See 2006 Update, Below
Many readers enjoyed these two stories that appeared in the 16 February 2003 issue, as they showed how different -- and how similar -- Australians and Americans are:
"Strine" -- Australian slang -- is invading American speech, says Tom Dalzell, the author of two books on U.S. slang. Thanks to more Australian movies and TV shows becoming hits in America, not to mention the 2000 Olympics, terms such as "no worries", "agro" (aggravated), "walkabout" and "crikey" (exclamation of surprise) are being heard in the States more frequently. (Brisbane Courier-Mail) ...That's shonky! If that drongo thinks the trend is new, he's berko.
Weekly Weird News
Australian Prime Minister John Howard is being criticized for spending A$15 million (US$8.9 million) on a "terrorism kit" that is being mailed to every household in the country. The kit contains a booklet on how to spot a terrorist and a refrigerator magnet with emergency telephone numbers. Howard defends the effort, saying it "gives people useful information," but critics say the money could be better spent elsewhere. (Sydney Morning Herald) ...In the U.S., Bush just told everyone to buy duct tape and plastic sheeting. It cost the government nothing, and the rush on hardware stores gave the economy a nice boost.
An Aussie reader responds:
Just think of how much closer the two countries would be if we spoke the same language!
12 March 2006 Update
I enjoyed running another strine story this week, which brought quite a bit of comment:
Forget throwing "a shrimp on the barbie" -- Australia is getting serious about attracting foreign visitors with its new slogan. After showing lovely scenery and things to do Down Under, the announcer in the Tourism Australia ads demands to know, "So where the bloody hell are you?" Minister for Tourism Fran Bailey loves the tagline, calling it "plain speaking and friendly." Prime Minister John Howard says no one should be offended by the mild swearing -- but won't say the line himself. When asked to by a radio interviewer, Howard replied that he is "not somebody who uses that expression, certainly not on radio." (Sydney Morning Herald, Australian AP) ...Well bugger him, then.