Monday, January 25, 2010

Ducks must be existentialists

The Australian Flag can only be improved by being wrapped around someone in Kansas. We have give this young lady a special Australia Day Award for her selfless devotion and promotion of Australia.

Today is Australia day and will be the subject of significant celebrations throughout the land.

Australia Day, 26 January, is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain, and the raising of the Union Jack at Sydney Cove by its commander Captain Arthur Phillip, in 1788.

Australia Day

And – you know I never wish to be a curmudgeon – but 26 January 1788 was also the day we commenced the disenfranchisement and dispossession of the indigenous population, the wholesale destruction of the native habitats and wildlife, the pollution and ultimate destruction of some mighty rivers, the felling of millions of acres of native forests, the extinction of countless birds and animals – and the introduction of a number of species of plants and animals that have laid waste to vast tracts of Australia. Ladies and Gentlemen – I give you the Cane Toad.

This is probably the single most destructive creature (apart from humans) ever introduced to any country anywhere in the world - and has single-toadedly killed literally billions of Australia’s native animals.

And - in NSW in particular - we have always celebrated our convict heritage by electing to political office the most useless, vacuous, corrupt, incompetent bunch of drongos and no-hopers ever gathered together in the one place.

To celebrate these wonderful achievements Australians will have barbecues, burn steaks and sausages and drink copious amounts of beer. However, Australia is a truly wonderful place and in all my travels I have never seen anywhere I would rather be.

(Rant ends)

On Monday I went to the Natural History Museum to see the Darwin Exhibition. It is a brilliant museum with some sensational displays and the largest collection of rocks I have ever seen.

Rocks are a bit like birds with me – they all look the same – but I could not help but be impressed by the size and scope of this collection – which included a sliver of moon rock donated by Richard Nixon.

I never cease to be astonished by the immense amount of work that Darwin did to reach the conclusions that he did. It had never really registered with me how long Darwin’s voyage was. He started from Plymouth in December 1831 and arrived back in October 1836. This in a ship slightly smaller than our lounge room.

It also never ceases to amaze me at the amount of intellectual bankruptcy or intellectual dishonesty which prompts people to deny the principles enunciated by Darwin – and built on steadily year after year ever since. This because of some rubbish that they have been taught by people equally as stupid.

The museum makes no bones about this. It has sign that says – basically – Evolution is real – Creationism is nonsense!

viennesewaltz has commented about the TV channel W24, It does indeed show film shot from the front of trams, bicycle-type contraptions – and indeed Fiakers. We saw this when we first arrived and were totally transfixed by the concept.

It is in real time and it is exactly like sitting at the front of a tram and experiencing every traffic light or pedestrian crossing. It can be quite hypnotic and I often spend some time watching this on our bedroom TV before I go to sleep. It is certainly much more relaxing than CNN.

Comments on comments:

Parsifal has commented that the Austrian Times is a ‘stupid stupid stupid’ paper. No argument there. I hasten to add that I read the AT not for news but for its stupid surveys and to see the different innovative ways in which Austrian skiers and pensioners shuffle off the mortal coil.

Maalie has tried to depress me by telling me that Ducks don’t think. I am sure this is not right. Ducks are by nature existentialists – although the Ducks in StadtPark could best be described as ‘supported existentialists’ and I have never heard of an existentialist who did not have a high degree of consciousness and self awareness.

I am going to test this theory as soon as it gets warmer by reading them passages from Proust and Sartre. By my reckoning Proust should send them to sleep and Sartre will send them into a frenzy of intellectual activity (which may not be discernible to the naked eye but which I will be able to sense).

I will gauge their responses and report back.


  1. Another legacy of those convicts is a surfing paradise at Bondai Beach where Australians barbecque prawns on Christmas Day and swim among turds from the sewerage outfalls.

    May we collaborate with your duck experiment? I will establish a control group of Tufted Ducks at Seewinkle (reading Dawkins to them) and will happily undertake the statistical analysis. We will publish the results in the Austrian Times Science Section.

  2. Thanks for the award Badger. Though I'm a little surprised you didn't go with the Aussie-flag-tooth-brushing pic. It was so much sexier.

    Nice rant.

  3. Maalie: Dawkins would be no good - too stimulating.

    xbxmas: I am saving the toothbrush pic for a suitable time....