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Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Canucks On H5N1

Some radio station announced that two Toronto hospitals were quarantined with cases of respiratory illness (nothing special, IMO, and they aren't quarantined). But that seems to have served as the impetus for the Canadians on the CurEvents flu board to introduce a little humor with Cora-Anne's Advice for the Flu-Lorn. One submission:
I've recently read that cats can catch this. I dearly love my four moggies & would hate for anything to happen to them. They're indoor kitties but sometimes scoot out if I'm not careful. I'd hate to think they'd make themlsevs ill by licking their paws once they're rounded up & I'd fear becoming infected.

Can I safely dip their little paws in a bleach/water mix? What ratio? What can I do about their fur & tongues?

Thank you kindly in advance.

I've loved your column - been reading it for years.

Flustered Feline Feeder
The reply:
Use a quarter cup of Tide liquid laundry detergent and set the machine to delicates. Tumble dry on air only.
I also like this one:
Dear Cora Ann. I have problems with my daughter Juliet. She just got together with a boy, Romeo. She tries to break out of the quarantine I have placed us in. She cries for Romeo all the time. She does not sleep well and looks rather pale and nervous. Is it love or the flu?
Please answer.
Confused parent.

Dear Agonizing Anty:

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is, it's love.

The bad news is... well... you'll see. I'd hate to spoil the ending for you
There is something about Canadians. The new WHO guy went a bit nuts a few days ago and announced that there could be 150 million casualties from bird flu. There could be, I suppose. The sun could get really hot and fry us all. Or it could get really cold and usher in another Little Ice Age a la 1650-1750. Also the birds could become provoked and try to wipe out humanity. Any number of bad movie plots could happen. The odds that any of them actually will are quite minimal.

The other day someone posted wondering if a preemptive nuclear strike was planned for Indonesia. People need to get a grip! I'll let you know when to panic, okay? We are going to have an early and bad flu season, so don't panic. If you get sick, have a hot toddy, drink plenty of water and stay in bed. For the rest, health is strongly related to happiness:
Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, and leaving an impact on people brings happiness.
— Rabbi Harold Kushner

I think I began learning long ago that those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.
— Booker T. Washington

I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.
— Thomas Jefferson

In our concern for others, we worry less about ourselves. When we worry less about ourselves an experience of our own suffering is less intense. What does this tell us? Firstly, because our every action has a universal dimension, a potential impact on others’ happiness, ethics are necessary as a means to ensure that we do not harm others. Secondly, it tells us that genuine happiness consists in those spiritual qualities of love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness and so on. For it is these which provide both for our happiness and others’ happiness.
— His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Great post- I loved the humor- and the quotes, especially.

Whether by design or fate, it is ironic that they were framed by Rabbi Kushner and the Dalai Lama- people whose vocation and calling are to elevate us all.
It was by design.

But yes, they do elevate human life and dignity. I don't think true human happiness is to be obtained in an environment that lacks respect for either.
Just a nitpick...the "Little Ice Age," as it's called, actually lasted from ca. 1300 to ca. 1850. Many historians have pointed to the climate shift of the early 14th century as the cause of a series of demographic/economic/agricultural crises that in turn brought about the end of the "High Middle Ages," as the weakened feudal system could no longer support Europe's huge population.

Good post overall though. I'm sorry for the nitpicking, but it's my job to know these things.

(By the way, much of today's "global warming" might really just be "global things-going-back-to-normal" following the Little Ice Age.
Pedro - dates differ, but it was warmer than it is now in the 1200s. After around 1450 or 1460 it got warmer for a century or so and then got cooler again. When I was in school they used the term Little Ice Age for the later crash.

But earlier in the Holocene it was a lot warmer than in the 1200's. We are still in a relatively cool period for the Holocene. I am not sure that there is any "normal". I was wondering if the new textbooks cover this at all, because the IPCC found it necessary to change history in order to get their desired conclusion. For all I know, this has now vanished into the Memory Hole.

I always thought the history of Iceland and Greenland was fascinating, because it shows what would have happened to earlier human populations during the Ice Age. It's a microcosm of human history right there. Fascinating stuff. It is not humans who changed and created civilization - it is the environment which did.
Hey, Pedro, pick your nits here any time!

Knowledge is wonderful stuff.
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