Texas Girl in Oz

G’day Y’all - Intermittent, Hopefully Comprehensible, Personal Ramblings

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mandatory, Obligatory Privileges Revisited

G'day y'all.

Last year I wrote about my excitement at my then impending naturalisation as an Australian: http://texasgirlinoz.blogspot.com/2007/09/mandatory-obligitory-privileges.html

On Australia Day (26 Jan 2008) I became an Australian. I am now privileged to hold an Australian passport as well as an American passport. I am now privileged to vote in the American and Australian elections. Without weighing in on my personal politics I would like to encourage every American to exercise their right, their privilege. Get out and vote.

I would also like to encourage one further step. Read, watch or listen to the news. Make your decision an educated decision. Simply because you share a gender, age group or race with a candidate does not often mean that you share a political purpose with that candidate. Vote for the candidate who you believe will represent your interests and beliefs. This will not always be the person that looks most like you.

I conclude as I concluded my post last year. The way I see it we have two choices. We can register and vote or suffer in silence as others dictate how we live.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

We the People

Growing up in America in the ‘70s and ‘80s I learned all about history, politics, grammar, science and math from Schoolhouse Rock! The tunes are catchy and I find myself, to this day, singing bits of them. Out of nowhere, while washing dishes, I might burst out with, ‘He was a hairy bear. He was a scary bear. We beat a hasty retreat from his lair and described him with adjectives.’

The one song that particularly stuck with me is the Preamble to the Constitution. This was quite a blessing my sophomore year in college. My American History professor gave 20 bonus points on the final exam for correctly writing out the Preamble. All these many years with the words rattling around in my head I’ve never thought about what they actually mean until this morning.

In the shower this morning I was singing the Preamble. When I got out my stepson asked me what the song was. I guess I was singing louder than I thought. I told him about Schoolhouse Rock! Sang a bit of Conjunction Junction and that was enough of an explanation for a 16 year old. I, however, pondered for the first time what I was actually singing.

The Preamble is an outline of what the founding fathers wanted to accomplish by giving us a Constitution. The preamble is actually one sentence with an ellipsis:

We the people of the United States of America… do ordain and establish this

There are six points in the ‘…’ that the founding fathers wanted to gift ‘to
ourselves and our prosperity.’ I can’t help but think that we have failed our
founding fathers.

The images that those six point conjure in my mind:

We the people of the United States of America…
In order to form a more perfect union

Establish justice

Ensure domestic tranquility

Provide for the common defense

Promote the general welfare

And ensure the blessings of liberty

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hmmmm, Wonder Why Obesity Is Rampant In Texas

I read the Victoria Advocate, the local paper from Victoria, TX online quite often. On Monday mornings I read the wedding and engagement announcements from Sunday. The rest of the week I mainly scan the headlines, scan the local sports then click to the obits to see who died. Looking back on what I just typed… I read the virtual Victoria Advocate a lot like I read the actual Victoria Advocate.

I few days ago I found this little gem: M-m-m-m, deep-fried cookie dough - from scratch

I have a friend named Jo who had never been to Texas but was quite intrigued with the sound of ‘chicken fried steak’.

I explained to Jo that chicken fried steak is a flattened steak that’s been battered and deep-fried, like fried chicken. Thus the name, chicken fried steak. Jo turned her nose up so I blithely said, ‘We Texans will batter and fry anything.’

You can bet I emailed Jo this link the moment I found the article.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Mandatory, Obligitory Privileges

G'day Y'all,

As of 25 August I have been a permanent resident in Australia for two years. I am now eligible for citizenship. I am very excited about becoming a naturalised citizen of my adopted home. I appreciate the privileges that come with citizenship. I’ve tried to explain to my Aussie mates just how excited I am to vote in Australia.

In Australia voting is mandatory. If you are eligible to vote and don’t you are fined. Because of this my Aussie mates see voting as less of a privilege of democracy and more a begrudged obligation lumped together with paying taxes.

I can’t help but wonder what the implications of a mandatory vote in the US would be. Election turnout hovers around 50% in American presidential elections. My guess would be that the half of Americans that don’t vote are for the large part those who would benefit the most from policy changes like health care reform. If a fine doesn’t get these people to the pole perhaps we could use the money collected in fines to revamp the health care system.

The target I’m trying to reach with these randomly tossed projectiles of thought is this: Be we American or Australian (or soon to be both) we are privileged to have a voice in the way our governments conduct their business. It is a sin against the sacrifices of the men and women who formed our societies to not use these voices as loudly and brightly as Julie Andrews in the Alps. The way I see it we have two choices. We can register and vote or suffer in silence as others dictate how we live.

Get out there and VOTE!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Yes, We Have No Bananas

I just paid $2.10 for ONE banana at Coles! I hadn’t had a banana in months and I really missed them. It was really difficult, however, to enjoy my banana knowing I paid $2.10 for it.

I’ve gone from a banana a day to a banana every two months since Cyclone Larry hit Queensland and wiped out 90% of the banana crop. The news at the time was along the lines of, ‘Don’t panic. Other banana producing regions of the country will be able to take up the slack. The consumer shouldn’t suffer overly large price increases.’

$2.10 for ONE banana! I heard somewhere that it will take nine months for the next banana crop to be ready for sell. If this is true then sometime in November I’ll go on a banana binge. I logged onto the Australian Banana Growers’ Council Inc.’s home page to see if this nine-month gestation period of the new crop is correct. I couldn’t find that answer but I did find this interesting article. It seems that I’m not the only one missing bananas. Some people have resorted to banana jacking.

Unless a man in a long overcoat approaches me on the street and says, ‘Pssst. Wanna buy a banana?’ I’ll have to wait for November to nosh nanas. Never again will I pay $2.10 for ONE banana!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Rambling or Waffling On About English

G'day ya'll ,

The English language, specifically, the way English words are used differently in different parts of the world fascinates me. Carbonated beverages, for instance, could be known as soda, pop, soda pop, or fizzy drink, just to name a few, depending on where in the English-speaking world you are. In Texas we call all carbonated beverages ‘coke’.
‘Would you like a coke?’
‘What kind?’
‘Dr Pepper please.’

What do you call your afternoon or evening meal? Do you say ‘lunch’ or ‘dinner’ in the afternoon? Do you say ‘supper’, ‘dinner’, or even ‘tea’ to name your evening meal? When I was growing up my family called the afternoon meal ‘lunch’ and the evening meal ‘supper’. For us ‘dinner’ was a special occasion. We would have Sunday Dinner, or Christmas Dinner, or Thanksgiving Dinner. Personally, I define dinner as a meal with mandatory dessert.

The verb to tump, as far as I know, is unique to Texas. To tump means to spill something out of its container.
‘What would you like me to do with the water in this bowl?’
‘Tump it into the sink please.’

The second person pronoun is both singular and plural. There is no grammatically correct plural form of ‘you’ other than ‘you’. People feel the need to make up their own. I say, ‘ya’ll’. Many people here in Australian use ‘youse’ (sounds like the plural for female sheep). I’ve heard ‘you guys’, ‘youse guys’, ‘you all’ and many more in my travels.

Words that are innocuous in one part of the English-speaking world have dirtier meanings in other parts. Two words I’ve come across since moving here that have extremely different meanings are ‘root’ and ‘fanny’. Throughout America we define the verb ‘to root’ as to support one’s team. Here in Oz they use the word ‘barracking’ for supporting one’s team. Here, ‘to root’ is a very rude way to say ‘to copulate’. It’s almost as rude as the f-word. In the US ‘fanny’ is a polite way of speaking about a rear end. Here, ‘fanny’ is a very rude way of saying ‘vagina’. Therefore, what Americans know as ‘fanny packs’ are known here as ‘bum bags’.

I could easily ramble on about this. It fascinates me to no end. But I’ll leave it here for now while reserving the right to revisit the topic in future posts.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


G’day ya’ll,

Four years is a long time for a Texan to go without football. For 30 plus years I was fed on a steady diet of high school, college and pro gridiron. Suddenly I had to go cold turkey wondering what to do with myself on Friday nights, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and Monday nights. The only games I’ve seen are the Super Bowls and the last two have been a bit boring.

We recently subscribed to cable so I hope to catch a few Cowboys games this year. But I’ve decided that to fit in my new home I should follow local sports. Local sport in this part of the world is Aussie Rules football.

My hubby explained a bit of Australian football history to me. In Victoria football has always been what is now known as Aussie Rules. But in Queensland and New South Wales football was rugby. It’s only been in the last couple of decades that Aussie rules football has branched out into other states.

Aussie rules is as local a sport as it gets. I live in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Therefore, I declare myself a Western Bulldogs supporter.

The Doggies are 6 and 4 so far this season. That’s the extent of my knowledge. I’ll need to do a bit of research and perhaps watch them play a game or two and buy a t-shirt or sweatshirt or some such. Until then I’ll content myself with a www dot cheer. GO THE BULLDOGS!