Thursday, November 10, 2011
The following gem is by Douglas Adams of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" fame. It is an amazing insight into Australia - prepare yourself!
Australia is a very confusing place, taking up a large amount of the bottom half of the planet. It is recognizable 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 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 landmasses and sovereign lands are classified as either continent, island, or country, Australia is considered all three. Typically, it is unique in this.
The second confusing thing about Australia are 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, possible 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.
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:
Sometime around 40,000 years ago, some people arrived in boats from the north. They ate all the available food, and a lot of them died. The ones who 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 is 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. Be warned.
There is also the matter of the beaches. Australian beaches are simply the nicest and best in the entire world. Although anyone actually venturing into the sea will have to contend with sharks, stinging jellyfish, stonefish (a fish which sits on the bottom of the sea, pretends to be a rock and has venomous barbs sticking out of its back that will kill just from the pain) and surfboarders.
However, watching a beach sunset is worth the risk. As a result of all this hardship, dirt, thirst and wombats, you would expect Australians to be a dour lot. Instead, they are genial, jolly, cheerful and always willing to share a kind word with a stranger.
Faced with insurmountable odds and impossible problems, they smile disarmingly and look for a stick. Major engineering feats have been performed with sheets of corrugated iron, string, and mud.
Alone of all the races on earth, they seem to be free from the 'Grass is Greener on the other side of the fence' syndrome, and roundly proclaim that Australia is, in fact, the other side of that fence. They call the land "Oz", "Godzone" (a verbal contraction of "God's Own Country") and "Best bloody place on earth, bar none, strewth."
The irritating thing about this is they may be right.
There are some traps for the unsuspecting traveler, though. Do not, under any circumstances, suggest that the beer is imperfect, unless you are comparing it to another kind of Australian beer. Do not wear a Hawaiian shirt.
Religion and Politics are fairly safe topics of conversation, (Australians don't care too much about either) but Sport is a minefield.
The only correct answer to "So, howdya' like our country, eh?" is "Best (insert your own regional swear word here) country in the world!". It is very likely that, on arriving, some cheerful Australians will 'adopt' you on your first night, and take you to a pub where Australian Beer is served.
Despite the obvious danger, do not refuse. It is a form of initiation rite. You will wake up late the next day with an astonishing hangover, a foul taste in your mouth, and wearing strange clothes.
Your hosts will usually make sure you get home, and waive off any legal difficulties with "It's his first time in Australia, so we took him to the pub", to which the policeman will sagely nod and close his notebook. Be sure to tell the story of these events to every other Australian you encounter, adding new embellishments at every stage and noting how strong the beer was.
Thus you will be accepted into this unique culture.
Most Australians are now urban dwellers, having discovered the primary use of electricity, which is air-conditioning and refrigerators.
Typical Australian sayings:-
* "She'll be right mate."
Tips to Surviving Australia:
* Don't ever put your hand down a hole for any reason WHATSOEVER.
* The beer is stronger than you think, regardless of how strong you think it is.
* Always carry a stick.
* Air-conditioning is imperative.
* Do not attempt to use Australian slang, unless you are a trained linguist and extremely good in a fist fight.
* Wear thick socks.
* Take good maps. Stopping to ask directions only works when there are people nearby.
* If you leave the urban areas, carry several litres of water with you at all times, or you will die.
* Even in the most embellished stories told by Australians, there is always a core of truth that it is unwise to ignore.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
A man wakes up in the hospital bandaged from head to foot. The doctor comes in and says, "Ah, I see you've regained consciousness". Now you probably won't remember, but you were in a huge pile-up on the freeway. You're going to be ok, you'll walk again and everything, but.... your penis was severed in the accident and we couldn't find it.
The man groans, but the doctor goes on, "You've got $9000 in insurance compensation coming and we now have the technology to build a new penis." They work great but they don't come cheap. It's $1000 an inch.
The man perks up. "So," the doctor says, "you must decide how many inches you want." But this is something you should discuss with your wife. If you had a five incher before and get a nine incher now she might be a bit put out. If you had a nine incher before and you decide to only invest in a five incher now, she might be disappointed. It's important that she plays a role in helping you make a decision."
The man agrees to talk it over with his wife.
The doctor comes back the next day, "So, have you spoken with your wife?"
"Yes, I have," says the man.
"And has she helped you make a decision?"
"Yes," says the man.
"What is your decision?" asks the doctor.
"We're getting granite counter tops."
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
After the annual office Christmas party blow-out, John woke up with a pounding headache, cotton-mouthed, and utterly unable to recall the events of the preceding evening.
After a trip to the bathroom he was able to make his way downstairs, where his wife put some coffee in front of him.
"Louise," he moaned, "tell me what went on last night. Was it as bad as I think?"
"Even worse," she assured him in her most scornful one. "You made a complete ass of yourself, succeeded in antagonizing the entire board of directors, and insulted the chairman of the company to his face."
"He's an arrogant, self-important pri*k, pi*s on him!"
"You did. All over his suit, " Louise informed him. "And he fired you."
"Well, screw him," said John.
"I did. You're back at work on Monday."
Monday, November 07, 2011
There were three boys all in third grade: an Asian boy, a Spanish boy and a redneck.
They were trying to think of games to play at recess when the Asian boy got an idea. "I know," he said, "we can play, ‘Who's Got the Biggest Pee Pee’".
"How do you play that?" asked the redneck.
"It's easy'' said the Spanish boy, "we can play it next recess."
So when recess time came, the three boys went outside. "Alright," said the Spanish boy, "Lets play."
The Asian boy explained that all you have to do is pull down your pants and whoever has the biggest pee pee is the winner.
And so the Asian boy pulled down his pants and the other two boys were impressed. Then the Spanish boy pulled down his pants. His pee pee was about the same size as the Asian boy's. As the redneck boy pulled his pants down, the other two boys stared in awe.
"You win for sure," they both said.
Later that day the redneck boy went home and his mother asked him, "So did you make any new friends today?"
"Yup. I played this game called ‘Who's Got the Biggest Pee Pee’ and the other boys said I won because I'm a redneck."
His mother laughed and replied, "No sweetie, you won because you're 23."
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