A Mischief Of Magpies

If the Sun were the size of a beach ball then Jupiter would be the size of a golf ball and a Mischief of Magpies would be as small as a pea.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The One About the Parrot

"I wish to make a complaint. I wish to complain about this news story what I purchased not half an hour ago from the front page of this very Daily Mail."

"Oh yes, about the South American Blue. What's wrong with it?"

"I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it."

"No, it's just... resting for now."

"Look, matey, I know a dead news story when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now."

"It's... ah... it's pining for the flu wards."

"PININ' for the FLU WARDS?! It's not pining! It's passed on! This news story is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet it's maker [probably panic-monger and Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre]! It's a stiff! If you hadn't kept going on about it, it'd be pushing up the daisies! This is a EX-NEWS STORY!"

And so on. What exactly was the point of the panic in the middle-class tabloids about this ex-parrot that appeared in a British quarantine room? And why is it still raging? The whole point of quarantine is that it stops diseases entering the country. So, in essence what we have here is a bird that's died before it got into the country. Hardly news-worthy. In addition, it's apparently very difficult for this avian flu to pass from birds to humans anyway, unless you eat said bird and have a particularly weak constitution. And I've always found parrots to be quite tough, as culinary delights go. Although the beaks are good as toothpicks.

This avian flu business is whipping up the country into such a panic, and for no reason at all. What is apparent is that we now have the mindset of impending doom for any little worry. In these post-September 11th days, we think that any slight hiccup in the fabric of our idyll is bound to kill or maim us. And whilst the world is, and always has been, a fairly scary place, I say we just need to chill out about it a bit. We're prepared as best we can for potential flu pandemic, so now we just need to ride it out. Let's hope it doesn't reach America though - who knows where George Bush will decide to bomb in retaliation for his Thanksgiving dinner being unsafe to eat. All I can say is, I wouldn't want to live in Turkey this time next year.