Monday, April 27, 2009

TEOTWAWKI And Tasmania

I should make you Google up TEOTWAWKI if you're so clueless that you don't recognise the acronym. But for the soon-to-be-Zombie-victims among you, I will remind the reader that TEOTWAWKI stands for The End Of The World As We Know It. Obviously, I am referring to the present outbreak of Swine 'Flu - or as our Israeli brethren apparently would have it "Mexican 'Flu".

I can understand how Jewish and Islamic folk would rather have a Mexican 'Flu than an Unclean Antikosher Stinky Piggy Flu, but... has anybody actually asked the Mexicans about this one? Do they really want their very own 'Flu?

Well, never mind.

My problem here is my wife's profession. I came down here to Taz to raise kids because frankly, Tasmania is

  • off the global geopolitical radar
  • not nearly as vulnerable to warming as mainland Oz
  • not nearly so vulnerable to sea level rises as most of Oz
  • self-sufficient in food
  • self-sufficient in power
  • self-sufficient in water
  • not overcrowded
  • not expensive (comparitively) to buy and live
  • very strong in terms of social capital in comparison to most modern communities of Oz
Not to put too fine a point on it, Natalie wanted kids, so I looked into the Flinthart Crystal Ball and saw trouble a-comin' in the future. Given that Elder Son was born in 2000, I'd like to point out the Flinthart Crystal Ball was pretty f__king good... but to be honest, any damned fool who kept up with newspapers and journals could have foreseen the shitstorm which has only just begun to break over us all.

Anyway. I did the best I could, and here we are. But... I really don't know what to do about epidemics. I know what I'd like to see: Tasmania should shut the doors. Cargo in, cargo out. Nothing more -- and all cargo handling done with minimum human contact, maximum quarantine precaution. (No, not necessarily for this Piggy Flu. It doesn't look like a civ-killer... at least, not yet.)

I just can't see the government being smart enough to do that, though. And how would we prevent desperadoes from the mainland fleeing here in their boats? Be nice if we could whip the Bass Strait into a frenzy on demand, but we don't have a navy to help.

So -- if it comes, when it comes, the Next Big Plague, the long-overdue cull of humankind... I don't suppose it will miss Tasmania. And when it comes here, my wife will be out there trying to keep people alive. In contact with whatever-it-is for days on end. While I'm here at home with three kids, at least one of whom has an over-active immune system that turns even a simple head cold into weeks of painful symptoms

I know. I worry a lot. Sure. But this one... this is the one I can't do anything about. And every time I read about another outbreak somewhere, anywhere, I get a nasty shiver.

Sure hope this Mexican Piggy Flu peters out soon.


  1. Here's the thing. We're all gonna end up wearing medical masks, AKA face condoms.

    This may protect us from the dreaded Oink flu, but the disposable masks will just add to Global Warming.

    So I think we should dust off all those gas masks we purchased in the USA after 9/11 and wear those full-time. Then we're not only protecting the earth by re-using and re-cycling, but we're also protected from flu pandemic, biochemical terrorist attacks, and most importantly, fuglies at the bar. No need for beer goggles when everyone's wearing a gas mask.

  2. This little piggy went to market and this little piggy ran wee wee wee all the way to Tassie.

    And to think I always thought Tassie was the end of the world as we know it;-)

  3. Will that mean there's a possibility of letters of marque for those entrepraneurs who want to get into the 'sink on sight' business? Just asking as met a man in the pub who's got a couple of Osa class corvettes available nice guy name of Kim...

  4. Well most of the world is living in a manner that is unsustainable long term, with no desire to change their ways. So when the house of cards falls it'll be "interesting times" indeed.

  5. Nautilus: that's the ARSE end of the world as we know it...

  6. Your description generated Visions of a book once read, where a Presidents wife had to help tend to the sick and dying...AND YEP, the hubbie was not overly impressed, understood , but doesn't fucking make it any easier at all. Scotts somfin right, look for orchards and the woolie mammoth roaming the boundary on a tractor with shotgun in hand...or busted chainsaw. I'm running the perimeter security when the shit hits the fan.

  7. There's currently 3 people getting tested for it down there, so it may be too late to raise the drawbridge. I would say swim to NZ but IT'S THERE TOO!!!
    doomed i tell ya

  8. Swine, swine, SWINE! I just love saying it! You swine, you!

    Erm, I think I've had a few too many glasses of booze with dinner.... Ahem, I hope this doesn't interrupt my travel plans to Europe. I note that two people in Scotland have been diagnosed with SWINE flu. We're going there. And Bordeaux where more people have been diagnosed.

    And what if the plane we're in harbours the disease in the air-conditioning duct. AAaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrr!

    OK, it's easy to get carried away with this sort of thing. I'm sure we'll all be fine and it'll be like the Bird flu - scary, but not as catastrophic as we initially thought.

  9. Good news for you, Kimmy: viruses (like 'flu) don't breed in air-con ducts like bacteria (legionella, for example). But they can certainly be spread around the inside of an airplane that way if some inconsiderate bastard breathes out while harbouring the beasties.

  10. Ban breathing out!!!!

    Inhale ok, exhale go to jail!

  11. Havock's referring to a Tom Clancy book, one of the Jack Ryan books where he's the president. That was shortly before Clancy became weird and was clearly imagining himself as Jack Ryan (which I actually heard him say in a radio interview, so I'm not making that up).

    Being as close to Mexico as we are (lots of daily flights between Atlanta and Ground Zero of this flu, Mexico City), this is in the news a lot, and Mexicans are trying to actually blame it on Canadians that visited (I am not making this up either, an on-site reporter interviewed a dozen people, half blamed it on Canadians, the other half on Americans). Personally, I think Mexicans are simply happy to have a distraction from how shitty their professional soccer league is, and how thoroughly they keep getting drummed by the US team in World Cup qualifiers.

    They are comfortable blaming it on Canadians, because Canadians are very cool and tend not to get riled up too much.