Thursday, August 16, 2012

Austala* (for Australa*, Australia*)

Austala* is a moderate probability typo, likely when the cataloguer was attempting to spell Australasia, but forgot the R. Misspelling Australia this way is more difficult – you’d have to lose the I as well. Perhaps if you got hit in the head by a boxing kangaroo, the disorientation might be enough? One of my favourite Looney Tunes episodes starred poor Sylvester the Cat versus the “giant boxing mouse” – actually a kangaroo, imported from Australia. A ‘roo is significantly larger and more vicious than a mouse, and a worthy adversary. I’ve been following the story of an escaped zoo kangaroo in Europe this week, who was wandering through Germany. If you’re adding to your list of life skills, I’ve read up on some tips for defending yourself against a kangaroo attack (from Slate and elsewhere): turn your body sideways, to give a smaller profile and defend your precious internal organs from its claws. Keep your face away to protect it as well. Put a barrier in between you, even a large tree branch if you can find one. Walk away slowly – don’t run, as it will out-hop you, and kick as it goes. Yikes! I think I’ll stick with my usual method of avoiding a kangaroo attack: don’t go near a kangaroo.

(Kangaroo photo by Ester Inbar, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Leanne Olson

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