December 11, 2017

 

Oort Cloud Oddities: Bird Flu

 
 
 

The bird flu has emerged from Asia in, appropriately enough, Turkey. Where apparently thousands of, yes, turkeys had to be destroyed. But no need to panic yet. The virus is still pretty clumsy about infecting humans. It's only killed about 60 people worldwide to date.

That's dreadful, no doubt about it, but let's step back and get a sense of perspective.

Here are some interesting statistics about causes of death in 2002, in the United States alone, courtesy of the National Safety Council and the CDC:

Spiders, hornets, wasps and bees killed 64 people. Next time someone makes fun of you for screaming at the sight of a spider, remind them that keen and noisy survival reflexes are precisely what saved you back in '02 from becoming number 65.

Lightning killed 66 people. Probably all 9th graders on the phone with boyfriends/girlfriends during storms, despite Mom's dire warnings.

Traffic collision with deer took out another 113. Deer, being colorblind, often confuse red lights with green at intersections.

Clothing related accidents killed 117. No statistics were available for how many of those involved fat rolls bulging out over low-rise pants.

In what could be a related statistic, 369 people died from inhaling the contents of their stomach. Probably after seeing the fashion faux pas above.

118 people died riding animals or riding in animal drawn conveyances. Also in 2002, alligator rides failed to replace pony rides as popular activities for kiddie birthday parties.

Hot tap water alone killed 40 folk. This is why I drink at least one cup of coffee before my morning shower.

352 people didn't make it out of the bathtub alive. More evidence supporting that morning cup of coffee.

509 people suffocated in bed. Coffee nightcap, anyone?

128 people died from overexertion. But it's hard to slow down when you've had so much coffee.

Ladders and scaffolding got 406 of us, which is why I try to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground. However, 646 people died from tripping or stumbling, presumably after having had their morning, afternoon and evening cups of coffee, so I've just taken to wearing a coffee IV drip and wearing elbow pads and a helmet everywhere. In bed. In the shower. And around the house. Because...

Furniture killed 785 people. (Firearm discharge only killed 762.) The CDC does not explain precisely how it is that 785 people died because of furniture. Was it dropped on them? Did they fall over it? Were they murdered by their spouses for spilling red wine or catsup on it? Why aren't there more bumper stickers proclaiming "Armoires don't kill people, people kill people"?

If you're still fretting about the 60 deaths from the bird flu, according to assorted medical sites, 522 men have died from complications and side effects of Viagra. Unlike furniture as a cause of death, which didn't furnish enough information (so to speak), where Viagra is concerned, just the word alone is too much information. Label it "au natural causes" and leave it at that.

Obesity kills 280,000-325,000 people a year. The recent discovery of a 4000 year old dish of noodles in China means we can blame at least some of that chub on them, but no one continent has a monopoly on deadly diseases.

Sure, Asia gave us the bird flu and pasta. But the Archaeological Institute of America has evidence that North America is the source of syphilis, McDonalds and WalMart, none of which are good for you either. Leprosy seems to be from Africa. Chagas disease came from South America. Australia has psuedotrichnosis, which you can get from eating wallaby, and Russell Crowe, who also produces gastric upset but seems to be less fatal. Even in the Arctic, people can get life-threatening hydatid cysts from dogs who have eaten raw caribou viscera. Nobody's has caught much in Antarctica except cold (really, reeeally cold), but studies show the penguins there have their own bird flus and some seals have canine distemper.

The moral? Death lurks in every corner of the globe! And while "When in Rome, do as the Romans do," may hold true, there are some customs you should follow no matter where you go.

  1. Wash your hands after using the restroom.
  2. Don't make out with chickens.
  3. Don't eat anything regurgitated by a penguin.
  4. Cook your wallabies/caribous/seals/bush meat/other endangered species thoroughly and use a meat thermometer to ensure doneness.
  5. Seriously. Leave the chickens alone.

Comments and wallaby recipes to Alex.Queen@gmail.com.

This article first appeared in the Oct 16, 2005 issue of the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin.

(Also published in the Piker Press on November 7, 2005.)

Article © Alexandra Queen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-06-27


0 Reader Comments
Add your own comments!
The Piker Press moderates all comments. The commenting policy can be found
here.
Name

Email

Comments




Tam Lin by Alexandra Queen

Deep in the heart of soulless Fae, where no one dies and no one who has tasted its pleasure may ever leave, someone has been murdered with cold iron. Now Michelle and the knight whose sins have denied him heaven but whose faith remains pure must find the source of the cold iron and remove the otherworldly taint from the timeless realm of Fae.

First appearing in the Press in 2003, this contemporary fairy tale of mystery, humor and romance is now available in paperback.


In the same series:

Oort Cloud Oddities: Who wears the dress in this kitchen?
Oort Cloud Oddities: Shoe sizes
Oort Cloud Oddities: A Woman Who Likes Football
Oort Cloud Oddities: Alternative Pest Control
Oort Cloud Oddities: Bathrooms
Oort Cloud Oddities: Art is suffering
Oort Cloud Oddities: James Lick's Monument
Oort Cloud Oddities: Efficiency Kitchen
Oort Cloud Oddities: Bird Flu
Oort Cloud Oddities: Ford
Oort Cloud Oddities: Women's Equality Day
Oort Cloud Oddities: Spring Horoscopes 1
Oort Cloud Oddities: Name Branding
Oort Cloud Oddities: Florida Pizza
Oort Cloud Oddities: Off the Path
Oort Cloud Oddities: Coffee Feng Shui
Oort Cloud Oddities: Family Travels
Oort Cloud Oddities: April 15
Oort Cloud Oddities: Skidmarks and Gay Cowboys
Oort Cloud Oddities: Birthday Worms
Oort Cloud Oddities: Pizza Parent Pain
Oort Cloud Oddities: Sharkey the Impaler
Oort Cloud Oddities: Internet Birthday
Oort Cloud Oddities: Fourmyle and the Hat
Oort Cloud Oddities: Cupid and the Tomkitten
Oort Cloud Oddities: 50 is better
Oort Cloud Oddities: Smarter Clothes
Oort Cloud Oddities: Worm Guy
Oort Cloud Oddities: Scary Workout Videos
Oort Cloud Oddities: 2005 in review
Oort Cloud Oddities: Kentucky Fried Christmas
Oort Cloud Oddities: Gross Gifts
Oort Cloud Oddities: State Slogans
Oort Cloud Oddities: Black Friday
Oort Cloud: Pot and Brain Growth
Oort Cloud Oddities: Naughty Wasp
Oort Cloud Oddities: Cats Hate Winter
Oort Cloud Oddities: Potty Helmet Laws
Oort Cloud Oddities: Foraging
Oort Cloud Oddities: Two-Stroke Engine Man
Oort Cloud Oddities: Corrupting Games
Oort Cloud Oddities: Spinach!!
Oort Cloud Oddities: Talk Like A Pirate Day
Oort Cloud Oddities: Mutant Mice
Oort Cloud Oddities: Beer and Football
Oort Cloud Oddities: Dragonfly Swarm
Oort Cloud Oddities: Miss Plastic Surgery
Oort Cloud Oddities: Hydrophobic Felines
Oort Cloud Oddities: Forum Fonts
Oort Cloud Oddities: Astrological Hair
Oort Cloud Oddities: Martong Theme Restaurant
Oort Cloud Oddities: Axing the TV
Oort Cloud Oddities: Hempopotamus
Oort Cloud Oddities: Growing Pains
Oort Cloud Oddities: British Sporks
Oort Cloud Oddities: Night of the Living 'Do
Oort Cloud Oddities: Stuck in a Tree
Oort Cloud Oddities: Picasso
Oort Cloud Oddities: Finger Food
Oort Cloud Oddities: Safe Surfing
Oort Cloud Oddities: DIY Therapy
Oort Cloud Oddities: Steroids and Baseball
Oort Cloud Oddities: Mrs. Mike
Oort Cloud Oddities: Oscar Birthday
Oort Cloud Oddities: Gift Enema
Oort Cloud Oddities: Cry Room
Oort Cloud Oddities: HMO blues
Oort Cloud Oddities: FishinFoo
Oort Cloud Oddities: Squid Eye
Oort Cloud Oddities: Cantina
Oort Cloud Oddities: Beese
Oort Cloud Oddities: Health Care
Oort Cloud Oddities: Squid-Eye Love
Oort Cloud Oddities:LibraryDay
Oort Cloud Oddities: Yeast
Oort Cloud Oddities: Fantasy Playoffs
Oort Cloud Oddities: 2004 In Review
Oort Cloud Oddities: Kid Rock Dog Farts
Oort Cloud Oddities: Rainy Day Raiders
Oort Cloud Oddities: Birthright Pie
Oort Cloud Oddities: Bruce-Free Thanksgiving
Oort Cloud Oddities: Napoleon
Oort Cloud Oddities: Meaningful Books
Oort Cloud Oddities: Viking Sanchez
Oort Cloud Oddities: Halloween Costumes
Oort Cloud Oddities: Key Ring Synergy
Oort Cloud Oddities: Mohawk Mommy
Oort Cloud Oddities: Clerihews
Oort Cloud Oddities: Learning Poetry
Oort Cloud Oddities: The Genesis of Gender
Oort Cloud Oddities: Sightseeing
Oort Cloud Oddities: Movie Merchandise
Oort Cloud Oddities: Lotion
Oort Cloud Oddities: Writers Online
Oort Cloud Oddities: Clothing
Oort Cloud Oddities: Summer Movies
Oort Cloud Oddities: Cheap Summer Travel
Oort Cloud Oddities: Galapagos TV
Oort Cloud Oddities: The Horse Whisperer
Oort Cloud Oddities: Nazgul Gardeners
Oort Cloud Oddities: Peevil Knievel
Oort Cloud Oddities: Body Image
Oort Cloud Oddities: The Pickle Jar
Oort Cloud Oddities: Ground Squirrels
Oort Cloud Oddities: CAPTCHAs
Oort Cloud Oddities: Zombie Infection
Oort Cloud Oddities: Haiku War
Oort Cloud Oddities: 2004 Campaign Advice
Oort Cloud Oddities: Child rearing
Oort Cloud Oddities: Hemingway
Oort Cloud Oddities: Clarence Darrow
Oort Cloud Oddities: The 55 MPH Pig
Oort Cloud Oddities: The Mommy Voice
Oort Cloud Oddities: Extreme Hobbies
Oort Cloud Oddities: Presidential Candidates 2004
Oort Cloud Oddities: Free-verse Neanderthal
Oort Cloud Oddities: Coffee Shop Offices
Oort Cloud Oddities: Mad cow
Oort Cloud Oddities: The Enzo vs. the Metro
Oort Cloud Oddities: Real Estate Crocs
Oort Cloud Oddities: Christmas Gifts
Oort Cloud Oddities: Bodice-Rippers and Football
Oort Cloud Oddities: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Oort Cloud Oddities: Aunt Mary and the Pumpkin Pie
Oort Cloud Oddities: Eat or be eaten
Oort Cloud Oddities: New Year's Resolutions
Oort Cloud Oddities: World Beard and Mustache Championships
Oort Cloud Oddities: Grandpa Queen and the Chicken of Doom
Oort Cloud Oddities: Night of the Satanists
Oort Cloud Oddities: Uncle Buddy
Oort Cloud Oddities: Mes de los Muertos
Oort Cloud Oddities: Weapons of Mouse Destruction
Oort Cloud Oddities: Pride comes before a wet pants leg.
Oort Cloud Oddities: Celebrity Relationships
Oort cloud oddities: The rise and fall of the gastropod Mafia
Oort Cloud Oddities: The Devil's Agent
Oort Cloud Oddities: National Nude Recreation Week 2003

Other articles by Alexandra Queen you might enjoy...

Unfit Mother Goose
Eternal Monday Afternoon
Growing Up Wrong
Isoflavones and Black Cohosh
WikiWikiWebster 07
&#%*in' Harvest
Rain, Rain Go Away.
Riding in Cars with Cherries
Peek of the Week 333
Raccoon Mansion
Blair Witch Snail Swap Project
With No Announcement
Monkey Business
Peek of the Week 285
Heart Brake
Food for Thought
Peek of the Week 244
Red Shirt
My Friend Clucka
Peek of the Week 229
Peek of the Week 224
Random Comic
Lichloved 88
Review: Death Race (2008)
Lichloved 87
Lichloved 85
Lichloved 86 - Bonus!
Lichloved 84
Lichloved 83
Lichloved 80-somethin' Synopsis