Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Land Of The Long White Cloud

Here’s a handy tip for you folks. If you are traveling to New Zealand. On your customs form where it asks “Reason For Trip” don’t write “To throw my ring into the fires of Mordor.”

The actual reason for my trip was to, well work actually, so I bounced off the plane and into the waiting cab because I was buzy chatting and missed the coach to the hotel.

My nerves kicked in when I jumped into the front seat next to the driver, a big burly bloke sporting what looked less like a beard, and more like I had interrupted him halfway through eating a live sheep.

He turned to me and barked: “Your first time in New Zealand luv?”

I explained that I'd been here many times, and  I had been to Clayton for shopping many times so I was used to being surrounded by New Zealanders. but "it was great to meet one that actually has a job though,” I joked.

Or so I thought. Instead it seemed like I had accidentally grabbed a big can marked “worms” and a tin-opener.

“Don’t talk to me about bloody Aussies luv,” he said. “Mean country. Refugees float through the ocean on boats, they get to your country and you tell them to go away, but we… we take them in!”

Now to be honest I’m no great fan of Australia’s hard-line policy on asylum-seekers but instead I said:  “Well you need them, don’t you? You have to replace all the New Zealanders who have moved to Australia.”

Deafening silence. The sort of silence you can hear. Finally punctured by him asking: “Do you know who invented bungee jumping?”

“Um, someone who was sick of their Dad saying ‘if your best friend jumped off a bridge, would you?’”

He ignored me. “It was a New Zealander!”
"Impressive" I said, not actually impressed at all.

“You know a New Zealander also invented jogging?” he asked.
I chuckled slightly, assuming he was joking, but the look on his face told me he was deadly serious.

“Bu- bu- but surely people have jogged since the beginning of time, right?” I stammered.
“I mean I’m pretty sure the first person who had a large angry animal run towards them probably invented jogging… and sprinting… and swearing I imagine?”

“No,” he said having none of my seeming flawless argument, “it was invented by a New Zealander. A bloke called Arthur Lydiard invented jogging as a method of keeping fit.”
I was about to ask if he was pulling my leg, but then thought better of it as I thought it might lead to an entire conversation about how a bloke from Auckland had invented leg-pulling.

Instead I countered with: “So what you are saying is that he named jogging really, aren’t you?”

All I heard from under his beard was a grunt, which I took as meaning either: “I see your point and I will think on it some more and get back to you at another time” or “I know places I could bury you where they will never find the body.”

We both decided it was time to move on. I started to fumble with my phone as a distraction, but he ignored the hint.

“Did you know New Zealand is part of the pacific rim of fire?” he continued.

No, I did not. In fact I didn’t (and still don’t) know what that is. It sounded to me like the side-effect of a particularly spicy curry.

I put my phone to my ear wondering if I was going to have to pretend it had rung just to break the awkwardness.

“Did you know you can get you driver’s license at 15 in New Zealand?” he asked.
I put my phone back down.

“Wow,” I breathed as it seemed like the reaction he was looking for and to be honest he was starting to slightly scare me. “I guess that means when you see a Baby On Board sticker they might be talking about the driver.”


“Did you know that NZ is the youngest country in the entire world?” he beamed.
“I did not,” I admitted. “But it does explain why when sometimes wants to go to a nightclub they have to borrow some fake ID and pretend it is Australia.”


“Do you know why they call us the Land Of The Long White Cloud?” he asked.
“No,” I tried again, “but it must make reporting the weather easy. Today, cloudy again!”


“Did you know in the 1908s in New Zealand there were 20 sheep to every person, but now the ratio is only 9 to 1?”  I knew it was probably time to bite my tongue, but I couldn’t resist: “Maybe they all just shaved their fleece into mullets and moved to Australia. 

Absolutely nothing.

It was at this point my cabbie really started to freak me out as he moved closer to me and whispered slightly more aggressively than I would have expected: “Do you pee?”

I was slightly freaked out. Was he going to ask for a sample, because if he continued like this there might soon be one on the floor of his cab. I nodded nervously.

“You shouldn’t do it,” he snapped. “We have a big problem with pee in this country!”
Wait .... what??? Did he expect me to hold on? And what was their big problem?

It was at this point the cab driver seemed to realize my confusion and explain to me that P (rather than pee) was a drug that was currently causing many problems in New Zealand society.

I tried to laugh my mistake off: “P? Wow, I have been out of the loop. I stopped at E. I didn’t know they had kept going. I would like to try some Q!”


He went on to explain that P was the local term for crystal meth-what we would call “ice” here - and like here it was causing a range of problems in society.  (Although to be honest I’m not sure you why people from NZ would take a drug that means you don’t sleep. I mean there’s not that much to do there, and you can only watch the Lord Of The Rings films in a row so many times.)

Finally we seemed to be bonding, and yet for some reason I felt my lips continue to move.
“Well of course people like to get high in this country,” I countered. “It’s the home of Sir Edmund Hillary and he got higher than anyone in the world. Although I guess when most people here get high they don’t take a Sherpa along for company, do they?”

The air was suddenly thinner and colder than it would be at the top of the summit, but like those adventurers I felt the need to push on despite the danger.

“Do you know why he had to climb Everest?” I asked. He grunted at me angrily, but I was unstoppable now. “It was the only place he could find on the planet where people wouldn’t come up to him and say ‘Ha ha… Hillary is a girl’s name.’”

I could tell I was starting to get a reaction of sorts. He looked at me and said: “You know he climbed it again, don’t you?”

“Yes,” I replied. “But he had too. A lot of people don’t know this but he left his wallet up there the first time and it had his Video Ezy card in there and they wouldn’t let him hire without it.”

Tough crowd.

As he started another rant and rave about how the country was being ruined by too many teenagers smoking pot, we finally pulled up at my hotel.

I opened the door, grabbed my bags, and threw some money on the seat and tried one last time: “Well maybe that’s why they call it the Land Of The Long White Cloud!”

And as he drove off I swear I saw him laugh. Either that or he was eating the rest of that sheep.

By the way ... just wanted to share part of my friend's column in the paper. He's talking about Australia at the World Cup.

""It is sometimes said, and said quite insistently, that football is actually better than sex.  At first glance, this seems a strange and highly debatable statement.  The two activities are so utterly different.  One involves sensuality, passion, emotion, commitment, selflessness, the speechless admiration of sheer heart-stopping beauty, rushes of breathtaking, ecstatic excitement, followed by shattering toe-curling, orgasmic pleasure.

The other is sex.  Certain women who are not football fans – I am reliably informed that there are one or two such creatures left in the world – sometimes fail to understand the subtleties of this connection.  They simply to not relate emotionally to the blissful anticipation of the game, the sacred ritual of preparation, the joyful build-up to the main event, the veritable foreplay that is the brisk booing and tribal barracking of the opposing team and it’s supporters, the plateau phase of the contest itself, as it thrusts first this way, then that, the feverish mounting excitement building up to ….. YES, HE SCORES!! ""

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Just Another Award

I don’t know if any of you noticed, but we’re constantly trying to attract visitors to our lovely country.  Yes, I’m reliably informed that there is still a bit of space left. (Underneath the big pineapple or in the bum of the big merino etc.)  By the way, how come they haven’t yet turned these icons into high-rise units?  Just a thought.

So while we’re thinking of ways to attract people to our shores, I wonder if we could get any millage out of the fact that Australia was, not so long ago, named one of the fattest countries in the world?  Perhaps something like “Come to Australia. By comparison, you’ll feel instantly slim.”


What an honourable award. Did we get a trophy?  And more importantly, did it have chocolate inside.  And who made the acceptance speech?  Did it go something like “I would like to thank Krispy Kreme, without whom none of this would be possible. And who could forget Ronnie MacDee or the Colonel.  

Hey we’re number one – Aussie, Aussie, Aussie Oink, Oink, Oink!!!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. We used to be girt by sea, now we’re girth by sea.  Maybe the ocean levels are not raising after all, maybe Australia is sinking because of all the fatty-fatty boombahs.

Australians have apparently become so chubby that the doofus who hosts the NRL Footy Show has to change his name to Skinny Vautin.

Now, many of the media got upset about this news, but it wasn’t such a bad thing.  I mean, when Ian Thorpe won a gold medal, at the Olympics, we were quick to say things like “Go Australia! We’re number 1. Aren’t we good as swimming?”

The truth is, Thorpie winning a race doesn’t make us good at swimming, it makes HIM good at swimming.  However, when we’re named the fattest country in the world, each of us can look down at our beer gut and love handles and whisper “Hey, I helped”.

Before you complain that you’re just ‘big-boned’, or retaining water due to the drought or hoping to become a contestant in the next series of The Biggest Loser, take a look at the facts.  Obesity is becoming a bigger problem than drugs in this land. Forget crack addicts, we’ve got Big Mac addicts.  Maybe we need sniffer dogs at the airports – not for people bringing in drugs or fruit, but for those who bring in Krispy Kremes.

So why have we gotten so fat?  Well, a lot of people eat when they’re stressed, so maybe there is more stress in the Australian society. And then people get stressed about being overweight and eat more.

OK, what’s the solution? Maybe the rising price of petrol is a good thing.  It might encourage more people to start walking to work.

Could be stressing over our bloody politicians. 

Is it any surprise, most young people have no faith in the political system?

Let’s face it, most of them would rather vote for Shane Warne, because at least with him you know at some stage, he’s going to try to screw you.

I’m not saying young people don’t make mistakes when they vote. After all, Shannon Noll came second in Australian Idol when he is clearly the best talent we have ever produced. And very handsome (really .. please don’t hit me).

Think about it, the next generation may not be interested in politics, but thanks to reality TV, they have certainly been raised on voting. They’re probably just confused about why they have to go to a primary school on a Saturday to do it, instead of just texting ‘Tony Abbott’ to 199EVICT.

For those who didn’t follow the story, the government was also going to make it illegal for prisoners to vote. Well, that will teach them a lesson, won’t it??

On second thoughts, I guess our pollies are right.  Our prisons are filled with liars and cheats who want nothing more than to rip off the general public for their own personal gain. Hey, that rings a bell.  Prisoners shouldn’t be voting, they should be running for parliament.

However, I do think the move to ban prisoners contains some weird logic. Think about it? What normally happens if you don’t vote? They send you a fine, and if you don’t pay the fine, they send you to jail … where you’re not allowed to vote!

There’s a weird flaw in our system, though. If you are enrolled to vote, and don’t, they send you a fine. But if you don’t enrol, nobody seems to care.

Personally, even if voting is not compulsory, I think there are three reasons why everyone should vote. First, people die for the right to vote in other countries, so we shouldn’t take it for granted. Second, it’s your right to bitch about the result. Third it’s just an excuse to hang out at a primary school without the restraining order!!

People argue in a democracy, it shouldn’t be compulsory to vote. It’s not. It’s compulsory to rock up, and get your name ticked off the electoral role. Once you are in the tiny cardboard booth, you can do whatever the hell you want.

You can ‘donkey vote’ or as it was known in the last election ‘voting for Tony Abbott’, you can rate all the pollies in order of hot or not, or you can turn the House of Reps form into a pirate hat and the Senate into an origami swan.

Ahhh what a way to spend a Saturday arvo.

By the way kind folk of Oztraya, did you know that the AFL competition is likely to be cancelled, according to a leaked document.

Under new terrorism laws, the BOMBERS are banned.

New industrial relations legislation rules out the DOCKERS and the avian flu epidemic is wreaking havoc with the CROWS, EAGLES, HAWKS, MAGPIES and SWANS.

Any transfer to the KANGAROOS, CATS, LIONS, DOGS and TIGERS must now be quarantined for at least 12 months.

Religious vilification laws mean that no one can legally barrack for the DEMONS or the SAINTS.

POWER is far too expensive.

This leaves only the BLUES, SUNS and GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY - and who wants to bloody barrack for them anyway?????