Saturday, January 14, 2006


Sometimes in life the littlest things, can be the most powerful. Sometimes in life the smallest of things can illustrate the most profound truths, they point the way for true understanding, for enlightenment. This powerful reality is brought to me over and over in Australia. It is not the same here. There is a difference between America and Australia, even though most Americans (being the insensitive louts that we are) would miss them at first. And its the little things that show this.

John, what the hell are you talking about?

My friend Mark Sayers, tried to get us ready for Australia. Tried to help us understand the differences in cultures. He explained the little things that most Americans miss at first and therefore suffer culture shock, six months in, rather than right away. And some of the things he showed us we understood, and some we have since learned.

Little things...

Aussies don't usually like to talk about themselves.

Aussies often take their time becoming your friend, but once they are mates, there is intense loyalty.

Melbourne Aussies have a taste for the sarcastic and cynical.


I don't always learn my lessons well. I remember we went out to eat on a Friday night in the city. There was fourteen of us, so we were hard to seat. Everyone wanted to eat at a certain restaurant, but they couldn't seat us for an hour and a half. This wouldn't do, we were hungry. Everyone was upset, they wanted to eat here, but we couldn't. I asked my friend, "if its such a big deal, why not slip the host a twenty or two and have him seat us now"

Now Mark looked at me like I had murdered his mother and was dancing in her blood. "you are kidding right?" I was perplexed, and shook my head no. "you can't do that!!! he'd get fired, you can't get a seat because you have money" I was a bit surprised, this is common place in Los Angeles. I was given a lesson about egalitarianism, and how improper it is to get special treatment because of money. I still don't understand why its okay to eat a better meal with better wine because of money, but not to sit sooner, but then I was born in America.

Its the little things.

Let me tell you about the little things.

Flies!!! Australian flies powerfully show the difference. You can't get away from them, they are everywhere, so I am constantly reminded of the difference. See American flies are different. They are tend to be individualistic. One fly will decide you are its target for the day, and he will buzz around, saying look at me, look at me. But not the aussie fly, they are always together. No one fly gets the attention, they are all together, equal. No one calling for more attention than the rest. And they are persistent. If you make contact with an american fly, infact if you even stir the wind a bit, they will often leave you alone. Lots of show, no go. But these aussie flies, they never give up. They keep coming back and coming back. Battlers to the last one. I have seen them in the hundreds stay on the arms and back of a golfer as he swings his club. And if you kill one aussie, another five will come right back at you. And I have never seen an aussie fly map out a geometric pattern and continue to fly it over and over, they are way more layed back. They go from one to another, but don't waste time with relentless precision for the sake of it. They are far from lazy, but don't stress so much. They take life as it comes, and don't make it more or less than that.

Aussie flies mate, their fairdinkum different than American flies

but French flies...

thats just stupid!

the rev


Anonymous said...

hi, just came accross your blog.
Really interesting post. I am an ex-pat Aussie and reading about those flies alomost made me nostalgic, almost.

Anonymous said...

anon, I've done some research on this John Jenson bloke, and it looks like he's come to oz to help the down and out's.

I'm wondering then, whether he has noticed the cultural diversity in various parts of this country e.g. in Sydney, Melbourne and some outback towns. Would John like to comment on this as well, and how it affects his work. I imagine this is one area which in which Oz is similar to the US.

john jensen said...

Well haven't been around too much, and these are all generalities but...

Seems like Sydney is a bit more like SoCal in personality. Melbourne is a bit more like San Fran. And Perth reminds me of San Diego. Where I live there are so many first and second generation immigrants that things are very different.

But don't read too much into this little essay, it was just a bit of fun.

the rev

Anonymous said...

Are the chics hotter here?

john jensen said...

if you don't like silicone, the girls are hotter here. I don't like silicone.

the rev

Anonymous said...

Tell us about the toilets flushing all screwy like John. I want to hear about the toilets!

Anonymous said...

I hate to intrude on this cultured conversation, but for those who kindly enquired after my wife she should be recovered well enough to be home next week.

Now you can go back to the tits, bums and toilets.

john jensen said...

Thats very good to hear Kieren, I hope things continue to improve. I am sure you can't wait to have her home. When my wife is away I don't function quite right.

the rev

Anonymous said...

That is good to hear Kieren.

Now, I really do want to hear about them backward flushing toilets, if nobody minds!

Anonymous said...

That French Fly comment might have earned you a butt kicking if you weren't so much bigger than me (and uglier too.)

Lionfish said...


That is good news mate.

Hope everything continues to get better.

Anonymous said...

John, you may also be familiar with some other Australian icons - comedians Kevin Bloody Wilson and Rodney Rude.

If you haven't heard these, get along and see them.

Rodney Rude is completing his last tour of Australia this year. He is a very funny stand up comedian, who although tending to use a lot of bad language, is quite clever. Have a look at his web site,

Look at for a more extensive site detailling some of Kevin Wilson's work.

Familiarise yourself with these two comedians, Johm, and you'll have a deeper insight into Australian culture.

Anonymous said...

do yourself a favour and stay well clear of rodney and kevin...

now, if i were mark (and im not, actually only met him once last year) i might have found it amusing to sit back and see what would happen if you did slip the waiter some money...

that's just cause I'm curious by nature and a little nefarious...

Anonymous said...

I'll pay for your ticket to Rodney Rude when he's turing Melbourne, John.

I'm sure you'll enjoy is irreverent form of comedy.

Let me know if you want to take up the offer.

Anonymous said...

I meant touring, not turing.

KLJ said...

Nobody's going to give me the low down on the backwards flushing toilets eh?

john jensen said...

You going to go with me?

little brother, the toilets here flush straight down, with a big woosh, if you take a bath though the water turns the other way when leaving the tub. Isn't that funny?

Now go play in traffic.

the rev

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if I can to attend a Rodney Rude concert - his Victorian tour schedule is not available yet.

However, I am happy to not only pay your ticket, John, but to chauffeur you to and from the event. The chauffeur offer comes with the condition that you do not vomit inside my car if you decide to drink excessive amounts of alcohol or for any other reason.

john jensen said...

So you are recomending him, but won't go yourself? Sounds like something to pass on. And I don't get drunk.

the rev

Anonymous said...

Didn't say I couldn't go. Just want to set appropriate expectations. I don't want to raise your hopes with a definite yes until I see Rodney's schedule.

However, the free ticket offer still stands.

Keep an eye Rodney's web site, John, and as soon as his Melbourne tour dates are announced, maybe you could start a topic about him, and we could arrange for a group of people to go along.

KLJ said...

Wow. I don't mean to start a flame war here but after visiting I'd have to say he's the worst comedian I could imagine. I'm amazed he's making a living at this. I frequent open mic nights, so believe me, I see some bad stuff, but rarely is something as confusingly awfull as what I've now seen of Rodney Rude.

Anonymous said...

Looks like John needs to get along to a live Rodney gig to make an independent assessment.

Keith, can you offer a more detailed critique of Rodney's comedy. Perhaps summarise one of his routines = say the McDonald's one - and follow on with a detailed analysis.

Anonymous said...

Why not emmigrate to Australia, Keith?

While your brother is making it big in the pastoral scene, you could become Australia's next comedy sensation. Suggest you start out as a support act for Rodney Rude.

Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting comparison that just occured to me:

John says he doesn't get drunk, but describes himself as "still drinks to much coffee".

Now presumably, because the effects of too much ooffee are not as noticable on one's health as the that of alcohol, excessive coffee consumption is excused?

But both are drugs with downsides. John, wait until you get older before you notice what "too much coffee" can do.

Sorry to be personal, John, but I'm just using you as a discussion point. I don't really care what you destroy your liver with!

john jensen said...

The amount of coffee I drink now is not unhealthy. I never drink more than two cups of coffee a day. It might be better to not drink any at all, with my kidney stones problem, but it is one of my greatest pleasures. I truly love good coffee.

the rev

I know you are probably wanting to get into a caffeine vs alcohol debate. I don't know how many people every year die from car accidents because they drank too much coffee, but I reckon its not many.

Anonymous said...

John, are you aware of the addictive nature of caffeine? Even one cup a day can be addictive. You probably don't realise this until you try and stop.

Try and stay off coffee and tea for 4 weeks. Then tell me if it such a good idea. It's not a matter of one drug vs another. It's more the dependency and habitual behaviour they lead to.

Also, think about where most coffee comes from and the degree of exploitation of both people and the environment it involves. Do you want to be part of that? Sure, you can get "ethical" coffee but, like ethical investing, there's not much of it about.