Jim Hopkins on current issues

Jim Hopkins is a Herald columnist

Jim Hopkins: Reason and logic fall from the sky

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The arrival of 2011 has been greeted by the mysterious deaths of both fish and fowl.

Strangeness abounds. It's everywhere, lurking beneath the thin Vermeer of civilisation like a mugger in an alley or an elephant up a tree, waiting to pounce when we least expect it. And pounce it surely has.

Life has never seemed more unreal than it does right now. With scarce one week of the new year spent, we have already encountered a perplexing litany of occurrences that won't submit to the dictates of reason.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Indeed there are, mush, and we're copping 'em in spades! The old philosophy's getting quite a battering, son.

It began on New Year's Eve in the Arkansas town of Beebe. Within minutes of midnight, 5000 red-winged blackbirds suddenly and for no good reason, fell from the sky, each deader than a dodo and all slain in the flutter of a wing. Nor was this an isolated instance; within days, flocks were falling all over the shop.

Five-hundred birds plunged to earth in Louisiana. A hundred jackdaws were found, inexplicably deceased, on a street in Falkoping in central Sweden "scared to death" according to the local vet. Then a lady in Kentucky found four and twenty then four and twenty more, not baked in a pie but bestrewn upon her lawn.

Something is afoot. Something foul or furtive, some fickle twist of fate undreamt in our philosophy, Horatio. And, if something's afoot, it's afin to boot, because it's not only fowl alone that are being discovered, demised in mysterious circumstances. Large numbers of fish are popping their clogs as well, with no evident assistance from hook, line or sinker.

Hours after the blackbirds of Beebe hit the deck, 100,000 dead drum fish were found, fatally afloat, in an Arkansas river. More ex-fish were discovered in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland and 100 tonnes of dead sardines washed ashore in Brazil, with nary a can opener in sight.

Even here, in eco-friendly Outer Roa, maritime mayhem has cast its ugly net. Several hundred freezers-full of eyeless snapper have suddenly appeared on Coromandel beaches.

This is a worry, folks, no two ways about it. The world's not supposed to work this way. These enigmatic extinctions could be precursors, harbingers of the end of days that will be soon upon us as reliably predicted in the Mayan calendar. We need answers, people, and quickly, lest mass panic erupts and beaches us all on the sands of despair.

You may not have encountered the English magazine Pick Me Up (We like a bit of everything) but it is available at all good bookstores and definitely worth a read. The latest issue features a range of stories not obviously guaranteed to pick anyone up: My psycho ex tried to EAT ME, OUIJA BOARD TERROR - Face to face with a headless poltergeist, Raped by my removals man as I packed for a fresh start ... But the worst by far is Maimed by a parsnip.

So it's not just fish and fowl. The vegetables are revolting too. All nature is unnatural. When parsnips attack, there is no hope.

Had it been a courgette or a zucchini, we wouldn't be unduly alarmed. They're renowned for turning feral. But not parsnips, no, parsnips aren't the piranhas of the veggie world. Or haven't been - until now.

We need to know what's turned them against us. The experts must give us some explanations! But they haven't. We don't know what's made parsnips mutate into root-bound rottweilers. We don't know what prescience has persuaded a squillion fish to suicide. We have had an explanation for the bird bombings but it's clearly a crock.

The authorities in Beebe are blaming fireworks for their avian deluge.

"There are blood clots in the body cavities," says a spokesman from the ABA (Arizona Blackbird Authority). "And trauma in the chest tissue. We don't think they ingested something that may have killed them. It's a fireworks related event." Haaa!!!!! So you say, buddy.

But you can't fool us. We're the WikiLeak generation, remember? We know the heart of darkness ne'er beats so strong as when it bestrides the corridors of power.

We know about the chemtrails. We know a USAF plane loaded with phosgene had a malfunction over Arkansas and sprayed its deadly cargo over the state.

It's all on the web. Your vileness is exposed. Quite why the phosgene only killed birds and fish and not cows, sheep, people or vegetarians is something we're still working on but, suffice to say, we know a feather-up when we hear one.

And this is definitely a feather-up. Blaming fireworks for the Beebe blackbird massacre is as plausible as blaming rain for the floods in Queensland.

Strangeness abounds. That's how it is now. And how it will stay. There's no point going back to work. Just stay on holiday. At least that way, when a dead moa falls out of the sky and lands on your head, you'll die happy.

- NZ Herald

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