A geography lesson… and other stuff.

Remember when the Earth was flat?  Neither do I, but that was the theory a few centuries back,  then in quick succession scholars put forward several new theories.  Earth was round, not flat.  Earth wasn’t the centre of the universe, the Sun was.  Then the sun wasn’t the centre of the universe, apparently we live out on the fringe of our galaxy and our galaxy is on the fringe of the universe.  We’re not the centre of anything.


The same distortions exist on a smaller scale, closer to home.  The USA has arguably been the single biggest influence in the world over the last century and everything is a bit skewed because of this.  History is written by the victor, blah, blah, blah…


A friend recently returned from a visit to the USA and one of the first things she noticed was the news coverage.  In Australia, a 30 minute news show is roughly 7 minutes of ads, 4 minutes of weather, 4 minutes of sport and 15 minutes of news (evenly shared between domestic and international).  US news programs apparently gave similar proportions to each major category, but the news part of the news was more like 90 percent domestic to 10 percent international.  History, geography and general knowledge from an American perspective.  Which is probably why the following quote was directed toward me in the first place.  Word for word –


mike, i fear for your life. my brother has been trying to get me to go to australia with him for years, but i fear australia more than i fear hummingbirds. sharks. dingos. brown recluse spiders. crocodiles. and don’t even get me started on jelly fish. but just listening to that accent might get me past all that. if it weren’t for the jelly fish.

hey, do you know naomi watts? will you tell her i loved her in mulholland drive? 


Here comes the lesson.  Russell Crowe* is not a typical Australian, Michael Hutchence was not a typical Australian, Steve Irwin is not a typical Australian, Crocodile Dundee is not a typical Australian.  They are great, talented and proud Australians, but not typical.  We, as a whole, are not homicidal, suicidal or disturbingly over the top. 


So to address the quote.

Part 1:  In my 38 years I have experience the following fierce animals in the following locations.  Sharks, Seaworld.  Dingos, zoo.  Crocodiles, zoo.  Brown recluse spiders are reclusive, however redback spiders are everywhere (but shy almost to the point of being reclusive).  BOX Jellyfish, television.  Bluebottle Jellyfish, wrapped around my body in the surf many times (but I’m as tough as Crocodile Dundee). 


Part 2:  Just like in America, famous people live in a cocoon.  I have never met Naomi Watts because Australia is a big place with lots of people.  I understand the inward focus of the USA so here is a geography lesson to help explain why I have not bumped into her in the street.


Land area     Country         Population

17M sq km   Russia          143M

10M             Canada           30M

9.6M            China           1300M

9.6M            USA              300M

8.5M            Brazil            186M

7.6M            Australia         20M

1.9M            Mexico          106M

0.27M          New Zealand      4M

0.25M          England           60M


The first 6 are the biggest 6 countries in the world by land area.  I just threw in Mexico, New Zealand and England to help with the perspective.  As you can see we are a huge country with hardly any people.  It is difficult to find anyone, let alone a famous person, in such a sparsely populated country but I’ll keep trying.


* I know where Russell Crowe comes from but we have claimed him as our own anyway, just like Mel Gibson.

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26 Responses to A geography lesson… and other stuff.

  1. Unknown says:

    Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Aussies are some of my favorite people. I count among my best friends 5 people in Oz, 1 in Adelaide, one in Sydney, and 3 in Qld (Brisbane suburbs, Quilpie, WIndorah). Actually, one of them died on the 31st of May but his sister has become a close friend, so I’m counting her as well. I tend to have a more international perspective because of these fiendships. I get my news from my Canadian, UK, and Oz friends and the BBC because ours can’t be trusted.Here is a 62-page site I made for my pal before he died, and believe me, it’s one of the proudest things I’ve ever done because it made him so happy. He was not a romance, just one of the best mates I ever had. http://www.geocities.com/terseverse4me/index.html I still keep it up and add things as it means a lot to his family.I can’t tell you how proud I am of you for choosing your current path and I wish you the highest success!And I am tickled speechless that you’ve started a blog. I’ll be visiting often!Give those babies and your missus some big hugs from an old lady Yank and keep a few for yourself.Hugs,MuMo

  2. Unknown says:

    Big Mike–You should have been here a long time ago. By the way, I love the pink. I guess a guy with a name like "Big Mike" can get away with a lovely pink background. Please forgive our ignorance, and our egocentricity. We can’t get past ourselves. I guess it was all of those under-educated elementary school teachers giving us the impression that not only did the sun revolve around the earth, but that the rest of the earth rotatated around its true axis…the U.S. Geez I wish that our primary and secondary educators were required to have at least a masters, and that we had some kind of performance standard in education. But I digress.I love the stories. You would be a fascinating guy to hang out with…I would wear kevlar and a helmet, but it would be fascinating. l was headed to Queensland once, to live. That’s a long story, but I was fascinated and intrigued, and so disappointed when it fell through. I have a friend living there now–he is a geologist. His friend went snorkeling and my friend was to have been on the trip. Something came up and he ended up not going. Good for him. His friend went ahead alone, and was eaten by a croc. I wonder if Naomi Watts and Russel Crowe were there?

  3. Unknown says:

    big mike, you apparently missed the big bulge in my cheek, which is where my tongue was firmly planted.but that’s all i’ll say about that, since my policy is, and ever will be, never apologize, never explain.

  4. Unknown says:

    Just found your blog (not surprising, since you just started it). i would like to go on record as saying i LOVE Australia. My best friend lives 2 hours out of Perth and 3 years ago, I was fortunate to be able to spend 6 weeks in WA and loved every single minute of it. I would go back in an instant if the conditions were right.

  5. Jodi says:

    liddle-d-dug trying to pretend he was kidding. He’s skeerd. I can’t believe I was the last one to know you were here….damn. Okeee……I’ma be checking up regulary….

  6. BIg Mike In Oz says:

    What a great day. I just did the first half of my sit up for the day and I’m still feeling the buzz.MuMo – Quilpie and Windorah, did these friends tell you they live in the desert 800 miles from the ocean? They are rare Australians indeed. Our population is highly concentrated on the eastern seaboard (I’m talking 80% of the population is within 100 miles of the ocean). Have no fear, I hug ’em all – my wife thinks it’s strange though, still liking her after 15 years together.Rocky – you are the first person who has ever been brave enough to call my shades-of-red-theme pink to my face. I’ll let you live because, as I’ve already pointed out, the US education system ain’t what it could be (and if you squint it might seem pink to the untrained eye). dug – I saw the lump, I just didn’t want to say anything coz fatty said you were a bit sensitive about you abnormalities.TBV_Fan – 2 hours out of Perth you say. We’re practically neighbours in Australian terms. Think San Francisco to NYC. But vegemite is the bond that ties us together.’rista sista – I’m gonna post pix of cute kangaroos and koala’s for little-d until he caves and visits, then I’ll take him swimming in this special place I know where purgatory, armageddon and hades intersect. It’s a roll of the dice whether you get killed by a shark, crocodile or box jellyfish.

  7. Unknown says:

    big mike, are you a typical australian? and if you are, is it also your contention that you are not homicidal, suicidal, and disturbingly over the top?err, i am afeared. but this from a guy who is terrified of hummingbirds. give me a cold sweat. i guess that makes me an atypical american, since we’re such fearless cowboys.obviously, i also think all black people know each other, and all italians are members of the mafia. and all cyclists are part of one big happy community.

  8. AO says:

    The news in Idaho is even worse than what you described. I’d love to see even 10% international news on a local channel. Unfortunately, the 10% goes to news outside the state, but still in the US, with the 90% going to breaking news stories like how Farmer Brown’s sugar beet crop is going to be significantly larger this year and how that will effect the economy of Podunkvile. It’s good stuff…

  9. Amber says:

    Welcome to the blogging world; you came highly recommend by MuMo. Your comments on FatCyclist’s site have kept me entertained! Your family is adorable and I look forward to some great reads….Amber

  10. BIg Mike In Oz says:

    dug – I’m short fat and bald (completely normal). I have never intentionally killed anyone, I am yet to successfully kill myself, and I consider my irrational outbursts to be well modulated and within normal parameters. nikared – I knew it, I just knew it. I saw farmer Brown at planting time with a suspicious package and he just winked at me and said "shhhhh". Crazybloggincanuck – watch that MuMo, she’ll say nice things about you to your face, and then behind your back she’s just as sugary sweet. The hugs can be a bit stiffling sometimes though, even from 10,000 miles away.

  11. Fat Cyclist says:

    dug’s just dumb to think australia’s like something out of crocodile dundee. everyone knows that it’s REALLY like quigley down under. hey, can you get me a signature from emilie de ravin the next time you see her?

  12. Sue says:

    Whaddya mean the U.S. isn’t the center of the world??? The map I’m looking at has us right there smack dab in the middle!!!Botched

  13. AO says:

    Methinks Australian women must be the most beautiful and dumbest in the world. Proof: Nicole Kidman. Hot, but she spent how long w/ Tom Cruise? Does America owe you an apology for that?Hold on I have to google Emilie De Ravin…WOW, okay, something’s come up… Gotta go…

  14. Daniel says:

    It’s OK. We never wanted Russell Crowe anyway.And for your more geographically-challenged Murkn readers:http://www.satirewire.com/news/jan02/australia.shtml

  15. BIg Mike In Oz says:

    fatty – sadly Crocodile Dundee is closer to the truth than Quigley. But to plagiarise a quote from Jules (Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction). Neither of them are "even close to the ball park. It ain’t even the same M….. F…ing game." Emilie says hi, but we couldn’t find a pen and she was in a rush.Botched – turn it up the other way and spin it a third of a turn. If you are looking at Uganda spin it another third. There you go. Reminds me of a joke… later.nikared – yes you should apologise for tainting our bloodstock with the President of Some Other Planet. But they were a perfect match. Identical perfect teeth and identical sterile acting. Ignore what I said to fatty. I had to look up Emilie to find out what he was on about.Dan – that’s as funny as fatty and me on a bender

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