When my wife read the last bit of “Yeah Nah” in which I said that I was laying on the references to Australia in a shameless bid to get more readers Down Under she was horrified and insisted I make amends.
I do want more Australian readers and I need to make sure that the good people of Australia know that I have the highest regard for them and I just want to make them laugh. Here are some of my reflections on Australia:
In 2006, I was invited to lecture about hormones at a conference on the Gold Coast. This allowed me to ignore signs and also work out from first principles how to swim out of a riptide. For this I am grateful.
My wife and I took our first and only (thus far) hot air balloon ride in Australia. We also went to an outback rodeo where I acquired an excellent authentic Bush Hat. I defiantly wear this hat during the Calgary Stampede. Note: I bear no particular malice toward the Calgary Stampede. Or its Chuckwagon Races. Or PETA.
Australian football players are tough as nails. They wear mouth guards but no padding. I don’t watch much football but I appreciate toughness when I see it.
There are some gracious and first rate thinkers in the field of Analytical Biochemistry in Australia. One is Peter O’Leary who was at the Biochemistry Department at the Royal Perth Hospital. He may still be there. I don’t know. A paper he wrote in 2000 challenged me to rethink everything I knew about testing of hormones in saliva. For this I am also grateful. He promptly wrote back to me when I emailed him years ago about that paper. This doesn’t always happen in the cutthroat world of Analytical Biochemistry.
I listened to ABC Melbourne whilst driving to and from work for several years. From this experience, I know that there are many, many goodhearted and witty people in Australia. I’m not holding any of them responsible for the rabbits and cane toads. Sometimes foolish decisions get made by well-meaning individuals who lack the common sense of a 6-week old puppy. Many of them are civil servants and/or wealthy aristocrats.
Cane toads were introduced to Australia from Hawaii in the 1930’s by well-meaning government researchers at the Bureau of What Could Go Wrong?/Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations in an attempt to control the grey-backed cane beetle, detrimental to sugar cane agriculture. They (the toads, not the researchers) bred like rabbits and overran large tracts of Western Australia. It didn’t end well.
In 1859, an aristocratic English settler and hunting afficionado named Thomas Austin imported twenty or so English rabbits and plopped them on his private estate in order that he and his buddies could fire lead projectiles at them. (Note to all hunters: I have nothing against hunting!!) The rabbits bred like rabbits and overran other large parts of Australia. That too, didn’t end well.
I just hope that no one took me seriously when I mentioned culturo-linguistic appropriation. No offense was intended. You just never know how people are going to take things these days.
And I honestly do love the Australian accent.
I’ve said enough, I think. Aboot time I ended this post, eh?