"In the beginning"

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Lets look at Australia.


January 26 is our national day so as a lead into Australia Day I decided
to re-post this authoritative work about Australia, I trust you will make
full use of it if you visit our beautiful shores.

Let's start with an oxymoron; "An Aussie Gentleman"



DOUGLAS ADAMS' (of Hitchhikers guide fame) VIEW OF AUSTRALIA

Australia is a very confusing place, taking up a large amount of the bottom half of the planet.
It is recognisable from orbit because of many unusual features, including what at first looks
like an enormous bite taken out of its southern edge; a wall of sheer cliffs which plunge deep
into the girting (our land is girt by sea, is a line from our National Anthem) sea.
Geologists assure us that this is simply an accident of geomorphology and plate tectonics, but
they still call it the "
Great Australian Bight" proving that not only are they covering up a more
frightening theory, but they can't spell either.

The first of the confusing things about Australia is the status of the place. Where other land
masses and sovereign lands are classified as continent, island, or country,
Australia is
considered all three.

Typically, it is unique in this.

The second confusing thing about Australia is the animals. They can be divided into three
categories: Poisonous, Odd, and Sheep. It is true that of the 10 most poisonous arachnids
on the planet,
Australia has 9 of them. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that of the
9 most poisonous arachnids,
Australia has all of them. However, there are curiously few
snakes, (not necessarily true Doug... don't forget your stick) possibly because the spiders
have killed them all.

But even the spiders won't go near the sea. Any visitors should be careful to check inside
boots (before putting them on), under toilet seats (before sitting down) and generally
everywhere else.

A stick is very useful for this task

Strangely, it tends to be the second class of animals (the Odd) that are more dangerous.
The creature that kills the most people each year is the common Wombat. It is nearly as
ridiculous as its name, and spends its life digging holes in the ground, in which it hides.
During the night it comes out to eat worms and grubs. The wombat kills people in two
ways:

First, the animal is indestructible. Digging holes in the hard Australian clay builds muscles
that outclass Olympic weight lifters. At night, they often wander the roads. Semi-trailers
(Road Trains) have hit them at high speed, with all 18 wheels on one side, and this merely
makes them very annoyed. They express this by snorting, glaring, and walking away.
Alas, to smaller cars, the wombat becomes a symmetrical launching pad, with results that
can be imagined, but not adequately described.

The second way the wombat kills people relates to its burrowing behaviour. If a person
happens to put their hand down a Wombat hole, the Wombat will feel the disturbance and
think "Ho! My hole is collapsing!" at which it will brace its muscled legs and push up against
the roof of its burrow with incredible force, to prevent its collapse. Any unfortunate hand
will be crushed, and attempts to withdraw will cause the Wombat to simply push up harder.
The unfortunate will then bleed to death through their crushed hand as the wombat prevents
him from seeking assistance. This is considered the third most embarrassing known way to
die, and Australians don't talk about it much.


At this point, we would like to mention the Platypus, estranged relative of the mammal, which
has a duck-bill, otter's tail, webbed feet, lays eggs, detects its aquatic prey in the same way as
the electric eel, and has venomous barbs attached to its hind legs, thus combining all 'typical'
Australian attributes into a single improbable creature.


The last confusing thing about Australia is the inhabitants.

First, a short history: Some time around 40,000 years ago, some people arrived in boats from
the north. They ate all the available food, and lot of them died. The ones that survived learned
respect for the balance of nature, man's proper place in the scheme of things, and spiders.
They settled in, and spent a lot of the intervening time making up strange stories.

Then, around 200 years ago, Europeans arrived in boats from the north.

More accurately, European convicts were sent, with a few deranged and stupid people in charge.
They tried to plant their crops in autumn (failing to take account of the reversal of the seasons
when moving from the top half of the planet to the bottom), ate all their food, and a lot of them
died.

About then the sheep arrived, and have been treasured ever since. It's interesting to note here
that the Europeans always consider themselves vastly superior to any other race they encounter,
since they can lie, cheat, steal, and litigate (marks of a civilised culture they say) whereas all the
Aboriginals can do is happily survive being left in the middle of a vast red-hot desert, equipped
with a stick.

Eventually, the new lot of people stopped being Europeans on Extended Holiday and became
Australians. The changes are subtle, but deep, caused by the mind-stretching expanses of
nothingness and eerie quiet, where a person can sit perfectly still and look deep inside
themselves to the core of their essence, their reasons for being, and the necessity of checking
inside your boots every morning for fatal surprises.

They also picked up the most finely tuned sense of irony in the world, and the Aboriginal gift
for making up stories.

Footnote;

Douglas does tend to run on a bit, so I’m going to make this a two part post, stay
tuned for the conclusion tomorrow.



13 comments:

The very nice man said...

Well, I do like Aussies!! It's New Zealanders I can't stand!!

ChrisB said...

Ha Now I've learned more about the lingo! I'll be back tomorrow for the conclusion!

wazza said...

Gidday Peter,

Great post altho' I didn't know all that about the wombat.
Not gonna go digging down any of dem holes again.
Look forward to tomorrows post.

Dave said...

*LOL* Douglas Adams is one of my VERY favorite authors!!!

Love his description of Australia bud!

Carolyn said...

This is pretty good advice for a novice visitor I'd say! I love the line, "...whereas all the Aboriginals can do is happily survive being left in the middle of a vast red-hot desert, equipped with a stick." That cracked me up for some reason ;D

Big Dave T said...

So it must have been an Aussie that came up with the line, "Walk softly and carry a big stick." Always thought that came from us Yankees.

Pamela said...

spiders. hmmm.
I want to visit au.
but, spiders. hmmm

Gette said...

I love Douglas Adams. One more gone too soon.

Merle said...

Hi Peter ~~ Good post and I see we didn't let the truth stand in the way of a good story!! The wombat deaths stretch the imagination a bit. Look
forward to tomorrow's episode.
Take care,Love, Merle.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Fascinating read about Australian life, Peter the Great.

I'm off to Google to find an image of a Wombat. I have no idea what the hell a Wombat is.

Thence to read about all those poisonous spiders.

Jeanette said...

Gday Peter!Crikey! Good Aussie Post With a bit of Aussie humour thrown in,,Hooroo.

Walker said...

Great post.

So stay away from the spiders and wombats when I come there.

It doesn't matter where you come from, eventually the land will make you who you should be to live there.

sirdar said...

What a great post!! My Dawn visited Australia just before we got married. She was telling us a story about a time she went into an outhouse and there was the largest spider she had ever seen. When her friends went to look they said it was just a baby :-)

Learnt so much about Australia...now I need to go to part 2 to learn some more :-)