I like the Aussies.
“One of Americaís finest, Corporal George Zwicki, Ossining, New York, shares a delectable kangaroo haunch with Clara Bunseath at the 79th Annual Queensland Council of Garden Clubs Joey Roast, under clear skies at the Mt. Coot-tha Botanic Gardens.” (source: The Queensland Independent, Brisbane, 18 December 1943).

Yes, I do. I like them because they appear to be the only folks on the planet that still like us. (They, and three of Tony Blairís kids). And the amazing thing is that they still like us even after our GIs went down there in WWII and married every available woman in the whole damn country.

No, really, how would you like to come home after years of eating sand, dodging Stukas, and kicking Rommelís butt, only to find that the one eligible woman left in the whole town is 63 years old, is the corresponding secretary of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and spends her nights practicing at the piano so she can pound out hymns at the Anglican Church on Sundays?

Oh, and I like the Aussies because they are unafraid of their fish names.

A quick glance through "A. Williams and N. J. Bax. 2001. Delineating fish-habitat associations for spatially based management: an example from the south-eastern Australian continental shelf. Marine and Freshwater Research 52:513-536" proves that point. For here, amidst the Australian Angel Shark, the New Zealand Dory and the Deepwater Gurnard are the Coffin Ray, Coffinfish, Tasmanian Numbfish, Swollenhead Conger, Bastard Red Cod, Bastard Trumpeter, Bigbelly Seahorse, Old Wife, Common Stinkfish, Spotted Stinkfish, and Chinaman Leatherjacket.

I would posit that these names would find heavy sledding indeed in the United States.

In fact, I assume that once the word got out, the following organizations would make known their displeasure.

Coffin Ray, Coffinfish - American League of People Who Bury Dead Other People After They Have Been Cremated and Hence Do Not Use Coffins

Tasmanian Numbfish - American League of People Who Cannot Feel Their Extremities Because They Have Hansenís Disease

Swollenhead Conger - American League of People that have, Through No Fault of their Own, Contracted Elephantiasis

Bastard Red Cod, Bastard Trumpeter - American League of Ichthyologists Who, Through No Fault of Their Own, Were Born Out-of-Wedlock

Bigbelly Seahorse - American League for the Metabolically Challenged

Old Wife - American League of Wives Who, Through No Fault of Their Own, are Old

Common Stinkfish, Spotted Stinkfish - American League of People Who Only Bathe on Saintsí Days Whose Names, the Saints that is and not the People, Begin with the Letter "Q"

Chinaman Leatherjacket - American League of People Who are Opposed to the Name Chinaman Leatherjacket

There would be the requisite protests, the requisite letters to the editor, and the requisite talk show outbursts. At a press conference, the President would be asked the Administrationís policy on the Common Stinkfish controversy. The President would side step the issue by declaring war on Bhutan.

And, inevitably, there would be a series of painfully labored meetings of august, frizzy-browed, ichthyological savants sitting around a lone bunsen burner, sipping lab alcohol from cunningly fashioned beakers, and pondering the potential for the Decline of Western Civilization through allowing a fish name to remain in place.

And the Common Stinkfish would become the Spicily Aromatic Gaboon, the Bigbelly Seahorse would become the Giant Economy Sized Seahorse, the Old Wife would become the Golden Years Significant Other Fish and so on. And the Chinamen leatherjacket? The savants would suggest the species be overfished to extinction, thus neatly sidestepping the issue.

Bizarrely, in Australia none of this seems to have occurred.

Thatís it. No moral here.

Oh, and I still like the Aussies.