30 September 2003

US Australian Language Primer

Australia = US
Single Bed = Twin Nobody can tell us why
Double Bed = Full
Oops = My Bad When it’s your fault, you say, “My Bad”.
BBQ = Cookout The equipment is a BBQ, but the event is a cookout.
I beg your pardon. = Whaaat? Can you repeat that, please?
Bear = Bar See above

I started out life with nothing, and I’ve still got half left.
(Seen on a cap worn by a senior citizen)

Rattle Snake

We had a surprise visitor in the form of a huge rattlesnake. With a thickness about that of a forearm, and about 10 rings in its tail, it was a big snake. According to locals, it was the biggest one any had seen around here. Everyone first asked, “Didja kill it?”. “With what?” we replied, only having a children’s shovel, which was shorter than the snake. “You’ve got a car, aincha?”
So we just took photos for y’all to enjoy. We’ll have to get a gun for next time.

The Rattlesnake - too far from our car.

There’s Bars in them thar hills.

We met our neighbours recently as they were fixing up the fence. They asked whether we had seen the Bar. We were informed that a big black bar was seen roaming the area, helping itself to food at a nearby holiday caravan. So now we are on the lookout for Bears (locally known as Bars). Also, there are raccoons and chipmunks to be seen too.


In Australia, we are all used to having zoning laws. We didn’t understand the impact of this until we arrived here. It doesn’t have zoning. Therefore, instead of expecting to find most of the retail outlets in one place with a central car park or two, any store could be anywhere. This is a town that requires a motor vehicle. You go to the bank that has a drive in ATM. You are not allowed to walk to the ATM, only drive. Then you drive to the Post Office across the road. Then you might drive to the supermarket, or drive anywhere else. There are very few footpaths, and most intersections do not have pedestrian lights.
But it’s amazing how quick you get used to it. There is a lot more parking than we ever had at Moss Vale or Bowral. I think the parking area at either Home Depot or Ingles (supermarket) has the same amount of spaces as all the car parks combined in Bowral. Mind you, with the average rate of car ownership in the US having just exceeded one vehicle per person, they need lots of car parking places.

Religious Education

As we are in a place that is only 1% Catholic, there are no local Catholic schools. Therefore, as all the children are going to public or Christian schools, all children attend weekly Religious Education or CCD (Confraternity of Catholic Doctrine) classes. Any child wanting to have their first communion or Confirmation must have at least 2 years preparation beforehand. There is an exception for homeschooled children. They just have to organize it with the local Parish Priest when they think their children are ready.
David has been volunteered to teach the confirmation class of 11 year nine and ten students. He is enjoying himself with a captive audience that is not allowed to go anywhere else for an hour or so each week. However for the last three weeks, whilst the teacher of the year 7 and 8 students was away, he had to teach about 25 children. The first week he was frustrated because none of the children would answer questions. Then he had a good idea. Bribery. The following two weeks he rewarded every answer (correct or otherwise) with a jelly belly (basically fancy jelly beans). Hands were flying up thick and fast!
When the teacher returned from her trip in Europe, she mentioned she met lots of Australian tourists there. She said they constantly used the phrase “ABC”. She finally asked what they meant. “Another Bloody Church!” was the typically Australian reply to describe the abundance of amazing churches on almost every corner in the major European cities.

Gainesville – Chicken Capital of the World

In the local Student’s Guide to Georgia, there is mention of Gainesville being the chicken capital of the world. It also reported that in Gainesville, it is illegal to eat chicken with a fork! Not being willing to take this seriously, I did a quick Internet search and it was confirmed in many other sites. Still feeling that this seemed even too odd to be real, I emailed the publicity officer in Gainesville. I asked him that was this law for real, and if so, what was the penalty?
His reply was:

Gainesville is the Poultry Capital of the World....as for the chicken and the fork....that was a joke the Police Department played on some visiting Atlanta Disk Jockeys several years ago...they actually created an ordinance to go with it. Thanks for your interest.

So, it just goes to show that you can’t believe everything you read. It is worth doing a reality check every now and then!

TV Guardian

You know how all those movies are mostly OK except for all the stupid swearing or blasphemies that are almost compulsory? Well there is an option here in the US called TV Guardian. It tracks the teletext track on the movie (either TV, DVD or Video) and when an offending phrase occurs, it mutes the sound and shows alternate text on the screen. It replaces the phrase and not just the word. It must use a pretty impressive software algorithm to determine phrases and is normally quite accurate. There are a number of levels of protection, but the replacements are quite humorous. Sony now makes VCR and DVD players with the device as part of the unit.

Policeman Peter

Following on from our joke last month regarding stopping at stop signs, Peter is ever vigilant. This morning, as David carefully stopped and then proceeded, Peter yells from the back, “Well done, Dad. You stopped. You didn’t just slow down.”
Ripper! BYO Policeman.

A Mystery Insect

The children saw this insect the other day and noticed the long stinger at the end. Being wary of insects that might bite (i.e. most of Georgia) they quickly called both of us to investigate. It is very brightly coloured and did not move whilst we were there taking photographs from about 10 cm (4 inches) away. My initial sources have been unable to tell me what it is. One thought was that it was a “Mud Dauber” wasp which builds cool mud cocoon type nests and whose main role in life is to eat Black Widow and Brown Recluse spiders (both poisonous). That would be nice to have, but the pictures don’t match. We’ll continue to investigate.

What is this insect?

Children’s Activities

James taking a leap of faith

Remember the playground? It has been getting a lot of use by all the children. But, boys always have a better plan.

Before the playground was built, Lana heard Peter crying outside. Upon investigation, Lana saw James and Eric on the decking pulling a rope. She quickly rushed to the edge and there was Peter sitting on a bit of wood tied to the end of the rope and being let down. He was crying because Eric and James realized he was too heavy to pull all the way and they were letting him back down.
So, they completed pulling him up and pulled him through the balcony. Just remember, young children will give us all plenty of evidence for Guardian Angels.

Last week, the boys had a new plan. They tied rope from the fort/playhouse to a nearby tree. Combined with the loop from the end of the very thick rope we had been given, they created their own flying fox.