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Suspiciously Simple Solutions | Oct 20, 2005 18:06

I have the cure to bird flu. Now, because I know there are a lot of scared and nervous people out there, I've devised a seemingly simple set of solutions to the issue of this pesky avian virus, and as a public service I'm willing to share them with you, dear readers.

Oh, and all the googlers who happen to stumble over this blog in a vain attempt to find a cure for a virus that only seems to be killing credit cards just at the moment, read on.

Well, with my infinite wisdom I've noticed the main flaw in the avian plan to dominate the globe. In order to die of bird flu, it seems that you have to:

A: Wait for the only probable mutation of a virus into something transmissible between humans.
B: Get sick.
C: Not get better.

As far as evil plans go, that one's pretty damn lame. No giant lasers, no curled little finger, nothing. But what do you expect from a scheme hatched by chickens?

So, there's a number of points at which we can stop these peckers from getting their plan into action.

Let's start with point A:. As it is, bird flu can be transmitted to persons who spend time in close contact with some species of fowl. Now, I don't know about you, but my only close contact with any type of fowl is usually leaning over it, and about to stuff it in my mouth. That or looking at it conveniently plastic wrapped and refrigerated.

As far as I know, no one has been infected with the virus from eating an infected bird, so that leaves us with one good solution to the problem.

Let's just eat the [cl]uckers. All of them.

Actually, that's kind of a Final Solution, and has no doubt already been suggested somewhere, but I doubt the H5N1 can survive both deep-frying and the Colonel's dozen-odd herbs and spices.

But, failing that, there is another solution.

Just don't get sick.

Seriously. Just don't get sick. IF the virus actually evolves into a form allowing it to be transmitted between humans, of which we currently have no evidence of, then the main answer is to just avoid catching it. Eventually the strain dies out and then sweet as, back to my plan number one. Lunch.

Apparently you can avoid the flu by washing your hands frequently, and being careful about touching your face after touching things like door handles and railings. Simple.

But, there are some people who do get sick easily. So, if bird flu takes off, just lock your granny in the back room with a port-a-potty and a microwave. Flick ready-to-heat meals and the occasional Earl grey teabag under the door and she'll be safe as houses.

And the last point. If you do get sick, then get better. People get fevers to kill the flu. If you get sick, stay really warm, in fact too warm (but don't overheat yourself into a stroke), and take heaps of vitamins, eat REAL lemons, and whinge to your mum.

And bugger the economy. Stay home and watch TV. The economy will recover. The Round Table might become frantic about share prices, but they can go get stuffed.

The thing is, in order to catch the flu, you have to be exposed to it. If the sick people stay home, they can't infect others.

But, what if your pesky neighbours decide to come round and check on you? What if you don't even like them, but are worried they'll turn up to pester you while you're feeling like crap?

Thing is, guard dogs don't work. One slab of gravy beef and Brutus turns into a Chihuahua.

Keeping to the theme of today's blog, there is a avian solution.

Peacocks make excellent warning alarms. And with bird flu out there, they'll scare the piss out of any nosey neighbours.

There's a bonus as well. If you don't like your neighbours, or if it becomes too much of a nuisance, you can always just chuck the peacock over the fence.

Hell, even governments do that sometimes.

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Cain v. Abel | Oct 18, 2005 22:19

Yet another interesting speech this week. Hat tip to No Right Turn, who pointed to this speech By Dr. Michael Cullen subtitled 'Reflections on NZ Politics and History'.

Actually, if you have an interest in reading politics, and are happy to wade through the great number of speeches on the Beehive website, it's a veritable gold-mine of information. Naturally it contains all the spin in the world, and members of the Government of all persuasions talking on all kinds of subjects, but if you can't cut through that kind of stuff you're probably not an authentic politics geek.

Anyhow, Cullen. I thought I'd bring this speech forward for your consideration. Mostly because I think it's a subtle but good representation of the contrary viewpoint I mentioned briefly when discussing Bill English's speech.

As I waxed lyrical in All New Zealanders English's point of view can be interpreted as being centred on a future in which the current diverse elements of the population gradually coalesce into a better, more collective whole.

Regarding the Treaty, English was happy to point out to me that he does not consider that we'll all evolve into a 'sameness'. Rather that Waitangi was not a sound pivot on which our future development should turn. Instead, he thinks that we are better negotiating between ourselves, as a nation-becoming, on terms suitable to all. Waitangi seems to kind of 'get in the way' of equitable relations.

It's an interesting perspective that seems, to me, to strongly represent what many people in New Zealand think. And as I said the other day, it is a valid point of view. Flawed, but no more flawed than the contrary POV posed by Dr. Cullen in the aforementioned speech.

Let's face facts. As I was driving at in All New Zealanders, absolutely any effort at nation-building, from whatever beginning, will always run into that inevitable tide called time. All that which we now consider rock will one day be sand. But sweet as, I like beaches.

Naturally I hit English up for an interview for Public Address. I think he's still making up his mind. Any Club Politique reader is welcome to send a VERY POLITE email to his address at parliament and ask that he free up some time for a new project I'm trying to get off the drawing board.

English did however also point out to me that he was interested in sameness in as far as it meant one standard of citizenship for New Zealanders.

This is the idea that creates the greatest connection to Cullen's speech. Whereas both are happy to acknowledge the contribution to New Zealand history brought from offshore, our ancestors of the mind, there is a sharp divergence in the 'imagining' brought by either party to the issue of present and continuous nation-building.

If I sketch with a crayon, Cullen's take is one that emphasises the benefits of biculturalism and continuing diversity, while English's emphasises the benefits of not locking ethnic groups of any sort into cubby-holing.

Now, I know to many readers this sounds more or less like 'warble waffle warble blah', but the difference in the two points of view is absolutely fundamental to the future of New Zealand, and is much, much larger than the contrary positions of the Labour and National Parties.

It seems to me that many New Zealanders are simply confused by what all this race relations talk is all about. More often than not they get on with their neighbours, be they Māori or whatever, and can't understand why politics is getting in the way.

There are any number of specific takes on how politics intersects with race. The key to understanding them though is the way in which power becomes a determining factor in people or groups talking to one another. Who gets to decide whether Māori continues to be spoken as national language, for example? Who gets to exert the power necessary to make that decision stick?

The days are long gone of Māori being told this and told that, hopefully to never return, and both the speeches mentioned here acknowledge that. And we're left with the question of the best way to include Māori in the post-colonial New Zealand we've all become accustomed to.

What I see then are two contrary perspectives about to where the power moves. Does it stay with the minority in a kind of joint-sharing arrangement (biculturalism), or does it brought in from the cold and incorporated into the fabric of the future New Zealand?

In a way, we now have two archetypes for race relations. Two poles between which to build that big slingshot to the future. Hell, I have my own opinions on the matter, but that's a subject for another day.

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