from the singular version, for instance, “there’s a lot of something” into the plural version, for example, “there are lots of X”, whatever it is.
So, I did that, first and foremost. There are also a few in there that you can’t make plural or that sound incredibly weird if you make them plural.
I’ll give you Melbourne in the background there guys. You can have a perve, have a look, have a squiz at Melbourne through this field. And, I just lost my train of thought. That will serve me right for interrupting myself.
Anyway, so yeah, I’ve done that. I’ve tried to make that episode on “a lot of” and “lots of” and all the different ways of saying that. I’ve also tried to include other aspects of the English language in these exercises. So, obviously, not only are you going to be working your vocabulary and trying to expand your vocabulary by learning different synonyms for specific words, but also you’ve got… I’m going to try and include other things in there. So, for example today I included numerous different ways of saying “women”. So, there were like five, I think it was like “babes”, “chicks”, “ladies”, “women”, “girls”. And then there were five for “men”. So, obviously, “men”, “boys”, “dudes”, “guys”, “blokes”. I think they were the five.
And so, I want you guys to practice associating all those words with meaning the same thing, because obviously you’re going to hear these things all the time, all the time. Guys say these kinds of… and I just said it. Guys, say these kinds of words when they’re talking about women, when they’re talking about other guys, and women say these kinds of words when they’re talking about women and guys, etc., etc. etc.. And so, it’s the kind of language that you’re going to hear all the time from native speakers.
I might just sit down.
So, I think that’s why it’s incredibly important to try and get you exposed, give you some exposure to all of this different kind of language, these different synonyms, get you practicing changing in and out and using all of them. So, that’s why I’m trying to create these kinds of lessons to put on YouTube as well as the podcast to try and help you expand your vocabulary whether it’s passive vocabulary, i.e. you just hear and you understand instantly whether or not you actually use it yourself, or for the active vocabulary if you want to learn all of these different ways of saying effectively the same thing. And this is the kind of thing that you’re going to want to do to get from that intermediate level to the advanced level in a language. And this is particularly what I try and do when I’m trying to get from the intermediate to advanced level in languages that I’m learning. I get to that point where I have one word for most if not all things that I want to be able to say, that I want to be able to communicate when I’m having a conversation, but it’s kind of like painting with one colour. After a while, you know, you’re learning how to paint, one colour’s all you need at first, but then you get a little bored, and then you get a little more, “I want to be able to do this. I want to be able to express myself differently. I want to be able to put my personality into my paintings or into my English.”.
And so, that’s why I think it’s so important to learn different synonyms, different ways of expressing yourself, because that is when you can take your English to the next level and really expression your own personality. Ultimately, our passive vocabulary, the stuff that we know, is massively, massively, massively bigger than our active vocabulary, the words that we actually use, the words that we say. And, words that I say may not be the same as the words that my parents say, my friends say, other English natives say. In fact, I can almost tell you with certainty that they won’t be the same words. The way they will explain situations, describe things, is almost certainly going to be different from how I would do it. And this is where putting your personality into the language you’re learning, English in this example, becomes incredibly important, and this is how you do it, this is how you do it. You learn all of these different words, for some reason one of them will seem nicer or cooler or easier to remember than a lot of the other ones and you’ll just start using that one all the time, and it becomes part of your English personality.
So, that’s why I’m trying to create these lessons, guys. That’s the aim of these lessons. I’m trying to also make them fun where I teach you more slang. So, in the “a lot of” or “lots of” lesson, today, that I’ve made I also taught you words like “a crap-ton of”, “shitloads of”, “fuckloads of” and how to use those.
Damn flies everywhere!
And so I’ve done that because, again, that’s the kind of stuff that I use every day. You’re not going to learn that in books because it’s probably pretty inappropriate with regards to formal English. You’re not going to ever use that kind of language in a job interview or if you’re in an interview on TV or talking to someone you don’t really know, but most of the time I imagine that once you get to Australia you’re going to form friendships where 1. People are going to be saying this stuff, particularly if they’re natives. They’re going to be saying “fuck-tons”, “shit-tons”, “crap-tons” when they’re talking about “a lot of” or “lots of” something. And so 1. I want you to be able to understand what that means, because it is relatively slangy, it’s quite a lot of slang to say, to use those kinds of words. But (2.) I also want you to be able to learn them and use them yourselves because if I heard someone who was a non-native English speaker using those I would incredibly impressed, you know, to be honest, and I don’t know what else to say. Yeah, that is why is why I’ve included them.
So, don’t be too shocked when you hear me swearing. I always try and give you some context and idea as to when and where not to use… when and when* not to use these expressions, and I won’t ever teach you stuff that is incredibly offensive without telling you at least. I will always give you a disclaimer or a caption down the bottom, but yeah, and I’ll do it now. If in doubt, go without. So, if in doubt, if you don’t know whether or not you should be using it, don’t use it. If you hear someone else use it while you’re talking to them obviously that’s a good sign that it’s ok to use it. So, until you get used to when and how to use these things, obviously, don’t use them in every single conversation, but play with them, you know. Practice them, play with them.
One last thing I might mention. Work on your pronunciation in these episodes as well. So, you can get different things out of these episodes. Not only am I going to give you as much as I can with regards to synonyms and different ways of saying these words, but I’m also going to give you the ability to listen and repeat and practice your pronunciation. So, if you notice that you have any kind of trouble with the pronunciation of any of these words or any of these sentences, definitely listen and repeat and go over these, and just keep practicing your pronunciation guys. It’s a never-ending battle. It’s the same for me and French, and me and Portuguese. I’m constantly finding out that I’m saying something slightly incorrect or in a bit of a weird way, and ultimately there’s no problem with having an accent but we always all want to reduce it as much as possible, right?
Anyway, this episode of Walking With Pete has gone long enough. I hope you guys are liking what I’m putting out there, what I’m giving you guys. Again, I’m sorry about the website being down. I’m going to try and put this episode up tonight, although, by the time you see it you won’t know when “tonight” is. So, I’ll get this out as soon as I can. I want it out by Wednesday. But yeah, let me know what you think in a comment below guys, and I’ll put up the episode that I’m talking about, the vocab expander kind of episode, as soon as possible, and when I do I’ll link below as well.
So, until then guys, peace out and all the best!
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By pete — 2 years ago
In this episode of Aussie English I celebrate reaching the 300th episode by answering all your questions!
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By pete — 11 months ago
AE 421 – Expression: To Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth
In 1930, life in Australia was tough. Jobs were hard to get, money was scarce, but there was a guaranteed way to make some cash. If you could scrape together a shilling, a pound, or a fiver, you could put it on a horse. Not just any horse, but a horse that was bound to win. A sure thing. Phar Lap.
G’day you mob! How’s it going? (I) Decided to call you guys “you mob”, you know, come up with a name for the listeners. Get you guys a little bit more Australian culture. “You mob” is the kind of expression that people often use in Australia to refer to a group of people, and it comes from the idea that a mob of kangaroos is a group of kangaroos. And so, you use the collective noun “mob” to talk about a group of kangaroos. And so, a lot of Australians will say “you mob” instead of “you guys” or “you lot”. So, g’day you mob. How are you going?
Today’s intro scene is a snippet from a story by AnimalXTV on YouTube, and again, (the) link is in the transcript or on the website. It’s about Australia’s, and maybe the world’s, greatest ever racehorse Phar Lap. So, ask any Australian and they’ll know the name Phar Lap. It seemed like a good time to tell you guys about him considering today’s expression is related to horses. So, his death was nearly as mysterious as his career was successful, but we’ll get into that in today’s Aussie Fact.
So, as usual guys, get a welcome to The Aussie English Podcast. This is the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English. Whether you want to learn to understand Aussies or you want to learn to speak like an Australian, this is the podcast for you, and it’s brought to you by The Aussie English Classroom an online learning environment where you get all the bonus content for these expression episodes and the interview episodes on the podcast with courses, lessons, quizzes. You can meet other people. There are speaking challenges. There’s a whole bunch of extra content in there designed to help you learn Australian English even faster. So, don’t forget to sign up and give that a go if you haven’t already. It’s a dollar for your first month. (The) link’s in the description.
And also, don’t forget to get the free downloads for today’s episode as well. Make sure you go to the website and download the transcript and the MP3 if you want to study this anywhere, anytime.
So, today guys, let’s get into the Aussie joke. Today’s Aussie joke, again related to horses. You’ll remember in the last expression episode, to stab someone in the back, I told a joke about so-and-so walking into a bar. So, those ‘walking into a bar’ jokes are very popular in English, and today’s is another one, and it fits well with the horse theme for today’s episode. Okay. So, here’s the joke:
A horse walks into a bar one day and the bartender says, “Hey!”, and the horse says, “You read my mind!”. “You read my mind”. Do you get that guys? A horse walks into a bar one day and the bartender, the guy behind the bar, says, “Hey!”, and the horse says, “You read my mind!”, as in, “You knew exactly what I was thinking”, because horses like to eat “Hay”. Except “hay” the food the grass that horses eat is spelt H-A-Y, and the greeting “Hey”, which the bartender use there is H-E-Y. So, it’s another pun for you guys with the word “Hey!”.
Alright, today’s expression guys is “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. I wonder if you guys have heard this expression before. “Don’t look at gift horse in the mouth”. So, it’s a proverb, a short and expressive saying in common use recognised as conveying an accepted truth or useful advice.
So, I’m sure you’ve got two questions, though: What the hell is a gift horse? And, why should I not look it in the mouth?
So, this is one of those expressions I’ve heard and I learnt from a very young age, but I never really understood what it meant literally until I was much older, and I’m sure that happens to you guys in your native language too.
Anyway, before we go through the definition of the expression and its origin, let’s go through the definition of the words in the expression.
Okay. So, “to look”. The verb “to look” is to examine with the eyes to examine with the eyes. And if you “look something in the something”, say you can look something in the face, you could look something in the back, whatever it is, it’s to face something with your eyes and look at that thing. So, if you look something in the mouth, you’re examining it and looking into its mouth with your eyes. You’re looking something in the mouth.
“A horse”. I’m sure you guys know what “A horse” is. It’s a four-legged farm animal often ridden by people as a hobby or for farm work or in sports. It’s a mammal. “A horse”. It’s got a long neck they tend to be about, what, eight nine 10 feet high. They tend to be pretty tall.
“A gift horse” is a horse given to someone as a gift. “A gift horse”. A horse given as a gift, given as a present.
And the last word “a mouth”. I’m sure you guys know what “a mouth” is. “A mouth” is what I’m currently using to talk. It is the orifice on an animal’s head in which food is placed, chewed, or swallowed. Or in the case of me right now, it is the thing I am using to talk.
So, those are the different words in today’s expression. But let’s go through the expression itself and define that, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”, and I should add, you are going to hear this in the negative most often. “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. You probably won’t ever hear, “Oh yeah, look a gift horse in the mouth” in the affirmative there.
Expression Definition & Origin:
Alright, so the definition. We’ve established that “A gift horse” is a horse given to someone as a gift or as a present. So, when purchasing horses, back in the day, you know, back in the past, it was a good idea, (it) probably still is a good idea, to check the horse’s health and age by examining the quality of its teeth. And in order to look at the teeth, you have to look the horse in the mouth. Longer teeth obviously mean the horse is older, because they have teeth that keep growing, and fewer teeth obviously suggests the horse might be in poor health, and you don’t want a horse that can’t eat.
So, the idea behind the expression, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”, is that it’s bad manners to examine, to inspect, or to scrutinise a gift and wish for more than you’ve been given. It shows mistrust towards the giver, right? You don’t get something for free and then examined to see if it’s up to your standards. So, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”, effectively just means, don’t be ungrateful when you receive a gift.
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So, the origin of this expression. This was another one of these cool English expressions that is quite old, and some of the sentences that I’m about to read to you in Middle English. So, I really recommend reading the transcript and checking out the spelling of some of these words. Okay?
So, anyway, as with most proverbs, the origin of “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” is pretty ancient and unknown. It’s at least 450-500 years old in the English language, and it appeared in print in English in 1546, in John Heywood’s A Dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue. And again, I recommend looking up how that spelt. So, you’ll see the old English spelling before it was standardised. So, it was written in this book. “No man ought to looke a geuen hors in the mouth.”
So, make sure you check out the spelling guys. There one thing you might notice is that there are lots of U’s where there should be V’s. And so, prior to the standardisation of English spelling, U was obviously used instead of a V.
So, Heywood likely obtain this phrase, though, from a Latin text from St. Jerome, The Letter to the Ephesians, and this is from 400 A.D., so 1,600 years old, which contains the text, “Noli equi dentes inspicere donate”, which is Latin that I have probably mispronounced, and it means, “Never inspect the teeth of a given horse”. So, where St. Jerome got it from who knows. But one thing for sure is that this is a very old expression.
So, as usual guys, let’s go through some examples of how I would use the expression, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. We’ll go through a little listen and repeat exercise, and then we’ll go through today’s Aussie fact.
So, examples. Example number one. Imagine you’re a young kid. You’re 18 years old in Australia. You’ve finally gotten your license. So, you’ve gotten your P-plates, your probationary plates, once you’ve completed your license test to drive. You got your license. Your dad and your mum have scraped together all this money. They’ve scraped together some savings to buy you your first car. This is something that I didn’t have the luxury of. My parents helped me. They gave me a little bit of money, but they didn’t buy me the car outright just for me. So, your parents tell you it’s out the front of the house, and that you guys should walk outside and check it out, and the first thing that you do, once they take you out there, is look under the hood of the car to see if there’s an oil leak, to see if there’s anything wrong with the engine, and maybe you noticed something, and then you complain about it, and you say, “Oh, there’s an issue with the car that you’ve given me!”. Your folks might tell you, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, mate. It’s a free car. Why are you complaining? Don’t be ungrateful. Don’t question what you’ve received as a gift. Just take it and be happy. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”.
Example number two. Imagine that you’ve gone on a road trip through the Aussie Outback. Maybe you’ve gone to see Uluru or maybe you’ve gone to see… I don’t know, any of these other places out in the Australian outback. You’ve gone with your mates, and the car that you’ve had has broken down. You’ve waited for a few days and you’ve run out of food and water. So, now you guys decide together that you’ll have to set off on a hike back down the road, which is incredibly long, maybe it’s a hundred kilometres, and you know that it’s dangerous, but you need water and food. Just as you guys get ready to set off, someone happens to drive down the road and find you. You turn to your mate and you say, “What are the chances of this? Why on earth is someone here? Why would they be driving down this road? It’s so desolate.”, and your friend might say, “Dude! Don’t question it! Be happy that someone saved us from dehydration, from an unpleasant death in the desert. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”. Don’t be ungrateful. Don’t question what you’ve received. Just take it and be happy. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth Michael Jackson.
Alright last example. Example number three. You and your friends are getting ready to go out on the town. So, maybe some girls, you’re some sheilas, you’re putting on your makeup, you’re doing your… you’re tarting yourself up a little bit, making yourself look nice, so that when you go out on the town, you know, you can have a good time with your friends. So, you call up an Uber or you call a taxi, and it’s really busy that night. You know, it’s a Saturday night. The busiest night of the week for people going out. And they say they’re going to take an hour to come and pick you up. So, you guys reconcile yourselves to waiting, but one of you decides, your mate decides, “Ah, screw this! I’m going to message one of my friends and see if they can give us a lift so they can come and pick us up and drive us to this place.”. So, this person calls their mate who says, “No dramas! All good! I’ll come get you now”. And you say that you don’t actually like that person. So, your friend’s friend you don’t like, and you’d rather not get a lift with them and just wait instead, and your friend turns to you and says, “Dude! Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Don’t complain. Let’s just get this lift it’s a short trip. We’ll be there in no time and we can start partying. Don’t be ungrateful. Don’t question what you’ve received. Just take it and be happy. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”.
So, I hope you guys understand now what the expression, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” can mean. It can mean: Don’t be ungrateful when you receive a gift, don’t be critical of that gift, don’t refuse something you’ve been given, or don’t be unappreciative of or question a gift that you’ve received.
So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise, guys. So, this is your chance to practice your pronunciation, your Australian or your English intonation, the rhythm of speaking. Imitate me exactly as I speak in order to practice your pronunciation, guys. This is your chance to do so. Let’s go.
Listen & Repeat Exercise:
To look a
To look a gift
To look a gift horse
To look a gift horse in
To look a gift horse in the
To look a gift horse in the mouth
I’d never look a gift-horse in the mouth
You’d never look a gift-horse in the mouth
He’d never look a gift-horse in the mouth
she’d never look a gift-horse in the mouth
we’d never look a gift-horse in the mouth
they’d never look a gift-horse in the mouth
it’d never look a gift-horse in the mouth
Great job, guys. Great job. Remember if you want to practice your pronunciation and focus on the connected speech in more depth from today’s episode, from today’s listen and repeat exercise, make sure that you join up to the Aussie English Classroom where we go through this in detail. This is the place where I try to really teach you guys how to speak with an Australian English accent, and you can focus on all the nitty gritty detailed stuff. So, remember you can try that for a dollar for the first month when you sign up. Just head over to theAussieEnglishClassroom.com.
So, today guys we’re going to go through Phar Lap, we’re going to talk about Phar Lap, in the Aussie English fact.
So, Phar Lap was a champion thoroughbred racehorse, and he was born on the 4th of October in 1926, so about 90 years ago. He died at the age of 5 on the 5th of April 1932 under very mysterious circumstances, which we’ll get on to in a bit.
So, the name Phar Lap derives from a Zhuang and Thai word for lightning, and literally means “Sky flash”.
He had other nicknames too, including, “Wonder Horse”, “Red Terror”, “Bobby”, and “Big Red”. He was foaled in New Zealand and trained and raced in Australia by Harry Telford, and Phar Lap was a chestnut gelding and was sired by a horse named ‘Night Raid’ from a black New Zealand bred thoroughbred mare called ‘Entreaty’.
He was purchased at auction for a mere 160 guineas in 1928 by an American businessman named David J. Davis who had been persuaded to buy the horse by a Sydney trainer named Harry Telford. Initially, thinking it was an amazing bargain, Davis became pretty angry once he received the colt and it arrived with a face covered in warts, a very gangly figure, and a very awkward gait when it was walking. In order to placate Davis Telford agreed to train the horse for free in exchange for a two thirds share of any winnings, which was a good choice as you guys will find out.
Although standing a winning racehorse at stud can be quite lucrative, Telford gelded Phar Lap, meaning that he castrated the horse, so that it couldn’t have babies in the future, hoping that the colt would then concentrate on racing instead of obviously concentrating on female horses.
Phar Lap lived up to the saying, “Looks can be deceiving” and “Don’t judge a book by its cover” as he received training from Telford and began to win races. His achievements captured the public’s imagination in Australia during the early years of the Great Depression, and he had a very distinguished career and dominated Australian racing winning a Melbourne Cup, two Cox Plates, and an AJC Derby, as well as 19 other weight for age races.
So, he won 34 out of 38 races that he was entered into, including 14 of these in a row. He won 14 in a row. He was the only horse to have been favourite for the Melbourne Cup three times in a row, and as a result of his success, bookmakers started to lose a lot of money, and the Mafia and other groups were not happy about this, especially when he headed over to the U.S..
So, soon after doing really well in Australia, he went to a race in the Americas Agua Caliente Handicap in Tijuana, Mexico, and he won this in record time in his final race.
At the time, he was the third highest stakes winner in the world. He had been bought for only 160 guineas, which was USD$130 at the time, and he’d won nearly £67,000, which is AUD$6.3 million dollars in today’s money. So, he was bought for the equivalent of about AUD$13,000 dollars and ended up earning his owners AUD$6.3 million. Not a bad return on investment, hey guys?
So, Phar Lap suffered a sudden and mysterious illness in 1932 in Atherton, California. Phar Lap’s strapper, Tommy Woodcock, found Phar Lap in severe pain with a high temperature early on the 5th of April 1932. Within a few hours, Phar Lap had haemorrhaged to death. An autopsy revealed the horse’s stomach and intestines were inflamed leading many to believe that the horse had been deliberately poisoned.
Later research found evidence suggesting other possible causes though including: an acute bacterial gastroenteritis, so an infection of the stomach and intestines; or that it could have been poisoning by a single dose of arsenic.
On top of this, anecdotal evidence from a friend of the late strapper for the horse, though, Tommy Woodcock, suggests the horse was allowed to graze on pasture covered in a poisonous plant the night before his death.
It was also thought that the Mafia at the time were getting frustrated with him winning all of these different races, and they may have played a part in the horse’s death as well.
So, it’s uncertain whether or not we will ever know how the horse Phar Lap died, but one thing for sure is that he lives on in the imagination of many Australians and had an amazing career.
And if you would like to check out lap. You can see his taxidermied body at Museum Victoria in Victoria, in Melbourne, or you can check out his huge heart, a massive 6.2 kilos, nearly twice the size of a regular horse’s heart, at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.
So, that’s it for today guys. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you enjoyed learning about Phar Lap. And just remember, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth next time someone gives you something, and I’ll chat to you mob later.
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