Monday, January 03, 2011

The Place Where Australia Used To Be?

I don't believe it. Sure, they're saddled with crummy firearms laws, but Australians are generally at least as cross-grained as we are in the States, albeit in their own special way.

Neither nation is free from outliers and somehow they're around when reporters come to call. In a story on the terrible floods afflicting parts of the island continent, this bowing of the head: "A policeman came along in a car with a gun on his hip who said 'You be out of here by five o'clock or else'," he said. "When a man with a gun talks to you like that, you get out."

No, dammit, you spit in his eye; or you have the mother-wit to realize if you stay, you might have swim for your life later, and you miles from the nearest body of water, which leads you do what the nice officer wants because it's the sensible thing to do, not 'cos he happens to have a sidearm holstered at his belt.

Or you 'fess up to being a trained seal. Sigh.


My sympathy to Australians having to deal with this mess, which is flooding out not only entire towns but (among other things) coal mining operations in the state of Queensland. It's a big enough coal operation that the flooding is likely to affect coal prices worldwide; readers who were thinking this merely picturesque news from a safely distant locale should think again.


ZerCool said...

I'd tell him I was a trained seal. I had command of seal team six. We were a crack unit, capable of underwater tactics like you wouldn't believe. My sergeant was a genius at balancing balls on his nose too. The red rubber kind; anything else would have violated DADT. I could tell, but then I'd have to kill you.

The only downside ... we worked for fish. People complain about working for peanuts, but let me tell you, we'd have given our left flipper for peanuts. Or at least fresh fish. Those bastards kept buying the "day old" from the local grocer. Day-old might be fine for bread, but in fish, it's a gut-turner...

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

~blink~ ~blink~

Crucis said...

Well, that dried-up inland sea in the interior of Australia isn't so dry anymore.

Anonymous said...

You know, I heard that guy make the "man with a gun" statement (I think I was listening to NPR at the time).

There was nothing but resignation in his voice; not a hint of the irony that it was him that made it possible for his hireling to become his master.

How sad...and how instructive.


Roberta X said...

Crucis: I think they'd have to dig a ditch for that.

Flooding map shows a swath of the low-lying parts of Queensland bigger than the British Isles and Ireland!

Roberta X said...

ZerCool: Brilliant! One of my co-workers was in that outfit, only his unit was all belly-button specialists: navel seals.

Borepatch said...

The Aussies just this year signed an agreement to supply China with a LOT of coal. This will be interesting.

benEzra said...

Yup, coal is big there. One bit if trivia about that: Nevil Shute Norway (aka Nevil Shute), a British expat who lived near Melbourne, wrote a famous post-apocalyptic character study entitled On the Beach that became a bestseller. Somewhat to his chagrin, it was interpreted as a pessimistic anti-technology screed instead of an exploration of life and love in a terminal post-apocalyptic setting. I understand that he began a much more optimistic, humans-can-adapt sort of post-apocalyptic novel later, to counter the Luddite misconstrual of On the Beach, but unfortunately he died before making much progress. Australia's immense reserves of "brown coal" were to play a major role in the plot, as I understand.

FWIW, he wasn't originally a writer by profession; he was an aeronautical engineer who wrote on the side because he enjoyed it. One of his favorite sayings was "an engineer is a man who can do for ten shillings what any fool can do for a pound."