Category: Australia

Random Antipodean Notes.

Classic Sasha: Three posts from 2004 condensed into one. I’d just arrived in Australia and still had a very North American point of view on things.  Funny, some of the things I commented on way back that I hardly notice anymore.

*Australia Post does not deliver on Saturdays. This is sacreligious and uncivilized. Also, one can’t leave outgoing mail in the mailbox for the “postie” to pick up as he drops off your mail. One must actually schlep to the post office, every time.
*Today I went looking for tortillas in the supermarket. They were in the “Asian Foods” section. Sigh.
*I do not and have never had an uncle named Bob. Why does everyone keep insisting that I do?
*People here laugh at me when I use the word “soda” to describe a sweet fizzy drink, “candy” to describe solid sweets, and “ketchup” for the red stuff you put on hamburgers. It’s Coke, lollies and tomato sauce.
*Much like the thought of Vegemite toast makes me cringe, the mention of that American childhood staple, the peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich, seems to turn most Aussie stomachs. Understandable at first when I realized that “jelly” is actually the American “Jello”, but even a peanut-butter-and-jam-sandwich seems to disgust. I’m not sure why this is so.
*Kingsley’s Chicken beats KFC like a cheap carpet.
* A bagel is not a bagel the world ’round. Went to a very nice bagel shop in Dickson, where I was served a delightful roast beef sandwich on a poppyseed bagel. The alleged bagel was a soft deli-style roll with poppyseeds on top, lacking the chewiness and doughiness of a real NYC-style bagel. Very fresh and tasty, but alas, not a bagel.
*I have absolutely no idea what is happening during Australian Rules Football, but I really, really like their uniforms: short-shorts and tank tops.
*If you ask for the “bathroom”, expect to be shown to, quite literally, a room with a bath. Toilets are separate. Not terribly helpful when relieving oneself is the goal.


Credit where it is due

I would love to be the one who invented the Kevin Rudd/Martin Prince comparison, but truth be told, I got it from someone in Tim Blair’s comment section. If it’s you, please identify yourself.
And yes, it’s ever so true, and I can’t look at Kevin Rudd without mentally exclaiming,
“Spring forth burly protector, and save me!”

Are you un-Australian?

Since Sasha’s taken to reading the Guardian, I thought I’d return the favor and feed you some Australian media: What to eat on Australia day. (Just click the link at the bottom of the ‘error’ page, ‘continue anyway’.) Needless to say, this resulted in a flood of complaints from the humor-impaired, but fortunately Australia as a whole is still sane enough not to pull the ad.

Good riddance and good health

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually feel a twinge of pity for Mark Latham.
This whole “scandal” has been entirely media-created. Would a statement from him following the tsunami have helped the damp Asians at all? Of course not. (Should his office have been proactive and drafted a generic statement of thiswasaterribletragedyandwewilldowhateverwecantohelp? Yes. But Labor’s incompetence is well known, and beside the point anyway.)
If the press are going to hound the man to his resignation from politics, they should do it for the right reasons: a) he’s an incorrigible asshole; b) he lost an election by the largest margin in recent memory, and c) he’s sunk his party for probably the next decade or so.
But to pile on Latham because he was recovering from a very serious illness is just beneath contempt. I know this won’t win me any points with the local RWDB community, but screw it, it’s how I feel.
And get well soon, Mark.

Popularity contest

I brought several Australian specialties to the USA to share with friends and family. Among the popular ones: Bundaberg rum, Tim Tams, Hairy Lemon fizzy vitamin drink and Face of Australia lip gloss.
Not a single person had a good thing to say about Vegemite.


In contrast to last weekend’s triumphant Liberal/National coalition win, yesterday’s local ACT elections were a blowout for Jon Stanhope’s Labor party, which won a majority of local assembly seats. But all due congratulations to John Humphreys and the Liberal Democratic Party, which took away a healthy 1.3% aggregate of the vote in the electorate of Molonglo, amounting to 1308 votes. The also managed 1.2% (602) in Ginninderra, and 0.7% (420) in Brindabella. Unfortunately, none of this translated into winning a seat. But the Greens are clinging desperately to a lone seat in Molonglo, and the Democrats are continuing their death spiral by losing their only seat. Also showing poorly was the Free Range Canberra party, the brave defender of chicken rights. (I’m not making this up.)
The ACT election process is desperately screwy and complicated, involving “primary” and “secondary” votes, “preferences”, mathematical formulae and ratios, and arcane terminology like “Hare-Clark” and “Robson Rotation”. I’m still trying to figure it all out.

Very Happy, John!

The “Man of Steel” has won a fourth term.. The Greens have lost their only seat in the house. The Australian Democrats have seen their percentages plummet. The media continually refer to newly minted MP Malcolm Turnbull as a “millionaire banker”, although they don’t call Peter Garrett MP a “millionaire pop star”. And loathsome Greens candidate Kerry Tucker was not elected to the Senate.
Overall, I’d say it’s a splendid night. I’m having a Tia Maria shot in celebration.
“Tom Paine” was liveblogging the election coverage. Read and be very amused.