It’s been a tough year for Australian imports. Earlier this summer, witnesses claimed to have seen Olivia Newton John’s longtime lover in Mexico, which was strange since he had disappeared a year earlier on a fishing expedition and was believed to be dead (kind of like John’s career).

Most people knew that Mel Gibson was a hambone actor and limited director, but until a few months ago, who knew he was a drunken, anti-Semitic, male chauvinist pig who actually called a female police officer “sugar tits”? And now Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin bites the dust at the hands, or rather the barb, of a stingray.

His annoying rapid-fire delivery, camera mugging, and dangling of his own baby over a crocodile pen made him a lightning rod for criticism, yet he was an ardent environmentalist and conservationist who brought fun to the wonderful world of wildlife in a way that predecessors like Marlin Perkins never could. So, what next? Hugh Jackman hiding Osama bin Laden? Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman swinging with George W. and Laura? Maybe the Aussies should stay home, indoors, sober, and quiet for a while. … Naah. Even Static can’t manage all those things for more than a few hours – but might consider lifting a Foster’s (yecch) in their honor.

Drop the Gloves

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You know it’s been a strange year when friends meeting on a Monday talk about what a wonderful weekend it was because it rained for two solid days. Ah, the North Texas, global-warming version of bliss. Is it possible we might actually have an autumn this year? Static’s not sure it will be able to tell for sure, since the usual fall telltale – the opening of the minor-league hockey season – won’t be happening here. Thanks again, city hall!

Fort Worth Brahmas fans are planning various memorial celebrations – which may or may not involve using hockey sticks to whack piñatas shaped like city-hall figures (more environmentally friendly and less likely to draw a fire truck than burning them in effigy). Perhaps there should be a memorial puck-pile erected on the city hall lawn. Or people could just come to a city council meeting bruised, bleeding, missing teeth, and speaking in Canadian or Eastern European accents, in honor of their missing sports heroes. Wherever your heart leads you. Just remember – if Odessa, Lubbock, and Laredo are big enough to support hockey teams, then Podunkville-on-the-Trinity should be able to do it as well.

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